Sunday, January 12, 2020

Resources for our Week of Prayer

For our first week of prayer and fasting we want to encourage everyone to focus on forming three habits:

  • Pray alone every day
  • Pray with others every week
  • Fast for breakthrough ever month
To support us all in forming these habits we've produced some resources to help. 

First of is our prayer guide which has thoughts on how to pray and fast, some themes for us to pray for each day of the week, ideas on how to pray with children and much more. If you didn't pick one up on Sunday there is an electronic version online

Secondly we're encouraging everyone to find a few minutes every day during the week to pray alone, and to for one of the days to find an hour to pray. To help with this hour we've recorded a guided hour of prayer. You can find it here, or if you're a Spotify user search for 'Kerith prayer' in Spotify and you'll find it there.

Thirdly on Wednesday 15th we've got our Kingdom Come night of prayer in Bracknell and West Wight. If you can't make it in person then when not consider getting together with others and watch the live stream.

I'll also be doing my prayercast (for want of a better name) on Monday to Thursday from 6.45-7am from Monday to Thursday. It's moved from my Facebook page to its own dedicated page.

You can find full details on all of this and more on the prayer page of our website. 



Wednesday, January 8, 2020

Our January 2020 Week of Prayer and Fasting

If you were at one of our gatherings on Sunday you'll have heard me talk about three habits I'm encouraging all of us to make part of our lives in 2020. These are:

  • Pray alone every day
  • Pray with others every week
  • Fast for breakthrough every month
We want to use our January week of prayer and fasting, which runs from Monday 13th to Sunday 19th January, to begin to make these habits something which becomes part of the natural rhythm of our lives. I'd encourage all of us during the week of prayer to:
  • Every day during the week of prayer find a few minutes to follow Jesus command in Matthew 6:6 to 'go into your room, close the door and pray to your Father'. The door doesn't have to be a physical door (I know that for many of us praying in nature is a great place to connect with God) but the door represents us finding a place where we remove ourselves from the distractions of other people, our phones, the washing pile - you know the stuff. If you don't have another plan for how to pray in that time I'd suggest just being silent for a bit, then reading slowly and thoughtfully through a psalm and after that have a conversation with God about whatever is real for you right now or has been prompted by your reading. 
  • Once during the week find an hour to get alone with God and pray. We're producing an hour of guided prayer which you can play on a phone or computer to take you through an hour using the Lord's Prayer as an outline - I'll post a link to it once it is available. We'll also have printouts of this on Sunday for anyone who can't get access to the audio version. You might want to consider booking the prayer room in Bracknell to do this, but if that doesn't work for you please find another place where you can be comfortable and undistracted for an hour. 
  • Come to our Kingdom Come night of prayer in Bracknell or West Wight on Wednesday 15th which runs from 7.30-9.30pm. If you can't make it in person we'll be live streaming it so you can join in remotely. (As an aside we've also started live streaming the 9.30am meeting from Bracknell every Sunday so you can always catch a Sunday Kerith meeting wherever you are in the world!).
  • Fast at some point during the week, and use the time you free up to pray. As you fast choose one area where you long to see breakthrough in 2020 and pray specifically into that area. It might be something in your own life, the life of somebody close to you or an issue where you'd love to see God break in. You can find some great guidelines on fasting here
There's much more we'll be saying about prayer throughout 2020. For the next four Sundays we are going to look at a model of prayer based on the Lord's Prayer which I think is going to be incredibly helpful. On Sunday 19th we're going to give everyone a prayer guide for 2020 with ideas on how to pray and fast throughout the year. You might even want to join me on one of my 6.45am Facebook prayer casts where a bunch of us gather from Monday to Thursday to pray. For now can I encourage all of us to think about how to make these three habits part of our lives, and if we're not doing them already start to form those habits in the week of prayer. 

I'm so excited for all that God is going to do in and through as we get closer to him. Thank you for coming on the journey with us. 


Thursday, December 19, 2019

New Year's Eve

I guess many of you will be in the process of deciding what to do on New Year's Eve with the possibility of parties to go to, family to visit, a trip to London to see the fireworks or maybe just an early night! Well I want to add to your options by letting you know we're going to be doing something new as a community to see in the New Year, which we'll be hosting in the Kerith Centre on our Bracknell site.

The evening will start at 9.30pm with food and games. We're inviting everyone to bring some food and drink to share (no alcohol please), although if for some reason you can't bring anything then please come anyway as I'm sure we'll have enough (if not Domino's Pizza is only a phone call away!).

Then from 10.30pm through till midnight we're going to have space to worship, thank God for 2019 and commit 2020 to him. I'm going to be hosting the evening and Sola Osinoiki will be back from Berlin to bring God's word to us.

Just before midnight we'll listen to Big Ben chime in the New Year, watch the fireworks from London and welcome in the New Year in style.

You can find all the details here. If you could also sign up for as many tickets as you need then that would be incredibly helpful, as at the moment we really have no idea how many people will want to come and we want to set the auditorium out in a way appropriate to the number coming. However, if you forget to sign up or decide to come at the last minute please come anyway!

In the meantime I hope all your Christmas celebrations are going well.



Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Kerith Carols reflections and plans for Sunday 22nd December

First of all I wanted to thank everyone who invited guests to last weekends Kerith Carols. We had an amazing time with eight meetings across our four sites. Including the 100 people who watched the live stream over 2,000 people experienced the Carols and the feedback has been hugely encouraging. I was incredibly proud of our teams who worked so hard to make it all happen, but even more proud of how so many of us had stepped out and invited friends, relatives, neighbours and workmates. Without guests these events are just a bunch of us singing some carols, but with guests they are an amazing opportunity to share the good news of Jesus. I know some will have had the disappointment of people turning down an invite or saying yes but not then making it, but that bit isn't our responsibility. Our responsibility is to have enough love and courage to give an invite and create a space where people can hear the gospel message. The rest is then up to them and the Holy Spirit. So well done!

This coming Sunday (22nd December) Blackwater Valley, Windsor and West Wight are meeting at 10.30 am as normal, but there are some changes for Bracknell where instead of the normal three meetings we have two.

The first will be at 10.30 am where we there will be farm animals for the children to look at before they go into kids work. We would also love it if children could come dressed as a nativity character or in a Christmas jumper, but there is no pressure if for any reason they can't or don't want to. For the adults we have hot drinks, mince pies and biscuits served in the Kerith Centre reception area. As on the other sites we will be singing carols and hearing a great message on the angels' song as recorded in Luke 2.

The second Sunday meeting in Bracknell is at 3.30 pm and will be a much more reflective gathering. Perhaps 2019 has been a tough year and you would like time to reflect on that, or maybe you just need some space to slow down in the middle of all the mayhem of Christmas. There will be readings, music, prayers and space to reflect on the hope of the Christmas story.

Wherever you are this Sunday please do all you can to either make it to one of our gatherings, or to another expression of the body of Christ near where you are.

I'll leave you with some more photos from our Kerith Carols. All but the second one from West Wight are taken by the brilliant Stuart Bailey. I'm very happy to acknowledge the West Wight photographer too (who I'm sure is also brilliant) if somebody can let me know who took it!



Wednesday, December 11, 2019

General Election Thoughts

This Thursday our nation votes to elect a new set of MPs, and through that a new Government. I have no idea what the outcome is going to be, or indeed what God wants the outcome to be. I'm very wary of those who declare with confidence that there is a particular party Christians should vote for, or that God is pro remain or pro brexit. However, I do know that there are some issues which God cares about deeply, and which we should therefore be passionate about too. In the light of that I have two encouragements for us.

The first is to vote (if you are eligible) and to use your vote wisely, even if you are in a constituency where the result seems inevitable. The Evangelical Alliance have a helpful page summarising the main policies of each of the main parties, along with an analysis of various policy areas and how Christians should engage with them. I'd encourage you as you consider the options to think not only about who will do us good as a nation, but in particular who will do the most good for those facing poverty and injustice. As a people called by God to 'act justly and love mercy' (Micah 6:8) this should be a priority for us as we decide how to vote.

Secondly and even more importantly let us pray, both on election day and in the months and years that follow, for our MPs, our Government and our Prime Minister. The Apostle Paul wrote to his spiritual son Timothy to say:

I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving
be made for all people – for kings and all those in authority, that we
may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.
This is good, and pleases God our Saviour, who wants all people to be saved
and to come to a knowledge of the truth.

1 Timothy 2:1-4

Paul is writing to Timothy in Ephesus, which at this time was under Roman rule. Those in authority, from Caesar down, were deeply ungodly and at times extremely hostile to Christianity. But Paul knew that through prayer God could still use those rulers to bring peace, godliness and holiness, as well as creating the environment where the gospel would flourish. By praying we declare that our hope is in God, not in our politicians, that only he can bring the change we long for in our nation, and that he will do that as we pray and act to see his kingdom come and his will being done.



Monday, December 2, 2019

Thanksgiving Service for Mike Barnett

Many of us will remember Mike Barnett who was a part of Kerith for a number of years. I wanted to let you know the sad news that Mike passed away on Thursday 7th November. Mike was a great servant to our church community over the years he was with us, amongst other things leading a small group and being one of our Sunday building administrators.

There will be a Thanksgiving Service for Mike's life on Friday 13th December at 1.30pm at Easthampstead Park Crematorium which I'll be taking. Everyone is warmly invited.

Please be praying for Mike's children George, Dominic and Amy and all those will be missing Mike. That they would know God's love, comfort and strength at what is a tough time for them all.


Thursday, November 28, 2019

Thanksgiving Services for Joan Dunn

Our dear friend Joan Dunn passed away on Saturday 2nd November. Whenever I think of Joan I'm reminded of the two elderly ladies who through their prayer ministry were the catalyst for the Hebridean Revival. Joan was a prayer warrior with the same spirit and heart. Never seeking the limelight (I'm not sure I ever saw her on one of our platforms) she quietly interceded for our church community over many decades. Catrina and I received numerous cards from Joan over the years, each one thanking us for our leadership, telling us how grateful she was to be part of our church and assuring us of her prayers for us and our children. Even in her final days she would invite everyone who visited her to pray and share communion with her. As we recognise all God is doing in and through our community I am convinced that so much of it is the result of the prayers of Joan and others who share her anointing for intercession. She is hugely missed.

We are holding a Celebration of Life Service for Joan at 3pm on Sunday 8th December (what would have been Joan's 96th birthday) in the Kerith Centre, followed by refreshments in K2. Everyone is very warmly invited.

Please be praying for Joan's daughter Laura, and all in our community who are deeply missing Joan, her sense of fun, her smile, her deep trust in Jesus and her prayers. Let her life be an inspiration to all of to seek the deeper things of God.