Thursday, April 30, 2009


a Biblical thought...
I will show partiality to no one, nor will I flatter any man; for if I were skilled in flattery, my Maker would soon take me away. (Job 32:21-22)

a Book thought...
The officers in the goldfields in 1893 lived in hessian and pole huts and built their own halls and quarters. (p102)

a Dave thought...
Last night in cell group we started to look at Renovare. It was really helpful to look at these six traditions and value the different ways we can come before God and worship Him. As you read through the various ways you find and experience God you will discover some you do naturally and others that are really hard for you to relate to. Richard Foster has challenged us all to explore each of these traditions, regardless of our heritage. I am with Richard here as I have no doubt that when you do this, even though it may be uncomfortable at times, your Christian experience will be enriched.

1. The Contemplative Tradition
The prayer-filled life focuses upon intimacy with God and depth of spirituality. This spiritual dimension addresses the longing for a deeper, more vital Christian experience.

2. The Holiness Tradition
The Virtuous Life focuses upon personal moral transformation and the power to develop "holy habits." This spiritual dimension addresses the erosion of moral fiber in personal and social life.

3. The Charismatic Tradition
The Spirit-Empowered Life focuses upon the charisms of the Spirit and worship. This spiritual dimension addresses the yearning for the immediacy of God's presence among his people.

4. The Social Justice Tradition
The Compassionate Life focuses upon justice and shalom in all human relationships and social structures. This spiritual dimension addresses the gospel imperative for equity and compassion among all peoples.

5. The Evangelical Tradition
The Word-Centered Life focuses upon the proclamation of the evangel, the good news of the gospel. This spiritual dimension addresses the need for people to see the good news lived and hear the good news proclaimed.

6. The Incarnational Tradition
The Sacramental Life focuses upon making present and visible the realm of the invisible spirit. This spiritual dimension addresses the crying need to experience God as truly manifest and notoriously active in daily life.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The future of congregations

a Biblical thought...
I put on righteousness as my clothing; justice was my robe and my turban. I was eyes to the blind and feet to the lame. I was a father to the needy; I took up the case of the stranger. (Job 29:14-16)

a Book thought...
Tom Hodges built up a ministry of his own. Buying a cart, he loaded it with vegetables and travelled outback roads as a holy pedlar, selling his vegetables to the scrub-cutters, reading the Bible to them and talking of Jesus. he was admitted to the Order of the Founder for his work. (p94)
a Dave thought...
The latest research of mainline churches suggests there is three categories:

1. Dying congregations that close themselves down from the outside culture
2. Solid congregations with a traditional ministry to it's own members, while slowly adapting to culture.
3. Innovating congregations with leadership capacity to build new communities of faith with those outside the church

Statistics have shown that 5o% falls under no. 1, 40 % under 2, 10% under 3. But 2 and 3 suggests there is life. (

With 50% of existing congregations only expecting to have a future, the next 10 years will be critical. Do we continue to revitalise and change what we already have or do we nicely close these congregations down and start others in their place? Obviously both ways will be necessary, but lets start planting and transitioning rather than waiting or be surprised by the declining attendances of the church in the western world.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The RedRoom

a Biblical thought...
God understands the way to it and he alone knows where it dwells, for he views the ends of the earth and sees everything under the heavens. (Job 28:23-24)

a Book thought...
Captain Maggie Pratt is leading the march at the Ballarat West corps and she fully expects to go to gaol. (p78)
a Dave thought...
Here is a picture painted by Aaron Mills of what we hope and pray the Glenferrie Plant (across the road from Swinburne University) will become.

RedRoom—when you walk by, you can’t help but stop in and make yourself known.
You expect a smile. The people hanging-out inside know your name. When you look around you don’t just see one type of person, but many cultures, languages and with different backgrounds. All with a story ready to be told. There are even people like me. It shouldn’t work, but it does... and it’s beautiful.
They care, and with a passion that is active—it’s actually making a difference. You can see people are different because of it.
There is something about them and there just seems to be energy and life in that place.
You never feel judged, and even though they are keen to talk about their faith and a better way to live, you never feel pressured to be a ‘Christian’. Yet, you want to be like them.
You love how—in this space—you see broken people... it helps you not be embarrassed by your own brokenness. They also paint a picture of something more, a wholeness that’s available.
When they talk of Jesus their eyes light up, as if He is someone they know well. It makes you wonder if you could know Him like that too.
You see them fighting against things that are not fair. They’re not just fighting ‘against’ something, they’re fighting ‘for’ what they believe to be God’s dream for this earth. They are serving the marginalised and invite us to join with them.

I pray as we begin setting up the RedRoom that it will be a space that will connect many students with The Salvation Army and ultimately will introduce them to a Jesus that makes sense. With 39 universities across Australia, why not have 39 RedRooms?

