What’s the Deal with the Wind Farm?

The last week of quietness has been deeply beneficial. As I’ve been quiet, it’s become clear that I need to share something with you. I present the following for your consideration …

Almost two years ago, after I resigned my position in leadership of our church at the time, I began seeking God for a new experience of church. Something with more depth, more life, more liberty, more connection to the ancient nature of our Christian faith rather than the shallowness of what has become the norm for most Pentecostal environments. I was looking to God for something more authentic, more substantial, with a sense of richness and heritage that could be coupled with the joyous truths I had come to know over my years of growing in the Spirit and in things prophetic.

During that time of earnest seeking, God showed me a vision of a group of tall wind turbines standing near one another on a windy hill .. just like the image you see above.

Visions are rarely blatant statements. They are metaphors; images and language designed to illustrate and point us to an underlying truth. Metaphors are the regular diet of the prophetic. They are the language of God.

Upon seeing this vision of a group of tall wind turbines standing near one another on a windy hill, I asked the Lord what I was looking at and heard Him tell me that He was looking for groups of people who were deeply and firmly rooted in the foundations of the ancient nature of the Christian faith, making them immovable, unshakable against the storms of life and the whims of fancy. People able to stand tall in the things they believe and practice.

However, He made it clear that being immovable and unshakable does not mean inflexible. For, like the head of a wind turbine, God was looking for these same people to be able to discern the direction and be willing to turn their faces into the wind of the Spirit, converting the power of that Godly breeze into something usable and sustainable on the earth for the good of all people.

This may sound high-falootin’, but it isn’t really. Not if you stop and think about it.

Put simply, I believe God is looking to build communities of people who can take the best of the ancient wisdom and practices of our spiritual forefathers and learn to combine it with the insights and somewhat restored (yet still spasmodic) manifestations of the early church, to create a depth and substance of Christian spirituality and community experience, that so many are longing for in our day.

With all that in mind, tomorrow I’ll tell you about an "experiential experiment" we intend embarking on as early next month, designed to begin testing the waters of this vision.

Stay tuned …..

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Time to Be Quiet


After a 14 hour battle with my computer that ended at 1am this (Thursday) morning following corruption to my anti-virus/anti-malware software caused by a spurious Microsoft Automatic Update, I spent some time in prayer before going to bed. During prayer, I read these words from Thomas à Kempis ..

No man appears in safety before the public eye unless he first relishes obscurity. No man is safe in speaking unless he loves to be silent.

What powerful statements, both of which I’ve learned the hard way. But it was the second statement that spoke to me while in prayer. So, after a few weeks where there has been much to say, it’s now time to be quiet for a little while. In about a week I’ll share something exciting with you, but until then .. silence.

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9/11 .. a Made-for-Radio Special

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Today, on this the sixth annversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday, September 11, 2001, I offer this made-for-radio special which I produced for this tragedy’s first anniversary.

It first aired on Sydney’s FM103.2 at 8.47am on Wednesday, September 11, 2002 and it literally stopped the audience in their tracks. It has since aired on the Vision Radio Network in nearly 250 communities across every state and territory of Australia.

My prayer is that it will not only move you to remember .. but also to pray .. that an event of this magnitude, perpetrated on innocent people, would never happen again, but also that the United States of America might earnestly consider her actions since in the light of the Christianity they profess to embrace.

You can choose to stream this 35 minute made-for-radio special using the player below or you can download it as a tool for evangelism or for use in your church or small group meeting.

Likewise, if you are a radio programmer, you are free to use this production on-air. All I ask is that you let me know you’re using it.

Lest We Forget …..

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Jesus Wept .. at the Site of the OKC Bombing

 

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Subscribe to the Wind Farm Podcast on iTunes

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A Word About the Up-Coming Federal Election

ImageOn Wednesday 22nd August, 2007, my good friend Robert Holmes of Storm Harvest and I, had a telephone conversation in which we discussed Australia’s up-coming Federal Election. Together, we shared our insights about what we perceive will be the likely outcomes of the election. That conversation was recorded in the Green Tree Ministries studio and is presented below for your input, discernment and prayer.

It is interesting to note that since this conversation was recorded, Prime Minister John Howard has come under significant pressure from a number of quarters, to stand down and hand over leadership of the Liberal Party and the Prime Ministership to his deputy, Peter Costello.

At the same time, Kevin Rudd appears to have won significant favour with the Chinese Prime Minister because of his ability to hold what seemed to be an engaging series of conversations in fluent Mandarin.

A part of what motivated our discussion was our concern over Pastor Danny Nallliah of Catch the Fire Ministries having sent out the e-mail below to an extensive mailing list of Christian supporters. As you prepare to read it, allow me to preface it by saying that if Danny’s predictive prophecy to both John Howard and Peter Costello is correct, then, in the light of the pressure being brought to bear on John Howard to stand down, it will only be an extremely short-term fulfillment.

