Friday, 28 December 2007

Happy New Year!!!

I just wanted to drop a note and wish you all a happy new year. May 2008 be more than what you have wished and hoped for!
I am going to take a break until mid-Jan. See you then!

Let me leave you with a closing thought...

Genesis 32 is the first Biblical record of Jacob praying. In the past I heard this referenced at how 'unspiritual' Jacob really was... a man who sought only after his own well being...
But get this... Genesis 32 ... Jacobs first recorded prayer in the Bible is the 1st recorded prayer in the Bible!!!
Abraham the father of our faith nor Isaac have a recorded prayer!

Isn't it interesting that prayer is only introduced 32 chapters into the book of Genesis.
What are the possible conclusions that we can draw from this?
I'd love to hear your ponderings!

Saturday, 22 December 2007

Authority - Part 2

In the last blog entry we saw that because Judas allowed offense to build in his heart... and he therefore rebelled against the authority in his life... that Satan entered into him. Today I want to look at authority from the other end of the spectrum. Lets start by looking at this great passage:

Mat 8:5-10 ESV
(5) When he entered Capernaum, a centurion came forward to him, appealing to him,
(6) "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, suffering terribly."
(7) And he said to him, "I will come and heal him."
(8) But the centurion replied, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof, but only say the word, and my servant will be healed.
(9) For I too am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. And I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it."
(10) When Jesus heard this, he marveled and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I tell you, with no one in Israel have I found such faith.

In this passage we see that there is a link between authority and faith.
Because of the centurions grasp of authority Jesus declares that he has seen no one in Israel with such faith! Mmmmm... rather interesting!

A passage that looks at faith and authority from the negative is this one:

Mat 13:54-58 ESV
(54) and coming to his hometown he taught them in their synagogue, so that they were astonished, and said, "Where did this man get this wisdom and these mighty works?
(55) Is not this the carpenter's son? Is not his mother called Mary? And are not his brothers James and Joseph and Simon and Judas?
(56) And are not all his sisters with us? Where then did this man get all these things?"
(57) And they took offense at him. But Jesus said to them, "A prophet is not without honor except in his hometown and in his own household."
(58) And he did not do many mighty works there, because of their unbelief.

The people in Jesus' hometown took offense and rejected His authority. Jesus comments on how a prophet (an office of authority) is not honored or respected.
Now get this... Jesus, who is God incarnate... could NOT do many miracles BECAUSE of their unbelief or disregard for authority!

I may be sounding a bit repetitive here... but I REALLY think that we don't get authority!

Have a wee think... then let me know your thoughts about this subject.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

Authority - Part 1

Joh 13:21-27 ESV
(21) After saying these things, Jesus was troubled in his spirit, and testified, "Truly, truly, I say to you, one of you will betray me."
(22) The disciples looked at one another, uncertain of whom he spoke.
(23) One of his disciples, whom Jesus loved, was reclining at table close to Jesus,
(24) so Simon Peter motioned to him to ask Jesus of whom he was speaking.
(25) So that disciple, leaning back against Jesus, said to him, "Lord, who is it?"
(26) Jesus answered, "It is he to whom I will give this morsel of bread when I have dipped it." So when he had dipped the morsel, he gave it to Judas, the son of Simon Iscariot.
(27) Then after he had taken the morsel, Satan entered into him. Jesus said to him, "What you are going to do, do quickly."

I have been pondering this passage a little today...
Just to give some back ground... as you look over the Gospel accounts you will see that 3X Jesus 'reaches out' to Judas, giving him 3 opportunities to turn from his coming betrayal. 3X Judas hardens his heart toward Jesus. Finally... his decision is made ... Judas will betray his Rabbi... the one with authority over him.
At this point, because of his offenses, because he has hardened his heart, because he has rejected Rabbi Jesus' authority... Satan enters into him!

Did you get that... because Judas went against his authority... because he allowed offenses to be built up... Satan entered into Judas!

We really don't understand the significance of authority!


What are your thoughts?

Tuesday, 18 December 2007

Christmas Cheer : )

Its Christmas... so some goofing off is all in order. This is my family and I...
This is a great laugh and a great idea for spreading the love this Christmas : )

Hey, I just made a total elf of myself. Check it out by clicking the link below.

http://www.elfyourself.com/?id=1480562899

This elfin' greeting brought to you by OfficeMax®.

Sunday, 16 December 2007

Human Trafficing and Slavery Statistics

This was taken from a blog... just click the title and you'll be taken straight to it.
Also check out my video placed on the right hand side of my blog page...


Now here is an issue that Al Gore and others should be more concerned about then global warming. I am going to list a whole bunch of statistics here but I think they are worth staring at for a while. This is seriously provoking me to the place of intercession for those who truly have no voice in the world today. I would suggest you take a few minuets out of your busy day to read these statistics.

This list does not even begin to scratch the surface. I think after reading a bit about it you will see that Human trafficking is a bit more important then the global warming.

This subject hits pretty close to home for me. As many of you know I spent a year in Africa before coming to IHOP. In Africa one of my many responsibilities was to help lead our weekly ministry to the prostitutes. Twice a week we would take a truck down to the inner city and bring loads of bread and would hold a church service. I became good friends with those girls over that year. It was weird walking down the streets of Maputo and having a group of prostitutes yell your name out as you walked around the corner. Talk about dirty looks from the on lookers! I think they enjoyed talking to us because for once in their lives someone actually cared about them and did not look at them as objects.

Some things still haunt me though to this day from those church services. I remember on a weekly basis sitting in those church services worshiping Jesus with the broken and hurting of the world. When suddenly a white pick up truck or a BMW would pull up around the corner. In the car would be a couple of men and suddenly we would loose two or three of the girls in our church service. What really got to me was seeing the young girls, 12 or 13, leave the church service to go of and do their “job.” On a weekly basis I would wittennes child prostitution first hand. I remember feeling helpless as I sat in the dirt with tears running down my face. Girls who were so innocent at times were having their purity and innocence taking from them on a daily basis. This is the only life they knew. To them it was natural, to them it was what their mothers had done for years before them. This was life for them on a daily basis.

I still to this day remember their faces and pray for them on a daily basis. I pray for the countless of street children whom I became friends with as well over the time I was there. I pray that in the midst of great darkness and hopelessness they would encounter the love of Jesus Christ. I pray that they, the weakest and the most broken of the earth would arise from the ashes and become some of the mightiest men and women to ever walk the face of the earth. I pray that they would walk in such goldiness and such humility that the earth would not be worthy of them.

Ill write more later on this. Its too hard to write more right now. Back to the facts. Read them, dwell on them, let them stir you to intercession, the only answer for these lost children of the world.

