Rip Dave Routledge

dave routledgeA few days ago, a friend of mine passed away to be with Jesus. I knew him for a short while and had the privilege of his photographic skills at my wedding. He did an amazing job. All through the process he showed understanding, patience and grace. One of his wonderful attributes was his willingness to share his gift of photography, and a gift it was. In recent years we lost touch as I moved to Australia and so was quite shocked to read of his passing. I was also quite shocked at my reaction, that such a gentle and loving man could be taken from this world. I hope and pray that his life and the part that God had in it would be a wonderful testimony that his family would be proud of.
Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. Hebrews 11:1

My Testimony – Part 1 – The Search

From Birth to Alpha

I thought I would write my story and God’s part in it for all to read…

I was born (at a very young age!) into a normal middle class Jewish family, mother, father and an elder brother. We lived in Wembley just north of London, a good Jewish neighborhood, for the first five years of my life. My father found out when he was 45 that he had been adopted when he was 9 months old and therefore wasn’t Jewish. So we became C of E! (Church of England). In those days, if you didn’t know what religion you were, you defaulted to C of E. We then moved to Folkestone in Kent, where a few months later, my younger brother was born. We, my brothers and I, went to the local public school, and the local church. All quite normal really. There we lived until shortly after my fathers death in 1976. This had a dramatic effect on all of us. Suddenly we had to grow up. Then came years of instability in our family.

I have always been a spiritual person. I have always believed that there is more to life than the “born, learn, work, marry, have kids, retire, die” syndrome. There had to be. So to my quest for spiritual enlightenment. At school there had been R.E. (Religious Education) but this had been treated as just another subject and not as something of any real importance as I was yet to discover. My quest stagnated while I was in the British Army. In the five and a half years I saw life, death, trials and tribulations, the highs of life like new birth, and total depravity like bullying and drunkenness like never seen before. I met people from all walks of life, the rich, the poor, the illiterate, the intelligent, everyone had something to give, something to be taken, something to be commended and something to be condemned. So much in such a short time. I also became dependent on alcohol. Some days more, some days less. There come a point that after eighteen months of alcoholic abuse, I needed to stop. So I did. No side effects at all. Looking back with 20/20 hindsight I can see Gods work in this. It IS the only explanation, but I didn’t see it then.

After the Army my quest continued. This time I looked at the “peaceful” religions, Buddhism, Zen-Buddhism, Confucianism, and a few more way off and to be blunt, purely wacky. All of these filled a gap, answered a few questions, but always left me feeling that there’s more somewhere. It wasn’t complete. There was something missing, like they weren’t telling the whole truth. Buddhism and Zen-Buddhism aren’t necessarily “peaceful” either as demonstrated in Cambodia with the Pol Pot regime. Islam never really was in contention due to the incoherence and contradictions of The Koran. I also went back to the bottle, or I should say the beer. Not as bad as before, but simmering in the background.

The philosophies of the American Indians and other such “tribal” religions and “ways of life” and “new age” stuff, which was actually rehashed old stuff from some way-out mainly far-eastern cults, came next. All held a fascination for me and I began to wonder as to how they came to such beliefs. This lead me on to work out my own as none could satisfy me, which when I look back now, is fairly wacky! But I needed something to explain to me where we came from, why we are here, and where we go to after we die. As I couldn’t find one, I made up my own taking bits from others, letting my imagination run a little so as to answer my questions. It would do for the time being, until something better came along.

At this point I was at a fairly OK level. Then came a series of events which when looked at as a whole could not be a series of coincidences.

I had been moving around a fair amount and had ended up back at home, or more accurately, my mothers house, where she had kindly offered refuge while I got my life together. I am going to back track a few years to explain why I ended at my mothers.

In 1990 I had a girlfriend, a house in Kent, a job, a car, all mod cons of a late 1980′s life style, 2 holidays a year and all seemed well. Then I lost my job, lost my home, me and the girlfriend went our own way. I moved to London to find work, and didn’t. Moved into a housing co-operative. “A community in London, miles from anywhere” I would describe it as, a very strange place with strange goings-on! Here I met loads of different people, but far different to those I had met in the Army, a totally different attitude to life. Most of these were drop-outs, but some were not. Here I learnt about the more seedy way of life and how this can effect your life even if you are just looking in, so to speak. My income was from the state and doing a bit here and a bit there. The two and a bit years there are a bit hazy, but I made some friends, two of which, Iain and Jackie, helped me (and I helped them) to escape the “den of iniquity” to Leicester. It was in Leicester that I started to put my life back together. In the two years there I got a job and managed to keep it!, And cleaned up my life a little. I did get into debt and had to run away yet again. My escape took me back to Kent to my mothers house. I was still drinking and smoking.

This is now 1997 and I am working as an exhibition carpenter, riding a motorcycle, and just generally having a good time. I then had an accident at work. I caught three of my fingers in a bench saw. I had seen this in a dream and thought at the time of the dream that this wouldn’t be a too bad a way to getting out of work for a while. Bad way to think. My fingers in tatters were stitched back together and my dream as a guitarist in a blues band went out of the window. While my fingers were healing, two broken three lacerated, one with nerve and tendon damage, i picked up a few instruments to play around with. I should point out at this point I had been playing the guitar albeit not too well. A penny whistle came and went, too many hole for one hand, but the harmonica stayed. When my hand had healed enough for the cage and bandages to be taken off and physio to start in earnest, I could just play a sort of recognisable tune with one hand! With two hands came the sweet sound of the blues.

Several things happened next in quick succession. I joined a blues band called Black Cat Bone. I met a young attractive Christian girl Nicky, who I wanted to get to know better, and her friend Paul. Nicky also joined the band as she had, and still has, a great voice. The band went on to become one of the best blues bands in Kent with a large following (of about 300 at the height of fame). Nicky and Paul introduced me to the Alpha Course. I wanted to get to know Nicky, so I went on the course. I also wanted to know more about Christianity because I had originally dismissed it at an early stage because I had been taught it at school, and now the Alpha Course said it would explain Christianity properly. I was interested!

Next… Part 2 – Alpha to Enfield

Rachel Barkey

As quoted on the web-site Death is not dying:

“On March 4, 2009, Rachel had an opportunity to share about her hope in
the midst of terminal cancer. What began as a small talk to her church
women’s group became an event attended by over 600 women and was an
experience that left many with a desire to discover more about Rachel’s
journey and faith.”

Rachel have four points to make.
All I can say is that it will be an amazing 55 minutes of you life to watch and listen to this woman.
I don’t think you will regret it
I dont