Tuesday, December 27, 2011

A second chance is Heaven's heart

Rend Collective release there new album, Homemade Worship By Handmade People , in January. Here is an amazing song called SECOND CHANCE.


My future hangs on this
You make preciousness from dust
Please don't
Stop creating me

Your blood offers the chance
To rewind to innocence
Perfect as a child

Oh Your cross it changes everything
There my world begins again with You
Oh Your cross it's where my hope restarts
A second chance is Heaven's heart

When sin and ugliness
Collide with redemption's kiss
Awakens by romance

Always inside this mess
I have found forgiveness
As infinite as You

Countless second chances
We've been given at the cross

Fragments of brokenness
Salvaged by the art of grace
You craft
Life from our mistakes

Black skies of my regrets
Outshone by this kindness
New life
Dawns over my soul

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas - The Incarnation

Man's maker was made man,
that He, Ruler of the stars,
might nurse at His mother's breast;
that the Bread might hunger,
the Fountain thirst,
the Light sleep,
the Way be tired on its journey;
that the Truth might be accused of false witness,
the Teacher be beaten with whips,
the Foundation be suspended on wood;
that Strength might grow weak;
that the Healer might be wounded;
that Life might die.


Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The humility of God

But not withstanding the humility of his appearance in Bethlehem, such was the dignity of his person, and such the magnitude and grandeur of the work for which he came into the world, that angels descended from heaven to publish the glad tidings to the children of men. True, no ambassadors were sent to the Sanhedrin at Jerusalem, and none to the senate of Rome, to proclaim the coming of the Prince of Peace; but never was there such an ambassage on earth, to announce the birth of a royal son as that which came to the shepherds of Bethlehem. When he appeared among men, the order was given in heaven that all the angels of God should worship him; and their example was followed by wise men upon earth. - Christmas Evans

It almost seems to be bread into us that if we do anything good or achieve some sort of success we have to tell as a many people as possible as quickly as possible.

We now have the tools at our finger tips through our smart phones to get the message out effectively and efficently.

This is certainly not all bad to celebrate good news with others is brilliant. But sometimes I am not sure if we want people to celebrate how wonderful the news is or how wonderful we are. Our insecurities continue to grapple for our attention.

God has no such insecurities but in his divine greatness manages to choose humility.

In humility choosing hillside instead of a parliament building.
In humility choosing shepherds rather than kings.
In humility choosing a teenage girl rather than a princess.
In humility choosing a carpenters workshop rather than a palace.

Humility was God's best choice in Jesus and it can our best choice too!

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Trust His Heart

Thanks to Tim Stevens for reminding me of this song: When you can’t trace His hand, trust His heart. Tim and his church are facing challenging times stand with them in prayer today.

All things work for our good
Though sometimes we don’t see how they could
Struggles that break our hearts in two
Sometimes blind us to the truth
Our Father knows what best for us
His ways are not our own
So when your pathway grows dim
And you just don’t see Him
Remember you’re never alone

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When you don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His heart
Trust His heart

He sees the master plan
And He holds our future in His hand
So don’t live as those who have no hope
All our hope is found in Him
We see the present clearly
But He sees the first and the last
And like a tapestry
He’s weaving you and me
To someday be just like Him

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When you don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His heart
Trust His heart
He alone is faithful and true
He alone knows what is best for you

God is too wise to be mistaken
God is too good to be unkind
So when you don’t understand
When you don’t see His plan
When you can’t trace His hand
Trust His heart
Trust His heart

Monday, December 12, 2011

Uncle Jimmy

Last night my dad called to tell me that his brother James had passed away. His health had been failing for some time so in the end the phone call was not really a surprise, but still sad to get it.

James was known to me as Uncle Jimmy. Many people referred to him as Barber James. He had a small Barber shop in my home village of Inverallochy for a number of years before he moved to Edinburgh. I actually don't remember him living in North East Scotland but decades later the nick name of Barber James still stuck. That's village life!

But having an uncle living in Edinburgh as I was growing up was a treat as we often would go and stay with him and his wife Margaret in Willowbrae Road. There were many highlights to these holidays. Crazy putting at Portobello, getting drenched in the rain at Edinburgh military tattoo but the highlight was always visiting Luca's Ice Cream Shop in Mussleburgh. (It has got to be the best in the country).

Then for some reason completely missed by me, we would set off ice cream in hand and drive round a local camp site with the grown ups making comments on where people were from judging by the number plates on there car. To this day I'm not sure why but I had my ice cream.

But more than anything I knew that Uncle Jimmy loved Jesus. On our visits we would always attend the services at the Musselburgh AOG Church where he served faithfully for many many years. His son Steve took over the pastorate for many years and his grand children love Jesus. Not a bad legacy!

Somehow I have a feeling that he heard the words from our saviours yesterday - Well done Uncle Jimmy you were a good and faithful servant.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Label's Lie

"Everyone is broken. It doesn't matter what other people think I should add up to, it doesn't matter what the world thinks about me. You are not alone dude!" - Steve

Jesus is into label's of Grace.



Saturday, December 10, 2011

Collective not Celebrity Worship

This year one of the band's that visited MKCC was Rend Collective. We really had a great time with them as they lead us in praising our saviour Jesus.

There new album comes out in January. Homemade Worship by Handmade people

The video below explains the ethos of the band and introduces the new album.

There out look is refreshing in the age of celebrity yes even Christian celebrity.

