RELAX & OBEY

Last week I attended the Launch Church Multiplication Catalyst Conference in Manchester. It was one of the best conferences, if not the best conference I have attended. The vision behind the conference is a desire to see a new future for the church in Europe. With the statistical trend of decline in the church in Europe, Launch is seeking to be a catalyst for church planting and multiplication.  The quality of the speakers, worship, venue and organisation were amazing! One of the main stage speakers was a man called Jossy Chacko. I want to use this blog to try and convey some of my main takeaways from Jossy. (I plan to try and do a few blogs on my experience of Launch.)

Jossy kicked off his talk by telling a room full of church leaders and planters to RELAX! “You don’t need to build the church, He [Jesus} will do it for you! Relax.” Refreshing! I have been to  many conferences with many supposed quick fix church growth/building tools. I love how Jossy launched his message by reminding delegates that Jesus said, “I will build the church.”

“You don’t need to build the church, He [Jesus] will do it for you.” Jossy Chacko

From that simple but profound reminder, Jossy began to delve in to the Great Commission. The Great Commission is about obedience. To GO, Make Disciples and to teach obedience, not just teach knowledge but to teach obedience. It’s an incredibly simple command, Go and make disciples. Jossy explained how in a recent survey world wide Jesus is number 3 in brand awareness to McDonalds and Coca-Cola. How can this be? Why is this? Christians need to be surrendering in obedience to Jesus. ‘Let it be, whatever you say, I will do it Jesus.’  This is beautifully shown by Mary at the Wedding at Cana when they had run out of wine and she tells the servants ‘Just do whatever [Jesus] tells you.’ “Just do it! Nike stole it from Mary.” Jossy Chacko! Discipleship is obedience!

Therefore, in order to be obedient we need to realign our priorities. In heaven there are two things we won’t be able to do. Find someone to share Jesus with and help the poor and needy. If we get to do everything else  in heaven then we need to in obedience prioritise finding people to share Jesus with and helping the poor and needy while we are here on earth!

“The only reason for any Christian to exist on the earth is to fulfil The Great Commission!”

“Two things you can’t do in Heaven:

1. Find someone to share Jesus with.

2. Help the poor and needy.”

Jossy Chacko

We need to get back to the simplicity of the message of the Bible. Hear and Obey! We have often defined Christian maturity by information, how much someone knows. But maturity is measured by obedience. I wonder how do we measure success from a sermon? Is it how many pats on the back you receive at the door? What if we started to measure the fruitfulness of our preaching by how many obey God’s word.

” Obedience is not a choice, love is! To obey more, love more. The root of it all is love” Jossy Chako

But what is the root of obedience? LOVE! John 14 v 15 Obedience is not a choice, love is.

I wonder how much do you love Jesus?

Our calling as leaders is to lead people into a deeper love of Jesus. This is what the church in Europe needs if it is going to see a brighter future – a generation of radical disciples who deeply love Jesus leading to obedience. In obedience we long to see many finding and following Jesus. Dr Peter Brierley notes that where growth is occurring in Europe one the primary reasons is that those churches are planting churches. I love how Jossy ended his talk by linking church planting and obedience.

“Church planting is a result of effective discipleship. Effective discipleship is the effect of obedience. Effective obedience is the effect of love.” Jossy Chacko

Do you love him?

I really appreciate you reading this! If it has impacted you in anyway please share it with others via Facebook, Twitter or any other way so others can be impacted too. It means a lot to me. Thank you.

*This was such a good conference I am already booked in for next year! You can join me https://www.picatic.com/launch2018

Psdancronin.com

Fruitfulness on the Frontline – Ministering Grace and Love

Ministering Grace & Love

At Heysham FM Church our current Sunday evening message series is called Fruitfulness on the Frontline. The series is based on the book and course of the same name written by Mark Greene and the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity. Even though we are only half way through the series,  we are already seeing people released from the burden of feeling that they are not doing enough or that they are not being fruitful. What does it mean to live a fruitful life as a disciple?

This series is based on the 6M framework from the course and book. What I love is from the outset, the course states that this is not another Christian tick list to get you down when you feel inadequate as you haven’t ticked each box in a day. Instead, its aim is to help us have the perspective of what it truly means to be fruitful in our everyday lives – simply by doing what we are already doing!

I had the privilege on Sunday to speak on the 3rd M: Ministering Grace and Love. To listen to the message Click Here

One of the key phases from the book which became like a refrain in the message is this  “Grace doesn’t have to. But grace does. Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.” So simply put yet so beautifully profound.

“Grace doesn’t have to, But grace does, Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.” Mark Greene -Fruitfulness on the Frontline

As I prepared for the message I was awestuck at the lavishness of God’s grace and love for me and the whole world. That He should give His only Son to make a wretch His treasure. Jesus didn’t have to come to earth, He didn’t have to die for me.  “Grace doesn’t have to, But grace does, Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.”

“There is, … a joyous generosity, a lavishness, about God’s grace.” Mark Greene -Fruitfulness on the Frontline

There is “… a joyous generosity, a lavishness, about God’s grace.” How can I not in light of the cross live a life of generous and lavish grace and love? One of the barriers is that we set the bar as what actually counts as ministering grace and love far too high. In Matthew 25 v 34-40 Jesus shows how simple and practical ministering grace and love can be – feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, visiting those who are needy. Even something as basic as giving someone a glass of water! Whilst Jesus is primarily speaking about serving people who follow Him the principle still applies. Ministering grace and love can be as simple as a glass of water.

One the things I have been challenged about in preparing the message is about how counter-cultural ministering grace and love actually is. We find ourselves in a world of convenience. Where it’s all about ‘how can I get through life in the easiest way for me?’ We complain about traffic. Despite being British we complain about queues. We complain when our McDonalds order take longer than 3 minutes. But ministering grace and love isn’t about convenience. It’s not convenient.

“At root, whether convenient or not, ministering grace and love is at root about generosity. Generous Living. It’s about taking the focus off ourselves and proactively thinking about how we might help someone else.” Mark Greene -Fruitfulness on the Frontline

“It’s about taking the focus off ourselves and proactively thinking about how we might help someone else.” It requires us not to focus on ourselves – our convenience, but to focus on thinking about how we can help someone else. Remembering that grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Love doesn’t have to but love does. Knocking on a neighbour’s door because you haven’t seen them for a while isn’t convenient but grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Helping a colleague who has a massive workload isn’t convenient but grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Paying for the person behind you in the queue’s coffee isn’t convenient but grace doesn’t have to but grace does. Ministry is love in action.

As a disciple of Jesus I seek to not just know about Him, what He did and said. I want follow Him, copy Him and be caught up in His passion. His passion for people. That led Him to the cross. I want to live a life that shouts to the world you are known, you are loved. There should be a joyous generosity, a lavishness about the love and grace that we show. From a glass of water to whatever it may be, how can you minister grace and love?

I challenge you this week to minister grace and love to at least one person. Intentionally, generously minister grace and love. Remember “Grace doesn’t have to, But grace does, Grace is on the lookout for opportunities. Love doesn’t have to. But love does. Love is alert to the possibilities.”