Monday, 1 July 2013

Three days in London

I spent exhilarating three days in London at the Evangelical Ministry assembly with about 1200 other church leaders and preachers, being inspired, motivated and encouraged by Rico Tice, Vaughan Roberts and others.

Tremendous ministry and fellowship, a real privilege to be there.

It also brings back  one of my long standing issues. This was a conservative evangelical conference. How can I be both conservative evangelical and  charismatic? It seems to me that the error that the CEs can fall into is in believing that god is at work today by his word ONLY. And  maybe that charismatics  undervalue the importance of God's word in his work?

I so want to be a minister that ministers in truth and power in the might of his Holy Spirit with whatever God has given, avoiding excess and error, but taking hold of  the Spirit and Word. May God help all who were at the EMA to do so.

Thursday, 13 June 2013

The truth that sets you free

A real gem from my favourite management guru, Stephen Covey. I know some people are really nervous about the "unspiritual" input of someone like Covey, but in fact he brings a great deal of wisdom that we would do well to affirm.

"From the cowardice that is afraid of new truth, from the laziness that is content with half-truth and from the arrogance that thinks it has all truth, O God of truth deliver us" Stephen Covey

We are so often afraid to look objectively at issues because we are afraid that it will lead us to the position where we discover that we have not got it right all these years - and that will challenge our security in the old way of doing things. We will be content with half truth because it is such hard work to think things through, and we often end up coming to the position where the truth is really quite subtle, and hard work to implement. And we can often be arrogant enough to act as if we know and no one else does.

Covey is quite right to invite us to call on the God who is truth to deliver us from all these.

After all it is the truth that sets us free.

Interesting that this is written by a Mormon


Saturday, 25 May 2013

Upside Down

"Upside Down"

is the title of a book by Stacy Rinehart (a bloke...he has to be American!) on the subject of leadership.

In it he explores  what he calls the paradox of servant leadership. It gets right to the heart of what I am constantly trying to grapple with. The model of leadership that Jesus endorses is all the do with servant leadership, with preferring one another above ourself, with taking the lowest position. Yet the nature of leadership is such that we find ourselves in front of others, seeking to influence them to go in the way that we believe that they should.

How does that work?

A great book on leadership from a man  who comes out of the Navigator stable, a movement that has had, and continues to have a profound influence on my life.

Anyone in leadership could do with this book.

Friday, 10 May 2013


In church life - or any sphere of life - one of the killers of progress is disagreement.

My favourite management expert has this wonderfully helpful and pithy insight:

"At the root of most communication problems are perception or credibility problems. None of us sees the world as it actually is...but as we are. and our experience-induced perceptions greatly influence our feelings, beliefs and behaviour.

Perception and credibility problems may result on complicated knots, what we often call "personality problems" or communication breakdowns". Credibility is far more difficult to resolve, primarily because each of the persons involved thinks he sees the world as it is rather than as he is. Unaware of the distortion in his own perception, his attitude is this: "If you disagree with me in this, in my eyes, you are automatically wrong, simply because I am sure that I am right"

Whenever we are so "right" as to make everyone who sees and thinks differently feel wrong, their best protection from further injury is to label us, peg us, to put us behind mental and emotional bars for an indeterminate jail sentence, and we will not be released until we pay "the uttermost farthing". Most credibility problems can be  resolved if one or both parties will realise that at the root is a perception problem.

Certain attitudes and behaviours are essential to clearing communication:


1. I assume good faith. I do not question your sincerity or your sanity.
2. I care about our relationship and I want to resolve this difference.
3. I am open to influence and I am prepared to change.


1. Listen to understand
2. Speak to be understood
3. Start dialogue from a common point of reference or point of agreement and move slowly into areas of disagreement.

When these three attitudes and behaviours are acquired, almost any communication perception or credibility area can be resolved."

Stephen R. Covey
Principle-Centred Leadership (1992) p109-110

What Covey does not say, however, is that at the root of this ability to resolve differences has to be a godly humility that comes from Jesus:

"3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.
In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:
Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death
        even death on a cross!"
(Philippians 2 v 3-8, NIV)

Tuesday, 30 April 2013

New babies in the house

There's nothing that brings excitement into a church more than new life in Christ.

And, wonderful to report, we have had four such events in the last six months. As far as can be seen, genuine conversions, all of which are being actively followed up with people discipling them. Just wonderful.

