Tuesday, 31 July 2007

Lessons From The Eagle

Ethan, my 5 year old, is doing an oral presentation on the African Fish Eagle tomorrow, so I thought I'd share some amazing lessons that we can learn from these amazing creatures.

Eagles live up to 70 years. At around the 40 year stage the eagle must face a great challenge if it is going to continue to be effective. The challenge is uncomfortable, but if the eagle wants to continue to live, it is also a vital step.

At the 40 mark eagles start to feel the burden of aging. No longer are they in their prime.
Their talons are becoming too long, yielding them unable to pick up their prey.
Their beaks become too bent.
Their wings get too heavy and their feathers become stuck on their chest, making flying difficult.

So the eagle must either change... or die!
The eagle flies up the mountain to its nest. It then proceeds to knock its beak against rocks until it can pluck it out.
The eagle waits for a new beak to grow back.
Once that happens, the eagle then pluck out its talons.
Once these have grown back the eagle then starts to pluck out its old age feathers.

This whole process takes 5 months!
But once it is done, the eagle sets out on its rebirth and lives for another 30 years.

How open am I to change?
Do i only embrace change when it is my idea?

Kaizan is the Japanese word for continual improvement. May we be like the eagle that no matter what the cost, we pursue growth... continual improvement.

Which of your idea's or ways of doing / seeing things needs a plucking?

I look for ward to your ccomments!

Monday, 30 July 2007

The Real Reason!

I was listening to a message from Willow Creek on knowing God's will... and I had a thought (imagine that)... it wasn't covered in the message at all, but the message sparked my thinking.

One of the most popular questions that we have are questions like, 'What is it that God wants me to do?', 'What is God's will for me?', 'What do You want me to do Lord?'
We want God to direct us into our jobs, what opportunities to take etc. Essentially, what we are trying to get from God is a road map for our lives. We want to know what the plan is. We want control!

But God never reveals all of that. Instead He just calls us to trust Him, as He leads us one step at a time. He calls us to live by faith and not sight (of our life plans). He promises to guide our steps but not to reveal our life's every step!

So let me encourage you to give up the chase of trying to have it all figured out...
Just lean trustingly into God and He will guide through it all step by step.

I look forward to your comments : )

Sunday, 29 July 2007

Here Is A Challenge For You!

Are you ready for a great challenge? Well then, here is a question for you...

"How committed are you to Christ's lordship in your life?"
Its easy to say we are... but isn't that commitment tested by the cost we are willing to pay to stick to that commitment?
Eg. Its easy for me to say that I'm committed to the leadership at my church... but the true test of commitment comes when i don't agree with them... and yet still submit to their decisions with a great attitude.

So there's that question again... "How committed are you to Christ's lordship in your life?"
Has your commitment been tested?

I look forward to your comments, especially your comments on what have been the biggest costs that you've had to pay.
I'll leave you with a great quote from a good friend of mine"

“Lordship fights its toughest battles in the pockets of believers”

Dr. C. D. Preston

Friday, 27 July 2007

Have You Ever Noticed?

I was just thinking about it today, but have you ever noticed how offended people become when the church talks about money?
Why is it that we can talk about the most private and intimate of matters with people, including the marriages, their families and even their sex lives... but woe if the church talks about money!

Its certainly okay for the restaurants and retail stores to talk about wanting our money... but if the church talks about it... well we slag them and point the finger... we become cynical wondering how the leaders will be spending the money...
Common! Get a life! We pastors are on a fixed income! We may be wanting you to hand over money, but it certainly ain't for our benefit. We want to invest it into people... into the Kingdom.

The question has been asked, "How much ministry can you do with $10... and how much can you do with a $1 000?"
The answer is simple... "$10 ministry with $10 & $1 000 ministry with $1 000!"

I recon the offense is caused by our realization that we might have to give up our 'precious' (as Golem from Lord of the Rings would say).
The Scripture states it clearly:
Mat 6:21 CEV
(21) Your heart will always be where your treasure is.

Let me challenge you: Where is your heart? Follow where you spend your money and time... thats where you will find your heart!
Is your heart where it should be?
What will you do about it?

I look forward to your comments : )

Wednesday, 25 July 2007

Is Your Hut Burning?

I do apologize for the absence... but I was away for the weekend and returned to PC woes... anyways, its all sorted now : )

Here is a great story that I'm sure will speak for itself. Its applications are numerous.

Is Your Hut Burning?

