40 ACTS ::4

ACT 4: MEET UP

Once you start opening your heart and hands to the needs of others around you, you’ll find you want to open your home, too. Invite people to get together, either at your house or elsewhere. Use it as a chance to pray for each other or just a chance to be hospitable.

Green: Offer to share your table, wherever that might be.

Amber: Send round the invitations to your place and get the kettle on or arrange a meet up at a café. If you get tongue-tied when it comes to talking about your faith, the Talking Jesus course will help.

Red:Offer your home to meet up once a week through Lent, and perhaps beyond – you could use our 40acts small group studies as a focus. Also, HOPE’s giveaway magazine HOPE for All makes a great conversation starter with guests – leave a copy on your coffee table.

“Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others…” (1 Peter 4:9–10 NIV)


But what is the heart of this Act? I need Helen Saying !
Her comments on 40 Acts last year always seemed to get to the very heart of the Acts, instead of skimming the surface like I do! I suppose this is about being willing to be open, to be vulnerable and to share your faith. But somehow I find the meditation and the Acts a bit disparate – they don’t really mesh together that well…
STILL…whether or not I complete this act, as long as I continue to be open to being generous in other ways, that’s fine.
As for yesterday’s Act, I made some biscuits for friends; but they were disappointingly “meh” (the biscuits, not the friends!), so we’re not giving them. What a shame, we’ll have to eat them ourselves…
But we are aking a couple of friends, Louis & Odette, for regular readers) to join us tonight at the restaurant next door. It re-opened with new owners yesterday, so we’re going to show our support. Also, as L&O saved us a lot of problems by lending us their car when Happy-the-Fiat died, we want to buy them dinner to say Thank You.

40 Acts :: 2&3

Oh, goodness! I’m already playing the “catch up” game, and we’re only on day 3!!

ACT 2: HANDS IN

It’s time to roll up your sleeves and get stuck into situations that need your help. Over-flowing bins? Empty toilet roll on the holder? Don’t think twice, just sort it. Easy fixes are good practice, but if the task takes you out of your comfort zone, even better.

Green: Do the washing up – even if it’s not your turn.

Amber: Whether it’s emptying the bins or cleaning the toilet, do that one job nobody likes.

Red: Offer to do some gardening for someone who’s been struggling to manage it or help declutter a room.

A generous person will prosper; whoever refreshes others will be refreshed.(Proverbs 11:25 NIV)

Last year, I was able to take the opportunity to wash up the cups at the language school where I work…since then, they’ve got a dishwasher, so there’s no washing up to be done! I did clear up a bit of debris left by the school children who are having an intensive course, but there wadn’t much else to be done…

I filled the staplers (yes, usually, if they’re empty I’ll tut and use a paper clip!!) as Claire complained that she’s the only one who does it! But it was hardly a difficult job.

And I tried to cheerfully put away the washing up that had been done at home, but not been put away. I’m not sure I quite managed the “cheerfully” part, but at least the only person I moaned to was God, and he can survive that!

But I think this act is certainly one of the ongoing ones – it’s not like tomorrow I’m going to walk past those things that need doing, because we’ve moved on to a different act! They’re still going to be there to do tomorrow…and the next day…And God will continue to remind us to do those things…

ACT 3: TREAT

If you’re in the blessed position to receive a salary, the few days between being paid and the bills going out offer a great opportunity to give a ‘payday treat’ to someone else. Instead of focusing on your needs and obligations, turn your attention to someone nearby. Not in work at the moment? Join in with friends and think home-spun.

I made a box and I can’t get rid of it!!!

Green: Take cakes or biscuits with you to share.

Amber: Suggest drinks or dinner after work to celebrate the end of the month.

Red: Think of someone who’s in need of a treat and get them something special or take them out to the cinema or for a meal.

“Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything – all she had to live on.’”

(Mark 12:41-44 NIV)

This came a bit late for me to action today – an early start on Friday means I’ve left the house before the email pings into my inbox. I’ve only just read it (I have a break between lessons, giving me a chance to do some admin and write this blog post) so I think this act will be held over. I’m not working on Monday, so maybe I’ll make a cake or some biscuits then, to take into work, or over the weekend I’ll make something as a treat for someone…It’s not a difficult one.

The reflection (click on the link above to read it)  does link back to what I said on Wednesday however: I think for me the last part “when it is in your power to act” is important: I need to recognise that I can do more than I think I can (monetarily, as well as giving time or talents) I have a tendency to think “I can’t afford it” and to keep my hands in my pockets…but we probably CAN afford it.

