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Visionary Leadership

This from Don Wilson of Christ's Church of the Valley

"The problem with facilities is convincing people that they are the church on Monday through Saturday and not just on Sunday. IOW, ministry can and must happen anywhere, not just on church property.

Most new churches build their building too soon and too small.

Two essentials: "critical mass" and "momentum." Lead by example.

Big vision attracts people with big vision.

Every time we go through building programs, we suffer big Satanic attacks. Don't plan too far out. No 5-year (or longer) plans. Need to work on core values. Difference between successful churches and successful corporations -- successful churches tend to be personality driven and successful corporations tends to be core values driven. We need to determine our core values! Do more with less. CCV plans to cut out 1/3 of their ministries in the next year! You are your greatest leadership challenge. Your leadership style has to change at every level. Old Proverb: "An army of sheep led by a lion will always defeat an army of lions led by a sheep." That's a great statement about the importance of good leadership! Sacrifice was a real focus today, and Don Wilson asked, how do you get people who don't tithe to understand the concept of sacrifice? 90% of the things we pray about in our churches are things that Jesus never prayed about. Jesus prayed about kingdom issues. CCV's vision is to WIN, TRAIN, and SEND, and their priority is on the winning part. Instead of the old "here's the church, here's the steeple, open the doors and here are the people," it should be "here's the church, here's the steeple, open the doors and release all the people."

The pre season cup is really really important

FREMANTLE: 0.6.5, 0.11.5, 0.15.8, 1.18.10 (127)
WEST COAST: 0.2.0, 0.4.10, 0.6.13, 1.7.14 (65)

Apparently there was a football game on tonight, and apparently the Dockers thrashed, hammered, defeated, carved up the under seige Weagles. So sad, too bad!!

I told you I would gloat if we won, I'm gloating. Sandilands thrashed "the best ruckman in the competition". He didn't just beat him, Sandy pantsed him fair and square. And dont give me that old chestnut about the weagles fielding a sub standard side. The Dockers had Pavlich, Haddril, Black and Polak out. The West Toast had their best midfield on the park, and they lost convincingly. Cant wait to see the replay. Interestingly enough it appeared the WC got most of their goals from free kicks awarded by the Green M & M men.

This from

"A six-goal haul from Luke McPharlin has inspired Fremantle to a comfortable 62-point victory over the West Coast Eagles in a fiery NAB Cup clash at Subiaco Oval on Sunday.The Dockers secured the 1.18.10 (127) to 1.7.14 (65) victory early in the third quarter, four straight goals to begin the term leaving the Eagles defence in tatters.Fremantle's forward line of McPharlin, Jeff Farmer, Justin Longmuir and Paul Medhurst was superb, combining for 13 goals and receiving great delivery from a hard-running midfield.At the other end, the Eagles attack cohesion, Brent Staker and Ashley Hansen struggling to find space with Andrew McDougall not touching the ball in the first half."

Bono on 60 Minutes

My beautiful wife taped me the interview with the bespectled one and I have just watched it.
As with many American interviews, it was a bit of a fluff piece, no real indepth stuff.

Would be fantastic if Denton could get him on.

Would love to have some indepth questions about his faith asked.

None the less, I enjoyed it.

Love their music. Funny, I never used to. But researching the spiritual angle has really changed my perception of it. Its great rock and roll too. If ever they come to Perth, I'm there.

Someone should blow computers up

After working for about three hours yesterday afternoon on my presentation for this Sunday mornings service, the brand new computer at church decided that it did not want to work properly.

We got through the service, but I could not show the video for the message, nor the slides for "It's a beautiful day" and even the songs during the worship time got messed up.

Somehow I know God spoke, and it is a good reminder that He is not dependent on slickness or well presented and interesting images.

But it sure is frustrating.

The up down keys were both making the slides advance, mmmm, lovely. And powerpoint kept freezing up.
Funny, it worked perfectly before church.
For those who were there and would have liked to have seen some of the images accompanying the service, sorry, they are on my thumb drive.
But here is the opening slide from our men's service that we will be doing in a few months. Just for anyone who barracks for St Kilda.

It's a Beautiful Day

Okay, did anyone who recieved my E-News guess correctly that Eliot and Jason were going to sing "It's a Beautiful Day"? A fairly big clue is the fact I have posted the words on this website.

Dennis the Menace

What a fascinating story this is. Another one for the "Pastor fallen from grace" file.

"The Blacks said Rev. Newman decided to resign after telling church leaders he had sexual relations with his new wife prior to their being married and after the church leaders advised he needed to either resign or face a church trial." News Article

Dennis Newman was a popular minister of a large church in Chattanogga.
He resigned rather than face a Church Trial which is methodist speach for a disciplenary process.

