images-4They are spiritual, I was not?  Well it didn’t half feel like that…

Most books I was encouraged to read in my early years were very encouraging, they presented us with the opportunity to drink from someones experience, it was and is a continuing a great privilege.   However there was a recurring factor, I read of preachers, powerful people of God putting pen to paper outlining their endeavors, yet the writers only seemed to emphasis their greatness and spirituality without highlighting any faults or life’s realities.   I know the trend today is a little different in the willingness to be vulnerable but still it’s not every one who does it.   Indeed, many ministries would not advocate the sharing of mistakes and challenges, saying, “It will leave you exposed to your enemies,” or “open to criticism.”    It brought, probably intentionally such a testimony, a picture that inspired you to what God can do but it did not help to present that it could be YOU and though YOU.   They were great and mighty never dealing with normal little stuff of my life, it felt as if they had gone beyond this life, the supermen and women.

They are spiritual I was not.   Don’t get me wrong these accounts did wonderfully open up God greatness in a life, but made the experience inaccessible.

It would have greatly helped if someone had written honestly of their mistakes when I was young in the faith, and shared some of the pitfalls on how to avoid them. So embracing the risk of vulnerability I am going to share with you as openly as possible as we continue our journey in “To this End.”   In my challenges I felt its was only peculiar to me, it cultivated an attitude that I should not talk myself about my struggles, these were not to be talked about, these things of life, they were clearly my issues nobody else had them, or it felt like that.

It was learning about life I needed, it has taken a necessary cultural change to happen to make lives more accessible, for ministries it was a long time before people came down off their distant pedestals, and some still retain an ungodly superior or untouchable manner.   As a young man when I found people who would be open and tell of their joy’s and failures it was a real release, to know others had the same struggles and they had overcome them.

I recall later on in my journey, actually the day I left the building industry to live by the gospel, one of the most helpful lines ever given to me was said, it continue to serve me well in almost 30 years of ministry life.    I was taken aside and told “…all these, every one you have put on a pedestal have clay feet – that is are a mixture in their lives.”    So simple but so profound, It did not destroy my honour or admiration of them far from it, it actually helped as I saw their failures, mixture of attitudes and as I got close to so-called the “great?”   It did not excuse them, it did help me to see their journey, I saw real people walking with God.  It helped to avoid disappointment along the way and prevented feeling let down as they made their mistakes.     As I began to move, relate to ministries of great renown and stature, these people who I had put far above, I know that’s the Christ but we do it so easily to people, foolishly rather than Christ.   Now I am not talking about honour, honour should be a disposition we live by, honour is positive but the negative view at its worst celebrities and super-spiritual, so-called people who set themselves distant from you, who occupy the pedestal and control from there, rather than becoming co-workers, partners, fellow journey men and women.

I needed people who would help with my life and help me to see I was spiritual even with my foibles and wrongs as I walked my journey into God.   Discover that I am spiritual and can be all God wanted even with my thoughts and actions, even with my insecurities and attitudes.   People who have the same challenges to walk and talk me thought them from their book of life.

This will be my aim as we continue the next chapters of “To this End.”


“To this end…” still working towards it

Community under canvas Our journey is continuing on this time I will deal with only one step, it’s so important in a disconnected society, a society that is not aware of anyone else but of self, that this step be prayed and worked through, enjoy considering.   To be a people of love and display to our world people being TOGETHER


I don’t know whether it was my upbringing as a child in the Welsh Valleys, where lives were thrown in on each other and things were shared or what, but I have never found community living a problem, and long to see it at every level. I am not talking about a commune but a community where no one has need and each person is considered and looked after, where people are aware of others around them rather than just self.

I have been able to adapt easily to living with a crowd as long as there has been some place – all I’ve needed was a bedroom – to pull aside and be alone with God for a time.     Apart from that, the difference of temperaments and personality were no great issues for me.

Here are some of the things I have learned in community with others:

1. Don’t take things too seriously. It is amazing how we can make mountains out of mole hills, and little issues assume great importance. This is where many relationships have foundered and fellowship been broken. Many things are best over-looked and forgotten by the immediate release of forgiveness and love at the time.

2. People respond to praise. Don’t be afraid to praise others. This acknowledges, honours’, and builds men up. Make room in your heart for appreciation of others.

3. Everybody loves to be loved and so the time taken, word spoken, gesture made, effectively communicates our appreciation and love for people,

4. Make room for others. Don’t look for ways to promote yourself by seeking prominence. Make room for other people respond to those who have made room for them.    Give them scope in your life, fellowship, responsibilities.     Let them try things out for themselves, and ‘have a go’.

