Monday, 30 June 2008
Sunday, 29 June 2008
- We would not be a church that goes to sleep
- We would be a church that keeps our focus on Jesus
- We would be a church that continues to serve by putting Christ and others needs above our own
- We would be church that are changed by being in a different venue
- We would be a church that step out of comfort zones and do something new
- We would be a church that worships in Spirit and in Truth - enjoying the gifts of Spirit as we meet together
God spoke to us through a picture of a rugby scrum whereby we were all scrumming down together and that this period of time would be one where we are all pulling together and that the scrum continued to grow as new people joined from the back and the sides. The sense being that we were all pushing forward together.
I for one am excited about the prospect of being in a different venue for 7 weeks from the 27th July to 7th September. It's a chance for us to meet new people and to step out into new things as individuals - we may even sit in different seats!!!
Whatever we do we know, as Dave Lomath reminded us tonight - that we do it because the one eternal constant - our God - is the one that is ever present. He never changes, He is the same yesterday, today and tomorrow. Our confidence is not in the running of a smooth meeting on a Sunday morning (although we endeavour to do that because He is worthy of our best) but is in the one who said that He will build his church and the gates of Hell will not prevail.
Let's go on this seven week adventure with God and trust Him that it will grow us and shape us for the things that He has ahead of us as a church.
Saturday, 28 June 2008
Today I joined 11 others for breakfast to celebrate the birthday of my good friend Craig. It was a fantastic morning: large quantities of cooked breakfast; cereal; fruit (yes fruit!); pastries; coffee, tea and juice. However more importantly the company was great. I had the privilege of sitting with Roy, a guy older than myself but with such a zest for life that it is always a pleasure to spend time with him. There was plenty of friendly, manly banter around the table none of which was derogatory but was fun. The overall feeling of the morning was that of camaraderie and warmth. I look forward to more mornings like this one.
This afternoon was spent at Windsor race course at James' stag do. Wonderful weather and a very tasty steak sandwich were the highlights of the place. What was interesting was that only a couple of the people that went actually put any bets on once our two free £2 bets had been placed, it seemed that we were more interested in getting to know each other than trying to win money! There were several people that I didn't know, but it wasn't long before conversation was freely flowing. I couldn't tell you what happened with the horses, but I could tell you what some of the guys do for a living and the names of their children. The day culminated with a Chinese meal in Windsor town - once again enjoyed due to the friendships.
I have been left after today reflecting on the fact that friends are so important. People that you enjoy being with and can relax around. Jesus didn't just have disciples he had friends, people he ate with, guys he enjoyed chatting with. Jesus showed us that we cannot live life in isolation, that we need to have people around us whom we love and trust. Today I have seen people I have known for years and would trust with my life. Others I know not so well, but the relationships are growing. Others I may not see again but I really enjoyed their company.
All in all, a very enjoyable day and one I will remember.
Friday, 27 June 2008
The first game saw Richard and Neville play against Kim and I. I started with 7 quick points from Richard and Nev, leaving me to feel that maybe today was the day that the medal changed hands. However some great serving from Kim saw us actually win the game. We then went on to share four more close game and one game where Richard's serving was untouchable, winning something like 10 points in a row!!!
Although most of the games were competitive, for some reason I managed to retain the medal, winning 5 of the 6 games.
We then went for a great curry afterwards. We talked about the games and pretty much talked about everything else that could possibly be a conversation piece. Good food, good company and in my opinion a good result!
Thursday, 26 June 2008
Wednesday, 25 June 2008
Tuesday, 24 June 2008
None of these boys had been easy to deal with. They were often a handful, but they are all boys who are full of life and questions about where they fit in to the greater scheme of things. They joined us for the morning; going out to our Yr7-Yr 10 group. They were well behaved, polite and one of them even prayed. I was very proud of them and the workers on the morning who made them so welcome.
When I asked them what had made them come back that morning they said that they had got up early had wandered around for a while and were bored. They remembered us and decided to come along for the morning.
We don't know what God is doing in the lives of those whom we meet. These three boys had not been for at least 18 months, but the Spirit drew them back to us on Sunday. I don't know whether they will come next week, but I am so pleased that they knew that they would be welcomed and made to feel part of something for at least one week.
Our Kids Church is not just for kids whose parents come to the church, our Kids Church is open to the kids of the estate. I am so grateful for all the committed, hard-working grace filled leaders that serve in this ministry and pray that our kids church will once again have children from outside the church as well as those in it.
