Posted by Matt Garvin


Part of my journey has been wrestling to make sense of what it means to have integrity in faith. The wrestle is an ongoing one.

I hope some of the reflections might be helpful for you in your journey.

I often don’t have faith in God.

This website is called Faith Reflections. I think I was probably crazy when I named it. At the moment I am finding myself deeply challenged about the nature of my faith. I often teach people about faith and help them see that faith is ultimately about seeing the world from God’s perspective and acting. I […]

Discipleship clearly is optional

This year I have had three devotional sources on the go in my quiet times, and last week I finished N.T. Wright’s Matthew for Everyone. This week I picked up Devotional Classics edited by Richard J. Foster and James Bryan Smith, and already I have found the different voices very helpful. I was struck by […]

Easter Sermon from Jamaica

I realise that Easter is a distant memory for most of us, however when I was in Jamaica I had the privilege of preaching the Easter Sunday sermon at a very special church in the heart of Kingston. They recently posted the audio file online, so if you would like to have a listen here […]

The life of half-faith, faith mixed with fear and doubt

I’ve been meaning to write a reflection every day for the past couple of months. It’s been such an eventful time. I’ve been learning so much, and I have been stretched so far, but I haven’t found the emotional energy to be able to put fingers to keyboard. I’ve been travelling the journey of the […]

Mission to Whole Communities and Nations

It’s been a while since I have posted a new reflection. I’ve had a huge few weeks, including a couple of weeks in Jamaica, the passing of my grandmother and lots of work for my studies. My exams are this week, so I’m hoping to get back in the swing of writing regularly soon, however, […]

Truth comes from facing the messy, divided part of me, but also the beautiful part of me

I’ve been enjoying re-reading my first book Faith Refections as I edit and revise the kindle edition of it. For those who purchased the Kindle edition, you will be advised soon by Amazon that you can get the new version for free.    As I have been reading, I realised how much my words continued […]

House of Cards vs West Wing: Life is a Battle between the Two Sides of Me

I’m tired its been a big week and this morning I went out for a really nice cooked breakfast with friends. I came home to an empty house, which is not a normal thing for me, and I was faced with the question of how I would spend the morning. I’ve just started watching House of […]

A confronting Punk Rocker challenges me to trust and ask for help

I have been wrestling with what it means to not have a predictable wage lately. A big part of me would like not to have to rely on the generosity of others to support the ministry that I believe God has called me to. In our capitalist society, living without a wage doesn’t make sense […]

As a result of consumerist culture we don’t value stuff enough

I have now been in Canada for over two months. It has been an interesting experience coming into a country for a longer period of time. I am realising how superficial my engagement has been when I have come in and out. One of the things that I was surprised by was how much more […]

Today you can listen to my blog instead of reading it…

I had a great day today sharing at the Christian Fellowship Church at Spruce Grove. They recorded the sermon so I figured this was a chance for me to let my regular blog readers hear a little of my voice. The link to the audio is here: How God’s heart is focussed in His care for […]

I am mostly confronted with how much I don’t know

This morning I was trying to work out why I was so excited to be back in the classroom.  I recalled a conversation with my lecturer for Ephesians, Dr. Syd  Page about Ephesians 4 and some of the different understandings people have about what the text is actually saying and the impact that their understandings […]

What happens when you trust God and he seems to make your path crooked?

I’m enjoying my morning ritual of a cup of coffee and a bit of space to reflect, read and pray. Over the last couple of days a dawning awareness has crept over me… I’m finding it hard to trust God. There is an underlying fear that I will find that somehow I was trusting for […]

It’s not so much that the movement becomes an institution, its that it loses it’s verve that is the problem

Last week I wrote the reflection Institutions are anxious, Movements are prepared to take risks and it seemed to get a few people thinking. I received both very positive and very otherwise feedback about the reflection. I have been wrestling with what makes a movement and what makes an institution for a lot of the last […]

Sometimes I just wish that there were a few more guarantees, or that trust required a little less trust….

A couple of days ago I wrote about the difference between a movement and an Institution and I had a link to a podcast by the Chairman of Youth With A Mission, Lyn Green. One of the other trains of thought that the podcast opened for me, was to do with money. Green talks about […]

His compassions really do not fail, they are new every morning, every week and every New Year ……..

This reflection was first published last year, and as I read it again, I thought it was worth posting again as we prepare to enter another new year…. I wrote todays date in my journal this morning and for the last time I wrote 2011. I love a new year. For me a new year […]

Tolkien got it right when he chose the weakest, smallest and most un-impressive to defeat the most powerful

Some friends took us to see the Hobbit yesterday. I loved it. There was a moment in the movie though, that hit me hard and brought together a number of thoughts I have been having lately. I went searching for the quote this morning and was pleased to find it on Gandalf is asked […]

I am grateful for my history, and I’m grateful for the history of those who have gone before me.

Today is my first day without any kind of agenda since arriving in Canada… It’s snowing outside, the Christmas shopping is done (at least for today) and we are enjoying just pottering around with Christmas movies on the television. There is something about this time of year that is just special. I wrote last year […]

Who will celebrate Christmas correctly?

Yesterday I pre-recorded an interview with Terry Cotter, the host of the Australian talkback radio program “The Conversation.” I’m a regular contributor to the program, chatting to Terry once a month, but this time was the Christmas special, and all the program regulars were chatting about how we celebrate Christmas. The conversation brought home to […]

I love adventure, but I realise there is a part of me that also loves safety: and those two parts will always be in tension…

Most of life is ordinary. What I mean by that is that while each day is full of ups and downs, the day soon fades into the distance as it is replaced by tomorrow and the day after that, and eventually you will no longer remember much, if anything at all, about that 24 hour […]

Faith isn’t a set of ideas… its a choice to trust, even when you can’t see the way forward…

What helps you feel secure? Leeanne and I have been on a huge journey this year trying our best to trust God but not particularly enjoying the feelings of uncertainty that seemed to come with that. At the start of the year we really didn’t have any idea where we would end up, and the […]

“Radical” New Book points the way forward for U.K. churches, post Olympics

This media release has just been sent to Christian Media across the U.K. Hundreds of churches around the U.K. have engaged with their communities in new and exciting ways through the Olympics, but one organisation is warning that unless the momentum is continued, we could look back at the time as a wasted opportunity. Fusion […]

Study Leaders Resource Guide now available for 6 Radical Decisions

Its been coming for a while, but the Study Leader’s Resource Guide is now available for free for those people leading small group reflection on my book 6 Radical Decisions. My hope is that the website will gradually expand to include more and more resources for people wanting to explore the framework of 6 […]

When I try to fit God into my story, he is no longer God but an accessory

I am really enjoying the process of starting to do some Theological study. For a long time I have been aware of a brand of theology called “Narrative Theology”, which is the relatively recent approach of seeing the Bible as the “story” of God’s interaction with humanity rather than a set of rules or principles. […]

Unfortunately it seems to be the difficult stuff in life that produces the growth.

Do you ever feel like your whole world is being turned upside down? I think most of us go through periods of our lives when it feels like everything that was once stable and predictable is all of a sudden shifting and scary. Life has been a bit that way for me over the past […]

Learning from people who think differently to us is fundamental to growth as a human being

At the moment I am enjoying listening to Brian McLaren’s book Finding our Way Again which my parents gave me on CD. One of the interesting ideas in the book is what he is calling “spiritual fusion.” As McLaren is looking at what is happening in the Christian world, he sees “I think that’s part […]

A dangerous question: How would my life change if I took this verse seriously?

A friend has written asking for the outline of the Snyder Bible study method that we have often used in our training. I went looking for the original reference but couldn’t find it, I assume it is in one of Howard A. Snyder’s books.. I would love it if someone could tell me… But in […]

I am no longer my own but yours. Put me to what you will

One of the highlights from my recent trip to the U.K. was a brief visit to John Wesley’s house with my son Dan and a few others. The house was constructed for him according to his plans and I was fascinated to see that he had built in a specific room for spending time with […]

God of the mess: You don’t choose a life, You live one.

