Thursday, September 30, 2010

The Story

This is Blain Hogan's monologue from the Story conference:


What will you tell them?
What story will you tell the world?
The one where you win?
Or the one where you lost it all?
Will you show them your beauty and your glory and your fancy clothes?
Or will you show them the mud and dirt that stains the outside of your sleeve?
Will you tell of your hopes and your dreams and the goodness you have seen?
Or will you tell them of the darkness you’ve created with your own hands?
If you do not tell them both
If you don’t tell them the whole story
If you don’t tell them all that you have seen
They will never believe you 
Now what about what you haven’t seen?
Will you tell them of the angels / those messengers of the Lord?
Will you tell them of the invisible kingdom?
Will you tell them of the unseen God?
Will you tell them of the unseen beauty inside their own neighborhoods?
The unseen beauty inside their own hearts?
The unseen beauty waiting to explode from their broken places?
Listen to me
A New Creation has occurred and we are all asked to participate in it
It / is / unseen
So don’t compare your religion and their religion, your rites and their rites, your prophets and their prophets
All this is of no avail
We only want for you to tell them all that you have seen and all that you have not
Tell them that here and there in the world
And now and then in ourselves
Is a New Creation
For the kingdom is now and not yet
Make them feel what you have felt
Sing for them what you have heard
Tell them everything you have and have not seen
For the kingdom is now and not yet
For the kingdom is seen and unseen
Here and there in the world
And now and then in ourselves
Is a New Creation
For the kingdom is now and not yet
For the kingdom is seen and unseen
And you must tell them all about it
This is the Story

Culture watch

"Relate's headline-grabbing announcement that the midlife crisis now occurs at 35. Lonely, or burdened with little children and dissatisfied with their partners' "poor choice of TV programmes" (oh, for God's sake!), they have less frequent sex, are terrified of old age and worry they may never be CEOs. The poll portrays the 35-44 age group as youth monkeys on a polyester fleece. Some, the Times reports, are upset they are not Ed Milliband. You can't get sadder than that"

Libby Purves in the Times


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Supper time

"Supper time!" So went the call when I was growing up and as my room was right at the top of the house sometimes my parents used to ring an old brass bell in order to get my attention over the loud music. Goodness knows where my dad got the brass bell from.

Yesterday, I read 'C S Lewis on the Reading of Old Books' and it reminded me of a 'Mere Christianity' reading group I was part of that met in a pub in Earls Court years ago. By the way, C S Lewis is a genius. One of the men who was in the reading group went on to do Alpha and I saw him last week sailing on the Solent and he is still running the race. I am not sure the others are and sadly probably many more who have 'done Alpha' with me down the years. So I am thinking about what to say at our supper. I want to tell them of Jesus but also I want to encourage them to count the cost. I want to tell them of what it will take and how good it is. A friend and mentor just turned 80 and she says every time I see her 'The Cross David, tell them about the Cross,' So if I were to sum it up, I suppose my job is just to ring the bell. He'll do the rest.

I read recently of someone who has one quote that he carries in his wallet and I liked it. It really landed with me:

'The greatness of a man is not determined by what he achieves in life, but what it takes to get him down'

I love that and I love it so much I think I might pop it in my wallet too. Maybe I should give a copy to everyone at the supper.

Whatever it is today, don't let it get you down and keep running.

Pray for me today.

(H/T History in the making)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Case for Books

Books for me are a bit like gardening tools. They help me do the job that sits before me and they resource me in a thousand ways for things I may be going to do and experience some time in the future. Reading also gives me pleasure in and of itself. Reading changes me and fuels me. There are, as we know,  a limitless amount of things for us to read and learn and the way we do this is changing rapidly. The case for books explores this well and particularly the impact of the digital age on publishing.  Did you know that google are currently digitizing every piece of written material?

So imagine I mention 'A purpose driven life' here on the blog which is the worlds best-selling book. You might want to read it there and then. Now, I usually link to Amazon but I could just as easily link to Rick Warren on google books and you could start reading it right now. In fact, you can start reading just about any book ever published. It's amazing when you consider you can do this for free. Why do I buy books again?