A group of people have formed a breakaway group and their support for Dennis if strong.
One interesting comment is this one,

"...someone told me that Christ United Methodist will get a new pastor and everything will go back to normal.Well, not for me it won't. I don't go there to socialize and drink coffee and then listen to a talking-headbecause I am supposed to. That church is just a building without Dennis Newman. I've attended dozens of churches in the past 59 years and have never had someone touch me, teach me, and open my heart until meeting Dennis eight years ago. I will follow him wherever he goes to preach. I worship God and not the man, but my God choseDennis Newman to deliver his message to me."

The rest of the comments are similar. Over at Backyard Missionary Hamo has a discussion on the cult of personality. This may be a story which supports his claims.

A sober reminder that your marriage is precious, and not to be taken for granted, especially as a Pastor.

They did not drive them out completely

My small group is starting a study of Judges tonight.

"They did not drive them out of the land completly"

Woh, theres a lot in that verse, a lot of application.
It reminds me of this verse, "be Holy, as I am Holy".

Mick Gander

Sometimes in ministry you are privileged to pastor someone who teaches you far more than what you could ever teach them, yet still allows you to minister to them.

Mick Gander was such a bloke.

He stumbled into church one Sunday, having been unable to find the church he was looking for.
He shared with me that he was not going to stay, but he had because of what I had preached on.
That Sunday was the first time in my ministry at Bedford that I had really got personal, got blunt, direct, pointed, really let go with my sermon. One of the lines from my message was, "we are meant to come here to worship the Almighty God, but many of you were worried about where your normal seat is"

It was the Sunday after a Saturday wedding, and the pews were rearranged. I never did put them back in their 'proper' place, and that was five years ago.

But I digress. Mick stayed around.
He shared with me that his old pastor had told him, 'you cant sing'. Eliot and myself told him otherwise. When he sang, everyone loved it, and his message resonated with most people in the congregation. The senior ladies loved him, I think he had a blue rinse fan club.

I was a big fan and remember clearly the first time he got up to sing, at a Cafe Church night.
After an initial nervous stumble, he brought the house down.

The curse some stupid blind ignorant JERK had put on him was gone. God is Gracious.

I miss our Tuesday morning coffee and chat about church, I miss seeing Indi, his dog, I miss seeing the white Feroza pulling up in carpark, I miss sharing Thai food with him and John Rodgers.

But most of all I miss having him up the front, taking us to Jesus.

Craig Turley on Compass

Craig Turley - Heaven and Hell
After reaching the pinnacle of the AFL as a premiership player, former West Coast Eagles’ star, Craig Turley’s life has been a struggle and a journey towards identity, belief and inner peace. Featuring on ABCTV's Compass program at 10pm this Sunday this story also includes input from Church of Christ Chaplain to the Eagles, Neil Fong

I've always felt different. I've never quite felt that I've fitted in wherever
it is that I've been, as much as I've been accepted there. Whether that was in
school, in the Police Force or in my football career,"
Craig Turley.

It's a beautiful day

The heart is a bloom Shoots up through the stony ground
There's no room No space to rent in this town

You're out of luck And the reason that you had to care
The traffic is stuck And you're not moving anywhere
You thought you'd found a friend
To take you out of this place
Someone you could lend a hand In return for grace

It's a beautiful day Sky falls, you feel like
It's a beautiful day Don't let it get away

You're on the road But you've got no destination
You're in the mud In the maze of her imagination

You love this town Even if that doesn't ring true
You've been all over And it's been all over you

It's a beautiful day Don't let it get away
It's a beautiful day

Touch me Take me to that other place
Teach me I know I'm not a hopeless case

See the world in green and blue
See China right in front of you
See the canyons broken by cloud
See the tuna fleets clearing the sea out
See the Bedouin fires at night
See the oil fields at first light
And see the bird with a leaf in her mouth
After the flood all the colors came out

It was a beautiful day Don't let it get away
Beautiful day Touch me Take me to that other place
Reach me I know I'm not a hopeless case

What you don't have you don't need it now
What you don't know you can feel it somehow
What you don't have you don't need it now
Don't need it now Was a beautiful day

Psalm 26

Here are two wonderful thoughts from this Psalm

"singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all your miracles."

Is there anything better than telling of the miracles of Christ?
We will be doing this on Sunday night at our church meeting. First meeting I have looked forward to in ages.

