Luke 1 & 2
It would appear that Luke's account of the story is a little different to the other 3 accounts of Matthew, Mark and John. They wrote their own accounts where Luke makes it clear that his letter is a result of an investigation. A sort of ancient BBC Panorama programme.
Luke 1 v 1 - 3 - So many others have tried their hand at putting together a story of the wonderful harvest of Scripture and history that took place among us, using reports handed down by the original eyewitnesses who served this Word with their very lives. Since I have investigated all the reports in close detail, starting from the story’s beginning, I decided to write it all out for you, most honorable Theophilus.
It's great to see that God has used all sorts of people. Jesus called "simple" fishermen but he also called learned men like Doctor Luke. What better person to investigate and document the various things that had been said and written about Jesus.
And Luke did this for one Guy named Theophilus. A guy that we know virtually nothing about. When writing this Luke did not think he was writing a book that we would be reading 2000 years later. It looks like he was doing all this to help a friend and God uses it to help people throughout history.
Its amazing how God can use our simple acts.
Thursday, July 31, 2008
Luke 1 & 2
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
I very often heard people say if I won the lottery I would give it to the church (or at least a large part of it). Often wondered what would happen if a church goer actually did win the lottery would they do it. Well wonder no more its actually happened in a church. (Not our church before you get excited)
Read this over at Roger Blackmore site.
Pennies From Heaven
"My friend Bert Crabbe is facing serious space issues over at www.truenorthchurch.net and is planning to introduce a fifth service in September.
When he announced the addition to his church recently, he suggested that was the best plan unless someone had a spare couple of million laying around. So I hear today that the following week someone in his congregation bought a scratch-off lottery card, won $3 million and gave it to the church!
I love what God is doing over there.
Weird way to get money, but then I gather God likes to push the limits."
PS Please do not leave me comments about Christians and gambling etc. I am not saying it is right or wrong I am just repeating an interesting story.
This will be short today sorry its a bit late but I had a date in Birmingham today. Edgebaston to be exact. England v South Africa to be exact so an early start kept me from my mac this morning.
Mark 16 v 19 & 20 - Then the Master Jesus, after briefing them, was taken up to heaven, and he sat down beside God in the place of honor. And the disciples went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence.
In the end King Jesus took his rightful place in heaven and his followers started the job of building his kingdom here on earth.
Today at cricket as the day wore on and the people in the Eric Hollis stand consumed more and more beer they became more and more rowdy. A sing song ensued, barmy army, Britannia and the great escape were followed by a very drunk version of William Blakes Hymn - Jerusalem.
It was strange to here a very drunk group sing the line - And was the holy lamb of God!
But it set me thinking that we still have much to do to see:
I will not cease from mental fight
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand
'Til we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land
Being Scottish maybe we should change it to Britain but what ever we must do what the disciples did they -" went everywhere preaching, the Master working right with them, validating the Message with indisputable evidence."
Tuesday, July 29, 2008
Next week Nicola and her team are off to Kids Camp with lots of children from Frantic and Kidz Church. I am sure they are going to have a brilliant time, although with Liam and Abbie there helping the Ritchie residence will be somewhat quiet.
Here is another intro video for the the teaching series - Under Construction.
Under Construction from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
By guest blogger - Ian Baird
Mark 14:18 “I tell you the truth, one of you will betray me – one who is eating with me.”
I come from a hugging family. This may originate from the wonderful Scottish climate I enjoyed as a child and a need to seek additional body heat but we hugged none the less. You can imagine my concern when meeting my mother in law for the first time and being received with a firm handshake at arms length. The Scottish bear hug does not go down well in Chinese culture. I soon learnt that food plays a massive role in this culture however, not only as an expression of welcome and love but meal times form an important element in family life and the building of relationship.
The culture I experienced first hand is very similar in this regard to that of Jesus’ time. It’s difficult to contemplate Judas’ hypocrisy as he sat at the table with Jesus and the other disciples sharing in the fellowship of the meal whilst at the same time determining to betray Jesus.
Judas had walked and talked with Jesus over the last three years, he’d listened to Jesus’ teaching, he’d witnessed the miracles first hand, and he’d shared in the private times with Jesus and the other disciples away from the crowds. However, it wasn’t enough for him. Judas was motivated by wealth and he exploited his position amongst the disciples to this end (Jn 12:6). Jesus kept talking about dying and it was no doubt a source of great disappointment when it finally dawned on Judas that there was to be no political revolution, no taking the kingdom by force, and no position of power in that kingdom for Judas to exploit.
Judas stands alone in history but I cannot help but think that I can read the Bible, I talk to God in prayer, I can worship God and fellowship with other Christians on a Sunday morning but am I truly devoted to Jesus Christ. What is my motivation, am I confessing Christ with my lips then walking out and denying Him with my lifestyle.
Lord, as David declared, “Test me, O Lord, and try me, examine my heart and my mind” (Psalm 26:2).
Monday, July 28, 2008
I posted the video of Mike Guglielmucci and the song Healer a few weeks ago. We also sang it at MKCC a couple of weeks ago. I know there is a number of people at church that really need God's touch just now. I am thinking of them and praying for them now as I listen to the song.
The guys at integrity have set up a site for the song with a great purpose. Submit your requests for healing and leave your praise reports.
You can also listen again to a great song here.
By guest blogger - John Dangana
The Greatest Pain of All
Mark 14 & 15
‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’(Mark 15:34)
What could be worse than rejection by God?
Betrayed by Judas, denied by Peter, deserted by all the other disciples, I wonder how it must have felt.
Pilate had asked in disbelief, ‘Why, what evil has He done?’ as they cried even louder, ‘Crucify Him’. The mocking and whipping, the jesting and crowning with thorns, the physical exhaustion of carrying a heavy cross up the hill of Calvary must have been excruciating and oh the pain that travelled through His nerves as the nails pierced his hands and feet.
But nothing could compare with the Father turning his back on His Son. For three hours darkness covered the whole land, as God could not bear to behold His Son.
Jesus endured man’s wickedness and cruelty but not God’s rejection. How could the One who claimed to have been sent by God be rejected by Him? Didn’t he say he and the Father are one?
‘My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?’ were Jesus’ last words before he breathed his last.
Probably the worst words Jesus uttered or could they have been his best?
Sunday, July 27, 2008
By guest blogger - Sue Ward
Dare we mention the end times again??
