Friday, March 30, 2007

Ridge Stone Easter Promo Video

Check this video out, Gary and the 'Stoners have yet again pulled something out of the hat. ;)
Happy Easter to y-all in Canton, Georgia, U S of A.

Why Church Plant?

I've been asked a couple of times why do I call my blog "Newlife Church Plant Brisbane"? My answer is simply this, I'm convinced that Jesus Christ is the risen Son of God, sitting in glory with God the Father. Jesus humbled Himself, set aside His Glory and was born of the Virgin Mary, lived, served willingly died upon a cross to deal with your and my sin. He then rose from the dead on the third day. He humbly did all this so that mankind might have the opportunity to repent, place our faith in Him and be made right with God the Father. Jesus has told us that "this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as testiment to all nations, and then the end will come." (Matthew 24:14)
Jesus has plainly told us the state of play. He has given His followers His Spirit. He tells us now to 'go and share the good news to everyone everywhere.'
The daily question I have to deal with is, is Jesus God & do I trust Him with my life?
If I do then I will humbly and joyfully join Him in His mission whilst there are those who have not yet heard the good news. Church planting, whether it is continually replanting and relaunching existing congregations or launching new ones is fundamental to the achievement of this mission Jesus has called us to. At Newlife Church we aimed to be relaunching regularly. Staying focused, flexible and committed to growing in our relationship with Jesus and sharing Him with the disconnected in our community.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Big Props to the 'atchurch team'

Hey if you've arrived here through our website you're aware of the neat fresh site that we've got. Well props where props due and I'd like to give a big shout out to the 'atchurch' crew. Sarah and the crew from atchurch have always been super creative, supportive and just plain patient with us at Newlife. Check them out they're well worth the visit.

Bono, truth, the Gospel and us provin' our faith by our deeds!

I just watched this clip with Bono steppin up into the pulpit and bringing it home about Jesus and His love and concern for the poor. I've always loved U2, right from my early days being sent from the family farm (no music & heaps of love) to boarding school (heaps of music...). Bono had a way of cutting through the rubbish to the heart of matters for me back then... and I reckon nothings changed. Bono has a knack of telling the truth to his generation without being labled as some kind of 'religious nut.' I pray that Bono and the U2 crew keep telling the truth - that Jesus followers must "prove their repentance by their deeds! (see Acts 26:20)." Bono in this clip is just statin the bleedin obvious. Sometimes I wish I was born Irish, only for a second then I remember that being an Aussie is heaps more potent!
Love must be proved in our actions.

How to keep the LOST out...

Here's 10 good ways to keep the LOST out of your church...
As for us at Newlife we're going to keep working hard at being inclusive to the disconnected. It's simply not negotiable when it comes to following Jesus (Luke 15 & 1 Corinthians 14).
Thanks to Church Redone for the 10.

