Lead a vivid life that does good

Category: Spirituality (Page 2 of 2)

234 |365 Partial Reflections

Partial reflection of a treeOur lives are all partial reflections of others.
We all in someway reflect the people and events that have had an impression on us.
In some cases, repulsive and negative things done may be reflected in us. Things we would rather forget and wish they had never happened.
For the most part we reflect the good people in our lives. They may be parents or teachers or colleagues or friends or Jesus, and regardless of how independent we think we are, we are all small reflections of them.
So if my life is a partial reflection of others, how will I ensure that their reflection of me is a blessing, vivid and good?

176 | 365 Salt

Day176.jpgGrowing up in Tauranga you become accustom to salt water. You know the bitterness of its taste and feel the dryness of your skin after a day sailing. You see stains it leaves on the windows of your car, and the corrosive power of salt water to destroy objects over a period of time.
When you’re around salt, you can feel it, taste it, smell it and see its effect.
There is no escaping the effect of salt.
“You are the salt of the earth”

[176 | 365 March is salt harvesting season at Lake Grassmere in Blenheim and the salt is brought north to the Mount for refining. This is a shot of the salt being stockpiled at Dominion Salt.]

I hope you rest!

It was a beautiful evening and I left Auckland amongst the heavy Friday traffic and made a bee line for Tauranga. Well actually it wasn’t so much a bee line as a zigzag. Nevertheless I head south and choose my route carefully, using my local knowledge to the best of my advantage to reduce precious minutes from my driving time.

Everything was going well, traffic was busy but flowing and I soon found myself heading down the Kaimai’s into my home town and the picturesque Bay of Plenty. Suddenly the display on my dash popped up a message I had not seen before. It was a picture of a tree with a picnic table underneath it. Below the picture the words “Rest Reminder” appeared. A rest reminder built into a car. Handy.

I was thinking, sometimes it would be great if we could get those reminders in life. You know when you are moving at 100 mph, when even a good nights sleep doesn’t bring rest. Wouldn’t it be handy if a display popped up and said hey you need to rest.Restarea

Really REST.

Resting is more than having a sleep in or taking it easy for a day or not going to work.

You can do all these things and still have a million things or worries or uncertainties in your mind. You can take a rest physically and yet not rest mentally or spiritually.

What if really resting means something more than just having a break.

So if we have burdens and baggage, if we have been toiling and labouring hard, if we have a million thoughts and worries running around in our heads, if we have been trying hard on our own to be nice rather than naughty.

Jesus has something really profound to say to us who are like this.

He said “Come to me”, and

“I will give you rest”.

I know he means real rest. Rest mentally, spiritually even though you may not be physically resting. Rest for our souls.

After the reminder popped up on my dash, I pressed cancel and kept driving. Ironically for me physical rest leads to mental rest, leads to spiritual rest. Quite often I press cancel part way through this journey and just keep going.
So rest this Christmas. Rest physically. Rest mentally. Rest spiritually.


Some Easter heresy?

Hot Cross BunsSince its Easter I thought I would share two notions that have spun around in my mind over the last week.


I love going for a ralk (part run, mostly walk) by the river. I love the fresh air, the smell from the wet autumn leaves and the sunshine that breaks through the natural canopy. I’m amused at the way the ducks quack, in a way that it sounds like Donald Duck laughing, particularly when I start running.

I enjoy solitary ralks and ralks with friends. At some point, I am almost always filled with awe for the creation I am witnessing. I am reminded that it is too big and beautiful to be an accident. I contemplate how God made the beauty and the smells and the sights. It prompts me to remember that the earth doesn’t revolve around me, It doesn’t exist for me. 

I got an email the other day that simply said “thanks for ….”. The awesome thing about the email is that it was from a person I didn’t expect thanks from. It made me smile because I know this person has had a tough life and I see the person changing and growing. Its awesome.

Very awesome!

You know I think awe is a form of worship. Maybe it is worship in its purest sense. Not the stand up and sing songs kind of worship that my friend posted about. You know, where you stand and sing words because that’s what everyone is doing, even though nothing is happening in your heart.

No, awe is a feeling of being alive, of understanding that Gods grace isn’t just shown to the people in the church, but to everyone.

Through many things.


I would rather be filled with awe through seeing a person learning or through creation any day, compared to orchestrating awe or worship at a church service.