"Our heart is that no one will find an individual that they can elevate but they will see us all as one. That's even why we have two lead singers."

Friday, December 09, 2011


In Jerusalem at the time, there was a man, Simeon by name, a good man, a man who lived in the prayerful expectancy of help for Israel. And the Holy Spirit was on him. - Luke 2 v 25 

I hate waiting.
I get impatient when I'm sitting in the car and the kids seem to be taking an age just to exit the front door of the house.
I mutter unmentionable things if the driver in front delays when clearly there was a huge space in the traffic.
I feel some tension in my stomach if waiting a couple of weeks for those results at the Doctors. 

Sometimes you wait so long you just give up. 

Not Simeon, he along with the Israel nation had been waiting for their salvation 100's of years.
Most probably decided it was not going to happen. Not Simeon
Most would have said God had been silent for 400 years. Not Simeon. 
He was eagerly watching and waiting for the ADVENT. 

Simeon had been waiting with PRAYERFUL EXPECTANCY & he had the Holy Spirit so to him God was not silent. 

We on the other side of the divide of history are also WAITING.
Waiting for the Second Advent 
Lets wait in PRAYER
Lets wait with EXPECTANCY
Lets wait listening to the HOLY SPIRIT 

Loved this video on ADVENT by the Village Church.

Thursday, December 01, 2011


So when you go home each week from these messages (Church), be stunned that you are a beneficiary of mercy – be reminded and stunned that you and I deserve nothing but wrath from God, and in Christ receive nothing but mercy from him. Be stunned. And then pray that God would make you merciful to the undeserving. - John Piper

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Corporate v Personal God

Many times we say as a Christian can have a personal relationship with God. That's what is on offer and is what salvation brings. Often I think we can exchange the wonder of a PERSONAL relationship for a second class CORPORATE relationship with God.

God's intention was that through the church he would make his wisdom known to mankind, not that through the church you would know Him.

The Church is a glorious entity but it was never supposed to come between us and God or worse still become our God.

10 ways to you have exchanged the PERSONAL for the CORPORATE.
  1. You recognise your pastors voice but not God's voice.
  2. Reading the Bible off the screen at church is one of the few if not the only times you connect to it all week.
  3. You feel closer to God in a church service that you do at any other time.
  4. You often talk to church leaders and other Christians about your problems but seldom talk to God.
  5. You celebrate with other in church at answered prayer but are not really sure if God is listening to you.
  6. You speak up in a prayer meeting but seldom or never pray alone.
  7. You attend a Bible study but never study alone.
  8. The main reason you go to church is to be blessed rather than to serve and bless others.
  9. You can't remember that last time you heard God speak to you outside a church service.
  10. You say the word Church way more that you say the name Jesus. (Seriously think about it)
  11. OK I lied there is more than 10. You expect to see Spiritual Gifts in action on a Sunday in church but it wouldn't cross your mind in work on a Monday.
That I may know him, and the power of his resurrection, and the fellowship of his sufferings - Phil 3 v 10 

Any more?

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stapling Rose Heads

I recently had the opportunity to preach in our UGRADE series at MKCC. My subject was "Loved People Love People". The Bible gives us clear commands to love people but often we find it difficult to obey that command.

One of the keys is to understand how much we are loved by God. Often guilt brought about by religion can drive us to show small acts of love but long term sacrificial love can only discovered by a realisation of the constant love of God.

Here is a short part of the preach, watch the rest of it here.:

Click here if you cant see the video.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Trust in God

Often in the middle of difficult situations we are told to Trust in God. Today someone asked me what that meant.

Often I think what people are saying is trust God everything is going to be OK. Trusting God means that eventually God will work things out the way I want.

I will get the Job
I will be healed
I will get a husband or wife
My marriage will be saved
My child will be well
The list goes on....

This often goes along with us claiming a promise in the Bible with seems to confirm I can have what I want. So we live proclaiming the verse. (I do believe God can speak to us through his word and when he does we can take it too the bank) But often we presume what God is going to say instead of listening to what he has to say.

Maybe trusting God is trusting is more about trusting that he really knows what is best for us with the view of eternity. Trusting who he is rather than what he does for us. Trusting in his nature and character.

Trusting when I don't get the job.
Trusting when I don't get healed.
Trusting when I am single.
Trusting when our spouse walks out.
Trusting when my child is ill.

That does not make it easy. But as Paul says "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" - Phil 4 v 13. Unfortunately we have quoted this verse out of context so many times where it is used only as an exhortation to say we can do all POSITIVE things.

Clearly Paul was saying from the context he could do: being in need & having abundance, facing hunger & plenty, in bad as well as good circumstances.

If trusting God only extends to trusting him to work something out the way we want Him to then I may be in for a shock and disappointment.

I will trust Him. Whatever, wherever I am, I can never be thrown away. If I am in sickness, my sickness may serve Him; in perplexity, my perplexity may serve Him; if I am in sorrow, my sorrow may serve Him. My sickness, or perplexity, or sorrow may be necessary causes of some great end, which is quite beyond us. He does nothing in vain. - John Henry Newman

Monday, November 14, 2011

Extravagant Love in Community

42 All the believers devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching, and to fellowship, and to sharing in meals (including the Lord’s Supper), and to prayer. 43 A deep sense of awe came over them all, and the apostles performed many miraculous signs and wonders.44 And all the believers met together in one place and shared everything they had.45 They sold their property and possessions and shared the money with those in need.46 They worshiped together at the Temple each day, met in homes for the Lord’s Supper, and shared their meals with great joy and generosityActs 2 v 42 – 46

On Sunday I had the privilege of continuing the teaching series UPGRADE at MKCC. My topic Loved People Love People.

