Monday, 30 May 2016

Difference

What you see if what you get!

What it says on the label of the tin is what's inside!

I am what I am!

There's no question that for me, one of the biggest challenges that faces the world, is when people say one thing and do another.  Governments seem to change their policies daily?  Then when questioned they wriggle and explain, no what I meant was this......

Marmite cleverly marketed itself on the slogan, you either love it or hate it.  Indeed I think often Pioneering types like myself have been described a bit like this as well.

But I'm thinking, shouldn't the Church be different, shouldn't its members (disciples) be distinct from the crowds from the world?  Have we conformed to much, lost our distinctiveness, our saltiness?

Yesterday I had a experience that really challenged and blessed me.  It was very different to what I expected, and a real blessing.

In church the speaker had spoken about Gods deep love and passion for us (i've heard this before), he then handed out scripture verses to the whole church, (again i've done that before), and he then invited the person to read the statements to the person next to you.  (I spoke last week at our training gathering about assumptions and how often the church 'gears' itself for middle England, when in fact this is a dangerous place to be. We need to always recognise diversity, difference, and be inclusive in all we do)

John introduced himself, with his carer Wellington.  John lived in full time care, couldn't read very well and his sight was impaired.'God is able to do immeasurably more than you can imagine or dream!'  This is a verse that's dear to my heart and ministry, read it many times but this was different.  The words seems to be more powerful because of who and how they were read.  I was deeply blessed thank you John.

Wellington, was Johns eyes, ears and voice to some extent.  He straight away said, I cant really read very well.  Wellington said its fine John I'll help you!  John read over, one word at a time, reciting what Wellington told him.

In this moment, yet again as in recent days I was reminded that the Church needs to be different, and embrace diversity.  Unity with diversity not uniformity.  I have to be honest, sometimes I feel like the odd one out, and thats because I don't do things the same as everyone else in church leadership.  It often feels like im the strange one, different?

I smiled, God had confirmed yet again that we need to be looking at different ways of living, of being church....of being distinct

We said bye to John and Wellington, John said bye 'got to rush i need my fags.....

'We smiled shook his hand and thanked God that we had sat at the feet of a man who had taught us more than we could ever have imagined.

Sunday, 29 May 2016

A Different Way

Do you ever get frustrated?
Annoyed?
Worked up?

Do you ever think you don't understand?
Or that you think, there's another way?
A better way?

That you are on a different page to everyone around you?
And the more you think about this the more those feelings are compounded?

Or maybe its just me...?

Maybe discipleship, lived out in a broken world, is one where you continue to wrestle with your own inner battles, which are then compounded in the world?
Complicated?

Or is it that some of us just think to much?

I'm thinking!
Why is it that when I engage with the majority of The Church, i so often feel right on the edge?  
Misunderstood and struggling to understand why maybe I see things differently.  Please note differently not better!


This week I met with a lot of people who are going through radical changes in their ministries.  I believe that these will be challenging but also exciting days.  I do understand the feelings linked to change (this time last year we were moving into a new phase of ministry after 23 years!)  But I found myself at times wanting to shout out in the room!!  NO NO NO there's a different way to train, to teach, to help, to even cajole along the new path.  A different way.

I found all of the feelings listed above going through my body, at different time.  I wanted to shout out, BUT I felt like I needed to keep quiet, when every bone in me wanted to shout out!

The still small voice of God kept repeating words into my head 'follow the most excellent of ways, love!)

In our groups we were tasked with communicating the new role, at one point.  The groups, about ten in all, enacted these very differently, they were excellent all of them and very different.  When it came to our own group, we did not speak a single word,  we simply 'signed' four actions.  Afterwards the leader commented, Andrew Vertigan undertaking a role and not saying anything, i didnt expect that!!  How powerful!!   I smiled to myself,  'may my life speak louder than my words, and if necessary use words!'

You see, i think we do not have to be the same, some are called to 'cry out in the wilderness', some are called to declare a different way, some are called to challenge the 'status quo' or the way we do things. Some, to be true to themselves and that which God has called them to be, must 'not stand idly by'. HOWEVER even if this is the role, they must always do so with grace and love.

So may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Your Sight, O God, even when my sinues wrestle with this, for this is what the Lord requires from all of us.

Tuesday, 17 May 2016

A Blessing of Encouragement

This popped up on my facebook page, it was from three years ago, when I was going through a real personal challenge.
 At the time it felt like I was being attacked on everyside and not know which way to turn. 
It was during this pain, uncertainty, heartache that God gave me, most of the time, the assurance of faith.

