Tuesday, 11 December 2012

How Adrian Holloway will end his talk on Sunday, so you are ready!

I’ve just spoken to Adrian Holloway, our preacher for the Carol Concerts.  He told me stories of three of the carol concerts he has been at.  He saw 88 responses at Birmingham Uni, 83 at Norwich Uni, and 86 at a church in Bristol.  He is in Reading on Sunday and I am excited to see what God will do as we celebrate the birth of Jesus with our family and friends.

He will be speaking about a relationship with Jesus and will finish by using one of the verses of O Little Town of Bethlehem as a prayer.  He will invite everyone to close their eyes and pray the prayer if they want to.  He will say Amen and his talk will be over. When Sean wraps up at the end he will ask anyone who prayed the prayer to tell the people they came with. 

This is the follow up for our carol concert.  We need to continue to build relationally and if you have invited someone to the carol concert you are the best person to ask them what they thought of the talk and what they made of the response.  Sean will also let people know about the Alpha course which will be held at Bill’s restaurant from 22nd Jan, and they will have a flyer to take away with them, why not let that be a conversation piece as you move into the new year.

These are exciting days for RFC in so many ways, but let’s keep praying that we will see our own friends and family turn to Jesus because we love them and want the best for them.

Looking forward to seeing many of you and your guests on Sunday

Wednesday, 12 September 2012

Back from Zim

On Sunday I returned to the Uk with 5 friends after a 2 week trip to the nation of Zimbabwe.  We had a great and humbling time spending time with orphans, the elderly, brothers and sisters in Christ from churches in Harare and of course with each other.  We were part of a team of 10 from RFC that went to support the work of Creating Better Futures and to partner with Kingdom People and Community Life Church Harare.

I feel that I am just starting to process all that I have seen and all that we encountered on the trip, but know this for sure.  The UK has much need and I know that God has called B and I to this great nation for this time.  That said I also know that he is doing so much across the world that we can learn from.  I love visiting other countries, where I can learn what it is to trust Him and lean into Him in ways that I don't do here.

It was hard to leave my wife behind with Rachel and Daniel, and I thought about them and prayed for them everyday, but God also gave me the strength to do all that he asked me to do there (which included a lot of driving in a great big truck that was ace!)

I have come back being so grateful for all that I have in terms of family and friends and also thankful that I am in a world wide family that is endeavouring to reflect the glory and mission of Jesus.  

Thursday, 16 August 2012

A good text message

So I got a text message yesterday to tell of a response to Sundays preach on 'Parents are the Pride of their Children?', saying this:

"Hi Scott, sometimes I wonder if my teenage son is listening to anything at church and if anything I have taught him resounds.  But how faithful is God with our children!  Yesterday I received the most amazing card from him.  He had spent ages writing how much he loves and appreciates me and how he is proud of me etc etc.  I can't tell you how I felt.  Being a parent can be a thankless task at times, but worth it... God is good even when we're not."

What a wonderful message to receive.  I was reminded that I need to write my letter to my parents and also reminded me that I need to spend more time thanking my God for his faithfulness to me.  I am proud to say that I am the son of the living God and that I am living for him as best I can.

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Being encouraged to go again in personal evangelism!

Have you ever had one of those moments when you hear something that just makes your heart leap.  I had one of those last Wednesday.  I didn't blog then as I was deep under cover in sermon prep but now I am back in the office I wanted to share it.

It was at the end of a gathering of friends as we were just saying the things we would like prayer for when one of them piped up that she had an answer to prayer.  Her father had been on her heart and she wanted to share the gospel with him, although he had not always been overly receptive!  So she plucked up the courage to write a letter and give it to him along with some reading material!  She poured out her heart in the letter, telling him something of her journey as she wrote it.  A few days later she had a call from her father commending her on her courage and promising to look look into Christianity again!!!

What a great story that left our little group of friends on a high!

Another guy then said he had got into a conversation with some Sikhs about healing and salvation and that they had expressed an interest, which then was followed by another story of someone sharing about church with a gardener he was working with.

Three of my friends spurring me on to pursue the opportunities that God puts my way!

Friday, 3 August 2012

Praying for salvation and looking ahead to the new term

I am growing in faith and excitement for next term already, in terms of salvation.  Why?  Because our God saves; it's what he does!  Last night as we rang the bell for Phil, you could feel the tangible presence of God increasing the faith of  each one there  to see Him save again and again and again!

