Saturday, January 31, 2009

To Trust

“We're not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be” - C S Lewis

Difficult Day

Today is a difficult day for our MKCC Family. Today we celebrated the life of Michael Ogunji who went to be with Jesus at the age of 9. Our thoughts and prayers are with Mum & Dad and Sister at this difficult time.

In his few short years Michael impacted so many people and why Jesus would take him we don't understand.

Michaels' favourite song was:

I lay my life down at Your feet
'Cause You're the only one I need
I turn to You and You are always there
In troubled times it's You I seek
I put You first that's all I need
I humble all I am, it's all to You

One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for
One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for
You are always, always there
Every hour and every where
Your grace abounds so deeply within me
You will never ever change
Yesterday today the same
Forever till forever meets no end

One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for

You are the Way, the Truth and the Life
We live by faith and not by sight for You,
We're living all for You

One way, Jesus
You're the only one that I could live for

We will all miss Michael but now he is with the one he lived for.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Growth required

Exodus 1

At least a generation has passed since Israel and his 70 descendants had moved to Egypt to get away from the famine. Joseph and all his brothers had died and now a new Pharaoh ruled. He was scared of the way that the Israeli people were growing so enslaved them. I found v 12 very challenging:

But the more the Egyptians oppressed them, the more the Israelites multiplied and spread, and the more alarmed the Egyptians became.

It reminded me of another account of God's people in the book of Acts. Facing incredible persecution this is what is said about them:

But the believers who were scattered preached the Good News about Jesus wherever they went. Acts 8 v 4

The kingdom is everything.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

When God Seems Unfair

This weekend sees the start of our brand new series based on the book of Habakkuk.

I am really looking forward to seeing what God has to say to us. Habakkuk tackles some hard questions. He questions God's inaction and actions. He does the unthinkable and questions God. Is it even right to question God. Read here.

Some things in life we just don't understand they make us sit up and say: What? Why? What are you doing God? That is just not fair.

He lived at a time of huge upheaval in the world everything was changing, no one knew what the future held, but one thing for sure it didn't look good.

Join us on Sunday 8.30 am, 10:15 am or 12 noon as we start to unpack this story.

Thanks to Open for the video and graphics - they give them away free!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

When second-hand is not good enough

A few years ago while working up in Leamington Spa I discovered they had very good charity shops. Sticking to my Scottish roots I picked up quite a few bargains and my wardrobe has probably never been as full. To me second-hand was great. I had some great clothes and still had money in the bank.

However my mum was aghast that I would buy and wear clothes someone else had worn. Somebody I didn't even know. To her second-hand was just not good enough.

Read this quote today by Matt Chandler which suggests one area that second-hand just does not work.

"Avoid myths,
pursue godliness. When all you know about God is learned through someone else’s relationship with God, you cannot truly know him."

God gives a discount

Genesis 47 v 24

God clearly teaches us to be generous in our time, talent and treasure. From the very outset he instituted the practice of giving back to God. People brought offerings from their crops or livestock.

In the law that he gave Israel he quantified a tithe (a tenth) of their wealth to be given to God.

I realise that some people have a discussion about a whether this tithe follows through to the New Testament but this story in Genesis 47 made that discussion seem irrelevant.

The people of this time were so desperate for food they had sold everything to buy it, livestock, possession, homes and land. They even sold themselves as slaves. Finally Joseph struck up a deal where the government gave them seeds but when the crops came they had to give 20% back to the government. They were overjoyed and even saw this as generous on the part of the government.

They were saved from starvation so were more than happy to part with 20%. Now in the light of what Jesus has done for us what percentage are we prepared to give back to him? Suddenly 10% seems small.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

The Place to Be

Seems like the place to be is Snow Cafe at the xscape on a Monday night. No its not a new Life Group. Thanks to Rachel doing regular lessons for many of the Young People many of us are hanging out in the Cafe waiting for our teenagers to come off the slopes. (Notice we are not on the slopes!)

So if you want a Pastoral appointment pop in and you could meet our:

Nicola - Children's Pastor
Bev - Pre School Pastor
Laura - Community Kids Pastor (New title I just made up)
Ryan - Youth Pastor
Sean - Youth Pastor
Alison - Ladies Pastor
Mark - Senior Pastor
and Myself but you really do not want a pastoral appointment with me!

