This weekend I used an illustration to try and explain what Peter meant when he described women as a weaker vessel.
Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered. - 1 Peter 3 v 7
Friday, July 31, 2009
This weekend I used an illustration to try and explain what Peter meant when he described women as a weaker vessel.
Carrying on with 5 Questions to ask your wife.
How can I pray for you this week?
Nicola heads off to Activate Camp next week with a group of children from MKCC. Most of her request revolved around that.
- Pray that they will all be protected from sickness particularly swine flu.
- Pray that she will have loads of energy for the week.
- Pray that she will be able to deal with the kids well.
- Pray that each child will take another step with Jesus.
I am so thankful to Jesus for giving me the opportunity to be a pastor at MKCC.
I get to be part of an incredible leadership team. If I was leading a church by myself then I don't think that their would be many people following. I just don't have the gifting. But God knew that and put some great leaders around me who make up for all my weaknesses.
In fact I would not describe myself a traditional pastor. I leave that to others. But God has put something within me that is special and unique. I loved this quote by John Newton (author of "Amazing Grace") telling us why there aren't any perfect pastors.
In my imagination, I sometimes fancy I could [create] a perfect minister. I take the eloquence of ______, the knowledge of ______, the zeal of ______, and the pastoral meekness, tenderness, and piety of ______. Then, putting them all together into one man, I say to myself, "This would be a perfect minister."
Now there is One, who, if he chose to, could actually do this; but he never did it. He has seen fit to do otherwise, and to divide these gifts to every man severally as he will. (Richard Cecil, Memoirs of the Rev. John Newton, p. 107.)
I am enjoying the journey of becoming more like the ME God made me to be.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009
Carrying on with 5 Questions to ask your wife.
What is one thing I can do for you this week that will relieve stress from your life?
Basically are you selfish or sacrificial. Men you would need more than your 10 fingers and 10 toes to count the number of things your wife does for you. So the least you can do is ask for the ONE thing.
Nicola came up with two:
- She does not like doing the weekly food shop. Now I actually like doing it so off to sainsburys I went. Being a man I ended up spending much more money than usual on non essential things but thats the price you pay.
- She asked me to put out the rubbish on Monday morning. Bonus here. She forgot about it and actually put it out while I was still getting ready!
I read this post over at Ragamuffinsoul.com and it blew my mind TOTALLY!!!
"This is Rolling Hills Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA’s web banner on their website www.wheresthesteeple.orgNow today we live in a world where we have top 10 lists such as the most innovative churchs.
Not the sexiest thing we have ever seen.
And you know what?
Rolling Hills Baptist Church, Fayetteville, GA
Their building and property is worth over 1.1 million dollars.
The church has a nice facility that is almost paid off.
The church owes less than one hundred thousand dollars.
The church has 1 million in equity.
The church has many families who have lost their homes and jobs.
The community is one that could use resources and money to help families in need.
The pastor and his congregation have decided to sell the church building and property to take care of his members and put roofs over peoples heads instead of their own on Sunday.
On October 5, 2008, the members of Rolling Hills voted overwhelmingly in favor of joining GOD in His redemptive work by selling her buildings and property, and using the proceeds to increase ministry and mission efforts in our community and beyond.
They are looking to lease a movie theater or something after the property sells.
Other churches have offered their facilities.
This is the church at work.
Pastor Frank is my new local church hero.
Bravo to you for doing what you most would never do.
Bravo for you for following in obedience.
May God bless you and your church richly.
This is the most backwardly beautiful thing I have seen a church do in a while.
I can only imagine what could happen if this became a trend.
I realise that this may not be for everyone BUT it goes to the top of my list of radical churches.
This just never gets old. It doesn't matter if its in the UK, USA, Africa, India or Australia. To see hundereds and hundreds of young people lost in worship and following Jesus melts my heart every time.
Gauntlet is the Summer Camp of NewSpring Church.
Monday, July 27, 2009
Carrying on with 5 Questions to ask your wife.
No 2: What is something fun we can do together?
Nicola's first answer got me worried as she said her fun thing to do was a visit to Whittlebury Hall Spa. I thought MONEY!
