Friday, August 31, 2007

Go and do something!

a Jesus thought...
The Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you. (John 14:26)

a Godly thought...
Postmodern culture yearns for corporate worship that is EPIC, that is Experiential, Participatory, Image-driven, and Communal. (Leonard Sweet, p103 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Instead of just wringing their hands about the evil in the world, good leaders seek to redress it and make a difference. (p49 Harris)

a Dave thought...
It is now over 30 hours since I saw the Jammed, the movie I referred to in yesterdays blog, and the disturbing images continue to remain with me. This is a good thing as it may mean that if I am actually disturbed enough I may, like Wesley Harris says above, seek to redress the evil in the world and make a difference.
It was 1887 when William Booth was returning to London very late one bitterly cold night, that he too was shocked after seeing how many were sleeping on the banks of the Thames and under bridges. His response was to tell Bramwell with the order, 'Go and do something!' The result is now hundreds of homeless shelters around the world.
So what can we do? I'm still working that out but what I do know is that if we are exposed to injustices up close in our faces so they continue to annoy and disturb us, we may just go and do something.

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Jammed

a Jesus thought...
By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another. (John 13:35)

a Godly thought...
Most of us know intuitively that spiritual growth often takes place in contexts of pain, struggle, doubt, and the unknown. In these times, neat, off the shelf answers don't suffice. (p97 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
The highest form of motivation happens when your people are on the same page as you are. They share your vision and so are motivated, not manipulated. (p42 Court)

a Dave thought...
Last night I saw the latest Australian movie, The Jammed http://www.thejammed.com/ which highlights the horrific injustices of human trafficking and prostitution. One reviewer writes...


MELBOURNE film The Jammed seems the unlikeliest success story.It's a confronting, low-budget movie set against a background of human trafficking and the sex trade. Yet the film, directed by Dee McLachlan, has broken box office records in its first week on a single screen at Melbourne's Nova cinema, leading to its release in cinemas across the country.
The Salvos were for many years always willing to get involved in the injust issues of society to help victims of issues such as people trafficking. In England in the 1880's we were responsible for lifting the age of consent from 13 to 16, and today in Australia we are once again helping victims of this illegal trade.
It is often not until we get angry that we are willing to do something, well let me warn you this movie will make you want to do something. What do we do, is the question.
If we want to make a real differnce firstly I would suggest you take as many people as possible to see this film as it is shockingly disturbing. Then lets partner with those in the know like Danielle Strickland (justsalvos) and have the courage to confront. Catherine Booth said to better the future we must disturb the present, well I suggest now is the time to disturb.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Women

a Jesus thought...
And if anyone hears my words My words and does not believe, I do not judge him; for I did not come to judge the world but to save the world. (John 12:47)

a Godly thought...
The church has sought to guide the spiritual lives of its members in very practical, reasonable ways. That sounds like a compliment. It's not. Contrary to Western thought, spirituality is anything but reasonable and practical. (Jeff Woods, p95 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
You can tell the quality of a leader by the quality of the followers, not just the quantity. (p30 Court)

a Dave thought...
Yesterday I made a visit to the Heritage Centre and had some great conversations with Historian Lindsay Cox. One of the statements he made about the early Army in Australia was that when we had 365 corps operating around 1894 of them 250 were officered by women, with many 17, 18, 19 year old sigle females in charge of corps. Over 100 years later it seems we now have about 340 corps across the 2 territories and my guess would be close to 50 would be solely led by women. Women in leadership is something we must encourage once again if the Salvos is to reach its potential. So is it that we were the only movement that encouraged women in the late 1800's so the best female leaders signed up? Or perhaps like Lindsay suggests it was deliberate and strategic as the women preachers always attracted the biggest crowds to hear the gospel. I'm sure if Jennifer Hawkins was preaching this Sunday I could get a lot of my mates to the open-air.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Go

a Jesus thought...
Father I thank You that You have heard Me. And I know that You always hear Me. (John 11:41)

a Godly thought...
It's in the engagement with not-yet-Christians that we regularly adjust our language and its idioms, our practices, our empases, and our worship life. We need to be regularly swept by incoming new Christians. (p86 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Good leaders make their mark. And a mark of a good leader is loyal followers. (p23 Court)

a Dave thought...
I once heard a preacher say that two thirds of God is GO. The classic example of GO in scripture is in the great commission from Matthew 28. If the the main reason we exist as a church is to go then sending should be something we value enormously.
If this is so we need to start measuring how many we send and how many go rather than who stays and prop up our Sunday figures so we look like we are not declining. So is the healthiest church one that has 400 attend every week and sends a couple out a year, or a church of a hundred that sends ten people out each year? We always tend to measure in church what we value most. So we value big and staying by measuring attendance rather than small and sending by measuring departures. So if the Great Commission is the real test of church growth lets value departures over arrivals.

Just a thought.

