Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Frontiers Church Exeter - Dedication Service

Frontiers Church Exeter from Custom Creative Solutions on Vimeo.

New Term, New Team

One of the funny things about being involved with student work is the pace and turnover of students. It feels like I was just getting to know and enjoying sharing life with last years team. Now they have all left!

So this new term is marked by a new student leaders team. They are a great bunch and I look forward to getting to know all of them better over the coming months. The girls seem just as keen to babysit as the team last year which is a result for my marriage!

Last week we spent two days apart at Rora House. We ate together, laughed together, worshipped together, prayed together and planned together. I did some teaching and we played some poker. :-) Day 1 was focussed on walking with the Lord and I looked to equip our guys to handle the Bible well as part of our daily devotions. It was a very practical session and I pray it will release power as the team explore using these tools this year.

Day 2 was about the student work. We prayed for our team, our students and our friends who don't know Jesus. I particularly enjoyed our sprint prayer time. I hope we can repeat this many times throughout the year. I laid out some vision and we finished the day with some nuts and bolts.

When I got home I was shattered! I didn't realise it would take so much out of me. I thoroughly enjoyed the time with the team. One of the boys took a fair amount of abuse for his recent romance and another of the guys spent a fair amount of time talking about Trago Mills. See you there?!

I am grateful and humbled by all the work our volunteers do. I was particularly pleased and grateful for Matt Melachrino who led our worship times so well and Anna Giles who came down to have dinner and meet the girls in the evening.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Frontiers Church Central

‘The evening will particularly serve students & 20s, while all are welcome.’

Sharing vision

During October we will be teaching through our Church vision ‘LXI’. This series was taught throughout the Church in September and is a great opportunity to catch up for students, 20s and others who have not yet heard the series.

Time with God

Each week we will break bread together and be led in a time of low key acoustic worship. Matt Giles will be leading us through this time. 

Time to meet others

There will be a relaxed feel to the evening and afterwards we will all go out for a drink and/or pudding at a local pub.  Central is an opportunity to meet in the evening, seek God together and socialise. We feel in time this event will be a great place to bring people who would not usually go to church.

Our first meeting will be Sunday 26th September. 6.30pm - 8.00pm. St Sidwells School EX4 6PG. We will begin teaching on October 3rd. 

Thursday, 16 September 2010

6 Marks of our mission

Last night as we gathered together we continued with our focus on 'LXI'. I have thoroughly enjoyed leading us through this season. I feel people are being increasingly mobilised!

On Sunday I preached from 2 Corinthians 4 concluding briefly with some of the implications of the nature of our mission. Here are 6 marks of our mission as I see it:

1) We do not lose heart. This mission has been given to us as grace gift to participate in with God. The joy of walking with Him is the motive which will sustain us regardless of the results.

2) We are servants. Our posture is to be one of serving people in the best way that we can. Some people will suggest that all we need is an outbreak of signs and wonders. Others suggest that we need arguments prepared while others still say that we need practical acts of love. As I read the Bible I see mixed responses to healings and arguments and I know many people who have been well loved but have not become Christians. The key in my mind is that I am a servant and I will serve people in whatever way God calls me to and however people can be blessed. Whether healing, reason or practical acts of love, I want all to flow from my life. I don't think there is one silver bullet here. I want to be like Jesus.

3) We are humble. Ultimately we are aware that the reason we are Christians is not down to us. To have any sense of superiority demonstrates a lack of understanding of the nature of the human condition. We could not see without God.

4) We are people of prayer. Knowing our role and God's role helps us to ask God for both. We know that we need strength and fire to keep going and we also know that God needs to actually open eyes in the end. We are totally dependent on the Holy Spirit doing his work!

5) We are people who celebrate. When people respond to Jesus we recognise God's hand at work and rejoice together. It was great last night to applaud and celebrate God's work through us as we heard person after person speak about coming to know Jesus.

6) We do not beat ourselves up. When all is said and done, we will pour ourselves out to bless people and help in every way, but if people do not respond its not our fault! We must not carry a responsibility that does not belong to us. We will learn and listen and repent along the way but some people will not come to know Christ and I don't think that this is for us to carry.

Wednesday, 15 September 2010

Let's talk about...