But then he gave me a few other things:
- She said she loved going out for walks together.
- She enjoyed going out for a meal and TALKING (With me not on my iPhone communicating with the rest of the world)
- She enjoyed when we had a meal in as family round the table not in front of the TV.
What did your wife say?
Sunday, July 26, 2009
Today I some at MKCC about "Making marriage work - Men".
In it I mentioned a post I read by Perry Noble called "Five Questions Husbands should ask their wives".
So on the basis that my marriage is a work in progress I have been asking the questions.
Number 1: What is the most romantic thing that I’ve ever done for you?
Now initially this question did not go to well for me Nicola's first answer was "well you do lots of NICE things for me not so sure about romantic." Not a great start but it got a little better.
- She liked it when I took her away for her 30th Birthday and didn't tell here where we were going till we got to the airport. By the way it was New York.
- She likes it when I bring her home flowers when she isn't expecting it.
- She liked the watch I bought her when Abbie was born. (Blew it when Liam was born by buying an Ironing Board!)
- She liked this blog post.
Friday, July 24, 2009
In the UK 44% of children are now born to unmarried mothers. The Telegraph has reported that the good old Church of England has come up with a solution. You can get two for the price of one in that you can get married and as part of the same service have your child born out of "wedlock" baptised at the same time.
"Our clergy are noting that, for some unmarried couples, the baptism service now fulfils a desire for a public event that demonstrates and rejoices in their commitment to family life. Both sides of the family turn out in their Sunday best, take photos of the event and celebrate with parties afterwards that are not dissimilar to wedding receptions."
Maybe as clergy we need to notice that people need much more than a nice picture picture event to help them. And squeezing the two events into one will not make much difference unless when they do attend we introduce them to the only person that matters - JESUS!
Church was never meant to be the ornate picture perfect backdrop to marriage and children. The Church is here to introduce people to Jesus.
So at worst keep the two services separate and it give you two chances to tell them about Jesus.
This past weekend I used an illustration using Jelly Beans to help our church understanding tithing a little better.
Here is the video. Shout out to Perry Noble who I saw do this and I think he based it on something Ed Young did. (They did it much better than me).
This last 2 weeks 16 people at MKCC have started tithing as part of the 3 month tithing challenge. I am sure God will honour them.
Tuesday, July 21, 2009
There have been some very bad follow up movies. You come away from the cinema asking, WHY?
Here are some of my least favourites:
- Blues Brothers 2000
- The Sting II
- Highlander 2
- Rocky 5
- Grease 2
- The Next Karate Kid
The First Man was made out of earth, and people since then are earthy; the Second Man was made out of heaven, and people now can be heavenly. - 1 cor 15 v 48
Or as Charles Wesley wrote in one of his hymns: "In Him (Jesus) the tribes of Adam boast More blessings that their father lost."
Now that is a sequel that's worth the admission price.
Monday, July 20, 2009
"The conduct of a man will never out perform the content of his character." - Kenny Luck, Everyman Gods Man.
Sunday, July 19, 2009
Posts that got my attention this past week:
My Pastor and friend said it like it is here for all church leaders. As Bill Hybels once said their is a secret to success in ministry: Hard Work!
5 Questions from Perry Noble that will be with me for a long time.
Anne Jackson tells us The Type of Person the 21st Century Needs.
Are you prepared to be a "Fool for Christ" Mark Batterson.
Saturday, July 18, 2009
A football match played in Mexico City between Argentina and England in the quarter finals of the World Cup on 22 June 1986 will always be known as the Hand of God match.
Maradona, great player that he was, decided to cheat and use his hand instead of his feet to score a goal. In an interview afterwards, when challenged, he suggested it was the Hand of God that scored.
The Bible suggests that that our hand can be the Hand of God but when used for something very different to cheating at football.
Never walk away from someone who deserves help; your hand is God’s hand for that person. - Proverbs 3 v 27
Friday, July 17, 2009
BBC Radio 4 is revamping "Thought for the Day". For the uninitiated its a short God slot each day on the BBC's more serious radio station.
