Wednesday, 30 December 2009

Keep my gob shut.

Ever had those times where you wish you hadn't said something? I have found myself in a few of those situations throughout my life...

There are also those times where you are not sure whether you should say something. I am finding I am feeling like that a lot lately. Should I say something to the guy who is always making derogatory comments about his daughter, the woman that does nothing but moan about change, or the wife that complains about her unsaved husband.

Do I have a right to speak into these peoe's lives if they haven't given me permission to do so? Is it worth the antagonism that is likely to ensue. I know that challenge is part of being a pastor and also just part of life but I think one of the issues is choosing the right forums. I guess Twitter is not one of them. Unfortunately the social networking sites are where I really want to open my big fat gob and say what I think because that is where some people tend to do their whinging, gossiping & disparaging comments. Not appropriate or productive. I guess this means that I am actually learning something.

How do you appropriately challenge people?

Friday, 18 December 2009

Finishing the year well.

Many of us have made well intentioned New Year's resolutions only to have broken them within the first week. So how do we change that this New Year?
One thing I am learning is that how we finish one season is how we start the next. So how we finish this year will impact whether we can realistically fulfill our resolutions in the next.

Here are 5 ways to help us finish this year well.
  1. Tidy up the loose ends. Phil 1:6 states that "...He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion..." Are we bringing things to a completion before entering something new. What are the things we need to tie up & complete once & for all? I have some unfinished projects to complete by the end of the year. 
  2.  Who ya gonna call? What relationships have you let slide this year that you need to re-establish? Make that telephone call and arrange to meet up. Don't wait for them to do it.
  3. Look at my successes. Have a look at some the successes that you have achieved in the last year. They don't have to be big ones. All of us have achieved something. What are they and did I celebrate them.
  4. Look at their successes. Are you able to celebrate the success of those around you? Why not help someone celebrate their achievements in this last year. Maybe you might be the one person that notices it and helps them end their year well.
  5. Look at how I have overcome one of my personal constraints. Flip Flippen talks about how to overcome our personal constraints. Look at what you have overcome this year to help build a platform for what we can master next year.
Let me know if any of these help you in the last couple of weeks of this year.

Saturday, 28 November 2009


I have been thinking about what my convictions are. Not my values but those things that I am prepared to fight for or walk away from other opportunities to keep.
What are those things that I hold most dear. They are generally unwritten and unspoken but definitely seen in my life. They are the things that define my actions. They require some indpeth thinking on how I react in certain situations then looking at the 'why' behind the 'what'.
I am sure that as I explore my own convictions I am going to find some that I will need to change. There will also be some that I think are my convictions but in reality are not because they don't really define my actions. They are not deeply held convictions, more wishful thinking.
The question I need to ask myself is how do I then move from wishful thinking to deeply held convictions. Any thoughts or comments?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 9 November 2009

The SUDDENLY increase

Well the news is out, we are now one church in two locations- Tyneside and Teesside. What started as a "What if..." conversation nearly two months ago has now become a reality. Now that the announcement has been made the hard work actually begins. The euphoria will die away fairly soon and the practicalities will settle in. We are adopting a child into our church family. How will the older child react when it doesn't have it's parents' full attention anymore? How will the new child react to the new structure, new name and new parents? Sometimes it is not even the big changes that can cause the most discomfort, it can be the little things that we hold on to the most dearly. I love the quote by Catherine Booth that states "There is no improving the future without disturbing the present".

We want to take people on this incredible journey with us and will do our best to help people but the journey is going to happen and some people may choose another journey or settling place for themselves. I still struggle with people doing that, but am learning that if my heart really is to build people then sometimes we are not the ones that are best suited to do it for them. We can get so distracted by people leaving when it maybe the best thing for them to help their lives grow.

I can tell you honestly that we, as the new parents, are trusting God because we definitely don't feel confident in our own strength. So far, as a church and as pastors, we have kept steady and fairly constant growth. So we have been able to increase our capacity as leaders to accommodate what God has brought our way. Suddenly we have added about another 90 people to our care. That is responsibility from God and it scares me. I'm so glad I don't have to do it in my strength. I am learning more & more to trust God as He places me out of my depth.

Monday, 26 October 2009

Rest, God's gift to us.

And God rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. Gen 2: 2

One of the thoughts running through my head before we headed off to Disneyland was about justifying our holiday to people that know about it. Do they believe that I have done enough to deserve the holiday. Do I believe I have done enough to need a holiday. Trying to justify going away for 2 weeks by saying we haven't had a proper holiday in 4 years. What am I trying to prove? That I work hard or that I am a hero or that I my work is so stressful that I just have to get away?
God had nothing to prove with resting on the seventh day. He didn't need it. But he knew we would. So He set a pattern of work & rest.
I don't want to get on a performance treadmill where I have to prove my existence & value by what I do rather than what has been done for me & who I am becoming. But I also need to understand that God finished the work before He rested. I want to rest but it has to be resting FROM something, not just my default setting.
Anyway I am going to enjoy my holiday & rest with my family.

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Filming for Vision Sunday

I have just been out doing some filming with our production guys for our Vision Sunday & Heart for the House offering. I was stood on the Tyne Bridge looking at the castle, the cathedral, St James Park & the development on both sides of the Quayside. The past, the present & the future of Newcastle can all be glimpsed from that viewpoint. I wonder if we are embracing them all or holding on to one of them. If we disregard the past & present and cling to the future, we leave ourselves with no foundations, have scant regard for what God has put in our hand now and are never content. If we disregard the future and past and cling to the present we can become dictated to and driven by our current circumstances. If we disregard the present & future and cling to the past, we can avoid change & growth that God wants to bring to our lives.
We need to embrace all three aspects of our lives. Thank God for what He has done & brought us through. Thank God for what He has put in our hand now and the commission "for such a time as this". Lastly know with a certainty that we have a hope for the future.
Past, present & future is all wrapped up in our communion. Paul said in 1 Cor 11:26 "Whenever you eat this bread & drink this cup (in the present), you proclaim the Lord's death (in the past) until He comes (in the future).

-- Posted from my iPhone

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Which kingdom?

So this is my first ever blog. I have to try and gather the mess of thoughts that run through my head, unravel them, then put them down in written form. Not an easy task I can tell you.
It is very different trying to do this, but I guess it is good to step into unknown territory, even if they are small steps.
I am sat in my car reflecting on an interesting few weeks for us as a church. We are entering a new seasons with new influence & greater responsibility. Are we prepared for it? Am I prepared for it? With greater influence & responsibility comes a stronger temptation to BUILD your own kingdom as opposed to SEEKING God's kingdom. His Kingdom is something that is near, we inherit, enter in to, seek first, pay a price for, work for, considered worthy of, but NOT build. If I am trying to build a kingdom it will probably turn out to be mine.
Keeping my heart humble and after God is my priority.

-- Posted from my iPhone