Thursday, January 29, 2009

Have a go.

The other day one of the Aussie blokes who’s volunteered to help me start a new church in Brisbane, QLD asked me what drives me to do the things I’m doing?
• First Jesus is in my life and He’s the one in charge.
• Second, I have a clear memory of what it was like to live far from God.
• Third, even when things seem crazy and out of hand I can’t help but think about what Jonathan said when he was confronted by seemingly impossible odds: “Perhaps the LORD will act in our behalf. Nothing can hinder the LORD from saving, whether by many or by few."

I love that Spirit. Willing to risk it all. It comes from having seen God’s hand at work. It happens when we follow Jesus out of our comfort zones and join Him in His work in the world.

I also love what his mate said back to him: "Do all that you have in mind," his armor-bearer said. "Go ahead; I am with you heart and soul."
• That’s the sort of man I want to be for the men who I follow. That’s the sort of men I want at my back.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Check your gauges regularly - Dad

One of the highlights of my Church Planting Residency at Mountain Lake are the monthly Coaching Network meetings. It’s a dozen church planters in a room working through the five best practices identified by Shawn and David. Great stuff.

Last week we talked about “nurturing vitality.”

My number one take away – As leaders we tend to have ‘blind spots’ here. Application - Listen to what your wife is saying to you about your spiritual, emotional and physical health. God is probably using her to get your attention, they’re probably right. Ouch.

By the way make sure you get along to 2009!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Things I've learned from Jeff Murphy

Last weekend my family and I had the honor of traveling down to Columbus GA to help serve with the My Church team as they launched publicly. Now if all you'd seen was the amazing, awe-inspiring crowd and buzz on Sunday you've only seen the tip of the Ice-berg that is Jesus at work. Behind every great move of God in a community there is first a work of Jesus in a leader. It is the way He chooses to work.
Here's how Jeff recalls all that happened :
I am on my face praising God. This is not a story of success. This is a story of brokenness... One thing I have learned, “God does not delight in sacrifice, He delights in a broken spirit...” Now, I want every pastor and every church planter who is experiencing pain to know…relish in it. Let God break your spirit. He is preparing you for the next great thing. So don’t call me and ask me how we did this launch. I’ll have to tell you to go out and fail at something or choose the most painful circumstances you could imagine. I have no talent, no good strategy, no superstars in the wings…I only have the power and grace of God. Praise God for using broken people like me! You broken guys out there, get up off your face and do what God tells you to do, even if you think it’s impossible. There are millions of people out there who need God’s grace, and you’re the only guy who can really authentically pass it on!"
Read Jeff's entire thoughts here. Thank you God that you love to use broken clay pots to carry your treasure!

My Church Launch Video

What an absolutely amazing day! A day we will remember and celebrate forever. Thank you Jesus for what you are doing there in Columbus GA.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Australia Day Message...

Australia Day with the boys

Aussie, Aussie, Aussie!

To all our mates and girlfiends back home the Henderson's are singing out a huge Australia Day Coooeeeee! We miss you all heaps and can't wait to see you all again soon.
Things we miss most :
Our family - All of You, both sides, every stinkin one of yez!
Our mates and partners in crime.
The beach. Enuff said eh.
The sun, feeling hot and a cupppa
The real country.
Even seeing dead kangaroos on the side of the road (weird but true).

Oi, Oi, Oi!
P.S. For all our AMERICAN MATES the top picture is of Southbank< where we are planting! Nice eh?

Sunday, January 25, 2009

My Church Launch!

MyChurch, Columbus, Georgia launched today with 615ish (490 adults and 125 kids)!!

It really was an absolutely fantastic day. I'm so happy for Jeff and Christy, God has done and is doing an amazing thing through them and their team to reach Columbus. Jeff's right, his team really knocked it out of the park today.

Above all, I was so proud of the team of Mountain Lakers who traveled really jumped in and gave their all to make the day work and flow so well.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Visit to First Baptist Church Woodstock

Nine years ago this week Ps Shawn and Ps Chad Ward's families launched Mountain Lake Church. And I guess it was fitting that this morning the entire ministry team had the privilege of visiting First Baptist Church Woodstock for their weekly staff breakfast and prayer meeting. FBCW was one of the churches which supported Shawn and his dream of a new church for the disconnected in Cumming. As I walked down the corridors to the meeting room I was in quiet awe of what God had done and was obviously doing in this Grand-parent church. FBCW got behind the planting of Mountain Lake who in turn have invested in Jeff Murphy and the launching of MyChurch this Sunday Columbus GA.

