Discipleship, Kingdom, Luke 13.6-9., Ministry, Spiritual Health

Fruity or Leafy???

Luke.13.6 Then he told this parable: ‘A man had a fig-tree growing in his vineyard, and he went to look for fruit on it but did not find any. So he said to the man who took care of the vineyard, “For three years now I’ve been coming to look for fruit on this fig-tree and haven’t found any. Cut it down! Why should it use up the soil?”

‘“Sir,” the man replied, “leave it alone for one more year, and I’ll dig round it and fertilize it. If it bears fruit next year, fine! If not, then cut it down.”’

Okay, that’s a bit of a challenging parable!

Lets have a bit of explanation, the people hearing this would have seen this as a picture of them, a religiously pious people, and a picture I think can transfer in todays context to the Church.

Fig Trees are proud trees, standing tall, they also produce lots of green leaves… this tree probably looked fab, but just one problem it didn’t actually produce fruit.

I think this can sound a lot like the Church. We can look the part with our great buildings, we can sound the part with our music and our conversation… but the question has got to be are we actually producing fruit?

So what is fruit? I believe it is lives transformed by Christ.

In our Churches that will be people coming to faith, growing in faith, being changed by Christ to become more like Christ.

It might be slow, it might be gradual, it might be two steps forward and one back, but if the Spirit of God is at work in his Church there will be fruit.

True with our own personal lives, it is easy to cultivate leaves, learn how to talk Christian-eaze or ‘a verse for every occasion’, or to hang out in and around churchiness… but much harder to (with the Holy Spirit at work in us) cultivate fruit of transformation, showing “love, joy, peace, patience, gentleness, kindness and self control”.

I was wondering about leaves in Churches… Sometimes we think somewhere is really fruitful because it has a really high standard of musical excellence, or we think somewhere is really happening because it has a nice modern building and serves great coffee, or a Church has a fab website, or the congregation is large these are all things (and not bad things) that we sometimes look at to measure the ‘health’ of a Church rather than the only question that matters is “how like Jesus are its members becoming?”

How did Jesus say we could tell who were his disciples? His answer is simple “by this will all people know that you are my disciples, because you love one another”.

So lets be people who are more concerned with fruit than leaves.

justice, Kingdom, Mission, Protest

Protest & Mission.

People often talk about Mission Statements.

Often people have used Matthew 28 as the Churches Mission Statement: “Go into all the World and make them my disciples”, there is good reason for this, after-all in Matthews Gospel they are some of the last recorded words of Jesus. It is an interesting verse, firstly it is active, ‘Go’, interesting we have changed it to a more passive ‘you can come to us if you want too’ -interestingly most evangelism involves inviting people onto our turf, rarely us going to them… Its a world wide call, its a call beyond the familiarity of our comfort zones (an old proverb says “you will never know what you may encounter until you have the bravery to loose sight of the shore”). It is a call to go beyond ‘getting a scalp’ or getting someone to ‘pray a prayer’ -make disciples is a very different term from making a convert, discipleship is ‘in it for the long haul’ seeing lives transformed to become more Christ-like whilst also becoming a discipler of others.

Instead, I think that Jesus’ Mission Statement for himself and his disciples (which includes us as well) comes from the Lords Prayer, when it says “May your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”.

When we unpack this, Kingdom coming is about the King being on the throne and reigning, in other words it not only an acknowledgement of Christ, but a surrendering to him whilst following him in obedience. When we think of what is grown or present in heaven, we realise it is very different from the world we have become used too. A good question to ask about most things is ‘will it be in heaven?’, if God doesn’t allow it in heaven, what’s my reaction to it here on earth? Jealousy, conflict, squabbles, pride and vanity wont be there but it is amazing how much this insecurity stuff drives much of what happens here on earth but has no place in an eternal Kingdom, just as the latest stuff may really matter to our world now but has little or no eternal value… Yet we are called to be ambassadors of this new Kingdom which we are called to usher in, to live as people of that Kingdom, as aliens in a foreign culture in this world…

It is a calling to shout to the world a protest that is shouldn’t be this way, and it doesn’t have to be.

Christians are to be the protest voice that points to a new and better way, a way that existed from the beginning, the way we were created to be… Walking in the light, walking God’s way.

