Jesus Moved In

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.

In John 1:14 we are told that Jesus moved in to the neighbourhood.

It’s a great picture of all that God desired to accomplish when sending Jesus to earth. He wasn’t coming as some great ruler but rather as a man, who would engage in community, connect with people and be compassionate towards the cry of the hearts.

He was everything that the religious figures of the day were not.

Now it’s our turn. To be a Christian is not to be superior to others who are not. It’s not to separate ourselves from others so we remain uncontaminated.

The command of Jesus is that we go, into all the world, reaching people, interacting with others, active in our neighbourhoods as we live out our faith in all kinds of creative ways.

This Christmas, make time for others. Move into the neighbourhood. Be normal but be all for Jesus. What a difference that just might make. 

Upheld By Integrity

Integrity can be hard won but easily lost.

In todays throw-away culture it doesn’t seem to carry the same value as it once did. When tolerance and acceptance are the by-words, alongside anything goes, it could be argued by some that integrity is just an old-fashioned and out-dated idea and we don’t even need to try to maintain our integrity anymore.

I think we should.

I have written about integrity before. In leadership I think integrity is priceless. It sets us apart from the crowd and will protect us too. But…there is a catch…

  • Integrity takes time.
  • Integrity has a cost.
  • Integrity covers everything.
  • Integrity is a choice.
  • Integrity is a personal discipline.

I can’t make you a person of integrity, I can only sell you the benefits of no skeletons in the cupboard, no awkward conversations, no moments of indecision, no double-mindedness, no more living two different lives.

Integrity helps make sure our yes is yes and our no is a no. It creates boundary lines for our life and how we will live within them are set when we have integrity. We know who we are and other choices have to line up. It doesn’t mean we don’t care about others but it does mean sometimes what we care about has to come first.

Integrity comes from our why and it influences our what and our how. The why of my life is built on my Christian faith and the lifestyle that Jesus asks me to live out. I want my life to be whole and complete, in line with the word of God, thereby helping me maintain my integrity.

When it comes to walking with God, it holds great value too. Just check out this promise…

But you have upheld me because of my integrity, and set me in your presence forever. [Psalm 41:12 ESV]

While people may shout us down, while circumstances may be against us, while trouble may hit us from different sides, it is our integrity which gets us noticed by God.

It protects us. Keeps us alive. We are blessed and sustained because of it. We are restored. Enemies will not triumph over us. This is a promise to hold on to. The next time you are tempted to neglect what you are doing and compromise your integrity, think again – with our integrity intact we are set in His presence forever. Losing that is too big a risk for me.

Do You Have Toxic Friendships?

Doing life with the right people is so important. Every now and then it’s good to take an inventory of your friendships and be willing answer some honest questions?

Are they for you or are they really just for themselves? We can think they are our friends but really they are just friends with themselves. They are not looking after you, just looking after themselves. Toxic friends are totally self-centred. 

Do they talk about others with you? Think about. If you love that you can get the gossip of them about others, maybe you are who they gossip about when you are not there. Toxic friends love to gossip. 

Is how they speak about people uplifting and encouraging or condescending and rude? Be honest. Think about how they talk about other people. Toxic friendships are hurtful and selfish. It may tickle your ears but it’s not building your heart. 

Do they help you even though it might tough or do they just help themselves? Is it always about them? Are they protecting you or just protecting themselves? Do they give their opinion but never ask for yours? 

Toxic friendships need to removed. However it feels, you will not truly flourish until you make the tough call and draw away from the wrong type of friends. 

Do you agree?

City on a Hill

Loved this session from Mal Fletcher, to stretch the mind and my thinking. 

The church is created for influence

Influence is not a product of how we manage the past and present but how we engage the future 

Social change does not happen immediately but incrementally 
To shape the future you must engage the present change
If we don’t shape the future, we will be shaped by it
Need a new ‘Theology’ of Thought – the importance of mind in Christian living

We have a 2-fold mandate

  • salvation – fishers of men
  • cultural – salt & light

Remember: Christ is the head of ‘ALL’ things 
Find the tune the world is humming 
Be willing to think about an answer and not just throw out a verse

About tech…questions to ask: 

  • How can we use it to honour God
  • Exercise stewardship?
  • Build relationships?
  • Fulfil responsibilities?

A new theology of grace
= to include the previously excluded

  • Truth is the measure of our exclusion
  • Truth is what keeps us aligned with truth
  • Need both grace & truth

Fascinating stuff and so thankful for people like Mal Fletcher who cause us to think differently about how we live out out Christianity

Prophesy with Purpose

A message from the heart by Vicki Simpson this session

I was challenged by this first part – you are not living life at your natural pitch. As a result of something that has happened or been said we have made an adjustment. 

