Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Acoustic night and houses

The acoustic night on Saturday evening was a great event.  There was an eclectic mix of musical forms on show, each contributing to a diverse feel to the evening.  It is so good to be able to put on quality events like this to help build community and also giving us an opportunity to invite friends along.  I think the guys at South Street think it's amazing that a church would do this sort of thing!

On another note, last Friday we viewed a house and subsequently put in the asking price.  They have of course accepted the offer - however we now have the small matter of selling our lovely two bed semi in South Reading before anything else can change.  Please pray that we would be able to sell quickly and if you are indeed looking for a property like this please let me know.

These are exciting times, people are turning to Jesus, there are healings taking place among us, we are looking for a new Church building and we are now in the process of finding a buyer for our house. There is so much to thank God for and so we will!

Wednesday, 9 November 2011

Alpha so far

The Alpha course has been going really well.  A great team of cake bakers, coffee servers, and table leaders have served brilliantly and with great skill.  Edd has done a great job in hosting each of the evenings and we have known God's presence each team we have met.  Each persons personal story that we have each week has been powerful and has been about real life personal encounters and change.

Most of the guests have been able to be there each week with only a slight drop off from the first week, and they all seem to be enjoying it.  In fact 2 have already made a first time response to following Jesus - BRILLIANT!!!

One of those was on his way home from the 10th anniversary and gave his life on that walk back to his house.  The other one made her response at the day away.  The day away will always be extremely significant to her.  However it was also significant for others as they met with God and even those who would say that nothing happened, saw the power of God at work in people lives.

Last night was week 7 and that means we were talking about resisting evil.  As the discussion time came around, one of the guys on the course put his glasses on to read the bible.  However he found that putting his glasses on blurred his vision.  He took them back off again and found that he could read tiny print in dim lighting perfectly fine without them.  I have contacted him today and he says that this is still the case.  he cannot use the glasses because they blur his vision.  This is amazing considering we were not discussing healing, we were not praying for healing, he just healed him!

I for one still need my glasses, but Ben does not!  Now that is amazing and that is our God!

So that's just a quick update as to what has been going on.  Please continue to pray for the course and be considering who you can invite next time around.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

Reading Post Article

The Reading Post were at our 10th anniversary celebrations at the town hall and have written a brief article.  It's good to see this sort of coverage in the local news.

Click here to see the article

Friday, 21 October 2011

Acoustic night

On Saturday November 12th, we will once again be at South Street Arts Centre, to enjoy an evening of meeting with friends and hearing quality live music from three talented acts (read bios below).

Lozi Boulton:  A local girl from Wokingham, Lozi has a beautiful voice that accompanies her guitar with wonderful clarity.  She sings songs that she has penned herself which tell something of her life's journey. Her gentle tones leave audiences spell bound and wanting more.

Mimi and Friends: Mimi hails from the African nation of Zimbabwe and with her friends bring that musical culture here to the UK.  She is an accomplished musician on native Zim instruments as well as guitar and vocals.  However Mimi is also great at getting the audience involved in complex clapping rhythms.  Be prepared to embrace a whole new musical genre.

Forerunner: After forming in the summer of 2009, Forerunner began playing the venues and clubs of the Brighton circuit, immediately winning fans with their energetic live shows and catchy melodies. From then on, they spread further afield into the South of England, building momentum with a strong internet presence. In Spring 2010 they were voted one of the top 10 live acts in Brighton, receiving the opportunity to play on the Heart radio stage at the Brighton marathon.  

It's now only 4 weeks until the event and tickets are now on sale by clicking on the photo or here. book now for you and your friends to avoid disappointment.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Taking the opportunities when they arise

Are we missing opportunities to help people in view of our faith because we think that they are not interested?  Do we stop short of saying the thing that may help them the most because we are afraid that they'll misunderstand us?

These last three evenings I have had an opportunity to make that call and each time I swallowed hard and went with it.  The strange thing is, instead of it being awkward it felt so natural.  I felt the Holy Spirit open the opportunity and then help me with what to say.  He helped me remember scriptures that were of note in the situations which I was then able to paraphrase and make it accessible.

When you feel it rising up and know that God wants you to say something I recommend going for.  Don't miss those divine opportunities to both help someone and also bring them that little closer to Jesus.

Thursday, 29 September 2011

Great feedback from Alpha

On Tuesday evening we gathered in the church offices for the first night of Alpha.  31 of us heard about who Jesus is, ate homemade cake and drank tea, coffee and hot chocolate.  It was a great night with outstanding people serving tirelessly until 10:45 packing everything away.

