Wednesday, January 30, 2013

A Message from Krystyna Lysakowska

Krystyna Lysakowska has asked me to pass this message on to our community to thank everyone who has supported her over the years of her daughter Karen's illness, and in the weeks since Karen died. It was moving to see so many from our community at the thanksgiving last Friday, and to know that so many have been praying for Krystyna and have written messages of support to her over the last couple of weeks. Thank you.



It is very hard to find words to express my gratitude to so many of you who prayed, loved and gave practical support through the weeks, months and years of Karen’s illness. It is even harder to write about my feelings when I think of the way in which you helped me following her death. The thanksgiving service last Friday was such a lovely way to say good bye to Karen and to remember her as she really was. A beautiful and God loving person. I am very aware that many people contributed to the occasion in various way and it would be impossible to thank you all individually, but please accept my thanks whether you wrote, spoke to me, prayed or were involved in the practical arrangements for the service.


With gratitude and love in Christ,



Monday, January 28, 2013

All Leaders Reminder

This Tuesday (29th January) is our next All Leaders Meeting. We gather together all of our leaders once a term to share vision and news, and to talk through issues we are facing as a community. It's also an opportunity to spend time with one another, meet up with old friends and make some new ones. The evening starts with cheese and wine at 7.45pm in K2 and will go through to about 9.30pm.

If you're a leader, or an apprentice leader, then you should have received an invite for Tuesday. However, given the rate of new leaders coming through people sometimes don't get an invite, so if you're one of those people then please consider yourself invited and come along on Tuesday. Partners of leaders are invited too.

This Tuesday amongst other things I'm going to talk more about our plans for a new site in Sandhurst. We'll also have time at the end to do some Q&A.

Hope you have a great week.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

The IF Campaign

Last night Andy Jackson, Zoe Hayes and I were invited up to London by Tearfund for the launch of the IF Campaign, a united attempt by over 100 charities, aid organisations and faith groups to persuade the leaders of the G8 nations, who are meeting in the UK this summer, to act to bring an end to world hunger in our generation.

Today over 870 million people will go to bed not having had enough to eat. And this year over 2 million children will die of malnutrition. Yet there is enough food in the World to feed everyone.

As a church we know the reality of this directly, both through our Bracknell Foodbank and through all we done in helping thousands of people in Serenje know where their next meal is coming from. This is an opportunity for us to get involved in campaigning for what we've been involved in on a local level, both in Bracknell and in Zambia, to be worked out globally.

We'll be talking about this more in the coming months, but for now I'd encourage you to take a look at the information on the Tearfund website and get a better idea of what the campaign is all about. And every time you see something on the news, either about world hunger or about the IF campaign, to pray for the God of justice to intervene through us in the lives of all those people who tonight will go to bed hungry.


Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Gordon MacDonald

Our good friend Gordon MacDonald will be preaching at Kerith on the evening of Sunday 3rd February. The meeting will start at 7pm, with tea and coffee served from 6pm.

Many will remember Gordon, and his delightful wife Gail (who sadly isn't travelling with him this time), from his previous visits to us. He is one of the most insightful, wise and warm hearted people I have ever met, and it will be a privilege to have him with us again. You can read more about Gordon here.

He's actually in the UK for the Willow Creek iDisciple conference which is running over the following Monday and Tuesday - it's not too late to book in if you want to hear even more of Gordon, as well as James Emery White and Mindy Caliguire.

Hopefully this will be one of those Sundays when you'll want to come out twice, hearing Janine Jackson speaking on "Keep Thankful" in the morning and then Gordon in the evening.

Hope to see you there,



Monday, January 21, 2013

This Week's Prayer Meeting

Just a reminder that we'll be meeting again to pray this Wednesday from 8-9pm in the Kerith Centre. Lee Layton-Matthews will be leading the evening, following on from his excellent preach on Sunday on the importance of learning to "Be still" as we pray. The evenings have been great so far - don't miss this one.

