Monthly Archives: February 2017

Double Dunking

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To God be the glory, great things he hath done,
So loved he the world that He gave us his son
Who yielded His life an atonement for sin,
And opened the life gate that all may go in.

Oh perfect redemption, the purchase of blood,
To every believer the promise of God
The vilest offender who truly believes
That moment from Jesus, a pardon receives

I’m writing this because I can’t quite contain my joy to the few lines of my diary. I’ve said many times that I love weddings but there is another service that I would argue is equally exciting and that’s baptisms. Last night I got to witness sixteen people, yes sixteen, declare their faith and get baptised and/or confirmed across two services. I actually had a clash of baptisms meaning I had to run across town 27 Dresses style but what a happy clash it was to have. Watching your friends get baptised really is incredible.

I got to hear so many testimonies too. It’s always exciting to hear how your friends came to Jesus. There were testimonies of people going through every kind of hardship imaginable, truly incredible miracles, persecution to stories of groundbreaking salvation just in the seemingly everyday.  Stories that make you stand back and just think, how is that even possible? to stories that make you think that could be me! It was also so great to be able to support friends that had overcome personal obstacles just to actually get baptised and share it with people. Friends that I had seen come to faith without even realising it.

Whether stood right next to the pool as friends got baptised or having to stand up on the balcony of an absolutely packed out church, people cheering and applauding, the whole family was celebrating. It made me think back to my own confirmation. I can’t tell you when I became a Christian because I don’t know. I don’t know when I was saved but when I was about twelve I made a commitment to follow Jesus. I might not have known exactly what it entailed or even the magnitude of what it was all about but it’s a commitment I stand by. A while ago I wanted to follow Jesus because it was easy and it was fun. I have since learnt two things: 1. it is not always easy and it is not always fun. 2. it is still always worth it. This is a commitment I haven’t turned back on and don’t plan on either and it was simply amazing to share that same feeling with everyone on Sunday. Simply knowing that no matter who you are, even the vilest offender, can be put right with God and join the celebration.

Both services were just overflowing with hope, there was a real sense of eternal glory all around, singing your heart out knowing this joy and excitement is something that will last forever. Right there, together, we were Kingdom building and I got to be a part of it. I can’t think of many things more exciting than literally seeing God’s family grow knowing you will get to share it forever, it definitely puts some of the things in this world into perspective. I was just so happy I couldn’t contain it, from beginning to end I just couldn’t stop the smile bursting. I often get very scared talking to people about Jesus but looking around, if this is the Kingdom I’m inviting them too, this hands-in-the-air, tears-in-the-eye joy, why wouldn’t I?

The Bible tells us to repent because the Kingdom of God is near (Matt 3:2, Matt 4:17, Mark 1:15). I used to think this meant say sorry quick because we never know when God is coming back and it could be soon. Not quite. Turn around and see the Kingdom here on earth. This weekend I got to taste and see a little glimpse of the Kingdom and it was great.

We often sing a song with a very simple bridge, but if it is true, it changes everything:

I have decided to follow Jesus, no turning back, no turning back.
The Cross before me, the world behind me, no turning back, no turning back.

This right here, is the Kingdom I want to be a part of, it’s joy beyond understanding 🙂

Strictly Special

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I’m a big fan of Strictly Come Dancing. Call me an old woman but that is how I like to spend my autumnal Saturday nights; getting far too emotionally invested in a group of lesser known celebrities being paired up and learning to dance. Unashamedly, something I’ve dreamed of doing since I started watching it as a very small child. Not because I think I’m a particularly good dancer but what young girl doesn’t want to make a new friend, be dressed up in sequins and twirled around a dance floor?

However, it turns out, like a lot of things, it’s probably not always quite how it looks on the telly. Our university run a Lancaster does Strictly Come Dancing as part of an annual Charity Showcase where people with no idea what they’re doing are paired up with members of the Ballroom Dancing Society for a one night and one night only Strictly extravaganza. This year, my friends from the Christian Union nominated me. It’s harder than it looks.

Meeting back in November for the first time, my partner and I decided to try our hands (and feet) at the jive. Looking back over my diary from that time my progress reads something a little like this:

9th November:
Donald Trump was elected president today, but I met my Strictly partner – it was like going on a blind date.

16th November:
First jive rehearsal today for Strictly, I have to spin round 8 times so quickly I fall over every time.

10th December:
Ben elbowed me in the face but I stood on his foot so I guess it’s fair game.

12th January:
Took me and my housemate half an hour and internet assistance to work out how to put my Latin shoes on today.

24th January:
Finally got from beginning to end of the jive.

27th January:
Pulled a muscle I didn’t even know I had and have anonymous bruises everywhere, swear this jive is going to kill me.

1st February:
Friends came to watch me jive in rehearsal today – turns out Ben can’t cartwheel.

8th February:
Got the expert ballroom opinion from other pros in jive rehearsal today and got to watch their pro waltz and a Strictly Cha Cha Cha – not long to go now!

9th February:
I feel slightly like I’ve been run over by a heard of rhinos after our last jive rehearsal today.

We may have only had one dance to learn but it was a challenge, particularly learning to cartwheel in heels. Dancing to You Can’t Stop the Beat, from the fantastic Hairspray, the choreography was insanely quick and more than once I ended up on the floor in rehearsals. Nearly every time my partner showed me what we were doing next I simply thought I will never be able to do that. But we persevered. My partner was 10/10 and I had the most amazing time. Choreography; ace, teaching; so encouraging, banter; top notch, results; we’ll see. Can’t thank him enough. After being filled with dread and fear, particularly in the lead up to the night itself, we had so many laughs and it was always so much fun. We were all in it together, meeting other ballroom couples, giving us tips, all just having a great time, stumbling along learning to dance (at least in my case).Maybe it was just the idea of doing something new; even through the busyness of CU events, music commitments and university deadlines, jive o’clock was always the highlight of my week just going and trying something completely different. One thing I can say I did with my time at university, I learnt to jive and I’m proud. New experiences, new friends, new bruises and yes, I did get a new love for dancing – fab-u-lous.

It was really incredible, and as absolutely terrified as I was, I’m so glad I did it, just remember, keeeep dancing. I’m not sure I’ve ever been so nervous in my life than I was on that morning but the atmosphere and buzz on the night was so great. Support from everyone else involved, audience cheering, friends all gathered in the bar watching the live stream, getting to see all the other dances. We got (relatively) dolled up, my partner and I 50s style, and gave it all we had.

10th February:
STRICTLY SHOWCASE! This is it! SO much fun, loved every minute – Amazing! Really going to miss this ! And our jive was only 1 mark of first place in judges scores with 9 9 8 – Can’t believe it. 😀