Living generously in a stingy world.
Being compassionate in a hard-hearted world.
praying in healing in a broken world.
Speaking Truth is a dishonest world.
Being just in an unjust world.
Living as lights in a dark world.

Lord Jesus, let your Kingdom come on earth, in Kingswood, as it is in heaven.

Church, community of grace, Mission, Mission Shaped Church

Decoding Mission…

I’m passionate about Jesus and want everyone to know him, and hear his good news in a way people can understand.
However, one thing I have come to realize how much jargon exists around mission?
-Are you a Mission Shaped?
-Are you being fruitful on your frontline? -Where is your frontline?
-Are you in an Intentional Community?
-Are you part of an inherited model of Church or you a Fresh Expression of Church?
-Is it indigenous or culturally sensitive?
-A few years ago we used to ask “is it Seeker Sensitive?” but we seem to have stopped asking that question which seemed quite an important one to ask?
-Isn’t it about BEING Church rather than GOING to Church anyway?
Is this New Wine bursting from an Old Wine Skin? (Okay, that’s a Biblical image I can’t moan about that!) Or is it new wine in a new wine skin? Perhaps it is a transitional wine skin?
-Is it Mission or is it Evangelism? If so where does Disciple-making fit into this?
-Is it WHOLE LIFE Discipleship?
-Are we intentional about Mission?
-Is Mission and Discipleship Organic as we ‘share life together’…
-Are we growing leaders?
The problem is there whole language around mission and evangelism, and although people have got good at speaking about it well, I’m not sure we have got that much better at doing it.
I wonder if spoke less about Mission and actually did it whether are language would be come clearer?
I wonder if sometimes we over complicate it? Is it sometimes a case of just talking about Jesus and walking with people as they ask questions and explore who he is, and as we walk with them we love them irrespective of if they ever do, or don’t come to know Christ.
Here is an attempt at some decoding…
Mission Shaped: Mission means a sent people, Mission is often used to describe a task we are given, what is the Christians great task? I think it is summed up in Jesus’ teaching on Prayer, the Lords Prayer, “Let your Kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven”… Or Jesus great Commission “to go into all the world and make them my disciples”. So being ‘Mission Shaped’ is allowing what we are called to do,to shape who we are (both individually and corporately).
Fruitfulness on the Frontline,  the idea is where has God placed you, where do you spend most of your time? Where do you hang out? Where are you friends and family? We interact with literally thousands of people, these are our frontlines, are we impact the lives of these people with something of the Kingdom of God. Are we seeing fruit (lives influenced and changed for the Kingdom).
Intentional Community, is where we choose to be a community (maybe even living together) and as our life together based around shared values we can become together than we are on our own.
Inherited Church: The Church we have received.
A fresh expression of church is a new gathering or network that engages mainly with people who have never been to church. There is no single model, but the emphasis is on starting something which is appropriate to its context, rather than cloning something that works elsewhere.
Indigenous: Does it come from the community you are trying to reach?
Culturally sensitive: Does it work and is it appropriate for the people you are reaching?
Evangelism: Comes from the word “Evangel” which means “Good news”,its about proclaiming something through words, through deeds and more recently we’ve rediscovered God’s supernatural power in evangelism.
Discipleship: Its not just about getting people to ‘pray the prayer’ or start coming to Church, but actually to follow Christ and become like him.
Whole Life Discipleship: Not just being able to fit into a Churchy culture and language but in everything we do, and in who we are, we reflect Christ to the world.
Growing Leaders: Someone once said ‘success isn’t success without a successor’ we need to see people raised up, equipped and empowered, to pass the batton onto, so that the next generation can hear the message of Jesus in a way they can understand. At the heart of all of this is a very simple cycle. Disciples making Disciples and that has been happening since the Holy Spirit broke out onto the streets of Jerusalem.


Giving/Generousity., Mark 12:41-43, Money

Celebrity Cheques and Widows Mites

Mark 12:41 Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few pence. 43 Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’

I was at a Deanery Synod last night (feel sorry for me!) and people were talking about money, basically the diocese doesn’t have enough cash to do all it wants/needs too, and being anglicans, we all pay money into a central pot so that we all help each other out, especially meaning we can support Churches in areas which might not have a Church otherwise (which is why you rarely see more congregational Churches in deprived areas!).

