December 2015 / January 2016 - Vol. 83
Gift of the Holy Spirit
“I Can Start Anew Through the Love of Jesus
and the Gifts of the Holy Spirit”

by Rebecca Hanssen
A packed yet peaceful weekend
I really had no idea what to expect when I first signed up to go on the Koinonia Life in Spirit Seminar weekend, I just knew that I needed to distance myself from my current lifestyle, to grow in my faith and to surround myself with people who would help me do so. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. The retreat was brilliantly organized with 6 seminars, 6 small group meetings, 6 big meals and copious amount of worship songs, tea, biscuits and board games squeezed into two days.

Over the weekend I learnt that God is not beyond our contact but someone who loves us, who wants to be in a personal relationship with us and who wants to give us a better life. This was definitely something which struck a cord with me; God is here for each and every one of us irrespective of our past failings and that if we pray to him he will answer.

The problems of the world are a product of sin and the devil and no matter what humankind may do to try and improve it, their wisdom is nothing in comparison to God's. He sent his Son to save us from our sins and it is only through him that we may have new life both in heaven and on earth.

Coming to know God more fully
New life in the Holy Spirit (something which in all honesty I had never really grasped before the weekend) describes how - through the gifts of the Holy Spirit - we can come to know God more fully. We can pray in a new way, the teaching of the Bible come to life and ultimately God bestows the gifts of the spirit upon us so that we may serve him better and lead richer and more meaningful lives. In order to receive these gifts we must ask for forgiveness for our sins and have faith that God shall renew us.  

In order to grow in our Christian lives we must pray with faith, participate in church life, study the Bible and ultimately put God at the center of our lives so that we may serve him more fully and in doing so we shall be blessed in abundance.

God is there for me
I thought that praying for the gifts of the Holy Spirit at the end of the weekend would be a daunting ordeal but it was quite the opposite. I had heard stories of people’s life changing encounters with God; hearing His voice, falling to their knees, seeing a flood of images, etc. When I was prayed with I had none of these things, instead I got exactly what I truly needed; a sense of absolute peace. All the worries that were burdening me disappeared from my head and were replaced with stillness and quiet. This sign from God has helped me to understand that no matter what difficult decisions or circumstances I may face, he is there for me. I do not need to carry the burdens alone, he has a plan for me and I must offer up my fears and concerns to him.

I can start anew
The speakers for each seminar were so passionate, funny and understanding and at no point did I feel like I was being judged or forced into anything, but rather that I was in a room filled with others who have experienced pain and wrong doing in their lives but who have found - and continue to find - strength in God’s love and forgiveness. The talks convinced me that I don’t have to be burdened by my past but that I can start anew through the love of Jesus and the gifts of the Holy Spirit.

Bio: I am a 21 year old Glaswegian actress currently living in London. I graduated from the University of Glasgow in June 2015 with a joint honors degree in Business Management and English Literature. Since moving to London 6 months ago and joining Koinonia I have met so many inspirational people and my faith has grown enormously. I look forward to seeing what the next 6 months will bring and being a servant of God in all that I do.

If you would like to know more about Koinonia, an intentional Christian community for university students in Central London, UK, you can check out their website and/or subscribe to their newsletter.  
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