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 Sport
From the 'sing when you're winning' file (as opposed to the pretend you don't know the results when they're losing file) ... Four years living in England got me a little interested in football (the 'real' one with a round ball) and a part time follower of the Premiership, UEFA, Champions League, etc. Liverpool cemented their place at the Premier League summit with a ruthless demolition of Newcastle United. Click here for more information.



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!



Category Bible
I confess it, I'm judgemental, unbelievably so and to make matters worse my standards are constantly changing so nobody has any hope of meeting them much less exceeding them!! However this blog entry isn't about me, it is about the church (yes, the royal 'we' that is the church)!

I'm intrigued by the fact churches are often very judgemental if not in what is said, then through their action (or inaction), or through being associated with past sins of their predecessors. This morning as I was visiting a centre I drove past a church with a highly visible, anti-abortion bill board prominantly on display on the front lawn. What struck me about this wasn't anything theological, moral, or otherwise, but rather was the judgmental nature of it.

The bill board clearly invoked the message that abortion was murder. Now rather than debate the rightness, morality, or issue of abortion all I could think of was that the message of the billboard was the church (and therefore God) is anti-abortion. My problem at this point was I don't think that is the message of the Gospels. In fact one could argue (well I would) that Jesus' entire life was diametrically opposed to this type of message.

Matthew 9:12-13 [NIV] On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners."

Is any message declaring what we're not about condusive to being a doctor and helping the sick?


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 Church Bible
During the week I observed a classic example of us making rules the most important thing. It was a trivial matter and larger was about the letter of the law as opposed to anything else.In addition to getting a little laugh (albeit a sad laugh) at the situation it did make me realise a few things ... The 1st is that rules make it easy for us to determine who is 'in' and who is 'out' (similar to the Pharisees). The 2nd is it allows us to derive a sense of 'rightness.' 3rdly it provides a means of comparing ourselves with others. There are obvious dangers in all 3 of these all of which result in behaviour not associated with the kingdom.

I had the TV on this morning while feeding J and the verse Matthew 6:33 was referred to (seek the kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and He will give you everything you need).Jesus seemed to go out of his way to find people unlike him, from different backgrounds, with different 'rules' for living. His 12 closest friends were a mix of backgrounds, personality types, and occupations. In all the interactions Jesus had with his 12 friends and the people they met, his message was far more about action than rules. In fact twice in Matthew (9:13 and 12:7) Jesus says I want you to do something for others and not just blindly follow the rules of your religion.

Where is the balance? Can rules exist (within the context of church) and not end up in use becoming like the Pharisees?


Big Picture ... Yeah Right!

Category Work
I'm alarmed at the way the phrase, "I'm a big picture person" is used to excuse incompetence! It isn't the first time, and unfortunately won't be the last, where I've not been given enough notice to complete some work. Now the problem with this is the people who matter, out there on the 'front line' doing the work, who will be put out. All because someone claims they were a 'big picture person' when in fact they mean they're incapable of doing their job!

Being a big picture person to me means that you know what the main objective is and can coordinate things towards that. This means that you understand you're not aware of all the detail involved in a task so very quickly get the person who does involved. If you don't you run the risk of giving someone a deadline they can't work with.

If I need a new house so go to Lockwood Homes to arrange it and tell them that I need it built in 2 weeks time we all know it isn't going to happen (unless you're the Seventh Day Adventists who build entire church complexes over a weekend). However who is to blame for my house not being ready in the desired time frame? Lockwood Homes? Me?



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 Technology Work
I'm not really one for outsourcing for solutions or support. While I do use some level of this I believe that in order to achieve the best results for your business it is vital that internal employees who know the organisation and live with it day in and day out be involved. After all they understand what the organisation is like to live with and how it reacts to change, what the politics are like, and how the strategic plan is being implemented.

However I'm wondering if there is a solution I should consider. IBM look like they have a solution that is right up the alley I was investigating and looking to trial sometime in 2009 (all going to plan). The solution that IBM have worked with Canonical software on can be found here.

Food for thought as we head into uncertain economic times and need to get more out of IT without putting any more money into it. I suspect the challenge will be in selling the solution so that people understand why it is good for them, how they will benefit from it, what gains they will experience, and why it isn't just an IT department scheme to save money! After all IT is about enabling a company to achieve their strategic plans.



Category Bible
I came across the following quote from Tina Turner:

The real power behind whatever success I have now was something I found within myself - something that's in all of us, I think, a little piece of God just waiting to be discovered.

Does this a statement acknowledge God as creator of life or is it just a vague reference to something bigger than ourselves words can't quite grasp? It seems to me (but I guess I have been conditioned that way) that the more I look around the world the more I have to look for a creator.

Genesis 1:26 & 27 speaks about this:

God spoke: "Let us make human beings in our image, make them reflecting our nature So they can be responsible for the fish in the sea, the birds in the air, the cattle, and, yes, Earth itself, and every animal that moves on the face of Earth." God created human beings; he created them godlike, Reflecting God's nature. He created them male and female.

Seems like Tina speaks the truth (well the truth according to how it has been revealed to me)!!



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).


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