Monday, 26 January 2009

Marquee, Mark and the Funky Bunch! (a.k.a. RUCU Events Week 09) Day 1

The first proper day of Events Week has been encouraging, although fairly hectic. So much so that I only remembered to take one photo. Here it is...

This picture was taken at prayer breakfast - we had a pretty good turnout considering the 8am start (although it was still dark when I got up, so no-one could really moan!). We spent the morning sorting out the tea stand, the question board and various things, including tucking into a Super Seven breakfast.

Finally we got everything on track, and the lunch bar started. We had about 50 people there, with about 1/3 non-CU people. There were some good discussions going on, and at least one person signed up already to study Mark's gospel. Hopefully numbers will grow as the week goes on...

Right now the small groups are holding events in their halls. I didn't get invited to one :( but I'm giving my testimony tomorrow night, and a series of international invitations (slightly more detailed invitations at Small World Cafe, with a few hints about the talk to entice people along). So I'm sadly not taking the night off! I'll let you know how the hall events went tomorrow.

Sunday, 25 January 2009

Marquee, Mark and the Funky Bunch! (a.k.a. RUCU Events Week 09) Day 0 - Launch Day

RUCU Events Week 2009 finally kicked off this evening. After a few moderately stressful (or humorous, depending on whether you're the student or the staff worker) teething problems, the marquee is finally put up, wired up and (periodically) warmed up and ready to go. We had our launch meeting this evening, which was a great opportunity to focus on why we're doing what we're doing this week.

It's a pleasure to have my friend Michael Ots around for the week as our speaker. He explained 2 Corinthians 5 for us, reminding us that we have a real, solid hope for the future, which should motivate us and reassure as as we head into Events Week.

People seem really up for it, which is great. The CU Guests seem like a fun lot (an essential criteria for CU Guests) too. I think I'm up for it too, although I'm really conscious of my need to depend completely on God this week. As I said last time, if praying's your thing, please do pray for us this week.

Here are a few pics to give you a taster of Day 0!

Lots of people! Woo!

Will attempts to unravel the song words...

Author and evangelist, Michael Ots!

The Gospel Way

This morning I read a prayer in an excellent book I bought this week - Valley of Vision, a collection of Puritan Prayers. With my thoughts almost completely on RUCU's Events Week this week, I found a prayer called, "The Gospel Way." I think it's quality, so I decided it was worth sharing (and the effort of typing it out).

Blessed Lord Jesus,
No human mind could conceive or invent the gospel.
Acting in eternal grace, thou art both its messenger and its message,
lived out on earth through infinite compassion,
applying thy life to insult, injury, death,
that I might be redeemed, ransomed, freed.
Blessed be thou, O Father, for contriving this way,
Eternal thanks to thee, O Lamb of God, for opening this way,
Praise everlasting to thee, O Holy Spirit,
for applying this way to my heart.
Glorious Trinity, impress the gospel on my soul,
until its virtue diffuses every faculty;
Let it be heard, acknowledged, professed, felt.
Teach me to secure this mighty blessing;
Help me to give up every darling lust,
to submit heart and life to its command,
to have it in my will,
controlling my affections,
moulding my understanding;
to adhere strictly to the rules of true religion,
not departing from them in any instance,
nor for any advantage in order to escape evil,
inconvenience or danger.
Take me to the cross to seek glory from its infamy;
Strip me of every pleasing pretence of righteousness by my own doings.
O gracious redeemer,
I have neglected thee too long,
often crucified thee,
crucified thee afresh by my impenitence,
put thee to open shame.
I thank thee for the patience that has borne with me so long,
and for the grace that now makes me willing to be thine.
O unite me to thyself with inseperable bonds,
that nothing may ever draw me back from thee, my Lord, my Saviour.

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Marquee, Mark and the Funky Bunch! *

FREE comes to RUCU starting tomorrow, and I'm excited.

This week, people showed up for three lunch times to think through how they can introduce their friends to Jesus via Mark's gospel. People have been praying lots, for the big stuff, but mostly for their friends who they really want to be able to share the gospel with. And, after a 24 hour delay, a huge marquee went up today. It was looking a bit iffy yesterday morning, but after the heroic efforts of a few RUCU peeps, some help from the SU and a lot of praying, it finally went up to day. We'll be practically living in the marquee (although we aren't allowed to sleep there, praise the Lord) as we put on a shed-load of events to help students meet Jesus for themselves. Bring it on!

I'll try to update the blog throughout the week, so do check back to find out how things are going. And I guess Motsy, our speaker for the week, will be doing the same. And if praying's your thing, please do remember us this week!

* In case you aren't as engaged with popular culture as some of us are, Marquee, Mark and the Funky Bunch is a play on name of the rap outfit which featured Marky-Mark, the alter-ego of actor Mark Wahlberg. We've got a marquee, and we're using it to explain Mark. Get it? That would make RUCU the Funky Bunch. I probably should have saved it for a weightier post, but it occurred to me today and I thought I should use it before anyone else thought of it.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

F is for...

One of the privileges of working for UCCF is getting to meet all the people who support us in prayer and in lots of other ways. When I was a student, I never really realised how many people were praying for what we were doing. But now I love that I get to meet them. This week I've been to two prayer meetings and had lunch with a local church leader, and I received a text letting me know another church had been praying for me. I've loved the fellowship in the gospel that I've experienced this week, and I'm really thankful to God for it.

At the prayer meeting last night in Yateley I pointed out to them that the F in UCCF stands for Fellowship. That includes the students in CUs, the staff and Relay workers who support them, but it also includes the thousands of people who are supporting us in what we're doing. And I've been reminded this week that we can't do this without them. So, if you're reading this and you think our 'F' applies to you, then I'm thanking God for you!

Adrian has some nice things to say about the meeting last night. The comment about trifle is true. And the muffins were great.

Here we go...

The RUCU video geeks have been at it again...

Events Week starts Monday!

Monday, 19 January 2009

Share Mark

In preparation for Events Week at the University of Reading, I'm running 3 sessions for RUCU to help them prepare. I finished provisional versions of the handouts today, so I thought I'd stick them on the website. Keenos might look at them beforehand, but I doubt it. Feel free to nick anything useful, although bear in mind they are handouts for seminars I'm going to be giving (the overview in particular might be a bit confusing without a white shirt and a marker pen...)!

Wednesay: Mark in Minutes - an overview of Mark's gospel.
Thursday: Mark and Your Mates - looking at the FREE gospels with your mates. Some easy tools and top tips.
Friday: Making the Most of Events Week - what to do (and what not to do) during Events Week.

And to help people to make the most events week, this is a (nearly) fool-proof guide to hosting a meal-with-a-message (recipe included): Meal with a Message

Thursday, 1 January 2009

Holiday Withdrawal?

OK, so maybe I'm not very good at being on holiday. But I came all the way to Southend-on-Sea for New Year and saw this on a lamp post outside Sainsbury's (by the Pay & Display machine). I couldn't resist taking a picture...