This Saturday’s Breathing Space

Just a quick note to let you know that this Saturday’s Breathing Space (quiet day) has been cancelled.

In fact, I’m having to slow down the frequency of these days simply because there are not enough people regularly attending to make it financially viable. If I could afford to do it each month just for myself, I would, but I can’t.

At this stage, the only other Quiet Day for 2008 will be on Saturday 29th November, and then next year’s Quiet Days will only be held once a quarter. More on that later.

It’s interesting to me that the purpose of these days is to give people "breathing space"; an opportunity to intentionally slow down in order to be alone with God in quietness and peace, and yet the consistent reason people have for not been coming is that they are just too busy … and I find that very telling.

In my own life, I realise I am somewhat addicted to noise and turbulence. I hate it, but I struggle to live without it, even when I know doing so will benefit the quality of my life. But the Bible is true in every way, especially as it relates to the Kingdom of God. The King James version of the Bible says that …

"The Kingdom of Heaven suffereth violence, and the violent take it by force."
Matthew 11:12

Now, my good ol’ Pentecostal training would tell me that this is about militantly laying hold of God by violently coming against the devil and his schemes to outdo God. That may be true, but it isn’t what God has been saying to me for some weeks now.

Firstly, what is the Kingdom of God all about?  Well, the apostle Paul says that …

"… the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness, and peace, and joy in the (Spirit) Holy Ghost."
Romans 14:17

What Paul is saying is that the Kingdom of God isn’t about stuff. It isn’t about temporal, earthly, natural things. It isn’t about "meat and drink". The Kingdom of God is a life of righteousness, peace and joy when lived in the Spirit!

And Jesus said that this very Kingdom of Heaven is within us, and it is this Kingdom that suffers violence again and again, day in, day out. It suffers violence through the insanity of 21st century life .. that is, the incessant noise, internal turbulence, frentic activity, work demands, family demands, church demands, personal demands, friendship demands, demands you didn’t ask for, go looking for, and demands you didn’t even expect to find. In fact, these are all things that keep us away from our relationship with Jesus!  And yet, I hear God saying that the only response to this is for us to be equally violent in response …. but it is a Kingdom violence I hear Him speaking about.

Here’s some of what Jesus said the violence of the Kingdom looks like …

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7 Years On .. We Must Never Forget

Today, is the seventh annversary of the attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City on Tuesday, September 11, 2001.

Last night, Jo and I watched a special on pay TV that featured a great deal of previously unseen footage from the day, forming a timeline looking at the events from as many perspectives as possible. From unedited news media footage, to private home movies shot on the day from within and outside of Manhattan, the special was immensely powerful, deeply moving and horribly sad.

Because I was in upstate New York on that day, was watching the news at the time the first reports went to air, and then had to live through the direct aftermath, like it or not, I am tied to those events. So, once again, I offer this made-for-radio special which I produced for this tragedy’s first anniversary, in an effort to never allow ourselves to forget two things; the innocents who lost their lives that day, and that the world we now live in is a very different one to that of seven years and one day ago.

This special first aired on Sydney’s 1032 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 remains that the United States of America might earnestly consider her actions in the light of the Christianity they profess to embrace, both prior to, and since that day.

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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In the Light of My Last Post …

… this was too good to stay quiet about. It was published on the News Corporation website today. I encourage you to read the article and then visit the link to the original, because some of the readers’ comments at the bottom of the page are very telling …


How fast you reply to an email could reveal whether you are stressed, driven or relaxed. The familiar "ding" of an email landing in a colleague’s inbox has become as common a sound in offices today as the ring of the telephone.

But, according to researchers, the speed at which workers respond to a new message provides a fascinating insight into their character.

In a recent survey, experts discovered that email users fall into three categories: relaxed, driven and stressed.

Dr Karen Renaud, a lecturer at the University of Glasgow, who carried out the research, said that while some people were happy to respond to emails in their own time, others felt compelled into reacting as soon as they arrived and became stressed if they had too many to deal with or were delayed in responding.

Women, in particular, felt more pressure to respond quickly to a new email than men, she said.

"The relaxed group don’t let email exert any pressure on their lives," she said.

"They treat it exactly the way that one would treat the mail: ‘I’ll fetch it, I’ll deal with it in my own time.’

"The second group felt driven to keep on top of email, but also felt that they could cope with it. The third group, however, reacted negatively to the pressure of email."

Researchers found 34 per cent of workers, who fell into the "stressed" category, felt overwhelmed by the sheer number of emails they received each day and obliged to respond quickly to meet the expectation of the sender.

A further 28 per cent were "driven" email users because they saw them as a source of pressure, while around 38 per cent were "relaxed" because they felt comfortable not replying until up to a week later.

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