My father-in-law, John, was a lovely Christian man who had a very simple faith. His outlook on his Christian life was ‘keep it simple’. He wasn’t into debate and arguing and had no time for what he called the ‘isms’ of Christianity. It was all far too complicated for him and he lived his walk with Jesus very personally. In church he was in the background, always there doing practical things but not into ‘up-front’. I remember at a weekday meeting he was asked to close with prayer – his reply? ‘I won’t but my wife will.’
When he died, the family were amazed at the number of people who said ‘John helped me out when I was struggling financially’, John was the one I sought out when I needed some wisdom’, John was always there when I needed a shelf fixing’ etc. etc. He had done all of these things without even his wife knowing.
He didn’t need to tell people God had made a difference in his life – he ‘just lived it’ and they saw.
His response to V. 32 would have been ‘no-one knows, so what’s the point of wasting time talking about it’. If we follow Jesus’ advice throughout this chapter and ‘keep alert’, ‘be on guard’ ‘watch that no-one deceives you’ we have no need to fear.
Saturday, July 26, 2008
“God gave us memories that we might have roses in December.” - J.M. Barrie
I remember hosting what we used to call an "open air" on New Aberdour beach (Photo) with just me an my old pal Johnny. He played the guitar and sang and I preached as a few curious tourists went past.
Don't see Johnny much now but it still brings a smile to my face every time I think about it.
Don't forget to make some great memories today.
What memories bring a smile to your face?
By guest blogger Bev Seale
Mark 11 & 12
About eighteen Years ago, along with a group of people mainly from my old church in London, I had the wonderful opportunity to visit the 'Holy Land'. It was my childhood dream to see the place where Jesus was born and to see if the places were as I imagined, as I listened to the Bible stories in Sunday School.
I have to say, as we traveled around the City,I thought about how hard it must have been for my saviour as he walked those cobbled stones, sandaled feet, in the scorching heat, my tears flowed as I realize he did it all for me.
Jesus' journey to the cross began with a triumphant entry to Jerusalem, the bible says there were large crowds who shouted in loud voices 'Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord' (Mark 11 v 9), and the events that followed would bring him closer and closer to his death, interestingly although, during much of his ministry Jesus tried to hush up the news about his miraculous power and his identity as the true messiah, but it was clear from the welcome he received on entry to Jerusalem that he was recognized and accepted by many as the Messiah. But acceptance of him was short lived as the story unfolds.
Driving out the money changers and the animal sellers brought Jesus into sharp conflict with Leaders of the day, so much so that they plotted to kill him.(11.v 18). When I think of the death of Jesus, he willingly gave up his life so that I could live and if I was the only person in the whole world he still would have done it for me, I am lost for words.
When I first read the story of the fig tree, I had many questions, he was hungry, he had the power to make the tree produce fruits, but he didn't, and my personal belief is, even though he only had a few days before his death he was still finding ways to teach his disciples about faith and the power of prayer. I love the way the Message puts it;
"Embrace this God-Life, really embrace it, and nothing will be to much for you, this mountain for instance, just say, "Go Jump in the Lake", no shuffling or shilly-shalling and it is as good as done. That's why I urge you to pray for absolutely everything, ranging from small to large, include everything as you embrace this God-Life, and you'll get God's everything. And when you assume the posture of prayer, remember its not all asking".
I am so glad that I don' have to cross all the t's and dot all the i's before I can embrace this God-Life, He accepts and love me just because. Like the widow in chap.12 vs. 41-44 Give your all to God, He is not interested in your wealth, abilities, your position, it does not matter whether man recognizes you or not, it really only matters what God thinks about you, he will exalt you, he loves you and is passionate about your well being.
Father I thank you that you know me by name, you are interested in every detail of my life, this knowledge takes my breath away.
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you, take your everyday, ordinary life, your sleeping, eating,going-to-work and walking- around life and place it before God as an offering, embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for Him" ( Rom:12 Mes).
Friday, July 25, 2008
C S Lewis in The Problm with Pain
God intends to give us what we need, not what we now think we want. Once more, we are embarrassed by the intolerable compliment, by too much love, not too little.
I am grateful to be embarrassed by God.
Following on from my post yesterday. Read this quote from Smashing Magazine over at Tonymorganlive.com.
“Speaking in a language the customer understands is key to good communication in any business. Whenever you get deep into a field and become an expert, it’s easy to lose sight of the fact that the rest of the world doesn’t think like you.”
This is a huge challenge for me. Most of my life I have worked in the Insurance and Investment Industry. (Till I started at MKCC) My job to help people make right choices in a field they did not fully understand. The longer I worked there the more insider jargon I picked up the harder I had to work not to use it when talking to a customer.
I left the big bad world of investments 8 years ago and have been working full time in church. I pick up more and more inside jargon, thought processes, ways of doing things. All the people I work with and all my friends and acquaintances are churchy.
When I finally get to speak to someone who needs to know Jesus can I contextualise as Paul did on Mars Hill in Athens the message in a way they can understand.
As I heard Mark Driscoll say recently: Our job is not to make Jesus relevant, he always has been and will be relevant our Job is to explain his message in a way people of today can understand.
By Guest Blogger - John Dangana
"Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?" (Mark 10:2)
Don’t we all love ideals. We say things like, ‘This is the way it should be’. We kick and scream, push and shove, strive and strain to attain the ideals. Great! The problem is, we don’t always attain ideals. We constantly seem to fall short. It’s even worse when we see others falling short; it reflects our own imperfection which we hate!
God created marriage to last a lifetime. Our selfishness and stubbornness may lead to divorce. Moses allowed divorce, contrary to God’s ideal. The reality was that Moses chose the lesser ‘evil’. Permit divorce or let the couple live together with more sinister consequence?
The reality is no one can live up to God’s ideals. I constantly struggle with loving myself, not to mention my wife (who’s my closest neighbour). And God? Isn’t he a figment of my imagination? And Church? Is that not just a crowd that gathers on a Sunday and couldn’t give a fig about you on a Monday? Forgiveness – Doesn’t it only seem to come up when you’re the offended party?
Is it reality or ideals or reality and ideal?
Thursday, July 24, 2008
There is nothing I can say about this video it says it all for its self. My keyboard is wet with tears. His grace continues to soften my heart. Thank you Jesus.
Neicy_Salvation_Story from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.
Chris & Dana Byres recently moved from the USA to London to plant a LifeChurch.tv network church.
Many of you will know Lifechurch.tv through the recent One Prayer series we participated in at MKCC. We heard their Senior Pastor Craig Groeschel preach on Lord Make Us One.
