Uncover Gospel Project Launch

Last night Plymouth CU uncovered some evidence…something that will change lives and they will be giving this evidence to their friends. The CU launched their Uncover Gospel project where they:

  • Pray for 3 friends,
  • Give the Gospel to 3 friends and
  • Read the Gospel with 3 friends.

It was a great and creative launch night, we had a lot of fun with Sherlock Holmes and Miss Marple appearing. It seemed like people were up for doing this project. Lets pray that they do! Here are some pictures of the night:

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Fears in Freshers week

I have just spent the week helping the CU run events in freshers week. It made me think back to my freshers week and how glad I am that I am not a fresher anymore. I really hate that new feeling you have, where you are driving up to the Uni and all you are thinking about is whether you are going to like this experience, whether anyone will like you or will you like anyone. What happens if it’s a disaster and you end up with no friends? That was probably my biggest fear. Even though looking back now it seemed rather a silly fear! The other thing you think about is who you are and who you are going to be. In that first week you could be anyone you wanted to be, you could make up a mask of a new identity and no one would know that’s not the real you. (Even though they may eventually find out). Those are the two biggest fears I had when arriving at Uni – Will I make any friends and Who am I going to be and will anyone like me?

I guess those two fears are all about how I relate to people and how they relate back to me. I was on the edge of Christianity, ready to leave God behind and pursue the University Experience. I had only become a Christian a few months back and those first few months were like a storm ready to swallow me up and I had enough of this God. So who was I going to be? A Christian? A social butterfly that never has an empty glass? A hermit striving for good grades? I think I tried all of those things in freshers week – I went to parties, stayed up till 4am, drank a bit too much and then confessed I was a Christian but I wasn’t really sure what that meant. I made friends with people who knew how to party well and I hung out with them. I hang out with the computer scientists that could programme anything in seconds (where I would stare blankly at the screen and tried to figure out what all those brackets meant)… The fear of not having any friends subsided, I could make friends with people that wasnt the issue anymore. But this identity thing and the constant question of Who am I? was bothering me. It wasn’t until I was taken to the CU meeting that I met some Christians who loved Jesus and I heard the Gospel that the penny dropped. I was looking for my identity in the wrong places and it was making me miserable. Over the weeks I understood the Gospel more and what it meant to be a Christian and I saw that my identity is in Christ. Which gives a sigh of relief. It also gave me such great freedom to still hang out with  my mates that liked to party hard and those that like to sit in front of the PC creating programmes for NASA… (maybe not NASA?)… But soon my fears of friendship and identity soon faded and I found my place. There were times I forgot my identity, but at some point I was reminded who I was and that I was loved.

All these freshers I see are probably thinking and doing the same. They have fears and expectations and are striving to fit in and find their identity. I hope at some point they meet a Christian and hear about Jesus, so that like me they may find their identity can be in Christ whom gives great freedom to us. For the CU that’s what this week was about – sharing Jesus with Freshers who are lost, confused and sure of themselves. Do pray with us that these freshers meet Jesus.

UCCF Forum 2012

Forum 2012 has been and gone and it was a brilliant week. There was also a huge suprise of having sunshine, I actually got sunburnt! No rain meant people were happier and the place just felt different to other years. So I will now share with you my highlights from Forum 2012. Also I did some talks on a track called Mission with the relational God, which you can check out here.

So some highlights:

1. Sun Sun Sun. No rain, no wellies, no getting wet but just sunburn. Wonderful.

2. Some of my favourite talks were from Jason Clarke, Mike Pilavachi and Lindsay Brown! I enjoyed being encouraged and challenged and reminded of the Gospel!

3. Hearing repentance from a leader on stage and for us to show grace – thats the Gospel.

4. Eating with students at lunchtime was great fun. It was really encouraging hearing what they had been learning during the week and how they want to see the campus reached with the Gospel!

5. Eating with staff – sharing a whole bag of pasta and laughing a lot with Ali and Emily. Great to have friends like these!

6. Creating an international cafe for students. Both Ali and I were wearing hats and welcoming them into the cafe, some looked scared and slightly amused. Hopefully they got the point!!

7. Doing an interview with Glen Scrivener in my talk.

Those are just some of my highlights. What are yours?

