Influence 2017: Session 1

So the first session last night was just a phenomenal start to Conference. 
An incredible opener declaring God as Sovereign, which led to a beautiful time of worship and the Dr Robi speaking. And what a message. 

From Tragedy to Triumph, helping people truly come out the other side of trauma stronger. 

Hope. In something with substance. 

Faith. That substance is having a faith in God who actually cares. 

Thankfulness. Look for 5 things every day to say thank you for. 

Kindness. Doing good things for people consistently. 

Courage. To do whatever you know needs to be done. 

And above all – why not give God a try. 

Lift Up Our Eyes

When suffering comes, in all its different forms, it’s natural, without even realising sometimes, to let our heads drop and our eyes to look down.

Yet the word of God encourages us to lift up our eyes. It can seem counter-intuitive, the hardest thing to do, yet as we manage to lift up our eyes our perspective can be changed. 

Lift up my eyes to the hills – Where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth [Psalm 121]. 

He will watch over me and you, He will shade us, He will keep us safe, He will always be there. 

Whatever you are going through, do what you can to lift up your head, look to Your God, your ever present help in such times. 

Enthusiasm v Excuses

Maybe it’s just me but you know what it can be like. That first rush of blood after you have heard about something, that immediate reaction that tells you that something must be done.

Enthusiasm burst forth. I’m gonna change the world.
Problem is I don’t know how to change the world. Challenge is to find the person who will lead the way. I would gladly follow someone else who knows what they are doing or can make things happen. Tell me what to do and I will do it. Unfortunately such a person doesn’t always exist so the enthusiasm swiftly dissipates and I revert to type, blend into the crowd. (Maybe they don’t exist because I am supposed to be that person but don’t want to admit it).

Excuses kick in. Too much, too far, too hard, too much time, too expensive, too dangerous, too hopeless, too weak, not from the right place. Excuses, excuses, excuses.

Don’t allow your enthusiasm for what you believe God would have you to do be overwhelmed by excuses. Don’t allow the difficulty of doing something dampen your enthusiasm for it.

Be like the Apostle Paul who was seemingly invigorated by the obstacles (2 Corinthians 11:23-28)

I have worked much harder.
Been in prison more often.
Flogged more severely.
Exposed to death again & again.
Five times received forty lashes minus one.
Three times beaten with rods.
Night & day in the open sea.
Constantly on the move.
Danger from rivers, bandits, fellow countrymen
Danger in the city, the country, at sea, liars
Laboured without sleep.
Have know hunger, thirst, gone without food, been cold & naked.
Pressures from church concerns.

Now that’s some excuses to kill off any enthusiasm. Makes my poor excuses look incredibly weak in comparison.
Perhaps I could change the world. I’ll do it by starting to change my world, reaching out to those closest to me who are in need and seeing where God might take me as I am willing to be used.

No grand gestures.
No excuses.
Just one person becoming available.
Simple, small acts of kindness, whenever I can.

My prayer…
Lord, help me get over myself and use me. Help me to help others. To be an encourager, a listener, someone who brings hope, who has faith to believe YOU for some stuff. I don’t know where you might take me but I pray that you help me to be ready. Please don’t allow my excuses stop you from using me. Amen

A Place to Find Hope

In my preparation for this next series called TURNING POINTS there is thought that is continually in my thinking at the moment…

If the local Church is the hope of the world then we have to be full of that hope ourselves. That has to be the Church. Which means it has to be US.

Whatever the circumstances.
Whatever the situation.
Whatever the past.
Whatever the present.
Whatever the lifestyle.

There is still hope. Always hope. Found in the person of Jesus Christ.

Let’s get the word out…you can really come to Church, just as you are. Whatever your opinion of yourself, God still loves you and has made a way for you to re-connect with Him. Yes, we don’t deserve it. It is the gift of God, to us.

Let’s work at making Xcel Church the right kind of place where we breathe hope into a world which often lacks hope? Let that be our passion as we reach out to those around us – to love them, to be bringers of hope and demonstrate Jesus to them in simple, practical, caring ways.

What do you think?