Friday, 11 December 2015

Sow... Water... Harvest...

Sow.... water... harvest.... You are called at different times to do one or more of the above... depending on what God is calling you to do. Do not be impatient if you are called to be a sower or a waterer more than a harvester for example as you are just as important in the changing of peoples hearts. A seed will not grow without the correct nurturing and same with people.. they wont come to the Lord unless we are there ... investing time and love into their walk to help them see the Truth and to support them through any troubles they may have in life (spiritual/physical/mental).. The growing process of the seed of Jesus in peoples hearts can differ greatly... from instant (very rare).. to 40-50 year etc.... it all depends on the amount of thorns/dry ground on that persons heart and how badly satan has tied it up in worldly things... For example my sowing, watering and harvest took 35 approx years... alot of people invested in this and took alot of abuse when I was alot younger.. those people who knocked on my door to friends who dare talk about Jesus to me. We want to see a harvest as much as possible but what we also need to be aware of is that the harvest that we are sowing or watering for may mean that that person is meant to be in another church and their calling in life is to impact the people around them there and not in the church we sit in... this is a hard thing to really get used to in a worldly church and mindset.. We need to realise what we are here for.. to build Gods Kingdom.. not our “church” or “bums on pews”!! Every saved person means there is a party in heaven as Scripture tells us.. so be a part of that party.. do your calling... So lets look at this in a worldly view.. why should a “church” spend so much money on outreach/mission etc when they are not seeing the bums on seats? Easy answer... God blesses us with the tools to build His Kingdom.. and if we use them correctly and to the full then He will bless us with more.. (this is not a prosperity thing).. its a showing that we are good trustees of Gods blessings and follow the teachings of Jesus that we are to give and give and give and not store things up... It can get the people of that church down if they appear to be slogging themselves to change hearts and not seeing a harvest.. but WE will see the bigger picture when we are called home OR when God sees that a harvest is ready in our area... We do not know if the new person who has just walked through our church door last week, for example, was as a result of years of sowing and watering by many other people in another church.. but we ALL need to keep one thing in mind... WE ARE WORKING FOR GOD AND BUILDING HIS KINGDOM....

Wednesday, 16 September 2015

Sweden Mission Trip 2015 - Round up

2 years ago God spoke to both my wife and I and placed Sweden on our hearts.

I would have never thought it would have happened let alone to the extent of what God has done during the time leading up to the mission trip and during it!..

So here is the brief information of the 5 cities over 2 weeks in Sweden. Walking and praying over churches in the cities. I went over with the fullness of my heart to ignore the "man-made" denominations and focus on God and His church as a whole!!

I landed in Arlanda Airport (just north of Stockholm) at 11pm and spent the night on the terminal floor ready for my train to Karlstad early the next morning.

First of all was Karlstad. 5 days (Wed Am-Mon AM) Very nice city! I managed to get hold of a map of the city free of charge and set out a plan of action to walk as much as possible around the city and outskirts to visit as many churches as possible and pray over them. I had done some research over the layout of the city and some churches before I left so I had a good idea of where to start.

In the first 2 days I had walked over 20 miles and visited, prayed, over 15 churches. Pictures of each church was posted onto twitter for those who were following me could see and pray over them as well. I planned a trip to the outskirts of Karlstad to a small place called Skare and some of the churches on the way. Purchased a bus ticket, as it was too far to walk, and left early. As I was not sure of exactly where to get off the bus I kept a keen eye on the map and the stops. I missed it! I couldn't believe it and was kicking myself over this. I thought I had wasted time missing the stop and that I had let God down for this short period of time. Little did I know it was Gods plan!! I jumped back on the bus in the other direction and got off the stop I needed.. Stood outside the church, took a picture, tweeted it and prayed over the church. The side door opened and outcome this woman and asked what I was doing. So I explained my purpose of why I was there that day and where I was wrong. At first, I think, she was a little taken back as it's not what you expect to have happen. She invited me in to speak to her team, as she introduced herself as the Pastor of that church, and pray with them. I accepted!! We talked and prayed over the outreach for the church. Anna, the Pastor, introduced me to her team and the other lady that was there from a different church. Also had the blessing to be invited to eat with them as well. It was such an encouragement to me to see and feel the love of Jesus, by them, to welcome me into their church and talk.. I just pray that my time with them and the prayers has encouraged them as well.. There is NO such thing as coincidence! It is ALL God!! I gave up after 2 days of measure how much I had walked as it started to scare me a little, I lost my step counter but also I felt that this mission was not about counting physical steps but leaving it all to God!

