Monday, 6 June 2011

Simple Kindness


Kindness is a powerful act that reflects our Father in heaven; Kindness is essential to proclaiming the good news of the gospel. If you're are reading this and you're a follower of Jesus, take a moment  to think of your  journey towards Jesus; there were people who showed you kindness, kindness through loyal love, when you gave up on yourself people showed you kindness and stuck with you, kindness with simple acts, kindness through outrageous generosity.

Let me take you back to the creation story so we get this. In Genesis 1.26, the godhead dialogued about the creation of humankind as a royal reflection of their plurality. God said, “Let us make humankind in our own image according to our own likeness. Humankind, as male and female, was the pinnacle of creation because only humankind was created in God’s image and only after the creation of humankind was the universe declared, “very good.” What does it mean that humankind was created in God’s image?

Being created in the image (and likeness) of God is best understood as humankind in community, representing God by reflecting, or imaging who he is, both in terms of character and function. Everyday you and I have opportunities; every moment we can reflect Jesus. Or we can reflect ourselves. Is it time to  awaken the image bearer within us?

To proclaim is to reflect God, that’s our mission to the world and one of the ways we do that is through KINDNESS!  

I friend of mine was thinking through our 2nd mile deal (servant evangelism, showing Gods love in practical ways). Here's the email he sent me over the weekend, It's short but sweet:

Everyday Kingdom living;



Forgive quickly

Say sorry when you're wrong

Don't argue

Lose the fight & make peace

Wash the dishes

Empty the bins

Leave the tip

Say the Jesus word

Listen to the boring guy

Heal the sick

Cast out demons

Control your tounge

Buy the cakes

Encourage everyone you can

Don't nick anything (steal)

Stay till finishing time

Work hard






Friday, 20 May 2011

Proclaim: No Church & No Christianity

Last Sunday I set a challenge for the Vineyard as part of our 'Proclaim' series. It went like this, "For the coming week I don't want you taking about Church, Christianity and lets stop doing evangelism to people". I haven't had a melt down nor have I lost faith in Jesus as the Saviour of the world. We get so confused, perplexed, frustrated and deflated trying all the evangelism methods, we know Jesus is the way, the truth and life that is truly life and in our passion to proclaim the good news we can even become weird. When many of us don't see our efforts work, as in people coming to faith in Jesus, we conclude "it doesn't work", "I don't have the gift of evangelism" or "maybe it's my personality." We end up leaving the proclaim stuff to others with bigger personalities  and quote St Francis "Preach the gospel at all times and if necessary use words."  The problem with this is it's getting a little quiet out there with people not proclaiming the good news of the Kingdom, and the fact that no Fransican scholar throughout the world can find any of Francis' writings quoting "use words if necessary".

So what do we do to proclaim the good news of the Kingdom? What if we stopped doing evangelism to people and instead introduced Jesus, talked about Jesus. What's the difference? Well, if we go with Jesus the good news moves from method to person and surely Jesus has changed our lives not Christianity. The good news of the Kingdom is embodied in Jesus Christ and yet I find myself hiding behind my job as a pastor and thinking I'm proclaiming the gospel. Let's be honest we all do it from time to time, we can talk about Church,we can debate Bell, hell and our air tight doctrines but keep Jesus out of the conversation. When I was first introduced to the Vineyard Tribe, I was grabbed and attracted by how much more people talked about Jesus than Paul. I live in an island where better preaching means we talk more about Paul than Jesus, strange don't you think?

It's a challenge to move from Church talk to Christ, its said, that whatever  your passion is, you are likely to bring it into conversation within three minutes of meeting a new person. I'm passionate about a lot of things such as Indian food, my wife, my kids and  the Swifts FC and by the way this isn't in order of preference. What do you talk about?


It begs the question, do we like Jesus? I know He's our LORD and Saviour but be honest, do we like Him, enjoy Him, and take the opportunities to talk about Him when the opportunity presents itself. Do we hid behind badges, bumper stickers and symbols of a fish? What if we talked about Jesus, what if we talked about the change He's made in our lives, what if in conversations we said something like "here's what Jesus said about that," what if we told people about the adventure it is following Him. If we tried this new strategy it might take the pressure of us and what if we lifted Jesus up and let the Holy Spirit do the rest.

