Could this be my new blog…….

I cannot confirm nor deny that i may or may not have knowingly or unknowingly just created a potential blog site. Who knows what this is going to be or is going to become. The same could be said of each of us. Who knows what i’ll be like or become over the next decade. What i do know is it is August 29th today, and that can only mean one thing. It’s the anniversary of judgement day today. It’s been 20 years since Skynet became self aware and went online. Cyberdyne become the largest supplier of military computer systems. All stealth bombers are upgraded with Cyberdyne computers, becoming fully unmanned. Afterwards, they fly with a perfect operational record. The Skynet Funding Bill is passed. The system goes online August 4th, 1997. Human decisions are removed from strategic defense. Skynet begins to learn at a geometric rate. It becomes self-aware at 2:14 a.m. Eastern time, August 29th. In a panic, they try to pull the plug. Skynet fights back. and leaves us with one of my favourite movies of all time. Gotta love T2. The world is changing. We are changing. God is on the move. And we are too. Some things are going and better things are coming. One chapter is over as the page turns and new one is being written. A new horizon is here. The tide is changing…….I’ll leave you with the default wordpress random picture of the sea and sunset for no particular reason……..or is it a sunrise……. sorry i couldn’t resist starting like this today 😉


It’s an incubation… not a Quarantine…

Many people around the world are currently quarantined. They have been forced to give up more than they ever have done before in the history of the Lent season. Typically people give up chocolate or sweet foods, or maybe some social media or something for 6-7 weeks to be intentional about their connection with Jesus running up to Easter. But this Lent season has been so different. People have yielded and surrendered their normal way of life. They have not been able to live the way they often do, and have had a season of disconnection from the rest of the world. Arguably not since the last 2 world wars, have people all over the planet given up so much for lent.

Personally, as someone who moves in circles filled with different types of people, a lot of those circles are for counselling, and community projects, and friends, and some have different types of christians too. I can’t help but think that whilst the quarantine has been soul destroying for many people, it’s maybe because some parts of their soul and inner life need to be destroyed.
I don’t mean to injure the person’s soul. Please don’t mis hear me.
This isn’t about injuring people.
It’s about removing injuries from people’s hearts and souls.
What I mean is things like fearful thinking, being content as long as things go your way, needing to feel more in control of your life instead of trusting others and God.
What do you actually think of spending time with yourself?
Do you enjoy your own company?
Do you have a love for yourself?
Do you even like yourself?
Do you think these kind of questions are an annoying waste of time?
If you don’t like yourself or enjoy your own company, and don’t like hearing these kind of thoughts, then these are things that I believe would be worthwhile tearing out of your inner life, the parts of your soul that need to be refined.
After all, why would you want to inflict a person that you don’t like on the rest of the world?

This is where what is soul destroying is good for you and actually becomes character building instead. I often say that there’s a very very very fine line between what is “soul destroying” and what is “character building”. Often the same things we find soul destroying are the same things that cane be character building.  The line for me is inviting God to destroy the things in us that need interfere with his love and his voice and his truth, and to tear those out of us. And to build up the things that help us to encounter him, to know him, to enjoy him giving us a heart and a character to lean into relationship with him and his way of living in this earth.
To give this biblical language if you need this, this is called “Seeking first the kingdom of god and his righteousness and everything else will be added to us.” as Jesus invites us to in Matthew 6. What’s interesting is the previous part of Matthew 6 is the passage about “do not worry about your life, about what you will eat or drink or wear.” You can’t add a single hour to life through worrying about it. There’s a deep rest for our souls we can enter into when we begin to seek the kingdom of God and consider the birds of the air are well fed, the lilies are well dressed, and our heavenly father loves us much more than these. It’s both soul destroying and character building to let this truth do it’s deep work inside us.

People have been practising spiritual disciples for hundreds of years. Even giving up chocolate for lent whilst it is a cultural and societal trend, until we can all eat chocolate easter eggs again, it’s essentially practising the discipling of fasting. We all know we can practice for health reasons or dieting reasons or self control reasons, but ultimately the spiritual purpose of fasting was to focus more on your relationship with God. To choose to not sustain yourself via the normal ways, and to lean into learning to live by every word that came from the mouth of God. That’s what Jesus taught. Man doesn’t live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God. When he spoke this, he wasn’t only meaning the scriptures because the new testament weren’t printed yet. His words in this moment were forming the future canons of scripture. He spoke and these words became scripture. In this moment what he saying we live by what God is speaking today. He has spoken before and that’s now recorded in the bible. But God is still speaking. He still has a mouth and likes to use it. He wants to be known and he has plenty to say about lives that help us get to know him. Words are still coming from his mouth and still proceeding from his lips, and it is those words we also need to learn to feast on. Fasting is feasting on God. It’s not a method to control god, or make your prayers more effective because you have now a rumbling tummy and can convince God your prayers deserve to be answered because you are hungry. No it aligns your soul and spirit to connect with him, and come more alive and feed on what he is saying and doing in your life. We all need that more than we need 3 meals day or extra chocolate.

