Friday, December 31, 2010



  • Nicola started a new role at MKCC - Head of Child Services. Sounds salubrious but it just meant that she added over all responsibility for the Day Nursery to her list of duties :-)
  • Liam left school, started college and became mobile when he purchased a moped. The roads around MK will never be the same.
  • Abbie qualified in level 2 of her child care NVQ and finally got her provisional.
  • We enjoyed a couple of great holidays in France.
  • At MKCC we completed our building project and opened the doors to our new facilities for the first time in October.
  • The World Cup was rubbish (Probably because Scotland were not there), a jockey won sports personality of the year, My teams Aberdeen & Aston Villa are both in danger of relegation, but England retained the ashes.
For me I have discovered more deeply God's grace in my life. It seems like a pool that you can never fathom. You reach what you thought was the bottom only to be surprised by another hidden shaft of Grace that has always been there but only just found by your searching eye.

It cannot be contained through conditions, defeated by doubt, shelved by sin. It is forever relentless in rescuing me from myself. This year I have let myself, my friends and my God down so many times but God has never let me down and his grace has always restored me.

Monday, December 27, 2010


We often pray God's blessing on people. We often say "God bless you." We want to be a blessing to others. But the greatest blessing we can give to anyone is summed up in this old hymn: Make me a channel of your blessing.

To tell someone else about the savious Jesus for the first time. No other blessing comes close.

Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is the love of God flowing through you?
Are you telling the lost of the Savior?
Are you ready His service to do?

Make me a channel of blessing today,
Make me a channel of blessing, I pray;
My life possessing, my service blessing,
Make me a channel of blessing today.

Is your life a channel of blessing?
Are you burdened for those that are lost?
Have you urged upon those who are straying
The Savior Who died on the cross?

Is your life a channel of blessing?
Is it a daily telling for Him?
Have you spoken the Word of salvation
To those who are dying in sin?

We cannot be channels of blessing
If our lives are not free from known sin;
We will barriers be and a hindrance
To those we are trying to win.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

God is with us

Day 25 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

They will name him Emmanuel (Hebrew for “God is with us”).- Matt 1 v 23

The best thing about Christmas is that we get God.

Friday, December 24, 2010

God so loved the world that he gave....

Day 24 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

“This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life." - John 3:16

Christmas summed up in 8 words - God so loved the world that he gave.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Take the risk

Day 23 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season
‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!" - Matt 25 v 26

Jesus came, that's what we celebrate at Christmas.
Jesus went, that's what we celebrate at Easter.
Jesus is coming back, that's what we are preparing for.

In this Chapter Jesus tells his disciples and us through three stories about his return.

Always be ready and expectant - The 10 virgins.
What to do when waiting - The sheep and the goats

Through the parable of the Talents He also tells us how to live - by taking risks for Him.
Whatever he gives us he wants us to live on the extreme with it.
Fear makes us live cautiously and we cannot let that fear bring restraint to the gifts of God.
If he has given you 1 gift take a risk, if he has given you 10 gifts take 10 gifts.

Sometime when we have a little we think, if we had more we would risk something. But the truth is if we are cautious with a little we will be cautious with a lot. The guy with 10 talents risked the most.

Take the thousand and give it to the one who risked the most. And get rid of this “play-it-safe” who won’t go out on a limb. - Matt 25 v 28

He's coming back take the risk. If God is confident enough to give you something use it!

I trust in you - Always

It is so easy to say things like "I trust in you God always" it is another thing to actually leave it when the wheels fall off.

This is a great song from Audacious band that reminds that God is still moving even when it doesn't look like it. To live with the truth that nothing can come between us and an incredible God of passionate love and to know that he is moving.

Then we will be able to say "Though I don't understand, I submit I choose your plan."

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Always and forever

Day 22 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal always and ever.
Psalm 100 v 5

Loyalty is challenged every day and in every way.
Promises and contracts are broken over next to nothing.
Marriages that were supposed to last till death disintegrate in double quick time.
Even building church can be a fragile business.
Not only do we see church members jump churches but leadership teams, once strong can self destruct in a matter of moments.

Loyalty is not found in words but discovered in days of joy & disgrace, long nights of hardship and years of struggle & plenty.

Jeffrey Gitmore said, You don't earn loyalty in a day. You earn loyalty day-by-day.

But the great thing is that we do not have to earn God's loyalty. We have it "always and forever". He doesn't walk away in disappointment, turn his back in shame or lash out in anger.

He remains forever your loyal friend.

Christmas Lights Live

Great live video of Coldplay performing "Christmas Lights" (With an ever so brief appearance of Gary Barlow) Great song.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Just a fraction of God blows our mind

Day 21 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

There are so many other things Jesus did. If they were all written down, each of them, one by one, I can’t imagine a world big enough to hold such a library of books. - John 21 v 25

The 4 books that we have at the start of the New Testament, Matthew, Mark, Luke & John tell us some incredible things that Jesus did. But he did so much more we get to read now a tiny fraction. A mere blink of the eye.

Yet the actions and the teachings he shared are still more than enough to make you stand back in wonder, fall on your knees with humility and rip your heart out with his love for mankind.

Nothing will help me get over the simple story that Jesus told to emphasise his pursuit of me that the story of the Lost Son (Prodigal Son). Just that story would have been enough for me. It told me all that I need to know.