Just a thought.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Robyn & Ron Clinch

a Biblical thought...
I know that my Redeemer lives, and that in the end he will stand upon the earth. And after my skin has been destroyed, yet in my flesh I will see God. (Job 19:25-26)

a Book thought...
Charlie was converted. The Army saw potential in him, gave him some brief on-the-job training and made him a Lieutenant. (p73)
a Dave thought...
Last night was the farewell service for our Divisional Commanders Majors Robyn & Ron Clinch. They are heading over to the Philippines this week to take up their new appointments as Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries & Chief Secretary. Over the last four years they have been at the helm of the Eastern Victoria Division where I have always appreciated their willingness to be open to talk to people and to have kingdom vision. They have listened and initiated many new plants and innovative ideas during their time with always the best of intentions, to see the kingdom grow. As Robyn is a frequent visitor to this site, I just want to say thanks to you both for all your encouragement and support over the last four years & be assured we will all do our best to look after your three children as you leave our shores.

Just a thought.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Connecting with People

a Biblical thought...
He performs wonders that cannot be fathomed, miracles that cannot be counted. When he passes me, I cannot see him; when he goes by, I cannot perceive him. (Job 9:10-11)

a Book thought...
The arrival of Commissioner James Hay in 1909 saw the days of using entertainment as a means of drawing a crowd, and constant experiment and innovation come to an end. An era of consolidation and maintenance had begun. (p66)
a Dave thought... by John Maxwell
I have no doubt that in leadership who you know and who you are are connected with will determine your influence. Having good people skills is natural for some and hard work for others, but these eight tips should certainly help.

8 Steps for Connecting with People
#1 Don't Take People for Granted
Leaders would be wise realize that connecting to people and developing them are the surest ways to gain influence. Results happen through relationships.
#2 Possess a Difference-Maker Mindset
A hesitant and indecisive leader doesn't enliven the hearts or imaginations of people. On the contrary, leaders who influence and inspire have a difference-maker mindset. They connect with others by passing along an infectious confidence in their ability to succeed.
#3 Initiate Movement Toward People
Most people stay parked due to self-doubt, fear, or absence of vision. It takes the connection of a leader to tap into their potential and rouse them to action.
#4 Search for Common Ground
Anytime you want to connect with a person, the starting point should be shared interests. If you're attentive to the hobbies, histories, and habits of those you lead, then you will find ample areas of common ground. Launch out from these areas of agreement to build rapport.
#5 Recognize and Respect Differences
We are capable of finding common ground with others, but at the same time we need to acknowledge that we're all different. The greatest influencers realize that differences ought to complement rather than clash. When you demonstrate regard for diverse personalities and meet people on their terms, they will appreciate your sensitivity and connect with the understanding you've shown.
#6 Learn the Key to Others' Lives
People have core motivations that vary drastically, and a leader has to discern them to forge a connection with others. Generally, the key can be unearthed by examining what a person has already done in life and by discovering what he or she aspires to do in the future. Once you've found the key, do not exploit it. Turn the key only when you have the person's permission, and always use it for his or her benefit - not your own.
#7 Communicate from the Heart
Nothing repels people like a phony leader. Be authentic when you speak, and align your actions and words. People respond to passion, and they will latch onto a vision when it's communicated directly from the heart.
#8 Share Common Experiences
Shared experiences cement a relationship. For this reason, it's wise to be intentional about eating out with teammates, inviting them to join you on an errand, or taking in a play or ballgame together. The more time you invest in those you lead, the greater the connection you will forge with them.

Just a thought.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Tertiary Ministries

a Biblical thought...
He saves the needy from the sword in their mouth; he saves them from the clutches of the powerful. So the poor have hope, and injustice shuts its mouth. (Job 5:15-16)

a Book thought...
William Booth when considering an appointment for a couple of twenty year-olds looked the boys up and down. "You are very young, but you will grow out of that!"
a Dave thought... from The Age
ABOUT one in three tertiary students seriously consider dropping out of their courses before graduation, according to a survey.
The finding from the Australian Council for Educational Research - based on a survey of 25,000 students from 29 Australian and New Zealand universities - underestimates the problem, because it does not include students who have already aborted their studies.

Students from remote backgrounds, those with disabilities, and international and indigenous students all reported higher-than-average intentions of leaving their studies before completion.
Students were more likely to consider leaving for practical or financial reasons than due to the quality of their course, the study found.

As we get closer to opening the doors at Glenferrie Outreach across the road from Swinburne University, the more we realise the growing amount of challenges that tertiary students face today. As more students fail to complete courses so does their ability to get employed and so the downward spiral continues for many. It would be great if the Salvos could have a presence at all universities across this territory. It is certainly an area the church in this country has ignored and a perfect fit for our denomination that believes in looking after physical needs as well as spiritual.

Just a thought.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Catalyst Leadership

a Biblical thought...
Then the LORD said to Satan, "Have you considered my servant Job? There is no one on earth like him; he is blameless and upright, a man who fears God and shuns evil." (Job 1:8)

a Book thought...
If one thing's not successful, or won't answer to the end, we must try some other tactics, for our plan of work will bend. (p54)
a Dave thought...
Here is another great online resource to read and interact with. The interview Master-mind an interview with Bobby Gruenewald is well worth the read, it starts on page 10.

Catalyst Leadership is a "digizine," a fascinating hybrid that combines the great writing and excellent design you've come to expect of Leadership with the gifted speakers (via video) from the Catalyst conferences . The new publication combines the strengths of a journal, the energy of the conferences, and the interactivity of the Internet. You can find it at . The first issue unpacks the theme: "The Innovative Leader." And you'll meet leaders like Andy Stanley and Bobby Gruenewald (of Second Life Church and other innovations) and Shane Hipps and Margaret Feinberg and Francis Chan and others who can help you see over the horizon and lead wisely into the future. (Just a hint: when you call up the digizine, click the "full screen" icon at the top to see the publication the way it's meant to be seen.)

