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June 2008
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August 2008

Refuel (Pt.7)

Today, let's look at one more way to refuel ... 5. Invest Time in Reflection and Contemplation. The Sabbath was not only a time for rest and recreation. It was a time for stillness, reflection and contemplation about life, its meaning, its direction, and God’s activity within it. It was a time for spiritual renewal - to reconnect with the holy and recharge the internal batteries. Jesus took regular time aside from the demands of the pressing crowd to connect with his Father and ensure that his priorities and his life’s direction were aligned correctly. Was Jesus a workaholic? No.... Read more →


Refuel (Pt.6)

Let's look at another way to refuel ... 4. Plan Regular Time for Rest and Recreation. God didn’t design us to work constantly without rest. God worked for six days and then rested on the seventh. Not because he was tired or because he needed time off, but because rest (not working) is good. The Sabbath was established in Old Testament times for rest and relaxation from the busyness of the week’s work. Although, we don’t keep a literal Sabbath Day under the New Covenant, the principle of taking regular time for rest and recreation is still as true today... Read more →


Refuel (P.5)

Last week we looked at two practical things that help us to refuel, especially spiritually – (1) spending time alone with God every day and (2) participating in church gatherings every week. These practices are part of how God refuels us for our journey. God works through BOTH our personal relationship with him and our community with other believers. BOTH are important. One without the other will be detrimental to our faith and our well being. Let’s continue today with some additional things that can help us refuel, not just spiritually. Let's look at another key way to refuel ...... Read more →


Refuel (Pt.4)

Before we move on, let's pause and reflect on what we've covered so far. Here are a few questions you might want to think about today: Do you think life is becoming more stressful? If so, what are some of the indicators? Describe a time when you felt like you were ‘running on empty’. What did it feel like, what were some of the contributing factors, and what did you do about it? Discuss the concept of ‘margin’. Why is it important and how do we create it in our lives? What can we learn from the habits of Jesus?... Read more →


Refuel (Pt.3)

How else can we refuel? 2. Participate in Church Gatherings Every Week. In addition to spending time along with him, God also wants us as his people to gather together on a regular basis. He has designed these gatherings to be part of his process for refuelling us for our journey. We live in a world that saps and drains us of our spiritual reserves. We need to be filled up again regularly – with his love, his Spirit, his hope, and his joy. Gathering with other believers is an important part of this becoming a reality in our lives.... Read more →


Refuel (Pt.2)

Let’s look at a few practical things we can do to refuel. First we’ll focus on some activities for refuelling our spiritual life. Then next week we’ll look at things related more to our relational and emotional health. 1. Spend Time Alone with God Every Day. As followers of Christ, God is the source of our very life. As the apostle Paul said, “In him we live, and move, and have our being” (Acts 17:28). Yes, our very next breath comes from him. In a very real sense, we are to live our life ‘in God’s presence’ or with an... Read more →


Refuel (Pt.1)

Refuelling is not an optional extra for the Christian life. It is an essential practice and something that must be done on a regular basis. It is not just for the faint of heart or the weak. Even the strong tire and become weary. Even the young run out of energy. Listen to what the prophet Isaiah had to say about this ... Isa 40:28-31. Do you not know? Have you not heard? The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of the ends of the earth. He will not grow tired or weary, and his understanding no-one can fathom.... Read more →


Stress

We live in a world of exponential change that often results in stress in our lives. Stress can come from the high pace of change, from increasing mobility, from time pressures, from work, from feeling like things are out of our control, from fear, from strained relationships, from competition, and from emotions such as frustration and anger. We also need to understand the effect of the combination of stressors – the whole is always greater than the sum of the parts. Doctor Richard Swensen outlines how stress can affect us in many areas of our life: Psychologically – stress has... Read more →


The Impact of Exponential Change

Our world has experienced an incredible amount of progress in the last 100 years. Progress has been upward and onward, resulting in a rapid acceleration of change. Just think of: the speed of travel (our family took 23 days to travel to the USA via boat back in 1972!), the power of computers (the internet wasn’t available until the mid 1990s – now just over a decade later, over 1.4 billion people use it regularly!), technological advances, etc. Change is no longer ‘linear’; it is now ‘exponential’. To illustrate how rapidly exponential numbers accumulate, consider the following example ... If... Read more →


Energy

To be highly effective in our work and to also enjoy life to the fullest we need to manage our energy, not just our time. Research reveals that energy, not time, is the most important component of personal effectiveness. Let me give you an example: If you’re scheduled to have open heart surgery, obviously you’d want your doctor turning up on time. But what kind of mood would you want him or her in – angry, depressed, tired, nervous? Of course not! You’d want them to be awake, confident and fully engaged in what they’re about to do to you!... Read more →


