Friday, 17 April 2015

Xenophobia and South African

In case you have missed what is going on in South Africa ... please read this written by my beloved friend Sibs Sabanda (he's Sitho's brother who leads City Hill church in Jo'burg)

South Africa is again reeling from a fresh wave of xenophobic attacks which started in Durban and at the time of writing of this blog, have spread to Johannesburg. Perhaps of greater concern than the attacks themselves is the growing xenophobic sentiment, even among educated citizens. Naturally, many issues have been stirred in the public square, and a good number of those who would consider themselves too civilized to throw a brick have found a platform to express their anger in a more dignified manner. Thankfully, amidst the fog of hatred and frustration, many South Africans are standing for unity – whether through personal morality, religious conviction or belief in an African ‘brotherhood’. In this blog I’d like to add my voice to the discussion as a Christian, a ‘foreigner,’ an African and a minister of the gospel. more here...

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Cycling in the Lakes

Last weekend 16 of us from my Tri club spent 4 days cycling in the lake district.
We stayed at the YHA hostel in Grasmere which is a perfect base for touring.
We used the '100 greatest cycling climbs' as our guide and did some shockers: Hardknott Pass with 30% incline, Wrynose Pass 25% incline, Kirkstone Pass 25% incline ... you get the picture!
Lunch in a pub was a welcome rest, but there was no escaping climbing back on the saddle.  
I'm not sure who organised it but on my arrival I was presented by the YHA staff with 24 Krispy Kreme doughnuts ... my reputation for 'despising cakes stops on training rides' truly preceded me!
  

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

Goodbye beloved preaching companion

When I got baptised in 1990, I was given my first bible, it was a black leather New International Version (NIV) 1983 edition. For the past 25 years it has been in my hands when I have preached with anointing & vigour and also when I've haven't! 

Sadly, the spine of this bible is coming apart and some of the loose pages that I repaired years ago are coming adrift again ... it's like watching a beloved friend in a slow motion car crash!

So, I have taken the decision to arrest its decline and swap my preaching bible to an English Standard Version (ESV) bible that Scott & Bea bought me for my 40th birthday.

The advantages of this are many:

#1 My trusty NIV 1983 bible can now be used exclusively for my devotional times and not endure the rigours of Sundays.

#2 The ESV version has less revisions so it highly likely what I read on a Sunday will match yours AND what we project for the bible reading (It irrates me me when the bible verses on the screen don't match what's in my bible).

#3 The ESV bible is free to download on most bible apps whereas the NIV often isn't. 

#4 The ESV is also known as the Extra Smug Version ... for some reason associating with it makes me feel hip yet traditional :o)

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Reading Half 2015

On Sunday I joined 16,000 others to run around our town in what was supposed to be a faster route. 

A group of us from my tri club ran together with the plan of staying ahead of the 1:30 pacer thereby ensuring we all get a Personal Best (PB). It was a good plan, in theory at least!

It was glorious running weather and the new route  / staggered start made for less congestion which was helpful. Sadly the 1:30 pacer went past us at 5 miles and we then chased him all the way to the Madejski Stadium.

The support outside the church offices was superb, a wall of noise! It lifted many runners, we even got an email from one (see below).

My time was 1:30:31, not a PB but good enough. There's always next year.
Hiya,

I just wanted to say it was so great to see you guys out on the street as I
ran the 1/2 marathon this morning. I noticed you guys last year too!

As I ran past you, I felt the Holy Spirit amongst you. There was quite an
overwhelming sense of His presence upon you (as a church) and I feel like He wants to remind you of your calling to your community. I feel like He is
going to use you as a mighty force within your town and that people will
begin to turn up on a Sunday because God is dwelling amongst you. I feel
like He wants you to expect a significant increase of his presence in your
meetings and that He will meet and surpass your expectations.

I hope you don't mind me writing this, and obviously weigh it up but I
believe God wants to bless you significantly!

Once again, thanks so much for being out there today!

Amy 

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

Excellent weekly leadership resource

This year, as part of my leadership development, I am watching the weekly 3 minute video out of Willow Creek. You can subscribe here.

This week's is both timely and releasing for me ... Date Strategies, Marry Results.

Thursday, 12 March 2015

Newbury Church plant

Yesterday I travelled to Newbury to have lunch with Mark Landreth-Smith. Mark & Bev moved there in December '14 to plant Bridge Church Newbury.
We walked around the town centre and visited their two Sunday venues: the historic town hall (complete with heraldic flags) and the Water Side Centre (literally on the banks of the Kennet Canal).

We ate Cornish pasties and swapped stories on the joys & pressures of church leadership. He planted and led the Beacon church in Camberley for 20 years. He got their ministry hub built & paid off, and then sold his home to church plant all over again.

It's his birthday today and although I'm not sure how old he is (he must have a year or two on me) I do know he has a hunger for God and a great love for people. 

It does me good to connect to brothers pursuing their calling.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Buildings update

I have had a few conversations about our various venues over the past week and thought I'd captured them here: 

London Street Offices: Overall they are working well and the current lease expires October 2015. Plan A is to stay however the building next door is being redeveloped into residential units. This is potentially a significant problem as some of our out-of-hours admin/training meetings are noisy and we want to be good neighbours. 

South Street Arts Centre: Again, overall this venue is working well but is starting to fill up, we were at 70% capacity last Sunday night and parking can be tricky. 

Reading Girls' School - the work on the new school building starts this Easter, at the other end of the playing field. During this period we shall be sharing the back carpark with the Sunday football parents so it will get very busy. The new school building is scheduled to be opened in Sept 2016 and they are planning that we can hire it. We still have questions around storage, classroom availability and the main hall seating capacity but that will all be worked out over the next 12 months. We have been told that we wont have use of either building for the school summer holidays in 2016.

Our first home: As explained at the Members Meeting, we have decided to no longer explore purchasing 4 Acre Road. The Buildings team has continued to be active, looking and rejecting two other buildings since then. Our Vision Fund is growing and we are on track for raising another £100k in this round of fund raising. We believe having a substantial deposit will be really helpful when we finally get to buy our first home!  

What next? This Sunday we have thanksgivings at both our 9 & 11am meetings and it is going to be VERY busy. Halls, rooms and carparks will be full. It feels like we are being squeezed from all sides, but we shall keep on keeping on. Sunday's come and go and Jesus continues to build His church.

Please join me in praying for our first home and also for our excellent Buildings Team as they lead us into it.