But John makes it clear that there is so much more.

Even the smallest of fraction blows our minds so how dare we limit God.


No matter who you are getting a piece on encouragement is always great. Often it's the critics that speak up and others stay silent. So today receiving the card below made my day.

It also confirms to me that church leaders need to be honest, open and transparent about their weaknesses as well as their strengths to their congregation. I've probably had more feedback from my message "LoveWorks for the Broken" than any I have preached at MKCC.

I suspect the card was delayed in the post because of all the snow. To be honest I could have done with it last week but hey God arranged it for today and he knows best. :-)

Monday, December 20, 2010

Behold the lamb

Day 20 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

“Here he is, God’s Passover Lamb! He forgives the sins of the world! This is the man I’ve been talking about, ‘the One who comes after me but is really ahead of me.’ - John 1 v 30

Growing up our family in a Christian family in the 70's had lots of pluses. But we seemed to attend "meetings" non stop. Breaking of Bread, Gospel meeting, after meeting, Sunday school, Bible Class, Prayer meeting, Sunshine Corner, Bible study, waiting meeting the list goes on.

Then it was time for summer holiday so what did we do we went to a Christian Guest House for 2 weeks. Guess what more meetings. Two every day.

Branairis, Haldon Court, Herne Bay Court (Above pic) don't have the same ring as Spain, the Vendee or Orlando do they?

Anyway a long way of telling you that as a young boy of around 9 at Haldon Court in the South West of England I heard Pastor Brian Downward preach on John 1 v 30, Behold the Lamb of God.

38 years later I remember vividly the way he pointed out that before Jesus had done anything of note he is singled out as God's sacrifice. Before he had healed, performed miracles, preached & taught. His mission and purpose was laid out for all to hear.

A sacrifice for the world. Taking away and dealing with Sin.

That night even though I didn't understand it, and I would later come to faith, hope was born in my heart.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

God doesn't play hide and seek

Day 19 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

This is not a cat-and-mouse, hide-and-seek game we’re in. - Luke 11 v 10

When it comes to conversing with God Jesus makes it plain. He is there ready willing and able to talk to us 24/7.

But still sometimes its like we don't know where God is.
Clearly its not with God that the problem exists.
We can't blame God even though we sometimes would like to.

Maybe we go looking for him in the wrong places.
Like a dad playing hide and seek with his little toddler.
Wanting to be found, making it easy to be found.
But still the toddler keeps going back to previously explored places. Where dad was not to be found a few seconds ago but somehow the thought is that by revisiting dad will miraculously appear.

God wants to be found. And like the wise men at the birth of His Son he is always ready to guide you home.

As someone once said:

"When you see God’s hands in everything, it is easy to leave everything in God’s hands."

Saturday, December 18, 2010

God's not that in to fasting

Day 18 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Reading Isaiah 58 it would appear that God's is not into fasting. Before you think I've gone off my rocker. I know that fasting is a necessary spiritual discipline. But with the whole of Christian life God's is not into empty rituals that don't bring life change.

Growing up in church I came to think that fasting was all about twisting God's arm. A way to show God that this prayer was important. This time you see God I'm adding to my words sacrifice. I'm giving up a meal.

But fasting is not a silver bullet to getting the answer we want from God. In fact Isaiah says that if our hearts are not right in our fast "our prayers won't get off the ground" (v4).

I firmly believe now that fasting is more about changing our hearts than changing God's mind. God through Isaiah describes the result of a God type fast:

6 “This is the kind of fast day I’m after:
to break the chains of injustice,
get rid of exploitation in the workplace,
free the oppressed,
cancel debts.

7 What I’m interested in seeing you do is:
sharing your food with the hungry,
inviting the homeless poor into your homes,
putting clothes on the shivering ill-clad,
being available to your own families.

8 Do this and the lights will turn on..

Isaiah 58 v 6 - 8

Friday, December 17, 2010

Intimate Conversation

Day 17 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Doesn’t that privilege of intimate conversation with God make it plain that you are not a slave, but a child? And if you are a child, you’re also an heir, with complete access to the inheritance. - Galatians 4 v 7

Jesus changed our standing before God from enemies to sons. A privilage of a son is an intimate conversation with the father.

Prayer requires more of the heart than of the tongue. ~Adam Clarke

William B Bradbury wrote the following hymn "Sweet Hour of Prayer".

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
That calls me from a world of care,
And bids me at my Father’s throne
Make all my wants and wishes known.
In seasons of distress and grief,
My soul has often found relief,
And oft escaped the tempter’s snare,
By thy return, sweet hour of prayer!

Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!
The joys I feel, the bliss I share,
Of those whose anxious spirits burn
With strong desires for thy return!
With such I hasten to the place
Where God my Savior shows His face,
And gladly take my station there,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!
Sweet hour of prayer! sweet hour of prayer!

Thy wings shall my petition bear
To Him whose truth and faithfulness
Engage the waiting soul to bless.
And since He bids me seek His face,
Believe His Word and trust His grace,
I’ll cast on Him my every care,
And wait for thee, sweet hour of prayer!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Pilgrimage to worship

Day 16 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

We’re on pilgrimage to worship him. - Matt 2 v 2

The wise men were on a sacred pilgrimage
to find the new born King of the Jews, Jesus. At the end of their long journey and search would be worship.