We prayed for the team that go out on the streets on Saturdays to find the lost and the hurting and the broken.  They get opportunities to pray for healing and situations that they would never know about if they didn't take the brave step and use the gifts that God has given them.  We prayed that they would see fruit and that conversations would lead to conversions that would lead to discipleship in the local church. we also prayed that the gift they have would be multiplied across the church bringing courage  and boldness to all of us in our own situations to speak about Jesus and to pray for people.

We also prayed for next term.

On Saturday 22nd September we have a comic illusionist with us - Tom Elliot.  he will spend the first half doing comedy illusion, but in the second half he will tell the story of Jesus' love through stories that will give people the opportunity to hear the gospel in a light, but heart felt way.  This is an event to invite friends to.  i am not looking to fill the 123 seats we have available at South Street with Christians.  I would love to have many guests who don't yet follow Jesus or who have backslidden to come along.  The cost for the event will be £5 a ticket to cover the cost of having Tom with us and the venue.  I know it's August and we'rte all on Holiday but could you start to ask people to come along to the event.  Tickets will go on sale on Tuesday 4th September.

The Tom Elliot event will be our launch pad for Alpha, which starts 3 days later on Tuesday 25th September. We will keep the same format that we have had for the past couple of courses, that being here at the church offices with tea, coffee and homemade cake.  I know that Phil has already invited 2 people to come, and I am using this as a personal provocation to invite someone myself.  So far i know of one person who is definitely coming through the website.  

Finally on December 16th this year we have Adrian Holloway with us.  The author of 2 brilliant books that raises and answers questions about life and death and international evangelist, it is a real coup to have him with us.  If you don't know who he is then ask our youth for their feedback on him after Newday, they will definitely know of him and will love him!  We would love to put on two carol concerts one in the afternoon and one in the evening so as many people can come out and sing carols and hear the gospel reached by Adrian.  That means for each of us we need to invite at least one person to come who will agree to fill some 300 seats at each concert!!!  A big ask, but I believe totally doable considering we filled the venue last year and i was preaching!!!

As we consider these three events let's pray and ask that each would be fruitful and that we would hear the bell rung many more times next term - maybe even for one fo your friends.

Tuesday, 31 July 2012

Lee Get's Baptised

On Sunday evening we had the joy of baptising Lee at the church offices.  It was a fantastic occasion with tears wept and smiles beamed.  Here's his story:

Friday, 27 July 2012

Jess got baptised, and here's her story

So this Sunday just gone we baptised Jess. Here is her story:

I grew up in a Christian home, and attended church with my mum and sister. From a young age I was exposed to Christian teaching, but didn't really connect with it or apply it to my life.

Growing up, I never saw myself as a ‘Christian’, and stopped going church. I considered myself to be an ordinary teenager, doing things I thought were culturally normal and morally right, without even thinking of there being anything bigger besides the present.
I came to University in 2008, and felt a sense of belonging, being in a great group of friends, and living a typical student life.

By my 4th year however, I had completely lost my initial sense of belonging, and felt like there was something missing from my life. I knew I had started to consider that something was missing, but up until this point, I had explored every other avenue to try and fill it.

God kept on popping up in places I wasn’t expecting, at a time when I wasn’t really looking for Him. An ex-boyfriend became a Christian, my godmother sent me a prayer book, and I felt like
Christians kept being put in my path. After a while found that I couldn’t ignore it, and asked a friend if I could go to church with her.

As soon as I walked into RFC, I knew I was in the right place, and people were approaching me like I was the best part of their day. I felt overwhelmed with joy and was thankful that I had finally found a place where the hole in my heart could be filled.

During the worship, I couldn’t help but smile and cry. I didn’t know the words, and I wasn’t singing, but I sensed an overwhelming presence, and didn’t feel like an outsider. I felt like I was part of something.

I was invited along to Alpha, and after 3 weeks I knew that this was the truth, and found that I had run out of reasons not to believe in or follow Jesus. On May 8th I sat with my friend and gave my life to Jesus. I had found what I had been missing.

