I groan when I’m asked “Are you ready for Christmas?” It seems to get earlier and earlier each year. However, Christmas is God’s preparation to meet us. No-one looked forward to the first Christmas more than God. For all eternity He set his heart and mind to coming, dwelling, loving, revealing himself and redeeming humankind at Christmas. Nothing would have stopped him. The detail of God’s preparation, patient waiting and the oversight of all the characters makes for an unforgettable Christmas story. It unfolds with majesty and purpose. It’s the story that has defined history. The shepherds were instructed to [...]
God's graciously challenging me.... Im know Gods tenderness in this. Seeing this cohort of Alpha guests journey with Jesus is humbling It's been a decent coffee week too! Praise be..... Seeing heaps of new possibilities in our community, in all sorts of way. Amen. Walking through suffering and pain yet with hope is the grit of pastoral life. Greater and deeper reading at the moment. More Lord! Adding six more people to home group life in the last ten days is another kick! Jacobs story and his complex trickster ways continues to help our church family. I'm still hungry for a bigger [...]
The invitation of God for us is abundance. Always. We hear the well-known patter of John 10v10, and the promise of life to the full in Jesus, or we recall childhood exuberance in the singing, “Our God is so big, so strong and so mighty….” And yet we can feel lost to this truth of God’s abundance. Sunday night’s passage called me back to this strongly. John 2 sees another encounter with Jesus surrounded by wedding day disappointment due to a wine deficiency! Each of the huge six stone water pots, about the full height of an average man, would [...]
"Many Christians estimate difficulty in the light of their own resources, and thus they attempt very little and they always fail........... All giants have been weak men who did great things for God because they reckoned on His power and presence to be with them!" Hudson Taylor 1 Liz on the dangerous game of ministry comparison. 2 Nick writes, We are not our failures.... 3 Things no one tells you when you get married! 4 Habits to learn early. Valued choices. 5 Neil Cole on more than a one-hour meeting!
Waking up today was like no other. Here's one of my favourite Psalms, reworked....... God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, whatever the economic predictions, whatever the governmental shifts. The FTSE and share numbers need not trouble us. Though layers of turbulence and uncertainty lie ahead. Though Cameron, Farage and Boris would falter There is a sure-place, a confidence we have in our one-true-God. The never-failing promises of God in Jesus will prevail, Heaven isn't insecurely fragile as though under threat. Whilst speculation, fear and horrid debate still result Though prideful bluster [...]
“Radical obedience to Christ is not easy…..... It’s not comfort, not health, not wealth, and not prosperity in this world. Radical obedience to Christ risks losing all these things. But in the end, such risk finds its reward in Christ. And He is more than enough for us.” David Platt 1 Vocation and that old ordained-lay debate. 2 I like the idea of a biography of a book. 3 Ten insights into burnout. Lots of helpful input here. 4 Christianity isn't dying- it's sleeping Here's to revival! 5 Five marks of a fruitful church. Worth reflection.
"If you look up into His face and say, "Yes, Lord, whatever it costs," at that moment He'll flood your Life with His presence and power." Alan Redpath 1 Wilson's wisdom on Bethel life and ministry. 2 Daily getting smarter....? tools and helps? 3 Blocks to leading well. Courage to overcome. 4 Salty faith, and the inspiring Scott Sauls. 5 Broadening life in pastoral leadership.
“Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us.” Ephesians 3 v 20 God’s ways trump our wildest expectations. We forget this, asking for smaller things, satisfied with humdrum. What an adventure He calls us on! We need to dream bigger for the kingdom of God. When we do, Paul is clear, God supplies more than we need—greater answers to prayer than we ever expected. How can this be? Paul says it’s the power that works within us. The Holy Spirit lives and [...]
Alongside and distinct from growing homegroups I've been so encouraged by increased life-on-life discipleship. We're nurturing that in triplets and they're motoring! New combinations, unlikely combinations and kingdom combinations are popping up in surprising ways. Here's why I think they matter.... Up-close discipleship invites everyone to bear his or her weight. It nurtures self-leadership and growth in accountable ways. We want what God desires in his church, and that's spectators! Spiritual health comes through hunger and engagement. And simply put, prayer takes us to a pure place. Passive consummation and low-level silliness are diminished, when we sit with others and [...]
"At the back of it there lies the central citadel of obstinacy: I will not give up my right to myself - the thing God intends you to give up if ever you are going to be a disciple of Jesus Christ." Oswald Chambers 1 Baggage worth reclaiming? 2 Helping the quality of our application in preaching 3 Exploring our cutlure's blindspots on calling 4 Mark Dever on four elements of the discipleship process 5 Seven key relational sklls in leadership