Networking For Cell Leaders

Here is a post I have written for Joel Comiskey’s blog.

 

Cell Networking

I pastor a non-denominational church in a small town that is a long way from a large city. Of the nine congregations in my town, ours is the only one consciously using the cell church model. It has been many years since I was able to attend a cell church conference.

There are many reasons why it would be easy to just remain isolated and try to do my own thing. But to stop getting into the wrong habits I need to keep checking that I am on the right track by interacting with other people.

Modern technology makes it easier to connect even when we are separated geographically. It’s not quite the same as meeting face to face, but it does help me when I read what other people around the world are doing in their cell ministries.

I love this blog at joelcomiskeygroup.com and I regularly read the posts by Joel Comiskey and his team. The web-site at smallgroupchurches.com is a treasure trove of resources for group leaders.

On facebook I administer a cell churches group (https://www.facebook.com/groups/cellchurches/) which was started to help cell church leaders share with one another and encourage one another. With over 300 members from around the world it has a wealth of knowledge and experience. While it has been a little slow lately, this group does have great discussions from time to time.

I love reading books by people like Joel Comiskey, Ralph Neighbour, Scott Boren and others. They help to remind me of the goal of our groups (to make disciples who love God, love people and make disciples) They also throw up ideas that I have not thought of before.

Sometimes just meeting with our own cell leaders or visiting different cell groups gives me insight into the various ways that other leaders run with the overall vision of cell ministry. A few weeks ago we dedicated our cell leaders meeting to prayer. I was blown away by the enthusiasm and bold praying of this group of ten people and encouraged in my own prayer life.

Of these different sources of encouragement and connection, what works best for you?

Understanding Muslim Obsession With Israel

If you have ever wondered why the Arab world is obsessed with destroying Israel, even at the expense of its own people, this article by Melanie Phillips will turn on the lights for you. It is all driven by honour and shame, and in particular the role the Jews had in being suitable victims of shame to enhance the honour of Arabs. She quotes at length an article by Professor Richard Landes. A long article but worth reading.

Fatah, headed by Palestinian Authority head Mahmoud Abbas, has called for a “day of rage” tomorrow.

This is ostensibly to protest against the metal detectors which the Israeli government has installed at Temple Mount in Jerusalem. That was in response to last Sunday’s attack there by two Israeli Arabs. Already armed, they burst from the compound and murdered two Israeli Druze police officers, leaving a third officer injured.

Dozens have already been hurt overnight in violent demonstrations against the police in both the Temple Mount area and in east Jerusalem, with Arab youths throwing stones at officers and setting dumpsters on fire. According to Jerusalem’s police commissioner Yoram Halevi, many of those who took part in the rioting were encouraged to do so by the provocative statements being made by the Palestinian leadership.

You don’t say.

It’s the usual story. Arabs are incited to attack Jews by mendacious claims (made by Abbas, amongst others) that the Jews are attacking Muslim holy site; Arabs launch murderous attack on Israelis from said Muslim holy site; Israelis take security measures around said Muslim holy site to defend against further such attacks; Arabs claim these defensive security measure are further attack on Muslim holy site; Arabs incite further attacks on Israelis in protest at presumed attack on holy site; and on and on.

The Israelis’ real crime, in the Arabs’ eyes, is to assert control of any kind on Temple Mount. The Arabs have threatened to unleash world war if Jews were ever to have free access to it or in any way alter the status quo. That status quo means Jews have their access to Temple Mount heavily restricted and are not even allowed to pray on it.

This despite the fact that, as the site of the original Jewish Temple, it is the holiest place of all for religious Jews. The Arab and Muslim belligerency over Temple Mount is not just an attack on Israel but on Judaism itself.

Read the full article here

Reflection on Genesis 28:10-19

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Passage: https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=Genesis+28.10-19

Scripture

Jacob woke from his sleep and said, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place, and I did not know it.”

Observation

Jacob comes to a certain place and lies down for the night. He dreams of a ladder reaching from earth to heaven and angels ascending and descending on it.

The Lord appears to Jacob and repeats His promises to Abraham and Isaac. These are promises of land, offspring and blessing.

Jacob wakes from his sleep and says, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place and I did not know it. This place is the house of God.” He anoints the stone he slept on and names the place Bethel, that is house of God.

Application

We christians have the Holy Spirit in us, and so every place we go is Bethel, for we are each one the house of God.

There are times when the Lord surprises us, perhaps speaking to us or acting for us in ways we did not expect.

The presence of God becomes obvious to us in these moments. Every day in all that we do, we should try to be aware of God. He is with us in all the moments of all our days.

Many years ago a monk known as Brother Lawrence wrote a book called “Practising the Presence of God.” The title itself is a clue- we need to practise listening and discerning God’s presence with us in the minutiae of daily life.

We can learn to take the opportunities to seek out the Lord in our daily routines. I know of one lady who assigns a prayer point to each household task. Others take a minute each hour to stop and ask “Lord what are you saying to me right now?”

It is so easy to miss appointments with God when we lose ourselves in the world. We need to seek out God in the unlikely places of our lives and declare with Jacob, “Surely the presence of the Lord is in this place.”

Prayer

Father in heaven, help me to seek you in everything I do. Please reveal yourself to me in my daily life. Amen.

The Slippery Slope of Doctor Who

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They’ve been hinting it for 6 months, and last night the BBC announced that the next actor to play Doctor Who will be a woman, Jodie Whittaker.

And once again the show slides down the ramp of political commentary until enough viewers stop watching it and it gets canned.

We are already going there with Season 10 with the explicitly lesbian companion Bill Potts and anti-capitalist episodes such as “Oxygen”. When any TV show stops telling stories and turns into some sort of leftist political soap opera it becomes boring and people turn off.

You only have to go back to the reasons why the original Doctor Who creaked to a halt. It was the same political bent that killed it in the 1980’s.  Then it was the  anti-capitalist, anti-Thatcher propaganda that produced boring story lines.

I am sure that Jodie Whittaker is a great actress. She might even turn into a great Doctor Who. If casting a female Doctor Who is about seeing how far they can stretch the character, that’s great. But if the producers  are following an “agenda” instead of making great drama the end is near.

Three Words That will Save Your Soul

Ann Voskamp writes:

How These 3 Words can Stop What’s Stealing Your Joy — Instead of Staying Stuck In the Competing and Comparing Rat Race


So this kid? She’s apparently got a problem when it’s her kid sister’s birthday.

And yeah… it’s understandable.

I mean — who really especially likes it, or finds it easy, when the other kid gets the big cake?

Or the big gifts. Or all the flashing cameras on her grinning mug smiling pretty over candles?

I mean — I saw it once at a parade: women jockeying for a better position.

Turns out it doesn’t matter a hill of beans how old you are, how wise you are, or how you’re sitting pretty —the more you let yourself compete and compare, the more you forget your own calling.

the more you let yourself compete and compare, the more you forget your own calling.

I’d seen it, the women with their big handbags and big hopes:The more you push to get in front of others, the more you fall behind in being the best you can be.

I confess, I don’t remember much of the parade… but I went home with that.

I went and listened to the kid with the kid sister who had this birthday coming up. She was brave and honest and said out loud that she knew she was going to feel her tummy tighten into knots when everyone handed her sister all the presents, when her sister got the stage and the candles and the cake.

So she showed me what her and her mom had written on a piece of paper for her, for her to carry in her pocket, hold in her hand.

Just three words, scrawled on a scrap of paper:

Read the rest here