Personal Development

Navigating the Stages of Faith

A few years ago, I wrote about stages of the life of faith. I have been thinking about this again recently and I strongly believe that this is an insightful way to view our faith in and relationship to God. I have edited the number of stages and their names, as well as some of the descriptions as I prepare to speak about this at a church leaders' conference next week. Personal and spiritual growth occurs over a period of time and always involves a process that is very much like a journey. Many people find it helpful to have... Read more →


NEW Book Release: "Money Talks: Practical Principles for Becoming Financially Free"

I am excited to announce the release of a new book I have written called Money Talks: Practical Wisdom for Becoming Financially Free. Those of us who live in the Western world live in some of the richest countries on the planet yet, despite this fact, many people are under financial pressure. In this book, I share practical principles for becoming financially free and living wisely with the resources we have. Learn fresh insights about earning, saving, investing, debt reduction and spending wisely. The book also includes extra material on alleviating poverty, church finances, fundraising and the purpose of business.... Read more →


Bridging the Knowing-Doing Gap

I love learning new things. In fact, I can become obsessive with new ideas, leading to me becoming the 'expert' in my family about everything and anything. Yes, I'm a maven for new information. Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved books. In fact, when my parents visited friend’s house, after dinner I’d love to sit by their bookshelf and browse through the encyclopedias, reading on a wide range of topics and subjects. [Hint: looking back into your childhood can tell you a lot about your gifts and passions!] As I’ve grown older I’ve come to realise that knowledge... Read more →


My Experience with Burnout

My first encounter with burnout was back in 2002. I experienced what I would call an ‘emotional valley’ that lasted for about 6 months. I wasn’t sure what was wrong with me but it took everything within me just to make it through the next meeting, the next appointment or the next project. My mood was higher when something was done, rather than when I was leading up to it or during the event or experience. I felt overwhelmed a lot of the time and didn’t have the energy to think much beyond what was right in front of me.... Read more →


Do Your Best

Quite coincidently, I heard a similar statement from two different people in two different places over the last week. It went something like this: “Don’t try to be the best, simply do your best.” That’s quite thought-provoking, isn’t it. We live in a competitive, dog-eat-dog world today. Everyone is trying to out-do the next person. We all want to be number one. Get to the front of the line. The top of the class. It's a call to excellence. After all, winning isn’t everything, it's the only thing. Or so they tell us. But this can leave us all incredibly... Read more →


Flight Mode

I was travelling overseas recently and as the airplane took off the pilot reminded us to turn our phones off or put them in 'flight mode'. Flight mode suspends radio-frequency signal transmission on the device, thereby disabling Bluetooth, telephony, and Wi-Fi. As a result, during this time you can't receive any incoming phone calls, messages or email or surf the Internet. In some ways, this is nice. Could 'offline' could be the new nirvana!? Finally, no more inflow of things interrupting us and needing our attention ... at least for a while. [Of course, some airplanes are now offering wi-fi... Read more →


Can You Teach Someone to be Teachable?

I was in Perth recently speaking at a church there and I had a great question from a young leader at the break between two of my sessions with the church staff team: "Can you teach someone to be teachable?" I had to stop and think about that one. What an insightful question. If someone is not teachable, can you teach them? Probably not ... but I started to think about ways that you can help people recognise their need to learn from others. During our conversation, I shared the following example which I heard many years ago ... Imagine... Read more →


Life Change

Life change and character development take place best in the context of relationships. For example, when our three children were growing up, I noticed that when they are 'alone', such as on a date with me, each of them had the ability to be extremely angelic. However, when they were ‘together’, especially in the backseat of our car, something demonic seemed to emerge! “He hit me, … she hit me first… he’s looking out my window … no, I’m not … she’s ignoring me, dad … he ignored me first … etc, etc.” You get the picture! Yet it was... Read more →


How's Your Passion?

In the world we live in, passion is often a key to success and impact. In a research study of over 500 top performers from all areas of work, the arts and sports, this statement was made, “No two were alike, but the one quality they had in common was passion. It was their drive, their enthusiasm, their desire that distinguished them.” Another study of great people was done looking for essential qualities of their success. It wasn't intelligence (75% of U.S. presidents were in the lower half of their class, 50% of Fortune 500 CEO's averaged C- in school... Read more →


Becoming Childlike ... Again

When you were a kid, what excited you? What were you interested in? What gave you a buzz? What made you feel at home? The apostle Paul talked about putting away 'childish things' when he grew up and became a man (1 Corinthians 13:11). But there is a big difference between being 'childish' and 'childlike'. He definitely wasn't taking about not having fun, losing a sense of adventure or of becoming boringly serious! In fact, Jesus said that unless we become like a child we will never enter the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 18:1-3). Yes, we are to grow in... Read more →


Go With Your Strengths!

