Friday, February 27, 2009

Don't forget a single blessing!

Psalm 103

v2 O my soul, bless God, don’t forget a single blessing!

In a week that has been traumatic for our family with news that is difficult to take my reading this morning has made me sit up and take notice. I am not sure what place the writer of this song finds himself but it almost feels like he is trying to drag himself out of a hole.

He challenges himself to not forget the blessings God has brought into his life. To shift his focus from self to God's goodness and faithfulness to him. For line after line he then lists how God has impacted his life finishing with the crescendo of challenging everyone, everywhere in all situations to praise this great God.

At the best of times it is so easy to forget the good things and focus on the bad. Someone can say 100 good things about you but somehow its the one negative thing that sticks. The songwriter is reminding himself and us that what God says about us and does for us should never be a footbote to be skimmed over.

Take a moment to remember every single blessing God has brought into your life this week.

  • I continue to be astounded at God's grace and love for me even when I continue to let him down.
  • I thank him for stepping into my life 35 years ago and even though I have had my doubts he never has.
  • I get the amazing awesome privilege to spend my time working with Him to build his church.
  • He brought my amazing wife into my life which I just cannot imagine life without.
  • He gave me the gift of 2 children.
  • He surrounded me with friends that I do not deserve.
  • He takes time out to speak to me when I listen.
  • In the toughest of times he feels my pain and carries me when I cannot even stand.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Men of Prayer

Yesterday I started reading a book by Anne Jackson - Mad Church Disease. It really is a great read especially if you are a church leader, staff member or volunteer or any other profession where you may battle with burn out.

Anne quoted from an old book I read years ago "Preachers & Prayer" by E M Bounds that really hit home:

"What the church needs today is not more machinery or better, not new organisations or more and novel methods, but men whom the Holy Ghost can use - men of Prayer, men mighty in prayer. The Holy Ghost does not flow through methods, but through men. He does not come on machinery, but on men. He does not anoint plans, but men - men of prayer."

Don't get me wrong I love innovation and new things. I am always keen to learn in using new ways leveraging new ideas, new technology. But we must always be careful not to make that stuff the be all and end all. Our relationship with God must always come first.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Listen to your Lady

Thanks to Mike Foster over at Deadly Viper for hooking me up with this video used by Central Church recently for a teaching series. Very funny.

Ever wonder why you are in God's Kingdom?

Watch this:

Where it matters most

Psalm 101

v 2) I’m finding my way down the road of right living, but how long before you show up? I’m doing the very best I can, and I’m doing it at home, where it counts.

Yesterday Mark told me about yet another Pastor who had messed things up by getting into a relationship he should not have. Proof yet again that the title Pastor does not put you out of the way of temptation.

So often we can look the part, say the right things and give an impression of Spiritual maturity but no matter who we are we can't fake it at home. I am convinced if we get it right there we will get it right everywhere.

Home is very often where my worst side manifest the most. Somehow because you are around the people that love you the most sometime you can be the most unguarded. The real me appears and sometimes I don't like the real me.

Some of the things that I see in myself that I know damage my most important relationships: Selfishness, Impatience & Lazyness. There are much more but I think that is enough for now.

Help me God to do IT at home where it counts!

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Dreamteam Summit

Just finished putting together this video about the Dreamteam Summit (MKCC Children's Ministry) that took place recently.

All the volunteers got the opportunity to visit and pray for our children in the Kidz Church area that is being refurbished at the moment. We will show in church in a couple of Sundays time but you get a sneak preview.

Dreamteam Sumit 09 from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Acts of Kindness

Last Sunday Mark kicked off our brand new series called Revolutionary Love taking about What Matters Most. This Sunday Steve will be looking at the subject - Love is Kind.

We will also be launching a initiative where we all can get involved in demonstrating this Revolutionary Love of Jesus through simple acts of kindness.

It is our goal to share Jesus’ revolutionary, “no strings attached” love with as many people as possible throughout Milton Keynes through simple acts of kindness.

This may happen through a free car wash, a free mars bar, coffee or a free bottle of water its up to you.

Read more about it here and also download some cards that you can use. (Or pick them up from church on Sunday)

Revolutionary Love Intro from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

More love

Toady we started a brand new series at MKCC - Revolutionary Love. I read today a prayer by Peter Marshall a Scottish American preacher who served as Chaplain to the US Senate in 1937. The language is a little dated but the prayer for more love is awesome.

