Saturday, 30 April 2011

Traffic jams in St Petersburg

So today we set out to visit a drug rehab centre which is 2hr drive from where we are staying. 

Unfortunately most of the local population decided to use the same stretch of motorway resulting in traffic chaos. After 2 hr we were still on the outskirts of the city, next to Ikea.

Long story short, we turned round and had lunch in the vast Ikea complex ... and browsed the store. Not quite what we had in mind!

I am preaching tonight at a church but we are taking the Metro (the underground train) so should avoid the same fate!

Thursday, 28 April 2011

Alpha in St Petersburg

Tonight I spoke at the launch of Hope Church's first Alpha course. I really enjoyed being part of the evening.

It has been a very busy few days; I have taught on 'Election and Evangelism', seen their potential new Sunday venue, spoken on the changes in church life growing from 50 to 150 people, and had a long meeting on church finances.

Josh and I are really enjoying it but they are working us hard!

Tuesday, 26 April 2011

Off to St Petersburg

Today, Josh John and I are flying out to spend a week with the Henson's and Hope Church St Petersburg. Dave has put together a full program for us, ranging from speaking to newfrontiers pastors, preaching at Hope, and hosting a seminar entitled 'Once saved, always saved?'. 

Josh will be leading worship at church on Sunday which is in both Russian and English, so that should be fun. It will be good to see how much the church has progressed since Liz and I were with them in October. 

We have some Easter eggs for the Henson children, and some big bars for mum & dad! I can't imagine living in a country and not easily being able to buy Cadbury's chocolate.

Thursday, 21 April 2011

Easter Sunday

On Sunday we will be recounting the Easter story and celebrating Christ's death & resurrection.

As part of our worship there will be opportunities for people to spontaneously read parts of the bible as we retell the dramatic events of the first Easter weekend. Please do come prepared to bring a 'spontaneous' contribution ;o)  

We will also be baptising 5 people as part of the meeting, a visible picture of what Jesus has accomplished for us! 

Hope to see you there. Sean

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

Alternative Vote resource site

“Man’s capacity for justice makes democracy possible; but man’s inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary.” Reinhold Niebuhr 

I want to encourage all of us at RFC to vote on the 5th of May. The Christian Institute have produced a briefing paper to help you as you prayerfully consider how you will cast your ballot.

Their briefing considers some of the arguments from both sides of the debate, and offers some biblical principles which I hope will help.

To review their briefing and other AV resources click here

Tuesday, 19 April 2011

Newcomers Lunch & Membership @ RFC

Two dates for your diary:
If you are new to RFC we would love for you to join us for lunch to meet the pastors & wives & their children. Its a noisy, fun filled time and the food is always delicious! Do let the church office know your coming.

Liz and I will be hosting this session which runs in parallel with our main meeting to help people find out what it means to be a member of RFC. Please come along to hear our story and ask your questions ... 

Friday, 15 April 2011

A sign-post Sunday

This Sunday we plan to remind ourselves of our calling to become a growing, Jesus-centered community, serving the town of Reading and beyond.

As part of the morning, we hope to set apart six new deacons, to talk about the next RFC staff member, and also outline plans around our 10th anniversary (centred around Sunday 9th October at the town hall).

I will be speaking from Joshua 1v11 & 3v5 which will help signpost this part of our journey.

Do try to make either the morning or evening meeting, you will not only be informed but greatly encouraged as we remember all that God has done amongst us, and what we believe He will do amongst us over the next 18 months.

Saturday, 9 April 2011

5km in the sun

What better way to start a sunny weekend than running with a few hundred people along the river Thames. I so enjoy living in a town where you can do fun stuff like this .. why not give it a go one Saturday, details here

One of the guys from my Tri club finished ahead of me (he ran a blistering 19:25) so it was good to chat and swap stories. We also swim in the same lane on club night, so for once we spoke for longer than the 30 seconds between swim-drills!

Friday, 8 April 2011

Healing Meeting this Sunday

Paul Brown will be with us morning and evening, please pray for God to both heal & save people.

