Sunday, October 25, 2015

The motivation for giving?

It was great to have Andrew Shearman with us at MKCC. He has been a great friend and influence to our church and leadership over many many years. He continues to lead G42 Leadership Academy in Spain inspiring many young people into the great mission of Jesus. Here are a few quotes from his message today: We're given to generosity.

  • If we are going to put our head up into the arena of influence we better look like Jesus.
  • Giving is not how the church raises its budget it is how God raises his children.
  • Lovers are the best givers, God is love, so he is the ultimate giver.
  • Tithing and giving did not come out of obligation or command but out of love and thankfulness.
  • Jacob the natural grabber, after an almighty wrestle with God, became a giver.
  • The deepest truth in the Bible is: Jesus loves me this I know.
  • It is possible to give without loving, but it is NOT possible to love without giving

Afterwards the great people of Milton Keynes Christian Centre made their pledges to give to the vision of our church over the next year through All In.

Friday, October 23, 2015

Taste driven effort

His divine power has granted to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him who called us to his own glory and excellence, 4 by which he has granted to us his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped from the corruption that is in the world because of sinful desire. 5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love. - 2 Peter 1:3-6
The Psalmist said: "Taste and see that the Lord is Good". Peter makes it clear that it is God that make it possible for us to taste God.

  • It is His divine power, not our power that opened the door to this experience.
  • It is Him that called us when we were not listening or looking for Him.
  • Allowing us to become partakers of the divine, to taste and see that God is great.

Effort and works are very much part of this grace laden life that we have been called into. But our effort flows out of us being partakers of the divine, they don't lead to a place where we are worthy of the divine.

For this very reason, make every effort 

Because we have experience His divine power, because we have been called, because we have tasted the divine and it was glorious, our taste buds are alive and we want more...

Thursday, October 22, 2015

The essential church clothing

A few years ago I was asked to perform a wedding at church. The prospective bride having seen me week after week in church in jeans and a hoodie asked her dad in a slightly concerned manner if I would officiate the wedding in my usual attire.

But I was not always that casual. Growing up in a small village in the North East of Scotland attending the local AOG meant a shirt and tie at the least but prefferably a suit. Changed days I dont even own a suit! I've never believed that dress on the outside matters, as long as you are wearing something! But the Bible does talk to us about specific clothes we should wear:
Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you - 1 Peter 5:5-6
Peter here talks specifically to young people but this verse is connected to the previous verses by the word "likewise". Like who? Well just prior to this he is talking to church leaders.

So he is saying, "ALL OF YOU",  including church leaders and young people alike, its time to put your clothes on. And the clothes of choice, HUMILITY.

And it would seem that God, at least in part, leaves this choice to us: Clothe YOURSELVES, Humble YOURSELVES.

God help me to cover my pride continually by taking up and putting on humility today and every day no matter how much the struggle.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

When the church becomes obsolete?

The Telegraph recently ran an article with the following headline: Church of England considers Christmas-only parishes.

It discloses that about 2,000 churches – now have fewer than 10 regular worshippers. At the same time parishes collectively spend about £160 million a year on maintaining their buildings.

These rural churches have been hit by a general decline in  UK church attendance but the main reason would seem to be population shifts over the years leaving some once-thriving churches effectively marooned in the midst of fields.

I suspect that these church buildings, now obsolete, were celebrated wildly on their opening. Loyal Christians sacrificed and invested their hard earn cash to build a great building that would be used to worship Jesus and make his name famous in their locality.

But these buildings have not stood the test of time for the vision behind why they were built. (Although many of them still look amazing). They belong to a bygone era and don't really lend themselves to the requirements of the church today. Their maintenance bills are huge, uncomfortable and difficult to heat. And by enlarge because of advancement in travel and the move towards cities many of them don't even have many people living nearby. The building has become obsolete.

However the Church of Jesus Christ is not defined by bricks and mortar. His church is living and active through His people. Our buildings are useful but they are not the mission. People are the mission.

Let us use our buildings where ever possible to connect us with people, becoming the hub of our communities, while we have them, but in a 100 years they will likely be gone or as obsolete as these village parish churches that are scattered around the English countryside, looking incredible, but serving little or no purpose.

But let us invest our time, talent and treasure in people and in particular the next generation so they will grow up, take the baton, and see a glorious church built that will never become obsolete.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

When our best is not good enough?

This past Sunday I got to preach on "We're bringing our best" at MKCC. Here are a few highlights from that preach.
  • Two things our best cant do. Our best cannot obtain our salvation & our best cannot keep our salvation
  • Before Paul talks to the Ephesian believers about them, in the closing part of the first chapter in his letter he brags on Jesus. He explains how he dominates everything. We have to get that right, the majesty and magnificence of Jesus. If we get that wrong we are on shaky ground. Its Jesus then us.
  • Then he turns to us: You, you are DEAD. There isn’t much a dead person can do. Apart from rot! (Eph 2:8)
  • Our best can never earn us salvation, only Jesus best can land it our lap when we least expected it and least deserved it. 
  • If we truly grasp the utter scandal of grace, it will free us from every feeling of failure and rejection and replace them with gratitude and acceptance. Your best cannot obtain salvation but Jesus best brings it in all its glory
  • Our salvation is secure not because of our prayers but because of Jesus prayers, not because of our perseverance but because of the perseverance of God, not because of our good works but because of Christ's work, not because of our obedience but because of Jesus obedience, nor because of our greatness but because of the supremacy of Christ.
  • If your view is that grace, mercy, acceptance & love is a result of your works, when your works fail, and they will, grace disappears, mercy evaporates, acceptance vanishes and love turns to fear. God did not rescue you for a life like that.
  • Our best must not bring glory to us but only glory to God .
  • It's not that there are no works in the Christian life, it is the motivation and purpose of these works that take on a whole new meaning. We don’t show hospitality, love & serve to show how good we are in order to be accepted by God. We do these things because we are accepted by God and for God’s glory.
  • As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another, as good stewards of God’s varied grace: v 10. God's gifts should never point the finger at us and our glory but direct every ones gaze to God and His ultimate glory.
  • We are only ever stewards and servants of God's gifts. They never become our gifts for our glory.
  • God gets glory not from our heroic exertion but from our reliance upon his strength – Piper
  • Be less focused on your deficiencies and more focused on Christ's sufficiency." - Louie Giglio
  • His best opens the door and empowers us to bring our best to bring glory to God.
You can catch the full message here

