Saturday, June 18, 2011

Would you read more of this?

I've started writing a story and I'd like to know, out of those that read my blog, how many of you would like to read more of the story.  If I can get 10 yes responses I will continue as-is.  If your response is no, could you please give me a brief reason why so that I can learn what I am lacking.  Almost every word is deliberate, so if this is not something you would read, I will not be offended at a negative response - I know that this sort of story will not be to everyone's liking. 

So please respond one of three ways in the comments below (or I'll see if I can set up a poll):

  1. Yes I'd like to read more
  2. I'm undecided (which tells me something about the impact of the story so far)
  3. No, it's not my cup of tea or I just don't like it.

Thanks in advance for your time to read this (don't feel like you have to read it all either - you can skip to the comment after the first little bit if you prefer).  Here we go:

The Stranger walked into town again.
In a different life he had entered a town on a horse, wearing a shiny chain-mail shirt with a heavy metal helmet.  In another, also on a horse, he wore blue jeans and a broad brimmed circular hat.

This time, on foot, he was wrapped up against the damp of a clingy morning mist in a think, dark woolen, hooded cloak.  The Stranger couldn’t help but think back, once again, to the many lives in which he had come for an apprentice.  As always, when taking on this role, he followed the same pattern of life - running away at an early age, ensuring his family believed him to be dead, redeveloping his body and his will before re-entering civilisation as a wise , but mysterious, authority figure of great learning and power.

‘Stranger’ was a name that he gave himself, and how he introduced himself.  This time in any case.  The children of the villages, scattered among the depths of the valley, had taken to calling him ‘The’ Stranger, and the title had stuck with everyone up to and including elders adopting the convention.  He thought it was more than appropriate considering that the longer he lived the less he really knew himself and his own motives, making him a stranger to even himself.  At the same time he knew that, of all who had ever lived, he may have known himself the best.  

Only a man who could understand such paradoxes in human nature could ever hope to accomplish his mission.  But that was not something to dwell upon at this time.  Today he was there to accomplish a key task that would help build towards the whole.  Pausing to take stock of himself, he took a deep breath and let it out, drawing in his will to focus on the day ahead once again.  “A great task must be completed in small steps,” he quietly whispered, “and this step neither of us may enjoy at first.”

He began to walk forward, towards the next ten years of his life, once again.

As The Stranger dew closer to the centre of town, passing through the quieter living quarters of the farming families on the outskirts of this peaceful village, his presence was gradually recognised.  Those who spotted him first were the few that had to keep work going on even this special-of-days.  Many women or already apprenticed children took over the bakeries, the fruit stalls, and even the smithies.  Just for the morning, mind you.  Members of developing civilizations often didn’t feel that they had the luxury of even a proper half day off.  Changes in just the weather could put pressure on vegetable collection or trade.  Combine that with illness in a key family or disease through livestock and the effects could be devastating.  It was an understandable mind-set and nobody in these small communities wanted to be a burden on each others’ limited resources, though everyone knew that their neighbours would do their best to help if needed.  

The Stranger had noted in his long years that the most prosperous and fast-growing civilisations were actually the ones that made time for play and for rest.  He had also never, ever seen these fast growing cultures die out for the lack that these people today seemed to fear.  War through greed, fear, and ignorance however, that was another matter.

Walking along the muddy edge of the main street, approaching the crowd that had gathered from the surrounding villages a day or two distant, the Stranger could see that the proceedings were about to get under way.  Andy the store-keeper, and also the current Chief elder, was just stepping up onto the raised wooden stage to the West of the town square.  The Stranger’s arrival had generated a stir and waves of heads, from the edge towards the stage turning towards him, could be seen by Andy as he paused to observe the gathering from his higher perspective.  Using the silence that was an inevitable consequence of the awe in which the people held for the Stranger, Andy called out loudly to open the event.

“Hi-ho people!”
And as the heads all came around again, Andy began.  In order of increasing importance he recognised the presence of those in attendance, and stated the purpose for their gathering.
“Citizens of Long-Valley, Masters, Elders, Chief Elders, and The Stranger.  Welcome to XXXX [insert town name].  We are pleased to host this Autumn’s Selection.  May the Creator give us wisdom in choosing our apprentices, and may our apprentices appreciate the opportunities they receive here today.”

