#BigRead13: Day 49: Stories // Final Day

Living_in_the_light300

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Really grateful to those who have stuck with this through the whole process, has been some real little encouragements, as we think about Easter … and the year ahead – what difference has engaging with the various online materials for Lent made to our lives? Dealing with the subject of death is always a difficult one, but this is such a lovely picture in The Last Battle:

But for them it was only the beginning of the real story. All their life in this world and all their adventures in Narnia had only been the cover and the title page: now at last they were beginning Chapter One of the Great Story which no one on earth has read: which goes on for ever: in which every chapter is better than the one before.”

The Hebrews verse calls for us to recognise that we are aliens in this earth… but clearly that that doesn’t mean that we are not part of this earth whilst on it! What would we like to be written on our cover page/gravestone? I still think mine would be “She lived life to the full.” 

… and still deeply encouraged by everything shared by #digidisciple – continuously working to add coherence, etc.. whilst maintaining individual voices… what’s on their cover pages?

#BigRead13: Day 47: Resurrection #EverythingChanges

A little weary this afternoon after getting up for sunrise service, but that was something special… about to disappear off for a nap though after my first session this morning

20130331_072301

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Probably earthly pleasures were never meant to satisfy it, but only to arouse it, to suggest the real thing.

Looking forward to heaven some point (no more weary, shattered old mind/body), on a more earthly plane I’m looking forward to catching up with @onlinepraise later.

#BigRead13: Day 46: Time

The final theme for #lentphotos is “loss” – and here’s something that caught my attention outside the Methodist Church in Minehead earlier today:

20130330_121856

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Well, there’s a challenge for those of us who feel time poor from ‘The Screwtape Letters’ … and our attitude to time – we feel we own 24 hours day, begrudge the time we give to work and view:

as a generous donation that further portion which he allows to religious duties.

Psalm 39:4-5 (New Living Translation)

“Lord, remind me how brief my time on earth will be.
Remind me that my days are numbered—
how fleeting my life is.
You have made my life no longer than the width of my hand.
My entire lifetime is just a moment to you;
at best, each of us is but a breath.”

It has become a standing (sigh) joke in my life that I’m always busy, never knowing when to slow down – even trying to do ‘I’m not busy” for Lent -which is TEN MINUTES a day has not worked every day … although I am spending time gradually sorting out processes that should create space in the long term.  IT’S MY BIGGEST CHALLENGE – AND WE LOSE AN HOUR TONIGHT!

@40Acts

That’s a really encouraging point to finish on – all of our stories are important – and just because of our media saturated culture we should not value to dramatic ‘conversation’ over the slow-burn brought up in a Christian family story – amen! I have found it encouraging when in sessions about ‘sharing your testimony’ when people share what God has been doing recently – it’s not all about the conversation testimony – though that’s a time of great joy!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back.
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
the rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
may God hold you in the palm of His hand.

#BigRead13: Day 45: Beloved

Today’s #lentphotos subject is #Loss – and I’m loving this picture by @goannatree – of beauty amidst a place of loss… similar to what we see today – the pain of Jesus hanging on the cross..

graveyard

As spotted on Facebook today, which I then tweeted: “Nails didn’t hold God to a cross. Love did.”#EverythingChanges Six hours, one Friday – by @MaxLucado.

At housegroup earlier this week we were discussing similar to this seen on Facebook also:

I used to think it must have actually been pretty easy for Jesus to die on the cross. After all, he’s God, so surely could handle a few nails in his hands and feet. Then I realised it wasn’t about the physical suffering … it’s about the weight of having every wrong doing that ever existed and ever will exist on his shoulders. And not just a few lies or a bit of speeding on the way to work, but every rape, torture, murder and unthinkable crime against humanity.

And my timelines on Facebook and Twitter are full of ‘It is finished’, etc (haven’t noticed so much of #EverythingChanges yet), but trending are Justin Bieber and The Voice, with the only reference to what’s going on the cheery “Happy Good Friday”.

#BigRead13 Thoughts

This video also came through my Facebook feed (see what connections we can make on a day off that’s a day focused on God – all at once!) and I thought fitted really well with today’s theme of ‘seek and you will find’ – rather than searching for happiness in so many different places (not sure if the computer in the video is intended to equate to computer = bad, but I don’t think so!)

