April 2012


And now the final 5 acts of the “40acts challenge”!

(In red was what the challenge said to do and in blue was what crossed my mind when I read it…followed by what I actually did do)

FIVE!

#36: buy a spare ticket

Whether it’s a football game or a concert, a movie or a trip to the local ice-rink, there’s always room for one more. Buy a spare ticket and invite someone you wouldn’t normally spend time with. Build friendships and surprise someone with a free ticket. ‘Buy two, give one away’ lacks the appeal of the more popular slogans commonly used to elicit our business. But what it lacks in consumer appeal it more than makes up for as a principle or challenge.

Parting with large chunks of my hard-earned cash is a not too enthralling prospect but choosing to buy an extra ticket to the cinema or even just an extra coffee is definitely manageable and is slowly developing into a much richer, more generous, habit. It may not seem like much but I believe that it’s the little random acts of generosity that build stronger relationships and healthier communities.

Whether you’re buying, ordering or booking something, why not get one extra to give away? Bar of chocolate, bottle of water, newspaper, concert ticket, gift vouchers for the cinema?  Supermarket shop?  It doesn’t have to cost much.  Even really small gestures can really make someone’s day: a hot tea or coffee on a cold day or a cool drink on a hot day – priceless. Let us know how you have made someone’s day.

I can do that…
What I actually did do:

I have a spare voucher to a spa thingy. Gonna be taking a friend there after Easter!

Verdict: Done

FOUR!

act #37: encourage!

Compliments and encouragements are so easy to say, yet so under-used. Make someone’s day brighter with some kind words. Our society delights in knocking people off their pedestals. You only have to flick through a magazine at the hairdressers’ to see how a celebrity’s relationship breakdown, poor clothes choice or – gasp – weight gain is treated. Today’s Act is about swimming against the tide. Try being an encourager, paying a spontaneous compliment or sending a supportive text.
You don’t have to pay everyone fulsome compliments. Sometimes it’s as simple as keeping your eyes open. Take a minute to send an encouraging text to a friend. Clothe yourself in Jesus’ attitude of mind and see what happens.
I send encouraging texts/emails to those who have a rough time.
What I actually did do:

I may not always be the most encouraging person, but I often find myself encouraging others especially friends & loved ones if they’re having a rough time

Verdict: Done

THREE!
act #38: serve your neighbour
Quick quiz – name the neighbour two doors away from you. (Think about it…we’ll wait). No idea? Ok, try this. The next time you bump into a neighbour, invite them for Sunday lunch. Introduce yourself first, obviously. Start a neighbourhood watch committee. Or offer to look after the pets when your neighbour goes on holiday. ‘Love your neighbour’ was one of Jesus’ greatest commands, so take it in a very literal sense today. The Bible is really clear that we are to love God, and to love others (Matthew 22 v36-40).  So what does this look like in our lives?  You see, it’s really fashionable to talk about poverty but I think Jesus showed us a different way: He got involved.  Jesus noticed those around Him in need and He loved them. The good news is: God notices us.  And He then calls us to notice others…Take time to get to know someone who is living in poverty near you and see how you can best serve them. Consider giving some money or time to your local homeless charity.
His name is Johnny.
What I actually did do:

Fortunately, after staying where I do for almost 4 years, I DO know a few of my neighbours by name. Ideally, it would be better if there was more to it than that though. Anyhow, I shall persevere!

Verdict: Done

TWO!

act #39: forgive

In the words of Elton John we sing ‘…sorry seems to be the hardest word’.  Why DO we find it so hard to accept that little ‘s’ word? Perhaps because, when we say ‘I forgive you’, we are doing so much more than putting our mouth to mindless words. We are saying ‘you did something to me that really hurt, but I choose forgiveness over anger, and healing over pain.’ Powerful stuff, friends.

Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.”

Good Friday is not about daffodils, eggs and bunnies but nails and wood, power and helplessness. It’s not a message that sells itself easily. Of course much of what is celebrated in society can smooth out the rough edges and subtly move the focus elsewhere.  But this was the day when lies were exposed and truth laid bare, the point in history where God and mankind met in an extraordinary exchange so that hatred and violence could be overcome.  Sometimes the cost of winning this reality isn’t understood.

