Thursday, May 31, 2012

Finding God in the midst of suffering

Lauren Chandler shares with Jennie Allen about her family’s experience dealing with her husband’s diagnosis of brain cancer and how her faith was tested through that trial. Its almost 30 min but worth the listen.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

29th May

Many great people were born on May 29th:

1630 - Charles II
1903 - Bob Hope
1917 - John Fitzgerald Kennedy
1956 - La Toya Jackson
1958 - Annette Benning
1967 - Noel Gallagher
1975 - Scary Spice

And Manchester Utd won the European Cup for the first time under great Scot Matt Busby.

But the only year that matters to me is 1992 when Abbie Louise Ritchie entered the world to change our lives forever. 20 years have flashed by.

Somebody should have warned me back then that for the following 20 years i would be saying goodbye to money and hello to grey hairs. But its still worth the journey.

Happy birthday Abbie.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Asking Questions is Leadership

One of the TV programmes I have enjoyed watching is Undercover Boss. The basic premise that the CEO goes back to the shop floor undercover to experience first hand where his company is really at. Connecting with his staff as a work colleague rather than a leader.

The experience is always very enlightening as by having an every day conversation and ASKING QUESTIONS he finds out how his decisions have effected the workforce and also gains wisdom from those he is leading to help make changes for the better.

Many of the documentaries have shown how simple dialogue has uncovered:

Solutions to huge company problems.
New directions to take.
Great leadership sitting right under the bosses nose.

All because a TV programme contrived communication that was always there to be had. They just never saw the value in it.

So whatever you are leading, remember you only see things the way that YOU see them, and no matter how good you are you never see things fully as they are. If you think you do that's called pride.

So if you are leading a team, a family or a church, here are a few questions to ask from Ron Edmondson:

  • What can we learn from this? 
  • Do you understand what I’m asking you to do? 
  • How can I help you? 
  • What’s next? 
  • Where should we be placing our best energy? 
  • What am I missing or forgetting? 
  • How can we do it better next time? 
  • What do you think? 
  • What changes could we implement to make your work life better? 
  • What would you do differently if you had my position? 
  • Are you enjoying your work? 
  • How can I improve my communication with you?
Don't fall into the trap that as the leader you have to be the expert in everything. To live unchallenged. To view not knowing as weakness. Ask questions.....

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

God is still God....

...and God is still good.

Remembering Mandy Smith and her family in prayer today on the anniversary of Zac's going to be with Jesus.

A Story | Tears of Hope from NewSpring Media on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

On the darkest day hope wins


Click here if you dont see the video above.


Monday, May 14, 2012

50 Million

A few years ago I had the privilege to meet up with Bobby Gruenwald and a few of his colleagues from They asked us many questions about the Church in the UK. Many of which I felt ill equipped to answer.

I then got the opportunity to ask what they were working on and they introduced an idea they were looking at to bring the Bible to smart phones. That was the upcoming YouVersion Bible App.

It has been a ever constant companion for me since its launch. Now just a few years later it is now running at 50 million unique downloads.

To celebrate they have launched a web page showing us what is happening in youversion today

Check it out.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Putting God to the Test

This Sunday at MKCC we had the privilege of listening, via video, to James MacDonald delivering a great message on the subject of how we as Jesus followers should view our finances. You can watch it above.

Here are some of James's main points:

Firstly 10 Facts about the Tithe described in God's Word:

1. Tithe means ten percent.
2. It describes the immediate gift of ten percent of your income at your first opportunity.
3. It’s a symbol.
4. It is to be off the top.
5. It is a universal principle like Sabbath rest.
6. It was part of the law but predates the law and continues after the law. 7. It was practised throughout church history.
8. It is a thermometer of spiritual vitality.
9. It’s important to God.
10. It’s the starting place for New Testament giving.

90 percent with you and God is more than 100 percent with you on your own.

Why Tithe to the Local Church?