He paused to look around the people, stopping his gaze on the figure of The Stranger and waiting for his go-ahead.  The Stranger lifted his hooded head so that a little of the morning light could penetrate into the shade of his cowl.  Those nearest, and with the clearest line of sight, gasped a little at the weathered, olive skinned face, that glowed with a health and energy beyond that of anyone else they had ever seen.  

Youthful in appearance, perhaps having seen thirty Summers, he was known to be far older than most here today. Upon his sudden arrival in the valley about two decades ago, The Stranger had shared wisdom and demonstrated a will that had stunned even the most experienced of Chief Elders.  His presence here today was an exciting sign that he might be ready to take an apprentice.  Only once before had this occurred, and the apprentice he had taken was now one of the wisest and most respected men in the valley.

Raising his left hand high for all to see, and giving a small shake to clear the cloak-sleeve from his hand, The Stranger displayed a small leather bag that clinked with the sound of coins.  An excited burble ran through through the crowd and then died down again quickly as they turned once again to get started.  They all wanted to see who would receive his advance, the traditional first month’s pay, from the mysterious Stranger.

The Stranger, fully aware of his impact on the excitement of the minds of those present, gave a small nod and an equally small smile to Andy with whom he shared a knowing look.  The ceremony this morning would proceed at a record pace so that everyone could find out who The Stranger would choose.  Andy took the nod as his sign to continue, giving his own small nod in return.

Taking a lungful of the cool, still valley air, Andy let it out again to help him focus also, giving away with a subtle sign who his Master had been. He then called up the first and, once again, least esteemed of Masters.

“Farming Masters!  Come forward and draw lots to find who gets first choice.  Line up to my right,” and he waved his right hand to indicate the steps on the right of the stage.  
“Farming hopefuls, come up on display to my left so that the Masters can take stock of you.”

Already anticipating, those called were at the front and stepped up without haste.  This ceremony was just that, a ceremony.  The selection was incredibly complex and deals were often made in the weeks preceding.  Masters who were ready to choose an apprentice spent weeks gathering reports and sending runners with offers to other Masters, seeking to gain priority for the most promising hopefuls.  There was also regular input from The Stranger to ensure certain individuals were paired with the right Master to make the best gains according to personalities and skill level.

The hopefuls were blissfully unaware of this, though today they waited with excitement and nervousness, considering their potential Masters.  They were not at all concerned that they were the first of those called, as the esteem of their position was not based on a lack of desire for their prospective careers.  It was based on the numbers of people that could perform that role in society.  Every role was necessary, but those roles that were scarce had to be more highly esteemed in order to create the support for those rarer of trades to be learned and developed.  A black-smith needed many more years to become good at his trade than a farmer, and not everyone was big enough to wield the hammer.  Farmers included anyone from fruit gatherers and planters to shepherds and milkers, providing a place for even the smallest and simplest youth.

Because of the ground-work performed, the selection went swiftly with Farming Masters walking across the stage one at a time to hand the advance to one new apprentice.  Then, they would return across the stage, new apprentice in tow, and descend the stairs together to re-join the crowd.  Each apprentice selected was honoured with a brief burst of applause from the crowd.

After the farmers, each of the usual trades took their turn decreasing numbers of hopefuls for that year giving the order of importance.  Scribes, Roofers, Bakers, Healers, Blacksmiths, and so on.  As the later groups appeared, there were often one or two hopefuls left at the end of the selection for that group.  These hopefuls were the only ones that remained unhappy at the end of the day, having to wait a full year for the next selection of their chosen trade.  Some, who were involved in earlier selections would try for later selections also.  These hopefuls were usually older, and more desperate for a chance at an esteemed position in society.  As they grew too old, they would eventually drop down into the farming group one year, their hopes for glory shattered.  It was to one of these hopefuls that the Stranger looked, though the rejection was not because of age or inability. Far from it...

Friday, June 17, 2011

Baptism (One more time!)

If you are wondering why I've been posting all of this stuff about baptism lately, it's because I came across a blog (or couple of blogs) where the blogger writes strongly in support of some heretical doctrines.  The main one that has come up (and from which the others seem to stem) is the false doctrine that water baptism by immersion is necessary for salvation and that the "dunking" is the point of salvation, where the baptized person is regenerated.
I'm not going to link to the website because I don't want them to get further traffic (which would increase because priority in Google searches depends on how many links to sites there are - making the more popular sites higher up the list (so link to mine!)).  If you are really curious, try searching for "Steve Finnell" and "water baptism" and it's sure to be on the first page.

