p>bel-low verb
past tense: bellowed; past participle: bellowed
1. (of a person or animal) emit a deep loud roar, typically in pain or anger.
“he bellowed in agony”
o shout something with a deep loud roar.
synonyms: roar, shout, bawl, thunder, trumpet, boom, bark, yell, shriek, howl,scream; More

o sing (a song) loudly and tunelessly.
“he got thrown out of bars for bellowing Portuguese folk songs”

Nothing that I have ever read about Jesus suggests that he bellowed at those whom he loved and wanted to engage with. I did recently read that he ‘shouted’ at someone – I think that it was either the religious leaders or the traders in his Father’s house (the temple). But when he wanted to win people to himself and his God…..he taught, loved, healed, held, touched and spoke uplifting words of love.

I am back in Uganda, back with my beloved wife, back in the place where God wants me to be. The trip to UK went well – I made a few quid to fund our work; we found and agreed orders with a UK client for 4 tonnes of passion fruit a month (which will revolutionise our business model); I spent time with my children; saw some friends; and worshipped with God’s people at St. Mark’s Church in Newtown, Wigan. I feel renewed and restored. And grateful beyond measure.

And I love Uganda and live in a state of perpetual excitement about what God has done, is doing, and will do here.

One of the things that I do not like about Uganda is the endless stream of religious crusades. There is a new preacher every other week at the ‘stadium’ (think Forest Green not Old Trafford) bawling at those desperate, loyal or stupid enough to attend. All of which can be heard from my home more than a kilometre away. While a side-kick screams ‘Alleluia’ at the end of every sentence. The screaming volume tends to directly correlate to the proximity of the time for the cash collection. I am currently hearing some whooping so presumably we are very close to the time when the audience is urged to ‘plant a seed’ so that God, like some heavenly version of Wonga, will send a huge, non-repayable payday loan at some indeterminable time in the future.

The ‘Prosperity Gospel’ is preached as widely here as in the USA. And it is a bible-contradicting lie in both places. And in my opinion God is not present in a screamed reading of scripture. He is not present in riches and self aggrandisement. And He is very rarely present at many of the church services that I attend. Partly out of boredom but largely out of disgust at the nonsense that is preached and the way that His generous, loving, perfect character is distorted by those who would profit from Him. In my opinion!

The God that I try to follow, the God that I believe in with all my heart, the God that won me over (booby prize?!) is present in the classroom in the mountains where our poor, forgotten (by the rest of the world) children pray every day. He is there in the smile of Michelle who is loved unconditionally by us. He is there in the totally unlikely Hospital in the Hills that serves the people of Kigazi. And He is there with us as we try to do the impossible in and through Passion4Africa. He is with me when I am scared. With me when I doubt. With me when I am at my very worst. And God is ALWAYS with the poor. Which kind of makes the prosperity gospel even more of a vomit-inducing nonsense than normal doesn’t it?! Make me rich so you’re not with me as much?

Rant over. A busy three weeks ahead. One that I will fail to handle without your prayers for……

• Energy to do the work with a cheerful heart
• Good decisions about the future
• Harvests and strategies that will help us do a GREAT job for our export customers
• Rest for our teaching staff during this school holiday
• Blessing and protection for the most vulnerable people and families that we care for
• That I will be brave and strong and do the work
• That Jesus will be at the centre of everything that we do