God is behind it

Genesis 45 v 5

On revealing his true identity to his brothers Joseph tells them not to be afraid and then makes an incredible statement.

God was behind it. God sent me here ahead of you to save lives.

A few short words but pungent with meaning. Joseph had experienced huge things in his life.

* Beaten up by his brothers
* Separated from his father
* Sold into slavery
* Accused of rape
* Falsely condemned and imprisoned for years
* Let down by his friends

Sometimes we think if the car wont start God is against us. In today’s Christianity I think someone would have been telling Joseph he must of sinned or offended God. God was punishing him for some wrong doing. But it would seem that even when EVERYTHING was going wrong he was in the centre of God's plan.

Reminding myself today that God's plan in not always going to be blessing it is a journey of faith when things are dark. In Josephs words:

God was behind it.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Simple Leadership

Genesis 42

I have heard it said that "Everything rises and falls on Leadership".

Leadership is not the only ingredient but it is the one that holds all the others together.

It is true in businesses, families, organisations and even in church. You can see it manifest in many ways. One Life Group is packed out each week another struggles to attract anyone. One ministry is always stuttering because it has a lack of volunteers whilst another despite the same challenges works like a dream. You don't have to look far outside the leader. (Now that does not mean the leader is a bad person just that their leadership gifting or ability can't quite carry it off. One thing I know about that situation from personal experience is release usually means relief for the leader)

Here in the opening few verses of Genesis 46 we have a crisis of leadership. 11 men destined to be the heads of the tribes of God's people when face with a difficulty sat around looking at each other. It took Jacob's leadership to break them out of their paralysed state. Go to where the food is - simple.

This tells me that leadership is not necessarily dreaming up and doing the complicated it’s most often seeing that the simple things need to be done.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

NewSpring Internet Campus

Newspring Church are testing their Internet Campus today. It should launch fully next weekend. Click here

They have a Londoner as Campus Pastor - Nick Charalambous

Check out their blog here.

Our Father

Some advice from the Bush Twins to the Obama girls.

Remember who your dad really is.

I am so thankful that I have two incredible dad's. One here on planet earth and one in heaven.

Not I But God

Genesis 41 v 16

Not I But God - These are the words spoken by Joseph when he is standing in front of Pharaoh. This was the turning point of Joseph's life. Years in preparation for this exact moment and he understands the most important factor. Anything he did was not by his expertise but God.

This is an attitude of a person God can and will use. I am sure that this is one of the lessons that Joseph had to learn in his years of obscurity and difficulty. Disliked and sold into slavery by his brothers, falsely accused by his masters wife, wrongly imprisoned for a crime he did not commit, let down by his friends and given up for dead by his father.

Some would say God was punishing him for wrong doing but actually God was preparing him for His plan. Broken, melted and moulded he understood that this was not about him but it was about God.

Now God could trust him with influence.

Read the Bible through in a year

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Bono - A World Dream

Just because I fell in love with U2 music since I heard it for the first time back in 1980.

Got Leadership

Over at What Leadership Matters, Shane wrote an incredible post on Leadership. I agree with his statement:

"Leadership skills and methods can be learned but I’m of the opinion that true leadership ability is a gift that cannot be learned or grown into."

He then
listed some qualities found in a real leader and it sent my mind all over the place. Here they are:

A real leader…

• looks to get involved in solving problems instead of running from them.
• defends his team first before making excuses for himself.
• rejects offers to leave his team for the sake of personal advancement.
• knows when he is placing a lid on the ones he leads and is quick to get out of their way.
• inspires those he leads with his commitment, care, attitude and effort… and then his words… if necessary.
• is followed.
• speaks truth in love and never forsakes the vision or lowers the bar.
• inspires growth without demanding it from those he leads.
• is one his people want to be around and not one they dread seeing.
• has a desire to be led and not left alone.
• realizes that he is a part of the team… not above or better than the team.
• encourages and invites critique of his abilities from the ones he leads.
• sees defeat as a learning experience and not the end of the world.
• stays calm in the midst of calamity and does his best leading when the times are the toughest.
• doesn’t make decisions by looking at popular opinion or traditional values.
• challenges the status quo and risks his reputation to do so… not for notoriety or gain, but because its the right thing to do.

Read the full post here.

I need some help God!

