Thursday, 23 December 2010

Great Vid 2

So here is part two of three, three is worth the wait!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Great video

This makes me chuckle, not sure what that says about me!


There are three, watch this space over the next few days or check out on you tube if you cannot wait!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

West Ham United v Man City - here's hopeful

So today West Ham take on the big spenders of Man City, I don't usually blog on this stuff but after two blogs in a week I'm on a roll!!

I for one am slightly hopeful that we could get a favourable result today.  We really need a win and I think, if we play like we did when we beat Man Utd 4-0, that we will beat them.  They are without Tevez, which in one sense is a shame because it would have been good to see him back at Boleyn Ground and to hear the crowd roar for him, but on the other hand, really pleased because I know it weakens their side.

I see that Behrami could feature today, but strangely, I do hope that Spector gets another chance in midfield.

Whilst I do love the football and have an air of expectation for today, it's great to know that my life does not depend on the result today, or any other football result come to that.  Jesus rules and my life is firstly all about being a follower of him, then a great husband, then the best daddy that I can be, then doing all I can to pastor RFC with love and care and then being a son and brother.  After all that and only then comes being a supporter of WHUFC.  That said, when it comes to football, there is no other team for me - 29 years on now and counting!

Friday, 10 December 2010

Enjoying a dance in the local community

Yesterday afternoon, a few us went to the community centre on Northumberland Ave to enjoy an afternoon of singing, dancing and chatting to those who are into their retirements.  This is a yearly thing that we do in supporting the great work of the North Whitley Tenants and Residents Association.

It's a privilege to go along and spend time with ladies and gentleman who remember Reading before the Oracle,  and before the IDR.  They have stories to tell that are both good and bad.  They evidently appreciate the party that is thrown on their behalf and I for one think that it is an excellent way to get know those in my community that I wouldn't usually get to meet.

It's also good to remember that this time of year is about blessing others and being generous both materially and with ourselves.  Making a fool of myself dancing in front of 50 pensioners seems worthwhile to me if it entertains and encourages them to enjoy themselves.  

This is definitely a fixture in our Christmas build up that will remain as long as we asked to be involved.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

A great story of the Holy Spirit doing what he alone can do

A few weeks ago a lady accompanied a couple from RFC on a Sunday morning.  As we sung our songs of praise to Jesus and heard the preach something was happening and as the call for salvation came, she was in tears and unable to say why.  That morning the Spirit started a work in her that three week later, when the call for salvation came again, resulted in her raising her hand and giving her life to Jesus.

The following Tuesday, at  the prayer meeting, she came along with the couple she had originally come with and they rang the bell to celebrate what God had done in her.  It was glorious to see another woman pulled from the clutches of darkness and now walking in the light of Jesus.

This Sunday I looked around to see if she was there and sure enough just behind me I saw her beaming smile as we worshipped Jesus as brother and sister.  Her words to me afterwards were of how much brighter life seems and how much happier she feels in herself, even though none of here personal circumstances have actually changed.

I love our God and I love the fact that we have the great joy of seeing lives being transformed by the grace and mercy of a living loving Saviour, Jesus Christ, by the power of his Spirit.

My prayer is this, that we would see many more people like this, whereby the Spirit does his work, enabling people to see their condition of brokenness to a point where people can do nothing but turn to Jesus as he calls them to follow him.

As we approach Christmas, pray that you would be someone who God uses at the Christmas party or at drinks with the neighbours or around the Christmas dinner table, to be the peace bringer and to be the joy giver and to be the grace bearer.  And maybe you too could be celebrating with a friend or family member as the bell is rung again to mark yet another sinner repenting and turning to Jesus.

Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Join us to celebrate with the ringing of the bell

We are in a season where God is moving amongst us.  This past Sunday, We had two responses to the good news of Jesus.  One of those is being followed up by a great couple in the church, The second walked out of the morning meeting knowing Jesus as his Lord and Saviour.  This is so exciting, and is the most wonderful of all miracles.

We will be ringing the bell on Thursday evening as we gather to pray and give thanks to God for all he is doing.  We will also continue to pray in earnest for salvation and an outpouring of the Holy Spirit, on a Tuesday evening, 8-9pm at the church offices.

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Conferences...

