Friday, 26 February 2010

Current challenge

The last week or so has been a challenge in an unexpected way.

My laptop is not working! Hence I have not been online/posting. I've been keeping it old skool writing on a pad... My laptop may not be fit until Wednesday. :-(

Additionally our lead elder is due to be away this weekend as his mother in-law is expected to pass away in the next few days. Not an easy time for the family.

Consequently I've been drafted to preach. I've not had loads of time to prepare but I'm in good faith and pleased to have finished writing it this afternoon. It is an important Sunday for us as a Church - Gift day next week.

Prayers would be appreciated. X

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Keep reading, keep learning.

One of things I enjoy about being a young pastor is that I am student in every area. I have so much to learn and I enjoy doing so. As well as being on leadership training and having a great mentor, I have committed to keep reading as a priority. I want to keep reading, keep learning and keep working to develop the gifts God has given me.

I am currently enjoying this book by John Maxwell. I'd really recommend it. It covers all the main bases of leadership and has really got me thinking...

“When I turned forty, I began to review my life. I made a list of all the things I was doing at that time. My list included:

Senior pastor of a congregation of 3,500 attendees; Oversight and development of thirteen pastors; President of Injoy, Inc., a company that develops resource materials for thousands of people; A national and international speaking schedule with over four hundred engagements annually; Producing a monthly leadership tape for Injoy Life Club subscribers; Writing a book every eighteen months; Working on another education degree; And most important-taking enough time for my wife, Margaret, and our two children, Elizabeth and Joel Porter.”

He has my attention!

Friday, 12 February 2010

I.D. 3 Be Baptized...

I love it that Jesus asked his followers to do something 2,000 years ago and we get to live out his commands so visibly in Exeter!

Believers Baptism

Baptism is clearly for believers in the New Testament. Our faith alone saves, but the faith that saves is never alone. If you love Jesus and trust Him, you will want to be baptized. Baptism is part of the initiation of NT Christianity. Jesus leads the way for us and we have the privileged of following in his footsteps.

I believe that in obeying Jesus, the Spirit is at work dynamically and something special happens in our relationship with God. Often habits and past problems can be broken and our life with God can really kick on.

Why are you here?

Baptism also teaches us much about the Christian life. (Romans 6) Going under the water is a picture of how we have died to our old lives. Our ambitions, dreams, rights and old desires are all on the alter as it were.

We are freed from our old lives, released and empowered to live for our maker. Awesome. At the I.D. course in this session I like to ask, "Why are you here in Exeter?" If the answer is not first in response to God, then I would suggest we need to visit or re-visit our death, that we can truly find life.

Jesus said as recorded in Matthew 10:39 "Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it."

We have a baptism service in two weeks time where people will be declaring their deaths, and their new lives in Christ! Life looks and feels so different as we lay aside ourselves and look to love God and love others. It starts with Baptism.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Are they coming? Are we going?!

I feel as a Church we are here to bless our city. The ultimate blessing is of course to introduce people to Jesus.

Invitational

Part of our plan to do this effectively is to have a place where we can invite people who would like to hear about Jesus. As a Church we're looking at improving our Sunday mornings. Our next offering (March 7th) we are looking to raise funds to make our Sunday mornings more effective in blessing our city. This is one part of our effort.

Incarnational

For most of us, most of our time blessing the people of our city will not be done in our meetings. For most of us, we'll bless our city by going to people and seeking to serve and bless in various contexts. Neighbourhoods, workplaces, sports clubs, mums groups etc.

We are called to be like Jesus. Jesus left the comfort and peace of being with the Father to come to us. He entered our culture. He eat our food. He learnt human language.

Jesus said about his disciples in John 17:18 "As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world."


We are sent people. I think is important that we value this and encourage both invitational and incarnational lives. This is less comfortable, but God always equips us for what we are called to. I'm less keen on Christian football teams, Christian golf, Christian this and that. I feel personally We meet as a family on Sundays and midweek. My next aim is to 'GO!' and meet people in the city who I can bless.

I found these notes stimulating and provocative from the Acts 29 blog:

(Especially as a full time Christian worker!)

1. Eat with Non-Christians
Go to lunch with a co-worker, not by yourself. Invite the neighbors over for family dinner. Have cookouts and invite Christians and non-Christians. Flee the Christian subculture.

2. Walk, Don’t Drive
If you live in a walkable area, make a practice of getting out and walking around your neighborhood, apartment complex, or campus. Take interest in your neighbors. Ask questions. Engage. Pray as you go.

3. Be a Regular
Instead of hopping all over the city for gas, groceries, haircuts, eating out, and coffee, go to the same places at the same times. Get to know the staff. Smile. Ask questions. Be a regular.

4. Hobby with Non-Christians
Get out and do something you enjoy with others. Try city league sports or local rowing and cycling teams. Share your hobby by teaching lessons, such as sewing, piano, knitting, or tennis lessons. Be prayerful. Be intentional. Be winsome. Have fun. Be yourself.