Here are the facts, true facts that can not be disputed:

1) The International Labour Organization estimates there are 218 million working children aged between five and 17 (2006)

2) 126 million are estimated to work in the worst forms of child labour — one in every 12 of the world’s five to 17 years olds (2006)

3) 74 million children under 15 are in hazardous work and should be “immediately withdrawn from this work” (2006)

4) 8.4 million children are in slavery, trafficking, debt bondage and other forms of forced labour, forced recruitment for armed conflict, prostitution, pornography and other illicit activities.

5) There are around 3000 enslaved Albanian children used for begging and cleaning windows and cars without payment in Italy and Greece.

6) An estimated 496,000 children are in slavery in Bangladesh.

7) Over 10-20 million people are subjected to debt bondage largely in India, Bolivia, Brazil, Peru and Philippines.

8) Of 35 million soccer balls stitched in Pakistan, children produce one quarter of the balls, most of them as bonded servants.

9) Nearly 500,000 minors work in virtual slavery conditions in Senegal.

10) “Restavek” the practice of sending children to serve as unpaid domestic labour for more affluent city dwellers exist in the country of Haiti. UNICEF estimated that 25,000 to 300,000 children, 85% of them girls, are victims of this practice.

11) Information gathered by the British charity, Christian Aid, and reported by Reuters, indicates that up to 10,000 children between ages 6 and 14 are enslaved in brothels in Sri Lanka.

12) There are no universally accepted figures for the number of bonded child labourers in India. However, in the carpet industry alone, human rights organisations estimate that there may be as many as 300,000 children working, many of them under conditions that amount to bonded labour.

13) Some NGOs estimate that the number of bonded labourers in India is 5 million persons. However, in a report released during the year, Human Rights Watch estimated that 40 million persons, including 15 million children, are bonded labourers. The report notes that the majority of bonded labourers are Dalits, and that bondage is passed from one generation to the next.

14) 90% of the 100,000 women in prostitution in Bombay, India, are indentured slaves.

15) Persons sometimes are sold into virtual slavery. Many boys from India, some of whom are as young as 4 years, end up as riders in camel races in West Asia and the Gulf States, especially to the United Arab Emirates, or begging during the Haj. Girls and women end up either as domestic workers or sex workers.

16) It takes up to 15 years for girls held in prostitution via debt-bondage in India to purchase their freedom.

17) The number of street children worldwide is almost impossible to know, although the WorldHealth Organization (WHO) and UNICEF in the mid ’90s estimated the number to be 100million.

18) The social phenomenon of street children is increasing as the world’s population grows; sixout of ten urban dwellers are expected to be under 18 years of age by the year 2005

19) According to UNICEF, there are about 25 million street children in Asia and an estimated 10million in Africa (1998).

20) Africa today has 10.7 million orphans just as a result of AIDS and the numbers are growing(UNAIDS). With fewer and fewer family members left to care for them, many–if not most–of these children will join the street children of Africa who are already there because of poverty, wars and ethnic conflicts

21) In the Philippines, the Department of Social Welfare and Development estimated, in 1991,1.2 million street children. Action International Ministries says 50,000 to 70,000 streetchildren live in Manila alone.

22) India’s Ministry of Social Welfare estimated that of the 10.9 million people residing inCalcutta in 1992, there were 75,000 to 200,000 children living in the streets. Agencies agree the number is much higher now, and deaths of parents from HIV/AIDS are likely to cause the numbers to rise more rapidly.

Saturday, 15 December 2007

Don’t let predators, pimps and traffickers abduct or abuse women and children.


Here is a message from traffickingpersons.com's Craig Muller who is a Christian:

Don’t let predators, pimps and traffickers abduct or abuse women and children.

You are probably visiting this web site because you are like me. I can’t stand the thought of a child cowering in the darkness, alone and hopeless because some creep is taking advantage of their weakness and using them to do things no child should ever have to do. I am committed to the rescue and care of parentless children.

I don’t have any faith in my ability to help these kids, but I do have the faith that God our father cares about the least of them and he’ll use you and I to do His will. Throughout the Bible, He tells us to care for orphans and widows and He will empower us to do it.

We now have thousands of children and women under 24/7 care because people like you and I are standing in the gap to protect the vulnerable and care for the victims of trafficking, exploitation and brutality.

Our commission and that of our colleagues here and abroad is to make sure we can save children and give them a chance to hear the living word of God.

The commitment of the Child Trafficking Task Force of Warm Blankets Orphan Care is to rescue and care for orphans. We do that by teaming up with nationals in the refugee camps, streets, jungle hamlets, war zones and any other places where children are left to roam with no one to care for them. Trafficking is heaviest in places like Cambodia, Thailand, India and Indonesia where there is little protection and poverty puts the focus on mere survival.

You are part of the Child Trafficking Task Force team. Through your support, prayer, input and resources, you are putting kids in a protected environment and helping them to regain their childhood ….

Child traffickers, sex predators and bullies are after these kids. Let’s not let them have them.

-Craig Muller
President, Warm Blankets Orphan Care
and team member in the Child Trafficking Task Force

If you would like to sponsor a home that takes care of orphans at risk click HERE

Friday, 14 December 2007

Its Time To Dance Upon Injustice!

There is an estimated 800 000 people who are moved across borders in the slave trade. Most of these for the sex industries.
It has been estimated that there are more slaves today than ever before in history!
Slave trading is the biggest criminal activity behind drug trafficking and
illegal weapons trade.

This is a grievous injustice! Sometimes I wonder how God can keep Himself from destroying all of mankind... our wickedness is so great.
Sometimes I feel hatred toward these people... I would love to see these despicable pigs beaten to death. But I know that LOVE conquers all. I know that even these despicable pigs... Jesus died for. Despite their darkness... He loves them.

How great is our God!
(help me Lord)

Over the next few blogs we will look at how we can dance upon injustice... how we... God's hand and feet and mouth on this earth can make a difference.

I look forward to your comments : )

Thursday, 13 December 2007

More Leadership Lessons From Colin Powell

Colin Powell talking about leading kids (or anyone for that matter):

"You can't lecture them as to what they are supposed to do. The way they really learn the right things to do in life are is by watching... They take every opportunity not to pay attention to what you're saying, but they are always watching."

I look forward to your comments : )

Thursday, 6 December 2007

10 Great Questions To Ask As You Self-Audit

I have borrowed these from my good friend Jeremy's blog. You can check his blog out by clicking HERE.


The ten questions leadership guru John Maxwell regularly asks himself provide a helpful springboard for a self-audit …

1. Am I investing in myself? This is a personal growth question.

2. Am I Genuinely Interested In Others? This is a motive question.

3. Am I Doing What I Love and Loving What I Do? This is a passion question.

4. Am I Investing My Time with the Right People? This is a relationship question.

5. Am I Staying in My Strength Zone? This is an effectiveness question.

6. Am I Taking Others to a Higher Level? This is a mission question.

7. Am I Taking Care of Today? This is a success question.

8. Am I Taking Time To Think? This is a leadership question.

9. Am I Developing Leaders? This is a legacy question.

10. Am I Pleasing God? This is an eternity question


What questions do you elevate yourself with?
I'd love to hear your comments!