Please pray for them as they prepare to launch the church in London in September. I reckon that planting a church in the UK must be one of the hardest things to choose to do so please support them in prayer.
Watch a message from Dana below, visit their website, become their friend on facebook, and more importantly if you are in London and do not go to church why not plan to pay them a visit in Wimbledon.
The Open Door Invitation from BlueDoorMinistries on Vimeo.
Read this today over at Seth Godin.
It turns out that a lot of searches online are for things that are pretty simple. Like how to boil an egg or how to count cards. Just because you already know something doesn't mean everyone does. Think even simpler than you would expect and you're on to something. (For a very long time, one of the top 100 searches into the search box at Yahoo was: "Yahoo").
Made me think about how we do church services and who we do them for.
I have not lived through a so call "revival" where people walk into the street fall down under the conviction of God and call on him to be saved, maybe one day. Most people I see start folowing Jesus do at one of our Sunday services.
Having been around church for over 40 years it is easy to know it all, the jargon, the stories, the rituals, its is a comfortable place to live. We forget that many people do not know what we know and church can be an uncomfortable place.
Who do we do church for? The guy who has never crossed the door of a church in his life. The girl who last time she was in church was the day she got married. Simply put for those people who don't already know God.
Thats who we need to communicate to. Thats who we need to help feel comfortable. Thats who we need to help to understand. Thats whose questions we need to answer.
Guest blogger - Mark Sherratt
Mark 8 & 9
Who do you say that I am?
Jesus wants to know where we stand when it comes to believing who he is. I believe you can not be a great follower unless you really believe in something.
As we have seen in our current series ‘Simply Jesus’, there are many ideas around suggesting who Jesus really was or is. Some say he was a good man, others say he was a religious leader, some say he was a teacher, others say a prophet, some say he was John the Baptist raised from the dead, while others say he was the son of God - God actually in the flesh.
There are many people today who try to ‘sit on the fence’ and remain uncommitted as to who Jesus really was. However, the truth is, Jesus really wants to know what who you personally say he is. Think about this, if you could look him in the eyes today and tell him who you believe he is, what would you say? This confession is crucial to all who follow Jesus because what we believe will actually shapes our lives.
When Jesus is unashamedly ‘YOUR’ Christ, it will actually changes everything in your life. As Saviour and Lord we are compelled to follow him wholeheartedly and desire to fulfil his purposes here on earth. Peter said, ‘You are the Christ’. He confesses boldly that Jesus is the anointed one, the messiah, the son of the living God. He is saying I believe you are who you say you are and my life is fully devoted to you.
Are you fully devoted to Jesus? Who do you say that he is?
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 5:41 am
Wednesday, July 23, 2008
Nick Vujicic says its not what you look like that matters its your outlook that matters.
I came across this video today and it stopped me in my tracks. Its about 30 minutes long but if you struggle with what other people think of you watch it now.
Nick Vujicic message from Colin Campbell on Vimeo.
Religion is about following a set of rules that make you look good to people. Christianity is about following Jesus and doing good to people.
Religion is hollow because although through hard work there is a short term change of behaviour it does not and can not last. Jesus is looking for a change of the heart. A change not enforced by determination to follow a list of do's and donts but a change at the very core of our being which dictates a change in our behaviour.
At the core of this is an understanding of how much we are loved by God and the lengths he went to connect to us. Love will make us do things that fear never will. Unless we have a change of heart we will vomit the list that Jesus gives us in v 21 - 22.
Thinking of this I am reminded of a song by Geoff Bullock:
You’re softening my heart
to the knowledge of Your love
And opening my eyes, Your light the way
To love You. Words alone cannot express
All the hope that You have placed within me
in between each heartbeat, Lord I surrender
You gently pick me up, wash me with Your love
And opening my ears You speak the word
Healing, releasing all the hurts and fears
By the hope that You have placed within me
in between each heartbeat, Lord I surrender
I surrender to You
I surrender to You
Everything I am and ever hope to be
I surrender to You
Tuesday, July 22, 2008
If you have stopped by my blog a few times you are sure to have heard of Perry Noble pastor of Newspring Church.
God teaches him lots through his relationship with his daughter. You have got to read today's post - Unlimited Access.
"On Sunday night I was typing away in my office at home, trying to get ready for the trip that I am currently on with our High School students when Charisse, my daughter, walked into the room.
I will have to admit, I was in “a zone” and managing to get a lot accomplished". Read on.
Back in May 2007 MKCC were proud to host Grammy nominated singer songwriter Ayiesha Woods and her brother Donni.
We are so excited that they will be joining us again on Sunday 3rd August at all 3 of our services. You really do not want to miss that Sunday. Make sure you bring all your friends with you it will be a brilliant day.
Check out the short interview below or her myspace
Mark 5 & 6
A couple of days ago we heard Jesus message to Matthew - come follow. Now to a guy whose life had just been changed beyond all recognition he says - Go tell.
We don't know this mans name but he certainly was infamous in his locality. A total mad man who spent his time slashing himself. Other people solution to tie him up. He was beyond human help then Jesus steps into his world. Jesus steps into death and brings life and into chaos and brings peace.
The delivered madman wants to join Jesus crew and follow him. Understandable when your life has been revolutionised. Jesus says:
v19 - Jesus said, “Go home to your own people. Tell them your story—what the Master did, how he had mercy on you.”
After his encounter with Jesus the man became an Evangelist visiting the 10 towns in his region telling everyone he met about this man who had changed his life.
If Jesus has stepped in to our world his message to us is Go Tell!
Monday, July 21, 2008
Back in April I took the plunge and changed my car. When you know as little about cars than I do this can be a traumatic process. At the end of the transaction I always feel like I have been ripped off.
The car I had was starting to show its age and needed allot of work doing on it so I traded it in. At that moment in time I was treated like I was the most important person on the planet. Nothing was too hard for the salesman. He was my new best friend, I think he was flirting with my wife and he loved my children.
I did the deal and walked away. The only problem being that he or someone in his office did not complete the paperwork correctly with the DVLA. So when the new owner of my old car decided to continually break the law I started to receive notices of fines through the post.
I called my new best friend to ask him if he could do me a letter to send to the authorities. It was like a complete stranger had asked him to sell his children.
I was only important to him as long as I was of benefit to him. When I became a problem to him he just wanted to fob me off.
