Monday, October 29, 2012
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
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
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
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.
Posted by Billy Ritchie at 7:00 am
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
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 PetersonCant see the video click here
Monday, October 22, 2012
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 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
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
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
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
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!
Monday, October 08, 2012
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
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?
Monday, October 01, 2012
Seth Godin wrote a short blog post:
Instead of out thinking the competition...it'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".
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.