How can I deny myself and take up my cross daily in a practical way?

i was asked to give an answer to that question in 100 words or less and this is what i managed?

Start the day by praying for an opportunity to Love practically. Look around you and identify someone who the world might see as ‘the least of these’ – find a creative way to Love them. Start by finding out their name and asking to hear their life story. Write a note of encouragement to someone lonely or alone. Identify a ‘What Would Jesus Do?’ moment, and do it. Do something you don’t particularly like [household chore?] so someone else doesn’t have to. Love well.

How would you respond?

on the off chance the world carries on…

we read this piece in morning prayer this morning and i think it puts in great words the understanding of the Christian faith not as something to work as fire insurance for us when we die, but something that works for us starting right now as we see His kingdom come on earth as it is in heaven…

‘Bishop N.T.Wright of Durham has written, “The whole point of what Jesus was up to was that He was doing close up, in the present, what He was promising long-term in the future. And what He was promising for that future and doing in the present was not saving souls for a disembodied eternity but rescuing people from the corruption and decay of the way the world presently is so they could enjoy, already in the present, that renewal of creation which is God’s ultimate purpose – and so they could thus become colleagues and partners in that large project.”

[from Common Prayer: a liturgy for ordinary radicals]

stir

when i read cool things in morning prayer i like to share them and this was a prayer we read today:

‘Lord, when we strive after healing in the world and nourishment for those who hunger, we find you at our side. Whenever we long to see Your face, help us not to avoid the corners of our communities where you most often dwell. Stir our hearts that we might seek and find you today in those places where You have promised to be. Amen.’

[excerpt from Common Prayer: A liturgy for Ordinary Radicals]

fear

simple but powerful prayer from this morning’s prayer time:

‘Lord if we are to be afraid of anything, let it be the fear of not committing ourselves fully to You. Let us fear that the day will pass without our having lightened the load of another. Let us fear that someone will come looking for You and find only us. Amen.’

[from Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals]

Jesus has lots of fans, but very few followers.

i am busy reading a book called ‘Alone with a Jihadist’ by Aaron D. Taylor which i will be doing a book review on really soon, but this paragraph jumped out at me, especially in terms of relating to the letter to the church my friend Bruce Collins has just written in his blog:

‘I believe the chief problem in the church today, especially the American Church, is that, by and large, we’ve bought into the idea that believing in Jesus has little to do with following His teachings. It’s as if by some mass hypnosis, the collective Church has heard the voice of Jesus saying, “Forget about my life and teachings. The real reason why I came to earth was to bear the penalty for your sins, not to teach you how to live.” The odd part about this is the problem doesn’t stem from a lack of sincerity. Every Christian that I know at least wants to think they’re following Jesus the best that they can. The problem is that very few Christians that I know think the teachings of Jesus are relevant for today. We treat Jesus as if He were an impractical idealist, a bit too spacey to give us any guidance for the real world. We sing His praises on Sunday morning, but when it comes to entrusting our lives to His moral brilliance, Jesus has lots of fans, but very few followers.’

mary and martyr

read this in morning prayer today and i think it is spot on [easy to know, difficult to always live out the belief of]:

‘Twentieth-century martyrs Felipe and Mary Barreda wrote, “We discovered that faith is not expecting that the Lord will miraculously give us whatever we ask, or feeling the security that we will not be killed and that everything will turn out as we want. We learned that faith is putting ourselves in His hands , whatever happens, good or bad. He will help us somehow.’

from ‘Common Prayer: A Liturgy for Ordinary Radicals’ [to follow the daily prayer we do you can get a copy of this from our e-store or else head to Commonprayer.net which has a version of the prayer daily and join with us]

one.

‘Teresa of Avila said, “Remember that you have only one soul; that you have only one death to die; that you have only one life, which is short and has to be lived by you alone; and there is only one glory, which is eternal. If you do this, there will be many things about which you care nothing.”‘

followed by the prayer: Purify our hearts, O Lord, to long for the one true thing and be distracted by nothing. Amen.

[from Common Prayer: a liturgy for ordinary radicals]

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