1. Don’t have a website : This is the information age, even 107 year old women have blogs, but not your church. No church website, no blog, no flickr account, and don’t podcast your sermons. Knowledge is power and providing me easy access to information about your church might empower me to learn more or even visit. So even if you must have a website, make sure it is poorly designed, lacking in information, hard to navigate, out of date and doesn’t have an rss feed to make things even remotely easy for me.
2. Be completely inactive in the community : If you’re not doing anything in the community then no one will talk about your church. That makes it a lot harder for me to accidentally find out anything useful. So don’t serve the community or partner with other churches or non-profits. In fact it’s really just best if you stay completely inward-focused and don’t do anything missional in your city.
3. Don’t answer your phone : Regardless of what time I call (weekday, weekend, morning, afternoon, evening) don’t answer the phone and don’t have an answering machine or voice mail for me to leave a message or prayer request. If you do have voice mail, don’t include your website address, service times or directions to your church on your message, and don’t ever answer the phone on Sunday mornings. That way when I’m lost en route to service, I’ll have no choice but to drive around aimlessly until I give up and go home.
4. Allow misinformation : Sometimes you just can’t prevent denominations or directories from listing information about your church. When contact information changes, don’t tell them about the update. You can save time by providing them incorrect information initially and for added confusion make sure each directory lists different information about your church, all of it wrong.
5. Lack clear signage : Even if I’m determined to visit your church, you have several on site options to discourage me. The first is to play hide and seek. Is your church in a nondescript building or on a street with several other churches? Have absolutely no signage; none, whatsoever. Except maybe on the mailbox, where you abbreviate things beyond comprehension. If you run a Christian school, put up a 10′ x 14′ sign just for it, so I’ll be led to believe the building is only a school.
6. Have insufficient parking/seating : Other discouraging on-site options are lack of adequate parking and seating. Does your church seat 200? Only have 30 parking spaces. Been running at capacity for weeks or months? Don’t start another service, so that there will be standing room only. Have visitors’ parking? Put it in the corner of the lot away from the entrance. Have adequate parking? Don’t stripe the lot or have parking attendants; chaos is best. Have adequate seating? Make it as uncomfortable as possible.
7. Ignore Visitors : Despite your best efforts I have found and attended your church. In fact, I even filled out a visitor’s card requesting more information. Don’t acknowledge my visit in any way. Don’t call me, don’t send me a thank you card, don’t answer any of my questions or give me any information about how to become involved or learn more about Jesus. Also don’t have any literature available to provide visitors and don’t train your volunteers to be courteous or helpful in anyway.
8. Respond half-heartedly to inquiries : If responding to information requests at all, do so extremely slowly and only partially. Wait 1 week or more to return emails or phone calls and if I ask several questions, don’t answer them all. Instead just tell me I should come to a service to find out more. That saves you a couple minutes of response time and makes you look very busy and important. Whatever you do, do not start a dialogue with me.
9. Be evasive about your beliefs : When I ask a direct question about the church’s beliefs, ignore the question or act like you don’t understand and then start telling me about your denomination or church programs. For “What We Believe”, only include the Nicene Creed on your website or literature. If I’m adamant about wanting positional clarity, instead tell me about the love of Jesus and how Christianity isn’t about division. For those times you do answer my questions, act offended that I would even ask, then try and make me feel stupid or sinful for questioning you.
10. Lie to me : When all else fails, simply lie to me about your church. You might just get a few weeks of attendance out of me before I learn the truth. Are you denominationally affiliated? Don’t mention it ever and talk about how independent you are when I find out. Being on mission is important to me, so make it sound like all 500 of your members are actively involved in serving the city, even though you don’t give a single cent to local missions and never talk about it from the pulpit, because you actually hate the city and it’s sinful people. Lastly, spend a lot of time telling me how you are distinctive from other churches, even though you’re not.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Easter is just around the corner!

Well it's just a bit under two weeks till Easter!

And things are ramping up for the biggest weekend of the year for Newlife Church. We're busy planning our Easter Saturday 'Eggstravaganza' where the church hosts its annual outreach event to Springfield. Starting with a pancake breakfast at 8am we then go onto a a short gospel talk for the kids (led by Pastor Will) followed by a number of age appropriate Easter Egg hunts. The 2007 Newlife Easter Outreach is not to be missed - we had around 300 adults and kids at the event last year and we're trusting for more for this year with over 3000 eggs organised for the big day!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Love is in the Air!

Today my sister Sarah marries her beloved Hugh. I am totally stoked for them. Nerida is jittery and on edge and the kids are having their afternoon nap and it's only 10.30am! We're all amped and ready to cheer them on this arvo. We pray God's richest blessing on you and both have a great honeymoon :)

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Gary Lamb and Marketing to LAUNCH!

We've been working through the best way to market the launch of our second congregation (6 May 2007) and I reckon Gary Lamb's thoughts on the subject here are really worth looking at, chewing over and doing!

