Friday, February 26, 2010

Baptism Burial

In our recent History Makers series at MKCC many of wrote the names of people that we were praying would start following Jesus.

We have taken all those names, put them in a capsule and we have buried them underneath our new Baptism Pool. We are looking forward to baptising people as the come to know Jesus and celebrating the fact that their name had been buried underneath as an act of faith.

A reason to visit the Whitehouse and its not Obama

Listen to Esperanza Spalding here.

HT: Blakenship

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Jesus Your Cross has Saved Us

This Sunday we wrap up our series on the Bible - TXT at MKCC. The following week we launch a brand new series that will take us through to Easter Sunday called simply - The Cross.

I came across this new song by Elevation Church that sums it up - Your Cross.

Your Cross Has Saved Us from Elevation Worship on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010


***UPDATE*** Listen to it here

an·tic·i·pate - To look forward to, especially with pleasure.

In that case I am anticipating the release of the Newspring Worship Album - Our God is Love!

Promo: Our God is Love (Live Album) from NewSpring Production on Vimeo.

Details soon at

God never let him really hurt me

Still, your father has cheated me over and over, changing my wages time and again. But God never let him really hurt me. - Genesis 31 v 7

How Laban treated Jacob boarders on abuse.
It was not a one off it was 20 years of trickery.
7 years for a wife he did not want.
7 years for a wife he wanted.
And another 6 years all the time being cheated out of money.
What makes it all the more galling is that Jacob brought prosperity to his Uncle Laban.

But instead of bitterness he chose God's perspective.

"God never let him really hurt me."

Always remember we are in God's care.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Money obsessed bunch

You can’t serve both God and the Bank. 14 When the Pharisees, a money-obsessed bunch, heard him say these things, they rolled their eyes, dismissing him as hopelessly out of touch. - Luke 16 v 14 (Mess)

Seems like Jesus was out of touch 2000 years ago when it came to peoples attitude to materialism. (And in particular the religious leaders attitude). So somehow today, at least in the west, Jesus would not be out of touch he would be on another planet.

Watching a recent documentary following a family fast forward through from the 70s to the 2000's confirmed again that we have more possessions than ever before. Each day in their house represented a new year and with the year came the inventions of that year. Gadgets, appliances, TV's, computers and all sorts of advances in technology.

During that time we have also moved from a time when almost everything was paid with cash to the whole economy run on credit. We have Christmas on barclaycard, Holidays on visa & clothes on scorecards and are still paying for it the following Christmas, on the next holiday or when the clothes are with oxfam.

We obtain the biggest mortgage we can get to get the biggest house we can get. (Yup done that) To start we are happy but soon the shine wears off and we want and extra room, an on suite or a bigger garden. So we went for mortgages that were way beyond us because we had a bit of equity and didn't have to prove our salary.

So for the rest of our lives we serve the banks. They get the majority of our money each month. And the 10% God asks for we CAN"T give him because the bank HAS to come first.

Are we like the Pharisees, A MONEY OBSESSED BUNCH!

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Duty is only a substitute for love

This last few weeks I have been thinking much about the process of sanctification. I am OK with the fact that my salvation is nothing to do with me and everything to do with God. But my early church life and experience programmed me into a religion of duty.

People outside the church did not even refer to us a Christians or even followers of Jesus. They used the term: They are Good Living. This summed up what the church portrayed to those inside and outside the church that the christian life was all about morality.

About an imposed list of duties to perform that I have to summon up the will power to do. That's the definition of sanctification I am continually trying to ditch. I think I am free of it and it jumps up and bites me again and I join the roller coaster of good living and failure.

I loved this video from John Piper on the subject where he quotes C S Lewis saying: "The whole purpose of the gospel it to deliver us from morality."

The crazy things we do

The high priests picked up the silver pieces, but then didn’t know what to do with them. “It wouldn’t be right to give this—a payment for murder!—as an offering in the Temple.” - Matthew 27 v 6

Reading this confirms how warped our human mind can be. It's OK to pay money to get Jesus murdered but it wasn't ok then to put that same money in the offering.

They killed the Son of God and were now having a committee meeting to discuss what was the right thing to do with the blood money. Yet no one seemed to recognise the craziness of their discussions.

Maybe that's why very often in church we spend so much time discussing and arguing about little stuff so it means we don't have to confront ourselves with our own lack of obedience.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Confronting doubt

"In my soul, I can't you how dark it is... I feel like refusing God."

"I am told God lives in me -- and yet the reality of darkness and coldness and emptiness is so great that nothing touches my soul"

Not two quotes that you would associate with Mother Teresa. But she honestly shared these feelings in her personal journals.

My journey in God has taken me sometimes to these dark places of doubt and despondency. Today they are much rarer but only because I was prepared to tackle my doubt. I fought with myself and searched for God and when I thought he was there I fought with Him as well.

Today I am thankful for my bouts of doubt and emptiness because they help me to trust and believe even in the darkness.

But even today my prayer is taken from scripture. "Lord I believe, help my unbelief."