Another takeaway from Pastor Johnny Hunt – “When you truly encounter and wrestle with God you always walk away humbled.” 10 years ago I wouldn't have had any idea what he meant - today I heard what he said, I'm walking different.

Monday, January 19, 2009

What is 'It'?

Today at Leadership Challenge Ps Shawn continued to lead us in a discussion on Craig Groeschel’s book ‘IT’. Great book but the challenge is that the question keeps coming up, “What is ‘It’?” Now we haven't finished the book yet, but for me ‘It’ isn't something mystic. It is God at work in peoples lives as the person and truth of Jesus is proclaimed in a spirit of love. 'It' happens when people walk in step with Jesus. 'It' is the Holy Spirit igniting, changing, growing people’s lives, both individually, in small groups and in larger corporate gatherings as Jesus is shared in both word and deed. Craig Groeschel himself defines ‘It’ as “the special work of God that you experience at some places.” ‘It’ happens because of Jesus’ presence. ‘It’ happens as the Holy Spirit gifts His body, the local church, with leadership to equip and lead people into all the fullness of knowing, loving and serving Jesus. And as people grow in following Jesus the natural result is God's grace aligns our heart’s with His. Jesus’ heart broke for the lost and He has already shared His 'vision' with us. May I die to all else and daily stoke the fires white hot for His. Father God, may you daily give me your heart. A renewed heart that is passionately compelled into action for those who are far from you. Again I commit to plant and water the good news of Jesus in peoples lives knowing only You can bring the increase.
1 Corinthians 3:5-9

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Loving the cold!

This morning the boys and I were excited to see that the little stream near our house had completely frozen over. It was -11C last night. And it's been freezing for the last few days. Anyway just thought my Aussie gang might like to try and get their heads around that!!

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I love it when I see glimpses of commitment shining through in the lives of my boys. I guess when it comes to being a 'Rock Star' there are only two gears. 'Rock on' and 'sleep.'

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Sharing the Plunder

This morning I'm going through my piles of notes and learnings. Today I want to share just a few of the nuggets that Pastor Shawn has shared with me. If you resonate with them make sure you're at next months conference!
1 – You don’t need a new great idea to start a great church. Jesus has communicated the great idea, Love them and Lead them to me.
2 – You don’t have to be a charismatic wizz bang leader for God to use you. However you must stay focused on Jesus and His simple vision, and keeping the execution simple. Remember it’s simply not about you. Keep focused on the basics, the blocking and tackling, the “reaching and growing”. Be prepared to fight to the death for Jesus and His vision. Stay firm to what God has put in your heart. IF you don’t have that clarity of vision, get alone with Jesus and get it clear, so you can die for Him.
3 – There are a number of key core objectives that need to be equally pursued. At Mountain Lake they've boiled them down to the five G’s. What is it that God wants His Church to do? Know and focus on them.
4 – You need to live out your core values first, then write them down.
5 – Never change the Vision but always willing to change the strategy.
6 – The vision drives you step out and be willing to risk things to reach towards “Big Hairy Audacious Goals.”
7 – Visionary growing Churches are not the right place for everyone (attenders and staff).
8 – The best moves are made by leaders willing to take risks, experiment, fail and sometimes move ahead by accident. Getting it right is not the key, it’s being willing to make a decision and have a go. Making no decision is far worse. For God sake make decisions, nothing is worse than a leader who is not willing to pull the trigger. Sure, do your homework, but then make your decision and then work the plan. Remember no plan is perfect, but determin a plan and then work the plan.
9 – Home grown leadership is usually the first place to look for hires, but sometimes it is important and strategic to hire from with out simply for what they bring into the team.
10 – Visionary churches aren’t focused on beating others, they are focused on beating theirselves. You aren’t called to compare yourself to the other churches, you need to be laser focused on doing what God has called you to do and stick with it, fight for it and seek to improve and grow at your game plan.
11 – You can be a reaching and discipling church at the same time.
12 – Knowing Jesus and His vision is the first step, then it’s a life time of sticking with Him and fighting for His vision and always being open to tweaking the strategies.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

North Georgia New Church Network

Today I had the opportunity to send the morning with the North Georgia New Church Network (NCN). We started with breakfast (I’m figuring out that chicken biscuits are the third sacrament in the South) and then broke into groups for community, coaching and prayer. After morning tea we then had a time of training.

