Friday, 25 September 2009

Only 5 days to go to Alpha@CoffeeRepublic

So Alpha starts in 5 days. The team are in place, the venue is secured and the resources are being prepared. I am so looking forward to gathering again at Coffee Republic to meet new people, drink great coffee and share opinions about Jesus. Although we do present an orthodox Christian view, the conversations are always varied and the views are always wide and from different points of view. I love leading Alpha because it feels like you really connect with people, regardless of whether they follow Jesus as a result or not.

If you are reading this and are from Reading or the surrounding area and you have never done an Alpha course then I would like to invite you to come to the first evening. It starts at 8pm next Tuesday at Coffee Republic in the town centre. If you are a member of RFC or another church and have someone you would like to invite then please bring them along. If you know already that you are coming yourself or know of someone who is coming, please could you let me know.

If you cannot make the evening then please be praying for relationships, conversations and the presence of the Holy Spirit.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Bell ringing! Let's go again!

It's been almost a month now since we last rang the salvation bell here in the office. That said we have had he great joy of ringing it 13 times this year; that's 13 responses to the good news that Jesus came and died for our sin and rose again to declare victory over death.

This term will see Alpha once again run at Coffee Republic. This is one way in which we will corporately be involved in sharing the good news of Jesus. However for this to be successful we must all be taking the responsibility as individuals to be witnesses to who Jesus is and what he has done in our lives. We have the invite in our hands to give to our friends in order that they may know this Jesus and the hope that you have in him. Without our friends, work colleagues or family members, the Alpha course will comprise of a few Christians who already know about Jesus gathering to rue the fact that we didn't invite anyone!

This Sunday we will be looking at what it would be like to be in a church where we are seeing people who are being saved, added to us daily. We will also be putting an invite to Alpha on every chair. It is my prayer that both of these things spur us on, not just to invite to Alpha, but to continue to grow into a company of campanologists who are ringing the bell on a daily basis as we see those we respect, love, care for come to know the transforming power of the Lord Jesus Christ through us living a life that reflects Christ in thought, word and deed.

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Thoughts on the transfer window and football finance

So transfer deadline day came and went, the international season kicks off this weekend and the Premiership is in full swing. Football has definitely finished it's Summer Vacation! Who would have thought that in the midst of a recession, the crazy football world still manages to spend £450, 000, 000 on new players. The merry-go-round has been even stranger this year with Man City choosing to buy proven premiership players from other premiership clubs, with the likes of Arsenal and Man Utd not exempt from the lure of their money (although granted, Man Utd didn't get a penny from the Tevez deal as he still belonged to a third party!)

As we see all this happening we hear of Portsmouth who so very nearly went under and of course my West Ham who, according to the government, made a loss of £32, 000, 000 in the last year. They also managed to stave off collapse only because of the generousness of banks in not recalling all the debt due to late payments.

I'm sure these two clubs are not the only two in this situation in the top flight. Now I think both will come through it and will be okay, but surely the money thing has to stop and grass roots players will need to come through. I am proud of West Ham in the fact that it still develops and PLAYS, young talent that comes through the ranks. They take kids from around the area (and a few from other areas and abroad, but predominantly locals) and Tony Carr turns them into decent young footballers. He did it with the likes of Frank Lampard, Rio Ferdinand, Glenn Johnson, Joe Cole, Jermain Defoe (from age 15, Charlton before that!), and Michael Carrick all of whom now play for the England first team. Add to that the promising youngsters now of James Tomkins, Freddie Sears, Junior Stanislas, Josh Payne, Jack Collison and of course Mark Noble, and you have a fairly good side.

Will West Ham ever challenge for major honours, probably not, because to balance the empty books they will inevitably have to sell some of our better players at some point, however I for one, in this crazy messed up world of football finance, hope that we continue to be a team that relies on it's youth policy more than they do their transfer policy and that we develop homegrown talent rather than buying in players with big names and big wage demands. We tried that a couple of years ago and look where that got us - in the red big time!! The England team will continue to flourish as long as we keep producing!!!