Thursday, December 31, 2009

How to live in 2010

Since everything here today might well be gone tomorrow, do you see how essential it is to live a holy life? - Peter his 2nd letter 3rd Chapter 11th verse.

Today people keep on wishing you a happy new year. If nothing else people seem to be a little more friendly.

As someone once said; We don't know what the future holds but we know who holds the future.

I don't know what 2010 will hold and probably wouldn't want to know if I could but I do know how I should live.

"To live a holy life - no matter what!."

Hard, testing, difficult & even unfashionable but it is the only thing that stays if everything else is taken away. God never promised me happiness in this life but he did send me a saviour and a comforter to be with me in everything.

So in the words of Peter I want to "Grow in grace and understanding of our Master and Savior, Jesus Christ. " no matter what it holds.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Come Home - Newspring Style

Last night we watched Newspring Christmas service via the web. (Using PS3 we had a great 42 in picture) I think it may become a new tradition. The music was great & Perry Noble hit it out of the park talking about "Come Home" from the story of the Lost Son.

Introducing his message they showed the video below. I messed me up absolutely and totally.

Christmas Opener: Just Come Home from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

You can get a copy

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Guaranteeing a reward from heaven

So don’t lose a minute in building on what you’ve been given, complementing your basic faith with

  • good character
  • spiritual understanding
  • alert discipline
  • passionate patience
  • reverent wonder
  • warm friendliness
  • generous love
each dimension fitting into and developing the others. With these qualities active and growing in your lives, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. - 2 peter 1 v 5 - 8 (Mess)

No mention of finance, no name it and claim it, but an ongoing process of work, development and growth. And as we do this and mature every day no matter what the circumstances, God or bad, we will find a reward.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Stuff like this just does not happen

Reading a Post from my old pastor Roger Blackmore (In old I mean that he was my Pastor many years ago, but I guess that makes us both old, sorry Roger) my jaw just hit the floor.

Roger's church are in the process of appointing a Student Ministries Pastor and although they don't have the budget they were stepping out because they knew it was the right thing to do. Their own congregation are being given the opportunity to give however I still cant quite believe what happens next. Here it is in Rogers own words:

"A friend of mine who pastors a great church in this area that has a lot of financial challenges as they look to the future. He told me his leaders have had a meeting and decided to give us $25,000 to pay our new staff member during 2010. He told me they love what we’re doing, want to see us open more campuses and continue to kick butt, so they want to help us move forward."

So another local church decides to fund another local church to hire a pastor. What?!?!

That really is kingdom!

Read Rogers post here.

Being a dependable man of God

Silas, a most dependable brother. I have the highest regard for him. - 1 Peter 5 v 12

We only come across the name Silas a handful of times in the New Testament but we don't really know too much about him. What I do know about him makes him in my eyes truly Godly man.

Sometimes I here phrases in the church which although I understand they way they are used does not sit perfectly comfortably. "He is a number one leader" or "He is a number two leader" etc.

Although I suppose that these levels of leadership exists church leadership is much more about team than anything else.

Silas was a leader in his own right, one of the church council of the Jerusalem "Mega" church. But he never wrote a book for the new testament but delivered the letters. He never planted a church own his own but was with Paul as they did it together. He even suffered beating and prison with Paul. He even supported the young Timothy.

The "greats" of the New Testament wanted Silas with them. Somehow they may not have been quite so great if this "dependable" man of God was not with them.

They recognised that, so were not threatened and he recognised that, so was content.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Desire & Hope there is a difference

Matt Chandler received the pathology report following his recent operation the other day and the news was difficult. He is home but is facing appointments with doctors and some difficult decisions. One of his friends Pastor Vassar wrote an incredible post about the difference between desire and hope. Here is is in full:

I write this today because I need to. I need to tell myself these things. I just read the pathology report from the Village Church on Matt Chandler ( I have known Matt for many years and love and respect him deeply. I am praying for him and for his sweet wife Lauren, and their kiddos, and the Village. And, I am praying with this in mind: there is a difference between desire and hope.

I am praying with great desire. My desire is that God would heal Matt, hand him to Lauren and the kids to be her husband and their daddy, restore him to the pulpit, empower him to preach his heart out for the magnification of Jesus, and one day let him play with his grandkids. I think God wants me to desire those things and ask Him for them, knocking until my knuckles bleed, making it clear to God how I desire Him to respond. And, those desires are good. But those desires are different than our hope.

Sometimes desires are not fulfilled. But, our hope is. Hope does not disappoint us (Romans 5:5). Our hope is certain and sure. Our hope is that none who trust in Him will ever ultimately be put to shame. Our hope is that in Jesus we are forgiven, given his Spirit, adopted as sons and daughters of God, and will one day be revealed as such (Romans 8:14-16; 1John 3:2-3). Our hope is that Jesus has defeated our greatest enemies of Satan, Sin, and Death and through Him we will triumph (Romans 8:37). Our hope is that God is sovereignly moving heaven and earth to secure the good of his elect and bring about their glory and joy (Romans 8:28). Our hope is that we who are in Christ are the eternal objects of God's love and that nothing, absolutely nothing, can change that status or rob us of its privileges (Romans 8:38-39). Our hope is that these momentary and light afflictions are preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison (2Cor 4:16-17); that the things we suffer are not worth comparing to the glory that God will reveal to us (Romans 8:18). Our hope is that God will not leave us nor forsake us so that even as we experience ten thousand shadows of death come over us, we shall not fear because He is with us (Psalm 23). Our hope is that He who raised the Lord Jesus will raise us also with Jesus and bring us into his presence (2Cor 4:14). Our hope is that if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united to him in a resurrection like His (Romans 6:5). And, our hope is that Christ, who is our great treasure, will be exalted as such whether by life or by death (Philippians 1:20). This is Matt's hope. He knows this hope; he lives this hope; he preaches this hope. Lauren knows and lives this hope as well, and Matt is blessed to have her at his side.

