Lent- Palm Sunday

Palm Sunday’s palm parade is Jesus’ way of showing God’s kingdom as compared to the kingdom of Rome. It’s a protest the powers that be, and the belief that “this is the way is has to be” and a sign of hope that there is a better way- God’s way.

Here is my Refection from this past Sunday, when we celebrated “Palm Sunday”.


We see in Zechariah that this victorious king comes riding on a donkey colt. This is a sign of humility and a sign of peace. You can’t fight a war on the back of a donkey colt. And it is the same in Mark. This isn’t just because Jesus was too tired to walk on his own. And book study this week, Susan’s daughter Brooke mentioned she had walked the road down from the Mount of Olives into Jerusalem, and it was not a long walk. It is a sign and a symbol of the peace and justice that Jesus preaches in God’s kingdom in opposition to the kingdoms of the world.


I didn’t know this until  few years ago, but at the time Jesus was riding in Jerusalem, there was another procession happening. Pilate was arriving in Jerusalem from the other side. As governor, he lived in a beautiful place by the sea, but he would have arrived, in Jerusalem for the Passover. Not as a pilgrim, as Jesus, and his fellow Jews would have done, but as a show of Roman might in case anyone got the wrong idea and decided to rise up against Rome. Remember, the Passover celebrates the way that God rescued the Jews from another oppressive kingdom- Egypt. And Judea is under Roman oppression now- with  a governor from Rome, with temple priests and authorities put in place by Rome, and working on their behalf as well. In the book The Last Week, Borg and Crossan called this the domination system: you have political power and vast wealth in a few hands, who dominate the rest, and a widespread sense-among the powerful and the powerless- that “this is just the way it has to be” either because God made it this way, or just “this is the way it always has been”.


Pilate’s procession would have had soldiers, horses, weapons, everything necessary to take down a riot, and his procession would have been a good show of might in order to prevent it from happening.


So Jesus’ procession is almost like a parody of Pilate’s procession, except instead of showing it as ridiculous, he’s showing it as opposite to God’s kingdom. As the one “who comes in the name of the Lord”, Jesus does not come with a show of earthly power. He comes humbly, on a donkey, he comes in the way of the king that Zechariah wrote about- a king whose kingdom is marked by peace- a breaking of the weapons of war, and cutting off of armies.


Later in this Holy week, we’ll see Jesus preaching and engaging with the temple authorities, but here, it is just Jesus and his followers. Jesus on a donkey, not a war horse, surrounded by followers waving palm branches cut from the trees, not soldiers holding banners and arms with swords.


It’s a protest, but more so, it’s a symbol- of a better way- of God’s way- showing that there is a different way to be in the world. It doesn’t have to be this way- with power and privilege being used to dominate and oppress others. It’s doesn’t have to be about might, and about the kingdoms of this world fighting against one another. God’s way is a way of humility, of peace, of joy.


Now we today don’t have an empire exactly like Rome. But we do have political power and wealth accumulated by a few, and people who abuse their power, and we do have a sense that this is the way it has to be. And not resisting it. Why else do we have such low voter turnout every election?


We live in a country that in general, has good regulations and social systems to care for those who are marginalized. But we do have some similarities with Judea in Jesus’ time which is occupied by Rome. But we also live in a country that was founded on land that had been originally occupied by other nations. Our history is one of the oppression and genocide and abuse of Indigenous people. And I’d like to say, that it’s all in our history. But we know it’s not. We were reminded of this recently, we had two trials that ended, for the deaths of Colten Boushie and Tina Fontaine, and justice was not achieved for either of these deaths.


I think anyone who keeps their ears or eyes open in our country nowadays knows that the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people is not yet reconcilied. We know the terrible legacy of residential schools, and colonization, and the effect on the Indigenous people of this land. And we know about the terrible conditions on reserves, and we know about the high rates of missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls, and we know about the higher incarceration rates, and racial profiling.


And yet, most of us, who are not Indigenous, let it be that way. I hope we’re past the bad theology of a couple hundred years ago, saying God made it this way, that the white people were meant by God to come here and civilize the people who lived here. But I think there is still a sense of “this is just the way it is”; if she hadn’t done this, that never would have happened.