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Jesus raises the bar

Unless you do far better than the Pharisees in the matters of right living, you won’t know the first thing about entering the kingdom. - Matt 5 v 20

There is a perception that grace is easy. But it is anything but. Jesus never lowered the bar for his followers he just raised it.

Although he criticised the Pharisees often. He didn't have a bone to pick with them because the kept the rules. He had a problem with them because:

1) The pretended to keep the rules.
2) The told others to keep the rules whilst they didn't.

In the verses following he raised the bar for his followers:

Do not murder - do not get angry
Do not commit adultery - do not lust in your heart
Grace is not a loophole it is a ladder.

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Sometimes God is working behind my back

The earth does it all without his help: first a green stem of grass, then a bud, then the ripened grain. - Mark 4 v 28

Jesus spent a lot of time trying to explain to the disciples what His Kingdom was like. He needed to and still needs to for us. We find it difficult to understand it, it goes against the grain. Its values are strange.

Service gives you significance.
Selflessness gives you reward.

Humility gives you power.

The list goes on.

But the thing that we find the hardest is that entrance, acceptance and growth in His Kingdom is not about what we do but about what he does. Like the farmer in Jesus story in Mark 4 who even forgets about the seed he has sown but finds it growing. He doesn't know why or even how but it grows.

I am so thankful that even when I am careless & forget about God and what he has told me, He never forgets about me and is constantly working to bring about fruit in my life.

Thank you God for sometimes working behind my back and I am totally unaware.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Steelwork Finished at MKCC

The last 2 weeks have seen some big changes at the MKCC building project. As of today all the steelwork has now been erected. (Although the guys will be checking and leveling it next week). It is great to see the whole structure now, the main auditorium and how it wraps around and links into our existing building.

Here are some photos.

A Mere Stagehand

As he preached he said, “The real action comes next: The star in this drama, to whom I’m a mere stagehand, will change your life. - Mark 1 v 7

Unfortunately in my experience of church leadership to many of us have though of ourselves as the star of the show. God has only had one gift to this world and His name was Jesus not Billy. John the Baptist had it right when he described himself as a "mere stagehand".

Wikipedia says A stagehand is a person who works backstage or behind the scenes. Their duties include setting up the scenery, lights, sound, props, rigging, and special effects for a production.

John the Baptist was recognised by Jesus as the greatest man that had lived and he saw himself as a stagehand. So to be part of the greatest show in History I think I am more than happy to be a stagehand.

If I can fetch and carry and add something to Jesus production I will be more than happy.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Radicalis - Perry Noble

It is no secret that I love Newspring Church. I have had the opportunity to meet a few of the team and many of the voluteers there. God is doing amazing things in their church. Everyone I have meet is humble, down to earth, encouraging and mad about Jesus. In Perry Noble they have a a great leader but the "secret" of Newspring Church is not Perry it is all the team persuing Jesus.

That said Perry is always on the edge when preaching so yesterday was no different. At one point I am sure his ADD was kicking in because I nearly fell off my seat laughing.

Here are some of his thoughts:

  • I asked God why am I here along with peeps like Rick Warren & Andy Stanley, He said you are the moron.
  • Radical devotion begins with an accurate view of Jesus.
  • I dont think we would speak to Jesus the way we speak to Jesus if we just realsied who he is.
  • Pastors, do you want the people in your church to see you or do you want them to see Jesus?
  • We dont need to close the back door of the church, Why? In the scripture the church is called a body!
  • Very few pastors are willing to flight for the flock because of the personal cost because of the price of the pain.
  • If all hell is breaking loose it's because hell is scared. Get ready because all Heaven is about to break loose!
  • The church today has become way more dependent on strategy than the Spirit.
  • Church leader dont ever give up on the God who has never given up on you.

Radicalis - Rick Warren

Thanks to the wonders of live streaming over the Internet I had the privilege of watching the Radicalis conference from Saddleback Church, Orange County, LA.

I caught the first 2 speakers, Rick Warren & Perry Noble. (8 hours time difference makes it hard to see it all) Rick explained why he used the name Radicalis. It is where we get our word Radical from. We tend to think of radical as being on the edge, being extreme. The reality is that being Radical is more about being determined to get back to the ROOT of something, and that is what the conference was about, getting back to the roots.

Here are some of Ricks thoughts:

  • Everyone wants to be a leader no one wants to be a servant.
  • The church doesn't need servant leaders it needs servants.
  • We're looking for better methods & God is looking for better men.
  • Most people are spiritual zombies wondering through church life without really being engaged.
  • What you are in private determines who you lead in public. HUA!
  • There is no correlation between the size and strength of a church. Bigger is not automatically better. Better is better.
  • You don't get credit for starting the race you get credit for finishing it well.
  • How do you know when a church has roots? It was fruit.
  • At saddleback church we have figured out how to move people from come and see to come and die. BOOM!
  • What the world is looking for is an authoritative message though a humble personality.
  • You cant make God stop loving you. you can try but you will fail.
  • God is not mad at you he is mad about you
  • Your gifts are not given to you for your benefit but for radical devotion to God- rick warren.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

If it ALL disappeared?

