The End of an Era

ImageSo it’s coming up to the last month of university, and if I’m honest, emotions are running high. Three years have gone by and so much has changed. The scariest part is having to go into the real world, if I’m honest (again), I’ve got NO CLUE about the next year or so. I had so many plans, but they’ve all ended miserably.

It’s the mates who I’m going to miss the most. My housemates! Probably three of the best friends I’m ever going to have! We’ve learned to live with each other and it’s worked out beautifully. It could have gone horribly wrong two years ago when I knew nothing about two people who I’d be living with. The same goes for the Christian friends. The Church I got stuck into, Emmanuel Evangelical Baptist Church in Gabalfa, has been a life-saver during the university years. I’ve made friends that I’m going to miss so much. They’ve been there for me in the good and bad times and have helped me persevere through life.

I tried my best to stick around in Cardiff, but it wasn’t gonna work out. Ah, it’s for the best I suppose. I’m sure I’ll read this post again in a few years time and say that “it was meant to be” (althought I HATE that phrase). Or maybe it won’t and I’ll be stuck in a dead-end job with no friends… I’ll pass that bridge when I get to it.

It is true, God is good. I’ve got a bright future, but for the minute, I’m gonna keep my head down and keep going.

Dan.

The Gadarene Response.

Mark 5:1-20

Here is a picture of the only two possible responses of humanity to Jesus Christ. On the one hand there is the demon-possessed man and on the other the Gadarenes. John Woolley gave four questions to ask ourselves of this passage:

  1. Why were the Gadarenes in this position? This is a wonderful picture of Christian conversion. The demon-possessed man’s life is totally out of control, then Jesus arrives and his ‘chains fell off.’ The Gadarenes couldn’t deny this, they couldn’t ignore the evidence of change within this man. Yet they told Jesus to leave. They were in this position because Jesus was confronting them with who he was, “you’re either for me or against me.” The Christian message is too vital to pass by.
  2. What were their reactions? a) They were afraid, they couldn’t get out of their mind what they were seeing. b) They plead with Jesus to leave, according to the Greek , they physically push him.
  3. Why did they respond this way? The huge herd of swine had just vanished off a cliff in front of their eyes. There is a fear sometimes that if we believe in Jesus Christ then we will have to give up things in our lives. This may be the case (as the farmers lost their livelihoods), but our souls are of much more value than this present life. This fear and the desire to push him away is a universal experience when confronted with God. Left to ourselves we would never choose to follow Jesus. We are incapable of coming to and choosing him.
  4. How will you respond to Christ? We have to say that we are like these people. But that is the wonder of God’s grace. However dark and sinful we are is irrelevant, it is the grace of God that makes the difference.

4.5 hours to go!

It’s only four point five hours until we catch the train to Holyhead. Exciting stuff. Will definitely be vlogging through the entire journey, with all the triumphs and tears – with the latter most likely from me.

I think I have everything. I’m using a duvet cover as a sleeping bag, I guess it might be colder, but much lighter which I may or may not live to regret. Two pairs of underwear, totally enough for five days, and the odd bag of Haribo (just for the train up).

Still haven’t sorted out a place to stay on the last night, seems that bunkhouses just don’t answer their phones on a Sunday… I’m realising that a serious amount of prep has not occurred.

Okay, lots to do. Tweets will be available throughout the trip along with some interesting notes on the variety of towns, villages and hamlets we go through.

Otherwise, see you on the other side.

Dan.

Itinerary.

So the basic itinerary is complete:

Day 1:    Holyhead – Caernarfon (41miles)
Day 2:    Caernarfon – Machynlleth (79miles)
Day 3:    Machynlleth – Swyddffynnon (37miles)
Day 4:    Swyddffynnon – Brecon (78miles)
Day 5:    Brecon – Cardiff (55miles)

This should be interesting but there’s lots of time so we can take it slow and enjoy ourselves too. I’ve organised the first night’s stay, but am still to sort out Tuesday and Thursday. Should be quite easy though.