@40Acts

forgiveness

I’m not sure how I feel about today’s challenge, and it really is a challenge. I’ve got Stephen Cherry’s Healing Agony in my reading list pile as I have much to think about on this issue. There’s things that I’ve struggled to say “I forgive you” and mean it … and then I feel like I’m “failing” – yet something else to beat myself up about… I’ve forgiven some pretty massive things, but struggling in particular with someone who said they didn’t have to talk to me about what forgiveness was required for because God had already forgiven them… and that was enough – but I’m sure there are parts in the Bible that talk about also settling up with your human counterpart if you know that you have done something that requires forgiveness… and then trying to remember the forgive 70×7 when someone who’s hurt you badly does it all over again in the way that they deal with the process of trying to find ways to come to terms with things & move on… It’s a long journey without a simplistic answer.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

The 7 sentences Jesus said on the Cross:

  1. “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do …”
  2. “Truly I say to you, today you will be in paradise.”
  3. Jesus said to his mother: “Woman, this is your son.” Then he said to the disciple: “This is your mother.”
  4. “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”
  5. “I am thirsty”
  6. It is finished.
  7. “Father, into your hands I commit my Spirit”

With some great insights as to how these tied into his ministry, and how we are to remember that “In Him was life”. Remember. Remember. Remember.

#BigRead13: Day 44: Minds

So #LentPhotos today is ‘The Last Supper’ – we clearly need more interpretations, pictures, etc on Seed Resources – my favourite is this Stained Glass window (plenty of colour, although I’m sure there’s more ‘art-things’ I could say about it…

last_supper_windowhttp://www.seedresources.com/view/images/last-supper-window

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Ah… being ‘imprisoned in the mind’… Romans 12:2 obviously sprang to mind as I was preparing today’s reflection (along with Joyce Meyer, though I’ve only ever read one of her books!) – I like the New Living Translation:

Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. New Living Translation (©2007)

The extract from The Last Battle may come from the scene where those who believe in Aslan have gone through into the Shed and found themselves in an amazing, fertile land… but those who have been pushed in and don’t believe sit playing games because they think they are restricted by the walls of the shed (all a bit Matrix!). It brings to mind debates about facts/science, etc… I totally see no incompatibility between science/faith, but I have spoken to some who if they can’t engage with it with one of the 5 physical senses, or see proof of it – can’t conceive of it … that seems sad. As Michael Ward said yesterday on the webinar  – God is bigger than us, he created us – if we could fully comprehend him then that wouldn’t make sense…. we are finite and he is infinite.

This leads me to a bit of thinking about what does it mean to ‘transform’ – and I like this first definition on Wordnik “To change markedly the appearance or form” … is it noticeable that we are in a relationship with Jesus?

transform

 

@40Acts

As I’ve been preparing for Spring Harvest over the past few days, along the theme of ‘reconnecting with ‘The Source’ – Jesus & his words, then learning to “be”, then “say”, then “do”, I’m going to emphasise quite heavily the idea that – particularly in the online spaces – it’s about “BEING’ – living the Christian life 24/7 so that people can see… but that does also mean that we need to be prepared for our testimony. I used to give my conversion testimony regularly as an Oak Hall leader, but there are also what’s God doing right here/right now to be aware of… and am I prepared if someone asked me NOW … me being me I’d want to check my notes.

Bekah Legg gives some helpful advice…

  • Know the core elements of your story, the important parts – rather than a script
  • Be prepared for the ‘movie trailer’ version, and someone wanting more detail
  • Don’t slip into Christianese…
  • And most importantly  – LISTEN – the person sat with you is more important than anything you have to say.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Carl Jung: “You are what you do, not what you say you’ll do.”

I guess this is like ‘actions speak louder than words’, although as Brian says – we are more than our actions.

Archbishop Oscar Romero:

We cannot do everything,
and there is a sense of liberation in realising this.
This enables us to do something, and to do it very well.

Can we sum up our Lent journey in 6 words – coming to my mind is “Busy. Stop. Busy. Think. Busy. Be”?

#BigRead13: Day 43: Seek

#LentPhotos

Today’s #LentPhotos is ‘The Road Travelled’ – for which I decided to go to my TripAdvisor pins and screenshot them (taking out the many ‘I still wish to go to’ pins:

road-travelled

#BigRead13 Thoughts

So, we’re onto the last book in the Narnia series today The Last Battle, in which Aslan was found by those who sought him… combined with the simple – but powerful – verse:

New International Version (©2011) (Matthew 7:7)
“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Which does come accompanied by questions about do we have to seek, what about those who don’t know how to seek, etc (seen many of those on my travels) .. what does it mean to “seek” – we are encouraged that it’s active prayer/Bible reading, etc. but I’ve been challenged more about taking time out/space to “be” so that God can speak in the silence (not v. good at it mind!)

