Monthly Archives: December 2009


“The key to successful leadership today is influence not authority”

-Kenneth Blanchard

The Jesus of our dreams…

The Birth of Jesus Christ

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”…Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

Now when they had departed, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you, for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him.” And he rose and took the child and his mother by night and departed to Egypt and remained there until the death of Herod. This was to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet, “Out of Egypt I called my son.”…But when Herod died, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared in a dream to Joseph in Egypt, saying, “Rise, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who sought the child’s life are dead.” And he rose and took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning over Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there, and being warned in a dream he withdrew to the district of Galilee. And he went and lived in a city called Nazareth, that what was spoken by the prophets might be fulfilled: “He shall be called a Nazarene.”

-Matthew1-3 (excerpts from ESV)


“Neurosis is always a substitute for legitimate suffering” – Carl Jung

Problems and Pain

‘Discipline is the basic set of tools we require to solve life’s problems. Without discipline we can solve nothing. With only some discipline we can solve only some problems. With total discipline we can solve all problems’

“Yet it is in this whole process of meeting and solving problems that life has its meaning. Problems are the cutting edge that distinguishes between success and failure. Problems call forth our courage and our wisdom; indeed they create our courage and our wisdom. It is only because of problems that we grow mentally and spiritually. When we desire to encourage the growth of the human spirit, we challenge and encourage the human capacity to solve problems, just as in school we deliberately set problems for our children to solve. It is through the pain of confronting and solving human problems that we learn. As Benjamin Franklin said, ‘Those things that hurt, instruct’. It is for this reason that wise people learn not to dread but actually to welcome problems and actually to welocme the pain of problems.

Most of us are not so wise. Fearing the pain involved, almost all of us, to a greater or lesser degree, attempt to avoid problems. We procrastinate, hoping they will go away. We ignore them, forget them, pretend they do not exist. We even take drugs to assist us in ignoring them, so that by deadening ourselves to the pain we can forget the problems that cause the pain. We attempt to skirt around problems rather than meet them head on. We attempt to get out of them rather than suffer through them.

This tendency to avoid problems and the emotional suffering inherent in them is the primary basis of all human mental illness.”

-The Road Less Travelled (M. Scott Peck, Page 4+5)

The commercialization of Christmas

C.S. Lewis on the commercialization of Christmas:

It is in fact merely one annual symptom of that lunatic condition of our country, and indeed of the world, in which everyone lives by persuading everyone else to buy things. I don’t know the way out. But can it really be my duty to buy and receive masses of junk every winter just to help the shopkeepers? If the worst comes to the worst I’d sooner give them the money for nothing and write it off as a charity. For nothing? Why, better for nothing than for a nuisance.”

-‘What Christmas means to me’ (1957)

Surfing sea lion


“To recast the Cartesian proposition “I think therefore I am” ubuntu would phrase it “I am human because I belong”. Put another way “a person is a person through other people”. No one comes into the world fully formed. We would not know how to think or walk or speak or behave unless we learned it from our fellow human beings. We need other human beings in order to be human. The solitary, isolated human being is a contradiction in terms” – Desmond Tutu

Love | Acheivement | Risk

The difficulty of death…

Journey of the Magi – T.S. Eliot
All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly,
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.”

The above is the end of Eliot’s poem describing the Three Wise Men when they gave up their previous world view and accepted the truth that is Christ.

Identity decisions

“No trumpets sound when the important decisions of our life are made. Destiny is made known silently” – Agnes de Mille

Everyday, each and every one of us makes decisions. Some are good, some are bad, but all are decisions that were made. We choose to do good or to do bad. We choose to live for the benefit of others, or to live for the benefit of ourselves. Ultimately, there comes a time of realisation where the possessor of the will decides to exercise his will irrevocably in one direction or another. Perhaps for some weak and ineffectual people, this moment never dawns and they continue to live a life of bland ambiguity, not truly knowing their left hand from their right.

“Could’st thou in vision see

Thyself the man God meant

Thou never more could’st be

The man thou art, content”


I want to live a purpose-filled life.

I want to be a man of God

I want to constantly improve myself

The big decisions in life are not made in the limelight. They aren’t made in the presence of the powerful or the company of the influential. They are made sitting on your bed, looking at your hands and asking yourself the tough questions in life. What will I do? What will I be? What will I believe? What will I leave behind? Who am I?


