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June 2010
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August 2010

My Favorite MAC Programs

I have been a PC computer user most of my adult life. I started with a desktop and eventually moving to a laptop then a netbook. I have managed to find my way around a host of Microsoft Windows based software programs. They have been tremendously helpful to all sorts of tasks and aspects of work and personal life. [Click here to read about my current technology] Of course, our young adult children and heaps of our other friends (mostly the creative types) are into MACs. What is it about PC and MAC users - they don't really like each... Read more →


Masada

Another place we visited on our tour of Israel earlier this year was Masada. It is a stunning section of isolated rock plateau on the eastern edge of the Judean desert overlooking the Dead Sea.The cliffs on the steepest side are over 400 metres high. However, the top of the site is easily reached today via a cable car (although you can hike up the Snake Path, if you are keen). According to the Jewish historian Josephus, Herod the Great built a refuge for himself here (between 37-31 BC) in the event of a revolt. After the destruction of the... Read more →


The Dead Sea

During our tour of Israel earlier this year, we visited the Dead Sea. It is an amazing body of water. It is 67 x 18 kilometres in size at it widest points, and it is over 400 metres below sea level. The reason it is called 'dead' is because there is inflow but no outflow. As a result, there is no life in this sea - no fish and no plants (except bacteria). What an interesting metaphor for our lives. We all need inflo w - God's life flowing into us day by day - but also need outflow -... Read more →


The English Language

They say the English language is a difficult one to learn and is arguably the largest language by the number of words. I've only ever spoken English - with a little Australian and American accent thrown in at different times. My wife speaks fluent German, her native tongue, as well as Afrikaans, after growing up in South Africa, and a little Zulu (no she doesn't use this on me). Many English names and phrases don't mean exactly what they first suggest. Here are a few examples I read about recently: 'Baby oil' is not made out of babies and its... Read more →


Kairos Time

While speaking about time, it is interesting to note that in the Greek language there are two words for time: chronos, which refers to the ongoing forward movement of time, and kairos, which refers to opportunity, or a favorable time. Jesus’ brothers wanted to push him into prominence (seeJohn 7:1-8). Jesus knew that there was a right 'time' (Greek kairos) for him and the Father’s purposes. He would not move in the wrong time. Jesus seemed to not always know this in advance but he discerned it as such in the moment when it came. He always waited for the... Read more →


Time Traps

There never seems to be enough time nowadays, even though we all have the same amount of it - 24 hours or 1440 minutes each day. The classic book on time management is Alec Mackenzie's The Time Trap published many decades ago. I first read the 1990 edition and found it very helpful at the time. The Fourth Edition (2009) brings us into the world of the internet, email and mobile phones, all culminating in a 'virtual lifestyle.' Having trained over 180,000 managers and sold over 600,000 copies of the book, the author has some insights to helps us. Today's... Read more →


Mastering Management

Leading and managing a church, a ministry, a business, or a non-profit organisation is quite a complex task. There is the cause or the mission that needs pursuing. There are the staff and volunteers who need encouraging and inspiring, much like a community. Then there is the corporate or business aspects that need conducting with excellence. John Pearson has been active in management for over 25 years, serving with the Christian Management Association, the Willow Creek Association, and the Christian Camp and Conference Association. He is now president of a management consulting firm, serving both non-profit and for-profit organisations through... Read more →


Ancient Future Church

How did the early church grow from as few as 25,000 people at the end of the first century (100 AD) to as many as 20 million people two hundred years later (310 AD)? Now that's a question worth thinking deeply about. While considering this question we must note that Christianity was an illegal religion during this period (at best they were tolerated, at worst they were persecuted), they didn't have church buildings, they didn't have all of the Scriptures as we know them (the canon was still being formed), they had no professional leadership, they didn't have youth groups,... Read more →


Spain wins the World Cup

Well, it's over! Spain has defeated the Netherlands to win the 2010 World Cup soccer tournament. I must admit, I only got up early once - to watch the Socceroos play Germany. That game wasn't worth my loss of sleep and the resultant German national anthem renditions in my house by my German-born wife became annoying after a while. Thankfully, that stopped a few days ago. Anyway, congratulations to Spain - you deserved it and hopefully this win will lift the morale of that country ... and the economy. By the way, Paul the octopus is either a prophet in... Read more →


Lebron James to the Miami Heat

The biggest news in professional basketball is the recent decision of Lebron James to sign with the Miami Heat, along with two of his best friends, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh. Lebron is without doubt one of the best basketball players currently playing the game, although he has yet to win an NBA championship. Until he does, he can't be compared with a Kobe Bryant of the LA Lakers (winner of 5 championships) or to Michael Jordan, former NBA superstar and winner of 6 championships. James' former team and city, the Cleveland Cavaliers are in mourning. He had carried them... Read more →


The Book of Acts

Our church is currently reading through the Book of Acts. This is one of my favorite New Testament books as it tells us the story of the church, as God intended it to be. It was a church birthed by the Spirit, made up of normal everyday people and led by leaders who lived lives of dependence on Jesus for direction and guidance. It was not without challenges, both internally (in the form of sin, false doctrine and division) and externally (in the form of persecution). As we read the narrative, there are so many lessons to learn and principles... Read more →


New Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard

Julia Gillard became the 27th Prime Minister of Australia on June 24th, 2010. This occurred after the resignation of Kevin Rudd. Julia had served as the Deputy Prime Minister in the Rudd Government. She is the first woman Prime Minister in Australia and the first to have never married. She is also a red head - bring on national ranga day! :) Discussion has taken place concerning the ousting of Prime Minister Rudd, but let's not forget that Rudd did a similar thing to Kim Beazley and similar situations have occurred in other parties. Political leadership is not for the... Read more →


Kevin Rudd

Kevin Rudd was the 26th Prime Minister of Australia. Under his leadership, his party won the November 2007 election against former Prime Minister John Howard. As the new leader, he made major announcements about climate change, education, a national broadband network, and health. He will be remembered for a number of things, including his reading of an apology to the Indigenous Australians for the 'stolen generations.' Mr Rudd started well, gaining fairly broad rapport with the general population and giving some inspiring speeches. Over time, his popularity declined and he didn't deliver on a number of his promises. Was this... Read more →


Leadership Quotes

Here are some thought-provoking good leadership quotes: "Follow me as I follow Christ." [Apostle Paul] "Good leaders come up with answers but great leaders ask the right questions." [Jim Collins] "Leadership must be learned and can be learned." [Peter Drucker] "Only one man in a thousand is a leader of men - the other 999 follow women." [Groucho Marx] "A leader is a dealer in hope." [Napoleon Bonaparte] "Management is doing things right; leadership is doing right things." [Peter Drucker] "The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done,... Read more →


Your Holy Discontent

There are many things that can fuel us as we do life and ministry. Experiences such as God's salvation, God's grace and God's calling not only transform our lives but also motivate us to life purposeful lives. At other times, we also have seasons of struggle where frustration, discouragement and weariness can seem to take over, depleting our energy and enthusiasm. Let's face it, life and ministry can be tough. Even Jesus told his disciples that he was sending them out as "sheep among wolves." That doesn't sound like a picnic or a leisurely walk in the park! How should... Read more →