Wednesday, October 28, 2009
My readings today took me to three people who all had the same problem.
King Amaziah of Judah. 2 Chronicles 25 v 2 says: "He did what was right in the eyes of the Lord, but not wholeheartedly."
Then I read in Acts 5 about a couple called Ananias and Sapphira who likewise served God but not with there whole heart by keeping money back they had pledged to give to God for which the died.
I serve God but is it really with my whole heart or do I hold back and hold out.
Sometimes I'd rather watch TV than speak to him.
Sometimes I'd rather talk about what he has told me than do it.
Sometimes I'd rather spend money on me than give it to his kingdom.
Sometimes its more about me than about Him.
“God's calling for a whole heart. Those are his terms. There's no compromise. Go after him. It's worth everything on that day.” - Bill Mc Cartney
Monday, October 26, 2009
Someone once said the pace of the leader determines the pace of the pack. Sometimes leaders slow things down. Fear & insecurity can mean they are slow to act.
Reading in 2 Chronicles 24 today I saw this clearly. The leaders were slowing the vision down.
Joash wanted to renovate the Temple of God so asked his spiritual leaders to raise the money from the people to enable the task to be completed. But v 6 says, "But the Levites dragged their feet and didn’t do anything."
I am sure there are all sorts of reasons:
- What if the people didn't want to give?
- The people paid their wages so they didn't want to upset them.
- If the building project started it may put the squeeze on their remuneration.
- Maybe they didn't want to give.
Leader maybe its time to get out of the way stop being a bottleneck and let God's people step up.
I think, if it is actually possible, I inherited the worry gene. But I am not an idol worrier it drives me to act. Somehow by working the problem I feel more in control even though I am not. The more I worry the harder I work.
I am saying that my hope is in me.
So God talks to me relaxing by the pool staring up into the sky as an eagle circles round and round the sky. Wings extended almost motionless, with the occasional flick, it rode up and down on the wind seemingly effortlessly. No desperate wild flapping of wings just soaring on the wind.
The secret of soaring is in our hope.
but those who hope in the Lord
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.
- Isaiah 40 v 31
Sunday, October 25, 2009
Over the last few days Liam has kept asking me what is on my bucket list. What would I like to do before I kick the bucket. I am obviously looking old!
Building an epitaph for the next life is more important than ticking boxes in this life. Reading what was said about Jehoram when he died is painful. "No one was sorry when he died." - 2 Cron 21 v 20
He was King but he was more interested in building his own Kingdom than God's Kingdom. His selfish efforts only brought alienation from his people.
Sure there are things I'd like to do but it is really more about what I become.
"God's Word preaches to me to BECOME like Christ... not merely to DO like Christ..."
Monday, October 19, 2009
According to the Telegraph the BBC are being asked to rethink their long running "Thought for The Day". It is suggested that Radio 4's three-minute 'God slot' may be in breach of equality law by secularists.
So I thought we could spruce it up by bringing in the Rev I M Jolly.
As part of our missions giving we support the Byers family. Chris, Dana & family gave up their jobs packed up and headed over to Europe to assist churches spread the gospel.
Presently they are in Poland.
Here is an excerpt from an e mail Dana sent me with some exciting news:
"Church Online in Polish launches on 1 Nov! We realized that as messages are translated for Church Online in Polish, they will be archived in Polish at OPEN. (a ministry of Lifechurch.tv) So that makes us want to go to another foreign country where English isn't the primary language to translate a new Church Online experience into their language thereby providing http://open.lifechurch.tv resources in the local languages, too. This means the local churches have transcripts, materials, graphics, messages, and more to use for small groups, outreach, church planting...all very exciting for us!
It's wild seeing in some of these countries that they literally have NO Christian books or resources translated into their languages. Trusting this could provide a big boost for pastors on the Continent as more languages are available."
Please consider supporting them today by visiting http://www.causes.com/bluedoor
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Watched and listened to this great song by Charlie Hall.
Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven, broken for me
Cup of salvation held up to drink
Christ has died and
Christ is risen,
and Christ will come again
Celebrate his death and rising
Lift your eyes, proclaim his come
Celebrate his death and rising
Lift you eyes, lift your eyes
Above all, trust in the slow work of God.
We are quite naturally impatient in everything to reach the end without delay.
We should like to skip the intermediate stages.
We are impatient of being on the way to something unknown, something new.
And yet it is the law of all progress that it is made by passing through some stages of instability—and that it may take a very long time.
And so I think it is with you.
Your ideas mature gradually–let them grow,
Let them shape themselves, without undue haste.