This is a day when the crucified Jesus can make an end of sin, of wrongdoing and of all that stands between peoples and nations. Today is about living out the death of Jesus. Who are the ones you need to reach and with whom you need a new start? If you are holding a grudge or a wound against someone who has hurt you in the past, make this Easter a time to find a way to forgive them. God’s grace will give you the strength to find compassion. Through forgiveness you not only set yourself free but also transform the life of the person you are forgiving. What a different place this world would be if forgiveness was practised more!

The ultimate challenge…
What I actually did do:

I think this is the time. I’ve been holding onto you for more than 2 years now. It’s time to let go. I forgive you. And you.

Verdict: Done

ONE!

act #40: testify

What could be more generous than helping someone along the way to salvation? It may not seem obvious, but it’s actually the most worthwhile thing you could ever do; the repercussions of this act of generosity are eternal. Put away your fears, banish your pride and open your mouth today. If you know Jesus, then you have the most incredible gift to give. Tell someone the good news – that God loves them and wants to give them everlasting life.

Would we accept the historic, present and future value of faith in our culture? Whilst we might all agree to the personal implications of faith, how different would life be if we could also see our belief as being intrinsically public?

Today is a time for reflection. Easter Saturday finds us caught between yesterday’s storms and tomorrow’s celebrations, ‘alone’ and with time to reflect. It is a time for silence and stillness, a time to consider the enormity of Christ’s sacrifice and the implications of His resurrection.

Since February 22nd, thousands of us have been sharing our journey of faith. Throughout Lent this 40acts adventure has nudged our focus towards ‘giving out’ in addition to or in place of ‘giving up’. We have reflected on scripture and allowed it to drive us towards both the public as well as the personal expressions of faith. We have travelled along a path marked ‘generosity’, not trying to compete or outpace, but to benefit others and discover more of God’s own love and call to us. 

So what next? Well, we know what tomorrow looks like – the happiest of happy days, the time when we declare that the tomb is empty and that our Saviour King has defeated death. Without doubt, tomorrow we will see the public and the personal collide as we celebrate God’s overwhelming gift of salvation. But what about the day after that, and the rest that follow? Is this shared journey of generosity over for now? Are we to hang up our boots for another year?

At Stewardship we believe in transforming generosity (and, yes, that dual meaning is deliberate!). We believe that generosity goes to the heart of both our personal and public expressions of faith, and that each of us have a part to play. 

And so, in this moment of stillness, I want to present you with an invitation. Will you continue with us on this journey of generosity? Will you live faith out loud for the benefit not just of self, but others too?

It takes courage to share the good news about Jesus sometimes. It takes just as much courage and strength to live it out. If anyone around you has noticed your journey of generosity this Lent, let 40acts be the starting point of a conversation about the most generous act of all; Jesus death and resurrection.

Deep…

What I actually did do:

40 acts really made a difference in my Lenten journey this year. Mostly pushing me out of my comfort zone & yet helping me to be a better person overall. I shall endevour to continue living with such generosity the rest of the year.

Verdict: Done

And there you have it!

The “40acts challenge” is accomplished!

40 days, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts…

I had a Blessed Lent & hopefully, so did you!

BLESSED EASTER EVERYONE! Christ is Risen!

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Done with Acts 26 to 30 so now the “40acts challenge” countdown begins!

(In red was what the challenge said to do and in blue was what crossed my mind when I read it…followed by what I actually did do)

TEN!

act #31: listen well

‘Well I think that…’  ‘In my opinion…’  ‘My feeling is that…’

It’s nice to feel heard. The first rule of most relationships is good communication – but that requires speaking and listening. Make a point of zipping up and opening your ears instead of your mouth. And be on the lookout for those around you who might need someone to talk to today. Resist the urge to give advice unless it’s welcome, and just provide a sympathetic ear to someone in need.

