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
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.
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.