Virtual Reality

I’m wondering if I could spark some people to respond with comments.

To make a comment on any article on the site, just register in the login window to your right. It’s super-quick, only taking a few seconds. It’s free and we won’t bombard you with junk e-mail as a result. We actually value your privacy and your inbox.

My reason for asking is that I’d like you to give me, in your own words, a definition of "virtual reality".

I look forward to hearing what you have to say.


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Christ .. First and Last

I have been hopeful of writing an article for a number of months now on a topic that has become close to my heart. But, working in broadcasting, things were much busier than usual for the Christmas / New Year run-up and I’ve also been on a family holiday since then.

In view of me probably not being able to write the article for perhaps another month or so, I have decided to post the audio of the message I shared on a subject that has become close to my heart, when I spoke at the Storm Harvest Gathering 2006, as an interim measure.

By way of a short explanation .. I was watching the National Geographic Channel on pay-tv last year when they ran a promo which featured something that astounded me and triggered an encounter with the Lord. Here is the text of that promo:

Aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn’t mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a toatl mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Most likely you, like me, were surprised to discover that you could read the text very easily. In case you had trouble, here it correctly spelled:

According to a researcher at Cambridge University, it doesn’t matter in what order the letters in a word are, the only important thing is that the first and last letter be at the right place. The rest can be a total mess and you can still read it without problem. This is because the human mind does not read every letter by itself but the word as a whole.

Seeing this on my TV screen triggered an encounter with God that still resonates with me. Hence, the title of this post says it all … Christ .. First and Last.

Listen to the audio of this message by clicking on the player below.



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All of Life and Ministry is Seasonal

One of the things I have struggled with for many years is to watch men and women in ministry who never seem to take a break. Are they more anointed than the many who have fallen to the wayside and have left the ministry?  Are they more righteous than others who must stand down for one reason or another?  Do they have more stamina, more capacity than those who don’t seem to be able to go the distance?  Does the whole workaphile v’s workaholic thing have any real truth to it?

One of the most disturbing church statistics is that most men and women who enter the ministry, abandon it after only seven years. It is indeed a disturbing statistic, but I believe it is disturbing for different reasons than those of the statisticians.

You see, these kinds of questions have plagued me for years because I am one of those people who has needed to take a break from ministry from time to time. Not just a sabbath day’s rest .. but a real break .. an extended time out, sometimes for a year or more. In fact, I am currently in one of those times.

As a result, I have again asked myself and God .. Is there something wrong with me?  Do I have a diminished emotional capacity?  Do I lack real life-flow in my spirit?  Am I really called if I seem to need these times out of action?

I was again meditating on these things during the week and I believe I heard God teach me something that brought together so many individual "pieces" of revelation, conviction and concern that I now understand what’s going on .. not only for myself but perhaps for the many who have struggled with the same things.

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Impact v’s Penetration – Part 2

Thank you to all those who wrote to voice their appreciation for the previous article on this topic, but thankyou most of all to Terry Mengle of Kent, Washington in the USA whose transparent and heartfelt e-mail stirred me deeply and led me on a further quest for language to describe how to make the shift from having a focus on making an impact to achieving genuine penetration in peoples’ lives. Terry wrote:
“I enjoyed your article and sent it out to several friends. It caused quite a stir, but some of us were wondering if you would elaborate about the difference between impact and penetration. Many of my friends hope you will say more about this topic and what you feel the Lord is saying about this. How do you aim for penetration?- without impact? What makes for effective penetration?  As a pastor for 30 some years I recognize now that I often went for impact with little lasting fruit. In fact, after serious consideration I feel I gained little of lasting value for all the effort. We must not let the younger generation make the same mistake. How can we help them avoid this costly error?”
There is much I could say in response to Terry’s e-mail, but allow me to simply tell you a story and then make a few basic observations.