Since becoming a Christian I see things from a different perspective. I feel the feeling of being in love, of being in a relationship, but one that keeps on giving. I am happy, I smile and I no longer feel a pull towards things that I used to do to fill a gap. I am blown over by the grace that Jesus has poured over me, and that all the things I have done that are rebellious to God, my sin,  can be taken away, that I can be and have been washed clean, because of Jesus’ death on the cross.

I am now living as God’s witness, I want the things I do to reflect Jesus, and this amazing truth that is living in me. This is why I want to be baptised, so that I can publicly declare my love for Jesus and display that the wall of sin that was dividing us has been broken down, by Him.  I want to follow his example and be obedient to him.

Friday, 20 July 2012

Reading is important

I may not be preparing 2 or three sermons a week, but this quote taken from the Gospel Coalition Blog resonates in my soul:

John Piper  in his chapter “Fight for Your Life” in Brothers, We Are Not Professionals (new edition coming from B&H in February 2013):
I agree with Martyn Lloyd-Jones that the fight to find time to read is a fight for one’s life. “Let your wife or anyone else take messages for you, and inform the people telephoning that you are not available. One literally has to fight for one’s life in this sense!”
Most of our people have no idea what two or three new messages a week cost us in terms of intellectual and spiritual drain. Not to mention the depletions of family pain, church decisions, and imponderable theological and moral dilemmas. I, for one, am not a self-replenishing spring. My bucket leaks, even when it is not pouring. My spirit does not revive on the run. Without time of unhurried reading and reflection, beyond the press of sermon preparation, my soul shrinks, and the specter of ministerial death rises. Few things frighten me more than the beginnings of barrenness that come from frenzied activity with little spiritual food and meditation.
The great pressure on us today is to be productive managers. But the need of the church is for prayerful, spiritual poets. I don’t mean (necessarily) pastors who write poems. I mean pastors who feel the weight and glory of eternal reality even in the midst of a business meeting; who carry in their soul such a sense of God that they provide, by their very presence, a constant life-giving reorientation on the infinite God. For your own soul and for the life of your church, fight for time to feed your soul with rich reading.
 I'm currently reading 'The Practice of the Presence of God" by Brother Lawrence for 15 minutes a day - outstanding even in the old english

Thursday, 19 July 2012

The bell was rung and will be rung again

At the last first Thursday prayer meeting, we rang the bell for Jessica, who gave her life to Jesus back in June.  She now gets baptized this Sunday safe in the knowledge that Jesus died for her and that she has a living relationship with the creator.

The next time we gather for a First Thursday prayer meeting we will again be ringing the bell.  This time for Phil.  When he arrived at Alpha a few weeks ago, he was a self-confessed atheist.  Someone who thought being a Christian meant you had to conform to a set of rigid 1950's rules that held you back in life.  Someone who saw the teachings of Christianity to be something that was unreasonable against the back drop of "do what you like as long as it doesn't affect me", British Culture.

Over the course of the evenings that we gathered his opinion gradually changed as he heard what following Jesus actually means.  Although there are things that we do and don't do, it's as a response to grace not legality and it's based on love not judgement.  This Sunday just gone, he made the public confession that he is now a follower of Jesus and that he wants to live a life that reflects the love and grace and mercy of the Jesus who came and paid the price on our behalf because of love.

Phil is a great guy who has a heart of compassion.  I look forward to seeing him grow in his relationship with the living God and also to seeing more come to know Jesus as a result. (He's already got a couple of people potentially coming on the next Alpha course - what about you?)

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Daniel Jeffrey Taylor


My son was born at 5:12pm on Friday 15th June.  I am so grateful to our God for his safe arrival and the wonderful staff at the Royal Berkshire Hospital.  As you can see from the picture we have a thrilled big sister; she is doing really well and is incredibly helpful.  B is also doing well and is doing remarkably well in the midst of difficult sleeping patterns, having a son who eats as much and as regularly as his daddy and the fact that our house is still only partially sorted.

I for one am a very happy and content husband and father who is looking forward to nurturing his family in this new house that will become our home and all to the glory of God.

Saturday, 16 June 2012

Non Cheesy Christian Dance - Quality!

Picked this up off of Josh's Blog which is well worth a follow so you get these little gems!

