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Leaders who bring lasting change – quote May 29, 2015

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Love this quote from T.J.Addington and the heart for Reach Global

For leaders who bring change and desire that change to last, there are two tipping points to watch. The first tipping point is a change in thinking. One of the significant changes we have been working on in ReachGlobal is for our staff to be equippers of others rather than primarily doers. In this way we move from a model of addition in missions to a model of multiplication. For those who came into the organization when staff were primarily doers, this has been a difficult transition to make, but ten years in we have passed the tipping point in thinking multiplication rather than addition. The second and more difficult tipping point is that of figuring out how to do multiplication rather than addition. Until that occurs, the new DNA will not have been planted in a way that will outlast our current leadership. It is really about developing, empowering, and releasing others in ministry. As that concept catches momentum, the DNA of being equippers will become part of the lasting culture of ReachGlobal.”  T.J.Addington

From the book by “T.J.Addington “Deep Influence”

Snapchat – think twice before using May 28, 2015

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I am amazed by how many people use Snapchat – it was back in August 2013 that I was downloading new apps when I read this post from Adam Mclane that shared the negative aspects of the app. I deleted it straight away and have never used it.

Adam highlights some significant dangers of the app, its false promises and its darker side, this was a convincer for me, which is why I struggle to understand why others would choose to use it. Is it because of a lack of knowledge? Is it because people love to flirt with danger? Do people love sexual ‘picture’ frivolity too much? These may all have an element of truth behind them but there are as many who just do not care. The recent upsurge in my contacts who are using this app have not convinced me to try it – in fact it is a brick wall that is faced when trying to convince them of the dangers inherent in having the app at all.

Perhaps the greatest resonance of concern is with parents of children and teens. Parents are concerned of the wider stories of sexual predators and what this may entail but seemingly less concerned about the insidious slide of decay when we talk of morality and the way we view our bodies.

It may be true that there are plenty of users who use the app in ‘appropriate ways’ but the question then – why the need for supposed anonymity (nothing is truly deleted once posted!) of the app? There are plenty of other alternatives.

If you are a snapchat user, or thinking about it, please think again – it is not all that it is cracked up to be.  This post will disappear within 10 seconds of you reading it! (Oh no it wont – ;-) )

How far?…. May 28, 2015

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How far do you wish to travel on your leadership journey? What do you desire? If leadership is influence then you can lead no matter what position you hold in an organisation. Usually people refer to leadership role rather than practice because they do not desire leadership to improve others but rather to exert control. It is a tool for power and control as we all like to ‘be in charge’…..it’s not leadership, it’s an ego trip. 

True leadership demands sacrifice and significant investment of time and effort. How far you wish to travel on your leadership journey will determine what level of sacrifice that you need to employ. 

How far?…..

Dyson on failure – Leadership May 27, 2015

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Dyson loves talking about the importance of failure in his life as an industrial designer. “I made 5,127 prototypes of my vacuum before I got it right,” said Dyson. “There were 5,126 failures, but I learned from each one. That’s how I came up with a solution. So I don’t mind failure.” He goes on to argue that we often fool ourselves into believing that successful products emerge from a moment of “effortless brilliance.” To him, failures provide keen insights that enable the invention of unique products. Dyson explains: “We’re taught to do things the right way. But if you want to discover something that other people haven’t, you need to do things the wrong way. Initiate a failure by doing something that’s very silly, unthinkable, naughty, dangerous. Watching why that fails can take you on a completely different path. It’s exciting, actually.” 

Caleb – bible inspiration  May 25, 2015

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Statements of Faith are inadequate! May 16, 2015

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When it comes to mission initiatives and ‘reaching people for Christ’ in the least reached or unreached places we need to see people as Jesus did….not through the spectacles of faith statements. It is too easy for us to adopt a statement but when we seek to partner with others we soon discover that our missiology or church politic interprets the statement in a different way to our prospective partner. Meanwhile, the least reached remain unreached because of our own bias. 

We need a generation who will think in a different way and will march to the beat of a different drum. For the sake of the lost, can we see through Jesus lenses?

Statements of faith alone are inadequate…..

John Maxwell Quotes May 12, 2015

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Homer understood the value of a crisis. He wrote, “Adversity has the effect of eliciting talents which in prosperous circumstances would have lain dormant.”

The measure of a leader is not the number of people who serve him but the number of people he serves. Real leaders have something to give, and they give it freely.

People of Courage May 9, 2015

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An article that I wrote for Changing London Magazine (Spring 2015) – the magazine of London City Mission

People of courage

A foundation of faith

Over the last twelve months we have – rightly – seen numerous references to ‘men of valour’ and heard of innumerable acts of courage during commemorations marking the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the First World War.

