I recently preached a message called ‘The Church’ — essentially I spend most of my time as a pastor thinking on what church is, what I want it to be and what I want it to look like.

Theologically the scripture is pretty clear on what ‘church’ is and should be…at a very basic level church needs to be a community of people, it should celebrate communion, it should have qualified leaders in pastors, elders and lay people. It should have an expression of worship in its song and its serving. It should be a place where spiritual gifts flow and operate. A place where Christ is the head and we are the body.
Not wanting to in any way oversimplify, understate or operate outside of the theological and biblical definition of the church, allow me to submit my list of what I want church to be (I keep my blogs pretty short).
I want the church to be known for what it stands for, not what it stands against.
I want the church to stand up and stand out (not crazy, just different).
I want the church to be defined as a ‘community’, not a religious organisation.
A place where criticism comes only to give way to grace, mercy, understanding and forgiveness.
A church that preaches Christ and Him crucified.
A church that preaches the ‘good news’, not “I told you so.”
A church where people can come as they are.
A church that is not measured by its size but by its impact (Carey Nieuwhof).
Mostly though, a community who doesn’t go to church… we are the church!
Just some personal thoughts!
Bless ya.

Where To From Here? Part 3

We’ve been asking the question, where to from here? There’s something in asking questions.

Questions lead to answers, answers lead to decisions, decisions lead to destiny!

Let’s consider again the plight of the foolish, the prodigal whose folly causes him to trade the safety of home to dine with the pigs.

The bibles tells us he attached himself to a foreigner and works for minimum wage in appalling conditions. I often think of Jonah in these circumstances, he chose the belly of a whale to avoid obedience. How many know that was never a sustainable hiding place?

Have you caught yourself asking questions lately? I wonder what they sound like? I think we need to urgently return to the conversations we have in the dark and pay attention to the questions we often pretend not to ask ourselves.

Make no mistake, it takes courage to do this, a level of fearlessness to bravely take on the reality no matter the risk.

The prodigal did it. But it wasn’t easy. To ask the hard questions you have to face truth and as the saying goes, the truth hurts. Reality can often feel like a punch in the face. But it can often be a swift kick to the head that knocks us back to reality.

It’s not easy to rise from the mud, to dust off and head back home. It requires a diet of humble pie, of stepping out of the shadow and into the light which exposes everything. It’s easy to stay where you are, hiding, but it cost so much more.

Asking the hard questions led our prodigal home, he started to walk towards destiny, the place where God’s best for our life lives.

How about Jonah? Even delayed obedience saw God’s plan fulfilled. The story of Jonah serves as the classic cautionary tale, when we run from God the seas get rough (Jonah 1:11). Prophet or not, you lose!

Like the prodigal Jonah comes to himself (that metaphoric kick to the head) and calls to the Lord in his distress, in the middle of his mess questions linger and folly reveals truth.

So where to from here Jonah?

His question led to answers, answers led to decisions, and his decisions led him to his destiny. Later we find him in Nineveh, preaching.

Great story!