church leicester

CHARACTER HAS ONE FACE 
by Roy Todd

A life of pretence has two faces – public and private. The public one is an image it seeks to project. The private one is a secret it strives to protect. 

The problem with pretentious living is that it drains energy, creates toxicity & leads to profound instability. Amidst the confusion, other people end up suffering too…big time. In his straight talking letter, the apostle James says ‘A double minded person is unstable in all their ways‘ (James 1:8). Ok, maybe that’s not exactly PC, but it sure makes a lot of sense. How can anyone possibly sustain living as two people when being one person is already hard enough?!!

Character only has one face. It is the same everywhere it goes. Integrity is at the centre of what it says and does. That doesn’t mean it’s constantly correct. No way! But when it comes to trustworthiness, Craig Groeshel put it well when he said ‘people would rather be around the one who is always real than right‘. 

If ever there was a time when our world needed people of profound character, it’s today. The hallmarks of good character are not sensational – but they’re more valuable than pure gold. These are things like faithfulness, honour, truthfulness, purity….the list could go on. God cherishes them very dearly because they reflect his heart, even if they don’t seem to be rated very highly in our world.

Character is not exempt from the allurement of temptation. There will always be times in our lives when we are tempted to lie, to cut corners, to live promiscuously, to yield to carnality. Yet the bible teaches us that we don’t have to surrender to temptation’s deceitful charm. 

One of the most intriguing incidents in the entire bible is when Satan tempted Jesus in the wilderness. This was during a time of weakness as Jesus had been fasting for a lengthy period. In Matthew 4:1-11, each time Jesus is faced with the facts of temptation, he responds with the truth of scripture. This passage powerfully teaches us that no-matter how unrelenting temptation might be in taking advantage of our feebleness, we CAN overcome – not in our own strength but by the truth of God’s word permeating our lives. This is the very foundation of great character.

Character lives with a humble dependancy on God’s grace. This is not a license to sin but a reality that compels us to follow God’s truth. It’s goal? The glory of God. Now that’s a cause worth living for.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE. ALSO, CHECK OUT NEW CHURCH IN NOTTINGHAM COMING SOON – HERE!!

church leicester

BETTER TO BE IMPERFECTLY EXCELLENT

It is said that Thomas Edison tried over a thousand times to invent the lightbulb. After 900 failed attempts, a ‘friend’ suggested to Edison that he should accept failure. ‘No‘ said Edison. ‘I’ve just been successful in finding 900 different ways how not to make a lightbulb.‘ Shortly after that, he invented the lightbulb.

While a mediocre mindset sees failure as the end, excellence views it as the beginning – an opportunity to learn some more. The latter understands that perfection is a mere delusion, at least as far as fallen humanity is concerned. Moreover, God is NOT searching for perfection. If this were the case, we’d all be in very serious trouble. Actually, He’s looking for people who will embark on an imperfect pilgrimage, trusting His ultimate goodness in a world that can feel harsh and uncaring. That’s why it takes real faith to believe in God’s hope, especially when things can seem pretty hopeless at times.

The paradox of mediocrity is that it sees itself as the perfect standard by which everything else should be judged. It imposes strict limitations and then contemptuously sneers at anyone who dares to rise above it’s self made ceiling. At the core of its thinking is a kind of prideful pessimism which believes people should accept the perfection of average, dismissing anything higher as pompous and arrogant.

The reality of excellence is very different. By contrast, it recognises that it is not the same as perfection and never pretends to be so. Furthermore, to pursue excellence in life takes great humility, profound selflessness and outstanding courage. You see, this journey is about far more than ourselves. It’s about the future. It’s about living for something that is bigger than us. It’s about helping a new generation rise higher and go further than we ever did. What a travesty not to give them a better chance. Sadly, that’s exactly what the perfectly average thinking of mediocrity does. It holds people down.