@40Acts

A challenge today to think about how we engage those with learning disabilities in the church … do many of our practices/policies (unintentionally) discriminate – when groups such as Prospects can offer much more involvement – and someone in the comments has suggested more church families getting involved in ‘Shared Lives‘…

Brain Draper: Lent 40

Are we able to articulate our dreams, or are they limited by our imagination/language. A poem to help:

God’s Dream

I myself will dream a dream within you,
Good dreams comes from me, you know.
My dreams may seem impossible,
not too practical
not for the cautious man or woman;
a little risky sometimes,
a trifle brash perhaps.

Some of my friends prefer
to rest more comfortably,
in sounder sleep
with visionless eyes.
But from those who share my dreams
I ask a little patience,
a little humor,
some small courage,
and a listening heart –
I will do the rest.

Then they will risk
and wonder at their daring;
run, and marvel at their speed;
build, and stand in awe
at the beauty of their building.

You will meet me often as you work –
in your companions who share the risk,
in your friends who believe in you enough
to lend their own dreams,
their own hands,
their own hearts
to your building.
In the people who will stand in your doorway,
stay awhile,
And walk away knowing that they too can find a dream.

There will be sun-filled days
and sometimes it will rain –
a little variety both come from me.

So come now, be content.
It is my dream you dream,
my house you build,
my caring you witness;
my love you share,
and this is the heart of the matter.

Charles Peguy

#NotBusy

A reminder, and one to rethink… I definitely do use my smartphone as an alarm, but I know that Bryony has challenged herself to not look at her phone til 9am, and finding a difference in her mindset for the day..

tips

#BigRead13: Day 42: Colour

#LentPhotos

The word for today is “hope”- and this one tickled me – if you’re like me, surrounded still by several days of freezing snow, but noticing the flowers trying to come out (and hoping they won’t be killed off):

A_New_Hope

#BigRead13 Thoughts

We’ve been feeling rather Narnian over the past week – ‘Always Winter, Never Christmas':

narnia-weather

But when Father Christmas does appear:

“I’ve come at last,” said he. “She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The witch’s magic is weakening.”

I have a real love for colour – I was thinking about setting up a coaching business re ‘colourful lives’ at some point (polymaths – we have lots of ideas) … and I collect a few particularly beautiful images on Pinterest. At various times in my own coaching/discussions (and kinda now) … I talk about my head being like mixed up balls of wool – which need to take time to detangle – but these are always bright colours, and not miserable… so I have much going on in my life – enjoying most of it, but often so tired not enjoying in a more healthy way… God came to give us life to the full – not to be miserable… here’s some verses identified on that topic (and always interesting to see what topics Google throws up – there’s a CBT course for those who are depressed to ‘live life to the full’)

Today’s passage in #BigRead13 – if we spend too much time worrying rules/must haves, etc. we are not living life to the full, we are living a dull, shadowed life (C.S.Lewis referred to this world as the shadowlands, as it is but a shadow of the world to come) – blinded to the possibilities:

English Standard Version (©2001)
In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God. (2 Cor 4:4)

@40Acts

One of my favourite kind of posts about prayer – take the time, part of real conversation with your group/your God – developed out of natural relationships – the Mums in Ruth’s group had seen her struggling with kids in the supermarket, etc. – they knew her conversation about what it’s like to be as a Mum was real, so were more open to understanding that her thoughts about prayer were ‘real’. Amen!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Today, Brian uses a narrative from a novel to give an idea of what hunger in a desert would feel like… and encourages us to think about fasting for a day/a meal before Easter, to think about the time that we’re going into – and in particular to pray for those who are unable to eat as they have no food… or for those who have eating disorders. To take time to rethink where we’re going on this journey of life… what do we want to take away from Lent?

#BigRead13: Day 41: Real?

#LentPhotos

Today’s is “a necessity” – so let’s see what @seedresources gives us today… well, nothing been tagged with that, so I let myself think for a bit… and.. water:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/drrriiiip

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/drrriiiip

Without water there’s not a lot else (and reminding me of an explanation of the trinity – which I do know some people find not quite on target theologically – but the trinity as ice, water and steam… all water but in different states of being).

#BigRead13 Thoughts

I love this verse – always reminds me of things that used to come round in the local church newsletters…

I’m on Aslan’s side even if there isn’t any Aslan to lead it. I’m going to live as like a Narnian as I can even if there isn’t any Narnia.

Going online to see if anyone had written more on this – I like this post – here’s a bit about the Green Witch in The Silver Chair:

She uses her evil enchantments to persuade the foursome that all the things they know, love, and believe in–sun, sky, the land of Narnia, the children’s own world, and even the great Lion Aslan–are nothing more than a dream, a game of the imagination, a children’s story, while her cold, lightless, joyless kingdom of Underland is the only real world.

