Monthly Archives: October 2008

The Seriousness of a Funny Man

Wisdom is a constant questioning of where you are. And when you stop wanting to know, you’re dead. You’re walking, but you’re dead. – Billy Connolly

Today I came across this quote from comedian Billy Connolly. It was part of an exhibition of photos taken by award winning photographer Andrew Zuckerman. Zuckerman traveled the world to photograph iconic elders and ask them what it means to be wise. There are quite a few interesting quotes but this one stood out as one that applies to my life, right here, right now.

If you are a regular reader of my blog you know that I like to ask the question ‘why’. I believe that we need to ask ‘why’ in order to keep growing and making a difference with our lives. This quote sums it up nicely… if we stop asking ourselves why we do what we do and become complacent with where we are, then we’re as good as dead. I’m not advocating that we need to change things for the sake of change, more so that we need to know why we do, say and believe what we hold to. In doing so we have a better understanding of where we are and where we want to be, giving us direction and purpose.

What about you? Do you agree/disagree with Billy’s comment?

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Filed under God Stuff, Life Coaching, Random

Extreme Makeover of the Heart

One of my favourite shows on TV at the moment is a reality show called Extreme Makeover Home Edition. On this show the team travel around the United States totally rebuilding the homes of people who most deserve it. The standard prerequisite is that these families have it tough, but despite their circumstances they are making a huge difference in the communities where they live. For example there was a lady who adopted 8 children all with physical disabilities, a family whose home had no running water or working bathroom despite being in a relatively wealthy neighbourhood, and a mother with 4 boys who had escaped domestic violence only to buy a home, that past inspection mind you, but was riddled with termites and was unsafe to live in. This show is all about changing people’s lives, about giving them a fresh start, a new beginning.

Now I’m not talking a splash of paint here and a new couch there, I’m talking an entire new home in only 7 days!The family are sent on a holiday somewhere nice while the team, assisted by at least 300 volunteers from the community demolish the existing house and build a brand new fully furnished home and usually throw in a new car and pay off the mortgage! The designers take the time to get to know each family member and design bedrooms that they will love, they make it their job to make each person feel extra special.

Yesterday’s show made something click in my brain, a light went on and I had a new understanding. The family they were helping lived in Hawaii, not the tourist Hawaii but, I suspect, the real Hawaii. This family of six lived in a tiny house that was on the verge of collapsing into the river that ran next to it. Floods had washed away parts of the foundations but they had no where else to live. What was so amazing about this family is that the mother, Momi, despite her own situation, has helped over 9000 families on her island who were needy. Momi runs programs in a community center to assist those that have it rough, in fact this program helped her and when it closed due to lack of funds she took it on using her own welfare payments to keep it going… a-mazing! The team not only built them a brand new house on a new, stable site but they built them a brand new community centre so Momi could continue the work she does. 3000 people came out to help this project 3000!!

I was ashamed watching that show yesterday. As a Christian God is calling me and all other Christians to be His hands, feet and voice to the community we live in. We are called to help those less fortunate than ourselves, to reach out to those in need, to love the unlovable, meet the needs of the homeless, hungry, needy. This lady was doing an amazing job but it made me think… Why is the Church today so reluctant to look beyond itself and its own needs and reach out as God has commanded? Where are the community help programs, the food vans, clothing drives, working bees being run by the Church for the community? Why do we leave it all to ‘organisations’ like the Salvation Army or The Smith Family, or to the Government to provide these services? Shouldn’t we be part of this?

I then needed to shift the focus to a more personal level. It’s to easy to blame ‘the church’ for not doing a good enough job, the really tough question is ‘what am I doing to be God’s hands and feet in my community?’ That’s a tough question to ask yourself, but its necessary. If each individual is asking that question, is taking responsibility for their own contribution (and not relying on ‘the church’ to do it for them) we will see our community change.

I can’t help but watch Extreme Makeover Home Edition with tears in my eyes as I see the gratitude and the thankfulness from those that have a new start. The difference made in their lives is indescribable. My tears are tears of joy, but also tears of sadness. These families have a fresh start and a new life, but I cant help but wonder how much more their lives would change if Jesus were added to the mix. A new physical life is great, but a new spiritual life is even better.

Why are we so afraid to help those in need in our communities? Surely we must follow God’s lead by meeting their physical needs and introducing them to Jesus? What am I going to do to make a difference?

What do you do to make a difference in your community?

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Filed under About Me, Family, God Stuff, Worship

“How To” Guide – Introduction

Following on from my previous post I thought it would be a good idea to give a little how-to series. I hope over the next few weeks to post some useful tips and ideas to help you identify what’s important and help you to achieve your goals, whatever they may be.

Previously we looked at the “busy-ness = value” myth and how so many of us believe that being busy means we must be getting it right and adding value to our lives/work/whatever. We saw that value (defined as making a worthwhile contribution or a feeling of self worth and satisfaction in ourselves/our achievements) is really found when we define what is important to us and we move along a path that will enable us to achieve the important.

So how do we know what’s important and what’s simply urgent? How do we tell the difference and how do we pursue importance over urgent? We need to remember here that this process is the sum of its parts. There are certain steps we need to take and each step contributes to the whole. It’s not a linear process as such, “do step 1, then step 2 and presto I’ve got it all down”. This is life coaching and as the name suggests it’s about our lives which means it’s an ongoing process – one that is definitely worth pursuing!

There are 4 key elements in defining the important vs. the urgent. Each element is worthy of its own post so my intention is to wet your appetite with a brief overview and to delve into the details in the coming posts.

Element 1: Vision

You may have heard these sayings: “without a vision the people perish” and “aim at nothing and you’ll hit it every time with great accuracy”. Both of these are true when it comes to achieving in our lives. If we want to get anywhere, achieve anything at all we first need to define what it is we want, we need the bigger picture, we need a Vision. Vision is our starting point. In the words of the famous Dr King “I have a dream…” What’s your dream, your vision?

Element 2: Goals

A vision is a fantastic thing to have, but without goals it’s pretty much useless. Goals are the tangible steps we are going to take to help us achieve our vision. A vision is a big picture; it can often seem so huge that we have no idea how we are ever going to achieve it. Enter Goals. By defining tangible, achievable goals we are able to divide that huge vision into smaller achievable steps… and by ticking them off as we meet them; we are encouraged as we see ourselves getting closer and closer to our vision

Element 3: Evaluation

We have a vision and we have goals, now we need to evaluate our progress. We need to see if we are on the right track, that the goals we set to get us to our vision are in fact taking us in that direction. Evaluation helps us to refocus on where we are heading and what is the best path to getting there. Life changes, circumstances change, evaluation helps us to ride out the changes, the ups and downs, and stay on track.

Element 4: Accountability

Probably the most important element of all. Its tough doing anything on our own, we need someone who is going to push us and keep us true to our vision. Accountability is a key element in following the important over the urgent, in achieving our vision. We need someone – a third party, someone we trust – to help keep us on track.

I hope this has inspired you to think about what you want to achieve from life! Maybe you are already starting to see those visions of where you want to be and what you want to achieve… I encourage you to keep coming back and read the following posts over the next few weeks… I promise you they will be worth it!

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Filed under About Me, God Stuff, Life Coaching