Over the past week I have been at three conferences, here is a review of each:

Enabling Church

This was a conference, put on by Churches for All and Premier Radio that promised to broaden and deepen thinking about disability and the engagement of disabled people with church life.  Carol Pearson invited me along in order that I could share my eyes with her (she's blind) but I ended up having my own eyes opened wider as I listened to all that was said.  Two main themes rang in my ears through out the day - the first was that we are all made in the image of God and therefore we all have that dignity.  The big thing for me was probably the simplest thing but the most profound - relationships are key.  Instead of seeing the disability and feeling sorry for or going for aggressive healing prayer, build relationship.  Even with the person who appears to be unable to communicate - as we spend time we will see that their communication is just different.  It was great to spend time with Carol and with Lesley, who with her husband heads up a great work into a sheltered housing complex for adults with learning difficulties.

Front Edge

Gary, Anita and I were at a Front Edge conference on Saturday, this time in Shrewsbury, and preaching in a local church in Stafford on Sunday.  It is so good to be reminded by Lex Loizides that we are a people who have been given authority over sickness because Christ himself has that authority and has given it to us.  We need to recognise that authority and move in it.  That said, I then went to the church on Sunday where 2 people responded to the gospel for the first time, 4 recommitted as well as 2 people saying that their headaches went in a moment and strength was brought to a badly injured knee.  I am still waiting hear on other stories from the morning, but know that God was at work as the gospel was preached.

Prayer and fasting

Then for the last two days I have spent in Peterborough with Sean and Josh John at Newfrontiers Prayer and Fasting.  A great time in the presence of God, being filled again with his Holy Spirit and hearing all that is going on in our family of churches.

In all a busy, but greatly inspiring week on so many levels.  God is at work in so many areas of life that we don't see or know about and is using people that we would just pass by, which has become even more evident to me over this week.  We have our role to play in the advancement of the Kingdom here in Reading but we are also part of a much bigger church that comprises of many brothers and sisters who are not like us and who are doing incredible things.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Join me to pray because...

With so much going well this year as a church, there is still one thing that I find hard - where are the people who are giving their lives to Jesus.  We have seen 10 people commit their lives to Jesus - 2 at the beginning of the year, 7 at Front Edge in May and 1 on the Alpha Day away in May.

I know that it is only God who can give salvation, but I so long to see more.  I am convinced that he has called us to be a church that sees people making responses to follow Jesus and I know we have seen it (would it surprise you to find out that I keep a spreadsheet!!!).  When I look at what is happening in other areas of the world and I read of what has happened in our country in the past, I cannot help but feel that there is more than we are seeing.

There is an element that we have to be taking every opportunity to invite people to hear about Jesus, to investigate his claims and to look at what Christianity is really about.  However I also know that there is a time for crying out to the Lord for him to come and do what only he can do.  Who knows how many the disciples would have seen respond in those early days, but I don't think they would have seen 3000 on the first day without the Spirit coming powerfully, bringing regeneration and faith to believe.

I am believing for days when celebrating spiritual new birth is a regular thing for us - not because we have put on the best events or Alpha courses (although we will endeavour to do that as well), but because we have sought the face of the Lord and have cried out on behalf of the lost in our town, because we have asked, seeked and knocked, expecting that the Spirit of God would come again in mighty convicting and life transforming power.

To this end why don't you come and join me this Tuesday, 21st Sept, 8pm - 9pm at the church offices and for the weeks following. We shall press in together and see what God is going to do.

Friday, 20 August 2010

High expectations

I am so looking forward to gathering together as a church on Sunday.  On Wednesday night we met as a life group and we experienced the Spirit of God in a powerful way.  He really spoke clearly to us and we were aware of his presence.  I came away from the evening full of wonder at my God and daring to believe that times are changing, that we could see an outpouring of the Spirit like we have never seen before.  This is something that both excites me but also sees me be tentative and trying to be slow to get too excited.

Last Sunday we met with God in a powerful way at both the evening and morning meetings.  Wednesday we meet with God at a life group meeting.  This Sunday I am going, and would love as many others who are going  (morning or evening) to come with a sense of expectation that our God is real and alive and wants to meet with his people to encourage them and leave them feeling empowered to do all he has called them to.

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Books that have stirred me recently

As I mentioned in an earlier post, I had been reading a book called the 'New York City Noon Prayer Meeting' by Talbot Chambers, and I said i would do a precise of it when finished.  Well I finished it a while ago and have been also reading 'Revival Fire' by Wesley Duewel.

