5 Reasons Why I Loved Yesterday

I do enjoy a good day at church and yesterday was a particularly good one. We had an all church ‘unlearning*’ experience. Check out the video here. It was the perfect example of a recent post about the Presence and the Practical.

1. We didn’t just do Sunday church. We went outside of the walls to be church. No guitars in sight. No Bibles carried. There was a song sung in a couple of nursing homes but mostly just a bunch of people from Xcel out and about loving on their community.

2 It’s not such a big deal. We make it that everything has to be epic and when it can’t be we don’t bother. Yesterday was just ordinary and that is perfect.

3. It was a good laugh. It was genuinely good fun going out and about to clear away rubbish, to give some cakes out and play a bit of sport.

4. The unexpected can happen. Like one team being asked to sing to the elderly and invites back. To reconnecting with people we have helped 7 years before and they still remember us.

5. People really appreciate it. Lots of smiles and grateful thanks. Lots of curiosity to as to why we would be doing all this.

There’s a price to pay. You have to do things that are not naturally what you would choose to do. In doing so you open up new pathways of opportunity. And if nothing else, you’ve loved on people in a way that helps them and surely that can only be a good thing.

Thanks to everyone who got involved. For everyone else ~ don’t miss out on the fun of it. Make sure you get involved in something next time #unlearn

(*I realise some of us needed to unlearn more than others, myself included as I continue on this adventure of mucking in and being involved with others as much as I can). 

Just Love Sundays

Enough said really. 

I love my church. Love the people. Love the fun. Love the good chaos. Love the worship. Love the expectancy to see God move. Love the stories of transformation. Love the challenge of the messages. 

We are church. 

We will be an active part of the church. 

We will be a unifying presence in the church. 

We will not make church about ourselves. 

Such a great day. Plus we got to commission our amazing Immy as he flys to Bangalore this week and begins the next step on this adventure called Xcel Bangalore. 

I just love Sundays. Let’s do it all again next week. 

Great Day

I am fan of local church. I agree with Pastor Bill Hybels when he says it’s the hope of the world. So I loved today, in my local church, worshipping God and being built up by the Word.

God is…good and God is great. He is BIG enough to handle our problems. All that we need Him to be, He is that. He is great and does wondrous acts. He is great and greatly to be praised. It’s about trusting His character above our experiences of Him.

God is…my Father. That’s a revelation that doesn’t come easily to everyone but one we need to get. We can be disappointed by our own Father but without realising it not notice that God has filled our lives with many Fathers. Thanks to Rachael for sharing her journey in this in such an honest way.

Plus the worship tonight was just incredible. There was a real sweet atmosphere and I believe that God was doing some work in peoples lives.

All I can do is encourage you Xcel to be in Church these next two Sundays as we continue to unpack the nature and character of God. God is…love, God is…with me, God is…holy.

What Next for Xcel Darlington?

Vision month is always a great time around Xcel Church. You can almost sense people becoming more aware, a heightened sense of expectation of what could be, of what God can do through us.

Yesterday at Xcel Darlington was great. Good buzz. Atmosphere was tangible. Good community, people connecting. Signs of health.

The challenge: to not draw back from this and enter maintenance mode but to keep encouraging, keep believing God for more, to exercise our faith, to reach out and for our potential to be realised. This is our moment. Hope you get the sense that God is ready to do something in Darlington.

It will not happen by chance.
It will happen as we step out of our safety and take some risks.
It will not happen just through prayer.
It will happen as we become the answers to someone else’s prayer. As we enter into another’s world and meet needs, demonstrate love and do something.

What next for Darlington?
In some regards, that is up to us.

LEAN IN to something over the next 3 months – Xcel Church, Connect Groups, Discovery Course, the Homeless initative, serving on a Sunday
LEAN IN to new friendships, connecting with people, making yourself available
LEAN IN to your prayer life, your devotional times, your worship
LEAN IN to your personal development – sign up for an Xcel Training Course
Choose 1 thing and give it all you can.

BACK OFF from distractions, from habits (good & bad), from destructive relationships
BACK OFF from self-inflicted interference and LEAN IN to your God
Take an inventory of what you do with your life.

DON’T DO NOTHING
Don’t rely on others to do it. You do it.
Don’t assume someone has it covered. You cover it.
Don’t wait until everything is in place. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

If we all did something.
If we all reached out to one person.
If we all discovered something new about God.
If we all made ourselves more available.
If we all did what we could…

…think what a difference that might make. The potential. How God might use us?

[What do you think?]

Take the Plunge – Rescue Someone

Been thinking on interesting topics over the last couple of weeks. The whole INTERFERENCE thought and reasons why people drift away from God is niggling away at me all the time.

Sunday was a good day at Xcel in lots of ways – worship, word, atmosphere, connecting.
Sunday was disappointing in other ways – no one gave their life to Jesus, in fact I’m not sure how many new faces there were across the venues.

