Build Church: Pray

It’s so simple we may actually forget to. Yet with all the very best of programmes, plans, and ideas, without spending time with God we create and build solely on our own strength and imagination. And that is never enough.

Three scriptures come to mind as a reminder of the power and importance of building through prayer, building with the Lord, seeking Him and leaning on His understanding.

Unless the LORD builds the house, those who build it labour in vain. [Psalm 127:1]

Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God [Philippians 4:6]

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. [Proverbs 3:5-6]

Prayer acknowledges that earthly wisdom is sufficient only for limited purposes.

Prayer says I am not enough but God is more than enough.

Prayer causes me to lift my eyes heavenward, to look higher and to look to God.

Prayer is to be fulfilled in combination with all diligence on my part towards what I am looking to build.

Prayer is bringing heaven to earth into the building of my own home and into the building of Gods house.

Prayer is me making sure I hear Gods voice on how things should be done.

Prayer is the antidote to my worries.

Prayer is a demonstration of my trust in God and His ability to do what I cannot.

Prayer leads me as I enjoy conversation with my heavenly Father. 

Prayer works.

Let’s be a people who don’t just build what we would like to fashion but instead be the people who get God’s insight into how things should be. As we play our part in building church, let’s pray. Let’s invite God in. Let’s ask for His kingdom to come on earth, as it is in heaven. From my own experience, I know it will make all the difference.

What’s your experience with prayer?

 

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Building the House: Loving People

Building a great life, in my opinion, needs God! It’s what we were created for. Loving God is the starting point of the journey, loving people is the evidence of that love. But here’s the thing…

Loving people is easy.
Loving people like me is even easier.
Loving people who are not like me – not so easy. I mean, where are the points of connection, it doesn’t come natural…but I think that’s where the God relationship needs to kick in.

Building anything takes time, preparation, a plan. We are told to count the cost. Building great relationships are no different. Too many times though we are wrapped up in what we need from the relationship to truly consider the needs of the other person. Building life changing relationships that create a legacy and are about something bigger than you requires another level of giving…it involves sacrifice, laying down yourself, honesty, consistency in who you are and what you do, it demands being real and genuine. People are people, not targets for Jesus.

Jesus said some incredible things about loving people…
…love your neighbour as yourself
…love one another
…lay down your life for a friend
…love your enemy (ouch!)

I CANNOT DO THESE WITHOUT GODS LOVE

Learning to love people just because we must would change the landscape of our worlds. Everyone craves attention. Everyone wants to know that someone somewhere truly cares. We can be that. Christians should be that.

As a Pastor I am conscious that true connection produces powerful consequences, inside the Church and outside the Church too. It has to be in both arenas. We connect with people, God does the rest. We don’t fix. God does the fixing…that’s why we must be loving God first.

Connection brings protection, provision, friendship, accountability, partnership, support. You can’t tell me that people don’t want all that. That’s why at Xcel Church we will always start with loving God, offering people an opportunity to connect with God but will then be encouraging them to move on, get connected with others…in Church with Small Groups and ministry, outside Church with whatever…anything short of sin really, meeting people and just loving them.

Building the House

We start a new series on Sunday. I think I would describe it as a DNA message for Xcel Church, an opportunity to unpack the culture of Xcel across the region. I really believe that for Darlington this message is coming just at the right time.

I love preaching a series because we can take out time, making sure we discuss what needs to be talked about in respect of growing a thriving congregation in the heart of Darlington. Being part of Xcel Church is easy and my hope is that this message will help people find their place.

LOVING GOD
LOVING PEOPLE
LOVING LIFE

These are the 3 parts of church life at Xcel. It’s the culture – you cannot escape them. You don’t need to believe in God to come to Xcel but let’s be honest, our hope and prayer is that having been around for a while you would want to. I believe it’s what we were created to do.

So LOVING GOD…
…it’s the starting point of the greatest journey anyone can engage in
…it doesn’t mean you have all the answers
…it is the start of a lifelong courtship with God
…it’s like any relationship – it takes time to get know the other person, God is no different
…it’s about giving God His rightful place in your life
…it’s about loving with all your heart, your mind and your soul
…it’s being ready to keep moving forward as your love for God grows and matures

It might be considered ‘Step 1’ but it’s certainly not a destination in itself. Loving God is the launch pad into so much more. Building the House – everyone can play their part, hope you are ready to discover how. Sunday 11am Xcel Darlington, Dolphin Centre.