About six years ago I was asked by a friend to come over to his church in Hermanus, South Africa to dedicate their new facility because I had been prophetically involved with catalysing its construction. As you can imagine, it was an incredibly busy time for my friend Mario Marchio. As the church’s founder, he was overseeing the completion of a building that was not only intended for use by his church and their attached Christian school, but he was about to announce to every church in their town of about 30,000 that this new 850 seat auditorium was available to every church, free of charge, whenever they needed it because, while it might have been built by Bosko Ministries, it belonged to the Kingdom.
A day or so after the packed dedication service, Mario took me for a drive to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of the African continent. It’s a windswept part of the world with nothing much to see except to be able to say you’ve been there and that you’ve seen the place where two oceans geographically meet. Big deal, eh?  Well, it will always be a big deal for me, because it was on the drive home that Mario penetrated my heart and changed me forever.

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Impact v’s Penetration – Part 1

It’s funny how God works. Sometimes it’s even funnier when we consider how God speaks. He is the creator of all languages, both verbal and non-verbal.With me, He frequently communicates through visual images on a screen or a billboard or in a book or magazine. He sometimes brings back to mind the voices of other people, with the replay of their statements running around inside me like records with the needle stuck in the groove. All the while those kinds of communications are being “transmitted”, God is trying to communicate an underlying truth .. the real purpose of His triggering the latest game of revelatory “hide and seek”. This article is a bit like that.

At the outset, let me tell you that what you are about to read is going to feel like together you and I are jumping from one moment in time to the next paying no attention to lineal chronology. However, what you will discover is an attempt to unfold what God has been saying. So, close your eyes, start counting backwards from 10 to 1, then come looking for what God is hiding ………………

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In recent weeks I have been writing some articles related to church life that I’m sure have been considered polarising by many. I am thankful for feedback from all sides of the camp; from organised church to organic church; from institutional church to emerging church. Some of the feedback has been very positive; some quite heated in opposition to the concepts I put forward. And while these articles may have indeed been polarising, at least they have had the desired effect: dialogue.

More than to create dialogue and to provoke thought, these articles were ultimately intended to make a point and Peter Christensen’s excellent prophetic word for 2006 published a couple of weeks ago on the Storm Harvest list has partly confirmed the point I am leading to.

For a couple of years at the end of the 1990’s, Graham Cooke was one of  my mentors. In fact, he and I would go as far as to agree that for a time he was my father in the prophetic. Graham is known for the profound depth in his teaching and, one of the more profound things he taught me privately was the simplicity of Jesus’ teaching. Bob Mumford used to joke that Jesus presented simple truth, but that you could always count on a seminary trained teacher to stuff it up by making it complex. Well, Graham taught me that “.. when everything gets complicated, remember that Jesus was a master at making things simple.” Think about it .. in the complexity of the Judaic religious system, riddled with more man-made tradition than God-inspired commandments, Jesus said that, like the first two commandments, all of life comes down to these two things: “love God with everything you’ve got and love people in just the same way.”

This is truly the point of this last series of articles .. church has become too complicated and God is extremely concerned that we “dumb it down”!

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Paying The Ultimate Price

I would like to share a vision I have when I came across the story of Veronica Guerin. 

Veronica Guerin was an Irish journalist who was brutally murdered in 1996 at the culmination of an investigative report into organised drug running and crime operations in Ireland. 

The twelve months after Veronica Guerin’s death saw a series of remarkable changes in Ireland. One week after her death, the Irish government ratified a constitutional change allowing the freezing and seizure of illicitly gained assets resulting from crime. Over the twelve months following Mrs. Guerin’s death, there was an astounding galvanising of the people of Dublin that resulted in almost all of the drug dealers in that city being driven out by ordinary people while the main drug bosses were driven underground and their operations were significantly hampered. Almost all of the people involved in Mrs. Guerin’s death were apprehended and brought to justice while having their assets seized .. and overall, there was a 15% drop in crime nationwide.

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