Friday, January 31, 2014

24-7 Prayer Starts Soon

Our month of 24-7 prayer starts at 9am on Saturday morning (1st Feb). There are still quite a few slots available on Saturday and Sunday, and through the early hours of the night during the week. You can see what is available and book slots here. Please book some time in the prayer room if you haven't already.

It's going to be really exciting to see what God does through the month as we commit oursleves to seeking Him. I've got a mix of personal and community things I'm wanting to pray through, as well as just looking forward to carving out time to spend alone with God.

Also each Wednesday through February at 8pm we're going to gather to pray as a community. On the 5th, 19th and 26th we're gathering at the Kerith Centre and on the 12th at Sandhurst School. Please plan to come along to all 4 if possible. On the 26th we'll be joined by Easthampstead Baptist Church and Warfield Church as we pray together for God's kingdom to come.

Simon.

 

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

My Favourite Apps - #9 - Skype

In my electronics world one of the companies I've worked for produced video conferencing equipment. That was about 20 years ago, and in those days to do a video conference between two people involved tens of thousands of pound worth of equipment, incredibly expensive multiple telephone lines and trained operators at both ends to try and get it all to work.

How different it is now where with a cheap smart phone and a free wifi connection a child can in seconds set up and be chatting on video to somebody on the other side of the world. We can take it all for granted, but when you stop for a moment to think about all the technology required to make that work it really is quite remarkable.

I use Skype in many different ways. To keep in touch with our son Zak when he's at university, to chat to Catrina and the family when I'm away, to catch up with other pastors in places like Zambia, Serbia and Albania, to talk to our teams when they're away in other nations and to catch up with friends.

I'm sure many of you already make use of it, but if not it's incredibly simple to set up if you've got a smart phone, a tablet to a PC or laptop with a webcam. If you're not sure how just find a teenager to help you :)

I read a quote recently that "the most special things in life are never things". The most special things in life are nearly always people, created as a we are for community, and Skype is just a brilliant way of connecting us with those special people, even when we may be thousands of miles apart.

Simon.

 

Saturday, January 25, 2014

John Burke - Kerith Rate

Having chatted with Willow Creek UK they've agreed to give us a special rate for anyone from Kerith wanting to attend the John Burke conference on Saturday 8th February from 9am - 1.30pm. You can book in for £25 which is a considerable saving on the full delegate rate.

To book in at the Kerith rate please phone the Kerith Centre reception on 01344 862699 between 9.30am and 5.00pm Monday to Friday to give your details and pay. If you're not part of Kerith then you can still book in via the Willow UK website.

Hope to see you there for what will be an inspiring morning.

Simon.

 

Friday, January 24, 2014

John Kirkby on Sunday

Our great friend John Kirkby is going to be with us at all 4 meetings on Sunday. John is the Founder and International Director of Christians Against Poverty, the Bradford based charity we partner with for our debt counselling centre, CAP money course and CAP job centre. He's also one of the most passionate people I've ever met, especially when it comes to the local church and God's heart for the poor.

John is going to be completing our SOLD series, and having heard a bit of what he intends to say I think it's going to speak directly into where we are as a community. If at all possible please don't miss hearing him!

Simon.

 

Thursday, January 23, 2014

All Leaders Meeting

Our next All Leaders Meeting is on Tuesday 28th January, from 7.45-9.30 pm. Normally this would only be open to Kerith leaders, but given the changes currently taking place on out staff team I want to open this meeting up to anyone who would like to come. I'll explain in more details why the changes are happening, as well as answering any questions people may have. I'll also talk about other things coming up in the life of Kerith, especially around how we are looking to get better in 2014.

Normally we'd hold these meetings in K2, but given the number of people who came to the last prayer meeting we've moved it to the Kerith Centre balcony. I know this isn't ideal for anyone who can't make it up the stairs but there isn't another space we can use - we will arrange a camera feed to the TV in reception for anyone who can't get up the stairs. We'll also serve tea and coffee at the start.

Finally parking may be an issue. If you can car share that would really help - we'll also attempt to get the surgery car park to give us some more space.

Simon.

Camera Operators Required!

As we look to get better at what we do in 2014 one of the areas we’ll be focussing on is that of volunteering.