Sharing Christ @ Staines Memorial College

This morning I have the privilege of attending Staines Memorial College, Springfield. I'm really looking forward to talking to the staff and kids from God's Word and encouraging them to know and follow Jesus. I'll post my thoughts later.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Redeemers Vision for New York & the World

Sometimes it's just good to sit back and listen to what God is doing out there in His world. I've really been encouraged by Tim Keller's passion and enthusiasm for following Jesus and giving his life to reach out to the lost in New York City and beyond. And for those who would say it's all happening because of Tim, I just can't see how any movement (much less a church planting movement) can be created or sustained by any one person. It's just impossible. Sure he can give his life to serve God, but each church planted must be lead by fresh leaders, that's where the real ministry of 2 Timothy2:2 has to kick in.

Check out the vision Redeemer Pressie's chasing here.

Other resources are being added regularly here.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Sunday Breakdown

Well today was another real encouragement to me and the crew who make up Newlife Church. The meeting at Springfield went well and it was good to have a little bit more room to move today but we miss all the internationals and uni students. The music team once again did a great job and it was good to have a new song introduced this morning.
Then it was over to Graceville for the second congregation. It also went exceptionally well with 46 attending. The main thing that needs to be worked through is the sound and technical issues associated with the music. Other than that it was a great morning and it was good to work through the book of James, chapter 2 together.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Newlife International Congregation Preview Service No 4

Join us this Sunday 11.55 at Graceville Presbyterian Church, Banks Street Graceville.
We’d love for you to be our special guest this Sunday!
Church Service will be followed by lunch and activities at Southbank.
11.55 Church Service
12.55 Lunch together
2.30 Coffee at Southbank
3.30 Cricket at Southbank

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Nick Cave & Jesus

Nick Cave is an awesome songwriter and famous for his music created with the “Bad Seeds.” However few people are aware of Nick’s encounter with Jesus a few years ago. It seems to me that Jesus made an impact, an impression that's still being worked through. In his latest work Grinderman Nick writes in the song Go Tell The Women: “We are scientists, we go do genetics, we leave the religion to the psychos and fanantics.”
When questioned as to his feelings about modern Christianity being hijacked by an lunatic fringe Nick replied,
“I have certain tendencies in that direction and it is hard work having them and admitting to having them these days. I’m sad about the decline of the Christian religion. It’s sad that it seems to no longer be a functioning religion and it has no relevance any more. There is a message in there that I think is the relevant and right message, but unfortunately the whole idea of Christianity is so tainted these days that it is an anathema.”
I’d love to have a coffee with Nick and pick his brain further on this one… hmmm.
Now I’m not sure where Nick’s at on his journey with Jesus, but you can get a bit more of an idea of the issues he was working through here in his introduction to the Gospel of Mark for a re-release of the KJV Bible.
(The Sunday Mail – “Cowboy Nick on the line.” Music News, March 11 2004, p4.)

Orion Shopping Centre Opens Today

Nerida and I just arrived back from represnting Newlife Church at the official prayer for the Orion SC. a big shout out to our man Councillor David Morrison! He did a great job on behalf of the local churches and certainly pulled no punches about pointing to Jesus as the source of peace and blessing. Check out the Orion website here.

It's amazing to be a part of a church that's been placed by God so strategically right in the heart of this new satellite city that is Greater Springfield. I just can't wait to see what God is going to do not only on the next few weeks but over the next few years as we keep focused on sharing Jesus with our community.
By the way stay tuned over the few weeks as I share a massive part of the vision that God is unfolding at Newlife. I can hardly hold it in... gotta go.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

stop press - Springfield Community Oasis

For those who are interested here's an article just arrived on my desk on one of our neighbour chuches Springfield Community Oasis. Interesting read. Props go out to the Churches of Christ for being the only denomination with the vision to step out and buy land prior to the development of the Springfield Region. Brett Swan and the Oasis Crew are in a prime position with ample tools to get out and really reap a harvest for Jesus... go for it guys!
Hmmmm... key thought for me... 'Vision coupled with strategy is really the hard part. And the results speak for themselves."

