Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Why does God allow Suffering?

Within a 4 week series on the "big questions" I spoke on this subject for the first time.

These are wma files that run in windows media player.

If you have a spare 40 minutes I would be pleased to have some feedback.

Initial feedback has been favourable, as it has been to all the talks in this series, which can be found here, on the Barnabas Community Church website.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010


I think Tim has got a point.

I want to be honest.

That requires two things, honouring the good and owning the bad.

It means being vulnerable and positive, clear and down to earth.

Hopefully this blog is honest.

Hopefully you realise I don't have it all together.

Hopefully you see our Church is not perfect, nor is our movement of churches.

This may sound really cheesy, but I actually want the only "promotion" on here to be promotion of the grace of God. For grace to work there must be reality as to the pain, trials, sin and restoration in my life.

Two of the most dangerous areas I think are introductions for visiting speakers, and introductions of the author of a book. Both of them require a certain "spin" on who they are, how great a friend they are, what a great Church they have, how many souls they have won, in order to vindicate the message.

I wonder what the consequences would be if I introduced a visiting speaker like this. "Hi, this morning our speaker is XXXXX XXXXXX from XXXXXXXXX. Although saved and on a path of discipleship he still clearly bares marks of his fallen nature, in both personality and actions. Some of his mistakes have scared me, others make my toes curl. In fact, of all the people I know, the grace of God is most evident in him. And through him, his failures, I have seen God's ability to use fallen man for his glory. Just looking at him you won't really guess why we have invited him here this morning, but give him a chance."

The scary thing, is that I could be introducing the Apostle Paul, maybe Peter, who knows.

I certainly get really uncomfortable when I hear other people describing this Church as it always seems really great and does not represent some of the challenges. I think deep down most of us compare ourselves to that great Church up the road or in the next town or in the big city. I am almost certain if I went to that Church I would find the same problems, the same broken people, the same misunderstandings and all the things that make Church messy, because that is what life is like.

So there we go: honesty it is. Thanks Tim.

Wednesday, 20 January 2010

Being Mystery Worshipped...

We knew we had been visited just before Christmas.

And now our "review" has gone live.

Statements like "They have a lively sense of church community with outreach at their heart. Their many ministries, both domestic and international, are far too numerous to mention here. One definitely senses that they are a very busy church." are definitely not as bad as some churches get.

While Terry got the thumbs up for his welcoming statements "Good morning and welcome to Barnabas Community Church, especially if you are visiting here today. Elder Hotchkiss went on to explain about the church and how the service would be, including songs and the offering. Very good really."

And overall:

"How would you feel about making this church your regular (where 10 = ecstatic, 0 = terminal)?
7 – This is a lively church with a passion for worship, but this may be a difficult place for anyone who doesn't want a full-on experience straightaway but needs to find a way in slowly.

Did the service make you feel glad to be a Christian?
Yes, it did. Overall we enjoyed being part of this time and seeing that sense of desire in people."

I could get all defensive about some of the points made but will try not to. Almost all can be answered fairly quickly, not least the majority of the car park being reserved for disability badge holders, but there you go.

I will take 7/10 and the main complaint being they thought the welcome was OTT. There are worse things to be accused of.

Monday, 4 January 2010

Goals for 2010

A new year, time for some fresh challenges for 2010.

1) To read the whole bible, cover to cover

2) To do the 3 peak challenge

4) To use this blog to be loving towards more things. To talk up the kingdom. And to be real.

5) I would like to do more to please the heart of my God, my wife, my family and my Church.

Should be an interesting 12 months!

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Mystery Worshipper

Well, we have officially been "Mystery worshipped" by a "Ship of Fools" contributor. This happened a few weeks ago in December.

We can look forward to our review appearing in the new year.

Reading through other reviews it is quite difficult to ascertain whether we are going to get a complete sledging or they may have quite liked it. Reading some of the discussions on Ship of Fools this year it is obvious that the Newfrontiers name is mud, which does not bode well. That said, some contemporary Churches have good reviews, so I guess it depends who does the review and how it went on the day.

Whatever the frailties of the concept, and for me part of it does not sit right, at least we will have outside eyes and ears giving us an opinion. I do hope nothing really unfair is written, but I guess that is the point of having a review. Whether it feels unfair or not we need to work out why it made them feel like that and what we can learn from it, even if all we can learn is to take no notice of Ship of Fools reviews!

That said, if it is a great review then we will probably want a copy for our Church magazine, so who knows?