Monday, December 31, 2012

Relentless Grace

This song by The Vine Band rocked my world today:

You are God
Yet You love me
with a father's love
And I, stand amazed

You are God
Yet it's me you chase
With relentless grace
And I, stand in awe

For You are my God
And my hearts response is
life devoted to worship
For You are my God
And I can't contain it
This praise escaping my lips

With relentless grace
With relentless grace
With relentless grace

Oh this praise In my heart
Is escaping from my lips

With relentless praise
With relentless praise
I will worship You
With with relentless praise

Saturday, December 29, 2012


No matter what He is always there ever minute of every day.

"Is there anyplace I can go to avoid your Spirit? to be out of your sight? If I climb to the sky, you're there! If I go underground, you're there! If I flew on morning's wings to the far western horizon, You'd find me in a minute— you're already there waiting!" - Ps 139 v 7 - 11

Elevation Creative: In Your Presence (Christmas Piano Remix) from Elevation Media on Vimeo.

Can't see the video click here

Friday, December 28, 2012

Hear God's voice in your everyday life

One of the questions I am often asked is "How do you hear God's voice?" Its a great question and I am sure there are many answers. But my simple answer is to point people to where and how I hear the whisper of God in my life.

I have never heard a booming audible voice of God. Sorry! But very simply almost every time I pick up the Bible and read a few of the precious words be it on my computer screen, phone or even old fashioned paper it would seem that I eavesdrop on the voice of God.

In a day when the Bible is more accessible than ever it would seem that engagement has followed an opposite curve. I have read that over 70% of Christians seldom or never read God's Word from one Sunday to another.

So buck the trend and do something to make God part of your everyday life.

Check this out taken from the Youversion blog:

What’s the most important voice in your life? You can probably picture a specific person’s face, even hear their voice in your head. That relationship didn’t “just happen.” You work on it. You value it. That’s the kind of relationship God wants with you as his adopted child. And what in your life could be more important than that? He wants you to talk to him, and he wants to talk to you—through his Word.

Starting a new year is the perfect time to freshen relationships and renew dreams. What might your 2013 look like — if you leave space to hear from him?

YouVersion’s Bible Plans make it easy to connect daily with God. People in the worldwide YouVersion community constantly share how much it means to make God’s Word a part of their everyday lives.

The key is to just get started. Here we’ve made a short list to help you turn engaging with the Bible into a daily habit:

  1. If you haven’t already, download the Bible App to your device. 
  2. Get your free YouVersion account.  
  3. Sign up for a Reading Plan.  
  4. Then just start reading God’s Word—or listening to it—a little each day. It really is that simple! 
  5. (Prefer the old fashioned way. Download a reading plan from MKCC website
To help you stick with it, invite your friends! It’s easy to connect to Facebook and Twitter and let them know what you’re reading.

Don't miss out this year in hearing God speak to you everyday!

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Unshakeable Faith

This left me speechless!

"A devastating loss and an Eternal gain"

The Laymon Family: Unshakeable Faith In the Face of Real Tragedy from Elevation Media on Vimeo.

Can't see the video click here

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Mission on Motor Bike

One of my great privileges on my trip to India was to present Pastor Victor Palla with the funds raised to purchase a motor bike for a local Pastor.

A bike gives the Pastor based in remote villages in the mountains outside Palakonda much needed transport as he cares for his church and preaches the Gospel.

Here is Victor's words of thanks:

"Here are the photographs of the Pastor and his family who has been gifted the motorcycle you bought for them. We have purchased this more than 15 days ago and have handed it over to him. 

This Brother is called Murali and is taking care of two churches on the hills. He walks long distance on the hills to take care of these churches. Now this vehicle will help him to move about more quickly and easily. I have been having in mind for a vehicle since more than three years, thank you very much for strengthening our hands to bless him with this vehicle. 

Please kindly continue to remember us in your prayers."

Thank you to those who gave so generously for the purchase of this bike.

Saturday, December 08, 2012

Can God trust you with trouble?

Bishop T D Jakes asks the question "Can God trust you with trouble?" from the point of view of the mother of Jesus, Mary.

"If you just hold on!!!!"

Can's see the video click here

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

Faith...of a prostitute

My latest message from MKCC in the series Enduring Faith

Enduring Faith - Faith in Isolation from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Can't see the video click here

The Innkeeper

John Piper reads his heart moving poem - The Innkeeper

The Innkeeper from Desiring God on Vimeo.

May Christ remain your treasure and joy this Christmas season

Friday, November 30, 2012

Where is your chair?

Bill Hybels asks the question where is your chair?

Can't see the video click here

Monday, November 26, 2012

Faith in Crisis

For what its worth my latest preach at MKCC

Enduring Faith - By Faith from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

At the moment of salvation....

Ten things that happen AT salvation:

1. You are reconciled to God (2 Cor. 5:18–20).
2. You are forgiven for all of your sins (Col. 2:13).
3. You become a child of God (John 3:3, 7).
4. You are accepted by God (Eph. 1:6).
5. You are justiļ¬ed by Jesus Christ (Rom. 4:1–5:1).
6. You are brought close to God (Eph. 2:13).
7. You are delivered from the power of darkness (2 Cor. 4:3–4; Col. 1:13).
8. You join the people of God (1 Pet. 2:9).
9. You are granted access to God (Heb. 4:16; 10:10–20).
10. You receive an inheritance (Eph. 1:14; Col. 3:24; 1 Pet 1:4; Heb. 9:15).

HT: Bill Clem

Tuesday, November 20, 2012


Seth Godin recently wrote an article titled "Wasted Kindling", here is a paragraph:

"It's hard to imagine a bigger waste than cooking an entire meal using nothing but kindling. It burns fast and bright, but it doesn't last. You might be able to cook something, but then there's be nothing left for the next guy. No, the useful technique is to have some bigger logs standing by, and to use as little kindling as possible."

