This was my 20th birthday, and God blessed me with a lovely day. Church was good; time spent with one of the church families was good (and their children were well behaved – it’s lovely to see them maturing each time I visit!); and when I got home I found Lee had left me a lovely birthday present! All in all a rather nice day methinks.
This week was RUCU’s prayer week. I was rather disappointed by the turnout to the engineering prayer slot – only Lee and I were there – but by Monday the timetable for the week hadn’t been sent out so people probably just forgot about it. We prayed about the Bridges hall event which was happening that afternoon for a while, then went over to Bridges for it. It was a success, but not a huge one. We had hoped to play games on the field outside Bridges and have a refreshments stand with goody bags (or Gody bags as one person named them) containing information about the small group and the CU, a testimony, a FREE gospel and of course some sweets. As it happened the day wasn’t as sunny as would have been ideal, but a few people came by personal invitation and had some interesting conversations. A number of passers by also took goody bags, and one stayed to chat about the gospel for a few minutes. There weren’t many people, and no-one committed to coming to anything in the future, or anything like that, but the gospel was heard by non-Christians so I pray and trust God will use the event.
It was on Tuesday I learnt a lesson which will undoubtedly stand me in good stead for future prayer weeks – spread the prayer out! I hadn’t deliberately tried to put all of it together, but it had worked out that from 9am until 4pm I was either meeting people on the RUCU committee or praying with various groups of people. In the evening I went to church for the Bible study and prayer meeting, and while it was wonderful to spend so large a proportion of the day in prayer it was very tiring, and more importantly it didn’t particularly help increase my desire to pray as I became less focused on God and more focused on meeting my commitments.
Once again there was a disgustingly early committee meeting at 9 in the morning. Afterwards I filled the time until Idol Chatter (at 2pm) with the morning ablutions I’d skipped after getting up late and my main session of Bible reading and prayer for the day. Idol Chatter was very helpful and practical. It was great to go through some well thought out examples of how to identify idols in the lives of others and sensitively deal with them, but probably more helpful to me personally was the recognition it brought of needing to get to know people more deeply by sharing my own heart with them. There was a joint prayer meeting with Speak, the Christian social action group, which took place after Idol Chatter. Only three people (including myself) who don’t normally go to Speak were there, which was very disappointing, but it was good to pray for issues I rarely remember in prayer. Once home I ate dinner and then mucked about with my housemates for a while. I can’t remember the exact events of the evening, but I do remember accidentally dropping Lee’s slipper out of my bedroom window onto the roof below. Yes, I know it sounds ludicrous that it could be an accident, but I assure you it was. We eventually got it back by fishing for it with a leaf rake, after a few failed attempts to get onto the roof which were abandoned when our ladder (found left behind by previous tenants, and with a rung and several screws missing) gave an unceremonious cracking sound while I was standing on it. Added to that it wasn’t really tall enough, and I don’t have enough upper body strength to pull myself up the sort of distance I would have had to. Once the slipper was restored to Lee and relative sanity restored to the house, I caught up on reading blog posts and helped Andy reply to an email he received off the back of a goody bag from Monday, which was a great encouragemet to us both
10am was the start of Thursday for me, as it was when I met Josh to pray. Meeting Josh in any context is always a fantastic encouragement, and it’s a joy to pray with anyone, so combining the two was a real privilege. Once home I took advantage of the fine weather and went into the garden for a quiet time which particularly struck me. In the afternoon I met Gareth, also always encouraging, and he was kind enough to shelve any plans he had for the meeting (though to be fair he may not have had any) and give me the benefit of his organisational ability which I hardly need to say is considerably greater than mine. After my meeting with him I went and prayed with the Bridges small group and then had the RUCU main meeting in the evening. The meeting went well with a talk from Jim Hillier which was both entertaining and, I would opine, very helpful. Certainly his openness and honesty seemed to help a lot of people connect with what he was saying.
Friday was one of those days during which I work hard, do loads of useful jobs, but then when I take stock at the end of the day nothing seems to have changed. I made good use of my time, which is sufficiently unusual for me to be an encouragement in and of itself, but the things I did all seemed to be small tasks. Still, they needed doing, so it was with a sense of a day well spent that I went to a meal at Dan’s house in the evening. I’m not a great socialiser, but it was a good time with some good friends, and Dan’s policy of putting me at the front of the queue when food was served successfully ensured I finished eating around the same time as everyone else. The skittles milkshake he made me was interesting – it would appear that his blender is somewhat defunct, and is incapable of blending skittles, so I essentially had a faintly flavoured milkshake with a huge lump of wet skittles at the bottom of it. It tasted good!
Sadly Saturday was not as productive as the Friday which preceded it. It got off to a bad start when my getting up was foiled 3 times by housemates getting in the shower before me. I must admit I was somewhat shocked that so many of us were wanting showers at around 11am, but we’d obviously all wanted lie-ins. Once we were all successfully washed, we had the pleasure of the company of the girls who we knew particulary well in the Bridges small group last year. We had a full english breakfast as brunch, and by the time washing up was done a considerable portion of the day was used up. I finished Prince of Persia, which probably won’t help me persuade Gareth that I’m not addicted to it, and got some reading done which was wonderful as I seem sadly unable to read books when I’m in Reading. I suspect the cause is more likely to be my computer, but it seems more of an issue in Reading than Leeds. I’m part way through many books, as I’m one of these people who buys books at a faster rate than I read them, but the two I’m actively reading at the moment are Don’t Waste Your Life (link to pdf – large file) by John Piper, which I bought a long time ago (possibly at the RUCU houseparty 2007?) but recently restarted after giving up only two chapters into the book, and A Call to Spiritual Reformation by Don Carson which I purchased after the glowing review it received from Dan Bailyes at main meeting this week. I trust the Lord will bless me from both of them.