Go into all the world and make disciples…

Jesus tells us to. As our leader we listen to what He says and we follow. 

Go, speak and be. Share the good news. Be the good news. 

Sometimes we shy away from what the disciples considered a great adventure. Maybe we are too quick to look for reasons to opt out rather than how the disciples looked always to opt in. 

So, let the adventure begin. 

What do I have? More than I care to admit. The best news about Jesus that the world needs to hear. The gifts and all that God has blessed me with. The ability to help those I can help. 

Let the adventure begin. Let’s see where it takes us. Are you in?

Book Review: This Beautiful Mess by Rick McKinley

[Catching up on some books I finished at the back end last year and early part of 2010 during but never posted about]

‘Our lives do preach. But what do they preach about?’ That’s the question asked at the end of this book. I know I’ve told you how it ends…but in light of everything you read up to that point it’s a great question to ask. What view of God does my life give? An active God or an apathetic God. Ouch. When you give an honest response it doesn’t always look as good as it should.

This book will mess with your mind. I loved the thoughts. I enjoyed the genuine way in which the book was written. It showed me a kingdom I wanted to be a part of. It encouraged me to take a look at myself in the light of all that God has done for me.

These are some of the statements made by the author…

…the idea of how suffering, persecution and martydom were part of an intentional lifestyle for those in the early church. At times they went head first into danger, while I’m more concerned with my safety. That’s a challenge. RISK, not to be avoided. After all, if God is for me…where are the welts, the lumps, the scars, the bruises on my body that announce the beautiful reality of the kingdom of God. My scars are nothing. My pain threshold very low in comparison.

…authentic relationships make us relevant. Understanding that all people matter to God, not just those who are like me. Community is built on authentic relationships. It is an indispensable strength. Reaching to those in the margins should be my priority. Community and authentic relationships should be kept simple. Maybe we over complicate it at times.

…the condition of my heart plays a huge role in how the kingdom of God looks in my life. It determines how I receive it. ‘If you wrap all your hopes and dreams around it and let it sink far into your inner being, the kingdom of Jesus will live in you and bear fruit.’

…embracing the kingdom is impossible if my arms are full of me. Enough said. That challenged me. I am not moving up a level in the kingdom, just transferred from one of darkness to one of light because of the rescue of Jesus. That really helped me…no levels, just transfer. I can embrace that. I still want to learn, become all that God would have me be but I do it by embracing the kingdom.

Thanks to Rick McKinley for not just a great read but I’m guessing a wide open view of his journey too. Thanks for the insight, the wisdom and the genuineness. It helped me. Not just in understanding but in my walk as a Christian. A recommended read…get yours here.

Emergency Change Required

[Beware reading this post: this is one of those posts that may seriously confront you. It did me and I wrote it].

Every day we all do things.
We live life, make decisions, interact with people, use our time, complete tasks, think, chill, the list is endless.

What have you done today?

Everything you do leaves a mark.
It makes a difference. Even though you may not see it physically – every action creates a reaction. Your being somewhere, doing something, meeting someone, not meeting someone, your readiness to take a hold of opportunities or ignore them or just not even see them – they ALL leave a mark.

The apostle Paul said it like this ‘For we are to God the aroma of Christ among those who are being saved and those who are perishing. To the one we are the smell of death; to the other, the fragrance of life.’ What’s your smell like? How do people remember you?

Influence is an incredibly subtle thing.
We do it all the time without realising.
The danger with that is it may not always be the influence we imagine ourselves having.

Pastor John recently spoke about ‘repainting the landscape of Christianity in the region’. Incredible way to illustrate the potential we have. The INFLUENCE we can have as Xcel Church. Everything we do then is a part of that painting. Both as a Church but also as an individual. Our potential influence is wrapped up inside EVERYTHING we do.

Everyday you paint a picture of who you are…
Your actions.
Your lack of actions.
Your reactions.
Your words.
Your lifestyle choices.

Each one describes you. Each one shows who you really are to the world around you. Each one shows what is important to you and how you are living life at any given moment. And every day many of us tell the world and in so doing, lose our right to influence to our full potential.

How…well, forget the normal people interactions you have and just checkout your FACEBOOK & TWITTER profiles. We paint a picture that we would never have painted years ago. Full of mixed messages, negativity, lifestyle habits, choices, just plain weird stuff. They all paint a picture of you and it’s not always a great picture.

To be influential you have to be deliberate. You have to think about what you are doing and the impact that it could have. I want to do great things for God and I’m sure you do to but if we cannot manage our own lives well, why do we think God should entrust others to us as well. This is dangerous stuff to write but we are being challenged now to RISE TO THE OCCASION.

‘Everything is permissible but not everything is good for me’ [1 Cor 6:12]. It might be legal but how does it make you look? How does it make God look? What difference might it make to someone who then comes into church and sees you?

Where do you need an emergency change?
Where do you need a lifestyle x-ray to take place?
Where do you need to build some consistency into your life to increase your potenial to INFLUENCE people and be the ‘life-giving’ fragrance of God in their lives?

Interesting. Don’t hesitate.

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?

How Authentic Are You? [Day 17]

This is a great balancing act for Pastors. People coming into church for the first time want to see a genuine faith, people with faults living under the grace that God provides.

Question: how vulnerable is enough? How much is too much? I am a work in process and endeavour to share that journey with others. Keeping honest and real can help build trust, maybe breaking down some barriers.

How willing are you to let the real you be on show?
How much is you working hard to cover up and put on a show?

Interesting challenge!