|What has God done?||How can the CU pray for it?|
|The statement that only guys struggle with sexual sin is clearly a misinformed one. The truth is: anyone may be sexually broken. It is also a lot more widespread than what society assumes it to be. It is a sin that causes us to sin against our own bodies. It is also a sin that brings much shame and guilt. One of the many things that I have learned over the past few months is that admitting that I have this problem allows God to begin the healing process in my life. And that although I have admitted my sin to God, to myself and a few select trusted individuals, there is a huge difference between overcoming guilt and overcoming shame. Although it sounds similar, guilt relates to the act of sinning whilst shame regards the person that sinned. Admitting guilt for the act of sinning against God does not remove the feeling of shame that a person experiences. A more well-informed academic would distinguish between the two by the following comparison: ‘Guilt leads to tension, remorse and regret, whereas shame makes you feel small, worthless and powerless.|
Guilt leads to confession, apologising and repairing, whereas Shame usually leads to more hurtful behaviour like hiding, escaping and shrinking back.’ So yes, I had admitted my problem, and I am sure that Jesus had forgiven me, but I could not find a way to forgive myself. I could not look at myself without thinking, ‘Why would God save this utter piece of rubbish?’, nor could I love myself. I could not internalise that God looks at Jesus and his work on the cross and pardons me because of that and nothing else. As a person who claimed to understand that we cannot not enter the kingdom of heaven by works but by faith, I clearly did not live by those words.
Which comes to my next point, I now have learned that in order to humble myself before God, I need to throw away my pride, to break down my all of my own self-worth or any sense of self-righteousness that I may have. Matthew 5:3 says “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit, we need to be completely empty and void of ourselves to make room for God and His perfect righteousness. I needed to break down every wall that was separating me from God. I could only do this by reading the Bible and praying. The solution to all of my problems was as simple as that, I needed a relationship with God. My shame was preventing me from coming to God even though I understood the fact that Jesus has paid my debt on the cross and I did not need to fear anything.
Lastly, I have learned to let go and move on in God’s direction by remembering that Jesus is enough for me. There is nothing else in this world that will ever satisfy me because only God can give me what is best for me. He knows all things, and His love, His grace and His mercy is enough. It has been a long journey but God has been working in me (and He still is). He has never let go of me nor has He given up on me even when I turned away from Him.
|A lot of my issues were resolved after sharing my story with a friend of mine named Marcus. I think that at this point it is more important to pray for him because he has been going through a lot of tough times at work, university, with relationships and at home over the past 6 months. He told me that he felt that God just was not there and that he is at a point where he is not even sure of his belief anymore. Pray that God would reveal Himself to my friend and that he would be reminded that Jesus loves him no matter what (Hosea 14:4 - I will heal their backsliding, I will love them freely: for mine anger is turned away from him.). Also, pray that he would be able to come back to the Father and have a relationship with him once again. |
And for anyone that needs it, John 6:37 says “All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.”
Nothing can separate you from the love of God.
His work on the cross has done it all. He has died for my sins, He has died for my shame, and His blood has cleansed my soul. I am healed in Jesus' name. Isaiah 53:5 says “But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.”
In all our trials and tribulations, He is with us. Amen.
|This term my course mates have really come a long way in their interest in my faith. I've had fairly regular conversations over the past weeks, one of them is just casually reading the Bible himself and asking me to explain complex theology! At the BBQstic last week I decided to bite bullet with my friend Ryan and asked him what was stopping him from becoming a Christian. We had a great convo which ended in us agreeing to do Uncover. We started yesterday with John and it was great to take him to Jesus and for Ryan to see that it's all about Him!||Pray we would find more time before the end of term to continue doing Uncover and that this stuff would go beyond an academic exercise to life impacting revelation in his heart.|
|I have been going through Uncover with my course mate Alex, and after doing the final study on the resurrection last week I asked him where he thought he stood spiritually. He is from a Christian family but stopped going to church as a teenager and his opinion about God has gone back and forth a lot.|
Whilst at the start of the year he said that he had very much fallen away from faith, he is now at the point where, although he is still on the fence, he is very much leaning towards becoming a Christian, as he is pretty sure that the Bible is true and trustworthy. He wants to read it more for himself before making a decision.
|Pray that Alex would take that step of faith. Hopefully he will come to Barbecoustic tomorrow, and beyond that there is his Christian family and one guy from their church who he meets up with regularly as well. Pray that the truths he has been impacted by this year would not be lost as he graduates and moves on from Warwick, probably back home initially.|
|I was out playing football and ended up playing with some Spaniards who were also there. I got talking to them afterwards and got on to the topic of religion. I explained that I was a Christian and we talked a little about his beliefs and what his experiences of Christianity in Barcelona were like. We added each other on Facebook and I said if he were interested, he could come along to CU and see what it's like in the UK.||His name is Heddie. He has only known Catholicism. Pray that God would show him that Christianity is about relationship, not religion.|
|An international friend came along to many of the events during Wonder and became convinced that Jesus was worth looking into and that it would change her life. She was impressed by the love shown by the CU and wants to read uncover.||That there would be someone to read uncover with her over Easter.|
|God answered so many prayers for Wonder - even using things that we might have initially thought were a hinderance to improve the week.||Be incredible grateful to God for everything he gave to us|
|I have had the chance to start going through Uncover John with my coursemate!||Pray that God would reveal himself to him as he opens his Word|
|Be encouraged! None of my flat mates last year came to a single event to which I felt my prayers and efforts were in vain, but this year God is producing fruit, seeing two of them come to wonder events and one of which starting to read Jesus for skeptics :D||Pray they they wouldn't forget what they heard, and that he would continue to read Jesus for skeptics and that God would reveal himself and his thuths through reading it|
|"I'm not good with words." This is something that I say on a regular basis, when I am struggling with essays or don't know how to articulate myself in group discussions. And yet somehow someone who would rather doodle than discuss ended up with a microphone, hosting at events week in front of hundreds of people. At first I was just standing in but after being asked to do it again each evening I realised that maybe people do actually understand the words that come out of my mouth. Wonder helped me to believe in myself again and I am so thankful! |
Events week could have gone down a completely different road for me. Big rooms and lots of people make me nervous. I love people and chatting but I can be shy and this is awfully frustrating. A couple of months ago I started self-harming. I am a Christian, I want to live a life that serves my God but I was angry that my anxiety and my weaknesses limited me. Self-harm became a coping mechanism and it was like calm in my storm. I knew it was wrong and shame was a huge weight on my shoulders. After doing it almost every day for 5 weeks I knew I had to give it up. Only I could stop it but I couldn't do it alone. I knew I needed God. It was when I finally got down on my knees a fortnight ago and surrendered it to Him that my attitude changed. Jesus is the calm in the storm. I have no shame because 'there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus'. It doesn't matter what I have done because nothing can undo what Jesus has already done. He heard my cry and has set me free. I am not guilty anymore. I am a loved child of God.
