Those of you who have been at King's for some time will know that September is the start of our church year. After the summer break there's a sense of another starting line for the life and ministry of our great church and this year is no exception! Vision Sunday marks the official start this coming weekend.
I'm looking forward to preaching at all three sites this Sunday and sharing with you something of what I believe God is calling us to in the time ahead. I have given my talk the title - ‘Come and See' and I look forward to seeing you there. This is a day not to miss! Please do all you can to be at one of the six meetings and come prayerfully prepared - as we look around at the communities we serve we have a great call on our lives to reach the lost people of southeast London - and beyond. Here's a short video clip to whet your appetite...
Apart from taking time this weekend to consider the King's vision and our local mission, another great event rapidly approaches. We have been actively involved with the Willow Creek UK Association for some years and the Global Leadership Summit, which we will be hosting here at our Catford site takes place on Friday and Saturday October 10th-11th. This is always a brilliant couple of days.
Entitled Lead Where You Are, this videocast event will give us the chance to hear world-class speakers from outside our usual network - men and women with experience and expertise in areas of leadership who have proved to be helpful to churches like us all over the world. The sessions are on video and there will be a well-stocked bookstall. Come and be inspired and encouraged! You can find further details and book online here. A special rate of £30 is available for regular King's attenders - book via the King's website!
Each year in September we have been able to look back on all God has done for us as a church and all He has brought us through. We can also look ahead with faith knowing that He holds the future and has even more for us - it's His call! Let's enter into all He has for us with joy and resolve to follow and serve as His faithful people, covered by His grace. Come and see on Sunday!
After a full and exciting last Sunday Deb and I had the privilege of hosting Wilben and Clare Short at our house. Wilben and Clare were key leaders here and part of the church family of King's during the last decade, but felt God call them back to their home nation, Sierra Leone, around three years ago. Following a very successful business career culminating in organising the London Olympic transport bid for 2012, Wilben felt called home to help rebuild his home nation. They are such an impressive couple - please do pray for them as they prepare to return once again, even with the challenges that the Ebola virus is creating in West Africa.
This week we have had the privilege of being served by Steve and Cindy Nicholson our friends from the wider family of God from Chicago Evanston Vineyard, USA. Their visits are always significant for King's! What an amazing evening it was to gather in our new Lee auditorium last night - to praise God, receive from Him, and ask Him to move in power amongst us in the coming year.
And we had another momentous day in the Tibbert household earlier this week when on Monday we took Joshua to his new university house in Portsmouth! After his year on FP Impact training he is ready for the new challenge but we miss him at home already. Another red-letter day for our family!
This weekend sees another opportunity for us to gather to worship our wonderful God - do join us at one of our meetings, whether at Catford, Downham or Lee. See the relevant times of meetings here. We also have the added blessing of dedications, where we will celebrate the joy of new birth and pray for the parents who will be raising the next generation as they seek God's guidance and the support of the church family in this vital task!
At the same time in our church family our prayers are with the members of the Glanville family - Ruth Glanville passed away on Monday night, following a long stay in hospital. Ruth was a member at King's (and before that at Catford Hill Baptist Church) for over 50 years and headed up what became Wednesday Welcome. A service of celebration for Ruth's life will take place at King's on Friday 3rd October - further details to follow. Meanwhile, let's continue to pray for the Glanville family.
It was an interesting experience stepping back into the King's offices this week! I had a really enjoyable summer break, including a wonderful few days away with Deb to celebrate our 25th wedding anniversary, followed by our family holiday with the opportunity to play golf with my brother. Martin continues to make excellent progress and is now back at work, and I am now ready to go again here at King's!
While I was away our offices have been reorganized (don't worry, I still found my desk where I had left it...) a sterling job by Tris Newman and Nigel Mumford which will enable staff members to communicate more easily and work together more effectively in their teams. So, not only were there familiar faces in new places but there are in addition new team members who have joined us this month. On Tuesday this week I had the joy of spending an hour with Ghulam Fernandes, Cindy Dickson, Simon Knightly, Charles Kimbangi, Joe MacNamara and Neal Glanville, the new members of King's team - I was so impressed with each of them.
The beginning of this particular new church year also marks a new season in the life of Kings. Just over four years ago we acquired the building in Lee and we have just completed the next phase of its development - I know that the site members, who have faithfully pioneered that work for the last three years, will enjoy meeting in the new hall with the added facilities and freedom it will give. Mark Jeffery has been our ‘man on site' during this work - thank you, Mark for your work! Let's continue to pray for growth there as well as at our Catford and Downham sites.
And so we begin another year and another term of kingdom activity at King's. Coming up soon is the Willow Creek video Global Leadership Summit - we are hosting this major event at Catford on Friday 10th and Saturday 11th October. This is always an inspiring time and I would encourage those who can to come along. We will have guests and visitors from all over London and beyond, all keen to hear a wide range of gifted people speak about their areas of life and work. Among the speakers this year will be Bill Hybels and also Patrick Lencioni, who some of us heard at the HTB leadership conference last year. Also Susan Cain who has written a book called ‘Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won't Stop Talking'. If you would like a taster, her TED talk on the topic is available here. Booking for the conference is also online at kingschurchlondon.org/gls where you will get all the information necessary.
As we begin this term and the next phase of the life of King's let's be calling on God to direct our paths and ask Him for the power and energy to accomplish all He has for us in these days.
I recently returned home to Cape Town, South Africa for two weeks following the sudden death of someone who was like a second Dad to me. He was 67 and in good health and passed away two weeks after having a stroke. It brought back lots of memories too about my own Dad's death - he died almost four years ago after a six-month struggle against leukaemia, aged just 55.
My head has been spinning with numerous reflections - about grief, mourning, seeking to live life well, what matters in life, to name a few. But one of the key Scriptures that I've been reflecting on has been the following verse from Psalm 90, a prayer of Moses:
Teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (:12)
The two deaths I've mentioned have reminded me that life is unpredictable, that only God knows how many days we've got left on this earth. And it's clear from Moses' prayer that an understanding of this is a key to us gaining a ‘heart of wisdom'.
Over the past few months I've thought a lot about the heart. It was a key theme in our 3 KINGS teaching series and also the focus of a midweek men's group I led last term called ‘Wholehearted' (see Numbers 14:24).
In the series we saw the contrast of King Saul and King David. Remember what God said to Saul through the prophet Samuel:
But now your kingdom will not endure; the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart and appointed him ruler of his people, because you have not kept the Lord's command. (1 Sam 13:14)
and what he said to Samuel just before David was anointed as the next king of Israel:
The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart. (1 Sam 16:7)
The heart clearly matters to God - and therefore it should matter to us too! We should heed the encouragement in Proverbs 4:23 - Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
So in a world obsessed with externals and in spending time on things that don't really matter, where we're in danger of being ignorant of death and living as if we're always going to be alive with endless days, can I invite you to join me in reflecting on and thinking about how to cultivate a heart of wisdom, a heart after God's heart.
I love the book of Psalms that we are following in our summer preaching series. There really is something for everyone in this book - every joy, every disappointment and hope is honestly expressed in songs written thousands of years ago. Some Psalms contain very strong emotions - it's not cleaned up, it's raw - and I'm encouraged that God included such thoughts and feelings in His word. Many Psalms, even the very sad and angry ones, end by declaring God's faithfulness, His loving kindness and mercy. I try to do that when I journal and blog - I may start with a challenge, a moan or a groan but I end with God's grace - after all, that's what I really need!
Over the last year at King's we have developed the Pastoral Care Clinic: this happens on the first Monday evening of the month and anyone from King's can come to the Catford site to receive pastoral support (our next date is September 1st at 7.30pm). We have a wonderful team of experienced volunteers who listen, help people think through their situation and pray with them. People have found encouragement in some very challenging situations like marriage breakdown, work and financial pressure, depression and health concerns. It provides a safe place to share - as many of us are under pressure but feel we don't have anyone to confide in. People often come for prayer at the end of a meeting but really need more time to sit and share their story - this provides an appropriate follow up. It's amazing that as two or three are gathered, the Lord Jesus, who binds up the broken-hearted and gives grace to the burdened, comes near.
This last term I have also been involved in a leadership development group with some King's people - we have talked about the values of King's, as well as grace, prayer, diversity and how to study the Bible, among other things. Within a few weeks we had made real friendships, laughed, shared honestly, worshipped and prayed together. That's the way lives are changed and disciples made as we meet around the word, guided by the Spirit. Tough times are shared and we find grace together. If you've never been part of a group at King's why not check out our groups in September - we have a great selection planned.
Have a grace-filled summer.
The Feast is now on its annual August break after another year that continues to reflect both the desperate situations in which people find themselves as well as the remarkable hope there is in the gospel of Jesus.
Talking to people on the streets in Catford is my favourite place for talking about hope in Christ. This is because it is very real: for the murderer, the thief, the rough sleeper, the person with addictive behaviour, the person with suicidal thoughts there is a question - can I be saved?
Barry (name changed) has been a regular visitor to The Feast for a year or two. As with other angry men he struggles to build genuine friendships because he has spent so much time stopping anyone getting close. After initial slow progress, Barry went on the Alpha course, then did it a second time - and then responded to Jesus.
The Bible describes people who met Jesus and were not the same afterwards. Barry changed - he became much less angry and he started to offer to help others. The Feast has always been a place that encourages people to step out of their poverty rather than remain trapped by it. One way we do this is by encouraging people to help others. In recent months Barry has also been attending church each week and is doing the New Christians course. In June, Barry went to Encounter Camp which is a week-long camp run by Worcester Hope church aimed at people who have life controlling issues. In the worship and prayer times, Barry met with God. Barry is now due to get baptised and is also preparing to get married.
If you haven't spoken to someone who is desperate for hope recently - you are missing out! When you do, you could be used by God to contribute to their transformation.
Remember: In the midst of brokenness and darkness the Good News shines brightest.
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Steve Tibbert leads King’s Church London, with sites in Catford, Downham and Lee. Over the past fifteen years the church has seen continued growth, both in size and diversity. Steve also oversees a number of other Newfrontiers churches in the UK. His book, “Good to Grow”, was published in July 2011. He is married to Deb, and they have three sons.
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