Right, time to get out of the sluggard sofa and do something productive.

Dan.

Totters

Just organised our first day which ends in Caernarfon, staying at Totters. Being the vile student that I am, I phoned to ask for a discount and was instantly shot down, so not much point in trying again. But £16 for the night is pretty good and you get a lot for it too including a secure place for the bikes. Now I’ve seen some pictures online, I realise that my father and I stayed here the last time and I remember it having a friendly atmosphere with people coming and going.

Take a look at the fourteenth century dining area:

Lon Las 2011.

Well, it’s that time of my life again: to do Holyhead to Cardiff!

I attempted and succeeded just over four years ago, and decided to give it another shot. I am so excited, but I’ve literally got three weeks to organise everything that my father did for me last time.

So, I’m thinking of giving five days, Monday – Friday, for leisure’s sake. The only problem with this is that it’s gonna be a tad expensive with all those over-night stays, but thankfully I have grandparents living in mid-Wales who hopefully (I’m yet to ask) will give me and my mate free board and lodging. Yep, still not out of the nest quite yet.

Routes to Ride gives a recommended itinerary for the ride, splitting it into eight stages:

Stage 1: Holyhead to Caernarfon (41 miles).

Stage 2: Caernarfon to Porthmadog (29 miles).

Stage 3: Porthmadog to Dolgellau via Barmouth (35 miles).

Stage 3A: Porthmadog to Dolgellau via Trawsfynydd (29 miles).

Stage 4 : Dolgellau to Machynlleth via Corris (15 miles).

Stage 4A: Dolgellau to Machynlleth via Mawddach Trail and Tywyn (36 miles).

Stage 5: Machynlleth to Llanidloes via Dylife (24 miles).

Stage 6: Llanidloes to Builth Wells via Rhayader (32 miles).

To finish at Chepstow:

Stage 7: Builth Wells to Abergavenny via Glasbury and Gospel Pass (40 miles)

Stage 8: Abergavenny to Chepstow (27 miles)

To finish at Cardiff:

Stage 7: Builth Wells to Brecon via Talgarth (32 miles)

Stage 8: Brecon to Cardiff via the Taff Trail (55 miles)

I’m going to train it up to Holyhead from Cardiff at 5:10am – yep, that’s pretty insane, but there’s no changes and only £17. I’ve just booked the ticket with National Rail Enquiries, and they have a handy page explaining all the details of taking a bike on the train. According to the Train Companies page, Arriva Trains Wales allow cycles on for free:

Cycles are carried free of charge on all services subject to space being available. Cycle spaces may also be reserved on trains shown in timetables as seat reservations possible. This service is also free of charge. Cycles are not carried on Cardiff suburban services arriving in Cardiff between 07.30-09.00 or departing Cardiff between 16.00-18.00 Monday to Friday. Folding cycles are carried on all services if fully folded.

The only issue now is looking for good places to stay in or around Caernarfon, for dirt cheap.

Mark 10:13-31.

This morning’s sermon was based on the above passage and the minister opened it up so well. It was a humbling example of when I assume I understand a passage, which in actual fact is far far-away from the truth. The verse which really got me was v.27,

With men it is impossible, but not with God; for with God all things are possible.

I’ve heard people say so many times to go to Christ with my problems and sins and entrust him to deal with them. But I’ve never listened, I’ve always gone away and read books about the issue (as my close friends will tell you, such a self-helper!) in hope for a physical remedy to my troubles. The minister made it clear today that instead of falling at Christ’s knees and saying, “I can’t do it! Help me!” I walk away just as the rich guy who was ‘sad at this word, and went away sorrowful, for he had great possessions’ thinking it’s hopeless.

When will I ever get it into my thick skull that it is impossible for me but entirely, fully, 100% possible with God?! I’m such a disciple!

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