Tag Archive: thort for the week


writing

in December of 2012 i wrote a short blog piece talking about the TFTW [Thort for the Week where ‘Thort’ is simply phonetic for ‘thought’ as in a thought i have on some aspect of following Jesus] that i used to send out regularly.

in the three years of being in Americaland, TFTW soon became TFTM [month] and then TFECOM [Thort for Every Couple of Months] before almost dying out completely, except when i would randomly decide to send one out.

i decided yesterday, now that we’re back in South Africa and are connected more regularly to the internet, to send out a TFTW and as i was writing it i decided to ask the question if anyone still wanted to receive it. While the list has about 3500 names on it, i have absolutely no idea how many people still receive them and if any at all still read them on the very intermittent occasions when they appear.

to be honest, i was expecting two or three people to respond [of which one would be my dad] and that probably would have been enough for me to continue with them [after all, that is where i started] and to be honest most of my focus in terms of writing is on my blog these days.

but i was really blown away as within three minutes i had three people saying they were in and an hour later maybe 5 to 10 more… a day later and i still have emails coming in telling me they read about one in three, or they have found them useful in sermon planning from time to time or they get to one in 5 and it was just such an encouraging thing.

so not quite 3500 emails, but a whole lot more than 2-3.

it was a huge encouragement and so i am definitely hoping to get into a more regular rhythm of sending the thorts out.

If you want to take a look at the group on Yahoo and i think get access to any of the last 10 plus years of messages, you can take a look over here: https://groups.yahoo.com/neo/groups/Thortfortheweek/info

If you would like to sign up for these messages you can send an email to thortfortheweek-subscribe@yahoogroups.com or else you can like the Thort For The Week page on Facebook where i also post each message.

i hope these continue to challenge and encourage people who are trying to be followers of Jesus to live every aspect of their lives for – how are you using your gifts to share with the people you love the things that God has done and is doing in your life? so many exciting different creative ways to do so and sometimes it just takes one little step in the right direction.

 

for years i have sent out a weekly challenging Christ-following email message called ‘Thort for the Week’ which you can sign up for by emailing me at brettfish@hotmail.com and asking to be added to TFTW… but this week’s one i really felt i should share here as well…

Worlds-Most-Beautiful-Feet

In Isaiah 52 the prophet says, ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” [verse 7]

I feel like that might be one of the verses we easily dismiss because we have heard it so often. But let’s take a closer look.

When i read that verse this morning i was immediately reminded of that line, ‘Preach the Gospel. If necessary use words’ which has been credited as having been said by a whole variety of different people and so it is hard to find out where it originated, which is not all that important.

It feels like a historical Tweet from ancient times: Preach the Gospel. If necessary, use words. And it has certainly been ‘retweeted’ through the ages.

The problem with it is that people have used it as an excuse where they say, ‘My life will show the Gospel so much that i don’t have to speak about Jesus!’ [the chilling Truth is so often that the people that use it for that excuse have lives that come nowhere near displaying that message and they, maybe more than most, need to be speaking about Jesus as well]. It generally always has to be a combination between speaking the message and living the message. The speaking of it gives clarification and explanation of why we live the way we do.

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news…

feet

What grabbed my attention from my reading of this verse today was the idea of feet bringing news. Surely it’s mouths that bring news in terms of preaching or proclamation or declaration or even a gentle whisper or conversation between friends. Or else it’s hands that bring news through a message or a scribbled note, a newspaper or a pamphlet or book.

 

‘The feet’ signifies an action. A journey. Going. Doing.

Not just sending a message, but delivering it.
Not just writing the good news down, but embodying it.

Here are some quotes that I got off of the actual Twitter’er this week:

‘Don’t just tweet, preach from pulpits or rant from soapboxes. Love your neighbors. Be peacemakers. Engage the culture. Live out the Gospel’. [Eugene Cho]

‘The litmus test of our love for God is our love for our neighbor.’ [Brennan Manning]

‘Let us not forget: if we are to proclaim the Gospel of Jesus, our lives must bear witness to what we preach.’ [Pope Francis]

‘who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!”‘

This part sounds like just a spoken piece, but i think you need to hold it alongside the life and teachings of Jesus to realise that it is all about being lived out Truth.