Just a thought.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Live Streaming

a Biblical thought...
And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this? Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai: "Go, gather together all the Jews who are in Susa, and fast for me. Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day. I and my maids will fast as you do. When this is done, I will go to the king, even though it is against the law. And if I perish, I perish." (Esther 4:14-15)

a Book thought...
One of the charges against training institutions was that young men entered them red-hot, and came out very polished, but very cold. (p49)

a Dave thought...
Above is a YouTube of Canadian Michael Collins speaking at ACC 2007 in Vancouver. Tonight you have the opportunity to hear him live at I am currently with Michael at the Revolution Youth Camp in Tanunda South Australia and we will be going live tonight with the service at 8pm EST beginning with the worship team & followed by a preach by Michael.

Live streaming of events is now so easy to do & I believe it is a fantastic and cost effective way of communicating across the globe. It makes so much sense as an army to go global with so many of our events. Unlike a lot of community churches we have a universal theology and ecclesiology for hundreds of corps across the territory and thousands of corps across the world. So why not have a website where events are streamed daily from commissionings, congresses, concerts, youth councils and even training college lectures. If you are interested in getting involved drop me a line and if you just want to work out how to stream from your centre contact my brother John at

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


a Biblical thought...
They read from the Book of the Law of God, making it clear and giving the meaning so that the people could understand what was being read. (Nehemiah 8:8)

a Book thought...
By the time of the 1901 census, The Salvation Army had 31100 members, which represented 0.82 per cent of the population. It was a notable achievement in just over twenty years. (p36)

a Dave thought...
I came across this website yesterday it is a site solely aimed at keeping kids out of licensed poker venues in Australia. It currently has a petition online so these venues will not lure families in by advertising free kids meals or cheap children's birthday parties. I encourage you to check it out and sign up before another generation is impacted by this evil industry.

There are many worthwhile Australian organizations dedicated to the complex issues involved in minimising or eliminating the harm caused by pokies. is focused on one issue. And this can issue can be easily fixed by pokie pubs doing no more than painting a sign on their entrance doors keeping children out.

Tomorrow night - Thursday 23rd April 8pm EST we will be broadcasting live over the Internet from the South Australia Youth Councils Camp. Featuring Nath Casey & the worship team followed by Canadian Michael Collins (guest at ACC 2004 & Make Change 2008)

Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rev Camp

a Biblical thought...
After I looked things over, I stood up and said to the nobles, the officials and the rest of the people, "Don't be afraid of them. Remember the Lord, who is great and awesome, and fight for your brothers, your sons and your daughters, your wives and your homes." (Nehemiah 4:14)

a Book thought...
The aim of The Salvation Army was the conversion of the working-classes and its worship was noisy, unconventional, colourful and down-to-earth. (p9)
a Dave thought...
I am currently in Tanunda at the Youth Councils Camp in South Australia. We had a great opening rally last night and with over 100 kids here and powerful communicators such as Rowan Castle, Danielle Strickland & Michael Collins we are sure to be inspired by God this week. On Thursday night we are hoping to live stream the rally at 8pm EST over the Internet. With the quality of the worship team & Michael preaching it should be well worth going on line to witness this event live firsthand. Keep an eye on my blog as I hope to post the URL in the next couple of days. Please pray for the camp here, that God will move once again and the youth will respond to what He is calling them to.

Just a thought.

Monday, April 20, 2009


a Biblical thought...
Then the people of Israel—the priests, the Levites and the rest of the exiles—celebrated the dedication of the house of God with joy. (Ezra 6:16)

a Book thought...
We talk far more than we do. It's time to reattach the limbs and let the church be the church in the twenty-first century. (p245)
a Dave thought...
I came across this new pioneering website recently and thought it was worth giving it a plug you can check it out at

Share is a resource for people leading and supporting fresh expressions of church. It consists of: Learning networks A guide to good practice Ask a question Blog
In many places and cultures, people are beginning new Christian communities: church for a changing world. The practical wisdom the church needs for this task is being learned in a thousand different settings. This wisdom now needs to be gathered in and made available to anyone who needs to know.
The aim of Share is to be a space where people come:
to share their journey, to share what they have learned, to share their questions and find ways forward. Share is a joint venture between
Church Army and Fresh Expressions.

Just a thought.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The Pokies People

a Biblical thought...
Josiah removed all the detestable idols from all the territory belonging to the Israelites, and he had all who were present in Israel serve the LORD their God. As long as he lived, they did not fail to follow the LORD, the God of their fathers. (2 Chronicles 34:33)

a Book thought...
My prayer is that the followers of Jesus Christ would walk through life demonstrating a surprising lack of fear and great humility and courage. (p232)
a Dave thought... from
Independent Senator Nick Xenophon says Woolworths' gambling interests are harming families.
He says Woolworths owns about 11,000 poker machines and hundreds of gambling venues across Australia.
Senator Xenophon says the retailer should divest its gambling interests because of the risk to children.
"Being exposed to gambling promotions, gambling products, that is a bad sign of things to come in terms of being influenced by that," he said.
"And when you consider that these venues are so-called family-friendly, there are children's playgrounds right there in the middle of these poker machine venues.
"I think it is very inconsistent with Woolworths' image."
World Vision CEO Tim Costello also has condemned Woolworths' role in the gambling industry.
"This is scripting the next generation. The industry wants to devour the next generation because they lose their gamblers to crime and bankruptcy and their businesses and homes going," he said.
"So they've got to target kids. And kids may never do what parents tell them, but kids always do what parents do."

