Monday, April 30, 2012

Love Warns, Love Rebukes

30 Days with Jesus

Day 15 - Mark 9 v 14 - 32

Originally posted at Desiring God by Paul Tripp

I really wasn't very thankful and I should have been.  My mom was very consistent and persistent in doing two things with me again and again; warning and rebuke.  Again and again, as I was getting ready to leave the house as a teenager, mom would warn me about the dangers and temptations of life in a fallen world.  I didn't really appreciate her moral mini-lectures.  I would stand there impatiently or remind her that she had said the same thing to me many times.  I saw these times as an imposition, a hassle that stood between me and the planned activity of the evening.

She was also very committed to rebuke.  The word itself doesn't sound very kind.   But it is.  Rebuke is meant to help you see yourself with accuracy. When I had failed or been disobedient, mom was very faithful in getting me to consider why I had done what I had done and what I could have done instead.  I those moments I often saw her as picky and judgmental.  I would argue with her; activating my inner lawyer and rising to my defense.  I often refused to look at myself with accurate eyes.

I look back on those moments now and understand what mom was doing.  She was loving me.  It was love the motivated those many warnings and love that propelled her to want me to learn from my errors.  If she had stood by before and after and been silent, it would have been sure evidence that she did not have a heart of affection for me.  There are many instances of divine warning in the Bible and as many instances of divine rebuke, all motivated by faithful, gracious, redemptive affection.  I want to look at one of the most startling with you for a moment.

Mark 9:14-29 records Jesus coming down from the mountain of his transfiguration.  There before Peter, James and John his humanity is peeled back and his divinity is revealed in stunning glory.  His roll in God's plan of redemption is also revealed as he stands with Moses and Elijah as the ultimate fulfillment of all of the visions of the prophets and of every requirement of the law.  Immediately as Jesus comes down from this moment of high holiness, he is greeted with shocking, distorting, destructive evil.  A father has sought the help of Jesus for his son who is under the control of an unclean spirit which is doing everything it can to destroy the boy.

I am deeply persuaded that these graphic descriptions of someone who is under the control of evil are meant to sit in the Bible as concrete and specific warnings to us of the life-distorting, destructive evil of evil.  You see, here is our problem; we don't always see evil as evil.  There are times when evil looks downright attractive and beautiful to us.  A man lusting at the mall doesn't see dangerous, destructive evil.  No, he sees beauty.  Someone gossiping on the phone doesn't experience the danger of evil, but rather the excitement of being in possession of secret knowledge.  The child who has taken the cookie he was instructed not to eat doesn't feel the danger, but is taken up with the flavor of his purloined treat.

So, we need to see the destructive evil of evil again and again.  We need to understand that evil is never good.  It never produces life.  It never leads you toward what is good, right and true.  It is always dangerous.  It is always destructive.  It always leads to death.  Because of the ability of what is very bad to present itself as very good, we need to be warned again and again

At the bottom of the mountain Jesus walks into an argument and when he asks what the argument is about, the father of the boy with the unclean spirit says, "I asked your disciples to cast out this spirit and they were not able."  Later in the passage Jesus tells us why; the disciples actually tried to deliver this poor little boy without praying.  Let it sink in.  They didn't pray! You read it right, they didn't pray!  They tried to defeat the powerfully destructive evil that had taken over this boy in their own strength.  Did they really think they the had that kind of independent power over evil?  It's shocking!

Jesus' rebuke is brief, but stinging.  He is essentially saying, "When will you realize that you have no independent, self-sufficient ability to defeat evil on your own; none whatsoever?  This is exactly why you need the powerful grace and glory that was revealed on the mountain just a few hours ago."

Now, don't be too quick to condemn the disciples.  I think there is a whole lot of prayerless Christianity in the church of Jesus Christ.  I think we often try to defeat, in our own strength, things that we have no capacity whatsoever to defeat.  We attempt to do, in our own power, things that we have no ability to do without empowering grace.  A husband and wife will attempt a difficult conversation without prayer.  A dad will attempt to have a constructive talk with his rebellious teenage son, but it never hits him that he should pray first.  A student tries to matriculate his way through a secular university without prayer.  When we face temptation we try to muster up the strength we need not to give in, instead of running in weakness to our gracious and powerful Savior.