Isaiah 50:4 “I listen like one being taught.” Sadly we live in a world where we have forgotten to listen well to others. I reckon that at least once in every person’s life they need to tell their story and know that they have been heard. By allowing someone to tell their story you are giving them a gift – one which is beyond price. Make a point of providing someone with your undivided attention. Turn off your phone, remove any other distractions and really try to focus on the person you are speaking to. Acquire the skill of listening well and then give it away as a gift so that others can get an opportunity to tell their stories.

I am not that much of a talker, so by default I should be a good listener…

What I actually did do:

I put it a more conscious effort to be more attentive when people are talking to me. I do my best and give them undivided attention & if I did find my thoughts wandering, I was quick to bring them back to the person in front of me.

Verdict: Done

NINE!
act #32: make a cake
Flour, eggs, butter, sugar and a whole lot of love. That’s the recipe sure to put a smile on someone’s face. Of course, it isn’t the only recipe. Make whatever your speciality is, and then give it away. The example was set by Jesus. He went much further than the extra mile. He went to the sinner, the stranger, and the outcast. He showed us the greatest act of hospitality, kindness and generosity, when He invited all us sinners, strangers and outcasts to receive His free gift of salvation. A time is coming when Jesus will take us to His Father’s house, where it will not be possible for us to outstay our welcome. And now you have a recipe too, so follow it, bake it and show hospitality today!

Bake? *Gulps!*

What I actually did do:

Thank goodness for the clause that doesn’t just limit it to baking! Unfortunately, too busy now with the prep for the Run & Easter coming up so I guess I can only do this after Easter…but I’m consider this as..

Verdict: Done

EIGHT!

act #33: steward your money
Stewardship of your money is a vital foundation for generosity. Are you in debt? Sit down today and make a plan of action. Never really thought about proper money-management before? Try a budgeting tool that encompasses charitable giving too. One of the best ways to be available to help others is to sort your finances out first. Many of us worry about money. We get caught up with the here-and-now, seduced by slick advertising and drawn into thinking that we ‘need’ a certain standard of living. And if recent economic events have shown us anything, surely it is how dangerous all this can become. When it comes to us and money, surely, as Christians, we are required to look towards the glories of eternal life rather than getting weighed down with the present? And if we really believe that God will meet all our needs, won’t that have a profound impact on the way we relate to money? The Bible reminds us of the importance of being good stewards of that which we have been given – including money. Good stewardship doesn’t just mean avoiding the sort of dangers listed above. It can mean taking a far bigger view of things: mirroring the very generosity that we have received from God, blessing others with our money and resources.
Put aside a whole hour to properly review your finances – or help a friend or family member examine theirs. Use the Budget Builder tool http://budgetbuilder.stewardship.org.uk to help you. You also could put aside time to review the charitable organisations which you support: should you give more, offer them other help or support other charities as well?

Not that much to begin with…

What I actually did do:

I do do my own budget now and then.

Verdict: Done

SEVEN!

act #34: power down
How much was your last electricity bill?  The truth is, burning fuels costs us both individually and globally. Flick the switch to show you care with Earth Hour – a global event organised by WWF (World Wildlife Fund). From 8.30pm on Saturday 31 March, Earth Hour is asking people to turn off their lights for one hour to raise awareness about climate change. Grab some candles and power down. Looking at the stars really puts us in our place (even in a large city!). Living without light, even for one hour, can help us remember our dependence on technology, and our waste of earth’s resources (think of all those empty lit-up office blocks). That’s why Earth Hour, organised by WWF, is such a great idea. Join the global ‘switch off’- to find out more go to earthhour.org.

Owh, it’s that time again?

What I actually did do:

Thanks to 40acts for reminding me of this hehe. Powered down alright!

