5 Ways to Be Determined


Leading well in life doesn’t come by default, it only comes by design, through a determined effort on our part to actually make something happen. I can pray like it depends on God but I must still work like it depends on me.

In Mark 5:25-34 the story is told of a woman who had been ill for years who reached through the crowds, touched the cloak of Jesus and received her healing. Her determination to live differently in life and lead well can remind us of a few thing:

Have a clear picture of what you want to accomplish. Write it down. Paint a clear image. Put that preferred future in front of you as often as possible. In my imagination I see her having on the wall somewhere, maybe on the equivalent of the fridge a little message, ‘If Jesus comes through town make sure you get out there and touch His cloak.’

Push through the crowd of normalness. A post-it on the fridge is one thing, acting on it is something else altogether. Lots of people want change but are unwilling to put the effort in. The same power was available to everyone yet she was the only one who saw the change because she was the only one willing to ‘reach out from the crowd’.

Be willing to have some awkward moments. The spotlight may well come on you. ‘Who touched me?’ An awkward moment for her. However, it was the acceptance of this awkward moment which brought about the healing. When you go after what you believe God is calling you to do, the eyes may be on you and that’s alright. In such a moment, just like this woman, we experience the power of God in our lives

Stay in faith. Don’t back off, keeping leaning in. Keep praying and keep working. There were plenty of opportunities for her to back away and not follow through with this crazy idea, yet she stayed in faith. Never lose hope that the breakthrough, the success, that thing you desire to see happen will happen.

Remember, nothing changes unless something changes. When you have been stuck for 12 years it can be easy to just accept this as the way things will always be. The change we want can come miraculously but more often than not it is attached to some change we have to do ourselves. Weight doesn’t fall off in a miracle, we play our part. Debt doesn’t disappear with a prayer, there is some change needed from us too.

Be a person who leads well in life. Keep pushing forward on your 80 day goals. Be determined, don’t give up.

How is your sense of determination? What gets in the way of you seeing your preferred future actually happen?


My Sunday Reflection


Yesterday in talking about becoming our kingdom self to church I talked a little about faith. To be faithful to what God is calling us to do is be someone who is full of faith. The incredible thing is we don’t need to be full in the sense of a good meal full when it comes to faith, we just need faith the size of a mustard seed and then mountains can be moved.

To be faithful is to be putting our faith into action. Faith is the currency of the kingdom. Without we cannot please God. Faith honours God. Faith puts God first. Faith gives Him permission to be involved in our every situation.

Which begged the question – what are we believing for?

So we took a moment and wrote one thing done. 67 prayers of faith. On my office wall. Things that in reality only God can do. Every post-it note represents a person. Behind each prayer there is a story. They are a cry from the heart to see salvation come to friends and family. For restoration. For help. For guidance. For wisdom. To see the kingdom come on earth as it is heaven.

My commitment now is to pray. Not that my prayers are any more powerful than anyone elses prayers. I just have a little bit of faith to see God move. To see some turnaround. To see some breakthroughs. To see some people come to Jesus. For us to be ready to be the answers to some of these prayers. That we depend on God but get involved too.

I am asking God, what can we do to help one another. How can we as Xcel Church reach these who have been named with the Gospel? How can we resource and equip the church so they are ready, full of courage, full of the Holy Spirit?

When I read these I think I caught a glimpse of Gods heart and was reminded of the line from a song a few years back: ‘Break my heart for what breaks yoursBreak my heart for what breaks Yours, Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause’.

3 Thoughts on Gods Steadfast Love


“Why do you boast of evil, O mighty man? The steadfast love of God endures all the day….But I am like a green olive tree in the house of God. I trust in the steadfast love of God forever and ever.” Psalms‬ ‭52:1 & 8‬ ‭ESV

To be steadfast is to be resolute or dutifully firm and unwavering. It speaks of strength, loyalty, dependability and constancy. Great characteristics of God we would do well to be mindful of this week.

