Tuesday, 28 June 2016

The Lord helps!

The Lord has helped us in the past, He is helping us in the present, and we believe that He will help us all the way through. He will help you too, if you just follow His Word and by a simple faith do the right thing
~Charles Spurgeon
I'm glad as the passionate, responsible, empowered and driven pastor that Spurgeon was, he was able to proclaim this great truth for himself and extend it to others as an offer of what God offers us all through Christ.

Today, may I (as a pastor) proclaim this truth in my life as well, and extend it to all who read as what God is offering you right now through Christ!

Monday, 27 June 2016

Receive and Enjoy

It's the tragedy of the effect of sin - which has seriously broken this world.  Even pastors find themselves wrestling with this brokenness, don't ever feel like you are alone in your brokenness. We should all deal with it together, in unity, and under the grace of Jesus which we need to keep encouraging each other to simply receive and enjoy!

Monday, 20 June 2016

Lazy in your Busyness

I was at a conference recently, listening to Karl Faase speak about leadership, specifically speaking to pastors who were parts of ministry teams at their churches - so there was a distinct leadership/working together feel to his focus.

At one point Karl spent time talking about laziness - about an inherent laziness that is in all, not just leaders, and one of the things leaders have to deal with is motivating people to actually buy in to whatever ministry or commitment it is they are seeking help with.  However, it is not a laziness that sees people doing nothing and being completely pathetic and lethargic.  In fact the majority of our laziness comes from somewhere else entirely;
"A good example of laziness is not just doing nothing, but being absolutely flat out doing useless things"  - Karl Faase
When we honestly take stock of our lives I think we'll realise that those things we spend a lot of time doing are really quite useless.  The endless scrolling of Facebook walls, finding the funniest meme of the day, viewing that next funny cat video... and then the next one... or just expectantly being consumed by waiting for that next notification on your phone.  All that may add up to us actually appearing very busy, but in fact it is the height of laziness.
Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  - Ephesians 4:28 
Do we ever think about our laziness as being stealing?  Stealing time and profit from our employer, stealing time and relationship from our families, friends, and most importantly, God? And that our business in useless things is the key contribution to our thieving?

Part of this is also attributed to the fact that we are never intentionally quiet and engaging with God.  In our laziness to connect with God we actually make ourselves so busy so that we don't "have time" to have a quiet time, or prayer time, or even to read our Bibles. That is stealing from God!

It made me ask the question, where do I do nothing in quiet except commune and interact with God?  In preparation for sermons, meetings with leaders, guiding people spiritually I spend lots of time interacting with God - and that is not a useless thing - but then when it is my own time I probably want to 'switch off' and so I turn to my phone, my computer or my TV... and so my intentionality to personally spend time with God is probably lacking. And so I want to stop stealing.

Do you want to be a thief?

If not then you need to think through this as well.

Monday, 6 June 2016

Romans 12:11

Some great words in this verse, and when you put it all together gives you a knock on your head about the attitude you have to life at the moment.

slothful - an inherent laziness, to the point of uselessness.

zeal - passion that drives to action.

fervent - displaying passion intently.

So do not let laziness become so ingrained in your lifestyle that it murders the actions of your passion... instead intently display that passion you have in the Spirit by serving the Lord.

Friday, 3 June 2016

Prepping for Ministry

When we think of preparing for ministry we think about meetings, strategies, reading, whiteboards, band practice and all those things we do to ensure our event or sermon or service goes well.

When you think about sports they have that element of preparation too - training, strategy meetings, game play lessons - but they have another important part of preparation too, which I think we forget about when it comes to ministry.

Part of their prep... is recovery.

Ice baths, cool downs, recovery sessions in pools/ocean, massage, physio.  They're all things done directly after a match, and then after training through the week, to ensure that through recovery their bodies are prepared for the game the next week.

So now I am looking at my ministry, and the ministries in my church which I have responsibility over, and I am wondering; "What is my equivalent to an ice bath, or a massage, or even just a cool down?"

If you don't have recovery... people burn out.  Recently I've had people stepping down from positions, and I think it's got a lot to do with the fact they feel they've worked hard and now want some time out... so they drop the entire responsibility. That's not healthy for them... or the ministry.

The Austin Stone Worship blog has a great post on Biblical & Practical Applications for Establishing Sabbath Rest - which I think goes a long way to providing the recovery sessions we need in ministry as part of our preparation for ministry.  It is an old article (2014), which makes me think it's a continuing problem in churches - I'm glad Austin Stone have thought about it, and I'm hoping by thinking about it now my church will have healthier people in healthier ministries in years to come.

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Good resource - The Purple Book

I am currently trying to develop a strategy of taking our new converts and giving them the best possible chance to be discipled into mature believers in Christ.  We celebrate our new converts, but sometimes I wonder a few weeks later if we've been investing in them properly.  I think at the moment it all comes down to where they land within the social construct of the church; if they fall in with a strong group of believers they grow and stay; if not we tend to slowly see them disconnect.

I want to be much more strategic about how we engage new believers, and journey with them along the path of discipleship.

I've been looking at Rice Broocks & Steve Murrell's "The Purple Book" recently.  It's a comprehensive group of studies and questions which really outline a lot of the Christian faith, and reasons for belief and disciplines within the church.   As a pastor looking in, it looks good, I'm not sure how it practically works out because I haven't led anyone through it, and don't really know anyone who has led anyone through it (I would love to hear from someone who has been using it).

On the whole though it looks like a great resource to at least base a discipleship strategy off, if not use it to run people through.  It would take a long time to run through all the studies... but discipleship isn't a quick 6 week course is it? It's a life-long journey, and if we can pair new believers up with mature believers for a life long journey then we're really giving them the best shot aren't we.

My other thought was maybe coming up with a team of "Purple People" who could be brought along new converts, then once they have finished the studies maybe have a 'passing on' to say a small group or other mentoring kind of program - so though they don't journey life-long with someone, we are still ensuring they will have someone to continue, before becoming a mentor themselves.

That's a long-term vision though... just wanting to see something start off soon at the moment.
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