Monday, August 31, 2009

Can we get off the merry - go - round

Following on from church this morning we continued the discussion about passing on an inheritance to the next generation over lunch.

It would seem that everything comes and eventually goes. Empires rise and fall. Politicians are voted in on a wave of enthusiasm only to be kicked our with a equal wave of discontent. Companies & brands come and go. The merry go round keeps turning.

A quick read through the Old Testament suggests that God's people were also on a fair ground ride a roller coaster. Sometimes in one generation they could go from glory to failure. They always seemed to be REbuilding rather than just building.

Is that same pattern what we are destined for. A move of God followed by a steady slow decline only for a future generation to have to rebuild. Or can we build & pass on for the next generation to build some more. Can our ceiling become their floor.

So I have been thinking about some of the characteristics you see in a church that is going through this decline.

I am sure that their are many more but here are my initial thoughts:

  • Focused on the past instead of the future.
  • Disconnect of beliefs to action.
  • Know it all rather than an attitude of learning.
  • Internal disagreements.
  • Internally rather the externally focused.
  • Failure to recognise and develop next generation leadership.
  • Avoidance of risk leading to an over reliance on self where God is not needed.

Sunday, August 30, 2009


Today Andrew Shearman preached at MKCC about "generations" or more specifically how each generation spends its inheritance received from God.

He made the comment that if an inheritance is nor spent it goes into exile. It is not lost to history but passed on. It made me think about the stories that Jesus told about "talents" that were given out to people and how some people used them and increased and others did not use them and stagnated.

I was reminded of my own village in Scotland, Inverallochy, that experience a huge revival earlier in this century where the majority of the people in the village followed Jesus. Now it seems that the churches are either dead or dying on their feet. Where is the increase? Why does the next generation have to build on ruins?

I think of my own life and how I left home to follow Jesus at the age of 19 to take on the world. Now 46 I ask where is the increase?

Yes I am a little more like Jesus (On a good day)
Yes I am part of a church that is growing and seeing a few people come to know Jesus.
Yes I have been able to introduce a few people to Jesus.

But it isn't exactly what I signed up for.
At times I've been distracted from my mission.
At times I've been afraid.
At times I've just been lazy.
At times I've been locked by my own sin.
and at times I have been to busy.

But today I am determined to invest my inheritance to ensure the next generation receive increase and the opportunity not to have to build on ruins.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Give me faith to trust what you say

I loved this new song by Elevation Church to accompany their latest teaching series "Give me Faith".

One of the lines says:

Give me faith to trust what you say
That you’re good and your love is great

It is easy to trust when all is good, but I need to learn to trust whatever God says. He is always good and great no matter what.

Give Me Faith [Acoustic] from Elevation Worship on Vimeo.

Get the rest of the lyrics here.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Calls to boycott Noah's Ark Zoo

This made me smile. For years I have hung my head in disbelief as various campaigns have be started to encourage Christians to boycott various things. The list is endless and to my knowledge really has not made much if any difference except some free publicity.

We were encouraged to boycott Disney for some reason or another. How did that turn out?

Prefer to be more obsessed with telling people about Jesus.

But seems like us Christians don't have the corner on boycotting. The Telegraph reports that the British Humanist Association (BHA) accuses the Noah's Ark Zoo of misleading tens of thousands of annual visitors and ''threatening public understanding''.

You got to be joking. All my life the THEORY of Darwin has been taught to me as fact in a million different ways. Are they really that scared of one little Zoo that makes it quite clear what it is about.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Stay at home Conference

Over the last few years I am some of the other staff, leaders and volunteers at MKCC have been able to benefit from some great leadership conferences. I know that our everyone who has attended one of these has benefited greatly and our church has as a result felt the benefit.

This has included traveling to the USA and also various places around the UK. As nearly all the conferences are based in local churches you have the added benefit of seeing the church in action and usually stay with a family in that church. (Keeping the cost down).

