Build Church: Know Your Comfort Zone

Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace [Matthew 28:29 Message]

There’s a lot of talk about getting out of your comfort zone and I get that. We fill our days with so much stuff which in reality is of no eternal purpose, both individually in our Christian life and corporately as the body of Christ. We are very comfortable in our faith.

A better focus might be to know our comfort zone. To learn the unforced rhythms of grace Jesus wants to walk and work with us in. To find our best fit. To discover our unique calling and to then ride this wave with all of our effort and determination.

Anyone who know me well enough should know that after Jesus, other than my family, there are two main things which have my heart – raising the next generation of leaders and building local church. I am on the journey of discovery still, even after so many years that to be fruitful for God in both of these will no doubt involve the following…

To get into my zone I first have to get out of my comfort.

I have to give the Holy Spirit permission to convict me to move me.

Once I am in the zone, only I am the one responsible for putting the right kind of effort in to it.

To bear the best kind of fruit, the God-given destiny kind of fruit, my life has to be about more than just the fruit of my own labours.

I am not there yet. Let’s be honest, there have been good days and not so good days. I have frustrations. Yet the only person getting in the way of me building anything of eternal significance with my life is me. So best get over myself, repent, remind myself that my preferences are for laying down and just get on doing what it is I feel God is asking me to do.

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Lead Well: 10 Steps Towards Gods Future For Us

 

 

 

 


We can make our plans, but the LORD determines our steps [Prov 16:9 NLT]
We plan the way we want to live, but only God makes us able to live it. [Prov 16:9 Message]

When I was younger I don’t remember having any great ambition to be something or someone in the future. Maybe you did. I would have loved to have been a sportsman of some sort as I was pretty good at a few. I can complain about lack of opportunity but I lacked the discipline needed when the opportunity came along.

Since then I have discovered that leading well is less about the destination and more about the steps along the way. It is less about what I achieve and more about who I become along the way.

Don’t get me wrong, we need the big dreams and a vision of a preferred future but it is the steps we take along the way which determine where we get to. And then we need to happy that when we get ‘there’ the preferred future may doubtless look different to what we anticipated.

Dreams are exciting and in reality, quite easy. We can all imagine great things. Steps though are more tricky, they represent where the rubber hits the road.

Steps take courage.
Steps involve action.
Steps are time consuming.
Steps demonstrate our faith in God.
Steps will grow us.
Steps can be hard work.
Steps can be quick sometimes or slow at other times.
Steps are often lonely.
Steps take us somewhere.

Steps are Gods to determine. After all, He wants to get us to where we ‘need’ to be more than we want to get to where we ‘think’ we should be.

At the age of 47 I never imagined I would be where I am, doing what I do, but I am. God’s plans have worked out how He saw best. To say I have faith in Him means trusting where I am and the journey I am walking are the steps He is wanting me to take.

My responsibility is simple ~ keep walking, one step at a time, with God very much in the lead position.

Why not take a moment to thank God for where He is brought you to?
Then pray and give Him permission to keep ordering your future steps.

 

 

Walk With God: Don’t Be a Jonah

I think it comes naturally to be a Jonah. To run from the call of God rather than towards it. To disagree with what we are being asked to do. To dare to believe we know better.

You cannot outrun God. You cannot outrun the call of God. 

Haven’t we all been there, wondering how we ended up where we did. We should have gone in one direction but we chose another. We find ourselves in a dead end or  simply in the wrong place and in trouble.

That’s Jonah.

So, let’s not do a Jonah.

He found himself inside a giant fish.

He never needed to wonder how he got there, he knew.

It’s a rough moment for Jonah. A 3-day rough moment until the fish threw him up but God has a myriad of ways to capture our attention. And more importantly, a second chance to be obedient.

Lesson learned, you would think.

Jonah continues to be frustrated by the way God behaves. God doesn’t do what we would do. Where we would call for judgement and punishment, God provides love and forgiveness. In our way of thinking this is not fair yet to God, it’s the perfect illustration of fairness.

We want fairness to be toward us but then to determine whether it should be given elsewhere. That is not fair.

God’s long arms of abounding love and slow anger is completely fair. Everyone can receive it, especially those who respond to the call to repent, who turn their heart back to God. It doesn’t seem fair but it is, and I am a thankful recipient of it.

When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that He said He would do to them, and He did not do it [Jonah 3:10]

So, let’s not be a Jonah. Instead let’s be more God-like in our working out of fairness in the way He deems things to be fair.

Maybe we should check our hearts today. Is there something God asked to do which we have our done best to ignore, turn away or even run from. Repent, then go for it and get back on the job for God.

 

Something Out of Nothing

When it comes to being a resource two things are available – everything that we bring added to everything that God brings.

Often we look down on what we can bring. We don’t think our talent or treasure is up to much. Our past, the circumstances we have travelled through, all of our experiences, we just think they are not of any great value.

