Thursday, 23 October 2008

A&E, the sop & grace

It has been a busy morning. Joshua’s ankle ballooned overnight after a crunching tackle at football yesterday. It got so painful we took him to A&E at 7:30 this morning.

Meanwhile, my bible in a year took me to John 13. Here Jesus showed the full extent of his love and foreshadowed the cross by washing the disciple’s feet. Immense.

Jesus then goes on to predict his betrayal by the one He gives the dipped bread to (the sop). Don Carson writes: “Judas received the sop but not the love. Instead of breaking him and urging him to contrition, it hardened his resolve.”

Life can be manic. A&E visits are unplanned and spin you into organised chaos. Our holiday will be interesting with hop-along boy (thankfully it’s only badly sprained). But over all this is the banner of Jesus’ love for us – by grace he has chosen us (v18), by grace we will keep feeding on him, and by his grace we are not doomed to destruction (Jn 17v12).

I like being a follower of Jesus.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

'No God' slogans for buses

I'm sorry but I do find this funny ...

BBC website: Bendy-buses with the slogan "There's probably no God" could soon be running on the streets of London. full article here

The fool says in his heart ...

A Delay, Wassenaar & 16 Nov

Delay: Liz & I recently met with our church planting coach Tony Thompson to talk through our plans and current status. To cut a long story short, Tony advised us to delay our move by 6 months in order to build a bigger planting team. At present the team is two families (Geurts' & Greens) and a single guy, so we need at least another 7 adults to get to Amsterdam by next summer.

Wassenaar: On Friday, our family is heading off to the Dutch North Sea resort of Wassenaar for a week. Whilst there we are meeting up with Gerke & Maxine Geurts and their children for some Netherlands Fun. We Greens will also be visiting a school in Amsterdam and spending time in the city. I am sure it won't rain much or be very windy ...

16 Nov: Amsterdam Day - UK. Part of the plan to build a team is to host a day both in the UK and Amsterdam for those interested in the church plant. If your are in the UK and are interested in joining the plant please come along on the 16th and let me know you are coming. A 'Dutch Lunch' is planned and involves 'bitterballen' en 'kroketten' and I will be outlining the vision for the church. A similar day is planned to be held in Amsterdam in March 09 - details to follow in the next month.

Thursday, 16 October 2008

RFC heroes - James & Jess

The Race - 'I get it wrong'. First single from their forthcoming album 'In My Head It Works'.

James and Jess not only serve faithfully on a Sunday morning in our PA team but they are also the guitar geniuses behind the Race. Great music and you can spot the Reading land marks!

Friday, 10 October 2008

Worship day @ RFC

Book this day in outlook / PDA / phone / diary / wall calender!

A day to inspire us in our private devotions and when we meet together. There will be sessions on singing in the Spirit, creativity in worship, song writing and arrangement.

10am - 4pm on Saturday 1st November @ RFC Office, 87 London Street.

Contact Karen at the office to register.

Thursday, 9 October 2008

A 'chance' encounter

Yesterday a young Turkish woman came to the church offices responding to a poster we have on our front window (about the Christian crisis pregnancy centre across the road). I emerged at the door, on the phone, mind engaged with the caller. Not a good start.

She asked about help with her pregnancy, specifically how to end it. She was very clear on that. She thought we provided abortions, she had mis-understood the poster. I didn't know what to say or do. We walked across the road but the crisis pregnancy centre was closed - short staffed I guess.

This dear women was looking for some tablets to end the pregnancy (the baby is under 12 weeks old) . I didn't plead with her not to. I didn't prayer with her. Her mind was made up and I was too polite & aware of her anguish to suggest otherwise. She asked me where to get an abortion. I said nothing, and she walked away.


Sin is messy. Anxious mums must be loved. The unborn protected. And I need to be changed by this 'chance' encounter.

Wednesday, 8 October 2008

Wisdom from a Teddy

When Teddy Roosevelt was president of the United States, he and his friend would routinely go outside after dinner and look up at the night sky. They would locate a faint spot of light on the lower left hand corner of Pegasus and recite the following:
"This is the spiral Galaxy Andromeda.
It is as large as our Milky Way.
It is one of 100 million galaxies.
It is 750,000 light years away.
It consists of 100 billion suns, each larger than our sun."
Roosevelt would pause and grin and say to his friend "Now I think we feel small enough! Let's get some sleep".

Monday, 6 October 2008

Wisdom from a bear

Bear Grylles' favourite life quote:
'Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, covered in scars, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming 'yahoo!', what a ride.'

Sean Green quote 'Let's change the world, one email at a time'

Saturday, 4 October 2008

Part time or Full time?

I have just spent two days attending the Willow Creek Leadership summit at Bracknell. It was excellent.
It is very different from the newfrontiers conference Together on a Mission, which for me is about leaders in the movement gathering together and has an obvious feel of family. In contrast, the Willow conference is laser sharp on leadership skills, and the caliber of the speakers is impeccable.

Bill Hybel's first session was hugely insighful, and both Wendy Kopp's (Teach for America) & Catherine Rohr's (Prison Entrepreneurship Program) leadership drive made a huge impact on me.

But it was a throw away line by Craig Groeschel that has been bugging me tonight "Are you a full time pastor but a part time follower of Christ?" How can you answer that question without much soul searching?

I have always pursued a passionate relationship with Jesus. I have endeavoured to put him first as best I can. But there is something about being 'full time' that can blur things and drain down my passion for Jesus. To be very honest, at times building a church blurs and messes with knowing Jesus.

Worse still, I now realise that there have been times when I have had a devotional time simply to 'get it done'. That is horrible. That is miles away from 'a response to grace' that I want my life to be...

It was worth two days if only to realise this afresh. God is good and full of grace and I can go to sleep tonight knowing His grace is sufficent to keep me on track being full time for Jesus

Thursday, 2 October 2008

How am I?

Since returning from sabbatical numerous people have asked 'How yer doing Sean?'. Each time I have needed to pause and reflect. My normal pre-answer checklist (that plays into the answer of how I am) has grown considerably.
  • How are the children coping with the move to Amsterdam?
  • How are Liz and I coping with leaving Reading?
  • How is the church now we are back?
  • How is the church coping with the pace of change?
  • What are our trusted friends and family thinking about us going?
  • Am I leading all this well?
  • Where will we live, kids go to school, make ends meet, build a team?
  • Is there a God, is He in all this?
On some of these points I score high, others low. But, I have been able to honestly say "I'm good - on balance, we are fine". Primarily because Liz and I know God and our hearts are for following Him.

That said, I do wonder whether they only expected to hear an immediate 'fine' ... but I just don't work that way!

Wednesday, 1 October 2008

A12 to Heaven

I knew it was going to be a hard book to read ... how could it not be?

To lose two teenage daughters in a car crash, to drive past the crash scene on the way to the hospital, to return to your home and mourn with your other two children & family & friends.

To know the love of God through it all ...

I can't remember EVER crying all through the first chapter of a book. Not a classic easy read. Phil Stoddart's honesty & language & engaging style is disarming and powerful and deeply moving.

Some books simply need to be read - and this is one of them. But choose the right time when you read the first chapter ...