Friday, January 30, 2009

Graphic Design for churches and Church based organisations

I got sent a link to this new Graphic Design service for Churches and Church based Organisations. Hope they don't mind me putting on my blog!

If you need design work doing, they might be worth a look. Don't know how long they'll be able to keep the "free" service if it gets popular.

Keys to church growth

Came across an article from Evangelism Coach International about church growth. It offers three keys:

Key #1: A passionate love for Jesus

Key #2: A praying leadership

Key #3: A confidence in the Holy Spirit’s work

Can't argue with that really, but I wonder if we'd reach for our diaries to see if we'd be available to pray rather than to cross out the meetings in order to make time to pray.

How can we reshape our lives to do the prayer we want to do?

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Dangerous Church

Ed Stetzer has posted his notes from a recent talk he did about the Dangerous Church in 2010. you can read them here.

Here are a few headlines to get you thinking:

The Dangerous Church will:

  • Be People of Issachar (1 Chronicles 12:32)
  • Have Addressed Sexual Brokenness
  • Have Wrestled with Gender Inclusion
  • Have Navigated the Post-Seeker Context
  • Have Regained Confidence in the Gospel
  • Have Rethought Discipleship

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The stories we tell ourselves

Reading Brian McLaren’s Everything must change, I was struck by a thought he raises in chapter nine “The stories we tell ourselves”. The unique framing story of you (as he puts it) describes how you have become what you are and how you will progress towards what you will be.

If our framing story is wise, strong, realistic, and constructive, it can send us on a hopeful trajectory. But if our framing story is dysfunctional,weak, false, unrealistic, or destructive, it can send us a downward arc, a dangerous, high-speed joy ride to un-peace, un-health, un-prosperity, and even un-life. (P67)

The question is can we change our framing story? The answer, even from outside of a Christian perspective is surely, “Yes we can!” (with due deference to both Bob the Builder and Barack Obama). We can tell ourselves a different story. I may have grown up inheriting a framing story from my parents, but I do not need to live inside that story forever. I get to choose the framing story of the rest of my life. I may choose the same story, with some variations, or I may choose a different story.

After years of thinking you’re a failure, yo can tell yourself a new story of hope. I’m not sure it will make you successful, just by changing your story, but it should mark a turning point. This is what happens when the gospel, the framing story that Jesus offers us, begins to penetrate our old stories. We change. We are transformed.

If you are still telling yourself the same old story, the same old destructive, useless-me story or even the unstoppable-success-with-no-one-else-to-rely-upon-or-care-about story, then it’s time for a change. It’s time to tell the realistic story that yes you’ve fallen, yes you’ve failed, but in Christ there is healing and forgiveness for the past and great hope for both the present and the future.

Yo may be who you are, but you are not all that you can be. In Christ you can become all that God wants you to become. All those fears you carry around won’t go away overnight but you can find a place to store them other than in the back of your mind.

I changed my framing story one December evening in 1976. I still live with the impact of the framing story of my early life, but I have chosen a different story for my life for a long time now. I am being reshaped by it to become more like Jesus.

We all get tired

The pressures to succeed made him miserable, the church increasingly demanded more time away from his family, and he felt spiritually barren. Furthermore, Alan did not like what he or the church had become. The church was like a spoiled child demanding their needs be met and giving nothing back. Alan drew a large crowd, but felt like he was doing it alone. He was seeing very little life change in an outwardly growing crowd on Sundays. Physically, emotionally and spiritually disillusioned, he had [had] enough.

If you recognise these symptoms in your own life and ministry then read the full article on Ed Stetzer's blog. It might focus on church planters, but it's for all of us who give our lives for the cause of Christ worked out through his church.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

When life hurts, what might God be doing?

There is a positive aspect to suffering. We all endure suffering to some degree, but the good news is that through it we can become like Jesus. Are you willing to pay whatever price is necessary in order to become like Christ?

If you become bitter over your hardships, you close some parts of your life from God... Some places in your soul can be reached only through suffering.