This is just a small part of the testimony of what God has done in my life recently and in my life as a whole. He is SO GOOD! I'm going to stop using that phrase "I'm not good with words" because God has given me a voice and I know He's going to use it.
|Praise God for his faithfulness, for his power to conquer death and free us from all sin and shame.|
Thank God for the freedom and joy that we have in knowing Him. Thank God for this incredible community, the CU, that we get to be a part of.
Ask him to guide us as we look out for one another and show us ways that we can practically do that.
|I met a girl (Cindy / Xinyi) in Welcome Week, and helped her with her suitcases all the way to Westwood (so we had a long time to chat). She came to iExplore last term, and I invited her along to some of the events during events week. She came to the international dinner on Wednesday, and afterwards said that she felt satisfied and didn't think she needed Jesus. The next day, she had an argument with a friend and realised that she wasn't as satisfied as she thought she was, and that when she had problems she would turn to her friends or the internet when she "should be turning to Jesus". She came again on Friday night and gave her life to Christ.||Praise God for bringing Cindy to true life, and pray that she will continue walking with the Lord, growing in fellowship and love.|
|I gave a flyer to a woman on Monday morning and explained it to her. She then came to the evening event, and then came back for the lunchbar on Tuesday when she brought her friend. I chatted to him for a while to explain who we are and what we do. We chatted about the difference between Jesus and Buddha and he said that he thought he should investigate it further, so I invited him to the international stuff (he was Chinese).||Praise God for what he can do with one flyer!|
|A girl I met during Welcome Week, having been enthusiastic when I told her about Wonder when we met up a few weeks ago, came to the Tuesday lunchbar and brought a coursemate. They both took Uncovers and ticked the top box on the Follow Up form, seeming really interested in what Michael had been saying and wanting to know more||Pray that it goes further!|
|The second Monday lunch bar raised lots of questions from my friend.||Pray for wisdom and for God to melt his assumptions about the way the world is.|
|As we were postering a guy from estates told us to pray constantly while we were doing it. He was called Simon and he said he became a Christian in his 4th year at uni through a missions week. He was really supportive of Wonder and said he and his church are praying for it.||For continued good relations with university staff|
|Last thursday at the Tanya Walker talk ("How could any thinking person be a Christian?") I spoke to a guy called Tim about suffering and how Christians should respond to difficult times when it feels like God could and maybe should intervene. I got to tell him about how suffering is mysterious but from my own experience, I've found God to be faithful, constant and good throughout. |
It became apparent over the course of our convo that he was not just talking about it in the abstract but he was talking about himself. I reassured him that it's difficult but there is no condemnation if you feel like you got it wrong in the middle of the trial.
I gave him an Uncover John and encouraged him to look through it with the Christian friend who brought him along - I told him to investigate Jesus through the book - all the answers are in there! He told me he had already got one but had been using it as a notebook. He said he would use the one I gave him for studying purposes this time!
An incredible encounter with someone who was not just curious but searching for God. Awesome.
|Pray that Tim would read the Uncover John and discover the Jesus who truly is the answer to all his questions in the midst of the mystery of suffering.|
|Tonight I went to see 'Silence' (a film about 17th Century Jesuit Missionaries in Japan and their struggles therein) with a friend from my course. As we walked home discussing the film, he began to ask me about my faith and what I would have done in the position of the main character. As we went on I decided to go for it and asked him "so what do you make of Christianity then?". We went on to have a great convo about free will, the difference between relationship with God and human religiosity, his barriers to belief and the benefits of having conversations about faith. |
This is probably the first time we've had an in-depth conversation on my faith like this and he was very receptive, referring to previous conversations with Christians - which is encouraging because it shows God is already at work in his life!
|Please pray for more opportunities like this and that I would remember to pray and ask God for more of these opportunities - I don't want to be an evangelist with a passive prayer life.|
|Sin, what’s the big deal? |
The thing I love about new years resolutions is that they are most of the time designed to fail, especially Christian ones. I am going to read my bible every day. I am going to stop masturbating. I’m going to stop … Why? All these resolutions have in common is that you are prioritising the action over God. Yeah you are trying to do a good thing but you are doing by your own hands, and not letting God step in.
For too many years I was addicted to masturbation and pornography, it tore me apart because I was living on the fence. Living for God from Sunday until that fire slowly got smaller and smaller and then sin took over for the rest of the week. Then Sunday again would get the fire going again and sure enough it would be over powered by the sin. Only once had I ever got prayer for it was a complete stranger I met on a Christian camp and I could barely spit it out to him. Yeh he prayed for me and on my way I went. I lasted even longer then it was amazing but then before I new it, I was tangled up in my sin again and again and again. The New Year was coming around so I said to myself that I would stop and make this year a clean year and just live it free from this one sin that was destroying my life. On the 29th December that year I said that it was going to be my last one ever. The year slowly ticked on by, it was a couple of weeks into the year and it was going great. I was free from this sexual sin. Then yet again it happened. I was back into the endless cycle. I was always telling myself that I was going to stop before a certain date in the diary. Yet again and again but my sin just kept on coming back and back.