Each of the four are people that we have contacted through CAP (see previous blog entry). W£e are now "in the lives" of so many people who we would normally not have contacted.

There is no shortage of challenge and potential to be discouraged. but God is at work. And it's amazing to be a part of it.

Next stop Alpha (starts 13 May)

Monday, 22 April 2013

Rewards for good works

It intrigues me how often Christians are reluctant to talk about the possibility of rewards in heaven. it has almost become one of those taboo subjects...maybe because we think it may impinge on the view that salvation is given us as a gift. it doesn't of course, nor does it impinge on us being "unprofitable servants". It is in fact thoroughly Biblical.

The new Testament is full of promises of rewards in heaven for those who have served well. Just read the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5 -7) and you'll see what I mean.

So I was encouraged to read this item:

God loves to reward us. To deny it is to deny the generosity and justice of our wonderful Father.

Sunday, 21 April 2013

It must be hard to be an atheist

I've been trying to be empathetic. That is, I'm trying to understand how good (in human terms) intelligent people can form an honest view that there is no God. To be honest I struggle. I have never been able to see the case for atheism, and this probably puts me at a real disadvantage when I discuss with them.

But I know many wonderful people who would call themselves atheists and whose compassion, integrity and virtue puts some Christians to shame. So I hope the argument can be won with logic and reason. Anyway, here is an excellent article about someone who took the journey from atheist to Christian, forced there by the sheer power of reason:

Monday, 15 April 2013

God Bless CAP

Once a month we have a prayer time at our house for the work of the Christians Against Poverty ("CAP") Centre that we have here in Poole.

Last night I found it a particularly exhilarating time. Lives are being changed, people are coming to faith, Christians are working together, families - some of the most needy I have ever heard of in this country - are being delivered from the crushing burden of debt in a way that is just and righteous, to both them and their creditors.

Nothing happens as quickly or dramatically as some of us would like. We've only just started and there is so much still to do. But as Isaiah says:

"if you pour yourself out for the hungry
and satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
then shall your light rise in the darkness
and your gloom be as the noonday." (Is 58:10)
The day we joined ourselves to the work of CAP - started 16 years ago by John Kirkby in Bradford with £10 - was a day that took a giant step forward in our desire to be a church that has a real impact on the community, touching the lost with a genuine high-quality answer to their physical and spiritual needs.
Poole Christian Fellowship and CAP - a marriage made in heaven. Thank you God, and thank you CAP.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Why the resurrection matters

Here's a super little article about the resurrection that spells out in great clarity why both the death and resurrection of Jesus are an indispensable  part of the gospel.

Nothing really new in there, but when old truths are expressed in new clarity it's worth noting.

This comes from the stable which I know some people struggle with...but don't let that influence what is really helpful article...wish I'd read it before I spoke on Easter Sunday :)

Resurrection article

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Being Changed...

One of the more unsettling things about the Christian life and  especially Christian ministry is that God's priorities are not always mine.

My priorities tend to be around God working through me and others to build the best church in town. God's priorities? - my transformation into the likeness of  Christ. aaarrrgghhh!

Been reading "Renovation of the Heart" by Dallas Willard where he spells out the priority, necessity and the process of being transformed by God. Really helpful understanding of the practical way that this can happen and the steps we need to go through to allow God to do his  work. The irony is that once we adopt God's priorities, we become vessels that  are more fitted to do the work we love - working with Jesus to build his church.

Not an easy book to read or apply and not one for the faint-hearted, but certainly one to challenge and change us.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Children and Youthworker

PCF is on the look out for a full time Children and Youthworker to start 1 September 2013.

Really good to see the church getting together to pray and to get behind it on Sunday evening.
As always there is a need to do what we can, to run the most professional, transparent, honest and righteous process that we can...but in the end it is only God who can find us the right person, and help that person to succeed in what will be a really challenging role.

The opportunities that this will bring us are enormous, as we continue our journey to become a missional community, dedicated to knowing Jesus and making Him known. But as always we are completely dependent on Him as we seek to move forward together.

If you are reading this and you are interested, or you known someone who may be interested...please follow this link:

...and feel free to re-post

Welcome to my blog...

Everyone seems to be at I am joining the world of the blogger.

Just to give this a will appear the rambling thoughts of a 54 year old church minister. Hopefully there will be things here to challenge, encourage, provoke and stimulate thought.

I hope you enjoy it.