Matthew records that as soon as they saw Jesus in His mothers arms they were, Overcome. They gave away their treasures and bowed in worship. When confronted with Jesus things that were important become unimportant, everything loses its value and only he matters.

"A little child is easily quieted and amused with gaudy toys and dolls and rattles, so long as it is not hungry; but once let it feel the cravings of nature within, and we know that nothing will satisfy it but food. So it is with man in the matter of his soul. Music and flowers and candles and incense and banners and processions and beautiful vestments and confessionals and man-made ceremonies of a semi-Romish character may do well enough for him under certain conditions. But once let him 'awake and arise from the dead', and he will not rest content with these things. They will seem to him mere solemn triflings and a waste of time. Once let him see his sin, and he must see his Saviour." - J.C. Ryle
So our lives move from a pilgrimage TO worship to a pilgrimage OF never ending worship.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


Day 15 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Unannounced, an angel of God appeared - Luke 1 v 11

Opening his account of Jesus life Luke first introduces us to a great Godly couple, Zachariah and Elizabeth. He talks of them in glowing terms, honorable, obedient and faithful to God. But there was a shadow on this God honouring life. They couldn't have Children.

Even with this disappointment they lived faithfully before God choosing to walk away from bitterness.

Then one day Zachariah busy in his service for God was taken aback when God sent an angel UNANNOUNCED into his life that was to change his life.

Zachariah, even though he was being told that he would have what he had long wanted, a child, found it hard to believe.

God showed up Unannounced and disappointment turned to joy.
God showed up unannounced and blind men saw.
God showed up unannounced and lepers were made whole.
God showed up unannounced and the possessed were delivered.
God showed up unannounced and cripples were healed.
God showed up unannounced and the barren gave birth.

God still turns up unannounced today.

You are Holy

Loved this live version of "You Are Holy" from Elevation Church.

Click here if you can't see the video


Grow our faith Lord When our eyes can't see
That you don't change Lord You will ever be

All glory and honor and praise
To the king who forever reigns

Holy, You are Holy
Worthy, You are Worthy

Without an end,
You are the same
Without an end,
God you remain
Above all thrones,
Above every name
Without an end,
God you remain

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Judas & Silas much needed men

Day 14 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Everyone agreed: apostles, leaders, all the people. They picked Judas (nicknamed Barsabbas) and Silas—they both carried considerable weight in the church—and sent them to Antioch with Paul and Barnabas. - Acts 15 v 22

Not much to do with Christmas but this verse really spoke to me today.

My experience in church is that "Everyone agreeing" is not the norm. In fact in my 47 years in church I am not really sure I have witnessed it!

There always seems to many voices and opinions. Each one of them shouting for attention.

Ensuring we respect peoples voice whilst ensuring we don't just go round in circles trying to please everyone is a tension in leadership.

I think that this verse give us some help. To assist Paul and Barnabas on their mission they sent 2 men, Judas & Silas. The Bible doesn't say they were apostles, it doesn't even say they were leaders, but it does say they were men of great influence, they were men you could trust with your life, and willing to give up their own lives for the cause of Christ.

They were stalwarts in the church. Every local church needs them and when you have them LISTEN to them. Seek them out and ask them.

Thank God we have them in MKCC.

LoveWorks for the Broken

Had a great time preaching at MKCC on our LoveWorks series. Tackled the subject LoveWorks for the broken. Easy for me because I am pretty much smashed up.

I introduced the preach with this great video from POTSC. And the full preach is also below.


ove Works for the Broken from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Let's make some noise

Day 13 - Rediscovering the Christmas season

Hallelujah! Praise God in his holy house of worship, praise him under the open skies; Praise him for his acts of power, praise him for his magnificent greatness; - Psalm 150 v 1 & 2

Yes I know worship is much more than singing, it is a lifestyle.

But one thing for sure is that the Bible makes it quite clear that worship is also music and singing focused on our great God.

Unfortunately growing up in church in the North of Scotland worship or more specifically worship style became a battle ground. Ancient Hymns we joined with "new" choruses. Churches were starting to discover other instruments than a Hammond organ. Clapping and raising of hands were acceptable in my church but moving of feet in any way that could be described as a "dance" were not.

Of course being a teenager in the early 80's I was one of the ones creating headaches for the older establishment. And if I am honest many times we were more focused on winning the worship war than the one who we should be worshiping.

But I remember reading a book back then by a guy called Arthur Wallis. I read a phrase that has stayed with me for almost 30 years. "The radicals of today become the die hards of tomorrow."

I vowed then that I would always be a radical or at least support the radicals.

So in the spirit of Psalm 150 lets turn the music up and rattle heaven with our extravagant offerings of magnificent worship and praise.

Sunday, December 12, 2010


Day 12 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

What marvelous love the Father has extended to us! Just look at it—we’re called children of God!- 1 John 3 v 1

Marvelous is defined:
fantastic: extraordinarily good or great or too improbable to admit of belief.

It made me think of a great old Hymn:

I stand amazed in the presence
Of Jesus the Nazarene,
And wonder how He could love me,
A sinner, condemned, unclean.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

For me it was in the garden
He prayed: "Not My will, but Thine."
He had no tears for His own griefs,
But sweat drops of blood for mine.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

In pity angels beheld Him,
And came from the world of light
To comfort Him in the sorrows
He bore for my soul that night.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

He took my sins and my sorrows,
He made them His very own;
He bore the burden to Calvary,
And suffered and died alone.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

When with the ransomed in glory
His face I at last shall see,
’Twill be my joy through the ages
To sing of His love for me.