You see, if you had the ability to defeat evil on your own, Jesus would wouldn't have had to come to live and die for your sake. So, prayer remembers the lesson of his coming and calls you to abandon your reliance on you and rest in the power of the One who invaded your weakness with his grace. And it is important to remember that the evil which most often troubles and defeats you is not the evil outside of you, but the evil inside of you.  If the evil inside is your biggest problem, then you need to pray for rescue again and again and again because you have no ability at all to escape you!  The rebuke for prayerless self-reliance is one each of us needs again and again.

So, because we don't always see evil as evil and because we try to defeat it again and again in our own strength, your Lord will come to you again and again with warning and rebuke.  His gracious warning and rebuke are for your protection and your rescue.  Anytime your Lord opens your eyes to see evil for what it is and anytime he exposes yourself sufficiency for what it is, he is wrapping arms of faithful redemptive love around you.  Love warns, love rebukes.  Each expresses the fatherly grace of your faithful and persistent Savior.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Have a great big Ambition

John Stott on ambition:

Ambitions for God, if they are to be worthy, can never be modest. There is something inherently inappropriate about cherishing small ambitions for God. How can we ever be content that he should acquire just a little more honour in the world?

Christians should be eager to develop their gifts, widen their opportunities, extend their influence and be given promotion in their work — not now to boost their own ego or build their own empire, but rather through everything they do to bring glory to God.

Friday, April 27, 2012

Get out of the grind

One day rolls into another......
One week rolls into another.....
One month rolls into another.....
It feel like one long life sentence
Each day, each week, each month seems the same....

It becomes a GRIND.

Here are 3 questions to answer for yourself at the start of each day that will snap you out of the GRIND.
  1. What am I excited about today? 
  2. What is my biggest priority, what will I do about it, and when? 
  3. How will I know today was a success?
HT - Todd Henry

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Where is your faith?

30 Days with Jesus

Day 11 - Luke 8 v 22 - 25

This post was originally written by Jon Bloom at Desiring God.

Why did Jesus still the storm? Imagine what the disciples might have been thinking a half-hour later.

The sea was quiet now. And there was just breeze enough to push the boat along. The disciples were quiet too. Andrew was steering. He had taken over for Peter, who sat wrapped in a cloak, exhausted and lost in thought. He had been soaked to the skin. Others were bailing out the remaining water. Jesus was sleeping again.

James leaned on the bow gunwale watching reflections dance on benign waves. He was trying to absorb what he had just seen. James knew this sea. He and John had spent most of their lives on or in it. His father was a fisherman. So were most of his male kin and friends. His mind flashed the faces of some of them who had drowned in unpredictable Galilean windstorms like the one that had pummeled them barely a half-hour ago. A seasoned boatman, James was not alarmed easily. But he knew a man-eater when he saw it.

This storm had opened its mouth to swallow them all into the abyss. Terror had been in John’s eyes when he grabbed James and yelled, “We have to tell the Master!” They stumbled to the stern. How Jesus had remained sleeping while the angry surf tossed the boat around was itself a wonder. They woke him screaming, “Save us, Lord; we are perishing!”

James would never forget the way Jesus looked at him. His eyes were at once potent and tranquil. Not a trace of fear. Laying aside the blanket, Jesus rose to full height on the rear deck. James, fearing Jesus was about to be pitched overboard, reached to grab him just as Jesus shouted, “Peace! Be still!”

No sooner had those words left his mouth than the wind was completely gone! The sudden hush of the howling was otherworldly. The waves immediately began to abate. Each disciple stood where he was, looking dumbfounded at the water and sky and each other. Jesus’ gaze lingered for a moment on the steep hills along the western shore. Then he looked around at the Twelve and said, “Where is your faith?”

He had looked right at James when he said “faith.” Now, as James leaned on the bow, he turned Jesus’ question over and over in his mind. “Where is your faith?” When Jesus first said it, James felt its intended rebuke. Didn’t he trust God? Wasn’t the Father with Jesus? He had thought he believed this. But the storm proved that all the confidence he felt when the pressure was off was fair-weather faith. The Galilean westerlies had swept it away. He felt chastened and humbled. But the more James thought about the question, the more profound it became. “Where is your faith?” Where is it, James? When the storm hit, what did you trust?

I trusted what my eyes saw. I trusted what my skin felt. I trusted the violent force that was tossing the boat like a toy and would have rolled us over any minute. I trusted the stories told by my father. I trusted the tragedies I remember. I trusted the power of the storm because storms kill people.

Up until a few minutes before, this would have merely seemed like common sense. But Jesus had changed everything. As James looked back to the sleeping Jesus, the Psalmist’s words came to mind:

For I know that the Lord is great,
and that our Lord is above all gods.
Whatever the Lord pleases, he does,
in heaven and on earth,
in the seas and all the deeps.
He it is who makes the clouds rise at the end of the earth,
Who makes lightnings for the rain
and brings forth the wind from his storehouses.

Who then is this? Someone who can command a killer storm to die when he pleases. Holy fear washed over him again. However, this fear didn’t produce panic, but a deep, unnerving, reverent joy.

When the storm was raging and Jesus was sleeping, which looked more powerful? This is an important picture to remember, because when the storms of life hit they almost always appear stronger to us than God’s word. And the important question to ask at that moment is, where is your faith?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Ditching to do lists

30 Days with Jesus 

Day 9 - Matthew 12 v 1 - 14 

For the Son of Man is lord of the Sabbath. v 8 

Dotted throughout Jesus life we read of his altercations with the Pharisees, the hyper religious leaders of the day. It would seem that his most challenging words were reserved for the Hypocrites that he saw among them. These leaders had taken God's law and added line upon line to it making it more and more difficult to obey and live up to. So that their spiritual journey was more about living up to rules than finding God.

This Sabbath thing hits a spot for me in that in my younger years Sunday, what has become the Christian Sabbath, seemed to have inherited lots of these same rules.
  • Shopping was forbidden 
  • Taking a bike ride was a no no but taking a walk was OK 
  • Playing golf or any sport was not allowed 
  • Watching TV was off limits (unless you visited your granny like I did) 
  • No hanging your washing on the line 
  • No washing you car • No working (My dad would never leave the house to go fishing to what we called "the back o Sunday" eg. 1 minute past 12 midnight on Sunday) 
  • But plenty of going to Church! 
 It was the Lords Day. So we had to live that Day different. If we did these things then we would please God. These early years set a view of God in my life that even now I am still trying to totally untangle. Even now I can still slip into an easy habit of obeying rules rather than the difficult path of knowing and discovering a deeper relationship with God.

I am discovering more and more each day that God is already pleased with me and what he wants more than anything is not my completed to do list but an opportunity to reveal more of his self to me changing my heart. As he does this we can tear up the to do list because it will have become as irrelevant to us as it already is to Him!

Monday, April 23, 2012

A Scotsman celebrating St George?

So today is St Georges Day, Therefore my friends here in England may get a tad excited about it and I will see a few more St Georges Cross flags knocking about and we will hear stories about him and his dragon. However I think the actual story of his life shows the bravery and dedication of this man to his saviour Jesus. So even if I'm Scottish I will still celebrate this great martyr of the faith!

An extract from Wikipedia:

(After losing both his parents by the age of 20) 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 (influenced by Galerius) issued an edict that every Christian soldier in the army should be arrested and every other soldier should offer a sacrifice to the Roman gods of the time. However George objected and with the courage of his faith approached the Emperor and ruler. Diocletian was upset, not wanting to lose his best tribune and the son of his best official, Gerontius. 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.

Amazing Jesus

30 Days with Jesus

Day 8 - Matthew 8 v 1 - 14

When Jesus heard this, he marveled v 10

Other translations say Jesus was AMAZED!

Now as I read scripture and learn of the things that Jesus did I am amazed.

I'm amazed that he turned water into wine.
I'm amazed that he healed lepers.
I'm amazed that he fed 5000 people with a lunch box.
I'm amazed that he walked on water.
I'm amazed that he calmed a storm.

But what amazed Jesus?

That someone with no heritage in the things of God. No training in scripture. No understanding of the ancient prophets, could find such a simple faith in Jesus so immediately. Whilst His "own" people with so much history behind them continued to miss both him and his message and opted for ritual over relationship.