As I looked at all these numbers, I suddenly realised how impressed I was by the big successful Churches large pledges of money, and didn’t pay so much attention to the small Churches little pledges, and then suddenly realised as someone said about even though they were a tiny congregation they  were giving sacrificially, and I began to think about this story, and quietly repented in my head for my materialistic thinking.

If you have a lot of money it is easy to appear generous without taking much of a hit, whereas when you are generous with the little you have to survive on that shows greater love and commitment to the cause.

In our world the celebrity cheque is greeted by the flash of cameras and cheesy grins and yet probably cost the giver very little, whereas the poor family moved to give out of a tight budget might not be greeted by the glare of publicity but is actually showing greater love and compassion.

The same is true of other giving too, often we praise those who are always at Church doing things, often the retired who enjoy coming along to stuff, but can overlook the mum who just helps out every Friday with the youth group, when for her this is possibly a bigger and more costly sacrifice giving up her one free evening to serve.

In Mark’s gospel the text is continually ‘flashing forward’ toward the Passion narrative, Jesus’ death on the cross for us was not him making a small contribution but giving his everything. What of us are we giving our everything in return?

“Were the whole realm of nature mine that were an offering far too small, love so amazing, so divine, demands my soul, my life, my all!

So, lets pray we are generous people, pray we see generosity of the heart not seduced by the amount, care more about the heart that has given than the zeros on the cheque.

People might be getting stressed at me by this point, because there is also another interpretation to this passage.

t is a classic Mark Sandwich, where the first and third paragraph is counterbalanced by the middle story, the widows mite is in-between the Pharisees “Church and State”  argument about paying Taxes to Caesar and followed on by Jesus prophesying the destruction of the Temple “As He was going out of the temple, one of His disciples *said to Him, “Teacher, behold what wonderful stones and what wonderful buildings!” And Jesus said to him, “Do you see these great buildings? Not one stone will be left upon another which will not be torn down.” (Mark 13.1&2)

Mark is attacking the religious institutions obsession with buildings and wealth and neglect of the heart. Although Jesus praises the woman’s sacrificial giving, I wonder too whether Mark is showing how exploitative the Temple had become? The wealth and grandeur of the religious establishment ‘look at these wonderful building’ but is  squeezing a poor widows of their last penny.   Jesus had already driven the money lenders and merchants out of the Temple two chapters earlier.

Sadly this money grabbing nature which places the finery of its buildings and the continuation of the religious establishment above the care of the poor and vulnerable.

I think both interpretations work together and think Jesus is actually saying both.

A challenge to us, are we people who give sacrificially?

Are we people who are seduced by wealth, or see the sacrifice of the heart?

Are we people who challenge exploitative systems that rob the poor?

Lets live radical lives of generosity, sacrifice and fighting for justice.


Acts 8:26-40., Church, Mission, Salvation

Leaving the Stadium for the Scout Hut.

Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went. Philip went down to a city in Samaria and proclaimed the Messiah there. When the crowds heard Philip and saw the signs he performed, they all paid close attention to what he said. For with shrieks, impure spirits came out of many, and many who were paralysed or lame were healed. So there was great joy in that city.

26 Now an angel of the Lord said to Philip, ‘Go south to the road – the desert road – that goes down from Jerusalem to Gaza.’ 27 So he started out, and on his way he met an Ethiopian eunuch, an important official in charge of all the treasury of the Kandake (which means ‘queen of the Ethiopians’). This man had gone to Jerusalem to worship, 28 and on his way home was sitting in his chariot reading the Book of Isaiah the prophet. 29 The Spirit told Philip, ‘Go to that chariot and stay near it.’

30 Then Philip ran up to the chariot and heard the man reading Isaiah the prophet. ‘Do you understand what you are reading?’ Philip asked.

31 ‘How can I,’ he said, ‘unless someone explains it to me?’ So he invited Philip to come up and sit with him.

32 This is the passage of Scripture the eunuch was reading:

‘He was led like a sheep to the slaughter,
    and as a lamb before its shearer is silent,
    so he did not open his mouth.
33 In his humiliation he was deprived of justice.
    Who can speak of his descendants?
    For his life was taken from the earth.’

