food_ration_book_ukLooks like I might fire this old baby back up.  New look, new title, new tag.  Lots of fresh stuff coming to me that God is challenging me to share.

I’ve been challenged recently by my own ration mentality.  The need to come to God to get what I need.  Of course there’s value in that.  There’s grace in that.  God has new things for us every day.  We need to look and search, dig, find and experience them!  Definitely.

But I have a problem when I’m seeking for an experience which brings me strength above an encounter in the midst of a deep relationship.

Does prioritising an experiential, momentary lift transform us?  Over time possibly.  Maybe.  Could it?

An entrenched ration mentality ends up becoming about the fix I need rather than the ONE I need. It becomes about a feeling that gets me through a rough patch rather than a journey I need to take with an all powerful, all loving God that transforms me into a person who can OVERCOME and DOMINATE not just that rough patch but every trial that I face.

2 Corinthians 12:10
For when I am weak, then I am strong.

God’s plan is to work in your everyday transforming you from glory to glory into a person who is STRONG.

Notice the verse doesn’t say, ‘When I am weak, then I have strength.’  It’s God’s goal to make me like Christ (2 Cor 3:18).  God is making me strong.  I don’t need to search Him out just for His strength in me… I need to allow Him to take me on a journey whereby He changes me, challenges me and grows me into a person who is strong.

How does this happen?  Through regular encounter (and yes experiences of His presence (nearness)), a continuous conversation with Him and by giving Him permission to take me on a journey by which He makes me strong.

Rest – Unlike anything you’ll ever ‘do’

Rest – Unlike anything you’ll ever ‘do’

hammock_wide-57a97055372e34b48a3e195588018a686d9a638c-s6-c30Rest.  We seek it out every year.  We need it.  Our soul craves it.  Yet many of us return to work after a few weeks off and immediately agree after a few days that we need another holiday!

Each of us approaches rest differently yet in the same way.  We are all the same in that when we rest we do something that we love doing.  Something that helps us relax, enjoy, wind down, be creative and not do actual work.  We do it differently in that each person has a unique group of activities that they love to do which helps them rest.

The problem is that these things, while good and beneficial and helpful in improving perspective and reducing stress aren’t actually giving me rest on the inside.  My problems are still there.  When I get home or the movie finishes or I put down my book and leave that ‘world’ I instantly return to the place of reality where my life isn’t perfect and my situation, circumstances, personal issues and relationship problems are still there.  My finances usually don’t change for the better when I go on holidays.

Holidays and times of ‘rest’ can simply become an alternate world, a brief stress reliever, a momentary soothing of any pains in life that will still be there when I return.  In that sense they can seem like a dream.  A surreal experience that, when you return feel like they may never have happened.

So where do we find real rest then?

Simple.  In the presence of Jesus.

Jesus said in Matthew 11:28:  “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

Doing what you love is great.  There’s no doubt it’s helpful.  But time in the presence of God is far greater.  Why?  That’s a big question with a long answer.  So here’s one small part of it.  Because faith is restored when you connect to a big powerful God who loves you.  Problems lose their power when viewed in comparison to God who can change anything and empower you through it.  We receive peace and hope in the presence of God.    We find our burdens lifted, our soul lightens, our mind rested, our emotions blessed.

So take a holiday, read a great book, walk many beaches, explore new things, play your favourite video games, engage and play with your kids and do what you love to do… but don’t forget that true rest doesn’t come from doing… but from going to the person of Jesus and finding peace in God’s presence.

Why I love Domestic Blitz so much

Why I love Domestic Blitz so much

Last Sunday night Channel Nine combined 2 of Beck and my favourite shows… The Block and Domesitc Blitz.  We got a little addicted to The Block as we’re (hopefully) getting closer to doing our own renovations soon.

But why does this show pull my heart strings so much?  It’s a truly noble concept to search for a good family in desperate need of being epically blessed and then bless them in such practical means.  The family gets loved on by the show, the viewers and especially the workers, in this case the 8 Block contestants.

It all rushes to an insane, wildly emotional crescendo of elation and overall feel-good-ness when you see what they’ve done to the house of the family in just 2 days while they’ve been blessed with a short holiday.  Get out the Kleenex… you’re going to need them!