 

How to enjoy Relay Homestart

Around this time a few years ago I was getting ready to go on my next adventure by doing Relay Homestart in Peru. I know all the feelings of being excited, nervous, unsure, insecure, scared, happy, sad to leave friends etc… with a million emotions all in one I knew I would be boarding that plane soon with no language skills and no real understanding of what it means to live in a different culture and really no idea of what I was really doing. So as I am guessing that some of you will be feeling these things at some point, I want to write a quick guide on how to enjoy and make the most of Relay Homestart and also short term mission – whether that’s in Europe or China or South America…

  1. Pray and continue praying – this may sound like a given. But we are sinful creatures that like to draw upon Gods help at the start and then when we get use to the culture and the language, suddenly God can be out the picture. Don’t be complacent, continue praying and bring everything to God
  2. Don’t expect it to be like Relay – On Relay you had amazing support every week, you had theology to read, students to meet up with and conferences to build fellowship. But its all different on homestart, don’t expect it to be like Relay at all – you may not get weekly support and it will take you a while before you can speak the language enough to be able to meet up with students one to one. This wont be like fitting on a glove. You are not the star relay worker in your university spouting Grace and Grudem. Your the foreigner that cant speak the language. But there are lots of advantages for it not being like Relay and you will find them out.
  3. Jump into the culture – The Culture your going into is different and can seem scary and you may get culture shock. The only way I dealt with this is by not shutting myself away but being apart of the lives of others in the culture. I was living with a family and so I joined in on everything the family was doing – watching TV with them, going to church events, going shopping with them etc…although I couldn’t speak Spanish, my actions and my time shared with them proved to be shouting louder then words. So join a youth group or prayer group, join in with a family, be with different people and don’t just hang out with English speaking people. Also try and eat everything or at least a bite – it shows your willing to try things.

  4. Don’t live on Facebook – Its very tempting to hide yourself away on facebook everyday. My suggestion is to not touch facebook for the first month – your friends will understand. Its more important that you get to know people where you are living then keep updated on the facebook feed. Your relationships where you are will be better off.

  5. Enjoy the Differences – everything will be different – smells, food, people, clothes… but don’t be cynical – its easy to believe that the English culture is always right, but you will see that its not and there is so much to learn in the differences. At times it will be frustrating, but as much as you can enjoy the differences – don’t complain about them to other people, but let your words be encouraging and pure.

  6. Your Identity is in Jesus – This is a huge lesson I learned. It is very easy to place your worth and Identity in everything but Jesus. You will want to place it in your language skills or how many one to ones you have or what you are doing compared to everyone else. But quickly you will see that when you place your worth in those things you will fall apart because they will not stand up – your language will fail, you will find yourself at times doing nothing or not knowing what to do! But Jesus will always remain and if your identity is in Him you will not fall and he will never fail you. Ever.

  7. Don’t expect to stay in touch with everyone – Some people are good at keeping in touch, some are not. Some will be annoyed that you are not emailing them everyday. The truth is, is that you wont have time to be keeping in touch with everyone and that’s a reality that you will have to not feel guilty about.

  8. Read your bible – Keep yourself in the word even if you don’t have a routine. You will find that church wont be a place where you can get either teaching you understand or teaching that’s going to feed you. But the Word of God will feed you. Keep in his word, enjoy His word, Delight in his Word, Weep over His Word and Rejoice that you have the Word of God in your hands.

  9. Be prepared for crazy emotions – At times you will find yourself so happy your skipping down the road and then the next moment you are crying. You will feel alone and then very loved. This is normal, so don’t worry. But remember your emotions are not reliable – but God is. Your emotions go up and down but God stays the same. God is still God. That is a good truth to hold on to. Don’t be subject to your emotions, but know that God uses you in your weakness and when you are alone, you are actually very close to Jesus.

  10. Love – Love the people, love the fruit lady, love your team mates, love other missionaries, love the crazy drunk man on the street, love the unlovable, love Jesus and do everything in Love. And enjoy every moment.