Here’s the important thing to remember: God can make SOMETHING out of NOTHING.

In 2 Kings 4 Elisha asked the widow what she had in her house. What resource did she have available? Her first reply was not very positive. ‘Nothing‘. Followed quickly by ‘I have a little oil’.

I think we can be like this. We don’t recognise what we have and maybe even despise what we can bring. Yet, when we bring our little, our nothing, God can make something out of it. We may have to search for it a little more but there is resource in us that God wants to get out.

His desire is to get resource IN and THROUGH us.

It’s about becoming a conduit of resource and not a hoarder. Then the glory of God will rise upon us, the light of His countenance will shine on us and that’s a great place to find yourself in.

What resource do you need to let God get IN you and THROUGH you?

What’s Your Sunday Score?

Here’s a dangerous blog.

How would you score Sunday in Church? If you were giving it a mark out of 10, what would it be? What was your highlight of the weekend? How could things be made better?

As I shared a couple of weeks ago, every Monday in the office we have a quick meeting to look back over the weekend at Xcel Church ~ from Friday night to Sunday. The highs, the lows, what went well, the stories about lives being impacted, as well as any challenges and very importantly, how we can make things better for next weekend.

It’s kind of like a score.

A score with purpose. One that comes from a desire to make the experience that people have the best experience possible.

Here’s the next question. What score would you give yourself? What could you have done, individually, to help make the experience people have at Church the best experience possible? Did we give our very best for God this Sunday?

I love this quote by Theodore Roosevlet which I think sums up what I am trying to say…

It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.

Let’s not just get our scorecard out and shout ‘seven’ aka Len Goodman. Instead let’s just make sure we are doing everything that we can do ourselves, in the arena, on the teams, bringing our best, spending ourselves for the most worthy of all causes.

Love Sundays

Nothing better than heading home after a Sunday in Gods house. It may be cliché to say this but it is the best way to start a new week. It is one of the most important things for me to do. Being in Church keep my heart aligned to the right things.

Why I love Sundays?

My amazing Church family.
The chance to worship together.
For Gods presence.
Watching people serving in the House.
Salvations.

How about you, what do you love about being in Gods House every Sunday?

Slow & Steady

Starting a new year always brings that talk of resolutions, goal setting, of heading into what can be your ‘best year yet’. Here’s my simple thought for 2013…

‘slow & steady wins the race’

Seth Godin calls it the ‘drip’. God calls it ‘waiting’.

Don’t be in a hurry to get where you think God wants you to be, that can often lead to a place of our own choosing. By all means have some plans, but allow God to lead and order the steps so you end up where He needs you to be. God is rarely in a hurry. Let’s be about building a lifetime not just a moment.

Time for a Change…

September is VISION MONTH at Xcel Church. I think it happens at a lot of churches around the world. Not that we don’t look ahead at other times but it does provide a great opportunity for us to stop, reflect, think & plan for the next 12 months.

This process can work for any organisation, church or otherwise.
This process can work for YOU as an individual too.

If you don’t take time to STOP, REFLECT, THINK & PLAN then don’t complain when life gets shaped for you by other people, circumstances and events. Fresh vision doesn’t happen by chance. It comes through deliberate action.

STOP. Too many people STOP FOR NOTHING.
Pause for thought. Make time. Being busy is not necessarily a sign of accomplishment. We are all getting things done but they might not always be the right things.

REFLECT. Am I happy? Do I need to change things? What could I do to see different results? Vision isn’t always about some new idea or invention. Often vision comes from a place of discontent. Unhappiness = need for fresh vision, new insight.

‘Vision is the cure for sin. A God-given vision keeps us from decay and disorder. It energises everything we do’. [Mark Batterson, Primal]

In fact the Bible tells us that people without vision will perish. So STOP, REFLECT – take a good look at what you are doing & where you heading. Are you living? Are you perishing? Your vision (or lack of vision) might be the issue.

THINK. Dare I suggest that as a Christian – pray. Seek God. Read the Word. Allow for some spiritual insight into stuff. Make room for creative thinking time. Ask the right people the right kind of questions.

‘Prayer is the mechanism whereby God ideas are conceived and captured. And it’s our capacity for prayer that will ultimately determine our creative potential.’ [Mark Batterson, Primal]

PLAN. People think that plans & goals are unspiritual, too business like for them. Jesus had an end goal in mind & I am forever grateful that he kept it in mind. THINK about the future. Set some goals. Make a plan. Work toward those plans.

‘Ideas are worthless. Intentions have no power. Plans are nothing…unless they are followed with action’. [John Maxwell]

So, what’s the vision?
Will you make time to STOP?
Will you be honest with yourself as you REFLECT?
Will you allow God to speak to you as you take time to THINK?
Will you make a fresh PLAN for the future?

WHAT’S YOUR VISION?
Share below…

[Quick footnote: be realistic while making space for God to move. No need to be foolish]