Wednesday, December 31, 2014

2014 done and gone but memorable

Wednesday, August 06, 2014

Encounters with Jesus

This past Sunday Discovery Kids took over all our services at Milton Keynes Christian Centre. It was great to get just a small glimpse of what the amazing people, who invest into the children's lives, do each week.

Here is the message that Nicola, our Children's Pastor, and more importantly my wonderful wife shared with the church.

Encounters with Jesus - Discovery Kids Takeover from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

"Greater than" Leadership

Being given the honour of leading in God's Kingdom is any guise is a great responsibility. It means that God has entrusted you with the welfare of his children. When caring for the children of a great God it requires truly great leadership.

So our leadership must have the characteristics of the greatest leader - Jesus.

Humility > Pride
Serving > Taking
Listening > Talking
Learning > Boasting
Example > Telling
Encouragement > Threatening
Character > Gifting
Empowering > Controlling
God's Word > Any leadership book
Following Jesus > Leading others
Transparency > Manipulation
Christ likeness > Charisma
Healthy conflict > Blind obedience

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Delight in the riches

I read this today by Seth Godin, as he talked about the the historic decision of the Swedish government over 200 years ago, to ensure all their citizens were literate.

"Teach someone to read and you guarantee that they will be able to learn forever. Teach an entire culture to read and connections and innovations go through the roof."

I here much said around church world today about culture. It would seem each local church must have its own defined culture. Once defined each new believer connect to this culture and adopt it as their own. Anyone who doesn't buy in will eventually have to leave.

If this is important then I think the culture I'd like to promote is that everyone grasps this collection of books we call the Bible. If each follower of Christ in a local church will devour each word of scripture that leads to a ever deepening love with the author.

A culture of reading, meditating, studying and applying God's Word would be as revolutionary in the church as the ability to read was for a country.

Activated by a partnership of our reading and power of the the Holy Spirit, God's Word can build a dynasty of advancement and innovation in Jesus Church.

King David talks about God's Word in this way:

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to your word. With my whole heart I seek you; let me not wander from your commandments! I have stored up your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you. Blessed are you, O Lord; teach me your statutes! 13With my lips I declare all the rules of your mouth. In the way of your testimonies I delight as much as in all riches. I will meditate on your precepts and fix my eyes on your ways. I will delight in your statutes; I will not forget your word. - Ps 119:9-16

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

I am the one who.....

Being a follower of Jesus is not for the faint hearted it is a call to be a radical one....

  • who loves God with all his heart and soul and mind and strength (Matthew 22:37) 
  • who loves Jesus more than mother or father or son or daughter (Matthew 10:37) 
  • who knows he has died and is seated with Christ in heaven (Colossians 3:2) 
  • who sets his mind on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Colossians 3:3) 
  • who is not conformed to this world (Romans 12:2) 
  • who does not love this world (1 John 2:15) 
  • who flees youthful passions and pursues righteousness, faith, love, and peace (2 Timothy 2:22) 
  • who seeks understanding like silver and searches for it as for hidden treasures (Proverbs 2:4) 
  • who does not account his life of any value nor as precious to himself (Acts 20:24) 
  • who is filled with the Holy Spirit (Ephesians 5:18) 
  • who rejoices when others revile him and persecute him (Matthew 5:11) 
  • who prays without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17) 
  • who dies every day (1 Corinthians 5:31) 
  • who boils in the spirit (Romans 12:11)
List originally published in Desiring God 

Friday, July 11, 2014

Health Check

Towards the end of last year MKCC sent me of a health check up. Probably because I have reached that age when everything starts to fall apart. Thankfully, apart from my ever decreasing ability to read a book because my arms are not quite long enough to allow me to get the book far away to focus on, I got a clean bill of health.

Today I came across a spiritual health check posted by Dave Kraft. I wasn't so confident my answers to these questions gave me such a clean bill of health.

  1. Are you reading the Bible daily? If you adopted an annual reading plan at the beginning of 2014, is your reading up to date? If not, take time this week to caught up. You might choose, if necessary, to adjust your plan – but still read daily. If you did not adopt a plan in January, pick a strategy for rest of the year. 
  2. Are you praying daily? Are you praying regularly and recurrently (1 Thess. 5:17)? Do you pray for those in authority, including government and church leaders (1 Tim. 2:2)? Are you praying by name for other believers to speak the gospel boldly and clearly (Eph. 6:18-20, Col. 4:2-4)? Do you pray for your enemies (Matt. 5:44)? 
  3. How often have you shared the gospel this year? Is the gospel so striking to you that you cannot keep it to yourself? Have you reached beyond the church world to develop gospel-centred relationships with unbelievers? For what non-believers are you praying as Paul did (Rom. 10:1)? Ask God to increase your burden for lost people (Rom. 9:1-3) throughout the remainder of this year. 
  4. Are you faithfully fighting sin in your life? Be honest – have you experienced victory over sin this year? Is there a sin that continually haunts you even though you’ve sought to overcome it? If so, what steps do you still need to take this year? Confess that sin to someone? Seek accountability? Simply repent? 
  5. What scriptures have you memorised this year? Do you echo the desire of the psalmist: “May the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable to You” (Psalm 19:14)? Based on your memorisation of God’s Word this year, would I conclude that you treasure God’s Word in your heart (Psalm 119:9-11)? 
  6. Are you serving faithfully in a local church? The church is much more than a place to attend; it is a family that loves us and provokes us to good works (Heb. 10:24). Through the first half of 2014, have you used your spiritual gifts as a member of a local body of Christ (1 Cor. 12:1-11, 1 Pet. 4:10)? 
  7. Are you supporting His work financially? Commit today to invest yourself in God’s church throughout the rest of 2014. 
  8. Are you exhibiting the work of the flesh or the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:19-23)? Here, allow the Word to guide your self-evaluation: “Now the works of the flesh are obvious:sexual immorality, moral impurity, promiscuity, idolatry, sorcery, hatreds, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, selfish ambitions, dissensions, factions, envy,drunkenness, carousing, and anything similar. . . . But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faith,gentleness, self-control.” Which traits most characterise your life today? 
  9. Who is walking more with God because of your influence this year? That is, are you making disciples? Have you purposefully pointed away from self to direct others to follow the Son of God (John 1:29)? Or, to ask the question in the negative, is there anyone who walks less with God today because of your example and influence this year? 
  10. What steps have you taken to spread the gospel to the nations? The Great Commission is a global calling (Matt. 28:18-20), even for those not called to go to the nations full-time. Have you intentionally studied about God’s work around the world this year? Are you praying for missionaries by name? Are you fully open to taking a mission trip this year or next? 
  11. How would your family assess you as a family member and a believer this year? Those who live with us are most equipped to evaluate our spiritual walk. If I were to ask your family about your walk with God, what would they say? Would they say your life – all of it, including behind the scenes – models Christ? If not, decide today what steps you will take the next six months. 
Regardless of what you learn in this evaluation, God is a God of new beginnings (2 Cor. 5:17) – which means you may recommit yourself to Him today.