34 The eunuch asked Philip, ‘Tell me, please, who is the prophet talking about, himself or someone else?’ 35 Then Philip began with that very passage of Scripture and told him the good news about Jesus.

36 As they travelled along the road, they came to some water and the eunuch said, ‘Look, here is water. What can stand in the way of my being baptised?’ [c]38 And he gave orders to stop the chariot. Then both Philip and the eunuch went down into the water and Philip baptised him.

Many of these posts have been partly me trying to get my head around trying to be faithful to God in a world and (a) role(s) which sometimes are a very struggle.

Often people talk about strategy which definitely is important, I think God is into people being intentional and visionary (after-all if where there is no vision the people perish, the reverse must be true, when we have God’s vision people are saved and made whole!). 

Yet I worry sometimes that when we talk of strategy, God can be put in a box, as he’s pretty unpredictable and likes to keep us on our toes!

Strategically, Jesus chatting to the woman at the well (John 4) was a pretty poor strategy, she had no real influence, was shunned by her community… There was 1000 good reasons why Jesus SHOULDN’T have talked to her, but she becomes an amazing ambassador telling everyone about Jesus (in fact their conversation is interesting as its the first time in John he directly identifies himself as the Messiah, contrast this with Nicodemus in the previous chapter).

Strategically, Philip should have stayed in Samaria. It’s working well there, people are being saved and signs and wonders are happening. Its a key hub for the area. It certainly makes more strategic sense than standing in the middle of the desert.

But it wasn’t just standing in the desert, it was standing in the desert at the hottest point of the day, most of the time being obedient isn’t easy, its the tougher choice… It is often a calling out of your comfort zone.

And presumably Philip hung around there for a while, I am convinced as Christians too often we quit too early, I was challenged early on in my Christian life by Bill Wilson (of Metro-Ministries, the worlds largest Sunday School in Brooklyn New York) who said: “Christians often quit before the miracles kick it”.

Philip must have wondered why he left the ‘fruitful place’ for the ‘barren place’, in todays’ imagery why he left the stadium for the scout hut, the crowd for one individual… 

Like the Woman at the Well there were a 1000 reasons why he SHOULDN’T speak to him… He was a gentile, he was ‘defiled’ as he was a Eunuch and good Jewish young men don’t talk to defiled gentiles. Philip probably had identity issues as it is thought he is the Philip who is one of the deacons rather than the one of the 12 (a second generation disciple). 

In fact God was asking him to spark up a conversation with someone in a carriage so probably meant running a bit, breaking a sweat, a bit of a challenge… But then by his obedience, God opens the door, the Eunuch is reading Isaiah, a bit like coming across someone on the train reading a ‘Why Jesus’ and saying to you “can you help me with this”…

The Eunuch clearly was a person of peace, have spoken about this before in missional posts, people to look out for who are open to the Kingdom and welcome you and often are gatekeepers to wider networks. Christian tradition teaches us that from the Eunuch’s encounter with Philip, Ethiopia and the continent of Africa, heard about Jesus.


We often see things with our own eyes and our own strategies in our head, often we are task-focused too, and so often we forget the importance of the one person, the individual.

The old youth work joke is “in your Sunday school class you may well have the next Archbishop of Canterbury so make sure you are nice to her”.

Sometimes our work can feel hard, and low numbers can be discouraging, but we don’t always know what God is doing behind the scenes, the seeds that germinate later on in peoples lives, the throw away comment that says so much more than we could ever think.

That smile when the day was tough, the hand on the arm when you needed some comfort… The Bible says “Do not despise the day of small things”.

As people we often want to be broad, wide and superficial… yet God is often localized and deep, doing unobtrusive work often where we least expect it.

Often it is in the challenge and pain of obedience that later on we realize the fruitful work of the spirit which at the time often seemed strategically crazy but divinely right.

Acts of Service, Church, welcome

JFK, clean toilets and sparkling toilets.

John F Kennedy once asked “Ask not what your country can do for you, but rather what you can do for your country”.

