Monday, January 26, 2009

V2- 'Absolute Truth'

So we are in the midst of this preaching series called V2, I mentioned it last week. We chose as our first Value as a church 'Absolute Truth'.

Our value statement being articulated as this:

God’s map for life, the origin of truth, and our way of knowing Jesus Christ intimately, is the Bible. We want to present the absolute truth of the Bible passionately, in a way that connects with everyone enabling them to use it in practical, life-changing ways. We want to make a stand against secular-consumer culture’s lies, and against the boring delivery of God’s truth. As well as preaching the Word of God we want to equip our people to consistently love it and live in it themselves.

Our culture, a postmodern one, is not too happy with anyone claiming that they have Absolute Truth, but as Christians we do. We have the very WORDS OF GOD that He has graciously and lovingly chosen to give to us.
The Bible is, we believe, what I list below:
GOD’S WORDS: II Tim. 3:16; II Pet. 1: 20, 21; I Cor. 2:13
COMPLETE: MATT. 5: 18; IS. 40:8
THE BIBLE IS YOUR LIFE: James 1:18; 1 Peter 1 :23).
(Matthew 4:4, Deuteronomy 8: 3)

Why do we think it is so important to value The Bible, 'Absolute Truth'? Well check this list out for starters:

IT IS HERE WE MEET JESUS: I Peter 1: 10-12; Heb. 1

Finally, how are we going to value it as a church? Hopefully by living out these few things:

PREACH IT: II Tim. 4: 1-4 Relevantly, Passionately, Unapologetically.
LOVE IT: Psalm 119: 9-18 King Josiah (II Kings 22 & 23) read it

LIVE IN IT: Joshua 1: 8
LIVE IT OUT: James 1: 22-25

The Word of God, it must define us!


Lily Allen- 'The Fear'

I have a personal view that at times our secular friends in the music arena, with a minimal concept of the God we serve, JC that is, say things more creatively and effectively about Our God and this world than us Christian brothers and sisters tend to. I dunno it may be that they just hold nothing back, and they are not trying to spin or give some limited view due to their theological or personal commitment.

The reason that I have shared the above is that a recent track by the extremely gifted Lilly Allen called "The Fear" does just that. She hits the nail on the head in so many respects it is simply brilliant.
The gist of the song is that as a young girl she is gripped by the fear that life has lost its meaning. It is not about jobs or goodness it is about celebrity and money. Why stay clothed when you can get naked and make money. She states that she is not really a saint, and, actually, not really a sinner, in fact all is cool and good 'cause [she's] getting thinner.'

Give it a listen by searching for the Youtube Video of the track on the right (just copy and paste the title of this blog into the search engine and you will find it). You may want to look for the 'clean' version if that type of thing is very important to you. removes some of the raw feel and expressiveness of it, but is better for Christian ears I guess.

Give me your thoughts, I think what she says is alarmingly reflective of how we should feel about the tragedy of consumer-celebrity-culture.


Tuesday, January 20, 2009


Well this past Sunday was the first Sunday I got to speak to my people as their appointed Lead Elder, or leader of the Pastoral Team which is a term I prefer. Hard to explain elder to so many people (of course that does not mean that I am not, or am against it, semantics I guess).
We have started a series which has as its purpose the defining, articulating, & cementing of our DNA as a church. Feel that it is fundamental before we move forward in the manner God will have for us and reveal to us, that we know who we are. The series is called V2which mainly is a logo that symbolizes the two words Vision & Values.

Sunday was mainly a foundational message highlighting the importance of Vision & Values as I think there are a huge number of churches that do not know a) Where they are going, b) How they are going to get there, c) Who they are. These are all things that stem from Vision, Values, Mission, Goals etc. They are the fundamental questions that have to be answered or a church will just flounder in anonymity and identity crisis.

Anyway this is a brief summary answering the question WHY VISION, WHY VALUES:
Why Values?

Team, unity, synergy, togetherness, harmony, partnership, the absolutes of fulfilling the mission God has called us to are only possible through shared values. If we seek to pursue a vision that is not birthed out of our shared values it will never happen. Our vision must have (as the firm foundation supporting it) a set of core values that are shared by the ministry team.

Without a certain set of values we will not know why it is we have the vision we have. Without shared values we will not ‘die by one another’s side’ as partners in mission.

That is why values!

Why Vision?

There must be a beautifully painted picture of our future as a church that constantly inspires and invigorates us. A carefully articulated statement of the divinely inspired vision for us will give us the strength to fight when we feel like throwing in the towel; the energy to strive when we must; and the passion to thrive when the reality of ministry in our secular town drains us of all desire.

We want to be something; we know we are called to be something. We have a reason for existence. We know standing still tends to stagnation.
Vision, yes vision, our King’s Vision for who we are meant to be is what will draw us forward to that calling, that being.

That is why vision!

