Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Conflict and reconciliation!

I hesitate to post on this having experienced my fair share of conflict in the churches I have led over the past 25 years; though the church I lead is now coming into a good place with a powerful and growing sense of unity and harmony.
However I preached on Christian Conflict resolution on Sunday night. I talked about the need for authentic relationships, where we learn to have the honest conversations that lead to a real relationship, and still love each other and move forward together.
I repeated the quote that I first heard David Coffey use" Dont fear conflict fear only unresolved conflict"
As human beings we will disagree at times Its how we deal with those disagreements that is
I saw this on a blog and thought that if even Billy Grahams grandson(pictured above) is not exempt ,the rest of us church leaders are unlikely to be either!

Monday, 21 September 2009

Death is not dying- Well worth watching!


Wonderful,inspiring and powerful testimony from a very fine Christian lady;Rachel Barkey who went to be with Jesus in July this year. As she tells her story in March 2009 and gives her testimony she knows she has only a few months to live
Its 55 minutes long -but 55 minutes very well spent indeed! Dont miss it!

Friday, 18 September 2009

A great evening out

We had a wonderful time last Saturday at the Prostar stadium with Tony Vino and Andy Kind.
The best bit though was the opportunity to build relationships with the people who came along!

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Leadership for the long term

This is an excellent artcle by Jim Collins ripped from his website

Almost by definition, an enduring great company has to be built not to depend on an individual leader, because individuals die or retire or move on. What's more, when a company's identity can't be separated from the identity of its leader, it can't be known for what it stand for. Which means it sacrifices the potency of being guided by its core purpose.

So the charismatic-leader model has to die. What do you replace it with? The task that the CEO is uniquely positioned to do: designing the mechanisms that reinforce and give life to the company's core purpose and stimulate the company to change.

Building mechanisms is one of the CEO's most powerful but least understood and most rarely employed tools. Along with figuring out what the company stands for and pushing it to understand what it's really good at, building mechanisms is the CEO's role—the leader as architect.

The old role is still seductive, though. Past models have glorified the individual leader, especially when he or she was an entrepreneur. And charismatic-style CEOs understandably find it hard to let go of the buzz that comes from having an intense, direct personal influence. But a charismatic leader is not an asset; it's a liability companies have to recover from. A company's long-term health requires a leader who can infuse the company with its own sense of purpose, instead of his or hers, and who can translate that purpose into action through mechanisms, not force of personality.

However hard the transition to architect might be, there are three issues, affecting every CEO, that encourage it—and eventually may even force it. One: time for creativity. Two: time span. And three: scale.

First, let's discuss creativity. As personally energizing as it is to have an effect on an employee and to touch his or her life, it's so energy absorbing that you're never left with enough time or spirit for real creative reflection or real creative work. Which is what mechanism building should be. The absence of that time is one great source of burnout.

The second concern is time span. Clearly, building a mechanism will have a much longer-lasting effect than leading by virtue of your presence. A mechanism doesn't depend upon you. If a truck hits you tomorrow, the mechanism will still be there.

The last concern, scale, is the most crucial. You can't build something really big just on charisma alone. At some point the scale is too great; you can't reach that many people. If you want something to really grow over time, you've got to build mechanisms that can touch everybody every day. What you get in the end is more reach, more power, the ability to affect more people. It's a leverage game

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

Damaris reaction to the new creation film

Nick Pollard says: If atheists think Darwin killed God they are not thinking widely enough.
"You've killed God, sir," says Huxley to Charles Darwin in the forthcoming film Creation (UK release date 25th Sept). "Darwin has delivered a fatal blow to religion," says Terry Sanderson, President of the National Secular Society in a Daily Telegraph article related to the film.

They are quite wrong. Those who think that Darwin's theory can be used to establish the non-existence of God are missing the point. Well, at least three points out of four, actually.

We are conscious human beings, living in a world full of life, within a universe of matter and energy. If someone wishes to argue that there is no God then they have to answer at least four questions about our existence (only one of which is tackled by Darwin's theory). What is the origin of the universe? What is the origin of life? What is the origin of biological diversity? What is the origin of consciousness?

Put in this wider context we see how Darwin's theory only tackles the third of this big series of important questions. Whether or not Darwin's theory is a true explanation of how biological diversity might have evolved from a common ancestor, all this could tell us is something about the process by which the variety of life developed. It cannot, in itself, tell us anything about the existence or non-existence of God.

So let me lay down a challenge to such atheists and ask them to stop making unfounded assertions about God's existence just from one particular view of one quarter of the big questions, and to consider the bigger picture, including the other three questions.

First, the origin of the universe. When we look at the universe around us we have to ask ourselves, "Why is it here at all?" Why does anything exist rather than nothing? Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which parts of this universe may have formed - such as stars, sandstone and even species - that doesn't tell us why those processes happened. Even if we can establish how the laws of nature could lead to such developments within the universe, that doesn't tell us why those laws exist. Why not another set of physical laws? Why any physical laws at all? Why does anything exist rather than nothing existing?

Second, the origin of life. When we look at the various forms of living beings that exist in this world we have to ask ourselves, "How did life begin?" Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which complex life may have evolved from simple life through the natural selection of mutations in reproductions, that doesn't tell us how reproductive processes began in the first place. Darwin's theory of evolution by natural selection can only work on a self-replicating system where variations in the product of the replication might be more or less fitted for survival. But how did the first self-replicating, naturally selectable organism arise? How did we get from non-replicating matter to self-replicating, naturally selectable life?

