What Next for Xcel Darlington?

Vision month is always a great time around Xcel Church. You can almost sense people becoming more aware, a heightened sense of expectation of what could be, of what God can do through us.

Yesterday at Xcel Darlington was great. Good buzz. Atmosphere was tangible. Good community, people connecting. Signs of health.

The challenge: to not draw back from this and enter maintenance mode but to keep encouraging, keep believing God for more, to exercise our faith, to reach out and for our potential to be realised. This is our moment. Hope you get the sense that God is ready to do something in Darlington.

It will not happen by chance.
It will happen as we step out of our safety and take some risks.
It will not happen just through prayer.
It will happen as we become the answers to someone else’s prayer. As we enter into another’s world and meet needs, demonstrate love and do something.

What next for Darlington?
In some regards, that is up to us.

LEAN IN to something over the next 3 months – Xcel Church, Connect Groups, Discovery Course, the Homeless initative, serving on a Sunday
LEAN IN to new friendships, connecting with people, making yourself available
LEAN IN to your prayer life, your devotional times, your worship
LEAN IN to your personal development – sign up for an Xcel Training Course
Choose 1 thing and give it all you can.

BACK OFF from distractions, from habits (good & bad), from destructive relationships
BACK OFF from self-inflicted interference and LEAN IN to your God
Take an inventory of what you do with your life.

DON’T DO NOTHING
Don’t rely on others to do it. You do it.
Don’t assume someone has it covered. You cover it.
Don’t wait until everything is in place. Sometimes you just have to go for it.

If we all did something.
If we all reached out to one person.
If we all discovered something new about God.
If we all made ourselves more available.
If we all did what we could…

…think what a difference that might make. The potential. How God might use us?

[What do you think?]

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How Strong is Your Signal?

Stood in the worship last Sunday morning at Xcel Darlington and a thought dropped in my spirit. As I looked at the flat-screen tv – instead of seeing the words of the songs I saw two small words, jumping about. NO SIGNAL. And it was almost like a nudge from God…that’s the issue with too many Christians, I’m trying to get a word to them but there is NO SIGNAL.

3 reasons why your signal can be low?
INTERFERENCE
DEAD ZONES
SWITCHED OFF

Here’s a thought: there is nothing wrong with the phone. It has everything it needs to fulfil its function. The problem is US, we are in the wrong place, or just not paying enough attention to our surroundings. Move into the right area and suddenly your phone is going crazy receiving texts & emails.

Maybe the same could be said of God. It’s not that He is not working, not listening, not there. God has not moved. It’s NOT God…it’s US!! Going to unpack this on Sunday. There is a challenge in here for each one of us as Christians…to make sure that we keep the signal strong.

The YOU That Others See [2]

Already posted about this but I just need to say that I absolutely loved this morning. Great atmosphere. Great people and great encouragement from everyone during the preach…KEEP IT UP! So much more verbal than EVER!

BIG UP to the Band: thought they did a fab job…even without the drums. It can be difficult but everyone seemed up for it and sometimes when things aren’t as easy for you naturally is when you need God more. Good job guys!

I enjoy preaching in a series. This one…WILL THE REAL ME PLEASE STAND UP…is going really well!!
Last week we spoke about the YOU THAT GOD SEES.
Today it was the YOU THAT OTHERS SEE. Less wow, more ouch!

Challenge…what people might see v what people should see

1. HYPOCRISY v HONESTY
Hey, good to be brutally honest. WE are the biggest turnover off to some when it comes to Church
Guard against giving people the chance to call you a hypocrite.
Put some alarm bells on your life
Don’t get lazy in your choices.
No one chooses to be a hypocrite you get there by drifting off course.

2. FEELINGS v FAITH
A life based purely on feelings will have the Church in trouble.
You need to demonstrate a life filled with faith…despite the circumstances.
Feelings are important but its faith that makes the difference

3. CONTROL v VULNERABILITY
What can you NOT let go of?
All addictive behaviour is a control issue. What’s your addiction & can you let it go?
We don’t like letting go because we don’t have control – we become vulnerable

BUT…other need to see YOU living an open, honest life, demonstrating your faith…even through the difficult times. Be more careful in how you live life for maximum impact.

WHY? Your story told to the right person at the right time is a powerful weapon. Suddenly their view of you may change, it will open up a discovery that you have been through what they are going through. Difference = YOU HAD GOD!

Looking forward to hearing how this message has impacted people.

The YOU That Others See

This Sunday at Xcel Darlington is going to be incredible. I am excited about what God is doing at Xcel Church, after all ‘He will build His church’ – we just have the privilege of being involved in the process.

Last week we talked about the YOU that God sees. How we are so much more in God’s eyes than we possibly are in our own.

This week:
the YOU that others see.
the YOU that wins people or loses people for God.
the YOU that always leaves an impression.
the YOU that carries the hope to the whole world.
the YOU that builds the Church or not.

Maybe we will use the words – hypocrite, liar, fake.
Maybe that be considered too harsh.

But think about those words in the light of the fact that the BIGGEST turn-off to Church is often the Christians that attend it. We desperately need the REAL ME to stand up

How can we be authentic in a post-Church society?
How can we be naturally attractive to others?
What is the YOU that others need to see?

The YOU That God Sees

Excited about the new series we kick off tomorrow at Xcel Darlington: will the REAL ME please stand up. I am convinced that if we can live our lives based on the way God sees us, then how we live life will be completely transformed. The limits that we put on our abilities will be taken off.

YOU are more than YOU think YOU are
The YOU that God sees is so much more expansive than how we see ourselves.
The YOU that God sees needs to be brought out into the open.
If God says it about YOU then it must be true.

YOU are more than what others think about YOU
Anothers view of YOU can have a limiting impact on what YOU can achieve.
How people see YOU and how God sees YOU are usually different.

YOU are the YOU that God sees
He doesn’t see the stuff that gets your attention – He just sees His child.
YOU are brand new, wiped clean, fresh & full of untapped potential.

The word is full of illustrations where God took someone who did not see themselves the same way He saw them. When they got their thinking about themselves in line with Gods then they did incredible things. This is an amazing truth: WE ALL HAVE THAT POTENTIAL!!

What do you think?

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.