I just needed to tell myself that today. I need to remember that as I voice desires to be fulfilled and as I plead with the "God who is able," for Matt's strength and healing and restoration, I must not confuse my desire and my hope. I am holding tightly to hope and finding my comfort in the God of Hope. Praying we all will. Apostles Church will be praying for the Chandlers.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Santa to blame for childhood obesity

The Daily Express has reported that "Dr Grills, a public health fellow at Monash University, Australia, has studied the negative impact of Santa’s image on public health in literature and on the web."

It goes on to say:

"His fat and sugar-loaded diet sends out a message that obesity is synonymous with cheerfulness and joviality. His habit of consuming a brandy at every home indicates a serious booze problem and added to that is the more disturbing possibility of Santa drink-driving his sleigh."

So now Santa is to blame for drink driving and obesity.

Frankly I've never liked him since he didn't get me the scalextric I wanted when I was six.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Glory around the corner

Yesterday I read the following tweet from Matt Chandler who has just gone through brain surgery to remove a tumor and is now waiting for the results of a pathology report:

"Path report is 2ndary at best...good report doesn't mean much, bad report doesn't mean days are numbered and not by this report."

This morning I read this:

Friends, when life gets really difficult, don’t jump to the conclusion that God isn’t on the job.13 Instead, be glad that you are in the very thick of what Christ experienced. This is a spiritual refining process, with glory just around the corner.- 1 Peter 4 v 12 - 13

Very often in the middle of difficulty we are tempted to ask where is God, why have you left me?

Peter reminds us that God is always on the case and as we are changed to be more like him, glory is around the corner in this life or the next.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Suffering from a different point of view

We don't like suffering.
I would never willingly choose it.
We ask God to keep us away from it or deliver us from it.
Some who tend to add to the Gospel by sticking a word in front of it suggest:
As Christians we should never suffer.
Or we suffer because we sin.
If we stop sinning God will deliver us.

"Since Jesus went through everything you’re going through and more, learn to think like him. Think of your sufferings as a weaning from that old sinful habit of always expecting to get your own way. 2 Then you’ll be able to live out your days free to pursue what God wants instead of being tyrannized by what you want." - 1 Peter 4 v 1 - 2

Although I don't want to say this as I really do not want to suffer.
If suffering helps to bring me closer to God then maybe just maybe suffering can be good for me.

As Jesus did by "Enduring" the suffering of the cross for the great prize that was at the other side.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Bring your heart to attention

Yesterday I spent some time with an old friend who was a Pastor until a few weeks ago. He had served and sacrificed the church for a number of years before being asked to leave. Listening to him its clear that the transition could have been handled better.

Listening to him was hard. His heart had been hurt and he was clearly in the middle of a storm of questions, doubt and hurt. My heart went out to him as I spent a couple of hours trying to encourage him.

Today I read this:

Through thick and thin, keep your hearts at attention, in adoration before Christ, your Master. - 1 Peter 3 v 12

Attention is defined as the cognitive process of selectively concentrating on one aspect of the environment while ignoring other things.

The hardest thing in the world to do. But Peter is encouraging us to ignore the words and the actions that are hurting us and concentrate and be ready to hear what Jesus wants to say to us.

Our questions and others words very often cut but Jesus words heal a broken heart when we don't know what to say.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Building Lease

Another important day for us at MKCC. Mark and I sign the Building Lease for the land adjacent to our current property. So the clock is ticking. Technically we now have two years to complete the building to the standard required by HCA.

For those of you at MKCC don't panic our building is still scheduled to be finished long before that. In September 2010. The diggers move in on Monday.

And no I am not blowing a kiss at Mark!

The Church is full of hypocrites

If I have hear this said once I must have heard it a thousand times. Yes its true and I am sad to say I am one of them. We have to admit that our actions do not always match our beliefs. But sometimes we are maybe to ready to accept it. We can concede to our hypocrisy just that little to quick. Maybe I am just looking for an easy way out to justify or excuse my sloppiness.

God does not let me off that easy.

Live an exemplary life among the natives so that your actions will refute their prejudices. Then they’ll be won over to God’s side and be there to join in the celebration when he arrives. Make the Master proud of you by being good citizens. - 1 Peter 2 v 12 - 13 (Mess)

A billionaire and still not two

On the 11th July 2008 the digirati team of launched an iPhone App to accompany their web based Bible

Since the launch they have added Blackberry & Android apps revolutionising the way mobile phone users read their Bible.

In 17 months people have spent 1 billion minutes reading the Bible on their mobile device with YouVersion. That's 16.7 million hours or 19 Centuries.

