Saturday, 29 September 2007

Lessons from my youngest sons football team

Another busy Saturday! The whole family were all up this morning just after 6.00am. My wife getting ready for a ladies breakfast at the church, my eldest son getting ready to go off for the day with friends playing paintball (He was so excited and was as high as a kite) and my youngest son had to to be ready for a football match and I was to be his greatest fan.

What a morning! I rushed around making tea and breakfast and there was such a buzz, were all rushing around: fighting for the shower, getting drinks, looking for clothes and kit, packing snacks, finding weather proofs, sorting out money, packing the cars, feeding the pets etc.. It was like all seasons at once! And we needed to be out of the house at the latest 7.30am Aaargh!!!!

After seeing my wife off and had dropped my hypo eldest son off at the other end of the city, I set off back to the south of the city with my youngest son to his football match. On arrival we parked up and walked through mud and wet grass over to one of the pitches where his team was meeting. It was pretty cold so I was wrapped up in several layers of clothing, had my umberella ready if required and was soon standing there calm and content suping a hot coffee. The game started looked like it was going to be a great match. I have to say, I was so proud of the way he played throughout the game. He played in mid field position and he worked really hard and seemed to dominate the play. He set up all the goals his team scored and seemed to be all over the pitch. Well, I nearly lost my voice screaming for him and my coffee was all over me! The coach was well pleased with his performance and it was no suprise to me that he won man of the match. I was one happy dad!

His team were excellent and they won 5 - 1. They beat a team who was in the top league above theirs. Can you imagine how they all felt. They were ready to take on the world! It struck me again, that can be achieved when a team plays as a team and not as a group of individuals. His team worked hard, they all wanted to win, they talked to one another constantly, they support one another. they listen and respond to instruction from the coach, they stayed positive and encourage each other throughout. Man, don't you wish we could get it together in church like that? Maybe we would achieve a whole lot more together and the buzz is a feeling second to none.

Well the day continues with a host of jobs to do, so I must keep on pressing on...

I am looking forward to church tomorrow as we start our new three week series for our Time2Build focus. Growth calls us forward and excites me. We want to see many people find Christ in a meaningful way in our city and join a great team.

Thursday, 27 September 2007

Growth means expansion

Some thoughts......... Growth means expansion for all of us.

Even in the natural. I was at the gym today and whilst riding peacefully on a cycling machine, a huge guy climbed onto the bike next to me. The bike nearly disapeared! I thought this guy obviously loves his food and has expanded way futher than he probably ever thought he would! To my shame I was laughing on the inside as I watched him peddaling along, sad I know. As I continued peddaling a thought came into my mind; God wants you to experience expansion in your life like never before. It was as if God was saying, you have no idea what I can do in your life if you completely submit to me. I honestly believe there is a greater capacity in all of us than where we are at the moment. We all need to experience God's expansion in our lives. God wants to do so much more than we could ever ask or think! Come on now don't you dare settle for a small life. Let God enlarge you!

I want to encourage everyone I meet to have a vision for your life to get bigger and better in every area. Bigger and better in your work, bigger and better in your business,bigger and better in your ministry, bigger and better as a husband or wife, bigger and better as a parent, just a bigger and better person. To be Bigger and better you have to be comitted to expansion in your life. I challenge you to do whatever it takes to keep the growing going in your life and see it as a priority. Remember this, no one will be more passionate about your personal growth and development more than you!

Be intentional about your growth. It is so important to keep learning and listening because that is where our epxansion begins. Reading books, reading blogs, listening to pod casts, debating with good friends, asking someone to mentor you, attend to a leadership conference... We must understand we need to keep learning and growing for the rest of your life.

Get serious with God today! Say, God enlage my in every way, I am hungry for you and I want to serve you.

Tuesday, 25 September 2007

A work in progress..

I enjoyed a brilliant weekend with my friend Andrew Shearman who was our guest speaker at MKCC on Sunday 23 Sept 07. His ministry was exceptional as always! There were several challenging points he made but one stuck in my mind that I knew I needed to think more about it. The point? God will always challenge hypocrisy.

I am learning to write down key things that I hear and then seek to work them through in my quiet times before God. I realise that God is the builder of my life and I want to listen and make any changes necessary. We are all a work in progress!

Regularly measure the integrity of your life. Does what you believe and how you act match up? Is your life littered with unfulfilled commitments? Do you really practice what you preach? Never forget your life is on show to your world and we are broadcasting 24/7.

Jesus always challenged hypocrisy in his day. He could see past the surface of a persons life and see right into the heart. He sees all our play acting, insincerity and all our motives. To the Pharasees he said, you think you are okay because you look the part on the outside but on the inside, in your heart where it really matters, you have missed it by a mile and you are way off target. You impress others with your religious performance but not me! WOW! What about you?

I don't know about you I want to walk closely with God and I want him to use me as he wills. I desire my life to reflect everything I believe and the God whom I serve. What about you? Are you courageous enough to open up your life to God and respond to the challenges he brings?

Thursday, 20 September 2007

No room for hypocrites in the house

How easy it is to spot faults in others but fail to see your own. Ever given advice but fail to take it yourself. Ever told someone they are out of control when you lose control yourself. Ever told someone they needed to forgive but you needed to forgive?