A great quote that challenged the consumerist mindset. A mindset which sadly has crept into Christ’s  Church.
We as Christians are meant to follow Christ who “came not to be served but to serve and to give his life as a ransom for many”… Our leaders demonstration of leadership was to take off his robe and wash the camel crap of the feet of Judas Iscariot who was to bring about his death in the most horrific means imaginable.
The problem is we sometimes let who creep in, a sense of entitlement, or just simply oblivious to the work that needs doing that surrounds us.
Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy once joked that they hid a spaceship behind an invisibility cloak of “someone else’s problem”.
You see no one wants to do the grotty jobs, a Vicar friend of a ‘large successful’ Church once said “it is easier to find someone to preach from the Pulpit than to clean it”.
Another friend, had a habit of cleaning the toilets as the last job he did of an evening in the Church hall after he spoke at the youth events, because he said he “needed to do it” in order to stop pride going to his head.
I wonder is we work so hard at making people feel welcome in our churches that people feel like guests rather than part of the family…
When I was a teenager my parents would complain that “you treat this place like a hotel” spiritually we sometimes need to feel not like spiritual consumers but as contributors.
I’ll end was a quote I thought was thought provoking…
“They say there is no I in team, but there is three in responsibility…”
We have a responsibility to live a life of service to see Christ glorified as we bless those around us, living those bright and salty lives, it’s not about us.
I believe we are called to live for Christ in the service of others.
grace, James, works

Straw, Faith and Works…

Martin Luther called the book of James ‘the epistle of straw’ as he couldn’t reconcile James’ “Faith without works is dead” with Paul’s “it is by grace you have been saved through faith and not by works so no one can boast”.

How do these two verses hang together?

Simply a mental assent or a belief in sound doctrine is not the same as jumping into the arms of Christ, putting our trust in him.

I think this is such a key verse which we need to wrestle with today, as we often are so into people “praying the prayer” but seem less keen on the whole living the life stuff.

My daughters’ Godfather, Adam, tells of thinking he was a Christian because he had a vague belief in God/Jesus, but hearing someone say “even the devil believes in God and has sound theology, but that doesn’t make him a Christian”… For Adam this was something life transforming (ended up becoming a Vicar).

Becoming a Christian is an all consuming thing, it effects everything, our choices, relationships, matters big and small, public and private life… “I have been crucified with Christ, and I no longer live but Christ lives in me, the life I now live I live by faith in the son of God who died for me”.

This changes everything.


I don’t believe people can repent of their sins, be filled with Gods Spirit and put their trust/faith in Christ and remain unchanged, their lives must produce fruit….

Real faith has to be more than a vague theology test, some christian rhetoric, all the gear no idea Christianity.

Shane Claiborne talks of the difference between “believers” and “followers”.

We are not saved BY our good works but rather FOR good works, prepared for us in advance.

Christ has done it all upon the cross we can’t earn our salvation but we should be changed by that encounter and that should reflect in our lives.

There is a dangerous myth that thinks we can accept Christ and out our use in him and not be changed… Yet being transformed to being more like Christ is not an optional extra for the swots, but the ultimate plan of God the longing of our true selves.

Let’s live out our faith.


Guidance, Holy Spirit, vocation

Wild Goose Chase…

Wild Geese, in the ancient world these animals were seen as dangerous, magnificent but terrifying, unpredictable animals, not easy to follow, and almost impossible to catch. The image of a wild goose was one the early Celtic Christians used to describe the Holy Spirit, as following where the Holy Spirit leads is a dynamic following, that is unpredictable, a bit dangerous, and the Holy Spirit is almost impossible to catch, as when we think we’ve ‘pinned God down’ we discover he is leading us in a different direction.

The Wild Goose has echoes of C.S. Lewis’ famous quote about Aslan (the Christ character), ‘“Is he safe?” Lucy asked “of course he’s not safe, but he is good”.

Picks up the idea from John 3, of the Spirit being like ‘the wind that blows where it will’.

So all Christians all called to go on a ‘wild goose chase’… A lifestyle which (to quote Francis Chan) “unbelievers aren’t supposed to understand” or Pete Greig: “(non Christians) marvel at their strange existence”; the image of a wild goose chase is exciting image, -echoing Jesus promise in John 10:10- “to have come to give us life, and life in all its fullness’; the polar opposite of the common misconception of following Jesus as being boring!

