The Move

Category Random
It would seem that the move to blogger.com as the hosting platform is complete. You will still be able to see all the old entries (pushing 2 years worth) here by going to the original URL https://www.sarmy.net.nz/mdbblog.nsf but you will need to update your bookmarks or RSS reader (unless you only use http://mdbennett.net).


Long Story

Category Random
It is a long story but I'm going to move where this blog is hosted. So to save all the technical speak know that it will remain accessible through https://www.sarmy.net.nz/mdbblog.nsf but the mdbennett.net is in the process of being redirected. This might mean there are some hiccups while I sort it all out.


Leadership Style

Category Church Random Work
Is someone's ability to lead affected by their personality? What I mean is if there is a personality clash between two people does it mean one can't be led by the other?

It would seem to me that their are two main leadership styles: do as I say and do as I do. In some cases people blend them both together. Now one of these styles should be unaffected by the personality of the leader (or anyone following them). When a leader just does what needs to be done and sets an example and the benchmark through action then personalities should have little impact.

However if a leader has the do as I say style then personality will pay an enormous part in the success of the team. Why? Because I can't hear what you're saying because of the way you're acting. Our actions always seem to say more than our words ever can. Saying to someone having a hard time, "I'll pray for you" is good. But turning up to walk with them in the situation, or having them over for a meal says more.

What kind of leader are you? I'm the kind who blends both ... I like to think that I do things in a way that inspires my team to work smart, work hard, and produce quality results. But sometimes (all too often) I get tired, and lose sight of our destination so start just telling people what I want and how it should be done without doing it myself or demonstrating how to do it.


The Journey

Category Random
I had one of those moments where when I was speaking to someone I thought of a great story to illustrate the point I was trying to make. It was a conversation about unity (which doesn't mean uniformity). My point is that we (the royal we of leaders - and I'm generalising a little here) seem unable to reconcile different approaches or perspectives into our way forward.

Imagine that you're part of a team and you have to get from point A to point B. The challenge is that between the two points is Mount Everest! However before you start you talk with your team to decide how you're going to get to point B. You discuss the options available to you. There is a motorway running all the way around Mount Everest to point B and a car available to you. There is also a scenic road you can take and tour buses waiting to take you on a guided tour to point B. There is a four wheel drive track winding it's way through to point B (and 4WD vehicles avialable), as well as adventure motorbikes that could take a narrower path through to point B.

But that isn't all, there are also mountain bike tracks, hiking paths, mountain climbing gear, almost every imaginable means of getting between 2 points. This plethora of ways to get to point B is before you and your team mates.

Am I wrong because I want to mountain bike when you're interested in taking the tour bus? Or is the person wanting to climb over Mount Everest to point B wrong because that, while most direct, is likely to take the longest time! In fact it isn't difficult to imagine that within the team there would be support for most of the ways of getting to point B as well as a few alternative ideas (pogo stick, walk backwards, etc)!

If the goal is point B then surely the way you get there is irrelevant? Surely there is unity in purpose (getting to point B) and the way we actually get there is determined by our uniqueness and the way we're wired (some of us just love being outside in the wilderness having an adventure, others can't stand even looking at the great outdoors through a car windscreen)!

There is no right way to get to point B. Some ways may be faster but the point isn't speed, it is getting to point B. Some ways may be more scenic, but the point isn't seeing things, it is getting to point B. The point is getting to point B and the team is united in that.

An enormous eye or a gigantic hand wouldn't be a body, but a monster 1 Corinthians 12:21



Category Random
I am really feeling completely misunderstood at the moment. It would seem that what I'm incapable of communicating well and this is the source of great frustration for me and someone else. Of course we're both as bad as each other with me feeling I can communicate better through the written word and him only ever wanting to talk.

Maybe we're at a Crossroads and need to turn separate ways?


What If ...

Category Random
What if you literally got a note from God inviting you to a weekend somewhere? I know it sounds ludicrous but that is the premise of the book I'm reading at the moment (The Shack) and it is an interesting thought. We so readily dismiss the idea of God doing something so physical, so real, and so tangible. And yet in the same breath we say to anyone who will listen that our God is omnipotent and capable of anything! In fact our God is so strong He could make a rock so big He couldn't pick it up (not sure if that is a paradox or a contradiction)!

Anyway, what if I got a note from God inviting me to go away for the weekend? Would I run around in excitement telling everyone within earshot (like I would if I got a note from Eric Johnson or Frank Zappa? Would I treat it like those time share selling deals where I figure it might be worth it for a free weekend away? Perhaps I'd simply dismiss it as nonsense because my concept of God doesn't include him writing notes to me!

Whatever the situation, it seems a little naive that to accept the notion that God would write me a note and yet I feel foolish thinking that He wouldn't!


Productive Days

Category Random
I'm sitting in a meeting on a Friday afternoon which made me wonder why someone would schedule one on a Friday afternoon! Half the people around the table already look like they've glazed over and some appear to have already left for the weekend! Of course this is fairly normal for a lot of the meetings I end up attending (yes I am a very lucky guy)!

It seems counter-productive to me to schedule a meeting on a Friday afternoon, BUT it could be utter brilliance!

I've observed people incapable of operating on a Monday because it is the 1st day of the week. Productivity on a Monday is pretty low (if there even is any) for these people. In many cases this extends to Tuesday (afterall it is the day after Monday). Then on Friday some people have already mentally left for the week (others never mentally arrive) so nothing happens. For these people Thursday is like other peoples Fridays ... Small (2 minute) tasks are done but anything larger is postponed until next week.

That leaves Wednesday for some people to be productive. Wednesday is the middle of the week and often results in a break so one can recover from the start of the work week and prepare for the end of it.



Category Random
Commitment is one of those funny things especially in the context of church! I wonder if it is possible for someone to be committed to the Kingdom of God and yet bounce from one church to another (or even not go to a church at all).

I have probably heard most of the arguments there are around this matter over the years even though I'm not a church hopper. In fact the only time I've changed churches (bar once) is because I've moved city! So I think it is fair to say that I'm committed to my church. But is this the right place for my commitment to be?

I contend that my 1st commitment is to the Kingdom of God and I've yet to hear anyone say matters should be otherwise (i.e. I should be committed to my church 1st and the Kingdom 2nd - that would be an interesting case to hear though)! However if one's 1st commitment and priority is to the Kingdom of God then does the church they are attending (or not attending) matter? Does it matter whether they chop and change?

I'm a little undecided on this matter and could be convinced either way at this stage so I may come back to this question another time ... My commitment is to the Kingdom of God. Currently part of this being worked out is in the church I have been a member of since it was planted 11+ years ago. However increasingly I am conscious that my church is a lower priority than the Kingdom of God. Are the two inextricably bound or am I looking for to justify my departure?


Computer Gender

Category Random
Is your computer a he or a she? I remember seeing this joke years ago but stumbled onto it again today and had a little giggle so thought I woudl share it:

A group of computer scientists (all males) announced that computers should also be referred to as being female. Their top five reasons for drawing this conclusion were:
1. No one but the Creator understands their internal logic
2. The native language they use to communicate with other computers is incomprehensible to everyone else
3. The message "Bad command or file name" is about as informative as, "If you don't know why I'm mad at you, then I'm certainly not going to tell you"
4. Even your smallest mistakes are stored in long-term memory for later retrieval
5. As soon as you make a commitment to one, you find yourself spending half your paycheck on accessories for it

However, another group of computer scientists (all female) think that computers should be referred to as if they were male. Their top five reasons were:
1. They have a lot of data, but are still clueless
2. They are supposed to help you solve problems, but half the time they are the problem
3. As soon as you commit to one you realize that, if you had waited a little longer, you could have obtained a better model
4. In order to get their attention, you have to turn them on
5. Big power surges knock them out for the rest of the night

And it does more! So check it out here


Blogging - The 8th deadly sin!

Category Random
I was a little surprised to hear blogging and social networking take a hammering in the news this morning. It seems that some comments on a blog and social network site are being investigated because they were made by someone on the jury in the Weatherston case. This seems to pretty clearly be out of line given the ability of these kinds of technologies to be commented on and therefore be influenced by people outside of the court process (of course this presupposes that the court system we have is fair to start with).

However the news of this did make me wonder about the place blogs in particular play within society. I can recall several occassions where entires on a blog had to be rescinded because they could have been read incorrectly and cast a company or organisation in a bad light. In some instances they have poorly represented the position of someone, etc. This has in most cases ended up in people toeing the company line, even people loosely associated with it often unwillingly have to be 'brought into line.'

It seems to me we're not really that interested in the conversation anymore. We don't make the time, or the space for important talks and to allow ourselves and others to assimilate and process information. We're not really that interested in people forming personally opinions shaped on their experiences and knowledge, we'd far rather they just accept what we say and move onto our next life-changing statement!

It might be the 8th deadly sin, but blogging for me is a way of having a conversation (albeit with myself), as I try to make sense of matters of faith and life here in 21st century Wellington.


The world is just awesome!

Category Random
The line used to advertise the Discovery channel is the world is just awesome! and I tend to agree. This link will show you 10 amazing frogs. My personal favorite is the 2nd one on the list that is transparant, but all 10 are pretty awesome! Check them out and think about just how awesome this world is!


How not to use PowerPoint

Category Random Technology
Of course I don't use PowerPoint, I'm an open source kind of guy so either use Lotus Symphony (love it), or Open Office (seems to handle Microsoft Office formats better). Nevertheless, this is a good demonstation of the most common mistakes people make in PowerPoint.


Understanding Engineers #5

Category Random
Three Engineers were carpooling to work: an electrical engineer, a mechanical engineer, and a computer engineer. Suddenly, the car stalled. The electrical engineer said "It's gotta be the starter..or the battery...we should check the wiring." The mechanical engineer said "No. I think it's the carburator. It might need to be rebuilt."
The computer engineer said "Well, why don't we all get out, get back in, and try starting it up again?"


Understanding Engineers #4

Category Random
Normal people believe that if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Engineers believe that if it ain't broke, it doesn't have enough features yet.


Ukelele Magic

Category Random Music


Understanding Engineers #3

Category Random
What is the difference between mechanical engineers and civil engineers?
Mechanical engineers build weapons and civil engineers build targets.



Category Random
I am full of questions, but I'm OK with that. I don't think having questions is wrong, or undermines matters. In fact I think they are helpful! Most of us don't like asking questions in a group setting for fear of appearing ignorant. Most questions aren't that dumb and have half of the group wanting to know the answer (they were just too scared to ask)!

For me questions are part of the journey whether they be about technical matters, sport, or spiritual. They are an intrinsic part of unbundling who I am in the context of a particular setting (work, play, etc). This is a direct affront to many who seem to think that questioning things devalues or cast doubt on the matter. Science doesn't discourage questions, it embraces them for the truth will be revealed. Questions are the path to discover and the first step of learning.

Zondervan have several electronic publications, one of which includes excerpts from books they've published. The following quote is taken from "The Unexpected Adventure: Taking Everyday Risks to Talk with People about Jesus" by Lee Strobel (of whom I am a fan) and Mark Mittelberg (I've never heard of him).

Christians often miss the adventure of spiritual conversations because they're afraid they're going to get asked a question they can't answer. They don't feel very conversant with why they believe what they believe, and consequently they censor themselves and avoid evangelistic interactions altogether so they won't be embarrassed by what they don't know.

That's a good reason to comply with 1 Peter 3:15: "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have." When we have done enough study to have an adequate factual foundation for our faith, we naturally become more willing to engage with people who may have doubts.

None of us, however, knows the answer to every possible question a skeptic might raise. When a seemingly unanswerable issue confronts you, remember that Christianity has withstood similar challenges for two millennia. Keep in mind that it's a good thing when an individual has questions. This could very well be an open door to further conversations as you invite him or her to check out the evidence with you.

Read more from this book here.


Understanding Engineers #2

Category Random
As per yesterday, this isn't mine, nor is it the first time I've seen/heard it. However it does give you a glimpse inside the practical mind of an engineer ...

A priest, a doctor, and an engineer were waiting one morning for a particularly slow group of golfers. The engineer fumed, "What's with those blokes? We must have been waiting for fifteen minutes!" The doctor chimed in, "I don't know, but I've never seen such inept golf!" The priest said, "Here comes the green keeper ... Let's have a word with him."

He said, "Hello, George! What's wrong with that group ahead of us? They're rather slow, aren't they?" The green keeper replied, "Oh, yes. That's a group of blind fire fighters. They lost their sight saving our clubhouse from a fire last year, so we always let them play for free anytime."

The group fell silent for a moment. The priest said, "That's so sad. I think I will say a special prayer for them tonight." The doctor said, "Good idea. I'm going to contact my ophthalmologist colleague and see if there's anything he can do for them." The engineer said, "Why can't they play at night?"


Understanding Engineers #1

Category Random
These aren't original, I've seen them before doing the rounds ... however they are rather funny!

To the optimist, the glass is half full.
To the pessimist, the glass is half empty.
To the Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be!


Compassion (or lack thereof)

Category Random
It has been interesting to see the reaction to Michael Jackson's death. Within the day the top 15 songs on iTunes were all Michael Jackson tracks. Within a couple of days (not sure of the exact time frame sorry), his music accounted for 60% of ALL music being sold worldwide! Let us also not forget that Thriller is the biggest selling album of all time with approximately 100 million copies sold (2nd place album is AC/DC's back in black with only 45 million copies sold). I don't think anyone would disagree that he was a rare talent who had an enormous impact on the music industry and the world.

I heard that it is planned that Michael's funeral will be at Neverland (which seems fitting). What I'm stunned by are the people who live around Neverland voicing concerns about their quiet, peaceful existence being disturbed by thousands of cars driving up and down what is essentially a country lane! Is their no compassion left in the world?



Category Ride Random
I've said it so many times I'm not sure that I need to say it again. I don't like riding (my mountain bike) on the road - it is just too dangerous! Of course in this video the cyclist technically isn't on the road ... so they should be quite safe!!



Category Random
Why do we take the easy option when in the long run we know it isn't the best option? In fact we know it is actually a really bad idea and yet we make that decision anyway! Is it weakness? Comfort? A desire to not have to deal with the root cause of the problem? Maybe it is just laziness but God please let us make the right decision! 10 minutes of pain today is better than another 10 weeks (or months) of pain in 10 days time!


Top 10 Pastimes

Category Random
In the continuing series of my Top 10 lists (which is a habit I have since watching the movie High Fidelity), I thought that I'd blog my Top 10 Pastimes. It is a challenge getting balance (not just work / life) but complete balance in my life. If it isn't one thing crowding my time it is another! Time is a luxury that I don't have enough of. Of course I do try and do an extraordinary amount with the time I have! Anyway, most of my Top 10 passtimes are dependent on different influencing factors (money, time, weather ... things largely outside of my control)! However they are the way I would choose to fill my days if I didn't have to pay a mortgage, put food on the table, etc!

Passtime #10 - Building stuff (playhouse for the boys, deck around the spa, etc)
Passtime #9 - Sports (watching or playing)!
Passtime #8 - Reading
Passtime #7 - Learning
Passtime #6 - Riding my motorbike (especially long rides on windy roads)
Passtime #5 - Music
Passtime #4 - Guitars
Passtime #3 - Mountain biking
Passtime #2 - Family time (going out, holidays, exploring with the boys, etc)

and my number #1 passtime...

Passtime #1 - Travelling with N (anywhere)!

My conclusion? If I could get N, my mountain bike & guitar on the back of my motorbike I'd be in for some sweet travelling!