Initially, I thought I'd be putting just one comment on his blog about a point of doctrine that sounded a bit off and I didn't want him to be misleading his readers with something so essential as the doctrine of salvation.  What it turned into was me addressing Steve, and his readers, while for every hole that I exposed in his doctrine, Steve would write a new blog post attempting to bring a verse that contradicted what I wrote (sometimes on his other blog).  The whole thing seemed a little weird to me as Steve moderates which comments appear on his blog, and was allowing me to post, but at the same time he would not engage directly with the verses or doctrine that I presented.  Instead of responding to my comments, he would keep writing new blog posts which seemed designed to "yell" over the top of my responses by propagating false ideas with a heap of "proof" verses stacked upon a single faulty assumption.  Also, from the start it seemed to me that the large, bold font Steve used suggested he was yelling.  These things combined point towards a lot of manipulative strategies that raised a few alarm bells in my mind.

After about half a dozen comments, I decided that this wasn't a way forward and responded to his latest "yelling" by asking for his direct permission to continue with my comments.  This was so that he would be forced to publicly welcome me rather than trying to marginalise me before his regular readers.  I asked via his comments so that my post would appear on his blog (if he let it) and then his readers would be able to see my perspective in this weird debate.  So far, Steve has not allowed my comment to be posted which only confirms my fears that he is using highly manipulative strategies to get followers and to keep a position of power.

If anyone has come from Steve's blog to visit here, I would encourage you to think carefully about what you read on Steve's blogs as his strategies for convincing are more based upon emotional manipulation and less upon love and reason.  While Steve may have the best of intentions, his teaching is clearly another gospel that is different from that preached by Jesus, Paul and the other Apostles, and much of what counts for orthodox protestant Christianity through history.  I would even go so far as to say that these emotionally manipulative strategies are common among classic cult groups such as Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons.  These groups have a lack of intellectual input into the foundation doctrines of their movement and must rely on aggressive recruiting strategies that target the weak, lonely, and abused to be successful.  As Pentecostal-type churches have become more popular, they have also adopted many of these evil strategies to grow and to maintain their membership numbers.  This is again due to a lack of intellectual input into preaching and teaching and a greater emphasis on relative truth like in heavily post-modernist views of knowledge, e.g. Rob Bell.

So, just to finish the debate from this end for any visiting readers wondering why I haven't continued on Steve's blog, I want to respond to Steve's latest blog post, in which he presumably didn't want me to comment.  He made two mistakes in his assumptions upon which he then piled a heap of verses that hold no weight until he can justify his false assumptions (which obviously he cannot do).

First he claims that the disciples weren't called to save people by getting them to baptise people in the spirit, but by water.  This false assumption is a bit tricky to spot, though it feels instinctively wrong to those in the know.  It involves both the false idea that a person can cause a spiritual change in another and that a person can actually perform a physical routine or ceremony that can save.  Remember that salvation is a spiritual change called regeneration, hence the issue of when that spiritual change takes place and how it is caused (and who it is caused by).  Putting this simply, Steve is under the impression that God performs the spiritual act of regeneration only when one man decides to dunk another man.  This means that salvation is in the hands of man and not God.  Remember that salvation belongs to the Lord (Psalm 3:8)

Second is the misunderstanding, or contradiction, when Steve expects the Holy Spirit to be present at the water baptism (performing the regenerative work presumably) because according to him it is the water baptism when regeneration occurs.  Now, what if the person is a false convert initially, but later believes?  Should they then be re-baptised?  And every time after that that a person has an attack of unbelief and feels that they weren't really saved because they fell back into sin for a time?  Re-re-baptised?  If the person can receive regeneration at any time after their baptism, then doesn't that emphasise that it is the spiritual baptism (which causes regeneration) that is more important than the water baptism?  The classic example is the thief on the cross who didn't have the opportunity to be baptised.  The classic argument used in response to this is that the thief must have been baptised some time in the past.  This still supports the spiritual baptism as he was clearly saved while on the cross beside Jesus.  Remember that there is more than one account of the crucifixion and in one, both of the men that were crucified with him reviled him (Matthew 27:44) but in another there was one who was saved! (Luke 23:43)  This shows that he was saved while being on the cross and with no immersion of water to facilitate the spiritual transformation.

Anyone is welcome to respond to these ideas in the comments below (including Steve himself and those who follow the same ideas).  I will not moderate the comments except in the case of extremely bad language and bad personal abuse.  I see a legitimate place for trolls on the internet (a notorious troller and friend called "duck" from the parkour forums will attest to that) so I even allow comments and ideas that I strongly disagree with, including attitudes that I don't want to promote.