But yet- even in our country’s culture of the oppression of Indigenous people, we see hope. We see protest, we see symbolic actions, signs that there is another way. Last summer, when we celebrated 150 years of this country’s history, a teepee was erected on Parliament Hill, a reminder, and a call to make the next 150 years better for us all.


This past few weeks, Indigenous and non-Indigenous people have come together, in candle light vigils, in protests, in walks, to comfort one another and to demand better justice for Indigenous people- recognizing that this is not just their tragedy, it is our tragedy.


And there is more than just symbols. An Indigenous Manitoba party leader elected. Recently Bill C262 passed the second reading, another step towards making sure the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous People is enshrined in our laws.


Jesus could have done things a much different way. He could have just entered Jerusalem with no fanfare, not protested, not spoke out about injustice, not got into conflict with those in power. He could have done things a lot differently, that would have been a lot easier for him, and he probably would have lived longer. And then we wouldn’t be here today, because that wasn’t why Jesus came. He came to preach the kingdom of God- of love and peace and justice for all people. And one that is near at hand, but can’t be fully here unless all people actually get to enjoy it. We, as Jesus’ followers today, get to be a part of that kingdom. But we also have a call to work for justice, to make it more fully present.

Advent Conspiracy- Worship Fully

This devotional is adapted from the Advent Conspiracy family guide.

Take some some time in prayer and worship today. Light a candle if you have it. Read Psalm 111 or a favourite Advent or Christmas or scripture passage. Read this devotional. Pray to God, giving thanks for the gifts of this season, and asking to see how you can more fully live out your worship.

Worship Fully
Think of it, God has given us air to breathe right this minute, a heart that beats every second, jagged mountains, luminous oceans, shimmering rivers, breathing forests, still ponds, grassy fields, moss comfortably growing at the base of a telephone pole, a worm turning the compost over, a baby’s bright eyes focusing on a reflection, coffee lathered in a mug, paint applied, paper cut, beads strung, clay pressed, wood sanded- all of it blanketed by God’s beauty.
And God placed us in this world to explore it, describe it, steward it and respond to his beauty and his creativity. This Encounter with God draws us into an expression called worship. We relate back to God through our work and play, rest and pain, hurried chaos and silence. Categories of where and how and when are
broken apart as we see more of Christ in all things and respond to him in all things.
When Jesus arrived, the angels responded in a massive outburst of joy in front of the shepherds, Magi came with their huge caravan from far away to bow down before him, and for 2,000 years people have celebrated his first coming at the same time that they waited for his return. This year it’s your turn to Worship Fully.
You see, Christmas is about so much more than a fun day, good parties, and a few new things, it’s about Jesus, who came as a Servant King, who came to show us the way home, fill us with his Spirit, and welcome us back into his family. So, the hope is that we use all of the Christmas merriment to remind us of him, to remind us that we’re going home to be with him, face-to-face. We won’t carry our Christmas bags, or our cool new stuff with us, we’ll carry the memories of how we participated in his adventures, how we watched for him, and how he revealed what he was up to in our lives and the lives of the neighbors we served along the way.

So, may you worship Jesus more this season. May you care for others in new ways. May you worship fully, spend less, give more, and love all!




Hope- Advent 1

Reflection from Nov. 26, 2017

What does it mean to hope for Christ’s coming in the future?

Jesus speaks as though there will be a big triumphant coming all at once. But he also says, no one knows. He says these things will happen within the generation, and yet, nothing like that has happened yet.


So what does Jesus mean by this coming? What is he trying to get the disciples to do? He says- keep awake- keep alert. Why do we need to keep awake, is it so that we don’t sleep and miss out on God’s coming? That’s kind of like what Jordan was saying (click here to watch the video of Moderator Jordan Cantwell’s Advent message) about being aware of where God is already present in the world. That has a lot to do with hope- knowing that God is with us, always, no matter what.


