Tuesday, 28 June 2011

A Family on a Mission

On Sunday I preached our last message from our Ephesians series.

Paul's closing thoughts are insightful as he paints something of a picture of the blessing of being part of a family of Churches. Here are some further resources for those who are interested.

This is Newfrontiers from Jubilee Church Leamington on Vimeo.




Wednesday, 22 June 2011

July Preaching series - 'Looking Good'

Starting July 3rd I'll be preaching a four-part series called 'Looking Good.'

People invest much time and effort in beauty and self image. As people we spend much of our time promoting various lifestyle choices, activities, heroes and sometimes ourselves(!). We express appreciation for things which we desire and by our choices make certain things look good.

The aim of the Christian is to make Jesus look good - because he is good! The Christian life is to demonstrate and illustrate the goodness and greatness of God. I hope over next month or so our Church will receive a renewed enthusiasm to live for him.

Alongside the preaching series and home group studies we'll recommending that our people read and go through CJ Mahaney's book on humility. Much of the material in the sermons and studies will be based on this text. We've made these books available at our morning meeting.

Wednesday, 15 June 2011

Some thoughts on sleep...

It's strange to think that during our lives we will have spent many years sleeping.

Here are some loose thoughts which I have been pondering when I was very much without sleep.

1) God gives sleep as a gift. 

When we are working hard, trusting God and receiving wisdom from God human beings will generally sleep well. (There are of course exceptions.) It's stupid to work harder and sleep less without looking to God. Psalm 127v2 Psalm 4v8 Proverbs 3v24. I love sleeping. Thank you for this gift. The benefits of sleeping well are obvious.

2) My need for sleep reminds me that I am not God.

God does not need anything or anyone else. God does not need sleep. Psalm 121v3&4. I am created and I am dependant on other things much to my dismay. During times of sleeplessness I am reminded of my utter need and dependence on God and to honour the way that He has made me. Prolonged planned periods of sleeplessness will stop me from functioning! Grumpy, groggy and without a memory is not a state which I enjoy. Sleeplessness has brought me to my knees in every way. I obviously needed that.

3) There is a time not to sleep.

Sleeping at the wrong time or too much is criticised by Jesus is scripture. We have a measure of control to stay awake and chose when to rest and when to work. There is a time for both. During some seasons, for example if one has young children, getting sleep seems to require more planning and flexibility than others! Proverbs 20v13 Matt 26v45

4) Sleeping well requires wisdom.

Faith, baby books, planning, 20min 'power naps', a regular 'bed time' and 'wake up time' as well as less technology in the bedroom can apparently all help. I recently took a sleep survey which told me that my sleeping was only 40% optimised. I hope as Mabel (Our 7week old baby) gets older and I implement some more wisdom this will improve...

Friday, 10 June 2011

Playing rugby again... just for fun.

This year I've decided to start playing rugby again. I have agreed to join Exmouth RFC for pre-season and see how I go. I hope it goes well and that we can work it into our family and Church commitments. I'm going to play for fun with some guys who I already know from when I played previously. Here is an article in the local paper. Here are my reasons for playing this year:

1. When I played before, it was too big in my life.

From the age of 16 all I wanted was to play rugby full time. My whole life felt like it was riding on it. I worked hard and carried huge expectations from within and from others in part because of Dad. On reflection I think Rugby was an idol in my life and therefore I did not play it or enjoy it as I could have done. I feel now I might be able to play and enjoy it for what it is.

2. I need better balance in my life.

Wiser leaders have recommended having other interests and activities in my life. Church, work and friends are all one thing for me! This a blessing but also brings challenges.  

3. I want to be around different people. 

My job is about people. The more people I am around from different walks of life the more I am able listen and learn. Rugby is one of those sports which holds together the bricklayer and the lawyer in the same team. Life is so much more enriching when I spend time around different people. No doubt this will inform the way I do things at Church.

4. The lifestyle is good.

I'm back in the gym and we have reviewed my diet. I'm feeling better, fitter and have more energy even though our baby Mabel is only 7 weeks old! Training well is helpful for the rest of life. It teaches me to keep going through the pain barrier as a habit and I hope will increase my capacity in life. 

5. I want to make a contribution.

I want to make a contribution in a community outside of Church. I hope I get in the team, play well and share a bit of life with these guys. I'm looking to be a blessing and make a positive contribution.

Friday, 3 June 2011

Give me some space!

"And after he had dismissed the crowds, he went up on the mountain by himself to pray. When evening came, he was there alone..."
(Matthew 14:23 ESV)

Jesus often withdrew from the crowds and his people to have time on his own praying.

Monthly 'Mountain Time'...

I enjoy reading the Bible and praying daily. However my favourite time of speaking to God is when I book in the diary a couple of hours, then go to pray on my own in a place of outstanding natural beauty.

God speaks to His people

God invites us to offload all our fears and concerns to Him. It's so good to do this! I have often received impressions and outstanding wisdom in this context which has been invaluable and specific for situations which I would then go and face. I am confident that He is speaking to me and shaping me through these times.

When I feel God is speaking to me I will open my Bible, look up that theme and see if it is something that God has already said which the Spirit is applying to my heart in the moment. This week I was blown away. :-)

With Him, I can...

I find these times refreshing and deeply encouraging. I love my 'mountain time'. I love being a Christian knowing that God cares about me, that he speaks to me and that he does genuinely give me strength and courage for all that life brings.