I know why. I buy books not just to read but also to handle and mark and feel and experience. The Kindle is currently right in our faces trying to convince us it is a 'Gift to readers'. This may be so and only time will tell. Currently few people I know read books and sadly even fewer Christians, who should really be reading more. Also, if 'Leaders are readers' we should also worry that only a few Christian leaders I meet read widely or much. They are often 'too busy' building their churches to have time to read and some of them admit to not even reading the bible often. We really are in a pickle when that happens and we can find ourselves in this place surprisingly easily.

If you want to know anything, if you want to have character, if you want to think differently, if you want to have something to say and you want to be slowly and gracefully transformed then read. But one caution-don't let your reading 'puff you up' as Paul warns the Corinthians.  Read journals, news, novels, theology, biography, politics, history; read, read, read and then read some more. Also, as C S Lewis said, make sure you read old books too. Oh and as I have said of course the bible is a given. Miss that and you really are snookered.

As I write this, I am reminded of Ruth Graham, Billy's wife, that I think I read in his biography or it might have been in a Resilient Life. So often people say it is not a good season for reading- work, kids, commitments. The truth is it never is. When Ruth Graham had young children she would open up books and place them all over her house so when she was holding the baby or doing the washing she would read the book she had placed on the window sill, kitchen shelf or at the top of the stairs. I love that image and her passion for reading.

Darnton states, 'Whatever the future may be it will be digital' so I had better get used to it but it is struggle for me. I feel rather like someone trying to be convinced that the microwave will revolutionise cooking (which they did at the time) and now all we do is heat up babies milk and baked beans in it. Having read a few books now on my Kindle app on my phone I am not yet convinced and it does smack me as a bit of a microwave. OK in a time of need but you can't live on it.

In my vocation you need to refer to things a lot and I am so in the habit of picking up something physical. When I see the page I read some time in the past with its marked and scribbled on pages or with a cross by the side of a quote I relive my read. I will probably buy a Kindle or Sony E-reader at some point and it does have benefits as Michael Hyatt demonstrates and my hope is that these devices will encourage people and children in particular to read more. I know Darton is probably right about the future but my concern is you can't survive on microwaved food nor I suspect can you do so on microwaved books. We'll just have to see how things go.


Monday, September 27, 2010

Redeeming Cities

Driscoll et al are coming to Belfast on November 16th-17th to talk on planting churches. You have to get there but then it's free.


REDEEM CITIES _ from Box-head* on Vimeo.

Monday musing

I went to see a pal and because I still have no iphone I listened to a tape in my car (yes my car is that old!) It was some truly brilliant teaching on Covenant by Mike Breem which is worth getting hold of.

I am excited about our Live Life weekend and my pal Simon is coming to preach. A lady at church put me on to what has come to be known as the Butchers Sermon and reading it moved me and it is worth taking some time to reflect on.

Last night, Tim a Vicar and a friend to our church preached on the lost sheep. I have never really seen the verse about the shoulders. I had missed this and seeing it is to see grace and the gospel. Why not reread Luke 15. If you want more about shepherds then there is no better place than reading Phillip Keller's books (no relation to Tim!)

Someone mentioned a book called Megashift to me. Anyone read it or heard of it?

A Vicar pal enjoyed listening to Finding Happiness which teaches on the spiritual disciplines.

How did I manage to miss Tom Waits? I was driving along listening to Radio 2 and a man on the albums of your life slot was so passionate about Closing Time (he used the word 'evangelist') that I will have to explore more. The song they played was hauntingly beautiful.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Wash and blow dry

I was with a pal recently who has sons and he asked me a question, or rather he admitted a thought. Is the way he parents (the opposite of his own father) making his sons a wee bit wet and feeble? Has his saying "I love you" often, being available and open and constantly meeting their emotional needs made them go a bit soft? An instance or two he has witnessed over the past few months has made him think his sons just need to toughen up. I recommended Do hard things to him.