Two things got me thinking yesterday… After a fantastic steak and eggs for Father Day (thanks Maddi and Sophie), we went to church. It was a little different to our normal church service, we sat around and chewed over the story of Joseph discovering he was about to be a step dad. I’d never really […]

Sometimes I simply don’t have the words to capture what is going on for me.

Sometimes I simply don’t have the words to capture what is going on for me. I have been staring at my blog for a few weeks now and have felt the frustration of having so much I want to express but simply not knowing where to start. The last month has been quite significant for […]

It’s helpful to remember just how temporary our lives actually are

Daniel and I had the opportunity to take a wander around Oxford today. It was very helpful for me personally. There is something about standing where so many people have stood before that somehow puts things in perspective. A particularly poignant moment for me was when Daniel and I stood in Christ Church college cathedral […]

I am no longer my own but yours, Put me to what you will

I am currently in the U.K. with my son Daniel and today I helped to lead a small group of people to some very special places around London. We began our journey at The Blind Beggar, the pub where William Booth preached for 13 years, day after day, with very little to show for his […]

We can recognise those people who are fellow kingdom travellers not by how they talk, but by how they walk

I am preparing myself for a journey to the U.K. this week. It is a strange feeling knowing that I am heading over for the launch of my book and that lots of people will be reading the thoughts I have written down sitting here at my desk in Poatina. A joy for me in […]

Knowing Jesus changes my character from someone trying to organise life to make it hurt less, to someone who is firmly planted in who they are and where they are going.

I feel like I am on an important journey at the moment. At the start of each year, at the back of my new journal, I list the things that I want to see happen in the year to come, along with the people I want to commit to regularly pray for. It is always […]

Ultimately, my ability not to worry is directly linked to the degree to which I trust Jesus.

Leeanne and I received a very special gift yesterday. Someone shouted us a night at a mystery hotel for our 18th Wedding Anniversary. Mum and Dad looked after the kids and because we had an appointment in town at lunchtime, we actually had a good long time away. We both commented about the feeling of […]

If my agenda becomes the avoidance of suffering, then my agenda is the avoidance of Christ.

I had a conversation last night that helped me see something about myself. Patrick is a young man in South Africa who believes he is called by God to serve him and make a difference for young people in that country. Patrick has no money and his family want him to go an get a […]

N.T. Wright’s new book gives a fresh perspective on the confronting nature of the Kingdom of God

We are home from Orford after a very relaxing week. One of the things that is great about being away is that you are not surrounded by all the unresolved aspects of your life. I love the familiarity of home and the convenience of being surrounded by all my stuff, but I have learned the […]

Discipleship is about continually disciplining yourself to let someone else have the steering wheel.

Orford is a special place for our family. It seems as though each time we come here we can unwind an relax in a way that only happens here. At the same time, I find myself reflecting here in a way that I don’t seem to manage to do when I’m home or elsewhere. Since […]

Faith means embracing the uncomfortable place of uncertainty.

Over the past couple of days I have been sharing some of the lessons I have been learning from this moment in my life. The importance of the story people tell about you, and the fact that following Christ involves taking up a cross, have been two dawning understandings for me. Another lesson I have […]

The Christianity that I don’t really like

There is an aspect of Christian discipleship that I am slowly, and unwillingly, coming to grips with. I have made the mistake of reading a lot of N.T. Wright, and have found that the way he frames the journey of Christianity is deeply and personally confronting – mainly because I know it is true, and […]

Symbolic action changes the world

Once we have chosen our mission, we need to act. N.T. Wright, in the Challenge of Jesus, says “Your task is to find the symbolic ways of doing things differently, planting flags in hostile soil, setting up signposts that say there is a different way to be human.” When I first read Wright’s statement, I […]

Find your real job, and do it!

We have had a great week! We have missed Maddi who has been at the Uluru basecamp, but we have enjoyed staying in Sandy Bay and taking the kids to some of the places that were important to both Leeanne and I. Yesterday we made the trek up to the top of Mount Wellington. It […]

I want to protest. There must be another way, an easier way, a way that doesn’t involve as much suffering

Today is Good Friday. It is the day we are reminded that the Christian faith stands in direct opposition to what the world counts as success. Our faith calls us to a life that is produced by death. This morning our little church went on the twelve step journey of the stations of the cross. […]

The more we let God take us over, the less we will need stupid car decals and soft drink cans with our names on them.

Have you noticed the number of cars around at the moment with white stick figure decals that are meant to represent the occupants of the car? I am also interested that Coke decided to put peoples names on it’s bottles and cans. I think that marketers are picking up that identity is important at the […]

The tragic misunderstanding that leads to either arrogance or burnout

I’ve got a little bit of time here at Melbourne airport while I wait for my fellow Arrow participants to arrive. I’ve been looking forward to this week. I have found real encouragement and challenging stimulation through the Arrow leadership program. At the start of the Arrow program they warn participants that normally around 40% […]

How easily we begin to allow nonessentials to take precedence in our lives

Well here we are at the end of the week. It has been an important week for Leeanne and I as we have been wrestling with what God is asking of us at the moment. For the first time for ages I have chosen to fast from breakfast and lunch each day and just eat […]

Can God really be trusted? Is He really in control?

Leeanne and I are having a discussion at the moment. In many ways it is the same discussion we have had for 18 years. Basically it boils down to: Can God be trusted? Leeanne and I decided to have Matthew 6:33 ( But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given […]

In the presence of a psychiatrist I can only be a sick man. In the presence of a Christian brother I can dare to be a sinner.

Yesterday I posted some of my Auntie Anne’s notes from Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. He was focusing on the impact of sin and confession in community. Because some of his insights are so helpful, and also unfortunately, revolutionary, in terms of what is normal amongst most of us, I thought I would post a little bit […]

He who is alone with his sin is utterly alone

Dietrich Bonhoeffer was a very special person. Earlier this year I read his “Life Together” reflection on community and wrote a couple of reflections about it. My Auntie Anne has also been reading it and copied out some of the bits that really stood out in a fresh way to her. She sent them to […]

A test is a difficult experience through which the truth about a person is revealed

I hate pain. I hate feeling like something is not right and it is beyond my power to do anything about it. At a lot of levels the last two and a half years have been the most painful in my life, but the truth is that they have also been the time when I […]

Rich people steal lollies from children

I don’t normally do this, but one of my regular readers, Jim Van Ommen, wrote a comment on a recent post about wealth today and I found it so thought provoking that I decided to post it separately so people don’t miss it….. People from wealthy backgrounds are more likely than poorer people to break […]

How do you go with being happy with “one handful”?

I finished teaching the book of Ecclesiastes today. As usual, it has left me with much to think about. I really think Ecclesiastes is one of the most important, and yet misunderstood books in the bible. As I was saying in my previous post, Solomon “tries on” a whole lot of different worldviews in the […]

Ecclesiastes is good for me.

Again I find myself teaching the book to Fusion’s Certificate IV students at a time when I think I need to be hearing what the book is saying. I love the courage of Ecclesiastes, Solomon (I go with the author the bible wants me to think it is, despite all the discussion about authorship), dares […]

We need more revolutionaries

I have a dilemma. For 20 years I have been working with Fusion trying to do Christianity differently, but the more I live with it the more I see the problem is not what we do, its  the way we see things. I am wading through N.T. Wright’s “Jesus and the Victory of God” and […]

I cannot teach a man to walk who is trusting to a crutch.

I love this week. We are taking it easy at Orford, fishing, swimming, reading, watching movies and reflecting. As I have been writing, I am in transition. For 20 years I have been working in hands on leadership with Fusion in Australia, and now for the first time I don’t have that responsibility. I am […]

Wood, hay and straw are cheap but its the gold, silver and costly stones that matter.

