Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Last Words of David: Vision

I had it in my heart to build a house as a place of rest for the Ark of the covenant of the Lord. 1 Chron. 28:2

David was living with a major plan. His sin with Bathsheba, and the consequent attempt to cover it by setting up Uriah’s death, had resulted in a public condemnation by the prophet Nathan and he had been dealt with by God. He was passionate for God – he had a dream to build a place for God to dwell, a place to honour God.

What’s on your heart? What has God called you to do with your life?  It could be to establish a great home or a great church or school, or build a career. Perhaps it would be to have a great marriage or raise great children – all good dreams. But what has God called you to do? When you are old and grey and you look back, what will you look at with no regrets as having fulfilled the dream in your heart? I've said this before - we only have one go at life and I want to make it count! Search your heart, ask God - and use your imagination.

I love this definition of ‘vision’ – a preferable picture of the future that inspires you to perform. So use your imagination, whether for your job or career, your family, your marriage, or a new venture - and look ahead. We have that for the church here at King’s – we believe God is calling us to build a church of some 5000 people – a big dream and one beyond us to achieve! It’s good to have a dream that is beyond our ability to deliver – it requires God to move for it to be fulfilled. So don’t set the bar too low; choose something that isn’t totally unrealistic but something that God needs to move forward to make it happen.

Paul puts it like this in Philippians 3:12 – But I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Can I ask – what your ‘that’ is? What has God given you to do in your generation? Whether as a leader at work or in the church, or in your family... When you know, when you have found out what ‘it’ is, write it down – ‘My dream is this... I believe God has called me to...

You will have aspirations for your marriage and your children too and if only all it required to make it happen was just saying it...! It’s going to take prayer, hard work and commitment along with the work of God, but you have to start with a dream.

Tuesday, 22 October 2013

The Last Words of David

What has God called you to do with your life – what has God put on your heart to do?

I've been looking at David’s last words at a critical moment of transition towards the end of his life, spoken to the people of God, their leaders and to his son Solomon. (1 Chronicles 28:1-21) David had a dream of building a house for God – to take some of the gains from all the success of his reign and build a temple in the centre of Jerusalem for the presence of God to dwell, to put God at the centre of the nation’s life. But through the word of a prophet David was told that this dream would be fulfilled through his son, Solomon. So David, who has made financial and practical provision for this great building, gives instruction to Solomon and also to the people to receive Solomon as the new leader.

Think about what it will be like at the end of your life as it comes to a close and you look back. As I get older I find that from time to time that future moment zooms in. What I do know is that when that time comes I want to find myself there without many regrets. Now, I’m realistic enough to know that there will be things that I think about and conclude, ‘I wish I had handled that situation better. I wish that particular outcome had turned out differently.’ What I hope is that it would be said of me, as I am sure that you would want it said of you, that I had served the purposes of God in our generation.  This is what is said of David (Acts 13:36), and David gives some great wisdom to Solomon as he stands ready to step forward and lead this great people as his father had done.

The next series of blogs will be around seven words from this part of the life of David which I hope will help you as you seek to fulfil what God has put in your heart to do.

Tuesday, 15 October 2013

Ideas for Vision Sunday - An Invitational Church

‘Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul will live.’ Isa 55:3

You cannot read Isaiah 55 without realising that it shows that God’s plan of old was that all should be invited! It’s a warm welcome and a repeated one – God says ‘Come!’
We are here to invite all those who don’t know Jesus to come and find Him. We invite everyone to connect with us – take another step towards us, whether you have been here for decades or a few weeks. Through being invitational we can give everyone the chance to find out more about what it means to become what our friends from Willow Creek describe as a fully devoted follower of Christ. Join us on that journey of faith!

Our aim is to help you to put Jesus at the centre of your life – it will do you good! Be Jesus-centred, look to strengthen and lengthen your life and your involvement in King’s - and be invitational!

