Apparently some people call the third day of a mission week- black wednesday. I can relate to feeling tired and it was a struggle to get up and get going today.
The CU continued to be out distributing flyers – something you don’t need to be out doing all the time – our students focussed on the lecture change overs. OUt again was the big perspex board – this with the question “CAN YOU TRUST THE BIBLE?” lots of interesting post it notes were stuck on and our intrepid students were engaging in good conversations.
The Lunch bars are growing in numbers, and again people stayed through from the first lunch bar to the second. So I am convinced the Australian system is a good one to export. Its one of my prayers for UCCF that closer ties with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students will mean the UK benefits from the great things God is doing from his church around the world. Double lunch bars are a good example of such opportunities.
CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE
This can be quite a dry seminar to present. Lots of historical data – manuscript evidence etc. My mind doesn’t work like that, so I tried a different tack. I explored some basic questions which non-Christians I have met seem to connect with. I answered the following questions:
What is the Bible?
How was the Bible written?
What is the story of the Bible?
What difference does the Bible really make to life?
Why Trust the Bible?
How can I read the Bible?
I actually spent the longest time on What is the Story of the Bible and used the outline I developed in DESTINY to present it. I made this bit interactive by asking people “If you had one tweet – how would you summarise the story of the Bible?” We had some interesting replies, but I think it confirmed to a lot of guests that they had never read the Bible so they didn’t know. For the question: ” What difference does the Bible make to life” I interviewed an excellent undergraduate student called Adam – who is studying history and ancient civilisations. He did a great job – and brought insights from his course into his testimony. I did present some internal and external evidences for the trustworthiness of the Bible and opened it up to questions. The answers involved a short exposition of John 21.
IS THERE LIFE AFTER DEATH?
Normally I would do this as a “evidence for the resurrection” kind of talk. But after Sydney I decided to take a different tack. There were quite a few internationals present and I had just talked to a student who had lost his mother and brother in the previous year. So I took a more pastoral apologetic line. I talked about the pain of grief and bereavement, I talked about my own mother’s death last year and the questions that it had raised in my mind when we prayed for her to be healed and she wasn’t. I then did an exposition of John 11 – Jesus’ raising of Lazarus. I pressed home the parts about Mary and Martha’s frustration that Jesus hadn’t turned up when they called to him, and the realities of a relationship with God. For full details see my book LIFESWAP. I talked about Jesus as the resurrection and the life and especially ” anyone who believes in me will live even though they die.” I then took questions and then did a shorter piece on the evidence for the resurrection – which included talking about the nature of the evidence we can actually provide, and what “prove beyond reasonable doubt” might actually mean. I then did an interactive session on the evidence for the resurrection making it into a court case giving people an opportunity to suggest different theories.
There was a good turn out at both lunch bars. When I say good, I mean that there were more people that came through the lunch bars than would normally come to Christian Union. I think we had around 80 people through the two lunch bars – with many staying through both. considering Reading CU only normally gets 40 people along – this is a CU punching above its weight.
The evening talk was sandwiched between two other events, A Nigerian night – which was a great evening of food, fashion and faith from Nigeria. There was an excellent presentation from some Nigerian students and some fantastic food. Then my talk Jesus and Love Actually – which we explore love, romance and identity by expounding John 4 and the movie. Then the CU ran a barn dance.
To Barn dance or not to Barn dance?
A lot of students came out for the barn dance. In fact more people than have come out to any single event so far. I am in two minds about barn dances. In one sense it was great to see the CU having a good time, it offers an “alternative” to the huge Tuesday night club culture, which was just kicking off as the barn dance finished at 10pm. But the other side of me was wondering if it pigeon holes Christians into the kind of people that like barn dances – not necessarily a main stream cultural phenomenon (unlike ceilidhs in Scotland which seem to be a bit more mainstream). The beauty of the lunch bars is that everyone needs to eat, and Christians being open to westle with the big questions is a great thing to be known for. Does the Barn dance lock us into a bit of a cultural ghetto? What do you think?
Sent from my iPad (thanks for the spellling corrections friends )