Take the Limits Off

Ever wondered what stopped the individual in Matthew 25 who got given 1 talent from doing anything with it? Don’t know about you but I do not want to be called ‘wicked, lazy, worthless’. Should it concern us that many of us head that way, sometimes without even realising it.

If 3 people are given talents and one of them just buries it then does that mean that 1 out of 3 people are doing NOTHING with what God has deposited within them. Am I just busy doing the wrong things? What reasons do I give that limit by ability to take a hold of every opportunity that comes my way?

Hear what the person says…
I knew you were are hard man
I knew you reaped where you did not sow
I was afraid
I thought to myself
I decided to bury it

‘I’ has a lot to answer for. It begins many sentences with excuses at the other end. As it did for the man stood with one talent, so we often do the same. I decided not to because of…

– the concern with how it will make me look

Culture influences image. TV is full of programmes telling us to look right.The cosmetics industry is worth over £37bn in UK – thats BIG business. It’s little wonder that we get concerned about how doing certain things will make us look.

Maybe for the person with one talent they became concerned with how doing things would make them look, after all, reputations are precious. They are hard to earn but can be easily lost.

There is a danger though for me as a Christian. If I base decisions on image then I put limits on what I can do. If my concern is directed more towards what others might think about me, then perhaps my focus is wrong. Surely my focus should be more on how God sees me. Isn’t acting in faith the better way to go?

Image = me centred
Faith = God-centred
Image = I look okay
Faith = God looks good
Image = concerned with own reputation
Faith = concerned with God’s reputation
Image = can affect our confidence
Faith = confidence is in God

If you look at God’s view on image He was more concerned with what was going on inside a person’s heart rather than how the outside looked. When King Saul acted because of how things were making him look, it cost him his kingship. While David, who was considered unlikely because he didn’t fit the part was described from God’s perspective as ‘a man after God’s own heart’.

Image should not be a reason to stop me but it sometimes it is.
Image can override my ability to trust God.
Image may stop me stepping out of the things I know and am comfy in, into areas where I don’t know everything.

I can’t play not to lose. I need to be more determined to do whatever I can, concerning myself less with how it makes me look and focus more on how it makes God look. That means I MUST exercise my faith in God – after all, he wouldn’t put things in me if he didn’t believe I could handle it.

[What other things can stop us?]

What Next for Xcel Darlington?

Vision month is always a great time around Xcel Church. You can almost sense people becoming more aware, a heightened sense of expectation of what could be, of what God can do through us.

Yesterday at Xcel Darlington was great. Good buzz. Atmosphere was tangible. Good community, people connecting. Signs of health.

The challenge: to not draw back from this and enter maintenance mode but to keep encouraging, keep believing God for more, to exercise our faith, to reach out and for our potential to be realised. This is our moment. Hope you get the sense that God is ready to do something in Darlington.

It will not happen by chance.
It will happen as we step out of our safety and take some risks.
It will not happen just through prayer.
It will happen as we become the answers to someone else’s prayer. As we enter into another’s world and meet needs, demonstrate love and do something.

What next for Darlington?
In some regards, that is up to us.

LEAN IN to something over the next 3 months – Xcel Church, Connect Groups, Discovery Course, the Homeless initative, serving on a Sunday
LEAN IN to new friendships, connecting with people, making yourself available
LEAN IN to your prayer life, your devotional times, your worship
LEAN IN to your personal development – sign up for an Xcel Training Course
Choose 1 thing and give it all you can.

BACK OFF from distractions, from habits (good & bad), from destructive relationships
BACK OFF from self-inflicted interference and LEAN IN to your God
Take an inventory of what you do with your life.

Don’t rely on others to do it. You do it.
Don’t assume someone has it covered. You cover it.
Don’t wait until everything is in place. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

If we all did something.
If we all reached out to one person.
If we all discovered something new about God.
If we all made ourselves more available.
If we all did what we could…

…think what a difference that might make. The potential. How God might use us?

[What do you think?]

The YOU That God Sees

Excited about the new series we kick off tomorrow at Xcel Darlington: will the REAL ME please stand up. I am convinced that if we can live our lives based on the way God sees us, then how we live life will be completely transformed. The limits that we put on our abilities will be taken off.

YOU are more than YOU think YOU are
The YOU that God sees is so much more expansive than how we see ourselves.
The YOU that God sees needs to be brought out into the open.
If God says it about YOU then it must be true.

YOU are more than what others think about YOU
Anothers view of YOU can have a limiting impact on what YOU can achieve.
How people see YOU and how God sees YOU are usually different.

YOU are the YOU that God sees
He doesn’t see the stuff that gets your attention – He just sees His child.
YOU are brand new, wiped clean, fresh & full of untapped potential.

The word is full of illustrations where God took someone who did not see themselves the same way He saw them. When they got their thinking about themselves in line with Gods then they did incredible things. This is an amazing truth: WE ALL HAVE THAT POTENTIAL!!

What do you think?

What Stops Progression And Limits Effectiveness?

We all want progression. We all want to work to our maximum effectiveness. At least I hope so. With 2009 literally within touching distance I am trying to discover what it is that stops us from making the progress we desire.

I think we were created to progress, to move forward.

So here are some questions that I am mulling over at the moment…
What stops people from progressing and building a successful life?
Are there certain things that we allow to get attached to us?
Stuff that distracts, holds us back, limits our effectiveness?

Spread the word, get your colleagues, friends & family involved. Would love some feedback from everyone who read this….