Friday, 15 June 2012

A Celebration of Choir Song

Vocal Proms

Friday 13 July, doors 7.30pm (8pm start)
Reading Family Church & South Street are proud to present an evening of amazing vocal music from four locally based choirs. Join us for a whistle-stop tour of different vocal styles and genres from around the world, celebrated with style & verve.
Blessed: A blend of male and female voices bringing a taste of Africa, recognizong their roots and heritage. Full of joy, as they sway with the rhythm, they provide a great sense of occasion!
Quire Voices: Performing songs of different genres, and not being afraid of a challenge, means that these semi-pro chamber choir singers based in Windsor, are always willing to push the envelope and deliver high quality performance pieces wherever they go.
RFC voices:  A choir that represents different cultures, backgrounds and traditions, celebrate their diversity through a range of song from English Gospel to traditional African.  Power and energy accompanies each performance which reflects their passion and zeal for their art.
The Retreat Singers bring a host of different vocal and cultural experiences together. They create a sound that not only blends but purposely retains the individual vocal traditions that each singer brings to the group. They are a celebration of unity and individuality; of harmony and dissonance; a raw interpretation drawing from African music, rich gospel, jazz and folk.
Tickets £5 available from Karen at the church office or from the South Street Box Office

Thursday, 14 June 2012

Have we forgotten about the salvation bell?

You may remember that a while ago we were hot on RFC campanology.  The idea that we would become familiar with ringing the salvation bell to celebrate when someone turns to Christ. I remember the morning and evening meetings last year when we rang the bell for those who had committed their lives to Jesus.  The overwhelming feeling of joy that it brought up in me was amazing.   It was also something that spurred us on in prayer and in courage.

This year it can seem like we have forgotten about the bell.  I haven't gone on about it quite as much as I used to and it hasn't yet been rung for dear Jess who committed her life to following Jesus a couple of weeks ago.  We are missing something here.  The celebration of souls being won is like nothing else.  Let's get this right, this isn't about ringing a bell, it's about individuals coming to know the love of God, being freed from guilt, sin and shame.  This is a matter of eternity not just a loud moment of rejoicing.

Who are you currently praying for?  Who are you sharing your stories of Jesus with?  Who do you care enough about to risk being thought of as confrontational and weird because you want to turn the conversation to Jesus?

Working with South Street Arts Centre
On July 13th we are co-hosting a choirs night with South Street Arts Centre.  An evening of great song with the a chilled relaxed atmosphere with access to a bar means this is an ideal event to invite someone who you haven't spoken much to about your faith.  an easy invite if you like.
Tom Elliott, Saturday 22nd September

On Saturday 22nd September, a comic illusionist, Tom Elliott, will be with us again at South Street, and he will be making us laugh as well as sharing the gospel of God's love through some funny stories. This is going to be a brilliant evening and I ask now, who will you invite along?  Tickets will be limited to 120 due to the capacity in the venue and I anticipate they will sell fast so watch this space and the website for more details in a months time.

Following the Alpha launch night on the Saturday we will be starting the Alpha course on Tuesday 25th September.  What five people can you pray for in the hopes that you will invite three and that one will say yes.  It could be that you feel that you have exhausted your pool of friends already.  Please pray and ask God who is he asking you to invite!

Just so we are clear - I need to hear this as much as anyone else, sat here at my desk in the church office surrounded by Christians.  I need to consider the questions I have posed as much as anyone else.  People are generally introduced to Christ, are me and you ready to do that?  Let's get back to RFC campanology and let's choose to be those who get to ring the bell next for one of our work colleagues, friends or even family members!

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

Diamond Jubilee Street Party - Whitley Style

Saturday 2nd of June seems like ages ago now but it was a day to remember for ever for the residents of Whitley and Whitley Wood who were involved in the largest street party in Reading.  Approximately 5000 people turned up to what was an amazing event. The video below was taken by GetReading, the local newspaper (there's also one on Meridian website but can't embed it!) and the guy speaking is Vernon Orr who is the local Anglican church vicar.  He has an incredible heart for the community in South Reading and has become some what of a figure head for the churches in the area with the council.

Although a great joint effort between the churches, I must put out a massive thank you to all at Reading Family Church who got involved, whether making or buying cakes, serving in the afternoon or taking days off on the Friday to be available to lug tables and chairs from all manner of places.  It is hard to see how well the event could have been done without the dedicated, tireless serving of you guys.  

