Monday, February 22, 2010


Check out this stunning simple use of visual media to really drive a point home.

Find more videos like this on AdGabber



You looking forward to church?

My co-elder Andy said a beautiful thing during the welcome at X1 yesterday. He highlighted that several years ago when you went on holiday from the UK often you could not purchase many things that you enjoy in the UK and so you could not wait to get back to partake of those 'home-comforts.' That situation has changed he said; but this time while they were away in Austria skiing all he had missed and that which he longed to return to was the worship gathering at Christ First.

He is a man of integrity so I know he was not just people-pleasing. I have thought about it since yesterday and am prayerful and hopeful that many of us at X1 have that mindset about Sundays.

I know I have got to a place at some of the churches I have been serving at where I felt no desire whatsoever to go on Sundays. That is a tragic, probably consumerist, view of things but it was where I had got to. What about you? How much do you look forward to your worship gathering with your church? If you don't why not? Are you serving or just taking cause that can make a massive difference? Is God joining you by His Spirit? If not why not?

Pray for a heart change if so, also see if there is an opportunity for you to talk to your leadership about your waning affections and see what changes can take place.
As for our little gathering of folk, I pray that they will continue for many a year to ache for our gatherings together and to come prayerfully expectant!


Love versus Obedience

Embroiled in one of those pastoral situations at the moment that you almost wish did not need to be a part of church life, but, I am not naive enough any longer to kid myself we will avoid. In my mind it is a 'Love versus Obedience' scenario which is a complete antithesis to the love lauded in the Scriptures. The situation is a simple one to expose, although of course extremely complex in the flesh.
An individual understanding of Christian love has been tragically divorced from the biblical mandate for such love. Christ has a very deliberate governing clause to the love toward Himself that He notes is commendable love. You find that thought in the fifteenth chapter of the gospel of John (and of course in John's Epistle) and the governing clause to the statement, "If you love me..." is this: "you will obey my commands." It is a strong but helpful governing clause. Love must be earthed. Love must be biblical.

The pastoral situation I am involved in entails someone who is unable to see (due to a multitude of things I am sure) that their 'love' is in opposition to Christ's demand for their obedience. Simple. But, of course not simple to negotiate and pastor appropriately.
I am alarmed at how easy it is for all of us to redefine Christ's concept of love for Him. We can read a gloriously true biblical statement and then never allow the bible to be the governing framework for the ongoing embrace of that statement as we live it out.


Monday, February 8, 2010

That's My King

We had one of those special mornings as a people at X1 yesterday where God is so very tangibly present - in a heavy, "Here's who I am!" way. One of our young guys, entrusted with preaching responsibility on the morning finished with this remarkably powerful video which has the mind-blowing "That's My King" audio by Dr. S. M. Lockridge. You may have heard it before but I have placed it here if you haven't or if you want to again. It left us 'undone!'

That's My King! from Albert Martin on Vimeo.

Do you know Him?



As an Eldership here at X1 we are trying desperately to discern God's heart on leadership and to reflect that in the whats, the whys, and the hows of our leading. One thing I think we have felt the need to do very early on is to multiply leadership. We see this pattern repeatedly in scripture: Jethro's approaching of Moses and telling him to hand on leadership to good men instead of carrying all the weight himself; Jesus, who would have been more capable than anyone to handle all leadership responsibilities himself, choosing 12 disciples fully aware of the power and future impact of leadership multiplication; and Paul who in his writings to Timothy and Titus displays this multiplying tendency. We're trying to do the same here at X1.

We're aware that the favour of God upon our leadership to allow for growth could easily be hindered were the two of us to demand ownership of every area of church life and to not 'entrust' leadership to those good people He has placed around us. We could easily go from being catalysts of growth to chokers of growth if we do not multiply our leadership. Paul in his second letter to Timothy charges him to 'entrust to faithful men' the things that he has learnt in his own ministry or from Paul as his mentor. We have taken this on and are trusting God to make great things come about.

On Friday morning at 7AM we had our first get together with some fantastic faithful guys hoping that within this context we could excite and equip the leadership and gifting already within these guys. It was a fantastic start and an arena that I pray will become a hotbed for cultivating mighty fruit-bearing oaks for X1 and the Kingdom of God.
God is good, and His eternal models of leadership are essential for the impact of the local church upon culture.


JT's Captaincy of England

Delighted with the news on Friday that Fabio Capello (England's International Football Team Manager) has decided to strip John Terry of his captaincy of the national team. For those of you reading from another nation and not caught up in this headline catching story, our national team captain and a powerful symbol in English life has not been such a good boy in recent times. Over 2 weeks ago it was revealed that he had attempted to have a 'media silence' order placed over the revelations of some infidelity in his life. This was not granted and naturally the backlash of trying to silence these blood-sucking tabloid papers is that they have gone all out revealing his sexual frivolities (yes he is married) with the girlfriend of (believe this if you can) another member of the England national team! Oooh, yes I know what you're thinking.

Story aside (you can do further research if you choose) the revealing thing to me in these past weeks is the modern/postmodern anomaly that a man's immoral, totally unworthy-of-respect-lifestyle decisions can somehow be made to live apart from, or to one side of, his role as a national leader in the arena of sports. Again and again, pundits and others seem to say that what he has chosen to do in crushing his wife, lying to her and to others, taking the girlfriend of another man and having sex outside of marriage and choosing to violate your relationship with a fellow team mate can be totally disconnected from his role as captain of the national Football team.

This is quite absurd and sad testimony to the moral vacuum that we have somehow created in the West.
Our 'heroes' are able to lead without any character whatsoever, and we are to point a new generation (for example my son Malachi) to these men and women as role models for their life. We need to learn the vast distinction between celebrity and hero and we need to come to grips with the reality you cannot divide a person saying he/she is a great leader while placing infidelity, immorality and relational destruction to one side of him/her as if devoid of him/her in 'reality.'

Well done Capello.


Monday, February 1, 2010

Church Life - A life in process

Back to Eugene Peterson with some thoughts now on our participation in church as not fully 'processed' followers of Christ and what that means for the church:

"The Christian Church is a Holy-Spirit-formed community where salvation is proclaimed and sins forgiven; men and women are redefined by baptism in the company of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit; a life in Christ is formed; a eucharist-shaped worship of God is enacted; and a holy life is practiced in a world of suffering, injustice, war, despair, addictions, and sin, both blatant and covert - a world at odds with both neighbour and God. It seems like quite a wonderful thing. It is a wonderful thing - all these people getting a taste of new life, Real Life, "ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven," and finding themselves participating in the holy operations of the Trinity.
But it doesn't take long for those of us who are in on this to realize that this new life isn't a finished life but a life in process. Many of us are slow learners. Many of us hang on to selfish immaturities for as long as we can, unwilling to grow up. Others of us slip back into old habits of disobedience as we look for shortcuts to holiness. Still others experiment with ways in which we attempt to stay in control of our lives and manipulate God to do for us what we can't do for ourselves. Not a few of us keep trying to find a way to deal with God without having to pay attention to our neighbours. When we take a good long look at any congregation we see most of the spiritual sins, moral and emotional, and the social disorders rampant in the general population continue to make their way, sometimes even flourish, among the elect

So often the church get's attacked due to an unacceptable level of expectation. Many believers approach it that way themselves choosing to somehow 'do church' without being part of the church. Thus damaging it even further. We must be realist but also the ultimate optimists for the church is Christ's great love - His Bride!