Challenged the Xcel Darlington crew the other week to never assume. Just because people are not at church, don’t assume that everything is okay. Maybe they are not there because of some INTERFERENCE in their world. Not just holidays. Or work.

Bring someone back to Church! There’s a challenge. But then again is it really? With the whole online social networking, emailing and texting – communicating with people in a very convenient, non-pressure way has never been easier. I’ve been messaging like crazy and it’s been great to open up some dialogue and discover what’s going on in people’s worlds. even better to see some of those people back in Church on Sunday!!

People who are drowning don’t need pleasant words from the person on dry land. They don’t need to be told how they should have read the signs, not gone in the deep water…what they want is to be rescued. Some people in our worlds are just the same and the problem with many Christians is that they are full of well-meaning words, good at the opinions but not so willing to jump in and rescue the person.

God is definitely nudging me to take the plunge and get rescuing. It might be messy but I know God will help.

Who is not in Church who used to be in Church?
Why not make contact and find out how they are and if there is anything you could do for them?

The YOU That Others See [2]

Already posted about this but I just need to say that I absolutely loved this morning. Great atmosphere. Great people and great encouragement from everyone during the preach…KEEP IT UP! So much more verbal than EVER!

BIG UP to the Band: thought they did a fab job…even without the drums. It can be difficult but everyone seemed up for it and sometimes when things aren’t as easy for you naturally is when you need God more. Good job guys!

I enjoy preaching in a series. This one…WILL THE REAL ME PLEASE STAND UP…is going really well!!
Last week we spoke about the YOU THAT GOD SEES.
Today it was the YOU THAT OTHERS SEE. Less wow, more ouch!

Challenge…what people might see v what people should see

1. HYPOCRISY v HONESTY
Hey, good to be brutally honest. WE are the biggest turnover off to some when it comes to Church
Guard against giving people the chance to call you a hypocrite.
Put some alarm bells on your life
Don’t get lazy in your choices.
No one chooses to be a hypocrite you get there by drifting off course.

2. FEELINGS v FAITH
A life based purely on feelings will have the Church in trouble.
You need to demonstrate a life filled with faith…despite the circumstances.
Feelings are important but its faith that makes the difference

3. CONTROL v VULNERABILITY
What can you NOT let go of?
All addictive behaviour is a control issue. What’s your addiction & can you let it go?
We don’t like letting go because we don’t have control – we become vulnerable

BUT…other need to see YOU living an open, honest life, demonstrating your faith…even through the difficult times. Be more careful in how you live life for maximum impact.

WHY? Your story told to the right person at the right time is a powerful weapon. Suddenly their view of you may change, it will open up a discovery that you have been through what they are going through. Difference = YOU HAD GOD!

Looking forward to hearing how this message has impacted people.

Xcel Darlington: Easter Sunday

Yesterday was how Church should be every week. The atmosphere was fantastic, there was a real celebration feel to the praise & worship and we sang our hearts out, praising God for the resurrection.

I noticed on my twitter feeds that Brian Houston commented why can’t it be Easter every Sunday. To which he obviously got the reply ‘IT IS’. Maybe the challenge for us as Christians is to remember that and live life with the realisation of that fact.

It is incredible that the same power that raised Christ from the dead, lives in us.
If I’m honest, I don’t always live that out. I will always do my best…but contrary to many peoples understanding just because I’m a Pastor doesn’t make me perfect.

My challenge all week has been to do Jesus justice. For all he has done for us. That we would live out the life worthy of the life Jesus gave for me. Yesterday was a great opportunity to remember that, and take up that challenge fresh once more!

Xcel Team…you were incredible.
Great numbers…people bringing people…people taking up the challenge of the Christian faith and committing their lives to him.
There was a lot of emotion in the room as we talked about ALL that Jesus did for us on the CROSS.

Plus…for fun, we collected over 100 Easter Eggs to giveaway to a local hospice.

How was Easter Sunday for you?

Xcel Darlington: Review

This morning was one of those frustrating mornings. Let me explain myself…

Did a leadership session before. Early start but great discussion: what are the challenges that leaders face?

The service was amazing. Frustrating because numbers were down…BUT…there was different feel to the atmosphere in the meeting this morning. The worship team did a great job…you could really sense God in the building. Plus…good to see different people being stretched in taking a leading role.

God was definitely doing something behind the scenes in peoples lives.

The message was a simple one…we must be dispensers of MERCY not MISERY. There was subtle difference in how Jesus dealt with people…He focused on the person not what the person was doing, focused on the sinner not the sin.

The challenge for us is to do the same. To create a place where anyone can come, feel at home, receive mercy. It doesn’t matter if someone’s walk isn’t perfect, after all…we are all a work-in-progress.

Xcel Darlington next week is Easter Sunday. Let’s fill that building with everyone we know. That way the gospel can be preached and people’s lives can be changed. It’s gonna be a great week and next Sunday is going to be incredible!! Sorry to keep going on like this…I am just excited about what God is doing and expectant for the breakthrough.