One of the most common questions I have heard asked by Christians who are joining MKCC is "Do you have a prayer meeting?"
If everyone who asked this question attended our prayer meeting (Yes we do actually have one) then it would be the most popular gathering we have. Actually it is far from that.
Nothing wrong with a prayer meeting. The church coming together to pray is a good thing. But our desire as church leaders is to help, equip, train & inspire people to make prayer a vital core of their whole lives. In and through everything.
I loved this video by John Piper on the subject:
Saturday, April 30, 2011
Friday, April 29, 2011
Throughout Jesus ministry there were often times he wanted to be alone. But his isolation was purposely imposed so he could fully be with His heavenly Father. Isolation was not a way of life for Jesus. Often crowds numbering in thousands listened to his teaching. Sometimes hundreds would walk along the road with him. He clearly had 12 guys who traveled almost non stop with him. An inner circle of 3 that were closer still and one that was the closest of all.
When he sent his 72 missionaries out he sent them in pairs. (Luke 10 v 1) Jesus knew that we were shaped for relationship. Yes introverts like me need to withdraw from time to time to recharge because being with people non stop can be exhausting for crazy people like me.
But continued isolation is critically damaging for everyone even when you are on a mission from God. Going 2 by 2 gave them support, encouragement, advice, a sounding board, accountability, and friendship.
From the earliest point Jesus introduced team to ministry and mission. Thankfully many churches are now lead by teams. But even within that I sometimes see Senior Pastors and Senior Leaders that can lead like they are not part of the team. They can direct and dictate to the team but in reality they are not in the team.
To get round this often they set up boards and accountability relationships with people that are not in their local team but live in another city or sometimes even another country. Time and time again I see that this does not work. The best people to support, encourage and provide accountability is the team you lead and are part of.
If you are a leader be part of your team and let them speak into your life as well as you speaking into theirs.
72 part 1
Wednesday, April 27, 2011
As Jesus arrives at a turning point in his ministry and starts a journey towards Jerusalem and his appointment with death, he starts to send some of his followers out on mission.
This message was too important to be kept in a small circle of followers it had to get out. On his journeys he had continually challenged people about their commitment to following him. (Luke 9 v 57 -62). Now the game plan was changing He was going to challenge further these followers in ways they never imagined.
The challenge of following became the challenge of being sent out. He not only called people to be followers but messengers. We read in Luke 10 v 1 that Jesus anointed 72 people and sent them out with His message.
When I read these specific instructions that Jesus gave to some of the earliest missionary's I find myself tensing up because they actually go against the grain of much of the way we do church today.
Over the next few days I want to post about these instructions and ask what they mean to us today.
Saturday, April 23, 2011
The 23rd April is traditionally St Georges Day. Known as the patron Saint of England, unlike St Patricks day in Ireland, his day seems to pass without a mention nowadays.
Although being 100% sure about these early saints story's is difficult here is a suggested account of his life: (Source Wikipedia)
"It is likely that Saint George was born to a Christian noble family in Lod, Syria Palaestina during the late third century between about 275 AD and 285 AD, and he died in Nicomedia. His father, Gerontius, was a Roman army official from Cappadocia and his mother was from Palestine. They were both Christians and from noble families of Anici, so by this the child was raised with Christian beliefs. They decided to call him Georgius (Latin) or Geōrgios (Greek), meaning "worker of the land". At the age of 14, George lost his father; a few years later, George's mother, Polychronia, died.
Then George decided to go to Nicomedia, the imperial city of that time, and present himself to Emperor Diocletian to apply for a career as a soldier. Diocletian welcomed him with open arms, as he had known his father, Gerontius — one of his finest soldiers. By his late 20s, George was promoted to the rank of Tribunus and stationed as an imperial guard of the Emperor at Nicomedia.
In the year AD 302, Diocletian issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Pagan gods. But George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best Tribune. George loudly renounced the Emperor's edict, and in front of his fellow soldiers and Tribunes he claimed himself to be a Christian and declared his worship of Jesus Christ. Diocletian attempted to convert George, even offering gifts of land, money and slaves if he made a sacrifice to the Roman gods. The Emperor made many offers, but George never accepted.
Recognizing the futility of his efforts, Diocletian was left with no choice but to have him executed for his refusal. Before the execution George gave his wealth to the poor and prepared himself. After various torture sessions, including laceration on a wheel of swords in which he was resuscitated three times, George was executed by decapitation before Nicomedia's city wall, on April 23, 303. A witness of his suffering convinced Empress Alexandra and Athanasius, a pagan priest, to become Christians as well, and so they joined George in martyrdom. His body was returned to Lydda in Palestine for burial, where Christians soon came to honour him as a martyr."
An amazing follower of Jesus. I know the legend of him killing a dragon takes the headlines in most books but his ultimate sacrifice for his saviour shouts louder than anything.
Friday, April 22, 2011
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, "Let us also go, that we may die with him." - John 11 v 16
The Apostle Thomas is probably best know as "Doubting Thomas" when he wasn't prepared to believe Jesus had risen from the dead until he saw it with His own eyes. To be honest with you if I'd been around in the day I would have been siding with him.