Monday, August 27, 2007

I will

My new leadership book is written by two famous Australians - Wesley Harris & Stephen Court so my quotes will be coming from Proverbial Leadership over the next few weeks.

a Jesus thought...
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. (John 10:27)

a Godly thought...
It is necessary for the church to rethink its stance entirely and to become a missionary church within the West. (Martin Robinson, p84 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Effective leadership involves being wise with foresight - before, not after the event. (p5 Harris)

a Dave thought...
Yesterday we conducted the last of our soldiership classes for a group of young guys at Box Hill. We were looking at each of the ten ''I will" statements on the soldiers covenant and what it means to commit to each of these. If you want to brush up have a read at... http://www1.salvationarmy.org/ind/www_ind.nsf/80256e520050a2e280256b3b0048eb4b/80256e520050a2e280256c54007234c9!OpenDocument
The comment was made that the 21 statements which we sign up to, which include 11 doctirnes and the 10 I wills, have been summarised by one negative statement ...I am not allowed to drink. This is really 2% of the whole covenant but gets the most press, maybe because it is counter-cultural or maybe because our friends see it? But these ten statements are full on and if we had soldiers willing to actually live these the Army would be amazing, if you are a soldier try living this out...

I will be actively involved, as I am able, in the life, work, worship and
witness of the corps, giving as large a proportion of my income as
possible
to support its ministries and the worldwide work of the
Army.

It seems this ''I will'' doesn't get the same air time, maybe it is because we don't have to go public with it?

Just a thought.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Talk to Tom

a Jesus thought...
As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. (John 9:5)

a Godly thought...
Whenever the church is led by outsiders rather than indigenous leaders there will remain a suspicion that although Jesus has come into the host community, he is not really part of that community. (p74 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
When organisations struggle, genuine leaders don't blame their people; they ask God to show them how to make a positive difference. (p285 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
It was reported in the media yesterday http://www.news.com.au/story/0,23599,22304224-2,00.html?from=public_rss how Tom Wood a 16 year old boy bypassed the governments new $84m porn filter in 30 minutes.

It makes me ask why we don't get the people who we are recipients of the system to be involved in its creation rather than pretend we have the answers. You see it is often a 16yo who could tell you why a new program, structure or service may not work but as the baby boomers have the power they also think they have the answers.
I have been asked to serve as the youth rep on numerous committees over the last few years and I am now 36. People think I am young but maybe I am just younger or is mid-30s now considered youth in an aging movement? So let us engage the real youth of our movement into the heart of our discussions and please look for someone 20 years younger than me for answers.
Just a thought.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Wanted: more APEs

a Jesus thought...
He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first (John 8:7)

a Godly thought...
Any church that cannot get by without buildings, finances and paid experts is not fully being the church. (p69 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
The responsibility of leadership can become overwhelming unless leaders are strengthened by strong friendships. (p282 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
A few years ago I came across APEPT this take on Ephesians 4...some are are called to be Apostles, Prophets, Evangelists, Patsors and Teachers....here is an updated take on it...

Entrepreneur- Pioneer, Strategist, Innovator, Visionary- Groundbreaker who initiates an organization's mission
Questioner- Disturber, Agitator- Upsets the status quo, challenging an organization to move in new directions
Recruiter- Passionate communicator of organizational message- Recruits to the cause
Humanizer- Carer, Social cement- Provides organization glue by caring for the individuals in it
Systematizer- Philosopher, Translator- Organizes the various parts into a working unit and articulates that structure to the other members
(from the The Shaping of Things to Come )

If you are interested in getting some confirmation you can do the test but it does cost
$10:( http://www.theforgottenways.org/apest but most will know where they fit from the above definitions. I myself am an apostle or rather fill an apostolic function. I have come to realise that I am not as normal as I thought I was! We as a Salvation Army when we began like all new movements were lead by apostles, prophets and evangelists but as we have matured we are lead more by pastors and teachers. For us to see growth once again it is going to take apostles to start something new, prophets to keep annoying us to change and evangelists to get people on board. I have noticed that not many of these types are naturally attracted to 120 year old movement and even when they are tend to flirt around the fringes. Anyway I thank God for lieutenancy as this has enabled 68 people in this territory to serve in this territory a lot of whom are not your standard pastor/teachers.
Maybe Spongs take on APEs starting the world through evolution has some biblical foundation:)

Just a thought.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Life Support

a Jesus thought...
He who believes in Me, as the Scripture has said, out of his heart will flow rivers of living water. (John 7:38)

a Godly thought...
In the long term, a church-planting project that emerges out of the households of local, indigenous leaders will be much richer and more effective. (p65 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Leaders always have an eye on the future and that includes preparing their organisation for its next leader. (p280 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
The church is referred to as a body and like all living organisms a church must have a life. Over the years I have been to a lot of very old churches that are into the last years of their life, some I would suggest are on life support. It seems we observe churches doing their bodies harm with harmful substances that will reduce their life span, but because we don't believe in euthanasia for the church we want to let it die a natural death. But it is not really a natural death as over the years medical knowledge has improved so life support happens with funding that often doesn't get turned off until 20 years after a corps has been in hospital.
Often the healthiest years of a local church expression are when it is 10 years of age, because to grow and to establish itself in a new community it must be outward focused. So my suggestion is we close our churches every ten years while they have the most health. We then ask those connected to it to go and plant some new expressions, maybe this will keep the church constantly growing and outward focused.

