Build What Is Unseen

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So, we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal [2 Corinthians 4:18 NIV]

Do you ever wonder what life could have looked like? I marvel at how God worked out so many ‘what if’ scenarios to get me to be where I am. How different could it have looked if at just one those pivotal moments I had chosen the other option.

Life is full of those kind of moment. We’ve all had them and, we will all have them again.

I may think that the substance of my life is based on what I can accomplish, how successful I am or what I accumulate along the way but I have come to recognise in reality, it’s not.

A life isn’t only built by all that we can see. Instead it is built by all that we cannot see.

I think this is why I love that I get to do what I get to, play my part in building local church. It’s too big for me to congratulate myself. In the breadth of eternity, what I’ve contributed is tiny.  And it’s not mine anyway – it belongs to Jesus, I am just a willing particpant, here to serve in the building.

When I get busy being someone who helps build Gods House, His church, my eyes are taken off the here and now, what I may think is important and they become fixed on what God wants. The things I can’t take with me. The things that are not temporary but eternal. Things like….

Faith exercised. 

People drawn to God. 

The making of disciples. 

Seeing lives being changed. 

A different kind of legacy. 

Treasures in heaven. 

I love Hebrews 11 where we read about a whole bunch of people who gave their lives for something they didn’t even get to see in the here and now. And they were happy with that.

They weren’t wanting to build something that could be seen now except to bring glory to their God. What they really built was an unseen future, one which others would get to enjoy in the here and now along with one they would enjoy for all of eternity.

Let’s be builders of the unseen. Less worried about what we have and give our lives to building others, building the church and thereby building our eternal future. 

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One Way to Step Into Your Calling

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Too often we make life about ourselves. How can I make MY year the best year for ME?

If you’ve read any of my posts then you’ll notice I am an advocate for goal setting, having a plan, aiming for something.

But more than these, I am a greater advocate for the presence of God, getting Gods view and lead on life’s big decisions. A good, strong walk with God can help us overcome more obstacles than the best laid plans.

How we approach the days ahead is more than snap decisions or how detailed the plan may be. That’s why yesterday I encouraged us all to prophesy over and into the future. To speak the right things. We should add to this Gods call for us, His heart to become our heart.

I read these verses this morning and was nudged by the Holy Spirit – why not make this your 2017 focus, your calling to step in to for the next 12 months and beyond…

The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour. [‭‭Luke‬ ‭4:18-19‬ ‭ESV]

Prophesy over your future. Then be about the same things Jesus was about. That can’t be wrong and we surely make a difference in the process too.

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.

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.

Jesus was Salt & Light

untitled-001-001Last week I wrote about Jesus moving in, being one of a kind, being generous and how he led with grace while never compromising truth.

Matthew 5:13-16 are some of the most famous verses in scripture. The words of Jesus, part of his ‘Sermon on the Mount’

13 “Let me tell you why you are here. You’re here to be salt-seasoning that brings out the God-flavours of this earth. If you lose your saltiness, how will people taste godliness? You’ve lost your usefulness and will end up in the garbage. 14″Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colours in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. 15 If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. 16 Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand – shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

As a preacher I have included these two attributes many times for all Christians in the room to be ready, willing and able to do.

Be salt. Have flavour. Give life some flavour. Bring out the flavour. Be a great preservative. And all other salt-centred type analogies.

Be light. Shine out for Jesus. Be seen. Don’t hide. Be a light that leads. Be a light for safety. The list of light uses is possibly endless. I think you get the feel of what I am going for here.

Be salt & light. Easy to say. Harder possibly to actually do. What does it really mean anyway?

Jesus spoke these words so maybe the best person to look at for answers when it comes to being salt and light then is probably Jesus. He never asked us to do anything which He wasn’t already doing or going to do.

To be salt and light is to live like Jesus. It is to be Kingdom people. It is to preach the word. To bring a message with a different flavour that is distinct from all the others the world throws out every day. It is to reflect the love of Jesus and thereby bring glory to God through good deeds, acts of kindness and a counter-culture, Kingdom-based way of life.

Jesus is the ‘true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world’. It was a light that needed to shine then through Jesus and now through us as His followers  as ‘people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil’.

Jesus is our role model, our example. For a Christian there is nothing more obvious than to say that. Yet so many Christians are not being salt and light. They are not standing out and being in distinct, at least not in the way Jesus was calling us to. They maybe shining but not necessarily bringing out the best of shines for the one they say they follow.

Let’s choose to begin to be the kind of salt and light Jesus is instructing us to be. Why not begin this Christmas. Don’t compromise on the central message of Jesus this Christmas. While others dismiss or ignore it, we should speak about it. In doing so we will be distinct and stand out for the One we love, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus.

Jesus Was One of a Kind

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We saw the glory with our own eyes, the one-of-a-kind glory 

We continue in John 1:14 and see how Jesus moved in and was then described as ‘one of a kind’.

Jesus was definitely different. He was not your traditional religious figure, someone who saw themselves as above others or more important. Jesus crossed the line so many times when different opportunities faced him – he would forgive, he was moved by compassion, he would go beyond the law, he would confront, he would heal.

Jesus stood out in a good way. I wonder, do we?

Jesus stood for a cause that made a difference, not just in society but in people’s lives and for eternity. I wonder, do we?

Jesus was the ‘go to’ person if you wanted a turn around, some help, some teaching and wisdom in how to live life God’s way. I wonder, are we?

Often we stand out for all the wrong reasons, make no difference whatsoever and are definitely not the ‘go to’ person for any kind of help or wisdom.

Maybe this Christmas we should ask God to help us to stand out for Him. To be the right kind of one of a kind. To be different in the right way for Jesus (not weird) and by living for Him become the people those around us know they can come to for help, in all kinds of times.

7 Great Reports from Church Today

Yesterday I encouraged you to do all you could to be in church today. I hope you made it to one of our locations or our United @ 5 service. It has been a great day. We miss you when you are not able to be with us. Let us know if you need prayer by messaging us prayer@xcelchurch.com

I am always humbled by how magnificent our God is and how He works in us and through us. And I love being in church too. Here are 7 quick observations from today…

Our team across all that we do are amazing. 

Loved hearing about the Quiz from this week and people meeting people for the first time. 

The presence of God. How desperate are you for some of that?

Watching people of all ages connecting with one another, encouraging each other and worshipping together. 

For messages that are not just about your Sunday but much more for your Monday. Today was all about connection and being the best Kingdom people we can be.

Helping people take their next step on the Growth Track. Next one starts in January.

Telling people that those they have done the Growth Track with actually live round the corner. ‘We’re neighbours’.

What was your highlight?

The Kingdom View: Connection

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We have been talking about the Kingdom for a few weeks now in church. From the big foundational aspects through to how being a citizen of the Kingdom influences our every day.

In my messages I have been giving the congregation a gentle push, a call to action, to not just be ‘ready, willing and available’ but to actually DO SOMETHING. It doesn’t need to be grand, just something. And I’m not going to ask anyone to do anything that I will not get involved with or do myself.

So last night we had a quiz in one of the local Community Halls and it was great. Simple. Uncomplicated. Meeting people we didn’t know. A good laugh too. Turns our being Kingdom citizens isn’t as difficult as we make it out to be.

Thanks to everyone who helped make it happen, baking cakes, having conversations and just being normal people who happen to have Jesus in their lives.

What’s your story of connection? What shall we do next?