One of the benefits of having your dad visit for the weekend is that you have a Sunday roast waiting for you when you get home. After being at church for over 6 hours and 3 services you are not usually in the mood for cooking so it made a great change.
I have not got all the numbers through yet but I think we had 755 people attend church and kids church today. The most we have ever had outside Christmas.
David did a great job today creating some background videos of our church building history and scenes from MK.
We had some difficulties with the balance of the sound today which resulted in the overall noise level being to high. (We have some ideas to sort that out) That said the musicians put together a great arrangement of songs which really communicated the overall message of "Focusing on our mission - our city".
We sang Blutree song Standing out - brilliant. We also sang a Hillsong piece. Can't remember the title at the moment (Just been reminded: The Time has come) but one line has stuck with me since it talks about being caught in God's mercy fallout! - Incredible thought.
But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions–it is by grace you have been saved. Eph 2 v 4
We baptised 6 people today - that never gets old!
When I left John was just starting a Dedication service for families with new babies and then Base (Young people) will hit the centre. All great stuff.
On days like today I find it hard to believe I get to do this for a living. Thanks God!
Sunday, September 28, 2008
One of the benefits of having your dad visit for the weekend is that you have a Sunday roast waiting for you when you get home. After being at church for over 6 hours and 3 services you are not usually in the mood for cooking so it made a great change.
Saturday, September 27, 2008
We don't like failure. I don't like failure. Failure is bad. Read this over at deadly viper which may give a different perspective:
J.K. Rowling, author of the Harry Potter series, in a speech given at Harvard recalling her days when she was a divorced, single Mom, almost homeless, and feeling like a total failure said:
“So why do I talk about the benefits of failure? Simply because failure meant a stripping away of the inessential. I stopped pretending to myself that I was anything other than what I was, and began to direct all my energy into finishing the only work that mattered to me.
Had I really succeeded at anything else, I might never have found the determination to succeed in the one arena I believed I truly belonged. I was set free, because my greatest fear had already been realised, and I was still alive, and I still had a daughter whom I adored, and I had an old typewriter and a big idea. And so rock bottom became the solid foundation on which I rebuilt my life.”
The fear of failure makes us risk adverse and we do nothing. Reminds me of a story Jesus told here.
I heard someone say once, "What would you do if you knew you could not fail?" Maybe its time to do it. You may fail but you will discover a new perspective on the other side of failure.
1 Chronicles 10 v 14 "Because he didn’t go to God for help, God took his life and turned the kingdom over to David son of Jesse. King David"
Saul was chosen as king by the nation partly because of how he looked. They looked at this guy and thought he was the best man for the job. Here we read that Saul's reign as king comes to a tragic end. He and his possible heir died all in one day.
A frustrating end for the peoples champion. He had the look, the ability, the heart of his followers but it ended in disaster. Why?
Because he chose to ignore the most important help that was on offer. Help from God.
It doesn't matter how talented we are, how hard we work, whatever we are trying to build in life, a church, a marriage, a family, a career, the most important thing we can do is to tap into the Divine help that is on offer.
God chose to give the kingdom to a guy who was the opposite to Saul. David was the youngest in his family, overlooked by his dad, nothing from the outside suggested that he was the man. But the Bible records one other are where he was different to Saul - he was a man after God's heart.
Friday, September 26, 2008
This brought a smile to my face as I sip my starbucks:
Thursday, September 25, 2008
Came across this testimony by Mike Hunt fron NewSpring Church who has been diagnosed with cancer. He says:
"God could take away this cancer any time he wanted too. But if he doesen't I am ok with that. I'm trusting that whatever God has instore for my life it will be perfect."
Now that is faith!
Mike Hunt Testimony from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.
Wednesday, September 24, 2008
I have often prayed for a miracle. The vast majority of times it has not happened. I cherish the odd occasions that something miraculous has happened. When nothing has happened my emotions have ranged from disappointed to angry (yes with God).
I saw this quote over at deadly viper quoting Nick Vujici that i wrote about here.
“Sometimes you don’t get the miracle you are praying for and if you don’t, then you become the miracle for someone else.” He went on to talk of a 3 year old boy he met with no arms and no legs and how he and his family have been able to encourage them and support them.
I agree with Deadly Viper, maybe we should all focus a little more on being the miracle than getting a miracle. Who can you be a miracle for today?
