Rock of Ages Worship Event

Below are photos from the Rock of Ages worship event that took place at the Hippodrome Theatre on 15th June. The Rock of Ages album is available on iTunes here

https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10154218063165562.1073741838.136626125561&type=3&uploaded=25

R-E-A-L

Recently in our Sunday teaching series we looked at Isaiah chapter 44. It’s a fascinating chapter with a lot of powerful ideas and images. Essentially the chapter follows the structure of:

  • God’s sovereignty and power
  • The foolishness of idolatry
  • God’s forgiveness and mercy.

We gleaned from the chapter that ‘Our God is… the real God‘. There are lots of gods in the world, lots of things that people build their lives upon and bet their lives on but only one of them is real God. The ancient world was a world full of gods: Asherah, Baal, Artemis, Molech… gods and goddesses that were essentially symbols of or representatives of the deeper pursuit of peoples hearts summed up simply as: Money, Sex & Power.

We used the word real as an acronym to help us engage with the central truths here:

Our God is:

R – reliable

E – enduring

A – alive

L – life giving

The message is available to download here: www.kingsseaford.eu/media

In it I showed this video featuring a quote by Malcolm Muggeridge read by Ravi Zacharias:

 

The Supremacy of Christ from Kings Church Eastbourne on Vimeo.

I also referenced a powerful and emotive song by Caedmon’s Call entitled ‘Piece of Glass’ that describes pain and futility of allowing false gods (specifically the mirror and the false god of self-image/beauty) to rule your life. A video of that song can be seen here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B2raRKAoJN8

There are many ways in which our hearts go after things other than God and at many times we’re tempted to build our lives on something other than God and bet our lives on someone other than God.

Let us encourage one another to keep the REAL God as the primary pursuit of our lives.

Strand Academy 2014

Strand Academy 2014

Tuesday 26th to Saturday 30th August, 9:30am—3:30pm
Register online at www.kingschurch.eu/strandacademy

If you are aged 7-17, the Strand Academy Summer School is for you! This week will include professional tuition in Singing, Dancing and Acting, as well as some special extras along the way, such as propmaking, drumming workshops and more!

Closing with an end of school show featuring material for family and friends to come and enjoy. This will take place on Saturday 30th at 6pm.

Cost: £75 (£55 for additional siblings)
Some concessions may be available. A £30 deposit is required per child shortly after booking. Spaces are limited.

I do – you watch – we talk

Last winter when the storms hit, several of my fence panels broke. Now, I am not DIY so I invited a friend over to help with the repair. I put on my old jeans and practised my standing-around-examining-it-noises with sufficient ‘hmmm‘s and ‘interesting‘s. Truth be told, neither me or my friend knew what we were doing and it was only a matter of time until our incompetence was exposed.

In walks Clifford.

My elderly neighbour’s son happened to be visiting that morning and he joined us in the garden where we were attempting this repair. He’s a practical man is Clifford and it must have been clear from what we were doing that we had very little idea. Clifford started by sharing his opinion with us, which turned into using our tools to give it a go himself, which turned into giving us the right tools we needed, which turned into doing the job himself while we watched on. He demonstrated, we watched, he then gave us a turn at digging and fixing and hammering, and then he took over again. He explained what he thought we needed to do, some of the things we needed to bear in mind and, to finish it all off he gave us the cement and sand we needed to do the work. After all this he left us to finish the job by ourselves.

We hammered, chiselled, dug and mixed cement. Today – several months on – the fence post is still standing, I’m as shocked as anyone.

While Clifford was helping us, I thought to myself ‘he’s discipling me, this is what true discipleship is meant to be.’ Discipleship as a word isn’t in common usage. It comes from the word ‘student’ and so to disciple someone is to teach them, to lead them and to be discipled is to learn from, to follow. Jesus had twelve disciples. Twelve men who followed his every move and listened to his every word and then tried to put them both into practise.

