Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The God of all Comfort

A number of people have commented on how my talk on Sunday morning on God being the God of all comfort in all our troubles, and that we are called to comfort others with the comfort we have received (2 Corinthians 1:3-7) spoke to them. If you missed it on Sunday or want to listen to it again then it's here on our website.

After the talk Jacqui Webber-Gant, who does such a fantastic job with both our website and our growing media production team, sent me a link to a Mosaic YouTube video which so well sums up what I was trying to say. You can watch it here, but don't watch it whilst anyone else is around as public crying can be embarrassing!

God wants us to be a people prepared for the fact that trouble is part of life for us as followers as Jesus Christ, and that when it comes we can have confidence that not only is God going to be faithful and give us all we need to be more than conquerors in the face of the issues, but also he will use what we lean in our troubles to help others going through the same things. Romans 8:28 is a verse I am growing to understand more and more - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.". Not that all things are good but all things work together for good.

If you have any stories of how God is working in you and through you in this way then why not add a comment so that others can be encouraged.

Have a great week and be looking out for those others you can comfort with the comfort you have received.

Simon.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

The spot on my forehead :-)

Any of you who have seen me in the last week may have noticed that I've got a big spot on my forehead. Well so many people have asked me about it (and I've been so touched by everyones concern for my well being!) that I thought it might be worth clearing up what happened here. The bottom line is that I haven't been assaulted by Catrina or anything like that, but at about two o'clock in the morning a week last Monday I was woken up with a mosquito buzzing in my ear. When I woke up in the morning I had about five bites on my forehead which developed into the lovely spot I've now got.

The worst bit was when ITV came to film Ben's celebration event last Thursday and wanted to interview me. It's the first time in my life I've ever considered wearing makeup and they didn't have a makeup person with them! I don't know if they used the interview I did (has anyone seen the programme as we don't get Meridian) but I'm sure if they did use it all anyone will notice is my spot :-)

So now you know!

Simon.

The church we see

Hello again after a 3 week break! No seriously the last 3 weeks with the CAP conference, the Willow Creek conference and the handover from Ben to me have been so busy that I've barely found time to read my email, let alone write any blog entries! Anyway, with all that now in the past I'll hopefully carve out a bit more time to update anyone who may be interested with my thoughts here.

On Sunday I spoke on the process I want us to go through over the next 6 months, agreeing a set of statements on "The church we see". The intention is that these will outline the vision for what we feel God wants our church to become over the next few years. On Sunday I went through a list of statements we came up with amongst some of the ministry team members who happened to be in the office at the time (not a very scientific process I know!). Over the next few months I'd like us to refine these statements, remove any which we don't feel apply to us and add any extras. I've already had a load of very positive comments and ideas for additions / changes which is great. My aim is to try and meet with every housegroup and ministry group over the next 6 months so we can all have our input. Once we've done that then we'll have the statements made into a huge display in the reception area as well as putting a copy in every meeting room, so that we are constantly reminded of the vision of where we are going.

So here is the first draft of the statements. Let me know what you think by emailing me, adding a comment to the blog (which always encourages me as then I know at least one person is reading it!) or bringing your comment up at one of the meetings over the next six months.

Thanks for reading,

Simon.

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The Church we see

Is a church of thousands, so large that its influence stretches throughout the nation.

Is a church that reaches up to God with extravagant, heartfelt, life giving worship, birthing songs that are sung throughout the nations.

Is a church that reaches out with practical demonstrations of the love of Christ, locally, nationally and internationally, such that it would be missed in society if it ceased to exist.

Is a church that so effectively reaches out with the life changing news of the new life that is offered in Jesus that every day people are being saved and added to their number.

Is a church where we learn to laugh, cry, grow great friendships and do life together, and where ‘fine’ isn’t an acceptable answer to the question “how are you”.

Is a church where people are discipled to understand who they are, and whose they are, in Christ, to fulfil their God given potential and live life in all its abundance.

Is a church where we grow first class leaders who will take the lead in the worlds of politics, economics, business, media, the creative arts, education, sports and the church.

Is a church where people can come as they are, which is not a refuge from the world but a refuge for the world.

Is a church that embraces young and old, rich and poor, men and women, people from all nations in one family under one head, Jesus Christ.

Is a church marked out by its creativity and relevance, which uses the internet and other means of communication to gets its message to the nations.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Another Great Weekend Coming Up

We really are spoilt as a Church with all that comes to us. Last Friday and Saturday was the Willow Creek Global Leadership DVD Summit - a huge thank you to everyone involved in serving at that event - the feedback we've had so far seems to be that it was the best Summit we've hosted so far. I'm very keen we focus on Bill's questions from his opening session - "What does God want our church to look like 5 years from now". I'd be very interested in anyone's thoughts about the answer to that question - email me here with your thoughts.

This Saturday is the Christians Against Poverty (CAP) Inspire Supporters Event in The Kerith Centre. Not too late to register to come along - or I'm sure they'll let you in if you turn up on the door - but you didn't hear that here :-) I heard a great story yesterday from Andy Jackson who runs our CAP centre. Someone was driving through Bracknell and saw all the AA signs that are up directing people to the event on Saturday. They were so intrigued that they looked up CAP on the internet and then got in touch with Andy to find out what it was all about - very cool.

Then on Sunday morning John Kirkby, the founder of CAP, is speaking at our morning meeting. John is one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. His passion for the poor is is just infectious - not to be missed! You'll also get to see the latest video testimony which Paul Harker has produced - the quality of what Paul and Jacqui Webber-Gant are producing as the heart of the media team is just going up and up so look forward to that too.

In the evening we've got Lyndon Bowring of CARE - another speaker of international repute whom we're so fortunate to have with us.

Ps 92:13-14 says "The righteous will flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like a cedar of Lebanon; planted in the house of the LORD, they will flourish in the courts of our God." Choose to plant yourself in the house of God this weekend!

Hope to see you at some point over the weekend.

Simon.