Don't resent the suffering God allows into your life. Don't make all your decisions and invest everything you have into avoiding hardship... Learn obedience even when it hurts!

Day-by-Day Jan 27th

If the goal of my life is to become more like Christ, then I must learn to grow through the tough times as well as the easy times. But that never makes it easy. As I read this thought today, I reflected upon how easy it is to become frustrated and cynical over many things. To become almost resentful at the apparent lack of answered prayer. And then of course, just as I think these things, God steps in an answers in an unexpected and thrilling way. But more of that another time.

Red Dwarf Returns

Yes, it's apparently true, at least according to the BBC Entertainment website, Red Dwarf will make a final return to TV.

Return to Earth is a two part series written by Doug Naylor to be broadcast over Easter.

Read about it here.

Perhaps we'll have to watch all previous episodes just to refamiliarise ourselves with the story!

Gaza appeals and the BBC

I've been wondering over the past few days about the issue of the DEC appeal and the BBC. They are of course in a corner now, so I don't expect any changes. But here's my question: Has their reluctance to show the appeal got anything to do with the Iraq affair?

Remember how the then Government went after the BBC over the Iraq dossier? Whether the report was accurate or not, I do wonder whether we are paying a price for the nearest thing to a witch-hunt we've seen in recent years. At the time, as I listened to the report at the heart of the dossier debacle, I wondered then what the impact of it would become. 

Monday, January 26, 2009

GTD style app for Mac menu bar

If you are a Mac user and are thinking of trying an organiser application to take control of all your tasks and projects in a David Allen GTD style, then this might be of interest. It's called Plutopro and I've not used it, but I cam across it through an RSS feed I get. 

It's free and looks quite good. You can read about at MacUpdate here.

I currently use Omnifocus which is a very full and sometimes complicated system, so a simpler solution might be a better option even for me!

Andrew Mason, over at Did I get Things Done intends to do a review some time in the future, so it might be worth keeping an eye out for that.

Other alternatives I know about include Thinking Rock and iGTD, both of which I've used and both of which have their plus points. 

Sunday, January 25, 2009

I can't sleep, but I will sleep

There are times when I blog simply because I need to write. This is one of those times. I don't know what I'm gong to write, but I need to write. 

Actually I need to do something. you see, I can't sleep. I know why I can't sleep, but I can't write about that. At least I can write about, but the Internet is not the place for it. So I'll write about something else instead. 

I've done all the things I usually do when I can't sleep like this. I've prayed. I've prayed quite hard really, but the gnawing feeling hasn't subsided, so I'm sitting at my desk wondering what to do next. Do I simply try and sleep, or do I read or watch a film or do what we're really good at. Worry.

Worry takes such little effort. Just focus on something that makes you anxious and let the worrying begin. Odd really. But there it is. We are a people prone to worry and worry we do.

Of course I can quote Philippians to myself (be anxious about nothing, but in everything...), or Peter (cast all your cares on him because he cares for you). But it is truly easier said than done. 

Perhaps the problem lies in the constant replaying of the worst case scenario in my mind. You know the way it goes. Over and over again you think about how bad it could be and then add a little more darkness to it for good measure. Your mind races. Your brain races. Your pulse races. And here I sit, trying to say nothing about what's worrying me but something to release the worry from me. 

Seems like a good time to pray again:

Lord, I don't expect my worries, my anxieties to disappear just because I've prayed. I know they won't. The things that cause them won't. Over time, these things will be replaced by other things, and in a 1,000 years none of them will be an issue anymore. The truth is that if I didn't worry I probably wouldn't pray.

So walk with please through these troubled thoughts. Calm my heart and my mind. Help me find a heavenly perspective from which to view all that makes me anxious and show me Lord that what worries me most is a concern that you share with me.

Bring to that place of peace that goes beyond my ability to understand but that brings the quiet assurance that you are with me and your love will never fail me.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Missional books

If you are interested in reading about missional church, you may be interested in this "Missional Family Tree" on Alan Hirsch's blog.