Verdict: Done

SIX!

act #35: invest in someone
There are a lot of people in your community who have big (or small) dreams, and no way to make it happen. Investing in someone doesn’t just mean giving them money. Can you help them make a website? Show them how to use social media? Sit down with them and map out their ideas? Find someone to invest in today and make it a long-term thing. Give them support and let them know they can count on you. Over the past year, the press has bombarded us with more negative stories about young people – whether they are stories about gang crime, alcohol abuse or sexual promiscuity: young people rarely seem to get much positive press. Each young person has the opportunity to pitch an idea or project that will benefit others. It’s all because we said ‘we believe in you!’ Think about how you could invest generously into the young people that you know with ideas, belief and maybe even a small grant. May they then go on to demonstrate that same generosity. This year, let’s believe for some more good news stories about young people. Ask a young person how they would change the world and generously invest in their vision.
Mentor someone…in what?
What I actually did do:

I guess in some small way, I do invest in the youth in general since I’m involved in youth ministry.

Verdict: Done

Only 5 left!

Acts 36 to 40 of the “40acts challenge” will be published come Easter! ;)

40 days, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts…

HAVE A BLESSED LENT!

Now the final 15 of the “40acts challenge” to do Lent generously, divided over this and the next 2 posts!

(In red was what the challenge said to do and in blue was what crossed my mind when I read it…followed by what I actually did do)

act #26: hug someone

A study conducted by the University of North Carolina showed that hugs can increase levels of oxytocin, a ‘bonding’ hormone, and reduce blood pressure – which cuts the risk of heart disease. Get out of your comfort zone and give someone a free hug today! Offer a hug to someone today who may need one, a family member or someone you ‘randomly’ meet today. (Make sure they would like one before you give them a bear hug!) Or, be proactive and make a ‘free hug’ sign and head for your local town or city for 20 minutes and wait and see what happens. If you do, it’s always good to go with a friend to help and look out for you. Have fun!

I so want to do this!

What I actually did do:

“FREE HUG” – holding up one of these signs have always been something I wanted to do actually, but proactive is not something that describes me (most of the time) and so, I didn’t. Also, I don’t think it’s something that our culture here can appreciate, us being the reserved Asians we are. So, I did the next best thing. I sent a mass email giving virtual hugs to all those on my email list saying that they can redeem the hug the next time they see me in person. A few replied with virtual hugs & at least 1 person redeemed his hug when he saw me. Not too bad given our Asian reserved-ness.

Verdict: Done

act #27: fundraise

Run, walk, skydive, climb, bake, make, be silent, sing, drink tea, eat cucumbers, wear something silly, dance, tebow, write or paint your face. Whatever you’re into, do it for charity. Whatever you are passionate about,  I can’t encourage you enough to step out and use what’s in your hand to make a difference. You could use what skills and talents you have, try and think differently and act creatively.  You never know, you might end up doing something life changing for yourself and certainly for others! Choose a cause that you’re passionate about and use whatever you have to fundraise. You can fundraise in so many different ways.

Gee…did I not say I am running for charity?

What I actually did do:

Apart from the Run, I also joined the 30 Hour Famine, where we fasted for 30 hours and raised funds to help the poor children and their families. Not exactly doing “what I am passionate about” since I am not passionate about not eating, but I am making a difference – I’d like to think so!

Verdict: Done

act #28: invite someone

Remember when you were a kid, and an invitation to a birthday party dropped through the letterbox? You’d stick it up on the fridge and stare at it wistfully until the day of the party actually came? Well, invites are still exciting. Invite someone for dinner, invite someone to your church, invite someone to your football club or Zumba class. People today are desperate for community, for friendship, security and acceptance. What could be better than a community of people who know how much they need God’s grace in Christ and therefore are willing to offer grace to anyone else (regardless of their spiritual ‘performance’)? That in itself speaks volumes.

Invite someone to church? Hmmm…

What I actually did do:

I have on more than one occasion invited people to church with me and though not all were successful, there are a few who have stayed on after the invite. And when at times I feel like giving up, I recall that one woman who became a Christian after seeing how I carried on in the faith. I believe though that as long as we are consistent and “walk the talk”, in God’s time, he will draw others to Him. We just have to be reliable witnesses.

Verdict: Done

act #29: talk to strangers

As a child I remember being taught about ‘stranger danger’… ‘Never speak to strangers’. Unfortunately in adulthood we are never told to ‘Always speak to strangers’! This may go some way to explaining why we are a breed who rarely talk to strangers. Whether crammed like sardines on a busy commuter train, waiting in a queue at the bank or working out at the gym, we would rather keep ourselves to ourselves. So why not flick the switch today? Always speak to strangers! Why not make friendliness a lifestyle? Make the decision that whether passing a stranger on the street, showing your ticket on a bus or paying for your groceries at the supermarket you are going to be friendly to strangers.

