I am stoked today. A friend sent me the "new" Keith Green album with CD and DVD - Live Experience. A collection of live version of his songs on CD and some video. Some of which have not been seen or heard before.
Keith was a massive influence in my life when I first heard his music in the early 80's just after his untimely death. Listening to some of the songs again today, he hay have not been the best singer and his style of music not vogue today but his prophetic words still cut to heart.
My iPod will be on repeat for a couple of days.
Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Prompted by Craig's posts on gratitude I now want to thank another person who has a huge influence on my life. (Read about the first one here)
I was around 12 or 13 years old when this brand new Pastor came to our little village in the North of Scotland. Looking back I am still not sure what possessed a twenty something English Pastor to relocate his family to a small village where everyone talks strange, but you will have to ask him that. But thats what Roger Blackmore did.
Roger is without doubt the sole reason I am in "Ministry" today. There certainly was nothing to suggest that I would end up involved in the leadership of a church. (Nothing much has changed really) I was a painfully shy, lost in the crowd skinny runt with as much potential for leadership as a wet rag.
Roger in today's terms mentored me. It was not called that back then but over the next few years he spent time with me, he encouraged me, he gave taught me and opened my world to a Christianity that was wider that the straight jacket I had grown up in.
Working with him and others at Sunshine Corner (Kids Club), chilling out at his house, leading an outreach meeting in a nearby town, preaching short sermons at church before he did the main preach, visits to Youth Camp, endless encouragement even when I did daft things, great teaching and challenging discussions. I did not realise it then but God had sent me a mentor that was going to change the course of my life.
Under his guidance I got a real job for a couple of years before I headed off to Bible College another piece of advice which was spot on. After my time at college I fully intended to return to my home village and serve him there. Things never quite worked out that way. I ended up in Milton Keynes and by the time I was planning to go back things had turned sour for him there. He had done a great job but some people want there way rather than God's way. (That will probably get me in trouble with a few people if they ever see this but its the truth)
A few years ago Roger moved to the USA and planted a church in Long Island - Church at the Movies. We do not see each other too often now but he is still my Pastor. With the wonders of the Internet I can still here him preach here. I still love him (I know we Scots are not supposed to show to emotion but hey I've got past that now) and I will be eternally grateful for the influence he has had in my life.
Monday, April 28, 2008
Read this today. I have a huge poster at the to of my stairs. It has a picture of Mel Gibson as William Wallace advertising the movie - Braveheart. The Scottish coming out of me again. However the main reason I bought it was for the little quote it had in the background.
"All men die not every man really lives."
This short quote haunted me. Having reached the age of 45 I suppose that I am now past the mid point of life so you start to have thoughts like "What have I achieved?"If I wait to my funeral then it will be too late.
A little exercise I once did on a class run by the Steven Covey organisation helped me get this in perspective. We were given 8 post it notes and asked to write down the 8 most important things in our lives. Be it role, relationship, etc. That was not too hard. Then he asked us to pick 4 to keep and 4 to throw away. Now that was hard but after a while I did it. Then he said pick 2 and throw 2 in the bin. That was impossible. First of all I refused but eventually with tears in my eyes I did it. (in fact I can feel the emotion rising up inside me as I write this) Then he said pick one. Actually by that time it was a little easier for me anyway.
I was left with the one thing that was most important in my life sitting on the table in front of me on a little yellow post it. Then the facilitator asked us what were we actually doing about it. What were we doing that made it clear that that one thing was the most important to us.
That moment helped to shape my life.
By the way we got all 8 post it notes back and they became the most important things. Sometimes I go off track but I still have the post it notes and sometimes I get them out lay them in front of me and refocus.
What are the 8 most important things / people in your life.
Sunday, April 27, 2008
- Woken very early by someones alarm going off for ages. Finally went back to sleep only to sleep through my alarm. Mad dash then to pick up McDonalds Breakfasts for our early morning volunteers at church.
- Mark finished off our series Deal or no Deal with Investing in the future. He talked from the account of the feeding of the 5000.
- Some of Jesus disciples were small minded. A small boy with small loves and small fishes to feed so many people. Jesus never thinks small. How am I boxing Jesus in?
- This young boy gave all he had to Jesus. He didn't hold anything back for himself. He didn't do a deal with Jesus. I've got 5 loves Jesus so I'll let you have 4 and keep one. I've only got 2 fish so you can have 1 and I'll have one. He totally cashed out! What is Jesus asking you to cash out today?
- Mark asked what happened to the boy afterwards. It does not say in the Bible but he suggested that there 12 baskets of left overs. So maybe he was given one of the baskets. Can you imagine when he got home. He left with a small packed lunch and came back with a basket of food. How was he going to explain that to his mum. That's God for you.
