He is able

Today was marks my last weekend as a free man. Next week my insane timetable kicks off with a solid 9 – 5 of lectures and dissection which promises to be riveting, as always. But today was good. We had a picnic in the park. It was great seeing so many freshers attend; it still astounds me how much of a success Fresher’s fair was – almost 300 sign ups!

He is able.

BThe elder tree

Advertisements

Moving mountains

Today we had a church welcome party for new and returning members of St. Helens and in a word, it was amazing!

Last year in halls, one of my friends there was the super atheist, always used to shoot down my other friend who tried to talk to him, today, he turned up to the welcome party on his own back, absolutely amazing! And this other guy from my course showed up too, totally out of the blue which further added to my felicity. In addition, one of my medic children turned out to be a Christian and is so keen to come to our open house tomorrow, I can’t wait to go!

This whole week has blown my mind, shattered my expectations. It’s shown me that, I guess, you really can’t put a barrier in front of what God wants to do. When we think ‘oh they’re probably not even interested’, we might be totally off the mark.

B

Sunsets and silhouettes

The weather today can only be described as perfect.  So what better way to spend a Monday evening than watching the sun go down over the London skyline? In doing so, I also stumbled upon a filming crew and may one day be gracing your televisions in a, what I can only describe as stellar cameo performance. Don’t touch that dial!

 

B
Sunsets and Silhouettes Sunsets and Silhouettes-3 Sunsets and Silhouettes-2
Sunsets and Silhouettes-4 Sunsets and Silhouettes-5

Stepping out of the boat

This last week was the international freshers orientation programme at our university, and out CU have been running events helping them settle into London as it can be a scary place for the first time on your own and get to know other guys moving in from all over the world. It has been so much bigger than I ever thought it could have been!

At first, I was pretty hesitant about helping out on this, but I went along to some of the events and there has been so much interest, this could only have been God at work. There have been great conversations all round with the new guys, we’ve had some great times, I had my second Chinese ever! Last night we went on a twilight tour of London and were treated to a reggae cover of Stand By Me at Trafalgar Square; it’s going to be a big year.

So this evening I’m meeting my medic children for the first time, a scheme to help out first years settle in to the RUMS way of life and I’m pretty hyped! I can’t believe it’s already been a year since I started the seemingly impossible journey. As a result, I went to a morning service at Euston Church, which was lovely! But it turned out that there was a mix up of church searches which meant a truckload of freshers turned up to this one service, lots of whom are now on board for our stuff later on this week, which couldn’t have worked out better!

So at present, in feeling pretty good about the whole thing. On Tuesday, we are tackling the biggest party halls, talking to freshers about who we are and what we do. I’m not gonna lie, the sheer prospect of something like this chills me to my very core, I’ve never been good at talking to people about God but Peter had never been good at walking on water either, through God I’m praying that he can help me step out of the boat this week.

B

Chinatown Chinatown-5 Chinatown-4 Chinatown-3 Chinatown-2 Chinatown-6 Chinatown Chinatown-2 Chinatown-3 Chinatown-4 Chinatown-5

Friday

Lots has happened this week! But due to lack of internet and 37GB (safe to say, Three are probably regretting using the words unlimited in my contract) but it’s been fun seeing everyone back at uni, exploring London, and sharing life together!

Today I tried to tick two things off my London list – see a sunshine over Waterloo Bridge and visit a rooftop garden.

The first was foiled by our classic English weather – horrendously overcast and miserable, despite the valiant efforts of Accuweather. It did, however, give me an opportunity to have some fun with light trails which I’d never done before, and experience the joys of the 5am Routemaster.

For the rest of the day, I caught up with my friend Kloe as we walked around London in search of the Roof Gardens, Babylon. After walking for roughly three hours in what was now blistering heat, we were coldly turned away by a unsympathetic receptionist who informed us someone had booked out all the floors for a private function; in London, money talks.

On the plus side, it was pizza day today, and it was good.