Remember also what Jesus says about keeping awake like the servants in his parable, they keep awake to keep working- each servant has a task that has been assigned by the homeowner, who is away on a journey, but will return. Is that how it feels for us sometimes- that God is absent? That we are all alone. That the work we do is for nothing?


Could it be that what Jesus is asking us to do is to keep awake, and not give up hope? To keep working for God’s kingdom, even though it feels sometimes like we are like we are alone- to keep trusting that she is with us.


This may not be what we want to hear- because we want what is written in Isaiah- we want God to tear open the heavens and come down with a great show of power and might and fix all our problems.


What if what is actually going to happen is more like what is written at the end of that passage: “God is the potter, and we are the clay”?


What if instead of big displays of power, God works through molding us into the people that can heal this world?


I was thinking recently about the phrase “thoughts and prayers” that gets tossed around a lot after tragedy strikes. And some people have taken to mocking it, saying , nothing ever changes, and that it is an empty phrase. And they have a point- mostly this is around gun violence in the States and criticizing people who send thoughts and prayers, but will not act to change the gun laws.

But prayer does require action on our part. I believe thoughts and prayers are useful and can’t create change. But praying to God doesn’t mean asking God to tear open the heavens and come down, it’s a conversation with God.


When we pray, we also invite God to respond back to us, to invite us to do something about what we prayed for, to be guided into the work God has for us, and we need to be open to that.


If we pray for ourselves, for change, we need to be prepared to hear how God can guide us to make those changes, if we pray for people we knowing struggling with loss, we need to be prepared to hear God guiding us to be the ones who offer help and comfort, if we pray for people suffering due to injustice, we need to be prepared to hear God guiding us to work to correct that injustice.

This is how we hope as Christians- actively, with hearts open to hear how God will mold us like a potter, how God will equip us, his servants, to fulfill the task that we have been given, so that God’s kingdom can come, on earth as it is in heaven. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Canada Day, celebration and committment

Happy Canada Day! Our service this morning focused on celebration and gratitude as well as lament for all that we have been, and hope for our future.

Here is the link to an article I mentioned in church today. It is written by Idris Elbakri, former president of the Manitoba Islamic Association. It is about the desire to celebrate the country he and his family, as immigrants, have chosen to live in and all the things they love about Canada, and balancing that with the painful history between Canada and Indigenous peoples and wanting to be in solidarity.


Here is an article about the teepee set up at Parliament Hill and our Prime Minister’s visit with the people gathered there. I mentioned I hope this would be a sign of hope for our future, that our leaders and all Canadians would work for reconciliation and right relationships.


Here are our Prayers of the People- which today was Prayers of Gratitude, Lament and Hope- this was adapted from a service of worship developed the United Church of Canada for the 150th anniversary of the Confederation of Canada. May we all pray and work together for God’s vision of justice and peace in this land and in the whole world.

Canada Day Prayers of Gratitude Lament and Hope


Alternate versions of Psalm 23

This past week I was re-writing Psalm 23 to look at what it means, in terms of Jesus calling himself the Good Shepherd who comes that we might have life, and have it abundantly. (John 10:10-11)

This is my first version:

Abundant Life Psalm 23

God leads, protects and provides for me; I don’t need anything else.

The Creator of this beautiful creation gives me all I need: gives me rest, quenches my thirst, and restores my soul.

The God of love and justice leads me to live love and justice.

When life is hard, when the way before me feels dark is full of the unknown,

I am not afraid, for you will never leave me alone.

I am comforted knowing that you will always be there to guide me and protect me.

You give me all I need, even as there are those who want me to believe I need more than what you provide.

You heal me, you name me as your own.

Your love is abundant, and you give me abundant life.

Your love and grace pursue me throughout my life.

I am not alone, I am at home in God’s world, for ever.


I then got to thinking what the opposite of Psalm 23 would be- without the faith and trust in God’s promise. So I wrote this version. It’s an extreme, but so is the original Psalm 23- it’s an ideal of faith and trust. I think we can all find ourselves in this at some point:

Lonely Psalm 23

I am adrift, I do not know how to protect myself. I am not satisfied with what I have and struggle to get more.