None of us have the bandwidth to be friends with everybody, but we can be friendly with everybody. The truth is that unless we can be friendly with everyone our friendliness is insincere and inauthentic. So let’s be friendly and neighbourly even with strangers, and you never know where these conversations may lead. How many strangers can you be neighbourly with today?  Make it a challenge to have at least one conversation with a new person sometime today.

They’re called “strangers” for a reason…

What I actually did do:

On the contrary, I recall a statement that says: “There are no strangers, just friends you have not met.” My mom is someone who always impresses me. She can basically converse with strangers and she is sincere and honest about it (much too honest at times, to my dislike) and I just wonder how she does it. But I try where I can talk to strangers. I told the lady who sat in front of me in church that her phone (that was silent and on the seat beside her) was ringing. Prior to that, I never said a word to her.

Verdict: Done

act #30: volunteer

At school we were divided into those that put their hands up for everything, and those that suddenly became engrossed in their pencil cases whenever teacher asked for a volunteer. Put your hand up today, in a metaphorical sense. Say ‘yes’ to helping out, and keep your eyes open for golden opportunities to share your time. Your local church or charity shop is a good place to start. Whether it’s going out for a coffee, helping to mow the grass or give a lift to hospital, hope can be restored through countless acts of generosity. By volunteering our time we send a clear message to the person struggling with feelings of isolation and shame: you are not alone and I’m not giving up on you. So here is the challenge for today: give some time to someone who needs it. No excuses, no putting-it-off-until-tomorrow – just find someone today who needs what you have. There are many local and national organisations crying out for volunteers.  Or it might be a neighbour, a friend, colleague or total stranger. Maybe you’ll buy them a drink, give them a lift or just stop and listen. Whatever you can, do it.

Volunteer? As in voluntarily? =O

What I actually did do:

I has never been in my nature to volunteer for anything. Sure, if I am assigned to do something I will give it my best, but I never volunteer. Closest thing to volunteering for me is to be asked if I wanted to do something and I just said “yes”. But this is actually something I’m slowly learning over the years. Ocassionally, I do volunteer (though it is still difficult).

Verdict: Done

3o done, 10 more to go!

Acts 31 to 35 will be published tsoon. Stay tuned! ;)

40 days, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts…

HAVE A BLESSED LENT!

After Acts 16 to 20, now the second half of the “40acts challenge” to do Lent generously.

(In red was what the challenge said to do and in blue was what crossed my mind when I read it…followed by what I actually did do)

act #21: simplify

‘I’ve got the latest iPhone 4S, a Blackberry for work, an iPad 2 for playing games, an Amazon Kindle for reading books, an old Android phone stuck in a drawer, a sewing machine in the loft, a smoothie-maker at the back of the kitchen cupboard…’ We’re living in a consumerist age, there’s no doubt about it. But how much of the stuff you own is really necessary? Do your possessions actually own you? Take a ruthless look at the things you’ve accumulated. Give the stuff you don’t use to someone who will really appreciate it or donate it to a charity. It’s generous and it’ll mean you have less stuff to dust. Ask yourself, what could I get rid of that would clear space to live for God more wholeheartedly?

Hurm, I don’t own that much stuff – nothing significantly expensive for sure…

What I actually did do:

This will need some thinking. As far as gadgets are concerned, I only have 2 phones for 2 lines (neither is the most expensive/latest gadget either), a decent netbook, an external harddisk and a point-and-shoot camera. Nothing more than the basics. I suppose I have more clothes than what I need though. Will look into donating those on the next donation drive at church.

Verdict: Done

act #22: make someone smile

The human brain is automatically wired to be more attracted to smiling faces, and there’s a reason for it – smiles are brilliant. They also boost your immune system. Whether you make someone smile simply by being considerate – holding a door open, or offering them the last Rolo – or whether you deliberately go out of your way, today is your day to put a smile on someone’s face.

