Personal Development

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 →


Dealing with Depression (Part 9)

Establish Supportive Relationships The final lesson we learn from the story of Elijah is to establish supportive relationships. You will notice that Elijah had left his servant just prior to this episode of depression and during this entire incident, he was alone. Look at the story again. Elijah was afraid and fled for his life. He went to Beersheba, a town in Judah, and he left his servant there. Then he went on alone into the wilderness, traveling all day. He sat down under a solitary broom tree and prayed that he might die. “I have had enough, Lord,” he... Read more →


Dealing with Depression (Part 8)

Provoke Yourself to Action To break free from depression we first honour our body and then we observe our thinking. The next step is to provoke ourselves to action. Here is what God said next to Elijah. Then the Lord told (Elijah), “Go back the same way you came, and travel to the wilderness of Damascus. When you arrive there, anoint Hazael to be king of Aram. Then anoint Jehu son of Nimshi to be king of Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from the town of Abel-meholah to replace you as my prophet. Anyone who escapes from Hazael... Read more →


Dealing with Depression (Part 7)

Observe Your Thinking The next step in dealing with depression is to observe your thinking. Let’s keep reading the story. There (Elijah) came to a cave, where he spent the night. But the Lord said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?” (1 Kings 19:9) After the angel attended to Elijah’s physical well-being, God met personally with Elijah. In the course of conversation, God asked Elijah a question – “What are you doing here?” We need to understand that when God asks a question, it is not because he lacks information. In the garden, when God said, “Adam, where... Read more →


Dealing with Depression (Part 5)

Let us look a bit more in depth at one person in Bible times that went through an incredible battle with depression. His name is Elijah. Yes, the great prophet Elijah. Elijah was a prophet in Israel during the time of King Ahab. Ahab was far from God and most of the nation was worshipping a foreign god by the name of Baal. Elijah preached during this time and there had been no rain for three years because of God’s judgment on the people’s rebellion. Elijah then called for a confrontation. He told the people that they had to make... Read more →


Dealing with Depression (Part 4)

Biblical Examples of Depression God is very interested in the practical areas of our life, including emotions such as depression. If you look up at the word ‘depression’ in a concordance, you will not find many verses in the Bible on depression, but the concept of discouragement, despair, low mood, and depression are mentioned frequently throughout. In fact, some of the heroes of the faith experienced depression. Consider the man Job and listen to what he had to say: "Oh, that I might have my request, that God would grant my desire. I wish he would crush me. I wish... Read more →


Dealing with Depression (Part 2)

Symptoms of Depression Depression is a complex subject, as it can take on many different forms and it has a variety of causes, as well as symptoms. Unlike a physical injury or illness, depression is hard to ‘see’, but it is no less painful or difficult to work through. Depression affects people in a wide variety of different ways. Symptoms of depression may include a negative change in thought, in mood, or in behaviour. Depression can happen to everyone in varying degrees or levels - from mild (feeling ‘down’) to very serious (even becoming suicidal). When it comes to a... Read more →


Dealing with Depression (Part 1)

Back in 2002, I went through what could be called an emotional valley. It took everything within me to get through the day. Each appointment, meeting, task or project seemed like an insurmountable mountain that I had to somehow climb. I was relieved when something was over and I did not experience much joy or pleasure during any of these activities. It was like a cloud had settled in over my heart and mind. Everything was bleak, like someone had closed the window shutters. In the natural, nothing was going wrong. My family life was good, as was work and... Read more →


Prison Break: Finding Personal Freedom

The BLOG posts from the last few days about worry are a summary of a chapter entitled "Freedom from Worry" in the best-selling book Prison Break: Finding Personal Freedom. The rest of the book contains similar practical teaching about: Freedom from Fear Freedom from Anger Freedom from Depression Freedom from Rejection Freedom from Addictions Freedom from Spiritual Bondages You can purchase a paperback version of this book from WORD Australia OR a digital eBook version from Amazon. The eBook version can be read on the Kindle APP which is available for FREE for all devices (phones, tablets, etc) and operation... Read more →


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 →