Category Random
Thanks to Vaughan who shared this video first. I can't help but think this is how Christians are supposed to be ... spontaneous ... joyfull ... bringing a glimpse of the kingdom (where there will be singing and dancing) to the ordinary routine of everyday.


I'm a Sick Man

Category Random
Ok, that is hardly going to be news to some of you who know me, but I am a sick man who has just learned the name of the condition I suffer from. It is a terrible disease that causes me to suffer socially and in my professional life. For years I've lived in denial but today I think I can publically declare my problem.

I suffer from chronoptia

A person who who suffers from chronoptia will always under estimate the time necessary to do something or get somewhere.

"Hey, Cindy. you know my parents are expecting us in 20 minutes." 
"No problem. I just have to wash the dishes, take a shower, do my hair, walk the dog and then I'm all good to go. See you in 15." 
"You are such a chronoptimist! I'll see you in 45."

Here is hoping that now that I've accepted my condition I can be cured.


God Told Me ...

Category Random
Following on from the Please God, save me from your followers comes the god who is at my beck and call (and therefore if you don't do what my god says you can't be a good person)! It also seems to fit well with the 5 kinds of Christian series (part #8 now I think)!



Category Random
Through my Twitter network I was led to Some of the articles don't seem that related to producitivity (in my opinion) BUT I read one which seems very related and also was (in my opinion), excellent! So here it is (reproduced without permission) but credited and linked here.

Imagine you are interviewing someone for a job and one of the questions you are going to ask them is “How much time do you spend reading and what do you read?”  Now imagine the answer you get back exactly describes your own reading habits.  What would your opinion be of the person you are interviewing based solely on that answer?

In other words, are you impressed with your own reading habits?  Most people aren’t.  With the Internet, the average person reads a much wider range of content with much less depth than  20 years ago. And while there are some definite advantages to knowing a little about a lot of things, much of the content adds very little value to people’s lives.

Making a conscious effort to read well-written books on a regular basis can go a long ways toward making your reading habits more balanced.  Personally, I can tell if I’ve been reading enough high quality writing based on the number of ideas I have.  For example, if I sit down to write and have a very difficult time coming up with anything to write about, it is usually a sign that I haven’t been reading enough.  On the other hand, if I’ve been reading a lot of high quality content, the ideas just seem to flow. How do you guage your reading?


Hubble Telescope Images

Category Random
Thanks to Twitter (specifically Mark Herring I found some amazing images from the Hubble Telescope. First launched in 1990 (thanks Wikipedia for the information about it), it has been sending images of the universe back to us ever since. For all the talk I've recently heard about how limited the functionality of it is I'm still blown away by the pictures. If you want to see them all check out the Hubble website.

Here is one I downloaded of The Crab Nebula - Which is the strangest name ever! Well, nebula is very cool but crab? Bizarre name!


Save Me!

Category Random
Thanks to the blog of Steve Taylor (no not that one, the other one) for the following humorous t-shirt. It sums up my feelings all too often (although I'm not too sure whether I should rely on my feelings). However you may recall the book I came across earlier this year that referred to this exact phenomenon!

A picture named M2

The BIG question for me is am I one of those followers who others want to be saved from? If I am it may not be such a big deal ... If I'm on of those followers who challenges others to do more and be more like Jesus then that must be good. However if I'm one of those followers who make others cringe and turn people away from God's Kingdom then tell me now (or just take me out back and shoot me)!


Budget Day

Category Bible Random
Normally I don't comment on politics, it isn't that I don't have an opinion, it is just that it seems so futile to me. Politicians seem to do whatever they want and if they're challenged because of an inconsistency or broken promise go to great lengths to protest their innocence due to mitigating circumstances. I guess I could learn a lot from them as it seems arrogant to make promises and sweeping statements out of ignorance - I really try not to do that!

Today is budget day and it sounds as though many the promises our new government made during the election will be broken. Now there would seem to be sound reason for this. The forecast the previous government gave of a healthy surplus has emerged as an enormous deficit (wish I was the one left holding that baby)!! The budget will undoubtedly be a betrayal to those who voted for the new government based on some of the election promises.

However what will interest me most as the budget is announced (2pm NZ time) is how Christianity, specifically denominations react. There will be Christian leaders standing up in the media over the next day or 2 telling us what is bad, why more should have been done, which will be followed by praise for some, "less than expected" assistance packages.

Reading from James this morning I was reminded of many things especially about how I need to watch my words and ensure my actions are consistent. Faith without works is dead, and deeds without faith is empty. However, James 1:27 reiterates a theme that is prominent throughout the bible:

Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world

Both sections of that seem impossible but surely pursuing the first will lead to the second being achieved.


Top 10 reasons I love IT

Category Technology Random
This list has been brewing for a while now, but an email I received last week prompted me complete and publish it. Borrowing heavily from David Letterman's Late Show Top 10 section, please imagine a drum roll, and a deep voice announcing them. It is meant to be more humorous than sarcastic or cynical and it should be read like a Tui billboard ... yeah right!

Reason #10 I love IT ... It is a glitzy and glamorous job
Reason #9 I love IT ... Short of being an astronaut it is the closest job to being on the Starship Enterprise available currently
Reason #8 I love IT ... Your life is so much more interesting than mine I had to get in a job in IT just so I could sit at my desk and read your emails all day
Reason #7 I love IT ... I don't have a life outside of my job so it is actually no problem to think of you first and make sure server outages only occur between 2am and 5am (unless you're in the US or Europe when I need to remember this and alter my schedule accordingly)
Reason #6 I love IT ... When you tell me Jill from Finance needs access to the payroll system (and get upset when I tell you I'll need a minute) I instinctively know that it is Jill Smith and not Jill Brown (I don't get time to question you because you've already stormed out of my office) and also know that when you say the payroll system you actually mean the Excel spreadsheet on Shirley's desktop
Reason #5 I love IT ... Timing is everything and we (the IT department) can conjure up anything you need in 2 minutes flat
Reason #4 I love IT ... Anyone you've ever known in you life (including that chubby kid who was neighbours with your best friend when you were at kindergarten) rings you up expecting help and a massive discount on purchase prices
Reason #3 I love IT ... You're never right! No matter what you do the IT department is always to blame for any (and I do mean ANY) business failure or mistake. Reason #2 I love IT ... My Mum doesn't call often enough so by working in IT she rings me everyday with an email issue

and the number 1 reason I love IT ...

... I'm part of a group of illustrious people well known for their startling fashion sense, sensational social skills and impeccable personal hygiene!


The Truth ...

Category Random
I laughed when I saw this. Then today at work someone associated with a high profile project currently underway showed it to me again. It sums many situations up well (click on the image to see it) ...


Fair Trade

QuickImage Category Random
It strikes me as odd how polarising Fair Trade is. People are either unconvinced it is necessary or so passionate in pursuing it they can't even accept the offer of a coffee at your house without checking whether it is actually genuine Fair Trade coffee! Some are so passionate about the cause I sometimes feel they think I've got child slaves out back grinding the coffee for me personally.

This is great! To think that a serious issue actually has the majority of the western world (well many in my world anyway) talking about the issue is something. That it has resulted in action a number of people and that it is becoming an increasingly high profile topic has to be a good thing. We (the western world) are, at best, a pretty apathetic bunch concerned more with our own personal comfort and luxuries and yet we manage to talk about whether the backbone of our day (coffee) is being produced and traded in a fair manner.

Of course, I'm not sure where I stand on the Fair Trade issue. I agree with whole heartedly with fairness & justice for all! But think we have travelled so far down the path of capitalism it will take a generation or two for Fair Trade to become normal.


Weird News

Category Random
This isn't a Super 14 blog entry (alas I picked both games incorrectly), rather it is a couple of weird new articles I found...

- How do you steal bananas and not get caught? Dress up as an ape! See the story here.
- Heard of the world moustache championships? Neither had I but apparently there are 18 categories people compete in! I wonder what the winner gets? Click here for the article.
- Ever had a snail on your face? Would you believe there is actually a world record it? Click here to find out more.
- Uniform change to pink boxers and jandals for the US Army? Click here for the story.



Category Random
Classic comedy ... I'd never seen this before but it is very amusing.


Keep Looking

Category Random
Where we look for answers is important. Often we look where we've always looked and try what we've always tried. Sometimes we need to change our habits in order to survive.

If you put a buzzard in a pen six or eight feet square and entirely open at the top, the bird, in spite of his ability to fly, will be an absolute prisoner. The reason is that a buzzard always begins a flight from the ground with a run of ten or twelve feet. Without space to run, as is his habit, he will not even attempt to fly, but will remain a prisoner for life in a small jail with no top.

The ordinary bat that flies around at night, a remarkably nimble creature in the air, cannot take off from a level place. If it is placed on the floor or flat ground, all it can do is shuffle about helplessly and, no doubt, painfully, until it reaches some slight elevation from which it can throw itself into the air. Then, at once, it takes off like a flash.

A bumblebee if dropped into an open tumbler will be there until it dies, unless it is taken out. It never sees the means of escape at the top, but persists in trying to find some way out through the sides near the bottom. It will seek a way where none exists, until it completely destroys itself.

These facts were taken from the Cyber Daily Devotional (click href="http://www.rejoice3.org/index.php" target="new"> here for their website).

What do I think? I find that the language used in the Message resonates with my understanding of English. It communicates clearly and concisely without me having to interpret language (I'm not English scholar or linguistics expert). Hebrews 12:2 sums it up for me superbly: Do you see what this means—all these pioneers who blazed the way, all these veterans cheering us on? It means we'd better get on with it. Strip down, start running—and never quit! No extra spiritual fat, no parasitic sins. Keep your eyes on Jesus, who both began and finished this race we're in. Study how he did it. Because he never lost sight of where he was headed—that exhilarating finish in and with God—he could put up with anything along the way: Cross, shame, whatever. And now he's there, in the place of honor, right alongside God. When you find yourselves flagging in your faith, go over that story again, item by item, that long litany of hostility he plowed through. That will shoot adrenaline into your souls!


Dependent on Oil?

QuickImage Category Random
Thanks to Twitter I saw this picture and had a good giggle!


Following Jesus

Category Random Books Quote
Understanding Jesus in his role as a rabbi gives us a much clearer sense of his resonant phrase: Come, follow me (Matthew 4:19). Jesus wasn't just inviting people for a short walk down to the beach; he was calling them to imitate his way of life. If they accepted his challenge, they would spend the next years of their lives learning to walk in the way of Jesus, literally following in his footsteps.

To become an apprentice of Christ, we must allow him to stimulate our thinking and shape our responses, just as he did for his first followers two millennia ago. Even when it calls us to leave comfort behind, make sacrifices and take risks.

From Apprentice: Walking the Way of Christ by Steve Chalke



Category Random Work
Why is dysfunction so comfortable? Sometimes we tend to operate in such a dysfunctional matter but not be at all bothered. We are counterproductive and turn short and simple tasks into long and complicated affairs. This might frustrate some but in our dysfunction we're quite happy. It is comfortable for us and we even enjoy the process of getting from A to C via Q so much we don't think about travelling via B instead.

Whoever said we're creatures of habit was almost correct. Personally I think we're habitual in our relentless pursuit of comfort. Change is only a challenge to people who are comfortable. If you're sitting comfortably in your armchair why would you consider getting out and trying my armchair? Despite what I say about the greater comfort, better ergonomics, etc if you're comfortable you're not going to want to change (and neither would I)!

Ignorance is bliss and dysfunction is comfortable so how is progress ever made?


Hare Krishna

Category Random
Last night I mistakenly watched a TV programme called How the other half live that was hosted by former All Black and general larrikin Marc Ellis. The TVNZ website sums up the series as follows: How The Other Half Lives follows Marc Ellis around New Zealand as he steps in to the shoes of people who have chosen to live a lifestyle outside the mainstream.

In the programme Marc Ellis heads off to join a Hare Krishna community. Rather than poking fun at them and not taking anything seriously Marc actually makes an effort to be involved and understand what they're doing and why. It culminates (after getting a proper Hare Krishna hair cut) in him going downtown Auckland on a Friday night with a group chanting, singing and dancing (something which Marc confesses he did quite enjoy).

A couple of things stick out to me from Marc's observations made during the programme. The first is that he reacts really positively to the Hare Krishna community and talks a lot about how calm, peaceful, and happy everyone is. He repeats this several times and points out how people are smiling all the time even at 4 in the morning.

He also made juxtaposed the Hare Krishna community with a normal western religion (I assumed he was referring to the various brands of Christianity here). His comment was in the Hare Krishna community there is a lot of peace and happiness. In fact there was so much it was infectious and he caught it without having to try very hard. He then talked about a typical western church service where there was very little happiness or joy and some old guy stood up the front lecturing you about what you shouldn't be doing!

While he may have made a generalisation about western churches it did make me wonder what someone off the street observes when they walk into a church, any church. Or for that matter after they meet me. Are they left with an overwhelming sense of grace or one of judgement and condemnation?


What do you do ...

Category Random
In order to be treated the way you are ...

A picture named M2

Thanks Asbo!


Today is the day

Category Random
Today is the day of the Moonride. I have prepared for it, packed for it, and planned for it. Hopefully it will be successful and I will have a lot of fun at it.

Life is a little different to the Moonride. You don't get to prepare for it (well not specifically). You don't know what is going to happen from one day to the next (sometimes from one minute to the next)! And no matter what you plan for the unexpected can (and does) happen. It reminds me of the lyrics to a song:

life ain't a play you can rehearse
hell will anomolies disperse
to keep your life free from regret
trust in this man, never forget

you need someone to lean on, someone to depend on
someone who will be there, when your life needs repair
someone who is so strong, someone who is never wrong
what you really need is a saviour


Leadership #4

Category Random Church
Leadership isn't about things being done my way! It is about directing people towards a shared goal. It is about helping people see the vision that you're heading towards. It isn't (necessarily) about setting the vision or creating the goal but it is about rallying people around the cause and getting people excited and motivated to press on towards the goal.

Leadership to me isn't about things being done my way. Often there is a better way that will direct us towards the end goal more efficiently or quickly. Leadership is walking ahead but stopping often enough to listen to those travelling with you. Accepting that everyone is different and has preferences and tastes different to yours but working out the best way to achieve the goal (which is likely not to be my way)!


Leadership #3

Category Random Church
How is a Christian leader supposed to behave? Grace is the modus operandi for a Christian - can this translate into good business practice and sense? I'm often surprised at the lack of grace on display in some people who are in significant leadership positions within a church or the organisation that supports them. Surprised because these are people of God who have had significant ministries within different communities.

And yet when it comes to business it would seem that grace can't apply. Maybe they think if they are too full of grace people will take advantage of the situation (in some cases this may be true). Perhaps that is the only model of business they're ever seen.

I'm reminded of a line from Boston Legal: Bad things happen to good people when people say it's just business - Alan Shaw.

Is there any business more important for a Christian than sharing God's grace with those who they are surrounded by?


The Lost Generation

Category Random
Brilliant presentation ...


Leadership #3

Category Random Work
According to John Maxwell everything rises and falls on leadership. This is an interesting statement as at times as a leader you're part of a wider leadership team, or answerable to leaders higher than you. This is the case for me in my job.

Now if everything rises and falls on leadership where does the buck stop? Because if I can't lead where we need to go through because of those I am led by am I responsbile for the result? I will be accountable in many people's eyes for not getting IT to the place it should be even though I'm being prevented from getting it there. This is a very frustrating situation to be in!