Really well put, and I think interesting in a world where I spend a lot of my time saying that the online space is part of “reality”, and that those who can’t see that are missing out on some amazing stuff… people are prepared to spend hours watching/discussing the latest soap episode, or ‘boy band’ who have been constructed for a particular ‘brand’ – you may also know that I have a particular thing with ‘authenticity’ – which doesn’t mean “spilling it all out”, but I do find it difficult engaging with people who think so much about how their brand is perceived there’s little space for the real person to engage… With my love of coaching, I’m keen for people to understand what their passions are, and persue those/live those … and for Christians to be open (but not Bible bashing) about the ‘play-world’ that God offers us…

1 Corinthians 15 – I went over to check out The Message translation

Now, let me ask you something profound yet troubling. If you became believers because you trusted the proclamation that Christ is alive, risen from the dead, how can you let people say that there is no such thing as a resurrection?

If there’s no resurrection, “We eat, we drink, the next day we die,” and that’s all there is to it.

What a depressing thought if our busy lives are all there is too it (and there’s another whole topic, why are we all so busy/driven?).

@40Acts

Another interesting challenge – the phrase ‘stand up, stand out’ stood out for me, as well as the idea that therefore the rest of the church must be sitting … and what does it mean to collaborate … moving on from competition to collaboration.

Simple challenge (except for finding the ‘right’ people): peer for accountability, someone younger to mentor, someone older to be mentored by… And how does that look online – will quite often use online to say that am going off to do a piece of work, then chatting online is the reward!! Short bursts, rather than taking a big chunk of time out… although that’s also important!!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Another interesting tie-in with today’s Narnia read – what will our eternal home look like … and how do we make the most of the home we’ve been given here:

There’s the home we continue to ‘make’ throughout our life. People enter, people leave, but it’s home, even if it’s ever changing, or broken, or not quite what we’d dreamed of.

We are challenged today to savour a memory of our childhood – be thankful for it, even if there were few good memories; look at your house, and pray if there’s a way you can make it more of a home; imagine that you have moved out and are being nostalgic about your home… what will you remember about it?

I love making a house a home.. getting my curtains up would be a big step forward.. now, what about #notbusy today…

#BigRead13: Day 40: Happiness

Picture Credit: Seed Resources

Picture Credit: Seed Resources

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Similarly to the other day when we were told ‘there is no other stream’ – Mere Christianity echoes that … we are taught so much in our culture to ‘pursue happiness’, the ‘happiness index’ .. although it does seem that the emphasis is (having to) change from happiness being equated to how much money, and seeking other more ‘whole life’ perspectives…

That is why it is just no good asking God to make us happy in our own way without bothering about religion. God cannot give us a happiness and peace apart from Himself, because it is not there.

But we don’t have to do it alone, or wait for heaven:

English Standard Version (©2001) (2 Cor 5:5)He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee.

A good reminder that we have much to smile about..

#BigRead13: Day 39: Worry

Today on #lentphotos we’re looking for #strength … this one appealed as though it may be rusty (as our faith can be // am I trying too hard for analogies?) it’s still strong & supportive – whatever we worry about!

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/girder

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/girder

#BigRead13 Thoughts

I really enjoyed reading The Screwtape Letters – with the perspective of the devil talking – how does he try and wheedle his way in and mess our lives up – including taking up our energies in worrying… I love looking up a good quote online - so I thought I’d check out what was there about ‘Worry':

If I had my life to live over, I would perhaps have more actual troubles but I’d have fewer imaginary ones.  ~Don Herold

Worry never robs tomorrow of its sorrow, it only saps today of its joy.  ~Leo Buscaglia

If you can’t sleep, then get up and do something instead of lying there worrying.  It’s the worry that gets you, not the lack of sleep.  ~Dale Carnegie

If you want to test your memory, try to recall what you were worrying about one year ago today.  ~E. Joseph Cossman

People gather bundles of sticks to build bridges they never cross.  ~Author Unknown

Worry is interest paid on trouble before it comes due.  ~William Ralph Inge

Worrying is like a rocking chair, it gives you something to do, but it gets you nowhere.  ~Glenn Turner

Worry often gives a small thing a big shadow.  ~Swedish Proverb

We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday’s burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it. ~John Newton

My life has been full of terrible misfortunes most of which never happened. ~Michel de Montaigne

There’s an interesting range of worldviews and spiritual beliefs presented, but although no Bible verses, there’s some encouraging ones from the Christian perspective…

Do not be afraid of tomorrow; for God is already there.  ~Author Unknown

[A]ny concern too small to be turned into a prayer is too small to be made into a burden.  ~Corrie Ten Boom, Clippings from My Notebook

Every evening I turn my worries over to God.  He’s going to be up all night anyway.  ~Mary C. Crowley

Fear can keep us up all night long, but faith makes one fine pillow.  ~Philip Gullet

Matthew 6:34: “Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? … has always been one of my favourite verses on this, whilst my t-shirt quotes Phil 4:6 “Keep Calm and Pray On”!