Unfortunately every time I here "Thought for the Day" I think about a rip off that a certain Billy Connolly did a number of years ago on An Audience with Billy Connolly.
Last week we started a new teaching series at MKCC called "iwantanewmarriage".
We have received one or two questions and comments regarding the wisdom of teaching on marriage at our Sunday services in that it excludes people who are single.
Mark tries to answer this on his blog so I thought I would post his comments here:
"Here's six reasons why...
1 . Jesus talked about marriage…so the church should as well. Marriage was God’s idea and He hasn’t changed His mind about what He had to say.
2 . People are hurting! With around 50% of marriages ending in divorce…something isn’t right! Maybe people have tried every way to make things work except the right way!
3 . We want to help, encourage and challenge every existing marriage to build a strong, healthy and satisfying marriage.
4. We have singles! And we really want to help you get things right in their relationships right from the start.
5. We all have friends, work colleagues or family members who are married or in relationships who may be struggling at this time. God wants to use you! We encourage you to invite people so come along on Sundays to hear us talk about marriage and relationships..
6. It is our continued passion that in this series people meet Jesus Christ.
Throughout this series we will be sharing many relational principles that work in all our relationships. "
Each week we as teachers of God's word have the awesome responsibility of communicating truths from God's word to a wonderful but varied congregation. Each person that attends our services is valuable and each on their own special journey with God each with their own individual set of circumstances. We also have a wide range of ages and backgrounds. Young People living at home, independent young people, dating, engaged, single, married, separated, divorced, widowed, single parents the list goes on.
One of the constant areas that I am aware that I need to work at in terms of communicating is to keep this wide range of people in mind. It is natural to draw on your own life and experience for illustrations to help people understand God's word but it is important to draw stories from other people. I want and need to improve.
That said I am sure that this series will help many people who are married and many people who may get married at some time. The devastation caused by a failed marriage is all too clear.
So if you are single and never intend to get married bear with us. (and getting married is not a must for everyone Paul talks about being single as a way of life in his letter to the church at Corinth) Firstly I am sure you will learn some biblical principles about relationships.
Secondly with the prevalence of failed marriages out there you are more than likely going to know someone who is struggling and I trust you will learn something that will help you with some good biblical advice.
Wednesday, July 15, 2009
God jumped into my world this past weekend when I read Psalm 31. It was something I really needed to hear probably more of a prayer in my heart to God.
1 I run to you, God; I run for dear life. Don’t let me down!
Take me seriously this time!
2 Get down on my level and listen,
and please—no procrastination!
Your granite cave a hiding place,
your high cliff aerie a place of safety.
3 You’re my cave to hide in,
my cliff to climb.
Be my safe leader,
be my true mountain guide.
4 Free me from hidden traps;
I want to hide in you.
5 I’ve put my life in your hands. You won’t drop me, you’ll never let me down.
6 I hate all this silly religion,
but you, God, I trust.
I suppose its at times like these that you find out if its religion you have had or a relationship with Jesus. I know that when your running for your dear life religion wont help but Jesus will.
I was also helped with these quotes from Andy Stanley:
- “In the midst of uncertainty God is still certain.”
- “Can you trust God when there is no evidence of His activity in your life?”
- “God seems to take broken things and do amazing work.”
- “The greatest things begin in the greatest messes.”
- “God STILL has the whole world in His hands.”
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
The series is called Questions. The goal of the series is for us to teach on (and hopefully answer) questions that you guys submit.
Now, for this to work, we need questions from you guys. SO, we are asking all you guys to head over to our questions page and fire off a few questions to us ASAP.
Remember, you can ask anything you like. Ask simple stuff. Ask hard stuff. Ask crazy stuff. Ask questions that you’ve always wondered about. Ask stuff that just came to your mind. It doesn’t matter. Just be sure to ask something!
Now, we obviously won’t be able to answer every question during the series but Mark & I will also answer some on our blogs too! (Mark)
Here’s the link to question page. Please head over there right now and send me your questions! Thanks!
Monday, July 13, 2009
One of the saddest sights to witness is God's people in fighting. I've seen families and churches torn apart when then should have been fighting side by side.