He needs to know that continued success over the long term needs authenticity and integrity.
Think he may have now lost a customer.
By guest blogger - John Dangana
‘Then He taught them many things by parables, and said to them in His teaching: ‘Listen!’”(Mark 4: 2)
Listening is a prerequisite to learning! The inability to listen is a sure sign of stupidity.
It’s no surprise that Jesus began his teaching with the word ‘Listen!’ Here are two definitions for listening:
1. To give attention with the ear; attend closely for the purpose of hearing; give ear.
2. To heed and to obey.
The first places emphasis on the ear, however, it can be argued that listening can happen without ears. Deaf people can ‘listen’ without ears by giving attention to what is said by sign language.
The second places emphasis on effort and action. It takes listening from the mental realm to action. What’s the point of understanding God’s word without doing it? In reality, those who listen to God’s word and do it are those who have really listened to what He has said. A sign of good listening is obedience.
Sunday, July 20, 2008
Mark 2 & 3
My grandad used to love Westerns, cowboy stories. He read books and loved to watch movies. As I spent a fair bit of time with him I have watched my share of Cowboys & Indians. One series of movies I loved was "The Magnificent Seven". At the start of each movie Yul Brenner would go round picking his 6 other men to take up some lost cause. The men were usually motivated by money.
Jesus had already picked up some of his disciples as we read this passage. Andrew & Peter, James & John had all heard the simple call and dropped everything to follow Jesus. Here is v 14 Jesus calls on Matthew to follow him so Matthew leaves a lucrative career in the Inland Revenue Service to follow Jesus.
I am continually amazed at these teenagers willing to give up everything to follow this religious man. Looking back its easy to forget that the die had not been cast, they had no certainty that all of this was true, that this guy called Jesus was no crack pot, that they would be the founding members of a belief system that would change the world. As we heard recently from Steven Furtick. They were audacious!
With the whole of church history to look back on sometimes I wish that we could make as courageous moves for God. For instance God asks us for just 10% of our income and we struggle with that. These disciple were willing to give everything.
What is God asking of you today?
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 11:48 pm
Saturday, July 19, 2008
This is an incredible line from the Lee McDerment song Our God is Love.
"You are bigger than we let you be"
God I really do not want to restrict you. Open my heart to ALL you want to do.
Listen to the rest of it here or better still buy it here.
By far and away Matchlight in the dark has been my favourite album of this year.
In the opening of this chapter we are greeted with the start of a new week, the start of a new day and the start of a new era. Today dispair gave way to hope and hurt gave way to joy.
In front many witnesses the stone covering Jesus tomb was removed and an angel announced that Jesus was alive and well. The message of hope went out that Jesus was to meet his followers on a mountain top in Galilee.
Some of them believed and some of them doubted. Some even doubted when they saw Jesus with their own eyes. But on a mountainside Jesus gave His followers their life mission.
V19 Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. 20 Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you.
That is the essence of what Jesus wants us to do - Go tell! Tell everyone you meet about Jesus. Simple isn't it.
In v1 the ladies had little to tell by v 20 everything had changed. Go tell - Jesus is alive.
Friday, July 18, 2008
It was great to have our friends at God TV with us at the Ultimate Event in May 08. If you missed the event or want to relive it now is your chance.
Europe: Saturday 2nd August – 13:00-17:00
GOD Europe - Sky 581 & Virgin Media TV 279
USA: Sunday 3rd August – 15:00-19:00
GOD Channel USA – DirecTV 365 & Webstream on www.god.tv
See thebandwithnoname, RPM, This Beautiful Republic, Sanctus Real & Delirious rock the towers. Get it in your diary now!
- Someone in the service to day is going to hear about Jesus for the first time. I know that my baby crying and making a noise may distract them. I'll take them to the creche. There are some nice toys and things in there for them anyway.
- The music is a little loud for me but I know lots of people like music that way. Maybe I will try sitting somewhere else in the hall to see if I can find a place that suits me.
- What are you trying to teach me through that song. It must be something I am missing because I am singing it again.
- Jesus this is all about me having a happy feeling its about bringing glory to you. You have done so much for me and I want to thank you.
One momentous chapter, 66 simple verses describe what is the most barbaric inhuman few hours in history. The pure sinless perfect Son of God is unjustly arrested and tried. The most amazing miscarriage of justice takes place when he is sentenced to death.
Before he faces the most torturous method of execution invented by man he is systematically beaten, tortured and mocked.
Words on a page that we can read in a few minutes do not really convey the hours of distress suffered by the pure Lamb of God. Maybe the aversion I had to watching the movie the Passion of Christ brought me a little nearer the gut wrenching disgust that I should feel about this passage.
Today again I am truly humbled and forever grateful to my wonderful Saviour and King: Jesus.
"I'll never know how much it cost to see my sin upon that cross" but Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
Thursday, July 17, 2008
Matthew 25 & 26
Over and over again through the book of Matthew Jesus is quoted as saying: "The Kingdom of God is like....". Here in chapter 25 we get 3 more stories, 3 examples of the characteristics of this kingdom that we have become a part of with Jesus.
v 1 - 13 Its a kingdom that lives with the end in mind.
v 14 - 28 Its a risk taking kingdom that does not play it safe.
v 31 - 46 Its a kingdom that cares for the poor and destitute.
My background investments was all about risk and reward. Some investors were cautious so you built hm a steady balanced portfolio that would show continued small growth year on year. Other people were more risk aware. For them I would choose more volatile investments. If they came in you were sitting pretty if not you lost your shirt.
Jesus is telling us here that he is looking for us to take risks. Risks that will mean that we are totally and utterly dependent on God.
Fear of failure is usually the thing that holds us back from doing something and it was the same with the guy in this story. But failure is very often the key to our future success.
What is holding you back from taking a risk in Gods kingdom.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Chris Tomlin is an incredible leader in worship songs. His latest album, Hello Love, releases in September. I loved the song Jesus Messiah. Our series at MKCC at the moment is Simply Jesus and we have been talking allot about Jesus the Messiah - the anointed one.
One great line is "All our hope in you." In the video below Chris talks about the song. (Towards the end he gets a little technical and starts using words like Chords and such which I do not understand - maybe he was speaking in tongues)
Yesterday I posted the mindset of a consumer at church. Today I would like to use the same list but attack it from a contributor mind set. If we the church could take on this mindset then awesome things would happen.
- There are going to be lots of new visitors at church today. I want them to find it easy to get parked up and into the building. I am going to the park and ride. Hey maybe I might speak to the guys and get involved driving one of the buses.
