Tag Archive: time


When tbV [the beautiful Val] and i were living in Oakland about a year ago, we came across a book titled ‘Free’ by a friend of ours we had met over here, Mark Scandrette.

free

The tagline of the book is ‘Spending your Time and Money on What Matters Most’ and that really does sum up the book. We decided to gather some people together and work through the book over an eight week period. Continue reading

bestill

seems like the message of slowing down seems to be chasing me around these days…

after being inspired by something that my friend at Re:Gen, Albert Lee, preached on Sunday nite [that he told me Dallas Willard said] i wrote this post on rushing, taking special note that Jesus never seemed to.

and today i head into my book reading for the ‘Free: Spending your Time and Money on what matters most’ preparation for the book study tbV and i are leading and it is on Time [and slowing down, disconnecting, not rushing, sabbathing] and so i thought it would be a great idea to invite you to join me in my experiment:

part of my homework reads like this:

‘Experiment: Be Still

Try this. Set aside this book for five minutes. [I did, but then i didn’t know what to do next so i had to look back in the book] Close your eyes, breathe deeply and simply sit. What do you notice? What do you hear? What do you smell? How does your body feel? In the absence of activity what are you drawn to think about? What kind of thoughts come to the surface? Can you let go of those thoughts to be still and know that God is here and that you are alive in this moment?

As a way to reset a sense of restful presence, many people find it helpful to have a daily or regular practice of stillness prayer – five, ten, or twenty minutes of focused silence to be aware of God and be present to yourself. As an experiment you may want to practice this kind of stillness for a period of time each day for a week to see how it subtly shifts your sense of time, hurry or anxiety.’

i just did my first time now and it was great – started with just around 8 minutes and will look to hit 20 for the rest of the week. and i will post about how it goes after that.

but i am looking for nine other people who will sign up now [in the comment section below – just your name and i’m in!] and join me in this journey – for the next week putting aside 5, 10 or 20 minutes to be still, to turn off the phone and move away from the technology [i went and sat outside and that was great] and just experience the stillness.

the commitment is to write your name in the comments, say ‘I’m in’ and then report back next week when i post and add some thoughts on how the experience was for you..

the non eternal-optimist realist in me suspects i’ll be lucky to get three people, but i’m hoping i’ll have a full 9… so come on, who is in?

[To read my response after a week of doing this, as well as many others in the comments section, click here]

‘test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.’ [1 Thessalonians 5.21-22]

this is one of my favourite verses in the Bible – to be faithful to it, the verse is speaking specifically of prophecies, but i have found that it is a generally great life principle to extend to all things – hold on to the good, let go of the evil/hurtful/untrue.

so when it comes to giving a response to the ‘a nonny miss?’ email i received, this feels like a great place to begin [and thankx to my friend ‘Art Lives’ for helping point me in that direction] – what is the good in the email?

and there may be more than this, but i think for me the strongest benefit was the call to be aware of how you spend your time and to spend it well.

Time Flies - Janus Syndicate

i stumbled upon this quote today – “Time is the coin of life. Only you can determine how it will be spent.” – Carl Sandburg – which i find to be so true.

there have been many, no that probably deserves a little bold, many times in life when i have felt convicted about the amount of time i have been spending in some particular activity [which may or may not be a bad thing in and of itself] and i have felt God saying to me, “You need to cut this out completely or tone it down in this or that way” and i have [sometimes with more kicking and screaming or dragging of my feet than other times] and each time i am obedient to that call from God there is a strong sense of relief and freedom and an awareness of some of the better things i can be spending my time doing… this ranges from tv watching to sport following to computer games to poker to church related activities and probably more i can’t think of.

too much of a good thing, or even a neutral thing, can be a bad thing. i imagine that Time is a resource way too many of us take for granted… and it is not one you can recover, so it makes so much sense to keep on returning to a place of evaluating how you spend your time and making great decisions on how you use it.

so that is a positive i take from the anonymous email caution i received last week – do i agree with it in terms of the specific issue it was related to? i may comment on that a little later. but the call to watch yourself in that area is one that is at the very least a good reminder.

and i think it takes on greater significance when you are married – because now a neutral or good thing may become a bad thing when it takes away from time you should be spending with your life partner [and this is not an easy one to navigate always as there is a strong likelihood that the two of you will think differently on what is good and bad time spent on different things, but hopefully you make good space for communication around the topic] and so there is more introspection that needs to take place.

so two powerful lessons learnt or revisited – one to be able to look into criticism, even that which may not necessarily seem valid, and to seek that which is good and learn from or be encouraged by that – and two to be reminded once again that time is such a valuable resource [and we don’t know when ours or other peoples’ runs out in this life] and to take stock of my life and my activities and evaluate whether the time spent is valuable or good or not. for that i thank you.