Please be clear that neither Robert or

Into Great Silence .. My Review


ImageI apologise this personal review of Into Great Silence has taken longer to get to than expected.

My wife has injured her knee and has been on crutches for over two weeks plus both my daughters have been struggling with the flu .. all at the same time. This has elevated me from simply being the bread-winner, to being Chief Cook and Bottle Washer with a special appointment as the head of Dad’s Taxi Service too!

Having said that, I wanted to wait until I had a three hour window of time in which I could sit down and view the movie without interruption; the way it was intended. With all that’s just been mentioned, creating that window took three weeks from the day I received the DVD from Amazon UK .. but it was well worth the wait.

Oddly, I was a little nervous about watching a film that has been so highly praised in every review I could find on the Net. Frankly, I didn’t want to be disappointed. Secondly, I was nervous about watching a film that ran nearly three hours in duration without a word of narration or a note of musical score to "fill the gaps". I was likewise a little nervous about how watching the film might affect me overall. I know that may be an odd statement, but there is such a sense of awe when approaching this film; at least for those, like myself, who are coming to understand and appreciate the value of silence, solitude, rhythm and intentional prayer in everyday life.

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Perhaps Another Not-So-Catholic Pope?


I was reading Alan Creech’s interesting blog today and read something he quoted from the newly ordained Joseph Ratzinger, now known to the world as Pope Benedict XVI. He is quoted as saying …

"All of us long for a pentecostal church: a church in which the Spirit rules, and not the letter; a church in which understanding breaks down the fences we erect against each other. We are impatient with a church which seems so unpentecostal, so unspiritual, so narrow and fearful."

If the Pontiff of the Roman Catholic Church recognises our need for such a church, maybe we’re further along than I thought. Or perhaps he, like so many of us, is sharing a dream, but remains unwilling to rock the religious boat or to make a stand that could change the face of (little c) catholicity for generations to come.

Having said that, the fact that men with the influence of Pope Benedict XVI are thinking this way gives me a great deal of hope for the church’s future. It’s kind of comforting to think that in some way we are of the same heart and mind in this regard. Now if only we could get some of our Protestant leaders to start thinking this way ……..



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Life is Terribly Time Consuming

A few years ago, the Government of Ecuador embarked on a punctuality campaign. The theory was that if all citizens were on time for work, the country would save $2.5 billion annually. The nation’s only Olympic gold medalist, race walker Jefferson Prez, was enlisted to head the campaign to combat Ecuador’s chronic lateness. Even President Lucio Gutirrez, infamously unpunctual, vowed to participate. Unfortunately, his spokesman, going on TV to announce this vow, arrived at the studio several minutes late.

The campaign seemed doomed from the start.

Actor Peter O’Toole, on the other hand, is obsessed with being on time. He was once once asked why he was wearing two watches at the same time, as he often did. "Life is too short to risk wasting precious seconds glancing at the wrong wrist," he said. When we are obsessed by time clocks and watches can be dictators. Hurry destroys souls. As Carl Jung wrote: "Hurry is not of the devil; hurry is the devil."

We hardly ever take time to wonder. And without wonder, life is merely existence.

In his book The Discovery of the Amazon, explorer John Adams told of forcing his indigenous porters to double their walking pace to reach the source of a river before the coming rains made progress impossible. One morning he found that the porters squatting outside his tent, unwilling to continue the journey that day. "We have been moving too fast," they explained. "We must now wait for our souls to catch up with our bodies."

A friend, who has just experienced the death of a loved one, wrote this week: "Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experiences to savour, not to endure." She said since the death of her friend, she was "reading more and dusting the house less." "I’m spending more time with family and friends and less at work," she said. "I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties, but wearing it for clerks in the hardware store and tellers at the bank. I’m learning to cherish the moments in my life that are not perfect. I want to see, hear and feel my life to the fullest right now. Every morning when I open my eyes, tell myself that it is special because every day, every minute, every breath truly is a gift from God."

The gifted comic George Carlin said he thought dogs lived happy lives because "you never see a dog with a wristwatch". "They don’t worry about time like the rest of us," he said. Novelist Ivan Turgenev said time "sometimes flies like a bird, sometimes crawls like a snail. But a man is happiest when he does not even notice whether it passes swiftly or slowly."

British Field Marshal Harold Alexander had a curious way of dealing with unfinished business. At the end of each working day, he would empty the contents of his "In" tray into his "Out" tray. Asked about this strange habit, Alexander said: "It saves time".

Author Klauss Isler wrote about how he found delight in "wasting time with God". He wrote of a period in his life as a seminary student when he felt he was too busy to spend much time thinking about God. Once he was temporarily blinded in one eye for three weeks and thought it a waste of time. Yet it was in that time that he he learned to lean more on God.

In his book The Freedom of Simplicity, Richard Foster told he was working at a boring job when a friend visited him one day. "He loitered about for nearly an hour, perched on the edge of the table, smoking a cigarette and talking occasionally of nothing in particular. When he had gone I was filled with a special joy because I realised that he had deliberately wasted an hour with me. It was not that we were discussing something of importance or that I needed consoling: it was a pure and unsolicited gift of time. We only deliberately waste time with those we love – it is the purest sign that we love someone if we choose to spend time idly in their presence when we could be doing something more ‘constructive’".