Can I also encourage you to sign up for blog series which is going alongside the 40 days of prayer and fasting. You can sign up for it here just by entering your email address in the sign up box and then responding to the confirmation email. It's also worth going through all of the blogs there have been so far - I for one have been inspired by getting them every morning.

Finally to say that next Sunday (and the following prayer meeting) are likely to be a bit different as we move on from Lee speaking about being still to Liam Parker speaking about being audacious in our praying.

Hope you're having a great week,


Howard and Elizabeth - the Next Challenge

Many of you will remember that in February 2011 Howard and Elizabeth Reece-Smith cycled 1,500 miles from Nairobi in Kenya to Serenje in Zambia, to raise the money to equip an operating theatre in Serenje hospital. In the end they raised over £20,000 which went towards not only the operating theatre but also the wider Serenje project. You can hear Howard talking about that whole experience here.

Well they've now come up with another crazy idea, which is to cycle from Bracknell to Istanbul (they originally wanted to cycle all the way from Bracknell to Serenje, but cycling through Northern Africa was just too complicated / dangerous!). The aim is to raise the money required to properly kit out the girl's dormitory in Serenje with all the equipment required such as beds, wardrobes and dining room tables and chairs.

They plan to leave on the 18th April 2013, and expect the ride to take about 4 weeks. The route is from Bracknell to Portsmouth, the ferry to St Malo then due south across France to pick up the Loire. They will follow the Loire to Bern then change rivers to the Rhine into Germany, then follow the Danube to Belgrade. From Belgrade it is pretty much a straight ride to Istanbul!

If anyone would like to join them on the ride they will be very welcome - I'm going to go as far as Portsmouth but sadly can't find the time to go any further. They are also looking for someone who can drive a support car with the luggage who will also be able to go ahead and arrange lunch and accommodation. The driver and any additional cyclists would have to pay their own costs, but would be part of an amazing trip for a very worthy cause. The aim is to stay in youth hostels which should help keep the costs down.

If anyone is interested in cycling or driving then please get in contact with me and I can pass your details on to Howard. I'll also give you all details on how we can sponsor them nearer the time.


Saturday, January 19, 2013

Thanksgiving for Karen Lysakowska

I wanted to let you know that there will be a thanksgiving for the life of Karen Lysakowska on Friday 25th January at 1pm in the Kerith Centre. I know that many of you who either knew Karen, or are friends with her mum Krystyna, will want to come along as we remember all that Karen meant to many different people.

Earlier in the week there will be a private family burial for Karen. Please let us be praying for Krystyna as she comes to terms with the loss of her daughter, and that she will know God as the God of all comfort at this time.



Friday, January 18, 2013

Snow Update - We will meet on Sunday

This was the view from the Kerith Centre office window on Friday lunchtime - it's amazing how much the landscape can be changed by a couple of hours of snow!

In the midst of all the local schools and colleges closing down (all for very good reasons I'm sure) I want to be very clear that we WILL be meeting on Sunday at 9am, 11am and 7pm, regardless of what the weather does between now and then. As long as it's safe for you to venture out I really want to encourage you to come along as we gather together. I'll be getting there early, hopefully with a gang of other people, to make sure all the paths around the Kerith Centre, K2 and down to the college are as clear as possible. Hope to see you there.

Please also be looking out for elderly and vulnerable people in your local community at this time. Whether that's clearing their paths, making sure they have enough food or that their homes are warm enough please take time to look out for them. Also if you hear of any in our church community who are struggling either help them yourself, or if you can't let us know and we'll make sure they get whatever assistance they need.

Enjoy the snow and hope to catch you on Sunday.



Thursday, January 17, 2013

Calling all Kerith Men

Its time for the men of Kerith to get together once more. If your aged between 16 and 100 (in fact even if you're over 100) you're invited. And what better excuse than a BBQ, some music and in order to make it competitive the chance to play FIFA 13. For those of us who don't want to get embroiled in the competition (I haven't been able to beat my boys at FIFA since they were about 8) then we can just relax with the other guys and have a chat.

