Saturday, September 29, 2007

Liam is off Paint balling with some friends. Nicola and Abbie have gone to a Ladies Breakfast at Church so have spent the morning in Starbucks preparing for preaching on Sunday. Love iTunes party shuffle. Listened to some great tunes. Particularly loved Daniel Beddingfield - Honest Questions.

Really looking forward to tomorrow. We launch our brand new teaching series - Time2Build. We are studying my favourite leader in the Bible - Nehemiah. Here is this ordinary Guy working a relatively obscure Job as a Butler but he becomes one of the greatest leaders of the Bible. Don't you love God.

There must have been a vast array of priests, high priests, generals etc but he chose a waiter. The difference with Nehemiah was that his heart broke over the same things God's heart broke over. Once his heart was in the right place anything was possible through a partnership with God.

Nehemiah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem accomplished the impossible the rebuilding of a city in a matter of weeks. What can you accomplish with God on your side. Impossible is nothing.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Walk on the beach?

Read this quote today from Mark Beeson of Granger CommunityChurch :

"If we were just walking on the beach, we wouldn't need innovation. But we are climbing a mountain together."

Born and brought up in a sea side town I have spent many many hours walking on the beach. There is something very therapeutic strolling along yards of sand hearing the sea crash on to the shore. Its a great place to think, relax and reflect. We certainly need times like that in our lives. Maybe we need more times like that in the hive of activity we call life today. But we can not live there.

Church life has been anything but a walk on the beech this last few weeks. It has resembled more of a mountain climb. Great satisfaction at goals reached followed by great obstacles. Finding solutions and moving on. We have always got to remember that God is interested more in what we are becoming that what we are doing. Our destination is to become like Jesus. Sometimes our obstacles are of our own making, sometimes they are the creation of hell but sometimes they are there because God wants us to grow.

Becoming like Jesus and introducing a world to Him is a mountain worth climbing and ultimately more satisfying than a stroll along a beach.

You Version Launched yesterday launched YouVersion yesterday. Its an online bible that lets you do some incredible things.

  • Read the Bible in multiple versions
  • Star, tag & email verses and content
  • Associate images, videos, links, and text to verses or series of verses
  • Create an online Bible journal
  • And much, much more
It is your own online personal study bible as well as access to a whole community.

Its only just started there are many more developments to come. Check it out today! Did I say its all free.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Sex and the Squirrel

Graig Groeschel has launched a new book called Going all The Way. Its a book aimed at helping people prepare for a great marriage. I have been married for 19+ years but I will be adding it to my reading list when it is released at the beginning of October. If you are passionate about building a great marriage then make sure then I am sure Graigs insights will be well worth the read.

Take a look at the video used to launch the book.


Wednesday, September 26, 2007


29 years ago a 15 year old boy sat in a very small hall with about 20 or so people on a cold Thursday night. He had a great career planned out. Studying hard for his exams and getting ready for uni and hopefully a job as an accountant. It all seemed so clear.

Attending the small prayer meeting as he usually did every Thursday tonight was a little different there was a visiting speaker. A 62 year old pastor from England, Earnest Shearman. The massage surrounded the handover of God's prophetic mantle between Elijah and Elisha. It was as though the preacher was talking directly to the boy. With tears in his eyes he summoned up the courage to talk to Pastor Shearman and asked him to pray for him. As he was prayed for the old pastor took off his coat and placed it over the young boys shoulder and said some quiet words to him about his future.

I knew that a career in Accountancy was no longer an option and my life had to take a different path. It has not been totally smooth but from that night I have always tried to serve God to the best of my ability. In recent years this has meant taking up a full time role within church, but still some of the things that old pastor told me have not quite happened.

Why am I writing this now. Well this last weekend we had a visiting speaker a good friend of our church, Andrew Shearman, the son of Earnest. Although I have spent many great times with Andrew I have never told him about my encounter with his dad 29 years ago. This Sunday evening Andrew preached a very similar message (with a twist) to his dad 29 years ago and Andrew is now 62. I sat there and realised again that God was talking to me yet again.

Seems like God has something he wants me to hear. He somehow sent two men into my life a father and a son both at the age of 62 over a 29 year period. I think I better listen. Thank you God.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Still Listening

Stuck itunes on to shuffle mode this morning as I sipped my decaf Americano in my early morning haunt of Starbucks. Most of the time I am probably not even listening to the music that comes through the little white apple earphones. It sort of just tunes me out of my surroundings as I read.

This morning one of the songs gradually got my attention. Stephen Curtis Chapman song "Still Listening". I was blown away by its simplicity. God is our father he is my friend and he hears every word we say. Does it get any more simple than that.