Attended a church, Korkyrkan, for worship on the Sunday, of my first week, and was blessed to have a good talk with the Pastor. The gentleman who was leading worship apologised that there were no English worded songs chosen that day but they normally do 1-2 every week. It didn't bother me and God, yet again, proved this is where I was suppose to be as the first 2 songs, whilst in Swedish, were the exact same ones I had learn from Youtube over the past few months. The whole service felt so welcoming. I was introduced to Simon, a pastor in another church who was here on his day off, who offered to translate the service and answer any questions I had during the service. After the service he invited me to go to the lake with him, his wife and some of his friends for lunch.. I was blown away by the offer and accepted. Sat there on these huge rocks on the edge of the largest lake in Sweden, bright sunshine, clear blue sky and great fellowship!! We talked about the struggles for churches in Sweden and share encouragement. It was an experience I shall never forget and the love/acceptance of those families was something amazing. I shall never forget them..

Monday morning I left Karlstad and headed, by train to Helsingborg.

(2nd week - Mon PM-Thur 4 AM)This was suppose to be my couple of days of rest but, being me, I couldn't. I once again walked and prayed for the churches of the city. Also by standing on the edge of the coastal wall I could see Denmark coast.. So I prayed over the churches in the distance. It was strange as I could actually see buildings and their colours too. Only person God put in my way to talk to here was a leader of the mormon church I visited and prayed over. I got to see my first look at the homeless of Helsingborg as I sat in the train station for about 2-3 hrs very early as I was waiting for the train to leave.

3rd city I was in was Jonkoping (Thur PM-Sat AM) Once again walking and praying over churches in the city, got hold of a free map to help me plan where to go and possible numbers. Also I had arranged to meet up with a church leader and also a Christian from another church. This was great fellowship as I got to hear about the struggles of the church in Sweden and Jonkoping but also how one of the churches is planning to do outreach into the community and the vision they had! I was so encouraged by not only hearing his vision but seeing it as well in my mind. I was blessed, once again, by a meal by both people. I felt love and acceptance again beyond words!!!

4th city was Stockholm (Sat PM-Sun AM) Was only here to visit one church and that was the New Life church just on the outskirts of Stockholm. The Pastor was so welcoming as we spent time that morning, as he collected me from the hotel and drove me to the church, showed me around and even took more time out of his busy schedule to speak to me before the service. Very open conversation and I saw great vision but, once again, felt pain for the church as it attempts to reach the community. Amazing service in both English and Swedish so I felt so at home. So much vision is planned for this church.. Truly amazing Faith!! Praying it happens.

This is the mad dash from New Life to Uppsala in which I had about 2 3/4 hrs to get to. I was so blessed by a family who were waiting at the bus stop just up the path from New Life. It was a trek to the metro station if I had of walked. I went to the bus station to get directions and they said it would be quicker to jump on the bus as it was due in a few minutes. I found out from the chat at the bus stop they were all from New Life church and were heading home. Chris, the one gentleman, who helped me, asked what I was doing and we spoke. He and his family helped me get on the right metro train and directed me to the right platform in Stockholm train station as this is where we departed from each other. Got onto the right train and headed to Uppsala! Jumped off the train and found the bus I needed to get on! Was planning to get to the service, which was in a possible of 2 locations depending on the weather. I misread the weather and went to the wrong location. I would have only been 5 mins late!! Kicked myself so much and jumped on a bus back to Uppsala city centre to get to the park. Really panicking the bus ride back to the city centre. Ran through some of the park, with all my luggage on my back, and it was huge.. Had no idea where they were!! I knew what the blokes face looked like but apart from twitter, had no contact details. I walked around the park briefly and was giving up hope. I thought I better walk to the hostel and arrange to meet him the next day. So I walked and then suddenly heard some music being played, walked closer and heard singing in English and walked around the small group and saw him playing the guitar. So I sat just outside the group and waited for the sing to be finished.. I made it!! 45 mins late but thanks be to God!!