@40Acts

So I was a bit worried that I would be asked to plant a tree – but that is really just given as an example of community engagement, especially with regard to taking care for the natural environment around us. If your school is interested I can highly recommend Mary Jackson for making the most of your outdoor space.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

So often we are burdened down with worry and we just don’t see – open our ears and our eyes..

(now the ears of my ears awake
and now the eyes of my eyes are opened)

ee cummings
Though I’d quite like to not be awake … was struggling to breathe til about 4.30am, then had to check out of hotel. “Chilling” out in East Coast First Class lounge whilst wait for train..

#BigRead13: Day 38: Blood

Today’s #lentphotos is on waiting… I liked this one from @seedresources which highlights a little boy waiting for his train to come in … quite cheerfully I think. We’re often so impatient when we’re waiting…

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/ticket-to-ride

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/ticket-to-ride

#BigRead13 Thoughts

I’ve just checked out The Message translation of today’s verses (Hebrews 9:13-15):

He also bypassed the sacrifices consisting of goat and calf blood, instead using his own blood as the price to set us free once and for all.If that animal blood and the other rituals of purification were effective in cleaning up certain matters of our religion and behavior, think how much more the blood of Christ cleans up our whole lives, inside and out. Through the Spirit, Christ offered himself as an unblemished sacrifice, freeing us from all those dead-end efforts to make ourselves respectable, so that we can live all out for God.

In The Silver Chair Aslan voluntarily offers his blood into the stream, resurrecting King Caspian ready for his life in the ‘new Narnia’ … The misery stops, we are ‘cleansed’ … As someone who suffers from depression, the idea of this in heaven (though we are in heaven on earth, right, we still have to deal with human ailments) is something to truly look forward to!

@40Acts

A great challenge today – to think about ‘stewarding’ any influence you may have online – how do we move away from ‘self-promotion’ – especially if we have the numbers – and think about how we use the attention that you may have with a blog/Twitter following. Use the skills that you have (e.g. the example given is a socialite party which raised huge amounts of money – so don’t feel it has to be a sackcloth and ashes moment) – and remember that Jesus had “12 followers” (although I’m thinking of the countless others who listened out for him – until he became someone to be disassociated from!) – and that “Every chance he got, he embodied truth, love, justice, mercy and humility.” – and now has 1/3 of the world as his ‘followers’.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Brian today gives the example of Roger Bannister who was told the sub-4 minute mile wasn’t possible and said “I don’t listen to that kind of talk” – and once he’d broken it, others started to do so as the belief was there that it could be done [I’m thinking back to previous #bigread13 post where the horses in The Horse and His Boy thought they were going as fast as they can – til they realised the lion was behind them.] – especially as Bono [who we all know is a favourite of Brian’s] is now applying that analogy to removing world poverty.

What ‘limiting beliefs’ have sunk into your feet over the years? “I won’t ever change” / “I’m no good at that” / “I’m not creative” / “It’s OK for other people but not for me” / “I don’t have the will power” / “I’m not that spiritual” / “I always mess up in the end” …

Identify a limiting belief you hold, and determine not to let it hold you back any longer. Write it down and cross it out, throw darts at it, rip it up, burn it, whatever you want to do: but resolve to leave it on the path, this side of Easter.

Brian encourages us to think about the learning that we’ve taken from Lent can affect our lives afterwards.

Pam’s Perambulations

This is echoed as Pam comes to the end of Stephen Cottrell’s book – for Jesus

His time in the wilderness was not the end, but the beginning of his ministry, a time of equipping – from which he then had to go out and be with.  To show people God’s love, God’s life, in the special times, but more in the ordinary times.

Remember also that

God is everywhere and in  everything. He is not kept in a box for special occasions, or only in certain special places.

 

#BigRead13: Day 37: Adventure

Today’s #lentphotos is #renewal – and there were options for new life in spring, urban renewal, but the biggest form of renewal that I never seem to get enough of is sleep so…:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/sleeping-lion

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/sleeping-lion

#BigRead13 Thoughts

 

See also ‘adventures‘, and ‘no growth‘.Today’s reading – where the disciples leave what they are doing and follow Jesus is always a big challenge – how much are we caught up in what we are doing and therefore not ‘living life to the full’, have the ‘adventures’ that God wants us to have – are we so worn down by doing, that we’re not listening/following? (Challenge to self!)… Meantime, I have set aside today/tomorrow to work on my book, and this is my last task before I go quiet for (most of) the day…

@40Acts

Another challenge from A Rocha to think about the earth that we live in, and how we care for it – and that maybe we can’t solve the biggest problems (ourselves), but we can make an individual stand – and if enough of us make a small stand… Today’s is to think about our use of plastic – reuse bags, beware packaging, careful with plastic cups, etc… I am getting much better at remembering to take bags in for my shopping (and using all the charity bags that come through the door as rubbish bags … I don’t really have anything left to give away – everything I’ve kept I have a use for.. or I take them to the shop itself!)

