Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Black Stump

I will be going to The Black Stump Festival this weekend, where there'll be great arts, music and teaching. I am so looking forward to that. In the festival, I'll serve in the artist support team - as the welcome, prayer and pastoral care person. Would appreciate your prayers for my ministry.


I was listening to a CD about the topic of "fear" last night. And it's very interesting, and really got me thinking.

Fear is common to all people. It is an emotion that has been built into every person as a protective mechanism. People have all sorts of internal fears, including a fear of change, a fear of making a decision, a fear of taking on the responsibilities that are perceived to go with a promotion or a move to the next level in life, a fear of discomfort, or a fear of putting something at risk, a fear of failure and a fear of embarrassment. Some people don't even know what they are fearful of. They are just 'fearful' people.

Fear causes a person to cancel an appointment, fear keeps a person from doing his best or giving his all in life. Successful people don't quit when things get tough. Successful people overcome their initial fears and do the things that unsuccessful people are unwilling to do! Fearful people don't take risks.

Have you ever felt those feelings of fear and hesitancy to start something new? A new ministry? A new business? A new relationship? Or a new career? And how do you overcome those fears?

Friday, September 22, 2006

The 4-3-2-1 Body Training System

I've been learning about health and fitness lately. The 4-3-2-1 Body Training System is of particular interest:

  • 4 minutes of cardio - high-energy aerobic training (think H.E.A.T.!)
  • 3 minutes of toning - Resistance for increased muscle strength
  • 2 minutes of core strengthening - Abdominals, hips and back
  • 1 minute of stretching and deep breathing

Total time: 10 minutes a day - 6 days a week

Total benefit: A quick, convenient, fun way to reshape your body, your health, and your life.

I also learned that the protein plus diet is a balanced, healthy eating plan, which is fantastic!

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Waking Life

I watched part of the DVD "Waking Life" last night. It is a very interesting film where the Director Richard Linklater shot his movie with actors, using cameras, and then with a team of artists animated the entire thing in all sorts of different styles.

One of the themes of "Waking Life" was a challenge for us to return to a life of 'the now (presence)'. There are many philosophical ideas within the context of the film, portrayed by a young man's dream world. The idea of a 'Holy Moment' was explored, whereby the film director, through the characters, shares that God is present in all things. Hmmmm.....this is a thought-provoking idea isn't it? What do you reckon? Is God present in all things? Or to put it in another way, do you see God in all things?

Friday, September 15, 2006

Living Room Multiplication

Darren (the original church planter of Living Room, and the cool guy that introduced me to the wonderful world of the blogosphere), has written a great post of the summary of history of Living Room's multiplication here. I am blessed to be part of this faith community!

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Drumbeats That Changed The World

Drumbeats That Changed The World Posted by Picasa

"The man who beats the drum does not know how far the sound will go." - Congolese Proverb

In 1995 two mission families, with a combined legacy of 200 years of missionary service, fused (married) to become the World Team we know today. A host of faithful servants of God have gone on before us, carrying the Gospel message to all who have ears to hear. We will never know how many listened, but we believe God blessed the effort.

Jesus invites us, "Go, work today in my vineyard." And so we continue the legacy, carrying the banner into the dark places of the earth, trusting Christ to call out His own from among the nations.

In the short years since merger, God has opened wide the doors for new ministries among the working class in Taiwan, Cambodia's Khmer people, 10/40-window Internationals in New York City, and Muslim peoples in Central Asia and Africa, people in the dark continent of Europe (both Western and Eastern Europes), as well as South America. And God is mobilizing a dynamic new missionary force from places like Indonesia, Suriname, the Philippines, and West Indies etc.

This book includes a partial history of World Team's deep missionary roots in Regions Beyond Missionary Union and Worldteam is below. You'll meet ordinary people familiar with failure, fear and triumph. Woven throughout is God's redemptive plan for drawing the nations to Himself. RBMU International traces its roots to Harley Bible College in London, founded in 1873 by the Irish revivalist H. Grattan Guinness.
Worldteam was formed in 1928 as a small Bible Institute in central Cuba by Elmer Thompson and B.G. Lavastida.

To enjoy even more of this amazing story, request a copy of World Team's 'history book', Drumbeats That Changed The World. Written by Joseph Conley, former RBMU missionary to Peru and US Director, Drumbeats is a fascinating missionary narrative.