In my studies I was fascinated by the expression of community that is described in the early church following their encounter with the gospel.

What an incredible picture of explosive love. The NLT has a heading over those verses that says “The New Believers Formed a community”. Now the headings are not inspired by God. But what I do know is that the natural expression of salvation by Jesus is community.

Luke chooses to mention leadership, teaching, prayer & even miracles but what he repeats over and over again are expressions of community.

Often we seem to elevate miracles to the zenith of christian life and experience but they are easy for God. What I think excites God is that one of his creation is so in love with Him that he would choose community over selfishness. That they would choose to sell up EVERYTHING they had and because of a love for Jesus give it all to the poor.

It would seem that the queue for the miraculous is always popular but the line for extravagant, unselfish, radical even crazy acts of love for the community does not have a long wait time.

Friday, November 11, 2011


for·ev·er : For everlasting time; eternally, At all times; incessantly

Man God invaded my small world today as I listened to this new song: For the Honour, By Elevation Church.

Somehow the truth of this came crashing into my finite mind in a fresh way today. I get to bring honour to my God - FOREVER. Simply AMAZING.

Thank you Jesus

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The Blindness of Pride

As long as you are proud you cannot know God. A proud man is always looking down on things and people: and, of course, as long as you are looking down, you cannot see something that is above you. - C S Lewis

HT Pete Wilson

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Upgrade - Saved People Surrender

We recently launched a brand new teaching series at MKCC - UPGRADE. Well its not quite that new. We are restating some of our values at MKCC and being helped by asking everyone to read The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren.

Yes I have read it twice before but yet again it challenges me to the core to make the main things the main thing in my life.

This week Mark taught on our first value:

Saved people surrender.

Here is an illustration he gave about getting our whole life on the table for God. Great stuff.

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

You are who you are for a reason

HT The Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren

by Russell Kelfer

You are who you are for a reason.
You're part of an intricate plan.
You're a precious and perfect unique design,
Called God's special woman or man.

You look like you look for a reason.
Our God made no mistake.
He knit you together within the womb.
You're just what He wanted to make.

The parents you had were the ones He chose,
And no matter how you may feel,
They were custom-designed with God's plan in mind,
And they bear the Master's seal.

No, that trauma you faced was not easy.
And God wept that it hurt you so;
But it was allowed to shape your heart
So that into His likeness you'd grow.

You are who you are for a reason,
You've been formed by the Master's rod.
You are who you are, beloved,
Because there is a God!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Rumors of Wisdom

27 He focused on Wisdom, made sure it was all set and tested and ready.28 Then he addressed the human race: 'Here it is! Fear-of-the-Lord-that's Wisdom, and Insight means shunning evil. - Job 28 v 27-28

On his journey through his difficulties and his fight with doubt Job circles the question of wisdom. What it is and where to find it.
He comes to the conclusion that we can't find it where we normally look for it because our quest is all too often confined to people and places.
He says that people don't have a clue and this world is devoid of it.

We go looking for wisdom but dig up knowledge.
The gulf between knowing and knowing what to do can be cavernous.
Knowledge without wisdom can be the most destructive thing in the universe.
Wisdom stays elusive and as he puts it "We've only heard rumours of it!".

So how do we make sense of all this knowledge.
We go to the creator of wisdom.

Job paints a picture of creator God speaking this world into being with all its beauty and majesty he turned his attention to creating wisdom. He focused on it, made it, tested it and takes delight in showing and sharing this great prize with his people.

Why settle with a rumour when your father can show you the real thing.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Meekness of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? By his good conduct let him show his works in the meekness of wisdom.14 But if you have bitter jealousy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast and be false to the truth.15 This is not the wisdom that comes down from above, but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic.16 For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there will be disorder and every vile practice.17 But the wisdom from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, open to reason, full of mercy and good fruits, impartial and sincere. - James 3 v 13 - 17

The phrase Meekness of Wisdom really facinated me. 
I've always believed that there was a gulf between knowledge and wisdom but these verses really helped me to understand it a little better.
Knowledge is great but can be used in all the wrong ways.
It can be used to win an argument at the expence of another.
It can be used destroy a person.
It can be used to make you look good.
It can be used to twist the truth.
It can be used to exhert supiriority.

But when you use it in this way the Bible says it is DEMONIC!

When wisdom enters the door it brings with it submission and is shared with humility.

Its motives are pure.
It finds a way forward in peace.
It educates gently.
It listens with an open heart.
Shows mercy to those who don't understand.
It is more interested in uncovering truth than taking sides.
It humbly finds the best way forward for all.

Saturday, October 08, 2011

Steve Jobs & The Apostle Paul on Death

Thanks to Joshua Blankenship for posting this:

"Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything—all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure—these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart."

—Steve Jobs, June 12th 2005 Stanford commencement speech (video)

Live a life worthy of Christ then when we die we win. We get Jesus!

For to me, living means living for Christ, and dying is even better. - Phil 1 v 21

Friday, October 07, 2011

Since when was Jesus not enough?