First published in 1858, Chambers' intent in writing the book was to chronicle the first year of the revival that all started because a man span up a noonday prayer meeting for business men.  It journeys through the very beginning when only a few gathered to when hundreds gathered in different parts of New York at the same time to pray for one thin - salvation.  For the outpouring of the Spirit in such a way that people fall to their knees and commit their lives to Jesus as they are confronted with the reality and are deeply convicted of their sin. Through out the book their are testimonies upon testimonies of how people raised up a person in prayer and within days if not minutes the person is giving their life to Jesus.  Tales of people who are not Christians, going to the prayer meetings so that people at the meeting would pray for them!  In our 'busy' world I loved what the book taught me.  We can have all the programmes in the world to help people find Jesus, but unless the Spirit comes and convicts people of sin then all our hardest efforts are fruitless.  We need to be a people who get on our knees and seek after Him who alone can grant the miraculous gift of salvation and then let him do the work as we live our lives like Christ and speak of his good news in our worlds.

The second book Revival Fire is a stirring account of times where the Spirit of prayer and intercession has gripped nations and has seen the Spirit poured out resulting in many being saved and added to the kingdom of God.  This coupled with the first book has left me with a desire to see these things in our time like never before.  That passion has always been there but now it is intensified and I long to see the day when many are bought to glory by the Spirit through the Son to bring glory to the Father.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

More Than Conquerors Part One



I preached on Romans 8 v 31-32 on Sunday under the title above.  It is part of a two week series as you may well have guessed from the title.  I don't often do this, but the audio for the preach is here.  I put it up because I know that it is these truths that have helped B and I personally over the past few weeks and they are truths that I know should be forming the very foundation of our understanding of the wonderful, magnificent God that we love and follow.  I have also copied the quote below that I read on Sunday that is an excellent summary of the 'all things ' that Paul mentions in verses 32. 

“He spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him freely give us all things?" (Romans 8:32). How is it imaginable that God should withhold, after this, spirituals or temporals, from his people? How shall he not call them effectually, justify them freely, sanctify them thoroughly, and glorify them eternally? How shall he not clothe them, feed them, protect and deliver them? Surely if he would not spare this own Son one stroke, one tear, one groan, one sigh, one circumstance of misery, it can never be imagined that ever he should, after this, deny or withhold from his people, for whose sakes all this was suffered, any mercies, any comforts, any privilege, spiritual or temporal, which is good for them.”

Saturday, 31 July 2010

19 hours to go!

Just cut the grass and tidied the gardening.  Am listening to the cricket and enjoying a very English Saturday.  We will be having friends over for dinner later and will no doubt have a wonderful time catching up with their news and playing games.  All the time though my excitement grows in terms of returning to RFC tomorrow. B and I have greatly missed being around our church and are looking forward to checking in again in the morning.

I am anticipating seeing friends but also faces that I do not know, both at the morning and evening meeting.  I am expectant that we will meet with the living God by the presence of Jesus by His Holy Spirit, as we worship and receive the word of God from Romans.  I am believing that seeds will be sown tomorrow that will result in salvation breaking out in our church.  I am in faith that there will be those that don't yet follow Jesus amongst as we worship the One who alone is worthy of all praise.

After our 2 month sabbatical, I know that I am ready and raring to go to see Jesus save and radically transform broken lives amongst us.  Church, expect me to be excited and in faith to see your friends, family, work colleagues and neighbours come to know the love of the Father through their acceptance of Christ as Saviour and Lord.  We are in for a fantastic few months!!!

Thursday, 29 July 2010

Our son... Tiny

It has been a long time since last I wrote.  I have journalled on paper but have not felt the desire to go public.  B and I were expecting our second child around Nov 24th.  On June 28th we went for a routine midwife appointment and discovered that there was no heart beat.  This was confirmed at the hospital.  On Wednesday 30th June B gave birth to our baby boy, Tiny Taylor.  He had died between 14-15 weeks (B was 18 weeks pregnant when we found out.)  We were able to spend 15 minutes with our lad during which time we committed him to our loving Father.

Today we said goodbye to his earthly body - totally recognisable as a very small human being.  Sean and Liz lead B and I in a short but memorable memorial to our son that never saw the light of day alive, but our son none the less.  

We have been so blessed by wonderful families, fabulous friends and an incredible church.  However our greatest blessing has been knowing the closeness of our God at this time.  I am so thankful that our hope is in Him and that we can as best we understand it, know that we will meet our Tiny.

