Wednesday, 29 May 2013

Back to Stoneleigh

On Monday families Green & Taylor travelled to Stoneleigh to attend the Catalyst Festival. 3500 people were camping over the bank holiday weekend as part of Dave Devenish's sphere of churches. 

Newfrontiers in the UK is now led by 6 apostles (Dave being one) and each has churches relating to them. We are using this year to consider which sphere to be part of. 

The day brought back quite a few memories. In 2001 a handful of us camped there as the Reading Rabble (the forerunner of RFC) at the last Stoneleigh Bible Week. 

On Monday, Mike Pilavachi spoke at the evening meeting and he was excellent, my son really enjoyed listening to him. There was lots to do and I can easily see us taking several hundred there next year, if we decided to go.

Dave Devenish is preaching here on Sunday 14 July - please mark that date in your diary and come to catch his heart.

Friday, 24 May 2013

20,000 homes ...

67,000 homes have now received our getReading advert and already I have had a few conversations with my neighbours & Tri buddies about it.

The next phase is for us to leaflet 20,000 homes over the coming two weeks. We plan to do this by each lifegroup delivering to 1000 homes around where they meet.

We did lots of this in the early days of RFC and it did us good walking up to homes and 'scattering seed' for God to use.

If you are not part of a life group and want to flyer where you live, do let me know.

Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Helping to plant a church

Many of you know that we are supporting various church plants around the nation & nations, one of them being in Ealing, West London.

Pete & Nicky Cornford are in the first year of planting Redeemer church and they are long standing friends of not only Liz & I but also RFC. Over the years we have prayed for them, supported them financially and received great encouragement from Pete preaching here (The prodigal Father and Joseph: the bones of faith!

On Friday 26 & Saturday 27 July we plan to take a team to Ealing to help raise the profile of what they are doing there. We will travel in each day and do whatever they need us to do, which will undoubtedly involve hard work! 

Scott & I are both going and we would love for you to join us, if only for one day ... do let me know if you can come.

Thursday, 16 May 2013

67,000 homes ...

This weekend 67,000 homes in Reading will receive the free newspaper 'getreading' and our church will be on the front, back and inside covers. 

Please do use this opportunity to start a conversation with your friends, neighbours, colleagues & family and maybe invite them along on a Sunday.

Monday, 13 May 2013

HTB Leadership conference 2013

It's going well ... There's 24 elders & deacons here from RFC here and we are having a great time!

Friday, 10 May 2013

Time with Howard

I travelled to Cheltenham today to spend time with my good friend who is two years into planting Godfirst church. 

Today we visited 3 Sunday venues and we then went through the church financial plan for this season ... 

It is very stirring to be able to journey with a church planter who is so full of faith and longs to see his town come to Jesus.    

Thursday, 9 May 2013

Lead elder coaching days

I am away for a few days with a dozen other guys who are leading larger churches. 

Yesterday we debated women preaching on Sundays and Baptism in the Holy Spirit. The session was led by Andrew Wilson & Mick Taylor and was hugely helpful albeit challenging.

Today we looked at Self Awareness skills, finances and pursuing diversity. 

It is such a privilege to spend time with these leaders as we learn from one another.

Tuesday, 7 May 2013

Risk, Sex & Love

I've been thinking about Ruth chapter 3 over the past week and am pondering these questions ...

#1 Risky plans for Love don’t always have happy endings. How can we know when to ‘play it safe’ and when to ‘dance on the edge?’

#2 It’s not uncommon for people to need help to get a relationship started. But what is ‘appropriate help’ in our context?   

#3 'Sexual Purity' is a clumsy phrase & value in both our town AND our church culture. Why don’t we find it easy to talk about pursuing sexual purity?

A risky plan (v1-6): Some passages of the bible are descriptive, others prescriptive, these verses are the former! Naomi’s plan for her daughter in law was very risky, the outcome was by no means certain (She could have been raped, rejected or redeemed). Her plan centred on Boaz, a close relative of her late husband, who was in good standing with God’s people and ready for marriage! Ruth was to put herself in his way, discretely but without ambiguity.   

A midnight proposal (v7-9): The threshing floor, unused in famine, is now buzzing with harvesting & feasting. Boaz sleeps on the far side of the grain pile but wakes to find Ruth at his feet. She asks him to spread the corner of his garment over her, an echo of Boaz’s words (2v12) and Ezekiel 16v8. Ruth, the foreigner with a history, is proposing that Boaz propose!

Choosing purity (v10-15): Presumably, Ruth would follow Naomi’s advice and do whatever Boaz tells her to do (v4). Ruth is incredible vulnerable at this point; what would Boaz ask her to do? Yet in that secret moment, Boaz chooses the purposes of eternity and pursues purity. He does not have sex with her, rather he guards her reputation (14) and promises to secure her marriage, hopefully to himself!  

Love not duty (v16-18): Although Boaz is a close relative, he has no duty from the Mosaic law to marry Ruth (Dt25v5 does not apply). Rather, because of love, he gives freely to gain favour with Naomi and devices a plan that risks his own estate (4v6). True love has little concern for money. 

Thursday, 2 May 2013

Liz has been busy ...

It has taken many months but the quilt is now finished...