For me and us here in Presence Church in Cork, I’ve been challenging our Presence family to not see this as a quarantine or a lockdown, but to see it as an incubation.
An incubation is a place of optimal conditions to grow something. It is the proper conditions required to develop something. I’ve been calling our people to talk to Jesus and ask him to make this time a time of growth and development. Jesus if you could grow something in me, or develop something about me, please use this quarantine as a season of incubation. Grow whatever you want to grow. Develop whatever you want to develop. This time is holy time, sanctified and set apart for you do whatever you want in my life. Think about it, if God could change anything about you, what do you think he would change? It’s not often what we would guess it to be. That’s why I would ask him. Most people think the answer is always a call to stop sinning, but many are surprised when he starts with i want you to learn and experience my love. I want you to rest in my peace. I want to talk to you about something i would invite you into and call you to do. You already know to not sin. But in times of intimacy like this, we can get to truly discover that God isn’t trying to make us religious, but to free us up to know him and live with him more. He is jealous for us. He wants us. He wants all of us. And I know that is the true discomfort that many people are feeling right now. The discomfort of intimacy with themselves and with God. My hunch is that is what he is trying to incubate in people. Freedom to be intimate with him.

Since we’re here, and we’ve come this far and it’s gone on this long, lean into it. Thank God for the quarantine. We aren’t thanking him for Covid-19 because he didn’t send it, but we can thank him for the way he turns all that was meant for bad into good. Seriously though, thank him for the lockdown, and for the isolation and for all the things he is doing in your life right now behind the scenes, and ask him to let you in on what he is doing. The father loves to show his kids all that he is doing. He is willing to work in the background, but he prefers to involve us. Ask him. God i know you are up to something in my life, and in background of my heart and relationships. I want to do what you are doing. The alternative is focus on what God isn’t doing and that’s a recipe for mental health issues and a breakdown. Discovering what he is doing will release life into you.

Jesus practiced many spiritual disciplines, but the one he seemed to practice the most regularly, are the ones that many people practice the least. Silence and solitude are lifelines to caring for your soul, and getting to know God’s small still voice better. His voice is the ultimate way to care for your soul. We have an opportunity to lean into silence and solitude like never before. I doubt many of you would have chosen it, but it’s here nonetheless, so we can embrace it, and lean into it, and choose to unwrap the gift before us, or we can squirm and resent getting a gift we didn’t ask for. Here’s why I believe solitude is the important thing for many of us like now. Many of us feel loneliness like never before because we cannon connect and relate to others the way we prefer. There’s a lot of lonely people using smart phones and laptops and tablets. Loneliness, isn’t about having no-one in your life. You can be in the middle of a crowd and feel lonely. Loneliness is more about feeling unknown and not experiencing love in relationships. You may know that people love you, but that’s not the same as feeling their love for you. As a leader in the church, one of the challenges I am all too familiar with is loneliness in the life of a leader. I have no shortage of people in my world, but feeling not known by people is what opens the door to loneliness. Loneliness is about longing for connection with others, whether you are in the middle of a crowd or have no-one in your world. The truth is you can be with others and feel lonely, and you can also be in solitude and not feel lonely. Loneliness is more to do with the quality of connections than it is having people in your life. Some of the loneliest people on the planet have people in their homes right now. Some of the loneliest people on the planet are those who have a partner or a married, and have a life long companion, yet still were created for more intimacy than you could ever have with a spouse. As Pascal once famously said, we all have a God shaped hole in our hearts, and we need it filled whether you are a believer or not. Coming to the cross isn’t what fills the hole. It’s one of the ways we can begin to fill the hole. It’s coming to Jesus all the time is what fills it.

If you pray and talk at God and tell him what you prefer to happen in your life and people around you, you will still feel lonely. If you ask him questions and listen, and ask him what he wants to talk about, that’s where you begin to develop a relationship with him that can satiate the craving for belonging and connection with God. Being with him in his presence and feeling him close to you, and listening to him, that’s where you will begin to heal the loneliness in your souls, and find spiritual food for your soul. Loneliness is cured when we are aware that we are with him and feel connected to him, which is quite different to believing that he is omnipresent and in all places at the same time. Listen like never before. That’s where silence and solitude can to the deep work of rearranging our souls.