I’ve been thinking a bit about legacy. I’m at a point where I am looking back at 20 years in ministry and looking forward at maybe another 25 years and I am asking myself where do I want to be in 2037? Even writing that date seems ridiculous, as thinking about 2012 must have to […]

Putting yourself on the sidelines while the game still goes on, just doesn’t feel right

I find myself in a most frustrating place. For the first time in 20 years I don’t have direct leadership responsibility. Part of me loves it and another part is going crazy as I see so many things that I think are not being led and for the first time I can’t do anything about […]

Wisdom from Lord of the Rings – Some things are worth fighting for

Yesterday we made our way through the Lord of the Rings  once more and I was fascinated by how much more I got from the movies this time around. Probably the moment that touched me the most was towards the end of The Two Towers when Sam has one of the longest pieces of dialogue […]

Kingdom of God simply becomes an idea, then the life disappears and all that is left are the cracks.

My wife keeps me grounded. We were talking this morning about what our future looks like in the midst of a time of change, and I was telling her that I really do have a sense that I am committed to helping Kingdom Cells form and grow around the world. Her immediate response was: “But […]

Hope doesn’t come cheaply, but there is nothing more precious.

It was Leeanne’s birthday yesterday. I tried to find the words to describe to her what she meant to me in a birthday card but I didn’t do a very good job. At my 40th, a month ago, Leeanne spoke briefly but her words had a profound impact on me. She said that as we […]

His compassions really do not fail, they are new every morning, every week and every New Year

I wrote todays date in my journal this morning and for the last time I wrote 2011.     I love a new year. For me a new year is like a practical form of grace. The old things are now in the past, the future lies ahead. I actually think God designed the rhythm […]

Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails

I love this time of year. I love it for two reasons, the first is that it’s not a normal time, it’s kind of a twilight zone time where no one is really working (apart from everyone in the hospitality industry) and there is the chance to reflect. I also love it because there is […]

We’ll build a future under Western Desert sun because we have a dream

I love this song, “Western desert sun” by Steve Grace. I first saw Steve perform in 1986 in Perth, Western Australia as part of outreach for the America’s cup. My dad did a tour of small country towns with him  and I helped to organise a concert for him in Broken Hill in 1991. One […]

The Nativity will never look brighter, louder or prettier than Santa, Turkey and presents.

I have an embarrassing confession to make for someone who writes a blog called “Faith Reflections”. For much of my life, Santa has  seemed a lot more exciting than the Nativity. I was thinking this morning about what kind of Christmas reflection I could write that would help focus the “reason for the season”. Truth […]

16,000 people were getting into the Messiah, and as I watched the video I took of the moment, it taught me something I want to remember this Christmas.

On Sunday night I was reminded of something. We were in Hobart catching up with family after spending the week in Orford at my brother in law’s holiday house. After catching up with the family on Saturday we decided to go with some of them to the Hobart Carols by Candelight, which was put on […]

Here we are at a crossroads, looking for the right path

I’ve been having a great holiday. We have played a lot of cricket, watched the whole series of Harry Potter movies, gone for a few walks and caught a couple of fish. This time is very important for us as a family, Leeanne and I are standing at a crossroads, knowing that whichever path we […]

Taking a breather at half time is working for me!

Today is my 40th birthday. It feels strange to be writing those words. I remember quite clearly my dad’s 40th birthday and how old he seemed! I included a photo of me from primary school with todays reflection. The reason I did that is that for the first half of my life I have been […]

We’ve got rid of the people who make us uncomfortable and now we wonder why we are not effective!

Ephesians 4:11 makes it clear that some people are called to a particular kind of ministry. The Apostle was to live on the frontiers, bringing the Kingdom to new places in new and unexpected ways. In their wake they left fledgling groups of Christians who were bringing the Kingdom of God into their particular context. […]

If you want to be a leader you are potentially dangerous. Forget the title and do the real work

As a 21 year old I remember the dawning realization that I could be a leader and how excited I was at the prospect. I wanted to be a leader. I have met a number of people like me, people who wanted to be leaders. I’ve also met people who wanted to be writers; people […]

Are you enlightened, a romantic or an existentialist? Take your pick, and you’d still be wrong!

I’ve been listening to a range of lectures by N.T. Wright and lots of times I have found he has brought deep and new insight to my view of the bible and how I approach it. You can find the podcasts here: I actually typed out part of one address because it was so […]

If hospitality is so important, why are there so many lonely people?

Last week I visited again the Balcombe Beach Retreat (pictured) It is clear that we are called to be hospitable: Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practice hospitality. (Romans 12:13) Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for by so doing some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it. […]

The majority of Christian mission and ministry is ineffective. Whats wrong?

I wonder if you added up all the hours that were spent in ministry or mission in the last week around the world, what the number would be? If all those hours are spent serving God, and seeking first His Kingdom, why doesn’t the world look much different? In the United Kingdom, many churches are […]

Don’t avoid right conflict, but step out of the fight to find real peace

I can see how easily I can get drawn into a fight. I am learning the difference between healthy conflict and being drawn into a fight. A fight is about me feeling justified, about me asserting my view above someone elses. My dad used to say that you never change someones opinion by exerting a […]

The basis of everything is a person. It’s as simple and complicated as that.

Here’s another extract from my upcoming book.. I’m still working it over so any feedback would be much appreciated. The young Anglican priest boarded the boat home from America to England in a cloud of depression. Everything he had learned in theological college had failed him. The career path that once seemed so sure, now […]

Discovering whats important by going back to someone who knew

I’d appreciate your help. What follows is some work I am doing for my upcoming book. Basil is a hero of mine. He was truly remarkable, and I’m using him to make a point about the church when we are at our best. Can you let me know how it reads for you? Basil was […]

We keep making the same mistakes… Because we want to.

I’ve got into the habit of listening to podcasts while I shower and this afternoon after cutting a trailer load of wood, I was listening to N.T. Wright explaining the historical context of the Kingdom of God. He pointed out how all Jews believed that the Kingdom of God was a divine, political Kingdom. He […]

The point of influence

Well I’m back at an airport, readying myself for my favourite flight… the one home. This week has been very helpful for me. I have been with 29 other emerging leaders in the Christian church as part of the Arrow Leadership program. Arrow started in the USA and was brought to Australia in the 1980s. […]

On your knees boy

It’s now the last full day of the Arrow residential. Heading home tomorrow which is always my favorite bit of any trip. We had a fascinating talk by one of Australia’s leading economists last night, Dr. Ian Harper. Einstein said that you don’t really understand something until you can explain it to a waitress on […]

Scheming Swindlers

I’m enjoying being here at the Arrow residential. I find that I am able to see myself and Fusion a lot more clearly in this context. There is something about being with people who love God but don’t come from the same background as you that is very important. Peter Corney is leading the bible […]

Gravity and Grace

It looks like we will have a bit more space at this Arrow Residential which I really appreciate. In the midst of catching up with the people who are here, I’m also hoping to get more work done on my book which needs to be completed in a month. Last night George Savvides came and […]

Faith: Think different

It’s been a couple of days since I last wrote an article for the blog. I’m now sitting in my little room in the retreat centre where the Arrow residential is being held. This week is focussed on developing personal vision, developing leaders and building teams. I’m looking forward to the week. It comes at […]

Ready for action

As I mentioned in passing yesterday, there are a number of Christians who see the world soley as a battle between angels and demons. This approach to thinking about faith negates my responsibility for the choices I make, and reduces me to a puppet. I’ve been doing a series of short thoughts on Ephesians 6 […]

Guard my heart

I’m just doing a couple of short reflections on the armor in Ephesians six. The second piece of armor is the “breastplate of righteousness”. In biblical idiom, the heart was the center of decision making and righteousness was making the choice to live right. The kind of battle that Paul is talking about is the […]

Belt up

I was reading Ephesians 6 today and was struck with just how practical Paul’s metaphor of the armor of God really is. One of the ongoing challenges for me is to really live a life of faith and I find the picture of the armor asks me some useful questions. The very first piece of […]

