Personal Development

As you think about the power of priorities, just for fun, think about these principles: 20% of our time produces 80% of our results. 20% of our relationships produce 80% of our happiness and meaning. 20% the customers make up 80% of the sales. 20% of the people take up 80% of our time. 20% of our products produces 80% of the profit. 20% of the book contains 80% of the content. 20% of the presentation produces 80% of the impact. 20% of the people donate 80% of the money. 20% of the people do 80% of the work. 20% of the volunteers do 80% of the work. 20% of the leaders have 80% of the influence. 20% of the... Read more →

“Most major goals are not achieved because we spend time doing second things first.” Robert J McKain “You cannot overestimate the unimportance of practically everything.” John Maxwell “The art of being wise is the art of knowing what to overlook.” William James. Knowing what is important (our priorities) and focusing our time and efforts on these things is a key to greater productivity and effective leadership. Yet these are two of the most difficult things to get people to do. Conventional thinking is linear and assumes that all activities and tasks are equally important. But research reveals that not all work produces the same level of results. In fact, there is a universal imbalance between effort (input) and reward (output.... Read more →

God’s kingdom is often described in an organic way and is seen as growing larger and stronger (Mark 4:26-29. Luke 13:18-19). The church is also seen as growing and maturing (Ephesians 4:15-16). Individual followers of Christ are also called to grow in their relationship to God (Colossians 1:9-10; 2:6-7). 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 a roadmap or at least a loose guide for their journey of faith. In their insightful book, The Critical Journey, authors Robert Guelich and Janet Hagberg, propose the following six stages: Stages in the Life of Faith 1. Recognition of God. This... Read more →

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 who won a silver medal at the Olympics. Treasure every moment that you have ... and treasure it more because... Read more →

Seek first the kingdom of God and all these things shall be added unto you (Jesus). Things which matter most must never be at the mercy of things which matter least. Good is the enemy of best. Establishing priorities is essential to life and ministry effectiveness. Not every task or project is created equal. The challenge is to put “first things first”. Basically, all of us spend our time in one of four ways, as illustrated in the Time Management Matrix. This matrix defines activities as “urgent” or “not urgent”, and “important or “not important”. Most people discover that they spend far too much time responding to the urgent crises of Quadrants I and III, escaping occasionally for survival to... Read more →

As a kid, I hated going to the dentist! The very smell of the dentist's office caused panic and nausea for me. Thankfully, I didn't need too many fillings growing up but I still dread the 'scale and clean' experience even as an adult. I'm so glad when it's over. We all know that flossing our teeth helps prevent tooth decay and makes those 'scale and clean' experiences much more bearable. I try to floss every few days but sometimes I drift and let it go for a few weeks. It's much harder then to clear those gaps between your teeth. I think flossing has spiritual and relational lessons for us. Imagine how much better life would be if we... Read more →

In most neighbourhoods today, there is a daily pattern: a garage door opens, a car drives out, and the occupants head to work. Later that day, the car returns, the garage door opens, and the car disappears. Nancy Whitney-Reiter notes that if an alien were to visit our planet, he or she might observe: "You know, these people are all living in boxes. Then they get in their box on wheels, drive to another box (their office), probably spend all day working in front of a box (their computer), then drive home again, disappear back into their box, and sit and watch a box (their televisions) all night." There are many benefits of getting outside. It clears our heads, the... Read more →

At the age of 30 (Luke 3:23), Jesus began turning his attention towards his ministry to the people His Father had sent him to. Jesus’ preparation for ministry included his baptism in water (Luke 3:21-23), his relationship with his Father, the empowerment of the Spirit (Luke 4:1-2), and his defeat of the devil and his temptations (Luke 4:3-13). Jesus prepared for 30 years for 3½ years of significant ministry. It has been said, that people today go to Bible College for 3½ years to prepare for 30 years of ministry. Proper preparation is essential. Anything significant is preceded by intensive and thorough preparation (often behind the scenes). Things just don't happen. In fact, the quality of the preparation determines the... Read more →

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 ahead. I had many more questions than answers: "Could I trust God? Would it work out? Would I regret leaving?"... Read more →

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 wisdom and insight from studying God's creation (1 Kings 4:29-34). Here are my main points: Embrace adversity. An eagle never... Read more →

The Denial (Mark 14:27-31, 66-72) The theme of abandonment overshadows many of the Stories Around the Cross. Jesus was abandoned by betrayal (Judas), by indifference (the disciples sleeping three times in Gethsemane), and by denial and desertion (Peter and the Twelve). When Jesus needed them the most, his friends left him alone. They all participated in the supper (Mark 14:23), they all confessed their allegiance (Mark 14:31), and yet they all deserted Jesus (Mark 14:50). Peter is as impetuous as ever – opening his mouth first and thinking afterwards. But he is hard to condemn and impossible to dislike. He has demonstrated nothing but reckless courage to this point - drawing his sword in the garden prepared to take on... Read more →