Monday, 23 June 2008
Sunday, 22 June 2008
What a game. I'm so glad I planned to watch this one out of all the Quarter finals. Two teams that have played great football all tourament, playing out a wonderful game.
Russia came out at the Dutch right from the off. They forged forward and keeping poking at the opposing defence. They out played them, out witted them and the way that Guus Hiddink had them set up was perfect. Arshavin was once again able to show his talent with runs in and out of the box and continue to use his trickey with passes and crosses into the box. One of my favourite players of the tournament continued his fine form - Roman Pavulychenko. His movement off the ball and his awareness have been things I have really enjoyed watching. I won't mention all the Russians but they were impressive.
The Dutch were not rubbish they just appeaered flat considering the way they performed through out the group stage. Not even the likes of Van Der Vaart, Van Nistelrooy or Sneijder could put the Russians off of their stride.
The scoring commenced with Pavulychenko finishing wondefully from a ow ball in from the left hand side. t was late on in the game that Van Nistelrooy forced the game into extra time with a great header fom a free kick. However the extra period of 30 minutes belonged to the Russians They just wanted it more. Firstly a fabulous finish by Torbinski at the near post from an Arshavin cross and then a goal for Arshavin himself. You can forget your Ronaldos in this competition - Arshavin is becoming the player to watch.
With the Dutch out it seems impossible to be able to call this competition. Iwould now love to see the Russians win it. I enjoy watching them and hey at least we can say that the winners knocked us out of qualification!!!
Fish and chips were the order of the day for many of us, battered sausage and chips for the rest. However Gary and kay out did us all by bringing a whole chicken, sausages, more salad than could be eaten in a week and of course a home baked loaf of bread!!! Now that's a pic-nic.
From there we enjoyed dabbling in the sea - all though dabbling for Tim J meant changing into his swim gear and running right into the water only to spend less than five minutes in there and returning to get changed.
A round of mini golf and a cup of tea with donuts were next on the agenda. Then back to the sea front where boules, tennis, more sea antics and frisbee were enjoyed by all.
It's incredible to think that I once thought church was a place to go when really it's a family to be part of. The beach trip was just that, family enjoying time with each other, looking out for each other and having fun with each other. I love the fact that God has given me such a great famiy to be part of.
Saturday, 21 June 2008
Friday, 20 June 2008
I'm so pleased we are in a family of churches that we can hear news like this. I also look forward to Sunday and the gift offering for Newfrontiers to be given at Brighton Leadership Conference. Exerts like the one above are the reason that we are part of this family of churches and the money we give enable John and others around the world to see the gospel advance in their countries and beyond.
Thursday, 19 June 2008
Ed has been someone I have seen grow over the past few years. I remember him coming along to the church with big hair, a big baseball cap and big jeans that revealed big boxers!!! He is now someone who is going to America to become a Southern Baptist minister - no big baggy jeans involved in that!!!
He has been someone who has grown in his understanding of scripture and his application of it. I have greatly enjoyedhaving him around this year as a friend and as someone who has challenged me in my understanding of the Word of God. he is faithful, loyal and wants to do his best for the kingdom.
Tomorrow he goes to sort out his visa and next week is his last week with us as a church. I know however that this is not the last I will hear of this young man and I look forward to holidays in North Carolina to go and catch up with him.
God puts us together for a season - that may be months, years or decades, but it is God who puts us together. I know that it is him that has knitted our hearts together and therefore I know that as we part our ways, that this is also God's plan. Who knows who God will bring across my path in the future, but I hope they end up being friends like Ed.
Wednesday, 18 June 2008
We read in Romans 5 that whilst we were dead in our transgressions, Christ died for us. I was once again struck by the enormity of this.
The words of the famous hymn keep coming to mind
'I once was blind but now I see.'
I once was blind, I couldn't see that I was a slave to the sinful way of life that I was living. But then my eyes were opened to the beautiful truth of Christ and him crucified by the Holy Spirit as God revealed himself to me.
All this because God chose to lavish his grace upon me. It is so wondful knowing Jesus as my Saviour. Knowing that it is by his death and resurrection, I have a relationship with the living, loving God; that through him I have the hope of eternal life.
I wanted to post this now because I want to get the thoughts that are racing through my head down in some form before they race so far into my head that I once again see them as just mere facts. Tonight they are alive and I'm loving it!!!
Tuesday, 17 June 2008
For anyone interested I managed to make it three weeks of being champ in a row. Once again there was lovely play from everyone, and I really do feel fortunate to have won again.
