Monday, March 31, 2008


Ken Wilson posted this. It's great I am continually amazed at peoples creativity.

Sunday, March 30, 2008

Sunday Thoughts

  • The advent of British Summer time and the clocks going forward by an hour played havoc with out attendance today. It was way down. One of those Sundays as a Pastor you can go what on earth is going on! And all your insecurities come to the surface.
  • Mark did a great job with his message on Its time for us to wake up to the mission of Jesus. Using the example of the elder son from Jesus story about the lost son in Luke 15 v 12 and following. Listen to it here.
  • Although the elder son had been with the father throughout he just had not grasped it. He just did not understand the fathers heart. This challenged me. I have been in church for over 40 years and am asking the question again do I understand His heart. Clearly from this story its about the lost being found. What am I doing to find lost people?
  • Dropped by McDonalds and picked up some breakfasts for our volunteers who were in early. Many of them arrive at 7am to set up and sound check etc. It went down well so maybe we will do it again.
  • MK Dons are playing in the final of some obscure football cup this afternoon. Those absent from church have been noted. Hopefully I will see the second half. Come on you Dons.
  • Just to remind you again our new service times on a Sunday are 8.30 am, 10.15 am and 12 noon. We didn't just change it for Easter Sunday.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Its Time to Wake up

Tonight the clocks change and British Summertime begins, well it does not really look like it at the moment, with us loosing an hour of sleep. Guess that this will be a real test of our new 8.30 am service.

Appropriately tomorrow Mark will be preaching a message called Awake! Its time to wake up to the world around us and the mission that Jesus has called us too. Here is a little video to get us started. See you tomorrow. Early and awake!

LifeChurch Rocks

Spent a great evening last night with some of the guys from LifeChurch. Bobby, Kevin Penry and Chris Byers were on a short visit in the UK on the way on to meet up with Rick Warren in Rwanda.

Mark and I were humbled that the guys would take time out of their shedule to visit with us. They have an incredible heart and vision to help and equip the church to be more effective in its mission to the world. They are keen to learn about different cultures so they can better fulfill their vision.

They are developing incredible resources for the church worldwide like open, swerve and YouVersion and giving it all away free. They are not content just to rest in the status quo but are looking to make a impact not for themselves but for Jesus.

Although I have been around church most of my life since becoming more involved on a full time basis a few years ago I have been surprised at the ego and competition that exists in pastors forums in the UK. With these guys there is a complete absence of ego in fact they seem to think they can even learn something from talking to the likes of me who is just making it up as I go along.

I'm encouraged that together with a kingdom mindset we can achieve so much more than we can in our own bunkers of self importance.

By the way YouVersion have just added the NIV and TNIV versions check it out here. They have a great daily reading plan here.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Deal or no Deal

Next Sunday we start a brand new series at MKCC on what is hot issue for so many of us - Money.
Jesus talked about money more than anything else.

The charity credit action has this to say about UK Debt.

  • Total UK personal debt at the end of January 2008 stood at £1,412bn.
  • Average household debt in the UK is ~ £9,052 (excluding mortgages).
  • This figure increases to £21,051 if the average is based on the number of households who actually have some form of unsecured loan.
  • Average consumer borrowing via credit cards, motor and retail finance deals, overdrafts and unsecured personal loans has risen to £4,748 per average UK adult at the end of January 2008.
  • Britain's personal debt is increasing by ~ £1 million every 5 minutes.
This really spells one thing for us i the trouble. The number one reason for divorce in the UK is problems over money. God has something to say about it and how we can break this cycle.

Below is an introduction video which we put together by tweaking one originally produced by Newspring Online.

Make sure you join us for one of our services on Sunday 30th March - remember the new times 8.30, 10.15 or 12 noon and also remember the clocks change!

What God wants to say to senior pastors

In the lat session of Unleash, Perry shared some advice for Senior Pastors from the life of Moses (Exodus Ch4). You can watch the session here in full here.

My notes:

  • If you want to make it for the long haul deal with your pride and insecurities.
  • Go back to where he called you.
  • God does not say oops!
  • Use your staff. God did not give moses to the staff he gave the staff to moses so it could support him.
  • Pay staff well - Ask what it would cost to replace them.Respect them and honour them.
  • Sitting at the table is someone who does not belong.
  • Staff members need to know some things.
    • They have never felt the weight that the Senior Pastor feels.
    • Never felt the criticism that Senior Pastors feel.
    • When your Senior Pastor is riding down the road and your name pops into his head does it bring joy.
  • We need to take God directed risks. (Ex 4 v 3 - 5)
  • God wanted moses to do something that if God did not intervene he was going to get bit.
  • Understand at times ministry is going to hurt.
  • The church is not effective if the Pastor is ministering to it. It is effective when the body ministers to the body.
  • Most importantly follow His (Jesus) leadership.
At the end Perry asked all the Senior Pastors to stand and for all their team that were with them to stand with them and pray for them. It was an incredible privilege to stand with my friend and leader Mark, affirm my love and support and pray God's blessing.

