Thursday, 29 March 2012

Your 100 day Prayer

As you may know from a couple of previous posts, I occassionally do book reviews. And I choose to do this one.

The idea of 100 days of prayer appealed to me. Like essential 100 or other 100 sets of things to do it is a significant commitment. So praying and combining this with journalling something else I have done since I was 17, seemed a great idea.

Praying for something important to you continually for 100 days will make a difference to you, not because it is a formula to follow and then cash in at the end but because prayer is powerful and will change us (read C.S. Lewis in Mere Christianity on prayer). Reading scripture daily is a good practice, I pretty much do the daily office all through the working week (I am not ordained till July when that concept of a working week will go out the window). I think it is great to combine the journal space, scripture, a few thoughts and disciplining yourself to pray for something which you want to see change.

I am pleased to see John Synder doesn't explain suffering away, he engages with the psalms "the prayer book of the Bible (Bonhoeffer)" and the book is well written. Which you would expect  from someone who knows their way around academic writing alongside a journalists eye for the everyday connection of life and faith. It is almost blog like in its format. Here is a quick extract to wet your whistle:

"Thats the good news! Jesus outfits us for the journey. He finds us where we are (in our distrust, confusion, and wandering), equips us to get through this life (through our pain, losses, grief), then ushers us into Gods kingdom at the end, fully prepared to meet our Creator. That is the gospel. There is nothing in the world better than that" (Synder, 2012, day 37).

I think that it maybe a helpful resource for someone who wants to move beyond a word for the day, especially if you have never journalled before, use the scripture and the thoughts with them even if you disagree with them to reflect and grow in your journey with God.

On the downside the first is simply a recommendation don't buy the kindle version because it will frustrate you, adding notes is a faff and you cannot see them without clicking on your bookmark, it would work on a touch screen version better. Get the book version instead.

My only other concern is that occasionally he slips into hero language (it may be a cultural thing me being a Brit) but I think saint is so much fuller a term than hero. Hero continues to remind us of our effort and discipline bringing about the changes in our life and has less emphasis on the work of God though he does also emphasise this aspect too so it is not a major criticism.

So I would say worth a look at especially if you want to try journalling, or want to try a different approach to prayer.

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher through the BookSneeze®.com <http://BookSneeze®.com> book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. Feel free to contact them and get reviewing too.

Monday, 5 March 2012

L- Is for Leader?

Below is a link to a great reflection on leadership.

Have a read of Michael's blog page:

Theologisches Nachdenken...: Leadership, Priesthood, and Ministry: Some Reflect...

I don't want to summarise it for you as it is worth reading fully. But here are a few of my thoughts in response.

Having been on leadership training courses for banks and other similar organisations, I was always surprised at the inclusion of Biblical allusions. Yet often I am surprised at how little scriptural study is carried out on leadership course in the church. Could it be like Stanley Hauerwas suggests that we have lost the ability to speak Christian? Maybe a lack of confidence in the time eternal truth?

I also find we take on the language of management and success too eaily and see this in terms of the size of a church or amount of activity. But what do I know? Maybe the L in leadership is for learner...

Thursday, 1 March 2012

Free Track

Hi everyone, I don't normally do freebies but I really want to highlight Human Trafficking, it is something I have been reading a lot about recently and I feel strongly that it is sub human abuse of all that God has given us. I will do a longer blog post on this in the future but for now this will have to do.

Currently Matt Redman and L27 have written a great single which is aiming to help highlight this. Please consider downloading from here:

I am prepared to buy 3 copies of the song from Itunes for the first 3 who reply to this post (Not sure how that will work but I can figure it out).

The campaign is A21 here is a link:

The 21 things you can do is great idea.

You may not like Matt Redman, you may think this is just a bunch of Bible bashers, a cheap promotion and a way to make money but please consider doing this.



Freedom- What is it?

This weekend was a great one for good sermons. Chris spoke strongly on Gal 5.22 and Matt 5.1-12.

But my highlight was Rowan Williams on Radio 4 (Sorry Chris). Other than a great message on freedom, Bonhoeffer takes centre stage...It is worth a listen:

Rowan Williams summarises Stations on the Road to Freedom:
  • Discipline
  • Action
  • Suffering
  • Death

(Taken from: Bonhoeffer, D. (1956). Letters & Papers From Prison. London: SCM Press. (July 1944, p170)

He comments on how counter cultural true freedom is. Most people would avoid each of these, freedom for most people is to enjoy life the way they want to. It is about choices and enjoyment. Bonhoeffer provides a critique to this.

It makes Freedom something which is judged according to God's criteria, maybe the Jesus Manifesto (Luke 4) would be the way to express freedom:
18 ‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,

   because he has anointed me

     to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives
   and recovery of sight to the blind,
     to let the oppressed go free, 
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour.’ (NRSV)
In Nachfolge (aka Cost of Discipleship or the new addition Discipleship), Bonhoeffer goes through the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Following Jesus is the call. Jesus Christ laid down his life freely, no one took it from him (John 10.18).  True freedom is a life laid down.

The link between the two sermons is fruit, Chris concentrated on Kindness and what true kindness would look like. The fruit of the Spirit is what we so want for our lives, but the fruit comes as we follow Jesus Christ and lay down our lives, not endless striving. Fruit takes time to grow.


Lord Jesus Christ, you call us to follow you,
Help us to lay down our lives and take up yours,
That you may produce a harvest in our lives and an overflow to the rest of your creation.
Come Holy Spirit.
In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit