Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Right thing wrong time

Someone once said timining is everything. And the timing we are interested in is God's timing.

Today I read in my daily devotions in Numbers 14 the account of the Israelites first foray into the land that God had promised. They got scared and their vision of the problems was greater than their belief in God. This resulted in God postponing the plan to take the land for 40 years.

Realising their mistake they decided to invade the land any way. The right thing to do. God's ultimate plan but it was not now God's timing.

They refused to listen to God when he told them to go and when he told them to stay. So they ended up going after God's plan only to find out God was no longer there.

If we listening to God and doing the right thing at the right time, God's time, then nothing can stop us.

Looking in the mirror

Sometimes reading is like looking into a mirror. It reflects back exactly who you are. Sometimes you don't like it, sometime you pretend its not true but it never lies:

The trouble is with me, for I am all too human, a slave to sin. I don't really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don't do it. Instead, I do what I hate. But if I know that what I am doing is wrong .... I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God's law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 7 v 14 - 15 & 21 -25

Or watch it in song:

Disturbia from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Monday, March 30, 2009

I want to declare Jesus' message

“Jesus’s teaching consistently attracted the irreligious while offending the Bible-believing, religious people of his day. However, in the main, our churches today do not have this effect. The kind of outsiders Jesus attracted are not attracted to contemporary churches, even our most avant-garde ones. We tend to draw conservative, buttoned-down, moralistic people. The licentious and liberated or the broken and marginal avoid church. That can only mean one thing. If the preaching of our ministers and the practice of our parishioners do not have the same effect on people that Jesus had, then we must not be declaring the same message that Jesus did.” - Timothy Keller, The Prodigal God

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Why Church?

Read the following from the book Preachers & Preaching by Dr Martin Lloyd-Jones over at Desiring God.

The primary task of the Church is not to educate man, is not to heal him physically or psychologically.... I will go further; it is not even to make him good. These are things that accompany salvation; and when the Church performs her true task she does incidentally educate men and give them knowledge and information...she does make them good and better than they were. But my point is that those are not her primary objectives. Her primary purpose is not any of these; it is rather to put man into the right relationship with God, to reconcile man to God.

A sharp reminder to make the main thing the main thing. Too often we can focus on changing people. Change behaviour. Change lifestyle. Change habits. We can educate. We can reason. We can argue. We can protest. We can plead.

We may even be able to get people to change for a while. They can be good for a time. But we have to understand that change is not the goal. Relationship is the goal. Change will not make you part of God's family but a relationship will.

A relationship with Jesus.

For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him (Jesus) to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.- Col 1 v 19 & 20

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Purpose Driven?

On Thursday I had the opportunity to go and meet the people from Purpose Driven UK. It grew out of the ministry of Rick Warren & Saddleback Church. The UK arm has gone through some difficult times recently. Its founder and leader Dave Beer passed on after a battle with cancer this past November.

It was a pleasure to be invited along with a few other Pastors to a meeting where they were discussing their future. I really had a great day.

  • It reminded me again of my own personal and churches journey with what is know as "Purpose Driven". Quite a few years ago Mark handed me a book called the Purpose Driven Church and subsequently I visited Saddleback Church. What I heard was like finding a pair of gloves that fitted perfectly. It was not a system or process but a clear understanding and balancing of God's purposes for my life. I need a spiritual family to connect to, I need to continually grow in my maturity, I have the privilege to serve others, I get to share with others what Jesus has done for me and I live the rest of my life sold out for Him in worship. It’s that simple.
  • It was great to meet with such a varied bunch of Pastors from all different denominations and backgrounds with no personal agendas. In a group of church leaders you would be surprised how often that isn't the case. Everyone shared and contributed without it sounding like they were God's gift to the world.
  • I think the main thing that came out was that maybe there had been an over emphasis on a Campaign. Because of the success of the book The Purpose Driven Life and the church teaching campaign "40 Days of Purpose" that went with it. Many churches first experience of "Purpose Driven" was the campaign. And after all in church world we are very good at jumping on the new "latest" idea for church growth. So the campaign came and went but was not integral to the church’s life.
  • It struck me that if you focus on selling product instead of “selling” or presenting the ethos behind it you does the product a disservice. In my old line of work "Insurance" (don’t spit at me) you didn't sell product you tended to sell risk. Once someone understood the risk and the consequences there is more chance they will keep the premiums going. If they don't understand and tough times come or another opportunity comes up the premiums will stop.
  • Peter and the other guys from Purpose Driven UK went away with what I believe is some great wisdom and with much prayer I am sure they will move forward in the right path for them.
  • I really don't like labels. However we love to use them in church. I don't always keep up with the in terms but the old labels of denominations, Baptist, Anglican, Elim or AOG seem to be being replaced with seeker sensitive, attritional, missional, emergent etc etc. I like to think of myself as a bit of ALL of them because there IS truth in all of them. So I also and always will think of myself as Purpose Driven. But to me its not a label I want to wear but a life I want to live. Sold out every day for the purpose of making Jesus famous.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Die happy and fully alive

Next month we welcome back our great friend Andrew Shearman to MKCC. He recently started a new part of his adventure with God, moving from the US to Spain to launch the G42 LeadershipAcademy .

Here is a video put together by one of the interns that shares a little of Andrew's vision.

G42- The Beginning from Sean Smith on Vimeo.

Inspire the next guy

I read this quote on an e-mail newsletter, Leadership Wired by John Maxwell, that I received today.

"Motivation is everything. You can do the work of two people, but you can't be two people. Instead, you have to inspire the next guy down the line and get him to inspire his people."~ Lee Iacocca

This probably the key thing that I have been working through since my return from Unleash. I didn't get the thought from anything Perry Noble said but I saw it in every single one of the volunteers I met and spoke with both at the conference and on my visit on Sunday.

I have no problem with hard work. In fact I am a little imbalanced about it and sometimes seem to try to gain approval and recognition by working hard. Showing my value. Not a good place to be. If there is a job to be done "I" will do it.

So today I sent this quote to all our staff at MKCC with the following statement.

This is without doubt one of the most important things we do as leaders: Rather than DO more work INSPIRE and INVOLVE more people in the work.

With a growing church staff there can be a tendency to for them to DO the ministry rather than empower people to minister. After all they are paid to do the work isn't that right. I would suggest not. It is this sort of thinking that keeps church small.

Think our evaluations will start to look a little more at how many people we are inspiring and effectively involving in the work.

By the way a massive shout out to 2 people.

Hayley Miles who has just volunteered to work in the office for a day each week in our Children’s Ministry.

Laura Conway who last year gave up a day at her job to work at MKCC to reach out to Kids in our community. Without pay. She has just made that 2 days although we are giving her some little remuneration for that day.

This brings me to the question how do I get on staff at MKCC? Read later in the week for that as this post is long enough.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Fuzzy Faith

The Telegraph today reported that according to a new European wide survey, Britain is one of the least religious nations in Europe.

It found that the UK has one of the highest rates of "fuzzy faith" - or people who have an abstract belief in God and an ill-defined loyalty to Christian traditions. I think that the survey describes a huge opportunity for the church.

Survey: According to the study, only 12 per cent of Britons feel they "belong" to a church.

Opportunity: 88% of people in Britain do not belong to a church and probably have not visited a Sunday Service. Their expectation of they have any my not meet with reality.

Survey: The UK has been involved in a "long process of disestablishment", with Christianity gradually being written out of laws and political institutions."Christian faith will soon have no role among our traditional establishments or lawmakers."

Opportunity: Following Jesus is about a change of heart not obeying a list of rules. At least people will not confuse a relationship with Jesus with enforced laws which are not bad in and of themselves but are not a sign of real spiritual renewal.

Survey: "Just because you're not religious, it doesn't mean you're not spiritual or moral,A lot of people simply don't want to take the whole package of religion on board."

Opportunity: People are not rejecting spirituality just the old package of religion. We are not trying to get people to adopt a religion but to start a relationship.

Survey: While "new wave" religions like Scientology, Kaballah or the Moonie faith, have received considerable media coverage because of their association with Tom Cruise, Madonna and other celebrities, the number of followers remains tiny.

Opportunity: We are not into celebrity, although its great whoever starts following Jesus including temporary celebrities. We only have one truly famous person in Christianity and when we lift him up people can't help being drawn to him - JESUS.

There is nothing fuzzy about him!

Sunday service thoughts

Here are some thoughts I twittered from today's service.