- People made a decision to follow Jesus in everyone of our 3 services today and we were talking about finance. Whats that all about. Only Jesus can do that.
- For some reason numbers in main church were slightly down over the 3 services but Kids Church was crammed.
- Nicola was away with Bev and Laura to Willow Creek Children's Conference so Ryan and Paulette looked after Kidz Church. They did an awesome job.
- Watched Villa v Everton. Switched off in disgust when Everton took the lead with a couple of minutes to go. Only to find out that we equalised. 2 - 2 and I missed it.
- Had a nice meal with Liam at TGI's - but its way over priced.
- Now trying to tidy up before Nicola arrives home tomorrow.
Friday, April 25, 2008
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 12:38 pm
It strikes me that some things afflict every generation. Today we see an obsession with the celebrity. Whole magazines are dedicated to the gossip surrounding the current celebrity of the moment. Newspapers trumpet the arrival of the next heir to the stardom throne only to lead the revolt to topple their reign.
The advent of reality TV shows seems to have brought the possibility of the celebrity life to people that would have never had a chance of it before. For a few short weeks fame hungry people will do anything to gain adulation or infamy.
This is no new craze. Solomon wrote about this 1000's of years ago, read Ecl 4 v 14 - 16. The 1000's of new found fans soon melt away. Contrast this to his talk about friends in v 9 - 11.
A partner in work and pleasure, a rock in times of trouble and difficulty and an encouragement in your darkest days.
I think I would rather have friendship than adulation. Celebrates can be made overnight but friendships are build over a lifetime. How are you intentionally building these types of friendships into you life.
Thursday, April 24, 2008
In between arranging and selling tickets for the Ultimate Event at Alton Towers I did some preparation for our upcoming series - Influence.
This song is incredible trying to get a decent quality copy to use in our service.
Here is the intro video that we will use:
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Later in the year we are planning to do a teaching series in MKCC called "The Pursuit of Happiness". Very often when you ask people what they think the goal of life is or if they could choose one thing they say "I want to be happy".
In my daily readings today i've arrived at Ecclesiastes, so I am full of the Joy of spring (Sarcasm)
Ecl 2 v 2 What do I think of the fun-filled life? Insane! Inane! My verdict on the pursuit of happiness? Who needs it?
Solomon went after happiness with everything he could throw at it. In Chapter 2 he lists all the things he went after to gain happiness and fulfilment in his life. Possessions, pleasure, wealth, power, drink, sex the list goes on. Only to reach the conclusion that it all came up short.
There is only one thing worth pursuing in this life - Jesus.
We have been singing the song The Stand by Hillsong at church lately. Here are some of the words.
So what can I say
What can I do
But offer this heart O God
Completely to You
So I’ll stand
With arms high and heart abandoned
In awe of the One who gave it all
So I’ll stand
My soul Lord to You surrendered
All I am is Yours
Bring some happiness into your life today pursue Jesus.
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Sunday 3rd May sees the start of a brand new Sunday teaching series - Influence. I have started to work on some of the items to help communicate the series. Above is a simple graphic to show how even a small drop can create a wide influence. God wants to use each and every one of us to have a huge influence in our own world.
The Christian life was never meant to be a secret society. From the very beginning Jesus said that His kingdom was like a light shining in the darkness.
As Christians and as part of Jesus church we are called to be people of influence. It is so easy to be influenced by the prevailing culture of the day but we are called to influence the world.
We need to evaluate how we are doing and ask ourselves the question: Is there anything we need to change for our influence to grow?
Carlos experienced the dynamic service of Enterprise Rent a Car.
Basically it does not matter what the corporate entity says on a piece of paper or website its reputation is down to the person on the ground dealing with the customer.
Something we must always remember in church. And there the task of distilling the vision is even harder because the person on the coal face with our visitors are by enlarge volunteers doing it out of the goodness of their heart.
The main reason for posting this is to help the Ragamuffin post about Enterprise get to the to of a Google search on the said company. Help by clicking here.
Craig Groeschel wrote a post on Swerve today on Gratitude. He said we are who we are and where we are today because of the people God has put in our lives. Read full post here.
Over the next few days I am going to write about a few of the people, places and events that have influenced my life. So in no particular order.
William Wood Whyte
William is a very popular name in my extended family. It goes back to my Grandad or Didie as we say in Scotland. I was named after him and as I grew up we formed a strong friendship. Coming from a fishing community most of the men were away all week including my dad . So like many other kids from the village grandads played an important male role in our lives because they were just around.
