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.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

John Groves, a Picnic and Six Baptisms

With many students away for their Easter holidays, I was half expecting a quiet weekend, but as per usual, Citygate blew my expectations out of the water. 
 John Groves began the morning, speaking from 1 Kings 16 and 17, and calling us to be an Elijah People. A healthy challenge to be a people who are different because they follow Jesus, and are willing to speak truth to our nation.
With fantastic teaching stored in head and more importantly heart, we chatted and mingled around the tea and coffee, before heading to Asda for food, and then out into the New Forest. 

Living in Bournemouth means we're surrounded by some incredibly beautiful places, from our 7 miles of beach, to the Purbecks, Hengistbury Head or, the New Forest. With the weather improving we're hoping to visit these places a little more!

We drove into the heart of the forest, and through the village of Burley. We were aiming for Mill Lawn but ended up at Burley cricket pitch, a vast field with plenty of space for all of our rabble. Sprawled across the grass with the beating sun on our backs, everyone ate together, catching up after a busy week. 

With frisbee, football and the forest to entertain, we whiled away the time in true English fashion. It was the perfect way to spend a beautiful afternoon, and with 40 or so people including lots of new international students (we loved having you by the way!)
What was great to see, was the willingness in which people filled their cars and made sure everyone could be together. Good work to all of you drivers - without you stuff like picnics couldn't happen...and then where would we be!??

As the afternoon slipped into evening, everyone drove back for Citygate's Baptism service. With the building packed with friends and family, it was an exciting evening seeing six people get baptised. 

With Jess Laming and Sophie Poole, Nathan Watkins and Adeleine Dougan as well as Sarah Beer and Julie Gaitan the whole place was filled to the brim with people in support. A chance to hear the incredible stories of rescue, redemption and faithfulness before dunking them in the water. 
 To Reef Encounter for the rest of the evening, to celebrate and chat, and generally enjoy the company of one another.

It's always a bit of a surprise how much you can fit into one day, but I headed home, knackered and ready for bed, but well aware I had enjoyed a fantastic day. 

I heard on the grapevine that PPP last night was a great night of worship and enjoying the presence of God. We can always do with more evenings like that!


Exciting I know, but it's only useful if you JOIN IT! I've added many of you, but it's up to you to make sure that you are in the know, and aware of what is going on. Click HERE to be sent to the new group to join.
Enjoy your week and I'll catch you Sunday. Keep your eyes peeled for lunch plans!

Vicki x

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Mere Christianity?

I was quite interested this week to see that Lou Crabb was doing some research into people's opinions of the Church and Christianity for a uni project, and I've been having a little look at everyone's answers. A bit of a stalker I know...

Naturally I'm a bit of a rambler, and trying to put my thoughts about Church and Christianity into just one word each was a tad tricky. But it did get me thinking.
What do people really thinking Christianity is about? What do you think Christianity is really about?

Before I was a Christian I very much assumed that Christianity was a nice religion, for nice people who wanted to do nice things, and followed the teachings of a nice man.

C.S.Lewis says in Mere Christianity

"I am trying to prevent anyone saying the really foolish thing that people often say about Him: "I am ready to accept Jesus as the great moral teacher, but I don't accept His claim to be God." That is the one thing we must not say. A man who was merely a man and said the sort of things Jesus said would not be a great moral teacher. He would either be a lunatic - on a level with the man who says he is a boiled egg - or else he would be the Devil of Hell. You must make your choice. Either this man was, and is, the Son of God: or else a madman or something worse. You can shut Him up for a fool, you can spit at Him and kill Him as demon; or you can fall at His feet and call Him Lord and God. But let us not come with any patronizing nonsense about His being a great human teacher. He has not left that open to us. He did not intend to."

Christianity, could be summed up in any number of ways, and I definitely agree with some that wrote, 'love' or  'grace' or 'life' or 'hope'. Christianity is all of those things.

But a Christian is a Christian because they follow Christ, not just his moral teachings, but that they are worshippers of Him. Several people said 'Jesus'. And I think I'm with you on that one. Without Him, we're nothing. He is everything.

Guy reminded us on Sunday that Romans 12 says

 Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will." 

Let us not conform to what the world perceives Christianity to be, but instead grow in our understanding of what it is to live a life in God's good, pleasing and perfect will.
People described Church as 'family', 'community', 'home'. And again, I love all of these descriptions and truth of each of those words. There are so many ways to describe the Church, but I love that above all, we belong to Jesus. We are His people, and are drawn together and kept together because of Him.

Take a listen to this song, it's a new favourite of mine, and the lyrics remind me of who I am made for, and what I made to do. 

Yesterday we gathered for PPP and it was great to see so many new faces with us - we love having you with us and you are so, so welcome! We spent some time looking at mission, and being filled with the Holy Spirit and knowing that the Holy Spirit is a promise for ALL believers.

This weekend we're looking forward to a big Students and Twenties lunch, before we have Baptisms in the evening!

Some of our Students are going to be getting baptised, and we're really excited to hear their testimonies, and their passion for Jesus so make sure you are out and about to display your love and support. I'm sure we'll be heading to the pub after to continue the celebrations!

Upcoming events to make a note of -

April 22nd Good Friday Celebration 11am
April 23rd St George's Day Treasure Hunting and BBQ
April 24th Easter Sunday Celebration 9.30am and 11.30am
April 30th Evangelism Explosion
June 18th LOST season 3

We're having some technical problems at the moment, in that Facebook seems to strongly dislike us, so keep an eye on statuses, walls etc. as me and James can't seem to send out real messages! We're thinking about setting up a new FB group, which we'll add you to automatically. 

Anyway, I've rambled true to form, but should probably get on. Have a fantastic few days, enjoy Jesus Culture and I shall catch you at the weekend.

Love Vicki x