  • Mark preached on Love is Patient
  • He asked us to confess if we have been angry this week - both hands up! Painful
  • Patience is the companion of wisdom - Augustine
  • Mark used the Greek word for patience (MAKROTHUMEO)and he murdered it.
  • Lady said to Billy Sunday, There is nothing wrong in loosing my temper I blow up & then it's over and I am OK. His reply - so does a shotgun and look at the damage that causes
  • Getting angry can be like jumping into a sports car flooring it only to realise the brakes are not working
  • Anger gives the devil a foothold in your life Eph 4 v 26
  • Speak when you are angry and you will make the best speech you will ever REGRET - Robert Fairnie
  • God suggests that you don't hang around with angry people because its infectious Prob 22 v 24 I could be lonely this week!
  • Instead of getting angry release your worries to God Psalm 37 v 7-8 wait patiently on God he will help carry the load.
  • Phil 4 v 6-7 instead of worrying and getting angry - PRAY - instead of getting angry we will experience Gods peace.
  • Take a rest. - some of the best spiritual advice available. when you are tired it's easier to loose it.
  • Changing my expectations of other people can help deal with worry and anger in our lives.
  • Mark suggested that a piece of furniture from Ikea is a devil particularly at 11 at night and you discover a part is missing.
  • Before God I am my own greatest project.
  • The pathway of following Jesus includes choosing to be slow to anger and the way of patience.
  • Exodus 34 v 6 God says he is slow to get angry and has a great wealth of Love on offer . Great example.
Last week I hear a preacher say, "Most Christians are educated way beyond their obedience." Clearly I am most Christians as have some obedience issues on this subject. So wish Mark had preached on something else.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bringing a smile

Thanks to Stephen for this:

Sometimes we focus on flags

The People of Israel did everything the way God commanded Moses: They camped under their respective flags; they marched by tribe with their ancestral families. Num 2 v 34

In some ways nothing has changed in a few 1000 years. The people of God are still camped around God its just that the names of the flags have changed.

Instead of Judah & Ephraim etc. We have different labels. They used to be denominational in nature: Assembly of God, Baptist, Presbyterian, C of E, United Reformed. Now they seem to be being replaced by new terms: Purpose Driven, seeker sensitive, missional, attractional, emergent the list goes on.

There is nothing wrong with any of these flags as long as we do as the children of Israel did.

  1. Although they camped under their flag their focus was on God (v2) Facing God's tent not looking at each other.
  2. Although each tribe had their own identity they all marched together with the same purpose at the same time as flying their distinct flag. Every tribe was needed in the battle.
  3. Although they counted each tribe and some tribes had more numbers than others in the end it was the total number that mattered.
  4. They focused on what God told their leader to do not on what each of the other tribes were doing. Maybe its time we focused less on other flags, either complementing or criticising, and more on our leader Jesus.
Check out One Prayer one way for different flags to work together.

Friday, March 20, 2009

John Piper on the Gospel

You have got to read the post by John Piper titled - Never Let the Gospel smaller. It really rocked my world and I have not been able to get it out of my head. Here is a little extract but read the whole post here.

"The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,

* grace gets bigger;
* Christ gets greater;
* his death gets more wonderful;
* his resurrection gets more astonishing;
* the work of the Spirit gets mightier;
* the power of the gospel gets more pervasive;
* its global extent gets wider;
* your own sin gets uglier;
* the devil gets more evil;
* the gospel's roots in eternity go deeper;
* its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger;
* and the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder.

So keep this in mind: Never let the gospel get smaller in your heart."

Building Progress

For the last few months our Day Nursery has been undergoing a huge refurbishment and extension. Last week they put the finishing touches to the bathrooms and today the flooring guys started laying the new flooring.

It's brilliant to see that as it signals that most of the internal work will be completed soon. Next week the outside soft play areas will be completed.

Here are a couple of the latest photos:

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Wednesday Night

Wednesday night makes a come back. Also see here. (But I can't believe they did this in church - Really!)

Business Time from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Unleash for free

Nicola and I had the privilage of attending Unleash last week now you can watch it for free. If you want a special treat jump to 13.30 on the second video and hear Rose Angela sing one of my favourite songs.

The answer to my prayers

Thanks to Church Crunch for this. Well I am not sure if thanks is the right word but I read it over there.

Information Age Prayer seems to be the answer to our struggling prayer lives. For a small fee they will regularly say the prayer for you.

