Saturday, April 25, 2015
Friday, April 24, 2015
In case you missed the finance update we gave on Sunday I thought I'd repeat it here.
As you'll see above our offerings for March were £1,828 above budget, which is excellent. A huge thank you to everyone who has given, whether in the offering on a Sunday, through direct bank giving, online or in any other way.
Our offerings from January to March are £10,868 behind budget. That's almost entirely due to our January offering being around £12,000 below budget. None of this is cause for worry, it's a pattern we see most years, but please join with me in praying that in April we'll be able to clear the deficit and get into surplus.
Our reserves are also relatively healthy, now standing at just over £170,000 up from £140,000 at the start of the year. Our goal is to have £250,000 of reserves which would equate to around 3 months of our expenditure. Just as a reminder we seek to hold reserves for three reasons:
- To allow us to cope with fluctuations in our income. Having reserves is one of the reasons we're not too concerned about our offerings to the end of March being below budget, although a much bigger reason is that God is in charge and He's never failed to provide for our needs!
- To allow us to deal with unexpected and unbudgeted bills. One example of this is that this year we're going to have to do a major repair to the Kerith Centre roof, possibly costing as much as £120,000. Our reserves will allow us to do this when we need to without requiring a gift day or having to save up the funds, although we will need to look to build up our reserves again once it's done.
- To allow us to respond quickly to opportunities. We want to be able to respond quickly to opportunities which unexpectedly come our way, such as buying land or buildings or taking a new ministry opportunity.
I hope that all makes sense. If you do have any questions then please just ask as we want to be as open about our finances as possible.
Thursday, April 23, 2015
Hopefully everyone survived Sunday's preach on a Biblical understanding of sex! I wanted to suggest some ideas on how people could follow up on what was talked about.
First for singles. On Sunday 17th May I want to devote the preach to talking about what it looks like to be Christian and single. The more I reflect on this issue, talk in depth with singles in Kerith and read what the Bible has to say about being single (which is incredibly positive) I realise this is one of those issues both the wider church, and Kerith, has not handled well. I hope to at least begin to address that on the 17th. This is a message which all of us need to hear, so please don't opt out if you're not currently single!
For couples who are dating (or whatever the latest term is for people who are going out together but not yet married) I'd suggest listening to the version of the preach I gave at the 6pm, where I talked about practical steps you can take to stay sexually pure.
Finally for married couples, if you missed it then listen to the morning version of the preach which I addresses more towards married couples. Why not find some time this week as a couple to have a conversation about your sex life, how you both feel about it and what steps, if any, you could take to improve it. Beyond that I'd recommend a couple of excellent books - The Meaning of Marriage by Tim Keller which I quoted from on Sunday, and A Celebration of Sex by Dr Douglas Rosenau.
Hope that helps.
This Sunday is baptisms so we're skipping a week in the series. We've currently got people being baptised in all three meetings in Bracknell, but not in Sandhurst this time round. After that we're talking about pornography on Sunday 3rd May, same sex attraction on the 10th May and as I've already said being single on the 17th May. Please pray for me as I prepare for those talks :)
Monday, April 20, 2015
One of our prayers for our Sandhurst site has been that God would help us to reach the Nepalese community in Sandhurst. It's amazing how God often answers our prayers in ways we don't expect, and that's certainly true this time. At the start of this year the council asked us whether we'd be willing to host English conversation classes on our Bracknell site, which we said we'd be delighted to do. These are now running on Monday mornings, and we have over 20 people attending each week, the majority of whom are from the Nepalese community. How cool is that!
They are a brilliant group of people, very keen to learn and very grateful. We are now looking to start up an evening group which will aim to help build community and improve people’s English. People who struggle to communicate in English can often be quite marginalised and the church has a brilliant opportunity to bring people into community and help them practically with their English. We would love some volunteers to help build relationship with the people attending and to converse with them in groups to improve their English skills. No previous experience necessary! Please email Pip Reeve if you’d be at all interested in being involved. If you don't know Pip she's part of our social justice team, working tirelessly in the background to keep the wheels of social justice turning - a real star.
A similar conversation class is going to be starting in Sandhurst, which is being hosted by our friends at Sandhurst Baptist Church. If you'd be interested in being involved in that then please let Pip know and she'll put you in touch with them.