Judah Smith - Sesseon 6 - Catalyst 11 

Last night I have the privilege of attending the evening session of Catalyst 11 - Be Present. Honestly I nearly opted out. My body clock was screaming it was time for bed and I had already been assaulted with great truth for nearly 12 hours. But with 1 hire car and another 3 people who wanted to stay - peer pressure won out :-)

Joel Houston lead us in wonderful worship of our God then Judah Smith stormed the stage. His passage Ex 33 v 12 - 23. Recounting the time when Moses asked to see the "Glory of God"

Here are some quotes:
  • JESUS is the glory of God.
  • Don't wish for what Moses had we have someone better JESUS.
  • Moses wished, with every fiber of his being, that he could have had what we have - JESUS.
  • You don't have to wait for a goose pimple moment you already have all you need in JESUS.
  • I often wonder if I really know what I have in - JESUS.
  • There is  no mystery, no secret or software update that can supplement JESUS.
"I am he," said Jesus. "You don't have to wait any longer or look any further." - John 4 v 25
  • Leading people, a church or a family is not about you its about JESUS.
  • Since when was JESUS not enough?
  • Since when have we a need to supplement the SAVIOUR.
  • Don't look any further than JESUS.

Thursday, October 06, 2011

Artificial Maturity

Catalyst Pre Labs - Session 1 - Dr Tim Elmore

  • Views of generation iY (Born since 1990)
  • Our kids want to grow up too fast and slow at the same time resulting in artificial maturity.
  • We are not in an age where we have really bad kids but kids that know too much too soon.
  • Adolescence is expanding at both ends. It starts earlier and ends later.
  • Students are over exposed to information earlier than they are ready and under exposed to experience.
  • We all have an incredible amount of information but we are not really disciples.
  • We are raising the 1st generation who don't need adults to get them information.
  • The average teen is without their mobile phone for less than 1 hour a day.
  • 26 is the new 18 as the pause button has been pushed on adolescence.
  • Research has confirmed that this generation has high arrogance but low self esteem.
  • Leading this generation is a balancing act:
They need leaders who are RESPONSIVE. Providing belief, acceptance, support and leaders who are DEMANDING providing accountability.

They need leaders who provide balanced messages. Childhood messages saying you are loved, special, safe, valuable and have gifts. But they also need adolescence messages saying life is difficult, you are not in control, you are not important, you are going to die and its not all about you.

Leadership must balance autonomy, responsibility and information.

We are leading an EPIC generation. They are:
  • E - Experiential
  • P - Participatory
  • I - Image rich
  • C - Connected

How to get unstuck

Tony Morgan released a brand new FREE e book - How to get unstuck.

Having just read it through the second time I know it will be helping my thoughts as I seek with my colleagues to continue to build a great church in Milton Keynes.

This quote that Tony quotes from Jim Collins really struck a chord:

"Those in power blame other people or external factors—or otherwise explain away the data—rather than confront the frightening reality that the enterprise may be in serious trouble."

Often in church life we can have a victim mentality.

You don't know what my town is like. If I was in another town it would be different.
You just don't know what the people in my church are like.

We will blame anything but are reluctant to admit we are stuck and need to do something different.

I don't look at MKCC as being stuck as a whole. Looking at some of the signs it would suggest we are moving:
  • The church is showing growth. 
  • We have a good range of ages and the youth developing
  • Giving continues to grow
  • People are serving
But in some areas of our ministry we are a little more sticky to say the least. Going to enjoy working through some of Tony's principles with the team.

Get you copy here.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

I break God's heart

Today I wake up in Atlanta looking forward to the start of the Catalyst Conference today. Looking forward to understanding a little more about Jesus.

Yesterday I spent nearly 10 hours cooped up in a Delta plane so with no movies I wanted to watch I decided to hit up the Mars Hill - Mark Driscoll podcast from the past weekend - Jesus and Peter.

Marks main point was that: "We fail Jesus, He already knows when and where we are going to fail, but Jesus never fails us."

But one thing he said just hit me between the eyes:

"Sin is not just the breaking of Gods laws it’s the breaking of God’s heart." 

I had to close my mac screen and bow my head and quietly apologise to God again for my sin that hurts Him so much and thank Him again for His Grace through Jesus in my life. The video is below. It is a full preach but it really is worth your while watching:

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Searching for Significance

I come from a very different background, my life has been totally different, but some how underneath we are all searching. Thanks for sharing Lecrae.

"I'm learning to stay close to the source of my significance!"


Friday, September 23, 2011

Redifining Greatness

"Greatness is simply service." - Mark Driscoll

Maybe one day this will get through my stubourn pride.

Can't see the video watch here.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Shout HIS Fame

Now when the Queen of Sheba heard of the fame of Solomon concerning the name of the Lord - 1 Kings 10 v 1

Clearly Solomon was a famous guy.
Man, he had a Queen travel to check him out.
So she headed off to meet him with the question: Is this guy the real deal?
Is all I have heard just hype or is there something of substance.

Reports had got to her that the basis of his fame was God.
She had heard that he was a servant king.
Kind to his people.
Unselfish with his riches.
Judging them with God's wisdom.
Putting God first.

The great thing was that Solomon was the real deal. Her conclusion:

And behold, the half was not told me. Your wisdom and prosperity surpass the report that I heard. (v7)

It was clear to her who the foundation of Solomons success was:

Blessed be the Lord your God, who has delighted in you and set you on the throne of Israel! - 1 Kings 10 v 9

I think it was clear to him as well. Too many of us, when God gives us a measure of "success", seem to forget who gave us the success.

