Saturday, September 21, 2019

WTC, Equip & The Bible Course

Two weeks ago I was coming towards the end of my first Westminster Theological Centre (WTC) residential in Telford. This is my first step in taking a two year Graduate Diploma in Kingdom Theology. WTC allows anyone to study on a part time basis everything from a Certificate in Higher Education through to an MA, taking twice the time a full time degree or MA would take.  Each year half the teaching takes place at two residentials, and half at a local hub which for us is the Thames Valley hub which we are hosting.

It was a brilliant five days away, although the pace was intense with 7 or 8 hours of lectures every day, combined with times of worship, lessons on how to write essays (a whole new world for me) and a personality profile alongside meals, an early morning run, a trip to the pub and not much time for anything else. There are a number of people from Kerith studying with WTC, including two of our sites pastors Heather Pocock and Leon Johnson, and Judith and Andy who are part of our deaf community and the first ever deaf people to study with WTC.

The highlight for me was the lectures we had on the Old Testament. Our lecturer was Dr. Stephen Dempster who has spent his whole life studying the Old Testament and it showed! He wrote the NIV Study Bible notes for Deuteronomy, and started each of his lectures by praying a psalm over us first in Hebrew, then in English. Stephen lectured us for 16 hours, by the end of which we’d only got to the end of the book of Kings, but such was the depth of his knowledge and passion for the subject that he could have gone on for many hours more without it ever becoming dry or starting to drag. He made the Old Testament come alive in a way I’ve never seen it before.

I’m really excited by our partnership with WTC, and the theological depth it is going to sow into our community over the coming years. For many years in charismatic circles there has been a rejection of formal theological training, which has been unhelpful and I think longer term is dangerous for churches like ours seeking to be strong in both word and spirit. I’m therefore delighted by our growing relationships with WTC, as well as St. Mellitus College where a number of our youngsters are gaining BA’s in Theology, Ministry and Mission and with Moorlands College

If you’d like to go deeper in your relationship with God through getting a better understanding of the Bible, but don’t yet feel you’re in a position to study with WTC, I’d really encourage you to consider joining our Equip course which launches this coming Monday evening. Over two years you’ll get to work your way through the whole of the Bible, with the option of skipping terms if you can’t do the whole course in one go. The course is being certified by Moorlands College, and having seen the manuals I’m sure it’s going to be excellent. 

There is a termly cost of £75, which although much cheaper than WTC may still I realise be an issue for some. We don’t want the cost to stop anyone from attending so if that’s the case for you, or you have any other questions, please contact Karen Dack who will be able to answer all your queries. I’m going there on Monday to say hello to and pray for everyone starting the course, so I’ll hope to see you there :)

Let’s go deeper together.


Sunday, September 15, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Sunday - Sites

Thank you so much for engaging in our week of prayer and fasting. I’ve heard really encouraging things from people who have been working their way through the blogs and the daily prayer themes, people who came to the Kingdom Come prayer night, people who watched in online and people who have booked into the prayer room. Prayer is part of the foundation of all we do, and it feels like we have done some of the groundwork for all we are hoping to see God do this term.

Please can you finish this week by praying for our sites.

Please pray for the site you attend:
  • Pray for your site leader and their family, and all the other leaders at your site
  • Pray for salvation and healing to be a regular part of what happens
  • Pray for unity and great love for one another
  • Pray for favour and great relationships with the other churches in the area, with the local authority and other local organisations
  • Pray for your sites expressions of justice in the local community
  • Pray for marriages to be strengthened and for singles to find family in community
  • Pray for the children and youth on your site
  • Pray for continued favour for us financially as as a church
Pray for the sites other than the one you attend. 

Pray for the elders, trustees and central teams who support everything that happens across all of our sites.

Please can you also be specifically praying for West Wight as they launch weekly Sunday meetings this Sunday. I’m going to be down their to join with them. It’s so exciting how the work there has emerged out of what was our Sandhurst site, a grandchild for Bracknell. Pray for many children for each of our sites :)

Thank you again. I am so grateful for your prayers.


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Saturday - Kerith Partners

I’d love us to spend time today praying for the different partner organisations connected with Kerith. Partnership is key to us growing the kingdom. We are so much stronger when we work alongside others with more experience of an area where we are looking to bear fruit, and in pretty much every case the benefits are mutual with us able to invest back into those who are blessing us.