5th City - Uppsala (Sun Pm-Tue AM) Spent a great afternoon with the group having worship in the park. They asked about what I was doing in Uppsala. So I shared Gods mission. It was nice to worship outside and having the people in the park see the love of Jesus and not just stuck in a church. Managed to walk around some of the churches in the city centre that evening as well. Monday I walked around the other churches I had seen on the map of the city centre and was blessed again with a nice chat and lunch with the Pastor and the gentleman, who I arranged to meet, that afternoon. We went to Gamla Uppsala to visit the old church and eat. The history of the church and city, the fellowship and discussion was, once again, amazing. I was planning to travel out of Uppsala on the Monday night and spend the night sleeping on the floor of the airport check in for my early flight Tuesday but I was offered a sofa for the night in Uppsala.. What may seem to some people as a small thing was a huge blessing. It meant a decent rest before a busy day of travelling.. Woke up at 5am and walked around the block to the bus station. Jumped on the bus to Arlanda Airport and checked in that very morning to bring me back to the UK.

My wife, Smoffi, who was at home in the UK the whole time also had to deal with her own mission being without me for the 2 weeks, having to deal with the household things, her emotions and worries about me and life in general on her own.. Also listening to my journey and worries. I will never know what she fully went through but, I do know, she is an amazing woman and so blessed by God!! She went against her own worries and fears to allow me to follow me calling by God.. I am so humbled and blessed by this.

Would I do it again? Of course! Was it Gods calling for me? Of course.. I have no doubt in this as I saw and felt things I could never imagine.

What would I change if I did that same 2 weeks again? More support for my wife to help her. A support network for me as being there on my own was hard at times. Will this be the only mission to Sweden? Of course NOT!! God has stoked the fire within even more.. I feel there is so much to be done for His Kingdom over there. What will the next mission hold? I have no idea as God has not made anything clear as of yet. How do I know I have achieved anything? I don't know exactly what this mission has done for Gods Kingdom but I know it has increased it in some way. God answers prayer!! Those churches will see something happen now or in the future because of this.

Please just pray for the churches I visited and all those people within them! Outreach, strength in Gods Word and to change hearts for Jesus. Fire up people in Sweden to answer Gods calling on their lives. Please also pray for the church people who helped with the funding of this mission trip, the support given to my wife and put up with me not saying anything else but this for over a year!

If God speaks to you about a calling upon your life.. Pray over it, speak to your church leaders, (if you can) fast over it, then if it's from God..DO IT!!!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Worried About Missing The Stop?