Reflecting back on this I see how much of a mess my life was. At the time I thought that I was doing alright just moving along swiftly and living a life that was alright, was studying hard, had good friendships, but it was all hidden behind a mask. In my family, they saw me as the holy one the one who connected with God and was spiritually connected with him, they were so wrong. It just breaks my heart. I was a fraud; this one sin was controlling my life yet I wasn’t able to give it up.
Over this last summer I was torn between going to Uni and taking a gap year with a Christian organisation. (Looking back; the only real reason was to remove this sin from my life.) As I ended up deciding to go to Uni, I had been praying with God and just seeing where he wants to take me in my life. This had been a time of spiritual fighting with sin continuing to take a hold but also God trying to make his point from the corner of my heart. Listening to a sermon on my own in these dark times at ridiculous hours of the morning, I heard the message I had so been longing to hear. The secret that will let you escape any sin you are in:
“The way to overcome sexual urges is not by learning to love them less, but by learning to love God more.” J.D.Greear.
The whole time I had been trying to love my sin less. I had been setting resolutions to get myself not to sin, but that’s not how we stop sinning. The devil will always be able to overcome you. He will always be able to tempt you, as Sin is fun. That’s the whole essence behind sin we enjoy doing it. But when you come to the point in your relationship with God that you just learn to love him so much more than any earthly sin that you can just begin to truly live the life of holiness he has called you to.
It’s been 109 days since I’ve started really just learning to love God more and more, just pressing into his presence and encountering him. I’m not saying that I have completely stopped sinning, that’s not my story. I wasn’t prayed for and the urges stopped straight away. My story is a continual journey with God. When I forget this and just forget God in my life, I begin turning down that path of sexual sin again. But this is no longer an issue for me, as sin does not have the last say. When we love God like he loves us then sin doesn’t need to be forced out it just comes out. Please stop trying to remove sin from your life, instead just pursue God. This starts with prayer, your real conversation with him.
I just want to suggest 2 things that might help you;
This is the sermon I was listening to: http://www.summitrdu.com/message/the-fall-of-david/
This is the prayer book, which helped me start my prayer journey and has brought me closer into my love relationship with God:
I’m happy to buy it for you if you cannot afford it.
There is so much more I could say but I’m going to leave it at this, if you want to chat or anything I’m here. I’m not saying I have the answers, but I hope I can help.
Hope it’s helpful wherever you are on your journey, Sam Goodman.
|Just a prayer thought for your lives:|
Integrity - the state of being whole and undivided.
Is this me?
|I'm so thankful that I got to grow up in a Christian home and I can't remember a time when I didn't love God. But it was only when I was a teenager that things started to click. I was always a goody-two-shoes kind of kid obsessed with earning the approval of my parents and teachers. It took me a long time to realise I was sinful. |
When I was 13 I went to Word Alive with my family. Throughout the week in the youth work we kept saying "we're going to glory!" But I had no assurance, I thought that was so arrogant so at the end of the week I grabbed my leader and broke down in tears. I asked her what I had to do to be certain I was going to heaven. She responded that Jesus had done it all.
That was the start of me understanding grace, learning that my own efforts were worthless. It's a battle I'm still fighting, but amazingly God keeps reminding me of the cross and bringing me back to him.
|Okay, long story vaguely short (well maybe not). I met a guy at Bristol uni Open Day (We were sat next to each other during the big talk bit), we got on well and i found out he was also interested in going to Warwick. Surprise, surprise, i bumped into him again at Warwick open day, despite doing completely different subjects. He said he was going to go to Bristol so i imagined that was the last I'd see of him, but then I saw him again during freshers week. I thought that maybe God was doing something here, so i decided to pray for him, (at this point he was a firm atheist). However, despite prayer I rarely saw him again and our contact was few and far between but for one or two Lunchbars. Anyway, I happened to bump into him again last week at a talk we were both attending. As we were talking he told me that over Christmas he had become a Christian (WHAT, NO WAY). I asked him if he would like to meet up to explore the Christian faith and continue on the journey to knowing Christ, and he said Yes! We have just booked in a time! So, turns out God does answer prayer, even when we forget.||Pray that he would begin to fully understand what it means to live a life for Christ and that he would fully commit to this new and exciting journey.|
|I didn’t grow up in a Christian home, and as I got older my only interest in Christianity was in mocking it rather than listening to its claims or arguments. Christians were a bit moronic- end of. Life at home was always a little unstable, and I never felt any real security. Because of this I threw myself into school work and found comfort in working hard and achieving the best that I could. This served me pretty well, that was until studies started getting harder at A-level. At this point the thing that I had built my life around was crumbling, and I was panicking.|
I realised I needed something else to give me satisfaction, so the natural thing to turn to at the age of 18 seemed to be drinking and nightclubbing. I was out several times a week, and though I didn’t realise it at the time definitely had a big problem with alcohol. But all this did was cause a further drop in grades, a deterioration in health and for me to fall into depression. At this point I was self-harming on a pretty much daily basis, while putting up the façade that everything was okay. But really, I felt empty.
By this point I was in the second year of A-levels and I just couldn’t hack it anymore. I knew that I needed a new start, I wanted a fresh chance at a new life (turns out that that was scarily accurate) and the only way that I thought I could find this was by running away from home. I was making plans, and was convinced that this was the right thing to do. Looking back now, I can recognise that this version of a “new start” wouldn’t have made any difference- college or work wouldn’t make me feel fulfilled, new friends would let me down, alcohol wouldn’t satisfy, and the self-harm would undoubtedly continue. But cracks in my façade were beginning to show, and then one day a teacher finally spoke to me and snapped me back into reality and showed me how my plans would hurt so many people around me who I cared about. I wasn’t going to run away anymore, but I was still left feeling empty.
