General Interest

The Berlin Crows

Nicole and I are nearing the end of our 12 days of touring Germany. The beauty of the stunning scenery of the villages, lakes and mountains of southern Germany has been a stark contrast to the horror of the Dachau Concentration Camp and the Holocaust Museum in Berlin. Reflecting on the genocide of 6 million people (primarily Jews, but also gypsies, gays, the elderly and the disabled) is a sobering experience, not for the faint of heart. Yesterday and today we meandered around the streets of Berlin - a city with plenty of attitude, and it's easy to see why.... Read more →


Living with JOY

Over the last month or so, I have been gradually reading through the book of Psalms in The Message Bible translation. It's a wonderful collection of songs and poetry, expressing the full range of human emotion: disappointment, frustration, anger and hope, as well as praise, worship and joy. One of the most well known Psalms is Psalm 100 - which is a call to worship. It begins by declaring, "Make a joyful shout to the Lord, all you lands!" The next line is "Serve (or worship) the Lord with gladness (or joy)." Every day, as we go about our life,... Read more →


Finding Happiness (Part 3): Financial Control

The third ingredient contributing to our everyday happiness (read part 1) is financial control. Money isn't everything but having enough to meet our own needs as well as to give away to others can create a sense of happiness and freedom in our lives. This has nothing to do with our 'net worth' or waiting until we get that next raise or bonus. It's about how we are managing the resources we currently have. Money is a terrific servant but it can be a cruel taskmaster if we allow it control us. Thankfully, we don't have to wait until we... Read more →


Finding Happiness (Part 2): Strong Personal Relationships

The second factor that contributes to our happiness (read Part 1) is Strong Personal Relationships. Each of us is born into a family and a desire for a sense of belonging is a part of what it means to be human. Although the introverts among us tend to be energized by solitude and alone time, most people enjoy meaningful conversation and are enriched by good friendships. In many ways, relationships are spatial. Most people have lots of acquaintances, many 'friends' or people they know more about or do life together with, but usually only a few close or best friends.... Read more →


Finding Happiness (Part 1): A Sense of Purpose

Are you happy? What does happiness really look like? Australia's longest running and most comprehensive survey on happiness is conducted by the Australian Unity Wellbeing Index. After 15 years of detailed research, the author of the survey, Deakin University Emeritus Professor Bob Cummins, says he's finally cracked the code to wellbeing, which he has dubbed the ‘golden triangle of happiness': A sense of purpose. Strong personal relationships. Financial control. Let's take a look at each of these: A Sense of Purpose Deep inside of each one of us is a need for a sense of purpose and meaning. What are... Read more →


The Beauty of Sleep

I'm on holidays and I'm loving every minute! My time off started just over 3 weeks ago. The difference in this break is that it began with me finishing employment at the same place for over 32 years. Needless to say, I have been gradually starting to relax and unwind, although it has taken discipline to not focus on what I have 'done' at the end of any particular day. My productivity bias is very strong! One thing I have noticed is how long and how deeply I have been sleeping. I guess you don't really know how tired you... Read more →


Money Talks (Part 3)

It may take time … but having and working a financial plan is the path to financial freedom and God’s blessing whatever your situation. Notice the plan is not the 80-10-10 plan. The order is important. Put God first in your finances. Then change ratios over time as you’re able - 15-15-70, etc. This is pretty simple: a 10-year old can do it. Every person’s financial situation is unique. What is right for you may not be relevant for someone else, but these principles can work for just about everyone. My motive in sharing this message is to help you... Read more →


Money Talks (Part 2)

Establish and Live by a Budget If you don't take control of your money it will take control of you and your life. Money is a great servant but is a cruel taskmaster. A budget is the most important and effective tool for getting your finances under control. A budget is simply a plan for earning and spending money. It provides limits and boundaries, which give security. There are many Scriptures on planning (Proverbs 15:22; 20:18; 21:5; 27:23-24. Jerermiah 29:11. Luke 14:28-30). INCOME - How to Acquire Money Human labour is the means by which we earn money. It is... Read more →


Money Talks (Part 1)

Jesus and Money In Luke 16:1-13, we have an example of Jesus’ teaching about money. There’s a difference of opinion as to what exactly Jesus is commending about the manager in the story but the application of the parable is very clear: (1) all of us will be called to give an account of how we have served him and what we have done with our resources; (2) preparation for that day of account should involve wise use of our resources, especially in the area of finances; and (3) wise use of resources, demonstrating a life of true discipleship, will... Read more →


The Value of Time

To realize the value of ONE YEAR, ask a student who failed a grade. To realize the value of ONE MONTH, ask a mother who has given birth to a premature baby. To realize the value of ONE WEEK, ask the editor of a weekly newspaper. To realize the value of ONE HOUR, ask the lovers who are waiting to meet. To realize the value of ONE MINUTE, ask a person who just missed a train. To realize the value of ONE SECOND, ask someone who just avoided an accident. To realize the value of ONE MILLISECOND, ask the person... Read more →


Time to Jump?

