Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Be Present...in your world

So thankful again to have the honour of sharing God's Word at Milton Keynes Christian Centre Church this past Sunday.

We finished our teaching series "Be Present...." with the subject "Be Present .... in your world".

Be Present - In your world from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

If you cant see the video click here.

  • In the middle of mistreatment, of persecution, suffering and risk our passion is to illuminate Jesus not hide in a box.
  • Not to stand on our soapboxes and condemn people in sin but to build a tower to give light to those blinded by the darkness.
  • As the people of God we do not look into the world see the brokenness and wish someone would fix it. We are people who enter into the brokenness and by being the hands and feet of God and heal it.
  • Christians should never be bored with the playground that God has set before us and the gifting and talents that he has put within us to reach the broken.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Fooling myself and others BUT not Jesus

Sometimes you sit in a church service and go through the motions. Sunday was one of those times for me. We sang and welcomed and watched church news. Anyway I was preaching so I was running through things in my head. What was I going to say? How was I going to say it?

So I had breezed through the service looking like I was engaging but in my heart anything but. Not in rebellion but in preoccupation.

Now it was time for the offering and Mark read a passage that I must have heard a 1000 times in the lead up to an offering:
And he sat down opposite the treasury and watched the people putting money into the offering box. Many rich people put in large sums. And a poor widow came and put in two small copper coins, which make a penny. And he called his disciples to him and said to them, "Truly, I say to you, this poor widow has put in more than all those who are contributing to the offering box. For they all contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in everything she had, all she had to live on." - Mark 12 v 41-44

Still in automatic mode...

Then bam!

Of the poor widow who gave 2 small coins Mark said, "It's amazing how quick Jesus spots true worship and we don't."

To all around during the last 30 minutes I looked like I was engaged, I looked like I was offering "worship". But Jesus knew different. Perspective changed!

Like the people playing out their "worship" in front of Jesus we can get so blindsided by the outward appearance while Jesus always is captivated by the motivation of the heart.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Scots wha' hae"

In honour of the Rabbie Burns day his famous song written as he imagined Bruce and his army lining up to fight at Bannockburn.

Scots wha' hae'
Scots, wha hae wi' Wallace bled,
Scots, wham Bruce has aften led,
Welcome to your gory bed
Or to victorie!

Now's the day,
and now's the hour:
See the front o' battle lour,
See approach proud Edward's power
Chains and slaverie!

Wha will be a traitor knave?
Wha can fill a coward's grave?
Wha sae base as be a slave?
Let him turn, and fleel

Wha for Scotland's King and Law
Freedom's sword will strongly draw,
Freeman stand, or freeman fa',
Let him follow me!

By Oppression's woes and pains,
By your sons in servile chains,
We will drain our dearest veins
But they shall be free!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Sacred Journey

The question is not whether the things that happen to you are chance things or God’s things because, of course, they are both at once. There is no chance thing through which God cannot speak — even the walk from the house to the garage that you have walked ten thousand times before, even the moments when you cannot believe there is a God who speaks at all anywhere.

We cannot live our lives constantly looking back, listening back, lest we be turned to pillars of longing and regret, but to live without listening at all is to live deaf to the fulness of the music. Sometimes we avoid listening for fear of what we may hear, sometimes for fear that we may hear nothing at all but the empty rattle of our own feet on the pavement.

He says he is with us on our journeys. He says he has been with us since each of our journeys began. Listen for him. Listen to the sweet and bitter airs of your present and your past for the sound of him. - Frederick Buechner

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Lance and me....

I have next to no interest in cycling other than cheering on the British team at the Olympics but the other week I got up at 2 am to watch the Oprah interview with Lance Armstrong. Yes I could have Sky+'d it but i was intrigued.

From the affirmative answer to the opening question the scene was set. The control he had exerted & the web of lies he had constructed were blown apart. His image and reputation tarnished forever and his character defects uncovered for the world to see.

Lance the hero now lance the villain.
Live strong became Live shame.
Condemnation almost universal.

But as I peer into the dark recesses of my wicked heart I find myself sitting uncomfortably in my chair.

I've never taken drugs but I have lied to save my pride.
I've never sued any one but I have assassinated them behind their back.

Lance talked about his need for control, a foe that continues to grasp at me so I understand something about that battle.