Here is some of the feedback that has been received:

"It was such a good evening - I was on such a high when I got home it took a while to come down to earth!  It was so exciting to be there with my friends who don't know Jesus yet & listen to you speak so clearly & sincerely about Jesus & who He is."

"Both my guests really enjoyed the evening, so much that I had to prompt us to leave the Slug and Lettuce at half 11 last night! One of my friends was asking so many questions, but before I could give an answer, the other was butting in coming out with all this truth! This is amazing and an answer to prayer"

"I really really enjoyed tonight, everything I hoped it would be a more. So much I want to say and ask and discover but it's trying to get it all into words.  Furiously making notes now so i can get it altogether."

These are three different stories from three different people.  I know that God will work amazingly again on this course - please pray for his kingdom to come, for lives to be transformed, for grace to abound and for guests to return.

What a God we have, let's thank Him and give Him the glory for all he has done, is doing and will do!

Friday, 23 September 2011

A provocative statement that I am working through!

I read this sentence earlier this week and it has been living with me since:

"A man with an experience is never at the mercy of a man with an argument."

This was written in the context of a book about the Holy Spirit called 'Good Morning Holy Spirit' by Benny Hinn.  Now I know that that name puts different thoughts in different minds.  There is such a mixed opinion of Mr Hinn and this blog is not a statement endorsing or attacking the man.  I just thought this statement was provocative.

In one sense I fully agree with him.  When sharing my personal story, no one can say it didn't happen without any integrity (as long as I'm not making it up!)  My personal walk with Jesus and the way that I live that out and communicate it will be the rebuttal to any great argument against Him existing or being God.  People will not always see it that way, but my experience will be my experience.

I think the danger of the statement is that our experiences can become the bench mark that we live by.  The person who experiences the baptism of the Spirit will point to that and say of course it is as it is written in the book of Acts.  Likewise the person who is healed.  However the person who has not been healed or who has prayed for but never experienced the baptism can rightly say to anyone trying to present a case that their experience is of no healing and of no Holy Spirit power.  Who is right?

This can only be settled I believe when we take our experience and line it up against what scripture says.  If my experience does not line up with the flow and body of scripture then my experience cannot be the bench mark. We cannot bring the bible down to our level of experience or we cannot add to the bible because of our experience.  The Bible must interpret our experiences and be the high water mark of what we expect God to do in our lives.

As you can see this has exercised my mind and will continue to do so as I think about the way I pastor and teach and counsel and live and love and be the follower of Jesus that I long to be.  I love the gist of the statement for evangelism purposes and as long as the experience is always measured against the great plumb line of God's word.

These are just initial thoughts and I'm sure they will continue to stew!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

The two week countdown to Alpha has begun

With only two weeks left to go until the next Alpha course starts, it's time to start inviting people. We've got 9 people signed up already, will you or your friend be the next person to sign up.

I found  this story on the Alpha website and found that it gave me a fresh desire to invite someone because you don't know what God will do if they say yes, regardless of how reluctant they might be:

Alpha Testimony Sophie from Holy Trinity Brompton on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Back after the Summer Break

It's good to be back after the Summer break; a Summer that was inspiring and wet! It was great to be back among the church family again and as always a privilege to be able to preach.  

I'm so looking forward to this term and over the next couple of days I shall headline a couple of things coming up that will enable us to invite friends to an event that will be what they need.  As always it would be great to have your suggestions as to what sort of events we can be running in 2012 as we start to plan for the coming year.

Friday, 22 July 2011

A rework of part of Sunday's preach

On Sunday I preached the last message in the series We Know and We Love, looking at  he 1st letter John wrote to the churches in modern day Turkey (you can listen to each of the messages by clicking here).  We looked at chapter 5v13-21and found that there were some troublesome verses in the passage (16 and 17).  After preaching in the morning and after receiving feedback, I reworked this section in the afternoon and preached the following in the evening, it's a long post but here goes:

"Paul now enters the middle of the race – he is now commentating on what he sees and what he hears and he moves on to talk about sin.  In particular he talks of something that has been a little tricky to understand throughout the ages.  Theologians have debated its meaning and have come up with differing opinions all based on the text and the context!  To think that I in the time we have would be able to unpick it so that it satisfies every question would be futile to say the least.  However I do think it’s important to have a way of navigating these hard passages and coming to an understanding of how they fit together for yourselves, so if my understanding does not quite cut it for you this is well worth investigating and looking into a little more with study.

So here goes - He talks about a sin that leads to death and a sin that does not lead to death.
To help us here we must remember that he is talking to those who are believers and he is speaking to those who are not yet believing the heresy that is flying around.  He is regrounding them in their faith to give them assurance.