Lets be troublemakers

Leeanne has just finished reading “The Irresistible Revolution” by Shane Claiborne. I read it last Christmas and it had a significant impact on me but I have a terrible memory so can only remember fragments and the general theme. I think I need to read it again. It has interested me to watch Leeanne engage […]

Two kinds of community

I must confess to some trepidation in posting this next excerpt from Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. When I first read it, I found I had to read over it a number of times to let the words sink in and face truths I didn’t really want to face. I don’t think its quite as simple as […]

Face the pain of community and be thankful

I live in a Christian community. I have found Bonhoeffer’s Life Together very helpful but also very confronting. This next excerpt puts a finger on what I think the biggest challenge of living in community is: being thankful when it feels like the people you are living alongside are causing pain. Living in community is […]

Jobs vs Bonhoeffer

I’ve been enjoying reading the new Steve Jobs biography and found it fascinating as I’m also chewing over Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Life Together. Steve Jobs gave up on Christianity at the age of 13 and said to his biographer: The juice goes out of Christianity when it becomes too based on faith rather than on living […]

Thanks but no thanks

How do you go at being thankful with what you have? How many frustrations do you have with the people around you, the place you live or the amount of money you have? I feel like I am often a bit frustrated, which is why the following quote from Bonhoeffer’s Life Together, is so challenging. […]

It’s about the attitude

I’ve been sharing parts of Bonhoeffer’s book Life Together because it has spoken so deeply to me since reading it last week. In my last post I included a passage where he talks about disillusionment being a good thing because it deals with the illusions we bring into community. He then goes on to contrast […]

Disillusionment is a good thing

It was nice to be back at the Poatina Morning Tea today and start to see people again. Today I received a call about another person who might like to come into the village to be supported. One of Poatina’s gifts is the way it makes room for people who need an extra hand. Its […]


Well here I am back on a long haul flight.. I can remember a time when I longed to travel overseas. Now there is part of me that would be happy to never see another airplane. That said, the airplane gives me the chance to meet very special people and get a perspective on my […]

Think different

I came across this video that was narrated by Steve Jobs.. It’s worth a look. Someone has edited the end of it. Think different….. Click here if you can’t see the video

Goodbye Steve

I woke up to the news that Steve Jobs is dead. I found myself surprisingly sad for someone who has made a habit of poking fun at apple whenever I could. Steve Jobs was a remarkable person. He seemed to be incredibly focussed and driven, and somehow brought out the best in the people he […]

Do I have to work for it?

I have some friends who have discovered how much they had been driven to work for God as an attempt to get him to like them. They have since pulled back from the kinds of work they were doing and are on a journey to understand that God loves them just as they are. Throughout […]


On the flight from Singapore to Johannesburg I watched a couple of interesting documentaries. One was about Aung Sung Suu Kyi, the rightful leader of Burma who has been under house arrest for two decades. The other was about the brain and how attention works. I found the documentary about the brain fascinating. They are […]

Life rushes by

I am sitting on a Singapore Airlines flight. This is the short leg of the trip.. The next one is the long one. I have written before about how strange it is to be on an international flight.. 300 bodies suspended in a tin can in the sky, everyone together in one place and dependent […]

Hope in Western Australia

I’m sitting in the departures lounge of Perth airport preparing to board the ‘red eye’ flight that leaves at midnight and arrives in Melbourne at 5:30 a.m. Its been a great weekend. I arrived in Perth on Thursday afternoon and then drove up to Geraldton with my friend Andy, who is the state director for […]

Life is hard for smart people

I have just finished teaching the book of Ecclesiastes to our students. It was the third time in 18 months I have had the privilege of teaching the book and each time it has spoken significantly to me. One of the lessons I have been left with this time is just how profoundly difficult life […]

Simple and Wrong

Transition. I hate the word. The organisation I work with has been in transition for a couple of years and it has been a painful and complicated process. My Dad often says Nobody looks good in transition It’s so true! I think I am starting to understand a little bit about the nature of transition […]

Shadow Lands

I watched two movies this weekend, “the social network” and “Enid”. At the same time I am reading “Overcoming the Dark side of Leadership” by Gary L. McIntosh and Samuel D. Rima. I have been struck by a quote from Carl Jung: The brighter the persona, the darker the shadow. I am seeing more and […]

Another Poem

I must confess to a bit of an identity crisis. For the second time in a couple of weeks I have written a poem. I don’t think of myself as a poet, and both of the poems have just flowed out rather than taken any kind of work. I am finding that my spirit is […]

Trust and Truth

How do you go at putting yourself in the hands of others? So much of what our culture teaches us is that we need to be self reliant, independent. The opposite of that can look like weak dependance. The bible talks about the need to trust each other… But its not a weak, wishy washy […]

Spiritual Battle plan

I’m not really into talking a lot about spiritual battles. I think my church background and my experience of some people who seem to always be casting demons out of things mean that I am a little suspicious of that kind of language.. One of the speakers at Arrow, though, gave me some real food […]

A poem

I am currently in Melbourne at a week long leadership conference as part of the Arrow course that I’m doing. Today has been an unusual day. It has been a day of prayer, fasting and reflection.. It has been great for me to let the dust settle and just listen to my heart for a […]

Time Off

I had a great day today. We took the day off and went for a family day. We went for a walk on a boardwalk to a pretty Island and then visited a place called Grindewald where I gave the boys a game of mini golf while Leeanne took Sophie and our visitor to the […]

Becoming Mature

Poatina Morning tea devotion given today Had a really pretty special time in South Africa…we have been invested in S Africa for 3 years now and the task this time was to leave this team at a point where they didn’t need someone from the outside to be there. We did a 2 week training […]

Lest we forget

Well today is ANZAC day. For those outside of Australia and New Zealand, ANZAC day is like Armistice Day for the rest of the Western World, except there is a deep resonance in our culture that grows stronger each year, rather than fades through the mists of time. These days it’s popular to decry war, […]


It’s so strange to be in a different land on Good Friday. Since 1990 I have worked with Fusion and churches in Australia to focus the real meaning of Easter. It was a little disturbing to read the Age article last week that proclaimed that the Jesus story was going missing from our culture and […]

Stretching the tent

Cape-town is beautiful. Table mountain looms in the distance as an outline and the tidal estuary that fronts this property shimmers in the bright sunlight. It’s nice to have a few moments to sit and write. I am conscious that I haven’t been keeping on top of all that I want to, and that includes […]

Different so we can serve each other

Poatina Morning Tea devotion given today I don’t feel like jumping on a plane and flying to South Africa And the request for a suitcase is real. I have destroyed 2 in my last 2 trips oversees, so if you have a sturdy one that would be great. Getting read to go to South Africa, […]

The Children

My daughter wrote this… Not bad hey!! The Children A poem by Maddie Garvin The skeletal children wait for help Their eyes are pleading but unhopeful they are scared to drink but they have no choice they ask themselves will i be alive in the morning? Dirty and Deficient, they worry about whether they can […]

Web television interview

My friend David and I were interviewed in Canada about Fusion’s work. The guy interviewing us is one of the most controversial politicians in Canada at the moment. See what you think…. the interview

One but not the same

Poatina morning Tea devotion given today My son Daniel is being operated on for his appendicitis as we speak. Time in Canada was special. It’s the first time the local Fusion work elected its own leadership, and is not being directed by Fusion Australia. Its getting towards a very religious time in Canada – ice […]

The Kings speech

I wrote yesterday that there is something about long haul flights that means I see things differently, and things get to me in a way they wouldn’t normally. I started the flight cursing Delta airlines because the sound wasn’t working on the inflight entertainment system and I had noticed there were a few movies they […]

My wrestle with prayer

I want to pray I was at the Poatina prayer meeting this morning and noticed there are gradually fewer people gathering to pray. I don’t blame anyone. I want to pray. I want to be someone who prays. I want to be able to write about how consistent and rewarding my prayer life is…. but […]

The Heresy that is killing the church

It’s not about ideas I had a realisation tonight. I am in Canberra for the annual Parliamentary Prayer Breakfast which starts tomorrow. Tonight I was at a meeting of Christian Leaders, and as one of them was speaking I saw something. The person who was speaking was a leader of a very fine organisation that […]

I’m scared

Living lightly One of the most important daily habits I have is spending time with God each morning. For me this involves writing down how I am currently feeling and what I am currently thinking and then praying a bit and then reading the bible and then asking God what he wants me to hear […]

Why would you wrestle?

