seasonal treats to complete the christmas vibe from your best buddies at soul survivor
soul survivor mini mag december 2009
in this issue: andy croft on God becoming a baby our best bits of the christmas story all the soul survivor dates for you & your mates
plus... a look at ending well and beginning afresh... seasonal stresses solved with auntie & uncle agony loads more at www.soulsurvivor.com/uk...
words from mike p Hey Guys! Happy Christmas! We hope you like this little magazine that we’ve put together for you to get you in the Christmas spirit and help keep your eyes fixed on Jesus during all the festive fun! I can’t believe we’ve reached that time of year when I studiously ignore all the present shopping I have to do, only to go into a complete state of panic just before the shops shut on Christmas Eve... But this is also the time of year when I get a bit reﬂective about the 12 months gone by. When I think back over 2009, I realise one of the main things I’ve been thinking and praying about has been signs and wonders. I’m desperately longing to see more of God’s power not least of all so that more people know just how amazing our God is! It’s always fantastic to think back to the time so many of us shared together in the summer and all the incredible things God did among us but I’d hate for us to become people who only expect God to move when there are 10,000 of us together. When Jesus was born one of the names he was given was Emmanuel – God with us – and that means he’s always with us whether we’re in a huge crowd or on our own. I want to really encourage you to keep going for it in your faith, keep praying with your friends and family to see more of God’s miracles. Ask God to give you pictures and words for people, pray that he might heal sick and injured people, ask your heavenly Father that you might see more and more miracles. Imagine the stories we might have to tell of God’s goodness 12 months from now! God bless & don’t forget to keep in touch on Facebook! With love
Ps. Check www.soulsurvivor.com/uk/tv for a little Christmas story read by yours truly..
page one | mike’s intro
what’s inside: the contents gift ideas from soul survivor
Get a Soul Survivor pressie to please the (new) socks off someone!
emmanuel: God with us Interview with Andy Croft Get to grips with the whole reason for the season… the birth of the Son of God!
pages three & four
our best bits of christmas The story of all stories Is it the shepherds, the angels, the pregnant teenage mum? Get all festive with a look at the nativity!
pages five & six
cash strapped? Get creative this Christmas Money too tight to mention? Try these ideas for crafty Christmas alternatives to the High Street spend!
what’s your problem?
Seasonal stresses solved! Uncle and Auntie Agony are here to help you with your Christmas conundrums
pages eleven & twelve
what’s going on in 2010?
don’t look back in anger
Your Soul Survivor guide for the next 12 months! All the Soul Survivor dates for you and your mates in 2010!
End the year with a cheer! End 2009 and begin 2010 by getting back to the basics and focussing on the cross!
pages seven & eight
pages thirteen & fourteen
the contents page | page two
emmanuel: God with us
interview with andy croft
Ever wondered why we celebrate Christmas? OK so we know it’s Jesus’ birthday but we caught up with Andy Croft to find out what that actually means and what Jesus’ birth says about who Jesus is! Christmas is literally the celebration of Jesus’ birthday. As Christians we know his death and resurrection is really important, but why is his birth such a big deal? Jesus’ death and resurrection make it possible for us to be with God… but the birth of Jesus is about God coming to be with us. It’s an incredible act, God becomes a baby; he becomes fully human and can share with us in everything that means.
page three | andy croft on the birth of the son of God
So how can God, the creator, be born, isn’t that weird? How and why would he do it? To be honest I have no idea how God did it (if I did I’d write a book and probably sell millions of copies). The important thing isn’t how, but who. Who was that little baby born in a stable? Well, he was the creator of all things - the stars, the oceans, the planets in space – and he became a totally vulnerable baby. The one on whom everything depends became totally dependent. The one who speaks life into being could only cry and say ‘ga ga’. That is immense. And what’s even more immense is why he did it. Because we naturally want to be with those who we love and God loves us supernaturally. He couldn’t be without us, he loves us too much!
