WHEELS DOWN! Leaderscape in 5 countries.

Wheels down after a long 24 hour flight from Sydney, Australia.

Heathrow,  grey and awakening at 6am, is a familiar place now.

As I feel us land, I am prepared and excited to again be ministering in Europe.  Boarding my flight for Dublin after a brief stop in England, I ‘m looking forward to meeting with churches in both the north and south of the island, united in faith. It’s filling me with great anticipation. Thinking through the ten weeks ahead, I again thank God silently for the opportunity to be involved with so many people who are outworking the call on their lives to pastor the people of God on Earth, and to build the Kingdom of Heaven here.

This is indeed a privilege.  

This Leaderscape trip will include consulting and encouraging brilliant leaders in 5 countries; men and women of God who spend every day of their lives thinking, praying and outworking the inspiration that drives them to build churches and to pastor their people year after year. 

Our vision at Leaderscape includes not only those in the developing world, but also the mission-minded and the national pastors who live, labour and love in developing world countries. On this trip, our developing world area is Peru.  But that’s nine weeks away. 

Ministry in Northern Ireland, and being able to be ‘another set of ears and eyes’ to the pastors, to come alongside and give encouragement and some perspective with also some advice and help regarding strategic advancement, is ‘bullseye’ for us at Leaderscape.  Ireland (in the south) is again impacting in its progressive and strategic moving forward.

As I work with exciting young leaders of a fledgling movement that is seeing some churches double in a year, and the next generation of shining pastors and leaders – this life of encouraging them fills me with hope and adrenalin!

Thanks to the leadership of AG Ireland and Ps Sean Mullarkey at St Marks, Dublin, for all your hospitality and giving Leaderscape the opportunity to help!  http://www.agireland.org/

Next stop The Netherlands, and working with churches there who are making an impact on the nation.  Seeing lives changed and people healed, set on a road to recovery, and families restored – every day – it’s an exciting place!  Who wouldn’t love the privilege of coming alongside these committed and life changing people?

Michael with Ps Ilona & Peter Paawe, Doorbrekers, Netherlands

Michael with Ps Ilona & Peter Paawe, Doorbrekers, Netherlands

After a few days, my youngest daughter joins me there.  A pastor now at Oasis Church in downtown Los Angeles, Elyse arrives to speak to young leaders and to launch her book “Confessions of a Church Kid”.  Ministering alongside my daughter?  Now that’s a gift from Heaven!

Working with Doorbrekers Church http://www.doorbrekers.nl/ Pastors Peter and Ilona Paawe, is inspirational, as is the ministry with great friend Sebastiaan Van Wesson and his team at Thousand Hills Church,    http://www.thousandhills.cc/. and others churches in the region, along with ARC churches International,  http://www.arcchurches.com/about/international/    We work on strategic advancement for their own congregations and also a strategy to plant churches all over The Netherlands – a dream in all our hearts!

Following this and with a farewell to my daughter as she flies home to L.A. and I depart again for Heathrow, London, I travel by train and take in the beautiful English countryside, arriving late that night in Derbyshire.

My assignment here is to work with Ps Kristian Thorpe and his team of the AG in the UK. http://www.aog.org.uk/, seeing out the weekend in ministry at http://www.arenachurch.co.uk/, with Ps Kristian and his amazing family – what a blast to come alongside families in ministry and to see that God has them totally in His care!

Back in the Republic of Ireland, my wife Valery flies in, after being home in Sydney for the birth of our very first grandchild, Frederic. We minister together to senior leaders of The Assemblies of God Ireland, http://www.agireland.org/, not only an exciting time of ministry to husbands and wives both corporately and individually, but also an insight into the strong and capable leaders that God is currently raising up in this island nation, opening up churches rapidly and with a never ending wave of His Spirit.

Saint Patrick would be encouraged at this! 

Landing in Philadelphia our whirlwind trip now has us setting our hearts and hands to the work with partners on the East Coast of USA.  At Leaderscape we love helping leaders to move forward, often working together with pastors, leaders and their spouses. One of our specialities is in the transitional processes and strategies of change. Getting into the vibrant world of True North Church in New Jersey, http://www.truenorth.cc/ we indeed are helping to ‘set new direction’ and mentor and encourage the pastors during rapid growth, assisting Pastors Jesse and Liza Eisenhart and their brilliant team.  Just ‘down the road’ and we spend 2 days in strategic consultation with Pastors Chris and Dana Rue at http://www.wolcc.org/. The place is just buzzing, with renovations everywhere, evident growth and discipleship paths being implemented since our last Leaderscape visit.  And to see this progression when we have been working alongside this church for over a decade – no words! 

