stories are great but what do I do?

Stories are great.  They connect, inspire and challenge us.  A good story can cause us to see the world differently. That’s why we tell them and share them. Someone gets up in front of the church and shares and we’re all changed and different than when we walked in.

Sometimes.

But sometimes I step back and say ‘but that’s your story and I can’t do that’. Oh, you gave up everything you own – great!  But I still really like my stuff.  Yes I do think that breaking down the system of oppression is an amazing goal.  I’m just not really there yet.

We often get to hear from and meet these amazing people do thing these things that we know are from God, but we also know that’s not where we’re at.

Someday I hope to be able to make huge systemic changes and impact the entire world. But where do I start so I can build up to that? Where do I start to change my life from the one I live now to the life of compassion? There has to be something I can do in my current workplace now with the people I see day by day.

Well, look no further then right here … unless you want to hold on to the idea that you don’t know what to do or can’t do anything where you’re at now. In that case, keep ‘looking’ elsewhere.

It’s a big list.  Pick something. Commit to do one thing this weekend.  Commit to do one compassionate act a day. Commit to do the same act of compassion every day for a week.  Sit with your Home Church and have the group choose one. Let the whole Home Church commit to try every day for a week to do ___________ and then talk about it next week. What happened?  Did it work?  Did it fail?  Did you even notice?

Okay, so the list:

–          Ask your neighbour to do an Aids Care kit with you, donate to your kit, help with the cost of the card;

–          Community party – go door to door to invite your neighbours;

–          Take food to a neighbour as an easy intro;

–          Make dinner for someone in your neighbourhood who is in need, and eat with them;

–          Find a worthy community group and volunteer consistently with them;

–          Invest in a neighbour simply to build a relationship with them (watch sports, go out for drinks, must be done with no ulterior motive);

–          Walk at the same time each day with an open invitation extended to neighbours to join you;

–          Always have time to talk, and never be the one to end a conversation;

–          Be generous once per day to someone you feel doesn’t deserve it;

–          Say ‘yes’ to all requests for an hour, day, week, etc.;

–          If you know of someone in need, instead of saying ‘let me know if there is anything I can do,’ draft a list of all the things you’re actually willing to do and give it to the person;

–          Do for one what you wish you could do for everyone, and tell someone who you’ve chosen so they can hold you accountable;

–          Shop consistently at the same stores, hair dresser, etc to build relationships;

–          Serve with an organization that works with a population that is unfamiliar to you;

–          Support people in your Home Church to go and do compassion (offer to watch all the kids, give them a ride, etc.);

–          Offer free child care at the same time once a week so parents can shop, drink a coffee, etc. without the distraction of their kids;

–          Start to mentor someone in your life and share the experience at home church so you can be held accountable;

–          Plan time or have margins in your life so you can go deeper with some of your current relationships.

There you go. There are a lot of options there.  Don’t try to do them all.  Pick one that resonates, and when you think you’ve integrated it into your life pick another.

Do it in community with your Home Church.  Talk about the struggles and the victories.  Leave a note in the comments below or send me an email letting me know what you’re going to try.

Please pick something. Don’t go away from this saying ‘wow those are some great ideas’ without picking one to try.

Got more ideas? Leave a comment, the bigger the list the better.

we’re just getting started

Welcome back. Glad you could make it. Now the work starts.

I figure it’s probably good to start with me.

I also figure it’s probably good to start with something easy.

One of the big things you’ll find here is action.

Something, anything.

Big, small, whatever – just DO something.

Like I said, I’m going to share stories. Often I’ll keep the names and where they come from out ‘cause that’s not the important part.  It’s the change, the action, the love that we want to see and learn about.

But this one’s from me and it’s a simple one.

I volunteered for 9 years as a youth leader. It was a great time. I’ll be honest, I may not have created the safest games (read: indoor slip’n’slide, office chair joust, back country sledding) but they were all fun.  I put in a lot of time building relationships.

And then I stopped.

I left on good terms.  It was time. I loved the kids, but it was time to move on.

