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April 2011
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June 2011

Some Productivity Insights

A recent article in the Harvard Business Review (May 2011) unpacked the idea of Being More Productive.They interviewed two leading experts, David Allen and Tony Schwartz, to discuss whether the secret to effectiveness is the right system or the right state of mind. Here are a few of their insights: From David Allen, best-selling author of Getting Things Done: Your head is for having ideas, not holding them. Dumping everything out into a list can have a significant effect. Uncover the strategic value of clear space. Achieve freedom by taking immediate, concrete steps: down-load all your commitments and projects into... Read more →


Renewing Your Energy

At our staff prayer meeting last week, I shared a few thoughts about ENERGY. In Psalm 23, we learn that God desires to "renew our strength" or "restore our soul." Energy is one of our most valuable resources (not just 'time'). When someone brings 'energy' to a meeting, appointment or interaction, what does it look like? We agreed that it includes creativity, enthusiasm, attentiveness, focus, ideas and future movement. When someone lacks 'energy' it shows through things such as apathy, tiredness, and disinterest. Energy is a resource that needs constant renewing, due to continual depletion, just like petrol in our... Read more →


Remember Your Death

The following is a transcript of part of a speech by Steve Jobs at the Stanford University Commencement in 2005 (click here for the full text). As Moses said, may God teach us to number our days rightly so we may present to him a heart of wisdom (Ps.90:12). Steve Jobs When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: "If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you'll most certainly be right." It made an impression on me, and since then, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself:... Read more →


How will it all END (Pt.6)?

How should we then LIVE? We should live “ready” for Christ to come at any moment (Lk.21:34-36) but “working diligently” as if he may not come back in our lifetime. We should avoid extremes (over-preoccupation with a sneaky rapture vs. trying to create heaven here on earth). To quote Tony Campolo, “Any theology that does not live with a sense of the immediate return of Christ is a theology that takes the edge off the urgency of faith. But any theology that does not cause us to live as though the world will be here for thousands of years is... Read more →


How will it all END (Pt.5)?

Things to Occur AFTER the Second Coming 1. Judgement and reward for believers. There are two judgements – one for believers, the judgement seat of Christ, which is not about salvation but about reward for the “good works” we have done (2 Cor.5:10). [One area of debate amongst end time theologians is when the ‘millennium’ spoken about in Rev.20:1-6 will be. The ‘millennium’ is a 1000 year period where believers will rule and reign with Christ on the earth as a reward for their faithfulness. Some people believe we are in the millennium now and therefore that it occurs before... Read more →


How will it all END (Pt.4)?

Things to occur AT the second coming 1. The appearance of Jesus in glory. Jesus’ return will be with “a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God” (1 Thess.4:13-18). He will return in great glory, the glory of his Father (Mt.16:27; 19:28; 25:31). The angelic hosts will accompany him. Every eye will see him (Rev.1:7). Revelation 19:11-16 gives us a vivid picture of Jesus riding on a white horse – eyes blazing with fire, a two edged sword coming out of his mouth, his robe dipped in blood and the armies of... Read more →


How will it all END (Pt.3)?

An Order of End Time Events Without being dogmatic in any way, here is what I see happening BEFORE the second coming of Jesus. NEGATIVE things to occur: 1. Increasing spiritual darkness (Is.60:1-3). Jesus told us that the last days just prior to his coming will be similar to the days of Noah and the days of Lot (Lk.17:20-37). He said that there would be great deception (Mt.24. 1 Tim.4:1) with many false prophets and false “Christ’s” appearing (Mt.24:5, 11, 23-26. 2 Thess.2:1-12. Rev.13). We are told of a great “apostasy” or “falling away” of many from their faith in... Read more →


How will it all END (Pt.2)?

The Bible and the End Times There are a number of books and passages in the Bible that deal specifically with the ‘time of the end’ and the second coming of Jesus. Obviously, the book of Revelation would be the primary source of information concerning the end times. It is a fascinating apocalyptic book with much prophetic symbolism in it that makes it somewhat difficult to interpret. Over the years there has been a variety of approaches to interpreting the book of Revelation. There are three broad categories of how people have interpreted this book through the centuries: 1. The... Read more →


How will it all END? (Pt.1)

Today is supposed to be the end of the world (read here) ... but I don't think so. Times like this are a good time to re-post a series of articles on how it will all end ... End Time Fever The first words that Jesus preached were, “Repent for the kingdom of God is near” (Mt.4:17). After the resurrection and at the end of Jesus’ ministry on earth, he ascended up to heaven. As he did, two angels appeared and boldly proclaimed, “Why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from... Read more →


Which book would you want if you were shipwrecked on an island?

If you were stranded on a remote desert island somewhere and could only have ONE book with you, what would it be? G. K. Chesterton, the famous British writer, was once invited to a meeting of the leading intellectuals in England. They were asked if they were shipwrecked on an island, what would be the one book they would want to have with them. Everyone expected Chesterton, a prominent Christian, to say “the Bible.” When it came his turn to speak, however, Chesterton said that if he were shipwrecked on a desert island, he’d like to have “Thomas’s Guide to... Read more →


God's Longing ...