One step at a time I was left an anonymous gift last week. It is a hand-made bookmark with a photo of a beach and two trails of footprints with the words “His footsteps my pathway, one step at a time”. For me that little bookmark sums up faith. Faith is the wrestle to follow […]

Faith and Courage

Hanging on I’ve been doing more thinking about the wrestle with faith, and more and more I am seeing a link between faith and courage. The world tells you what normal is, and basically it is doing whatever you can to be in a position of independence, where you can be master of your own […]

It’s better in the dark

Letting go of my torches This week I have been reflecting a bit on the wrestle of faith. I realised this week there is part of me that expects the faith journey to get easier, somehow to get to a point where trust is an easy thing. So often I feel like I am on […]

Back on the Blog

It’s been a while I am sitting on the couch at a holiday house in Orford. We have taken 5 days away as a family before school starts as a way of regrouping after quite a frenetic time in Poatina during January. It was great to catch up on a bit of sleep (I woke […]

Look for character

How to make this year different I am coming to the end of my week of reflection on the year ahead and there is certainly a theme emerging. One of the things I will be doing differently this year is going back to school.. well kind of.. I have been selected to participate in the […]

Structural Grace

Happy New Year I love this time of year. It’s a time to stop and breathe, to reflect and to plan. It’s a time to try to make sense of all that has been and all that will be. New Year for me is a kind of structural grace. The promise that the past can […]

Peace on Earth

Merry Christmas? I do love this time of year.. there is a sense of anticipation in the air at our house as the kids try not to speculate too publicly about what presents they might get. There is also that sense of pre-Christmas madness as we host the Christmas lunch for the first time and […]

No wall protects from a lack of integrity

A friend emailed me this devotional thought, I am not sure where he got it from but I found it helpful so thought I’d pass it on to you. ‘…I have walked in…integrity…’ (Psalm 26:1 NKJV) To protect themselves from the barbaric hordes from the north, the people of China built the Great Wall. It […]

The brutal facts of faith

Poatina Morning tea devotion given today Moving forward together It’s been a long weekend!  Ran out of hay fever medication yesterday.  We had a fantastic night on Trinity Sleep-over on Fri night – not a lot of sleep. As you know, I started a series of devotions based on I Tim 4:12.  As a young […]

Grace Reflections

I’ve been thinking You may have noticed that I haven’t been blogging as regularly. This is mainly because I haven’t had either the actual or emotional space to sit down at my  computer to write something remotely meaningful. This blog, though is about reflections on my faith journey, and this period of busyness is part […]

Proof of God

My Auntie has been doing a bit of thinking and sent me this yesterday: It struck me… Not thinking about anything in particular, the other day it struck me, that one of the things that makes me believe in God, is the similarity and difference between man and animals. I love watching the many, many […]

Getting out of the rut

Leaving the familiar I am writing this from a porch looking over a wall of hills covered in gum trees. I am at a camp site just outside of Lithgow that Fusion runs called Maranatha. For the past 10 years we have had all our national meetings in Poatina, and this time, for a bit […]

Divided we fall

One life Have you ever noticed how somehow we have ended up seperating our lives into the stuff we do with or for God, and the rest? In Australian politics we have formalised this arrangement constitutionally in the separation of church and state. For most of my life the duality of “sacred” and “secular” has annoyed the […]

To thine own self be true

Purity matters Have you ever noticed how easy it is to write somebody off?  How easy it is to come to a conclusion about their motives and to feel justified in doing so. Motivation matters.. as I pointed out we are quick to judge other people’s motivations, and usually less quick to judge our own. […]

Follow my Faith?

The wrestle I am continuing my series of posts based on Timothy 4:12, where Paul lists the qualities by which Timothy should set an example. First comes speech, then life, love and now Faith. I feel a bit daunted that I should be setting myself up as an example of faith. Paul certainly didn’t mind […]

Whats love got to do with it?

Love hurts I am continuing my series of posts about Paul’s charge to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:12. After speech and life, Paul exhorts Timothy to set an example in love. Its been a while since I last wrote.  Since then I have been to Canberra and South Australia. All the while I have had […]

What leadership means

Setting an example I have been in leadership, of some sort or another, for most of the last 18 years, and for most of that time I have battled with feelings of being inadequate for the task. I think it is because of those feelings that I read the Epistles of Timothy over and over […]

Commitment and Freedom

Commitment is not a dirty word I have been doing more thinking about freedom and in particular what happens to it when you commit to something. Freedom of choice is a wonderful thing. I came to the fairly obvious  realisation this week that when you commit, you lose freedom. Commitment, is by definition, a voluntary reduction […]

Be you

Forget measuring up I had a very thought-provoking discussion with a friend today. He was talking about the feeling that he had to “measure up” to a picture he had in his head. As we talked I realised that most of us have that kind of picture in our head.. of how we are meant […]

Who is on the God journey?

Solo or together?? I’ve been enjoying the podcasts I have been listening to from Wayne Jacobsen and Brad Cummings. ( They are two Americans who have been on significant individual personal journeys with God and each week record a dialogue that bounces off emails they have received, current events or things they have encountered. There […]

What is freedom?

It’s a paradox I’ve been doing some thinking. I had a chat with a friend who is discovering the freedom that comes from following Jesus.  At the moment it seems a number of my friends are discovering the same thing. I love that real faith is about freedom. What I have been thinking about though, […]

Signs of Soul Erosion

A do it yourself check up A friend send me a link to this article which I found helpful so I thought I would re-publish it here. You can find the original at: by BILL DONAHUE on OCTOBER 5, 2010 My friend Gordon MacDonald has great leadership insights. Some time ago, teaching our Willow staff, he warned of […]

Its no sacrifice

How faith matures I am continuing to be challenged and inspired by Eugene Peterson’s “The Jesus Way”. One section that particularly spoke to me was the way Peterson unpacked the story of Abraham. He particularly focussed on the story of Abraham on Mount Moriah, the moment where God asks him to sacrifice his son and […]

The three temptations of Jesus

They are my temptations too.. As I mentioned yesterday, I have been really enjoying “the Jesus way” by Eugene Peterson. I spoke in church this morning using some insights from the book I found helpful about the three temptations of Jesus. Hebrews 4:15 says: For we do not have a high priest who is unable […]

The God Journey

A friend recommended these podcasts… I’ve listened to a couple and found them really helpful.

Its about Jesus

A person not a program My faith started as a 3-year-old as I prayed with my mother, and then really became mine when as an 18-year-old when I left home and moved to Broken Hill. In Broken Hill I chose to be baptized (by my Dad who was visiting) and began my adult journey of […]

No man is an island

For whom the bell tolls Today I come to the end of my series of posts about my journey with Colossians 3. The chapter ends with what looks like a change of pace.. and this morning I found myself tempted to skip over what simply looks like some practical advice. I lived with it a […]

Playing together

So how do we do this? This morning I was woken by my son who was eagerly looking forward to taking a little row-boat out in the bay that is just metres from our house. I have a confession to make. I am not a morning person. It takes me a while to orientate to […]

Its gotta be real

Facing my character I’m struck with the number of  times Christians get stuck arguing points of philosophy while the people around them are left feeling unseen and de-valued. I don’t really want to admit this, but I need to face the number of times I can be so busy thinking or talking about doing great […]

Dancing on the Battlefield

Joy in the face of fear I had a conversation today that left an indelible image on the screen of my imagination. A friend told me that God had given her a picture of herself dancing on the battlefield. It’s a beautiful image of joy in the face of fear. Sometimes its tempting to want […]

What is freedom?