Full steam ahead

It feels like I came back from holiday, blinked and January has almost gone. Busyness seems to be a constant in our lives but busyness is only good if it is on the right things.

Nicola is off to a Young Leaders Training day with Abbie and Liam. It is brilliant that we are investing time and effort into these young people. They give so much to our church serving in so many ways particularly in all our children's activities. They put some of us adults to shame.

So I have headed down to Costa to do some work thinking about last week. Here are some of the things I have put my mind too:

  • Weekly tactical meeting with staff
  • Daily check in meetings with staff refining daily priorities
  • Initiating staff appraisals
  • Been involved in umpteen decisions on the Nursery with Ian and our project manager Dave Starr. (By the way its looking awesome - should be finished in March hoping to get Nicola to do an update video next week.
  • Finalised 2009 budgets for MKCC and Ultimate Events.
  • Developed equipment budget for Kidz Church relaunch in new space.
  • Worked with the project manager on procurement strategy for New Build.
  • Teaching team meeting looking at upcoming message series.
  • Visited God.TV to discuss partnership with Ultimate Events.
  • Working on our new teaching series starting next Sunday - Habakkuk - When God seems unfair. Have not preached for a while so looking forward to it.
My life is nothing but varied.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Church Competition

A few weeks ago I wrote this post about the possibility of churches working together on using buildings.

Today I was catching up on some reading on my Google reader and came across this post by Seth Godin - In Search of Competition.

It made me start to think about ways we could actually create this competition in our churches.

Now just a quick note on competition. I know that churches are not in competition with each other although if many pastors were totally honest. When they hear about a church down the road that is growing quicker than theirs, there very often is a tinge of I wish that was our church.

Once you have read Seth's post here think about ways that we could actually foster the "competition" that would create this excitement and audience.

Here a my quick thoughts:

  • Start another service with a very different worship style.
  • Invite another church to start a service at a different time in your premisis.
  • Support someone planting a church in your town and city.
  • Provide a base for another church ministry to function from.
  • Send volunteers or staff members to another church to assist in an area where they are in need say a Musician.
  • Share your resources. - Nowadays we produce all sorts of resource that is time consuming, literature, videos & props to name a few.
Please suggest some more or tell me I am barking mad.

Kingdom or silo thinking.

MLK Wisdom

Came across this quote by Martin Luther King over at Mark Batterson's blog.

“If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted, or Beethoven composed music, or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the host of heaven will pause to say, 'There lived a great street sweeper who did his job well'."

A reminder of who is looking in on my day today.

Too Busy

This kicked me in the gut this morning.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Rick Warren Invocation

Honestly I didn't even know what an invocation was till today. But if you have to do one who better than Pastor Rick.

Let us pray.

Almighty God -- our Father. Everything we see, and everything we can’t see, exists because of you alone. It all comes from you. It all belongs to you. It all exists for your glory. History is your story. The Scripture tells us, ‘Hear, Oh Israel, the Lord is our God, the Lord is one.’ And you are the compassionate and merciful one. And you are loving to everyone you have made.

Now today we rejoice not only in America’s peaceful transfer of power for the 44th time, we celebrate a hinge-point of history with the inauguration of our first African-American president of the United States. We are so grateful to live in this land, a land of unequaled possibility, where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of our leadership. And we know today that Dr. King, and a great cloud of witnesses, are shouting in heaven.

Give to our new president, Barack Obama, the wisdom to lead us with humility, the courage to lead us with integrity, the compassion to lead us with generosity. Bless and protect him, his family, Vice-President Biden, the cabinet, and every one of our freely elected leaders.

Help us, oh God, to remember that we are Americans, united not by race, or religion, or blood, but to our commitment to freedom, and justice for all.

When we focus on ourselves, when we fight each other, when we forget you, forgive us. When we presume that our greatness and our prosperity is ours alone, forgive us. When we fail to treat our fellow human beings and all the earth with the respect that they deserve, forgive us.

And as we face these difficult days ahead, may we have a new birth of clarity in our aims, responsibility in our actions, humility in our approaches, and civility in our attitudes -- even when we differ.

Help us to share, to serve, and to seek the common good of all. May all people of good will today join together to work for a more just, a more healthy, and a more prosperous nation, and a peaceful planet. And may we never forget that one day, all nations and all people will stand accountable before you.

