Wednesday, September 30, 2015

It is well with my soul

It Is Well
"It Is Well With My Soul"
Posted by NewSpring Worship on Tuesday, 29 September 2015
Loved this song performed by the NewSpring Team and my friend Lee McDerment

Our scars are a sign of grace in our lives,
And Father how you brought us through
When deep were the wounds and
dark was the Night the promise of Your love You proved. Now every battle still to come let this be our song.

It is well, with my soul,
It is well, it is well with my soul

Verse 2
Weeping may come, remain for a night
but joy will paint the morning sky
You're there in the fast, You're there in the Feast
Your faithfulness will always shine
Now every battle still to come let this be our song.

You lead us through battles,
You lead us to blessing,
And You make us fruitful,
In the land of our suffering God
And it is well, it is well With my soul

Matt Redman - It Is Well With My Soul Lyrics

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

When God's will equals suffering

Ex fisherman, eager but flawed follower of Jesus, then elder statesman of the church, late in life, takes some time out to encourage fellow believers who are facing difficulty & suffering.

Tucked away in his letter known as First Peter we find some very surprising advice on a christian response to suffering. Ch 4:12-19.

It ends with these shocking words:

Therefore let those who suffer according to God’s will entrust their souls to a faithful Creator while doing good. v 19

It would seem that at least some suffering we go through can actually be God's will for us! And in the middle of that suffering Peter's advice is to trust the one who's will is it for us to suffer. And in the middle of that suffering, not to be crushed by it but to keep doing good. None of that seems natural.

Here are some thoughts on this small challenging passage of scripture

  1. Often suffering can be a test v12. Often we can ask where is God in our suffering but maybe the better question is where are we? Where is our faith?
  2. We are not only to endure suffering but to rejoice in suffering v13.
  3. When we suffer for Christ the God has never been closer to you than in that moment v14
  4. Not all suffering is God's will, often we bring it on ourselves because of a direct result of our sin. v15
  5. The antidote to this type of suffering is not endurance or rejoicing but repentance. v17
  6. Suffering as a direct result of being a Christian is not marked by shame but by glory. v16
  7. Faith is needed in the middle of suffering, not particularly faith to get out of it but faith to trust your creator God to bring glory to his name by transforming us through it. v19

Sunday, September 27, 2015

_____ In Christ

During our series Amplify at MKCC we are taking some time to walk through our core values. This week Pastor Mark talked to us about:

We're Moving Towards Maturity 
We have made an intentional decision to grow up in Christ.

Here are some of the things that hit me from his message:

  • Maturity is all about being IN CHRIST, Walking in Christ, Rooted in Christ & Being Built up in Christ.

  • I guarantee that if you will build Gods house he will build your house

  • Don't just add Jesus to your life place him at the centre and keep your eyes focused on him

  • Don't let your love for the doing the work of God replace your love for God alone

  • Through life we will walk through difficulties, trials, problems & more but as Christians we walk IN CHRIST

  • If you were arrested as a christian would their be enough evidence to convict you

  • Cut flowers look great in a vase in the house but they won't last because they have no roots, we have to be rooted in Christ

  • Some people build their lives around things close to Christ but not Christ. Some people build their lives around worship. They live to reach that ecstatic moment and are not fulfilled if it is not reached. Others around prayer or fasting. These things may bring us to Christ but they are not Christ. 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Taking the lonely out of leadership - No. 1 Relationship

I recently posted 10 ways to take the loneliness out of leadership. Here I'd like to dive into the first: Putting our relationship with God at No. 1.

Bill Hybels once said that, his work for God was killing the work of God in him.

I am sure that almost every church leader understands that feeling. For a workaholic like me, who sees much of his worth in what he does rather than who he is, this can be a real danger.