Its nothing new God chose to give us a ring side seat at Saul's obsession with killing David.
Saul's son Jonathan gets to the point in 1 Sam 23 v 17 when he says:
“Don’t despair. My father, Saul, can’t lay a hand on you. You will be Israel’s king and I’ll be right at your side to help. And my father knows it.”
Very often these fights have this at the core: Everyone wants to be King.
Sometimes we get so interested in protecting our position we miss God's plan and His plan is far more important than our position.
There is only one King and that is Jesus and we do well to remember he came as a servant.
Saul tried to hold on to his position so long that God just moved on. We need to crave God's presence more than our position.
Saturday, July 11, 2009
God said, “Go. Attack the Philistines and save Keilah.” But David’s men said, “We live in fear of our lives right here in Judah. How can you think of going to Keilah in the thick of the Philistines?” So David went back to God in prayer. - 1 Sam 23 v 2 -4
I love it that David was willing to go back to God and say: God are you sure?
Two things stick out to me.
- If you have never had to ask that question of God its because you are not doing anything dangerous, risky or out of your depth. David was going into the lions den so to speak.
- He cared for the men he was leading to listen to their fears and make sure before he lead them into battle.
Friday, July 10, 2009
Great friends of MKCC, Chris & Dana Byers are branching out in a new chapter in their God adventure with Bluedoor Ministries.
From the 1st August they are going mobile partnering with churches in Poland, Slovakia, and the Czech Republic with evangelistic efforts online, church planting resources, and translation of English materials. Read about how you can best pray and help them here.
Here is a short video from Dana explaining part of their journey.
Follow their progress at their blog or twitter.
Thursday, July 09, 2009
More than 800 surviving pages and fragments from the The Codex Sinaiticus, which was written in Greek on parchment leaves in the fourth century, have been reunited.
It is considered the oldest known Bible in the world over 1600 years old and it has now been published online.
Someone once said that being in God's will is the safest place to be. Not sure about that sometimes it can be scary. Other times it can be painful and hard to the point of tears and anguish.
If you were a man like King David who was a man after God's heart. Been obedient to God. Chosen & anointed by God to be King. Used to win a great victory. Think you would be entitled to think things would be a little easier than David found them to be. Exiled and hunted by King Saul, living in fear of his life separated from his closest friend.
After the boy had gone, David got up from the south side of the stone and bowed down before Jonathan three times, with his face to the ground. Then they kissed each other and wept together—but David wept the most. - 1 Sam 20 v 41
Sometimes following God's plan can bring tears but only for a season:
He gets angry once in a while, but across
a lifetime there is only love.
The nights of crying your eyes out
give way to days of laughter.
- Psalm 30 v 5
Tuesday, July 07, 2009
"I am distressed for you, my brother Jonathan; greatly beloved were you to me; your love to me was wonderful, passing the love of women.- 2 Samuel 1 v 26
This is a closing statement on an incredible relationship of brotherhood between the Prince, who could have been King, Jonathan and David, the guy chosen from obscurity by God to be king.
From their first meeting it was a remarkable relationship with Jonathan handing over to David even his sword as a mark of respect. It was a relationship the transcended that with his father.
It saved David's life on more than one occasion. The fought for and protected each other.
Why is this important? Well goes against what probably is our greatest weakness - isolation. We retreat into ourselves with our fear and pride holding us captive.
David on Jonathan's death suggests that his relationship and depth of love for each other surpassed the love of a woman. Some statement.
Honestly I can't quite get my head round that but I am so thankful that God has brought into my life at different times men that are much more than mates they are brothers.
- God appeared to the prophet Samuel to tell him Saul was on his way. (1 Sam 9 v 15)
- God confirmed to Samuel that Saul was His man when he met Saul. (1 Sam 9 v 17)
- Samuel prophesied to Saul about what was about to happen. (Then it did) (1 Sam 10 v 1)
- God supernaturally changed Saul's heart. (1 Sam 10 v 9)
- God's Spirit came on Saul and he prophesied. (1 Sam 10 v 10)
Saul continued to listen to the voice of insecurity in his life rather than the voice of God. It even drove him to attempt murder.