Here is what Bible commentator Matthew Hendriksen says about what amazed Jesus:

"To be sure, also in Israel Jesus had found faith, but not a combination in one person of a love so affectionate, a considerateness so thoughtful, an insight so penetrating, a humility so outstanding, and a trust so unlimited"

Saturday, April 21, 2012


30 Days with Jesus

Day 6 - Luke 5 v 1 - 11
And when they had brought their boats to land, they left everything and followed him. v 11

My dad was the skipper of a pair trawler the Quiet Waters that sailed out of the port of Fraserburgh. Called a pair trawler because two boats would work together to create an extra wide mouth to the trawl net whilst fishing. The other boat was called "neeper" a Doric word from the NE of Scotland for partner. They always worked together. Comparing note, discussing where to fish, taking turns in shooting and hauling the nets and eventually sharing in the spoils.

So in the pages of the Bible I am taken back to that relationship. Two boats, two families, probably for generations, striving together, fishing together, rejoicing together in the good times and supporting in the bad, all to create a living for their families. Until one day a man walked into their lives that would change the family business together.

The narrative here in Luke centres round Simon Peter but we know his brother Andrew as well as their "neepers" James & John would on mass leave the family business all in one day.

They LEFT EVERYTHING to follow Him. If I'm honest I sometimes wonder what happened to the business, what happened to the boats, did younger brothers take over the business, how did the families survive that were being supported?

But then maybe that's because I'm still attached to so much. I'm following to an extent but I haven't truly LEFT EVERYTHING. 

These guys left their business (on its most successful day ever)
These guys left their homes
These guys left their possessions
These guys left the security of their parents
But the "neepers" in the business became "neepers" for Jesus

My Bible gives these few paragraphs the simple title "Jesus calls his first disciples" what is recorded is an amazing radical almost crazy act of faith. Often we are encouraged that faith will gain us something tangible on this earth. Well these "neepers" faith lost them everything of this world and gave them everything in the next.

Friday, April 20, 2012

What drives the religious mad

30 Days with Jesus

Day 5 - Luke 4 v 14 - 30

When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath.29 And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. v 28 - 29

Jesus returns home from a ministry trip that proved very "successful" to then take up a preaching engagement in his home synagogue. It starts out well with Jesus reading some great promises from one of their old prophets. Good news to the poor, sight for the blind etc. etc. No one could have a problem with that.

But then it took at turn for the worse. Jesus then told them that this prophecy was no longer something to look forward to, to dream about. He, Marys son, was the fulfilment. They found this difficult but the next revelation was even more unpalatable for these religious people.

Jesus makes it clear that this message was not just for their select few but for the world at large. Using the examples of how God intervened in the lives of "non religious", a widow and Naaman through their prophet Elijah he wanted them to understand that God didn't want to be contained.

Religious people seem to think that God exists for them. Somehow they deserve God more than others. Jesus took this idea and kicked it into touch. He made it about His performance and not ours.

Grace seems to make religious people mad.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Manifesting Glory in a strange way

30 Days with Jesus

Day 4 - John 2 v 1 - 11

"Everyone serves the good wine first, and when people have drunk freely, then the poor wine. But you have kept the good wine until now."11 This, the first of his signs, Jesus did at Cana in Galilee, and manifested his glory. And his disciples believed in him. - v 10 & 11

The Jesus Experiment is all about exploring how Jesus thought, felt and acted. And when you start actually reading his story for yourself, rather than listening to what others say about Him, you are in for a few surprises.

Although not an earth shattering revelation for most, this small story always reminds me to let Jesus talk to me through the pages of the scripture direct rather than second or third hand filtered revelation.

My experience growing up seemed to be a little different to Jesus experience of a wedding. 

It would seem that Jesus attended the party. Us Christians attended the religious service. Ate the meal. Made a point of drinking orange juice as opposed to wine. Then as the band struck up all us Christians LEFT! Jesus stuck it out to the end. How do I know? Well the wine he made was drunk at the end of the night when usually the cheap plonk was served when people were too drunk to know the difference.

Jesus miraculously created gallons of wine. That people obviously DRANK. And it would seem that from the account in the Bible the wine was a Premier Grand Cru not plonk. Somehow I think that Jesus started to appear on a number of wedding invitation lists over the next few months!

I say this not to suggest that as Jesus Disciples we should be out partying every night and drinking too much. That's crazy!

But this experience always reminds me that we can get invested in stuff Jesus never wanted us too. 

Staying at the party till closing time gave him more time with people that so desperately needed him why would he go home? And changing peoples heart was top of his agenda a change in there behaviour would surely follow.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Carrying Sandles

30 Days with Jesus

Day 3 - Matthew 3 v 1 - 4 v11

I baptise you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptise you with the Holy Spirit and fire. v 11

John the baptist was a truly great man, that was how Jesus summed him up.

