Making Toast for the Glory of God


Ten minute worship - my 1 month update

It’s my one month anniversary with my hot pink Gymboss timer. No, no, it’s ok don’t be embarrassed you didn’t need to send a card or anything. I’ve been doing that ten minute worship thing where you take a moment every time your timer buzzes to focus on Jesus.

Carol Arnott let me in on it (and thousands of other people) after she met Dr Arne Elsen, who has been worshiping Jesus every ten minutes for the past nine years. And he prays for his patients and invites them to worship every ten minutes too. He sees around 5 terminally ill people healed each week. Sounds pretty radical, eh? Well I wanted to see for myself what it’s like to pray every ten minutes so I’ve been wearing my ten minute timer for the past month (Not in bed. Nor in the bath. Not always every day neither.)

Things I did not expect to happen

Firstly, I was rather unprepared for how many people would notice my timer (note to self: and yet you chose a HOT PINK one.) And quite how much interest it would generate. Our monthly Book Club meeting nearly ground to a halt as I had to explain about 4 times over what I was wearing and why. Now there’s a strange conversation to have:

Friend (pointing at timer): What’s that?
Me: Oh. That’s my Jesus timer.
Friend: Of course. I understand completely. You are not at all weird.

No, that didn’t happen. It went more like this:

Friend (pointing at timer): What’s that?
Me: Oh. That’s my Jesus timer.
Friend: (incredulous) I’m sorry? What?!
Me: It’s my Jesus timer. It goes off every ten minutes and I talk to Jesus.
Friend: Why?
Me: Ah. Good question well….(and here I launched in to a speech about Dr Arne and the miracles)
Friend: Huh. But what do you want to get out of it?
Me: Ah. Very good question. (clears throat). Well, uh, I, er, hmmmm. I thought it would be good to touch base with God on a regular basis seeing as he’s with me all the time. Seems kind of rude to ignore him. I guess you could say it’s my attempt at doing ‘church all the time rather than just on a Sunday morning.’
Friend: (nods sagely) I see.

How has it been?

Well it’s been a mad, mad month of crazy work levels and I’m currently in triple birthday party preparation mayhem. I wouldn’t want you to think I’d been wafting around in deep meditative calm while praying every ten minutes. Life in the past month has been more like a never ending 100 metre hurdle dash – with a buzzer going off every ten minutes. I’ve been testing the timer in the thick of the action as it were. One of the downsides of this is that I’ve discovered I’m very good at tuning out the timer. But when I pay attention to its little nudge in my ribs I’ve found that it really helps to invite Jesus into the moment.

It looks something like this:
The timer buzzes: I invite Jesus into getting the girls ready for school.
The timer buzzes: I invite Jesus into the school run.
The timer buzzes: I invite Jesus into the work project I’m writing
The timer buzzes: I invite Jesus into my online grocery shopping…..bath time….cooking….watching TV….driving around….making toast.

Everyone loves an invitation

Quite often welcoming God into what I’m doing makes me laugh because it seems strange to have him taking part in heating up milk for Weetabix at 7am. But it’s also really nice because it feels good to welcome him into every part of my life. It makes me realise how often I don’t invite him into huge areas of my life. I feel a lot calmer when working or checking my bank balance when I know that I’ve invited God into the project or my finances. It’s comforting. And I get the feeling he really likes getting invited in. Everyone loves an invite, right?!

A Lawrencian Lifestyle?

I’ve long been inspired by the life and writings of Brother Lawrence. A monk who lived 300 years ago, and spent most of his time working in a loud, busy kitchen. He found a way to live in almost unbroken communion with God throughout his day no matter what he was doing. He called it ‘practising the presence of God.’ He would do every menial task for the love of God. He dedicated the washing up to the glory of God. He committed cleaning the floors as an act of worship. Maybe, just maybe by inviting God into the hair-brushing and the drive to work I’m edging towards a Lawrencian lifestyle too? If our whole lives are to be an act of worship is this making toast for the glory of God what worship looks like as part of everyday life? I rather suspect it might.

So what difference has it* made after a month?

* checking in with Jesus every ten minutes

I guess the most important effect has been the way this simple act of inviting Jesus into my life on a very regular basis has re-focused my heart on God. It’s broken open all the separate compartments of my life into one big tub of Remembering God Is In This.

Despite the fact it’s been a crazy stressful month in terms of everything I’ve had to get done, I feel a current of peace still flowing beneath the busyness. Doesn’t mean I don’t freak out and shout rude words quite a lot. I still do that.

Here’s something cool. When I forget to wear my timer for a day, I miss him. I get to the end of the day and I feel sad that I’ve missed out on Jesus. I really do. Because it’s lovely to check in and feel his presence throughout the day. And quite often my mind drifts towards him without the buzzer going off and I’ll check in with him OFF SCHEDULE. I know, shocking.

Two dimensional and three dimensional living

And when I don’t wear it, I start to live less fully. Sounds weird, but it’s like I’m only operating two dimensionally when I don’t include him in what’s going on. When I include him in my day it’s like an artist has painted in a beautiful background to my present experience. A background with a depth of perspective that changes how I see everything. When I don’t include him like life is all foreground. Two dimensional. Shallow.

In conclusion

I like this ten minute Jesus buzzer thing even if it does make me look a bit of a freak.
I wonder what will happen as I wear it over the next month.