Monday, June 23, 2014

Revival vs Routine

The word "revival" probably means many different things to many different people. Even in church world it is viewed in different ways. For me, growing up in church, revival was the panacea of evangelism. Hundreds if not thousands of people were suddenly convicted of their sin and started to knock on the church doors begging to be let in.

So "revivals" were preached about, prophesied about, prayed for, fasted for and waited on. And for me in my life I am still waiting for this phenomena. Can God do this? Yes he has, yes he can and yes he will. But sometimes we are so focused on revival we miss the routine.

At the birth of the church we find a crazy example of revival as its been defined to me. 5000 people believe and are baptised all inside one day. That's 5000. Now that would look cool on your churches Instagram post. But its just as cool on Dr Luke's book - Acts!

42 And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 43 And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. 44 And all who believed were together and had all things in common. 45 And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved. - Acts 2:42-47

These early believers born in revival committed themselves to the routine of the christian life.

The day to day routine of:

  • Developing a relationship with God through prayer
  • Digging deeper to understand the foundational truths of this new life.
  • Creating loving community
  • Discovering a new generous way of living
  • Regularly attending corporate gatherings
  • Doing life together by inviting other believers into their homes.
The result of the "routine" was a continual daily stream of new believers.

Praying for revival is just too easy, maybe we should live "routinely" for revival.

Thursday, May 15, 2014


Almighty God, as nothing is better for us or more necessary for our chief happiness than to depend on thy Word, for that is a sure pledge of thy good will towards us, grant that, as thou hast favoured us with so singular a benefit, we may be attentive to hear thee and submit ourselves to thee in true fear, meekness, and humility. May we be prepared in the spirit of meekness to receive whatever proceeds from thee, and may thy Word not only be precious to us, but also sweet and delightful, until we shall enjoy the perfection of that life which thine only-begotten Son has procured for us by his own blood. Amen. - John Calvin

Psalms - a real life story

In the psalms I find myself at my worst and my best. Here I can acclaim God with warmth and confidence and hope, but here I can also give vent to those black thoughts that might otherwise lie hidden in the dark and angry corners of my heart. 

Above all the Psalms express the reality of my longing for God and my joy and sufferings in the vicissitude of my search for Him. Sometimes God is close, sometimes distant. I seek Him in the desert and on the mountain, in poverty and in emptiness and in waiting.

Today God is mindful of me, tomorrow he may not visit me. Today I am brought to the mountaintop, tomorrow I am calling from the depths. Today I am radiant, tomorrow I face darkness. Today I enjoy life, tomorrow I feel the hand of death.

- Esther de Waal ( Seeking God )

Thursday, May 08, 2014

My Food

This week at HTB Leadership Conference I heard Bobbie Cheema, Senior Treasury Counsel, talk about her faith with Nicky Gumbel.

Bobbie was introduced to the Gospel when she visited a tent mission which was being held in a park in Leeds where riots had broken out some years before.

It is so interesting to me the immense variety of ways that Jesus breaks into peoples lives. In this case he uses a holiday club in a tent mission, faithfully ran by people that probably none of have ever heard of to change the course of a young Sikh girls life.

On becoming a Christian, Bobbie, was not allowed to attend Church so as a brand new Christian, the Bible became her food.

It reminded me again that we often value God's Word in the way that we should. We read, listen & watch so much information but only his Word gives us a true revelation that will build our lives on a secure foundation.

Here are a few other things that I noted down from her talk.
If we are not ambitious as Christians (in the right way, in fear and trembling) then we are selling our God short.

Ambition & humility not mutually exclusive.

The three most important things in leadership: Clarity of Thought, Honouring Others and Courage & Fearlessness.

Always HONOUR those you lead, lift them up, mentor and lay down your life for them.

I go into court at the Old Bailey early each day & pray. I say "Here I am, come on, what are we going to do today"


"Faith is to see everything against an infinite horizon...when we have the eyes of faith we see a certain divine glow shimmering within the ordinary." - All Sons & Daughters

"A blessing is the visible, perceptible, effective, proximity of God." - Bonhoeffer

Check out the latest video from All Sons and Daughters - Overture

Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Live for the line not the dot

Part of our teaching series at MKCC - RICH. God wants us to be Rich but maybe not in the way we would initially want or think.

The line of eternity dwarfs our lives to the extent that it seems like a dot in comparison. God wants us not to live for the dot of this life but the never ending line of eternity with Him.

Check out the video.

Rich - I should live not for the dot but for the line from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Worth it All

I heard and tried to sing this song by Ben Cantelon at the HTB Leadership Conference yesterday. I say, try, as the words are hugely challenging to me. Worth it All - Listen to it in the video below.

All I am, Lord, here before You
Reaching out for more

You're the promise
Never failing
You are my reward
You are my reward

I let go of all I have
Just to have all of You
And no matter what the cost
I will follow You

Jesus, everything I've lost
I have found in You
When I finally reach the end I'll say
You are worth it all

There's no riches
Earthly treasure
That will satisfy

Every longing for You, Jesus
Set this heart on fire
Set this heart on fire

I let go of all I have
Just to have all of You
And no matter what the cost
I will follow You

Jesus, everything I've lost
I have found in You
When I finally reach the end I'll say
You are worth it all
You are worth it all

When I'm there in Your glorious presence
Every knee is bowed before You
Hear the sound of heaven singing
You are worth it all
All the saints cry Holy Holy
Angels singing worthy worthy
Forever I will shout Your praises
You are worth it all

You are worth it all

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Our Great God - Newspring Worship

Just loving the new song "Our Great God" from the new Newspring Worship album - Salvation Rise. Thanks to Lee and the rest of the Newspring team for giving us such great songs to exalt "Our Great God"!

It releases 27th April - Do yourself a favour and preorder on iTunes for £7.99. You will not regret it.

Look at the skies, I see your majesty
Your glory shines for all the world to see
Look at the cross, I see salvation rise
Your voice like thunder calls the dead to life.

Our great God, a mighty warrior
Our great God, You go before us
Our great God is on our side

Through every storm and in the rising seas
We will not fear, You stand in victory
Here in the light we cast aside our shame
We are free to glorify Your name

If it wasn't for Jesus, we'd still be all alone
If it wasn't for mercy, we'd still be on our own.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Resurrection Sunday Recap

  • He is Risen, He is risen indeed
  • Sonia likes to wear slippers on stage during the service run through. lol
  • It blows my mind as I drive into the church car park at 8 am and see the place brimming with so many volunteers at work.
  • In a sick way having problems with traffic and car parking at church is a good thing. Having no traffic would be a bigger problem. Shout out to all the guys who serve on the front line in the car park!
  • With a set of drums and what I term bongos the service could have been renamed "dualing drummers". :)
  • It was great to have Mark back preaching after his trip to Bulgaria. He said:
  • Easter proves that Jesus was who he said he was & that he triumphed over everything including death.
  • The last thing we need is a church thats silent but when it does speak it needs to speak about the Gospel. Its that that changes lives
  • Eternal life cannot be manufactured or earned even in a 1000 lifetimes its a free gift only through Christ it's a scandal.
  • The gospel changes us from being self centred and self driven people into Christ centred & Christ driven people.
  • The vilest offender who truly believes, That moment from Jesus a pardon receives. - Fanny Crosby
  • The early disciples had more wealth than stacked up in any bank, they had connected to this eternal life of Christ so they could sing even in prison.
  • Jesus said... "I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live.
  • We welcomed over 1200 people, including 241 children, to our 3 services. And people say church is not relevant?

Reconciliation - How God brings us home to Him

Had the awesome opportunity to share from God's Word at the Milton Keynes Christian Centre Good Friday service. We were continuing our series God is the Gospel. Here is a video of the message.

For if while we were enemies we were reconciled to God through the death of His Son, much more, having been reconciled, we shall be saved by His life. And not only this, but we also exult in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received the reconciliation. - Romans 5:10-11

“God does not love us because Christ died for us, Christ died for us because God loves us" – J I Packer

Saturday, April 12, 2014

A different kind of Atheism

The Roman Emperors referred to the Christians in the early church as "atheists". The didn't believe in the Roman God's. The Emperor Julian (AD 332-363) was frustrated that more and more people were being drawn to this new religion. Not only that, what stunned him about them was the Christ-exalting love that these Christians showed in spite of the persecution they were under.

"Atheism (Christianity) has been specially advanced through the loving service rendered to strangers, and through their care for the burial of the dead. It is a scandal...that the godless Galileans care not only for their own poor but OURS AS WELL; while those who belong to us look in vain for the help that we should render them."

They were propelled to love inspite of the risk!

Quote from the book "Risk is right" by John Piper - Page 34

Monday, April 07, 2014

Hope has a name....JESUS

If there are words for Him then I don't have them. 
You see, my brain has not yet reached the point where it could 
form a thought that could adequately describe the greatness of my God, 
and my lungs have not yet developed the ability to release a breath 
with enough agility to breathe out the greatness of his love, 

and my voice, you see, 
my voice, is so inhibited, restrained by human limits 
that it's hard to even sing the praise of…  
You see if there are words for Him then I don't have them. 

My God, 
His grace is remarkable, mercies are enumerable, 
strength is impenetrable, He is Honourable, accountable, favourable, 
He is unsearchable yet knowable, indefinable yet approachable, indescribable yet personal, 
He is beyond comprehension, further than imagination, constant thru generations, 
king of every nation. 

But if there are words for Him then I don't have them. 
You see, my words are few, and to try to capture the one true God, 
using my vocabulary will never do, 
but I use words as an expression, 
an expression of worship to a saviour, 
a saviour who is both worthy and deserving of my praise, so I use words. 

My heart extols the Lord, blesses his name forever, 
He has won my heart captured my mind and has bound them both together, 
He has defeated me in my rebellion, 
conquered me in my sin, 
He has welcomed me into his presence, 
completely invited me in. 
He has made himself the object of my sight, 
flooding me with mercies in the morning, 
drowning me with grace in the night. 

But if there are words for Him 
then I don't have them. 
But what I do have is good news, 
for my God knew that man made words would never do, 
for words are just tools that we use to point to the truth, 
so He sent His son Jesus Christ as "The Word", living proof, 

He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation, 
for by Him all things are created, giving nothingness formation, 
and by His words he sustains, in the power of His name, 
for He is before all things and over all things he reigns, holy is his name, 
so praise him for his life... 

The way, he persevered in strife, 
the humble son of God becoming the perfect sacrifice, 
praise him for his death... 

that He willingly stood in our place, that he lovingly endured the grave, 
that he battled our enemy and on the third day rose in victory, 

He is everything that was promised, 
praise Him as your risen king,
lift your voice and sing for one day he will return for us 
and we will finally be united with our saviour for eternity, eternity. 

So it’s not just words that I proclaim, 
for my words point to "The Word" and "The Word" has a name, 
hope has a name, 
love has a name, 
peace has a name, 
love has a name 

and that name is Jesus Christ. 

Friday, April 04, 2014

In it for the LONG haul?

"The essential thing “in heaven and earth” is that there should be long obedience in the same direction; there thereby results, and has always resulted in the long run, something which has made life worth living" – Friedrich Nietzsche

“There is a great market in the world for religious experience; there is little enthusiasm for the patient acquisition of virtue, little inclination to sign up for long term apprenticeship in what other generations called holiness.” - Eugene Peterson

There is nothing instant about following Jesus apart from taking the first step.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

12 ways a leader can kill his church

This post is a little bit a reaction. In no way do I think I have it all together and know that I have much to learn and these are purely my personal thoughts. I read an article today titled "Church Members, Here Are 10 Ways to KILL Your Church". Some of which may or may not be true. But it's my experience as a church leader that it is much more likely that "leaders" will cause the greatest damage to a church. So here are 12 ways a leader can harm or kill his church! (or at least encourage people to find another one)