Solomons Wisdom was in fact God's Wisdom given to Solomon.
Your preaching gift was given to you buy God.
Your beautiful singing voice was given to you by God.
Your ability to make a guitar sing was given to you by God.
Your leadership ability was given to you by God.

Whatever he has given you use it to shout HIS Fame.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Servant King

And God said to him (Solomon), "Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right,12 behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.13 I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. - 1 Kings 2 v 11 -13

One of the small games I used to play growing up was 3 wishes. Where you would each answer the question "If you had 3 wishes what would they be?". Whatever the first 2 were the third one was always can I have an other 3 wishes.

Solomon wasn't given 3 wishes but he was given carte blanche to ask God for anything he wanted. ANYTHING! Amazingly enough he didn't choose wealth or health. The two things that so often seem to have become the focus of so many preachers. He chose WISDOM.

Why? Because he recognised that although he was a king he actually was a servant of God and a servant of God's people.

And now, O Lord my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in.8 And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude.9 Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people. - 1 Kings 3 v 7 - 9

His heart was right before God and even as a king understood he was a servant. And as a servant the thing he needed most was supernatural wisdom. God gave him wealth as well but I think Solomon had figured out that true prosperity having exactly what he needed to serve God in the way that God had asked him too.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It's You

Loved this acoustic version of It's You from NewSpring:

God of all creation, king of all the nations,
Universe declares his praise,
Can you hear it rising over the horizon,
Come and join redemption song,
Its YOU, God its You.

When so many songs in the "Christian" merry go round seem to concentrate on me or what I am going to do. It's great to hear a song that puts the main person as the main thing.

Friday, September 16, 2011

A prince of God

 "Hear us, my lord; you are a prince of God among us." - Gen 23 v 6

This was what was said by the ungodly Hitites about Abraham. Clearly there was huge respect towards Abraham. In the story following we get a tiny glimpse into Abraham's conduct and life which maybe gives as an idea of why he was held in such high regard.

Looking to buy a piece of land to bury his wife Sarah it turns out that he is twice offered the land for nothing. Most of us would have snatched the guys hand off and gone away smiling. He counted out payment to the value of the land and gave it any way.

The number one thing that is said by the unchurched about the people in church is that they are a bunch of hypocrytes. The total opposite of the respect shown to Abraham. Sometimes it feels like we have now accepted the tag of hypocryte and there is no other way for people to view us or even more importantly how we view ourselves.

To understand we are flawed and only accepted by God's grace is the basis of our faith. Grasping this lofty thought must drive us on through love and appreciation to live like the "prince of God" that we have become.

Grace is not a loophole for us to accept and live as a hypocryte. It is the catalyst for us to choose each day to life like a prince of God in every detail of our lives.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

What do you do when it seems God isn't listening

Prayer to me is sometimes confusing.
Don't suppose I should say that as a church leader.
Talking to my creator is obviously a good thing to do.
He encourages me to pray and even gives me a lesson direct from Jesus in how to pray.
So clearly it must be important.

He tells me over and over that he is listening and will answer.
But often it seems like there is no answer and only silence.

Then I am swung on a pendulmn looking for a reason that the silence persists.
Swing, It's my sin, God is refusing to listen because I am not holy enough.
Yes, but can I ever by my works make myself holy enough to be heard by a holy God.
Hasn't Jesus made me holy though his grace.

Swing, It's not His will, I'm asking for something that is not in line with what he wants.
Yes, but then why pray, why ask for something lets just leave it to His Will.
He knows best, i'll trust him and give up asking.
But he tells me to keep on asking and knocking and the door will be opened to me.

So I live in the tension which exists between trusting and asking and works and grace.

This little clip from Fancis Chan helped me to understand and rest in the tension a little more.

If you cannot see the video go here.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

What is stopping you going on mission?

As part of our teaching series "COMMISSIONED" teaching series at MKCC, Ray Bowker tells his story.

Feeling called to work overseas for God but facing a disability which means he is almost totally confined to a wheelchair. How could he GO?

Find out more about LightForce International

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Even if I ran away, Your love never fails

Love the song from Jesus Culture: Your Love Never Fails
 Nothing can separate
Even if I ran away
Your love never fails

I know I still make mistakes
But You have new mercies for me everyday
Your love never fails

You stay the same through the ages
Your love never changes
There maybe pain in the night but joy comes in the morning

And when the oceans rage
I don't have to be afraid
Because I know that You love me
Your love never fails

Friday, September 09, 2011

Faith completed by works

21 Was not Abraham our father justified by works when he offered up his son Isaac on the altar? 22 You see that faith was active along with his works, and faith was completed by his works - James 2 v 21 - 22

I believe passionately that we can not enter God's family through our our effort.
I can not be good enough for God by being good.
I can not make amends for my sin buy doing good deeds.
My salvation is a free grace gift from God which is all his doing.
Justification by faith alone would have been how Martin Luther would have put it.

But the bible does not ignore our "works". In another part of James he says "Faith without works is dead". The free gift of salvation from our helpless situation MUST result in works. Not to earn salvation or favour but as sign of humble thanks to our incredible God.

As a pastor I am continually confronted with the debris of peoples lives who have a disconnect between "faith" and "works".