It is a good thing to ask such questions. In fact I might extend that from kids to men in general.

This week, I found myself in a wonderfully engaging and amusing conversation with two male friends and their hairdresser. Yes, I did say '....and their hairdresser'. Now don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with hairdressing and they would defend their right to sit under a blow dryer vehemently I know, but this would never have been a situation my father, who fought in the Korean war, would ever have found himself in. He would have looked quizzically at the scene and said "A hairdresser............for a man?"

Why am I telling you this? Well, I read the Spectator each week and more often than not Toby Young makes me laugh out loud. He too, like my friend and his sons, is worrying about the state of modern manhood. He called his article 'What happened to the chaps?'


"Bad news this week for those who fear we’re becoming a nation of girlie men. According to a survey carried out by Demos, a third of men who graduated from university this summer would give up their careers to care for their children. In addition, more than half the men surveyed said they frequently dress up in women’s clothing, while 66 per cent admitted they still hide behind the sofa during Doctor Who.
Okay, I made that last part up, but I wouldn’t be surprised. The feminisation of the latest generation of young men never ceases to amaze me. With their long, blow-dried hair, their expensive designer clothes, their ‘man bags’ and jewellery, they are like some terrifying new genetic hybrid: half-man, half-Barbie doll. God help us all if President Ahmadinejad ever decides to launch an invasion. If these milksops are responsible for the defence of the realm, the mullahs will be in Downing Street within 24 hours."



Can that Demos statistic really be true? Half of all men dress up in women's clothing. Really....

I would be happy to hear the case for the defence for modern manhood as well as hairdressing and all related matters.  Is Toby Young right to be concerned?

Do read the whole article and let me know your thoughts (would be interesting to have comments from men and women).

Friday, September 24, 2010

Books on the go (or going to be)

Generous justice by Tim Keller

Light night in twisted river by John Irving

Sun stand still by Steve Furtick

Switch by Chip and Dan Heath

Too big to fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin

Toby who has taken his tentative first steps as a blogger tells me that the required reading leadership book for employees of Goldman Sachs is A life in leadership: D-Day to Ground Zero by John C Whitehead. Might add that to the pile too.

Time

Bill has posted a fascinating perspective on time and for some reason it reminded me of a book recommendation Donald Miller offered recently. I am sure there is an British equivalent of The Fatherless Generation but I just don't know of it. If there isn't, Bill, as you know more about young people than most of us put together there may be a book that needs writing?

Just a thought:)  

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Shorter works

This post is a treasure trove of shorter works. (H/T J Wilson)

What are they you ask? They are wise things that clever dead dudes (and a few living ones) who love Jesus and knew the gospel wrote down for people like you and me to read. Reading the list I see tons of Jonathan Edwards who as readers may know is one of my favourite dead dudes.

Anyway, why don't you take some time to read just one of them from this wonderful collection. Be warned, it may not be easy, but give yourself some time, get a pen and a coffee to underline and scribble notes, work out what the writer is saying and apply the wisdom of the message onto your heart. I am resolved to make the effort to read Thomas Chalmers 'The explusive power of a new affection' which I have been meaning to do for a while.

For what it's worth this is my list:

A divine and supernatural light by Edwards

The method of grace  by George Whitfield

Advantage from remaining sin by John Newton

Introduction to Owen's death of death by J I Packer

The Centrality of the Gospel by Keller

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Your secret name

I have read the bible from cover to cover quite a few times so it never ceases to surprise me when I find a verse I still managed to miss.  Revelation 2:17 is one of them.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Outside the camp

My friend has a quote from Hebrews 12 written on a whiteboard in her kitchen. It reads:


 "Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!"


It got me thinking about what it really means to have this written in our kitchens and I think my dear friend meant it to challenge her and it ended up challenging me too. What does it really mean to live out the sort of gospel that Hebrews speaks about. It got me thinking about the things I have sacrificed and what God might yet call me to offer up. It got me thinking about comfort and security and the call to lay down our lives. It got me thinking about priorities. Are my priorities really the same as those of Jesus? Even a few of them? I have encountered so much grace, so much goodness, so much wonder and have given relatively so terribly little back in comparison. So little.