what i really love about the verse i started quoting is that it comes from a context which calls us towards being joyful, and so i will look at that a little more closely in future musings…

‘Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus. Do not quench the Spirit. Do not treat prophecies with contempt but test them all; hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil.’ [1 Thessalonians 5.16-20]

[to continue to the next response post looking at life from the other side, click here]

the other day i was listening to one of my friends share some of their story with a group of people – four of our friends were speaking on the topic of serving God [and people] with our Time, our Talents [skills, giftings] and our Treasures [money, things] with each person dealing with a specific one of them.

as i listened to Lara [who is, among other things, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a nurse, a church member, a Simple Way board member] speak about Time, something she said jumped out at me and i was hit once again with the idea that sometimes our biggest strength can also become our biggest weakness [or if not the biggest then at least a source of weakness]

i think for me, something like competitiveness can be a good thing because it drives me to succeed and to push and to go further than maybe others think i can and so on, and to attempt things a lot of people might not, but when it is bad it is really bad and it can be a source of choosing goals over relationship, or getting into a bad mood [and generally helping other people feel bad] when i am losing in a game [Stop nodding, anyonewhohaseverplayedabunchofgamesagainstme!] or having some choice but not to kind words to say to the opposition on the hockey field.

it becomes tricky because unlike something that is just seen as a bad thing in my life, the answer is not eliminating it because it is a strength as well. and so i have to learn how to work on and emphasise the strong points while looking at diminishing or at the very least being aware of the weak points so i can hopefully let them appear less.

but that was just a taster… i have asked some of my friends and people who i respect if they will take some time to look at their own lives and choose a strength that they have which they have also witnessed the weakness side of and a number of them graciously agreed and so i will be running this series over the next few days.

i invite you to take a look at some of the strengths you have and see if you can identify the weakness that might lurk behind them. and feel free to share in the comments section. i am hoping that awareness of this will help us to be more focused on strengthening the strengths and weakening the weaknesses.

what is your Strength Weakness?

read the story of Steve Graybill as he speaks about a THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE

read the story of Tshego Motiang and her experience with EMPATHY

read the story of my good mate Bruce Collins and his experience with PEOPLE…

read the story of Lara and her take on SENSITIVITY…

read the story of Robert Murray as he speaks about the WOO FACTOR

read the story of Shae Leigh Bloem and her experience with being HARDCORE

read the story of Dalene Reyburn and her experience with AMBITION…

read the story of Sharné Finn Osborne and her experience with INCLUSIVITY

read the story of Tim Tucker as he looks at being a MULTI-TASKER

read the story of Jane Lee as she talks a little bit about CONTEXT

yesterday at the Simple Way we had our very first session of Conversations at the Simple Way which three of us had largely been working on pulling together for a while – 15 people signed up to hang out with us as we did a couple of different sessions including one on intentional community, a practical serving the community aspect, a story over lunch from someone in the neighborhood who is involved in doing some really life-giving stuff within Kensington, where we live, and a sharing and question time around a specific theme – this one being ‘how to serve God with your Time, Treasures and Talents’ – it really was a great day and a few lines of thort or concept struck me as different people were sharing and i wanted to be able to pass those on:

Coz is a friend of ours from Australia [i know!] and he shared a little about being a good steward of your Treasures [so money and things] and one thing he said which really stood out was that “You can’t outgive God!”

now, maybe to some of you that will seem like an obvious thing. But i think to many of us, and even perhaps a lot of us that ‘know’ it as ‘an obvious thing’ we often don’t really believe it. i mean, not really. Rather our picture of God [whether stated or not, and usually not] is that of this long-bearded fellow sitting on a cloud with his lightning bolt waiting for the second we step out of line so that He can absolutely nail us and make sure that we behave better [which is possibly why we as the church have ended up so often focusing on what we are against and trying to avoid than what we are for?

but it is so true that we cannot outgive God – God is so completely generous and Loving and kind and compassionate and opportunity-giving and the list just goes on… we just maybe need to realign our minds [and our actions] to the fact…

it reminded me of this passage in Luke 11:

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Coz spoke about it in terms of putting the focus on our giving. Trusting God and at times risking what might seem ridiculous in terms of being generous to others with the idea in mind that we cannot outgive God and so God will constantly supply our needs and how much more so if we have held loosely on to the things He has entrusted us with before. Those who are faithful with little will be entrusted with much.

