Friday, 26 December 2008

Called to serve

I have had a brilliant couple of days with my family over Christmas. It was amazing to have my good friend and brother-in-law Duncan Millar, his wife Deborah and their three girls Amy, Chloe and Saskia with us from New Zealand. We also had join us, my mother-in-law Deanna, her sister, Phillida, my mum (Rose) and my dad (Roy); Ian and Ruth (Brother & sister-in-law) and their children Saffron and Maddison. As a family we are close and I am privileged to have such a wonderful family. It is so good to see all of our kids get on so well and there is no doubt there is a special bond between us all and we get on so well.

Alison and I loved serving them all as best as we could. Hospitality is very important to us. It is a biblical Principal that we are commanded to do and I believe is makes all the difference in relationships at every level. As I was getting to the end of boxing day I was feeling a little tired but there was so much more to do; washing up, cleaning floors, garbage out, new bin liners in the bins etc...... It was then I thought about serving others. Our calling, our purpose, is what makes us who we are, and is what keeps us humble and causes God to rejoice over us. I believe God is proud of us as we serve others and even more so when there is no recognition from anyone. However, he sees everything you do and all the un-noticed works you do for others in your life he sees and it is noted. We are called to serve and that is the way Jesus came to this earth. In the call to follow him is the call to serve.

As you move into 2009, I want to encourage you to plan to serve more people. Jesus said that he didn't come to be served but to serve. My prayer is that we will be known as a church that serves. In your life, church, work, family, friendships I encourage you to take the initiative and be the servant of all. Do not care about the reputation of the crowd;p care about the commendation of your Lord and savior Jesus Christ.

Let's raise a glass together to increased servanthood in 2009.

Jesus

Jesus you are the king of kings

Wednesday, 24 December 2008

The scandal of Christmas

Read this today by John Fischer that I thought was beautiful and well worth the read.

You've got to just come apart over this. This is the most unbelievable thing God has done. It has to be God because no one would ever have thought of this. No religion could propose it. No government could command it. No human being could ever think of it, and even when we try to think about it now, we don't get it, or we get so little of it that we wonder if it's really true.

If you thought up a god, would you have him take on the form of his own creation, go to them to save them, and have them reject him and kill him? And then would you raise him from the dead and have his resurrected being witnessed by over a hundred people, yet unconfirmed by science, so it would be disputed for the rest of human history. And then would you have his church begun by a rag tag team of followers with little credibility and no social clout? See what I mean? It's preposterous. It's unthinkable.

It's enough to prove its true. Besides, on top of everything, who would make forgiveness of sins and the eternal life Christ brings something he hands out free? No one, because I know enough about human nature to know that if we had anything to do with this, we would make people have to work to get into heaven, and we would manipulate the requirements so we could control who gets in and who we doesn't. (We shake our heads over the indictment Jesus gave the Pharisees as those who hold the keys to the kingdom and use them to keep people out, without realizing we do this every single day in our minds.)

Imagine someone arranging religion, to put himself on the outside of it, and then bringing a savior for him and his other outsider friends, and then carry them right on into the lap of the living God? I don't think any human being would in his or her wildest imagination come up with this. But this is exactly what God has done. He let Religion condemn us so He could send His Son to join the human caravan in order to save us.

There's really only one thing you can do when you finally get this… "Rejoice!"

Tuesday, 23 December 2008

Sunday thoughts

I would like to say a huge thank you to all our team who made Sunday a special day. You guys are awesome! We ran 4 services on Sunday which saw just over a 1,000 people in attendance. It is always a joy to see many new people coming along year by year to our Christmas events.

In all three morning services, the challenge of Love coming to town as the offer of undeserved favour to all rang out. I believe that many were impacted by the performances, videos, songs and message.

The evening service was our traditional 'Carols by Candlelight service' with MK Brass, it was brilliant. George Ridley (LFI Director) spoke with a great challenge for us to 'wake up' this year and put our trust in God especially in these difficult times. At the end of this service as we sang, 'we wish you a merry Christmas' to one another, it was good to see a few people dancing around as the Brass band speeded up the song. Excellent stuff!

I went home tired but felt we had made a significant impact as a church, it was a good day. Well done everyone!

The offer of undeserved favour to ALL

Who would have ever have thought that a little baby called Jesus would impact so many lives throughout history. Jesus, God’s Son, our savior, prince of peace, Emmanuel ‘God with us’, the love of God came to Town…. "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[f] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him. (John 3: 16 NIV) … in grace God flings wide his circle of love and invites all to come to him and to eat at his table.

"God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and rich in love." Psalm 145:8. God loves to be gracious to you and me. God loves to bless people who don't deserve it. That's His nature. This year he offers Grace is God offering to us all his undeserved favour.

G - GOD'S GIFT TO ME: "All of us need to be made right with God by His grace, which is a free gift through Jesus Christ." Romans 3:24 (NCV). You can't work for it, earn it or buy it – it is completely free – it’s a gift. It’s not based on what I do; it’s based solely on what has already been done for me by Jesus Christ. ‘It is finished!’

R - RECEIVE BY FAITH: "For it is by grace that you have been saved, through faith and this is not from yourselves. It is the gift of God. Not of works so that no one can boast." Ephesians 2:8-9 (NIV) Just believe it, say thank you and accept it.

A - AVAILABLE TO EVERYONE: Regardless of your background, status, religion or sin. "Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved." Romans 10:13 (NIV) No-one has ever breathed that God doesn't love and he wants us to know him, love him and serve him. All are accepted.

I read this today that just blew me away, “Jesus was the first world leader to inaugurate a kingdom with a heroic role for losers.” - Philip Yancey,

C - GRACE COMES THROUGH CHRIST: "The law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ." John 1:17 (NCV). Why through Jesus Christ and not someone else? Because only Jesus paid the price of admission. On the cross, He paid for your sins. Nobody else has done that. Grace is free, no doubt about it, but it is not cheap; it cost Jesus Christ His life. The law tells me when I do wrong. It says, "You blew it!" But Grace says, "Here's how to get back on track. You're forgiven. Let's get going in the right direction."

E - IT IS EXTENDED THROUGHOUT ETERNITY: "The wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord." Romans 6:23 (NLT) Eternal life is one of the benefits of grace. A place of: Reunion, Reward, Reassigned work, Release from all pain & all suffering.

Realize that Jesus Christ makes this grace gift available to everybody but it is also customized specifically for your life, because God knows exactly what you need.

We all need God's Amazing Grace today so open up your heart right now, say thank you and simply receive it. YOU ARE LOVED!

Friday, 19 December 2008

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

Seeking God is essential for followers of Jesus

'The More I Seek You' - a fabulous worship song by worship leader Kari Jobe.

Tuesday, 16 December 2008

Practical steps to personal growth (part 5)

Wow, it's been busy over the last couple of days, life seems to move fast sometimes hey. Maybe just my age!

I think we can seek to be a little more proactive regarding planning our personal growth as I have talked about over the last few entries. Here's a challenge, what about making a plan and trying to stick to it throughout 2009.