Well done guys! and thank you for helping me read the Bible that little bit more.

Get your download here.

Friday, December 11, 2009

God has his eye on you and thats a good thing

(Peter) .. writing to exiles scattered to the four winds. Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you, and has determined by the work of the Spirit to keep you obedient through the sacrifice of Jesus. May everything good from God be yours!- 1 Peter 1 v 1 - 2

Peter wrote this letter to followers of Jesus that were scattered all over what is now know as Turkey. Most of them far away from the great cities we equate with great Christian churches like Jerusalem, Antioch and Rome. It was not even written to a particular church but individual believers looking to live out their normal lives in the light of their saviour Jesus.

We don't know their names, but we do know by reading this letter they faced verbal abuse and discrimination for their belief in Jesus. Not necessarily organised by the great Roman empire but by ordinary people who lived next door.

To these people and to us God says: Not one is missing, not one forgotten. God the Father has his eye on each of you.

Monday, December 07, 2009

Matt Chandller glorifys God in the middle of a storm

I posted earlier about the storm that has hit Matt Chandler and his family. Keep praying for him with. He has had surgery and is recovering in ICU.

This video posted over at his blog was shown in his church this weekend - inspiring.

Click on the image to watch.

The whisper of God

We started our new teaching series at MKCC on Sunday. Called "He will be called" it is based on Isaiah 9 v 6:

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace."

I kicked it off with "Wonderful Counsellor".

Studying the word Counsellor throughout the Bible helped me understand a little more the Biblical view of God counsels us.

The meaning is one who brings someone close to their side and speaks quietly too them.

I think this is a beautiful picture of what God does for us. He puts his arm round our shoulder and whispers a word just for us, not for anyone else, just between you and God.

An amazing God!

You can watch the whole message here or listen here.

Saturday, December 05, 2009


Last Sunday we had 13 people get baptised at MKCC. We did it a little different by renting out the local swimming pool. Had a great time but the life guards looked at us a little strange.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Why would I want to pass up grace?

God forced me to my knees yet again today to say I am sorry. That's the problem with reading His word it's always calling you higher.

So today I start reading Jonah. That's safe. Ive heard this since I was in Sunday School. Then I read Jonah prayer to God in Ch 2 v 8.

Those who cling to worthless idols forfeit the grace that could be theirs.

Why on earth would I pass up on God's grace by placing other things in front of God in my life but I am sure I do it daily.

For Jonah his idol was national pride which if he held on to it, he would have experienced the grace of a city turning to God on mass.

I need to let go of so much but to experience God's grace in a way that I never have before I must loosen my grip.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

When there are no words only presence

I am the ultimate Mr Fix it. I can listen for only so long then I just have to try to fix things. They only problem being is that there are just so many things in life we just cannot fix.

We all have friends, family and relatives who have or are going through tough times. Being part of a church staff you hear about so many more people that are suffering in one way or another. Sometimes it seems to overwhelm.

You pray and you pray, you look for a way to help and your heart hurts because you see so much suffering.

This verse helped me. Job 2 v 23:

“Then Job’s friends sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was”

As a friend sometimes the best thing we can do is button our lip and listen. And when our friend doesn't even want to talk maybe the best gift we can give is our presence no mater how long it takes 7 hours or 7 days.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Pray for Matt Chandler and family

Just over a year ago I had the opportunity to visit a conference in Atlanta called Catalyst. Maybe I am the only one but I started to look through the list of speakers making note of those I had heard of before and wondering what the guys I had never heard of before were like. One of those was Matt Chandler. (I know I am a bit behind the times) But after hearing him talk for a few seconds I was hooked.

Since then I have a been an avid listener to his podcast from The Village Church, Dallas.

So it was a huge shock to hear through twitter last week that he had had a seizure and a mass in his brain. Please take a moment to pray for Matt and his young family as they walk this road with Jesus.

Hi wife quoted Psalm 112 v 6 - 8 on her blog today. You can read the rest here.

For the righteous will never be moved;
he will be remembered forever.
He is not afraid of bad news;
his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD.
His heart is steady;
he will not be afraid,
until he looks in triumph on his adversaries.

Belated Sunday Thoughts

  • Please explain to me God, why does it seem to bucket down with rain on Sunday mornings?
  • Mark announced that the peeps from MKCC pledged £285,000 to our building fund over the next 3 years. Monday update: £293,000. I am humbled by your faithfulness.
  • Then everyone rose to yet another challenge and committed to providing Christmas Hamper to MK Foodbank for families in need at Christmas time. We blew out the requested 67 and have another 14 people waiting for families to help!
  • We included in each hamper Rick Warren's great new book the The Purpose of Christmas.
  • I messed up the announcements in our first 2 services. Finally got it right third time round.
  • Mark concluded our History Makers series with the Miracle of Overflow from the feeding of the 5000. Here are some quotes.
  • Jesus solitary moment didn't last long because people went looking for him when they found him he had compassion not bitterness.
  • Jesus wanted to be with the crowds it was his disciples who tried to get rid of the crowd.
  • Jesus always has a plan! We might not always know it but he always has one.
  • Jesus wants us involved in what he is doing.
  • Disciples looked at a few fish and rolls and saw the impossibility Jesus saw a gateway to miracle.
  • When you give to Jesus something small is not too small if you give it your ALL.
  • Jesus fed 5000 but the crowd who probably had picnics with them were not willing to share except 1 boy. Jesus ignores the selfish & works with the generous.
  • It is amazing what Jesus can do when you give him your lunch.
  • Watch the full message here.
  • 13 people got baptised in the afternoon. Brilliant!!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful when everything is not wonderful

