Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Kindred Spirits

For the next couple of months my days and nights will be filled of thoughts of bands, production & foremost ticket sales. We are now in the run up to our annual music extravaganza at Alton Towers - The Ultimate Event.

I called Justin from Lemonade Productions yesterday. He organises a similar festival - frenzy - in Edinburgh each year. It was great to talk with him. Its always good to connect to someone else who goes through some of the same ups and downs.

Although not the reason we do it ticket sales become so important as we try to balance the budget. Sitting late in the evening checking emails for the latest sale is not uncommon or even first thing in the morning.

All that is forgotten on the day when we see 1000's of young people join together and bring their friends that don't yet know God. The biggest kick we get is hearing stories of how people lives were changed forever because of one of our events. Last year a guy rang up to book some tickets for his youth group only to tell me he started following Jesus at the Ultimate Event years earlier. How cool is that!

Praying for many people to meet Jesus at Frenzy & Ultimate this summer.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Mean about vision

Spent most of yesterday with our Senior Pastor preparing for a meeting with our Leadership Team later in the week. Over the last few months we have been going through much change at Milton Keynes Christian Centre. Change is always a little difficult but is always needed where there is growth.

All through our lives we encounter change. We even experience change in our relationship with our parents. As a baby we are totally dependant on them for everything. Our whole life depends on what the do and do not do. As we grow we learn to do things for ourselves they encourage us, they inspire us. We leave home and sent up home, they support us. Then as they get older we support them. One thing is constant - change.

As our church grows, and it must for all those who don't know God, relationships change, people change, methods change but vision stays the same.

In the words of Rick Warren: Bring them in, build them up, train them for and send them out.

I have been reading some exerts from Gary Lambs blog about the conference he is at. He mentioned the title of the first session. Latter found out that my friend and Pastor i grew up under Roger Blackmore is at the same conference and blogged about the same thing. Being Mean about your Vision.

We are going to have a great day on Friday planning with our new leadership team. I am looking forward to making plans but our vison stays the same.

Bring them in, Build them up, Train them for, Send them out.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Growing opportunities

I stayed up far to late watching the Oscars live from LA. It didn't start here in the UK till around 12:30 am Monday morning. It was good to see the brits represented well yet again.

Helen Mirren won Best Actress award for her role as The Queen. During the evening she was quoted as saying that "The disasters in her life had been more important than the successes."

We really don't like it when things go wrong. Sometimes we blame ourselves, sometimes we blame others and sometimes we blame God. We want to fix oe get out or away from the problem as quickly as possible. We try various things to help us forget about the problem. But the last thing we often fail to do is learn from the problem.

Alex Ferguson, manager of Manchester United, once said that the mark of a great was how they reacted to adversity, how they reacted to a loosing a game. He said that he learned more about his players when things were going bad than when they were great.

Rick Warren has said that God never wastes a hurt! I also remember an old Dana song which had a line in. "Life is like a tapestry and we need dark colours to contrast with the bright.

Its great when things are going well and you feel like you could take on the world but its good to remember we can learn and grow in every situation.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

The Band Rocked the House

This morning at church was stonkin! The band was in fine form as they belted out praise to God. One line which captured my attention for the song "He turned my Morning into Dancing" was God's anger lasts for a moment but His favour on us lasts a lifetime. (Well that was the jist of it anyway - not good with lyrics)

Its awesome to know that we have the favour of our great God on us for our whole lifetime. We can spend our lives trying to win and earn all sorts of people favour but we already have Gods! God is for us not against us. I know that in some churches you wouldn't believe that was the case because of the message of judgement and condemnation they propagate in the name of the Gospel, but is is true.

Our early morning service had a larger crowd than normal. The car park was a disaster area. We already provide a bus service from a nearby college car park to help with paring now we will have to start to provide this in our early service as well. We don't want people to miss out on hearing this great message of God's favour.

Friday, February 23, 2007

The Kids will lead us

I am getting to love the Internet more every day. I already love the fact that by the wonder of blogs i can, over my decaf Americano in Starbucks each morning, tap into the minds of great church leaders around the world.

What is even cooler is that some of the guys are attending a C3 conference in the states at the moment and have taken the time to post about the event. Tony Morgan posted this following observations from Ed Young's session.

* Children are the most neglected, over-looked entity in the world.
* Half of the developing world is children.
* Have you ever gone to a conference on church growth that focused on reaching children?
* 2/3 of people accept Christ before the age of 18.
* Only 1 out of 4 kids that grow up in evangelical churches will accept Christ.
* If we want to build a bigger tent, the answer isn't worship--it's kids.
* You want to build your church, you need to put your best with the kids.
* If you love people's kids, you'll get their time and attention.
* Adults will come every Sunday if their kids love the church.
* What does Jesus say about this? Mark 10. "Let the little children come to me..."