His Grace is shown to us everyday.

I think the problem is we are just to busy, mostly with dumb stuff, to notice!

Jesus as a kid…

Now, if you had grown up with Jesus, as a boy that is, wouldn’t you have noticed something different about him? Wouldn’t you have seen something different in his life for 30 odd years and thought, wow, this guy is the Messiah!

Well his friends and family and fellow villagers didn’t. He came into his hometown and started preaching one day and they said “what is he talking about, isn’t this Mary’s son, the brother of James, a carpenter”. Their attack was relentless.

How does that work? Why didn’t they see him for who he was? I guess it is because Jesus was real. The gospels show Jesus to be a man who was often annoyed and frustrated, sometimes scared, sad on occasion, and even angry.

Why is it then that Christians think they need to be perfect and ‘holier than thou’. Why do so many Christians lack authenticity? Why of all people do they have to pretend like everything is OK? If Jesus friends and family struggled to see the real him because they knew him, why do Christians pretend to be other than the real them?

Two thoughts. Evocative; hopefully. Heresy; maybe!

Candidate for US President

ObamaBarack Obama is new face of the democratic party in the US.

An article from the  Chicago Sun-Times leads with a story entitled "Evangelical? Obama's faith too complex for simple label Evangelical?" in which they asked him if he was an evangelical.

His answer was quite cool.

He continued his answer: "My faith is complicated by the fact that I didn't grow up in a particular religious tradition. And so what that means is when you come at it as an adult, your brain mediates a lot, and you ask a lot of questions.

"There are aspects of Christian tradition that I'm comfortable with and aspects that I'm not. There are passages of the Bible that make perfect sense to me and others that I go, 'Ya know, I'm not sure about that,'" he said, shrugging and stammering slightly.

The article concludes with

But for Obama, as for many of us, faith is complicated, messy, a work in progress. And, if we're honest about it, the standard labels just don't fit.

How true I thought.

A review of my blog

"In short I thought I would start shouting into the wind…"

And with those words my blog began. Like most things in my life my blog has proven to be random, distracted thoughts. It comes and goes depending on my mood and has had three major changes to its look and feel.

It will continue to change because I love change. It will continue to be random and change in writing style because I am always learning and experiencing different things.

Anyway here are a few of my favourate posts etc from each month since Aug last year.

Old Posts

Old & New  … Lost after 3 years is the new car smell, it now has one of those car airfreshener smells . A smell that you know is hiding a potentially more potent odour, the way lighting a match in the toilet tries to hide a foul stench… read more [nb this is my most commented post a whole 3 comments]

Origin Pacific falls from the Never Never Land In my opinion Origin was doomed to failure before their first flight left the ground. They tried to behave and act like super powers, then align themselves with super powers like Qantas, rather than establishing profitable niche markets … read more

Authentic Community …I think this small business called agóge. This business with people from all over the world, with varying educations, from different religions and diverse upbringings is starting to become an authentic community … read more

Woolgathering at 17,000 ft about the Marlborough Sounds … I sit in the ATR, transfixed at the sight of the Marlborough Sounds out my window and grateful for the relief from a tiring day that woolgathering about the Sounds allows. … read more

Flying an Alpha 160"It is like climbing into a new car when you have been used to driving a car that is 25 years old." … read more

Most enjoyable book

Blue like Jazz – Donald Miller.

Best quote

"I’ve always thought smack in the middle of a contradiction is a great place to be!"  Bono – U2

Serendipity …

[Sara]  Serendipity. It's one of my favorite words.
[Jonathan]  It is? Why?
[Sara]  It's such a nice sounding word for what it means: a fortunate accident. I don't really believe in accidents. I think fate is behind everything.
[Jonathan]  Oh you do?… So everything is predestined, we don't have any choice at all?
[Sara]  No, I think we make our own decisions, but fate sends us little signs and it's how we read those signs that determines whether we are happy or not.

These words from the video Serendipity, which I watched last night, got me thinking about destiny and fate and things that happen that may well be fortunate accidents.

I remember speaking with a friend a few months ago about fate and destiny. When I meet this friend it was a result of Serendipity. I rambled that I dislike the idea of destiny or fate or luck because it means I have no control over a situation (my nature of a control freak coming out again). What I was saying was that I want to have free will.

Then this morning I read Scott Adam's Dilbert Blog and he basically said we are all moist robots with no free will.