Men talk about what God has told them whilst verbally (or physically) abusing their wife.
Men talk about the faithfulness of God whilst being unfaithful to their wife.
Women talk about the love of God whilst gossiping about their husbands.
Parents talk about God the wonderful father whilst walking out on their kids.
Parents talk about how precious they are to God whilst telling their children in so many ways they are worthless.

It breaks my heart to see the hurt that sin causes.
It crushes my spirit to see what "faith" without "works" can do.

Thank you father for this amazing salvation that I did not deserve. Thank you for not treating me as I deserve. Help me to love you more. I know that's a strange ask because you should already be the sole object of my affection. But I need your help so my works will complete my faith.

Monday, September 05, 2011

That was Sunday

  • Great to see more people returning from the summer break. With holidays, camps and missions trips it sometimes feels like you haven't seen each other in weeks.
  • The band brought it again on. For some reason the 12 o clock service, our smaller one, was off the charts.
  • God really broke into my heart singing - With all I am. The words: "I'll walk with you
    wherever you go, through tears and joy, I'll trust in you." Really broke me.
  • Great to have the young people really getting involved in our services, Show us the way guys!
  • Just love seeing so many people hanging around after the service in our Coffee Shop.
  • Mark did a great job launching our new series - Commissioned. Following are a few quotes from Marks message:
  • Get this Jesus is in the sending business.
  • Jesus does not write the doubters off. (Thomas) Instead he decided to entrust his message to them.
  • Why is the GREAT Commission so GREAT? 1. Because of the authority of the one who gave it.
  • Jesus has ALL authority. We are told to GO. And as we go we have ALL HIS Authority so what are we worried about?
  • I beg you, don't ever let your Christianity become about you. 
  • They devoted themselves to the apostles teaching & to fellowship, to breaking of bread & to prayer. - Acts 2:42 - Its not rocket science is it?
  • Then off to Nuffield Orthopaedic Centre to see how Abbie was recovering from her operation. Getting to hate the MK - Oxford road. :-)

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Feel distant from God? It doesn't really have to be that way.

Francis Chan blows my mind away with his gentle style of simple but profound truth that hits you in the head like a 2 x 4.

"Every man is as close to God as he wants to be" - Tozer

HT: Desiring God

What would you do if it was God's Son?

Saw this video posted over on Mark Sherratt's blog. So many times I have made so many, what I would call, rational reasons for not stepping into help.

Saturday, September 03, 2011

Church sometimes does my head in!

Tomorrow all over the world the church comes together again. Sunday the first day of the week we as individuals choose to meet with other followers of Jesus. We celebrate our salvation, share our joys, pray for one anothers needs, serve each other & receive teaching. The Church is a beautiful thing.

But the local church can also be a frustrating thing. Mainly because its made up of people exactly like me that are flawed and often fail.

So I loved this article posted at Desiring God originally written by Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

"If we do not give thanks daily for the Christian fellowship in which we have been placed, even where there is no great experience, no discoverable riches, but much weakness, small faith, and difficulty; if on the contrary, we only keep complaining to God that everything is so paltry and petty, so far from what we expected, then we hinder God from letting our fellowship grow according to the measure and riches which are there for us all in Jesus Christ.

This applies in a special way to the complaints often heard from pastors and zealous members about their congregations. A pastor should never complain about his congregation, certainly never to other people, but also not to God. A congregation has not been entrusted to him in order that he should become its accuser before God and men.

. . . let [the pastor or zealous member] nevertheless guard against ever becoming an accuser of the congregation before God. Let him rather accuse himself for his unbelief. Let him pray God for an understanding of his own failure and his particular sin, and pray that he may not wrong his brethren. Let him, in the consciousness of his own guilt, make intercession for his brethren. Let him do what he is committed to do, and thank God.

Friday, September 02, 2011

Who is the Kingdom for anyway?

This video screwed me up when I watched it. My thoughts are running riot round my head and my heart is challenged. Ignore the word in there (B***H) that might offend and maybe you will find something else of offence as I did.

I am offended and challenged by what I have restricted with the pure message of the unfair, uncensored, radical grace message of God's Kingdom in a way that it was never supposed to be.

Who is the Kingdom for?

Then the master of the house became angry and said to his servant, 'Go out quickly to the streets and lanes of the city, and bring in the poor and crippled and blind and lame.' Luke 14 v 21

(HT Johnny Laird for the video)

this KINGDOM from phos pictures on Vimeo.

Thursday, September 01, 2011

And where is this road taking me to God?

By faith Abraham obeyed when he was called to go out to a place that he was to receive as an inheritance. And he went out, not knowing where he was going. - Heb 11 v 8

As a classic type A personality I like to know where I am going and I like to be in control of where I am going. So setting out on a journey like Abraham would have been a monumental challenge for me. For me it makes no sense taking the first step on the journey if I don't even know the direction I should be taking. And if God isn't going to tell me I would be suggesting a few places to him!

Slowly I'm learning that my control is just an illusion and I actually control very little apart from my attitude and reaction. At the same time I am understanding more deeply that God IS in control. I may not know where I am Going but God does. Although Abraham was in the dark about the details and destination God had the inside knowledge.

God is not waiting to find out what we are going to do to react. He sees the whole of history and time as a total package. Nothing takes him by surprise and his "will" will prevail.

So although I often do not have the foggiest where I am going in this life as a Jesus follower the more I discover about the character of this immense glorious loving God that has burst into my life the more I trust. Even when I don't know or even understand where I am going.

