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10 years since the “world stopped turning”

September 9, 2011

Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

Normally I would write a September 11th blog post, but as circumstances would have it, I will be gone down to Orange County for a wedding of two of my friends this weekend so I will not manage to get it done.

September 11th is always a difficult time for me, people remember a lot of the things that really should not be brought out at this time. There is a constant fear that there will be another “attack” on the anniversary, there will always be fear.

It also makes me think on what I was doing and where I was during September 11th when the news broke. I wrote a question on my facebook page asking where were you when the world stopped turning (a phrase that is so commonly associated with September 11th due to a great song by Alan Jackson) and I got some really cool answers, some folks were at school, some at work, some in bed. The thing that struck me was, everyone knew where they were.

Personally, it’s hard for me to forget also, I had just came out of a meeting with my boss, I was working for an American Company that had 2 floors in both towers (Morgan Stanley) I came out of that meeting, the meeting had overrun, and was due to take my break, I noticed people flocking to the TV lounges, as I had 15 minutes to burn, I went there, I missed the first plane, but saw the second one live courtesy of SKY news.

Now when something like that happens, your normal priorities go out of the window, I had given up on politics as I had helped Tony Blair get elected in 1997 in the Great Britain landslide victory (ironically the only time I have ever voted anything other than the Scottish National Party) but was suitably impressed by Britain’s stance of solidarizing itself with the USA during their time of mourning. (I guess it is true that in times of crisis, you really find out who your friends are)

Just like Alan Jackson’s song was a breath of fresh air for all who needed it post 9/11, I think he had a point when he said “faith, hope and love are the three things he gave us, and the greatest is love” quoting from 1st Corinthians 13. When the song came out, America was hurting, people were wanting vengeance, wanting profiling and various other things that would have been deemed as revenge, Jackson reminded us in the best possible way, that the greatest thing we have is our love.

I started to fly shortly before 9/11 so I had a little taste of what it was like under relaxed conditions. I have also seen profiling in action, in JFK airport, a middle eastern looking chap was before me in the line, British passport, Arsenal soccer shirt, cockney accent, and we were chatting informally about soccer, well he went before me and got so much hassle prior to being whisked away by 2 TSA folks. Now I have no idea whether the guy was innocent or whether he was someone who was “flagged” but it certainly does not look good. (In fact I looked dodgier, I had a rugby shirt and kilt on!)

America is known as being a lot more patriotic than I am used to, where I am from flags are usually carried to divide rather than unify. Coming over here, it certainly is refreshing to see so many patriots, I am hoping that once Scotland gets it’s independence, then we will have that level of pride in our colours.  (You will notice that this post is done in Red white and blue for my support of the USA)

Lastly I ask that you spare a thought and prayer for the families of folks who lost folks due to the tragedy on 9/11, for the folks who have lost sons, daughters or folks in conflicts fighting for either Britain or America for a greater freedom on a war on terror, In my book, they are heroes all, whether they be Armed Forces, FDNY, NYPD, or just civilians who came when their country needed them, 9/11 affected so many folks, at so many different levels. Also pray for our enemies, pray for a change in their hearts.

You may be surprised to hear that from me, but to quote Pastor Marc Unger, who lost his son Daniel, who is a local pastor at Exeter Baptist Church in Exeter, CA he said “For ten years, I prayed that Osama bin Laden would turn from his sins and repent. He chose his own destruction,” Now for me, that is true Christianity, Marc gave the best of his best, he gave his oldest son for his country, and he prayed for the souls of the ones who sent his son home to heaven.

So I leave you with a question, where were you when the World stopped turning?

God bless

Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

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The parable of the heretic (a look at Rob Bell and Love Wins)

July 31, 2011

Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

I have finally got round to reading the Time article that quite a few folks I know have been talking about, I have yet to read the book, however there is a big part of me that does not wish to fund such heresy.

Heresy is what it is, plain and simple, Jesus said in John 14, that he was the way, the truth and the life, that he was the only way to achieve union with God the father, that no-one came unto the father, except through him.

The only way you can really defend this guy is by using words of Christ that say “if he is not against us, he is for us” although he is an evangelical pastor, he is far from being “for us”. His words are contradictory to the very book he preaches from and does go to show how far removed he is from the Word that is taught and that he claims to teach.

You see, I find it hard to criticise a man that I feel is more educated than I, I have never been to seminary, I am not a scholar and have never studied well, usually I only read things that ignite passion and interest me, in fact the Bible is the only book I have studied on a verse by verse, precept upon precept and tried to examine the deeper meaning in.

Bell is very captivating, I first came across him when his NOOMA series first came out, I loved the short videos and thought they would be a good talking point for introducing folks to Christ, he is energetic and he has a personality that you would associate with someone who has a genuine love of people. You have to ask though, if he loves people, why is he leading them towards the very place that he claims may not exist?

He also has a hypothesis that what if Hell doesn’t actually exist? what if you remove justice? What if this part was in fact meaningless cause i the end God will redeem everyone and the cross of Jesus Christ and the sacrifice was futile? Christ came to be the worlds sacrifice, to take the world sinful yoke upon himself, God required a lamb without blemish, (If you are unsure read the book of Leviticus) for his sacrifice, however, unlike the Jewish sacrifice that was temporary, this was a permanent, life changing solution. By coming through “The Way”.

This teaching is so important, in the 1st century, the Christians (whether originally Jew or Gentile) were not called Christians, but “The Way” or “People of the way” This is basic Christian doctrine that Bell has chosen to ignore and actually go against. One wonders why he calls himself a Christian pastor.

Here is the Time article in full here

Here is a question we have to ask ourselves

What are your thoughts on this?

God bless

Uilleam Mac Gafraidh 

Happy 4th July (from a non-American)

July 4, 2011

Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

The Betty Ross painting that claimed she invented the American Flag

The Betty Ross painting that claimed she invented the American Flag

First of all, as a non-American, I wish to wish all who are celebrating it, a happy, safe and patriotic holiday. I jokingly refer to this holiday as “rebel day’ amongst family and friends as I usually get it tight for being in America on this day. I get such comments usually as “you know that this holiday is America getting their liberation from your people” and stuff like that. (you will probably remember my last years “revocation of independence” blog.

It is true I haven’t blogged much since then, maybe due to a new found importance in the stuff that is important to me. My family, my wife, my child and spending time with God, thise are priorities that have came first.

Today was a really good day for the Mac Gafraidh’s, you see, my beautiful and talented wife,  Chelsea, sang the national anthem (Star Spangled Banner) at the 4th July celebrations in Exeter, CA. Everyone who attended, was blessed to hear such a voice.

Now you may be curious about the picture? Well I read a fascinating article in the Washington Post, debunking the myths about the 4th of July. The first one tackles the Betsy Ross myth.

Also back home in my country, the people of Scotland have taken that step closer to achieving independence from the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.  Perhaps one day we will have July 4th celebrations like the Americans do.

I will be honest, growing up in West Central Scotland, where even the national flag of the UK (The Union Flag or Jack) causes strife, this whole being patriotic about a flag and colours and all being united has really thrown me for a loop. If you were to carry the Union Flag into a football (soccer for the Americans reading) and you were not a follower of Rangers, it would be strange for most people and there would be a reaction. (Even more so if that stadium was Celtic Park, where the Irish Tricolour is flown in preference to the Scottish flag)

My hope for you, this 4th of July, is that you see what real independence is, not the freedoms that are enjoyed because soldiers went, trained and did their bit. I leave you with the words of a friend of mine, Pastor Marc Unger, who’s oldest son Daniel, died in the conflict in Iraq at just 19 years of age, when interviewed after the death of Osama Bin Laden, he said:

“For ten years, I prayed that Osama bin Laden would turn from his sins and repent. He chose his own destruction,”

for me, that is true liberty and independence!

God bless and I pray that I get to write to you real soon, LORD willing

Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

The Parable of the Gardener

July 1, 2011
Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh
In the month of April this year I was blessed with a visit from my parents, it is always a blessed time, as with me living over in California, I see them about once a year, this one wasn’t as hard as the last time as I had been over in Scotland in November.
My dad is an avid gardener, now he didn’t always used to be, but as he progressed in years he found a real fondness for keeping that garden in shape, and progressing from that, he found real happiness in making stuff happen in the yard.
Now I am the opposite, I am hoping that will change as I mature, I have never had much stomach for yard work, and if you seen my front yard you would understand a lot about me, now that is a shame for my wife as she like to have a nice garden, so this is an area that I plan to get back to working on real soon.
However, when dad was over, it was different, I have no idea what the difference was, perhaps it was just that it is so cool to do stuff with your father, the two of you working together for that common goal, the goal is small at present, just getting rid of the weeds and crabgrass and putting in a lawn. (I will become more ambitious as time goes by)
When I was working in the yard, pulling out weeds, crabgrass, purifying the soil for the planting of the seed that we have managed to put down thus far. (That was Chelsea’s job, it truly was a family effort) it stuck me a real and present truth in the life of a Christian.
As I was doing this manual labour, it occurred to me that this is also what happens in the life of the Christian, God uses the Christian who is available for use, he strips away the weeds, gets rid of the stuff that is killing the growth and makes it beautiful. For me that is a wonderful hope and a beautiful message.
My hope is that this message blessed you, I hope to write again soon, God willing
God bless
Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

The parable of the 2 year old

June 30, 2011
tags: ,
Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh
Here’s a thought, imagine the world revolved around you and that your problems were at the centre of the axis of the world spinning, then welcome to the world of a 2 year old. I was blessed a few nights ago to watch my daughter Tabi, play with her kitchen and I saw the funniest thing:
She has this kitchen that is a hard plastic, with an oven, a smaller cupboard, two smaller baskets and a fridge. She was trying with the fever pitch pace that a beaver would be proud of, to get all of her toy foods, cutlery, pots, pans and everything else crammed into the largest place (the oven) to compartmentalize it, when she realized that the oven door was not going to close (despite her best efforts) she preceded to try the next option, try the smaller cupboard. (I assumed because the fridge would require some stretching!)
It kind of got me thinking, how often do we do that with God? How often do we try to make God fit into this pre defined space in our lives where it suits us in our comfort zone? Do we really step out in faith like the first apostles? Convicting stuff huh?
And here was me thinking that I was charged with a responsibility for teaching my daughter stuff, and here she is, teaching me just by being her! God truly does work in mysterious ways, his wonders to perform
I hope this blessed you, I will write again soon, LORD willing
God bless
Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

Song for Mac Gafraidh

June 24, 2011
tags: ,

Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

Chelsea came across this song the other day that I found was very apt, it is also a good testament to how God changes people, after I met Chelsea, I cleaned a lot of stuff up in my life, however it wasn’t for her as this song plays, but it was because of my other new found love, Christ Jesus.

This is also good as you can see how far I have come, I wasn’t always a good guy!

Here is a video of the song:

Here are the lyrics

When I was younger man I hadn’t a care
Foolin’ around, hitting the town, growing my hair
You came along and stole my heart when you entered my life
Ooh babe you got what it takes so I made you my wife

Since then I never looked back
It’s almost like living a dream
And ooh I love you

You came along from far away and found me here
I was playin’ around, feeling down, hittin’ the beer
You picked me up from off the floor and gave me a smile
You said you’re much too young, your life ain’t begun, let’s walk for awhile

And as my head was spinnin’ ’round
I gazed into your eyes
And thought ooh I want you

Thank you babe for being a friend
And shinin’ your light in my life
’cause ooh I need you

As my head was comin’ round
I gazed into your eyes
And thought ooh I want you

Thanks again for being my friend
And straightenin’ out my life
’cause ooh I need you

Since then I never looked back
It’s almost like livin’ a dream
Ooh I got you

If ever a man had it all
It would have to be me
And ooh I love you

God Bless

Uilleam Mac Gafraidh

Happy Birthday Tabitha

June 23, 2011

Written by Uilleam Mac Gafraidh 

Today is a very happy day in the Mac Gafraidh household, our “little princess” is 2 years old! I can remember  cradling her a few hours old and falling in love with her within seconds. She is so me in so many ways, but also so Chelsea too.

I want to take this opportunity to share a song with you that we heard shortly before Tabi was born, kinda captures how I feel and how I felt about her, it is Safe and Sound by Matthew West.

God Bless

Uilleam Mac Gafraidh