I began talking to this teacher, and soon learned that he was a Christian. And though I was desperate for meaning and fulfilment, I still refused to leave my brain behind and become a Christian like a blindly-loyal dog. I wanted evidence and reason, the only difference now was that I was willing to listen. Evidence and reason was exactly what I received and it wasn’t long until I was convinced that the Christian God really did exist. At this point I read Matthew’s gospel and learnt about the claims of Christianity.
I knew they were true, and that terrified me more than anything ever has in my life. To do what the Bible was telling me to do, meant that I had to admit that I had been wrong all of this time, I had to admit that I was weak and that I needed help, and it meant that I was no longer to be in control of my own life. I remember cycling home one Wednesday evening from school, and all of this was just whirring round in my head because I was so scared, but I knew that it was true and that then gave me little choice- I took Jesus as my Lord and Saviour that night, and the fear was gone in an instant.
So many things changed so rapidly: my drinking drew to a halt, my attitude towards my studies transformed overnight, I felt joy and fulfilment in a way that I never had before. Other things, such as the self-harm, took a lot longer to change and are still a struggle even now. But God has been, and continues to be, faithful in every way and has graciously sustained me through it all. I look back now and I see why God allowed all of this- I needed to be brought low enough to mean that the only place that I could look was upwards- and though these times were so difficult and painful, I would go through them time and time again to gain Christ.
|This is a slightly edited version of the testimony that I gave at my baptism:|
I was raised in an atheist household; I went to a rather secular school. Growing up I never felt the need to question that world view. I just assumed it was founded on reason and that it had to be true. A line I remember from my Dad when he was asked by his mother why he hadn’t taught us about God was “I didn’t teach them about fairies in the garden either because they’re just as ridiculous.” How could something as ridiculous as a personal, loving God be true? I refused to consider any claims made about Him seriously.
I also assumed that I was a relatively good person. I did wrong things of course, everyone does, but there were much worse people out there than me. I was cruel at times, but that was the minority, normally I was pretty nice. I was a “good guy”. I didn’t think I needed any saving.
That was the world view that I had when I went to university. One of my flatmates was an active member of the Christian Union. She was my first Christian friend and towards the end of the year; I ended up questioning why she believed in God and why she was a Christian. The fact that she had answers to all the questions I ended up asking her was not what I expected at all, having grown up with the assumption that there were no answers to these questions and that it was just a matter of faith.
She gave me a few apologetics books to read, convincing me with scientific, historical and philosophical reasoning how it was more logical to believe in God than to not. Then, I began reading the New Testament and was amazed at the story of Jesus’ life; how he lived and acted, with not even his greatest enemies being able to claim that he had done a thing wrong. How he managed to live a morally perfect life, that we could only imagine living. How he was executed not for any crime he committed, but questioning the authority of the Jewish religious elite. Slowly I began to accept the fact that I now thought that Christianity was true.
However, I was no Christian. I had not felt the Holy Spirit. I had not experienced Spiritual rebirth. While I might now have mentally assented to Jesus’ claims being true, I lived in rejection of them. I had attended a church service at university, however it felt alien to me and I felt like an imposter. I might have sung the songs in worship, agreeing that God was great but not feeling that in my heart. It was only upon returning to home and attending my first service back there that I acknowledged feeling Gods presence in my life for the first time.
Despite trying to attending the 9 a.m. service and it being not on as a service for all the congregations and plants was being held at 10:30 I hung around. It seemed so easy to just go home, but something held me there. It was in that service that for the first time I understood what the Gospel meant. Prior I kind of thought “Christ died for my sins” was a sort of Christian phrase that was tossed around, that didn't really have any specific meaning. It never hit me until then, just how much I needed Jesus’ sacrifice. In the face of the Holy God, how could I possible stand by my own merit. I was so deeply flawed, when compared to God, that any interaction would be like trying to embrace the sun!
I felt tears welling up in my eyes during that sermon, as I started to understand what Christ had done for me. The speakers line “The essence of Christianity isn’t to offer a righteousness to God; the essence of Christianity is to receive a righteousness from God!” hit me emotionally like none of my prior reading had ever done. It was then that I finally realised what people were talking when they said that they had felt the work of the Holy Spirit.
In the week that followed on from that day, I found that this was no momentary feeling. I could sense God with me in prayer. It as though I had finally had a blind fold removed from my eyes that I had been wearing all my life. Despite the fact that I had previously managed to control a lot of the outwards workings of anger in life, my heart had still tended to anger. It was then I was suddenly washed with a wave of love for people.
I have certainly not begun to act faultlessly since then. Every day is still soiled by my failure. But, the knowledge that in Gods eyes I am faultless thanks to the life I have been given in Christ is an unbelievable joy. Even in times of real emotional struggle, when everything else has seemed quite bleak, God has been there bringing joy in life when I couldn’t have imagined it. I am overjoyed that thanks to his work, I am being led out of my disobedience towards the life He wants for me.
|https://walkinginfullness.wordpress.com/||Please pray that he would draw me deeper still to a realm of greater intimacy with him than I've conceived possible (Ephesians 3:20). Thank you|
|My friend came for the Christmas Carol Concert and may be going for explore this week!||That he would go for explore, be sensitive to the word of God and receive salvation.|
|Faith is the best thing that could happen to me. Faith means a light in the dark. It does not mean that there is no dark. There will be tough times, suffering. That is why faith is there. It's saying: God, I believe in You. I believe that everything will be alright.|
I sometimes have long walks outside. I look around and I see nature, I see harmony, I see how everything is working so perfectly. And if only one thing in the biology of how things work was different, we probably wouldn't be here. I don't believe that this perfection happened by chance. It's something so big and perfectly functional that chance is not an option.
