Friday, 15 February 2008

the Truth

Coming to the end of a mission week is a first for me, and it is with much joy and a tinge of sadness too.

This week has been the mission week of the University of Manchester Christian Union, entitled 'the Truth'.

The week consisted of 3 evening events:
Monday - Pub quiz with a talk on 'the Truth about God'
Wednesday - 'can a terrorist be forgiven' - the testimony of David Hamilton and a talk on 'the Truth about life'
Friday - a talk on 'the Truth about Jesus'.

and two lunchtime events:
Monday - Lunchbar - 'Where is God in a messed up world?
Thursday - Lunchbar - 'What is true love?'

We have had much to rejoice about - not least the privilage of having Roger Carswell with us, sharing the gospel engagingly, faithfully and relevantly. Here are some highlights:

- it has been fantastic to see the CU - both core members and fringe members - come together around the gospel. To hear stories of conversations with friends, of lots and lots of people inviting friends, and many excited re-tellings of gospel conversations has been so encouraging.
- following on from that, to have seen the gospel faithfully proclaimed to hundreds of students through Roger and through personal evangelism, and to see it beginning to work in people's hearts with question after question coming forth, and many thrilling conversations in which people were pointed to Jesus is amazing!
- to see God answer prayer! We have been praying for the Truth for many months now. At the beginning of both the Monday and Wednesday evening events, at the starting time there were very few people there. In my pathetic faith, each time I got really worried, and each time people streamed through the doors to pack the venue. This, alongside prayers answered for Rogers talks, for individuals' invited friends and much more, it is great to rejoice in the living God who answers prayer!

The tinge of sadness, however, is that none of my friends came. Friends who have been saying they were going to come for a while dropped out. At the end of each of the evenings, I have been overjoyed at many things, but always a little sad that my friends weren't there to hear it. I need to trust that God is sovereign, that he can open blind eyes and can still work, and I need to carry on faithfully sharing the gospel in those relationships!

My prayer is that this week isn't the end. My prayer is that the momentum stays - that CU remains focussed and passionate about proclaiming the good news that we have the awesome privilege of sharing. That together we carry on sharing the gospel with our friends, starting the exciting conversations, and that through us - through the week just gone and the weeks coming up - God would work, to open blind eyes, to shine his light into peoples hearts that they can see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Christ Jesus!

We live in many ways in a post-Christian culture, in a culture extremely alien from the gospel and Christianity, and yet we worship a God who is relevant today, and has the ultimate solution to the human problem. The truth is found in a person - Jesus - and through his life and his work, we might have life! We can be justified, we can know the living God - this is the message for this generation. Though in many ways the students of the University of Manchester seem as far from God as is possible, they are not beyond the reach of the loving God of the universe, and we need to proclaim Christ crucified to them. My prayer is that God would give me boldness, and all of the Christian students in Manchester, and that he would use the words we say and work in hearts through his Spirit - all for his glory! May this week have been just part of an ongoing movement of the gospel being proclaimed and shared here in this university.

Facing a task unfinished
That drives us to our knees
A need that, undiminished
Rebukes our slothful ease
We, who rejoice to know Thee
Renew before Thy throne
The solemn pledge we owe Thee
To go and make Thee known

Where other lords beside Thee
Hold their unhindered sway
Where forces that defied Thee
Defy Thee still today
With none to heed their crying
For life, and love, and light
Unnumbered souls are dying
And pass into the night

O Father who sustained them
O Spirit who inspired
Saviour, whose love constrained them
To toil with zeal untired
From cowardice defend us
From lethargy awake!
Forth on Thine errands send us
To labour for Thy sake

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