Brian Draper: Lent 40

“Let your words be few” … Jesus’ words were often few, but we feel the need to fill the spaces with words/conversation – how do we ensure that our words are more weighted. Thinking today on the phrase “I am…” as we’re working on this with Lindisfarne video…

and at some point take that 10 mins out from my books to be #notbusy! Although taking time out to read my books from the deluge of online information is inspired by #notbusy itself…

#BigRead13: Day 36: Stream

Today’s #lentphotos is #moretemptation .. I thought this image from @seedresources was interesting – often when we talk about Jesus in the desert is about the Devil tempting Jesus… here he’s tempted to ask for the burden to be taken away … often have that debate about “oh, he was God so he didn’t really suffer as he knew what was after”, but he was ‘fully human’ and went through it all…

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/father-is-there-no-other-way

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/father-is-there-no-other-way

#BigRead13 Thoughts

We’ve been preparing material to celebrate The Lindisfarne Gospels around the series of “I am” statements – and on Holy Island – there is “The Pilgrim’s Way” – where you can – when the tide is right – follow the footsteps of Cuthbert (whose feast day it is today). In many ways, for that route, there is also “no other way”, and it’s not without risk (as can be seen by the ‘rescue points’ on the path/road that are the only places to rest if swimming back is too much).

We had a bit of a discussion about this at housegroup the other day as I mentioned that in Uganda we had a Christian service led by a Muslim who said “we all serve the same God” as we wondered if God is bigger than our human intelligence, but also this passage – both Biblical and in C.S.Lewis is clear that “there is only one way”. I know it’s a big question, but ofttimes I feel that I can but take responsibility for my own way of living/understanding, and that any ‘evangelism’ as such has to come from others who may want to open the questions – and then I should ‘be prepared to answer’ (which I don’t always feel BTW!)…

@40Acts

‘Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.’ James 1:19

Bearing in mind the tweet that @pmphillips sent me yesterday about a book opening more conversations (than a Kindle, for which the cover can’t be seen) … and indeed on the train the other week I got talking to a lady who saw the book I was reading on #digitalparenting – led to a conversation – her colleague investigates cyberbullying, and we’re now in touch, I thought this section was interesting:

The lady sitting next to me on the bus yesterday said. ‘This is a God-incidence.’ She pulled out of her Mary-Poppins-type bag a book on the Christian faith and found it amazing that she had sat next to a follower of the very person she was searching for.

The rest of today’s post emphasises the need to listen (which I interpret as: to truly listen, not “uh-huh” whilst we wait for our own turn to speak) – and that’s something I often emphasise in social media training – when tweeting it’s not about broadcasting out information, but about listening to what people want and seeking to respond to that. But I also like his idea that you ask the person who serves you coffee – and be interested in the answer (assuming of course that it’s not so busy that you won’t just stress them out!). I always remember when I worked for Oak Hall that was one of the reasons that despite there being a DVD player on the coaches, they weren’t used as the (long!) coach journey gave people – some of whom had come on their own – a chance to chat and get to know each  other before spending a week together.

Brian Draper: Lent 40

The need to have gratitude – look out for the song ‘Hallelujah’ and really listen to the words… then seek things to which you can say the (less pious) ‘Hurrah’

‘Hurrah’ probably derives from a Norse term meaning ‘on to paradise’, according to Dave. ‘Every experience of real delight and happiness is in its own way a taste of paradise,’ he concludes, a foretaste of heaven.’

#BigRead13: Day 35: Recognition

Today’s #lentphotos is Jesus – this is quite a striking one from @seedresources

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/jesus-weeps-over-jerusalem

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/jesus-weeps-over-jerusalem

#BigRead13 Thoughts

New Living Translation (©2007)So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. (John 1:14)

The other day Brian Draper encouraged us to ‘look for God in the ordinary’ – and today we are encouraged to see God in the details and the bigger picture of our world – to recognise that he infuses our world – and that we just often aren’t looking so don’t see. He came to earth (rather than us going to Narnia?) so that we could know him a little…

@40Acts

Knowing about the new ‘FAB‘ campaign, I knew this one was coming. Super-happy to promote the ideas (and should double-check that I ticked the right box on my driving licence for organ donation) … but I’ve been told by the nurse who’s done blood tests to please not give blood … veins are rubbish/blood moves too slow! Hope each of us can find the right way to give appropriately..

