New Mercies, Every Day

Thankful every day that God’s mercies are new every morning. Are you?

Thankful that no matter where I have messed up – in attitude, thinking, speech, behaviour or anywhere else – that God never runs out of mercy. 

Forgiveness is always available. Not to be taken advantage of, or to live how I want and then wave my ‘Get of jail free card’. Instead that I would honour the sacrifice Jesus made, repent and, with God’s help, turn from those behaviours and live completely for Him. 

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases; his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness. “The Lord is my portion,” says my soul, “therefore I will hope in him [‭‭Lamentations‬ ‭3:22-24‬ ‭ESV‬‬]


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My Week: Tuesday

Growing to the Next Level

This where I have been all day with Kerina, John, Lisa, Glyn and Jean, and another 49 church leaders and their teams. Sharing ideas and having honest conversation about how best to grow the church.

 

It’s exciting to think where Xcel Church can be by 2020. We have our vision and it’s beginning to take shape. 

As we know God, find freedom and discover our own purpose, together we will then be a part of seeing it complete and making a difference. 

My head is slightly mashed as we have discussed the current reality and looked at opportunities along with listening to sessions about vision and systems too. 

I know, that like me, if you call Xcel Church your home that you are ready for the future and growing a large, influential Christ-centred church. 

Are you ready to make it happen?

Being a Passionate Christian

What an incredible Sunday morning at Influence 2016. We packed a lot in. Check out the Xcel Church Facebook page for some photos. 

  
Mal Fletcher spoke a great word at just the right time for us at Xcel. Preparing and positioning us for the influence God wants and needs us to have in the future. 

Here my notes…

John 2:14-17

Events like 13/11 in France teach us that…

  • Civilisation is fragile
  • It’s important to engage the world
  • The emptiness of political correctness
  • You can’t legislate tolerance it starts in the heart

Gods moral laws are like walls – you don’t notice them until you walk into them
The Power of Passion:

  • Those in France had zeal without passion
  • We must meet people with a passion that at least matches the passion they have for their God/beliefs
  • Zeph 3:17 – God wants to spin around you under the influence of violent emotional
  • Passion is about controlled conviction, not just about emotion
  • Cast off the bland for the bold

How do I keep passion alive?
1. Maintain right priorities (Matt 6:33)

  • seek – almost to the exclusion of everything else
  • things – eat, clothes, essentials
  • kingdom of God – future hope & present reality

We are called to signpost people to that coming kingdom – by the way we live now
It’s where hearts are changed now – it’s the only kingdom you can’t get into without the kingdom getting into you
Things to know about God…

  • God will be where people least expect him to be
  • He will be doing what you least expect him to be doing
  • God needs to be expressed in every area of life

2. Learn to live with hunger

  • Hunger after righteousness
  • You cannot be passionate about Godly things if you are seeking satisfaction from earthly things 
  • Let it be well with my soul

Thank you Mal for your teaching this weekend and provoking us to think about how we can and should express our Christianity every day 

5 Ways to Staying Healthy in My Role

Reflecting again on those things that are important to me that I believe help me to stay healthy in my role ~ as a husband, as a Father, and as an Executive Pastor in my local church.

Keep reading the Word of God. Every morning, be it 5 minutes or longer, I was check out the scriptures. Sometimes it’s part of a devotional I may be doing, other times it just picking it up and reading a portion. Either way, it is food for my spirit and just one key way in which I maintain my spiritual health.

Keep praying. And not just for myself. Each day I have specific things or people that I pray for. This has been a disciplined approach otherwise I would just pray for me all the time and I really don’t think that is right. I journal my prayers to help keep me focused cause my mind can easily drift, plus I have a record too of all that God has done for me.

Time with my family. They may not consider lounging about watching the television as anything special but often our just being in the same room is enough to keep my soul refreshed. We may play a game, watch a film or go out somewhere, that’s not the most important. To keep me healthy it’s about being with the people who the most special to me.

Doing a good days work. I love helping to build local church. It’s definitely where my heart is and I feel that I am in the right role. I like to know that what I am doing is making a difference and helping to bring the vision to pass. My soul is stronger and healthier when I have permission to be in my role, am empowered to lead and to help get stuff done, either just me or with others.

Getting a good nights sleep. Work hard, play hard and then sleep well. Enough said. If I don’t have enough energy for what God is calling me to, the person to blame is usually me. I’m not going to let tiredness from late nights be the reason God doesn’t use me.

One thing you notice as you read about successful people is that they not only had ideas and dreams but they were also willing to learn and discipline themselves to see those ideas and dreams actually happen. It was usually the simple things that would bring the greatest reward.

What would you add to this list?

Trusting God vs Trusting Yourself

Is not the whole land before you? Separate yourself from me. If you take the left hand, then I will go to the right, or if you take the right hand, then I will go to the left. [Genesis 13:9]

At time of writing I have just been preaching a series of messages in our church all geared around Godly wisdom for knotty problems. I used a jigsaw puzzle to make the point that at times we can find ourselves holding a piece in our hands that we just don’t know how to make fit. We don’t know what to do with it.

Other times we have a piece that we are utterly convinced fits and we put all our effort in to try and squeeze that piece in to make it fit because we just feel it really is the perfect piece. It’s almost like we are saying to God, ‘I know you gave me these pieces but just hang on a moment, I’ve nearly sorted it. If you could just get this piece in here everything will be fine’.