Seriously, think about it and do it! Using the plan in my first entry look at what you could achieve next year:

1. Read 12 books
2. Listen to 52 CD/Podcast
3. Developed your own resources bank
4. Will have definitely grown personally
5. Have inspired others around you and added value to their lives

I think these are excellent goals for us all to embrace in 2009.

Earl Nightingale said, 'If you want to become an expert in a subject, spend an hour a day for five years focusing on that subject'. What subject are you passionate about? Well - go after it!

Think about this simple programme and build it into your life as a New Years resolution. Make sure you write it all out in your diary so you see it there everyday!

Thursday, 11 December 2008

Practical steps to personal growth (part 4)

Find the people in your life who want to grow and decide to grow together. As we seek to add value to others and desire to help the grow, it is useful to create an environment of mutual sharing which will empower everyone.

'As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.' Proverbs 27:17

As we share what we learn with others I believe it helps to do several things:

1. It will increases our own insight
2. It will build our relationships
3. It will gives us a common vision
4. It will hold us accountable
5. It will create more worthwhile conversations

Wednesday, 10 December 2008

Practical steps to personal growth (part 3)

I want the great things I am learning to become part of me and so they help me to be a better person who is adding value to others in my life. Every time you learn something new I think it is a good idea to ask yourself, when, where and with who can I share it or use it. It is a good idea to apply quickly what you learn.

Here are a few practical helps to do this:

• Select one thing you have learned this week
• Put it on a 3 x 5 card and keep it in front of you for a week
• Share it with your wife/husband
• Share it with someone else within 24 hours
• Then teach it to someone else

Simple things I hear you say, but if we consistently do this think of the results. Please comment on the impact you think it could have in your life.

Tuesday, 9 December 2008

Practical steps to personal growth (Part 2)

Learning opportunities are everywhere if you are teachable! We tend to read, watch and hear so many good articles, one-liners, video clips, graphics, songs and quotes etc now-a-days; but may of us do not always make the best use them to help us grow. We read something and think, 'wow, I have to do something with that', and maybe even highlight it in a book you are currently reading, but busy so busy in life and we move on so quickly and good things are lost and we forget it. A good discipline someone once told me to do was to take the time to write down, cut out, photocopy etc and start to file what you learn.

I know I can be a little lazy on this one, but I do want to work at this as I think the pay off is huge. I say that because I see a couple advantages to doing this:

1. If you are ever asked to comment, speak, present, come up with creative ideas in your area of work or ministry you have plenty to resource to draw upon.

2. As you focus on the article again to record it; maybe you reduced it down to its most relevant paragraph or looked at it again I have found it somehow helps to reinforce what I have learned.

3. You have a reference point you can revisit as often as you like to see what you have learned. This is excellent because you can hold yourself accountable for any changes you felt you needed to make in your life.

Start a filing system today and build up your own resource bank to share with others. Go on try it!

Monday, 8 December 2008

Practical steps to personal growth

Those of us who are serious about personal growth must plan to do it. If you are like me getting side-tracked is one of the easiest things to do as we live such busy. We need to plan time in our calender that works for us and then seek to guard that time like any other appointment.

I remember reading somewhere that teachers report that people learn more effectively in short regular periods than in long, infrequent blocks of time.

John Maxwell shares his weekly development plan that I have tried to adopt (I am not always successful, but it is good to aim at something rather than do nothing!)

  • Monday: One hour with God
  • Tuesday: One hour listening to a leadership CD/Podcast etc
  • Wednesday: One hour with the same leadership CD/Podcast incuding time filing notes on the highlights and reflecting on what is learned.
  • Thursday: One hour reading a leadership book
  • Friday: Another hour with the same leadership book, including time filing notes on the highlights and reflecting on what is learned.

This is a challenging plan but I recommend you have a shot! In addition to this go through other good materials whilst traveling or sitting around. Time that some would consider dead time and use it wisely. Cut out articles, quotes, artworks etc that may be useful.

More to follow .....

Friday, 5 December 2008

Brickies

I have finally decided to hire in some extra help for Vic (our builder) to speed up the building works!



Anyone wanting to book this guy for your next project, just let me know.

Wednesday, 3 December 2008

Wedding Anniversary

It was Alison and my 20th wedding anniversary today. Hip hip.....!! Flowers, After Eights and a bottle of Baileys as suprises set the tone for the day.

After work, I raced home to get changed for a night out with my girl. My mother-in-law came round to look after our kids and we set off for a fantastic curry at the Bekash Indian restaurant in Stony Stratford. It was awesome! Great food, I highly recommend it. We sat and chatted the whole time like true friends do and I couldn't believe how quickly time passed by. We then headed off to Cineworld at Exscape central MK to watch the new film Four Christmas's. It was very funny in places. The Nativity scene was a blast!

It was a lovely night and one I wished could have lasted a little longer and another celebration I will never forget. I love her so much and I value her more and more as the years have gone by. She is my best friend and yes, I would do the 20yrs all over again if I had the choice.

After all this time I still love to open the car door for her and know she likes me to do this for her. It makes her feel a little special and sends the clear signal of putting her first. Something I think we husbands should practice a little more often and it doesn't cost us anything. We just need to remember to do it!

Thanks Alison for sharing your life with me, you truly are a gift from God. Love you!

Pride in Milton Keynes awards evening

Fola, Sue and I attended the Pride in Milton Keynes Awards Evening last night as representatives of the Foodbank. Foodbank was nominated for three awards out of eleven: (1) Best Arts/Sports/Community Project (2) Making a difference on our streets (3) Service with a smile. The Awards Evening was sponsored by Milton Keynes Citizen and Milton Keynes Council and there were over 400 people in attendance. This was excellent profile for the Foodbank!

All the nominees were brilliant and as we listened to what each contributed it was moving. There are some incredible people in MK who give their time, treasure and talents to help others. I have to say it was awesome and I applaud them all.

We won one of the categories for best Arts, Sports and Community Project sponsored by MK Dons. We also received certificates as finalists in the two other categories. (Show you on Sunday!) It was good to meet special guest Trudie Goodwin who is best known for playing Sergeant June Ackland in ITV's popular police drama, 'The Bill'. Great to see Jim Marshall (OBE) of Marshall Amplification there and to see him win an a special award that Acknowledge his achievements over the years.

It was also good to see the Street Ministers also receive an award for Making a difference on our streets.

I enjoyed the evening and believe that the church should be involved more in these kind of evenings showing active participation in the local community - Brilliant!

Well done to all the volunteers in the Foodbank, you are doing a fantastic job and making a real difference in people's lives.

Friday, 28 November 2008

Has love got a hold of you?

I Corinthians 13:3-7 (The Message)

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up. Love cares more for others than for self.

Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have. Love doesn’t strut.

Doesn’t have a swelled head, doesn’t force itself on others.

Isn’t always “me first,” doesn’t fly off the handle.

Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others, doesn’t revel when others grovel.

Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth, puts up with anything.

Trusts God always, always looks for the best.

Never looks back, but keeps going to the end.

There is so much I need to hear, understand, learn and apply, from this passage. The phrase that stands out to me the most right now is “Love never gives up”.

Which portion of this scripture speaks to you today?

Thursday, 27 November 2008

A short thought about influence..

I read toady that Sociologists tell us that 'even the most introverted individual will influence ten thousand other people during their life time.'

FLIP! If that is true, we all need to realise that our daily lives are more significant than we think. I sat back in my chair and thought about this and felt incredibly challenged. It made me think about what kind of influence I had been in the the lives of the people I was privileged to spend time with today. Not always easy evaluating yourself and being honest is it? But I think it is necessary for your growth, especially as a leader. Never forget, the worse person to deceive in life is yourself! People are God's treasure and we need to learn to value them in the same way.

I really want to influence people for good and for God as I see it as a worth while anthem to commit to for life. Image your influence being multiplied through all the lives of the people you meet; it's remarkable and very powerful. Your influence can be for good or bad, so make sure you get it right! Realising the power you possess to influence others is your responsibility.

I challenge you to think about this and be more diligent and thoughtful about the way you live your life.

Monday, 24 November 2008

We can learn a great deal from Solomon's costly mistakes. The king of Israel fervently pursued several unrelated goals in a vain attempt to satisfy himself. Ecclesiastes 2:10-11. Solomon had reached a high level of success - but he still felt empty.

We need to stay focused on what really matters to us and what really counts. What about you? A good checklist for making decisions I read recently was from John Maxwell. Here they are:

1. Is this consistent with your priorities?
2. Is this withing the area of my competence?
3. Can someone else do it better?
4. What do my trusted friends say?
5. Do I have the time?

This is good advice that I want to seek to implement in my own life and encourage you to consider doing the same.

Saturday, 22 November 2008

Keep learning...keep growing!

I went to support my youngest son Mitchell and his football team today, they were playing a cup match. Boy was it cold. I was glad I took a big flask of coffee with me! His team are doing really well at the moment and are winning all their matches. It took the first 15 minutes to settle into the game and then it suddenly clicked and they started to play as a team and the goals came quickly.

Their coach is an inspiration to me and I admire his leadership, his passion for the game, his commitment and care for the boys, his desire to draw out the best in each one of them, his constant encouragement, his ability to motivate, his commitment to discipline and his constant instruction... All this pays off! The boys respect him and so do all the parents. Today I thought, if this guy was a Pastor of a church I would want to be on his team. There is so much we can learn from the people around us.

By the way we won 7 - 0. Mitchell got man of the match and I was one happy chappy!

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

Leadership ....

I read this article by Rick Warren today and thought it was excellent. Rick produces some excellent materials but most of all I know he is a man who lives what he preaches and lives to bring glory to God alone. He is a leader who has my attention!

Six essential commitments for leadership

Leaders are always defined by self-imposed standards. I’m not talking about standards set by other people, but standards they set for themselves. Great leaders always expect more from themselves than they do from their followers. They put forth more effort as well. That’s leadership.

If you were to look through the New Testament for the phrase “make every effort,” you’d find it six times. They represent six important vows we need to make as leaders. I believe these six vows will lead to an effective and productive ministry.

  1. Vow to maintain integrity.
  2. “Make every effort to be found spotless, blameless, and at peace with him” (2 Peter 3:14).

    God doesn’t expect us to be perfect. No one is perfect. To be spotless and blameless means to live with integrity. How do you maintain integrity if you’re not perfect? You need to be transparent. A person of integrity is not claiming to have it all together in every area. On the contrary, the person of integrity is willing to be open about their strengths and weaknesses.

    Having integrity also means living what you say you believe. You model what you teach. And you tell the truth, even when it’s tough. All leadership is built on trust. And trust comes from having the reputation for living out what you believe and for telling the truth. As a pastor and leader, people must trust you.

    Will you make a commitment to lead with integrity? Will you be honest about both your strengths and weaknesses? Will you commit to living your sermons out every week? Will you tell the truth to those you lead even when it’s tough?

  3. Vow to forgive those who hurt you.

    “Make every effort to live in peace with all men. See to it that no one misses the grace of God and that no bitter root grows up” (Hebrews 12:14-15).
  4. Leaders forgive those who hurt them. You will be hurt in ministry. It’s going to happen. It’s a given. You will be hurt both intentionally and unintentionally. You will be hurt by those who recognize what they’re doing and those who don’t. You cannot be in ministry without being hurt. If you call the shots, you’re going to take the shots.

    But you’ve got to be willing to forgive those who try to take you down. If you allow bitterness to build, it will choke your heart for God and your love for people until your heart just shrivels.

    Will you forgive when every bone in your body wants to retaliate?

  5. Vow to relax and trust God.

    “Anyone who enters God’s rest also rests from his own work, just as God did from his. Let us therefore make every effort to enter into God’s rest” (Hebrews 4:11).
  6. If you’re going to be in ministry, you’ve got to learn to relax. You need to be concerned about the people around you, but at the same time, you’re not God. You can’t bear everybody’s burden all the time.

    How do you release those burdens? First, you’ve got to pray. Ultimately, God is the one responsible for your flock. He’s the one responsible for the growth of your ministry. Share your burdens with him in prayer.

    Then you need to spend some time in God’s Word meditating on his promises. Remember what God has done in the past – in God’s Word and in your own life. God has a good track record of taking care of us. Remember that when you’re tempted to let the stress of your ministry position overwhelm you.

    Will you commit to surrendering your stress to God?

  7. Vow to be an encourager.

    “Let us make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual edification” (Romans 14:19).
  8. As a Christian leader, you should build people up rather than tear them down. God has called you to be an encourager, not a discourager. Take the time to look beyond the problems and look at the potential of those you lead. People get discouraged in life; you need to be a source of encouragement.

    As pastors, you are dispensers of hope. That’s what it means to be a Christian leader. You bring the hope of Jesus into a hopeless situation. You help people who seem to be helpless. You let them know they can do it.

    Will you be a voice of encouragement in your community, in your church, in your home?

  9. Vow to be a peacemaker.

    “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace” (Ephesians 4:3).
  10. Leaders are called to make every effort to reduce conflict. Our society is filled with conflict. Jesus said, “Blessed are the peacemakers.” How do you make peace in such a fragmented society?

    You’ve got to deal with different points of view. Not everybody is like you in your church. And that’s good. Everyone has something to contribute. The perspective of those who see the world differently can add something indispensible to your ministry.

    At Saddleback we value unity not uniformity. You can walk hand-in-hand without seeing eye-to-eye on every issue. God can overlook lack of programs in your church. He can overlook a lack of ability. But God will not bless a divided church. That means one of your most important jobs is to promote unity. Ten times in the first five chapters of Acts, the Bible says the church was unified. When you have the unity of Acts, you will have the power of Acts.

    Will you have the courage to unify your church when it is being pulled in many different directions?