There are a number of Kerith partners which are connected to us because people in our community either founded them or work for them. Please spend some time thanking God for the impact people in our community are able to have through these partnerships. Pray for them to be encouraged and for them to know much fruit in all they are doing. These would include:
  • Tehila
  • Novō
  • Create Hope
  • Oakwood Youth Challenge
  • Tearfund
  • Compassion
There are a number of other Kerith partners who we work alongside in growing the Kingdom. These include:
  • CAP (Christians Against Poverty)
  • TLG (Transforming Lives for Good)
  • Home for Good
  • Trussell Trust
  • Tearfund
  • Hope for Justice
  • Justice and Care
  • Alpha
  • Alpha in Prisons
  • 24-7 Prayer
  • Wildfires
  • Newfrontiers
  • WTC (Westminster Theological Centre)
Please thank God for each of these partnerships, and pray blessing on each of these organisations.

Apologies if I’ve missed anyone out (which I’m sure I have!). If so please let me know and I’ll look to add them to any future lists. Apologies also for not adding all the hyperlinks to the websites of each of the organisations (life is too short), but I’m sure you can google them if you want to know more about what they do, and it will reduce the temptation to head off on a click fest round the internet rather than praying! 

Thank you,


Friday, September 13, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Friday - Healing & One Another

Today I would love us to spend some time praying for one another. 

First off I would love you to pray for healing for anyone in our community who you know isn’t well. That means people struggling with both physical and mental health issues. I read in the new this week the tragic story of a church pastor in the USA committing suicide after a long battle with depression. These things are no respecter of background or position, they can impact every one of us, so let’s speak God’s healing power over anyone who we know who is unwell.

Once you’ve done that they here’s my encouragement for today:
  • Write down the names of a couple (or more if you want) of people in our community to pray for. They could be people in your small group, on one of your serving teams, somebody you lead or somebody you are lead by, people new to Kerith or who have been part of our community for decades. It might even be someone you struggle to get on with! Ask God to prompt you as you think of who you are going to pray for. 
  • Spend time thanking God for each of those people. Whoever they are they are God’s image bearer, made in his likeness, which gives them unique value and worth. Thank God for who they are, and for what they mean to you.
  • Pray that they might know God better, and have a deeper revelation of his love for them. I’m increasingly struck that in the letters of the Apostle Paul as he records his prayers for both individuals and churches he never prays for their situation to change. His prayer is always that that they would know God better. Knowing God changes everything, so pray they might know him better. 
  • Having said that it is still right to pray for breakthrough for people. Do they need healing, a job, a wider circle of friends, restoration of a relationship or something else. Whatever it might be ask God on their behalf for that thing. 
  • Pray a blessing on each person. There is power in a blessing. Jesus once blessed five loaves and two fish and it fed over 5,000 people. There is power in our blessings too, so pray blessing over each person. Pray for the fruit of the Holy Spirit to grow in their lives. For more love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. Pray for great relationships that will do them good. For health. For financial breakthrough. You know the stuff.
  • Finally pause for a moment and ask God to give you something to encourage them. He might give you a scripture passage, a picture or a prophetic word or you might just want to let them know you’ve been praying for them. If God does prompt you then why not text it to them (unless that is too weird!) or write it down and share it with them next time you see them. I’d love to imagine a web of encouragement pinging around to one another today. 

Thanks so much for engaging. 


Thursday, September 12, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Thursday - Government & Justice

It is hard to imagine a time in the recent history of our nation that we need to be praying more for our government and those in authority. Here are some ideas on what we can be praying:
  • Pray for wisdom for everyone involved in the Brexit negotiations. Pray for Boris Johnson, Jeremy Corbyn, the cabinet and shadow cabinet, Jo Swinson, Nicola Sturgeon, Angela Merkel, Emmanuel Macron, your local MP and Christian MPs in parliament. Pray through it all for God’s kingdom to come and his will to be done.
  • When you have no idea how to pray for when it comes to Brexit pray in tongues! And if you haven’t got the gift of tongues then now might be a good time to ask for it.
  • Pray that in all the negotiations the needs of the vulnerable and marginalised in our society will be kept to the forefront. 
  • Pray that God would begin to bring healing to our divided and broken nation.
  • Pray that in the midst of it all God would raise up the church, and individual Christians to have a prophetic voice which speaks love, hope, challenge and purpose to our nation. 
  • Pray that God would use all the turmoil and uncertainty to cause people to come to know him.

I’d also love it if you could spend some time praying for our own local expressions of working for justice.