Most churches that are growing are seeking out ways to make the experience of attending church a great experience. Nothing wrong with that. My early experience of church would not have come under that category. So one of my passions in life is to ensure that the church of today is different.

But we need to ensure that we are going way beyond the initial "Kindling" that gives a great impression to substantial fire that is built out of the "logs" of reality.

A smile and a handshake on the way in from the car park is great but always remember that every single person needs deep relationship. To know and be known.

Great music that takes us on a journey of corporate worship of Jesus stimulates the heart and the emotions but will not satisfy unless it transitions into a life sold out in day to day moment by moment acts of worship when the music and emotions have faded.

Biblical preaching, communicated in a stimulating and enlightening way is a springboard to a journey of life of adventure based on God's principles. However unless the Word forms part of everyday life and we can encourage people to devour it for themselves the journey will become a cul de sac and a stay in the familiar.

To watch a video & hear about the Holy Spirit has moved by miraculous power in some one else's life brings tears of emotion and joy to our eyes. But God wants us to be participators with the Holy Spirit not spectators of the Holy Spirit in our every day lives.

Lets not mistake the speedy combustion of kindling, which without doubt is vitally important, with the long hard work of obedience of building a huge consuming fire in our lives and churches that is not over before it began.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Smile at the storm

For me one of the most crazy experiences on my recent India trip was being driven around on Indian roads. I expected them to be bumpy and non existent in places. What I wasn't ready for was the crazy driving on them.

It seemed to me that mild mannered quiet nice guys turned into demons when the got behind the wheel. It seemed to be a competition for the duration of the journey to not let anything pass and to pass by any means possible anything that was in front.

Add to that all the other hazards outside the drivers control on roads that had NO rules I have to say that travelling around India was not a pleasant experience.

My best tactic was to close my eyes and pretend I was sleeping so I wouldn't have to watch the mayhem ensue and remain in a state of tension for hours on end.

One day on a 3 hour drive to the airport with a driver that resembled a "bat out of hell" (His driving style only!) the guy in the front seat stuck on a CD. Out of the speaker came this soothing symphony of music. Totally opposite to the mayhem taking place outside the car.

Sitting in the back seat God brought a smile to my face by dropping into my mind an old Sunday school chorus that had the line in it:

"With Christ in the vessel we can smile at the storm, smile at storm, smile at the storm, as we go sailing home."

Whatever storm is going on around, no matter the chaos, no matter the danger, if we truly have Christ, and our trust is in him, we can still have a calmness and a deep Joy because of Him.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Jesus knew I was hurting & he wasn't OK with it...

Trish Crossley's Story from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Monday, November 12, 2012

True Heros

On the way beck home from visiting the The Home of Faith near Markapur, India I had a bit of a wait at Hyderabad Airport for my evening flight. To be honest I just wanted to book into a hotel and sleep. However a couple who used to attend MKCC wanted to meet and take me to their home.

They are quietly using their time, talent and treasure to build Jesus Kingdom in what can only be classed as a very poor part of Hyderabad. There they have built a small church and support Pastor Barnabas and his family in reaching the neighbourhood for Jesus.

Barnabas lives in the community with his wife and two children. He receives around £50 per month. Like the early disciples he has no formal education but he loves Jesus and serves this poor community.

Before going to India I read a tweet by a young guy that said that because Ps Brian Houston, Hillsong hadn't turned up he had been given his latte to drink and it was a bit like drinking from the Holy Grail. (Please note that I have NO axe to grind with Ps Houston he is doing an amazing job, nor the person that wrote the tweet in any way)

But I worry that the celebrity culture that so permeates the world can so easily seep into our world.

Hillsong and Ps Brian Houston are serving the same Jesus as Pastor Barnabas and family. Ps Brian faithfully preaches to 1000's each week and Ps Barnabas faithfully serves 30.

To me people like Pastor Barnabas are the real hero's in the church. No one knows their name except their immediate flock, they survive by the skin of their teeth and never venture outside their small village.

We are all serving the one hero - JESUS!

So I was honoured and humbled to share a plain glass of water with Barnabas.

Monday, October 29, 2012

India - Sunita

So I have arrived in Dubai and waiting for my connection to Hyderabad and after another flight meeting up with Victor Palla and of course George Ridley. (He has been visiting another LightForce International partner in Chennai - The Williams Family)

After a few days with Victor we move on to visit the Home of Faith and Sunita Johnson. She is caring for around 100 orphans and ladies rescued off the street.

It will be fantastic to meet her and see how MKCC and LightForce has assisted her work.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

India - Victor Palla

On Monday Morning I board an emirates flight to Hyderabad which will start me on a new venture on mission with LightForce International (the Mission's arm of MKCC) to a continent that I have not yet visited. I will have the opportunity to visit two people doing some incredible work. The first being Victor Palla. I first met Victor when I attended Mattersey Hall Bible College back in 1982.

Afterwards Victor moved to Palakonda to start a brand new Church from scratch. Over the last 20+ years, and several hundred conversions later, Victor runs a thriving church with over 30 congregations in the surrounding hills and villages. It is this Church that provides the basis for supporting a number of aid projects.

Jehovah Jireh Ministries based in Palakonda, Andhra Pradesh, activities  include:

  • Support through sponsorship of widows, providing for their food and medical care.
  • Support through sponsorship of children, providing for their food, school fees and uniform 
  • Digging and maintenance of deep bore wells in villages where availability of water is limited 
  • Annual provision of new saris and a Christmas meal for over 500 poor widows
I am honoured and excited to hooking up with Victor his wife and family.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Enduring the Unendurable

We pray that you'll have the strength to stick it out over the long haul—not the grim strength of gritting your teeth but the glory-strength God gives. It is strength that endures the unendurable and spills over into joy - Col 1:11-12 (Mess)

Although I've had tough times I'm not sure I have faced the UNENDURABLE.
Sometimes it felt like it!
Yet another day of bullying at school.
The loss of my hero Grandad when only 13.
Spending long nights watching cancer take my mother.

