Antics and Ramblings of Kat

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Pancakes...yum!

I like pancakes. I always have done. Once, at my youth group (way back in the day!) we experimented with food colouring... and girls being girls, and boys being boys, we ended up with pinky-purple and black(!) pancakes accordingly!

Last year's pancake related exploits in St Pat's were just before mission week, so the cell groups hosted a free pancake evening for the residents of our hall. It was great fun, if a little hot and frantic at some points! Not sure I'll ever experience a Shrove Tuesday like that again... but man, was it fun!!

Tonight promises to be somewhat more sedate... having taken some time-out from working to whisk together some pancake batter (from scratch, much to my housemate's surprise... and why not, it's very easy!) so I can indulge later on... And my favourite topping? Lemon and sugar... I like to keep it classic!

Monday, February 27, 2006

The end of HOPE is not the end...

HOPE 2006 was awesome. I (and the CU Exec) had to miss the last evening meeting as we were going away for the weekend, but what I was there for was incredible. God was so clearly present and moving and carrying out his work on Reading Campus. It was so amazing as we were miles away from Reading on Friday night to be receiving texts from people who were at the evening event telling us that people were having their lives changed... and giving their lives over to Jesus. AMAZING!!

Even as we sat and prayed for our university, we received another text telling us of another one saved. Three in total on Friday, that we knew of. Most excitingly for me, are the changes that I've seen happen in some of the people that have attended CEX. I've seen them explore their questions, and make connections... seen those lightbulbs appear over their heads! It's so exciting to hear that they've committed to following Jesus, and that the questions they had have been answered, and that God has spoken into their hearts and lives. I'm so looking forward to CEX tonight. The topic: Jesus' resurrection. Such an exciting topic to look into after such an amazing week.

HOPE 2006 may be over, but the work doesn't stop here. People at Reading still need to hear the good news of Jesus. We need to keep on telling others, and living out our faith in our homes, lectures and social lives. It was great this weekend to meet with others seeking to do the same thing at their universities all over the South East, and to share ideas and here what things worked to help share the gospel that little bit more... This year, and beyond is going to be exciting. I can feel it!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

HOPE: Day 3

Wednesday's are always tiring. There's the knowledge that you're half way through the week, but there's still a far way to go before the weekend. But yesterday was fun (apart from a 9am lecture... but these things can't be helped sometimes, I guess!)

I didn't make the lunchtime talk today, as my friend Dan and I were meeting up with his housemate Paul (known to the majority as Pablo!) to play pool and generally celebrate his birthday. It was also good to get to know Pablo better... united in our efforts to beat Dan at pool! (And we managed it a few times too... victory made sweeter by the fact that Dan is Ultra Competitive... :) ) The night before, at the sports quiz after evening talk, we'd also discovered that our sports knowledge really wasn't up to scratch... I think that pained Dan somewhat!

After doing some work in the afternoon (it had to happen at some point - work has very much taken a back seat this week, however!) it was time to head out to the evening talk, with Graham speaking on "The Hope of the Gift". I certainly can't speak for everyone in the room last night, but the message of the talk definitely hit home to me. A real challenge to my attitude towards telling other people about Jesus. Amazing.

Well, now I must procrastinate no more and get on with preparing for my seminar tomorrow... ontology, epistemology and methodology of geography, anyone?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Introducing...

The Fiance

(you can call him Stephen if you like)

HOPE: Day 2

Yesterday, I managed to extract myself from bed to get to the team meeting. It was a great time to reflect on the previous day's happenings (especially in regard to events happening over at Bulmershe or the international events, which many of us weren't able to go to) and praise God for what he has been doing and what he has yet to do!

Lunchtime brought another free lunch and a discussion on "Don't all religions lead to God?" HumSS 25 was fairly full to the brim, and a good few questions were posed. Sadly, my group members for a project I'm doing at the moment in Geography preferred to do statistics than come and eat free food and hear the talk... we can but try!

"The Hope of New Life" was the topic brought to us by Graham in the evening, focusing on the fact that there's nothing we can do to gain eternal life... we're not good enough. In the story of the rich young ruler, who comes to Jesus and asks "what good thing must I do to get eternal life?" Jesus tells him that he must keep the ten commandments, and particularly highlights one that he knows the young man can't keep. Jesus tells the young man to sell all his possessions, knowing that he won't be able to do this.

There's nothing that we can do to gain eternal life. We're not good enough. Even the nicest of people have their flaws, and have thoughts and deeds in their past that they'd rather keep hidden. In fact, to be a Christian, you have to realise that you're bad enough. But the great thing is that Jesus' death and resurrection means that we don't have to be good enough. Jesus, the only perfect man ever, led a blameless and sinless life in order that he could be the perfect sacrifice for us and our sin. Letting us have a way back to God, and a way out of our sin, if we accept him into our lives and recognise him for who he is.