3 thoughts come to mind when I think of Gods steadfast love which will be great to meditate on during this week when spending time with Him:

1. To trust in the steadfast love of God is to trust in God and that He is steadfast. Maybe we can only trust in the steadfast love of God because He is steadfast.

2. As He is steadfast toward us, we can then be steadfast toward others. As God is strong, loyal, dependable and constant, so can we be, wherever we find ourselves.

3. To be steadfast due to the steadfast love of God is to flourish and bloom (like an olive tree).

Think of the difference we can make as we walk with a desire to display the steadfast love of God during this week to those around us.

Father God, thank You for Your steadfast love, the kind which never wavers towards me. Help me this week to be the same towards those in my life. Amen

3 Ways a Leader Should Focus


Focus is important. The ability to be focused and maintain our focus could be considered one of those distinguishing features of a leader. Some just seem to have it. Some need to work a little harder on developing it, the focus toward a purpose or the achievement of something in particular. It’s not about being bossy but instead is about bringing a sense of clarity, of clear vision, of knowing what is needed at a certain time.

The opposite is therefore true. A lack of focus can create unease, an awareness that the leader doesn’t seem to know what to do or where to go. Teams are looking to be led which means as the leader there has to be a willingness to spend time giving focus to the right things at the right time.

3 ways a leader should focus…

In what we SEE. What our eyes see. What we pay attention to. What we look at. Yes, it is about the detail, to ensure what needs to be done is being done but it’s also about the people working on our behalf. When you really see your team you see their needs. and great leaders serve the needs of their team. Focus on what you see and respond.

What we HEAR. An ability to listen. To know what’s being said. The good and the bad, with a willingness to ask the difficult questions. Leadership is about hearing, not just about being doing all the talking because we are in charge. Great listeners learn what will influence the culture in a positive way. Think about what Pastor Andy Stanley says ‘Leaders who don’t listen will eventually be surrounded by people who have nothing to say’. Focus on what you hear and respond.

What we FEEL. Getting to the heart of the matter. Developing the gifts within us. Discernment. Wisdom. Intuition. Instinct. Gut. Being led by the Holy Spirit. Too many times I have ‘felt’ that I should do or say something to a person, not acted and then heard later about an outcome which, who knows, may not have happened if I had been obedient to that feeling. Focus on what you feel and respond.

What do you think about this simple but powerful thought?


Don’t Break the Chain


When I wrote last week there were 80 days until 2017. Did you make the decision to focus on anything of meaning and purpose. I hope so. If not, why not? What’s stopping you? I’m sure that if I can do this, then anyone can.

Whatever ‘IT’ is, just choose to start. It doesn’t matter when. Make it today. Then once you have started, be bold, be courageous, keep going and make sure you do one thing…

Don’t break the chain.

This is not an original thought. This technique was made famous by Jerry Seinfeld, who said that he wrote a joke every single day. No matter how he felt or whether he had anything to say, he wrote at least one joke every day.

Why not get a calendar put up on the wall and mark it with a great big X in the first square when you complete your ‘IT’ for the first time. Then repeat every day. Or whatever timescale you decide.

Now there are just 73 days until the New Year to accomplish something of purpose, something of value. Let’s do this!

What is the ‘chain’ you would like to make? Why not share what you will commit to make progress on?


7 Words to Help Us Through the Week


Sin, doing stuff wrong, drifting, getting carried away in the moment, willfully or by mistake, it happens. As someone who has chosen to walk with God the only question, the biggest question is this: what do I do in response?

One answer is I do nothing. Which could be considered more about me looking for ways to justify my behaviour and choices. No one got hurt, well not really, it’s just the way I am and in a world of tolerance and acceptance everything is alright, isn’t it?

When I do nothing, nothing changes. Which may not be a problem if I’m not wanting to take my walk with God as seriously as I should. When I serious I don’t mean hard, I just mean that in saying I love God, my life illustrates that love.

