No Worries! (Part 6)

Conclusion As you can see from our recent conversation about worry, there are two things not worth worrying about: Those you can do something about. Those you can't do something about. Simply take action on the former and trust God and pray about the latter. In other words, don't worry about anything! WHY break free from worry? First of all, it doesn't help us at all, unless it leads us to action. Secondly, it takes away our joy. You can't worry and be joyful at the same time! And finally, worry causes us to be consumed and preoccupied with our... Read more →


No Worries! (Part 5)

Place Your Trust in God Now let's be honest, there are some things on our list of worries that we can't take action on. They are truly beyond our control. Yes, we can pray about them but we can't do anything about them. What do we do about that? This is where we can make a choice to place our trust in God. The wisdom of Proverbs puts it this way (Proverbs 3:5-6): "Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you... Read more →


No Worries! (Part 4)

Offer a Prayer to God In addition to taking action on our worries, we can also pray and talk to God about our concerns. The apostle Paul wrote this in a letter to some people living in the city of Philippi the first century (Philippians 4:6-7): "Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus." NLT Sounds like Paul must have heard... Read more →


No Worries! (Part 3)

Okay, what next? Take action on your worries As you look over your list of worries (you did this yesterday, didn't you?), ask yourself, "Can I do anything about this?" Turn your worries into actions. Re-define them as problems and come up with solutions for each one of them. Then crowd out your worries by actually working on them. After all, worry can be useful ... IF it gets your attention and motivates you to action. If the fuel light on your car dashboard is flashing red, don't worry about running out of petrol (or 'gas', for my American friends)... Read more →


No Worries! (Part 2)

Yesterday, we noted that Jesus tells us to STOP worrying. He doesn't tell us HOW to do so, so obviously he wants us to use our common sense and life experience to figure it out. Here are some practical ways I have found that we can actually do that on a day to day basis, using the acronym STOP. Specify your worries. Ask yourself, "What am I worried about?" Often, worry becomes this dark cloud of vague concern that hovers over our mind, ruining our day. That's why it pays to define your worries. Make a list. Get them all... Read more →


No Worries! (Part 1)

One of the great Australian greetings is, "No worries!" The truth is, we do worry a lot. And let's face it, there is a lot to worry about. We can worry about our health, about our family, our relationships, our money, the weather, our career or job, whether our football team is going to make the finals, and about the future. Then, of course, there are all the global concerns - the economy, the environment, global warming, politics, and the growing threat of terrorism. That's a lot of worry fodder! I have found that the more we worry, the worse... Read more →


The Book of Job and the Question of Suffering (Part 3)

Today, we conclude our reflections on the book of Job. What the book of Job CAN do for us: 1. It teaches us to be careful and compassionate in how we respond to people who are suffering. When people are suffering, they don’t need theological debates (“maybe this is an attack from the devil”), personal accusations (“maybe God is punishing you for sin in your life”) or advice for a ‘quick fix’ to their calamity (“if only you had more faith in God …”). They need our empathy, our support, and our friendship. In the end, Job’s friends became his... Read more →


The Book of Job and the Question of Suffering (Part 2)

Today, we continue our reflections on the book of Job. What the book of Job does NOT do for us: 1. It does not answer the question as to 'why' there is suffering in the world today. Theodicy (the search for the origin and nature of suffering and evil) remains an unsolved mystery. Suffering is not merely a theological or philosophical problem, it is a human problem that no one is immune to, though some people suffer more than others. Yes, God does intend our good (Romans 8:28) but that doesn't mean that we will always figure out how our... Read more →


The Book of Job and the Question of Suffering (Part 1)

Over the last few months, I have been slowly reading through the book of Job in The Message Bible translation, reflecting on it, and also reading John Walton's excellent commentary on Job in the NIV Application Commentary series, as well as Tremper Longman III's book on Job in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms. The book of Job is a 'classic' in ancient literature and one of the most intriguing books in the Bible. It outlines the story of a man named Job who was one of the wealthiest people in the ancient Near East. Suddenly,... Read more →