No problemo.

What I actually did do:

I can’t pinpoint to any major act but although I don’t make people ROFL, I do make people smile everyday.

Verdict: Done

act #23: pay a visit

Know someone in hospital or in a nursing home? Perhaps you haven’t visited your grandparents lately, or haven’t checked in with that neighbour down the road in a while. Put some time in your diary and make it a priority today. Being visited is a lovely way to feel cared for.

There are so many ways to contact someone these days – texting, email, Facebook, Twitter – sometimes actually seeing someone in person (or even phoning them) falls to the bottom of the list. We tend to opt for the method that is quickest and most convenient for us, but is that always the method that makes the other person feel the most loved? Who in your life would appreciate a visit from you today? An old friend you haven’t seen in a while? Someone from church who is having a tough time? An elderly neighbour who doesn’t get out much?

No one I know of that’s in the hospital or nursing home at the mo…

What I actually did do:

Come to think of it, this is quite a challenge. Visiting others now seem to only happen during the festivities. Hurm, will look into this & if I don’t manage to do it before Lent is over, I’ll do it sometime during the Easter season – definitely!

Verdict: Done

act #24: pick up litter

As soon as the first human tossed their apple core aside, so the problem of litter began. Next time you see a crisp packet floating across your path, consider picking it up and telling it where to go. Make today a ‘war on litter day’, carry a spare bag around with you. Why not organise a litter picking group at work or school and go out once a week and pick up litter around your work or school area?

The last time I had “litter duty” was when I was back in school…

What I actually did do:

We had a cleaning campaign in church today. Our young adults & youths were assigned to cleaning all the plastic chairs in church. But apart from the cleaning campaign, I have ocassionally picked up litter, though not all the time…More conscious effort from now onwards!

Verdict: Done

act #25: arrive on time

Lateness, without genuine reason, says ‘I’m more important than you’. If you’ve ever had to sit around waiting for someone who said they’d arrive half an hour ago, you’ll know how annoying it is. Set your alarm 15 minutes early, get organised the night before, and get there. On time. Preferably with a smile on your face. If you’re always the last one to get to a meeting, try making an effort to be the first one there – which might even mean arriving early. Avoid the ‘running a few minutes late’ text by arriving 10 minutes before you’re supposed to meet a friend.

I’m not always the last one…

What I actually did do:

I tried my best to be the first to come to meetings…there are still others more punctual than me, but at least I’m one of the early birds.

Verdict: Done

25 acts – that’s 15 more to go!

And acts 26 to 30 will be published tomorrow. Stay tuned! 😉

40 days, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts…

HAVE A BLESSED LENT!

Continuing from here, the “40acts challenge” to do Lent generously.

(In red was what the challenge said to do and in blue was what crossed my mind when I read it…followed by what I actually did do)

act #16: organise a swap

Kung Fu Panda, The King’s Speech, True Grit and Happy Feet. All (in one’s opinion) excellent films that we have enjoyed recently. Like all good things, films are better when shared. Gather together all of the pre-loved DVDs, books and CDs that are gathering dust on your shelves, crack open some Pringles and lemonade, and host a swap. Charge a £2 entrance fee, and donate the proceeds to your favourite charity. Double win! Today’s challenge is to think creatively about ways in which you can show your generosity through fundraising. Whatever you do, keep it simple and give the money to a charity you want to support.

Fundraising – exactly what I’m doing!

What I actually did do:

SCB Half Marathon next Sunday! I’ve signed up for the Run and during the month I’ve been collecting donations for the Pengiran Muda Mahkota Al-Muhtadee Billah Fund for Orphans (DANA) and Standard Chartered Bank’s Seeing Is Believing programme. Oh and, I’m also putting the same amount raised for this fundraiser into my giving jar (read act #1), which will go to the church on Palm Sunday tomorrow!

