Think About It

Generally speaking, there are two types of people in the world – pessimists and optimists. Pessimists: believe that bad events will last a long time, imagine the worst, tend to see themselves and situations as ‘helpless’ give up more easily, tend to ‘awfulise’ and ‘catastrophize’, turning mere setbacks in disasters, and are more stressed than the average person, Optimists: see bad events as temporary and surmountable, are happier, and more content then other people, have greater coping skills, achieve better than pessimistic people, their health is unusually good, and they age well and live longer. Of course, unrealistic optimism can be dangerous. Optimism must be balanced with reality. Otherwise you will end up in denial. However, after decades of research,... Read more →


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? An action movie? A fairy tale? In reality, each of our life stories is an EPIC. It’s a long journey with many scenes, experiences, twists and turns, characters, and smaller individual story lines. I wonder what is the ‘theme’ of your life? Yes, life has many twists and turns, as well as highs... Read more →


Have you had a conflict lately? When we are hurt by other people we all respond differently. David W. Johnson, author of Human Relations and Your Career, has identified five styles of conflict resolution: 1. Some people are like teddy bears. They keep the peace at all costs, even if it means giving up what they think or want. 2. Other people are like turtles. They withdraw when conflict comes and they avoid it at all costs. 3. Other people are like sharks. They respond to conflict by going on the attack, seeking to win at all costs. They often get their way as others withdraw from their assault, but they make few friends. 4. Other people are like owls.... Read more →


Have you ever been on a long drive interstate that took a few days? One of the things I hate to do is stop for petrol. Do you know why? It’s because all of those semi-trailers, caravans, and slow pokes that I have meticulously passed are all going to pass me while I am filling up! Now, that’s annoying. I wish someone would invent a way to fill up without having to stop. But the truth is that unless you stop and refuel you’re not going to make it. You are going to stall and be stuck by the side of the road. That’s even more annoying! I find life is a bit like that. There is so much to... Read more →


Every one of us experiences something we could call “the grandstand affect.” From a very young age, we have people watching us and responding to our choices and actions. If we do something that people like, they cheer us on. If we do something that people dislike, they frown at us or they may even boo us. Over time, we can easily learn to play to the grandstand. We thrive on the applause so we seek to please people. We hate disapproval, so we try not to disappoint anybody. The danger with this is that we can become addicted to the approval of others. Then when we need to make a choice that others may not approve of, we have... Read more →


Have you ever been to a really bad movie? I’m sure you have. Did you go see it again? Of course not! Did you buy the DVD? Come on ... Why would you watch through something you didn’t like all over again! That would be silly. But in reality that’s something we all do from time to time. Have you ever done something you regretted? Have you ever had someone really hurt you? Did you find yourself replaying it over and over again in your mind? Some people even replay it in high definition ... in surround sound ... and even in slow motion! In doing so, they relive all of the negative emotions and bring the hurtful situation to... Read more →


Around 3,000 years ago, one of the wisest men to ever lived made this observation: Proverbs 29:18. Where there is no revelation (vision or insight), people cast off restraint (they perish, run wild or live carelessly); but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction. NIV A vision can be defined as "a picture of a preferred future that creates passion on the inside of us." Without vision, life is a bit of a drudgery. The days drag along without much direction or purpose. In contrast, with a vision we live motivated lives. A vision causes us to set goals that propel us forward each day, whether it is finishing a degree, getting a job, winning the grand final, starting... Read more →


There is an old poem that goes 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 Your life is shaped by your thoughts. Ultimately, you become what you think about. Life is lived ‘inside out’. It’s not what happens to you but how you respond to it that is the determining factor in your life. Your response to everything is based on what and how you think about what is happening to you. How do you change? By renewing or reprogramming your thinking. If you can change your thinking you can change your life. The real challenge today is in our mind.... Read more →


Atmosphere

Every room has an atmosphere – it includes factors such as the temperature of the room, the lighting, and the freshness of the air – or the lack of it. In the same way, every group – whether it’s a team or a family – has an atmosphere. It describes what it feels like to be a part of that group of people. This atmosphere is a combination of the moods and attitudes of the people in the group. Learn to be aware of your moods – what they are and what may be contributing to them – and then seek to control them. Your moods directly affect the atmosphere wherever you are - for better or worse. Don’t be... Read more →


Longings

Every human being has desires on the inside of them – longings for acceptance, for approval, for a sense of identity, for a sense of belonging, for significance and for a sense of purpose in life. Where do these longings come from? Are they merely a “wish projection” or could they indicate that there is something outside of ourselves that we were created for … just like the presence of thirst indicates that there is something called water? History shows us that we will do anything to try to fulfill these desires on the inside of us. One man tried everything and summarized his experience in a prayer, “O God, our hearts are restless until they rest in thee.” His... Read more →


Love

Jesus told us that the two greatest commandments are to (1) love God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength and (2) to love our neighbor as ourself. Life truly is all about loving God and loving people. Of course, our love is simply a response of God’s love for us. We love Him, and others, because He first loved us. As we receive God’s love, we can begin to accept ourselves, even in our imperfect and frail state. This then enables us to love others … as ourselves. Unfortunately, many people struggle to love others because in reality they hate themselves and have no love inside to give out freely to others. Unless we know that WE... Read more →