Francis Chan's chapter in Crazy love is still pulsing around my soul especially the chapter about being 'lukewarm'. Jesus says we are to count the cost- we usually quote this to people about to follow Jesus which is its context- but for those who are running the race it is good to count the cost too. Have I understood the 'will be' in 2 Tim 3 v 12 which nobody seemed to mention on my Alpha course 20 years ago? So many get into following Jesus to get the desires of their hearts and are attracted by that nice Jeremiah verse about 'plans I have for you' and prosperity. When it doesn't work out like that they 'quit' which is exactly what Hebrews 12 tells us not to do.


Here's the question I ask of myself:


'Am I lukewarm?'


Here is Chan's diagnostic. How many of these apply to me? How many apply to you? And having seen that I am so very lukewarm what am I going to decide to do?:



1.  Lukewarm people attend church fairly regularly. It is what is expected of them, what they believe “good Christians do, so they go. (Isaiah 29:13)
2.  Lukewarm people give money to charity and to the church…as long as it doesn’t impinge on their standard of living. If they have a little extra and it is easy and safe to give, they do so. After all, God loves a cheerful giver, right? (1 Chronicles 21:24; Luke 21:1-4)
3. Lukewarm people tend to choose what is popular over what is right when they are in conflict. They desire to fit in both at church and outside of church; they care more about what people think of their actions (like church attendance and giving) than what God thinks of their hearts and lives (Luke 6:26; Rev. 3:1; Matthew 23:5-7).
4.  Lukewarm people don’t really want to be saved from their sin; they want only to be saved from the penalty of their sin. They don’t genuinely hate sin and aren’t truly sorry for it; they’re merely sorry because God is going to punish them. Lukewarm people don’t really believe that this new life Jesus offers is better than the old sinful one (John 10:10; Romans 6:1-2).
5.  Lukewarm people are moved by stories about people who do radical things for Christ, yet they do not act. They assume such action is for “extreme” Christians, not average ones. Lukewarm people call “radical” what Jesus expected of all His followers (James 1:22; James 4:17; Matthew 21:28-31).
6.  Lukewarm people rarely share their faith with their neighbors, coworkers, or friends. They do not want to be rejected, nor do they want to make people uncomfortable by talking about private issues like religion (Matthew 10:32-33).
7.  Lukewarm people gauge their morality or “goodness” by comparing themselves to the secular world. They feel satisfied that while they aren’t as hard-core for Jesus as so-and-so, they are nowhere as horrible as the guy down the street (Luke 18:11-12).
8.  Lukewarm people say they love Jesus, and He is, indeed, a part of their lives. But only a part. They give Him a section of their time, their money, and thoughts, but He isn’t allowed to control their lives (Luke 9:57-62).
9.  Lukewarm people love God, but they do not love Him with all their heart, soul, and strength. They would be quick to assure you that they try to love God that much, but that sort of total devotion isn’t really possible for the average person; it’s only for pastors and missionaries and radicals (Matthew 22:37-38).
10.  Lukewarm people love others but do not seek to love others as much as they love themselves. Their love of others is typically focused on those who love them in return, like family, friends, and other people they know and connect with. There is little love left over for those who cannot love them back, much less for those who intentionally slight them, whose kids are better athletes than theirs, or with whom conversations are awkward or uncomfortable. Their love is highly conditional and very selective, and generally comes with strings attached (Matthew 5:43-47; Luke 14:12-14).
11.  Lukewarm people will serve God and others, but there are limits to how far they will go or how much time, money and energy they are willing to give (Luke 18:21-25).
12.  Lukewarm people think about life on earth much more often than eternity in heaven. Daily life is mostly focused on today’s to-do list, this week’s schedule, and next month’s vacation. Rarely, if ever, do they intently consider the life to come. Regarding this, C.S. Lewis wrote, “If you read history you will find that the Christians who did most for the present world were precisely those who thought most of the next. It is since Christians have largely ceased to think of the other world that they have become so ineffective in this” (Philippians 3:18-20; Colossians 3:2).
13.  Lukewarm people are thankful for their luxuries and comforts, and rarely consider trying to give as much as possible to the poor. They are quick to point out, “Jesus never said money is the root of all evil, only that the love of money is.” Untold numbers of lukewarm people feel “Called” to minister to the rich; very few feel “called” to minister to the poor (Matthew 25:34, 40; Isaiah 58:6-7).
14.  Lukewarm people do whatever is necessary to keep themselves from feeling too guilty. They want to do the bare minimum, to be “good enough” without it requiring too much of them. They ask, “How far can I go before it’s considered a sin?” instead of “How can I keep myself pure as a temple of the Holy Spirit?” They ask, “How much do I have to give?” instead of “How much can I give?” They ask, “How much time should I spend praying and reading my Bible? Instead of “I wish I didn’t have to go to work, so I could sit here and read longer!” (1 Chronicles 29:14; Matthew 13:44-46).
15.  Lukewarm people are continually concerned with playing it safe; they are slaves to the god of control. This focus on safe living keeps them from sacrificing and risking for God (1 Timothy 6:17-18; Matthew 10:28).
16.  Lukewarm people feel secure because they attend church, made a profession of faith at age twelve, were baptized, come from a Christian family, vote Republican, or live in America. Just as the prophets in the Old Testament warned Israel that they were not safe just because they lived in the land of Israel, so we are not safe just because we wear the label Christian or because some people persist in calling us a “Christian nation” (Matthew 7:21; Amos 6:1)
17.  Lukewarm people do not live by faith; their lives are structured so they never have to. They don’t have to trust God if something unexpected happens-they have their savings account. They don’t need God to help them – they have their retirement plan in place. They don’t genuinely seek out what life God would have them live – they have life figured and mapped out. They don’t depend on God on a daily basis – their refrigerators are full and, for the most part, they are in good health. The truth is, their lives wouldn’t look much different if they suddenly stopped believing in God (Luke 12:16-21; Hebrews 11).
18.  Lukewarm people probably drink and swear less than average, but besides that, they really aren’t very different from your typical unbeliever. They equate their partially sanitized lives with holiness, but they couldn’t be more wrong (Matthew 23:25-28).