We do not understand why and know that this question is futile this side of eternity.  What we do understand is that our second child didn't make it full term.  We do know that it hurts.  We do know that that hurt is temporary and that we will meet our boy some day. We do understand that He is loving and just.  We do understand that we don't need to know the answer to 'why us?'.  We do know that God is faithful and is definitely our strength when we are at our weakest.  We do understand that God is in control.

As life moves on and gets busier again as I start back in the office next week, I know that we will never forget Tiny and that he will be part of our family and I do know that I am closer to my Father in Heaven more than I have ever been.  We would like to thank everyone for their prayers and thoughts and kind gestures over the last month.

Saturday, 12 June 2010

Renewal Christian Centre

Last Sunday B, Rachel and I took the journey north to Birmingham to visit the church that Rev David Carr leads.         He is renowned for his straight talking and his healing ministry.  He has also overseen the growth of the church to some 2500 people over a weekend.

It was excellent to go to a place that you know has stil got the same pastor and many of the same guys that were involved in starting the church.  in fact, they were honouring those on Sunday who had been with the church for 30 years or more.  We were in the second service and there were about 10 who were still there and in the first meeting there had been over 30 on stage.  I also read something this week that correlated the standing if he church in a community and the longevity if it's leadership.

We managed to find the back door to get in so we didn't have a chance to go to the visitor area, which i think consisted of coffee and there equivalent of our host team.  They did have a good building that seated 1500 people with all the seats out, but it didn't seem so big that you felt distant.  The highlight of the morning for me was the preaching.  It was so soaked in Jesus from beginning to end, there could have been no mistake who the central figure in the church is.
 
I found it inspiring to see what had been built and trust God that one day we too will see something like this in Reading.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

Into the second week of sabbatical

It is now a week and a half since I started my sabbatical.  I must say it is strange not being around the hub-bub of RFC, the banter in the office, the wonderful worship times that we enjoy together on Sundays and midweek.  I am however, starting to find a routine in all of this.  I am enjoying studying the Psalms and had a wonderful time looking at Psalm 22 yesterday - seeing the wonder of what David had written and then looking at it in light of Christ and his crucifixion and all that went around that. We have so much to be thankful for in the cross of Jesus!!

I have also started studying 'According To Plan' by Graeme Goldsworthy.  I have only been in the first two chapters, but already I am having my understanding of the bible and my reading  of it, enlightened and brought a greater clarity.  This is one of three books I plan to go through during this time.  

On top of that I am also half way through a book that Gary and Anita Bailey gave me a while ago.  It is about the Noon Day Prayer Meetings that were held at the Fulton Street Dutch Reformed Church during the 1800's that paved the way for the great Revival.  I shall give a more detailed prĂ©cis of this when i have finished it in a later blog.

After being silent for a month or so, I do intend to blog regularly whilst on my sabbatical, so watch this space for more news.  In my next post, I shall tell all about the church that B, Rachel and I visited at the weekend.

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Alpha@CoffeeRepublic week 2+3 summary.

Over the past two weeks we have gathered again at Coffee Republic.  Many of the guests have returned and we have been joined by a couple more.  The talks have looked at the death and resurrection of Jesus.  Looking at the different arguments that have been put about as an alternative reason for the empty to and then we looked a the reasons why these things do not hold water.  We then saw this week that Jesus died on the cross because this was and is the only way that man can once again have a relationship with the living God.  It's was and is the only way that we can be forgiven of the sin that controls us, the sin the condemns us and the sin that ultimately keeps us from knowing the Father.

It is fantastic to engage with peoples questions and objections and to show that being a follower of Jesus stands up to intense scrutiny.  Please keep praying for the course and that people would progress further in their journeys of discovering Jesus for themselves.

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Alpha@CoffeeRepublic week 1 summary.

Tonight is week 2 of Alpha.  I cannot believe a whole week has gone by already.  Last week teh 5 of us who are on team, were joined in Coffee Republic by 9 guests. All of them are on different stages of their journey of discovery of Jesus.  It is always thrilling to see who will turn up and to hear something of their stories.  The first night is always kind of odd as it is the night where there seems to be an urgency for answer.  The big questions raise their heads and the main objections come to the table.  I try not to get too carried away with these things because as the course progresses we hit many of these things and we also enjoy the debate.