1. You get the wisdom of a group.
2. It avoids “send and forget.”
3. It avoids the tendency toward control.
4. Sow back into the fields that you have harvested.


1. Stealing from God has significant consequences.
2. Financial partnership with God brings significant blessings.
3. Faith comes before miraculous provision.
4. Prove the tithe.

It was fantastic to see so many people at MKCC make a pledge to test God and prove the tithe. I am positive that they will see God show up in their lives in a huge way as they take this next step.

P.S. We also broke the 200 children barrier in Discovery Kids for the first time. Yeah!

Saturday, May 12, 2012


30 Days with Jesus

Day 27 - John 18 v 19 - 19 v 16

"You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above." - Matt 19 v 11

The picture.
A lone man.
A captive.


The Jewish rulers
A rented mob
and the Empire of Rome in the shape of Pontius Pilate the Prefect of Judea

To the naked eye it was clear to see where the authority lay.
But Jesus knew that authority lay at that moment and throughout History with God the Father.

Appearances were deceiving.

Because the "man" with seemingly no authority later explained that he had ALL authority and he was now going to give it to his followers.

"All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptising them int the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age." - Matthew 28 v 18-20

Friday, May 11, 2012

29 Years

My love affair with Aberdeen FC started listening to stories from my namesake and Grandad - Bill Whyte. My first match was the only one I ever went too with him hooked me for life.

Unfortunately he died when I was just 13 and my uncle Billy Whyte became my partner on my countless journeys to Pittodrie Stadium to see the Dandy Dons. The next few years coincided with the golden years of the Dons history. A promising start under first Ally McLeod and Billy McNeil preceded the arrival of the man himself - Alex Ferguson.

That lead to a night in Gothenburg exactly 29 years ago today, that I missed because the powers at be would not release me from my studies at Bible College. In fact they didn't even want me to miss a service to watch it on TV. But that was never in question.

So I tuned in to watch my hero's play the giants of European football - Real Madrid off the rain sodden pitch and win 2-1 after agonising extra time. Which resulted in one of the players asking for God's help when facing a last minute free kick. I may well have joined him for the only time in my life of troubling the almighty with something as small as a footy game.

So the roll call etched in my memory.


and Super sub: Hewitt

And no matter what Sir Alex has achieved with Manchester Utd for me his greatest achievement is taking a unfancied team full of home grown players and not just breaking the old Firm monopoly in Scotland but he lead the to beat the most famous team in Europe to win the Cup Winner Cup.

I do not know this man

30 Days with Jesus

Day 26 - Matthew 26 v 36 - 75

74Then he began to invoke a curse on himself and to swear, "I do not know the man." And immediately the rooster crowed.

This snapshot in time probably ranks as the worst moment in the whole of Peter's life. He was no stranger to putting his big size 9's into the situation but these 6 words probably haunted the rest of his life. Yes there was incredible restoration. And he went on to do awesome deeds for his Master. But somehow in his quiet moments of reflection he wished he could take back his words.

His other "mistakes" were at least because he was trying to "do something" for God this time he was making for the cowardly back door of desertion.

It is so easy to point the finger at Peter's failure but they remind me so much of my own.

I deny Him but loving people or things before Him
I deny Him by choosing sin rather that Him
I deny Him by not listening to Him

But I am so thankful that even through so many actions I am saying the same words as Peter "I do not know this man". This Man will never deny me!

Wednesday, May 09, 2012

He just said God is amazing!

This video brings a whole new meaning to:

"God is most glorified in us when we are most satisfied in Him"

The Story of Ian & Larissa from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Strange looking King

30 Days with Jesus

Day 23 - Matthew 21 v 1 - 27

Say to the daughter of Zion, 'Behold, your king is coming to you, HUMBLE, and mounted on a donkey v 5

Hosanna! was the cry that greeted Jesus. a Hebrew word (hoshi`ah-na) that had become a greeting or shout of praise but that actually meant "Save!" or "Help!" 