Couldn’t he do all of that just by appearing as some angelic being? Why did he need to be a human? Well, in short, whether it’s the story of Adam and Eve, the history of Israel throughout the Bible or our own lives, it’s us humans who have rejected God. We’ve ignored him, gone our own way or in theological terms ‘sinned’ against him. God’s justice and holiness mean that he can’t be in the presence of sinful humanity without first dealing with that sin or rejection. So, because it was us human beings who sinned, the human race has to accept the consequences. And Jesus being one who was fully human stands in our place accepting the consequences of our rejection of God.
But that isn’t just it. Jesus’ birth and death are important, but his life is too. I find it so encouraging to know that Jesus went through all the same bodily desires, feelings, relationship issues, inner temptations and even growth spurts as us. Even though he was fully God He didn’t go through these things as God inside a human shell, but as a genuine man who can truly relate to all that we’re going through.
So, what does the whole nativity scene reveal about God, his purposes and his character? Throughout the story of Jesus’ birth we get different glimpses and insights as to who was lying in the manger. The foreign kings bringing their expensive gifts and worshipping the tiny baby reveal the one who is the King of Kings. Then the shepherds, the outcast (pregnant outside of marriage) peasant mother and the maternity ward that contained a cow, sheep and a lot of poo, show that this King came to identify with, serve and love the ones who are considered the lowest in our world.
Beyond that there are the angels who proclaim the significance of the birth of Jesus. Their songs and celebrations indicate that this baby will bring about the long promised peace and the dawn of a new heaven and a new earth!
And what has that got to do with giving presents and Christmas trees? The Christmas tree remains a mystery (something to do with Norwegians I think). But I guess, without sounding as cheesy as a Radio 2 presenter, in Jesus God gave himself and Christmas reminds us that we’re to do the same... but a bottle of bubble bath and a chocolate orange is always nice too!
andy croft on the birth of the son of God | page four
our best bits of the story of all stories We asked a few people what their favourite bit of the Christmas story is & why...
worship My favourite bit is Mary’s song when she finds out she’s pregnant. It reminds me that Christmas is about worship, that the presence of God coming to earth leads us to worship and that Jesus brings us into restored relationship with God which causes us to worship.
the awesome heavenly host I love the fact that not only does God send an angel to tell the shepherds about Jesus, but he shows them the whole company of heaven rejoicing over the birth. I’m sure that one angel would have been more than enough, but God wanted them to see so much more. Isn’t that just like him?
page five | the story of all stories
christmas the stable
the shepherds ‘I love the role of the shepherds. They were probably pretty bored on their nightshift, very much aware they were seen as some of the lowest of the low in society. Then angels show up, tell them they can be some of the first people to meet the Messiah and they get to be the first evangelists! Imagine how their faith increased after that!’
‘l Iove that Jesus was born in a stable of all places. These days that’d be like being born in a service station toilet sink or something... not impressive, not glamorous or even very hygienic. How awesome is it that our God chose to introduce his son to the world like that? Oh, and I like that he invented Christmas trees.’
the christmas carol ‘I like that Mary wrote the very first Christmas carol. It went like this: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.” Luke 1v46-48 (read up to v56 for the whole song!)
‘How many of us, after finding out we’d become pregnant through a divine miracle when we weren’t married, would praise God for being ‘mindful’ of us? Mary chose to see the ‘problem’ as a blessing and that always amazes me.’
Dan the story of all stories | page six
what’s going on in 2010? your soul survivor guide for the next 12 months...
the soulnet retreat A whole weekend just for youth leaders, where the focus is on hanging out with God, getting refreshed and enjoying the brilliant surroundings of Sherwood Forest Center Parcs. Dates: 5th-8th February Costs: £125 per person
t to ‘Time ou d and o G n o focus e practical get somg was just teachin needed’ what I
www.soulsurvivor.com/soulnet march-may 2010...
soul sista: ‘let’s talk about sex’ tour Want to hear some honest and frank teaching about sex, relationships and God? Come along to the Soul Sista tour with Ali Martin from Soul Sista and Rachel Gardner from Romance Academy!
