A Better Way To Celebrate St Patrick…

…than wearing a shamrock or even drinking a Guinness

Pray his prayer ‘St Patrick’s Breastplate’! 

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On the day we remember a powerful missionary pioneer. I’m reminded of what a revolution this man of God wrought by reading Steve Addison’s Movements That Change The World, required reading for New Thing Europe!

Pray this with me, pray it for me, pray it for you and yours, for your spheres of influence, pray it out loud ( unless it’ll get you thrown off the bus)!

I arise today 
through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
 through belief in the Threeness,
 through confession of the Oneness
 of the Creator of creation.

I arise today
 through the strength of Christ’s birth with His baptism,
 through the strength of His crucifixion with His burial,
 through the strength of His resurrection with His ascension,
 through the strength of His descent for the judgment of doom.

I arise today
 through the strength of the love of cherubim,
 In the obedience of angels,
 in the service of archangels,
 in the hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
 in the prayers of patriarchs,
 in the predictions of prophets,
 in the preaching of apostles,
 in the faith of confessors,
 in the innocence of holy virgins,
 in the deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through
 the strength of heaven,
 the light of the sun,
 the radiance of the moon,
 the splendour of fire,
 the speed of lightning,
 the swiftness of wind,
 the depth of the sea,
 the stability of the earth,
 the firmness of rock.

I arise today, through
 God’s strength to pilot me,
 God’s might to uphold me, 
God’s wisdom to guide me,
 God’s eye to look before me,
 God’s ear to hear me,
 God’s word to speak for me,
 God’s hand to guard me,
 God’s shield to protect me,
 God’s host to save me
 from snares of devils,
 from temptation of vices,
 from everyone who shall wish me ill,
 afar and near.

I summon today
 all these powers between me and those evils,
 against every cruel and merciless power
 that may oppose my body and soul,
 against incantations of false prophets,
 against black laws of pagandom,
 against false laws of heretics,
 against craft of idolatry,
 against spells of witches and smiths and wizards,
 against every knowledge that corrupts man’s body and soul;

Christ to shield me today
 against poison, against burning,
 against drowning, against wounding,
 so that there may come to me an abundance of reward.

Christ with me,
 Christ before me,
 Christ behind me,
 Christ in me,
 Christ beneath me, 
Christ above me, 
Christ on my right,
 Christ on my left,
 Christ when I lie down, 
Christ when I sit down,
 Christ when I arise, 
Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
 Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
 Christ in every eye that sees me,
 Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today
 through a mighty strength, the invocation of the Trinity,
 through belief in the Threeness,
 through confession of the Oneness
 of the Creator of creation. AMEN! 

Ben Jeffery at @MyIvyChurch – Esther 6 ‘The Man The King Honours’

Ten years ago a friend asked Ben a question that changed everything. He said, ‘If money wasn’t an issue and you could do anything you wanted – what would you do?’

You may have heard that – but what a ‘more to life then this’ kind of question that is! An invite to a bigger life.

It matters to God.

God has bigger plans for our lives than just living.

Ben had an answer straight away – ‘I’d be planting churches that planted churches that helped people come back to God.’

But then he could see all the obstacles. All the ways he wasn’t in the best place to do this.

So – how do I make the best of our limited time?

And what’s the biggest barrier to that future?

Let’s look at a HERO first of all:

Were you into comics? Superheroes with amazing strengths and powers. Look at their origins. A kid ruled by fear – becomes Batman. Wolverine – a life of pain. The Hulk, will he conquer his anger and use his power for good?

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And Spiderman was the best. Teenage Peter Parker, bullied, no friends or girlfriend. A geek. He goes to the science expo and gets bitten by a radioactive spider. Then he finds he has these amazing powers and it’s like ‘What has happened?’ Where did I get that speed and strength. So what does he do with it? He becomes a wrestler! Beats all the biggest guys and he’s on the road to fame. What could be better?

But then a thief robs the place and he does nothing about it because he’s the star.

But the burglar later kills his Uncle. It’s the same guy he could have stopped it. The immortal line then?‘With great power, comes great responsibility.’

He’s not a perfect hero.

The question this poses is, ‘What if the biggest obstacle – is not some baddie, but you?’

Now look at a VILLAIN

He’s in Esther 6. Esther’s the new Queen of Persia, but a genocide is planned to kill all God’s people. She becomes the only person who can do something to stop it happening. So she takes her life in her hands, and throws a party.