The only survivor of a shipwreck was washed up on a small uninhabited island. He prayed feverishly for God to rescue him, and everyday he scanned the horizon for help, but none seemed forthcoming. Exhausted, he eventually managed to build a little hut out of driftwood to protect him from the elements, and to store a few possessions.

But then one day, after scavenging for food, he arrived home to find his little hut in flames, the smoke rolling up to the sky. The worst had happened; everything was lost. He was stunned with grief and anger. “God, how could You do this to me!” he cried.

Early the next day, however, he was awakened by the sound of a ship that was approaching the island. It had come to rescue him.

“How did you know I was here?” asked the weary man of the rescuers.

“We saw your smoke signal,” they replied

What did you get out of the story?
I look forward to your comments : )

Wednesday, 18 July 2007

My Next Perps

I would like to speak on the following subjects:

ELEVATE: Mixed Tape Series (Lessons from Current Contemporary Songs)

27th July - The Fray 'How to save a life'

10th August - Good Charlotte - 'The River'


Emotions - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: 29th July
Emotions cop a lot of bad press. I want to look briefly at negative emotions and how we can make poor decisions when in a poor emotive state.
I also would like to talk on the positive faith building emotions and how we can harness them in our every day lives.

Connecting With People:
This 2 part series will look at the vital role of people skills.
I will give a new definition to Charisma and teach some basic but powerful connection skills.
We will also look at how we as a 7pm community need to behave to gusts at the church.

You're A Pain In My:
This 2 part series will look at how to get along with others.
We will deal on how to confront your flaties / wife / etc. in a Biblical manner.
We will look at offense and the danger it brings to your well being and spiritual walk.

SHAPE: 12th August
For Elevate:
The next level require us to step up in the area of excellence. We need to shift from throw togethers to doing things well. Its about going from good efforts to great efforts!
For CE:
We will discuss the plans to re-brand CE

Motivation From The 80's - Part 2

Tuesday, 17 July 2007

Lets Do The Time Warp Again - Part 3

Before we get into it, have you read Part 1 & Part 2? If not click on them and catch-up. : )

How do we become effective managers of our time?
How do we become people who have a great capacity to get things done?
(Please note: I am not suggesting that we try and cram a million things into our day! The idea is to get the important things done.)

Here are some tips from a very useful site called GetMoreDone.com:

How To

Plan Your Day
  • Visualize your long term picture of success and put it in writing. Review your goal frequently. Your goal should be specific, measurable, achievable and compatible with where you are now. There should be an end date as well. Steven Covey calls this "Begin with the end in mind."
  • Try to do your planning at the same time every day. Use this time to review past accomplishments as well as future things to do.
  • Use only one planner to keep track of your appointments. Keeping a separate business and personal planner creates confusion.
  • Write out a To Do list every day. Include items that can be completed, such as "Prepare exhibits for monthly report", rather than just "Work on report."
  • Separate your To Do list into A, B and C priorities. "A" items are important to your long term success, "B" may be urgent but not as important and "C" are those that would be nice to do if you get the time.
  • Start with the A items. Don't work on a C just because it's easy to do. Also, break your A items into small manageable chunks, so they're easy to accomplish.
  • Check off items as you complete them to give yourself a sense of accomplishment.
  • Block off time in your planner for major activities. This might include a block of time for working alone on major tasks. If someone wants to meet you during that time, say "I'm sorry, I already have an appointment."
  • Don't jam your day full of activities. Leave time for emergencies, special opportunities and thinking time.
  • Be your own manager. Ask yourself if you have met your goals, and what changes you plan to make to achieve them.
  • Do it now. People will often say "Call me next week, and we'll book an appointment then." Respond by saying, "Let's save ourselves a call and do it now."
  • Always plan time for balance; include family, fitness, recreation, social and spiritual activities.
  • Conduct a time study to see how you're doing and where the opportunities for improvement lie. Many people are only able to spend one quarter of their time on top priority activities. Moving this up to one third of the week means almost 4 more hours per week on key activities.
So what are your top 3 tips? I have highlighted my top 3 above.
I look forward to your comments : )

Sunday, 15 July 2007

Lets Do The Time Warp Again - Part 2

If you haven't had a chance to read part 1 of this series then please click on this link and read part 1 before proceeding further.

So what were your guesses?

The word I'm talking about is being intentional.
People who pre-plan their time (not in a stuffy and stifling way... and not in a way that accounts for every minute) in a strategic manner and who are intentional about what they want to accomplish can achieve an incredible amount!