- God, I just saw the Pastor over there, I know that he feels the pressure today to bring your word for us, strengthen him today.
- Lets sit down the front and encourage the band and preacher during the service.
- Lets leave the house a few minutes earlier. We don't want the kids to miss what God has to tell them today it is important for them.
- Sorry kids we missed kids church this week. I will go after the service and find out if there are any take homes that we can do together this week. And I promise we will get here earlier next week.
- Yes! Church attenders have driven into the car park dropped their kids off at the door and driven off to go shopping. I can't even be bothered to think of a positive way to look at this. Its just plain daft! My office door is open if you would like to discuss!
- There are going to be allot of people using the building today. Who can I speak to to get these replaced.
When I was about 13 our church showed a movie called "Thief in the Night". Basic principle, it is the day after Jesus second coming. All the Christians had been "raptured" and we get an insight into what the movie makers think it is going to be like on earth. If I remember rightly their interpretation was that the only way to salvation post rapture was getting your head cut off!
Since sitting in Bible Class as a teenager I have been fascinated with the end times and judging by the amount of books written about it so is much of Christianity. I have come to realise over the years that this fascination is somewhat misplaced.
It would appear that the disciples were interested in this question when they posed it to Jesus. Jesus focuses on the need for us to endure and stay true to our salvation. Almost saying "hey lots of big things are going to happen in the centuries to come: war, famine, natural disasters. But you need to concentrate on you and spreading the Good News.
v 14 All during this time, the good news—the Message of the kingdom—will be preached all over the world, a witness staked out in every country. And then the end will come.
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
At the beginning of August a group from Kidz Church are heading off to Activate Camp for a week. It takes place at Brambletye School.
They are sure to have a brilliant time. Nicola & Laura are putting together the teaching for the week. I got co-opted to design some graphics to go with their series: Under Construction & Explosive Love.
Today we received the Section 106 Agreement from our solicitor in relation to the planning permission for our new facility. Mark took great joy in signing it.
It details the various conditions that we have to adhere to in the process of construction. It includes items like sustainability, materials, sound restrictions, traffic etc etc.
Mark has now signed the document and it has gone to do the rounds at English Partnership before going back to our solicitors for final approval. All this needs to be done by the 23rd July.
Keep up to date with all the MKCC Time 2 Build news here.
Church life is much more than a Sunday service but clearly Sundays are an important part of what happens in the life of a community of believers. There are 2 attitudes amongst those attending - consumers and contributor's. Today I am going to list thoughts that go through consumer minds. Tomorrow I will list thoughts that go through contributors minds.
- I will park my car where I like.
- I just walked past the pastor and he didn't speak to me.
- Don't tell me where to sit.
- So what if I am 15 minutes late the Kidz Church should still register in my children.
- I am going to send my child to Kidz Church without registering them in through a back door.
- I am dropping my kids off for Kidz Church and going shopping, I need a break.
- Why are their no paper towells in this bathroom again.
- I don't care that my baby is crying and distracting everyone around I will not go to the creche.
- The music is too loud.
- Not that song again.
- I was not blessed during the worship time today.
- Why don't they sort out that person putting the song words on the screen he keeps making mistakes.
- There is not enough "meat" in this sermon.
- I have heard all this before when are you going to move on?
- Why is there no coffee after this service they have it after another service.
- My 12 year old is loosing interest in church whats the youth pastor going to do about it.
- I've been ill this week, the pastor hasn't asked me how I am doing or come to pray for me.
- Its my birthday next week the pastor should be praying for me publicly in the service in front of everyone.
Tomorrow I will list the though process of a contributor.
Matthew 22 & 23
Studying for exams is not something that comes easy for me. Back in college days some of the lecturers were very kind to us. They would say, this is important it may well come up in your exam. Code for, listen and take note this will be a question in your exam. Its great when someone gives you the inside track. A piece of advice that creates a shortcut.
In this exchange with a top dog professor you can almost hear Jesus say, guys listen up I am going to simplify my life message for you.
Its about mad passionate love. Firstly for God. Your whole life should be consumed with the pursuit a passionate relationship with Him. That's the first half of the equation. Second half, love other people like you love yourself.
The message says these are the "pegs" off which the rest of the christian life hangs. Pull these pegs out and everything else just doesn't matter.
Do something right now to express your love to God and find a way to love another human being today with the intensity that you love yourself.
Monday, July 14, 2008
By guest blogger - John Dangana
Talk is not good enough!
“But what do you think? A man had two sons, and he came to the first and said, ‘Son, go, work today in my vineyard.’ He answered and said, ‘I will not,’ but afterward he regretted it and went. Then he came to the second and said likewise. And he answered and said, ‘I’ll go, sir,’ but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of his father?” They said to Him, “The first.” (Matthew 21:28-31)
Everyone is entitled to a change of mind!
The ability to change is one of God’s precious gifts to humanity. It could be for better or worse. The choice is ours.
Words are powerful, but actions are even more powerful. In the Democratic race for the US presidency between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton, it was obvious that Obama had the eloquence of a preacher. That’s not what brought the victory. The act of winning more delegates and votes brought him victory.
Talk is not good enough; it must be followed up with action! Think, say and do what God desires and you will enjoy His Kingdom.
If you’ve said the wrong thing, why not correct it by doing the right thing!
Sunday, July 13, 2008
If you were one of the people who stood in line at O2 or Carphone Warehouse last week and actually got a new 3G iPhone you need to download the YouVersion bible app.
Read more about it here.
Mine is on order so hopefully will arrive soon think I may make it a matter for prayer! Only joking...
(PS also works on iPod Touch)
Matthew 19 & 20
v 12 (Message) "But if you’re capable of growing into the largeness of marriage, do it.”
This verse almost jumped out from the page at me today.
Jesus had just finished another round of discussions with the religious leaders. They had found God's original intention for marriage too harsh so had invented a long list of reasons why a man could divorce his wife.
Jesus was pulling them back in to "God's original" plan as it puts it in the message.
As a starry eyed in love youth you looked forward to the wonderful destination of marriage only to realise that when you arrive it is only the start of a huge journey. A journey that has ups and downs, great times and set backs.
Unfortunately so many marriages hit difficulties for a wide range of reasons which is sad. As a married man I can become very complacent. One thing I know is that marriage is not for the faint hearted and we must be willing in Jesus words - to grow into its largeness.
