Monday, June 25, 2007

Poor Dolly

Steve spoke this Sunday in our latest series "Family Matters". His subject "Pulling Together or Pulled Apart". Looking at how we deal with conflict in our lives and our families.

He started with the story in Kings where Solomon was confronted with 2 mothers one of whose baby had died and she had swapped it with the other baby. They were in front of the king arguing about whose baby it was Solomon came up with an unusual solution. He would cut the baby in half and give half to each mother. This quickly showed who the real mother was as she would rather give up her child than see it die.

To illustrate the point Steve showed everyone a brand new cute doll that he had bought. He asked who would like it and then proceeded to share the doll out by cutting it in pieces and throwing it to the people concerned. It was just a doll but his actions drew gasps from the congregation.

So often we get so invested in things and opinions that we loose relationships because of how we are. How we choose to deal with conflict is so important. It is 100% certain that we will have disagreements with people even people that are close to us. We must always ensure that the person and their importance to us remain in focus.

Saturday, June 23, 2007


Having been born and brought up in the fishing communities of Cairnbulg and Inverallochy in the North of Scotland it was a pleasure to watch the recent BBC documentary - Trawlermen 2. Documenting a few weeks out of the lives of crews of various boats based in Fraserburgh and Peterhead, I watched with some nostalgia.

Below is a clip from the initial series entitled - Trawlermen (No 2).

It seems to have made stars out of some of the characters. Jimmy Buchan skipper of the Amity has even started his own blog.

One of the most poignant moments was watching another skipper say goodbye to his boat after 30 years at sea. A mixture of not moving with the times and less fish meant that he had to tie up the boat for the last time. During the programme he read out an extract he had from the old days of how many boxes of fish he would catch in just one hall of his net. His type of fishing was now out dated and in effective.

Just made me think what are we doing in Church that we were doing 30 years ago that now just does not work and is ineffective and what principles do we still need to adhere to?

People matter

Read this story told by Tony Campolo in Rev magazine.

"During the Vietnam war, William Sloan Coffin, preached a sermon against the war. A colonel, a military man in his congregation, was irate. On the way out of the church, he shouted at Coffin. "It was all that I could do to keep my seat. I wanted to stand up, stomp out, and yell back at you, 'bull!' " Coffin said, "why didn't you do that?" The Colonel paused and said, "Because the night my wife died, you stayed at her bedside holding her hand, praying with her all night long."

Campolo went on to say: "Only by being a good pastor can you earn the right for people to put up with you when you do make your prophetic utterances."

In a day and an age of plans, procedures, goals, executive pastors, executive assistants and the like this may be deemed an old fashioned view. I am sometimes seen as a bit of a systems man, better with paper than people. Not your usual pastor type. In all our efforts to make things bigger and better God help me never to forget about your most valuable asset - people.

Our 3 highest priorities must be people, people and people. I am concerned that "people matter" does not become another phrase that is easy to say but never carried through. I must strive to maintain this focus and live this out with integrity. People will put up with many things if they know they matter to you.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Flippin Boys

Came across the following application on bob's blog today.

My daughter has turned 15 and seems to have suddenly discovered boys! All you fathers out there know exactly what I mean. After all we were all teenagers at one point and we remember all too well what we were like.

I think this application is a great tool and it will be introduced into our family forthwith.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Prodigals and head colds

Took the day off yesterday after a difficult Sunday. Preached 3 times with a stinking head cold. After 3 services on a Sunday I usually beat but this Sunday was made much more difficult by my cold.

My body was present but my mind was in the clouds drugged up with lemsip. Thank God I got through it.

We are going through a series called Family Matters and I looked at reaching out to prodigals. Jesus story about the lost son has always held a special place in my heart. It has always been wonderful to understand that we are still welcome by God even though we mess it up royally.

Lately I have started to see things a little more from the fathers perspective. Yancey in his book What is so amazing about Grace? talks about God as a love sick father. Having children that are now growing up fast and becoming more and more independent helps me to understand a little more how the father feels. These children growing up and starting to make more and more of their own choices have the power to make decisions that could blow their lives apart.

As a father you have made many mistakes (unlike God) but you have done your best to help your children. But there comes a time when you can not force them to do anything you can only influence.

A few words of advice from Jesus story about the lost son.that I must remember:

1. Pray - First and always.
2. Have unending patience.
3. Love unconditionally.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Mission Re Focus

Coming back off holiday has been like stepping into a whirlwind. The last 18 months in church has felt very pressured and after a week off the treadmill seems to have speed up.

While away I read a couple of books, one being, "Confessions of a Reformissional Rev" by Mark Driscoll. His experience of growing church from a couple of people to nearly 10,000 was incredibly helpful. His honesty about the mistakes he made and the insight he shows in the changes you need to make to enable church to keep growing through different stages was priceless.

More than anything though it helped me to recognise the need to ensure at all times that God's mission to save people must remain the focus. This must never be allowed to become a second class citizen to the work within the church.

As our church has grown over the last few years the louder the call seems to be to look inward and serve the people within who already know Jesus. I need to examine what I am doing to ensure it is focused on reaching out and helping others to reach out to those who still need to know God.

I must remember the outcome is more important than the activity. Busyness is just not good enough anymore.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Frenzy 07

After returning from Italy I caught another easyjet flight up to Edinburgh on Saturday. Went up to visit a great christian festival - Frenzy. It was an incredible day of wall to wall music. Rpm, All Star United, Starfield, Leyland, Blush, Casting Crowns, Andy Hunter, Chris Tomlin & Newsboys. Music overload.

Over 5000 people from all over Scotland celebrated Jesus. It was fantastic to be there. It was great to meet the organiser, Justin and his colleague Tim. They have become long distance friends over the last few years as we all go though the ups and downs of promoting concerts.

So many people see this as quite glamorous and a way to make some easy money. I can assure you the opposite is true. Its a hard slog and finances are always tight. Everyone leaves a gig being paid, bands, security, production etc. but it is always the promoter left holding the bag. The lead up is stressful as you wait for ticket sales.

Looks like we are both up for it again next year though. The Ultimate Event at Alton Towers is on Saturday 10th May and Frenzy is on Saturday 7th June.

Help us reduce our stress plan to be there and tell your friends!

Check out a video post on you tube below.

Monday, June 11, 2007

I'm Back!

I am finally back home. My dad and I finally got to Italy for our holiday after our earlier aborted attempt caused by an air traffic controllers strike the previous week. On arriving in Rimini we found that the taxi drivers were on strike! We had to take 3 different buses on a 2 hour journey which was only about 15 miles. And we thought the public transport was bad in England.

On arriving at our hotel we were a little disappointed so stayed 1 night there and set off the next day to find somewhere more suitable. We found the Murex. We had actually stayed there some 27 years prior on a family holiday. It was still owned and run by the same family. So we transferred our bags and took up residence for the week. Above is the view from our room balcony. It overlooked the harbour which pleased my dad and he spent allot of time watching the fishing boats come and go.

On coming back I headed up to Edinburgh to take in the Frenzy Festival. But more of that later. Then spent today in a design team meeting regarding our new church build, more of that later as well.

So time to catch up with a few posts.