"I love your sanctuary, LORD, the place where your glory shines"

A place where His glory shines. On the Sunday just gone the congregation lifted a full two notches when we sang, "Blessed be His name". Its a great song, and I felt some of His glory shining on us, a real connection with God.

Cousingate Part Four

My weagle loving brother inlaw sent me this!!

Could become part of our vanacular

Fair Game

The interesting thing about a blog is that it is not like a typical journal, because your thoughts are in the public arena, and therefore fair game. Something I have discovered this week.
How careful do I need to be with what I write on my blog? Things written in jest can get you in trouble, and one persons sense of humour, may not be shared by others.

I am not in the business of deliberatly offending people, unless I think they deserve it, just as Jesus did, and sometimes I offend people for the wrong reasons, because I am far from perfect.

Writing a blog is a little like leadership. If you say nothing and do nothing, you cant be misunderstood, or understood and not appreciated!

My sense of humour is a little warped at times. My love for the Dockers is as Matt Price (The Australian) wrote once, 'a lovely distraction, not to be taken too seriously'.

My dislike for the WC Eagles is also warped, some might say dysfunctional. Its part of my combative nature. It stems from my perception of their arrogance, whether true of valid, thats where I think it comes from. I have always liked the underdog.

My love for people has grown, as I hope I have become more gracious. Yesterday I picked up someone and drove them to church, while they smoked (something that may or may not have been nicotine) and drank a beer, all before 10am. I am convinced about some matters that involve lifestyle choices. My belief in the scriptures is high, but my practice of them is unfortunately not always as it should be. My feet are made of clay. Sometimes some of that mud shows itself in this arena.
Thats me. I wont be going politically correct on this blog, nor will I just write innoffensive fluff material. If you dont agree with something, feel free to say so. But at the end of the day, this is my blog. I hope you like it, and get a laugh out of it sometimes.

Cousingate part three

The story grows.....
It appears now that Ben did not inform the club of the midemenour until Liam Bartlett broke the story on Friday. He must have been sweating on that uncofessed information all week.

What a shame that he did not just go through the booze bus.
Okay, if he was stupid enough to drink and drive thats one thing. But to run?
He should have faced up to his responsibilties like any normal citizen. One of the issues of course is that he is not a normal citizen, he is the captain of the most publicised sporting club in Western Australia, and whether he likes it or not, a role model to thousands of kids.

Cousingate part two

Deary deary me,

good to see the weagles on the front and back of the West for all the wrong reason.

My clever wife has given these reasons why Ben may have fled the booze bus

1. He thought the cops said Random Breast Check and he was a committed boyfriend

2. He left the iron on at home and didn't want the house to burn down

3. The 96FM thunder just announced their location 100 metres up the road and he wanted some freebies

4. The Dockers were signing autographs up the road and he wanted Pavlich's signature

Oh deary me

Thanks to Channel Ten for cheering me up today.
After a pretty intense day, just the sort of good news I needed.

As a good Christian (!) I know I should not delight in the misery of others.
But the bleating and sadness from the West Toast supporters has reached a fever pitch.
Apparently Captain Pretty, Ben Cousins, is being questioned over a possible fleeing from a traffic situation.

Also the former number one ruckman, and all round nice guy (!) Michael Gardiner, is being dropped to Claremont for the 2006 season for disciplinary reasons.
Meanwhile everything is sushine and light down Freo way.

Alright, I've stopped gloating and laughing on the inside, back to normal transmission.

Churches Closing

This is not a pick on the Catholic Church post. However this article sparked my interest.

"Not even prayer will save Holy Innocents, in south St. Louis, and 18 other churches - one built in 1860 - that have been put on the sale block by the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of St. Louis. The sale involves 80 parcels of property - schools, rectories, convents and churches."

Personally speaking I dont think God necesarily cares two hoots if 1st Baptist Church nowherville stays open or not. I just think he cares if people are becoming Christians or not. I do think He chooses to use the church as His first option for that. If some churches that are dying had half a conscience, they would sell up and give the proceeds to a group of people, or another church, who are being effective in reaching people for Christ. This makes a powerful argument for buying. You cant give away what you dont own.

In my view we may be guilty of confusing the purposes of God with our own sentimentality.

Bill Hybels and risk

From Bill Hybels comes this quote,

In Kingdom work, you really do not have the luxury of not taking risks
because we have a world we are trying to win. In a business situation, you can
say, 'Let's cut risks this year. We've got a million in the bank. All we want to
do is maintain.' But those of us who are building churches are under a mandate
to move ahead. We are told by our ultimate leader Jesus Christ that we have to
get out there and try to reach people. Which then forces you to be in a
risk-taking mode a good portion of the time. And so I am proud of pastors who,
in the spirit of trying to take new ground, the spirit of trying to reach new
people - who bump their nose once in a while, and who learn a lesson, and who
bump against a guard rail and learn a little bit. At least they're out there
trying to fulfill the mandate. At least they are in motion trying to do
something great for God. What irks me is when someone gets to the end of a
twelve month period of time and they have clean hands and a clean desk and
nobody can accuse them of anything and they didn't take any ground. Show me
dirty hands and a messy desk and a few bumps and bruises and a baptism tank
filled with 35 people in it and I'll take that every time."

Derby coming up

Fremantle v West Coast Subiaco Oval Sunday 26th February4.10pm (Freo Time)

Does anyone else sense the omen that is on the 26th?
Yes, it is Clive's old number, he who only needs to be known by his first name.

The night will be ours, the serial chokers will be shown up for who they are.
If we win, they will blame their injury list, and the media will kick into gear.
"Dockers lucky again as brave Eagles fight on"

If the Eagles win, I will be trotting out that old line, "the pre season cup is just like dancing with your sister, it does not count".
That and drowning my sorrows and avoiding the email rush as my hundreds of fairweather eagle supporting 'friends' pile it on me.

We will shout for joy when you are victorious

A further reflection on this gem from Psalm 20.

4 May he grant your heart's desire and fulfill all your plans.
5 May we shout for joy when we hear of your victory, flying banners to honor our God. May the LORD answer all your prayers.

All too often I find myself being criticial of other churches and ministers, when instead I should be shouting for joy at their victories.

It seems to be a paradox or hypocritical or something, but what makes me the most critical, is when I see others being critical! Over at Phil Bakers blog there is a thread on mega churches. The vitriole and bitterness has to be read to be seen. If you dont like Phil or his church, dont go there. And if you dont like what he is on about, dont read his blog! No one is forcing you. Now I do believe in healthy debate, accountability and openness. But I shout for joy when I see Riverviews ad on TV, I shout for joy when I hear about their programs to help the disinfranchised.

All the other stuff people get so upset about, well thats between them and God, its not my problem! I am going to have enough to answer to God for myself, without having to worry about their issues.

"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or where the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by the dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs and comes short again and again...who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions and spends himself in a worthy course; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who, at worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly; so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory nor defeat". --Theodore Roosevelt

Okay, what's wrong with this picture?

A friend alerted me to this Church's website.

Anyone dare to guess what is wrong with the quote they are using?

Apart from the obvious, there are some other reasons to avoid this church!

Deacons meetings

My first ever deacons meeting at my present church occured about 10 years ago.
We have come a long way since then.

The then pastor and one of the deacons had a stand up red faced screaming match. I am not going into details, but there were serious issues.

We had our combined Ministry Team Leaders and Leadership team meeting this morning. Now we are facing our issues. Mostly issues to do with growth. We dont have enough money to do all the things God is calling us to. We have to take steps of faith. It is risky and confrontational.
However we have seen God do some amazing things, and we believe together that He will continue to.
My reflection is though that the spirit within our leadership teams is wonderful.
I led them in a devotion from Psalm 20.

4 May he grant your heart's desire
and fulfill all your plans.
5 May we shout for joy when we
hear of your victory,
flying banners to honor our God.
May the LORD answer all your prayers.

This is what we did this morning, cheer each other on and shout for joy at the victories we see happening. What a transformation. But it has come at a cost. Some good people have left, some others have not been able to see the battle through to the end. The personal cost to my wife and I, and others, has not been inconsiderable. But God chooses to work through Churches. I dont know why, and there are plenty of people who can tell you what is wrong with Churches, and delight to do so. But I am glad to be a part of a church which is doing something about our community. And our focus is on that. I am also glad that I am not in stand up, red faced over the table fights with my church leaders!

Off to pray, back tommorow

Off to pray, meditate, be refreshed and renewed. Few Pastors and myself heading down to Binningup to share and pray together. Draw deep on the water talked about in Psalm One.

Might get some fishing in at night, who knows!

Midnight Oil Productions

Midnight Oil Productions is a great source for multi media material for churches.
They have some excellent freebies each month as well. Here is their blurb,
"Discover professional quality worship media at price your church can afford at Midnight Oil Productions."

Athiest off to church, of sorts

Thanks to Pat who let Andrew know about who won the 'date' with an athiest.

It was a organisation known as "Off the map" and the story is found at their site. It will be interesting to follow this up and see what happens.