To request a copy, just leave a comment here, and I will get that to you.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Understanding Poverty

Poverty is one of the great evils of our age and exists in many guises. We see it in the weakened frame of an emaciated African child, the lack of life-choices and medical services facing the farmer of a small plot of land in Asia, and the dishevelled homless person on the street of an Australian city.

Poverty can be defined as the absense of the well-being God intends for humankind. The Bible provides an image of the world as God intends it to be - communities of people engaged in a loving, worshipful relationship with God, enjoying the fruits of an abundant earth and the deep bonds of love with one another.
Poverty exists wherever this vision doesn't. This means that to some extent we are all poor. Nonetheless, poverty in its most terrible forms exists when this vision is chronically lacking in multiple dimensions at once.

Tragically, that is the reality for many of the people in the world today. Over one billion people struggle to survive on an income less than $US1 a day. Another billion live on less than $US2 a day. Deprived of the abundance of the earth, their health breaks down, social structures collapse around them, and the daily struggle for survival makes the development of their full human potential impossible.

Christians are called to respond to the poor with compassion and generosity. What can you do?

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Paradigm Shift

A Paradigm Shift is when a significant change happens - usually from one fundamental view to a different view. In most cases, some type of major discontinuity occurs as well.

Thomas Kuhn wrote about Paradigm Shift during the early 1960s, and explained how "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions" caused "one conceptual world view to be replaced by another view."

In laymen terms, Paradigm Shift is a popular, or perhaps, not so popular shift or transformation of the way we Humans perceive events, people, environment, and life altogether. It can be a national or international shift, and could have dramatic effects -- whether positive or negative -- on the way we live our lives today and in the future.

I have been through quite a number of significant paradigm shifts in my life. What about you?

Monday, September 11, 2006

Ferocious & Monotonous Love

During Living Room, Darren shared the topic of love with us. He talked about God's love as ferocious and monotonous, which was very insightful.
  • Ferocious Love - Isaiah 49, God's love is extravagent, piercing and passionate.
  • Monotonous - Hebrew 13:8, God's love does not change, is unconditional and unfailing.

Praise the Lord!

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Question Thinking

Do you believe that asking the right questions can transform your life? According to Marilee Adams, executive coach and corporate consultant, questions are at the core of how we listen, behave, think, and relate—as individuals and organizations. Virtually everything we think and do is generated by questions. Questions push us into new territories. The future itself could be said to begin with how we think, which in turn is reflected by the questions we ask ourselves and others.

But, we must know how to ask the right questions. If questions are asked from the viewpoint of open-mindedness, of trying to learn—then the resulting answers can help to produce a mindset that is optimistic, hopeful and full of possibilities for the future. These are known as “Learner” questions. If, however, one asks questions that seek to assign blame (either to the questioner or the questioned) and are based on negative reactions (“What’s wrong with them?”)—the resulting mindset will then lead to failure, inflexibility, stress and a sense of severe limitations. These are known as “Judger” questions.

How do we avoid being Judgers and instead become Learners? The answer lies in “QuestionThinking,” a practical, easy-to-use methodology for transforming thinking, action, and results through intentional and skillful question asking. We need to consistently choose the questions that can lead them to personal and professional success.

Marilee Adams suggests twelve top questions for change, which I found very insightful:
  1. What do I want?
  2. What are my choices?
  3. What assumptions am I making?
  4. What am I responsible for?
  5. How else can I think about this?
  6. What is the other person thinking, feeling, needing, and wanting?
  7. What am I missing or avoiding?
  8. What can I learn from this person or situation? from this mistake or failure?from this sucess?
  9. What questions should I ask (myself and /or others?)
  10. What action steps make the most sense?
  11. How can I turn this into a win-win?
  12. What is possible?

What do you think of these 12 questions?

Thursday, September 07, 2006

2006 Melbourne International Arts Festival

This year the Melbourne International Arts Festival will be from 12 October to 28 October. It will have lots of great shows, including 'Inside the Maker's Mind' at the George Adams Gallery as well as many exhibitions of Visual Arts, Stan's Cafe's Of All The People In All The World: Pacific Rim and the Mostlandian Anthem etc. I hope I can find some spare time to attend some of those.

