Monday, November 30, 2009

Pray for Matt Chandler and family

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

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

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

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

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

Belated Sunday Thoughts

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

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Thankful when everything is not wonderful

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Facing martyrdom at 26

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

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

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

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

He then sang part of Psalm 103

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

who forgives all your sins
and heals all your diseases,

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

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

Then he prayed:

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

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

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Am I up for a Covenant

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 23, 2009

The Boomerang secret to dealing with citicism

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Solid Rock Cafe Fraserburgh

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

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

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

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

Monday, November 16, 2009

God hears a whisper

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, November 13, 2009

The 10, 10, 80 Rule

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

Elijah Offering Video from Elevation Church on Vimeo.

HT Elevation Worship

New Church Building Fly Through

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

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

New Build Fly through from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wouldn't have believed it unless I had seen it

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

NewSpring Ghost sighting from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

What Next?

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

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

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

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

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

So I am asking, God What next?

Monday, November 09, 2009

I'm Back

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

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

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

Our Future from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.