I've heard many people complicate the subject of prayer. Sometimes its made to sound like a military exercise, sometimes its a formula, sometimes the preserve of the specialists. It just reminded me again that God loves childlike faith and he hears every word we say be it a whisper or a shout.

Check out the words below:

I would lay me down to sleep
And pray the Lord my soul to keep
And though I never saw Him there
I believe He heard each prayer
For God was great, And God was good
And I knew if I spoke the words
He would be listening

The years can take us far away
From the simple child like faith
But I am longing to return
To the place where I first learned
That God is great, and God is good
So, I will speak the words

God, our Father, once again
I bow my head to pray
You are my Father and my friend, and You hear every word I say
A prayer for forgiveness, A desperate cry for help
Or praise flowing from a thankful heart
Like each time before, I come knowing You're still listening

I will never understand
How the words of mortal man
Can reach the ears of One so pure
And touch His heart, but they do I'm sure
For God is great, and God is good
And He is love

God, our Father, once again
I bow my head to pray
You are my Father and my friend, and You hear every word I say
A pray for forgiveness, A desperate cry for help
Or praise flowing from a thankful heart
Like each time before, I come knowing You're still listening
You're still listening

Now I lay me down to sleep
And pray the Lord my soul to keep
Though I may not see You there
I believe You'll hear each prayer

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Worth it?

One of the actions we have taken as a church recently is the formation of a communications team. Church is all about people and one the things we are constantly trying to do is communicate. We are communicating the most important message on the planet. Jesus loves people and gave His life to make a relationship possible.

We want to get better at communicating this message. We know that is Jesus that makes the difference but we owe it to Him to do our best to tell as many people as we can in a real and relevant way so they don't miss the message.

We want to improve every aspect of our communication from preaching to a newsletter. This takes time, effort, money and of course creativity but isn't Jesus worth it?

Heads up to Tim who blogged about this video today. Think about the creativity, the time and the finance that went into this proposal. Are we prepared to put the same commitment into telling someone about Jesus when they attend our church.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Time 2 Build 2007

About a year ago we went through a capital campaign at MKCC. The goal raising finance for our development of a new auditorium and community facilities at our existing base.

It was a very exciting and humbling time as our church gave and made pledges to give £1 million over 3 years. We have been working hard with our design team to develop a solution that will take us to the next level and are now close to submitting our application for planning.

A year down the road we want to share with everyone the current status and also give the many people who have joined our church in the mean time an opportunity to be part of the miracle.

On Sunday 30th September we kick off Time 2 Build 2007. Based on what Jesus said in Matthew 5 v 14: You're here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We're going public with this, as public as a city on a hill.

Here is a little video we put together to introduce the series to the church.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Super Sunday

We had a blast this Sunday. We were supposed to have our friend Andrew Shearman with us for the weekend at church, but there was a bit of a mix up so Mark had to step into the mix.

It was an incredible day. We had what was probably our biggest crowd on a Sunday - 750 people. Although we have over 900 people on our database that regularly attend MKCC that's the biggest crowd that has turned up in any one Sunday.

One of the songs really rocked my world. A Chris Tomlin song - Everlasting God. Part of the lyrics:

You are the everlasting God
The everlasting God
You do not faint
You won't grow weary
You're the defender of the weak
You comfort those in need
You lift us up on wings like eagles

Taken from Isaiah 40 it really is an incredible song. It made me remember again just who is on our side. God is for us not against us. Too many time I go into fix it mode or defence mode trying to do things in my own strength. I need to remember that the key to life is waiting on the Lord. I am promised that I will gain new strength when I wait on the Lord. In the cold light of day why would I want to do anything else. It surely is madness that so often I do anything but.

I need to wait on the Lord for strength, wisdom and direction.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


Nicola and I celebrated of 19 anniversary yesterday. 10th September 1988 was a big day in the history of Milton Keynes. No not because Michael Jackson was playing at the Milton Keynes Bowl but I married Nicola Jayne Brown. It is still the best thing I ever did in my life.

Its been a great adventure so far and I am sure the best is yet to come. Here are some photos of 1988.

It was another milestone for Nicola she has now been married flonger than she was single. Unfortunately I can not say that for a few years yet!

Extraordinary Love

Reading Peppermint-filled Pinatasby Eric Bryant I was challenged yet again. He quotes Matthew 18 v 15-17 in relation to how we as followers of Jesus should treat other Jesus followers who had messed things up or had offended us.

Jesus was quite specific about what we should do even laying out a procedure to adopt. Now me being the personality type I am this makes me really comfortable. Jesus spells out exactly what I should do in this circumstance. Don't you hate it when he is vague or seems to say very little about a what you should do in a certain situation.

