Thursday, October 11, 2018

Joyfully tough progress

“My pastor used to say you’re either coming out of a tough season, in the middle of a tough season, or heading into a tough season.” 

Craig Groeschel, Altar Ego: Becoming Who God Says You Are

Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Tuesday thoughts

1.  Of all the talks that were given at Focus it was Pastor Agu's on 'Prayer and church planting' that resonated most with me. Sadly they are not  putting it up on line.

2. I spent the weekend with John Eldredge at his 'Wild at Heart Bootcamp' in Wales with about 450 men. Everyone probably has a view on both the man and his books but all I can tell you is that it was a blessing to me in so many ways. I feel both reminded and inflamed afresh by the gospel and encouraged about the things that lie ahead.   Four days, no family (who I missed terribly), lots of silence and reflection, prayer, deep conversation and moving testimony, no mobile phone, my Bible and journal and some amazing men of God. We shared a cabin with a wonderful bunch of students from a church plant in Sheffield and simply being with these young lads who love Jesus and are so passionate about him truly warmed my soul. The last words of our time together are still with me:

"If I don't see you on the battlefield I'll see you at the banquet"

3. I haven't read a leadership book for 12 months- I've been fasting them. However, my fast is over and I have just started 'Mosaic Leadership'. It's profound stuff.

4. I was reminded over the weekend about that passage about hitting the ground in 2 Kings. As a result I am re-listening to this Furtick talk from LC13.

5. This book 'Bad Girl, Good God' caught my eye.

6. I was struck as I read Psalm 119 by how many times it mentions the heart.

7. One of our Connect Groups is spending the term listening to and reflecting upon Simon's 'Jesus' Glorious Commissions to the Church'. I listened to them driving around in August in the car and they so blessed me. Listen to them as a church staff, for yourself or with a group of friends. I can't think of a better way to spend £9.99.

8.  'The question is not what we intend ourselves to be, but what He intended us to be when he made us' C S Lewis

9. I have been reflecting much on Spiritual warfare and am revisiting William Gurnell's 'Chirstian in complete armour'

10. If you want another brilliant treatise on spiritual warfare, the first section of 'Walking with God through pain and suffering is worth spending some time in.

Monday, September 03, 2018

Monday musing

1. Lucy has written a good piece on 'Why charismatics need to read theology'

2. I do enjoy the sermons of a Baptist preacher called Johnny Hunt and I listened to this one on Psalm 71 called 'Psalms we need to sing'

3. I was at an event that happens in our church recently and looked across the room and thought if I just spent my time making disciples of those in the room (and they of me) that would probably be time well spent. Jesus spent his time with a very small number of folk and the rest is history. With the help of the Holy Spirit (for more read Holy Fire)

4. We started our new series on Ephesians and I showed this film as an intro.

MY DEAR FLOCK, -- The approach of another year stirs up within me new desires for your salvation, and for the growth of those of you who are saved. "God is my record how greatly I long after you all in the bowels of Jesus Christ." What the coming year is to bring forth who can tell? There is plainly a weight lying on the spirits of all good men, and a looking for some strange work of judgment upon this land. There is a need now to ask that solemn question -- "If in the land of peace wherein thou trustedst, they wearied thee, then how wilt thou do in the swelling of Jordan?" Those believers will stand firmest who have no dependence upon self or upon creatures, but upon Jehovah our Righteousness. We must be driven more to our Bibles, and to the mercy-seat, if we are to stand in the evil day. Then we shall be able to say, like David – “The proud have had me greatly in derision, yet have I not declined from Thy law.” “Princes have persecuted me without a cause, but my heart standeth in awe of Thy word.”

6. Someone I pastor has been visited by deep fear. I have recommended some time reading 'Surprised by God'.

7.  I didn't know Luther was into journalling.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

It’s not about us

1.  A friend I was at Vicar Factory said “....if you are going to read one book over the next decade make it ‘Surprised by God’ by Chris Green”. 

‘We need to grasp- or better, be grasped by- a vision of the divine nature and character. We have to come to know as fully as possible with life-determining force what God is really like’


2. I think I have already said this but ‘The man who made infinity’ made me cry even with my C in O-level maths. 

3. I was reminded at the weekend that it is the gospel that saves not us. It really is ...’power unto salvation’ 

4. The life of a missionary called Robert Morrison has gripped my heart. 

5. I have revisited Simon Walker who taught such a helpful course at college. His reflections on ‘Undefended leaders’ should be embibed by all who aspire to oversight of the local church. 

....’a leader is someone who takes responsibility for someone else’

‘Leading out of who you are’  p.17

6. Someone recommended a book to me called ‘Give up your small ambitions’ by Griffiths. 

7. ‘Child of God you cost Christ too much for him to forget you’ C H Spurgeon 

8. I told someone today, worrying about going on a difficult planting adventure, that the most invaluable experience of church I have ever had was in a church plant on an estate that never grew larger that 20 people. It’s not always about the numbers and on my reading of the NT letters they very frustratingly don’t tell me how many people came to which church......

9. I had a Holy Ghost experience in my local Tesco. 

10. I said in a sermon on Romans 10 at the weekend that the saddest words an unbeliever could ever utter might be ‘No one told me.’ 

Sunday, August 26, 2018

The Relational Pastor

Over the last few months I have been reading a book slowly and underlining most of it. I often have a few books on the go and this one was recommended by a wise retired Vicar who also happens to be my friend’s dad. As she said ‘Dad and his retired Vicar friends are suggesting it to young leaders as an essential and timely corrective to a wrong and increasingly seductive mode of operating they observe in church leadership today’ 

This among many quotes struck me:

“....the great temptation of power is control, and the great consequence of control is lack of relationship. The reason that intimacy is so difficult in ministry is you’re not in control- you’re in relationship. You have to enter a person’s life and they have to enter yours. The minute you start becoming obsessed with control, you lose relationship. Sadly, pastors can get really good at seeming relational, but they are being manipulative. They know how to play the emotional angles. I think that probably the leading characteristic of successful pastors today is their control’. 

The Way of the Dragon or the Way of the Lamb, p. 136

Monday, August 20, 2018

Tim Keller on Secular drift

I was struck by a piece on the BBC news app about 'Humanist Chaplains'. It has made me think a bit about the consequences of severing our Christian foundations which as been much aided by Tim Keller's talk to the Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast. There is so much in this talk that it deserves to be shared far and wide.