Wednesday, 30 June 2010

I'm new here

A guy was speaking me to last week at the golf club and said, "I shot 32." I had no idea what he was talking about. Is that good or is that bad? I took a long shot and replied, "did you win?" He said no. I'm not sure if he was anywhere close or not or if I gave myself away!


I don't really know where I am supposed to walk or not walk. I'm not really sure what to wear. I do not know the rules. I do not understand the language. I don't like being watched and I have found myself abnormally nervous. I do not want anyone to make me look stupid but I do want to know what is expected of me early and discreetly.


It has been very good to be outside of my comfort zone and re-learn what I appreciate from people when I am in a new context for the first time. I am gradually learning about golf. I now have some clue about what to do and I think I have also picked a few little clues about how to make our Church more helpful. 

I think it's good to be in the position of 'learner' so we can empathise more easily with those who visit our church and are our of their comfort zones.

Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Matt Giles Track

Matt taught us another new song this week. His writing has been prolific as we have walked through the first two chapters of Ephesians. I expect Matt to make a valuable contribution to our teaching ministry through his exceptional gifting. 

In a recent attempt to sow the spirit I have got all of Matt's recent songs on my ipod. :-) 

I particularly enjoy singing, about how the gospel is much bigger than just me. I find this to be like fresh water. Listen here

I was a stranger to the promise of God,

But I was purchased through the blood of His Son.
It is a work not of my own,
So that I should never boast.

I see the Gospel is much bigger than me,
More than a rescue plan to help in my need.
It is a plan for all of time,
To unite all things in Christ.

For Your glory, I'm saved to the praise of Your glory.
Jesus, for Your glory, I'm saved by Your grace for Your glory.

He bought us fully to make one man in Christ,
That we might turn and love the ones we despised.
There is no wall between us now;
All of the walls are broken down.

He is our peace with God and man, 
Through His cross our hate was slain.
He is the hope of all to come, 
He is our one, our only name.

Wednesday, 23 June 2010

Time with Guy Miller

The New Frontiers South West Pastors gathered last week in Honiton. We were led by Grant from Plymouth and Guy Miller came to teach encourage and bring all he has to serve us.

We spent time praying and seeking the Lord. Guy then opened up Acts 11v19-30 for us and walked us through the following headlines. A N T I O C H

A = Apostolic. v25 & v26. God started to do some stuff so Barnabas went looking for apostolic help. When God moves is your attitude 'we need some apostolic help' or is it 'what has this got to do with them?' Here we see a recognition and desire for apostolic help. 1Cor12v28 Eph4v11 (Are there apostles today - Terry Virgo Apostles ask difficult questions, invited through eldership and help the church and other churches grow.

N = Nobodies. In this text we have no titles, no public recognition and nobody of any great public position. Who does God love to use to do his work? He includes nobodies! People who have their feet on the ground, earthed in reality walking with humility receiving grace upon grace.

T = Training. v26 Paul spent a year teaching. No short cuts. No easy answers. He taught and taught and taught. Exegesis, hermeneutics, handling the sword, Paul invested. He is concerned for Biblical illiteracy and so should we be. Preaching in our churches and further training is key.

I = International. This was sparked by people entering (because of persecution) into the worlds of other people. They were involved in contexts outside of their own front door.

O = Outreaching. Jesus was being preached. People were being saved because Jesus was being spoken about. The mission of the gospel must be at the centre of all we do. There are no circumstances which eliminate us from talking about Jesus with people. Resettlement, persecution or prison.

C = Care for the poor. v29 There was specific and intentional work done to support those in need. This is a huge part of Church life. We must care for the poor. The takes grace and wisdom and help and encouragement.

H = Hope. The whole of Acts is framed with the expectation that Jesus is coming back and that the world we be restored. We carry great hope of the future which encourages us in the present.

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

Ephesians 2v1-10

It was recommended at Leadership Training to every so often record and watch yourself preaching. This was recorded on Sunday for me to see myself preach to help me learn and improve.

The guys in the office felt it might be helpful for this to be made available for those who missed it or want to see it. The recording is a little rough but it served the purpose for which it was intended. Hope some people find it helpful. You can catch a better audio here

Stu Sermon from Jono D on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

Great runners (part 4)

Great runners trust the Father through suffering. Hebrews 12v7-11

George Muller[1] On Sunday, February 6, 1870, his wife Mary died of rheumatic fever. They had been married 39 years and 4 months. The Lord gave him the strength to preach at her memorial service.

He said,“I miss her in numberless ways, and shall miss her yet more and more. But as a child of God, and as a servant of the Lord Jesus, I bow, I am satisfied with the will of my Heavenly Father, I seek by perfect submission to His holy will to glorify Him, I kiss continually the hand that has thus afflicted me.”