A Voice

The Gospel writers tell us that after Jesus was baptized in water the Spirit descended on him in the form of a dove and a voice from heaven said, “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” Jesus knew that his Father loved him. As you go through your day, what voices do you hear? What are they saying to you? Many people hear voices that tell them they aren’t good enough, that they are a problem, a burden or even a failure. What would it look like for you to start to hear a different voice … a voice that says, “You are my son … or my daughter … whom I love; with... Read more →


The Love of God

Many years ago, a man living in an insane asylum died and was carried to his grave. When they were cleaning out his room they found some words written on the patient’s wall. This is what he had written … Could we with ink the ocean fill And were the skies of parchment made Were every stalk on earth a quill And every man a scribe by trade To write the love of God above Would drain the ocean dry Nor could the scroll contain the whole Though stretched from sky to sky These amazing words were eventually incorporated as a verse in a well-known hymn about the love of God. It is one thing to know that “God is... Read more →


Trust

Someone once said that trust in the glue of all relationships. Trust holds things together. In contrast, when there is no trust, the relationship starts to break down. Trust creates confidence and removes suspicion and fear. When trust is high in a relationship, you could say the wrong thing and it will be okay. People give you the benefit of the doubt. Where trust is low, you could say the right thing and even then, people take you wrong or misinterpret you. How do we build trust? Trust starts with being trustworthy. Be transparent – open, real and genuine. Don’t be fake or two-faced. Don’t wear masks. Have the courage to speak the truth in love. Treat people with respect,... Read more →


The Others

If you think about it, the entire population of the world, with one exception, is composed of OTHERS. What would life look like if we stopped seeking to get everyone else to revolve around US and started taking OTHER people’s needs and interests as our first concern. That would be pretty counter-cultural in a world that tells us to “Look out for number 1!” What kind of a world are we creating when everyone wants everything and everyone to orbit around them? When people do things and give affection to others, only as long as it helps meet his or her personal goals and needs, nobody gets anywhere. Life becomes hazardous. What would it look like if today we each... Read more →


The Trinity

The apostle John boldly declares that, “God is love.” He doesn’t say that God is loving, although that is true OR that one of God’s activities is love, although that is true too. He says that God IS love – it is the very core of his being and nature. The Christian God is revealed as one God existing as three persons – the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit – a Trinity. Think about it … If there is NO God, then we are here by blind chance, merely a result of natural selection and love is nothing more than a chemical reaction in our brain. If God exists but is only ONE, then he cannot be love... Read more →


Forgiveness

Have you ever been hurt or offended by someone? If you haven’t, you probably haven’t lived long or you need to get out a bit more. Everyone gets hurt – many times, either intentionally or unintentionally. When other people hurt us we have two options. 1. Our first and natural response is often one of anger, bitterness, resentment, hatred or even revenge. We want to make the other person pay. Unfortunately, this type of response stops the healing process, which results in dramatic affects on us physically, emotionally, relationally and spiritually. We were not designed to live with the destructive poison of bitterness on the inside of us. 2. The second possible response is to forgive. To forgive means to... Read more →


Faith

The majority of Australians believe in God – they have some sort of what we could call ‘faith.’ Genuine faith in God provides a strong foundation for many people’s lives – especially when everything else around us seems so uncertain. Of course, real faith is more than just believing in something or someone. Back in the 1800s there was a famous acrobat named Blondin. He became well known for crossing the Niagara Falls on a tightrope 335 metres long and 50 metres above the raging water. He astonished people by carrying a small table, chair and stove to the halfway point, where he cooked and then ate a meal. At one point he pushed a wheelbarrow across the wire. He... Read more →


One of the deepest needs in every human being is to be accepted – just as we are, warts and all. Some people will do almost anything … just to be accepted by others. If you want to enhance your own relationships, why not give others the gift of acceptance. Choose to value and respect them – just as they are. You know, subconsciously, we tend to have a rating scale for people and we treat them based on the value we place on them. If we’re walking down the hallway and someone who we think is a #10 comes along, we say, “Hi, how you going, good to see you!” (enthusiastically) If we meet someone who we think is... Read more →


We all know that relationships are central to our lives. Of course, developing close relationships with other people is not as easy as it sounds. I read an interesting book the other day with a great title: Everybody’s Normal Until You Get to Know Them. How true is that! Have you ever bought something from a shop that said ‘as is?’ Right away, you know that that item is most likely slightly irregular or even damaged goods. It is not normal. There will be no refunds, no returns and no exchanges. That’s a bit what it’s like when we deal with humans. If you’re looking for perfection, you’ve walked down the wrong aisle. The sooner we realise this, the better.... Read more →


The book of Genesis tells us the story of God creating the world. As God created various aspects of our world he declared them “good.” Then after creating human beings he said that this was “very good.” Then suddenly there is turn in the narrative. The writer tells us that God then said, “It is not good that man be alone.” Adam was not lonely – he had God and the animals – but he was alone, a solitary human being. So God made Eve as a friend and partner for him. This story is not just about marriage but about our need for community – for relationships. None of us are designed to do life alone or in isolation.... Read more →


