Posted by: Craig | 12 April, 2010

Trains, swing dancing and unexpected extrovertism…

So time for more of the life of Craig, starting 2 weeks ago when my room mate left for good old England, I thought I would use this time to get some reading and lecture listening done but behold, overnight I become an extrovert and just feel the need to get out of the house and see People! So for a whole two weeks I seem to either work or try to hang out with people. Easter weekend was a crazy time for me, not only celebrating the resurrection of Christ in which I went to a small international church plant alongside my czech church to have a Easter service in english, but it was the weekend of the Prague Spring Swing. This meant 4 nights of dancing (well actually 3 in the end), which was good fun, meeting international people, even some English, in particular I got to hang out with 6 people living in Germany, 2 americans, 3 Germans and one Irish, it was really encouraging to hang out with them as they are all Christian and 3 of them studying in a bible college and we got to chat about all sorts from dancing, and all our travels to what God might have in store for us in the future.

In the world of work it has been an exciting week, last Tuesday I was in Pardubice and this week I was leading the Talk/Discussion on The Reason behind evangelism, it was a real privilege getting to show the extent of God’s infiniteness, gloriousness and ownership of everything, and explain how that is behind all mission and evangelism. It turns out my assumption (in that I assumed all at the group already believed this) that hell exists and those that do not claim Christ as Lord, Saviour and Greatest treasure will go there, caused some controversy as some did not believe it exists but I know that others were challenged by Gods word during this talk. Anyway I might put a summary of the thoughts of that talk up sometime.

The other big event was the Ostrava weekend away, over 5 hours on a train to get to the Czech border town of Navsi and I was in a small town in forested hills where apparently the underground church met during the soviet era. It was a weekend organised by someone else who was gracious enough to let Jeremy and I have a session each and explain who UKH is and what the group is a part of. It was a tiring weekend as both nights were late ones, 1:30am and 2:30am respectively, the first playing guitar and singing random worship songs the second an epic night of games the climax for me being the game Samurai, which is awesome and I shall spread the word. It was great times all around and I had a lot conversations and fun with many of the students, and as always many were gracious enough to translate for us, talk to us in English and even help us with our Czech.

It was a busy too weeks but it has been great both in and out of work, God has been reminding me that it is easy to get comfortable and forget the gospel needs to be continually preached, and encouraging me with all that he has been doing.

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Posted by: Craig | 10 March, 2010

Evolution as evidence for God ?

For those of you that do not know I have the opportunity to spend part of my work time in personal study and this year I am looking at science and Christianity. Well as part of this I have come across evolution quite a bit as it is the current “Hot Topic” in the New Atheist vs Christianity debate, now I am not going to do any debating or arguing here because there are people far more qualified than me to do that.

Though I am personally on the fence about evolution (macro) I do believe that there is no reason for it to be a hinderance to people coming to know God, evolution is debated within Christian circles and is just one of many views that exist on creation, we all agree on the important points such as the fact God created it. But there is one caveat, a Christian that believes evolution is the process through which life came about believes that God is still involved in the process and that God is sovereign over it, this is where the Christian evolutionist separates with the atheist evolutionist.

Now you might be wondering when I am going to get to the topic in the title of this post, well here goes though first I have to say that this is just a hypothetical thought. During my reading and study I have come across many arguments and counters in the debate over evolution, well the one I want to draw attention too is the idea that the chance of evolution happening, even taking into account the natural selection filtering process and ignoring some of the problems with how the variation arises in the first place, is tiny, especially when taking into account the time span we (scientists) believe the Universe to have existed and especially when considering the origin of the first life. The change from something non living to living is remarkable as even the most basic form of life we now of is still based on amazingly complex biology and the most complex non living thing can not even compare so the probability is so ridiculous that it has been described as a tornado going through a junk yard and spontaneously putting together a boeing 747.

Well as I said I am not here to argue for or against evolution but the point I want to make is that if we were to find empirical evidence showing, for sure, evolution (macro) to have happened and no new processes about which it works have been thought up, then the logical conclusion would be that there must be an intelligent external agent to guide the evolutionary process within the time frame we have.

The Christian Evolutionist does not have this problem because they already believe God to be sovereign over it. Just something to ponder, one of my random thoughts.