In your life, never insult God with small thinking. ‘He is able to do more than we could ever ask, think or imagine‘ (Eph 3:20). No, we’ll never be perfect, at least while we live on this earth. So it’s better to live an imperfectly excellent life than one which is perfectly average. 

Don’t compromise. Be a bit cheeky and dare to aim high. Whatever happens, never stop believing God…ever. 

COME AND CHECK US OUT THIS SUNDAY! MORE ABOUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE. MORE ABOUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

church leicester

WHY RELIGION HATES NOISE 
by Roy Todd

There’s a story in the bible about a blind beggar who caught wind that Jesus was in town. Upon hearing the news, he started yelling at the top of his voice ‘Son of David, have mercy on me!‘ (Mark 10:47). The reaction to his loud bellowing was one of predictable monotony by the religious people who stood by. They mocked him, ridiculed him, sneered at him and attempted to silence the noise. But the blind man was having none of it. He just shouted all the louder and eventually caught the master’s attention. Jesus absolutely loved it.

This story teaches us that religion hates noise. That’s because the resonance of authentic faith disturbs religious fakery and offends the miserable silence of tedious respectability. Religion stands tall in a prideful pose, puffed up by it’s own sense of spiritual superiority & looks down with intolerable contempt on those who refuse to conform. But what it doesn’t realise is that it is blinded by it’s own self-righteousness. The irony of the story in Mark 10 is that the man who was physically blind could see more than anyone else in that crowd. He saw who Jesus really was – but the crowd were oblivious to this reality. His simple faith honestly believed that the ‘son of David‘ had answers to his needs and that he could hear him, hence his shouting. He was right and those who tried to quieten him were wrong. When the miracle worker is in town, how could anyone possibly stay silent?

The passivity of religion will always try to silence the passion of relationship. That’s because religion is emerced in a cosy world of quiet selfishness & pretence. When anyone ever tells you that your love for God and His house is too loud, too enthusiastic or too over the top, then always conclude that this is the voice of religion trying to shut you down. It’s what it always tries to do. 

No, its time to challenge the norm of religious thinking and shout louder, just like the blind man in Mark 10. It’s time to big up what God is doing, without any apology whatsoever.

God loves enthusiasm. It’s better to have a passion for Jesus that creates some disturbance than a respectable religious demeanour in which silence is the comfort zone. God has no interest in making us comfortable. His desire is to get us from convenience to calling, from faithlessness to faithfulness, from passivity to purpose.

Yes, there’s a time for silence. But now is not the time. The Gospel is God’s good news. How can we possibly stay silent about that? The local church is the hope of the world. How could we ever keep this under wraps? Jesus changes people’s lives. What possible justification could we offer for not shouting this from the rooftops?

This is a message that’s worth making some noise about. Don’t ever let religion silence you.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.

 

church in leicester

YOU’RE NOT MEANT TO ‘FIT IN’
by Roy Todd

Are you ready for a shocking confession? Ok, here goes. All my life, I’ve never really felt like I’ve fitted in. I don’t mention this to garner nauseating sympathy or to adapt some kind of victim status. No, it’s just an honest reflection about how I’ve always felt.

At school, I was never really the sporting type. While all my mates were playing football, I was in a music room practising classical piano. When I went on to pursue further music studies, I always felt different because I was a working class boy among a bunch of artistic upper/middle class students from far wealthier backgrounds. Then when I had the opportunity to take music further, I left it all behind and departed for England to study theology. This was to the absolute shock of my music tutors who were completely bewildered by my strange decision as they’d had high hopes for me as a musician.

When I arrived in England, I always felt different. Having an Irish accent didn’t help in this regard. Repeating every sentence twice during conversations became routine. As an Irish guy living in England during the so-called ‘troubles’, I sometimes felt like I was on the receiving end of more than a hint of suspicion too.