The battle with myself One of my biggest battles in life has been the battle with myself. Sometimes it feels like everything in me wants to run away from the horrible feelings that are inside me. Sometimes it is so tempting to look for a shortcut to happiness. The challenge we all face is that […]

Its life but not as we know it

Adjusting focus I’ve been chewing over Colossians 3. As I mentioned yesterday, the chapter became a bit of a theme for our conference and now seems to be something that God is trying to use to help me see some things. This morning I only got as far as verses 3 and 4 and they […]

Letting go of my view

It’s how you see things You may have noticed I have missed a few days on the blog. This has been because we have just finished Fusion’s annual conference and then a one day international congress. As part of the process of congress a group of three people including me were elected to the new […]

The super weapon

Grace finds beauty in ugly things I have been reflecting a bit on spiritual battles and how real they are in the past few days. In my quiet times I have a book of daily readings by Philip Yancey which I find very helpful. In today’s entry he points out: “Elton Trueblood notes that the […]

United we stand

Its gonna hurt As I was talking about yesterday, I have been reminded lately that we are in a battle. I also know that one of the biggest battlegrounds is in my head. There is part of me that wants to do whatever I can to feel good and run away from pain. I know […]

We are at war

The one fight worth having A couple of days ago I shared about what it means to trust God when things feel like they are falling apart in the post ‘Handling Trouble’. In my quiet time this morning I was reminded though,that trusting God doesn’t mean pulling back from the battle. It is tempting to […]

Stop shrinking your world

How big is your vision? It was great to spend time with our Advanced Diploma students wrestling with ‘the 8th Habit’. One of the things that struck me was a truth that Covey first communicated in his book, “7 Habits of highly effective people”. As we look at the world there are two boundaries that […]

Handling Trouble

Let go and let God How do you go when you think something is happening that is wrong? I am discovering more and more that there is part of me that wants to find a way to fix things. When something is going wrong I end up feeling like its my problem and I need […]

A thought for today

A word from the word Rather than my normal blog today I thought I would simply share a passage of scripture from this morning’s quiet time. I was up to Ephesians chapter 4, and these words have been going round in my head all day. I have my quiet times using the message so these […]

Is simple possible?

Ten challenges for your life I wrote yesterday about Richard Foster’s Celebration of Discipline, and in particular the discipline of simplicity. At the end of the chapter, Foster gives a list of ten principles for the outward expression of simplicity. I found myself affronted and confronted, so I thought perhaps I might pass them on. […]

Live Simply

It doesn’t have to be complicated Bruce Dutton is one of Fusion’s bible teachers. He has studied Biblical hebrew and often seems to have a “right word” for me either when I am chatting to him one on one, or when he is giving a devotion or delivering training. Bruce does a regular devotion at […]

What is truth?

We need help I had the opportunity to speak at church this morning.  We had a tour group in from Melbourne and it was one of the most enjoyable services I have been to in Poatina. There was a real sense of community but also of God’s presence. I spoke about truth. I had a […]

Its about where you look

Hope or rubble? Have you noticed that whether you have hope or not usually has very little to do with what is actually happening. I enjoyed teaching Nehemiah this week. Nehemiah helped a rag-tag bunch of misfits become one of the most remarkable building teams in the world.. constructing a massive wall around a whole […]

Its time to get angry

Will you let yourself care? I was teaching our students the book of Nehemiah today and came across the part where Nehemiah discovers that some Jews are ripping off their neighbours, forcing them to sell their children into slavery. Nehemiah also realises that he too has been doing the same thing. His response to the […]

The depressing lie

Having the courage to question current assumptions Mental illness is reaching epidemic proportions in my country and whatever approaches we have been taking simply are not working. As I mentioned in the post “Remember the days of the old school yard“, our young people are coping with the worst of it: Just over a quarter (26%) of […]

What’s your story?

Telling stories As I mentioned yesterday I had the opportunity to address the Australian Religious Press association about communicating with youth in the 21st century. In preparing for the conference I came across a lot of research that helped clarify my thinking and really increased my commitment to the work I do with Fusion. One of the […]

A different measure

Re-think success and failure At one point in my Christian journey I hit a bit of a crisis. (Actually at a lot of points but I’m only talking about one of them now) I became exposed to people who wore suits, drove B.M.W.s and espoused a gospel that told me faithful people get rich and […]

Have a Holiday all the time

Welcome to the spacious life We had an eventful day yesterday, that mainly was the result of a bad parenting decision I made. I woke yesterday morning, to my sons practising tackling. After telling them it wasn’t appropriate behaviour inside, they immediately asked the obvious question: “Can we get dressed and go outside then?” A […]

Holidays are simply the best

Finding Life Well as I sit here with only a couple of days left of an almost two-week holiday I am deeply grateful for this time. I tend to agree at the moment with Kylie Minogue who said: I have had a holiday, and I’d like to take it up professionally. Before I left I […]

Step eleven: Reflect

Learn from the experience A time of conflict can be also a time of learning and growth, but there is no guarantee of that. In order to learn from a time of conflict we need to take the time to stop and think about it. John Dewey said: “We don’t learn from experience; we learn […]

Step four and five: See things from their point of view

The world makes more sense when you are not at the centre After stopping long enough to objectively review your own position, the next step is to engage with the other persons position. An old American Indian Proverb says: Never criticize a man until you’ve walked a mile in his moccasins. This image is a […]

Can I really take time off?

Gods plan for taking a break Well today is our first day of holidays. I actually wrote this on Saturday, and most of my blog entries for the next couple of weeks will be scheduled in advance so that I spend time with my family and not my laptop. The past couple of days I […]

Taking a break is the most important work

Stop the world, its ok to step off As I said yesterday we are very much looking forward to tomorrow morning. Tomorrow we will pack the car, say goodbye to the dog and the rabbit and head to a shack on the East Coast of Tasmania. I love holidays! Sometimes I wish every day could […]

All I want is a couple days off

Taking a break How do you go with taking a break? Sometimes it feels like the world is divided into two groups: those who don’t know how to rest and those who don’t know how to work. For many of us who find ourselves in the latter group we have become quite skilled at rationalising […]

Playing Politics

Those who are too smart to engage in politics are punished by being governed by those who are dumber.  ~Plato As you are probably picking up I am enjoying engaging with the book of Ecclesiastes. More and more I am gaining insights for almost every area of life. This year I have discovered that though […]

Death becomes you

As you enter this life, I pray you’ll depart: with a wrinkled face and a brand new heart That’s a lyric from U2′s ‘Love and Peace or else’ off the album ‘How to dismantle an atomic bomb’. I mentioned in a previous post that I thought Paul the Apostle was influenced greatly by the book […]

Shut up and Listen

Prayer means shutting up I continue to be challenged and inspired by Ecclesiastes. I am also really interested to be seeing the parallels between the Apostle Paul’s writing and this book. I have a sense that Paul read Ecclesiastes regularly as a source of inspiration for dealing with all the foibles of the early church. […]

Forget the popularity contest

Who cares what the people think? How do you cope when it feels like everyone is against you? I know it’s not a simple place for me to be. I am interested in a little story that Solomon throws into Ecclesiastes. It is easy to skip over, but it addresses this very issue: Solomon tells […]

Knowing who your friends are

Life is too complicated to do on your own As you might have picked up, I am loving teaching the book of Ecclesiastes.. The book is basically one mans quest for life understanding (good name for a web site : ) ), but there is one little patch in Chapter Four where it’s like Solomon […]

Why do I get it so wrong?

