Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Cloudy Days in Summer - 5th Feb 2011

Last year RFC hosted a day aimed at giving both permission and a framework to discuss mental health amongst amongst Christians. It was oversubscribed and many people told us that they found the day useful.
We plan to run the conference again but this time at Kerith Community Church in Bracknell to cope with the anticipated demand. The two morning sessions will lay out a Biblical framework and explore the relationship between psychology and faith. After lunch there will be two seminar tracks, 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.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Prophecy today

On Sunday I spoke about the ‘Prophesied Kingdom’ and said that both the Prophets & Prophecy recorded in the Old Testament are uniquely different to our experience of the prophetic. The Prophets of the Old Testament can be regarded as bringing the very words of God; infallible, inerrant and spoke as God's very mouthpiece.

But we don’t live in that age of the infallible prophetic word of revelation. In short, prophets & prophecy of today need to be carefully weighed whilst also not being treated with contempt. So what can we expect?

What the church has been given is the gift prophecy, the office of prophet, and a whole range of prophetic gifting in between. The bible encourages any Christian filled with the Spirit to prophesy ‘Everyone come with a tongue, a scripture or a prophecy.’ 1 Corinthians 14:26. Steve Tibbert in his blog uses the following diagram that I found helpful:

He argues that prophecy has degrees, or measures. I do think this is helpful in seeing that very few (if any) will operate with only God’s word at the point of giving the prophetic word. As such we need to be very discerning in weighing each and every prophetic contribution: 'What is of man and what is of God?'.

I don't think I want to argue for each of the 4 types of prophesy or try to map people into them. But I do want us all to be wise about 'from who' and 'how' we receive prophetic words. We are to be always looking for that nugget of Gold that leads us to God.

Stu Alfred on his blog gives some helpful guide lines in weighing prophetic words:
1) Is this true? Where do I find this truth spoken in the Bible?
2) Will this edify? This is the purpose of the gift. It is given to build up others.
3) Is the timing right? In a meeting or when speaking to someone, when is the best time to offer what I feel.
If someone offers me a word I will ask the following questions...
1) Is this true?
2) What do my leaders feel about this? (Seeking Godly wisdom)
3) How do I apply this?

For Stu's full blog post click here

Friday, 26 November 2010

Pursuing God's will

I have been slowly working my way through the book of Ephesians and have been camped out in Ephesians 5 all month. One of my conclusions is that its ok to be my wife's biggest fan.

Liz spoke recently at our regional newfrontiers woman's conference on 'Pursuing God's will' for you life.

It's worth a listen (click here), even if you're a bloke ;o)

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Carol Concert sold out!

All 750 tickets for the carol concert have been collected and we are now operating a waiting list. If you already have tickets can you confirm your guests are still coming and let Josh Betts have any spare ones.We have 46 on the waiting list and don't want any seats to remain empty! A great problem to have.

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

My Blackberry is bust

So I am now without my blackerry and I feel OK .. so far. Vodafone have supplied me with a basic phone and it took a while to remember how to input text (It's all so very primitive).
I am going away for a few days with newfrontiers so will be 'off comms' with no email or web access. I am quite looking forward to this retro experience.

The big decision I face is whether to now switch to an iphone or continue with my trusted friends at RIM... the lure of '79 pence apps' is high ;o)

Monday, 22 November 2010

Very cool

I'm so pleased people do stuff like this...beautifully filmed; incredible riding.

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Comedy @ RFC

So we asked the budget holders to submit proposals for 2011 as we have the first round of budget discussions this Friday. Below is the feedback from Ed who heads up our Welcome & Host team (Sam is one of our interns).
I particularly liked the £5000 allocated to the 'Like to Know More form' bonus scheme and the £700 for a trap door for unwelcome visitors ...

Fathers & daughters - Paul Reid

At the weekend I attended a Men's conference in Belfast, Mandate 2010 (a curious name ... I went to a 'man date' with 2000 other guys!). Whilst there, I attended Paul Reid's seminar on the father / daughter relationship. He was honest, funny and very helpful ... here are my notes:

There are no perfect fathers - only one, our Father in heaven. I can't take all the credit for our kids, neither can I take all the blame. Proverbs 22v6 is not to be used as an all binding promise.