After graduation, while other people my age went on to pursue careers and earn lots of money, I went into ministry (against some very strong advice). But I wasn’t just a ‘normal’ church minister. Oh no. I became a poorly paid itinerant speaker for a regional network of 60 churches in the north of England. After four years, I began to travel nationally and then internationally, with doors opening all over the world. At one point, I seriously considered moving to America where there was no shortage of speaking invitations. But something inside of me felt unfulfilled by this idea. So to the complete surprise and even dismay of many of my colleagues & friends, I ceased travelling and decided to plant a church in Loughborough. Even this was different – pioneered from scratch, meeting in a Cinema and with a vibe which was quite different from ‘normal’ church. The story could go on….Yup, I’ve always felt like I never really fitted in.

Yet in a strange way, it’s amazing to look back and see how God has influenced this for good. You see, at the heart of everything I’ve ever done has been a genuine desire to serve God. I haven’t always got it right. But when the heart is right, God has an amazing way of guiding us to where he wants us to be. In a sense, when you decide to follow Jesus, you’re not meant to fit in. You aren’t called to be ‘normal’ either. Besides, what difference has ‘normal’ ever made? Of course, this doesn’t mean going out of your way to be weird! It just means that you have a perspective on life which lots of people don’t understand. That’s ok.

Romans 12:2 says ‘Do not conform to the pattern of this world‘. In other words, no-matter what’s going on around you, it’s always better to serve God than just fit in with the crowd. Remember, people who just ‘fit in’ don’t make a difference. But people who have the courage to follow their God given convictions do. So there…being ‘different’ is ok after all.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH IN LEICESTER

church leicester

BLESSED ARE THE PURE IN HEART…
by Roy Todd

Jesus once said ‘Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God‘ (Matthew 5:8). This can also be translated ‘Blessed are those who don’t have hidden agenda’s.’

This statement is taken from Jesus teaching called ‘The Beatitudes’. These are essentially ten values which reflect the culture of God’s Kingdom. The one quoted above is so completely contrary to the flow of selfish thinking that it could easily cause a shock to the system. It means serving without the expectation of receiving anything in return. It’s about doing what’s right, even if it goes unrewarded.

The thing is, everyone loves the idea of serving….until they have to serve. But what about when it comes to serving the rude person? Or the arrogant person? Or the unappreciative person? If we only ‘serve’ when it suits or when it ‘feels right’, then this is not serving at all. It merely becomes a form of self-congratulatory egotism, a convenient good deed for which you can applaud yourself and look down on the world from a self-righteous perch. But it’s nonsense. Servants just serve, no-matter what. They go the extra mile. They do whatever it takes. They’re low maintenance people, expecting nothing in return, irrespective of who they’re serving. Tall order hey? Well maybe this is the ‘shock to the system’ I mentioned earlier?

Serving is not a means of promotion or of gaining some kind of platform. Sadly in church life, the ‘platform agenda’ can often subtly creep into noble deeds. But serving without any other agenda than to please God is actually the purest form of worship, the kind that God absolutely loves. Jesus even defined servanthood as the ultimate example of what it means to be ‘great’ in God’s Kingdom (see Matthew 20:20-28).

‘Blessed are the pure in heart’ is not a statement of perfection. Purity is a state of heart. It’s about humility. It’s about motive. It’s about consistency. It’s about overcoming the impurity of selfishness and personal ambition with the pure desire to live for God’s purpose. This is what God is REALLY looking for…a pure heart, without an alternative agenda. By the way ‘blessed’ means happy. Think about it….’Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God ‘.  Selah.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH, OUR CHURCH IN LEICESTER AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH NOTTINGHAM HERE.

church leicester

YOU’LL NEVER ‘FEEL’ READY
by Roy Todd

All the planning in the world won’t necessarily make you ‘feel’ ready for the moment when you have to act. When I studied classical piano in Belfast, I used to spend hundreds of hours preparing to perform recitals for exams. But when those exam days finally came, not once did I ever ‘feel’ prepared. Nerves kicked in and feelings of self doubt were dominant. Sometimes, I just dreamed of climbing into bed, pulling the covers over my head and hibernating for about the next year! I always felt unready.

