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April 2016
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June 2016

Transforming Your Church

When I became the Senior Minister of CityLife Church back in 1995, I invested extensive time in prayer, study, research and reflection about principles for building a healthy and effective church. As a result, I was prompted to lead our church through seven "strategic shifts" over the next few years. This has resulted in much positive change and impact. Over the years, I have taught this material to many pastors and church leaders. Eventually, these principles were put into a book called Help Your Church Change and eventually an international version titled Transforming Your Church: Seven Strategic Shifts to Help... Read more →


Mark and Nicole

Nicole and I celebrate our 30th wedding anniverary this June. Nicole is my best friend and my life's climbing companion. I can't wait to see the joy that is around the next corner for both of us. To keep track of our whereabouts, check out our web site, which has been recently updated. [Photo taken while we were in Moscow last year where I was speaking at a pastor's conference for church leaders from all over Russia, hosted by the Word of Life Church, Moscow] Read more →


Stages of the Life of Faith

God’s kingdom is often described in an organic way and is seen as growing larger and stronger (Mark 4:26-29. Luke 13:18-19). The church is also seen as growing and maturing (Ephesians 4:15-16). Individual followers of Christ are also called to grow in their relationship to God (Colossians 1:9-10; 2:6-7). Personal and spiritual growth occurs over a period of time and always involves a process that is very much like a journey. Many people find it helpful to have a roadmap or at least a loose guide for their journey of faith. In their insightful book, The Critical Journey, authors Robert... Read more →


The Value of Time

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed a train. To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask someone who just avoided an accident. To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person... Read more →


First Things First

Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you (Jesus). Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. Good is the enemy of best. Establishing priorities is essential to life and ministry effectiveness. Not every task or project is created equal. The challenge is to put “first things first”. Basically, all of us spend our time in one of four ways, as illustrated in the Time Management Matrix. This matrix defines activities as “urgent” or “not urgent”, and “important or “not important”. Most people discover that they... Read more →


Prison Break: Finding Personal Freedom

Quite a few years ago now, we conducted a survey in our church. One of the open-ended questions was: "I wish someone would preach about ..." We collated the answers and I have enough to preach on until Jesus comes back! Actually, what surprised me the most at the time was the fact that people wanted to hear messages about dealing with common challenges such as worry, fear, anger, depression and rejection. These weren't subjects we were speaking on very often and as a result we were not "scratching where people were itching!" After this survey, we crafted a series... Read more →


Jesus and His Mother

As Jesus was dying on the cross, he was not completely alone. There were a small group of people who loved him dearly, right there until his last breath (John 19:25-27). They demonstrated great courage just to even be there. One of them was Mary - Jesus’ mother. I am sure Mary did not always understand her Son, Jesus (what he was up to and why he did what he did) but she always loved him. Her presence there was the most natural thing in the world for a mother. Jesus might be a criminal in the eyes of the... Read more →


Happy Mother's Day (2016)

[Watch this message] It’s Mother’s Day: a century-old tradition of taking time to thank and honour our amazing mums. Mums are special people we owe so much to - in addition to our very existence! Most mums are faithful, loyal, hard-working, loving and caring people. We honour and applaud them today. Of course, Mother’s Day brings a variety of emotion with it – gratitude, if you had a great mum, some sadness and pain if you had a difficult or absent mum, and grief if you have lost your mum or wanted to be a mum but haven’t yet been... Read more →


Showdown in the Desert (pt.2)

Lessons from Jesus’ Temptation Yesterday, we looked at Jesus' showdown in the dessert. Today, let's glean a few lessons for our own lives from this story. 1. We are in a spiritual war. We live in a spiritual battle zone between God and Satan, the kingdom of light and the kingdom of darkness. There is no neutral ground. We will either overcome or be overcome. The battle will intensify as history proceeds from this time until the return of Jesus. Before the world was created, a number of theologians believe that one of God's archangels was cast out of heaven... Read more →


Showdown in the Desert (Pt.1)

Jesus has prepared well for impacting his world through total surrender, a strong relationship with his Father and the empowerment of the Holy Spirit. The final aspect of his preparation is a showdown with the devil himself. Immediately after the “mountain-top” experience at his water baptism, Luke describes Jesus as “full of the Spirit”. The Spirit then “led” Jesus into the desert or wilderness (in comparison to the garden paradise where Adam and Eve were tempted). Jesus fasted (ate no food) for 40 days. During these 40 days he was also tempted or tested by the devil. The three specific... Read more →