Every Sunday a huge team of people serve to make our Sunday meetings happen. One of the areas we need to grow this year is the camera team. What we do at the moment helps those in the Kerith Centre balcony, and the areas around the building such as reception and the room for nursing mums, engage with the meetings. As the church grows this will become an even more significant ministry area, as in the future will be live streaming our meetings to Sandhurst (or from Sandhurst to Bracknell), to the internet and who knows where else!

If you have an interest in photography or video cameras, or just an eye for what looks right on screen or in a photograph, we’d love to give you the opportunity to be trained to use the church camera equipment. Following this, if appropriate, we’d love you to take the next step and join our team to help facilitate all the great Sundays and events that happen here at Kerith.

If cameras are not your thing but you’re a clear communicator, have an eye for what looks right on screen and can work well under pressure maybe you’d like to look into operating our vision mixer. You’d be responsible during meetings for choosing what shots or images go on screen in the auditorium and the plasmas around the building.

The training will all take place on Thursday 30th January from 7.45-10.00 pm in the Kerith Centre. For more information contact creative.arts@kerith.co.uk. If you're at all interested please come along as this is a great way both to serve and to meet new people.

Simon.

 

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Book Your 24-7 Prayer Slots

It's not long now until we start our month of 24-7 prayer. The plan is to pray through the whole of February, following the pattern established by Pete Greig and others in the 24-7 prayer movement (if you'd like to know more of the history of the 24-7 prayer movement then I thoroughly recommend Pete's book "Red Moon Rising".

As I write the upstairs of the Studio (the small building on the Kerith Centre car park where the creative team hang out) is being converted into a prayer room, creating an environment which will hopefully inspire us to pray. We're getting a keypad fitted to the door of the studio to allow 24 hour access to the building without anyone needing a key.

Throughout February the room can be booked in one hour slots. You can either book it for exclusive use, which means you'll have it all to yourself, or you can book a slot where others are free to join you. All the bookings are done online here. When you book you'll get a confirmation email, and then an hour before your slot starts you'll get either an email or a text with the key code to get into the studio. If you know people who don't have access to the internet then please let them know they can book by phoning the Kerith Centre reception (01344 862699), although they will need a mobile phone number to get the text with the key code in.

If you're facing an issue at the moment, perhaps as we spoke about on Sunday one that is causing you anxiety, why not book some slots in the prayer room to take the issue to God. Or perhaps you'd like to gather with others to pray together for a specific ministry, or just spend an hour praising God or listening to him. Whatever it is I encourage you to book in, especially some of those early morning slots which may not be quite so popular!

Any questions then please ask. Otherwise happy booking :)

Simon.

 

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Anything and Every

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIVUK)

If you were around on Sunday you'll have heard me speak on the verses above (if not you can listen to it here). One of the things I said (slightly jokily) was that having studied the true meaning in the Greek of the words for 'anything' and 'every' my conclusion was that those words really do mean 'anything' and 'every'. These words are absolutely key. If 'anything' actually means 'most things', or 'every situation' actually means 'the majority of situations' then the verse stops being a promise and becomes a self help suggestion which may or not work depending on your circumstances.

Well I'm not a Greek scholar, but I do want to reassure you that those words mean exactly what we would naturally take them to mean.

'Do not be anxious about anything' is actually just two words in the Greek, 'méden merimnate' which I'm told literally translates to 'nothing be-ye-worrying-about'. If you want to see where else méden is used in the Bible and how it gets translated then you'll probably find this fascinating!

Similarly 'but in every situation' is three words, 'all en panti' which literally translates to 'but in everything'. Here is a definition of the word for everything, and where else the Bible uses it. When Paul wrote everything he really meant to say everything.

So this week God doesn't want you to be anxious about anything. Regardless of how big or small it is, whether you created the situation or it just happened to you, whether it impacts you or someone you love, whether it's just happened or has been going on for years and whether or not the people around you think it's a big deal. Whatever it is take it to God in prayer and his peace can be yours.

Simon.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Prayer Meetings

One of our focusses this year is getting better at prayer. I wanted to remind you of a couple of opportunities to do that.

This Wednesday evening (15th January) is our monthly church prayer meeting at 8pm in K2. There is some church news I want to share in the context of the prayer meeting so please get there if you possibly can to hear it. Before that prayer meeting the social justice team will be meeting to pray at 7pm in the K2 lounge. I'll be at both so hope to see you there.