Don’t try to force them on, as though you could be today what time
(that is to say, grace and circumstances acting on your own good will)
will make of you tomorrow.
Only God could say what this new spirit gradually forming within you will be.
Give our Lord the benefit of believing that his hand is leading you,
and accept the anxiety of feeling yourself in suspense and incomplete.
Pierre Teilhard de Chardin
Friday, October 16, 2009
What would you do if you met a guy who had changed the course of your life by sponsoring you for 19 years. Find out below when Jimmy Wambua met Mark. If you want to jump right to it Jimmy starts speaking at 3.45.
Thursday, October 15, 2009
13 The choir and trumpets made one voice of praise and thanks to God—orchestra and choir in perfect harmony singing and playing praise to God:I don't have to wait for God's "cloud" to arrive.
Yes! God is good!
His loyal love goes on forever!
Then a billowing cloud filled The Temple of God.
14 The priests couldn’t even carry out their duties because of the cloud—the glory of God!—that filled The Temple of God. 2 Chron 5 v 13 - 14
The Holy Spirit has taken up residence.
I love serving God.
But when was the last time I was paralysed by the presence of God.
Stopped from my doing by a realisation of His Glory.
God force me to stop.
To be still in your presence.
This is lifted directly from Pastor Steven Furtick's website. Because I just could not put it any better. So why bother!
Your best innovation flows from revelation. You must prioritize the presence of God in your life.
More can be accomplished in a nanosecond of prayer, worship, and listening to the voice of the Holy Spirit than a month’s worth of strategy meetings in the flesh.
Many leaders have created virtually no margin to make room for the kind of divine encounters that birth true vision and revolutionary concept. I can trace the genesis of many of the most important ideas in the history of our church to a specific moment in the presence of God. I can trace my most frustrating seasons to a deficiency of time allocated to my most important task: seeking the wisdom of the Lord.
What would Moses have missed had he never turned aside to see the burning bush?
If the leaders in the church in the book of Acts had neglected prayer and the Word to serve tables, how might the influence of the Gospel been impeded worldwide?
What revelation, inspiration, imagination and innovation is left undiscovered in your life because you’re failing to prioritize the presence of God?
Thank you Pastor Furtick for the reminder.
Wednesday, October 14, 2009
When Solomon was building the temple he hung a spectacular curtain across the entrance to the most holy place. Across the entrance of the Most Holy Place he hung a curtain made of fine linen, decorated with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and embroidered with figures of cherubim. - 2 Cron 3 v 14
No matter how beautiful this curtain was it didn't represent the heart of God.
- It created a division between God and His people.
- It put God's relationship with His people in the hands of a select few.
At that moment the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. - Matthew 27 v 51
God signals his intent that the way to God was open to all irrespective of colour, gender, nationality, good or bad. No one ever needed to have a second hand relationship through priest, father, prophet, pastor or leader ever again.
Don't hang up another curtain by handing your relationship with God to someone else.
- It’s lonely to lead.
Leadership involves tough decisions. The tougher the decisions, the lonelier it is.
- It’s dangerous to succeed.
It is dangerous to succeed while being young. rarely, does God give leadership that young because it takes crushing and failure first.
- It’s hardest at home.
Nobody at home is applauding you. They say, “Dad! You’re fly is open.”
- It is essential to be real.
If there is one realm where phoniness is personified it is leadership. What I care about is that you stay real.
- It is painful to obey.
There are rewards, yes, but it is painful nevertheless.
- Brokenness and failure are necessary.
- My attitude is more important than my actions.
Some of you are getting hard to be around. And your attitude covers all those great actions you pull off.
- Integrity eclipses image.
What you are doing is not a show. And the best things you are doing is not up front but what you do behind the scenes.
- God’s way is better than my way.
God is going to have His way.
- Christ-likeness begins and ends with humility.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
I had the opportunity to share God's Word at MKCC on Sunday. Here are a couple of highlight videos from the preach. I also learned the following by watching it:
- My hair is getting thinner.
- I need to keep visiting the gym to reduce my belly a little more.
- I hate an Anglified Scottish accent like mine.
- Watching yourself on video is horrible.
A.W. Tozer says,
”God formed us for His pleasure, and so formed us that we as well as He can in divine communion enjoy the sweet and mysterious mingling of kindred personalities. He meant us to see Him and live in Him and draw our life from His smile.”
HT Louie Giglio @Catalyst
Solomon had an incredible start to his journey as King as he set out to build a temple in Jerusalem.
But who can really build him a worthy home? Not even the highest heavens can contain him! So who am I to consider building a Temple for him, except as a place to burn sacrifices to him? - 2 Chronicles 2 v 6
Solomon understood that all that was God could never be contained in a building no matter how magnificent it was. It would never be God's home. But it was to be a place where they could honour God with sacrifices.
