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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