5. Keep short accounts. If there is a breakdown of fellowship deal with it quickly – Get rid of it before it widens. It is the accumulation of small things that creates the big problems. Just as it is the silt that comes down with the river that forms the mud bank that eventually holds the waters back.

6 – Don’t be afraid to confront. Don’t look for confrontation, but neither should you run from it where it is necessary for the saving of the person or situation. Paul disliked confrontation but was not afraid to stand up to Peter when a fundamental issue of the gospel was at stake. It is better to be wounded by your friends than destroyed by your enemies.

7. Grace and faith. Serve up, in every relationship with people, great dollops of grace and faith. These are the twins of all progress and achievement in relationships.

8. Be loyal to men and women and people will be loyal to you – the end time will be characterized by this breaking down (2 Tim.3:4) amongst other things.     All the more reason to shine as a light in a dark place in respect to keeping covenant.

9. Love the brethren. By this I mean demonstrably so. Let your feelings become tangible in this respect.

10. Serve one another. Do little things – learn to hump the tables around. Learn to look after each others needs, be a servant and in this way you encourage others to serve, particularly be a Joshua to a Moses somewhere.

These principles hold good as strengthening bonds to secure harmony inside the relationships of the wider community of the church.     It would be wonderful if our Christian experience was only a series of positive virtues.      Unfortunately I have been both a victim and perpetrator of some negative issues also.


“To this End…” its not the end yet

Eliezar & RebeccaThe steps continue on and on, step by step we are taking ground the old song said, advance well here is another step which is very significant in any life that has a desire to keep faithful to the call of God on your life.


I can recall that for many nights over a long period I was in the home of one gracious family constantly.     In retrospect I see this was grossly selfish on my part being inconsiderate of thire needs of privacy and family life.    It also caused me to miss out in other areas of life that should have been in my consideration, such as my relationship and responsibility to my family.

I was in needed at that time of moulding and forming to take up my responsibilities.   I have seen over the years the requirement for all to be formed, taking the good of character and bringing it through, changing for the better the negative, some times the destructive elements of our lives.    It was in my 20th year that I first met with someone who would involved themselves in my life for my good.   It was at every level the transformation began in me through their words and love, not only inner character being affected, also the way I physically looked, my hair, I had some then, my body shape, I had too much, my handling of money and of course my handling of relationships and responsibilities.  The experience was so necessary as I was being empowering for where I am now today.    This continued for many years and I am eternally grateful for the grace of those people who took the time and responsibilities to affect my life.     The Power of Discipleship had begun its process and I had to stay with the course.   We experience discipleship though so many levels, friends “…faithful are the wounds of a friend…” the Proverb says, mentors “…we have many mentors or teachers…”, and fathers.

I learned the truth of being truly affected by a true spiritual father as a father took real interest in my life and family.    At first I did not realize I was being fathered, it was natural, and fathering terms were not so popular then.       As this spiritual father invested belief into me, he probably I would say most definitely believed in me more than I did initially in my self.    Once a real spiritual father takes hold of you things look different and take on a different direction, be careful there are many around that promote themselves as fathers however I am not sure if when you are one you need not promote anything, just be a father it will be plain.

Once begin touched by a true father I think I can say like the Apostle Paul “…there are not many fathers…” but there are “…many mentors, teachers…”.    My wife used to say of my relationship with Bryn Jones, who fathered me for many years, a true fathering gift to the people of God, that I was more married to Bryn than her, this was not from a hurt or disappointment but from a joy.    Sandra was able to release me to that given-ness and service of a father, so we did it together.

I was discipled by someone who believed in me more that I did in myself, a real father, It was not only him but there were others.    I recall Arthur Wallis a great man of God, taking me aside to mentor me on prayer.    Discipling me not only in what to say but developing a conversation with the Father, making it intimate.     The driver’s seat of my car or the back seat of another cars became my discipleship school and college.    Along with being thrust into relationship by association with the fathers and thrust into rooms that I was amazed to be in while ask myself under my breath “…what on earth am I doing here?”, only now to realize it was discipleship in action, fathering at its best, I was happening for my future.

Through these relationships over decades I was blessed, encouraged and provoked.    One of them, knowing I wanted to be carrying the word of God took me under his wing in what I consider a hard school for me, getting me to believe in the God in me and therefore myself.   He taught me to stand without fear among the crowds.   He would push me out of my comfort zone.   I recall traveling to a major conference with 2/300 people in attendance, I was there to carry bags, handkerchiefs and water.    When one morning he was due to speak when he announced he was not coming out that day asked I go and inform the conference host that an other speaker would take his place.   When I protested and said, “…they are excepting you who else…”, he announced “…tell them its you…”, comfort zone departure or what.   I knew how to carry water and bags but 2/3000 people!