Our friends in the US start what they now call I believe the Holiday Season with today's Celebration of Thanksgiving. Until holidaying there 17 years ago at this time I had never heard of it before. Something to do with the early pilgrims being thankful for safe passage across the ocean. Or maybe they were just thankful that they had not landed back in England! (Joke)

Looking at history on the face of it some of them seemed to have very little to be thankful. Many lost friends and family on the journey and even more didn't make it through the winter, but they remained thankful to God on their journey in spite of the hard times.

Maybe they had stoked up on board for the up coming Christmas as the Thanksgiving meal looks very like the Christmas dinner - Turkey and all. At my first Thanksgiving meal we experienced it by purchasing Dinner in a box from the local supermarket with everything from a Turkey to cranberry's.

I wish all my American friends a happy Thanksgiving day. Enjoy the day, dinner and oh yes the football. Then stay away from the crazy black Friday Thanksgiving sales.

“One single grateful thought towards heaven, is the most perfect prayer.” –Minna von Barnhelm

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Facing martyrdom at 26

Following on from the previous post when I arrived home I caught the end of of a BBC Documentary about the Covenantors - The History of Scotland.

It told the story of James Renwick a young preacher who was martyred at the age of 26 because he recognized King Jesus and not the King of Britain as head of the Church.

Standing on the scaffold waiting to be hanged he said this:

"Spectators, or (if there be any of you) auditors, — I must tell you I am come here this day to lay down my life for adhering to the truths of Christ, for which I am neither afraid nor ashamed to suffer; nay, I bless the Lord that ever He counted me worthy, or enabled me to suffer anything for Him; and I desire to praise His grace that He hath not only kept me free from the gross pollutions of the time."

He then sang part of Psalm 103

Praise the Lord, O my soul;
all my inmost being, praise his holy name.
2 Praise the Lord, O my soul,
and forget not all his benefits—

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

who redeems your life from the pit
and crowns you with love and compassion,

who satisfies your desires with good things
so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The Lord works righteousness
and justice for all the oppressed.

Then he prayed:

"Lord, I die in the faith that Thou wilt not leave Scotland, but that Thou wilt make the blood of Thy witnesses the seed of Thy Church, and return again, and be glorious in our land. And now, Lord, I am ready."

At 26, man am I just playing at this thing called Christianity?

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Am I up for a Covenant

Today I was reading about Nehemiah getting all the leaders, priests & people of Jerusalem to sign a covenant (Neh 9 v 38 f.). My mind went back to accounts I had read of the Scottish Covenantors in 1638.

The Scottish people had been supportive to the Stuart King ascent to the throne in England only to find out that they started to interfere with the church. "These Kings not only believed that God wished them to be the infallible rulers of their kingdom - they also believed that they were the spiritual heads of the Church of Scotland."

So on the 28th February 1938 in Greyfriars Kirkyard a group of people from all walks of life, noblemen, shopkeepers, clergy, farmers and the like gathered together to make and sign a covenant that said they saw Jesus as head of His Church not a human King.

Some signed it in their own blood some shouted "until death".

In the years following they were thrown out of their churches and hunted down by the kings troops as they held meeting in crofts and fields across Scotland.

This was no easy promise or pledge. For many it cost them their lives.

For me today church and going to church is all too easy it costs little more than time. We have buildings, technology, sound systems, video and flashing lights. If some one was to take all this away would I sign a covenant unto death?

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Boomerang secret to dealing with citicism

Many of aspire to be leaders in life. That's a good thing. Since being knee high to a grasshopper I have wanted to be in church "leadership". Although I didn't always realise what this meant.

I have read many books and watched and listened to a zillion speakers on Leadership. I now think that part of lesson 101 on leadership should how to react and deal with criticism.

It doesn't matter if its becoming a supervisor or manager at work or something in church as soon as you dare pop your head up from the crowd, criticism is sure to be close behind.

Many better people than me have written about dealing with criticism as a leader. Read one here

But reading Nehemiah's response to criticism the other day in the message made me smile.

Nehemiah prayed, “Oh listen to us, dear God. We’re so despised: Boomerang their ridicule on their heads; have their enemies cart them off as war trophies to a land of no return;5 don’t forgive their iniquity, don’t wipe away their sin—they’ve insulted the builders!” - Neh 4 v 4 - 5

Not something you will read in the text books but a prayer I have sorely been tempted to pray. Not very Jesus like but just saying!

Solid Rock Cafe Fraserburgh

Growing up in the North East of Scotland for me was quite a sheltered up bringing. Serious crime was not really high on every ones agenda. In the 25 years the area seems to have faced many new difficulties.

It has even been reported at one point that Fraserburgh was the drug capital of Scotland.

A few years ago Ben Ritchie (no relation - but he is a great guy) had a vision to make a difference in the lives of people who had difficulties with drugs. One of the steps he took was open the Solid Rock Cafe right on the High Street.