  • Pray for our Foodbank, debt counselling, job club, life skills courses, reading and writing courses, recovery groups and all our other justice ministries. Thank God for the army of volunteers who make all of this possible.
  • Pray for our TLG coaches going into primary schools to work alongside children in danger of being excluded from school.
  • Thank God for all the children being fostered and adopted in our community, and for our partnership with Home for Good which is  helping fuel this work. Pray for more families and individuals to be inspired to foster or adopt a child.
  • Pray for our team going into local prisons to run Alpha Courses and lead Sunday services. I heard last Sunday over 50 inmates attended a service our team were running and one guy gave his life to Christ. 
  • Pray for our work supporting families who have children with additional needs and our group for adults with additional needs.
  • Pray for our work with the homeless, including the night shelter in Windsor and the GPs who come into the cafe on our Bracknell site to offer medical support.
  • Pray and thank God for for the legal support we are now able to offer to people attending the cafe.
  • Pray for anything I’ve missed, plus all those people in Kerith working for justice outside of our own church ministries.

Well done if you’ve prayed this far! Know that God has heard your prayers, and they are already making a difference. 


Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Wednesday - The Nations

When God first calls Abraham (or Abram as he was called then) he makes a promise (or covenant) with him that he will bless him, and that through him all the other nations on earth will be blessed. We are now inheritors of that promise, and God’s plan hasn’t changed. He wants to bless us in order that we can be a blessing, not just locally but with a vision and a heart to be a blessing to the nations.

Today I would love us to pray that will become a reality. Here are some ideas of things you can pray for:
  • Pray for yourself that God will give you a vision for the nations. You may feel very stuck in your local setting, which may feel very small, but know that through both your prayers and your actions you can touch nations you may never visit. 
  • Pray for the nations on your doorstep. In our multicultural nation we don’t need to travel to another country to meet people from other nations, we just need to step out of our front door. Pray that God will open doors for you to meet people from other nations in your street, at work, when you’re out and about, and that he would use you to be a blessing to those people. 
  • Pray for people from Kerith who have moved overseas. I’m particularly thinking of Sam & Hannah Fairs-Billam in Zambia and  Andy & Mickey Partington in Bolivia, but you may know of others. Pray for them, their children if they have any, and the work they are doing. 
  • Pray for the churches we have connections with in other nations. This includes Albania, Lithuania, Estonia, Serbia, Macedonia, Zambia and Malawi but you may know of others. Pray for them to know the love of God in Jesus more clearly, to be empowered by the Holy Spirit, to know unity and to grow in health and impact.
  • Pray for Christians facing persecution around the world. In nations such as North Korea, Afghanistan, Somalia, Libya and Pakistan (listed by Open Doors as the 5 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution). Pray for courage, boldness and comfort for our suffering brothers and sisters.
  • Pray for the promise to Abraham to be fulfilled, that all nations on earth will be blessed through the church.
Hopefully that will keep you busy! 

Tonight (Wednesday) is our Kingdom Come night starting at 7.30pm in the Kerith Centre. If you can make it then unless you’re going to struggle with the walk please can you park in the Braccan Walk car park (£1.50 after 6pm). 

If you can’t make it in person then you can join in via our experimental online stream which you can find here.

Thank you,


Tuesday, September 10, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Tuesday - Alpha

First of all an apology that these blogs haven’t been coming out early enough for those of you who want to pray for the subject of the day in the morning. The honest truth is that the WTC theology residential I was on last week (which was brilliant) was so full on that I had no time to prepare these blogs in advance, and so I’ve been playing catch up this week. I’ll try and get ahead of myself today and serve you all better for the rest of the week!

Please try to carve out some time today to pray for our forthcoming Alpha courses. We have evening Alpha courses in Bracknell and Blackwater Valley starting on Wednesday 25th September and a daytime course in Bracknell starting on Thursday 3rd October.

Our vision as a church is to help people find their way back to God. Over the years Alpha has been an incredible tool in helping us to see this happen. For anyone wanting to see the impact an Alpha course can have please watch Wendy’s inspiring story of how she found faith after attending Alpha multiple times. You can also find more details about what happens on Alpha here.  

Please pray for the following:
  • Thank God for the gift of Alpha and the powerful impact it is having all around the world. 
  • Ask God whether it’s the right time for you to attend Alpha as a guest. If you’re not yet a Christian, are a new believer or feel you need a refresher for your faith then Alpha could be just what you need. If so ask God to give you the courage to attend, and sign up at one of the Alpha tables on Sunday. 
  • Are you able to help make one of the Alpha courses happen, either as a table host or one of the people behind the scenes. If you can then sign up on Sunday. If not then pray for God to send other workers into this harvest field. 
  • Do you have a relative, neighbour or workmate you could invite to Alpha? If so pray for boldness and wisdom as you seek to invite them. 
  • Be praying for God to meet powerfully with all the guest attending Alpha courses, both within Kerith and all around the world.
Thanks so much for praying. Look out to hear stories of the fruit of your prayers in the coming months. 