I must keep busy to keep up in a busy chaotic world.

My thirst is never quite quenched, my soul feels broken.

I walk this path alone, and I am confused about why.

Life is hard, dark and dangerous.

I am frightened because there is so much unknown, and there is no one I can turn to for comfort.

I never have enough, there is always someone who wants to take from me.

I am broken and belong to no one and with no one.

Love is scarce in my life, my life is also scarce.

Bad luck and judgement follow me at every turn.

I have no home to feel secure in.


Doing some more thinking, I realized that while often we all feel alone and without God with us, far too often, we don’t reach out, we rely on ourselves instead of God. So I wrote this version. Again, it’s an extreme, but I think we can find a bit of ourselves in it:

Individualistic Psalm 23

I can lead and provide for myself; if I need anything, I will get it for myself as a result of my own hard work.

This world is full of resources for my use- land, water, whether it can be restored or not, I will take it if I feel I need it for my well being.

My way is all that matters- the purpose of life is to make myself happy.

If there are things that are scary and unknown, I will avoid them.

I fear those who are different, the only safety and comfort I find is with people just like me.

I prepare an abundant table for myself- and throw away much of it, not thinking about people who go without- they are different than me.

There is nothing wrong with me that needs healing, and I refuse to heal others.

My life is not abundant yet- but I’m working on it.

I will pursue success and greatness and wealth throughout my life.

This is my home. I control who can come in.


Finally, I realized that the line about “walking in the paths of righteousness/ love/ justice” means that abundant life in the Psalm needs to be seen not only in what God does for us ourselves, but what God wants to do for all, and that part of abundant life is responding to the call to walk down that path that God leads us down. So my final version (for now!) adds on to my first version, with our call to ensure abundant life for everyone.

Abundant Life for All Psalm 23

God leads, protects and provides for me; I don’t need anything else. And I work to ensure there is no one in need.

The Creator of this beautiful creation gives me all I need: gives me rest, quenches my thirst, and restores my soul.

The creation is a gift I appreciate and protect. I am restored as the earth and all its people are restored.

The God of love and justice leads me to live love and justice.

When life is hard, when the way before me feels dark is full of the unknown,

I am not afraid, for you will never leave me alone.

I reach out beyond what I know, knowing we are all your children.

I am comforted knowing that you will always be there to guide me and protect me. And I comfort others in their time of pain.

You give me all I need, even as there are those who want me to believe I need more than what you provide.

I invite others to your table, I love and pray for those who would be my enemies.

You heal me, you name me as your own, and so I do what I can to heal, and to make each person know that they belong.

Your love is abundant, and you give me abundant life

And I share your abundant love with all I meet.

Your love and grace pursue me throughout my life. never letting forget my blessings and my calling.

We are not alone, We are at home in God’s world, for ever.

Lent- Forgive part 2

Forgiveness is important enough, and hard enough that it needs more than one Reflection. Here is a story about a time where forgiveness was very hard, but where it eventually became very life-giving for many people.

This is about following through on forgiveness. Forgiveness is tough, but once you’ve made a decision, it’s significantly easier than dithering over the choice. With God’s grace it can happen, but the hurt might not always disappear overnight. By showing forgiveness in a practical way you help to heal the wounds.

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.”

Micah 6:8 (NIV)

If you’ve heard about the Lebanese Civil War (1975–1990) you’ll know that there is a considerable negative history between Lebanese and Syrians, and that Syrian troops did not completely leave Lebanon before 2005. Before the Lebanese had time to forgive and forget painful memories, the Syria crisis started in 2011, and with it came an influx of Syrian refugees into Lebanon, such that our country today has the highest per capita concentration of refugees in the world, with one in every four persons a Syrian refugee, 80 percent women and children.