It looks like Haman’s bound to win. The King’s command was final.

But (coincidentally) that night, the king couldn’t sleep. He gets people to read all about him, because he’s his favourite subject. 

On that night the king could not sleep, and he gave orders to bring the book of records, the annals, and they were read to the king. It was found written how Mordecai had told about Bigthana and Teresh, two of the king’s eunuchs, who guarded the threshold, and who had conspired to assassinate[a] King Ahasuerus. Then the king said, “What honor or distinction has been bestowed on Mordecai for this?” The king’s servants who attended him said, “Nothing has been done for him.” The king said, “Who is in the court?” Now Haman had just entered the outer court of the king’s palace to speak to the king about having Mordecai hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for him.

On one side of the wall you have the King looking to honour Mordecai – by coincidence? And then it just so happens his enemy is in the court.

So Haman came in, and the king said to him, “What shall be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor?” Haman said to himself, “Whom would the king wish to honor more than me?” So Haman said to the king, “For the man whom the king wishes to honor, let royal robes be brought, which the king has worn, and a horse that the king has ridden, with a royal crown on its head. Let the robes and the horse be handed over to one of the king’s most noble officials; let him[b] robe the man whom the king wishes to honor, and let him[c] conduct the man on horseback through the open square of the city, proclaiming before him: ‘Thus shall it be done for the man whom the king wishes to honor.’

Haman’s so wrapped up in himself here! 

10 Then the king said to Haman, “Quickly, take the robes and the horse, as you have said, and do so to the Jew Mordecai who sits at the king’s gate. Leave out nothing that you have mentioned.”

Can you imagine his face?! He wanted to be seen, honoured, recognized. He wanted his power to bless himself.

His biggest enemy? It’s not Mordecai – it’s HIMSELF. He was the architect of his own downfall. He was defeated – by PRIDE.

Pride is self-absorption.

Haman’s already the King’s number 1. But it’s never enough for him. He wanted a horse with a crown on it! He’s always thinking ‘What do people think about me?’

“Pride gets no pleasure out of having something, only out of having more of it than the next man… It is the comparison that makes you proud: the pleasure of being above the rest. Once the element of competition is gone, pride is gone.”

― C.S. Lewis, Mere Christianity

There are 2 kinds of pride. One says ‘I am superior to others.’

The other kind says, ‘Everyone’s better than me, I couldn’t do this or that – because people will look at me.’ Pride is your world revolving around yourself.

Humility is you revolving around someone else’s world. Getting into their life and focusing on them.

Pride is deadly. It makes you a fool because it stops you learning from your mistakes. You look for someone else to blame.

The humble are happy to receive correction.

Inferior pride people never can take it – they think ‘Yeah I know I’m rubbish.’

You can’t be bitter without thinking ‘I am better, better than you.’

James 4:6 says God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble. 

The biggest obstacle in my life has always been pride.

Phil 2:5-11 shows us Jesus’ attitude and urges us to have it:

Let the same mind be in you that was[a] in Christ Jesus,

who, though he was in the form of God,

    did not regard equality with God

    as something to be exploited,

but emptied himself,

    taking the form of a slave,

    being born in human likeness.

And being found in human form,

he humbled himself

    and became obedient to the point of death—

    even death on a cross.

Therefore God also highly exalted him

    and gave him the name

    that is above every name,

10 so that at the name of Jesus

    every knee should bend,

    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,

11 and every tongue should confess

    that Jesus Christ is Lord,

    to the glory of God the Father.

Jesus was pretty important hey? He left heaven. He was the opposite of proud. So God exalted Him.

God gave Ben a personal word for this year. God said ‘Humility’ and he thought, ‘Oh no – can’t I pick another one?’

The humble trust God to exalt them. There’s power in humility. If we don’t get that, we will keep on being the biggest barrier to what God wants to do in our lives.

Stand Up, Stand With, Never Bow Down.

Last night in our Esther series which will soon be available here I referenced Confessing Church Pastor Martin Niemoller. He was an anti-communist who supported at first a reforming movement called National Socialism andits leader, a dashing figure with a gift for rhetoric called Adolf Hitler. Eventually he saw where it was heading, spoke out, and ended up in a concentration camps including Dachau. Look what he said:

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God’s people were in a desperate situation 2500 years ago in the Middle East. It looked like the end. Their days were literally numbered. That’s why the story of Esther is as fresh as today’s headlines, because we’re living in fearful days aren’t we?

An election year, reeling from social and economic crises that seem to have no end. Our nation is in a spiritual crisis, too – we’re desperate for a fresh move of God in our day!

I preached from Esther 3 as Haman’s hate was heading toward a holocaust and the passage said three things to me very clearly:

We should STAND UP for what we believe.

We should STAND ALONGSIDE those who are being persecuted.

We should never BOW DOWN to pressure to conform to what people think, rather than what God says.

We stand up for what we believe. Even if everybody else does it or says it, a Christian has to first ask, ‘What does God say? What does God want?’ As has often been said, “If we don’t know what we stand for, we’ll fall for anything.”

Then, remembering those words of Niemoeller, Christians should never be known as the haters, the racists, the bigots. Jesus summed up the law in two statements so we can judge everything we do and say by them: 1) Love God 2) Love your neighbour. Questions?

It’s to the everlasting shame of the church that so much terrible anti-semitism and the crusades were committed in the name of Jesus, a Jew, who commanded us to not stand against them but Stand with them, even though ‘they’ are of a different race, history, sexuality or opinion. We are to go and do like the Good Samaritan. When you see them isolated hurting and battered – go toward them and help them at cost. Go and do likewise. Cross the road toward them, don’t walk away.

And now who are the most persecuted people in the world these days? According to the International Society for Human Rights, a secular group, 80 per cent of all acts of religious discrimination in the world today are directed at Christians, that was a year ago. Things since then have got a lot, lot worse. The Centre for the study of Global Christianity in the United States estimates that 100,000 Christians per year are killed simply for being Christian. That’s 11 an hour for a decade!

Christians face official discrimination in 139 countries. In Malaysia, for a Malay to become a Christian is a crime. In Saudi Arabia to have a Bible is punishable by flogging. In Pakistan the way to get rid of a Christian neighbour you don’t like or seize his business is just to accuse them of blasphemy against Allah. In India Christians are regularly murdered by extremist Hindu militias; in Iraq the number of Christians has been cut from 500,000 to less than 100,000. The last Christian has left Mosul after warnings from ISIS to convert or die. In Syria, in Libya, it increases, in Nigeria the killing of Christians by Boko Haram while churches burn has become so routine it’s no longer even newsworthy.

Perhaps  a question you might ask of someone asking for your vote this year would be, ‘What are you going to do to help and protect the most persecuted people on the planet?’

The Middle East, the birthplace of Christianity, is now perhaps the greatest battleground for Christians, as it has been so many times in history. This week we’ve all seen at least something of the murder of those 21 Christian young men, all in their early to mid-twenties on the beach, by ISIS?

They were members of the Egyptian Coptic church, one of the most ancient churches in the world. A tutor of mine at theological college had the cross tattooed  on both hands at his ordination in his order, so that he could never deny Christ under pressure. ISIS YouTubed their evil as they beheaded those ‘people of the cross’ – in their early to mid twenties, on a Mediterranean beach.

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What has not been widely reported by our media is just how Christian they really were, that martyrdom is not just something that happened in history, that they were selected and killed because they said Jesus is their Saviour.

Those who have watched, like their families, see the men who died are singing and praying to Jesus. While the killers digitally enhance themselves to make them loom larger, the most powerful people on that beach are not those standing with knives, but those on their knees.

The brother of two of them was interviewed in Egypt and says he was glad to see them singing and saying his last words together with friends, ‘Lord Jesus Christ’. He said, “Since the Roman era, Christians have been martyred and have learned to handle everything that comes our way. This only makes us stronger in our faith because the Bible told us to love our enemies and bless those who curse us.”

I said last night perhaps the reason those young Christian men could exude such peace under pressure is because their heroes of the faith are martyrs (like the Theban Legion), whereas ours are ‘Your Best Life Now’ prosperity pundits with perfect teeth?

The interviewer asked about forgiveness and what they would do if face to face with those who killed his brothers. He replied, “My mother, an uneducated woman in her sixties, said she would ask [him] to enter her house and ask God to open his eyes because he was the reason [her sons] entered the kingdom of heaven.”

Beshir then prayed for the killers: “Dear God, please open their eyes to be saved and to quit their ignorance and the wrong teachings they were taught.”

They had been tortured and told they’d go free if they denied Christ, but they would not. So they were killed on that beach. They had that Mordecai spirit that would not bow down to fear and hate. They stood up for what they believed – no matter what. They wouldn’t bow down to evil. And ultimately, that’s how we become more than conquerors. That’s what makes Christians overcomers. Not grabbing a sword and fighting back, but fixing our eyes on Jesus, whatever happens.