Last week we looked at the question 'Who was or is Jesus?'. Looking at the fact that there is historical evidence to support an historical figure called Jesus; looking at his claims that he made about himself, about the miracles and his teaching; and we stated that these are all things that point to the fact that Jesus was both man and God and he was indeed the Son of God the second person of the trinity. There was a lot of discussion both before and after the talk creating a great buzz in the place.

Tonight we gather to focus on the resurrection of Jesus.  'Did he really rise from the dead?' is the question in view.  I am looking forward to speaking and getting to know some of the guests more over a cup of coffee and a cake. If you would like to join us we are in Coffee Republic in Reading town centre from 8pm.  The talk will start at 8:30pm and we will be finished by 9:45pm.  (the talk isn't that long but we have time to discuss the talk!)

Friday, 16 April 2010

Leafleting

We are now 4000 in to getting the flyers out for the general advertising of the church.  Inspiring RFCers such as Kinga, Sam, Darren, Beka C, Dave, Elli, Silke, Lozi and Becca H have all come in and pounded the streets around South Street Arts Centre in faith that we will see new people coming along to progress in their journey with Jesus.  On top of that the office crew have also come alongside these guys and done a few of those 4000.  There are still 6000 still to get out - 6000 homes still to be reached, 6000 letterboxes still to open and close.  We would love you to have the joy of leafleting.  If you have a spare hour (alright, if you can find a spare hour!) it would be great to have you come in, collect a couple of hundred and then get them out.

We have also just received the flyers for the healing meeting.  I mentioned yesterday that we will be doing this in life groups and next Tuesday evening the life group leaders of RFC will be collecting their leafleting packs.  A map, several hundred flyers and a list of roads to conquer.

Both of these endeavours are about inviting people to come and meet Jesus.  To  encounter His power, His glory and His majesty.  When the people in Acts came into contact with the church, when they got in the midst of the people and saw Jesus at work they saw something that inspired them, they saw something that changed them, they saw something that brought them to Jesus.  that's why we are putting leaflets out, to invite people to come and see for themselves the community of Jesus enjoying Him and meeting him in a school hall and an arts centre.

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Healing Meeting - Sunday May 23rd

It's now only 6 weeks till we have our healing meeting on Sunday 23rd May.  We have got a guy called Chris Kilby coming to us from Southampton.  He leads the Newfrontiers Church there called Life Church.  I always find Chris to be an inspiring guy to be around - he always has a story of kebab shops where he has just shared the gospel or people he has seen healed recently.  He has a great gift of connecting and communicating with people and explaining Jesus to them in stories.  He also has a growing healing ministry.  I am hoping that RFCers will get to meet Chris before the event as we have invited him to come and meet midweek with us in a couple of weeks time.

This is definitely a date to put in the diary.  For ourselves we need to be full of faith and expect that God will do amazing things through Chris' ministry.  We also need to be inviting as many people to come as possible - I know that they will find themselves in the presence of God on the morning.  We shall also be flyering the area around the school again as lifegroups. 

Wednesday, 31 March 2010

RFCers on the street

Over the past few weeks three RFCers, Lozi, Sam and Edd, have been going out with people from two other churches and have been using the 'Treasure Hunt' framework of evangelism which entails asking God for clues and words which are then written down under headings such as Name, Appearance, Location, Unusual and Ailment/What they need prayer for.


This Sunday Lozi and Edd came and shared some stories with me.  This is a fairly long post but stick with it because the stories are worth it and should help build our faith:


The 8 of us got clues such as 'black railings', 'statue', 'questions', 'Christine', 'museum', 'clock', 'brick floor''left ankle', 'black longs and a top with blue & white', the colour 'green' and 'garden'. Based on these and other clues we got, we decided to head for the area around the museum and Forbury Gardens.

 - On the high street we spotted a lady collecting for a charity and saw she had
'black longs with a blue & white top', so we went up to her. We asked if she wanted to prayer for anything and she said to pray for her charity. We asked how her ankle was, and she said that her right ankle was in pain. We asked if we could pray for her and she said yes. We asked if we could pray for her right there and then and she said yes! So, asking if we could lay hands on her foot (she said yes), we knelt down in the street and prayed for her foot. After prayer she said it felt "comfortable". We told her that God loves her and we left her to her charity-collecting.