There was also an amazing team behind the scenes with some significant roles going to RFCers.  Tim Rooke masterminded the whole thing with his unique brand of diligence and unwavering commitment to the spreadsheet.  Chris Poston somehow managed to convince bouncy castle companies that their precious commodities would be fine on road surfaces and then headed the team for activities.  Alison Grieg ably supported everything with her administrative prowess, contacting the media and the dignitaries as well as making sure budgets were adhered to and money to cover those budgets was acquired.  Then we have Peter Harley who managed the site which involved the road closures, set up and of course the stewarding of the event.  This was an epic six months for each of them and each should be commended.

As for the day itself - every prayer was answered and more.  The weather was perfect, there was no trouble, the local community joined the church community in set up and pack down.  there was an atmosphere of love and respect over the place with old rubbing shoulders with young, neighbours reconnecting, old school friends bumping into each other.  Sir John Madjeski made his appearance and then stayed for the best part of the afternoon, despite the fact I made him an awful cup of tea!  The local MP's Alok Sharma and Rob Wilson, Readings Mayor and the towns press were out in force and BBC Radio Berkshire had a live reporter right from 8:30am when we started set up through to 6pm after she had helped pack some things away.  Even I went out live on the radio!

In all this was a day of community, a day of serving, a day of connecting, a day to remember and a day to savour.  Whatever anyone says about Whitley the prayer that has gone in to that place is working and the church is respected and supported in a way none of us can really understand.  God is good and he is working in the lives of many who attended that day.  It's great top be a church that meets in that community and has links in with it.

Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Diamond Jubilee Street Party

This Saturday we will be joining with the other churches of South Reading to put on one of the largest street parties in Reading, the county and even the country depending on the numbers that come through.

It is not only causing a buzz in the local community but also on a council level and in the local media.  There will be a selection of councilors and both of Readings MP's present, ITV Meridian are joining us for a couple of hours as are heart FM, and BBC Radio Berkshire will be doing a live broadcast from the event.

Northumberland is being closed, buses rerouted and an army of volunteers will make it look like it isn't one of the busiest road in Whitley!  Bunting tables and chairs will adorn the road, where cars normally rule!

With sandwiches and cakes and tea and squash, we will toast 60 years of reign for our queen.  We will enjoy meeting together with backdrop of good music, entertainment, face painting, bouncy castles, Whitley's Got Talent and many other things.  It will be a day that people will talk about for years and hopefully decades.

We love our local community and we want to be a blessing to them as we run with this.  If you want to join us come along between 1 and 4pm and be part of something so much bigger.

You can get involved by baking or buying all manner of cake as we want to supple 12500 slices on the day.  Please drop cakes off at the church office or at St Agnes Church building on Northumberland Ave.

Tuesday, 15 May 2012

From business to reflection

There's been so much going on in church life and personal life recently, that sitting and writing a blog has been all but impossible.  It's so good to be caught up in a life that neither affords me the time to be a prolific writer nor enables me to get the slightest bit bored.  It's brilliant that each day I awake that I know it won't be the same as the last.  

In church life, I have been enjoying Alpha, an acoustic night and looking forward to all that is to come for the rest of the year.In our personal world we have had a holiday to center parcs, have been pursuing our house sale/purchase and we are only a month away from the arrival of Bubba T.

In the midst of all the business it's all to easy to lose focus on what this life is all about, our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ.  That's why I will be making time tomorrow to reflect on Sundays preach and remember that I live in the light of the epiphany of grace and the epiphany of glory.  (you'll have to have a listen to the preach to pick up what on earth I'm going on about!)  It's brilliant to be reminded afresh of the truth of the gospel that we live in the good of!

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Ever heard of Laminin?

This is Louie Giglio and he is excited about Laminin.  After watching this I've got to say, it's Laminin is pretty cool!

Wednesday, 18 April 2012

Serving Teams: PA

For 10 long years, Pete Horne has lead the team at RFC that provides sound to our Sunday meetings.  He has faithfully toiled on a weekend and has asked for large amounts of money at periodic intervals to further enhance and grow this area of church life.  As the church has grown so have the complexities of delivering great sound from our musicians whom increasingly express themselves in different ways and with a seemingly growing number of instruments.