‘ that It showed Shefﬁeld: 27th March, St Tom’s Philadelphia I one ’m not th me Southampton: 10th April, Central Hall strug e o n certa gling w ly N. Ireland: 24th April, Lisburn Cathedral in iss ues’ ith Aberdeen: 8th May, The Thainstone Centre Costs: £6-£8 depending on venue
the holy spirit & his gifts This one-day conference on how to pray for people is a great way to learn more about the Holy Spirit and the Gifts he gives us. Plus there’ll be stuff on how to pray for people who want to make a commitment to follow Jesus! Date: Soul Survivor Watford, 15th May Costs: Free to all 2010 summer event team members or £3.50 to everyone else...
www.soulsurvivor.com/uk/events page seven | what’s happening in 2010?
soul survivor 2010 You know what it’s all about! Worship, teaching, ministry, cafes, sports, seminars, gigs, ﬁlms & so much more! Week A, Stafford: 30th July-3rd August Week B, Somerset: 11th–15th August Week C, Somerset: 16th–20th August Costs: £97 (but early booking deadlines apply so get in quick!)
o ‘It was s le to b a e b great to od with so G worship y other man people!’
‘Worship is incredible, minist ry time incredible, and teaching incredible’
www.soulsurvivor.com/uk/ss10 august 2010...
tum is ‘Momen d to my re a e g y ll rea stage age and ’ of life
Five days for students and twenty-somethings to get stuck into the Bible, worship and hear teaching on subjects like work, debt, relationships and living for Jesus.
21st – 25th August Bath & West Showground, Somerset
e reat to b ‘It was g d by other e d surroun ns my age’ Christia
Costs: £95 (but early booking deadlines apply so get in quick!)
www.soulsurvivor.com/momentum july 2010...
We’re taking another 150 people out to South Africa for two weeks next summer. Want to join in? Then book your place soon!
15th- 27th July, Durban, South Africa
our online home... Keep up to date with the latest event news on our website at:
www.soulsurvivor.com/uk You can also book online at:
on facebook? Got into Facebook yet? Of course you have! Join our Fan Page to ﬁnd out what we’re up to, add your photos and get involved in discussions! what’s happening in 2010? | page eight
present ideas from soul survivor Want some ideas for what to get your friends and family for Christmas? Or how about leaving this page lying around where they can see it and take the hint to get something for you?!
soul survivor 2010 live album Featuring all the songs you & your mates loved from the summer! Just £11.99!
get your kit on:
soul survivor t-shirts & hoodies Wear your heart on your sleeve with the Soul Survivor hoodies & t-shirts! Hoodies: Hoodies in blue, green or yellow only £22 T-shirts: Women’s blue or white and men’s brown or green just £12.99
soul survivor remixed Seven tracks remixed with a new great dance feel but the same heart of worship! £6.99
ben cantelon album: running after you
We love Ben’s new album which features songs like ‘Not Ashamed’ and ‘God of All’ & reckon your friends will too! £12.99
Get all these brilliant gifts and much more at: shop.soulsurvivor. com All prices include P&P. Order before these dates to make sure your purchase is delivered before Christmas: 10:00am on 18th December for Second Class 10:00am on 21st December for First Class
page nine | gift ideas
cash strapped? get creative this christmas You shouldn’t have to spend loads of money to let someone know you love them! How about coming up with something creative instead? make it: Put your talent to good use and make something special as a present. You could fill a mini notebook or little box with encouragements and verses. Or sweet treats always go down well – who doesn’t love cookies, cakes and chocolate trufﬂes?! Mmmmmmmm.
wrap it: Use old magazines and newspapers as wrapping paper – it looks arty, it saves you money and it saves the planet – hurrah!
cut it: Still got last years Christmas cards stashed away somewhere? Get them out, cut them up and you can make your very own Christmas cards or present tags ready for this year. Blue Peter would be proud!
not feeling creative? Why not give your time instead of your cash?! If you know someone who could do with a hand, offer to clean their car, mow the lawn, clear out the kitchen cupboards, baby sit or make them dinner instead of buying them a present!