Monday, 3 December 2007

This Should Help To Mess You Up!


I thought I'd share a few challenging thoughts from the book 'Irresistible Revolution' by Shane Claiborne:

"Christians should be be troublemakers, creators of uncertainty, agents of a dimension incompatible with society."
Jacques Ellul, French theologian


"You don't get crucified for being cool; you get crucified for living radically different from the norms of all that is cool in the world. And it's usually the cool people who get the most ticked off, since you are disturbing their order, for it was indeed the cool religious leaders and the cool politicians who killed the Lover from Nazareth. Some things never change."
Shane Claiborne


I'd love to hear your comments : )

Friday, 30 November 2007

When Memory Fails


The following is a great quote from Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the German Christian who was martyred for standing against Hitler.
Bonhoeffer was fascinated by how his fellow prisoners could come so close to death in an air raid and then forget about it as soon as the danger was past. While allied bombs rocked the prison cells, non believing men would cry out to God for salvation; but as soon as the bombers had passed and the dust settled, the prisoners went back to playing cards and passing time, forgetting all about their supplications to God.

"Something that repeatedly puzzles me as well as other people is how quickly we forget about impressions of a nights bombing. Even a few minutes after the all clear, almost everything that we had been thinking about seems to vanish into thin air. With Luther a flash of lightning was enough to change the course of his life for years to come. Where is this 'memory' today? Is not the loss of this 'moral memory' responsible for the ruin of all obligations, of love, marriage, friendship, and loyalty? Nothing sticks fast, nothing holds firm; everything is here today gone tomorrow. But the good things of life - truth, justice and beauty - all great accomplishments need time, constancy, and 'memory', or they degenerate. The man who feel neither responsibility towards the past nor the desire to shape the future is the one who 'forgets', and i don't know how one can really get such a person and bring him to his senses. Every word, even if it impresses him for the moment, goes in one ear and out the other. What is to be done about him? It is a great problem of Christian ministry."

I look forward to your comments : )

Sunday, 25 November 2007

New Vlog Entry!


Check out this great video that Paul put me onto by pastor Francis Chan... click HERE to visit my VLOG

Saturday, 24 November 2007

Colin Powell's Rules For Picking People


This is a great quote from Colin Powell on what he looks for in people taken from The Leadership Secrets of Colin Powell:

Look for intelligence and judgment and, most critically, a capacity to anticipate, to see around corners. Also look for loyalty, integrity, a high energy drive, a balanced ego, and the drive to get things done.


What would you say are the most important things to look for?
I look forward to your comments!!!

Thursday, 22 November 2007

JAMES MACPHERSON: Christians and Technology

JAMES MACPHERSON: Christians and Technology

I was reading at the weekend about the communications revolution and learned that it was a man's unwavering faith in God that kick-started the whole thing ...

Samuel Morse began the information revolution with his invention of the telegraph in the 1830s. The son of a church minister, Morse had been studying art in Europe when on a voyage home he heard people discussing experiments in electromagnetism. He spent the rest of the trip trying to figure out how information could be sent electronically.

His American Electromagentic Telegraph and Morse code system was patented in 1837. He spent the next four years trying to convince governments and business to fund it. No-one would. He wrote in his diary …

"The only gleam of hope, and I cannot underrate it, is from confidence in God. When I look upward it calms any apprehension for the future, and I seem to hear a voice saying: 'If I clothe the lilies of the field, shall I not also clothe you?' Here is my strong confidence, and I will wait patiently for the direction of Providence."

Finally, in 1843, Congress gave Morse $30,000 to construct a line between Ballitmore and Washington. Within a year the line was finished and the first message sent was Numbers 23v23: “What has God wrought!”


Within a short space of time governments and businesses were relying on the telegraph for communications.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

Random Acts Of Kindness For Stu's 21st







You may remember my blog awhile back talking about Project Stu (if not... click HERE)...
anyways, today was the day that we hit the streets and did our little random acts of kindness.

We did something really small... really silly in humanistic terms... but something that hopefully threw people off balance enough to bring a smile.
We went around paying for people's parking meters. Most of the time we just did it before they even had a chance... before they had even made it out of the car. Sometimes the people engaged us... even had conversations and they told us about when they were able to 'bless' someone.

I must admit, it all felt a little silly and VERY random. But it was touching... freeing... and delightful.

Thank you Stu for breaking out the mold... and helping us to do the same!!!



I'd love to hear your comments and stories!!!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Great Quote

All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. But dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip or dance, just don't tiptoe.

Monday, 19 November 2007

Pathways to the Divine - Part 1



We started a new series at Eastside Apostolic Church this weekend called Pathways to the Divine.
I am so excited about this series because I truly believe that it is going to release alot of people in to a freedom that they haven't experienced before.

We have a God who has gone to every length to connect with us... our Father loved us sooo much that He gave His only son... full knowing what would happen.
Jesus took on the restrictive form of a human... and a baby at that, suffered abuse at the hands of His creation and was crucified on a cross (the most humiliating form of capital punishment)... but even that pales in comparison to Jesus taking on the sin of the world upon Himself. It was unthinkable... unimaginable.

Zep 3:17 CEV
(17) The LORD your God wins victory after victory and is always with you. He celebrates and sings because of you, and he will refresh your life with his love."
I love this verse, it describes God's excitement over us. The Hebrew describes God spinning around because of His overwhelming joy and excitement.

God has gone to every length to connect with us... yet the truth is that many of us really battle to connect with Him.

This series proposes that the reason for this is simply that we are trying to connect with God on someone else's pathway.
Perhaps we've modeled someone we respect or a friend or whatever. But what if their way of connecting with God is not your way? We have all been made uniquely right.

So over the next 3 weeks we will be looking at 9 pathways that we connect with God on. These 9 pathways have been adapted from Gary Thomas' book called 'Sacred Pathways'.



I look forward to hearing your comments : )

Thursday, 15 November 2007

JAMES MACPHERSON: Quote of the Day



follow this link to see an awesome quote from James' blog: JAMES MACPHERSON: Quote of the Day

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 2 - Facing The Giants)


One of the themes that was picked up in the movie was: our life purpose is to glorify God... not ourselves.

Now that sounds like a simple theme... but think about it...
Alot of what we do is to make ourselves look good. From simple things like the way we dress to not wanting to admit our faults. We all strive to put on the best 'face' possible.
Now I'm pretty sure that we don't consciously try to make ourselves look good instead of seeking God's glory... but subconsciously... is this your secret mission?

When bad things happen to you and challenges come your way... do you ever say, "God how could you let this happen to me?"
When you feel challenged to give is your first reaction to grab on to your cash and say, "but thats mine!"
Do a self check... how much of what you do is for your glory... and how much is for His glory?