That never fails to blow my mind.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

HOPE: Day 1

Just for now, you will have to humour me and pretend that it's Monday. My idea of live-blogging this week has, for now, turned into retro-blogging due to my great need of sleep last night... it's a tiring business, all this talk of HOPE!

I have to admit, I didn't get off to a great start yesterday... tiredness and the temptation of the snooze button kicked in, meaning I didn't make it to the first team meeting at 10am yesterday morning. (What it is to be a student...!) I did however get to the lunchtime talk, given by Tom Price on the subject "Does God Exist?" It was great to have a good turnout, and hear Tom faithfully and clearly preach the gospel.

I then had to dash and go and do some work, as unfortunately my lecturers don't understand that this week is a busy one!

Later, it was time to head towards the Blue Rooms for the evening talk (The Hope of the Son), firstly via the Union to meet up with any guys from CEX that wanted to come along -- after all, it can certainly be pretty daunting to walk into a room full of people you don't know! It was wonderful to have four of our regular attendees there, as well as two friends of a couple of the girls! I find it amazing that these guys, not even Christians yet, are better at inviting people along to events than I am... What a challenge to me and how I share the gospel with my friends!

Graham Daniels from Christians in Sport gave a great talk, relating his personal stories with those in the Bible, and challenging people to think about whether they're stuck with Christianity because they think it's either weird, irrelevant or untrue. A mixture of entertaining and engaging speaking, coupled with the solid truth of the gospel. Personally, I couldn't ask for anything more!

Then, if all that wasn't enough, it was time to head over to St Pat's to host a free pancake drop-in... the response to which, I think, exceeded all of our humble expectations. Conversations were had, pancakes were eaten, and possibly the greatest number of people ever were crammed into a pretty small kitchen! Good times.

Then it was time to head home and off to bed... ready to face another day of HOPE on campus!

Monday, February 20, 2006

Catching my breath...

So much has happened since I last posted... and it's all exciting! So I hope you're sitting comfortably...

I spent much of last week trying to take things easy, as I was a little under the weather - and as soon as I tried to do anything too ambitious, I ended up having to rest even more! As a consequence, I ended up having to have an enforced break from my usual evening activities of CEX, cell group and Christian Union... but perhaps on one hand God was just trying to teach me a lesson in relaxing in Him rather than doing all the time!

However, the weekend was somewhat more action-packed. Stephen (The Fiance) came to visit on Friday for our late semi-Valentines evening together... which involved lots of pizza, telly and wine! We're of the opinion that you don't need to have a fancy evening out to celebrate something... it's often the simpler things in life that are best!

Saturday was the CEX day away, which was time spent away from campus and other distractions to meet together and talk about Christian life. We had four sets of DVD and discussion, focussing on the Bible, prayer, the Holy Spirit and the church. Throughout the whole course so far, not only has it been such a privilege and a joy to take these guys through exploring what Christianity is all about; it's also been so amazing for me too to be reminded of the fundamental truths of my faith... God has used this course to teach me just as much as the non-Christians that have been coming to us!

I spent my Sunday mainly at my Reading church, Greyfriars, and spent some time getting to know a few more people at my church over a wonderful roast dinner. It was so inspiring to hear one particular couple talk about how they'd seen God work in their lives, and the number of times they'd stepped out in faith because God had told them to, and he'd honoured them because they'd listened to him. Conversations like that is why I love being in a church that has such diversity... others have so much that we can learn from, from their own experiences... yesterday made me realise yet again how amazing my God is!

Then, before we knew it, it was time to head back to the church hall where RUCU were gathering for the launch of HOPE 2006. After so much preparation and anticipation, HOPE week is finally here... and what an air of anticipation there is. I can't wait to see what God is going to do this week... and way beyond!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

My Kind of Sport...


Curling.

I love it!

I'd forgotten quite how much until the Winter Olympics graced our screens once again... and, you know, I think I prefer the Winter Olympics to the normal variety!

I'll be the first to admit, I don't understand the intricacies of this game. But there's something undeniably appealing to me about people wielding brooms, sweeping that ice in a frenzied fashion, sliding those stones at a target and wearing those special slidy shoes!

(I discovered the other day, whilst enjoying the curling coverage, that the shoes have special slidy soles that help them glide oh-so-gracefully across the ice, but they also have a grip pad that they can take on and off when they don't need to slide anywhere! Ingenious!!)

What's more, it seems we Brits actually have something of a talent for the sport... at the Olympics in Salt Lake City in 2002, the women's team won gold. And this year, we don't seem to be doing too badly either, with both the men's and women's teams in joint first position at the top of their leaderboards! (At the time of writing, of course. Check out the latest results here!)