This last weekend was so memorable for me. It feels like I have been working on our building development project here at MKCC for a life time. Through all sorts of ups and downs, changing architect, scrapping our original idea, difficulty with planning it certainly has been an interesting journey.
On Sunday we broke ground on the first phase of our facilities development. After each service we all went outside and prayed together to mark the start of building work.
(Audio not great on the video sorry)
Breaking Ground on our Refurbishment from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
“Pressure is nothing more than the shadow of great opportunity.” - Michael Johnson
Honestly I have been feeling the pressure a little in the last few weeks. Virtually no down time and a constant line of deadlines to meet and varied projects to juggle and a growing task list has got to me.
I even missed church on Sunday with a migraine.
So initially on reading the above quote I felt like screwing it up and sticking it in the bin. On second thoughts I don't want a life with no opportunity that would be incredibly boring!
The bigger the opportunity the bigger the shadow of pressure.
Need to remember this.
When you arrive at the book of Chronicles in your daily readings you begin to wish that humans had lost the ability to procreate. Generation after generation then going back over them for no apparent reason. Why do you want me to read this God?
However that aside I read today in 1 Chronicles 6 about the descendents of Levi. I find them interesting because like their ancestor they were known as a bit hot headed. Well maybe a more polite way of putting it was passionate or zealous.
After an argument with his Dad this was said of him: "Cursed is their zealousness for it is brazen and their wrath for it is hard. I will separate them and scatter them throughout Israel" (Genesis 49:6-7).
But a few generations later Moses said this of the Levites: "Your righteous men...keeper of Your word and covenant; He shall teach Your judgment in Jacob and Your Torah in Israel...Blessed of God is his valour and his actions are pleasing..." (Deuteronomy 33:8-11).
The Levites were able to apply their physical and spiritual strength to the fulfilment of God's will and gain the role of God's trusted servants as the honour guard, gatekeepers and musicians of the Temple
I am glad God uses passionate, zealous, loyal and sometimes hot headed people.
Monday, September 22, 2008
The 5th October sees a brand new 2 week series at MKCC - Hope.
Where can we turn to when life hurts the most?
On the 5th we will welcome a visiting speaker Ron Heagy. Ron broke his neck the day before his 18th birthday. He did not however give up. He will be sharing his remarkable story at our Sunday services.
Ron Heagy - video powered by Metacafe
The following week Louie Giglio will be joining us via video to share an incredible story - The Anchor of Hope.
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Tonight we hosted a Partners Evening at MKCC. It was a great evening looking back at the last year hearing how God has helped us. Here are a couple of videos we used.
Partners Evening Introduction from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Partners Evening Missions from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Thursday, September 18, 2008
Our refurbishment programme kicks in this weekend so Kidz Church will be relocated from Sunday onwards. Nicola put together a short video to help parents understand the changes.
Kidz Church Changes from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 7:31 pm
Wednesday, September 17, 2008
Continuing my daily devotions, reading the last couple of Chapters in Kings today was not an inspiring read. We see the culmination of decade upon decade of God's people ignoring his words.
v 2 Through the preaching of his servants and prophets, God had said he would do this, and now he was doing it.
God had spoken to his chosen people time and time again. Sometimes they would listen and make some short term changes but eventually they seemed to forget the what God had said to them and revert to type. Now they experienced God's judgement.
Its a phrase that I here people throwing around allot nowadays. We are told that our country is under God's judgement because of this or that, AID'S was called God's judgement on homosexuals. Sometimes I think we Christians seem to all to ready to dispense God's judgement on others.
Its interesting to note that God's judgement here was on his people for continually not listening to him. So I think to myself soberly today what has God taken the time to tell me many times and in may different ways that I am still stubbornly ignoring?
Tuesday, September 16, 2008
Last May we had the privilege of hosting Sanctus Real at the Ultimate Event. They are really great guys focused on Jesus. Their last album came out of some difficult circumstances that various members of the band crashed up against.
One of the songs that emerged out of this time was "Whatever you're doing". I was reminded of it today over at What leadership demands. It really confirmed what God is saying to me at this moment. One verse says:
"Whatever you’re doing inside of me
It feels like chaos but now I can see
This something bigger than me
Larger than life something heavenly
I Kings 23
Josiah as King of Judah heard the word of God for the first time when the top religious leaders found the book of Gods instructions. Yes the priests were in such a mess that they had lost God's word for years.