Didie lived just 3 houses away so we saw allot of each other. Even in his old age he was an imposing man but quiet. I only ever saw him loose his temper once. He introduced me to my other love in life football - namely Aberdeen FC. I went to my first live football match with him and we watched many TV games together shouting at the telly.
I listened to countless stories about what happened to him during the war. My favourite being the one which he won the DSM. His ship Firefly was in Grantham when an air raid took place. He manned the main gun till the ship was hit. Although my favourite story it was clear that it was not a happy story for him. He lost many friends that day. On a visit to Edinburgh I tracked down the graves of some of the men who died that day from the Firefly and brought him home a photo. That was the one and only time I ever saw him cry.
Sadly he died when I was only 13 but his influence in my life was huge. He always encouraged me in everything I did. He always accepted me. He would gently correct me. Although now over 30 years since he passed away he is very often in my mind.
I am so privileged that God place Didie in my life.
Monday, April 21, 2008
This morning my wife packed her bags and left me. Its ok she is coming back we don't need counselling. Although it has been suggested after my no expense spared date with her this weekend. I whisked her off to our local Motorway Services Cafe at Newport Pagnell for a coffee. Have you seen the prices at these places. I took her to the Welcome Break and now she has gone on a welcome break. (For her that is)
Nicola, Bev and Laura are off to willow creek community church for the children's ministry conference Conspire. I am sure they will have a great time and come back full of new ideas to make our Kids Ministry even better.
So I am at home with the kids. Just came back from watching "Son of Rambow" at the cinema. The kids loved it but I though it was quite average.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
Saw this quote over at Ragmuffin Soul. I'll be thinking about this for some time. Its messing with my brain.
Where there is pain, there is healing. Where there is mourning, there is dancing. Where there is poverty, there is the kingdom. - Henri J. M. Nouwen
Thy kingdom come!
Mark did a great Job last week talking about Who's Money is it anyway? in the latest part of our series Deal or no Deal. We discovered that God is the owner and we are the managers. That is an important principle to get our heads around.
If God really is the owner of all our stuff. My house, My Car, My Clothes, My Stuff & My Income would I use it in a different way. How would I spend my money if I thought it was Gods? That's a huge question.
Also how would effect how we give to him. Mark talked about tithing. Many people say that tithing, giving 10% of what I earn to God, is an Old Testament practice. We now live in the day of Grace and the law now does not apply. Without going into that discussion. What I do know is that if we really understand the width and depth of God's grace 10% would become the starting point and not the target.
Below is a video we used from Lifechurch.tv which is one of the most clear explanations of tithing I have seen. Watch it and if you are from MKCC and are not tithing take our challenge by clicking here.
Monday, April 14, 2008
Spent the day with our Architects, Capita over in Cambridge. We are getting ready to resubmit our planning application for our new Church hall and foyer space. We also submitted our planning application for the extension and refurbishment to our day nursery and Kidz Church.
We are expecting a result back on the nursery renovations in May so today we were putting together the room data sheets for the whole site including the new hall, foyer, nursery and existing hall. We were detailing things like finishes, electrics and the like.
Extending and renovating the nursery and kidz church area will present us with logistical usage problems which we have to address but the short term challenges will give us a great facility longer term.
We are in the process of obtaining final quotes for the refurbishment of the existing hall, foyer and ancillary areas so we really hope to get that moving soon. It will be nice to see that back of the old blue carpet!
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Many years ago Brian Houston visited MKCC for a weekends ministry. He brought with him a young worship leader called Darlene Zschech. Pretty much unknown then she still blew us away. I believe that she may have visited a well known christian record company nearby with a demo. Rumour has it that they were not interested. Little mistake!
I was a little surprised last night hearing her song Shout to the lord being chosen by the finalists as the closing song to American Idol Gives Back.
Friday, April 11, 2008
We are now a month away from the gig at Alton Towers on the 10th May. Ticket sales have been very strong and we are expecting a bumper crowd. At this stage we have sold more tickets than any previous year except 2004 when we sold out at around 12,000. (With many more unable to get in). Although I doubt that we will sell out this year make sure you do not not miss out and get your ticket here.
Also take the opportunity to share the mini site below by clicking on share and sending to your friends.
Wednesday, April 09, 2008
In June we are going to be joining with churches all over the world for a months teaching called one prayer. It is an opportunity for churches to stand together across countries, cultures, denominations and styles. To be one:
In prayer and fasting.
In reaching their local community.
In reaching out to the world.
You can read more about it here. It starts on the Sunday 8th June for us at MKCC. We will be sharing more as we go.
If you had one prayer for the church what would it be? Lord make us ________.