Or why not do a Secret Santa with your friends or siblings and make everyone think creatively by setting a spending limit! Alternatively get everyone to buy universal presents and do a lucky dip.
cash strapped? | page ten
what’s your problem?
seasonal stresses solved! Most of us love Christmas. But let’s be honest, the festive season can be a bit stressful too. We may love our families and those who look after us, but we also know family can wind us up like no-one else! Plus there are pressies to buy, more socks to receive and lots of parties to go to. So, how do you cope? We posed a few of the top Christmas conundrums to our team of agony uncles and aunties (they are real aunties and uncles don’t you know) and this is their tip top advice for a Christmas full of peace and goodwill to all!
My family are always arguing so I’m not looking forward to Christmas. How can I enjoy it and not end up hitting someone?! Most of us have been there at some point, so we asked around for a few tips… 1) Don’t feel like you’ve got to spend every minute of the Christmas holidays with your family if they do stress you out. Take a nice walk; call up an old mate or retreat to your room if things are getting a bit tetchy.
2) Try going the extra mile and help out with washing up, cooking and cleaning before someone asks you. It might stop an argument before it even starts.
page eleven | what’s your problem?
3) Pray, be forgiving when necessary, and ask for God’s strength if you find coping with family time pretty hard (especially when you have to endure another family game of charades…).
I love going to parties but don’t want to end up getting drunk or snogging someone I shouldn’t.
Help! Jesus loved parties so you’re in good company! If you know there will be alcohol at a party, it’s a good idea to be honest and accountable to a friend about what you’re drinking*. Decide beforehand what your limit is and help each other stick to it. If no Christian friends will be at the party, agree to text a friend at the end of the night to let them know you stuck to your limit. The best limit is to not have any alcohol at all! Don’t let your mates who are drinking make you feel boring either – you can still have a good time without drinking and you won’t be the one throwing your guts up over someone you fancy, arguing with a good mate or losing your mobile at the end of the night!
Of course, the less you drink, the less likely you are to end up kissing a random person too so getting one sorted usually helps with the other. That and not ending up alone with a stranger in a dark place which is never a good idea anyway! Whatever your social plans are over Christmas, don’t forget to talk to God about them! He’s interested in your life and understands any pressure you feel under. Be honest with him about your struggles and ask him to empower you and your friends to be great witnesses for him. *We’re not kill joys, but obviously if you’re under 18 then steer clear of the beer!
I’m a student and I’m feeling stressed about money this Christmas. Any advice? First of all check out our creative Christmas ideas on page nine! There’s a lot of pressure to spend, spend, spend at Christmas but it’s not worth going into debt over buying presents. Work out what you can afford to spend on each person and stick to it! If you’re honest and explain your situation to friends and family you might find some of them are feeling pretty similar. You can then either agree to skip the present thing this year or to set a small budget. Or challenge each other to make a gift and see who comes up with the best idea – it’s bound to be more fun than getting another CD! what’s your problem? | page twelve
don’t look back in anger
end the year with a cheer
Can you Adam and Eve it? Another year already coming to an end. So how was it for you? Did you sort out your whole life? Do you now know where you’re headed or has God finally revealed to you his plan for your entire future? Or it may be that like many of us, you’re looking back over the last 12 months and thinking not much has changed.
remember, remember But wait, look again. Was there a time when God answered a prayer, spoke to you through an amazing passage in the Bible, revealed more of his love for you as you listened to a talk, sung a song of worship or did something nice for a mate? There are loads of little God moments throughout our years that we can so easily forget them. Instead we can find ourselves waiting for the next big revelation to come along. But it can be the little stuff that actually builds, grows and sustains us. So, as we come to the end of the year it’s good to remember how awesome our God is, how much he loves us and how involved in our lives he is. If you have a bit of time, spend a couple of minutes thinking about, or even writing down, those God moments, and thank Him for them! If you can’t think of any, keep asking God to speak and get together with some mates and pray that you would know His presence and voice.