Now with the benefit of technology we can hear some of these great leaders without leaving our house. They are:

The National Leadership Forum

Speakers include:

  • Jack Welch
  • TD Jakes
  • Patrick Lencioni
  • Dave Ramsey
  • Craig Groeschel
  • Erwin McManus
  • Tim Sanders
  • Matthew Barnett
  • Henry Cloud
It takes place on 10 - 11 September 7 am - 2 pm (GMT) Register here.

The Nines

Over 47 church leaders speaking for 9 minutes at a time.
  • Mark Batterson :: National Community Church (Washington, DC)
  • Dave Ferguson :: Community Christian Church (Naperville, IL)
  • Reggie Joiner :: reThink Group
  • Dan Kimball :: Vintage Faith Church (Santa Cruz, CA)
  • Perry Noble :: NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC)
  • Ed Stetzer :: LifeWay Research
Starting at 9am (3 pm GMT) on 9/9/09. Register here.

No Travel, Best Seat in the house and all free.

Many Styles One God

As a young Christian in the early 80's my friends and I seemed to be a little focused on worship style. Dancing was a big issue. (Well it was more jumping up and down than dancing) I can remember once when my friend and I decided to "dance" at an open air service. This was frowned on so the Pastor decided to try to stop us by standing on our toes.

Thankfully I've growing up a little and realised that worship is much more than music and songs it is a lifestyle. I still love to sing to God but have learned to enjoy all sorts of styles and find God in them all.

I wish that I hadn't wasted so much time arguing about my style preference and lived a life of worship. Loved this video over at leading smart. Different People, Different Style, One God.

Welcome to 1st Wednesday! from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Stand or Serve

Today Youversion took me to 1 Cor 7 where Paul answers some questions that the church at Corinth were struggling with. They seemed to struggle with so much. It gives me hope that God puts this church in the Bible warts and all. They were a work in progress that today would have probably have been written off by so many people.

So many of their issues are so similar to things we face today. Here God addresses through Paul the thorny issue of marriage and singleness. He makes it clear that one is no better than the other. In fact he suggests that being single can have great advantages. But he makes it clear that if you decide to get married you have a great responsibility.

Marriage is not a place to “stand up for your rights.” Marriage is a decision to serve the other, whether in bed or out. - 1 Cor 7 v 4

If you are married you automatically become a servant and your service starts with your spouse. For the married that's where your service starts.

Find a way to serve him or her today. Including in the bed!

Fight, fight, fight!

“Think about it—it’s easier to start a fight than end one." - 1 Kings 20 v 11 (Mess)

On 1st May 2003 President George Bush famously said
"My fellow Americans: Major combat operations in Iraq have ended." Many years later soldiers were still being killed. The conflict in Afghanistan is still raging and the toll of young British soldiers seems to rise every day.

We learn all too easily what the Bible tells us that its easier to start a war than end one.

Although not so devastating in human life starting fights in our churches seem to occur all to often.

We fight about style of music.
We fight about words. eg missional, attractional, emergent etc.
We fight about leadership method.
We fight about doctrine.
We fight about bible translations.
We fight about what a church is and is not.

Now maybe some of these are worth "fighting" for in some ways but lets remember that sometimes it may be better to use our energy to fight the devil rather than each other.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

The Disgrace of grace

The news is full of the release, on compassionate grounds, of convicted terrorist Abdel Baset al-Megrahi. It is front page news around the world.

I feel for the relatives that will never be free from the nightmare of loosing their friends and family in such a way. Nothing anyone can say or do can make a difference to their pain.

This is not meant as a political statement in any way but the whole affair just got me focused again on how unfair an act of grace can be. I heard Ben Stiller say on GMTV today: "It would be better if he was dead." I understand.

If this guy is guilty then he does not deserve compassion or freedom. He certainly does not deserve a heroes homecoming. And this act of grace causes an out cry because it is so unfair. We just can not handle an act of grace for such a terrible man.

It made me think of God's act of grace. The Bible says that while we were YET sinners Jesus Christ died for us. We did not deserve it, we deserved the opposite but while we were still in that state Jesus paid the price. He served our sentence.

I know it is a disgrace but I am so thankful that God's son became my substitute.

Grace has changed my life. Will it change al-Megrahi, on first look probably not. But grace did change a terrorist who died hanging on a cross next to Jesus. What I do know is that grace is our only hope.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Want the ideal marriage?

'The ideal marriage is one that is most like a crucifixion' meaning the husband dies for her." - C S Lewis

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Kids Camp 2009

Our Children from MKCC had a great time at Kids Camp recently. Here is a short video of some of the action.

No Merit

Loved this post by John Piper over at Desiring God.

This is my confession:

I was born into a believing family through no merit of my own at all.

I was given a mind to think and a heart to feel through no merit of my own at all.

I was brought into the hearing of the gospel through no merit of my own at all.

My rebellion was subdued, my hardness removed, my blindness overcome, and my deadness awakened through no merit of my own at all.

Thus I became a believer in Christ through no merit of my own at all.

And so I am an heir of God with Christ through no merit of my own at all.

Now when I put forward effort to please the Lord who bought me, this is to me no merit at all, because is not I, but the grace of God that is with me. (1 Corinthians 15:10)

...God is working in me that which is pleasing in his sight. (Hebrews 13:21)

...he fulfills every resolve for good by his power. (2 Thessalonians 1:11)

And therefore there is no ground for boasting in myself, but only in God's mighty grace.

Let him who boasts, boast in the Lord. (1 Corinthians 1:31)

I am so glaf that it is not about be but it is all about Jesus!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Do you worry about where you sit?

A few weeks ago I headed up to watch an ashes match at Edgebaston. My friend Andy and I arrive early so we can walk around the ground and savour the atmosphere. One of the things we like to do is spot well known people as we walk around. This year we passed people such as:

Merv Hughes, Trevor Francis, David Lloyd, Dickie Bird, Shane Warne & Ian Botham to name but a few. We also passed the guy who will probably be our next Prime Minister David Cameron. (Not a political preference but a likelihood) Off to some corporate hospitality box to wine and dine I thought.

Imagine our surprise when we ended up sitting a few rows behind him for most of the day. Him putting up with the rain most of the day as we did. I am sure he could have found his way into some hospitality area (Maybe he did at some point) but for most of the day he sat with his feet up on the advertising hording waiting for play to start like the rest of us.

It reminded me of a quote: "those who worry about where they sit don’t matter, and those who really matter don’t worry!”

Jesus didn't worry about where he sat and he sat in what some of us would deem undesirable places. The only status he worried was His status with God the father.

Ultimately he took the place of ultimate honour a seat at the right hand of God.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Make disciples at home

One of the things we are passionate about at MKCC is the next generation. We have invested much time, staff & finance to develop a great Kidz Church. We also have a huge team of brilliant volunteers that make church an exciting place for children to be.

But church only plays a small part in our children's discipleship. Believe it or not presently, the average child attends MKCC every second week. That's just 2.5 hours a month, 30 out of 8760 hours in a year. That's just not going to cut it in terms of what we need to do to help them to know God.

Martin Luther said: “A house is actually a school and a church, and the head of the household is a pastor in his house.”

I was challenged by a great post over at The Resurgence on this subject. Here is an extract, read the full article here.

It’s Our Responsibility

It is not the churches’ or schools’ responsibility to raise our kids. Too often, we think that the church is more like a baby-sitting service to watch our kids for a few hours a week while we enjoy the worship service. While church is important, the Bible tells us that the home is the primary place of learning the Bible and moral instruction. In Deuteronomy 6:4-9, we read:

You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Think we have work to do!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Now that's a way to open a church service

This is just brilliant. Maybe our band at MKCC could arrange for next week?

Song: Uncontainable by Lee McDerment buy the CD here.

A reason to get up

God smacked me on the face today as I read about the time in Abraham's life where God told him to go and sacrifice his son.

After getting this news the bible records:

The next morning Abraham got up early. - Genesis 22 v 3

Getting up early is not something I usually have a problem with. Too many things to do to stay in bed why would I waste it in bed.

Sometimes just sometimes I feel like staying in bed because of what I think are challenging circumstances that I would rather not deal with. But none of these circumstances come anywhere near killing my son.

I think I may still have been in bed pretending to be asleep or arguing with God about what was facing me if I was Abraham.

Abraham got up early even when he was facing the worst day imaginable.

Abraham was classed as a man of faith. Reading this story I realise I have a long way to go to even get in the same faith league as him.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Grace the new high

“Grace binds you with far stronger cords than the cords of duty or obligation can bind you. Grace is free, but when once you take it, you are bound forever to the Giver and bound to catch the spirit of the Giver. Like produces like. Grace makes you gracious, the Giver makes you give” – E. Stanley Jones 1884-1973

So many people seem to misunderstand grace. They think its like a get out of jail free card. To be played as in the game Monopoly as an easy way out in a moment of crisis. Well yes grace does provide a way out a way to forgiveness but it is anything but easy. It took the hardest thing that has ever happened in history to provide the way out. The death of the sinless God-man: Jesus.

Grace is not easy its hard and once you receive it you realise just how hard it is. But understanding how hard it was to accomplish and how little we could do to receive it, it compels us to live a life worthy of that grace.

Grace does not lower the bar but elevates it a new high.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

The Cross

Today it was great to have George Ridley at MKCC. George started our church over 30 years ago and continues to start and develop missions opportunities around the globe through LightForce International.

Today he spoke about the "Power of the cross". He reminded us powerfully that it is all about Jesus and what he did on the cross. Over 30 people responded to his invitation to follow Jesus!

Here are some of his quotes:

  • For some the cross is a lucky charm but to us it is where Jesus paid the price for our sin.
  • There is power in the name and cross of Jesus Christ.
  • God is far more concerned in getting out the good news than we are. So whenever we open our mouth for him all the power of heaven is behind us.
  • The gospel is not complicated it is simple. The power is not in the messenger the power is in the message.
  • People can be looking for miracles, some are looking for new things but we have simple message. A man went to a cross and died for us.
  • We need to be followers of Jesus not followers of the latest greatest preacher, church or trend.
  • You can not solve the worlds problems by practical deeds alone. Without the gospel you will never change the heart of a man.
  • George has been for a blood test and you would never believe that he was told he was too SWEET! (Smile)
  • The cross of Jesus is not something to be philosophised about it is something to be believed
  • Our faith does not rest on men's wisdom but on Jesus power.
  • You and I deserved to die because of our wrongdoing but God chose to put Jesus on the cross.
  • If we use our words and our wisdom we strip the cross of it's power. 1 cor 1 v 17. (Lets unleash power rather than strip.)
  • It doesn't matter how big your bank balance is. That may influence your life but it won't change your life. Only Jesus does that!
Just great stuff. The podcast will be up on Monday at

Tuesday, August 11, 2009


Still on holiday in Inverallochy, Scotland. More posts next week.

Friday, August 07, 2009

He is exalted

Now Adonijah the son of Haggith exalted himself, saying, I will be king. - 1 Kings 1 v 5

Are you exalting yourself or Jesus?

When I preach is it about me sounding good? Or sharing the good news?

We are not in the Self Promotion business we are in the Jesus promotion business.

Look for God's plan not your plan.

If its your plan you are going to have to work to hard to try to put it into place. Adonijah schemed and bribed on his quest to be king.

There is only one person thats worth gaining the attention of thats Jesus and believe it or not you already have that.