  11. Vow to never stop growing.
  12. “Make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive…” (2 Peter 1: 5-8).

    Learning is the lifestyle of leadership. The moment you think you know it all, you’re dead in the water. You must never stop growing. Growing ministries require growing leadership. You’ve got to train yourself continually.

    Keep reading. Get a mentor. Solicit feedback. Ask questions. Always look for ways to keep growing in your character and your skills. The very nature of leadership is tied to growth. You’ve got to grow if you are going to lead others to grow.

    Take a regular look at yourself. Where do you need to grow? What do you need to learn? What’s the best way to get the training you need? Make a learning plan every year. Your future leadership depends upon it.

    Will you commit to keep growing as a leader and as a person?

Monday, 17 November 2008

In trouble? Turn to God...

I Just love the band U2, their songs are full of energy, emotion and inspiring lyrics. The song for me this week that I listened to and has continued to go around and around in my head is Ps 40:1-2. This verse is amazing and is a reminder that God is able to reverse any situation in our lives in his time. David found himself sinking in a dark and desperate situation yet he chose to trust in God and his ways at this time. He learned to wait patiently and submit himself completely to God.

King David knew about suffering, particular suffering caused by his own actions. However, he knew who to run to during times of trouble. What great joy and comfort come to us when we understand that God is rich in grace and mercy. God not only forgives, but restores and redeems! God is able to step in to the deepest pit of despair we face and lift us and set us in a right standing with him and put us back on track.

When times of trouble arrive in your life, turn to God and wait patiently for his help knowing that he will never fail to bring you through.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Keeping close to God

'Draw near to God and He will draw near to you' James 4:8

I love this verse! What an invitation from the almighty.

Close to God is where we all need to be. Infact, where we belong! This is the posture of our heart and is about a relationship with God. I have always longed for intimacy with God and desired to know him better. Think about how close you are to God right now. Do you desire to be closer? Then take a walk and talk with him today. Pour out your heart to him and tell him you want to walk closely with him for the rest of your days. Tell him how much you love him and want to serve him. Open the Bible and ask the Holy Spirit to give you a fresh understanding of his word. I could go on here but be serious about your relationship with God.

Moses once cried out, Exodus 33:10 “If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. WOW! This is a guy who knew above all else that he needed God in EVERY MOMENT of his life as he journeyed forward. Moses was desperate for God and drew near to him and as a result God certainly drew near to him. Moses set up a tent, a special meeting place called 'the tent of meeting where Moses met with God. All the people knew this and I believe God was using this as a strong visual aid to the Israelites and to us also today that teaches us the importance of having a regular meeting place where we seek God. Joshua, his attendant and future leader learned many things from Moses, but none more greater than the need to draw close to God.

I once heard someone say, 'God's presence is the spiritual oxygen we must breathe and know that we cannot survive without him'. Do whatever you need to do today to draw near to God.

Tuesday, 11 November 2008

God's is awesome!

God got my attention this morning.

Astronomers Select Top Most Amazing Pictures Taken by Hubble Space Telescope in Last 16 Years "...they illustrate that our universe is not only deeply strange, but also almost impossibly beautiful." Michael Hanlon/AH (Nov 25th, 2006

TheSombreroGalaxy - 28 million light years from Earth - was voted best picture takenby the Hubble telescope. The dimensions of the galaxy, officially called M104, are as spectacular as its appearance. It has 800 billion suns and is 50,000 light years across.



The Ant Nebula, a cloud of dust and gas whose technical name is Mz3, resembles an ant when observed using ground-based telescopes... The nebula lies within our galaxy between 3,000 and 6,000 light years from Earth.



Nebula NGC 2392, called "Eskimo" because it looks like a face surrounded by a furry hood. The hood is, in fact, a ring of comet-shaped objects flying away from a dying star. Eskimo is 5,000 light years from Earth






The Cat's Eye Nebula.







God is truly awesome and his power knows no limits. Even the heavens declare his glory!

Monday, 10 November 2008

Take refuge!

Read Ps 91:1-2 'He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, 'He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him will I trust'

I have to say these verses are two of the most comforting verses in the Bible. It describes the security that believers can have as they put their faith in God. He is strong when we are weak!

God promises his presence - we are not alone EVER. God promises his protection. God promises his peace God promises us his perspective and a new confidence. God promises us his strength. We all must make a decision today to live close to God to tackle the day ahead.

Saturday, 8 November 2008

It is well with my Soul...



I love this guy! Listen to this song and know that God is with you whatever you have to go through today. Be at peace and trust in God!

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Remarkable testimony



God alone changes lives and when he does it is powerful!

Tuesday, 4 November 2008

Family time is precious

Just had a few days with my family in the Peak District. We stayed at my parents house which is always a pleasure and we get really looked after. Over the years I have appreciated my parents more and more and know how blessed I am to have such wonderful folks.

I went fishing with my eldest Son Wesley for around 4 hours at Rudyard lake which was cold early in the morning but when the sun came up it was awesome. The scenery is beautiful there and it was so quiet! It was brilliant just to sit and chat with my dad about life; something I wished we had done more often when I was growing up and living at home.


Alison and I enjoyed several hours alone talking and drinking coffee in Buxton at the old pavilion overlooking the park. Buxton is a fabulous town in the Peak District and well worth a visit.

As we sat there talking I thought I really enjoy my life with Alison. I value, honour and appreciate her so very much and know that without her I could not do what I do. AND YES, I would marry her and have our life over again if I had the choice!

My mum cooked some LARGE northern dishes for us during our stay, and I mean large!! I could hardly walk away from the table after dinner. However, my favourite food at there house has to be the Bacon and Cheese sandwiches with an Oat Cake we have for breakfast - LOVELY.

We walked down to Leek town centre, visited shops, the old Market, the library, school and college I attended. You can imagine the stories I told of my childhood and youth! We walked through Brough Park which used to be my old stomping ground and the memories started to flow back into my mind from Childhood - Just Brilliant!

We had time to rest, relax with friends and family and regained strength to continue the great challenge before us in Milton keynes.

Thanks to mum and dad, you are precious and I have to say, that there will never be a place quite like home!

Thursday, 30 October 2008

The Lord is my shepherd....

King David, described the Lord as a shepherd. David had also been a shepherd and no doubt saw God this way because of his own leadership bias. Throughout the Bible we see the term 'shepherd' to illustrate God's character and leadership.

He alone is the one who can lead us over the mountain tops, through valleys, through the difficulties and challenges of life to pastures green.

I am reminded today that he is my provider (v1), it is him who give me rest (v2), He confidently leads (v3), He renews and restore (v3), He guides and restores (v3) He protects (v4) He corrects and comforts (v4), He feeds and anoints (v5), He loves (v6) He offers security and assures goodness and mercy to follow us. I love the end of this Psalm 23 because with this revelation of God in his life David says, 'And I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever'. What about you?