Yet how does the church respond to the needs of this multitude of Syrian refugees when its congregations include people who were themselves, or members of their families were, hurt during the Civil War. God, in His wisdom, started working within us. A colleague of mine openly told her church: ‘The best I can do is pray for them, but don’t ask me to get involved! I still have not forgotten when at gunpoint my husband and I were lined up against the wall to be shot at. It’s only through God’s intervention that we’re still alive.’ Yet as she heard of what the Lord is doing in their lives, she went through a paradigm shift: ‘God is revealing Himself in dreams and visions, miracles of healing, answered prayers to these people whom for years we considered to be the enemy! I want to be where God is at work.’ And so she is today directly involved, both at her church and through LSESD, in serving refugee children and families.

As LSESD we carry out our humanitarian response to the Syria crisis in partnership with local churches and community-based organisations. Each person involved has their own story to share of how God changed their heart. One young man, who had lost loved ones during the same war, shared that at the time he and his community had prayed that God may bring on Syria the same calamities that the Lebanese were going through. Yet, he told us, ‘When the refugees started coming into our country, we rushed to their aid, for who can better empathise with them than us Lebanese who have been through it all?!’ Today, he pastors one of our partner churches in Lebanon that is serving around 2000 refugee families.

God is working both within and through our churches in a magnificent way! All agree that as we serve the refugees, we’re learning a lot of new things about God! God is teaching us how to forgive, and He is teaching us about Him through them.

Today’s blog was written by Alia Abboud from Lebanese Society for Educational and Social Development (LSESD).  Find out more about her here.

Here are some ways to respond to today’s Reflection, building on the first Forgiveness Act. Green for a small step forward, Yellow for a bigger step, and Red for a generous leap.

GREEN:If you are having trouble forgiving, spend today getting closer to forgiveness. Pray for yourself, and pray for the person you want to forgive.

YELLOW:Finding a practical way to show forgiveness starts with sincerely putting the other person first. There are two ways to approach this: (1) think, yourself, of a way to show forgiveness; (2) ask the person you’re forgiving what might be a good start.

RED:Give more than they deserve back. If you’ve forgiven someone, how do you actively demonstrate that with kindness?

Lent- Forgive part 1

This Reflection is one of a pair I read last week, but didn’t have a chance to post until now. Forgiveness is central to our faith, and it is easy to talk about, but really hard to do, sometimes near impossible. But, like giving and living generously, it is often of as much, or even more benefit to us when we can forgive.

Bitterness will eat at you. And it can be properly hard to let grudges go. If you’re holding a grudge or a wound against someone who’s hurt you in the past, make this Easter the time you find a way to forgive them. God says he’ll give you strength to find compassion. In forgiveness, you not only set others free from a debt they owe you, but you also transform yourself – imagine what the world might look like if even half of us practised forgiveness like this.

“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.”

1 John 1:8–9 (NIV)


I once suffered a painful betrayal from a close friend, and it took me years to forgive her fully. I recount this story in my book The Living Cross, and although these big stories stick in our minds, perhaps equally important are our day-by-day acts of forgiveness that help to keep our souls clean. But we can find it hard to forgive those with whom we have regular contact, partly simply because they are so close to us, and we know them well – foibles and all. We can cling to the ways they have let us down or acted unkindly, but when we do, the unforgiveness builds up like a wall between us. And our hearts form a hard crust, bit by bit, each time that we fail to forgive.

Yet we don’t have to live like this. We can ask God to dismantle these walls and dissolve that crusty layer as he helps us to forgive. Although we may not feel like forgiving, he can change our feelings. For forgiveness is an act of the will, which means we may not feel anything at all, but that doesn’t mean God isn’t working to bring freedom. He is.

How can we forgive? I suggest coming before the cross where Jesus died – this, the living cross – to name and then release each specific sin or wrongdoing there. We may be extending forgiveness to others, or we may be asking God to cleanse us. We wait, and we will receive from God his forgiveness and the power to forgive. We receive his gifts of love and new life. And we find that we are the one who has been set free from the prison of bitterness and unforgiveness.

Why not give it a go today?

Today’s blog was written by Amy Boucher Pye. Find out more about her here.

Here is a suggestion for how to Act in response to today’s Reflection (just one option for now- check out further options in Forgive part 2!):

If you’re in a place where forgiveness is really hard, start by praying: ‘God, I want to want to forgive.’

