Saturday, December 29, 2012

What are Saturday's for?

This Saturday is an odd one... most people forget that it is a Saturday... unless of course, you have had a normal working week. Which I have not. I have been on holiday since Christmas Day, so it is all some what wonky in my head. This one is a thankful Saturday.

Christmas has been awesome! So far so good, and the celebrating really hasn't stopped. Ok, so I have slowed down a lot though. Christmas Day and Boxing Day were both really full, but not in the rushing around like a headless Chicken sense - more the having to constantly be switched on, talking to people. It's easy to be happy when you share with people you love and people that just want to make everything so joy-filled, that you can't help but feel loved!

So thank you to Angela, Heather, Derek and Pops for making me feel so happy during Christmas lunch that I just kept eating and never felt full (until I moved and almost fell asleep!). And to Tash and Joy for all their hard work during the evening. All of that food!! And all of the fun we had, thank you for welcoming Ray and I.

Thank you to Jane for all your hard work on Boxing Day, for making me feel at home as well. More awesome food and lots of fun with the children!

I am thankful for my boyfriend too! For inviting me to his parents house and for looking after me - Christmas will never pass without me being poorly somehow! Thank you Ray!

So tonight is my cousin's 30th Birthday Party... we're getting all glammed up and I am sure that I will be posting about it when I eventually wake up tomorrow!

2013 looks exciting, there's only a week left of holiday and then back to work, back to being around people and back in school... praying for the adventure to continue.

2012 has been a year of new things starting. The Living Room, stronger friendships and relationships, a new house (I have been living in Basildon for 10 months!) and so many other things that I can't even think about right now!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Eve

It's finally here!! I have waited a whole 52 weeks for this, the busiest day of my year... the most exhausting day, the only time of year I am part of 4 services.

Do I feel prepared for today and the next two after this? Totally not, but the bible reading that I read aloud this morning will fill me up for the days ahead, and I will be ready to face all that the world has to throw at me!

"Grace and peace be yours in abundance through the knowledge of God and of Jesus our Lord." 2 Peter 1v2

At the end of Advent, I am full of peace. Tomorrow will be a mental day but I know that God has great things in store for those who will share their time with me!

As for 2012, it has all been a bit crazy... but that is another blog post for another day.

Monday, December 10, 2012

YWC2012 Part 4

On Saturday morning, we dragged our butts out of bed a ridiculous o'clock to have breakfast in the hotel that we now knew well. We had to be at conference for the keynote speech at 9am... man, that hurt. 9am on a Saturday is difficult when it is supposed to be your day off and you've been up discussing the highs and lows of life, into the late hours of the night. Still, what we did discuss was important to all of us. I keep talking on and on about how vital fellowship is to me and the church. No cliques, no concerns. It's difficult to get to that point some times.

Anyway, the key note speech was important, unfortunately it was too much information for me to take in. I didn't get some of the cultural references and even now, I know it was about youth participation. The keynote is important, but not at 9am, sorry guys and gals, you got that one wrong this year.

Saturday continued to be all about butts. The seminar I attended ended with us 'breaking through the butts', or at least praying about them. The people I was with found this very funny, though the point was serious. God had a big dream, and so should we, except the tiny three letter word that often holds us back from doing anything at all sometimes 'but'.

'I would love to run youth alpha with all of the young people that attended SOLID, but...'
'I would love to clear the church worship space every Friday and let the young people use the space, but...'
'I can really see how the church can change in the next 15 years so that it doesn't die, but...'

It takes a lot of courage to dream big, well at least humans think it does. We are limited, because we are not God, and can't ever hope to be, in His all-knowingness! God is not stupid, he knows exactly what we want to do, and knows how to give it to us as well.

Right, back on track, the second half of the seminar was a bible study, which fell a bit flat for me, jumping around the New Testament, looking at the way Jesus reacted to the culture that was around him. It seems Jesus was picky about what he chose to do with culture. He also used the things he was good at (namely, oh, everything) to worship his Father. So what do you use to worship God? I write, sing, reach out and listen.

Saturday afternoon was pretty chilled out. Got to play some Pool (of which I am winning 7 games to NOTHING, my colleague really needs to up his game) and watch the qualifying for the last grand prix of the season. Quite good considering I could've filled my time with a seminar about how to not burn out ;) Thankfully I know exactly what is needed when I am at the end of everything! A bit of sport and a nap!

Saturday evening was Chris Durso. He's passionate and he has a smoking hot wife, apparently (I never saw her!). He really made an impact, being American, he would always. He runs a youth ministry, and you can hear what he has to say about being a misfit here. There is still so much in my head about what I can do with what he said. Spending more time with the young people I know seems to be the number one priority.

We spent one more night in the pub going through the day, crashing through the butts and allowing ourselves time to talk about what had happened. Little sleep followed and Sunday morning came around too quickly!

We started with worship and then moved on to seminars. I attended Double Trouble. It made me realise how much I don't know, but confirmed some truths in me and my work. I want to help the young people who are really struggling to lead a life that is full. I need to know more about who can help them when they are in distress. I have taken one thing from this seminar about talking to the young people and encouraging my volunteer leaders to do the same. We all need to be a positive influence for the young people that we work with.

Back to the main room via a quick chat with a friend, and back to Chris Durso talking about being successful about what we do. I am tempted just to take a picture of my notes at this point and let you read them, but they won't make too much sense to you! There were 4 bible passages... Mark 11, 1 Cor 9:25-27h, 1 Tim 6:12 and Phil 1:21, that's a good lot of scripture there about working hard for God, going that extra mile just to please him. See that your success is not measured in earthly terms, but with the name of Jesus being known by as many people as possible. The men in Mark 11, that go to collect the colt, don't even have names, and they would've already done a lot of hard work to get to the point when Jesus said to them 'go and get me this'. They are just disciples, trustworthy ones, given an important job to do. They don't answer back or ask to ride on the colt. What do you do for God and how do you do it? With a lot of reluctance or with a joyful heart, knowing that your hard work will be rewarded in heaven?

So that's it, conference is over for another year. We have leaders conference, retreat and summit to look forward to in 2013, not to mention all of the other exciting things that are work! Getting out of bed isn't going to be so hard next year.

Sunday, December 09, 2012

Sunday nights are for...

...Church. We have just celebrated advent with our annual carol service. It really was very wonderful, done really well and we even had a the real town crier join us to do some of the readings. We're very blessed with some wonderful people at Christ Church, who know a lot of different languages and have many different talents. I always look forward to this service, the official turning on of the Christmas tree lights and the final addition to the decorations for the tree., or at least the events of football. Today we had an incident at a local derby, in the north, that has once again, sent the game of football into disrepute. After all this time, you would think that throwing something and hitting a player on the pitch wouldn't happen. It does mean that I am going to have to watch MOTD2 to see it.

...Takeaway food and crashing on the sofa, which is where I am about to head after a very long weekend!