And now – for a quick break with my ‘bride’ of 32 years to celebrate our wedding anniversary – think I’m telling you where we spent our ‘honeymoon’? Unlikely!

A week now at the ARC conference for church planters of the West Coast of USA in beautiful Orange County – great to unite with friends and fellow Kingdom building pastors and leaders – we love the partnership globally we have with these people – we work in many areas of the world to this end – with our hearts being especially touched now whilst establishing the new Lead Team for ARC in Australia – more of that later!

A quick flight and a stop now in Raleigh, North Carolina, at the “church in the tobacco field” – C3 and great friends Pastors Matt and Martha Fry. We love the work and ongoing processes taking place there – what a great church!  http://c3church.com/

And now – The city of Lima looms into view through the airplane window, and as the American Airlines attendant welcomes us to Peru, we feel like ‘pinching ourselves’ at the absolute privilege of working with legends Ps Saul and Ana Guttierez at their Transcendencia ’15 Conference. Here’s a brief look for you at all the Insta posts – you can see it was such a great time! http://tagsecond.com/tag/leaderscape .

How amazed we are at Leaderscape by the opportunities that God allows us to step into!

In the developing world, especially in South America, you would not have to go far in the Christian world to hear the name Pastors Robert and Karyn Barriger.  Working with them at http://caminodevida.com/ is so encouraging for us at Leaderscape.  A highlight was the visit to the Grace House – for a look into the world of rescuing young women in Peru, please take a look here – it will do your heart good!  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=51ONo5_LG24

Valery was able to pray for every one of the girls, and to minister to them.  We are forever changed by seeing the work at Camino De Vida – friends of Leadercape for life!

Now at The Lions Roar Conference in Dallas, Texas, I am representing Leaderscape and honouring the ministry of Dr Paul Cole, son of the legendary Dr Edwin Louis Cole, as we touch and help men worldwide to understand that: 

“Manhood and Christlikeness are synonymous” – Dr Edwin Louis Cole

… and to bring hope and healing to nations who experience fatherlessness in this generation – bringing the strength and faith of solid Christian hope in our Saviour Jesus. http://www.lionsroar2015.com/

An interview with network TBN, during which I get to share my heart and story and the relevance and ongoing work of Leaderscape – http://theleaderscape.com/ . 

And now, we are ‘Go’, to start this great conference.  It’s going to change lives, change nations, change hearts!

And after this, I will return home to my beloved Sydney – it will be a beautiful homecoming as I meet my grandson for the first time, and experience what God has promised us all as Christians – a legacy and an ongoing blessing in our families.

Leaderscape is all about helping the church and its leaders to pass on to the next generation all that we have learnt, and to set them up to “stand on the shoulders’ of those who have gone before, and have loved Jesus. 

Happy journeying!

Michael and Valery

Leaderscape

Some of the Camina Da Vida Crew - Lima Peru

Some of the Camina Da Vida Crew – Lima Peru

 

Valery at Transcendia '15 with help from Bob the Builder!

Valery at Transcendia ’15 with help from Bob the Builder!

 

Michael preaches from a great height with his spanish interpreter at Transcendia'15, Lima Peru

Michael preaches from a great height with his spanish interpreter at Transcendia’15, Lima Peru

 

Some of the Camina Da Vida Crew - Lima Peru

Some of the Camina Da Vida Crew – Lima Peru

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Michael with Ps Ilona & Peter Paawe, Doorbrekers, Netherlands

 

Kampala Kapers – Leaderscape in Uganda

Kampala Kapers!

We’ve come to an area somewhere in a village, on the outskirts of Kampala. It’s a part of our Leaderscape ‘developing world’ work. A dirt floor and a marquee splattered with the typical red dust and mud of the area, holy in places as you look up towards its roof and see spindles of sunlight breaking through the canvas. But the ‘holy – ness’ isn’t just physical.

Tent church Uganda

I find myself now sitting listening to Michael preach with a Ugandan interpreter. The young man doing this job is brilliant – a fresh faced kid with a dream to study theology in Australia one day – headed for the big city of Nairobi in the near future to start his studies. He has a future assured as a speaker and a preacher. No one could doubt his commitment and verve. He imitates Michael’s every move, nuance and tone. We have joined a bunch of enthusiastic young Ugandans, most of whom have ‘graduated’ from the Good Samaritan orphanage and schools which are just up the road – using the term loosely, because ‘dirt track’ probably describes it better.

