Sustaining faith

Sustaining faith

Coming back from the festival and settling into the everyday routine, how do we keep it alive with God?

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Sinead Bryan

Sinead Bryan

Our friend Sinead works with students in Warwick and is passionate about young people discovering that Jesus is worth it! She became a Christian through youth work at her church and Jesus has transformed her life.

Streams

The Big Story #6: God's Church

The Big Story #6: God's Church

Rounding off our big Bible overview we look to the conclusion of the story and what we need to do to get there. God has chosen us to play a part in it, but how? What does it mean to be God's church?

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The Big Story #5: God's Son

The Big Story #5: God's Son

It all points to Him, everything that had come before, the promises, the prophecies, the people. Here we reach the climax of God's story in a person, God's son, Jesus Christ. We don't understand him until we see how he fits into what's come before.

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The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

The Big Story #3: God's Kingdom

Look around the world and we see kings, presidents, leaders who are very much flawed. Israel had a king - God, but they wanted a human king. We look at how that worked out for God's people.

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The Big Story #2: God's People

The Big Story #2: God's People

God's story is both cosmic in scope and intimate in care, we see that as he chose to fulfil his purposes in a family. But why did God choose Abraham and the people of Israel to be the ones who would be a blessing to the whole world?

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Sustaining faith

I definitely have those moments where God just feels so tangible, so real, you never want to leave

Ever wanted to just pause time? Let the moment last forever? There was a show on TV when I was a kid called ‘Bernards watch’. Bernard had this little stopwatch and was able to stop time for however long he wanted and with this stopwatch he got up to a lot of mischief. There have been some moments in life where I would have loved to steal his watch so that the moment never had to end. They are usually moments full of joy, experiences that you think will never happen again. I get them when I’m with my best friends or when there is a beautiful view or sunset.

I definitely have those moments where God just feels so tangible, so real, you never want to leave. The joy in the room is sky high, people are singing praises as loud as they can, you’ve experienced love and friendship with fellow Christians that you just can’t explain. You have looked at the cross of Jesus and felt His love for you. And you just never want to let go of this feeling, this moment.

For a few days the photos on facebook help you hold onto that feeling just a little bit longer.

But sadly the song ends, the prayers are said and the goodbyes begin. Once again you are back in your room at home. Staring at the walls and wondering what to do for the remaining days or weeks of freedom before school strikes back. For a few days the photos on facebook help you hold onto that feeling just a little bit longer. Yet when the last album has been uploaded it all goes quiet. Too quiet.


What kind of relationship do you have with your alarm clock?

I am a snoozer. Those extra minutes in bed can make the world of difference to my mood for the day.

Which means when it comes to getting up and out the house, I have it timed to perfection. As long as nothing goes wrong... like a breakfast related spillage, or bad hair day.

It wasn’t until I was at University that the phrase ‘quiet-time’ breezily entered my vocabulary and altered my morning routine

But where to put God in the fight between bed and morning sunlight? It wasn’t until I was at University that the phrase ‘quiet-time’ breezily entered my vocabulary and altered my morning routine. Good days usually became the days I had started with God, and the miserable days tended to come in a pattern consistent with how little I had been reading my Bible and praying.

So imagine the battering my snooze button got when I had to get up early. I spent a year having to start work at 8am. After the spiritual highs I had experienced the year before, the come down was pretty tough. I was tired and bored. Regularly I found myself asking the question: ‘Where are you God?’ I thought He was supposed to be this ever present help in time of need. The giver of joy and hope. Why was life so dull and hard?! Being a Christian used to be so much easier than this! Those moments of joy, the feeling of knowing God to be real begin to slowly feel like a dream. Maybe it just wasn’t real at all?

If any of this sounds familiar, I promise you aren’t alone. All of us experience spiritual highs and lows. Times of abundance and drought. So how do we keep going? What does it look like to persevere when it just feels like hard work?

I always like to remember Jesus’ words to Thomas, who doubted that the resurrection was real:

"Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed."

John 20:29

faith is not always about having everything perfectly laid out for you

There is something about the very nature of the word ‘faith’ that leads me to think it’s not always about having everything perfectly laid out for you. Sometimes it’s about not seeing. Sometimes it isn’t about the experience. Sometimes the blessing is in believing even when you can’t see it or feel it. The object of our faith is the risen Lord Jesus. It is a historical fact that He died and rose again for you. We need to look at Him for our assurance and joy, not to our experiences. The gospel is true when you are in that moment of joyful worship. The gospel is true when the alarm goes off again and you don’t want to get up! The gospel is true today as it will be tomorrow, and the day after. The reality of what Jesus has done isn’t changed by our fickle emotions and experiences. So believe it and rejoice!

I heard a brilliant illustration recently in church. Have you ever noticed how grass grows up through the cracks in concrete? Something small and weak enough for a toddler to snap in half, is able to break apart the tough stone of concrete. The preacher went on to say that this is what it looks like to grow in the gospel. It doesn’t happen overnight, some days you think nothing is happening. It looks pathetic. But the growth and strength that comes from knowing and understanding more of Christ, is enough to break through concrete. It is slow but it is powerful.

So on those days where you feel like it is all worthless and meaningless. Keep going. Keep reading your Bible, keep praying, keep going to church, keep believing even though you can’t see anything. God is doing something. He is growing grass.

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