Their service includes:

  • Morning Prayer
  • Prayer for the deceased
  • Prayer for the sick
  • Prayer for world peace
  • Prayer for Financial help
  • Prayer for your Children (This is the best deal for only $1.99 you can get a months worth of prayer for your little one)
  • or a special prayer bundle
Its at times like this that I really wished I was as a follower of Jesus allowed to swear. @$!*#

Believing God

Recently read some quotes from Elizabeth Anscombe, English Philosopher who died in 2001, that has me thinking. Here is one:

"The astounding idea that there should be such a thing as believing God. - not only trusting God or believing in God, but believing what God tells us."

I have no problem believing in God's existence, I trust Him (well most of the time) but sometimes I have a hard time believing what he tells me.

I have a hard time believing that:

  • He actually loves me.
  • He has a plan for MY life.
  • He forgives me when I mess up.
  • He will never leave me alone.
  • He listens to me when I talk to Him.
  • He is interested in what I say.
If God were to tell me some bad things about me strangely enough I would find it easier to believe Him but He doesn't and I want to believe what he says. Now, most times I do but unfortunately there are times of doubt.

That cheered you all up! Confessions of a recovering cynic.

Newspring Thoughts

Last Thursday I spent the day hanging out at Unleash hosted by Newspring Church.

Their story is incredible started in 1999 with a few people meeting in a living room they how weekly host over 10,000 people over 4 Campuses. Over 4,000 people have made a decision to start following Jesus since they started.

They have lots of the things that you would expect in a large American church. A charismatic leader, high quality staff, great facilities, awesome music, lights and technology etc etc. None of which are bad.

But that's not what you walk away with when you leave the place.

1. Its all about Jesus. I know that sounds simple but honestly in church life its not always true. Their mantra is "Making Jesus famous on person at a time". For them that is not just a nice saying it is in everything they do. It doesn't matter where you touch it you hear the same thing. "We don't really know what we are doing, what is happening is not normal, we know its not us so it must be Jesus."

2. Their volunteers are totally amazing. I think there were around 500 of them out early in the morning shouting and generally going crazy to welcome everyone to unleash. Nothing was too much trouble. Everyone you spoke to oozed the same spirit and attitude. I was continually humbled to be served by them. To the outside observer Newspring could be all about their gifted leader Perry Noble but he is only part of the great move of God that is going on there. Ordinary people with day jobs step up and sacrifice and give with such an unselfish and humble spirit are, if there is one, the true "secret" to success of Newspring. Thanks guys.

Watch some of the sessions here.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Bring on Numbers

Up until the last few weeks I loved Youversion.com. By using it for the last year or so on my laptop and with the iPhone app I am positive I have read the Bible much more and stuck to a reading plan. Then I hit the book of Leviticus. Ch 27 seems still a long way away.

I am a GRACE man. It has invaded and revolutionised my life. I was brought up in a church that had lists of rules, regulations and rituals that you had to follow to gain God's acceptance. The only problem was that you were set up to fail. So for years I lived in a cloud of despondence trying and failing to meet the grade.

Then I found out that although I am messed up God loves me anyway. Now my inspiration for following Jesus is not fear of failure and judgement but thankfulness and appreciation for the unconditional love that He continues to show me each day despite my failures.

I am just thankful that I didn't have to live through Leviticus but in the Shadow of grace.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Jesus Unleashed

Yesterday Nicola and I had the privilege of attending Unleash at Newspring Church. It was an incredible day. Perry Noble is a brilliant communicator. He has a great way of cutting through the rubbish and getting to the heart of the matter. (Watch him here. Click on menu then on demand)

As well as a good leader they also have a very talented staff everywhere you look which strive for excellence in everything they do. They clearly work hard and are achieving great things for God's kingdom but remain humble.

They have brilliant volunteers (500 helping to make unleash happen) who are sold out to the vision and all ooze the same spirit and selflessly serve others.

They have fabulous facilities with awesome buildings and all the modern technology that you would want.

All of these things are great but its not the memory that will remain with me the most. What will stick with me the most is that its all about: JESUS. Sounds simple but if their is a secret to there incredible development from 15 people meeting in a living room to 10,000 people meeting over 5 campuses in 9 years its JESUS.

They talk about Jesus people come, they talk about Jesus some more and more people come.

