Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Week of Prayer - Discernment Questions

Our next week of Prayer at East Taieri Church is called "Seeing and Hearing What God is Doing in Our Local Community."  We are seeking to develop our missional eyes and ears to notice what God is doing in mission so that we can join in.  Bible verses that inspire us in this include:
John 20:21 Jesus said, "As the Father has sent me, I am sending you."
Luke 10:8-9 "When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The Kingdom of God is near.'"

Our mission statement as a church is:
One people in mission for God's glory,
Growing in Christ and making him known in love through word, sign and deed,
Because all people matter to God.
The challenge for this week of prayer is to choose one of the following prayer activities:
·         Visit a local café, buy tea or coffee, and observe what is going on around you.  Pray silently for someone in the café.
·         Go for a prayer walk along your street.
·         Catch the Mosgiel Loop Bus (which leaves every 40 minutes from the bus bay in Gordon Road by the Blackstone Café and costs $2) and notice what is going on.  Click here for more information. 
·         Pray that a neighbour would be willing to come over for tea or coffee and then invite them.  As you get to know them, listen for what God is doing in their lives.
Some Discernment Questions:
  1. Who do you notice is around at that time of day? What age, race and gender are they?
  2. What do you notice about the housing and architecture, age, and quality of buildings?  How does this change from street to street?  How many places are for sale?  Does the neighbourhood have a sense of permanence of change?
  3. What public places and community gathering spaces do you see?  Are they inviting?  Who is making use of them?
  4. What community services do you notice?
  5. If you pass any churches or religious buildings, what do they communicate to the neighbourhood?
  6. Where and when did you sense God's presence?
  7. What good and beautiful things did you see that are worth celebrating?
  8. What sad or sinful things did you see that concern or grieve you?
  9. What compassion, heartache or empathy was aroused in you?
  10. What would be good news for people in this neighbourhood?  What would church look like for people in this neighbourhood?
Happy noticing!

Reflections on "Living Below the Line"

Living on $2.25 per day for my food was a challenge!
While the food was fairly bland and I got tired of eating much the same thing every day, I had sufficient to eat.  My $11.25 for 5 days bought me:
  • A dozen eggs
  • A loaf of bread
  • A tin of baked beans
  • A small bag of rice
  • 5 apples
  • Some vegetables (some from our garden, but I factored in an approximate cost)
Sue kindly made the vegetables into a delicious soup.  I was very careful not to drop the soup as I put it away in the fridge, realising that it was my main source of flavour for the week.  I was surprised how protective I was of my meagre larder.

It struck me that my budget didn't allow for "luxuries" such as tea, coffee, milk, sugar, or meat.  I did get tired of only drinking water.

Early on in the week I had some mild headaches (probably caffeine withdrawal), but overall I felt quite well.  I played four games of squash that week and had sufficient energy from all those good carbohydrates, although I lost about a kilogram in weight.

One family who took part told me that the parents had eaten less so their teenagers could eat more.  I wonder how often parents go without food so their children can eat - even in New Zealand.

The experience challenged me to simplify my lifestyle, so I have more resources to give to those in need.