This video shows that and much more of the incredible things they are doing in Fraserburgh.

Monday, November 16, 2009

God hears a whisper

Praying under my breath to the God-of-Heaven - Nehemiah Ch 2 v 4

Nehemiah goes down as my character from the Bible. He was a man of action & strategy, he was a wise leader but most of all he had a tender heart for the things of God and he had learned in every situation to talk to God.

After spending months in secret prayer about the situation of God's people that so troubled his heart finally his burden affected his demeanor in front of the king. When the king asks how he can help Nehemiah's instant reaction was to talk to God.

I'm not sure if in God's answer at that moment if it was the first time that Nehemiah was going to become God's answer for His people or not but Nehemiah give us a great example.

No matter what the situation of question God is only a silent breath away.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The 10, 10, 80 Rule

I sure wish that someone had taught me this when I was 4 years old. But I am sure it is never too late to learn. Are you smarter than a 4 year old?

Elijah Offering Video from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

HT Elevation Worship

New Church Building Fly Through

This past Monday was a red letter day for us at MKCC. After a number of years in the planning our contractor finally moved on site to start building our new facilities. Take a look at the flythrough below that will give you some imporession of what it will look like.

(Anything with a dark coloured roof is what we already have anything with a light colour is what we are adding on.

New Build Fly through from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wouldn't have believed it unless I had seen it

Great things are happening at NewSpring Church in South Carolina but Perry Noble talked this week about a ghost sighting in their auditorium this past week. Watch the video closely then read here for more info.

NewSpring Ghost sighting from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Next?

Last night we had a great prayer time at MKCC. (Make sure you join us on the next 2 Monday nights at 7 pm if you have not already)

This is an important time for us all at MKCC as we see contractors move on to site to build our new facilities. It seems like its been a long time in coming and a lot of talk has been about our new building. But a building should never be our focus it should always be Jesus and the people he wants to form into his church. Not of bricks and mortar but of people.

But more than that I really felt God prompt me to ask the question: "What next?".

Too many times people shoot for a goal, stop & admire the view because they think they arrived. As soon as you think you have arrived you get left behind because God has moved on. That's why churches flourish and then sometimes slowly die and why movements become immovable monuments. There is no pausing in God's Kingdom it is relentless growth.

The building has started, we have not arrived, the building will be finished, we won't have arrived, the building will be filled, we won't have arrived.

So I am asking, God What next?

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm Back

After 2 weeks of silence in the Florida sunshine I am back to freezing cold England and blogging again.

I broke all the rules about keeping a blog up to date. I didn't arrange 2 weeks worth of automated posts. I intitally thought I would blog as I went but after the first day or so I decided to go cold turkey from my laptop so apart from a few tweets and using my laptop to check on opening times and restaurants I stayed clear of the internet.

So as by a way of breaking things easy I thought I would share mine and Nicol's future acording to Disney.

Our Future from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

You got to listen to your lady

Listen To Your Lady from David Tate on Vimeo.

The Baseline is a Wholeheart

My readings today took me to three people who all had the same problem.

King Amaziah of Judah. 2 Chronicles 25 v 2 says: "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly."

Then I read in Acts 5 about a couple called Ananias and Sapphira who likewise served God but not with there whole heart by keeping money back they had pledged to give to God for which the died.

I serve God but is it really with my whole heart or do I hold back and hold out.

Sometimes I'd rather watch TV than speak to him.
Sometimes I'd rather talk about what he has told me than do it.
Sometimes I'd rather spend money on me than give it to his kingdom.
Sometimes its more about me than about Him.

“God's calling for a whole heart. Those are his terms. There's no compromise. Go after him. It's worth everything on that day.” - Bill Mc Cartney

Monday, October 26, 2009

Leader, stop dragging your feet and get out of the way.

Someone once said the pace of the leader determines the pace of the pack. Sometimes leaders slow things down. Fear & insecurity can mean they are slow to act.

Reading in 2 Chronicles 24 today I saw this clearly. The leaders were slowing the vision down.

Joash wanted to renovate the Temple of God so asked his spiritual leaders to raise the money from the people to enable the task to be completed. But v 6 says, "But the Levites dragged their feet and didn’t do anything."

I am sure there are all sorts of reasons:

  • What if the people didn't want to give?
  • The people paid their wages so they didn't want to upset them.
  • If the building project started it may put the squeeze on their remuneration.
  • Maybe they didn't want to give.
But what is so beautiful about this story is that the people were ready to give to the vision. All they needed was to be given the opportunity and they gave so much they completed the vision and had much more beside.

Leader maybe its time to get out of the way stop being a bottleneck and let God's people step up.

Soar don't flap

I think, if it is actually possible, I inherited the worry gene. But I am not an idol worrier it drives me to act. Somehow by working the problem I feel more in control even though I am not. The more I worry the harder I work.

I am saying that my hope is in me.

So God talks to me relaxing by the pool staring up into the sky as an eagle circles round and round the sky. Wings extended almost motionless, with the occasional flick, it rode up and down on the wind seemingly effortlessly. No desperate wild flapping of wings just soaring on the wind.

The secret of soaring is in our hope.

but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40 v 31

Sunday, October 25, 2009

A next life epitaph

Over the last few days Liam has kept asking me what is on my bucket list. What would I like to do before I kick the bucket. I am obviously looking old!

