Friday, 31 December 2010

Questions of 2010

At the beginning of this year I wrote a number of questions in my journal and have often referred backed to them (They're taken from John Burke's book 'No Perfect People Allowed'). Here they are:

Am I experiencing a life of growing in connection with God?
Am I growing in my love of God and people?
Is it Jesus I need or do I think I need something else?
Do I believe He is the source of the life I want?
Am I living a life others want?
Am I being honest with myself and others?
Have I truly found Jesus so fulfilling I can't contain it?

As I pondered the year, reflecting on how I might now answer these questions, I realized my conclusions were based on what has happened, how I reacted and how I now view those moments.

I was able to easily list a page worth of 2010 blessing; things that I am thankful to God for. At times I was moved to tears as I considered God's goodness to me and my family.

I also wrote a few Low-Lows; unanswered questions underlining my inability to fix or change things. At times in 2010, I have been at a loss of what to say, do or feel, only being able to point people to Jesus.

The reason I like these questions is that they embrace my deep desire to know God and have Jesus as the source of the life I want. I want to love people and know God the Father as Jesus did. I want to do life well, and that is rooted in growing in relationship with the Triune God.

And so I think there is still enough life in the questions to copy them out again tomorrow to see how I journey with them though 2011.

Thursday, 30 December 2010

'Bible in a Year' 2011

On Saturday I am hoping that many of us at RFC will start reading the Bible cover to cover in a year. The plan we have suggested has 25 readings a month so that there are a few 'spare' days for you to either catch up (like me) or have a break.Just as I like to train for triathlon with others, I find doing reading plans alongside others really helpful to keep me going when I'm behind ... or bored (Yes, I do get bored of bible reading, pray for me!). To download this scheme click here.

Friday, 24 December 2010

Christmas day @ RFC

One final reminder that we are meeting at the church offices at 10am to worship Jesus and celebrate His birth.

There will also be the traditional 'Bring & Show' of your favourite present, some come prepared!

Hope to see you there.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

A weekend with Julian Adams

One of our values as a church is that we are open to the prophetic. At present that is primarily outworked on a Sunday morning through contributions (by a few) and also in Lifegroup. I would suggest that we all need to grow in our understanding and experience of using the prophetic gift and receiving it.

On Saturday 15 January, Julian Adams is speaking at a conference in Shepperton, equipping us to be 'Naturally Supernatural'. Please do consider coming along to that (details here).

The following day we hope to have Julian here with us at RFC in the morning ...

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

North Point's iBand

Very cool - thanks to Josh John for putting me onto this ...

Traditions and Truth

On Sunday I spoke about the importance of us embracing truth, as well as tradition. I reminded us of some Christmas gospel truths which I have listed below in case you didn't get them down:
• Genesis 3v15.
• Isa 7v14 & Isa 9v6.
• Jer 33v14-16 & Micah 5v2.
• Matt 1v20-23.
• Luke 1v30-32 & Luke 2v10-11.
• John 1v1 & v14, Col 1v15-20 & Phil 2v5-8.
• Rom 5v6-8.
• Rev 22v12-13.

As pastors we are encouraging all at RFC to join us as we follow a plan to read the Bible in one year. It is 25 readings a month, allowing a few days each month to catch up ... or simply have a rest!

To download the reading plan in preparation for the start on 1st January click here

Monday, 20 December 2010

Shovelling for Jesus

Each week a huge amount of work gets done by teams of people to help us gather as church. Given the snow fall on Saturday, there was some question as to whether the school could open because the carpark was under a few inches of snow and the incline onto the school grounds gets very slippery.

Cue Iaon Hoare, Josh Betts, Pete Horne and Scott Taylor.

By the time I arrived on Sunday, a path 2m wide x 200m long had been cleared, allowing us all to drive & park as normal.

Let's keep cheering on those who keep going the extra mile in order to serve Jesus and His people.