B

Stop Stop-2 Stop-9 Stop-4 Stop-5 Stop-6 Stop-10 Stop-12

Stop

Stop

East London

Frank

So for the week, I’ve got the flat to myself, which means a lot of sitting around and watching TV. However, this evening, I decided to finish something I started a while ago, the joiner of Frank the Mirrlees tree. It took way more time than I’d anticipated and somehow, even though I took over 60 pictures, there were still bits of the tree missing! Now for the rest of the walls…

 

BFrank

Metro-boulot-dodo

Metro-boulot-dodo

It may not be as nice as the gilded streets of Mayfair, but Islington too has its quaint little easter eggs of charm

London bound

Well, I’m already here, but we haven’t sorted out internet in our house yet so I’m relying on Three to get me through the next week and a half. It’s funny how you never really realise how much you need something until you no longer have it. I find myself genuinely considering entering a Starbucks or equivalent, just for the feel of WiFi! (well, I would if I could afford it right now!)

So I’ve finally moved in to my new house! I’m sharing with a few medics and some more friends from university. The first few days have been an experience, but I’m sort of getting used to the idea of being in a proper house on my own (I mean, it’s not like I left the back door completely ajar for a whole day out or anything)

I cooked my first meal on my own! Which went quite well I have to admit! Given, it was flanked on either side with many a McDonald’s but hopefully this means that I may have a chance of making it through second year alive.

My last days at home were nice, It definitely wasn’t as big a thing as moving out last year, but I think my parents are beginning to realise that in four years time my sister will move out again and the empty nest syndrome will kick in, which made for quite a sad little conversation! I think my sister is also showing some more emotion, she actually gave me a hug as I left, which is a massive thing for her, haha!

We went out as a family for dinner on the last night which was lovely. My mum has quite a conservative palette, which means we don’t really have variety in our eateries, Italian is probably as adventurous as it gets in our house. However,  we decided to go to French (although, it probably isn’t really) and head out to Cafe Rouge. It was absolutely delicious, I had a rib eye steak, dad had some chicken, mum had a beautifully sautéed chicken in wine and cream sauce and my sister had what she claims to be the nicest burger she’s ever eaten, and we’ve eaten some good burgers! The restaurant looked really nice too, even though I know it’s a chain, I love all the little touches that go into its design. So all in all, glowing reviews for Cafe Rouge Didsbury!

I’m unsure what to feel on my approach to second year. On the one hand, I’m really excited to see everyone again, do some really cool stuff, join new societies and even learning, as doing limbs as after this year we’ll know so much of the body, we might begin to be useful! However, it’s exactly this that fills me with absolute dread. Over the 4 month summer I’ve forgotten the concept of hard work, so Wednesday should be interesting to say the least.

Cafe Rouge-1 Cafe Rouge-2 Cafe Rouge-3 Cafe Rouge-4 Cafe Rouge-5 Cafe Rouge-6 Cafe Rouge-7 Cafe Rouge-8 Cafe Rouge-9

 

Bite sized gospel

One reason why I really love my church is how much everyone looks out for each other. This was a major thing as a first year looking to join somewhere new. My friend had the worst experience of it all, 6 months of being a regular, she was still getting pamphlets inviting her to the newcomers events. 

One-to-one bible studies offered by St. Helens are neat, they’ve really got me digging into the bible and today, I thought I’d spice up my prep by turning it into a blog post as today’s study is on one of my favourite bits of Ephesians – 2:1-10. 

I love this passage because it’s almost like the entire gospel condensed into a paragraph. It opens up with Paul painting a picture of us, how truly fallen we were. “dead in the trespasses and sins in which you once walked“, “[following a] spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobediencechildren of wrath“. Pretty bad. And he tells us how this is happening, by living in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of our bodies, not God’s. I think he does mean to be graphic here, for what does dead mean but lifeless? No longer as self sufficient as we’d like to think. Helpless. Dead. It’s a real bleak situation.

But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with christ. By grace you have been saved – and raised us up with Him and seated us with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, …[that] he might show us the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us” 

This is the gospel, this is the good news! We don’t deserve even a fragment of this, having purposefully turned our backs on the very God who created us and followed our own way into death, Christ takes that wrath that we were destined for. Like in the well known story of the prodigal son, whilst we were still a long way off, our father runs towards us, throws his arms around us and lavishes us with the immeasurable riches of his grace. He doesn’t hold a grudge, but seats us up with him, I can’t really grasp this concept because it’s so alien to give so much to someone who has taken so much from you. 

And because he knows what we’re like as people, as human beings, we suck at taking gifts, there’s always got to be a catch, a hidden fee. No. It’s “not a result of works, so no one may boast”. The whole point of grace is that it’s undeserved, unmerited favour. All we have to do is accept his gift.