Posted by: Craig | 5 March, 2010

Ski Camp 2010

Well I was going to make a video of Ski Camp but some of the main videos I wished to include are with my General Secretary who is currently in Malaysia.

So what is Ski camp I here you ask? and what am I doing skiing? Well it is an annual camp put on by UKH designed to give people and opportunity to here the truth of the gospel. Basically it looked like this :

Breakfast with a Talk

Skiing, or snowboarding if you are cool, all day

Dinner

Relaxing evening with a light program, (We had a testimony, grill a christian, and a film)

The talks we did in the morning were based on three of Jesus’ I am statements in the

gospel of John, first Jeremy talked about Jesus being God when He said I AM, then Tom

talked about Jesus when he said I am the Way the Truth and the Life, lastly I talked about the statement I am the Resurrection and the Life. I talked about how Jesus IS the power of resurrection and I the source and author of Life and apart from God we are Dead, and then tried to show how the new creation/Heaven will be so much more than anything we can even imagine and that the desire for this is in us.

There was almost 20 of us there and so the camp was a great success, we continued to get to know people who have come to previous events and got to talk about how amazing the Gospel is, and had great fun enjoying Gods creation through Skiing/snowboarding and falling over!

Yes falling over, as there were 4 brits and a greek all in the stages of

learning, the first day jeremy and I tried our hand at snowboarding which involved a lot more falling over than skiing for me so at lunch I switched to skis where as Jeremy stuck with the snowboarding and was looking very cool by the end of the weekend. The weirdest thing was that Sunday morning I was skiing in to the wind with heavy snow all around me and that evening back in Prague all the snow had disappeared and it felt like spring had arrived.

Posted by: Craig | 3 February, 2010

Crazily belated Christmas post…

So this is the obligatory Christmas update one month late. If you did not know I spent my Christmas in the Czech Republic, and though I was away from family I had a wonderful time. Starting with Christmas eve where Jez and I went round our friends for a Czech Christmas dinner, fried salmon and potato salad (almost Czech as it is normally fried carp), this was a relaxing night with much conversation and a late night walk up the River Vtlava back to our apartment.

Then day 2 was time for a british Christmas with the classic Christmas roast, cooked by our team leaders wife which we know is a guaranteed quality meal, another great day so relaxing that there was a time when al 4 of us were each sitting on a sofa and reading our own books.

Christmas was rounded off with a trip to Usti nad Labem to see our one Czech staff member Tom Uher who gave us yet another good meal and took us to the top of a mountain near his home where, standing in snow, we could see Dresden in germany behind us and Czech towns in the valley in front.

God really is good, 3 years ago I met Keri and Marketa in Texas and now I was here having Christmas dinner in prague with them, and then both our team leader and the boss of UKH took the time to have us round and spend time with us. Following all this I spent new year with the Church youth group (here that includes 25/26 year olds) and it was a great night as i started to get to know some of the youth and I came out alive. Imagine fireworks night where teenagers have access to fireworks and are setting them off everywhere, and we are standing on a bridge watching it all and having them go off around us, it was a little scary, an experience to say the least.

Well that was all, sorry for the lateness

Posted by: Craig | 21 December, 2009

The last week of term…

Last week was the last week of term for most universities here in the Czech Republic, they don’t get any where near as much holiday as we do in the UK at university, they only get 2 weeks where most of us get 4. So obviously all the groups wanted to do Christmas events of varying sorts, in Usti they did an evangelistic games night, in Suchdol an Evangelistic British Christmas themed night, sadly Ostrava’s music night was cancelled but the two I was involved with was The Pardubice UKH groups Christmas meeting and Ceske Budejovice music night.

In Pardubice, where probably the bulk of my 121’s and work is happening, I spoke at the meeting about the coming of the Kingdom of God in Jesus, and how Gods people had looked forward to this day coming for a long long time, and hopefully encouraged them to not hide this Great day behind presents, family, and food, and also to share it with those that do not know the Creator of the Universe. Overall it was a good event, and God has obiously been at work in this group as previous workers have not been so easily accepted into the group and the desire to have the Bible at the center of the meetings seems to be increasing little by little.

Then in Ceske Budejovice Jez and I got together and played our set (with the new addition of Silent night) for 4th or even 5th time this term, it was an evangelistic event where several people came who are not a part of the group and it seems that God was at work in at least one persons heart.

