Wednesday, 31 March 2010

Happy holidays

I'm not very good at resting. I'm quite an intense person. I enjoy setting goals and working hard to achieve them. I enjoy planning and being focused. I don't like slowing down.

Rest is something that I am learning to enjoy. I like that in resting I am being like God rather than being lazy. I enjoy being obedient and I'm working out how that fits with holidays and family. As a single man I'd either be doing something active or sleeping.

Chloe and I have booked time off this Easter. Tonight I finish. We will be in Church for the 'High Sunday' then back for April 13th. Holidays reveal the differences between my wife and I. It is really quite funny when I think about it. She rests by being active, spontaneous, visiting coffee shops, chatting and seeing pretty places. Her expectation is that we will be mostly on the go while 'resting'. By contrast I would want to be playing sport or sleeping in the sun. We had a nightmare holiday in Paris last year as we began to work this out!

As the man I want to take responsibility to ensure that we have a good rest and refreshing time as a family. Chloe and I have a plan:

  • We have a loose plan and have shared hopes and expectations.
  • We will have a week away.
  • We have babysitters around.
  • We will be active and spontaneous, coffee shopping etc each morning and chilled in the afternoons.
  • We will look to have early nights. :-)
  • Chloe will drive to see her sisters midweek.
  • I have a round of golf booked.
  • I am decorating our room for Chloe with some help. (!)
  • We will spend time reading the Bible and praying together.
  • I will take her out for our date night. New place. :-)

I'm really looking forward to quality time as a family. My wife is such a gift to me. She supports me and releases me often and wholeheartedly. I want to create memories and serve my family like Jesus served the Church during our holiday.

Life balance

Was good to gather last night as a leadership team. We had a good time eating and sharing our lives a little.

One of the subjects informally mentioned was the challenge of transition as we walk through life.

We have a deep conviction that we are called to value and invest time in our homes and families. I feel this particularly as a young husband and Dad. We also know that God calls us to work and that this will be a huge feature in most peoples lives. Additionally we hold that God calls every one of us to be part of the family of God. We believe one should be connected relationally and bringing their gifting to the family to varying degrees to help the Church. These three features are there for us all to work out. Generally speaking, I believe we are in danger if we neglect any of these.

In different seasons of our lives we may find one area needs more investment than the others. I feel those within the church family with highly demanding jobs will need to be supported and understood as this is worked through. Additionally family crisis may cause one to pull back from contributions in Church. For the most part we will need to be creative to invest in all three as God calls. This will be a particular challenge as seasons change and yet we want all three to be a feature. At some point we will have to dig in and work hard to make it happen. Our volunteer elders are a great example of this.

Common times of challenge:

  • Marriage
  • Babies
  • New job
  • Promotion
  • Redundancy
  • Uni life into work life
  • Change in church leadership
  • Geographical relocation
  • Monday, 29 March 2010

    Dave Stroud @ Younger Leaders

    Dave Stroud was inspirational on Sunday morning. He launched the 'everything conference' on sat, preached on Sunday morning and I understand headed back for church in the afternoon!

    It was great to hear Dave outline vision for New Frontiers in this nation as he sees opportunities and kingdom advance reaching heights that we have not seen in this nation for the last hundred years. Here's what we're going to do...

    1) Plant new churches

    New churches release gifting, create urgency, see people saved and gather people quickly.

    2) Reach lost people

    Not all transfer growth is bad. This is true when people come and when they go. However, if all the deckchairs are rearranged and the Titanic still sinks we haven't helped anyone.

    3) Caring for the poor

    Just like Jesus. Straight from the heart of God and gives us a hearing in society.

    4) Shaping culture

    See everything conference. :-)

    5) Bless the nations

    With these things in mind:
    Urban poor
    Unreached people

    Here is Dave Stroud speaking in another context for those who have not heard him before.

    Thursday, 25 March 2010

    New Frontiers 'Younger Leaders' Conference

    Matt & Anna and Chloe & I will be gathering with young leaders from across New Frontiers this weekend. I look forward to catching up with some of the guys who I have met on Leadership Training.

    Worship times will be led by Matt and there will be teaching from Dave & Phillipa Stroud and Jeremy & Ann Simpkins.

    David and Philippa have been involved in leading churches for almost 20 years and ChristChurch London is the third church they have planted. David is the lead Elder of ChristChurch London & also heads up the UK Newfrontiers team.

    Jeremy & Ann have been involved in helping to lead newfrontiers Churches for over 25 years. In 2009 Jeremy & Ann felt stirred to re-locate to Manchester to help build a Christ Centred Church right in the heart of the City.Jeremy leads the newfrontiers "North UK Team" which is taking responsibility for 50 Churches in Scotland, Northern Ireland, Cumbria, North East England, East Midlands, Yorkshire, Lancashire & Canada.