Ivy Corporate Mission Partners Annual Meeting

The major missions partners we support as Ivy were able to report briefly on their current position.

Ngage – challenges; a small charity doing big stuff.
Getting funding is tough. Everyone going for the same pot.
Exciting? Still looking at youth work Hub in Burnage.
Also possibility of Free School. Development fund application successful!

Roc;
Highlights – the Fuse; has grown their faith. 2000 visitors from all round the country.
Today in holiday club a child wrote ‘This is the best day of my life,’
Football coach said ‘this has been the best week I ever did.’
Challenge? Bid to deliver restorative justice for MCR
Also – family mentoring
Need more staff, bigger infrastructure.

Besom;
David King – Christians being released into social action. Meeting needs to matched help. Building relationships with the people we help too.
All kinds of people get prayed for, someone recently said ‘THANKYOU nobody ever prayed for me before.’

David is now holding the baton for someone else to pick up the Baton on this.

Dignity.
An amazing year – a big movement of 3600 people meeting in life groups across various African nations like Zambia in rural places.
Villagers doing God’s work where they are. Meet, pray, serve, tell people about Jesus, and pass it on.
Challenge – gaps to fill, stretching – it’s daunting but exciting.

New Day United.
Seeking life to the full for the people of Africa. Mandate – get alongside NGOs. Practical & spiritual help.
Opps to meet with SA govt etc.
There has been some tough spiritual attack / intimidation etc but it’s going from strength to strength amid a precarious political situation. Lynn has had a vision whereby they are not called to build sandcastles, but a city on a hill!

Light: I gave the report on this, so couldn’t take notes on myself -,it’s going great! LZ7 are in Sweden right now, just moved into new office in the Northern Quarter & been working on a new album.

The Message:
Report from Steve Small focused on Eden Merseybank.
Massive acceleration brings difficulty of so much need and opportunities, with too little time.
Cafe will be opening soon which will replace Eden bus in morning and afternoons for Alpha, recovery etc.
Gathering & worshipping more regularly on Sundays.
We prayed for this & the wider work including the MEC and the work around the world as Andy & Michele are in South Africa as we met.

#40DaysCreative Let’s Begin..

Anthony Delaney:

I’m in too! #40dayscreative

Originally posted on Hannah Bettany.com:

I have been encouraged by a friend to spend the 40days of lent choosing to be creative. I believe this will be a challenge but also freeing. There is creativity in all of us..so sometimes to get the chance to be looking for it is helpful.

For me, I can’t sew,knit, draw, paint..I can just about doodle! So this certainly isn’t going to be an impressive 40days! It won’t be me showing off my skills! Still..I can do this. I’d like to be looking each day for something God is saying. Expressing it in different ways..let’s hope one is not interpretive dance!

I think for me it’ll be through something I see in my little boy & I’ll capture it in a photo. Or a picture God shows me that I’ll attempt to scribble out. Or a prayer..who knows maybe even a poem. It could be a simple line from…

View original 380 more words

Church We Can All Do

I follow Rachel Held Evan’s blog and I’m grateful for her pointing to this church in New York (a city I’m so excited to be visiting at the end of the year with Zoe).

What a great idea – Dinner Church! Who do you think they got that from?

I can see this working brilliantly here in Manchester.

Sounds, looks and tastes a lot like how church started, and grew – and maybe it holds a big key to how we can once again build movements that don’t depend on ‘Who’s your Pastor?’, but rather ‘How’s your Pasta?’

More about St Lydia’s here. 

FULLY ALIVE! My notes from @erwinmcmanus teaching day at WCA UK

Everything this guy says is tweetable :) I started tweeting some but I couldn’t do that and take good notes so I stopped tweeting…

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I have seen way too many people not reach their potential, but it’s unthinkable that Christians do that.

Christians have been taught that the future was set, by the same people who taught that the world was flat.

The words we use most end up having the least meaning for us.

Beautifying the bride? If you put a beautiful white dress on a bride with a leg cut off and bleeding, she’s not looking too good.

He is from El Salvador – which means ‘The Saviour’. Great address! But he grew up without much religious connection. God was an unreal object of frustration for his mother. He was interested in mythology, to try to work out what it was to be human, which led to a psychiatrist from 12. The psychiatrist asked him, ‘What do you see?’ That clued him into how people see differently.

