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January 2009
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March 2009

re-Imagining Church (Pt.1)

Over 2000 years ago, Jesus boldly declared that he would build his ‘church’ (Matthew 16:17-19). The church was his idea and there is nothing else that he said he would build. It is his master project and all of his energies are focused on completing it. It is part of his eternal purposes (Ephesians 3:10-11). But what is the ‘church’ and what did Jesus really have in mind? There are many different opinions about what the church is meant to be. Today when people use the word ‘church’ they are most often referring to a place of Christian worship or... Read more →

An Unstoppable Force

Another excellent book on the church is An Unstoppable Force: Daring to Become the Church God Had in Mind by Erwin McManus. Erwin is the Lead Pastor of Mosaic in Los Angeles. He one of the most creative and innovative thinkers and church leaders I have ever met. Erwin shows us that God desires the church to be an unstoppable movement of people, not an institution or organisation. He calls us back to our origins. "Origins finds the future in the beginning. To explore we must first excavate. To discover we must first recover. To re-frame we must first reflect.... Read more →

Essential Church

The book Essential Church, by Thom S. Rainer and his son, presents recent research that indicates that more than two-thirds of church-going young adults drop out between the ages of 18 and 22. The research was done by Lifeway Christian Resources. Here are the top 10 reasons: Simply wanted a break from church. Church members seemed judgmental and hypocritical. Moved to college or university and stopped attending church. Work responsibilities prevented me from attending. Moved to far from the church to continue attending. Became too busy though still wanted to attend. Didn't feel connected to the people in my church.... Read more →

The Purpose-Driven Church

Rick Warren's best-selling book The Purpose Driven Church has become a bit of a classic since its release in 1995. Rick is the pastor of Saddleback Church in California and the founder of, an excellent web site resource for church leaders. Each church is driven by something - tradition, personality, or programs. Rick proposes that churches should be driven by the purposes of God. Based on his study of the Bible, he proposes five core purposes of every church: Worship - "Love the Lord with all your heart" Ministry - "Love your neighbour as yourself" Evangelism - "Go and... Read more →

The Forgotten Ways

The Forgotten Ways by Alan Hirsch is a book about 'reactivating the missional church'. Alan calls us back to the beginning - to what he calls 'apostolic DNA'. This apostolic genius has six ingredients: Jesus as Lord, disciple-making, missional-incarnational impulse, apostolic environment, organic systems, and communitas. Alan critiques contemporary church growth models, making a call for a movement away from what he calls the 'attractional' model approach. This has generated quite a bit of discussion and debate. Click here to read an article in Christianity Today by Dan Kimball (read the comments section too), as well as a response from... Read more →

Dealing with Grief

Anytime we lose something or someone special to us we experience grief. Grief is our natural emotional response to loss of any kind. Many people are facing this right now through the tragedy of the bush fires here in Victoria - the loss of friends, family members, and loved ones, as well as the loss of homes and possessions. There are many stages of grief that most people go through. Elisabeth Kubler-Ross, in her 1969 book "On Death and Dying", describes five discrete stages that most people go through when dealing with grief or tragedy. They are known as the... Read more →

Helping Children Process Tragedy

As we continue to sort through all of the various emotions and heartache of the bush fires here in Victoria, lots of questions are raised and all sorts of discussions result. The age-old question of "Why?" emerges once again, a question that people have grappled with for centuries on end. Even as adults, we often find it difficult to understand what has happened and why. Where is God in all of this? These questions can be especially difficult for children. Here are a few resources for helping children during this time, referred to me by the Chaplain of Waverley Christian... Read more →

Responding to the Bush Fire Tragedy

Tragedies such as the current bush fires, often bring out the best and worst of humanity. To hear of people looting, vandalising, setting up fraudulent fund-raising schemes, and even committing arson, is so shocking and sad. In contrast, to see how most people rise to the challenge to support and help each other with genuine love, service, and goodwill is a tribute to humanity. After all, we were all made in the image of God our Creator, even if that image has been marred. Let's continue to do all we can to help those affected by the fires. I have... Read more →

Are the Bush Fires the Judgment of God?

Whenever there is a tragedy or disaster in our world, conversations about the judgment of God often emerge. This is a sensitive topic that needs to be handled with care. Are the recent bush fires in Victoria the judgment of God? What about that person who died in a car accident last week, that person who died of sickness yesterday, or that couple who haven’t been able to have children? Are they too under the judgment of God because something bad has happened to them? Is any negative experience of human suffering an indication of the judgment of God? These... Read more →

Bush Fires

Our State of Victoria is caught up in the worst round of bush fires in our history. Over 200 people have died as a result of the fires and over 1850 homes have been destroyed. This is a tragic situation and it is so sad to think that a number of the fires may have been the work of arsonists. Scorching heat has not helped. Melbourne had a record high of 46.4 degrees Celsius - that's over 115 degrees Fahrenheit. What can we do? Pray for those who have lost loved ones because of the fires. This is an incredible... Read more →

Pagan Christianity?

Frank Viola and George Barna's book Pagan Christianity boldly declares that everything most churches are doing is wrong: meeting in church buildings, having an order of worship, sermons, pastors, Sunday morning dress, ministers of music, tithing and clergy salaries, the way baptism and the Lord’s Supper are conducted, as well as Christian education. These are not the way church was done in the first century. In fact, they believe that they have pagan origins. The book is an interesting read and it raises lots of issues worth discussing. Of course, it assumes that the the expression of the church in... Read more →


I have just finished reading the book ReJesus: A Wild Messiah for a Missional Church by Alan Hirsch and Michael Frost. The authors put forth a challenge for a re-reinstatement of Jesus as the central focus of our spiritual lives - both as disciples and as communities of his people. It's time we let go of the domesticated Jesus that we often learned about in Sunday School and embrace the "loving, wildly passionate, dangerous, radically merciful, and always surprising" Jesus portrayed in the Gospels. An encounter with this Jesus transforms us from the inside out and radically changes our approach... Read more →


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... Read more →