More than anything I drew from what these men were.  I liked their ruggedness and strengths, their openness and laughter.   I liked the fact that they were ordinary and yet deeply spiritual.    These men stand out as having had a hand in shaping my life.     Theirs were the voices that helped crystallize my life values and concepts.    They prayed and patiently worked on me using the Word, while Believing God would use me one day, they did much work into my life when I did not see it or realize it.

A number of these men have gone home to be with God, others are still living.     But all have extended their days – without knowing it – within my life, legacy is discipleship.

You may recall Abraham commissioning Eliezer to find a wife for Isaac.  Eliezer said to go the one that will feed in serving the camels at the well let her be the woman, sure enough along came Rebecca Gen. 24:15.    Actually the camels she served became the mode of transport to her destiny.   Serving others will in turn be those who carry you to your destiny.  Serving is not servitude, serving someone is not being abused or being dominated it’s a process we all go through with being mentored or fathered. True mentors and especially fathers, I discovered actually serve you, in carrying you to destiny.    So find a camel to serve, not a great picture may be but a good truth, giving yourself will lead you to your destiny, giving is a deep relational experience, it will mean great faithfulness and honour on your part.

The following are some of the areas of life for which I am indebted to them.     I didn’t see all these aspects in anyone single individual, but rather this is a composite picture of spiritual values gleaned from them all.

1. Love God supremely – everything else in life orbits around Him. He is to be the centre of our affections as much as the source of our life.

2. Seek the Kingdom of God and His righteousness first – it is not my selfish desires in life that count, but what promotes His Kingdom and expresses his righteousness that should be sought first.

3. Total commitment of life – to following Christ. To “deny ourselves and take up our cross” is simply that – a total denial of self interests, and full commitment to the pursuit of His interests

4. Backbone – being father by men meant for me to be a “man’s man”- To have backbone.      To stand up in life and learn to cope with it.      Not merely to hang on, but to triumph.

5. Prayer – nothing of significance happens without someone having prayed it through.     I learned the “fervent” prayer life with a group of men, 90% of whom were in their 50-60s.      We stormed the enemies’ strongholds with great shouts of praise and threw down his resistance with holy anger.     Our meetings were very tearful, noisy and filled with the loud praises of God.    We encountered the supernatural and school each other in that place, showed each other how to see God how to hear God how to sense God.

6. To yield to the Spirit – that all my actions and attitudes are to be ruled by the Spirit.    To know His anointing (more later on this subject) meant obedience to the Spirit.

7. A Worldwide Revival – the only hope of the Church ever fully accomplishing the purpose of God in a single generation is twinned to the hope of the greatest spiritual visitation of all time coming upon such a generation.

8. Do everything with excellence – seeking to excel is seeking to be excellent.     For too long Christianity has given shoddy, substandard presentations of It’s message.     During the last 25-30 years men have rightly embarked on a new pursuit of excellence in order that the jewel of Christ be made more wonderfully obvious by its presentation.

9. Love His Church – to give oneself for it just as He gave Himself for it. This is not the mixtures church of corrupt religion, but the church of the Living God, the redeemed of the Lord. Giving ourselves for this church means our time, energy, money, thinking, and often the forfeiting of legitimate leisure pursuits.

10. God rules supreme – That there is an unchanging, unalterable purpose at work in the history of humankind, and that nothing lies outside his ability to change, maneuver or control situations, people or nations in pursuit of this – Gods purpose.

11. Bow to take criticism – and not “cave in”, so that others do not dominate your faith. This is achieved by Reconsidering “Him who endured” (Heb.12:3) and fixing ones hope in what lies ahead.

12. Love people despite – what they have done, said or schemed against us. The majority of them are not engaged in a malicious personal vendetta, but in their weakness have opened themselves to the control of the powers of darkness. Our ‘wrestling is not with flesh and blood but with principalities and powers’  (Eph . I 6:12)

13. To stand firm – when everything is pressing you to change. Never compromise the truth merely to curry favour or gain some temporary respite or advantage from those who mean no good to the gospel.

On the other hand, in nonessential areas to be always open to compromise in order to attain a higher good. Some things are negotiable others not – wisdom is in knowing the difference.

14. To be nonreligious – I do not mean unrighteous. I don’t mean opt out of the “true religion that is undefiled”, but rather to be free of the trappings of liturgy, ecclesiasticism, institutionalism, and instead enjoy the free, spontaneous life of God this is ‘life more abundant’.

15. Live and move in faith – to be able to say as Paul said, “I believe God”. Not in Him, but Him.     This means that you are not leaning on man but dependent fully on the faithfulness of God for your existence and progress.

16. Give the Word of God place – We are instructed by His word in every area of living. It measures our attitudes, convictions, purpose and motive. It continues to feed, search, guide, correct and protect us in life.