The venue is the Kerith Centre on the 2nd Feb from 7.30pm till 10pm. Tickets are £6 each, or 2 for £10, and will be on sale from this Sunday at the 9, 11 and 7 before and after the meetings. So men get involved and get your tickets ASAP. One last thing..... invite a friend, maybe buy a ticket in faith that your neighbour will come.

It's going to be a great night - hope to see you there.


Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Office Furniture Available

If you are needing a desk or office chair, we have some surplus over left following the staff moving out of the Kerith Centre offices. There are a few pinboards and some drawer units too.

These will all be available free to anyone to collect from the upstairs main office in the Kerith Centre from Monday 21st to Friday 25th January 9.30am-5.00pm. Come and have a look if you are interested, and you can reserve items to collect later in the week if you don't have the transport then and there.



Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Karen Lysakowska

Krystyna Lysakowska, a long standing and deeply loved member of our Kerith community, has asked me to let you know that on Monday morning her 43 year old daughter Karen passed away. For a number of years Karen has been ill with a chronic fatigue illness, and in the past year she has also been battling cancer. Those of you who knew Karen will know that she approached all of this with an amazing passion for life, and up to the very end she had a smile and encouraging things to say to everyone who visited her. Her relationship with Jesus was central to her life, and we can be confident that she has gone to a much, much better place.

Please be praying for Krystyna. For much of Karen's illness Krystyna was her primary carer, and it has been amazing how God has sustained her throughout the whole of this season. Krystyna doesn't really feel up to taking phone calls or visitors at the moment - but I know would appreciate cards from those wishing to express their condolences. Please contact the Kerith Centre reception if you don't have Krystyna's address and would like it.

There will be a service of thanksgiving for Karen's life in the near future - I'll let you know when that is going to be via the blog.


Friday, January 11, 2013

ONE Summer Holiday Idea

The New Year is the time many of us start to think about what we're going to do in the summer (when hopefully it will be warmer and drier than it is right now!). If that's you I'd like to suggest you think about going to the ONE Event, which is at the Lincolnshire Showground from the 23rd to the 27th August.

For years our family summer holidays included a trip to a Bible week, including every single Stoneleigh Bible week for those of you who remember that. It's been quite a few years since we've been to anything similar, but last summer I was asked to speak at the ONE Event, which meant that Catrina and I got to attend all of it. We had a brilliant time, loving the worship, the teaching and being able to relax in the company of a load of really interesting people. A couple of other Kerith families went too and said they and their children loved it and are planning to go again.

I know since Stoneleigh stopped lots of our people have started to go to events like Soul Survivor, New Wine, Rocknations and others. I personally think that's great, exposing us to many of the great things God is doing in our nation. But if you're not plugged into one of those events why not consider coming to ONE.

You can find loads more details about it here, including booking forms, the list of speakers and the like. Catrina and I are planning on being on site this year, and all of us who go from Kerith will get to camp together (there are also options to stay off site if that works better for you).

No pressure, but I thought it might be something you'd like to consider.


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

As part of our 40 days of prayer and fasting we've got a blog going, where a different person in our community will be blogging some of their thoughts on prayer for each of the 40 days.

The best way to get it every day is to sign up for it via email, which you can do by going to the blog and then putting your email address in the appropriate place.

We're also encouraging anyone on twitter to use the hashtag #kkit (Kerith keep in touch) to tweet their thoughts on prayer, answers to prayer and anything else about the series which inspires you or speaks to you. There is then a page which allows you to see all of these on the blog.

It's going to be a great series. Hope to see you on Wedensday night (8-9pm in the Kerith Centre) for the first of our Wednesday nights of prayer.

Keep bearing much fruit :)



Monday, January 7, 2013

Questions About Fasting

As part of our forty days of prayer and fasting, which start this Wednesday from 8-9pm in the Kerith Centre, I'm encouraging as many people as possible to fast for the Wednesday, or for longer if you want to.

