General Interest

Insights from the Eagle

I love eagles. We live in a semi-rural area on the outskirts of Melbourne. When I took my first sabbatical back in 2012, on the very first day, Nicole and I were walking on a gravel road nearby and a huge wedge tailed eagle flew over our head and then up throught the trees. It was breathtaking. In the last few weeks, we have seen a pair of eagles soaring above our area a number of times. There are many lessons we can learn from the eagle. God likens us to eagles (Isaiah 40:28-31) and Solomon gained a lot of... Read more →


The Fisherman and the Businessman

A holidaying American businessman standing on the pier of a quaint coastal fishing village in southern Mexico watched as a small boat with just one young Mexican fisherman pulled into the dock. Inside the small boat were several large yellowfin tuna. Enjoying the warmth of the early afternoon sun, the American complimented the Mexican on the quality of his fish. "How long did it take you to catch them?" the American casually asked. "Oh, a few hours," the Mexican fisherman replied. "Why don't you stay out longer and catch more fish?" the American businessman then asked. The Mexican warmly replied,... Read more →


The Devil's Most Effective Tool - Discouragement

The following fictitious story illustrates the power of discouragement. Once upon a time it was announced that the devil was going out of business and would sell all his equipment to those who were willing to pay the price. On the big day of the sale, all his tools were attractively displayed. There was Envy, Jealousy, Hatred, Malice, Deceit, Sensuality, Pride, Idolatry, and other implements of evil on display. Each of the tools was marked with its own price tag. Over in the corner by itself was a harmless-looking, wedge-shaped tool very much worn down, but still it bore a... Read more →


Is it time to De-Clutter Your Life?

Do you feel like your life is cluttered? Are you a hoarder? Do you have stuff everywhere and the piles are only getting bigger? Do you feel overwhelmed? Maybe it's time to de-clutter. For some assistance, why not check out The Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up. This #1 New York Times best-selling guide to decluttering your home from Japanese cleaning consultant Marie Kondo takes readers step-by-step through her revolutionary method for simplifying, organising, and storing. Here are the main take away ideas: The art of tidying requires discarding first (things that have outlived their purpose), then organising (the remaining... Read more →


Max Conlon - Aboriginal Artist

Last weekend, as part of our Australians Together focus, we were privileged to host Max and Tracey Conlon at CityLife Church. They are indigenous Australian church leaders who founded Walkabout Ministry. They travel and minister to many of the isolated indigenous communities across our nation. Max was raised amongst 14 siblings in the Cherbourg Aboriginal settlement in south east Queensland and is a descendant of the Kabi Kabi/Kullali tribes. Max is an established artist and has been painting for 35 years. He has travelled extensively with exhibitions of his work in Dubai, Japan, Korea and a number of European cities.... Read more →


The Blessings of Aging

In a culture that idolises youth, it's easy to lose the value and joy of aging. Yet, wisdom says: "The glory of young men is their strength; gray hair the splendor of the old (Proverbs 20:29)." Having turned 50 years of age not long ago, I know what it's like to start to feel your own frailty. Those double digit birthdays can definitely take a significant mental and emotional toll on us. Thankfully, we are all aging at the same rate. The Huffington Post recently posted the following article by Sister Joan Chittister. There's some good wisdom here for us.... Read more →


World Animal Day (October 4th)

Okay, so today is World Animal Day. World Animal Day was started in 1931 at a convention of ecologists in Florence as a way of highlighting the plight of endangered species. October 4 was chosen as World Animal Day as it is the Feast Day of St Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of animals. Since then, World Animal Day has become a day for remembering and paying tribute to all animals and the people who love and respect them. It's celebrated in different ways in every country. Personally, I love animals and think we should show tender love and... Read more →


Like an Eagle ...

During my sabbatical last year, I saw an eagle on at least five different occasions. The first time was a huge wedge-tailed eagle that flew near the tree tops not far from our house while we were on a walk. The others I saw while travelling in various places. Eagles are so beautiful and majestic to watch, flying in an almost effortless fashion. To me the eagle represents God calling me to a higher life, resting in him, soaring on the wings of the Spirit, seeing life from his perspective, and riding far above the winds of adversity. What are... Read more →


Australia's Population Reaches 23 Million People

The 23 millionth Australian, due to arrive this week, could be a baby called Jack or even a young Pom. The Australian Bureau of Statistics says the nation's population is set to hit 23 million people on April 23 at 9.57pm (AEST), but there's only a 40 per cent chance he or she will be home grown. Migrants make up 60 per cent of Australia's population growth and the UK accounts for one in five arrivals. If number 23,000,000 is born locally, there's a slightly better chance of it being a boy, with 105 males born for every 100 females,... Read more →


