What Are You Reading At The Moment?

Went to Borders the other day. Love going there. Never really get to fully appreciate it when the girls are with me but I did get the opportunity to browse and checked out a few books that look interesting even alllowing for the pile I still have left over from last year!

Leaders are readers. You want to gain some knowledge then you need to be reading and I don’t mean just general fiction. You need to read stuff that will challenge you, inspire you, stretch you, teach you something. Start small. Don’t be intimidated by how much others read – have your own plan, set your own goal and go for it!

This is the last 10 books I have read – what do you think?
Vintage Jesus
Chazown
Turning Points
Starving Jesus
Wake Up Dead Man
Sticky Church
Moving in the Spirit
Meatball Sundae
Holy Discontent
IT

After any good recommendations. Come July I will be switching my emphasis from reading my Bible in BIG CHUNKS to reading from an ever increasing pile of books.

Let me know – WHAT ARE YOU READING? WHY WOULD I ENJOY IT?

The Ultimate Turning Point

Easter is the turning point that everybody needs but too many still don’t understand.

Tomorrow is the opportunity to preach the Cross.
Tomorrow is the opportunity to point people towards their Saviour.

This is my first Easter preach. Want to get it right. Excited by the prospect of seeing lives transformed. The power of the Cross should always be remembered. Easier to get excited by the power of the Resurrection and the new life it brings than the pain endured on the Cross.

We can celebrate the death of Jesus. It may seem a strange thing to do but when you understand the reasons why Jesus endured the Cross, you know there is reason enough to celebrate it.

YOU CANNOT HAVE A RESURRECTION WITHOUT THE CROSS.

One leads you to repentance.
One represents forgiveness, justification, imputed righteousness, a great exchange of life transforming proportions.
One represents a new life.
One represents life reborn, a new heart imparted by the power of the Holy Spirit, adoption into God’s family.

‘The same power that raised Christ from the grave, lives in US’.

We must live a life worthy of ALL that Jesus DID for us.
We must live a life taking up our Cross, dying to self, living for Him.
It’s a challenge but one that we should literally give our all to pursue – to not live like that is to throw back into Jesus’ face all that he did for us. It’s almost like saying ‘Thanks, but no thanks’.

Let’s keep doing our best for Him. Whatever it takes!!

[Tell me why you love Easter?]

This Sunday is Easter: Make the Most of It!!

This Sunday is Easter…let’s make the most of it.

Sat pulling everything together for the preach of my life. Never preached an Easter message before. Mindful of the responsibility. Want to get it right. Could be the difference for someone and help them cross the line of decision. As J Lee Grady says in Charisma ‘It is the church’s responsibility to showcase the glorious Christ to a spiritually desperate multitude. He must be introduced properly. I pray we will be faithful in the way we present Him to our generation’.

We must CELEBRATE the resurrection of Jesus.
We must REMEMBER the Cross.
We must LIVE life with both of these events in mind.
We must do Jesus JUSTICE for all He did for us!!

Too many Christians have forgotten the cross.
Too many Christians take the resurrection forgranted.
Too many Christians live accepting mediocrity, not truly understanding the impact they could make for Jesus.

The CROSS OF CHRIST is the ultimate TURNING POINT…it is the ‘great exchange’ as Martin Luther wrote.

He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed [1 Peter 2:24]

This Easter…I am excited about the potential for breakthrough. In the words of Perry Noble (Pastor of New Spring Church)…I’m going to do my best to preach like its my last ever preach! If you are in Darlington then come & check Xcel Church out. Dolphin Centre @ 11am.

WHO CAN WE BRING?

[By the way Xcel Darlington: it’s also our Easter Egg Giveaway…an easy way to bless someone. Don’t forget to bring your Egg]

Xcel Darlington: Review

This morning was one of those frustrating mornings. Let me explain myself…

Did a leadership session before. Early start but great discussion: what are the challenges that leaders face?

The service was amazing. Frustrating because numbers were down…BUT…there was different feel to the atmosphere in the meeting this morning. The worship team did a great job…you could really sense God in the building. Plus…good to see different people being stretched in taking a leading role.

God was definitely doing something behind the scenes in peoples lives.

The message was a simple one…we must be dispensers of MERCY not MISERY. There was subtle difference in how Jesus dealt with people…He focused on the person not what the person was doing, focused on the sinner not the sin.

The challenge for us is to do the same. To create a place where anyone can come, feel at home, receive mercy. It doesn’t matter if someone’s walk isn’t perfect, after all…we are all a work-in-progress.

Xcel Darlington next week is Easter Sunday. Let’s fill that building with everyone we know. That way the gospel can be preached and people’s lives can be changed. It’s gonna be a great week and next Sunday is going to be incredible!! Sorry to keep going on like this…I am just excited about what God is doing and expectant for the breakthrough.

New Beginnings: Turning Points

mail-1Looking forward to Xcel Darlington in the morning. Love the privilege of speaking. Always working hard to make sure that words are not just waffle but have the potential to impact – Christian & non-Christian alike.