O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
And my song shall ever be:
O how marvelous! O how wonderful!
Is my Savior’s love for me!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

A Genesis Week

Day 11 - Rediscover the Christmas Season

God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos of my life. - Ps 51 v 10

King David's life was in chaos.
Looking had turned to lust.
Pursuit of God turned to pursuit of a woman.
Desire for God became a desire for another man's wife.
The king became the adulterer.
The adulterer became the schemer.
The worship leader became the murderer.

And his world came crashing down.
He let himself down.
He let his family down.
He let his friends down.
He let his people down.
He let his God down.

So he asks the creator of the universe to bring order out of the chaos of what was his life.
Self inflicted but not self repairable.

God steped into the chaos to bring forgivness and healing.
He became a God of the second chance to David.
He continues to be that for me.
And he can be that for you.

Friday, December 10, 2010

God with US!

Day 10 - Redscovering the Christmas Season

Jesus was announced as Emmanuel - Hebrew for God with us.

I can't put any better than todays reading in John 1 v 14

The Word became flesh and blood,
and moved into the neighborhood.
We saw the glory with our own eyes,
the one-of-a-kind glory,
like Father, like Son,
Generous inside and out,
true from start to finish.

I love Chris Tomlin's song Emmanuel

Thursday, December 09, 2010

For Us!

Day 9 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

For a child has been born—for us! The gift of a son—for us! - Isaiah 9 v 6

Long before Jesus arrived on this planet as a baby the prophet Isaiah told us he was coming and he also understood why he was coming.

He was coming for US.
Coming to give US hope.
Coming to give US a future.
Coming to give US eternal life.
Coming to give US love.
Coming to give US mercy.
Coming to give US joy.
Coming to give US peace.
Coming to make US whole.
Coming to make US his.
Coming to make US rightious.
Coming to make US the friends of God.
Coming to make US His children.
Coming to seek and to save US.

Thank God there wa a reason why He came.
For US!

Gutenberg moment.

In 1450 The Gutenberg Bible was the first major book printed with a movable type printing press, marking the start of the "Gutenberg Revolution" and the age of the printed book.

New technology signaled the start of an explosion of Bible engagement for the common man. It began to put the Bible in the hands of "ordinary" Christians as well as the clergy elite.

Nearly 560 years later I wonder if we are at the start of another Gutenberg Moment. Maybe God has a plan to not only put the Bible in your house but to get it in your hand.

I have been a huge fan of Youversion since it launched. (There are many other options).

Here is part of an article by Bobby Gruenewald written for Catalyst Space. Read the whole article here.


The second shift occurring is an engagement shift. Mobile technology allows the average, ordinary person to have access to Scripture in an omnipresent fashion. The Bible App is reaching people wherever they are and causing many of them to discover a new level of Scripture engagement.

This shift isn't temporary. It's not a novelty. People are spending more time in God's Word because of accessibility. This is a shift that will alter how we engage in Scripture over the next several decades. The best opportunity the Bible has at engaging the masses is to be on the primary device they use to access information. Right now that is their mobile device.

God can speak to us through His Word, and it can happen at any time during the day. In airports, subways, coffee shops, carpool lines, and countless points in between, individuals have spent billions of minutes reading the Bible on nearly every mobile phone platform. This is a big shift in Bible engagement. It is has the potential to be our generation's Gutenberg moment.

Somehow I think in 500 years they may be looking back at our time as a Gutenberg moment.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

The Mark of a follower

Day 8 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

"The King will reply, 'Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. - Matt 25 v 40

Jesus arrival was announced as "good will to all men."
It's good because Jesus opened a way for God to get to men.
But it is also good because he transforms men to bring good will to his fellow man.

The actions of feeding the hungry, satisfying the thirsty, housing the homeless, giving clothes to the poor and caring for the sick are not a way of getting to God. But for those God has found they will become a hallmark of their new relationship.

It is this mark of a follower makes us stand out from the crowd.

Tuesday, December 07, 2010

Keeping it fresh

Day 7 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

“Always keep fresh Bread of the Presence on the Table before me. " Ex 25 v 22

In Exodus 25 and the surrounding chapters God goes into great detail about what his Tabernacle and items within it should be like.

On the list is that the "Showbread" or Bread of The Presence should always be fresh on the table before the Ark of the Covenant. Somehow it signified that this relationship between God and his people always remained fresh.

Jesus went on to say "I am that bread of life".

Why do we so often choose to let the most important relationship we have go stale?

We now have free access into God's presence anytime we want. No waiting around for a prearranged set day but the ability to connect with God in a new and fresh way everyday.

Monday, December 06, 2010

Once upon a time ... He loved

Day 6 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

This is the kind of love we are talking about—not that we once upon a time loved God, but that He loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to clear away our sins and the damage they’ve done to our relationship with God. - 1 John 4 v 10

This is what makes Christmas so special.
The first gift was given despite a broken relationship.
The gift was undeserved.
The Love was all one sided.
It's a Love that is beyond most of us.
So many times I love to get love.
God loves in the absence of Love to enable us to love.