5. Talk to Your Co-workers
How hard is that? Take your breaks with intentionality. Go out with your team or task force after work. Show interest in your co-workers. Pick four and pray for them. Form moms’ groups in your neighborhood and don’t make them exclusively non-Christian. Schedule play dates with the neighbors’ kids.

6. Volunteer with Non-Profits
Find a non-profit in your part of the city and take a Saturday a month to serve your city. Bring your neighbors, your friends, or your small group. Spend time with your church serving your city. Once a month. You can do it!

7. Participate in City Events
Instead of playing XBox, watching TV, or surfing the net, participate in city events. Go to fundraisers, festivals, cleanups, summer shows, and concerts. Strike up conversation. Study the culture. Reflect on what you see and hear. Pray for the city. Love the city. Participate with the city.

8. Serve Your Neighbors
Help a neighbor by weeding, mowing, building a cabinet, or fixing a car. Stop by the neighborhood association or apartment office and ask if there is anything you can do to help improve things. Ask your local Police and Fire Stations if there is anything you can do to help them. Get creative. Just serve!

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

The Lounge - Sunday 7th Feb

I enjoyed The Lounge again last week. The good music gives an atmosphere to chat, meet new people and catch up with students within our church. Alex played well and James Dixon (my house favourite) was on form as usual. A couple of people took to the open mic which the guys enjoyed.

We continued our series on 'Diamond Jesus'. Each week looking at a facet of the character of Jesus. This week James Slater picked up 'Jesus - the greatest leader ever'. I enjoyed hearing him speak so confidently about Jesus. Thanks to Dan Partridge for expressing his appreciation for James in what only can be described as a song of adoration.(!)

We watched the video then James outlined why he feels Jesus is the greatest leader ever.
  1. The impact that he had on his immediate followers. These men turned the world upside down.
  2. The impact he had in his region and nation. Thousands of people came from across the region to hear this man speak.
  3. The legacy that has shaped history. He stands as the man who has made the greatest impact on humanity in every way. Time magazine called Jesus 'Man of the Millennium'.

James finished by sharing personally how he's found Jesus an amazing man to follow through the reading of His word and the power of His Spirit. I found it very helpful and insightful to ponder Jesus in this capacity. Jesus was an exceptional man from whichever standpoint. The leaves us all with the question, is he a man worth following?



Thursday, 4 February 2010

Love Jesus. Love Exeter.

Was great to be together last night at 'Church together'. It's good to hear vision for the future.

I arrived in this city as a student to take all I could get. God has transformed me along with a couple of hundred others who now want to give all we can to our city. As Christians we are called, and we are excited to love Jesus and love our city Exeter. We want all we do to communicate something of the heart of God to our city as we look ahead.

We want our lives to help people see something of the grace of God.

We want our website to really serve our guests and potential visitors well, catching something of God's heart for the city. (We are currently in a 'research phase' for this venture.)

We're aiming to improve our Sundays with our key leaders taking things to the next level.

Sarah Matz on set up, Barry and Christine on welcome and Jane helping to build a response/follow up team as we look at our hospitality.

We are also looking to bring Matt Giles on staff for one day per week to help develop our musical worship pursuing the power of God in our meetings. Steve Blake shared a snippet of this last night.

We are working hard to improve our anchoring and hosting for visitors explaining as we go. Rob Wilmot talked about walking into a betting shop and not having a clue! We don't want that to be the experience for our guests.

We are working hard as always to improve our preaching.

It was good to hear about the Foodbank as we increasingly look at caring for the poor.

In light of this we are having a gift day at the end of Feb to get things going. Money will be spent on staff, branding & web and equipment as we seek to love Jesus and love Exeter with all we can give.
He doesn't have to use us. But it's His glory and our joy that he does. What an adventure we are on...

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

Impact

Untitled from Jono D on Vimeo.

The Lounge - Sunday 31st Jan

Wow. I really enjoyed The Lounge this Sunday. The music was exceptional. James Dixon was on form and it was great to have Mark & Celine with us. A good crowd joined us for the evening to see Mark play. It was great to be able to host a whole new group of people.

Tim gave a good thought and testimony about Jesus the adventurer. He reflected on how Jesus is a man who takes his followers on an epic adventure. He referenced the lives of the original disciples. Men who turned the world upside down and also shared how his life has completely changed. Tim has gone from a boy who needed speech therapy to a man who has travelled the region this year telling people about Jesus. It was great to hear his own experience.

This term we are working through a series called, 'Diamond Jesus'. Each Lounge a different person will be sharing a different facet of the character of Jesus which they particularly admire. I'm looking forward to next week. :-)

The Lounge continues to be a place where you can connect well with other students in the Church as well as bringing those who do not go to Church. All seem to enjoy the evening and receive the teaching well.