A Day in the Life of Xcel

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Sunday ~ what a day. It doesn’t happen by chance. We pray like it depends on God but BIG UP to the teams that work like it depends on them!!

Here’s some of the things I love about my church…

3 locations. Multiple teams. All about lifting the name of Jesus and with a desire to see transformation in local community. It’s a beautiful thing. The willingness of so many volunteers to come early for set up, sound check and to pray together.

Troubleshooting. Things don’t always run smoothly. The ability to take on an issue and just get on with it, no fuss, no big panic, it is fantastic. Here’s the best thing too, most people wouldn’t have even realised that anything went wrong. Me included sometimes.

Worship. Such an excitement about the place as we get ready to record a live album on Sunday 11th September. Checkout this short clip from yesterday and another new song. Save the date!!

That we are building something for God. Never underestimate the power of a big vision to engage. The Xcel 2020 vision is bold but full of opportunities for some ‘only God’ moments. There is a place for everyone to participate.

The people. Just love the heart of the people. Love that they are with us on the journey. I know we may not always agree on the best way to do things and that’s ok. That’s family. We can have our discussions and then we get on with it. People are what this is all about. Connecting with Jesus. Connecting with others within Xcel. Connecting with those who don’t Jesus yet. It doesn’t get any better than that.

I could go on. The adventure is on and I am glad to be a part of it. Why not join us this Sunday and find our for for yourself what all the fuss is about. Check out the website

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Just Saying

#justsaying

Seems like these two words help us to justify anything we might want to say to people. I am as guilty as you might be. We have an opinion, have a rant, let people know what we are thinking and then casually add ‘hashtag, just saying’.

Yet my opinion counts for so little in comparison to the words of Jesus. I might be ‘just saying’ but Jesus said much more and of greater worth too.

When someone uses that phrase my suggestion is that we check out what Jesus said or even what the Apostle Paul taught the local churches he planted. Not just to dismiss what others say but lets make sure we line it up with the Word of God.

Love God. Love people. Develop a life of integrity. Work hard. Mind your own business. Put all your effort into living well with others. I guess it’s just about being the best follower of Jesus you can be.

#justsaying

Act Loving First

It is easier to act our way into feelings than feel our way into actions.

Over these next few days as we remember the ultimate action of love demonstrated by Jesus towards us let’s reflect this in our interactions towards others.

We won’t always ‘feel’ like loving others. Even Jesus asked for what was about to come his way to be taken from him. Yet he ‘chose’ to love us. We won’t feel our way into loving others. Instead we have to act our way into loving others by doing something that demonstrates a love for them.

We need to learn to communicate well, giving words of encouragement and affirmation. Choose to appreciate rather than criticise.

We need to learn to empathise with others and see things through their eyes. Don’t judge another persons way of handling something just because you would deal with it differently.

We need to look for opportunities to meet a need. We can’t wait for them to fall from the sky, go find them. Everybody has needs.

We need to be willing to share ourselves and make more connections. This is when love actions just become a way of life. This is about loving others beyond convenience or no cost involved.

Act first. Act loving towards others first. Who knows what might happen.

 

Words

Words are important. We use somewhere between 10000-25000 each day. All kinds of words too. Words of encouragement, love, appreciation, thanks, honour, fun stuff, decision making, alongside plenty of general nonsense and whether we like to admit it or not there’s possibly a whole bunch of unkind, harsh, bitter, angry and downright rude words too.

They can be our salvation. They can be our damnation.

Jesus said that there are two key things that impact words we speak…our minds and our heart.

Too often our minds are like snake pits. Full of venom, full of nastiness, full of foul and mindless comments. Such can only produce rubbish.

In addition, our hearts demonstrate to others what’s really going on inside of us. When we are pushed or provoked how we respond reveals out heart and what it’s full of.

As we walk with God, let us consider the words we use. Even those throw-away comments. Are they life giving? Are they encouraging? Are they positive? Are they honouring to the God we serve?

