Saturday, January 30, 2010

Plan B

Heard yesterday a bout a new book being released by Pete Wilson in a couple of months that really took my eye.

Plan B: What Do You Do When God Doesnt Show Up the Way You Thought He Would?

This video explains more.

Plan B from Cross Point Church on Vimeo.

I have already pre ordered it and you can as well here

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Ever feel like you are just playing Chop Sticks

Ever feel like quitting read this story by Charles Swindoll.

"Jan Paderewski, the famous Polish pianist and statesman, was once scheduled to perform at a great concert hall in America. It was a black-tie affair-a high-society extravaganza.

Present in the audience that evening was a woman who had brought her nine-year-old son, hoping that he would be encouraged to practise the piano if he could just hear the great Paderewski at the keyboard. Weary of waiting for the concert to begin-and being there against his wishes anyway-the lad squirmed restlessly in his seat. Then, as his mother turned to talk with friends, the boy slipped out of his seat and down the aisle, strangely drawn by the ebony concert grand sitting majestic and alone at the centre of the huge stage. He sat down on the tufted leather stool, placed his small hands on the black and white keys, and began to play ‘Chop Sticks’.

Suddenly the crowd hushed, and hundreds of frowning faces turned in his direction. Irritated an embarrassed, some began to shout: ‘Hey, get that boy awayfrom there!’ ‘Where’s his mother?’ ‘Somebody stop him!’

Backstage, Paderewski heard the uproar and the sound of the simple tune. When he saw what was happening he hurried onto the stage. Without a word to the audience, he walked up behind the lad, reached his arms around either side of him, and began to improvise a counter-melody. As the two made music together, the master pianist kept whispering in the boy’s ear: ‘Keep going. Don’t quit, son. Keep on playing . . . don’t stop . . . don’t quit’.

So it is with us. We hammer away at life, and sometimes it seems about as significant as ‘Chop Sticks’. Then, about the time we are ready to give up along comes the Master, who leans over and whispers: ‘Don’t quit. Keep going,’as He provides His finishing touch of grace, love, and joy at just the right moment."

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Leaving a Legacy

This past Sunday Ryan did a great job preaching at MKCC in our series, 30 Days to Live. He spoke on "Leaving a Godly Legacy", challenging and thought provoking message.

Today I read a post over at old AOG ministers blog, Earnest Anderson on the same subject:

"Everybody leaves something whether it is good or bad, but we must make sure we leave the best and the right sort of things. One cannot have lived without passing on something to the next generation and one must make sure that it is something of true value.

There is something more important than leaving riches, properties etc. Many people think it is very important to go in for all that is of a material order and so spend nearly all, if not the most of their lives, in hot pursuit of material gain thinking that such is the be and end of everything. They reckon that if they can leave something of vast fortune to their offspring and heirs that they have accomplished something of note. They little realise that there are things far more valuable than any treasures.

Illustration: Jesus Christ left a legacy. He said on one occasion to His disciples; “My peace I leave with you” – John 14: 27. That is something worth leaving and inheriting. It is not a material possession but an absolute necessity if life is to be lived with any real pleasure and satisfaction.

Here are some of the choice and precious things that one can bequeath in life and memory."






Some great thoughts read more here.

Spit & Polish Christianity

They (Religious leaders) talk a good line, but they don’t live it. They don’t take it into their hearts and live it out in their behavior. It’s all spit-and-polish veneer. - Matt 23 v 3

Having spent all of my 46 years attending church, listening to 1000's of sermons, reading 100s of books, spending 2 years in Bible College etc. etc. One things for sure is that I know a lot about God and Christianity.

I can certainly talk the game but I struggle to live it out. I have collided with God's amazing Grace yet for some reason still feel the gravitational pull cover up rather than open up. Somehow I still intercept God's word, meant to find a home in my heart to change me at my core, and try to look like I have changed by working hard.

The end result isolation. Isolation from people because you are afraid to be found out. Isolation from God because you know you have been found out.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Conversation that Transforms

My companions saw the light, but they didn’t hear the conversation. - Acts 22 v 9

Paul was not alone in his "Damascus Road" encounter with Jesus he had some mates with him.
They witnessed they whole thing but the Bible only really tells us that it was transformational for Paul.
They all saw the light but they were not in on the conversation.
It was not the light that changed Paul, miraculous as it was, it was a conversation with Jesus.
It is easy to settle on the sidelines watching the light.
Watching what God is doing in others.
He wants to transform us by engaging us in a conversation.
Its time to stop watching and wondering and to start speaking and listening.
Elvis suggested a "Little LESS conversation" but I know I need a little bit MORE with Jesus

Sunday, January 24, 2010

God's Guarantee - Hard Times

“Anyone signing up for the kingdom of God has to go through plenty of hard times.” - Acts 14 v 22

Not really what we want to hear.
We would rather be mistaken for gods (v 15)
than be left for dead (v 19)
Some would even have us believe that going through hard times is always either an attack of the enemy or a punishment from God for wrong doing.
The former is possible whilst the latter is at odds with God's character.
But "hard times" automatically follow anyone following Jesus.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Where on earth?