Jesus said,'remove the speck out of your own eye before you try and take the beam out of someone else's.' Here he exposes the behaviour of hypocrites and challanges them to change their ways. I dislike the thought of ever being labeled a hypocrite by anyone let alone God. What about you?

I remember discovering this verse as a teenager and thinking, before I give out any advice to others, I need to make sure I am living it myself. I have always held to that value in my life to this day.

In my opinion, we need to take stock of our lives on a regular basis and identify the areas we know we need to work on.

I refuse to live a superficial Christian life. I want to be known as a genuine Christ follower.

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Where did the day go?

I took Wednesday off this week and planned to have a relaxing day just by myself.

Ever planned to do something like that but it never worked out quite the way you planned? This was my day!

Firstly, I waved good bye to my wife and youngest boy as they were off to work and school. My other son happened to be unwell so was off school for the day and so I became a nurse, cook and waiter for the day and it seemed he needed something every 5 minutes. My wife asked me to: ensure the washing was hung on the line to dry, I water all our plants in the green house, I call the school and talk to them and finally put all the garbage out ready for collection. No problem, jobs sorted. After that I would wash my car thoroughly. As I walked into our garage I couldn't believe the mess I saw. Infact, it looked like a stray missle from Iraq had landed right in the middle of it. Bikes, scooters, skatboards, ramps, balls and various toys etc were everywhere. My toolbox was open and tools were scattered across the dusty floor which needed to be swept. So I set about cleaning it all up whilst rehearsing my grand speach to the family around the dinner table that night. When I had finished these tasks, I made myself a nice coffee and sat down. I looked at the clock and couldn't believe where the time had gone, it was almost mid day!

I thought I would check my email quickly while I had a minute to spare. Do the words email and quickly live on the same planet or is that just me! As I opened my inbox, it was like every one I knew had decided to get together and send me mail and demanded an immediate response. I shouted out load....'hold on this is my day off leave me alone!' At that very moment the phone rang, I answered and it was someone in our services on sunday at MKCC looking for some information on Life groups. I had a chat and helped as much as I could and said goodbye. As soon as I put the phone down, it rang again! This time it was an offer of a lifetime, a company offering me a free holiday in a top hotel in Tenerife including flights with no strings attatched. I said no thanks about six times but the girl just wasn't listening, so I put the phone down! It rang and rang that afternoon and annoyed me immensley like a hungy mosquito looking for it's next victim.

I spent time responded to numerous emails, made another coffee, lost about 1/2 stone running up and down the stairs taking care of my boy, vacumed round the house. I looked at the time again and my day has almost Gone. My wife and youngest son will be home soon, Where did my day go?

Does this sound vaguely familiar to anyone? To find time for yourself just to relax and switch off is difficult now a days but it is essential for us to do as human beings. We need to make time to relax, reflect and to refuel for our own emotional well being and happiness. Get away from the house, leave behind the computer, your mobile and give yourself back some time. Learn to be still in your life. I believe there is a power in stillness where God affirms his presence and power and where we understand and experience God bringing security, peace and strngth to us. 'Be still and know that I am God.'

If you can't think of anything else creative to do, just go for a walk! That's what I intend to do later.

Tuesday, 18 September 2007

Letting go is never easy..

As a parent, isn't it difficult to know how gradually you should let out the reigns of control in your children's lives as they grow up and mature.

My eldest boy is soon to become a teenager! He is maturing quickly and already he is desiring to chart his own course in many ways. Our relationship is changing and is moving to a whole new level and we must make changes in the way we live in our house. As parents we are committed to support and help him become the unique young man that God has created him to be.

On Tueday night I agreed to go with him for a bike ride to find the best route from our house to his school. He was now wanting to start to ride to school by himself and not travel with me in the car. This was a big step for me, he wanted to go his own way!

As we were riding along, I could hear myself going on and on and on, giving him advice like what to avoid, what to look out for, how to mount a curb correctly and even a few lessons on how to ride his bike properly. How sad is that! He just looked graciously back at me and said, 'yes dad, thanks dad it's okay.. I'll be fine'.

We found a good route that he was very confident with and it would take approximately 15 minutes home to school.

Peddling side by side on the way home was a journey I will remember for a long time. I realised that my boy was confident, sensible and ready to do this all by himself. All I needed to do was to trust him and let him do it. However,
in the back of my mind I couldn't help thinking, what if he isn't okay or what if something happens? Ever been there with your kids? I am sure you have.

I thought to myself, I am not able to protect him from everything in life but I do know that God is able to look after him because he belongs to him. Right there and then on that dark redway as we were riding home, I gave all my concerns to God who says, 'cast all your cares on me because I care for you'. Immediately I felt God's peace hit my heart and mind. We arrived home safetly, prepared everything ready for the morning and he went of to bed excited.

The next morning I was at peace and I was almost as excited as he was. After breakfast, I opened the garage door for him and out he came on his bike with a huge smile on his face. My wife and younger son were hanging out of the window cheering and clapping him as started off down the road. I was so thrilled to see him ride off waving happily back to me, as if to say, it's okay dad I'm ready for this, I'll be fine and I will remember all your good advice.

When he got home from school that evening he called me at the office just to let me know he had made it and he was fine. How cool is that.

I am a dad who is learning to gradually let go.

Every day I entrust my children's lives into God's hands who I know is their provider and protector.