We ‘proclaim peace’ by our lives – the way we promote peace and reconciliation, forgiveness and grace, restoration and rehabilitation.

We ‘bring good tidings’ when we choose to actively get involved in acts of social justice, of not just teaching people how to fish, but also getting involved in the process of removing barriers and red tape and systems that prevent them from being able to fish [in the same rivers and ponds that we can]

We ‘proclaim salvation’ when we move away from the idea that being a Christian means that we are saved for heaven one day when we day and to the Truth that we are saved to be part of bringing about God’s kingdom ‘here on earth as it is in heaven’ [as well as one day getting to spend the rest of eternity with Jesus however that looks] – but part of that is living well here which also means looking after the world God has given us and sharing the message of Jesus both by our lives and our words to anyone who will listen.

We ‘say to Zion, “Your God reigns!’ when we start to demonstrate the same God that we say we believe in by living lives that have been completely transformed by the good news we preach. when we move away from looking like everyone else in the world [and sadly too often in the church as well – paying lip service instead of life service] and living lives that point to the redeeming work of our Saviour.

And finally a quote, from the late Brennan Manning, which i think sums up one of the chief flaws within those who claim to be Christian [but are not so much Christ following in the way they speak or live our their lives] and also among a bunch of the people who we might put on pedestals as we are challenged by their books or inspired by their tweets:

‘The temptation of the age is to look good without being good.’ [Brennan Manning]

We have a powerful message that needs to be spoken. But it also HAS to be lived out in every area of our lives on a daily basis. Not perfectly perhaps because we are still all in the process of being made more Christlike. But in intention and priority and action, who we say we are has to start resembling more and more who we actually are.

Washing feet

How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news, who proclaim peace, who bring good tidings, who proclaim salvation, who say to Zion, “Your God reigns!” [verse 7]

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

i really like this picture of me and the reason i chose it for this particular challenge is the idea of casting a wider shadow.

the past 18 months i spent as part of a non-profit organisation called the Simple Way which in some cases meant a broadening of shadow as i was given the potential to influence [to some extent] an organisation that is world-known and has an extended sphere of influence and audience…

but in other ways my personal influence was limited as i put my weekly ‘Thort for the Week’ emailings largely on hold, for six months stepped away from blogging and for the most part did not have opportunity to speak to gatherings of youth or church peoples as i used to regularly used to.

and now a lot of that is about to change. not that one is necessarily better than the other. but in 2013, as in the photo, i am hoping to cast a longer shadow.

i will be starting up my weekly TFTW emails again and continuing to blog in a way that hopefully engages with people and it sounds like there will be opportunities in Oakland to do one of my favourite things – speak to people about God and Love and ‘life to the full’ness…

how are you hoping to be of positive influence to others this year?

[For the previous Photo Challenge on the theme of ‘Surprise’ click here]

tftw

so probably close to 15 years ago i wrote a challenging email to a couple of friends of mine about some aspect of following Jesus… a week later i did the same… at some point i told someone about it and they asked to be added and so i added them… pretty soon i started spam-inviting people from the typical cheesy group Christian emails that used to hit my inbox and some of them decided to join… after a while i moved from hotmail to yahoogroups as a means of sending an email to a bunch of people in one move as opposed to adding each individual email address… and somewhere in the middle of all of that it got the name ‘Thort for the Week’ which i did pretty regularly until i joined the Simple Way 19 months ago and took a bit of a sabbatical and then in the last few months wrote more ‘Thort for the Three Month’ than for the week…

a few people became ten people which then reached 100 and at some point i crossed the 1000 mark of subscribers and when i went on sabbatical there were something like 3500 email addresses attached to the list… i imagine the number of people who actually receive them and read them is a whole lot less but i imagine there were a bunch of people reading and as we head home for a bit of a break and then start up with Relational Tithe next year i have felt like it might be a good thing to start up again [one thing i like about it is it keeps me focused on an issue or Christ-following idea for the week so at the very least generally proves helpful to me] and so i am planning on giving that a try in the new year…

if you are not someone who has previously been subscribed to Thort for the Week [‘Thort’ being the phonetical shortened spelling of ‘Thought’] and think this might be something you would like to take a look at, you can email me your preferred email address to brettfish@hotmail.com and i can add you to the list… Jan might be a little sporadic with being home and all, but hoping to get more weekly by Feb and beyond…

if you want to get an idea of what TFTW looks like then i think you can do so by clicking here and i would suggest scrolling back a year or so to when it was coming out more regularly…

this is not biblical exposition – it is aimed at engaging with an aspect of the Bible or Jesus-following and getting you and me to think about it a little more deeply and then hopefully apply it to our lives – taking Jesus seriously as if He really meant the stuff He said.

