Who Are We Taking With Us?

The currency of heaven may be many things but in my opinion, faith and people are at the top of the list.

The Bible tells us without faith it is impossible to please God. Add to this the greatest of treasures we can store up in heaven, people, and we are on a winner. Begs the question then, as we work out our faith in Jesus, who am are taking with us?

Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land, eventually. They had to wait what may have seemed like forever, 40 years, for the moment to finally arrive. Yet they entered with the same focus and determination they had when the first opportunity had been provided them. More importantly though, they didn’t just enter for themselves, they took the next generation in with them.

These two men demonstrate 3 simple but extremely powerful qualities which in the busy way of life can so easily get lost.

TO WALK WELL WITH GOD

TO POINT PEOPLE TO JESUS

TO NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF GOD’S PROMISES

I watched an episode of Ambulance on BBC yesterday. The people being served were normal, every day people but they were broken people, some in desperate situations, others needing care, friendship, conversation, or even just someone to make them a cup of tea. Their stories were captivating and they stirred my heart.

Questions came flooding in.

Who am I taking with me?
How is my walk with God influencing the lives of those around me?
How is my people focus?
If my life is supposed to point people to Jesus, is it working?

This has to be the greatest of challenges for all Christians. We do well, we don’t do well. So maybe we need to be more vigilant. Is our belief coming through in how we live?

So here are some ‘top tips’ (for want of a better phrase) which I am committing myself to work on over the next few months and the rest of my life…

I will not let myself get bored with God.
I will work to keep my life pointed to Jesus.
I have to sharpen my people focus. To see people.
I won’t allow myself to become so easily frustrated with Gods ways.
I will always have people I want to take with me.

So who are we praying for, not preaching too? Who are we listening to, not just their voice but their heart too? Where are the opportunities to serve, not only ourselves but others too?

Maybe then, as we live out our faith in Jesus we will almost inadvertently be taking some people with us. And that will be AMAZING!!

Share your thoughts. Why do you think this is such a big challenge for us?

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Build Church: Keep It Simple

As humans we can have a tendency to over-complicate things. We fill our lives to the brim with so much stuff and then get frustrated when we don’t see the kind of growth, change or difference we are supposedly striving for. Or is it just me?

In my last post I talked about being out of whack. Clutter and disorganisation can do that to you. The key is to KEEP IT SIMPLE.

Now I realise this is not everyones strength but it is everyones need. The most disorganised of people will have others around them whose only purpose is to help them to be organised. This means they can keep their focus on their primary role. All of which hopefully leads to the success we desire. John Maxwell encourages us to organise or agonise. There is nothing more powerful in keeping things simple than to be better organised.

As it is for me personally in my desire to build a better life, to become a bigger person, so it is when it comes to building church. KEEP IT SIMPLE. Clear. Clutter-free. Clarified. Better organised. Get a clear view. Help people to be better placed to help build all that God wants to accomplish in their own lives and in the church they are a part of.

Clear out the clutter. Be willing to ask the BIG questions. Be willing to be honest and maybe remove some stuff from the diary. Don’t let what we say from the front be in competition with what people are actually having to juggle with throughout the week. Help create the space for organic-style connection and friendships to flourish.

Clear the communication lines. Make it as easy as possible for people to know what’s happening, and maybe more importantly, why it’s happening. Make it simple for everyone to know who we are, what we are about and how we are going to go about it.

Clear the line of sight. Make the vision obvious and easy to explain. We do this by clearing away the clutter which creates confusion and by clearing the communication lines too so people know what we are focused on right now.

Clear culture. Possibly most important of all. We may thing we are one thing when people’s own experience would cause them to define it differently. If culture trumps everything then keeping this simple, organised and well-defined is essential.

These are just my thoughts. As a team we are always working on these, doing our best to set others up for a win, so they are better placed, resourced and able to play their part in what God is doing in them and through them, in all their different spheres of influence. How do you keep things simple in your life?

Final Thoughts, Ideas & Challenges

Final few things that anyone can do. Things that can help grow the Church. I realise Jesus said ‘I will build my Church’ but we do have the privilege of being involved. One thing I know…I can’t sit about doing nothing just because of what Jesus said.

Challenges #1, #2, #3, #4

Anyway with all that said..why not get involved in some of these…

Final Challenges
#5 Serve. Sundays. PY Fridays at Darlo. Wherever you can.
#6 Bring Someone. Chris Denham is coming on Sunday 7th June – what an opportunity. Or the next series ‘BATTLE OF THE SEXES’ – should be fun (if that’s the right word)
#7 Connect Think about what you enjoy, arrange to do it, get someone else involved – and not just everyone from Church either. My event – squash. Looking for some like-minded people to start a mini-league to run through the summer…email me if you want to join in!
#8 Climb Helvellyn for Cloud Nine. Great sponsored event, raising money to help people. get your work colleagues involved too!
#9 Attend Church on a Sunday. SGs on a Tuesday. Prayer meetings. BIG SOCIAL!!

You know what…I’m not bothered what you do as long as you all do something. You can add to this list too!

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.