Stand Out

As I often point out, many church leaders think that in order to reach people they must adapt their lives to be “cool” or “relevant.” Contrary to this belief, most of the leaders we read about in the Bible who changed history were significantly different to those around them. One example is John the Baptist.

Luke 3:1-3 says, “In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar—when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, Herod tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and Traconitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene— during the high-priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas,the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. He went into all the country around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins.” 

In other words, when all the “important” people were busy in their palaces and temples, the word of God came to the guy who lived in the desert. God doesn’t need your degree. Nor does he need your fashionable clothing, communications training, smoke machines and spotlights. All he wants is a hungry heart.

I don’t think someone like John would be invited to preach in many churches in the 21st century. Matthew 3:4 says, John’s clothes were made of camel’s hair, and he had a leather belt around his waist. His food was locusts and wild honey.” He was strange. He stood out from the crowd and he didn’t care. He had no desire to fit in with the times. His passion was to preach the word of God. Nothing more. 

Despite all of this, the crowds still followed him because they were hungry for truth. Our generation is screaming out for a greater purpose. They are starving for truth and we are robbing them of it by telling them that Christianity is no different from the meaningless world around them.

Revival will only come when we hunger and thirst after the Lord. Lets stop focussing on the temporal things of this world and start leading our flocks towards the Kingdom of God.


Do we really understand what it means to belong to God Almighty?

In Romans 1:1, Paul introduces himself as “Paul, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated to the gospel of God”. He repeats this introduction in Titus 1:1, “Paul, a bondservant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ“. Simon Peter does the same in 2 Peter 1:1, “Simon Peter, a bondservant and apostle of Jesus Christ“, as does Jude in Jude 1:1, “Jude, a bondservant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James“.

Paul, Simon Peter and Jude were all Jewish, and as such they were brought up under Jewish law and tradition. The word “bondservant” was not a throwaway line used to sound cool. It’s meaning has a bit of history.

According to the law in Deuteronomy 15:12-18 and Exodus 21:2-6, slavery was permissible on the condition that the slaves were to be released after 6 years of service (please note that the number 6 is referred to in the Bible as the number of “the flesh”). However, if the slave loved his or her master and did not want to leave, they could request to be a “bondservant”. If they did so, their ear would be pierced as a public declaration of their commitment and they would be a slave for life.

This scenario is a beautiful picture of our Christian walk. When we receive Jesus Christ we are set free from the slavery of sin, which is controlled by the desires of our flesh. Due to the powerful and abundant grace of God, we are moved with love and commit ourselves to him forever. We often make a public declaration of it (eg baptism), which is symbolic of our commitment to God as well as our new lives as Christians. The ear piercing also represents the “seal” God places over us, as illustrated in 2 Corinthians 1:22, “[God] also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee.” 

We have been sealed by God and now we belong to him! This means we have protection, provision and covering. The question is, do we live as if this is a reality in our lives? Bondservants are people who love their master, have a spirit of commitment, and are willing to pay any price to keep their master’s interests a priority. Do Christians display these qualities?

I think it’s time we get out of our comfort zones and start living for Christ in the way we are called to. We need to stop fearing the opinions of man and start putting God back in the centre of our lives.

The Irony of Bitterness


Funny how we think we’re so high and mighty that people owe us something. We act like super humans going around demanding others to reach perfection, as if we’ve reached it ourselves.

Jesus has a lot to say about this. Lets have a look at Matthew 18:23-35,

“Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt. At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go. But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred denarii. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded. His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’ But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened. Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed. This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

1. Our Debt to God

The first thing we need to learn from this parable is that our debt to God is huge. This guy owed ten thousand talents, which is estimated to be the equivalent to £1,875,000 in today’s money. A servant would never be able to repay this debt. Likewise, our sin is so great that we will never be able to repay God with good works. God is just, and justice demands satisfaction. This is why Jesus had to come and die for us.

We are a lot more optimistic about the state of humanity than the Bible is. We are dirty. Sin is so disgusting that God cannot even look at it. When Jesus bore our sins on the cross heaven had to look away. Our separation from God is so vast that we cannot even look at his holy face without dying.

Now to the servant in the parable. The concept of being thrown into prison for his debt was not foreign to him. This was completely normal in his culture, and to be frank he should not have taken such a huge loan. Interestingly, the servant only started pleading with the King for forgiveness when he came to collect his debt. Prior to this point he was careless and negligent. He focussed on the “here and now”, without worrying about the consequences – even though it would cause suffering to himself and his family. Sound like anyone you know?

Now I’m not the most gracious person in the world (God is still working on me). If I was the King I would have given this servant what he deserved. Thankfully, God’s ways are different to mine! The Lord says in Isaiah 55:9, “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.”

2. Our Reconciliation with God

Our reconciliation with God is something I will never be able to fathom. Grace is initiated by God and is driven by his intense love for us. He loves us even when we are unloveable.