-Soon afterwards Matthew, Kathy from Vineyard and myself went to Forbury Gardens to see if we could find anyone else. Entering the Gardens we saw the big lion
statue, the green grass, the brick floor...location-wise we hitting alot of our clues basically! Kathy felt that the Holy Spirit wanted us to go and talk to a woman who was sat on a bench wrapping presents. So we did. She was a lovely, friendly woman from New Zealand who we soon got into conversation with and was so friendly. (It turns out her mum is called Christine.) We felt the presence of God around her and really saw that God loves her heart for the "down and outs". She had a lot of questions about the bible and stuff, and we got the opportunity to read Psalm 139 to her, shared the testimonies of how we came to know Jesus and how he changed us, told her a bit about his grace and how much he loves her and how she's fearfully and wonderfully made. She let us pray for her as well, and she said that she felt heat. We shared how people react in different ways to God; some cry, some fall over, some don't feel anything but see the later effects, some feel heat and tingles. Her eyes kind of widened when we said about the tingles. She got those too. She also said that she was looking for a fun church, so we gave her a flyer of the 3 churches we were from with our contact details on and invited her along to Reading Family Church. It was so clear that were meant to meet her and it was such a priviledge as well.

-On the way back to the church offices Kathy and I stopped to speak to a homeless guy called Paul to see how was doing and if he needed anything. We didn't have any information on us about shelters or places to eat so we asked God to provide, and within 30 seconds after praying, 2 ladies came up beside us with a piece of paper on with contacts for shelters and places to eat & practical advice. God is good.



These guys are doing a great job of attempting to live out the Gospel and see people introduced to Jesus.  I am planning to go out with them sometime to experience the thrill of hearing from God and then seeing it through.  maybe you too would like to join them.  If so then just comment and I will give you more details.


God is good and He is working in our town through His church.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Cards out... at Verizon!



Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of going to Verizon at junction 11 to spend time with a small group of people. They are warm, welcoming and  find the time to fit me in amongst the business of a working day.  They come from different departments and indeed companies within the same building, but they all have one thing in common: they are asking questions about Jesus.  We are talking around subjects like suffering, the cross and heaven and hell.

We spend just an hour asking questions, discovering answers together and focussing on Jesus.  Today I was able to give away four venue cards!!!  I am hoping that we will see each of these people who took one at some point in the future, but I hope more than anything that they become followers of Jesus for His glory and His fame.

If you took venue cards away with you on Sunday, have you managed to get one out yet?  If you need some cards then please let us know at the office.

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

Will Reading get the nod?


Have just read that Gordon Brown gives the thumbs up to Reading becoming a city in 2012.  The full article is here:


I do hope that our town is at last recognised.  I love Reading with it's eclectic mix of people, it's odd mixture of brand new architecture and the contrasting ancient; it's vibrant night life and quiet walks.  A stones through from countryside, yet a growing economic town with constant expansion taking place.  

I came to this town in 1993 and never looked back.  I do hope that we will be celebrating city status, just as those in Wolverhampton and Preston have done!!!

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Good movie...

Just watched 'Up' with life group.  A really good movie with funny moments and more poignant ones. The animation from Pixar was of high quality, as usual.  The story line is relatively simple but essentially a love story resulting in a great adventure, however the execution of that story is wonderfully weird and quaintly quirky.  I would highly recommend watching it.

On another note, I have challenged life group to consider how they could use the movie to convey something of the message of Jesus.

I for one see the transformation of Carl as he realises that he has been released from an expectation of adventure, to a whole new one.  When I tuned to Christ I quickly grabbed hold of this new adventure of following Him wherever He may take me.  I felt released from the old adventures that others would impose on me and that I would impose on myself.  The new lease of life that I encountered I believe can be encountered by all, just as Carl grabs the opportunity and embraces his new life without the past hindering him, I too can do the same.

What about you?  If you have seen the film, how would you use it?  If you haven't seen it, rent it, borrow it or buy it - it's really good!!!

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Four days

How different four days can be.  On Friday we had the news that our dear friend Karena Mackay had gone to be with her Saviour, Jesus.  We know that she has gone to a better place and that we will see her again in glory, but that still did not take away that immediate feeling of mourning; that churn that happens in your stomach and the tears that follow swiftly afterwards.  B and I continued our evening, dwelling on fond memories of our friend.

Contrasting that has been the joy of celebrating Rachel's first birthday.  We did this by visiting family on Saturday and then enjoyed swimming and a birthday tea yesterday on her actual birthday.   She had a great time and was so excited that she forgot that sleep in the afternoon is a good thing!!!

It's been one of those weekends where we have understood and have carried out to a certain extent that which Paul writes in Romans 12:15:

"Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn."

