Thursday, 27 September 2012

Dad & Lad on a relay team

So this Saturday Joshua and I are doing our last race of this season. Our club has entered 10 teams into a relay Triathlon at Eaton-Dorney Lake, currently there are 96 different teams overall.

Each team has 3 'athletes' the first of whom will swim 400m in the lake, then pass a timing chip to the next who then swims the 400m, and then so will the third.We then each ride 15km in succession; then each run 5km; again passing the same timing chip between us to gain a cumulative time. 

The event is supposed to be friendly, fun and not taken too seriously.
The only concern is that the water temperature has now dropped below 16C, that is chilly when you first get in. Especially so when you are 14 years old, have a shorty wetsuit and not overly confident swimming in a lake. 

Joshua has swum 1200m in a lake before with no problem but swimming amongst 96 wildly thrashing triathletes in cold murky water will be different. 

It will be quite a challenge for my beloved son.

Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Those Three Words

Vision Sunday is shaping up to be our most creative yet:  

The media team (aka Josh & Zoe) have been filming at various secret locations. Our artists have been doing funky stuff with box canvases... And I am getting a lot of texts about 3 words. 

Let me explain.

I asked everyone on Sunday to text me three words that would describe the church they want us to become. I plan to use these words as part of my message. Here is a sample of the texts I received so far: 

  • Inclusive, Discipling, Influential.
  • Relations not Religion
  • Fun, Strong, Flexible
  • Humble, Love, Sacrifice
  • Full of Life

Please be part of this by letting me know your three words :o)

Tuesday, 18 September 2012

Why did I go upstairs?

Have you ever gone upstairs to do something but once there you've forgotten quite why you went? 

That happened to me yesterday. Twice.

Liz tells me its my age but I think it was because I was rushing around trying to get 'Monday stuff' done! 

Life is like this. We can get so busy doing work/home/church stuff that we forget why we are here and what the important stuff is! 

Like me, I guess you also need to keep being reminded of God's call on your life and where we sense God's taking us as a people. 

On Sunday 30 September we have planned both morning and evening meetings to stir our hearts and remind us what we want to be about.

Please do plan to be there, or maybe make changes so that you can be at one of these meeting.

I hope to see you there ... Sean

Monday, 17 September 2012

She's back!

After 4 weeks in local garage our car is finally back with us ... a happy day at family Green.
She may not look pretty, and she isn't exciting to drive, but she makes our life much easier :o)

Saturday, 15 September 2012

Elders & Deacons Day

I can happily report that at the core of Reading Family Church are people who not only love Jesus but also enjoy being together. 

We stood/fell off towers built of milk crates; navigated low ropes courses with a 'blind' team-mate and did various other trust exercises. Several of us were ordered to do press-ups for misdemeanors, all of which was very amusing for the rest!

This afternoon we talked, reviewed and worshipped.

They are a great bunch of leaders and we should continue to thank God for their contribution to the life of RFC.

Thursday, 6 September 2012

Introducing 2 new interns ...

We are now in the 6th year of our Intern Program and I'm really pleased that Becca & Zoe are part of it this year. The scheme hugely benefits RFC whilst creating unique personal & spiritual development opportunities for the interns.

Becca Cavanagh (left) studied History at Reading and will be supporting Scott in running events and also assisting Karen in day2day administration.

Zoe Anstell (right) studied TV, Film & Theatre at Reading Uni and she will be supporting Sarah in Kids Church and also Josh in Media. 

They will also receive theological training and opportunities to serve on a mission team outside of Reading. 

Would you please would you prayerfully consider sponsoring them, they are each looking to raise £200 a month to help cover some of the costs of the program.

Lets make their year full of encouragement as they look to serve Jesus and His church with all their energies :o)

Wednesday, 5 September 2012

We are supposed to care #2

More on the growing issue of relative poverty amongst UK children (source BBC website) ... 

The charity Save the Children, best known for helping some of the world's poorest families, has launched its first appeal to help UK children.
The charity says the UK's poorest children are bearing the brunt of the recession, with some missing out on regular hot meals or new shoes.
The campaign urges the government to focus on benefits for low-paid families and ask employers to pay a living wage.
The government said it was committed to eradicating child poverty.
Researchers for Save the Children surveyed more than 1,500 children aged eight to 16 and more than 5,000 parents, focusing on the lowest income groups.
The study draws on Institute of Fiscal Studies (IFS) figures which estimate that there are 3.5 million children living in poverty in the UK and predict a steep rise in the numbers in coming years. more here

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

We are supposed to care ...

... about justice for the poor. 

