Archive | June, 2013

God 52 – Week Twenty-six (25/6/2013)

26 Jun

amnestyint1And we’re halfway through the year! If you’re still with us, congratulations! Next week, we’re going to relaunch in earnest – as much for our benefit as for yours. Jan 1st seems a long time ago, and New Year’s Eve is mercifully still far away. If you’re struggling with momentum, don’t worry – and don’t give up. This week, we’re going to try to help you out.

This week, we’re going to give you an opportunity to catch up. It’s amnesty week, if you will:

26: Do one of the challenges that you missed first time around.

That’s right – all you need to do is go back through the archives, and find a challenge that you either failed to complete, or missed out entirely. If you’re anything like me, there’s a least one of these which has been playing on your mind: you meant to do it but never got around to it / found it too difficult. This week you have a chance to put that right. If you’ve missed several weeks, I encourage you to pick the most difficult one! To help, we’ve added a ‘categories’ menu on the right hand side of every page – just click the ‘challenges’ button to find all the previous challenge posts.

And if you’ve never missed a week, congratulations! You get a week off!

God 52 – Week Twenty-five (18/6/2013)

19 Jun

BullhornAs many of you will know, the two of us behind the site spend a decent chunk of our time working on Youthwork magazine. (On a side note you can get a free copy here – you really should.)

Anyway, we’re currently working on a special issue focused on evangelism. Not mission,  not social action, not doing nice things for people – we’re talking about evangelism – telling people about Jesus. In the course of reading other people’s work, interviewing people and reflecting on the issue I’ve realised that so often we surround ourselves with excuses not to tell people about Jesus. So this week’s challenge is scary.

25: Tell someone about Jesus

The who, the how and the why are up to you. But if we believe what Jesus says then our friends’ and families’ need for Jesus in both this life and the next is pressing. So let’s do something about it.
We’d love some guest blogs this week on the subject – if you’d like to write one, please read our writing guidelines, then drop us an email.

God 52 – Week Twenty-four (11/6/2013)

11 Jun

art‘I’m a creative’, says the man in the fetching pink shirt and the trendy glasses. Let’s call him Quentin. Creativity is how he defines himself; it’s his key selling point at work, church and in everything he does. Creative Quentin, they call him.

But here’s the trouble with Quentin, and people like him. The idea that some people are ‘creatives’ makes the rest of us feel like we must be something else. Uncreative. Not creative. Short on ideas.

This is a fundamental misunderstanding of who we are as created beings. We are made in the image of the Creator – the most imaginative, idea-filled, creative being in the universe. So we have that seed of creativity within us – all of us do – it’s part of who we are.

So forget about Creative Quentin. You’re a creative too. And in this week’s challenge, you’re going to exercise that muscle:

24: Carve out some time to create something – a piece of artwork, a poem, an idea… anything you like

Find some rest time in the next seven days to explore your own God-given creativity. Put any ideas that you’re not creative to one side – just write, or paint, or pick up a musical instrument. Do it as a celebration of who you are as a created child of God; maybe even do it as an act of worship. There are no rules – except that you have to have some fun. Go play!

We’d love some guest blogs this week on the subject of creativity – if you’d like to write one, please read our writing guidelines, then drop us an email.

May God go before us – an anonymous guest post

10 Jun

In this anonymous guest post, written in response to our latest challenge, a writer shares her story…

So this week’s challenge to keep going with something that’s difficult came at an interesting time for me. There’s been a series of major incidents happening to or involving people around me of late. People I have a lot of emotional investment in have all been grappling with big life stuff just in the last two weeks!

Some of that stuff has involved church, and to be more specific, relationships within our church. God’s calling for his people to be in community with each other sounds like a lovely, warm, friendly way to do life. Until you actually start working with people! Because we’re all broken, each of us has our own unique brokenness, and when you put people together: really together, that brokenness can clash and get painful.

Our situation involves our church leadership. I felt challenged to do what seems to be a VERY difficult thing and confront my church leaders. I say it’s a very difficult thing, and yet it shouldn’t really be. Surely where we feel injustice is happening in church life really we ought to be able to challenge it, and leaders ought to encourage those in the wider leadership team (as I am), if not the body of the church to do just that. But it’s difficult, for many reasons!

So more than two weeks ago I went to the church leader to try to make my response to a specific situation that is still ongoing. I came out of that conversation feeling as though I hadn’t actually said the thing I wanted to say and he hadn’t really understood even what I had said. And I decided that I wouldn’t try again, thinking: I’m too close to my friend (also involved in the leadership) who is being hurt; I’m too emotional to be able to put my point across clearly and without tears. Maybe it’s not up to me, I thought, I’ll leave it to God.

Two weeks later, after much prayer, many tears, truly pleading with, and then really listening to God I went back to the same church leader. I hadn’t prepared what to say; I hadn’t necessarily intended to try to ‘sort out’ the situation. I didn’t want to wade into a situation that really might not need me. But I was able to say ‘This is unjust’; he heard me; and I walked away with a lighter step and hope in my heart that this relationship might be reconciled.

My prayer all of last week (apart from God will you just DO SOMETHING!) was:

May God go before us and come behind us.

And do you know what? He really did.

God 52 – Week Twenty-three (4/6/2013)

5 Jun

?????????????I’m writing this from the midst of sermon prep. What this tends to involve, is a lot of silence, some browsing the internet, a myriad of unconnected ideas and a significant number of prayers that basically go ‘God, can you tie this all together somehow. Amen.’ Anyway, I’m constructing this preach on faithfulness, and it’s a bit all over the place, but the one bit that really sticks out is this, from Mother Teresa, ‘God has not called me to be successful; He has called me to be faithful.’

And that’s our challenge for this week.

23: Keep going with or re-start something that’s been really difficult.

We’re surrounded with the pressure to be successful, to only do things that produce tangible results. I believe fruit is important, but sometimes I think God is just calling us to develop ‘stickability.’ So the challenge for this week is to keep going, even when it hurts, even when it’s difficult – because if God’s called you to it, that’s what you need to be doing.

We’d love some guest blogs this week on the subject of Bible study – if you’d like to write one, please read our writing guidelines, then drop us an email.