I pray that my daughter will grow to be a mighty woman of God and declare Jesus with as much commitment and love as Karena did during her life.  I also pray that she would know that same assurance that Karena knew as she went off to be with Jesus.

These past four days have been about two people who have changed my life, both for very different reasons and for both of them I am truly thankful.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Together on a Mission


Every year we join with pastors, leaders and students from around the world at the Newfrontiers Together on a Mission Conference.  It has two strands one for leaders and one for Students and twenties.  This is not a bible week but is the family coming together to once again hear the vision and enjoy worshipping together in a much bigger setting.

The task of reaching the world cannot be done by one church alone. Yet many churches coming together and bringing their own unique contribution will go some way to seeing this great commission, to which we have all been called, fulfilled.

I have been for the past 6 years and have always found it to be stirring, encouraging, challenging and full of the presence of God. the deadline approaches for the first price break (Feb 28th) maybe it's time for you to consider going or at least finding out more. You can both book in and get more information here.

Friday, 5 February 2010

Front Edge 2010

For the first time this year, the Home Counties region that we are part of as Newfrontiers, will be hosting Front Edge. This is a conference that sees excellent faith-filling evangelistic equipping coupled with evangelists going into churches to preach the gospel and pray for the sick.  I have had the pleasure of being involved in many of these around the country and am so excited that we will be doing one here in our region. 

As I have said there are two elements - the first is on Saturday May 22nd. This will be a day that I will be calling as many RFCers to be at as possible. The two main speakers will be Lex Loizides and Adrian Holloway. The blurb below comes from the conference leaflet:

Lex was born again in Brighton and is now based in Jubilee Community Church , Cape Town.  He has a wonderful combination of outrageous zeal and mature theology.  His remarkable evangelistic gift has taken him all over the world.  in recent years he has also been seeing an increased number of healings, both in Africa, and on his many visits to the UK.

Adrian is the author of two best-selling evangelistic books, The Shock of Your Life, and Aftershock, which tackles the most common objections to the Christian faith in the form of a novel.  He is based at Christchurch, London where he serves alongside David Stroud, who leads the Newfrontiers UK team.

I will be getting more info out to people as  the weeks go by, but I do think that this will be an important time for us as a church to come and listen to evangelists that are seeing great things in the name of Jesus and who are coming to equip us.

On the Sunday we will have an evangelist coming to visit us and before that Sunday we will have an opportunity hopefully to meet him.  I too will be going to another church to preach and so as a church we will be extremely involved in all that is happening.

Put the 22nd and 23rd May in your diaries now and let's start praying and asking for God to move powerfully with us over that weekend, both in equipping and healings and salvation.

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Again! Again!

Only yesterday, I posted that we would be ringing the bell for Becky. Well last night at about 10pm I had a text message which read:

"Hi Scott, you can ring the bell now Andy&Karen"

This was a text message that filled me with great joy as it was announcing that my friend Andy had accepted the invite of Jesus to follow Him. This has been a great journey that I have travelled with Andy over the past year. He came to the first Alpha@CoffeeRepublic in April last year and has been a regular at church on a Sunday morning with his family. He did the foundations course in September but still couldn't make that step of faith. Now he has!!!

These are the text messages/ emails/ phone calls that I live for, they give life to me and I hope that reading this will give you courage and confidence to persevere in relationships and keep praying and let God work in someones life in his timing. Just be ready to rejoice when you see someone come to faith in Christ.

Friday, 29 January 2010

The bell to ring again

Last term we ran Alpha where we saw one young lady commit her life to following Jesus. This last weekend I also heard of another young lady, Becky, who whilst at home over Christmas realised that she too believed in Christ and she committed her life to following him also. This same young lady took part in communion for the first time on Sunday morning and was baptised in the Holy Spirit.

we shall therefore be having another bell ringing on Friday night at the prayer meeting to celebrate another saint being rescued from the darkness and being brought into the light.

This excites me so much and fuels my desire to see more lives changed. Not for me, but to bring glory to the Father through his Son, Jesus. It's what I want to see more of as we take our step of faith this Sunday in starting the evening meeting; as we continue with Alpha in April; and as men and women and children of RFC go out into the workplaces, schools, mum and toddler groups, university halls and houses, wherever it may be and shine bright for Jesus in word and deed.

I trust that this year we will once again be ringing the bell of salvation more than once a month, but with a greater frequency. If you have any stories of opportunities you have had in sharing your faith either through words or through actions please let me know either here or on my email.

