The barrel of the spear gun


    Category
    Voices
    Date
    19 March 2015
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    I certainly believe that God is sovereign and knows what’s going to happen and has a plan. But I don’t think I’ve ever really felt strongly "that is a thing I should do or a place I should go." Yet with hindsight I can really see how God has used past experiences.

    Alex Kittow

    I grew up in a Christian family, both my parents were teachers, and I went to a fairly lively church with a big youth group.

    I wouldn’t say there was a time when I suddenly came to know God, I sort of knew he was there really. And there were certainly times that I made choices to follow Him and do what he said.

    I didn’t really have the experience of drifting away from church, having friends who were keen on following Christ as well… and to be honest a lot of it was very exciting. We would go to festivals and conferences. ‘Spring Harvest’ was one where I made a commitment – and just understanding more about the relationship with Christ.

    I think life is about relationship and the most important relationship is the relationship we have with Christ. My passion has stayed with me. At some times I’ve felt it more than at others and at times I’ve felt closer to God than at other times.

    Being abroad as a missionary was exciting but also really challenging for us as a family – we had our first child when we were living in Tanzania. But equally, seeing what God was doing and seeing the church in different cultures, how they express their relationship with Christ and how they ‘do’ worship, was encouraging but also really insightful.

    I certainly believe that God is sovereign and knows what’s going to happen and has a plan. But I don’t think I’ve ever really felt strongly "that is a thing I should do or a place I should go." Yet with hindsight I can really see how God has used past experiences.

    I came to Bristol to study mechanical engineering at university, joined the Ministry of Defence as a project manager buying gadgets and stuff and that was great fun, and then we moved to Tanzania for a couple of years. When we came back, I signed on at the job centre. I saw this job at the Southmead Development Trust and just applied. I didn’t feel a sense of call or anything there but the experience I’d had both as an engineer and then working in development in Africa came together and all those skills have been very useful there.

    Southmead is a community in the north of Bristol and the Trust exists to serve that community. Southmead has the lowest life expectancy in Bristol but there’s a real sense of community. We run the Greenwood Centre, the local youth centre, all sorts of community projects, a gym, lots of training courses for jobseekers, some start-up businesses… a whole range of things.

    I go to a church locally but for me, it’s more about a relationship with Christ than going to church, and this remains central to my life and my family life.

    I’ve got a spear gun I picked up in Tanzania and now in south Devon and Cornwall I go spear fishing to try and catch a few bass. I’m not very successful but it’s just great getting into the outdoors. Being underwater is just another world like you see on TV: teeming with life, all the different colours and God’s beautiful creation. In order for it to work it needs power; it’s got these elastic cords and for me that’s a bit like God’s love – what gives the power to drive things forward. But without the barrel of the spear gun to direct where the spear goes it wouldn’t hit its target.

    I think, being a Christian, God’s law, the Bible is that barrel – the Old Testament and the New coming together - it directs what we do, the decisions and choices we make.

    Alex Kittow is general manager of Southmead Development Trust

    This was adapted from a live BBC interview at Bristol Cathedral, which can be heard

    online here

    .

    Contemplate now

    How is God’s law not just a list of rules for you?

    The first thing you think of: God’s love making something happen… Now pray for God’s guidance to be in this situation.

    Can you discern God’s action in how you came to think of or be involved in this situation?

    Meditate through the day

    Going where the spear gun works is the delight – not using it successfully.