Compared to so many small trials but still acutely painful with a strength needed to endure and emerge on the other side.

But it would seem that God wants us not only wants us to reach the other side by the skin of our teeth. But he wants to implant in us a strength that far out weighs our own natural strength. But we can discover "God's GLORY Strength" not as some nice spiritual poster or bumper sticker but as a supernatural reality in our lives.

A strength that takes over when our own strength is exhausted. That kicks in when we are just about to give up. That grabs hold when we are about to let go. A strength that is absent within but comes from the above. Is foreign to the human but friends with the divine.

It not only lets us endure but plants joy in our heart.

Paul prayed that for his fellow believers in Colossae and I still believe it can be found in prayer before our God today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Table - A Place of Discipleship

From the MKCC teaching series "The Table" on the subject of Discipleship.

Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasm. – Eugene Peterson
Cant see the video click here

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Table of Discipleship

Yesterday I had the opportunity to preach at MKCC in our latest teaching series - The Table.
  • In many of our homes the tray has replaced the table, we choose entertainment not intimacy. 
  • We take everything a put it in a box when God is wanting to open the box and release the power of his Gospel over our lives. 
  • The power of the Christian life is not goosebumps in church but in holy spirit demonstration in our home, schools, colleges, work places and streets. 
  • Religions have at least two characteristics: 
       • people create religious rituals to ceremonialize their devotion
       • people create a religious hierarchy to outsource their religious  obligations

       So, the default mode of culture and people is toward ceremony and hierarchy, rather than devotion and ministry engagement.

  • Discipleship is about Leaving & Following Christ’s FIRST words and Christ’s FINAL words to us are the SAME words… “FOLLOW ME.” – Brad Cooper 
  • Discipleship is about Transformation 
  • We are educated way beyond our level of obedience. 
  • Many churches equate discipleship with knowledge…The essence of discipleship is transformational not informational 
  • Judas learned from Jesus' teaching, but never allowed Jesus' teaching transform him. And Jesus would not be Judas' Savior because He was not Judas' Lord.-AW Tozer 
  • Christian discipleship is a process of paying more and more attention to God’s righteousness and less and less attention to our own; finding the meaning of our lives not by probing our moods and motives and morals but by believing in God’s will and purposes; making a map of the faithfulness of God, not charting the rise and fall of our enthusiasm. – Eugene Peterson 
  • Leonard Ravenhill "I don't mind feeding babies with a bottle and milk, but I do mind parting whiskers to get the bottle in!" 
  • Discipleship Happens in Community 
  • Discipleship Takes Time

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Disappointed with your church?

A word of advice from Dietrich Bonhoeffer when your local church is not all that it should be....

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.

HT Desiring God

Monday, October 15, 2012

Behold he Prays!

Prayer is the longing of the soul to hold communion with the Most High, the desire of the heart to obtain blessings at His hands- C H Spurgeon

The motion of a hidden fire,
That trembles in the breast.

Prayer is the burden of a sigh,
The falling of a tear,
The upward glancing of an eye,
When none but God is near.

Prayer is the simplest form of speech
That infant lips can try!

Prayer the most sublime strains that reach
The Majesty on high!

Prayer is the contrite sinners voice
Returning from his ways
While angels in their songs rejoice,
And cry, ‘Behold he prays!’”

- James Mongomery

Saturday, October 13, 2012


The mindset of a leader....


People are unreasonable, illogical and self-centered…Love them anyway.

If you do good, people will accuse you of selfish ulterior motives…Do good anyway

If you are successful you win false friends and true enemies…Succeed anyway

The good you do today will be forgotten tomorrow…Do good anyway 

Honesty and frankness make you vulnerable…Be honest and frank anyway

People favor underdogs but follow only top dogs…Fight for some underdogs anyway

What you spend years building may be destroyed overnight…Build anyway 

People really need help but may attack you if you help them…Help people anyway

Give the world the best you have and you’ll get kicked in the teeth…Give the world the best anyway

HT Dave Kraft

Friday, October 12, 2012

Pastor Appreciation?

Found out by reading my friend, Tony Morgan's blog that it is "Pastor Appreciation Month" in the states. You can read his thoughts on it here.

Honour and appreciation is a great thing to give of course its always nice to be appreciated. But I have to agree with much of what Tony says.

Our passion at MKCC is that:

"Every Member is a Minister"
"Every Minister is vitally important to the health of the Church"
"No Minister is more important than another"

In my situation:

I get up every morning and I get to do what I love to do.
Each month the members of the church put money in my bank account to pay me to do what I love to do.
Each week 100's of church members work jobs and then show up to volunteer their time & talent to help me do what I do.

Are there challenges? Yes!
With leadership comes some criticism.
There is sadness when someone you have invested in walks away.
9 - 5 is a thing of the past and it can sometimes feel like 24/7.

But the moment I see any of this as a sacrifice and not a privilege is the time to quit.

I know that pastor appreciation month is not really a UK thing but maybe for the month of October we can appreciate the true hero's of the local church.

Thank the guy that directs you to your parking spot on a Sunday.
Thank the lady that smiles and hands you this weeks newsheet.
Thank the musician who turned up to practice on Thursday evening and has been at church since 8 am this Sunday morning.
Thank the Children's worker who is caring and teaching your child which in turn enables you to worship and hear God's word without distraction.
Thank the guy who is working the PA, even if you think he has it too loud.
The list goes on and on

But if you must appreciate a "Pastor" find one who is working a "Proper" job full time and trying to lead church on his own in his "Spare" time. He could do with your encouragement.

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Faithful or Famous?

