Get this Book: Messy Church

I managed to get the e-version of Ross Parsley’s new book Messy Church from Amazon for free.  If the offer is still on, you should get it too!

I’ve been a big fan of Ross Parsley for ages.

I first came across Parsley in 1998 when I was on a mission trip to Singapore.  It was during this trip that I was first introduced to some of the principles of worship intercession.

What really helped me along the journey was an album I bought at the time called Shine Your Light Through the Window, which was recorded live at New Life Church with Parsley as the worship leader.

Back then, the wider Church was broadly coming to terms with spiritual warfare concepts and Ted Haggard (New Life’s then senior pastor) was one of the main players in the movement.

What I heard on the album was songs centred around God’s purposes for the nations interspersed with passionate and Scriptural ex-tempore prayers from high level intercessors.  It changed my understanding of worship, and how it was connected to prayer and God’s will for the nations, forever.  That album began a new journey for me in apostolic worship.

Years later, New Life experienced first hand the effects of Ted Haggard’s moral failure followed later by another tragedy of a gunman walking into the church auditorium and opening fire on the congregation.  Ross Parsley led the church as interim senior pastor through some of its darkest hours, out of which were birthed some of the greatest modern worship anthems of the church, including one of my favourite songs “Overcome”.

Some of the songs that came out of New Life (and the Desperation Band) when Ross Parsley oversaw the worship ministry was probably some of the best worship songs in recent times (in my opinion of course).

Parsley recently planted a new church called ONEChapel in Austin, Texas.

Messy Church contends that the church should be a family, and Parsley shows, from his experience as megachurch pastor and church planter, the implications of that paradigm shift in the life and culture of the congregation.

I’ve only started reading the book and I’m already hooked.  Get it if you can.

A Brief Reflection on the Kong Hee Saga

I’ve had a pretty busy week, and I have missed a lot of what was going on in the news.  But even though I’m not in Singapore, it was very difficult, as a Christian, to miss the news about Kong Hee.  It was all over the internet, Twitter and Facebook.

Now, let me preface this post by saying that I have very little to do with City Harvest Church and Kong Hee, other than that I’ve heard Kong Hee preach a few times and also went to a Sun Ho concert many years ago when she came to Perth.  So I don’t intend to make any comment about specific things particularly given my lack of information.

What I will say is that I am disappointed by the amount of stuff I’ve seen on social media denouncing Kong Hee, particularly some derisory remarks from other Christians.  And it makes me wonder:  doesn’t the Bible tell us that if one part of the body hurts, every other  part hurts with it? (1 Cor 12:26).  Today, there are 26,000 odd Christians in Singapore hurting, trying to make sense of the situation and mustering up faith in God to see through these difficult times, and yet there are a small number of Christians who seem to be smugly celebrating.  I can’t understand why.

If anything, Christians around the world should be joining together to pray for City Harvest, Kong Hee and the church in Singapore.

The next thing is this:  whenever Christian leaders are under pressure, all the more it is time for the grace of God to prevail.

I remember a few years back reading in horror about what happened to Ted Haggard.  But we can choose to respond with condemnation or to respond with grace, knowing that none of us have, on our own, the moral standing to throw the first stone.

I have followed Ted Haggard’s story since his so-called “fall from grace” (including reading his wife Gayle Haggard’s testimony in her book Why I Stayed) and it’s encouraging to know that Haggard is now pastoring a church and, by the grace of God, restored.  At the end of the day, “falling from grace” is an oxymoron.  By definition, we can never fall from God’s unmerited acceptance of us.

And it’s great to know that God can take our mistakes, even really bad mistakes, and turn it for good.

A friend of mine said something really insightful today as she was talking about her own life and journey.  She mentioned that even though she had gone through a divorce, God has got her in the right place for this season of her life.  She observed:  “Sometimes, God uses the things he hates the most for his purposes and to glorify His name”.  That is the nature of God’s sovereignty.  We can’t even begin to try to grasp or comprehend it.  But God will always glorify Himself, no matter what.

So, I don’t really proffer any opinion on the Kong Hee saga at this stage.  The issues are way too complex to adequately analyse.  However, I want to encourage Christians everywhere, particularly those in CHC, to keep the situation in prayer, knowing that God works all things together for good for His glory and by His grace.