I know what we need to do and how we can do it BUT I'm not (at this present time) being allowed to follow through with the plans we have to ensure everything happens as we want. I'm being told how to lead ... does that mean I'm a follower?



Category Random
Every now and then I find a link to a puzzling website ... today I found this one www.pocketjesus4u.com



Category Random Church
Leadership is an odd thing, most of the time it is defined best by those who are following. We all have our own ideas of what makes a leader good and all willingly submit to different levels of leadership in our lives.

In some areas we allow ourselves to be led quite blindly, often because we don't know any better way and don't have the skills or knowledge to realise there may be a better way. Other areas of our lives we don't allow ourselves to be led at all. Maybe we haven't found someone who we have enough respect for, or nobody has been able to convince you they have a sound enough knowledge to actually lead you on to new and better things.

John Maxwell has been attributed the quote that says everything rises and falls on leadership. It is an interesting quote and strikes fear into my heart as I lead the IT team at the organisation I work for. Everything rises and falls (related to IT) on leadership (me). Even now it sharpens my focus on the areas I believe we still need to work. Of course there are limitations with what I can achieve outside of my control. Budget, permission from executive, openess within the organisation to change, etc are just some of the factors that while I can influence, I have little control despite them contributing directly to whether IT delivers or fails.

Leadership within a church is another interesting matter. If everything rises and falls on leadership then is it right, good, or even proper that when there is a change of leaders that everything should fall BEFORE it can rise again? Is that good leadership? I know some contend that often it is necessary in order to move forward. However the question remains, is that the sign of good leadership and a good leader? Personally I'm beginning to think it is more a case of a leader who has a my way or the highway attitude and is unable to empower others.

Am I that kind of leader? I'm constantly wanting to move forward and constantly looking for help and advice. IT may have risen (to date) while in my role ... where it goes form here I guess will be the acid test of my leadership.


TV Technology

Category Random Technology
I'm not a big fan of TV but I these new technological advances from LG might have me wanting to buy one!



Category Random
It is a well known fact that I'm not one to conform and if I do then it is reluctantly and at times (depending on mood etc) passive aggresive. However as I live with this I won't conform attitude I'm becoming more and more aware of how many of us have this (just maybe not as completely as I do)!

I was reading a blog today (name with held to protect the innocent) when I realised that this blog had been created outside of all the normal rules and regulations of the organisation they work for (no prizes for guessing which organisation that is). More than this the blog had been setup without any conversation with the relevant IT department (no it isn't in NZ and this isn't a personal story). It isn't that the blog shouldn't exist, it is widely read and raises and discusses topical and relevant issues. All that happened today is that I saw in this blog a streak of non-conformity, and element of I won't do it your way and I won't even ask you how you would do it because I want to do it my way (oh if I had a dollar for every time I'd acted that way)!

My point is that while I could be considered a poster boy for non-conformity I'm actually not as alone in this as I sometimes think. We all have secret (and not-so-secret) areas of our lives where we refuse to conform. Sometimes our non-conformity comes with very good and sound reasoning. Other times it is just because we don't want to conform.

So when is non-conformity ok? Well I suspect that depends on your motivation! If I'm not conforming just because I don't want to then probably I need to suck it up and toe the party line. However if I'm not conforming because I've got good and sound reasoning then speak up!



Category Church Random
This weekend N & I (with the boys) are attending New Zeal. It was billed as not a conference but rather an encounter. While I understand and appreciate the sentiment they're trying to communicate I for one enjoy conferences and seminars!

Why? Because they let you join with people who share an interest or pursuit. You come together each with different amounts of knowledge and each with differing level of commitment and skill. It is a melting pot of people all with a common deminator (in the case of New Zeal it is the pursuit of a Christ-like life). You get different things out of a conference and hear new ways to approach tasks you face regularly.

The best thing about a conference? You are reminded of why you're passionate about it and come away with a new commitment to raise the bar and do better (well I do anyway)


Coffee Quotes

Category Random Quote
It is well known I'm quite partial to coffee and I was pleased to learn I was in good company. At a cafe I stopped for a flatwhite (which was above average) they had the following quotes:

Without my morning coffee I'm just like a dried up piece of roast goat Johann Sebastian Bach

I have measured out my life with coffee spoons T.S. Eliot

I would rather suffer with coffee than be senseless Napoleon Bonaparte

Men should be like coffee; hot, sweet and strong Dutch proverb


From Sunday Night ...

Category Church Random
At the Cadets Welcome meeting Major Janine Donaldson spoke briefly at the start. She was really excellent and what she said has stuck in my head (possibly part of her plan)! She said, we all have a choice of how we live our lives ... we can live it for ourselves ... we can live it for others ... or we can live it for God . There was more to what she said but those 3 options stuck in my head.

My personal observations on these 3 options are that living for ourselves isn't fulfilling - distracting, yes - fun, a thousand times yes ... but fulfilling? I think the jury is back and there are many examples of highly successful people, living for themselves, and deeply unhappy. Living for others isn't rewarding (depending on how you look at it), because you can't always please some people and no matter what you do there is always more, more I tell you, and then some more.

Living for God? Surely this is the perfect pursuit for one's life, getting to know the creator of the universe and everything in it through listening to God incarnate (Jesus). If anyone knows how best to spend a life it must be the creator of life itself.



Category Random
I apologise now if anyone takes offence! It is meant to be humorous and NOT reflect my reality. I did laugh out loud when I saw it though!


As you can see it comes from failblog.org and I would suspect those who follow the instructions either don't have a wife for very long or they are married to someone unlike my wife (who is the most amazing woman in the world)!


Emerging Language

Category Random Technology
In my RSS reader I have a feed from the Urban Wood of the Day site and every now and then there is a word that makes me laugh for days on end (go look up crop dusting on the site).

Recently there was an entry yellular which was one that quietly amused me (the truth is stranger than fiction)! The definition is kind of like the way when you're talking to someone and half way through they tell you they're blind - so you start talking louder!! Anyway, here is the definition of yellular:

The loudness one adopts in response to a bad cell-phone connection, in the misguided hope that talking louder will improve the connection.

"I'm so embarrassed. I went totally yellular at a restaurant last night."


Oh so true!

Category Random



Category Random


Pak n Save

Category Random
I'm not really a fan of Pak n' Save but it is difficult to argue with their prices and Shop n' Go. The main reason I don't like them is they don't offer much selection in terms of brands or products. It would seem they only stock items they can move a million units of everyday!

Out shopping tonight I was alarmed to discover a new policy ... the empty shelf policy. About half a dozen things on the list couldn't be bought because they were out of stock. I'm wondering if the new empty shelf policy is also part of a new quick shopping experience they're piloting!


Food Miles

Category Random Technology
I've just been listening to the news and am intrigued by the conversations about food miles. Essentially Europe is considering the environmental impact of food that is imported. All that they're doing is attaching the distance the food has travelled to the consumer.

While that sounds reasonable it is really flawed approach. The distance something travels is not related to the carbon emmissions associated with it. Products from NZ often have a lower carbon footprint (when landed in the UK) than a similar product from the UK itself (hard to believe but true).

If we're going to try and be more green and sustainable (which I'm all for) then let's do it properly. Figure out the carbon emissions associated with it and publish that! Don't just apply a mindless number to it which conveys an untrue message!

Of course if you're more interested in buying local (which again I'm all for) then it is an absolutely brilliant scheme. I've read about the 20 mile diet (you're only allowed to eat food produced within 20 miles of your house) which has to be great for local and small business while being very anti-globalisation.

Moral of the story? By local, go green!



Category Technology Random
While sitting at LAX with not much to do except listen to the iPod, read a book, and surf the Internet a found some interesting links, and some funny links. See for yourself just how much useful information is available to those who will seek:

A humorous look at failure
Need a green data centre? Look here
Details of a zombie attack from gizmodo
Just how popular is the iPhone? Wow!
Want to be a genius? You'll need this iPhone app
An honest kiwi saves the US here
Just how good are Apple? Decide for yourself after seeing this!


Too much time

Category Random
Some people obviously have too much time on their hands:



Category Random
For dinner tonight (day 1 of ITX7), we split into 3 groups and I, with several others, went to a restaurant called Macaroni Grill. It was a decent meal although the portion sizes were huge (except for my sorbet dessert). Anyway I decided to walk back from the restaurant to the hotel and was reminded of how unfriendly America is to pedestrians. Foot paths that go nowhere! Pedestrian crossing that drivers don't stop at. The irony is even though I walked it wasn't much longer than the drive to the restaurant.


Jet Lag

Category Random
My head hurts! After not getting to sleep to after 1am I inexplicably awoke at 4am. For some reason I was awake until 6:30 when while considering what I could do if I got up I was rudely interuppted by housekeeping (at 8:30am)! Oh well I'm underway now, but missed out on breakfast.



Category Random
I had anticipated that my coffee intake would have increased exponentially in direct corelation to the number of time zones I am away from home (GMT -5 is a long way from GMT +12). However if anything I'm drinking less coffee even though I'm also getting less sleep and the sleep isn't the best quality.

My theory now is my consumption of coffee is actually directly related to the quality of coffee available. They are only serving Starbucks filter coffee here (picture to be posted later today all going to plan) and it is at best average.

I think the 1st stop for me upon my return to NZ will be a coffee shop capable of producing a high quality flat white (they haven't heard of flat whites in America and don't even seem to quite grasp the appeal of them).


Only in America

Category Random
I'm currently in transit in LA and flicked on the TV to do some channel surfing. I came across a talk show where there is a group of African-American women who bleach their skin to make them "lighter" (their words not mine). I'm stunned to hear about this and shocked by their reasons! One started while at school (less than 10 years old) because there was a "white girl" in the class who got special treatment (in her opinion). Another because 3 previous boyfriends left her for lighter women. One has been bleaching since she was 5 because her mother did. Skin bleaching is a billion dollar business globally and I'm shocked to hear that people do this. I guess one could argue it isn't that dissimilar to colouring your hair, wearing makeup, plastic surgery, etc.

However the most shocking part was one of the women is bleaching her 3 boys (aged 4, 5, & 6), everyday before school! It is one thing to pursue vanity in your own life but essentially it would seem to me that bleaching your kids skin sends the message that dark is bad and light is good. Somehow I don't think that is the right kind of message I would want to be sending to my kids.



Category Random Technology
From the 'seemed like a good idea at the time' or 'short sighted action' file comes a website dedicated to potentially destroying your future. Quitinstyle.com chronicles the limitless ways that the Internet is serving a useful purpose. I say useful as many of these seem like fanciful dreams as opposed to actual events (although maybe I'm just wanting to believe that)!!


Ministry of Rivals

Category Random Church
I found this article on the ChristianityToday website. It was interesting as I consider the kind of leadership I respond to and enjoy being part of. I do think that differences are a key to progress and robust decision making. Here is a quote from the article (the whole article can be found here)

Our church's elders have a pretty good safeguard against unwanted persons slipping into our leadership team during the annual elections. Of course the elders had to approve all candidates for church office, but we also followed the convention of allowing any one elder among the twelve to veto the name of any candidate he "had a problem with," even if that problem was unsubstantiated or described as "just a bad feeling."

On the surface the practice seemed reasonable enough. After all, we had a fine, tight group of men with a good chemistry. We didn't want anyone coming in who might disturb that fragile balance or who might not be a team player. We were all painfully aware of churches where a poorly chosen elder or staff person had kept things in a continual uproar. So, we thought it was best to be safe. But safe leadership isn't good leadership.



Category Random Bible
This is really a quote, but seen I posted one yesterday I thought I'd call it something different today.

We judge ourselves by what we feel capable of doing, while others judge us by what we have already done. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Reminds me of a verse.



Category Random
An interesting quote from www.reallivepreacher.com

We think having faith means being convinced God exists in the same way we are convinced a chair exists. People who cannot be completely convinced of Gods existence think faith is impossible for them. Not so. People who doubt can have great faith because faith is something you do, not something you think. In fact, the greater your doubt the more heroic your faith.


I'm not listening!

Category Random
I'm often amused by the way my kids can selectively hear what I'm saying. Somethings they always hear (lollies, trips to the park, swimming, etc), other things they almost never hear (clean up your toys, stop picking your nose, come here, etc). Today I had a conversation with someone where it was obvious that they just weren't listening. They had asked a question quite possibly only to be able to say they consulted those involved. I didn't get much opportunity to respond and when I did my suggestions were ignored almost before I'd finished making them. It was futile for me to respond and yet I still did. I don't think I was listened to and I really don't think they cared much for my opinion (which they were seeking)/

Whose voice do I listen to? I guess my wife's (but only sometimes). My parents from time to time (it is difficult to imagine I listen to them less as an adult than I did as kid but I think that is the case)! My boss (sometimes)! God's voice? How do I know it is God's voice? How does he speak to me? That is a deeply theological question that I won't answer here (I've already rambled on quite enough). But many times in the gospels Jesus spoke about those who follow him knowing his voice.

John 10 is one of the chapters where Jesus refers to us knowing his voice. When I listen am I just humouring God (if that is possible), or am I listening intent on responding?



Category Random

What do you think about Christmas? Does it have religious significance or is it just a holiday? The following survey paints a picture of what around 1000 people think ....

A picture named M2

Of course I'm not sure who would have responded to the poll and it could be only a small portion of society!


To Taser or Not

Category Random
In the Dominion Post this morning there was an article (here is the link) about taser's and how a rights group is casting doubts on the use of them. It states that their use is linked to 350 deaths in the US. In fairness the the rights group, if you google taser you do find this article here, not to mention links to Amnesty International articles expressing concern about tasers and multiple blog listings to do with them. What is most intriguing about this is that not one of the deaths was caused by electrocution (which is exactly what I would have thought WAS the problem).

Now I'm not trying to over-simplify the issue, or be fasitious (that may be hard for some people to believe). I'm also not trying to suggest we should just blindly accept their use by the NZ police. There are obviously some concerns about them and the fact death does occur. However giving the police a baton isn't much chop given what they come up against these days. Letting them use firearms is an even poorer solution (well in my opinion anyway).

I do struggle to see a genuine concern over police using them especially given the alternatives available and the situations they find themselves in. Best I can tell we have the option of shooting people with a taser (small risk of fatality), or a real gun (small risk of surviving)! Wikipedia (the source of all information!) told me this about the taser and what it does (electro muscular disruption).

If I had to choose between being shot by a taser or a real gun ....


It has been a while

Category Random

Since Asbo (http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/611/) struck!

A picture named M2



Category Random
It amazes me how much we expect of others and how little responsibility we will actually take for ourselves. We seem to be quite happy waiting for others to pick up after us or sort out our problems. Sometimes we even complain if they don't. Other times we just wait and don't say anything.

Initiative is a skill that unfortunately seems to be lacking in many people. I'm just lucky that either God created me with some (which assumes it is a natural talent), or lucky that my parents taught me the skill (which assumes anyone can have and use initiative)!

How difficult is it to when you realise something needs to be done, to do it yourself or, at the very least, start asking questions about how it may be achieved? Apparently very difficult for some people!


Quote for Today

Category Random
One of the RSS feeds I have is called the motivational quote of the day. Sometimes it isn't very motivational (well not to me), sometimes it is amusing (but not motivating), and sometimes (like today) it makes a great point:

Hard work spotlights the character of people: some turn up their sleeves, some turn up their noses, and some don't turn up at all - Sam Ewing

I'm not sure who Sam Ewing was but Wikipedia tells me about this one!


