"The gospel begins with our brokenness and inability, not our power and potential. Billy Graham once said that rarely is it someone's sin that keeps them from heaven; usually, it is their good deeds. In the same way, it is our false sense of ability, not our inabilities, that keeps us from the power of the Spirit. Thinking we can get along fine "apart from" him keeps us from the gift of power available in Him - John 15 v 5 When you finally come to the place where you realise you have no true power, then you are ready [...]
"To the degree you face and name and deal with your failures as a leader, to that same extent you will create an environment conducive to growing and retaining productive and committed relationships in ministry. Sometimes the quickest path up is down, and likewise, the surest success comes through being honest about failure." Dan Allender 1 Drop this vague-trio from your leadership! 2 Emotional intelligence is a treasure to be nurtured! 3 Immaturity of faith in the life of the believer? 4 Platforms and pride....and the reason for caution 5 'What if.....?' is the most important question
Peter and John had been in the forefront of ministry but they weren’t alone. As soon as they were released from prison, they returned to the other believers. This Acts 4 v 23-31 passage has provoked me over the last few days. Who do you and I go to when things get tough? Simply put:- some days work out differently to the way we expect! It was only yesterday that Peter and John had made an entirely routine visit to the Temple. But look what had followed: healing, preaching, a huge influx into this young church, prison and an order to keep [...]
"My greatest joy as a pastor is seeing people come alive in their spiritual gifts. If there ever has been someone I knew who had the spiritual gift of faith and intercession, Curtis was he. Curtis was an older gentleman in our church who had worked more than thirty years in the Veterans Affairs hospital. One day, in his late fifties, he listened to a message by Jim Cymbala of the Brooklyn Tabernacle on how God answers prayer. Curtis confessed he'd never seen God clearly answer a prayer in his life, so he set aside five minutes a day to [...]
another clutch of favourite reads and these sage words from Thomas a Kempis, "Let this be thy whole endeavour, this thy prayer, this thy desire, that thou be stripped of all selfishness, and with entire simplicity follow Jesus only." 1 James KA Smith and his remarkable cultural exegesis 2 A kindled heart and other preaching counsel from Kevin De Young 3 Leading for the love of Jesus, and regularly checking motivation! 4 Marriage and being that 'right person'? 5 Searing social media challenges and when to walk away
Yep a stupid amount of delay.... "Ministry to broken people is messy. And there’s no more beautiful ministry to be involved in! In fact, we leaders, we teachers, we pastors need it way more than we’re willing to admit. It’s the best way to extend the ministry of Jesus through the church as we “bind up the brokenhearted.” Brandon Cox 1 A big five theological influences? 2 Healthy emotional engagement matters 3 Learning leadership from Leicester City FC 4 Bono and Eugene Peterson talking the Psalms! 5 Disciple making culture....and progress?
I was reminded of this poem leading our recent Evangelism and Witness consultation, some abbreviated words by Sam Shoemaker - The Door "I stand by the door. I neither go to far in, nor stay to far out. The door is the most important door in the world - It is the door through which men walk when they find God. There is no use my going way inside and staying there, When so many are still outside and they, as much as I, Crave to know where the door is. And all that so many ever find Is only [...]
In all of our joys Christ is better and in all of our sufferings Christ is enough! or as Tim Keller would say, "there's not shelter apart from God. We must continue to trust in Him because all other 'shelters' will prove to be places of greater danger. There is no other place to go. He has the words of eternal life." And so in our preaching we've felt we should look straight there.... For even in the face of suffering and struggle.... for it's where we can grow most in our confidence about Christ, about the long arc of God's [...]
Being disciples of Jesus in the everyday stuff of life is the call to all healthy followers of Jesus. Regrettably, many Christians have unwittingly embraced the practice of church as a once-a-week event rather than a community of Holy-Spirit-empowered people; that 'ministry' is done by some on Sunday, rather than the 24/7 calling of all believers; and that “discipleship” is a program rather than the normal state of every follower of Jesus. God has called his people to something bigger: a view of the Christian life that encompasses the ordinary, the extraordinary, and everything in between. Here are some of my favourite takeaways from [...]
“We are not meant to die merely in order to be dead. God could not want that for the creatures to whom He has given the breath of life. We die in order to live.” Elizabeth Elliot 1 Helpful reminders on leading church change. 2 The challenge of distraction - helpful stuff! 3 Some of the best twitter counsel! 4 Godly leadership courage in church is needed 5 Compassion fatigue, and all that!