2017 and God

You may not be like me but nearly every year for as long as I can remember I have always taken these last few days of a year to reflect and get ready for the new one. 

It’s not about resolutions, I can’t keep them and in reality they are (to me), a little boring. 

Here’s my focus ~ that my walk with God would be better. That I would start strong the next 365 days, digging in the Word, praying every day and living with greater intent in regard to the person I say is the most important to me. 

So let me ask some of the questions I ask myself to get me thinking about relationship with God. 

What am I most excited about for 2017 with God?

Where do I need to grow bigger with God in 2017?

What will I make my non-negotiables in 2017 when it comes to my relationship with God?

What I am believing God for in 2017?

Why not answer them and share your thoughts as a comment below. Thanks. 

Christmas Changes Everything

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“Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” [‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:17‬ ‭ESV]

Christmas changes everything. 

Not the presents, the food or the fun. If we let Him, then the person of Christmas can change everything (and I don’t mean Santa).

Jesus changes everything. For Mary & Joseph. Parents who have their first child experiences a life changing moment even when they are not the Saviour of the world.

For the Shepherds. Busy at work, interrupted by a heavenly host. The excluded included, something Jesus demonstrates throughout His ministry and calls us to the same. 

For the Wise Men. Not fully comprehending all they were seeing in the sky yet willing to step out and go on the journey.

For all of humankind. There is a before Christ and after Christ moment. From BC to AD. Not just with time but in our individual lives this kind of moment can take place too.

Make Christmas 2016 such a moment. An after Christ moment. A life-changing moment, an included kind of moment, a begin the journey and see where God might take you moment.

10 Days….

When there were 80 days left of 2016 I wrote a blog outlining some of the things I wanted to get done by the end of the year…here’s an update.

New site…not quite there yet. But the behind the scenes I have been working on the content.

The Walking With God 45-day devotional is complete and going out to a few for editorial suggestions.

The leadership book ’19’ is done. [See image] book-header

Guest chapters are back, editorial suggestions are in and final amendments are being made. I will be launching a ‘Kickstarter’ project at the end of the month. Publishers are ready for the manuscript in February with a hopeful date for release being May 2017.

Thanks for all the support and encouragement. Maybe you set off to ‘get some stuff done’ towards the end of this year. How has it gone? I haven’t overcome the procrastination completely but I am glad to have got over these few hurdles. One thing I have managed to do is convince myself that ‘I can’. I am excited for 2017 and all that God has in store for me.

Jesus Moved In

The Word became flesh and blood, and moved into the neighbourhood.

In John 1:14 we are told that Jesus moved in to the neighbourhood.

It’s a great picture of all that God desired to accomplish when sending Jesus to earth. He wasn’t coming as some great ruler but rather as a man, who would engage in community, connect with people and be compassionate towards the cry of the hearts.

He was everything that the religious figures of the day were not.

Now it’s our turn. To be a Christian is not to be superior to others who are not. It’s not to separate ourselves from others so we remain uncontaminated.

The command of Jesus is that we go, into all the world, reaching people, interacting with others, active in our neighbourhoods as we live out our faith in all kinds of creative ways.

This Christmas, make time for others. Move into the neighbourhood. Be normal but be all for Jesus. What a difference that just might make. 

Make Time This Christmas

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Over the next few days let’s take time to focus on the actual reason for celebrating at Christmas time.

Let’s get past the food, although that’s good. Let’s get past the presents, although I am hoping for some. Let’s get past the tv, although I’m hopeful for some half decent programmes.

Instead let’s pause, reflect and consider the reality of Jesus. Why he came from heaven to earth and how embracing the good news of a Saviour can change everything for ever.

Let’s push all the ‘stuff’ most people associate with Christmas aside and make that deliberate effort to thank God for sending His son. That God would be born as a baby, with all the risk involved in such a move. All so he could be here, dwelling amongst, Immanuel, God with us. 

Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel [Isaiah 7:14]

7 Things to Be Thankful to God For This Week

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With a freewill offering I will sacrifice to you; I will give thanks to your name, O LORD, for it is good [Psalm 54:6]

Make this week a week of thankfulness. Create space each day for a moment with God where you deliberately appreciate all He has done for you, is doing right now for you and all He will do for you in the future.

Thankfulness is a choice, it will not happen by accident.

Some days thankfulness can be easy and on other days it can be tough. Life is unfair. Life is difficult. Life is not always a party time and celebration. At these times we choose to bring a sacrifice of praise, we bring our thankfulness as an offering, a gift, a purposeful decision. We recognise that is hard but we are deciding to say thank you anyway.

In doing so, we lay aside our own feelings and walk by faith, confident in the knowledge that God is with us, that He loves us and is always with us.

Let me help you with your devotional time this and give you 7 things to be thankful for, one for each day, to help you in your giving of thanks and praise to our God. What you will say thank you to God for will be in relation to your own situation and circumstances.

  • He has saved us, we are adopted in to His family
  • He has helped us, through so many different times
  • He is faithful, and His love never fails
  • He is with us, in all things
  • He is on our future, he has great plans for us
  • He protects us, keeps us safe
  • He hears the cry of our heart

I would love to hear what you thankful for?

What Are You Looking For?

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God looks down from heaven on the children of man to see if there are any who understand, who seek after God [Psalm 53:2]

What are people looking for? Let’s be honest we are looking for lots of things. Material things. Self-confidence things. Adventurous things. Spiritual things. Emotional things. Career things. Health things. Lifestyle things. The meaning of life?

What are people not looking for? In reality, most people are not searching for God, not even in the hunt for answers to spiritual matters. This is usually more about living a life that matters, being right with people and not holding grudges.

The best place to live the fulfilled kind of life is from a place where God is at the centre of every matter in our life. Living such a life is the life God designed us to live and He is on the look out for such people.

What are you looking for? LOOK FOR GOD. When we do so with an open heart, a willingness to discover Him, then we will find Him and we will realise that God has had His eye on us all the time.

He loves you. He is for you. He has given everything for you. He wants you to know Him. He wants to be involved in every aspect of your life. He is good. He is faithful. He is with you.

This week, let’s take time each day to focus on one of these incredible truths about God, thanking Him for being this and inviting Him in to all the different things going on in our life.

My Sunday Reflection

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Yesterday in talking about becoming our kingdom self to church I talked a little about faith. To be faithful to what God is calling us to do is be someone who is full of faith. The incredible thing is we don’t need to be full in the sense of a good meal full when it comes to faith, we just need faith the size of a mustard seed and then mountains can be moved.

To be faithful is to be putting our faith into action. Faith is the currency of the kingdom. Without we cannot please God. Faith honours God. Faith puts God first. Faith gives Him permission to be involved in our every situation.

Which begged the question – what are we believing for?

So we took a moment and wrote one thing done. 67 prayers of faith. On my office wall. Things that in reality only God can do. Every post-it note represents a person. Behind each prayer there is a story. They are a cry from the heart to see salvation come to friends and family. For restoration. For help. For guidance. For wisdom. To see the kingdom come on earth as it is heaven.

My commitment now is to pray. Not that my prayers are any more powerful than anyone elses prayers. I just have a little bit of faith to see God move. To see some turnaround. To see some breakthroughs. To see some people come to Jesus. For us to be ready to be the answers to some of these prayers. That we depend on God but get involved too.

I am asking God, what can we do to help one another. How can we as Xcel Church reach these who have been named with the Gospel? How can we resource and equip the church so they are ready, full of courage, full of the Holy Spirit?

When I read these I think I caught a glimpse of Gods heart and was reminded of the line from a song a few years back: ‘Break my heart for what breaks yoursBreak my heart for what breaks Yours, Everything I am for Your Kingdom’s cause’.