Core Values

Category Work Random
This last week was commissioning and again I was able to look at the officers covenant. There are 4 points to it and the first 3 I believe should be the core values of all Christians. The first 3 (with some additional comments from me) are:

- to love and serve Him supremely all my days
This resonates very strongly with me as I believe in never giving anything less than my best (please remember I'm not perfect though)! The word supremely sounds very much like the way Paul spoke in the early days of the church. It appears to me as though Paul was a gifted writer able to paint elaborate word pictures to describe the incomparable life of Jesus and the complete transformation of 11 or the 12 disciples. To love and serve Him supremely all my days ... big ask!

- to live to win souls and make their salvation the first purpose of my life
Wow! That is the rave of a lunatic, a fanatic who stands on street corners speaking into a megaphone, a freak who devotes every minute of their days and nights along with every ounce of their energy into a single purpose. Right now I can't think of anyone that lives that kind of life (not wanting to be disparaging). However that is likely more how I view making their salvation the first purpose of my life working itself out.

- to care for the poor, feed the hungry, clothe the naked, love the unloveable, and befriend those who have no friends
If ever there was a picture of Jesus life that is it. If ever there were noble and worthy cause to dedicate oneself to that is it.

The entire Salvation Army essentially grew out of these 3 points. All of these are just summations of the gospel. I want these to be my core values in life.

The 4th is an interesting addition - to maintain the doctrines and principles of The Salvation Army, and, by God's grace, to prove myself a worthy Officer. I'm not sure why it is there but suspect it is to do with doctrinal unity. However, in my opinion if the 1st 3 are being followed then by definition the 4th exists.

In fact one could take this a step further. If I honestly make point 1 a core value of my life then point 2 and point 3 will naturally occur. When point 1, 2, and 3 exist point 4 is moot!



Category Random Bible
This morning I read an article about someone who was invoking the 'eye for an eye' part of Islamic law (read more here). It is a stunning story which couldn't more aptly depict why grace is so essential to our lives.

Earlier this year I read Philip Yancey's book What's so Amazing about Grace. One of the points of his which sticks in my head is that 'natural justice' is flawed. While it seems logical and even fair (I dont' want to say just in place of fair) in this instance (literally and eye for an eye), so many things can be considered unfair about such a judgement. Other people will undoubtedly be negatively impacted by this retributive justive being undertaken. Other innocent people will have to suffer as a result.

Grace however undeserved doesn't deliver justice, but does deliver a lasting palatable solution. Ungrace (Philip Yancey's word for the 'eye for an eye' law) leads us to a downwards spiral which would lead to us all being blind. Grace however leaves us all as equals. I don't deserve grace, but am offered it. This is best summed up in Matthew 6:12; Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others [MSG].



Category Random
This may take a moment to download for you ... I think it is worth it!


Quote of the Day

Category Random
From one of my RSS feeds ... When you make a mistake, admit it. If you don't, you only make matters worse - Ward Cleaver

I like to think I live by that ... But then some days things are really bad!!



Category Random Work Bible
I was speaking with someone today about service and they came out with the following quite exceptional quote: What we expect in service from others is normally not the same service as we ourselves provide others with.

It wasn't a dig at me or the service my team are providing, rather it was an observation they have made. As I reflect upon it I realise how true it can be. While I strive to provide good service I don't feel that is often reciprocated (I could give about 3 examples from this week alone). However before I got up on my high horse and begun a royal rant I remembered Matthew 7:1-5

"Don't pick on people, jump on their failures, criticize their faults— unless, of course, you want the same treatment. That critical spirit has a way of boomeranging. It's easy to see a smudge on your neighbor's face and be oblivious to the ugly sneer on your own. Do you have the nerve to say, 'Let me wash your face for you,' when your own face is distorted by contempt? It's this whole traveling road-show mentality all over again, playing a holier-than-thou part instead of just living your part. Wipe that ugly sneer off your own face, and you might be fit to offer a washcloth to your neighbor.


Life Group

Category Church Random
Tonight was my life group and it was with an element of sadness (for me), that we determined it would be our last get together for the year. While I'm almost always not as organised with them as I'd like to be I really enjoy the time we spend together. The mix of personalities and perspectives makes for some great conversations (in my opinion).

Ironically I had a conversation yesterday with someone about the value of life groups within the context of Christian faith. This person believed whole-heartedly that a life group was an integral part of building and maintaining your faith. However they also maintained that in addition to a life group there was a need for a far deeper and more personal relationship one on one with someone. They spoke very strongly about the need for a mentor or life/faith coach.

In the back of my mind as my life group met tonight I considered this and have to say I agree. While a life group provides a really comfortable setting for conversation, debate, and honesty, it isn't necessarily an environment where everyone would open up some aspects of their lives within. It plays a part, an integral part in community and belonging, along with building one's faith and exploring what Christianity within the context of NZ in 2008 (soon to be 2009) means.

I must say that belonging to a life group has contributed to my life and I think that even if you don't have a faith, the concept of a life group has merit and value that will enrich your life.



QuickImage Category Random Technology
Maybe I'm easily impressed, or maybe I love gadgets. Maybe little things amuse little minds or maybe I'm becoming increasingly paranoid about the possibility of a natural disaster. Maybe all these things are the case ... either way I purchased a new gadget yesterday and I'm loving it (N was sick of me talking about it within about 90 minutes of me getting home with it and E was threatening to hide it by tea time)!

The radio is 'self-powered' by a little winder and lasted for more than 7 hours before N turned it off! In addition to an AM/FM radio it has an LED light as it is designed for an emergency. Check out all the details on the Sony website.



Category Random
I can't help but think I have an imbalance in society. We're now into the advent season so I took 10 seconds to lookat what advent is (thankyou Wikipedia).

Advent (from the Latin word adventus, meaning "coming") is a season of the Christian church, the period of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus, in other words, the period immediately before Christmas. It is the beginning of the Western Christian year and commences on Advent Sunday. The Eastern churches begin the liturgical year on 1 September.[1] The Eastern Christian equivalent of Advent is called the Nativity Fast but it differs both in length and observances.

Personally I find that advent (December) is a time of an absolute rush. Not necessarily because of me, but because of everyone around me needing more and more tasks completed before they go on holiday (sometimes "no" isn't an acceptable answer to some people). What intrigues me is that this experience seems to be shared by a number of Christians I know meaning that we get to Christmas then collapse in a heap to catch our breath and take a break.

Like the Tui billboard says, Let's take a moment this Christmas to think about Christ.

People and circumstances are conspiring against me taking time this year to wait expectantly and prepare to celebrate the Nativity of Jesus.


Movember (again)

Category Random
I shouldn't be surprised but I'm sure a pyscologist would be able to explain the phenomenon to me ... So many comments with the mo ... almost zero comments now that it is gone. I have had one or two, but that is all. I guess it is true we like to point out things different from ourselves. Maybe that is why people are always pointing at me!



Category Random
Well Movember has officially ended although I haven't shaved yet today. While not wanting to pretend I like or want the mo, I'm curious as to how the mo would look after another months growth. Perhaps next year I'll have to start early and deal with Mocktober as I make a start. This would mean the photo attached here would be how I'd look at the start of Movember! There are a couple of photos in a Movember album (under the family album). Photo 1 & 2 are taken by EJ (who isn't very happy about the mo being shaved off).



Category Random
Why is it that out of society and culture, stunning and searching statements are made? As I rode to work this morning I noticed a new Tui billboard. It stated This Christmas let's take some time out to remember Christ ... Yeah Right! I'm not sure if they're meant to make you think or just make you laugh (I managed both today).

I wonder how many Christians will take time this year to contemplate Christ? I don't mean baby Jesus in a manger, or the gentle Jesus meek and mild that seems to be the portrayal in so many cards. I mean Jesus the 30 year old man who confronted society saying, God looks on the inside not the outside ... God wants justice not mindless acts of sacrifice ... God wants genuine love that changes people ... God wants you!

That Jesus is a little more unsettling, especially for me!



Category Church Random
I was browsing through a War Cry last night (I do skim through them from time) and came across an article about a Church that is celebrating being 125 years old. Part of the article included some of the personal memoirs of the minister who started the Church.

It makes for fascinating reading ... they pelted us with rotten eggs, and flour, keeping up a continual hubbub which almost precluded us from holding a meeting at all ... How different things are today!

While stirred by the passion and vigour of the memoirs, I was also greatly impressed by the steadfastness of the early (well early by NZ standards) church planters. What stunned me was a comment in the article claiming that the same holy fire is evident today in the church.

Perhaps I'm missing something but no church I've attended has ever attracted such attention that it was almost impossible to hold a meeting. No church I've attended has been so radically committed to pursuing God's Kingdom they have been physically oppressed. Yes I've witnessed the odd physical altercation, but that has usually been between church members!


Out of control

Category Random
I must confess things are feeling a little out of control at the moment. However it doesn't feel out of control in a bad way. It is just with a newborn baby, work commitments, and what was a very busy weekend I feel a little like a pinball. Ironically I'm not perplexed about things, rather I'm quite relaxed ... I think if I struggled to get things in control then it would get worse (but that is probably just the sleep deprivation speaking)!

We are approaching the silly season and with that there will be enormous pressure at work to complete tasks in short time lines. I will do what I can do for work, for my family, for my wife, for my God, and for my sanity (that list is in no particular order)! After all there is only 24 hours in a day and normally 8 of those are dedicated to sleep (babies don't quite grasp that concept)!



Category Church Family Random
Yesterday was the official retirement service for my parents. It really was a great service. Lots of fun as well as the opportunity to honour two people for more than 42 years of continuous service.

The concept of retiring is an interesting one. In the context of being a Christian one does not, should not, and can not retire! How does this leave two people whose vocation and pay cheque has come from doing something thing?

I know that in a pure sense they were paid to lead and do things that others of us wouldn't commit to. However, in a sense they are only retiring from working in an emplyment situation on building God's Kingdom.

So, what does retirement mean for them? No less commitment to to Kingdom. No less energy for the cause. No less living the life by being salt and light. Just less responsibility to lead from the front.


Two Conversations

Category Church Random

Today I had two different conversations that centred on a similar topic (the church). It was fascinating as we're all coming from slightly different points of view but similar childhoods. We all agree with each other but probably for different reasons.

As I reflected on the conversation and began to ponder whether I'm part of the problem with church (well my church anyway), I found Asbo cheered me up immensely! (If I haven't resized the cartoon correctly go to http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2008/11/19/592/ to see it - or better still subscribe to his RSS feed)!

A picture named M2



Category Random
I'm getting a lot of humour out of my mo this year. It is something you forget about until you wonder why people are starring or you catch a glimpse of your reflection in a mirror or window! It is quite amusing to me and to many others too it would seem from the comments. I will post a picture of it once it reaches it's full glory of 29 days unshaven (I shaved on 2nd November so will be 1 day short)!

On my commute this morning I was thinking about Movember and the fact most guys don't seem to visit the Doctor until something is falling off. This is true for myself and it is quite the mystery. Why the mystery? Well as a generalisation guys want to fix things. Even things that aren't broken! I'm fairly well caste in that mould and typically it is fine.

Why then is self-improvement not typically a guys hobby? I don't consciously not try to improve myself, I just don't deliberately take stock of areas of weakness in myself. I do tend to reflect on situations to consider what I could or have learnt from it (although that is probably more a self-defense mechanism)!

Any way, before this rambling turns into more of a rant I'll sign-off admitting that I could do with some areas of improvement. I don't think one of those areas is related to a mo though!


Not a Trekkie

Category Random

Let me start by saying that I'm not nor have I ever been a Star Trek fan. However by the time I read the 2nd characters comments I knew exactly what this was a parody of.

I have to say that I not only found this Asbo Jesus extremely funny but also very sharp. I've just finished an email to someone discussing the very matter of how Christians are so good at creating sub-cultures of our own while refusing to go and live in the culture we were born into (place where God put us)! We seem to believe in the field of dreams where if we build it, they will come!

I'm not exactly good at it, but I believe God wants us to go out and live with people. Jesus spent a lot of his time doing exactly this, in fact so much some people thought he was a drunk and glutton who associated with loose women and those not ever associated with church. He went out of his way to see these people and deliberately put himself in a position where he would be able to have meaningful interaction with people.

(If I didn't manage to resize the image correctly click here http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/588/ to see the original cartoon)

A picture named M2
Sorry to those who take offence, but the music reference is so close to the truth for so many churches it is hysterical. As I laughed I recalled a visit to a church where the worship leader was an Indian with a strong accent. What was amusing is that in addition to speaking like Apu from The Simpsons (no racial slur intended), but he sung (out of tune) with the very same accent!!



Category Random
I'm intrigued by the way different people like to communicate in different ways. For some speaking is the way they share their emotions and create/foster a connection with others. For some they are happy to converse on superficial matters but when communicating about deeper issues and matters of the heart they're more comfortable writing.

Either way most people I know seem driven towards communicating with others and fostering deep relationships with others. Some are driven towards many relationships while others prefer a small number of close relationships.

So what is my question or the point of this blog entry? In discussing a matter with someone it is interesting to observe that I'm more driven to write than converse. Some of this has to do with the history of the relationship but other parts have to do with the fact I'm often more comfortable writing my thoughts and taking my time to compose a response.


Walking Away

Category Random
When is the time to walk away from something? When is it right to give up? Not give up on what you believe in, or give up on a path you're walking, but give up on the environment you're currently in?

History is littered with people how decide to walk away and start something else. Countries were born, religious denominations started and new products and services created when someone has walked away. Not all of this has been good, but in many cases immense good and new things have come out of someone walking away. However for every good example we can probably all site examples where things have wrong, disastrously sometimes.

I would suggest that walking away isn't always bad, unless it is the first option we take. However the question remains, how long should you labour at something without seeing a return? How long should you spend battling for something? How long is too long (or perhaps how long is long enough)?


Saving the World ...

Category Random
When shopping for coffee I noticed that there was the option of buying a refil bag instead of a new jar. Now this seemed like a good idea until I started thinking:

A refill bag contains only 75g of coffee, not 100g like the jar. So it seems like a bargain until you get home. Then the bargain you just scored only half fills the jar (remember, the contents of a packet may settle in transit - the label on the coffee jar tells me). So you go from feeling like you've scored a bargain to feeling like you've completely ripped off in the space of the trip from the till to your kitchen to make the cup of coffee!

Then there is the refill bag itself (it is made of foil). Is a foil bag better for the environment than a glass jar? I mean a glass jar can be reused when you buy the refill foil bag. But I'm also led to believe (by the recycling truck that collects glass from my official green recycling bin) that glass is being reused all the time due to my diligence in recycling. I tend to 'bin' wrappers and not recycle them.

Oh the dilemma of having to buy coffee (yes I'm an addict) but also wanting to do something to save the world!


NZ Election

Category Random
After a good Life Group earlier in the week talking about what should motivate our voting, I was intrigued by the issues Americans are saying they voted on. Tax and the economy seemed to be the major issues (at least on the TV One report)!

What is going to help me vote this election? Human rights, the environment, and the economy.

Human rights worldwide, not just here in NZ. How we treat others communicates to our children the value we place on life. All humans are created equal and deserve the right to live with dignity and without exploitation.

The environment because I believe that it is the only planet we have and we're not treating it that well. Christians should be at the forefront of the green movement as they're charged with the responsibility of caring for it.

The economy because I think it is inextribably bound to human rights and the environment. Capitalism seems to be a system of exploitation that defends itself on the idea of a free economy. While I think capitilism is fataly flawed, it has lasted longer than socialism, communism, in the modern era we live in.