Tuesday, 28 October 2008

Consider it pure Joy. my brothers, when you face trails of many kinds, because you know the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything. James 1:2-4 (NIV)

We have all got to deal with the inevitable disapointments of life; the trials, the testings, the temptings and the troubles. Although it is often difficult to accept at the time, God says that all these challanges will ultimately serve to be a better person. You have heard it said many times. 'No pain - no gain', you don't get Gold without fire! We are encouraged to see that there something greater going on and working for us in this verse and are encouraged to count it a joy. WOW, that is something I have got to leaarn to take on board. When things seem out of control to us, we need to know that God is always in control and is able to work for good.

When we call on God in heartfelt prayer, we nee to know that God loves us and is ALWAYS with us. We need to trust him - He will answer in his own time and in accordance with his own perfect will. Life is often challanging but we must not be afraid. In times of hardship, he will comfort us; in times of sorrow, he will dry our tears and assure us he is with us. We must build our lives on the rock that can not be shaken: we must trust in God. THEN, I believe we must get on with the hard work of tackling our problems ... because if we don't who will? Or should?

I remember an old Bible school lecturere once saying, 'When tough times arrive, you should work as if everything depended on you and pray as if everything depended on God.' That's good advice!

Martin Luther King JR said, 'The ultimate meaure of a man is not where he stands in moments of convenience, but where he stands at times of challange and controversy".

Lena Horne said, "The size of your burden is never as important as the way you carry it".

God is committed to us and is refining us to become more like Jesus in character in this world. He wants the whole world to know him!

Depend on Love



Do you need some encouragement today to trust in God in your situation? Listen to this song by Rick Muchow, Saddleback Church that he wrote 20 years ago but is fresh and inspires us to trust in God no matter what!

God is dependable and is committed to taking us through whatever we have to face. We need never to doubt his love for us when we look to the cross. Be at peace today and trust in his love.

Friday, 24 October 2008

Standing with Pastor Rick and his family

We all need others in our lives. We have heard it a million times and it is true every time.

Pastor Rick's daughter-in-law Jamie who is married to Rick's son Josh need us to pray. Check out Ricks' video link below for more news.

saddlebackfamily.com/blogs/newsandviews/index.html?contentid=1500

Let's stand together as one family and assure Rick

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Pursuit of happiness

We started a new series on Sunday at MKCC called 'The pursuit of happiness'. Steve Adkins launched the series with a challenge to whether happiness is actually really the goal for us to pursue as it is often illusive (It's like 'trying to grasp a bar of soap'). Is your happiness driven by some kind of feeling or emotion alone and therefore if things don't go well for you your happiness is sabotaged. What is the real source of your happiness? Is there anything that could bring you joy even when things are not going so well?

I once heard someone say, 'Happiness is a by-product of of living a principled centred life, of making good decisions, of seeking good advice, of building good relationships and of course having a quality relationship with God. All this is true but the greatest source of my own person joy and happiness is in my personal relationship with Jesus Christ. It's in him that we find out who we are and what we are living for. It is all in Christ that we will find true joy, peace and happiness.

Yesterday, Billy and I attended the Thanksgiving service of Vernon Ralphs, a former Lecturer at Mattersey Hall and former pastor. The tributes were excellent and were united in around the theme of vernon's outstanding charater and commitment to serve the Lord with excellence. As I listened to those who spoke, it was evident that this man had found true happiness in placing Jesus Christ and his mission at the centre of his life with his family over and above possessions, power or prestige and there found joy and fulfilment knowing that one day his reward in heaven would be great.

As I listened I was reminded again how my life story is being written one day at a time...and with God's help, that story can be a masterpiece.

What makes you happy? Are you pursuing the right things? What is the centre of your life?

Monday, 20 October 2008

Life Groups are suppose to bring life...

Saturday saw six of our Life Group spend the day at one of our members house decorating. I walked into the house and saw the challange before us and thought. 'o no, all this in one day..' And a few extra words ran through my mind (not telling. However, there was a great spirit and everyone was pumped to contribute. Here is our group, not comfortably sitting on my settees at home studying, discussing or praying but ready to put some muscle into their faith and help support someone else.

When your you are trying to rebuild your life after a divorce, you are incredibly stressed and at rock bottom, you live in a different country, you have made a decision to ask Jesus into your life; where do you turn? Is there a helping hand? Good question! I think God has an answer, it's called church. I mean REAL church, not the religious version! Relationship is what matters most in life and we can all offer it to others. However, it will cost you something, your time, your talents and your money. Are you willing to give your life for others?

Experiencing the joy, the happiness, the gratitude and the tears with others as we do life together is sweet. Showing love and grace is so rewarding and very special and I think you encounter God in new ways when you move into the flow and rhythm of Grace. Christians, are all called to help, support, share, speak the truth, love, serve.. etc one another. God knows this true love and expressing itself is a powerful visual in the world today. People have to see love in action to be impacted by it.

Jesus demonstrated his love by dying on a cross, why would we think there is another way?

Let's demonstrate love and friendship today. Let's get intentional about it and impact someones life today.

Monday, 13 October 2008

Sunday thoughts...

Today we used the video teaching of Louie Giglio who delivered a powerful message of hope that impacted everyone. It was awesome! I wept in all three services as we were challenged to look to the cross as the anchor that will take us through any trouble we have to face. Jesus told us that trouble will come to all of us at some point and our connection to Christ is crucial to carry us through. They story of Ashely was heart-renching but I believe since giving her life to Christ made a significant impact in people's lives, especially her step dad who isn't a believer. Please pray for Ashley's dad who is searching and is in connect with Louie.

This really fitted in well with our visit last week of Ron Heagy. A man who has found hope in Christ and is committed to choosing the right attitude in life. I will never forget the little smiley face Ron had on his chair. He said it is a reminder to him to always smile and choose the right attitude in life. He said, you can stamp on it, throw it or kick it but it will always be smiling. may God help us to have that kind of spirit.

The music today was great. Peter did a brilliant Job from the keys and all the songs fitted in perfectly.

The Video ran smoothly in all services - well done David and the team. Some great graphics and video clips behind the words.

There we several new faces today. Great to see new people coming in. I want to encourage you all to invite more and more people on Sundays.

We launch a new series next week called the Pursuit of Happiness. I am looking forward to this and know it will be challenging.

Brilliant to have Mike on staff with us as Caretaker and maintenance. I really appreciate him, he has a great spirit, is willing to serve at any level and make things happen. Just brilliant!

May God continue to use us all despite our faults and many weaknesses to bring honour to Jesus. May we lead many people to put their faith in Jesus who can bring hope to all who look to him, despite any trouble we have to face in this life.

Sunday, 12 October 2008

WILLOW CREEK LEADERSHIP SUMMIT AT ST ALBANS

A group of leaders from MKCC went to the 2 day Willow Creek Association conference in St Albans hosted by the Vineyard Church. We went expecting to be challenged and inspired by some great leaders from around the world and we not to be disappointed! So many excellent insights were shared that I know will give us plenty of material to think about and work through in the days ahead.