"Father, as I draw near to Thee in prayer, I am aware of the poverty of my love for thee.

I have often given my heart to unworthy causes.
I have loved money and sought my security in it.
I have loved comfort and ease.
I have loved power and influence over others.

How strange it is that of all the things we humans love, our Lord, who is love and goodness and grace, should Himself receive so little love.

Yet I cannot manufacture the love I should bear Thee, even as I have not manufactured the love I feel for others. Thou art the giver of love. Except Thou bestow it, I cannot have it.

And so, my Father, wilt Thou give me the gift of love? Then I shall love Thee, and loving Thee, shall love other men - and compassion shall rise within me, warm and sweet.

But I ask not merely to love those easy to love. Help me to love those who are hard to live with. Give me a concern for the needs of others, not on the basis of barter or exchange - not love given for love received - but love given to the unlovely for Christ’s sake.

Then shall my love partake of Thine, who dares to own me still. In the name of Him who is the King of Love. Amen."

Habakkuk Revisited

A few people have commented to me that somehow my teaching on Habakkuk over the last few weeks have helped them. I am so glad that somehow a few of the words I spoke connected them to a living God that loves them so much.

Many of the words and thoughts belonged to others as I gleaned then from the various books, blogs, websites I read and the video's I watched to prepare for the series. I trust that I also heard from God a little as I read His word and tried to listen to His voice. This is open for everyone of us. God is waiting to speak to you you just need to listen.

Honestly, I have gone through some minor difficulties in my life, but know only too well that so many people are facing real difficult even life challenging situations. My heart and prayers go out to them.

Just today I read of 2 more families who are wrestling with God and learning to trust:

Josh Turner & his daughter Riley


Jason & Jess Smithers

Saturday, February 21, 2009

1 Corinthians 13

Tomorrow at MKCC we launch a brand new series based on one of the most well know passages in the New Testament. In his letter to the church at Corinth church leader Paul laid out an incredible description of love.

Here is a wordcloud from wordie of that incredible chapter.

Your faith outranks your fear

Read this quote over on my friend Andrews blog today:

If your faith outranks your fear

At MKCC we have been looking over the last few weeks at a guy called Habakkuk who had huge questions because bad things were happening and he had huge questions. After taking a journey of questioning, wresting, listening, waiting, remembering, accepting and finally trusting God he arrived at a place where his faith outranked his fear.

A great place to be but not an easy destination to get to but a journey worth embarking on. Don't let fear control you start wrestling towards faith.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Revolutionary Love v Hatred

Read today that the Government had banned two members of the Westboro Baptist Church, an American religious sect which calls for homosexuals to be killed, from entering the UK. Read the full article here.

From what I have seen of them so far they preach a gospel more of judgement and hate than of love and forgiveness. It seems like for them God hates almost everyone but them, the chosen few and I suppose they will look on this ban as how the world hates Christians.

There views seem far from my understanding of a loving God who was so passionate to have relationship with us sinful humans that he was willing to pay the ultimate sacrifice to make this possible.

I think they may still have to meet the saviour I know because when you know how bad you really are but find out that God loves you anyway surely it must change your life.

Maybe I don't agree with much of what the government does but they have my support in this.
For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. - John 3:17

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Who is on your heart?

Exodus 28

V 29 “Aaron will regularly carry the names of the sons of Israel on the Breastpiece of Judgment over his heart as he enters the Sanctuary into the presence of God for remembrance."

Aaron carried a great responsibility not only did he carry the names of the tribes of Israel over his heart on his breastplate he represented them in God's presence.

We don't need anyone to represent us before God our mediator Jesus does that. However we do have the privilege of bringing the needs of others before God. So whose name is on your heart today before God.

Here are some of the people I have talked about to God today.

  • Our Church bank manager (we want him to lend us a load of money, OK that one was a little selfish)
  • Nicola
  • Abbie
  • Liam
  • Mark
  • Ben (Assistant pastor in Fraserburgh, don't know why but just thought I should pray for him today)
  • David, Alison and Family. (David is very ill and needs a miracle)
  • George
  • Chris & Dana
Don't miss out on the possibility of carrying someone on your heart before God now.