In Bible times when a guest arrived in a house the first thing that would happen is that his shoes would be removed, taken away and his feet washed of all the dust and grime. This task was always given to the lowest servant.

The Jewish Talmud describes it like this:

"What is the manner of possessing of servants? or what is their service? He buckles his (master's) shoes; he "unlooses his shoes", and "carries them before him to the bath."''

It goes on to describe the role of a Disciple to a teacher or master:

"All services which a servant does for his master, a disciple does for his master, , "except unloosing his shoes".'

John shows the utmost respect, humility & reverence in that not only did he feel worth to be a Disciple. But by saying what he did he placed himself in relation to Jesus as not even worthy to be the lowest servant.

I don't believe that is a picture of how bad John was. Jesus had already said that John was the greatest man that had ever lived. It is a picture of how truly great and majestic Jesus is.

So the picture at the end of his earthly ministry of Him removing His disciples sandals and washing their feet is all the more amazing. The saviour, master & teacher now taking on the position of the lowest servant for people privileged to be called His disciples.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

You kissed the face of God

30 Days with Jesus

Day 2 - Matthew 1 v 18 -25

Reading this account of Mary & Joseph as teenagers facing up to a unique situation to me is mind blowing. The Bible relates the story so succinctly but the actual ramifications are so huge. The questions they must have been asking themselves even with the input of angelic beings were almost unanswerable. And the answers they did have were unbelievable. But their obedience stands out as a beacon for us all to run to.

One song I am always drawn to when thinking about this young inexperienced family is called "Mary did you know?". One verse says:

Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man?
Mary, did you know
that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand?
Did you know
that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod?
When you kiss your little Baby you kissed the face of God?

I'm not sure what Mary did know at that time but she had a ring side seat to see her baby boy grow up inch by inch, leaving her arms to stretch out his arms and touch the world.

Here is one great rendition of the song:

If you cant see the video click here

Monday, April 16, 2012

Empty Promises

Thanks to Carlos Whittaker for this post that I have just ripped off because I couldn't put it better myself.

I felt promised an easy adulthood because I had an easy childhood.
I felt promised no depression or anxiety because I had nothing to “worry” about.
I felt promised an easy marriage because I had a beautiful wedding.
I felt promised money in the bank because I put money in the offering plate.
I felt promised grace from man because I have grace from Jesus.
I felt promised understanding of grace because I wear a POTSC shirt.
I felt promised grateful kids because there is food on the table.
I felt promised knowledge because I read my Bible.
I felt promised success because I work 12 hours a day.

Then all of those promises were broken.
One. At. A. Time.
It’s because all of those promises are empty.

They ONLY thing that we are promised is the love of Jesus.
And that love can…
Hold you during a rough adulthood…
Sustain you during rough depression…
Restore you when you sabotage your marriage…
Provide for you when you are out of cash…
Support you when Jesus is your only grace…
Reveal to you when you look in the mirror and see Grace on your chest…
Be Hope for you when the fridge is empty…
Fill you when you read His Word…
Satisfy you when you have worked harder on your job than on your family…

These promises will not be broken.
Pastor Pete Wilson has just released his book…Empty Promises.

His first book Plan B was amazing and I know this one will be too. Added to my up coming holiday reading manifesto.

Empty Promises Trailer- Full from Pete Wilson on Vimeo.

The ordinary looking King

30 Days with Jesus

Day 1 - Isaiah 53

He (Jesus) had no form or majesty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him. v 2

Hundreds of year before Jesus was born to a yet unknown teenage girl a Prophet named Isaiah started to tell people about that upcoming day. In Chapter 53 of his book we can read the pinacle of his description of this coming saviour.

But the starnge this is that he starts out by making it clear on the outside at least this was just an ordnary guy to look at. He wasn't going to win any beauty contests.

Here is how Ps Mark Driscoll describes him:

"Jesus was a dude, and Jesus looked like a normal dude, right? So many of the pictures of Jesus, he’s very tall, nice jaw – just very rugged, European features. We don’t know what Jesus looks like, except for it tells us in Isaiah 53:2 that “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.”
I don’t know what he looked like. He may have looked like George Costanza. I don’t know. He may not have been tall. He may have been short. He may not have had long, flowing, rocker dude, drag queen, Jesus hair. He may have had a thinning, receding hairline. I don’t know.