Internal Stress

Recent research tells us that a lot of Australians are experiencing a great deal of stress in their life. Life is getting more complex, the pressures are increasing, the pace is getting faster, and a lot of people are struggling to cope. One of the keys to good stress management is learning to keep our “internal stress” as low as possible so that we have the capacity to cope with the inevitable “external stress” that will come our way. Internal stress is the stress we carry on the inside of us and it usually comes from three things: Unrealistic expectations... Read more →


Attitude

Developing and maintaining a good attitude in life is vital. However it’s not always easy! One huge misconception about attitudes is that if you have a good attitude you will never feel bad or get upset. How untrue! People with great attitudes experience all the same sorts of negative emotions that other people do, they just work through them constructively and refuse to allow these emotions to hinder their outlook on life. Everyone has times when they feel angry, resentful, worried, afraid, anxious, jealous, and maybe even depressed. The difference between people is how they choose to handle these negative... Read more →


Smile!

When I was much younger I had a significant leader give me some feedback. He started out by encouraging me about my potential and my future. Then he said, “Mark, there’s a few things you need to work on. Firstly, you need to smile more. You’ve very tall and that can be quite intimidating for people. Begin to smile more regularly." Then he shared a few other things that we don’t have time to talk about today. I must admit, at first I was a bit annoyed. “Smile … come on, I’m smiling on the inside!” But then I realised... Read more →


Global Issues

Today we are living in a global village. Yes, it’s a big world but we’re all connected in so many ways like at no other time in our history. Here is Australia we have our own challenges but we really are still a ‘lucky country’. We’ve been blessed in so many ways and it’s easy to forget that many billions of people in our world live on just a few dollars a day. Some of the global issues we are facing are huge – things such as poverty, disease, war, and famine, just to name a few. These challenges are... Read more →


A Personal Check Up (Pt. 6)

Our final question is: 5. How is your love? Love is the most important thing in our life (see 1 Corinthians 13). As someone once said, "People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care!" Christian love is a choice to do good to others. Love forgives and seeks reconciliation. Have you been offended this year? Has someone hurt you? Have you hurt someone? How is it with your soul? Have you forgiven? Have you asked for forgiveness? Enlarge your ‘circle of love’. Who is in your circle? Is it an open circle? Jesus accepted... Read more →


A Personal Check Up (Pt. 5)

Our fourth check up question is: 4. How is your joy? David tells us to serve the Lord 'with gladness' (Psalm 100:1-2. NKJV). What we do is important but just as important is how we go about it. God desires us to do life with an attitude of joy. Why is joy important? The joy of the Lord is our strength (Nehemiah 8:10) Joy is a sign of God’s presence (Psalm 16:11) Joy is the essence of life (Ecclesiastes 3:22; 5:19) Joy is a fruit of the Spirit (Galations 5:22) Joy is an attribute of God’s kingdom (Romans 14:17) Joy... Read more →


A Personal Check Up (Pt. 4)

Our third question is: 3. How is your progress? The Christian life is to be one of progress, growth and continual improvement – both in our relationship with God, our character, our relationships with other people, and ministry effectiveness (see 1 Timothy 4:11-15). Progress is the end result of an intentional effort to develop yourself and your gifts. It doesn’t just happen through years of service or length of time in a ministry. So, how do you grow as a person? Here are a few ways: Reading – the Bible and other writers. What do you want to know or... Read more →


A Personal Check Up (Pt.3)

Our second question is: 2. How is your passion? Having a clear vision is important (seeing it) but having a passion or fire on the inside is also vital (feeling it). God desires that vision and passion be bound together in our lives. Is your vision producing passion or has it lost its vitality? If its energy has died a little, meditate on it some more, ask the ‘why’ question again (not just ‘what, when and how’), etc. In the world we live in, natural fervency or passion is often a key to success and impact. A study of great... Read more →


A Personal Check Up (Pt.2)

The first question is: 1. How is your vision? Bill Hybels defines vision as "a picture of a preferred future that produces passion.” Nothing much happens without vision. However, when someone gets a vision … something powerful begins to happen and significant movement takes place. Just study history. Whether it be William Wilberforce, the Wright brothers, Henry Ford, Billy Graham, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. or Jesus Christ himself, people who do significant things in life all have this thing called vision. What about you? Do you have a vision? Do you have a dream? Do you have a cause... Read more →