Here are some inspiring words by Dorothy Sayers

We are constantly assured that the churches are empty because preachers insist too much upon doctrine, “dull dogma,” as people call it. The fact is the precise opposite. It is the neglect of dogma that makes for dullness. The Christian faith is the most exciting drama that ever staggered the imagination of man—and the dogma is the drama …. this terrifying drama in which God is the victim and the hero. If this is dull, then what, in Heaven’s name, is worthy to be called exciting? The people who hanged Christ never, to do them justice, accused Him of being a bore—on the contrary; they thought Him too dynamic to be safe. It has been left for later generations to muffle up that shattering personality and surround Him with an atmosphere of tedium. We have efficiently pared the claws of the Lion of Judah, certifying Him “meek and mild,” and recommended Him as a fitting household pet for pale curates and pious old ladies.


MIND THE GAP – Planning

After you have prayed you can do more that praying but it is pointless to do something and then add prayer as an afterthought. But often praying isn’t enough. Prayer should give birth to smart planning. And by not planning we often remain ridden with good intentions that simply define our fruitless lives.

This is a common downfall in many real-life situations. We make many mistakes in our professional career, in our relationships and in our financial investments by failing to follow-up our decisions and ideas with a decisive and clear plan.

Planning often feels like hard work or dull work – and therefore seems best ignored. It’s probably exciting for a band to be inspired with a new melody/poetry but probably much more demanding and less exciting to write the music, make the arrangements, practice and tediously re-record until the song ‘feels’ right.

This can be an even graver mistake in the spiritual realm. Because our relationship with God has a supernatural, almost mystical dimension, we tend to regard planning as somehow less spiritual.

Yet if you read the Pauline language of the New Testament, he seems to suggest that the Gospel demands a working of our theology in smart decisions and smart actions.

If we are to recount ALL the information that we have absorbed over the years both in education and in our spiritual formation – how different should we live?! Planning in itself can become a permanent pit stop – so just because we planned doesn’t mean we have succeeded. But it is a necessary phase in God’s process of transformation.

How to be best plan for transformation? Here are some tips:

  • Prepare your mind, heart and will beforehand. The more receptive you are – the clearer you will hear the message.
  • Listen carefully – trying to focus with your full attention, avoiding distractions. The sharper your mind – the more receptive can you heart be too.
  • Write things down. Highlight. That will help you imprint in your memory what you have heard.
  • Turn to prayer straight after you received the info – thanking God for speaking to you and asking Him to show you how you can best respond.
  • Try to sum-up the message you have heard – twitter style.
  • Ask yourself – what does this mean for me?
  • Ask yourself – what is negative in my life that God wants to change?
  • Ask yourself – what is positive and is missing that God could give me?
  • Ask yourself – what can I do, using my God-given gifts as response?
  • Ask yourself – what can I give financially, to respond to that need?
  • Ask yourself – is someone I know, better equipped to answer that need?
  • All the above questions can be re-mixed for a small group or even a church.
  • Write down that decision/plan – again twitter style (short & sharp).
  • Tell someone else – for accountability – about your plan and ask them to ask you about it in a few days/weeks.

As I inferred in my previous post – this isn’t about a man made program of self-improvement. Planning is simply a great tool that the Spirit of God can use you to bring about a grace driven transformation in the life of a disciple.



Pray – it may seem both obvious and superfluous to mention this – yet this is so important. I started with this exactly because it should be a first response and the highest priority.

Whatever we hear in Scripture can be turned to prayer. As we discover God’s character – we can pray in worshiping Him, as we recall His Gospel – we can pray with thanksgiving for our salvation. Sometimes His word will challenge us and through conviction we can pray with regret for the past and requesting help for the future.

Prayer is often misunderstood as being a passive, mystical experience reserved for the ‘chosen few’. Yet a close exploration of the magnificent book of Psalms, filled with the Biblical poetry – they appear to have the same real life honesty described often in the songs of the delta blues story-tellers of old. They are rooted in reality, a raw reality even.

When God speaks in church – respond in prayer. We sing, we listen, we chit-chat – but I think we will gain much to pray more as a response to His word in our congregations.

When God speaks to you in your private devotions – turn it to prayer. Let prayer be inspired and informed by the beautiful collision of Scriptural truth and your mundane reality.

When God speaks in your small group – turn to prayer; pray in 2-3’s for one another. Pray for the community where you meet.

