Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Ideas for Vision Sunday - Lengthen...

‘Sing, O barren woman... because more are the children of the desolate woman than of her who has a husband...’ (Isa 54:1)

There is a brilliant Bible commentary by Alec Motyer on Isaiah called ‘The Prophecy of Isaiah’. Regarding chapter 54 he writes that here is joy over a supernaturally created people. The barren woman sings because of supernatural births – a people coming into being beyond the imagination and power of man.

Here at King’s week by week, we see people coming along and being saved – born into God’s own family by His will and purpose! They are connected back to God, sin is dealt with, relationships are put back in line and Lordship issues are resolved with His order being established and Jesus taking the central place. This is not just for individuals but is also for a community of believers working out relationship together

As you read on in Isaiah 54, it speaks of the expectation of expansion and growth – ‘Enlarge the place of your tent... do not hold back; lengthen your cords, strengthen your stakes. For you will spread out to the right and to the left...’

This growth is expected because God speaks and says it will happen. God speaks to us and we can be confident in His word – there is an expectation for the tent to get bigger and bigger. The picture here is of a Bedouin tent – as the family increased they would add another section - as the family grew so did the tent, with poles, canvas and ropes added to meet the need for more space.

This is a good picture of life at King’s – we had a ‘tent’ at Catford Hill, we extended it – twice! Then we went to two and then to three meetings and then we acquired another ‘tent’ at Downham and another massive one at Lee. We now have a second meeting at each of those sites – each filling up, praise God! – so we find we need more space, more tents.

Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Ideas for Vision Sunday - A Jesus-centred Church

‘...he will see his offspring and prolong his days, and the will of the LORD will prosper in his hand.’ (Isa 53:10b)

Reading Isaiah 54 in my garden, I began to look at commentaries and found that before Isaiah 54 comes Isaiah 53 - and after it, Isaiah 55! Profound truths! I felt God wants us to be a church that embodies these three chapters.

Isaiah 53 wonderfully describes the Lord Jesus, His person and His work - and we need to be a Jesus–centred community. Jesus is the only one who can save us! He’s the only one who can bring us to the Father, it is all about Jesus Christ – whether we are talking about forgiveness or healing, or restored relationships among other things. We are not preaching ourselves but Jesus. He’s the Cornerstone, the Beginning and the End, He was at Creation, He will be there at the end of the age; He sustains, He towers over the nations and over history more than the Shard towers over London. We must be a Jesus-centred church.

Individually we need to be Jesus-centred too. We want Him at the centre of our lives, affecting our relationships, what we do with our money, how we respond under pressure, guiding and framing our choices and decisions. We are learners, followers, disciples of Jesus! The extent to which we do this will reflect on how much we gather to pray, how much time we spend reading the Bible and it impacts every bit of life. Your world view is different, what you are running for - everything is changed when He is the centre.

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Ideas for Vision Sunday - Lengthen and Strengthen!

I believe that Vision Sundays and the preaching brought on those days are vitally important. I always start a Vision Sunday message by giving thanks to God for all He has done in the past season – and then lift the eyes of everyone to the call of God for the next season ahead. This following short series of blogs gives an outline of the message I brought from September 2012 from Isaiah and provides a possible model for a Vision Sunday talk.

Isaiah 54: 1-5 says...Enlarge the place of your tent...do not hold back... do not be afraid... the Holy One of Israel is your Redeemer; he is called the God of all the earth

Each Vision Sunday we take time to give thanks to God and acknowledge His goodness to us as a church – we now have four to five hundred more people attending King’s than we did two years ago. In parallel we also know of marriages restored, lives changed, people saved, and a Channel 4 film team has visited the Feast! We can be assured that God is at work.

Last year I shared a new vision for King’s. Over fifteen years ago we began with an original vision for a church of 1000. Just as we came within sight of reaching that goal, just when it seemed achievable, the realisation came - we believe God is calling us to move on to another vision - for a church of 5000 – a much bigger dream. While the original vision of 1000 people is within our grasp, the new one is way beyond our ability – it can only be done by God. And committing to such a vision requires us to lean into God in new ways.

How are we going to achieve this goal? It is one thing to dream and a completely different matter to see it coming into being under God! I believe that some core principles are to be found in three chapters from Isaiah - 53 to 55.

Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Growing a Church: It's all about those who are not in the room!

To conclude and summarise this series:

In the end the philosophy is this: encourage your church to be invitational.  Invite people to a moment.  Get them in the building.  Trust God - there has to be a God moment.  We do the best we can and we trust that those who come along, who are invited by their Christian friends, neighbours and family, will encounter God.  At King’s it is our aim to provide the next step for them to take on the journey and then follow up each person through our integration team. 

Each time we have a gospel appeal I know we will see people respond.  We will have a follow-up team in place and I also know that by the end of Tuesday evening those individuals will all have had a phone call.  As a result, I feel we have been pastorally responsible and for those people there will be a number of next steps they can take – including joining our next Alpha course.  We integrate our whole church programme with such outreach moments.

It’s all about those who are not yet in the room! All our prayer and planning should ensure that when they come – having been invited by our people – they find a place where they hear the message of God’s love and mercy. Good News!