I'd love to hear your comments : )

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 1 - Facing The Giants)




I sure do love the movies... and I was pleasantly surprised by this little beauty.

I'm not going into the plot of the story except to say that it was heartwarming and filled with lots of great faith lessons along the way.

What I really wanted to comment on was how encourged I was by this churches effort! Thats right... a church produced a major motion picture. Sherwood Baptist Church got into the movie business after reading a Barna report showing that films are more influential today than churches. If that’s true, Sherwood’s leaders decided, then they had better start making some films themselves.

Claes Ryn notes in the American Conservative, “Society’s long-term direction is . . . set by those who capture a people’s mind and imagination.”
So this church undertook what would seem like an impossible task. They had 500+ church members pitch in to make the film with only 5 film professionals to fill technical positions.
The entire movie was produced for only US$100 000 and has grossed over $10 000 000 as of the 1st January 07!

The team were wanting to include a Third Day sound track on their movie and while asking permission from Third Days distributor, they actually backed the film which led to its national release.

It just goes to show that Nothing Is Impossible with God!
What have I limited myself from doing because I believe that it is too big or too out of the box?
How does God want my church and I to engage my culture?
How can I practically live out the following Scripture:

Eph 3:20 MSG (20) God can do anything, you know--far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams! He does it not by pushing us around but by working within us, his Spirit deeply and gently within us.


Monday, 12 November 2007

Leadership Reflections by Mark Batterson



This was taken from Mark Batterson's blog. Click HERE to visit his site.



Had a blast hanging out with Brian Houston yesterday. Tough to put the day into words. I walked away with a few practical ideas in the area of staffing and finances that we'll try to adapt and implement at NCC. I won't share those, but I will share a few key thoughts.

My macro observation after being around Brian and some of his key staff is that healthy churches, like successful teams, have a core group of staff that stay together and grow together for a long time! They do life and do ministry for several decades. I was impressed with the core team from Hillsong. To that end, Brian said:

"Don't worry about the periphery. Focus on the core. Every church has a soul. And the soul of the church will determine its destiny."

"Having an agenda--wrong motivations--will keep you out of the core."

"There are just some things you won't be able to do in a few months or a few years. You need a long-term committed to pastoring."

Brian talked some about the pattern principle in II Timothy 1:13: "Hold on to the pattern of right teaching you learned from me."

Every church has a pattern--a pattern of negativity or positivity, a pattern of responsibility or inconsistency, a pattern of complacency or conviction. What pattern are you perpetuating?

A few more one-liners:

"Your accent won't make you a foreigner here. Your attitude will."

"Meditate. Think concepts through. The best messages come out of meditation."

"My biggest enemy is busyness. I'm trying to unbusy myself."

"Stay normal."

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Check Out This Edition of the VLOG!

This next VLOG is a video of Francis Chan... an awesome view... follow this link to view.

Wednesday, 7 November 2007

Perspective




I never saw an ugly thing in my life: for let the form of an object be what it may, -- light, shade, and perspective will always make it beautiful.

-John Constable, painter (1776-1837)

Friday, 2 November 2007

Evaluation Colin Powell Style


As you may be well aware, I have been reading a book called Leadership Secrets Of Colin Powell. I wanted to share another exert from the book:

"In such a climate, the most important question in performance evaluation is no longer 'how well have you performed your job since we have last met?' Instead it's, 'How much have you changed your job?' What exciting new initiatives have you launched? What new projects have you started? ... What new skills and competencies have you learned and how have you applied them to improving things around here? Which of last years job responsibilities have you delegated, outsourced, automated or eliminated and what new responsibilities have you snared?... And people who can answer those kinds of questions assure themselves of growth, development and authority within their organization."


Reading all this really excited me as I sat in the Eastside Church's staff meeting and listened to the Heads of department share on their 07. I was amazed at the number of new initiatives! Good on the team for not growing complacent and just giving things a go!

What are your thoughts?

Freedom




I'm reading a great book called 'The Leadership Secrets Of Colin Powell' at the moment. It has a really great quote that I wanted to share:
Freedom to be your best means nothing unless you are willing to do your best.

It got me thinking about the amazing freedom that we have to read God's Word... to pray... to share our faith... to worship God publicly in a church service...
Yet the truth is that often we do not take advantage of this! We can easily be slack in our devotional times with God... we tend to easily neglect our small groups and worship services.

We have this amazing freedom to meet with god face to face...
Oh, what a magnificent day when the veil was torn in the Holy of Holies...
but do we take full advantage of this wonderful privilege?

What would it look like if you were taking full advantage of your freedom to worship God and come before His awesome presence?

I'd love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, 31 October 2007

Check Out This Edition of the VLOG!


Check out this week's VLOG by clicking HERE.

The included clip from youtube is sure to create a stir!

I'd love to hear your comments : )

Monday, 29 October 2007

To Grow... Evaluate Constantly


I have just read Jeremy Sargents blog... and i thought I should write a little something on the subject too. Click here to read Jeremy's blog.

I believe that evaluation is a key tool to making sure that I don't drift off and loose focus.
One of the laws of quantum physics is that the universe constantly moves towards chaos. If you've ever spent time gardening you know exactly what I mean. Leave it for 2 weeks... and the weeds begin to take over, the grass becomes a jungle, the beautifully trimmed hedge becomes a piece of abstract art...

I have 2 main sets of questions that I use.

Both are taken from Bill Hybels:

I'm not abiding in Christ when...
  1. I go through most of the day or week pre-occupied with self concerns
  2. I go through long periods of time with no promptings or convictions from the Holy Spirit
  3. I go through long periods without being concerned for the poor
  4. I go through long periods of time not being broken for the Lost
  5. I can sit through worship sessions without being stirred to worship and honour God
  6. I am easily angered when corrected
Here is my next list of questions...
  1. Is my calling sure?
  2. Is my vision clear?
  3. Is my passion hot?
  4. Am I developing my gifts?
  5. Is my character submitted to Christ?
  6. Is my pride subdued?
  7. Am I overcoming fear?
  8. Are interior issues undermining my leadership?
  9. Is my pace sustainable?
  10. Is my love for God and people increasing?
How do you evaluate your life and how often?
I look forward to your comments : )

Saturday, 27 October 2007

We All Need Somebody...


For those of you who have read my Blog / & Vlog, you would know that I have been through a really frustrating time of trying to load my videos onto my vlog site.
Finally I made a post about it and within 24hours of the post my problem was solved! [Big ups to you Jeremy for sorting me out!]

I wonder how many other areas in our lives we could find answers and breakthroughs for if we just reached out for help and leveraged other peoples knowledge and ideas?

So here is my next attempt at leveraging in your wisdom, knowledge and ideas:
I am busy planning for next years Sunday evening services [ours are targeted to the 25 - 35 years of age]. My question is this: What topics , books of the Bible, etc. would you like to see covered (in your church?)
I look forward to receiving your comments!

