It was great to have Andrew Shearman with us today. He did a great job in continuing our series "When Love Comes to Town" speaking on the subject of grace.
He mentioned the Hymn The Love of God Words by Frederick Lehman. Here is the full version:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can ever tell;
It goes beyond the highest star,
And reaches to the lowest hell;
The guilty pair, bowed down with care,
God gave His Son to win;
His erring child He reconciled,
And pardoned from his sin.
O love of God, how rich and pure!
How measureless and strong!
It shall forevermore endure
The saints’ and angels’ song.
When years of time shall pass away,
And earthly thrones and kingdoms fall,
When men, who here refuse to pray,
On rocks and hills and mountains call,
God’s love so sure, shall still endure,
All measureless and strong;
Redeeming grace to Adam’s race—
The saints’ and angels’ song.
Could we with ink the ocean fill,
And were the skies of parchment made,
Were every stalk on earth a quill,
And every man a scribe by trade,
To write the love of God above,
Would drain the ocean dry.
Nor could the scroll contain the whole,
Though stretched from sky to sky.
It was great to see all the food coming in for the Food Bank Restock day and all 50 Shopping lists for hampers went from the Christmas tree. So I am looking forward to seeing them all come in on the 14th December.
We also launched our Christmas Love Gift offering. We gave everyone who attended today and envelope with anything from £5 - £100 and asked everyone to give it away to a good cause or a person or family in need this Christmas time. Remember if you have given away one of the gifts let us know what you did by writing it here.
Sunday, November 30, 2008
It was great to have Andrew Shearman with us today. He did a great job in continuing our series "When Love Comes to Town" speaking on the subject of grace.
Saturday, November 29, 2008
So often we religious people walk amid the beauty and bounty of nature and we talk nonstop. We miss the panorama of color and sound and smell.
Nature's lessons are lost and the opportunity to be wrapped in silent wonder before the God of creation passes. We fail to be stretched by the magnificence of the world saturated with grace.
We must rediscover the gospel of grace and the world of grace.
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel chapter five
It's so easy to read a story in the Bible and gloss over it. Sometimes you need to just pause and feel the situation. Put yourself in the middle of it. Only then do you understand the courage shown by Esther in this perilous situation.
This was a life and death moment. They just don't happen every day. Esther was probably trying to get by. Ripped away from her family, forced into a relationship, living in fear of her life if she did not please the king, trying to hide her background gives some context to the position of "Queen".
Things were far from ideal. Where was God in this? Then God came calling not with deliverance but a further challenge. It was time to up the ante. She had to convince the King that his closest advisor was up to know good and it could easily cost her her life. What if God did not step in? It didn't seem like he had helped her till now.
But Esther showed a spirituality and a courage not seen so often. After a time of prayer and fasting she stepped up to the mark and off the ledge not knowing what would happen - that’s courage.
Friday, November 28, 2008
Remember this Sunday is Food Bank Restock Day. In line with the prevailing economic conditions our Food Bank is seeing a huge rise in clients over the last few months.
We have also partnered with other churches in the city who now run satellite distribution points from their building. This means that needy people in MK can now visit Food Bank on 6 out of 7 days of the week.
We want to ensure that no one in our city needs to go hungry this Christmas time. So bring food this Sunday. Give us a huge problem with storage. There will be a van at the park and ride at MK College to take your donations.
Remember to concentrate on these items:
- Rice pudding
- UHT Milk
- Long Life Fruit Juice
- Breakfast Cereal
- Cup a Soup
Compassion Art is the brain child of Martin Smith, Delirious?. Worship leaders from all over the world got together for one day and collaboratively wrote songs. Including Martin Smith, Matt Redman, Michael W. Smith, Steven Curtis Chapman, Darlene Zschech, Graham Kendrick, Paul Baloche, Andy Park, Israel Houghton, Stu G, Chris Tomlin and Matt Hughes.
They have now recorded them and an album has been released. All royalties and profits are going to the charity Compassion Art. W H Smiths have agreed to stock the album so get along to your local store today.
Earlier this year a Zimbabwean MP Coltart said : "I would rather lose my seat in Parliament than compromise certain principles that are fundamental to my belief system.
Coltart had beliefs and principles that we core to his political life. Even if it meant an end to that political life he was not prepared to compromise them. Sometimes it cam be good to compromise. If you are married and are not prepared to compromise you are probably going to have a few arguments. But some things go just too deep and are just too important.