The reverse is true too. If you have no plan, nothing that you are trying to achieve and strive for... then the chances are that your days are sailing past you.

So how do we become intentional?
What have you tried and practiced to manage your time resource?

I Look forward to your comments : )

Saturday, 14 July 2007

Lets Do The Time Warp Again - Part 1


Its our most precious commodity. Once you have traded your time for something it can't be traded back.
We have all been entrusted as stewards of a very short 70 odd years. The Psalmist puts it so fittingly:
PS 39:4 "Show me, O LORD, my life's end and the number of my days; let me know how fleeting is my life. PS 39:5 You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Each man's life is but a breath. Selah PS 39:6 Man is a mere phantom as he goes to and fro: He bustles about, but only in vain; he heaps up wealth, not knowing who will get it. PS 39:7 "But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in you.

Time is short and we need to make the most of it!
So how come some of us seem to get so much into a 24 hour period whilst others with the same 24 hour period can seem to do so seemingly little?
How come some men can run companies and be on various boards... and yet others just struggle to cross off 3 items on their to-do list?

I believe that the answer is found in one word... being "_______"!
This is the difference maker. It separates great lives from mediocre ones. It causes one to be productive. Can you guess what that word is?
Well then... lets hear your thoughts : )

Friday, 13 July 2007

Motivation From The 80's

Do you remember the late 80's and early 90's. It seems like everyone used to hang up motivational posters. Well now days we even have a website dedicate to despair motivation... all in the name of a laugh : ) Here is an installment that is bound to get a laugh out of you:

Thursday, 12 July 2007

My Next Perps

I would like to speak on the following subjects:


Emotions - The Good, The Bad & The Ugly: 29th July
Emotions cop a lot of bad press. I want to look briefly at negative emotions and how we can make poor decisions when in a poor emotive state.
I also would like to talk on the positive faith building emotions and how we can harness them in our every day lives.

Connecting With People:
This 2 part series will look at the vital role of people skills.
I will give a new definition to Charisma and teach some basic but powerful connection skills.
We will also look at how we as a 7pm community need to behave to gusts at the church.

You're A Pain In My:
This 2 part series will look at how to get along with others.
We will deal on how to confront your flaties / wife / etc. in a Biblical manner.
We will look at offense and the danger it brings to your well being and spiritual walk.

SHAPE: 12th August
For Elevate:
The next level require us to step up in the area of excellence. We need to shift from throw togethers to doing things well. Its about going from good efforts to great efforts!
For CE:
We will discuss the plans to re-brand CE

Wednesday, 11 July 2007

An Angry God?

Being the holidays we are taking my 5 year old son to a Holiday Club on the days that my lovely wife Tarryn is working.
He has had an absolute ball. He's been to the movies and is loving the interaction with all the other kids.

The highlight of this holiday club has been a bus trip up to Auckland to go to the sea world in Missions Bay. He has been building in excitement with the passing of each day, absolutely ebulent for the upcoming trip.
So I tool him today... and to our horror... I had gotten the day of the trip mixed up. They had all left on a bus for Auckland 50 minutes ago.
I had one emotion... anger!

I was so angry that Ethan would be missing out on his big day trip.
I was so angry for the coming disappointment... for the crushed dream.

Then I remembered this Scripture:
Exo 4:13-14 MSG (13) He said, "Oh, Master, please! Send somebody else!" (14) GOD got angry with Moses: "Don't you have a brother, Aaron the Levite? He's good with words, I know he is. He speaks very well. In fact, at this very moment he's on his way to meet you. When he sees you he's going to be glad.

God appears to Moses and gives him his mission: to free the Israelites from their Egyptian slavery and lead them into the promised land.
You would think that Moses would be excited... but then you realize how daunting a task it really is... you empathize with Moses. You think of all the excuses you have made ...
Moses 5 times tried to get out of his assignment. 5 Times Moses tried to side step his mission.

Then God got angry!
Why? I believe like my anger at Ethan missing out on this great trip... God's anger is over our missed opportunities to be and do for His kingdom. God is angry that we will be the ones missing out by not accepting our faith adventure. God is angry that we will be stuck in the same place.

How am I angering God?
What actions do I need to take?
What attitudes must change?

PS) I drove Ethan up to Auckland to join the crew. Nothing was going to stand in my way of seeing Ethan have his big day!