I do not believe here that John is at all saying that people who genuinely have accepted Christ as their Lord and Saviour can lose their salvation!  Rather He is talking about a sin that shows that these people were not even following Jesus in the first place.  Maybe they liked the moral code or the buzz of the people.  Maybe they liked the doctrine of grace but didn’t want to back that up with the works that followed, or maybe they liked the works and didn’t get the grace.  Maybe they just liked charismatic leaders and followed after men who seemed to have more answers!

So what is John saying?

Let’s break this into two sections.  Firstly let’s look at the sin that does not lead to death.
This is the sin that we all experience.  As followers of Jesus we know that we mess up that we give into temptation.  We get caught out and make mistakes, but let’s remember 1 John 2:2
“My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin – But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defence – Jesus Christ the Righteous one”  YES!!!

So as followers of Christ we can see forgiveness of our sins.  Once any sin becomes evident to our brothers or sisters then we are to pray for each other.  Whatever that sin might be we are to pray.  Maybe it’s lustfulness or inappropriateness with the opposite sex.  Maybe it’s drinking too much alcohol, maybe it’s gossiping.  We can pray for their reconciliation.  We can pray that the Holy Spirit will convict them and that they will repent.  We may even do as Paul says in Galatians 6:1 and go and talk to them and restore them gently. 

If someone has sinned against us let’s do as Jesus says and go to talk to them about it so that we can seek reconciliation.  We can pray together and sort it out.  As true followers of Christ we should want to repent as hard as we might find it to turn away from that which we have been doing, we should not want to live with sinfulness in our lives, it is alien to us.

This is the sin that does not lead to death, because it is forgiven. When we repent, sin is forgiven and that repentance leads to life and not death.

So what is the sin that leads to death and why is John indifferent about whether you should pray for it or not?
One commentator writes: “If John’s major emphasis as the letter concludes is that only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of God have eternal life, then the sin that leads to death, the death that excludes the sinner from the life of God, must surely be the denial of that saving truth.  If this is right then the sin that leads to death does so because, by nature, it rejects the only means by which sin can be forgiven – the atoning death of the incarnate Son of God.  This underlines the important truth that it is not that this sin is unpardonable, but that it remains unpardoned.  We need to preserve this distinction because so much of the rest of the letter has carefully established it.” (The Message of John's Letters, David Jackman, page 164)

Therefore this sin that leads to death is actually a rejection of Jesus, his deity and his death on the cross to forgive sin.  The sin that leads to death is the sin that does not appropriate forgiveness because it rejects the one, the way and the means by which forgiveness comes. 

When we are stubborn and hard hearted and don’t repent of sin then we are rejecting the grace of God;  we are saying again that we know best we are acting as if we are unbelievers and John says that this is a sin that leads to death.  One that leads to hardness of heart and one that leads to a rejection of Jesus, because in our pride we don’t want to own up to what we have done or see that it is indeed wrong. 

If this becomes a persistent, ongoing rejection of Jesus and his grace then we need to act accordingly.  It’s at this point that we as believers, when we see this happening, when we have done all we can to plead with our brother or sister, need not pray for their restoration or reconciliation through forgiveness of any particular sin they may be involved in.  Rather that it’s time to start treating them like an unbeliever as Jesus teaches in Matthew 18 meaning we turn our attention to praying for their salvation!  This would be church discipline or as Paul put it – giving over the immoral unrepentant believer to Satan or over to their unrepentant wishes.
Now just a note here, I also know that we can hold on to sin because we don’t think that we can be forgiven of it.  We might have thought that it is the unforgivable sin or the sin that cannot be pardoned.  We therefore store it up and let it condemn us and it causes us to lose joy and brings distance between us and God and also between us and our brothers and sisters.  We don’t want anyone to mention that particular part of our lives in 
case anything comes out about it and people really find out who you are!

Brothers and sisters let me say to you today if that is you – do not be hamstrung by the lie of the devil.  If you are worried that you have committed some unforgivable sin, then let me say you haven’t – if you had you wouldn’t care about it!!!  Whatever you have done come to Jesus, repent and you will be forgiven.  He knows about it anyway and he is just waiting for you to acknowledge it is sin, turn to him and lay it at the foot of the cross and leave it there.  His death was sufficient to take even your sin.  His death has completed the work of destroying the hold that sin can have on us.  Come out from condemnation and live in the freedom of your new life."

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The weekend that was

Last week saw the last Newfrontiers leaders conference at Brighton.  It was a great time of hearing from God worshiping with thousands and getting an understanding of how Newfrontiers will move forward as a movement. More details and highlights can be found on Sean's blog here.  This was then followed by a very busy weekend.