Epaphras. He is one reliable worker for Christ! I could always depend on him. He's the one who told us how thoroughly love had been worked into your lives by the Spirit - Col 1:5 

So many people pursue fame with a passion.
Some even do crazy things to be noticed.
Even being famous for infamy is acceptable.

The church is not immune from this temptation.

We want to teach on the platform but only read the Bible so we can preach.
Fame over faithfulness.

We pray eloquent prayers in the corporate gathering but seldom hit our knees in private.
Fame over faithfulness.

We want to pick up our guitar on stage in front of hundreds of people but won't pick up litter in a deserted car park on the way to the stage.
Fame over faithfulness.

As leaders we do our best to be known or recognised by the latest "celebratory" preacher or author but are too busy or important to visit that church member in hospital.
Fame over faithfulness.

When we meet other leaders we are more intent it telling them all the positive things that are taking place in our church rather that showing vulnerability and humility in sharing where we are struggling.
Fame over faithfulness.

Epaphras is not a well-known figure in Bible history. But, he was faithful to the Lord.

There is only one that is due fame and glory in our lives - Jesus!

The Global Adventure

Global Adventure promo from Global Adventure on Vimeo.

Get more info here

Monday, October 08, 2012

No Blocked Out Tables

The master said, 'Then go to the country roads. Whoever you find, drag them in. I want my house full! - Luke 14:23

On a trip to London today I was killing time in a restaurant before I went to an appointment. We were just having a drink but it was lunch time and the restaurant was very busy. All the seats were full apart from a table set for a party of 4.

In the 20 minutes sitting there at least 4 couples came in to have lunch. They were asked to wait for a table to come free. They pointed out the free table for 4 people but were informed that it was not available as it was being held in case a party of 4 came in.

In turn each of the couples then walked out with a very disgusted look on their face taking there business elsewhere possibly for good. Eventually yet another couple came in and this time for no reason whatsoever the gave this prized table to them.

I wanted to tell them that if they had just given the first couple the table, they may have lost the others for the day but for sure they would have come back. They would have returned to sample what made this restaurant so popular with EVERY table full instead of being disgruntled because they were barred from the one free table.

So whilst watching this fail of customer service the Holy Spirit whispered to be that there are NO reserved or blocked out tables at his party. He has an open invitation. If there is a free seat you have it and if the table is full he will just pull up another chair. He wants a FULL house! There is always room for one more.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Quit putting God in the box

Each Sunday morning Christians gather in church buildings all over the UK. Unfortunately it would seem for their spiritual fix for the week or at least till Wednesday when they visit a smaller box called a housegroup for an extra jab.

This is not an appeal to do away with these gatherings. I love them. I love worshipping and fellowshiping with other believers. I love the teaching of God's word. But too many of us forget to take God out of the box with us into our every day life.

Here are some questions I ask myself about my spiritual activity outside of a Sunday or Small Group Service to ensure I haven't boxed God in:

  • Have I read God's Word today
  • Have I spent time talking to him today
  • Have I spent time listening to him
  • When was the last time remembered Jesus in the act of communion with another believer?
  • When was the last time I laid hands on someone to pray for their healing? (after asking permission:))
  • When was the last time I heard God prompting me?
  • When was the last time I told someone about Jesus who wasn't a Christian?
  • When did I give away something I own to bless someone else?
  • When did I last study God's Word?
  • When did I last invite someone for a mean or coffee and encourage them?
  • What is God teaching me today?
  • Who was that last person I cared for in an act of kindness?
  • When was the last time I asked God for wisdom when faced with a difficult situation at work?
  • When was that last time I sat and talked with another believer about Jesus?
If the answer to most is so long ago I can't remember then maybe its time to let God out of the box.

Yes we can do any or all of these when we meet in our church events whatever shape they take. The problem is not with the event. The problem is that God is boxed and marginalised.

Monday, October 01, 2012

Outlove Everyone

Seth Godin wrote a short blog post:

Instead of out thinking the's worth trying to outlove them. Everyone is working hard on the thinking part, but few of your competitors worry about the art and generosity and caring part.

There are more and more books written on church leadership, church growth, church strategy etc. Then we have a countless blogs and websites telling us how we should be doing it. Not only do we have numerous conferences on our doorstep, easy travel has meant we can visit other countries and see for ourselves and then to cap things off we can now stream preaching, teaching & conferences right to our fingertips without leaving home.

This way, that way, a new way on and on the voices speak.

It all gets so complicated but maybe just maybe it is a little simpler.

Maybe we just need to galvanise everyone in our church to OUTLOVE people.

Maybe we should focus a little more on the "generosity and caring part".

Take the Lid Off Your Church

On a visit to Saddleback Church many moons ago I had the opportunity in a breakout session to listen to the double act of Tim Stevens & Tony Morgan. Their clear, simple but valuable advice on developing the volunteer culture was inspiring. Their book Simply Strategic Volunteers, helped shape how we value volunteers at MKCC. Since then I have been challenged by much of the leadership principles Tony has published on his blog.

Tony's latest ebook, Take the Lid Off Your Church: 6 Steps to Building a Healthy Senior Leadership Team, will not take you an age to read but it could take a lifetime to work out.

Tony offers an insider perspective on healthy leadership teams not as a theorist but rather as a practitioner. His years of active participation on the senior leadership teams of several dynamic churches has prepared him to offer key insights that will help multiple churches get to the next level without making years of painful mistakes.

As a Senior Church Leader you will want to read this book personally. However, its power will be found in making it a tool for you & your team to assess the health of the team and be a guide towards creating a healthy effective team.

The opening paragraph of the book says:

"A personality might draw a weekend crowd, but it takes a team to create healthy systems that foster sustained growth and opportunities for life change." 

Creating, equipping, empowering, guiding and releasing that healthy team is vital to life and mission of the church.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

God's great secret......Jesus!

