10 Days….

When there were 80 days left of 2016 I wrote a blog outlining some of the things I wanted to get done by the end of the year…here’s an update.

New site…not quite there yet. But the behind the scenes I have been working on the content.

The Walking With God 45-day devotional is complete and going out to a few for editorial suggestions.

The leadership book ’19’ is done. [See image] book-header

Guest chapters are back, editorial suggestions are in and final amendments are being made. I will be launching a ‘Kickstarter’ project at the end of the month. Publishers are ready for the manuscript in February with a hopeful date for release being May 2017.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement. Maybe you set off to ‘get some stuff done’ towards the end of this year. How has it gone? I haven’t overcome the procrastination completely but I am glad to have got over these few hurdles. One thing I have managed to do is convince myself that ‘I can’. I am excited for 2017 and all that God has in store for me.

Make Time This Christmas

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Over the next few days let’s take time to focus on the actual reason for celebrating at Christmas time.

Let’s get past the food, although that’s good. Let’s get past the presents, although I am hoping for some. Let’s get past the tv, although I’m hopeful for some half decent programmes.

Instead let’s pause, reflect and consider the reality of Jesus. Why he came from heaven to earth and how embracing the good news of a Saviour can change everything for ever.

Let’s push all the ‘stuff’ most people associate with Christmas aside and make that deliberate effort to thank God for sending His son. That God would be born as a baby, with all the risk involved in such a move. All so he could be here, dwelling amongst, Immanuel, God with us. 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [Isaiah 7:14]

7 Kingdom Thoughts

Been reflecting today on all we’ve been talking about in respect of the Kingdom of God, what it is but more importantly, how it should impact our lives. 

1. Living like a Kingdom person isn’t easy. 

2. Just because I’m a Kingdom person doesn’t mean I’m perfect. But I’m on that journey like all of us. Some stuff takes time. Israel came out of Egypt in a day but it took a generation to get Egypt out of Israel. 

3. If I’m letting people know that I am a Christian, and therefore by decision, a Kingdom person, I better do my best at not making a hash of it. 

4. Kingdom people wear the badge of grace with honour understanding that without the grace of God we are nothing. We are careful not to wear the badge of lifestyle, pity, bad behaviour, self-righteousness or anything else with the same kind of honour we should be giving to God. 

5. We are now writing our Kingdom story, one which is being added to all the Kingdom stories written by individuals before us, including Jesus. 

6. To be a Kingdom citizen is to make Jesus is King of my life, which means that I no longer am. 

7. Wondering what is stopping me from actually living like the Kingdom of God stuff is true, real and works? What if I lived like God is good, wants the best for me and is most definitely on my side?

Just my thoughts and I am certainly challenged by all that we are teaching and speaking about at the moment. One simple thing I have learned is this: the first and most important walk with God I need to give my attention to is my walk with God.

If you are part of Xcel Church, what have you been learning from this Kingdom series?

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?

7 Monday Morning Thoughts

A new day, a new working week.

After a fantastic Sunday and weekend with family and friends, Monday’s can hit us in the face. If we are not careful, we can feel defeated before we have even started. So here are 7 Monday morning thoughts to help us get the most of this week…

Get some time with God. Read your Bible. Hear what God is saying.

Thank God for what He is doing and invite Him in to all that will come your way this week. Pray.

Focus on what you have, not what you don’t have. 

Put the big rocks for the week in first. Make it God, family then church. Some simple organising creates space for some creativity.

Keep your soul healthy. Do something fun and not related to your work.

 From a work point of view, make a list of some things you want to get done this week. 

Go for a walk. Get some fresh air. It clears the head and gives you some time to think too.

What would you add to this list?

5 Things Leaders Think About

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A leaders view is usually different to everyone else. They have already seen where they want to take people. The vision is very clear. Just like standing on the mountain top on a clear day, seeing for miles in full colour, all around, a great panoramic view. The challenges lay more in how to take everyone on the journey, to help them to see the future and to want to make progress towards it.

Leaders maybe look out from the summit and wonder how shall we do this? They think about the difficult questions, the balance different aspects and facets of leadership and decision making like others on the journey with them may not.

From my limited experience here are 5 possible areas of thought (potential areas of disagreement)

Big picture  vs  Small details

Making decisions individually  vs  Making decisions collaboratively

Listening to the right opinion  vs  Ignoring the wrong opinion

Staying inside the lines  vs  Thinking outside the box

Honouring the past  vs  Living for today  vs  Building for the future

Breakthrough Moments Will Come

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I recently read ‘Love Does’ by Bob Goff. I was amazed at all the incredible stories he told. You read the adventures that he and his family have been on and realise that they have happened mostly because they had just learned to say ‘yes’ to opportunity and go on the journey.

I wrote a review which you can read here. My observation was easy – ‘If I want to have stories like Bob then I have to put myself in the right place for them. Or at least be prepared to go with whatever happens’.

This journey recommenced when there was 80 days to go until 2017. That was my way of putting myself in the right place for a more adventurous journey. Or perhaps it was to at least give those goals a good go. It was my way of getting back on track (again) and the desire to see some kind of breakthrough moment.

Here’s what I have discovered…which maybe 5 ways of saying the same thing…

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS come to those who are willing to start the journey. They can ‘happen’ but only if we have ‘happened’ to do something.

It can seem like BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS won’t happen, they just take time.

BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS come more often to this who are willing to take a risk.

Because they involve taking risks, BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS can be scary.

However, this is what makes those BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS so exciting.

Look for the green shoots of progress. It might not seem like much for all the effort but it could just be the beginning of a BREAKTHROUGH MOMENT you have been waiting for.

What BREAKTHROUGH MOMENTS have you enjoyed since writing your goals down?

7 Things to Be Thankful to God For This Week

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With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good [Psalm 54:6]

Make this week a week of thankfulness. Create space each day for a moment with God where you deliberately appreciate all He has done for you, is doing right now for you and all He will do for you in the future.

Thankfulness is a choice, it will not happen by accident.

Some days thankfulness can be easy and on other days it can be tough. Life is unfair. Life is difficult. Life is not always a party time and celebration. At these times we choose to bring a sacrifice of praise, we bring our thankfulness as an offering, a gift, a purposeful decision. We recognise that is hard but we are deciding to say thank you anyway.

In doing so, we lay aside our own feelings and walk by faith, confident in the knowledge that God is with us, that He loves us and is always with us.

Let me help you with your devotional time this and give you 7 things to be thankful for, one for each day, to help you in your giving of thanks and praise to our God. What you will say thank you to God for will be in relation to your own situation and circumstances.

  • He has saved us, we are adopted in to His family
  • He has helped us, through so many different times
  • He is faithful, and His love never fails
  • He is with us, in all things
  • He is on our future, he has great plans for us
  • He protects us, keeps us safe
  • He hears the cry of our heart

I would love to hear what you thankful for?