As we continue the TURNING POINTS series I urge ALL of Xcel Darlington to do their utmost to bring someone. How can a life be changed unless they hear about the love of God? How can they hear if someone doesn’t ask them?

This Easter, make the most of every opportunity. It is an ideal time to get people into Church. Even with the current climate it seems that more people are looking to the church for help, for guidance and for an unwavering sense of hope in uncertain times.

People DO NOT want religion.
People DO NOT want legalism.

People WANT relationship.
People WANT confidence for the future.

People NEED a turning point.
People NEED to know the mercy of God.

The way Jesus dealt with people – we can learn alot from him (obviously).

As people come across our path how we treat them will have an impact on any potential turning point. Many times there seems to a tendency for ‘some’ Christians and ‘some’ Churches deal with people incorrectly. They get the focus wrong. Too much focus on the SIN rather than the SINNER. There is a danger that we judge too quickly, making them feel guilty, condemned, adding to the misery the might already feel.

Jesus focused on the person.
Jesus poured out MERCY instead of MISERY.

Let’s learn together how to help those around us experience the turning point we so want them to enjoy.

Any thoughts about this?

Sunday Review…

Yesterday was great.

Been a long time since I’d preached – 5 weeks. Never going to leave it that long again.
I was ready to share the message…hoping that people were ready to listen.

Highlights…
…more new people than ever before
…it’s a great buzz when you know you are preaching a gospel message and there’s people out there who need to hear it
…atmosphere was kicking
…worship team – you did an amazing job
…tried out a few others of the team up front – love seeing people stretched. Always amazing to discover what’s inside someone when you push them a little – you know who you are – you did a great job!

Challenges…
…keeping up the momentum
…getting feedback from people – hey Xcel Darlington, never be afraid to leave some comments on here or drop me an email if you want
…keeping everyone on board

This weeks message on Turning Points was a great message to preach. The way Jesus wants people to experience a turning point with him and does all he can to help them – we can learn a lot form him. Our desperateness to see people have that turning point can often be the very thing that stops them.

Jesus understood people frame of experience. Was not pushy, just gently challenging them in their thinking but always demanding a response.

Next week…getting excited for the message. A challenging word for Christians and non-Christians alike. How we treat people who come to church in a quest for truth…there is a great exchange that takes place when someone meets Jesus as Saviour.

Jesus handles people with such love and care it’s incredible.

Xcel Darlington…you need to bring people.

Ready for a Turning Point

Ready to preach after 5 weeks.
Ready for the new series TURNING POINTS.
Excited by the potential of seeing many lives changed by meeting with Jesus.
Excited that PY in Darlo yesterday already seen 5 young people become Christians with some quite incredible stories.

I am totally overwhelmed by the thought that this weekend is going to be a turning point for Xcel Darlington.

Here’s a glimpse of the message…
There are many things to say about TURNING POINTS.
History is punctuated by them.
Life is punctuated by them.

I am hoping that we all have people in our worlds who we think the best thing that could happen to them is a turning point with Jesus. Here’s my thought…we can be too desperate for our friends and families to have a turning point with Jesus. We can become pushy, almost force feeding them our opinions…which in my opinion, normally doesn’t work. In fact, it can often have the opposite effect making Christians look like something that they are not.

Jesus was not pushy.
In conversations that Jesus had he demonstrated an understanding for where an individual was coming from BUT always made sure that by the end of the conversation they had the potential to be in a different place. Think about the woman at the well in John 4, Nicodemus in John 3, the rich young ruler, the woman caught in adultery…an encounter with Jesus and the opportunity to accept or reject. A turning point?

Everybody has a frame of experience.
That frame of experience is influenced by many things.
The stuff that makes you you!

Jesus had a natural way of taking account of this without smashing them on the head with ‘I’m right, your wrong.’

He was persistent NOT pushy
He was determined NOT desperate
He was fair NOT forceful

We can learn a lot from Jesus and how he helped people enjoy a turning point in their life by meeting him. Come & find out more for the next 3 weeks. Xcel Church Darlington @ the Dolphin Centre. 11am. Every Sunday.

Making Breakthrough…[Day 53]

Looking back…I talk a lot about breakthrough.

Sometimes I do feel like David in the Psalms when he asks of God ‘How long?’

Had a thought today though…my job is not to reason with God about the breakthrough but to just keep standing on the Word, to keep trusting in His statutes, to remain blameless before Him, to seek after God and right standing with him.

The small words will then become my experience. Words like…
…therefore…
…suddenly…
…it came to pass…

‘Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord’ (Ps 119:1)

This week as I have been praying my level of expectation has increased. The confidence that God is about to do something incredible…I am becoming slightly giddy at the prospect. I cannot underestimate this Sunday at Xcel Darlington. The ‘coincidence’ of preaching a new series ‘Turning Points’ and then in your prayer times feeling like God is saying that this is a ‘turning point’ for Xcel Darlington cannot be missed. I am not one for ‘spiritualising’ stuff for the sake of it. But I cannot escape these thoughts.

Xcel Darlington partners…don’t miss out. This WILL BE a history making weekend. I realise that we plant, others water and it is God that brings the increase but, hey…we still have to play our part – right?

What do you think?