Unless something starts up in the comments here, or unless Steve Finnell decides to invite my comments on his blog, this will be the end of my involvement in this brief bit of conflict.

To finish this post, I want to share a valuable resource: The ministry of Paul Washer.  A proper understanding of what it means to be "born again" really helps with understanding what the bible has to say on whether water baptism has anything to do with regeneration.  The best sermon I've come across (that had a huge impact on me personally) was Paul Washer speaking on Regeneration and Self Denial (from


Thursday, June 16, 2011

An Often Misused Verse (Water Baptism for Salvation Refuted)

John 3:5  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.

If we take the verse (John 3:5) in context, we can see that being "born of water" has nothing to do with baptism.  The water birth is referring to the "water" that breaks as a part of the natural birth process when a woman gives birth to a child.  People who hold to an over-emphasised doctrine on water baptism may have a hard time reading the proper context but give it a try:

John 3:1-6  Now there was a man of the Pharisees named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews.  (2)  This man came to Jesus by night and said to him, "Rabbi, we know that you are a teacher come from God, for no one can do these signs that you do unless God is with him."  (3)  Jesus answered him, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God."  (4)  Nicodemus said to him, "How can a man be born when he is old? Can he enter a second time into his mother's womb and be born?"  (5)  Jesus answered, "Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit, he cannot enter the kingdom of God.  (6)  That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

We are all born of the flesh, which corresponds to the natural birth, or being born of water.  Only those who are saved by God are born again via the spirit.

If we take the water birth to be the Christian baptism here, then we must also take the spirit birth to be baptism of the spirit.  That gives us two baptisms that we must undergo to enter the kingdom, yet if this is true we have a contradiction in scripture because there is " Lord, one faith, one baptism..." Ephesians 4:5 

I freely admit that I was thoroughly confused over the conflict between these two verses for many years.  When I first read this I feared that I wasn't saved because I hadn't been baptised, but at the same time I knew that salvation was a spiritual work of God.  It wasn't until I spent some time meditating on John chapter 3 that it finally clicked.  Boy did I praise God for the understanding that he had granted me, after being frustrated for so long!

I hope this helps others also!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Progressing Past the Neurological Rut

Another old parkour article.  This one was special enough to make it to the Parkour Generations list of training articles.  Ever since then I've been famous ;-)

6 May 2009
One type of plateau that can occur in one's training was recently highlighted to me while I was trying to do something that I had been attempting for a number of months. Let me first describe the situation and what I did to achieve my goal, then I will give my thoughts on the process and hopefully explain better what I mean by a "neurological rut".

The challenge
I'm sure that all traceurs have progression markers that help them to gauge their progress in physical condition and skill. This could be the number of bricks of a particular wall that you can reach up to from a tic-tac/wall run, or it could be the amount of repetitions of a circuit you can do before you must reduce your speed significantly, or the number of your feet as a gauge of your precision distance.

The particular progress marker I'm considering today is the number of steps at a certain spot at Waikato Uni that I can jump up from a standing start - a sort of box jump. Well, for two years I have been hitting 5 steps with relative ease, but that sixth step has been too much of a jump (excuse the pun) for me to get too without some sort of momentum generating step prior to the jump.

The other day I was trying for 6 steps again. I was getting frustrated that I couldn't do it, even though I could really "feel" that it was possible. It occurred to me that for the last two years I had been getting used to jumping 5 steps, so I had to somehow break the instinctive leap that used to be my maximum.

I decided that, since I could get the sixth with a small step (matching my feet like a basketball "step-together-jump"), I would continue to take a step and then gradually reduce it's size. This seemed to work well, but there was too much of a mental leap between taking a small step and taking no step. So I thought of something else to try. Since the step worked well for me, I decided to keep it, but this time I tried increasing the pause once my feet came together so that eventually I would be doing a standing jump from rest. I thought that this might trick me into thinking I had momentum. After a couple of tries, and increasing the amount of time to a full 1 second (or more) pause, I got it!

After a couple of successful repetitions, a couple of failures, and a bit of listening to my body, I worked out that this method was helping me psych up and commit totally to the jump so that I would better use my maximum speed and strength. It didn't work every time but when it did I could feel the difference in the "explosion" of my muscles and in the angle of my flight path.

