Unashamed, Exposed, Available, Open and Expectant: Cardiff CU Houseparty 2011

Hey all – sorry that this blog has been so quiet for the last week or so. I’ve been so busy! I’ve had loads of work to do, essays to start and complete and lots of deadlines. But all is finished for now, at least, and therefore the blogging shall resume!

I’ve had a brilliant week being refreshed, encouraged, inspired and challenged at the Cardiff University Christian Union annual Houseparty. The CU has just finished a missions week where we saw loads of people come to faith in Jesus as well as many who want to know more about this bloke who is the God-man, the guy we all follow, worship and count on as our Saviour, Redeemer, Rescuer, Friend and King. The weekend away served as a time of refilling ready for more mission – we still have the Carol Service and a Lunch Bar evangelistic event to go before we go away for the Christmas break.

God taught me a lot through the weekend. I met some amazing freshers and caught up with old friends. It was a sweet, sweet time. We had John Richards (a minister from North Wales) talking to us about Jesus (which is always good) and evangelism. We had spirit filled worship and some great fellowship over food.

Here’s five things that I’ve learnt over the weekend;

  1. We must never lose our enthusiasm for the Gospel: I drove to Houseparty with all the PA and music equipment with my friend Beth, who’s a second year. For part of the journey, I was complaining to her about how the freshers annoy me because they’re so enthusiastic about faith, and that they’re living in a dream world if they think that they can claim the capital for Jesus. Over the weekend, God told me to shut up and to get that fresher enthusiasm back. Those freshers carry our CU when we 2 year + students don’t prioritise God in our lives and become excited by him. So thank you, freshers!
  2. God affirmed my conviction that CUs (and the Church) need times of prayer ministry which is active and Spirit led: On Saturday night we had a late night worship time called UNITE. It was a time to worship God some more through song. However, God’s been teaching me and humbling me a lot about prayer and ministry and I’ve felt for a while at CU that we don’t do this at all. We tend to just pray for events. There was little if anything of laying on of hands, inviting the Spirit to refresh and refill us… until Saturday night. I felt God saying that I should get up and tell those who were at UNITE these things… so I did. And from that we went into a massive time of praise, ministry and prayer. There were words, prophecies, and all sorts of other things going on… it all went a bit crazy; all God – nothing of me. Through that, I felt humbled and changed by the sight of people getting up and sticking their necks on the line for God. People coming out of their comfort zones and laying themselves out to be fools for him. An amazing thing to see in our CU. I’m praying that this time will spill over into our main meetings at CU – it’s only through the empowerment of the Spirit that we can fulfil the aim and mission of our CU.
  3. We need to nurture our times of fellowship together as Christians: Jesus put massive emphasis on “being”. Being with each other. Eating together. I guess this also comes under ministering to each other. But yeah – growing our relationships as brothers and sisters. This happened a lot at CU Houseparty, and I’m looking forward to investing time in some of the new friends I made at the weekend away. Let us be people of fellowship, relationship, friendship.
  4. I’ve realised how much I love leading worship:Β Saturday morning was the first time I led worship at CU since handing my responsibility over as Worship Coordinator for the CU. I’ve since been leading worship at church more and it’s been great. Though I find it very easy to rely too much on my feelings when it comes to worship. Choosing to worship when you don’t feel like it is a massive thing to do – and God calls us to worship when we don’t feel like it. At the weekend away, I was totally up for worshipping God, and through that he showed me just how much importance we should place on corporate, sung worship. It uplifts the soul, it encourages one another, it is even just a small glimpse of what heaven will be like, it helps us communicate with God. It praises him.
  5. Houseparty reminded me that we live in a real world with real problems and that we hold the real answer to life’s most ultimate questions: It’s great being in a massive manor house with loads of Christians, but that isn’t the real world. We are, as Christians, cities on hills, lights, salt, and all those other things. It’s our job to get out there and get into the world to be Jesus’ hands and feet, spreading the Good News. These weekends away are definitely needed, but when we come back from them, we need to do something with what we’ve learnt. There needs to be a transfer of energy. We are blessed in order to be a blessing.
So yeah – that’s what I’ve learnt this weekend. What has God been teaching you? I’d love to know πŸ™‚

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Dean Roberts

Dean is a Minister in the Anglican Church. Currently he is Curate in the parishes of Bedwas, Machen, Michaelston-y-Fedw and Rudry in South Wales. He was born and bred in Wales, is married to Megan, and has two dogs called Taliesin and Melyn, and two cats named Sinsir and HΓ’f. He graduated from Cardiff University with a BA Hons. in Theology & Religious Studies, and has studied for an MA in Theology, Ministry & Mission at Trinity College Bristol. He also holds a Cert.RSCM from the Royal School of Church Music. He loves playing music, walking, reading, blogging and horse riding as well as going to the cinema and theatre. Read More @ http://deanroberts.net/about

  • Dean – interesting post, encouraged to hear of whats going on in Cardiff.

    Just a thought – why do you think you need a prticular kind of prayer ministry in the CU? I would say that is an easy way to kill unity, scare some people, and get people off mission. Possibly, I think, there is a place for it being optional, or at prayer meetings, but I don’t tihnk its a CU thing. As Charismatics we need to be careful that we don’t end up imlicitly saying we have a handle on being spirit filled.

     

    Not sure that made sense, but I hope you get my gist.

    Cheers

    • Tom, thanks for the comment πŸ™‚

      Prayer ministry is commanded in the Bible. We’re exhorted to pray for one another, to lift one another up. When I shared what God had laid on my heart at UNITE, I said that it wasn’t about ‘pulling the Holy Spirit out of a magical bag’ and causing people to shake, roll over, fall to the floor, speak in tongues etc etc. It’s about asking God to fill us with his life giving spirit. To me, that is Biblical.

      Off the back of that, if charismatics take that to be speaking in tongues and other things, then that’s great. For those who are skeptical and may not believe in those things, then it could be simply standing in silence with someone laying hands on them asking God to bless them etc.

      In light of that, there’s no room for disunity at all. Moreover, people who argue in CUs about spiritual gifts are not uniting on the right things, are they? CUs unite on Gospel truths as opposed to practice of worship and stylistic elements, which is something we stressed at the UNITE gathering. And because of those things, God moved in our prayer ministry. And I’m sure some people who were challenged by God to change positions on their thinking about the Spirit, or at least to appreciate those who are more ‘wacky’ (whether that means appreciating charismatics or straight jacket conservatives πŸ˜‰ – all this labelling is in jest of course πŸ™‚ ).

      Prayer ministry is always about being vulnerable before God, and open to what he does, regardless of whether you’re a crazy pentecostal or an orthodox evangelical. There aren’t these labels before God, just merely sons and daughters who are in this hands. He is the potter, we are the clay.

      • Ok… Think you took the wrong thing out of that – I’m just warning against imposing specific things on people. Prayer ministry as certain people may practice it may or may not be specifically biblical – praying for people with hands laid on can be calm – or it can be mental, spirit filled, and ‘messy’. We need to be careful of what we are saying.

        On another note, do be careful with labelling “orthodox evangelicals” and “crazy pentecostals”. Thats the sort of talk that can have a negative effect.

        I’m absolutely pro CU prayer – I think it needs to be tied specifically to mission. Our churches send us out – so our chruch small groups and student groups should comission us. I love grabbing people not doing anything during evange events, and hunkering down in a corner to pray over an event – prayer before drunig and after evange events always changes things.

        • Completely get your points Tom, but please don’t misunderstand – the labelling is all done in jest πŸ™‚