Saturday, July 12, 2008
Its Liam's 14 birthday on Tuesday so today he went paint balling with a few friends. They had a great time and were covered in mud at the end of the day. Showing off their bruises where the paint balls had hit them.
See more pictures here.
Last night Ryan and I went down to London to hear Mark Driscoll preach at St James Church. Its a long time since I have been in an old historical church with pews. After 2 hours sitting on the pews my bum was a little sore!
Its was great to get a chance to hear Mark in person although I have listened and watched many of his podcasts. He spoke from Acts 17 examining Paul's plan for reaching the city of Athens.
- Paul contextualised and contended
- Many Christians are scared of the city but God loves cities.
- He was not seduced by the city but he came to save the city
- Paul went to the place of worship of the day. Our places of worship today are, Pubs, Restaurants, Concert Venues and Stadiums.
- Too many people today are trying to make Jesus relevant to the culture. Jesus has always be relevant he just needs to be contextualised.
- There are 3 reactions to Paul's message: Contempt, Curiosity and Conversion.
God's Kingdom is an upside down world. Well from the view point of most of humanity that is. This discourse with his followers is packed with the values of His kingdom. The disciples still had not hooked up to Jesus wavelength. They believed he was the messiah but they were still equating God's kingdoms with the human hierarchical kingdoms that they were surrounded with day by day.
Their question who is the most prominent in your kingdom, who is top dog. Jesus brings forward a young kid to emphasise his point. Probably a child that had been pushed to the back of the crowd, out of sight out of mind.
Jesus then outlines the values of his kingdom. Here are a few from this chapter:
- Childlike faith
- Care for the weak and needy
- Servant hood
- Careful in speech
Friday, July 11, 2008
After dropping kids off at music practice (by the way do not miss Sunday they guys are bringing an incredible new song - Healer. Watch the story behind the song here.) Nicola and I went to get a coffee.
We ended up chatting through some of the impact the start of our building process at MKCC will have on our children and youth activities. During stage one which should start sometime in September the Day Nursery will be relocated into a mix of temporary accommodation and use of our existing facilities.
This will mean that much of our current building which we utilise during the week for various activities may be unavailable. It was challenging to talk through various options for this 3 month period of renovations. Nicola has a few things to talk through with her team!
But they are great challenges to have. They are challenges of growth and development. If nothing is happening in church there is no need to change we could just do the same things over and over again. So I guess change is good.
Nursery renovations, new auditorium build and then whats next. God's vision for Milton Keynes is bigger than a 650 seat hall. So I guess change is here to stay. Hold on for a wild ride!
By guest blogger Bev Seale
Matthew 16 & 17
These chapters introduces what a turning point in the Gospel, before the emphasis of Jesus' teaching was on the kingdom and its ethics, now the emphasis shifts to discipleship and to the cross.
In v 6 Jesus was warning the disciples to be on their guard against the Pharisees and Sadducees,
They were quite aware of the many miracles Jesus had done but here they were, pretending not to know anything by asking for a sign. Jesus was a bit angry with them so much so that He refused to give them an answer.
As Christians we sometimes ask the most ridiculous questions ( and I include myself ) about how to deal with things in our lives when God has made it so easy for us. He wants to help us understand his all encompassing love for us. I guess what I am saying here is, in order to be overcomers, we need to do everything we can with the help of the Holy Spirit to know Jesus and the power of His resurrection.
When Jesus asked His disciples, Who did people believed Him to be , their answers were very different, but when He personalized it, now that was a more sobering thought. Hand on my heart I can honestly say there were times in my life when I questioned my belief. Thankfully those days are long gone you'll be happy to hear. Here Peter had no hesitation, he might have been impulsive or whatever, but it was clear he knew who Jesus was, he had spent time with Him.
We all have difficult times in our lives, there are also important lessons for us to learn, but most importantly we have to move on. Peter won the highest praise for discerning Jesus' identity but in the next scene he made maybe the biggest blunder in his life, he wanted to save Jesus from the pain of the cross not understanding that without the pain of the cross there would be no salvation.
Matt 17: 1- 5
I often wondered why Jesus only took Peter James and John up to high mountain by themselves?
In the Message it says "His appearance changed from the inside out right before their eyes, sunlight poured from His face and His clothes were filled with light". As I read this, the word that came to me was intimacy, Jesus had gone to great lengths to be alone with them ( there were always people around him) none of the other disciple would see Him like they did and there was more, Moses and Elijah was there also, can you imagine the awesomeness of that moment?
Thursday, July 10, 2008
I read the following quote by Matthew Hayden, the Aussie cricketer who has on more occasion taken England apart.
“I think it’s very challenging to live as a Christian in terms of modern-day society. I think it’s very difficult as a young adult and I think I really struggled with that over a long period of time.
“But I guess it’s in that struggle that I find the most benefit from it, and I guess Christ all those years ago was saying exactly the same thing. While I struggle with faith and how it’s presented, I understand that it’s just a great part of my life, which in all sorts of scenarios gives me great guidance."
Jesus never promised an easy life he just promised an abundant life. Struggles are part of that life. If everything always comes easy you never appreciate what you have. If you struggle to get something you appreciate it all the more.
Whatever you are finding confusing and difficult at the moment. Your faith, a relationship, finance, maybe just maybe you should not give up, take it to God and struggle a little more. You just don't know what is on the other side.
By guest blogger - Sue Ward
Isn’t hindsight a wonderful thing? You can look back and see all the mistakes that came out of your mouth before you took your foot out of it!
I wonder if the disciples felt like that when they told Jesus that the Pharisees were ‘offended’ by his teaching v.12. It seems that Jesus was a bit exasperated with them from the following verses v.13-16
From where we look on today we would say – “of course they were offended, that was His plan – to upset the status quo and challenge the way they thought and the reason for their thinking.”
They were in a mindset that wouldn’t see beyond ‘this is the way we have always done it’. They criticised the way people dressed and lived, the things they ate and who they ate with, did they wash their hands before a meal etc., etc. – but it had no foundation in Scripture and God was a long way away from being involved in influencing them.
What about you and me – are we so bogged down with our own thinking that we can’t see how entrenched we have become, nor how far from God’s influence we have strayed? And – do we speak before we think too often, having to consider ‘I wish I hadn’t said that’, maybe having to work on ‘damage limitation’ to reduce the effects of what we have said on other people.
The best thing is that we are ‘in process’ and have the opportunity to change – keep running your race!
