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Friday, November 24, 2006

Off again!

I'm off adventuring again. And in this weather it really does feel like an adventure!

The hovercraft awaits to take me to the Isle of Wight for UPCU's houseparty. I'm looking forward to getting to know students better, a little scared about my seminar, but generally excited at what God's gonna do. And from there it's away to Bournemouth to help out with their mission week. (After a day off on Monday, but I doubt I'll be blogging anything!) And then I'm going home for a couple of days, which conveniently ties in with Nathan's birthday. And I probably won't blog anything then, either!

So, I'll be back here in December!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Oh for a closer walk with God

Last night I had a brief conversation with my housemate, Lucy, about fasting and prayer. She was talking about a talk she'd heard at church on Sunday about fasting not having to mean food - why don't we fast watching TV for example? I suggested to her she should fast running round being so busy all the time. Wasn't until I was walking to housegroup later that night that I realised the irony of me saying that to her...

Well, maybe it's not such an ironic statement anymore as I'm unable to be as busy as I'd like to be. But that set me thinking - now, I'm no expert on fasting whatsoever. But surely the point is to give up something important in order to spend time with and focus on God who is, after all, infinitely more important. It occurred to me that I seem to have been forced into this position over the last x number of months...but I'm certainly not rejoicing in it! I'm certainly not of the attitude that this allows me to develop my walk with God. At least, not as much as I should be.

The journey has been a somewhat rough, uneven one. At first (apart form the pain) I was rather happy to take some time out. But as time has gone on, and on, with doctors still not knowing what's wrong, well, it's gotten somewhat harder. The days where I struggle to trust God, where I struggle for peace, where I struggle to delight in God are becoming more than the days where I do.

Last night as I was walking to housegroup I started to use the opportunity (as I often do when on trains/walking on my own) to text/ring people I wanted to get in touch with. But then that conversation with Lucy popped back into my head. How about I give up texting, just for this next half hour walk, and pray?

I was suprised at how hard it was! But as I prayed it occurred to me that I want to say, with Paul, that I rejoice in my sufferings, in my weaknesses. But as much as I want that, I'm holding back from it, and in the process I'm hardening my heart to God and His goodness.

At the root of it, I guess, is my pride. It's incredibly hard for me to pray or spend time with God because I'm so tired all the time...I keep trying to find the strength, but eventually it just gets too hard and I stop trying.

But God reminded me (again) last night that in NO PART is this about me. I can't even muscle up the strength to spend time with Him in prayer. It ALL has to come from HIM. As does the power to rejoice in my weaknesses.

I have to come to a point where I recognise, really recognise, that it's ok to be weak...but I think, unfortunately, that's a lesson I'm gonna have to go on re-learning. I wish I could learn it once for all.

And then in housegroup we looked at Philippians 1:27-2:11. We saw Jesus' humility.

The bottom line is, it's hard, BUT God alone is worthy. And one thing that has really stuck with me over the past few months is that without God I have nothing. So I'd better start looking to Him for the strength and desire to live for Him, hadn't I; I'd better start looking to Him in the dark times instead of pushing Him away; I'd better start looking to Him for peace, coz He's the only place I'll find it.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

It's me and Will from now on!

'Prayer - privilege and importance of!' Simon Pethick,
UPCU main meeting, 13/11/2006.
(Have to admit I was very tired during this talk, so my notes are probably not up to scratch. Therefore anything that doesn't make sense or sounds dodgy is thoroughly me, not Simon!)

Firstly, this is a massive topic, and not everything will be covered tonight!

Do you realise that every single mistake you've made as a Christian is because of a wrong understanding of the character of God? It's the conviction of every Christian that if we really knew what God was like, prayer would be a privilege, not a chore.

Isaiah 6. Isaiah is seeing God. The temple = vitally important. It's a huge, mammoth structure -and yet just the train of God's robe fills it completely. Wow - how big is God?!
Seraphs - literally 'burning ones'. They burn with white hot purity. And yet with two of their wings they cover their faces. Even though these seraphs are morally pure and didn't fall, they can't look at God. He's just too glorious.

They call to one another 'Holy, holy, holy' - this is a dimension beyond which Isaiah's mind can get a handle on, beyond what our minds can get a handle on.

