One Season Ends, Another One Begins!

cropped-dsc_4184.jpgMy family and I are on the precipice of a whole new season of ministry. This Sunday we have our farewell service as we celebrate seven fruitful years of ministry as the founders and pastors of Activate Church.

Lots of memories, emotions and thoughts fill our minds and hearts as we have navigated the decision to answer God’s call to step into a full-time itinerant preaching and prophetic ministry. Stepping out in faith into this new venture has meant that we have had to let go of the privilege of leading Activate Church into the future.

It was in May 2012 that God spoke, definitely, into my spirit at Lilydale Lake, that 2012 was to be my last year as the senior pastor of Activate Church. Since that time God has confirmed over and over again in numerous ways his hearts intention for us and our future. We have wrestled, cried, shared and prayed our way through this process but have seen God’s hand of provision, peace and power make a way both for us and the church.

We are excited to be commissioning Ps Ben and Sarah Fagerland as the new senior pastor of Activate Church in just over a weeks time. This will be a great time of passing the baton to my spiritual son, whom has served God, me and the church so faithfully over these last 4 years.

But for the next 24hrs it’s about honouring what God has done in the past and recognising the labor of love my wife and I have embraced in establishing Activate Church. Activate Church will always be a community of faith we speak into, pray for and cheer on as it moves forward and grows into its future destiny, under new leadership.

As for us, we are embracing a new assignment of preaching, writing, mentoring and ministering prophetically across Australia and overseas. Following Jesus is never static, it’s always dynamic. To go up into the call of God, you must first give up that which God has released you from. It’s not easy but it’s necessary. Please partner with us in prayer for our future ministry and Activate Church as we all transition into a new season of life.

Philippians 3:13-14 ‘But one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead. I press on toward the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’

The Oracle!

Weekly Wrap Up

book of the week

‘The Freedom of Self-Forgetfulness’ is a short book written by Tim Keller, pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City. Tim is a NY Times best selling author. This is one of the most explosive and helpful little pocket rockets I have ever read. It’s in my Top 10 and I encourage you to get a hold of it.

quote of the week

‘Humility isn’t thinking more of myself or less of myself but thinking of myself less.’

Tim Keller

moment of the week

I received a very timely and powerful prophetic word from a respected prophetic ministry here in Australia. Prophecy encourages, affirms, clarifies and edifies.

news of the week

I heard recently of a fantastic church in Adelaide (Edge) baptizing nearly 100 people in a single service. Awesome news.

Grace!

Weekly Wrap Up!

book of the week

Made to Stick by Chip and Dan Heath is a fantastic read and one book that I recommend.

20120507-092130.jpg It’s all about why some ideas stick and others come unstuck. It gives simple but concrete examples of how people, companies and organizations do ideas well or poorly and what we can learn from them. A sample of the key ideas in the book include, simplicity, unexpectedness and credibility amongst several others.

quote of the week

“An impression of the Spirit without an expression of the Spirit will leave a depression in your spirit.”

moment of the week

Vision Night at Activate Church was profound. Lots of positive momentum building through the life group leaders hungry to grow themselves and their ministries. I spoke on ‘The Starving Baker’ and had lots of people respond with overwhelmingly positive feedback.

news of the week

Brian Houston coming to Eastside Church, Melbourne to preach May 22nd. Should be a great night.

Grace!

Weekly Wrap Up!

I’ve been off line the last 2 weeks due to vacation and ministry in NZ but I’m ready to rock n roll again, so here we go.

book of the week

Improv Wisdom is a fantastic little book written by Patricia Ryan Madson and it promotes the idea “Don’t prepare, Just show up”. I call this anti-wisdom and a paradox in a world that constantly promotes a risk averse approach to life. In this book you will be exposed to some of the life changing ideas I have implemented to great success, including, “Say yes; don’t prepare; just show up; start anywhere; be average; pay attention; stay on course; make mistakes please and act now”. Buy this book, you won’t be disappointed.

quote of the week

The bible is bread for daily life, not cake for special occasions.

moment of the week

Spending 3 days with Greg and Linda Burson in Auckland NZ was just fantastic. I had the privilege of doing a wedding while I was over there and the whole experience was fantastic.

news of the week

Activate Youth and Young Adult Camp is happening 18-20th May. You can register online at http://www.activatechurch.com. The cost is $120 and it is going to be huge fun filled with God-encounters, relationship building and heaps of adventure.

