Breaking Barriers

Pastor John spoke a great word for Xcel Darlington yesterday. Hope you are ready to rise to the challenge. Speaking from Judges 1:19 about how the men of Judah, despite God being with them could not overcome the iron chariots.

There may be ‘iron chariots’ in Darlington but we need to break them – it’s nothing to do with Gods ability but everything to do with us. We can pray and ask God for inspiration, wisdom, courage and faith to see things change but sometimes we just have to get on and deal with them ourselves.

Here are some thoughts about ‘iron chariots’ that John made this morning…

1. The numbers game
100,000 people in Darlington. There is more than enough room in the town for a few big churches – why shouldn’t we be one of them.

It can be quality & quantity. We can have our cake and eat it!

2. The Leadership Issue
Allowing people to flourish. From my point of view I am humbled that people would buy into me and my vision for Xcel Darlington. Seeing people flourish as they get involved, serve and reach people is amazing.

3. Money
The Church needs it to do most things. You can say that all the Church wants is your money but I would disagree. Anyway, no other organisations exists purely just to get money off you, do they? Or am I missing the Christmas sell this year.

4. Small Mentality
Don’t think small. God is a ‘much more than you think’ God. We need to take off the limits and start believing how much God can do, through us and with us.

This Christmas let’s believe God for more than we expect. Let’s be stretched in our doing, reaching people and really not being bothered how it looks. We only get one shot at this. If we each play our part then together we have the potential to shake this area for God and make a BIG difference.

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Believing for Breakthrough

Don’t know about you but I need a breakthrough. Great thing is, I know that God is the God of breakthrough. He is in to doing new things. He is in to making the barren birth something. He can provide for you when there seems to be no place for provision.

As Pastor at Xcel Darlington I am excited about what God is doing…

…7 months in and we average about 85 people
…seeing people get planted and start to flourish
…lives being made whole as people give stuff over to God

BUT!! I’m believing for more. I am praying for breakthrough…

…for new Christians
…to hear more stories about the great things God is doing
…for growth & increase – I hope its okay but I am desperate for us to break the hundred barrier every week

When will see these things? What will it take?

Some thoughts…these are my focuses at the moment…

…keeping the main things, the main things…
…loving people
…loving God – giving Him our best every day not just on a Sunday
…staying focused on God in all circumstances
…to pray without ceasing
…to take some risks
…get the word out more – I’ll be honest and say we probably don’t do enough of this

I know its not easy. If I’m honest, I have some struggles right now. Standing in faith and waiting on God might be the right thing to do but He never said that it was going to be easy. I am determined to do all I can with what God has given me. Some days I do great at that, other days are best left not talked about. I am also determined not to tell God how He should fix my life either but truly trust Him.

If God loves me and I know that He does, then I must recognise that He would never see me go without. After all, that’s what love does. It wants the best. God wants the best for me. So I’m still waiting and really believing God for breakthrough – for those who are part of Xcel Darlington, for the Church to grow and for my family too.

If you can…tell us what you are believing God for? I will pray & stand with you.

Volunteer Sunday at Xcel

Looking forward to tomorrow at Xcel. Across all venues we will be celebrating volunteers, maybe even honouring one or two along the way too. Local church might be the hope of the world but without the willingness of individuals to serve, we wouldn’t get much done.

Great churches need everyone to play their part.

Here’s some of the quick thoughts I will be sharing tomorrow…

Serving is a choice
Someone has to decide to act first.
Jesus said ‘Take up your cross and follow me’. You choose.

Serving is a gamble
Who knows how it will turn out? You could find yourself becoming a ‘lifer’ for the Kingdom.
You could become addicted to it (in the right way)

Serving is not someone else’s job
Why watch others change the world when you can join them?
Everyone can do something
Servanthood is the primary calling on our lives

Serving is not just for Church
Jesus said ‘By this will all men know that you are my disciples, that you have love one for another’
It has to start in the Church, but it must flow out into our worlds
Accept the honour. Rise to the challenge

It’s going to be another great day – hope to see you there.

Pastor Dave Gilpin…Coming to Xcel Darlington

Actually he is coming to Xcel Darlington in the morning – Dolphin Centre at 11am, plus he is coming to Xcel Aycliffe too for the evening meeting.