That's why we invest into our Children's ministry here at MKCC. We want our children to see church as a fun, exciting place that they look forward to visiting. We have a great team of volunteers who work with our staff making Kidz Church a fantastic place to be.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

New Building

Had a great meeting yesterday with our Architect about our developments to expand our facilities at Milton Keynes Christian Centre.

Although we have some delays and difficulties it gave us the opportunity to present our vision for the future to the church and wow the stepped up. At our commitment Sunday last November our incredible people grabbed hold of the vision and pledged to give £1m over the next 3 years.

We presently have great building but it has now become too small for us and is restricting our growth. We have added a second and third service. Our usual 11 am Sunday service is still proving the most popular but we continue to explore ways to grow in our current site.

We have been able to obtain an option on a piece of land adjacent to our current site and exploring the best way to develop our campus to take us forward. Yesterdays meeting made us all feel we were really making progress. The architect is getting a clearer picture of our needs and he is helping us clarify our requirements.

We should get a couple of options sketched out in the next week or so and I am looking forward to putting some pictures to our vision with our church.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Ultimate at Alton

Mark Sherratt and I are off to Alton Towers Theme Park today. Sounds good but we will not be sampling any of the white knuckle rides like Air & Nemesis. In fact the park is still not open.

We are off to meet with the Park Events Team and our production company to plan this years Ultimate Events at Alton Towers. Every year Milton Keynes Christian Centre organizes a great day out for young people across the UK at the park with a fantastic concert in the evening.

We have been planning it for over a year and with the event on the 5th May fast approaching its time to button down the finer details of the day with Alton Towers.

It will be good to meet some old friends like Marcus who has worked with us on the event for many years. He makes sure our sound levels are ok.

This year we have the best of British in Delirious? and the best from the USA in Toby Mac.

We are praying that it will be a great day with 100's of people making a decision to follow Jesus for the first time.

Between now and the 5th May I will be eating, sleeping and drinking the Ultimate Event.

Monday, February 19, 2007

Great Sunday

Our services on Sunday were awesome. We continued our latest teaching series - the Road to Recovery. Steve Adkins did a great job preaching on Let Go and Let God.

He presented the great news that Jesus wants to be involved in people lives. Many things stop us or hold us back. Pride, guilt, worry & fear. God will not impose himself on us but all it takes is a decision and we can start on the most amazing relationship we can ever have.

Salvation is a decision followed by a process. We very often try to work everything out before making a decision to do something. We get invested in the process. What if? Are we good enough? What if I can not keep it up? the questions go on. The important thing is that in making the decision we now have God in our lives to help us through all the question.

It was awesome to see 17 people make a decision on Sunday to follow Jesus for the first time at our services. Now the fun begins - working on this brand new relationship with Jesus.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Grace is hard to handle

This last Sunday I had a ball preaching at our church. We have recently started a new series called the "Road to Recovery". It's based on the idea that we all have hurts and hangups, God loves us and we are all on a road to recovery. This journey we are on with Jesus is the most important and challenging thing we face. To become more like Jesus is the most inspiring but difficult thing we face.

We need to realise that none of us could have started this journey without God's grace. None of us deserve to be called His followers. We are all agreed on that. (I think). Us happy huddle of Christians love to bathe in the river of God's grace. I have discovered that the real test of Grace is not when we receive it, its when we have to give it away.

This past Sunday I talked about the fact that God IS love. His grace is available to everyone. All fine until we start to use words like Gays. When we say that the church must be open to all and a place where people can find a safe place to begin their journey with God somehow we don't always mean ALL people.

Don't get me wrong sin is not acceptable to God in any form. But lets remember the old saying, God hates the Sin but loves the sinner. For those of us who have started this incredible journey we must always remember how MUCH we have been forgiven how much we still struggle with some things in our own lives that we wouldn't want many people to know about. God knows, he is cool, and he is there to help us - thats the reason why he sent His son.

Remember we will do things out of love that we will never do out of fear. Don't keep the worlds greatest gift - God's grace - for yourself, give it away. God knows we all need it!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Small things matter

I have picked up a copy of "In a pit with a Lion on a snowy day" by Mark Batterson from Amazon recently. I regularly read a number of Pastors Blogs from the US and it seemed that many of them had read or were reading this book. My interest was aroused.

I started to read it yesterday and just could not put it down. It was a compelling read. Many things spoke to me but one of the most impacting was Mark's take on the story in Second Kings about Elisha's prayer about an axe head lost in a river. One of the guys who had borrowed an axe to help build a new place for the Prophets to meet was hard at work when the axe head flew off and dropped into the river. Instead of doing what most of us would have done, probably laughed(I know I'm sick) Elisha prayed for the axe head to float.

Mark makes the point that God is interested in the small things like wedding receptions (Jesus first miracle) and lost axe heads as much as he is interested in the big things.

"God is not just great because nothing is to big for Him. God is great because nothing is to small for Him either". - Mark Batterson