RSS

Monthly Archives: March 2012

Journey 2 Day 37 – Food and Friendship

Taking time out in the midst of the busyness of life is a vitally important and ultimately refreshing thing. Recreation in its fullest sense. It was helpful to be reminded of that today when reading the Consumer Detox blog on Sabbath. The words of Walter Brueggemann are profound and cut to the heart of the matter. Building in rest and refreshment as a rhythm of life is so key.

A good few years ago we got together with a group of friends and started something called GaFooFi (Games, Food, Film). The idea being to gather on a regular basis and share in the wonders of playing games, sharing meals and watching films. Our idea soon expanded to included creating our own games and widening the story aspect of films to real life and sharing and contributing to each others stories and lives in the times of joy, the times of sadness and the times of the mundane everyday stuff.

It was a great and very refreshing thing to take time out today with some of those friends, and our now expanding in number families, to stop and share fun, laughter, stories and food together.

The simplicity of doing this is simply that its important, refreshing and vital to life and what it means to be human. Thank you God for friendship and the gift of doing and sharing life with friends.

Advertisements
 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 17, 2012 in Food, Journey 2

 

Journey 2 Day 35 – Wow Moments

Having taken some time yesterday to explore the complexity, costs and struggles of living simply I want to revert back to the theme of the past week on Gratitude and Thanks. Over the past few weeks I have had more ‘wow’ moments than I normally have. Taking a bit more time to stop, reflect and take this journey has made me so aware of just how much I have to be thankful for and for how many amazing people, stories, experiences and moments I’ve had not just recently but in the course of my life.

I know that we live in the now and also the not yet of God’s Kingdom and that what we see and have now is just a foretaste of what is to come. But even in the midst of many questions, struggles, hurts and frustrations there are still many ‘wow’ moments that give a really great foretaste of the Kingdom now as well as for the future. And that really is ‘wow’.

I have been struck and inspired by a quote in Consumer Detox where Mark Powley refers to a concept of ‘triple enjoyment’ developed by Miroslav Volf in his 2005 book ‘Free of Charge’. Its one of those quotes that the more you read it the more you go ‘Wow’. This is indeed a rich and full view of life.

” A rich self has a distinct attitude toward the past, the present and the future. It surveys the past with gratitude for what it has received, not with any annoyance about what it hasn’t achieved or about how little it has been given. A rich self lives in the present with contentment. It still strives, but it strives out of a satisfied fullness, not out of the emptiness of craving. A rich self looks to the future with trust. It gives rather than holding back in fear of coming out too short, because it believes God’s promise that God will take care of it. Finite and endangered, a rich self still gives, because its life is ‘hidden in Christ’ in the infinite, unassailable and utterly generous God, who is the Lord of the present, the past and the future”

(Romans 13:11-12, 2 Coriinthians 9:8, Colossians 3:3)

Simply WOW!

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 15, 2012 in Journey 2

 

Journey 2 Day 34 – Struggle and Mess

As I have been on this Journey of simplicity I have been struck by both the importance but also the struggle of keeping things simple. I have been really impacted by the Consumer Detox Journey and found it really releasing and freeing. However as with my consumer confession, despite the impact of this journey, living simply and keeping things simple is a struggle.

Take the issue of Identity. In my heart and my bones and my very being I know that my true identity is to be found in who I am in God. A Son, A Child, A Friend and yet despite knowing this and wanting this I still struggle with this and often seek my value and identity in other places, perhaps especially in roles, jobs and responsibilities. Roles, Jobs and responsibilities are good and great things and allow us to outwork the gifts and talents that God has given us. But if, when, they become all consuming and form the basis for meaning I am forced to really question the validity of that approach.

The theme of identity and character has been a recurring one in my life, especially it seems in the past week or so. Today I heard a brilliant talk by Jenny Baker exploring the value and importance of looking at who we are as well as where we are and what we do.

I was also shown this profound article in relation to priorities and parenthood. It cut to the heart as I reflected on how I as a Parent and a Husband have sometimes gone through the motions rather than really cherishing the opportunities to be with my amazing family in a full and committed way.

Then just yesterday I spent a brilliant morning with colleagues hearing about loads of truly amazing stories of transformation. It caused us to be asked the question: What kind of people do we want to be or become? What does that profound question mean? It can be easy (or at least appealing) to try and compartmentalise life into boxes… but it just does not and must not work like this.

We reflected on the book of Philippians. In reading, in hearing these stories and reflecting on those questions it became clear that whole life discipleship will involve struggle, cost, conflict, frustration, agony and pain as well as great joy, reward and fulfilment. One without the other is not real life. One without the other is not really possible it would seem.