Bono gives a sermon

Bono recently addressed the US National Prayer Breakfast

I have also been reading Steve Turners book "Walk on" which documents U2's spiritual journey. Talk about inspiring.

Two quotes from the prayer breakfast.

"I remember how my mother would bring us to chapel on Sundays… and my father used to wait outside. One of the things that I picked up from my father and my mother was the sense that religion often gets in the way of God."

"Get involved in what God is doing—because it’s already blessed."

Thats enough for me to think over for a week.

Full House part two

On reflection what is really making my heart sing is not the number of people there on Sunday, but the type.

It seems to me Jesus was not interested in the religious people of his day, in fact he reserved some very harsh words for them. Some commentators even believe he swore at them, such was his anger at their lack of grace and compassion.

The people He was interested in were those on a journey. The needy.

At church at the moment we have a number of folk attending who would not say they are signed up members of the 'church set', but they are coming.
It keeps you on your toes, it forces you to be aware of the words you use, and the presumptions you make.

Another key point I am mulling over is this. People generally speaking do not come to Christ at a crusade or key event anymore. They come first to a community, and then grow to faith by being exposed to a community of faith. This is happening in our midst. The 'face' of our church has changed.

I am impressed by the power of our community. Everyone doing their part. The big positive changed started with our new structures that were adopted last year. They are bearing fruit. Individual Ministry Team Leaders are really leading, and being innovative and creative, because they can.

I have not been as happy in ministry as I am at this point.

Full house today

The last three weeks at church have been wonderful.
While numbers are not everything, it is great to have a full house.
This Sunday was our biggest crowd since Christmas.

Showed a great video of Bluff Noll, with some quotes from Genesis. Put together very well by one of our blokes, who is getting into video editing etc.
Quite moving, with a good choice of music.

I was speaking on anger, see a post below for details, and Eliot sung a song from Paul Coleman.
Its tune really stuck in my head, and was a wonderful way to reinforce the message, dont let the sun go down on your anger.

By the Paul Colman Trio

" You say you want to be lonely You say you want to be You say you want to be lonely No me no me only you there You say you want to be angry You say you want to be You say you want to be angry That you don't want to rely on me But we can work this out Leave your gift there at the altar brother yeah Don't let the sun go down on this today Don't let the sun go down today Don't let the sun go down on this today You say you want to tell others You say you want to tell You say you want to tell others All the things you say I've done to you But we should work this out Leave your gift there at the altar sister yeah We should work this out I'll be here listening to your every whisper yeah"


Sorting through some photo's, wish I was still there.

The biggest losers

I am starting a four week series this week on 'The Biggest Spiritual Loser'.

It is designed to help us lose those things which hinder our spiritual health.

The Biggest Spiritual Loser
How to lose unhealthy inner baggage, and experience emotional health
Lose bad temper and gain positive boundaries
Lose Anxiousness and gain faith
Lose Approval addiction and gain security
Lose Negativity and gain hope

Should be fun!

Send an athiest to Church

We have all heard of the things they flog on ebay, from a image of Mary embedded on a toasted cheese sandwich, to the Pope's old car. But this one is certainly up there in the interesting stakes.
A young man from Chicago is offering to go to church if you pay him. He is a editor of an Athiests newsletter, and will publish his experiences in his journal.

"I'm a 22-year-old Atheist from Chicago. I stopped believing in God when I was 14. Currently, I am an active volunteer for a couple different national, secular organizations. For one of them, I am the editor of a newsletter that reaches over 1,000 Atheist/Agnostic college students. I
have written several Letters to the Editor to newspapers in and around Chicago, espousing my Atheistic beliefs when Church/State issues arose. My point being that I don't take my non-belief lightly. However, while I don't believe in God, I firmly believe I would immediately change those views if presented with evidence to the contrary. And at 22, this is possibly the
best chance anyone has of changing me."
Here is the link Send an athiest to his local church!

Wonder if Willow Creek might get involved? Maybe Forge could go over and live next door to him for a week instead?

Declare me innnocent and Psalm 18

Continuing my devotions in the Psalms. The NLT really has come into its own in this book. Loving the freshness of reading them with this translation.

Trying to work out what is going on in David's head.

"declare me innocent, for you know those who do right"

Imagine writing and saying that to God! How does this contrast or 'work' with Jesus' statement about the two men praying in the temple? The one who was humble and beat his chest in agony over his own sinful state was commended. The one who thanked God that he was so good, was blasted. (fair nuff too!)

I suppose there are times in all of our lives where we know we are right, and can cry out our case to God. I find that difficult, because I am so aware that my feet are made of clay. Yet David did it, and we know what he got up too!