Transition: Students

coffeemundaneThe best part of my job has been working with students. I think University is certainly a unique time in someones life where they are encapsulated in a bubble. A bubble that is made up of a diverse community where you live, eat and sleep in close proximity to each other.

Life on the other side of this bubble has taught me that you can never replicate your time at Uni, the 4 hours of lectures, the midnight feasts with friends in the same hall, the tesco trips in your PJs. This is where the CU has an outstanding opportunity to really live for Jesus, it is impossible to hide the lamp under the lamp stand because someone will find you out and you will need to explain yourself.

Over my time as a student worker I have come across some extraordinary students. 18-21 year olds who really love Jesus and really want to introduce Him to their friends even though they are so overwhelmingly scared and unsure how to do that, but yet still they want to give it a go. It is crazy to think how much responsibility they have been given – to lead a mission team on campus, to organise events, to turn up to those events and invite people. Sometimes it is messy and they make mistakes, but mostly its a wonderful thing to see.

My highlights are the individuals that I have met up with over the last 6 years, the ones where I have sat with every week opening scripture, praying together, chatting through problems and seeing them wonderfully grow in their love for Jesus.

I have seen a shy student coming to their first small group meeting unsure why they were there and if they were cut out for it, to then going on to being president of the CU a year later.

I have seen a president grasp the idea of what CU is and decided they didn’t want it to be a social club and started a Food for Thought event and invited their friends to hear about Jesus.

The next president decided she wanted a carol service which has never been done by the CU before. I have also seen her grasp who Jesus really is and enjoy reading the bible even more.

I have enjoyed seeing this journey. A journey of faith and growth. A journey of weakness and seeking help.

That’s what I love about student work most of all – investing time with students on a 121 bases. Chatting about Jesus over coffee. Opening the bible. Planning and dreaming together. Watching them grow. Getting to know them and having a laugh.

Wonderful.

Faith is Stumbling, Intimate & Knowing we are Loved

A brilliant conversation between Stephen Fry and Bear Grylls. I love how Bear Grylls describes his faith as intimate, stumbling, and in this difficult life we are loved… brilliant! I think we can learn a lot from their conversation.

It is worth going over to Krish’s blog and read 5 things to learn from Bear and Fry

When the Broken Walk in

gloryflowerTwo years ago a mother walked into our church holding her baby called Lexi. Her baby had cancer and she had run out of options. Could we try praying? I remember this mum standing up the front asking Jesus to help her and our Elders calling us to pray. Cancer go away. Be healed.

Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you. (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, ESV)

Pray without ceasing. Two years went by. During this time of praying Lexi’s mum met Jesus. He turned her life upside down. You can see the difference. You can see the joy.

This mum first walked in clutching her baby with cancer and seeming to have no hope at all. Then she met Jesus and she changed from no hope to having every hope and expectancy.

The father of Lexi saw a change. Lexi’s mum was different. The hope and new life she has is infectious. The change is life changing and people notice. Lexi’s father met Jesus and Jesus changed him too. Welcome to the family.

This is almost like the story of the paralysed man. People bringing him in from the roof in desperation and Jesus saying “your sins are forgiven”… they and you cry – “But you missed the point Jesus, he wants to walk!”

But Jesus says – “Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Rise, take up your bed and walk’? (Mark 2v9)

Jesus says – which is more important? Healing of our body or of our heart? Jesus cleanses the heart through his blood and gives eternal life.

Jesus did that with Lexi’s mum and dad. He said to them – “Your sins are forgiven”. This is a beautiful miracle in itself. We rejoice in this!

The story could end here. It does for many people and there is still reason to rejoice at this point. Even though its painful. There can be an element of yearning and sorrow in our rejoicing. “Though I walk through the wilderness. Blessed Be Your name”

But the story doesn’t stop there. Not today.

We got told on Sunday that another miracle has happened. Lexi has been healed. At this point she hadn’t had any treatment however the cancer had gone. It is impossible. No more cancer. No more tumors. No more. Gone. Miracle.

The faith of the church was raised on that Sunday. My faith has risen too. Not because of the sign itself but because of who the sign points to. Jesus.

Thank you Jesus.

It is good to be church. It’s good to be a part of this family where broken, hopeless people are welcomed, they meet Jesus and their lives change. It’s good to cry together and rejoice together. The roof was raised on Sunday. Together we prayed, together we praised, together we felt a part of this. Faith was raised together in church.

Thank you Jesus for the church. Thank you for Lexi and her mum and dad. Thank you that you do heal, but more so thank you that you save.

“I say to you, rise, pick up your bed, and go home.” And he rose and immediately picked up his bed and went out before them all, so that they were all amazed and glorified God, saying, “We never saw anything like this!” (Mark 2v11-12)

What my heart needs

I don’t know about you, but when I wake up in the morning I find that I want nothing to do with the Gospel or Jesus. In fact I prefer to wake up and think about the day ahead and all the things I want to do – my agenda, my life, my identity. As I awake I find my heart so hard and dull. I think that if I was to do everything I wanted then I would be satisfied.

What a lie.

The one thing I need to hear is the Gospel.
I need to hear it because I don’t want to hear it.
I need to hear it because my heart needs to be melted
I need to hear it because it brings me life. Christ brings me life and has made me alive.

But I don’t just need to tell myself the Gospel. I wasn’t created to be on my own. I was created to be in unity with other people. So I need other people to tell me  the Gospel. I need my husband, my friends, my boss, my pastor, my homegroup, people in my church etc to tell me the Gospel.

And I need to tell them the Gospel. And not be afraid to do so.

The outcome I am sure is that if we are all reminding ourselves the Gospel, then our hearts will be encouraged, our words will be seasoned with salt and our fellowship/church will be strengthened. And then we will want to tell people about Jesus. We need this every day, because I forget the Gospel every day. And you probably do to. So, lets not be afraid to remind each other of the good news of Jesus Christ.

A Collection of Webs (7)

One of my favourite films is Lord of the Rings and so this video just made me chuckle so much!:

Here is an interesting article about Delia Smith and her beliefs:

“If Jesus has said, ‘there’s only one thing needed’, we cannot grow as Christians without incorporating that ‘one thing’ into our daily lives and take his words utterly seriously.”

 

A brilliant article from Peter Mead at Cor Deo about christianity/church being all about us/me. He speaks some fantastic truth in this:

God loves me enough to die for me, but that doesn’t make it right for me to agree that I am special and live my life with my gaze firmly fixed on me.  Christ passionately cares about the church, His bride, but that doesn’t mean we should self-obsess as a local expression of that bride so that our gaze is firmly fixed in the wrong direction.

Even a mustard seed

Jesus says an amazing thing in Matthew 17:20 –

“He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.”

Sometimes we can be so discouraged by having such a small drop of faith and we can squish those that may appear to have small faith. But even little faith like a mustard seed is enough for a Christian. Sibbes says that Christ never quenches those with little faith –

” Man for a little smoke will quench the light. Christ, we see, ever cherishes even the least beginnings. How he bore with the many imperfections of his poor disciples! If he did sharply check them, it was in love, and that they might shine the brighter. Can we have a better pattern to follow than this from him by whom we hope to be saved?”

This is very encouraging. To know that in the moment of small faith, Christ does not diminish us or cast us aside. In fact Calvin goes further and says:

“When first even the least drop of faith is instilled in our minds, we begin to contemplate God’s face, peaceful and calm and gracious towards us. We see him afar off, but so clearly as to know we are not at all deceived. Then, the more we advance, with steady progress, as it were, the nearer and thus surer sight  of him we obtain; and by the very continuance he is made even more familiar to us” – [Calvin 3.2.36]

Even the smallest amount of faith allows us to see him afar off but clearly and then the nearer and thus surer sight of him we obtain, he is made more familiar to us. I believe this to mean, that the more we know Christ, seek Him, sit at his feet – the more he becomes familiar to us and the more our mustard seed faith increases. Our faith needs Christ not some mantra of “I need more faith”. Because even a mustard seed faith is enough to move mountains and behold Christ, but the more we get to know Christ, the more that Mustard seed grows and the more Christ becomes our greatest affection.