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Spong

a Jesus thought...
I am the bread of life. He who comes to Me shall never hunger, and He who believes in Me shall never thirst. (John 6:35)

a Godly thought...
If we're living holy lives, praying for not-yet-Christian friends, socialising regularly and building friendships with them, and introducing them to our evangelist friends, we will be creating the fertile soil for God to do his exclusive work, giving people the gift of faith. (p59 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
The ultimate measure of a leaders success is not that they were always successful but that they made a difference in the lives of the people they led. (p276 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Over the last 15 years of my faith journey I have heard speak live some of the most famous names in the Christian church. People such as Bill Hybells, Brian Houston, Rick Warren, Tony Campolo, John Maxwell and last night I added another Bishop John Shelby Spong. He spoke in the Malvern town hall to a packed audience of about 3000 people. A cell group of young adults that I lead were keen to go along so I thought I'd accompany them not knowing quite what to expect. The first thing that struck me was the age of the audience, which I would guess would have averaged over 50, but maybe because the Bishop is 78 himself may have something to do with this. Before attending I have read and listened to many fundamentals slam Spong and his beliefs over the years and understood that just be attending some may judge my own personal beliefs as well. But his thoughts certainly helped create some interesting dialogue over Hungry Jacks, as it is often new theological thoughts that really help us to grow and explore the word more.
So what do I believe? I believe God wants us to be intelligent, well read disciples who are always willing to learn and grow, so on my journey I always take an opportunity to hear anothers view on the bible and God, in the hope that I may continue to grow closer to Him.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Good News for some

a Jesus thought...
I do not seek my own will but the will of the Father who sent me. (John 5:30)

a Godly thought...
Built into the very fabric of New Testament teaching on the extension of the kingdom is the assumption that when the Christian community embraces a godly, holy lifestyle, it will so tantalise the wider community that they will seek after God. (p54 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Wise leaders will remember that no matter where they are, they are in God's presence. (p271 Blackaby)


a Dave thought...
I came across theses emergent motivationals yesterday feel free to download them from http://emerginggrace.blogspot.com/2007/07/more-generous-view.html
I was particularly disturbed by this - What is good news for this person? My first response is to show mercy and love but is good news more than that? You see somehow I have grown up in a mindset and culture that everyone who is going to come closer to God through me is more than likey going to be like me already. That means I will mainly reach white, middle-class, Australian males - and there are still plenty who need Jesus. But we do really struggle to accept others into our churches and that is how we have ended up with homogenous congregations. We need to start crossing cultures, classes and generations to share our faith as there are many hurting people who are not going to turn into white, middle-class Aussie males. Unfortunatey we Salvo Australians have decreased in percentage terms as our country has become more multi├žultural and we struggle to accept and love all beyond our social centres into our corps. The biblical principal of unity in diversity is an area Jesus excelled at while living on this earth so maybe we need to try and do the same.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Evilmail

a Jesus thought...
Whoever drinks of the water that I shall give him will never thirst. (John 4:14)

a Godly thought...
Do not try to call young people back to where they were, and do not try to call them to where you are, as beautiful as that place might seem to you. You must have the courage to go with them to a place that neither you nor they have ever been before. (Vincent Donovan from p50 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Leaders must become adept in two areas, or their organisations will collapse from within: conflict resolution and communication. (p254 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
A few years ago a respected leader of mine labelled email with term evilmail, as she said as it often causes more problems in the church than anything else.
Since email came into the workplace 10 years ago we have gradually relied on it more and more. Although email is cheap and a very quick way to pass on detailed communication it is not always the best method. According to Blackaby (quote above) the two areas we need to work on to foster a sustainable ministry is conflict resolution and communication. It is in both these essentials that email often turns into evilmail.
I have seen many people try and bully, accuse, or criticise another by email and it just starts this word war which is just about who can put the most correct sentences together via their computer and bcc as many others as possible so they win the war. This is mainly due to the fact that people will generally be twice as harsh when they type than when they speak to someone.
In communication it can be helpful but there is nothing worse than finding your name listed on a document just sent out to a hundred people that you wish someone had taken the time to chat with you first, or the other blunder is informing people of a major change that needed some one on one communication time.
So lets all try and pick up the phone or better still sit down with the people we need to communicate important information to, and most of all never do conflict resolution on email. The golden rule is if it is not encouraging or informative at least pick up the phone and talk it out and lets get rid of evilmail!