My invitation to us all is this: let’s be an Isa 53 church, an Isa 54 church and an Isa 55 church – Jesus centred, strengthened and lengthened, and invitational to all those who do not yet know Jesus. And to those who do know Him – we can take another step in our growing relationship with Jesus – and with His church!

I trust that this series has given a potential outline for a Vision Sunday talk. You can listen to the actual message via the podcast here

Tuesday, 8 October 2013

Ideas for Vision Sunday - Strengthen - Areas for attention

In the light of responding to a call for ‘lengthening and strengthening’ there will be key areas in church life that we need to give attention to.

-     Leadership developmentI believe this will be an ongoing thing for us. We have hundreds of people attending this church. If they are going to be pastored effectively then we need to release tens, if not hundreds, of ministry leaders to care for the people. Children’s workers, youth workers, community group leaders, worship leaders, social action workers – everything – the list goes on and on! We need to actively and continually encourage leadership development with leadership disciple groups to foster the growth of new leaders. If you have any inkling or thoughts of growing in leadership within His church we need to connect with you and help you to grow in your potential! Now you may enjoy being a part of King’s, have found a place here and are happy to come and go on a Sunday -worship Jesus and walk out, getting on with your life. That is ultimately between you and God – it may work for you as an individual but long-term that will not serve the church.

-      Communication. We have made a decision at King’s to transition our church communication to primarily electronic means. We would ask and encourage you to connect with us via social media and the King’s website if you are able. Twitter, the blogs - these are easy means to access information about King’s so you will be up to date with most recent news and information. We realise that this will mean a stretch for some of you to step in to this world of messaging and gadgets. Please do so if you can!

-      Mercy ministry and pastoral care – I am pleased that we are establishing our debt advice service – this is a really important ministry in today’s world. Welcoming people through our mercy ministries, as well as through Alpha and migration into the area means that we will need an increasing number of suitably wise and experienced people to pastor our people well.

-      Giving – this area needs strengthening. We are aware that there are hundreds of King’s people now giving via standing orders directly from their bank account into the church account. This is a fantastic help and means that we know how much we can depend on each month. Equally there are hundreds who give in a way that we have no idea how much we can rely on. If that is you, can I ask you to seriously look at giving regularly in this direct way?
Currently we need £90,000 a month to run the ministry fund. The multi-site fund needs about £40,000 a month. If giving does not match our planned budgets it will hold back the progress we need to make to make room for more people and to provide the people and resources to care for them. Now if we don’t have the money – we won’t spend it. That’s a given with us! But it will delay the progress of achieving the vision we believe God has given us. Please respond – we need a big push! Sacrificial giving is required...

Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Ideas for Vision Sunday - Confidence in God and a Solid Future

Isaiah 54 also speaks of confidence in the future – ‘...do not be discouraged, you won’t be humiliated’. (:4)

The next picture given in this passage is that of a marriage – one where the Lord God is the husband, so there can be confidence that He will provide as he is the ruler of all the earth! This is a great reason for confidence and ties in to our journey as a church. We can rely on what God says and what we have seen Him do already – the gospel progressing, community being built, extension after extension taking place.

Alec Motyer says that in Isaiah 54 equal attention is given in the picture of the extended tent to both enlargement - and to solidity. It’s about an intentional reach and a lot of building work going on, to build something solid and established. Lengthening – and strengthening. This helps us as we lay out our roadmap for building a church of 5000. Our history has been of growth at a rate of 10% per year so we do not step into the future untried in this area.

In the past 30 people from Catford were asked to go and join the second meeting at Lee to strengthen it – especially those who lived in that area. Then we ran to two meetings at the Downham site – another 30 were asked to go and strengthen that meeting – also creating more space in the tent at Catford Hill for new people to come – and they have! The spaces they left have been filled with new people. Currently we have around 1750 meeting at the three sites, seven meetings on a Sunday and eventually in 2014+ the work we plan to do on ‘extending our borders’ will lead to a total 2500 seating capacity.