Now, sometimes you come across a talk that is preaching that pulses through your soul in challenge and conviction and that can shake you out of lukewarmness. It helps you dust yourself down and set your face afresh. It makes you not give up just when you thought you were about to. It compels you to give up your life once again, sacrifice again, risk again, have faith again and say 'send me' once again. 


It is called 'How the supremacy of Christ creates radical Christian sacrifice' and it has stirred my inner being. 


Maybe it will do the same for you.  

Monday, September 20, 2010

Just stop and think

One for the pod

I listened to Simon preach on Prejudice-The Great Obstruction to Mission and am still mulling on the wonderful and challenging story he tells about Judson Cornwell teaching the bible in Germany. Well worth a listen.

Time out

Well, I have returned and it has been good not to blog for a while.

I lost my mobile on Friday and whilst initially being annoyed I eventually concluded that it really doesn't matter. This was a profound moment for me. My phone is only a phone. Children being swept away in a flood in Pakistan or a nation of fatherless children that is something do get in a flap about, but not a mobile phone. It is only a phone.

I have been doing a bit of reading and have worked my way through Leading on Empty. It is too early to share the impact but it has given me plenty to reflect on.

I also read recently the latest volume of Adrian Mole who has been like a faithful hapless friend to me down the years. Is it possible to write a funny book about cancer? This, as with all the others, made me laugh out loud.

I went to stay with some wonderful friends who continually bless me. One way they do this is though food. They cook better than anyone else I know. Their latest favourite cookbooks are Casa Moro and Ottlolengi if you are in need of a new culinary avenue.

Despite my brief liberation from phone intrusion I leave you now to continue shouting at Vodaphone. This is I suppose, in it's own way, a liberation of sorts:)

Blog-sweep

Some chilling footage reminding us about 9/11

Most of you won't have read Eat pray love as I and 5m others have (actually I read half and then got bored) but here is some commentary on it as the film comes out this month.