Sunday, December 05, 2010

The Kingdom

Day 4 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Change your life. God’s kingdom is here.” - Matt 4 v 17

Jesus arrival means that everything was changing. But the Kingdom didn't exactly work out the way that the expectant Jews thought.

This Kingdom was different from any other one before or since.

The King was born a baby.
He brought a message of peace not war, love not hate.
Where sevanthood was its hallmark not might.
It owned no palace or lands just hearts captivated by the cause.
As it advances it declares freedom not oppression to all in its path.

And unlike every empire or kingdom we have ever known that has risen and fallen, His Kingdom will know no end.

And the glorious news is that we have vocation in the Kingdom.

The message of His Kingdom is not a message comfort alone it is a message of CHANGE.

The arrival of God's Kingdom demands life change.

God's will for us is less about our comfort than it is about our contribution. God would never choose for us safety at the cost of significance. God created you so that your life would count, not that you could count the days of your life.- Erwin McManus from
The Barbarian Way: Unleash the Untamed Faith Within

Saturday, December 04, 2010

When God shuts you up

Day 3 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

The silence was deafening—they had been arguing with one another over who among them was greatest. Mark 9 v 33

One question from Jesus was enough to shut up His disciples. It wasn't even a hard question. "What were you talking about?". But it was enough to change their whole perception.

As one who is cursed with the gift of words and opinions unfortunately I have found myself embarrassed by Jesus. I've lost count of the times that I have waxed lyrical about what I thought about a situation or even person in a less than positive way only to find myself struck speechless when my thoughts turned to Jesus.

Suddenly when kneeling before a gracious God and loving saviour my words gain a new context. In mans world servanthood was weakness but in God's world servanthood is greatness.

God help me to realise sooner when my words and actions don't fit in Your Kingdom.

Friday, December 03, 2010


Day 3 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. Luke 2 v 9

Suddenly is defined as; happening, made or done quickly, without warning,or unexpectedly.

The Shepperd's were spending another dreary night under the stars caring for their flock. Something they had probably done 100's of times. It doesn't sound the most fantastic job leaving your family at home and taking the night shift. Trying to pass the hours with one eyes on the sheep and thoughts on their humdrum worries. Just another normal night.

Then everything changes. No build up. Heaven bursts into their world. I have always thought it was neat that God went to a hillside to find totally ordinary people that everything was about to change.

Jesus spent his life suddenly showing up into the lives of so many people.

God still shows up suddenly and like the Shepperd's what can we do but tell everyone we meet about Jesus.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

42nd Generation

Day 2 - Rediscovering the Christmas Season

Every time I read Matthew 1 I am reminded of my friend Andrew Shearman and one of his life messages the 42nd Generation. Here is transcript of him talking about the genealogies of Christ in Matthew 1.

"Numbers in the Bible do have some significance. And the number 42 has generally been considered to represent the coming of Christ. Take a look at Mathew, chapter one. It tells the genealogy of Jesus. Verse 17 says "Thus there were 14 generations from Abraham to David, 14 from David to the exile to Babylon, and 14 from the exile to Christ."

The problem is if you count up all the generations, they only add up to 41. We know that the Bible does not lie, so what's up? Either the Holy Spirit made a mistake, or there's a mystery we need to try to understand. There are only 13 generations from the exile to Jesus. But the text says "to the Christ." Matthew 1:16 says, "Mary of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ." The 42nd generation is between Jesus and Christ.

Jesus came to earth, undressing all the way to enter his humanity. Jesus was the man part of God and Christ is the God-part. Yes, they are one and the same, but they are also different. The 42nd generation that this text is talking about not only was Christ himself, but also is us, the body of Christ. And to that extent, the 42nd generation will come about when Christ is formed in us as the body of Christ.

Mathew 16:13 says, "When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi; he asked his disciples, "Who do people say the Son of Man is?"

They replied, "Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."

"But what about you?" He asked. "Who do you say I am?"

Simon Answered, "You are the Christ, the son of the Living God."

"Who is the Son of Man?" Jesus asks, narrowing it down. Jesus always narrows it down, "What about you, Peter, rock (church)?"

And the Church has locked itself down very often in a sinful simplistic acceptance of the wonderful Jesus as savior. It has refused to grow up into Christ. That's why Paul said, "I labor until Christ is found in you." The whole point of the Church is to get Christ formed in us. We must get past elementary things. We must move beyond the need for more inner healing and deliverance. If you have that need, get it and let's go. Get healed. Get over it. Let's get out of the bed. We need the bed. We have got plenty of beds, but churches are more than hospitals. You can stay in the hospital while you get healed, but you need to walk in health.

And we are going to labor, and we are going to preach it and we are going to try to live it until Christ is found in it and then we get the prize. We might just be the 42nd generation."

Andrew Shearman 3 from Seth Simonson on Vimeo.

Lord I supposed to be your son

Just loved this testimony by Mike Singletary, Chicago Bears Superbowl winner now 49's head coach.

Another prodigal who finds purpose and forgiveness from our saviour.

Loved the quote: "Don't tell me what you can't do, tell me what you won't do"

HT: Roger Blackmore

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

The Church

In a day and an age that even the church seems to be criticising The Church we need to remind ourselves that it is THROUGH THE CHURCH that the wisdom of God is to be revealed to the word.

This song from Elevation Church reminded me of that fact and got me fist pumping with new energy. Thanks for sharing guys!