Often I don’t know what to do. I’m not always sure how to describe it but it usually just comes as a sense over me where I say “I don’t know what to do”. Sometimes I’m not sure what I should feel, if indeed I should feel anything. Sometimes I don’t know if I should care, or if I should care, why I don’t care. It feels like an in between place between having purpose and drive and being completely apathetic. Usually I just sleep it off and it goes away but I think I will think about it now and see what comes of it. It feels like opening a door which leads into a dimly-lit room which has a musty, unused smell. With a beige haze I look around and can’t see anything clearly. I feel awkward and paranoid as I tilt my head upwards, looking forward. Truly, I don’t know what to do…



Everything in life is affected by our perspective. The way we look at the world, our family and friends, God, the Bible, our purpose in life…everything depends on your perspective. If everyone had the same perspective, we would have no difference of opinion, no difference in religion, no difference in culture- no differences at all. So one might argue that a difference in perspective is something to be desired, if only to preserve diversity and individuality. I would not disagree with you on this, however where I do disagree is where there is one right perspective on something and people still desire to have multiple perspectives. It is so important to try and remove the lenses that we have on our eyes so that we can not only see how others see the world, but see the world as it really is. In any particular situation that we find ourselves in, we should try and identify those factors that are influencing the way that we think, act and feel. Identification is half the battle won…


The Dawn – Kalidasa

Listen to the Exhortation of the Dawn!

Look to this Day!

For it is Life, the very Life of Life.

In its brief course lie all the

Verities and Realities of your Existence.

The Bliss of Growth,

The Glory of Action,

The Splendor of Beauty;

For Yesterday is but a Dream,

And To-morrow a Vision of Hope. Look well therefore to this Day!

Such is the Salutation of the Dawn!


Ralph Waldo Emerson is too much of a machine!


OK, this is such a silly picture but I think it is kind of funny. It reminded me of a principle we teach in Economics: you do not have to understand something to be doing it. Tiger Woods (probably not the best example at the moment) does not need to understand Newton’s laws of motion, or the mathematics of arc’s, trajectories etc to hit a perfect shot, he just does it. Likewise he does not need to understand the psychological, hormonal and physical processes (that occur when he meets some hot chick) to act on those impulses. In Economics terms, you may not understand the principles of diminishing marginal utility, the Law of Demand or the psychological processes involved with cognitive dissonance (buyers remorse) and yet we act accordingly all the time. Where I’m going with all this is that as we advance as a human race and begin to understand more of the world (Science, Biology, Biochemistry etc) we understand more of what causes things, and also what are the results of the thing that was caused. We do not understand Grace fully and yet we partake (?) of it. We do not understand the ramifications of responding to the salvation call of God on our lives and yet we do it anyway. However, understanding these things (usually in hindsight) is particularly useful and thrilling! Taking this to a broader level, as we advance, we start to understand more and more of things we have been doing but didn’t even know we were doing. Or the principles we were acting in accordance with, without even knowing it. We are all part of God’s Redemption Plan on the earth. As we understand more about God, Salvation, Predestination and Sovereignty we can begin to glimpse and (perhaps) understand a portion of the awesome plan of God that is unfolding throughout the world today. I hope so…


Our life is full of brokenness – broken relationships, broken promises, broken expectations. How can we live with that brokenness without becoming bitter and resentful except by returning again and again to God’s faithful presence in our lives.” – Henri Nouwen

Rock, paper, scissors


Indifference – Studdert Kennedy

When Jesus came to Golgotha, they hanged him on a tree,
They drove great nails through hands and feet
and made a Calvary;
They crowned him with a crown of thorns,
red were his wounds and deep,
For those were crude and cruel days,
and human flesh was cheap.

When Jesus came to Birmingham,
they simple passed him by,
They never hurt a hair of him, they only let him die.
For men had grown more tender
and they would not give him pain,
They only passed him down the street
and left him in the rain.

Still Jesus cried ‘Forgive them,
for they know not what they do’
And still it rained the wintry rain
that drenched him through and through.
The crowds went home and left the streets
without a soul to see,
That Jesus crouched against a wall, and cried for Calvary.

Demotivational Posters