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.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Knowing Jesus by Jake Smith Jr

Yesterday Myself, Nick, Joshua & Ben had a road trip to Breathe City Church, Stoke on Trent to hear a master class delivered by Jake Smith Jr. Young Adults Pastor at Willow Creek.

It didn't start off to well being stuck on the M1 for an hour going nowhere but we finally got there just as Jake was beginning his talk - Knowing Jesus

  • If you see Jesus for what he is, do not under any circumstances ignore him! 
  • Jesus didn't just teach with entertainment he taught with authority. 
  • When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. (Matthew 28:17 NIV). They didn't doubt his power but his divinity. 
  • He (Jesus) is the ONE! 
  • Jesus Question: Who do you say that I am? Teacher, friend, father, provider but they don't go far enough or high enough till he rules all of you! 
  • As followers of Jesus we cannot live a passive existence and think that it's enough. Practice the pursuit of the one who perfects your faith. 
  • To BE in the presence of Jesus daily unleashes the power of God in your life. 
  • Doing comes from being, Jesus said "remain in me!"
  • When the young rich ruler came to Jesus the sermon he got was obey religious rules and sell your stuff. Way out of line with what his message of Grace was. What was Jesus up to:
  • Sometimes Jesus asks specific people to do specific things. Gods calling on your life is not nessesary the calling for others life. Jesus sometimes gives you a specific invitation to obedience, but we need to remember, it's not about doing something for God but being with him. 
  • When Jesus calls you it is to set you free from all that binds you up and adopt you into all he has for you. 
  • Idols can sometimes be something wonderful. Gifts that God has given us. They make wonderful gifts but lousy Gods! 
  • This guy talking to Jesus had two idols: The idol of religion & the idol of possesions. 
Listening to Jake was brilliant but hanging out with the great people of Breathe City Church was even better!

Below is a video of a similar talk he gave in his home church, enjoy:

Knowing Jesus: Week 4 from Axis on Vimeo.

Monday, July 09, 2012

Weird view of Money

We continued our teaching series at MKCC yesterday - Weird - Because normal isn't working.

Yesterdays topic a Weird view of money. We had the great privilege of hearing from Dave Ramsey (via video). His down to earth, honest teaching on the area of finance is excellent and challenging. It is a subject we need to talk more about in church not less. Yes it's uncomfortable but we can't go on ignoring an issue that is causing so much stress & hurt. Not from the point of view of asking for more money but to help people gain a better perspective on it than we have at the moment in the UK.

So many of us are living pay day to pay day with no thought of savings and a pile of debt that we fear we will never see paid off. Something has to change. Here are some of my notes from his message:
  • When u do something stupid with money it usually leaves you. I call it stupid tax. 
  • I started studying Gods word about money and I had a lot of those Duh moments. It sounded a bit like common sense.
  • 90% of marriages that end in divorce in the first 7 years end because of money problems. 
  • When you sow stupid you reap desperate. 
  • Impulsiveness is not a fruit of the spirit, patience is. 
  • Most people live their financial lives looking in the rear view mirror rather than the front windscreen. 
  • Act your wage, spend less than you make you are not the government.
You can watch the full message here, its worth the 30 minutes:

Weird with Money- Weird Part 5 from River City Church on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 07, 2012

Religion brings YOU, Revival brings CHRIST

The following post by Carlos Whittaker really changed me. The reason? Well I often talk about the futility or Religion. However I tend to apply it to rules & regulations I have moved on from or a style of following Jesus that is not me.

I don't tend to think of myself as Religious. But after reading this, it has reminded me to not just find a new type of religion wrapped up in new rules and new rituals that have just replaced the old.

Let my life always be about FINDING & BRINGING Christ.

"until we're all moving rhythmically and easily with each other, efficient and graceful in response to God's Son, fully mature adults, fully developed within and without, fully alive like Christ." Eph 4:13


Religion wants you to spend your hours planning what Sunday will look like.
Revival wants you to spend your hours DOING what can’t be done on Sundays which is BEING with those who won’t show up on Sunday.
Religion wants you to spend hours building a platform so that you can lead thousands to Jesus.
Revival wants you to spend hours leading one to Jesus.
Religion wants you to research what Cool Church X is doing in hopes you can do it almost as well at your church.
Revival wants you to stop looking for inspiration and start developing some perspiration.
Religion wants you to stuff tons of Bible knowledge in your dome so it spits out your pinhole.
Revival wants you to take the BS out of Bible Study and apply what the Word says not talk about it.
Religion wants you to find healing through a taxing set of hurdles and obstacle courses so you can get right with God and his people.
Revival wants you to find repentance and healing through His kindness and grace.
Religion wants you to feel the weight of your sin and believe you are not capable of ministering to people.
Revival wants you to know the weight of your sin was carried by Jesus to the cross and you can minster out of your brokenness.
Religion brings YOU.
Revival brings CHRIST.