So the boys move on with their amazing unbeaten run now stretching to three games! Maybe a touch of sarcasm there but this victory did propel us into the play off places for the first time in 18 months, and that has to be cause for celebration. Blackpool are managed by a former City manager, Ian Holloway, but fortunately they did not give too warm a welcome to him (bottom pictured below) and his team.
After an even first half City dominated the second – BBC stats tell us that they had 21 shots on goal (10 of which were on target). Things are looking good at king Power Stadium, and Nigel Pearson has shown his calibre in bringing stability and sensibility to a squad of talented individuals. Maybe this is the time for things to turn around and momentum be established for a great push to the Premier League in 2012.
Wouldn’t it be great if when it comes to desiring and reading the Bible, we all had the same spirit as John Wesley,
“I am a spirit come from God and returning to God… I want to know one thing. the way to heaven… God Himself has condescended to teach me the way… He has written it down in a book. O give me that book! At any price, give me the book of God! I have it: here is knowledge enough for me. Let me be homo unius libri (a man of one book). Here then I am, far from the busy ways of men. I sit down alone. Only God is here. In His presence I open, I read His book; for this end, to find the way to Heaven.”
I enjoy reading articles by Perry Noble – not that I always agree with him, but he is one of those guys who makes me think a little differently and I enjoy the discomfort of that. Having said that I really enjoyed this article suggesting 15 signs your church is in trouble. I have been in “this church” many times, all too often under my own leadership. Leaders and followers alike, look, think and repent.
1. When excuses are made about the way things are instead of embracing a willingness to roll up the sleeves and fix the problem.
2. When the church becomes content with merely receiving people that come rather than actually going out and finding them…in other words, they lose their passion for evangelism!
3. The focus of the church is to build a great church (complete with the pastor’s picture…and his wife’s…on everything) and not the Kingdom of God.
4. The leadership begins to settle for the natural rather than rely on the supernatural.
5. The church begins to view success/failure in regards to how they are viewed in the church world rather than whether or not they are actually fulfilling the Great Commission!
6. The leaders within the church cease to be coachable.
7. There is a loss of a sense of urgency! (Hell is no longer hot, sin is no longer wrong, and the cross is no longer important!)
8. Scripture isn’t central in every decision that is made!
9. The church is reactive rather than proactive.
10. The people in the church lose sight of the next generation and refuse to fund ministry simply because they don’t understand “those young people.”
11. The goal of the church is to simply maintain the way things are…to NOT rock the boat and/or upset anyone…especially the big givers!
12. The church is no longer willing to take steps of faith because “there is just too much to lose.”
13. The church simply does not care about the obvious and immediate needs that exist in the community.
14. The people learn how to depend on one man to minister to everyone rather than everyone embracing their role in the body, thus allowing the body to care for itself.
15. When the leaders/staff refuse to go the extra mile in leading and serving because of how “inconvenient” doing so would be.
All men of God who look to achieve anything of note live within the constraint of a God-given vision. This is what Oswald Chambers had to say on the matter;
“However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me.” Acts 20:24
It is easier to serve God without a vision, easier to work for God without a call, because then you are not bothered by what God requires; common sense is your guide, veneered over with Christian sentiment. You will be more successful, more leisure-hearted, if you never realise the call of God. But if once you receive a commission in Jesus Christ, the memory of what God wants will always come like a goad; you will no longer be able to work for Him on the common sense basis.
What do I really count dear? If I have not been gripped by Jesus Christ, I will count service dear, time given to God dear, my life dear unto myself. Paul says he counted his life dear only in order that he might fulfill the ministry he had received; he refused to use his energy for any other thing. Acts 20:24 states Paul’s almost sublime annoyance at being asked to consider himself; he was absolutely indifferent to any consideration other than that of fulfilling the ministry he had received. Practical work may be a competitor against abandonment to God, because practical work is based on this argument – “remember how useful you are here,” or – “think how much value you would be in that particular type of work.” That attitude does not put Jesus Christ as the guide as to where we should go, but our judgment as to where we are of most use. Never consider whether you are of use; but always consider that you are not your own but His.