Everywhere is within walking distance, if we have the time. So relax today and count your blessings – one at a time and slowly.



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Embracing a Rule of Life

To most Protestants, the term "Rule of Life" would most likely be something new, or at least largely unheard of. It certainly was for me until a couple of years ago. So, if you haven’t heard the term, you’re not alone.

If I was to help my fellow Protestants understand what I’m talking about, I might illustrate that a Rule of Life is an ancient form of the modern teaching that suggests each of us needs to have a personal vision. Now, before you respond with an "Oh, now I get it" .. let me tell you that there’s a major weakness with that comparison. The difference is subtle at first glance, but it is a difference that has massive ramifications the further you "flesh it out".

In essence, a personal vision is generally a set of goals outlining what you want to achieve with your life, while a Rule of Life is essentially a structure in which spiritual formation is facilitated. And therein lies the difference. A personal vision is mainly about "doing", while a Rule of Life has its primary focus on "being".

ImageThe Latin term for "Rule" is "regula", from which we get our English word "regulation". It is also the root of the word "trellis". In other words, a Rule of Life is meant to be a framework upon which growth takes place and fruit is developed. But, as Pentecostal or Charismatic Christians having gotten free of "religion", the last thing that most of us want are rules that restrict us. Right? But stop and think about that for a minute.

For most of us in Pentecostal or Charismatic churches who have been taught all about leadership, authority and submission, we have ultimately found ourselves confusing obedience with asking for permissions. Likewise, the way we exercise authority generally does not serve life. Rather we tend to create repressive dictatorships, full of polite manipulation protected by an institution, invoking what is sacred in order to strengthen our control. How is that reality not restrictive?

The difference between what so many of us have been conditioned with in our Pentecostal or Charismatic faith traditions and the adoption of a Rule of Life is, that the Rule is not meant to tie you up and stunt your growth by loading you up with Pharisaical practices. Rather, like a young sapling tied to a stake, a Rule of Life is intended to guarantee you safe and consistent growth through the storms of the world, rather than simply creating "storms" inside the hot-house!

You might be interested to know that the Catholic church has seen the benefit of Rules of Life for almost two thousand years. Most monasteries and convents operate by one of them, such as the most commonly known Rule of St Benedict, upon which, incidentally, most of the practices of the Anglican church has been built. But there are other Rules of Life, such as for the Carmelites, the Jesuits, the Franciscans and other Catholic orders. Sadly, however, for most Protestants, the minute there’s the mention of anything Catholic, we tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater.

I would like to think by now, that many know me well enough to not publish anything that could mislead or be in error. I only desire that what’s published here should be to your benefit. Therefore I urge you, please don’t just write this off because it may be outside your experience. Rather, as the Scripture says, "Test everything. Hold on to (only) what is good." 1 Thessalonians 5:21

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We Talk Too Much …


Jesus taught us, saying: ‘Make a tree sound and its fruit will be sound; make a tree rotten and its fruit will be rotten. For the tree can be told by its fruit. You brood of vipers, how can your speech be good when you are evil? For words flow out of what fills the heart. Good people draw good things from their store of goodness; and bad people draw bad things from their store of badness. So I tell you this, that for every unfounded word people utter they will answer on Judgment Day, since it is by your words you will be justified, and by your words condemned.’          Matthew 12:33–37

During prayer this morning, these words struck home for me. In recent months, I have been busy investigating monastic wisdom, principles and values because I’ve sensed a deep call from God that there is a place for their employment in our everyday lives as non-cloistered people.

The concept of being silent as a human being is anathema to many and just plain weird to most. However, most monastics live a largely silent life for two reasons. The first is that, through quietness, they might hear the soft, still voice of God speaking to them from within their hearts, and the second is to be found in the Scripture quoted above .. in particular, the last sentence. If it is by our words we are justified and by our words we are condemned, it then makes perfect sense to live life using an economy of words and to not entrap ourselves in idle chatter, for which we will have to give an account to God.

Now, as a professional broadcaster, this may seem to force me to live a contradictory life .. and that may be so. But in recent years, I have discovered the value of silence. As a prophetic ministry, my vocation has been filled with words, but still, a lesson Paul Cain taught me some years ago rings even more true as I allow the power and value of quietness to pervade my heart and life. He said, "The more mature a prophet becomes, the more silent he becomes." What a treasure that statement is!

But I think the same ought to be said for all human beings. The more mature we become as people, the less willing we ought to be to have an opinion about everything. The more mature we become as people, the more self-disciplined we ought to be, able to mind our own business and hold our own tongues. The more mature we become as people, the more we can follow the admonition of the Apostle Paul, who said …

"Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need."          1 Thessalonians 4:11-12

Silence truly is golden!

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