Here are some interesting thoughts from Psalm 81:10-16 (NLT). "Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it with good things. But no, my people wouldn’t listen. Israel did not want me around. So I let them follow their own stubborn desires, living according to their own ideas. Oh, that my people would listen to me! Oh, that Israel would follow me, walking in my paths! How quickly I would then subdue their enemies! How soon my hands would be upon their foes! Those who hate the LORD would cringe before him; they would be doomed forever. But I would... Read more →


Leading Servants

Here is a well-known teaching from Jesus ... Then (the disciples) began to argue among themselves about who would be the greatest among them. Jesus told them, “In this world the kings and great men lord it over their people, yet they are called ‘friends of the people.’ But among you it will be different. Those who are the greatest among you should take the lowest rank, and the leader should be like a servant. Who is more important, the one who sits at the table or the one who serves? The one who sits at the table, of course.... Read more →


C.S. Lewis - Objection #11: Christ

Finally, C.S. Lewis had to come to grips with answering the common question: "Isn't Jesus just another good, moral teacher?" Since there is little likelihood that Jesus' claim to deity is legend or myth, we should expect to find something in his words and actions that suggest he thought of himself as divine. Jesus' self-perception as God is clearly seen in the various Gospel accounts. Jesus claimed to be God: He believed he had the power to perform miracles and cast out demons (Matt. 11:2-5. Luke 11:20). Jesus claimed to determine people's eternal destiny (Luke 12:8-9). Jesus placed his personal... Read more →


C.S. Lewis - Objection #10: Other Religions

C.S. Lewis also grappled with the validity of other religions - There are so many religions, how can you say which one is right? Are all religions really the same, or is there a difference? How can we say which one, if any, is the right one? Lewis felt it was atheism that wrote off all religious claims as false, while he was free to affirm truth wherever it was found. He accepted truths in other religions. He recognised the similarities - as well as the significant differences between religions. A commitment to Christ does not necessitate the denial of... Read more →


The Death of Osama bin Laden

The biggest breaking news of this week has been the killing of Osama bin Laden, the self-confessed orchestrator of the September 11th terrorist attacks on the USA. The execution was carried out by a US Navy SEAL team and watched by a American national security team, including President Obama, via video.This has been the culmination of a 10-year military project of tracking down this terrorist leader. Response to this news had been wide and varied ... jubilation, relief, sorrow, as well as fear of increased in terrorism. Here are a few quotes: "I think we can agree this is a... Read more →


C.S. Lewis - Objection #9: Relativism

Another objection to faith that C.S. Lewis struggled with was the question: Aren't morals relative? More than two-thirds of Americans deny any belief in absolutes and the statistics would be very similar in other countries. An an atheist, Lewis denied that there were any moral absolutes. When he became a Christian, he insisted that Christian morality had to go beyond mere personal opinion. It had to fit with life as a whole, or it was meaningless. Lewis queried where he got this idea of things being just and unjust. A person does not call a line crooked unless they have... Read more →


400th Anniversary of the King James Version of the Bible

Yesterday was the 400th anniversary of the most printed book of all time - the King James Version of the Bible. The KJV has been printed billions of times. The majority of these printings have been funded not by commercial interest but by people who love this Book. Tradition holds that on May 2nd, 1611 the King's printer Robert Barker presented the first copies of an English text that would shape our world today. The Bible in the English language has influenced the way we speak, the way we govern, and the way we worship. No other literature touches the... Read more →


C.S. Lewis - Objection #8: Postmodernism

A good question at this stage in our overview of C.S. Lewis' objections to faith and how he overcame them is, "Is what was true for C.S. Lewis necessarily true for me?" Post-modernism denies meta-narratives: any narrnaitve, story or account of the world that claims to be absolute or all encompassing. It sees no facts, only interretations. There is no such thing as an objective view of reality. Ethical claims are sentiment and de-construction is justice. Lewis lived before the full flowing of post-modern thought but some of its roots were already present in his day. When it comes to... Read more →


C.S. Lewis - Objection #7: Wish Fulfillment

C.S. Lewis also struggled with the question of Wish Fulfilment: Isn't belief in God just a crutch for needy people? Some people believe that humanity invented God out of need - to cope with the uncertainties of a confusing and often dangerous world. The psychological explanation for God is one of the most common arguments against Christian faith (and against any theistic religion). Belief in a god is common to all cultures in all time periods. Atheists prefer to explain this as "wish fulfilment" - that humanity invented God because we wished God existed. Lewis responded to the influential atheists... Read more →


C.S. Lewis - Objection #6: Miracles

C.S. Lewis also struggled with miracles: do you believe in the miracles of the Bible? A miracle is something that comes to us from beyond the world. It is an event that can't happen, but it does. It can't be explained scientifically. Lewis gained attention beyond his academic circles through his unflinching affirmation of the supernatural - God, demons, miracles and all. How could a sophisticated Oxford professor believe in such fables in the 20th century? He took on the task to consider whether it was intellectually honest and realistic to automatically reject miracles. He critiqued naturalism, which claims that... Read more →