You can find it here.

From what he says, it will appear in Leadership Journal at some point, but I don't know when. 

I'm pleased to have read some of the books, but there are one two that I think I'll add to my wish list.

Friday, January 23, 2009

David Allen does GTD

For those of you who know about David Allen's Getting Things Done method for dealing with all the stuff that comes into your life, you might be interested/curious to see what his office looks like and how he does GTD.

If so, there's a video here that takes you into his office!


How about these two juxtaposed headlines from the same website today:

One body to worship one God at BigChurchDayOut

Ambitions for church unity ‘unrealistic’, say leaders

Do you think they noticed?

Everything must change

I started to read Everything Must Change a while ago but got side-tracked with a few other things. As it is, I've started again.

The book is built upon two very basic yet often unasked questions. Unasked because maybe we've tended to focus on one particular answer to every question. I'm thinking here of the way we can sometimes be guilty of presuming that Jesus is the answer without every wondering what the initial question might be. 

On a recent episode of The News Quiz (it's a Radio 4 thing for those who don't know) an expert in some field or another was quoted as having said that the answer to most problems was usually a good night's sleep. Sandi Toksvig, the presenter, commented along the lines of, "Not if the problem is how to fix my dishwasher!"

As an evangelical it's easy to be rather reductionist when it comes to questions and answers, problems and solutions. Brian McLaren doesn't settle for such simple answers.

So, I'll let you know what I make of the book as I go. At the moment I'm enjoying the challenging nature of the read. 

And in case you were wondering, the two big questions are:

  • What are the biggest problems in the world?
  • What does Jesus have to say about these global problems?

With questions like that you hardly going to expect a comfortable read now are you!

Weapons of war

Driving back from taking my in-laws to the airport I listened to the radio. One of the items was an interview about a particular type of weapon Israel is purported to have used in the recent Gaza conflict. "These weapons," we were told, " were not designed for use in civilian areas." How chilling. 

Does this mean that there are weapons that are designed to be used in civilian areas, just not these weapons? I guess the truth is that however you say it, there is always going to be an implication that some weapons are designed with particular targets in mind. And that is possibly an even more chilling thought.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Organise or agonise

You do not  "organize" the kingdom of God; you "agonize" the kingdom of God.

Day-by-Day Jan 22nd

I remember Jim Collins saying the church should not be run like a business. His reason was that most businesses are mediocre and why would you want that for your church! Well, my thoughts are a little different. Although he had a lot to say that was pertinent and worth thinking about–his principles of greatness and focus are really interesting for example–it's not the whole story.

When you treat the kingdom as something to be organised, it becomes a project. But it's not a project. The kingdom of God is about transformation. When it's a project, if something goes wrong, you look for a way to fix it. 

It's all rather mechanical. But the kingdom of God is more like a garden than a machine. It needs to be nurtured, to be planted, watered and weeded. 

That of course is not the whole point of the difference between organise and agonise. Sometimes the lack of organisation gives rise to the agony of failure and mishaps. But as Paul might say, "If I have the gift of organisation and can plan all things to finest of detail and have not love, I can never feel the agony of the kingdom as God's heart searches for the lost and missing. 

Well he might have done!

Shoes, ripples and compassion

Tim Sanders, once of Yahoo, shares a powerful story about compassion.

He ends with two powerful questions: If not you, then who? If not now, then when?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cornelius and the passion of God

One of the things I like about the story of Cornelius in Acts 10 is the sense of God's passion for people. Here's this Roman soldier who, by our standards, would be judged a nominal believer because he lacks the personal relationship with God through Christ that is so central to our evangelical mindset. Yet God, by contrast, doesn't judge him, he seeks him out. God's passion for Cornelius is such that he sets a whole scheme of things in motion in order to reach him. 

There's the elaborate vision that he uses to set Peter up for his task. A task God, in his enthusiasm for Cornelius, side-steps in the end. 