At the age of 26 Josiah repented on the spot and set about cleaning house. The list of things he had to do shows the extent of how far God's people had wandered from Him. Josiah shows great qualities of leadership:
* He admitted he was wrong
* He went to God
* He consulted with others who were hearing from God
* He got the main players on board
* He was diligent in application
This was his epitaph: 1 Kings 23 v 25 - There was no king to compare with Josiah—neither before nor after—a king who turned in total and repentant obedience to God, heart and mind and strength, following the instructions revealed to and written by Moses. The world would never again see a king like Josiah.
Monday, September 15, 2008
I read today that Ray Boltz a well known Contemporary Christian Artist from the 70's and 80's who has "come out". Read about it here.
This tends to be a hot issue with people taking wildly opposing views. Much of the rhetoric I have experienced in my church life writes anyone with any association to homosexuality as hell fodder. I come from the place that we are all sinners in need of God's grace every day. But I cannot adhere to the view that homosexuality is not a sin.
It would appear that Ray Boltz is comfortable to accept and embrace his homosexuality alongside his Christian faith. I just cannot quite go along with that.
However I would encourage you to watch a video of David talking about his journey and struggles here. I thought it was amazing.
NOTE: I know even mentioning this will attract wildly differing reactions. Please remember that this blog is personal to me and does not necessarily reflect the views of MKCC or its leadership.
I read in my daily devotions yesterday about the life of King Hezekiah.
Although his grandfather and father did not lead Judah well Hezekiah's reign as monarch started out well. He reopened the temple and reinstated religious celebrations. He pulled the nations focus back onto God. At the peak of his power he contracted a disease which was to result in his death. God choose to grant him a 15 year extension to his life. 15 Years to make a difference for God. 15 years to say thank you for healing him for giving him life.
What did he choose to do. He choose to immediately form an alliance with the enemy in direct contradiction to what God had told him. God's word to him through Isaiah was to trust in God and everything would be OK. Instead of walking in FAITH he chose his own works. He would fix the security of his nation by his own efforts so he invited the future invaders into his confidence.
He also had a son during this time that succeeded him on his throne who ended up being nothing short of a disaster.
All in all it would he made a hash of his extra gift from God. We have been given a brand new life in Jesus. We have an awesome responsibility to do something with this incredible gift.
Sunday, September 14, 2008
- Great start to our new In Focus series.
- The band was great again this week.
- My highlight was a new song for us - Undivided by Joye Wade of Elevation church. Read the lyrics here. Listen to it here. Buy and download here. You may also want to pray for Joye and his wife and twin babies who are facing difficult times.
- We also sang a great old Hymn - I surrender all. Great line in it- Oh the joy of FULL salvation. Aren't you glad that God does not do things in half measure.
- Mark preached on getting our lives into focus.
- Loved it when he told us that he walked into the Ladies changing room at a spa because he was not wearing his glasses.
- Loved his comment on Ephesians 1 v 11 - God had his eye on you babe before you knew it. If you were at MKCC toady what was your highlight or take away?
- For some reason crowd a bit low today!?
- Remember to register for Cap Money Management Course and or Made For Ministry.
- Watched the Grand Prix
- Went for coffee with Nicola while kids were at Base
- Now watching Green Bay v Detroit
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I am really looking forward to church tomorrow. We have some great things planned for the service. The worship team are introducing a brand new song and will be doing a special presentation.
Mark will be launching a brand new series - In Focus. Looking the first week at Bringing focus to your life. Do not miss it make sure you get to one of our services.
Take a look at our new intro video below.
In Focus Intro from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Friday, September 12, 2008
A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to have a breakfast meeting with Phil Wall a great leadership coach and speaker. Amongst many interesting and challenging things he mentioned something about a cause v's consumerism. Stupidly I did not write it down at the time so I asked him in an email to clarify it for me. Here was his reply:
"My point is that one of the greatest gifts we can give our kids is a cause beyond consumerism. In a capitalist system like ours, the only real vision we put out in front of kids is to be a part of the consumption party. I think this is destructive to their spirits, minimizes their development & creative expression, rapes the planet and falls far short of what it means to be a citizen of the Kingdom."