Tonight I head off on one of these:

With Mark Sherratt for a few days planning. Away from the office, no telephones & No wifi. We will arrive here. (well not actually the Golf Course but close by.

Advantages free accommodation & free food. Where in the world. Answers below. A chosen winner will get a copy of Craig Groeschel's book - IT.

Mistaken for gods

Acts 14 v 11

I certainly can't say this has ever happened to me. Believe it or not I've never been mistaken for a god.

On their huge church planting tour Paul & Barnabas we mistaken for gods. In the polytheistic day they lived in it was not unusual for people to explain the unexplainable by creating another god. In today's cynical society they probably would have been thought of as more tricksters than gods.

But the fact remains that Paul and his companion were used by God to do some extraordinary things which resulted in this false categorisation. They clearly and quickly explained that God was responsible for these events.

Understand when I say this that I believe its all about God and not about me. But I would like to be involved in unexplainable situations where God miraculously shows up.

These were ordinary guys, not super holy, with doubts and difficulties, but they saw supernatural things and gave the credit to God.

I still believe God does supernatural things today so I will keep on asking.

Monday, January 18, 2010


Randomness is the word that I would use to sum up my day.

A Sunday review meeting told me that we had 300 more people in church this week than last. The difference snow makes!

Not sure if it is New Years resolution but we seem to be seeing faces at church that we have not seen for some time. If that's you its great t0 see you!

Spent some time introducing Joshua Verity, intern at MKCC, to Google Reader and Blogging.

Did a bit of work on our new building.

Talked about some changes in our Day Nursery and a new manager.

Set some diary dates for various events and courses at MKCC.

Passed on information to the guys at that MKCC had given £2463 towards their efforts in Haiti.

Visited the gym.

Packed my bag for the next 3 days away planning with Mark Sherratt.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Prayer: I'm glad its about God and not my faith

I am sure that not everyone is going to agree with this but hey its my blog so here goes.

Some people see prayer as a leaver to get God to give them what they want. I see it more as a mechanism to bring me closer to God and for Him to tell me what I need to hear.

I am told that I just need more faith. Then God will heal my friend. What sort of God would with hold healing for someone because of my lack of faith?

A story that has a funny edge is recounted in Acts 12 is interesting. Peter is in prison and the church is praying. God sets Peter free miraculously but he has so little faith that he actually thinks it is a dream.

On his release he goes to the home where the church is meeting to Pray for him only to be left at the door by a surprised servant who is then in turn not believed by the people praying.

So even the people who called the prayer meeting and were "earnestly" praying seemed to have a lack of faith but Peter was still freed.

We seem to struggle to accept the fact that God does answer prayer (Yes, No or not yet) but not always in the way want.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Building Update

Things are cracking on with the building project at MKCC as move towards our new building around September 2010.

Our original main entrance gets boarded up as they are knocking down the original porch area. Once the new building is complete this door will become an internal door from what will be offices into our brand new coffee shop and foyer area.

Digging out the drainage but you van also see in the foreground the start of a footings trench for the wall of the main auditorium.

Some gadget that is helping make sense of all the levels they are trying to create across the site.

Silencing the critics

Having been a church attender since the day I was born (well almost), two things amongst others have been constant:

Change & Criticism

When I read about the early church they were not immune to these either.

Huge change took place around Acts 10 & 11. The Church was changing from being populated mainly by Jews to its gates being open for all. (A little more substantive change than some things we fall out about now a days.)

But the critics had a go when as the ESV says "the circumcision party criticized him".

The thing I like about Peter was that he took the time to take them step by step through his journey. Helping them to understand and filling in their knowledge gaps.

The thing I like about these critics is that they did have an open mind, they listened and finally changed their mind after hearing the facts.

In the end the Bible records:
When they heard these things they fell silent. And they glorified God, saying, Then to the Gentiles also God has granted repentance that leads to life. Acts 11 v 18


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fear or Faith

The Bible celebrates Abraham was a great man of faith.
He is mentioned to the role of honour of people of faith in Hebrews (11 v 8)
An inspiration.
But I wonder if I ever could be such a man.
But his life gives me hope.
After being given one of the amazing promises ever given to anyone in the Bible (Genesis 12) he gives into his fear instead of living in faith.
His fear that he would be killed because of his beautiful wife out weighed his faith in the promise of God.
Too often I find myself there.