God, please make us more like Jesus, continually challenge us as we determine to make changes in our lives.
Wednesday, July 09, 2008
I sent this article to the guys and girls who run Easy Worship on a Sunday projecting the song words etc for us to follow along.
Roy sent me back the following:
A good model for effective pro presenting as well as life!
- Realise importance of our involvement/impact - ministry
- Learn and apply
- Check/Review our work
- Consider importance of Timing
- Be open to suggestion
- Strive for excellence
- Be creative in ways to improve
MKCC recently took part in worldwide church initiative - One Prayer. Over 1500 churches all around the world joined together to discuss the question: If you had one prayer you could pray for the church what would it be. As part of that initiative we contributed towards a missions initiative to plant churches in: India, China, Cambodia and Sudan.
As a church we decided not to ask our members to give more. So many of them are already giving so much to our own missions projects and to our building fund. We made the decision to give away our weeks tithes and offerings.
Because of the monthly giving trends at our church the week chosen I anticipated about £4 -5000 for One Prayer. The people of MKCC surpassed that and gave £8500 that week. With my role in the church of looking at budgets I thought I was looking at a reasonable size hole in our finances for June.
Well I have just had the figures for June giving. Excluding any time 2 build giving it is the largest month giving we have ever had at MKCC. In fact if you take out the £8500 the monthly tithes and offerings for June would still be well above the average.
Thank you to all the people that attend MKCC and are so faithful to Jesus and continually surprise me.
Matthew 13 & 14
Jesus loved a good story. We have come to know them as parables. He told simple everyday stories very often with a twist that got across His message in a simple, straightforward and memorable way.
His stories included: The crazy shepherd that left his flock of sheep to look for one lost sheep, one about a guy whose massive debt of millions was written off at the same time as he was taking somebody through the courts for a tenner. My favourite is about the lovesick dad who gets to throw a party for a long lost son. The list goes on.
This method of teaching does not appear to be the norm for the day because his followers ask him why he always talks in stories. I love his answer in v 13 in the message translation.
"That’s why I tell stories: to create readiness, to nudge the people toward receptive insight."
Now I have been "poked" or even "super poked" on facebook but Jesus told stories to nudge people who were far from God closer to Him.
Make that your mission today gently nudge someone closer to God.
Tuesday, July 08, 2008
Looking back now I am so glad that my parents were Christians. I have always gone to church. I may not have always enjoyed it but i have always gone. Unfortunately there seemed to be lots of rules to being a Christian and many of them revolved around what you did on Sundays.
You were not allowed to play out, watch TV, buy things on a Sunday. You could go for a walk but not a bike ride. You could walk along the beach but you couldn't go for a swim. The list went on.
I remember vividly being on holiday in Mussleburgh. My brother and I were allowed to walk by ourselves from church to the house where we were having lunch. On the way back we decided that we could buy an ice cream, eat it before we arrived at the house and our parents would be non the wiser.
There is a verse in the Bible that says "Be sure your sin will find you out". As we emerged from the shop, ice cream in hand our parents car went past. Caught red handed. The ice cream did not taste too good as we headed towards our lunch appointment with our parents.
In v7 Jesus says - "I prefer a flexible heart to an inflexible ritual’
The rules were there out of wanting to please God but God is more interested in a surrendered and obedient heart than a list of rules.
Monday, July 07, 2008
Feeling tired, burnt out, betrayed and belittled? John the Baptist experienced it all. He prepared the way for Israel to receive their Messiah and when it was time for Jesus to bail him, He doesn’t. How disillusioning!
Imprisoned and humiliated. No visits from Jesus. No prayer for deliverance. No miracle. No angelic intervention. Not even the slightest sign of concern.
‘Is this what I signed up for? Where’s Jesus (God) when I need Him the most? Surely if He can do all these miracles, He can get me out of this dump.’ Silence. Dead silence.
In frustration John sends the message, ‘Are you the Coming One, or do we look for another?’ I think what John meant was, ‘Hey Jesus, if you can’t help me, I might as well look for another’. Does that sound familiar?
Question: If Jesus wouldn’t help, who else will help?
Philip Yancey in Reaching for the Invisible God says, ‘The only thing more difficult to having a relationship with an invisible God is having no such relationship’.
Jesus’ reply to John’s tirade is, ‘Blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.’ Annoying, bizarre or even more disillusioning? Hmmmmh!
Sunday, July 06, 2008
At first glace the company that Jesus kept would not be what we would expect for a religious leader. It would seem that as we read about Jesus life he was at odds with the religious establishment. They always seemed to be around but were their more to catch out or trip up that to listen to his teaching.
(As an aside I am sorry to say that around church there are always some of these types of people. They know God, know his word but seem to be happy to be around to pick fault in things. I don't understand it. They don't help to build anything, they are not usually involved in anything, they just sit on the sidelines and snipe. I really feel that this is a sad existence.)
In v 10 we read that lots of "disreputable characters" hung out with Jesus. Jesus got stick for this as well. His answer:
v12 Jesus, overhearing, shot back, “Who needs a doctor: the healthy or the sick?
Jesus knew his mission to go after the people that did not know him. He wasn't wrapped up in just speaking to those who already knew him he went after the sick.
Saturday, July 05, 2008
Matthew 7 & 8
Today in most of the world access to teaching and preaching is easier than it has ever been. With the click of a mouse you can download teaching from preachers around the world. A preacher can step out of a pulpit in Australia and moments later you can have it in your iPod to listen to or even watch on video on your home TV. (Thanks to Apple TV)
However these few chapters we have been reading over the last few days we read a sermon from Jesus as he sat on a mountain side and spoke to the crowds following him. It would only take a few minutes to read in one sitting but it contains some incredible teaching about the Christian life.
At the end of Ch 7 we read: "When Jesus had finished saying these things, the crowds were amazed at his teaching, because he taught as one who had authority, and not as their teachers of the law."
As a preacher this really got under my skin. The crowds were used to hearing the local teachers of the day but their words were not finding a home in their hearts. Jesus words were different. they impacted people in a great way they carried authority.
When sharing the message of Jesus, in the pulpit or in the office, we need to remember its our intimacy with Jesus that gives authority rather than our intelligence and wise words.
Friday, July 04, 2008
One of the songs on the new Hillsong album, This is our God is Healer Sung by Mike Guglielmucci. Mike was diagnosed with a blood disease in 2006. Later the diagnosis changed to cancer which was terminal. Mike sings his song on this album. Look at the story first then the performance afterwards and pray for Mike.