I want you woven into a tapestry of love, in touch with everything there is to know of God. Then you will have minds confident and at rest, focused on Christ, God's great mystery. All the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge are embedded in that mystery and nowhere else. And we've been shown the mystery! I'm telling you this because I don't want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or "the Secret." - Col 2:2-4

Some people like to complicate things.
Even in the very early church it would seem that there were people that wanted to complicate things.

It would seem that preachers started to suggest that Jesus was not enough. They started to create a belief that there was something else, some other door to unlock, some other puzzle to solve and only then would we discover "the richest treasures of wisdom and knowledge" of God.

Paul is simple and straight forward. We have been shown the great mystery of God and that is JESUS! Everything he wanted to show mankind about Himself is found in Jesus and CANNOT be found anywhere else!

Jesus plus anything is a wild goose chase!

Jesus is not the starting point from which you set off on a spiritual journey he is the quest.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Nothing is wasted

Behind the Song: Nothing Is Wasted from Elevation Media on Vimeo.

Another amazing from Elevation Church.

You know my every need
You see my poverty
You are enough for me

I am learning more and more that God will use everything, the good, the bad and the ugly to achieve his eternal purposes in my life.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Looking to Jesus

Writer of this song Lilias Trotter was a brilliant artist whose talent opened the doors to wealth and influence. Her other love was missions. After struggling in prayer for two years, Trotter came to the conclusion that she must lay down her love of art in order to fix her eyes solely on Jesus, and on His calling to the mission field. She subsequently served for more than 38 years as a missionary to Muslims of Algeria.

Nearly 100 years she wrote this which still seems to be so appropriate today:

"Never has it been so easy to live in half a dozen harmless worlds at once -- art, music, social science, games, motoring, the following of some profession, and so on. And between them we run the risk of drifting about, the good hiding the best." It is easy to find out whether our lives are focused, and if so, where the focus lies. Where do our thoughts settle when consciousness comes back in the morning? Where do they swing back when the pressure is off during the day? Dare to have it out with God, and ask Him to show you whether or not all is focused on Christ and His Glory. Turn your soul's vision to Jesus, and look and look at Him, and a strange dimness will come over all that is apart from Him." - Lilias Trotter Which Passion Will Prevail?

Turn your eyes upon Jesus,
look full in his wonderful face,
and the things of the earth
will grow strangely dim
in the light of His Glory and grace.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Not Ashamed

Listening to that song brought me back to this scripture:

That is why I am suffering as I am. Yet I am not ashamed, because I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. - 2 Tim 1:12

At the age of 16, God used this simple Bible verse to change my life. The words NOT ASHAMED seemed to jump off the page and bash me in the face. Somehow deep within there was still an embarrassment about my faith that kept me penned in. Following God but hoping no one noticed too much. Mainly because I felt totally inadequate to be a follower of Jesus and always inferior to everyone else around.

That moment it was forever settled in my heart not because of me but because I knew I could trust God with my life.

That was the moment that I decided make the Gospel & Jesus the total centre of my life no matter what.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Unleash - Breaking Free of Normalcy

Stop it. Stop living a boring, predictable, normal life...break free! God doesn't want you to be a spectator of what He has done. He wants you to be a participator in what He is doing. Embrace the promises that will define your future. Unleash the life that is more than you could possibly imagine! - Perry Noble
An extract from Perry Noble, Senior Pastor at Newspring Church, first book Unleash! which launches in online stores in the UK on the 20th September. You can even read a preview chapter here.

Visit for pre-order information.

Pre order here.

Unleash! by Perry Noble (Trailer) from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Long Obedience - Discipleship

My annual pilgrimage to a campsite in France is an oasis of calm for me when I get the opportunity to read a lot and quiet my heart to listen more acutely to my God. The subject of Discipleship has been on my mind and heart recently as God calls us not to be believers but to be disciples. An old book by Eugene Peterson called A Long Obedience in the Same Direction: Discipleship in an Instant Society was my first port of call.

It took me on a journey through a group of Psalms that are commonly called the Songs of Ascent. Songs for the road that were sung by the pilgrims on their journey towards their spiritual home Jerusalem.

Here are a few of the quotes that stood out for me in the first chapter.

The essential thing "in heaven & earth" is there should be long obedience in the same direction; there  thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living. - Nietzsche

There is a great market for religious experience in our world; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for a long apprenticeship in what earlier generations of Christians called holiness.

A disciple is a learner, but not in the academic setting of a school room, rather at the work site of a craftsman. We do not acquire information about God but skills in faith.

There is a vast difference between a tourist and a pilgrim.

Pilgrim tells us we are people who spend our lives going some place, going to God, and whose path for getting there is the way of Jesus Christ.

The world whispers a lie into the ear of every Christian; There is no payoff for discipleship, there is no destination for pilgrimage. Get God the quick way, buy instant charisma.

Discipleship has a great deal to do with competence, earned by struggling for excellence, with compassion, hard won by confronting conflict; and modesty and patience, acquired through silence and suffering.

The songs of Ascents recorded in the Psalms are not monuments, but footprints. A monument only says, At least I got this far, while a footprint says, this is where I was when I moved again.

Wednesday, September 05, 2012


Neither yield ye your members as instruments of unrighteousness unto sin: but YIELD yourselves unto God - Rom 6:13

YIELD is defined as: To give up, as something that is claimed or demanded; to make over to one who has a claim or right; to resign; to surrender; to relinquish; to give way; to cease opposition; to be no longer a hindrance or an obstacle.

YIELDING is not something that we are totally comfortable with in our competative world. It is often seen as weak. But in certain situations it is beneficial and in others essential.

