A Right Attitude

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person.” [‭‭Colossians‬ ‭4:6‬ ‭ESV‬‬]

“Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” [Matthew 5:16 NIV]

These seem like great verses to remind us all about how to behave towards others, the right kind of attitude we should be employing every day. Just to ensure that the light we are shining brightly reflects well on the good deeds of our Father in heaven and brings Him glory.

It seems an especially good reminder in light of the current conversations, comments and opinions flying around in regard to the EU Referendum. I liked this article too as a reminder of what the Bible says about politics.

Whichever side you vote for, we are first and foremost followers of Jesus, so let’s take  our lead from Him and His word, and take care in ensuring that the strength of our opinions don’t see us become opinionated. Remember ~ to have an opinion is to share something that you believe. To be opinionated means you think your opinion is right, and whoever disagrees is wrong or stupid.

Just a thought, amongst all the other thoughts. Ignore me if you think I’m out of line. Let’s lead well in ALL things, however passionate we may feel about whatever we are talking about.

Stay Strong

After the buzz and high of a Sunday night in church comes the mundane work of a Monday morning.

It can be difficult when you head into the week with all its ‘stuff’ to remember that God has already been in our tomorrow. Our worries are a waste of energy.

Don’t let your faith drop.
Stay strong.
Be of good courage.

The Jesus Lifestyle series at Xcel Church may have challenged us to raise the bar in respect of how we live but it’s also reminded us that when we determine to live this lifestyle the rewards are amazing.

Building on such a strong foundation can give us confidence as we head in to another week. Whatever happens we are ready for it.

Have a great week and enjoy the blessing of God as you walk with Him.

We Come in Peace

Just a quick thought after a great day in church unpacking this question: how do we change the world around us?

Anyone can bring change. However, lasting change only comes from God. This is the kind of change we, as Christians, are meant to bring. Yet I don’t think it’s the change we can bring unless we have experienced it for ourselves. If we are not different then how can we make a difference. We might pray for people to know Jesus but it doesn’t work telling people they need God to change them if they are looking at us thinking that if we represent change, then they don’t want it.

Jesus gives some simple instructions in Matthew 5. Be people who show mercy. Keep our heart pure. Expect persecution.

Do it all by being a person who goes in peace. 

Too often we have gone into the community with criticism. Too many times we have gone in with judgement, a pointing finger, giving our opinions as we go. Instead we are encouraged to be people who come in peace. To have a disposition of peace. To bring a conversation of peace. To be someone who doesn’t look for a reason for a good fight, but rather chooses peace.

This week the challenge is to speak peace over your neighbours, over your work colleagues, over you family, over your friends.

Time to Get Excited

In the midst of a Saturday full of getting some stuff done around the house and hanging out as family, I still sneak some moments with God in expectation of Sunday. I am a big fan of local church. Christians who think they can survive without it are a wonder to me because I know that I cannot.

I love Sundays.

I love being in Church. All day.

I love the opportunity of standing alongside a whole bunch of like-minded people and worshipping together. There is some power in that.

I love hearing the Word. I want God to prompt me through it. I need to hear what God has to say.

I even love connecting with people.

I’m of the opinion that we expend energy getting excited about a lot of different things in life but the most important thing to be excited about is Jesus and His church. If we can’t get this right then we will not have what it takes to be the world-changers that God needs us to be. Hope you agree.

[If you are a Christian but not in a local church then take my advice and find one. It doesn’t need to be Xcel Church, just one where you can feel at home, can hear God speak, can get behind the vision and be a part of making it all happen].

Don’t Worry

These simple words of Jesus in Matthew 6:25 are powerful. He knew how worry would suck the life out of us. How it would choke us, cause us sleepless nights, get a hold of us and become difficult to let go of. He recognised it as a tactic of the enemy. A result of fear and doubt, a thinking on what could wrong and focusing on that too much.

The challenge is we get so used to worrying that we accept it. The way we feel about the things we worry about becomes normal. That does not make it right.

How should we handle worry?

Pray. Be anxious for NOTHING but in EVERYTHING pray [Philippians 4:6-7]

Immerse yourself in truth. Take captive every thought and bring it in line with the Word of God.