If you are reading and you attend a church please take some time to watch the video here and then take the time to do the same for your Senior Pastor or leader.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Easter Egg Drop Madness

Last week on our trip to the states Mark & I visited Gary and the staff at Revolution Church in Canton, Georgia. We listened intently to some of their plans for a great Easter eggstravaganza where they were going to drop 5000 Easter eggs from a helicopter for children to go pick them up. Some of the eggs had prize tickets inside for items like an x-box and iPods.

They had been planning for months ant hoped to get 2000 people show up. Seems like around 17,000 descended on the event and it seems like parents the world over react similarly when their is something free on offer for little Johnny. Even though they had what seems like quite allot of problems they still had 17000 people turn up for an event put on by a local church.

Read more about the day from one of their volunteers here. We were interested in trying do something similar in our city next year. Maybe Revolution will be able to help us a little more.

Easter Recap

  • Started our third Sunday service on Easter weekend. 8.30am, 10.15 am & 12 noon.
  • Attendance 135, 264, 210 - Good spread now we have room in each service to grow into our small church hall that seats about 350.
  • Great services with record number of children in Kidz Church - 142.
  • Highlight of services 100's of people walking through door to signify their prayer to God. The doors or a New Identity, Radical Love, Freedom and Salvation.
  • Loved singing the old hymn Because he lives with a modern twist of a video. Loved the thought that in Jesus, death gives way to victory.

  • Watched football all afternoon. Man Utd won and Arsenal lost - Great!
  • What is snow on Easter all about. Some old pope has a lot to answer for.
  • My office is still empty after being decorated whilst I was a away. Hopefully I will finally get back into it today.
  • Didn't really enjoy the bank holidays. Feel like I have so much to get on with after my trip to Unleash but couldn't even make the decision to go into work because of the previous point.
  • Abbie goes for an interview at a local college today. What is that all about? Now I feel old.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Unleash Website

Well I have not even got around to assimilating my notes from Unleash on my simple blog but the guys at newspring have revamped the whole Unleash Site. It includes video of the 2 main sessions from Perry Noble and the notes from all the breakout sessions.

You have got to take the time to watch the videos. If you are a staff member or a volunteer you have got to watch Perry's session "Five things I would love to Say to Pastors". He says some great things to Senior Pastors but then turns his attention to the rest of us in church life who have a Senior Pastor. It just is a must watch.

There a few times in your life when things just click together, a God contrived moment, and you know that you have just got to be different. I really feel that my week in the US connecting with different churches was one of those moments. I have a lot to work through but it is going to be an exciting journey and one I am looking forward to.

Unleash - Tony Morgan

I next attended a breakout session by Tony Morgan on communication. It was titled "Ten Steps to becoming blogging BFS" I am going to show my ignorance and probably my age but I still have no idea what BFS stands for. Please enlighten me.

  1. Determine your primary audience.
  2. Post regularly (The last few days have not done me any favours!!)
  3. Keep posts short.
  4. Do not sell yourself. (Most people are adverse to people who think they have it all together)
  5. Use humour.
  6. Do not attack other people.
  7. Remember blogging is not private. (Think before you publish)
  8. Be a thought leader not a follower or a mirror.
  9. Do not listen to your critics.
  10. Reveal the real you
He also launched a competition to see how some of the bloggers present could post about his session but include the word flamboyant. Read the winning entry here. A part from my computer problems I intended to enter but after reading the meaning the word here. I decided to pass. Why would a good Brit include a French word on their site anyway. Oh I suppose I just did.

Unleash 2

A combination of a dodgy laptop, poor wireless connection, jet lag and preparing for Easter services has meant next to no entries but hopefully now I can get back into a regular pattern after my trip to the US.