Thursday, 7 April 2011

A new season of prayer meetings

On 13 March RFC was given another pertinent prophetic word from Chris Hall who is part of Brick Hill Baptist Church (I have since spoken to their lead elder who commends Chris’ prophetic gift):
'The Father is pleased with the faithful way in which you have served those people He has already given you and He intends to give you ' a great harvest of souls '. He wants you to earnestly seek Him for guidance as to how you are to nurture, serve and disciple these new people. This is not to find out how to reach them because He will bring them to you. I sense that you will need to be prepared not only to think about buildings but also about how you operate because this new group will not simply be an extension of the growth you have already seen but something quite different in numbers and kind. I believe this needs to happen before the 'harvest' will come.'
When coupled with Julian’s prophetic word from January (listen to it here) I sense we need to fast and pray all together one day a month for six months. The plan is that on the first Thursday of the month we fast and in the evening all gather in one place to “pray the prophetic into our now”. We would not meet as separate Lifegroups that week nor would we have our usual three days of prayer at the beginning of each term.

The proposed THURSDAYS are 5 May, 2 June, 7 July, 1 Sept, 6 Oct and 3 NOV. 

On Sunday 17 April I plan to preach from Joshua 1 & 3 as a signpost to help us see what God is doing amongst us.

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

A Mother's Fear; The Father's Grace

On Sunday Liz spoke from Genesis 21v8-21 and traced out how Hagar's fear and despair were met by God seeing, hearing and then providing for her needs. It was good to be reminded that wherever we find ourselves in God's story, He hears our cry and will work out His plans for our lives. I was particularly encouraged by how she brought us back to Jesus, the cross and His Gospel.

If you weren't there, then you can listen to it online here.

News from Naomi

The Night Before School Starts Just above my knee in height, in her red, dust covered dress, Nyandut has kept appearing at my side today. She was on the branch at the front of church when I introduced Joyce and Gordon to the gathered, Luonyaker crowd. She was at the borehole when I was pumping some water to wash my clothes. She had been sent to the market to fetch something and she walked with me, hand in hand, on the way home. She was excited to tell me how, tomorrow, she would be going to Marol for the start of the new school year. Her little legs alone would have to carry her the five or so miles. With all the hassles and competing logistics, it is lovely to have even one little person to remind me what it is all about. The more I know the children and young people of this community, the more I feel the weight of Marol. I have to trust God that he will not fail them. Things To Pray For: Joyce and Gordon - Them and their car are now happily resident at Marol. They are a real gift from heaven to Marol and to me. Pray for them as the routine of life, the pace of the school and the heat of South Sudan invade. The smothering South Sudanese sun seems at its hottest at the moment. I sleep beneath the stars and can hardly face work until the sun is sleeping. Pray that God keeps reminding them of the strength he has given them, the love he has for them and the people he has called them to.Pupils of Marol - Tomorrow, their little feet will carry them for miles across the sliding sands to Marol Academy. Pray that God brings them with care and has a plan for each one of them. Pray too that God will really seep into the school this year and make himself seen.

Teachers For Marol - God has called Gordon and Joyce from England, but I am now really praying hard that he will gather some teachers from the local villages to teach at our primary school. I fear there is still such a vacuum and they are needed if we are to feed the children with education.

Yours in Christ, Naomi

Friday, 1 April 2011

April Fools .. the story so far

Joshua discovered the house brick in his school bag (me) and at lunch time will discover the hot chilli sauce in his sandwiches (Liz).

Lucy was soaked by the classic 'cup on top of the door' (Joshua) but somehow I escaped the same fate when I open the side gate (Joshua).

Joshua and Lucy found the toys in their breakfast cereals (Zoe).

My study had seven A4 pictures of swans in it (interns) to remind my of my disastrous Radio Berkshire interview and a special 'Swan Appreciation Society' badge (interns) had been pinned onto my jumper without me knowing. A hidden mp3 device (interns) started playing loud swan noises in my study.
My window onto London Street has a special sign on it (interns). My mug was kidnapped (interns) until I told them where I had hidden all teabags.