Sunday, 26 July 2009

Reflections on day 2

After getting up early and writing day 1, I spent much of the time trying to remember how to send the post by email. I got there in the end!

Ben spoke for two and a half hours on faith for finance. He was speaking to a group of leaders and business people in the church here. As he spoke everything was seasoned with grace and faith.

In the afternoon we were invited to one of the elders 40th birthday celebration. This was held at Manna, which is the building the church have acquired (also where I am staying). It is a good size and has some land around it. It has a renovated room in an attic which serves as the meeting room for the summer period. It can seat around 150 people. There is still lot's of work to be done but that's what Ben is here for!

After eating and meeting people from the church we went into Klapida itself and walked with Solus and his wife.

It was a good day of meeting new people; seeing Ben right in the sweet spot of his ministry; and enjoying the fact that I can come to Lithuania and know that I can spend time with brothers and sisters who love Jesus and who are giving their lives to serve him, just as we are in Reading.
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Saturday, 25 July 2009

Reflections on day 1

What a journey. From the moment Ben and I got in his car to Stansted to the moment we touched down in Kaunas, we talked. What a privilege it is to have these few days with such an inspiring man.

We talked about family and church, preaching and pastoring, influencers and annoyances amongst many other things. I spent much of my time soaking up the wisdom of a man who has spent his years building a growing church for the glory of God's name.

In the lead up to these few days I know that I had the irrational fear of saying the wrong thing and of being thought of badly. The main thing that Ben impressed on me yesterday was be yourself and let God take you where he will.

On arriving in Kaunas we were picked up by the church leader and one of his team. We went to a restaurant for dinner where I ate and drank traditional food and drink including acorn coffee! We then drove 200 km to Kleipeda (I shall check that spelling again!). This is to be our base until we return on Monday.

This is the town where City Church is and I am staying in their church building in a very nice room. It is a five minute walk from a beach which sits on the Baltic Sea, and that is where I watched the sunset on a tiring but inspiring day.
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Friday, 24 July 2009

Lithuanian adventure

Today I fly out to Kaunas with Ben Davies from Bracknell. He is a guy I deeply respect and I feel privileged to be spending 4 days with him. Although I am not entirely sure as to what we will be doing I intend to keep you up to date over the next few days.

What I do know is this - I will learn so much just by being around a man who led a church for 42 years and has travelled to many corners of the world preaching Christ and Him crucified!

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Alpha@CoffeeRepublic: the countdown begins!

There is only 11 weeks to go until the start of the next Alpha course. We are looking to build on the success of the last course and see even more people come along to Coffee Republic to enjoy coffee, chat and the gospel.

On the last course we saw two people commit to following Jesus, others come and join us on a Sunday morning to serve and be part of the family; others are still searching but we will remain available to them in order to help them continue on the journey.

Alpha is not the only way that souls are won, but in our culture it seems to have an anointing on it and I for one will continue to promote and be part of these courses whilst people are still being saved. Who will I invite on the next course and who will you invite.

For more details on the course click here.

Sunday, 19 July 2009

Enjoying fatherhood

Sean spoke today on fatherhood today at church. 6 months ago I would only have been looking forward to what it could be like to be a father. I would have been listening to Sean's talk and taking notes for the time that I would be a father.

Today I sat and drank up all that he had to say, knowing that I now have a little girl who is growing fast. It was great to hear about the fact that I need to love her and to think about the priorities afresh, however the most important thing I will take from this morning will be that I am my daughters priest. I am the one who needs to intercede for her before God. I am not her High Priest as that would be Jesus, but I am her priest. For her, as she grows up to see me reading the bible and praying, knowing that part of that is prayer for her alerted me once more to the great call of fatherhood.

There was so much other good stuff that Sean said this morning and I recommend listening to it here. I know that I have so much to learn but I know that I want to be the father that God is calling me to be and the one that my daughter needs me to be!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

The week that was at conference

Last week saw a whole bunch of us going to Brighton for the annual leadership conference. Once again, I found myself in the realm of new experiences. For the first time B was there and for the first time I was also there as a father. No longer were my first thoughts as to what books to buy or where to go for dinner, but they were now, where is the skyline (the creche type room provided for those with babies and toddlers) and how do I make this week a great experience for my wife.

This meant it was different but just as inspiring and even more fun. The conference is always quite hard work in terms of the amount of information that you are trying to process in a small period of time. I resolved this year to try and take only one thing away from each of the preaches, but to be fair I am still trying to process what those things are!!!

Some of my thoughts of the week were these:
  • Great to have the likes of Stuart, Mix and Dorothy and Becca with us, new faces from last year in our party;
  • Great to worship with 5000 other people;
  • Good to see new faces on the stage from within Newfrontiers;
  • Good to be part of something so much bigger than Reading;
  • Good to hear from Joel that being an armour bearer is really important;
  • Good to sing old hymns with new rhythms;
  • Great to hear what God is doing in nations that barely get any thought in my mind!
  • Good to hear from Stef that childlikeness does not equal childishness!
  • The call to be R.A.W. (take Risks, take Authority, be Wild) as Christians was refreshing from PJ.
  • Great to see Mark, Gavin and Martin really going for it for Jesus in dance on the thursday evening.

Overall I enjoyed the week immensely and really appreciate the fact that we are together on a mission with people we will never meet, through the family of churches that are represented by the name Newfrontiers.