    Tuesday, 23 March 2010

    The Lounge - Sunday 21st March

    The final Lounge of the term was a great evening. The film was made, the talk was written and the candles were lit. Another good team effort. We were pleased to have some guests, some new people and some freshers with us for the first time.

    Matt kicked off the evening with some good stuff and Dave treated us all to a bit of slide guitar.

    The theme this week was 'Jesus the Revolutionary'. Rach shared this week. She commented on our common desire for change and our appreciation of people who can actually change situations for good. She pointed out how Jesus has made a huge difference on an international stage and on the lives of many individuals including her own. She talked about facing exam stress and also facing family difficulties and that when we want change, Jesus is the person to go to.

    The girls organised an Easter egg decorating competition which added an Easter theme to the evening. (I was gutted not to even get third place.) The open mic saw quite a lot of banter flow and many sang along when James Slater pulled out a couple of classics.

    It was a really fun evening. We have great bunch of students in our Church and it has been awesome to be a part of it as God builds us together as part of His Church. Following the example of Matt Giles, a few of the boys finished the evening off with a trip to McDonald's. Perfect.

    Saturday, 20 March 2010

    Inspired by our soldiers

    Philippians 2:25 I have thought it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus my brother and fellow worker and fellow soldier, and your messenger and minister to my need...

    2 Timothy 2:4 No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits, since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him.

    Philemon 1:2 and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house.

    1 John 3:16 By this we know love, that he laid down his life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for the brothers.

    There is something about the Army which draws respect and admiration from me. I had the privilege of spending some days with the Marines two years ago. It was a limited but amazing experience. The discipline, stakes and the relationships inspire me.

    Paul uses military language to convey his heart and attitude towards his ministry and his brothers. This at least in part shapes what I want to see in the teams I lead and the people who I work with. It is an element which I find provocative and attractive as we work out what is means to be a family on mission.

    Thursday, 18 March 2010

    I.D. 7 Passion for the Church

    Last night I enjoyed teaching I.D. 7 Passion for the Church. Two more sessions to go! It was really good to spend time thinking through the role of the Church in the plan of Jesus Christ. Andy was unable to make the evening so Dan Partridge stepped up last minute. Dan is someone who I have grown to love, trust and respect very much. I thought he did a great job last night. I look forward to serving with him more and more in the future. We went through many scriptures and some helpful quotes...

    “We tend to think that although Christ loves the worldwide church, local churches have no special place in his affection. But the book of Revelation shows Jesus not as one vaguely in the midst of the church, but walking among the individual lamp stands. He knows each local church intimately. He commends one and warns another. He notes steadfastness here and apathy there. Each is an open book to him. His longing for a bride is seen in his concern and ambition for each congregation. Christ loved the church and gave himself for her’ (Eph 5:25). She is his special delight in all the universe. She is his joy, his preoccupation, his passion, his darling bride. In all creation one thing fills the heart of Christ — his beloved church. We need to rediscover the incredible value and significance of the local church in God’s plan and perspective. She is not to be ignored and despised; she is to be honoured and cherished. Each lamp stand is not plastic but golden — of peerless worth to Christ.” Terry Virgo: A People Prepared

    “The Lord has chosen to live in this house while he carries on extending it. Have you ever lived in a building site? We once extended our house and the noise was unbelievable. The dust was everywhere. The mud was walked through the house on wet days. Altogether a most inconvenient place to live! But it was worth it, because we had a vision for the end product. Church is like that. So often it looks a mess, and is a mess! But God has chosen to live in it while he extends it. He’s prepared for the inconvenience but are we? Some people are disillusioned with church. It’s not what they hoped for. Their expectation is for a ready-furnished Wimpey home in the Spirit; just walk in and relax! But that’s not the way the Lord has chosen to build his house.” Tony Morton

    Sunday, 14 March 2010

    Dedication for Rufus

    Was glad to introduce our son Rufus to the Church family today. We thanked God for an amazing gift.

    I preached on Matt 13v44.

    "The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up. Then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field."

    My hope and prayer is that Rufus finds the most valuable thing in the universe - The maker of it! This alone will give him everlasting joy.

    Sunday, 7 March 2010

    Gift day grace

    As a Church we're looking to continue to build and be more effective in our city.

    Today we asked the Church for £10,000. This is how much we felt we needed for what God is calling us to. (In addition to our regular giving.) We have prayed, cast vision, taught on giving and had made known clear items which we feel are worth investment.

    Matt lead worship and Andy preached on a great Sunday. When I left after the second service I was told that £14,000 was given. Praise God. The adventure continues...

    Was a real buzz to be part of all God is doing.