"There are two words that scare everyone. One is cancer, the other is evangelism." This week in our current series 'LXI' we are looking at 'explain'. If you missed the one you can catch it here.

Human beings seem to overflow with enthusiasm for what they love and enjoy. People will recommend coffee, films, and holiday destinations naturally, sensitively and helpfully. When someone falls in love they usually tell you more than they should about the person they are seeing!

I think if Christians genuinely love Jesus, as they share life and look to bless people, they will not be able to stop speaking something of what they have seen and heard.

The most loving thing I can do for people who I care about is to share the thing which I have which is of most value. Jesus Christ is of infinite value. He is the best thing I can offer people who I care about.

On Sunday I took some time dwelling on 2 Corinthians 4v1-7 to help us as we seek to cultivate a lifestyle of walking with Jesus.

My eye sight is not that good. As a schoolboy, much to my despair, I was told that I needed to wear glasses. I refused to wear them except for when I was in lessons. This vanity led me into a little trouble at times. I once thought I saw a lady I knew across the road. I called out her name and waved. She did not respond so I shouted louder. She still did not respond so I walked half way across the road. I then realised that it was not her and had to apologise and rather sheepishly went on my way. Up close she looked petrified!

Our human rebellion against God (as recorded in the Bible) has left us with our spiritual eyes distorted. (2 Cor 4v4) painfully describes us as being blinded by Satan. Satan has pulled off his greatest trick to a large degree by making people believe that he does not exist. Meanwhile he continues to do his work of keeping people blinded.

God in his mercy has called people to walk with him. Part of walking with him is to become like him and participate in his glorious mission of reconciling people to himself.  In this mission Christians are called to be open and honest. Christians are called to be straight with people about our message. Christians are called to be sensitive and loving but not to be cowards.  (2Cor4v2)

The heart posture is to be one of serving others for the sake of Jesus. (2Cor4v5) Christians are servants of others sent by Jesus.  As servants we will look to do all we can in every way. We will look to pray, help, reason in an effort to introduce people to the greatest being in the universe.

In the end only God can open blind spiritual eyes. It is him who spoke the sun and world into being and him who uses all kinds of different circumstances experiences and teaching to show himself to people. (2Cor4v6) It’s a miracle when people look at Jesus and see God. Humans are not spiritually able to do this according to this text.

I think this means as a people we will be marked by prayer, celebration, and humility. It also means that we will love people and pray for people and sometimes they will not come to know Jesus. This is not our fault. x

Thursday, 9 September 2010

LXI: What's your story?

If you looking to live like Jesus, we want to know how you're going.

What is going well? What steps have you taken? What can we celebrate together?

Equally, what questions do you have? What challenges are you facing? How can we support each other?

We'd love you to email your stories for us to share and respond to more and more... email us at mystory@frontiers-exeter.org.uk

LXI: What does it look like for you?

Last night @our church together evening we had a great time. We sang to Jesus and broke bread together. We then recapped the message from Sunday and asked the question, 'What does it look like for you to be on mission with Jesus?'

We heard from a student, church worker, teacher and doctors something of what it looks like in their own lives. We spent some time praying for each other and left pondering the following suggestions:

As we look to walk like Jesus we might want to...

Share meals. Lunch@work, evenings etc.
Talk. Take an interest in people. Ask questions. Share life.
Listen. What are people facing? Where can you offer to help?
Hobby. What can you do to meet new people?
Pray. Where do the people you love need God's help?
Walk slowly. Take time to stop and speak to neighbours!

I'm challenged again myself as to how I organise my life. I'm very pleased to be part of a Church which is hungry to follow Jesus and I look forward to sharing and hearing stories from our people as we walk this together.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Who wrote the Bible?

After our vision series this September we'll be returning to our next episode of our journey through Paul's letter to the Ephesians.

Ephesians, like many letters in the New Testament, is written by the apostle Paul.

I was watching a sermon the other day and was reminded of a helpful question to ask when handling Paul's letters. There is some debate over authorship of some of the letters, but the whole world agrees that Paul wrote half of them! The preacher advised that we start with this half and begin to ask our questions...

Paul's claims are outrageous. He says that God has spoken to Him, and that God had called him to speak about Him. Paul claims supernatural experience and commissioning from God. C.S. Lewis uses the following argument to ponder Jesus which is also helpful when we come to Paul. It seems given the nature of his claims we really only have three options.