I can not offer forgiveness as I have not been wronged like so many others and that is their journey. However I cannot join the voice of condemnation as I would only be shouting at myself.

So I continue my daily interview with someone much loftier than Oprah. His questions much more challenging. His standards much more demanding. But each day he has the final word and I bow my head in humility and contrition as he whispers: GRACE.

Monday, January 21, 2013

In Christ.....

Reading Mark Driscoll's new book "Who do you think you are?" I have been reminded over and over again of my new identity in Christ which I have a tendency to forget.

Today I read this in my daily devotions from John Piper on YouVersion:


Being “in Christ Jesus” is a stupendous reality. It is breathtaking what it means to be in Christ. United to Christ. Bound to Christ. If you are “in Christ” listen to what it means for you:

  1. In Christ Jesus you were given grace before the world was created. 2 Timothy 1:9, “He gave us grace in Christ Jesus before the ages began.” 
  2. In Christ Jesus you were chosen by God before creation. Ephesians 1:4, “God chose us in Christ before the foundation of the world.” 
  3. In Christ Jesus you are loved by God with an inseparable love. Romans 8:38–39, “I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  4. In Christ Jesus you were redeemed and forgiven for all your sins. Ephesians 1:7, “In Christ we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses.” 
  5. In Christ Jesus you are justified before God and the righteousness of God in Christ is imputed to you. 2 Corinthians 5:21, “For our sake God made Christ to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 
  6. In Christ Jesus you have become a new creation and a son of God. 2 Corinthians 5:17, “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” Galatians 3:26, “In Christ Jesus you are all sons of God, through faith.” 
  7. In Christ Jesus you have been seated in the heavenly places even while he lived on earth. Ephesians 2:6, “God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” 
  8. In Christ Jesus all the promises of God are Yes for you. 2 Corinthians 1:20, “All the promises of God find their Yes in Christ.”
  9. In Christ Jesus you are being sanctified and made holy. 1 Corinthians 1:2, “To the church of God that is in Corinth, to those sanctified in Christ Jesus.” 
  10. In Christ Jesus everything you really needed will be supplied. Philippians 4:19, “My God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”
  11. In Christ Jesus the peace of God will guard your heart and mind. Philippians 4:7, “The peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” 
  12. In Christ Jesus you have eternal life. Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.” 
  13. And in Christ Jesus you will be raised from the dead at the coming of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” All those united to Adam in the first humanity die. All those united to Christ in the new humanity rise to live again

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Giving at Rock Bottom

We want you to know, brothers, about the grace of God that has been given among the churches of Macedonia, for in a severe test of affliction, their abundance of joy and their extreme poverty have overflowed in a wealth of generosity on their part. For they gave according to their means, as I can testify, and beyond their means, of their own accord, begging us earnestly for the favour of taking part in the relief of the saints— and this, not as we expected, but they gave themselves first to the Lord and then by the will of God to us. - 2 Cor 8:1-5

As a way to encourage the believers in Corinth to be generous Paul starts to brag on their neighbouring churches in the province of Macedonia. Churches he planted on his second big missionary journey: Philippi, Thessalonica and Berea. The Macedonian communities of faith assisting people they do not know in churches they had never been too located in their natural enemy state of Greece. Maybe today akin would be Palestinian believers giving money to help Israeli believer.

But what makes this all the more remarkable is that this giving is done out of "extreme poverty". The phrase is literally "down-to-the-depth poverty" (he kata bathous ptocheia; v. 2)--or, as Philip Hughes translates, "rock bottom" poverty.

I have never been "rock bottom" and often I am anything but generous. And I cannot remember ever "begging" for permission to give but that is where these churches were at.

They didn't need the money to buy a new new PA, a new building, a new coffee machine, the latest worship CD, they needed the money to exist but they gave and gave and gave.

The key is found in v 5 - they gave themselves first to the Lord. 

When we get that right everything else fits into place.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Waste it all.....

A truly amazing song from Kim Walker-Smith's new album - Still Believe released today.

