The annual Birmingham CMF away day is always a highlight in our busy calendar. You would have thought it would be tricky to drag 40 busy medical students away to a small church south-west of Birmingham on a rainy and cold day in November. However not much dragging was needed with the promise of great food, fellowship, games and teaching from the Bible!
the day itself
An early start and a complicated mix and match of drivers and passengers meant we arrived early at the church set in the beautiful countryside of the Lickey Hills in South Birmingham. After the usual formalities — a hot drink and ice-breakers, the real purpose of the day began — getting into God's word and hearing from him. We had two-three sessions, accompanied with times of sung worship and group or individual prayer. Following lunch, we braved the elements for a walk through the beautiful countryside, followed by games, dinner together in the evening, and a big tidy up before we headed home.
This year, Nick Greaves, a fourth year at Birmingham was the day's main organiser, pulling all the different aspects together with help from the Birmingham CMF and its committee. This involved coordinating prayer and sung worship, booking the building, arranging car sharing, food, CMF members to help organise games and ice-breakers and most importantly arranging for a speaker to come and teach us from God's word.
CMF away day 2018
James Howitt, CMF Associate Staff Worker in Essex spoke on the topic of 'Whole Life Worship'. Here are the key points:
- How many hours do we spend a week in worship? If you attend church once or twice a week, maybe two-three hours? Maybe you're a worship leader, so with music practice does that take it up to five-ten hours? Or do we spend all waking hours in worship to the Lord?
- In the Old Testament, worship involved the temple, a priest and sacrifice. The temple was where God was present; the priest interceded for the sins of the people, and the sacrifice removed sin. Christ fulfils these Old Testament requirements.
In sending his Spirit, God allows us to worship him anywhere as our bodies have become the holy temple. (1) Jesus is our High Priest who intercedes for us before the Father. (2) Our lives are now a living sacrifice — our actions do not earn us a relationship with the Father, but are an outward sign of him changing us. (3) This is our true whole life worship: it is wrong for us to separate our church 'worship' from the rest of our lives.
how do we practically apply this to ourselves? (Here are two examples)
1. As future healthcare professionals, we must be careful to keep our identity in Christ, rather than making our identity as a doctor an idol.
2. Building bridges — throughout his ministry, Jesus built many bridges (between Jews and Samaritans and between men and women to name just a few). We must make sure our whole life worship includes reaching out to all people, rather than discounting some as below us or 'too sinful' to know Christ.
I cannot recommend having a local CMF away day enough! It is a great opportunity for your CMF group to come together to enjoy fellowship, God's presence and to learn about him.
Isaac Barnes is a clinical medical student in Birmingham, and NSC representative for the Midlands