Monday, September 9, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer - Monday - Unity

One of the Apostle Paul’s major themes for what has been achieved through the death and resurrection of Jesus is of reconciliation (where reconciliation means to renew a friendship or to restore to a right relationship). Not only have we been reconciled to God through Jesus having paid the price for our sin on the cross (2 Corinthians 5:18), but through Jesus we have all now been reconciled to one another, such that there is no longer a division between Jews and gentiles, slaves and free, men and women, brexiteers and remainers or anywhere else we might see division in society (Galatians 3:28) and that ultimately there will be a reconciliation of everything in heaven and on earth (Colossians 1:20).

It’s therefore not surprising that when we find Jesus praying for us as his followers he is praying that we would live in unity, demonstrating to the world by our lives that we have all entered into that reconciliation, not only with God but also with one another as sons and daughters of our one Father. 

So I want us to start our week of prayer by joining with Jesus in praying for unity. Here are a few ideas for what to pray:
  • Is there anyone you need to personally be reconciled with, or if reconciliation isn’t possible then who you need to forgive? If so and you’re not sure where to start why not ask God for wisdom and find someone you can pray this through with. 
  • Pray for unity within Kerith: between men and women, different ages, different ethnic groups, between rich and not so rich, educated and less educated, those who are single and those who are married, unity amongst our elders, trustees and leaders, within sites and between sites. You get the picture!
  • Unity amongst the churches in each of the communities we represent. In the eyes of God there is only one church in Bracknell, Blackwater Valley, Windsor and on the Isle of Wight, even if there are different expressions off that church in each place. Pray those churches would speak well of one another, relationships would grow between the churches and a kingdom mentality where the success of one church is seen as the success and of all, and the pain of one church is seen as the pain of all. 
  • Unity amongst all the different expression of church in our nation and the nations. Between all the different streams and denominations, not that we are looking to all be the same or agree on everything, but unity amongst all those who recognise Jesus as Lord.
  • That we would each take on our responsibility to be bringers of unity everywhere we go. In the words of Paul to be ministers of reconciliation. Helping people who don’t yet know Jesus to find reconciliation with God through Him. Helping Christians who have fallen out to be reconciled. To be genuine peace makers (not just peace keepers) in every area of society we are privileged to have influence and a voice. Through our creation care that we would speak now of that final reconciliation of all things to God. 

That’s probably enough for today. Please be serious about finding time to pray, be booking into the prayer room (virtually if not in person) and prioritise coming to the Kingdom Come prayer night (7.30pm in the Kerith Centre). 

Thank you so much. Know that your praying changes things (not least you) in ways you can’t begin to imagine. 


Monday, September 2, 2019

Autumn 2019 Week of Prayer

Next Monday (8th September) we start our Autumn week of prayer and fasting. This is a key week for us as a community as we lay a foundation of prayer beneath all we are seeking to do in the coming months. 

We’re going to have a difference focus each day, which I’ll back up with a daily blog with ideas and thoughts on what to pray for on that day. The focuses will be:
  • Monday - Unity, both within Kerith, and for the local and worldwide church
  • Tuesday - Alpha and evangelism
  • Wednesday - The Nations
  • Thursday - Justice, Parliament and those in authority
  • Friday - Healing and our church community
  • Saturday - Partner organisations and churches 
  • Sunday - Our Sites
There are three different ways to get involved in the week:

Praying through the week
I encourage all of us to prioritise finding time to pray throughout the week. As an expression of that we’d love to fill all 168 one hour slots in our newly refurbished prayer room on our Bracknell site. You can book them here. We realise that for many people actually getting to the prayer room isn’t practical - if so you can book slots virtually where you commit to pray for that hour but just somewhere other than the prayer room. If you do this just put (v) after your name in the booking. 

Jesus expected us to fast. It’s a way for us to express our commitment to God by putting our desire for more of him above our natural desires, and if done with the right heart can be the gateway to miracles. There are some helpful guidelines on fasting on the 24-7 prayer website. (Just to be fully open, for various reasons I’m not going to fast the whole 7 days but will be fasting several days through the week). 

Kingdom Come Night
On Wednesday 11th September we’re gathering for a one site prayer meeting from 7.30-9.30pm in the Kerith Centre at our Bracknell site. The evening will be a mixture of worship and prayer. Please come if you possibly can.

That’s it. Please think now how you’re going to get involved in this key week for us as a community.