The book of proverbs has two themes / warnings regarding the poor, the first being a strong emphasis on personal responsibility / warning against laziness (10v4). The second theme / warning is the abuse of the poor by the wealthy & powerful (13v23). Whilst we must take note of both themes, it is the latter that I have been exploring.

Proverbs 29v7 states 'The righteous care about justice for the poor, yet the wicked have no such concerns'.
It is helpful to understand the context that the book of Proverbs was set in. God called out the lower working class of Egypt (the slaves) and set them in a Theocracy (a society governed & structured by God).

This new theocratic state had many laws & provisions to safeguard the poor:
  •       Justice system – Judicial Equality, Lev 19v15
  •       Preservation of Land – Jubilee, Lev 25v23-24
  •       Voluntary servitude – Sabbath Year Dt 15v13-14
  •       Access to harvest - Gleaning  & Sabbath Yr Crops Lev 19v9, Ex 23v10-11
  •       Interest free, forgiveable loans – God’s people & Sabbath  Year, Lev 25v35, Dt 15v1
  •       Collections – every 3 years, Dt 14v28-29

These together reveal something of Gods concern for the poor but unfortunately Israel failed to safeguard them, a common theme of the OT Prophets (Is 58v6-7).

Jesus transcended this theocracy & its social mechanisms, all of which pointed to his first (& ultimately second) coming. Jesus indentified with the poor, disadvantaged & oppressed, His focus was on their plight & meeting their needs (Luke 4v18-19). Acts 4v32-36 and 2Cor 8-9 describes communities of Christ followers expressing this same concern. How much more should we also follow Jesus’ example.

Proverbs 29v7 tells us that the righteous care about justice for the poor. By 2015, 1in5 children in UK will be in relative poverty; rising to 1in4 by 2020. Our economy is increasingly structured so that the best deals goes to those with greater resources, thereby reinforcing the poverty trap (buy 2 get 1 free deals at your supermarket is the tip of a big iceberg). Is this OK given true equality is the ‘haves’ meeting the needs of the ‘have nots’? (2Cor8v13-14)  

So what? Let's at least be open thinking about this stuff. Justice for the poor can be expressed in our judicial system, health care, education, diet, housing, state benefits, transport systems and their dignity & place in church life.  

News from Derrick about his mum

If you were around in August you'll know we have been praying for Derricks mum who was gravely ill with cancer in Singapore ... 

'Dear RFC Mom (Sally) has gone to be with the Lord at 11.15am Sunday 26th August 2012. Mom has certainly been liberated from pain and suffering which was very severe in those last days. As hard as it was to see her go and now deal with the void she's left behind, we know that she's in a better place. In light of the recent event, I finally really understand the statement i'm about to make: Thank you Jesus for your promise of eternal life. I get to see mom in heaven in the future. It's not a goodbye but it's a 'see you soon'. 

There are still a myriad of things to be sorted but we're getting there. Dealing with the absence of mom as we continue on with life is something which is inevitable for it is that process that healing and adjustments will entail. At this point of time, we're still catching each other sniffling and staring in space. I've caught dad a number of times turning his head to his side as if speaking to mom (but really: speaking to himself). 

2012 has been a very trying year. Dad's lost his soulmate, his companion, his wife. I've been having visa issues (which would be a story for another day) and Callie had to dive headfirst along with us in her first year of marriage. We now see his 'bigger picture' as to why the progression of things happened the way they did but i'm sure there's more to it than meets our eyes. His grander scheme of things we shall not try to comprehend. 

Thank you so much for standing with us and helping through this very rough patch. Callie and I was talking and one of the things mentioned was how RFC has always been there as a family despite the short time we've been with you. You guys have the sense of family evident in your church structure and certainly you walk the talk of being Christ-like. We've been comforted and encouraged so much by your church. Well done, RFC. We might be in UK for a few weeks in October to tie loose ends (which we didn't get to do) and we're trying to get dad and my sister, Joanne over for 2 weeks to fulfill mom's dreams (it was mom and dad's plans to visit Europe and UK June - July which was cancelled due to mom's declining health). 

Once again - thank you so very much for your thoughts, prayers, support. Keith and Lesley, Tope, Richard and the life group : thanks so so very much for sharing your lives with us. 

Sean : For your tough words of love which is well rooted in the Word of God which have been reality checks as well as words that initiated healing.
Scott: For being that father figure, embracing us and encouraging us. 
Matt Young: For your heart of gold. 

God bless you guys, Derrick

PS: Mom's wake service was recorded and streamed live. We had many church members at different parts of the globe tuning in:'