One Prayer - Missions Update

Last June MKCC participated with over 1000 churches all over the world in a one month teaching campaign called One Prayer. As part of that initiative we decided to give away our offerings for one week towards a collective One Prayer Missions project. Read about it here.

Here is a short video update of the progress at January. You can read more stories here.

If you are a church leader please consider getting involved this year for June 2009. Click here for more details.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Gift of a Bible

Caught this video the other day. It features Penn Jilette of Penn & Teller fame. Don't suppose his humor would appeal to most people that would stop by this blog but I found this quite interesting.

Penns' views on religion are not to say the least positive but someone was willing to meet him on his ground without judgement and give him a gift which made an impact.

From Crackle: A Gift of a Bible

Monday, February 16, 2009

I'm singing

This past Sunday we brought to an end a series based on the book of Habakkuk. Through a long a difficult process of holding on to God through difficult circumstances, listening to what God had to say and waiting on Him Habakkuk found his fear turned to real faith.

Chapter 3 records his prayer song. He was still singing despite the circumstances. Saw this latest video from Kari Jobe to the song I'm Singing:

UK Teen Internet Habits

A recent survey has just been published regarding UK Teens internet viewing habits. To be specific 13 - 15 Year olds. You can read the wole survey here. However you may be surprised at what they are looking at with the click of one button.

  • UK teens in that age group spending over 31 hours in an average week surfing the internet.
  • At least one hour and 40 minutes a week – that's just under 87 hours a year – is spent looking at soft porn,"
  • A further one hour and 35 minutes is spent surfing dieting and weight loss websites and forums.
  • another hour and eight minutes is dedicated to exploring cosmetic surgery websites, to learn about boob jobs, bum lifts and collagen implants.

Breakdown of the average teenager's time online each week

  • Downloading music 1 hour 40 minutes
  • YouTube 2 hours 2 minutes
  • MSN 3 hours 29 minutes
  • Chatrooms 2 hours 5 minutes
  • Virtual World sites 1 hour 55 minutes
  • Homework/research 3 hours 10 minutes
  • Shopping 1 hour 49 minutes
  • Auction sites 1 hour 28 minutes
  • Cosmetic surgery 1 hour 8 minutes
  • Soft porn 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Dieting/weight loss 1 hour 35 minutes
  • Family planning/pregnancy 1 hour 32 minutes
  • NHS Direct/Health 1 hour 22 minutes
  • Samaritans 1 hour 1 minute
  • Dating 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Social networking 3 hours 47 minutes
A glimpse into the mind of a teenager. Now we know as parents and churches what to talk about and how to communicate?

Amazing Grace

Just because I will never tire of talking about Gods' Grace - It just never gets old.

Unexpected Voice

Psalm 81

v 5 "I hear this most gentle whisper from One I never guessed would speak to me:"

Ever watched one of those programmes on telly where they make someone’s dreams come true. I remember one years ago when Noel Edmonds arranged some surprises for people at Christmas time. To cut a long story short he ended up taking this mother to 10 Downing Street so they could meet the then Prime Minister and put a conference call into their son who was at war.

I can remember the mother saying over and over again "I can't believe that he (the Prime Minister) would speak to the likes of us."

My feeling is the same I can't believe that God would speak to the like of me, but he does and what’s more he enjoys it. You can hear Him too if you would just take a moment and listen. It is amazing.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

Sunday thoughts

  • Preached the last week of our 3 week series in the book of Habakkuk.
  • Preach in first service was not up to scratch but nailed it in the following 2. Sorry if you came to the 8.30 am.
  • The band did a great job with their choice of songs yet again.
  • Used quote from Craig Groeschel that rocked my world this week. I have walked with God for enough yesterdays to trust Him with all of my tomorrows. - Really want to be there!
  • I really do love my kids despite what I may have suggested in the service - It was worth the wait.
  • Many of you have mentioned to me that you felt Habakkuk spoke to you because you were facing some difficult situations. Remember to hold on (to God) despite the circumstances, Pause and listen to what he has to say to you, note it down and wait, wait, wait on Him. Remember what he has done for you in the past, accept what he is doing now and trust what he will do in the future.
  • After 3 weeks preaching looking forward to getting some other work done.
  • Villa lost to Everton in the FA Cup suppose our run of wins were too good to last.
  • Aberdeen lost to Hearts
  • Scotland lost to France at Rugby.
  • Remind me just why do I like sport?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Happy Valentines Day - NOT

Brought near

Exodus 24

v 2 "The rest are not to come close. And the people are not to climb the mountain at all.”

