Thursday, October 25, 2018

Who is my neighbour?

“Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭82:3-4‬

The scriptures are crystal clear that part of our mandate as God’s people on planet earth is to stand up and care for those who struggle to stand up for themselves. Whether that’s those who don’t have enough food, who are caught up in modern day slavery, who are in debt, who need a foster home or to be adopted, who are refugees, who are homeless or find themselves in any other sort of poverty or oppression, we are called not just to pray for them or acknowledge their plight, but to take practical action to alleviate their suffering and stop others getting into the same difficulty. 

But if you’re anything like me, although I know what I’m supposed to do, actually doing anything is  much harder for a whole variety of reasons. So to help us all on Sunday we’re starting a new series titled “Who is my neighbour?”, where we’re going to spend three weeks looking at the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke chapter 10 and asking ourself a different question each week:

Why would I? - Looking at the man who is beaten up, and how his story can motivate us to make a difference. 
Why wouldn’t I? - Looking at the Priest and the Levite, and what we can learn from their refusal to help.
How could I? - Looking at the Good Samaritan, and what his example reaches us about helping our neighbour. 

It’s going to be an inspiring series - please plan to be there for all three, or if you can’t make them all catch up on the podcast.

Have a great week and see you on Sunday,


Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Half night of Prayer (and Day of Fasting) this Friday

This coming Friday (26th October) we’ve got our next Kingdom Come half night of prayer, running from 8pm until 2am on Saturday in the K2 building on our Bracknell site.

I realise that because it’s half term lots of people are away (and if you’re one of those I pray you have a brilliant time whatever you’re doing), but for all of us who are around I want to encourage us to make as much of the evening as we can, even if it’s just half an hour or an hour. Jesus makes it clear that the answers to our prayers depend not on how long we pray for, how many words we use, which particular words we use, or how many of us gather to pray, but on who we pray to. Come join me as we spend time with “Our Father who is in heaven” and see what He will do - what a privilege.

I also want to encourage you to join me in a day of fasting on Friday. I’m a big fan of food, but I know something powerful happens when we deny ourselves and place our spiritual desire above our natural desires, so if you’re able please join me in fasting for the day, whether you can make the half night of prayer or not.



Thursday, October 4, 2018

October Vison Fund Gift Days

Since we launched our vision fund in September 2016, the money that has been given (over £436,000 to date) has allowed us to do so much as a community in terms of growth and multiplication. Some of the highlights would be our site in Windsor now being fully up and running, a site on the Isle of Wight which wasn’t even in our thinking two years, and paying off the mortgage on the K2 House which means we are totally debt free as a church. 

And of course behind those headlines what really matters has been going on at all our sites: lives being changed with over 150 people baptised, hundreds growing in their faith as a result of small groups, growth track courses and encounters with God, thousands being served in the local community, the name of Jesus being lifted up, people experiencing the power of the Holy Spirit and the love of God being demonstrated. Bring it on!

Our next vision fund offering days are coming up on Sunday 14th and 21st October. We still have around £115,000 which we have yet to spend in the vision fund, but with all we have planned across all four of our sites that is going to go pretty quickly, and we want to make sure lack of resources doesn’t hold us back from all we believe God has placed in our hearts to do. We’d therefore like to raise at least another £100,000 to continue to resource all that we think we will be doing over the next 6 months. 

You’ll see the scriptures at the top of this blog, which come from the time when God commanded Moses to build a tabernacle in the desert where His presence would rest. Moses lays out to the people what God has commanded them to do, then asks everyone who is willing to give. We then read that “everyone who was willing and whose heart moved them” came and gave. I want to make the same encouragement to us. There is no pressure to give, no command to give, just an opportunity to those who are willing and whose hearts move them to be a part of this great adventure. For us to invest our treasure in a place where it won’t rust, be eaten away or be stolen but will produce eternal treasure in the form of lives being transformed. 

Here is some more detail on what has been going on, and what is planed, for each of our sites.

Those who came to the September vision nights will have heard that we’re not going to move forward with either of the building projects we were proposing on either the K2 of Kerith Centre sites. When we came to examine the cost of both projects versus the amount of extra space each would give us we (being the elders and trustees) concluded that neither represented value for money. In a future blog I’m going to explain in more detail quite what the process was to make that decision, as I realise this is quite a change from what we were talking about at the start of this year, and we didn’t give as much detail as we should have done at the vision nights.

Given we’re not about to all launch into a major building project in Bracknell, we are instead going going to focus on how we make the most of what we already have, which is a lot! We’d like to make improvements to our Bracknell site which we think will include:
  • Building a walkway through from the college car park to our site. Which side of K2 this goes will depend on whether we manage to buy the strip of land down the side of K2 from the cricket club - please pray for breakthrough there!
  • Renovating the toilets in the Kerith Centre and K2.
  • Putting in the facilities to allow us to more easily run a cafe in K2.
  • Upgrading the audio visual equipment in the K2 Hall. 
Money given into the vision fund will allow us to do this and more. 

Discussions are still ongoing with Sandhurst School as to a possible joint project with them to develop some of the school site for our exclusive use. However, we are also beginning to examine what other options there are for both temporary and permanent homes for our Sandhurst site. The vision fund will give us the financial resources we need to progress these plans.
If you have some time please be praying for God to make our next steps in Sandhurst clear, and for us to have clarity around which doors and opening and which are closing. We really sense God has something new for us and want to step boldly into whatever it is.

The vision fund has already given us the money we’ve needed to rent and renovate the gospel hall in Windsor, to rent the hall we use on a Sunday, and to buy all the equipment needed to get us up and running with meetings every Sunday. Through to then end of 2020 we will fund all of the site based costs in Windsor (including salaries, rental and equipment costs) from the vision fund, after which time they will switch to coming from our regular giving. We have a forward projection for giving which shows that given growth in Windsor equivalent to what we have seen in Sandhurst that will be more than achievable. 

West Wight
In a similar way to Windsor the vision fund has given us the resources we’ve needed to get our West Wight site to a point where we are now meeting twice a month on a Sunday with the same set of values in terms of excellence we’d have on all our other sites. It’s so exciting to see how things are growing there with over 60 people attending the last Sunday gathering. 
We’re looking at the possibility of the site starting to meet every Sunday from September 2019, with a paid site leader coming on board at the same time. As with Windsor we will look to fund this from the vision fund for an initial period and then switch to coming from regular giving as the site grows.

Where & What else?
God is a God of surprises, and we really have no idea what other opportunities are going to come along. Several people have asked me if we know where our next site is going to be, and I can honestly say we have no idea (although the wilds of Northumberland are always very tempting!). But we want to be able to respond to whatever God might do, so let us continue to pray for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done and see what happens!

Thanks, and well done for getting this far!