Here is some wisdom from Proverbs 4. Vs.1. Listen, my sons, to a father’s instruction; pay attention and gain understanding. Vs.4-5. Then he taught me, and he said to me, “Take hold of my words with all your heart; keep my commands, and you will live. Get wisdom, get understanding; do not forget my words or turn away from them." Vs.10. Listen, my son, accept what I say, and the years of your life will be many. Vs.13. Hold on to instruction, do not let it go; guard it well, for it is your life. Vs.20-21. My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them... Read more →

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, "With this I have more than enough to meet my family's needs." The businessman then became serious, "But what do... Read more →

Worry is a normal part of the human condition. Our minds naturally drift towards thinking about what could or is going wrong in our life or our world. Jesus understood this and addressed it (Matthew 6:25-34), as did the apostle Paul. When writing from prison to the church at Philippi, Paul said: Philippians 4:6-8. 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 I like the way the Message Bible translation words this: Philippians 4:6-8. Don't fret or worry. Instead of... Read more →

How is Your Race Going? 4. Are You Detoured? Sometimes we take a wrong turn. We're going the wrong way. We might even be lost. Even Jesus said that there is a wide road that seems attractive but it doesn’t always lead to life. Think of the prodigal Son who left home for the bright lights of the city only to end up in a pigsty. Thankfully, he came to his senses and made a decision to get back on the right road by returning home. Think of Jonah. He intentionally went the opposite direction that God told him to. A storm got his attention, not from the devil but one of his own making, with God seeking to get... Read more →

How is Your Race Going? 2. Are You Slowing Down? Maybe you are slowing down for various reasons. You could be tired or fatigued. You've been through a busy patch that has felt like running up a steep hill. Maybe you've been working too many long hours, running too fast for too long, and now have some 'adrenaline exhaustion'. You need some rest and a long drink. God understands this. That's why he created the Sabbath and integrated a rhythm of activity and rest into all of creation. You could be slowing down because you are uncertain. Maybe you are moving through some new territory and into changed conditions. You could be coming up to an intersection or a crossroads.... Read more →

As we begin the New Year together, it's a good time to reflect on our life - where have we come from, where are we now, and where are we going? Through the course of time, we all move through: age stages (child, teenager, young adult, adult, senior adult), faith stages (seeking, finding, growing, maturing), and seasons, with their beginnings and endings. One thing we know for sure - time is moving, and so is your life. This can be exciting and also sobering (see If Life Were a 24 Hour Clock, What Time Is it For You?). No wonder, Moses gave us this advice: Psalm 90:10-12. Our days may come to seventy years, or eighty, if our strength endures... Read more →

Proverbs 4:25-27 says (Message Bible translation): Keep your eyes straight ahead; ignore all sideshow distractions. Watch your step, and the road will stretch out smooth before you. Look neither right nor left; leave evil in the dust. Here is some good and helpful advice for life: 1. Look straight ahead. We need to have a clear vision and direction for our lives. Know where you are going. This requires time aside in prayer and reflection about God's will for our life and the options we have available to us. There are many things we could do or places we could go, but what will we decide to do with the one life we have? What does God have in store... Read more →

In order for us to live the joy-filled life God desires for us, we need to be on guard for joy robbers. This takes some work. It doesn't happen by just saying, “Don't worry, be happy”. We need a strategy. 1. Overcome Irritations with PATIENCE. We can't avoid irritations coming our way. We have to learn to handle them. Thankfully, in-between what happens to us and how we respond or react, we have a choice to make. Jesus' brother James put it like this: James 1:19-20. My dear brothers and sister, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, for man's anger does not bring about the righteous life that... Read more →

Christmas is probably a distant memory for most of us now but it is good to be reminded of the core message that it brought - one of "good news of great joy for all the people" (Luke 2:10) because of the arrival of Jesus as the long-awaited Messiah. The One who would bring salvation and make forgiveness possible, restoring our relationship with God and making the world right again. Joy is a major theme not only of the Gospel of Luke but of the entire biblical narrative. The Psalmists regularly call out for rejoicing, singing, and gladness of heart (Psalm 16:11; 32:11; 68:3; 110:1; 149:2, 5). The prophets predict everlasting joy for God's people, with gladness and joy overtaking... Read more →

When was the last time you laughed? I mean, really laughed? One of those big belly laughs that goes on and on and brings tears to your eyes. If you are lucky it was in the last couple of days but if you are like most people you have been so busy trying to get ahead or attending to your TO DO list that laughter isn't as familiar as it once was. Children laugh on average up to 300 times a day. Adults, about 17 times. That's a huge difference in our level of happiness. Obviously, age is a factor as kids don't have the same level of concerns and responsibilities that we do. But part of why they laugh... Read more →