So now, the first term/semester is over. It is time to rest, and catch up on study and celebrate the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Posted by: Craig | 18 October, 2009

More Chocolate covered music….

Well for your enjoyment, or not, we have uploaded a video and some mp3s from the event. Two of the tracks I am sure you will recognise but two are original based on guitar riffs written by Jez.

Ain’t no sunshine <—- Click to listen

Down the River

I just called to say I love you

Posted by: Craig | 15 October, 2009

Chocolate…..and music, what more could you want!

chocolatemusic

On tuesday we had the Chocolate and Music Party at the Agricultural University in Suchdol.The rather trendy poster to the left, is the result of my roomate/teamate’s graphic design talent, including the Orange of the UT Longhorns football team.

This event was the first significant thing to happen this term in actually working with students, we initially went to the campus and helped a couple of Czech students (who will be leading the group) to hand out flyers, do questionnaires and of course hand out free chocolate. Normally I find this kind of first contact scary and this time was no exception until we got going and realised people are never as scary to talk to than you think.

Possibly the scarier part of it all was that Jez and I were performing with a saxophone guitar combo, a first time for both of us, and my first time performing in a looong time. It went well though sadly not many got involved with the Open mic part of the night but we did have our jaws drop when an unsuspecting girl sang beautiful classical music.

Overall it was a good event, we have both Christians and non-christians interested in joining the group for the weekly bible studies, and both Czech ad international students. So I guess prayers here will be that the group sticks and doesn’t fade back to nothing as students get busier.

Posted by: Craig | 30 September, 2009

From Potatoes to Toilet Plungers…

I thought I would give you a summary of the high points and low points so far, so here goes.

Hi-Points :

  • I am living in the middle of Prague, in a basic yet cool apartment
  • The beautiful and non touristy park/church of Vyšehrad is on our doorstep
  • How welcoming everyone was in the church we can see from our window, though it was obviously hard work they spoke to us in English
  • 10kg of potatoes for £1 !
  • 2 weeks of apples £1 !
  • Swing dancing for free

Lo-Points :

  • Not having enough Czech language to make casual conversation (You don’t realise how much small talk you have until you can’t have it)
  • Not so much the lack of internet as the lack of skype in the apartment
  • The 4 hours in search for a toilet plunger
  • We live on the 4 floor with no lift
  • No naan bread especially Peshwari naan (this was expected though)
  • The ongoing search for academic diaries, plastic sleeves, and cheap non designer lined notebooks

Until next time, Cau!

Posted by: Craig | 21 September, 2009

Arrival over…

2009 September 014

Well I am finally in Prague, I flew in about a week ago. It has been an amazing couple of weeks, God has been so gracious in provision of the material things we need, I mean not only in the apartment itself, but the washing machine, microwave, toaster and other appliances that we got for free, even now we are soon to collect 8 chairs and a couple of desks.

It is weird how the last 7 days feel like 2 or even 3 weeks but we have barely arrived, we are just doing so much and getting quite tired. The language struggles are starting to become more real, it is the lack of being able to have a simple social conversation, something so essential to making friends, that is hard.

But God has been immensely gracious, not only in the material, as it has all gone so smoothly. We have phones, shopping is straightforward, we even have internet of the very slow kind and most recently we have our 3 month public transport passes. So I am learning how incredibly good our God is even when he does not have to be gracious to me.

Posted by: Craig | 5 September, 2009

IFES Orientation

Relay Homestarters

Well I since my last post I have been to IFES orientation and Greenbelt festival but I will leave the latter for another post. Well just another training conference? Maybe, but dare I say it, I enjoyed it more than the Relay conferences (and they were amazing).  As always great teaching, but this conference had a different feel, much more chilled and families with 19 kids running around.

Well as a result of the conference I am definitely expecting this year to be hard, but equally I feel a lot more prepared for going, apparently I will need an extra hours sleep whilst language learning (that will be so hard for me), more likely to get ill, and just general communication frustrations. Yet I feel so more motivated by the Gospel for doing this, the last night we took communion and I was just in awe seeing how God uses 70+ very different and very broken people to reach the students of diverse countries and cities across europe.

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