Archive for June, 2010

Consider yourself rebellious?

Posted: June 30, 2010 in articles

I am currently preparing a teaching on the book of Hebrews.



The author of this book is unknown, but what we do know is that is was a letter written to a group of Jewish converts to Christianity. These new Christians were fully aware of the persecution that was imminent due to their decision. Leaving Judaism meant leaving traditions which their entire society was built around, laws, synagogue commitments, prayer commitments, dietary requirements etc… They hadn’t just left a belief system, they had changed their way of life. They were persecuted.

They were rebels…

Hebrews tells us that they would endure anything from public humiliation, public beatings, jail time and confiscation of all their possessions. The temptation was to return to their old ways, to their religion (Judaism) to avoid being persecuted.

The author encourages them to continue to be confident and hold unswervingly onto their hope. He takes 13 chapters to do that in what was a committed attempt underpinned by a deep desire to keep these readers from doing a 180 degree turn. One of his point, in particular, interested me.

The author makes mention (Hebrews 3) of the time that the Israelites spent in the desert. If you remember they were enslaved by the Egyptians. Moses was the hero who went in and did the extraction! Having left Egypt their destination was a land of milk and honey promised to them by God, aptly named the promised land. To get there they had to cross the desert, know as the Sinai today and into modern day Israel. 40 years later, Moses and his entire generation who left Egypt died in the desert, having simply wandered around in circles never to enter into the promised land. Their desert life was routine. God provided food and water daily, as well as a pillar of fire by night and a cloud by day to protect them.They had food, water and shelter. They were comfortable and protected. At one point Moses sends 12 spies to find out what getting into the promised land actually meant. 10 came back saying impossible! The tribes they would have to overcome were made up of monstrous men.

The desert – safe, comfortable, routine and predictable.

Journey to promised land – unknown, risky, adventurous, challenging.

They chose the former. The author of Hebrews refers to a passage of scripture found in psalm 95 where he states the Lord who refers to this time in the desert as the time of the rebellion!

They were rebels…

Two different perspectives! Society labeled the converted Jews as rebellious for leaving the traditions and comforts of Judaism and living a life of risk and potential persecution.
God frustratingly labeled the Israelites who stuck to comfort, tradition and religious mindsets rebellious. Maybe that’s why it is aptly called the Christian faith?

consider yourself rebellious?


Yesterday was a day of mixed emotions.  It started at

Trav and Jason blow the vuvuzela!

Trav and Jason blow the vuvuzela!

13h30 when I donned my Bafana shirt and headed onto the streets with vuvuzela (South Africa’s new national bird!) in hand to watch my first live game in durban – Spain vs Switzerland. Certain that the Spanish would dominate I joined in on some of the spanish chants prior to the game. ‘Moytjo Spanyo (sp?) (repeat x 2) HAY! HAY!’ (repeat all x300) The atmosphere was electric. I was awed. The camera’s, people, stadium, pitch and that all of this was tacking place literally in my back yard!

Then it happened. The Swiss won! A huge upset which sent thousands of Spanish home in agony. The crowd all seemingly headed in one direction. Straight to the beach promenade and down toward the fan park to support Bafana. Again the atmosphere was electric. I have never heard so many vuvuzela’s in one place, never been in a crowd so diverse!

Then it happened. Bafana lost. Badly. The crowds went silent after that first goal and it just seemed to slip away from there. Like the Spanish we left bitterly disappointed at the result and wondering where this leaves our team.

All the commentators could say was, “That’s why they call it a beautiful game

For who??

The winners or the losers?

There’s a start and there’s a finish in every game of football.

At the start everyone has an expectation running through their mind, a picture of what is to be. At the end some of those expectations are met, some are even better than expected and some are completely blown to a dithering pulp. In between are a bunch of factors which influence that result. Bad decisions, a fluke of a shot, mistakes, brilliant play and a stadium which is humming as though the worlds entire bee population migrated south for the winter. They seem to say ‘its beautiful’ cause it is simply so full of flux – anything can happen! My logic is that players and spectators who recognise it to be beautiful despite its unpredictability are the ones who make the most out of every moment. It’s the difference between those who leave 10 mins early and those who hear the final whistle.  If it’s beautiful we can never lose hope, can we?

There is a start and a finish to every season in life.

Those who recognise life to be beautiful despite it’s unpredictability are the ones who make the most out of every moment – who livelifeNOW!

For who??

Not winners or losers. But anyone who chooses to see it that way. Thats your choice.

My expectations have shifted. I no longer see Bafana holding up the cup (I imagined a white president / victorious black Bafana captain reversing INVICTUS at one point!) I see other wins; for our country, my city and our people. Yes, they are expectations and might not be a reality but that perspective determines how I will live right now and I choose …

‘Its a beautiful game’

What’s in your hand?

Posted: June 1, 2010 in articles

I dived back into the archives this week and ended up

What's in your hand?

What's in your hand?

watching a TED clip by Rick Warren on purpose (Click Here to view) –  You will remember him for authoring Purpose Driven Life. I have heard it before but again seemed riveted by what he was saying. One of John Maxwell’s leadership laws is the ‘law of process’. This law states that developing leadership happens through a continuos reinforcing of what has been learnt. It is small actions over time that deliver results rather than cataclysmic events! Watching this clip reminded me of commitments and insights that I had when I first saw him speak in 2006 and again how critical the ‘why’ and ‘what’ are continuously reinforced in our own lives.

Last week we reminded ourselves of a ‘deeper purpose’. This week we add a layer and look at the ‘what’. Once the ‘Why’ is clear it makes sense that we focus on ‘what’ we have to work with. Rick Warren uses the metaphor of Moses’s staff in the bible which represented 3 core areas in his life – his Identity, his Income and his Influence. In other words the staff defined the job that he had, how he earned his money and the influence he had in that position. Rick uses the metaphor in talking about his work with NBA basketball players. The Ball represents their Identity, Income and Influence. Thats what’s in their hands.

Whats in your hand? What talents, skills, passions so you have that can impact on others?

Connecting to this ‘what’ off the foundation of a solid ‘why’ yields defining changes in your daily actions. You have been given gifts. You were not born with nothing to offer, but rather a great deal of uniqueness which the world needs to see. You being all of who you are is what makes the difference to the rest of us. Spending time on these questions helps you shift your focus away from self and onto others. Impacting on others fuels meaning and fulfillment, something all of us desire to strongly.

Take some time to answer these questions:

What, when you do it, makes you feel powerful? Time seems to fly by, you feel energised and alive?
What positive feedback have you been given consistently – a skill, talent, character trait etc?
If it was not about money or time what would you most like to do with your time?
What do you dream about doing to make a difference in the world?

Own it. Own what you have in your hands. Own it and use it!