Courage takes many forms, however. The Bible narrative which speaks most clearly of a courageous life is that of Caleb, son of Jephunneh, who we read about in just a few passages of scripture – primarily Numbers 13-14 and Joshua 14. The
life of Caleb is marked out as one of courageous perseverance in the face of hardship as he lived a life of radical obedience to God. This life was built on a foundation of faith, enabling Caleb to stand firm for God and push through, whatever the cost – so
much so that God says of him, ‘Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly’ (Numbers 14:24). Caleb’s trust in God was a foundation stone for all he did, and proved to be a marker for a life which was exceptional in many ways.

Standing firm

Caleb knew what it meant to stand firm for the word of God. He was among the spies sent out into the Promised Land. After forty days in a foreign land, the spies came back with stories of a land flowing with milk and honey but
inhabited by giants. Of the spies, it was Caleb who saw the difficulty but recognised the hand of God and honoured God’s word that the people of Israel would take the land. The stand he took with Joshua almost led to their death by stoning, and the Lord had
to intervene. Caleb stood firm and exhorted the people to not rebel against the Lord (Numbers 14:9). People of courage stand firm for the truth: they hold on to the word of the Lord, and they are immovable in this.

One example of this in London City Mission can be seen at Forest Gate. Our old centre is next door to a beautifully modern Sikh temple and just a few doors away from a well-attended mosque. On a daily basis, we have seen the staff here
stand firm for truth in the midst of hostility and misunderstanding. It takes courage to work here, but we have a God who stands with us as we act as salt and light in the community.

Pushing through

The result of Caleb’s courage? Forty years of ‘ordinary’. The people of Israel walked the desert for forty years, and all of Caleb’s friends and peer group (except Joshua) died. For forty years, Caleb was not heard of within
the people of Israel’s narrative, apart from a few references to his faithfulness; he walked, toiled and laboured along with his fellow countryfolk. He lived on a diet of manna and quail, but knew first-hand of the fruit of the land which was so close. Caleb
had been in the Promised Land, he had walked its paths and tasted its fruit, yet, we hear no word of complaint or bitterness from him as he waits forty years for the promises of God to be fulfilled. His life was ordinary within the context of the people, but
the foundation of faith remained strong. Faithful in the daily routine, plodding on through the desert years, waiting for God’s moment. This is courageous perseverance in the extreme.

We recently heard the story of a man, S, who first came into contact with the Mission twenty years ago. For twenty years one of our missionaries prayed for him. Last year, this man came to faith in Jesus. For twenty years, the ordinary
life remained trusting in God, in prayer, before a wonderful transformation was seen. Praise the Lord!

Whatever the cost

At the end of the narrative, Caleb comes to Joshua and reminds him of the word of the Lord from the previous generation. Caleb is still eager to do battle in his old age, still willing to take the difficult land and still recognising
it is God’s will he is serving. This was the last of the conquest; Caleb had sacrificed his own agenda for the sake of God and the people; he was willing to pay any price to see God’s name honoured and glorified.

Caleb’s life story is one of costly forbearance, where he risks stoning, faces forty years of ‘ordinary’, battles for others before himself and puts aside his own agenda to serve God.

Mission work is costly for the individuals who serve. I am regularly astounded by the work of our staff team at London City Mission as they give themselves for the sake of the Lord, so that they may share the gospel with others. It is not
just the staff members but their families, too, who share in this ministry: children taunted at school because they are part of the ‘God squad’; spouses who have to cope with ‘all hours ministry’; the list is endless. Yet we have a team of dedicated people
who serve consistently with courage and perseverance, whatever the cost.

So Caleb’s story helps us to see what it means to be people of courage – people who will stand firm, push through, whatever the cost, for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

Such courage can be found daily in the streets and on the estates of London. The men and women of London City Mission, whose stories often remain untold, supporting vulnerable people as they seek to survive each day, coming alongside local
estate residents who share their harrowing life stories, sacrificing the ‘good life’ – a career in a well-paid profession, a comfortable life in a beloved home town – so they may tell of the transforming love of Jesus to London’s least reached communities.

We are grateful for those who stand with us in this not-so-glamorous ministry to the least reached of London. Thank you for partnering with us in this gospel outreach. 

Courage, Perseverance and Urban Mission May 6, 2015

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This is a short post based on a short extract of a sermon I gave at London City Mission in January 2015.

Urban mission requires great courage, but what does Godly courage look like?

The story of Caleb helps us understand what Godly courage looks like. He stood firm and pushed through, whatever the cost – so much so that God says of him, ‘Caleb has a different spirit and follows me wholeheartedly’ (Numbers 14:24).

People of courage stand firm in the truth.

