Saturday, March 31, 2012


I'd just like to share my experience today.
So, I went to church today. There is nothing wholly remarkable about this. But I did find today that the sermon, though unremarkable, had a significant impact on me. I can only put this down to God.
At the end of the talk, we were asked to write on a heavily word-art-and-clip-art-ed slip of paper the thing or things that were holding us back in our worship (of the 24/7 variety) of God. I quite surprised myself when I wrote out a whole list of things that, while I had been aware of, I hadn't identified as being problems before. Instead of taking the paper down to the front to oh-so-symbolically lay at the one-quarter-scale cross as suggested, I instead pocketed the slip, not wanting to forget what I had written down.

Then came the test.

The band started the last song.

Now, there are few church songs that I truly dislike, but this was one of them. In addition to this, both guitars, while relatively in tune with themselves, were neither in tune with each other, nor the piano. The drummer was all over the figurative place, and sometimes out the figurative door. Because of this, the pianist, though more than competent, had no idea what the heck was going on.
And to top it all off, the singer, not knowing which pitch strand to follow, opted for a new and unrelated one.
And I'm predisposed to be hypercritical. Especially about music.
I'm not saying this to beat up on the band. Usually the music at church here is very good.

But as I thought about what I'd just written on my slip of paper, nearly every entry in my list was tested in some way during that last song.
But today, somehow, I managed to get over it all, and was closer to God singing "How Great is Our God" than I've been in a while. I was actually worshipping Him.

I'm yet to be unsurprised at the way God does His thang. Even the story of Jesus is about the most surprising story of salvation possible.
God became Man?

If you are at all like me, there are things that get in the way our worship of God. Not just in singing, or even just in church, but throughout our whole life. But sometimes, it just takes a surprising shove from God...

Thursday, January 12, 2012


Pen in hand (blue or black), I come to this question in the basic information box.


This question, on the endless stream of paperwork that I have completed in my short life, seems to stump me always.

Christian, the word, came to mean the collective followers of Christ. I, being baptised into His death am a Christian, I follow and walk with Him in the journey that is my life on this earth. This is how I see it. Society wants more.

The word religion comes from the latin, Religare ‘to bind.’ What is my religion? What do I bind myself to? Thinking honestly, it is not always Jesus who is first in my thoughts. But I am in His. Religion is blamed for so much, wars and death, persecution and judgement, but religion is a manmade ideal, and as such is not without Sin.

This video illustrates why Jesus is greater than Religion.

With my blue or black pen, entirely in block letters, I will write Christian, for that is my religion.

In my life, I will love Jesus, for He is my Saviour.

Jesus>Religion. Know the difference.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Ask. Listen. Do.

Recently I was on a road trip and found myself at a church service in Adelaide. After plenty of loud music, emotive prayer etc, up gets this great little Indian guy to deliver the week's message. I must admit, I did giggle when he first took the stage...this guy was straight out of a bollywood movie. He had it all going on; the accent, the moves. But then he delivered a straight-down-the-line message. One that I loved and will try to share with you.

We started by flipping to 1 Chronicles 14:8-17 (you might like to do this and have a read now too).

So the Philistines are attacking David, the new king of Israel. David hears that these bad guys are on the move, so what does he do? Does he quickly march out and try to smash them? Does he barricade the gates and hide in his room? Does he ask the advice of the palace staff? Although all these options  probably seem quite reasonable in worldly terms (personally, I think hiding in my room would have sounded like a good idea...), David did none of these. Not straight away, anyway, because David is an Ask. Listen. Do kinda guy.
David prayed. He asked the advice of The Almighty One, "is this the right time to attack the Philistines?" he asks. "Will you give me the victory?"
God says yes. So David attacks and destroys. Just as God said would happen.

Before too long the Philistines are at it again. And once again, David has a choice to make. To attack or not to attack?
For a moment here, we need to have a little think. David has been in this situation before (Philistines running towards his land with swords drawn...). And what did God tell him last time? Attack! So why would David not just say to himself, "I know the drill...attack!"
Because David is wiser than that. He knows God will rescue him, but he does not assume that he knows best this time. He does not assume that the same victory plan will apply. He asks God again. And lucky he did, because the plan was different (read about it in 1 Chronicles 14:13-16).

So, what does this mean for us? We don't generally have to make choices about attacking on-coming armies (not literally, anyway). But we do have plenty of choices to make. We can decide to struggle through by ourselves. We can barricade the door and hide in our room. We can ask those around us for advice. But our first stop should always be to pray. Ask the advice of The Almighty One. 
Then what? After you ask a question, the only sensible thing to do is listen for the answer. So listen carefully, He will always answer. And then comes the part where you do something. Whatever it is God has instructed you to do. This can be the hardest part of all sometimes, but do you think David would have been successful if God said "attack" and David said, "No, I'd rather stay at home and hide"?
"So", says our cool Indian guy, "where in your life are you are stuck for direction? What places in your life have you been going your own direction?" 

