2017 and All It Will Bring

gxnyoltxcr8-jonathan-simcoeThis week between Christmas and the New Year has seemed extra long this year. If you’re like me then you are probably beginning to miss the routine, the normalness of life and are done with rest and the switching off. It’s starting to feel like laziness is creeping in.

So, how are the questions? Let me encourage you to grab a piece of paper, purchase a new journal or even use your phone and answer them. Take 15 minutes and think about them. Your 2016 review. What you would do. What would stop you. Your relationship with God. Put something in writing. Be brave and courageous. It helps.

Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it [Habakkuk 2:2 ESV]

It’s amazing how the simple transition from one year to another can provide an opportunity for a reset. To get back on track. To refocus and begin again.

God is on our side. He is not about second chances, He is about new beginnings. Use 2017 as that new beginning. With God at the centre of all of our hopes, our faith, our dreams – nothing is impossible with God.

Three final questions then as part of this week…in readiness for 2017 and all it will bring…

What’s your biggest challenge? What’s bugging you?

I’d be happy for you to share your thoughts but understand you may not want to. How about you let me know if you have found them useful or otherwise. Like I mentioned above, just make sure you think about them. They are big, helpful questions.

Tomorrow I will ask you one final question.

2017 and God

You may not be like me but nearly every year for as long as I can remember I have always taken these last few days of a year to reflect and get ready for the new one. 

It’s not about resolutions, I can’t keep them and in reality they are (to me), a little boring. 

Here’s my focus ~ that my walk with God would be better. That I would start strong the next 365 days, digging in the Word, praying every day and living with greater intent in regard to the person I say is the most important to me. 

So let me ask some of the questions I ask myself to get me thinking about relationship with God. 

What am I most excited about for 2017 with God?

Where do I need to grow bigger with God in 2017?

What will I make my non-negotiables in 2017 when it comes to my relationship with God?

What I am believing God for in 2017?

Why not answer them and share your thoughts as a comment below. Thanks. 

Happy Christmas Everyone

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” [‭‭Isaiah‬ ‭9:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬]

Praying Gods incredible blessing over all who I know and all those who come and visit this blog. Thanks for passing by, for the encouragement and for the comments too. 

2017 is going to be a BIGGER year and the best year yet. Make it a year to become bigger on the inside so that all that happens on the outside will not defeat you. 

Make Jesus Lord of your life. Put Him first in all you do. Jesus never disappoints. He is faithful when we lack the ability to be faithful. He is loving when we can be unloveable. He is forgiving when we struggle to forgive both ourselves and others. 

May 2017 be a year of Gods favour for you and those you love as you walk with Him. 

Walk in faith. Walk in victory. Walk with a Godly confidence. Walk knowing you are never alone, more than a conqueror and that God is on your side. 

What are thankful for this Christmas? What are you believing God for in 2017?

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from my family to you and yours. 


7 Things Which Could Help You Keep Going

When it comes to seeing change happen or breakthrough come, it can feel like God either isn’t listening or He has maybe gone on holiday.

Often the tiredness of just existing and coping with everything going on around us is all we can manage but I want to encourage you today and remind us all of 7 things which we must keep doing, even though they may be a struggle…

Keep praying. This is not a boast but I make sure that I get at least a few minutes every morning to pray. Each day has a different focus too.

Keep coming to church. When it feels like the last thing you want to do then I want to suggest it may possibly be the first thing you need to be doing.

Keep in close proximity to God. God told Abraham to walk before him and I think that’s a great picture of how we need to be with God. Stay as close as possible. Give extra special attention to the health of your walk with God.

Keep ‘naysayers’ away from you. People love to let you know what they think. This is not about getting rid of people, but more about being careful about which voices you actually listen to.

Keep some scripture in front of you. We have had scriptures written up and stuck on the wall before, just so it is literally in front of us all the time. God told Joshua to keep in the word all the time so his way would be successful.

Keep being thankful. It’s too easy to look at what you don’t have and miss all the incredible things that you do have. It’s easy to become frustrated for seemingly unanswered prayers while not noticing all the great things He has done without our asking.