i write a weekly email message called ‘Thort for the Week’ and i thort this week’s was an appropriate one to add here:

Dear friends

“With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be. Can both fresh water and salt water flow from the same spring? My brothers, can a fig tree bear olives, or a grapevine bear figs? Neither can a salt spring produce fresh water.” [James 3.9-12]

In light of the online Rob Bell ‘discussions’ that have been raging all over Facebook and Twitter and beyond this week, i would like to add a paraphrasing of this verse for modern times:

‘With our Facebook statuses/discussions we praise our Lord and Father, and with them we curse men, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same blog comes praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this can not be!’

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, then you have to guard your tongue, and your pen/typing finger. This passage from James really nails it on the head and is something a lot of Christ followers are needing to hear right now [all the way from John Piper – who publically tweeted his “Farewell Rob Bell” message linked to the Justin Taylor link on the upcoming Rob Bell book – to the average pleb, like myself, who loves to have his two cents aired on Facebook].

Are you honouring God by the way you speak?
Are you living like Jesus did in the way you write your statuses/blogs and comment on other peoples? In the way you engage with people online and off it?
This is crucial stuff because those outside of the church are watching – is the message they are receiving in line with “you will be known by the love you have for each other” [John 13.35]

Gossip, in general, is such a destructive force. But in the church it can be lethal. It is an area i know i am easily prone to and so i need to watch myself and i do sadly get it wrong a lot still, but hopefully am getting better. It is bad enough when you are sharing a story that is true. But lately i have witnessed people hearing a story that is not true and spreading it around their cell group or church which has resulted in a lot of people believing something that is actually a lie – which results in breakdown of relationship and judgement between them and the people the gossip was about. So at the very least we should ensure that the stories we are hearing and passing on are true. But there are a whole lot of stories that just don’t need to be passed on either way.

Gossip is usually about me. I gain acclaim and fame for sharing the story and so i feel good. And often others suffer because of it. So i really need to start holding my tongue and before sharing news/stories/situations of other people check my motives and ask what the purpose of sharing the story is – to build up or to break down? And then choosing to keep a lot more stuff to myself.

And as a community we need to really start shooting down gossip in love. When someone starts telling you a story about someone else and that person is not there and it is likely to be a negative thing, then jump in and say, “Excuse me, i don’t think it’s cool that i hear that if the person is not here” or something like that. The enemy uses this in a huge way to divide and conquer and we need to start getting on the offensive and fighting to protect those around us.

Consider your tongue this past week? Anything to confess or be ashamed of? Anyone you need to go and apologise to? Look to the week ahead and choose to speak life and love and unity.

In His strength
brett anderson

[if you would like to receive TFTW email brett at brettfish@hotmail.com with your email address and ask to be added]

so the writing is going pretty well – not sure i’ll be finishing this week but have definitely taken some huge strides forward [thankx big time to Garth Croftbro who reviewed the first part of it really hectically and gave me a lot of great stuff to work with] so thankx to everyone praying towards that…

i did make time to record my second audio thort and you can find it here – http://brettfish.tumblr.com/ – still trying to figure out the whole podcasting system so will be a while before it runs a little more smoothly but if you get a chance and can listen and give some feedback that will be muchly appreciated

much love
b

okay so i’m not sure if it’s a podcast if i can’t stick it into itunes yet – need to figure out where to find the rss feed (i was listening sean) but i have posted it up on my tumblr page and the link is below if you want to give it a listen and constructive feedback will be appreciated – this one very much mirrored my written thort for the week with some addition but i’m not sure it always will – just got new headphone mic so hoping the quality is a lot better… so please give it a listen and let me know…

which you can check out here

%d bloggers like this: