Friday, 26 February 2010

New RFC website live today!


Check out our new website here .... and help us spot the errors!

Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Sunday Night @ South Street

Sunday Nights are now up and running and I for one am loving it. Numbers are still settling down but we have enough core RFC people to make it feel like us. New people are already starting to come along, which is a real encouragement.

The AV guys have been on a sharp learning curve but have done an amazing job hitting the tight set-up deadline. Having to manually reconfigure the lighting each week has been an unexpected pressure yet will be a great skill set for us to have.

The PA team had to fight with a few gremlins on Sunday but South Street's Sound Engineer has been impressed with our technical knowledge and efficiency (apparently we are the most organised set-up they have ever seen!).

The highlight of Sunday night for me was the presence of God after communion. To see the Spirit come, to see tears of joy and the prophetic in action was brilliant.

Sunday night at South Street is many things, one of which is that it is another opportunity to worship Jesus and be filled with the Holy Spirit.

Sunday, 21 February 2010

Walking with friends

I love being with these guys... although they do make me realize how short I am!

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Elders & Wives

One of the consistent comments I get from visitors to RFC is the obvious friendship & unity within the eldership team. This always makes me smile and yet I don't take this relational dynamic for granted.

As a leadership team, we need to keep investing in our friendship by spending time together... which is made easier by the fact that Liz & I really enjoy time with Richard, Sitho & Miranda and Scott & Barbie!

This weekend we are spending 24 hours at a centre in Oxfordshire to chat, pray, worship, laugh & eat together.

It has been such an demanding start to the year, it will be good to have a glass of wine with dear friends whilst believing God for the grace to keep running our race well.

Wednesday, 17 February 2010

Karena's funeral

Karena's funeral will take place on Thursday 4th March.

11:15am - Private cremation at Easthampstead Park Crematorium (by invitation only due to space limitations).

12:00 noon - Celebration and Remembrance of the life of Karena Claire Mackay at Kerith Community Church, Church Road, Bracknell - All are welcome.

For more details see Craigs blog.

Tuesday, 16 February 2010

Death & Heaven - A Christian perspective

For those who weren't at RFC on Sunday here are the Lifegroup notes from my message:

Title: Death & Heaven – a Christian perspective

Death is an enemy. Mankind was created to be with God forever, we weren’t created to experience death. Death came into the world through one man, Adam, and all who are in Adam die (1 Corinthians 15:21-22). However, our death is important to God (Psalm 116:5), it has lost its hold on us (1 Corinthians 15:55-57), and death will be defeated (1Corinthians 15:26)

Mourning is appropriate. Although we can be certain that when a Christian dies they go to paradise to be with Jesus, it is biblical to mourn our loss. David mourned (2 Samuel 1:11), Jesus shed tears (John 11:35), godly men buried Stephen and mourned deeply for him (Acts 8:2). This will take time, and come in waves, and will continue for years.

Where is our loved one? The bible teaches that we are not simply physical beings; we have a physical body and a spirit. Our physical bodies are like a tent, a temporary and flimsy abode (2 Corinthians 5:1). When a Christian dies their physical body remains but their spirit (who they are, the person you love) goes immediately into the presence of Jesus (Luke 23:43). Here they wait in paradise enjoying the presence of Jesus until His second coming (Revelation 6:10).

When do they receive their resurrected body? Receiving our resurrection bodies is often referred to as our ‘glorification’ and is the final application of redemption (Romans 8:30). When Jesus returns, all Christians who have died will receive their glorified bodies at the same time (1 Corinthians 15:12-28 & 51-52). When He returns we shall be like Him (Philippians 3:21).

What is heaven like? RT Kendal: “we will all know a lot more about heaven 5 minutes after we are there than all the speculation about it now”. Heaven is where God is: It is a real place (Revelation 21:2); a place where we will understand why & have accurate knowledge (1 Corinthians 13:12); a place of beauty beyond imagination (Revelation 21:10-26); it is a place of perfect worship (Revelation 22:3).

There will be a new heaven and a new earth, reflecting the perfection of God’s creativity. In a sense it is easier to say what won’t be in heaven than what will be there: No Satan (Revelation 20:10); No Sin (Revelation 21:8); No warfare within us (Galations 5:17); No Sorrow (Revelation 21:4); No Pain (Philippians 3:21); No Sacrifice (John 19:30); No Separation (Revelation 21:1); No Faith (1 Corinthians 13:12); No longer any curse (Revelation 22:3).

In heaven we are HOME at last. It where Jesus is (Revelation 5:4), and is place of our true citizenship (Philippians 3:20). It is the home of righteousness (2 Peter 3:13) and a place of reunions (2 Samuel 12:23). Heaven is where we will be ‘as we are meant to be’ – with God and without sin.

Saturday, 13 February 2010

Karena

Karena died last night and is now in the presence of her wonderful Saviour Jesus.

Please do pray for Craig, Esther, Ben & Olivia and also Karena's wider family over the next few days (Liz and I were with them all last night).

Let's also gather as church tomorrow to mourn Karena and worship Jesus. I will be speaking on the Christian perspective on Death & Heaven to help us grieve well.

God is good and we will miss Karena deeply.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Heading home

Last Saturday whilst out running, I came across a 91 year man who had collapsed whilst walking along the Thames. As I cradled him in my arms, shouting for help, his eyes rolled and I thought he was dying. Once the ambulance had arrived (he was going to be OK), and I continued on with my run, the emotion of the moment hit me - the prospect of a stranger dying so physically close to me was too much.

The prospect of Karena's death is different to this fleeting, yet poignant encounter.

I know and love Karena (and her husband and her children), she is no stranger to me. And Karena is dying well. This may seem a strange thing to say, yet it is deeply meaningful for those who know & love Jesus. Karena demonstrated her faith & trust in Jesus to her last conscious breath. Her family are doing the same and will continue to do so after her last breath.

We all want to finish like she is, full of faith in a good God. When I die, I hope my family grieves deeply whilst trusting in God's promises.

Jim (91) made it to the ambulance and presumably to his home the same day. Karena (48), will soon make her last breath and then be immediately at her final and permanent home, with Jesus, the one she treasures above all.

Wednesday, 10 February 2010

Sunday night @ South Street

What a great first meeting!
83 of us gathered to kick off this faith venture and there were quite a few first time visitors. I met two ladies in their 60's who had been invited by a couple who have been coming to RFC only a few weeks themselves!

A crowd made their way to the pub after the meeting; this will be key for us getting to know new people (We will buy a visitor a soft drink if its their first time @ RFC).

It felt strange preaching the morning message again, trying not to simply replicate the same passion & emotions from the morning. I guess this is something I and others will have to work through.

My highlight though was seeing so many RFCers working hard to extend the God's kingdom through His church. God is raising up zealous Christ followers within our midst.
There are a few things we need to work on, the AV & SUPA teams were under time pressure which meant that the sound levels were a little high ... or maybe I'm just getting old! (Photos from Andy Twine)

Friday, 5 February 2010

Craig's latest blog

Some blogs speak for themselves, the latest from Craig's:

Scared about today? No, I don't think so......

Luke 24:1-6 "On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; He has risen!....."

1Cor15:54-55 "...Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where o death is your victory? Where o death is your sting?"Phil 1:21 "For me, to live is Christ, to die is gain"

Deut 33:27 "The eternal God is your refuge, and underneath are the everlasting arms.."

Karena's condition is worsening day-by-day. Her breathing through the night seemed really very shallow (I didn't sleep very well !!). Had another jolly good cry this morning.It won't be long now before she meets Jesus face-to-face. Knowing Karena, my guess is that she will run into his arms at full speed......

Thursday, 4 February 2010

Praying with Thameside church

Tonight at 8pm, we are hosting a joint prayer meeting meeting with our friends at Thameside Church. Over the years we have been growing a friendship with their leadership team, and at Christmas we had lunch together at Nandos which was fantastic.

I really enjoy Sean Dooley's company (he leads their team); we both enjoy outdoor swimming and in June we are participating in a charity pier to pier swim in Bournemouth (1.4 mile sea swim - more in a later blog!).

Tonight will have a social element to it, we will finish around 9:30pm and serve soup & rolls for those not fasting.

Please do car share to ease the pressure on parking around the offices .. hope to see you tonight.

Wednesday, 3 February 2010

Facebook deactivated

So I finally decided to pull the plug on facebook and eliminate my presence there. I had to be very persistent to navigate the hurdles designed to stop me taking this brave & bold decision.

That was 3 hours ago and I now feel like I've got a hole in my virtual world. Its so funny that when you choose to not have something, suddenly your aware of its absence, and you miss it. I'm sure the feeling will fade ...
I do find it curious that I felt I had to deactivate my account rather than simply ignore it. I suspect it is another symptom of my desire for a tidy world with no unattended/overlooked edges!

Either way, old school email is now my contact method of choice.
(Disappointingly I only have to log back in to facebook with my old account details and it all gets reinstated ... A fact that rather reduced the drama of the experience)

Tuesday, 2 February 2010

3 days of prayer

Tomorrow we start three days of Prayer & Fasting as a church... and there is a lot to give thanks to God for:

  • One of the people on last term's Alpha course (who became a Christian) was filled with the Holy Spirit on Sunday whilst taking communion!
  • Our average attendance in January was up 22% from Jan 09 , just one of the signs of God's work amongst us!
  • This Sunday we start our evening meetings at South Street and the team of 50 is taking shape!

We have three prayer meetings planned this week:

  • Wed 8 - 9:30pm at the church offices.
  • Thurs 8 - 10pm with Thameside Church, here at our offices.
  • Fri 8 - 10pm, again here at the church offices (top floor).

In one sense, there is never a good time to Pray & Fast, so please decide to clear your diary and get along to these gatherings ... we have much to give thanks for and plenty to ask God to break in on!