Lent- Against the Tide

Sometimes it can be easy to go along with the crowd, but in a few days, we hear how the crowds cried out for Jesus’ crucifixion. How can we be generous and compassionate when the people around us make it more difficult?


Following the crowd is easy, but it’s not always a good thing. Especially when what’s popular excludes people, or isolates the already lonely. Swimming against the tide is the biggest challenge. But trying it – even just giving it a shot – can be life-changing.

“All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation…”

2 Corinthians 5:18 (NIV)


It’s the end of a lovely evening where a group of my friends and their children have gathered to mix batter, toss pancakes and sample a range of toppings whilst chatting and drinking tea. The washing-up done, people gather their children, get their coats and adjust their hijabs before leaving the house.

‘Thank you so much; it’s been really fun,’ I exclaim, as we embrace goodbye.

‘Yes,’ says another, ‘some of us have been here seven or eight years and we’ve never been invited to an English home before; thank you.’

Another day I stop to chat to the new (Somali) owner of a local eatery being refurbished. He tells me a little about his dream for the cafe and, as he warms to his theme of creating a new kind of meeting place, he describes a venue which will attract a wider, more diverse clientele.

‘The trouble is the white people are just not integrating into this area,’ he says, ‘so anything we can do to change that will be positive.’

Never been invited? Not integrating? Who’s keeping who at arm’s length?

Jesus did something positive when he moved into the ‘neighbourhood’ (John1:14 The Message) and spent time with those not usually invited to the parties of the day. His life ended with arms outstretched in sacrificial surrender to the reconciling work of God. Now all are invited to step out of alienation from God and each other and into friendship with Love Himself. It’s the ultimate triumph of friendship over fear.

In a culture which seems to thrive on negative perceptions and suspicion of difference, building friendships with people from other faith communities is one way we can do things differently. How will you swim against the tide of mistrust and fear? In which ways will you live out the message of reconciliation with which we have been entrusted?

Today’s blog was written by Jan from Mahabba Network.  Find out more about her here.

Here are some great ways to respond to today’s Reflection. Green is the simplest, Yellow takes a bit more effort, and Red is more of a challenge!

GREEN:Have a think. Are there any situations where we’re in danger of following the crowd? First stop is social media. Review last week’s posts. Are we ungenerous in how we talk about others on Facebook and Twitter? Resist joining in for the sake of it especially if it might take you to narcissistic or gossipy places.

YELLOW:Office gossip? Train delays making everyone grumpy with train staff? Collective moaning becoming a habit? Think about how you can turn against the tide. Or, something tougher: Who have you been pushing to the back of your mind during the 40acts challenges? Take the challenge to do good to that person today, even if you think they won’t appreciate it.

RED:Challenge ungenerous behaviours that damage communities, our country, and the world. For example? Well, are we locked into a worldly pattern of consumption? Thinking about how our shopping choices affect the world? Generous in the things we like and share on social media?

Lent- Gulp

Giving is not just about the transfer of things from one person to another- it’s a spiritual act in response to how much we have been given by God.

Giving when it’s comfortable is definitely an important part of our lives. But God didn’t call us to only give when it’s comfortable. Does our giving ever make us gulp or cause a sharp intake of breath?

“But woe to you Pharisees! For you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and neglect justice and the love of God. These you ought to have done, without neglecting the others.”

Luke 11:42 (ESV)


Back in the days when I was teaching full-time, I was faced one morning with the sight of a 14-year-old boy quietly sobbing, his head on his desk. I gently asked him what the trouble was and he told me that he was being forced to leave his foster home after nine years. ‘Why?’ I asked. ‘Because the subsidy they received wouldn’t be paid any more,’ he answered. He was devastated. Then he looked at me and said the words: ‘Who will want to adopt a 14-year-old?’

‘We’ll adopt you,’ came out of my mouth before a moment’s thought.

‘But I don’t even like you,’ he said.

‘Well, I’m not that keen on you either,’ I said. But I knew there and then that I would go home and speak to my wife, Priscilla, who already had her hands full bringing up our three children – all under the age of six – and explain to her what we needed to do.