Third, the origin of consciousness. When we look at the people who live around us (and, indeed, at ourselves) we have to ask, "Where does consciousness, and all that flows from it, come from?" Even if we had an established theory of the possible processes by which the complexities of the human body may have developed, that doesn't tell us why we have a conscious awareness, why we have such a strong sense of morality, or why we have the capacity to reason. It is interesting that Darwin himself, in the last decade of his life, began to doubt the reliability of the human brain. If, according to his theory, the brain has evolved because of survival rather than for truth, would it have the capacity to address metaphysical questions with any level of reliability? Why should we trust anything it says about the big questions of morality and meaning? And (here is a real problem for anyone who wants to argue for atheism) what is our basis for trusting the brain's capacity for any high level reasoning at all - such as the level of reasoning required to consider the existence or non-existence of God? Perhaps, for the atheist, this question is logically unanswerable?

Nick Pollard, co-founder of The Damaris Trust. For more resources related to the film Creation (UK release date September 25th) see

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Another great idea for church in 21st century !

I do not often quote Baptist Union websites but perhaps I should do so more often! There are some great stories of missional churches here: http://www.baptist.org.uk/resources/crossing-places/crossing_videos.html

Do have a look at this video in particular

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Teaching programmes worth their weight in gold?

Time to get a teaching programme on the go for the autumn -or is it?
Some provocative thoughts from Simon Jones on "a sideways glance" who has been reading some of the same books that I have!

Shaking up the faithful
"One of the points Hirsch makes early on is that the urge for community can lead us to seek safety above discipleship. 'Too much concern with safety and security, combined with comfort and convenience, has lulled us out of our true calling and purpose.' (p25)

As my anonymous friend points out 'perhaps discipleship is about being selfless' - absolutely right. Discipleship is the polar opposite of consumerism because it is always seeking the welfare and benefit of others rather than ourselves.

Such a calling requires people who are constantly asking questions. If Hirsch is right that 'the most vigorous forms of community are those that come together in the context of a shared ordeal or those that define themselves as a group with a mission that lies beyond themselves - thus initiating a risky journey' (p25), then our gatherings should be awash with questions about what we're doing, why and how we'll do it.

The church's mantra should focus less on answers (the usual focus of teaching programmes that fill our people's heads with information) and more on questions (what is the shape of discipleship in the context we actually live in? How do we live for others in that context?)

So I agree with anonymous that 'Christian teaching might not be all it's cracked up to be' in this sense: if a teaching programme is just about filling people's heads with information that has precious little effect on how we live when we're not in church, then it's not going to make disciples and is really a complete waste of evryone's time.

And it's not what Jesus did. As Hirsch points out: Jesus 'spoke in confusing riddles (parables) that evoked spiritual search in the hearers. Nowhere does he give three-point devotional sermons that cover all the bases. His audience had to do the hard work of filling in the blanks. In other words, they were not left passive but were activated in their spirits.' (p44)

Now that would shake things up a bit.

Monday, 7 September 2009

The power of generosity!

Its been almost two weeks since a woman came into the Steamin’ Bean, 1875 N.W. Missouri 7, and wanted to pay for the order behind her.

She told the cashier “she just wanted to do her good deed for the day.”

And that “good deed,” that small random act of kindness has spurred a phenomenon of sorts in the small Blue Springs coffee shop.

As of Wednesday morning when the Steamin’ Bean opened for business, manager Michelle Wilkinson said there have been 1,079 customers who have paid for the person behind them — and it was still going strong.

“That was just when we opened today,” she told the Journal Wednesday evening. "I'm sure we have much more now.”

Steamin’ Bean customers were so enthused about paying it forward that some even donated more than just a cup of coffee.

The shop had a fund of more than $100 as of Wednesday evening. So even if a customer does not choose to participate — the fund still keeps the campaign going.

Wilkinson said the Steamin' Bean plans to attempt to end the program this weekend and then donate the money left in the fund to charity.

She wasn’t sure which charity the fund would go to, but said the coffee shop would most likely go through the Community Services League.

The Steamin’ Bean co-owner Garin Bledsoe even took some of the fund to other Blue Springs businesses last week including the Big Biscuit, Zarda’s and Clancy’s in hopes of getting the ball rolling all over Blue Springs.

And while Wilkinson said those pay it forward chains only lasted throughout the day, she still hears people talk about them.

“They are bigger orders and a different process so it didn't last as long as ours have, but I still hear people that were at The Big Biscuit that day talk about it.”

The length of the chain came as a shock to many at the Steamin' Bean.

Bledsoe said last week that while these types of things have happened before, they haven’t ever lasted this long — and were usually spurred by the holidays.

But probably the most surprised was the woman who started it all.

“The girl that started it is still in shock about it all," Wilkinson said. "She comes in every morning and still can't believe its going on.”

“People have good hopes and spirits even though times are tough and they just want to do something to keep their spirits high,” Bledsoe said.

This came to my attention via an e mail from stewardship

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Church something we go to? No something we are!

Shift Our Thinking from Beyond relevance website
I believe that until we get our thinking to change from church being something we go to as opposed to something that we are, we will never understand the call to community and communion. Rob Bell has a good message on the Eucharist ('eu' meaning 'well' and 'kharis' meaning 'favor/grace', together meaning a 'good gift') and what it means to be a "good gift" to others just as Jesus was a good gift to us through his body. We are not meant to just receive the good gift of Jesus. We're meant to be the good gift of Jesus!

This thinking of going versus being has permeated our culture in more than just church. Gone are the days when work was something we did. We now go to work. Education used to be something that we did by learning at all times. Now we go to school. We've removed the responsibility of being the church, doing work, and learning by making it something other than a part of us. Perhaps this is why it's easier to complain about church, work and school because they are places instead of postures.

Our thinking must change. Our actions must change. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr., "One of the great tragedies of life is that men seldom bridge the gulf between practice and profession, between doing and saying." He was also convinced that action by a few wasn't enough, it would take all of us. "I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be, and you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be.