Thanks so much,
Saturday, April 18, 2015
As part of our fulfillment of Jesus instruction to make disciples we've spent the last few months thinking about the courses we offer, and how they all fit together in a discipleship process. One of the holes we identified was a course which would work both as a follow on from Alpha and a starting point for anyone new to Kerith. This course would both examine what it means to be a follower of Jesus, and explain some of the DNA of Kerith Community Church.
As we thought about this we realised that the book I wrote a while ago, The Peach and the Coconut, included chapters on the material the course needed to cover. We've therefore turned the book into a 10 week course. Each week there's a 15-20 minute talk from me (recorded on DVD) on an aspect of Christian life. There are then a series of discussion questions, and a study on a passage from the Bible relevant to the talk, which will help people to go deeper with the material.
The course starts on 22nd April and is running in both Bracknell and Sandhurst. You can see details on all the courses starting over the next few weeks here, where you can also sign up for any of them. If you've recently become a Christian, or are new to Kerith, then I'd really recommend this course to you.
If you want to get a flavour of what the DVDs are like then take a look at the intro video at the start of this blog (if it doesn't work you can find it here). It was produced by our friends at Medianerd made up of Kerith regulars Jonathan Horne, Villu Vares and James Hosker.
Friday, April 17, 2015
On Sunday we're continuing our Satisfied series, exploring sex and sexuality. This week I'm talking about God's design for sex, how that contrasts with the world's views and what that means for singles, married couples and people who are dating.
I know that for a variety of reasons this can be a painful subject for some. If that's you can I please encourage you to still come, as my aim is to preach this subject in a way which is both full of grace at the same time as being clear about God's truth. My prayer is that we will all find hope in what I have to say.
Also a note to any parents who bring their children into the adult meetings that I will be talking about sex in an open way. I won't be doing anything more explicit than reading out a couple of sections of Songs of Solomon, although even that can surprise people with some of its language and symbolism.
For anyone with teenagers I'd really encourage you to do all you can to get them there. They are so bombarded with all that the world would want to say to them about sex and, in my view at least, desparately need to be exposed to Biblical truth.
Hope to see you on Sunday,
Friday, April 10, 2015
On Sunday we start a new series called Satisfied. Over the course of the next few weeks we're going to look at various aspects of sex and sexuality, including marriage and singleness, pornography and the internet, same sex attraction and wherever else God might take us. It's one of those series where I'm hoping that the feedback and questions that arise over the weeks will shape where the series goes, so please let me know what you're thinking as we go through.
Much of what lies at the root of our world's obsession with sex is a sense of dissatisfaction with our own lives and what we're experiencing. On Sunday we're going to take a look at what Jesus has to say about the root of that dissatisfaction, and how we can discover true satisfaction in life.
Hope to see you on Sunday!
Saturday, April 4, 2015
As many of you will now Andy and Mickey Partington (along with their children Daniel, Jemimah, Phoebe and JJ) will soon be moving to Bolivia in order to start a project like Yeldall Manor, the drug and alcohol centre based near Reading we work with, down there. Their long-term goal is to then see lots of these projects started all over the developing world! For a taster of what Novō is all about check out www.novocommunities.org
As a church community I'd love for as many of us as possible to stand with Andy and Mickey in all they're doing. One of the very best ways we can do that is to come along to their Novō Information evening on Tuesday 21st April. It’s going to be a really engaging and exciting evening which will start with cheese and wine, and include a mixture of film, interviews, and Q&A. There will also be information on how you can support Novō practically and prayerfully. The evening will start at 7.45pm, and the programme will finish promptly at 9.30pm.
If you need more information about the evening please email Andy & Mickey, or if you know them speak to Sharon Klitgaard, Atarah Rehan, Jonathan Horne or Ian Hudell who are all both part of Kerith and Novō Trustees.
Hope to see you there!
Wednesday, April 1, 2015
Not long now to Easter!
Our theme this year for our Easter meetings is Chosen.
On Good Friday we're meeting in Sandhurst at 4pm and Bracknell at 7pm, looking at how Jesus chose the cross. This is going to be lead by Liam Parker, and will have a contemplative feel to it. As part of our time together we'll be sharing communion - not to be missed!
Then on Easter Sunday we're going to look at how through the Jesus death and resurrection God chose us. For me being chosen by God is one of the most amazing truths to impact our lives - I can't wait to get to unpack some of what that practically means for each one of us.
If you can possibly make it then please join with us on both Friday and Sunday as we celebrate the pivotal event in the whole of human history.