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I am priviledged to be one of the judges for the annual Australian Christian Book of the Year. We are pleased to announce that this year's award goes to Child Arise! The Courage to Stand: A Spiritual Handbook for Survivors of Sexual Abuse by Jane N Dowling. Here is the summary: Knowing that God speaks to us when we read the Bible, Jane Dowling prayerfully applies God’s Word to the experience of living with the long-term effects of sexual abuse, including abuse by clergy. Her reflections are gentle, almost tremulous. Jesus shows her the way from ruin and despair to healing and hope. This is a handbook for survivors of sexual abuse and those who seek to understand and support... Read more →


Nicole and I have recently returned from a few weeks overseas - for a conference and some holidays, as we celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary. I love to travel. The very atmosphere of airports and airplanes energises me. I love visiting new places and meeting new people. However, my wife doesn’t get quite as excited. In fact, she starts packing a few weeks ahead of time, just to make sure she’s got everything she needs. I tend to pack in the last minute. You know, as we travel through our journey of life we all tend to carry various sorts of baggage with us. Some types of personal baggage from our past can become pretty tiring to carry after a... Read more →


Generally speaking, there are two types of people in the world – pessimists and optimists. Pessimists: believe that bad events will last a long time, imagine the worst, tend to see themselves and situations as ‘helpless’ give up more easily, tend to ‘awfulise’ and ‘catastrophize’, turning mere setbacks in disasters, and are more stressed than the average person, Optimists: see bad events as temporary and surmountable, are happier, and more content then other people, have greater coping skills, achieve better than pessimistic people, their health is unusually good, and they age well and live longer. Of course, unrealistic optimism can be dangerous. Optimism must be balanced with reality. Otherwise you will end up in denial. However, after decades of research,... Read more →


John 14:1-7. “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. You know the way to the place where I am going.” Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the... Read more →


Every one of us has a story to tell. Your life is your story. Your story is your life. Like a story, your life has a beginning, a middle, and an ending. There is a theme, characters, subplots (work, family, health, happiness, friendship), trajectory, and tone. What kind of story is your life? A comedy? A drama? A thriller (horror) movie? A romance or a love story? An action movie? A fairy tale? In reality, each of our life stories is an EPIC. It’s a long journey with many scenes, experiences, twists and turns, characters, and smaller individual story lines. I wonder what is the ‘theme’ of your life? Yes, life has many twists and turns, as well as highs... Read more →


Luke 5:16. As often as possible Jesus withdrew to out-of-the-way places for prayer. The Message Bible This is an amazing description of how Jesus lived and did ministry. He loved solitude - by the sea or in the country, on a boat or in a garden. This required withdrawal from people, busyness and activity. It was his home base - the place he continually returned to. He spent as much time there as possible. Out from here, he left to do ministry and serve the people God had sent him to. His life was full of conversation with God - Father and Spirit; a dance of divinity. Maybe this was the key to not only his survival from the pressures... Read more →


The world of politics has been a bit of a circus lately, especially in Australia, the UK and the USA. I saw this funny joke the other day, which has been floating around, and thought it was worth re-posting: Dad: "I want you to marry a girl of my choice." Son: "No!" Dad: "The girl is Bill Gate's daughter." Son: "Ok." Dad goes to Bill Gates. Dad: "I want your daughter to marry my son." Bill Gates: "No!" Dad: "My son is the CEO of the World Bank." Bill Gates: "Ok." Dad goes to the President of the World Bank. Dad: "Please appoint my son as the CEO of your bank." President: "No!" Dad: "He is the son-in-law of Bill... Read more →


Life can be very rewarding and fulfilling. It can also be very difficult at times. Two of the hardest things to do are handling criticism and confronting people, not that we should love confronting people (!) but learning how to do so in a loving manner. The apostle Paul once wrote in Ephesians 4:15 that one of the marks of a mature church is the ability to “speak the truth in love”. Some people speak the truth but not always in a loving manner. Others are so loving that they never speak the truth. Finding the balance of doing both well is essential. Being Lovingly Assertive We all need to be lovingly assertive, when appropriate. Assertiveness is all about being... Read more →


Have you had a conflict lately? When we are hurt by other people we all respond differently. David W. Johnson, author of Human Relations and Your Career, has identified five styles of conflict resolution: 1. Some people are like teddy bears. They keep the peace at all costs, even if it means giving up what they think or want. 2. Other people are like turtles. They withdraw when conflict comes and they avoid it at all costs. 3. Other people are like sharks. They respond to conflict by going on the attack, seeking to win at all costs. They often get their way as others withdraw from their assault, but they make few friends. 4. Other people are like owls.... Read more →