And I moved on … entirely.

Then one day while grocery shopping I saw one of the youth. I asked, ‘how are you doing?’ ‘How’s life?’ ‘How’s your football team?’  He LOVES football.

And then I said in the passing sort of way that you ask ‘how are you’ ‘we should watch football some time’ and he answered in the same sort of way you say ‘fine, how are you’ with a ‘sure’.

So I’m bored killing time on Facebook and it happens. I just do it. I send him a message and say ‘hey, if you’re ever free on a Thursday night let me know and we’ll watch a game.’

Perfect, done, I’m a good person again!

Well then he answers back with a date and time. I honestly didn’t expect it.  It’s actually happening and honestly it was great!

Instead of sitting at home watching TV by myself, I reconnected, built relationship and had a reason to eat poutine that I could justify to myself.

Win, win, win!

It was that easy and it was good for me. It was fun.

Loving people can be a lot of fun!

I didn’t go out and say ‘would you like to go see a play’ when I know I wouldn’t enjoy that. I reconnected on common ground and had fun. And all it took was a Facebook message while I was actively trying to kill time.

Give it a go. Pick someone and reconnect. Make it the reason you splurge on Starbucks. Make it the reason you get out of the house.

Get an easy win. Don’t start from scratch but pick up where you left off and start loving someone you know you can love.

It doesn’t have to be hard every time. It’s doesn’t have to be a grind. Love someone loveable, we’ve got lots of time to get to the rest.

We are just getting started.

come and listen

‘Come and Listen’ by David Crowder Band

Come and listen, come to the water’s edge, all you who know and fear the Lord.
Come and listen, come to the water’s edge all you who are thirsty, come.

Let me tell you what He has done for me.
Let me tell you what He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
come and listen to what He’s done.
Come and listen,
come and listen to what He’s done.

Praise our God for He is good.
Praise our God for He is good.
Praise our God for He is good.
Praise our God for He is good.

He has done for me,
He has done for you,
He has done for us.

Come and listen,
come and listen to what He’s done.
Come and listen,
come and listen to what He’s done.

I love this song. I’ve used it before. I’ve you’ve never heard it, go check it out on YouTube. This isn’t going anywhere. There’s just something about the invitation. It’s so gentle and feels to me to be honest and real.

So what are we doing here? We’ll maybe ‘we’ is a bad choice of words. I know why I’m here but I suspect you’re not entirely sure.

I have some hopes for this space, this community.

I hope it becomes a community, a two way conversation.

I hope it creates growth, change. I hope it creates movement.

I hope you are able to find, see, and connect with God.

I hope that connection with God is so great that – for all of our flaws (and I do mean ‘our’ because as you’ll see on this journey here I’ve got enough for the both of us) – you won’t be able to keep God from spilling out of you into all the people you know.

Here’s what I want to do.

I want to tell stories. I want to tell good stories. And when I say ‘good’ I mean ‘well told,’ not just positive.  There’s going to be some pain in this space.  We are going to struggle.  Yes, I have and I will share stories of triumph.  There will be stories from my life and the lives of people in our community – stories of people stepping out and chasing after the call God has on them and things actually work out.  A coffee that leads to a relationship that leads to support in love in the darkness. I promise we will have that.

But I also promise struggle, pain, doubt and darkness.

You may not see the value of both, but it’s all a part of my life.  I do what I feel the spirit leading me to do and sometimes it’s nothing spectacular – failures and awkwardness are part of the journey.

We’re going to have it all because our lives have it all.

This space will be honest.

I’ll have my thoughts and my opinions, and I’d like to hear yours as well.  I even welcome your thoughts on why you think I’m wrong.  I hope that you come with a listening heart to see what God has here for you.

This space will have teaching.

I hope to share how to live a compassionate life … how to work through the struggles and difficulty … how to start the process.

We’ll look back at some of my old writings I’ve done on giving and how it applies to a life of compassion.

So come and listen. Listen to what He has done for me, for you, for us.

Come and share.

Come and find God in a way you may not have before.