In a prior post I asked who is at fault if a guy pokes a bear with a stick and the bear kills him. Then I sweetened the pot by supposing the bear was actually an irrational guy whose religion says you need to kill people that poke you with a stick … The correct answer, and the one that no one offered as far as I could tell, is that it was no ones fault. Not the guy with the stick, not the bear, and not the irrational religious guy. Each creature acted according to its nature and its programming, as all moist robots must.

The bear is a furry moist robot. You poke him, he mauls you. It's that simple. The bear's brain isn't equipped for free will. Neither is yours or mine.

To add to all that Paul says that "God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family", then adds just a sentence later that God "is so rich in kindness and grace that he purchased our freedom". This just brings heaps of questions to mind like; If God decided, how can we be free? And what if he decided not to, do we still have freedom? Are there boundaries between destiny and free-will?

It seems I may have become a fence sitter on this matter, in a serendipitous way.

Yesterday I learnt how to cheat the church!

I'm serious. I went to the Global Leadership Summit and Andy Stanley said that he learnt to cheat the church and that we should learn to do the same. Anyway, as is the very nature of sort of day, we were subjected to a torrent of great leadership material. The challenge for me is now to incorporate my key lessons, into what I am being as a leader.

Bill HybelsLife Cycle of a Leader

"4 Statement grid for key leaders. They must have
    – Intelligence
    – Be Energetic
    – Have Relational IQ
    – Have a win or die spirit"

"If we lead well, people live!"

The life cycle of me as a leader (our influence) should go up and up to my dieing day.

Andy StanleyFocused Leadership
What he meant by cheat the church was that we shouldn't cheat our family of our time, rather we should cheat the church of our time. It wasn't a money thing.

We spend more time in our organizations because we love progress and because we are afraid.  If I don't it wont … is an example of being afraid.

I need to play to my strengths and delegate my weakness, and the less I do the more I can accomplish.

Jim CollinsWhen business thinking fails the church

Building something great is not a function of your circumstance; it is a function of your choices and discipline.

And this is reflective of my thinking this week, I need to ensure I continually develop to become a great leader and learn from other leaders.

BonoAn exclusive interview www.one.org

I have always thought smack in the middle of a contradiction is a great place to be.

Stop asking God to bless what you are doing. Find out what God is doing because it is already blessed.

I am compelled to be generous with my resources. How can I lead others to do the same?

Well meaning people

There very few normal work days that I can recall like I do the 12th September five years ago. I had recently been given a job which meant I made the sluggish journey to Auckland three or four times a week. Typically I travelled before sunrise, but this day was not a normal day. As I steered the bulky green station-wagon north there was an endless chatter about only one topic on the radio. In the shadow of the Sky Tower I get out of my car to a radiant blue sky and hear some jet engines whine in the distance which immediately connected my thoughts to the sky in New York just hours earlier. What if?

Five years on and the anniversary of 911 brings with it repeat after repeat of the planes flying into the building or the towers collapsing. How hard it must be for the families of the dead to see those images again and again and again. Time after time the media replay the murder of their loved ones on TV. Oddly however, year after year we are drawn to the images, to the viewpoints, to the speculation of what is next. The world is not the same place it was when around 2800 people died in the US that day, merely ask the citizens of the now "liberated" and "democratic" state of Iraq, who have lost over 40,000 civilian family members in this war on terror.

The world is not the same, nevertheless it is exactly as it has been for thousands of years. Well meaning people and governments and religions are doing things that they think will make the world a better place, while all the time forcing their rules for living on the rest of the world. We see it in Christianity all of the time, people go around telling people how to live, or more to the point tell them what not to do, and forget that perhaps God made us for relationships. I heard this pastor friend of mine talking about the bible over the weekend and what it tells us about loving our neighbours. He sort of said that we have to be deeply compassionate for the needs of people around us, and how the question is not who is my neighbour, but who can I be a neighbour to?

All this got me thinking about creation and I wondered if most well meaning Christian people have missed the point. What if Christianity could be summed up like this? Love God and love People with everything you have. What if this whole Christianity thing is about relationships, deep, authentic, caring relationships? Imagine if people with nothing to offer could actually have a relationship like that with God, then He taught them how to truly live and to have deep, authentic relationships with people.

You know what, I think that would be the kind of Christianity I would want to be a part of…

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