  1. Don't practice what you preach
    Tell your church to do something you aren't prepared to do yourself. Tell them to tithe when a check on your bank account would see you somewhat lacking. Integrity must be found in leadership otherwise people will vote with their feet.
  2. Don't use the offerings for what you asked it for
    If you ask for a "Vision" offering. Make sure that you use the money for the specified actual vision. Every penny! If the price changes. Tell people. If you choose to go a different route. Tell people and offer them their money back. Be transparent!
  3. Surround yourself with yes men / women
    Healthy conflict is good. Leaders need people that make them think. The temptation is to surround yourself with people that thinks the sun shines out of your bum. It may make life easier in the short term but its a sure fire way to help you make bad decisions. Look for people that are Godly, madly in love with the church and big enough to ask a question.
  4. Have no real local accountability
    Local churches should have local leaders. There is a fad which is seeing leaders appoint fellow leaders from other churches in another part of the country or even another country as trustees or directors of the charity. This is not accountability it is trying to avoid accountability. It is also a sign of a weak leader. Rather than having to do some heavy lifting and actually talk, debate and convince people who know and love the church, they get their mate to tick the box.
  5. Assume that volunteers who don't show up can't be bothered.
    Not asking the question to find out what is going on in their life. What difficulties are they facing. Assuming the worst about people is a sure fire way to have them walk down the road to a church that appreciates them.
  6. Never release others into real leadership
    Call people leaders but constantly micro manage them. Criticise rather than coach when they make a mistake. Control them by ensuring they have to come back to you for almost every decision. Not allowing them to experiment and do things their way and insisting its your way or the highway.
  7. Beat up your congregation instead of building them up
    People already feel bad enough about themselves they don't need you to pile the pressure on. Inspire don't injure.
  8. Not making the local church God has placed you in your focus.
    You will always be the hero as a visiting speaker at another church so your ego will be fed. Jump off the band waggon of i will preach and your church and you speak at mine (with reciprocating monetary gifts). God has given you a flock and a city or town that he thinks needs you, give them and him your all.
  9. Thinking the congregation are there to serve you rather that you serving the congregation.
    As shepherds of God's people our example is the good shepherd. We are forever wedded to the bowl and towel of our master. No matter how many leadership books we devour with new techniques we are drawn back and confronted with a serving saviour. If we want people to serve us it maybe time to step out of leadership.
  10. Never personally tell another person about Jesus.
    Even worse shout at your congregation for their lack of evangelistic zeal when you can't actually remember the last person you invited to church, let alone they actually accepted and came and sat along side you.
  11. Keep hopping on and off the latest trend in church growth ideas.
    By enlarge your congregation don't care about, purpose driven, G12, attractonal v missional. (nothing wrong with any of them) They want a place where they are known, accepted as they are and inspired to change don't rob them of that with the latest fad.
  12. Forcing your vision through efficiently instead of winning people effectively.
    Not taking the time to win people is a sure fire way to empty the church. There will always be a few who won't go with you but the vast majority just want a compelling enough reason to change. God may have captured your heart now take the time to help others jump on board. Take time - people matter.

    The Holy Spirit has put you in charge of these people—God’s people they are—to guard and protect them. God himself thought they were worth dying for. - Acts 20:28 (Message)

Seeing only Jesus

Dwelling in a secret place
Overshadowed by His grace
Looking up into his face.
Seeing only Jesus.

Dwelling there, how truly blest!
Leaving all, how sweet to rest
Head upon my Saviour’s breast
Seeing only Jesus.

Resting there, no more to roam,
Drawing near to heaven and home.
Waiting there until he comes.
Seeing only Jesus.

- Grace Clement

(via Colin Hurt)

Monday, March 24, 2014


Loved this short video from Matt Chandler on sanctification:

Filling Life with Joy in Jesus from Desiring God on Vimeo.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Overloaded fuses of love

This illustration from Martin Lloyd-Jones in his book Joy Unspeakable to describe the difference between common Christian living and what happens when the Holy Spirit "clothes" a person with power blew my mind!

"It is like a child walking along holding his father's hand. All is well. The child is happy. He feels secure. His father loves him. He believes that his father loves him but there is no unusual urge to talk about this or sing about it. It is true and it is pleasant."

"Then suddenly the father startles the child by reaching down and sweeping him up into his arms and hugging him tightly and kissing him on the neck and whispering, "I love you so much!" And then holding the stunned child back so that he can look into his face and saying with all his heart, "I am so glad you are mine." Then hugging him once more with unspeakable warmth and affection. Then he puts the child down and they continue their walk."

"A pleasant and happy walk with God is swept up into an unspeakable new level of joy and love and assurance and reality that leaves the Christian so utterly certain of the immediate reality of Jesus that he is overflowing in praise and more free and bold in witness than he ever imagined he could be."

"The child is simply stunned. He doesn't know whether to cry or shout or fall down or run, he is so happy. The fuses of love are so overloaded they almost blow out. The subconscious doubts—that he wasn't thinking about at the time, but that pop up every now and then—are gone! And in their place is utter and indestructible assurance, so that you know that you know that you know that God is real and that Jesus lives and that you are loved, and that to be saved is the greatest thing in the world."

"And as you walk on down the street you can scarcely contain yourself, and you want to cry out, "My father loves me! My father loves me! O, what a great father I have! What a father! What a father!"

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Mission means radical risk

“You know that from day one of my arrival in Asia I was with you totally—laying my life on the line, serving the Master no matter what, putting up with no end of scheming by Jews who wanted to do me in.....there is another urgency before me now. I feel compelled to go to Jerusalem. I’m completely in the dark about what will happen when I get there. I do know that it won’t be any picnic, for the Holy Spirit has let me know repeatedly and clearly that there are hard times and imprisonment ahead. But that matters little. What matters most to me is to finish what God started: the job the Master Jesus gave me of letting everyone I meet know all about this incredibly extravagant generosity of God. - Acts 20:17-24

The message of radical risk and sacrifice seems to be some what missing in the UK church. We are obsessed with success rather than sacrifice, power over servanthood. If things are not going well for you then somehow you are doing something wrong, out of God’s will or a failure.

Paul had previously spent time in Ephesus and while there wrote to the church at Corinth describing his time:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. -2 Cor 1:8-10

I'm 51 now. I left Bible College 30 years ago starry eyed and ready to take the world for Jesus. I set off to plant a church sent out from MKCC and failed miserably. In the 30 years since what I do know is that I've learned far more in the defeats and difficult times than I have in the easy and successful times.

Radical risk forces us to rely on God and that’s a good place to be. It's easy to serve god when everything is rosy, when the crowd is growing, people are being saved, baptisms are abounding & offerings are up, but its also easy to trust in yourself during that time.

Radical risk with radical sacrifice can often put us in a place where everything can be lost even life its self. At that point we have no other option but to rely on God but that is always the best option we have.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

A Debtor to mercy alone

A debtor to mercy alone,
of covenant mercy I sing;
Nor fear, with Thy righteousness on,
my person and off’ring to bring.
The terrors of law and of God
with me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour’s obedience and blood
hide all my transgressions from view.

The work which His goodness began,
the arm of His strength will complete;
His promise is Yea and Amen,
and never was forfeited yet.
Things future, nor things that are now,
nor all things below or above,
Can make Him His purpose forgo,
or sever my soul from His love.

My name from the palms of His hands
eternity will not erase;
Impressed on His heart it remains,
 in marks of indelible grace.
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
as sure as the earnest is giv’n;
More happy, but not more secure,
the glorified spirits in Heav’n.

- Au­gus­tus M. Top­la­dy 1771

Now that is a hymn full of truth that lifts my heart in love and sheer joy towards my God. Thank you Michael Tait for reminding me of it last night!

