Wednesday, 10 August 2011

What is rising up?

Well I'm sitting here frustrated and annoyed as somehow my ipad has lost my previous post.
Anyway, let me try and remember all that I wrote.

None of us can say that we have not been affected by recent events in our beloved country. We have seen the news reports, watched the videos and followed the twitter comments. I would like to try and add some wisdom to the situation if I can.
Let me first ask you what rises up within you when you here this news?
1. Fear?
2. Anger?
3. Revulsion?
4. Apathy

Or maybe FAITH?
Faith for forgiveness and reconciliation?
Faith for peace in our country?
Faith for God to do something?
Faith for salvation from this?

As Christians we need to remind ourselves that, as the Bible says, we are not fighting against flesh and blood but against spiritual forces. Why then do we seem to make the enemy the face of humanity that is doing this and not those spiritual forces. Our first response should be to come before God and pray. Pray for peace, pray for community to be restored. Not to what it has been recently but to what only God can bring. That sense of SHALOM. Community prospering and peace.

I also need to be reminded that I am in some way responsible for this mess. I have bought into a consumerist, materialist mentality that is pervasive in our society. When we hold that up as the ideal western way, when we say consume and there are those that cannot consume, what do we expect? Eventually there will be a backlash. It is not about a lack of food or basic needs it is about 42" plasma TVs. Why? Because we have bought into the lies that tell us that is what we NEED.

When Nehemiah prayed for favour to go before the king, he prayed for forgiveness for the mess that his people were in. He knew that he owned part of that mess. I want to be part of the solution not stand and complain about the problem. I own this problem. I need to repent for being part of the problem. Have we placed the rioters in a group called "THEM" or got before God and asked for forgiveness for "US"? Its easy to blame "THEM". Nehemiah prayed "US".

What I want to rise up in me is-
1. Repentance
2. Faith to see God bring SHALOM
3. Faith for reconciliation within our communities
4. A plan of action if the riots hit the North East.

The Bible is clear that even in situations like this fear will not conquer even when it is peddled by our media. God has not given us a spirit of fear but of LOVE, POWER and a SOUND (disciplined) MIND. Perfect LOVE casts out fear.

Lets pray for love in our communities and our fantastic country.
Lets pray for our hard pressed and berated police force.
Lets pray for the righteous reporters, like our own Lindsay Bruce, in the media.
Lets pray for godly Nehemiahs that have the ears of our government and local authority leaders.
Lets pray for those that have instigated and got caught up in the riots.

I want to be part of the solution.

What is rising up in you?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Hillsong Conference thoughts

This year I have had the privilege of attending 2 Hillsong conferences, one in Sydney and the other in London. This is a significant expense for us and therefore I need to make sure that it impacts the wider church in a major way. I don't just want to pass on notes or nice thoughts I have gained. I don't even want to just come back with some structural or audio visual changes that we can make to improve who we are.

I want people to know that something significant has happened. I want people to know that I have changed. I want people to know that church will never be the same again. I don't want to fall back into the same routine.

Pastor Jentzen Franklin really challenged me with his message on Peter hearing the rooster crow. What must he have thought every time he heard one crow after that. A reminder of his failure and betrayal of Jesus. What are the constant reminders of my failure that the enemy holds over my life? Where have I limited my life because of the past?

I was challenged not to live just above average, which looks good to those living an average life. There are areas in my life that I know I am not reaching my full potential but actually look quite good if not seen from the place of what I could be doing. The same could be said of our church. We look good in some respects and we could live on that reputation, but I don't believe God has given us the people and the resources we have to live just above average.

If attending both conferences has done anything for me, it has challenged me personally to look beyond where I am and trust God that there is so much more (Eph 3:20-21).

Ok so for those of us who love lists, here is my top 5 of areas to trust Him for more.

5. Numbers- I have always shied away from setting targets for numbers and being driven by numbers and may continue to do so, BUT every ONE is vital. So I am trusting God for a large church, not just slightly above average but by any standard large. Large numbers of salvations, large numbers of baptisms and large numbers of discipled followers of Christ. I was struck in my daily reading that often Christ looked at the CROWD of people and was filled with compassion. He saw the large numbers. I am believing that LARGE NUMBERS of people will come from and into our church community.

4. Finance- I want to change the world that I am able to influence and to accomplish that takes a unreasonable amount of finance. Therefore I want to raise people who are committed to giving their finances for kingdom purposes. Everyone can give but God has gifted some to be able to give beyond their natural ability and others to give extraordinary amounts. I am believing that UNREASONABLE FINANCE will come from and into our church community.

3. My preaching & teaching- I have never really believed that I had much to give outside my own church. Now believe me, I love preaching on my own platform and teaching leadership to my own people, but have always thought that other leaders seemed to have all their leadership teaching organised and strategically planned. Don't get me wrong, I think I have things that are worth passing on but never felt like I did it justice when compared to other leaders I know. Anyway I am believing that God will increase my influence to help other leaders. I am believing that SIGNIFICANT INFLUENCE will come from and into our church community through my preaching and teaching.

2. Success- I have always dreamt of being the best at something, whether it be sport or music but have achieved the dizzy heights of "average". I am beginning to realise that my success is to enable others to achieve far beyond what they can see for themselves. I am believing for world class athletes, musicians (and drummers), business leaders and politicians to come from & to my church. I am believing that SUCCESS & SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE will come from and into our church community.

1. Faith & Grace- I know that the heroes of Hebrews 11 were commended for their faith and they took risks because they believed God. As a church we have stepped out in faith in many ways recently and will continue to do so. In this last year we have bought new offices and taken on new staff. in the coming year we are changing venues to a increase our capacity, starting a new campus in Tanzania and a new extension service in a local Newcastle estate. But I still want to pioneer new ground, step out in large faith. In and through everything we do I don't just want grace to be what we receive, I also want it to be what flows through us. I am believing that INCREASED FAITH and HUGE GRACE will come from and into our church community.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad