Wednesday, 23 December 2009
Tuesday, 22 December 2009
Matt Giles and his band led us very well. It was good to start with 'Oh come all ye faithful' and 'Hark the herald angels sing'. There were prayers of thanksgiving, prophetic words of hope and restoration and readings from the Bible. Simon and the team did a great job to set up the hall and the trees the day before. John and Fi had a party with the kids and Chris Mitch gave a great talk on the amazing gift of God to us - Himself! The morning was a good team effort.
John Fielder spoke powerfully for us about Christmas. He shared some amusing stories about growing up and sharing Christmas with his in laws! He then walked us through some questions...
- Who was this baby?
Was he God as a baby? Did he grow into a man who is God?
- What has that got to do with me and you?
Is he a badman? Is he lunatic? or... could he be God?
It was great to have guests among us, enjoy mince pies, and catch up with some who have not been with us for a while.
I was struck by the weight and the amazing news that God came to us. We have something truly unparalleled to celebrate during this season.
Tuesday, 15 December 2009
Eph 1:15 & 16 For this reason, because I have heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus and your love toward all the saints, I do not cease to give thanks for you, remembering you in my prayers... 1Th 1:2 & 3 We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ. We got together as a student leaders team last Friday to celebrate all God has done this term. I shared an overview of the term. We looked at the numbers, read some testimonies and thanked God for all He has done. We sang our praises then opened a bottle of champagne...
James Slater - 'Ground war leader'
Many meet ups, people cared for and prayed for. Much study and reading done.
The team have been amazing this term. I genuinely rejoice at the work that God has done both in and through these guys. The time given and the sacrifices made speak to me of hearts being transformed by Him. Its a great privilege to stand with and lead this team in all that God is doing.
We saw a couple of people become Christians, a handful baptised and many many guests came to The Lounge and heard something of Jesus. We have much to do but this Friday was a pause to celebrate.
Saturday, 12 December 2009
Small group response
Read Proverbs chapter 23 v 29 – 24 v 6
What were the two ‘bottles’ presented on Sunday?
House favourite – lifestyle of binge drinking
Vintage life – life pursuing God
What three choices do we all face?
Drink from House favourite, vintage life, or not drink at all!
Why do many enjoy ‘The house favourite’?
Fun, adventure, community, forgetting of self…
What does it cost people?
Verses 29 - 35
Galatians 5 v 20 – 21
1 Corinthians 5 v 11 – 13
What has Jesus done for us?
Read John 3 v 16 – 17
Where can we go to drink now?
John 7 v 37 – 39
What do we learn about how vintage life can be lived?
Proverbs 24 v 1 – 6
(You may wish to break down into two’s or three’s at this point.)
Where do you desire to drink from?
Do you need to confess and repent?
Do you need any help/support?
Why do we always have hope for people?
Are there people who you would like pray for?
Wednesday, 9 December 2009
Tuesday, 8 December 2009
Saturday, 5 December 2009
Thursday, 3 December 2009
Mark Driscoll has had an equally large impact on Christians all around me. Teachers I hugely respect will often quote and refer to Driscoll. His church has reached into the thousands and his exaltation to mission at the New Frontiers Brighton Conference I thought was very helpful. I particularly enjoy his teaching.
I believe God calls his Church to be both filled with the Spirit and missionally effective. I am sad when a tension is felt between those who 'want the Spirit' and those who want to 'reach the city'.
I have been pondering the following...
The Spirit is poured our for mission!
Act 1:4 And while staying with them he ordered them not to depart from Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father, which, he said, "you heard from me;
Act 1:5 for John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit not many days from now."
The Spirit is the most important person in the Church for mission.
Christians are to pursue the Spirit and His gifts...
1Co 14:1 Pursue love, and earnestly desire the spiritual gifts
Luk 11:13 If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!
Eph 5:18 be filled with the Spirit
Christian life is to be in the Spirit.
The Spirit loves unbelievers among us.
Part of catching the heart of the Spirit is also to develop awareness and understanding of the family of believers and unbelievers, not simply individual experience. (1Cor14v24) It was the Spirit who breathed out guidance in 1Cor14 to use His gifts in a way which pleases Him and serves all who are present in our meetings.
Spiritual gifts can be used in a way which does not please the Spirit.
The Spirit is not pleased when gifts are not used for the common good, (1Cor 12v7) or when people are impatient mean and rude. (1Cor 12v4) The Spirit is not pleased when we do not interpret tongues, (1Cor14v13) have too many tongues (1Cor14v27), too many prophetic words (1Cor14v29), or when people are left confused (1Cor14v33). The Spirit wants to be among us and bringing gifts in a way which is powerful, understandable, explained and helpful to all.
“We want the power gifts and the sense of security that good leadership brings as well.” Lex Loizides
I believe the Spirit wants to move in our meetings through good leadership anchored in what He has spoken in the Word. 1Co 14:40 “All things should be done decently and in order.” We don’t want to misrepresent God by the way we handle His gifts. 1Co 14:33 “For God is not a God of confusion but of peace.” God wants to attract and convict people through his genuine work but we can be put off by our weirdness and poor handling of His gifts.
We want the power of God without the unnecessary, unhelpful trappings of irrelevant Christian subculture that mean nothing. Spirit filled meetings will surely be marked by a sense of faith in the people, gifts manifesting while managed in a helpful way for guests. Music styles, lights, venues, time of day, use of technology, or specific songs, meeting formats will change as the Spirit leads us to serve our cities better, but the power of the Spirit will be increasingly among us.
For me the 'L' plates are on to learn from others and keep in step with Him.
Wednesday, 2 December 2009
1) Bringing me onto staff full time.
2) Going from one to two services.
Currently our Church is hovering around 200 members.
As the Church gets bigger there is a temptation to feel, 'others will do it.' When the Church was 50-100 if you didn't do something, nothing would happen.
Despite appearances the same thing is true today. As we have grown we have increased our faith and therefore our spending according to God, and the numbers he has added to us. As a Church we are 'all hands on deck'. The financial challenge is there for all of us, and the volunteer challenge of going to two services is very real week to week. Teas & coffees, set up, sound, music, welcome, visuals, home group leading, rent, wages, Alpha, Beta and many more challenges are being met each week. Many of our people are serving hard at the moment and as a team we are excited and determined to bring on more staff in the new year to meet increasing vision and faith.
I find my heart is revealed when I look at my diary and read my bank statements. I know Jesus burns with passion for His bride and for this city and so I cannot help but be drawn to His mission. I'm very excited about continued growth and facing the challenges this brings as a family on a mission. I'm glad to be surrounded by people who share His heart and have a good sense of challenge and faith about what we're doing.