Thursday, November 29, 2007
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
The last two days have been intense 9 hours of teaching each day from various speakers at Willow Creek Community Church. I have heard:
Randy Frazee - Neighbourhood Strategy
Brian McAuliffe - Operations
Kyndra Singer - Community Care Ministry
Gordon McDonald - Self Leadership
Nancy Beach - Arts
I have tried to make copious notes of all that God has been telling me through these great people. Once I have assimilate my thoughts and actions I'll write more on that.
What speaks to me more is the people themselves. The spirit in what they communicates shouts louder tan what they actually say. Each of them exude passion, humility, authenticity and what I can only describe as a tender heart for both God and people. Each of them had a crystal clear understanding of the vision and ethos of their church and more importantly understood clearly their contribution to the collective whole.
I copied this quote from our time with Gordon McDonald today:
"Into the hands of every individual is given a marvellous power to do good or do evil. The silent, unconscious, unseen influence of his or her life. This is simply the constant radiation of what a person is, not what that person pretends to be. - William Jordan.
To often we live behind a mask. We try to be something we are not in the hope that we can convince another we have some worth even if we do not believe it ourselves. What we must realise is that as we do not fool ourselves we do not fool others. We are constantly radiating who we are. What we radiate will also affect others. It will either build them them up or bring them down. It so important that we do not shortcut the vital ministry of self leadership as if we do it will not only radiate into our ministry but also the people we touch.
Young pastor Timothy received the following advice from his mentor.
1 Timothy 4 v 12 - "be an example to the believers with your words, your actions, your love, your faith, and your pure life. 15 Continue to do those things; give your life to doing them so your progress may be seen by everyone. 16 Be careful in your life and in your teaching. If you continue to live and teach rightly, you will save both yourself and those who listen to you."
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Four of us who are attending the conference at willow next week are staying with Chuck & Sharon, members of Willow Creek Church. I met me travelling companion Sunil for the first time at the Dollar Rent a car depot. We invested in a SatNav and put our trust in the electronic sounding voice on the dashboard, to get us too our destination. Everything went smoothly and we arrived safely 40 min later.
However one of the other guys did not find it so easy. Having arrived at O'hare airport some 5 hours before us he had a bit of a nightmare and when we arrived at our hosts he still was not there. Seems like the SatNav had taken him to a street with a similar address in the south side of Chicago when the pace we are staying is north. Seems like his place was misplaced.
It pays to double check what you are being told and to do that effectively you need to have a little knowledge.
Around church my experience is that whether intended or not many Christians put their faith or blind trust in other people voices. The accept teaching and direction from pastors and leaders without checking it with Jesus first hand. They don't read and study Gods word for themselves so can't filter what they are being told.
Our trust and faith is to be place in Jesus not people.
By the way when you spell check SatNav on blogger you get Satan!
Had a great flight up to the windy city with JetBlue. I am told they are a relatively new airline and my experience was great. Check in was all computerised. In fact they even sent me an automatic email to remind me of my flight details and informing me of my check in procedure. That was a self serve idea with a simple bar code allowing me to get a boarding pass before dropping off my bag.
They also did the unthinkable they kept you informed of the situation prior to boarding. The incoming flight was running slightly late. They told us that it was in holding pattern and when it landed. This seems to be in total contrast to most airlines who seem to take pleasure in keeping things secret and think that a delayed post next to their flight on the airport information system will suffice.
On board the leg room was incredible the seat back AV system had about 40 live TV stations as well as pay per view movies. I watched 2 premier league matches on the journey.
All together a great experience.
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Flying over with Virgin Airways I watched one of the many movies they had on offer. Surprisingly the one that took my attention was "The Flying Scotsman". A biopic of world champion cyclist Graeme Obre.
During the film a friendship developed with a local minister. In one conversation Graeme suggested that the Minister was his friend because he was after his soul. The ministers reply really stuck with me.
Souls are God's business, people are my business.
This was so simple but so true.