I look forward to your comments : )

Tuesday, 10 July 2007

I Can Prophesy Your Future!

It has been said that the 2 greatest determinants of your future are:
1) The people you hang around with &
2) The books you are reading

Are you spending time with people who are further than you (in your faith, leadership, finances, relationships, job position, etc.)?
[Please don't expect them to chase you... you must chase them!]

Do you read books intentionally? Are they purpose-chosen to help you grow?

If we had to fast-forward 10 years... who would you have become?
The truth is that each day we are choosing the answer to that question!
Have you been making wise choices?

I look forward to your comments : )

Saturday, 7 July 2007

Capacity - Part 2 - How Do We Know?

Yesterday I left some thought provoking questions! I do hope that you have had some time to wrestle with them.
I must be honest though... I'm not sure that I have the answer down pat.
I believe that we we certainly can expand our capacity (as Matthew 25: 14 - 30) but I also believe that we have a cap on the extent of our capacity.
Perhaps a better take on it is that we can discover that we have more gears than just 1st & 2nd gear!

But how do we get out of first and into second and out of second into third etc?

Heres some of my thoughts (I'd love to hear yours!):
  • Our awareness and desire to grow and increase, to Kaizan is stirred by being around those who have gone further than us. (weather being with them in person or through being with them via resources such as books, CD's, etc)
  • I need to place myself in great enviroments. Leave the scooter club and join the V8 club!
  • We need to stretch ourselves out of our current gear. This is never pretty or pleasant... but 100% necessary. Take on a challenge that is bigger than you've done before. Bite off more than you think is possible. Do more than you dreamed doable.
  • We need to move from one gear to the next and not try and jump from 1st to 6th!
  • The most important change is in the area of our thinking! As Henry Ford said, "If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right."

Whats on your list?

Friday, 6 July 2007

Capacity - Part 1 - Whats That About?

For all you car lovers out there...

You understand all about an engine's capacity. A 1300cc performs very differently to a 4l V8!
Capacity is kinda obvious when we are talking about cars... but I've included the dictionary definition (some of it) anyways:
This is dictionary.com's definition of capacity:
American Heritage Dictionary - (http://dictionary.reference.com/)
    1. Ability to perform or produce; capability.
    2. The maximum or optimum amount that can be produced: factories operating below capacity.
  1. Innate potential for growth, development, or accomplishment; faculty.

So understanding a cars capacity is fairly simple...
But what about when we are talking about human beings?

Are we like car engine's ... given / born with a certain capacity...
or is our capacity virtually limitless?

How do we know when we are reaching our capacity?
Are we able to move from being a 1300cc to being a 1600cc and then an 1800 and then a v6 and then a v8?

What are your thoughts?

Thursday, 5 July 2007

It Just Doesn't get Better Than Leading A Few!

I was encouraged today as I listened to an itunes mp3 of Pastor Brian Houston from Hillsong Church in Sydney Australia. So here are a few of his and my thoughts from that message:

Exo 18:17-23 MSG (17) Moses' father-in-law said, "This is no way to go about it. (18) You'll burn out, and the people right along with you. This is way too much for you--you can't do this alone. (19) Now listen to me. Let me tell you how to do this so that God will be in this with you. Be there for the people before God, but let the matters of concern be presented to God. (20) Your job is to teach them the rules and instructions, to show them how to live, what to do. (21) And then you need to keep a sharp eye out for competent men--men who fear God, men of integrity, men who are incorruptible--and appoint them as leaders over groups organized by the thousand, by the hundred, by fifty, and by ten. (22) They'll be responsible for the everyday work of judging among the people. They'll bring the hard cases to you, but in the routine cases they'll be the judges. They will share your load and that will make it easier for you. (23) If you handle the work this way, you'll have the strength to carry out whatever God commands you, and the people in their settings will flourish also."

1) God never intended for a 'super star' to do it all.

2) People have various levels of gifting and capacity. Some can lead 1000's, some 100's, some 50's and some 10's.

3) We may think that the one leading 10's is less important than the one leading 1000's but this is erroneous thinking. The leader who leads 10 well gets 10/10 . The one who leads a 100 well gets 100/100. The one who leads a 1000 shouldn't score himself 1000/10 but 1000/1000!

4) No matter what your capacity, it all boils down to how well you can lead a small group of people. Even if you are leading 1000's, you still need to meet with a small group of key leaders, and how you lead them will determine how well you can lead the 1000's!

