Category: Discipleship

Porterbrook 2013/14

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Just a super quick post to flag up Porterbrook – a superb mission-focussed theological training course that can be done vocationally whether you’re a pastor, a bin-man, a house-wife or a ninja!

I am honoured to serve as the director of Porterbrook South Wales and am therefore keen to promote the course as we look forward to the start of a new academic year.

If you are interested in studying deep, quality, missional theology and getting to chew it over with other like-minded students then please drop us a line to cardiff@porterbrooknetwork.org. Here’s a quick video that gives you the lowdown on Porterbrook. It’s a few years old now but should whet the appetite.

Blessinz…

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Courageous

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A recent conversation with my friend Adrian about the need for a men’s conference in South Wales soon led to a discussion with the elders of Hill City Church which promptly led to the formation of a steering committee which quickly resulted in the birth of COURAGEOUS! Courageous is a conference for men that is taking place in the Congress Theatre, Cwmbran, on Saturday 2nd November. With a host of speakers, including Gavin Peacock, Mez McConnell and Rob Parsons, as well as various seminars and other surprises, Courageous promises to be a huge blessing to the hundreds of men who will be attending.

For more information check out the website: www.courageous-men.org. You can also follow Courageous on Twitter. As soon as the tickets come on line I’d suggest that you snap them up sharpish as early indications suggest that it will sell out fast!

Blessinz

New Porterbrook “Testimonies” Video

So last month we concluded the first year of Porterbrook Cardiff. I think it’s fair to say that it was a huge success with 40+ students completing the course. From my perspective (having done the course myself for the first time) it was incredibly helpful in helping me to think through what it means to be part of a community on mission together. The material was very stretching, theologically robust, at times provocative and yet ultimately encouraging. Check out this short video that lets some of our students explain in their own words how Porterbrook has helped them:

We are now enrolling new students for 2012/13 for both the foundational year and also the advanced year. If you are looking for a mission-focussed theology course that you can do in your own time and in your own context, you need to sign up for Porterbrook Cardiff. You can sign up and get more information here.

28+1 Days in the Book of Acts

So today marks the end of Hill City’s epic journey through the book of Proverbs in a month. To say that the last 31 days have been encouraging is an understatement! The number of Hill City saints who joined in the adventure has literally blown me away. I think the majority of people in the church were involved and whether in general chatter or the wonderful world of Twitter – the way that God has spoken to people through the Scriptures this month has hugely encouraged me!

So, we’re going to do it again!!

Not Proverbs this time but the book of Acts – a book of mission to get us ready for an exciting year of mission! So 28 chapters throughout February – again this works great because there are 28 days in February…normally! OK so this year’s a chuffin’ leap year, so here’s the plan – we’re going to call this one 28+1! 28 days to read the book then a day of focussed mission on the 29th!!

Buzzin!!

I believe that God is really going to speak to us this month and that His Spirit will truly inspire and empower us for the mission we’ve been called to. Feel free to join in – whether you’re Hill City or not. The hashtag for Twitter is #hccACTS.

Street Essentials

Really appreciated this short YouTube film produced by Duncan Forbes. Duncan is pastor at New Life London and a co-contributor to the Reaching the Unreached blog. This is the first in a series of short films called Street Essentials that seek to bring theology down to street level – something that’s very close to Duncan’s heart. If it’s something you think you could use in your context there are a set of helpful questions that can be used alongside it to stimulate conversation and discussion. Let me know if you’d like to know more!

Hope you enjoy it…

Impatiently Learning Patience

I hate waiting for stuff.

Always have done.

To say that I am hard-wired to be impatient and impulsive would be a massive understatement! Clothes, food, bikes, cars, relationships…I have made some stupid, dangerous and destructive decisions throughout my life because of my unwillingness to wait, to think and to trust God.

I don’t think I’m alone in this either – I think it’s fair to say that it’s the curse of my generation as a whole. We’re very much the ‘Now Generation’ – fast food, quick cash, speed dating, buy now pay later, crash diets and worst of all – instant coffee!! Come on when was the last time you were chuffed that your meal in the restaurant took an hour to arrive, or you rejoiced that the traffic lights you stuck at were on permanent strike? We can’t even cope when lose our mobile signal or our internet connection.

We’re just too busy and too impatient to wait!