Only one man could go and talk to God on behalf of a nation. Only Moses could climb the mountain and communicate with God.

I am so glad that another man climbed another hill on our behalf and gave the ultimate sacrifice that we could be the friends of God.

Eph 2 v 13
"But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ."

Thank you Jesus!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Global Eternal Change

Check out the latest video from our friends Chris & Dana Byres from Blue Door Ministries. Using the internet they are helping to make a difference in peoples lives around the world. Visit their site here.

Blue Door Ministries - the beginning from BlueDoorMinistries on Vimeo.

Blast from the past

25 years ago this year I graduated from Mattersey Bible College. One of the best things about being in college was you met so many people from all sorts of backgrounds and places. We had lots of fun, some tears and even some arguments but all wanted to serve God.

Unfortunately you loose touch with the vast majority of people and in a nostalgic moment sometime think I wonder what they are doing now.

Well through Facebook I have come across some names from the past. One of these Chris Longhurst has been inspired to start a blog after reading mine. Check out his first entry.

He is doing a great work out in Romania working with the disadvantaged. I had the privilege of visiting Arad many years ago with a small convoy of aid just after the revolution. Chris and his team are still making a difference today.

Well done Chris keep up the good work. Any other old Mattersey graduates out there?

a small video sample of our Romania mission from chris longurst on Vimeo.

Revolutionary Love

Sunday 22nd February sees the launch of a brand new series at MKCC - Revolutionary Love. Over the following 7 weeks we will take a look at Paul's' incredible definition of Love in his first letter to the church at Corinth. 1 Corinthians 13.

This Sunday we will finish off our series Habakkuk - When God Seems Unfair with a look at the 3rd Chapter - Just how do you live by faith.

We are doing some special things this Sunday to celebrate Valentines Day and the up coming launch of Revolutionary Love. Make sure you join us!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Kidz Church Refurb update

Our Kidz Church and Nursery refurb is now moving along at a pace. The walls are now all plastered. The first fix of the electricity is in. The radiators are being fixed. Cupboards are build, Doors are going on. The glazing is being replaced.

Next week the flooring contractors are coming in to prepare the floors. The decorators have been contracted.

Here is Nicola's latest update:

Kidz Church & Nursery Update 6th Feb from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

I'll be in Scotland a fore y'

Well I am back in England now but spent the last couple of days in Scotland with Mark planning out some things for our church for 2009. The accommodation was cheap - My dads'.

  • Getting away from the office and the internet freed up some great thinking time.
  • I forgot how cold it gets up there.
  • Some good things happening in many of the churches in the area.
  • However it breaks my heart to see my old home church look like it is having difficult times.
  • Spent a couple of hours with Steve Ritchie Pastor of Fraserburgh AOG and his assistant Ben Ritchie. Seems like great things happening there.
  • Seems like they are making the mammoth trip to the Ultimate Event this May. North Scotland to Alton Towers they must be mad.
  • Did a cafe crawl as opposed to a pub crawl. Think I now look like a cup of tea.
  • Picked up some Stovies and Oatmeal Stuffing.
  • Mike wound me up when I landed in Luton by texting me to say that he had arrived to pick me up and was waiting outside Terminal 4 at HEATHROW. I had a minor panic.
Glad to be back and time to get things ready for Sunday - Habakkuk - What does it mean to live by faith?

Getting out in front

Exodus 17

My reading the other day was about Moses frustration with the people he was leading made my chuckle. Fed up with the winging, moaning and quarriling of his followers he cries to God with:

(v 4) What can I do with these people?

No don’t get me wrong church leadership is most of the time one of the most fulfilling and rewarding things you can do. However other times it stinks. Sometimes, just sometimes you wonder if the people attending the church have ever heard of Jesus let alone following him.

So what leadership lesson and answer does God give Moses.

(v 5) Go ahead of the people.

Otherwise, don’t complain about the people but do what you claim to be and get out in front and lead. It is difficult to follow a leader that is not out in front.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Roller Coaster

This last couple of weeks we have been teaching a series at MKCC based on the book of Habakkuk - When God seems unfair.

