Wednesday, March 31, 2010

15 Questions

I got a phone call this morning from the Bracknell Standard asking me to answer the following 15 questions for a feature in this weeks paper. I'm not going to give you my answers until after the paper comes out, but would be interested to hear what you would have said. If you do it why not post your answers as a comment on the blog or on facebook - I'd be fascinated to read some answers.

Don't forget to be inviting people to The Vigil - it's going to be brilliant. I've also been working on my Sunday preach today on The Verdict - that's looking good too!

Simon.

-------------------

PLEASE COME UP WITH MORE THAN ONE WORD ANSWERS  - e.g. What is your favourite holiday destination? Cornwall – we always used to go there as a child and I have very fond memories of the place because of that.

AND YOU CAN BE FUNNY!

1. What is your favourite food?

2. What is your favourite holiday destination?

3. What was the last book you read?

4. What is your favourite TV programme?

5. What was your first pet and its name?

6. What is your favourite film?

7. What painting or photo do you have on your wall or desk?

8. Who would your ideal dinner guests be?

9. What car do you drive?

10. What is your biggest regret?

11. What makes you smile?

12. What was your first job?

13. What do you like about Bracknell Forest?

14. If you won the National Lottery, what would you do?

15. If you could be asked one question what would it be and what would you answer?

Monday, March 29, 2010

The Vigil Dress Rehearsal

It's Monday night and I'm at the first dress rehearsal for The Vigil. It's fantastic! Not suitable for young children (no singing or dancing!) but the quality of everything, from the set to the acting, from the costumes to the sound and lighting leave me amazed again at the quality and gifting of the people in our community.

The play takes me back to when I was an 18 year old atheist, trying to work out who Jesus was. I quite quickly realised that the whole of the Christian faith rests on whether or not Jesus was raised from the dead. If he wasn't then the rest of Christianity can be dismissed as nonsense. But if he was raised from the dead then everything else Jesus said and did takes on a whole new relevance. The play examines the evidence around the resurrection and the pivotal question of what happened to the body of Jesus.

Tickets are still available for all three performances (1st, 2nd and 3rd April at 7.30pm), although they're going fast. You can order them here or get them by coming into The Kerith Centre reception during the week. Please come, and be inviting guests, to what is going to be a brilliant evening.

Parking for all three performances is at Avis, leaving the Kerith parking for the elderly and the disabled.

See you there!

Simon.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Vigil on the radio

Hilary Hulme and Ben Pocock will be on Radio Berkshire tomorrow morning at about 7.10am talking about The Vigil. Don't forget the clocks change tomorrow, so that's actually 6.10am on the current timing :-)

Simon.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Technology - Boundaries #1

Following on from my blog on us embracing technologiy I've had a few people contact me about my ideas on setting boundaries, so here's my first thought on the subject.

It relates to all of us with smartphones (iPhones, Blackberries and the like). Being able to receive email wherever you are can be great, but the danger is that you're available every waking hour and never actually stop working. Even when you're watching your child play football, watching a film in the cinema or as you're just waking up / going to sleep you're always on call (when I had a blackberry the flashing red led telling me a new email had arrived was somehow impossible to ignore, even during meals!).

So here's the idea. Decide in your day, your week and your year when you're going to sabbath, to stop, when it comes to work email. I preached last year that God designed the days, weeks, years and even decades with a rhythm, so let's apply that God principle here.

So decide when in your day you're done with work email - when you cross that line and stop. And once you've stopped don't start again - whether that means putting tape over the red led, turning the phone off, locking it in the car or surrendering it to your partner!

And have a sabbath day when you stop. That means no email! For me Saturday is my sabbath, so that means I'm trying to completely ignore email on my iPhone on Saturdays. It's early days on this one for me, but stop means stop!

And have a sabbath in your year. No email on holiday! I've seen too many mums and dads on their phones by the pool as their kids beg them to come in with them. Leave it at home, or if you need the phone at least turn off email.

We all like to think we are indispensable, but it's just not true! That email can wait. The world won't stop spinning and you'll do a better job of doing life as God intended.

And if work email isn't an issue for you, all of this can be applied to facebook, texting, msn and any other technology which stops you from stopping.

Simon.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Vigil - Signing

Just to let you know that we're going to have signing for the deaf and hard of hearing at the Thursday night performance of The Vigil. There will be two signers to guarantee the quality of what we are offering - having seen the script they're going to be busy people!

Let's take every opportunity to invite people to what is going to be a superb event.

Simon.

Three Reminders

First to be inviting people to come to The Vigil on the 1st, 2nd and 3rd April. Over 200 tickets have now gone for each performance, but there are still plenty remaining so get inviting.

Second that there are prayer meetings tonight and tomorrow night. We will be praying for The Vigil as well as a load of other things going on in the church and the nations. God answers prayer so let's make some outrageous requests to Him.

And finally decide to take the next person you meet up in your lift (if that makes no sense then listen to Sunday's sermon!). Make them a drink, tell the something you appreciate about them, offer to pray for them or find some other way to encourage them. Live life as a giver and you will be "more blessed".

I'm loving the sunshine!

Simon.



Monday, March 15, 2010

Embracing Technology

I write this sat on a train back from a leaders meeting in Lincoln, connected to the free in carriage wifi. That ranks as pretty cool in my book. Technology is evolving at an incredible rate, and I want to encourage us to be a people who embrace technology and make it a tool that works for us.

I have to admit that I love technology. The computers that I help design in my 'other' job are used to make films like Avatar as well as do a load of other exciting things. I'm not sure how I'd exist without my iPhone and having all my contacts, email and diary to hand as well as being able to Tweet and Blog on the move. But I'm not interested in technology for technologies sake, but what it can do to enhance our lives and our community.