Do you go through life thinking you are "missing the stop" you need to get off the bus on?? Do you think what life would have been like if you had of got off on the stop you thought was "right"?? Sometimes we are meant to miss our stop and, as we see it, waste time to get back to the place where we feel we should be. Let me give you an example on something that happened to me.. I was send by God to go Sweden for 2 weeks and find churches, pray over them, share outreach, gospel and encourage etc... there was this one church in Skane (a village north of Karlstad) I had to get a bus too as it was beyond walking from Karlstad!! I had my map and marked out the stops on it I had to look out for.. as I felt like I had alot of other churches to visit that day and all by bus!! but here I was the bus didnt stop at the stop... did i not push teh button?? did i miss the bus automated voice telling me that the next stop was? did I just think it was behind me when it was actually one of the stops ahead?? it took me 2 more stops to read the map and find out that i had actually missed it... I kicked myself and got off the bus a fair few miles away from where I wanted to be... I was not impressed.. felt like I had wasted Gods time in standing in the middle of an industrial estate waiting for a return bus... but it finally arrived.. I counted the stops.paid attention to the sign on the bus and my map... Finally there it was.. the stop I wanted.. right outside of the church.. how could I miss it.. never mind I was there... I took the pic of the front of the church.. prayed over it as God led me... But something happened... the pastor came out.. She greeted me and asked if i needed help.. I then explained everything was ok and I was just praying over the church as God has told me to... She seemed a little set back as its not the normal day to day answer you may get... She asked about how and why.. I replied and she asked if I wanted to come in and pray with her and the team as they are outreaching to the youth soon... So we prayed and so did I.. They asked abit more on why I am there and I explained Gods calling on my life to them for this mission.. I was blown away when they said that had I been there earlier then I would have missed them after I shared that I actually missed the bus stop!! I was invited to have lunch with them and we all great fellowship, share Gospel and encouraged each other in our calling... So we all were stunned to see how God worked that lunch time to bring us together for that short period of time.. but during that time, I feel, that fires were set alight in all of us for sharing the Gospel in our calling in this world... Do not be so haste when thinking "your" plans do not go to how you want them to... So I ask you this.... Next time a plan does not go how you think.. just ask yourself... Would I have been able to encounter these people and share the gospel?? Peace and blessing

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Swedish Mission Itinerary - Mission Aug 2015

Mission To Sweden - Timetable Leaving Birmingham Int Airport: 17:25 - 18th August Arriving Arlanda Airport: 23:00 - 18th August Whilst in Sweden I shall be visiting churches, praying over them. Speaking to other Christians to share outreach ideas, encourage and to pray for them so they are aware they are not alone in the spreading of the Gospel!! I shall also be speaking to non-believers whom God puts in my path.. But overall sharing the love of Jesus in all I say and do, for one cause, to build Gods Kingdom! 19th August: 05:05 to 08:02 Train From Arlanda to Karlstad Staying in Karlstad for 5 days. 24th August: 10:09 to 15:19 Train from Karlstad to Helsingborg Staying in Helsingborg for 3 days Rest Day 27th August: 04:17 to 07:49 Train from Helsingborg to Jonkoping Staying in Jonkoping for 2 days 29th August: 07:20 to 10:39 Train from Jonkoping to Stockholm Staying in Stockholm 2 days 30th August: Train from Stockholm to Uppsala Dashing from sunday service in Stockholm to Uppsala at lunch time Staying in Uppsala for 2 days 1st Sept: Uppsala to Arlanda (late night on 31st or very early 1st travel to airport) Flight Home! Departing Arlanda: 09:35 Arriving Birmingham Int: 12:30 During the mission trip I shall be tweeting (@SheepOfJesus) and using the hashtag #wfgSWEmission if you wish to follow or contact me!!! Please pray that Gods Kingdom is grown even if it's by 1 heart.. That ALL is done with His grace, His vision and that I keep myself open to His Word at all times.. Please also pray for Smoffi and TJ too.. Peace and blessings and thank you so much for your support.. Mike