Just a thought.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The Holination Meeting

a Jesus thought...
No one can do these signs that You do unless God is with him. (John 3:2)

a Godly thought...
If the church is simply a community of like-minded people, inviting other like-minded people to join them, then it will always be severlt impeded in its attempt to win the world for Christ. (p46 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
Often the crowd does not recognise a leader until they are gone, then they build a monument for them with the stones they threw at them in life. (p248 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Yesterday I attended our three weekly services at Box Hill 9.30, 11.00 and 6.00. Over the years I have been involved in decisions that have made these services quite distinct in their various styles to appeal to different sub-cultures or age groups of our community. In Australian society most of the 7% that regularly attend church will only attend once so we attempt to do a lot of things in one service.
Over the last 30 years we have shifted a long way from our traditional morning Holiness meeting and our evening Salvation meeting. Most soldiers of corps across the world used to attend both of these meetings and we were taught the doctrine of Holiness in the morning and at night there was a service which gave a people an opportunity to get saved. Today as we make our Sundays more culturally acceptable by just attending one service we attempt Holiness and Salvation together and lose the focus of our meetings. So is the Holination meeting the answer or is it just convenient for what has become an apathetic Army in the 21st century?

Just a thought.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Dance Halls

a Jesus thought...
Take these things away! Do not make My Father's house a house of merchandise! (John 2:16)

a Godly thought...
If you want to change society, then you must tell an alternative story. (Ivan Illich)

a leading thought...
Methods that worked a decade ago may be ineffective today. Leaders who aren't continually growing will eventually find themselves with skills that are obsolete. (p244 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
This "army" was furnished with uniforms, a flag and, a brass band with martial music. It met in tents, theaters, dance halls and the outdoors.

Last night I was part of the Box Hill Salvos big band playing at dinner function in the local Town Hall for entertainment. It reminded me that the town hall was the dance hall all through the early to mid 1900s - a gathering place on Friday & Saturday nights with dance bands providing the entertainment. So as Salvos we used to gather in these places and have meetings with thousands present, as we owned few buildings and wanted to go to where the people were to preach and minister to the masses.

It was a lot of fun to perform with such a great bunch of musos last night in the old dance hall, but deep down I am a little sad that times have changed and we were't there for the reason we exist. It is maybe a sign that we have moved from being the main attraction that could reform a society to now mere entertainment.

Just a thought.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Commitment to community

a Jesus thought...
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (John 1:14)

a Godly thought...
I want to prepare like an evangelical; preach like a Pentecostal; pray like a mystic; do spiritual disciplines like a Desert Father; art like a Catholic; and social justice like a liberal. (Mark Driscoll)

a leading thought...
If leaders always focus on their organisation's problems and weaknesses, then the attention of their people will invariably be drawn there too. True leaders focus on that which is right and on what gives hope, not on what is wrong. (p241 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
As a a lieutenant I have had the privilege to be committed to one community over the last 5 years. This commitment began in 1989 to the Box Hill corps and over the last 18 years I have held various roles there as a soldier and then I was approached to move on to paid staff in 2000 as a youth pastor, then assistant pastor, and then a lieutenant. Over the last 6 months in my new role of TYS I have struggled to disconnect with this community and probably always will. In this role I am now being asked to consider a commitment to the denomination over my commitment to a local community. So although appointed as TYS I still play a role at Box Hill as Youth Co-ordinator and am a big believer in acting locally thinking globally.
But the day is getting closer for many of us lieutenants to make steps towards commissioned officership, when my commitment to the denomination will be asked to supersede my commitment to my community. There is something special and more importantly biblical about a long term journey with a local community that I will always value and I will always believe is the most effective way to grow the kingdom of God.

Just a thought.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Young members

My Godly thought will now be from my reading of The Shaping of Things to Come - innovation and mission for the 21st century church. This book is written by Michael Frost & Alan Hirsch the founders of FORGE an Australian emerging church network.

a Jesus thought...
The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon! (Luke 24:34)

a Godly thought...
Mission is not merely an activity of the church. It is the very heartbeat and work of God. (p18 Frost & Hirsch)

a leading thought...
When leaders lose the passion to contribute to their organisation and begin to focus instead on what they can receive from it they are no longer leaders, but rather consumers. (p236 Blackaby)
a Dave thought...
I have an affiliation with a local golf club which I have been a part of for the last 7 years. Over this time I have discovered the remarkable similarities between the two most sacred institutions in society - golf clubs and churches! Our club has a dilemma as we have no room to expand our facility and there were issues with water and the quality of our fairways. The board in response to this came up with visionary move to sell up and shift further out of town.

Although I had no doubt this was the right move I also knew from chatting with various members that it was not going to get voted in. You see the majority of members are over 50 years of age and many are not interested in change and cannot see a preferred future. On the other hand guys like myself under 50 voted the new proposal in but there were not enough of us to win. So the old club remains old and is now officially declining as younger members move on to newer more vibrant clubs that cater better for the future game.