First we need to admit that there are plenty of reasons to think of technology as being dangerous. You'll have seen the news last week of the young girl who was murdered by a sex offender who ensnared her using Facebook. And the internet has undoubtedly made it easier for people to get easy access to pornography - no longer do you need to risk being spotted buying some dodgy magazines from the top shelf at the newsagents. And on a lighter note how many people rue the day their partner got an internet enabled phone which seems to demand their attention every waking hour (I'm very bad at this!).

So we need to be careful. We need to be aware of what our children are up to (easier said than done). We need to be accountable on the websites we visit and the things we view. And we need to set boundaries and have clear boundaries on when the iPhone and Blackberry get turned off (I'm still working on that one).  The issue of boundaries is a key, and one I can expand on in a future blog if anyone would be interested.

But let's grab the opportunities.

First of all to be personally enriched through the internet. Some things I do are:
  • The Youversion Bible website has revolutionised my daily reading of the Bible. If you're not already using it why not sign up to a reading plan today and get started.
  • Signing up to other peoples blogs helps me keep up to date with some of the latest leadership thinking - Mark Batterson is one of my favourites.
  • Listening to podcasts allows me to listen to world class communicators - even if it is slightly intimidating - Andy Stanley is one of my favourites.
  • Reading newspapers online means you're always reading the latest news - and it's free!
Then we can use the internet to build community. When we first set up the new church website we thought people would use the chatrooms on there to keep in touch, but what we've now realised is that it's so much better to using existing tools like Blogs, Facebook and Twitter. I have to admit to not being a huge fan of Facebook, I'm frankly not interested that your Farmville crops need fertilising, and I'm sure that something better is going to replace it fairly soon. But I have seen people use it to great effect to announce everything from a prayer request to a need for babysitters to the death of a loved one. Nothing will ever replace face to face interactions (I always find it strange to see two people wandering along together both on their mobile phones - I always wonder why they don't just talk to each other) but online tools can really help us to keep in touch and connected. And in our new post bulletin era the blog and the church website can be a much more immediate way of disseminating information.

And finally the internet can be a great way for us to spread the gospel. Just as the printing press fuelled the reformation I believe the internet can fuel another great awakening of the message of Jesus Christ in the hearts of people far from him. Whether that's sending an email to invite your workmates to The Vigil, keeping the church website up to date with stories of people finding Christ or writing blogs to speak into the issues of the day, God can use it all.

Anyway, we're just coming into Kings Cross so I'll press publish before they turn off the wifi!

Simon.

Gwen Wilson's Thanksgiving Service

We've now finalised the details for the Thanksgiving Service for Gwen on Friday 19th March. There will be a Service to remember Gwen's life starting at 11.15am in K2, followed by a committal at Easthampstead Park Crematorium at 12.45pm. Everyone is then invited back to K2 for refreshments.

If you know of people who would like be there, but who don't get the blog, please can you let them know as we don't want anyone to miss the opportunity to thank God for Gwen and all she meant to us.

Simon.



Thursday, March 11, 2010

Reveal - Thank You

A big thank you to everyone who completed the Reveal Survey. In the end 210 people completed it which was excellent. We should get the results in the next four weeks. After Easter we'll look to share the results with everyone.

Simon.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Mothers Day

I  wanted you to know that we've got a storming Mothers Day meeting planned for Sunday at the 9 and 11. We've got four absolutely cracking personal stories from Mums in our community, a great performance song and a message which will have impact for everyone there (plus chocolate!). Please plan to be there yourself, and be walking across the room to invite others to what will be an excellent morning.

In the evening we're showing a Louie Giglio DVD. Last year we got excellent feedback when we showed his "Indescribable" talk, this should be just as good.

Hope to see you there.

Simon.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Reveal - Final Reminder

Monday is the final day for completing the Reveal survey. We really need as many people as possible to complete it, so if you haven't already done it please follow the link from the church website and make your voice heard.

Another great day in church today - if you missed it catch the podcast of Sola - again on the church website. We also learnt a great new song from Dave Betts in the evening - I love the creativity in our community.

Hope you have a great week.

Simon.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Reveal Survey Reminder

Just a quick reminder if you're part of the Kerith community to please do the Reveal survey if haven't already yet done it. As of last Friday 118 people had completed it, which is great, but in order to get an accurate picture of how effective we are as a community at moving people closer to Christ we need at least double that number of people to complete it. You can get to the survey by clicking here.

I'm also aware that people who have tried to leave comments at the end of the survey have had problems when they tried to submit them. The comments don't form a direct part of the survey so the failure won't affect the results, but it is annoying and something we'll try and get fixed as soon as possible.

So please get online as soon as possible (the deadline is next Tuesday), and if you know someone who can't get online invite them round your home, cook them a meal and get them to do the survey with you!

Simon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gwen Wilson

I got the sad news yesterday (Monday) afternoon that Gwen Wilson had passed away. She was taken ill early on Monday morning and died in the early afternoon.

Gwen had been part of our church community since 1977 and had just had her 91st birthday. Whenever I walked into There's More To Life (our group for the retired) on a Thursday afternoon Gwen would always be one of the first people to greet me and make sure I was doing OK. She will be very much missed by all of us who had the privilege of knowing her, especially by her daughter Gill and her son Ron.

The family are in the process of arranging a date for the funeral - we'll let you know when that is via the blog and the family news section on the website. In the meantime let's be praying for the family at this difficult time.

Simon.