Six days before Passover, Jesus entered Bethany where Lazarus, so recently raised from the dead, was living. Lazarus and his sisters invited Jesus to dinner at their home. Martha served. Lazarus was one of those sitting at the table with them. Mary came in with a jar of very expensive aromatic oils, anointed and massaged Jesus' feet, and then wiped them with her hair. The fragrance of the oils filled the house. 4-6Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples, even then getting ready to betray him, said, "Why wasn't this oil sold and the money given to the poor? It would have easily brought three hundred silver pieces." He said this not because he cared two cents about the poor but because he was a thief. He was in charge of their common funds, but also embezzled them. 7-8Jesus said, "Let her alone. She's anticipating and honouring the day of my burial. You always have the poor with you. You don't always have me." John 12:1-8

He is there where we hide...

An amazing video with an amazing message. Time to stop hiding and "cast all our anxieties on Jesus because He CARES for YOU!"

BE HERE NOW from blaine hogan on Vimeo.
Performed during the 2010 Global Leadership Summit

Music by Nate Yaccino: nathanyaccino@gmail.com

Monday, January 14, 2013

Be Present....in Church

Had the awesome privilege of sharing at Milton Keynes Christian Centre Church this weekend. The subject BE PRESENT - In Your Church. Watch below....

Be Present - In His Church from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Cant see the video? Click here

Sunday, January 13, 2013


My daily readings through devotions written by John Piper on YouVersion reminded me that the Apostle Paul was a prosperity preacher.

He time and time again wrote to the churches about "Riches" however we find that it was about anything other than hard cash.

Here is what John Piper wrote:

Here are all the uses of Paul’s favorite word for “riches” (Greek: ploutos). Taste and see what he lives for.

  • The riches of God’s kindness and forbearance and patience. (Romans 2:4)
  • The riches of God’s glory for vessels of mercy. (Romans 9:23)
  • The riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! (Romans 11:33)
  • A wealth of generosity on their part. (2 Corinthians 8:2)
  • The riches of God’s grace. (Ephesians 1:7)
  • The riches of God’s glorious inheritance in the saints. (Ephesians 1:18)
  • The immeasurable riches of God’s grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. (Ephesians 2:7)
  • The unsearchable riches of Christ. (Ephesians 3:8)
  • The riches of God’s glory. (Ephesians 3:16)
  • God’s riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
  • The riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory. (Colossians 1:27)
  • The riches of full assurance of understanding and the knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ. (Colossians 2:2)
  • The rich in this present age, charge them not to be haughty, nor to set their hopes on the uncertainty of riches, but on God, who richly provides us with everything to enjoy. (1 Timothy 6:17)
So I am truly RICH!

Saturday, January 12, 2013

The Greatest Effect?

"Do not think you are getting no good from the Bible, merely because you do not see that good day by day. The greatest effects are by no means those which make the most noise, and are most easily observed. The greatest effects are often silent, quiet, and hard to detect at the time they are being produced.

"Think of the influence of the moon upon the earth, and of the air upon the human lungs. Remember how silently the dew falls, and how imperceptibly the grass grows. There may be far more doing than you think in your soul by your Bible-reading." (J. C. Ryle, Practical Religion, 136)

Never grow weary of the slow, steady, growth that comes from the daily, disciplined, increasing, love affair with reading the Bible.

HT: Youversion

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Created Worshipping

It doesn't matter if I am in church, in the car listening to a CD, out walking with my ipod cranked up full in my ears, sacred words set to music has a way of transporting my spirit into the presence of God. Through "worship" my perspective is regained and my identity in Christ illuminated.

I have never understood the common and often said complaint from my fellow church goers that they "didn't get any thing from the worship in church this morning."

Worship is be definition about giving and not getting. But every time I have given no matter what the setting God has given me so much back. Not the local church band, not the world famous worship leader but God has given me so much back. But that is never why we worship, we worship because of who he is.

It doesn't matter if we are lead by a 90 year old off key lady in a cold ancient church on an old Hammond organ or we have the whole Hillsong band pitch up in our living room - worship is our privilege.

Of course worship is much much more that singing its part of who we are and as Mark Driscoll explains in his book "Who do you think you are?" it's something we NEVER stop doing!

