Citygate Students and Twenties exists to see radical, faith filled believers equipped to live a life that is drastically counter-culture, but extends immensely powerful love and compassion to the world around them.

Monday, 28 March 2011

An hour lost, but light gained

Obviously everyone is aware that this weekend was the official start of British Summer Time, and, as a result, the clocks sprung forwards by an hour in the early hours of Sunday morning. If you're anything like me, the prospect of losing an hours worth of sleeping was not a thrilling prospect. Nevertheless, with another day of sunshine, and the opportunity to wear flip flops, the long awaited winter chill appears to be disappearing.

The past week with Citygate's Students and Twenties has been a fun one. With James on holiday we've had a little break from any form of official PPP on a Monday, but tonight we'll be back, Bible's in hand to worship God, hear some teaching and get praying.

The weekend saw Students and Twenties girls having 'Tea in the Park'. Saturday afternoon was the prime time to take a picnic, made of cream teas, strawberries and lemonade into Bournemouth gardens to enjoy some time together and the rather lovely surroundings in which we live. With a great group of people, we spread the blankets, poured the tea and chatted until it was too cold to function. With the help of Ellie Hamer, we retired to St Swithuns and stuck a film on to while away the hours before Saturday evening's entertainment.

Saturday night was our bi-monthly Five Smooth Stones. The past series we looked at what it is to be a Hedonist, but instead of being consumed with the world and the flesh, being consumed with Jesus and the joy we find in Him, whilst still be relevant to a culture that desperately needs the hope of the Gospel. This weekend we kept it simple, with acoustic worship, wonderfully led by Tom Bettinson and Andy Oates, and then time to take communion together and pray for each other. God's spirit was with us as we continued in more worship, and several prophetic words were brought about being authentic about who you really are, as well as trusting that Jesus is enough for every situation.

Sunday morning arrived, with many people a tad bleary eyed due to the clock changes. Second service was absolutely jam packed and it was exciting to see more new faces with us. We do hope that they'll be joining the family!

Nando's for lunch, and some serious chicken eating. A great chance to see a little more of the town for those who spend their life in Lansdowne and Winton.

Sunday night, with the beginnings of summer, it seemed fairly apt to return to Reef Encounter for the usual Sunday night pub social. Near Boscombe pier, the opportunity to sit outside with blankets, and the added bonus of a pile of board games meant a great evening. A fair few people bought cups of nuts which led to a few fights, and several nuts thrown at people's heads or in drinks... Still, all is fair in love and war...

After a packed few days, we're continuing with our usual line up of events with Monday night PPP, Wednesday morning guys prayer, Wednesday and Thurdsay evening cell groups, Saturday night Cafe 29, and  Sunday morning student girls breakfast, Students and Twenties :Lunch and then the pub in the evening.

That should be enough to be getting along with for now!

Why not take this week to make dinner for some friends and invite people over. Get people to chip in to keep costs down, and get to know people you're not the best of friends with...yet.

Enjoy your week and see you all soon!!


Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Spring Feeling

I don't know about you but I am loving the sunshine, the warmth and the lack of winter. 
The past week has really begun to feel like Spring and I am loving every part of it. 

This weekend we packed a lot into one short Sunday. Don't we ever! 
The past two weeks have seen around 15 student girls gathering for breakfast at 'spoons, before heading to the 11.30am service. This week the bar man asked who we were and where we were going. Our regular presence had been noted, and it gave George and opportunity to share a little about Citygate. Shock that a lively bunch were heading to church, was fairly clear to see!

Guy Miller spoke on Sunday, continuing our series on Romans 4 and sharing once again the importance of knowing that we are justified by faith, and not by works. 

Lunch took us to O'Neill's in Lansdowne, and some tasty grub kept us entertained for a few hours. Many people had lots to do so people headed off, and gathered in the evening for Why Jesus, Why Citygate and of course, a trip to the Lynton Court Pub. 

A chilled Sunday, but full of fellowship and the chance to get to know one another better. Pretty perfect if you ask me, especially when you throw a bucket load of sunshine into the mix.

This week you can look forward to:

  • Tea in the Park for all you ladies.
     - Cream tea in Bournemouth Gardens on Saturday afternoon so we can enjoy the scenery and the company of one another.
  • Five Smooth Stones
     - A night of worship prayer and reflection at 7.30pm in St Swithuns

  • Sunday services at 9.30am and 11.30am

  • Nando's Student Lunch

  • Why Citygate PART 2
    - Remember to get along and finish the course

  • Pub Social 
With so much to do, I look forward to seeing everyone over the weekend. 

I was sent a nice email this morning reminding me of the importance of unity. I'd love to see each of you united and looking after one another, welcoming those who are new, and speaking truth and wisdom into the lives of your close friends. 

Floss reminded me of these great U2 lyrics

One love
One blood
One life
You got to do what you should
One life
With each other
Sisters, brothers
One life
But we're not the same
We get to
Carry each other
Carry each other

And so, with that in mind, have a great week, keep your eyes open for what God might have you do and remember to 'carry each other'.

Tuesday, 8 March 2011

The March of Unity

Around 50 of Citygate's Students and Twenties have just returned from sunny Cornwall. Gathered in Bude from Friday to Sunday, we were with around 300 Students and Twenties from across the Southwest Region, reaching from Southampton to Bristol, to Plymouth.
The intention of the weekend was a time of teaching and fellowship, and I can confirm we were well taught, and enjoyed great fellowship. 

Leaving on Friday, cars packed tight with luggage and people, it took three and a half hours to drive to Bude. Now, I quite enjoy a bit of travelling, but even I've got to admit, it was rather lovely as we drove along the country lanes that wind through the West Country. 

Arriving on site, houses were sorted, keys collected and people settled in, with time to cook dinner and have a cup of tea before the evening meeting. The sessions were led by Matt and Grace Hosier of Gateway Church Poole, which is just down the road from us, and Julian Adams was a great guest from Manchester, bringing a great prophetic edge to what God was doing. 

The first evening we spent in extended worship, enjoying the presence of God and being together. Bright and early next morning, it was great to see a huge number of Citygaters at the prayer meeting, ready and raring to seek God and eagerly ask for His blessing on what turned out to be a fantastic day. Was lovely to see us leading the way in prayer and petition, and being loud about our praise. 

Saturday morning kicked off with more extended worship, which led into a preach by Julian Adams, focussed on shame and guilt. We were quite rightly challenged to stop living under the condemnation of shame, which only breeds religious fa├žades, and instead to live authentically before one another. Applicable to you whether you were there or not!

With Saturday afternoon given as free time, some headed off to get on with Uni work, some to play football, wonderfully organised by David Priest, and some headed off to use the site facilities, including a pool and sauna.
A big group of us drove a little further down the coast, into Bude town centre before splitting and deciding to drive to the beach. Around twenty of us drove along the cliffs to a beautiful beach called Widemouth Bay, and spent several happy hours, being chased by kites, climbing through rock pools and taking photos before getting a lovely Cornish Cream Tea back in Bude. 

A rather quick dinner ensued, and then back to the main evening meeting. Another fantastic time of worship and freedom, before Julian Adams spoke on the Kingdom of God and reminded us that God is large and in charge. Prophetic words were then brought, some for people in Citygate, and God reminded us of how well he knows each and every one of us; intimately and perfectly. With a time of ministry, and prayer, God changed hearts, brought freedom and helped to set people's eyes once again on Him!

The rest of the evening involved a pirate disco. Cheesy as it sounds, I understand that everyone enjoyed dressing up and have a bit of a dance, and getting to know some people from the other churches a little better. I think pirate costumes should certainly be used once again so I'm expecting pirate themed events to be organised to get the full use of dressing up clothes.

All too soon Sunday came around and it was our final meeting. Worship was powerful, with prophetic words about the South West Students and Twenties being an army, marching for God's glory, it was great to hear that each of us has a purpose and a job to do. We were reminded that to achieve anything we need to be unified, and I'd echo that by encouraging you all to love each other and be gracious, just as we have been show grace.

Matt Hosier spoke to us from Daniel 3 and the story of Shadrach, Mesach and Abednego, and God met powerfully with many, bringing more freedom; from idols, disappointment and grief. 

Back to houses to pack up, clear up and hopefully not set fire to cookies in the microwave like I did. A long drive back to Dorset, and a weekend well spent.

The question now, is, 'Should we do it again?'

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Gossip the Gospel

Tuesday is here, and that means that it's only three days until In Bude. Which is set to be a weekend of epic excitement and a great time to meet with God. 

The weekend past was busy, with so much going on, and so many things that could be mentioned. Many of you would have been at the launch of Living Hope Africa, a charity launched by some of the members of our Citygate Students and Twenties family. A fantastic evening of culture and good food, and the waxing of Aaron and James, made it rather memorable, and left everyone expectant of great things happening out in Kenya.

Sunday services were kicked off with John Hosier preaching, and sharing his wealth of knowledge and wisdom. For those of you not there, the preach is up on the church website for your listening enjoyment! 

A German themed lunch followed, along with some of the leftovers from Saturday night, all in aid of Kat, who, after being with us for the last 6 months or so, will now be heading back to Germany on Thursday. We'll be sad to see her go, will definitely miss her a lot! If you can, make sure to say farewell and give her a big hug! Following lunch we were taught some traditional German folk dancing, much to the amusement to all the brave souls that didn't run away but stayed around to watch. 

Sunday evening was probably the highlight of the day for me, with five people getting baptised, two of whom are part of the Students and Twenties group. Five guys, including our very own, Andy Yeates and Tom Faulkner gave testimony to God saving them, changing their lives and causing them to want to live life in a different way.

Testimonies included the stories of

- a man who left another religion to follow Jesus
- a man whose life of addiction was transformed by knowing Jesus as His Savious
- a man who was taking a big leap in publicly choosing to confess Jesus as his Lord
- a man who had come from a place of trusting God, walking away from Him, and then coming back to wanting to pursue Him
- and a man who had often questioned, and then finally met with the Living God

As each person shared their story I was once again struck by the people that God calls, the incredible way in which he calls us, and then what he asks us to do. Baptisms are a great time for celebration, but also a great time to gossip the Gospel. By this, it is a fantastic opportunity to chat about Jesus in a really personal way, sharing with others, the power and love he has, and the way he is personally involved in each of our lives.

Nothing is quite so effective. 

I look forward to more and more stories appearing, and lots more testimonies of salvation that give us cause to gossip about Jesus and share what He is doing. 

My prayer is that In Bude will be an occasion like that. With great speakers Matt Hosier and Julian Adams, I'm looking forward to a time where God breaks in, changes hearts, lives and situations and causes us all to sit up and think.

I love a story and I love a God story even more.
Take a listen to this album and think about the story that you have to tell and then get sharing!

Matthew West – The Story Of Your Life

This week you can look forward to the first part of Equip, which are seminar style teaching evenings available to all, and running on Wednesday and Thursday evenings.

Choices are:
1. The Pursuit of Happyness
2. Budget Coaching; breaking the debt cycle (students this will be excellent for you!)
3. Building Strong Families


All that is left to say, is that I shall see you In Bude!
Love x