Sunday, 25 September 2016

3 Reasons Why Freshers Should Go to CU

I had the privilege of speaking at the University of Lincoln Christian Union's Freshers' Week last week. I was asked to talk about why students should go to CU.

If you don't know, CU stands for Christian Union - basically the Christian Society - and is part of a network of similar groups across the world, a community of students who believe in and follow Jesus Christ and want to spread his message to other students on campus.

I've got three reasons why you should go ad get stuck in, and three Bible verses to go with them.

1. Meet other Christian Students in the Same Situation

1 Thessalonians: 9-11 "For God has not destined us for wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that whether we are awake or asleep we might live with him. Therefore encourage one another and build one another up, just as you are doing."

If you are a Christian Fresher, and you have been saved by Jesus Christ, then you should encourage and build one another up, as Paul says in 1 Thessalonians. And CU is the perfect place to do this.

You will meet students your age there who have the same beliefs and you can encourage each other and share your struggles and successes with people you can relate with. The community of God's people is the place where you will find all sorts of personalities and backgrounds and as God's people, you will be welcomed straight in.

Not to say that you shouldn't go to church and get stuck in - this is the place for Bible teaching and growth as a Christian and CU isn't a replacement for church. But CU can help you meet students quickly and easily and is great for encouragement and drawing alongside others you can relate with.

When I was growing up, I knew no Christians my age. CU was a new world for me finding peoplelike me who also were believers. Now, some of my best friends are those I met at CU - including my wife!

2. Spread the Gospel on Campus

Romans 10:14-15 "How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching? And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”"

For Christians, it is a commandment to share the message of salvation that we have received with others. And if you have truly understood what Jesus has done and who he was, it will be a desire to do so.

At university - a centre of learning and intellectualism - student to student evangelism is vital and CU is the place to do it! You will be equipped and encouraged to not only live for Jesus but to speak for him too with your friends and coursemates.

The main thing I missed when I graduated was getting involved in so much intentional evangelism at CU - so make the most of it!

The CU has been the tool that God has used to completely transform many many lives over the years. One friend from university arrived as a staunch atheist, met the CU, had his life changed by God and now has started a family as a Christian. Another had the same experience, and now is even the pastor at a church which is sending students out again too help at CUs!

3. Keep Your Eyes Fixed on Heaven in the Midst of Student Culture

2 Corinthians 4:17-18 "For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal."

Of all the societies and extra stuff you could do at university, CU will be the most important.

That's a big statement and I want you to realise that your studies are the primary reason for being at uni. And it's important to get involved in other sports and societies too to meet lots of new people and get out of the Christian bubble.

But ultimately, it's the things that have eternal value and consequences that matter.

Student life is full of drinking, meeting new people (especially girls or boys), partying, playing games, sleeping in, eating take-aways, doing pub-quizzes and much more. And they are not bad in and of themselves - they can be lots of fun!

But getting stuck in at CU, and church too, will help you keep your focus on the right thing, the thing that ultimately matters.

CS Lewis - you'll know him as the author of the Chronicles of Narnia and other books - said this in his lecture The Weight of Glory:
"It would seem that God finds our desires not too strong, but too weak. We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about with drink and sex and ambition when infinite joy is offered us, like an ignorant child who wants to go on making mud pies in a slum because he cannot imagine what is meant by the offer of a holiday at the sea. We are far too easily pleased."

Think about what you plan to do outside of your studies this year - are they mud pies or a holiday on the seaside?

Feel free to chat to me if you have any questions about CU, joining a local as a student (I go to TCM Baptist Church on Lincoln High Street), or just being a Christian at university!