In Esther 3 we read about Mordecai facing this type of challenge. He could have rationalised things. I've got a reasonable reputation with the king because of my past actions why rock the boat. God I am bowing on the outside but not in my heart. Knowing that it was going to cause problems for him which could even take his life, even under duress day after day he held to his principles.
Monday, November 24, 2008
Came across this on my Vimeo feed this week. NewSpring church used this piece of drama in their weekend series recently - Beautiful. It Illustrates Proverbs 7, read it first and then watch the video.
Based on Proverbs 7:10-23 from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.
It's important to take time to celebrate things. Too often we let things go by and do not mark them with a celebration. I think that this can be particularly true in church environment. We work hard then we work harder achievements are made then we just move on and work even harder.
Not sure why this is maybe because we don't want to take glory away from God and make it look like its about what we have done. Or maybe its because we think that church is just a place for seriousness I don't know.
But when I read the Bible God is not afraid of a party. Think it says all heaven throws a party when one person starts to follow Jesus. Jesus also tried to explain God to us by using a story of a father who threw an extravagant party for a returning delinquent son.
In Nehemiah Ch 12 we see another wild party. All sorts of music, multiple instruments, loads of singers, 2 choirs. Oh and by the way the music was LOUD. The "rafters were ringing" v 42 and they were just celebrating some walls being finished.
Lets always celebrate the goodness of God in our lives and what we see him do especially when someone who was once lost is now found.
Hey great news that means it was more than worthwhile getting out of bed at 5.30 am on a Saturday morning and driving to London.
Read Dana's post here.
Brilliant day on Sunday at MKCC. We launched our new series for the run in to Christmas - When love comes to town. This December we as a church will be demonstrating Jesus love to our community in many different ways.
The band did a great job of I still haven't found what I'm looking for.
One thing that really got under my skin when talking about the lost son was that the Father let him go. This is so not how I am as a father. I want to control and direct (with a good motive) but here in the story the father lets the son go. It must be the hardest thing to do as a father to see your child making wrong decisions knowing you can help but also knowing that they will not listen.
Jesus paint the picture of a lovesick father who never for one moment forgot about his son, continually watched out for him and eventually on welcoming home after all the mistakes he knew would happen did not say I told you so.
Here are a couple of the videos we used.
When love comes to town Bono Interview from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Lost Son from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
Saturday, November 22, 2008
Today team of us from MKCC headed down to Soho, London to be part of Lifechurch.tv Internet Campus Live Experience.
20 of us turned up at the centre at 6.30 am, loaded up a couple of mini buses and headed off down the M1. Thankfully traffic was lite and we were parked up 90 minutes later. We descended on a coffee shop and gave the barrista a bit of early morning hard work.
It was great to partner with Chris, Dana and their team in hosting the first even of this type. The Curzon Theatre was a great venue for a church. (Its set my mind going on possibilities we have here in MK) While some of set up the theatre for church others hit the streets with invitations to church and a coffee and Krispy Kreme donut.
It was great to see a few visitors come into this brand new experience. Keep praying for the guys down there.
I was so proud of the team from MK and proud to be part of a team that demonstrates Jesus love and servant attitude so well. Thanks guys and girls! A burger king in a motorway service station doesn't quite portray my thanks to you in the right way. But again thanks so much.
Friday, November 21, 2008
Do you think anyone is going to be able to drive a wedge between us and Christ’s love for us? There is no way! Not trouble, not hard times, not hatred, not hunger, not homelessness, not bullying threats, not backstabbing, not even the worst sins listed in Scripture - Romans 8 v 35 (mess)
This blew my mind apart yesterday. The first part I am cool with. Nothing that happens to me from outside circumstances can separate me from God's love. The credit crunch, repossession, redundancy, illness these are the types of things that can happen to us very often not because of anything we have done and certainly not because we have done anything wrong.
The last phrase is the big left hook though. "not even the WORST sins recorded in scripture". No this is different this is something we do. And the very worst sin listed in scripture that you carry out can not drive a wedge between you and God's love. Now that is an incredible definition of grace. That is revolutionary love.
Thursday, November 20, 2008
Saw this over at Ragamuffinsoul.com. It made me laugh and think about the series we just did at MKCC the pursuit of happiness. Note there are a couple of words in here that are not totally wholesome so if you get offended by that sort of thing please do not watch then send me an e mail complaining!