Who'd have thought that the God of all the universe would have the time to notice the prayers and generosity of one man. Not only notice them but be so moved by them that he would devise an amazing plan to bring him into contact with someone who could tell him what he needed to hear.

I know some people like Cornelius. Good people. People who pray and give. People who need to hear. People we sometimes find hard to reach because they are so close but so far. People for whom God may even yet be devising a plan.

So, let the passion of God for lost and missing people never cease to inspire those already found to be available for the opportunities he makes for us. And if you only get half way through your presentation, so be it. Better half way through than no way through, or even all the way through and no response!

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

iTunes and the disappearing music library

I was just wondering if anyone else has been experiencing problems with iTunes like the problems I've had recently. It's not exactly earth shattering, but the only solution I found (as yet not fully tested) was quite drastic.

Anyway, I'm running iTunes 8 on my iMac and all my music is on an external hard drive. A week or maybe two ago, I noticed that one or two songs had become lost to iTunes. The files were still there, but iTunes couldn't locate them. I've been using the new genius system for selecting music, and one or two songs were not playing.

Yesterday I plugged my ipod in to recharge it and sync it and realised that it wasn't one or two songs, but whole albums were "missing". Over 100 songs could not be located and that was just from the list I have on my ipod.

The once simply task of relocating the file had now grown to a major project. In the end, the only solution that seems to have worked is to delete the iTunes library and then open iTunes and add all the stored music back into a new library. All the playlists are lost of course and I haven't tried synchronising my ipod yet.

I couldn't see any reason why iTunes would do this. I haven't moved any files around. 

Anyway, if anyone has had the same problem I was just wondering if you'd found a more elegant solution. I had a look around a few of the usual help sites, but couldn't find a similar iTunes 8 problem.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Love is...

Two Sundays ago we began our Spring series on 1 Corinthians 13. After two weeks I hope it's going well, but it's always hard to tell. Yesterday we took "Love is crucial" as our theme and I found myself deeply moved as I talked about the way of love in the light of grace. I read an account of Tony Campolo's birthday party for a prostitute in Honolulu. Church as it should be.

Perhaps the Beatles were right after all, love is all you need.

I decided that we would spend the time between the New Year and Easter looking at love. We could have done just 4 or 6 sermons, but something drew me to taking an extended stay in Paul's wonderful declaration about love. We're also doing something unusual in that we're reading the passage every week. That's right, 13 weeks of hearing Paul on love. I know there are plenty of other passages we could have read, but I so wanted to soak myself, let alone the congregation, in this passage. It will be different voices and different versions, but the same message. Over and over again we'll hear "Love is..." 

The question is: Can we remain unchanged? If we believe that the word of God is alive and powerful, that it cuts between soul and spirit, joint and marrow, exposing our innermost thoughts (Heb. 4:12), how can we not be changed by exposure to it?

RT Kendall speaks about a man who read this chapter every day for a whole year, once a week for a quarter should be possible for us!

And my goal? Well apart from soaking in the description of love, being changed by, being motivated to live it out and understanding how important it is for us to be people of love and grace above everything else, I guess I hope that by the time we get to Easter we'll be so much more aware of how much we are loved. More than we've ever realised before, more than we can hold in by an act of our will. 

Let grace abound. Let love be lived. Let God be honoured.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Who'll be next for a big bailout?

Here's a headline I would never have expected to see:

Porn industry moguls seek $5 billion bailout

You've got to laugh really, otherwise you might just, well, really laugh I guess. 

First it was the banks, then the car industry then small businesses. Where will it all end we might have been thinking. Well now we might know. Perhaps, if this means the demise of this particular big business, then the economic downturn isn't all bad news at all!!

The headline came from this article.

Spanning Sync Discount code

I have, for some time, been using Spanning Sync to keep my Google and iCal calendars synchronised. There are alternatives, notably Busysync. But if you are thinking of purchasing Spanning sync then you can get a discount by using this link:

Click here to save $5 on Spanning Sync!