A while ago I posted answers to some common questions on fasting, which I thought might be useful to repeat here. I hope you find them helpful.

See you Wednesday!




Why fast?

In his book “40 Days of Prayer and Fasting” Mahesh Chavda lists 12 specific benefits of “the fast that God has chosen” from Isaiah 58:


  1. Revelation
  2. Healing and wholeness
  3. Righteousness
  4. The presence of the glory of God
  5. Answered prayers
  6. Continual guidance
  7. Contentment
  8. Refreshing
  9. Strength
  10. Work that endures (like an ever-flowing spring)
  11. Raising up future generations
  12. Restoration

Fasting is a time of emptying ourselves so we can be filled up anew with what God has in store for us.


Jesus seemed to teach that there are some issues that can only be resolved through prayer and fasting (Mark 9:29) and he clearly expected us to fast (Matt 6:16, Matt 9:15). The early church also fasted (Acts 13:2, 14:23). We therefore need to fast too.


What does it mean to fast?

To fast is to do without food. People seem to disagree about whether you should just drink water or whether it’s OK to drink fruit juice as well so feel free to do what you want!


Whatever you decide to drink it’s really important to drink lots of fluids, but try to stay away from caffeine. If you are going to drink juice go for grape and apple juice as they are not acidic - avoid orange juice and citrus juices. Add water to juices so you don’t get a sugar high.


In the first three days of a fast people will sometimes experience headaches, nausea, dizziness and a stiff neck, often as a result of the caffeine withdrawal. On the occasions I’ve fasted for more than 3 days I’ve always found the desire for food goes after 3 days and I feel sharp and find it much easier to focus. No promises though!

How long should I fast for?

It’s up to you! It’s just as scriptural to go on a 1 day fast as a 40 day fast so don’t feel under pressure. If you’ve never fasted before then why not start off by fasting for a day?


Any practical tips?

If you have a medical problem then you should consult your doctor before fasting. Children definitely shouldn’t fast.


Jacqui Webber-Gant, one of our members, came up with the following suggestions:


  • Mums still have to cook for their kids which can be hard. Try to prepare food quickly and if possible get someone else in the family to cook (if they aren’t fasting)
  • Remember that you fast TO PRAY therefore use the time you are not eating to go out and pray-otherwise you just feel miserable.
  • Be careful when standing up fast or going up stairs as you can feel light headed. Extended fasts make you feel cold because food acts as fuel. Make sure you clean teeth and shower often because you are detoxing and the body gets rid of some interesting odours!
  • Plan times in the day to pray and read the Bible
  • Sleep more as you will restore energy that way
  • Try to avoid being around food for the first few days
  • Do not drink alcohol.
  • Make sure you walk and find time to talk to family members because meal times are the talking times-and you can feel a bit weird if you are avoiding the family table.

Friday, January 4, 2013

Forty Days of Prayer and Fasting

As a great way to start the year we're going to be meeting every Wednesday evening from the 9th January through to 13th February to pray. The meetings will be for an hour, from 8-9pm in the Kerith Centre, and will be a concentrated time of prayer - worshipping God for who He is, thanking Him for what He's done and asking Him to do even more.

I'm also encouraging people to fast on those days. For those who haven't fasted before I'm going to blog answers to some common questions about fasting on Monday - if you've never fasted before please consider giving it a go, if like me you have fasted before but find it hard then be disciplined enough to get back to it!

Please plan to make as many of the Wednesdays as you possibly can - they're going to be great times to get together.


Thursday, January 3, 2013

Vision Sunday

I hope you had a great Christmas and New Year, and that 2013 has started well for you.

Our first Sunday in 2013 is Vision Sunday, where we'll be looking back at some of what happened in 2012 and looking ahead to some of what we think 2013 will hold for us as a community. Please get there if you possibly can for what should be a great start to the New Year.

Hope to see you there.