Sunday, 29 March 2009

Get in God's orbit!

Well we’ve started: after months of planning & praying, today we started our multi-site working as a Church. 10am at Kings City Centre, and 11am at Kings Mile Cross, AND we had the hour change to cope with!
I didn’t realise when we set the date, that our first Sunday would coincide with a couple of other notable challenging events – the Boat Race and the Australian GP.

Apart from providing me with some great afternoon viewing to relax to after a busy morning, it also made me think of how we seem to love to push ourselves to achieve things, how we seem to have an inbuilt desire to strain for something just over the horizon. Before the Boat Race there was a brief interview with Roger Bannister who famously ran the mile in less than four minutes at a time when many thought that four minutes was an unbreakable barrier. In the interview he said: “Most people just don’t know what they are capable of.” Of course that is true in many senses, good and bad. That’s why as well as experiencing exhilaration, we also experience shame. Just last week I was reading an article about that trial going on in Austria examining what a father did to his own daughter… enough said.

In God’s image, we are indeed fearfully and wonderfully made; no animal or machine could conquer Everest, write a symphony or enjoy winning a race. Yet don’t we also have the capacity to mess up and do serious damage to one another? The book of Proverbs is a great guide on how to live life well (and I strongly recommend Bill Hybels book Making Life Work , £5:50 in the Kings Bookshop) and the wonderful conclusion that the writer of Proverbs returns to again and again, after all its wise instruction is this: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom” . In other words, if we want to live well and live to the full measure of how we have been made, then we need to be in God’s orbit, honoring the One who made us, knows us, and without whom we continue to hurl through life in our own self-centred little orbits of self-aggrandisement , crashing into one another and disappointing ourselves.

How do we do that? By daily (in the morning, in my judgment) getting on our knees, acknowledging and enjoying God’s greatness, and committing all our amazingly impacting words and deeds to Him. It works best that way – after all, that’s how you and I were designed to operate, for His glory, not ours.

Have a great week – and thanks to all of you great people at Kings who have worked so hard to launch our second site in Mile Cross.



Sunday, 22 March 2009

Exciting opportunities...

I visited Copenhagen briefly this week – what a great city! I’ve been there several times but this time the sun was shining, which makes all the difference. And I had an exciting reason for being there!

Over the last few months I have been having discussions with Josef Kristensen and fellow leaders of Copenhagen Community Church (CCC) about our involvement with them. Some of you will remember Josef from the days when he used to come to Norwich regularly for Leadership Training – he was that very friendly, warm-hearted Dane who was always smiling. The truth is that Josef can charm his way out of any sticky situation – and I’ve been in some very sticky situations with Josef, believe me… the one with the motorbike…painful! – whatever, he really is a great guy, and his heart for people can be seen in the church that he has drawn together in Copenhagen.

The thing is, Josef has a passion to go gather people somewhere else – in Antioch, Turkey! So who can fill the gap and help the church in Copenhagen expand and blossom in his absence…?
“Oh Goff, it would be really great if you could come and help us, the people here would just love you..!!”
“Yes Josef.. I’ll pray about it!”
So I did, and then Keith Hazell, that lovable prophet visited. Dangerous!
“Goff, put on your running shoes (Keith doesn’t know that I run most days) because you’re going to be running in and out of 4 or 5 nations..!”
“OK Lord, your plans are good, and working with friends is always the best way.”

So that’s how we’ve become involved. The plan is that I will visit regularly, some short visits of just a day or 2, on other occasions, longer, and wherever possible, taking with me some of the excellent, gifted people from King’s. And working together with the excellent guys at CCC, we’ll believe to see that Church shine brightly and be Good News in that great city! Anyone out there up for it? Then give me a call!

Have a great week


Sunday, 15 March 2009

Springing the traps...

Preaching this morning on ‘Running the race God has planned for you’, I touched on the subjects of things that can spoil your race and traps that can snare you. It’s something that has been on my mind all week as I’ve been preparing to preach – those snares that David speaks of in the Psalms. It conjures up a very vivid picture of how the unsuspecting can quickly find themselves trapped, caught by the foot, and unable to move or shake free. There really are those kinds of traps around that Christians can find themselves caught in – Satan sees to it; it’s what he does.

In our culture some of those traps are pretty obvious, but that doesn’t make them any less avoidable it would seem. Take for instance the internet. Everyone knows it’s there and the danger it poses, yet it ensnares heaven knows how many with its pornographic images. Of course we don’t like to call it that, but that’s what it is.
So it is equally important that we get real, recognise the problem and help people walk free of this pernicious trap. I mentioned this morning that David the Psalmist got stuck in a great big bear trap called Bathsheba, so if this godly guy got snared, don’t let too many of us say we’re immune to her lure.