If you don't know what Spanning Sync is, then visit the website at

PS You should know that I'll get a $5 thank you if you buy using this link, just to be open and transparent about it.

Mealtime Habits of the Messiah

I blogged a couple of times about this book as I was working my way through it. Well now I've finished I'd like to recommend it. Really recommend it.

Don't be fooled by the sometimes light-hearted approach that Conrad takes in his presentation. This is a book to stir your thinking as much as any theology book might set out to do. What this book has is spoonfuls, no buckets full of thoughts and insights that will make you nod and say to yourself, "Hmm. Now that's an interesting thought." Take the story about Jesus calming the storm:
it would be one thing if a bunch of strangers witnessed Jesus calming the storm and then asked themselves, "Whoa! Who is this guy?" But the disciples? Why should this miracle cause them to rethink their ideas about Jesus? 
Why indeed? From there Conrad takes us on a journey through the Hebrew mindset and culture. Later he points out that:
God tends to represent himself through fire: the pillar of fire, the burning bush and so on. But he tends to demonstrate his power by exerting control over waters and the face of the deep.
Now there's a connection I hadn't personally given much thought to.

So the disciples have to rethink who Jesus is in light of his ability to control not only the water, but the wind and the waves too (okay so waves count as water). And later, of course, Jesus will ask them how their thinking is coming along.

Each chapter, or encounter, in the book is relatively short–only 3 or 4 pages at the most, and each opens with the full text of the story being considered. And there are 40 of them, so if you're looking for something other that The Purpose Driven Life to read over 40 days, you might find this refreshingly different. It's less systematic and, dare I say, a bit more fun without being any the less challenging.  You might not be able to write your definitive life purpose statement at the end, but you will have thought a little more deeply about Jesus that's for sure.

In the forward, written by the late Rob Lacey, he says of this book:

The mental commentary of his reader while digesting this book will be less along the lines of "Yes, I knew that" or "Well, that's something to add to my Jesus database of useful facts". It will sound much more like, "Oh, I didn't think you were allowed to ask that!," "Well, if that's the case, then maybe I can play around with this idea" and even "That's funny–I'll remember that!"

I enjoyed this book, and I hope you might enjoy it too. It's the best free book I've had!

Volunteers always needed?

Many churches lack people who are willing to get involved in carrying out God's redemptive work... What we need is not more pleas for volunteers, but an outpouring of the power of God. When God comes among his people in power, there is never a shortage of volunteers or resources for his work!

Day-by Day Jan. 15th

It's an interesting thought isn't it. Like me, do you spend a lot of time in prayer rehearsing with God the desperate personnel needs of the church? Maybe a different prayer is needed.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

My new PA

You may recall my study partner, well there's a new member of staff. Been around the house for a while, but he has recently taken on the role of Personal assistant. Seen here having completed the exhausting task of updating my diary.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Mousey the terrorist

Stuart Little might be a lovable little character on film, but I'm not that forgiving of a small rodent invader. So it is that we find ourselves faced with another unwanted house guest. It's an old house, more or less in the middle of nowhere, so we accept that we're the most inviting warm place. 

Usually we find them quickly and return them to the wild, but this time I must confess we decided it was time for more drastic measures. It was mouse trap time. No biscuit tin and gentle persuasion, this time it was personal!

The uninvited guest was discovered one evening when Anne opened the under-sink cupboard and a small face looked up as if to say, "Excuse me, but don't you knock?" Knock I thought, I'll give you knock!

We cleaned out the cupboard and set a trap under it near the wall. Mice tend to run along near walls, they rarely go across the floor, just in case you wanted to know! Taking the advice of a friend, I used apricots and sultanas for bait, and sure enough two of the small creatures have been sent to a far better place than our kitchen. 

Now, as you may know, we have two cats. Yes cats. The kind of animals that catch the kind of animals that had moved in. Sniff, poke about, stare at the corner of the kitchen for hours maybe, but catch them inside the house, well that's not their job, that's ours. You see a domestic cat seems to think that its job is to go out and catch mice and bring them back to you for you to play with. If they're in the house they must logically be yours not theirs.

