Monday, April 30, 2012

Vision Evenings

I just wanted go give you some advance notice that in May I'm going to do a bit of a take over of the prayer meetings on Wednesday 16th and Thursday 17th May. I'm going to use the evenings to give a vision update and tell you about some new things we're wondering about doing.

Those of you who have been around for a while know that my leadership style is to share ideas we have at a very early stage, to give them the maximum opportunity to germinate and for people and God to speak into them. I'll therefore be talking about some things we probably won't get to do until 2013, but which will have big implications for us as a community. There will then be space for us to pray into some of those things.

Please put those dates in the diary, and make one of the evenings if you possibly can. They'll start at 8pm in K2 and finish by 9.45pm (I promise!).

Simon.

Friday, April 27, 2012

The Prodigal God

This Sunday we start a new series, based on the book The Prodigal God by Tim Keller. It takes a fresh look at the story, commonly known as the prodigal son or the lost son, which Jesus tells in Luke 15. I'd encourage you to read the whole of Luke 15 in preparation for Sunday, and ponder for a few moments on the three stories Jesus tells there about lost things. I'd also encourage people to buy a copy of the book and read it. We've got copies in the bookshop and it's also available on Kindle.

What makes this series so exciting for me is that what comes out of the story relates so clearly to the peach and coconut ideas you'll have heard me talk about if you've been around Kerith for any length of time. On that note the first draft of the book (imaginatively titled The Peach and the Coconut!) which I've been writing went off to an external editor this week. The hope is that we'll have it printed ready to give out for the second Sunday in September. All quite scary but also sort of exciting!

Hope you're having a great week, and hope to catch you on Sunday.

Simon.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Sunday Gift Day

I'm going to write some blogs over the next couple of weeks expanding on what I said about being debt free last Sunday.

One of the things I spoke about was our desire as a church to be debt free, and to only take on debt for short periods of time to allow us to do things more quickly (such as building the Kerith Centre). To that you'll know if you're a regular at this year we're having a gift day on the last Sunday of every month to pay off the interest free loans which are still outstanding from the work last summer to redevelop reception.

We started this year with £184,000 of interest free loans to repay. So far this year we've received:

£23,000 given in gift days

£7,000 in loans converted to gifts

£5,500 in estimated gift aid

So we’re left with a total of £148,500 to raise. There is no specific target for this month, but I'm incredibly keen to get the loans repaid as quickly as possible so we can be debt free again, and be thinking about the next things we want to be doing. I'd therefore ask everyone to be thinking about what to give on Sunday, and encourage everyone to give something, even if it is only a few pounds.

As always please have no anxiety about this, but let's be praying for God to do something remarkable amongst us.

Simon.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Money Management Course

On Sunday I spoke about God's plan for all of us to live debt free financially, how that should be an aspiration for each of us. A huge part of that is us learning to budget properly, to correctly handle our finances and know exactly where our money is going. I'd recommend everyone in our community to do the CAP money course, where you'll learn some brilliant tools for financial planning.

The great news is that the next course starts on Tuesday (tomorrow) in K2 at 8pm. You can find some more details here. There are already about 20 people signed up for the course but plenty of space for more. If you can let us know you're coming then that would be helpful, but otherwise feel free just to turn up where you'll be made to feel very welcome.

Simon.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Small Group Survey

I'm just home after a great day preaching on Romans 13:8 - "Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law". If you missed it you can listen to it here.

The back end of the verse talks about the only debt which we should have, our debt to love one another. An important part of that for us as a church is our small groups. We feel that it's time for us to revisit how we do small groups, in order that we can have a small group which works for everyone.

As part of that we're asking everyone to complete a short small group survey which you can find here. Please take a few minutes to do the survey right now :)

If for some reason you can't do it online then there are paper copies of the survey available from reception, one for people who are already in a small group and another for this who aren't.


Thanks for doing the survey and hope you have a great week.

Simon.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Facts are Friends

This morning (Thursday) was our weekly prayer meeting where a group of us (normally between about 12 and 20 people) gather from 6am-7am to pray for the church finances and for people to be saved.

One of the things we do every week is to look in detail at the Sunday offering, and whether we are ahead of or behind budget. Someone commented this morning that they really enjoyed the transparency of knowing exactly where we're at, so I thought I'd share the latest figures with all of the blog readers.

This year we set ourselves a visionary budget, which required a 16% increase in our regular giving if it was to balance. That is quite a leap of faith, especially if you're sat in the the senior pastor's chair! That increase means that we need an average weekly offering of £14,278, a figure which engraved in my thinking.

The great news is that as of last Sunday the average weekly offering so far this year has been £14,404 which is a whole £126 a week over budget. Praise God!

I'm just so grateful to everyone in our community who gives so generously, allowing us to do all the things we do. Please keep following the lead to be a regular giver, and to put something into the offering basket every week as a sign of your thankfulness to God for all he has done for you.

Hope you found this helpful,

Simon

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Footballing Success

Not only are Newcastle United currently fifth in the Premier League and looking likely to qualify for European football next season, not only did Reading get promoted to the Premier League last night, but the Kerith football team have also made it, yet again, to the final of their cup competition.

The final is at Scours Lane, the home of Reading Town FC (not the ones who got promoted last night!). We're playing a team from Tilehurst.

The final kicks off at 4.30pm on Saturday, just about enough time to get over after the Julian Adams conference which finishes at 4pm. I know they'd really appreciate your support. It costs £3 to get in, although Jonathan Horne has 6 free tickets which will be available at the Kerith Centre reception desk on a first come first served basis.

Come on you Kerith ! (or something like that)

Simon.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Julian Adams on Saturday

Just a reminder that this Saturday Julian Adams is doing a one day conference at the Kerith Centre. Julian has one of the most remarkable prophetic gifts I've ever come across - follow this link to see a prophetic word which he gave me around this time last year. Julian had no idea that earlier that day I'd met with Ralph Allen, our architect, to discuss the redesign of reception. Other parts of the word are in the process of being fulfilled, I'm still praying for more power when it comes to healing and doubling!

Doors open at 10am and the day will run through until about 4pm. Cost is £10 - you can register online here

Please come along if you possibly can, and see what God will say to you - you won't regret it.

Simon.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Time Out

I'm just about to have a few post Easter days off. All things electronic are going to be removed from contact with the outside world, so no blogs, twitter, email or Facebook, and until next Tuesday I have no meetings to attend or preaches to deliver. I'm really looking forward to stopping for a few days.

On Sunday Ben and Heather Pocock are going to be leading us in some reflection on the Texts for Life series - I've seen some of the stuff they've got prepared and it is going to be a great conclusion to the series.

Hope you have a good rest of the Easter break whatever you're up to.

Simon.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Easter Reminder

If you're around I hope to catch you at one of our gatherings over the weekend.

On Good Friday we're meeting at 1pm to watch Prince Caspian together, then at 7pm we're going to have an hour reflecting on the cost of the cross.

Then on Easter Sunday we'll be gathering at 9am, 11am and 7pm to think about the resurrection and what it means for us today. We've got a great opener for the Easter Sunday meetings, so please get there on time as you won't want to miss it.

Please make it if you possibly can, and please be thinking about who else you can invite, as we reflect on three days which changed the entire course of human history.

And if you can't make it over the weekend I hope you still have a fabulous Easter, whatever you are doing and whoever you are spending it with.

Simon.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Waitrose Bracknell

For those of you who (like me) are not regular shoppers in Waitrose, then you may not know that they have a great charity scheme. Every month each store is given £1,000 to give to local charity. Every shopper in the store is then given a green token, which you can use to vote for one of three local charities, the £1,000 then being distributed according to the number of votes for each of the charities.

Our Bracknell Foodbank is one of the three charities for April in our shiny new Bracknell Waitrose. If you're a regular there, or just feel like popping in to see what it's like, then please be sure to vote for the Foodbank. Not only the Foodbank team, but also the thousands of residents who have benefitted from the Foodbank, will be very grateful.

Simon.