Shortly, I’ll be writing an article on the "full circle journey" which so many Christians around the world appear to be experiencing, but few understand or even realise they’re on. For so many, the journey has involved following a call into "ministry" only to discover that that calling was in fact to be worked out in our regular daily lives and not as staff members of churches or as itinerant preachers.

Of course, as we make the journey, God sheds small amounts of light on our path to help us see the next step or two. It’s usually from this position that new insights are gained, books are written, conferences called and Christian fads ignite. The problem however, is that these momentary insights are literally that .. momentary. They are of the moment, for the moment .. designed to help us take the next few steps.

These insights are not full spectrum. They are the equivelent of seeing a room through a keyhole and nothing more.

One such momentary insight is marketplace ministry. And with all the continuing focus on this "ministry" as being an end in itself, I wonder what Saint Jerome (a.d. 345-420) of the early Middle Ages would have thought about it? I’ll let him speak for himself. He wrote:

“Avoid, as you would the plague, a clergyman who is also a man of business.”

Ouch! I’ll let you make of that what you will.


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Under Southern Stars

Believe it or not, dumped Australian Immigration Minister, Amanda Vanstone has written an ode to Australia and has even gone as far as to have a demo of the new song recorded by a singer with the Sydney Opera. The demo has been submitted to Sony BMG for consideration but no feedback has been received from them yet. But I must say, I find it pretty powerful and certainly the lyrics evoke a greater sense of national pride. In many ways perhaps, more than our current national anthem.

The original story can be read here.

To be honest, the demo audio does not do the lyrics justice (in my opinion) but it’s posted for you to get an idea of how it could sound.

Under Southern Stars

Home to first Australians,

Joined from near and far,

Shining light for freedom,

Under Southern Stars.

Nation made of many,

Bound in hope as one,

Building for the future,

Under Southern Sun.

Free and Friendly Nation,

Born of our own hand,

Peace our greatest virtue,

Mighty Southern Land.

Valiant into Battle,

Courage to the end,

Standing firm for freedom,

Loyal southern friend.

Nature’s earthly heaven,

Glory for our eyes,

Ours alone those treasures,

Under Southern Skies.

Shining light for Freedom

Under Southern Stars.


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Looking into a Mirror …

It has always fascinated me as to how things like music or movies can often parallel prophetic things that are being shared or proclaimed in the church. For example, when the "renewal", or Toronto Blessing, was in focus and things were being prophesied about eruptions of the power of God that would effect whole cities, I was fascinated that Hollywood released two films almost simultaneously about Volcanoes.

Remember Dante’s Peak with Pierce Brosnan and Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones? Think about it, two movies on a similar topic produced and released at almost the same time .. and there hasn’t been another of that kind released since. Again, at about the time people like Rick Joyner and others were prophesying parallels between the arrogant attitudes of those who built the Titanic and the American financial system, the movie Titanic was released and was proclaimed the biggest movie of all time, having run massively over-budget.

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When Things in Your Life Seem Almost too Much to Handle …

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and  empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full. They agreed that it was.

So the professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full. They agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course, the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full. The students responded with a unanimous "Yes."

The professor then produced two cans of beer from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand. The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognise that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things – your family, your children, your health, your friends, your favourite passions – good things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full.

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff.

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you.

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house, and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the beer represented.

The professor smiled.  "I’m glad you asked," he said. "It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there’s always room for a couple of beers."

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Come Aside ……….

Thomas Merton was a Trappist monk who was noted for his insights into the contemplative life. He died some years ago, the victim of a car crash.

Guy Chevreau first introduced me to Merton when I was discovering the classic by St John of the Cross, “Dark Night of the Soul”. (Thank you Guy for setting me on a journey of contemplative life.)

I stumbled across this quote from Merton today and felt to share it with you and then to ask you a question once you’ve read it …

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