Wednesday, 28 September 2011

I've moved!

Hello everyone!

I just wanted to let you know that I have decided to move to Wordpress. If you'd like to keep tuning in, please find me at:

Thank you! :)

Saturday, 10 September 2011

A few reflections on Forum 2011

It was that time of year again! Quinta was happily inundated by 1,000 students eager to rejoice, learn and live out the wonderful realities of the Gospel as we gathered for the Forum conference.

Many pairs of wellies trampled Quinta’s vast green spaces, a boat marked the Welsh region’s territory (guess who it belonged to!) and the IVP skirmishes that ensued once they had announced the £1 book sales prompted pseudo peace negotiations between many a joyfully disgruntled student whose book had been bagged before they were able to claim it as their own! One couldn’t walk too far without being greeted by a friendly face and whilst there were a few slight showers, the sun made sporadic, special appearances which, alongside the many cakes, sweets and BBQs that were had last week, made for very lovely times spent together indeed!

I just wanted to share a few of my highlights from the week with you. There were many, so what follows is the short abridged version (!) :

- Our hearts were duly warmed (not to mention, moved!) as Becky Pippert conveyed her experiences of sharing Jesus with her friends, despite her various fears and wanting them to respond “many, MANY years from now!” She urged us to ‘celebrate our inadequacies’, and lean on the One who is completely adequate and able to save. She so articulately and ever so sincerely encouraged us through the ways that God has used her to have confidence in His Word and use it to chat with people about Jesus.

‘Uncover’, a series of Bible studies in Luke was launched! Every single copy went. :) However, Praise God, for an anonymous donation of £2,000 makes it possible for us to now print hundreds more copies and place them into the hands of those who wish to explore the claims of Jesus for themselves.

Having the time to hang out with BCU and UBCU was so much fun. I cannot tell you what an impact these guys have on my life and how much fun it is to hang out, talk about what God is doing in our lives and swap ideas as to how to the rest of campus can know and respond to the fires of God’s love too. It was also great to see a couple of friends from the South East Asia team there, too!

Whilst there were many joys, it was also tinged with sadness as I said goodbye to our wonderful brothers and sisters at Gloucestershire CU. I am going to miss you all very much and will be praying for you… You’ll have to treat Brian to one of your immense wide-games at Houseparty this year!

Ben’s Swiss army knife – enthralled doesn’t quite cover it!

Praying with our sisters as they responded to God’s Word in the evening sessions. Thank you for being so encouraging and sharing with me what God is doing in your lives, and thank you for your faithfulness in wanting to take that back to your CUs, and ultimately to the lost. You were a real gift to me this week. :)

Witnessing our brothers and sisters approach the throne of grace with confidence, now that their hearts have been sprinkled clean and their consciences cleansed because of Jesus’ saving work on the cross. This was an incredible joy to behold as Dan Meiring and I lead a seminar on prayer.

Hearing about what God has done through the many summer teams this year. It was so good to catch up Cat Caird, Ali Young, Emily Patterson, MJ Axleson, and so many others!

Gosh, there’s still so much to say, but perhaps I’ll leave it there for now…

Thank you so much for praying for us this past week. I think this was the best Forum to date, and it is such a privilege to be a part of what God is doing on his campuses through his beloved children across the UK.

"Hope is here
shout the news to everyone
it’s a new day, peace has come
Jesus saves

Mercy triumphs at the cross
Love has come to rescue us
Jesus saves

Hope is here
what a joyful noise we’ll make
As we join with heaven’s song

to let all the world know that Jesus saves
 raise a shout
to let all the world know that Jesus saves

Free at last
every debt has been repaid
broken hearts can be remade
jesus saves

Sing above the storms of life
sing it through the darkest night
jesus saves

free at last
what a joyful noise we’ll make
as we join with heaven’s song

to let all the world know that Jesus saves…"

- Tim Hughes, Jesus Saves.

Monday, 4 April 2011

I believe in a thing called love!

(...that classic Darkness song!)

Can you remember what the last tune you heard on the radio was?

Driving back home last night I had Heart Fm on (of course!) playing the likes of Bruno Mars, 'Grenade' and Adele, 'Someone Like You'. I don't suppose you've heard those songs at all, have you? I always try and do some very bad break dancing whenever I hear that particular Bruno Mars song, but the lyrics go something like this:

"Gave you all I had and you tossed it in the trash
You tossed it in the trash, you did.
To give me all your love is all I ever asked
Cause what you don't understand is

I'd catch a grenade for ya
Throw my hand on a blade for ya
I'd jump in front a train for ya
You know I'd do anything for ya

This, coupled with the wrenching lyrics of:

"Never mind I'll find someone like you
I wish nothing but the best for you, too
Don't forget me, I beg
I remember you said
Sometimes it lasts in love
But sometimes it hurts instead
" are well on the way to heartbreak city! It's interesting how we don't sing songs like this about our jobs /studies (can you imagine?!), but we write poems and wax lyrical about love. It seems that when we ponder upon the object of our affections we cannot help but evoke the eternal to describe the extent and nature of love's dynamic power, as well as the sense of the transcendent and enduring in so doing. Par example, "I will always love you" (Whitney Housten), "I loved you before I saw you" (Savage Garden) and "Take me as I am. Take my life. I would give it all, I would sacrifice" (Bryan Adams), to name but a few. But is that so? A part of me wants to shout "lies!" at this point. Especially when today all we seem to sing about is the rejection and ensuing heartache that occurs when that person lets us down. It seems as though we've gradually woken from the spell of the sleepy, sexy, sixties slumber - "she loves you, yeah, yeah, yeah" - to the sobering reality - "You tossed in the trash, yes you did". Do we expect too much? Can someone really give us all their love?

A Christian guy called Tim Keller gave a talk on Love, Lust and Liberation* where he suggests that these wonderful experiences of love are intended as markers leading us to the person who really will always love you. He talks a lot about sex and sexual desire and even tells us how God speaks explicitly about it in the Bible. Whether you're single, going out, married, Christian, not a Christian, not bothered, it is really worth listening to! I'd appreciate hearing your reflections on it.

"Love is a temporary madness. It erupts like an earthquake and then subsides. And when it subsides you have to make a decision. You have to work out whether your roots have become so entwined together that it is inconceivable that you should ever part. Because this is what love is. Love is not breathlessness, it is not excitement, it is not the promulgation of promises of eternal passion. That is just being "in love" which any of us can convince ourselves we are. Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away, and this is both an art and a fortunate accident. Your mother and I had it, we had roots that grew towards each other underground, and when all the pretty blossoms had fallen from our branches we found that we were one tree and not two."
- Captain Corelli's Mandolin

*Alas, the recording repeats itself at the 28min mark, but if you just skip it along to about the 50min mark it'll pick up from where you left it - don't worry, it is not a really long one!

Friday, 1 April 2011

Quote of the day

My hope is in what the eye has never seen. Therefore, let me not trust in visible rewards. My hope is in what the heart of man cannot feel. Therefore, let me not trust in the feelings of my heart. My hope is in what the hand of man has never touched. Do not let me trust what I can grasp between my fingers. Death will loosen my grasp and my vain hope will be gone.
Let me trust in your mercy, not in myself. Let my hope be in your love, not in health or strength or ability or human resources. If I trust you, everything else will become for me, strength, health and support. Everything will bring me to heaven. If I do not trust in you, everything will be my destruction.

- Thomas Merton, Thoughts in Solitude, p.40.