Building an epitaph for the next life is more important than ticking boxes in this life. Reading what was said about Jehoram when he died is painful. "No one was sorry when he died." - 2 Cron 21 v 20

He was King but he was more interested in building his own Kingdom than God's Kingdom. His selfish efforts only brought alienation from his people.

Sure there are things I'd like to do but it is really more about what I become.

"God's Word preaches to me to BECOME like Christ... not merely to DO like Christ..."

Monday, October 19, 2009

Rethinking the Radio 4 God Slot

According to the Telegraph the BBC are being asked to rethink their long running "Thought for The Day". It is suggested that Radio 4's three-minute 'God slot' may be in breach of equality law by secularists.

So I thought we could spruce it up by bringing in the Rev I M Jolly.

Support the Byers family making a difference in Poland

As part of our missions giving we support the Byers family. Chris, Dana & family gave up their jobs packed up and headed over to Europe to assist churches spread the gospel.

Presently they are in Poland.

Here is an excerpt from an e mail Dana sent me with some exciting news:

"Church Online in Polish launches on 1 Nov! We realized that as messages are translated for Church Online in Polish, they will be archived in Polish at OPEN. (a ministry of So that makes us want to go to another foreign country where English isn't the primary language to translate a new Church Online experience into their language thereby providing resources in the local languages, too. This means the local churches have transcripts, materials, graphics, messages, and more to use for small groups, outreach, church planting...all very exciting for us!

It's wild seeing in some of these countries that they literally have NO Christian books or resources translated into their languages. Trusting this could provide a big boost for pastors on the Continent as more languages are available."

Please consider supporting them today by visiting

Saturday, October 17, 2009

How and when do you connect with God?

Some great practical advice by Matt Chandler of the Village Church about Solitude, Study, Prayer and Affection.

What works best for you?

Sweet Jesus Christ MY sanity

Watched and listened to this great song by Charlie Hall.

Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven, broken for me
Cup of salvation held up to drink
Jesus, Mystery

Christ has died and
Christ is risen,
and Christ will come again

Celebrate his death and rising
Lift your eyes, proclaim his come
Celebrate his death and rising
Lift you eyes, lift your eyes

Only Jesus can save me from my own crazyness and confusion that invades my life so often.

Patience is a virtue I seldom have

Patient Trust

Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.

And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually–let them grow,
Let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.

Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

(Via Flowerdust)

Friday, October 16, 2009

Meeting after 19 years

What would you do if you met a guy who had changed the course of your life by sponsoring you for 19 years. Find out below when Jimmy Wambua met Mark. If you want to jump right to it Jimmy starts speaking at 3.45.

Catalyst 2009 Compassion Moment from Catalyst on Vimeo.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Paralysed by the presence of God

13 The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God:
Yes! God is good!
His loyal love goes on forever!
Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God.

The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of God. 2 Chron 5 v 13 - 14
I don't have to wait for God's "cloud" to arrive.
The Holy Spirit has taken up residence.
I love serving God.
But when was the last time I was paralysed by the presence of God.
Stopped from my doing by a realisation of His Glory.
God force me to stop.
To be still in your presence.

Prioritize the Presence of God

This is lifted directly from Pastor Steven Furtick's website. Because I just could not put it any better. So why bother!

Your best innovation flows from revelation. You must prioritize the presence of God in your life.

More can be accomplished in a nanosecond of prayer, worship, and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit than a month’s worth of strategy meetings in the flesh.

Many leaders have created virtually no margin to make room for the kind of divine encounters that birth true vision and revolutionary concept. I can trace the genesis of many of the most important ideas in the history of our church to a specific moment in the presence of God. I can trace my most frustrating seasons to a deficiency of time allocated to my most important task: seeking the wisdom of the Lord.

What would Moses have missed had he never turned aside to see the burning bush?
If the leaders in the church in the book of Acts had neglected prayer and the Word to serve tables, how might the influence of the Gospel been impeded worldwide?

What revelation, inspiration, imagination and innovation is left undiscovered in your life because you’re failing to prioritize the presence of God?

Thank you Pastor Furtick for the reminder.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

God doesn't like pretty curtains anymore

When Solomon was building the temple he hung a spectacular curtain across the entrance to the most holy place. Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim. - 2 Cron 3 v 14

No matter how beautiful this curtain was it didn't represent the heart of God.

  • It created a division between God and His people.
  • It put God's relationship with His people in the hands of a select few.
God revealed his true heart when on the death of His Son this curtain was cut in half from top to bottom.

At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. - Matthew 27 v 51

God signals his intent that the way to God was open to all irrespective of colour, gender, nationality, good or bad. No one ever needed to have a second hand relationship through priest, father, prophet, pastor or leader ever again.

Don't hang up another curtain by handing your relationship with God to someone else.

Leadership Lessons from Chuck Swindoll

Chuck Swindoll recently shared at Catalyst some lessons that he had learned in 50 years of ministry.