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

What our best cannot do for us

Had the opportunity to share the latest message in our teaching series at MKCC - Amplify: Turn up the volume of hope.

We continued walking through the core values we hold dear at our church:

We're Bringing our Best

The message may not be what you expect:)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Taking the lonely out of leadership - No 2: Family

I recently posted 10 ways to take the loneliness out of leadership. Here I'd like to dive into the second: Develop a healthy relationship with your family.

A few years ago a guy in our church came to remonstrate with me about my non attendance at a ministry event he was involved in leading. As a pastor I should have been there!

When I explained that I had a planned day out with my son, we had tickets for some sporting event if I remember rightly, and I saw that as being more important on this occasion. This did not meet with his approval. I will never forget his words back to me.

"If you look after God's family, God will look after your family, the church comes first for you."

I can't tell you how much I disagree with that. Too many families have been destroyed through a preoccupation with ministry instead of family.

Our advice as pastors, to men and women, is to ensure they do not neglect their families for the sake of their jobs, yet too often as Pastors we do exactly that. So to take the lonely out of leadership I'd suggest we start close to home:

  • Dream up ways of how you can improve your marriage with the same passion you have to improve the church.
  • Plan fun time with your kids in the same methodical way you plan the church calendar.
  • Put date night in your calendar in the same unshakable way you put the date and time of your next leadership meeting.
  • Develop a vision for your family in the same inspiring way you craft a vision for your church.
  • Start saying no to your congregation and yes to your family a little more often.
  • Understand that showing up at your child's sporting or school event will bring a smile to your dearest face rather than being just a number at the latest conference. 
  • Stop trying to please the church board and endeavour to please your wife.
  • Answer your family as diligently as you answer the ring of the phone or the beep of your email. (And ignore the latter a little more often)
Often behind every lonely leader is a lonely family.

Take a step out of loneliness and champion the family God has placed you in.

Thursday, October 08, 2015

Write me in your story - every line

Every Line
Posted by NewSpring Worship on Wednesday, 7 October 2015
An amazing song written by the amazing people at NewSpring Worship sang by the incredible Lee McDerment who continues to show a life lived for Jesus glory. Thank you!

Where would I be without you
How could I stand this storm alone
Where would I be without you
Out here on my own
Who would I have to hold me
Who else can make these mountains move
Where would I be
Where would I be without you

I close my eyes 'cause faith is seeing for me
I'm out of breath but You are breathing for me
I lift my hands to Jesus be the glory
To Jesus be the glory

Where would I be without you
Facing this fight i'd never choose
Where would I be without you
With nothing left to lose.
Who would I have to hold me
Who else can make these mountains move
Where would I be
Where would I be without you

My fight is gone but you are fighting for me
The battle won Im standing on Your victory
I lift my hands to Jesus be the Glory
To Jesus be the glory

Write me with your glory, Jesus
Every line your story, Jesus
Author of my faith

Monday, October 05, 2015

Free Christmas Graphics

Recently Milton Keynes Christian Centre launched with a vision to share any resources we have developed for free with other churches.

Hot off the press is the graphic package we will be using to accompany our teaching series this Christmas, thats right even we haven't used it yet! Here is the idea behind it from an article originally posted at

Do you hear what I hear?

With less than 100 days till Christmas the shop shelves are filling up with seasonal gifts and snacks. Channel 5 ran 3 Christmas movies this past Saturday. It won’t be long till the sound of Christmas music will fill the air as we sip our coffee in the local cafe or look for gifts in the shopping centre. Mixed with the scream of”It’s Christmaaasss!”by Noddy Holder, will be many of the traditional carols that are so familiar to so many.

This year at MKCC we in the weeks leading up to Christmas we are going to revisit many of these carols and dig a little deeper into them. How did they come into existence? Who wrote them? But most of all we will be asking the question “Do you hear what I hear?”.

We want to go beyond the familiar and find out what the writer really wanted us to hear about the focus of Christmas – the arrival of Christ. Carols will include:

  • Joy to the world 
  • O come all you faithful 
  • Silent Night 
  • Hark the herald angels sing 
  • It came upon a midnight clear 
We will discover Christmas means:

  • Joy 
  • Worship 
  • A saviour Incarnation – God with us 
  • Peace 
We are making our teaching package available now. You can download it here. It includes:

  • Background Slides 
  • Artwork Slides (Photoshop) 
  • PowerPoint Presentation 
  • Social Media Elements 
  • Series Poster 
If you chose to use the material we would love to hear your ideas so we can share with others.