Never before have Dallas Willard’s been so true. “the cure of loneliness is solitude and silence, for there you discover in how many ways you are never alone”. The irony.
The cure for feeling LONELY is solitude, to discover that we have never been alone.
That God was near to us the whole time, and we were oblivious or not connected in a way that cured our loneliness.

As Dallas continues, when you go into solitude and silence (whether quarantined or chosen), you will need to stay there long enough for the inner being to become different. Muddy water becomes clear if you only let it be still for a while. 
I pray for the tangible peace and the presence of God to come in your homes, and your hearts like never before. I pray from grace to lean into the discomfort of the quarantine and for the ability to bless it, to welcome it, to choose and embrace the gift these days can be to you. His mercies are new every day, even in days like this.
May you incubate something in this season with God that will change your life forever.
Blessing, grace and peace on you all.
#leanintothequarantine #incubationnotquaratine

Our God heals real people in Ireland…..

One of the things I love most about God is the way he surprises his kids. Earlier this year we began to experience some things that were simply stunning. A few of us had been praying that God would begin to heal people whilst they were worshipping and singing and without us having to lay hands on people. This wasn’t because we don’t want to lay hands on people at all. We love praying for the sick and injured. We also wanted some of the skeptical people to know that healing isn’t magic. It isn’t some scientific way of if we gently touch people at certain points of their central nervous system or do something like “tapping” or change the temperature in the room that people’s conditions or pain levels could diminish. God can do everything and anything without us. He doesn’t need people for anything, but loves to involve them in what he is doing. So we prayed that if people were healed and no-one had come near them then they had either magically just got better, or God was answering our prayers and healing people when they least expected it. One of the reasons i am writing this now, is because i really value giving accurate reports, and want to wait for a while after the healing to see if it is a legitimate miracle and not someone getting excited in the moment of church gathering.

So it began to happen. One lovely lady unfortunately had a bad fall and badly bruised her ribs. She was fortunate not to break a rib or injure her self more seriously. For over a week she couldn’t lift her arm. She needed her daughter’s help to get dressed and do some other tasks. During the worship she was so engaged in the songs we were singing that she began to lift her hands in worship and began to raise them above her head. When worship ended she suddenly realised what she had been doing with her arms, and was stunned that almost all of the pain had gone. She came forward to tell us what had happened and her family explained how much pain she been in just getting dressed and ready to come and worship with us in Presence. God is so good.

Another lovely woman in her 40’s who is a good friend of ours is often in a lot of pain in her leg. When she was around 9-10 years old (i think), a bus drove over her leg and she was incredibly lucky to have the leg saved. The leg was crushed and she spent months in hospital in recovery. Whilst the leg wasn’t amputated, it has never been the same since and she has lived with well over 30 years in pain when it flares up. A number of us went on a road trip earlier this year and some of our friends prayed for her and asked God to come and heal her. I watched her well up in tears of joy as she realised all the pain had gone, she began to jump up and down in a way she hadn’t been able to since she was a little girl. It was a beautiful miracle. After a number of months since she was prayed for, her leg is still much better and the healing is legit. Such a stunning miracle.

One of my closest and dearest friends struggled for years with fibromyalgia which for her meant she lived daily with chronic pain and poor sleep as the most debilitating and frequent symptoms. She also had an anxiety disorder and was on a large amount of medication for all of her conditions and symptoms.  She was a colleague of mine in work, and I witnessed first hand how much she suffered with fibromyalgia and anxiety and how much they robbed her of a quality of life that many people can take for granted. She has the papers with her diagnosis or her conditions recorded. It has been exactly a year since she was completely healed of it all her conditions, and once again it happened during a time of worship. Within a few weeks she had been to discuss her the sudden change in her health with her GP, and the GP confirmed that she no longer had fibromyalgia and began to reduce her medication. She was off all her medication within just over a month and has enjoyed a year living with fibromyalgia and an anxiety condition. She is thriving and doing well in life and i’ve never seen her so free and happy in the decade that I have known her.

We always advise people, even if you believe you are healed do not stop taking your prescribed medication and go and present yourself to a Dr. Jesus did something similar when he healed someone he often told them to go and show themselves to the priest who diagnosed them because it so wise to follow medical advice, and let them declare you healed rather than someone who is not a Dr.  We value our medical professionals and it is often important for them personally to see a miracle. They may dispute it is a miracle, and choose to make sense of it a different way, but they alone can provide the evidence for the before and after for what has happened in your body. There’s been a number of other stories like this. I wanted to let you know that these are real people, with real stories, who live right here in Cork Ireland. This isn’t a televised or fabricated miracle that we often hear reports come out of different parts of the world like an American mega church, or a tele-evangelist / faith healer on GodTV or social media or in a Africa.
God loves people. A person’s bruised rib is just as important to him as a woman’s crushed leg or another woman’s chronic pain and anxiety. There’s nothing too minor or impossible for God to heal. If He can do it for them, then He can do it for you or people in your life.

I wish I could tell you why everyone isn’t healed. I often have questions like that myself as I myself could do with a miracle in my body. Yet I don’t resent the people who God does heal. I don’t get angry with God for healing someone’s minor issue and not someone else’s major issue. I am happy that breakthroughs like this happen in my life time, in my city, in my friends. I am grateful to know that our Heavenly Father is so good, and loves to heal his kids through other kids, and sometimes without them. My best answer, is Heaven isn’t fully here today. It still lies on the horizon of our future, yet parts of Heaven are available and within reach thanks to Jesus. He continually taught that Heaven was upon us, and at hand and available to us. There’s a reason why he told us to seek the Kingdom of Heaven above everything else in our lives, and that everything else would fall into place. There’s a reason why Jesus taught us to pray let your Kingdom come, let your will be done on earth as it is in heaven for reason. It’s a prayer the Father longs to answer.

Spoiled by the Father

This past month I’ve been a little bit taken back by the goodness of God’s goodness to us. I’ve seen things that have started a party in my heart. It’s a great party and it’s just getting started. The best part of it is I know there’s so much more to come. Over the last few months we have witnessed a few healing miracles in our community. Actual miracles. I’m going to not identify people but if you are hanging out with us I’ll gladly introduce you to these people. These are all medically verified healings by Dr’s and consultants.

One lovely lady was required to go for a routine scan. She was told she had cysts on her ovaries that were potentially cancerous. She then had to meet with a consult soon after and when he scanned her there were no cysts to be found. He was stunned as the scan he was given upon consultation and the scan he was looking showed no signs of cysts. She was completely healed.

We had some close friends over at our house for the afternoon. Their son aged 10 was getting into his parents car when one of the parents accidentally closed the door fully on the boy’s hand. Both parents heard a loud crack that sickened them both, and we all heard the screams from a distance away. One of the leaders of the church quickly ran over to help and pray for him. The parents rushed him towards medical care and there was nothing broken, nothing dislocated, no bruising or swelling. The boy felt like himself again quickly after and his parents were astonished that he hadn’t broken or dislocated anything after they looked at his hand initially. They took him for an X-ray and it came back completely clear.

Another girl in our community has struggled with poor health for about a decade. She has been one of our closest friends for nearly a decade, and we have prayed for her countless times. She was prescribed a lot of medication to live with anxiety, mood and Fibromyalgia pain. God has completely healed her and she is no longer on any medication after consulting with her Dr. Many professionals she has been working with to help her manage the pain have commented on how she looks completely different and is interacting with others more freely and is more alive. It has been nearly two months since she told me she was healed and I wanted to wait and see how true it was. Probably because we care about her so much and wanted it to be authentic healing in case her health relapsed. I’m happy to report that she is still a different, much happier and pain-free woman with more energy than she has had in years. It’s so good to see the friend we love have a new lease of life and be able to enjoy life in a way she hasn’t been able to far too long.

A gentleman who has been ministering faithfully to people in this part of the world for decades has been trying to come to one of our gatherings for 6 months. He finally was able to attend one due to work commitments. He was in a lot of back pain. He told me the following day that his pain is 85% reduced. He also told me that one woman in our church prayed for him shared what she felt God was putting on her heart for him, and he said it was the most accurate prophetic word he had ever received in the decades he has been in Cork.

We have also been praying for a new venue that we could meet in weekly in the city centre within our small budget. God really spoiled us. He opened the doors to a local renovated cinema that has been reopened as a cafe/ bar/ open microphone theatre and still functions as a cinema. It is the perfect venue for us. We can literally hand out hot chocolate on the streets, do public worship and teaching gatherings, invite people in for healing and run our small groups there and host conferences. We can have the presence we want to have in the city centre and it’s an amazing space for people who would not go to church come and encounter God. We’ve been having such a wide spectrum of people coming to Presence. From hungry believers, to atheists, to Buddhists, and a few muslims, students, and there’s always a car load of random Asian and Russian Sailors. God is doing something beautiful right now amongst us, and bringing us people. Jesus is doing the very thing He said He would do and is building His church. We just have to show up, seek the kingdom and love people well, and there’s nothing Hell can do to stop Heaven breaking into people in this city.

God is so so so good……and the best part is that I know we’ve barely started begun to see anything yet!


Presence Church Eve: Twas the night before Starbucks……

I’m sitting on my sofa in Cork and reflectively listening to God on the eve of us meeting people interested in Presence church. Later tonight Presence church plant will have begun to take its first steps and we will have done church In Starbucks for the first time. I will have seen familiar faces and hopefully have met some new ones too. And yet what I’m most struck by tonight is how God’s biggest hobbies is to restore and show love to us. He really is so good.

This time 9 years ago I was leading a small church plant in Galway on the beautiful west coast of Ireland. It was the best few years of my life. Earlier this week God told me to go back to Galway for Friday night and for today by myself and hang out with some friends from Journey church and Bethel. Now I’m back in Cork after my driving about to Galway and back and reflecting on all that God has said and done in the last 30 hours. God’s heart is always to restore and pour more goodness into his kids. I’m convinced of this more than ever. Convinced because that has been my experience. I love what he has restored in me personally and excited what else He will do in me. I’m excited to see and hear how other people’s lives will change and experience the restoration that comes from the Father.

It’s so like God to bring things full circle and show the completion of something in my life that has taken well over a decade. It’s so like him to show the Galway season of my life is over and it’s time to know that before I walk into the new assignment He has for my family. It’s like His way of letting me that season of my life has been complete and it’s time to pick up the new thing He has for me.

The price to move forward in the kingdom is always everything that God has given us to date. It always costs us everything but it is a price I willingly and gladly pay having seen the fruit of what come out of it. Being in Galway this weekend God let me glimpse some fruit of some of our labour ten years ago. And I truly believe it won’t take ten years to see the fruit of our labour here in Cork. He wants this more than us. This is the time for us to behind to play our role in God drawing a city and a nation back to himself. I am totally convinced of this. I have sold my house and left a great job that I loved and moved my whole family for this. Not just to be a pastor or start a church but to see a city of people rebuilt and heaven come to Ireland. To see God known for his outrageous goodness and Fatherly love in this little yet stunningly beautiful and special part of the world. I know this sounds like foolishness to many people, including those in the church.
That’s ok.
I am kinda foolish at times.

Yet I believe with all of my heart that God loves Cork.
If God can move powerfully in other parts of the world he can do it here.
If God can pour out His presence in other times in History He can do it again in our lifetime. We will see His goodness in the land of the living as King David once said.
Or as the line in Lord of the Rings: Return of the king goes “we will live to see these days renewed.”
I have been told so many times that this dream can’t work because Cork and the Republic of Ireland is a church planters graveyard and is not a Godly place.
God still seems to think it’s a good idea to call people here including us and He still loves Cork. And He has given me a heart for this great city and it’s people and loves this land.
Watch what God is about to do in this city.
I haven’t even started Presence Church yet but saying yes to laying down Galway and moving to Cork is something I don’t regret one little bit because I know God wastes nothing and always restores. It’s always His heart. Sometimes it just takes a whole lot longer than it needs to if we listen to the wrong messages or a whole lot longer than we want it to. This is gonna be awesome in every sense of the word.

We can’t fail. The only way we fail in the kingdom is if we fail to respond to God and fail to follow Him. Trusting and obeying and stepping out is never failure in His eyes. Only the eyes of others sometimes. God seems to have a different idea of success can look like. Here…….we…….go…….

2018…..on the Third day

A new year is here.
And it actually is a NEW year.
It’s name is 2018
2018 isn’t like previous years.
It’s different.
On previous “new years” little changes but the date.
Different day, different number, similar life.
2018 means we finally get to walk into our dreams.
Actually it’s more like a stumbling and crawling than walking recently.
I’m sitting here on my bed, and i can’t sleep on the eve of our big move.
Tonight feels like our personal “new years eve”
Tomorrow i get to drive to Cork and move our stuff to where we’re gonna live for the next while.
I’ll tell you why now.

