Sunday, February 28, 2016

Don't Ignore The Warning Signs!

After months of riding on worn out wheels that wobble, creak and click with every revolution, I finally got to ride on a new wheelset yesterday!  They're not the flashest brand or the most expensive, but they run smooth and quiet leaving me wondering why I put up with the old ones for so long.

As I rode my bike enjoying the much more pleasant sound of the wind whiring through the spokes than the incesant creaking and clicking, I began thinking about how easy it is to miss a more serious problem when you ignore the early warning signs.  These thoughts were affirmed upon closer inspection of my old wheels as I discovered the issues relating to worn parts were a little more dangerous than just annoying sounds!

In essence, these 'annoying sounds' are not that dissimilar to some stressors in life...

How often do we ignore or neglect stressors that are potential warning signs of something a little more serious?  How often do we become accustomed to those stressors and adapt to the build up of resistance over time?  How often do we only recognise the warning signs retrospectively after something serious happens?

Definition"A stressor is an external stimulus or an event that causes stress to an organism."

As a stimulus in a healthy environment a stressor can be a motivator.  However, as a sign, stressors warn us when something isn't functioning as it ought to be.  If these warnings are ignored long enough, what was once a motivator can become the cause of a malfunction!  Recognising these warning signs requires good self-awareness and honest self-examination.  Similar to my bike wheels, the only way I am going to know if there is a problem is to have an understanding of what normal function looks like for me (self-awareness) and to be responsive to the warning signs as they become apparent (self-examination).  While it is relatively easy (albeit a little expensive) to repair or replace a mechanical breakdown on a bike, the same cannot be said for a physical or emotional breakdown in a human being.  Self-care may have become a sociological buzz-word but it is an absolute necessity if we are to effectively manage the stressors that are an unavoidable part of life.

Monday, February 8, 2016

HOLY! A review...

Yesterday, I partnered with a number of Salvation Army Corps around Melbourne to help launch a new book during our church service that was co-written by two of my Salvation Army Officer colleagues and friends, Major Stephen Court and Captain Peter Brookshaw. The book is titled "HOLY! - Nine lies, half-truths and outrageous misconceptions about the most radical experience you've never lived."

Having read a number of books along my spiritual journey about holiness, from past and present authors, I was keen to discover what this new publication would add to an already well covered subject. While it doesn't add anything new, it does invite us to take a fresh look at an experience that has become misunderstood, misrepresented or misplaced in the church today despite the unchanging biblical call to be holy.  That's the beauty of this book.  It puts holiness back on the agenda for the 21st century church by challenging the "lies, half-truths and outrageous misconceptions" that have robbed many Christians from this life transforming experience.

Right from the outset Major Danielle Strickland sets the tone for the book in her foreword by removing holiness off the shelf of spiritual idealism or theoretical rhetoric and grounds it by declaring that "The blessing of holiness is not in the idea but in the experience of it."  

From that platform, Brookshaw and Court deliver a clear and concise overview of an experience that is intended for every Christ follower, not just the "super saints."  They are unapologetic about taking holiness out of the realms of pop-theology and reframing it through a lens of Scripture to provide us with a biblical image of a holy life as personified by Jesus Christ.  They are unforgiving of the untruths that distort this experience, yet gracious in re-establishing a biblical framework of truth around holy living.  And they are uncompromising about calling the reader to a renewed desire to "be holy, because [God is] holy" (1 Peter 1:16).

HOLY! doesn't attempt to provide an in-depth theological commentary about holiness but does provide an accessible response to FAQ about holiness that could unleash a renewed passion to pursue a Christ-like, Spirit-filled experience of a holy life that will radically transform this generation of Christ followers!

If ever there was a time when a renewed focus on holiness is needed in the church, it is NOW!!  HOLY! can be purchase from