Here’s why I love it so much.  Here’s why I want to DO it for other families.  Here’s why:  Because it connects so deeply to the heart of God for us.

Everyone of us is in a pit of craziness that we’ve dug for ourselves through sin.  All the unforgiveness in our heart, our malicious actions towards others, our gossipy talk, laziness and all other sin has left us in total despair and deep with hurt.  These families are like that… perhaps that’s why we identify with them.  They have lost a family member or are about to… or they’ve volunteered for a bazillion hours someplace local and deserve a help out.

The part everyone loves and where the tears force their way out, is at the end of the show when the new parts of the house are being shown to the family.  It’s amazing. Warm. Full of love.  Tears everywhere.  Beautiful.  This is how it should be.

This is how it is… when a person finds Christ. No kidding! They get all their sin washed away, they get a clean slate, a relationship with God who deeply loves them, a spiritual family, a way to grow and live and enjoy life.  They get shown through their new life and they’re in awe and feeling very very loved.

I guess that’s why I like it so much.  Because God looked down on us, as rebellious or distant as we were and decided to create something special and wonderful for us even when we didn’t want it.  When we find it, we love it and we realise we’ve been looking for it all along.

10 Ways to do Exercise without a Gym

10 Ways to do Exercise without a Gym

Check out this great article in the Sydney Morning Herald about the Fitness industry losing it’s way.  It also details plenty of good exercises you can do from home that wont break the budget and will build some strength, increase tone and lose fat.

Here’s a few more:

  1. Go for a 15 minute walk twice a day (or one 30 minute walk).
  2. Take the kids with you. Or your spouse.  Good 1-on-1 time too.
  3. Wash your car by hand (save money too).
  4. Mow your own lawn.  Give the kids a go if they’re old enough (a small break for you!)
  5. Take the stairs.  Park further away. Go the scenic route.
  6. DIY. Renovate, strip wallpaper, paint, tile, clean, mop.  It’s all more calories down the drain.
  7. Play with the kids. Wrestle your boys (daily), play soccer, cricket, tip, barbies (probably just girls), dolls, dancing, running (Josie (2) loves this right now).
  8. Use the Wii’s active games (or PS Move, XBOX Kinect) and get moving.  Try Wii Zumba Fitness Party. That’ll get you moving!
  9. Try adding some strength increasing moves.  Have a go at pushups, situps, dips, chin ups, squats and others.  Start easy, start small and work up.
  10.   Make small lifestyle choices.  Huge changes rarely work.  It’s normally a far better option to start eating better and exercising more gradually.  Try it.

Any other good non-gym exercises you know?

Why I love the Warrior movie so much

Why I love the Warrior movie so much


Warrior is a man’s movie around a MMA (mixed martial arts) global tournament.  I have to say it’s become my favourite movie for men and my fav movie of 2011 too.

Here’s why I love it so much.

Guys need movies like this.  Movies that deal with guy problems and promote attitudes that men should adopt.  Problems like alcoholism, isolation and estrangement.  Good qualities like fighting for your family, loving your kids and your wife, forgiveness and trust.

I love it because it’s pretty clean.  Very little course language, no sex, some alcohol abuse, no drugs.  Movies like that are hard to find these days… especially ones guys will actually watch.

I love it because it values family.  Families are the cornerstone of society.  Men can become fathers too easily but it takes a change of attitude, lifestyle and selfishness to become a dad.  Dads are really important.  Dads love their kids, spend time with them, discipline them in love and really care for them while providing them with a good role model.

In Warrior we see a dad (Paddy – Nolte) trying to bridge an impossible gap to his sons (Brendan and Tommy) after being absent and abusive as a father when they were younger.

We see Brendan (Joel Edgerton) playing a father who loves his 2 girls and desperately wants to keep his family home.  Tommy (played by Tom Hardy) pledges any winnings from the tournament to a family who lost their dad by his side in Afghanistan next to him in the war.

Fight for family’ and ‘Family is worth fighting for’ are two of the taglines the movie uses in promotions.  I love them!  It’s so true in our pluralistic, anything goes society where the family is under attack from so many sources we need messages like this, in blokey, tough, quality movies men will actually see.