The Bible tells us that one day Satan talked to God about Job. Job seemed to have it all a great family, a great home, a great business, he had it all and he honoured God. So Satan asks the million dollar question.

"But what do you think would happen if you reached down and took away everything that is his?" - Job 1 v 11

This question hit me hard today.
I have often said all I have is yours.
It is easy to SAY isn't it.
But what would I say if ALL I have was taken away. Maybe even in one day like Job.
My laptop
My Iphone
My Car
I'm OK so far.

My furniture
My House
My Job
Now its getting serious!

My health
My children
My wife
Now I am in deep trouble!!

God help me trust you completely.

Monday, February 08, 2010

The Wind will run out of breath

I love this picture of Fraserburgh harbour looking out to the breakwater. The contrast is stark from what is clearly rough weather beyond the breakwater wall and the relative calm inside the harbour.

It brings back some great memories of my younger days. When a storm hit we would drive down the breakwater as the waves crashed over engulfing the car. If you hit the brake you were chicken.

Sometimes we live in an incredible storm when the wind and waves of life crash into us. I love the story of when Jesus and the disciples were caught in a storm. A word from Jesus and the Bible records this:

The wind ran out of breath; the sea became smooth as glass. - Mark 4 v 39

With Jesus on board we can be sure that the "wind will run out of breath."

Sunday, February 07, 2010


‘That’s a terrible way to live! It’s criminal to live cautiously like that!" - Matt 25 v 26

Jesus tells a story about 3 entrepreneurs that were given some finance to develop businesses and make money. Two of them were successful and doubled the investment. One of them didn't even try, hid the money and handed it back unused.

Jesus response "Its criminal to live cautiously."

Honestly I am a cautious person.
If investing money I'd go for the cautious fund.
My often used word with my kids, Be careful!
Cautious people like me tend to see the risks before others.
So maybe I could be the guy in Jesus story who plays it ultra safe scared of what I could lose.

That maybe OK if is my own gifting or assets but God doesn't want us to play it safe with His gifts. He gives us gifts to use not to admire or protect. Anything he gives us only finds its true fulfilment when used to make a difference in another.

There is no need to let fear dominate our behaviour when God's gifts are at stake. The risk is diminished because of the giver.

Thursday, February 04, 2010

What Jesus found memorable

You can be sure that wherever in the whole world the Message is preached, what she has just done is going to be remembered and admired.” - Matt 26 v 13

What I often find most memorable in Jesus life:

Healing the sick
Raising the dead
Walking on water
Calming the storm
Feeding 5000 with a picnic box
Turning water into wine

What I sometimes find memorable in church life:

Great worship
Awesome music
Inspired preaching
Big numbers attending

What Jesus said would be remembered as long as the gospel is preached:

One simple act of worship where a thankful forgiven soul takes their most valuable possesion and "squanders" it by pouring it over her saviour.

Time to reasses my view of memorable.

Building Update

Although mostly obscured from view because of our contractors hoarding, much has been happening on our building plot.

It turned from a green field into a mud bath but this week things really started to take shape when the steelwork arrived.

Here is a short video. (Song: This City by Elevation Church)

New Building Update from Billy Ritchie on Vimeo.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Unannounced Guest

Someone the Master can drop in on unannounced and always find him doing his job. A God-blessed man or woman, I tell you. Matt 24 v 46

One of the great things about growing up in a small village when I did was that so many people had an open door policy. You didn't have to use the words, "lets do coffee", you just turned up and did coffee. Well it was more likely to be tea back then St Arbucks had not been invented.

So very often we had unannouced guests in our house. The door would open and you would hear a familiar voice say "is er onybody in". Maybe thats why I seem to remember our house always being spotless and we always had home made cakes in the cupboard. My mum was always ready for someone to drop by at any time.

I'm not really sure I am ready for Jesus to drop in any time i'd feel more comfortable with a bit of notice!

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Steelwork arrives

Big day at MKCC. The steelwork arrives for our continued building project and finally something starts to rise out of the ground.

Looking across what will be our foyer onto the Auditorium beyond.

Monday, February 01, 2010

Paul's View on the prosperity Gospel

“I’ve never, as you so well know, had any taste for wealth or fashion.34 With these bare hands I took care of my own basic needs and those who worked with me.35 In everything I’ve done, I have demonstrated to you how necessary it is to work on behalf of the weak and not exploit them. You’ll not likely go wrong here if you keep remembering that our Master said, ‘You’re far happier giving than getting.’ - Acts 20 v 33

Seems to me like Paul hadn't quite signed up for the "prosperity" Gospel as it is today.
He didn't desire an Armani Suit or Rolex watch.
As a bi vocational volunteer church leader he filled the known world with the message of Jesus as well as supporting his missionary team.
He didn't use his fame to attract riches but used his influence to help the vulnerable and voiceless.
He preferred to follow the example of our servant saviour rather than twist His words for selfish gain.