Friday, March 14, 2014

Entering Area 51

So its my 51st Birthday. So here are 51 words or people that have in some way shaped my life, taken it in a new direction or just brings a smile to my face for no particular reason:

  1. Belger (aka Cairnbulg)
  2. Cotton (aka Inverallochy)
  3. Albert
  4. Elsie
  5. Brother
  6. Twins
  7. Mizpah
  8. North Sea
  9. Quiet Waters
  10. Sonny Brae
  11. Mrs Alexander
  12. Kinnaird
  13. Didie Bill
  14. Granny Mary
  15. The Rack (Shore line)
  16. The Fitba Perk ( Home to much more than football, cricket, tennis)
  17. Aberdeen FC
  18. Fergie
  19. Uncle Billy
  20. Roger Blackmore
  21. Walstead School
  22. The Mission
  23. Andrew Smith
  24. Cairnbulg AOG
  25. Mattersey Hall
  26. The Ice Box
  27. William Dillon
  28. Keith Green
  29. Gothenberg
  30. George Ridley
  31. Milton Keynes
  32. Nicola Ritchie (outside of no 51 the most important)
  33. John Ecclestone
  34. Aston Villa
  35. Key Consultants
  36. Newport Pagnell
  37. Abbie
  38. Liam
  39. Mark Sherratt
  40. Philip Yancey
  41. Grace
  42. MKCC
  43. Florida
  44. St Jean De Monts
  45. Coffee Shop
  46. WiFi
  47. Apple
  48. Books
  49. Friends
  50. The Bible
  51. Jesus
Not a complete list, put together in a few short moments. If I sat and thought about it i'd probably change it. But at 51 my memory is going!

Thursday, March 06, 2014

What is God's point?

"One of the biggest questions we've ever asked is: What God's point is? I asked myself that as a little boy, still asking it in may ways. Although I think I've come to a conclusion.

It is I believe that we are born to be loved. Everyone is trying to love God, they don't know that he loves them. So being born to be loved is the key to everything else, because God's point is a love affair.

And so when we actually try to achieve something we are going to have to do it together. So if we are ever going to get what God wants, which is his inheritance. We are flat out going to have to love each other, work together, which means we are going to have to grow up. We are going to stop being boys and start being men. We have got to stop being girls and start being women. We have got to get out of the bleachers into the arena. We have got to get out of the wilderness, where it looks nice, you live in all these lovely blessings, but you actually end up disinherited.

God is looking for his family that will get a full inheritance. Which means that we have got to become who he is, we've got to become God with skin on.

And you have got to go pioneer something, build something, then smash hell to pieces and take back what's been lost. That's his inheritance!

Is there a generation actually out there that's capable of becoming something like Christ?"

- Andrew Shearman

Check out the G42 Leadership Academy

Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Different Countries - Partners in the Gospel

Today we welcome Mark & Laura Waltz to MKCC. At Granger Community Church, Mark oversees adult relational connections, including groups, guest services and volunteer strategies. He is going to be training many of our staff and volunteers over the next few day. Including a workshop on Saturday, Lasting Impressions, you can still book in here.

Here is post that Mark put together. It is very interesting to me what he has gleaned through a couple of short conversations and reviewing MKCC's various guises on the internet. Web, facebook, twitter etc. If this is what MKCC is communicating through media and face to face it makes me very happy.

Last year the good people of Milton Keynes Christian Center, just outside London, invited me to join them for a few days of training, including an all-day workshop with their teams and area churches.

My wife, Laura, and I have anticipated this partnership (as well, as the rare opportunity to take in the history and beauty of their region) for months now. It's here! We leave this week to join lead pastor, Mark Sherratt, associate pastor, Billy Ritchie, and their amazing team.

Before we even get there, here's what I love about MKCC: 

Their values are clear and courageous:

  • We're passionate about people 
  • We're committed to community 
  • We're moving towards maturity 
  • We're saved to serve 
  • We're forgiven to forgive 
  • We're given to generosity 
  • We're bringing our best 
They love their community

  • They have opened their campus for business and city to maximize their efforts 
  • They are creatively and constantly initiating ways to give to their city 
  • They are wiling to "go the distance" to embrace their people 
They believe in equipping, empowering and praying
  • They frequently invest in their staff and volunteer leaders 
  • Training is normal and expected 
  • Prayer covers their new and existing leaders 
  • They trust and celebrate their leaders 
MKCC is already a partner - with me and Laura - and Granger Community Church. We share many of the same values. Our mission is the same. Our belief that people matter shows up in how we go about ministry. We're so excited to spend the next week learning, equipping and sharing life with this impressive staff and amazing church!

If you are in the area in the UK, it's not too late to join us for a day of guest services training this Saturday, 8 March 2014. You can learn more and register here.

Tuesday, March 04, 2014

Relational Leadership

You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia - Acts 20:18

Over the nearly 3 years in Ephesus, Paul had an eventful stay. He struggled against opposition, was imprisoned at least once, feared for his life, and wrote letters to other churches including Corinth where he wrote this:

We do not want you to be uninformed, brothers, about the hardships we suffered in the province of Asia. We were under great pressure, far beyond our ability to endure, so that we despaired even of life. Indeed, in our hearts we felt the sentence of death. But this happened that we might not rely on ourselves but on God, who raises the dead. He has delivered us from such a deadly peril, and he will deliver us. -2 Cor 1:8-10

Paul seems to talk about we often. And writing this letter from Ephesus it would seem that the we at this time are the people he is surrounded by, the believers in Ephesus.

The guys he was teaching, in public and in their homes. The people he did life with. Paul is often portrayed as a harsh individual where relationships are secondary. But this passage gives short consideration of that caricature.

We read of tears many times. The fact that the leaders of this church were happy to make the 68 mile journey, in an age when walking was the mode of travel, to spend a short time with Paul speaks volumes. This was no leader locked in an ivory tower who kept himself to him self. This was brother on brother, flesh on flesh, friendship and deep love.

Relationships were clearly vital to this great missionary and leader. Today too many leaders are lonely for no good reason. Paul never seemed to do life alone he always seemed to have travelling companions in the cause of Christ.

Lets not do life or leadership alone!

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

The Miletus Farewell

Now from Miletus he sent to Ephesus and called the elders of the church to come to him. - Acts 20:17

The group of believers at Ephesus was important to the Apostle Paul. He had at one point on his journeys taken up residence there for 3 years.

Relationships had been birthed, nurtured and flourished. So on his way to Rome, which it would seem that Paul knew he would not return, he lands at the port of Miletus and sends for his friends, the leaders of the Church at Ephesus.

The came, a journey of over 60 miles, to say goodbye to their leader and friend. In a few short verses we read how Paul pours out his heart to his fellow leaders. Encouraging, directing, challenging, thanking & inspiring. It is his last opportunity to influence these leaders who he had worked side by side with and he holds nothing back.