My good friend of some 12 years, Tim Rooke got married.  I had the honour of being one of his best men on the day, which also meant a 7pm rehearsal on Friday evening.  Tim has waited for this moment for so long and it was such a joyful occasion to see Sarah practice walking down the aisle and her tears as she went through the marriage vows one last time before the big day.

Saturday was somewhat of a whirlwind of getting the groom to the church building, ushering ushers, being the master of ceremonies, holding the details of the reception and of course making a speech!  By 9pm I was ready to sleep!

Sunday was a wonderful day of meeting with RFC and having the pleasure of preaching the final sermon in our series 'we know and we love' looking at the first letter of John to the churches of what is now modern day Turkey.

As  I reflect on this busy passage of time I can only see God's hand being worked out in the lives of his people.  I am so thankful for friends of amassing years who I have had the joy and the pain of walking closely with.  I am also full of wonder at  the great gospel that we carry, the great Father who gives it through his wonderful Son Jesus made real to us by his Holy Spirit.

Thursday, 7 July 2011

South Reading Churches Funday

Fun Day Volunteers Promo 2011 from Reading Family Church on Vimeo.

This Saturday sees this fantastic free annual event take place again.  With over 4000 people coming over the 4 hours there isn't anything else like it in the community of Whitley.  This year we continue in the vain of climbing walls, BBQ's and different types of stalls, as well as offering a place to be prayed for.  There will also be live music and  'Whitley's Got Talent' amongst other activities for children of all ages.

It's such a great day and it draws people of all ages together.  We are praying for good weather (please do the same!)  and trust that God has that in hand on our behalf.  There is a prayer time this evening at 7:30pm to seek God for the event.

If you are available maybe you would like to help out on the day or just come down to check it out.  If not please pray that the event will go off without hitches and that it will be an event that draws the community together.

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

'First Thursday' Prayer and Fasting

Tomorrow night we gather together as a church to once again seek our God. We will worship Him with songs and prayers of praise. We shall wait on Him and see what he has to say to us. We will also pray for our church, our town, our nation and the nations as the Spirit guides and leads us.

I look forward to these nights and am in high expectation that we will meet with our God as we gather together - 2 congregations but 1 church.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

This past weekend in the west...

This past weekend En Rundell and I traveled to the west of England. On Saturday we found ourselves enjoying the teaching of Lex Loizides and Adrian Holloway in sunny Worcester.  It's great to be inspired again and to believe God at his word when he says that he is in the business of saving people.  It's also good to have a high expectation of our God and what he wants to do in the here and now of 21st century Britain, with regards to healings and miracles.

This set us up brilliantly to go along to Bridge Community Church, Bristol.  Even before the meeting started, we encountered the power of the Holy Spirit and knew that we were in for a good time.  I had the great privilege of preaching and 5 people responded to the salvation call at the end.  As for healings - one girl spoke of the fact that she had arrived with a head ache and as this was prayed for it went instantaneously, another guy who responded to a word about a damaged right shoulder for years said that there was significant change in the movement he had in the shoulder.

We prayed for diabetics and heart defects, for legs and arms and backs, and I look forward, over the coming weeks and months to hearing the full extent of what God did there.

I am always amazed at how God takes normal people like Ed and I, throws us into this sort of situation and then choses to work though us.  I love the fact that the only person who deserves any accolade is Him.  I love the fact that the Christian faith is still growing, contrary to popular news items.  i love the fact that Jesus is indeed building his church and the gates of Hell will not prevail against it.

I look forward to being back at my beloved RFC this weekend and having the great joy of preaching there.  I am in high expectation as to what God will do with us as we come prepared to meet with Him.

Tuesday, 17 May 2011


Tonight sees the start of Foundations.  A group of us will be gathering to look at what it means to follow Jesus.  It's open primarily to those who have recently accepted the invite to follow Jesus, but is open to anyone who would like to come and have a Christian MOT!

We have seen 9 people respond to the gospel so far this year which is fantastic.  God is moving amongst us.  However we are a church who don't just want to see converts, but we want to make disciples.  8 of those who have made a commitment are with us and the other is in Luxembourg walking in his new found freedom as a Jesus follower.

We will continue to pray that we see lives transformed by the grace and love of Jesus and that in years to come, there will be an army of people that will be able to thank God that they know him.

Thursday, 5 May 2011


It's only a couple of months until the South Reading Churches Fun Day 2011.  Here is a taster video done by our very own Joe Smith to advertise and help us to decide to sign up to volunteer this year.

Fun Day Volunteers Promo 2011 from Reading Family Church on Vimeo.

It will be another great day serving the local community where we meet on a Sunday morning.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Great news

We really are in a season of grace to see people respond to the gospel.  This Sunday just gone, two more guys put their hands up to accept Jesus' invite to follow him. They talked it through  with couples from the church and these two would now say that Jesus is  their Lord and Saviour.  This is incredible.  That makes 8 so far this year and all but two of those are on Sunday mornings!