Then in February we're going to have a month of 24/7 prayer, planning to pray through the whole of February. We also be meeting as a community on each of the Wendesday evenings in February, meeting in Bracknell on the 5th, 19th and 26th and Sandhurst on the 12th. We'll have more details on Sunday, but in the meantime please out the Wednesdays in your diary and plan to be there if you possibly can.

All very exciting.

Simon.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Sold - Verses to meditate on

We started our latest series "Sold" on Sunday - looking at areas of life which God promises to us as followers of Jesus, but which we need to take hold of if we are to make them truly ours. If you missed it then the podcast is here.

One of the keys to laying hold of those areas is meditating on the Bible, and I suggested some verses to meditate on in relation to some different areas of life we might want to make ours. Why not use one of these verses as a beginning point for mediating. As you're doing that listen for, and be obedient to, whatever God says to you through it.

I'd love to hear how that goes for anyone, or any other reflection on how God is at work in your life.

Simon.

-----

  • community - One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24 NIVUK)
  • peace - Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:6, 7 NIVUK)
  • identity - Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God. (John 1:12, 13 NIVUK)
  • forgiveness - And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. (Matthew 6:12 NIVUK)
  • freedom - Jesus replied, ‘Very truly I tell you, everyone who sins is a slave to sin. Now a slave has no permanent place in the family, but a son belongs to it for ever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. (John 8:34-36 NIVUK)
  • joy - Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is holy to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’ (Nehemiah 8:10 NIVUK)
  • prosperity - Command those who are rich in this present world not to be arrogant nor to put their hope in wealth, which is so uncertain, but to put their hope in God, who richly provides us with everything for our enjoyment. Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. In this way they will lay up treasure for themselves as a firm foundation for the coming age, so that they may take hold of the life that is truly life. (1 Timothy 6:17-19 NIVUK)
  • health - Is anyone among you ill? Let them call the elders of the church to pray over them and anoint them with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer offered in faith will make the ill person well; the Lord will raise them up. (James 5:14, 15 NIVUK)
  • hope - May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. (Romans 15:13 NIVUK)
  • purpose - For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. (Ephesians 2:10 NIVUK)
  • authority - Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.’ (Matthew 28:18-20 NIVUK)

 

Friday, January 10, 2014

Where's LinK Gone?

The astute amongst you will have noticed that we didn't give out a new LinK magazine in December (for anyone who has never heard of LinK it's the Kerith magazine we've done termly for the last 4 years - you can catch up on all the past issues here).

The LinK magazine has served two primary purposes for us as a community:

  • As great place to tell stories of lives being changed in and through Kerith and talking more generally about what we're up to as a church
  • As a way of finding out about all the forthcoming events which are coming up in our community

As we reviewed LinK, and got feedback from people reading it, we realised it was serving the first purpose, as a place to tell stories, really well. However, in our rapidly changing world trying to have one place where we talked about everything coming up for the next 4 or 5 months wasn't working so well. We're therefore going to change what we do.

LinK will carry on, but primarily as a way of telling stories - as Rachel Hickson said on Sunday communicating the message which has come through our mess. Suzanne Whitton will continue to led the amazing team of volunteers producing LinK, but it will appear less frequently and probably have more pages. This will be a great resource, not only for us to be inspired by but also for us to give to other people.

To keep up to date with all the events and courses running at Kerith Community Church the Communication team are launching eReveal. This is an interactive email will be sent to you monthly with dates and times of our regular courses and one off events coming soon to Kerith. There will be links to the website, allowing you access to the relevant pages to find more information and sign up for courses easily.

The first one of these went out at the beginning of January. If you are already in our CCB* system you should have received the first one. If you're on CCB and didn't get it then try checking your spam folder - that's where mine ended up! If you aren't on CCB then you can sign up here, or follow the link on the ‘What’s on’ page of our kerith website.

Finally we will have some paper copies of eReveal at the Kerith Centre reception for anyone who isn't on email. If you know anyone in that category please let them know so they can continue to be kept updated.

We’d love any feedback to this esend so email ideas or comments to comms@kerith.co.uk

Thanks,

Simon.