I am learning so much by playing with these guys. They are fun, gracious, and have made me feel really welcome in the 22 months that I have been playing with them. I am really looking forward to playing next week and then joining them for a curry as we continue to develop a friendship that is based around the camaradarie of being compettiors, but also around a shared love for Jesus.
Monday, 16 June 2008
Yesterday was the last time some of them will be with us as they leave uni and move back to their home towns. Some we are saying good bye to for just 3 months and they will be back when term starts. To mark the occasionwe had a bbq here at the Taylors.
We got through 34 burgers and burger buns, 40 sausages and rolls, a large bowl of coleslaw a 5 kg bag of oven chips, several bottles of pop and packets of crisps.
What was great were the conversations I had around membership, the way the students were talking about this church being their church and the general feeling of family that we felt.
We are not a student church, but we will be a church that does students good while they are with us and we will be a church that sees some of these guys stick around, get jobs, get married and start families here in Reading and become vital members of our church family.
Sunday, 15 June 2008
Saturday, 14 June 2008
I have a great wife who is not only gorgeous but is intelligent, fun, and above all loves Jesus. She is held in high regard by those in and outside the churc. I truly am a blessed man to have her.
I have a great church that I am part of - I cannot wait til tomorrow morning to be with them once again worshipping, giving thanks and then preaching what God has put on my heart from Titus 1.
I have a great Mum and Dad who I know love me and each other.
I have great 'In Laws', they have truly become a second mum and dad to me which I am so thankful for considering some of the horror stories you hear.
I have lovely sisters - two blood and one inherited through marriage!!! All of them i am proud of in their own way - all of which I am in good relationship.
I have great friends and neighbours (of whom some are friends!!!)
I have a house, a car, clothes and food, money to buy books.
When I look at my life I realise that I have so much to be thankful for - not all listed here - that my eyes are turned to God in adoration once more.
Friday, 13 June 2008
I know that I cannot blog about all of those thoughts or I would be on here all day, but it has helped me to think clearer all the same. The football thing I am doing is for a bit of fun. I have always fancied myself as a bit of a football pundit and I have now found an outlet where I can turn that journalistic dream into a reality!!!
However I also know that not eveyone that has dipped into my blog wants to read about football. That is why I am trying to blog twice a day at the moment as much as possible so that for those who have no interest in football, there is also something else that I am buzzing with.
There is so much going on in life that it would be incredibly sad if all I had to talk about was football!!!
Tonight I am looking forward to a rest before getting stuck into Titus 1 tomorrow morning. I've had some great time studying up on this letter and am now excited with the message I believe God has for us on Sunday.
Austria 1 - 1 Poland
Well now things are getting interesting! I would never have predicted these results.
After watching Croatia limp home against Austria on Sunday I would never have given them any hope against the marauding Germany side that destroyed Poland. However, with a little tinker to the system, Bilic pulled off a result as big as the one against England at Wembley. The Croatians played with tenacity, flair, invention and purpose; in contrast Germany were sloppy in defence and in the pass, were always second to the ball and with all the talent in the side - were without ideas. Only Podolski would have come out of that game with his head held high after another blistering finish. The day belonged to Modric though, as once again he looked like a very good player who will do well in the Premiership.
As for Austria Poland, from the little I saw of it, a draw would seem like a fair reflection of the game. I have been impressed with the Austrian team, they work hard and do go forward, but they don't seem to have anyone who can finish or even have the confidence to have a go. However they do have Harkin, who could well become a player to watch in the future - gets himself into decent positions, but fails to finish! The impressive player for me was the Polish Brazilian - Roger Guerreiro. Although he was offside for the goal, he probably deserved one as the play that I saw of him was extremely skillful and he is full of pace. Another one for the Irons to look at I hope!!!
Thursday, 12 June 2008
Wednesday, 11 June 2008
Leslie Holland came in to discuss things that she is buzzing with: ways of reaching one of the communities that really need to know Jesus; Alpha; and the women's coffee afternoon on a Monday. She is constantly thinking of new ways of reaching people for Jesus.
Then, this evening, Dan Chard and Beckie Aston came over and we had a wonderful evening with friends who are not only excited about getting married, but are also excited about living for God.
This is a church I am excited about being part of because of all the great people that are going for it for Christ.
I was fortunate enough to add to my tally of wins this weekcoming out on top, however it was incredibly close. Going into the final game the score was laying at 4-3-2-1. I had won 4 and Nev 3! We were pitted against each other - Nev and Kim, Scott and Richard.