How are you doing on the scale of generosity? [money yes, but also time and things and energy] And would it help you to be a little more generous if you truly believed that you had an uber generous God watching over you?

to read about “no technology time” head over here…

continuing with this series of new year’s evolutions – with the idea of moving beyond a dream list of ‘i wish this for next year’ to some specific steps and actions to put into place to help you transform yourself into a better person in 2012. and my next evolution suggestion is this:

SPEND YOUR MONEY [AND TIME AND ENERGY] WELL:

this one follows on from yesterday’s live in the present (with the future in mind) and it’s about being intentional with your resources…

hebrews 12.1 speaks about throwing off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles and run with perseverance the race marked out for you. while it will be good to deal with any ongoing sin that is tripping you up, another area to look at in terms of having a more effective year, is those things in your life which hinder you from living well.

the three areas i’ve mentioned are the three foundations of resources you have available to you and it is worth taking some time to think about how you spend each one of these – your time, money and energy

# TIME – how much time do you waste in procrastionary activities, whether it be silly facebook games or vegging in front of the tv for hours or googling japanese game shows… things that are not necessarily bad in themselves can become bad if you take too much time on them [we’ve been on holiday for a week and so i’ve been playing a bunch of mindless facebook games to pass time and refresh, but last nite i did a big delete as we head back to work tomorrow and i need to cut out unnecessary distractions] and so it’s good to regularly take a look at how you spend time during the week and make sure you are using it well. how much of your time do you spend in acts of service to others? discipleship, ministry, reaching out to ‘the least of these’? is there a change you need to make in how you use your time in 2012?

# MONEY – saw this quote by Tim Keller [author of ‘Generous Justice’ which is a great read and also the marriage book that tbV and i are currently working through together] this morning – “Christians should be pressing to keep their costs as low as possible so they can give as much as possible.” – i find that if you are not aware of how you spend your money, then it can very quickly get away from you in terms of being wasted on unnecessary things [takeaway coffees, eating out too much, junk food] when you could be using it creatively on significant things. the concept of tithing is an important one where you take a percentage of your money and set it aside before you spend the rest on yourself and your needs and wants. how much of your money do you spend on others? if you got one less cup of coffee this week, ate out one time less, watched one less movie, bought one less game, how could you use that money to benefit someone else? is there a change you need to make in how you use your money in 2012?

# ENERGY – this is closely linked to time so i will just leave you with the same questions and invite you to take some time to look at this area of your life as well. how much of your energy is devoted to kingdom things? is there a change you need to make in how you use your energy in 2012?

another great quote i was reminded of again recently goes something like this – “he who dies with the most toys is still dead.” if you want to evolutionise in 2012 then make sure that you invest in people more than you invest in things [whether it’s job, toys, holiday houses, clothes…]. the currency of the kingdom of God is people and so it makes a lot more sense that we spend our energy, time and money on things related to people and not just on things…

spend your money [and time and energy] well in 2012.

to continue to the next evolution looking at community, head over here.

so i haven’t been blogging here much lately – largely it’s because tbV and i have been doing transcription work for the HSRC which takes up a lot of our time and involves a bigger lot of typing – listening to interviews on audio and typing them out and some of them are not very clear so it’s a lot of focus and listening and scribing and so i guess i get a bit overtyped by the end of the day [i’m writing this at the beginning of the day thus defeating it before it begins… but i do hear it stirring in the background… so please keep it down, sh…]

the one thing i have been doing has been trying to increase my collection of brett andy one liners inspired by jack handey much funnier one liners – you can take a look at these over here – http://brettandy.wordpress.com – and i am gradually adding the ones i’ve already come up with as well as trying to come up with new ones – possibly the top three popular ones thus far have been:

“I HAD A FLEA CIRCUS ONCE AND THE FLEAS WERE INSANELY TALENTED IN A WHOLE VARIETY OF DIFFERENT ACTS. BUT IT WAS THE NEIGHBOUR’S DOG WHO STOLE THE SHOW.” [ BRETT ANDY]

“I WOULD IMAGINE A HORSE DRAWN CARRIAGE WOULD BE A REALLY UGLY THING. WITH HOOVES IT MUST BE ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO GRIP A PENCIL FOR STARTERS AND THEN THERE IS ALL THAT FINE DETAIL AROUND THE EDGES TO CONSIDER.” [BRETT ANDY]

and my latest:

“DO YOU THINK IF MINUTES WERE EDIBLE, THEY’D TASTE GOOD ENOUGH THAT WE’D WANT TO GO BACK FOR SECONDS?” [BRETT ANDY]

the blog page is still starting up and i need a lot more people to see it so please feel free to share the link on twitter, facebook etc or just send people one that you like – you can go directly there by clicking here or here, but not here. No, definitely not that last one.

and then a mixture of trusting God and doing everything we can do to get everything sorted for our simple way journey to live and work and minister in an inner city area in philadelphia with shane claiborne and friends… we have found someone to take our lease over [tick] but the big one is figuring out which visa to get and getting it and then we have air tickets to get, cars to sell, varsity loan to pay, and taking car of our stuff… so a busy 6 or so weeks…

the transcription work ends at the end of the first week of may and then i am hoping to dive wholeheartedly into finishing my book, but also be back more here and hopefully coming up with even funnier brett andys.

have a day.

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