Have you ever heard some enthusiastic, optimist person spout statements such as, “You can be anything you want to be” or “What you believe, you can achieve!” As nice as these kind of grandiose motivators may sound, they are not true. You can’t be anything you want to be nor can you do anything you want to do. Yes, we all have strengths and great potential but we also have limitations and weaknesses - things we are not very good at. Accepting this reality and working within it is a part of finding joy and fulfilment in life. Some of... Read more →


10 Tips for Being More Productive

I love achievement - getting things done. There is a certain joy and sense of satisfaction in ticking off a job on my task list. Because of this, I am always looking for ways to get more done in a day and to be more productive. I do this by talking to other high achieving people and reading books or articles on productivity. Here are my Top 10 Recent Learnings about Productivity: 1. Know the outcomes or results you desire for the year ahead. If you aim at nothing, you will be sure to hit it. Activity is not accomplishment.... Read more →


What's for Dinner?

So, what's for dinner? It's a question that comes up most days in most families. Personally, I love good food and I have always eaten plenty of it. As a kid growing up, my mother didn't let my sister or me leave the family dinner table until our plate was cleared. It's a habit I still have to this day. In fact, I have been known to help other people finish their plate too! Over the years, I have developed a taste for all kinds of food and, after marrying Nicole over 30 years ago, my appreciation for different types... Read more →


Making the Most of a New Year

Well, here we are - a new year! It's 2018 now and 2017 is in the history books. My, how time is flying. Anyone remember Y2K!? The turn of the century sure had its share of sensationalist debates about the future. Almost two decades on, we are still here and our world continues to be full off challenges ... and opportunities. So how do you make the most of a new year? At the beginning of any new year, I have found it very helpful to do three things: 1. Look Back. The famous Greek philosopher, Socrates, once said that... Read more →


Your Story Building Project (Part 1)

Not only is the church God's story building project, you individually are also. The apostle Paul puts it this way: 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies. NIV You as an individual person are the temple or dwelling place of God. Through the Holy Spirit, He lives inside of you. You are his home - his house. Often at church services, we hear people... Read more →


God's Story Building Project

Most churches I have been a part of over the years have undergone a building project or extension at some time. Of course, a church is not a building nor is a building ever meant to be the vision or the focus. After all, buildings don't change people's lives but what happens in them can and does. When the building project is finished, it is easy to think that the work is done. But in reality, the work is only just beginning. Buildings are a tool to continue to carry out the mission of the church. Not only do churches... Read more →


Is it Halftime for You?

I came across the best-selling book Halftime: Changing Your Game Plan from Success to Significance by Bob Buford in my late 30s. I loved the concepts but I was busy chasing 'success' as a young pastor of a large church in Melbourne, Australia. By my late 40s, I was what other people considered 'successful', as our church had grown by 5 times in size - from 1, 000 people attending church services each weekend to 5,000 people attending. But I was tired, very tired. During a 3 month sabbatical in early 2012, I travelled to Dallas, USA with a business... Read more →


A Pain in the Back

I was in agony. I couldn't move. As I lay on my bed, the pain down my back and through my right upper leg and calf muscles was so great that I didn't think I would get through it. Eventually, I rolled very carefully to the side of my bed and somehow managed to get up ... very slowly. What was happening to me? It was January this year. I had overdone it with lifting a month earlier - moving house and moving a heap of boxes (762!) of my dad's books with the help of my son Josiah and... 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 →


Dealing with Depression (Part 10)

Hope for the Future The amazing thing about Elijah is that, despite his incredible bout of depression, he continued to minister. God helped him to honour his physical body, he learnt to observe his thinking then renew his mind, God provoked him to action, and then God moved him back into relationship. Elijah lived on. In fact, what is quite humorous is that the biblical record tells us Elijah never died, even though he experienced a suicidal episode. How good is that! Apparently, he went straight up to heaven. When you feel depressed, it can seem as if you will... Read more →