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!