Wednesday, 15 December 2010

RFC leadership awards 2010

Last night we gathered the leaders to recognise the unique contributions they make to the life of RFC:

The 'Roy Avis award' went to Pete Horne for the best new beard of 2010.

The 'Loudest Amen Award' went to Anita Bailey who consistently offered a clear and enthusiastic response in every preach.

'The Most Abrasive Comment Award' went to Stuart Wakeling with his now famous email on why people should serve "Why are you letting everyone else do the work you lazy slacker? Stop thinking and do it!"

'Longest Time in the Hole under the Stage Award' Ben Patterson & Andy Twine who some say are part man, part mole.

'The Breakfast Award' went to the fabulous foodies Mark & Kerry Cowieson who lead both men and womans breakfast teams.

'The Host Tshirt Award' went to Ed Rundle for wearing his host T-shirt on a date, to the pub and for countryside strolls.

'The Washing Up Delegation Award' was accepted by Dorothy Dix on behalf of Will Offei (he delegated her to do it ... a similar strategy he adopts for washing up).
'Arts Centre Lighting & Ladder Award' went to Chris Poston who can now be regarded as the leader of the ladder, the star of the steps & the ruler of the rungs.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

RUCU carol service

I was asked on Friday to speak at the carol service run by Reading University Christian Union. It was held this evening at Christchurch which is a beautiful setting for traditional carols. The CU team did a great job and they had a good crowd there.
It was good to see so many RFC students there, it really helps having friendly faces when your speaking!

Friday, 10 December 2010

71 and still a Barbarian

This Sunday @ RFC we have our great friend Ben Davies with us. We met for breakfast this morning and he has told me something of what he will be preaching about ... it's going to be great. 

I've known Ben since I joined his church in 1992, and he is as passionate now to extend the kingdom of God as he ever was.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

New sermon series - dwell deep

My thoughts have been turning to next year and what sermon series would set the best 2011 trajectory for RFC. I have given this quite a bit of reflection and landed at the following sermon series:
We need to be those who 'dwell deep' in Truth; those who plumb new depths, discover new treasures, find fresh delight in God's Word, the Bible.

We need to be those who 'dwell deep' in Building Community; those who take off their masks, reach out, and do life together.

We need to be those who 'dwell deep' in Acts of Service; considering others more important than ourselves, prefering their needs to be met first.

We need to be those who 'dwell deep' in Missional Living; those who are intentional about the people & places that God has placed around us.

And finally we need to be those who 'dwell deep' in Generosity; those who endeavour to cultivate generous hearts expressed in attitudes & actions.

I am really looking forward to this sermon series as it helps set the trajectory for us at RFC for the year ahead - that we 'dwell deep' in the things of God.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

What a night!

So 700 people gathered this evening in the town hall for our Carol Concert. It was fantastic.

The host team were excellent and looked fab in their black polo shirts. The band did really well pulling together new arrangements of old carols - very cool. The choir sounded magnificent, I had no idea we were such a talented bunch!

The tech team (PA, lighting and laptop) worked hard all day and made the whole event a delight.

The offering raised £3319 for the Duchess of Kent House which they were thrilled with.

All in all it exceeded our expectations and I sense the pleasure of God in all we have endeavoured to do for His glory.

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Another RFC hero

Many of you already know Keith & Leslie Holland, RFC started in their home way back in Feb 2000. They now lead HOPE, our group based in a Residential Care Home, bringing church to adults with learning difficulties.

Sadly, two weeks ago, one of the regulars of the group died. She knew Jesus and was loved by all at HOPE. Keith was asked by the Residential Home if he would lead the service at the Crematorium, which he did today.

Keith & Leslie are RFC heroes because, 11 years on, they are still commited to extending God's kingdom and doing new things for Him. They are great ambassadors for what Jesus is doing in Reading.

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

Sermon prep

Am preparing for Sunday - lacking energy - found this story - made me smile:

A father was reading Bible stories to his young son. He read 'The man named Lot was warned to take his wife and flee out of the city, but his wife looked back and was turned to salt.'

His son asked ' What happened to the flea?'