What if we stopped doing evangelism, what if we stopped talking about Church and Christianity just for a week and talked about Jesus and see what happens. I have a feeling that your faith and energy to proclaim the good news will grow and come alive. The pressure is off when we conclude that it's not about us and to a certain degree it's not about how we deliver the good news. 

“Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He is himself the way.” - Karl Barth 

Monday, 16 May 2011

Vineyard Tribe

Last Saturday (May 14 2011) the Vineyard Uk & Ireland gathered in 10 different venues across the Uk & Ireland to thank God for His past faithfulness and to factor in His future faithfulness. It was a great day of worship, prayer and stories of transformation.

We continually say, that we are not the only Church or the best, but we do have something to contribute to the wider Church and indeed a message of the good news of the Kingdom to share with the world. I'm humbled and thrilled that God has called us and uses us to be part of His Kingdom.

The video below will give you a glimpse of the Vineyard in the Uk & Ireland. If, after watching the video, you have questions about the Vineyard or more importantly, Jesus then shoot us an email to and we will try our best to answer them.


Thursday, 17 March 2011

St Patrick

It's St Patricks day and I guess our friends in North America will out do us with celebration. Who was St Patrick? Did he really drive the snakes out of Ireland? He must have, I've never seen any native snakes yet in Ireland other than pet stores. Patrick is a hero of mine, we know little about him but here's what we do know

Patrick’s communities, missionaries, and monasteries (not to mention the movements and missionaries had their roots in the Celtic movement—Aidan, Columba and their disciples) were known for their warmth, hospitality, love for creation, being naturally supernatural, and the importance of community combined with a theological emphasis upon the closeness of God. The Celtic Model advanced the Kingdom in a new fresh way without watering down the orthodox faith of the Apostles.

It's time to redeem what God has given us and move with it.

Have a great St Patricks day!P

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Legacy - Jubilee 2011

Last Sunday we launched a new series called Jubilee 2011 here at VCD we kicked it off with a time of celebration, giving thanks to God for what He has done with us during the past three years through our Leaving a Legacy campaign. When we launched Leaving a Legacy in April 2008, we believed that God was going to do something amazing. It wasa huge deal for us here at the VCD, we only had around 80 adults connecting and the project seemed huge, it was for our kids, our town and our future. I don’t think we knew how big a net God would give us, but this is what I’ve learned through Legacy, that our reality is bigger than our dreams when God initiates.

We changed our morning celebration around so we could throw a surprise party half way through. So after I'd finished my talk we had the Vineyard kids bring a party into our gathering. We have three entry points so they used all three as they entered the room with balloons, party blowers, party poppers and sweets. We had a few people primed to bring out crisps (chips if you’re from North America) and drinks and then we worshipped. We can be very conservative here at VCD but the whole place jumped into celebratory worship that was loud, fun and a little chaotic.

I was planning to write here about our Legacy deal and connect it to the idea of Jubilee but I can't get past how we, as pastors and churches, call out to God for our community, our church and our world and when God delivers (always bigger than we expect), we behave like the lepers that Jesus healed when only one out of ten returns to say thank you. It just doesn’t seem right. I get so focused on the 'next move' that I rarely stop and celebrate and say thanks, I mean really intentionally plan a celebration to thank God for His faithfulness and goodness.

Today is Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. I'm from a Pentecostal background and Lent really wasn’t up there on our holiday calendar though we did Easter and Christmas. Lent started around 325 AD when the Church decided to set aside 40 days before Easter, a time to go on a spiritual journey towards Easter and particularly holy week. Lent simply means to lengthen, relating to Spring time and day light getting longer. It's a time for a spiritual check up, a spiritual spring clean deal.

It’s a great time to check what needs to go, the stuff that keeps us back from a richer, intimate, authentic relationship with Jesus. I wonder how the 9 lepers justified not coming back to thank Jesus, they weren’t given any advice or instructions to return, just to go the priest. I’d guess they got on with life, they had so much to do now that they had lost the untouchable label.