This is a disease that afflicts every area of our lives and it has even drifted into our Church lives. People now shop for a church. I understand that if they are looking for a place that fits their style all churches do not fit all people. But if it is just a check list of things that I want in a church and if it hits all the right spots then I will give it the opportunity to meet my needs, then we have missed the point.
Church exists not for the Christians but for those yet to become Christians. That's the cause and all that it requires of you is - everything.
Nicola and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary on Wednesday. We had a quiet day off together. After a visit to the shops and lunch in our favourite restaurant - Robinsons we dug out some old pictures and watched a very grainy VHS video of our wedding.
Its amazing how much things have changed in 20 years. It was funny to see many of our friends who we still hang out with today and ourselves. I certainly have gained a FEW pounds and lost a little hair and Nicola reckons she looks younger now than she did then. (Difficult I would have though she was 19 then and 39 now)
Read this quote: “Love is blind – marriage is the eye-opener.”
I am positive that we really didn't know back then what we were getting into and many other people thought Nicola was making a big mistake. (Even the Rev Ridley suggested that she think again - thanks George!) Well 20 years later I am glad she made the mistake and opened my eyes to something great.
What have I learned? Lots but here are a couple:
Its much better to share life with someone else than to do it alone.
Doing life together is not always easy but the rewards are incredible.
Thursday, September 11, 2008
This Sunday at MKCC we are starting a brand new series - In Focus.
All sorts of things compete for our attention and say focus on me. Some of them good some of them bad. Isn’t it amazing when we focus on something we can tune out to everything else. It happens with me often I can easily get engrossed in a book or a football match. My family are talking to me but I do not hear them (Or choose not too). My focus has made other things fade away.
Yesterday I was reminded of an old hymn:
Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
Look full in his wonderful face.
And the things of earth will grow strangely dim,
In the light of his glory and grace.
Struggling with busyness, decisions, worries then its a good thing to focus on Jesus. When we get the main thing, the main thing we are on the right track.
He who gives attention to the word will find good, and blessed is he who trusts in the Lord. - Proverbs 16:20
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
Rick Warren said "Success is knowing what God made me to do and doing it."
God has a plan and a purpose for every believer. On Sunday 21st September we are starting course called Made for Ministry. Listen to 2 people who have found what God wants them to do and join us at MKCC for the course. Register here.
Made for Ministry Course from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Tuesday, September 09, 2008
This past weekend we held an International Missions Weekend at MKCC. It was great to hear what is happening through our partners in different parts of the world.
George showed a powerpoint presentation during his preach called "Something Bothering You?" Unfortunately during the first 2 services we had some issues with it. We finally got it to work properly in our 3rd Service.
So take another look and act!
Something Bothering You? from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 6:40 pm
We live in the INSTANT society. Waiting for anything is now a thing of the past.
INSTANT Credit allows us to buy now pay later. Reality TV shows make INSTANT celebrities. Lotteries make INSTANT millionaires. MSN give us INSTANT messaging. Nescafe gives us INSTANT Coffee (Although its starbucks for me) Microwaves give us INSTANT meals and our remote controls give us INSTANT entertainment.
Its good to remember that when we pray we get and INSTANT answer. Yes, No or Later.
We may not always like the answer especially when it is LATER that means that we have to WAIT.
I am not sure if all the INSTANT stuff I have listed is very good for us and I am reminded of the movie "Bruce Almighty" where Bruce just sets his computer to answer yes to all prayers. Disaster ensued.
Maybe if God wants us to WAIT it isn't such a bad thing.
Sunday, September 07, 2008
- Busy day looks like people coming back of holiday since kids went back to school so number on Sunday climbing up again.
- Had a some friends from India, Albania, Uganda, Kenya and Morocco with us today. Great to hear all they are doing. If you were at the service and want to hear more about the people go here or here.
- Frustrated with powerpoint. First service embedded music didn't play. Second service transition time reset on all slides so they went through too fast. Thankfully worked OK by 3rd service.
- Quite a few new visitors particularly lots of new kids in Kidz Church.
- All the children moved up a year in class so lots of excitement.
- Got home and crashed out on couch, woke up in time to go out for meal with our visitors and friends.
- Nice meal at the time but now feeling a bit queasy.
- Played the new favourite Ritchie game - UNO - Very pleased had to pick up about 30 cards but still won!
- Now watching my team Dallas Cowboys in the first game of the NFL season.