Ask. Listen. Do.

Sunday, August 21, 2011


"You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life."
-Sir Winston Churchill

This quote caught me rather off guard recently.

Now, I'm not claiming Winston Churchill was perfect in any way, but as the Prime Minister of The United Kingdom for the large part of World War II, he certainly knew what it meant to have enemiesboth personal and of state.
It's so easy to get too caught up with getting everyone on sidebeing everyone's friendthat, while we may indeed be well liked, it compromises our faith. And also our ability to be any kind of a good example, or representative of Christianity.
In James 4:4, The Bible makes this clear: "Anyone who chooses to be a friend of the world becomes an enemy of God."

Now, I don't believe this is a call to go and get as many people off side as possible.
In fact, the Bible also says quite clearly that it should not be our deeds that cause people to be our enemies.

In Proverbs 25:21: "If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; if he is thirsty, give him water to drink."
And earlier, in Exodus 23:4-5: "If you come across your enemy’s ox or donkey wandering off, be sure to return it. If you see the donkey of someone who hates you fallen down under its load, do not leave it there; be sure you help them with it."
And in Leviticus, Matthew, Mark, Luke, Romans, Galatians, and James we are instructed to "love your neighbour as yourself".

But what The Bible doesn't say is "it's okay to have others' opinions of you as your first priority".

Friday, June 3, 2011

Come run with me.

We all need down time. And we all have those certain things we like to do when we eventually find a pocket of time for down time. Me? I like to run. I like to be out on the road. Just me and my nikes. And my King. 
When I go for my down time expeditions, I love to say "come run with me" to my King, who is also my friend. We run together and talk together and come up with wild ideas and crazy plans together. I sometimes think I hear Him speak most clearly when I am out doing down time.
Each time I hang with my King I grow. Sometimes I'm thankful. Other times I'm simply spent. Sometimes I feel like I'm just grappling with Him. But it's all part of the growing. 
So here is the challenge. Say it. Ask Him to come along and spend down time with you. Come read with me. Come fishing with me. Come and watch re-runs of Get Smart with me (this might also be a good time to assess your down time activities... "come stalk people on Facebook for hours with me" may not go down so well... it might be time to invest your down time in something else). 
So when you find your moments of down time, choose to grow. Ask the King to come along.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Jimmy Needham - Nightlights

Click on the image above to listen to the album.
This album is definitely worth a listen. Not only is it musically interesting and (more importantly) fun, it clearly shows the importance of humility. The title refers to us, comparing us to God as nightlights to the sun.
Nearly every song on the album has some reference to his struggle to be humble as a successful musician.
Here are a few quotes:

Whenever I climb too high
Keep my feet on the ground.
And when I get full of me
Turn me upside down.
You know pride and not just Summer
Come before the Fall.
So if You that's gettin' bigger
I don't mind being small.

Why are we so convinced a bigger audience
Is simply common sense to have?
Maybe success is measured best
By nothing less than our obedience.
                          Half the time I forget that I should trust in You.
                          Nothing else will do
                          But have a willing heart
                          And leave the rest up to You.

Let's part the clouds
And show the world the Son.
Be Thou exalted over my reputation,
'Cause applause is a poor form of soul medication.

Click on a quote to hear the song it's from.
I know that's a lot of quotes, but the album is riddled with it. It's a real comfort to know that even people we admire struggle with things like this. But with that comes the challenge that Jimmy sets himself in the fourth track: "Help me get back to the reason I sing for you."

Saturday, April 16, 2011

International Roast

My apologies for the atrocious drawing.
Believe it or not, this actually happened to me.
I was visiting a church in Newcastle, and was sharing my long-awaited coffee time with another drummer. In amongst our—as the layman would say—"drummer talk", the topic of the supremacy of "real" coffee to instant came up. Overhearing our conversation, a passing coffee connoisseur proudly boasted that he had never, and never would, have instant coffee—all the while making and, without batting an eyelid, drinking a mug of International Roast.
Oblivious to our stunned and bewildered silence, our connaisseur de café left us.
To be fair, he was a twelve-year-old boy, or twelve-ish.
Much discussion followed, and we decided that he must've been under the impression that instant coffee was the stuff that came in sachets. And that everything else was "real". It was, and remains to be, the only logical explanation for such an act of blasphème de café.

But, there is a lesson to be learnt here. This boy honestly believed that he had managed to avoid the very thing he was feeding himself with.
How often do we convince ourselves that we don't lie, or cheat, or covet, or judge, or idolise, or a multitude of other undesirable clichés, because we just don't realise?

One of my biggest regrets in life is that I didn't correct this boy right there on the spot, maybe saving him a life time of ignorance on a most important matter.
Luckily for us, God isn't easily bewildered, and if we let him, he'll explain.

The moral of the story?