There is often a misconception that when it comes to PA there needs to be some prior knowledge of how sound works and how to put together a sound system.  The reality is though that if you know what a plug is and you know how to put it in to a wall, you are qualified for 90% of what needs doing.  When it comes to PA, the onus is on setting it up rather than having to blend the sounds.  No prior technical experience is necessary, just a willingness to arrive at 8:30 in the morning and learn how the system goes together. 

If you are not yet serving in the church or are looking for a new opportunity then this could well be for you.  A chance to gather with a different bunch of people, to learn some new skills and to serve Jesus through bringing sound to a growing congregation is there for the taking.  I know that Pete currently has opportunities for people to serve both in the morning and in the evening meetings. For more information about how to sign up either seek out Pete on a Sunday, contact the church office or let me know in the comments area below.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

Two week countdown to Alpha!

On Tuesday 17th April at 8pm, we will be starting our latest Alpha course.  On Sunday we will be celebrating the fact that Jesus isn't just dead, but is very much alive.  The fact that he rose again and the tomb was empty gives us great confidence in our God for life now and our future eternity.  This deep security that we can have in Jesus is something we are called to share with others, but sometimes their questions can be a bit a tricky.

This is where Alpha comes in.  It's a perfect opportunity for you to invite someone to a place where friends or family can discuss their questions and hear some different perspectives of how those questions can be handled.

It might be that you are just coming back to Jesus and want to run through the reasons you believe what you believe.  This is your opportunity.  Come along and enjoy discussing your faith with others and once again, bring up any doubts or confusions you may have.

We keep doing Alpha, because people keep coming and keep meeting Jesus for themselves.  Why don't you join us.

Wednesday, 21 March 2012

'Find Your Voice' This Saturday!

Here is some more info regarding 'Find Your Voice' this Saturday, 9am-1pm, Church Office

We have been given the great privilege of knowing Jesus.  That comes with great benefits and great responsibility.  It’s not all one way, he has called us to be on His mission and tell as many about Him as possible.  The idea of 'Find Your Voice' is to encourage and help us in carrying out this mission in our families, friendship groups and workplaces.  I’ve designed it to cover three important aspects – handling our personal story of God’s goodness in our lives; being ourselves when it comes to sharing our faith and acknowledging that it is scary and asking the question why. 

This is the plan for the morning (subject to any last minute alterations !)

9:00        Welcome
9:05        First session – What’s Your Story – some brief thoughts around sharing your faith and a way of arranging any story that would help you speak about Jesus
10:00     Break                                                                                               10:15     Second session – Being You – God made you as you are and it’s good to understand what your style is when it comes to sharing your faith so you can be you.
11:15     Break
11:30     Third session – What are we scared of?!  Question and exclamation, a discussion where we can talk about what holds us back and some of the big questions that we fear addressing
1pm       End

I hope that helps in making your decision to come along on Saturday and I look forward to seeing you then.

Friday, 16 March 2012

Zdenko flies in

Today sees Zdenko fly in from Croatia.  Our good friend who is pioneering a church plant in Croatia is here to meet Terry Virgo (preaching both Sunday morning and evening at RFC) and also to be amongst us as a community.  He's a great guy with a huge vision for his nation and what God wants to do there and it's a privilege that we get to walk with Zdenko, Ivana and his team in this.

Unfortunately, Ivana is unable to be around this weekend due to work commitments and i know that she is gutted that she cannot be with us.  As a church we continually work hard at greeting and welcoming and I know that both he and Ivana felt at home last time they came, I have every confidence he'll have the same report when he leaves on Monday.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Cheering on the masses in a party style

Sunday April 1st sees the streets of Reading once more taken over by elite athletes, wannabe elite athletes, fun runners and charity raisers. They are taking on the 13 and a bit miles that makes up the Reading Half Marathon.  It's an event that RFCers get involved in and is something that in this Olympic year will probably once again grab the attention of the public.

As a church  we are going to have a cheering presence on London Street, outside the church offices.  We'll pump some music, hand out some energy inducing goodies of some description to the athletes passing by and generally encourage the many runners who will be taking part.  We want to create an atmosphere that brings the best out of those taking part as well as play 'spot the RFCers' as they go through - we will compile a list!

It would be great to have 30 or so people at the least to have a presence during what has become a significant date in the calendar of our town and in the diaries of friends in our community.

