Slow Down

Slow DownAs we take a break for summer – the next Strive events are in September – I’ve been thinking about slowing down.  So many of my friends and colleagues are running on empty… me too.  It’s about time we took a look at slowing down.

I took a look at scripture, and am stunned about where this appears… from start to finish and all in between!  So here is a synopsis of what I found & how it spoke to me;

 

First I found this in 1 Corinthians 13:1-3

3 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing

‘Surrender my body to the flames’… I don’t know about you but when I work my socks off it can sometimes feel like that.  I’m even thinking maybe this is the source of the Monday morning feeling!  If work (or whatever is exhausting you) drains so much, then there is likely no love in it.  So how to change this?  I was led to Isaiah 40:28-31

31 but those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

This is a stunning piece of scripture that speaks so much to me. Such power in the words.  Rest & hope in the Lord, soar on wings like eagles.  Doesn’t get better than that!

Worried that others will work harder & achieve more?  That’s covered in Psalm 37

7 Be still before the LORD and wait patiently for him; do not fret when men succeed in their ways

Being busy all the time inevitably means we miss God.  It seems we are called to pray and ask God for what’s on our hearts, and just as important; be still and wait patiently to hear from Him.  Not convinced?  Well He is the creator of all, look at Jeremiah 29:11

11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If He has the plans… why on earth would we not spend time earnestly seeking Him?!

Finally, what did the ultimate man do?  Well…

  • After a full-on day, feeding the 5000? He went off by himself to pray, do you ever do that after a tough day? Matthew 14:22-23  
    He also took the apostles off to a quiet place for some rest. Mark 6:30-31
  • Before choosing the 12 apostles?  He also went off to pray for this tough decision.  Luke 6:12-13
  • When he’d had just about enough?  Again he retreated to pray. Luke 22:39-43

The message seems loud and clear to me.  Even if you can only retreat (like Jesus in Luke 22) a stones throw away.  Even if it’s only for a few minutes.  Grab those minutes, take time out, and give it up to God.

We must strive to find a manageable pace of live.  We owe it to ourselves, and to those around us to be the best we can.  We also must make God the obvious centre of our lives – which looks nothing like working ourselves to the bone, but more about giving up authority and power to Him… He is the creator afterall!

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Generosity

The CVM guys Beechy & Willmott are back & the latest episode is a great one on ‘Gold’.  You can get their podcasts here.
We’re called to be generous, the bible talks about it in 2 Corinthians 9 & that podcast also struck a resounding note for me.  Not purely about money, but also following on from my last blog on time.
What if you find yourself with a little time on your hands… or you’ve taken that day off I spoke about previously and your loved ones are all good?!
Or you feel you don’t have time?  You may well be surprised what you can help achieve, even with a few minutes here and there.
Here are some ideas, some that take seconds, some longer.  There is such a variety & many more than I could put down here.  Have a look at some, search for things you find interesting, challenging & engaging.  Many of these will end up in you having fun, building people up & be a brilliant use of time.
Seconds to 30 minutes (Help From Home);
All sorts on here, using your skills & time on the internet.  This video intro will give you an idea;
Opportunities in our area (Do-it.org);
This website is superb for those looking to help our community.  Lots of opportunities, from buddying young people who need support, befriending the elderly, helping with local charities – the list is huge, even just in Warminster.
Encouraging practical acts for serving those with need.  The local coordinator is in Taunton & it would be superb to put the Warminster area on the map!
Raising money while you use the internet (Easy Fundraising);
This site has lots of charities to chose from… if you’re wondering who you may chose, Sambourne school is on there!  By renewing insurance & clicking through to the likes of Amazon through them we have raised over £100.  As a governor there I can tell you every penny of that is gratefully received & well used!
There are a team of people from Christ Church going out to Bulgaria in a few weeks.  Renovating, painting, tidying, supporting and caring for those in need.  We hope to bring you more on that soon, but have a look on the website for more details.
Raising money;
Guys need a challenge from time to time.  I know for sure I do.  Life is meant to be interesting, challenging, and it’s good to make it so!  While doing this we can raise money for charities – many fantastic organisations depend on it.  There are lots of companies that can help this.  The link here is for the company Andy & I used a couple of years ago.  We walked from Winchester to Salisbury – the Spire to Spire Trekathon over marathon distance.  It was a great challenge & we raised a stack of money for NSPCC, Help for Heros and CC21.
Lending money (Kiva.org);
The costs associated with loans are crippling developing countries.  Kiva is a good way to lend small amounts of money to projects around the world.  This takes very little time, a small amount of money & makes a big difference.  Collectively $301 million has been lent across the world!
The Church;
What about the church?  The church always needs more people with a wide skill set.  Yours is very much required, I can guarantee that personally!  It’s written in the bible in Romans 12.  From the sound and vision desk through prayer ministry, grass cutting, and especially Strive!  Chat to people who already do it & see if you can give it a go.
Let us know what you find – if there are ways to give you find, please do let us all know.

Time

Well I’m not sure about you, but I find time is a commodity I don’t seem to have a lot of.

I go through periods of being fed up that life is too busy, and others glad life is full. A wise man once told me a balanced life is like a bar of soap, as soon as you grip it, it’s gone again.

Recently I have been thinking you have to take hold of the moment to make things happen.  Oh, and it’s not as go-getting as that sounds! Let’s start with a simple question;

 

How do you spend your annual leave (or down time if you’re self employed/a student/retired)?

I think the answer to that is telling.   Pardon me if I generalise with this, please do adjust to your circumstances!

Most of us have 20-30 days a year to play with. Take out a bit for Christmas trips to family, summer break and maybe a spring one too making the most of a bank holiday or two. That may leave a few left over.

So how do you use those days?

Some guys from Strive are off to do some work for an orphanage in Bulgaria.  This is fantastic & we plan to post more on that soon. Serving is a great use of those precious leave days. Doesn’t have to be so grand, maybe take a few hours to help a neighbour? Or you don’t have to look far to find need for a helpful hand in the church!

I have recently taken a few days to build relationships, and they have paid huge dividends. I’d like to share them with you;

The first I organised a golf day with my brother and Dad. Courtesy of Groupon (a bargain finding website) it didn’t cost much & rebuilt our bond that was waining. In fact I’d go so far as saying I have a brother back I thought I’d lost.  It was the kind of event that has long been lost behind busy family lives.

The second was the best though. A day with my wife. No plans, no long list of jobs, and no kids (and you have to fight for each of those!). An annual leave day for ‘just’ spending time with my wife. It cost me exactly £0, just one of those ‘left over’ annual leave days. The result has been priceless, a reaction beyond any present or gesture I’ve given before. Go for a walk together, enjoy a slow cuppa & the papers, whatever, but listen hard to everything she says. This has been a revolutionary day for our relationship.

I think this goes to show that time is one of the most precious commodities in this day & age. How about lavishing some of your time on those you love? Give it a try & see what happens.