Really helpful.

I can imagine that if our big cat, Pip, could speak the conversation would go a little like this:

Pip (wanders into the kitchen and sniffs around the kickboard under the sink): Smells like a mouse has been around here to me?

Me: Oh really, that would explain the small furry creature that stared at us when we opened the cupboard door.

Pip: I was right then, a mouse. Got any cat biscuits?

Me: You could help me catch the mouse and have biscuits as a reward.

Pip: It's below my dignity to work for my food. 

Me: You don't appear to have much dignity when you're having a wash in the middle og the hall.

Pip: I'm hurt. I'm very dignified when I'm awake. Most of the time.

Me: Anyway back to this mouse situation. You catch them outside. 

Pip: That's different.

Me: How so?

Pip: Got any biscuits?

Anyway, the said mouse has been caught but not before it has done its work. Before capture it managed to chew a rather large hole in a pipe in the dishwasher causing a spectacular flood and a bill for £85 for the repair.

It may be one of god's creatures, and I don't mind sharing the earth with it, but the house is clearly out of bounds. So any mice reading this blog, be afraid, be very afraid, because my biscuit tin might not be what's waiting for you if you try to share my home!

God looks for clay

[God] looks for those who will allow him to shape them into the instruments He requires to do His divine work. Clay has no plans f its own, no aspiration for service, nor reluctance to perform its given task. It is just clay. Moldable, pliable, totally submissive to the will of its master...

It is not a noble task, being clay. There is no glamour to it, nothing boast-worthy, except that it is exactly what Almighty God is looking for. Compliant, moldable, yielded clay.

Experiencing God Day-by-Day, January 6th

Just blogging

You may have noticed that I've had a quiet start to the year when it comes to blogging. Last year, at about this time, I began to think about what it might be like to seek to post something everyday or at least the equivalent of everyday. 

It was quite a challenge, but it make me think about what bits of my life and thinking I wanted to share with the wider world. The truth is, you have to be careful. You have to edit your thoughts, you have to think about what you are saying and why. There's much I could have written but chose not to make public in this way. After all people do actually read it, as you know!

Over lunch one day towards the end of last year, I overheard someone talking about their blog. It seemed that they were saying that they "say what they see" when they blog. To me that sounds like an excuse to use a blog to vent every thought and feeling you have. Not wise.

Whether I will actively pursue blogging every day I don't know. I rather like having a diverse blog that isn't too narrowly focused on theology, or church, or woodworking for that matter. There's a place for all of these of course, but I see my blog as something of a journal of my life, which is hopefully far from narrow. 

Mind you, if I'm going to get to one-a-day, I'm going to have get moving soon, given that this is only my sixth post of the year and it's already the 13th January. 

Stand by for some busy days!

John Thorton on Globalisation

Alan Hirsch posted this fascinating video on the Forgotten Ways Blog. It's about 10 minutes long, but worth a watch from several perspectives. Firstly what is said about leadership. Leadership needs to be clearly focused, value based, and broadly applied.

Secondly there's the question of models and sustainability. There's an interesting fact that emerges that points clearly towards the unsustainable nature of a western development model. In other words, the world cannot sustain the lifestyle enjoyed by most developed, western nations on a global scale. For example, if China follows a western model, there will be more cars on the road in China in 20 years than there are currently in the world as a whole. This in turn would mean that China would consume more oil a day that we currently produce. And China of course is not the only economy seeking to develop. 

The conclusion is simple, our western model is simply unsustainable.

This raises a simple question in church life. Is our model sustainable? Maybe more pertinent is the question, "Do we have the right model?" Have we simply continued to work with the belief that a westernised model of church is the best model of church? 

More questions than answers I know, but I never planned for this to be all about answers!

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I got tagged. I get the feeling, at least from the blogs I follow, that most folks don't really like being tagged. It's a bit like the old chain letters I remember from when I was growing up. 