To get involved you'll have to beat the road closures and be ready for a party, let me know if you're up for it!  

Wednesday, 7 March 2012

Want to be more effective at communicating your faith?

On Saturday 24th March at the church offices, 9am-1pm, we will be hosting a morning called Find Your Voice. The intention is to start a journey of understanding how we as individuals will best communicate 'the reason for the hope that we have' when the opportunity arises.  We'll look at what we find it easy to talk about and why we find it is to talk about it and then apply this to the Gospel.

Put the date in your diary and come and along on the morning to grow in faith for the great mission that Jesus has called us all to: the sharing of the good news of Jesus.

Friday, 3 February 2012

Cardboard Testimonies

We did these at our 10th anniversary  I know Sean has blogged this already but I don't think we can see it enough to inspire us to believe that we are not finished growing yet. There are still many cardboard testimonies to believe for over the next 10 years and you and I have the privilege to be involved!

Thursday, 2 February 2012

Serving Teams: SUPA

Matt Blake
This is a picture of Matt Blake and he has just taken over from Andy in leading into our SUPA team.  The SUPA team is one of those teams in church life that goes unnoticed as a people but not as a function.  I remember when we started to meet in Reading Girls School, getting there early each morning and setting out chairs quickly became one of the highlights of the week.  It was an integral area of church life to serve in and it all went on behind the scenes and I loved it, the banter, the reality of seeing growth in the number of chairs that were required, setting up paddling pools for baptisms, fabulous!

Beautifully laid out chairs
10 years have passed and we now have a much larger church, more chairs, boxes to be moved around to other ministries, flags to be set, banners put up.  It can feel such a thankless task but is one of those that is highly valued and highly appreciated after all, who wants to sit on the floor.

The reality is that it is the ministry that starts the earliest at 8:30am and they are the last to leave the building at about 1pm for the morning meeting and 5pm - 8:30pm at the evening meeting.

We have had great heroes serve in this area over a long period of time such as Tino Villa, Tim Jablonski, Dan Chard, Andy Twine (sorry if I have forgotten anyone) and more recently, Matt Blake, all ably assisted by others.

Getting it right is an art!
So now we are once again inviting people to serve in this valuable area of church life.  It is a matter of committing and then following through on that commitment.  It's a matter of putting the proverbial towel over your arm and serving, knowing that God is delighted in what you are doing.  There are quite a few opportunities to serve on the team with Matt looking to build at least three teams for the morning meeting meaning that there is less regularity in being on.

Could you be there at 8:30am/5pm on a Sunday morning/evening ready to put out chairs and lug boxes?  Are you available after the meetings to help put things along. if you are and you want to get involved then please let Matt Blake (morning) or Ian Anderson (evening) know on Sunday, or of course you can contact me at churchoffice@readingfamilychurch.org.uk

Saturday, 21 January 2012

Turning intentions to reality

We will soon be heading into the 4th week of the new year and already 1/12th of the year is nearly through. Good intentions have stayed just that, intentions and the things we thought we might do haven't quite got into swing yet!  You know what I mean!

Here at RFC one of the things that we are aware of is that we have grown significantly and the people that we are growing with are taking a bit of time to get involved in the joy of serving.  The main reason for this is that there is no means of knowing what areas of church life need help at any given time. Other reasons are, however, that our good intentions to get involved do not materialize into reality and months can go past before we have decided what we will do.

I will therefore periodically, be putting a post up that showcases an area of church life and what there is to do in it, so our good intentions can be made reality.

For now though, why don't you decide today to be someone who will get stuck in to a serving area. The various areas are listed below and you can leave a comment to tell me that you would like to get involved or go via the 'getting involved' page on the website.

  • Creche (morning only)
  • Kids Church (morning only)
  • The Edge (Youth)
  • Student Team
  • SUPA (Set Up & Pack Away)
  • Welcome Team
  • Host Team
  • Music
  • PA / Audio Visual 
  • HOPE (ministry for adults with learning difficulties)
  • Teas and Coffees (morning only)

Friday, 20 January 2012

What is Foundations and Who is it for?