And so what's his response? 'Woe to me'.
Isaiah says that now he's seen God, knowing what he himself is like, unclean, there's no hope for him.

Surely, if we saw God as Isaiah did then we wouldn't be so complacent about our relationship with Him. And prayer would be a privilege.

The curtain has been torn! So now it's not just the high priest, not just once a year, not just in a certain place...we can come to God ourselves, anytime, anyplace.

Is that a cheap privilege?

No! It took the death of Jesus to win us that privilege.
Hebrews 10:19. We haven't earned the right. Jesus' blood has washed us.

Prayer in some way changes the way God acts. James 4:2, Luke 11:9-10, 2 Chronicles 7:14. Not time to really go into this now, but let's just realise that this is what the Bible says...but remember that the power doesn't come from us. The power always comes from God. But prayer is the key to unlocking that power.

Matthew 3:17. What's that got to do with prayer? Adoption - big theme in New Testament. When you become a Christian God acts towards you as a son. You change family. Matthew 7:9 - the explanation.

In the New Testament we have the distinction between 'out of' God's riches and 'according to' God's riches. Imagine Bill Gates was your dad - if he promised you something 'out of' his riches, he'd be perfectly within his promise to give you just 5 pence. It's 'out of' what he has. But 'according to' his riches represents so much more! And God gives 'according to' His riches - so how much can we expect from God when we pray?!

Perhaps we still have this idea of God being stingy. But that's not God! If we ask, He gives us His Spirit - He gives us of Himself!

Once you've understood something of! God is more willing to give than we are to ask!

Prayer isn't an optional add-on. Prayer is a necessity. It's the fuel for effective Christian living. If you don't pray, you won't achieve anything.

When we depend upon organisations, we get what organisations give; when we depend upon education, we get what education can give; when we depend upon man, we get what man can give; when we depend upon prayer, we get what God can give...

2 Corinthians 4:2-6. The veil needs to be lifted. That needs a miracle! How? We're gonna be really persuasive, a massive event we put on, leaflets we give out...? Nope!
verse 5 - preach Christ as Lord.
verse 6 - God made His light shine in our hearts.

God created light. He SPOKE it into existence. Imagine watching that. You don't even know what light is up till this point, then, suddenly, God just speaks and wow, there it is. He just spoke, and light came to be. God employs that same power that He used to create light in the first place to make His light shine in people's hearts. It takes that kind of power. So how on earth are you going to see anyone saved if you don't pray? Yes we play our part - but it's not us. Preach Christ, yes, but do not neglect prayer.

We don't think we need it do we. Sometimes it just feels like a waste of time. When faced with a crisis, we'd rather do something practical to try and solve the problem, than pray. But prayer has to be a priority.

Be a broken record when it comes to prayer. Be a praying CU. No matter your gifts, you're useless without prayer. But with prayer - you're dangerous! Imagine all God could do through a praying CU.

Are you praying?

"All may be done through prayer...on then - pray, pray, pray!" - Wilberforce.

Prayer is an urgent necessity for serious Christians. Don't just get excited about prayer for one evening, and then neglect it when the going gets tough. It's you and Will.

Friday, November 10, 2006


I return to the south east!

But alas, I really am too tired to blog anything about team days! Hopefully soon, coz it rocked.

Sarah, Devon really is gorgeous., no. Woulda brought you back a pebble if I'd known.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


Not that this blog has been much open-up (sorry, tired) this last month or two, but I'm off to Exeter (which I'm told is lovely, when I get back I'll tell you whether this statement is in fact true) for team days with the lovely SE/SW team (that statement IS true, they are indeed lovely).

Hopefully when I return I won't be too tired to blog about what I've learnt! But don't hold your breath...

Hwyl fawr!


Monday, November 06, 2006


Have just listened to this.

Highly recommended.

Go listen now!

(Thanks to Bish for the link.)

Sunday, November 05, 2006

From the Casting Crowns website...

"I don't think it bothers the world that we sin. I think it bothers the world that we act like we don't. There are times that instead of being myself and exposing my own weakness and hurt, I portray a character of the person that I know I should be.
But when I expose myself as weak and frail at times, it frees the Body of Christ to restore me as it should and invites others to unmask as well.
Matthew 23:25-28/ Matthew 7:1-6/ John 8:7-9 Galatians 6:1 /1 John 1:9/ 1 Corinthians 15:9 2 Corinthians 12:9 / Romans 14:1"

Stained Glass Masquerade

Is there anyone that fails
Is there anyone that falls
Am I the only one in church today,
feelin so small

Cause when I take a look around
Everybody seems so strong
I know they'll soon discover
That I don't belong

So I tuck it all away,
like everything's okay
If I make them all believe it,
maybe I'll believe it too

So with a painted grin,
I play the part again
So everyone will see me
the way that I see them

Are we happy plastic people
Under shiny plastic steeples
With walls around our weakness
And smiles to hide our pain

But if the invitation's open
To every heart that has been broken
Maybe then we close the curtain
on our stained glass masquerade

Is there anyone who's been there
Are there any hands to raise
Am I the only one who's traded
In the altar for a stage

The performance is convincing
And we know every line by heart
Only when no one is watching
Can we really fall apart

But would it set me free
If I dared to let you see
The truth behind the person
That you imagine me to be

Would your arms be open
Or would you walk away
Would love of Jesus
Be enough to make you stay

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Much to say, nothing to blog

It seems that whenever I think of something to blog these days I'm either:
a. in bed trying to sleep
b. walking/on a train somewhere, and thus nowhere near a computer
c. too tired

It also appears that as well as I compose the prose (I nicked that phrase from Ed) in my head, I forget it by the time I'm sat in front of my computer.

But hey.

If I could remember the prose I composed in my head over the last week or so I'd write about the talk on worship at CU last week, and how every aspect of our lives is (or most definitely should be) worship to God (not just the singing...); or I'd talk about how blessed I am with parents who provide for me, know me and love me even when I don't speak to them or don't involve them; or I'd talk about how overwhelmed I've been by the support of friends this month; or the joy of team days, sharing thoughts about God and life and praying together with people I love and respect; then there's the fact that God is real and that means my life has meaning, even when it doesn't always feel like it or I don't know what I'm doing; there's also the way God has provided for me financially this month in ways I never dreamed; there's the study I've been doing; and of course I'd blog about how much passion I've got for the CU here and how excited I am at seeing students get excited about the gospel; linked to that there's the events that have been put on and looking forward to mission week.

Blogworthy topics all of the above. Rather different, but with a common theme. Yup, you guessed it, God.

I just don't have the words, because I just cannot get my head around grace (in some ways I pray I never do, because I don't want to become complacent).

You see, when you ponder the meaning of life as much as I seem to have done the past month or so, you realise that there's just nothing but God, there's nothing without Him. You realise that as tough as life gets sometimes, as many disappointments as there are, as much as you can't see where you're going, as hard as it is to slog on, as much as God may seem distant - you cannot get away from the fact that God exists. And that's a Good Thing - because the fact that He exists means there's a silver lining to the tough times, the disappointments, the blindness, the tiredness, and the feeling of distance - the silver lining is simply that He IS.

Because He is, I know that all of those things are temporary. Because He is, I can see the good stuff too - from the glistening sun in a clear blue sky on a crisp autumn (/winter!) day; to the cheque that comes in the post on exactly the right day, nay, at exactly the right hour; to the text/phonecall of a friend who knows exactly what to say; to the doctor who just wants to listen and help; to the smile on the face of a student who is immensely, genuinely excited at grace...

And all these things mean that there is a God who loves, cares, protects, refines. He's not just any God, He IS God. He is my God, He's my father, He's my dad. He has saved me from the cloud and set my focus on the silver lining. He has dealt with death. And He's done all that when I ignore Him and shun Him and try to make my own meaning; when I complain that the lining is silver, not gold.

I don't know what I'm talking about anymore really except that I know God is infinitely good, infinitely amazing and infinitely powerful and I know that He infinitely loves me. I know this, and I hold on to it and I long to see the result of it portrayed more in my life - not just in my actions and the things people see, but in my thoughts.

Oh, that I would wake each morning singing Amazing Grace - oh that grace would be my driving force, my strength, my song, my words, right from the start of each day. Oh that I would emanate God wherever I go. Oh that I would ask God to work that in me. And oh that I would let Him.

Oh that I would stop rambling, stop making things so complicated, and just enjoy God. Because when you strip it all down, He's there, He's all there is.