Scott Whitaker and Momentum

For those who aren't aware, Scott Whitaker has some great insights regarding leadership, vision and momentum. I read this post last year, and for me it was gold back then. But as I've seen how this can work out in reality I'm convinced that Scott's right.

Momentum is a result of...
"Discomfort --> Fed by Vision -->Ignited by Anticipation -->Led by Change = Momentum"

Stop and think about any movement that has momentum (we see this in politics all the time), and then think about the factors that have lead up to the movement. There's always a discomfort or lack of ease with the status quo. This leads to a fresh vision for how things should and could be. This vision when communicated to others results in anticipation for change and action to bring about change which leads to forward movement towards the vision and the Big Mo.

Thanks Scott. By the way check out this podcast where he unpacks it all further with Nelson Searcy.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Fergus' words of wisdom

Just relaxing after my quiet time this morning and I couldn't help but keep chuckling to myself about the way Fergus puts things. He doesn't hold back, in fact his honesty is really refreshing. Here's just a couple of the latest Fergisms...
His older brother Will politely asks, "Fergus can I share that bunch of grapes with you?"
To which Fergus neatly replies, "No thanks Will."

Fergus just loves vegemite on toast and the other day when he saw that I was serving it up for breakfast he just looked at me and smiled, "Thank you Dad, yummy Dad, yummy for my tummy."

And just this morning, I encouraged him for finishing off his breakfast so well by saying, "Good boy Fergus." Fergus smiled back at me and said as only he can say, "You're a good boy too Dad." Man - needed that. Thanks Fergus.
"Congenial conversation—what a pleasure! The right word at the right time—beautiful!" Proverbs 15:23 The Message.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Furtick Says Things Straight

Was just chillin out, winding down checking a few blogs when I was hit right between the eyes by Steve’s blog here. A word of warning, before you read it pray, slow down, check it out, and stop… and before you do anything pray again, think about what he's saying. I suppose I'm saying don’t let the bluntness of the message trip you up. Instead think about it, I reckon he’s really onto something. His thoughts remind me a lot of what Andrew M said to me a few weeks ago about church not being just about us. Furthermore Steve reminds me of how God thinks about his church. You see church isn’t all about us, it’s all about God and His purposes for His bride. Let’s not get sidetracked into a self centred approach to church, it just doesn’t cut it with God.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday Arvo Sit-down

I'm sitting here reflecting on how awesome today it was just to sit in the crowd and listen, to be refreshed and rechallenged about keeping Jesus as the reason for everything we do here at Newlife. The International Music Team were rippin it up mixing old with new (how about Sarah on the drums - man) and it was great to listen to Norm as he reminded us of the power of Jesus to not only save us but to grow us into His image. The good news about Jesus is for everyone, the lost and those who've been brought home.
It was also good for me to have some time out over the past two weeks just to sit and reflect upon what God has and is doing amongst us His family. He's been consistently bringing new people; families and singles, some who know Jesus others just wanting a safe place to check Him out. Some move on (for good reasons) but a whole bunch have stayed and for that I'm grateful. God is building His church and it only makes me all the more passionate about sharpening our focus on teaching and applying the good news so that lives of both the lost and found are changed for eternity.
Let's always strive to be a safe place for those who don't know the love, grace and mercy of God in His Son Jesus. With Easter just a few weeks away let's all be praying about who we can invite along and let's embrace those who're visiting God's Church for the first time.
It's been a great two weeks. Busy but great.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Church Plant Research Report - Ed Stetzer & Phil Conner

Hey if you're a church planter, pastor or a Christian with a heartbeat for Jesus and His gospel you need to read this report. Okay it's American and things are different in Australia (research says its harder to plant a church in Australia) but it's worth reading and considering the ramifications regarding the need to plant churches and how to do the job.
Thanks go out to Gary Lamb here for puting it up on his Church Planting Resource Site - Ridgestone Backstage. Backstage is itself a pastor/planters goldmine with heaps of thought provoking posts and links, get into it it, Gary and his crew certainly will stretch your thinking if nothing else. Thanks Gary for sharing your journey with us all I appreciate it.

