What is it you do?
What is your routine with God?

We’ve all known the guilt, and pressure and duty in those ‘quiet-time’ routines.
Someone I met this week, courageously spoke of reading the bible in ninety days. Years ago I would have felt a crippling sense of inferiority! I’m really not that kind of reader, I’d fail miserably days into that kind of routine, but perhaps most of all that kind of approach doesn’t nurture sustainable life-giving faith.

Here’s it said even better from John Ortberg’s, newest book – Soul Keeping 

“A common problem is that people think of spiritual practices as obligations that will actually drain them. Sometimes I may need to engage in a practice like giving generously, or serving humbly, which my sinful side resists. But generally I need to engage with practices that connect me to God’s grace and energy and joy. That might be going to the ocean, listening to glorious music, being with life-giving friends, taking a long-hike – doing them with Jesus. The test of a sustaining spiritual practice is: Does it fill you with grace for life?”

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We miss transformation because we avoid pain. We set up our lives to prevent any kind of pain, struggle or suffering. We insulate, protect, deny, rationalise, and even theologically spin pain into something our brains won’t mind thinking about. 

1 David Murray’s great blog article: Ten cures for over-promising! Remember over-deliver.
2 David Hieatt’s brilliance on insane deadlines and the value they bring. Always great.
3 Pastoral burn out, and four-shifts in this all. Rick Warren’s take on this. 
4 Dodd’s ten phrases for dying churches. Challenging stuff.
5 The seven people on your team that well……are killing you! You know. 

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We’re only arrows, unable to do anything in our own strength.

I don’t know much about arrows but I think if you fire one badly it kind of wobbles as it flies through the air, and loses momentum. But if it is shot straight, with power and a good aim, it flies fast.

Sometimes it is held with the rest of the others, at other times it’s chosen to take aim at a target. I would imagine that as the arrow flies through the air, it feels a sense of liberation and direction, knowing that it was made for that very moment. It probably feels as though it is totally free. In being used, it realises what its true identity and purpose is. Then it gets gathered back again, by the one who is pleased with the arrow He knows.

Wait and fly, wait and fly. The life of a little arrow.

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Here’s some of my summer reading sugguestions in the light of Krish’s provocation.

Desiring the Kingdom by JB Smith, is long overdue. Lots of pals have recommended it. And I have so loved his Good and Beautiful trilogy.

Forty ways to look at Winston Churchill by Gretchin Rubin. Well simply because everything Rubin writes is worth reading. Insight, pace and brilliance, so am looking forward to this one.

The Fabric of faithfulness, by Steven Garber. Belief and behaviour woven here, and it’s a important looking IVP title. Cant wait to rummage with the big ideas of this.

Do / Purpose by David Hieatt, as his blog is epic and his creative output quite something. This seems a truly great brand counsel, story and purpose. A beautiful and inspiring title. 

An infinite journey by Andrew M Davis, looks like a substantive pathway into Christlikeness. What could be more

And I’ve got some Dallas Willard, Archibald Hart, Jonathan Martin and Eugene Peterson to re-read. Yes….. I’ve still gotta get better at my novel-reading ratio’s so I’d love to hear your sugguestions. What are you looking forward to read?

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Come just as you are……. bring your everyday moments. Your ordinary life so that God is all-in-all for you. Come just as you are. 

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More from James Bryan Smith in his epic trilogy on spiritual formation. These are really worth your time. Here more of what I’ve loved from The Good and Beautiful life, p182 over the weekend.

“We live in the unshakeable kingdom of God, so that even when we are tested, we never fail. This is why I am confident that our world is perfectly safe. Safe? You may be thinking, are you kidding? This world is scary and dangerous! That is true if you are on the throne of your life, living outside the kingdom of God. Inside the kingdom of God we are in no danger.

No danger? You could get cancer, hit by a bus, lose your job or lose a loved one in a heartbeat. Let me say clearly: none of these things can harm those who live in the kingdom. If we die, we step into glory. If we lose a job, we can learn how to trust God for something better. If we lose a loved one, we can be certain that we will soon enjoy their company, for all eternity. As long as we live in fellowship with our good and beautiful God in his mighty kingdom, we have nothing to fear, not even fear itself. For nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God. When we know this to be true, we can let go of worry and begin living with confidence and joy.”

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May the love of the Lord Jesus
draw you to Himself;
the power of the Lord Jesus
strengthen you in His service;
May the unstealable joy of the Lord Jesus fill your hearts;
And may you discover in a new way His unfailing peace.
and the blessing of God almighty,
the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit,
be among you and remain with you always. Amen.

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“In Dallas Willard’s words, “Non-discipleship costs abiding peace, a life penetrated throughout by love, faith that sees everything in the light of Gods overriding governance for good, hopefulness that stands firm in the most discouraging of circumstances, power to do what is right and withstand the forces of evil. In short, it costs exactly that abundance of life Jesus said he came to bring.” John 10v10

The question is not, what will I have to give up to follow Jesus? But rather, What will I never get to experience if I choose not to follow Jesus? The answer is clear: we will forfeit the chance to live a good and beautiful life.”

From James Bryan Smith, The Good and Beautiful Life, p31.

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“As long as matters are really hopeful, hope is a mere flattery or platitude; it is only when everything is hopeless that hope begins to be a strength. Like all the Christian virtues, it is as unreasonable as it is indispensable.” G. K. Chesterton

1 Natural adventures. None of this Disney hype. A great family perspective here. 
2 Vancouver’s beautiful response to homelessness. It’s engaging and positive.
3 “Adventure and freedom lie on the other side of pain.” Donald Miller’s take on this…… 
“I am…..” A compelling picture of a Vicar’s life from Kevin Lewis.
5 Ten things that should never happen in church……but do! Giggles here….. 

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by 3DM really well….

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