This isn’t asking for an enormous outlay, but it is asking for something, but it’s a something I can afford. There’s a few families at church that are probably struggling more than I really know. Perhaps a MacDonald’s gift card would be a nice gift for one of them. While I don’t think that MacDonald’s is the healthiest of options, the kids would probably like it!! I don’t think I’m going to church this week, but I’ll try and sort it out for the following Sunday.

And we’re off! 40Acts :: 1

Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to act.”
(Proverbs 3:27 NIV)

 

This is the verse to hold onto through this year’s 40 Acts.

I think for me the last part “when it is in your power to act” is important: I need to recognise that I can do more than I think I can (monetarily, as well as giving time or talents) I have a tendency to think “I can’t afford it” and to keep my hands in my pockets…but we probably CAN afford it.

This always makes me pause for thought:

It reinds me that while I don’t feel wealthy, I am indeed richer than 92% of the world. That is a sobering thought, when I tell myself I can’t afford to give to a charity, or help someone, or buy a trteat for a friend…

So, this verse will be with me through 40 Acts

Live Car?

If you remember, a few posts back I told you that our little Fiat 500 died on us

We had to decide what to do, so having looked at a few cars, we’ve decided that we’re going to have to bite the bullet and buy a new car.And so the next thing was which one we’re going to buy. We test drove one on Wednesday night, and it seems a good medium sized car, with enough “poke” for motorway driving.

Dear Mr FD was going to try to organise the finance and hopefullyeverything will work out.

I don’t believe God is a “God of Parking Spaces” (that is, miraculously providing parking spaces when prayed for) but I do believe he takes an interest in the minutiae of our lives. So I prayed that we’d find the right car for us, as it’s necessary for us both to have one; as soon as I saw this one, it felt like I would be very happy driving this car.

Let’s hope things fall into place…

Does it come with an Itty Bitty Kitty too?!

ETA: there has been a problem with this car, afterall. Mr FD has unearthed the fact that it hasn’t had regular oil changes, which could have caused long term damage to the engine. So, the search continues…we’ll find The Right Car at some stage.

Exactly where I need to be…

Recently I’ve been starting to wonder if I’m too “comfortable” in my relationship with God…

I’m not feeling challenged.

I’m not feeling uncomfortable.

I’m not feeling edgy.

I’m feeling loved, and contented, and safe.

I’m not feeling “on fire”.

I’m not feeling called to “do” stuff.

I feel as though I’m “being”.

But then it struck me that the well known and well loved Psalm says:

The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.He makes me lie down in green pastures, he leads me beside quiet waters…

He makes me lie down, he leads me by quiet waters. Yes, there are valleys of shadows that need facing, but there are also green pastures to lie in.

A good shepherd isn’t always challenging his sheep to go higher, further…Yes, if it’s necessary for food, or for safety, then he will lead them somewhere else, but if they need to lie and recuperate, and “be” then he allows them to do that.

In the past couple of years I’ve been through quite a lot: my breast cancer, the treatment, the recuperation, the going back to work, the side effects of the hormonetherapy, the worry of Mr FD’s unemployment benefits ending, some financial crises, the changes at church that have meant I’ve taken on more preaching responsibilities… All of these things have taken their toll on me, and I think that God is telling me to just rest, and relax and enjoy the peace.

I am exactly where I need to be.

And instead of fretting and wondering and thinking about what I think I should be doing, I should be resting, as my Shepherd wants me to do, and feeling contented in the love of my Father.

Pet Patrol Rescue!!

I was driving to church last Sunday, quite early as I was taking the service.

As I was going a tad below the speed limit on the motorway, I saw a small black cat hunched up close against the central reservation, obviously terrified.

Very similar to this

By the time I had clocked it, processed what I’d seen and made the decision I couldn’t leave it there I was probably over a kilometre further down the motorway. So I did what any cat lover would do…

I drove to the péage (tolls), drove on to the next exit, exited the motorway, drove back onto the motorway, went through the tolls, drove up to the next exit, exited the motorway, went through the toll, turned round, went back through the toll, drove back onto the motorway, and stopped on the hard shoulder.

Then I walked briskly along the hard shoulder to where I’d seen the cat.

There it was, still as could be. I waited for a break in the traffic (Sunday morning, there wasn’t very much traffic) and then scurried over. To where a wet and soggy scarf was lying all scrunched up..! I’d driven 30 minutes and 30 kilometres out of my way to rescue a scarf!!!

When I told the congregation why I was only just on time for the service they thought it most amusing!