You might want to listen to Watch the rising day

Ever wondered what Yom Kippur is all about?

While I have not been blogging Mouse has and here is one of his helpful Friday round-ups-he is a splendid blogger.

good and important post by Scott McKnight on gender and the gospel.

Some very funny Ricky Gervais

Crazy love  and The Power reviewed by Challies and some books to come this autumn

The Reason for God DVD looks like a great resource.

An interesting discussion on humility and personality.

I end with a bit of Edwards on how God decrees sin without sinning.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Blog-fast


It seems right to lay down the blog for a while.

I will be back.

The idea

There is only one big idea.

Just one.

God has left us with it.

It's called the church.

Bill Hybells has a saying he says over and over again. He said it first somewhere in Courageous Leadership and I have never forgotten it since I read it many years ago.

"The local church is the hope of the world. It's the local church or it's lights out"

I have been helping create a new website for our church. On it there will be a film. Watching this film makes me cry every time I watch it. It's beautiful. I'll be able to show it to you really soon I hope. I really love the church. Now you might say, "I should hope so." No, I really really love the church and I love my church. If you lead the church and you don't love the church and you don't love your church you need to find something else to do. No really, hear this. Do something else. Too many people are leading the church who don't love it. You must love the church. You must truly love the church before you can ever even think about leading one.

Mike Breem has the idea of a 'Kairos moment' in his book The Passionate Church.

I think I have had one about the church.

As you know, I have been reading Rework and its ideas have really help me. They have helped me because they have spoken into a season of thinking and dreaming and praying. For some it might just be another read but for me it's been something more and God has taken its messages and spoken to me through it.  It has also collided with the things I have been reading in the Scriptures. It has truly fused some ideas for me.




"We all have ideas. Ideas are immortal. They last forever. What doesn't last forever is inspiration. Inspiration is like fresh fruit or milk: It has an expiration date. If you want to do something, you've got to do it now. You can't put it on a shelf and wait two months to get around to it. You can't put it on the shelf and wait two months to get around to it. you can't just say you'll do it later. Later, you won't be pumped up about it anymore. 


If you're inspired on a Friday, swear off the weekend and dive into the project. When you're high in inspiration, you can get two weeks of work done in twenty four hours. Inspiration is a time machine in that way. Inspiration is a magical thing, a productivity multiplier, a motivator. But it won't wait for you. Inspiration is a now thing. It grabs you, grab it right back and put it to work."

[Page 271]

Monday, September 06, 2010

For the pod

We had a discussion after church yesterday on the best talk we had ever heard. One of our number without hesitation recommended The Gethsemane Prayer. I recommend the whole series.

Hire great writers

"If you are trying to decide among a few people to fill a position, hire the best writer.  It doesn't matter if the person is a marketer, salesperson, designer, programmer or whatever; their writing skills will pay off.

That's because being a good writer is about more than writing. Clear writing is a sign of clear thinking. Great writers know how to communicate. They make things easy to understand. They can put themselves in someone else's shoes. They know what to omit. And those are qualities you want in any candidate.

Writing is making a comeback all over society. Look at how much people email and text-message now rather than talk on the phone. Look at how much communication happens via instant messaging and blogging. Writing is today's currency for good ideas"

[Rework, Page 222]

Saturday, September 04, 2010

For the pod

I recommended a friend listen to this. He said it blew him away.

Another friend listened to the rest of your life twice and the second time sat his wife down to hear it.

I also had this strongly recommended to me by a pal.  I am preaching on this verse so it is timely.

Culture watch

I went to the cinema which I have done many times and the ads are of a type. This was very different and highly original (it is a wee bit racy- you have been warned- click at your own discretion but the reality is 14 years olds are watching this at the cinema as we speak). I enjoyed the way it tells a story. My friend having watched this texted me saying -"I am off to the pub for an Esrtrella!" :)  Now, I don't want to cause you to stumble but I do want you to see what our culture is telling us. Reading The Radical Reformission helped me look at culture, evangelism and what's going on in a completely fresh way and is essential reading.