It is interesting how, even though we don't have a democratic system in the salvos, a similar underlying current still often occurs in our decision making.

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Age shall weary them

a Jesus thought...
He stirs up the people, teaching throughout all Judea, beginning from Galilee to this place. (Luke 23:5)

a Godly thought...
If we remain isolated, untouchable islands of activity, our work will be limited to the parameters of our own expertise, our growth will be stunted to the size of our own budgets and our credibility and reputation will stretch no further than our own backyard. (p123 Bishop)

a leading thought...
Leaders of Christian organisations are among the most disorganised of professionals. There is a reason for this: most entered the ministry because they loved God and loved people, not because they felt gifted to lead. (p224 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
I have been to numerous conferences over the last 12 months that try and tackle the issues of engaging Gen Y's (born 1980-1994) in the church. In looking at a local setting I see clearly how they become more and more disengaged as they grow up in our military structure.
We have gifted Gen Ys who were once soldiers now having an occasional drink, or not giving so are unable to fill significant positions. So they no longer have a voice and then get frustrated in the decisions that are being made and where the church is heading, which results in an older style church geared to reach an older generation and sometimes driving out the young people at the same time.
I personally have sat on boards as the youth rep in my mid-30s thinking there are people 15 years younger than me that need to be engaged in our decision making.
I would like to encourage leaders across the Salvos to try and engage our Gen Ys get them on our boards take them out for coffee or boost juices but try and listen to them in the hope that our movement may be able to look young again one day.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Outthought

a Jesus thought...
Father, if it is Your will, take this cup away from Me; nevertheless not My will, but Yours, be done. (Luke 22:42)

a Godly thought...
If you go to a church and there are no unusual people there then something is wrong; if there are no social misfits, no weirdoes, no people with body odour, no people who have poor social skills... the the question is why not? What is it about this church that repels people who don't fit in? The church should be the one place where everyone can feel they belong.

a leading thought...
How do some organisations that once thrived begin to stumble? They are not victims of excessive government regulation. They are not victims of unions. These forms of corporate whining are rather tiresome. It is not their fate or their stars. What happened is quite simple and profound - they are outthought. While they stumbled, others thrived. They are victims of one thing - their own thought patterns. (Stuart Wells from p211 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Pediatrician Professor Fiona Stanley says: "Measures that exclude the views and involvement of Aborigines will serve only to further diminish their capacity, exacerbate marginalisation and add to the damage in these vulnerable communities." She emphasises the need to address the complex causes and not just "the appalling manifestations of disadvantage and dysfunction". (The Age)
It is interesting how as a society we continue to stuggle with the complex causes. We need to live with, and be involved with marginalised people, and build relationships and throughout that journey work on solutions together. I believe we, the Salvation Army were born for that and I'm sure Johnny could do with our help right now.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Growing up

a Jesus thought...
I say to you that this poor widow has put in more than all; for all these out of their abundance have put in offerings for God, but she out of her poverty put in all the livelihood that she had. (Luke 21:3)

a Godly thought...
In darkest England we will need to be church communities that accept people with all their baggage, not happy to leave them that way, but happy to travel with them through their darkest moments as well as their great celebrations. (p107 Bishop)

a leading thought...
Leaders need to continually assess if they are doing something that someone else could do. The only two things that leaders should never delegate is the responsibility to hear from God and secondly to guide their organisation into his will. (p209 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Here are two pictures of my son Noah with his favourite footballer, Chris Judd. The first is taken in 2005 and the second photo just last week. You maybe able to tell which person in the photo has grown up somewhat? I continue to discover that we are all on a faith journey some of us are moving closer to God and others moving further from him. I like this image because we are all capable of growing up in God & I can't wait for the day when I am so confident with him that I too will lift my head in his presence!

Just a thought.















Monday, August 13, 2007

Barista Bev

a Jesus thought...
But they could not catch Him in His words in the presence of the people. And they marveled at His answer and kept silent. (Luke 20:26)

a Godly thought...
As wealthy, educated successful people we sometimes presume that we have the right to flex our social, intellectual and religious muscles in front of the poor and they will somehow come flocking to us. (p89 Bishop)

a leading thought...
Leaders understand that their daily schedule primarily reveals two things: those things they have chosen to do and those things they have chosen not to do. (p204 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
I met Bev the barista 6 months ago at my preferable office which is located at Oriental Expresso, which happens to be close to THQ. She has a great heart and builds relationships so easily with her customers. We have had many conversations about the Salvos and her desire to come and help us serve the marginalised. The other week we dropped in a 2Love t-shirt to her which she wears with pride as she works in the cafe, it has a huge Red Shield emblazoned on the front. I have had some salvos in the past express their displeasure at this approach as the person is not committed to our standards. Last night Bev came to Box Hill and helped serve at our community tea, next week she said she is going to do the same but bring her daughter and stay for church. Bev is proud of the Salvos and wears her uniform and serves the marginalised and is on a journey towards God, surely that is the kind of Salvo Catherine & William were proud of, so why not me.

