Monday, September 28, 2009

Discern Next Steps - Alpha

Well we've now finished the "Just Walk Across the Room" series, although I hope that the principles we've been learning will become part of our ethos as a community. To always talk the initiative in every setting to reach out to people outside of our circle of comfort and to always be seeing the people around us as God sees them.

One of the things we talked about was asking the Holy Spirit to prompt us with next steps for the people around us. One of those next steps could well be to do an Alpha course, and it so happens that we've got a couple of Alpha courses starting up this week! The first is in Costa Coffee on Wednesday night at 7pm. The second is in K2 starting on Thursday morning at 10am, and includes a creche - more details on both courses here. Perhaps Alpha would be a great next step for you. A chance to ask questions, meet new people and grow in your relationship with God. Or perhaps you have a friend who would be just great to invite along. If so then pluck up the courage and ask them - why not even make it easier for them by coming along too!

Keep walking across those rooms!

Simon.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Foodbank Launch

Last night we had the community wide launch for the Bracknell Foodbank. It was an excellent evening, with a wide cross section of community representatives coming to hear about what the foodbank has to offer. Many of them commented that this was something Bracknell has needed for some time, and all seemed willing and keen to partner with us on it.

What most excited me was the relationship we now have with many of the organisations, including the council, in our community. There was a time that we were viewed, as a faith based organisation, with a measure of suspicion but it seems that we've now, through ministries like Konnections, Hilltop and CAP, proved that we don't just talk the talk but we walk the walk as well.

Thanks to everyone who helped make the evening happen, to everyone who has been praying for it, and to all of you who just by being part of our community make it possible for us to launch out into new ministries like this. This morning the foodbank officially opens its doors for the first time, I'm looking forward to hearing the stories of the people we are able to serve.

Simon.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Friday Night Prayer

On Friday night we're going to finish the week of prayer and fasting by meeting from 7pm until midnight in The Kerith Centre. We're going to focus our praying around our five purposes as a church.

Worship - we'll spend the first part of the evening worshipping God and praising Him
Community - we're going to pray for God to grow us in genuine community and our love and care for one another.
Discipleship - we'll pray that as a community we're individually and collectively growing in our walk with God, getting to know him better and increasing in our passion for him.
Social Action - we'll be asking God to be in all our practical demonstrations of the love of God, both locally with Konnections, CAP, the foodbank etc but also internationally with Serenje and other places.
Evangelism - praying for thousands of people to be saved and added to the church.

It would be great to see you there so please make as much of the evening as you can.

Simon.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Halloween - Trick or Treat

Those of you with good memories may remember that about this time last year I said one of the topics I'd like to preach on this year was how we handle Halloween, in particular for parents with children who are getting caught up in the whole event. Well unfortunately doing it on a Sunday didn't really fit in with the Remember preaching series we're doing starting at the beginning of October, so instead we're going to do an evening in K2 on Wednesday 21st October at 8pm.

On the evening we'll look at a bit of the history of Halloween, what the Bible has to say about it and then some practical advice not only on how to safeguard our kids but also on how we can turn it into an opportunity to spread a positive message.

It would be really helpful in advance to know some of the questions people have and the issues they face so that we can make it as relevant as possible, so if you can either send questions to me or post them here on the blog that would be great. There will also be Q&A on the evening, but knowing in advance would just help me to prepare better.

Should be an interesting evening, and although it will be aimed primarily at parents everyone is welcome to come.

Simon.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Going to the Willow GLS Just Got Cheaper

I've just heard from Willow Creek that they're now offering a further reduction on the rate for people from our church to book in to the Global Leadership Summit on the 2nd and 3rd October. The price has gone down from £43 to £39, which at less than £20 a day makes it outstanding value for money. To book in at this rate you need to phone Jude in the Willow office on 023 8071 0295 and mention that your booking from Kerith.

I was working through the programme this week with Jules Rutland, who is heading up the event in Bracknell, and was just reminded again how good the sessions are. I personally can't wait to see them all again, and I'd love to have all of our people there too! So please make it if you possibly can, either as a delegate or as a volunteer.

Simon.

Friday, September 11, 2009

More of God's Presence

Next week I'm encouraging us as a community to come together to pray and fast. You might well ask for what purpose. Well for me more than anything else I want to ask for God's presence to be with us in everything we do. In our own personal lives. In our schools. In our workplaces. In our homes. In our small groups. In our children and our young people. In our Sunday gatherings. In our community outreach. In the overseas situations we're involved in. In everything we do.

That we would know God's presence which brings hope, which brings comfort, which brings healing, which brings holiness, which brings inspiration, which brings creativity, which brings tears and which brings laughter.