Have you ever had a conflict? Maybe a better question would be, “When was your last conflict?” As we do life with other people it is inevitable that conflicts and disagreements will occur. How successfully we resolve those conflicts will have a big impact on our lives. In most conflicts, there are wrongs on both sides. The trouble comes when we only focus on what the other person has done … rather than on our own contribution. Let’s say for example, that you’ve just had a conflict with another person and they were 90% wrong and you were 10% wrong. Don’t focus on their part; focus on yourself. Take care of your 10%. Learn to say a few powerful words... Read more →


A few years ago, I was having lunch with a friend of mine. I asked him how he was doing and he said he was “great.” He then asked me how I was doing. I hesitated at first but then I answered honestly. I was doing it tough and so I told him about it. The depth of our conversation changed immediately. He thanked me for my openness. Sadly, near the end of our time together he admitted that he was going through some challenges too … but he never had the courage to tell anyone. Authenticity is very important. It’s about being honest, real, and transpearant … no masks, no hiding, no pretending. This is not easy – after... Read more →


Imagine a group of people seated in a circle with a small table in the middle. Let’s now put an object on the table – a vase. Here are three very important observations: First of all, no one sees the vase exactly the same. In fact, everyone sees it differently and has a unique perspective – based on where they are sitting. Secondly, no one sees the vase accurately. There are parts of the vase that each person cannot see. Some portions are hidden and out of view. Finally, the only way to form an accurate picture of the vase is to listen to everyone’s perspective. This is a metaphor for life. Replace the vase with anything else – a... Read more →


I love to travel. The very atmosphere of airports and airplanes energises me. I love visiting new places and meeting new people. However, my wife doesn’t get quite as excited. In fact, she starts packing a few weeks ahead of time, just to make sure she’s got everything she needs. I tend to pack in the last minute. You know, as we travel through our journey of life we all tend to carry various sorts of baggage with us. Some types of personal baggage from our past can become pretty tiring to carry after a while. In fact, the emotional strain can become overwhelming. Sometimes we have to make a choice to ‘let go’ of things, including situations in the... Read more →


One of the most well-known statements in the Bible is recorded in the Gospel of John, chapter 3 and verse 16. It goes like this ... For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. NIV You may have heard this before OR maybe it’s the first time you’ve ever heard those life giving words. Christian author Max Lucado describes it like this: “Here is a 26-word sentence of hope, beginning with God, ending with life, and urging us to do the same. It’s brief enough to write on a small piece of paper or memorise in a moment, yet solid enough to... Read more →


One of the most important qualities to develop in our lives is the quality of FAITHFULNESS. Faithfulness means being true to your word, keeping your promises, being loyal, being reliable, honest, and trustworthy. Unfortunately, lack of faithfulness, or ‘unfaithfulness’, is becoming quite rampart in our society. A recent study revealed that up to 70% of high school students admitted to serious cheating on tests. More and more people are lying on their tax returns, on their resumes, on reports, and in conversations with other people all the time. All up, it is estimated that we are lied to about 200 times each day! Other studies reveal that almost 50% of married women and over 50% of married men engage in... Read more →


Potential

Potential – we all have it. It’s like a treasure chest waiting to be unpacked. It’s all about who we can become and what we can do to make the world a better place. Most people don’t see their potential. They tend to see their faults and their limitations. Often it takes other people to see it and then to draw it out. I’ll never forget a teacher who in my late teen years took me out to lunch. We chatted for a while and then he began to tell me what he and others saw in me. He told me that he believed I had a leadership gift and that God would use me to help other people. I... Read more →


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? An action movie? A fairy tale? In reality, each of our life stories is an EPIC. It’s a long journey with many scenes, experiences, twists and turns, characters, and smaller individual story lines. I wonder what is the ‘theme’ of your life? Yes, life has many twists and turns, as well as highs... Read more →


Creativity – it’s everywhere. Just have a look at the world around you – there is such a variety of shapes, colours, textures, movements, sounds, and even smells. There is nothing bland, boring, or predictable about the world. In fact, there are over 6 billion people on the planet right now and each one of them has a unique fingerprint. Talk about creativity! As you go through your day, ask yourself, “Is there a better way?” and “Could we do this differently?” Admit it when things are no longer working and make appropriate changes. Create an atmosphere around you that says, “Let’s find a better way” and that encourages “thinking outside of the box”. Regularly ask yourself, “What’s working well... Read more →


One of the characteristics of wise people is that they are open to feedback. Feedback from other people can give us needed insight not only into our own lives but to any issue or challenge we may be considering. If you reject feedback, you will hinder your own personal growth. All of us have things about ourselves that we are unaware of or don’t see. Only by being open to feedback from others can we learn about these areas and make positive changes. Every one of us has weaknesses. Usually other people see them before we do! My theory is that the sooner I know about my weaknesses the quicker I can begin to work on them. So if my... Read more →