Other key aspects of the message…

  • This church will flourish by all being who we are called to be
  • The church will only grow when everyone plays their part

Title: Prophesy on Purpose
Prophecy over yourself

Ezekiel 37:1-6 – picture of impossibility but God says I am going to cause them to live – to activate that which is inactive

Ezekiel 37:7-10 – the miracle happened

But before that…

  • Ezekiel was led by the spirit. Be spirit led. We become one spirit with God. We are alive in the spirit so let’s walk in the spirit
  • Ezekiel heard and declared (John 10:27)
  • our spirit is the device that God used to speak to us – we don’t pay the price to be connected to Jesus, He paid the price
  • know that we are His sheep and that we hear His voice
  • Ezekiel 37:11-12 – prophesy to the dry bones – it takes courage to do this

Thank you to Vicki for being someone who hears His voice. 

What’s your highlight so far?

Preparation & Prayer

It’s Influence 2016 this week and we would love for you to join us. Still time to register as we host Vicki Simpson and Mal Fletcher. It has our attention as we ready everything for what is a highlight in our calendar. 

We are making the right preparations. Team Xcel are busy setting, cleaning, making, creating and rehearsing. In otherwords they are doing everything they can to set up for an incredible weekend. 

We are setting time aside to pray. I am an advocate for we work hard like it depends on us and pray like it depends on God. Without prayer and inviting God to have His way, we are just having a lovely time. 

After all ~ we don’t just want to have a lovely time, we want to have powerful God encounter moments. 

This is a season of preparation and prayer. It’s what my trip to Bangalore was about last week. It’s what God is speaking to me right now. It’s what is needed to see us revived and made ready for all that God wants to do in us and through us. 

We are prepared and prayed up. Are you?

3 Things to Remember About the Words We Say

We say it. They hear it.

We move on from it. They get stuck in it.

We’ve forgotten what we said. They can’t forget what we said.

We need to be better at realising the power of ALL the words that we speak, the well thought out ones alongside the not so well thought out ones. ALL are powerful. ALL have influence.

We can argue that it’s not our fault that they hear it wrong and maybe there is some truth in that. However, we can play a more proactive role and possibly do more to ensure that people understand us. We have to help them know what we meant and decrease the potential for us inadvertently making someone feel worse or to cause a comment to stick at the forefront of a persons mind, lingering and festering there, leading them to think things we didn’t really mean.

It happens.

We say something to someone and (hopefully) expect them to get it. They might, they might not. It may bounce off them or it may go in. We feel better for having shared, yet they feel worse for having heard. We don’t think anything of it, they can’t stop thinking about it. At least we’ve got it off our chest, by throwing it all over their head!

Words are a challenge and we must be careful. So much presumption of understanding. So much misunderstanding. So much held on to and replayed, over and over again.

3 things to remember, to remind ourselves of…

  1. Just because it can be said, doesn’t mean it should be said. If we are honest, most opinions should never be shared. A lot of our thoughts should remain just that, a thought. This goes for posting on social media too.
  2. Never assume that those listening get the meaning of what is being said. What we say and what others hear do not always match. Presumption can be a killer. Plus no one should want to think that they have upset someone through blurting out some unfiltered thoughts.
  3. Ask yourself whether what you are saying is believing the best or the worst of the person, or the situation. If it is not believing the best, come up with a different way of saying it. Pause. Consider. Then speak.

I am not an expert at this. I get it right and I get it wrong. One thing I am determined to do is put as much effort in as possible to getting it right more often than not. Hopefully I’m improving. How about you?

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How I Walk With God

Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; but his delight is in the law of the Lord, and on his law he meditates day and night. He is like a tree planted by streams of water that yields its fruit in its season, and its leaf does not wither. In all that he does, he prospers. The wicked are not so, but are like chaff that the wind drives away. Therefore the wicked will not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous; for the Lord knows the way of the righteous, but the way of the wicked will perish. (‭Psalm‬ ‭1‬:‭1-6‬ ESV)

How we walk, who we walk with, and where we walk. These are some of the most  important things to consider when it comes to our relationship with God. Why? Each of them influence us ~ our future, our success or our failure, our life and our death, whether we live for good or drift towards evil. Each will protect our character or harm our character.

How? For me this is about walking carefully, fully engaged in the environment I am in, with an awareness of the good and bad around me and how that can have an influence on my walk, both for good or for bad.

Who? This is a challenge especially if you just love company. For me this is not just about avoiding certain people, but more about who I allow to speak into my life, those who may cause me to drift, entice me away from God with ‘good ideas’, ‘everyone else is doing it’ type arguments and ’nobody will know’ comments. Instead, it’s about walking with those who help me maintain my focus so that I will not perish.

Where? This for me is all about walking in those places where I will be refreshed, watered and kept strong and healthy. Not where others things drown out the word of God from my life so I am not stifled in my fruitfulness for God.

I think it is good to take stock from time to time when it comes to my walk with God. To be honest enough with myself, to ask the difficult questions that help maintain that strong, healthy and life changing walk.

How about you?