In this life, there’s no such thing as ‘the perfect moment’. There are just a series of imperfect opportunities. You are navigating a unique set of circumstances which are unchartered and undiscovered. It’s very much ‘on the job’ learning and this is the crucible where faith is forged.

In the Old Testament, God called Joshua to be the successor to Moses. This was a big deal for Joshua since he was following in the footsteps of a legend, a man who had led a million Israelites to deliverance from the oppression of the Egyptians. However, now that Moses was dead, Joshua had to lead those same people onwards to the ‘promised land’. Sounds grand – but Joshua clearly felt vulnerable and out of his depth, perhaps even doubting it was possible. Yet God spoke to Joshua three times during the course of the same conversation and affirmed to him ‘Be strong and courageous‘ (Joshua 1). Interestingly, God didn’t give him the route map and plan. He simply ‘commanded’ Joshua to lead with courage. Did this make Joshua ‘feel’ any more prepared? No. It simply meant that he had to keep moving forward and trusting God along the way.

Stop waiting for the perfect moment. It doesn’t exist. You’ll never ‘feel’ ready. Better to make the most of the imperfect opportunities that are all around you. No-matter how vulnerable you may feel, dare to keep moving forward with courage. This is faith.

church leicester

HE SETS ASIDE THE FIRST

Hebrews 10:9 says, ‘He sets aside the first to establish the second’. The context of this verse is to do with a transition from the old testament to the new. Old covenant law could not save us, only God’s grace can do that. So Christ came to establish a better way and this is essentially what the book of Hebrews is all about.

Yet there is something profoundly relevant about this particular phrase, especially when you’re transitioning from one season into another. Looking back, no doubt the past will have had moments of joy you celebrated as well as challenges you’ve had to negotiate. However, whatever has gone before, a new season is a time to set aside the past in order to move forward into the future. Time doesn’t wait for anybody. As much as there’s wisdom in learning lessons from the tougher experiences, it’s never wise to spend too long ruminating over them. The latter tends to exaggerate challenging seasons above what they deserve and can develop into an unhealthy obsession.

Setting aside the past requires grace and humility. It means some things need to be left behind. Here are a few of them:

Hurts – There’s an old saying which says that ‘hurt people hurt people‘. So no point carrying hurts with you into the future. Ask God to give you a grace to forgive, just as He did with you. There’s freedom in forgiveness.

Disappointments – So ok, maybe some things didn’t work out for you as you’d hoped. Learn what you can from them and let go. There are new opportunities ahead.

Grievances – Victim thinking is one of the most limiting & faith destroying things that can fester in a person’s life. The enemy wants you to hold on to it. God wants you to let go. Guess who has your best interests at heart? Better to let go then.

Attitudes – Let go of stinking thinking. In other words, attitudes you might have developed that are dishonouring and damaging. Read Phil 2:5-11 to find out about the kind of attitude God wants us to develop.

Cynicism – This is a nasty mind filter which contaminates thoughts, words and actions. Cynicism gives up on others very quickly, judging them and condemning them without grace and compassion. Let go of this before it develops any further. It’s seriously bad for your faith.

Failures – Remember, failure is not the end. If you’ve still got breath in your being, then there’s hope for you. Get up, freshen yourself and start again. Be sure not to wallow in self pity.