Monday, April 07, 2008
Growing up in church the thing I remember more than most was being told to be quiet. The type of services we had back then seemed to have lots of quiet times where nobody spoke. People were praying. (Always seemed strange to me. We had all week to sit quietly before God and meditate alone just us and God. Then when we came together we did the same. Surely when we came together it was our opportunity to share, encourage and pray for each other in corporate worship. But that's another story.) So we were continually told to be quiet which for a young kid sitting on an uncomfortable pew on a wooden floor was impossible.
Well church nowadays does not have as much silence with drums, guitars and the like but it did seem a little quiet during the preaching on Sunday. Mark started our new focus on finance - Deal or no Deal. Its amazing how quiet it is when we talk about money. But it is certainly a real issue that we all have to deal with. Mark said that the reason we were doing the series was because may of us are lost financially.
How do we know we are lost:
1. We are transferring balances from credit card to credit card.
2. When you think paying the minimum payment on a credit card is sound financial management.
3. When we are making financial decisions and keeping them secret from our spouse.
4. When we are taking out loans to pay off loans.
5. When we have no idea what we spend and what we spend on.
If you missed Sunday listen to it here. I suspect its going to be a few quiet weeks in church as God helps us to start making the right choices to financial freedom.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Rumor has it that being Scottish and parting with money does not come naturally. Deciding to part with money usually takes some time for me and on Saturday I definitely parted with some.
1. I changed my car.
2. I booked a holiday.
If truth be told it is 2 decisions that I have thought about for a long time. Eight years ago after my mum died my dad gave me her car. A lovely Mercedes C180. It had sat in the garage and although 3 years old had less that 13000 on the clock. Well in the last 8 years we have put on over 100,000 and enjoyed driving it. However in the last couple of years things had started to go wrong with it. Mainly I think due to its first 3 years of life near the sea in Cairnbulg. It was going to start costing allot of money so I had to bite the bullet. Liam is very excited to be getting a Honda CR-V. It looks like a Jeep but does not cost as much to buy or run. We pick it up next Friday. It will be a bit strange and a bit sad to part with my mums car. Somehow driving it I still felt connected, daft I know, but true.
Also to compound my spending spree I booked a Eurocamp holiday in the Vendee near St Jean De Monts. We have been there a couple of times before so looking forward to spending the May school holiday there. Taking a well earned rest after the Ultimate Event at Alton Towers, and we will celebrate Abbie's 16th birthday as well.
Time to go and lie down and recover from my spending spree. And to make matters worse Mark begins a series on Finance in church tomorrow!
Thursday, April 03, 2008
In 1982 I was an "inmate" at the AOG Bible College - Mattersey Hall. I went to yet another lecture. This one was the first time that Chris Bowater came to teach us. On arriving at the class Chris said I am not teaching you about worship here in a class room and we all went to the chapel and had a wonderful time of worship where God really broke into our pursuit of academia and spoke to our hearts. I remember that day clearly as it was yesterday more that any other information or fact I learned in my time at Bible College.
Chris could have spent an hour talking to us about worship principles from the book of Psalms, worship in the tabernacle and worship in the New Testament, all of which would have been interesting and probably enlightening. But worship is not a head thing its a heart thing. Its a connection of adoration and thankfulness between you and your lover God.
Worship is what you give day by day sometimes in song sometime in action to your God. Its an experience not a spectator sport or ritual.
Take a minute now just to worship Him, right where you are.
By that chapel was also where I was introduced to my all time hero of prophetic songs that still mess with my mind today but more of that later.
Wednesday, April 02, 2008
Ticket sales are picking up for our event at Alton Towers on 10th May. Watch the message below from Delirious? and get your ticket here.
Tuesday, April 01, 2008
We are really looking forward to welcoming Delirious? to the Ultimate Event on 10th May at Alton Towers. Check out the info below on their new album releasing on 14th April.
A few years ago God invaded my life in a way that I had never experienced after reading the Philip Yancey book What is so amazing about grace? I have made a commitment to read it at least once a year since. (If you have not read it get a copy here or if you are part of MKCC and can not afford it shoot me an e mail and I will get you one.)
You think you have read it all and bang God steps into your world and reminds you that HIS love is infinite and boundless. Take a few minutes to watch the video below which took me this morning out of my usual seat in Starbucks and into the heavens. (Well figuratively speaking I haven't gone stark raving mad)
It was written by a young man the day after his friend and youth leader had died in a car crash. Earlier the previous day the youth leader had prayed to God that he would give his life if God would shake the youth of the nation. There is only one thing that is going to shake a nation. That one thing is God's love.