Here’s the short version.
Over the last 5-6 years, specifically the last 3 years, God has been calling us to move to Cork and start a new church.
I say called but to be honest we feel more “summoned” than “called”.
Karen and I had no desire to live in Cork, and both agreed before we got married that we would never live there. Little did we know that God had that purpose on our relationship the last 18 years. Over the last while God has made it crystal clear that we had to sell our home, leave our family, friends, church family, and jobs that we love and entrust it all to Him, and trust Him that he wanted to start a different church that was going to focus on his tangible Presence here in Ireland, starting in Cork.
I wasn’t always a believer.
So the cynical part of me thinks that if God is real then He should be able to be experienced and known. I don’t just believe that. It’s been my personal experience. So much so that I have laid down everything I have known and loved my whole life, and moved somewhere that I didn’t plan to simply because God told us to. Jesus’ disciples dropped their fishing nets and followed Him when he invited them to. I don’t have a fishing net. Just a sale agreed sign in my front garden, no house to buy for a year at least, a letter of resignation for our employers, friends and family who will be sorely missed and 3 sets of eyes to look into and a promise to do my best to look after them. I would never do anything to deliberately hurt my 2 kids or wife. I want to protect them. I want the best for them. Yet I know I have to do this for them as much as it is for me and many others. I need to show them how to risk and obey God and follow what they know is true in their heart, even when it seems like foolishness and madness. I don’t want to teach my kids how to be a coward. Sometimes you have to go all in and actually risk it all.
There’s this great line in the movie “The Greatest Showman” I saw in a trailer recently.
One character says “you’re risking everything you ever built!”
And Hugh Jackman’s character replies “how do you think i built it!”

So in 2 weeks we will be living in Cork. All because God put a dream in my heart, and has faithfully formed it over the last few decades.

As my good friend Jim once put it, “there’s a church in my heart, that if i don’t get to see it in the real world, something inside me will die.”
I grew up not liking church. It was the least favourite part of my week. Funny how things change. God told me when I was 15 he wanted me to lead a church, and at the time I said no way, I don’t want to go myself, let alone be in charge and inflict it on other people.
That was the start of him shaping the church in my heart that i had to see in the real world. I needed to be a part of it.
The church in my heart is so alive and unlike the churches I grew up in.
I don’t want to plant a “church service”, although i have no problem making sure they happen.
It’s just not the goal.
It’s a gathering.
Some people measure the success of the church by the size of the Sunday morning service. I think it’s definitely something to pay attention to and factor in. But there a lots of people who go to church who don’t live like Jesus. There are lots of people who have gym memberships who aren’t fit. Going to church services isn’t a hallmark of spiritual health or being a follower of Jesus.
Jesus said that everyone will know that you are My disciples by your love for one another.
Discipleship at it’s core is learning.
Being a disciple is about learning how to live FROM Jesus, and loving others well.
Discipleship is a better hallmark of being a follower of Jesus, and the “success of a church”.
The church in my heart isn’t just a church service.
It’s a family.
I want to plant a family that loves each other really well, and loves the city by serving it.
I want to plant a family that wants to always leave space for others to join in.
I want to plant a family that want to live a life like Jesus lived, by caring for the poor, healing the sick, and kicking the enemies butt by walking in the power, authority and love of Jesus.
I want to plant a family that follow God’s voice, and follow an actual living person, rather than following a religious faith that has more rules than God.
I want people to experience the presence of God and encounter Him rather than a religion.
I want to plant a family that is not solely focused on getting people into Heaven, but is just as interested in getting Heaven into people’s lives today.
I want to plant a family that want to do life together, and learn how to live better from our Heavenly Father.
I want to plant a family that makes Cork one of the greatest places to live on the planet.
I want to plant a family that helps the local economy, influences local businesses to thrive, and brings the city and it’s people fully alive.
I want to plant a family that is passionate about Ireland experiencing God’s presence and restoration to this land and all who set foot here.
That’s why the church is called Presence Church.
There’s so much more i could say but i don’t want to preach anymore than i have done.
Tomorrow we move a van load of our stuff down to a small and very expensive house we will rent. House prices and rent prices in Cork are almost triple what they are in Belfast. We are still praying for 20 people to have joined us to help plant the church by the summer. If you know anyone interested in visiting, helping or moving for a while, please drop us a message. I firmly believe that there are people who God wants them to come but like us, it isn’t their preference for their life. I know there are people who have a lot to offer and will come more alive themselves if they move to Cork and join in.
I also believe that you don’t need to be called or summoned as powerfully as we were. God gave us those encounters as we are moving there for life.
First ones in and last ones out.
At the end of the day we have to give an account for our life
Sometimes God is silent because if He told us what to do every single time we wouldn’t have to give much of an account.
Sometimes we live by His spirit, but we are also called to live by faith.
God wants to see what we will do with what He as already given us, and said to us.
If no-one else comes by the summer that’s ok.
It won’t be the first time God creates something out of nothing.
When God speaks, His Words can become Worlds as Kris Vallotton says. 