The Neurological RutIf you've heard the expressions "neurological pathways", "muscle memory" or something similar, you may have worked out where I'm going with this. Here's brief bit of background for those uninitiated with the terms.

When you learn a new skill, you develop links in your brain that allow you to remember and repeat the skill. Whether it is a new language, a new movement, or a new thought process, the more you practise this skill the stronger the neurological pathway gets and the more instinctive the skill becomes. As applied to physical movement, we often use the term "muscle memory" to describe the effect, though this is a bit of a misnomer since the memory is actually in your brain.

The neurological rut appears when one practises a skill enough that it becomes instinctive and then hard to break out of. Learning poor technique and not finding out that the technique is poor until years later would be one example of a neurological rut. My rut was jumping 5 steps. I had done thousands of jumps to the 5 step level over a couple of years and had not progressed because the gap between 5 and 6 steps was too much of a mental leap, even though the strength of my body had surpassed the level necessary for 6 steps some time ago. Putting it another way, my mind had grown so used to the technique of jumping 5 steps that it needed a significant effort, along with a trick or two, to break out of the neurological rut.

What can we learn?
I think my experience highlights the the importance of learning how to apply maximal effort, rather than developing muscle memory at one particular level of ability. Sometimes this neurological rut is unavoidable, as in the case of the steps, but with an increased awareness and some strategies for minimising the effects when it comes to progressing, it does not need to be a problem.

We can also see that the mind is a powerful tool, that when ignored can be a barrier to progression, but when understood (and appropriately fooled) can be a powerful ally. We must have our minds engaged in the development process.

It is also important to recognise that muscle memory is vital to learning instinctive application of skill. Without this instinct, real "flow" wouldn't be possible for example. So we shouldn't fear neurological ruts and we certainly shouldn't fear developing muscle memory. I wonder if it is possible to develop a neurological pathway that is good at overcoming neurological ruts, an adaptive skill perhaps. I'm almost certain that this can be done, but more experienced traceurs will have to comment on that I think.

A final thing to learn from this is that while your physical condition may increase, you won't know it until you have accomplished some feats that were beyond your previous level of physical ability.

Some strategies for overcoming your neurological ruts
In brief:
  1. Learn how to trick your mind to your advantage
  2. Visit new places with different obstacles
  3. Focus on maximal application of speed and strength
  4. Trust your instinctive ability when it insists that you can do something beyond what you've been able to do in the past.
To trick your mind it is important to be able to break a skill down into its basic components. You need to be able to analyse exactly what is happening in your mind, and if you are applying yourself enough. A good example of tricking the mind is a common method of speed training where the resistance of the movement is reduced to fire the muscles faster. When returning to the full resistance movement, the mind remembers the speed of firing the muscles at low resistance and reacts the same, giving a faster speed for the full resistance movement. You can also increase the resistance above normal so that you trick your brain into firing as hard as possible.

Visiting new places, or infrequently visited locations, can force you to rely more on that insistent instinct that tells you when you can complete the movement without having to measure it. You are not limited by familiar surroundings and reacting in familiar ways to those places you are used to. There is a danger to be aware of. Sometimes your brain will tell you that you can do a move, or jump a gap, when you really can't. I've been experiencing this a lot lately due to a couple of months where I've made a number of leaps forward in my physical progression. It is easy enough to get around once you are aware of it - take a second and a third look before you leap and the instinct normally rights itself. When the instinct is insistent, that's when I will try it!  I should also add that visiting new places and training with new people is a lot of fun and a great way to build the wider community spirit within parkour circles.

Taking note of your body and learning to apply maximum effort regularly will get you into good habits. Likewise, trusting your instinctive ability to know when you are ready to push the level up a notch will do the same thing. If the instinct isn't there, you might like to hold off on attempting something difficult too many times so that you don't develop the neurological pathway of failing at it.

So that's what a neurological rut is. I'm not sure if anyone has coined the term before, but many of the sport science resources I've read mention aspects of neurology as applied to sport, which means this isn't a totally uncommon area of knowledge. Consideration of neurological aspects of your training will definitely help your progression, and researching more about the brain in sport is a lot of fun. I hope this has been helpful.

