Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Good tips for running a worship ministry

As I settle more and more into running a worship ministry across two campuses I see more and more how these points by Austin Stone's worship director, Chris Collins, are incredibly helpful.  As I read this article I was encouraged to see his points as things I have been attempting to implement in my time here at Birkdale, so thought I would share the article wider so other's can read and be helped to.  And they are good points for single campus churches too!

Check it out.
Pastoring Worship Leaders in a Multi-Campus Model

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Freshening of my spirit, with the Spirit.

I was reading through Ezekiel 36 last night - sitting in a prayer and worship time with young adults from my church, and here I was totally absorbed in God telling Ezekiel to prophesy to the mountains of Israel which had been run down by the invading armies.

God tells the mountains that they will be renewed, because their people are coming home, and will live on them once again.

I sat there hearing God speak to me.  I have been feeling a bit run down recently, caught in the culture of the world, and the expectation of what the world thinks a pastor is.  I think I'd been enjoying my new role in my new church so much I'd allowed myself to become a bit complacent about the call to holiness and set-apartness that I am called to first as a Christian.

At the beginning of the prayer time I had asked Jesus to personally speak to me as I worked hard to focus on Him - because I had felt over the past few weeks I had been almost acting on autopilot, doing the things people needed to see a pastor do, but not focusing on connecting to Jesus through those things myself.  And that's when He too me to Ezekiel 36.

In some sense I was the mountain.  As a pastor I am a person people come to, or look to to find guidance - and the world around me had run me down.  God was promising to renew me first, so that I could be the renewing of His people by His Spirit.

As Ezekiel 36:26-27 says He first needed to give me a new heart and new Spirit, for me to be empowered by Him to live according to His statutes and obeying His rules, and then for His Name, He could use me to do that in other people too.

It was an incredibly empowering time, and then as I turned the page I remembered what Ezekiel 37 was all about - the vision of the valley full of dry bones - and so I read it allowed to the young adults there, feeling God calling me to pray that those who were there that night feeling dry (just as I had at the beginning) would be refreshed and have the breath of God reenter them and the Spirit renew them.   It was a specific call from God to speak to people at that time and moment, and it was powerful, because I saw straight up the work God had done in me, so that He could work through me.

I encourage you to go and read Ezekiel 36 and 37 if you are feeling dry in your faith - let God speak to you as He promised Israel He would refresh and renew their faith for His glory!

Monday, 18 July 2016

Real interactions...

Last week as most of the world reverted back to the 90's with the latest Pokemon craze, I found myself feeling like it was the 90's for a whole different reason.

With being out of the office a lot, having my internet connection go down at home and then being away for TeenStreet I used up my data allowance for the month on my mobile, I have a high allowance so usually breeze in each month, but this time I had a good 6 days where instead of paying for extra data I decided to turn it off and wait it out.

So last week my phone could only do two things... make phone calls and send text messages.

What I found was that though I did get annoyed if there was something I needed to post or wanted to share but couldn't, most of the time I felt much less of a need to have my phone in my hands and whenever I had a spare moment I spent more time observing what was going on around me.

Over the years of having a smart phone it has just become natural that whenever a spare moment comes up I pull out the phone and browse... but without the ability to do that I was much more present in the real world.  I walked places and looked in windows, smiled at people walking the other way (if they weren't on their phone) and generally interacted better with what was around me.  I chatted with the lady making my kebab for lunch, instead of ordering then checking Instagram. Most of all I wasn't bored or disconnected because I didn't have my phone... I was just engaged with the world around me.

Since getting my data back on the weekend I feel less of a need to constantly be checking things on my phone - I'm glad to have the ability to share something or be in contact with someone if I need - but I am going to try and be more absorbed in the real world around me than the virtual space social media creates.

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.
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