The other answer is I do something. Perhaps to stop, reflect and ask the awkward questions. Are there things I am doing, lifestyle choices, attitudes, even thinking which just doesn’t line up with the Word of God, the lifestyle of Jesus’ teaching?

We don’t always like the answers. Truth is though, when we place our lives in Gods hands it is now not ours, we have given it away.

The best answer is God has already done everything. And that’s where the motivation to want to live right comes from. King David was thankful for this overwhelming truth, and we capture His desperation within Psalm 51 as he doesn’t want to lose any part of His God.

Mercy. Love. Cleansed. Recreated. Renewed. Restored.Upheld.

Take one word each day. Think about what it means. Thank God for it. Meditate on the impact it has had on your life. Ask God to help you live a life worthy of what it means to you.

Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit [Psalm 51:10-12 ESV]

5 Things Leaders Should Build


It was 1996 when I first thought about leadership development. A throw away question in a youth leaders meeting about how to invest in a bunch of younger leaders triggered something in me. Since then I have read myriads of books, attended umpteen conferences and listened to a boat load of messages and podcasts too.

Everyone has an opinion about leadership so I know what I am about to write will not be considered original or particularly controversial.


Building is hard work but rewarding. Building is about the future and not just about today. Building changes the landscape and creates the culture within it.

BE A LEADER WHO BUILDS. And spend your energy on building the right things. Build those things that have an eternal value and an eternal mark on them.

1. BUILD CHARACTER. We can build a great life but it can just become a monument to a failed individual if we don’t build the character to go with the talent and opportunity God brings our way. Character keeps us and protects us.

2. BUILD OTHERS. Leaders serve others. We don’t build ourselves for ourselves. We build ourselves so we can pass on what we learn and experience to others following in our footsteps or working alongside us.

3. BUILD A LEGACY. We build with generations in mind. Build something which last beyond your own lifetime, something you have to pass on to the next generation. Like the cathedral builders from the past who gave their all to build way into the future

4. BUILD SLOWLY. Good builders understand it takes time for what they are building. Build in a hurry and you may build for failure. Instead, decide to become a master build, commit to the long haul and build a life of substance, one others would want to follow.

5. BUILD EXCELLENTLY. Build well. Give it your best attention. Care. Make it count. Jesus spoke about how a good builder considers the cost, lays a proper foundation, and only starts what they know can be finished.

Lets be great Christian leaders who are willing to give everything to build the right kind of life for Jesus. One thing is certain, building such a life is the most rewarding kind of life.

Let me know what you think about this idea of being a builder? What are the challenges to developing such an attitude towards life?

80 Days of Leading Well


So, I am on with a plan, no more procrastination, instead it’s time to get on with what I have spoken about many times before but never actually done.

My name is Julian and I am a serial procrastinator.

Here’s what’s coming…

…a new site, with posts focused on what I know and what I see – leading well in life, making a difference, building local church, walking with God and other stuff too.

…a place of encouragement, answered questions, resources and some challenge along the way too

…giveaways, book reviews and more interaction with those who happen to pass by these pages.

Thanks for the recent feedback, I aim to include posts that answer the questions you are asking. Feel free to complete the simple questions and leave a comment about what you would like to see and what might help you.

I’ve even managed to finish a one month devotional which I aim to launch as soon as I can and the Leadership book is almost completed too. This is not to boast, more to make myself accountable to you.

Leading well in life is not always about how well we lead others. Let’s be honest, if we could only lead ourselves better we would be better placed to make such a massive difference.  The quote attributed to Thomas Edison seems apt here If we did all the things we are capable of, we would literally astound ourselves”

With 80 days until 2017 why not set yourself some end of 2016 goals that are all about leading well in life.

80 days of deliberate living.

80 days of consistent living.

80 days of productive living.

80 days to get some of that ‘stuff’ we said were going to do done.

Make today Day #1 and commit your 80 day goals to paper or leave them as a comment – one or two things you will focus on, things which mean you have to lead yourself better, you may have to say no to something deemed good because you know in doing so, better has an opportunity of being accomplished.