Newlife Aussie Beach Camp nearly here!

If you haven't got your gear together and filled out a form for the Newlife Aussie Beach Camp then get it in this weekend. We need you! It's going to be a great weekend of fellowship, teaching and fun on the Sunshine Coast. The guest speaker is Bob Burnett from Grace Christian Church Buderim, some of you know him and know that the teaching will be top shelf. So get those forms in... spaces are limited and you don't want to miss out.

Ramping up for Easter

Well it’s been a HUGE week. Things are really hotting up in the preparation for Easter and the post Easter launch of our second congregation ‘Newlife International.’ Last Sunday I shared both the vision for this new congregation and need for us to show the Home Missions Committee our commitment to this work and more importantly our support of Tim Kim. I shared that a simple way to do this was to simply anonymously fill out a Newlife 2007 Partners Card indicating your financial support of our Church. Well the response was overwhelming, those who filled out the card on the spot committed to give a total of $1545 per week. It was all I could do not to cry. Thank you for your support of God’s work. Thank you God for your commitment to working in and through us to reach the lost with the good news.
Newlife Partners 2007 - Last Sunday to fill out a card! As we launch our 2nd congregation (Newlife International) on Sunday 6th of May, we need your support, your investment in the effort. If you haven't filled out a Newlife Partners Card yet, may I encourage you to... Please Pray. Ask God what He is calling you to give to His work over this coming year.
Listen for His response.
Easter Weekend at Newlife
As usual, we have action-packed Easter weekend planned. Start inviting friends now!
Good Friday - April 6th Combined Church Service @ USQ Springfield
Easter Egg Hunt & Pancake Breakfast - April 7th (8:30-10am) Springfield Park Easter Sunday Service - April 8th

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Props to Norm B

Just wanted to thank Norm Bartlett for taking the load and preaching this weekend. Just talking to him I'm excited about what's coming this Sunday! His talk is coming from the letter to the Roman Church (in the Bible) and it's all about "The Heart of the Matter." (Now Norm's got the inside running when it comes to having a big and passionate heart for Jesus so it'll be good) Two things...
1. Make sure you get there this Sunday cause it's going to be a great time of encouragement.
2. Invite a friend. Some studies show that OVER 95% of Christians say it was the clear invitation at a Sunday Service that got them to the point of their decision to follow Jesus.
Hey and let's keep praying for the Bartletts, they're an awesome couple committed to serving others with God's love.

If you don't have an org chart... you have a disorg chart

Hey I'm going to chance my hand here... church planters & pastors out there could you share with me your resources for church organisation charts. I've been thinking alot about this and loosing a little sleep over it. I recognise that this is a crucial issue for facilitating and nurturing the growth of the church.
For more on this topic check out Ben Arments thoughts or org charts here. He's fueled the search and I've asked him for a copy of the one he mentions.
Gary Lamb has a post regarding Ridgestone somewhere... but I just can't find it...
Andy Stanley and his team make sense of it all here, but again for me a picture is worth a thousand words.
Can anyone help here?

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Hey I can't sleep

I don't know what's going on but for the past few weeks I'm just really restless and finding it really hard to sleep. I'm waking up at all crazy hours of the night and just lying there thinking about what God is doing at Newlife and I find myself praying like crazy for people, for the Springfield congregation, for the planned launch of the International congregation... praying for the vision that God is pressing into my heart. Quite simply God seems to be really stepping up my awareness for prayer. I'm praying for people in the family and those outside. God cares. And that's enough for me. Will you join me in praying. By the way pray that I get some sleep too.