1. We cannot save anyone.
2. But God can.
3. Being a friend is our first priority
4. Its amazing the influence you have when you are a friend.
5. Jesus had many friends - some disciples some not.
6. We need to stick to our job and let Jesus do his.
Just arrived at JFK, New York on my way to Chicago for a weeks conference at Willow Creek. I have about a 5 hour lay over before I experience Jet Blue Airways for the first time.
So taken the time to fill up my stomach at New York Sports Grill. A massive sandwich, fizzy drink and some of my favourite American food - Macaroni Salad. With another couple of hours to wait I may have some more.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
Just one of the imaginative headlines in today's papers after last nights England loss.
England 2 Croatia 3 the result of a performance devoid of commitment, class and competence. Yet again we are left deflated and disappointed in yet another failure. How the manager after 2 years of failure does not just come out and resign is beyond me but I suppose its all about money and a pay off. But the truth is that England failed to qualify for a major championship despite being thrown a lifeline by Israel. To finish with the same points total as Israel is completely unacceptable.
Maybe we will bring back the Home Internationals in 2008 because Scotland, England, Wales & N. Ireland will have nothing else to do.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 7:41 am
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Tim Stevens, Executive Pastor at Granger Community Church is in the process of writing a book about the Church and Pop Culture. Help him and his publishers out by completing the following Survey.
Preparing for this past Sundays message I came across this quote:
"Reputation is what men and women think of us. Character is what God and the angels know of us." - Thomas Paine
This sent me on a bit of a detour on my preparation. We can build a reputation quite quickly but we can also loose it in an instance. You can read of many leaders including "successful" church leaders that have large churches and huge ministries. Everything in the garden seems rosy only for the wheels to drop of and in an instance the reputation is in ruins.
This usually seems to happen because the character does not meet the reputation. If reputation can be quickly obtained and easy lost then character is the opposite. It takes a long time to develop and will stay with us for eternity. Its also the thing that keeps our reputation intact.
God keep us focused on the main thing. Mould my character to be like Jesus so that His reputation will be great.
Friday, November 16, 2007
Just arrived in London after a hectic couple of days.
Amongst many other things went across to Norwich to the Delirious? concert and see another potential band for the Ultimate Event 2008. Today has been one long meeting with the design team and MK planners about our potential development at the centre.
By the end I just couldn't think anymore so what on earth have I travelled down to London for on a Friday evening when there is football on. Well I found out that Bobby and members of the team from Lifechurch.tv are over in London for a few days.
I follow his blog avidly and have received much assistance from his musings and also have utilised much of there resources through open. So really it was too good an opportunity to miss. I can always watch the footy on video and of course the big match is tomorrow - Scotland v Italy.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 5:31 pm
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
An incredible inside peek at Bono singing and talking about the story behind the release of Wave of Sorrow.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 9:18 am
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
This last week Tearfund released details of a survey about peoples prayer habits in the UK. Their results were very interesting. In a day when overall church attendance is heading south it seems that their survey shows that 42% of Britons pray.
One in six prayed daily and one in for prayed weekly. 57% of people suggested that it changed what happened in their lives.
This tells me that although many people have become disillusioned with the church and other religious establishments there is still an innate belief in God within us and a spirituality.
I am sure that many people pray out of a sense of complete desperation. They have no where else to go so they try God. Well that's a good place to be realising our helplessness and talking to our creator about it.
We have got to do a better job within the church in helping people into the glorious relationship that is on offer through this God they are asking for help.
Full Tearfund survey.
Monday, November 12, 2007
I recently read the following quote from C S Lewis.
Our lord finds our desires not too strong but too weak. We are half hearted creatures fooling around with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us. Like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday by the sea.
Jesus said he came to give us an incredible life. Somehow I don't think I have experienced a fraction of what God has in store for me. Someone once said the only difference between a rut and a grave was the depth. I am asking myself what has become to comfortable for me? Am I settling for a level of growth that is so far below where God wants me to go?
I can't even imagine what this abundant incredible life is that God has in store. What challenges lie in wait. What changes I need to make. Where the journey will take me but I am up for the journey.
God help me not to settle for the mundane, messing about with mud pies when you have so many surprises in store.