7 Reasons to be in Church Tomorrow

Let’s see how inventive we can be in encouraging love and helping out, not avoiding worshipping together as some do but spurring each other on [Hebrews 10:24-25 Message]

Wow, it’s Sunday tomorrow. Some weeks it seems to come round really quick. I pray you have/have had a fantastic Saturday, whatever you are putting your hand to today.

Let me encourage you to be in church tomorrow. What a great way to launch yourself into another 7 days by deliberately choosing to spend time in the House of God. Why?

7 quick reasons why being in Church is so good….

There is no substitute for the presence of God.

We can spur one another one.

We can pray for another.

We can celebrate with one another.

Our faith can be built up.

We can be equipped.

As believers, it’s just something we should do.

Plus, it’s just not the same without you there. In reality there are just too many reasons to list. 

I recognise that life may be difficult right now and being in church might seem like the last place you want to be, yet that is when it becomes the most important place to be. 

Let’s gather together. Let’s worship together. Let’s honour our God together. Let’s keep connecting and making a difference together. Let’s keep being inventive in how we do all of these. 

And whether you make it or not, have a blessed Sunday. Can I just ask that if you love God you give Him a moment, grab 5 minutes if that’s all you have to tell Him thank you and to give Him permissions to be involved in your stuff. 

Stay Strong

After the buzz and high of a Sunday night in church comes the mundane work of a Monday morning.

It can be difficult when you head into the week with all its ‘stuff’ to remember that God has already been in our tomorrow. Our worries are a waste of energy.

Don’t let your faith drop.
Stay strong.
Be of good courage.

The Jesus Lifestyle series at Xcel Church may have challenged us to raise the bar in respect of how we live but it’s also reminded us that when we determine to live this lifestyle the rewards are amazing.

Building on such a strong foundation can give us confidence as we head in to another week. Whatever happens we are ready for it.

Have a great week and enjoy the blessing of God as you walk with Him.

We Come in Peace

Just a quick thought after a great day in church unpacking this question: how do we change the world around us?

Anyone can bring change. However, lasting change only comes from God. This is the kind of change we, as Christians, are meant to bring. Yet I don’t think it’s the change we can bring unless we have experienced it for ourselves. If we are not different then how can we make a difference. We might pray for people to know Jesus but it doesn’t work telling people they need God to change them if they are looking at us thinking that if we represent change, then they don’t want it.

Jesus gives some simple instructions in Matthew 5. Be people who show mercy. Keep our heart pure. Expect persecution.

Do it all by being a person who goes in peace. 

Too often we have gone into the community with criticism. Too many times we have gone in with judgement, a pointing finger, giving our opinions as we go. Instead we are encouraged to be people who come in peace. To have a disposition of peace. To bring a conversation of peace. To be someone who doesn’t look for a reason for a good fight, but rather chooses peace.

This week the challenge is to speak peace over your neighbours, over your work colleagues, over you family, over your friends.

Time to Get Excited

In the midst of a Saturday full of getting some stuff done around the house and hanging out as family, I still sneak some moments with God in expectation of Sunday. I am a big fan of local church. Christians who think they can survive without it are a wonder to me because I know that I cannot.

I love Sundays.

I love being in Church. All day.

I love the opportunity of standing alongside a whole bunch of like-minded people and worshipping together. There is some power in that.

I love hearing the Word. I want God to prompt me through it. I need to hear what God has to say.

I even love connecting with people.

I’m of the opinion that we expend energy getting excited about a lot of different things in life but the most important thing to be excited about is Jesus and His church. If we can’t get this right then we will not have what it takes to be the world-changers that God needs us to be. Hope you agree.

[If you are a Christian but not in a local church then take my advice and find one. It doesn’t need to be Xcel Church, just one where you can feel at home, can hear God speak, can get behind the vision and be a part of making it all happen].

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.

How to Handle People

If you were at Xcel Church today, what one thing did you learn or get reminded about when it comes to dealing with people? Jesus was fairly straight on what can be considered a tricky subject. It’s always good to reflect on what we have heard and ask ourselves: ‘is there anywhere I fall short and need to improve?’

Judging too hastily.

Criticising wrongly.

Conflict lover, or conflict avoidance.

Not just being able to give criticism well but receive it well.

Speaking with truth with love.

Love how the Message version puts part of this…

“Don’t pick on people, jump on their failures, criticise their faults – unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It’s easy to see a smudge on your neighbour’s face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, ‘Let me wash your face for you,’ when your own face is distorted by contempt? It’s this whole travelling roadshow mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbour. [Matthew 7:1-5]

If you are like me, when I read just these few verse I acknowledge there is definitely room for improvement. The danger of thinking I have arrived and got these sorted is the moment I let my guard down, become complacent and then mess it up.

How is the Jesus Lifestyle a challenge for you?

Excited for Sunday

Christmas is great but it’s so easy to become lazy, use it as an excuse to not read the Word, pray or get with God. Talk about needing some determination to stay on track, keep waiting on God and standing strong in Him. Don’t let the excuse of ‘family time’ distract you from the purposes of God for your life.

I am excited for Sunday. Believing God for a great time of praise and worship, shake off the Christmas fluff and focus on Him for a time. The Christian walk is about more than just grabbing a moment with God but if that’s all you can manage then go for it. Grab a hold of God and give Him your very best.

I am excited for Sunday. Hearing the Word from 5 different speakers this week. I always find that when we do this God always shows up. When you are not used to speaking a God-inspired word then you certainly rely on God to speak through you. Expect the unexpected this week.

I am excited about Sunday. God will be there. I pray that the Holy Spirit will move upon people’s lives. There is something powerful about getting with other Christians, worshipping, praying, hearing the Word. If you want to see change in your life then it could be argued that not going to Church is unacceptable. Do whatever it takes to be there…it could change your life forever.

Add to that the influence that you can play in another’s personal destiny then why would you not be at Xcel Church on Sunday and bring someone with you too.

Think About Sunday Before Sunday

This is a big challenge.

To get things right and build a great venue then it takes people who will think about Sunday before Sunday. If you don’t think about Church until you wake up on the Sunday morning then the decision you make about Church may be made purely on how you feel that day!

A building is not Church. The people coming together are. It is though, a vital ingredient to your success as a Christian. It is true that you get from it what you put in to it! I know I am the Xcel Darlington Pastor but being part of a vibrant, life-filled, relevant 21st Century Church is one of my core values. Without it my relationship with God would start to drift.

Take up this challenge…
…think about Sunday
…think about Church
…pray about Church
…be purposeful about what you bring, rather than being bothered about what you get
…let other things slip first before your time with God and other Christians does
…thinking about it makes it a value, creates purpose, helps you to own it and share the responsibility for making it the best it can be

Hope you agree?