My takeaways from today:
Gospel Kingdom Unity is Very Attractive. Though the NCN is a ministry of the Metro Atlanta, Georgia Foothills and Northwest Georgia Presbyteries there were a good deal of other denominations represented. It is beautiful to see like minded gospel hearted churches gathering and planning around the cause of Jesus’ Kingdom.
Coaching is Essential. Time and time again as each planter discussed their pressure points the issue reemerged, coaching is crucial for personal and kingdom growth. I guess it makes sense, God tells us plainly “As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another.” Proverbs 27:17.
Launch with a deliberate focus on Gospel ‘balance’. Forever we’ve been told that ‘Healthy Churches’ have a balance between; Corporate Celebration, Teaching/discipleship, Fellowship/community, Outreach/evangelism & Mercy/social concern. Each area flows from a right relationship with Jesus and it is important to focus right from day one on developing each of these areas. Staff it, work at it, keep it on your radar or the church community will eventually become unbalanced, unhealthy and ineffective at sharing the good news.

Monday, January 12, 2009

The heart of the matter

Yesterday Ps Shawn opened our new series “The New Me” and taught primarily on Romans 12. Shawn is right, it is absolute folly to keep trying in our own strength to bring complete life change. Sure we can bring some change. When it comes to the body we can get focused, eat right, exercise and loose weight, plenty of people have done that. When it comes to our mind we can work hard at getting our thoughts and attitudes on a positive level and yes we can achieve success. But when it comes to our Spirit/heart, working harder just doesn’t work. We can even work hard at doing the right things in the hope of pleasing God, like going to church, serving, and reading our bible systematically and even these good things can be folly if our heart remains unchanged, unmoved and cold to Jesus.

Jesus makes it crystal clear, our hearts are the issue that needs to be addressed. In fact when a group of religious leaders began criticizing Him for healing a demon possessed man Jesus responded by pointing out; “Make a tree good and its fruit will be good, or make a tree bad and it’s fruit will be bad, for a tree is recognized by it’s fruit. You brood of vipers, how can you who are evil say anything good? For out of the overflow of the heart the mouth speaks.” (Matt 12:33-34)
It didn’t matter how hard these religious people tried (and to some extent they were succeeding) to bring outward change, they were totally unable to work the inward and the true life change which flows from a changed heart by the grace of God.

As I sat there and listened to the message yesterday, I prayed, God, thank you for your gracious gift of a new heart, a new life, a new me through Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. Jesus thank you for not only providing for the forgiveness of my sin but your very presence and power in my life through your Spirit which lives in me. Father may you continue to grow, strengthen and challenge me to every day die to me and live to Jesus. Please increasingly open my eyes to the opportunities you bring my way to share the truth and new life you have placed in me through Jesus with others, Amen.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Newsflash - a new bub!!

My sister Mary has just had another baby boy (that makes 6 boy grandkids for my parents) at 5.30pm this arvo - 8.30am tomorrow Aussie time.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Trip home from the Smokies

Tuesday morning we got up and drove to Gatlinburg (and strangely my throat was feeling dry...)

Then we drove into the Smokies and went on a walk through the bush to try and see a bear. We walked and walked but alas there were no black bears. So we walked back to the Rodeo and drove down Cades Cove and had an amazing time. Nerida saw a 10 point buck (I need glasses), and 2 eight point bucks as well as heaps of does. We had a great time looking at all the historical buildings etc.

Anyway the trip home was along the most winding road that Nerida and I have ever been on. Everyone, and I mean everyone, was feeling a bit crook in the guts, and we passed one car on the side of the road where a girl was lying on her back with her feet up in the air against the car passed OUT!

It was called the Dragons Tail, and there were heaps of bikers on the road flying along and overtaking. Anyway Nerida got realy crook and we had to stop 3 times and then iron guts Archie started throwing up... 4 times. Thankfully we had a bucket(?) in the car and little Will his co-driver caught all the mess. Anyway it all made for one of those amazing adventures that we'll all talk about when we get to 80+.