Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
Friday, April 25, 2008
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
A few weeks ago Ally, David and I went over to the Wixams development site to take a few photographs. Currently the work is almost completed on re-routing the A6, and work has begun on laying out the infrastructure for village one of the development.
Thursday, April 17, 2008
Monday, April 14, 2008
Is my vision clear?Is my passion hot?Is my character submitted to Christ?Is my pride subdued?Are my fears at bay?Are interior issues undermining my leadership?Are my ears open to the Spirit's whisper?Is my pace sustainable?Are my gifts developing?Is my heart for God increasing?And is my capacity for loving deepening?
You can read the whole article here.
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Friday, April 11, 2008
My life swings between voices calling "failure" and "fraud." The key is not listening to either. I'm not as bad as my critics accuse me of being, but I'm not as good as I've led some to believe. And right there, in the truth somewhere in between, is where we hear the voice of God. He still says to me, and to everyone called to follow Jesus, "I want you and I will use you."
In ministry performance matters, but grace matters more.
Quite frequently, when doing a DE Seminar, I get asked how a church can become more “user friendly”. My initial response is that the church is people, not a building or program, and so the solution at the core is to get your people to become user friendly, which is what OA’s can help do. Once people start seeing evangelism as a spiritual practice (instead of a program) and actually celebrate ordinary attempts at it, the whole atmosphere in the “building” begins to change. Your people begin to see everything through the eyes of “outsiders” who now matter to them deeply. That will affect how you do business in the building eventually.
I and a hand full of mavericks here are in the process of spilling some ‘new Kingdom wine’ into a neighborhood where a lot of kids we are mentoring in a public elementary school live. Lots of needs. We are going organic, so there is no master plan.
Thursday, April 10, 2008
Tuesday, April 08, 2008
The big challenge, you might say, is making the choice about how much of your life you are willing to invest in God’s big picture or as we explored last year in church, God’s Big Plan. Many of the things that we’ve heard this year are things we’ve been talking about in church for some time. I’m not claiming to be ahead of the game, just simply in line with it.
Monday, April 07, 2008
While we were away at Spring Harvest we came across ProPresenter from Renewed Vision. I'd be interested to know if anyone has experience of this package. From what I've been told it looks very good.
The point is this, our society is changing and the church needs to change in response. As evangelicals, change often scares us. We fear that change means altering the fundamental truths we hold dear, but some of those truths are the very things that have got in the way of engaging with our communities.
I’m not suggesting here that it’s time to change the message. The Gospel will always be the Gospel, any change to the fundamental message of the cross would be a dangerous strategy. But some of the “thing we hold dear” are less gospel than we think they are.
As the morning speaker unfolded the message of Isaiah 42-43, I heard echoes of something I’ve been saying for years. I believe that the best question we can ask as a church is this: Lord, what are you doing and how can we help?
How different might church be if we only did what we saw the Father already doing? I fear there is a real chance we'd do nothing because we are too often unaware of what God is actually doing in our communities.
Sunday, April 06, 2008
They always say that you should pace yourself through the programme, and over the years I’ve become quite selective about what I go to and what I don’t attend. Usually we go to the Bible exposition in the morning and then spend the rest of the day doing other things, dipping into the occasional seminar if we want. In truth, there’s little that is new about the programme, so it becomes easier to pick and choose.
This morning’s Bible reading was thorough and thoughtful. There was one massive assumption made about the authorship of Isaiah that probably passed unnoticed by many, and to be honest didn’t alter the importance of what was being said. Is it wrong to have my theological head on? I don’t think so. And I’m not criticising the speaker, you can’t cover every stream of theological thinking every time.
I’ve now moved into an open area to do a little work rather than sit in the chalet. I have yet to decide whether I’ll go into the Big Top again tonight or not.
The odd thing about Spring Harvest is the diversity of people. It’s a nice reminder that not everyone in church is “middle-class”. It’s probably a more realistic expression of what the church should look like. To one side, there’s a family sitting eating lunch, to the other a young woman rolling her own cigarettes (I trust she will go outside to smoke it). In the background there are competing worship CD’s playing.
At times my view of church can become so sanitised. I get myself surrounded by nice people who do nice things and behaviour nicely. It would be easy to fall into the trap of thinking that this is normal, but it isn’t. The cigarette rolling twenty-something may have a more vibrant spiritual life than the man with the pleasant smile holding the door open for the lady with the pushchair. Thank goodness Jesus loved all sinners.
When we first came to SH it was the place where we would learn all the new songs that would be added to our worship portfolio that year. Unlike some people, we didn’t ditch the previous year in favour of the new stuff, we just added them together to build a wider worship base. Nowadays we find we know many if not all the new songs that are introduced. That’s probably because there is a much wider availability of new worship.
The disappointing thing about the music is that each year new songs are added to the book, but you never get to hear or explore them. I’m waiting for the day when they will issue a simple CD with the melody line for every new song in the book so that I can hear the tune and read the words and then make a decision about whether I want to learn the song and use it. There must be a whole mass of really good worship material that we never get to explore because we don’t have the skills to learn directly from the music. Maybe it’s something I need to commit to learning how to do.
Anyway, the first night went well and the worship was positive, well lead, in my opinion, and quite refreshing.
Saturday, April 05, 2008
Events like this have their flaws, but they have good points too. For a smaller church like ours, mixing with such a large group of fellow believers is a bit of a release.
From where I am currently sitting I can watch people as they wander through the main centre-point of the site. Some look lost, others look distinctly found, if you know what I mean. You get the feeling that this may be the only place in the whole world where it’s actually more cool to be a Christian than it is to not be one.
So, we’ve arrived at Spring Harvest 2008 and I’m off later in search of a Wi-Fi connection. Having checked with BT Openzone and The Cloud, I’m sure there is one but sadly the man in the internet cafe didn’t even know what wi-fi meant let alone whether it exists on the site. Not a promising start!
The problem is that you can check the internet to find a hotspot, but there is no guarantee you will find one when you get there! I guess as time goes on, wi-fi will become more and more available but it doesn’t look promising here.