I believe we are made of body, mind and soul. All of them are important. But you can't play a sport with you mind only. You need your body. You can't do maths with you body, you need you mind. Equally, I can't explain faith and God usind rationality and mind. They come at hand, but it's something so connected to the soul. And just like you can't explain maths with your body, you can't explain God with only your mind. You need to feel your soul. Acknowledge its existence. And then with that sould connect to God. God is in our souls, it's always in us.
I never feel alone. I always feel like there's a part of me where I can find God, and there I find a friend, a light, a hope, a Father, a brother.
I know what I say is not really life-changing, but I've been trying to jot down how I feel about the most amazing thing that can ever be given to us. And my advice is: want it. Long for it. Shout at Him: God, be present! Hear me! And then be still, close your eyes, and forget everything else. I always imagine myself floating on water, being transported by the flow, and looking up smiling: everything will be alright, because You are with me.
|I've been having unstable relationships that undermined my faith in the past years. Please pray that I can find stablity and God in my relationships.|
|I received a message from a girl who came to Globe (or iExplore, whatever tickles your fancy) last year. She had come to it once with a friend having had no exposure to Christianity in the past. I had the opportunity to explain what we believed, and she seemed interested. I messaged her that night thanking her for coming and contributing to the discussion, and that was that. But then... (6 months later) she messaged me thanking me for explaining Christianity to her and she has started reading the Bible.||Thank God that He works things out in His own time, even when we've forgotten! Pray for Hiroka as she returns to Japan soon. Pray that she'll continuing reading the bible and that it will bring her to a saving knowledge of the Lord|
|This week at Explore we were looking at the part in Luke's Gospel where Jesus' death is described. We came to the bit where it says the curtains of the temple were torn in two. Hannah explained the Old Testament significance of the temple curtains. Then she asked what we thought the tearing of the curtains meant in the context of Jesus' death. It was a very tricky question so there was a prolonged silence. I was preparing to speak up and give the answer but I just felt like the Spirit prompted me to hold on a few more seconds and wait. Then a moment later one of the non-Christians present, James, spoke up and got it spot on! He said "it means the divide between us and God because of our sin has been taken away because of what Jesus has done". Wow. It could only have been God at work in his heart! |
A moment among many that shows God is on the move through Explore!
|Pray that God would continue to work in the hearts of the non-christians that are coming to Explore each week and that next week (Jesus' resurrection) would be significant for those exploring.|
|God is testing me currently. Something happened which is fairly minor. However, it has caused anxiety. I find out tomorrow the outcome.||Pray that it is resolved quickly and fairly.|
|At explore each week we have had a really nice group of people that keep on coming back! Despite the small size things aren't awkward and there are many great questions being asked. Last week we overrun by about an hour because people were asking so many questions about the passage and Christianity and seemed genuinely interested about the answer. Hopefully people are really starting to learn more about who Jesus is! Yay!! :)||Please pray that people would continue to come|
Also pray for our speakers that they would share from God's word faithfully and that they would have wisdom to answer the many questions
Pray that more people would come and that people in the cu would have the chance to invite friends
|I (on my year abroad) have so far struggled to find in-depth, challenging, Bible-based teaching here, as well as fellow believers who I feel like I could really become close to, despite trying out a few different churches and student groups. Basically (and I never thought I'd say this) I was really missing the CU. Today my schedule finally worked out so that I could go to an SMD (CU equivalent) meeting, and I was praying that it would live up to my expectations and that I'd meet some Bible-believing, genuine people who I could get to know better and grow in faith with. I sat at the back of the room and prayed that just one person would come and talk to me at the end. My prayer was answered many times over! I ended up talking to the guy who led the meeting, and he invited me to join a small group, and told me about some churches in the area that I hadn't heard of before. He also convinced me to go on the post-meeting pub trip where I got to know several other people.||Praise God that He led me to this community of believers, and that I received such a warm welcome from them.|
Pray that Warwick CU would also have such a positive impact on its visitors and new members, and particularly that it would provide a comforting and welcoming atmosphere for international students who are searching for a friendly face among all the new and unfamiliar things they're experiencing.
|So the day before sign ups were meant co close for #LeapOfFaith we were about 35 signups short of what we needed (think we were on about 77) to break even financially and I was worried. I met that day with the Coventry and Northampton leaders and Benedict and we prayed about it. Then the SU accidentally took the tickets off sale early, we decided to put them back up but extend the deadline to compensate for this. We left them up until Sunday evening and reached 113 sign ups. This number was the exact number I had calculated we would need to break even originally, it was also the exact number of beds to fill the accommodation we had, any more and we'd have to put people in a third, more expensive building, any less and we'd have spaces in the rooms unfilled. God takes care of the details and you can trust him.||Give thanks.|
|In a tricky week, I was made so aware of God's grace. God used my Bible readings, conversations with friends, emotions and even my seminar reading to remind me of his unbelievable grace, his goodness despite the fact I didn't deserve it. In the midst of confusion it was amazing to be held in his everlasting arms and sustained by him.||Praise God for how good he is!|
|Last night at TAT i spent 20 mins in a kitchen answering 2 questions one about suffering and then why I believe in God. Both questions led to others and one person even saying it was the best answer he'd heard for that question! A complete testimony to God's goodness and how he uses weak and broken vessels for his glory! Off the back of that one of the girls in the kitchen, not even the one who asked the question, joined the 5:20 group and expressed interest about hearing more.||Pray that she comes to more events or even 5:20! Pray that more people will hear about His love for them through the coming events!|
|This evening I was in Leamington with one of my flatmates from first year and we ended up having a deep conversation for nearly two hours. She is a strong atheist but has poor knowledge of the Bible. We talked about all sorts of things, but it was most exciting to talk about how God's immense love for us, despite our rebellion towards him, means we can be forgiven and restored back to him! Although she is seemingly not willing to consider Christianity for herself, it's great to see God still working and providing opportunities.||Praise God for the opportunity!|
She also has the view that people can believe whatever they want as long as they don't hurt others and we spoke for a while about how this can break down very quickly. Please pray that she would see her need for God.
|I was walking back from a seminar earlier this evening and talking to my course mate about careers and the careers fair just passed. I expressed a vague comment about life and how it would be depressing if it was just about getting a degree, getting a job and then dying. He agreed with me. |
At this point I knew in my mind that this was a prime opportunity to talk about my faith. I was unsure whether I should go for it or not but almost as to confirm it to me, the phrase 'It's my time to shine' popped into my head out of nowhere and I knew that was Jesus saying, "tell him about me!"