Let God do what you cannot do. We should pray, seek counsel and get organised but we must also let God be God. He is bigger than our worries. He can handle them.

Trust God. Don’t take it back when nothing seems to happen. Trust in the Lord. Don’t allow worry to steal your faith.

Put on the armour. Every day. Gird yourself with truth. Guard your heart. Lift up your shield of faith. Keep mindful of your salvation. Tell of all the good things Jesus has done for you.

Let’s stop worrying and start living. Let’s live the full life that Jesus spoke about. Let’s not give the devil a foothold any longer. Let’s trust God, no matter what.

How Do You Live the Jesus Lifestyle?

Had a great time chatting with the Xcel Young Adults crowd tonight. I asked the question ‘How do you live the Jesus lifestyle?’ After all, once you make the decision to follow Jesus that’s what you are endeavouring to do – live the way Jesus asks you to. Following some wisdom from a couple of young adults I added my 4 thoughts:

It’s a Journey – it’s a lifestyle, not a daystyle. Recognise that you have embarked on a journey. Living the Jesus Lifestyle is walking the narrow path that Jesus mentions in Matthew 7:13-14. It’s a determined walk, a careful walk but it’s the walk that leads to life.

Don’t compromise. Living for Jesus is a high calling, a high standard. Once you have embarked on the journey, don’t lower your standards. Don’t give way. If the foundation is strong, then what ever stage of life comes, with all the changes that come,  decisions are already made. You can confidently say yes or no to stuff.

No excuses. Be someone who looks for reasons to opt in, rather than someone who looks for the opt-out. Jesus tells the story about an invite to a banquet that people made excuses for not attending. It’s a bit light when your reason is that you’ve bought a field and you have to go and look at it. If you are IN then you’re IN. Stop trying to get out of what Jesus is asking you to do.

Get the right crowd.There’s plenty of people who will call you to compromise or make excuses so having the right people round you will help you to live the Jesus lifestyle. Who should be in your crowd? Jesus. Spend time with Jesus. Plus some fellow builders. People who want to make a difference with you.

The question for all us is simple – am I doing enough to make sure I am living the Jesus lifestyle the best I possibly can?

How to Handle People

If you were at Xcel Church today, what one thing did you learn or get reminded about when it comes to dealing with people? Jesus was fairly straight on what can be considered a tricky subject. It’s always good to reflect on what we have heard and ask ourselves: ‘is there anywhere I fall short and need to improve?’

Judging too hastily.

Criticising wrongly.

Conflict lover, or conflict avoidance.

Not just being able to give criticism well but receive it well.

Speaking with truth with love.

Love how the Message version puts part of this…

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole travelling roadshow mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour. [Matthew 7:1-5]

If you are like me, when I read just these few verse I acknowledge there is definitely room for improvement. The danger of thinking I have arrived and got these sorted is the moment I let my guard down, become complacent and then mess it up.

How is the Jesus Lifestyle a challenge for you?

Is Jesus Still Enough?

Still reflecting on yesterday in church and the start of our new series – The Jesus Lifestyle and the question of how to be happy. Truly happy.

Now this might be overly simplistic but as we pursue happiness in lots of different places how about we just take a moment and ask ourselves an important question – is Jesus enough? Yes He is, I hear you cry. Yet something niggles me. I know we sing about Jesus, maybe we even Facebook about Jesus, but in all honesty, do we really mean it when we say Jesus is enough.

The Jesus Lifestyle is impossible without Jesus and without the Holy Spirit to help us, so I don’t think it’s a daft question, we drift very easily from what we say is the most important person in our lives. Actions and choices speak louder than anything else.

If you didn’t have what you have would Jesus still be enough?

If you never have anymore than you have right now would Jesus still be enough?

If you were nudged by God to give away some or all that you have would Jesus still be enough?

Let’s be honest. This is such a fundamental question to chew over. Make time to reflect and be willing to make any changes that need to be made. When we determine that Jesus is enough then we are building the foundation for our lives. saying yes and no to other stuff becomes much easier. We have created some boundaries for all aspects of our lives. I don’t think it can any better than that.

What do you think?