How good is the fighting too?!  Such a good flick.  Watch it with some guys!

View the trailer here.

What I love about the KONY 2012 campaign

What I love about the KONY 2012 campaign

Firstly if you’ve not seen the video, here it is

So far the video has been watched by 45 million people on YouTube and 14 million people on Vimeo.  It’s an emotional video created by charity Invisible Children to stir people’s hearts to create awareness of Joseph Kony the leader of the LRA.  The LRA are involved in many evil actions including abducting children and forcing them to become child soldiers in Uganda, Congo, South Sudan and Sudan, Africa.

The Kony 2012 campaign isn’t perfect… but there are a couple of things I love about it.

Firstly the way social media like Facebook and Twitter have been leveraged, promoted and actually used to spread the word and garner support for this great cause.  This is what I probably love the most about the whole thing.  All of a sudden the campaign has hit the news, the desk of politicians, the media and the feed of almost everyone’s Facebook and Twitter… all because people decided it was worthy to Share.  We’ve seen the power of the Share in this campaign.

Secondly, this introduces new possibilities in advertising, evangelism, awareness and campaigns everywhere.  With the right combination of motivation, a great cause, emotionally challenging media and clever marketing anything can go viral and amass supporters number in the multi-millions.  Incredible.

Thirdly how it motivates people to action.  This actual campaign has awareness at it’s core.  Making the world and significant people know and stand up for this social issue is the heart of the campaign so that legislation and action can take place to arrest and remove Joseph Kony.  Hopefully people who ‘Share’ or watch the video wont assume that they’ve done their part by those basic actions.

Lastly, it shows the power of social media.  Social Media is officially a game changer now.  If there was any doubt in the minds of business leaders and advertising agencies anywhere there should be no more.  Facebook and Twitter are 2 of the most powerful mediums on earth.  Leveraging those for good or evil (such as the 2011 Egyptian Revolution) can bring powerful success.

Defeating Discouragement

Defeating Discouragement

Last Sunday I preached this message which I think everyone needs to hear.  Discouragement is living without courage.  I think we settle in our spirits for a standard of life that lacks courage.  We’re so used to living with so little courage that it becomes the norm.

Here are 6 ways you can defeat discouragement in your life.

1. Remember God gave you a Spirit of faith

2 Timothy 1:7 says, ‘For God did not give you a spirit of timidity but of love, power and sound discipline.’  When you realise that God has given you His Spirit of faith, you can believe that things are going to work out for good. You can be bold and courageous and you ACT from that place.

2. Remember God is with you!

In Joshua 1:5-9 God tells Joshua not to be afraid but to be strong and courageous (3 times!) because He would be WITH HIM.  God is with you and promises never to leave you or forsake you when times get tough.  Press into Him and feel His presence around you.

3. God fights for you!

In Nehemiah 4:19-21 Nehemiah is rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem and he tells the people not to worry because ‘God will fight for us!’.  When you’re discouraged don’t forget to pray. Pray puts God to work for you. Prayer releases the power of God’s hand to intervene in a situation and change the results.

4. You’re already victorious!

2 Corinthians 2:14 says that we are captives in Christ’s triumphal procession.  He leads us in victory wherever we go.  You work FROM a place of victory not TOWARDS it.

5. It’s worth fighting for

Marriage, family, ministry, kingdom, life… all worth the hard yards.  All worth getting back up after you have failed countless times.  2 Corinthians 4:16-18 says that our ‘light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory bigger than them all.’  Your present will soon be your past.  Don’t give up.

6. Remember what God has done

In Deuteronomy 4:9 Moses tells the people what to do.  To remember God’s goodness and not to let it slip from their hearts.  The people were disheartened.  Guard your heart because it’s the wellspring of your life (Proverbs 4:23).

Winston Churchill said, ‘Success is going from one failure to the next without loss of enthusiasm.’

Defeat discouragement in your life.  Don’t give up.  Let the presence of God put fresh faith in you today.

Download my sermon notes hereMp3 here. PowerPoint here.