Thursday, April 28, 2016

Serenje Update

I think you'll enjoy this update from Tearfund on our partnership with them in Serenje in Zambia.

Those of you with good memories will remember that we have two ongoing projects in Serenje:

The first is the building of a dormitory, which when fully up and running will house 100 girls who otherwise would have been living in a slum area.

The second is what we've been calling Umoja, but which now seems to have the less catchy but more descriptive title of "Church and Community Mobilisation"! As a church we're giving £15,000 a year to help sponsor an Umoja project across the whole of Zambia which will have Serenje as one of its focus areas. The Reverend Daniel Ngulube who has written the report is employed by Tearfund to run that project.

We should now get these reports at regular intervals - each time we get one I'll post a blog with a link so we can all get to enjoy them!

Let's keep sowing generously :)

Simon.

 

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Eagerly desire the gift of prophecy - enough to park in Charles Square!

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”

1 Corinthians 14:1

Tonight is the first of three Wednesday nights where Russ Kline is going to be training and equipping us to move in the gift of prophecy. We're starting at 7.45pm in the Kerith Centre - I'm really excited for what I think is going to move us forward as a community in our use of the gifts of the Spirit.

Given the number of people who came to hear Russ on Sunday night, and others who couldn't make it on Sunday but I know are coming tonight, the Kerith Centre car park is likely to be overwhelmed! That's without taking into account that we've also got Freedom in Christ and Peach & Coconut courses running tonight. We might end up having to do this:

To prevent that I'm asking for as many people as possible to park in Charles Square car park in the town centre. I know that we all think that we're the exception who fully deserves to park at the Kerith Centre, but unless you're diabled, a Kerith car park badge holder, or a woman coming on your own the rest of us are more than capable of safely making the less than 10 minute walk from Charles Square - just think of all those calories you'll be burning off if you need any additional motivation.

For anyone who might be tempted not to come because of the extra walk then I'd strongly encourage you to press through! I've been in Africa where people will walk for hours in the blazing heat to get to church whereas we often get put off just by a bit of rain or not being able to park right next to the front door. In Paul's command to eagerly desire spiritual gifts there is a sense of being willing to pay the cost of pursuing the gift - let the walk tonight and the £2.20 (I think) for the car park be part of the cost for you. You'll more than reap what you sow :)

Hope to see you later,

Simon.

 

Friday, April 22, 2016

Worship and Russ Kline

On Sunday morning we're going to continue looking at the subject of worship, interviewing some of our worship leaders to hear their reflections both on worship as a lifestyle and on the way we worship on a Sunday. It will be great to get to know them better as they're an amazing group of people who normally only get to express themselves through song - I know we'll learn lots from hearing some of their words!

On Sunday evening Russ Kline will be with us, giving a practical demonstration of prophetic ministry. This will be at 6pm in the Kerith Centre on our Bracknell site. If possible please park at the college as we're expecting lots of people to want to come to this event. During the evening we'll also be taking up on offering to help support Russ and his ministry - please come prepared to hear from God and to bless Russ.

We're going to follow this up with three workshops on moving in the prophetic, run by Russ. These will be on Wednesday 27th April, 4th May and 11th May, starting at 8pm in the Kerith Centre. They should be excellent so please plan to make as many of them as you can.

Hope to see you on Sunday - be there on time :)

Much love,

Simon.

 

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

March Finance Figures

As you can see below our giving in March was excellent - praise God. A huge thank you to everyone who gave for your incredible generosity. It wasn't too many years ago that we were praying for £10,000 a week in the offering. It's amazing to think that we're now pushing towards more than twice that - let's be praying for that to quickly become become the norm for us as community.

In addition to that we also received £25,500 from our March generous gifts days. Again a huge thank you to everyone who gave.

The surplus in March means that we're now ahead of budget for 2016 by £3,686 which is very encouraging.