I'm planning to go and vote today as I'm riding in a mountain bike race and don't want to miss out!


US Election

Category Random
So Obama is the next president of the US. Change! Change of the governing party. Change of president. Change in the race of the president.

Will NZ change on Saturday? Undoubtedly, but will the government change?


Balance in IT

Category Technology Random
I often lament the way IT is always at blame regardless of circumstances. IT is highly visible and often misunderstood and generall the first and last thing to be blamed when something goes wrong.

However yesterday I had a balanced day ... In one conversation both praise and criticism came forward. The praise was immensely satisfying as what started as a disaster that was being blamed on IT turned it a huge success. The success wasn't without considerable time and personal cost but nevertheless it was a significant success at a high level. The criticism while to a certain degree deserved, came through a circutous route that made additional work (by IT) necessary.

Maybe one day there will be a perfect (IT) day at work ... I strive for it (perfectionism isn't a character flaw) and believe it will happen (idealism isn't a character flaw either)!


I'm not the enemy ...

Category Random

But I do think this is not only funny, but painfully accurate! To fully get the humour I think you need to see the previous days entry (so I'll start with that):

A picture named M2

A picture named M3

Perhaps one day I will blog some more of my thoughts on church. However for now I'm a discontent heretic who is happy to be a sleeper in a congregation!

If you like these cartoons go to asbojesus.wordpress.com to see more (they're published daily).


Consumerism gone mad

Category Random
Yes I know, I'm strange and at times disturbed. But I think we (NZ) have taken the whole consumerism a little to far. I visited Queensgate and was visually assaulted by Christmas decorations (yes in October)!

BUT I notice that fireworks aren't allowed to be sold for another 2 days!!

Mulling it over again now I can't help but wonder if in addition to consumerism gone mad (Christmas in October), fireworks only being allowed to be sold for 4 days before Guy Fawkes is actually OSH gone wrong!!


One Liner

Category Random
Through comments made on my blog I have seen surfed my way to the blog of Shar Davis. The catch phrase on her blog reads leaving 99 sheep to save 1 that is lost seems crazy....unless you are that lost sheep!

That seems to sum up the economics of the gospel message! Risk 99 for a gain of 1? Crazy! Loving your enemy? Insane! The last actually coming first? Unbelievable! Victory being found in death? Life changing!


Election 08

Category Random
This evening on Campbell Live Russel Norman of the Green Party as part of the Campbell Live series on the 'minor' parties. It was a really interesting piece as Russel articulated himself very well and made some very good points at the expense of both Labour, National and NZ First.

What I was most impressed by however was his statement that I've since gone to the Green Party website and found the exact quote:

All Green Party policies and action - economics, work, social supports, transport, and agriculture - are decided in accord with two fundamental principles: care for the earth, and care for people.

Sounds very much like the main character in 4 little books I've read many times!


A Good Sermon

Category Church Random
Before you get to excited (or appalled), this isn't an entry about what comprises a good sermon. If you want to know my thoughts on that I'm happy to share them another time but expect me to digress into service content while I'm at it!

Anyway, I subscrive to an online daily devotional which occassionally has material that is thought provoking. Today was one of those days when it is worth sharing further.

The story is told of a local newspaper that was receiving letters about church attendance.
"I've gone for 30 years now," he wrote, "and in that time I have heard something like 3,000 sermons. But for the life of me I can't remember a single one of them. So I think I'm wasting my time --- and the pastors are wasting theirs by giving sermons at all."
This started a real controversy in the "Letters to the Editor" column, much to the delight of the editor. It went on for weeks until an Old Timer wrote this clincher:
"I’m an Old Timer --- been married for more than 30 years now. In that time my wife has cooked some 30,000 plus meals. But for the life of me, I cannot recall what the menu was for a single one of those meals. But I do know this: they all nourished me and gave me the strength I needed to do my work. If my wife had not given me those meals, I would be dead today."
No further comments were made on the sermon contents.



Category Random
From the unbelievable, but true file comes this story from Reuters. Fired because he said greed was the problem! For the full article look here http://mobile.reuters.com/mobile/m/FullArticle/CODD/noddlyEnoughNews_uUSTRE49G43E20081017?src=RSS-ODD



Category Random
It seems like nobody wants to take responsibility. We all look for reasons and excuses as to why things aren't our fault and why we can't be the one to blame! An incident at work today left me feeling particularly let down by another person just trying to blame my department.

Now hindsight is a wonderful thing, and looking back I could probably have been more active in monitoring this person. However I wasn't and with 48 hours notice I've been hospital passed a baby with all the bath water!

Speaking of babys, N is still holding on and there haven't been any hints of popping yet. Hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later!



Category Random
I must be getting old ... There is a meet the (political) candidates evening at our community centre in a couple of weeks time and I'm actually thinking of going! Everytime there is an election I get more caught up in wondering who I should vote for, will it be a wasted vote (because they have no hope of getting), is that reaction just my competitive nature?

All I know is it is one of the ways I can have my say ... even though it is just a tiny whisper in a packed stadium Australia cheering jubilantly as the All Blacks score a match winning try in the 80th minute of the game!



Category Random
I'm going through the process at the moment of establishing a uniform for my team. I also had a brief conversation with someone today about The Salvation Army uniform. I then in reading the blog of Danielle Strickland I came across the following article. I think it is actually related to women as 8, 7 & 5 appear specifically related to women. Of course most blokes probably don't care much about 10, 6, 4, 3 or 2. And number 1 is equally applicable to the bus station ... however read on!

I had a funny conversation today about reasons you don't want to wear uniform. here's the top 10

10. replacing the metal parts after dry cleaning
9. lifting arms in worship
8. high heels
7. nylons
6. tight tunic syndrome
5. little brooch doesn't sit right
4. ironing
3. finding the perfect uniform shoes
2. wearing a tie

and the number one reason:
1. not having time to direct people at the airport

If you've made it this far, then click on read more and find out Danielle Strickland's top 10 reasons for wearing a uniform!


Spin (not political)

Category Random
We're living in a season of spin. Between our pending election (November 8 in case you'd forgotten), and the US election I feel as though we're constantly having people do their best to put a positive spin on events. People are wanting us to see events in a way that makes them a favourable candidate.

This isn't necessarily bad, after all we probably all do this regularly without realising (although to a much smaller audience and with far less grandiose goals in mind). The following story is taken from Christian Cyber Ministries:

A church choir was putting on a car wash Saturday to raise money to pay their expenses for a mission trip. They made a large sign - CAR WASH FOR CHOIR MISSION TRIP - Saturday business was very good. But by two o'clock the skies clouded over and rain poured - customers were few and far between.

The choir director decided to exhibit faith in raising the necessary funds. Determined to continue she had an idea. They painted a very large sign which read, WE WASH (then an arrow pointing skyward) GOD RINSES. Business boomed the rest of the day!



Category Random

This may seem a little random for a Monday morning post, but I looked at the ASBO Jesus blog this morning and was surprised to see the following cartoon:

A picture named M2

What surprised me is how small minded we can be ... I mean if I'm praying to God for Sarah Palin not to be voted in you can be sure there are other people praying she will get in ... so who will God listen to?



Category Random

I've previously blogged about unity but given my week I'm doing it again. This is more for the sake of me seeing it written down again so I can try and follow through on it. All too often we get caught up in personality, reading between the lines and second guessing those we're working with and forget that we're trying to achieve the same goals.

Unity doesn't mean doing the same thing! A prop in a rugby team has to do an entirely different job to the fullback.
Unity doesn't mean we all look the same! A lock in a rugby team is physically very different to the hooker.
Unity doesn't mean we say the same thing! The halfback is having a very different conversation with the 1st five to the conversation the winger has with the fullback.
Unity doesn't mean we're all in the same place! Unless it is half time (or haka time) we don't expect the whole team to be in the same place at the same time.
Unity doesn't mean uniformity!

I really enjoy working with people with different ideas, different strengths, different skills, and different passions. I especially enjoy it when we're working towards the same goal even though we're doing different things. It is difficult. There can be conflict. But because we agree on what we actually want the end result to be we work with each other accepting each others differences, working styles, and peculiarities (yes I am peculiar)!



Category Random

Communication is really difficult and I again have been involved in a situation where someone has been trying to read between the lines of what I'm saying. They're also misunderstanding my directness as confrontational, antagonistic and angry which is leading them to believe if I don't get my way I'll through all my toys out the cot and run away.

It is increasingly interesting to me how much effort we put into trying to understand people and yet we don't listen to what they're saying. We're so busy reacting, getting defensive, worrying about who they might be speaking to and where they might be heading.

It is a real struggle for me as I think I'm honest and direct with everyone I speak with. This seems to be something that some people find hard to deal with.



Category Random Technology Work
I'm constantly amazed at how bad we are at reading and comprehension. Sometimes I wonder if it is literally busyness, other times I think it is laziness.

This morning I caught myself out because I hadn't read an email correctly! I didn't read the entire email so turned up to the wrong location. Actually it was the right location but I was in the wrong room!

This happened because the email contained multiple locations and I didn't take the time to fully digest the email.

Why don't we take the time to digest information fully? Is it because we don't take the time to format and present information logically in emails? Or are we just lazy?


Is this a political ad?

Category Random

I've got to say that I really think one political parties advert campaign is rather clever. The 'vote for us' with the picture of kids is a little cheesy and corny (personal opinion) but the following billboard is (in my opinion) very poignant. It does challenge us to think more about our planet and the affect our lifestyle and current legislation, policy and taxes are having on it.

It challenges me to rethink my lifestyle.
It challenges me to think about the planet.
It challenges me to consider the future.

A picture named M2

Notice that I haven't mentioned the party? I don't want this to be considered an election ad. I'm not advocating for any particular party. I'm suggesting that like the billboard suggests, we think about our planet before we vote.


Leadership and Square Pegs

Category Random
I'm constantly having to deal with the fact that I'm a square peg working in an organisation with round holes. I'm almost religious about not conforming, constantly pushing boundaries and limits. Rules are OK when they're sensible or rationale. If they're not then I'm inclined to want to break them! I can be difficult to work with and am an idealist that wants perfection in everything. As you have probably already realised, I'm difficult to lead!

How am I led (and perhaps how do I lead someone similar to myself)? I need rationale arguments, robust discussion and reasoning that makes sense. I need to feel valued and like what I'm contributing (however bizarre or random you may think it is) is making a difference. In itself this isn't that different to anyone else so maybe, just maybe, after all this dribble, I'm normal after all!!



Category Random
At the risk of appearing cynical (who me?), I couldn't help but utter a 'yeah right' when I heard Michael Cullen talk about our country's finances. He said that we (NZ) are better placed than other countrys to face the pending global credit crunch. He carries on to say that now isn't the time for reckless spending and election promises.

Sounds like a politician trying to hold on to his job to me!



Category Random Work
Compromise is one of those things that many think other people need to do! We all have some things we won't compromise on (which is good).

But what do you do when neither party will compromise?

I walk a fine line in my job that requires some delicate balancing at times. While I'm committed to buying locally this doesn't always fit with the strategic plan of the organisation I work for.

So what do I do when I can't buy locally? What if I can buy local but if I don't buy local I get a significantly better deal? Where should my loyalty and morality swing?



Category Random Bible
It is a little word with many different meanings. However in the context of Christianity it is a defining word that was incredibly demonstrated by Jesus and it is the basis of our hope. Within my job I deal with an enormous variety of people and I try to be gracious when dealing with them all (I don't always succeed)! Both myself and members of my team are treated with both an abundance of grace by some people and a complete lack by others.

To be treated with grace is amazing. Even if we feel wronged and that a course of action was necessary, there is an incredible sense of grace when people act humbly, love mercy and seek justice (a loose paraphrase of Micah 6:8 and Matthew 23:23)



Category Random Work
I found the following quote yesterday quite thought provoking:

Turmoil accompanies every great change.

It was provocative to me as in my job I always appear to be dealing with turmoil. Now some may say this is because my personality can be a little difficult, to which I may occassionally (but only very rarely) agree. Others would say turmoil is positive as it is a sign things are changing and change within an organisation is generally good because if signifies progress (and if no progress is made then death will occur).

However I imagine that reading turmoil accompanies every great change in the wrong way could be very arrogant. Associating turmoil with great change isn't always accurate or true.

In saying that it is my hope that the turmoil I currently face in my role is because of a great change that is occuring. I had a great opportunity yesterday to speak with some influential executive leaders and came away feeling as though not only had I been heard, but that had seen that the strategy we are deploying is well thought out, cost effective and will enable mission outcomes. As always, time will reveal the results!



Category Random
What is it that produces drive? Why is it so obvious in some people but not others? Why does it invade ever aspect of some people's lives? And why do some people have none?

Is it nature or nuture? Is drive actually a good thing?


Ha ha ha

Category Random

You should not think this represents my view in anyway shape or form. I'm not saying I agree nor disagree with this. It is however extremely funny (well to me anyway)!

A picture named M2

Thanks asbojesus.wordpress.com for making me laugh, again!



Category Random Sport
I had one of those experiences yesterday where there was total unity. A crowd gathered and sat eagerly awaiting the start. When it started everyone listened attentively ready to follow the leaders instructions. Then teams were called to the front. Names were read and everyone clapped and cheered. Then the next time came forward and so we proceeded. Team by team, name by name, clapping, cheering, whistling and having a great time.When everything came to an end we headed downstairs for some light refreshments.

At the risk of offending anyone, this wasn't church (which I had to leave early to make this event)! This was the Petone Soccer Club 2008 season awards ceremony. It really was a spectacular event and everyone I spoke to really had enjoyed it and everyone seemed to be 'into it!' Maybe it is my attitude that stops me feeling the unity at church. Maybe I was more into it because EJ won most improved player of the year. Or maybe (a very slight maybe), there was complete unity at the soccer club as we all gathered with a sole purpose.


Life Long Bonds

Category Random
What is it that creates a life long bond between people? Why is it with some people we instantly form a relationship that can stand living on opposite sides of the world or only seeing each other once every 10 years (or more)? Is it that our very core values are so similar the bond we form is deep and binding? Or is it that our personalities so compliment each other that being around them is so very natural?

Maybe there is something about us that is spritual and untangible. Maybe there is more to us that just flesh, bones and grey matter. Maybe, as much as we don't want to admit it, there is another realm we exist on that we can't explain.



Category Random
I was again today struck by how important listening is. I've written previously about constantly feeling like people don't listen to what I'm saying because they're so busy analysing what they think I'm saying. It can be really frustrating especially, as the case was this afternoon, when you get to the end of a meeting and feel as though the words you've been saying haven't been heard.

Now there is a point to be made that perhaps I'm not communicating clearly enough. However I am a person who says what I want to say. I don't say thinks that I think someone wants to hear and normally aren't too bothered about what might be the right thing to say.

It goes without saying I that if I say something it is what I want to say and not a cryptic message to be interpretted!



Category Random
So far this week seems to have been one of those weeks where I feel harrassed. For whatever reason many of the questions I'm being asked just seem to be combative. It seems some people are asking questions just to push the boundaries (like EJ my 6 year old)! It feels like some of the questions coming are repeat questions that don't need to be asked and are only being asked to challenge the current situation.

Now I do encourage my team to question what we're doing, how we're doing it and if we can improve it or make changes to enable the mission. I also am keen to see that the details of what we're doing is delivering value to the organisation. It is just I really feel I've answered all the questions before and published information that answers them!