God has a plan. Our job, as Christians, is to follow Him. He knows what He is doing. Don’t let past issues determine your future. When this happens, it becomes a hindrance to the joy of today and the blessing of tomorrow. A new season is a time to resolve in your heart that the old has gone and the new has come. God has set aside the first in order to establish the second. Therefore lean totally into His grace. This is all you really need. 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND OUR CHURCH IN LOUGHBOROUGH HERE

MORE RECENT BLOGS

church loughborough

WHY WHITE MIDDLE CLASS CHRISTIANITY NEEDS CHANGE
by Ps Roy Todd

Hebrews 10:9 says, ‘He sets aside the first to establish the second’. The context of this verse is to do with a transition from the old testament to the new. Old covenant law could not save us, only God’s grace can do that. So Christ came to establish a better way and this is essentially what the book of Hebrews […]

Read More
jealousy

LET'S TALK ABOUT...JEALOUSY
by Roy Todd

Hebrews 10:9 says, ‘He sets aside the first to establish the second’. The context of this verse is to do with a transition from the old testament to the new. Old covenant law could not save us, only God’s grace can do that. So Christ came to establish a better way and this is essentially what the book of Hebrews […]

Read More

WE NEED A NEW NORMAL 
by Roy Todd

Hebrews 10:9 says, ‘He sets aside the first to establish the second’. The context of this verse is to do with a transition from the old testament to the new. Old covenant law could not save us, only God’s grace can do that. So Christ came to establish a better way and this is essentially what the book of Hebrews […]

Read More

THE IRKS AND QUIRKS OF ONLINE CHURCH!
by Roy Todd

Hebrews 10:9 says, ‘He sets aside the first to establish the second’. The context of this verse is to do with a transition from the old testament to the new. Old covenant law could not save us, only God’s grace can do that. So Christ came to establish a better way and this is essentially what the book of Hebrews […]

Read More
church leicester

TOXIC CULTURE VS HEALTHY CULTURE
by Roy Todd

No-matter how great a vision is, culture is what REALLY matters. It will either carry vision to life or crush it to death.

Culture simply means ‘our way of doing things’. Every country has one. So does every business, home and church (yes church!). This can either be toxic or healthy. Here’s the difference:

TOXIC CULTURE tends to be cynical, mean spirited and fault finding. This vibe empowers and emboldens the sarcastic voices who feel better about themselves when they’re criticising others. Unfortunately, this kind of atmosphere kills confidence, creates animosity and causes a general feeling of ‘not good enough’ – a way of thinking which can NEVER bring out the best in other people. Toxic culture can at first appear honest – but it’s not. It is actually extremely hazardous. It’s focus is selfish rather than generous and ultimately, no-one thrives in an environment like that.

HEALTHY CULTURE is go-getting, positive and focused on finding solutions rather than languishing in problems. It empowers people with confidence by encouraging their strengths rather than jumping on their weaknesses. When this happens, everyone gets better – and even the area’s of weakness become stronger too. It raises the bar, causing people to rise higher in faith and life. It can take a long time for leaders to cultivate healthy culture (it will be strongly resisted and even misunderstood) – but ultimately, it produces a healthy environment where people can truly develop and flourish.

At the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough, our passion is to create healthy culture. We profoundly understand that it’s from this environment that giants of the faith can emerge. Toxicity will only do the very opposite. It’s our heart to capture Heaven’s culture. After all, this is what Jesus specifically taught us to pray …’your Kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven…‘ Wow…heaven on earth….now that’s healthy culture.

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

church leicester

GRASS ISN’T GREENER ON THE OTHER SIDE
by Roy Todd

There’s an old saying which says that ‘the grass is always greener on the other side.’ Problem is…if you travel to ‘the other side’, you’ll soon discover that the green stuff isn’t really grass. It’s actually astroturf. It’s not real. It’s fake. It’s boring. It’s unfulfilling. You can’t grow there. When you’ve been on ‘the other side’ for a while, it doesn’t take too long before you start to reminisce and look back to… ‘the other side’, remembering those good old days when you enjoyed the joys of authentic green grass where you could actually grow.

‘Other side’ thinking is never helpful. It stems from unhealthy comparisons which reveal more about the insecurities of our heart than the challenges of our circumstances. The enemy can do great damage in the confusion of warped thinking like that.

