Influence 2015.6

Well, that was phenomenal teaching from Canon J John about reaching people…

What does the church do?
Worship – well-being – witness
We spend 95% of finance on worship & well-being

A missionary is someone who crosses the sea but someone who sees the cross. 

Reach out in 3 ways
– praying – intentional

Start by reaching your world – cultivate the web of relationships we have – where we have failed – family, friends, neighbours, work colleagues

Identify some people and then be intentional in prayer for divine connections, opportunities for conversations

– caring
Praying leads to caring
We can’t reach everybody but we can reach somebody

– sharing

Always be prepared. Always be ready. 

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?]

Book Review: Tribes by Seth Godin

51mTG68Tj7L._SL160_AA115_ Reading a book by Seth Godin always challenges the thinking process. I am definitely challenged. For as much as the author says some may not like the book, the way it is written – I love the style. It’s somewhat like a bunch of random thoughts on a subject, simple thoughts but extremely profound.

When I read I am always looking at how it can help. I am looking for some nuggets that open up new opportunities, new thoughts for bringing change. This book has certainly done that. So:thinking Church for a moment: the ‘tribe’ that I Pastor as part of Xcel Church and the movement we have the potential to make..here’s what made me think…

The Anatomy of a Movement: motivate, connect, leverage. [Don’t just do the third]
What is the ‘status quo’ when it comes to Church? How can we change that? [That gives us the chance to be remarkable]
If you’re not uncomfortable in your work as a leader, it’s almost certain you’re not reaching your potential as a leader. It’s the discomfort that creates the leverage that makes leadership worthwhile.
‘Lean in, back off BUT don’t do nothing. Leaders choose to not do nothing. [This has pushed me already. What do I do? I must ‘lean in’ to it more]
The art of leadership is understanding what you CAN’T compromise on.

The book has made me question: what is the vacuum that we could fill?
It will take INITIATIVE.
It will take STANDING AGAINST THE RESISTANCE that those who love the STATUS QUO will bring.
It means doing things that others are NOT DOING.
It often takes a SUBTLE TWIST on an old-favourite.
It takes BRAVERY.

I hope I’m not wrong in my understanding of the theme of this book:
anyone can lead. everyone should lead. anyone can bring change. few do though because of the fear & resistance. playing it safe is just as risky, if not moreso than taking a risk.

For Xcel Darlo: Come on – we cannot afford to play it safe.
[What can we do? Where can we go? Who can we reach?]

Leaders: you should read this book. Get your copy here.

I’m no expert reviewer but here are my thoughts on other Seth Godin books
The Dip
Meatball Sundae

How Strong is Your Signal?

Stood in the worship last Sunday morning at Xcel Darlington and a thought dropped in my spirit. As I looked at the flat-screen tv – instead of seeing the words of the songs I saw two small words, jumping about. NO SIGNAL. And it was almost like a nudge from God…that’s the issue with too many Christians, I’m trying to get a word to them but there is NO SIGNAL.

3 reasons why your signal can be low?
INTERFERENCE
DEAD ZONES
SWITCHED OFF

Here’s a thought: there is nothing wrong with the phone. It has everything it needs to fulfil its function. The problem is US, we are in the wrong place, or just not paying enough attention to our surroundings. Move into the right area and suddenly your phone is going crazy receiving texts & emails.

Maybe the same could be said of God. It’s not that He is not working, not listening, not there. God has not moved. It’s NOT God…it’s US!! Going to unpack this on Sunday. There is a challenge in here for each one of us as Christians…to make sure that we keep the signal strong.

Are You Ready For Lift Off?

slide.001

Gearing up for what promises to be a GIANT month at Xcel Darlington. Time to turn the heat up and go for growth. Time to help someone move one step closer towards God.

Are you ready for lift off?
Are you ready to get involved?
Are you ready to bring someone along?

Our promise is simple – we will be ready. To welcome everyone. To open the dialogue. To answer their questions. To introduce people to the one person who can navigate them through life’s trials and joys.