Start living I am sitting in my new office.. My in-laws have been here for a week and put down brand new floorboards in my shed which has been transformed. For the first time since moving to Poatina most of my books are on shelves and I have a desk (I have been working on […]

Give up helping.. its not working

“Stop helping God across the road like a little old lady.” That is currently my favourite line from a U2 song. Its from ‘Stand up Comedy’ off  the album ‘No line on the horizon’. What I love about the lyric is how clearly it speaks to the part of me that wants to ‘help’ God. […]

Changing times

There is a time for every purpose I have loved spending this week with our students teaching the book of Ecclesiastes. It has been a fascinating week for me as I also found myself changing aspects of my role with Fusion. What I love most about Ecclesiastes is the way Solomon (I know there is […]

Prayer: changing the world

Prayer in history When we read the biographies of William Carey, Adoniram Judson, David Livingstone, Hudson Taylor, or whomever, the initiating thrust of the work of their lives began in prayer encounters. About a century ago, John R. Mott led an extraordinary movement which became known as the Student Christian Movement. It was based amongst […]

Prayer: God and Prayer

Growth a Supernatural Process The church is a living organism. It is God’s creation with Jesus Christ as its head (Colossians 1:18). From Him life flows (John 14:6). We have a responsibility to cooperate with God (1Corinthians 3:6). We know that unless the Lord builds the house we labour in vain (Psalm 127:1). The transfer […]

Prayer: The power of prayer

The place of Prayer I was sent this article which was written a number of years ago. I found it helpful so I thought I would pass it on. Because of the length and the way the article is divided I have spread it over three days. I hope you find it as helpful as […]

I’m telling a story about you

The search for identity Today is a big day for me. I get to teach the book of  Ecclesiastes for the first time in our Certificate IV class. I have two weeks with the students to take the journey of a book which asks the fundamental question of life: “What is the purpose of our existence”? What […]

People who annoy me

If only you saw things like I did… I have my quiet times using “the message’ paraphrase mostly. I find that I have read other versions of the bible so much that somehow I have managed to inoculate myself from the sharp scalpel of truth. Sometimes the Holy Spirit is able to cut through this […]

Beyond the role

Cleaning Toilets I’ve been doing a bit more thinking about what I wrote a couple of days ago about suffering and character. I realised that feeling of pain that I spoke about is a common one and the tendency is to think that by changing my external circumstances I will change my internal world. I […]

Preaching to myself

Rejoice in suffering? I had the opportunity to give the valedictory address for our Diploma graduates yesterday. I have been reading through Romans, and the book is hitting me in a new and fresh way. One of the things that I am very grateful about is how honest Paul is. In several places he talks about the […]

It is ok and it will be ok

Re-looking at the bible We have just finished Fusion’s Foundations course here in Poatina. It was a very special time. One of the highlights for me personally was leading a small group for the first time in quite a while. Our small group finished with the Snyder Bible study method last night. It was a […]

Who would be a Pastor?

Leading a church and falling apart I am taking a brief interlude in my series of posts about Strategic Mission to post a series of rather disturbing statistics about church pastors that I have just come across. You can find the full article here but check these numbers out…. These statistics make me very glad […]

Losing Control

Light my way The myth the world tells us is that somehow we can be in control; that the job of life is to be in control, to be master of your own destiny. The last 12 months have felt more out of control than any part of my life; it’s one things to say […]


Losing control I am sitting in the passenger’s seat as Leeanne drives us away from “Tasmazia”. It is Sophie’s 8th birthday today and all she wanted to do was have a family day at Tasmazia with a friend. There are 8 different mazes (4 major ones) and the four hours we were there flew by. […]

Big boys don’t cry

Allowing myself to be here I was deeply challenged by a passing comment that Heather Bradbury made at a Poatina morning tea this week. She also wrote about it on her blog which you will find here. We have two very special people visiting Poatina this week. They are aboriginal artists from Uluru. Soon after […]

Learning from Basil

A man who changed the world It is easy to think that somehow people who didn’t live in the current times are somehow less developed than we are. One person from the very early days of the Christian church (about 300 A.D.) seems to be to be someone who we need to be learning from […]

South Africa Pilgrimage: Homeward Bound

Making sense of a remarkable experience I am currently sitting in seat 54F on the South African Airlines flight to Melbourne. I am sitting next to Andrew Braun who helped coordinate the Pilgrimage and has been back and forth between Australia and South Africa seven times in 18 months. Yesterday we met with the team […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: the questions

In conclusion Well this brings to an end my exploration of Kingdom D.N.A. I started the journey with this idea on a plane to Canada late last year as I was searching for what is the “heart” that must not go missing from Fusion as we manage the significant transition we are now in. The […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The dynamic

Turn and face the change Sometimes the Christian church can look stagnant and caught in the past. One of the  dynamics of Kingdom D.N.A. is that there is a constant movement and change. People on the outside are being drawn onto the team. People on the team are being drawn into the core. People in […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The team

The resource is in the harvest When those with a Kingdom vision begin the journey, there is no way they can possibly have the resources they need to make the vision reality. However as they begin the journey in response to Christ’s love and the needs of the community in which they live, something happens: […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The Affect

The Kingdom is attractive When a small group of people are committed to Christ, committed to each other and committed to their communities something happens. The normal approach to ministry or social work is to look for people with a problem that you can help them solve. Inherently you come from a point of view that says […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: the Nucleus part II

Relationships that give life I can confidently say that I wouldn’t still be in the ministry I am in if it wasn’t for my friends and fellow travelers. We have already talked a bit about the need for a committed core at the centre of the Kingdom D.N.A. Sustaining this committed core is not easy. The […]

South Africa Pigrimage: the culmination

A mountaintop experience Yesterday the South Africa Pilgrimage came to a symbolic close. We took the cable car to the top of the spectacular Table Mountain and built a cairn of rocks symbolising the relationships made, lessons learned and moments we don’t want to forget. For me the pilgrimage has been about coming face to […]

Kingdom D.N.A: The Nucleus

Together is the only way At the heart of the Kingdom D.N.A. is a small fellowship of people who have dedicated themselves firstly to Jesus, then to the mission God has called them to and then to each other. Whenever the church has been at its best, there have always been these small groups at […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The job

You’ve got to stand for something or you’ll fall for anything  (John Mellencamp) The next critical part of Kingdom D.N.A. is vision you are prepared to commit your life to. At the heart of every great movement of God in the Christian church has been a small group of people who are absolutely committed to […]

South Africa Pilgrimage: Stella

Hanging on to hope When I arrived in Durban I heard a few of the team members say something like “she could be another Stella” two or three times about different people. I wasn’t sure what they were talking about. As the bus rolled in to Cape Town someone said “Oh Cool Stella is here”. […]

Kingdom D.N.A: the focus

Christ the cornerstone As we start the journey of exploring “Kingdom D.N.A.” we need to start with one person – Jesus Christ. There is no way around it. Its not possible to have a Kingdom without a King. In an earlier blog post I shared how John Wesley had a devout faith in God, yet […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The Glory part II

A framework to change the world I believe the Glory that God is a framework for understanding the whole of human history, as well as a framework for understanding what makes a healthy family, workplace or community. In my view we most clearly are introduced to what Glory is in the book of Exodus starting […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The Glory

The missing piece of Christian Theology In my view the Glory of God is one of the central pieces of Christian theology, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. As we begin the journey of dialogue with Kingdom D.N.A., I believe that one of the reasons we have such an anemic church in the Western […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The Kingdom

Kingdom first As we begin the exploration of Kingdom D.N.A. we need to have a clear understanding of what Jesus was talking about in Matthew 6:33 when he charges us  to “Seek first the Kingdom”. The notion of the “Kingdom of God” is both revolutionary and incredibly simple. The word “kingdom” comes from the words […]

South African Pilgrimage: Invictus

I am the master of my own destiny I am sitting on a flight to South Africa and I have just cried myself through “Invictus”. I am still processing why it affected me quite as much as it did. It was certainly a bit of a challenge sitting in economy and trying to manage my […]

Kingdom D.N.A.: The D.N.A.