If that surplus continues to grow it will allow us to do things in 2016 which we've currently had to put off until 2017, including amongst other things:

  • Equipment we'd like to buy for our kids work and tech teams
  • Improvements we'd like to make to the buildings we use in Bracknell and Sandhurst
  • Overseas students we'd like to invite to join Academy in September
  • Trips we'd like to make to invest in other churches both in the UK and overseas

All of that would make a huge difference, so let's be praying for the surplus to continue growing as the year goes on.

Simon

 

Friday, April 15, 2016

True Worshippers

“God is spirit, and his worshippers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.’”

John 4:24 (NIVUK)

Over the next three weeks we're looking at the subject of worship, starting this Sunday where I'll be talking about what Jesus had to say about the nature of true worship.

Part of what makes us unique from animals is that we're all prewired to be worshippers. Everybody worships something - what should our worship as followers of Jesus look like? Come on Sunday and find out!

Hope to see you there,

Simon.

 

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Eagerly Desire Spiritual Gifts, Especially Prophecy

“Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy.”

1 Corinthians 14:1 NIVUK

In 1 Corinthians the apostle Paul is writing to a church which has misused spiritual gifts, seeing them as a badge of maturity and a way of proving their superiority over others. In response we might expect Paul to tell them to stop using gifts of the Spirit, as they seem to be doing more harm than good. Instead his diagnosis is to use them properly, in love, for the mutual benefit of one another. Not just to be open to Spiritual gifts, but to eagerly desire them. Especially prophecy.

We want to that to be true of us too - that we as a community would be growing in spiritual gifts and in particular prophecy. To help with that we've invited a good friend of ours, Russ Kline, to work with us over the next few weeks to help us grow in the gift of prophecy. Many of you will remember Russ being with us last year and the impact he made, but his involvement in Kerith actually goes back over 20 years. Many of us have had our lives significantly shaped by prophetic words we have received from Russ.

Russ will be with us at our 6pm meeting in Bracknell on Sunday 24th April. This will be a meeting for everyone who calls Kerith their home, so if you normally go to one of the morning meetings in Bracknell or Sandhurst I'd love you to come to the evening too. I've asked Russ if on the Sunday he can focus on a demonstration of what the prophetic gift looks like in the church today.

Then on the following three Wednesdays (27th April, 4th & 11th May) we're going to have prophetic workshops where Russ is going to teach on "Raising up a Prophetic People". These are open to anyone who wants to grow in the gift of prophecy, whether you've never moved in prophecy before or you're someone recognised within Kerith as having a prophetic gift. Russ has an ability to teach on the prophetic in a way which prevents it being weird or wacky, but instead makes it very accessible to people like you and me, helping us see how God's gifts can flow through who we naturally are. I'd love as many of us as possible to get to these worskshops. They're free to attend, and will be held in the Kerith Centre at our Bracknell site starting at 8pm. Car parking will be limited so if you can car share (or walk or come by bike!) that would be a big help.

Hope to see you there,

Simon.

 

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Jesus Reinstates Peter & Generous Gift Days Total

For anyone who missed it on Sunday you can watch my sermon from Sunday morning by either following this link, or if it works in your browser clicking play in the box below. For me the idea of God taking me backwards in order to go forwards has been one of the themes of my life, and I believe is key for us as we seek to live the abundant life God has for each one of us. I hope you find the message helpful.

 

On Sunday we also announced the total giving for our March Generous Gifts Days, which last Friday stood at £23,833. A huge thank you to everyone who gave - your generosity will make a difference to the lives of people locally, nationally and internationally. That means in total we've raised just over £85,000, of which we've already given away £55,000. We'll be talking about how to give away the remaining £30,000 over the coming days - I'll keep you updated on that.

We are still around £15,000 short of our original target of £100,000. Gifts are still coming in which will help get us nearer the target, but if anyone would like to help us get to the goal then you can find details on how to do that, including how to give online, here.

Catrina and I are off today to Spring Harvest in Minehead for a few days, as guests of the team there. I used to go when I first became a Christian, so it will be interesting to see how it has changed. We'll be back for Sunday though so we'll hope to see you then. Ben and Heather Pocock are also going to be at Spring Harvest speaking at one of the youth venues - please be praying for them.

Hope you have a great week,

Simon.