Just a thought.

Saturday, April 18, 2009


a Biblical thought...
This is what Hezekiah did throughout Judah, doing what was good and right and faithful before the LORD his God. In everything that he undertook in the service of God's temple and in obedience to the law and the commands, he sought his God and worked wholeheartedly. And so he prospered. (2 Chronicles 31:20)

a Book thought...
It's easy to point out the imperfections of others, but it takes much more humility and grace to confront the faults in ourselves. (p225)
a Dave thought...
Maryborough is a town in Northern Victoria with a population around 8000. Yesterday Kylie and I had the pleasure to make our way up there to catch up with Captains Andrew & Kelly walker along with their DY Captain Simon Pickens. Over the last couple of years I have only heard positive reports about this corps and so to finally see it first hand was amazing. It must be the only corps in the territory with 5 weekly services 10.30am & 6pm Friday, as well as 9.30, 11.30 & 6pm Sunday. So with over 200 attending these congregations weekly amidst all the other programs they run is so encouraging to see.

The youth program at Maryborough, which we witnessed first hand last night, has a weekly service that is fun, interactive and biblical at 6pm in their main hall followed by a youth group 7-9pm also run every Friday. This is held in their YP hall with billiards, table tennis, board games, Wii, as well a chef to cook fresh food. There was over 40 youth there last night and this is in the middle of the school holidays! They now have over 60 of the 800 teens from the local high school connected to this thriving corps. So if you think maybe the Salvos is on the decline or short of growing youth ministries drop into Maryborough sometime, you won't be disappointed.

Just a thought.

Friday, April 17, 2009

5 Kinds of Christians

a Biblical thought...
Uzziah was sixteen years old when he became king. He did what was right in the eyes of the LORD, just as his father Amaziah had done. He sought God during the days of Zechariah, who instructed him in the fear of God. As long as he sought the LORD, God gave him success. (2 Chronicles 26:3-5)

a Book thought...
We say we love outsiders, but in many cases we show love only if it is on our terms, if they are interested in coming to our church, or if they respect our way of life. (p219)
a Dave thought...
These descriptions are from an article in Christianity today (2007) titled 5 Kinds of Christians. Ask yourself where you would be placed, and secondly if you are comfortable there or if God is asking for something more.

1. Active Christians 19%
Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
Committed churchgoers
Bible readers
Accept leadership positions
Invest in personal faith development through the church
Feel obligated to share faith; 79% do so.

2. Professing Christians 20%
Believe salvation comes through Jesus Christ
Focus on personal relationship with God and Jesus
Similar beliefs to Active Christians, different actions
Less involved in church, both attending and serving
Less commitment to Bible reading or sharing faith

3. Liturgical Christians 16%
Predominantly Catholic and Lutheran
Regular churchgoers
High level of spiritual activity, mostly expressed by serving in church and/or community
Recognize authority of the church

4. Private Christians 24%
Largest and youngest segment
Believe in God and doing good things
Own a Bible, but don't read it
Spiritual interest, but not within church context
Only about a third attend church at all
Almost none are church leaders

5. Cultural Christians 21%
Little outward religious behavior or attitudes
God aware, but little personal involvement with God
Do not view Jesus as essential to salvation
Affirm many ways to God Favor universality theology

Just a thought.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Engage them

a Biblical thought...
The people of Judah came together to seek help from the LORD; indeed, they came from every town in Judah to seek him. (2 Chronicles 20:4)

a Book thought...
To shift our reputation, Christ followers must learn to respond to people in the way Jesus did. (p206)
a Dave thought...
Yesterday I was in a meeting where we were looking at ways to engage our young adults with The Salvation Army. As I travel around my observation is that 90% of the young adults that are still regular attenders at a corps are either in some sort of leadership role or secondly they are engaged in serving others through a meal program or a homework club etc. The Sunday meeting is no reason for them to stay at the corps but it seems that still most of us believe by working on improving this gathering or having guitars instead of brass, that this alone is going to lure our young adults into the church once again. The way forward for us with young adults is to look at ways of involving them in serving others, not entertaining ourselves. The result is simple you engage them or you lose them.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Twitter Church

a Biblical thought...
After consulting the people, Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the LORD and to praise him for the splendor of his holiness as they went out at the head of the army, saying: "Give thanks to the LORD, for his love endures forever." (2 Chronicles 16:9)

a Book thought...
I’m perplexed at how anyone can hear the story of Jesus dying in our place and rescuing us out of our helplessness and have it produce arrogance in their life. (p201)
a Dave thought... from Relevant Magazine
The church has jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. New York's Trinity Wall Street Episcopal Church used Twitter to update parishioners unable to attend their Good Friday service. Seattle's Mars Hill has encouraged parishioners to Twitter their thoughts and feelings during the service.