It's the start of a new year and Christmas is way behind us.  The resolutions have already started to be broken.  However, one of those resolutions might have been to come back to Jesus, or give your life to Him  for the first time, or even just to come back to the basics so that the Christian life doesn't feel quite so complex and hard theologically.  If that is you then this is for you.

On the last Tuesday of this month, Rachel Green and I will be hosting the first evening of our Foundations.  These evenings are called foundations for 2 reasons.

#1 The name of the book we use to stimulate discussion is called Foundations and is written by John Groves
#2 Because these evenings are to build grow and strengthen our foundations in Christ.

The evenings are designed to be open for all, meaning they are an ideal next step after Alpha, they are ideal if you are new in your faith and they are ideal as a refresher of why you believe and do all that you do in teh name of Jesus!

Foundations is a great way to get to know a new bunch of people, and a great place to get to understand why we do certain things as a church.

Each week we will journey through subjects in an easy and open environment:

Week 1: Personal Foundations - looking at faith and baptism in water and the Spirit
Week 2: A New Creation - a fresh reminder of who we are in Christ and all He achieved for us (you can never know this enough!)
Week 3: Kingdom Life - what does it mean to live as a Christian in all areas of our lives?
Week 4: Kingdom Warfare - we have a real enemy, how does he work and how do we live in the victory Christ won?
Week 5: Jesus is Building His Church - What is church and what does it mean to participate?
Week 6: Belonging to Church - As it says on the tin, but aimed at what it means to belong to RFC (you may already be a member but always good to be reminded)
Week 7: Sharing your Faith - These foundations could be the foundations for your friends and family as they come to know Jesus, we are called to invite them to meet Him!

You can book in by leaving a comment on here or by contacting me via the foundations page of the website found on this link.

Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The year ahead and why

A new year has ensued and it's probably time that I started updating this blog a little more often than I do.  I find that at times I have much to say and at other times I cannot even face looking at the icon on the computer screen that taunts me and tells me that i have not written for ages.  I decided before Christmas that I would start again in the new year and so here I am.  Anyway on with the post!

I am currently looking at a few events that the community of RFC can enjoy together.  The idea of the events is to provide an environment where people can socialize together, get to know new people and feel free to invite others in. They are not outright evangelistic but do provide a chance to showcase the talent that is in the church and further afield.  We are looking at another acoustic night, a choirs evening and a comedy night, spread throughout the year.

There will be two Alpha courses this year; one starting in April off the back of Easter Sunday and one at the end of September.  Alpha has always been the prominent way in which God has moved amongst us in salvation power.  Being in a place where people can feel free to ask questions and disagree, knowing that no one is going to judge them, is a wonderful thing in our culture.  When we stop seeing fruit we will stop doing Alpha, but for now we continue.

We are inviting a couple of guest evangelists to some and be with us this year one in either half of the year.  They are yet to confirm availability but I will of course let you know when I do.

This year sees the diamond jubilee of the queens coronation.  The council have asked if the churches of South Reading can put on some sort of event to feed the local community. We would like to put on a street party down Northumberland Avenue if the council agree the road closures.  We will be working with the other churches of South Reading to cater for some 4000 people over a 3 hour window.  This is such a great opportunity to serve and get to know the people in whose community we meet.

We will also be looking to put on a couple of Saturday mornings this year to do some training in evangelism.  We will look at some basics on why and some practical things that we can do.  Dates for this are to be confirmed.

Why do we do all of these things?  Why do we want to help others know this Jesus that we love and follow?  Because he told us to, well yes he did, but who ever did anything because they were told to and did it with a good heart?  We do it because we know that it is only in Jesus that we found true acceptance, significance and love.  We do it because we, like God, should want none to perish.  We do it because someone once loved us enough to introduce us to Jesus.  We do it because we are loved and we love.

None of these things save anyone, Jesus does, but we need to bring them to places where they can first have their presuppositions of Christianity eroded and then introduce them to Jesus through Alpha, visiting speakers, baptism meetings, father's day and mother's day, Easter and Christmas meetings and of course our Sunday gatherings.

I am looking forward to a year where we see salvation and I am praying we will see it like we have never seen it before.  When the carol singing season starts again this year, i am trusting that many more will be singing Hark the Herald Angels Sing not because it is a twee song to sing at that time of year, but because they firmly believe in the one the song is about.  My prayer is simple - LORD, USE ME!  Is yours the same?