As we gather together to worship Him and hear His word preached.  As we talk about Jesus and introduce Him to friends or family, we are seeing that they will turn Him.  Let's be those who continue to invite people along to either get them started on their journey or to see them cross over that line of faith to following Jesus.  Some events coming up:

1) Saturday May 14th - this is a Quiz Night and meal and is a low key  introduction to church for our friends.  Booking is through Roy Avis as you need tickets for the event.  These are £3 a ticket and that will cover the cost of the 2 course meal.

2) Sunday June 19th - to celebrate Father's Day we are once again going large.  After the morning meeting we will be having a BBQ and sports on the field.  There will also be some inflatables for kids and adults!  This is an opportunity to invite people to church and then on to a fun family environment where our guests can relax in the sun (let's pray for that) and meet lot's of friendly people.

3) Any Sunday - we are seeing salvation on Sundays as people come along, encounter Jesus and turn to Him.  It might be that your friend would say yes to coming this Sunday and they would then continue to come. One of the responses n Sunday was from someone who has been on Alpha's, Freedom in Christ and in church for years.  The other was of a guy who has read a bit of the bible and was in church for the second time!   At the end of the day, it is God who saves, it is the Spirit who enables us to have faith to receive him after several years or two weeks.  The wages are the same - eternal life with Jesus, starting from the moment we turn to Him with all our hearts!

we have dreamed of being a church of campanologists (bell ringers) and we are starting to see something of that because of God's grace!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

This Sunday

In April we saw three people make a first time commitment to following Jesus and I am in anticipation as to what will happen in May.  This Sunday we will be bringing people into membership, continuing our series 'We Know and We Love', looking at the 1st letter of John to the churches in Asia Minor and sharing communion together. As we look at 1 John 2v1-14 I am expecting God to meet with us and hearts and minds will be changed.

With all the attention this weekend on the Royal wedding with a prospective king marrying, let's not let that detract from coming to meet with THE King and the one who has invited us to THE wedding banquet of all wedding banquets.  Why not invite some others along as well so they too can meet him!

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Quiz night

On Saturday 14th May there is going to be a team quiz and meal at the church office.  It's a night aimed at building relationships and community.  My friend Roy has come up with the quiz questions and will be hosting the evening.  There is a cost of £3 to enter the quiz, which will cover the meal.

Just like the acoustic night, this is about being together and inviting our friends to something that is fun and light hearted - and in this case, has a competitive element.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Alpha has come to an end

Thank you so much for all the prayer that has gone into the Alpha course, it definitely had an impact.  On Tuesday we had the last night and it went well, so well in fact that it was difficult to get people to leave at the end.  There have been some great relationships built over the past ten weeks and most people who finished the course are now part of our church on a Sunday.

We didn't see everyone make a decision to follow Jesus on the course, and actually we cannot make that bit happen.  All we can do is continue to pray for those who have now heard the gospel and need to make a response.  My prayer would be they would all respond positively.

We will be baptizing 2 that have been on this Alpha course, on Easter Sunday.  It will be inspiring to hear their stories as they step out in obedience to Jesus.

The next course will be in September so I ask you now to continue to build those relationships you have and nearer the time, gently and lovingly invite them along to meet Jesus.

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

April opportunites

April sees three Sunday events to invite people along to:

1) On Mothers Day we will remember the important roles that mothers play in the lives of their children and therefore in the lives of those their children meet. Invite your mum along and then take her to dinner afterwards! Why not invite those mums that you know around you to come and hear how important their role really is?  If you are new parents you have a new pool of people to invite to this sort of thing!  It's just another opportunity to introduce people to Jesus in a fairly low key way.

2) If you're looking for a more full on affair then the following week is for you.  April 10th sees Paul Brown's visit with us.  We must invite people who don't yet know Jesus to this as Paul will preach a clear gospel message that will be simple but powerful.  We will also be praying for the sick and injured, expecting God to heal as he has in the past.  We trust that as people see the healing power of Jesus and hear  the gospel, that the greatest miracle of all will be in evidence - salvation.

3) Finally we have Easter Sunday, 24th April.  Both the morning and evening congregation will gather together as one in the morning at Reading Girls School and we will be baptizing people.  Baptisms are always a great way of introducing people to church because they don't just hear a preacher but they also hear individuals from the church give their personal story of faith.  It's also Easter Sunday when people are more likely to go to church anyway, so give it a go and invite someone along!

Thursday, 10 March 2011

So how's Alpha going?