Of course, behind this ad are all the usual manipulations but then again that's exactly the point. It's selling a lie but doing it very convincingly. That's what clever advertising does.

Lie: If you drink this beer you will holiday with two beautiful women and live the dream

Truth: If you drink this beer you will be sick on Kingston high street coming out of a nightclub and go home alone cold in the drizzle with a kebab in your hand as you usually do.

The song is great though and if you were wondering it's Billy the Vision and the Dancers Summer Cat.

Also it reminds me 1. The summer is nearly over :( and 2. My youth has slipped away.

Saturday Blogsweep

1. Virgo on books and I want him to review my friends new book so if you know him let me know and I will give you a copy!

2. I didn't sleep for years. Here are 10 things you didn't know about it.

3. If you wanted to start a blog you could use this rather cool platform called Tumblr? If you are a pastor (in the broadest sense and most of my readers fall into this category even if they don't know it )read this and then do it and if you're not do it anyway.

4. A ton of perspectives on what it means to grow in Christ.

5. The rockiest piano ever.

6. Sometimes people ask me how I can have time to read? The answer is use technology for good as Michael Hyatt explains and now you can do your own list.

7. If you are a pastor 581 and 516 are intimidating figures that excite and depress me in equal measure. Should I just give up and leave it to these guys who always seem to 'slam-dunk' the weekend? My Sunday night reflections were on the excellent mini bonoffi pies Michelle made for everyone. Gifted though she is at baking, she might be a bit pressed to make 14K:)

Friday, September 03, 2010

Forgotten the hotdog?


A friend at church has just come back from Greenbelt

I confess I have never been but when I asked her if she thought I would like it she said:

"David, I think you would absolutely hate it"

Now, of course, it might be wonderful, cool, clever, artsy, alternative, inspirational and full of really nice people (all of which is probably true) but I just suspect she might be right.

You will be able to tell test this by reading/looking at this.

What do you think?

Your cup of tea?

My fear about Greenbelt is that they might have lost the hot dog (these applause..) 

What on earth do I mean? 

Well, to explain, I'll give you a quote from the truly excellent Rework and you will hopefully get what I am pondering.

"When you start anything new, there are forces pulling you in a variety of directions. There's the stuff you could do. The stuff you want to do, and the stuff you have to do. The stuff you have to do is where you should begin. Start at the epicentre.

For example, if you're opening a hot dog stand, you could worry about the condiments, the cart, the name, the decoration. But the first thing you should worry about is the hot dog. The hot dogs are the epicentre. Everything else is secondary. 

The way to find the epicentre is to ask yourself this question: "If I took this away, would what I'm selling still exist?" A hot dog stand isn't a hot dog stand without the hot dogs. You can take away the onions, the relish, the mustard, etc. Some people may not like your toppings-less dogs, but you'd still have a hot dog stand. But you simply cannot have a hot dog stand without any hot dogs"

[Rework, Page 72]

It's just a thought.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Plant something

Jesus said an interesting thing. He expects us to bear fruit.

In order to do that you have to have first planted something.

I have been thinking about plants a lot recently.

This has really helped me and so too I think will this book.

Two Keller quotes have really landed on me:
"The vigorous, continual planting of new congregations is the single most crucial strategy for the 1) numerical growth of the Body of Christ in any city, and the 2) continual corporate renewal and revival of the existing churches in a city. Nothing else - not crusades, outreach programs, para- church ministries, growing mega-churches, congregational consulting, nor church renewal processes - will have the consistent impact of dynamic, extensive church planting. This is an eyebrow raising statement. But to those who have done any study at all, it is not even controversial."






“The average new church gains most of its new members (60-80%) from the ranks of people who are not attending any worshipping body, while churches over 10-15 years of age gain 80-90% of new members by transfer from other congregations. This means that the average new congregation will bring 6-8 times more new people into the life of the Body of Christ than an older congregation of the same size.”