Weight Loss Tips

I'm not a doctor nor am I an expert on weight loss, by any means. However, I do know what it is to be skinny and I do know what it is to be overweight. I definitely prefer the former to the latter. I'll never forget one day when I was carrying in a bag of oranges from the car after a grocery shop with my wife, Nicole. She noted that that one bag of oranges weighed 3 kilograms. Being overweight just 3 kgs is like carrying that bag of oranges around ... all the time. It saps your energy... Read more →


Weight Loss Musings

As a teenager, I was as skinny as a rake. Even my bones stuck out of my shoulders. This often led to questions or laughs from both friends and strangers anytime I took my shirt off, like when swimming. I could also eat like a horse. My dad used to jokingly say that if you were looking for the 'bottomless pit', I was it. I remember never being full. I could eat and eat endlessly. And did I mention that I was skinny? We lived in Portland, Oregon at the time and there was this restaurant called Farrell's Ice Cream... Read more →


A Bigger World

I hope you enjoyed John O'Donohoe's poem, For A New Beginning. It really resonated with me, mainly because of the changes and transitions that Nicole and I have navigated over these last few years. Back in October 2015, I was at Phillip Island with some pastors on a two-day retreat. Early one morning I went for a walk on the beach and down to an area where there is a heap of rock pools. I took the photo below on my iPhone. You can see in the foreground this beautiful rock pool which is a complete eco-system, teeming with life.... Read more →


For a New Beginning

My wife, Nicole, just returned from a week's Silent Retreat on the beautiful Bellarine Penisula in Victoria. The dogs (we have two - Oscar, the kindest labrador you've ever met, and Nikki, the naughtiest, yet smartest pugalier ever to enter the world) and I managed to survive while Nicole was away. In fact, we had a lot of fun and I enjoyed the time to work in the garden, watch some sport, hone my cooking skills, read a lot, and do a heap of office tasks and projects. While away, Nicole sent me this poem by Irish poet, author and... 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 Greatest Love Song of All Time (Pt.2)

Hopefully, you’ve had a chance to read through the Song of Songs - an extraordinary love poem. How can we apply the insights from this love poem to our own lives today? What efforts are you making to keep the romance of your love relationship alive? What things can you do to cultivate a greater desire for the one who you love? In what ways can you further affirm the value and dignity of the opposite sex/gender? Wisdom calls us to loving and exclusive commitment, not to a rampant promiscuity which turns sex into a mere commodity. Read Proverbs 5:15-19... Read more →


The Greatest Love Song of All Time (Pt.1)

Everyone likes love songs. They fill the radio waves throughout the day. I can still remember enjoying the crooning voice of Lionel Richie singing "Hello, is it me you're looking for?" in my late teens. There is something deeply profound about the desire and yearning of one person for another. We call it love. The Bible contains many diverse types of literature, including poems, prophecies, narratives and of course, songs. The book of Psalms is literally a psalter, or collection of songs, expressing the full range of emotions of the human heart. But then we have that small little book... Read more →


Easter Reflections

The signs of Easter are all around us - cooler weather, school holidays, an upcoming long weekend, hot cross buns and extra church services to cater to people's faith which comes in all shapes and sizes. For many people, it is also a time to reflect on some important events that took place over 2,000 years ago - the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. No doubt, this is the foundation of the Christian faith. If Christ did not die and rise again, then our faith is useless (1 Corinthians 15:13-14). The Gospels all tell us WHAT happened during... Read more →


The Quest for Life's Meaning (3)

Ecclesiastes is a controversial book - is it a positive affirmation of the joy of life or a deeply pessimistic view of the world? Either way, it resonates deeply with the existential struggles of people today. The book takes us on a roller-coaster ride as the main character sets out to explore the meaning of life. We too are to wrestle actively with the difficult questions and real issues of life. Throughout the Quester’s journey, there is a constant tension between the 'utterly enigmatic' nature of life as he discovers it under the sun and the call to 'seize the... Read more →