So far on this Alpha course we have rung the bell 3 times for those who have made a commitment to follow Jesus. I look forward to seeing 2 of these come through onto Foundations and into the all that God has for them.

In the meantime we still have 3 more weeks to help others come to the same conclusion as those who have already rung the bell.  Let's keep praying for the Alpha course.  Just because it's not talked about in the wider context let's always stand alongside it as life groups and individuals in lifting the people up to Jesus.

Let's be those who engage and choose to think about it and let it encourage us and challenge us as to who we can invite in September to the new course.  It's been such a long time since last I saw one of my friends do at least one night of Alpha and I hope to see that changed in the Autumn.

As I often acknowledge, salvation belongs to our God, but we have our part to play in inviting and helping people find him and discover for themselves, the grace and mercy and love that we know as a reality in our lives.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

Invite people to hear about Jesus

It's been a couple of weeks now since we saw the bell rung for not just 2, but three sinners repenting and turning to Jesus.  The third was a guy who came to Alpha, heard about Jesus and gave his life to Him.  This is thrilling and should give us all courage and strength to be inviting people whether we think they will say yes or not.

In a months time on Sunday April 10th, my good friend Paul Brown will be with us at both the morning and evening meetings.  He is a seasoned evangelist who has seen many respond to the gospel and has stepped out and seen people healed.  I have learnt and am learning so much from him on what it is to love Jesus and love those who don't yet know him.

I am expecting to see God use Paul wonderfully at  both the morning and evening meetings and know that we should invite as many of our friends to hear him as possible.  This is not always the easiest thing to do when you yourself have not heard him speak. Here is a recording of one of his preaches recently - it'll take 25 mins but it's worth it! 

However if you don't have time to do that, I strongly urge that we gather as many together to be there  to hear the gospel preached and the sick healed.  I long for the day when we are ringing the bell regularly, however we will only see that when we bring people to hear about Jesus and to meet Him..

Wednesday, 23 February 2011

A great weekend

This past weekend was fantastic. On Saturday night we had our very first acoustic night.  110 people came and enjoyed three great bands and a chance to meet new people and further existing relationships.  The atmosphere and comments that I had after lead me to think that that this could be something that we would repeat.  The links here are to Vimeo where you can enjoy something of what went on: Abi Hope, The Bambury Tree and Gecko Collective.

However the weekend got better and better.  Sunday morning saw one response to the gospel.  A guy who had been coming regularly for a year, put his hand up during the end response and committed his life to Jesus.  It was fantastic.  To see his him and his mum afterwards hug was amazing and a real answer to prayer.

Then, if that wasn't enough, in the evening another first time response to the gospel.  Someone who has been coming to Alpha, came to the acoustic night then came to the evening meeting for the first time and gave their life to Jesus.  I spoke to her and as far as i could tell the Spirit had moved mightily in her and had definitely given her faith to put her hand up and step into a new life of forgiveness.  We came back to the church office and the salvation bell was wrung for the first time this year!!!

All in all a weekend to remember and one to praise our God for as he was the architect of all that happened.

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

2 years!!!

So today is Rachel's second birthday.  it doesn't seem that long ago that I was holding her for the first time.  However my love for her grows deeper and i am more amazed than ever that my Father in heaven should ever entrust one so small and vulnerable to me and my B to look after.

We thank God for the joy and the happiness that she has brought into our lives and for the rough edges that are being knocked off as a result of being parents.  We do not know what she will grow up to do but I do pray that she will grow up to BE a follower of Jesus and that she chooses Godly paths.  This is all in his hands and we trust Him, just as we did with Tiny and LT even though they didn't make it full term.

As for now.  I look forward to going home this evening and being daddy to our special little girl who is enjoying the fact that today is her birthday.

Thursday, 10 February 2011

A video displaying true greatness

in my opinion this is one the greatest current stories of serving I have seen.  I remembered it preparing for Sundays message.  Beautiful, inspiring and a reminder of the relationship with have with our Father in heaven.  It's a reminder that serving is doing what makes others feel fulfilled and alive as well as doing what they need.  It's about seeing beyond the immediate and dreaming for the unimaginable.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Alpha Week 3

Last night we gathered again at the church office with 29 of us: 7 seekers, 9 consolidators, 4 supporters and 9 team. There was a great buzz with questions being asked and everyone on the tables having ago at answering, or commenting. The tea and coffee guys served brilliantly again, lead by Kathy Bond we had three Malaysians and a Northern Irish lad plus another student that doesn’t even go to our church but wanted to serve! 

The question time afterwards lead to a 10 minute debate around the reason that the tree of the knowledge of good and evil had been put there in the first place. All in all a very fruitful evening looking at the question ‘Why did Jesus die?’ 