What we do know is that he was a carpenter, so he may have been in fairly decent shape – calluses on his hands from swinging a hammer. There were no power tools in that day, so he was a manual laborer. He walked a lot, so he may have been lean and thin and rugged.

But if you’ve seen the pictures of drag queen Jesus, it’s very troubling, to be honest with you. He tends to have very long hair with product. Wears a dress. Open toed sandals. Listens to a lot of Elton John. That kind of thing. And it’s hard to worship him, because you could beat him up, even if you’re a girl. It’s hard to worship someone you could beat up.

And when we’re talking about Jesus’ appearance, we’re talking about someone who looked very much like an average, normal, blue-collar construction worker."

So the truth is we don't know what Jesus looked like but the Bible makes it clear he didn't LOOK SPECIAL although he was special.

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus,t6 who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,7 but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant,t being born in the likeness of men.8 And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. - Phil 2 v 5 - 8

Saturday, April 14, 2012

I can do ALL things through Christ

For to this end we toil and strive, because we have our hope set on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of those who believe - 1 Timothy 4 v 10

A Story | Shattered Dreams from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

49 Part 4

Continuing a series of posts on the 49 people who have influenced my 49 years.

Roy Ecclestone. Roy was one of the leaders of MKCC (or New City Pentecostal Church as it was then) when I arrived in September 1984. However I first came across Roy at a youth camp in Great Walstead a few years earlier. He was preaching a week that a group from his then home church of Coventry was attending the camp at the same time as a load of us from the North East of Scotland. I remember vividly him preaching on the last night about the Kingdom of God starting in Genesis and proceeding through book after book of the Bible. He never got to Revelation as we all rose to cheer the greatness of our God in light of this great preaching. Standing on our seats shouting and screaming praise to our glorious King Jesus. Amazing! Another great Bible teacher that I have been honoured to learn from.

John Ecclestone. Roy's son. For a short time I was his lodger. He still smirks when he thinks of the time my mum came to visit and I tried to clean the house for days on end. We have put the world to rights many times in our long often opinionated chats together. As well as a love for Jesus we also have a love of the beautiful game. Having followed my first love, Aberdeen FC, home and away for years arriving in Milton Keynes commuting to Aberdeen was not an option. So when I found out John went to watch it each week I decided I would tag along and support his team. Often I wish he had supported a decent side and not Aston Villa. lol. But a new allegiance had been born and regular trips to Villa Park began for my regular fix of heart ache.

Steve Adkins. Milton Keynes also allowed me to develop a friendship with Steve. Again I had met him at youth camps and even briefly when my Bible College took his Coventry Church on at a game of rugby. His team lost 36 - 0. I was part of a church he was planting in our home town of Newport Pagnell and enjoyed holidays together. Including trekking down to Royan France in our caravans. Steve also introduced me to Rick Warren & Saddleback Church which has had such a profound effect on me. Thankfully after travels to Liverpool and Sheffield in church leadership he is now back where he belongs at MKCC.

1 - 10

11 - 16

16 - 20

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


But be sure to fear the Lord and serve him faithfully with all your heart; CONSIDER what great things he has done for you. (1 Samuel 12:24 NIV)

The great prophet Samuel is nearing the end of his earthly existence, soon to be promoted to his heavenly inheritance. And we are honoured to be able to have a ring side seat at his farewell speech.

At the end of his urging to be faithful and true he tells them to CONSIDER. To CONSIDER the great things God has done.

Time to reflect, recount & remember the awesomeness of God.

Who he is
His splendour
His Majesty
His power
His faithfulness
His glory
His grace
His love

So often we are looking forward planning our next move, our next project, our next idea. But it can also be important to look up at all that God is and look back at all he has done.

Stop. Take the next 5 minutes to CONSIDER Who God is & What he has done!

Monday, April 09, 2012

And not be moved by you?

Love the song "EVERYTHING" by Lifehouse an incredible prayer.

