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 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


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.