Monday, 10 August 2015

Mission - A Quick Thought and Feelings

About the mission God has asked me to do and I accepted fully... I am feeling a huge number of emotions every minute of everyday... 7 days to go.... Excited by seeing somewhere new, doing something new, God asking me to do this, building the Kingdom in anyway I can, God having the trust in me that I will listen and do... and the trust I have in God for all this too... Yet when I look at the practicalities it does terrify me.. 2 weeks, 5 cities, walking around the cities/towns, (some by bus) laying hands and praying over them all that I can get too.. speaking to brothers and sisters in Christ trying to encourage, share Gospel and talk about how we all can build Kingdom in different types of outreach.... Seeing how Jesus is working in different places.. The people who follow and their stories.. Sleeping either in a tent or hostels (mostly in hostels thanks to a brother!!)... Keeps going around my head.. what if i miss something God is telling me to do, someone to speak to etc.... I have been told many times to not to worry about to do all in Faith and enjoy the time out in Sweden... and I am as best as I can.. I will also miss my wife Smoffi O'Leary​, TJ O'Leary​ and family ALOT... whilst I know this is a big thing for them as well.. They have been amazing and I am so humbled and blessed for their support in all of this. I have seen God move within the church (Tabernacle Baptist Church​) and the support and love from them all in this has been amazing.. I also do not want to let them down.. Wise words have been given to me by many.. I have looked at the map to show others where I am going to be and the distance, timescale and what I feel God is calling me to do is mind blowing... So for all those who are starting on the "Is this what God has asked me to do and worrying that its too big and overcome with fear on it all... I say this to you.... Trust and Faith in God.. He will guide you.. listen and follow with all your heart.. Feelings are normal,, accept them, speak to others about them and, once again.. TRUST IN GOD! Yet 1 thing keeps coming back to my mind (as It was there from the start)... If in all of this my purpose is to speak to just ONE person and their heart is changed to accept Jesus my work is done...

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Insane Idea, Pork Scratchings, Church and a Pub!

Insane Idea, Pork Scratchings, Church and a Pub!

So how do these all link together?

Background: A few months ago I had the idea for the Mens Group at Tabernacle Baptist Church Wolverhampton (TAB) ( to have a Pork Scratchings tasting evening. Just a simple bit of fun, 9 packets of pork scratchings we purchased. A score card which graded them on 5 different categories and scoring them 1-5 for each. Adding up the scores for each packet and finding an overall winner.
So I tweeted the results and the next turn of events can only be explained as a huge working from God.

So here we are... I had 3 companies get in contact with me in relation to the tweet I put out there and ask me questions. So I explained what I had arranged and that I was thinking of taking it out of the church building and into a pub!! YES Christians in a PUB!! (It is where we meet once a month as well for #prayerspsalmsandpints anyway.
So the 3 companies (Freshers Foods, Alf Turners Butchers and Black Country Snacks) all camer back to me and said if I was going to do it then tell them closer to the date of the event and they will provide some samples.!!

Next obstacle was to approach the pub, to be honest I thought this would be my biggest brick wall, but when I spoke to the owner of The Summer House Pub in Wolverhampton (Newhampton Road) she was excited for it to happen and welcomed it with open arms! Blown away.. The staff I had spoken to to arrange it and on the night were so helpful.. Really great customer service!

I spoke to one of the members of TAB  to design a poster to advertise this on church and the pub. Amazing poster!! really fun and above what I could have ever thought!! Thanks Steve!!

I was blessed to have a total of 19 different products turn up from the 3 companies.. One of them being a line that was NOT released onto the market yet!!

So last night!! Monday 15th June 2015 8pm I set it all out, 19 bowls, blind taste test, just a number in front of the bowl and a score sheet. The scoring was done over 5 categories.. Appearance, Smell, Taste, Crunch and Spicy.. Giving them a score from 1-5 (1 being poor and 5 being good).
Everyone was given a score sheet and allowed to wander around the tables.. We took over half of the side of the pub.. Normally it would have been full of noise with people talking and stuff but you could have heard a pin drop.. The look of intense on peoples faces trying to work out how they felt about it,changing scores based on others they had tried earlier, being lost over 19 different varieties..

I took away all the packets so peoples scores were not affected by the packaging as we tend to judge on
first impressions rather than what's on the inside.1 Samuel 16:7  

We had a nice turn out of 20 people as I chose a quite day at the pub to also look at bringing more people in on this day to benefit the pub rather than use a full pub and be no benefit.

I spend a good 30 minutes totalling up the scores that evening to give a "premlim winner" and announced I would confirm the results when I have checked them all the next day. Thanks goes to my wife for helping me that evening when I got home around 11pm and was checking my maths!!

Alf Turners Butchers provided: their new Dragons Fury and Traditional Pork Scratchings.
Black Country Snacks provided: MSG Gluten Free,  Double cooked porkies, BBQ pulled pork, Traditional P/Scratchings, Q Pork Crackling (Pork Idle Winner), Sams Pork Scratching, Big Bag (plain), Big Bag (Salt n Vinegar)
Freshers Foods provided: Openshaws Big Bag Traditional, Pub Original Pork Crunch, Pub Original Pork Crunch Hellishly Hot, Pub Original Pork Scratchings, Pub Original (Small White bag), Openshaws Finest Pork Crackling, Openshaws Cumberland Sausage, Openshaws Pulled Pork, Openshaws Black Pudding

So after totalling up all the scores and rechecking them we had an overall winner...

1st Place: Alf Turners - Pork Scratchings - 228 points
2nd Place: Openshaws - Big Bag Traditional - 223 points 
3rd Place: Alf Turners - Dragons Fury - 222 points 
Tied 4th Place - Q Pork Crackling AND Sams Pork Scratching - 217 points!

So a big thanks goes to all 3 of the companies above AND The Summer House Pub for enabling this all to be possible and a fun night had by all..

Praise also goes to God for giving me the insane idea to push it out into the social media world and keep going!!

So when you are next in a pub OR supermarket (possibly) ask them for a packet.. try them and see how you like them. But remember... do NOT judge them by the packet.

Tuesday, 7 April 2015

It is ok..It is REALLY ok.. Mission....


Well I thought about this long and hard and realised that I can't be the only one feeling the way I do at the moment.. So I have decided to share it..

This is not meant for any sort of cry for help but to support those who are/were/soon to be in my position when God has spoken to them about their first ever mission trip!!

Well Its been nearly 2 years in the preparation of Gods mission to happen... still there, at the time of writing this, are a few things left to do and confirm... It is April 2015 now and it is all happening in August 2015.

How am I feeling?? Excited by everything, really blessed God has chosen me to do this for Him.... But.. BUT... terribly scared about it all... What if I don't manage to get everything done over in Sweden that God wants me to do? What if I don't do it as good as He wants it??  Every day I feel scared about all of this.. I am not doubting Gods vision for me.... just ME... and I know this is from Satan!! 

Still a few things to arrange which are also playing on my mind... I know!! I know!! God is in ALL of this and He has confirmed it is His wish for me to do this and it will happen in HIS time... I have that, I don't worry about God stuff... And yes I shouldn't worry about the stuff I have mentioned above as it's ALL God stuff...

It is a strange situation, which I am sure that everyone has gone through at some point and probably still does to some extent..

The start of 2015 has proven to be a huge slap in the face of Faith given to me by God.. He said I couldn't do this alone and to involve the "church"... He said to humble myself far beyond where I am comfortable with... He has shown me the huge importance of involving the "church" in all of this...

The support I have been shown by the "church" and even alot of non-Christians has been amazing and something I really didn't think would happen..

Surrounding yourself with wise and trusted people who have also been on mission is VERY important!! I can't stress this enough.... 

I have a great core of people.. starting with my wife I (who has been so amazing through all of this) and my family.. whilst it is hard for them as well and I realise this.. (so supporting them is also important!! not just your support to them but also others around them they can speak to in confidence) a handful of people I trust to be open and honest in ALL areas of my life...  Those who have been and still doing mission to help with the pitfalls over "on the ground" issues... Also a trusted person in Sweden who God has placed in my life. All these pieces are only possible because I listened to God and I broke down the wall of "I will do this myself" 

Like I said there are still alot of things to work out and it is a huge "Trust in God" lesson... It isn't as easy as it says on the tin.. but I have seen a small part of what happens if I trust in God and I am sure He will put it all together...

So no matter how you feel about what God has placed on your heart to where ever your "mission for God" may be .. ALWAYS speak to others, surround yourself with trusted people and be honest about how you feel on it all.. 

It is OK to be scared, worried, nervous, excited etc..... but remember... speak to others and TRUST IN GOD!! 

I pray for you to hear, listen, test and act on Gods vision for you.. 

Peace and blessings