Cambodia update – Thursday morning

So, this is the first time I’ve had a chance to sit down and write an update since Sunday afternoon! So, here’s a brief summary, in case you’re interested…

We spent Monday morning with Ruth Withers. Ruth is a member of Hope Church Harrogate, currently living in Phnom Penh. She did an outstanding job helping to organise and facilitate our time in the city. Thank you Ruth!

We also got to spend some more time with Phally, who leads the eldership team at Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh, which was really good. On Monday afternoon, we saw our good friend Setan Lee. It was Setan that we first got to know here it was lovely to see him again, get his input on what we are up to and here what he is doing currently.

Tuesday morning saw us catch a flight up to Siem Reap, where we have spent the last few days. On Tuesday evening, we had a meal with Scott & Judi Price and their son Jayden. An American family living in Siem Reap, I have got to know Scott & Judi over recent years and it was great to catch up, here what is happening with them and update them as to our plans in Siem Reap.

On Wednesday, we saw Ronald Castillo, who together with his wife, Cynthia, leads Victory Church Siem Reap. It is always good to see him, and he was a great encouragement to us, and hopefully us to him too! On Wednesday evening, we went along to their worship evening where there was a great sense of the presence of God. So good to worship together!

And that brings us to this morning! We are off shortly to see a school that Sam wants to look at for his children and then we are meeting with another British family who are missionaries in Siem Reap. Then it will be time to start the long journey home! I’m very much looking forward to seeing Sarah and the kids. Phone and video calls are great, but they don’t replace being present. I’d love to bring them here one day!

It has been a short but very full trip. It has been great to re-connect with friends in both Phnom Penh and Siem Reap. It has been a privilege to encourage and help the leaders in Liberty Family Church, and it has been exciting to make progress in our plans for a ChristCentral church plant in Siem Reap. Maybe God is calling you to be part of this? Maybe He is putting Cambodia on your heart and stirring you about being part of a team to help plant a new church here. If you want to chat more, please get in touch!

Cambodia – Sunday afternoon update

So, it’s Sunday afternoon and I thought it might be worth updating you as to our weekend!

After arriving on Friday evening, we were met at our hotel by Ruth Withers. Ruth is a member of Hope Church Harrogate in the UK and is in Cambodia serving the church here. She has been a great blessing to us in helping to arrange our trip! (Thank you Ruth!)

Sam and I spent yesterday. (Saturday) morning with two of the elders of Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh. It was so good to see Phally and Sdam once again and hear about what God is saying to them at the moment. Hopefully, we were able to be an encouragement to them and strengthen their faith for what is ahead for the church in this new year. Sadly, their third elder, Narith was unable to join us due to work commitments, so we missed him!

Saturday evening was a meal at Ruth’s home with some of the Westerners in the church, to meet them and encourage them in what they are doing here. Sam brought a great word from the Bible, I had some prophetic words for people and we prayed for them. Together with fantastic food, this was a great evening!

This morning, we were with Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh, where I was preaching. I preached on the subject of encouragement and “encouraged” the church to encourage one another in God. Again, we were able to pray for some people. I was very grateful to Sdam for translating for me!

Sam brought a great prophetic word over one of their worship leaders and encouraged her in what God was saying to her.

Tomorrow, we are meeting with some more people and then off to Siem Reap on Tuesday morning. Thank you for praying for us – it is much appreciated!

Cambodia trip – January 2019

I am currently sitting in Bangkok Airport waiting for the final leg of our journey into Phnom Penh. It has been suggested to me that I resurrect my blog to update friends and any interested parties on my trip to Cambodia this January. So, here goes!

I’m heading to Cambodia, to Phnom Penh and Siem Reap to visit Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh and to re-connect with friends in Siem Reap. I’m travelling with Sam Little from Macclesfield (UK). Sam, his wife Abi and their kids are hoping to move to Siem Reap around January next year to begin the process of starting a new church there, working with the ChristCentral team.

I’m very much looking forward to meeting up with the leaders and members of Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh. It’s a couple of years since I was last there (when we appointed the eldership team) and so I am keen to see what’s been happening and how they are doing. Primarily, the church works with the Catalyst team within Newfrontiers, but we also have a role to play in encouraging the church and serving the Catalyst leaders responsible for working with them. We are meeting with the eldership team tomorrow and I am preaching at the church on Sunday. We are also hoping to meet up with our good friend Setan Lee, who first introduced us to what God was doing in his native country.

Next week, we travel up to Siem Reap to re-connect with friends there and for Sam to do some groundwork on looking at accommodation and schools. It will be good to see people again!