Nerves had set in and Kim and Nev had a great start to the game getting to 5-1 quickly. Kim is so good at reacting at the net and putting over the little drop shots. It then see-sawed for a while and the scores were levelled at 20-20. Neville had played some lovely power shots from the back and Richard on my side of the net was using his height and wrist to get sharp angles on his kill shots.
It was anyones game. Scott to serve, great return, a cool hit from the back of the court from Richard and into the net by the opposing side. 21-20 to Scott and Kim. The serve goes over again, nerves ajangling all round - what would happen - a short rally and then Richard puts it down the middle to win.
Once again crowned champion of the week but great games. All of us are a similar standard so it makes for exciting games.
Watch this space - the games are so close you never know what will happen!!
Sweden 2 - 0 Greece
Arguably the best game so far of this tournament was played last night. There has been so little to cheer about, but to see great counter attacking football and a masterclass in skill and possession from the Spanish was brilliant.
I had heard a lot about David Villa but had never seen him play - I definitely want to see him play again. His hattrick was well taken, but made possible by his team mates. I loved the commentators comment, that the gun was being loaded by the midfield and he just had to fire the bullets. To their credit, Russia played also played well. The score line reflected a brilliant Spain playing a Russia who would have won against the likes of France or Italy.
I didn't see much of the second game as I have a life and a wife! But the little I did see and hear about told me enough to know that Sweden were as ever hard working and Greece were as ever defensive. The true highlight of the game had to be Ibrahimovic's incredible rocket that opened the scoring. He may not have scored internationally since 2005 but this one was worth waiting for. Neither team were impressive and I would think it's Spain and Russia to go through.
Tuesday, 10 June 2008
Netherlands 3 - 0 Italy
What a night for the so called 'group of death'. Two surprising results and still every game so far has at least one clean sheet!
I watched the France Romania game in between preparing dinner - to be honest preparing dinner was more entertaining. Other then Ribery there seemed to be little going on at all. Neither keeper were troubled and it was an all round stale affair. I liked the commentators comment about France 'Well they must be planning to beat Italy and Holland as I don't think they are going to beat Romania!' On the evidence of last nights performance, Romania have more of a chance as they were resolute in defence and looked solid, without being dangerous.
I missed the later game as I was at badminton, but caught the highlights when I returned home. What a performance from the Dutch. They were definitely up for it. I have never seen an Italian defence destroyed as they were last night. Who says total football is dead! The names are numerous that could be mentioned on the Dutch side. I know that the pundits loved Van Nistelrooy's contribution (easy to see why) , but I thought the moivement of Kuyt and Sneijder made it easy for him to do what he was doing. If Holland play like this for the tournament they could be battling Germany to win.
Monday, 9 June 2008
Saturday, 7 June 2008
We have come to give you praise
Jesus name above all other names
Be exalted Be Exalted
We choose to fix our eyes on you
No matter what we're going through
Lord we long to give our best to you
Be exalted, be exalted
For you are the King of Glory the Creator of all things
All the earth declares your splendour Lord
And all creation sings
You are worthy, glorious, exalted one
You are worthy we will lift you high
God Almighty no-one else compares with you
You are worthy Lord be glorified"
Friday, 6 June 2008
For me I think there were many successes:
1. We meet people we would never have meet had we not done this - obvious I know but in the business of life this was a real highlight
2. Many people we met knew something about Reading Family Church - people actually know we exist!
3. It got so many of us out of our comfort zones - it is so easy to settle into what you are comfortable with
4. We had one person off the back of a leaflet - not a massive response but all that work for one is definitely worth it
5. 5 people responded to the gospel on Sunday morning - hoorah!
6. I was told off by the children in my street for not being there on Saturday morning whilst they got their faces painted - how cool is that, they were telling me off for not being with my church!
There was so much more but these are just a few of my highlights. It would be great to hear of some of the other great stories that I am sure are out there - maybe you prayed for someone to be healed or maybe you were on the doors for the first time. I for one get excited and am greatly encouraged when I hear about conversations or meetings that people have had.
At the beginning of this year we decided that we would actually play for a medal each week. The person who has the most wins over the year will get to keep the 2008 West Reading Badminton Champ medal!!! This has been going on for 9 weeks now. Unfortunately I have had to miss a few of these evenings but the results stand as follows:
Neville Hollands - 1 (See picture)
Kim Wheller - 0
Richard Thomas - 4
Scott Taylor - 4
As you can see I am currently drawing with Richard but would like to point out that I have only made 6 of the 9 games!
In the words of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle - the game is afoot