Trusting yourself or trusting God? That may be one of the hardest lessons we have to learn as we walk with God.

Abram got it right, and he also got it wrong. Personally I take some comfort from that. We can look at these Bible giants sometimes and forget they were just like us, just people doing their best to follow their God and to live for Him.

Trust is a foundational aspect of any important relationship and that is no different when it comes to the relationship with God. To trust is to have faith.

Faith that He knows better.
Faith that He can work it out.
Faith that He can make the pieces all fit together perfectly.

Faith that He will come through for us.

Abram trusted God when it came to his provision. He didn’t just look at things from his own perspective and make a choice of which would be better, instead he left that in God’s hands. He had faith that God would work things out according to His purpose and that He didn’t need Abram to have to act on His behalf. The same attitude should be ours today.

Trust God, completely.
Trust God, completely, even when it just doesn’t seem to make sense.
Trust God, completely. It really is the best way to live.

3 Life Changing Actions for Every Christian

The earth is the LORD’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers. Who shall ascend the hill of the LORD? And who shall stand in his holy place? He who has clean hands and a pure heart, who does not lift up his soul to what is false and does not swear deceitfully. He will receive blessing from the LORD and righteousness from the God of his salvation. Such is the generation of those who seek him, who seek the face of the God of Jacob. [Psalm 24:1-6]

As I read these verses, I reflect on what they say to me, how they influence my walk and my relationship with God. 3 simple but life-changing thoughts come to mind…

To recognise God as the Creator and Founder of ALL things. Are we not guilty on occasion of thinking we are the creator and founder of all things? Don’t we often prescribe to God solutions to the problems? Maybe we question His methods? Instead, we should acknowledge His greatness. To declare with confidence that the earth is the Lord’s, not ours, that He has founded and established its order, not us. We are not God, He is. Isn’t that one of those key life questions everyone has to answer? Do I believe in God or not? Is He the one true God or not? Will I surrender every part of my life to Him?

To keep myself in right relationship with God. I’m glad for the grace of God that made a way for us to enter into relationship with God, through the work of Jesus on the cross. I’ve accepted my need for the forgiveness that comes through receiving Jesus as my Saviour and can now enter into His presence 24/7 but I am mindful that it’s not a licence to live however I like. Why would I want to disrespect all that Jesus has done? Why would I not want to keep my life right with God, according to His word? Clean hands and pure hearts is what the Psalmist wrote, which for me is about doing my best to not allow ‘stuff’ to lead, influence, or have first place in my life, causing me to drift from God.

To be continually seeking God. Let’s be that kind of generation. Why? It says we are blessed and who doesn’t want to be blessed, especially blessing that comes from God. Our pace of life is not always conducive for spending time with God, yet in surveys amongst Christians it’s often the number one thing we want more of. Seeking is a deliberate action. We have to decide to make time, create space, or place it is a non-negotiable in our lives. It’s not as difficult as we think. Why not decide to be in Church every Sunday? Why not set the alarm 10 minutes earlier and start a Bible reading plan? Why not take time on an evening to journal your prayers and get a few moments with God?

Pastor Bill Hybels calls it ‘chair time’. Just 15 minutes or so of deliberately sitting alone with God. No distractions. Reading the Word. Praying. Listening to what God is saying. Let me encourage you….it is possible. This is not about religion but about developing a relationship. The hardest part is deciding that you will do this but it might just change your life forever. What have you got to lose?

Q: As a Christian, how do you do at this? What do you do to keep your walk with God strong and healthy?

Happy Christmas Everyone

Just to wish everyone who passes by my blog a very Merry Christmas. Have an amazing day, whatever you are doing and whoever you are with. 

I hope and pray that you are able to be with the ones that you love and I pray that 2016 will be your best year yet. 

Above all, remember that Jesus loves you. He came from heaven for you. Nothing you do can separate you from the love He has for you. He is with you, every day. 

““Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us).”‭‭ [Matthew‬ ‭1:23‬ ‭ESV‬‬]

My Christmas Focus

Christmas can be a good reflective time. The end of one year and approaching a new one provides us with the opportunity to draw a line and start with a new sense of optimism and purpose.

As Christians, the need to be doing this is as great as it has ever been. It’s time to focus. To pay attention to what is going on ~ not just in our own world but also in the world of those we know and love, and around the world too. If we don’t then others will. In a world that many consider is getting darker, we have to be focused on being people of the light and bringers of that light every day.

Maybe we have become too flippant with our faith. Maybe we can take it or leave it far too easily. There will always be the challenges that life can bring but maybe this Christmas time we should be honest with ourselves and look at how we are treating our relationship with God.

  • Is it really the most important relationship in my life?
  • What have I allowed to become a distraction to that relationship?
  • Am I really giving it my best?

At Christmas let’s take time out to focus. Jesus came from heaven for us. He gave up all that glory and splendour to become a man, to live as a human, to give himself for us. His love for us, if we ponder on it, is totally overwhelming, difficult to comprehend, it is incredible.

He did this for what He saw in the future. For you and for me. His disciples. His followers. His church. His bride. And when I think about it like that, the way I approach my relationship with Jesus changes completely.

Perhaps it’s time to ask the question as to how the relationship we really want with Jesus should impact our lifestyle, our own relationships, our choices, our attitudes, and how we approach Church, His bride and all that he gave His life for.

Where are you this Christmas? How will you be making your relationship with Jesus the best in can be, in 2016?