Romans 3:22-25 says, for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, and all are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. God presented Christ as a sacrifice of atonement, through the shedding of his blood—to be received by faith. He did this to demonstrate his righteousness, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— he did it to demonstrate his righteousness at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus.”

Ephesians 1:7-8 says, In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us, with all wisdom and understanding.”

Looking back at the servant in Matthew 18, note that he tells the king that he will pay him back everything if the king is patient with him. This is completely foolish. He would never ever ever be able to reconcile this kind of debt. The King knew this and had compassion for him. In the same way, it is completely ridiculous to think that we can pay back God. There is absolutely nothing we can do to satisfy his wrath. We cannot earn his grace with works. It is based on faith alone, as stated in Romans 11:6, “And if by grace, then it cannot be based on works; if it were, grace would no longer be grace.”

Any person who thinks that they can earn God’s forgiveness clearly has no understanding of the severity of their sins, and the power of the cross. Colossians 2:13-14 says, “When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” Our sins are gone, once and for all. 

3. Called to Forgive

If our eternal debt has been cancelled forever, how can we then continue to hold other people’s sins against them?

Despite being imperfect ourselves, we demand perfection from everyone around us! This leaves us with a great irony: God has every right to condemn us, but he doesn’t. We have no right to condemn others, yet we do.

We are commanded to forgive each other throughout the Bible. This is just a small sample of scriptures that mention forgiveness:

Matthew 6:14-15, For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins.”

Colossians 3:13, “Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:31-32, Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Romans 2:1, “You, therefore, have no excuse, you who pass judgment on someone else, for at whatever point you judge another, you are condemning yourself, because you who pass judgment do the same things.”

When we truly experience the grace of God we are moved by love and passion to express this towards others. Take a look at what Paul says in Philemon 1:18, regarding a runaway servant, “If he has done you any wrong or owes you anything, charge it to me.”

We can even look at Jesus Christ himself, who said “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing” while soldiers were nailing him to the cross in Luke 23:34.

When the word of God repeats itself, I think it means we should be paying attention! 

Let. It. Go.

Who Prayed For Saul?

Jesus says in Mathew 5:44-46, “But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others?” 

This is a fairly well known passage of scripture, but I wonder how many people actually put this into practise? 

It makes me think of the early Christians, who were persecuted beyond our comprehension, and yet many of them continued to pray for those who were oppressing them. One such example is Stephen. While being stoned to death, he cries out in Acts 7:60, “Lord, do not hold this sin against them.” During this time, one of the religious leaders, Saul approves of Stephens’ death and becomes one of the main instigators for the persecution of the early church. Saul then sets out to put more Christians in prison and have them murdered. While he is on the road to Damascus in Acts 9, Jesus appears to him and radically changes his life. His name is then changed to Paul, and he becomes one of the most influential leaders in Christian history. 

I wonder who else followed Jesus’ command and prayed for Saul while he was persecuting them? 

Now, I can’t find anywhere in the Bible that suggests that God needs us to pray, but I can find tonnes of scripture that tells us that he delights when we pray. He wants to include us in the miracles because he loves us, not because he needs us. For this reason the Holy Spirit often prompts us to pray for individuals or groups of people specifically. This then makes me wonder, who else had the privilege of praying for Saul and being part of his miracle? Whoever prayed for him was not mentioned in scripture because the story was about Jesus and Paul, not them. 

Who are the “enemies” in your world that need prayer? Prayer is powerful, as it speaks into the spiritual realm and changes things. You may never get the credit when the miracle happens, but you will know that you were involved in the miracle that drastically altered that person’s life. Those whom you think are never going to change could potentially be the next Paul in your generation. 

Being Known By God

The teachings of Jesus Christ are sometimes a lot more blunt than we would like them to be. In modern day Christianity, Jesus is sometimes portrayed as a butterfly who floats around the place saying nice things to make us feel better. We use his teachings for self help purposes and nothing more. We use the gifts of the Holy Spirit as party tricks as a way to elevate ourselves. In doing so, we fail to acknowledge that our lives are not about us. Everything comes back to him, and when the day of judgement comes, he has the final say.

Today I was reading Matthew 7, and I was particularly freaked out by verses 22 and 23. Jesus says, “Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and in your name drive out demons and perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!’

This shakes my theology a bit, because Jesus is implying that it is still possible to perform miracles and cast out demons in his name if we’re not walking with him. This means we need to be on guard when it comes to false prophets. Being able to perform miracles in the name of Jesus doesn’t mean that we’ll see that person in heaven.

Most importantly, we need to keep ourselves in check. Jesus clearly prioritises having a relationship with us over how much we can do in his name. When Jesus speaks about knowing us, he is referring to something much deeper than knowing about someone. Jesus wants something much more intimate. He says in John 10:14, “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me – just as the Father knows me and I know the Father – and I lay my life down for the sheep.”

A good shepherd knows each of his sheep better than anybody else because he spends all day with them! God longs to have this kind of relationship with us. He wants us to spend time with him and develop intimacy with him.

Lets stop focussing on the gifts we can get from him and simply just focus on him. Talk to him. Spend some time resting in his presence. He wants to be your first love.