Grace!

Weekly Wrap Up!

book of the week

“Understanding the Bible” by John Stott is a very helpful and simple book that answers several questions such as:

  • What is the bible really all about?
  • Why was it written?
  • Can it be trusted?
  • Why should we read it?

I want to encourage you to get a copy of this in your hot little hands and devour it. It will be food to your soul and helpful to your approach to Scripture.

quote of the week

If anything has a greater controlling influence on you than the reality of God’s love for you, you won’t be in a position to serve others unselfishly.

moment of the week

Hearing that my 6 year old son Zack got saved and made a public confession of faith at our Kids City ministry last Sunday, was the highlight for the week.

news of the week

Former footballer and ‘REACH’ charity worker Jim Stynes died after a long battle with cancer. His life clearly impacted many people and it’s been interesting to observe the football media and general publics response to his death.

Grace!

Weekly Wrap Up!

book of the week

Jesus + Nothing = Everything by Ps Tullian Tchividjian is a fantastic book centered on the sufficiency of God’s grace in every aspect of life. For a performance oriented person like me, I found the writers biblical reflections liberating and overwhelming. Here’s a great quote from pg36, “Let me urge you to get unusually quiet and to simply ask yourself: Where exactly am I experiencing agitation, impatience, unease and anxiety? Whatever indications of restlessness you did discover, at whatever level, I believe the reason for its being there is this: we’re trying to find our rest in something smaller than Jesus.”

quote of the week

“Expecting life to be fair because you’re a good person is like expecting a bull not to charge you because you’re a vegan.” (Twitter via @BradBennett)

news of the week

Elephant Room Round 2 took place Thursday January 25 hosted by Ps James MacDonald of Harvest Bible Chapel. This is a must see event as it gathers high profile leaders across the Body of Christ from opposite ends of the spectrum and throws them into the theological and ministerial octagon and the fireworks begin. For more info check out http://www.theelephantroom.com

moment of the week

Vision Night at Activate Church was the best we had in light years. Nearly 150 people turned up and the night had everything, inspiration, fun, food, humour, energy, momentum, Jesus, honour and of course… vision.

Grace!

I’m not who I used to be…

2 Corinthians 5:17 “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation, the old has passed away, behold the new has come.”

I have been a Christian for nearly 30 years. At 4 years of age I can remember confessing my sin and believing in Jesus Christ, as I was led to God through the influence of my parents and other older believers. I’m so grateful to God for his sovereign grace at work in my life and it has been an amazing adventure of discovery and growth, albeit painful at times.

Truth is, I cannot believe how far God has brought me in my own spiritual journey. Even as a Christian and pastor, just a few years ago, there were things I wrestled with in my heart, which manifested in my marriage and relationships with others. Now by God’s grace those same struggles are no longer on the dashboard of my life. Granted, there are other challenges that I must run to the Gospel with but God’s empowering grace has rescued me already. I think this is how it should be, if we are working out what God has already worked into our hearts. It does seem, though, that the closer you get to God, the more aware of our sinfulness we become. 

Sanctification is a key theological term which describes the process of a believer becoming more and more like Jesus. Regeneration is the initial act that gives birth to our spirit and begins the sanctification process, whereby the indwelling Holy Spirit transforms us to reflect the character of Christ. This is both a joyful privilege and painful process.

When Jesus saves us, he transforms what we find joy in. Our flesh finds joy in self but our regenerated spirit finds joy in Christ and others. Our flesh finds joy in lust but our regenerated spirit finds joy in purity. Our flesh finds joy in revenge but our regenerated spirit finds joy in forgiveness.