Ultimately God's mantle passed to a new generation through David.
I'm trying to let God's voice drown out the carping shout of insecurity.
Monday, July 06, 2009
I read in the Telegraph that Cardinal John Henry Newman is close to becoming Britain's first new saint for more than 30 years after Pope Benedict XVI paved the way for his beatification.
Newman born in 1801 and died in 1890 at the age of 89 seems to have had a long wait for sainthood. In fact he has only just been given the title "blessed" and won't be classed a Saint until a 2nd miracle is attributed to him.
Somehow we seemed to have left the Behind a little bit. Why do we have to create so much hierarchy, stardom & elitism in the church. The Bible time after time refers to follows of Jesus as saints. Saint from the Latin sanctus is a human being who is believed to have been "called" to "holiness". It is a way of life not a title.
And Jesus uses the word "blessed" right at the start of His ministry. Matthew 5
Blessed are the poor in spirit,
Blessed are those who mourn,
Blessed are the meek,
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
Blessed are the merciful,
Blessed are the pure in heart,
Blessed are the peacemakers,
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
Now I am sure John Henry Newman may have been many of these but these are things you do when you and are seen in us as followers of Jesus when we are alive.
If you follow Jesus you are called to be blessed and are a saint.
Sunday, July 05, 2009
This past week I got a phone call offering me a ticket for the upcoming U2 gig at Wembley. My excitement level was rising until I heard the date August 15th. Oh no I am on holiday!
So yet another U2 passes and I miss it. I am left with my memories of the Longest Day, a rainy day at the bowl in Milton Keynes in 1985 when U2 rocked my world.
And here is a video from their latest tour launch in Barcelona.
Today we had the privilege of hosting special guest Phil Wall today at MKCC. Phil became a christian at the age of 20 whilst a policeman. Based out of the Salvation Army he was a travelling evangelist for many years. More recently he founded the charity Hope HIV and now as well as championing the charity he is a leadership coach.
Phil had me hooked from the moment he started. Talking from the last few verses of Matthew 28 here were my highlights.
- They all worshiped Jesus but some doubted. Why have we given doubt such a bad name in the church. (v17)
- Doubt and unbelief are not the same thing.
- I doubt but I believe enough for God to use me.
- It is a travesty that all we seem to remember Thomas for is doubt. Only a few chapters earlier he was ready to follow Jesus to Jerusalem even if it meant death.
- I'm glad that God uses doubters. Really glad.
- Even when it does not look like it ALL authority belongs to Jesus.
- When we are fully convinced about the authority of Jesus we can have confidence no matter what.
- Some times we the church are so insecure that we get consumed with internal politics and theology instead of engaging the world.
- We worship a god who is constantly lapping at the shores of peoples lives. (Man that has given me enough to think about for a long time)
- The greatest thing we get to do as Christians in this world is kiss the scars of broken people.
- We mist live our lives in such a way that they make no sense unless Jesus exists.
- We apprentice people by how we live.
Friday, July 03, 2009
“The greatest source of atheism in the world today is Christians, who acknowledge Jesus with their lips but deny him by their lifestyles. That is what an unbelieving world simply finds unbelievable.” – Brennan Manning
But with all my heart I don't want to be.
"....with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief." - Mark 9:24
Thursday, July 02, 2009
I think it was Bill Clinton that coined the phrase "It's the economy stupid". A attempt to focus minds during his campaign on the core message and the message that would make a difference.
Here is the wrap. God chose to write lots of his wisdom in a book called the Bible. He worked through a group of men, inspired their writing, to give us His Word. AND we get to read it.
We GET to read it! Not have to read it. But GET to read God's wisdom.
There have been times in my life that reading the Bible has just not happened with any regularity. Even in "ministry" I have read it to enable me to preach to others but not to let God talk to me.
If that is you, Hey, you are missing out. Start today and hear God speak to you.
Need some help. Download a reading plan here or use YouVersion reading plan online or iPhone / Blackberry App.
Following on from yesterdays post I came across this song. The Anchor Holds. Not my usual type of music.
But felt I should post it as someone who drops by this blog needs to hear it.
You have had dreams and they seem to be slipping away like grains of sands.
The ship is battered.
The sails are torn.
You are facing the storm of life.
JESUS - your anchor will hold IN SPITE of the storm.
Wednesday, July 01, 2009
Mark posted the following statement: Fill your soul with HOPE.
'This hope we have as an anchor of the soul. both sure and steadfast' - Heb 6:19
It reminded me of an old Hymn we used to sing in church when I grew up. "Will your anchor hold in the storms of life?" Coming from a fishing community, where my family as far back as I can tell have been fishermen, it always held a special place in my heart.
As a teenager I used to spend some of my summer holidays on my dads trawler. (that was enough for me to realise it was not for me) But I got the cance to winess first hand how a boat could be tossed around by a storm. When a storm hits very often you are helpless.
I was even on board once at the West Coast of Scotland when the storm caused the anchor to drag from its mooring.
The song helps us to remember that even in the worst of storms, in the bleakest on nights hope can be found in Jesus. Get to know him - REALLY - before the storm comes.
Will your anchor hold in the storms of life,
When the clouds unfold their wings of strife?
When the strong tides lift and the cables strain,
Will your anchor drift, or firm remain?
We have an anchor that keeps the soul
Steadfast and sure while the billows roll,
Fastened to the Rock which cannot move,
Grounded firm and deep in the Savior’s love.
It is safely moored, ’twill the storm withstand,
For ’tis well secured by the Savior’s hand;
And the cables, passed from His heart to mine,
Can defy that blast, thro’ strength divine.
It will surely hold in the Straits of Fear—
When the breakers have told that the reef is near;
Though the tempest rave and the wild winds blow,
Not an angry wave shall our bark o’erflow.
It will firmly hold in the Floods of Death—-
When the waters cold chill our latest breath,
On the rising tide it can never fail,
While our hopes abide within the Veil.
When our eyes behold through the gath’ring night
The city of gold, our harbor bright,
We shall anchor fast by the heav’nly shore,
With the storms all past forevermore.
I came across this article written by Aaron Linford and originally published in the old AOG Magazine Redemtion Tidings.
”Love covered all sins” – Proverbs 10:12
Hatred and love are both violent emotions – but they drive in opposite directions. Both are capable of supreme exertions, but hatred fosters evil, while love issues in nothing but good. Both are like a flame of fire, but while hatred burns with envy, bitterness and revenge, love burns with a passion to give. to serve and to benefit.
Hatred Stirs: Its jaundiced eyes see evil intention in innocent gestures, twist words of goodwill into subtle innuendoes, makes mountains out of mole hills, Hatred picks on the smallest fault, makes no allowance for human error, and nurses slight grievances until they grow into grave affronts. We cannot go through life without rubbing someone up the wrong way. But hatred lets the friction develop destructive heat, where love pours on the oil of mediation and peace. Hatred spawns a brood of serpents’ suspicion, envy, abuse, revenge – but like the asp that poisoned Cleopatra so these venomous emotions become self-destructive. Hate results in moral suicide.
Love covers: That is, enables one to absorb insult, overlook wrongs and turn a blind eye to faults. The great Hannibal had an unseemly scar on one cheek; his artist portrayed him in profile with the good side prominent. So love marks the good qualities of others, even of one’s enemies. This text is quoted twice in the New Testament in 1 Peter 4:8, where Weymouth aptly translates: “For love throws a veil over a multitude of faults”, and in James 5:20, where the restoration of a stumbling brother means a forgetting of his painful misdeeds. Paul states one of the marvels of Christian love as, ”thinketh no evil” – 1 Cor. 13:5. The word ”thinketh” has in it a picture of keeping an account-book, as one writer puts it ”love does not keep a tally of old scores” to be paid off with interest when opportunity affords. No, love does not nurse grudges, but stifles at birth thoughts of revenge. As long as we are in the flesh weeds will infest our temperament; but love uproots them that virtues may flourish.
May my love for others ever seek to veil their weaknesses, O Lord.