He began to want to escape from a reality he didn’t like – for a science fiction fantasy world of his own mind.

Then his mother became a Christian, which was way out there to him. But the people in the church proved that love covers a multitude of irrelevance. Because there he came to Christ. Then he wanted to tell people about him, with the urban poor in the West of the US.

He realised that we are meant to not just read the Bible but live it out.

Ended up Pastor of a church in East LA, though he really shouldn’t have been. He knew so little, it did not go well. 6 years of hell. Then somehow the church got well known and he ends up on this Christian celebrity circuit. So he withdrew from that and started Mosiac in a smelly seedy nightclub. They kept moving so Christians didn’t just come along and spoil it.

Then when he was writing, some Christians who disagreed with him and said he was a heretic set up a website with a countdown of when they were going to kill him. And that turned his son away from faith.

So he said, “I want to get out – into art, fashion, film.’

And he did – very successfully. Applied the principles of design to life.

The church keeps desperately holding onto the past, to let go of the future.

At the same time as he went to go and talk to a girl who had lost everything, including her faith, the business bombed completely. He went to his wife and said ‘I have lost everything.’

She said ‘I thought I was your everything.’

He went to his church where he had been speaking out of momentum, not out of life, and said ‘I want you to watch how God can rebuild out of rubble.’

And the next day God spoke to him ‘Behold I am doing a new thing.’

How can you believe that on the worst day?

That’s where it’s real.

When you remember who God is and remind other people who He is.

Out of your brokenness and struggle.

Our anthropology about Jesus is keeping people from him. Instead of making church more relevant, make ourselves more human. We don’t need all the programs, we want people to be fully alive, because that’s what the world needs to see.

We say ‘I am not an artist.’

Are you creative?

Are you a genius?

Well you learned one of the most difficult languages before you were three?

If you had moved to another country you’d have learned that language. It was childs play.

It’s adulthood that told you to colour inside the lines.

As a Christian, we make discipleship being like someone else, who’s like Jesus – instead of being like yourself.

We get taught – you’re a sinner, in total depravity.

Did we get taught – you’re creative, in the image of God?

You’re part of his creative process.

Like bees create hives, humans create futures.

Hebrews 11:1-6

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. By faith Enoch was taken up so that he should not see death, and he was not found, because God had taken him. Now before he was taken he was commended as having pleased God. And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.

Isn’t that unfair? What else in creation has to do anything to please God?

Antelopes and daffodils and sunrises don’t have to live up to any expectations. But humans cannot please God without faith.

Have we misunderstood faith?

It’s not living a superhuman life.

God is pleased with you when you live a human life. Fully.

What does it mean to be human?

When you get into ministry you are supposed to study humans. It’s great to have insights on the Bible, IF they are insights for our struggles.

Faith is meant to shift us from what he have (and can see), to what we hope for (and can’t yet see). It shifts us as a species from the past and present to the future.

We take faith and make it something bizarre.

But hope is only ever about the future.

Humans have this unique property no other species have; to materialize the immaterial.

Is faith meant to be argued for (apologetics)

Or is meant to be magical (what you feel)

No, it says this is what the ancients were commended for… they thought about creation and saw it before we lost our way. Faith restores to us what they saw. Because we see that the universe was created at God’s command – so that everything came out something, and we think the Bible says that something came of nothing, which God spoke into.

But that’s not what the Bible says. We believe some things that we think the Bible says because we said it while we were holding the Bible when we said it.

It says it all came out of something INVISIBLE.

Which was there in God’s dream.

God had an idea. He speaks and creates.

You were a dream in the mind of God before you took your first breath.

So shouldn’t you live out the dreams of God before you take your last breath?

What was God’s first job?

Creating.

His initial occupation was artist.

He became Redeemer because of us

But he’s an artist by first choice.

So what do you think you were created to do?

Is it heretical that you can materialize the invisible?

Well- have you ever had a vision, a dream, in image of the world that caused you to act.

Genesis 4 Jabal was the father of people who live in tents and earn their living by keeping cattle. Jabal was Jubal’s brother. Jubal was the father of people who play the harp and flute. Zillah gave birth to Tubal-Cain. Tubal-Cain was the father of people who work with bronze and iron.

Why’s that in the Bible? Because it says because Jabal exists, we get tents, and steak.