Bill Hybells and the team nailed it yet again and the Leadership summit goes from strength to strength. Thanks Bill and all the Willow Staff who make this happen, you are all a great example to the body of Christ around the world.

Well done to leaders, musicians and volunteers of Vineyard church who did an excellent job in hosting the conference. Brilliant! I appreciate your serving us so all so well.

It was great to have with us Chris and Dana Byers from Lifechurch.tv who are planting a church in London. (Any one interested in getting involved in this should let me know) They fit in really well with our guys and it was a pleasure spending time with them.

One of things I really enjoy about these 2 days is spending time with our team. I love it; they are a fine bunch of leaders, they desire to learn and grow and desperately want God to use them. On Friday evening, I always enjoy our annual trip to the curry house near to the hotel and love to hear the good conversations, fun and laughter they all have together as we eat. It reminds me that creating opportunities like this is very important as we build team.

Well yesterday was learning today needs to be practice, so let's get to it!

Tuesday, 7 October 2008

Don't try to fly solo

'Two are better than one...and a threefold chord is not quickly broken'

As much as we admire solo achievement, the truth is that no-one by themselves has done anything of great value. I recently read about the great achievements of a few famous men I will mention but the truth is they didn't do it by themselves. Frontiersman Daniel Boone had companions from the Transylvania Company as he blazed the wilderness road. Sheriff Wyatt Earp had his brothers and Doc Holiday looking out for him. Aviator Charles Linderbergh had the backing of nine businessmen from St Loius and the services of the Ryan Aeronautical Company who built his plane. Scientist Albert Einstein didn't work in a vacuum but had people around him. Even the Lone Ranger had Tonto!

Nothing great is ever achieved alone it really does take a team. History is is marked by the accomplishments of many strong leaders and innovative individuals who took great risks, but these people were always part of a team.

I once read a Chinese proverb that said, 'behind an able man there are always other able men'. The truth is that teamwork is at the heart of great achievements. John Maxwell says that 'one is too small a number to achieve greatness. You can not do anything of real value alone.'

To achieve all that God has for for us here at MKCC, we need teamwork. God wants us all involved in his team and make history together.

Friday, 3 October 2008

The Inspirational Testimony of Nick Fujicic





This is amazing - what have you got to complain about today?

I can not wait for Sunday! We have a visiting speaker Ron Heagy with us who is paralysed from the neck down after a surfing accident years ago. Invite all you mates to come and listen to Ron, it's going to be amazing!

Thursday, 2 October 2008

what do you see?

This still moves me and inspires me to never settle. The world lost a treasure when Keith Green was killed in a plane crash. His songs were loaded with truth and his passion leaked all over his audiences. Listen to the words again today and let them stir you to reach the lost.

It is well with my soul.....

Love this guy! For many this is a little old school but I have to say this guy nails this hymn and reminds us all there is a sacred place for all of us to connect to God who vcan sustain us through any difficulty we may face in life.

Tuesday, 30 September 2008

leadership thought...

As a leader you have to be committed to get commitment. A friend of mine once said to me that a committed leader will draw out of others the commitment needed to fulfil a vision. He's right; you can never expect anyone else to give their energy, finance or talents to a cause if you don't lead the way with commitment faith and passion.

Nehemiah was a guy who was committed and who drew commitment out of others and they finished the rebuilding of the walls of Jerusalem in 53 days. Now that is amazing! Despite much adversity they were successful. This was a great accomplishment and Nehemiah wrote: 'When all our enemies heard of it, and all the nations around us saw these things....they were very disheartened in their own eyes; for they perceived that this work was done by our God' WOW! I love this and I pray that a similar thing will be said about us at MKCC as we extend and build new facilities. (Wish we could do it in 53 days!)

I want to encourage all of us who are committed to building God's house here in MK and are sacrificing time, finance, energy, skill and the list goes on and on... That we do not labour in vain and our commitment will draw out of others commitment and we will complete the task the Lord has given us to do. We need to keep a few things in focus as we lead:

1. We have a compelling purpose. There is no greater cause on earth to give our lives for.
2. We need to keep a clear perspective at all times and not allow fear to cloud our view.
3. We must pray at all times because I know that this is linked to our humility before God and gains his favour.
4. We need to have courageous persistence and move ahead despite all odds.

Together I believe we will succeed. Let's continue to lead by example.

In the hands of the artist

'But now, O Lord, You are our father; we are the clay, and you are the potter; And all we are the work of your hand.' Isaiah 64:8

I was thinking about this verse today and how God has been and is at work in my life over the years. I then begin to think about my responsibility to the people in my life and how I have and am influencing them.

I came across this in interesting story about an English artist named William Wolcott who went to New York in 1924 to record his great impressions of that great city. One morning he was visiting in the office of a former colleague when the urge to sketch came over him. seeing some paper on his friends desk, he asked, 'may I have that?' His friend answered, 'That's not sketching paper. That's ordinary paper. Not wanting to lose the spark of inspiration, Wolcott took the wrapping paper and said, 'nothing is ordinary if you know how to use it.' On that ordinary paper Wolcott made two sketches. Later that same year, one of those sketches sold for $500 and the other for $1000 quite a sum for 1924.

John Maxwell said, 'People under the influence of an empowering person are like paper in the hands of a great artist. No matter what they are made of, they become treasures.'

Let's make a decision to value people around us and with God's help craft a masterpiece!

Sunday, 28 September 2008

Ron Heagy at MKCC NEXT SUNDAY



We are so privileged to have Ron with us next week. I want to encourage you to invite all your friends to what I think will be an amazing Sunday as we focus on a two week series called 'Hope'.

Infocus

Just completed a three weeks series challenging us all to ensure we keep in focus some important truths as we follow Christ. Recap:

wk 1 Focus to your life: Every believer needs to understand that God has a purpose for your life. (Jer 29:11) He wants you to choose his ways and not just your own. God tells us in the bible that his ways and thoughts for us are so much higher than our ways. To live your life just to fulfil your own plans when you know that God has a plan for your life is to live life out of focus.

Once we discover God has a plan for our lives, like the Apostle Paul, we are to focus on giving 100% effort to fulfilling his plan for our lives. Yes, EFFORT, hard work, drive, discipline, diligence commitment, passion and dedication. You run in life knowing that heaven alone is your finishing line.

Jesus said, do not store up treasure on earth but store up treasure in heaven. Eternal rewards are real and Jesus said make sure you see this as a priority in your life

Tuesday, 23 September 2008

MKCC Worship leaders forum

I spent just over an hour with our worship leaders this evening which was brilliant. These guys are an inspiration to me and have a tremendous influence in our church. Each Sunday the sound, the choice of songs, the visuals, the arrangements and creativity just seem to get better and better.

We are working hard to align our songs and visuals to coincide with the series we running. Our challenge is to leave the people at MKCC in no certain terms clear about the overall theme or point that week. Good planning is crucial here and we continue to learn the importance of it.

Diversity is strength and I think we have that in our worship leaders. This empowers us to impact a wider group of people in our city through our music.