You have minds like a snake pit! How do you suppose what you say is worth anything when you are so foul-minded? It’s your heart, not the dictionary, that gives meaning to your words. A good person produces good deeds and words season after season. An evil person is a blight on the orchard. Let me tell you something: Every one of these careless words is going to come back to haunt you. There will be a time of Reckoning. Words are powerful; take them seriously. Words can be your salvation. Words can also be your damnation. [Matthew 12:34-37]

Love God. Love People.

If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how can he love God whom he has not seen? [1 John 4:20]

Love God. Love people. That is one of the biggest challenges that most of us as Christians have to contend with.

We know we love God. Love to worship. Love to lift up His mighty name.

It’s the loving people part that can often be the harder part. Yet it is just as important. I feel that maybe if we can’t genuinely love others that we make a mockery of the fact that we love God.

I am reminded, challenged and if I am honest, sometimes guilty of saying that I love God but still having issue with people. I know that I don’t hate them, perhaps they just wind me up. However, I must be careful to make sure that I take the love I have for God and share that love with the people around me.

Love God. Love people. It makes a massive difference. To not do that is to fall short. How can I say that I love God if I don’t love others too.

Or maybe it’s just me.

Take the Plunge – Rescue Someone

Been thinking on interesting topics over the last couple of weeks. The whole INTERFERENCE thought and reasons why people drift away from God is niggling away at me all the time.

Sunday was a good day at Xcel in lots of ways – worship, word, atmosphere, connecting.
Sunday was disappointing in other ways – no one gave their life to Jesus, in fact I’m not sure how many new faces there were across the venues.

Challenged the Xcel Darlington crew the other week to never assume. Just because people are not at church, don’t assume that everything is okay. Maybe they are not there because of some INTERFERENCE in their world. Not just holidays. Or work.

Bring someone back to Church! There’s a challenge. But then again is it really? With the whole online social networking, emailing and texting – communicating with people in a very convenient, non-pressure way has never been easier. I’ve been messaging like crazy and it’s been great to open up some dialogue and discover what’s going on in people’s worlds. even better to see some of those people back in Church on Sunday!!

People who are drowning don’t need pleasant words from the person on dry land. They don’t need to be told how they should have read the signs, not gone in the deep water…what they want is to be rescued. Some people in our worlds are just the same and the problem with many Christians is that they are full of well-meaning words, good at the opinions but not so willing to jump in and rescue the person.

God is definitely nudging me to take the plunge and get rescuing. It might be messy but I know God will help.

Who is not in Church who used to be in Church?
Why not make contact and find out how they are and if there is anything you could do for them?

Building the House: Loving People

Building a great life, in my opinion, needs God! It’s what we were created for. Loving God is the starting point of the journey, loving people is the evidence of that love. But here’s the thing…

Loving people is easy.
Loving people like me is even easier.
Loving people who are not like me – not so easy. I mean, where are the points of connection, it doesn’t come natural…but I think that’s where the God relationship needs to kick in.

Building anything takes time, preparation, a plan. We are told to count the cost. Building great relationships are no different. Too many times though we are wrapped up in what we need from the relationship to truly consider the needs of the other person. Building life changing relationships that create a legacy and are about something bigger than you requires another level of giving…it involves sacrifice, laying down yourself, honesty, consistency in who you are and what you do, it demands being real and genuine. People are people, not targets for Jesus.

Jesus said some incredible things about loving people…
…love your neighbour as yourself
…love one another
…lay down your life for a friend
…love your enemy (ouch!)

I CANNOT DO THESE WITHOUT GODS LOVE

Learning to love people just because we must would change the landscape of our worlds. Everyone craves attention. Everyone wants to know that someone somewhere truly cares. We can be that. Christians should be that.

As a Pastor I am conscious that true connection produces powerful consequences, inside the Church and outside the Church too. It has to be in both arenas. We connect with people, God does the rest. We don’t fix. God does the fixing…that’s why we must be loving God first.

Connection brings protection, provision, friendship, accountability, partnership, support. You can’t tell me that people don’t want all that. That’s why at Xcel Church we will always start with loving God, offering people an opportunity to connect with God but will then be encouraging them to move on, get connected with others…in Church with Small Groups and ministry, outside Church with whatever…anything short of sin really, meeting people and just loving them.