I need your help!

I have tried 6X to load a 60meg video on my vlog, but Blogspot keeps ditching me. The furtherest I have been able to get is 50 meg uploaded and then crash.

Does anyone know how I can either get the video's smaller or upload via another medium? (I am taking the video's on my digital camera.)

Thanks : )

Monday, 15 October 2007

I am away

I am away on leave and will only be back next monday the 22nd Oct. Thanks for visiting the blog... see you again on the 22nd!

Thursday, 11 October 2007

JAMES MACPHERSON: A Great Read: "The Twilight of Atheism"

For those of you who read my posts regularly, you need no introduction to Pastor James Mcpherson. If you are new... trust me, you'll love his thought provoking posts!

JAMES MACPHERSON: A Great Read: "The Twilight of Atheism"


When Faith Means More Than Words



I wanted to pass on a great thought from an exert of Dietrich Bonhoeffers book The Cost Of Discipleship. Now I did not agree with everything I read... but I thought it would be good to chew on this thought:

"The actual call of Jesus and the response of single-minded obedience have an irrevocable significance. By means of them Jesus calls people into an actual situation where faith is possible. For that reason his call is an actual call and he wishes it to be so understood, because he knows that only through actual obedience that a man can become liberated to believe."

Bonhoeffer is trying to express his belief that every scripture should be taken literally...
Now I don't want to get into that discussion in this blog post, I do like the thought that it is our action - our obedience to Christ - that allows us to have faith.
Faith is not simply a set of beliefs we talk about... our faith is made visible through our actions of obedience.

Saint James said it like this:

Jas 2:18-26 MSG
(18) I can already hear one of you agreeing by saying, "Sounds good. You take care of the faith department, I'll handle the works department." Not so fast. You can no more show me your works apart from your faith than I can show you my faith apart from my works. Faith and works, works and faith, fit together hand in glove.

(19) Do I hear you professing to believe in the one and only God, but then observe you complacently sitting back as if you had done something wonderful? That's just great. Demons do that, but what good does it do them?

(20) Use your heads! Do you suppose for a minute that you can cut faith and works in two and not end up with a corpse on your hands?


(21) Wasn't our ancestor Abraham "made right with God by works" when he placed his son Isaac on the sacrificial altar?


(22) Isn't it obvious that faith and works are yoked partners, that faith expresses itself in works? That the works are "works of faith"?


(23) The full meaning of "believe" in the Scripture sentence, "Abraham believed God and was set right with God," includes his action. It's that mesh of believing and acting that got Abraham named "God's friend."


(24) Is it not evident that a person is made right with God not by a barren faith but by faith fruitful in works?


(25) The same with Rahab, the Jericho harlot. Wasn't her action in hiding God's spies and helping them escape--that seamless unity of believing and doing--what counted with God?


(26) The very moment you separate body and spirit, you end up with a corpse. Separate faith and works and you get the same thing: a corpse.

I'd love to hear your feedback : )

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

My next messages

SHAPE: (leadership input) Sunday 14th Oct
As we enter the exam season for the last big push of the year, I want to highlight our need to stay in the flow of our devotions. As the pressure comes on we need to run towards Jesus and not drop our personal devotions and church attendance.

Pro 3:5-6 ESV
(5) Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
(6) In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Psa 20:7 ESV
(7) Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the LORD our God.


ELEVATE: (High school service) Friday 26th Oct
We are doing a series called 'WHY?'
I will be covering the subject of why God sometimes does not answer our prayers.
Why would He do this to us?
How do we know that God has even heard us or that He even cares?
What should we do when it seems like God isn't answering our prayers?


6pm Service: Sunday 28th Oct
I will be concluding our series called 'MY WORLD'

I will be encouraging people to embrace a generous lifestyle. (see my first VLOG)
I will also be encouraging people to not be limited to what resources that they currently have. I will encourage people to undertake some creative means of generating finances to support their chosen ministries / causes / or just to have $ to bless people with.

A generous man dreams of ways to be generous, and by generosity he shall stand.
Isaiah 32:8

Pro 11:24 MSG
(24) The world of the generous gets larger and larger; the world of the stingy gets smaller and smaller.

Power To The VLOG!

Check out my first (weekly) Vlog (or video blog). (its under 2mins)

(There is also a link to this site on the right hand side bar of the blog site.)

Leave your comments, I'd love to hear your thoughts!!!


Monday, 8 October 2007

Arrogance, Confidence Or Despair?

This following post is taken from Rosabeth Moss Kanter's book Confidence.

"Confidence is a sweet spot between arrogance and despair. Arrogance involves the failure to see any flaws or weaknesses, despair the failure to see any strengths. Overconfidence leads people to overshoot, to overbuild, to become irrationally exuberant or delusionally optimistic, and to assume that they are invulnerable. Thats what induces people to become complacent, leaders to neglect fundamental disciplines, investors to turn into gamblers. But under confidence is just as bad, and perhaps worse. It leads people to under invest, to under-innovate, and to assume that everything is stacked against them, so there is no point in trying."

Saturday, 6 October 2007

What To Do With Power?

This post is taken from the catalyst conference blog. Click here to visit their blog.

Andy Stanley just finished the first session at Catalyst on the topic of power. I’m not sure I’ve heard anyone teach from Scripture with more insight and clarity than Andy does. Notes from his presentation are below:

What do you do, when it dawns on you that you’re the most powerful person in the room?

Your answer to that question will determine the character and the legacy of your leadership.

If you want to know what to do when it dawns on you that you’re the most important person in the room, look to the example of Jesus.

John 13
“It was just before the Passover feast, and Jesus knew that the time had come for Him to leave this world and go to the Father… Jesus knew that the Father had put all things under his power, and that he had come from God and was returning to God so he got up from his meal, took off his outer clothing and wrapped a towel around his waist. After that, he poured water into a basin and began to wash his disciples’ feet, drying them with the towel he was wearing around him.”

Jesus, in the moment of the greatest recognition of his power, leverages it for the good of the people in the room. At the pinnacle of his power, he sheds his robe, the symbol of his authority as a rabbi, and humbles himself.

The disciples are stunned by his humility. They want to put him back on the pedestal. To them, he has no business shedding his authority. But Jesus has a message for them, “You will preach the Gospel and heal diseases, everyone will want to be close to you, because and you were the ones closest to Me. You are going to be extraordinarily influential, but don’t forget this night.”

The disciples understood. That’s why we admire them today. That’s why their words reverberate through history. They refused to leverage power for their own sake, but they leveraged it for the other people in the room.

How can I leverage my power for the sake and benefit of the other people in the room?
I’m not greater than my Master, and I’m not greater than my Savior. If His response was to lay it aside to benefit others, then that’s what I’ll do with my leadership.

Thursday, 4 October 2007

Are You Sure That You're A Christian?


What is it exactly that defines one as a Christian? What is it that we can point out to that clearly proofs us as a Christian?

