Thursday, November 29, 2007
People began shopping for Christmas as early as November. Actually, some shops had Christmas stuff long before November. Shopping is of different kinds. From the food that will be eaten to good dress that will be worn during Christmas. Many people also shop for Christmas gifts. It is as if everybody must get at least a gift from either a friend or a family member.
Advent and the Christmas Calendar.
Advent begins on the first day of December. This is a period of waiting for the birth of Jesus.
On these 24 days, there is a Christmas calendar that helps the people get ready for Christmas. For kids, there is a calendar that has surprise gifts everyday. They can also have an activity calendar where they get to do something, especially when they are not at school. For the grown ups, there is a calendar to help you plan all through the advent period, including shopping and sending and gifts.
The unfolding Surprises.
What remains is to see the unfolding activities in this month in the Norwegian culture. I know there are many things that are to happen during this time, and I look forward to learn from them. My greatest desire is that this will be a time to deeply reflect on the love of Jesus Christ, and that he will take the centre stage in all these celebrations.
Sunday, November 25, 2007
The theme of the conference was Evangelism as a lifestyle. I attended a track on Glad you asked. It was a good blessing to learn that Andy, the guy who was facilitating the seminar, had been in Kenya in the summer of 1999 working with the IFES movement in Kenya. The track was meant to help us use the tool glad you asked as a way of reaching out to our friends who are not Christians. It was further to help us apologetically share the love of Christ.
The emphasis in the seminar I attended was relational evangelism. This basically is where one purposefully decides to reach out to the people in one’s environment. Some of the mind searching questions we discussed included;
Does God matter?
Does God exist?
How can God allow pain and suffering?
Relational evangelism is a spiritual journey. One walks with his/her friend or neighbour who is not a Christian from a state of unbelief in God to a state of believe in God through Jesus Christ. This is not by any means a one day event. It is a long term event. Further, relational evangelism is backed by commitment to prayer and the desire to obey our Lord’s command; ‘… go and make disciples of all nations…’
In the course of the journey, one may not be able to answer all the questions asked by the seeker. It is however fulfilling to know that as you walk together, the seeker will get to learn more from you and your interaction and relationship with God. Even though not all the people reached in this way have become Christians, it is encouraging to know that some of them have become Christians. As co-workers with Christ, this shall always keep us sharing the love of God; ‘…for Christ’s love compels us…’ (2nd Corinthians 5:14).
Small group discussions during the conference.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
On this day, there were more than 120 Christian students gathered. This was indeed a great occasion because this has not happened before; at least for the time we have been around. Of course there are more students who are Christians that didn’t turn up. Organisation for the meeting was motivated by the fact that Christian students will be encouraged to be stronger in their faith. Furthermore, the gathering will be an indication that after all they are many, even though they may look fewer in their respective groups.
A group of students gathered for the fellowship.
The preaching was done by the university chaplain, Mr. Steffan. He talked mainly about Jesus being the prince of peace. This implies that since he is the prince of peace, then we should be instruments of peace wherever we go as Christians. He used some video clips to show how lack of peace has resulted in a lot of suffering worldwide. Furthermore, he said that even though we should be agents of peace, we should begin this by having peace that surpasses human understanding, which only God gives through Jesus Christ.
This sharing was enriching and challenging at the same time. From some brief discussions with students, I came to realise that they were yearning to be involved in world peace. My prayer is that as they try to do this, they will have peace from God that surpasses human understanding.
Friday, November 9, 2007
We attended a staff meeting for the IFES movement here on the 2nd of November. All the LAGET staff came to thank God for the far that has brought the student movement. A lot of time was spent in prayer for the ministry and for each. It was so refreshing just to pray together with each other.
All the students (Staff) on exchange were in one group. This was a moment of reflection with each other since we had been away from each other for more than a month. We are a total of eight on exchange.
While at Sandefjord, we attended a conference at Tornsberg, a neighbouring city. This was a conference that encourages young people to get focussed more so with what they do with their lives. It was amazing to see hundreds of young people gathered worshipping God. Surely there are great worshippers in Norway. The worship was so awesome such that I really wanted to be left behind, especially when we had to go back before the end of the meeting because we had to drive to the place we were spending.
An understanding of Christian youth in Norway. I had not seen as many young people gathered to worship as I saw over the weekend. Most young people here don’t go to church, but attend Christian meetings in the course of the church. I don’t know why they don’t go to church, but at least I know that they get their spiritual nourishment from the many Christian meetings they attend.