As Perry said in his last session. You can take away the buildings, you can take the lights, you can take the big screens but you can not take away Jesus.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Hymns - Endangered Species

I was reading a post by one of my old lecturers from Bible College days today. It seems like he misses some of the old hymns that used to be the core of our singing in our worship services and does not like some of the stuff we sing nowadays. (By the way he is a great guy, he taught me lots and this is not meant to be negative towards him just my take on muisc, hymns and stuff.) Here is an extract:

"Too often we are deafened by a so-called band whose repetitive words, often spelt incorrectly and unpoetically, assail us for up to forty minutes and is audaciously called “worship”. Just as bad, adoration of the Lord Jesus is addressed in sentimental and sugary terms more appropriate to a girlfriend or a boyfriend than the Saviour and Head of the Church.

Surely we can do better than to ape the styles and the mannerisms of the world! And what worries me more than the marginalisation of the hymn is, taking current fashion as an indicator, at what level is our spirituality? The Reformation produced those magnificent German chorales; The Methodist Revival produced the unrivalled hymns of Charles Wesley. But what are we producing? And will much of it last the test of time?" (More here)

Being brought up from a baby in church I became very familiar with Hymns and I have a great love for them. In some ways I wish we sung them more nowadays but really that's not the point.

Here is what I think:

  • Some old hymns had great theology some had bad same goes for today's songs.
  • Some old hymns will be remembered and sung forever some will be forgotten quickly. Same goes for today's songs.
  • Every new generation reinvents a little the style of music that they use to worship God and it seems like previous generations don't like that.
  • Many hymn writers used the "secular" music of the day and put different words to it. Maybe they too were accused of mimicking the "world" or could that be called being relevant to their culture?
  • God has his psalmists in every generation which he has gifted to reach their generation.
  • We spend too much time talking about "worship style". Listen it REALLY does not matter. Its WHO you worship not HOW.
  • Instead of trying to fit everybody into one all encompassing style why not offer church services with different styles? What do you think?
Honestly I love hymns. I wish we sang more. Writers like Crosby, Watts, Cowper and Wesley had a special gift for capturing the heart of God with incredible language. But I also love the "new" songs written by today's psalmists: Zschech, Tomlin, Redman and one of my favourites Lee McDerment. I for one will be singing their songs for a long time.

They all do a great job of helping me focus on the object of my worship - Jesus

Monday, March 09, 2009

Road to Nowhere

Psalm 119

v 29) Barricade the road that goes Nowhere; grace me with your clear revelation. I choose the true road to Somewhere.

In 1968, Francis Ford Coppola, then a rising director-screenwriter still in his twenties, bought the film rights to Jack Kerouac’s classic Beat novel On the Road. He sincerely intended to make a film of it, yet, 36 years on, the cameras have still not started rolling. On the Road, hailed as one of the last century’s key novels, has now become one of the great elusive unmade movies.

Coppola had vision, intention, ability, potential, and he eventually after becoming world famous through other movies like his Godfather Trilogy had the power, money and connections to make the movie. But all these years later the Road is still going nowhere.

Each day is a gift from God and we have everything Coppola had to take they journey of life with God by our side choosing the road of God. As the writer of this Psalm says in v 19 "I’m a stranger in these parts; give me clear directions." This is all new to me, the road is difficult and I am not sure what to do next but our travelling companion does.

We are all on a road to somewhere and by listening and following God's direction we can be sure the destination will not be nowhere.

Sunday, March 08, 2009


Talking to an old friend recently who is not a church goer he was reflecting that when I left secular employment 8 years ago to work for church he assumed I was going for the easy life. Now he says that I am never in and always seem to be at church.

I love what I do it is so much more than a job but it is easy to become imbalanced. With Nicola also working at church it seems like sometimes we can have church for breakfast, lunch & tea.

Reading a new book called: Mad Church Disease has been very challenging. I was finishing it off last night and read something about rest that really hit me between the eyes. A quote from Watchman Nee about the Sabbath (Day of rest)

"Where did Adam stand in relation to that rest of God. Adam, we are told. was created on the sixth day. Clearly, then, he had no part in those first six days of work, for he came into being only at their end. God's seventh day was, in fact, Adam's first. Where God worked six days and then enjoyed his Sabbath rest, Adam began his life with the sabbath; for God works before he rests, while man must first enter into God's rest, and then alone can he work."

As a pastor you can get so busy working for God that you forget that it is actually all about God.

"We cannot be dependent on ourselves and on God at the same time. When we consider the practice of rest unnecessary. we will also inevitably lose sight of God" - Anne Jackson. (Mad Church Disease - Author)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

This is why I love the Internet

Maybe God has a plan for the Internet?