But his statement to the rest of Jesus disciples at a time of mortal danger shows us another side of his character. When faced with going back into the lions den and risk being stoned by an angry religious mob he is willing to die.
He may have wanted some proof that Jesus was alive later in life but he was already willing to die with his Lord.
The doubters devotion extended even to death. So I ask how far does my devotion for "my lord and my God" reach?
Tuesday, April 19, 2011
I started reading a new book yesterday. Leaders Who Last by Dave Kraft. I knew after reading the first page that it was going to be a great but very challenging read. Dave gives his definition of a great Christian leader:
"A Christian leader is a humble, God-dependent, team-playing servant of God who is called by God to shepherd, develop, equip, and empower a specific group of believers to accomplish an agenda-upon vision from God."
In a day and an age where there are 1000's of books written on leadership and sometimes being a church leaders has been complicated beyond reason this brought back the simplicity for me.
After reading this description of a great Godly leader that will last, I put down my book, bowed my head and sent a silent prayer of thanks to God that he had in his infinite wisdom allowed me to serve a leader in Mark Sherratt that this definition describes exactly.
Saturday, April 16, 2011
Thanks to POTSC for sharing this poem of grace
“THE PEOPLE OF THE SECOND CHANCES”
We are the ones
who’ve messed up and stressed out
and held doubt in our mouths like
a lozenge, relishing its acrid memory.
We have saidseendone things
no one would believe
past lives laid behind us
like some twisted black magic carpet
that somehow still led us here.
We have been
and we abound with an inexpressible
joy that can only come from being
We are the ones
who know what it’s like to be loved
in spite of
We know grace
and none of it’s easy
but it sure beats going back.
We know that the heart
is a fragile and resilient
and that the sun shines
through the cracks.
Thursday, April 14, 2011
Some of the Pharisees said, "This man is not from God, for he does not keep the Sabbath." But others said, "How can a man who is a sinner do such signs?"- John 9 v 16
The question I am asking today:
Is there room in my religion for God.
There was nothing wrong with keeping the sabbath. After all it was God's idea. But mankind are past masters at taking a God idea and turning it into a straight jacket of dead religion. Somehow they turned the idea of a day focused on the magnificence of God into a check box of do's and don'ts.
I confess my life is scared to the core by spending my early christian life in a community of believers who, although lovely well meaning people, had fallen into the trap of turning a God idea of grace into a treadmill of a never ending and growing list of rules.
God had slowly and quietly been moved to the sidelines and replaced with my feeble and failing attempts to be good. Knowing the rules seemed to be more important than knowing God.
I'm now free from many of the old rules now. I go to the cinema, I watch TV on Sunday, I've played golf (badly) on a Sunday, I've even had the old beer. But we have a way of replacing old rules with new and find new ways of focusing on anything but God.
Whatever I do I must always make room for God. Without him the guy would still have been blind. With him our lives take on a supernatural dimension. Make room for God.
Wednesday, April 13, 2011
"Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?" - Mark 4 v 40
Words Jesus said to His followers after he had calmed the storm. A few words from Jesus and a life threatening storm that was set to sink the boat turned into a "Great Calm".
In the moment fear gripped them. All the incredible teaching Jesus had given them about His Kingdom drained out of their minds as fear flooded their hearts.
How often I have sat in the boat of fear.
Too many times I have traded what I know to be true about my saviour as waves of chaos slam into my life. Sometimes even as the first wave of difficulty breaks onto the deck of my life, that I assumed Jesus was going to keep dry, fear starts to tighten in my stomach.
In that moment I can turn to trust or I can fall to fear.
Help me God more and more to find faith rather than fear.
Speak a few simple words into my heart and bring a "great calm" into my soul.
Thank you to Tony McCollum for sharing this video.
In this very moving video, the Kimyal people receive, for the first time ever, copies of the New Testament that have been translated into their native language. God forgive me for not cherishing your word. Thank you that I have never known a day since I could read, that I could not read your word for myself.
Tuesday, April 12, 2011
A few weeks ago a church conference took place called the Elephant Room. Looks very interesting and included some great pastors many of them who I and I am sure many others learn from. Here is a great trailer for the event so well put together.
Wednesday, April 06, 2011
Sometimes when we pray we get frustrated - we wonder if God is even hearing us. We find ourselves praying selfishly like children. And it happens throughout the Bible too. It's easy to forget that God is listening and that it's time for us to stop and listen as well.
Thanks to Granger Community Church for this great video on the subject of prayer.
"God is always listening the question is ARE YOU?"
Tuesday, April 05, 2011
As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love. - John 15 v 9
Time and time again in His story about a vine Jesus uses the word ABIDE.
Growing up I used a local Aberdeensire doric word BIDE or BIDIN. Which basically meant to stay or staying. "I'm bidin at home" is "I'm staying at home".
Abide seems a little more propper English to me but I looked it up it means:
to be faithful
It just strikes me as crazy that Jesus has to encourage his closest friends to remain, to continue, to stay, to endure in His love. But then I realise just how fickle I can be.
So today Lord I am BIDIN in your love. It is the only place to be.