Continuing Perry 3 questions:

2. What are the barriers that stand in our way?

  • The older generation usually gets angry at the younger generation.
  • We refuse to change and can have a lack of understanding.
  • Problems arise when we allow our personal preferences you get in the way of God’s preferences.
  • Be careful what you speak against because if God is in it you are speaking against the Holy Spirit.
  • I think God will do a great work in a church around you to test your character.
  • We don’t understand what we have got ourselves in to.
  • We have the power of the Holy Spirit, the calling of God and the Word of God.
3. What do we want to celebrate?
  • God says I don’t care who in political office because He (God) has got the trump card.
  • Do we celebrate because a certain party is in power? Do we celebrate the 99 in the church? We celebrate when someone who was lost comes home. When someone steps over the line of faith and becomes a follower of Jesus.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

Unleash Photos

Lee McDerment - listen to his music here. Check out the rest of Joshua's photos of Unleash here.

Friday, March 14, 2008

Unleash 1

I had the awesome privilege of attending Unleash yesterday. A one day conference at Newspring Church. It was unbelievable experience. The volunteers were extraordinary. Arriving on site at 7am we were greeted with football game like screams and cheers. There even was one crazy lady with a megaphone impersonating the guy off extreme makeover home edition.

Perry took the first session after the Newspring band and Lee McDerment rocked the house. I have never been in a church with the music so loud.

• We (Newspring) have not got everything sorted out. When you figure it all out God says you don’t need me any more.
• God is looking down from heaven and says if you are not going to use the church for His mission then I’ll have it back.

Perry asked 3 Questions from Luke 15.

1. What is it that God wants to do in your church?

• The elder son was so busy working he didn’t realise what was in the heart of the father.
• We can not catch God’s vision and heart if we do not spend time with Him.
• It is possible that God is doing something all around us and we can still miss it.
• God is not a vegetarian!?! (Fatted calf)
• Vision does not come from a conference or a book it comes from spending time with the father.
• Sometimes we can have inspiration and not revelation.
• If God does not tell you what to do, do not do it, you will screw it up.
• You have GOT to do what God tells you to do.
• God talks to every church different and individually.
• If Newspring is the watermark for your church then you are screwed (in deep water for the English people out there.)
• What is it that God wants to do in your church and when he tells you quit telling Him it CANNOT happen.
• Some people have got the mercy gift, I haven’t. I call it a weakness.
• Take something ordinary, give it your best, then God steps in and blesses it.
• If you are going to reach the world for Jesus you are going to have to spend some money.

Questions 2 and 3 later

Laser Focus

Had the privilege of spending some time on Tuesday with Gary Lamb lead pastor at Revolution Church in Canton, Georgia and the awesome staff there.

They have an incredible vision for their city and county to reach 1000's of people who do not know Jesus. Here are some of the things that stood out to me.

  • They have a very clear understanding of why they do church - for the unchurched.
  • They don't have everything figured out and like most of us are adjusting as they go.
  • What they have figured out is that people that don't know God are their priority.
  • EVERYTHING they do lines up with this priority. Venue, music, teaching, video, graphics etc is put together with the unchurched in mind.
  • They try to keep things uncluttered and simple without a 1001 activities to keep Christians busy. Or as I think Gary put it stuck in the Christian ghetto.
  • They will not compromise on this vision just to keep a few Christians happy.
  • They have a great team of passionate staff who are on the same page.
  • They are willing to take risks.
Its easy to talk about a vision its harder to implement. It takes courage to continually stand up and declare time and time again this is where we are going and nothing is going to get in the way. Its easy to find reasons to compromise. Gary is certainly courageous and even if it means some people just don't get it and bail out he his team and church remain focused on connecting with people that do not know God.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Assasination of Character

I sadly read this post by the Ragamuffin soul today.

Although I do not know David Trotter or his family this news gutted me. Clearly he had set out to serve God, grown a great church at revolution and gained respect from other Pastors. Read this post about him from 2005.

Ragamuffin posted this link to Deadly Viper a website committed to helping leaders who will have intentional, transparent, and honest conversations about key character issues.

If you are a leader you have got to read this article on the "Assassin of Character Creep". Print it out and stick it on your wall.

Take a minute to pray for David his wife and children.

Will you please listen!

Heading up to Canton yesterday we got the opportunity to try out a new Sat Nav. Its not something we have really used before so me wanting to be doubly sure I also printed out a route map.

Everything was fine until the Sat Nav took us off the Interstate a junction early. My route map said the I-75 was the way to go but the Sat Nav was taking us down a normal what we would call in the UK an A road rather than the Motorway. So I decided to try to cut across to get on the faster route only for the Sat Nav to recalculate and take us away from the I-75 again. This happened a couple of times. I was getting frustrated because this computer thing was slowing us down.

During yet another attempt to get on the Interstate we saw a huge line of stationary traffic and then noticed this little symbol on the Sat Nav that was clearly trying to tell us that there was a problem on the road and it was trying to help by getting us to our destination by a detour but actually quicker.