We are the church the world is waiting for
we've got a love the world is desperate for
we will lead and take to your streets

now's the time for us to rise
and carry hope and let love shine
and show this world that mercy is alive

now's the time for us to rise
and carry hope to hopeless eyes
and show this world that mercy is alive

Surprised By God

Today I started the new reading plan "Rediscovering the Christmas season".

It didn't start where I expected to but started in Luke 2 v 21 - 40. With Jesus already born 8 days and being taken to the temple for a procedure that brings tears to the eyes of any male.

Outside of Jesus the scripture mentions 4 other people at this time.

Simeon - A good, prayerful & expectant man who was seeing a promise of God to him fulfilled. He was seeing the messiah and was now ready to die.

Anna - A lady who's husband had died after 7 years of marriage and had dedicated the last 84 years of life to serving God in His house. Recognised as a prophetess she also recognises the messiah.

Then you have Mary & Joseph. The Bible simply says in v 33: Jesus’ father and mother were speechless with surprise at these words.

It sort of surprises me that they were surprised. God had showed up miraculously to them both to tell them about Jesus, Mary had just had the unique experience of giving birth as a virgin, Kings showed up to bow to a baby in a stable. And now they are still surprised. Come on!

But then God told me that I am no different. God has given me many promises his word is full of them and on some occasions through prayer or even through other people has said something special to me. But when it actually happens somehow I am still surprised and left speechless.

When I think about it, its not that fact that God acts that surprises me, its the fact that God would act in my life that shocks me out of me skin.

And a child shall lead them!

A young student from North Korea shares her story with the Lausanne Congress.

I have no words. It is the most amazing story with an unbelievable response from an incredible young lady who is sold out for her saviour.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

St Andrews Day

So it seems everyone is starting to get on board and recognise that today is St Andrews day in Scotland.

For the first time the USA officially recognised the day when Hilary Clinton sent a telegram:

'I wish the people of Scotland a joyous St Andrew's Day celebration and a successful year ahead."

And also honoured Davy Crockett and Neil Armstrong as trail blazing Scots!

Even Google celebrated with a doodle!

So a inquisitive fisherman from a tiny down at heal village in the middle east has come to represent my nation. Strange!

But then again he became the first person willing to give up everything and set out to follow a man who said he was God. His name means brave and maybe we should add impetuous because of his actions.

Born around 5 AD, crucified on a diagonal cross and celebrated 2000 years later in a country he never visited.

But the most important thing he did from the moment he met Jesus was to bring people to His saviour. Starting with his brother and ending in Greece with his martyrdom.

Other post on St Andrew - Come and Die

I want to be part of the scandal…not swim with the stream.

The following is a copy of a post by Mike Foster over at POTSC.

I could not have put it any better and it sent me to my knees to repent yet again.

By Mike Foster (Read original article here)

Here is who I give grace to:

1. People who I like.

2. People who have failed the same way I have.

3. People who can offer me something in the future.

4. People who everyone else has already shown grace to.

5. People who will not make me regret giving them grace.

6. People who only need a small amount of grace.

7. People who simply don’t know better.

8. People who have groveled, begged and pleaded for grace…and then begged harder.

9. People who gave me grace…first.

My grace giving is weak…stunted…and mainstream.

Malcolm Muggeridge says “Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream.”

If I only give grace to these people then I am dead inside.

I want to be part of the scandal…not swim with the stream.

Safe grace seems like it’s not really grace at all.

I am part of the problem. I’m just like everyone else.

God help me change!!

Billy: ME TOO!

Monday, November 29, 2010

How many kings?

My friend Roger Blackmore mentioned the song "How Many Kings" by Downhere on his blog. Its the first time I've heard it but the Chorus ripped my heart out.

How many kings, stepped down from their thrones?
How many lords have abandoned their homes?
How many greats have become the least for me?
How many Gods have poured out their hearts
To romance a world that has torn all apart?
How many fathers gave up their sons for me?
Only one did that for me

That's why Christmas is so special! Watch and listen below.

LoveWorks for your Enemies

I recently had the opportunity to preach at MKCC in our LoveWorks teaching series.

The subject LoveWorks for your enemies.

21st November 2010 - Love Works - Love Your Enemies from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Rediscovering the Christmas Season

27% of churchgoers say they read the Bible at least once per week outside of church attendance.

58% of church leaders read the Bible daily.

- ComRes for the Bible Society, published 2008

These two statistics are almost unbelievable to me. Almost 3 out of 4 Christians actually read God's precious Word do not read the Bible from week to week outside of a church service in the UK.

Even more crazy is that almost 1 in 2 church leaders do not read the Book that should be core to everything they are teaching.

Something needs to change. Really!

But if you find yourself as a non reader don't go a guilt trip just make a decision to change. This Christmas season is a perfect time to start.

Youversion have developed a simple short daily reading plan called "Rediscovering the Christmas Season". Start it on 1st December on your smart phone or web.

Honestly it will revolutionise your life.


Although I am now in my 28th year of living in England I am a died in the wool Scotsman. So my heart beats a little faster when I remember the line from Braveheart as William Wallace is challenging his rag tag group of followers. "They may take our lives but they will never take our FREEDOM."