17. Be a man of deep devotion to Him – learning to laugh and be natural, yet having a deep devotional walk with God.

18. Giving – that one is not miserly or skimpy, but generous in all things, realizing it is the secret of receiving so much.

19. Love people – it is a cold, impersonal, hurting world. Just loving people as they are, is step one to change in them.  Our life is people, People matter more than things.

20. World Mission – that there is no way I can close my eyes to the vast under-evangelized areas of the world. The world is our parish. We are the seed of Abraham, and as the covenant people of promise destined to be a world blessing.

21. Embrace the disciplines of God – He can minister to me by command, counsel, or circumstances, using any or all as necessary to achieve His objective in my life.

“To this end…” even more

Hands that toil
Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature inChrist.

29 For this I toil, struggling with all his energy that he powerfully works within me.

(Col 1:28-29)

I recently watched a new documentary fronted by Hercule Poirot, the French detective, well not really it was the actor David Suchet.   The focus was the it is a tracing of the life of Paul, amazing and moving.   I was moved to see the resolve of this man, Paul that is, the outright single-mindedness he was on his purpose, that Christ might fill all in all.   He clearly was a man with a desire of brining Christ to a broken world was uttermost, it was not just salvation but a transformation he believed in, the belief that he could change his world, he really had a conviction and laboured to that end.

“To this end I labour”, I now continue with the thoughts around that ”labouring to an end”, I have already competed 2 posts and cover 4 steps for us in of setting a pace to get the job done.    All who have celebrated the arrival of 2013 it is once again the beginning of a new year, it affords us in our thinking a focus on the coming year, what I would give my self to, what I would labour towards, I trust this further journey will add to the last two blogs under the same topic heading, read on!


As soon as it is feasible it is good to confess your faith verbally.     Confession with the mouth seals something in your heart.       It is this commitment, confined in your own words, that spurs you on in your Christian pilgrimage.

Verbally sharing your faith deepens your appreciation and conviction of the life you have received, as well as sharpening your ability to communicate it effectively to others.   Sharing your experiences confirms the God of history that invades today and brings hope for tomorrow.

Confession quickly allows us to find from the crowd those whose faith and boldness is similar to your own, and you will be drawn to them as they are drawn to you.     It is often the beginning of progress in meaningful relationships.


‘Of the past’

I owe a great debt to men such as Bryn Jones, Arthur Wallis, Ern Baxter, E Stanley Jones, Austin Sparks  Andrew Murray, F .B. Meyer, S.D. Gordon, Watchman Nee, Rees Howells, Charles Spurgeon. George Eldon Ladd and others, the list is endless.     Most I have never met in the flesh, but have sat for hours on end listening to them opening their hearts in revelation of Christ to me.      All this has taken place through my being a prolific reader.     I cannot over estimate the value books in my life.      The writings of such men as these speak to all ages and times, since the principles set out are themselves eternal.

‘Of the present”

One of life’s privileges is the opportunity of fellowship with men of spiritual experience beyond ourselves.    They may not see themselves as fathers or mentors to us, but many of them are that. They are deep waters of revelation, experience and truth for us. I am again indebted to numerous men in my lifetime – Keri Jones, Tony Ling, Ray Bevan, Dave Mansell, Charles Simpson, Gordon Fee, Tom Wright, Derek Morphew, Sam Solyen and others, endless list again.  For some of these were willing to take an interest in me and allowed me to draw upon them in my development, others I meet and continue to draw from their journeys through writings.     Needless to say I clung to several of these very strongly and learned from every one of them.

Then again in retrospect I see how many men who were growing up alongside me in their own faith have greatly influenced my life.     I think in lots of instances we owe as much if not more, to brother-ing than fathering in our spiritual progress.


I have seen so many allow themselves to be wiped out by mistakes.     If I had allowed this to happen to me then I would have been destroyed in the first 3 months of my life.     But again-and-again I came back to the bedrock conviction that I was born again despite my many miserable failings.     The burden and what I had seen came to the fore front, resurrection from deep within the very taste of the future God has allowed me to taste came strong at those times

I have continued to go forward with this conviction of faith, that God is greater than my mistakes, bigger than any problem I face, deeper than any shallowness of thought, word, or action on my part.      Even realizing that my mistakes and my success are as much part of who I am today rather than only seeing the success made me they all have made me and brought me to today!   I got to today because of my successes and my failures they made me and i am not so bad after all.

This enables me to bounce back again from any failure, embracing grace as the means to restored fellowship, and giving me liberty from any condemnation that would threaten my progress or happiness.

That’s long enough for this one we will continue next time on Step seven Power of Discipleship