Sunday Podcast: Prayer – Three

 A podcast of Sunday’s service is available for download.  In this podcast Gill continues talking about prayer.  You might have noticed there was no ‘Prayer – Two’ recording.  That was due to technical issues last time.  We hope you enjoy discussing this idea more in small groups over the coming days.

Living Below the Line: Day 5

Friday

Just preparing my final meal; eating has not been a pleasure but a necessity this week. The lack of choice was very boring, it was hard to plan and fit in around work, the hunger, the headaches, the vagueness of thought have been a challenge. My own awareness of the challenge of hunger has been acute, a very spiritual journey for me, one that I’m glad I have made. Tomorrow I’ll be back to normal, but that won’t be the case for all those people in the world, including the UK and defiantly here in Lenton, who will continue to battle with hunger. We should never tire of seek justice for those living below the line. Do what you can to help.

Gill

Living Below the Line: Day 3

Wednesday

Drinking Water
Eating
Potato with beans tomato and cucumber

Plus some porridge for a treat!

Feel at lot better today, although a bit distant and slow to respond and yes a tad tetchy! Church meeting tonight, just saying!
This is the hardest thing, trying to carry on as normal when your body is hungry. At least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Let us remember today the 48 million people displace from their homes because of the conflict in Syria and The Democratic Republic of Congo, give them some light at the end of the tunnel too. Let’s engage with Christian Aid and make a difference.

Living Below the Line: Day 1

Monday

Water
Baked Potato 19p Makro
Tin of Beans 24p (Aldi)
Two Slices of Tomato (Tomatoes 2 for 5 day 20p
Four Slices of cucumber (half a cucumber 22p Aldi)

A ‘not fair’ day to begin ‘Living Below the Line’ on a £1 a day. The same day I offer to cook bacon butties for the builders working on Lenton flats! oh that wonderful smell of cooking bacon! Not to mention the 20 baked potatoes I cooked for the local community! I only had 4 glasses of water!

A not fair day maybe, but then somehow that sum’s it all up, it’s ‘not fair’ all the time for most people in our the world, who live below the line, still servicing the needs in the rich west.

-Gill

the god lab – commit

the GOD lab

The last of the beatitudes from Matthew 5, as explored in theGODlab:

commit:

Blessed are those who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness,
    for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

From the first reading of this, we perhaps think that persecution is something to be avoided, and that persecution is something done to us, not something we choose to do to ourselves – not something we can ‘try out’ as an experiment. Also, Jesus isn’t blessing the persecuted here, he is blessing those persecuted for the sake of righteousness.  Here, Jesus is saying of the persecuted, theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Jesus is placing the kingdom of heaven in the hands of the people who are so committed to a better world that they’re prepared to suffer for it.  Heaven hovers over those who are willing to endure criticism, accusation, violence – persecution in whatever form it comes – for the sake of remaining true to what is good.

The beatitudes, as we have read them have progressed from something as ‘easy’ as being open to God, to this – being willing to be persecuted for the sake of his kingdom.  This final beatitude, perhaps amounts to the word chosen to represent it – commit.  Are you willing to take seriously the news Jesus came to spread? To give yourselves to God?

The final experiment is difficult to state, as it very much depends on where you are on your journey with God at the beginning of these experiments, and it also very much depends on what impact these experiments has had on you over the past weeks.  But wherever you are, the experiment is asking for some degree of commitment to whatever God has revealed to us, to you.  And it is up to you, therefore, to decide if through these experiments, or through other means, you have encountered something of God: a moment of revelation, a ‘God-coincidence‘, a restored relationship, some supernatural occurrence, dream or encounter:

experiment:
•Spot what your commitment is:
What would you be able to stand by?
To testify to?  I'm prepared to say I've searched for God and I've
encountered him ... when I tried ... this,
or when I asked for ... that. Or Maybe it is that you want to
commit to being more curious about God. 
•state your commitment:
Find some time alone with God to tell him what your commitment is.
It doesn't have to wordy - just tell God in your own words.
•Mark your commitment:
In previous times people might have built an altar.  You could
try that, or you might want to do something on a lesser scale.
Write a journal, or a poem, draw a picture, buy some jewellery
or an ornament to represent the commitment, whatever can stand
as a reminder of your experience of God.
•Share your commitment:
If you can, tell somebody about it - in explaining your thoughts
it will help you become clearer about what those thoughts are.
•Watch your commitment:
It can take time for things to happen, but watch and keep
a look out for what God sends your way as a result of having
taken a small but significant step in his direction.

Through these experiments I hope you have found something of God. Hopefully it is a bit like the parable Jesus told. Amongst the bric-a-brac of life, you have found a pearl of priceless worth. And on finding it you are willing to go and sell everything you have in order to buy it.

These posts have very much been short tasters from Roger Brotherton’s book, theGODlab – ISBN 978-1-907080-24-1, available from amazon uk (and probably other places too), and I encourage you read it, if you haven’t already done so.

 

the god lab – focus | engage

the GOD lab

Two more beatitudes:

focus:

Blessed are the pure in heart,
    for they will see God.

Søren Kierkegaard considered purity of heart.  For him, purity of heart meant clarity and focus and passion and living. So when Jesus blesses the pure in heart, he’s blessing a clear-sighted and uncontaminated approach to life.  Perhaps it is more important that we strive to be pure in heart, rather than whether we attain it.  If we think too much about being pure in heart we know we will never make it – but we can try.  On one occasion, Jesus explained the basic principle by which he operated – he just did what he saw his father doing.  He kept a look out for God’s action in the world and joined in. This experiment is a start to exploring this, as usual in a much truncated form:

experiment:
Pick a prayer like "God, I want to see you."
Or, "God, show me what you're doing today."
Notice anything that occurs to you afterwards - do you want to
go somewhere, or see someone or read something.
You decide what to do with these thoughts.  You may see God in
some of these things - if you do, you may want to thank him
for revealing him to yourself.
When we chase God with all of our heart, we tend to find him.

 

engage:

Blessed are the peacemakers,
    for they will be called sons of God.

This isn’t about the absence of noise, the absence of disturbance.  This isn’t about keeping the peace either – it about making peace.  It is about the advent of harmony.
Making peace means creating something new into being where there was once disharmony.  It can be a risky business as it is basically quite presumptuous on our part. We can be stepping in to other peoples business, perhaps without invite.  But perhaps in being peacemakers, we are in a way God look-alikes. The experiment:

experiment:
Think about a recurrent situation that frustrates you or annoys you.
Frequently pray peace over the situation or person. Use little
tools to remind you through the day - watch alarms, or associations.
And do some watchful waiting - try and see if there is any way in
you might have an opportunity to move things along to the kind of
peace you would like to see.

Sometimes the acts that make up these steps towards peace are small, but perhaps significant for those involved. But when we pray for peace we get to be ‘in on the act’.  We get to know what it is like to be a child in the family business.