For 30 days let’s STRETCH ourselves again. It’s been a while for some of us. Here’s some suggestions…

PRAY every day for breakthrough. For family. For friends. To see change in your town. To see people come to know Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. To take someone one step closer.

FAST. Once a week. Sometimes things only change through prayer & fasting!! It won’t kill you. It is sacrificial and actually good for you!

READ. Everyone reading the Gospel of Matthew. Put your thoughts down on the blog every day!! What is God revealing to you!

Get INVOLVED…some ideas brewing, to watch out for or that are already happening…
…new Darlington Outreach feeding the homeless.
…new SG launched at the Dolphin Centre (well re-launched)
…new Christians class every Sunday morning – just in June
…the GIANT JUNE challenge??
…Chris Denham from Hope City Leeds preaching
…new series…Battle of the Sexes
…PY in Darlington – come hear the news
…new opportunities to serve
…prayer meeting in Darlo
…the BIG SOCIAL
…a Welcome to Church party
…ands that not counting all the incredible things that you can do right where you are at!!

No excuses. Get ready, get ready, get ready!! Xcel Church is where it’s at! The region will not know what is hitting it!! And this is not about making you busier in an already hectic life. It’s about providing you with options and ways to connect people in to your world.

If nothing else…it’s going to make the journey fun!!

The Power of YOU

You have incredible power. To change the environment. To influence the lives of those around. To do nothing.
You have incredible power…and you get to choose.

Live the Christian life in the knowledge of how God sees YOU.
Live the Christian life purposefully in light of how others see YOU.
Live with the determination to be the REAL DEAL.

We underestimate the power working within us because we measure that power based on us and not on the fact that it’s God working through us!

The power of YOU can help create the right kind of culture…for the Church and for your own world.

A culture of HOPE.
Comes from living the life that God intended. Believing that Jesus truly is the hope of the world. Knowing that as we live a life of honesty and not hypocrisy people see that hope demonstrated on our lives,which in turn provides hope for them. If God can do it for you and me, He can do it for others too.

People need to hear the stories where hope was displayed. Your story. Told at the right time can illustrate hope.

A culture of HEALING.
Jesus did not come for the healthy but for the sick. Many people live in a state of hopelessness brought about by sin, brokenness and aloneness. Our lives can reveal a God that takes those suffering and cast down and reshaping them into something beautiful and full of God-given potential.

People need to know there is a place that will not only stand with them but also show them the process healing can sometimes take. You making yourself vulnerable and willing to share your story will illustrate the power of a God-dependant lifestyle.

A culture of CONNECTION.
Without connection can hope and healing truly happen? Connection brings depth. Brings strength. Brings support. People flourish with the right connections but survive and make-do on a diet of shallow relationships, many vian ‘social network connections’ instead.

People need to connect. They need to connect with you. To truly know you. The secret weapon to reaching those far from God is you and me. If we don’t do it nobody may do it!

Make sure the REAL YOU is standing up and being counted. What a difference that person can make. Then we have the environment for ordinary people to come, be themselves amongst others being themselves with God at the centre of all they do. That can create a culture of change. That can create a culture of growth. That can create a life-transforming culture which we get the privilege to have front-row seats for.

Why wouldn’t you want to be in for that?

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.

The YOU That Others See

This Sunday at Xcel Darlington is going to be incredible. I am excited about what God is doing at Xcel Church, after all ‘He will build His church’ – we just have the privilege of being involved in the process.

Last week we talked about the YOU that God sees. How we are so much more in God’s eyes than we possibly are in our own.

This week:
the YOU that others see.
the YOU that wins people or loses people for God.
the YOU that always leaves an impression.
the YOU that carries the hope to the whole world.
the YOU that builds the Church or not.

Maybe we will use the words – hypocrite, liar, fake.
Maybe that be considered too harsh.

But think about those words in the light of the fact that the BIGGEST turn-off to Church is often the Christians that attend it. We desperately need the REAL ME to stand up

How can we be authentic in a post-Church society?
How can we be naturally attractive to others?
What is the YOU that others need to see?