Loved this post by Seth Godin:
The rules of right of way make sense.
A manueverable motor boat yields to a sailboat because it can more easily recover from the turn.
A bicyclist going downhill yields to one struggling uphill, because he can get back up to speed more quickly.
The senior partner invests a little bit of time helping the junior one, because no one else has the skills to do so, not because reciprocation is the goal.
Asymmetrical trades are what makes a society work.
Yield has two meanings, and one leads to the other.
In our ultimate unbalanced relationship with God we need to get the message that YIELDING is not just preferable it is our path to growth and maturity.

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Leadership - Good to GREAT

A brilliant post by Pastor Perry Noble about how to be a great leader.

  • A good leader makes assumptions…A GREAT leader asks questions! 
  • A good leader waits for feedback…A GREAT leader solicits feedback! 
  • A good leader finds reasons for the problem…A GREAT leader finds solutions for the problem! 
  • A good leader takes notes…A GREAT leader creates actions steps!  
  • A good leader works a job…a GREAT leader invests their lives in what they do! 
  • A good leader leads through declarations…a GREAT leader leads through influence! 
  • A good leader makes promises…a GREAT leader keeps their promises! 
  • A good leader is obsessed with gathering information…a GREAT leader is willing to make the tough call after receiving the proper information. 
  • A good leader is supported by those who follow him…a GREAT leader supports those who follow him! 
  • A good leader asks “What Are You Doing”…a GREAT leader asks “How Are You Doing?”

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

All In - Discovery Kids

All In - Discovery Kids from MKCC Stories on Vimeo.

In the above video Nicola, Children's Pastor at MKCC, shares some of the history of our Children's ministry and our vision for the future. We welcome over 200 children on a Sunday who get the opportunity to dig deeper and discover Jesus at there level.

The last 10 years has seen many developments but we strive to tell as many children as we can about God's grace. As part of the ALL IN series this September we are looking to raise £10,000 specifically to invest in a brand new presentation area for Discovery Kids. This will include a new stage, PA, Lights & multimedia. You can read more here or even purchase a piece of equipment here.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Abandon the ___________

A woman by the name of Martha welcomed him and made him feel quite at home. She had a sister, Mary, who sat before the Master, hanging on every word he said. But Martha was pulled away by all she had to do in the kitchen. Later, she stepped in, interrupting them. "Master, don't you care that my sister has abandoned the kitchen to me? - Luke 10:38-40

Martha was doing something good she was preparing a great meal for their guest Jesus. I think I would have been in the kitchen saying the same things, maybe just a little bit harsher!

I sometimes get so consumed with doing things that I stop listening to Jesus. Just too busy to listen. Martha complained bitterly that Mary had abandoned the kitchen to "hang on every word" of Jesus.

What do I need to abandon today to hang on the very words of Jesus.

Abandon.... that blog post
Abandon.... that facebook update
Abandon.... reading that book
Abandon.... that visit to the gym
Abandon.... that night out at the cinema
Abandon.... the family (only for a short time!!)
Abandon.... that friend
Abandon.... that meal
Abandon.... that shopping trip
Abandon.... the football match
Abandon.... that ministry
Abandon.... TO LISTEN

In a tweet:

By all means serve God but don't make that an excuse for not spending time being with him #mkcc @ryanamos77

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Addicted to changed lives

Since my first visit to Southern California in 2000 for a "Preaching For Life Change" conference I have been so impressed at the humility and faithfulness of Rick Warren.

Here is some out takes from an interview he did at Catalyst West back in 2009. Great thoughts but his first comments in answer to Andy Stanley's opening question are hard hitting.

Catalyst West 2009: Rick Warren Interview Part 1 from Catalyst on Vimeo. HT Tony Morgan

Friday, August 24, 2012


Then he sat down right beside God and waited for his enemies to cave in. It was a perfect sacrifice by a perfect person to perfect some very imperfect people. - Hebrews 10:12 (Message)

I am only too aware of my own imperfections.
Often our eyes see sights that make us grimace and turn our heads.
Self awareness cause me to wince as I look in the mirror and see my self.

My imperfect looks
My imperfect body
My imperfect temper
My imperfect thoughts

My stubborn pride
My desire to control
My persistent insecurity
My inability to change

Staring at imperfections can birth a spiral of guilt. But the PERFECT person gave the PERFECT sacrifice to save this IMPERFECT person with a plan for my PERFECTION.

I will never find this path inside myself and even if I did would not have the power to walk it. But PERFECT person Jesus leads me on. Time to stare at the transforming PERFECT Jesus and not my IMPERFECT myself

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The Highest Apple

"This song is really about everything religion is about. It's about death, salvation and the hope for eternal life. The chorus is inspirational and it expresses spiritual hope. It's an expression of faith." - Donnie Munro

At present
All you were is with me
My eyes closed,
my memory confident
Standing here watching
Each hill and shoreline
With the seed you left still growing

The garden is well stocked
With mighty trees
With fruit growing for the whole world
Ripe, sweet
And bitter apples
And the one apple that is beyond reach

Who amongst us
Can exist a single day
Beyond our own time and our own limits
Countless and futile
Are times I've climbed
To reach and taste the forbidden fruit

The winds will blow and the sun will shine
From generation to generation
Through the trees of the garden
But the day and the hour will surely come
To take the highest apple
From the knowledge tree

CS Lewis once speculated that, in due time, man would have been invited to eat of the tree in order to grow further in his wisdom and fellowship with God. We don't know about that but we do know that God has revealed himself to us in Jesus and he can be know and has now become our pursuit. So I suppose Jesus has become for us the highest apple.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Finger Painting to Masterpiece

Had the opportunity to share a message at MKCC this past Sunday on the following verse from the Message translation:

"So come on, let's leave the preschool fingerpainting exercises on Christ and get on with the grand work of art. Grow up in Christ." - Hebrews 6:1

Moving on from Finger Painting from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Finding the smile of God

"For every look at yourself, take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely. Such infinite majesty, and yet such meekness and grace, and all for sinners, even the chief! Live much in the smiles of God. Bask in his beams. Feel his all-seeing eye settled on you in love, and repose in his almighty arms" - Robert Murray McCheyne.

