Those Techie Guys

At most churches every week you see those tech guys in the corner/at the back/hidden away – you don’t really know what they do, you don’t hear any difference when they turn a knob or move a fader, you don’t realise that it has often meant turning up first, setting it all up, fighting with cables, thinking through a hundred different options of what could be wrong when something doesn’t work, line checking, sound checking, eq-ing each instrument, balancing the whole mix, trying to make the musicians happy as well as the pastor and the congregation and themselves (an impossible task btw) then probably being the last to leave after packing down all their work, when they’d maybe just about got happy with it. And with all this in mind and more, it’s no wonder people call it a thankless task. (Although I do have to say that I experience many thanks at my church!)

And even though there’s all these hidden tasks, I love it. And I think if you speak to most tech guys (getting over the fact that a lot of them do speak a different language) I think you’ll find they love it too.

There is something seriously satisfying about making an instrument sound exactly how you want it. Mixing instruments and vocals together to get just the right balance. And obviously, I have to admit, having the control to just mute everyone and everything if you so wished.

There’s something just really great about being part of creating an environment that people can worship in. Yeah people may often not notice what you’ve done, but that often means you’ve succeeded!

Looking round and seeing people worshipping and you being part of enabling that in the best way is amazing. Now I know you don’t need PA to worship God, he’ll meet with you wherever through whatever means but having gifted musicians to lead you in sung worship as a congregation is something special and PA really helps us to do that!

It lifts up the gifts of the musicians, lifts up the opportunity for others to be led by them and lifts up God himself by serving him and his church.

And all ‘jobs’ in the church can be seen like this, they’re all serving so worshipping God in that way but they’re also enabling and helping others to encounter God, which I think is one of the greatest privileges someone can have. Whether it’s putting the chairs out, serving tea and coffee, welcoming on the door, chatting with someone new, praying with someone, doing the visuals – (a massive enabler!) cleaning the toilets, directing people on a car park, picking up rubbish… The list is endless, they are all great forms of worship and all just as valuable in creating that environment for people to come into. And the fact that the list is endless is really exciting. There are endless ways to serve, which means there’s a place for absolutely everyone to worship God in that way and to add to the creation of the environment where people can come and spend time with God.

I do really enjoy serving and believe it or not I even enjoy coiling cables!

And what a picture of our God it is if we all serve him in whatever way we can. As we serve him, we serve the church, we serve one another – we put others before ourselves, just as the Father, Son and Spirit have eternally done. It’s an incredible picture of the outwardly loving God we serve.

And Jesus died for his church.  If it was worth dying for, surely it’s worth us putting some chairs out or picking up some rubbish for?

So get involved with your church, wherever you can. Join in this great opportunity to serve God and others in this way! And enjoy how you become a part of creating a great environment for people to come into. I know I love it and I’m sure you will too!

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A different kind of nativity?

We had the Christmas play at church the other day, we even had wise men in a vw and a camp Christmas tree, it was hilarious yet called irreverent by some… Then on the Sunday we had a more traditional telling of the story through bible verses and a film.

It made me think more about that nativity story.

But scrap every nativity story you’ve ever heard or seen.

And think of how you’d want someone to appear to you if they were to save you.

Maybe it’s a bit like superman? Someone flying through the sky, rescuing you out of that burning building, bringing you to safety…

Or perhaps you’re more of an incredibles guy? You want a big strong superhero that can hold everything back from hitting you.

Or maybe you want a mighty warrior to come, with the powers to remove all the bad in your life and in the world…

Think of those as a nativity story. Your little girl, not being an angel or a star… but being superwomen shooting through the sky. No donkey, no stable, but a mansion, a sports car, a mighty warrior, a person that pulls you out of the wreckage but then leaves you and you’re not quite sure what happened. You just really hope they’ll turn up when you’re next in trouble.

As you know, that’s not what happened. That natiivity set you dig out every year doesn’t display any knight in shining armour, or spiderman on the roof, or batmobile parked outside.

It displays a baby in a manger.