All of us have tasks we want to get done or projects we are working on. Keeping a record of them all in one place is really important. The most popular method is a task or project list, which can be looked at regularly then items are ticked off when completed. But what if you are more of a visual person? The Kanban (meaning 'signboard' or 'billboard') project management method was invented by Japanese engineers to create a logical workflow system. Over time the concept has been adapted for use by organisations, workteams or individuals. The method involves (1) visualising your workflow by using a board to diagram all your tasks/projects, (2) limiting your work-in-progress to a minimum, and (3)... Read more →

In a few days time, we'll be into a New Year - 2016. The year 2015 will be history - water under the bridge. At transition times like this between years, it's beneficial to pause, take some time aside and think about your life. Someone once said, "The unexamined life is not worth living" and Moses prayed to God , "Teach us to number our days that we may present to you a heart of wisdom (Psalm 90:12)." Over the years, I have written a variety of BLOG posts designed to assist you in this process. Check out a few of these links below. I'm sure you'll find some helpful insights or questions for your own life. Here's to an... Read more →

Habits are what we do habitually, automatically or without thinking. They are very powerful! An old poem puts it like this: Sow a thought, reap an act Sow an act, reap a habit Sow a habit, reap a character Sow a character, reap a destiny. A lot of new research has emerged of late about not only the power of habits but about the difficulty we experience in breaking bad habits and establishing new healthy habits. One of the keys to developing new habits is to have some accountability for the goals or rituals you are seeking to embed in your life. This could be a friend that checks up on you or even better an App that can be... Read more →

As we prepare to move into a new year, I am sure we all face various circumstances that are beyond our control. Sometimes what we need is actually not more power but more clarity. Three times in the Gospels, Jesus was approached by someone obviously needing healing and he said to them, "What do you want me to do for you?" Jesus assumed nothing but asked them to declare what they wanted. Maybe their greatest need was clarity. What do you really want? Not what do other people want for you? We all know that many other people have a wonderful plan for our lives! What do YOU want? What are the desires God has put within your heart? Although... Read more →

Insights from Paul’s Life Journey The Bible was written by real people as they were inspired by the Holy Spirit to record stories that would be of benefit to our lives. Today, we will glean some lessons from the the life of the apostle Paul, using our SOAP devotional format (Acts 20:13-38). Here are my Observations: 1. Life is a Journey with Many Seasons Paul grew up as a strict Pharisee, committed to his Jewish faith and its legal requirements. After encountering Jesus on the road to Damascus (Acts 9), his life was radically changed and he became an apostle to the Gentiles, sharing the gospel of Jesus to people from every strata of society. He ended up basing at... Read more →

Do you feel like a chapter is coming to an end in some area of your life? Maybe that is just what is needed in order for God to begin something new for you? Life is lived in seasons and seasons are made up of endings and new beginnings. This coming weekend at CityLife, I will share a message with some insights into how to navigate these transitions well, which includes learning to let go of the past and move forward into the future God has for us. Quotes "There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the heavens.” Ecclesiates 3:1 “True life success is doing the very best you can at where you are... Read more →

“What is God’s will for my life?” This is probably the most commonly asked question by Christians today. Paul addresses this matter (Eph.5:17-19) and tells us that wise people know God’s will, seize opportunities and invest their time wisely. Foolish people don’t know God’s will, they miss opportunities and they waste their time. God does have a will – a sense of purpose; intentions and desires; thoughts and plans. He also calls us to be a part of his purpose (2 Tim.1:9). The good news is that God wants us to know His will so we can then get on with doing it. He does not want to hide it from us (Col.1:9. Jn.10:27). Wrong Approaches to God’s Will Knowing... Read more →

The new year begins in only 5 weeks time, ready or not! I am sure you have a long list of things to do before then and I don't want to stress you out by adding to that list. However, here are 5 very important things that are well worth the investment of your time: 1. Reflect Experience isn't the greatest teacher, only experience that is reflected on. Reflection helps us gain insight from our life so we don't repeat the same patterns and fail to learn the lessons God has for us. Take some time to reflect on your life, on the year that is about to finish, on what God may be saying to you, and about the... Read more →

Have you ever noticed that there is so much to learn and so little time! We live in an age of informaiton overload. We don't lack knowledge, just the ability to process it sufficiently and make meaning out of it all. Learning how to read more effectively can be a help as can book summaries. Recently, I came across an App called Blinkist. Blinkist takes great works of non-fiction and distills them into powerful, made-for-mobile units. The blinks, 2-minute-reads built around memorable key messages, give you the main concepts of an entire book in 15 minutes. Choose audio or text. Why not try their 3 day trial and see how you like it. Just sign up for 3 days of... Read more →

Have you ever been on a scary roller-coaster ride? Your blood pressure is up, your heart is racing fast, and your stomach is feeling wheezy! In the midst of the thrill of it all, the joy is in knowing how it will end … as you safely return to terra firma. Life can be a lot like that. There are ups and downs, highs and lows, moments of stress and moments of peace. The joy is in knowing what’s ahead. Jesus’ brother James puts it this way: Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. So... Read more →