Every Church needs to be a Hit Factory – a place where you inner tunes are discovered, detached from the discords of fear and doubt, placed together with rhythms of grace and united with the X Factor of Heaven.
If you have wondered where your God may be leading you to, it’s a place called Bethany. It’s a place where ‘Agape’ love collides with ‘Phileo’ love – where unconditional love meets brotherly love to create a sense of family that all of us are deeply longing for. And it’s from a bond of brothers that strength comes and the future is won.
I made up the Albanian reference, but the two rabbits bit is true of your life. Once, a whole lot of whales got trapped and died in a Canadian inlet while chasing a school of sardines. The papers the next day said that they ‘prostituted vast sums of power for insignificant gains!’ We need to be on the on guard so that that doesn’t become the caption of our lives.
In recent times there’s been a movement within the church luring Jesus into the category of alpha male. They cite that many men stay away from church because they view it as a ‘ladies club’, prompting a number of church leaders to attempt to take Jesus out of the limp wristed, semi-geeky and semi-camp imagery and more into a macho, ‘carpentered up’ image of ‘who he really was and is.’ But, is it based on scripture or is it a misdiagnosis of the reason why there’s more women in church than men?
‘What do you think people think when they see you?’ Most people have no idea of where we’ve each come from and where we’re going. All they see is a snapshot – a photograph – no perspective and no background. With snapshots, all we can do is categorize them. In doing so, we all become a little judgemental. For example when we see someone a little overweight, we judge them. But if we’d seen that they have spent the last year reducing their weight by half, we would congratulate them.
Most Christian homes have one. It’s either found on a mug, a fridge magnet or in the bathroom! Can you guess what it is yet? It’s a copy of ‘Footprints in the Sand’. I’ve decided that even though it’s the most popular piece of Christian literature outside of the Bible itself, it’s a sacred cow and I don’t like it.
Right now, right across the planet Psalm 97:1 remains as true today as it always has been ‘The Lord reigns!’ In actual fact it doesn’t stop there but invites us to immediately respond to it by saying – ‘…let the earth rejoice’… it’s hard to ‘rejoice’ when you’re either staring down the gun of something particularly awful or having to face the total unpredictability of the future.
Rain is a necessity of life. From it rivers are formed bringing freshness and newness to everything they touch. Let 2012 to be our year of heavy rain! The problem with rain, however, is that it usually comes with menacing clouds of trouble that tend to overshadow our worlds. Yet don’t be fooled by trouble! Clouds are God’s Eddie Stobbard of the skies. They are giant transporters taking precious water back from the lowlands to the highlands to create great rivers of influence and blessings.
In May 2011 Great British Churches was introduced by myself, John Greenow from Xcel Church in Newton Aycliffe and Chris Denham from Hope City Church in Leeds with a heart to come alongside churches across Britain to encourage, resource, train and empower leaders as they build and establish nation impacting chruches.
Firstly, I need to say that I like Rob Bell. I cried as I turned the empty pages at the close of ‘Drops Like Stars’. He’s a thinker, a lover of people and a Christian leader of our age. It’s this third Characteristic that has led me to write this short article… Rob has a problem that I have also grappled with (and who in their right mind wouldn’t?). How can a good God send good people to Hell forever? When we say ‘good people’, we mean people that work an honest living, raise an honest family and really care for the world around them. Rob’s answer is to adjust the nature of God, adjust the true nature of people and to adjust the means through which we must all come to God.