As we’d walked in, past young people of around 18-25, lost in worship and the music, we’d noticed some 20 or so little kids in a corner, emanating the ‘stage’ young people and their every move. Dressed in their ‘Sunday best’ these little ones were not going to be outdone in this intense atmosphere of dance and song! Wide eyed and fresh faced, they imitate, spin and dance with all the passion of their elder ‘brothers and sisters’. It’s a festive and spiritually invigorating place. The African beat and moves are mingled with Western praise music and instruments.

My gaze swaps to the stage boys and girls, all late teens and ‘twenty somethings’. They worship like so many Michael Jacksons, with so much passion and heart, stopping to drop to their knees often, so that many of the boys have red mud colouring the knees of their trousers. The girls are often lost in the worship of their King, and demonstrate a purity of praise I’ve rarely seen.

Earlier today we’ve visited the Good Samaritan project, a school for over 2,500 orphans from all over Uganda. Most of them have lost both parents, killed by the last war or by aids. The young people who have planted this church, Christ the King Church, were rescued from the streets of Uganda and its countryside, brought to an institution whose heart is to restore and release these kids. And there’s plenty of need for that.

kids praying

A couple of hours prior to our visit to the fledgling church, I’d been so unprepared for our entrance to the hall where we spoke to over 1,000 little primary kids, aged 13 down. We had navigated our way in the four wheel drive over terrain rivalling an outback adventure. We’d walked up the steep, uneven pathways towards the sound of the singing and joyous atmosphere from the main hall of the school.

And as we’d turned the corner into the building, we were completely taken aback. Walking in to a space which was dimly lit but overflowing with beautiful Ugandan children, the crowd all stood and cheered and stamped their little feet to welcome us for a few minutes!! We are the only white people, and a curiosity! Now I couldn’t walk anywhere as I’d misted up my glasses by this time, and found a couple of stray tears invading and tracking down my face.

Not. Prepared. At. All.

GS child with BibleOur host, Apostle Alex Mitala, has brought us to speak to leaders, pastors and now to kids and a thriving young adult church. A varied trip for us at Leaderscape!

The congregation here is a new church plant made up of ex Good Samaritan orphans, and is their own project. There’s a half finished church building started on the land adjoining this marquee. The ‘roads’ to get here cut through villages of mud houses and slum and squalor that, even after years of working in Asia, sets me back….good job we had 4wheel drives to get here. This is no Fraser Island sand!!

Michael and I are welcomed with much enthusiastic hand clapping and cheering. And I wonder – how much are we bringing them, in contrast to how much they are teaching us?

My husband steps up to the front to bring a message to the little church, and its congregation leans forward as one, eager to hear, eager to move on what they hear. He’s ministering now to those plagued by fear. Imagine. Many of these young adults have seen the horrors of African war and present day terrorism, child soldiers and the destruction of a life of abject poverty and misery. There are thousands upon thousands of them, yet still wandering out there in Kampala and other cities and the countryside. This church is just one that needs to influence this next committed and enthusiastic young generation of Christians!MRM preaching

Meanwhile tonight Michael will be speaking to pastors. The leadership of this movement (it’s totally indigenous- little overseas money or influence here) is growing older. The baton needs to be passed. And soon. Unfortunately some of the well-meaning influences from by-gone times have left traits and habits of ‘religion’ and the revering of ‘authority’ and ‘position’. And it shows. The need for a freedom of worship and the disciples of the future to be released to hear what the Holy Spirit is saying to this generation is paramount.

 

Uganda. just one of the many places where God is doing His thing among a people who are willing to welcome Him into their lives. Leaderscape hopes to partner with many more of the organisations such as I’ve described today.

Perhaps we can help them.

I know they can help us.

Valery

 

Valery with little girl

Greener Pastures Syndrome – 5 Ways that God Speaks Clearly to Us!

Sometimes we are better to obey God in what appears to be a land of famine than to reposition ourselves. 

The grass is not necessarily greener “on the other side”….It’s greener where God chooses to bless & water it..

As believers in Jesus Christ, we are called to walk by faith & not by sight.