True freedom is won for us without doing a thing. It has been won by Jesus. Freedom from sin. Freedom from religion. Freedom from rules. Freedom from guilt. We didn't have to fight for it or win it, Jesus did it. Sometime we don't live like we have it and sometimes we give it up and choose to live a life in vain trying to attain by a set of rituals that which is free.

Our religious acts can never bring us the freedom we seek but encountering the freedom won by Jesus drives us to places we would never have gone to on our own.

Paul sums it up in Galatians 5 v 14 repeating a Jesus saying.

"For everything we know about God’s Word is summed up in a single sentence: Love others as you love yourself. That’s an act of true freedom."

The pinnacle of freedom is love.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Crazy People

The Apostle Paul called the Christians in Galatia - Crazy. In fact he does so more than once.

Crazy because the a crucified saviour was not central to their lives. v1
Crazy to think this new life had anything to do with them. v2
Crazy to think their religious acts were needed to complete their salvation. v3
Crazy to think that they could keep up this Christian life by their own efforts. v3
Crazy to think that behaving in a certain way rather than believing, was the way to see miracles. v5
Crazy to think that God blesses us in direct proportion to our good works. v5
Crazy not to realise a life lived by their own effort was doomed. v10
Crazy to think they could sustain a relationship with God by following rules. v11

Its crazy to me that so many of still want to rely on our own efforts rather than His grace.

It is even crazier that we recipients of God's free grace continue to enforce conditions, man made rules and customs and the latest religious fad on our fellow believers or even worse people who don't know Jesus.

Seems like we are still crazy after all these years.

When will we learn?

Monday, November 22, 2010

The Journey of sanctification

Martin Luther on sanctification.

This life therefore is not righteousness but growth in righteousness;
not health but healing;
not being but becoming;
not rest but exercise.

We are not yet what we shall be, but we are growing toward it.
The process is not finished, but it is going on.
This is not the end, but it is the road.
All does not yet gleam in glory, but all is being purified.

HT Desiring God

Sunday, November 21, 2010

The COST of being a disciple

I light of God's magnificent grace what can I do but surrender EVERYTHING!

Saturday, November 20, 2010

10 Million Users - 1 Billion Minutes

The guys from YouVersion hosted a webcast on the 16th November to celebrate 10 million users of the Bible App.

I remember sitting round a table a few years ago in Milton Keynes with Bobby Gruenwald when he mentioned this new idea that had about an online Bible.

The advent of revolutionised my Bible reading and study then the Bible App took it to a whole new level.

Here is the webcast. Its over an hour but apart from realising you have not won one of the iPad give aways its worth the watch.

Youversion would like to see the Bible read for 1 billion minutes in January. You can be part of the movement. Download the app for your mobile device here. Then pick one of the many reading plans and you are away.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

To be looked at by God

From "Permission to Speak Freely" by Anne Jackson

"Sometimes we've been churches that preach a grace up front for those who aren't Christians and grace at the end for those who follow the rules and are "good Christians," but we've tragically neglected the people in between. The truth is that none of us, even on our best, "holiest" days - the days we don't cuss or look at porn or yell at our spouse or at the idiot who cut us off in traffic - even our best days aren't holy enough to be looked at by God.

That's why there's the Cross. And that's why we all need it for both our brokenness and our righteousness."

The book says that ALL my righteousness is like soiled rags.

As Tim Keller puts it in his book - The Prodigal God

"Pharisees only repent of their sins, but Christians repent of the very roots of their righteousness too."

Thank you God that your grace met my brokenness but it also meets my selfish righteousness too opening the door for me to appear in your view.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Mark Driscoll in Belfast

Yesterday I got up bleary eyed at 4 am to start a pilgrimage with Mark Sherratt & Ryan Amos to St Annes Cathedral in Belfast. Initially I said to Mark that after the schedule we have had over the last few weeks we must be mad. But after a few hours listening to Mark Driscoll I was left in no doubt as to why we came.

Here are some headlines from Mark's first talk.

When there is new technology there is new opportunity for the Gospel.
He suggested that he saw the following hallmarks where God was moving in the church globally.
1 Reformed Theology
There is a return to Christ centred biblical truth.
Resting in the sovereignty of God in uncertain times.
The Bible starts with in the beginning God! Always start with God not man.
Follow the story line of the Bible don't pick a team of systematic theology.
We don't make movements towards God, it is God who pursues us, God who saves us, God who redeems us.
The heart of reformed theology is Jesus! A saturation of Jesus.

2 Complementary relationships in the church and home
1st government is the government of the home. Husband wife & children.
The question is not: is the man head of the home, it is, is he a good head or a bad head?
To be the head is not to be the bully or the boss it is to take 1st responsibility.
You must not only help the women who have been victims in your church you must beat the men till they change!
Presently there are around 10,000 people in Mars Hill Church. If I just had the women who had been raped and abused in the past I'd still have a mega church of 2000.
In men there is an epidemic of evading responsibility.
A man is defined not by what he consumes but by what he produces.
Men follow men.

3 Spirit filled lives
A life patterned after Jesus.
To be spirit filled you will be on mission in culture.
Luke is very intentional to show the Spirit on Jesus in his first book and the Spirit on the church in his second.
Spirit filled people don't want to be a part of a museum they want to be part of a movement.
True religion is the gospel takes root deep in the heart of the affections.