Is it because we believe in Jesus?
Jas 2:19 ESV (19) You believe that God is one; you do well. Even the demons believe--and shudder!

Is it because you attend church or because you live a pious lifestyle or even because you know the Bible?
Jesus called the religious leaders of His day 'sons of hell'!
Mat 23:15 ESV (15) Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you travel across sea and land to make a single proselyte, and when he becomes a proselyte, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.

Is it because we participate in spiritual events - such as casting out demons, prophesying, working miracles, etc?
Mat 7:22 ESV (22) On that day many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?'

Is it because we obey the 'law' / Bible and we really want to follow Jesus?
Luk 18:18-23 ESV (18) And a ruler asked him, "Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" (19) And Jesus said to him, "Why do you call me good? No one is good except God alone. (20) You know the commandments: 'Do not commit adultery, Do not murder, Do not steal, Do not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother.'" (21) And he said, "All these I have kept from my youth." (22) When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "One thing you still lack. Sell all that you have and distribute to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow me." (23) But when he heard these things, he became very sad, for he was extremely rich.

How then do we know ourselves as Christians... what is it that qualifies us?
I'd love to hear your comments on this one!

Monday, 1 October 2007

The Sky Is The Limit!

I have been intrigued over the last week about the contents of my previous blog... where Kyle MacDonald through 14 trades traded a single red paper clip for a 1 year lease on a house in Canada!
It got me thinking... what exactly is possible? With a little creativity what could we achieve?

Then my mate Stuart Buchanan gave me an invite to his 21st. Check out the pics below of his invite.





21st are traditionally a time that focuses and celebrates the individuals journey thus far.
Stu has turned this on its head... he has invited his mates to get into teams of 4... to go and do good deeds... to take photos etc of the good deeds... and then to share what was done at his 21st. What an awesome idea!!! Imagine the good that will come of that!

What possibilities lie before us if we are willing to be creative and think outside of the box?
I hope you and I will venture there!

Monday, 24 September 2007

You gotta follow this link!

I am away at the New Zealand National Apostolic Conference in Auckland this week, so I'm not certain if I will have any internet access where I am staying.
Its set to be a great week and I'll spill all the beans when I get back.

I have a treat for you today though... check out this blog... and trust me, you won't be sorry!!!

I'd love to hear your thoughts from this one!

Saturday, 22 September 2007

When 'Good" Is The Enemy

There is a saying: "Good is the enemy of the great."
It's a saying we should pay much more attention to! For so often we busy ourselves with 'good' things... and it is these very good things that crowd out the opportunities for us to be involved with the best things.

Take time out and think about all the things that you are involved in... are they just 'good' things... or are they the 'best' things?

Good things tend to crowd out our lives while the best things bring fulfillment into our lives
Good things tend to be a dime a dozen while the best things are few and far between
Good things are easy to decide to get involved in while the best things often require more thought
We are encourage to do good things while the best things may be misunderstood by others

What will you choose / what have you chosen?

I'd love to hear your comments!

Wednesday, 19 September 2007

Give Me A Break

I was just pondering today about a truth that we often overlook...

In this crazy information age that we live in, where we have an unsatisfiable lust for more and new information... where we gather and gather and gather information, more sermon messages, more podcasts, blog articles, etc. as if our lives depended on it... do we ever take the time out to just revisit what we have learnt... to apply it... to evaluate it in our lives?

Most of the challenges we face are not challenges that we are helpless to face... for we have the information... its just the application that we lack.
Perhaps we need to just slow down... subdue that lust for information... and just look for ways to apply what we already know.

What have you heard in the past week / month that you need to apply?
If you're like me... you could write a substantial list.
Lets commit to applying what we got before we dash in a mad rush for the new!

I look forward to your comments!

Monday, 10 September 2007

The Moscow Rules - Part 4




Yesterday we covered the 3rdd of the Moscow Rules... and today we are looking at the 4th. So just to recap on those 10 rules:
1. Know Your Mission
2. Gather Intelligence
3. Maintain A Natural Pace
4. Vary Your Pattern
5. Blend Into The Crowd
6. Be Aware Of Your Environment At All Times
7. Avoid Defensiveness At All Times
8. Assume That You're Under Servailence
9. Never Go Against Your Gut
10. Never Look Back

One of the easiest traps for churches and Christ followers is to fall into routine... mindless habit.
Now there are some routines / habits that are good for us... habits like having a devotional time with God, having a date night with your spouse, going to the gym, etc.
Where these habits become counter productive is when the become stale and predictable because we never vary our pattern in the habit.
We always follow the exact same routine in our devotions, date nights, at the gym, etc. Our times become boring, dull, and lifeless. Now the reason that we started the habit in the first place is because it was so good for us... but due to familiarity it has become meaningless.
Rick Warren tells of an interesting fact in his book the Purpose Driven Church... he tells us that once we have sung a song over 50 times, we can sing that song without thought... and therefore without worship!
Even our bodies respond negativly to the same workout program. It is important in working out to keep your workout program varied if you want to achieve optimal results in the gym.

The habit itself should not change... but what we do within that habit should be varied in order to keep it vibrant and full of life. After all variety is the spice of life!
Are your devotional times predictable?
Change the order, change the venue, change the version of the Bible that you are reading, change the way you read the Bible (theres just reading through a book, word studies, topical studies, character studies, chronological studies, etc.) Instead of reading the Bible why not picture it, take parables and make modern versions of it, write your own psalms, make songs about it, sketch what you read, memorize versus, etc.)

It is a crime to make the Bible boring! Its a crime to allow ourselves to drain of life simply because we allowed ourselves to get stuck in a certain routine.
Be creative... and you will soon see life flooding your soul once again!

I look forward to your comments!

Sunday, 9 September 2007

The Moscow Rules - Part 3




Yesterday we covered the 2nd of the Moscow Rules... and today we are looking at the 3rd. So just to recap on those 10 rules:
1. Know Your Mission
2. Gather Intelligence
3. Maintain A Natural Pace
4. Vary Your Pattern
5. Blend Into The Crowd
6. Be Aware Of Your Environment At All Times
7. Avoid Defensiveness At All Times
8. Assume That You're Under Servailence
9. Never Go Against Your Gut
10. Never Look Back

Maintain a natural pace... thats easier said than done in our crazy paced culture.
We glee over telling one-another how busy we are... but is our busyness something to smugly gloat over? Perhaps its this very busyness that killing the work of God in us!

Some thoughts from Mark Batterson:
  • Study less and live more (not just a sermon well preached but a life well lived)
  • Balance between family and ministry
  • Balancing act between work & play
In our own ministries, we encourage our leaders to only be out at church activities 3 nights a week (1ce for life group, 1ce for Department service & 1ce for church service). We want our leaders to live balanced lives, to have time for family, mates and those who don't yet know Christ.
This has meant that we've had to do some serious shifting of various activities, but people's balance and personal spiritual health is of the utmost importance to us!
We've had plenty of leaders starting all keen and being involved 5 sometimes 6 nights a week... but these people soon burnout and shrivel back.
Serving God is a life long commitment... we need to pace ourselves accordingly.

How are you at pacing yourself?
What tips / habits have you developed in this area?

I look forward to your comments : )

Saturday, 8 September 2007

The Moscow Rules - Part 2



Well for those of you who read yesterdays blog... I'm addicted to Alias... and just last night finished watching the 4th season. Now I'm waiting for the video store to buy in the 5th.

Yesterday we covered the 1st of the Moscow Rules... and today we are looking at the 2nd. So just to recap on those 10 rules:
1. Know Your Mission
2. Gather Intelligence
3. Maintain A Natural Pace
4. Vary Your Pattern
5. Blend Into The Crowd
6. Be Aware Of Your Environment At All Times
7. Avoid Defensiveness At All Times
8. Assume That You're Under Survelience
9. Never Go Against Your Gut
10. Never Look Back

So rule 2, gather intelligence... how can we apply this to our leadership?
Intelligence gathering is key to espionage... and it should be key to our faith.
Today the church suffers from both perceived and real irrelevance.
Are we answering the right questions? I know we always say that we have the answer... but apparently weren't answering the questions that the 'world' is asking.
Now I agree that part of the problem is that the 'world' isn't asking the right questions, but that ain't gonna change!
Can you imagine a fisherman not putting bait on their hook. We need to bait or make our presentation relevant to our audience (which should not be the church according to rule 1!)

The truth is irrelevance is irreverence!
God is omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent as well as omnirelevant! And so should the church be.

Today the prophets of our culture are the movies and music!
We should use these modern day 'prophets' to preach the good news to our culture!
Thats why in our youth youth ministry we did a series called mixed tape where we took secular music and preached off it... from Foo Fighters to Incubus, etc. we discovered some great spiritual truths.

But the church's preaching is just one aspect...
How is your life relevant to those outside of your faith?
Do you use the modern 'prophets' to create spiritual conversations?

I'd love to hear your comments : )

Friday, 7 September 2007

The Moscow Rules - Part 1



Over the past 3/4 weeks I have had a bit of an obsession...
I have consumed just short of 4 seasons of the TV show Alias!
Its a great show with plenty of suspense and adrenaline pumping action.

If I must be totally honest... I've even had a few "CIA" dreams...
Anyhow... a few blogs ago I did a post on 'Innovative Church Leaders Move Into The Neighborhood' which spoke about the Buzz Conference 07. At the Buzz conference Mark Batterson did 2 messages on 'The Moscow Rules'. I thought I'd take a few of his thoughts, mix them with some of mine and do a few blogs on these various rules.

Before we go there... heres a piece on the Moscow Rules:
The list may never have existed as written; agent Tony Mendez wrote "Although no one had written them down, they were the precepts we all understood ... By the time they got to Moscow, everyone knew these rules. They were dead simple and full of common sense..."

So here are 10 of those rules:
1. Know Your Mission
2. Gather Intelligence
3. Maintain A Natural Pace
4. Vary Your Pattern
5. Blend Into The Crowd
6. Be Aware Of Your Environment At All Times
7. Avoid Defensiveness At All Times
8. Assume That You're Under Survelience
9. Never Go Against Your Gut
10. Never Look Back

So today lets look at rule #1: Know Your Mission

Our mission as Christians is simple... To win people over so that we can share our lives and faith with them.
Jesus left us with the great commission (Matt 28:18-20) but in the church today it has become more of the great omission!
Jesus said that he came for the sick... but how much of our lives are spent in pursuit of the sick, the lost, the hopeless?

I must admit my greatest challenge is prioritizing space in my life for hanging out and doing life with those who need Jesus. Life is sooo busy, and I have just found over and over again that without great initiative and proactive planning on my part... this just doesn't happen.

Those who work statistics will tell you that after 2 years in the church, the average Christian doesn't spend anytime with non-Christians! How sad!!

This life will be over in a few blinks of the eye... you'll look in the mirror and wonder where the past 70 years have gone...
This life would have been wasted... even if we busied ourselves in church programs and devotion without concern for those who don't personally know Jesus!

What do you need to change in your week?
What tips do you have for keeping on mission?

I look forward to your comments : )Align Center

Wednesday, 5 September 2007

Perps I'm Pondering (I'd love your feedback, musings & questions)


Here are a few thoughts about my next few messages:

6pm Services:
  • Sun 9th September (Pt 2 of Series on: How To Bebo In The Real World) We will be looking at how to WOW people. To win over people's hearts and minds simply going the extra mile can make you stand out! We will look at the parable of the Good Samaritan and the lessons we can learn about WOWing people.
  • Sun 29th October (Pt 4 on our series: Living Bigger) I will be looking at the 'Power Of Money' to do tremendous good. A challenge to rethink the part that we can play in being positive change agents in this world.
SHAPE:

  • Sun 9th September. We will be looking at Joshua 23 & 24. We need to capture a revelation of the promises that God has given us & our church for this city! We will look at the partnership required between us & God, and encouraged to stand in faith on those promises... not giving up (Gal 6:9)
Reverb Service:

  • 21st September. We will be looking at the account when Jesus cursed the fig tree that wasn't bearing fruit. What do we need to curse in our lives?

I would Love to get your feedback!!!!!

Tuesday, 4 September 2007

The Right Place @ The Right Time


Neh 2:1 CEV (1) During the month of Nisan in the twentieth year that Artaxerxes was king, I served him his wine, as I had done before. But this was the first time I had ever looked depressed.

In this passage of Scripture we see that Nehemiah was a cup-bearer to the king Artaxerxes.
Four months earlier Nehemiah's brother Hanani came to see Nehemiah and told him of the state of Jerusalem's walls.
But what was Nehemiah to do. He lived 100's of miles from Jerusalem... he even had another job altogether.

Often we find ourselves like Nehemiah, seemingly in the wrong place 'if you want to use us Lord'.
But is it the wrong place?

Pro 16:9 ESV (9) The heart of man plans his way, but the LORD establishes his steps.

Pro 20:24 ESV
(24) A man's steps are from the LORD; how then can man understand his way?

Psa 37:23 ESV
(23) The steps of a man are established by the LORD, when he delights in his way;

Perhaps the place / position / circumstance that you find your self in right now... is exactly where God wants you to be.
You may struggle to see how your place could be significant in God's plan... but thats just because we don't have His perspective! (Imagine how Joseph must have felt in the Egyptian jail... remembering his grandiose vision he had years earlier!)

If Nehemiah was a priest in Jerusalem or a resident or even wealthy land owner in Jerusalem... he would not have been able to accomplish God's restoration plan for the walls of Jerusalem.
No, it was as cup-bearer to the King that he was supplied with all the materials for this God-mission.
Without knowing it, and without planning for it, Nehemiah found himself in exactly the right position / placement.