Our Children have been looking at similar subjects based on the life of Joseph. Here is a little video that Nicola put together to introduce the teaching each week.

Roller Coaster Intro from Nicola Ritchie on Vimeo.

Friday, February 06, 2009


Controversial for some. Using a "Secular" song in a worship service. Rose Angela and the NewSpring Band performs Christina Aguilera's song, "Hurt," during a service on the subject of unforgiveness.

For me it really does not matter God speaks to me through it and he will to you too if you just listen.

Watch the full service here

Hurt by Christina Aguilera, performed by the Newspring Band from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Stand firm

Exodus 14

Lead out of Egypt by God on their freedom march following supernatural signs in the sky provided by God they were right where God wanted them to be. Only that God had lead them into a cul-de-sac.

Water on one side and mountains on another with the whole Egyptian army closing in on them what was God doing? God you brought us out here and now we are going to die.

What do you do?

(v 13) Stand firm and watch God do his work of salvation for you today.

For the Israelites salvation was immediate for others in the Bible salvation took some time but the call is the same stand still and look at God.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

UK Church on the up?

The Telegraph recently reported that church attendance in the UK has increased by 5%. Read the whole article here but these are some of the quotes.

The proportion who say they attend church every month has risen from 13 per cent to 15 per cent, while one in 10 claim they go at least once a week, up from 9 per cent.

It would mean that 7.3million adults now go to church – excluding weddings, baptisms and funerals – once a month.

Tearfund says churches are reaching out to people in their communities and offering them practical help with their lives as well as spiritual guidance, making them increasingly relevant as people lose their jobs and worry about debt or having their homes repossessed in the recession.

"In this country, we work with lots of churches who offer vital family support to parents and carers, give advice and counselling around debt and financial management, help refugees to settle into the community, provide companionship for older people, and offer networks of friends to young adults.

"Seeing the church reach out to people is something we're very excited about, and which appears to be having a real impact on attendance and church growth."

No Compromise

Exodus 10

Reaching a compromise is not one of my strong points. So often in life being able to compromise or at least find a better way is useful but at other times it is vital not to entertain it.

Moses was asked a number of times by Pharaoh to compromise. (Ex 10) Just take the men, leave the livestock. The call was to do something less than God had told him to do. Moses was not prepared to budge one bit. Moses answer:

Moses replied, "We will all go—young and old, our sons and daughters, and our flocks and herds. We must all join together in celebrating a festival to the Lord ."

My favourite singer songwriter still is Keith Green and I loved reading his biography entitled - No Compromise. Taken from his wife's song "Make my life a prayer to you". The opening verse:

Make my life a prayer to You
I wanna do what you want me to
No empty words and no white lies
No token prayers no compromise

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

Ultimate Event 2009

Just taken delivery of our brand new promo video for the Ultimate Event at Alton Towers. Great job by Ken Wilson.

Make sure you join us on 9th May.

The Ultimate Event 2009 from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

I know what I did to Jesus

Perry introduces communion and says it like it is.

Short: No Perfect People Allowed 05- Summary from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Had a bad day?

Thanks for sharing Anne

Pray for George and LightForce International working in Uganda today.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Mind Blowing

Some of the guys around the office have a nickname for me "boogle". A combination of Google and Billy I think. The suggestion is that I spend too much time on the internet, looking at applications and gadgets.

This video I saw over at swerve reminded me why I do it.

A reminder if you are interested in how best we can use some of the innovations in technology for the kingdom check this out. Attend MKCC and would like to attend let me know and we can book you in. By the way its free.

Skin Deep

Preparing for this weekends message on the Prophet Habakkuk I stumbled upon something I found challenging.

Around the time the Habakkuk was prophesying King Josiah was king of Judah. Now he was looked on as a great King. Following on the heals of some bad guys he "Did what was right in the eyes of God". He did lots of great things getting rid of shrines and alters to false God's, renewing Judah's covenant with God. Read 2 King 22 -23

What is interesting to me is at the same time as all this great work Jeremiah read Jer Ch 2 - 6 was saying not so complementary things about the people and their actions.

It turned out that this revival was only skin deep. Yes the leader in the shape of the King made huge changes visually ultimately peoples hearts were not changed.

That is a challenge for us church leaders in that we must ensure what we are doing is making the difference we really are after - true life change - otherwise we are just wasting our time.