Countries Online from LifeChurch.tv on Vimeo.

Next weekend LifeChurch.tv Internet Campus starts a brand new teaching series with Dave Ramsey called Life, Money, Hope - Biblical advice in difficult times. Dave has an incredible insight into a biblical view of finance.

Join one of the Internet experiences that Craig was talking about. Specifically hosted here in the UK on Sunday 10 am or Monday evening at 8 pm. I am positive it will be worth the investment of your time.

Go here next Sunday.

Friday, March 06, 2009

Rags to Riches

Psalm 113

(v 7 & 8) He picks up the poor from out of the dirt, rescues the wretched who’ve been thrown out with the trash, Seats them among the honored guests, a place of honor among the brightest and best.

We love a rags to riches story. Walt Disney's Cinderella going from put upon maid to meeting a prince or Eddie Murphy in Trading Places transforming from a street beggar to a Wall Street tycoon.

But if we have met Jesus we all star in our own rags to riches classic. He took us at our lowest when everyone else would have looked the other way and even crossed the street to avoid us. He stops, looks us square in the eye, whispers our name, picks us up, cleans us up, dresses us up and puts us in a place where we could not have imagined even in our wildest dreams.

If we live today with that thought in our minds then I have a suspicion we will have a different perspective on life.

God you Reign

I came across this song last night and have had it shouting through by headphones since. "God you reign" by Lincoln Brewster. It is a great anthem and declaration to our God. This great God who holds the whole world in His hands knows my heart and calls me by name. Whatever you situation or circumstance today let this truth sink into your heart. God reigns!

You paint the night
you count the stars and call them by name
the skies proclaim
god you reign
your glory shines
you teach the sun when to bring a new day
creation sings god you reign

God you reign
god you reign
forever and ever
god you reign

You part the seas
you move the mountains with the words that you say
my song remains
god you reign
you hold my life
you know my heart and you call me by name
i live to say god you reign

hallelujah, hallelu

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Rely on God

When you read some of the letters that one of the greatest leaders in the early church, Paul, it is clear that his christian life was no walk in the park. Take a look at what he tels the church at Corinth.

We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life.
Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. - 2 Corinthians 8 - 9

Some would suggest that when things go wrong you are out of the will of God. Paul realised that this was not the case and all these things happened to teach him to rely on God.

I recently read this quote from Oswald Chambers:

"The circumstances of a saints life are ordained of God. In the life of a saint there is no such thing as chance. God by His providence brings you into circumstances that you can't understand at all, but the Spirit of God understands. God brings you to places, among people, and into certain conditions to accomplish a definite purpose through the intercession of the Spirit in you.

Once you have the right relationship with God through salvation and sanctification, remember that whatever your circumstances may be, you have been placed in them by God. And God uses the reaction of your life to your circumstances to fulfill his purpose, as long as you continue to "walk in the light as he is in the light"."

Monday, March 02, 2009

Antidote for an empty heart

Psalm 106 v 15

He gave them exactly what they asked for – but along with it they got an empty heart.

On the face of it a strange verse. By giving someone exactly what they wanted you would think would warm the heart of that person to the other. Your wish is my command should be the start of a beautiful relationship?

Maybe the answer is found in the previous verse “They only cared about pleasing themselves.” This was a one sided relationship tarnished with selfishness. The I am in this for what I can get out of it attitude ruins relationships and deals a death knell to our heart.

We were made for relationship to love and be loved and if we violate this we end up hurting ourselves, particularly if we embrace this one-sided relationship with our creator.

If selfishness replaces sacrifice with our spouse, children, friends, work colleagues or even our God then we damage our heart. Short term we may get instant gratification but we don’t bring our hearts truly alive.

Jesus gave us good advice when he taught us to pray a prayer of sacrifice:

Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.

That prayer may not give you what you want but it will bring what you need.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

Type A or B

Nicola and I are both reading through the same book at the same time. Last night sipping coffee in the Swan Revived we reached Page 63 of Mad Church Disease. Download a free chapter here.

Personality Types. We very quickly decided that one of us was very much A and the other B. Then had a good laugh. Can you guess which one:

Type A

Concerned about status
Incapable of relaxing
Easily able to multitask
Shows workaholic tendencies

Type B

Self Analytical
Often described as laid back

Where do you fit?