Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My friend, Katie, has been posting through this list of pictures, one per day, each with specific criteria. Your facebook profile. A picture of you a year ago. Things like that. I couldn't bring myself to play along (although I was tempted) but have been enjoying this picture lately and thought I would post it just for fun. See. Fun. I told you.

Current Read

Spiritual Rhythm: Being With Jesus Every Season of Your Soul, Mark Buchanan
I hate to admit it but the pattern of my posting over the last year is a sad but true microcosim of the rest of my life.

I was doing okay for a long time. I was posting fairly regularily and, at times, with some intelligence. I was enjoying the outlet it provided. I looked forward to posting. It was fun to "create." Then the rest of life took over and I put this poor little blog on the back burner. Often I would have a twinge of guilt over how I had let it get away from me. I would find a quote or a be processing something and think that I wanted to post but just not get there. Sometimes, perhaps while at work, puttering in the yard or on a bike ride, I'd even draft a post in my head. Let me assure you, it wasn't for lack of having something to say! After a while, I just wasn't motivated at all. Lately though, I've been working on getting 'back in the habit.' It's been in fits and starts. Some days I'm more motivated then others. I'm not sure what my problem is or how to get back to where I was, how to get back to the good habits I was in before. One of the biggest things for me to overcome is the frustration I feel at having let it get this far...but I'm working on it. Fits and starts are better than nothing. One day at a time.

Now if only it was just blogging. Working out. Real solid bible study. Journaling. Music. Things that are just good for me. Things that I miss.

It makes me sad that when when I allow life to get crowded, the first things to get pushed out are these things that I enjoy, are refreshing and are good for me. Life isn't likely to get any slower or less crowded for me but for my own good and, in some ways, for the good of those close to me, I'm working on bringing some of those good things back.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Advent Challenge

This is one of the things that we're doing at Journey to enter into the advent season:

As we enter the Advent season here is a glimpse into the next sermon series that will begin on Sunday November 21, 2010. You can make an impact, are you up to the challenge?
WORSHIP FULLY: We too often get lost in the frantic rush of the holiday season. We will celebrate a season where we put down our burdens and lift up a song to God. November 21

SPEND LESS: Canadians spent 36.8 billion dollars in December 2005. We will celebrate simply, freeing ourselves from the compulsion to buy expensive gifts. November 28

GIVE MORE: At Christmas, Jesus gave himself to us. We will give meaningful, relational gifts to the people we love rather than buying gifts out of obligation. December 5

LOVE ALL: Jesus loved the poor, the forgotten, and the sick. We will join him giving some of the money we saved to help those who need the most. December 12

Living Water International has been part of the Advent Conspiracy from the very beginning. We connect congregations to communities in need of water. Every dollar is accounted for. Every project is reported, with GPS coordinates, stories, and photos.

Because of the contributions of Advent Conspiracy congregations, hundreds of thousands of people are now drinking clean water from hand pumps instead of carrying water from swamps and rivers, all because people decided to celebrate Christmas a little differently.

It's hard to know what is more sacred-the family deciding to give gifts that really matter, or clean water dribbling down the chin of a child for the first time. At Living Water, we have a hard time seeing the difference. Find out more and download resources at www.water.cc/adventconspiracy.

THE CHALLENGE For the next 4 weeks, make water your only beverage. Save the money that you would normally spend on sodas, coffee, and sport drinks. At the end of the 4 weeks, contribute the money you saved to Living Water International for the drilling of wells. Churches, youth groups, clubs, school groups, and other organizations have all participated in The H2O Project.

At Journey we will take a special offering on Sunday December 5, 2010 that will go towards Living Waters International. All the money we would normally spend on beverages would go in to the offering. I am willing to give up my Tim Horton's and Starbucks for the next few weeks Will you join us? Get your, family, the kids, your small group and anyone else to participate, it's a great challenge and the benefits are huge.

If any of you want to join us, feel free.

PS. I've decided to put a small twist into the challenge. I'm not giving up my drinks this season. Darn gingerbread lattes are only here for such a short time and there's really only so many things I enjoy quite that much (maybe another reason to give them up but I'll explore that another time) BUT I've decided to do a matching activity. For every $ I spend on drinks this season, I will match for the water project.
Today is American Thanksgiving. It's also November 25 which means only one month until Christmas. I love Christmas. (I know, I know...if you've read this blog at all you already know that and just rolled your eyes at me yet again. Fine.) I figure those two facts put together (Thanksgiving AND Nov 25) mean that it's high time to get my yuletide on. Yup. Time for Christmas decorating, Christmas music and Christmas treats. Okay, okay. Perhaps the treats have started thanks to my friendly neighborhood Starbucks (mmm...gingerbread) and Sobey's (selling eggnog since October).

On top of all that, this Sunday is officially the first season of advent, a season of anticipation and redirecting our attention so that, when Christmas arrives, we're in a position of preparedness to celebrate the joy of Christmas in all of it's fullness.

This advent, our church is joining in with a number of churches North America wide to participate in the Advent Conspiracy. There's so many inspiring things that have been done by churches across the continent as they attempt to turn their direction back to the true meaning of Christmas. It's about focusing more on Jesus and on giving to people the way he did than on the commercialism that is so easy to get caught up in. And it's not that gifts are bad, they just need to be put in their place...at the foot of the cross.

I love the "things" of Christmas. I love finding a great gift for someone. I love the treats, the lights, the music, the time with family, the celebration and the colors. I anticipate it. I hope, though, that in all of my celebrations of Christmas, I can keep my eyes on Jesus and his revolutionary, radical love for me...and for you.