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..