The cross where Jesus died to atone for our sin, is the place of the great exchange – our sin for God’s righteousness. The process of sanctification is the process of dying to self and coming alive to Christ. It’s the process of finding joy in a cross -centered life, rather than finding joy in a self-serving life.

As a Christ-follower, you should be changing. You cannot taste of the eternal gift and not be changed by it. Jesus does something in you by the work of the Holy Spirit and you too will wake up one day and say, “I’m not who I used to be…”

Grace!

How Jesus responded to Fame!

Matthew 14:1 “At that time Herod the tetrarch about the fame of Jesus…” Matthew 12:15-16 “Jesus, aware of this, withdrew from there. And many followed him, and he healed them all and ordered them not to make him known.”

In my devotions this morning I came across these two passages of Scripture and was fascinated by the fact that while Jesus had obvious fame and notoriety in his generation (and still has today) because of his preaching and miracles, he went to great lengths to keep it all under wraps.

Throughout the gospels we read that Jesus was constantly asking his disciples or those to whom he was ministering to not to tell anyone about his ministry, and yet it seemed like Jesus ministry just kept getting bigger. He even had family members telling him to go to Jerusalem and do his works out in the open and not in obscure places, if he wanted to be known… How wrong they were about Jesus motives…

Even though Jesus had many people following his ministry and his name even being heard amongst the elite of the day (King Herod), I’m fascinated that he did all he could to keep a low profile, to enable him to go about the Father’s business in the times and seasons alloted to him.

Jesus lived his life on purpose and if twitter and Facebook had been around, I’m sure he would have avoided boasting of the last great miracle he performed (“Just opened another blind man’s eyes… I had to give him another round of prayer cause his eyesight was still blurry after the first one…” In 70 characters or less).

Jesus responded to the opportunities before him according to his mission from his Father. If being given a platform to more people would extend the mission of the Father, then Jesus would use it accordingly but I don’t read him seeking fame. In fact, he did the opposite, he avoided it.

How Jesus’ example challenges us today? I wish I could say, that all of my motives for social media and ministry have been pure but unfortunately, lurking deep within have been some very prideful and selfish agenda’s. I’ve since repented of them, however, Jesus’ example forces us to re-examine the goals we are aiming for in our lives and what we are seeking after as being worthy of our joy and contentment.

If God’s grace extends to you fame and notoriety, this much I know, it isn’t for you, cause you were never built to handle it. It could only be for the glory of Jesus and the extension of his mission on planet earth. If fame and notoriety doesn’t come your way, rejoice that your name is written down in the book of life and get on with the mission God’s put before you.

Grace!

Transformation is a Journey, not a Destination!

2 Corinthians 3:18 “And we all with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image (of Christ) from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.”

We have become very good at approaching life in linear form and with fixed points in mind but God has designed life as a journey, not a destination. From God’s perspective, the quickest way forward from where we are now, to where he wants us to be isn’t always a straight line. Sometimes it’s full of twists and turns.

Never more is this true than in spiritual transformation. The journey of our transformation can be rough. We are challenged, lovingly confronted, tested, exhorted, encouraged, edified and comforted. Everything is about movement and momentum. Before we can become constantly victorious, we have to become the biggest loser. We have to learn to lay aside weight and encumbrance. We must say ‘no’ to what would entangle us and learn to run with endurance the race that has been chosen for us (Hebrews 12:1).

In all of His dealings with us, the Holy Spirit has to overcome the flesh and establish Christ. We are babies, children and rebellious teenagers before we become fully mature in Christ. There are many memories, hurts, wounds and betrayals that require new health and wholeness. There are sin habits, personality problems, fears, doubts and unbelief to overcome. A spiritual mindset that is not rooted in logic, rationale or reason must be established. The supernatural over the natural lifestyle must be developed or high levels of trust, faith and power are simply not possible.

So here’s a couple of questions to consider today: What part of your life is under conviction from the Holy Spirit at this time? And what Scriptures is He using to support the change He wishes to introduce? If you don’t have any, search the Scriptures and ask God to reveal to you some personal promises and prophecies that will be released to you to help you embrace change joyfully.

Insight!