In our day Discipling and being discipled has come to mean something other than practically doing and following. In practise it is more like counselling than it is practical equipping. We’re good at providing someone with a shoulder to cry on, good at sitting at the feet of a great bible guru but discipling someone involves more than that. These are all valuable parts of discipleship for sure and necessary for us as we live the Christian life but it doesn’t look much like how Jesus discipled his friends. For them it involved watching, listening, learning and DOING. They did life together and they learnt lessons on the road. We have removed the doing from Discipleship and it’s concerning. It’s concerning but it’s also damaging. By shifting the emphasis almost completely away from doing and placing it squarely in the realm of giving wise counsel/teaching we have made it something that fewer and fewer people feel able to do. Discipling someone has become the realm of the long-in-the-tooth Christian, the wise and the faithful only whereas Jesus expected that all of us would be disciples who make disciples (Matthew 28).

Clifford’s discipling of me that morning taught me a lot and every time I look at the fence post we put up I’m reminded of the lessons I learnt.

In small groups, life groups and friendships in the church, in accountability and authenticity questions and ministry apprenticing ensure that you keep an emphasis on action. Model something and let others learn from you, correct you and join in with you.

One model I’ve been taught to help train leaders seems also a good model for all of us interested in making more disciples:

I do – you watch – we talk
I do – you help – we talk
you do – I help – we talk
you do – I watch – we talk
you do – someone else watches – you talk

Making disciples is the call on every Christian. We can’t all be counsellors, but we can all be part of a disciple making community. We can all play our part, use our gifts and look to shape and serve others for the gospel.

Signs of Life

Signs of life

This past week I’ve had two encouraging moments as a missionary that I wanted to share.

I love Jesus and I love his church, and I really want to help make it easier for non-churched, non-Jesus loving people to fall in love with him as well. For a long time in our Seaford venue we have been committed to the vision of ‘every member ministry’ (priesthood of all believers) but what I want churchfolk to see and be reminded of is that we also believe just as passionately in ‘every member missionary’ — as in Jesus’ words in Acts 1 ‘…you will be my witnesses’.

For a while now we’ve stressed the words that come immediately before that statement of Jesus’ ‘when the Holy Spirit comes on you, you will be my witnesses.’ but not part about being witnesses. The trouble is that by doing so we have inadvertently created a ‘wait until you experience a rushing-of-power-and-boldness-upon-you, and then go and be my witnesses’ mentality. That may be a little unfair, but it may not be. A lot of them time it’s meant that we remain immobilised believing that there’s another experience to be had before we’re fully trained to be effective witnesses.

Here’s the two stories I’ve been encouraged by:

1) Community engagement.

I moved to Seaford 18 months ago and have slowly been trying to get to know unchurched people. I’ve attended sports clubs, I run a pub quiz at my local and I’ve befriended my neighbours, even establishing a regular chess night with one of them (I know, I’m wild). But recently I’ve leafleted the area I live in (with the help of one of my unchurched neighbours) and invited the area to join us each Sunday afternoon for volleyball and family games on the rec. I did it as a neighbour, not a as a christian, and not as a church leader.

Last Sunday we had our first gathering and it went really well. Plenty of people came out (around 40) for games. It was great to see the field buzzing with life. All we did was befriend and play sport but it was brilliant – I loved it. I spoke to more non-believers in an afternoon than I had done in a month and several of them thanked me for putting it on, they appreciated the chance to meet people.

I’m a missionary, so that’s what I think I should do. I care about the place I live, the people I live around and I pray — how can I gain a footing into their lives to befriend them, share life with them and where possible share Jesus with them.

A few days after that Amy was with one of our neighbours who came. The lady was very open about church (she brought it up), saying that she’d really like to come along some time… I was encouraged to hear that.

2) Prophetic engagement.

This is fresh. Yesterday on training with some gap year students we walked into town with the express purpose of finding people to pray and share Jesus with. This isn’t my natural sphere of mission and I was nervous, I was hanging back as we walked in and I was ever so slightly hoping that no one would notice if I slipped off into a coffee shop.

Before going in to town I asked God to give me some ideas of who I should be looking for. I wrote down ‘man with black baseball cap reversed, limp, hedge and wire fence’ along with another more random clue. I walked through the town looking for someone who matched that description but didn’t find anyone. Ever so slightly disappointed and if I’m honest, more than a little relieved, we headed home. Walking back we passed a skatepark. Having stopped there the group leader gave the invitation ‘why doesn’t someone preach a mini sermon to the skaters and then we’ll chat to them?’ No one volunteered. Some bright spark then announced ‘Jez will do it!’ to which I promptly replied ‘no I won’t… but I’ll go and speak them.’

I sat down with a group of skaters, told them I was a Christian and offered to pray for any sicknesses. No one was sick so instead we just had a conversation about faith, and their reasons for not having any. After a while I said to the guy I was speaking to ‘are you sure you don’t have anything I can pray for?’ and he told me he had a bad knee, a problem he’d had all his life. It was then that it dawned on me. He had a black baseball cap turned backwards, a bad leg (limp?), and when I looked up saw that he was sitting in front of a hedge with a wire fence behind it. Not a little encouraged I prayed for him and then I told him about the ‘clues’ I’d written down before coming out. He and the whole group with him reacted with huge surprise and plenty of ‘no way!’s. They reacted like something off a magic show on TV, I felt like David Blaine. ‘And for my next trick…’

I then told him that ‘if nothing else, know this – God loves you and knows your name, he cares about you.’

We left the park with him saying ‘if this works (my prayer), I’m going to come find you…’

Maybe he will, or maybe he’ll just give God another chance, or perhaps visit a local church for the first time.

God loves people and is looking for followers who’ll love them too. These two stories are green shoots of encouragement for me and I hope they encourage you too. Tom Wright gave some good advice on what being a missionary looks like in a video I saw recently. He told us to:

“Soak yourself in the scriptures much more than you’re doing… soak yourself in prayer and listen hard to the cries of pain that are coming, whether from your neighbours or from people living on the other side of the world.”

Love God, love people and live like a missionary whether in your home, your place of work, your school or your sports club. Every member of Jesus’ church is a witness to the resurrection and a missionary sent into the world, not just the specialists.

By Jez Field

 

Church planting in Amsterdam

Out of our 50/50 Gift Day in March we are investing half of the money raised into five international projects. Matt and Jo Simmonds, from CCK in Brighton, will shortly be moving to Amsterdam to plant a church.

Matt & Jo Simmonds and family

As one of the most international cities on the planet, a centre of culture and business, and very few Christians on the ground, this is a fantastic opportunity to shine light in a dark place. So we’re very pleased to be able to support them financially, right at the beginning of their adventure.

We caught up with Matt to fill us in on the details:

Q: When are you launching your church plant?

MS: We’re moving with our family in mid July but we probably won’t launch on a Sunday (to the public that is) until we’ve got a strong core of people with us, perhaps in a year or so. We’re in no rush and would rather make sure we build well enough so that whenever we launch, we can do it really well (and then keep on doing it without exhausting everyone within a few weeks).

However, a lot will be going on before then as we build team, learn the city and settle in our family.

Q: Who’s going with you to plant the church?

MS: We’ve got a team of 12 adults and 11 kids coming with us initially. They’ll all be moving into the city over the next 2/3 months from various parts of the UK & the Netherlands. There’s a whole bunch of other people who are interested in getting involved, some already living in Amsterdam and others from around the country and elsewhere in Europe.

Q: Do you have a name for the church yet?

MS: No. Well, sort of… I have an idea for a name but it’s top secret.

Q: What will the financial support help you to do?

MS: We’re so grateful to King’s Church for getting behind us in prayer and financial support. When you’re getting ready to plant a church (particularly when you’re moving your family to a new nation), one of the big questions you need to answer is; ‘how are we going to pay for this?’ (obviously) and then after that ‘how are we going to make this sustainable for the long term?’. The gift from King’s helps us to answer the first question and gives us a bit of breathing space for the second one too!

Q: What’s are the biggest challenges your face — what can we pray for?

MS: Please pray for our family as we move and get used to a new context, in particular pray for our kids (we have four daughters aged between 2 & 8). The oldest 3 will all start in a Dutch school in September which will be a big change for them. Pray they make friends, learn the language and settle in quickly.

Also, pray for more people to join us. We’re so excited about what God has planned for this church plant. He’s beginning to lay some big dreams on our hearts yet as we explore the city more and more we’re increasingly aware of the challenge ahead of us. We’ve got a great team already with us but we’ll need more people, many more, to help build a pumping church to reach this incredible city.


 

Find out more on facebook facebook.com/amsterdamchurchplant or on their blog amsterdamcity.tumblr.com