If you wanted to catch a wild goose, you were pretty brave, and you had to give it 100%, you can’t catch a wild goose whilst perusing another agenda, because you will loose the wild goose…

The Bible talks about ‘keeping in step with the spirit’ following his lead, hearing his voice, Jesus says ‘my sheep know my voice’; Or the prophet Isaiah says ‘whether you turn to the right or the left you will hear a voice behind you saying this is the way walk in it’…

Archbishop Rowan described Mission as “finding out what God is doing and joining in”, I think he is right, but actually I think this is broader than just mission, our chief aim in life as Christians is to live our whole life ‘in tune’ or  ‘in harmony’ with God.

Often we think of the ‘call’ as exclusively about ordination, yet I believe God is constantly speaking, guiding us, in the small choices and the big, involved in every area of our life, and he is constantly calling us to go deeper with him, to serve, to love, to share, bless, pray, worship.

When we first started doing Street Pastors, we shot around the streets chatting away at break-neck speed, until we realized that God was telling us to slow down, to look, listen and seek him.

I think we don’t hear God’s voice mainly because we aren’t listening for it.

I think we don’t see God at work, because we aren’t looking for it.

When we went slower, we spotted many more opportunities to bless, help, listen, share and sometime to talk about Jesus and to pray with people.

The issue has never been can God speak, the issue has rather been, do we want to hear it?

The issue has never been can God use you, -after all God is more into our availability than our ability, and isn’t limited by our limitations- the issue is will we let him?

St. Francis of Assisi, led the biggest missionary movement since the book of Acts, and one of his key principles was ‘obedience’,  following Christ with nothing else distracting from being led by his Saviour, he gave up EVERYTHING to follow Christ, wealth, status relationship; and yet in giving up everything he gained everything too, a life of fullness in the exciting adventure of faith following Christ.

The Wild Goose chase may look foolish, just as the merchant who sold everything in order to gain the pearl of great price, or the man who paid over the odds for a field with buried treasure in it, may have appeared foolish, but they noticed the purity of the pearl, the value of the journey, that it is the best way of living life, with rewards that are literally out of this world, yet is a commitment that requires total surrender.

The Rich Young Man was required to give up EVERYTHING he had before coming to follow Christ, (not just make a generous donation)… A Chinese proverb says every journey starts with a single step.

Elisha, when he accepted the call to follow God, sacrificed his ox on their ploughs as an offering to God, no going back.

As the writer to the Hebrews writes in Chapter 12: “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith”.

More recently a martyred Missionary Jim Elliott said this; “he is no fool, who gives up what he cannot keep, (his life) in order to gain what he cannot loose (Christ)”.

CT Studd said: “If Jesus Christ is God and died for me, then no sacrifice can be too great for me to make for Him.”

I’m struck that when Jesus sent out the 72, he sent them out vulnerably, with nothing with them, no complex strategies but just reliant on God, too often as Christians we have become a bit reliant on our props, but here they have no baggage, no ideas nicked from elsewhere or an ‘off the peg strategy’ from the coolest current Christian course from the hippest Church on the internet or whatever…

It is an exciting, dangerous journey following Jesus, after-all he said that if you wanted to follow him you must be prepared to pick up your cross and follow him- knowing that even death cannot destroy the good things that God has in store for those who love him; the journey is worth it.

We go empty handed, but knowing that ‘the one who calls us is faithful’ and to echo a hymn: “all I have needed thy hand hath provided”

To the world it may look like foolishness, but we are fools for Christ, and actually I wonder, whose fooling who?

It is living by faith; which John Wimber spelled “R-I-S-K”

So, let’s live our lives as a wild goose chase.


Beware 3G.

I was told the other evening beware the 3G’s (I thought 3G was for your phone) but no, I was told that the three things than derail many Christians is money, sex and power, or Glory, Gold and Girls (if you are female and reading this blog the alteration doesn’t work!).
Yet this prompted an interesting conversation, people were saying which one they were weakest and most susceptible too, which made me wonder if we think we are reasonably sorted and controlled in one area, that is probably a dangerous place to be.Yet we do hear people say “I’m not too effected by money” or “I think my marriage is pretty secure, I don’t think I’ll be lured away” or “the whole glory ego stuff isn’t really my big weakness” I think “I’ll be okay”.

It made me ask “are we more vulnerable when we know we are vulnerable?”
Or “Are we more vulnerable when we think we aren’t vulnerable?”