Not only crys of Hosanna but the people brought palm branches. These in Jewish tradition were symbolic of a victorious ruler. The cry of Hosanna! and the palm branches point us towards a conclusion, but this conclusion is made clear as the crowd adds a further line, Blessed is the King of Israel! (v. 13). 

Clearly they see in Jesus the answer to their nationalistic, messianic hopes. Earlier a crowd had wanted to make Jesus king (John 6:15), and now this crowd is recognising him as king in the city of the great King. Here is the great dream of a Davidic ruler who would come and liberate Israel, establishing peace and subduing the Gentile.

But Jesus messes with this perfect scene of triumph and victory. There King is not in some splendid gold encrusted chariot. He is on a donkey!

He is a King but not the sort of King they were expecting. A HUMBLE King. Who was intent on making a statement. Unlike us so many times when we want our statement our picture to show greatness, at least on the outside.

Jesus had no need for outward statements of greatness. He simply was great. But continually he chose a position of humility.

He HUMBLED himself to become a man.
He HUMBLED himself to the Fathers will.
He HUMBLED himself to serve his followers.
He HUMBLED himself to death on the Cross.

And when the time was right he was GLORIFIED above everything!

Monday, May 07, 2012

When God Delays

30 Days with Jesus

Day 22 - John 11 v 1 - 44

"This illness does not lead to death. It is for the glory of God, so that the Son of God may be glorified through it." - v 4

The miracle of Jesus raising his close friend Lazarus from the dead must rank as one of the most amazing acts of Jesus. 

What leads up to it however fascinates me.
Jesus on hearing of the illness of one of his closest friends who was part of a family that formed one of the key relationships he had here on earth, decided to wait.
2 days of delay.
We know the end was great glory.
But in the middle of the situation His delay caused great heartache.

His delay meant his friend died.
His delay meant Mary & Martha mourned.
Their mourning hurt Him deeply v 33

Ultimately Jesus knew what he was doing. He knew the end, that God would be glorified and he knew His Fathers timing. 

Learning to TRUST and WAIT on God's timing is taking the first step in learning to talk to God. But so may of us are impatient and want to skip this step. That means when God says no or wait we don't understand and start looking in all the wrong places for the reason our prayers have not been answered.

The Bible is full of people who so incredible answers to prayers. It is also full of people who waited, hours, days, weeks, months, years even decades for an answer. They learned to trust in God's delays.

Learn to WAIT and LISTEN there is GLORY on the other side,

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Impudent Prayer

30 Days with Jesus

Day 21 - Luke 11 v 1 -11

I tell you, though he will not get up and give him anything because he is his friend, yet because of his impudence he will rise and give him whatever he needs. v 8

The Disciples saw Jesus praying and decided to ask Him how to pray. His explanation of how to pray has now become the most famous prayer in the world. Growing up we would say "The Lords Prayer" every day at the start of the school day. Not that my school had any Christian links but it just seemed to be tradition. I suspecting doing the same now would create one huge crazy storm of arguments.

After his description of what to pray Jesus then goes on to explain HOW we should pray. Reading the metaphor Jesus describes in v8 most translations it talks about a person getting an answer because of their PERSISTENCE. I was intrigued to find that the ESV uses the word IMPUDENCE.

Not a word that I would use when describing talking to God. In my native Doric tongue the word is said IMPIDINT. It's a word I heard often. "At man is afa impidint" - That man is very rude, insolent, impertinent. Not words I'd use when describing my conversation with God.