Time will tell how Twitter effects the Church. It has the capacity to make church a more immersive experience. Moreover, it can connect people across distance. It can update parishioners on events, and bring the community closer together. However, it can also make an increasingly individualistic Western Church even more individualistic.

So, is Twitter numbing and isolating us, or is it bringing us closer? It's not a clear-cut question. Used properly, Twitter can be an amazing tool for shrinking our globe, quickening international response and building relationships. When used in a self-centered fashion, it's one more piece of technology increasing the individualistic streak we see so much in Western culture and making us islands unto ourselves. In short, it has the potential to do great good, or make us far more narcissistic. The solution is to check our motives, and—as with any technology—to steward it properly. The proper use of Twitter is a fine line to walk, and it figuring it out takes a lot more than 140 characters.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

5 Dream Stoppers

a Biblical thought...
For the eyes of the LORD range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him. (2 Chronicles 16:9)

a Book thought...
We need to move beyond expecting people to behave according to our expectations, and instead try to help connect them to God’s purposes. (p195)

a Dave thought...
I am one who likes to dream and pioneer things especially in the Salvos and often this comes at a price, but unless the dreamers and apostles continue to have a go we will continue to decline as a movement. So as I still read a few articles by Dr John Maxwell I thought these 5 dream stoppers were well worth being aware of.

#1 We Have Been Discouraged from Dreaming by Others
We have to pilot our own dreams; we cannot entrust them to anyone else. People who aren't following their own dreams resent us pursuing ours. Such people feel inadequate when we succeed, so they try to drag us down.

#2 We Are Hindered by Past Disappointments and Hurts
Many of us live with the memory of failure embedded in our psyche. Disappointment is the gap that exists between expectation and reality, and all of us have encountered that gap. Failure is a necessary and natural part of life, but if we're going to attain our dreams, then we have to summon the courage deal with past hurts.

#3 We Fall into the Habit of Settling for Average
Average is the norm for a reason. Being exceptional demands extra effort, sustained inspiration, and uncommon discipline. When we attempt to give flight to our dreams, we have to overcome the weight of opposition. Like gravity, life's circumstances constantly pull on our dreams, tugging us down to mediocrity.
Most of us don't pay the price to overcome the opposition to our dreams. We may start out inspired, but through time we fatigue. Although never intending to abandon our dreams, we begin to make concessions here and there. Through time, our lives become mundane, and our dreams slip away.

#4 We Lack the Confidence Needed to Pursue Our Dreams
Dreams are fragile. They will be buffeted by assaults from all sides. As such, they must be supplied with the extra strength of self-confidence.

#5 We Lack the Imagination to Dream
Many of us play small because we do not allow ourselves to dream. We trap ourselves in reality and never dare to go beyond what we can see with our eyes. Imagination lifts us beyond average by giving us a vision of life that surpasses what we are experiencing currently. Dreams infuse our spirit with energy and spur us on to greatness.

Just a thought.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Easter Camps

a Biblical thought...
God is with us; he is our leader. His priests with their trumpets will sound the battle cry against you. Men of Israel, do not fight against the LORD, the God of your fathers, for you will not succeed. (2 Chronicles 13:12)

a Book thought...
With young people, how we communicate is as important as what we communicate. (p183)
a Dave thought...
Easter Camps for our youth have been very popular across this territory now for a number of years. Like many of our events it is not uncommon to hear stories of people having a significant God moment at an Easter Camp. Maybe it was the first time they accepted Jesus, or heard God calling them to something more, or for some it was when they made the decision to become an officer.

Yesterday as Kylie and I visited the two youth camps happening in Victoria this weekend I could not help but notice God was still moving in the lives of our young people. The Melbourne Central youth with Major Mim Adams were at Mt Evelyn and the Western Vic camp with Captain Joel Clifford were at Bacchus Marsh. There are also camps happening in WA and Tassie this weekend. I believe that a weekend camp can do as much for building community and faith as whole year of a weekly activity. So as youth across these four camps pack up and head home today I pray that the decisions that were made and the relationships that have begun will be more than a convenient decision for a few days, but rather life changing for eternity.

Just a thought.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Easter Bunny

a Biblical thought...
King Solomon was greater in riches and wisdom than all the other kings of the earth. 23 All the kings of the earth sought audience with Solomon to hear the wisdom God had put in his heart. (2 Chronicles 9:22-23)

a Book thought...
Our effectiveness will come only through authentic biblical conviction and the faith to act on it. (p176)
a Dave thought...
The Easter Bunny is very similar in trait to its Christmas holiday counterpart, Santa Claus, as they both bring gifts to good children on the night before their respective holiday. Its origin is disputed but the character was mentioned as early as 1600; some trace it to alleged pre-Christian fertility lore, The claim is that Hare and Rabbit were the most fertile animals known and they served as symbols of the new life during the spring season.