I lived most of my life believing that God was disappointed with me.

The problem being I was more focused on myself than Jesus.
Looking at and examining my failures and limitations.
I sinned too much.
I didn't pray enough.
I didn't read the Bible enough.

I still mess things up but instead of looking inside myself for the power to be different. I it is time to look to Jesus who the Bible describes as the "Author and finisher" of my faith.

When I look his way to my surprise I do not find the frown of disappointment but the smile of a proud father.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reads that rocked my world

A few reads that challenged me this week.

Church Hopping by James Emery Whyte

This or that by Seth Godin

Seven Reasons I Believe In The Church! by Perry Noble

Something I wish every mother knew and understood by Perry Noble

Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus

John Ortberg recently spoke at the Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit about his up coming book: Who Is This Man? The Unpredictable Impact of the Inescapable Jesus

Here are a few notes thanks to Jenni Catron:

  • We argue about Christianity rather than marveling about Jesus. 
  • We are stewards of the Christian movement. 
  • Jesus gave the world it’s most influential movement. 
  • Jesus changed how we think about history. 
  • Jesus shaped how we express compassion. 
  • The Jesus movement shaped education. 
  • The Jesus movement revolutionized art. 
  • Jesus changed how we think about human rights and dignity. 
  • Jesus uniquely taught love of enemies. 
  • The question is not who was this man, it is who is this man? 
  • The reason we must marvel at this man is that His work is not done yet. 
Will you devote your life to this man?

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

Train hard till it hurts and then some

This afternoon with much of the rest of the nation I cheered on Sir Chris Hoy as he won his 6th Olympic Gold Medal. A truly amazing athlete but his continued success can leave is thinking that it is all too easy.

We see a moment of glory while he has lived through years of tough and sometime the torment of training.

Here excerpt from an article in the Telegraph a year ago:

“I believe the medals are won now as much as they are on the day,”Hoy said. “People talk about pulling it out on the day but that’s nonsense. It is physically impossible to perform above what you can do.” Here Hoy breaks down what goes into training for elite cycling competition, a regime so brutal it leaves you in what he describes as “a kind of hell”, fetal, needing to vomit and with lactic acid burning through you — every agonising step up the stairway to the Olympic podium."

Today he talked again about the pain that he inflicted on himself cycling knowing that even when he managed to demount that the pain of lactic acid had only begun to build.

It reminded me that champions are made far from the arena of competition. Glory is founded in pain before it is released in the win.

The Bible compares this Christian life to that of an athlete so maybe just maybe I have something to learn from Sir Chris Hoy.

You've all been to the stadium and seen the athletes race. Everyone runs; one wins. Run to win. All good athletes train hard. They do it for a gold medal that tarnishes and fades. You're after one that's gold eternally. - 1 Cor 9 v 24-25

This is no afternoon athletic contest that we'll walk away from and forget about in a couple of hours. This is for keeps, a life-or-death fight to the finish against the Devil and all his angels. - Eph 6 v 10 -12

Time to train till we feel the pain and then some more!

Tuesday, August 07, 2012


My wife Nicola preaching at MKCC

Discovery Kids Takeover @ MKCC from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Not listening

I have a lot more to say about this, but it is hard to get it across to you since you've picked up this bad habit of not listening. By this time you ought to be teachers yourselves, yet here I find you need someone to sit down with you and go over the basics on God again, starting from square one - Hebrews 5:11-12 (Mess)

I can hear myself shouting at my kids "Will you please JUST LISTEN!". One of the most frustrating things in life is feeling like you are not being listened too. Even worse when you know your words can help and even protect but to the other person just acts as if you are dumb.

I can hear the frustration in Paul's voice. He knows he can help. He sees the way things are going. But his words are falling on deaf ears.

Listening is the path that leads to Maturity. To often we confuse making our own independent decisions as being mature. But failure to listen to great council often reveals our immaturity in our decisions.

Too often I show my failure to listen when I ignore God's word in my life:

I ignore what I read in the Bible.
I ignore his still small voice in prayer.
I ignore the Godly advice of a friend.
I ignore the conviction of the Holy Spirit through the words of a preacher.

Then I find myself back at what seems like "square one".

Help me today God to listen intently, prayerfully meditate and earnestly follow your Word.

Friday, August 03, 2012

God's Pride

For so long I lived with the belief that God was disappointed with me. Disappointed that:

  • I didn't read my Bible enough
  • I didn't pray enough
  • I didn't witness enough
  • I didn't give enough
  • I sinned too much
Thanks to an introduction to God's grace I now have a different picture of my father God that I continually strive to turn my eyes towards in my moments of self loathing. The interview with Burt Le Clos helps me to visualise it click here to see it.

(Yes I know Burt Le Clos uses language that I wouldn't but don't miss the point:) )

Thursday, August 02, 2012

The Underdog

Yesterday I had the honour of attending the memorial service for Pastor E J Shearman. I didn't know well, although he did impact my life greatly, but I wanted to be there for my friend and his son Andrew Shearman.

Among the tributes was a small story that touched my heart and refocused my attention.

EJ, as he was known to many, was pastoring a great growing church in Denton and he heard about a young pastor who was starting out in the ministry. This young minister down the road in Stoke was struggling and on the point of quitting and going back to his trade as a painter and decorator.

EJ an orphan had a great heart for the underdog and disadvantaged set off to Stoke to encourage this fledgling pastor and to talk him into carrying on.

That Pastor was none other than my hero Pastor John Phillips. Pastor Phillips went on to be a giant of a man in the Assemblies of God UK. His prophetic teaching gift was devastating and edifying. He went on with his friend Pastor Shelbourne to build a great church in Lincoln that became an example to many.