*CCB stands for Church Community Builder – an online tool to connect with others in our church. If you're new to Kerith CCB or have forgotten your password, register a request to join (it takes about a week for us to process these). There are easy to use instructions and your privacy is guaranteed. Please read more and sign up here.

 

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A morning with John Burke

On the morning of Saturday 8th February our good friend John Burke is going to be speaking at a Willow Creek seminar we are hosting in Bracknell.

It would be true to say that John, through his books and more recently through us getting to know him personally, has been on of the primary influencers of the culture of Kerith. When I first read his book "No Perfect People Allowed" I realised he was not only describing many of the challenges we were facing at the time as a church, but also helping us to chart a course through them. His phrase "come as you are, but don't stay that way" describes much of the ethos of what we are trying to achieve. And the idea that we can't change anybody - all we can do is create an environment, the soil, where God can do what only He can do - shapes much of our leadership and disciple making thinking.

The morning runs from 9am through to 1.30pm, and is hopefully going to be a small enough gathering that we can get to interact with John, his ideas and his experience. Several people have asked me whether they can come if they're not leading a church. Absolutely. John has so much to teach all of us about how we build churches, ministries and small groups which genuinely impact the culture rather than just gathering a holy huddle. If that's your heart to I'd strongly encourage you to be there.

All the details, including booking details and loads of videos of John and Gateway, the church he leads in Austin Texas, are on the Willow website.

We were hoping John would be able to speak at Kerith on the Sunday, but sadly he's flying off to his next engagement on the Sunday morning, so if you want to catch him this is your opportunity!

Hope to see you there,

Simon.

 

Monday, January 6, 2014

Creative Arts Bucket Meeting

In 2014 our Creative Arts team have been tasked with getting better at sourcing great ideas. One of their key strategies for doing this is to create a place where they can gather ideas from the wider church on subjects such as sermon series, music, drama, events, stage design etc. Three times a year, Kerith Creatives are going to host an event called a “Bucket Meeting” where anyone (that means you!) can come along and throw any ideas you’ve ever had about Kerith into the “Creative Bucket”. To start with, we’ll be specifically looking at Sundays and Events, but as time goes on, we’ll look to expand to ideas for other areas of church life.

The first Bucket Meeting is on Monday 13th January 2014 at the Kerith Centre on the Bracknell site at 8pm-9.30pm. For those of you who’d like some thinking time before hand, below are the topics we’ll be capturing ideas for in the upcoming meeting:

  • REAL
  • Generosity
  • Christmas 2014
  • Promises of God
  • Easter
  • Mothers Day
  • Ideas for Preaching Topics
  • General Ideas

If you plan to come along, feel free to bring anything you’ve seen or collected that you think might be helpful, either in digital or print format (as long as it fits through the front doors!), or just bring yourself and brainstorm as we chat. If you have ideas but are unable to attend, please send your ideas into creative.arts@kerith.co.uk before 13 January 2014. We’re really excited to gather a wider pool of ideas from you all and are looking forward to innovating together as a community.

Simon.

 

Saturday, January 4, 2014

My Favourite Apps - #8 - Waze

When iPhones and other smartphones first made their appearance, if you wanted to use your phone as a satnav you needed to spend £50 or more to buy the TomTom app which was pretty much the only satnav app available. That's all changed now with a whole host of free satnav apps, including Google maps and after quite a few false starts Apple's own maps app.
Waze is another one of those many satnav apps, but what makes Waze different is that it relies on information provided by the community of people using it to make it better. So for instance as you're driving around it will spot if you're going slowly and use that information to help others find a quicker route. You can tell it if you're stuck in traffic because of an accident or road works. You can enter the price of petrol at local petrol stations so that other people can find the cheapest deals. You can even see where other Waze users are around you and chat to them if you want.

There's something I really like about the idea of taking a regular app, and using the power of a community of people using it to make it do something even more powerful. I'm sure there's a really good sermon analogy in there somewhere!

Simon.

 

Friday, January 3, 2014

Rachel Hickson

Our good friend Rachel Hickson is with us for all 4 meetings on Sunday - she will be our first guest speaker to preach in both Bracknell and Sandhurst!

For anyone who hasn't heard Rachel before you can get a flavour of who she is from her bio here. I'm really excited to hear what she has to bring us with her prophetic edge as we start a New Year. Come expectant!

Simon.