Sunday, 14 October 2007

Grace, grace, grace

“Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behaviour. But now he has reconciled you by Christ's physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation - if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel.” – Colossians 1:21-23

Sometimes I have moments where everything seems wonderfully clear. It doesn’t seem simple or easy, but it seems obvious what it is all about. Life is drenched in God’s glory, flooded by grace. Even now as I sit at my desk, my room beset with shadows, and life feeling similar, I feel so utterly covered by wonderful grace.

Once I was far away from God, even opposed to Him…and yet He saw fit to send wave after wave of mercy washing over me, opening my blind eyes to enable me to see and gaze on the beauty and worth of Jesus Christ; lifting me out of the mud and cleaning me up; giving my heart a new song to sing, a song of joy where before there was only despair; shining His light into the shadows of this dark heart; wrapping His arms of love and forgiveness around me; welcoming me into His family; taking away my guilt and shame; giving me clothes of righteousness to wear instead of those old filthy rags I had been clutching at; and giving me an indestructible hope, the hope of the gospel, the hope of glory, the hope of peace with God, of eternity with Him.

And do I deserve any of it?

A resounding NO!

Because this is grace…this is God’s undeserved mercy on a sinner.

And there is nothing I am more thankful for right now.

Tuesday, 9 October 2007

This is a skill I am trying to perfect at the moment:

Being able to fill a hot water bottle with my eyes closed - knowing when I have filled it enough by the pitch of the note made by pouring the water.

RELAY - 2 years on

In September 2005, freshly graduated, I started out on a year of UCCF’s Relay training programme, working with students of Theology and Religious Studies in Cardiff University, under the umbrella of a little-known-about sector of UCCF called the Religious and Theological Studies Fellowship (RTSF) which aims to support theology students studying in secular universities.

Moving to Cardiff from Bristol to do this, my aim was to establish an RTSF group in the theology department. And, having done that, my focus for the year would be to spend my time nurturing this little group, reminding them of God’s light that shines even in the darkness that shrouds our universities’ theology departments, encouraging them to stand firm in the battle that is the lecture theatre, and helping them to see how Jesus’ Great Commission works out in the context of their classroom, with their course-mates and lecturers.

I learnt a lot. I am always in danger of forgetting things that God taught me that year, so I was delighted this afternoon to discover I something I wrote in June 2006, as I finished my Relay year, somewhat more dishevelled and broken than when I began:

“This year doing RTSF Relay in Cardiff has been one of ups and downs. I left the first relay training conference in September really excited about all the amazing things that would happen in Cardiff because of me, because of my amazing personality and skills. I thought Cardiff were so blessed to have someone as gifted as me working alongside them! I quickly discovered that I wasn’t the RTSF expert I thought I was, neither was I a people expert, and though God had blessed me with gifts, I was to use them for His glory alone and to rely on Him alone to work in the hearts of Cardiff’s students.

If I was to summarise the year in a word it would be this: HUMBLING. The work in Cardiff was slow – enthusing people was hard, enthusing myself was even harder! It took ages to get a group off the ground and for most of the year I found it hard to understand the reason why I was there. I didn’t always care about RTSF, I discovered I am much more selfish than I knew I was and that my heart is much more sinful than I thought it was.

But in this, in being broken over my sin and failure, I learned to trust God more than I ever had. I learned important lessons that I never want to forget – that God is faithful; that I can trust Him; that my standing before God isn’t based on what I do or how successful I am; that it is possible to keep on walking, even in the darkness, if only I keep clinging onto the hand of the one who never lets me go; that sin will always be deceitful and I will always be easily deceived, but grace is sufficient to cover all of my transgressions; that sometimes all that keeps us going is the hope of seeing Jesus face to face one day.

It has been an amazing year and there is lots to thank God for. We can thank God that there is now an RTSF group in Cardiff, and that I had the privilege of studying God’s Word with some amazing individuals – but most of all we can thank God for the reality of grace, that we who don’t even deserve a glimpse of the King have been invited into His courts, to sit with Him at His table and spend eternity with Him as His children.”

Tuesday, 2 October 2007


Imagine if...

instead of different flags, countries had different patterned contact lenses! Everyone in the country would have to wear them. It would be easier to tell what nationality someone was.

(Although on reflection...I can't really see how a contact lens could replace a flag since they don't really have the same role.)