So, I expressed how as a Christian I'm comforted by the knowledge that there is more to life than 50 years of work and then death, how there's life after death in paradise with God. We talked for a little while about our beliefs and parted ways.
|Pray that more such opportunities would pop up in my normal, everyday, dynamic friendship with my course mate and that he would begin to see the truth behind my faith.|
|Our great and mighty God healed my brother from leukemia after all treatments have failed.||Please pray with all your faith for the people fighting against cancer, may God heal them and bring peace to their families. May they all live to prove and embrace the mightiness of God.|
|This evening I was waiting to escort a group to a society event in Leamington. Only one person appeared. Since he lives in Coventry, we instead decided to have a pint together in the Duck. During our conversation we came onto the topic of faith. We shared our personal beliefs, his being the importance of spiritual awareness and consciousness. I did my best to explain how Jesus answers the questions of creation and suffering in a way that spiritually cannot. After a very pleasant conversation he was happy to take an Uncover and agree to meet again soon.||It is astounding to think that God planned for us to meet in such circumstances. Please pray that we would become great friends (we seemed to have much in common). Please also pray that God would open his heart to the truths of the gospel.|
|At the Freshers BBQ I started speaking to a couple of people from China who had come along to a Welcome Week BBQ and i5:20. One of them asked me what the difference was between Catholicism and Protestantism, after I explained a few differences one of them asked, "so you don't believe you have to earn your way to heaven by doing good things?" I got a chance to explain that we believe that it is faith in Jesus alone that saves us||Pray that the truth of the Gospel will make a personal impact and that they will return to i5:20|
|Two people (one from Malaysia and one from China) came to Church last Sunday as first time investigators of the Christian faith. I talked to them after the meeting to ask what they made of it all and it was really cool to hear how they really enjoyed it. One said he had never seen people so passionate about religion before and found the preach very engaging. The other felt comfortable enough to come to student lunch after and spend time getting to know people from the Church. Both expressed a desire to return next week! The welcome week hype continues!||Pray that they would continue to come along and learn about Jesus and that God would use them to change nations!|
|In welcome week a couple of us were stood around the back of the SU waiting to see if people would need some help with luggage etc. We stood there for about ten minutes and there didn't seem to be many people around. We decided to pray about it so we fired off a bullet prayer just asking for some people to help. And then for the next two hours we were super busy helping everyone that was passing. It was so cool how God answered our prayers while we were out 'on the job'.|
|I met a girl on the first day of Welcome week and helped her with her luggage over to Westwood. She was really keen to make British friends as she teaches English in China, and wants to make the most of her year by practicing English as much as she can. I invited her along to iExplore and explained that it's a great place to meet people from different countries and told her that we look at a passage from the Bible at it. She then said that she wanted to look into Christianity because she "has no faith". I gave her an uncover. I then bumped into her around 6 times during the week in really random places and had a quick chat each time. She came to iExplore and brought a load of her friends, and really enjoyed it. She and one of her friends have said that they want to come every week.||Pray that I may desire a deep and real friendship with her, and that I may seek opportunities to speak about the Lord to her. Pray that she will come back to international CU events, or read Uncover for herself, and continue to show an interest in finding out about Christianity. Pray that ultimately she may be saved.|
|The i5:20 during Welcome Week was full of international students who were hungry to find out more about Jesus and were really interested and engaged in the questions. Many came simply because they wanted to read the Bible (not just because there was free food on offer).||Pray that the things that each student read and discussed would be remembered and though about. Pray that many of the students would come back to other international events and continue to show an interest. Pray that the Holy Spirit will be working in their hearts and bringing them to a saving knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ|
|Had a crazy conversation with a guy in Westwood cafe earlier in the week! I was sitting looking through my Bible when a guy came in the cafe and just started a conversation with me. He said hi, I said hi, and he asked me what I was up to. I explained that I was reading the Bible. From there he began to ask me about Christianity. |
I told him about what difference Jesus makes to my life. Soon he began to tell me some of his deepest fears and thoughts regarding purity, sin and the purpose of his life. He talked about shame and guilt due to previous actions and how he wondered if he could ever know redemption.
At this point, I prayed in my head for help from the Holy Spirit and I began to tell him about how there is freedom in Jesus from the bad things we've done and the opportunity to feel pure because of what Jesus has done for us. It's not earned by us, it's given to us, we are free from striving. I talked about how Jesus constantly defied our expectations by spending time with the shameful and broken people, how he should have had nothing to do with the likes of Matthew (tax collector) because Jesus was pure and Matthew was not but he welcomed him as a friend and how that's what Jesus offers us! This seemed to resonate with him. Deep in sorrow he asked me about the value of his life and in a beautiful moment I was able to tell him that he is of infinite value to God! That he was made by God, that Jesus delighted to form him in his mother's womb and that he is precious to God. His life has meaning and value, not because of anything he's done, but because God says so! It was wonderful to speak truth and life over his situation! I was able to talk about how God calls us into a relationship like that between and Father and his son, a loving relationship. He seemed to understand. I think he was really appreciative just to get all this stuff off his chest, speak it out loud to someone and be heard. Somehow he felt comfortable doing that with me (a complete stranger). This could only have been the work of the Holy Spirit!