As the age of 19, I left America with my family to relocate back to Melbourne, Australia where I was born. I had been living in the USA for 10 years. I had friends, memories, and great opportunities for the future there. But my family was coming home and so I agreed to come with them for one year and give it a try. I had prayed bold prayers of surrendering everything to God. Now was the time to put those words into action. I was leaving everything, letting it all go, with no promise or guarantee of what was... Read more →


Insights from the Eagle

I love eagles. We live in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Melbourne. When I took my first sabbatical back in 2012, on the very first day, Nicole and I were walking on a gravel road nearby and a huge wedge tailed eagle flew over our head and then up throught the trees. It was breathtaking. In the last few weeks, we have seen a pair of eagles soaring above our area a number of times. There are many lessons we can learn from the eagle. God likens us to eagles (Isaiah 40:28-31) and Solomon gained a lot of... Read more →


The Fisherman and the Businessman

A holidaying American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish. "How long did it take you to catch them?" the American casually asked. "Oh, a few hours," the Mexican fisherman replied. "Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" the American businessman then asked. The Mexican warmly replied,... Read more →


The Devil's Most Effective Tool - Discouragement

The following fictitious story illustrates the power of discouragement. Once upon a time it was announced that the devil was going out of business and would sell all his equipment to those who were willing to pay the price. On the big day of the sale, all his tools were attractively displayed. There was Envy, Jealousy, Hatred, Malice, Deceit, Sensuality, Pride, Idolatry, and other implements of evil on display. Each of the tools was marked with its own price tag. Over in the corner by itself was a harmless-looking, wedge-shaped tool very much worn down, but still it bore a... Read more →


Is it time to De-Clutter Your Life?

Do you feel like your life is cluttered? Are you a hoarder? Do you have stuff everywhere and the piles are only getting bigger? Do you feel overwhelmed? Maybe it's time to de-clutter. For some assistance, why not check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary method for simplifying, organising, and storing. Here are the main take away ideas: The art of tidying requires discarding first (things that have outlived their purpose), then organising (the remaining... Read more →


Max Conlon - Aboriginal Artist

Last weekend, as part of our Australians Together focus, we were privileged to host Max and Tracey Conlon at CityLife Church. They are indigenous Australian church leaders who founded Walkabout Ministry. They travel and minister to many of the isolated indigenous communities across our nation. Max was raised amongst 14 siblings in the Cherbourg Aboriginal settlement in south east Queensland and is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi/Kullali tribes. Max is an established artist and has been painting for 35 years. He has travelled extensively with exhibitions of his work in Dubai, Japan, Korea and a number of European cities.... Read more →


The Blessings of Aging

In a culture that idolises youth, it's easy to lose the value and joy of aging. Yet, wisdom says: "The glory of young men is their strength; gray hair the splendor of the old (Proverbs 20:29)." Having turned 50 years of age not long ago, I know what it's like to start to feel your own frailty. Those double digit birthdays can definitely take a significant mental and emotional toll on us. Thankfully, we are all aging at the same rate. The Huffington Post recently posted the following article by Sister Joan Chittister. There's some good wisdom here for us.... Read more →


World Animal Day (October 4th)

Okay, so today is World Animal Day. World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Since then, World Animal Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them. It's celebrated in different ways in every country. Personally, I love animals and think we should show tender love and... Read more →


Like an Eagle ...

During my sabbatical last year, I saw an eagle on at least five different occasions. The first time was a huge wedge-tailed eagle that flew near the tree tops not far from our house while we were on a walk. The others I saw while travelling in various places. Eagles are so beautiful and majestic to watch, flying in an almost effortless fashion. To me the eagle represents God calling me to a higher life, resting in him, soaring on the wings of the Spirit, seeing life from his perspective, and riding far above the winds of adversity. What are... Read more →


Australia's Population Reaches 23 Million People

The 23 millionth Australian, due to arrive this week, could be a baby called Jack or even a young Pom. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the nation's population is set to hit 23 million people on April 23 at 9.57pm (AEST), but there's only a 40 per cent chance he or she will be home grown. Migrants make up 60 per cent of Australia's population growth and the UK accounts for one in five arrivals. If number 23,000,000 is born locally, there's a slightly better chance of it being a boy, with 105 males born for every 100 females,... Read more →