God has never been and never never will be interested in buildings of wood, brick and stone. But he is interested in you and me where he can take up residence through the Holy Spirit. Somehow our weak frail bodies can become a home for God where the most amazing extravagant temple that was ever built could not.
you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. - 1 Peter 2 v 5
Monday, October 12, 2009
This past Sunday we used Youversion Live in our Sunday service for the first time at MKCC.
I mentioned some of the features here.
The event will stay live till later this week then we will replace it with information for the upcoming Sunday.
So if you want to watch a video of one of the songs we sung, register for one of our upcoming events, send a prayer request or recap on some of the Bible verses used visit: www.youversion.com/mkcc.
On a mobile devise it should take you directly to the page on a laptop or desktop just click on the event Unstoppable on the right hand side of the page.
I am a bit thick some times. Some would say all the time. God has been reminding me time and time again about investing in the next generation.
So I head off to spend a couple of days at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit with many of the team from MKCC and God hits me between the eyes with the same thing. I learned loads and have much to process and implement but I was floored by a talk by Jessica Jackley a 26 year old lady who founded KIVA.
Jessica Jackley is co-founder of Kiva.org, the world's first peer-to-peer online micro-lending website. Kiva.org allows internet users to lend as little as $25 to entrepreneurs in the developing world, providing affordable capital to start or expand a small business. In just three years Kiva has helped raise over $61 million and connected thousands of people across 120 countries. - Willow Creek.She started it at 21 yes that's 21! Amazing
I am only 46 and don't want to stop learning or hang up my boots any time soon but I do want to resource, encourage, equip & release the next generation with anything I have.
The I read today that King David pledged his own personal money to resource his son Solomon in building the temple. Something he missed out on but wanted it to happen so much that he dedicated his like to resourcing the vision. He recognised it was not about him but about God's Kingdom.
Thursday, October 08, 2009
When Paul and Timothy write to the believers in Philippi they introduce themselves with a strange description. They describe themselves as "Slaves to Christ".
I realise that slavery still exists in this world and it is abhorrent today that it has ever been and it should be fought in every for it manifests its self. But to me born and brought up in a small village in Scotland the living my life in the relative luxury of small town in England my life is far removed from the stench of slavery.
To these guys though in the first century it was an every day way of life. They knew all to well the weight of their words. Was the first place that Paul preached on European soil it was a roman colony a place where well to do Romans settled. Even members of the elite Praetorian Guard "retired" there. So it would seem that most of them owned slaves.
So Paul & Timothy introduce themselves as just that slaves of Christ. Bought for a price, owned lock stock and barrel, all rights gone & subject to every command for life.
Slavery would not have been their ultimate goal in life but Paul pulled no punches.
Recently it has become more vogue to describe ourselves as followers of Christ, which is great, but maybe we should start using "Slaves of Christ".
Tuesday, October 06, 2009
Vision is a word that is said many times.
Covey suggests that we have a vision for our lives, "begin with the end in mind". Company's hang their vision statements on their wall and print mouse mats with the important words for all to see.
Of course churches have vision or should have. But God's vision is much larger than ours. Maybe I'm just getting older (although I don't class 6 as old) but making sure we prepare and pass on to the next generation is becoming more important to me.
In 1 Chronicles 22 v 5 we read that David collected vast amounts of building material, wealth and man power to enable the temple to be completed by his son.
He realised that he wasn't going to see the fulfilment of all his dreams but he was going to do everything he could to ensure the next generation had all it needed.
He could have become bitter and twisted but God's vision was more important that his part in. He became a champion of the next generation not a critic.
God needs fathers who will be more committed to His vision than their own.
Sadly "Christian" marriages are not immune to the disaster of a partner having an affair. And even more frustratingly Pastors are not immune.
I read a post by the author Randy Alcorn where he recounts asking a friend & Christian leader what could have been done that would have stopped him having an affair. He replied: "If only I had really known, really thought through and weighed what it would cost me and my family and my Lord, I honestly believe I would never have done it."
To help himself Randy wrote a list of consequences of this type of sin in his life.
- Grieving my Lord; displeasing the One whose opinion most matters.
- Dragging into the mud Christ's sacred reputation.
- Loss of reward and commendation from God.
- Having to one day look Jesus in the face at the judgment seat and give an account of why I did it. Forcing God to discipline me in various ways.
- Untold hurt to Nicola, my best friend and loyal wife.
- Loss of Nicola respect and trust.
