Friday, 29 July 2011

Zdenko & Ivana

Yesterday afternoon, Scott and I pick up Zdenko and Ivana from Gatwick airport and they had dinner with family Green.

I first met them when I travelled with Martyn Dunsford to Croatia in march. Zdenko had invited Martyn over to speak in his church plant so that he could explore who newfrontiers are and what is means to be part of it (See post here).

I subsequently invited them over for a long weekend so they can visit London, be with us on Sunday and catch something of our heart.

So if you see them, introduce yourself, they speak good English and are very friendly. One of the things I enjoy about being part of God's family is the sense of unity you can quickly establish with total strangers!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

A day on our bikes

Yesterday, James, Richard and I returned to the Isle of Wight to ride the circular route again. There is something very exciting about getting on the ferry at Southampton with a 60mile+ route ahead of you.

Within 7 miles Richard had his first puncture, followed by the second at 11miles. It transpired that his rear wheel had no rim tape, hence the punctures. James and I were detailed off to find a bike shop whilst Richard languished in the sunshine. After a 10 mile round trip we returned triumphant, having also purchased two additional inner tubes as a precaution.

The rest of the day continued as expected - HILLS. The islanders are keen on their hills (they don't seem to build flat roads) and you have to work hard for every mile you ride. The big hills on the south coast provide gruelling climbs but are rewarded with fast descents on smooth tarmac.

We finally arrived back at Cowes by 4:30pm, after 75 miles of undulating but glorious riding.

Already looking forward to next years return visit ...

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Impromptu RFC picnic

Great time hanging out with the guys here!

Saturday, 23 July 2011

the silver rocket

This morning was a steady ride with Craig, Richard and newboy Samuel. It was a very pleasant jaunt in the sunshine, and Richards puncture was a welcome banter moment.

On Monday, a few of us are cycling around the Isle of Wight so I have been tweeking the silver rocket. I get a worrying amount of pleasure cleaning each component.

Richard has been dispatched to AW Cycles to purchase multiple new inner tubes ... with my good friend it's more of a question of 'when' not 'if'.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Preaching styles

So often in life we do things and we're not really sure why, or whether we should make changes. I like thinking about these sort of things.

In this context, I have been giving some thought to our preaching style here at RFC. If I had to describe our style I would probably say that 'we try to let the bible speak for itself (allow the Bible to shape our message) whilst also trying to connect to people through openness'.

I do have great faith and confidence in the Holy Spirit changing lives as the Bible is read & explained. I highly value expository preaching (a form of preaching that throws light upon the meaning of a particular text or passage of Scripture). I think this is one way of expressing confidence in God's word as being sufficient for salvation & right living. 

Systematically working through extended passages or books of the bible also forces preachers to teach the whole counsel of God, not just proof texting their ideas for that message (I know that pressure!).

That said we should also value one-off more 'Prophetic / Holy Spirit prompted' messages and also thematic preaching series that address 'felt needs' within the church. Not everyone can endure 9 weeks systematically working through 1John with ease! 

The Apostles seemed to use this style of preaching, pulling together strands from  the OT to bring understanding to the gospel and the new covenant. Shockingly, at times they even misquoted or went beyond the natural reading of the text and applied it to Christ (In Mark 1v3, Is 40v3 is misquoted and God is replaced with Jesus; In Eph 4v8, Ps 68v18 is misquoted & and applied to Christ). All good food for thought to keep us humble and not overly critical of the preferences of others.

I guess the area of preaching style that I am still journeying on in all this is how we preach in a way that is clearly relevant to the life outside of our gatherings. I don't think we are terrible at that, just that we have a way to go yet ...

... happy to hear your thoughts on this    

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

The gospel begins

I have always enjoyed the fast moving nature of Mark's account of the life of Jesus. This is reflected in the opening verse 'the beginning of the gospel about Jesus Christ, the Son of God'. No reason, no genealogy, no nativity - just good news.

Mark clearly shows Jesus as both the 'Messenger' and the 'Message' of good news. Over the next weeks we shall dig into this account and hopefully gain a better understanding of this 'Godspel' and also why Mark arranged his material as he did. 

It would be helpful to read ahead each week as we will be covering a lot of ground, so here's the series plan:

The Servant who rules

24 July: Mark 1v1-13 Forerunner, Baptism & Temptation
31 July: Mark 1v14-3v6 Disciples, Miracles & Controversy
07 Aug: Mark 4 – 6v6 Parables, Boats & Unbelief

The Ruler who serves

14 Aug: Mark 9v33 – 10v52 The Teaching of Jesus
21 Aug: Mark 11-15 - The Passion of Jesus
28 Aug: Mark 16 - The Resurrection of Jesus

Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Together on a Mission 2011

Last week about 20 of us from RFC attended the Newfrontiers leadership conference in Brighton. We joined with thousands of other leaders from across the world as Newfrontiers multiples from one apostolic leader (Terry Virgo) to approx 20 apostolic spheres. Much of the week was framing this significant and courageous step ... the movement has fundamentally changed and come of age. On Thursday night we prayed for the nations and the offering raised around £925,000, so thank you to all at RFC who gave.