Keep guard of your heart and your mouth. As much the words of others don’t help, so do our own. Put a guard on your heart. Don’t let any rubbish in. Be careful to keep speaking faith-filled words.

Is there anything else that you would add to this list?

My Sunday Reflection

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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’.

Saved Only Through Jesus

Truly no man can ransom another, or give to God the price of his life, for the ransom of their life is costly and can never suffice [Psalm 49:7-8 ESV]

By what can we save ourselves? This is the question that quite possibly troubles many people. We do our very best, we work hard, we accumulate stuff, we may even spend time and ponder the great mysteries of the world, yet none of these can save us. How much would we need to bring to God as a ransom, as a payment to make things right between ourselves and Him?

To walk with God is to realise we are not saved by ourselves. We  cannot be saved through our own best efforts or those of other people. We cannot buy our salvation either. Nothing is worth enough from our own riches to match the price which needs to be paid.

Truly no man can save another.

Redemption does not come through wealth and riches and all that we have gained. It comes only in one perfect way. Matthew Henry in his commentary says it like this ‘Everlasting life is a jewel of too great a value to be purchased by the wealth of this world’.

ONLY JESUS.

For someone who has been a Christian for a long time I can forget how difficult this idea can be to grasp. It doesn’t make sense, it seems a little weird but when you know that in reality ‘something’ is missing then you begin to understand that all those things you have tried to fill it with never really satisfy. Nothing quite hits the mark.

ONLY JESUS.

As I walk with God, I am, at times, overwhelmed by all that God has done for me. ‘Thank you’ seems insignificant. Yet I must say it. I must be disciplined in my desire to seek Him first. I must live a life that displays Him as Lord of my life, so others can see the difference having Jesus in my life has made, so that by my actions, on behalf of God, some may also be saved.

I cannot pay the price myself, I cannot fill the gap in another persons life, but I can introduce them to the one can, who has, who will.

Today Lord, I pray, help me to live a life that honours You, displays the best of You, that through the way I live for You, others may come to see that knowing You is the best and only way to save themselves. Amen

Be in the House of God

“We have thought on your steadfast love, O God, in the midst of your temple.”‭‭Psalms‬ ‭48:9‬ ‭ESV

It’s by being in Gods House where some things often happen. 

As we gather together as a body of believers, with our focus not on ourselves but on the one who created us, some things often happen.  

Making the decision to be planted in a healthy, thriving local church is the cause for some things to happen in our lives. 

In Gods House we remember, we praise, we worship, we lift up our eyes, we focus on God. 

In Gods House we place our thoughts on His steadfast love, His faithfulness, His loving kindness and who we are becoming because of all He has done for us. 

In Gods House, in those moments I am reminded to keep making it less about me and more about God.

Today in Your presence I think on Your steadfast love and I smile to myself and I am happy, thankful and energised by the knowing all that You are to me. 

He Leads Me

“Send out your light and your truth; let them lead me; let them bring me to your holy hill and to your dwelling! Then I will go to the altar of God, to God my exceeding joy, and I will praise you with the lyre, O God, my God.” [‭‭Psalms‬ ‭43:3-4‬ ESV] 

Knowing God has to be more than just knowing about Him. There has to be a willingness to follow, a desire to learn and to want to grow as a disciple. 

When we place our lives in Gods hands there is some faith involved, after all, we can’t see God. An exchange takes place:

  • We draw near to God and He draws near to us. 
  • We choose to walk with Him, He never leaves us and is always with us. 
  • We give up leading ourselves and instead give permission to God through His Holy Spirit to lead us. 

I make it sound easy but I know it is not. Stuff distracts us and gets in the way. Yet we must remember, in letting Him lead us we are in the best and safest hands. 

His light guides our path. 

His truth speaks to our hearts with direction. 

His presence and our opportunity to praise Him awaits. 

May today be one of those ‘He leads me’ days. May we be aware of His presence and give thanks for knowing Him and for all He has led us through. Amen