I struggle with this in pretty much every area of my life. I’m not the man I want to be – I want to be a better disciple, husband, father, pastor and friend. But the process is taking longer than I’d like! A LOT longer!! Similarly, I have such a huge vision and hunger for the church, the community and even the nation that God has called me to serve. But things don’t always happen as quickly or as smoothly as I’d like. And don’t even get me started on the pipe-dream of waging war against my middle-aged spread!!

I just don’t like waiting for things to happen!

Which is why preaching through Joseph recently has been incredibly challenging for me personally! The story so far has gone something like this:

God gave Joseph a glimpse of his destiny when he was just 17 years old, and Joseph, suffering from the same impulsive & impatient disorder (IID) that I suffer from, thought it was going to happen instantly and pretty much told his brothers “get on yer knees now!” Obviously they didn’t, but rather they gave him the kicking of his life, considered murdering him but opted to i-bay him instead! (The ‘i’ is for Ishmaelite by the way!!)

What followed for Joseph was 13 years of slavery, sexual temptation and ultimately jail!

That’s an incredibly long time to wait! And even when he got set loose from jail there was still another 9 years until he actually came face to face with his brothers and saw his dreams become reality!

22 years!!

That’s long!

Like 22 years ago I was 11! I can’t even remember what was going on in my life when I was 11, though it probably involved the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles!!

So why did God make Joseph wait for 22 years?

Well, for what it’s worth, God has used the story of Joseph to teach me that God is far more concerned about changing our character than he is about changing our circumstances! What Joseph went through was rough, but it also served to expose serious flaws in his character that, if they had not been dealt with would have destroyed what God had in store for Joseph, as well as dishonouring the God he claimed to trust! The beautiful truth is that when Joseph emerged from jail all those years later he was the real deal! Sin – purged! Rough edges – polished away! Integrity – intact! Ready to use – now!!

I love that! I love that God’s not impatient like we are. Time is not God’s enemy. Rather it’s a tool that He can and He will use for His glory and our joy! His timing is perfect. Just ask Joseph!! He never lost sight of the vision that God had given him. He just had to wait for it! Simple as that!!

Interestingly one of the Hebrew words for ‘wait’ (qavah) can also be translated as ‘hope’!

As Christians – we should wait differently to those who don’t have Jesus.

Rather than getting disillusioned, distracted or destructive when things aren’t happening as quickly as we’d like, we should rather focus on the promises of our loving God and be faith-filled, hope-full and courageous! Secure in the knowledge that He hasn’t forgotten, abandoned or lost hope in us, but is rather refining us so that when the time comes – we’ve got what it takes to do the business in a way that gives Him maximum glory!!

So perhaps, next time you’re getting vexed because things aren’t happening when or how you’d like – use it as a reason to hope! To trust faithfully and unswervingly in the wisdom and the good purposes of a sovereign God who knows what’s best for you, and is 100% committed to making you the man/woman that He’s called you to be.

Why not join me on the painful, passionate journey of impatiently learning the art of patience!

“For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end—it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay.” (Habakkuk 2v3)

If you’d like to follow the Hill City teaching series on Joseph, you can do so here.

Standard Issue – Daily Devotions for Ruffnecks

Standard IssueAbout 4 years I took a bunch of love-able rogues from St.Mellons away to a Christian camp for a week. It was an awesome camp, through which 4 of them professed faith in Christ. Obviously I was buzzin, though it soon became apparent that discipling a bunch of completely un-churched ruffnecks from an inner-city council estate isn’t the easiest of things to do. While I was 100% committed to helping them to live all-out for Jesus, and to get them stuck into studying the Bible for themselves, there just didn’t seem to be much stuff available for young people like this lot.

So I wrote some stuff myself.

Standard Issue is a collection of really simple daily devotions from the Bible that is aimed specifically at youth from the streets and proved a real hit with the boys in St.Mellons. Therefore, I’ve made all 12 weeks worth of material available for free on line at: http://standardissue.org.uk. You can either read the devotions online or download them as PDFs to print out as A5 booklets. On top of all that there’s also a bangin’ tune about the Scriptures called ‘The Good Book’ by Christian UKG artist, Sammy G, that you can listen to on the homepage too.

If you or anyone you know is working with marginalised youth or young offenders, please feel free to check out Standard Issue.