We now commit our new president, and his wife Michelle, and his daughters, Malia and Sasha, into your loving care.

I humbly ask this in the name of the one who changed my life -- Yeshua, Isa, Jesús, Jesus -- who taught us to pray:

Our father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name. Thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil, for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever.

A dream comes true?

28th August 1963

20th January 2008

Monday, January 19, 2009

Everybody can be great becuase everyone can serve

Mark posted this on his blog but at the risk of upsetting one or two of my American friends I thought it was so good I had to post it here.

(Please do not boycott or slag me off this is not a political post)

Two reasons I thought that this was brilliant:

1. The quote from Martin Luther King jnr is incredible: "Everybody can be great because everyone can serve". It’s a reminder of the example of Jesus - Servant hood.

2. The way that Obama's political campaigns have embraced new forms of communication, which has engaged and mobilised individuals is truly brilliant. In their endeavours to get the message out they have used traditional methods like TV and print media but they way they have leveraged the Internet is quite new to the world of politics.

It is so much more than visit our website they truly embraced Web 2.0 and social media. Forums, YouTube, Facebook, Twitter etc etc.

We have a slightly better message than vote for Obama to get out there. Instead of discussing weather a facebook friend is really a friend, or if someone attends an internet campus are they really attending church and lets start to really use every method we have available to us.

Titanic God

God’s love is meteoric, his loyalty astronomic,
His purpose titanic, his verdicts oceanic.
Yet in his largeness nothing gets lost;
Not a man, not a mouse,
slips through the cracks.

Psalm 36 v 5 & 6

Double Blessing

Genesis 32

Years earlier Jacob had obtained the blessing that was due to his brother Esau. Now after years away he stands on the eve of meeting his brother again. Scared and unsure of his welcome by Esau he continues to claim God's promises for his life:

Gen 32 v 12 - You yourself said, ‘I will treat you well; I’ll make your descendants like the sands of the sea, far too many to count.’”

Then while praying he is confronted by a man. Clearly Jacob recognises that this is no normal man and he demands a blessing. He grasps hold of the man and will not let go until he is blessed. Even though he is left crippled by the encounter his persistence changed his name and his future. Jacob recognized that the man he was wresting with was God.

That day his name meaning "Heel" was changed to Israel - God Wrestler.

He may not have always gone about things in the right way but Jacob was not prepared to just accept the hand he was dealt in life. He was not going to give up even if it meant getting in a wrestling match with God.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Quick way to an early grave

Last year Krispy Kreme came to Milton Keynes. I was happy and sad at the same time. Happy because they sell incredible donuts! Sad because I really can not have any if I wasn't my waistline to remain static and my heart to keep pumping.

But this must be a sure way to clog up your heart- Krispy Kreme Bacon Cheese Burgers!!

Invaded have recently being doing a series called Invasion. They are using it to invade people within their church with video cameras and share how have impacted their lives.

Here is a little video of when they invaded our friends Chris & Dana Byers in London.

Invasion: The Byers from kevin ely on Vimeo.

Message from Pastor Rick

Rick Warren has the privilege of speaking at the US President Inauguration this coming week. Here is a copy of an e mail he sent out this week. Please pray for him this week.

"You are one of the many pastors and friends I've known, served, or partnered with over the past 35 years. It has been my humble privilege.

I bleed for pastors, and I pray for pastors all the time. I understand the frustrations, share your hurt, and rejoice in your victories whenever you write.

Praying for other co-laborers in ministry is far more important than many of the things I do, because your ministry of pastoring - the calling to care for a local Body of Christ - is the greatest responsibility one can be given on earth. If you understand what life, the Cross, the Church, and the future are all about, you know that nothing else compares in significance. Period.

Today, our culture idolizes entertainment, sports, business success, political power, and prosperity. While these have their place, Jesus did not die for any of these things. He died for the people that you care for, feed, and lead.

Nothing matters more than the Church. We forget that the reason God created the entire universe is because he wanted a family, and that family is the only thing that will last forever with Him. Everything else on this planet is temporary, no matter how much attention it gets.

The upcoming U.S. presidential inauguration on Tuesday has received so much attention, and regardless of how each of us voted, we all can celebrate the historic installation of our first African-American President. To live in a free nation of unlimited possibility where the son of an African immigrant can rise to the highest level of leadership is a privilege we must never take for granted.