The Bible talks of ‘beware lest we fall’ the danger is that sometimes our confidence is actually over confidence and often misplaced.

The question I’d ask, is if you know you are vulnerable, what steps have you put in to safeguard yourself? Before I was married I didn’t have the internet in my home as didn’t want to get tempted to do something stupid… What’s it for you?

I want to think today about a guy who I  think probably wrestled with all of the three G’s, he was a warrior King with people singing his praises it would have been easy to believe your own press, he was King in a time of prosperity and so would have had wealth and riches at his disposal (sounds like the whole Gold issue was an issue for his son King Solomon), but the one we are looking at today is the “Girl”. David’s infamous scandal with Bathsheba.

Firstly we read in the Bible that David wasn’t fighting with his men, he wasn’t where he should be, there is an old adage about the devil finding work for idol hands, if you are not where you should be and doing what you should do, you are more available to do the things you shouldn’t do. -The Bible talks of using your time wisely as knows how easy when we have time on our hands we can end up getting ourselves into trouble.

Secondly we read that David was on the roof of the evening, which is often where people had baths etc, its the place of the Peeping Tom.

Its here that he spots a woman taking a bath who he becomes instantly infatuated with.

Although he had a whole load of wives his appetite wasn’t satisfied. Donald Trump was once asked “How rich is rich enough?” to which he replied “just a little bit more!

The problem with envy, is we never think of what we have, but what we haven’t got.

Then from the seed of lust planted in his head (NB. Jesus said ‘if anyone looks at someone lustfully they have committed adultery in their heart’) it gives birth to action, he sends for her.

Then from being in the wrong place, it leads to thinking the wrong thing which leads to doing the wrong thing.

If this is not bad enough, the  story continues and sin snow balls as David tries to cover up his sin, which ends up in a loyal and innocent man being murdered…

The problem is we end up on sins highway, and end up 20, 60 or 100 miles away from where you meant to be in just a few moments.

The Bible talks of guarding your heart and mind, “make every thought captive to the blood of Jesus”.

An image that I find helpful when thinking about Holiness, is of the devil is dropping seeds into our highly fertile minds, yet we have choice about whether or not we let these seeds germinate and become strongholds that end up destroying us and those around us or we pluck them out of our heads, we focus on different things, we keep ourselves from harms way and in keeping our hearts and minds right before God.

In our society we often try to pretend that what happens in our head doesn’t spill out into our lives, but the truth is we reap what we so, from our hearts and minds everything else springs.

So, beware the 3G’s and guard your hearts and minds.

Acts of Service, Evangelism, Mission, Signs and wonders

Words, Works and Wonders…

I don’t know what your experience has been with Christians and the whole mission thing…


There some Christians, let’s call them the evangelicals (although not exclusively) who think it’s all about preaching the message, it’s about talking to people, it’s about discussion groups, giving out flyers… Ultimately it’s all about words.

…And to be fair there is a strong biblical basis for this way of thinking, just look at all the sermons that are recorded in the bible in their entirety…

Romans asks “how will they hear without someone preaching to them”, Phillippians talks about “holding out the word that gives life”.

Perhaps you can pray about having opportunities to speak and talk about the good news of Jesus.

…but the world has had an awful lot of words, and times words come cheap, often people talk about he importance of not just talking the talk but want us to walk the walk…


A quote that is often (mis)attributed to St. Francis, is “preach the gospel at all times and if necessarily use words!” Let’s face it when you admit you are a Christian, you are a marked person, people are watching you!

There are many within the Church, people used to be dismissive and call them liberals, but actually they have a strong biblical mandate and they say it is all about loving service and the pursuit of justice… After-all James tells us ‘faith without works is dead’, Matthew 25 talks about the sheep and the goats and the prophets tell us about ‘doing justice, loving mercy and walking humbly’.


But others say words and actions are great, but what transforms lives is people encountering God and his Kingdom through signs and wonders… They point to the book acts and the words of Jesus where signs and wonders accompany the preaching of the gospel. They show us boldness and a risk taking faith, offering to pray for people, speaking out the prophetically… Of Gods mission partnering with his people.

Yet, I reckon they are all right.
I reckon mission and Kingdom living is about speaking out, living it out and God showing up.
Let’s be people of words, works and Gods wonders… Rather than one trick ponies.