Here are a few quotes from the first chapter:
  • We are created continuously outpouring. Note I did not say we were created to be continuous outpourers. Nor did I imply that we were created to worship.... It might not even be safe to say that we were created for worship.
  • It is important to say that we were created continuously outpouring.
  • Worship is the continuous outpouring of all that I am, all that I do and all that I can ever become in light of a choosing God. - Harold Best
  • We are not created to worship, but rather we are created worshipping
  • All of humanity can be divided into two categories: those who worship the creator and those who worship created things.
  • Everything in life is sacred, and nothing is secular.

Saturday, January 05, 2013

Who do you think you are?

Yesterday afternoon I took delivery of an advance copy of Pastor Mark Driscoll's brand new book, "Who do you think you are?". It releases here in the UK on Monday (7th Jan). Here is the amazon link to pre-order.

Above is the book video trailer, where you can get a glimpse of what the book is about, there is also a free chapter on the book’s website if you are one of those who wants to taste and see first.

“The fundamental problem we have in this world, is that we don’t understand who we truly are—children of God made in his image—and define ourselves by any number of things other than Jesus. Only by knowing our false identity apart from Christ, in comparison to our true identity in him, can we finally deal with and overcome the issues in our lives.” - Driscoll
I have been looking forward to this book for some time for two reasons.

Firstly, Ephesians, on which the book is based, is truly amazing work by the Apostle Paul and the Holy Spirit to describe God's plan and purpose for us. So I love hanging out in its pages.

Secondly, Driscoll's straightforward style challenges both my thinking and lifestyle as someone who has struggled continually to fully grasp my identity found in Christ.

Looking forward to starting to read it today.

Tuesday, January 01, 2013

Three Foundation Stones for 2013

I couldn't think of anything better to write than copy below an article from John Piper on Desiring God:

“God is always doing 10,000 things in your life, and you may be aware of three of them.” That was one of our most widely spread tweets in 2012.

So we want to say it again for 2013 and make this promise even more solid. Not only may you see a tiny fraction of what God is doing in your life; the part you do see may make no sense to you.

  • You may find yourself in prison, and God may be advancing the gospel among the guards, and making the free brothers bold. (Philippians 1:12–14). 
  • You may find yourself with a painful thorn, and God may be making the power of Christ more beautiful in weakness. (2 Corinthians 12:8) 
  • You may find yourself with a dead brother that Jesus could have healed, and God may be preparing to show his glory. (John 11) 
  • You may find yourself sold into slavery, accused falsely of sexual abuse, and forgotten in a prison cell, and God may be preparing you to rule a nation. (Genesis 37-50) 
  • You may wonder why a loved one is left in unbelief so long, and find that God is preparing a picture of his patience and a powerful missionary. (Galatians 1:15; 1 Timothy 1:12-16) 
  • You may live in all purity and humility and truth only to end rejected and killed, and God may be making a parable of his Son and an extension of his merciful sufferings in yours. (Isaiah 53:3; Mark 8:31; Colossians 1:24) 
  • You may walk through famine, be driven from your homeland, lose husband and sons, and be left desolate with one foreign daughter-in-law, and God may be making you and ancestor of a king. (Ruth 1–4) 
  • You may find the best counselor you’ve ever known giving foolish advice, and God may be preparing the destruction of your enemy. (2 Samuel 17:14) 
  • You may be a sexually pure single person and yet accused of immorality, and God may be preparing you as a virgin blessing in ways no one can dream. (Luke 1:35) 
  • You may not be able to sleep and look in a random book, and God may be preparing to shame your arrogant enemy and rescue a condemned people. (Esther 6:1–11) 
  • You may be shamed and hurt, and God may be confirming your standing as his child and purifying you for the highest inheritance. (Hebrews 12:5–11) 
There are three granite foundation stones under this confidence for 2013: God’s love. God’s sovereignty. God’s wisdom.

Love: In the death of Christ on our behalf God has totally removed his wrath from us (Romans 8:3; Galatians 3:13). Now there is not only no condemnation (Romans 8:1), but now God is only merciful (Romans 8:32). Even his discipline is all mercy.

Sovereignty: There is no power in the universe that can stop him from fulfilling his totally good plans for you. “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2).

Wisdom: God’s infinite wisdom always sees a way to bring the greatest good out of the most painful and complex situations. “Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!” (Romans 11:33).

Therefore, no matter what you face this year, God will be doing 10,000 things in your life that you cannot see. Trust him. Love him. And they will all be good for you."