2017 and Becoming Bigger

keep-learning-001-001The final question is simple but dangerous too.

After all the reflection and looking forward, the challenge to answer the difficult questions with honesty and getting ready for 2017, this question is all about me.

How can I help you in 2017?

How can I help you in providing the right kind of resource and what to talk about here on the site?

How can I help you as your Pastor? 

How can I help you grow bigger – in your walk with God, as a leader, in finding your fit and discovering more about God and all He has for you?

Obviously, it’s not all about me or on me. But as much as I want my own world to be ‘bigger’ in 2017, I am making space so I can help others. To say ‘yes’ as often as I can. To challenge. To ask the questions. To resource. To see all who want to become ‘bigger’ too. I don’t just want to be someone who asks a whole host of questions without providing the resource to go with them.

There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears [Philippians 1:6 The Message]

Praying God’s very best over you and yours in 2017. Praying that it will be the ‘biggest’ and the ‘best’ year yet. Praying that whatever comes your way, your faith in God will keep you through it all. Praying that you know how much God is for you, with you and has given everything for you. Amen.

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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?

7 Benefits for Calling on God

Amidst the frustrations of life, the friends who may let us down, the noise of the world and the general ‘gubbins’ of life it is important to remember we can call on the Lord. My daughter has just written today about prayer – you can read it here

Psalm 55 reminds us to act in a certain way when others things which are happening may cause us to want to behave in another way.

But I call to God, and the Lord will save me. Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and He hears my voice [Psalm 55:16-17 ESV]

Cast your burden on the Lord and He will sustain you; He will never permit the righteous to be moved [Psalm 55:22 ESV]

Whatever is happening right now, be it good, bad or ugly, take time to call on God, raise your voice to Him, cast your burdens on Him and invite Him in to every part of your life.

He hears our voice, our complaint, our concerns, the cry of our hearts

He redeems our soul and keeps us safe

He sustains us

He does not allow us to be moved or defeated by the words or actions of others

He overcomes the noise of others

He willingly attends to us and answers us

He is better than the best of friends

What beautiful promises, straight from the Word of God. How do these encourage you?

6 Reasons Why Leaders Should Pray

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My leadership is influenced by my Christian faith. The ‘how’ of my leadership has to reflect the ‘who’ I live for, and that is Jesus. If I lived for myself and my own ambition then my leadership would reflect that. This is why prayer has become such a non-negotiable in my life as a leader.

Prayer keeps me humble. I realise this may almost be contradictory as a statement but asking God for help reminds me that without Him working in me and through me, I am limited. It keeps my leadership from becoming all about me.

Prayer is the one thing I can do for all of those on my team. I cannot always meet all their specific needs but I can pray to my God who can.

Prayer invites God into all that I am doing. To ask for wisdom, insight, clarity, ideas. It creates space for me to hear Gods voice and that is just an essential for any Christian leader.

Jesus prayed. Enough said. He spent time with His heaven Father to know what He was saying and was asking Him to do.

Prayer relieves stress. The very fact we Jesus encourages us to cast our cares on Him is so freeing. In doing this we will learn how to walk and work with Jesus and His wonderful, unforced rhythms of grace.

Prayer exercises my faith. There should never be a time, whether a leader or not, when we are not believing in faith for something. Pray for that project, the event, the people, the outcome, for God to move, to see lives transformed. Prayer puts my faith in God to work when I ask Him to do something that I cannot make happen myself.

What other reasons would you give for why prayer as a leader is important?

What Are You Looking For?

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God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God [Psalm 53:2]

What are people looking for? Let’s be honest we are looking for lots of things. Material things. Self-confidence things. Adventurous things. Spiritual things. Emotional things. Career things. Health things. Lifestyle things. The meaning of life?

What are people not looking for? In reality, most people are not searching for God, not even in the hunt for answers to spiritual matters. This is usually more about living a life that matters, being right with people and not holding grudges.

The best place to live the fulfilled kind of life is from a place where God is at the centre of every matter in our life. Living such a life is the life God designed us to live and He is on the look out for such people.

What are you looking for? LOOK FOR GOD. When we do so with an open heart, a willingness to discover Him, then we will find Him and we will realise that God has had His eye on us all the time.

He loves you. He is for you. He has given everything for you. He wants you to know Him. He wants to be involved in every aspect of your life. He is good. He is faithful. He is with you.

This week, let’s take time each day to focus on one of these incredible truths about God, thanking Him for being this and inviting Him in to all the different things going on in our life.

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’.

God Deals Are the Best Deals

Let’s be honest, there are always good deals to be done. We hunt down the best ones, putting our energies in hope of getting the most in return for the least. The least effort, the least time and definitely the least money.

Yet when it comes to God, there is a different kind of transaction currency. Salvation, it seems, costs me nothing and everything at the same time. Nothing because it wasn’t through anything that I did or could do, yet everything as I lay aside my own life, my arrogance and pride maybe, to take hold of it. The transfer price was paid, all I had to do was accept it had been paid on my behalf.

The deal was done.

I enter into the life God has for me as long as I am willing to surrender. Then through discipleship I understand what it means for me live within this new kingdom, my new home. It takes continued surrender. 

It seems like a tough deal on my part but it’s not really. It’s the very best of deals. God is reminding that if I live for Him, the rewards outweigh the cost, the benefits outstrip the challenge I may feel.

Offer to God a sacrifice of thanksgiving, and perform your vows to the Most High, and call upon me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me. [Psalm 50:14-15]

This is a good deal to me. Thanksgiving and a life lived for God, for deliverance and safety in return. The taking of my time to focus on Him, that my cry for help will be heard. In this manner we glorify God and give opportunity for Him to be glorified in our lives as he shows us ‘the salvation of God’ [v23].

Why not take some time this week to focus your attention on Your God. Give Him some praise, thank Him for saving You, keep your word, that when You call upon Him deliverance will be yours, to the glory of His incredible name.