We need to go and see the other person in person, face to face, and talk it through. If no joy we need to get a person whom both people would respect and go and talk it through. Still no joy then its time to take it too the church. Even then Jesus tells us that some people will not listen. Then its time for drastic action. We are to treat them the way we would treat "pagans and tax collectors."

On first look and probably the way that I have heard it taught in Church is that we have given this person 3 chances and if they still wont learn we need to stop having anything to do with them. They have had there chance and that's it.

Reading Eric's book yesterday it dawned on me, probably everyone else in the world was already there, how did Jesus want to treat "Pagans and Tax Collectors" people who were "sinners"?

Well Jesus gave us the ultimate example his time and energy went into loving them without condition. Basically he is saying do your best to work things out but if that fails revert to serving and loving them passionately.

This love thing is challenging.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Sports Saturday

Got home quite late last night. Spent a great night with our Youth Team at a friends house. We had a great food and great fun even though they are completely mad. It was good to hang out with them they are doing a great job with our young people.

Although Nicola believes that they have captured Lenny the mascot of the Children's Ministry. She keeps on getting ransom notes demanding chocolate be left in various places. She has even received a photo with Lenny being held by a gorilla. Things are getting tense!

Today some of our leadership team are meeting for brunch at or Senior Pastors place. After that its wall to wall sport.

10 am - Cricket - England V India
12 noon - Golf - The Walker Cup
1 pm - Motor sport - Qualifying for Italian Grand Prix
3 pm - Football - Scotland v Lithuania
5 pm - Football - England v Israel
5 pm - Rugby World Cup - England v USA

The remote control will be hot. And its church tomorrow.

Life is good apart from the whereabouts of Lenny.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Things I wish I had known

Although I am getting on a bit, I'm 45 next year, I am still quite new to this church leadership game. I've been around church all my life and been really involved most of my adult life. But I have only worked as a full time paid leader for the last 5 years. Looking back I just was not aware of what I was letting myself in for.

Don't get me wrong there is nothing else I would rather do but its also the most difficult thing I have ever done. Garry posted an item in response to a question asking "What do I now know that I wish I had known then?" You can read Gary's list here. Many of them strike a cord with me.

A few on my list:

1. Christian's tell lies. A bit harsh I know but I've lost count of the people who show up pledge there undying loyalty for you and the church. They are going to do anything for you and the church. Then you here that God has told them that it is time to move on and join another church.

2. There are a lot of experts out there. I love watching football on TV. One of the interesting things is that they always have a panel of EXPERTS who dissect what is going on. Now many of them tend to be ex players so they have some knowledge of the game but they tend to be ex players who have either failed at management or never had the guts to become a manager. But they from the comfort of the armchair know exactly what the manager should be doing to win the game. They even suggest that maybe its time for the manager to be moved on. Why is it that so many Christian's who do very little in church life seem to think they know how things should be done.

3. There is lots of ways to swing a cat. Or should I say build a church. Its so easy to get pulled around by all the different ways that leaders are building church. Its easy to follow the latest "new" thing. The Internet is such a blessing but is also a distraction. This works here, something else works there. It is so important to keep focused.

I keep reminding myself of these things: Its all about Jesus. Communicate grace, authenticity and humility. Church is for those who don't know Jesus yet. Oh and did I say its all about Jesus.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Back to school

The kids went back to school today after their long summer break. Its good to get back to a bit of normality and into a routeen again although that means some homework. Can't believe I am doing algebra again. (well I mean the kids are doing it with my help) Does anyone actually use algebra after school?

Liam went up into year 9 and Abbie is now in her last year of school. Scary. Abbie returns with a plastered foot after breaking it during the summer. So she returns centre of attention so she is happy.

Difficult days

I have not posted much over the last week or so. There seems to be so much going on. Some great things and some not so great. The variety of stuff that you seem to have to get your mind around as a local church pastor is literally mind blowing. It seems to go from the sublime to the ridiculous and all the time your actions are on view to be scrutinised by so many people.

High on the agenda is preparing for our planning application for our new building which has slipped a week as we try to finalise our traffic policy and liaise with the council transport department to ensure they are comfortable with what we are doing.

One of our major difficulties is that we do not have ample parking on site for our church members. We have however secured the use of a college car park which is about a 5 minute walk away. It continually amazes me that some (only a few) people will not walk 5 minutes. They insist on parking their car on residential streets restricting traffic flow. Even if we had the room it would not be good use of finance to develop a huge car park that only really gets used to its capacity on one day a week when there is ample spaces a few minutes walk away.

My frustration is that these few people jeopardise relations with our near neighbours and make our planning application more difficult.

We are in the business of building Jesus kingdom. He was prepared to walk to a cross for us surely we are prepared once a week to walk 5 minutes for His cause. A little inconvenience for us once a week surely is no price to pay.

If you are reading this from MKCC please just park across the road.