I took his number and said we should meet up sometime, he was well up for that. I love it when Jesus takes a normal situation and uses it to change lives! God is so good!
|Pray that I would be able to continue contact and that what I was able to say would take root in his heart|
|When we were doing evening visits we met a guy who comes from a Catholic background but has lots of questions about it. We gave him an Uncover which he was really excited to read and told him about lots of events. He seemed really interested in coming along to Equip and Explore.||Please pray that he would come along to events and that he would read Uncover. Pray that he would keep exploring and that he would come to faith.|
|Whilst flyering I met a Turkish guy called Mehrat who wanted me to talk him through all our welcome week events. He said he was interested in investigating Christianity.||Please pray that he comes along to events and finds the answers he's looking for.|
|Last week most of the leaders in the CU headed to Quinta in Shropshire for Forum, the annual CU leaders training conference run by UCCF. It was an amazing week of bible based teaching and reminded us all of some huge truths which are essential to our mission. I was particularly struck by the reminder that we are loved by the Father AS MUCH AS the Father loves the Son. That's huge. We can share in that perfect relationship which has been in union for all eternity. How cool is that?!|
There was also great reminders of fixing our eyes on the hope of the New Creation. If we really understand how amazing that place is going to be, we have no reason not to tell others about the Gospel because we'll want them to be there with us!
|Praise God for a fruitful week which was helpful in equipping the committee, 5:20 leaders and team leaders for the rest of the year. Pray we'd take what we learnt to heart, continuing to meditate on it, and have the opportunity to share those truths with the rest of CU so we can all #gethyped for the rest of the year!|
|Tonight I was doing a Bible study which was supposed to be for Christians. Only 2 other people came; I'm not sure how much either of them believe. Halfway through I suddenly caught myself - this wasn't disappointing! This was hugely exciting! That people who are unsure of their beliefs are willing to come and hear and talk about the Bible is amazing! That God let me be part of it is incredible! We listened to a really good talk and there was some interesting discussion. We have an awesome God!||Please pray for these 2 friends that they would keep asking questions and investigating the Bible. Pray that ultimately God would open their eyes to his glory.|
|One of my friends at home is currently suffering with depression. I was talking to her the other day how my joy and hope comes from Christ. Later on she messaged me asking me to pray for her to help her get through some difficult times.||Pray that I can continue to support her and that I will be able to help reveal to her the security and love given to us from God|
|I have a chronic illness which requires me to go to my home hospital and recieve treatment every 10 weeks or so. First of all, thank you Jesus for the NHS! Due to the way exams fell, I've had to go a little bit longer between treatments due to the awkwardness of going home for an extended period of time. I was worried about what effect this would have on me since, when left unchecked, my illness can make me very tired, drained and far from working at my best. It's also made worse by stress (which we all know is something you tend to do a fair amount when taking exams). I prayed a lot that God would sustain me over the exam period against all odds and not let the effects of my disfunctional body get in the way of doing my exams and performing at my best. Now that I've finished, I can testify to the goodness of God in doing just that! In theory I should have deteriorated. In theory, I should have had a torrid time. But my God doesn't play by the rules. He is my healer, He is my sustainer, He cares.||Pray for continued good health, and ultimately, total healing.|
|This is a little bit late since its from term one but is an encouragement for freshers fortnight next year.|
I had a bit of a lonely first day of uni as I didn't see much of my house mates and didn't know anyone else. We had an early physics induction lecture and I spoke to maybe 4 or 5 people there but with little else to do everyone returned to their various accommodation. I spent most of the day unpacking and feeling like I should be getting to know people. I did however come across a flyer for the Christian Union picked up by my flatmates the night before as we got locks painted on our faces at the SU. There was a games night on and I was left with the choice of going, not knowing what it would be like or who the people were, or staying and going out again with my flatmates. I decided to go and walked down to the main campus in the rain and found my way to the bottom of the library. All I had was the room number to go by so I wasn't even sure I was in the right place but I made it to a pair of plain grey double doors. I stood in front of them and very nearly turned away as there was no one around but I thought I may as well look in the room as I had come all this way.
They opened into a room of about 40 people sitting round tables, laughing and playing board games in various states of chaos. It hit me like a wave of relief. Those of you who know me know I love a good competitive board game and right then a scene of such familiarity in such a new place was a real blessing. I ended up sat on a table with two people from Westwood (Catherine and David) and we played a very long game of ticket to ride. Halfway through I turned round too see one of the 5 people I had spoken to that morning in the lecture (Annabella). God put me in exactly the right place at exactly the right time and I couldn't be more grateful to the CU for everything its done since.