In talking about this with a colleague I became aware that a large part of my response is actually in my attitude. If I'm down then I'm more likely to have negative response. When I'm up it is more likely I'll be more than happy to respond! Unfortunately my attitude is often influenced by external factors (the things I don't have any control over).

The really hard part about attitude is that as much as I'm influenced by it, the person(s) asking the questions are equally affected by their attitude. What if they're asking out of their own frustration? What if they really don't know (for whatever reason) what I've been saying and publishing for what seems to me to have been so long?


Hamilton Airport

Category Random
I was just laughing with Mark Calleran about the fact Hamilton is an International airport! We also then lamented the fact that they have $5 departure fee.



QuickImage Category Random
Motorbikes aren't good if you're impatient ... It is too easy to get through traffic, travel at speed, and put yourself in harms way. Of course for the very same reasons motorbikes are great fun and an excellent, cheap mode of transport if you're impatient!!


Road Works

Category Random
On my commute I have to go through the road works as the new Dowse Petone interchange is built. This has been fine and in total honesty I can say there has been no real holdups or problems. Except for the bane of road works ... flat tyres! This morning I got one (after have got one last week at a different location). The last time I had a flat tyre (which was three in a row also), was when they were building the new bypass here in Wellington. All three of those and the one this morning were the result of debris (i.e. a nail) puncturing my tyre! Still at least this morning I was in a car and not on my motorbike!


Great Meeting

Category Random
Every now and then I'm surprised at how good a meeting can be! I've just returned from one that was fantastic because it was productive and clear and I've been left with no confusion in my mind as to what needs to be done and which parts I'm responsible for. In addition to that (as with earlier experiences this week), I was able to work with someone and see IT enable new things to be achieved.



Category Random
I've had a very productive day so far and the main reason (that I can ascertain) is that I've had very few interruptions. Nobody else in my department arrived until more than 90 minutes after I was at my desk (that is 2 cups of coffee). Then I've managed to get not only everything in my schedule done but also deal with the 4 interruptions I've had fairly promptly. I've got interruption 5 coming up (I suggested I speak to them later) so it has been a very productive day.


Working Together

Category Random Technology
In my job I spend quite a lot of time answering questions in order to help. Some people ask for advice, others for ratification of their thinking.

It is always a pleasant surprise to not only have a conversation with someone but then to also work with them to achieve the goal. This has been the case with a centre I've been at this today and it looks likely that the cooperation will continue as we discussed the way forward over coffee. A very rewarding experience!


A Rare Visit

Category Random
This morning I did something that only happens once every 3 or 4 years ... I went to the Doctor! No I'm not sick or anything like that it is just my excema has flaired up again recently so I wanted to get something for it (including advice)! Now I booked the earliest appointment possible (8:45am) which I understand is the first appointment of the day. I arrived at 8:40am then sat in the waiting room for 20 mins!! Arrrggghhhh! It is like waiting is part of going to the Doctors and they've devised an appointment system so that I don't ever miss on it (and the year old magazines)!



QuickImage Category Random
This morning I was struck with the irony of a situation I found myself in. I had cause to be in another department at work to make some general enquiries and was surprised by the rather frosty, unfriendly and unhelpful reception and responses I received. I got the information I needed and left to continue my day but gradually had to smile a rather large wry smile. The department the person was from had on several occassions this year made complaints about the level and quality of service they had received from department! The irony wasn't lost on me as I spent the rest of the morning smiling to myself.


Remind Me Again ...

QuickImage Category Random
Why I normally commute on a motorbike ... I was in a car today as I had been out at Upper Hutt at 6:30am (work related). When I left at 7am traffic was flowing fairly well (as in if I was on my bike I wouldn't have been zipping between cars). About 1km short of the Kennedy Good Bridge we stopped and for 20 minutes I sat in the car wondering what was (or more to the point wasn't) going on. The first motorbike had nipped down the middle before the radio told me there had been a crash and one lane was blocked. For some unknown reason the gradual crawl of traffic had now stopped and a couple more bikes nipped down the middle past me. An update on the radio tells me they're still working to clear the one lane that is blocked (although traffic in both lanes isn't going anywhere)! Another bike nips past going slow enough for me to actually lust after it (it was a Buel)! Then mysteriously, about 500 metres from the bride, where the problem was, we all just take off! Literally! We go from sitting there listening to radio stations where the DJ's just aren't very funny to booting it down the motorway again (well 70km or so)! I get to work 40 minutes later than I anticipate and am wondering why anyone would consider commuting in a car!



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I was driving to a work site today as they're experiencing some major problems and had to laugh at the quality of driving I observed. Someone was doing about 90km (tops) in the fast lane of the SH2 while another person was doing maybe 93km in the slow lane. I was in the slow lane (in a car and not on my bike) and watched as a driver in the fast lane but behind the vehicle doing 90 sat very close to his bumper (literally within 2 metres). Eventually I was able to pass from the slow lane, move out to the fast lane and accelerate to 100km (honest)! Upon seeing this the car 'held-up' behind Mr 90km in the fast lane shot into the left lane burned pass then pulled in front of the slow guy. It seemed obvious to me that the guy who had been held up wanted Mr 90km in the fast lane to know he was a little annoyed. I had to laugh as Mr 90km in the fast lane had no idea what was going on other than he had just been cut up by some aggresive driver! There is no way he knew this clown had been tailgating him (otherwise one would assume he would have moved over or sped up when he realised he was Mr 90km in the fast lane. Lesson of the day? We can be transformed from intelligent and reasonable people to reckless, impatient hooligans when in a vehicle! However this shouldn't be a news flash as I'm postive my parents knew this when they first taught me and my brothers to drive (albeit we weren't necessarily intelligent nor reasonable people as teenagers)!!



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In the DomPost this morning were some interesting figures related to China (specifically related to the Olympics).They document China's drive to deliver clear blue skies for the Olympics
$23.3bn Amount spent on improving Beijing's air quality and environment
200 Number of factories in Bejijing that have been relocated
60,000 Workers laid off by the Shougang Steel Factory, Beijing's biggest polluter, ahead of its relocation to Hebei Province
3.3 million Cars on Beijing's roads
1.3 million Cars taken off Beijing's roads since July 20
1000 Number of new cars that take to Beijing's roads every day
300,000 Trucks barred from entering Beijing since July 1
110,000 Tons of steel used to build Bird's Nest Olympic Stadium
13 Beijing's position on the World Bank's list of the most polluted cities on the planet
28,000,000 Trees planted in and around Beijing in last two years!


The F Word

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Many people know that distraction can be a weapon. Sports teams use it, military commanders, businessess, politicians, everyday people use them to achieve a purpose. Magicians are possibly the classic users of distraction to achieve their purposes. They have you watching their left hand while they're fiddling around with their right hand. They make you look one way whil something happens in the other direction. Distraction! It is a tool and a weapon.

I've been travelling out of town in a car today and had NewsTalkZB on and one of the hot topics is Jeanette Fitzsimmons use of the f word in a question time at parliament yesterday. Now I'm not going to get into whether or not use of such language is relevant. What I'm astounded by is the reaction I've heard on talk back radio. People are slating not only Jeanette for using the word (twice apparently), but also the speaker (Margaret Wilson) for not acting. There seems to be a general reaction that this kind of behaviour isn't good enough and shouldn't be allowed to go on.

What bothers me is not that she used the f word but rather someone from WINZ allegedly used it when dealing with a person requesting assistance! Now I don't know the context of the alleged incident but it would seem to me that there is never a place for this in any client relationships. I can say I've been tempted to use such language when dealing with people throughout my time in IT but I haven't (at least not out loud).
It amazes me that rather than focus on the issue (the alleged appalling treatment of someone seeking help) we've been distracted into talking about a politicians language in a parliament question time!


In the News

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Maybe you know one of my brothers, maybe you know them both! Either way the very same brother who featured recently on the TV program Mucking In is now in the papers! Check out http://www.stuff.co.nz/dailynews/4644755a6551.html to see the article. Apparently the main problem with the article on the web is that you don't appreciate the size of the article or its placement in the paper!



Category Church Random

These are British, but I do think they apply equally to our NZ culture and circumstances. Who ever would have thought a Christian would read their bible before considering who to vote for? Could be confusing! Could even lead to us voting for a party with candidates we don't like!

A picture named M2

A picture named M3

If you like these cartoons you can find plenty more (a new one everyday) at http://asbojesus.wordpress.com


The Culture Question

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Where does culture come from and how does it develop? As I interact with many people from all areas of the organisation I work for I am able to observe similarities in our culture as well as consider the impact of leadership (more on that another day)! What I find interesting is how leadership directly affects and impacts culture. However to the culture question, does culture emerge out of the dominant personality within the organisation? Or is culture fostered by the leadership of an organisation?

I've worked for several different companies in my time in the IT industry and have noticed that each organisations culture elicited a different response from me. Some I thought were healthy cultures that bred high performers and high achievers within the context of the business goals. Others had a culture that leant itself more towards the lowest common denominator. This bred medicrity and disengaged people who had previously been highly committed to the organisations goals.


Number 3

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So I was having a conversation with my brother that I've had with quite a few people recently. It is about whether or not we want a boy or a girl as number 3. I can honestly say I've not got any preference although having 2 boys we'd love a girl. But then we wouldn't know how to look after a girl so we'd love a 3rd boy! You can see how circular my thinking is and the honest truth is found in the cliche ... So long as they're healthy we'll be happy!



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I was speaking with a colleague at work today and amazed to hear them relay many stories about the manner in which they're treated. I had been feeling rather special (and still do) but remain amazed at the way people are treated. If nothing else it proves how desperate the world (including us) are desperate for grace. I need it, almost every moment of every day!


A Cool Site

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I just had my attention drawn to the following website: http://www.breathingearth.net
It is pretty stunning and provides an amazing picture of world population and pollution.



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I have been given reason to consider failure recently and right now believe there are two types of failure. Internal and external. External failure (in my opinion) is when you compete in a race and don't win, or sit an exam and don't pass. It is easily quantifiable and nobody (including those around the person) can consider anything other than failure to have occurred. (that does sound rather harsh as I type it but I'm sure you get the general gist of my point about external failure).

Internal failure on the other hand is a lot easier to define. This is where you set a goal and don't reach it. Now there could be many reasons you didn't achieve it but nonetheless failure has occurred. Usually when this type of failure occurs you are surrounded by people who point out all the ways you have suceeded and everything you've done and are doing right. However, internally you're probably trying to deal with the fact you failed.

Perspective also defines failure ... If I think you should be able to build 4 rooms in my new house today and you only manage 2 then I think you have failed. You on the other hand may have been aiming to complete 1 so believe you are an enormous success! Perspective changes everything and is reality.

What is it about failure that is so hard to deal with and regardless of the perspective of others around you?



Category Random

Did you know that google.co.nz is now available in Maori? It isn't going to be much use to me but I like the fact that we as a nation are paying more attention to the language. One thing I loved while travelling was in Wales where all street signs were printed in both English and Welsh. This probably wouldn't work very well here in NZ (the sign would say Taupo, Taupo)!
A picture named M2



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I have to say that I have been completely stunned by many responses to the Support Survey ISG issued. While I anticipated some candid responses I wasn't fully prepared for the level of ignorance that would be so evident. I also didn't expect any vidictive, spiteful responses to be made. The level of poison in some comments leaves one breathless and wondering why anyone would bother attempting to work with this organisation in order to achieve the purposes of God's Kingdom.



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It has been quite a while since I posted an ASBO cartoon. I particularly liked this one (possibly because I'm twisted) but also because there is so much I don't understand! In a conversation with someone recently I commented that I think the church would be a lot better off if the bible only consisted of the four gospels ... Then I thought if we're so willing to use 66 books as weapons, what difference would it make if there were only four?
A picture named M2


Arrogance versus Ignorance

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Having just read part of the sports section in the Dominion Post it is interesting that the Henry versus Deans debate continues. I'm no expert on rugby and while believing Deans has obvious talent as a coach think Henry should have remained coach (after all every time the NZRFU sacks a coach after a World Cup we lose the next one). However the absolute polarisation of public opinion and the outspokeness of many is alarming. For most I think we speak from ignorance (well I do) when we speak of rugby coaching techniques. Henry is the most successful (in terms of win/loss ratio) of any All Black coach. I can't help but think statements such as "Deans = Humble. Henry = Arrogant. Deans = Great listener/encourager. Henry = Blind/deaf/pigheaded" are made in ignorance (they are a snippet from the public as elicited by the Dominion Post). When we make such statements in ignorance does that mean we're actually arrogant?


Winston Again

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Having had a couple of conversations about the latest Winston Peters 'incident' I ended up talking with someone about the difference between ignorance and arrogance. We agreed that in many cases the difference was simply the perception of the observer. For some Winston may seem arrogant and defiant in the face of (what appear to be) fact. For others he appears ignorant (in the best possible meaning of the word ignorant) of the situation so completely innocent.What is the difference? What we think of Winston as a person! We are always reading and second guessing peoples actions. We often don't hear what they're saying (as we interpret it as what we think they meant to say) and we (as the media have with Winston) start running around telling anyone who will listen.



Category Random
Those of you who know me will be aware that I ride a motorbike. Most of the time I don't have any concerns as I try as far as possible to stay away from people. I also try to travel at times that avoid the worst of the traffic but aren't always successful (which makes the motorbike extremely helpful)! Anyway I was stunned this evening as I was riding home in torrential rain and the dusk light. There was surface flooding and conditions were generally pretty appalling. Most drivers didn't seem to make any adjustment for this and one in particular was still right up peoples rear ends and chopping and changing lanes with little (if any) indication. I sat in the traffic for a while not willing to go around this guy in particular and found myself getting slower and slower! Why? Because I was leaving a reasonable (not large) space between me and the car in front (remember I'm on a bike so in an emergency braking situation I can just head between cars). This gap had become an open invitation for several cars to motor into then heave on the brakes (nice one thanks)! What is most confusing to me is not the annoyance caused by a mere handful of maniacs in their vehicles, but that the vast majority of drivers were not making any allowances for the conditions. Oh well, rant over, back to my perfect world!


Winston Peters

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I'm very impressed by the way Winston Peters believes he has never done anything wrong and never misled anyone. Whenever he is challenged about something he denies it. When evidence appears contradicting his initial claim a new excuse emerges (he doesn't see that level of detail, nobody told him etc). Seems to me he would fit in well where I work!


Gen X and Gen Y

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In my team at work I have a combination of some boomers, Gen X and Gen Y. It is quite astounding to observe the differences in them all from expectations of an employer, work ethic through to their commitment to the job. However the most puzzling bit (which is possibly a little coloured by personality as well) is how each generation reacts to communication. It seems as though Gen Y takes what they think they heard and doesn't bother the clarify or challenge regardless of the absurdity of the request (which often leads to problems). Gen X takes what they think was said and tries to clarify it (have you heard the expression read my lips)?! Baby boomers listen, clarify (if necessary) and do what was asked! Are we becoming less and less capable of listening while also being less and less willing to seek clarification? Is this actually the beginning of the age of me?


The Trouble of Travel

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The trouble of travel is waiting! You wait in a line to check in. Then you wait before being expected to queue (and wait) as you're slowly shuffling forward onto the plane. Once on the plane you wait for it to taxi out then often wait again to takeoff. Once airborne you wait for the inflight service which is followed by a wait for them to take to rubbish away. Then you wait for the plane to land. Once landed you wait for the plane to get to a gate. Then you wait for the doors to be opened so you can wait for the people in front to get off before you. Once off the plane you wait at customs then wait for your bag(s). Then you wait for security to scan your bags before finally getting to head home (only to find you have to wait for a ride because the person picking you up is stuck in traffic! That is the trouble with travel (well for me anyway)!