I was interested to know how this tradition began, as this morning Noah & Josiah woke up and found Easter eggs scattered around the house. Kylie has also continued on with her own tradition of buying new PJ's for the boys. It is fascinating how the two biggest days on the Christian calender are used to spoil and distract our children with gifts. Even though Australia is hardly a Christian nation we still all want to celebrate and spend up big on these days. Maybe we should make a rule that you only get to have public holidays at Christmas and Easter if you attend church every week:)

Just a thought.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Lost Generation

a Biblical thought...
They were accompanied by 120 priests sounding trumpets. The trumpeters and singers joined in unison, as with one voice, to give praise and thanks to the LORD. Accompanied by trumpets, cymbals and other instruments, they raised their voices in praise to the LORD and sang: "He is good; his love endures forever." Then the temple of the LORD was filled with a cloud, and the priests could not perform their service because of the cloud, for the glory of the LORD filled the temple of God. (2 Chronicles 5:13-14)

a Book thought...
Christians should be known as engaged, informed, and on the leading edge, offering a sophisticated response to issues. (p157)

a Dave thought...
I came across this clip and although it is disturbing it will definitely make you think about the world that we live in. I find that unless we are disturbed or losing sleep about an issue we often don't do anything about that issue. So I pray that this may just disturb a few more of us to reach out to a generation that needs God.

Just a thought.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Dear Jesus

a Biblical thought...
God said to Solomon, "Since this is your heart's desire and you have not asked for wealth, riches or honor, nor for the death of your enemies, and since you have not asked for a long life but for wisdom and knowledge to govern my people over whom I have made you king, therefore wisdom and knowledge will be given you. And I will also give you wealth, riches and honor, such as no king who was before you ever had and none after you will have." (2 Chronicles 1:11-12)

a Book thought...
The excitement of Christianity won't come back because of 'happy music'; it will come back when we begin to understand the vibrance and vitality of the biblical story of what the Kingdom of God is all about. (p144)
a Dave thought...
Last night as I was putting 7 year old son to bed we prayed a "Dear Jesus" prayer as we often do. Our prayer included asking God to keep everyone safe for the weekend and thanked God for sending his son Jesus to die on the cross for us. Noah then asked who we should pray to for the next three days, he went on to explain that because Jesus dies tomorrow we won't be able to talk to him till Sunday. He suggested that praying to God the Father might be the way to go, and that therefore the Father must be the most important of the three. Well I did my best to explain that although we are reflecting on the death of Jesus on Good Friday, He is alive and hears our prayers even the weekend he dies on the cross. I am one who believes in discipling my own children but I didn't think it was going to get this hard so early on, I can't imagine what he is going to ask me when he turns 13! Anyway as we reflect today on the death of Jesus I am thankful we serve a risen Saviour.

Just a thought.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Question Everything

a Biblical thought...
Acknowledge the God of your father, and serve him with wholehearted devotion and with a willing mind, for the LORD searches every heart and understands every motive behind the thoughts. If you seek him, he will be found by you; but if you forsake him, he will reject you forever. (1 Chronicles 28:9)

a Book thought...
Eight out of ten American students participate in church during their teenage years, but most of them will take a permanent detour from active faith at some point soon after they get their driver's licenses. (p142)
a Dave thought...
Last night as our planting team walked through Swinburne University in Hawthorn my attention was grabbed by their new advertising slogan plastered across the fence on the main road. It simply read QUESTION EVERYTHING. This statement is one I believe in as in my former days as a school teacher I used to encourage my students to always ask questions as it is the best way to learn. I was also encouraged by a former mentor as a developing leader to always ask good questions as it is a great way to develop your knowledge. Unfortunately though when we come to church we are often saying 'Accept Everything Question Nothing'. Maybe not through our words but by the type of one way communication that exists in our celebrations and gatherings which is quite opposite to this questioning environment that exists in our schools and uni's today.

So as we are beginning a faith community across the road from an institution that asks their students to question everything we also think that we must be open to discussions and debates about Jesus. I think at this stage 'Doubt Nights' would have a greater attendance than 'Faith Nights' but I don't think it really matters, what does though is introducing students to a Jesus that is open to our questions.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

World Youth Convention

a Biblical thought...
"Now, my son, the LORD be with you, and may you have success and build the house of the LORD your God, as he said you would. May the LORD give you discretion and understanding when he puts you in command over Israel, so that you may keep the law of the LORD your God. Then you will have success if you are careful to observe the decrees and laws that the LORD gave Moses for Israel. Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or discouraged. (1 Chronicles 22:11-13)

a Book thought...
Without relenting our passion for purity and integrity, we have to come out of our cocoon and respond to the needs and confessions of a generation that needs our help. (p140)

a Dave thought...
ONE thousand young Salvationists from around the world will attend a World Youth Convention in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010. The gathering, led by General Shaw Clifton with Commissioner Helen Clifton, will run from 15 to 18 July and have as its theme 'Raised Up'.
The venue will be Aula Magna, part of Stockholm University, and the focus of the event will be Salvationism. Discussion topics include 'Realism', 'Idealism', 'Inclusiveness', 'Compassion', 'Simplicity', 'Internationalism', 'Visible' and 'Audible'.The General writes: 'I invite all Salvationists to be in prayer for this historic occasion. God has blessed us with fine young people all over the world. May those who attend the World Youth Convention be deepened in their commitment to Christ and to serving a broken and hurting world.'