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Love this… :

You may have simply come to life as you felt a few rays of sunshine on your face. Remember that the love of God shines on us all, then – friend and stranger – and resolve to show some loving kindness to a person you don’t even know.

#BigRead13: Day 34: Beginnings

Today’s #lentphotos is “Spirit” – so I went over to Seed Resources, and found this pic I’d taken on the Scilly Isles – decided that was my choice for today:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/quotable

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/quotable

#BigRead13 Thoughts

I just love this thought – though God starts his transformative work with us when we agree to let him in – he doesn’t force us to change – we remain imperfect humans, and he walks alongside us as “the cure has begun”. If we had a quirky sense of humour before – we probably still have one, along with any annoying habits … and some may be appropriate to change – other bits of it are related to ‘who we are’…. as we move from baby food to something more substantial!

@40Acts

A challenge to have a ‘car-free day’ each week – as someone who’s had a car for 4-5 years now, and only has added about 12,000 miles to the clock – including a couple of big North/South drives … not sure this is so much for me, although I do try and think before I get the car out… sometimes I think the half-mile to the gym – but to be honest – it’s more important that I get there at the moment!!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

‘Keep nothing back,’ suggests CS Lewis in Mere Christianity. ‘Nothing that you have not given away will be really yours.’

What do we ‘hold onto’ that we could more freely give to the world… making me think – includes our talents …

#BigRead13: Day 33: Attitude

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/love-2

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/love-2

#BigRead13 Thoughts

how could you hate what a man did and not hate the man? But years later it occurred to me that there was one man to whom I had been doing this all my life — namely myself.

from Mere Christianity - an interesting one in which C.S.Lewis indicates that we continue to love ourselves despite what we do – reminds me of ‘speck in brothers eye’ … but also makes me wonder as I often think I’m hardest on myself – I will often say to others “you are as you are, and you can only start from where you are” … although maybe with that comes an expectation that people will be “trying” to “improve” themselves…

#NotBusy

Wittgenstein said that philosophers should greet each other with the phrase “take your time”. #NOTBUSY 

#BigRead13: Day 32: Humble

Today’s #lentphotos is “perspective” – I like the idea of seeing things from a different perspective … I’ve certainly seen a power pylon from this perspective:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/inside_a_power_pilon

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/inside_a_power_pilon

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Humility is the quality of being modest and respectful. Humility, in various interpretations, is widely seen as a virtue in many religious and philosophical traditions, being connected with notions of egolessness.

There’s plenty of debates about what it means to be humble, especially within a Christian context, often tied in with those who seek to be “known” for humbleness… interesting at a time when the Catholic Church has just appointed someone who clearly seems to be humble, rather than seeking to be known for it (so far as we can see).

Luke 18-9-14: Good reminder to not seek to not compare ourselves to others, or to levels of humbleness … we each have our own journey…

@40Acts

Sheridan Voysey – always a joy to read/listen to .. and don’t forget to read Resurrection Year for the full story given a hint of here. Time is one of the most precious things we have … as someone who’s writing this the following day, having lost most of the day (when I’m over-busy already) in exhaustion … this is not how God wants us to live… he gave us lives to “live to the full” – and not just our own, but those we have encountered – particularly thinking back to my recent #tfbloggers experiences – “Who is my neighbour?” – we spend too long limiting that geographically…

Brian Draper: Lent 40

How do we see God in the everyday? Which I’m interpreting as stop waiting for the “lightning bolts”, and enjoy seeking (and seeing) God in the ordinary…

 

#BigRead 13: Day 31: Bridge

#LentPhotos for today is “support” … ignoring the image of “a bra” that keeps creeping into my mind, I nip off to Seed Resources again – and find this image of the pillars that hold up many Cathedrals – always amazed by the architecture in these places – before so many of the things that make modern construction possible were in place:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/pillar-of-support

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/pillar-of-support

#BigRead13: Thoughts

I always remember those little leaflets, with the big gap, and Jesus’ cross laid across the gap as the bridge builder – the epitomy of the verse in today’s Bible verses.

Really useful to be reminded about whether the way may be long or short, there is a clear way – just wish I could see it more clearly sometimes.

Writing this late after an exhausting couple of days – just seen this on Facebook: 

a teenager who described the pits of depression, not as a waste of time where you cease to be of any use to anybody and your mind swirls into darker realms, but as a pit stop, a place to rejuvenate, ready to go onwards after getting sorted

@40Acts

Present buying – well that can be a challenge for many people. I had a reputation for often making good, personal choices – and I spent a lot of time doing that – then I get caught up in work, I’m running late, and I’ve not seen whoever it is for a while, and I don’t know what to get – though I often work on the basis that with most of my friends you can’t go wrong with a bottle of wine – hopefully remembering the right colour, etc. of people’s drinks! Nice idea to make personalised cards though, one of my friends does, and it always makes me smile!

Brian Draper: Lent 40

Beautifully simple today – to take time to savour things – e.g. making a cup of tea – don’t be rushing to fill the time whilst waiting for the kettle to boil (or whatever else you enjoy doing), but take time to stop, and savour … as does #notbusy!

#BigRead13: Day 30: Dragonish

Today’s #lentphotos theme is Wisdom .. and I just love this picture from @goannatree at #GB11:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/wisdom

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/wisdom

#BigRead13 Thoughts

Today’s thoughts about Eustace becoming a dragon, because he has spent time amongst dragonish things, and the verses of Proverbs 12:26 which encourage us to be wise in who we choose as our friends are both good reminders. If you’ve met me you’ll know that I’m pretty friendly, and I got into all chats expecting that we’ll get on well, etc. Some friendships stand the test of time more than others, and some of my thinking is defined by coaching training – be careful in how much time you spend with those who drain you. If people are down, they can bring you down with them (especially if you have a tendency to get ‘down’) … but how does that fit with the message to care for all of those around us – including those who might otherwise be hard to love? Difficult one … and I think the verses are often used to encourage us to stick to our Christian ‘cliques’, and e.g. Christian music, etc. rather than being part of the world (though not of the world … or as I read recently – being distinctive rather than separated!) – a big topic – one that until yesterday I thought I’d be talking about on Sunday on The Big Questions – but that particular story was dropped … suspect the Pope may have had something to do with that!

@40Acts

“Jesus highly valued his friends and put time and effort into his relationships. We need to create the lives, and the family lives, that we want, and not what has been inflicted or creeps up on us.”

I like the idea of having screen-free time (I do it regularly – which always confuses people when they try and get hold of me at the last minute), and the idea of putting time into relationships, but I don’t see the that lack of screen time will change the other – a lot of my time building relationships comes through the screen – whether arranging to meet, or sharing photos, etc. with my friends/family who live a long way away (I don’t have kids to worry about mind you, and currently writing a book on kids/the internet – fascinating – and encouraging to see how much good is coming out of some of the things they do online.)

Brian Draper: Lent 40

You remember that joke …

Sunday School: “What’s this?”

Child: “Well it looks like an elephant but I know the answer should be Jesus”

Today Brian encourages us to be listening out for the questions – and then taking the time to listen out for answers too:

Good questions form a crucial part of our spiritual development. But let’s not always look for the answer we think is ‘right’, or necessarily ‘spiritual’. Sometimes there’s no answer at all, course – the question is all we need. And often, if one arrives, the answer that rings true is much simpler and more practical than we might expect. Something that was there, before our eyes, from the start. An answer, an insight, a realisation that leaves us with that curious feeling that we have known it all along; that we have simply rememberedsomething deeper down about who we are, and how we can live, and where we are going.

#BigRead13: Day 29: Imagination

Today’s #lentphotos asks for a photo on #nutrition … having eaten crisps (and nothing else yet) this evening (and I do have a load of salad in the fridge) good to be reminded that there’s plenty of good nutrition options:

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/customers-at-fruit-and-vegetable-market-tewkesbury-uk_1

http://www.seedresources.com/view/images/customers-at-fruit-and-vegetable-market-tewkesbury-uk_1

#BigRead13 Thoughts

There’s a number of imaginative interpretations on @bigbible – but one whose I particularly look out for are those from Kate Bruce – and particularly thinking back to this post - where she took time to sit and think in what guise God would appear to her (in this case a woman gardener)

I love the way that C.S.Lewis describes Eustace in The Voyage of the Dawn Treader – “He thought of course that they were making it all up; and as he was far too stupid to make anything up himself, he did not approve of that.”” In a world where ‘fact’ has been raised to such a high status it’s great to celebrate creativity and imagination!

Reminded me of the quote attributed to Winston Churchill when asked to cut arts funding in the war “then what are we fighting for?” – apparently fictitious – shame – great (and I think true) sentiment!

Though my brain struggles to imagine heaven … beyond my thinking – what about you?!

@40Acts

Genesis 21:6 - God has brought us laughter. Oh yeah…

Share a joke.. :

A jump-lead walks into a bar. The barman says “I’ll serve you, but don’t start anything.”

Pam’s Perambulations

Love this:

We find our way to God, not by who we are, or what we’ve done, but simply by believing in Jesus.  He accepts us just as we are, there is no test, no criteria to meet, no right background to come from – believing in him is enough.