Face to Face

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Having just spent 2 days with some colleagues I see very infrequently I have been reminded how limiting technology can be in making connections. Much of our communication via technology is devoid of expression unless we're talking on the phone (and even then so much is missed through facial expressions and body language).

When discussing this with one of my colleagues we agreed that blogs, forums and social network profiles could contribute significantly to the level of connection. However a limiting factor is I have to publish the information then they have to read it (compared with what you over hear or notice when you're co-located.

We agreed that working in disparate locations (including home) has some significant advantages. However we both also agreed that face to face contact and interaction has yet to be rivaled by technology solutions (although they do offer significant advantages)!



Category Random
I love taking the train into work! Through a mistake by my travel agent I'm staying 22km from where I'm working. What this means is I have to walk to a train station then relax sitting down to my destination. It reminds me of commuting in London (which I enjoyed) and tempts me to use the train as part of my normal commute.

Then I remember it would be a 30 or 40 minute walk to the nearest station. After a fairly short train ride I'd then have a 20 - 30 minute walk to work. That would mean instead of a 20 - 30 minute commute it would be closer to an hour and a half. I don't enjoy the train that much!


Dinner Alone

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I've just returned from eating dinner alone at a restaurant. It isn't something that happens often but it is quite an enjoyable experience. I do prefer a quiet meal with N, but eating out alone isn't a bad thing in my book. I enjoy the solitude and don't mind sitting quietly, enjoying the food and the quietness of my thoughts (albeit 6 billion of them all at the same time)!


Eating Alone

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I've just returned from eating dinner alone at a restaurant. It isn't something that happens often but it is quite an enjoyable experience. I do prefer a quiet meal with N, but eating out alone isn't a bad thing in my book. I enjoy the solitude and don't mind sitting quietly, enjoying the food and the quietness of my thoughts (albeit 6 billion of them all at the same time)!



Category Random
Well tomorrow is the start of a very brief break for me. As it is school holidays and our previous holiday was severley disrupted by work matters we're heading to Taupo for 5 days and I'll have 4 days off. That means I'll even manage a day at home with N and the boys which (other than the weekend) is a bit of a rarity! Can't wait and I'm already loving it!


The AB's

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What a great game with a bit of everything ... bif, blood, guts, referee blunders followed by glory (for the AB's)! I was well impressed with Ali Williams, he seems to get better each year and thrive on the big games. Nice that the AB's home record is remains intact AND the Boks have to wait another week to try and break the 10 years without a win in NZ (hopefully it will become 11 years)!


What Are We Doing?

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Are we trying to supress feelings ... soar to new highs ... overcome inhibitions ... what? I was both surprised but almost expected the results of the following survey: http://www.stuff.co.nz/dominionpost/4605165a6479.html


No Thanks

Category Random Technology
Why is it so hard to politely decline an invitation? What is it that makes me feel compelled to say yes more often than no (unless I'm talking to my boys!)? Is it more polite to just grudgingly do something? I'm caught in a dilema after being invited out with a friend. On the one hand I'd like to go (given some recent rough experiences they've had) yet on the other hand I want to just chill out at home! Is it possible to say no without causing offence or seeming like you just don't care?
On an almost related matter ... Intel don't think to be thinking twice about saying no to Vista! When asked if they were going to upgrade from Windows XP to Vista they replied "No thanks"!For the whole story go here: http://www.itwire.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19056&Itemid=53



Category Random
So I travelled to Dunedin first thing this morning and the TOMTOM Go 720 GPS unit got it's first real test (I don't know my way around Dunedin). I lived in Dunedin when I was aged 1 - 4 and have since visited several times in my 'adult' years (mainly for the amazing surf beaches)! Suffice to say I don't know how to get anywhere. I jumped in the rental car and punched in the address of where I was going. I managed to make one wrong turn (because I was keeping right and NOT left as advised) but still arrived at my destination quickly and simply. My wife is still my navigation system of choice but the TOMTOM is rapidly becoming my second choice.


Great Journeys

Category Movie Random
I borrowed a couple of Great Journeys DVD's (specifically The Big Ask and Ordinary Heroes). After a brief time looking at bits from them I'm impressed enough to want to spend some more time actually watching them as they were intended to be watched (in a group with some discussion that follows). What intrigues me is not necessarily the content (which I've largely heard before), or the format (there are numbers of similarly presented DVD's available). What is most startling for me is that despite knowing it all (as I'm sure many others will) how poorly we (both me individually and the royal we of the church) actually are at acting it all out! But maybe I'm an exception I there is actually a perfect church out there!


Self Denial

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Reading a post on the Rubicon this morning (http://www.therubicon.org/?p=1051#more-1051) I came across the following quote: The better way of life is to realize that the amassing of money, goods and personal property is an unworthy life goal. It is too small for our God-given capacities; The entire article was fairly provocative when one considers how sucked into the culture of materialism and wealth Christians have become (he says from his 4 bedroom house with a car less than 7 years old)!



Category Random
At E's soccer this morning one of the players had an exception game, better than ever before and in addition to a couple of break-away runs made some good tackles in defence. Now from my sideline commentator, couch potatoe paradigm it would seem that he had taken some performance enhancing drug so should have been asked to pee into a cup at some point ... However I think the real reason this happened is he had a couple of vocal supporters on the sideline. Whenever he got near the ball a couple of people would start cheering his name and you could see him pick up the effort. It was quite amazing to observe how when you know you've got some support how much better you can do!

Also, just for the record, E had some great runs in the game culminating in some good shots one of which had to be picked up from the back of the net (he had 7 people there cheering him on)!


The Army

Category Random Church
From the blog of Danielle Strickland .... It's not often that we take the time to ask foundational and searching questions about who we are... both as people and as communities... and it's not an easy task. Today John Cleary (a Salvationist historian) was asking some hard questions along those lines and I found myself challenged and invigorated by the exercise. Who is The Salvation Srmy?Best answer of the day (in my opinion) was: God's Commandos

The best strategy for the Salvos is to ask where the Kingdom isn't... and then take it there... where is the darkness thickest - where is hope the least - where are the churches/social structures NOT - and then we should show up in full force. 'To go where no man has gone before'. We will never be great at competing with traditional middle class churches - we just aren't really that. We will be great (maybe smaller) at taking new ground... which leads me to the question - where is that? Where is the darkness thick and the hope fading... where are the lost? Where are the places neglected by the mainstream church.... we ought to find out... and then go. Ideas? ...


Everything is Spiritual

Category Random Movie
Last night my life group watched the Rob Bell DVD, Everything is Spiritual. It is 1 hour and 17 minutes of Rob talking and writing on a whiteboard and trying to get from creation (according to Genesis 1) to how we have separated our physical from our spritual lives. He spent a significant amount of time at the start getting into the detail of how big the universe is and also how small it also is (sub-atomic physics). He focused a brief amount of time on how many contributing factors there are to earth being able to support life (oxygen levels, water levels, nitrogen levels, temperature levels, gravitational levels, distance to the sun, distance from the sun, etc etc) and how if any one of these was to change slightly how life on earth would cease to exist ...


Evel Knievel

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On Prime last night there was a documentary where Richard Hammond (of Top Gear fame) went to Butte (Evel's home town) for the annual Evel Knievel festival. This was quite interesting to watch as Richard seemed intent on talking to Evel about some of his biggest failures (Caesar Palace, Snake River Canyon, Wembley Stadium to name three). What astounded me as I watched it was that despite all these failures Evel was still held in such high regard (not that I'm implying he shouldn't have been). It is like everyone marvelled at him even daring to attempt such a stunt so regardless of the outcome he was a hero just for trying!


All Blacks!

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I'm no expert on rugby and it would seem I don't quite have a good grasp on the rules (given I see things the ref doesn't)! However I did particularly enjoy watching the AB's beat England very convincingly on Saturday night. I was a little nervous about how the game might go (largely because of how the media and some of the public seem to have reacted after the most recent World Cup loss - Great article in the Saturday Dominion Post by Ali Williams about living in a post 2007 World Cup NZ). Anyway my very un-rugby analysis is that we continue to be a very good side with some exceptional combinations (10,12,13 being just one of those) and we will continue to dominate world rugby (perhaps with the exception of the William Web Ellis Trophy competition).


TGE #9

Category Church Random
TGE #9 seemed to be a huge success. We had a great turn out (more than 70 families) and an enormous hit with our kids art activity (colour and decorate a treasure chest then get some chocolate gold coins out of a real treasure chest to include on it). The verse featured in the presentation and on the kids activity was from Matthew 6:19, Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal.

When reading some blogs this morning I looked at Jason Davies-Kildea's entitled Go Tell. The essence of this (well how I read it), was that God wants community and lives to be changed because of his unconditional love. Read his entry here (http://boundless-salvation.blogspot.com/2008/06/go-and-tell.html).

That is what I hope will be the reality of TGE and my church. That people would first and foremost feel connected to and part of a community that is impacted by God's unconditional love (and rather than ramble on any further I'll stop here)!


Woo Hoo!

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The weekend is over! That may sound odd, but I read in the Dominion Post today that 72% (that figure is from memory as the Dominion Post website is down at the moment) of people actually enjoy their jobs and go to work smiling. Now I may not smile in the morning and there are parts of my job that I do enjoy BUT the reason I'm saying Woo Hoo is that it really was a hectic weekend! Of course so far this morning I've been working on my department budget and organising some other significant pieces of work (where we will be onsite for at least 1 week).


How Much is Enough?

Category Random Church
I was just talking with E about how proud Mummy and I were of him when while shopping earlier today he, without any prompting, gave some of his pocket money to the SPCA. We were talking about how Mummy & Daddy sponsor some children like our church does and how not everyone has as much as us. He listened intently and I was waiting for him to share some little pearl of wisdom (in many of the books I've read kids often do this). My son obviously isn't one of those kids though! It did make me think about TGE tomorrow and the theme of Wanting More? How much is enough and do I already have it? It seems part of human nature to want more (I have a reasonably addictive personality) so what is it that I want more of?



Category Random
I knew it was going to be a SUPER BUSY weekend but it's getting ridiculous. We've got TGE (Playgroup Cafe) on Sunday morning so I spent the morning tidying up some loose ends for that. We're home at the moment and I'm preparing the presentation and activities following which we're heading back down to meet the team and setup. Tomorrow will be manic with TGE (which is HEAPS of fun) then it'll be time to clean up. Normally I get home around 2'ish depending on the help we have (lately it's been great). Then I'm going to see my Mum because it's her birthday (E is just making a card for her) then I'll be down to church for a meeting at 7:30 that I'm putting together. Can I cope? Not sure ... but I love a good battle!!!


Cute as a button

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So we were down at Queensgate because E wanted to buy his Gran a birthday present (he ended up spending most of his money on himself, but that is another story) and as we wander through to the our destination we get accosted by some people. Now I don't really like this as I'm usually not at the mall to meet people or make friends, I'm there to do what I need to and leave. However this person insisted on fussing over M and how adorable he was. This isn't unusual but she did seem a little OTT. Then the reality of what was happening came out when she asked if they could video him for a new Karitane advertising campaign! ....


Wanting More?

Category Church Random
This weekend we're running TGE (The Great Escape) cafe for our Playgroup. The last two times we have been packed beyond our capacity and from all the murmurings we've heard so far this weekend will be more of the same!

The theme we're going with this time is Do you want MORE? The question we're asking (ourselves as much as anyone) is how much is enough? Is it good that we as humans always want more regardless of the expense (monetarily, environmentally etc). One startling fact I have learnt is that it takes as much wheat to create biofuel to power a car for one day as it does to feed someone for an entire year! We keep wanting and consuming more, but at what expense? Is there a larger cost to pay? The challenge for me ...


How is it Possible?

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That 5 months of 2008 have passed almost unnoticed? I'm startled by the fact almost half of the year has gone by and yet it feels (aside from the weather) like it should only be early March!


Who am I?

Category Random

A picture named M2
Am I more likely to be on the horse ranting or on the ground criticising?


Captain Collo ... Again!

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Once again Captain Collo posts a blog entry (cut and pasted in the Read More section this time) that made me think ... In response to the adult indicators he talks about here are my answers: Haven't 100% decided! 24 (married), 26 (mortgage) and 30 (1st kid)! Does this mean I'm not a real adult?


Losing Interest

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Is it possible I'm losing interest in the All Blacks? We got the boys to bed early tonight (not that they went to sleep early) so I was afforded the luxury of watching the sports news before 11pm (which is a better time for reading) ... There was talk about the All Blacks team for 2008 which will be announced on Sunday. For some reason I really wasn't that interested! Could it be there has just been too much rugby in the past couple of years? Maybe it is I'm disillusioned by our inability to win the William Web Ellis Cup despite being the best team every other week of every other year (ok just a small overstatement)!


M is 2 today!

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Today M turned 2! I think E is more excited than M, but he does have 3 years more experience at birthdays. It will be interesting to see how things work out as M works out what a birthday (and Christmas) is. He certainly got into the swing of opening presents pretty quickly but (unlike E) he wanted to stop and play with what he had just received, he didn't want to move on to the next present quite so quickly! I suspect Christmas will be manic and M & E will feed off each others excitement and get into a real state. Poor number 3 is going to be born into a house of loud and excitable boys!!


Terminal 5

Category Random
From Andy (a mate living in London) ... As a thanks to everyone for helping us get 'The Terminal 5 Song' onto iTunes, Tim and I thought we'd have a little promotion fun and put some footage into another clip. Hope it gives you a chuckle! We are hoping it does the youtube circuit a bit so please pass it on if you want. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZmhnlUucVGM



Category Movie Random Technology
From the blog of Captain Collo (http://captaincollo.blogspot.com/2008/05/godtube.html)... GodTube, the YouTube for the religious, has raised $30 million at a $150 million valuation, according to Rafat Ali. The funding comes from GLG Partners, a hedge fund. What’s interesting about GodTube is not so much the technology – as Pete wrote in his initial review, “put bluntly … it was crap” – but how it’s little more than an existing concept catered to a very specific yet very huge audience. Christian television is enormous in the US, and GodTube has been able to capitalize on people’s desire for religious programming by taking a proven concept (video sharing), a brand name clearly inspired (some would say stolen) by a market leader, and industry best practices to become a big business. As Pete noted in August, the site actually got its start running on a $300 script. It simply exploded from there, entering the top 1000 web sites in September and never looking back.


My Kind of Church

Category Church Random
Freeway (www.frwy.ca) is a coffee shop that is a church ... or is that a church that is a coffee shop. It also has an enormous focus on the arts and showcases local talent. It gets better, it is in a community so people can just walk in. Wait there's more ... The coffee shop makes great coffee!


A Sign of the Times

Category Random Technology

A picture named M2


Steve Taylor

Category Church Random
The conference I'm currently attending had a presentation by Steve Taylor. When I saw he was speaking I did get excited as in my teenage years I quite liked the music of Steve Taylor. Turns out this was a different Steve Taylor but he was equally as engaging and stimulating. He used the story at the start of Luke 10 where Jesus sends out 72 disciples. He made some really interesting comments on the passage and on what it means to 'church' as we know and do it.



Category Movie Random
My life group watched a Nooma video called 'Rich' then spent some time discussing it. The video reflected upon the poplar bumper sticker (in the US) that says 'God bless America.' They suggested that Americans (similar to kiwis) are rich beyond measure IF we were to look at ourselves from a global perspective. Only 8% of the entire world own a car - This means 92% of the world think I'm rich!