Calvin and his wife Idelette had a son who died after two weeks. Jacques, was born July 28, 1542, and two weeks later died. As Mike Reeves quotes in his lectures[1] Calvin wrote, "The Lord has certainly inflicted a severe and bitter wound in the death of our baby son. But He is Himself a Father and knows best what is good for his children"

Charles Spurgeon had a bed ridden wife, extreme physical illness, severe depression and was publicly and harshly criticised.
"It would be a very sharp and trying experience to me to think that I have an affliction which God never sent me, that the bitter cup was never filled by his hand, that my trials were never measured out by him, nor sent to me by his arrangement of their weight and quantity"

Reading these short extracts made me weep. I think the pain of even considering such loss and at the same time the longing for a depth of faith and love of the Father which these men knew if find very emotional. I wonder was the Lord has on the horizon for me and the people who I know in life.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Great runners (part 3)

"Tom Carson never rose very far in denominational structures, but hundreds of people in the Outaouais [the region of Canada where he lived] and beyond testify how much he loved them.

He never wrote a book, but he loved the Book. He was never wealthy or powerful, but he kept growing as a Christian: yesterday’s grace was never enough. He was not a far-sighted visionary, but he looked forward to eternity. He was not a gifted administrator, but there is no text that says, ‘By this shall all men know that you are my disciples, if you are good administrators.’

His journals have many, many entries bathed in tears of contrition, but his children and grandchildren remember his laughter. Only rarely did he break through his pattern of reserve and speak deeply and intimately with his children, but he modelled Christian virtues to them. He much preferred to avoid controversy than to stir things up, but his own commitments to historic confessionalism were unyielding, and in ethics he was a man of principle.

His own ecclesiastical circles were rather small and narrow, but his reading was correspondingly large and expansive. He was not very good at putting people down, except on his prayer lists. When he died, there were no crowds outside the hospital, no editorial comments in the papers, no announcements on television, no mention in Parliament, no attention paid by the nation. In his hospital room there was no one by his bedside. There was only the quiet hiss of oxygen, vainly venting because he had stopped breathing and would never need it again.

But on the other side all the trumpets sounded. Dad won entrance to the only throne-room that matters, not because he was a good man or a great man—he was, after all, a most ordinary pastor—but because he was a forgiven man. And he heard the voice of him whom he longed to hear saying, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joy of your Lord.” Don Carson

Monday, 7 June 2010

Great runners (part 2)

In 1836, Charles Simeon retired after fifty-four years of leading Holy Trinity Church, Cambridge, UK. He had been extremely influential during his lifetime and had worked hard to develop new leaders.

Yet a friend discovered that this elderly man was still rising at 4:00 a.m. every morning to light his own fire and to spend time reading the Bible, praying, repenting, and spending time with God.

His friend thought this was over-kill. “Mr. Simeon,” he pleaded, “Do you not think that, now that you are retired, you might take things more easily?” “What?!” replied the old Charles Simeon, “
Shall I not now run with all my might when the winning-post is in sight?”

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Great runners (part 1)

One of my good friends Dan Roach did a great seminar for our Impacters a couple of weeks ago. The Christian life is much like a race. It has a start, a finish, you work hard, some people don't make it and there is a prize.

Nothing but the race

But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself, if only I may finish my course and the ministry that I received from the Lord Jesus, to testify to the gospel of the grace of God. Acts 20v24

Running requires self discipline

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified. 1Cor9v24-27

To run well we must lay things aside

Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking to Jesus, the founder and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is seated at the right hand of the throne of God. Hebrews 12v1-2

Our prize is incomparable

For I am already being poured out as a drink offering, and the time of my departure has come. I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that Day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. 2Tim4v6-8

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

The spring of youth

A year or so ago our lead elder Andy Arscott received a prophetic word about bringing through young men to help him build the Church and take it up to the next level.

In September I was brought onto staff in a full time capacity. I am an assistant pastor with wide and varying responsibilities.

New staff member

Our part time administrator is retiring at the end of this year. Today we interviewed Dan Partridge to take on this role in a full time capacity. Our expectation is that the role Malcolm has been doing will evolve and change significantly in this new season for our Church.

Dan is a 3rd year Law student at Exeter University. He graduates from Uni this summer. He has led the CU and has a very impressive CV. Dan was interviewed by a panel of five people. Malcolm (current admin) Rob (elder) Andy (lead elder) Claire (Trustee) and myself. Dan scored highly in the interview and we reached a unanimous decision that he was our man.

Young and hungry

Dan is a young man (like myself) who is motivated by the gospel and wants to see the local Church grow. He is very keen and willing to serve, learn and grow into this capacity. John Maxwell writes, "When you cannot afford to hire the best, hire the young who are going to be the best." I think that in Dan we have a man of huge potential who will serve us very well and learn lots.

I particularly receive Dan as a gift. I have valued spending time with him this year. I enjoy his company, his humour and am very pleased that he is joining our team in this capacity on the adventure. Thank you Jesus.