Work Trivia + Some Unusual Jobs in Demand

This week we've been talking about Your Work, God's Work. Did you know that the average person today has 5-7 complete career changes in their life time? That's an average of 10 different jobs with an average of 4.1 years at each workplace. I sure help the average, having worked as a builder's renovator, a book binder, a printer, a music director, a youth pastor, a church administrator and now as a pastor for the last 18 years. Maybe you've had lots of changes in career too or maybe you're one of those people who stick at something for a... Read more →


The 10 Commandments From a Dog's Point of View

Our daughter, Natasha, turns 20 in a few weeks. We bought her a dog, with some help from the RSPCA. He is a labrador and is a little over 2 years of age. His name is Oscar. Oscar is very cute and has a peaceful nature. While looking through a few other dog pounds with my wife, Nicole, we saw the following 10 Commandments from a Dog's Point of View. Worth repeating ... 1. My life is likely to last 10-15 years; any separation from you will be painful for me. Remember that before you buy me. 2. Give me... 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 →


A New Season: Spring

Here in Melbourne, Australia the season of Spring begins - today! I love Spring. We start to move away from the cold, rainy and cloudy days of winter. The sun starts to become warmer. Birds are singing their little hearts out. Trees that have looked dead start to blossom with new life. Solomon described it well ... Look, the winter is past, and the rains are over and gone. The flowers are springing up, the season of singing birds has come. [Song of Songs 2:11-12. NLT] God created the seasons ... Genesis 8:22. As long as the earth remains, there... Read more →


Separating Fact from Fiction - on the Internet

Every day or so I receive one of those "pass it on" emails explaining some horrible thing that has happened or some latest conspiracy theory. It's hard to know what to believe. How do you separate fact from fiction? There is a web site dedicated to helping us in this area, called Snopes. Their mission is "to be the definitive Internet reference source for urban legends, folklore, myths, rumors, and misinformation." You can use the search box on the web site to locate an item of interest or browse the site by category. A recent example (actually, it's been around... Read more →


Understanding WD40

A friend passed this on to me. Interesting reading ... Before you read to the end, do you know what the main ingredient of WD-40 is? Who knew? I had a neighbour who bought a new car. I got up very early one Sunday morning and saw that someone had spray painted red all around the sides of his car (for some unknown reason). I went over, woke him up, and told him the bad news. He was very upset and was trying to figure out what to do.... probably nothing until Monday morning, since nothing was open. Another neighbour... Read more →


Silent Night Story

Silent Night is one of the most popular carols sun across the world at this Christmas season. There are many romantic stories about how it was composed. Here is one of them that may contain an element of truth to it ... On Christmas Eve 1818 in Austria, the Vicar of a small church in Oberndorf had written a new song to be sung on Christmas Day. The organist, Franz Gruber had set the words to music but the organ broke and it looked like it was all going to be a disaster. In an attempt to rectify the situation,... Read more →


Australian Human Rights Award goes to Tony and Lisa Clark

Congratulations to Tony and Lisa Clark who were selected as the winners of the Australian Human Rights Commission - Community Organisation award at a ceremony in Sydney today. Tony, who founded Swags for Homeless in 2007, started the non-profit homeless charity in Melbourne when he questioned what was given to street sleeping homeless turned away from shelters. Tony and Lisa Clark designed the emergency relief Backpack Bed, which received the worlds largest and most prestigious product design award the Red Dot ‘Best of the Best’ in Germany this year. Backpack Beds are provided to homeless and are distributed through 139... Read more →


The Starfish Story - Making a Difference

Once upon a time, there was a wise man who used to go to the ocean to do his writing. He had a habit of walking on the beach before he began his work. One day, as he was walking along the shore, he looked down the beach and saw a human figure moving like a dancer. He smiled to himself at the thought of someone who would dance to the day, and so, he walked faster to catch up. As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, and that what he was... Read more →


Recycling Hotel Soap to Save Lives

Derreck Kayongo, from Uganda, is one of this year's Top 10 CNN Heroes nominees. Click here to read his amazing story. Through simple presence of mind, Derreck had an idea to collect used hotel soap, that usually ends up as landfill, and recycle it for use in impoverished nations such as Haiti, Uganda, Kenya and Swaziland. Each year, more than 2 million children die from diarrhea. According to the World Health Organization, these deaths occur almost exclusively among toddlers living in low-income countries. The issue is not the availability of soap. The issue is cost. If you are living on... Read more →


Ready for Adventure? An Invitation from Earnest Shackleton

Apparently explorer Earnest Shackleton placed the following notice in a newspaper while preparing for an expedition to Antarctica: "Men wanted for hazardous journey. Low wages, bitter cold, long hours of complete darkness. Safe return doubtful. Honour and recognition in event of success." Supposedly there were 5,000 men and 3 women who responded! Have we become too comfortable today? P.S. The search for a copy of the advert still continues today. Click here to read more. Read more →