Both his challenge for them and love of them is undiluted. These few verses contain a wealth of insight into Paul's leadership ethos and style.

Over the next few posts I want to explore verses 17 - 38 of Acts 20 and uncover some unexpected gems of leadership advice.

First: Leaders do life together

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

To the rescue

"People think the Bible is a book of heroes, showing you people you should copy. The Bible does have some heroes in it, but…most of the people in the Bible aren’t heroes at all. They make some big mistakes (sometimes on purpose). They get afraid and run away. At times they are downright mean."

"No, the Bible isn’t a book of rules, or a book of heroes. The Bible is most of all a story. It’s an adventure story about a young Hero who comes from a far country to win back his lost treasure. It’s a love story about a brave Prince who leaves his palace, his throne – everything – to rescue the one he loves."

Sally Lloyd-Jones’ - Jesus Storybook Bible.

Now that seems worth reading.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Enter the Silence

28-30 When life is heavy and hard to take, go off by yourself. Enter the silence. Bow in prayer. Don’t ask questions: Wait for hope to appear. Don’t run from trouble. Take it full-face. The “worst” is never the worst. 31-33 Why? Because the Master won’t ever walk out and fail to return. If he works severely, he also works tenderly. His stockpiles of loyal love are immense. - Lam 3:28-30 (Message)

I don't do silence very well.
I walk in the the house and switch on the TV.
I sit in the car and switch on the radio.
I work at my computer and iTunes is open.
Even when its quiet it's not.
Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Email & RSS feeds keep the unheard noise going.

So advice like.. Enter the silence....bow....don't talk....don't ask....wait, don't come easy. But God is saying that that is the pathway to hope in trouble. The light in the darkness.

Silence opens the way for me to  listen.
Bowing says God is in charge not me.
Not asking against every instinct in my body, means I am trusting.

Trusting the one that will never betray, never let down, never lie, never use you and never desert you no matter how bad it gets.

Silence is not weakness and not to be feared it is the doorway to... Stockpiles of His love!

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Poured Out

Even if I am to be poured out as a drink offering upon the sacrificial offering of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 Likewise you also should be glad and rejoice with me. - Phil 2 :17–18

Paul compared his life to a “Drink Offering”. This was something that was added to the main sacrifice that would add aroma. It wasn't the main thing, it was just a small addition. An afterthought.

From the great Apostle Paul the Philippians faith was more important than his life.

The fact that through his life he had been instrumental in bringing Christ to this group of people was all that mattered. Their faith was the main thing his life only made sense because it brought about faith.

Lydia the fashionista, the demon possessed no name slave girl, the retired captain of the Praetorian Guard, their faith in Christ, was everything to him. His life poured out in to their lives touched by their faith meant his life was a sweet aroma to His God.

Now he could die rejoicing.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Counted worthy to suffer?

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name. - Acts 5:41

I wrote about this verse a few days ago but just can't get it out of my head. So I guess God is still trying to get something into my heart.

Earlier in the narrative of this part of the early church history we read of some amazing conversions and incredible miracles. God was on the move so much that people were dragging their sick friends on to the street to be healed. The unbelievable thing was this healing did not come about through a touch or prayer. The shadow of the apostles falling on the sick as they walked by was enough.

Our cry often in the church of today is, we would love to see more of what they had then now. What if....? It would be awesome wouldn't?

Yet I see that this revival, this demonstration of God's power in new and incredulous ways, brought something that I am not sure we are ready to welcome.

The Apostles doing God's will, performing His miracles, preaching His Gospel are arrested & tortured.

These crazy, radical, selfless followers of Jesus did not see the dichotomy of a life sold out for Jesus and temporal suffering. In fact to them they were partners. Earthly comforts were way less important than Jesus cause.

Their memory had been scared indelibly with the sight of a suffering saviour. When salvation was gained suffering was present. So now it was no impostor to this Jesus focused life.

I am sure for them seeing conversions and miracles there was great joy. But it is notable at this time of revival, from deep within joy sprang up because: "...they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name."

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Never alone

“Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you.” – James 4:8

The great aim of this writer is that we get near God, that we have fellowship with him, that we not settle for a Christian life at a distance from God, that God not be a distant thought, but a near and present reality, that we experience what the old Puritans called communion with God.

Communion is defined as an exchange of conversation, ideas and feelings. So often that does not describe my relationship with God.

It can often boil down to me just trying to be obedient to what I think God wants me to do. My friend Juergen, who is now with Jesus, told me: "It's not about obedience, it is about intimacy.

We will do things out of love we will never do out of duty or fear.

God is always with us not as a policemen but as a lover. We are never alone and that is a good thing!

Tuesday, February 04, 2014

Joy in the Gospel

15 Some indeed preach Christ from envy and rivalry, but others from good will. 16 The latter do it out of love, knowing that I am put here for the defence of the gospel. 17 The former proclaim Christ out of selfish ambition, not sincerely but thinking to afflict me in my imprisonment. 18 What then? Only that in every way, whether in pretence or in truth, Christ is proclaimed, and in that I rejoice.Phil 1:12-18

So we find the Apostle Paul in prison awaiting trial, facing death. At the same time some preachers who just don’t like him are getting off on preaching Christ so that things will get worse for Paul.

That’s low. I would be crazy mad. I’d be praying down fire on their heads. But we find Paul rejoicing because Christ is proclaimed even when the motive is wrong.

The man and the message had captivated Paul’s whole being to the point that what happened to him was of no consequence.. Christ was enough. Not when he was planting a new church, preaching at some revival or singing in a beautiful auditorium that’s air-conditioned and has comfy seats. But he was enough in the stench and staleness of a cell facing death any day. Jesus was enough.

When we truly get the Gospel + nothing = everything, it will revolutionise our lives. The Gospel does not guarantee your best life now it guarantees wicked sinful people an eternity with the Holy and Perfect Son of God – Jesus.

And the fact that this message is being shared with other wicked people becomes the consuming passion of Paul’s life. We must be PASSIONATE ABOUT PEOPLE. Lost people matter to God, so they must matter to us.

They mattered to Paul. Outside of prison he preached the Gospel. Inside the prison he preached the Gospel to all the other prisoners and the whole imperial guard!

Monday, February 03, 2014

Surprised by Joy

Honoured to have another opportunity to share God's Word with the great people of Milton Keynes Christian Centre. Continuing our series - Draw Near.

My subject this week: Surprised by God. Click here if you can't see the video.

Surprised by joy from MKCCpreaching on Vimeo.

Sunday, February 02, 2014

Surprised by Joy in Fellowship

I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, 4 always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, 5 because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now.Phil 1:3-5 

Paul is writing to a church he planted.  A place with so many memories for him and a right concoction of people.

