Matthew 11: Find Rest With Jesus

Sometimes when you read something it resonates with you in a new and fresh way. You know, you’ve read it many times before but this time, bearing in mind the circumstances of life you find yourself in the verse JUMPS OUT at you.

This is one of those kind of verses…

‘Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and LEARN from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls’ [v 28-29]

Meditate on these words. Let them lighten your soul. Let them refresh your spirit. Let them lift you. Understand that Jesus shows a different way, not one of religion, not one of pressure but one of life, and life in all its fullness. Knowing when you need to do this certainly demonstrates some maturity in your walk with God!

Do you not agree?

Obvious Truth: Jesus is THE MAN

Reading through the gospels at the moment and I know I shouldn’t be but I am just astounded at how absolutely incredible Jesus really was. His capacity to do stuff was immense.

Marvelling at the pace Jesus did life at. Everyday was filled with so much. Usually unplanned, unexpected and unusual. Is it just me but Jesus seemed to have no two days the same. I realise it’s not an exact timeline for his 3 years of ministry but WOW! So much going on. Things coming at him from every conceivable direction.

So many demands on him.
So many people wanting a piece of him.
So many questions from all different types of people.
So many opportunities.
So many choices.

Yet amidst it all he still had time to teach. He still managed to stay on course. He still maintained times of quietness and stillness which I guess are what maintained him. He still had compassion for people. He never tired of helping. He always spoke with clarity and purpose. There were not many empty words that he spoke, he wasn’t frivolous in his actions, thoughts or words. Instructing, challenging, rebuking.

His ability to answer questions is just incredible. Knowing that many times the questions were loaded, an attempt to catch him out and trap him, yet his thought processes were always sharp, ready, never dull.

My life is nowhere near that pace and I so easily become careless, thoughtless and useless. I probably miss out on so many opportunities because I’m not alive enough to what is going on around me. Maybe I’m to inward looking while Jesus was always outward looking. That’s not to be to down on myself but when you reflect your life on Jesus the shortcomings always seem so much more obvious.

I realise I’m talking about the SON OF GOD here but nonetheless…what a role model…what an inspiration…what a challenge…
…to not get distracted or frustrated or exasperated with people
…to live life on purpose
…to be centred around the needs of others rather than my own
…and so much more!!!

Interesting though? Do you agree?

Sunday Review…

Yesterday was great.

Been a long time since I’d preached – 5 weeks. Never going to leave it that long again.
I was ready to share the message…hoping that people were ready to listen.

Highlights…
…more new people than ever before
…it’s a great buzz when you know you are preaching a gospel message and there’s people out there who need to hear it
…atmosphere was kicking
…worship team – you did an amazing job
…tried out a few others of the team up front – love seeing people stretched. Always amazing to discover what’s inside someone when you push them a little – you know who you are – you did a great job!

Challenges…
…keeping up the momentum
…getting feedback from people – hey Xcel Darlington, never be afraid to leave some comments on here or drop me an email if you want
…keeping everyone on board

This weeks message on Turning Points was a great message to preach. The way Jesus wants people to experience a turning point with him and does all he can to help them – we can learn a lot form him. Our desperateness to see people have that turning point can often be the very thing that stops them.

Jesus understood people frame of experience. Was not pushy, just gently challenging them in their thinking but always demanding a response.

Next week…getting excited for the message. A challenging word for Christians and non-Christians alike. How we treat people who come to church in a quest for truth…there is a great exchange that takes place when someone meets Jesus as Saviour.

Jesus handles people with such love and care it’s incredible.

Xcel Darlington…you need to bring people.

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?

Jesus: Light of the World

Continuing our thoughts this Sunday on why Jesus came.

Jesus is the Light of the World. He said that while He is in the world He is the light of the world. So much truth packed into that statement. The world needs the light that Jesus brings. It is the contrast that the world needs because people love the dark too much.

John wrote that ‘Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed. But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.’

The Light of the World exposes us. It shines on our world revealing stuff about us…often those things that we feel uncomfortable about. It’s like you’ve been caught doing something that you should not have been doing. The search of His light can hurt, be too honest that we would rather hide from it…but we must not do that.

The Light of the World guides us, leads us, brings us to salvation.

We are called to be His light in a dark world, living under His light. It means we must respond in surrender. It’s okay to need help. Let the light of the world become a guide in your life. The wisdom to do life well!