Who is this man Paul?

Was he a liar? Was he deliberately writing things that he knew were not true? Was he manipulating people? He lost everything for this cause. Would he do this for a deception? What kind of a man is he?

Was he a lunatic? Did he believe what he was writing but was mentally unstable? Was he deluded? Was he a madman like many before him and many after him who thought that God was speaking to Him when God does not even exist!

Or was he an authorized truth teller? Did God reveal himself to Paul and inspire him to write under the influence of the Holy Spirit? Are the letters that we have 'breathed out' by our maker?

I think the only thing we can do in light of his claims is to read his letters and make the best decision we can. I think we should decide for ourselves. Personally I think this is worth exploring. If he is who he says he is, surely our lives will never be the same again. We can pick up the best selling book in history, read it and see what we think. We'll be studying and preaching from this letter next term...

When I read his insight, wisdom, theology, love, and see the impact of this book on the lives of millions of people, I am compelled to invite others to read and explore these amazing letters of the Bible.

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Vision launch catch up

For those of us who were not there on Sunday for our new vision launch...

Here is an opportunity to catch up before next week.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

New Vision - Love

This morning I kicked off our mini series, 'Love, Explain, Invite.' or 'L X I'.

I'm looking forward to sharing more and building upon this over the coming Wednesday nights and next Sunday.

The was part 1 - 'Love'. At the end we asked people to sign up if they wanted to be missionaries with this Church to this city. We will be asking people to sign up all month.

Unlike our usual style it was more of a thematic talk. Here are really skinny rough notes. I hope it will be online soon. A fair amount of people were away at a wedding.

1) God Loves

God is love. He is three in one and awesome. He powerful creates all things. He makes humanity as the high point of his creation. The loving, powerful fountain overflows as his creates. Yet we fall and reject the most valuable being in the universe. We deserve eternal punishment for this crime. Yet he still loves. He is just so he cannot overlook this crime, but he is gracious so he pays the price himself. He dies as our substitution on the cross. This is of first importance. This is the gospel.

2) Sent to love

Christ died and is raised. He offers us adoption into Sonship. Our eternal destiny is changed as we trust him. As we walk with Him, our heart begins to align with what God the Father cares about. It changes what we rejoice in and celebrate. We empowered by His Spirit to walk with God on His mission. As we walk with Him we learn more and more about his heart and mission to create a people for himself. God loves a fallen world of broken rebels. Jesus directly hands the baton onto his followers. John 17v18. We are a sent people. This begins by loving people practically. Genuine love and concern leads to action.

3) Going to love?

Imagine that you sign up as a missionary and land in another nation to tell people about Jesus. What would you do? What would your attitude be like? Where would you spend your time? Money? Acts 17v26 has says that God has written that today you live where you live, and work where you work. In that place you are called to be a missionary right here, right now. Will you join us? Can we walk this path together. Can we help each other along the way as we leave our comfort zones behind us? Looking to live like Jesus...

Friday, 3 September 2010

Web evolution continues...

The web and branding evolution continues for us as a church.

Our new website is now live...

Thanks to Vicki at Sound in Theory and Steve Grant for getting us over the finish line today. :-)

Wednesday, 1 September 2010

New Vision

The Academy draws to a close

As a Church we have just finished our summer series which we called 'The Academy'. 

We had a mix of men with varying degrees of experience preach a parable each over the summer. I was very pleased with what our men said and did. All of the guys have Godly characters and have something of a passion to lead and preach.

We feel that we need more preachers, if we are to plant more Churches and reach more people. We therefore feel strongly to provide a platform for them to grow. Learning is always ugly and we have been prepared to make a mess. We were convinced of the broader vision and overall the guys did well. 

Members were asked to receive each preacher with grace and to search for and draw good from each message. I feel on the whole people responded well. We will be getting together next week for a de-brief and feedback.

This summer we spent time going through each sermon (all except one I think!) and offering feedback and help before they preached before the Church. This takes a lot of humility and flexibility and the guys all did well.

I'm really excited about what God is doing among us as a people. We have a lot of gifted men. Its a privilege to serve along side them. We'll be looking to create more opportunities as we look to the future.