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 →


The Quest for Life's Meaning (Pt.2)

The book of Ecclesiastes is a fine piece of inspired literary work, carefully crafted to convey an important message about the quest for the meaning of life. There is a Narrator who frames this royal story (1:1-11 and 12:8-14), a story which is made up of the actual words and thoughts of someone we will refer to as the Quester (1:12 - 12:7). The Quester is also called the Preacher, the Teacher, the Wise Man or Qohelet (Hebrew for 'preacher’). Solomon is the stated identity of the Quester (1:1) but some biblical scholars now choose a later date and see... Read more →


The Quest for Life's Meaning (Pt.1)

Every since I was a kid, I have loved books. Whether it was visiting the local library, hanging out in my dad’s office, or sitting reading encyclopaedias while my parents were visiting with friends, books were a doorway to a world of experience, information and knowledge. Books awakened in me a passion for learning and discovering new ideas about anything and everything. My fascination for books drew me to the Bible. The Bible is an amazing book, or more accurately, a collection of stories, writings, songs, poems and prophecies. Like a huge library, the diversity throughout the various books of... 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 →


Another Work Week ...

As we come to the end of the weekend (a long one for those living in Victoria and Tasmania, Australia), another work week awaits for most people. It is interesting that in the ancient Hebrew mindset, the day begins in the evening - with rest (see Genesis 1 where it repeatedly says "... and the evening and the morning were the first day"). We are to fill our tank (with physical, emotional, mental and spiritual energy) and then work from this position of fullness. This is in stark contrast to the common Western worldview that sees the evening or the... Read more →


Reflections on Midlife

In my recent farewell address, I noted how differently you see life at age 55 compared to your early 20s and 30s. When you are young, you think you will live forever! But life and time do move quickly. The stages of life seem to progress with increasing speed: childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, midlife, mature adulthood and late adulthood and before you know it, the end of life is in sight. Yes, it's a sobering thought. As we move into another weekend, why not take some time aside, find a quiet place, and reflect on your own life. Where have... Read more →


My Farewell Address: The Meaning of Life

What does one say in a farewell address? In biblical times, we have a record of parting words from people such as Jacob (Genesis 49:1-33), Joseph (Genesis 50:24-26), Moses (Deuteronomy 31:1 - 32:47), Joshua (Joshua 24:22-28), David (1Chronicles 29:10-20), Jesus (Matthew 28:18-20 and John 13-17) and Paul (Acts 20:18-25). In modern times, we can consider the farewell speeches of kings, presidents and prime ministers, as well as sports personalities, actors and entertainers. Whether it's Michael Scott saying 'goodbye' on the TV series The Office, Truman exiting The Truman Show (“In case I don't see you, good afternoon, good evening and... Read more →


The Stresses of Church Work

I would never suggest that pastors and church leaders work harder than other people ... but church work has its unique challenges and pressures. Here are five of them: 1. Ministry work is never done. It is open ended. There is never full closure. There is always more to do. It just keeps coming at you - day after day, week after week. There are no finish lines. Finish one counselling appointment and there's another one coming. Get through last weekend and there's another one coming. Preach that sermon and you'll need to start preparing the next one - and... Read more →


What's Next?

After you say goodbye, what's next? What’s Next for Me I’ve been on church staff for the last 32 years and led the worship ministry as a volunteer for 5 years before that … so that's 37 years of continuous leadership responsibility. You can’t question my commitment :) Now that I am finished with my Senior Minister staff role, I will take a few months off - a rest, a 'drinks break', a sabbath. On top of the full array of regular Sunday church services over the last 30-40 years, I've been involved in Saturday night church services for 18... Read more →


Time to Say Goodbye

Last weekend was my final weekend speaking at CityLife Church as it's Senior Minister. It was a very emotional time for both Nicole and myself, but with a real sense of celebration of all that God has done. We are deeply grateful for the many words of encouragement, 'thank you' notes, gifts (I felt like a Christmas tree!), and the parting love offering from the congregation. Thanks to Peter Sheahan and the Board of Elders, as well as Peter Leigh and Daljit Gill for arranging all of this. We felt very honoured. It has been an honour and a privilege... Read more →


Who have you been eating with?

One day Jesus was having dinner at the home of one of the top Pharisees (the religious leaders of his day). As always, there was some lively and interesting conversation around the dinner table. Near the end of this meal, this happened ... Luke 14:12-14. Jesus turned to the host. "The next time you put on a dinner, don't just invite your friends and family and rich neighbors, the kind of people who will return the favor. Invite some people who never get invited out, the misfits from the wrong side of the tracks. You'll be — and experience —... Read more →


The Story of Your Life

I love the idea of life being like a story. History itself is a narrative of the story of the human race of which we are all a part. Within that grander story, 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?... Read more →


Trinity

A few years ago, when I was on a week-long prayer and silent retreat, I had just finished dinner and I walked out to the retreat centre's garden area. A lot of it was over-grown and unkept but there were some beautiful spots. Great places to sit, meditate, reflect and pray. I had this image of being invited into fellowship with the Trinity. I put 3 chairs in a semi-circle in front of where I was sitting - one for the Father, one for the Son, and one for the Spirit. It was quite impacting. I could feel their warmth... Read more →


Time

Good morning, everyone. It's hard to believe it, but Christmas is over and the new year is well underway. I've just returned to work after 3 week's of holidays and I only have 6 more weeks before I finish up in my role as Senior Minister as CityLife Church. I turned 55 years of age back in October and for me, time seems to be moving faster as life goes on. I was reflecting on this one morning last week and put a few words together around the theme of 'time' - in my amateur form of poetry. Have a... Read more →


Are You Ready for the New Year?

Well, Christmas 2016 is done and dusted. Now it’s time to prepare to enter a new year. During transitional seasons such as this, it’s always good to stop and do three things: Reflect, Review and Re-calibrate. Firstly, reflect on the year that is about to finish. What happened? What went as expected? What surprises came your way? What are you thankful for? What pain did you experience? What will you be glad to put behind you? Secondly, review. What did you learn? We sometimes believe that we learn from experience but this is not necessarily true. It is easy to... Read more →


Merry Christmas (2016)

Merry Christmas! Last weekend, I participated in my final Christmas Carols production at the church where I have served for over 30 years. It was a fun time together - singing carols, listening to our amazing singers, musicians and creative teams inspire us, watching the bright-eyed children, and sharing about Jesus as THE gift we all need at Christmas. I do pray that you have an enjoyable Christmas and holiday season. It's been a joy to share with you via this BLOG through the year and I look forward to what is yet to come as we continue on this... Read more →


The Finish Line

Today was my last official day of work for 2016. I spoke at all 5 of our church's Christmas carols presentations this weekend. It was a lot of fun and it was great to see so many people there, especially so many visitors. It's now 2 months and 8 days till I finish up in my role as Senior Minister of our church. That's 70 days all up but once you take out holidays and some days off, I only have 31 days of actual work left. That's hard to believe! Especially after being employed for 32 years at the... Read more →


What Would Jesus Say to Santa Claus?

It's hard to believe we are just 10 sleeps away from Christmas! I really enjoy the Christmas season. It's a time to enjoy family and friends, way too much delicious food, some time off and a reminder of God's greatest gift to our world - Jesus Christ. Of course, most followers of Jesus know that Jesus probably wasn't born on 25th December. No shepherd worth their salt would have their sheep out in the fields in the northern hemisphere at that time of year! And we know that Christmas has a lot of trappings that had nothing to do with... Read more →