Friday, 25 February 2011

"Are you serious about hell? Some people have never even heard..."

It must be the most unpopular subject to speak about yet ironically one of the most asked about. It certainly was asked a lot in our survey...

The time has come to take some time to consider what the Bible has to say...

At both sites I'll be offering some personal reflections, looking at what the Bible says and offering 5 considerations when handling this topic.

"Are you serious about hell?! Some people have never even heard..." 

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

Move that body!

I find at times I know something to be true, but my experience and feelings do not match that conviction. Do you know what I mean? For example, sometimes I know I can do a task, but I don't feel confident in the moment. As a Christian I say that I love God but often I do not feel the affection and joy which I hope that I would given how great God is.

Is my mind and heart connected?! Am I cold hearted? How can I be more human?! How can I do big things when I am nervous but I know I am called to it?!

At leadership training last week Irene Brooks from CCK briefly referenced recent studies in psychotherapy which focussed on the body's impact on the mind. (This as opposed to the impact of the mind on the body.)

Perhaps we are now in the realms of subliminal learning? My Dad has worked hard on this area as part of his Phd in 'performing under pressure' and keeps suggesting the I read the book 'blink' by Malcolm Gladwell. (It is on my list!) It appears that one of the results for Dad has been a huge emphasis on body language and posture. If you are not feeling confident, stand up straight and put your shoulders back!! If you know something to be true in your mind, that you are struggling to live out... set your body first! This is a powerful tool.

Both Dad and Irene seem to be saying that the body and the mind are far more integrated than I would think. It seems that God has made us in a way which means we can lead our whole selves with our bodies.

I find this very interesting. Andrew Wilson referenced this in a lecture a couple of years back. He commented on how you can lead your heart towards God through your actions. He talked about the psalms and giving among other activities...

Psalm 134:2 Lift up your hands to the holy place and bless the LORD!

Psalm 33:1 Shout for joy in the LORD, O you righteous!

Mat 6:20-21 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

These verses call for action! I think God is great, and here I'm asked to set my body as a response. I don't think that I have to work myself up or try and manufacture anything. I do not need to wait to feel anything either. With my body, I have an opportunity to lead my heart and my affection towards where I want them to go.

When I want to praise and worship or even just talk to God I can stand and lift my hands... when I'm called to lead his people I can stand with my shoulders back knowing what he has promised me and I can take hold of what I know to be true. I can lead myself by setting my body in line with scripture! 

Not very English but perhaps this will be a helpful insight for a tired daddy. X

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Sending of our best...

Christians are by definition 'sent' people. We are called to 'go' and to love, explain and invite people to meet with our maker through Jesus.

Ever since the book of Acts Christians have moved to new towns and cities with the motive of being effective on this mission.

John and Hannah Fielder are great personal friends to Chloe and I. We have known them for years now and have found them to be great people. They are both very gifted and it has been a joy to have them in our Church in Exeter.They fill us with enthusiasm for life and challenge us to stand up and be all we can be. Chlo has looked after Bethan twice a week and my son has been quite taken by her! They giggle and smile whenever they see each other. It's very cute even if I do say so myself. :-)

This Sunday will be their last with us as members. They are now moving to Birmingham. They aspire to Church planting and will be joining up with Jonathan Bell to serve him, with a view to planting in the future. Matt Partridge has been very helpful in linking these guys up as they are looking to be involved in an urban context.

Both John and Hannah are passionate and have demonstrated exemplary humility on many occasions. It is this that gives me confidence as I look ahead to the future with these guys. We will miss them sorely week to week but we're also excited about this next chapter and very much looking to stand with our friends during this time.  

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A Special day...

Last Sunday was a special day for me. I was appointed as a senior leader or to use a biblical word/office an 'elder' at Frontiers Church Exeter.

Family Matters

I was so pleased that my family was able to come and share the day with me. My Mum, Dad and Sister came down as well and Chloe's parents who took a day trip down from Northampton. I felt very much loved and supported by my family as well as my Church family. My best man and his wife also made a surprise visit! :-)

Apostolic input

Matt Partridge who leads Emmanuel Church Oxford and helps oversee our Church taught from Peter's first letter. He pointed out 7 hallmarks of elders in the Church. Here are a few things that I noted.

1) Shepherds of people. People are the priority for God's shepherds.
2) Elders are to be willing. You need desire.
3) Not greedy for gain but greedy to serve.
4) They lead by example. The man must embody his message. 
5) Humility.
6) Must keep alert and demonstrate self control. 
7) Never, never give up. Do the simple things well. Fight.


Today I am very aware that I am just one piece in the jigsaw of His Church. It seems strange to have had a whole service for this. (Though it was great for the whole Church to be clear on all that we are doing and to celebrate.) I have had two meet ups this morning with great leaders in our Church and am very pleased with the student team which we are working with right now. I am currently involved with several ministry teams. It's in these areas where I find real joy in my role. I love being with our people, I love building teams, developing leaders and looking to accomplish things together with Jesus. I feel very, very blessed to be able to play my part along side so many people who I admire and respect.  

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Becoming an elder...

God willing, this Sunday I will be publicly recognised and appointed as an elder for Frontiers Church Exeter. I will be joining a team of three elders, Andy Rob and Steve.

It is a very exciting time for me personally. I feel that God has blessed me hugely and is asking me to carry more responsibility into the future here in Exeter. Over the last month I have begun to feel more of a responsibility as we have faced various challenges as a church. I am confident that I can make a positive contribution for the team while remaining equally sure that I am on rather steep learning curve!

Paul writes to a young Timothy in the context of Church leadership to endure like a soldier, work hard like a farmer, and remain disciplined like an athlete. When I started leadership training two years ago, we were told that statistically not all of us would survive ministry. A few months later the guy sat next to me crashed out. Success rates seem to be around 30% due to the unique challenges and pressures of Church leadership. I am looking to work hard and find a sustainable pace for fruitful ministry in the coming years.  

This Sunday will be a special day for me. I'll be thanking God for all the work He has done in my life and I'm really glad that my family will be there to share the experience with me.

In the New Testament Paul and Peter outline the qualifications for Eldership within the Church.

1 Tim 3v1 -7 "The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer [1] must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, [2] sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospitable, able to teach, not a drunkard, not violent but gentle, not quarrelsome, not a lover of money. He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive, for if someone does not know how to manage his own household, how will he care for God's church? He must not be a recent convert, or he may become puffed up with conceit and fall into the condemnation of the devil. Moreover, he must be well thought of byoutsiders, so that he may not fall into disgrace, into a snare of the devil."

Titus 1v "This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, andappoint elders in every town as I directed you— if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, [3] and his children are believers and not open to the charge ofdebauchery or insubordination. For an overseer, [4] as God's steward, must be above reproach. He must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy for gain, but hospitable, a lover of good, self-controlled, upright, holy, and disciplined.He must hold firm to the trustworthy word as taught, so that he may be able to give instruction in sound [5] doctrine and also to rebuke those who contradict it."

1 Peter 5v1-5  "So I exhort the elders among you, as a fellow elder and a witness of the sufferings of Christ, as well as a partaker in the glory that is going to be revealed: shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, [1] not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; [2] not for shameful gain, but eagerly; notdomineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock. And when the chief Shepherd appears, you will receive the unfading crown of glory. Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.”