Who Are We Taking With Us?

The currency of heaven may be many things but in my opinion, faith and people are at the top of the list.

The Bible tells us without faith it is impossible to please God. Add to this the greatest of treasures we can store up in heaven, people, and we are on a winner. Begs the question then, as we work out our faith in Jesus, who am are taking with us?

Joshua and Caleb entered the promised land, eventually. They had to wait what may have seemed like forever, 40 years, for the moment to finally arrive. Yet they entered with the same focus and determination they had when the first opportunity had been provided them. More importantly though, they didn’t just enter for themselves, they took the next generation in with them.

These two men demonstrate 3 simple but extremely powerful qualities which in the busy way of life can so easily get lost.

TO WALK WELL WITH GOD

TO POINT PEOPLE TO JESUS

TO NEVER LOSE SIGHT OF GOD’S PROMISES

I watched an episode of Ambulance on BBC yesterday. The people being served were normal, every day people but they were broken people, some in desperate situations, others needing care, friendship, conversation, or even just someone to make them a cup of tea. Their stories were captivating and they stirred my heart.

Questions came flooding in.

Who am I taking with me?
How is my walk with God influencing the lives of those around me?
How is my people focus?
If my life is supposed to point people to Jesus, is it working?

This has to be the greatest of challenges for all Christians. We do well, we don’t do well. So maybe we need to be more vigilant. Is our belief coming through in how we live?

So here are some ‘top tips’ (for want of a better phrase) which I am committing myself to work on over the next few months and the rest of my life…

I will not let myself get bored with God.
I will work to keep my life pointed to Jesus.
I have to sharpen my people focus. To see people.
I won’t allow myself to become so easily frustrated with Gods ways.
I will always have people I want to take with me.

So who are we praying for, not preaching too? Who are we listening to, not just their voice but their heart too? Where are the opportunities to serve, not only ourselves but others too?

Maybe then, as we live out our faith in Jesus we will almost inadvertently be taking some people with us. And that will be AMAZING!!

Share your thoughts. Why do you think this is such a big challenge for us?

My Leadership for 2015

I count it an absolute privilege to get to do what I do. I thank God for entrusting me to a role and allowing me to put to use all that He has gifted me with.

My prayer therefore has to be something like this, ‘Help me Jesus to do this leadership thing right’.

Bearing all this in mind my leadership focus for 2015 is quite simple…

I want to be a leader who serves others better.

I have talked about this before. Too often I can get caught up in the doing and being of leadership. All that stuff is important and needs to be done but not at the expense of others, people, connection, reaching out, helping, caring, listening, opening my world and serving.

What will be your leadership focus for 2015?

Waiting On Tables

Comparison is a dangerous thing yet if we are honest we all do it. We look at how others are doing and it can go one of a number of ways…

Why aren’t they doing more? At least I’m doing more them? Why am I doing this when I could do be doing ‘that’? I’m better than this.

In Acts 6 we see the all too familiar problem of people needed to serve and serve in what could be considered a fairly menial type task. However the qualifications for such a team were quite high.

John Maxwell says that the Apostles looked for people who were…

Known from their sphere of influence
Able to serve on a team
Trusted among the people
Full of the Holy Spirit
Competent and intelligent
Responsible

I am challenged to not look down on the role I get to play, after all Stephen was chosen and became a martyr, Philip was chosen and he was a great evangelist too. I wonder how God would pick me and that I actually measure up.

There is no limit to what we can do for God wherever we might be involved. Our responsibility is to keep being the kind of people that God is looking for, to stay willing and obedient, and enjoy the opportunity to serve that is right in front of us today.

Why We Don’t Pick Up The Towel

Following on from the previous post about Servolution here’s some thoughts about why we don’t get involved. Jesus gave us a great example in John 13 when he washed the disciples feet, he demonstrated what it meant to love, be devoted and serve those around him.

I had two thoughts when I read this…

Every room has a towel

Pick It UP!!

Every room – every area of our life, our workplace, our home, our college, our street, our community, our church, our friends, our neighbours, every time we go somewhere there is opportunity to serve. An opportunity to pick up a towel.

The question is then – WHY DO WE JUST WALK PAST IT?

1. I’ve done my bit
Do you know what back in the day – I was it! Maybe as I approach my 40th birthday it’s time to reflect, to look at everything I’ve done and then step aside for the young people coming through. To be honest I’ve done just about everything in church life – kids church, drop in coffee bar, youth, street evangelism, been in the choir, worship, driven the bus, car park, put more chairs out that some of you have had hot dinners, christmas meals, cleared gardens, etc etc – many of us could say the same thing. So maybe I’ve earned the right to say ‘I’ve done my bit’.

That makes me ARROGANT. There is always something that I can do…

Paul wrote ‘Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in a such a way as to get the prize’. It’s not just about taking part. It’s not about saying that I ran the race before. We have to keep on running the race and running to WIN. We must notdisqualify ourselves because of the past things we have done.

2. Don’t Need the Hassle
Serving is inconvenient. It will cost us more than money. It will involve energy, stuff, time, no wonder its sometimes easier to just not get involved.

The story of the Good Samaritan is an illustration of people not wanting to get involved. What were they doing? They were thinking of themselves, maybe acting a little bit selfishly. When we think only of ourself we start to opt out, look for excuses, we become lazy, we allow our circumstances to become the biggest thing in our world and forget that its not about us but about other people.

‘I can’t be bothered’
‘I have a lot going on in my own life at the moment’
‘Work is really busy – when I get in its family time thats most important’
‘I’ve got things to do, places to go’

These are not wrong – I know life can be difficult and you must keep the balance right BUT sometimes the best solution for your circumstances is a servolution.

Paul wrote in Galatians ‘Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up’. It seems that helping others will do us good too.

3. I don’t do that
Ever looked at the list of opportunities and excused yourself because you don’t do kids, you don’t do singing, you don’t do early mornings, you don’t do physical work. I know I have. Next time we have a thought that something isn’t being done, maybe that’s a towel opportunity, our frustrations could be our chance to pick up a towel.

Jesus didn’t ask us to follow him if it ‘fits’ with our likes & dislikes, he just asks us to follow him, to lay down our life to gain it, to give up some stuff, to take up our cross everyday. We need to pick up the towel, when we enter a room, someones world then pick up that towel…why?

Because of what it represents…
…people who have needs
…opportunities for God to move
…living out the right kind of Christian walk (giving up your life)
…glorifying God
…lining yourself up to receive a harvest
…because we should

Don’t walk past the towel….pick it up.
It may not seem as significant to us as having the right title BUT to the person we are serving it could be the most significant thing we ever do.

Let’s make this a great time of Servolution.

A Favourite Day

Loved today. The VIP Christmas Dinner.

One of my favourite days in the Church calendar. A great opportunity amidst the Christmas preparations to take some time out and serve by giving others a chance to celebrate Christmas. This year was not as busy as others but it was still a fantastic day and the elderly from local nursing homes, the homeless guys from Middlesbrough and local families were absolutely blown away.

Thanks to the Xcel Darlo crew (and others) for giving up their Saturday to come and prepare a 3-course dinner, wait on tables, wash up, clean up and look after our guests. You are heroes!!