It was at this time that I saw The Church as The Hope of The World.

yes the Church is a blessing.
I think at present we need to declare this over Gods church once more.  It feels like all I keep hearing is negativity.  I do not deny the challenges, but we need to speak the words of eternal life, not listen to the rubbish of the world, and the lies of the enemy who would turn us in on ourselves.

God Has Given Me a Place in His Church
All kinds of wonderful things happen when you become a believer, whether you become part of the body of Christ as a little child or as a retiree. 
Your status with God changes from enemy to child. 
Your future changes from condemned to saved. 
Your spiritual appearance changes from filthy to glorious in God's eyes.
Another marvelous benefit is that you acquire an enormous number of new friends and family members. As you are connected to Christ, you are automatically connected to his brothers and sisters. Isn't that amazing? No Christian can possibly say, "I am alone." "Remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household" (Ephesians 2:12,19).
Are you part of a community of faith? You have a network of people to worship with, pray with, serve with, laugh with, grow with, and learn with.
Through your church you can be an important encourager of other strugglers. And there you can let people minister to you. Then you will know how you matter in God's scheme of things.
Today I pray you speak the words of eternal life, and of truth and of hope to those people who today need you to encourage them.

I pray for the Church to once More be full of sons and daughters of encouragement!  Theres enough moaning in the world, can we live differently?

Monday, 16 May 2016

The Temperatures rising…….

I returned to the flat I use in London last evening.
It was like a sauna,
sweltering,
no air....
I straight away opened all the windows, flung them wide and let the fresh London evening air in.
That’s better, I thought.

But have you ever stopped in London to hear the noise?



Not the obvious sirens, traffic and life, but the more subtle noises which you have to really listen for?


I love the rural setting, having grown up in the countryside of Norfolk.  It makes my heart beat.  Slow and uncluttered, unstated in so many ways and yet so full of life.  

I awake every morning up north at about 4.30-5.00am to the sound of birds singing, the morning chorus.  I love the sound (well most mornings).  especially in the Springtime.    This morning as I lay awake in The City, I listened very hard and I could here a single bird waking and singing.  Not quite the dawn chorus but the lone voice could have been lost in the more obvious noise.

To me this sits with my thoughts from yesterday, and also something I sense in my inner being. 

The noise that has been ‘banging its drum loud’, has been the FFm stuff, both its implications and implementation.  BUT there is a more subtle understated noise, Im hearing….
It’s the sound of bones….

Coming to life…..
Waking up…..
Yes, I sense, I hear the sound of the Army of the Lord waking, and rising up.
Yes, I sense the Ezekiel vision being breathed life into once more by the Spirit.
It was in the seeming chaos and mess of death that new life was birthed.

Friends it is in the chaos and mess of death that there is new life.  Hope, purpose and meaning


Do you hear the subtle noise of Gods people  stirring, waking……?


Sunday, 15 May 2016

Pentecost Thunder

Well that was a first for Pentecost!!

I found myself sat in a pew....yes a hard wooden one...
In a Church Parade Service....
In the crowd....
It seemed every child from across the neighbourhood was there.

They were everywhere…….such noise….
Such chaos….
IT really WAS TOTAL CHAOS!  Or so it seemed.

There were moments of course with any modern worship where the technology didn’t work, and Microsoft decided to update….
But it was in these unplanned moments, that there was a real sense of Gods presence. 

Something happened…..
It wasn’t tongues of fire, but it wasn’t far off.
There was an Almighty rumble of thunder as we prayed Lord send your Holy Spirit to us….
Literally it felt like the whole earth and building shock!    And yet, when I asked Andrea she had not heard it!!  (she was lost in prayer at the time)

This morning, Dan the leader was used by God to challenge me, and confirm some things to me.

I was being asked, Am I using the gifts God has given to me.
Am I being what God requires of me?

It was in the paradox of thunder and yet total peace and quiet that I felt remarkably affirmed by God.  That Im in the right place and that He graciously is using my personality and gifts for such a time as this.
As I sat still listening I couldn’t help but reflect….
it feels a bit like these are thunder and storm times as a movement, and yet there are real signs of Kingdom and good news in the midst of it.   Im privileged and deeply blessed to be seeing the signs of Kingdom growth all over the country at present.

But back to that THUNDER!

The thunder literally woke me from my slumber in worship.
Im sensing,
feeling, 
hearing
that these days are of real Holy Spirit Chaos and Creativity.
Maybe we have needed to be shaken from our slumber?
Maybe we have  needed to wake up?
Maybe it is time we once more were truly a movement, a people on mission, a people enpowered by and reliant upon the Holy Spirit.

Do you hear the Thunder?
Do you hear the noise of The Creator God waking up His Church?

More Importantly have we stopped so we can listen

Emmaus Pioneer Journey

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