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?

Reasons to Never Assume

Interference.

Interference messes with the signal.
STORMS, PEOPLE, THINGS – they can all have an effect on your signal with God. With your ability to hear from God. To recognise His voice.

All are legitimate.
All happen to everyone.
All are normal in doing life.

But here’s the thing. We don’t know what interference people are dealing with, so never assume that just because people look okay that everything is okay. Never assume that they are NOT at Church because they are on holiday…maybe there is some interference. Maybe a STORM is hitting them hard, maybe PEOPLE are pulling them in all kinds of directions, maybe THINGS are becoming a distraction for them and filling their life.

If we don’t learn to recognise the interference for what it is then we will get knocked off course. We will find ourselves somewhere and wonder how we got there. Interference undealt with can see an individual end up in a DEAD ZONE and eventually SWITCHED OFF to God completely. Mature Christians should have enough about them to cope with interference. To hold on to their faith. To stand on a strong foundation, using the Word, moving forward, staying close to God. Younger Christians may struggle.

So here’s the challenge:
Watch out for others. Make a call. Send a text. Notice that people are missing. Never assume that someone else will contact them…YOU DO IT!! Help people travel on the journey. This is the responsibility of those further on in the faith. You may not be leading many to the Lord but you can help those who have made that great decision to stay on course. Think of someone who you haven’t seen for a while in Church and give them a ring.

I think if we do this the stories of people’s lives made stronger in God will demonstrate the power of such a simple act of connection. I wonder what the knock on effect to the local church might be…share your experience here.

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

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?

Run For The Door

Read some thoughts over on Church Marketing Sucks by Bob Lotich talking about what makes someone run for the door. These are my comments, you can read his by clicking on the link above.

Everything was mediocre.
That’s almost what people expect so we cannot let it happen. The Church & Mediocre – are they in partnership or what? Church should be excellent. Not perfect – but we should be doing the best we can with what we have.

If the people are embarrassed about bringing someone then you have slipped into mediocrity!

The place was full of strife.
We are in the world not of the world. Problem for some Churches which Kong Hee touched on last week at Stronger was that all the stuff that Christians say they should not ‘touch’ is in the Church already.

Back-biting, selfish-ambition, gossip and worse in some peoples lives – watch them on TV but don’t live them out. 2nd reason people don’t come to church is hypocrisy and strife amongst the Christians just confirms it.

There is an unwillingness to adapt.
The christian journey is all about change. If you are not willing to change then you are in the wrong place. I understand that we need different types of church for different types of people but that doesn’t mean we should compromise on staying relevant.

The message never changes.
How we present the message needs to change all the time to help us reach everyone.

They tickled the ears of the congregation.
I want Church to be fun. I also want Church to challenge people. To stir some kind of response. Xcel Darlington is not a social club! It is a life transforming, life equipping, God-filled environment. We are trying to create an environment of growth. If you refuse to grow then you are in the way probably and stopping others from growing themselves.

‘We put on a show’ every week. We want people to see Jesus at His very best. It’s not just entertainment though. It’s not fake. It’s a demonstration of what Jesus has done in people’s lives.

It is not led with passion.
Passion is so important. If you are not convinced as the leader then no one else will be either. People want to follow a leader who believes in what they are saying.

Christians should be the most passionate people around. Jesus said that he had come to give us life in all it’s fullness. Not a damp squib, full of lifeless wet handshakes. We are people full of passion, full of purpose. Confident because the same power that conquered the grave lives in us too.

My promise… (and other Pastors too)
Xcel Church across all the venues will work hard so that people don’t want to run for the door.

I hope that when you come you discover that there are people passionate about loving God, ready to do whatever it takes to change their worlds, not afraid to share their stories and vulnerabilities with others and not just coming to Church for entertainment but to challenged in living their journey for God the best they can. It’s not perfect and Xcel Church won’t be for everyone but it’s definitely Church like you didn’t know existed.