You calm the storms and you give me rest
You hold me in your hands
You won't let me fall
You steal my heart and you take my breath away
Would you take me in, take me deeper now
And how can I stand here with you and not be moved by you
Would you tell me how could it be any better than this

Cause you're all I want, you're all I need
You're everything, everything
You're all I want
You're all I need
Everything, everything

Sunday, April 08, 2012


  • Huge day at Milton Keynes Christian Centre
  • Initial numbers suggest 1023 people attended MKCC today
  • Band were off the charts. Shout out to Emily, Sonia, Peter, Andy, Ed, Lavern & Nick. You guys were amazing.
  • Bev & the welcome team made sure we were all on chocolate overdose.
  • Maybe the atmosphere all we create on Easter Sunday should be what we carry with us each and every time the church comes together. Jesus is ALWAYS alive and ALWAYS risen. Just sayin!
  • George Ridley preached up a storm. A great gift to the church. A true Evangelist.
  • First service 25 people said yes to Jesus. Many in the second service but don't have count yet. Just amazing!
  • GRR Quote of the day: "Where there's a will there's a waiting relative."
  • I have to pinch myself from time to time because I am living my dream.
  • Home to watch Man Utd & Man City battle it out in their respective matches.
  • Fergie marches on.
  • Two players summed up the two teams: The CLASS of Paul Scholes & the ANTICS of Mario Balotelli.
  • A drink with the fabulous Nicola Ritchie.
  • Now chilling out watching the Masters.
  • PS This picture brought me to tears today. Stuart Watt and his family launched a brand new church in NE Scotland today. Mintlaw Community Church. I've been down in England for so many years but I'm just a North East Boy (Old Man) at heart so I just love to see the church advancing up there. Keep praying for Stuart!

Friday, April 06, 2012

God deals with Sin

"God has always said that sin is to be punished, that his holy wrath is upon it, and that he cannot deal with sin in any other terms. And he has done exactly what he promised. On the cross he is doing it publicly. There he is, once and for all, at the central point of history, pouring out His wrath upon the sins of man in the body of His own Son. He is striking him, He is smiting him, he is condeming him to death. He dies, and his blood speaks. It is God's punishment of sin and evil. It is a mighty declaration that God has done what he always said he would do, namely, that he would punish sin, and the wages of sin is death. And there you see it happening upon the cross." - Martyn Lloyd - Jones (The Cross: God's Way of Salvation p 163)

That about sums up what was happening on that "GOOD Friday" And as Mrs C F Alexander puts it in her hymn there was only one person that could do this - Jesus!

There was no other good enough
To pay the price of sin;
He only could unlock the gate
Of heaven and let is in

Thursday, April 05, 2012

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies

Tomorrow we celebrate Good Friday. The day that Jesus died. As I look forward I am reminded again of the words Charles Wesley penned of an incredible hymn, "And Can it be" in 1738 and now getting on for 300 years later it still moves my spirit.

And can it be that I should gain
An interest in the Savior’s blood?
Died He for me, who caused His pain—
For me, who Him to death pursued?
Amazing love! How can it be,
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?

’Tis mystery all: th’Immortal dies:
Who can explore His strange design?
In vain the firstborn seraph tries
To sound the depths of love divine.
’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
Let angel minds inquire no more.

He left His Father’s throne above
So free, so infinite His grace—
Emptied Himself of all but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
For O my God, it found out me!

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
Thine eye diffused a quickening ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
My chains fell off, my heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

No condemnation now I dread;
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
Alive in Him, my living Head,
And clothed in righteousness divine,
Bold I approach th’eternal throne,
And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

When God says NO!

".... a thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to harass me, to keep me from becoming conceited.8 Three times I pleaded with the Lord about this, that it should leave me.9 But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness."" - 2 Corinthians 12 v 7 - 9

There has been much debate in church world about this passage. The main topic of conversation, What was Paul's thorn in the flesh? Many theories have been adavanced but at the end of the day God decided that we didn't need to know. That why he didn't put it in the Bible!

What we must not miss is the deep significant message God is driving home to us by revealing this story to us:

A prayer to which God says NO is always accompanied with His all sufficient grace and power to live. When a prayer is seemingly unanswered God's power is NOT ABSENT it is when it is most POWERFULLY PRESENT.

Paul grasped this when he went on to say:

Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.10 For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities.

To be CONTENT with weaknesses, insults, hardship, persecutions and calamities it takes something miraculous. It takes God's GRACE & POWER. Without it, it is impossible to reach that place.

If God says NO, never doubt that grace is on its way!