My prayer: Lord I believe, help my unbelief.

God's surprising choice

Then they cast him out of the city and stoned him. And the witnesses laid down their garments at the feet of a young man named Saul. - Acts 7 v 58

And Saul approved of his execution. - Acts 8 v 1

But Saul was ravaging the church, and entering house after house, he dragged off men and women and committed them to prison. - Acts 8 v 3

But Saul, still breathing threats and murder against the disciples of the Lord, went to the high priest2 and asked him for letters to the synagogues at Damascus, so that if he found any belonging to the Way, men or women, he might bring them bound to Jerusalem. - Acts 9 v 1 -2

Then God changed Saul's name & his life.

No one is beyond Gods grace.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Red Faced before God

"O my God, I am ashamed and blush to lift my face to you" - Ezra 9 v 6

Ezra was red faced & embarrassed before God because of others wrong doing.
To be honest I am often fed faced before God because of my wrong doing.
I know God shows me His grace no matter what.
That brings more colour to my cheeks when I let Him down.
So as I come before Him today knowing my sin of yesterday & today,
knowing he never turned away from me once,
I am red faced again.
But maybe that's not a bad place to be
as I can think of a worse place.
Not feeling the embarrassment because I haven't collided with Jesus love.

Putting your money where your mouth is

Ezra 8 v 21 - 23

Do I really believe some of the things I say, some of the things I twitter or some of the the things I blog about God.

Ezra had proclaimed that: "The hand of our God is for good on all who seek him, and the power of his wrath is against all who forsake him." (v 22)

So when the time came for him to face the test he didn't choose a safety net. He was a man of integrity - he believed and acted on what he said. He didn't just say the right thing he did the right thing.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Waiting, waiting, waiting for God to speak.

Noah watched the changing circumstances but didn't act till God told him too.

The flood began to go down. He stayed put.
The rain stopped. He stayed put.
The ark ran aground. He stayed put.
He could see mountain tops. He stayed put.
A dove came back with food. He stayed put.
A dove did not come back. He stayed put.
He looked up and the flood was gone. He stayed put.
God said its time to leave, so he did.

As the days rolled by I would have been impatient to get on with it. But Noah even waited 27 days after he saw that the flood was gone, for the ok from God.

Reminds me that listening and waiting for Gods time is so important.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Toby Mac - Jesus Fanatic

Over the years we have had some great acts at the Ultimate Event at Alton Towers each May. One of the best was Toby Mac. Although the background show wasn't quite as good as the one devised by Barton Damer in this video.

LIVE CONCERT VISUALS - TOBY MAC from Barton Damer on Vimeo.

This years Ultimate Event takes place on Saturday 8th May more details here soon

Depression a gateway to breakthrough

One of the blogs that drops into my google reader each day is "Deadly Viper". I love their rugged persuit of being agents of God's marvelous grace.

This post about C H Spurgeon on his depression was a real different way of looking at the subject.

"Spurgeon wrestled with depression most of his life.

I love this insight from him: “This depression comes over me whenever the Lord is preparing a larger blessing for my ministry; the cloud is black before it breaks, and overshadows before it yields its deluge of mercy. Depression has now become to me as a prophet in rough clothing, a John the Baptist, heralding the nearer coming of my Lord’s richer benison.”

Saturday, January 09, 2010

St Stephens Day

In two short chapters of the book of Acts we are introduced to Stephen and then immediately see him become the first Christian Martyr.

Time and time again we read that Stephen was "FULL of the Holy Spirit". He clearly was a godly man. He was recognised by the whole church at that time to become a leader in the church. To see a promenient and godly man active in ministry and full of the Holy Spirit put to death must have sent shock waves around the Church. It was a day that everything changed. Your faith could now cost you your life.

Its shows the respect the church had for him in that St Stephens Day is celebrated on the 2nd day of Christmas (26th December). Jesus one day, Stephen the next. Somehow in the UK the 26th has become known as boxing day. Think I will start remembering Stephen rather than a box.

I believe Stephen is unique in that when he saw a Theophany he saw both the Father and the Son.

I live in a country that for many years your faith has not resulted in your death but for so many around the world it is still a destinct possability. I thank God for the freedom I have and pray for those facing the prospect of making the ultimate sacrifice for their faith.

Thursday, January 07, 2010

Choosing Leaders

Faced with a complaint in the early church the apostles needed to release leaders to release them to focus on what God had called them to do mainly "prayer & ministry of the word". (Acts 6 )

Faced with this dilemma today. Most leaders would get together decide amongst themselves who they thought was the best people for the job, appoint them and tell the congregation about their appointment.

On this occasion at least the apostles did it a different way. They got the congregation together told them the problem and asked them to choose the best people for the Job. This would be anathema to much of the insecure leaders that seem to abound in church leadership today.

I don't really want to say that this is the only way it should be done because it isn't but it certainly was done once. If nothing else it confirms one thing that ultimately leaders are recognized more than appointed.

We don't hear much about the other guys they chose but in Stephen they recognised a cracker.

Keeping a secret

Jesus tells us that if we can keep certain things a secret, between us and Him, then we are going to get a reward from Him. If we can't keep it secret or don't want to keep it secret then we forfeit His reward. Jesus warns us that even doing GOOD things can be a waste of our time.

Matthew 6

v1 Behaving well
v2 Giving to the poor
v3 Praying
v 16 Fasting

Jesus gives us a stark choice. Treasure in heaven or treasure now on earth. (v 19 - 21)

Maybe I need to learn to keep some secrets.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

The Test

Next Jesus was taken into the wild by the Spirit for the Test. The Devil was ready to give it.2 Jesus prepared for the Test by fasting forty days and forty nights. - Matt 4 v 1 & 2

Being honest often when faced with difficulty and problems my temptation is to turn it into a test to see if God will come through for me rather than a test for me to come through for God.

I think it is because very often I don't prepare as Jesus did ahead of time. Over the last couple of months I have spent so much time trying to convince my son that preparing for his mocks is a great thing to do. I have helped with timetables and sat with him to study. Ive done algebra for the first time in over 30 years. All so he could be prepared for the test.

Maybe I need to learn something.

Saturday, January 02, 2010


70 Years after the nation of Israel had been decimated by King Nebuchadnezzar and their people carted off in to slavery, the time had come for things to change. God organised a change of empire and the door was open for freedom and return.

I suppose my surprise is that Ezra only lists a total of 49,897 who were ready to head back. Many decided for all sorts of reasons that the journey and project was not for them. But these 49,897 were the special ones. They were the visionaries, dreamers, pioneers, the workers and the givers.

On arrival they gave an offering: "They gave to the building fund as they were able, about 1,100 pounds of gold, about three tons of silver, and 100 priestly robes." - Ezra 2 v 68.

Ezra didn't count the people who stayed behind he counted the ones who were ready to sacrifice for the mission.

I always want to be one of the counted in Jesus mission.

Friday, January 01, 2010

The Belger Walk

Unfortunately because of a sick car I was not able to head back home to Scotland for New Year. So I had to break with tradition and bring in New Year in England.

So we had a New Year dinner at our house. Scotch Broth, Beef Steak Pie, and Jelly & Fluff.

Only one problem there was no walk. A tradition that stated goodness how many years ago as a temperance walk. Where individuals would follow a flute & drum band around the town to signal that they would not drink alcohol for the next year. (That part no longer hold true) But the tradition of following the band still holds true.

So I brought the cairnbulg (Belger) walk to me through the magic of an old video.

Cairnbulg Annual Walk from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Thank God I'm not in control

I started my new Bible reading plan today courtesy of It took me to Genesis, Matthew, Ezra & Acts.

Helped me to remember who is in control.

And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. - Gen 1 v 2

The Lord stirred up the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia, so that he made a proclamation - Ezra 1 v 1

Before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. - Matt 1 v 18

But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses - Acts 1 v 6

Thankfully it is not me that is in control, God the Holy Spirit actions are so much more important than mine. He was there and active in creation, organised the release of a captive people, brought the Saviour Jesus into this world. All this without our help or assistance.

But now he chooses to empower us to bring His message to the world. I need to remember I can only do this through His power. Not my fancy ideas, not my preaching, not by great music, not by glossy leaflets, not by fancy videos.

These are all great and all tools. But it is the Holy Spirit that brings them alive not the other way around.

This year I need to spend more time with the master craftsman than the tools.

Letters to God

Read this at "History in the Making"

"In January 2003, a 9-year old boy named Tyler Doherty was diagnosed with an aggressive brain tumor. TylerHe got 30 radiation treatments over four months, but doctors couldn't stop it from taking over his brain. So tragic.

But get this - all the while Tyler had cancer, he wrote letters addressed to God and actually put them in the mailbox. The amazing thing is that the postal carrier Brady McDaniels started reading the letters and gave his life to Jesus as a result. Tyler died on March 7, 2005.

A film has been made about this boy's story called Letters to God."

Yet again I am reminded that I do not live for my "Happiness" but the JOY of bringing glory to my God.

Watch the video trailer by clicking the image below.