However we don’t just want people to come and help us.
Of course church planting needs people and of course ministry costs money.
Yes we need both, but this is not meant to be an appeal for either.
We would like you pray for us.
Praying is one of the most loving things you can do for someone, because it is so easy to not do it. It costs us time and focus, which is a loving thing to do.
Even if it’s only 30 seconds on the loo or in the car going to work.
If you feel like God speaks to you, or you get word for us, or if you have something to say that will encourage us, please message us.
Encouragement and support is always welcome.
I’m gonna stop rambling now, and get some sleep before we hit the road tomorrow.

In the words of one of my favourite singers, Myles Kennedy……..

‘In the year of the tiger, I won’t weep and moan
Got no time for cooling heels, I’ve got to roam
In the year of the tiger, I’m gonna roll these bones
Gonna leave behind the heartache that I’ve known”

If you’re still reading this, thanks for reading.
This is gonna be a big adventure.
May your year be as big of an adventure as ours 🙂

October the 2nd, Two Thousand and Seventeen (ever since we had calendars)

So here we go. Another blog entry.
My name is Shane, and I’m sitting on my sofa.
It’s a brown leather corner sofa with a giant rip in it thanks so 14 years of sitting on it, and my son jumping on it daily.
And it’s sitting in my house in Dundonald…..
Which is sitting just outside Belfast.
I’ll not explain where Belfast is sitting. That’s what Google maps is for.
It’s also what geography classes are for…..actually that’s not true.
I’ve no idea what geography is for.
It seems it’s about everything.
Everything to do with the planet and people.
Weather systems. Geology. Human demographics. Settlement. Volcanoes. Earthquakes. Rivers. Cartography. The environment. Population. Birth rates and death rates.
Basically everything to do with the planet and people, which is a lot.
It seems geography touches little bits of everything.

Last night we had around 80 people in a room in Belfast.
Thankfully they weren’t all on this sofa.
They were invited for an interest night for Presence Church.
We invited anyone who wanted to hear the story of why we decided to move to Cork to plant a church, and what we felt God had showed us he wanted to do there.

We worshiped, shared the story of our call, shared the dreams in our heart, and then asked 5 people who are spiritual fathers to this nation and good friends to us, to pray for us, commission us and send us out. Then we prayed for a bunch of people and prayed for them to experience the favour and breakthrough that we had experienced after the last 8 years of our life. That’s a whole other blog.
Breakthrough is contagious.
Our story and encounters with God are promises that he can do it with others.
If he can change my life, he can change yours.
Or as some people say, our testimony is the spirit of prophecy.
We were blown away by how God moved and how people spoiled us and supported us.
At one point, most people gave money out of their own pockets and began investing in this church plant. This dream.

God came close.
It was a good night.
It was a powerful night.
It’s been great fun watching the way that people respond as we cast the vision.
Some faces just have smiles that become so wide, that Heath Ledger would have been proud.
Some people got all weepy, and rubbed their eyes occasionally.
Some looked serious not sure what to do with what they were hearing.
And with some you can visibly see their heart starting to pound through their clothing as they caught the vision.
Vision, like most parts of the kingdom is “caught” and not “taught”.
And many people caught it.
Like I said it was powerful.

So I’m sitting here very stunned and wondering what’s going to happen now.
I love casting vision.
I love talking about God, and the dreams he has shared with me.
I love wondering what else God longs to do in this world, and how I and the rest of the Church could be a part of it.
I’m a futurist.
I see a preferred future that God has impressed upon my heart, and i can’t help but want to tell others.
I figured if it really is a God given vision people will catch it.
However I don’t just want to cast vision to see people get excited and catch the church planting bug, or the Cork bug, or revival in Ireland bug or even the kingdom of God bug.
They are all good bugs to catch but for me i want people to see Him.
I want to cast vision that will cause people to pay the price, no matter the cost, to see God, and help others see God.
I want to cast vision that will cause people to take up their cross, and follow Jesus as a real person, and do all the same stuff that Jesus did.

I believe most people want to give God their very best, and try to do so regularly.
I believe that most people would feel bad if they realized they could be giving more to God, and doing more for Him.
I guess I’m writing this hoping that they are the kind of people that Presence Church is full of.
I’m praying that they are the kind of people that will come with us and join the Church planting launch team.
I’m starting to realize that casting vision is essentially showing people what God is like, and what he is about.
Godly vision reveals God’s heart.
His preferences. His dreams.
It tells us something of what He cares about and what He is like.

It’s not like this is my idea, or I came up with this.
This is all God’s idea.
All of it.
The church is his idea.
The kingdom is his idea.
Life is his idea
And it only really makes sense to let the one who came up with the whole idea, tell us how he thinks it all works.
Do you ever wonder why he came up with those ideas in the first place?

Jesus could have done anything with his life, but walked the earth as a homeless Rabbi, caring for the poor, the broken, the least, the last, the scum, the prostitute, the demonised, the cripple, the blind, the ones who would betray & call out Crucify him, and the ones who would arrest and plot his death in some sly way.
That’s who he chose to be.
Yet he walked in power and authority at the same time, and healing the sick, raising the dead, cleansing the leper, casting out demons, and brought heaven to Earth for countless people.
That’s how he chose to live the life that God called him to.
He chose to obey God and do whatever God called him to do.
Jesus ONLY did what he saw his Father doing, and Jesus lived a life that was all about his Father’s business.
I won’t be satisfied until everything we do is all about Him.
Because it is all about Him.
It really is all about him.
Kinda like Geography….


The Promises of God reveal the heart of God……

“I will pour out my spirit on all people.”

It is believed that God said that through Joel around 2857 years ago, there or there about.

Joel may have been what many call on of the “minor” prophet’s but this was not a minor prophecy.  There is nothing minor about it.
I have heard it taught that what God meant by that was he would pour out his spirit on a representation of all flesh. Similar to the story of Noah’s ark, taking 2 of each species, and that way all creatures would survive through the procreation of male and female. However i don’t buy that.
Not for a second.
That’s not what God said.
He didn’t say he would pour out his spirit on all kinds of flesh, or every nationality of person, or people group.
He said he would pour out his spirit on ALL people.
This is a huge, weighty, and incredibly significant declaration of God. This is a major promise so massive that some christians often dilute it or reduce to fit into their expectations of what that might look like realistically.
In reality is seems to big to comprehend.
But it’s what he said, and i believe that is what God meant.
The reason this is so huge is it reveals the very heart of God.
What he is like.
What he dreams about and longs for.
What he desires.
To pour out himself on everyone.
To be known, experienced, revealed to all.

I remember about 18 years ago, when i was fairly new to the gift of prophecy, and hearing God’s voice for myself, on one occassion’s i was sitting with a friend in a coffee shop. I began telling him what i felt like God was doing in my life, and what he was talking to me about. It was another huge promise of Jesus that revealed his heart for us today.
Jesus told his disciples that they would go on to do even greater things than they had seen him do.
I remember sitting with my friend with my heart burning as i had had this promise racing through my heart, pondering and dreaming, and asking God what that could look like. If Jesus fed 5000 miraculously with a boys small lunch, and left enough left overs for his disciples to fill a basket each at the end, could i feed 5001? 10,000?
And if we know what pentecost looked like, and the miracles and signs and wonders that happened in the Acts of the Apostles, could there not be an advance on those too?
Could we walk with God in such a way that our shadows heal people too?
I was dreaming and my heart was burning with expectation, and wonder at what was possible.
After all. Nothing is impossible to those who believe right? All things are possible.
My friend didn’t buy it.
Any of it.
At the time he believed that what Jesus meant was this.
“Shane what’s more impressive” he said
“That God could walk in here right now and pick up this coffee table that we are sitting at? Or if a baby crawls over here and lifts this table?”
I thought hard.
I could see his point, and in many ways i still do.
Obviously a baby lifting a table is more impressive to me than God lifting it, but i don’t believe that is what Jesus was trying to communicate in that moment. He wasn’t telling them that He was all powerful and they are frail under-developed babies who could also do things that were relatively impressive for infants.
He said you will do ever greater things than me.

I don’t want to take the chance of reducing the promises of God to make sense of them.
When we try to shrink them down to a manageable to comprehend them, we also shrink down our understanding of God’s heart and his nature. His promises always reveal his heart. They tell us what he is like. That’s not something i ever want to reduce down to my size so i can make sense of it.

This past season i can’t stop thinking of Joel’s words.
I can’t stop thinking of God’s heart to be fully revealed to all.
I am so full of wonder, anticipation and hope because i want it to be true.
I long to see that day, where he pours his spirit out on all people.
I long to see that moment when people realise he is really real.
And he is really really really good.
And he is pure love.
And the desire of every heart.
I think that would change every heart.
Every mind.
Every life.
Every strained relationship, every dead relationship, and every relationship in between.
I think that would change families, communities, cities, and nations.
I think that would change marriages, friendships, and relationships.
I think that would change politics, wars, the endless debates and the pointless debates.
I think that would break every fear
I think that love would drive out every ungodly fear leaving us all in genuine awe.
I think that would change the world.

May we experience the day where God pours out himself on everyone.
May our sons and daughters prophesy,
    our old men dream dreams,
    our young men see visions.
May God show us His wonders in the heavens and on the earth………