- Hurt to and loss of credibility with my beloved children, Liam & Abbie.
This blew me away this week.
What can God trust me with?
Monday, October 05, 2009
I am excited about some new developments coming to YouVersion.com this week. (Well that is whats planned) YouVersion Live
Easily develop a web page that any mobile web enabled device can visit during your event: church service, youth service, conference, concert etc etc. (NB Not just iPhone but any web enabled mobile phone or laptop)
Add scripture, notes, polls, prayer request, questions & giving.
There are huge opportunities for this to help connect and equip people at your church or event.
Here is a video by Bobby Gruenwald & Terry Storch from LifeChurch.tv who have developed the site. And best of all its all free!!!
One of David's finest hours was the slaying of Goliath of Gath. A huge giant killed with God's help by a sling and pebble.
But Goliath was not the only giant faced by God's people. Reading in 1 Chronicles 20 v 4 - 8 we can add the names: Saph, Lahmi (Goliaths brother) & a huge giant with extra fingers and toes.
So we can add the names of Sibbecai from Hushah, Elhanan son of Jair & Jonathan, the son of David's brother Shimea, to the list of famous giant killers.
Following Jesus is not for the faint hearted there is always another giant to be faced and conquered.
It is interesting to note that this chapter starts with the recount of 2 Samuel 11 when David took his eye off the ball and fell to a completely different type of giant - lust.
There are all sorts of giants we have to face only 2 things are certain there will always be another one to face despite victories and they all can be beaten with God's help not our own strength.
Listening to a podcast by Erwin McManus called "Jesus power over the little things", (Based on Jesus turning water into wine at a wedding party) he said this:
"It doesn't stretch my faith to think about God doing God sized things. What to me is unexplainable is that God would care about something like this. That God would somehow, if invited, involve himself in a wedding part running out of wine. When most of the people were already too drunk to notice. But he does.I am so thankful that God cares about me so much that he cares about the small details of my life.
The Unexplainable to me is not when God does something big that only God can do. The unexplainable to me is when God does something that I would think was normally beneath him. Something that didn't matter to Him it just mattered to me."
Sunday, October 04, 2009
Been praying for some people from MKCC that are facing some storms in their life at the moment and read the following quote:
”The ships at anchor in Spithead may swing too and fro with the tide, and pitch heavily in a south easterly gale, but so long as their anchors hold the ground they ride safely ….” - J C Ryle
It made me think again about the old Hymn, Will your anchor hold that I posted about here.
The storms can hit us and toss us about but with our soul anchored and grounded firm and deep in Jesus love he will pull us through.
Truly my soul silently waits for God; From Him comes my salvation. He only is my rock and my salvation; He is my defense; I shall not be greatly moved. - Psalm 62 v 2
The hard part is silently waiting for God when you are in the storm.
Saturday, October 03, 2009
I have never lived in a house... - 1 Chronicles 17 v 5
David wanted to do God a favour he wanted to build Him a lavish house. God wanted to stay homeless! A house was not something that he lacked it was something that could never contain Him.
God pointed Nathan and David towards Jesus who would build a house that could truly reflect the glory of God. Jesus was to be the "chief cornerstone" and we were to be "living stones".
We have built many churches many are incredible structures of beauty and filled with wonderful art but they are just buildings. Sacred not.
But we as part of Jesus kingdom have become temples (homes) to the Holy Spirit bringing and demonstrating the values and beauty of His kingdom.
God is no longer homeless because he found the only home he ever wanted, you!
Thursday, October 01, 2009
I searched for someone to stand in the gap in the wall so I wouldn't have to destroy the land, but I found no one. - Ezekiel 22 v 30
Someone once said that being in the will of God is the safest place to be. It suggests that if we are doing what God wants everything will be fine and dandy. A quick glance at Paul's life followed by a run through the heroes of the faith in Hebrews certainly suggests it is anything but.
We do not fight against mortal men but as the Bible puts it evil principalities and powers.
This reference in Ezekiel is even more scary because God is looking for a man to stand in the breach in the wall created by unrighteousness against God.
Now that's a scary place for a leader. I know that now Jesus has taken that place. He takes God's wrath, he becomes your substitute, he stands in the gap for us. But maybe just maybe there is an example for church leaders here.
Are you willing to stand in the gap for the people God has entrusted to you. Yes they will mess up, yes they will make stupid decisions, yes they will ignore your advice and end up in some dark places. But will you just criticise them or will you stand in the breach of their life, yes even created by themselves and fight for them.
Someone once said that you know someone is a leader because people are following them. Yes, but also, you know someone is a leader because of the people he is will to "fight and die" for.