Things to pray for: 

  • Salvation.
  • The ongoing maturing of those 9 who are consolidating their faith. Some of which have just become Christians others have been for longer, but still have questions. 
  • The supporters and team that we too will grow in our love and understanding of Jesus. 
  • The relationships on each table to grow in trust and in depth. 
  • That many would sign up to the Alpha Day Away at Beaconsfield on 26th Feb, to hear about the Holy Spirit and his work in our lives. 
  • That the Spirit would be with us as we gather next week
Thank you for supporting the course in prayer.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

RFC Acoustic

It's only 11 days now until our Acoustic night at South Street Arts Centre, and tickets are now available on-line, just click on the photo or here. It's a night to listen to great music, chill out with friends, and a chance to showcase some of the talent that there is around in lighting and sound as well as music!

We are looking forward to a great line up of acts:

Abi Hope is a Reading girl who has played in various venues across the south of England.  She has a rich soulful voice that brings to life many songs that you think you've heard before.

The Bambury Tree are more of a folky flavour, delivering a style similar to that of Noah and the Whale or Mumford and Son, their musicianship has a touch of the Bellowheads about it!  They are great live and the blend of accordion and various stringed instruments and the distinctive voices combine to make a wonderfully ecclectic sound.

Gecko Collective are a Reading based group of musicians who bring a collection of cover versions in a contemporary and fresh way.  As a group they have wide and varied musical influences which is expressed in the songs they choose and make their own.

If you haven't got a ticket yet then it's time to do so right now and buy one for a friend, please don't wait until you get to the door only to be disappointed!

Friday, 4 February 2011

Alpha week 2

So the second night of Alpha went well.  Many people from the previous week joined us again for tea, coffee, cake and chat.  There was once again a great buzz, with people from different nations and backgrounds gathering around the common interest of finding out more about Jesus.

Josh had spent much of Monday making sure the room was set up as well as it had been the week before and he did it admirably.  The team helped people with their questions and making people fell welcomed and loved.  It's great to see students and others coming in to serve Jesus by serving tables with teas and coffees,  Kathy Bond, Andrew Harris, Nitin Williams, Josie Atkinson, and Naissa Bougma take a bow, you were excellent.

If you are not involved on the night though, you can still play your part by praying.  First give thanks to God for:

· We had 18 guests, 15 of those were proper guests (8 people who don't yet follow Jesus) and 3 of those were people bringing guests.
· The table leaders
· 4 new guests
· Great conversations that are already taking place

Please pray for:

· Hearts and minds to be transformed by the Spirit
· People to return next week
· Those who couldn’t come this week to be able to come next week
· Relationships to be built
· Scott as he prepares for next week
· That new people will join us next week
· Salvation!!!

We are in partnership with our God and so we must be a people who pray and ask for Him to do all that He wants to do through our efforts.

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Alpha Week 1

So Alpha has started and last night was a great success.  There's some pictures here showing what a great job Nicola Abram and Jess Del Rio did in turning our modern office into a country tea room.  Here's the summary and then the prayer points.

· We had 25 guests, 17 of those were proper guests and 8 of those were people bringing guests.
· There was a wide range of experience with many having had some contact or a history in church before.
· All the guests signed up to come again
· 10 people who had said they were coming did not turn up on the night.
· Next week Nicola will be speaking on the title – Did Jesus Rise From The Dead?

Please pray for:

· Hearts and minds to be transformed by the Spirit
· People to return next week
· Those who couldn’t come this week to be able to come next week
· Relationships to be built
· Nicola as she prepares and speaks next week
· That new people will join us next week
· Salvation!!!

Tuesday, 25 January 2011


So Alpha starts in approximately 3 hours and 24 minutes and the creative set-up team are currently here making the place look fantastic.  It's amazing what some table clothes and imagination can do to a room that is essentially an office space.  I'll hopefully get some photos on over the next few days as long as some are taken!!!

We have already got some quite a few people who have said they are coming and a dedicated team of 11 who have said that they will serve week in and week out in order to make Alpha happen.

On top of that we also have a team that will be serving tea and coffee to tables and reeling off cake choices in a style reminiscent Sweeney and Todd's (the Reading pie shop, nothing more sinister!  If you've never been it's a must.)

Already there are inspiring RFCers making this happen because they are in faith that people will come along, meet new friends, have their minds and hearts challenged and ultimately come to know Jesus and a living relationship with Him.

The course runs for 10 weeks and is open to new comers for the first three weeks.  It's not too late to come yourself or bring someone with you.  Alternatively, please pray that we would be ringing the bell again and again in response to Jesus changing lives and brining a people to Himself.

Wednesday, 19 January 2011

Julian Adams' visit to RFC

This past weekend we had a great time with Julian amongst us.  His passion and zeal for Jesus, matched with his understanding of the Father's love and his friendship with the Spirit, bore a fresh measure in faith in me to believe big things of our God.

There were some remarkable words of knowledge over people, which need to be weighed and measured, but which were also brought with accuracy and encouragement.  Sean has written on his blog about how we are to handle this and some of his thoughts about Sunday.

For me it has left me thirsty to see more and to spend more time enjoying the fact that I am a loved son of the King;  that I am chosen and accepted out of love; that nothing I could ever do to make myself right could ever make him love me more.  The residue for me has been a new depth of joy in knowing this love and leaning into this love knowing that it will never be withdrawn or changed.  It is steadfast, enduring, never failing, eternal, pure, beautiful and amazing.

I thank God for the day I was saved and I thank God that he continues to save me even now and I look forward to the day that I will be ultimately saved.  

Tuesday, 18 January 2011

Baptisms@Brookside on a Sunday Afternoon

One of the greatest thrills in church life is celebrating with those who are getting baptised.  It's one of those times when God's grace, mercy and love is made so abundantly evident to us.  Hearing peoples stories and then watching them act out something of their love and obedience to Jesus is remarkable.

We will have the joy of baptising some people at the beginning of this year - however we are going to do it slightly differently.  Over the past few years we have set up a paddling pool in the front car park of the school grounds and have baptised people there, come rain or shine - we even did it as snow lay about us one year. However as we grow, and now with the evening meeting up and running, we are trying to think of new ways that we can gather together to celebrate what God has done in the lives of men and women  in our community.

On Sunday 30th January we are going to baptise people at  2:30pm.  We will be using Brookside Church building, down in Lower Earley.

Why afternoon?  To make it accessible to both morning and evening congregations.

Why Brookside?  It's indoors

Why baptisms?  It displays our love of Jesus and the fact that he is now the most important thing in our lives.

If you are coming along to RFC and are not yet baptised as a believer then please contact me through the blog or through the church website.

If you are free on the afternoon of Sunday 30th and you want to hear some stories of grace then why not join us at Brookside Church building, it would be good to see you there and I know the guys will appreciate your support.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011

A day on Mental Health

You may have seen this on Sean and Richards blog but I too want to join the party and wholly recommend Cloudy Days in Summer.  We held a similar day here in Reading last year and I know it was highly valued and proved hugely useful to those who came on it. This is what Sean said on his blog:

The older we get the more complex questions we seem to face ...
What should we say to a Christian friend whose doctor has prescribed anti-depressants?

What about when they want to stop taking their medication because they 'feel better'?

When should our friends 'stop listening to themselves' and start 'speaking the gospel to themselves?'
Is their inability to make decisions because they are emotionally tired or is it deeper than that?
If you are like me, you can feel out of your depth in this area of suffering. To help me, I have booked myself yourself into the'Cloudy Days in Summer' conference next month. 
It's on Saturday 5 February, 10-4pm at Kerith Centre in Bracknell.

There are two seminar streams - one for 'those who walk through these experiences' the other for 'those who walk alongside'. Tickets cost £10 per delegate; to book your place either phone the RFC church office or 
book online here.
The conference won't answer all your questions but it will give both permission and a framework for Christians to discuss mental health issues.

Thursday, 6 January 2011

Into a New Year

So a new year is upon us and there is much to thank God for and to reflect on from last:
  • 13 people made a first time response to know Jesus last year at RFC which is fantastic.  
  • We baptised people from the UK, Zimbabwe, China and Lithuania
  • The evening meeting got up and running and now has a small community growing.  
  • New lifegroups were spun up and existing ones grew.  
  • New people joined the church bringing their unique gifts and talents to serve and see the Kingdom advance.  
These are just some of the highlights that we have to worship Him for.  I'm trusting that many of us will have other things in our own lives where we have seen God come through for us.  In the midst of dark days and days that feel like summer our God is always there alongside us, we just need to reach out to him. This truth has been lived out in front of us through the likes of Craig Mackay, who saw his wife go to be with Jesus at the beginning of last year, and Matt Chandler and PJ Smyth who have been blogging through cancer.  These guys are inspirations to us all to keep going and turn to Jesus at all times.

As we go into the new year we can expect again our God to be with us as we endeavour to serve his purposes and be His ambassadors here in the town of Reading.  We can also trust that He will be with each one of us as we give ourselves to seeking Him in all circumstances.  We have a God who's name is above all other names and at who's name every knee will bow and every tongue will confess as Lord.  He has everything under his feet, who has been seated high above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the age to come. 

His name is Jesus!