4 Questions wives should ask their husband

Following up on our series iwantanewmarriage and the recent posts on "5 Questions husband should ask their wives" (Borrowed from Perry Noble) I noticed that he posted a follow up "4 Questions wive should ask their husband".

NOTE: Yes I know I have not posted answer to the 5th Question: What would you change about our marriage? But after the first 4 I had some work to do and Nicola has been off to camp all week. So holiday next week will be a good time to ask her. Lets hope her answer is not: YOU!

So the questions are:

#1 - Do You Feel Admired?

#2 - Do You Feel Respected?

#3 - Do You Feel Taken Care Of?

#4 - Is Our Sex Life Fulfilling To You?

Read Perry's thoughts here.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Letter to Zac from Zac

I have been following Zac's blog for a little while now. He is honestly sharing his journey with serious cancer. He recently posted this video which was used in his churches youth group where the young people were asked a letter to their futures selves. Helping them them to as the Steven Covey mantra goes, "Begin with the end in mind."

Zac writes a letter to his past self at 17 years old from him now in his 30's but without a miracle from God may be towards the end of his life.

I struggled to watch it all the way through.

Letter to Zac from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

Some of his friends are arranging some events to sponsor to help him and his family with medical bills here.

Follow Zac's story here.

Number 1 reason to run a great Kids Church

A seven-year-old joyrider was stopped by police officers after a car chase in Utah.

Seems like he really did not want to go to church so stole the car and drove home.

We like to think your car will be safe from your children while they are at MKCC.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Golf Humour

Posted at a golf club in Scotland, UK.












How would you use £10,000 to grow your church?

St Andrew's Church in South Warnborough in Hampshire, has won Country Life magazine Village Church for Village Life Award. Prize £10,000.

With a membership of 22 the church is running a competition to find the best way to use the "Survival Fund" prize.

The Telegraph reports that: "St Andrew's is following a growing trend for churches, because of dwindling congregations, to double up as post offices, farmers' markets and even police stations. The church is now playing host to schools, concerts, and is working with community businesses such as the village shop."

I am in favour of connecting to our community but somehow I don't think turning our churches into post offices is top of the agenda. Why do we think that doubling up as a police station will suddenly see people flocking back to church. Maybe we should be the church and tell people about Jesus!

So with £10,000 what would you do to help your community learn about Jesus?

Leaders encourage grass to grow

2 Samuel 23

King David was probably one of the greatest leaders we read of in the Bible and this chapter gives us an insight into his leadership.

David was no one man band. He had great men follow his leadership. Brave men whose loyalty was unshakable and would do anything form him. 3 of them even broke through enemy lines just to get David's favourite drink!

They were with him through think in thin, whilst hiding out in a cave or occupying a palace.

What inspired this loyalty. I think the opening few verses of this chapter gives us an insight:

God told him that: "When one rules justly over men, ruling in the fear of God,4 he dawns on them like the morning light, like the sun shining forth on a cloudless morning, like rain that makes grass to sprout from the earth." - 2 Samuel 23 v 3 - 4

God's role for leaders is not domination or power but that they help their followers to grow and flourish. And maybe just maybe do greater things than them.

The mark of a leaders is not just how many people are following but how you are helping them to flourish.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

A song worth singing.

2 Samuel 22 v 2 - 3

King David writes a song of celebration and praise to God.


Rock, Fortress, Deliverer.

Rock, Shield, Salvation.

Stronghold, Refuge, Saviour.

In the worst of situations God promises:

He will not be moved or shaken.

He will hide and protect you from anything and everything.

But he will do more that that he will become your "rescuing knight" (The Message)

Monday, August 03, 2009

Church to give special treatment for bald people

As my hairline starts to receede I was glad to read that the church was to start to treat bald people as "special".

The article reports that a new publication "Everybody Welcome" is to assist churches making people feel welcome.

