Thursday, October 30, 2014

Krish Kandiah: "Why I have changed my mind on Halloween"

This post by Krish is an interesting one. Krish taught me mission and evangelism at Vicar Factory.

For the pod: Praying in the Spirit

'Time spent in prayer will yield more than that given to work. Prayer alone gives work its worth and its success. Prayer opens the way for God Himself to do His work in us and through us. Let our chief work as God's messengers be intercession; in it we secure the presence and power of God to go with us.' 

Andrew Murray

Tonight Mrs C and I are teaching the Prayer Course to a few folk. We have been through this material a few times now and every time there has been something new to learn. It is always an adventure to once again ask Jesus to 'teach us to pray.

This morning I listened to a talk called 'Praying in the power of the Spirit' which expounds that odd verse that tells us the Spirit intercedes for us 'with groans'.

I am looking forward to reading a couple of new books and am excited about Metaxas on miracles. You will remember me enthusing about Metaxas on Bonhoeffer which if you haven't read yet you should take on your next holiday. I am also awaiting delivery of the new book by Keller on prayer which will soon to drop on the doormat.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014


I pal recommended to me reading 'Awakening' the fascinating story of Christophe Blumhardt and the Mottlingen revival of the 1840's in Germany. It's interesting and intense stuff. Karl Barth looked historically to Blumhardt as something of a mentor
(Free as an ebook -126 pages):
'Man, think on eternity,
And do not mock the time of grace, 
For judgment is not far off. '

Monday, October 27, 2014

For the pod: Pastors who pray

'Prayer is learned not in the classroom but in the closet'

E M Bounds

This talk 'Cultivating Private Prayer as a Pastor' gave (and is giving) my prayer life a kick.

So good and so much food to chew on.

Oh that we pastors would pray with more zeal and more expectation.

Oh that I would do so.

Do listen to it, pastor or not, and I do believe there will be some nuggets that will light the fire of prayer in you once again.

Monday musing

We had a very good and busy Sunday but if I ever tire of seeing someone declaring Jesus as their Lord and Saviour and submitting themselves to a pool full of water for baptism I am in the wrong job. There was much rejoicing in our church family yesterday. We had 18 to lunch to celebrate (it was 12 but somehow I can never stop myself adding a few more). Mrs C cooked 'Pacific Lime Chicken' from Cook Simple. It was stupendous.

Apparently, one in fifty of the C of E's clergy don't believe in God and we wonder why we are struggling a tad.

I am still chuckling about a phrase Geoff Surrat used about applying Willow leadership fads to the local church. He said too often pastors find themselves ''Up a creek without a Hybels"

I am so enjoying Shrink. I've had it now for a few days and it's dog-eared and heavily underlined. So much that Tim Shuttle writes is resonating with me and the way I am shaped. I used a story about Andre Agassi in my sermon on 'Justification by Faith' (do listen to this by Keller if you want a primer on what JbF is!)

This story that Ann Voskamp posted is one to read about Ebola.

I have been mulling on the testimony of Rev Richard Coles and the fact that Forward in Faith Bishop Jonathan , Episcopal overseer for traditionalists opposed to the ordination of women, has asked for permission to remarry which has been granted.

Since reading about Rev Richard Coles I have been singing 'Don't leave me this way' around the house which was something of a dance floor smash in the 80's. To my disbelief, Mrs C had never heard of it and was not even helped by my trying to dance to it in the style of Jimmy Sommerville. She was only 8 in 1986 so I've let her off the hook on her musical ignorance. Next things is she'll be telling me she's never heard of 'Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark' :)

The is a lot of darkness advertising locally. Halloween is Christmas for the other side. I always remember Danielle Strinkland's phrase in a talk at Soul Survivor that went something like- 'where the light is passive the darkness advances unopposed'. It has and will act as a wake up call for me and our people.

Boris Johnson has written a biography of Churchill called 'The Churchill Factor'.

We had a fantastic film sermon at our 16:30 service. It used the film 'The Guardian' which for some reason had passed me by. If you watch this film and it doesn't ignite the evangelist in you then I'll eat my sandals of peace. I watched it last week and, of course, it made me cry.

An unrelenting 'reach the lost man' is a American fellow called Perry Noble who has a church the size of Leamington Spa. Over the weekend, I spotted a post that he had written entitled 'Seven reasons I believe Jesus is going to save 500 people this weekend' and everything in my spirit said 'Give me a flipping break'  [Probably because I am mid-flow with reading 'Shrink' which is a critique of the mega-church]. I clicked on it anyway. Imagine my surprise to find myself won over as I read and by the end of the post I was left wondering how I could invite someone to his church. The little phrase that got me was this this one:

'Found people find people' which I quoted in my sermon.

I've nicked that phrase lock stock and barrel and am quoting it everywhere I go. Hope that's OK Perry :)

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Two shots in my arm

A couple of posts at have really given me a shot in the arm today. It was very timely.

1. A leader must be a reader

2. How to reignite ministry passion

How to be useful to God

From BiOY today:

'He is one of my great heroes of faith. He was a model of godliness, faith and humility. God used him greatly. When he died in 1982, his executors were unable to trace a single member of his family still living. No one came forward claiming to be even a distant relation.

Yet, The Times obituary about him rightly noted that his influence within the Church of England during the previous fifty years was probably greater than any of his contemporaries. John Stott, who was one of the numerous influential Christian leaders whom he led to faith in Christ, said of him: ‘Those who knew him well and those who worked with him never expect to see his like again; for rarely can anyone have meant so much to so many as this quietly spoken, modest and deeply spiritual man.’

Why was this man, the Reverend E.J.H. Nash – better known as ‘Bash’ – so useful to God? How can we be useful to God? It is no secret, the Bible tells us how.

St Paul writes, ‘In a well-furnished kitchen there are not only crystal goblets and silver platters, but waste cans and compost buckets – some containers used to serve fine meals, others to take out the garbage. Become the kind of container God can use to present any and every kind of gift to his guests for their blessing’ (2 Timothy 2:20–21, MSG).

John Stott writes, ‘No higher honour could be imagined than to be an instrument in the hand of Jesus Christ, to be at his disposal for the furtherance of his purposes, to be available whenever wanted for his service.’ Being useful to God starts with dedicating your life to him and re-dedicating it regularly to his service.'

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Shrink: Fruitful or Faithful?

I have been chewing over the question of whether we are called to be faithful or fruitful. Chris Hodges suggested that God doesn't call us to be faithful but fruitful when I heard him speak and he echoes this in his book 'Four cups'. An alternate view, offered in a book I am currently reading called 'Shrink' suggests being faithful is what counts.

'I have become convinced that the Christian leader's first job is to become a good and virtuous human being and a good and virtuous leader, and then to leave questions of growth and perceived success in the hands of God. Sometimes all God requires is to do the small things faithfully for the rest of his or her life. How many of us have the tools to even imagine that, much less carry it off?'

Shrink, Tim Shuttle, Page 26

The size of any particular church is somewhat incidental if in order to grow it you have to forfeit your marriage, your kids walk with Jesus or your Sabbath. Does anyone care that Mars Hill now has less than half of the congregation that it had six weeks ago? What does matter is that for a variety of reasons their pastor failed to finish the race well with devastating consequences for him, his church and his family. He was at Gateway Church over the weekend and he tells the throng that he's healing up and taking some time out.

I am enjoying reading 'Shrink' which captures many of the tensions for those of us who both long to see the church grow, whilst also wanting to preserve our sanity, health and passion for Jesus along the way.