The building blocks of Kingdom life Over the next week or so I am hoping to explore what it really means to live faith in a way that changes the world. This series of posts will take a few days, and I would love your feedback as I have a go at unpacking what I […]

Its about where you put your eyes

Meeting God in the moment I was on washing up duty the other day at the Poatina motel. One of the unique things about living in this village are the rosters. I regularly find myself doing things that I wouldn’t ordinarily do. As I washed up I had strong feelings of incompetence.. I feel so […]

South Africa Pilgrimage: Leaving home

I believe in an interventionist God I am sitting in the Launceston airport departure lounge. The fact I am sitting here feels like a bit of a miracle. I remember a line in a Crash test Dummies song where the lead singer droned “I don’t believe in an interventionist God” in the way that only […]

Faith in a bloke

Coming to terms with the person of Jesus. A few weeks ago I had the privilege of teaching our Certificate IV students about the life of John Wesley. As I researched Wesley’s life I came across an article that explained his journey of faith in his own words, I came across one sentence that has been going […]

I have weaknesses

When I am weak I am strong Yesterday I was talking about sin and the tendency we all have to want to make ourselves look better than we are. I am grateful that the writers of the Bible were much more honest than we tend to be. In particular I take great comfort from some […]

I admit lies and sin

Honesty… is such a lonely word Since 2006 I have carried around in the back of my bible an article with the heading “Pastor admits lies and sin”. It is a story about Ted Haggard, one of the most significant leaders of the evangelical church in America who made some significant mistakes. I carry it […]

Where to start

Real apprenticeship Today I finish my series of posts on Matthew chapter 10, and its fitting that Jesus finishes the chapter with the passage that I found most confronting. I spent much of my life and ministry looking for the big things, the silver bullets, that would make the world a better place. Turns out […]

Who are you??

Find yourself I am continuing the journey with Matthew chapter 10 and we heard yesterday that Jesus is calling us into conflict. I pointed out that often conflict can come because of the way I see myself rather than the issue at hand. In this passage Jesus builds on the whole notion of personal identity […]

What are you worth?

The Prince of Peace? Really? As I have been sharing, God had me in Matthew chapter 10 for much of the early part of last year and it really confronted the way I had been seeing the world and my place in it. I really identify with the disciples who thought the Messiah was going […]

A different kind of freedom

What would Jesus really do? A number of years ago a trend was for Christians to have the letters WWJD? emblazoned on jewellery, pencil cases and bumper stickers.. It’s a good question. Turns out what he would do is come and be a model of a completely different value system than our world values. Turns […]

The plan for global transformation

You call this a plan? I have been sharing a bit of my journey with Matthew chapter 10. This chapter comes as Jesus sits the boys down and says, “Guys this is what you need to know if you are really going to be effective”. It is basically a one chapter training school I have […]

Be here!

Stop trying to “get there” I am continuing to unpack just what it was that hit me so hard about Matthew chapter 10. It started to dawn on me that the whole chapter was like an intentional training school. It was Jesus trying to prepare the disciples for ministry. I started to notice that a […]

The end of consultants

A journey to rediscover the true meaning of leadership At the start of last year I came to a series of significant personal revelations. I think I was feeling a bit as though I had pushed hard for four years and that it was time to take it a bit easier. God seemed to have […]


Hope is one of the most precious things in the world. As a leader I am challenged by the words of Napoleon Bonaparte who said “A leader is a dealer in hope”. I am also challenged by the book of Proverbs: Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of […]

Eyes of a child

Looking through the eyes of innocence In my last post I was talking about being like a child and it reminded me of something. My mate, Dave Hammond used to be a musician. He released three albums. My favourite song he wrote was “eyes of a child”. I sent Leeanne hunting through the cupboards for […]

Being a kid

Sometimes I skip and dance I don’t tell a lot of people about the skipping and dancing. When I think no-one is watching, or if I’m feeling fairly comfortable, or beyond caring, my feet start to move. A friend in Victoria who I used to work with, Fiona, used to say “Matt must be tired” […]

Faith as a Value base

Walk the talk If you have read other entries on this blog, you will probably already becoming aware that I am a bit suspicious of ideology.  What I mean by ideology is the arrogant assumption that the way you see the world is the way the world is, and the way you see God is […]

Fantasy that hurts

Not all dreams are good I’ve been doing a bit of reflection on my own journey with leadership and have realised something: Whenever someone felt really strongly about wanting to do a particular role, and I let them, it didn’t work. I also see in me, the times I am attracted to a role it […]

Be careful what you wish for…….

The crutch that trips you up As I mentioned in a previous post, I love the way Moses related to God.. mainly because I find it easy to identify with. One of the moments I find most easy to relate to is God’s initial calling of Moses. I also think it is one of the […]

John Wesley’s commandos

Small groups of friends that changed the world Last week I published a list of John Wesley’s small group questions.. they were pretty amazing and it was easy to see why the church grew if people were courageous enough to face questions like that each week. This week I want to introduce you to another smaller list […]

Fed Up

Telling God where to Go Do you ever find yourself getting fed up and very angry with God? I love Moses. Time and time again he lets God have it, responds to him with complete unbelief, anger or fear, and yet God gently responds each time without condemnation. My favorite interaction is in the book of Numbers […]

Grace that doesn't make sense

As I have said, this blog is about the journey of living faith and certainly isn’t written by someone who has it all together. I actually think the idea that you must have it “all together” is the enemy of true faith. Somehow we develop a picture of what a good Christian looks like and […]

Is it really better to burn out than to fade away?

A friend sent me a quote a couple of days ago about burnout: Burn out comes not primarily from doing too much, but from doing what we don’t really want to do – so that one foot is moving forward and the other foot is trying to run away’. – (from a book: sleeping with […]

Becoming Yourself

It must just be the circles I have been moving in but I seem to be coming across a lot of people who are spending a lot of time and energy trying to work themselves out. The journey of individuation is a very important one, but its one that the bible takes a counter-intuitive approach […]

A call to revolution on the wrapper of a Big Mac

The wrestle with faith has an Irish soundtrack. I realised this morning as I donned my concert t-shirt sent to me by my sister and brother-in-law, that I would need to explain my love for the band U2. Not only that, I would have to create a new category on the blog, because for me […]

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    • Normal doesn’t mean right, it just means normal. (3)
      • Jim van Ommen: Hi Matt, Long time no talk. I have also been in this place of scenic as well as cultural beauty. But I was not at a conference learning any new tricks, just on a lovely guided tour admiring God’s creation. Going on a retreat from...
      • Di: Have been wondering how you’ve been going with the transition to a pastor’s position, obviously feels somewhat strange at times, but good to read how you’re settling into it and how much your ministry within Fusion has given you a...
      • Craig Townsend: Obviously I identify strongly with a number of ingredients in this story Matt and most particularly the significance of differing cultural assumptions transitioning into a different Christian group. I’ve found it takes ongoing...
    • Is becoming a Pastor like crossing to the Dark Side? (1)
    • I often don’t have faith in God. (1)
      • Di: Ah, the foibles of being human!
    • My Dad (15)
      • Leighton: Just read your website for the 1st time, Matt. Excellent. And your story about your Dad – how wonderful. He has been a great inspiration and Godly leader to so many people including me. Like do many other people, I have been blessed to...
    • Discipleship clearly is optional (2)
      • Daniel Tri Handarkha: Jesus commandment is to make all nation His disciple, not church member, not church denominations, I second those mate. Interestingly enough He said that up in the hill, to His disciple and few people there (which beyond doubt...
      • Anne Nanscawen: Yes! Glad of this Matt.
    • Stop shrinking your world (2)
      • Nathan: Thanks God, through the word and even Palmer Chinchen for these insights.
    • Life (2)
      • Jim van Ommen: Yes,I realize the response to the above by many is; Oh, that’s to do with faith, religious stuff and throw out the baby with the bath water so to speak, because they see science as something that is superior, based on clever thinking and...