Archive | December, 2012

God52 – five ideas to make it work for you

31 Dec

(This may all be new to you. To find out what God52 is, read this first)

famous fiveThis started out as my own little New Year’s Resolution, but now it’s taking on a bit of a life of its own. My first post proper is all ready and scheduled to go live at 00.01am (if you’re having a really sad New Year’s Eve), so in advance of that, and with lots and lots of people indicating that they’re planning to join me, I thought I’d post five ideas to help you get the most out of God52…

  1. Journal

This is a year to grow closer to God; as much as it’s about public and communal acts, it’s also about spiritual formation and internal transformation. So consider finding a notebook, and noting down what you do, where you see God at work, and anything else of interest throughout the year. If you see all 52 challenges through, it could be amazing to look back at the journey…

  1. Set your own challenges

It’s not about me! I’m setting myself 52 challenges… but they might not be right for you. So take the idea, reimagine it for yourself, and then plot your own journey of transformation.

  1. Get some friends involved (or your youth group)

I’ve invited our youth group to join in with God52 – I reckon it could be a helpful discipleship tool for yours too, so why not share it with them? Or if you don’t do youth work, what about a small group? Or the people you go to the pub with?

  1. Blog / tweet / post / talk about it

I have a feeling that there could be a lot of fun, encouragement and shared learning to be found in talking together as we go. I think it would be amazing if bloggers, tweeters (using #God52) and other social media types embraced the idea and made it their own. Again, you don’t need to link to/credit me. This is about joining together as a group of people who want to take their faith more seriously. 

  1. Don’t get religious about it

This has two applications. First – don’t let God52 become like dated Bible reading notes, where you miss the 4th February and then feel guilty, give up, and stop altogether. If you miss a week, fuggedaboudit. If you only discover this whole idea in April – just join in from now! Second, you don’t actually have to be a Christian to take part. Why not join in anyway with those challenges which interest you, and see if you discover something of spiritual significance somewhere along the way?

Right, that’s definitely the end of the preamble. Challenge one is just around the corner, and I’ll warn you now, for some of us it’ll be a tough start…

See you at midnight!

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God52: The Irresistible Resolution

10 Dec

God52I like New Year’s resolutions. I’ve practiced them with varying degrees of success in the past, but that word resolve is a good one. I resolve to do better this year. I resolve to kill my bad habits; to practice new, better ones.

The start of a new year is always a great time to take stock, and – since we’ve all just consumed to excess and feel particularly guilty about the relative decadence of our comfortable Western existences – a good time to try to become a better person. Which is why gyms are always full in January, and tobacconists always put a bit of cash aside to get them through to February.

Of course, resolutions require discipline and willpower, and that’s why gyms and tobacconists enjoy similarly contrasting fortunes in February. People find such promises hard to keep, and that’s no surprise, considering they’re usually about self-denial…

I want to tell you about my New Year’s resolution. More than that, I want to invite you to join me in it.

If you’ve read this blog lately, you’ll know I’ve been beating myself up about how I’m far better at preaching the Christian life than I am at practicing it. I talk a good game, but sometimes I struggle to translate that into action. I think and talk about serving, obeying and connecting with God far more than I actually do those things. And I reckon rather than mope about that fact, I’m going to try to throw that trend into reverse. No, more than that: I resolve to.

So in 2013, I’m going to set myself a challenge every week which enables me to practically live out my Christian faith. 52 challenges, set on a Tuesday (because New Year’s Day falls on one, and frankly, no-one likes Mondays), that provide me with hooks to build up my own relationship with God, and to join in with his ongoing mission on earth. I’ll draw them all from the Bible, and there will be at least a slight bias toward serving young people and practicing the Spiritual Disciplines, because these are things I care about.

I’m committed to this, but of course, as a massive extrovert I’d rather not do this alone. So if this idea resonates with you, why not join me on the journey throughout 2013? I’ll post the week’s challenge here on this blog every Tuesday morning, and this can then be a natural place to share thoughts, stories etc. Twitter also feels like a great place for this, so I’m going to have a conversation on there – even if it’s just with myself, using the hashtag #God52.

Here’s what I’m asking in a nutshell: why not make your 2013 New Year’s Resolution a promise to live out your faith more intentionally? As a way of making that tangible – sign up for 52 challenges over the year, see that whole year through, and then see where you are at the end of it.

One thing- if you do decide to join me, then please, commit the whole thing to God in prayer first. If that sounds heavy, it shouldn’t – it could actually be the liberating key to a New Year’s Resolution that actually sticks! We fail at these things because we do them in our own strength… a year doing more for God will work because it’s actually a year doing more with God.

So why not come on the adventure? 52 challenges throughout 2013 that will tug you out of your comfort zone and draw you closer to God. Tell your friends, invite your youth group, and just for once, see that New Year’s Eve promise through for a whole year.

See you back here on January 1st. Let’s start a resolution!