V 12 Now they Got it!
God had given this people his word through Moses but they had stopped reading it. This had gone on for so long that they were not following one of the most basic celebrations that had been introduced.
Its almost like us forgetting to celebrate Christmas or Easter. That’s how bad it had got. So when the word of God was going to be read again it turned into some sort of city wide festival. With every eye watching the great and the good on the platform to open this mysterious book that contained the very words of God. Then the man of God had to interpret and explain what the words meant into an language that they understood.
Thankfully we live in a day certainly in our part of the world that the Bible is available in our every day language. In fact I can turn on my iphone and can read the bible in 10 English versions and at least 16 foreign languages. And that’s just the ones I can download. There really is no excuse for us reading Gods word. What are you waiting for. Stop read this and click here to start a reading plan.
Wednesday, November 19, 2008
Last week we went back to Abbie's school for her awards ceremony. Academia is not her strongest point so getting an award for top marks in English & maths was always going to be difficult. However as you can see Abbie did get an award.
The Matthew Knight Award is sponsored by a mum and dad whose son died back in 1993. After he died only then did they find out many of the incredible selfless and caring acts that their son did. So they wanted to help the school recognise pupils who quietly but consistently care and assist other people and give their time volunteering for the benefit of others.
Well the school chose Abbie to receive that award. I could not have been a more proud dad. Yes I want her to do as well as she can academically but even if she had come home and said she had achieved 8 A* in her GCSE's it would not have compared with how I felt when she picked up the Matthew Knight Award.
PS. I have suggested that she volunteer to tidy up her bedroom now.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Bad selfish leadership is at the root of many problems. We see it clearly in so many countries. How many stories have we heard of power hungry leaders storing up great wealth while their country goes bankrupt, even siphoning off aid money meant for their people.
That’s exactly what happened here. Nehemiah had put in an incredible amount of effort and personal money buying back the freedom of so many of his compatriots only to find that he had freed them from one task master only to see them put into hock by their own leaders.
This is sickening where ever it happens. I heard Jim Collins say that one of the distinguishing marks of a great company over a good company was a servant-hearted leader. Their vision for the company was great than their own personal wealth.
Jesus was the ultimate servant hearted leader. Phil 2 v 6 - 10.
So it stinks when leaders in the church can sometimes seem to have a bigger vision for themselves than they have for people.
Earlier this year we participated in One Prayer with nearly 2000 churches from around the world. We heard some incredible teaching on the subject "My One Prayer for the church is ..."
Our Senior Pastor preached week one then by video we had visiting speakers for the following 3 weeks all sharing their One Prayer for the church, Craig Groeschel, Perry Noble and Steven Furtick. It was an awesome time.
Well the guys from LifeChurch.tv have just announced that they will be following it up with another series, One Prayer will take place from June 7 - 28, 2009.
The teaching theme for 2009 is, “God Is...” We’ll be exploring the attributes of God through messages like “God is Powerful,” “God is a Fortress,” “God is My Provider, ” and “God is Love.”
Registration opens early 2009. If you lead a church check it out over at One Prayer. If you are in the UK we would love to partner with you.
Monday, November 17, 2008
v 9 We countered with prayer to our God and set a round-the-clock guard against them.
You would think that everyone would be happy that things were beginning to look better for the inhabitants of Jerusalem. But no it didn't take long for the opposition to start. Sanballett was one of the main ringleaders himself a Jewish man. Isn't it frustrating that the first opposition should come from someone who should have been on the same side.
Nothing much has changed in church history. So often opposition comes from sources you would not expect. Its amazing how often they surface when things seem to be starting to happen in church. Honestly it frustrates the pants off me. I don't know if it is the British disease of cynicism that pollutes the church or if it is a purely church disease. But why oh why do we feel the need to pull the church down the road down because they don't do it the same way or even criticise the church we attend because its not the way that we like it. Lets celebrate with each other because we are all on the same side and share in each other success.
So God spoke to me today. I need to have Nehemiah's reaction to this not my carnal reaction. Its time to go back to God and talk to him about it.
Over the last week we have been making some changes to our meeting structure between my team at MKCC. Every day we meet first thing at 9 am for just 5 minutes to share with each other the top priority for the day. What is the most important thing we need to get done that day?
