Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Wisdom to live by

Check out these 6 principles of wisdom form the churchrelevance.com site.

Beeson's wisdom.

My favourite:

Just keep doing the next right thing.“I don’t have to worry about everything, I just need to focus on doing the next right thing, right now, in front of me in this very minute. Then, after that decision is made, I can move on to the next right thing.”

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Looking for unity

There is a well known phrase drawn from the Old Testament that goes something like this:

Where brothers (and sisters) live together in harmony, that's where God commands a blessing.

It comes from Psalm 133, but, as I far as I know, it's not a verse form the Bible although it's often quoted as such. I've searched in as many ways as i can, and as ever I have this nagging thought that I've missed something, but as I said, as far as can tell it's not a direct quote.

That's not the point though. The point is that in-fighting in the church has to stop. There is too much at stake. The world needs a better example of problem solving and difference resolution than we currently give it.

We are one, church. We share one faith, one Lord, one baptism. Now I know how hard that is to accept, but it's the truth.

I've just read a blog entry outlining a talk given by Thom Rainer, and he speaks powerfully about the choices we need to make to work towards a better unity in the church. I know he's speaking from the perspective of the SBC, but surely it goes beyond our narrow denominational boundaries too.

Here is his list of commitments. I know nothing about the first one, but everything after that is a challenge!

Though I am a fallible and sinful person, I will seek God’s power to stay true to the following:

1. I stand firm on the inerrant Word of God. I support without reservation the Baptist Faith and Message 2000.

2. Though I may disagree with some on secondary and tertiary issues, I will not let those points of disagreement tear down bridges of relationships with brothers and sisters in Christ.

3. I will seek to join with those who will work together on the common causes of missions, evangelism and the health of the local church.

4. I will seek God’s will in prayer before I write or speak a word of disagreement against another brother or sister in Christ or even a non-Christian. I will seek to see the plank in my own eye before pointing out the splinter in another person’s eye. I will follow the truths of Matthew 18 when I feel that I need to confront a brother or sister in Christ.

5. I will spend more time rejoicing in the Lord (Phil 4:4).

6. I will seek God’s power to have a more gentle and Christlike spirit (Phil 4:5).

7. I will pray that the lost and the unchurched world will know me by my Christlike love.

Such is my commitment.

If God so leads, I invite you to join me in building bridges.

Monday, February 05, 2007

Aims and Objectives

We, the leadership team at Cotton End, spent the day away together to talk about various leadership issues. One of the things we've been trying to do over recent months is to get some real clarity about the vision and call that God has for us.

As part of that process we worked on some aims. There's still a lot to do, but when I and a helpful church member distilled it all down, we came up with the following.

Cotton End Baptist Church - Aims & Objectives:

Our Five core values are a deep commitment to: (1) Jesus, (2) each other, (3) The Community, (4) authentic Christian lifestyle and (5) to prayer & worship.

Our Purpose is: To love as many people as possible into a deep and growing relationship with Jesus. To support everyone on their spiritual journey so that everyone can be involved in ministry and mission. Enabling more people to follow Jesus better.

In order to fulfil this call from God, our Aims are to:

Walk with people on their journey with God (recognising that we are all on that journey).

That means:
  • Being a place to ask questions about life, that is safe, without prejudice or pressure.
  • Enabling all to come under Biblical Teaching and adopt increasing Biblical lifestyles (which are authentic Christian lifestyles, or Holiness).
  • Giving people space and time to grow in their understanding and experience of God.
    Accepting people who wish to belong before believing.
  • Helping everyone learn to worship & pray, in ways honouring our God given diversity.
  • Offering support to all at every age and every stage of life and spiritual journey.

Build Great Christian Community (based on the Bible’s teachings)

That means:

  • Building great friendships
  • Spending time together
  • Opening our lives to each other

Play Our Full Part in the Rest of the Community (because churches are part of it too)

That means:

Getting involved in what is already happening in The Community
Work “with” The Community and not just “for” The Community
Engaging on issues of justice, poverty and oppression
Seeking to improve education, health and social welfare.
Social responsibility and caring for our environment
Being part of the DNA of The Community

Reach Out to our Neighbours

That means:

  • Being intentional about building relationships and doing mission.
  • By planning (disciplined thinking) and disciplined action.
  • Loving as many people as possible into relationship with Jesus. (including: through kindness, influence, generosity and genuine love, helping people and serving people.)
  • Showing and telling people that God loves them and Jesus has shown it

Thursday, February 01, 2007

What are you saying Lord?

And as we follow your heart
We are led to the lost
Finding there a place of praise
No matter what the cost.
So, we will stand with the weak
Give our most to the least
Serving you with all we have
Your kingdom, God, we seek.

From Life of love by David Gate 1999 Kingsway's Thankyou Music

I listened to this for the first time in a long while yesterday. Made my heart slow down and wonder about what God is saying to the the church today.

I am desperate to see the church grow into what God wants it to be. I'm passionate about seeing people reconnect with the God who so loves them that he is willing to die for them.

I'm haunted by Jesus' call to feed the hungry, heal the sick and to do for the least of these what I would do for him.

What are we to do Lord? How then shall we live?