Do try to download some of the messages, particularly Terry’s messages and PJ Smythe on 'Sickness & Suffering' here.
 The seminars were also varied, click here for those.

My initial reflections on the week are as follows:

We at RFC are privileged to be part of something that is demonstrably advancing the kingdom of God. Churches are being planted, leaders are being raised up, the Gospel is being preached and the needs of the poor are being met.

I was reminded again of why I love the emphasis of the Bible and the Holy Spirit that Newfrontiers brings so clearly.

I so appreciate the opportunity to catch up with friends or seeing their face across a crowded room – I deeply love many people in this movement and highly value their friendship.

I much prefer change that comes from growth. Whilst the principles & framework for the apostolic spheres is now in place, much of the detail that affects RFC is still to be worked out over the coming years. I am quite happy for us to live with this lack of clarity, we have enough strong links around us to keep us moving forward with great faith and expectancy.

I do enjoy running along Brighton seafront in the early mornings and swimming from pier to pier – a great location for a triathlon summer training camp!

Friday, 15 July 2011

Finally on twitter

Following advice from Simon Allen that my 'Tour de France' experience will be greatly enhanced by the tweets of Bradley Wiggens and Mark Cavendish, I have finally signed up to twitter.

Follow on @green_sean

Monday, 11 July 2011

1st baptism at South St

The town centre congregation has now been meeting for 16 months and last night we did our first baptism. 

Shashi's testimony was this "I knew God as my provider .... now I know Jesus as my saviour"

Justin, who flimed this on his iphone, said "I love the contrast of the gritty urban background and right in the middle of everything is a beautiful Baptism taking place".

Wednesday, 6 July 2011

15 years of marriage - my poem to Liz

It started with a phone call from China or Hong Kong, 
And who would have guessed we’d last so long?
Your thoughts turned quickly to matrimony, 
But sadly all that changed the moment you saw me! 

But I captured your heart with my wit & style, 
And it wasn’t too long and we were walking an aisle. 
Sadly the date of our wedding you often forget, 
But the weight of the vows you never neglect. 

You looked so beautiful, that I think I cried, 
I clearly remember wiping a tear from my eye.
The only regret we have from that day,
Is ‘why on earth did we hurry to get away?’ 

Two years did pass and along came our son, 
And we are so proud of who he has become. 
Our joy was filled out with the arrival of our first daughter 
She looked just like her mum, although quite a bit shorter.

So we moved to Reading to start a great church, 
And good people joined us, we didn’t have to search. 
Our lives were so busy, and our house felt very full, 
And still our marriage was very much on the ball. 

To be honest, one time, we did get sore, 
And uttered those words, which felt so raw... 
“I’m bored of you” we said, and it sounded so sad, 
But it brought us new life, and now we’re so glad. 

Then Zoe arrived, after much stress in a car, 
When we saw her face, we knew she’d go far! 
So with our family now full and feeling complete, 
Only one question remains “Who has dad’s feet?” 

So as Joshua’s teen years unfold before us, 
And Lucy’s pierced ears are no longer the fuss. 
As Zoe grows tall and they all want to roam, 
Let’s enjoy them now before they leave home. 

And through all this, let’s remain best friends, 
Even though, at times, my ways I must mend! 
You’ve laughed when I’m funny and helped when I’m sad, 
You’ve encouraged me greatly when I’ve failed as a dad. 

You’ve loved me in spring, and all through the summer. 
You’ve loved me in sickness, (although you found that a bummer!) 
You’ve loved me in autumn, and in the chill of a winter, 
No season, it seems, can make our love splinter. 

And so I end this short ditty having said nothing new, 
I simply thank God for the last 15 years with you. 
You’re a fox and a babe and all of the rest, 
When it comes to a wife, you’re simply the best!

First Thursday is tommorow!

'First Thursday' is our monthly prayer day where we encourage all at RFC to set time aside to pray & fast. We then gather both congregations in the evening (8-10pm @ church offices) to worship and seek God together.

There is so much to thank God for and ask God to do through us. So much to celebrate and be encouraged about. So please stir yourself and get involved in this opportunity to experience the grace of God.

Hope to see you there!