JPOD Staff Worker Version 2.5

Not long ago I read JPOD by Dougles Coupland, which I really enjoyed probably because I spent a year in IT support at University and can relate to the randomness of this book and at heart I am a geek! During the book there are pages full of random quotes and sentences that just add to the surreal life of Ethan and his JPOD companions. How far from reality is JPOD? Probably not that far off, although no one seems to sleep and they go on random trips to China (which hasn’t happened to me yet). But perhaps in the fiction there is a base of reality that highlights the mundane and splashes it across absurdity. So it occurred to me that for fun I could write my own page of JPOD but relating to being a UCCF Staff Worker. And of course it is meant to be weird and not taken seriously.

STAFF WORKER version 2.5
Year 3 upgrade
Please press any key to continue..
FILTER COFFEE GOSPEL and a muffin.
“Come and have Breakfast”
Fish and Chips after death.
Freedom. Gospel. Grace. Love.
Are you a miserable Christian?
I Blog. I Think. I Drink...
Mac books are in Heaven?
I wear Fat Face. I am not Face Face. Face Fat. Book
!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
I Create. I Dream. I Believe.
That is a good question…………………………………………………………..?
We have ink on our faces.
TRINITY. LOVE THE CHURCH.
It is good to be a Christian. 
JOY. PRAYER. LOVE
South West Team. Soup.Fellowship
Welcome to Exeter. Plymouth. Falmouth. Bristol. Bath
3:16.8:1.2:20.5:1. Genesis. ADAM. CHRIST. APPLE. CROSS. FREE
Snapshot of Cross Culture.
My morning drink is Exodus with a sprinkle of Romans.()()(()()()()()()()()()()

Living for Jesus. Speaking for Jesus.

 

>>>>>>>>>>>>>

Houseparty. 3 Block. Seminar. Ear Plugs.
Diving into the Gospel. Team Days. CAKE!
Forum. Tents…with a splash of sunshine please?
Reforming the heart. EDWARDS. OWEN.
Jesus is beautiful.

 

Lets have beautiful feet. 
            Feet need to walk and share good news. 
                    Good news needs to be in our hearts. 
                              Our hearts need to know Christ. 
                                                       CHRIST IS ALL.
 /////////////????????????????????????????????????????????????????????????/////////////

####RELAY. Run the Race. Drink the coffee. Open the bible.#####

 

iblog, iread, idream, iknownothing.
  • Relationships. Tears. Goodbyes. New pages. Chapters unfold.
  • Be creative.
  • Don’t wear socks and sandals.
  • Do Enjoy.
 //////////////////////////////////////////////////++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
ALT, CTRL, DEL. 
ESC.
STANDBY until HE Returns.
+++++OUT OF CHEESE ERROR+++++

Talking with art students

I am no expert in art. I like some art, I like engaging with it and looking at it etc. As Christians I think we need to encourage our brothers and sisters who are artists or art students in our churches. So I want to bring to your attention a great blog written by two of my friends on staff who are reaching art students on their patch and they are engaging with art in an amazing way. Why not check them out here:

http://uccf-arts.blogspot.co.uk/

Here are some fab quotes from the blog to wet your appetite:

“We are passionate about seeing Christian art students live wholeheartedly for Jesus: both in the way that you create,  and also in the way that you do life at art college.  We pray that this blog will bless, encourage and resource you to get digging deeper into gospel truths, and delight all the more in the gifts God has given you.”

“Artists are societies’ visionaries or to quote Mark ‘society’s equivalent of specsavers’!  As artists we help people to see what they don’t naturally see.  We are more deliberate in feeling, seeing, hearing, tasting, and sensing the world around us because we study it in a more intense and deliberate way, and so we are making people see more of what’s around them.”

“Whether you are based in an art college, a university, or an office, they all have a culture of their own which has been produced by the people of that place over years.  Do you ask questions of the cultures you live in?  Are you contributing in a Godly way to your cultures, or are you just going with the flow?  Are you mindful of what you paint, sing, dance, design?  Cultural history is easily read through the art of the time so we really do have a great responsibility as the current generation of Christians making art.  Let us have dominion, make work and live lives that produce a cross shaped culture.”

Labels

Labels. Society has them everywhere: Liberal, Chav, fundamentalist, working class, conservative, disabled, asylum seeker, gypsy…etc Those are only some labels the media throws out…

And labels can be a way of defining things and they can also be unhelpful. I was watching an interesting twitter conversation where someone mentioned that they belonged to a certain group of churches and that the label of this church was often unhelpful because it doesn’t define them.

Do labels define people? Or do we define labels?

It made me think about this. When we mention certain groups within Christianity there is a label attached to it and often we have made our mind up about that person before getting to know them.

I wonder what you might think if someone said to you that they were/or were from:

Anglican, Baptist, Calvinist, Catholic, Arminian, Newfrontiers, vineyard, soul survivor, Mars Hill…etc

Sure you may say that these labels are attached to many different kinds of people. But I reckon there are so many other labels and stigmas that stick to these ones above, depending which one you are coming from, which one you have had experience from and which one you have had negative experience from. And those things stick and make us look at those people differently. We all look at things through the lenses of our experience, the challenge is putting the Gospel in front of that to change the lens.

It has challenged me to think about how I treat people when thinking of people who may belong or say they are something from the labels above because I am not sure that really defines them. People are complicated and messy and every single person is different and just because they are a part of some label, doesn’t mean they embody everything you liked/disliked about that said label.

For example. I work with UCCF. Now that label there may bring about different reactions depending on your experience or what you have heard. You may like or dislike UCCF. You may think I am a clone of UCCF and somehow embody all that is UCCF. I got a bit of opposition from some people when I wanted to do Relay and then the hope of staff work. One of the reasons being was the fear that I would somehow morph into a clone of a UCCF worker…except there is a huge problem with that, for anyone that has worked with UCCF will have noticed that UCCF is made up of many different, strange, wonderful amazing people… all different.

UCCF is made up of Anglicans, new frontiers, Baptists, tea drinkers, ballroom dancers, lovers of blogging, haters of blogging, lovers of good ale, single, married, have families, female speakers, male speakers, female evangelists, male evangelists, musicians, gardeners, bike riders, surfers, Lady Ga Ga fans, Mozart fans, grew up in a christian family, grew up in an atheist family, a footballers wife, authors, poets, artists, illustrators, photographers, philosophers, enjoys flag waving in worship, enjoys hymns, theologians (male and female), dancers, coffee drinkers, agree with women speakers in church, don’t agree with women speakers in church, computer geeks, sci-fi fanatics, Man U supporters, Kath Kidson fans and so much more.

I am afraid I don’t embody nearly half of that and its wonderful. It’s so great working with such diverse and talented people. The one thing we agree on is that Jesus and the Cross is central and students at university need to hear about him.

I have no doubt that this is the case for those labels above. Newfrontiers people are all different and don’t always think the same thing on every issue. Same with Anglicans. I have some wonderful Anglican friends, and its great to support them and get to know them.

I guess the challenge for myself and maybe you – is not to always judge someone by their label. But get to know them individually first. They might surprise you. They might not be what you expect. Enjoy getting to know them.

Into the wilderness

At the weekend we had Forum SW where Bish went through a series about the love of God and he shared with us this verse:

“Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her.”
(Hosea 2:14 ESV)

In an earlier post I wrote about how God is our Husband and here we see how the Lord treats his bride. Now what really struck me was this question:

“When you think about God speaking to you, what does He sound like?”

Often we think when God speaks it would be with harsh words or something very frightening. But when you read this verse in Hosea it says something totally different, the Lord speaks to her tenderly. He speaks with tender comforting words and the amazing thing is that she is in the wilderness when this happens. The Lord allures her out of where she is, which is in prostituting herself to idols and he allures her, bids her with a higher bidding to bring her into a wilderness, he brings her out of slavery and he speaks words of comfort to her.

This is a beautiful example of the Gospel and the heart of our Lord. Here we are, committing adultery with worthless idols and Christ doesn’t speak to us with harsh, wrathful words instead he allures us, he wins and woos us out of the slavery of idols and sin and he brings us into a place where he can speak wonderful words of comfort and tenderness to us.

Don’t we need to hear those words of comfort? Don’t we need to be allured and won away from the snares of broken fountains that never quench our thirst? Jesus says “come to me all who are weary and heavy laden”. Come to Him, gaze on Him, shelter in Him and he will win your heart and speak tenderly to you.

But more than this, doesn’t it change the way we do evangelism? How do we share the Gospel – with harsh words? condemning people’s sin through the law? Or do we show them Christ and let him speak tenderly to them, let him allure them? Do we win people to see the love of Christ?

We all need to hear the tender words of Christ and when we do, may they warm our dead, cold hearts.