Thursday, February 20, 2020
I know that many of us are living with a growing longing for and expectation of revival. For God to come and revive us as individuals, as the church, as a nation and then for that to spread to the nations.
To feed that desire I'm encouraging all of us to engage with a series of Lent devotionals which have been produced by the Wildfires team. Starting from Wednesday 26th February these give a morning and an evening reflection, based on a combination of the psalms and the journals of John Wesley.
They're available to buy for £3 from our sites on Sunday, you can order a copy from Wildfires and there's a free online version. I'll also be basing my prayercast around them for the 40 days of lent. We'll also use our next Kingdom Come night of prayer on the 22nd April to focus on praying for revival.
Tuesday, February 11, 2020
Many of you will know that in September 2019 Kerith entered into partnership with the Westminster Theological Centre (WTC) to host a Thames Valley Hub where people can study part time for everything from a Certificate in Higher Education all the way through to an MA in Kingdom Theology. All of the courses are part time so available to anyone, and involve a mixture of hub evenings which we host on our Bracknell site and two residentials which are up in Telford.
We currently have 16 students in our hub, of which I'm one! I'm doing a two year Graduate Diploma, which is aimed at people who already have a degree in some subject other than theology, and is pitched at final year degree level. I'm absolutely loving the studying, and feel it's having an impact both in my personal relationship with God and in my preaching and leadership of Kerith. The essay writing has been a stretch for me (I've never written an essay in my life) but is proving a great discipline in forcing me to think and read at a much deeper level than I'd ever normally do. From Kerith we've also got two of our site pastors, Heather Pocock and Leon Johnson, along with two people from our deaf community and a number of others studying.
For anyone who thinks they might be interested in studying with WTC we've got a taster evening coming up, starting at 7pm on Wednesday 19th February in the K2 building at our Bracknell site. There will be an opportunity to meet Lucy Peppiatt, the principal of WTC, along with the current students and Karen Dack who leads our hub. You'll hear some sample lectures and have an opportunity to ask any questions you may have. Coming along doesn't commit you to anything!
If you have any inkling at all that you might be interested in going deeper in your knowledge of God through the scriptures I'd strongly encourage you to come. And if you have friends, either in Kerith or in other churches in the area, who you think might be interested please invite them too. It's free - you can sign up and get all the details here.
Hope to see you next Wednesday!
Thursday, January 23, 2020
We stared the vision fund around five years ago when we were wondering whether we should extend the buildings on our Bracknell site. In the end we concluded that wasn't the right thing to do, but the money we have raised has allowed us to do a whole load of other things, including:
- Becoming debt free
- Launching our new sites in Windsor and West Wight, including all the staff, equipment and building rental costs
- Purchasing all the equipment to allow our BV site to move from Sandhurst to the Village Hotel in Farnborough (pictured above)
- Buying a portakabin in Windsor to make more space for kids work
- Improving the buildings on our Bracknell site, including renovating the K2 kitchen
- Giving away 10% of the money raised to other churches and charities, both in the UK and overseas
I want to say a huge thank you to everyone who has given. Hopefully you can see the impact your giving has made, and get a sense of the eternal fruit which it has already produced and will continue to produce for many years in the lives of the people being reached at each of our sites.
This year we are looking to raise another £220,000 in order to do all the things we sense God has put on our hearts to do this year. This includes continuing to fund our Windsor and West Wight sites, making further improvements to the facilities at our Bracknell site and setting up a BV midweek venue if we can find one. The vision fund gifts days will be on:
- 23rd February & 1st March
- 31st May & 7th June
- 18th & 25th October
Please can you put those dates in your diary, and in advance of each of the gift days be thinking about and asking God what to give. Thank you.
We are going to close the vision fund at the end of 2020, and from then on let our sites have their own gift days if there is something they would like to raise money for (obviously in consultation with the elders and trustees). This will give people greater visibility of what they are giving to, and give our sites more freedom to decide what they want to invest in. That said there may also be occasions where we do a gift day across all our sites, for instance if we wanted to raise the money to start a new site.
Hopefully this is all clear, but if you have any questions then please ask.
Sunday, January 12, 2020
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
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
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
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!