Abbie's Op

Today we have an early start as we head off to Nufield Orthopedic Hospital for Abbie to have her operation. At some points it never looked like it would happen. Thanks to the workings of the NHS it has taken almost a year from the time Abbie first went to the GP with a sore hip till it will be operated on. But our trust and hope thankfully is not in the NHS but in our God who is at "Hand".

4 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, Rejoice.5 Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;6 do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.7 And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. - Phil 4 v 4 - 7

So tonight we visited the restaurant of Abbie's choice - The Harvester (I've really got to widen her horizons to some decent eateries). But she had a great time with her favourite of BBQ ribs and a huge Ice Cream!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I choose your plan

This song was sung at our FUSE Youth takeover at our Sunday services at MKCC on Sunday. Written by Audacious! Church it really is an amazing song based on Romans 8. These words from the chorus brought tears to my eyes:

Move in me, move in my soul
Be my god, take control
I will praise, though I don't understand
I submit, I choose your plan.

That's my prayer for today, tomorrow and forever, Lord give me the grace and strength I need to choose your plan.


Imitators of those who through faith and patience inherit the promises. Heb 6 v 12

Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ. 1 Cor 11 v 1

I urge you, then, be imitators of me. 1 Cor 4 v 6

And you became imitators of us and of the Lord. 1 Thess 1 v 6

For you, brothers, became imitators of the churches of God in Christ Jesus. 1 Thess 2 v 14

We often ask the question in circumstances and situations, what would Jesus do?. The idea of taking Jesus as our example and imitating Him is acceptable and desired. The idea of looking to another person as an example, or as a church leader looking to another church as an example, is often frowned upon.

Paul was a great man of God but he certainly was not perfect but still he encouraged believers to imitate him. I think today we would be saying who does this guy think he is? He hasn't got it all together? He is pointing us to a man instead of Jesus.

Paul knew only too well that he didn't have it all together. He was very open about his struggles. But he also knew that he had learned some lessons along the way. He had fought some battles and had the scars. He had learned some truth about the kingdom. Which he knew was valuable for other followers of Jesus.

I believe God uses examples, models and mentors as a way of helping us develop personally and as church leaders, to grow local church.

Find people, and churches, who are stronger than you are, have gone through what you are going through, further along the road that you & IMITATE.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Hope against Hope

18 In hope he (Abraham) believed against hope,..... 20 No distrust made him waver concerning the promise of God, but he grew strong in his faith as he gave glory to God,21 fully convinced that God was able to do what he had promised. - Rom 4 v 18 & 20 -21

I wish that I could say that I have never distrusted the promises of God but I can't.
Delay has caused be to doubt.
Circumstances has caused me concern.
Criticism has caused me to question.

It frustrates me how quickly I allow the oldest sin to find a root in my heart: "Did God say....?"

My faith has be come just hope. In the same way that I "hope" that Aberdeen will win a football match. (Not much hope).

My hope must die and be born again as Peter describes in his letter as "living hope".

"Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ who according to his great mercy has begotten us anew to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" - 1 Peter 1:3

John Piper has said that:

  • Living hope is full assurance, or strong confidence that God is going to do good to us in the future.
  • Living hope is a strong confidence in God which has power to produce changes in how we live.
So today I choose LIVING hope rather than just hope.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Bringing back the wonder

It surprises me still that I can find myself in the doldrums feeling sorry for myself. Looking too much inside myself focused on my deceitful heart that still looks to question so much that I know to be true. But reality floods my heart when I choose to glimpse at my Saviour rather than my selfishness. This quote from John Bunyan rocked my world today:

"Sometimes when my heart has been hard, dead, slothful, blind, and senseless, which indeed are sad frames for a poor Christian to be in, yet at such a time, when I have been in such a case, then has the blood of Christ, the precious blood of Christ, the admirable blood of the God of Heaven, that run out of His body when it did hang on the Cross, so softened, livened, quickened, and enlightened my soul, that truly, reader, I can say, O it makes me wonder!" - John Bunyan

Now if that's not enough to bring back the wonder then I don't know what will.

HT - Desiring God

Monday, August 15, 2011

Hearing & Seeing

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. - Job 42 v 5

Hearing and seeing are two different things.
Often hearing about a famine in Somalia will make us shake our head in disbelief with little real action.
Being present and seeing children die through starvation will leave an indelible mark that will change our lives forever.

Job is saying to God that this is the type of experience that he just had.
Job was a good person. He was THE example of a God follower on the earth.
He had heard about God and followed God.

But what he is saying here, is that his God was too small. His God was actually much bigger than he had even imagined. His eyes had been opened to a new perspective of God and it was gigantic compared to his old view. He had seen a new reality of God.

What stands out to me is the catalyst God was able to use to bring about this transformation in Job's view of God - Suffering.

Today God has helped me to see that my view of God has been way too small and I have seen something of his greatness and character that I've never quite seen before.

No matter what else is going on in my life today, because I have seen a little more of our sovereign God, today has been a good day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Multiply rather than add to your life

"Reading about leadership, I got to thinking that if I were to invest an increasing amount of my time in developing the next generation of leaders, instead of just adding to my life, I would multiply my life." - Dave Kraft

Maybe its because I am advancing in years passing my 48th birthday but I found the above statement revolutionary and freeing at the same time.

Below is a discussion from Dave about the way he is working to resource the next generation.

This includes his book Leaders Who Last (Re: Lit Books) & his website.