It all begins with my relationship with my wife. Don't under estimate the impact of my relationship with Liz on Zoe & Lucy. They watch, learn and form their norm for the marriage relationship / relating with men.

Each daughter is different but they all need unconditional love. My girls need to 'feel' loved, not just know it. Daughters are emotional beings who thrive on unconditional love. Therefore avoid the 'behave-believe-belong' train of doing life, rather adopt the 'belong-believe-become' ethos. No relationship can flourish in an atmosphere of disapproval. Don't corner my girls into conformity by approval. Unconditional love is to be the foundation of our relationship.

They need to know they are my priority and that is reflected in quantity of time I give them. The 'boyfriend chat' is rooted in playing 'Polly Pocket' now. Affirm them as a woman and use appropriate physical touch. They need a father to affirm and admire their beauty without any motive other than unconditional love. Girls need dads increasingly as they get older. I need to stand at the head of my daughter's parade and be their chief supporter.

Few things can penetrate my daughter's heart as my foolish words, so be careful and seek forgiveness (Proverbs 18v21 & 15v4). Daughters see the 20% they can't do and think that disqualifies them. Sons see the 20% they can do and think they can do it all! Be interested in what they are interested in.

They need to hear me say "I'm sorry" but not everything is about me.

They need to be encouraged to follow Jesus in the way that suits their own personality.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Mandate 2010

I am off this weekend with Sitho to attend 'Mandate 2010' in Belfast where Mark Driscoll is the keynote speaker. It is an annual men's conference and this year they are looking at the life patterned by John the Baptist.
I plan to attend a seminar by Paul Reid which will explore the father/daughter relationship.

We are traveling as part of a group organised by one of Sitho's friends and I am really looking forward to getting to know these guys. Judging by the pre-conference email banter, it should be good fun.

We do need to keep raising the bar on what it means to pursue true greatness as men and hopefully this weekend will equip Sitho and I to do that at RFC.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

Enjoying my faith

I am really enjoying my faith at the moment.

That may come as a surprise to some, but if we are all honest, following Jesus can be a hard slog. At times my faith journey is dry and I can see more clearly what I don’t have or can't have. I endure in my faith but it's not always easy or overly joyful (The plod of God as someone once said).

But right now I am enjoying my faith. I am mining the gospel and the going is easy. My tools seem to be ever sharper and my light ever brighter. I am in a rich gospel seam that is yielding it's treasure with minimum effort. Oh, how delightful is this season.

So yes I am tired but enjoying my faith. Each day I seem to unearth new treasure and bring it into the light of my day.

A delightful season in the glorious gospel of Jesus.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

Stuff I'm thinking about

Here's some of the stuff that I'm buzzing with, in no particular order:
  • Who's the next elder, next 2 deacons, next full timer?
  • What's God saying about Sunday nights at South Street? (We always planned to review it this month).
  • What has God got for us in 2011?
  • What venues does RFC need from Oct 2012 onwards?
  • What do I uniquely bring to RFC and what should I stop doing?

Monday, 1 November 2010

Putting out chairs

Nine years ago on a cold November morning, we set out 50 chairs in Reading Girls’ School for the very first time. We had just leafleted 2000 homes and were now publicly launching the church. I can’t remember how many new people turned up, but we didn’t fill all the seats.

Since that morning, we have put out a lot of chairs, met many new people and seen Jesus change lives. There is something about putting out seats, trusting God to fill them and then people becoming Christians, still thrills me.
Next month, on Sunday 5th December, we are setting out 750 seats in the Town Hall. In attempting to gather that many people in the heart of our town, we are embarking on the biggest outreach event in the life of RFC. It is going to be a great evening.

In 2001 we struggled to gather 50 people. Nine years later I’m sure we can get close to filling the Town Hall for a Carol Concert ... we just need everyone to bring at least 2 guests. There’s no Kingdom benefits from empty seats.