I said to Mark that God must get so frustrated with us sometimes. He knows what is up ahead and tries to help us but we think we know the best way and refuse to listen to his voice.

Think I will listen more to the robotic voice of our sat nav guide a little more and listen a little more to the voice of the Holy Spirit today.

Revolution in Canton

Tomorrow were are going to visit Revolution Church in Canton about an hours drive north of Atlanta. I have followed Gary’s blog for some time now. I am looking forward to meeting him and some of his team tomorrow.

They meet in a movie theatre and have a burning desire to see people meet Jesus. They are also in the process of stepping into the next part of God’s vision for them in starting another campus in another location.

I am looking forward to learning from their journey and pick up some things that will help us in our journey as a church and for me personally.

Wednesday we head up to Newspring for their Unleash conference. But more of that later.

Update: Just checked into our hotel which the guys at Revolution have generously paid for and paid a visit to Outback Steakhouse where Mark had the biggest plate of ribs you have ever seen.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Road Trip USA

Setting off today for the US. Flying from Heathrow to Atlanta, Georgia.

So far the trip has not gone totally smoothly. We drove down from Milton Keynes on Sunday night to avoid the early morning traffic to stay in a hotel. (Well if you could call it that but that’s another story)

Coming off the motorway I went to change down as I neared the end of the slip road and although the clutch seemed to work the gear stick just wouldn’t budge. Using brute force and ignorance I managed to get the thing going again only for it to totally give up the ghost as I turned into the hotel car park.

This morning we decided to share a taxi with another couple of guys who were also heading to the airport. Them the south terminal us the North. We dropped them off and went to the north. On opening the boot I was greeted not with my case but an unfamiliar item . Then it hit he had taken my case.

Eventually I decided to break into his case and the only thing I could find was an old business card in a wash bag. In desperation I called the number to find out if the person on the other end of the phone knew anyone travelling from Gatwick today. Thankfully it was the gentleman’s wife. Solved I though. The guy would probably be sitting somewhere wondering how he could get his case back. Well no when I finally got hold of him he had actually check my bag in as his.

Now I’ll give him the fact that both cases were black but there the similarities ended. It then took another hour to get my bag back and mad dash to the other terminal before check in closes.

So with some minor dramas Mark and I are off to Atlanta leaving a sick car behind.

Sunday, March 09, 2008

Jesus I belong to you

Had an awesome (I know its an over used word) at our services on Sunday. The music team did an incredible job of connecting us with Jesus. We sang a song written by Ruben Morgan of Hillsong.

Jesus I believe in you Jesus I belong to you The reason that I live The reason that I sing With all I am

More lyrics here.

I don’t know about everyone else but I had one of those God moments 3 times over when singing that song. (Well we have 3 services)

In the words of Mark Driscoll– “Its all about Jesus”

From the opening chapter of his new book Vintage Jesus:

“Jesus is the most famous person in the whole of human history. More songs have been sung to him, more artwork created of him, and books written about him than anyone who has ever lived. In fact Jesus looms so large over human history that we actually measure time by him.”
Not bad for a man born into obscurity in a small country town who had a short public ministry in a limited region of a small country.

Maybe the fact that he was as well as being a man he was also God. God in flesh. Most people believe Jesus was a good man but him being God well that’s another matter but that fact will not only divide time it will also divide the human race for eternity.

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Save a life for for the price of a Starbucks

I am sitting in Starbucks again this morning enjoying my tall decaf americano with room for milk as I do most days. In fact I usually do not have to order it the Baristas see me coming and ring up on the till £1.75. Guess it shows how many times I visit here!

This morning however my drink has a slightly different taste. I attended a trustees meeting yesterday for LightForce International and caught up on all the latest developments. One thing has stuck with me all night and when I saw £1.75 ring up on the till this morning it hit me again.

For the price of my Starbucks we can potentially save a new born child from contracting HIV. I learned that the vertical transmission of the virus to an unborn baby from mother during pregnancy is low but at birth the chances of this happening during labour increases significantly.