Caleb stood firm in the word of God. After forty days in a foreign but promised land, the Israelite spies to Canaan came back, hands laden with good fruit but hearts filled with fear. The land was rich and plentiful, flowing with milk and honey but inhabited by giant hostile men! Most dared not go back and sowed doubt into the hearts of God’s people.  But although Caleb saw the difficulty, he bravely urged them, along with Joshua, to have faith in God’s word about the Promised Land and claim their inheritance.

The cost of his courage? Near stoning by his own people had God not intervened!

Our old centre in Forest Gate is squeezed between a beautifully modern Sikh temple and a well-attended mosque. On a daily basis, London City Mission staff courageously stand firm here for gospel truth in the midst of hostility and misunderstanding, knowing God’s promise of victory stands with them as they serve Christ.

People of courage push through to the end.

Caleb’s reward for his courage? Forty years of an ‘ordinary’ life, not mentioned in the Bible: faithful in the daily routine, plodding on through the desert years, waiting for God’s moment. He remained faithful right to the end, still eager to do battle, still willing to take the difficult land and still choosing God’s word and will above his own.

I’m regularly astounded by our team at London City Mission as they give their lives to sharing the gospel with others. Their families also pay a price; children taunted for being in the ‘God squad’ and spouses coping with ‘all-hours ministry’. We applaud these courageous men and women who take on this not-so-glamorous side of ministry to London. Day after day, their stories often untold, they faithfully support vulnerable people struggling to survive, share the pain of the harrowing life stories of local estate residents and sacrifice the ‘good life’ of comfort and well paid careers to tell of the transforming love of Jesus to London’s least reached.

Like Caleb, these people of courage stand firm and push through, whatever the cost, for the sake of Christ and the gospel.

Leadership Conference 2015 – Day Two Evening Session (RAH)  May 5, 2015

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So the final night of the HTB Leadership Conference is upon us. 

Christine Caine shares that we are a part of history – so many historical moments where we see God weaving a tapestry of hope to this world. We have witnessed a moment that forces us to respond to a call for church unity. 

Great to look back at the last 12 months of development in Alpha International. A global Alpha Initiative is planned with Bear Grylls heading up the campaign for 2016. Nicky Gumbel reminds us that Alpha is just a resource that helps us to talk with people about Jesus and introduce them to Him.

Joyce Meyer

Encourages us to listen to listen to other people – for then we may see the inner beauty that would otherwise be missed. 

Love: it is not a subject, it is a person. God is love. The conference theme is unity but we cannot have unity unless we have love. We need to stop theorising and begin practising. We are the ones that must make an effort to get along, it may not necessarily be easy but we must practice. Sometimes we live in a way were we have the Holy Spirit but the Holy Spirit does not have us. To be the impact that we need to be, we need to be more than churchgoers, we need to show Jesus in every part of our lives. 

There can be no unity without love because love covers over all offences. Denominational labels are not always helpful because there is not one label who has everything right. Love perseveres. Love starts at home. As a person with a lot of pain and brokenness, it was the word of God that changed everything. Being a person of excellence is very important, as being a person of integrity and keeping the strife (opposite of unity) out of your life. (cf psalm 133). We need to be behind the scenes what we are in front of other people. Love needs to be real, as is unity – they are not events – they are lifestyles.

Matthew 22:36-39 – God cares about everything in your life and he loves you unconditionally. God is love – you cannot do any more or any less to receive his love….he is love. People want unconditional love and the only place to receive it, is from God. We love God because he first loved us. When we receive Gods love and love him back, we need to learn to love ourselves. If you do not love yourself, you are in for a rough ride because wherever you go, there you are! The best gift you can give to those you love, is a healthy you. 

In 1 John 4:11-12 – if you want to see God, find love. Where love is, God abides. What would the world be like today if every Christian acted like one? There is nothing more important than us being people of love (cf ephesians 3:19). Love is not a feeling but a decision. (cf 1 cor 13) There are certain behaviours that do not look good on us as Christians. We may need to change.

When you have experienced something special, you can never be satisfied something lesser. Nothing good happens accidentally, it happens on purpose. cf Gal 6:10 – blessing the household of faith. We all have the ability to make peoples life better…that is love. Love helps needy people and it will be expensive, it will demand sacrifice. John 21:15-18 – feed my sheep, help somebody…..get the smell of sheep on you.  

We need love & this will involve forgiveness, we need to have a lifestyle of forgiveness. Forgiveness may happen in degrees and will be more than just a duty and may demand we keep showing forgiveness, even if their behaviour does not alter. God works through people and as partners with God, he wants to use us to bring healing and salvation as we demonstrate Christ and point people to him.

Acts 10:38 – we need to go around doing good. Everywhere we go, there is someone who’s life we can make better, if we will only look. We need to walk in love….we will need to trust. 

….and so it ends, see you at the HTB Leadership Conference 2017

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