Just a thought.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Saviours

a Jesus thought...
He has gone to be a guest with a man who is a sinner. (Luke 19:7)

a Godly thought...
If all our kind and loving actions in society are just bait to get people to the altar on Sunday, then they are not really kind and loving actions, but loaded with hidden agendas, and we should not be suprised if people are suspicious. (p83 Bishop)

a leading thought...
A clear sense of direction for the organisation will prevent leaders from chasing after every fad that comes along. (p193 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Yesterday Noah & I pursued the West Coast Eagles (Reigning champs of Aussie Rules football) after finally get to the end of their training we followed them to the St. Kilda baths for their warm down. It was then that Noah got his picture taken with the premiership coach - John Worsfold. For many of us getting close to this saviour was a massive deal, but for others who don't know who he is and what he has done the proximity is meaningless.

Just a thought.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Poverty & Politics

a Jesus thought...
Everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 18:14)

a Godly thought...
Our influential role in the renewal of Openshaw has not come about because we have a church building there, but because we are all local residents who understand the needs of the community. (p67 Bishop)

a leading thought...
When someone raises a question or challenges an assumption, leaders must be careful not to immediately begin arguing their point. Defensive leaders learn nothing. Listening leaders are constantly learning and growing. (p185 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
In the past two decades, the number of people living on less than $US1 a day has fallen by 135 million. Since 2000 an extra 34 million more children have been able to go to primary school for the first time. Deaths from diseases such as measles have been halved. Further, debt relief has allowed 29 of the world's poorest countries to more than double their spending on health, education and other initiatives to reduce poverty.
Opposition Leader Kevin Rudd last month pledged to boost overseas aid spending to 0.5 per cent of GNI by 2015. If delivered, the extra aid could allow Australia to fund programs to achieve all of the following: reduce child deaths by 140,000 each year, cut maternal deaths by 4200, lead to at least 29,000 fewer deaths from AIDS and 31,000 fewer deaths from tuberculosis each year. It could also provide access to safe drinking water for almost 37 million people, and access to basic education for more than 200,000 children. (The Age)

How come most Christians vote liberal? Do we have a role to inform our congregations on how certain policies line up with scripture and others don't? We can Make Poverty History. We just need the political will to make it so.

Just a thought.

Friday, August 10, 2007

People before paper

a Jesus thought...
As Jesus entered a certain village he met ten people who were lepers. (Luke 17:11)

a Godly thought...
If the church does not think these people are worthy of our company then they will presume that they are not worthy of God's attention either. (p64 Bishop)

a leading thought...
The top CEOs spend 90 percent of their time with people. Leaders who think they are too busy to be regularly listening to and communicating with their people are doomed to fail. (p163 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
One thing I thank God for is that I have a passion to be with people. As I minister in the Salvos I am grateful that we are about people and seeing them come to full salvation. But many times a day we are faced with paper or the electronic version of it as others require us to answer legitimate questions, give feedback, or write a reports. Over my last 7 years of full time ministry I have come to the realisation that I must put people before paper, and the cafe before the office. It can annoy some, especially if they are waiting for paper but without the people we will fail to exist.

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Squeezing

a Jesus thought...
If you have not been faithful in what is another man's, who will give you what is your own? (Luke 16:12)

a Godly thought...
The cars in the churchyard are shiny and German
Distinctly at odds with the theme of the sermon
And during communion I study the people
Squeezing themselves through the eye of the needle
(song lyrics, Neil Hannon)


a leading thought...
If he is not willing to rise earlier and stay up later than others, to work harder and study more diligently than his contemporaries, he will not greatly impress his generation. (Oswald Sanders)

a Dave thought...
I attended my first major school function as a parent last night - The Birallee Primary School Art Expo. All students were required to paint a canvas and they were all displayed and some were auctioned to raise funds.

Here is the picture my 5 year old son Noah painted...

Our house is the yellow one and you will see my green car, a basketball ring & our 3 neighbours, quite an artist!

I was a proud dad and my attention was constantly on this canvas throughout the night, I later realised there were other paintings there far more elaborate and detailed than my sons. I was so biased with my attention and energy because I had a real connection with the painting even though in terms of the quality of art last night it would not have received first prize. Just wondering how often we are so biased with our attention on one thing, maybe our own spirituality that we miss what God is doing in the people around us.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

PhDs & Incarnational Church

a Jesus thought...
There is joy in heaven over one sinner who repents. (Luke 15:7)

a Godly thought...
We continue to elevate the performer, and just like the first hearers of the prophecies of Amos and Isaiah we turn worship into a showpiece in the naive belief that God is interested. (p46 Bishop)

a leading thought...
In God's eyes, how something is done is as important as what is done. The end does not justify the means in God's kingdom. Getting results can make leaders look good. God's way magnifies God's name. (p123 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
I have realised of late how many of my friends who are involved in incarnational ministries across many denominations have done significant study. Many have bachelors of theology, some masters but a few even have Phds on a biblical topic. I have come to the conclusion that the incarnational church (percentage wise) is way more educated than the attractional. Is that because thinking people won't turn up to a show anymore or are they just too educated to sit, listen and enjoy without being disturbed?