I have come to believe, as a church leader, I can pretend that I have relationship with God when I really haven't. I may be working extremely had for him but have a defective relationship. Some signs of this:
  • The only time God's word is read is to prepare for a sermon.
  • We pray much more in public that we do in private.
  • We challenge others to a way of life but never really challenge ourselves.
  • The stories we share about ourselves to encourage others all happened a decade ago rather than last week.
  • We can't remember the last time we shed a tear over a life God has entrusted to our leadership
  • We start to think we are to be served by people rather than to serve them.
As leaders we have to be careful that we live in close relationship with Jesus and not fall into the trap of a second hand relationship. Job prayed it this way:
I admit I once lived by rumours of you; now I have it all firsthand—from my own eyes and ears! I’m sorry—forgive me. I’ll never do that again, I promise! I’ll never again live on crusts of hearsay, crumbs of rumour. - Job 42 (Mess)
Some practical steps:
  • Revisit and savour your salvation moment often. (remember your first love)

  • Read God's Word often and regularly not in study or preparation. Not to hear God's voice for others but to hear the sweet intimate whisper of your ultimate and eternal lover - Jesus.

  • Be less concerned about the transformation of others but beg the Holy Spirit to challenge and transform you as you apply His word to your life.

  • Talk to God regularly and often. Build time into your diary that moves for nothing, but don't leave it there. Practise the presence of God (as one saint put it) in your daily routine, just between you and him.

  • The idea of a Sabbath is old hat to many and if it is thought about, it is as a day of rest. But I like how John Piper puts it: "It means set the day aside for special focus on what is holy, namely, God and his holy works. For us church leaders it is unlikely going to work for us on Sundays. We can't afford to not build this into our lives!
Relationship dispels loneliness and relationship with Jesus really is the ultimate fix!

Mistakes Leaders Make Conference

In November we are excited to welcome author, Dave Kraft to Milton Keynes Christian Centre.

Dave has walked with Jesus for more than 50 years. He served with the Navigators for 37 years before becoming a leadership coach. Dave has also served as a Pastor at Mars Hill Church.

On 14th November, Dave will walk us through 5 of the 10 Mistakes he sees leaders often make:

  • Allowing Ministry to Replace Jesus 
  • Allowing Pleasing People to Replace Pleasing God 
  • Allowing Artificial Harmony to Replace Difficult Conflict 
  • Allowing Information to Replace Transformation 
  • Allowing Pride to Replace Humility
Dave writes, “As leaders, we can have our ‘sweet spots,’ situations in which we function well and are fruitful and productive, experiencing God’s favour and great joy. We can also have our ‘blind spots,’ where the termites are doing their slow but sure work, which causes defeat, discouragement, and derailment, and eventually leads to the knockout blow that sends us down to the canvas for the count” (from Mistakes’ Introduction). 

I personally have been impacted so much by Mistakes Leaders Make and his first book, Leaders Who Last.

If you can get to Milton Keynes on Saturday 14th I am sure that it would be worth your investment.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Equipping the Church

Yesterday, Milton Keynes Christian Centre, launched a brand new website:

Our journey as a church over the years has taken us through many twists and turns, highs and lows. God shaped us by this unique journey and by the amazing people he has connected us to. We have made mistakes and learned lessons. We have been thankful for the many helping hands along the way. These include: Andrew Shearman & the G42 Leadership Academy, AOG UK, Hillsong, Saddleback Church, Willow Creek UK, LifeChurch.TV, Newspring Church, Tony Morgan & The Unstuck Group and many more.

Equip.mkcc is our attempt to give others a helping hand. Not that we think we are experts in any way but we passionately believe in the local church and want to do all we can to help in any way we can other local churches.

Equip offers:

Free Resources

These presently include a few of our teaching series graphics and video packages, leadership resources and Children's Curriculum. We will be adding much more as we go. If its not there ask as may have something in the pipeline.


These will have an emphasis on equipping, giving you tools to use and next steps to implement. Our first event is in November when we welcome author Dave Kraft for a seminar Mistakes Leaders Make.

Then in June 2016 we are excited to host our first Children's Ministry Conference, Elements: Connecting the components for change.

Lastly we will be offering a series of Coaching opportunities, workshops & planning events.

Check it out and please share with other churches who may be interested.
Equipping churches to bring people to Jesus and develop them to be fully devoted followers of Christ. Providing free resources as well as conferences & coaching

Taking the Lonely out of Leadership

The other day I spent a few minutes talking to a pastor who I'd never met before. We chatted as we waited for a meeting to start. It was great to find out a little about him, his family and his journey. He and the church was doing great but he described the loneliness he felt in the role. It is certainly not the first time I have heard this from church leaders. In fact if you get behind the front that many of us project, it is a deep struggle for so many of us.

I have spent all of my leadership life at MKCC as part of a leadership team, so to be honest this feeling was foreign to me. My journey as a pastor has never felt lonely, challenging, but never lonely. But he was in a very different situation. He was the only pastor from what he described as a small church.

No matter the size of church leadership can be lonely and I am sure this can be magnified for Senior Leaders. It's not that leaders do not have great friends but they also need great friends that understand the life of a leader. But I don't believe leadership in the community of believers should be lonely. So here are some thoughts on things we can do to reverse this feeling of loneliness.

  1. Your No. 1 relationship is with God.
  2. Develop a healthy relationship with your family.
  3. Pursue a hobby and cultivate the friendships you find there.
  4. Deal with your insecurities they kill relationship, its about Jesus not you.
  5. Deal with your insecurities they kill relationship, its about Jesus not you.
  6. Take the mask off and be authentic.
  7. Purposely develop and release other leaders.
  8. Develop a leadership team built around the meal table as well as the boardroom table.
  9. Stay at the table, no matter what.
  10. Pursue relationship with leaders you admire.
I'm going to dive into each of these in more detail over the next few days.

Maybe you can suggest other ideas?

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Amplify: Turn up the volume of hope

An video introduction to our teaching series at MKCC through September and October.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

27 Years : No regrets

After 27 years of marriage here are 27 things I know and love about Nicola.
  1. She loves Jesus with a passion
  2. She has an adventurous spirit
  3. She puts in to practice what she learns
  4. She talks to anyone and everyone with ease (unlike me)
  5. She is VERY competitive (a bit like me)
  6. She does not have a lazy bone in her body (unlike me)
  7. She is a fantastic leader (unlike me)
  8. She loves people more than the task (unlike me)
  9. She does not like the colour grey as she regularly visits the hairdresser for a colour. lol
  10. She seems to have a gift that people feel free to open up to her when then need help, advice or a shoulder to cry on. (unlike me)
  11. She lets me go to and watch sport any time I want without ever complaining. (and sport takes a lot of my time)
  12. Family is important to her. Especially her kids and mum and dad. (well she is really a daddy's girl)
  13. She is passionate about children discovering Jesus on their level.
  14. She enjoyed shooting in a Florida range a little too much for my liking.
  15. She is pretty good at decorating. (unlike me - thank you Jesus)
  16. She likes a night in with nibbles and a cheap bottle of rose (otherwise a cheap date lol)
  17. She juggles a demanding job, studying for a degree, family and home without ever saying how busy she is.
  18. She has a boot fetish.
  19. She ignored lots of people advice even her pastor and still married me!
  20. She is an encourager not a critic
  21. She is not good company on a long drive as she dozes off as soon as we leave the drive.
  22. She puts up with emotional roller-coaster that is me.
  23. She has saved me lots of money on hair cuts.
  24. She NEVER betrays a confidence.
  25. She really doesn't understand how incredible she is.
  26. Best of all she loves me!
  27. She truly is a wife of noble character - Proverbs 31:10-31
A good woman is hard to find, and worth far more than diamonds. Her husband trusts her without reserve, and never has reason to regret it.
I have NO regrets only gratefulness!