What a sport.

Currently, the other thing bringing a smile to my face is courtesy of Google, who are certainly entering into the spirit of Torino 2006 with lovely themed images of different winter sports. You can see my favourite to the left. I'm sure you'll agree, it's a little more interesting than the norm!

My Dissertation

I anticipate that this will certainly not be the last time you hear this lovely topic mentioned!

My first draft dissertation title is due in tomorrow... but being the compulsively organised soul that I am, I'm going to hand it in today. It seems a scarier prospect than it actually is, as my topic is by no means set in stone... I haven't passed the point of no return yet - far from it!

I've chosen to base my dissertation on my lovely home town of Milton Keynes - and if you're thinking negative thoughts here, then you've hit on the topic of said dissertation! I want to examine the image that Milton Keynes has given itself, and indeed been given by other sources such as the media... that's the plan, anyway!

I'm thinking it's a feasible study, but seeing as my personal tutor doesn't want to see me until next week (beyond the deadline, let me emphasise) I haven't had much 'expert' input! But we shall see... I get a supervisor assigned to me sometime next week, who should be a "specialist in the field"... love that phrase, always makes me think of a person standing in a field with a bunch of cows!!

Needless to say, I'll keep you posted... I must admit to being a little daunted - I've never really taken on a project that's taken a year to complete before... unless you count my road (no pun intended!) to driving success!

But I do like a challenge.. and I have no doubt that this project will be just that.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Eventful Times...

This last week has been quite an eventful one... starting with last Wednesday evening when, after dinner, my usually trusty laptop wouldn't boot up past a certain point. Oh dear, I thought. Although I'm pretty computer-savvy up to a point, I tried various methods to try and solve this problem to no avail. I then called Stephen (The Fiance), who is often very handy in situations where I am Technically Challenged, but he couldn't come up with any suggestions that worked.

Roll on to Friday, when The Fiance arrived in person (and I'd been computer-less for nearly 2 days. Most distressing) and renewed his attempts to solve the problem. Alas, he could not find a solution. I then dug out my PC World coverplan (knew there was a reason for taking that out!) and called up a Friendly Man, who immediately told us my poor lappy had a virus. Unfortunately, the only cure for said virus was to restore the operating system, which means I have lost all the files that weren't backed up... most annoying!

However, on the plus side, my computer is now back up and running, and I have switched my anti-virus software allegiance from one giant company to another!

The weekend took me away to the distant land of Leamington Spa, where I was attending a training weekend for the CYFA Venture (a Christian youth holiday) I help to lead in the summer, Jodrell Bank 2. It was a good opportunity to catch up with people I last saw six months ago, and also to discuss our ideas and strategies for the summer. One of our main challenges is to try and make the Venture more Bible-focused, as last year many of the members were often without their Bibles in meetings where they needed them. Our challenge is to help this group of teenagers realise how important the Bible is for them and their lives, and that's not just a book that's far removed from them and their situations. We came up with a lot of ideas, but who can say how successful we'll be until the time comes... What does seem certain is that in the same way Christ is an example for us, we need to be an example to the young people coming on our Venture to show them Jesus... not just with our Bibles but in everything we do! What a glorious challenge!

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Montage of Miriam

I've been threatening to do this for a while... and now seems an ideal time to do so! Over the past few months, I've managed to collect quite a few photos of our dear Miri, not all of which could be said to be the most flattering... so here we have it, a little tribute to the lovely lady that is Miriam Gray!



I hope you enjoy it... and Miri, I hope you're still speaking to me!!

Monday, February 06, 2006

Christianity Explored

Well, it's been a while since I last blogged... but I tend to go in peaks and troughs with these things. I've always been particularly bad at keeping a diary, but at least I'm better with this! Hopefully I'll be updating more regularly for the next few weeks!

Monday evenings currently mean only one thing: Christianity Explored (or CEX, as it's more affectionately known - and it's easier to type, too).

I have the amazing privilege, along with four other guys, to help people learn about the gospel, about who Jesus is and what he did for us... and how amazing is that?!

It's so great to be able to show the guys that come that Christians are, actually, normal people who like to eat lots of chocolate cake and have a sense of humour. And, in the case of Ed, like to wear the meal we're about to eat. Perhaps he was saving it for later, or experimenting with some kind of tramp-chic; who can tell!

All I know is, God is doing amazing things. And I'm excited to be able to share with people the best news ever; that Jesus died for us so that we could be free. That God is totally interested in us, in our lives, and that he wants to get to know us and have a relationship with us. And that he loves us despite our imperfections and our tendency to fail over and over again. That is one awesome God!