Hope you are going to give us a look. Really believing God for a great time. My heart is just to see lives changed, transformed by the amazing love of God. I know that being a Christian doesn’t change the circumstances but it certainly helps you on the travels. God loves me. God loves you too.

Pastor Dave Gilpin is one of the best communicators I know. He is slightly off the wall, but that just makes him even more incredible. He lives out the God journey with absolute confidence in his God.

So why not? Come to Xcel Church on Sunday. You never know, you might have to admit that you enjoy it.

Xcel Church Darlington: Thoughts

Loved yesterday morning at Xcel Darlington – what a great morning. If you missed it, you missed out. Nothing is better than being in Church.

My reflections…
Central Hall feels like home. Someone commented how the atmosphere felt different. Even though there was only 80 people (only 80, still fantastic after just 6 months) it didn’t feel empty.

Sound was much better. The worship team were amazing. Really brought us into the presence of God. Ben, you sang that song from the heart!!

Daz preached communion – good thought of it being a ‘checkpoint’ for us, reminding us to make sure we are still right with God.

Love seeing new people. Even better watching the team just connecting with them. So natural.

Could have talked for hours about vision, the Church we need to become and what we can do. Two main thoughts…influence. That’s what we are about. Being people of influence in our own worlds. How do we influence…we need to GO.

Shared a great story that I heard from somewhere else which illustrates the reason we must GO so well. Check it out here. What would have happened if they had not been willing to GO.

The next 6 months…God is going to blow our socks off. Feel He is ready to blast Darlington.

Next week…I will be throwing out some more thoughts about what we can do and why we should do them, the difference such simple things can make.

[If you were there…how do you think you might respond?]

Be One of the Thousand

This is a risk. Putting my vision thoughts for Xcel Church Darlington in the open. Next time we are in Central Hall we will begin to delve into this thought.

For starters just think about this…

Our town has a population of 100,000 people. Surely that deserves a kicking Church. (Not that there aren’t some good churches already) I know I say this but it’s not all about numbers. But 1000 people. Wow – think of the impact that would have.

Just 1%. That’s all I’m believing God for. It’s not actually that much. Question is: how much faith do you need to see that come to pass?

Just 1000 ordinary people, living to make a difference. A group of transformed people influencing their community. Loving God, loving people, loving life.

How do we grow to this? How do we make it happen? Sunday 7th September – let’s start to unpack it together & follow my thoughts on here too.

Xcel Church: Reflections

Today was great. It seems a long time since we met together in Darlington but its only been 2 weeks. Good to see people as they come back from holidays.

Worship was great. Nothing better than sensing the presence of God. The team did a great job.

I love the relaxed atmosphere we have at Xcel Church Darlington. I hope those who were there for the first time always feel comfortable and at ease, as well as challenged by what’s going on around them.

My wife preached. She shared some life lessons. Things she has learned on her journey through life. For a first time, she did an awesome job. Not sure about the pictures she showed…

I vowed I’d never put personal pics on here but I just had to.
[Baby me, my 3 girls 2001, wedding day 1994]

Tonight we baptised at Aycliffe and it was a pack out, 350 crammed in, sweating for Jesus. Great celebration and so many guests. Plus the team back from Poland. Loved hearing the stories of what they had been up to helping the church in Gdansk with their building project. One thing I picked up was how they described the Pastor as humble, sold out for the town, building the church…Lord make me more like that for Xcel Church Darlington.

Excited about next week when we go back to Central Hall in the Dolphin Centre at Darlington.

How Do People Know We Exist?

Been thinking about how we are reaching people. How can we get people through the doors of Xcel Church in Darlington if they don’t know we exist?

The most obvious way is for people to bring people. Which they do and I love that. For the rest – need to make sure the signage is right, some new leaflets, some sort of editorial piece for the local press, plus me, being in Darlington more often, meeting people, keeping up with what’s going on.

God is increasing my heart for people. For a town which people say is hard to love. Let me say, it’s not about people just for numbers sake but then again, maybe it is. One more person coming to Xcel Church means one more person having the opportunity to give their lives to Christ.

Here comes an incredibly bold statement that need to work towards achieving: I think I would do just about anything (anything short of sin, that is) to help people cross the line into the Kingdom of God. The ‘how’ part of vision is something to discuss further.

Your thoughts please…