After one lecture in Bible College on Theology I was hooked. For the next couple of years I travelled over to Lincoln on Sundays so I could hear him  preach again and again.

So I have one more reason to be thankful to EJ, and a stark reminder to encourage the struggling underdog.

A reminder to my self and other church leaders of a trap that is so easy to fall in to. I see so many people looking for connection and recognition to the "Celebrity" Successful Pastors of the day that can improve your profile. Maybe its time to take a road trip but not to the well known, influential, successful Pastor who can do something for you. But to the Pastor who is struggling on the verge or quitting and by that visit change Jesus Kingdom forever.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Sunbathing Prayer

"When you're lying on the beach something is happening, something that has nothing to do with how you feel or how hard you're trying. You're not going to get a better tan by screwing up your eyes and concentrating. You give the time, and that's it. All you have to do is turn up. And then things change, at their own pace. You simply have to be there where the light can get at you." - Rowan Williams

That's the fascinating way Rowan Williams described prayer.

In a thought provoking article in the Guardian, Giles Fraser said: "Prayer is about being where the light can get at you and helping you adjust to the truth of how things really are."

Honestly I hate sunbathing it bores me stupid. I could go on holiday to sunny climbs and still come back a whiter shade of pale whilst another would come back looking like they had changed their ethnicity overnight.

But it wasn't overnight it was hour upon hour of sun worshiping that gradually changed pale skin to dark. We might not realise it in the moment but sunbathing in prayer is transformational.

Thursday, July 26, 2012


"Love like a poet. Live like a warrior. Learn like an apprentice. Lead like a servant. Laugh like a king." - Erwin McManus

Monday, July 23, 2012

The Pursuit of Holiness

The Bible often seems to create a tension between two seemingly opposite beliefs. Through Christ and Christ alone I am forgiven, justified and deemed holy and righteous. Because of what he did not what I do.

On the other hand we are told to pursue Holiness. Putting off the old self like taking off a coat and putting on the new man. Too often this can end in a circle of failure in our efforts to live to a standard that is way beyond what we are able to do.

So I loved the following quote from Kevin De Young where he explains that our pursuit of Holiness is first the pursuit of a person rather then a behaviour:

We must always remember that in seeking after holiness we are not so much seeking after a thing as we are seeking a person. The blessings of the gospel — election, justification, sanctification, glorification, and all the rest — have been deposited in no other treasury but Christ. We don’t just want holiness. We want the Holy One in whom we have been counted holy and are now being made holy. To run hard after holiness is another way of running hard after God. Just as a once-for-all, objective justification leads to a slow-growth, subjective sanctification, so our unchanging union with Christ leads to an ever-increasing communion with Christ.

From Kevin DeYoung's forthcoming book, The Hole in Our Holiness

Wednesday, July 18, 2012


Towards the end of his letter to his colleague Titus, The Apostle Paul gives him the following encouragement:

Our people have to learn to be diligent in their work so that all necessities are met (especially among the needy) and they don't end up with nothing to show for their lives. - Titus 3 v 14

The dictionary says that diligent is constant in effort to accomplish something; attentive and persistent in doing anything.

So in my walk for God I am thinking about these words today:

  • consistent 
  • attentive 
  • persistent 
  • conscientious 
  • painstaking 
  • unrelenting 
  • steadfast
  • attention
  • industrious
  • tireless
Or as Andy Stanley has put it: "Lean all your weight into it."

HT Jenni Catron for the quote

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Labels Lie . Do not accept them!



Saturday, July 14, 2012

Surprising questions to ask when looking for a leader

It would seem that Paul left Crete before he had finished the Job and left Titus with probably one of the most important and difficult tasks - appointing leaders in the churches.

It is very interesting to me that the great Apostle didn't keep this task to himself but instead left it to Titus. It would seem that Paul was interested in trusting and releasing his apprentices who had travelled and learnt with him into positions of real authority and responsibility not to keep them as yes them to his gift.

Its also very enlightening to me that the guidance he gave Titus was 99% about looking at character and behaviour rather than skill and ability.

Here are a summary of the questions he left him with to ask when appointing leaders (Titus 1 v 5-9):
  • Are they well-thought-of? 
  • Are they committed to their wife? 
  • Are their children believers? 
  • Does their children respect them and stay out of trouble?
  • Is their house in order?
  • Are they pushy? 
  • Are they short-tempered? 
  • Are they a drunk?
  • Are they a bully? 
  • Are they money-hungry? 
  • Do they welcome people? 
  • Are they helpful? 
  • Are they wise? 
  • Are they fair? 
  • Are they reverent? 
  • Have they a good grip on themselves? 
  • Do they have a good grip on the Message?
Are these the questions we ask when looking for leaders or more important are these the questions we ask of ourselves?

Friday, July 13, 2012

God's Slave

I, Paul, am God's slave and Christ's agent for promoting the faith among God's chosen people - Titus 1:1

It is interesting that Paul chooses such an emotive phrase when describing his relationship with his God. Disciple & follower had been used but neither carries the emotion or extremes of the position of a slave.

Huge progression has been made from the days of Paul when slavery was so part of every day life. But its horror still raises its ugly head even in the most unexpected places. Just this week 2 people were jailed for slavery only a few miles from where I write this.

A slave is a person who is the property of and wholly subject to another and Paul boasted that this was his position with God.

Too much of what we hear in "promoting the faith" seems to turn this equation around. It would seem that ever so subtly God has to become our slave. He has to do what we want and if he doesn't we pack up our bags and head off. Our obedience to God depends on His obedience to us.

But the reality of a relationship with God is that our rights have gone, our possessions have been transferred, our freedom has been reneged and our will has been swallowed up in His will.

Our lives are not our own. We are slaves now and forever.