  1. It’s lonely to lead.
    Leadership involves tough decisions. The tougher the decisions, the lonelier it is.
  2. It’s dangerous to succeed.
    It is dangerous to succeed while being young. rarely, does God give leadership that young because it takes crushing and failure first.
  3. It’s hardest at home.
    Nobody at home is applauding you. They say, “Dad! You’re fly is open.”
  4. It is essential to be real.
    If there is one realm where phoniness is personified it is leadership. What I care about is that you stay real.
  5. It is painful to obey.
    There are rewards, yes, but it is painful nevertheless.
  6. Brokenness and failure are necessary.
  7. My attitude is more important than my actions.
    Some of you are getting hard to be around. And your attitude covers all those great actions you pull off.
  8. Integrity eclipses image.
    What you are doing is not a show. And the best things you are doing is not up front but what you do behind the scenes.
  9. God’s way is better than my way.
    God is going to have His way.
  10. Christ-likeness begins and ends with humility.
Some great wisdom.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Feed Me, Feed Me Now!

I had the opportunity to share God's Word at MKCC on Sunday. Here are a couple of highlight videos from the preach. I also learned the following by watching it:

  • My hair is getting thinner.
  • I need to keep visiting the gym to reduce my belly a little more.
  • I hate an Anglified Scottish accent like mine.
  • Watching yourself on video is horrible.
And thanks to Roger Blackmore from whom I nicked the high chair illustration.


A.W. Tozer says,

”God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live in Him and draw our life from His smile.”

HT Louie Giglio @Catalyst

God's house

Solomon had an incredible start to his journey as King as he set out to build a temple in Jerusalem.

But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him? - 2 Chronicles 2 v 6

Solomon understood that all that was God could never be contained in a building no matter how magnificent it was. It would never be God's home. But it was to be a place where they could honour God with sacrifices.

God has never been and never never will be interested in buildings of wood, brick and stone. But he is interested in you and me where he can take up residence through the Holy Spirit. Somehow our weak frail bodies can become a home for God where the most amazing extravagant temple that was ever built could not.
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2 v 5

Monday, October 12, 2009

Youversion Live Meets MKCC

This past Sunday we used Youversion Live in our Sunday service for the first time at MKCC.

I mentioned some of the features here.

The event will stay live till later this week then we will replace it with information for the upcoming Sunday.

So if you want to watch a video of one of the songs we sung, register for one of our upcoming events, send a prayer request or recap on some of the Bible verses used visit:

On a mobile devise it should take you directly to the page on a laptop or desktop just click on the event Unstoppable on the right hand side of the page.

It's the next generation - stupid.

I am a bit thick some times. Some would say all the time. God has been reminding me time and time again about investing in the next generation.

So I head off to spend a couple of days at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit with many of the team from MKCC and God hits me between the eyes with the same thing. I learned loads and have much to process and implement but I was floored by a talk by Jessica Jackley a 26 year old lady who founded KIVA.

Jessica Jackley is co-founder of, the world's first peer-to-peer online micro-lending website. allows internet users to lend as little as $25 to entrepreneurs in the developing world, providing affordable capital to start or expand a small business. In just three years Kiva has helped raise over $61 million and connected thousands of people across 120 countries. - Willow Creek.
She started it at 21 yes that's 21! Amazing

I am only 46 and don't want to stop learning or hang up my boots any time soon but I do want to resource, encourage, equip & release the next generation with anything I have.

The I read today that King David pledged his own personal money to resource his son Solomon in building the temple. Something he missed out on but wanted it to happen so much that he dedicated his like to resourcing the vision. He recognised it was not about him but about God's Kingdom.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Want to be a slave of Christ?

When Paul and Timothy write to the believers in Philippi they introduce themselves with a strange description. They describe themselves as "Slaves to Christ".

I realise that slavery still exists in this world and it is abhorrent today that it has ever been and it should be fought in every for it manifests its self. But to me born and brought up in a small village in Scotland the living my life in the relative luxury of small town in England my life is far removed from the stench of slavery.

To these guys though in the first century it was an every day way of life. They knew all to well the weight of their words. Was the first place that Paul preached on European soil it was a roman colony a place where well to do Romans settled. Even members of the elite Praetorian Guard "retired" there. So it would seem that most of them owned slaves.

So Paul & Timothy introduce themselves as just that slaves of Christ. Bought for a price, owned lock stock and barrel, all rights gone & subject to every command for life.

Slavery would not have been their ultimate goal in life but Paul pulled no punches.

Recently it has become more vogue to describe ourselves as followers of Christ, which is great, but maybe we should start using "Slaves of Christ".

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

God's vision will outlast yours so get with the plot

Vision is a word that is said many times.

Covey suggests that we have a vision for our lives, "begin with the end in mind". Company's hang their vision statements on their wall and print mouse mats with the important words for all to see.

Of course churches have vision or should have. But God's vision is much larger than ours. Maybe I'm just getting older (although I don't class 6 as old) but making sure we prepare and pass on to the next generation is becoming more important to me.

In 1 Chronicles 22 v 5 we read that David collected vast amounts of building material, wealth and man power to enable the temple to be completed by his son.

He realised that he wasn't going to see the fulfilment of all his dreams but he was going to do everything he could to ensure the next generation had all it needed.

He could have become bitter and twisted but God's vision was more important that his part in. He became a champion of the next generation not a critic.

God needs fathers who will be more committed to His vision than their own.

The cost of Sexual Immorality

Sadly "Christian" marriages are not immune to the disaster of a partner having an affair. And even more frustratingly Pastors are not immune.