|Get excited for the freshers coming up next year.|
|Yesterday the Mormons I spoke to a few weeks ago came back for more! A friend of mine has been staying with me this week and he first answered the door and spoke for a while, mainly about the sufficiency of the Bible. Later in the day I was talking to my flatmate from first year (who is a staunch atheist) about the discussion we'd been having and, contrary to her opinion that all religious books are made up (which the Book of Mormon probably is!), we were able to talk about how the Bible has a wealth of evidence to back up its claims. I challenged her to investigate the Bible to decide for herself whether it's true or not, as she admitted she's never read it before.||Praise God I was able to chat with a friend of mine who I have not had many opportunities to talk to about the Gospel in the past. Please pray that her curiosity in the Gospel would be stirred up and she'd be willing to read the Bible in the future.|
|Breaking my fingers has been such an exciting experience - God has such creative ways of teaching us that he is in control! There were moments of anger and despair, but so many more positive moments. God taught me that I am not God (something I need to learn often!) and to be dependent on others. The whole experience helped me to realise just how blessed I am to be normally fit and able, something I have always taken for granted. God showed me what a privilege it is to have so many truly supportive friends, helping me out with practical stuff, praying for me and encouraging me. It has been amazing to see the way that God has answered so many prayers about trusting him, about using scribes in exams, about swift healing. Truly we have a great God.||Praise God because he is awesome and has blessed us beyond belief! Praise him for the ways that he teaches us to be more like him.|
|A couple of weeks ago maybe, I spoke to a friend during Frisbee training asking him about how he was doing. He expressed that he was very fearful about an upcoming exam for which he didn't feel prepared. I could see on his face that he was genuinely terrified. My heart went out to him and I felt like I should offer to be praying for him. Eventually I plucked up the courage to tell him that I would pray for him concerning his exam. I don't know what that meant to him, maybe he thought I was crazy, but in that moment God was able to express something of His love and care to my friend.||Pray that this moment would have an impact on my friend, however small.|
|I walked in to the kitchen to find four of my flatmates discussing their views on heaven. We talked about the nature of heaven and hell, and why people would go to one or the other. One friend shared that he has been reading his Uncover John. He now realises that the gospels are indeed historical accounts and is taking them seriously. He welcomed being given a gospel of Mark. It was an intriguing, encouraging and completely unexpected discussion during which I could sense my friends earnestly grappling with the truths of the gospel.||Praise God that my friends were able to hear the incredible news of the gospel! Please pray that they would recognise that its message applies directly to them. Pray in particular for my one friend who is sincerely investigating the Christian faith. And praise God that He answers prayer and does more than all we could ever ask or imagine!|
|I was sat in an exam the other day, relatively happy with how this one had gone but thinking about all I had left to do. As I sat there I was struck by God's control and sovereignty, he is so much bigger than everything and I think we sometimes forget that. The worship song "reign in me" came to my mind. Particularly the chorus "Lord, Reign in Me, Reign in your power, over all my dreams, in my darkest hour, you are the Lord of all I am, so won't you reign in me again." how encouraging to think that God is still God in the good times and the bad, that he reigns over ALL I am and that he will do forevermore. Definitely puts these exams into perspective.|
|The other evening I was very tired, slightly stressed and had my first exam the next morning. I turned to do my bible reading and it was titled "you have Gods strength and energy". It was such a great reminded and encouragement for me and came at exactly the right time. God is awesome and its great to know we can lean on him.|
|Was able to have a great convo with a mate yesturday about whether Jesus would have been a socialist or not. It was encouraging just to explain some of Jesus' character and what his priorities would likely have been if he were on earth now (to make sure it was known that God loves people!).||Pray that we would continue to have such convos and my mates' interest would grow.|
|My flat mates have previously been quite hostile about how to live together but recently they have been more willing to talk and engage with me, this is such an answer to prayer as I have been able to get to know them and they even asked me to join them for some football recently. This week I got asked about whether I believed in miracles and i hope that my answer has given them food for thought. Praise God!||Pray that these opportunities wouldn't go to waste, and that they would be keen to talk about God further than just the surface questions.|
|Was really challenged by the talk yesturday from Nick in Equip on facing temptation. God showed me that a lot of things I struggle with are a struggle because my perspective on how to conquor them is all wrong. I need to fix my focus on Jesus and make Him my first priority. God is so kind in correcting us and providing hope when it can feel like there is none.||Pray that I would continue to be challenged by the talk that Nick brought and that God would give me a hunger for Jesus that surpasses all else.|
|Just had a long chat with my flatmate from a Catholic background in Brunei. We covered religion vs faith, church, transubstantiation, the Bible, priests and baptism! He was really interested in the differences in what we believe. And he's coming to Equip tomorrow!||Pray that he would be really intrigued by what we believe and that he would understand the importance of the differences in what we believe. Pray that God would open his eyes.|
|He answered my prayer that my housemate would be open to the Gospel. I had dinner with my housemates and the Holy Spirit really spoke through me and my other Christian housemate to our housemate who is not yet a Christian. He was open to the message of the Gospel and said that he would consider it!||I would appreciate prayer for my housemate who is not yet a Christian, that God would soften his heart and help him to realise the urgency and logic of the Gospel.|
|After posting about Nathan earlier today which can be seen in the comment below, I just happened to bump into him again tonight in Tesco! It's funny how God works sometimes. He seemed pleased to see me, asking about how and when he could come to church this term! Incredible!||God is clearly pursuing Nathan so pray that he would come along to Church and come to know his good good Father!|
|I met a guy called Nathan at Hot Choc sometime towards the end of last term who said he used to call himself a Christian but now wouldn't. He studied philosophy at A level and he said it made him doubt a lot of what he believed. We exchanged numbers and met up a couple of weeks later at the duck. We talked about free will, the unfulfilling nature of sin and I gave my testimony. It seemed like some of the stuff I said had really challenged his views of God and the validity of Christianity. God was really gracious in helping me answer his philosophy questions as I'm no philosopher myself and they were very difficult to think through. But, as I said, he seemed satisfied to some extent with what I was able to offer.||Pray that Nathan would continue to be curious, that he would run back to his Father like the prodigal son and find the relationship with God that he was clearly longing for.|
|Not particularly CU related but encouraging anyway! An older lady who I met at Emmanuel's Seniors Tea that I help with once a month has started coming to the morning service after being challenged to following a conversation that I had with her.||Please pray that she would keep coming to church, and that God would speak to her as she hears His Word preached. Pray that she would not think that church attendance is enough for salvation, but would see her need of forgiveness.|
|Today I met some Mormons and we discussed for about an hour about what each of us believe. I think it was quite fruitful but I was very conscious of the fact that my Bible knowledge wasn't good enough to rebuttal some of the points I didn't agree with. We exchanged phone numbers and I invited them to Emmanuel so hopefully they'll be the chance of further discussion||Pray I'd be able to increase my knowledge of God's Word and stand confident in the truths of the Gospel.|
|A friend who I'd shared my faith with in first year just came and said to me out of the blue that he missed our discussions and would like to speak again soon!||Pray that we would find time to meet up and that our conversation would be helpful.|
|Last week I talked with a guy from the Islamic society who I'd met sometime last term doing text a toastie. He recognised me after all this time and was eager to pick up where we left off. We talled about the reliability of the Bible and why most Christians don't learn ancient Hebrew.||That my friend continues to be curious and open to discussion.|