How does that even work? God, in a manger, in a stable, in Bethlehem, born through an ordinary girl. No one special. Nowhere special. How does that make sense?

What does that baby in a manger show us?

Here is God, completely humbled, coming into our world just as we did, living in this world alongside us, walking those dirty streets, doing an everyday 9-5 job, and being born in a stable!

How does this tell us how we can approach God? And how God wants us to approach him?

If you see a baby aren’t you drawn to it? Doesn’t it capture you’re attention? A new born baby, aren’t you somehow even in awe at it? You certainly wouldn’t be scared of it, if you’re anything like me you’d be completely captivated by it, wanting to hold it, wanting to get closer to it.

And this is how God comes into our world, as a baby, someone we can hold, someone that grows up just like we do, someone that is gonna live in this world just like you have. This is someone we can relate to, who wants to relate to us.

Heaven came down to earth that day, but not in a way that we would have imagined, but in a way that we can understand. There was no superhero saving then disappearing, there’s a baby coming to live with us, to save a people to himself for eterntity, to be with us throughout all our days.

“I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10&11)

 

We sang this song at church the other day and it completely displayed for me what happened in the nativity story. Just take a look at these lyrics…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kciHHQL5tFY

End of Term

Going to finish the term with Christmas dinner today! But before I stuff myself so full that I can’t think, I thought it would be good to reflect a little on the term just passed.

Looking back, thinking about Relay One, Forum, freshers weeks, Tranformission, weekend away, seminar leading, team days, Truro CU, study, mini events week, 1 to 1’s, carol services and my own supervision… there’s a lot to have taken in!

God has been teaching me and still is teaching me so much. It’s an ongoing journey, but if I was to pick out one thing that I am learning more and more it’s to Trust Him. We can call on him for the minutist and the biggest of things. Nothing is insignificant to him. There isn’t anything that he doesn’t care about or that he doesn’t have in his hands.

My favourite passage this term has been Jesus’ baptism.
 
I’m learning that God cares about every single part of my life. We are his children and he is saying over us exactly what he said over Jesus at his baptism.
 
“You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased”
 
This gets me everytime, because of Jesus we can have that standing before God. He came down into our filth so we can be in his family.
Isn’t that something amazing to celebrate! In all the mad Christmas rush, we can think about that baby in a manger, humbled before our very eyes, coming down to give us life and bring us back into relationship with the Father.
 
As I look to the term ahead, I can see places that I can improve and things that I need to and want to work on, but I know I can rest assured knowing that I can come before God as his child and nothing is going to lessen or greaten his love for me.
 
I wonder what next term holds…
 
And for now, I go to the cold of the north tomorrow! I’m really looking forward to Christmas holidays at home and catching up with friends and family!
 
So Merry Christmas!!! I hope you all have a restful and enjoyable time!
 

Jesus Loves the F Word

This week we had a mini events week. Kind of a mini version of a full events week that every CU has every year! So basically, a week with many events… take a look…

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Credit: Paul Worthy

And as you can see it was entitled ‘Jesus Loves the F-Word’ …

Food… Forgiveness… Freedom… French Film… (Falmouth… ‘Flipping’ Pancakes… Insert other F-Word here…)

And it was a pretty good week!

We had a guy called Glen Scrivener down to speak who is just awesome, we love having him with us in Falmouth. He’s always teaches us A LOT! I would really recomment checking out his blog here… http://christthetruth.wordpress.com/

And if you don’t read blogs, or even if you do, DEFINITELY take 5 minutes to check out his 321 gospel video.

http://three-two-one.org/

Our free meals are always well attended and this time I sat with 3 people that had never come to a CU event before, but had seen a flyer for the event so came along! (This is majorly enouraging to us as not many people like flyering so to see the effects of it pushes us on and through.) One of them was a Jew and the other two didn’t believe anything, it was pretty interesting to chat with them and we had a good laugh about a lot of things. I’ve definitely got better at asking questions and provoking conversation and generally talking with people! It was great to see new faces that have no friends in the CU being reached by flyers and to see many friends of CU members coming along too.

At the tea and toast event after the halloween party I bumped into a guy who came to one of the events in our main events week last year. It was great to see him again and touch base and he started quite an indepth conversation with me. He calls himself a pagan and seems pretty set in his beliefs and he certainly thinks deeply and philosophically about a lot of things! He was pretty drunk but he said to me he’d love to have a chat with me when he’s sober! I’ve got in touch with him since and he’s up for meeting up at some point and chatting more so I will see when that can happen!

Oh and take a look at some of our amazing publicity for the week!

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Credit: Sarah Weigold

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Credit: Chloe Plumridge

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Credit: Rachael Saunders

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Credit: Clair Rossiter

Now who wouldn’t want to come along to an event with a flyer like one of those?? We are so blessed with super talented people that want to use their amazing skills! If you’re procrastinating/really inspired and want to take a look at our past publicity that is all equally amazing then jump to our website poster archive here… http://cargocollective.com/FCUevents/Poster-Archive

We’re also super blessed to have the great relationships with the university and the students union too. The students union now even pay for eveything we need for our tea and toast events! It’s those relationships that make it so easy and possible to do all the events that we want on campus. The students union office even said to me that they could employ a person full time to do all the admin that needs doing for the CU we’re that active! What a great thing for someone to say!

I was also really encouraged and excited this morning when I talked to two students at church who had come along for the first time. One had been out of church since she was 15 and the other had never stepped foot in a church. But this morning they thought why not go along so they did! Just like the guys coming to a free meal off a flyer. It just reminded me that God is working in so many people that we’re not aware of and how great is it when he brings them to us and let’s us join in with all that he is doing??

And the girls really enjoyed church and want to come back!

Lots to pray for!

The Ups and Downs

Isn’t it crazy how your mood can drastically change from week to week? And day to day? And second to second?

I like to be able to feel happy constantly and when I’m not I feel a bit like I’m failing. So when I’m not happy, I then get even unhappier, which then results in more unhappiness… a bit of a vicious circle isn’t it?

What is it about us that we like to appear like we’re loving life all the time to people around us? Or is that just me? What does it mean to just be able to be real with people?

I was having a meal with friends the other day, and the usual ‘what have you done today?’ question came up.

What had I done? Written some bible studies on Colossians, spoke to some supporters, had supervision and looked at Genesis and there I was currently at a meeting about starting youth work at church. It was only then when I recited my day that I realised how actually great it was. And why was I reciting it like it was something I’d been made to write about at school? One of those hated tasks of ‘write about your holiday’… and suddenly what seemed a great holiday at the time, was suddenly talked about as the worst thing on earth. And I thought why do I feel so rubbish? Just look at that day!

Settling into the steady flow of life definitely comes with its ups and downs.

I know people see me as a pretty happy person, and don’t worry, I’m not in a pit of despair! Just thinking about what it means to be real? And what it means to find joy in everyday tasks? And not take them for granted? And is it ok to be brought down by different things? And to have those rubbish days where you just want to curl up in a ball?

It gets me thinking… Was Jesus always happy?

He had eternal joy in the Father and the Spirit, joy was part of his being. But as far as I can see, that didn’t mean that everyday things didn’t effect him. He got angry in the market place, he got sad, I’m sure he got disappointed, he cried over Lazurus’ death, he felt despair and loneliness and everything that we feel today. He was clearly effected by life around him. He wouldn’t be human if that wasn’t the case.

But he had eternal joy.

‘The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.’ (Galatians 5:22)

And if we are in Christ, then the Spirit that is in Christ is also in us. Which means that joy is actually a part of our being. It is something that we have been given. It’s not something I have to continually work at bringing up. It actually is in me.

And from thinking about Jesus’ life and life effecting his emotions, I know that it’s ok to be up and down too. And I can go to God with that and he understands. He knows exactly what it is like. I don’t need to run away because I’m not feeling 100% happy, I can run to him and he will always joyfully be there pouring out his joyful Spirit on me.

And how much better is that, than the results of curling up in a ball and pretending that life isn’t there??