Are you up for it?


This is for those who are thinking about becoming a Christian, but would like to know a little more about what is involved. 

Following Jesus is hard.

There is a huge cost involved in following him, but it’s totally worth it in both the short term and the long term. He is the only one who can satisfy your soul. He is the only one capable of perfect love. He will take you on an action packed adventure you could never have anticipated. Your life will never be boring. You will see and perform miracles. You will become part of a community of amazing people. You will have your ups and downs. It will cost you something. You will have to surrender your whole self to him, and in doing so you will experience a supernatural peace and freedom that you cannot explain. The more you will learn and discover about him the more you will discover your own true identity. 

You will become best friends with God Almighty. 

Are you up for it? 

Mighty Warrior


I’ve recently been reading about Gideon in Judges 6-8, and I think we as Christians can learn a lot from his story. It begins with Israel being held captive by the Midianites. God sends a heavenly messenger to instruct Gideon to lead an army of Israelites to defeat their captors and claim back their land. Not only was Gideon from the weakest clan, but he was also the considered to be the “least” in his family.

If there is one thing I have learnt about God using people, it’s that he loves to use those who seem “weak” or “unqualified” by our standards so that he can reveal his glory through those he choses. Gideon was no exception. The messenger greets this seemingly “weak” person by saying in Judges 6:12, “The Lord is with you, mighty warrior.” The messenger deliberately spoke into who Gideon was going to become, rather than the character he was displaying at that present moment.

It is vital that we treat people this way. We need to speak into their Godly identity rather than their worldly identity, even if we can’t see it yet. A person’s Godly identity is something that the enemy will always attack, because he knows that the significance of us being rooted in the Lord means that we are very dangerous to the forces of evil.

Trusting God

There are many times when God wants to reveal his glory in our lives, but the problem is we often try and take the credit for ourselves. God’s way of preventing this is to strip back anything in our lives that might be used as a way for us to boast in our own strength just before the miracle occurs. Gideon experienced this in a high stress environment – he was about to march into battle against a very strong army of Midianites. We see this in Judges 7:2-8,

‘The Lord said to Gideon, “You have too many men. I cannot deliver Midian into their hands, or Israel would boast against me, ‘My own strength has saved me.’ Now announce to the army, ‘Anyone who trembles with fear may turn back and leave Mount Gilead.’” So twenty-two thousand men left, while ten thousand remained. But the Lord said to Gideon, “There are still too many men. Take them down to the water, and I will thin them out for you there. If I say, ‘This one shall go with you,’ he shall go; but if I say, ‘This one shall not go with you,’ he shall not go.” So Gideon took the men down to the water. There the Lord told him, “Separate those who lap the water with their tongues as a dog laps from those who kneel down to drink.” Three hundred of them drank from cupped hands, lapping like dogs. All the rest got down on their knees to drink. The Lord said to Gideon, “With the three hundred men that lapped I will save you and give the Midianites into your hands. Let all the others go home.” So Gideon sent the rest of the Israelites home but kept the three hundred, who took over the provisions and trumpets of the others.’

It seems to me that God was trying to make the situation seem impossible, so that the Israelites would know for certain that it was He who delivered them, not their own works. I find this encouraging, especially when the Lord takes away something that I have been relying upon. God has a mind of his own. He doesn’t compromise on his plan so that I may have a comfortable life. I surrendered my life to him, this means that I will have to rely on him daily. 

As Christians, we need to stop focussing on what we don’t have. We use our weaknesses in order to excuse ourselves from living the supernatural lives that we are called to live. This is contradictory to what the Bible says! Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 12:9, ‘But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.’ 

Don’t be discouraged when the Lord takes away something that you think is vital. He is simply asking you to trust him. 

Enjoying God

Imagine someone gives you a new car. The person paid a hefty price for this car, and you seriously don’t deserve it. What use is this new car (and the financial sacrifice made by your generous friend) if you don’t ever drive it? 

I had a picture yesterday of a guy with his head underneath a car, trying to figure out how it works. He spent so much time underneath the car that he never got to experience the thrill of driving it. I feel as if sometimes we spend so much time trying to figure out our big theological questions that we miss out on the joy of being in a relationship with almighty God. There is absolutely nothing wrong with being curious of how a car works, or trying to wrap your head around something like predestination, but lets not make it the main thing.

This is what we need to focus on: for some reason, despite our sin, despite our brokenness, despite our dirtiness, the creator of the heavens and the earth, the Holiest of Holies, wants to be your best friend. I’ve been a Christian for eleven years, and I still can’t get my head around that. 

Magnus Persson, the senior Pastor of United Global says, “God’s glory and our greatest happiness are not in conflict, in fact it is the opposite. God’s glory is the only true source for our sweetest satisfaction, our deepest joy and highest happiness. God is good and wants the absolute best for us, and the ultimate best he can give us is his own glory. Nothing can satisfy us more.” 

Christianity is not a walk in the park, sometimes it can get really hard. But I can promise you one thing; he is worth it.