“When God gives a vision by His Spirit – of what He wants, and your mind and sould thrill to it, if you do not walk in the light of the vision, you will sink into servitude to a point of view our Lord never had – you can never be the same after the unveiling of a truth. That moment marks you for going on as a more true disciple of Jesus Christ, or for going back as a deserter.”
Once again Leicester failed to gain back to back wins – a dismal statistic that shows why we are mid table rather than in the top six, and challenging for automatic promotion. If you are a cup half full type of person then take heart in a two match unbeaten run! Pompey old boy, David Nugent, managed to score an excellent goal against his former club (something he also did against Burnley a few weeks ago). It is very early days in Pearson’s second go at Leicester and I am sure he is identifying the weak links and the places he might want to strengthen in the new year sales (known in footballing terms as the January transfer window). Pearson was quoted after the game saying much the same,
“Ultimately, we need to raise the bar somewhat and strive to win tight games like this.
“The fact we have been waiting for back-to-back wins for a considerable time shows why we have not really asserted ourselves on the league yet.
Reports here, here and here – and photos from the excellent lcfc.com
Leicester City fans recently voted this goal their favourite one scored by a City player. Incidentally Manchester United fans, I think Wayne Rooney watched this before scoring against Manchester City last season.
For Americans Thursday 24th November 2012 was Thanksgiving Day. I think it is a great tradition to give thanks, one that Christians should uphold at least once every day. In the midst of a lot of stuff I read about giving thanks I reread the story below of Corrie Ten Boom. When I am an ungrateful wretch who fails to realise the plan and purpose of the good and living God in my life I try to think on things such as these.
The barracks where Corrie ten Boom and her sister Betsy were kept in the Nazi concentration camp Ravensbruck were terribly overcrowded and flea-infested.
They had been able to miraculously smuggle a Bible into the camp, and in that Bible they had read that in all things there were to give thanks, and that God can use anything for good.
Corrie’s sister Betsy decided that this meant thanking God for the fleas.
This was too much for Corrie, who said she could do no such thing. Betsy insisted, so Corrie gave in and prayed to God, thanking Him even for the fleas.
Over the next several months a wonderful, but curious, thing happened. They found that the guards never entered their barracks.
This meant that the women were not assaulted.
It also meant that they were able to do the unthinkable, which was to hold open Bible studies and prayer meetings in the heart of a Nazi concentration camp.
Through this, countless numbers of women came to faith in Christ.
Only at the end did they discover why the guards had left them alone and would not enter into their barracks.
The year is rapidly drawing towards an end and, if you are anything at all like me, you will be nearing the end of your annual pilgrimage through the Bible. Of course you are probably not at all like me but still are finishing off reading this year – and so your mind will be pressing on to 2012, what plan should I use, do I repeat this years plan, do I do more (or less) reading, would a change of style be good? There are a lot of options and Justin Taylor at The Gospel Coalition has listed many. Also on YouVersion.com there is an excellent list. If you dont have a clear idea yet of what you want to do then these blogs are worth a visit to feast at the extravagant table of plans laid before you.
Don’t worry if you found the going a bit tough this year, don’t give up, get back to the starting line and go for it again. Recognise the places you are weak and then mentally, physically and spiritually prepare yourself. (For some reason I always struggle at 1 Chronicles 6, finding it one of the hardest chapters to read each year, but through good preparation I manage it and by chapter 11 am excited about what God is doing). A major help to me is using my ESV Study Bible to read with – I have not found a better study Bible, get one if you can! I like my mind and heart to interact with the text and find the helpful notes really encourage me to do it. I use it to get some background as I start to read a book and if I dont get what or why something is being said, the notes are very helpful in bringing some clarity. I should say I don’t read every note and make sure I focus on the biblical text, but a tool like this is invaluable to help and encourage me on my way at times.
Reading through the Bible is like going on any journey, plan well and the trip will be smoother. I really hope and pray you will be blessed as you read in 2012.
(Incidentally I am looking for a chronological plan that excludes the Psalms and Proverbs from the plan, I like to have them as meditative sections read each day – has anyone seen something like this?)