Sunday, 30 October 2011

Kensington Temple - final part of a great weekend

Worship began with a tremendous sense of gratitude for God's love and mercy.
Colin Dyer sharing the word...... and this is a mix of his word and where God lead me in the process.....

Focus on grace...... grace that activates service.
Begining a week of enabling God's people to be energised for service - refreshed, renewed - equipped for service.

Looking at the ministry of encouragement..... vital to the life of the Christian amd the health of the church.
Anyone who has the Holy Spirit has the ability to encourage.....

Heb. 10:24-25
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another —and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

Etymology - 'in courage'
the act of supporting and helping' it serves to incite,increase confidence, motivate, give courage.
You can say something that enables or encourages someone to DO something
Inspire, invigorate, animate,strengthen, to rouse, stir, rekindle, console, awaken, stimulate
Someone with the ministry of encouragement can embed these things in the life of another....
The devil has an interest in keeping Christians discouraged......

The finest gift you can give anyone is encouragement,
yet so few people get the encouragement they need to grow to their full potential

'correction does much but encouragement does more'

We often think that we are being clever when we critiscise - but anyone can see the obvious and knock it.
Criticism is not a gift of the Holy Spirit.

Those who inspire us to great things spend more time encouraging us than criticizing us. And they encourage us all the more during times we are failing.

A minute of encouragement during a time of failure is worth an hour of praise at a time of success.

We do need to learn how to encourage ourselves in the Lord. David was encouraged in the Lord at low times andHe stirred himself through prayer and words which we read in the Psalms.

God's grace is the greatest encourager. In the Kingdom we can NEVER fail beyond recovery. The blood of Christ will always cleanse us as we return to Him.

How much conviction of sin does a Christian need - none!
How much conviction of sin does a non Christian need - plenty!

The ministry of the Holy Spirit changes in our lives when we are brought from death to life.
After becoming a Christian there is no further condemnation......but He does start to convince us of righteousness.
Once a Christian the Spirit moves from conviction to transformation.
Moving us from awareness of our need of forgiveness to a desire to be more like the One who forgives - Jesus.....

Some people do seem to spend a lot of time alone, discouraging themselves, convinced that they are far too busy to join with the family to receive encouragement.

How do / can we encourage others?

John 15:1-17

The Vine and the Branches
“I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, as I also remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. If you remain in me and my words remain in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. This is to my Father’s glo ry, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples . “As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Now remain in my love. If you keep my commands, you will remain in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commands and remain in his love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete . My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command . I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit —fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. This is my command: Love each other.

Firstly, disciples are promised grace (v3),unconditional love- you are already clean, you are accepted, you are in because of me.
However, there is a statement of truth that if you are not a fruitful Christian then you have excluded yourself from being used in the Kingdom. However the encouraging point is that this is not what is in God's heart for us - He has enabled and 'destined'us to be fruit bearers.

It is often difficult for us to really know God's presence when we are going through hard times, and it can require someone else to encourage us and confirm the truth of the promise that He will NEVER forsake us,

The implication of being joined to Christ in the way Jn 15 describes, means that we have God given supernatural ability to bear fruit. - He has the best in mind for us and has given us the capacity in Christ to achieve the best.

We are given the Spirit inspired capacity to be joyful in all circumstances..... with joy we will draw water from the well of salvation. We are given the Spirit inspired capacity NOT to worry.....because we are enabled to trust God.

Finally, the discipline of God.... the painful experiences we undergo can have positive purpose and fruitful outcomes....

When part of the vine is lying on the ground, dry, dusty and not bearing is gently lifted to the place where it can receive nourishment and start producing fruit again.

Pruning is fruitful! but it can be painful for a season. Taking out the good so the best can grow. The good is the enemy of the best. God has the best for us and equips us to achieve it.

Worship Central J John on perspective

After totally brilliant time of worship with Tim Hughes, J John about to start.......

No apologies for what follows - tried to keep up but that takes some doing with J John, so here goes....

Some people have so many irons in the fire that they have put the fire out.....

We need to use the 'f' word far more often ----- forgiveness

We need to have a bigger perspective,

3 key areas for Christians:

Look up - worship Look in - wellbeing Look out - witness

A worship leader would be given the same advice by Paul as he gave Timothy: ' do the work of an evangelist' (don't stop leading the church, just do it as an evangelist!).

A missionary isn't someone who crosses the sea, they are people who see the cross...

Circumstances are like a matress- when you're on top its comfortable, when you're underneath you suffocate.

2 attitudes to Goliath - he's too big, lets run away, or he's too big, how can I miss.

A Koi Carp, if kept in a fish bowl will only grow to a couple of inches, if in a fish pond then 12 or more inches, if in a lake then 42 inches. The Koi is restricted by it surroundings but it always has the potential to be 42 inches....We can be just like that in our lives and circumstances.

We restrict our vision and our potential..... becauses often we choose to stay in the fishbowl.

We can worship God, preach about Him, tell others to follow Him.....them we worry and get anxious about circumstances.......and that is because we too easily 'envisage' the future without God. We forget the very words we spend so much time singing and speaking.

Christians must be connected to Christ. If you remove Christ from christian you're left with 'ian' - and he isn't going to help you!

Where is Christ in your car? in the boot? in the back seat? a passenger in the front seat? or is He in the driving seat?

For all those of us who think Jesus is in the driving seat - are we a back seat driver?