Above all, the World Youth Convention will be marked by passion. One territory's advertising material for the delegates announces: '1,000 passionate young adults are gathering in Stockholm, Sweden, in July 2010. Are you passionate about God changing the world, loving others in practical ways, being the Church and living like Jesus? Wanna lead your peers in The Salvation Army as you strive to be set apart – made holy – RAISED UP? If you're down with that then you'll want to be a part of the World Youth Convention. This will be an amazing opportunity for you to make friends from around the world, sing and dance together as you seek God's face and heart, and be spiritually shaped and formed for leading others in living out their faith in action.'While the convention itself will of necessity be limited to 1,000 delegates, a World Youth Convention website – to be launched soon – will enable Salvationists throughout the world to keep themselves fully informed of all that is planned and to share in the virtual experience before, during and after the event.

In July 2010 Kylie and myself will be taking 13 young people from our territory to the World Youth Convention. The delegates representing all of our divisions from the Australia Southern Territory are Jeremy Gale, Jacqui Maunder, Sean Mapleback, Kerrie Atkins, Don Mayne, Jess Doxey, Hannah Burgan, Dale Merrett, Angela Saxby, Marj Rava, John Marion, Amy Kop, and Lachlan Holman. I'm sure it will be an experience we never forget as we meet with over 1000 young Salvationists from across the globe.

Just a thought.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


a Biblical thought...
They were to play the lyres and harps, Asaph was to sound the cymbals, and Benaiah and Jahaziel the priests were to blow the trumpets regularly before the ark of the covenant of God. (1 Chronicles 16:6)

a Book thought...
It's our duty to help remedy a broken world, but this takes effort. Our responsibility is to embrace this task with humility and energy, without expecting the world to come to our doorstep. (p131)
a Dave thought...
Yesterday I ventured down to the Forrest Edge camp to run a session at the Junior Creative Arts Camp. It was great just to be there and experience the energy and vibrancy of the 100 eight to fourteen year olds present. Captain Tracey Davies is doing a great job once again as it is well organised but also a creative program to keep the kids engaged. I encourage you to come along tonight at 7pm to Box Hill and see the end result of their four days together.

As I was driving home I reflected on the fact that I attended similar camps in Perth as a nine year old boy who just held a trombone but didn't play much at all during rehearsals. What I do cherish though is the friendships I made back then that are still part of my life today. Being part of these camps where we live in community and get to discuss our growing faith is invaluable and I'm sure the kids I saw at JCAC today will one day look back at this camp too and value its lasting impact on their lives.

Just a thought.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Changing Teams

a Biblical thought...
David and all the Israelites were celebrating with all their might before God, with songs and with harps, lyres, tambourines, cymbals and trumpets. (1 Chronicles 13:8)

a Book thought...
I am not asked to impersonate the Holy Spirit but to live a life that gives off God's fluorescence. (p114)
a Dave thought...
It was a fun yesterday to spend an hour with the two boys at the Glenferrie Festival. This annual community celebration involves closing Glenferrie Rd down so only pedestrians can access this 1km strip of shops. As we wandered along Noah was drawn to the Hawthorn Football Club stall, so I begrudgingly agreed to take a photo of him with the 2008 premiership cup. As I raised Noah as a West Coast supporter it has been disturbing watching him move across to the dark side and barrack for another team. Although it is just a footy team I know a little bit now of how it feels as a parent to have your child reject what you wholeheartedly believe in. I'm sure there will be more changes as we journey through life together, but I pray that we will always agree on the things that matter most in life - a love for God and a love for others.

Just a thought.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

A Church of the Cross

a Biblical thought...
And David became more and more powerful, because the LORD Almighty was with him. (1 Chronicles 11:9)

a Book thought...
Young people are facing a candid, sexually diverse world, often without assistance or biblical counsel from their churches or their parents. (p103)
a Dave thought... by Tim Chester
The great Reformer Martin Luther spoke of theologies of glory and a theology of the cross. Theologies of glory look for the revelation of God in his mighty works: creation, miracles, spiritual experiences. But this kind of knowledge, said Luther, only puffs people up. Instead God has chosen to reveal himself supremely in the cross. And that means revelation is only discernible by faith. Only by faith do we see in the weakness, foolishness, and shame of the cross the power, wisdom, and victory of God. Theologies of glory lead to pride. The theology of the cross leads to humility—or, in Luther’s language, humiliation.

Now apply the same idea to our churches. Churches of glory will put their confidence in mighty works: stage performances, big budgets, large numbers, powerful arguments, charismatic preachers. A church of the cross will be characterized by power in weakness, wisdom in foolishness, victory in shame. Its confidence will be in the sovereignty of God, the presence of his Spirit, and the power of his Word. Jesus said the kingdom of God has been given to “my little flock.” Most of the time it will be under the radar. But, like yeast in dough, it will grow unseen to fill the earth.

Just a thought.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


a Biblical thought...
These are the men David put in charge of the music in the house of the LORD after the ark came to rest there. They ministered with music before the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting, until Solomon built the temple of the LORD in Jerusalem. They performed their duties according to the regulations laid down for them. (1 Chronicles 6:31-32)

a Book thought...
Sometimes we believe the greatest Christian virtue is leading someone else to Christ. Scripture teaches followers of Christ that they should love their neighbours and make disciples along the way. (p89)
a Dave thought...
Yesterday we celebrated two years of life for our youngest son Josiah. He is a beautiful child and we thank God everyday for entrusting us with the privilege of bringing up another son. It was fun as a few of us gathered to eat well and open up his presents, even though the person whose life we are gathered around the table to celebrate is too young to even understand what is happening! Although Josiah may not ever be able to recall this day it reminded me of a piece of advice I heard Kevin Gerald give who tries to live life like: "Every day's a holiday, and every meal a feast." As much as I enjoy holidays and feasts I also want to make sure I do my best to invite others not so fortunate to join our family along the way.

Just a thought.

Friday, April 3, 2009


a Biblical thought...
Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses. (2 Kings 23:25)

a Book thought...
Obeying the command to make disciples does not give us license to offend people, especially when those offenses are actually inhibiting us from fulfilling that very commandment. (p71)

a Dave thought... from The Age
Internet-surfing workers relax: employees who regularly sneak a peek at Facebook or shop online during office hours could actually be boosting their productivity.
Melbourne University's Dr Brent Coker says workers who surf the internet for leisure, known as 'Workplace Internet Leisure Browsing' (WILB), are more productive than those who don't.
A study of 300 employees found 70 per cent of people who used the internet at work engaged in WILB.
"People who do surf the internet for fun at work - within a reasonable limit of less than 20 per cent of their total time in the office - are more productive by about nine per cent than those who don't," said Dr Coker, from the university's Department of Management and Marketing.
"Firms spend millions on software to block their employees from watching videos on YouTube, using social networking sites like Facebook or shopping online under the pretence that it costs millions in lost productivity. However that's not always the case."

I know this a hot topic in my workplace but my personal opinion is that those that want to work, regardless of other things they may do or look at on the net during their hours, will work. Surely blocking certain websites is avoiding the issue, the employee is either bored or just needs a break. I'd rather some flexibility, creativity and productivity in the workplace than lock downs, rules, and formality any day.

Just a thought.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

All Melbourne Matters

a Biblical thought...
'This is what the LORD, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will heal you. On the third day from now you will go up to the temple of the LORD. I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city for my sake and for the sake of my servant David.' (2 Kings 20:6)

a Book thought...
A large building with little connection to the streets is essentially empty. (p65)
a Dave thought...
Yesterday I attended the Transforming Melbourne conference 'All Melbourne Matters' at New Hope, here are a few facts that were shared:

3.8 million people in our city and it takes all denominations to be in step with Christ to be able to do this. We are one body.
23% of church attenders are over 75, while 53% over 55
One third of leaders are over 55
Population is increasing at 90,000 but the churches are losing 4,500 a year
520,000 Melbournians are regularly involved in church
79% of people living in Melbourne have confidence in charities but sadly only 35% have confidence in churches.

Mark Sayers also shared about the challenge isn’t gathering young people but rather discipling them. While Brendan Nottle that a sermon is like a half time footy address but if you are not going back on the field there is no point revving up the troops. His challenge to get out of the building and meet peoples needs was simple yet so impacting. It was interesting turning up to an ecumenical gathering only to find out by a Salvo how to do church more effectively.

Just a thought.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Performing Communities

a Biblical thought...
But the LORD, who brought you up out of Egypt with mighty power and outstretched arm, is the one you must worship. To him you shall bow down and to him offer sacrifices. You must always be careful to keep the decrees and ordinances, the laws and commands he wrote for you. Do not worship other gods. Do not forget the covenant I have made with you, and do not worship other gods. Rather, worship the LORD your God; it is he who will deliver you from the hand of all your enemies." (2 Kings 17:36-39)

a Book thought...
The unChristian faith - hypocritical, judgmental, and full of empty moral striving - is what Paul warned his readers about! And it is part of the reason we are known as hypocrites. (p52)
a Dave thought...
I came across a fabulous new blog this week from Mark Driscoll who I've added to my blog roll to the right where I read this fascinating post by Tim Chester.

I was recently asked to speak on communities of grace. So I got to thinking: What is the opposite of a community of grace? And I came to the conclusion that it's a community of performance. Communities of performance may talk a lot about grace, but they value performance—Christians who have it all figured out, churches that run smoothly, meetings that are accomplished. And so they communicate that what matters is that you perform well.

Communities of Performance
The leaders appear to have it all figured out
The community appears respectable
Meetings must be a polished performance
Failure is devastating, because identity is found in ministry
Actions are driven by duty
Conflict is suppressed or ignored
The focus is on orthodox behavior (letting people think they have it all figured out)

Communities of Grace
The leaders are vulnerable
The community is messy
Meetings are just one part of community life
Failure is disappointing but not devastating, because identity is found in Christ
Actions are driven by joy
Conflict is addressed in the open
The focus is on the affections of the heart (with a strong view of sin and grace)

In performance-oriented churches, people pretend to be okay because their standing within the church depends on it. But this is the opposite of grace. Grace acknowledges that we're all sinners, all messed up, all struggling. And grace also affirms that in Christ we all belong, all make the grade, all are welcome.

I'm not sure about you but I have to admit I've been a part of some performing communities over the years. I understand the word and love the idea of a community of grace but it is hard in our stage driven model of church today.

Just a thought.