Lydia the fashionista. Rich with multiple homes travelling around the known world selling her brand. The no name slave girl who was demon possessed and used by men to make money. The retired roman centurion who understood what it was to serve but now was enjoying the trappings of his service in this roman colony keeping his hand in by being a jailer. All put together to form this thing called church. If ever there was an example that church was for everyone it is here.

Diversity is the churches strength not weakness. Something to find joy in not because of what it does for us but what it does for the kingdom. All sorts of people reaching out to all sorts of people to bring them into the kingdom.

Diversities common cause is THE Gospel. The greatest cause unites the greatest of enemies.

His cause is greater than your agenda.

Part of a message "Surprised by Joy" watch the rest of it here.

Friday, January 24, 2014


Recently a Christian who had gained some profile because he was a member of UKIP, became front page news when he made a statement about God Judging Britain.

This judgement took the form of floods around the country because our parliament had passed a law about same sex marriage. I happened to mention it on my facebook page and the comments started.

Now God can do anything he chooses so I am not here tell him what he can and cannot do. But just a few thoughts that go through my head:

  • It concerns me that much of the rhetoric I hear from from us Christians is full of satisfaction and anger. God's Judgement coming on people does not really cause me to celebrate. Maybe because I realise how wicked I am, how much I deserve God's wrath yet God diverted it to His Son instead of me. I fail to see how as a recipient of God's grace can gain satisfaction and joy from another person who doesn't.
  • We seem to forget the heart of God is expressed in what is possibly the most famous verse in the Bible. "God so LOVED the WORLD that he gave his one and only son...". 
  • Jesus was "the friend of sinners" he was talked about because he spent time with the worst in society and even went to their houses for meals. On one occasion when faced with someone caught in a sexual sin, the area where we in the church today lose our minds, he chose not to condemn. He REFUSED to throw the stone. He would not carry out the punishment.
Then today I am reading through the story of the early church and come to a place where we would seem to see the judgement of God in action.

A couple decided to pretend that they were entering in to the latest vision offering in their church. They said that they would sell some land and give the money to the cause. Well the day came the land sold but they hatched a plan to keep back some of the money. Then they fell down dead! Judged?

It would seem that where Jesus would not "Judge" the adulteress in the street he did "Judge" the person who lies in His Church.

It would seem that Judgement took place IN His church.

That's why I really don't want to shout and scream about God's Judgement. Not because the world isn't wicked but that I am wicked and I deserve it.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Worthy to Suffer

Then they left the presence of the council, rejoicing that they were counted worthy to suffer dishonour for the name (of Jesus). - Acts 5:41 

A couple of days ago I wrote a post suggesting in the early church the Success & Sacrifice were links in the chain of its explosive growth.

In the very next chapter we find these guys in prison, threatened and beaten because of their witness. Not just a nasty look or a comment on facebook but actual physical beatings for talking about Jesus.

Their reaction, REJOICE because Jesus has found them WORTHY TO SUFFER.

I have to say that perspective has not found a comfortable home in my heart.

But for some it is just so true. I received an e mail yesterday from Ps George who had just received news from one of the areas that we are partnering around the world through LightForce. It informed me that a pastor who was preaching the gospel to unreached people was martyred. He leaves behind a young family.

This is not a theory it is real with real people who are so committed to the cause of Jesus they will not stop when threatened, beaten or even put to death.

I'm not sure if my brand of Christianity is even the same ball park as guys like this pastor or the early church fathers.

God protecting me from suffering would be much higher on my agenda than the perspective that somehow Jesus allowed it because I was worth in his eyes with the result of rejoicing.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

10 pieces of advice for the 19 year old me

This photo captures a pivotal moment in my life. It was the day when I left home in September 1982. The day I went off to Mattersey Hall Bible College.

Waived off by my Pastor Roger Blackmore and friends James Scott and Jacqueline Edwards, my mum and dad would drive me to England and leave me in the country that would become my home for now, 31 years plus.

Yes I would visit Scotland for holidays but at 19 I effectively left home, which seems slightly strange as that is how old my son is now.

What I wish I could tell that 19 year old guy now:

  1. Make the most of your next two years at college you will never have an opportunity like this again in your life to dig into God and His Word.
  2. God is not disappointed in you. You cannot earn His love and you can't lose it by failing. When you understand that you will do things out of love that you will never do out of fear. Rest in His grace. 
  3. Friendships are priceless. Cultivate them no matter the distance, make the call, take the trip, you never know when it will be too late.
  4. Being right is not what its cracked up to be. You may win the argument but you will lose a friend or damage a friendship. (Also advice for the 50 year old me)
  5. Your passion is going to get you into hot water. It is a great strength but sometimes your greatest weakness. Learn quickly to channel it.
  6. Too many things you think are nonnegotiable now you will u-turn totally on in a few years time. Hold things lightly except your character - fight for that.
  7. You can learn from everyone, especially those who see the world different to you, let them into your world.
  8. Don't try so hard to be noticed in other people's eyes. Live for an audience of one. No matter who knows your name it is known by Jesus.
  9. You are going to meet the most incredible woman in the world. Do not waste your time dating anyone else when you meet her you will know why. Then do everything you can to encourage and enable her to be all she can be. It will be the most amazing honour you will have in your life.
  10. You are going to meet a guy called John Ecclestone and he is going to introduce you to a football team called Aston Villa. Ignore him at all costs he is bringing you into 30 years of pain (A wee joke)

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Success and Sacrifice

3 And they arrested them and put them in custody until the next day, for it was already evening. 4 But many of those who had heard the word believed, and the number of the men came to about five thousand. - Acts 4:3-4

Honestly I like verse 4 and the 5,000 but I am less keen on the previous verse with words like arrest and custody.

But this would seem to be be the story that replays in the early days of this fledgling movement of Jesus. Moves of God that saw 5000 people join the revolution after just a preach coupled with imprisonment, beatings and eventually martyrdom.

It isn't mentioned much nowadays but following Jesus means we sign up for both. Success and sacrifice seems to be links in the chain and partners in the Kingdom. I know its not a gospel that is preached often but it is the story of this early radical movement.

This year we laid out the next step of our vision at Milton Keynes Christian Centre of "Bringing people to Jesus, equipping them to be fully devoted followers of Christ". We are now seeing around 1,000 show up each Sunday to celebrate and serve Jesus together, now we are believing, praying and working towards 2000.

I love the idea of 2,000 but ever so slightly apprehensive about the sacrifice it is going to take to get there.

Monday, January 20, 2014

Speak o Lord

A song written specifically for Pastors:

And this line messes up my world!

Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Speak, O Lord, as we come to You
To receive the food of Your Holy Word.
Take Your truth, plant it deep in us;
Shape and fashion us in Your likeness,
That the light of Christ might be seen today
In our acts of love and our deeds of faith.
Speak, O Lord, and fulfill in us
All Your purposes for Your glory.

Teach us, Lord, full obedience,
Holy reverence, true humility;
Test our thoughts and our attitudes
In the radiance of Your purity.
Cause our faith to rise; cause our eyes to see
Your majestic love and authority.
Words of pow'r that can never fail—
Let their truth prevail over unbelief.

Speak, O Lord, and renew our minds;
Help us grasp the heights of Your plans for us—
Truths unchanged from the dawn of time
That will echo down through eternity.
And by grace we'll stand on Your promises,
And by faith we'll walk as You walk with us.
Speak, O Lord, till Your church is built
And the earth is filled with Your glory.

Sunday, January 19, 2014

22 signs you are a son of a trawler man

A few signs that you were brought up in a 1970's Scottish fishing village and your dad was a trawler man.

  • You know when the back o Sunday is.
  • You thought all dads had a nap on Sunday afternoon when you went to Sunday school.
  • If you ever went on a fishing trip you were renamed - Jonah.
  • You thought that laughing at people being sea sick was the right thing to do. 
  • You thought all Dad's only came home at the weekend. 
  • You never looked forward to dad coming home as every time you were bad your mum would say "Wait till your father gets home!" 
  • The TV always got switched over in the middle of your favourite programme to watch the weather forecast.
  • Working on the boat in the harbour always involved a trip to the dole office. 
  • You thought the natural smell in all garages was that of curing herring.
  • A "fry" was not just a way to cook. 
  • Something being boiled alive on the stove was to be looked forward to. 
  • You though that anytime a dad called home from work it was compulsory to say "over" at the end of your sentence. 
  • You are good at geography because you needed a map of the whole of the UK to check out all the places your dad was working. 
  • You thought the volume always went up automatically when the fishing forecast came on the radio. 
  • You thought the "Isle of Man" was like Santa's Grotto because when dad went there he always came back with presents. 
  • You have worn a Fair Isle Gansey and thought it was cool.
  • You thought that the VW Dormobile Van was the fastest thing on the road bar non. 
  • You always have to donate to the RNLI every time you see one of those little lifeboats collecting tins. 
  • Your kitchen drawer always had a lone messer knife in it.
  • You are scarred by the memory of drinking tea with condensed milk it.
  • You have the ability clean your plate with a piece of bread or potato so you can use the same bowl to eat all three courses.
  • You thought a trip on a boat was a necessary biblical induction for all ministers everywhere when taking on a new church.
Any more?

Wednesday, January 15, 2014


Today, even amongst Christians, there can be found much of that spirit that wants to give as little as possible to the Lord, and yet to get as much as possible from Him. The prevailing thought today is of being used, as though that were the one thing that mattered. That my little rubber band should be stretched to the very limit seems all important. But this is not the Lord's mind. The Lord wants us to be used, yes; but what He is after is that we pour all we have, ourselves, to Him, and if that be all, that is enough. --Watchman Nee

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Joining the crazy gang

We read of at least two groups of people who followed Jesus:

The Disciples:

19 And he said to them,(Andrew & Peter) “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men.” 20 Immediately they left their nets and followed him. - Matthew 4:19 & 20

The Crowds:

25 And great crowds followed him from Galilee and the Decapolis, and from Jerusalem and Judea, and from beyond the Jordan. - Matthew 4:25

Being in the crowd following Jesus would have been amazing thing. Listening to great teaching. Seeing incredible healing's. Eating miraculous food. Witnessing the unexpected conversations. Smiling as the religious elite were put in their place. It would have been a wild ride.

But then there were those called his disciple. They had a ring side seat at all of the above. The message found a home in their hearts and being part of a crowd that witnessed the spectacular and smiled at his teaching was not enough.

To them it was not something to enjoy as a spectator from a safe distance but a person to get to know. They had to know the man behind the mystique.

When the crowd wished to hear the word of God, the disciples wished to receive it.

Jesus was not first and foremost looking for a crowd. He was looking for radical, sold out, sell the business, leave the house, bring it on no matter what followers.

So he challenged the crowd to leave the safety and anonymity and to pledge their hearts to the cause.

The invitation is not, “Give Me thine head.” The invitation is, “My Son, give Me thine heart.” –John G. Lake

So today Jesus keeps calling us to leave the crowd and join the crazy gang. Often it makes no sense but it really is the only way to live.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Unexpected Road Blocks

Then the people of the land discouraged the people of Judah and made them afraid to build 5 and bribed counsellors against them to frustrate their purpose, all the days of Cyrus king of Persia, even until the reign of Darius king of Persia. - Ezra 4:4-5

So God has spoken. Your whole body tingled with excitement as you contemplated your step into this new adventure with God.

It has been years in the making. It started when emotion took you by surprise when you watched that video on line. Then it started to multiply as you read God's Word. This rising passion you felt inside was being provoked at every turn.

It grew till passivity was now no longer an option and you now knew that your life was never going to be the same again. It was now time to step out in obedience and faith. With tension gripping your heart you jump with both feet.

Your security is gone, your cover removed, now everyone knows that course you have chosen. Now it's you and God. Will it work? Yes of course it will. You tested and checked so of course it will work.

And then it happens, bang! A totally insurmountable road block in your God vision. Like the returning exiles it comes in many forms:

Discouragement, frustration, compromise, temptation, intimidation, rumour & opposition.

It is then that so many of us give up. We accept the road block and down tools. It is in the face of these obstacles that Godly Leadership is found and formed.

The next chapter in Ezra simply records that the leaders of the mission chose to listen to the voice of God, GOT UP and CONTINUED TO WORK.

Then Zerubbabel the son of Shealtiel and Jeshua the son of Jozadak arose and began to rebuild the house of God that is in Jerusalem, and the prophets of God were with them, supporting them. - Ezra 5:2

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Sweeter than honey

The law of the LORD is perfect, reviving the soul;
the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple;
the precepts of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the LORD is clean, enduring forever;
the rules of the LORD are true, and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold, even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey and drippings of the honeycomb.
Psalm 19:7–10

A great few words to sum up God's Word, the Bible:

Reviving, Making Wise, Rejoicing, Enlightening, Enduring, True, Righteous, Sweet!

Time to devour it!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Blotted Out

Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be BLOTTED OUT, 20 that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord - Acts 3:19-20

Blotted out =
Wiped out

We have a strange illusion that mere time cancels sin. But mere time does nothing either to the fact or to the guilt of a sin. --CS Lewis

We turn our backs on it and look to Jesus who is the only one that can break its power and know it has been immediately and eternally BLOTTED OUT!