Today, right now, you have been placed by God.
Thank Him for your placement and commit yourself to His plans and His ways.
Do this, and soon, in hindsight you will see God's wisdom... His perfect placement and positioning of you in your work place, sports club, school, etc.

I'd love to hear your comments : )

Monday, 3 September 2007

For All Leaders & Communicators

This is a podcast where Kem Meyer from Granger Community Church interviews Mark Batterson from Theater Church about understanding your audience as a leader and communicator.

You can check out Mark Batterson's blog here


Saturday, 1 September 2007

SMILE : )


"Frown and you frown alone but smile and the whole world smiles with you."

Smiling is contagious, it's incredibly powerful and ... its free!
So make sure you change your world... with your smile!

Make a game of it... and see just how many people you can pass on your smile to this week.


PS: Here is a great NZ site that you can visit... and give someone a great big smile






Friday, 31 August 2007

Innovative Church Leaders Move Into the Neighborhood

The following article was taken from Christian Post:

Innovative Church Leaders Move Into the Neighborhood

By
Christian Post Reporter
Fri, Jun. 29 2007 07:16 AM ET


WASHINGTON - Jesus moved into the neighborhood, according to the Gospel of John. So, innovative church leaders today are moving into the culture.

Craig Groeschel
(Photo: The Christian Post)
LifeChurch.tv senior pastor Craig Groeschel addresses nearly 300 church leaders on innovative leadership at The Buzz Conference in Washington, D.C., June 28, 2007.

For Granger Community Church in Indiana, that means conducting sermon series on popular TV show "24" or box office hit "Spider-Man 3."

"We can't afford to be out of touch with our culture," said Tim Stevens, executive pastor at Granger Community Church in Indiana, at the second annual Buzz Conference in Washington.

On another level, it means breaking the rules when so many churches are trying to stay inbounds.

Granger broke the rules when his church plastered mylamesexlife.com billboards around the local city, which stirred debate among Christians and a media storm. LifeChurch.tv went out of bounds when it launched the multi-site movement, which includes an internet campus for worship services. And Life Church's senior pastor, Craig Groeschel, broke the rules when he went into bars to meet "the sick" and tell them about Jesus.

"We have to care more about reaching people than about obeying man's stupid rules because that's what they are," said Groeschel.

“Innovative” is a term largely used to describe these churches that are at the forefront of creative and cutting edge ideas when it comes to growing a church and its impact. Some may label them as part of emerging church movement as they are trying to reach emerging generations and those right in their community who don't know Jesus Christ. Emerging churches are often criticized for breaking traditional church rules when drawing people by appealing to the culture.

But Mark Batterson, lead pastor of National Community Church in Washington and host of the Buzz Conference, doesn't like labels because they come with stereotypes. And new ideas will likely "offend Pharisees," as Groeschel put it. What new idea is hated today, however, will be embraced tomorrow, according to Groeschel.

"I consider it one of my greatest honors to be one of the people that so many people hate because of the multi-site movement," he told a crowd of nearly 300 pastors and church leaders. Groeschel believes that years or decades from now, when churches are emptying out, the multi-site model will be one of the ways that God uses to carry on His message.

Groeschel's LifeChurch.tv, which currently has 11 church campuses across the nation where attendants listen to Groeschel preach live from Edmond, Okla., through live video feed, was named this year the most innovative church in the nation by Outreach magazine. But he doesn't give himself credit for the multi-site model, the 18,000 total weekly attendants or innovative ideas. In fact, he discourages such credit.

"We can't be impressed with ourselves," he said. "We must become less impressed with our latest program, less impressed with our latest website, and less impressed with our own what we call creative idea and become more focused on becoming less and making Jesus more in everything that we do."

He went further to reject building attendance to a megachurch size being defined as success.

"We need to stop trying so hard to build attendance and we need to think about building the Church," he said as he encouraged pastors to redefine success. "When we redefine it and say 'look at how many people are being lost (rather than counting those being saved),' that's going to change everything."

LifeChurch.tv and a host of other cutting-edge nondenominational and independent churches are not aiming to copy strategies or models that churches already created and have been successful at reaching more people for Christ. Instead, they're aiming for a road untraveled.

"If we're going to reach the world, we're going to have to sit in the smoking section," Groeschel stated plainly.

"In order to reach those that no one else is reaching, we will have to do things that no one else is doing," he said.

For today's innovative churches, that means moving into the neighborhood, breaking the rules, offending Pharisees and redefining success so that the world can know Christ.



For your surfing pleasure I have the links to Lifechurch, Granger Community Church & Buzz Conference

I look forward to your comments : )

Too Busy For God?

The following is a post from the Catalyst blog site:



August 24, 2007

Too Busy for God

A Charleston Southern University School of Business study concludes Christians worldwide are simply becoming too busy for God. The Obstacles to Growth Survey found that globally more than 40% of Christians say they “often” or “always” rush from task to task. About 60% say it’s “often” or “always” true that the busyness of life gets in the way of developing their relationship with God. While busyness afflicts both men and women, the distraction from God is more likely to afflict men. Pastors are the most likely (65%) to rush from task to task and experience adverse effects in developing their relationship with God.
Christian Post 7/30/07

How busy are you?

admin @ 6:00 am |

Wednesday, 29 August 2007

Causes of stagnation

I got this article from Jeremy Sargents blog... awesome stuff!!!

What causes people to repel against the most natural thing in life – to grow and develop? What causes people to surrender the very thing that makes them uniquely human – their ability to adapt, change and invent?

I believe this article provides a compelling reason

One of the reasons so many surrender to the multiple lures of stagnation, is its familiarity. Former Executive and President of Hewlett-Packard Co. Carly Fiorina succinctly outlined the seductive danger of comfort zones in the following illustration about “querencia”.

“In bullfighting” she writes, “there is a term called querencia. The querencia is the spot in the ring to which the bull returns. Each bull has a different querencia, but as the bullfight continues, and the animal becomes more threatened, it returns more and more often to his spot. As he returns to his querencia, he becomes more predictable. And so, in the end, the matador is able to kill the bull because instead of trying something new, the bull returns to what is familiar, his comfort zone”.

Where do you or I return when we feel threatened? Where is our “querencia”? Chances are wherever that place may be is the same place that holds the greatest threat to our growth and development. Querencia’s are not built to advance us but to comfort us. They are not constructed to make us think, dream, dare and change, but they are places of retirement, familiarity and predictability. Tragically like the bull, the more predictable and comfortable we become the easier it is for the matador’s of life to kill us.

To kill every dream, dismantle every vision and terminate every aspiration we possess to become more than we are. When that happens LIFE , real LIFE as it was always intended to be lived, becomes extinct. We each need an element of chaos in our lives, an element that leaves us in anticipation of a surprise.!