Its in the struggle, the mess and the honesty that life is done in all its fullness. So I want to take more steps in the discipleship adventure but to do this rooted in my true identity. God, Family and then the rest can follow. Who is is that I want to become. A person who Loves God, seeks to form character and deep rooted values. Who loves his wife, children, wider family, friends and neighbours and who from that place can then seek to outwork life in the wider sense having first and foremost that deep rooted

I will struggle and make a mess of it, but I want to do it, knowing that Grace and restoration is at hand.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 14, 2012 in Change, Food, Journey 2

 

Journey 2 Day 33 – Stop

A Story of great inspiration

Today I had a truly amazing morning. I stopped to listen to a whole bunch of stories of transformation. One of which is in the video above. I stopped to think about the question of character. Who is it that we are becoming? And how in the whole of life, work included, this is vital to operate with integrity. Who we are, how we operate and where we find and outwork our identity is important. It was great to stop and hear about so many stories and signposts of hope. We then did this in the Context of Philippians Chapter 2. What a great passage of scripture to reflect on in the context of character, working together and laying aside agenda’s.

The third sermon in the Less Stuff More Life Series is also on the theme of Stop. Its a must listen unpacking the importance of Sabbath and its potentially positive implications for our lives.

There is also a great song (not by the spice girls or Erasure I might add) called Stop.

The problem and challenge I have is that stopping is often quite hard! When I do it I realise how important it is, how refreshing it is and how it puts so much into proper perspective. Action is often my more natural orientation and default response. There is a time for action. But oh how there is a time to stop and reorientate heart, mind and priorities.  I need to do this more.

Thank you God for opportunities, people, readings and stories that encourage me to stop and gain a true perspective of your world and your goodness.

 
2 Comments

Posted by on March 13, 2012 in Journey 2, theology, Work

 

Journey 2 Day 31 – Rest and Identity

When I was on my first journey I blogged about the importance of Sabbath and rest. I’ve been reminded today of its value and importance. Quality time with family, friends and just taking the time to stop, laugh, eat a great meal round the table, unwind and keep things simple is just great thing.

My earlier blog and the related article has this quote which for me feels very profound and something I’m still learning to put into practice and fully embrace.

“Sabbath is subversive – its sabotages a world obsessed with activity. Keeping the Sabbath detoxifies us from the false belief that our value is defined by what we do or what we produce”

A great friend reminded me afresh this week in a very profound way about the importance of rest and the importance of establishing my identity not by what I do or what I achieve but by who I am and most crucially who I am in Christ. Its only from that place of true identity that I can then spring into action.

The ethos and significance of this is brilliantly put by Andy Flannagan in his song, Bring Heaven to Earth Lord.

We are blessed, to bless a world in pieces
We are loved, to love where love is not.
We are changed, to be the change you promised
We are freed, to be your hands, O God

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 11, 2012 in Journey 2

 

Journey 2 Day 30 – Gratitude Pt 3

All week Mark Powley has been taking me on a Journey. A Journey exploring and putting in practice the wonder and art of thankfulness and gratitude. I’ve taken more time than I ever really have in my whole life to reflect and pray about just how much I have to be thankful for and its has been a profound and humbling experience. It has also been incredibly inspiring, making me realise afresh that there are so many opportunities to take to make the most of what I have been given, rather than dwelling on what I do not have.

Chapter 3 of Mark’s book Consumer detox is peppered with wisdom and has been a great read this week.

Mark’s blogs this week have also been helpful and inspiring.

I’m thankful for a lot of things. I realise I could be even more thankful.Thankful that although I make a mess of much of my everyday life I have a relationship with the God of Grace who brings forgiveness, peace, hope and restoration. It also reminds me afresh of the my times in Kenya, India, Russia and Malawi as a guest, where I have been hosted with such generosity, that it puts a whole new meaning and context into hospitality, thankfulness and what it means to be human. Now for that I am truly thankful.

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 10, 2012 in Journey 2

 

Journey 2 Day 28 – Simple Communication

Today I have had the privilege of being part of a training day on Effective Communication. It was Brilliant. Lots of tools, resources and guidance about how to deliver better talks and training. We had to deliver a short talk to Camera and have it critiqued. We had to give a 1 minute talk. We explored lots about formulating a good idea and making it stick. We learn’t about a FOAM talk. Facts, Opinion, Anecdote and Metaphor.

Simplicity is the Key. Its amazing how a short quote/statement or insight that is delivered well or is just very profound can have such an impact. We reflected on the fact that many stand up com

Milton Jones, one such comedian, has written a profound and very witty book called 10 second sermons which illustrates the point so well. Here are a few samples.

“Christianity is like a Cornish pastie. There’s something in it, but sometimes its difficult to find out what it is”

“Weak leadership results in the bland leading the bland”

“There are lots of versions of the Bible. AV, NIV, RSV…The easiest to use is the PVC version – you can stretch it to say whatever you want”

There are also some things that are simply wrong. Today is International Women’s Day. My friend and colleague was today representing Restored which is a movement to help end violence against women at a Downing street reception event focused on key issues.

Its simply wrong that so many women are treated violently and without respect. Its simply wrong that so many women are still denied basic rights and opportunities. Resolution may not be simple, but we can take a simple action in solidarity with the people who experience this terrible injustice.

 

 
Leave a comment

Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Journey 2