Sunday, March 28, 2010

Palm Sunday

I brought in Palm Sunday with my wonderful church placement crew.
Saturday night we drove over to Basingstoke to have a sleep over with Earl and Rebecca, the pastors of our church.
We all went to the Carvery. Every Sunday morning, we drive passed the Carvery, our bellies start rumbling, and out mouths start drooling, but on this Saturday night, we pulled into the car park and we all knew what was coming.
£3.50= all you can eat gammon, roasted turkey, roast beef, peas (don't worry, i left plenty for the people behind me), corn, boiled potatoes, and roasted potatoes.
It was divine.
Earl and Rebecca live with a German couple and another girl named Lizzy. It was all of us out at the Carvery and it was a great night of great food and great conversation.
We headed back to their house and played some games. We played about five different games! After the games we watched Michael Mcintyre, a real thigh-slapping English comedian.
We didn't get to bed until about 3:00 A.M. and that was the same night the clocks were supposed to spring forward!
The next morning I heard Earl got a little talking to from his wife about keeping us poor tired students up so late. :)

Church on Palm Sunday was amazing though.
We walked into the building and there were two tables in the very front of the church with a gigantic cross laid across and bread and wine surrounding it for communion.

We worshiped the entire morning unable to ignore the cross.
It was a tender, emotional, heavy morning.

Did you know that Charles Wesley wrote over 9,000 poems and 6,500 of those became hymns?
But, he said he would have given up all of those to have written this one:

When I survey the wondrous cross

When I survey the wondrous cross
On which the Prince of glory died,
My richest gain I count but loss,
And pour contempt on all my pride.

Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast,
Save in the death of Christ my God!
All the vain things that charm me most,
I sacrifice them to His blood.

See from His head, His hands, His feet,
Sorrow and love flow mingled down!
Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
Or thorns compose so rich a crown?

His dying crimson, like a robe,
Spreads o’er His body on the tree;
Then I am dead to all the globe,
And all the globe is dead to me.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
That were a present far too small;
Love so amazing, so divine,
Demands my soul, my life, my all.

We love You for the cross, Lord.

There was such an intense presence when we sang this hymn together, all standing at the foot of the cross.

We read the story of the Last Supper and all gathered around the table with the cross and shared the bread together. Talk about impact.

Also, during worship Rebecca read the story of the "Three Trees". If you haven't read it, you should. It's a kids book, it won't take you long.

After communion,we prayed then settled in our seats to hear from what God had put on Earl's heart.

He suggested there was a fourth tree. The one that we should have been on. The one that was on either side of Jesus as he was pouring out His blood for us.

The cross that was assembled for criminals.

One thing that Earl said that stuck with me was, "What Christ did for us should never cease to remind us of the tree we didn't deserve, but also remind us of the tree we did deserve."

You know how sometimes you can read something in your Bible and it doesn't mean much to you that day, but than other times you read it and its like hammering you in the face?

Well, we read 1 Corinthians 1:18 and it made so much sense to me today.

The message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to those who are being redeemed, it is the power of God.

What does redemption mean to you? (I'd actually really love to hear your comments, so comment!)

Earl ended with saying that the cross is a sign of Jesus' victory and the Enemy's defeat, and the Enemy knows that. He is doing everything he can to soften the power of the cross and make it seem dull and yesterday's news.

Before we left, we surrounded the cross one more time and prayed for persecuted Christians we knew all around the world.

I'd like to leave you with the same challenge.

Lets pray for the people we know or don't know, our brothers and sisters all around the world who are toiling endlessly for the spreading of the power of the Cross. The Enemy is trying, but he won't prevail.

Here are a few specifics:

North Africa-Extremely Islamic area. Christians who have been toiling for 20+ years are being expelled from the country.

North Korea-Over 100,000 people, including many Christians, are believed to be imprisoned in North Korea’s barbaric death camps. The brutal dictatorship of Kim Jong Il suppresses all religious activities, and imposes a personality cult based around the ‘Great Leader’.

The places could go on for ever, but these are the top two on my heart, but I don't want to limit what you want to pray about, so I'll put the top ten persecuting countries: Burma, China, Egypt, Iran, Laos, North Korea, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, and Vietnam.

Please, pray.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

You know you're busy when.....

You can plan the next week and a half down to the last minute....
....AND that doesn't include sleep.

Things to do on my list before the term ends:
  1. Write a 1800 word essay about "What is the Gospel? And how should it be presented?"
  2. Make 150+ cookies for the Tumbling Bay residents
  3. Clean the KBCTC building
  4. Write a 800 word essay on the Spiritual discipline of Praying and what I have learned through the Lent process.
  5. Read.
  6. When I'm done with that, Read.
  7. Read some more.
  8. Have Emmaus Group
  9. Have bio Group.
  10. Go to London (for an EMERY CONCERT!) This one I'm pretty stoked about.
OK OK.. I know it doesn't sound like a lot, but there is more I didn't write.
But everything is really time consuming!!
And there are so many things to be done...............

BUT, Life is Good. Hard Good.

Just thought I'd write a little now, so if I don't write much until Easter break, you know why.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Information Overload...

This picture basically sums up how I have been feeling as of late.
No need for explanation.
This is tea by the way. Not coffee.

I guess I'll explain it further.....

This week and last week, well, ever since I did the last proper blog post, I have been feeling like this cup.
Can't possibly absorb anymore.
Completely full.

Now, this isn't the "Oh-God-has-blessed-me-abundantly-and-my-cup-overfloweths" kind of overflowing cup, but more of the "God-is-dealing-with-so-much-at-one-time-and-i-can't-possibly-process-anymore" kind of overflowing.
Apologies for all the dashes.
They help me think.

Don't get me wrong, God has abundantly blessed me. I'm living my dream for one example. I'm in this amazing city of Oxford, but who knew that living 'your dream' was so difficult?

Transformation hurts.
Birth of new vision hurts.
Good hurts.

I'll explain that last bit. In the college here, we all know what we mean when we say 'i'm good'. What we mean is not the "fluffy-everything-is-just-fine-and-dandy good" but more the "stretching-you-feel-like-you-might-snap-any-minute good".
(There are those dang dashes again!)

That is the good that hurts.
That is the good I'm living in.
That is the good I'm feeling overwhelmed by.

BUT, I choose to believe that although I'm being bombarded with information and knowledge and envisioning and re-igniting and empowering,
and I feel like I can't absorb all that I need to,
and I can't process all that is happening,
God will finish the work inside of me.

And in the years to come, I will still be drawing on stuff that I have learned in the few precious months I'm here.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Instant Messages

Slacking.. I know. And this blog is going to be about nothing much. But hey, its an update!

I just wanted to say, I LOVE technology!

Any messages I send my mom on facebook or through gmail go directly to her phone. Which is perfect! Because anytime I really need her encouragement, her whereabouts, or her recipes, I can send her a quick message, and I know wherever she is, whether shes hard at work in her cute office, or sun bathing on the beach without me, she can reply and I'll receive it within a few minutes.

This wonderful "fast-feedback" happened again the other day with another good friend of mine. It helps when I'm being dramatic and worrying about stuff i don't need to be, and someone is there to calm you down and get you back on the right track, even through instant facebook messages.

Immediate results.

Just what I need when I feel completely removed from the ones I love.