And Jubal was the first guy to play a guitar. Before him, there was no sounds to communicate emotions. How did that happen? What did he make the strings from? Jubal sees some cat squashed by a buffalo and starts to work with it.

And we have passive faith that says ‘If God wants it to happen it will happen.’

It’s amazing that everyone who is doing nothing new says ‘There’s nothing new under the sun.’

But maybe Solomon was just having a bad day when he said that. Maybe he was wrong. That doesn’t mean the Bible was wrong. Just because he was.

You can believe Solomon who says ‘There’s nothing new’

Or God who says ‘I am doing ALL things new! My mercies are new! You’re a new creation! There’s going to be a new heaven and earth!’

God is trying to restore us to that real humanity. And the choices you make today shape your future tomorrow.

Evil men are not waiting for the future they envisage come to pass, while good men are waiting for God to act.

The Holy Spirit wants us to see a future so compelling we have to create it. To dream of a better world and dare to create it. Be the dreamers and visionaries of humanity.

Church is not meant to be amateur hour where people who can’t dance well in the world get to do it with ribbons. But we are meant to use all our gifts and talents for the good of all, not just the gifts of speaking and listening.

And Jesus’ command to make disciples was not about making Christians disciples. It’s meant to be about discipling the nations. That are not yet believers.

It’s better to have less control than death. The most organized places in the world are cemeteries. Maybe that’s why you have a lot of cemeteries next to churches.

You can counsel a whole lot of people from the front in a talk (in a general way) if you’re thoughtful about what you say.

What should you do?

1 Do the things that do the most good for the most people

2 Do the things you can be the best at. What you love. That will teach you to discipline yourself enough to be great at it.

Hard work will eventually be mistaken for talent.

Regret only happens because you know you could have made better choices, and looking back we see there was a better way.

I am amazed how many people say they follow Jesus but are in despair and depression. You’re imagining a terrible world. There’s no lion or gazelle going through a mid life crisis. The greatest thing you can do for God is be fully alive.

Ems Hancock at @myivychurch Esther 1 A Culture Of Honour.

There is a way to talk to and be with people that honours people or dishonours them.

Ems has a daughter called Esther and she was born ‘for such a time as this.’

It’s a very biblical thing to exercise a culture of honour.

Around 470BC the Jews were taken into exile and now they were under the power of Xerxes who ruled 120 provinces from India to Ethiopia.

For 6 months he threw a party to display his wealth and power. It was very ostentatious (think footballers mansion).

The royal wine flowed freely and he got ‘very very drunk’ – after a 7 day binge he called his wife in to show her off

She refused and he got very insulted. So did all the men.
Let’s get a new queen!

That’s how Esther got a crown later

Xerxes was a man without honour
Rich, yes – but…
Insecure
Drunkard
Big ego

Communicates through eunuchs
Not a job you’d want

He’s surrounding himself with men less manly to make himself bigger.

The queen was from a royal line in her own right. She was married to the son of her fathers killer!

She had a lot to lose here.

He wanted her to just wear a turban to the party. It’s an abusive, voyeuristic circumstance.

She said no
That’s quite brave isn’t it?
She was potentially saving her husband from more shame.

Her name Vashti in old Persian means ‘most excellent woman’
That’s in Ivy’s year id excellence!!

Those we live with, those closest to us: think about what they need.

How do you honour them?
Hold them in great esteem?

How good are you at recognising others and making room for them and their gifting.

God gets glory from that.
When we make room for God, he shows up.

The temperature effects the growth of a culture in a Petri dish. And in a church!

You can change the atmosphere in a place! In Tescos as well as church.

Honouring is in line with the culture of heaven. Rev 5:13 ‘Worthy is the Lamb!’ Give God honour! Give people honour!

Jesus didn’t say ‘be the best you you can be,’ he said, ‘wash feet, serve, notice others.’

That honours people – and then they grow and flourish and become more effective.

The world tries to honour people who do something great, or stupid if it’s on YouTube

But God honours those who honour him.

In a marriage you get asked to honour your wife/ husband.

Do you honour your church? Love it, comfort, honour and protect it?

How do we deliberately honour others?

1) Praise others for their strengths
2) Say ‘well done’ for growth
3) Rejoice with rejoicers
4) Allow others to use their gifts – you don’t have to do it all! 5) Give space and time for God to be honoured.

A culture of honour is necessarily to sustain a move of God.

Does your personal culture of honour need to change?

Who do you need to thank or praise now – to mimic the culture of heaven?