Let’s take the time and the space to enjoy God and what He’s done. Over the last three years God has been so good to us here at the Vineyard and so at this ancient period of time we call Lent, let’s take time and space to thank God and enjoy and maybe throw a party!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Just Show Up!

I grew up in Church were we would take the city in prayer meeting, they were great nights but to be honest I didn't see much change in our community or the city. It's not that I doubt the power of prayer for God to move but I'm convinced He moves through people; His church.

I wouldn't live my life by Woody Allen but I do agree with his observation on life when he said "eighty percent of success is showing up. " If we want to take the city and talk about revival then before we try to take the world, lets take ourselves to the secret place then to our communities.

About a year ago I went to a home of a family who’s teenage son was diagnosed with cancer, a lady from our small group came with me to give them some groceries, the family weren’t in any financial need we just wanted to bless them and say we care. Before we left I asked the lady with me to pray for the mum, on the spot what could she do but pray; I call that discipleship. I left that home thinking about my boys and how would I cope with this.

Last Christmas eve we did our traditional food hamper giveaway and after each family gave out their food hamper we had some spare. So some people got to give away two hampers. One lady was a dilemma as she had a family Christmas gathering that night but so wanted to give out another hamper, she felt the God nudge and went with the hamper, she grabbed the address, got her kids and hamper into the car and headed off. Soon she was at a familiar place, with a dog barking and kids in the car she sat for a moment wondering how to get the hamper to the house.

She got out of the car and headed towards the house when she was met by the mum who had now lost her boy through cancer. The mum instantly recognized the lady, threw her arms around her and said you came with food before and prayed for me. The Kingdom of God came to this hurting family in the form of an available lady and a box of food and a reminder that God had not forgotten them.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Outward Focused Christmas

Each Christmas at the Vineyard Church Dungannon we try to create a different way of doing Christmas through our Outward Focused Christmas. The idea came about after I read my good friend and mentor's book called The Outward Focused Life which is all about creating a servant culture in a serve me world, if you don't have a copy pick one up as soon as.

I thought what better way or time to turn the tide on consumerism in the Church than at Christmas time so instead of doing the traditional Christmas talk we set aside December and talked about Grace, Attitude, Availability and Generosity I guess there's alot of Christmas in those titles. We set the month aside and still do each year to serve our community, we did free Christmas wrapping, giveaway chocolates, went out to the town centre at the weekend to meet clubbers and pub goers with a coffee and chat into the small hours of the morning. Then Christmas eve we gathered as a community of faith to give out hampers.

When we started giving out hampers at Christmas here in the Vineyard, it wasn’t huge in fact Christmas 2007 we gave away four luxury hampers to families we knew were in need. I can still remember Michelle, the boys and myself dropping one at a home just about 3 miles from where we live, a lovely picturesque village, neat gardens, respectable homes. We found our house; it looked cold even from the outside, curtains half open, it looked forlorn. We got out the hamper and my three boys where loaded with questions, why are we doing this? Who are these people? Why don’t they have food and toys this Christmas?

We knocked on the door, a boy about 8 or 9 years old came to the door, he looked wary, cracking the door open about 6 ins. We asked could we talk to your mum, dad, he looked blankly, so we told him we were from the Vineyard Church and we wanted to give him and his family the hamper to remind them that God loved them. He opened the door just enough for the hamper to squeeze through, he had wee dirty bare feet, and dragged the hamper through the gap in the door. He didn’t speak, he didn’t say thank you – he didn’t need to. We knew that his Christmas had just got a whole lot brighter. As we have been talking about moving from ‘here to there’ we have gone from 4 to giving away 267 hampers and £1500 of oil heating in 2009. Christmas is getting brighter as this year we plan to give away 1000 luxury food hampers and oil heating for those in need this Christmas.

Why not start your own
Outward Focused Christmas 2010 and as my friend Dave Workman would say "Let’s make a difference in someone’s life today…let’s go serve somebody."