But it would certainly seem that Jesus is telling us to pray BOLD CONSISTENT prayers that to people looking on could even be misunderstood as BRAZENNESS but us knowing that our hearts are right before God

Saturday, May 05, 2012

How great thou art

Now there is in Jerusalem by the Sheep Gate a pool, in Aramaict called Bethesda, which has five roofed colonnades. 3 In these lay a multitude of invalids—blind, lame, and paralyzed. 5 One man was there who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years. 6 When Jesus saw him lying there and knew that he had already been there a long time, he said to him, "Do you want to be healed?" 7 The sick man answered him, "Sir, I have no one to put me into the pool when the water is stirred up, and while I am going another steps down before me." 8 Jesus said to him, "Get up, take up your bed, and walk." 9 And at once the man was healed, and he took up his bed and walked.- John 5 v 2 - 9

So what better song for Rose Angela to sing on the site of this miracle.

 Can't see the video click here

Looking for loopholes

30 Days with Jesus

Day 20 - Luke 10 v 25 - 37

Jesus encounter with a lawyer confirms to me that they don't seem to have changed in 2000 years. It would seem that words are very important to them. And defining the scope of that word even more important.

Often they are paid big bucks to draw up contracts that are so well defined that they are watertight. Then others are paid even bigger bucks to try and find some loophole to bring the contract crashing down.

More recently we have seen well known celebrates shell out a huge amount of money for lawyers to get them out of speeding charges on a technicality.

So it would seem this lawyer was looking for a loophole to limit the teachings of Jesus. Yup I understand that I have to love my neighbour but who exactly is my neighbour?

So often I can stand with the lawyer looking for a loophole out of Jesus teaching. Looking for a way to limit what he said to manageable proportions in our lives. Jesus teaching cannot be tamed. It is radical. And he intended it to be so.

He gave his life and presented us with the loophole of his incredible grace. But His grace is not cheap, it cost Him his life and demands the totality of ours loopholes excluded.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

DC*B - DC = The Digital Age

The David Crowder Band is coming to an end but most of the band are forming to create a new band but with similar sound. - The Digital Age.

Loving the feel

Do you LOVE money?

30 Days with Jesus

Day 18 - Matthew 19 v 16 - 30

In this passage Matthew recounts an encounter between Jesus and a very moral very rich man. Ultimately the guy walks away because he chose to worship money rather that Jesus. Here is an article originally published on The Resurgence by Jamie Munson.

I recently finished my first book, Money: God or Gift, in collaboration with The Resurgence. It was initially created and published for Mars Hill Church community groups, but the book is truly for everyone: 

For people who love money. 

 “No one can serve two masters,” Jesus said, “for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money” (Matt. 6:24). There is no middle ground.

For people who hate money. 

It’s not money’s fault that we’re prone to love it, live for it, and even die for it. God’s provision is a gift (Deut. 8:18; 1 Cor. 4:7), the Lord grants wealth (Prov. 10:22; Eccles. 5:19), and “money answers everything” (Eccles. 10:19). If our hearts belong to Jesus and our lives are devoted to his mission, we need not avoid, demonize, or fear money. We can love God, love people, and use money to enjoy life and do ministry.

For the church. 

New Testament scholar Craig Blomberg calls stewardship of material possessions “the most important test-case of one’s profession of discipleship,” and names materialism as “the single biggest competitor with authentic Christianity for the hearts and souls of millions in our world today” (Neither Poverty nor Riches). As a pastor, I want to see our church—and all churches—filled with people devoted to Jesus, not money.

For new Christians. 

We have so many new Christians at Mars Hill Church. I was once one of them. Before I met Jesus at age nineteen, money was my god. I couldn’t wait to get rich, so I racked up debt by spending money on myself. When I learned how to worship God with my money rather than worshiping my money as god, Jesus’ grace changed my life. I want to encourage new Christians, and help them learn what God says about money, so that they can experience more of his goodness as well.

For longtime Christians. 

 1 Timothy 4:16 says, “Watch your life and doctrine closely” (NIV). I want to exhort every Christian in both areas: know the biblical teachings on money and apply them to life. We do this “closely” through ongoing repentance, wise counsel, life in community, and the power of the Holy Spirit. Without discipline, help, and grace we’re all prone to reject or abuse the gift of money. For the millions of people who don’t know Jesus. God works through his people (the church) to reach others with the gospel. If we use our money wisely and give faithfully, more people will meet Jesus—and we will love him more.