4 Missional Churches
Contend but not for everything.
A missional church contends and contextualised.
Are you doing all you can and using everything you can to reach the lost.
Don't be afraid of failure. You are already failing Just fail more creatively.
Move people from meetings to mission.
We should be gathering for worship scattering for mission.

The Holy Spirit gives us the power to be what we cannot be and do what we cannot do.

God works even in our failures

How do I say this. Everything seemed to go wrong at our services at MKCC this past weekend. None of this is a critisism of all the great people that pour so much in to make our services happen. But we had a bit of a "mare".

Technology bit us on the bum. Videos went wrong, computers started doing strange things, we got some programming wrong. The list goes on. But in what I would have classed as one of our worst services in a long time at least two great things happened.

Firstly we wiped angel tree out of gift tags and gave cash on top so 68 children of inmates of Milton Keynes Prison will recieve a gift and a book this Christmas thanks to MKCC.

A man started a relationship with Jesus for the first time.

So this goes to prove two things. The people at MKCC are amazingly generous and God is still at work even though we get things wrong and the technology fails!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Friday night thoughts of Tony Morgan

Friday night Tony Morgan spent some time with our staff and volunteer leaders at MKCC. Here are some of the highlights.

  • Think volunteers before staff.
  • We need to identify leaders in the church not just doers.
  • In church we need to get away from the mindset that says that we can only give leadership roles to paid staff.
  • When you are trying to raise up leaders in your church you can not just fill roles.
  • Are we helping people serve in the area they are gifted to serve.
  • Practice shoulder tapping
  • What would happen if each of us would invite one friend to come serve with us.
  • Make the ask personal.
  • Leaders will not respond to a platform announcement.
  • Do on the job training leaders are busy people respect their time.
  • Ensure you balance getting the tasks done and caring for the people in ministry.
  • Stay focused as a church – don’t just add more ministries.
  • You need to continue to share stories.
  • Never do ministry alone.
Listen and watch this and more of Tony's talks here.

Monday, November 15, 2010

God Commissioned

In opening his letter to the Christians in Galatia Paul tells them that he is "God Commissioned".

This short simple phrase really helped me today.

I remember at the age of 16 going to tell my Pastor that I thought that God was calling me into "the ministry". (That's how we put it back then - now we know that every Christian is a minister) He sent me away to seek God to know for sure that God had had called me into church leadership.

He said that if I didn't know for sure that I was God Commissioned I would not last.

My crisis of calling came before I even left Bible College. One night having made yet more mistakes, feeling far from God I sat on my bed and told an almost non existent God that he had one last chance to talk to me.

For some reason I picked up a hymn book and opened it at random to read:

I know not why God's wondrous grace to me he hath made known, nor why, unworthy, Christ in love redeemed me for his own. But I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I've committed unto him against that day.

The Chorus being a quote from 2 Timothy 1 v 12 the exact verse that God used to confirm His calling on my life.

Commissioning is defined as the act of granting certain powers or the authority to carry out a particular task or duty. And for us as believers that power and authority comes from God.

We are not self commissioned or man commissioned we are God commissioned.

Lets act like it!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

A VERY different place to plant a church

Planting a Church in a Gay bar in the Bible Belt of the USA.

This video has challenged me and inspired me.

"To reach the people no one else is reaching we have to be prepared to do what no one else is doing" - Craig Groeschel

I think Alex Early is someone who is doing that.

Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Am I limiting a limitless God

Yea, they turned back and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel. - Psalm 78 v 39

This was what the song writer Asaph said of his ancestors in this Psalm of Instruction (Maschill).

They forgot everything God had done for them. They forgot the miracles, the interventions, the deliverance, the provision, the direction and the salvation.

By forgetting they turned back and THEY limited God.
God is limitless, but His people had LIMITED Him.

How many times have I limited God because forgetting has caused me to turn back in the face of the slightest difficulty or opposition.

God help me to always remember and to stay the course and witness a limitless God.

Monday, November 08, 2010

What Jesus can do with a pile of ashes

A Story: From the Ashes from Adam Kring on Vimeo.

Disproportionately Different

God let me make a difference for you that is utterly disproportionate to who I am. - David Brainerd prayer (1718-1747)

HT: Pete Wilson

Sunday, November 07, 2010

A different answer to prayer

God always answers prayer its just that sometimes he doesn't always answer the prayer the way we want him and expect Him too.

Prayer Answered by Crosses
By John Newton

I asked the Lord that I might grow 

In faith and love and every grace, 

Might more of his salvation know, 

And seek more earnestly his face.

‘Twas he who taught me thus to pray; 

And he, I trust, has answered prayer; 

But it has been in such a way 

As almost drove me to despair.

I hoped that, in some favoured hour, 

At once he’d answer my request, 

And by his love’s constraining power 

Subdue my sins, and give me rest.

Instead of this, he made me feel 

The hidden evils of my heart, 

And let the angry powers of hell 

Assault my soul in every part.

Yea, more, with his own hand he seemed
Intent to aggravate my woe, 

Crossed all the fair designs I schemed, 

Blasted my gourds, and laid me low.

Lord, why is this? I trembling cried; 

Wilt thou pursue this worm to death? 

This is the way, the Lord replied
I answer prayer for grace and faith.

These inward trials I now employ 

From self and pride to set thee free,
And break thy schemes of earthly joy, 

That thou may’st seek thy all in me.

God disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. - Heb 12 v 10

HT: Desiring God