Just a thought.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

DSD unpacked

Began a new book this morning which my Godly thought will come out of Darkest England & the way back in by Gary Bishop. Again my third book this year on incarnational living but this one written from a Salvo perspective.

a Jesus thought...
For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted. (Luke 14:11)

a Godly thought...
It is all too easy to make the gospel what we'd like it to be and to make God into a god that looks a lot like us by misrepresenting scripture and by effectively removing the bits that we find difficult. (p41 Bishop)

a leading thought...
The definitive measure of a spiritual leaders success is not whether their popularity increases or even that their church grows, but that they moved their people from where they were to where God wanted them to be. (p111 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
I have had quite a few enquiries about DSD. (Aug 3 blog) So I thought I'd fill you in...
The reason I began DSD was that I found my days were often in reactive mode rather than proactive. I came to the conclusion I always had better days when I got up before the rest of the house and prayed, read & exercised before facing the family, ministry or work for the day. I then had to ask why I then didn't do this every day and the only reason I came up with is that I slept till the children woke me (about 7am). I then after my first 28 day trial at 6.30am discovered even though I was tired on the days I had a late night the night before they were still better days. I was more in tune with God, and I was better physically and had fed my mind. So in short I would rather be tired and growing, and hearing from God than be rested and frustrated.

Here a few safegaurds I have put in place to make sure my mornings go to plan...

1. Regularity is the key to training your body. Don't have a morning off, past experience tells me that if you had Saturday or Sunday off then Monday becomes hard work, so make it part of your lifestyle every morning.
2. Have rewards after the essentials not before. Don't eat breakfast until you have spent time with God.
3. Persist for the month with the new routine before making a decision if it works for you. All change is hard but if you see the benefits of hard work in hindsight you will often decide to stick with it. It gets easier.
4. When you have a late night don't tell yourself it will be hard in the morning but see it as a challenge to test your personal discipline.
5. Keep pushing your body 15 minutes early every month till you can fit in all elements without too much rush. Remember Booth slept 3 hours per night - 1-4am!

Consider trying it for one month what have you got to lose, just sleep. I can't rercall anyone on their deathbed saying if I was to live life over again I think I would sleep more.

Just a thought.

Monday, August 6, 2007

Bring back Gorism

a Jesus thought...
Strive to enter through the narrow gate, for many, I say to you, will seek to enter and will not be able. (Luke 13:24)

a Godly thought...
Disillusionment, unhappiness and lack of fulfilment are actually essential ingredients to the Christian life. They help us grow into real emotional and spiritual wellbeing. The disciples couldn't avoid them and neither can Christians today. (p201 Barker)

a leading thought...
Leaders who continually present new ideas and visions for the future but who never see those dreams come to fruition are clearly presenting their own visions and not God's. (p99 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Yesterday we began soldiership classes with a group of guys at our corps at Box Hill. As we shared the stories of the past and the reason we are so unique our early success once again got my attention. The Salvos began in Melbourne in 1882 and by 1886 had 129 officers, 149 buildings and 21,544 on average in attendance.

I often wonder what the secret to their success was, but when you realise the words John Gore spoke at the first Australian meeting in Adelaide 1880 I don't think many of us would be willing to speak them today, sad really.

"If there's a man here who hasn't had a square meal today, let him come home with me..."

Just a thought.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

Apperance or character

a Jesus thought...
One's life does not consist in the abundance of the things he possesses. (Luke 12:15)

a Godly thought...
If we are to demonstrate the love of God, yet people don't want to follow the God of love, then God is still pleased with us. (p190 Barker)

a leading thought...
In people's attempts to enlist a following, some have resorted to developing the appearance of a leader rather than developing the character of a leader. (p87 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Came across this gem from 300 BC written by Chineses philosopher Lao Tsu...

Go to the people,
Live with them.
Learn from them.
Love them.
Start with what they know,
Build with what they have,
But with the best leaders.
When the work is done,
The task is accomplished,
The people will say,
"We have done it ourselves."

