Elim Festival Special

So I’ve just come back from 10 days in the North of Yorkshire as part of the amazing Liveset team at Elim Festival 2016, so I thought I would use this blog post to share with you a little of what I got up to!

It’s the third year now that I’ve been on the team and the first thing to say is what an awesome team of people they are! I have to give a massive shout out to every single person working in the live set marquee who, for the last three years, have made me feel like a member of the family and who put so much work and energy into helping to change the lives of the young people every year. For me it’s such a fun 10 days where I get to enjoy some time with an amazing group of friends, spend some time myself meeting with God and every year come away feeling incredibly encouraged by the work that God is doing in the next generation of young Christians!

I guess that’s what this post is for really… A little bit of encouragement to share with you the work that God is doing in the lives of some of the young people I have the privilege of working with!

The week started off with the same craziness from the team, but a rather timid seventy or so Livesetters, walking through the entrance to the wonderfully decorated, Jungle themed marquee, seemingly overawed by the madness. But that didn’t last long. After a slightly quieter than usual first night from a much younger Liveset than previous years the young people really started to come out of their shells. After some challenging talks early on in the week a large majority felt that they wanted to be courageous for God, with an overwhelming number praying for the bravery to really connect with God, lose themselves in worship and not care what others thought about their physical displays of praise. This was amazing to see! By day 3 or 4 it felt like we had a whole new group dancing in at 7:30! The previously apprehensive approach was gone and each night we saw the entire room (now 100 strong) come forward to worship, hands raised and hearts open to the tangible presence of God. And it didn’t stop there. Later on in the week several of the Kids had encounters with the spirit, some falling down, some being healed and others simply feeling a warm, comforting hand at a time when they really needed it!

Watching the growth of these amazing young people has been so encouraging and each one of them has genuinely inspired me! The hunger that some of them had to meet with God was incredible, from not knowing God at all to meeting with him in a new way, taking away lists of worship songs to worship in their tents and opening themselves up to encounters with the spirit. I’ll be honest I was exhausted by the end of the 10 days, but what a 10 days it was!

Once again, a huge shout out to the awesome team and a massive thank you to the kids who are such incredible young people of God and I think we could all learn a thing or two from. Until next year…

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Relationships

Topic 2 – Relationships

I’ve personally found that the importance of having a good group of mates at uni is invaluable. Going into a new environment with a new way of life and for many of us, being away from home for the first time; it can be really difficult to feel comfortable at first, but having some good friends around you early on can make this a whole lot easier!

I think comfortable is probably the right feeling to dwell on with this topic, especially when talking about friends at uni, but also with any kind of relationship, perhaps at school or even at work. We are often told that new situations present us with the opportunity to ‘reinvent’ ourselves and become the person we always wanted to be, but I think this can often be quite a misguided thought process. Whilst I think any change in life is the perfect opportunity to try new things and broaden your horizons, this shouldn’t be confused with changing who you are! It sounds clichéd, but being yourself is so important when it comes to making good, lasting relationships. I know that the first week or so at uni was so fast paced, with new things and different experiences constantly flashing by and it would have been so easy to forget who I was and ‘fit in’ but I know that, had that been the case, I wouldn’t have the friends I have now, because whilst I wasn’t perfect and looking back would probably change a few things, I was still true to the person I am and most importantly was true to my faith. This was reflected in the things I did and most importantly the people I met, meaning that it didn’t take long to have a group of reliable friends that I was comfortable around, not people who I felt I needed to impress or change to be accepted by.

Please don’t hear this as a call to isolate yourself to one group of people. For anyone who read the last blog post you will know that here I am talking mainly of non-Christian friends, due to my lack of involvement in CU and church for the first term at uni. However, whilst I strongly advice against avoiding church and CU, that does not mean that all of your mates have to know the Bible inside out and be able to quote the Psalms! Diversity in our friendships is so important and so natural due to the fact we all have a host of different interests and hobbies. Not only this, but having a group of non-Christian friends allows me to talk to them and share elements of my faith, as well as constantly being challenged by them, forcing me to grow and mature in my convictions!

So, when approaching new situations, be yourself and don’t be afraid to mix and mingle with lots of different groups and individuals, just never make friends that your not comfortable around and you feel you can’t be yourself with and be thankful when you find genuine, reliable mates!