God is good and so is his gospel that we steward, let's get it out there and see more Becky's welcomed into his kingdom and the church.

Thursday, 28 January 2010

Prayer

I love praying with others in our church and with brothers and sisters from other churches. There's something about it that just builds my faith and leaves me hungry for more of my King. To that end please see this from Sitho:

We are not far from the launch of the evening meeting, the start of the marriage course, the planting of new life groups and lots more that God has put on our hearts for this year. As with everything else in our own lives, the bible is clear that "by prayer & petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God."

Let's gather together to rejoice for all that the Lord has been doing among us and to boldly come before our Father in heaven as we submit to Him all the challenges before us & ask for breakthrough in all that He has called us to in Reading.

Please decide if you are able to fast, when you will set aside time to do this, and also try to arrange some prayer time with a friend(s) during next week. Corporately, we will meet at the following times :

· WEDNESDAY 3rd February @ The Church Office, 8pm – 9:30pm

· THURSDAY 4th February @ The Church Office, 8pm-10pm

· FRIDAY 5th February @ The Church Office, 8pm - 10pm

* The Thursday meeting will be a combined meeting with our friends from Thameside Church.

May I encourage you to make the prayer meetings a priority next week, there are few things in life that matter more - Jesus said his house would be called a house of prayer.

I don't know what you planned to next week, but make prayer top of your list - it's not going to be convenient, but I know we'll meet with God!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Good times...

Over the past two weekends we have had some great experiences as a church.

On Sunday 17th January, we met at South Streets Arts Centre in the town centre, for
our vision evening. 105 people (including babies) turned out to hear what is in store for us this year which in itself was exciting. The most exciting thing though was worshipping in a new venue. This will be the venue that we use for the evening meetings kicking off on Sunday 7th Feb and it rocked. It gave us a foretaste of what is to come as we open a new door into the town which God has called us to love and reach with the gospel.

Then this weekend we gathered 222 people over two venues - 149 here in Reading and 73 down in Bognor at Butlins (Newfrontiers weekend away). Howie Kellett preached in Reading, Kat lead worship and Simon anchored. By all accounts, people met with the living God and were challenged by the message. At Butlins many were inspired by good teaching and enjoyed fellowship, whilst a small group served the 350+ youth over four meetings. The RFC band that played were fantastic and lead the young people and the leaders into the presence of God, Nicholas (from Catford), Dave (from Ascot) and our very own Sitho, preached well, but more importantly, we met with the Holy Spirit.

It was fantastic to see so many young people responding to be baptised in the Spirit for the first time and for others to be filled again. What a joy and what a privilege to be part of the weekend. My role was to be DJ and ministry team member: I must confess it was brilliant to once again to play my trance tunes loud and with purpose in a way that I have not done for over 9 years. Hopefully more chances like that will come along!!!

In all what these two weekends has shown me is that God has plans for us as a church to help serve the wider body in out region and in our town, but also we are a church called to be dynamic in the way that we approach our town and love her in order to reach her for Jesus. In faith we shall pray about this for three days at the end of next week - more details to come

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

What a remarkable family

As I read this this evening I couldn't help but shed a tear and reflect on the fact that I have the privilege of knowing this family. This godly couple have had such an influence on the lives of B and myself. They continue to have that influence as they show is what it is to face the end and yet still do all they can to enjoy the last few days. Their reliance on God through their faith in Christ is inspiring to say the least. This is the post from Craig's blog today:

Karena was quite sick through the night. As expected, her bowel has now stopped functioning....so they have stopped the laxatives and given her some more meds to dry things up in the stomach and to stop her sickness, and she has also stopped eating as a consequence. So she has not been sick today, which has been much better for her. We both had a jolly good cry earlier today as it feels like another very decisive step on the journey we are all on. They have told us that Karena should live at least another 3 days, but probably less than 10. One of the drugs they are now using will make her even more tired/sleepy than she already is.
She is still strong in heart though and we had some giggles tonight as we read "Christmas Chaos for the 100mph dog". Most amusing - a funny family read !
Tomorrow I have taken the children out of school in order to spend the day with their mum. We will finish the book hopefully and perhaps watch a video, look at some photos and play a game or two. Karena will be he hub of our attention of course (when she is awake). Should be fun - these are very precious days.

So it looks like by the end of next week Karena will meet Jesus face-to-face.

Rom 8:38-39
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.