I love discussions with creative people who are passionate about life and music but especially when they are sold out to Jesus and desire to tell our city and the world about him.

I really value and appreciate you guys!

Monday, 22 September 2008

An amazing weekend

Wow...what a weekend it was absolutely mad, it has left me, my family and our leaders spinning and needing a few good nights sleep. Here are a few highlights:

Friday
1. The Final adjustments were being made ready for the big move of our Day Nursery into other parts of MKCC's facilities and portacabin while our building developments and refurbishment take place.
2. Kidz Church leaders were preparing for the huge changes to the way it will operate now spread across our facilities.
3. Preparations for the Partners evening on Saturday were also taking place. Catering, videos, PowerPoint slides, talks, notes, music etc....
4. There was also an ITC Trustees meeting on site.
5. Building works were in full swing securing the site and preparing us for the weekend services and making it safe for a turf cutting ceremony due to take place. The site also had to be ready and secure for our Day Nursery operations on Monday.

The adrenaline seemed to be racing through the veins of all at MKCC as we were gearing up for a big weekend.

I raced home at 6.00pm to collect Mitchell who had football training ready for a cup match tomorrow. I have always made every effort to be there at his traing and every match I can to support him. However, my mobile never stopped ringing and a burned through 1/2 my battery life! When I got home I had enough time to climb the ladders to finish off some painting before it got dark that I knew I needed to finish. It was now late and I enjoyed a long awaited shower, hot curry and a cuddle with my lovey wife.

Sat
1. Catering preparations and hall set up for our Partners evening started just after 9.30am. I said goodbye to Alison for the day as she went shopping and then spent the day at MKCC with Judy and other volunteers.
2. In the morning I took Mitchell to his football match, he played really well. (His team is awesome and he is getting to be a little Rooney - Just a proud dad speaking) They won!!
3. Ian and Mike came in to paint fences ready for Monday morning.
3. We had a wedding at MKCC in the morning followed by blessing which took place in the couple's garden in the afternoon with 150 guests who thought they were coming to a house warming party. You should have seen the look on their faces as we started the vows, it was awesome!
4. The Partners evening took place from 7.00pm and it was excellent. The food was excellent, the videos were inspiring and our leadership presentations were well recieved. I was extremely pleased with the evening. The feedback from our partners was very positive. We cleared up and set up the hall ready for church service the next day. I fell into bed at just after midnight.

Sun
1. MKCC is buzzing with life every Sunday morning from 7.00am preparing for our three services. This sunday was no exception! Kidz Church faced the challenge of running their programmes in new areas. All ministries leaders and volunteers were so busy pulling all areas of our operations together in order to serve those who would attend this week: Transport, traffic, stewards, kidz church, youth, musicians, video and PA, hospitality etc.. The services were excellent!
2. At the end of the services we went outside into the garden area at MKCC where works would start on Monday. We dug a turf marking the start of our building programme and we stood and committed the future to God in pray. I am so thankful to God for the faith, generosity and commitment of our people to this project.
3. As our services concluded it didn't finish there. As the final bus came back into the car park, the Made for Ministry course started in the main hall running through the afternoon.
4. Volunteers also arrived at MKCC at 2.30pm to move equipment out of the Day Nursery into other areas in the facilities of MKCC getting the Day Nursery ready for Monday morning.
5. No it doesn't end there! At 6.00pm saw 'Base' our youth programme explode into action. At around 8.30pm MKCC was closed for the night. What a weekend! Time for a rest. However, in just a few hours we open again!

We achieved so much over the weekend. What a privilege to serve with an awesome team who have given their lives to this ministry for the glory of God. Thanks guys for all your hard work, you are all an inspiration.

Thursday, 18 September 2008

Partners evening at MKCC this saturday

I am so excited about our partners at MKCC coming together on Saturday evening. I love spending time with these people - you guys are awesome! Billy told we we are at capacity so this should be a brilliant night. We have some exciting things to celebrate and to share! I look forward to walking into the future with committed people to fulfil God's purposes. We will never get to where we need to go with an attitude like we are on a sunday afternoon stroll in the park! WE need to run after God and his ways with passion and urgency as the Bible instructs us to do.

I believe that God has greater things to do in our city and our church needs partner together courageously and boldly seize our day. There are 1,000's of people who do not know Jesus and they are all around us! We are planning, working, praying and building a new facilities here at MKCC to reach more and more people for Jesus. We are alive today to make a difference today that will impact the future generations. We all have a part to play in God's plan and we must get involved.

Some quick thoughts about what true partnership is about:
1. A commitment made by people who give equal energy consitently or it's not a partnership.
2. Using each others gifts, passions, abilities and experiences
3. Building relationship - Adding value to others and respecting diversity
4. Working together - Listening, trusting, encouraging, correcting and Sharing the load
5. Inspiring others and lifting the mood
6. Learning together
6. Making things happen
7. Celebrating with others
8. It is a decision to live interdependently

MKCC is a place where I believe that true Godly partnership will make a difference in our church, in our city and as we reach out to the ends of the earth.

Let's invite as many people as we can to join us on this exciting journey of following Jesus.

Interested or committed?

Years ago I remember reading a book called the One Minute Manager by a guy called Ken Blanchard. This book helped me in my work as a manager working for Tesco's in the South of England at the time. Blanchard wrote, 'There's a difference between interest and commitment. When you are interested in doing something, you do it only when it's convenient. When you are committed to something, you accept no excuses.' I remember working with both kinds of people and it was a joy to work with the committed.

When it comes to work, relationships, church, teams, sports commitment is everything, mere interest alone doesn't work. I think commitment is the one quality that sits above others and enables people to be successful in what they do. I once heard someone say, 'the Kamikaze pilot who was able to fly fifty missions was involved but never committed.'

All I know is that nothing happens without commitment! God is looking for total commitment from us. Does God know you are committed to him today? I love the song we sang on Sunday, 'Undivided, my heart and my life is yours'. That has got to be the reality for all of us at MKCC. We are not playing games here or just doing the religious thing. When it comes to serving Jesus and fulfilling his purposes for my life, as I look at the cross, I fall to my knees in total surrender and renew commitment every time. Whatever it takes Lord and whatever you want me to do I am yours and will obey you.

Let's all make a fresh commitment to Jesus and his purposes for our lives today - right now, do it.

Wednesday, 17 September 2008

Just love this song



I just love the energy and passion of young people. May God set this generation on fire and make a huge difference in the world for Jesus.

Monday, 15 September 2008

Something for you to think about..

The Monk and The Frog

The story is told of an old hermit monk who was working in the fields, As he was doing so he came across a remarkable, precious stone that was obviously worth a great deal of money. He took it back to his simple hut, thrilled at his find and excited at the possibilities it presented him with.