Each Monday we meet for an hour to discuss the week ahead. What are our 3 top priorities for the week? This has really helped us to start to get a better understanding between the team. Very often although we work in the same office space we can be very focused on what we are doing so do not have an appreciation of what each other are working on.
Some of the priorities shared this week are:
Produce literature for Christmas series
Finalise trip to Lifechurch.tv Live experience in London.
Produce videos for this Sunday preach.
Progress CRB items
Shoot video for children's teaching Christmas Series
Finalise bands for Ultimate Event 2009.
Develop Christmas series for young people.
Produce newsheet for Sunday
Construct weekly ezine
Develop posters etc on Christmas series
Prepare Christmas series for Pre School
Set up rota for Kidz Church staff for December. (Many people are away for the whole of December)
Prepare for Kidz Quest
Prepare for New Friends Supper
Contact New Visitors from weekend
Contact recent visitors who it has been difficult to reach
Prepare video of Sunday Services to be uploaded to web.
Investigate difficulty with one of the projectors.
Prepare video for NFS.
This is by no means all that the team do but their important tasks for the week. The meeting also throws up longer-term issues which we record and then plan to spend some concentrated time on.
Early days but I think we have all found it beneficial.
Sunday, November 16, 2008
This chapter of the Bible gives us one of the most incredible descriptions of team work you can read. In all most impossible circumstances this rag tail group of men women and children set out together to build a city out of the rubble of decades.
Time and time again the word "next" appears as people from all walks of life bent their backs and got on with the job.
v1 The priests didn't sit in a holy huddle praying about the situation. They got their hands dirty.
v8 No matter what their speciality (ministry) goldsmith or perfume maker they all got down in the dirt and carried bricks.
v12 The women worked alongside the men.
v14, 15 & 16 The leaders led by example.
The work of God is urgent and important. Christ is building his church but he is and has always used men and women to do the work. We have daily the opportunity to wake up and get on the greatest teamwork project in the history of the world - His Church.
God goes to great length to tell us how this thing church should work. Maybe one of the best metaphors is the one he explains to his followers at Corinth through Paul.
1 Cor 12 v 12 The body is a unit, though it is made up of many parts; and though all its parts are many, they form one body. So it is with Christ.
Saturday, November 15, 2008
Hey on my YouVersion reading plan I have come to what is my favourite book in the Bible. I can still remember the first time I read this story as a young teenager it completely rocked my world. I had sat through years of Sunday School and heard all sorts of stories. David & Goliath, Jonah & the whale, Feeding the 5,ooo the list goes on. But no one had chosen to tell me about this incredible guy called Nehemiah who fought against impossible odds to revive a nation.
What hits me front and centre was that this guy was a man of prayer.On hearing about the problems back in the home country his first reaction was to talk to God. In fact he prayed about the situation for months before he talked to the King about it and even then in the middle of his conversation with the King he is praying under his breath. Continually throughout the book he is in prayer. Prayer for him was a lifestyle and every day constant occurrence not just a meeting.
Growing up in church we seemed to have meetings for everything:
- Breaking of Bread Meeting - Where we took ritual we were supposed to be doing anytime we met and eat with other Christians.
- Gospel Meeting - Where we should invite our unsuspecting friends to to here the Gospel.
- Bible Study Meetings - I liked them but for too many people they were the only time they would study Gods word. (Well to be more to the point listen to what someone else had studied)
- Waiting Meetings - Where people could get baptised in the Spirit.
Hey I am thankful for much of this upbringing but it had a tendency to take what God had for our everyday lives and lock it all up in meetings.
Nehemiah did not have to have a "meeting" to pray he talked to God all the time. Did he call people together to pray? Yes. But his private personal prayer life far out weighed the public corporate meeting.
Next Sunday is the launch of our brand new teaching series at MKCC leading up to our special Christmas presentations on Sunday 21st December.
It is called "When love comes to town". Based on John Ch 1 v 14.
The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighborhood.
When Jesus came to town love moved into the neighbourhood in flesh and blood. He practically demonstrated love he didn't just talk about it. We are going to be launching various projects over the next few week so that our church can practically demonstrate Jesus love at Christmas time. Make sure you come along tomorrow and hear about the first opportunity.
I took delivery of the logo above today which we will use during this season.
Friday, November 14, 2008
Lots of the Old Testament seems to be full of lists. Lists of people. Here is the list of people that did this or that. Earlier in the book of Ezra we looked briefly a list of famous pioneers. The people and families who were willing to sacrifice everything for the cause.
