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September 2012
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November 2012

The Tragedy of Halloween

[A guest post by Rev Canon J.John -] The bizarre preoccupation with Halloween shows no sign of abating. Indeed, the enthusiasm with which some shops are marketing this celebration of evil, death and the occult suggests that their owners are banking on huge sales of pumpkins, masks and witches’ hats.. Many concerns have been raised concerning Halloween over the years and the two most common are that Halloween encourages dabbling with the occult and that it celebrates evil. Both are true but let me add another: Halloween raises big questions but only gives lies as answers. This is serious... Read more →

Cologne Cathedral - Working for Something that will Outlive You

The Cologne Cathedral is Germany’s most visited landmark, with an estimated 20,000 visitors each day of the year. It is a World Heritage Site and is a stunning example of Gothic architecture. What is most fascinating about this church building is the fact that it took 100s of years to build. The first part was constructed between 1248 and 1473. But then work was halted before eventually being resumed in the early 19th century finally to be completed in 1880, over 600 years later! This is an amazing example of generations of people being commited to a vision much bigger... Read more →

Michelangelo's Unknown Team Members

Michelangelo was one of the greatest artists of all time. He preferred to work in sculpture but became reknown for his paintings. It took a lot to persuade him to paint the ceiling of Sistine Chapel but it eventually became his most famous masterpiece. The walls were already painted with a multitude of stories of Moses and Jesus. Michelangelo took responsibility for painting over 1,000 square metres of the ceiling area between 1508-1512. He covered it with 300 majestic biblical scenes ranging from creation to the last judgment scene. What most people don't know is that at least 12 other... Read more →

Turning Worry into Trust

Jesus once said to his disciples, "Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me (John 14:1)." In the Message Bible, Eugene Peterson translates Jesus' statement this way: "Don't let this throw you. You trust God, don't you? Trust me." Jesus tells his disciples to not allow their hearts to become "troubled." This word means: disturbed, upset, terrified, frightened, stirred up (like water), agitated, inward commotion, loss of calmness of mind, filled with fear or dread, anxious, perplexed, distressed, or thrown by doubts. Instead, Jesus tells us to trust in God and in Him. He... Read more →

4 Wrong Answers to the Question “Why Me?” by Tim Keller

Here is an excellent BLOG post by Tim Keller from Redeemer Church in New York City (August 6th, 2012) ... When I was diagnosed with cancer, the question "Why me?" was a natural one. Later, when I survived but others with the same kind of cancer died, I also had to ask, "Why me?" Suffering and death seem random, senseless. The recent Aurora shootings—in which some people were spared and others lost—is the latest, vivid example of this, but there are plenty of others every day: from casualties in the Syria uprising to victims of accidents on American roads. Tsunamis,... Read more →

Parables of the Growing Kingdom (Pt.3)

Our Response So what do we take away from the message of these parables about kingdom growth? What’s the application? What does this all mean for us today? A few thoughts ... 1. Be Patient - It's Guaranteed! Like The Parable of the Wheat and the Weeds, these parables teach us that God does have a plan for this world and he is working to accomplish it. However, it is unfolding over time and that means there’s some waiting to do, something we find difficult. We’d all love God to do more and to act faster in bringing in his... Read more →

Parables of the Growing Kingdom (Pt.2)

The Parable of the Mustard Seed (Luke 13:18-19) The mustard seed was the smallest known seed in Palestine at the time (about a millimetre in diameter). It had become proverbial in that culture for ‘smallness’ (see Matthew 17:20). Over time it would normally grow to a bush or tree of about 2 metres in height (though some say up to 3 or even 5 metres). The kingdom of God is like this mustard seed that slowly grows into a fairly large tree. It has already come but not in the spectacular, unmistakable fashion expected. It has begun inconspicuously, yet it... Read more →

Parables of the Growing Kingdom (Pt.1)

On the day Socrates died (469-399 BC), it was clear that he would go down in history as one of the great philosophers in the Western world, someone who thoughts would be discussed in classrooms and hallways for centuries after he was gone. His contribution to the field of ethics and logic is renown, as is his use of questions in the learning process, now called the Socratic method. On the day Alexander the Great died (356-323 BC), everyone knew he would be remembered as one of the greatest conquerors of all time, having created one of the largest empires... Read more →

Communion on the Moon

A few months ago I was privileged to meet Charlie Duke, the tenth person to have walked on the moon. At the event I attended, he shared some amazing stories about his experiences in space. What was most moving for me, was hearing him speak about his conversion story and his current relationship with Jesus Christ. He actually became a bit teary-eyed during this part of his talk, something that didn't happen when he was recounting his first walk on the moon. I told him afterward that it was moving to hear someone become more emotional about their relationship with... Read more →

Foster Parenting

In response to Jesus' Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, you can't help but be prompted to take action by doing something for someone in need, such as sponsoring a child or volunteering some time to community organisations who are doing good work in the community. Another excellent ministry to consider is becoming a foster carer. OzChild is one of the many excellent organisations that recruits, trains, and accredits new foster carers, particularly in the Southern Region of Melbourne (which includes the City of Casey). There is a desperate shortage of foster carers in Victoria at the moment. Foster... Read more →

"Who is this Man?" by John Ortberg

With over 1,500 new books about Jesus being published every year, why read another book about Jesus? John Ortberg's latest book Who is this Man? The Unpredictable Impact of this Inescapable Man is well worth reading as it gives us a fresh and inspiring look at Jesus and his impact on history. New Testament scholar and historian N.T. Wright says this about it: “One of the big lies of our time is that Christianity has been part of the problem rather than the source of the solution. Most people today don’t realise that things we now take for granted, like... Read more →

Leadership Quotes (Pt.4)

And finally ... 31. "Probably my best quality as a coach is that I ask a lot of challenging questions and I let the person come up with the answer." Phil Dixon 32. "The quality of the leader is reflected in the standards they set for themselves." Ray Kroc 33. "No one will make a great leader who wants to do it all himself, or to get all the credit for doing it." Andrew Carnegie 34. "Uncertainty will always be part of the taking charge process." Harold Geneen 35. "Processes don't work; people do." John Seely Brown 36. "All serious... Read more →

Leadership Quotes (Pt.3)

Some more leadership quotes: 21. "Nearly all men can stand adversity but if you want to test a man's character, give him power." Abraham Lincoln 22. "Do not follow where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail." Ralph Waldo Emerson 23. "The quality of a person's life is in direct proportion to their commitment to excellence, regardless of their chosen field of endeavor." Vincent Lombardi 24. "An empowered organisation is one in which individuals have the knowledge, skill, desire, and opportunity to personally succeed in a way that leads to collective organisational... Read more →

Leadership Quotes (Pt.2)

More leadership quotes for reflection: 11. 'In organisations, real power and energy is generated through relationships. The patterns of relationships and the capacities to form them are more important than tasks, functions, roles and positions." Margaret Wheatley 12. "I used to think that running an organisation was equivalent to conducting a symphony orchestra. But I don't think that's quite right; it's more like jazz. There is more improvisation." Warren Bennis 13. "The first responsibility of a leader is to define reality. The last is to say thank you." Max Depree 14. "Don't be afraid to take a BIG STEP when... Read more →

Leadership Quotes (Pt.1)

Here are some inspirational and insightful quotes about 'leadership': 1. "Leadership is the art of getting someone else to do something you want done because he wants to do it." Dwight D. Eisenhower 2. "Managers are people who do things right, while leaders are people who do the right thing." Warren Bennis 3. "The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort but where he stands in times of challenge and controversy." Martin Luther King 4. "The real leader has no need to lead. He is content to point the way." Henry Miller 5.... Read more →