Now for the truth. The grass will always be greenest where YOU choose to stay and grow it. This is why it’s important to get firmly planted in God’s house. It’s the only way you’ll ever experience real growth. Being planted is a natural principle. It’s also a spiritual principle too. It’s a long term commitment rather than a short term fix.

One of the things that will kill your spiritual health is panic. This is the result of allowing a false sense of perspective to invade your thinking. It focuses on what seems wrong. It obsesses over what you don’t have. It guilts and goads you, making you feel inadequate and full of failure. It adds a stress to your life that is unfair, unnecessary and unhelpful. It robs you of the joy of what God has blessed you with.

When panic sets in, it corrupts your thinking. It’s assumption is that another garden will be better for you. So an uprooting process takes place. It’s not instant. It takes a while. There’s a gradual shifting that happens in the heart. But eventually, it occurs fully. And so the search for greener grass goes on. Meanwhile, all that energy, time and passion you’d previously invested in the ‘old’ garden – it has become rootless and disconnected from the future of the garden. Problem is….that ‘old’ garden grows healthier and healthier. Then it flourishes and blooms. It eventually becomes a magnificent landscape admired by all who see it – a place where life and growth abound. Suddenly a revelation dawns….the enemy had lied after all. The grass wasn’t better on the other side. It was perfectly healthy where you were.

The enemy loves to feed insecurity and doubt. That’s why it’s important to have people around you who are themselves firmly planted in God’s house – who dare to speak the encouragement of God’s word into your life – who don’t pander to negativism – who challenge unbelief and provoke you to trust God. Nothing crushes the devil’s scheming more than a community full of people like this.

Hold your nerve. If you will keep tilling the ground around you and continue laying foundations of faith, hope & love, you WILL flourish…right where you are.

 

CHECK OUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE.

church leicester

THE PURPOSE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT
by Roy Todd

The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity (Father, Son, Spirit). It’s important to note that he’s a person….not an atmosphere. In Matthew 3:16, he’s likened to the dove. This is no coincidence since the dove is amongst the purest of birds, only dwelling where they feel welcomed. This is like the Holy Spirit. He’s not interested in an occasional visitation but rather in habitation. His desire is to make his home in our hearts. That’s the essence of what we mean when we talk about being ‘filled with the Spirit’.

And what is the Holy Spirit’s purpose? To empower us. To guide us. To lead us. Ultimately, his mission is to equip us to carry the love of Christ into our world. In Acts 1:8, Jesus said ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’

When we experience the work of the Holy Spirit in our lives, this should never lead to an insular or self indulgent experience. This would be to completely miss the point. Everything the Holy Spirit does is not so much about getting us to look inward – but rather helping us see outward.

The evidence of a truly Spirit filled church is a compelling, passionate and loving commitment to reaching out to those who don’t yet know Jesus. In his first letter to the Christians at Corinth, Paul the apostle had to strongly rebuke a church which had the appearance of being Spirit filled but in reality was selfish, insular & deeply divided. They didn’t really care about reaching out to those who had not yet experienced Jesus. As far as Paul was concerned, this was a travesty – as far removed from the purpose of the Holy Spirit as it was possible to get.

It’s always wise to remember the Holy Spirit’s purpose and to keep this as our focus. Nothing dishonours him more than when we trivialise him and make it all about ourselves. The only reason why the Spirit fills us up is to send us out.

My heart for the Junction Church in Leicester and Loughborough is that we would be a truly Spirit filled church. Not weird. Not wacky. Not flag waving. Not giving place to embarrassing ‘spiritual’ freak shows that draw in weird loving Christians but which drive away non-believers. No way. Our heart is to be a community where the Holy Spirit feels welcome – and where we can catch the essence of his heart – a heart which longs for people to know Jesus. That’s the kind of church the Holy Spirit loves to work through. That’s what we want.

CHECK OUT MORE INFO ABOUT THE JUNCTION CHURCH LOUGHBOROUGH HERE AND THE JUNCTION CHURCH LEICESTER HERE.