If you’re not sure about Jesus, I pray that you come to love and understand him. He is a good God. For your joy. Men and women, rich and poor, young and old—everybody has something that they treasure, and “where your treasure is, there will your heart be also” (Luke 12:34). Point your heart, your treasure, and your life to the source of all joy, goodness, and love: Jesus.

Wednesday, May 02, 2012

True Greatness

30 Days with Jesus

Day 17 - Matthew 18:21 - 19:15

The opening verses of this Chapter start with a discussion about who is the greatest in God's Kingdom and it closes with Jesus teaching about forgiveness. Somehow I feel the two things are connected.

Ultimately there is only one who is great in the Kingdom of God that's God Himself. To Him must go all Glory, Honour and Praise. We can however reflect his greatness in so many ways.

And one way we can do is FORGIVENESS.

Sometimes we are consumed with FAIRNESS rather than FORGIVENESS.

The idea of forgiveness seems to be so counter cultural. We read of Peter coming to Jesus still searching for where fairness is. Forgiveness must have a limit. Surely? When does FORGIVENESS become UNFAIR. How far must I stretch my FAIRNESS. I will go out on a limb with 7 times.

Jesus answer blows Peter and FAIRNESS out of the water. 70 x 7. Really?

But in the story of the unforgiving servant Jesus is stretching our human minds to try to reach a divine understanding. God chooses to be UNFAIR by FORGIVING us and treating us in the total opposite way that we deserve.

He finishes the story with a stark warning for us:

"This king did what my heavenly Father will do to you if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.v 35

Jesus pulls no punches. FORGIVENESS can not be mere words covering a bitter heart it must flow from a heart that has been melted by the UNFAIRNESS of GRACE. There we find true greatness.

Tuesday, May 01, 2012

Vintage Grace

The Reformation was a time when men went blind, staggering drunk because they had discovered, in the dusty basement of late medievalism, a whole cellar full of fifteen-hundred-year-old, two-hundred proof Grace–bottle after bottle of pure distilate of Scripture, one sip of which would convince anyone that God saves us single-handedly.

The word of the Gospel–after all those centuries of trying to lift yourself into heaven by worrying about the perfection of your bootstraps–suddenly turned out to be a flat announcement that the saved were home before they started…Grace has to be drunk straight: no water, no ice, and certainly no ginger ale; neither goodness, nor badness, not the flowers that bloom in the spring of super spirituality could be allowed to enter into the case. (Robert Farrar Capon, Between Noon and Three, pg. 114-115)

HT Tullian Tchividian


30 Days with Jesus

Day 16 - Matthew 17:24 - 18:20

I tell you the truth, if he finds it he is happier about that one sheep than about the ninety-nine that were never lost. v 13 

Growing up believe it or not I was quite a compliant child, I was pretty much reasonably well behaved kept my head down in school and although I was no brain box got reasonable reports. "Tries Hard" seemed to be a common theme which kept my mum reasonably happy.

My brother on the other hand, although much brighter than me, had a different phrase repeated on his report card: “Easily Distracted”.

Jesus was not easily distracted he had a clear focus which is repeated in this chapter again: The Son of Man came to save lost people. v 11
It seems to me that so often Jesus was followed by large crowds. And I have a feeling that most of us faced with these situations would have been distracted. What I do know is that nearly all preachers would have been. You see crowds distract people especially if they’ve turned up to see "you". Fame distracts people, yes even preachers, and they can lose sight of the mission and they stop listening to the whisper of God for the adulation of the crowd.

Jesus in his teaching and his actions kept on personalising his mission to the one.

I once heard Andy Stanley say: Do for the one what you wish you could do for the many.

Jesus stayed focused on his mission; staying attentive to the whisper of God to give him another indication of a lost person that was waiting to be found and saved.