Anyway, I've been tagged, so here are my 7 facts (supposedly weird or random):

1. I'm left-handed. Not weird? You haven't seen how I write!

2. I read electricity meters as my summer job during student days (no University Challenge jokes please).

3. I took a hat-trick playing cricket for the school.

4. I've suffered 7 bone fractures, all on the left side of my body.

5. I've pulled the emergency handle on a Tube train.

6. I'm not colour-sighted.

7. I've lived in 13 different homes so far.

So there we have it. & random facts about me. 

I won't be tagging anyone else, it's just a personal thing, and it needs to stop somewhere!

Walking to work

Because I live on the same site as the church, even if I commuted to a church office, it would only be 30 seconds. And that's walking slowly! As it is, I work mostly from home, so my longest commute is all the way from the lounge to the study. About 6 feet.

So, every so often, when I get the chance and the urge, I'll walk to a meeting somewhere. When we have our Christmas lunch as a Mainstream group, I've walked there the last couple of years. 

I once heard an elderly gentleman, in his 70's at the time, answering a question about how he kept himself fit. "Simple," he said, "if it's less than 5 miles, I walk." In our busy modern lives I'm not sure any of us would consider walking 5 miles a good use of our time. But we all know that we need to get more movement into our lives. 

So today I chose to walk the 4 miles to my meeting and the 4 miles back. What was interesting is that I met a member of the church who was walking their dog on my way home, and I joined them for their walk. It added a couple of miles to my walk, and wouldn't have happened had I been in the car.

In the end I did just about 10 miles. My feet ache, my knee aches and I've got work to do that I could have been doing if I'd driven to my meeting. But it was worth it. I got some air, a lot of air, and I slowed down (although I left a bit late and had to do the first 4 mile section in an hour). And the world has not stopped turning because I didn't rush from one thing to the next.

And, if I feel the benefit of a 10 mile walk once a week that I felt 2 years ago, I'll be 15-20lbs lighter in a month's time!

Well, I can always dream!

Monday, January 05, 2009

Reorganising for 2009

Here are five tips to kick-start you organisational plans for 2009 from

1. On Mondays, de-clutter your office. Remove at least one item which you don't use at least monthly. Remove all personal items from your desk. Throw away pens that don't work. Reduce your ketchup/salt/napkin supply by 90%.

2. On Tuesdays, take inventory. Review your supplies and make a list or place an order. Take a few minutes to look through an office supply catalog. You'll find a myriad of useful organizing items.

3. Think on Wednesdays. How can you make better use of your computer? Can you develop a spreadsheet to help organize some aspect of your job? Do you need to find and register for a computer class? Do it today.

4. Thursday is sorting day. Go through all those business cards and small pieces of paper which have accumulated throughout the week. Put them where they belong. Also put away any reference materials you've been using.

5. Have fun filing on Fridays. End your week by cleaning up all the paper lying around your office. Purge your files. Have a mean and clean filing system which you can actually use.

Sunday, January 04, 2009

Why are we here?

I'm just about to go off to church to our first celebration of 2009. Part of what we'll do is to renew our commitment to God and to each other as the local church. We're going to use a piece of video that we've used before about "Our Church". It's not specific to us, it's more challenge about church in general. you can find the video at the Worshiphousemedia website, just search for "Welcome to our church" and it's the one by Floodgate productions.

After the video, I have a question to ask: Why are we here? This is what I plan to say next!

If you had to choose a word to describe the church would it be “dangerous”? Comfortable maybe, complacent sometimes, busy, confusing occasionally, but rarely dangerous.

And yet the story we share is a dangerous story. It’s a story about revolution and transformation. It changes lives and it can change the world. 

Our story challenges the status quo of perceived normality and proclaims that another world is possible. Not a world of Utopian dreams but of kingdom realities. Our story is one where blind people see, lame people dance and deaf people hear. A story in which those who are trapped and trafficked find freedom and hope, where the socially outcast become members of the family.

It is a truly dangerous story. But somehow we seem to be able live it as a quite suburban afternoon.