August: Surprise the World
It’s a standing joke in our house that I have the same breakfast every day of life. It’s a glass of orange juice, a mug of tea, a bowl of porridge and a slice of brown toast with marmalade. I enjoy it. It sets me up for the day. And best of all, I don’t have to think about it. I’m not fully awake. I need to get on with the day. I don’t have time to debate whether to have this cereal or that, whether there’s a croissant in the freezer or not. And I don’t need to. I engage autopilot, eat my breakfast and get on with the day.
You could say that my breakfast pattern shows I’m stuck in a rut. It’s a sad reflection of my lack of imagination. Or you could say that it is a habit … and a very helpful habit.
Habits are very important. We need habits to get us through life. Each day we face hundreds, if not thousands of decisions. There isn't enough time to stop and think about each of them. Life’s too short for that. If we tried we’d never get anything done. Habits save us from that. Habits allow us to react instantly. Habits are what allow us to navigate through the day on autopilot. Habits create the space for us to think and decide about the things that are different or important.
So we all have habits. We have eating and sleeping habits. We have dressing and travelling habits. They’re not fixed. They’re constantly evolving. Some of our habits are good for us, others less so. Sometimes we realise we need to stop and think about our habits. That might lead us to change them or start new ones.
This autumn in St Andrew Blackadder Church we’re going to look at a little book called, Surprise the World – The Five Habits of Highly Missional People.
Every Christian is called to share in God’s mission. On Easter day, Jesus said to the disciples, As the Father has sent me, I am sending you. (John 20:21 ) As Jesus came into the world to share God’s love, he sends us to continue that work.
Jesus expressed God’s mission in his whole life. It wasn’t just what he did or what he said, it was also who he was. It’s like that for us too. Mission is not a few activities, it is the life we live.
In Surprise the World – The Five Habits of Highly Missional People, Michael Frost suggests that there are five habits that help us live out God’s mission day by day. They are
• To bless other people
• To eat with others
• To listen to the Holy Spirit
• To learn about Jesus
• To notice how God is sending me
Bless, Eat, Listen, Learn, Sent – B E L L S.
Michael Frost’s book will help us explore these habits and help us see how we can make them part of daily living. So the book is going to be on sale after church on Sundays. I’m going to talk about these habits in our Sunday morning service. Our Home Groups will discuss them. And maybe you’ll choose to get together with a few others in a coffee shop or a pub and chew them over.
My hope and prayer is that just as my breakfast happens without me having to think about it, we will develop habits which express the mission of Jesus. Then friends and family, colleagues and neighbours will have the chance to discover the difference Jesus can make in their lives.
To see other messages from Neil, click on the appropriate month in the table below.
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