But, in God's eyes, and in the perspective of his eternal purposes, what you are doing will actually last longer than what any political leader will do. Your ministry will impact eternity. Think about that! While no nation lasts forever, God's family will. Remember, prominence and significance are not synonymous.

Why am I writing? To urge you to keep on, no matter what you're facing right now. 30 years ago this week, as a 25 year old, I started Saddleback with a public commitment to stay 40 years. It's never been without it's challenges, but God-willing, I'll fulfill my commitment to pastor this local congregation that I love so much.

Please pray that I'll bring glory to God and represent all pastors well on Tuesday. Then on Wednesday, we'll share our next Pastor's Connection Webcast from our nation's capitol. I hope you can join us for more encouragement. I'll have a lot to share! Join us live at 2:00pm (EST) for the conversation. If you can't join me live, we'll post the video here.

Never give up! Love God, and everyone else! Fear nothing on earth. Overcome evil with good!"

Rick Warren
Saddleback Church

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Nuff Said

Let’s get the word out. God met me more than halfway, he freed me from my anxious fears. Look at him; give him your warmest smile. Never hide your feelings from him. When I was desperate, I called out, and God got me out of a tight spot. God’s angel sets up a circle of protection around us while we pray. Open your mouth and taste, open your eyes and see— how good God is. - David, Psalm 34 v 3 - 8

God's will

Genesis 30

What a crazy account of God's chosen people. From this mess came the tribes of Israel that God had promised so much. It continues to amaze me how God can work through the mess we cause.

What strikes me most about this chapter is how time and time again the characters continue to do wrong while passing it off as God's will. The story reads almost like a modern day cult where much bed swapping goes on.

I don't suppose many of us would dare try to excuse such crazy behaviour as God's will today but maybe just maybe we would use the its God's Will card to silence any doubters to our actions. I have seen this happen so often. In a conversation you question what someone is doing and the reply is that God has told them. Well then you have no where to go.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Bobby Gruenewald Visiting the UK

In March Bobby Gruenewald is doing a series of seminars in the UK in partnership with Willow Creek. I have had the great privilege of meeting Bobby and some of the other leaders of They have an incredible heart to assist and equip churches around the world and have committed huge amount of time and money to this cause without looking for anything back.

If you are involved in church leadership in any way and or have an interest in leveraging technology to help with the mission try to get along.

Dates are: March 16 London | March 17 St Albans | March 18 Liverpool

And best of all its free if you book in advance.

Here is an extract from Willow Creek UK website.

"As Pastor and Innovation Leader for, Bobby Gruenewald is passionate about exploring new ideas and finding practical ways to leverage them for the global Church.

Bobby is a member of the Leadership Team at, based in Edmond, Oklahoma and named by Outreach Magazine as the fifth-largest church in the United States.

They have shaped a missional approach to technology, seen in initiatives like the Internet Campus,,, and the Bible App for iPhone and BlackBerry.

Along with a strong belief that churches can accomplish more working together, he and his team have led projects like One Prayer and, as well as the Open, Network and United operations at

Bobby is one of the leading voices in the Church as it relates to innovation and the use of technology to reach people for Christ. He frequently writes and speaks on the topic, including multiple Willow Conferences and an interview by Bill Hybels for Defining Moments. He regularly posts about his ideas at, a blog he shares with Senior Pastor, Craig Groeschel. Bobby and his wife, Melissa, have one daughter, Audrey, and a son, Robbie.

Read more and book here.

If you attend MKCC let me know if you wish to attend and we can register you.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Irrational Obedience

Here is a short video by Dana Byers about how they are obeying God in their lives. We supported the live experience from MKCC. Keep praying for Chris & Dana and family as they seek to obey God in their work in London.

Mad Church Disease

I thought a great name for a book - Mad Church Disease by Anne Jackson. I had the opportunity to meet Anne (Along with hundreds of others - she wouldn't know me from Adam) at a conference earlier this year.

Her book is a brutally honest look at her experiences as a Pastors Kid growing up and leadership experiences. She says:

"Generally speaking, most people in ministry feel like they have to exhibit a professional spiritual front….we pretend we have it all together when in reality, we’re keeping quiet about the areas we’re struggling in. We feel like we have to have it all together in order to lead, and if we were really honest and maybe even confessed something, we’d lose our jobs or be removed from our positions of leadership. By keeping our junk inside, we’re operating in our own strength (not to mention we’re sinning!) and we disconnect from our relationship with Christ."