We're going to meet together on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday evenings from 8pm until 9:30, and on Friday night from 7pm until midnight. On Friday night we'll aim to pray through our five purposes as a church, which are to reach up in worship, reach in through community and discipleship and reach out through evangelism and acts of service - although that's only my idea and God may want to do something very different.

So please think about fasting for the four days, and for making as many of the sessions as you can. You might also want to think about praying in some smaller groups during the week such, as with family or your lifegroup. Just so you know the elders and I will be meeting to pray all day on the Wednesday, particularly asking God for wisdom about how to structure pastoral care in the church.

I'll be off to the kebab van at the Running Horse to break the fast early Saturday morning if anyone wants to join me there :-)

Simon.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Good Stewards

On Monday I got our latest gas and electricity bill. Normally I just check the meter readings to make sure they're about right and then file it away (OK to be honest I don't normally even do that, but I'd like you to imagine I'm more organised than I really am!). But this time for some reason I thought I'd just quickly go online to one of those price comparison websites to see if we were still getting a good deal (I actually used the one advertised by a Meerkat, as the adverts make me laugh - how scientific is that - but I'm sure they're all pretty good). I was really shocked to find that we can save about £400 a year just by switching to a different supplier. That's a lot of coffee! And with the supplier they suggested we get Tesco clubcard points, which makes Catrina very happy too.

God calls us to be good stewards of our money, and that means making sure we spend it wisely. So why not next time your car insurance, fuel bill, phone bill, whatever comes in just do a quick sanity check that you're still getting value for money.

And no we won't really be spending the money we save on coffee, not all of it anyway :-)

Simon.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Just Walk Across the Room

I wonder how you're getting on with what we talked about on Sunday? Reaching out to people far from God by stepping out of our circle of comfort and the following the promptings of the Holy Spirit. I was chatting to someone yesterday who was telling me on the way home from the meeting because of what they'd heard they got into conversation with a lady walking her dog who they'd often seen but never spoken to - very cool.

One of the most releasing things for me as I've been preparing for this series is the realisation that when I step out and am obedient to God's promptings, then the results are his responsibility. I used to live with this deep sense that unless the person I was talking to was on their knees repenting by the end of the conversation I'd failed (which meant I lived with an awful lot of failure)! The more I've looked at the life of Jesus I've realised that he was never focussed on the outcome, but on just doing what his Father wanted him to do. If someone like Nicodemus could have a private consulatation with Jesus (see John 3), yet take three years from that consultation to publicly identifying himself with Christ (John 19:39, with some glimmers of progress in John 7:50), then why should I be hung up on the outcome of my conversations.

If you have a story of stepping out this week we'd love to hear it, and might even use it on Sunday. We've set up an email address - mystory@kerith.co.uk - for stories of anything God is doing in your life - please email them in. We've also ordered in a whole load more copies of the "Just Walk Across the Room" book as we ran out on Sunday after the 9am meeting! They should be in next Sunday thanks to our wonderful team of volunteers now stocking the bookshop.

Hope to see you next Sunday for more practical advice on taking those walks across the room.

Simon.

Friday, September 4, 2009

Go Together

One of my favourite quotes from the Leadership Summit was "If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together". I was reminded of that this morning when I read 2Cor2:12-13 where Paul says " Now when I went to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ and found that the Lord had opened a door for me, I still had no peace of mind, because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I said good-by to them and went on to Macedonia.".

I find that amazing. Paul had an opening to preach the gospel, to see lives changed, yet rather than going fast he wanted a team so he could go far. Jesus did the same. Imagine how fast he could have gone in three years without having to deal with the disciples every day. How many more lives changed, how much more healing and deliverance. Yet he wanted to have an impact that reached beyond the cross and resurrection, he wanted to go far, so he went together.

Where today are you tempted to go fast and go alone. In family, at work, in church or with an issue or decision you're facing. Can I encourage you right now to consider what going together, and going far, might look like.

Have a great day.

Simon.


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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Starting Again

Well after a wonderful holiday, reconnecting with Catrina and the children, managing to finish all the books I took and generally having a great time, it genuinely feels good to be back in the swing of things.

I'm really looking forward to this term. The new year team started this week, and as I speak Lee is at Heathrow Airport picking up Dawid from Poland who will be our first overseas year team member. The Foodbank will be launched in September. We've got two great series coming up in the Autumn - "Just Walk Across the Room" which is an inspirational encouragement on personal evangelism and "Remember" which we'll be starting in November. The Willow Leadership Summit in October. And all of it with the aim of seeing God touch our lives and the lives of people we don't yet know. Can't wait.

Hope to catch you Sunday,

Simon.