If you want something to pray for, please pray that we would be a blessing to the church in Phnom Penh and that we would be able to help them take some strategic decisions. Also, please pray that God would clearly guide us around decisions needed to be made in Siem Reap. Finally, please pray for our respective families back home – for Abi and their kids and for Sarah and ours. Thank you!

Planning for Burton…

For a long time now, we have had a heart to start a new church in Burton-upon-Trent. For those of you who don’t know, it’s a town very close to Derby, just south of us, down the A38. A few years ago, God spoke quite clearly to my good friends Matt & Louise Waring about Burton. Matt & Lou had been in Derby since the earliest days of Jubilee and felt that God had put it in their heart to move to Burton and begin a new church there. That started a process of Matt & Lou moving and beginning a Jubilee LifeGroup (small group) in Burton. That has done really well, has grown and multiplied as new people have joined and last year we were able to announce the Burton Church Plant.

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Matt & Louise Waring

Last Sunday we were able to announce the exciting news that Burton Family Church will begin meeting on Sundays in January 2018. That sounds like a long way away, but actually there’s much to do between now and then! The first thing is to find a venue and then there is lots of work to do on publicity and telling people about it. Our plan is to run an Alpha course over the summer term and then have a number of outreach events in the autumn, leading up to January.

We are very much looking forward to being part of what God is doing in Burton. There are already some great churches in the town, but there are also a whole load of people who don’t know Jesus yet. We want to play out part in helping to reach them with the good news of the Gospel.

So, if you’d like to find out more or maybe get involved yourself, you can contact Matt & Louise at burton@jubilee.org.uk They would love to hear from you! And please pray for us as we work towards the launch in January. There’s lots to do!

Exciting news from Jubilee Church!

One of the many areas we talked about during our Family meeting on Wednesday was the exciting news that from 1st September 2015 we are delighted to welcome a new member of staff onto the team – John Batten!img-team-john-julie

For a while now, we have felt as Elders that we needed to strengthen our staff team, with the ideal being able to employ another Elder. When Jeremy Simpkins was with us as Elders in January, we were talking to him about this and he agreed that this would be an important strategic next step for us. We have got a huge vision as a church and in order to see progress in this and for further Kingdom impact both in Derby and further afield, we need to add to our staff team.

Un-expectantly, John Batten recently found out that in the latest round of restructuring at work, he could apply for voluntary redundancy, and so he and Julie and us as Elders, began to pray about their future. Could it be for John to join our staff team?

John & Julie have been part of Jubilee Church since our very early days, when they moved up to Derby with their family from East Grinstead to be part of our church planting team. As many of you will know, John has worked as a Senior Management Trainer for a large UK supermarket chain for a number of years alongside being an Elder in the church since we first appointed Elders.

At a similar time as I was talking with John about this, we had had our Encounter Weekend with a team from Kings Church Horsham. One of the many prophetic words I received was about the current structure in Jubilee not being strong enough for the future and the need to re-look at the way we do things. The word spoke of enlargement and expansion, but also of re-ordering and change.

We have been praying into all of this as Elders, as a leadership team and Trustees for the past few weeks. On Sunday evening we had an Elders & Trustees meeting, where we unanimously agreed that bringing John onto our staff team in a part-time capacity was the right move for us and for him.

John is also a very natural addition to our staff team, having worked alongside me for many years both as part of our Eldership Team and as Chair of Trustees. John and Julie are known and loved by the church and I am sure you will be as thrilled as I am to have them around more.

This is a major step of faith both for John and Julie and for us a church. We don’t have the capacity in our current budget to employ John, but we do feel that this is a God given opportunity which we don’t want to miss. Therefore, we are holding a special offering on Sunday 28th June and Sunday 5th July where I would ask you to pray about giving generously into a fund to enable this to take place. I am praying for £20,000 to enable us to cover John’s salary (and pension, employers National Insurance, expenses etc!) for a year or so. As is our custom, we are committed to tithing this offering, and so we will be giving 10% of it into the Devoted offering in the summer. Please could you partner with us in this exciting and strategic step for us as a church?

I am very much looking forward to having another Elder on staff and to the many opportunities that this brings us in so many different areas of church life. As you might expect, there will be an important period of transition as we seek to restructure different areas of our work as a staff team. We want to make sure that this additional capacity is really effective and allows us as a church to grow and move forward both locally and in the way we are serving other churches.

This is a faith adventure. Giving is a faith adventure! Please join us on the journey and pray for all of us as we begin to work towards this exciting new chapter in the life of Jubilee Church.

Here’s a short video we put together about this exciting news!

This is the new normal!

ad_encounterFor some time now, I have been trailing the weekend just gone as one which I felt would be significant in the life of Jubilee Church. We were really looking forward to the visit of a team from Kings Church Horsham and had a real sense that God wanted to do something quite seismic in the church. He did!

We were wonderfully served by Andy, Trevor, Janet, Jo, Juliet, Nicky, Jules and Jon from Kings. This gifted team gave themselves to us over the whole weekend. It was a packed programme and they served enthusiastically and with such graciousness over the entire time. They had prayed and prepared and came ready to give. We are so grateful to God for them and for their heart to be a blessing to us.

The sense of God’s presence over the weekend was tangible. The prophetic gift which was released was incredible. God has certainly been at work in Jubilee this weekend, and I feel that He has raised the bar as to what is to be called “normal” in church life. The challenge for us now is to not go back, not to settle for anything less. If we are not careful to push on, then this weekend could just become a “that was nice” weekend in our history. I don’t believe for one minute that is what God would want. This remarkable weekend should serve to encourage and motivate forward into all that God wants for us. Sarah and I are certainly up for that. Who else wants to come on the journey?

Visit to Cambodia – January 2015

I thought it might be helpful to write a blog post about my recent time in Cambodia. I am well aware that my last post was over a year ago, so I make no promises about the regularity of such posts!

I am writing this on the plane back from Cambodia. This has been my second visit, and once again, it has been a great trip.

The main reason for going was to be part of a team teaching at the Pastors & Wives leadership conference for Transform Asia in Cambodia. Transform Asia (TA) have somewhere around 35-40 churches working together alongside a variety of social action projects right across the county. This is all led by Setan and Randa Lee, together with a small team of staff and other leaders. Both ChristCentral Churches and Jubilee Church Derby are partnering with TA and seeking to serve them and be a blessing where we can.

On the way out there, I met up with Mike and Kay Sprenger in Amsterdam, and we travelled the rest of the way together .

Landing in Phnom Penh on Saturday 17th January, we were met by Setan and some of his staff, and then we headed to the South West of the county where we stayed overnight. Mike preached on Sunday morning in Chhouk Kampot and I preached in the afternoon in Phnom Vor, both TA churches.

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Phnom Vor is right in the centre of a jungle area, in the middle of nowhere. There was, however, great 3G mobile phone reception! We saw 4 first-time decisions to follow Christ alongside 4+ healings. It was wonderful to see God on the move, but intensely frustrating not being able to speak the language and converse easily.  IMG_0053

After another overnight stay, we arrived in Kep on the Monday morning. This was the location of the conference and would be home for the next few days. It was great to have hot water once again, but not so great to have a mixture of geckos, large spiders and cockroaches! However, the view from the guest house more than made up for this!

Mike, Kay and I, together with Scott Price who works with Setan in Cambodia, all spoke on the theme of, “Don’t lose your way.” We were encouraging the 80+ delegates to hold fast in their commitment to Christ, and not to fall at the many obstacles that life throws at us. We looked at the particular hurdles that leaders often face, namely money, sex and power.

The teaching was well received, as were we. On the Wednesday evening we had an evening meeting where I taught about the Holy Spirit and then we prayed for one another. God moved powerfully and it10904011_10152594364755796_7242436137108835516_o was evident that the Holy Spirit was at work refreshing, encouraging and empowering people.

Serving this group of leaders was great fun. They have much to teach us about serving the poor, counting the cost and prayer. I trust we can serve them by teaching from the Bible and sharing from our experience in building the church.

On the Friday, we travelled back to Phnom Penh where Mike & Kay and I checked into a now familiar hotel and enjoyed the rest of the day relaxing together. I was delighted to visit the Blue Pumpkin coffee shop once again!

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The second weekend saw me meet up with Simon & Becci Brown They are leading the Newfrontiers Church Plant, Liberty Family Church in Phnom Penh and it was a great joy to see them once again, and this time to meet with their church on the Sunday morning. I preached on God’s heart for the nations as they had a special Sunday celebrating this theme.

They and their team of young leaders are doing a great job, building a church that is true to the model of church we see in the New Testament, and reflects the values we hold dear.

It was an unexpected bonus to also meet up with another Newfrontiers leader from the UK who had been travelling to another nation in the Far East.

It has been a real privilege to see what God is doing right across the other side of the word. It has been a joy and an honour to meet with leaders, encourage some churches and to preach and teach in a variety of settings.

At a prayer meeting on the Sunday evening as my trip drew to a close, God broke in and the Holy Spirit moved powerfully. We are praying and asking God for such a breakout here. God is the same yesterday, today and forever. And He’s the same in Derby and the UK & Europe as well as in Cambodia and South East Asia.