She looked at me, took a deep breath and then she said, ‘Let’s take him.’ And we did.

Jesus points out that the Pharisees give: they tithe; they are generous. They give people ‘every herb’. But they are generous only to a point. No deep breaths, no big gulps: they stop when the giving hurts. They do what’s required but they neglect justice and the love of God.

When you come to one of those ‘big gulp’ moments, you don’t always know what the cost is going to be but you know it’s going to be big – it might hurt a little or a lot – but God’s love is big enough to take it.

Today’s blog was written by Charles Osewalt. Find out more about him here.

Here are some great ways to respond to this Reflection. Green is for something simple to consider, Yellow takes more planning, and Red is a longer term goal.


Look back at the list you wrote on day one. Is there anything you’re holding back on that you could give right now?


If it needs a bit of planning, get to work now. If it’s money, you might not be able to give a ‘gulp’ sum away in one hit, but what if you put aside some each month? Then, at the end of the year, you could reach a significant amount. Start saving, set a goal.


Review your regular giving (or start in the first place) and challenge yourself to sacrifice so you can push your financial giving further.

Lent- Step Out

Speaking to people about our faith can be a scary thing. We often feel as though by mentioning what we believe, we will be accused of proselytizing. But you never know who might need to hear words of hope at that moment. Today’s reflection is about opening ourselves up to being brave and stepping out of our comfort zone.

That little voice in your head that tells you it’s okay to hold back when you see an opportunity to step out for God. Today we’re ignoring it.

“Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near.”

Philippians 4:5 (NIV)

It sometimes feels like I spend my life on buses and trains, travelling from one meeting to another. Most of the time it’s just routine but sometimes, when I least expect it, God gives me a nudge and highlights someone He wants me to talk to. It’s at that point I can choose to go with Him or ignore the prompt, but when I go with Him it’s a real thrill!

So there I am during the last Tube strike, on a jam-packed bus full of frazzled people, and an elderly Sikh gentleman sits opposite me.

I sense God telling me to speak to him.

Now? When I’m running late for my meeting?

But I put away my phone and I smile. He smiles back. Maybe I can leave it there. But God has other plans. The stranger starts to talk to me and it turns out he’s from India, from an area I’d spent time in, so I share my smattering of Hindi with him.

We swap names.

Mr Singh is delighted and we end up speaking about all sorts of things – his wife’s death, his own battles with illness and his family’s wish for him to live with them in the UK so they could look after him. He shares how much he misses his community back home but finds solace in the community at the Sikh temple and then speaks about one of the founding fathers, a guru who’d sacrificed his family life to pursue his faith. His next question is my God-given chance: ‘Do you know anyone who has sacrificed like this man did?’

On that heaving bus, amid the noise and jostling, I said to him, ‘Mr Singh, I do. I know someone who gave his very life as a sacrifice so that you and I could have life. His name is Jesus.’ I told him about the miracles I’d seen when working with a church in India. I answered his questions and shared my faith with him. Mr Singh listened and so did the other passengers nearby.

We got off at the same stop and shook hands, exchanging blessings. I told him how wonderful it was to meet him and he thanked me and said that he could see God in me. We left it there and then I ran full pelt to make my meeting.

A chance encounter? There’s no such thing in my experience, so even when you’re feeling like you’d prefer to keep yourself to yourself, step out and God will be with you every step of the way.

Today’s blog was written by Ros Turner. Find out more about her here.

Here are some great ways to Step Out today! Green is for the simplest Act, Yellow takes a bit more effort, and Red means opening yourself up to a challenge!


Share a bible verse on social media, or with someone in person.

Note from Kristin: This is one of my favourite verses, and I saw this video a long time ago and it never ceases to make me smile.


Really reflect on how you can be an everyday example of Jesus. Practise sharing your faith with others; brush up on simple tools to help share your faith. If you’re stuck for a tool, why not try Two Ways To Live?


Pray for an opportunity to share your faith today and look out for it. Go find it.