Relying so heavily on our senses as we do, this often appears much more complex than God intended it to be. Just as the doctor examining an infant must rely on their vital signs, and the pilot flying in a storm must take heed to his instruments,

So too must we listen for and obey God’s guidance.

There are many times in life when the enemy, rather than kill us, only needs to reposition us away from God’s purpose and plan in order to win.  Truthfully, we are often much better to stay positioned where God wants us to be, than to take what appears to be the road of ease into what appears to be greener pastures.

Isaac was tempted to go down to Egypt but God told him to stick it out and stay in what appeared to be a land of famine.  In obedience, he sowed and planted seed in that land of famine and I’m sure to his amazement and delight, reaped a hundredfold in that same year…in the so called land of famine!!

Often He is saying to stay where He wants us to be, sowing in obedience to Him and expecting our faithfulness to be rewarded with fruitfulness.

God rarely guides us through an audible voice, but does want to clearly speak to us through the following combination of ways:

1. His revealed word in our hearts
2. Counsel from those we trust
3. The desires of our heart
4. The prevailing circumstances
5. The peace of God in our hearts

So…listen to what He has to say and obey His voice!

If and when God wants you to move, He will make it abundantly clear.

Prophetic Irony!

What do you do as a leader when your present reality is not yet resembling what’s in your heart for the enterprise, non profit or church which you are leading?

Firstly:

It’s important to acknowledge that that’s the way it’s supposed to be!

If a leader is entirely content with what’s in their midst, Id question whether either their vision is large enough.

Or whether,  in a bid to maintain the comfort of the status quo, they are in denial about things that need to shift.

Leaders must get comfortable with a certain degree of discontentment.

Dear Leader, you are experiencing the reality of “Prophetic Irony”!

Vision, by definition, is ‘not yet’!

……..What you see beyond your current horizon is not yet manifest in your now!

That’s the ironic nature of all prophecy. You see something beyond that which is not yet here.

So what’s a leader to do?

You must continue seeing, saying & strategising toward “IT”!

As you do, without losing heart, or allowing your frustration a free rein……

watch God unfold His purpose before your very eyes. 

 

Michael Murphy

Delayed Gratification!

Those too lazy to plough in the right season will have no food at the harvest.

Proverbs 20:4 NLT

The life you are enjoying, or otherwise right now, is not so much the result of your current circumstances, as it is the product of seeds you have sown in your past.

Though this is often a difficult reality check, and may indeed carry some disclaimers, it nonetheless can definitely breathe fresh hope into your future.

The exceptions to this rule may include certain disasters & the unforeseen actions by third parties……. yet our responses to any of these are very much still within our control.

In brief,

if you would like your tomorrow to look different, change what you are sowing today.

If your financial world is not where you’d like it to be, change it up a gear in what you earn, invest & give.

If your key relationships are not bringing you the kind of fulfilment you envisage, then be more friendly, more sharing & maybe more discerning about who you build into your world.

If your career is somehow lacking momentum, invest in some education, a coach or a mentor to help get things moving.

Many that I’ve spoken to over the past couple of decades attest to this, that even your spiritual life can carry the baggage of past neglect. If you want your spiritual journey to get moving then do something about it.

–   Get  back to your bible

–    Re engage relationally with the God in heaven who loves you

–    Reconnect with a vibrant community of faith

Michael Murphy

Beware The Double Punch

“Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord will personally go ahead of you.  He will be with you; He will neither fail you nor abandon you” – Deuteronomy 31:8 (NLT)

 

Listen up, leaders, and take note of the enemy’s double-punch strategy!

The Word here warns us to be alert to fear and discouragement.  Fear intimidates and paralyses.  Discouragement sucks the wind out of your sails and neutralizes your vision.

God gives us a simple but extremely potent antidote to this left-right combination.  He doesn’t so much instruct us how to defeat fear in four easy lessons, nor does He try to explain why we shouldn’t be discouraged.  He retorts with the all powerful and pervading promise:

“I will PERSONALLY go ahead of you and I WILL BE WITH YOU.”

If this doesn’t satisfy your concerns then with respect, it may be that you are entirely underestimating WHO is speaking here, and how much He cares for you!

As if the former is not enough, He then reminds us that He will NEVER fail us nor abandon us.  I’d call this an iron clad guarantee that…

The greatest counter-punch combination to fear and discouragement is to trust in the presence and attentiveness of the God of all the Universe. HE IS WITH YOU right now!

Photo: Flickr

Repealing Murphy’s Law

Anything that can go wrong, leaders can make right.