I have pre-ordered the book from Amazon if you are in any type of Church leadership I suggest you do the same here.

We can carry on living life the same with all our fronts and great words or in the words of Anne: "It actually takes getting off your bum and doing something though…there’s no magic pill."

Think that could be a manta for so much of the consumeristic mind set that has transitioned from our culture into the church, where we look for an instant formula for everything and if we don't get it we blame someone else - usually the pastor!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Don't come to church

Oh how I wish this attitude existed in church when I was growing up. Every time the World Cup final was on I missed it because we always had church and I always had to be there! Thinking about even if I could have stayed at home I would not have been able to watch it because television viewing on Sundays was high on the league table of sins. This is my kind of church!

Super Bowl Promo 2009 from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Give it all

Thought this song fitted in well with our series at MKCC on Surrender. Great words.

We will give it all to you
even through the rise and fall
We will give it all to you my God
I will give it all to you
cos even when I am weak you're srtong
We will give it all to you.

"Give it all" from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

One Prayer Update

Those of you from MKCC will remember we took part in a series called One Prayer last year. (We for those of you who were with us in June 2008).

As part of the series we took our offering for a week and sent to the One Prayer Missions Project. We partnered with other One Prayer churches to make a lasting difference in the world through an ambitious mission initiative: planting 500 new churches in Cambodia, India, Sudan, and China in 18 months. God has blessed this effort, and through the leadership of Granger Community Church and their partner organization EnterMission, all four geographical areas are on target (or ahead of schedule) to meet that goal.

* 364 participants (pastors/planters) have been enrolled
* 5,910 evangelistic contacts have been made
* 3,328 people have participated in Bible Study
* 598 individuals have been baptized
* 74 churches have been planted

Read more here

We are looking forward to a brand new series in June 2009. This year the title is: God is ______ .

How would you fill in the blank.

Jesus' Parentage

Read an interesting article in this months Christianity magazine by David Instone-Brewer.

"What words would you associate with Jesus? Loving? Radical? Saviour? What about ... bastard?" Drawing from personal experience. David looks at how it would have been for Jesus to grow up with whispered sneers.

"In Nazareth, everyone knew the scandal of Jesus birth - it occurred less than 9 months after his parents marriage."

"The question of His parentage was a scandal which he bore with all those who are falsely branded with moral disapproval for something outside their control - those who don't know their parents, rape victims, and those whose sexuality is forever damaged by child abuse.

The scandal of Jesus' illegitimacy is a further demonstration that when God became human, he shared all our suffering and redeemed every aspect of our fallen humanity so that he could represent and redeem everyone."

ps. Unfortunately the article does not seem to be online yet but check out here later to see if they add it.

No Going Back

I was reading today about Abraham's arrangement with his servant to find his son Isaac a wife. (Gen 24)

In our western culture a strange way of doing things but to them and to parts of the world even today common practice.

What struck me was the force in which Abraham spoke to his servant when he suggested the possibility of taking Isaac back to his homeland. Abraham was on a promise and a call from God for him and his family. He knew that going back was not an option.

Compromise was not an option. It could have been the easy way out. The suggestion could have been made that if Isaac was introduced to his future wife and spent some time with her he would help her to see the light and join him in God's promise. But Abraham knew that this was just compromise dressed up in nice words.

This has some direct relevance to something close to me heart, with two teenagers now in the house, don't compromise to find a partner for life. I probably sound like an old kill joy but I am sad to see so many young people with a heart for God, compromise and allow their heart to go cold for God for a partner who does not know God.

God had a Rebekah waiting for Isaac. She was well worth waiting for because as well as having incredible character the Bible tells us she was hot!

Don't compromise, trust God, his option is always better.

Friday, January 09, 2009

El Shaddai

This morning I got one of those phone calls that you just don't want to get. Mark called to tell me that the young son of an awesome couple in our church had died suddenly.

This morning in talking to God I have asked God to comfort mum and dad, asked Him why? told Him I just don't understand Him sometimes.

Today in my readings I read a name for God which was a favourite of the patriarchs, especially Jacob and Job - El Shaddai. In most English translations it is usually translated Almighty but more accurately it would read "God who is sufficient".

It is easy to say God is sufficient when things are ok but on days like today its much harder to mean. Job in all his distress used the name 39 times. Maybe he was just trying to remind himself over and over again as he struggled to live in a place of belief and trust with all that was going on in his life.

I will have to keep reminding myself today that God is El Shaddai and continue to pray for God to be sufficient for this family.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

No Regrets?

Regrets from Igniter Media on Vimeo.

All Churches Die ... Some Churches never really live

My friend Roger Blackmore did a great post today on the 3 stages of a churches development. Its a great read. Click here.

He based his thoughts on a quote I read every day as I pass a huge poster of William Wallace (Mel Gibson) at the top of my stairs. The original quote is:

"All men die but not all men truly live."

Death is certain how we live is up for grabs. In Roger's words our choice is Settle Down or Surge Forward. One life surging forward into the promises of God is transformational. A group of Jesus followers, a church, grasping hold of the heart of God is unstoppable.

Lets keep asking: What next?

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Effective Evangelism

On our rearranged trip with Delta we were allocated vouchers for an overnight hotel - Comfort Inn at Atlanta Airport. So off we headed to the shuttle bus pick up point to be transported to our hotel. Along with 200 others as an other Delta flight had just arrived late and everyone had missed their connections.

At the pick up point there were buses for every hotel you could imagine but no Comfort Inn. So we waited. 10 minutes passed and other buses came and went but still no Comfort Inn. Then a bus for the Double Tree Inn pulled up. This enormous driver stepped out and asked if we wanted Double Tree. I explained I was waiting for the comfort inn shuttle. He asked to see my voucher, and I certainly was not going to argue with him. On looking at it he said: You don't want to be going all the way out there. Double Tree is only 5 minutes away (Not that I knew any better) we will honour that voucher. Get on the bus!"

On getting on I found it crammed with people. On talking to them however I couldn't find anyone on the bus who actually had a Double Tree voucher. He had gone round everyone who was standing at the bus station and scooped them all up. They were all heading for different destinations but he "invited" us all on to the bus going to the one destination.

The ironic thing was once the bus was full someone with a Double Tree voucher couldn't get on and had to wait for his return.

Standing on a crowded bus at 1 am in the morning not knowing where I was going I felt God saying to me evangelism is that simple. It doesn't matter where people are going tell them they will be accepted no matter what where you are going and invite them to get on the bus.

If evangelism is a gift this guy had it in spades.

I'm back (Almost)

For all 2 of you who read my thoughts here you will be glad to know I am back, or maybe you are not so glad!

Our 2 week break in Florida was unexpectedly extended by a day and return to the UK from the US through Italy.

Our Delta flight from Orlando meant a change at Atlanta airport late on Friday night. On getting there it was apparent that the flight was way over booked. They started asking for volunteers to choose to travel the next day instead. Not that interesting until I realised that anyone choosing to do this would receive $600 each for flights with delta. So I reckoned that $2400 would easily obtain for us another holiday in Florida in 2009 at no cost to us.

They gave us vouchers for a hotel for the night and for breakfast, lunch and dinner and re booked our flights for the next day. Only downside we had to fly through Rome to get back to the UK. It was a long couple of days but every time I got a bit fed up I just said to my self - $2400.

So now a day late I'm back in the office, well my body is hopefully my mind will catch up soon.

Florida here we come in 2009.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Span the world

This is the first time I have spent a New Years Day outside of my home village of Inverallochy.

Coming to Florida at this time of year has been a great experience but today looking out into a bright sunny day I feel my thoughts turning to what is probably a cold rainy village in the North East of Scotland.

Today people will be waking up a little more bleary eyed than usual. Some will not have even gone to bed as they have "first fitted" all night. (Going from house to house eating and drinking all night)

The annual walk as I write this will just be returning from St Combs to end at the war memorial to lay a wreath and play a "stannin beat" by the flute band to honour the soldiers from the village lost in the war.

Then my family will sit down for a great New Years Day dinner cooked by my dad.

The table will be a little more empty this year. We are here in Florida some 5 hours behind them just getting up. When I called my sister Marina had just got off the phone with my dad. She is in Australia and just going to bed.

I miss home today.

ps. (For any belgers out there) a ken i phota is i quitie walk bit a quidna fin a phota o i belger walk on iternet.