Prayer is essential as a response that bridges the information-transformation gap for at least two reasons. First, prayer is essentially about humility – an appropriate acknowledgement that I am not God. Secondly, it introduces God to the equation – a divine involvement that makes all the difference between a well-intentioned person and a Spirit-driven disciple of Christ.

So, if you want to grow – pray, pray, pray! That’s how 1 Thessalonians 5:17 is meant to look like


MIND THE GAP – Provocation

As you would have gathered by now I am passionate about both community and communication. Small Groups, just like any other church ministry, face the great danger of becoming simply forums for useless chats. No outcome, no change, no influence. That would be terribly sad.

So often the believers and consequently the Church have been excelling at theory and failing miserably at pragmatism. Yet it wasn’t meant to be so. I truly believe that God’s word isn’t meant to just inform but also to transform us and others through us.

As Paul suggested in his aside to his young apprentice Timothy: ‘All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.’ The Bible is meant to inspire, shape and transform us.

Here are some practical ways you can ‘push’ yourself and your LG or even the Church towards an overflow of action. They are not meant to be used as a set of rules or a programme of self-improvement. As James suggests in his letter, actions are essential but they must be an overflow of a heart and mind that are stirred by the Word of God and enabled by Spirit of God.

In the next few days I will look at three steps in particular that will help us bridge the ‘application gap’: pray, plan and practice. These steps might help you personally, your group and even your church.

To be continued…



Here we go – part deux. Friday is a day a lot of people ‘fast-forward’ recommendations on twitter or on blogs. So I will attempt to share some of the links I have found interesting during the last week. Hope that you will enjoy them.

Breaking the Mould


This is a very interesting article in Christianity Today – that is wrestling with the eternal question of the uncomfortable love affair between the culture and the church – which one is calling the shots?


The Positive Side of Receiving Criticism


As a leader to the leaders and great church consultant, Thom provides us with an honest appraisal of the thorny issue of criticism. Particularly great article for anyone involved in leadership.


5 DIY Ways To Deodorize Stinky Things


As much as you would pretend you don’t need to read this practical article – trust me, you’ll find it very useful.


Steven Sharp Nelson – The Cello Song – Bach is back (with 7 more cellos)


Fantastic piece of music interpreted in a very engaging and contemporary novel manner. I bet it will go viral and sooner or later you will see it appearing on the social networks


The 8 Most Insanely Obvious Signs In The World (PHOTOS)

Something truly baffling yet guaranteed to make you smile.




I had the privilege of being involved in several weddings recently. It was fantastic to be part of that special for a young (now married) couple – one of whom used to be part of the church youth group I led. Here are some questions I have thought of, worth talking together or even with a marriage prep mentor/pastor:

How did you get to this decision to spend the rest of your lives together? What is your ‘journey’ so far?

How do you connect with each other’s families?

Is there any dangerous ‘baggage’ that you are both aware if bringing in the relationship?

What is the quality you most appreciate in each other?

What annoys you in the other person?

Which part of God’s character moves you most?

In which area of serving God do you feel most passionate about?

In your wildest dreams, how would you see yourselves serving God as a couple?

What are your greatest fears regarding your relationship – how are you facing and ‘dealing’ with those fears together?

What ‘fences’ do you have in place to safeguard your marriage?

What tonics do you have in place to ensure that your relationship matures continually?

Who influences you and to whom are you regularly accountable together?



Friday is a day a lot of people ‘fast-forward’ recommendations on twitter or on blogs. So I will attempt to share some of the links I have found interesting during the last week. Hope that you will enjoy them.

What Caffeine Actually Does to Your Brain


This is a very geeky article from the guys at Lifehacker – only for those really interested in coffee and addictions.


A Faith Worth Emulating

A great historical/biographical article about one the of the Salvation Army’s well-known figures – Samuel Brengle – a great article by Gordon MacDonald.


Chinese teen sells his kidney for an iPad 2

A very disturbing story that probably reflects the global virus of materialism spreading so wildly. Might not be quite as alien to some of the crazy decisions some people in our communities make in order to have the right brand.


The Most Common Regrets People Have on Their Deathbed (That You Can Avoid Now)

This has been a week when death has been a pretty talked about subject in the UK media. A very thought-provoking article that we would all do well to reflect upon. And ACT upon…


Accessible Media presents: Jeff’s Day

One word: inspirational!