- Looking forward to having staff breakfast with our friend Andrew Shearman tomorrow.
Next Sunday we start a brand new teaching series at MKCC - In Focus.
When Christ steps into our world – everything changes. The truth about God, a reason for living and our perspective of eternity becomes ‘In Focus’.
Join with us throughout September and bring:
- Focus to your life
- Focus to your relationships
- Focus to your mission
In Focus Promo from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Saturday, September 06, 2008
I am one of those people who actually like politics, well I do find it fascinating. I enjoy reading about politicians. I enjoy staying up during the night at election time watching the results come in. And although I do not quite understand completely American politics I am finding the Obama - McCain battle intriguing.
I am going to show me colours (forgive me) but I celebrated in the early hours when Michael Portilo lost to an unknown a few years ago. We got rid of the Tories and a bright new day had dawned or so we thought. Only to find out that this new lot were no better than the previous lot.
Maybe if we had Christians in power? Well John Calvin's rule in Geneva is nothing to shout about.
But in the end can politics make a difference? Imagine for instance if we had the perfect line up of government both national and local. Everyone elected to the best position for them, everyone of them full of integrity etc etc. Would that solve things and give us the perfect system.
John Ortberg asks the question this way:
- Would the hearts of the parents be turned toward their children?
- Would all marriages be models of faithful love?
- Would greed and pride be legislated out of existence?
- Would assistant pastors find senior pastors to be models of harmony and delight?
- Would human beings now at last be able to master our impulses around sexuality, and anger, and narcissism?
- Would you finally become the woman or man you know you ought to be?
Friday, September 05, 2008
Saw this over at ragamuffinsoul. One line says that "Jesus is like a mounty he always gets his man" another says that "He loves me when I write a silly song". I say its a good thing!
Not one we will be hearing at MKCC I trust.
Jesus is my friend by "Sonseed" from Peleg Top on Vimeo.
I have mentioned this before on my blog. I have never met Mike but I have had the privilege of meeting his father Danny. A number of years ago I had the opportunity to here him and some of his team teach at a conference in Bedworth. He and his team really impacted my life then.
They had dealt with some very difficult issues already and seen someone restored to ministry after an affair. (Obviously it was a long a difficult process) To be honest I had never heard this happening within a church before but under Danny's leadership they worked it through to an incredible conclusion of wholeness.
As I watch the video I hurt for Danny and I pray as much for him his wife and family at this time.
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Last night I took a little time out to watch some no brain TV. First day back after holiday I needed it my brain was fried. So I settled down to watch a couple of programmes I had Sky+'d. Dragons Den and X Factor. (I Know I am sad but sometime you just got to do it)
What struck me watching the 2 shows back to back was people have huge blind spots and I mean huge.
You just know that this guy or girl before they even open their mouth is going to murder a great song. Yet they are absolutely convinced that they are the next great superstar. I don't understand it but they really believe it and the look of incredulity on their face when the answer is no is a sight to behold.
Then we switch to a group of people that should be a little more clued up. Inventors and business people looking for £10,000's of investment. You realise they are barking mad the 5 experts tell them that their idea is not the best thing since sliced bread but their is no convincing them.
Otherwise sane (well almost) people just don't see the glaringly obvious.
Christians are not immune from this disease. People have told me all sorts of things: God has called me to preach, then you listen to them and think what was God thinking. I feel called to lead worship, and your thinking with that voice there will be no one left in the church to lead. I’m going to join the welcome team but a smile is as foreign to their face as the pope at a Rangers game.
Made me think about my blind spots and who I should be listening to and taking note of that I am not.
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
What holiday. Did I really have a week off. It certainly does not feel like that today. An in tray full of post and in box with masses of Email. (Few of which are in any way important)
Now the challenge is on. I had a great time away refreshing my batteries, listening to God, reading a good couple of books and listening to numerous podcasts. It all sounds straight forward away from the office and people. I need to do this. I need to change that. Things will be different when I get home. But change is hard and then life and work rushes into your world. So will I change?
So I am writing these few things as a reminder to some of the simple things I want to change.
- I need to get my head out of church and church things and into the big bad world a little more.
- I need to do things which will help me enjoy the journey in church leadership a little more.
- I need to enjoy my family a little more.
- I need to celebrate successes a little more and not zero in on the rest as much.
Here is a couple of photos to remind me of a great holiday: