If one thing could have gone better - it would have to been getting nearly fifty people to successfully navigate lunch, pubs, the forest and the Wessex way to make it to the rendezvous on the outskirts of Moors Valley. But hey you can't win them all!
That said - what a great morning, afternoon and evening spent together; celebrating Jesus, the wonders of creation, and Sittinan's birthday. What a day!?! It was great to spend it with a rabble who know and see the grace of God on their lives! I spoke to a man on Sunday who was visiting Citygate for the first time, and he was amazed (and brought to tears) at the incredible mass of you students and twenties that "go to Church". What we have is special. Maybe you've noticed when you go back home and don't have the usual crowd of Christ followers to spend time with, but I always appreciate being back here in Bournemouth with this crowd we call Citygate Student's and Twenties. Just wonderful! I urge you to recognise and really value it. Make the most of these opportunities to be together, and what comes out of our group, well... it should be even better, shouldn't it! :-)
WhY JesuS? starts this Sunday night, a chance for anyone wanting to find out more about God, who Jesus is, and what He's done for them. Great place for S&T's to look in on Jesus, ask questions and feel that they are made to feel welcome and loved - cos they are. Do you have a mate or uni friend who's been asking about your faith and relationship with God? Well this would be an easy and quality way to see if they'd like to know more. Just invite them along this Sunday night, 7pm in the Shaw Suite.
Last week I spoke about the Sabbath mentality and how we live and work out deep heart peace and rest with God, at a very practical, weekly level. I thought this week I'd share how great Sunday's message was. Here's the paraphrase of Romans 12v1-2 which Guys shared from:
"So here's what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don't become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You'll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you."
Guy shared about how we're called out of this world and our old lives, and into a new, refreshed self. There were seven points we could use as an acid-test to see just where we're at. I loved that, because it was real and honest - something which I know I so often am not, well not with myself at least. One of the things that God spoke to me about during the message (and since the new year I guess) was - How passionate, and how serious am I really about God?
I think that so often we can think in the back of our minds that we're further along the road than we really are, that we are better than the other people around us, and that God and I - well, we're pretty tight really. But actually if we slip into this way of thinking, we're just becoming Pharisaical: hypocritical and self-righteous. The TRUTH is that were not allright with God, we're not all that tight, and we haven't got anything valuable to compare ourselves to others about. BUT God does. HE has a way, HE has a Son, HE brings freedom and now - when HE looks at us, HE sees blameless, spotless and righteous.
Blameless, Spotless and Righteous.
That's us when Jesus is number One and He reigns over all the different bits of our lives and hearts. I know that last night at PPP a lot of people were incredibly moved by the testimonies that were shared post-card style, that's because God is God and His miracles and presence in our lives speaks to the deep inner bit of us, which can only ever be satisfied when He's focused on. We are all called to live a passionate, vociferous life of Gods praise and witness, but all of us need help doing that. We need friends, good community and powerful encounters with God - and good teaching. The Mobilise 2012 THE RESCUE EVENT in April is a place you can get that, so please, with all serious heart longing and genuine pleading and urgency - book yourself in. Whilst you still remember the pleasure it is to be in God's presence from the great weekend we just had, and the community you're a part of; this week will be one that will reap multiples on the investment you put in.
I am not ashamed of the Gospel. And I am not ashamed of promoting THE RESCUE EVENT that will happen, because I am whole-heartedly convinced that Jesus is the answer to our generation, it's problems, but most importantly to our friends and beloved family. We need a refreshing of God if we're not on fire for Him, we need a silent Holy moment if we're not at total peace with Him, and we need teaching from Him to instruct us on our path and mission. We're all different people, but we have the same one God, who in His rich mercy binds us together and works individual plans out for the one purpose: The Glory and expansion of His Kingdom and worship of His holy name. I urge you to use this event to help you see and hear from God. He's ensured us He will be with us at this event, and in my experience He hasn't told a lie yet.
I am looking forward to the fun things planned later this month - we've got Burns night coming up in a few weeks time, as well as the guys games night and Cafe29 not far off the horizon. Best keep an eye on Facebook, but please don't live on it. There's a wonderful world out there - let's live in reality not on our laptops!
God be with you this week folks, and don't forget to be out Wednesday night for the area Churches praying together at Gateway in Poole.