Friday, 4 July 2014

RFC Leadership Summit 2014

Last year we gathered over 120 people at Wokefield Park for our inaugural Leadership Summit – I can still remember the buzz and the sense of God’s presence as we worshipped together. It was a brilliant day. Since then we have established 3 congregations, added dozens of new people into the life of our church and kept smiling! Whilst we have much to thank God for, our ‘reservoir of Leadership’ is running low and needs refilling / investing in. 
As such, I would really like you to attend our Leadership Summit on Saturday 27th September. All Leaders need to be envisioned, encouraged & equipped and I trust this day will serve us in this. If you are an established leader in your work, leisure or church life please keep investing in your leadership gifting. If all this is new to you, please don’t discount yourself but book in and start exploring!

This year we have decided not to go back to Wokefield Park but rather use our own offices, allowing us to have two streams to the summit (And the £2k cost savings was used to offset the Madejski Stadium celebration!). Lunch & refreshments will be provided and each delegate will receive a book. Babes in arms are welcome but unfortunately we are unable to offer child care.

We must fan into flame the leadership gifts within the church and help new gifting emerge. Please consider coming along to this day and book in ... There’s always a cost to leadership!

Wednesday, 2 July 2014

Dad & Lad in the Lakes

Joshua has now finished his GCSE's so last week we went on a 4 day adventure to the Lake District. We stayed at a brilliant B&B which also provided a hearty packed lunch & filled your flask. Perfect.
I wanted to introduce Joshua to scrambles high up on the fells, the nearest being Blencathra via Sharpe Edge ... an exposed ridge scramble with a 200m drop either side. Wainwright noted: the crest is sharp enough for shaving and can only be traversed at some risk of damage to tender parts. Great views if you could stomach looking down! 
We also went for a scenic 20 mile ride from Keswick around Thirlmere lake via St John in the Vale - a delightful route.
The highlight of the trip was Helvellyn via Striding Edge & Swirral Edge, a classic Lake District scramble. Sadly the cloud came in so views were limited but the sense of adventure / danger was heightened .. for me at least!

Friday, 20 June 2014

RFC at the Mad Stad

In case you missed this ... RFC dancing with Evan Rogers at the Madejski Stadium!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Jesus is building His church

In Oct 2001, 37 adults & 10 children posed for a photograph as they opened the doors of Reading Family Church. Last Sunday, 347 adults & 81 kids celebrated Jesus in the conference suite at Madejski Stadium.  
How did that growth happen? 1Peter2:3-4, 9-10 explains how ... Jesus is building His church.

To understand the imagery of these versus, it is helpful to remind ourselves of King Solomon’s temple. His Temple was to be a permanent place where God dwelt amongst His people and was a potent symbol of divine favour. This temple was to be built with stones made perfect before being brought into God’s dwelling place. However, the basis of Mankind’s approach to this temple was obedience to God’s Law, which effectively put God out of reach.

However, King Jesus’ temple is better because it is built from ‘Living Stones’ and He dwells within His people (not just amongst them). This temple was more than a symbol, it was a promise of an age to come. Better still, ‘living stones’ come to him ‘imperfect’, and Jesus’ perfection is credited them! As we come to Jesus each & every day, He builds us into a Spiritual House; a Holy Priesthood who bring Spiritual Sacrifices. Best of all, the basis of Mankind’s approach to this temple is the grace of God!

These living stones are a chosen people; a royal priesthood, a holy nation, belonging to God. Their temple treasury is Jesus; they delight in proclaiming the excellent sufficiency of Christ. Living stones who have received mercy now work to offer and give mercy to others.

We heard from two living stones (Grant & Becca), 2 stories out of the hundreds who gathered. Can we believe for a day when we are 1000 such stories? 

A day when RFC is a thousand living stones being built together as a people, a holy nation, a royal priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices for the glory of God? 

Let’s believe/give/work for such a day!!!

Sitho & Miranda - Video update

In case you missed our 'One Church' celebration on Sunday ...

Tuesday, 3 June 2014

Partnering with the Catalyst network

From a quick reading of Colossians 4v7-18 we can easily see the warmth of relationships between the Apostle Paul, his delegates & the churches he was working with. The words are ones of fellow workers, friends and beloved family members of God’s household. What was true for them is also something for us to pursue.
As pastors, we have always looked to Terry Virgo as a modern day apostle (he founded Newfrontiers). Now in his 70’s, Terry recognised other apostles who serve the UK and asked us to consider relating to one of them. For the past 2 years we have been working this out and felt joined to David Devenish who leads the Catalyst network of Churches (also part of Newfrontiers).

David has set out four words that capture the distinctive of the Catalyst network, and they resonate well with us:  

Word: the Bible as our Final authority; Defines what we believe & how we are to live. Equip people to enjoy it for themselves; To see & treasure the gospel in it and to communicate it relevantly.

Spirit: Holy Spirit empowered lives; Making room for His Voice, Presence & Gifts;  Looking for His activity in the Church, our Communities, the Nations.

Church:  Pursuing NT Church life; God’s Family & warm relationships; Serving one another & reaching out.

Mission: Being a Blessing to every part of society; Deploying our skills & passions for the Common Good;  Bringing the Good News of Jesus & Salvation; Especially to the unreached.
I have personally known David for 8 years, have been to his home and he to mine (his wife Cilla weeded our back garden!). He has preached in Reading and I have travelled to Crimea, Dubai and Turkey with him. We have partnered with him in St Petersburg by supporting Dave and Hanna Henson. 
Scott, Richard and I are delighted to be part of his apostolic sphere.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Top Tips for Catalyst Festival

With just a few days before we pack our cars & head off to the Catalyst Festival, I thought I would share a few pearls of wisdom:

#1 Don't drink any liquid after 5pm ... or you'll face the 'long walk of the full bladder' at 2am.

#2 Take a torch, we've got 66 tents/caravans on the RFC site and 2am is not the time to make a new friend as you fumble into their temporary dwelling. 

#3 Don't assume everyone is having a good time except you. We only see their upbeat facebook/twitter quotes BUT I suspect everyone has a wobbly moment. 
#4 Take wet weather gear, we're camping in the UK. Enough said.

#5 Decide to be friendly to people who seem weird. Pretty soon everyone will seem weird because they're friendly. The perfect spiral.

#6 Jesus is supposed to be centre stage, not us. Think about that long enough and lots of stuff will get simpler and more bearable. 

#7 Avoid boredom, play Festival Bingo by spotting the people below...