I read a post by the author Randy Alcorn where he recounts asking a friend & Christian leader what could have been done that would have stopped him having an affair. He replied: "If only I had really known, really thought through and weighed what it would cost me and my family and my Lord, I honestly believe I would never have done it."

To help himself Randy wrote a list of consequences of this type of sin in his life.

  • Grieving my Lord; displeasing the One whose opinion most matters.

  • Dragging into the mud Christ's sacred reputation.

  • Loss of reward and commendation from God.

  • Having to one day look Jesus in the face at the judgment seat and give an account of why I did it. Forcing God to discipline me in various ways.
  • Untold hurt to Nicola, my best friend and loyal wife.

  • Loss of Nicola respect and trust.

  • Hurt to and loss of credibility with my beloved children, Liam & Abbie.
Read more of Randys' list here then write yours so you FEEL the weight and the cost.

Isn't it funny what you are willing to give when your daddy will take care of you

This blew me away this week.

What can God trust me with?

Monday, October 05, 2009

YouVersion LIVE!

I am excited about some new developments coming to this week. (Well that is whats planned) YouVersion Live

Easily develop a web page that any mobile web enabled device can visit during your event: church service, youth service, conference, concert etc etc. (NB Not just iPhone but any web enabled mobile phone or laptop)

Add scripture, notes, polls, prayer request, questions & giving.

There are huge opportunities for this to help connect and equip people at your church or event.

Here is a video by Bobby Gruenwald & Terry Storch from who have developed the site. And best of all its all free!!!

There is always another Giant

One of David's finest hours was the slaying of Goliath of Gath. A huge giant killed with God's help by a sling and pebble.

But Goliath was not the only giant faced by God's people. Reading in 1 Chronicles 20 v 4 - 8 we can add the names: Saph, Lahmi (Goliaths brother) & a huge giant with extra fingers and toes.

So we can add the names of
Sibbecai from Hushah, Elhanan son of Jair & Jonathan, the son of David's brother Shimea, to the list of famous giant killers.

Following Jesus is not for the faint hearted there is always another giant to be faced and conquered.

It is interesting to note that this chapter starts with the recount of 2 Samuel 11 when David took his eye off the ball and fell to a completely different type of giant - lust.

There are all sorts of giants we have to face only 2 things are certain there will always be another one to face despite victories and they all can be beaten with God's help not our own strength.

The God that does things that are beneath Him

Listening to a podcast by Erwin McManus called "Jesus power over the little things", (Based on Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding party) he said this:

"It doesn't stretch my faith to think about God doing God sized things. What to me is unexplainable is that God would care about something like this. That God would somehow, if invited, involve himself in a wedding part running out of wine. When most of the people were already too drunk to notice. But he does.

The Unexplainable to me is not when God does something big that only God can do. The unexplainable to me is when God does something that I would think was normally beneath him. Something that didn't matter to Him it just mattered to me."
I am so thankful that God cares about me so much that he cares about the small details of my life.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

Silently waiting in the storm

Been praying for some people from MKCC that are facing some storms in their life at the moment and read the following quote:

”The ships at anchor in Spithead may swing too and fro with the tide, and pitch heavily in a south easterly gale, but so long as their anchors hold the ground they ride safely ….” - J C Ryle

It made me think again about the old Hymn, Will your anchor hold that I posted about here.

The storms can hit us and toss us about but with our soul anchored and grounded firm and deep in Jesus love he will pull us through.

Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. - Psalm 62 v 2

The hard part is silently waiting for God when you are in the storm.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Homeless God?

I have never lived in a house... - 1 Chronicles 17 v 5

David wanted to do God a favour he wanted to build Him a lavish house. God wanted to stay homeless! A house was not something that he lacked it was something that could never contain Him.

God pointed Nathan and David towards Jesus who would build a house that could truly reflect the glory of God. Jesus was to be the "chief cornerstone" and we were to be "living stones".

We have built many churches many are incredible structures of beauty and filled with wonderful art but they are just buildings. Sacred not.

But we as part of Jesus kingdom have become temples (homes) to the Holy Spirit bringing and demonstrating the values and beauty of His kingdom.

God is no longer homeless because he found the only home he ever wanted, you!

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Don't call youself a leader till your will to fight and die for someone

I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one. - Ezekiel 22 v 30

Someone once said that being in the will of God is the safest place to be. It suggests that if we are doing what God wants everything will be fine and dandy. A quick glance at Paul's life followed by a run through the heroes of the faith in Hebrews certainly suggests it is anything but.

We do not fight against mortal men but as the Bible puts it evil principalities and powers.

This reference in Ezekiel is even more scary because God is looking for a man to stand in the breach in the wall created by unrighteousness against God.

Now that's a scary place for a leader. I know that now Jesus has taken that place. He takes God's wrath, he becomes your substitute, he stands in the gap for us. But maybe just maybe there is an example for church leaders here.

Are you willing to stand in the gap for the people God has entrusted to you. Yes they will mess up, yes they will make stupid decisions, yes they will ignore your advice and end up in some dark places. But will you just criticise them or will you stand in the breach of their life, yes even created by themselves and fight for them.

Someone once said that you know someone is a leader because people are following them. Yes, but also, you know someone is a leader because of the people he is will to "fight and die" for.