Train hard!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

The Glory Test (Baptism and Salvation)

I've come across a number of blogs recently where the writers claim that water baptism by immersion is necessary for salvation.  Here is my brief response to this false doctrine:

"If we are saved by faith, then we are saved by faith when we believe, not when we get baptized, otherwise we are not saved by faith" - from 

Faith has been the way people are saved (even in the Old Testament)

  • Abraham believed God, and it was counted to him as righteousness Romans 4:3 
  • ...the righteous shall live by his faith 
    Habakkuk 2:4
  • You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you 
  • Isaiah 26:3
  • ...if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  (10)  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved Romans 10:9-10

Salvation is a work of God, not man.  Only He has the power to change someone from the inside.  Because of this, only God should receive the glory for salvation. 

The false doctrine of baptismal regeneration tries to steal glory from God by making salvation a ritual performed by and dependent upon man. 

This "glory test" is usually a good test of the validity of doctrine.

You can read more about baptism and salvation here:

Monday, June 6, 2011

How to Take Over The World

A few weeks ago I was inspired. This inspiration led me to write the following. I'm sharing it now as an inspiration for you:

How to Take Over the World

Time: Saturday morning.  May 14 2011 10:32am.  
Location: Hamilton, New Zealand (Planet Earth)

Right now is when I decided to take over the world.

This seems like a laughable goal when the writer has already had to go back and correct three typos before reaching even 23 words of his master plan.  The truth is that I’m not sure at all of the details of my plan.  What I am sure of is my desire to cause a positive change, and my ability to use my creative potential to this end.  The only major unknown that I have no direct experience with is in scaling this up to include the entire world.  

Right now, I am buoyed up by a fresh confidence and mental focus that comes from a decade or more of wanting to see peoples’ lives improve.  This has created a foundation of behaviour and fertile soil for the seeds of a recent read, which has sparked these new heights of optimism that I feel at this moment.

Josh Waitzkin’s ‘The Art of Learning’ has blasted my mind and restored my confidence in making a difference in the world.  Set-backs are no longer negative, but instead provide cherished fuel for positive growth.  Far from the emptiness of blind optimism this, almost surreal feeling of reality in my decision for world domination, is a chance to combine rational processes to achieve concrete goals.

Recently, getting married and focusing on building a home life with wife, kids, and a dog, I had almost decided that the best way I could hope to cause positive change was by living this “classic” of lives perfectly.  This was in order to be the best example to the world that I could be.  A passive form of world domination, on a small scale, affecting those immediately around me.  

While this is a good and admirable goal, I am far from perfect, and will never be so golden in this life.  Others are better suited to having the “perfect” life.  I am better suited to being off balance and adapting myself.  I am good at applying principles, values, and foundational ideas to make decisions (sometimes instant) about how to deal with that off-balance-ness.  For years I have been building up a self-sufficiency, adaptability, and resilience to change that can cope with anything.  

Now it is time to put my experience into practice by seeking to improve the entire planet in a tangible and measurable way.

One thing I know, which will form the foundation of my strategies and actions, is that God is in complete control of everything which means that I have to first petition Him for success.  He not only wills everything to happen, both good and evil, but he maintains the energy that holds the physical universe together and which actively makes everything happen that will happen.  Knowing this, I have already accepted that I may fail and that this is a part of God’s plan (which is greater than my plan!).  On the other hand, if God has decided that I should succeed, then there is no stopping me.  Not even my by own foolishness, through regular typos, or because of the nastiest plans of even greater forces for evil within the universe.

So I pray like this:
Lord, for your glory, I ask that you would allow me to be a positive influence of change in the world.  The whole world.  Help me to improve peoples’ lives so that they can see what you have made possible for them in this life.  Give me all I need to accomplish this.  Amen.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Does God Whisper?

From comes their bi-monthly journal called "Solid Ground".

The most recent issue of Solid Ground has an article on hearing from God.  An excerpt to pique your interest:

"The keynote speaker’s list of spiritual qualifications was not lengthy. There were no references to his academic letters, theological acumen, skill at biblical living, or personal holiness. Instead, he was simply introduced as “a man who hears from God.” It was the ultimate sign of spiritual competency. The implication for the audience was clear. He listens to God; they should listen to him."

The article can be viewed in full here

"Stand to Reason" is an organisation that...
...equips Christian ambassadors with knowledge, wisdom, and character.  An effective ambassador has three essential skills: 

  1. Knowledge - an accurate grasp of the foundational precepts of the Kingdom
  2. Wisdom -  skillful, tactical, fair, and diplomatic use of knowledge
  3. Character - a mature expression of virtue, warmth, and personal depth
(taken from Stand to Reason's "about" page where you can also read more of their vision.

This is one of the top sites on the internet for any Christian.