Sunday, December 1, 2013

The love challenge

David Murray, an American pastor set this monthly love challenge to his church and I think it is a good challenge for all of us too.


Love Challenge 1: Pray for one family

What better way to love someone than to pray for them? As well as praying generally for your church, pray for specific and special needs in your church family, and for one other family in particular. Use the church directory or membership list to select one family to pray for regularly in the next 30 days.

Love Challenge 2: Speak to one person

We all have our favorite people and our favorite places to sit and stand in church. Why not sit somewhere different, exit through a different door, or stand in a different place and risk meeting a different person! Just once a month, do something different that will make you speak to someone you don’t usually speak to.

Love Challenge 3: Encourage one person

You appreciate many people in your church family, but have you ever told them that? Have you ever highlighted one of their gifts or graces and told them how thankful to God you are for them? Again, not asking for a lot here, but just once a month, go out of your way to find one person and encourage them.

Love Challenge 4: Carry one burden

Speak to someone who is suffering in your church and ask them how they are. It may be someone who is ill, someone struggling with a wayward child, someone who’s struggling financially. As you listen to their story, express concern, and feel sympathy, a strange thing happens – the sufferer’s pain reduces slightly as you take some of it into your own mind, heart, and soul. Although you walk away heavier, they walk away lighter.

Love Challenge 5: Visit one person

Perhaps start with the seniors, the sick, and those with special needs, but select one person in your church to visit once in the next 30 days. If you can’t do it in person, you can “visit” by phone.

Love Challenge 6: Give one gift

Share your abundance with those who lack. There are people and families in your church who cannot afford to buy a book, go out for a meal, go on vacation, or even buy all the groceries. $10 gets them a book, $20 gets a couple a meal at Applebees, $50 gets them a day camping, $100 would make a huge difference to their family grocery budget. Give as the Lord as prospered you.

Love Challenge 7: Forgive one person

Is there someone you’ve fallen out with? A strained relationship? Whether you are the offender, they are, or you both are, make one attempt to reconcile with them. If you can’t make progress in reconciliation, at least speak to them, express interest in them, and show affection towards them.

Love Challenge 8: Welcome one person

Different people visit your church every month – vacationers, friends and family of church members, strangers, seekers, church-hoppers, etc. Don’t leave it to others to welcome them. Take the initiative, go out of your way to show that you’re glad they came, exchange contact details, etc.

Love Challenge 9: Share one meal

Once a month invite someone, a single, a couple, or a family to share a meal with you in your home. Don’t make it fancy or complicated (or you won’t do it again) but simple, informal, and do-able. The focus should be the fellowship not the food.

Love Challenge 10: Relegate one preference

There are some things in church life and the Christian life that are a matter of biblical principle. These things we cannot let go of, we cannot demote, we cannot dismiss. Other things are a matter of personal preference – clothing, hobbies, sports, education choices, etc. When we make our preference equivalent to principles we inevitably erect barriers between us and others, we put others down and puff ourselves up. Search your life for one preference that you’ve turned into a principle, relegate it, let it go, and watch your relationships improve.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Alan's Induction

Well, what a great was had by all yesterday, even if tinged with some sadness for some of us.

The day started at 3pm with the formal induction service which seen Alan & Pam involved in being officially set on the journey of their new ministry in Glasgow with Harper Memorial Baptist Church.

This service was followed by a lovely lunch served to us by the great folks of the church at Harper.

We rounded the day off with a great night of praise and worship, giving thanks to our great God for all Alan had done at Plains and celebrating the start of this the next chapter of Alan's ministry. Again we heard some great preaching and some funny stories of all high jinks Alan has got up to over the years.

Alan is not the only one starting a new chapter though, we here at Plains are now looking forward to see who God has to lead us into the future, and what we can be sure of is this, that God, who began a good work in us, will carry it on till completion.

God bless, Jim.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Holy Contentment

In some ways and for a particular group of people (of which I am one) the title of this post doesn’t quite seem right.  There is a phrase that in recent years has really taken hold within godliness-with-contentmentgreen-300x260some evangelical circles, namely, “Holy Discontent”".  By using this phrase, people are driving at keeping moving forward for God, to strive for better, to not settle for what we have but rather believe God has more to do among us, and I truly subscribe to having a healthy doze of “Holy Discontentment” , therefore, it is perhaps all the stranger that the title of this post is “Holy Contentment”.

So what am I saying then? 

Well, let me explain, as usual it is borne out of the book I am reading, Gospel by J.D. Greear.  What has driven this post is the part of the Gospel prayer from the book that says:

“You are all I need today for everlasting joy”

As I have mulled that over, it has really struck me how impacted I have been with this materialistic world view that is all around us.  When you boil it all down, all the marketing and advertisements around us are geared towards stoking up our discontentment.  Whether it be discontentment with your mobile phone or your toilet roll, the message is the same -  you are missing out!  Having this world view drive our materialistic society is all well and good, however, if it seeps in to our spiritual life, as it often does, then we are in trouble.

So I urge you to join me this week in focusing on the Gospel, let the truth that in Christ, the Father’s love, acceptance and presence is all we need today for everlasting joy.  Please, like me, resist the message of the world that tell us we never have enough, there is always something better to be desired.  Proclaim with me this week:

Christ IS enough and there is NOTHING better!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Gospel Finances


As you know if you have been keeping up to date with the blog recently I am enjoying working my way through the book GOSPEL by JD Greear and the latest chapter on handling our finances through a Gospel framework was particularly challenging and pertinent.  So I thoughts I would put the headlines here so you can feel the challenge too smiley1 .



The Gospel Generosity Matrix:
  1. God gives excess to some so that they can share with those who have less
  2. Jesus’ radical generosity toward us serves as a model and a motivation for our radical generosity.
  3. The Holy Spirit must guide us as to which sacrifices we, personally, are to make.
  4. God DOES enjoy in our enjoyment of His material gifts
  5. God, not money, should be our primary source of beauty and security
  6. wealth-building can be wise


Greear, then makes the great point that we all we want to know is how much a Christian should give, a tithe, more?  Well I think he is right that this stems from our hearts that  love laws to follow so we can earn God’s acceptance, the reality really is a challenge of the heart and it is that he tackles with the following questions:


  • What does your spending show that you delight in?
  • What does your savings show you find security in?
  • Whose kingdom are you building?

Please if you find the above helpful or challenging, then please get the book, it is very practical and challenging.

God Bless


Tuesday, February 19, 2013

After Church Conversations

I read this article on the Gospel Coalition website and it got me thinking.  After the service we, like many churches, have a cup of coffee and a biscuit to try and aid fellowship.  However, how often are the conversations we have at that point spiritual in nature?  How often is it that we exchange views on what the Lord was saying through His word etc.? coffee

I would encourage you to have a read through this short article by clicking here and see if we can’t add a little spiritual flavour to our conversations this Sunday

God Bless