What do we do when He drives us down a road we aren't comfortable with? The road of forgiveness (I don't want to forgive him/her) The road of generosity The road of self sacrifice

The christian life is about 2 things:

1. holiness
2. humility

And a worship leader should help the church to bow down.

Saturday, 29 October 2011

Worship central: authority and compassion

#wcconf #worshipcentral #westcc

Al Gordon about to speak after an amazing (annointed) worship time lead by Matt Redman......

Let's catch that vision of seeing our communities transformed....

How do we become agents of change in our communities?

Matt 9:35-10:1

The Workers Are Few Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing ev‐ery disease and sickness. When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd . Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, there‐fore, to send out workers into his harvest field.” Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness.

When Jesus saw the crowds He had compassion... He gave the disciples authority to heal and drive out demons He sent the 12 to preach: 'the Kingdom of heaven is the stuff I showed you'

There was no great training, they had seen Jesus, they had heard they were expected to rely on the same Spirit as did Jesus. And He showed up big time!

3 keys

A. Accept God's authority. ( He gave them authority - divine power given from God) We can only be real change agents when we actually ACCEPT the authority Jesus gives. This process was recognised straight away by the centurion who asked for healing for his servant...

God the father, who is the source of power, works through the son Jesus, to give us 'delegated authority' to operate in the same way Jesus did.

B. Bring God's blessing - the worship team should be the most servant hearted team in the church- they are blessed to be a blessing. Our choice- to be servant hearted bringers of blessing or to be something else? Anything else is short of the calling

C. Carry God's compassion. Everything Jesus does is driven by compassion. This is the key to seeing communities transformed. Compassion breaks out in attitude and action, mere words are insufficient. If we don't love the people God has called us to lead - we are not leaders after God's heart. Love breaks out as compassion.

We do not go alone. God forms and equips teams - and by His Spirit He accopanies us with His presence and equips us with His power.

The challenge to be agents of change in the manner and after the heart of the Shepherd. Moving in the Spirit with authority, in power, driven by the compassion of Jesus.

If you found yourself among those twelve, what would you ask Jesus for?

New song same Spirit

Worship Central Sat 29th

These are my unedited notes and thoughts on the morning session (which was great)

New Sound, same Spirit

How do we introduce 'new sounds' and creativity into worship, but not forcing anything, not creating an artificial atmosphere, not manipulating ministry?

Principles : not about this or that genre but - how can we/do we firstly embrace the 'messiness' of the Spirit then be led into His presence in the 'mess' not in spite of it?

Ps 98 - sing to the Lord a new song See also v 4-6

How do we both lead, as called , but so step aside that the Spirit is not bound by our ideas of how things 'should' be?

Question: Have we 'evolved' away from leaving space for the Holy Spirit to work - AND - do people know what to do in that 'space'?

Response: What leader is finding is that we need to do some very basic teaching (cat sat on the mat level) -similarly there is a very basic level of teaching needed regarding how the Holy Spirit ministers ( not just new people, but those from a more traditional background)

We must have honesty and integrity and authenticity in the church - not forgetting who and what this is about - this is not just 'mouth' honesty - but 'action' honesty.

How we act and speak when NOT up in our leadership role is the key to determining if there is true honesty and authenticity. Ie what is our attitude towards those who are not with us or who disagree with us - and not what we say or don't say, but what is in our heart.

This is all about encounter,not just the leaders encountering, but serving the church in such away that, through the worship and the way it is led, the church encounters Jesus.

How to 'ensure' that our 'different' thinking is of the Spirit and not just us - what checks and balances do we put in place ( spiritually & relationally).

Desire to do something epic for God! We don't have formulas for this, but there are principles.

Never overestimate what can be achieved in 2 weeks but don't underestimate what can be achieved in 2 years.

There is a relationship between the power of the Spirit and the way worship happens. This is both making what we do more beautiful AND transforming with new sounds.

Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Are we not doormats?

It's ages since I have been moved to blog ( that sounds vaguely medical and quite unpleasant!).... Anyway, I was at housegroup last night and, as always, we spent quite a bit of time off piste ( but that's usually a good place to be) and I was struck by the 'fact' that there are implications to certain areas of Jesus teaching about which many, perhaps even most,good, 'bible believing' Christians are in denial. There is a phrase that is often used following an episode in which a Christian who should have turned the other cheek, didn't, who should have swallowed their pride, but didn't, who should have given the cloak as well, but didn't .... And the phrase is 'Well we aren't called to be doormats!'
And yet by any normal reading of the requirements of Jesus teaching it does look as though, in many circumstances, that this is precisely what we are called to be, at least from the perception of the world. The humble spirit that will lose the argument to win the soul,the person dealing with the antagonistic family member who will back down and swallow pride rather than prove an unnecessary point, the heart that will not only go the extra mile for an enemy ( an enemy note) but will do so while genuinely wishing that enemy to be blessed not cursed, a sheep that Wilkins be silent whilst being lead to the slaughter, prefering to trust in God. These are all pretty 'doormat like' traits to anybody looking in.

There are of course times when we are called to take a firm stand, to exert some significant 'authority' and turn over some tables. However these are always standing up for the honour or rights of others or a righteous anger when injustice is perpetrated against the weak or helpless.
There is a scripture which begins 'We are to become like like Christ Jesus'
A doormat when it comes to our own pride, petty point scoring and rights, but a warrior when it comes to standing up to injustice the honour of our God and 'defending' the faith. How often are we warriors in our own defense and silent and doormats in the face of injustice and the suffering of others? Just a thought I had during an off piste excursion at housegroup.

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