page thirteen | don’t look back in anger
new year, new start We may feel like we have messed up seriously this year or we may feel that God is distant. Something might have happened to us that just blew open our walk with Jesus to a whole bunch of new questions and challenges. But Christmas is about God coming to be with us, and the thing is, he came in a way everyone least expected it; as a baby. This Christmas the message is the same, God is saying he has come to be with you, but he may not answer your questions or deal with your messes as you expect. The thing is, at the end of the year God is saying a new start is coming. He can deal with your mess, He can answer your questions and He is with you in your struggles. His grace is enough (1 Cor 12v9). Never forget that. There is nothing you can do, or have done, that can separate you from God’s love (Romans 8v39). That is an amazing promise to start a new year, new day or even new hour with!
So you’ve got a new start, what are you going to do with it? These are just some of the New Year’s resolutions we’re setting ourselves at the beginning of 2010. Feel free to make any or all of them your own too!
1. look into the bible more... Try and set aside time every day to just read God’s word, learn more about him, his love for you and His world. Don’t panic if you miss a day and be realistic with how much you can read before you lose focus. Start each time asking God, by his spirit, to reveal something to you, and keep going!
2. try & hear God’s voice more... Speak to God and ask him to help you see what he is doing and hear what he is saying. But, importantly, also wait and listen. Sometimes the most random thought that pops into your head might be something from God. Sometimes it might not, either way, spend time praying for and with others, giving yourself time to hear what God is saying. Be brave when you feel something and mention it to the person you were praying about. Be gracious if you’ve heard it right or wrong, but keep going, asking and listening!
3. begin to deal with an area you’re struggling with... Most of us probably have something going on in our lives that we’re not proud of. It might be about sex, an addiction, a relationship, money, attitude, character, self image… It could be all those things. So ask God for courage, say sorry to him and then speak to someone you know, love and trust about it. Confess it to them, and as with all the other resolutions, ask them to hold you accountable with that situation. Meet together regularly to chat and pray about what’s going on, how you’re feeling and how you’re coping. And most importantly keep coming back to how much your heavenly Father loves you (read, reread and memorise the parable of the lost son: Luke 15v11).
don’t give up! Our mate Matt Redman wrote a song that opens with the words ‘The cross has said it all’. And it has. To really keep going with Jesus in 2010 we need to begin and end each day at the cross, remembering exactly what Jesus has done and will continue to do for us. We’re praying that you start your new year knowing that God’s grace is enough.
don’t look back in anger | page fourteen
find some christmas tidings at www.soulsurvivor.com/uk Ever been to our online holiday home? At soulsurvivor dot com forward slash UK you’ll ﬁnd all sorts of Christmas treats from us, including:
a monthly magazine movies & video diaries a radio with music & seminars Plus we’ve just had a redesign too, so hopefully it’s easier to navigate, find what you need and book for any of our events!
dont forget our summer events... soul survivor 2010
week a: 30th july-3rd August | stafford showground week b: 11th-15th august | bath & West showground week c: 16th-20th august | bath & west showground
save money by booking and paying in full before 29th january 2010...
for students & 20-30 somethings 21st-25th august | bath & west showground, somerset
www.soulsurvivor.com/momentum w. www.soulsurvivor.com/uk | t. 0303 333 1 333 | f. 0303 333 1 334 a. Soul Survivor | Unit 2 Paramount Industrial Estate | Sandown Road | Watford | Herts | WD24 7XF Soul Survivor is a Christian charity that puts on events for young people. Our registered charity no. is 1080720. We are also a company limited by guarantee in England & Wales. Our company registered number is 03991111, which is nice. Thanks for caring.
A Soul Survivor magazine stuffed full of festive treats!! The mag is jam packed with Christmas goodies: Exploring the message of Christmas,...