I have not read the book so I am not sure if the article reports it acurately and I am sure:

"Bald people could be in trouble from those overhead radiant heaters some churches have unwittingly installed" and that; "Special arrangements may need to be made for people who are overweight. Some pew spaces and chairs are embarrassingly inadequate for what is known in church circles as 'the wider community',"

But the sad thing is that the book reports that claims that only one in ten church visitors return because existing worshippers tend to be so unwelcoming.

The book reveals that 90 per cent of people who visit a church do not join them.

"We may not realise how unwelcoming we appear to the outsider," it says.

"In many churches it is normal not to speak to newcomers. We are not usually openly hostile, we just ignore them and eventually they go away."

I'm glad that I do not belong to a church like that but it is an urgent reminder.

Here is a preview of the DVD they have produced as part of the "Everybody Welcome" initiative.

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Social Media harms true friendship?

Archbishop Nichols, head of the Catholic church in England & Wales has warned that, "Websites such as Facebook and MySpace encourage teenagers to view friendship as a "commodity" and are leading them to suicide".

he goes on to say that:

"The sites are leading teenagers to build "transient relationships" which leave them unable to cope when their social networks collapse. He said the internet and mobile phones were "dehumanising" community life. I think there's a worry that an excessive use or an almost exclusive use of text and emails means that as a society we're losing some of the ability to build interpersonal communication that's necessary for living together and building a community.

We're losing social skills, the human interaction skills, how to read a person's mood, to read their body language, how to be patient until the moment is right to make or press a point.

Too much exclusive use of electronic information dehumanises what is a very, very important part of community life and living together."

Is this another example of the established church being out of touch with reality? or is there something in what the Archbishop says?

I do know that electronic communication has somehow given people the perceived freedom to say things electronically that they would never have said face to face. Although not a young persons disease it seems to open some doors for them that may well be better left shut.

I prefer to see social media as opening connections that I would have never otherwise have had. The use of the word friend by facebook may be a little misleading but I for one enjoy the connection and also know who my friends are.

What do you think?

Read the whole article here.

First Day to Last Day

Today Mark brought to an end our series iwantanewmarriage. We introduced his preach The Ingredients of a happy marriage with the now famous Youtube clip - JK Wedding Dance.

A US College have since done a parody of it called J & K's Last Day. Obviously I am not in favour of divorce and realise that divorce is not funny for anyone but thought the video was hilarious.

In God we Trust

‘In a thousand trials it’s not just five hundred that work for our good, but nine hundred and ninety-nine; plus one!’ - George Mueller

Saturday, August 01, 2009

Church Alterations

Once the contractors move on site to start our new auditorium we will loose use of our existing entrance and foyer area for the duration of the build.

This week our builders have started preparing our existing hall to ensure it is workable during the new build phase.

They have created a new entrance at the rear of our present hall which will become our main entrance off the car park.

They have also created a new fire escape at the front of the hall which has meant that we have had to alter our stage area.

We are meeting with our main contractors on Monday to finalise the contract and close to concluding a deal with one bank.

Once we give the go ahead to the contractor he will be on site within 12 weeks.

Faith + Hope + Love

The guys from Hillsong have just released a new live Album.

Watch a couple of songs from it then get over to Amazon to pick it up.

Or download it at iTunes.

I Will Exalt You - Hillsong from Carlos Whittaker on Vimeo.

Sometimes its hard to keep focus

It is so easy to loose focus.

We are living in an information age.
24 hour news on TV
Magazines and Newspapers.
Books, books and more books.
Billions of websites.
RSS Feeds.

Equals information overload - More information although a great benefit can also confuse and distract.

This quote made me think about the benefit of focus:

"If you want to dig a big hole, you need to stay in one place.

If you walk around town with a little shovel, you'll just end up digging thousands of little holes, not one big one." - Seth Godin

And I think it was Rick Warren who tweeted the following:

"So many talented people give 1st class allegiance to 2nd class causes that difuse their energy, weaken their impact & waste their lives."

In the information age remember that Jesus is the wisdom giver.