World Team Field - The Philippines

Located in Camarines Sur Province in the Bicol Region of the Philippines (the 2nd most unreached region of the Philippines) a World Team church plant in Naga City has a huge vision! Naga Community in Christ, a church that was planted approximately 5 years ago, has 6 Filipino elders who have an exciting vision to start “100 healthy, multiplying cells by 2010!”

Just off the east coast of Camarines Sur is the island of Catanduanes, where Vacation Bible Schools (VBS) are held throughout the neighborhoods as a tool to share Jesus with children and start regular adult bible studies. This past May a VBS was held in 6 different neighborhoods where nearly 500 children participated. As a result, 2 new adult bible studies have started!

Is there a part you can play in what God is doing in the Philippines? By praying, supporting financial, or actually going?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Steve Erwin And Life

I was shocked when I heard the news that the Aussie Crocodile Hunter Steve Irwin died in an accident. He was killed by, of all things, a stingray that punctured his heart. According to the news, Irwin was one of only three people in Australia ever to die from a stingray attack.

His friend John Stinton, who was with him when he died, said, "one problem Steve had was that he couldn't sit still for five seconds and because the weather was bad today and for the last couple of days, he'd been liked a caged lion because he hadn't really been able to do anything much in the way of filming. So he said, 'Look, I might just go off and shoot some segments,' anything that would keep him moving and his adrenaline going and that's what happened..." It seemed, on the surface, to be these silly character flaws, and not the stingray, that got him in the end. His death is of course a tragedy. He was only 44. He was a happy husband and father of two great kids. He was a great conservationist who, had he lived, could have done so much more for wildlife preservation.

However Scott Adams said, "Steve Irwin's death is a reminder that everybody's life is like a puzzle, and that we are not here to rate others, only to improve ourselves. I was quick to dismiss Irwin as a numbskull nutcase who got what he deserved—until I looked at myself and realized that I am certainly no paragon of wise living. Something tells me that the ebullient, passionate, adventurous-to-the-end Mr. Irwin was too busy living to pass judgment on how others spent their time. That—and not his risk-taking excesses—could be the real lesson of his death—a lesson we all could learn."

What do you think?

Monday, September 04, 2006

Spirituality & Human Emotion

My friend Greg lent me this book by Robert C. Roberts called "Spirituality And Human Emotion". It is a great book about the formation of the Christian character. This theme has been on my mind heaps lately.

According to Robert, Christianity is a set of emotions (whatever else it may be). He says, "If I don't love God and my neighbor, abhor my sins, and rejoice in my redemption, if I am not grateful, hopeful, and at peace with God and myself, then it follows that I am aliented from Christianity."

What is needed to overcome this alienation, says Robert, is "a reordering of our passions and attitudes such that we will have a use in our life for the beliefs of Christianity and the language of faith."

I agree with Robert. I believe that the Christian passions and attitudes fuel us to experience such emotions as gratitude, hope, and compassion - above all, the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace, patient, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) - rather than greed, despair, and anger etc.

Father God, please nurture in us Your passions, attitudes and positive emotions through the development of a deepening of our spirituality. In Jesus' name, Amen!

Friday, September 01, 2006

Character & Success

According to Steven Covey, many success literatures show that character is the determining factor. And I am not surprised. I do believe that character determines success, even more so than skills or techniques. I was representing World Team Australia in a Bible college last week, and one of the speakers talked about 7 leadership perspectives, which I found very insightful. Here they are:
  1. Visionary - committed to growth, looks beyond problems to causes, and develops precise solutions to success.
  2. Teacher - imparts wisdom, maturity, and skill to others, validates direction; and ensures completeness.
  3. Server - sees and meets others' practical needs, frees them to accomplish their goals, and invests time and energy in their success.
  4. Organiser - visualises final results and directs resources for the successful completion of goals.
  5. Mediator - deeply loyal and compassionate, analysing the benefits and problems of a given direction.
  6. Idealist - seeks excellence in thought, word, and deed; identifies problems as they arise and speaks truth boldly.
  7. Provider - resourceful, prudent, and thrifty, constantly ensuring the best use of all available resources.

What do you think? And if you are a leader, what kind of leader are you?