Here Ezra records a different type of list. It records the men from all walks of life that had ignored God's instructions and gone their own way and married foreign wives. In their difficulty their God had become too small and they decided to live for themselves instead of God's plan.
Their actions listed them for all time in God's word not for fame but infamy. This is not a list that I would want to appear on.
Unfortunately lists are still made today both good and bad. Its great to read lists of the largest churches, the quickest growing, the most innovative etc etc. But its sad to read a list all too often of people, pastors and leaders who make wrong decisions. Yes God's grace is unquestionably there for us all but the damage that is done to all concerned is immense.
Our decisions and actions can have far reaching consequences if our God becomes too small and in our minds we become bigger than him. I want to stay on the right list.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
This one has been around for a while but hey it is funny.
Ezra 9 - Ezra feels the weight of sin.
Grace is the major theme of this blog. It has become my life message. 10 years ago it burst into my life as a Christian and changed it forever. When I talk about sometimes people suggest it’s just too easy. They view it as a sort of get off scot-free card. You can do anything and God lets you off.
I get to thinking they just have not understood grace because when you do the weight of sin that is felt is more intense than you have ever felt in your life. When Grace and the price that Jesus paid to accomplish it settle in your heart and find a home there, senses to sin are heightened as we contemplate the God Man Jesus.
"Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us..." Galatians 3:13
Jesus bought us out of the system of rules and regulations and set us free in the world of Grace. How? He actually became cursed for us. On the cross he became sin for us. On the cross he felt the weight of sin. Not just my sin but he felt the weight of the sin of the whole world! He was innocent. Completely blameless. Yet He chose it. He chose the suffering. He chose to feel the full weight of sin.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God." Hebrews 12:1 - 2
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
Our huffing and puffing to impress God, our scrambling for brownie points, our thrashing about trying to fix ourselves while hiding our pettiness and wallowing in guilt are nauseating to God and are a flat denial of the gospel of grace.
Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel
These are the family heads and those who signed up to go up with me from Babylon in the reign of Artaxerxes the king. (v1)
I am not always sure why but the sovereign God always chooses to work through people. At this critical time in the history of his people it was no different he worked through people who had vision and commitment. Ezra was their prominent charismatic leader but the work of God was completed by a team of dedicated visionaries who could see God's purposes when there was nothing really to hang your hat on.
They we leaving their homes, business and careers to head to a city that they had never been to before even though they had probably heard many stories from their parents and grand parents. The reports that they had heard back about the situation in Jerusalem were not great. The economy was bust, infrastructure was non existent, danger hid behind every corner but these band of pioneers headed out probably to the questioning and derision of their friends and colleagues. Were they mad? Maybe just a little bit.
But their mission was more important than their own comfort and safety they were partners in establishing God's kingdom out of the chaos. These people caught the vision.
Having spent over 40 years in the church the truth is that not everyone that attends church catches the vision not everyone really feels the heart of God. It’s easy to see the difference even in small things. Thankfully there are many people who do and it’s incredible to see people live this out at MKCC in so many ways:
* So many people giving at least 10% back to God even in difficult economic times.
* 100's of people committing to give £1m over 3 years to Time 2 Build project.
* A worship team who give so much time preparing, rehearsing and leading us on Sundays.
* Over 90 people involved in welcoming people to MKCC on a Sunday
* Scores of people investing time into children
* People standing in a car park on cold winter days to help Visitors Park
* All the guys and girls involved in setting up PA, Video and Computers
* Our junior leaders (young people) who put some of adults to shame with their commitment
* The list goes on and on
Not involved, sitting on the sidelines. Well God has a simple word for you. Get off your big fat bum and get with the plot. (With love of course)
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Saturday 22nd November sees LifeChurch.tv Internet campus host a live event in the Curzon Soho Theatre.
Chris and Dana Byers are facilitating the event and a team from MKCC will be supporting them on the day.
If you are in the London area then please come along at 10.30 am. More details here.
We still have a few places left on our team going down for the day. It will be an early start for us but if you are interested in helping by giving out leaflets, welcoming people and generally serving Chris and Dana then email me today or leave a comment.
London Internet Campus Event from BlueDoorMinistries on Vimeo.