It Was Already Talked About

His coming was already known, already talked about throughout the Old Testament. When I preached this on Sunday I read out a list of some of the prophecies…it was a fast paced list but you could certainly sense a change in the atmosphere as those listening realised the truth of why Jesus came.

Here’s the list…
He would be a descendant of Isaac (Gen 17:21)
He would be a descendant of Jacob (Gen 28; 35:10-12)
He would be a descendant of Judah
He would be a descendant of the family of Jesse (Isaiah 11:1-5)
He would be of the house of David (2 Sam 7:12-16; Jer 23:5; Ps 89:3-4)
Be born in a small city called Bethlehem (Micah 5:2)
He will be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14)
The Messiah would be the ‘seed of the woman’ come to destroy the work of the Devil (Gen 3:15)
He will be a priest after Melchisedek (Ps 110:4)
He will come while the tempe of Jerusalem is standing (Malachi 3:1; Ps 118:26; Dan 9:26; Zech 11:13; Haggai 2:7-9
He will perform miracles (Isaiah 35:5-6)
He will open up eyes of the blind (Isaiah 29:18)
He will speak in parables (Ps 78:2)
Gentile will believe in Him, own people will reject him (Isaiah 8:14; 28:16 etc)
A messenger will prepare way for him (Isa 40:3; Malachi 3:1)
He will enter Jerusalem on a donkey (Zech 9:9)
Hated for no reason (Ps 69:4)
He will be betrayed (Ps 41:9)
Betrayed by a friend (Ps 41:9)
Price of betrayal be 30 pieces of silver (Zech 11:12)
That money will be cast onto the floor (Zech 11:13)
Cast on temple floor (Zech 11:13)
Money used to buy potter’s field (Zech 11:13)
He will not open mouth to defend himself (Is 53:7)
Be beaten & spit upon (Is 50:6)
Be numbered with the transgressors (Is 53:12)
He will be pierced (Zech 12:10)
Hands & feet will be pierced (Ps 22:16)
Crucifixion foretold (Ps 22)
Bones not broken (Ps 34:20)
Clothing divided (Ps 22:18)
Be given vinegar & gall to drink (Ps 69:21)
He will be buried with rich (Is 53:9)
He will not decay (Ps 16:10)
He will be resurrected from dead (Ps 16:10)
He will ascend into heaven (Ps 68:18)
He will be seated at right hand of God (Ps 110:1)
He will be the Son of God (Psalm 2:7)

The baby Jesus story is great. Without the baby the world would not have the man. Then we would not have a Messiah, a Saviour, a Redeemer. Taking Jesus past Christmas is essential and we will continue this thought on Sunday.

Jesus: Not Just For Christmas

Looking forward to the next 3 weeks at Church as we unpack the reason why Jesus came. This is probably one of the most important questions that most people do not ask: why did Jesus Come to Earth?

We need to get past the baby and remember the man. You cannot have the beginning without the ending. That’s how God views everything, He starts at the end and calls us towards Him.

The potential and purposes of God were all wrapped up in that baby.
The life Jesus would live was written beforehand.
He was sent and always reminded people of that fact.
Not only sent but with purpose in mind.

To be the MESSIAH.

Hoping that tomorrow will be a great reminder to people of the amazing grace of God. Jesus entered the world, not just to exist but to save it. Rescue for sinners. Redeemer. Salvation.

It’s going to be a great day. Xcel Darlington. 11am at the Dolphin Centre. Who will you bring?

Influence Makes Vision Real

A thought, a dream, a vision. How does it happen?

One way: INFLUENCE

However great the idea if you cannot influence others to become part of it too it will never become the phenomenon you have dreamed it could be.

Don’t we have the ultimate in life-changing visions.
Don’t we believe that local Church is the hope for our nation.
Don’t we know that Jesus is the answer.

To grow a life-changing, people transforming, making a difference Church for the 21st Century – that’s why Xcel Church exists. That’s why I love being Pastor at Xcel Church Darlington.

A Church full of individuals.
A Church full of individuals with their own story of what God has done and is doing.
A Church full of individuals influencing their world.

You can be a great influencer by doing one of 3 three things…

Pray
Encourage
Ask

3 simple things we can do that can change somebodies eternal destiny.

I would love to see Xcel Church Darlington full of people but more than that, I would love to see it full of people, each one influencing as many people as they can. That’s how we change Darlington for God.

[September 7th in Central Hall, Darlington – let’s talk about this some more]