Blessings all


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Tozer on 'The Knowledge of God'

One thing I have done as part of my sitting with God on a daily basis is to read a thought a day from a book called "Tozer on Christian Leadership." 15 days in and it has proved very rewarding. I wanted to share his thought on 'The Knowledge of God' which was the reading from this Tuesday:

Probably the most widespread and persistent problem to be found among Christians is the problem of retarded spiritual progress. Why, after years of Christian profession, do so many persons find themselves no farther along than when they first beleived?...
The causes of retarded growth are many. It would not be accurate to ascribe the trouble to one single fault. One there is, however, which is so universal that it may easily be the main cause: failure to give time to the cultivation of the knowledge of God...
The Christian is strong or weak depending on how closely he has cultivated the knowledge of God...

Progress in the Christian life is exactly equal to the growing knowledge we gain of the Triune God in personal experience. And such experience requires a whole life devoted to it and plenty of time spent at the holy task of cultivating God. God can be known satisfactorily only as we devote time to Him.



Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Appointment to Eldership

This past Sunday was a pretty special day for me. This was the day that so much of the journey thus far had been leading to I guess. Mine has been a life that has gone through much shaping not only in different ministries but in different corners of the world. I think I, like any young man, began to relentlessly pose the question of God, "Why am I waiting, what is all this preparation about?" In my own mind I guess I felt I was so ready to be a leader of a church or church planter far sooner than God did.

Well on Sunday evening I was appointed to Eldership and the leading of the church here in Watford, UK that God has brought us to. I was not sure what to expect. Friends were calling it my knighthood, my inauguration, you name it we were trying to capture somehow what it was going to be. What it was was biblical, what it was was meaningful, what it was was Spiritual, it was a truly special moment in my life. It was fantastic to be there while good, solid men of God with a mantle of leadership themselves speak of the calling of Eldership and charge you to live it out. It is brilliant when your church is given a vision of Biblical leadership, when they are called to respond to, delight in, and support your leadership as God anoints you to it.

I do feel there was a passing on of authority and that something certainly has taken place at a Spiritual level that has equipped me immensely to fulfill the role that God has called me to. People's prayers for me and my family were absolutely encouraging and I do have to thank God for His goodness in bringing me to this point. May it be the Genesis of startling things for me as an individual, us as a family and definitely us as a church.
Thanks to all who were there.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

'God Change'

Charged my people to embrace and prepare for the 'God Change' that will certainly come upon us as a people this year on Sunday. New leadership, new direction will define us as a people this year and I really want them not only ready but excited for it.

Aubrey Malphurs remarks wisely in one of his excellent books on Church Leadership that people got it wrong when they said, "Two things are certain: Death and taxes," he says, "Three things are certain: Death, taxes and change!" And it is happening quicker now than it ever has in the history of mankind. The church is normally the slowest to embrace change saying that we must not stray from tradition. I feel this is a statement made out of fear and not out of a Spirit-empowered boldness to necessarily embrace the change that is taking place all around us while still maintaining our unique, glorious identity & impact as the people of God: The Church.

I long to have our roots as church firmly in the wonderfully glorious heritage and tradition of the Church through the ages, but I am so desperate to be a relevant people that somehow embraces the lost, broken, sick, hugely difficult people of our culture showing them the person of Christ in our lives.
This demands change, not just change for change's sake but "God Change."
Make us your 21st Century people Lord!


Proverbs for Starters- Part III

Back to this phenomenal book; reading through it for the second time now as I write. As I wrote in the second of my musings on the book about 'The Fear of the Lord,' the foundational concept for the life Proverbs as a book points us to, I mentioned the word wisdom. It is this I will write about now.

I suppose if anyone thinks about the book of Proverbs they will immediately think of Wisdom as its theme, and that is certainly true. Yet, when you actually study the book and start looking through its pages, one can actually be alarmed at the profile God gives to Wisdom. What I mean is this: In our age we tend to place huge emphasis on passion, or charismatic worship, or leadership as the core elements of following God, things we can glamorize I guess. But God puts His emphasis (certainly in this book) in another place all together. It is Wisdom we must pursue, it is Wisdom that we should long for with all that we are. We should sell all we have in order to grasp a hold of this Godly Wisdom. If you think I am overstating this emphasis, just read this book.

If you just read one chapter of the book of Proverbs, chapter eight, you would not be the first to feel that God is actually talking about the person of Christ as the words on wisdom flow from the verses of this chapter. To God Wisdom is essential. In fact the first thing that 'The Fear of the Lord' as a concept should lead to is this 'Wisdom.' The book is relentless in its efforts to point us towards being 'the wise' and not 'the foolish.'

I think it is as I begin this crazy journey as a leader of a church entrusted with the lives of those He has given to my (our) care that I start to feel a seemingly parallel hunger/need/desperation/want for this Wisdom in my life that God Himself wants for me (and obviously, all of us). When all the leadership strategies and mantras fall to the wayside, when the lights are off after Sunday's big gathering, what there is is just a lot of broken, needy people who are aching for insight and leadership towards living life in the midst of everyday chaos. Wisdom becomes all important at this stage. And of course, I want to live a life that my people would seek to imitate- this life is the life led with Wisdom.