Ezra had committed himself to studying the Revelation of God, to living it, and to teaching Israel to live its truths and ways. (v 10)
I love the way that this Ezra is introduced to us in this chapter. "After all this, Ezra." Its as though his name said it all. The way the message puts it is fascinating. Not, Then Ezra arrived, not; Ezra changed this or that but just Ezra. As though summed up in the very name and character was integrity, change, and hope. His name said it all.
I think v 10 give us the reason. Ezra studied God's word and he taught God's word but he also had a reputation of living God's word. Studying and teaching are the easy parts only the hard part of living it out day by day creates the character that shapes a reputation like Ezra.
It’s something that we would all want but we need the discipline and sacrifice to do the right things on the journey. There are no shortcuts on the road to this destination.
Monday, November 10, 2008
This period of time in the Bible history of Israel is the most fascinating to me. The period known as the Restoration excites me know end. After an abject period of defeat and desolation God's people finally after decades embark on a journey of restoration and rediscovery.
It is a period full of optimism but tinged with difficulty. The challenges were huge. The entire infrastructure of a nation had to be rebuilt and reshaped. It was a journey that in itself took decades and numerous leaders to accomplish the task. Along the way there were victories but also defeats.
Sounds like an exciting journey to be part of. Sounds like the journey of the church. Along the way I am sure many people got disheartened and gave up. Maybe they looked at the piles of rubble and could not see the glorious city that God had planned and maybe they walked away.
Establishing God's kingdom to earth is no easy job. In church life we can sometimes see more rubble than God's answer for the world. But this is not a short term fix but a long term building project and we are in it for the long hall.
Just like the great Prophets of this generation Haggai and Zachariah they decided not just to talk about it they got their hands dirty. (v2)
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
My wonderful wife Nicola is 40 today. We are off to London for the day. We are going to take in a show so I have tickets for Mama Mia and we will do a bit of shopping, Covent Garden and the like. So in honour of this occasion I will list 40 things I love about Nicola. In the words of Xfactor - in no particular order.
- She is beautiful.
- She agreed to be my wife 20 years ago.
- She ignored lots of people advice even her pastor and still married me!
- She continues to put up with me.
- She lets me watch as much sport on TV as I want.
- She has even learned some of the footballers names.
- She lets me hog the remote control.
- She keeps me entertained with some silly statements: like The cows in France are different to the UK. Here they are white and black in England they are black and white.
- She is a brilliant mum to Abbie & Liam.
- She is beautiful
- She does my washing.
- She does my ironing.
- She puts away all my clothes.
- Come to think of it she does almost everything for me.
- She always feels sorry for the looser in any game.
- But she cheats if she is playing.
- She is so patient (My opposite)
- She is gentle and kind (Again my opposite)
- She can talk to anyone at the drop of a hat (again my opposite)
- She is beautiful
- She loves Jesus.
- She loves our kids.
- She has a passion to see kids connect with Jesus.
- She is a better leader of people than I will ever be.
- I get free haircuts
- She is great at decorating (Thank goodness I don't have to do it)
- She is a little gullible.
- She is a great friend.
- I can trust her implicitly.
- She is beautiful.
- She encourages me when I am down.
- She listens to me without judging me.
- She continues to make me proud as she develops and grows in her leadership.
- She is a help, strength and even a confidant to lots of people.
- She is a selfless servant.
- She shows Christ like humility.
- She has a tender heart.
- We are growing old together (she won't like that one)
- Did I say she is beautiful.
- She is 40 and fabulous.
40 Years ago my wife Nicola was born.
40 Years ago Dr King had a dream and was shot for daring to voice that dream.
At 4am GMT toady a little bit more of that dream became reality. The American people voted for the first African American as their leader. This is not a political post I am not making comment on his politics I don't know enough about it. But truly this is a historic occasion.
Obama certainly is an incredible orator and communicator. I have no allegiance but his speech was captivating even emotional. (He would make an incredible preacher)
During my wife's short life time we have gone from segregation and exclusion from even voting to being voted in with a huge mandate.
It was an interesting night following the various views. Will he bring the change he promises well time will tell. Will be a good leader or a bad leader only time will tell. In a sense it does not matter. Obama is the 44th President here in the UK we have had over 70 Prime Ministers. One think is constant. Jesus is still o the throne he has never needed re election.
Tuesday, November 04, 2008
I saw this story over at Earnest Andersons blog. Thought it was incredible:
Gianna Jessen was written off as another medical statistic - but she became a medical miracle.
When Gianna’s mother was just 17 and almost eight months pregnant, she had a late saline abortion. On paper, the teenager’s baby would be just another number in the growing abortion figures. But baby Gianna survived, even though she weighed less than two pounds.
“A saline abortion is a solution of salt injected into the mother’s womb,” she says. “The baby gulps the solution, which burns it inside and out, and then the mother delivers a dead baby within 24 hours. I remained in the solution for approximately 18 hours, but was delivered alive on April 6, 1977 at 6-00 a.m. in a Californian abortion clinic. I weighed a mere two pounds.”
According to the doctors, Gianna should have been killed outright, or at best born blind and deaf, with all her internal organs burned through. She spent the first three months in intensive care before it was discovered she had cerebral palsy, a result of her brain being starved of oxygen.
They said all I would ever do would be to just lie there!” she exclaims. “But I was saved by the power of Jesus Christ. Through prayer and hard work by my foster mother, I was walking by three with the help of a walker and leg braces. Today I am left only with a slight limp. I no longer have need of a walker or leg braces.”
Amazing she adds: “I am so thankful for my cerebral palsy. It allows me to really depend of Jesus for everything.”
Gianna now runs marathons and is a keen indoor rock climber. She has recently started tango dance lessons and also writes and performs songs, and is a pro-life speaker. Her strong faith shines through when she addresses school and college students, where she talks about pro-lfe issues and sexual morality - always with her own unique sense of purpose, reminding people that all their choices have consequences.
“My biological parents made some really poor choices. I forgive them for what they did but I live every day with the result of the choice that my biological mother made 27 years ago.”
Being told that she was the result of a failed abortion was difficult, but not the trauma for Gianna that most people would expect – a fact she puts down to her faith. When she was twelve, her adoptive mother revealed the truth to Gianna. Before, when she had asked why she had cerebral palsy, Gianna was simply told she had had a traumatic, premature birth. “It must have been the Lord, because I didn’t freak out,” she remembers.
“I totally believe that the Lord Jesus spared my life and I would not be walking today if it were not for the grace of God and the power of Christ. When you need God to walk every day, you know that He is real.”
“I am happy to be alive. I almost died. Every day I thank God for life.”
At the end of last week we did a quick video update for the children in our Kidz Church about the refurbishment in the Nursery and Kidz Church area. I don't think they quite understand the refurbishment. Some of them were asking if the cleaning had finished!
Any way here it is sorry that the format has got messed up so the video is a little squashed.
Update for Kidz Church from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.
2 Chronicles 33
"Now that he was in trouble, he went to his knees in prayer asking for help—total repentance before the God of his ancestors. As he prayed, God was touched; God listened.." (v12)
Repentance touches the heart of God.
No matter how far you have fallen, no matter how many mistakes you make, no matter how many things you have done wrong, you are only one act away from touching the very heart of God. That act is repentance.
Wikipedia suggests that repentance includes: an admission of guilt, a promise or resolve not to repeat the offense; an attempt to make restitution for the wrong, or in some way to reverse the harmful effects of the wrong where possible.
However repentance is not easy. The initial act of admission of guilt or saying sorry is only the start. Then the hard part kicks in. Change that’s the hard part.
Manasseh was a pretty evil king but his repentance was total. He turned 180 and followed God's commands and id doing so he touched the heart of God.
Monday, November 03, 2008
I have been going over my notes from my recent visit to Catalyst Conference and pulled out this quote by Matt Chandler.
"The Gospel does not say that you get Jesus and he makes your life better; it is that you get Him and He is enough."
Just reminded me again that Christianity is all about Jesus. We still have a tendency to make it about us. This was summed up in a conversation I had recently when a person was convinced that because things were not working out in their life God was punishing them for some reason. Apart from the fact that this is a wrong understanding of the character of God it suggests that we can gain God's blessing when we do something favourable in His eyes.
What we do in this scenarios is make the Christian life about US rather than about Jesus. We would all agree that we our entrance into God's Kingdom is all about Jesus why then when we are in does it become about us.
If things are not good in our lives we ask things like what am I doing wrong? Why does not God bless me? Why is God doing something for him and not me? The list goes on. What is Jesus going to do for me?
Jesus has already done more for us than we could even hope or expect he became our friend even when we were his enemy. We get Him what more could we ask.
As the song says: He's more than enough for me.