Countdown has begun... 6... 5... 4...

Man am I getting jacked up about the Newlife International Launch. With 55 adults there at our last preview service, who wouldn't be getting ready for the blast-off.

Don't forget to join us for our next sneak preview service to be held on 11.55am Sunday the 18th of March. We're meeting at Graceville Presbyterian Church, Banks St, Graceville (a huge shout to the people of GPC, thanks for helping us get off the ground). Lunch will held after the service, so come be encouraged and stay for food with friends.

Also - put in your diaries these dates, 22nd of April is our 5th and final preview before our official launch on the 6th May 2007. Make sure of this, if nothing else, do set aside 11.30-2pm on May the 7th cause history is gonna be made. YHEEW-yeah!

Pray for, invite, come and celebrate what God is doing.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Newlife Legend of the Week

Well as I sit here to post the Newlife legend of the week I know I have bias but I can't go past Nerida Henderson. She works hard for the church serving in areas she is gifted and just serving in others to make things work. She loves others exceptionally. She goes the second mile concistently. She demonstrates grace to difficult people in large measures. She guards and nurtures her husband and family. She opens her home to people and shares her life. She is completely sold out for Jesus and she's real, I love that in people. And what's even more amazing is this... she's my wife. I love you honey. Thanks for joining me on this journey. I couldn't do it without you. You are my no 1 legend always.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Day Off Getting Back to Basics.

Well I'm late in posting for my day off, because it really wasn't one with O-Week activities at the Uni and other things that popped up but...

I did manage to score a few hours at a local Golf Driving Range with Golf Pro and future brother in law Hugh Hofmeister. It was a great deal, $15 dollars and unlimited buckets of balls. I can't tell you how surprised I am at how sore I am today. I've got blisters on both my thumbs. But the part that really was cool was there was this we kindly offered to move out of the shaded part when a 80 year old bloke came along with a middle aged lady we assumed was his daughter. Well the move was absolute GOLD for Hugh. This bloke was a PRO Golf Coach giving this lady real good advice... I know nothing about Golf but He did cause just casually listening to him Hugh managed to immediately correct a year long problem with his driving. And I managed to actually concistently hit the ball. It's all in the...

straight arm

short backswing

closed left eye (for me)

bent knees

head over the ball

snapping the wrists

NOT looking until the ball has truely gone etc
Golf, get into it it makes the frustrations of life seem insignificant!

Grace Christian Church Buderim

Hey I just want remind everyone that Pastor Bob Burnett will be giving the Bible Talks at our upcoming 'Aussie Beach Camp.' Hey for Bob's information we've got people who've said, "Oh so Bob's doing the talks... we'll come then." I'm not sure how I feel about that... good I guess.
Also if you're ever up on the Sunshine Coast for a holiday make sure when Sunday comes around that you drop in to Grace Christian Church. Oh and if you ever go to the Mooloolaba Coffee Club (as you do) make sure you take a good look around, cause chances are Bob'll be there... it's his ministry office... lol.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

The difference colour makes

I don't know about you but I'm blown away by the difference colour makes to a website. It has huge implications. I can't express how much this has influenced me. Check it out.

Ben's church website before...

Ben's church website after.

You choose. I'm done. I'm changing my thinking.

What’s the Big Idea?

To be honest as far as I can see it all started with Haddon Robinson and his book Biblical Preaching. But from the first look at Dave Ferguson’s new book “The Big Idea” it seems he’s wisely grabbed the batton from Haddon and is busy passing it on to another generation of Pastors.
Now let’s get a few things straight. If you’re a Pastor out there and you don’t know who either Haddon or Dave are check them out as they’ve both got a lot to offer in terms of sharpening up Pastors communication skills.
Read the books they’re worth it. But when it’s all said and done in many ways it all gets back to that simple motto that I had drummed into head as a young bloke… “Keep it simple stupid.” You can’t go wrong.