Verdict: Done, and done (act# 1)

act #17: make an emergency kit

What’s in your emergency kit to give away? Keep an emergency breakdown kit in your car (torches, high-vis vests, blankets, signs will do), an emergency make-up kit in your desk (for the moments when your female colleague has a meltdown in the office loo), or even a small first aid kit in your bag. Take a white umbrella to a wedding if it looks like it might rain – the bride’s mum will thank you later. Be prepared; it’s not the Scouts’ motto for no reason. Being a Good Samaritan is about making the effort to have the resources available when a need arises. Loving our Neighbour has practical implications as well as spiritual. How can you equip yourself to be a good Samaritan today? What items could you carry around to make a difference for someone in need? Share your ideas on the 40acts Facebook page: www.facebook.com/40acts.

Well, since I’m giving up Facebook for Lent, I’ll just share mine here.

What I actually did do:

I’ve been carrying mini tissue packets, a pack of wet wipes, a pen & a small bottle of ointment (for any pain and itches etc) and let me tell you, ALL have been pretty handy!

Verdict: Done

act #18: share a good joke

What did the ironing board say to the iron? “You’re hot”.

Why is laughter so important? I am told that laughter helps our social lives, reduces stress and releases health-giving endorphins which also relieve pain. Apparently laughing 100 times equals 10 minutes on a rowing machine or 15 minutes on an exercise bike! And it lifts depression. In fact children laugh up to 300 times a day, adults just 20 times. Maybe one change this Lent is that we learn to laugh more, to cultivate this rich gift God has made part of being human. We are not just telling a joke, we are celebrating the life God has given us. Why not learn a joke or a funny story that you can share? Post your favourite groan-inducers on our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/40acts

Again, I’ll just share mine here.

What I actually did do:

Let me share with you a story. One day, me & some friends were gathered in the Bishop’s kitchen and our Parish Priest walked in. He was showing us his new toy – the new Motorola phone. Then he started to give us a homily on how Motorola is more than a mobile phone, that it is THE mobile phone when others use computers (iP….) and televisions (Sam….) as phones. At that time, another friend was talking on the kitchen’s cordless phone a little way behind him. He rolled his eyes, and with a playful grin on his face, took the “body” of the phone on the kitchen counter, waved it in front of her and said, “Hey, you forgot your casing.”

Verdict: Done

act #19: love your bags

Next time you visit the supermarket, do your bit for the environment and say “no” to plastic bags. Reuse and recycle the ones that you do have so that they don’t end up in landfill. Try and avoid the disposable carrier bag trap. Get some re-useable shopping bags. Keep one or more of them in your car; keep another one in your handbag (men – you’re excused that bit!) and give them to your friends. Then use them. They are an easy way to reduce waste, conserve resources and make a statement for God’s very good creation. Make a pledge not to pick up anymore plastic bags for the rest of Lent. Take some with you, reuse ones in your house, have a pile handy at home and a stack in your car. Say ‘no’ to plastic bags.

We have no plastic-bag weekends here so I’ll just extend them to weekdays too. 

What I actually did do:

I don’t carry re-usable shopping bags with me but when I do go shopping, I just literally carry the items with my hands instead of using the plastic bags so…

Verdict: Done

act #20: be polite on the road

It’s so easy to be selfish when we’re driving, wanting to get to our destination as quickly as possible, and getting annoyed with others who drive in a different way or at a different pace, or who in some sense get in our way. But, of course, when we choose to act like Jesus – to show kindness instead of selfishness, gentleness instead of annoyance, patience instead of impatience, it can change our experience of a situation – even driving! Even if the responses of other drivers to our actions remain hidden (you may get a wave or a flash of the indicators), it’s not hidden to God – and, let’s face it, it does tend to make our journeys feel a whole lot better!

These are pretty cool!

I forsee this to be quite a challenge…but do-able.

What I actually did do:

I had to really keep my cool with other road drivers – a very good practice if one wants to learn about patience & unselfishness. I plan to continue with this particular challenge even after Lent. Godspeed!

Verdict: Done

So there you have it, 20 acts – we’re halfway there!

And acts 21 to 25 will be published tomorrow. Stay tuned! ;)

40 days, 40 reflections, 40 simple acts…

HAVE A BLESSED LENT!