Dave Kraft | Leaders Who Last from Canon Wired on Vimeo.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Silence to Listen

Man do I need to learn this:

"Silence your body to listen to your words. Silence your tongue to listen to your thoughts. Silence your thoughts to listen to your heart beating. Silence your heart to listen to your spirit. And silence your spirit to listen to God." - Mama Maggie Gobran

Great leadership by Bill Hybels

Presently the Willow Creek Association's Global Leadership Summit is taking place in Chicago. Bill Hybels confirmed that Howard Schultz withdrew over an online petition calling the Illinois megachurch anti-gay and threatening a boycott. Bill said the association let the Starbucks CEO out of his contract and talked to the attendees about the situation.

Yet again I am blown away by how Bill shows incredible grace and leadership in his response.

Well done Bill!

Friday, August 05, 2011

This was Grace

Mark Sherratt sent me this video today.

This father and husband has totally humbled me and gave me a completely new dimention to God's GRACE!

"I cling to my rock Jesus!"

This was grace - short film from Andrew Laparra on Vimeo.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Abraham's Choice

When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn't do but on what God said he would do. - Rom 4 v 18 (Mess)

Like Abraham we all face situations in life when "everything was hopeless". There is just no way out, no way forward.

When the boss says your job is redundant.
When the doctor says your cancer is terminal.
When your spouse says they have found someone else.
When your son is hooked on drugs.

The list goes on. It is all to easy to end up without hope.

It is then we face the Abraham choice. Live dictated to be his circumstances or live in the light of God's ETERNAL promises.

That does not mean that God waves a magic wand and my circumstances change but that God's promises are more real to me than my circumstances.

I am the apple of God's eye and he hides me in the Shadow of His wing - Ps 17 v 8
I don't need to worry because He wont leave me alone. - Du 31 v 8
I always have Christ in this life and after this life, I get even more. - Phil 1 v 21

These are not just words these are God's promises to us.

God help me to make the same choice as Abraham today, tomorrow and for the rest of my life.

Friday, July 29, 2011


And Isaac went out to meditate in the field toward evening. - Genesis 24:63

Sometimes when reading about the lives of the great characters in the Bible we are overwhelmed by the amazing things that happened to them. How God moved in their lives, how God spoke to them. Often we wish our live could have more of that tangible Divine dynamic.

This verse tucked away in the account of the first meeting between Isaac and Rebekah seems so simple yet its so profound.

Isaac did the basics he took time out of his day to meditate on God and pray. It doesn't matter how we cut it or what excuses there are basics to the Christian life that we just can not jump past or never graduate from.

It is amazing how we will choose anything but meditating (focused time) on God and his greatness, even choosing to worry.

Check out this short video from one of my recent messages about meditation & worry.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Is grace the enemy of holiness?

Today I read a thought provoking post by Pete Wilson titled "Why doesn't anybody talk about sin?". In it he quotes an article written by Scott McKnight which asks some great questions about Grace & Holiness

"To many, sin has fallen into grace. What does that mean? When we talk about God’s grace, we are assuming the reality of sin—that we are sinners and that God has forgiven us. But in our language today, sin is not only an assumption—it is an accepted assumption. And not only is it an accepted assumption—it also doesn’t seem to matter.

It’s as if we’re saying, “Yes, of course we sin” and then do nothing about it.

Widespread apathy toward sin reveals itself in the lack of interest in holiness. Your grandparents’ generation overdid it—going to movies, dancing and drinking alcohol became the tell-tale signs of unholiness. Damning those who did such things became the legalistic, judgmental context for church life. So your parents’ generation, inspired in part by the ’60s, jaunted its way into the freedom of the Christian life. Which meant, often enough, “I can do whatever I want because of God’s grace.”
That generation’s lack of zeal for holiness has produced a trend: acceptance of sin, ignorance of its impact and weakened relationships with God, people and the world."

I get the problem. But Paul in his letter to the Roman church nailed this once and for all. After describing God's amazing gift of grace he then says:

1 What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?2 By no means! - Romans 6 v 1 - 2

Grace is the true motivation and pathway to a life of holiness. Rules and regulations can not save us, our only hope is Grace.

If grace makes sin easy then we have missed what grace is. Grace is the most amazing unbelievable gift we could not even imagine in our wildest imagination and it arrived at the door of a person who did not deserve to be in the same country as it.

If that does not make me run from sin nothing will.

By the way Scott McKnight has written one of the best books I have ever read on the subject of grace. Embracing Grace: A Gospel for All of Us

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

John Stott

John Stott pastor, theologin and evangelist went to be with Jesus today.

He started following Jesus after hearing a sermon based on Revelation 3:20. He wrote later about that experience:

"Here, then, is the crucial question which we have been leading up to. Have we ever opened our door to Christ? Have we ever invited him in? This was exactly the question which I needed to have put to me. For, intellectually speaking, I had believed in Jesus all my life, on the other side of the door. I had regularly struggled to say my prayers through the key-hole. I had even pushed pennies under the door in a vain attempt to pacify him. I had been baptized, yes and confirmed as well. I went to church, read my Bible, had high ideals, and tried to be good and do good. But all the time, often without realising it, I was holding Christ at arm's length, and keeping him outside. I knew that to open the door might have momentous consequences. I am profoundly grateful to him for enabling me to open the door. Looking back now over more than fifty years, I realise that that simple step has changed the entire direction, course and quality of my life."

A faithful servant now with his saviour.