Let me then give some practical help to see some traps sprung:

Firstly, break the power of the secret; tell someone. Satan loves to keep us trapped in secrecy & shame, and away from the help, prayer & accountability of Christian friends.

Secondly, truth sets us free, so be aware what God says about the purity of sexual intimacy as he intends it, what he says about impurity, and how he wants you to walk in freedom. To help you in this, you might want to take a look at to see some material that Mark Driscoll has written in his typically forthright and helpful way!

Thirdly, take some bold action. Getting rid of ready access to the internet isn’t such a big deal in the light of eternity & a life to be lived powerfully for God. Another idea is to sign up for some security software that keeps someone else alert to what you’re viewing. Take a look at And don’t forget to put some good routines into your life that will fill your heart & mind with some inspiring, God-glorifying stuff on a daily basis! Philippians 4:8

The Gospel Good News is all about Jesus setting people free! Above all else he wants you and I to walk free – and when we do, he get’ all the glory!



Tuesday, 10 March 2009

Keep it simple s----d!!

The other week I went to hear Tim Keller speak at Westminster Chapel. I’ve mentioned Tim Keller before in my Blog, but if you’ve not come across him before, you can check him out at
Now there are a lot of things that impress me about TK but one illustration that he used keeps coming back to me. He was speaking about our repeated need to let the truth of the Gospel sink in – for the penny (or dime) to drop – and he gave the illustration of a Coke vending machine in the lobby of the apartment block where he lives. In a matter-of-fact sort of way, whenever you put money in that machine, you have to bash it on the side in order that the money will drop down into the mechanism and deliver the goods. Similarly, he observed, we regularly need a bash on the side of the head in order for the truths of the Gospel to sink in and deliver the goods of Grace in our lives.

I was thinking of that illustration again Sunday morning when we were Breaking Bread in our morning meeting at Kings, and I could almost hear Jesus saying “Do this again, and again, and again, at every opportunity when you come together, so that you make sure that you keep on remembering me and what I have done and accomplished for you – and don’t stop till I come back again!!” I think I may also have felt something on the side of my head as well, but I’m not sure.

So my Blog this week is just a simple reminder to myself and maybe to you too, to daily give ourselves a prod, or maybe even a stiff talking to, so that our wayward minds don’t get the opportunity to take us down blind, dark alleys starved of the Grace of God and the joy of the Glorious Gospel of the happy God. After all, in these days there’s no shortage of bad news capable of doing that. Just don’t go there!
Have a really good week!


Sunday, 1 March 2009

18-30s Weekend

This weekend we hosted our annual 18 to 30’s event a Kings: “Living an Extraordinary Life”. Great title – and a great weekend with around 200 enthusiastic guys (that’s male & female!) zealous for God.
Don’t let anyone tell you that the church is in decline or that it’s full of old people! Not true. Jesus said that he would build his church and that’s exactly what he’s doing. OK, so some ‘churches’ are struggling and are in decline, but maybe that’s because the supply of life, the presence of the Holy Spirit, actually stopped flowing years ago, and what we’re seeing is something like a tree that, having stopped producing fruit years ago, is finally succumbing to weathering & decay.

Talking of weathering and decay, yes, they did let me in! Well actually I sneaked in because I just knew it would be hugely encouraging and I wanted to be provoked myself! Stef Liston was speaking Friday evening and Saturday morning, and as ever, he communicated superbly (see the website for downloads) and then Saturday afternoon and Sunday morning it was Graham & Sue Hall. Graham was, for many years a fellow leader with me here at Kings and so it was a weekend of reminiscing too.
Talking late into the night with Graham and Sue about those early years here in Norwich, it made Angie & I realise that we have been Living an Extraordinary Life here in Norwich, and that God has done some truly amazing things here. Kings is a very special church - yes we’re unashamedly biased! We were recalling how, in those early days there was no youth work here, and no students, but we prayed. In fact we went up to the UEA campus quietly one evening and started to pray that God would give us the privilege of being able to serve students coming to Norwich, to show them what church could be like, and to pass on to them a compelling vision of the glorious church that Jesus is building throughout the earth (and, of course, feeding them!). So this weekend, seeing an army of young people at Kings, zealous for God, and stirred with thoughts of ‘Living an Extraordinary Life’ made me very grateful to God, and humbled at the way Jesus builds His church.
One generation will commend your works to another; they will tell of your mighty acts…They will tell of the power of your awesome works, and I will proclaim your great deeds. Psalm 145:4f