This blog was always meant to be a way for Citygate Students and Twenties to keep up to date with things that our community are doing, as well as general family news and information about events.
This weekend past, around 40 people headed out to Becky's farm for some time to relax, enjoy the Oxfordshire countryside, and generally get to know each other better.
From around 5pm on the Friday afternoon people began to descend and as the swimming pool and hot tub were put to good use, people ate some pizza and camped out in the various rooms chatting and chilling out after a long week. We got together in the lounge to spend some time praying together for the weekend, and for each other and as God moved us, we decided to split into groups, getting to know people we have yet to really meet.
A great time where we were encouraged, and the tone was set for the days ahead. The rest of the night was spent with drinks and nibbles around the kitchen table, or in the pool, chatting away. Some time in the early hours of the morning we decided sleep and bed was a good plan so we each retired to our spots on the floor, or air beds and cushions for the smart, and spread ourselves out across the house.
I have reason to believe that some people decided that this was an appropriate time to head back to the hot tub, but hey, it was definitely one of those weekends.
Saturday morning arrived with the smell of pancakes cooking on the air. Downstairs Chana and Adam were cooking away, and kept at it until the many mouths had had their fill. Lemon, sugar or golden syrup flowed as people woke up, showered and got themselves ready for the day ahead.
With so many people around, it was tricky to get everyone to decide what to do. Lots of people jumped into their swim wear but some of us headed out across the countryside, for a walk in the hills. It was a perfect day, with blue skies, a few clouds and a warm sun. There was almost the smell of spring in the air.
As lunch arrived, huge amount of cheese were grated, tomatoes were chopped and the bread buttered. Sandwiches and cakes were eaten by all, and the afternoon was left to us to use as we liked. Some people wandered to the shops, I headed out to Banbury (and saw Banbury cross, where there was a fine lady upon a white horse, with rings on her fingers and bells on her toes who supposedly has music wherever she goes) but some people used the time to nap, read books, play games and chat to people.
Louise Ashton got her henna out, Ema Eden got her make up out and the kitchen was rather transformed into a bit of a girly area. James Druce and team cooked up a roast, and for the evening we got together with a big roast (I'm sure there was half a cow's worth of meat) and some sociable eating.
Whilst everyone got on with eating up the huge amounts of potatoes, a few of the girls headed out to the hot tub, only to find that they ended up with a bit of a reaction to the chlorine. A little drama ensued, but good ol' Josh Martin used his medical skills and calmed things down.
Scott Pilgrim vs the World was put on for people's viewing pleasure, and anyone not watching that got involved in a big game of sardines in the dark. Some of the guys were watching football in the kitchen, and some people headed out for a bit of a night time walk. Once again, a late night for all which left everyone rather sleepy for the final morning and packing up.
With bacon butties for breakfast, we gathered together to finish the weekend with a time of worship led by Tom Bettinson and Josh Martin, followed by a passage from 2 Corinthians which James explained and talked to us about. It was an amazing way to end our few days together, and God was definitely amongst us. It was incredible to look around, see people stood, kneeling, or sat, all singing their hearts out and worshipping Jesus.
With the incredible refrain
"You're all I want, you're all I need, you're everything, everything..." being sung, I was definitely struck by how awesome our God is, that he would call you and I to follow Him, to live our lives sold out for Him, and to transform the hearts of our generation through our love for Him and all that means.
Goodbyes were said and cars were shoved full of luggage and everyone left the farm, with big thank yous to the whole Welford family for their kindness and generosity.
In the aftermath of this weekend I've been really challenged by the idea of community. The thing is, Citygate Students and Twenties were never meant to be just a community defined in the same way the world would define us. "A social group, sharing common characteristics" doesn't quite convey the depth of what we're about.
Ultimately we're family.
Brothers and sisters, united in Christ, we're to love one another and to take care of one another.
Acts 2 says
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
I would love to see our family, working within the wider contexts of Citygate Church, and within Newfrontiers, modelled on this kind of community.
- Devoted to teaching, fellowship, communion and prayer.
- Seeing signs and wonders
- Selling property or possessions to reach out to those in need.
- Meeting together, sharing meals together.
- Praising and worshipping God with one another.
- Seeing people saved daily and added to the family.
Now, don't get me wrong, I love what we're doing already, I think it's amazing and it constantly makes me stand in awe of God, and of you all but what's the harm in looking for more, hoping for bigger things and closer relationships.
Can I encourage you, please do begin to take some steps to seeing this. Lets not be passive about what we have but to eagerly desire more of what God has in store for us as a church!
Part of this is means being at events which will help you grab hold of the vision.
- IN BUDE - get on it and message me ASAP for a space.
- Mobilise - tickets go up in price on Monday so book in for four days of incredible teaching in Brighton in July.
- Westpoint - you're soon to hear LOTS about this. Regional Weekend in August, it's for the whole family and if you're crazy if you don't get there.
Lots of love to you all and I hope you had a great day yesterday.