Here is an extract from the World Health Organisation website:

4. Mother to child transmission (MTCT) Vertical transmission
An HIV infected mother can pass HIV to her unborn baby at any one of the following three stages:

a). During pregnancy: this counts for 15-20% of MTCT cases. Under normal circumstances, HIV does not cross over to the baby in the mother’s womb. For transmission to occur, the blood of the mother has to cross over and mix in the blood stream of the foetus. This can be due to various factors, which lead to the inflammation of the placenta. Sexually transmitted infections like syphilis can damage the placenta, thereby allowing the maternal blood to seep into the foetal blood stream. Shock due to trauma (accidents or assault) can also hurt the placenta facilitating HIV transmission.

b) During delivery: Infection can also be passed on when the placenta separates much earlier before the baby’s cord is cut. This stage is responsible for the bulk of infections in children as 60-70% of infections happen at this stage.

c) Breast- feeding is one of the ways HIV is passed on from an infected mother to her baby. This stage accounts for 15-20% of infections from mothers to children.

In Uganda for less than £2 mothers can drastically reduce the chances of their baby being infected by having a hospital birth. So many can not afford this and choose a birth without this expert help. £2 yes £2. That's £2

My kids get £5 pocket money each week. Even they can save 2 lives a week and have change to spare all because of where they were born.

Give to LightForce today

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

Antioch Characteristics

Our good friend Andrew Shearman was with us this weekend. He preached in our Sunday services about the Characteristics of the church at Antioch. You can listen to it here but it set me thinking about this great church. Think I will post some things as I look at in a little more detail.

Here are 7 characteristics that he observed. (Acts 13)

1. They had people who were willing to leave home.
2. They were prepared to break new ground.
3. They stood out from the culture. (so much so they were given a nickname - Christians)
4. They fasted and prayed.
5. They Knew how to really worship.
6. Their leadership were united and had a deep love and commitment to each other.
7. They trusted the Holy Spirit.

Flannelgraph Jesus

This past weekend Mark Beeson of Granger Community Church had an illustration in his message using a flannel graph. I know I am showing my age and also my church background because many people will not even know what a flannel graph was. Well for the uninitiated a flannel graph was the cutting edge of children's ministry 40 years ago. Sunday School teachers used little felt figures on a board to tell a bible story in a visual way. A poor mans animation.

The reason I say this is that it sent my mind back to my mum. My mum died eight years ago this past week. For most of her life she taught in our church Sunday school. Because of illness she eventually had to give up teaching. I can remember her telling me that she was disappointed that she had not quite completed 40 years as a teacher. She had a passion for teaching children that kept her involved in it for the long haul.

What I do remember was all the flannel graph stories. I did not only get them at Sunday School but I got to see them at home when she was practicing for her "preach". The flannel graph and my mum introduced me to all the wonderful stories of the Bible and I will be ever grateful to both of them.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Day 28 - 28 Day Challenge

Hostage for Hope

We come to the end of our 28 day journey through the book of Acts. For us we have had a comfortable ringside seat at the birth of this thing called church which many of us are part of nearly 2000 years later. We have been introduced to the major characters and seen God's plan unfolded through Jesus to the world. We look back over 2 millennia of history but to these early disciples in places like Jerusalem & Antioch (the first mega churches) there was no example to follow only Jesus.

We have travelled through despair at Jesus death, the dynamic difference of the Holy Spirit, mass conversions, incredible persecution, doctrinal debates, missionary journeys, martyrdom, generous giving and much more. Yet somehow through these human but godly leaders the church remained on mission, Jesus mission, to see people far from God become fully devoted, addicted followers of Jesus.

Even here in the last chapter of the book we see a setback turned into a God opportunity. Paul did not intend to visit Malta and didn't even know where he was when washed up there. But it didn't matter how he got there he just brought Jesus. There was no discussion as to was its God's will to be there, was this an attack of the enemy he just lived his life and brought Jesus where he was in every situation.

In V20 Paul tells the Jewish leaders in Rome, "I’m a hostage here for hope, not doom". That was the message of Paul's life, that was the message of Jesus to a world desperate for hope. It is our message as followers of Jesus today 2000 years later.

God is for people and not against them. Jesus brings hope. As a followers of Jesus we are hostages to hope.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Circumstances or Destiny

Circumstances or Destiny

Acts 27. A prisoner, in the middle of the "perfect" storm, on his way to almost inevitable death Paul was certainly in dire straights. But it would seem that Paul's was the one voice of hope out of the hundreds on the ship.

Paul chose to see his destiny above his present circumstances. I know this can be only too hard. The immediate always presses into our peace of mind. One thing for sure is that Paul lived a life that was always open to the voice of God in every situation and whats more he believed it for a certainty. If God had said it then that was the final word.

The important thing to note from Paul's life is that he was a man who always listened to the voice of God. He didn't start in the middle of the storm. Long before he ever got on the boat he knew his destiny in God so even a 14 day mega storm couldn't shake his belief.