5) God does not differentiate requirements for those leading 10's or those leading 1000's! No matter what your capacity, leaders must be men who:
a) Fear God
b) Men of integrity
c) Men who are incorruptible

6) When we all find our fit and are running in our gifting and capacity then not only will we flourish but also those whom we are leading.

Have you ever struggled with any of the above? What has been your experience in leading people? How do we know when we are running in our capacity (and are not under or over shooting)?

I'd love to hear your thoughts : )

Wednesday, 4 July 2007

What Is Your Life The Answer To?

Have you ever reached a place in your life when you have just seemed unsettled?
Its not that things are going to pieces... in fact, on the outside it would seem like things have never been better. Yet inside of you is an uneasiness, a distress.
We begin to ask questions about the meaning of it all.
We find ourselves dissatisfied.

Its at this point that many seem to wonder into all sorts of crazy paths.
We begin to blame those in our relationships, our jobs, our friends, our church... and we feel the need to move on in search of easing this restlessness.
We even are plagued by guilt for having these feelings.

We begin to search for answers...

But perhaps what we really need is not an answer but rather a new question! A new question that we can be the answer to!
Perhaps feeling stuck, frustrated, discontent, etc does not mean that you have lost the meaning in your life... but rather that you have outlived one question and need to find the next.

If you are experiencing the uncomfortable feelings described above, consider the possibility that your previous season is coming to an end and that the discomfort is God's way of propelling you to find the next question for your life to be an answer to.

What have been your experiences?
How have you felt during these times?
What question is your life currently an answer to?

I look forward to your thoughts!

Tuesday, 3 July 2007

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 2 - Blades Of Glory)

In the movie "Blades Of Glory" Jon Heder plays Jimmy MacElroy, the adopted son of Billionaire horse breeder (William Fichtner) who has decided to breed gold-medal winning athletes. He has a come first or nothing policy.

When Jimmy is banned from the figure skating for life his father no longer sees a use for him. He can no longer go for gold, and so un-adopts him and literally leaves him on the side of the road.

I got to thinking... we as Christians can be like this Billionaire so easily.
We make a connection with someone, find out that they don't know Jesus and so we then proceed to share our faith with them.
Now if this individual is unwilling, or is too slow in making progress... we un-befriend them. We just... move on... we forget them.
Its almost as if we are saying, "If I can't get you converted, then I'm moving on!"
How shallow is that!

I'm of the opinion that if God brings people into my life and we have a connection, regardless of weather they surrender their lives to Jesus, they are my friends!

Are we not in danger of being shallow and even using people to win converts?
Could we be as cold, unloving and false as this billionaire father was?
Would Jesus treat people like this?
What are your thoughts?

Sunday, 1 July 2007

God Speaks To Me In The Movies (Part 1 - Blades Of Glory)

I just looooovvvveeee going to the movies!
I saw this one on Friday night after our Elevate Youth Service... it was a boomer!
After having had a really good laugh, Caleb Firth challenged me on what could God possibly say to me in that movie...
My reply... "Heaps really..." and today is n installment of that : )

I won't give you the whole run down of the movie suffice to say that these 2 gold medalist ice skating champs were faced with a seemingly insurmountable challenge... they had their gold medals stripped and were banned for life from mens figure skating.

3 1/2 years on and these 2 men are living anemic lives... Chazz Michael Michaels (Will Ferrell) is working at a kids ice-capades show and getting drunker and drunker as the weeks roll on by.
Jimmy MacElroy (Jon Heder) is working in a skate supply shop and hating it.

To cut a long story short, they find a loop hole in the system, and these 2 arch enemies compete together in the pairs skating and get there gold... and pull off the Iron Lotus... a legendary move that no-one has ever seen performed successfully.

So what was the lesson?
Chazz and Jimmy saw only the challenge. They allowed the difficult circumstance to ruin their lives... to dictate their future.
Thankfully the continued in spite of the difficulties... to find that the challenge of being banned for life actually brought them together to accomplish what they could not do on their own.

Challenges can either be viewed as sent to defeat you...
or they can be viewed as sent to grow you, to aid you to greater victory...
it all just depends on how we choose to see it!

What challenges are staring you down? Where have you been pushed back?
It's time to change your view, to thank God for the challenge!
Its time to stop asking God to take away the big challenges and time to start asking God to make you bigger than the challenge!

I'd love to hear your thoughts : )