The Rubicon

Category Random

I quite like this article from The Rubicon http://www.therubicon.org/?p=963#more-963

The other thing I enjoyed on the website this morning was the following quote:

God writes a lot of comedy. The trouble is, he's stuck with so many bad actors who don't know how to play funny. (Garrison Keillor)


Mobile Blogging

Category Random
So this entry is being made from a mobile device. I've spent a little time getting the client working as I'm going to be out of the office quite a lot over the next week. Now I don't need my laptop or an Internet browser to update the blog!



Category Random

This is from http://asbojesus.wordpress.com/ where you can have a laugh everyday of the week.

A picture named M2


Great Blog

Category Church Random
From Captain Collo .... http://captaincollo.blogspot.com/2008/05/dont-blame-church.html


US Election

Category Random
Maybe I don't get it, but it seems to me that the longer Clinton and Obama continue fighting for the nomination the more chance there is that the Republicans will win the election! How much would I trust a party that appears (admittedly only from media reports) to be split between who to support? They (Obama and Clinton) seem to appeal to different groups as they talk about their vision for the US. They could be from entirely different political parties! Still it does amuse me.


Mother's Day

Category Random Church
Today is Mother's Day and we tried something rather different at church. Our Playgroup (with around 100 families associated) runs a cafe one Sunday a month that provides families with a unique opportunity to eat cafe quality food and drink amazing coffee so we decided to put The Great Escape (TGE) Cafe on at Church. Normally at TGE it is complete mayhem as kids run around and play with the Playgroup Toys or participate in an activity we coordinate for them. This all took place on Sunday at church with quite a large number of regular church people attending too!


Race Finish

QuickImage Category Random Ride
Well the moonride is over and I managed to achieve my goals. I was fairly consistent in my times and had one under 30 minutes (my actual times as per the transponder were 39:48, 29:53, 30:08, 31:51, 30:08*, 38:49* and 35:34* (times with an * by them are night laps so done with lights)). In the 12 hour class we came 175th overall (out of 304 entries) and 85th in our class (135 in the class). I'm feeling pretty good and really enjoyed the day. It was a lot of fun despite the boggy track and having a team in the same tent you're competing with added to the competitive spirit and enjoyment. If you look closely at the photo you will find me!


Race Update #2

Category Random Ride
Well I'm back from my first lap ... It took 40 mins and there was some heavy congestion. At times I we were walking because there were so many people on the track. Parts of the track are just a massive bog while other parts are pretty hard and fast considering the amount of rain there has been. The DHQ team came in 10 minutes after me so we've already got a reasonable lead.


Race Update #1

Category Random Ride
We've just returned from the race briefing and I'm riding first! It is going to be hugely congested as more than 350 people try to fight there way around the first lap (half of which is single track)!


Race Day!

Category Random Ride
It is race day and I've been awake since about 5am! It rained all night but now (7am) it has stopped and the day looks like there should be no more showers. I'm glad we setup the tent lasdt night and can't wait to get down to the race and eat breakfast (we're having porridge)!


Race Day Tomorrow

Category Random Ride
Tomorrow is the Moonride! There will only be 8 of us racing as a couple of people have had a last minute change in circumstances so won't be there. The weather forecast looks horrible and it is already raining in Rotorua. Still I'm excited about the event and looking forward to trying to complete 7 laps and get at least 1 in under 30 minutes.


Ignorance is Bliss

Category Random
I've just spent 5 minutes doing a really simple task that hadn't been done for several weeks. When asking someone why it hadn't been done they explained to me (rather defensively) it was because they didn't know how. I asked if they'd thought to ask someone ... alas no. It did get me thinking about how ignorance really is bliss! If I don't know something I can with good conscience not do anything about rectifying a situation! Knowledge means I might have to do something and we can't have that!



Category Random Ride
The moonride (http://www.moonride.co.nz) is this weekend. I haven't done as much training as I would have liked but am nonetheless amping to get out there on my bike and ride this race. I dropped my bike in to be tuned up today and have set my goals as follows: Minimum 6 laps (aiming for 7), 30 minute (or better) fastest lap time. Watch this space to hear/see my results!



Category Church Random
I subscribe to a number of email newsletters from different web sites ... One had a great article about change in it that included the following: "It means that an organization, a church let's say, that was considered to be the best of the best at one point in time is likely to lose most of its advantage when there's a massive historical change or, as Barker puts it, paradigm shift. If that organization doesn't take the changes seriously and ask what they mean and make suitable adjustments, it will find itself losing ground, maybe going out of existence. In fact, it's not just suitable adjustments, it may mean total reinvention." To read the full article look here: http://www.christianitytoday.com/le/2008/001/21.88.html


How do you interpret the bible?

Category Bible Random
I came upon the following short quiz that shapes what you think of the bible ... http://www.buildingchurchleaders.com/assessments/individuals/hermeneuticsquiz.html I'm not sure if a high or a low score is better! Either way it is an interesting self-examination of what value I actually place on the bible.


Stolen ...

Category Random
From Danielle Strickland's blog (and her and Cambell Roberts book - Just Action): May God bless us with discomfort at easy answers, half truths and superficial relationships so that we may live deep within our hearts. May God bless us with anger at injustice and exploitation of people so that we may work for justice, freedom and peace. May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer pain rejection, hunger and war so that we may reach out our hand to comfort them and turn their pain to joy. And may God bless us with enough foolishness to believe that we can make a difference in the world so we can do what others claim cannot be done to bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.
Download File


Small Groups

Category Random
If you're in a small group this article may be of interest http://blog.buildingchurchleaders.com/2008/04/when_is_a_small_group_just_ano.html



Category Random
So I'm struggling a little to get photo's to display in this blog how I want them to and rather than waste precious holiday time trying to work out how I've decided to post them on Facebook. In addition to being really simple I can do it directly from my mobile phone (if I turn it on)!



Category Random Ride
We're heading for Auckland for stage 2 of our holiday. I looked in my book of mountian bike rides for places to head out while in Auckland. While my book is 8 years old now I found some rides out west Auckland in a place called Woodhill. Google being the friend of anyone searching for information these days, I quickly looked it up and surfed to http://www.bikepark.co.nz/ ... I think I want to move to Auckland!!


Rotary Track

Category Random Ride
As I'm on holiday in Taupo I took an hour (actually closer to 2) to head back to where the Jamis Day Night Thriller was held. It turned out there had been storm damage recently BUT the track had been re-opened that very morning! So I took to the paths with a little more pace than I had while participating in the 12 hour race. Before long I was lost and not recognising any of the track I was on ...


Booth's 6 Resolutions

Category Bible Church Random
SIX RESOLUTIONS by William Booth (age 20) 1. That I will rise every morning sufficiently early to wash, dress, and have a few minutes, not less than 5, in private prayer. 2. That I will, as much as possible, avoid all that babbling and idle talk in which I have lately so sinfully indulged. 3. That I will endeavor in my conduct and deportment before the world and my fellow servants especially to conduct myself as a humble, meek and zealous follower of Christ, and by serious conversation and warning endeavor to lead them to think of their immortal souls. 4. That I will read no less than four chapters in God’s Word every day. 5. That I will strive to live closer to God, and to seek after holiness of heart and leave providential events with God. 6. That I will read over this every day or at least twice a week. “God help me, enable me to cultivate a spirit of self-denial and to yield myself a prisoner of love to the redeemer of the world.” “I feel my own weakness, and without God’s help I shall not keep these resolutions. The Lord have mercy upon my guilty soul.”



Category Random
This is a painfully honest sight that provides a glimpse into what people really think! http://www.hatebook.com/



QuickImage Category Random

So I thought someone, somewhere (perhaps my mother) would be interested in seeing the building where I have been working the last couple of days. I'm happy to be heading home tomorrow and starting a two week holiday!
Download File a_Fiji DHQ.JPG



Category Books Random
Before I left for the airport I picked up some last minute items from the office for the trip. I picked up (hot off the press and freshly delivered) my copy of Just:Imagine by Major Campbell Roberts and Captain Danielle Strickland. I have to say that so far (I'm up to 69 of 174) it is an utterly brilliant read. It isn't demanding but begs you to consider just what it means to be a Christian in the 21st century. Already my copy has bits underlined and pages folded so I can refer back to it ...



Category Random
I'm on the road again today and won't be home until Friday. This time I'm heading to Fiji for a couple of days to look at a server problem, install the new FMIS system and I also hope to have time to spend speaking with people to ascertain how IT can assist the TSA mission in Fiji. It is a part of the job that is bitter sweet. Bitter as I'm away from N & the boys but sweet as I am able to engage directly with the mission ...


Life Group

Category Random
In the last quarter of 2007 I formed a life group for guys that meets fornightly (normally at my place). We met last night (because I'm off travelling again tomorrow). Normally we watch a Nooma video then talk about how we see our lives in relation to the message of the video. The Nooma videos have been great as they are fairly short and mostly highly relevant to our lives ...


Terminal 5

Category Random
A friend of mine is currently living in the UK. He has helped me make some rather amusing video moments over the years and obviously decided that Heathrow's Terminal 5 deserved not only a special video but also an original song! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kp3bNlBi-Iw


I Love Asbo!

Category Random

A little irreverent (as always), but true nonetheless!

A picture named M2


The Scan

Category Random

This morning, between two meetings, I squeezed in a visit to Pacific Radiology with N for the 12 week scan. The technology is amazing and what we saw was absolutely stunning! Essentially a fully developed human being is in N's womb ... arms ... legs ... heart ... bladder ... stomach ... spine ... ribs ... all the body parts I can name and some others I didn't know we had! ... The little person was rolling around swinging their arms and legs about as though they were on some kind of amusement park ride ...
Download File


Watch This!

Category Random
This is the preview for a documentary about 24 hour solo Mountain Bike Racing that I watched (3 times) in the past couple of weeks. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=11oqeJFmeCg Even N who isn't a mountain biker really enjoyed it as she gained a little insight into this crazy sport where people spend 24 hours riding a difficult circuit ... madness!



Category Random
I've started my countdown to this years Moonride in Rotorua (go to http://www.moonride.co.nz if you don't know what I'm on about). I notice looking at an international mountain biking website that the track is rated 4 out of 5. Having ridden it I can believe it, if you want a glimpse look at the video from last years race on http://www.moonride.co.nz (12 hour shows it well). The way I see it I've got the rest of this week and Monday next week for training. On Tuesday I'm away with work until Friday (and can't take my bike). Following that I'm on holiday for 2 weeks with N & the boys (with my bike). Upon my return there is only one more week until the race! Personal goals for the race? ...


Sally Alley

Category Random
I went for a mountain bike ride last night and headed out to Makara Park (http://www.mountainbike.co.nz/places/makarapeak/firsttime.html). We rode up through the Koru path then came down Sally Alley and Lazy Fern. When we got to the meeting of Koru and Sally Alley we had to wait for a couple of minutes while one of the group caught up. I read the brief information on the Sally Alley markers ...


ASBO Strikes Again

Category Random

A picture named M2


Giving Money Away?

Category Random
Read the following article http://www.therubicon.org/?p=868#more-868 and found it both amusing and a pointed challenge.



Category Random
Ezra is playing soccer this year and had his first practise run this morning. Prior to this we stopped in at the local Sportsworld and bought him boots, socks, shorts, shinpads and a little gear bag. He loved practising dribbling, running, passing, stopping and shooting and responded really well to the coach. Next week is his first game so I'll try and drag the camera out!


The Oasis Movie

Category Random
While at Just Action we saw a documentary called The Oasis which focuses on homeless youth in Sydney (Australia) over a two year period (go to http://www.theoasismovie.com.au/om/default.htm# for more information). It was a fairly honest and raw look at youth homelessness in a large city. For me it raised many questions, the biggest being how kids as young as 8 can be in an environment that makes living on the streets a viable (even attractive) option ...


Number 3

Category Random
Well it is now public news ... We're expecting our 3rd child on October 17th! Does YIPEE convey enough emotion?


Action Man

Category Random
I'm still thinking about the presentation Captain Danielle Strickland gave during the opening session of Just Action 2008. Focusing on Matthew 23:23 and Jesus talking to the Pharisees, she focused on the need for us to be about people and not just principals. In Matthew 23:23 Jesus speaks to the Pharisees about justice, mercy and faithfulness and admonishes them to do something. It isn't enough to simply have a policy about homelessness, or hunger ... we (as Christians) need to actually be people of action and do something. We need to be about the people Jesus was about, and not just the theological reason why something should be done ...


On the Road Again

Category Random
Recently (over the past 6 weeks) I have been at home and not away travelling. While this may seem like a good thing I have actually been working very long days (12 hours plus) and weekends (including Easter) so my family haven't seen all that much of me (or me of them)! I travel again tonight to Dunedin for Make Change and Freedom, then am home for a week before again heading to Fiji for almost a week.


Communication Meltdown

Category Random
I feel as thought I'm in the middle of a communication meltdown! For some reason words are sounding (or looking if it is an email) different to the recipient than what I intended! Now this does happen from time to time but recently it seems to be the only way I'm managing to communicate in any way, shape or form! As you can imagine it is beginning to get rather frustrating ....


A New Chapter

Category Random
Books are divided into chapters to provide a pause in the story, to change scenes or to begin a new thread in the story. Sometimes the close of a chapter leaves us wanting to put the book down and rest for a while. Other times it leaves us turning the page rapidly so we can see what happens next. It seems to me that changes in our lives are like chapters .... When a change happens we either want to stop and take a break or we want to rush straight on in to whatever it is that has changed!


A Surprise!

Category Random
I was surprised a couple of weeks ago to be personally invited to participate in forum comprised of NGO & NFP CIO's. It surprised me because I wasn't aware such a group existed (I later found out it was just being formed) and I had never met any of the people who are involved! Unfortunately I was out of town when the group first met but today I attended my first NGO/NFG CIO Forum meeting .....


Ummm ... What Happened?

Category Random
What happened to February? In playing around with the categories and side bar of my blog I notice I didn't make a single entry in February!! So I'm writing this (in April) but dating it the 29th of February (after all it is only every 4 years you can legitimately post a blog on that date!



Category Random
I read the following bit of Christmas satire on a blog that follows technology within NZ. I'm posting it a little late (27/12) but I still had to giggle at what someone had invested their time in! Has anyone noticed that Santa seems to have quite a bit in common with Satan?



Category Random
Change is something that is a critical part of IT. There is always a change coming, a change that has just been or a change that you're working on. Nothing ever stands still and there are constantly new products, updated software versions, driver revisions, hardware changes and emerging technologies that we need to know about. Stop for a moment and think about where we would be if we hadn't changed anything in IT for the last 10 years ...


Cartoon of the Day

Category Random

Copied (with permission) from asbojesus.wordpress.com

A picture named M2


Cartoon of the Day

Category Random

A picture named M2


Little Pick Me Ups

Category Random
Sometimes it's the little things that make your day! Like noticing the Coke machine at work which had jacked the price up to $1.80 per can (can anyone say rip off?) from $1.20 was now at the low low, not to be repeated, special price of $1!


The 1st Entry

Category Random
Here it is, another blog and the question I'm asking myself is why! Do I think that blogs can be part of TSA's technology landscape? Can they actually help anyone or provide a useful forum for discussion? This is another blog template (different to the ISG blog template) and I'm keen to compare them as I work out if they could be useful within TSA.


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