Just a thought.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Deep wells or fences?

a Jesus thought...
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and keep it. (Luke 11:28)

a Godly thought...
We must be wary of determining who is in and out - because we might exclude Christ. The way people behave and what they do does matter - Jesus warns about producing fruit. But too often, our judgements about good and bad fruit are more conditioned by our Christian culture than by Christ. (p185 Barker)

a leading thought...
The leader's job is to communicate God's promise to the people, not to create the vision and then strive to enlist people to buy in to it. (p72 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Many people of late have asked me "how we can keep our young people around the Salvos especially ages 18-30?" This story will help you understand my thoughts...
An international farmer came to the Northern Territory to visit a 1000 kilometre square cattle station. After arriving he was shocked to discover there were no fences, and asked how many thousands of cattle would you lose a year. The local answered, "listen mate, the reason we don't need fences out here is that we have deep wells. The cattle don't stray because we find the underground springs and put a windmill on it to suck up the water. The cattle don't wander because they know where to come if they're gonna survive. It's better to dig deep wells for fresh water than try to build thousands of kilometres of fences to keep them in."

Surely we need to be asking "what are we providing for our 18-30's?" Instead many continue to ask how can we keep them in. The kingdom of God is a spring of water, not a fence.
Just a thought.

Friday, August 3, 2007

DSD

a Jesus thought...
Martha, Martha, you are worried and troubled about many things, But one thing is needed, and Mary has chosen that good part, which will not be taken away from her. (Luke 10:41-42)

a Godly thought...
Throughout scripture God rarely worked in the same way twice. God's activity was always unique to the people with whom he was dealing and the time in which he was working. Therefore God's activity cannot be reduced to a formula. (p59 Blackaby)

a leading thought...
Christian leaders who emulate the success of other churches into their own churches have no need to cultivate an intimate relationship with God. (p59 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
Year 2007 for me has been the year of DSD. This of couse stands for Deliberate Sleep Deprivation, my quest was to see how much sleep does my body really need? As I wanted to spend more time with God, read and exercise along with normal life I needed to find some extra hours. Everyone told me that I needed 8 hours sleep to live a healthy life, but the more I read most significant leaders slept 4-5 hours a night. William Booth slept 1-4am only so I'm glad he didn't submit to the 8 hours of sleep a night club as I probably wouldn't have a job! It has also been scientifically proven that those that sleep under 8 hours a night outlive those that sleep 8 hours and above.

Anyway if you want to put your body to the test, start wherever you are at and take 15 minutes off every month. I began in January getting up at 6.30, then Feb 6.15 etc. Well for those that want the update I have stopped at 5am in July but on Aug 1 I felt so guilty not getting up at 4.45 but happy with my progress. So I am now on my 34th day at 5am and have reduced my sleep to 5 hours a night and finding time to read, pray & exercise everyday.
Believe me DSD will change your life, who wants to join me?

Just a thought.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Tattoos

a Jesus thought...
For whoever desires to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for my sake will save it. (Luke 9:24)

a Godly thought...
We pray that those committing their lives to the kingdom revolution can live deep with Christ among those facing poverty and injustice and not be left floundering by shallow, consumer-driven institutions. (p165 Barker)

a leading thought...
God's assingnments are always based on character - the greater the character, the greater the assignment. (p55 Blackaby)

a Dave thought...
I have recently came across a guy tattooed with a celtic cross to symbolise a commitment he has made to incarnational ministry through UNOH and had to know more. I discovered that there is a legend of how St. Patrick (5th Century)when preaching to some soon-to-be converted heathens was shown a sacred standing stone that was marked with a circle that was symbolic of the moon goddess. Patrick made the mark of a Latin cross through the circle and blessed the stone making the first Celtic Cross. This legend implies that the Saint was willing to make ideas and practices that were formerly pagan into Christian ideas and practices.

Wondering for us salvos what the equivalent may be, well we made the pagan practice of uniform wearing into a Christian practice. But we have a bonus it doesn't physically hurt to get branded and you can still see it in the cold weather, clever really.
Also just for the record I'd like to get a tattoo any ideas?
Just a thought.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The C word

a Jesus thought...
Who can this be? For He commands even the winds and water, and they obey Him! (Like 8:25)

a Godly thought...
Tony Campolo says "We are what we are committed to." If we fail to commit we end up being only anonymous service providers and isolated consumers. We need more than this if we are to make a lasting contribution to human beings. (p155 Barker)

a leading thought...
Most of the outstanding leaders I have worked with are neither tall nor especially handsome; they are often mediocre public speakers; they do not stand out in a crowd; they do not mesmerize an attending audience with their brilliance or eloquence. Rather what distinguishes them is their clarity and persuasiveness of their ideas, the depth of their commitment, and their openness to continually learning more. (The Fifth Discipline, Peter Senge)

a Dave thought...
Commitment is at an all time low, so everyone tells me. Maybe commitment is just expressed differently than it was in the 1960's, 70's & 80's. Sure divorce rates are up, and church membership is down but I believe young people today are committed but it looks very different. No longer will youth sign up to a cause just to keep people happy or to make a formalised structure easier to work. They need to be 100% convinced the cause is worth signing up to, but if they do they are more likely to outperform the generations before them, as it is not about conforming for them but reforming the world they live in.

I begin soldiership classes at Box Hill on Sunday with 12 guys aged 18-22 all thinking of taking on the C word. Please pray for them.

Just a thought.