Later that day, a weary traveller happened to be passing by and as was his custom the monk offered him hospitality in his simple dwelling. As he was preparing some food over the fire the traveller noticed the monk’s bag on the table and caught sight of the wonderful, precious stone contained within. Over the meal the traveller asked about the stone and the monk took it out of the bag and showed it to him. Such was the beauty of the stone and its obvious value, that the visitor couldn’t help himself and asked the monk if he could have it as a gift. The monk reflected for a moment, shrugged his shoulders and replied ‘Sure, why not’ he said, ‘you are very welcome’.

The traveller thanked him and left hastily with his new prize possession lest the monk change his mind. A few weeks went by and the monk carried on his normal peaceful and simple life. Then one day he heard his name being called and when he looked up saw the same traveller walking towards him. He welcomed him warmly and enquired as to the reason for his visit. ‘I have come to return your stone to you’ he said as he placed the stone back in the monk’s hands, ‘for I am after something far more valuable from you’. The monk was somewhat taken aback as he couldn’t think of anything he owned that would be of more value. But then the traveller continued, ‘I want whatever it is within you that enabled you to give me the stone without hesitation when I asked you for it’.

Think about this a little and let it get under your skin!

Friday, 12 September 2008

Leadership thoughts about influencing others

Albert Schweitzer once said, 'Example is not the main thing in influencing others.... its the only thing'.

I once heard John Maxwell say, 'that part of creating an appealing climate is modeling leadership', I believe that is true. I also believe that people will also emulate what they see modeled.

Take action: Think about your influence on those around you, I am serious do it, go through the list of people closest to you. If there is a positive model there will be a positive response and if there is a negative model there will be a negative response. What will you be?

If you desire to be a leader you need to know that everything you do and value, the potential leaders around you will do and value. Leaders set the tone and can not demand of others what they do not demand of themselves.

As we as leaders grow and improve, so will those we lead. So plan a few things into your life that will help you to grow.

Ideas: Find a coach or mentor, read leadership books and materials, go to a leadership conference or seminar, start a small group discussing leadership, make use of the vast resource on the internet - blogs, newsletters, Podcasts,vodcast etc and develope an intimate relationship with Jesus. Leaders must be learners for life! If our growth stops today, our ability to lead will stop with it. We can never model what we do not posses!

Make a decision to do one thing to grow today and implement what you learn and watch others grow around you.

Wednesday, 10 September 2008

Influence

I read this quote today by Pastor Brian Houston, Hillsong church, Sydney Australia,

“The devil doesn’t care how big your church is - he cares how influential it is.”

Jesus said that we are the salt of the earth and the light of the world - Influence.

Jesus said we are his Ambassadors, his representative, his voice, his hands, infact, the Bible says we are his body. Christ's body is to be visible in the world! It must be active in society and meeting the needs it encounters just like Jesus did. Infact, people ought to see Jesus in all we do. Through the good works that that the Bible says that God has prepared in advance for us to do, we easily pave the way to share the message of God's love and grace.

Church, we are called to be actively involved in meeting the needs in our society and not to just sit back and just commentate, remain detached or ignore the issue. If things get worse we have only ourselves to blame!

I believe the influence of our church should be increasing not decreasing. may God's kingdom come and his will be done in MK.

Who are you influencing today?

Tuesday, 9 September 2008

Michael Gugliemucci

I am still so sad about the recent news that Michael Gugliemucci had been living a lie for the past two years.

I Think Mal Fletcher nails it here.



Please remember his family in your prayers.

Sunday, 7 September 2008

Our International Missions weekend was aweome..

What a brilliant weekend! I was so excited to welcome our friends and mission partnerships from around the world to MKCC for our international missions weekend.

This was a great opportunity for them to meet up with supporters and friends, tell of the developments of their work but also to meet each other and build relationships.

On Saturday we had around 120 people visit us at MKCC and we had an awesome time. It was great to hear of some many exciting initiative happening around the world. The passion, creativity and commitment to God and their ministries is totally amazing. I am grateful to God that as a church, MKCC has the privilege to partner with these people to make a difference in the world.

Our sunday services were brilliant! It was excellent for all at MKCC to put a face to names and hear of the challenges and opportunities our missionairies are currently facing. George (LFI Director) interviewed them in a fast moving magazine style which worked well. Everyone expressed their appreciation to our church and LightForce International for the love and support. I know that together we are making a difference in the world.

There are so many opportunities to get involved in overseas projects for the people of our church. Instead of just praying or giving, why not think about going on an overseas missions trip to a project we are supporting. Seriously, think about it, talk to us and let's make some plans!

Thursday, 4 September 2008

International Missions weekend is here

Mission is the heartbeat of MKCC and we are passionate about reaching our world for Christ and making a difference in our local community and the world.

I am so excited to have with us missionaries from around the world who we support with us at MKCC this weekend. The countries that will be represented are:- Albania (Rachel Wilson); Albania (Rakip Cuku); India ( Biju Thampy); India (Jabez & Joe Williams); Serbia (Pau Pasula); Mombassa (Glyn & Jane Davies); Uganda (Hon. Charles Angiro Gutemoi); America (Andrew Shearman); Morocco (Hannah & Hmad Naatit); and Vietnam (Ashley & Christine Coggins). All these people are passionate about what they are doing and I know that a little of their enthusiasm will rub off on our church.

Check out Milton Keynes Christian Centre

Come along anytime from 10.00am to 6.00pm on Saturday and meet the guys informally and learn more about the work they are involved in.

Sunday will see the all attend our three services and join with our wider church family. It's going to be an awesome day. Don't miss it!

I am praying that in the years ahead MKCC will send out literally 100's of people into world missions sharing boldly proclaiming the good news about Jesus Christ.

So you think you've got problems

Feel like quitting, giving up?

Listen to Ron's story and be challenged about your own attitude to life. Ron is paralysed from the neck down and had to master his attitude and not give up and is making a huge difference to others in his life. Ron is a christian who has become a mentor to many and now travels as a motivational speaker.


Wednesday, 3 September 2008

A visit to the Ritz

Thought this was excellent form Shane Duffey (Newspring) and well worth reading and implementing by all of us at MKCC.

A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to stay in a Ritz-Carlton hotel for the first time. To say the place was nice or that the service was great would be a huge understatement. The experience got me to thinking about what churches (or any other business) could learn from The Ritz. Here are 10 things (there are probably more):

We should learn that…

1. When someone shows up on our property they shouldn’t have to think about where to go.
2. Everyone on our staff should give the impression that they love their job.
3. The cleanliness of our facility speaks volumes about our commitment to excellence.
4. Our people (staff/volunteers) should be strategically placed to be available to our guests.
5. We should not freak out when we’re presented with a question or dilemma that’s not common.
6. Not only should we not freak out, but we should seek to find answers or solutions.
7. No staff person should ever say, “that’s not my area/job/responsibility”.
8. Success is measured by one “satisfied customer” at a time.
9. Going the extra mile for a guest pays huge dividends (well beyond the cost or effort it took).
10. Truly satisfied customers tell others about their experience, which sends more customers our way.

All things being equal, would the experience we offer at our church or business match up to The Ritz? If not, why not?