Today, 4th July, marks the anniversary of Americas Independence Day, no not its liberation from invading alien forces by Will Smith and company, but its declaring Independence from the Kingdom of Great Britain.
18 years ago it was probably the last place I wanted to go. Then my wife visited with her family and then she brought me along the following year though still unconvinced. There began my love of things American.
Inspired by my friend, Roger Blackmore a missionary from the home country sent to help them out, I have put together my to ten things I love about America.
10. Cheap shopping (compared to UK)
9. Sea World Orlando
8. Cracker Barrel
7. Romanos Macaroni Grill
6. Krispy Cream Donuts
5. Panera Bread
4. New York Strip Steak
3. Macaroni Salad
I have also met some incredible people from some brilliant churches who are making a difference in the Kingdom. In order that I have visited them:
church at the movies, Discovery Church, Saddleback Church, Willow Creek Church, Granger Community Church, NewSpring, Elevation and Revolution Church (well I didn't actually visit their service but met all the staff and they are a crazy bunch)
Happy Independence Day!
Saw this over at AV Club and thought it was brilliant so had to share with you. May the force be with you!
One thing Jesus disliked more than anything was hypocrisy. So called Spiritual people looking the part having all the right words and actions to feign spirituality but the reality of the heart behind it is sadly lacking.
Very often we can fool other people, even the people closest to us but, there are two people we can not fool, one God and two ourselves. We know the condition of our heart better than anyone. Jesus during his teaching, what has become known as the Sermon on the mount, tackled this issue head on by talking about prayer ( v5 - 15) and fasting (v16 - 18).
He highlights the issue by talking about the 2 core spiritual practices which are supposed to be all about us as individuals and God. Jesus in his instructions on prayer and fasting would seem to suggest that we do it in stealth (secret v 6). Not seen by anyone else but us and God. (Please don't get me wrong clearly the bible teaches there is a place for public prayer and joining with other people to pray)
I believe talking to God and giving something up to talk to God more is I predominately to change us and bring us more in line with God and his will, than us presenting a shopping list. This work is a work of the heart and we need to get alone with God and let him do some open heart surgery.
Thursday, July 03, 2008
Steve Adkins, Billy Ogunsola and myself represented MKCC at the Council Development Control Committee tonight at the council chambers where our planning application for our new building was discussed.
We are overjoyed to inform you that our planning application has been approved by the committee.
The legal paperwork should be completed by the 23rd July but we now have all we need to proceed with our new building.
If everything goes to plan our nursery renovations should start in September and be completed by the end of the year ready for a starting the new building very early in 2009.
Thanks so much for praying. God has great things in store for us.
This evening there is a planning committee meeting to discuss our proposed new church hall and facilities. It seems like we have been working towards this for years (Actually we have).
At the end of last year we were turned down. Since then we have put a lot of work in addressing the committee's concerns. The application goes to the committee tonight supported by the planning department, unopposed from the local parish council and with 4 letters of objections from local residents.
So tonight we are heading for the council chambers to see how things turn out. Please pray for us today. Our vision is much bigger than a building but a go on this would certainly empower us.
Here we read Jesus encounter with the Devil. We are told that Jesus told that a test was coming by the Spirit. The Devil was ready for it. He had been preparing for it for at least 30 years since God announced the arrival of his Son Jesus.
v2 Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. (Mess)
Jesus too spent a time preparing for the confrontation - he fasted for 40 days and nights.
Very often we think of fasting to get something to bend God's arm. If we fast then God will see we are serious. Roger Blackmore, my Pastor when I was growing up, posted something about this just the other week. Read it here.
What I do know is that Jesus fasted to get himself ready to face direct temptation from the Devil himself. We all face temptation every day. Temptation to lie, temptation to gossip, temptation to look at pornography, temptation steal, temptation to cheat, temptation to be selfish, the list goes on.
Maybe we can take an example from Jesus today. Get prepared miss a meal, miss a TV programme, miss shopping, give something up today and spend that time with Jesus talking to him about the temptation you know you are going to face, don't face it unprepared.
Wednesday, July 02, 2008
This past weekend we had the privilage of Pastor Steven Furtick of Elevation church preach for us at MKCC.
Elevation's worship leader Wade Joyce and his wife gave birth to twins 3 months prematurely on June 18th.
The girls are seriously ill please pray or them now. You can find out more about how to pray here.
John the Baptist message was plain and simple - Change. It is summed up in v11 - Turn your old life in for a kingdom Life.
Today the race is on to be the next American President and so far Barack Obama has campaigned on one word - Change. Suggesting that the old way of politics is tired outdated and needs change. Call me cynical but some how I suspect that it will be politics as usual with very little changed apart from rhetoric.
John encountered people like that they were the religious leaders of the day. They did things because it was the vogue thing to do and would give them popularity with people. John had a word for them - snakes!
He called for real radical life change. On our own almost impossible but John was announcing the arrival of a person who would give us the power to change - God's son Jesus.
v11 - The main character in this drama—compared to him I’m a mere stagehand—will ignite the kingdom life within you, a fire within you, the Holy Spirit within you, changing you from the inside out.
Remember you do not have to change in your own limited strength but with Jesus help.
Tuesday, July 01, 2008
10 qualities of a good leader:
- Decisive decision making
- Taking risks
- Motivating others
- Team builder
- Self Knowledge
- Good communicator
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible, no matter whether it is on a section gang, a football field, in an army, or in an office.”- Dwight D. Eisenhower
We are told that how you start something is important. I remember my old English school teacher telling us if you don't catch a readers attention in the opening paragraph, it very unlikely that they will read your story.
On the face of it God opens up the story of Jesus in a very boring way - a list of names, wow. I can imagine Matthew talking to God as he wrote under His inspiration. God you have got to be kidding, there has to be a better way to announce the arrival of your Son to this world than a list of relatives somehow I don't think this is going to hit the best seller list!
Clearly God knows best. Matthew was written primarily at the time to a Jewish audience. Jesus was the Messiah the fulfillment of many Jewish Old Testament prophesies. To show his readers that Jesus came from the line of Abraham and the Royal line of David was critical for them.
But Jesus ancestry was not just a long line of royalty, it is interesting to note in v5 that Rahab a notorious prostitute is listed.
Ultimately God loves people and people are important to Him so very often through scripture you will find lists of names. Its great to know that God knows your name.