A Passion for Prayer

Highly advanced aliens land on the earth for a visit. The first person they see is you. As a gesture of good will to mankind they offer you a simple device which can cure illness, change the attitude of people, bring harmony and peace to your country and relieve us from the burden of sin. They give it to you and leave it with you and in your hands.

What would you do with such a powerful and simple device?

  1. Sell it to the Guptas
  2. If you are a man – take it to pieces to see how it works.
  3. Keep it to yourself – a secret
  4. Hand it over to the United Nations or the president of your country
  5. Share it with everyone and anyone who wants it to the benefit of all

Imagine the power you hold in your hands? The ability to change things for better in the world. Especially when you know it works and you have seen it in action.

Now please can I ask all of you to hold your two hands together, palm to palm, fingers pointing upwards.

Amazing! You all own one of these devices. A direct line of prayer to the God who made heaven and earth.

Karl Barth  said – To clasp the hands in prayer is the beginning of an uprising against the disorder of this world.

There is so much to be passionate about in prayer because the results are there for us all to see. How many of you here today have witnessed or been involved in praying for something and God has provided?

Do you know how often God positively answers prayer?

Prayer is not just a church ritual to make us feel better. Prayer is raw power. Prayer is access to the Almighty God.

Your prayer can obtain what otherwise will be withheld. Prayer can accomplish what otherwise remains undone. Prayer can accomplish what a willing God can accomplish. How can you not be passionate in prayer?

James 5:13-15 (The Message) Believing-prayer will heal you, and Jesus will put you on your feet. And if you’ve sinned, you’ll be forgiven—healed inside and out.

I don’t know about you but the biggest danger in my life is a casual – far too casual – approach to my communication with God. There are times when I take it for granted or just casually say something to Him. Bordering on the irreverent and even the offensive.

Over the past 3 weeks we have talked about prayer and the necessity of a right attitude – maybe that should be a righteous attitude – when talking with God. A need for openness and reverence and sincerity and directness when kneeling before the Almighty God.

What we need to remember is the miracles that do follow prayer when God listens to us and our call to Him. Whilst the aliens landing and handing over a machine is a joke the power of prayer is not a joke. It is real and most of us – if not all of us – have been witnesses to or involved in prayer that has healed the sick, healed the broken-hearted, healed the hurting, healed the angry, healed the unforgiving, healed the unwise, healed the rifts splitting peace and harmony, healed personal issues and so I can go on ad infinitum.

What is the limit to the power of prayer?

Well – what is the limit to the power of God? A loving God willing and wanting to move closer to us.

I read a quote the other day which said “Don’t tell me the sky is the limit. There are footsteps on the moon”. Well now there are man-made vehicles on Mars and other far distant planets. What is the limit for man now?

Nowhere near the limits of God – if He has any at all. How can the God who created all of the heavens and earth be limited by anything? So why should your prayer in righteousness, in reverence, directly, openly and sincerely be any problem?

The Gospel reading today illustrates the point. Jesus instructed the disciples not to tell anyone else He was the Messiah. He told them to keep the secret because at this stage they did not understand what Jesus was really all about. Many thought He was a military commander come to rid Israel of its invaders. The danger was their lack of understanding of Jesus and who He is and what He came here to do.

Sometimes we fail to understand who Jesus Christ really is and His power on earth and in the heavens. Do we really appreciate what Jesus did on earth when He walked as a man? Jesus Christ is the Son of God. Jesus Christ can do anything – cure the sick, still the seas, feed the 5 000, change water into wine and so we can go on. Furthermore Jesus made us a promise that we can do anything He did – and even greater things – if we do it in His name.

Do you honestly believe that is true?

If we do not, how can we believe in the power of prayer?

If you really believe in the Word of God and believe He died and rose again from the dead – then what is the limit of your prayers? I do not believe there is a limit.

Do we really understand God’s Word – the Holy bible – and have we understood the contents? I am not talking about reading a chapter a day – or however many you read. I am talking about really understanding and believing in the Word of God.

If we do not really understand the Word of God, how can we believe in the power of prayer?

If we use God’s Word when we pray, when we prepare to pray and in our everyday lives then we grow in our knowledge and love of God. We learn the Truth. The Truth draws us into a closer relationship with the Holy Spirit and the light which is Jesus Christ. We need them both in our lives all the time.

R A Torrey was a prolific and powerful Christian author at the turn on of the 20th century. Here’s what he said……..

“We learn to abide in Christ by feeding upon His Word, His written Word as found in the bible, and looking to the Holy Spirit to plant these words in our hearts and to make them a living thing in our hearts.

If we then let the words of Christ abide in us, they will stir us up in prayer. They will be the mould in which our prayers are shaped” and then later on he says “Triumphant prayer is almost impossible where there is neglect of the study of the Word of God.”

He also describes the prayers of George Muller who would begin by reading and meditating upon God’s Word until, out of this study of the Bible, a prayer began to form itself in his heart. A prayer led by God and His Word. How powerful is that prayer when God Himself is the author.

I cannot conclude any better than using the words of Jesus Christ printed in

John 14:15-17 (The Message Bible)

The Spirit of Truth

“If you love me, show it by doing what I’ve told you. I will talk to the Father, and he’ll provide you another Friend so that you will always have someone with you. This Friend is the Spirit of Truth. The godless world can’t take him in because it doesn’t have eyes to see him, doesn’t know what to look for. But you know him already because he has been staying with you, and will even be in you!




Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on A Passion for Prayer

Man’s inhumanity

Why is it that today we attempt to isolate ourselves inside our culture, our skin colour, our way of living, our faith (or lack of it) our . . . . . . .   and so we can go on. What is it that stops us from accepting “others” or “them” as a part of our lives on this earth? Even as a part of this earth and God’s creations?

The results of this attitude can be seen daily on the news, in the media and general discussion. Hatred, bigotry, prejudice, racism, intolerance, chauvinism, bias, violence, superiority, arrogance, demands, narrow mindedness, lack of thought and so we can go on. Believe me I know about it because I have suffered these lousy attitudes in my life to a greater or lesser degree. Giving and receiving!

Is this because I am “only human” or because I am too absorbed in my personal god – me?

Is this because there is only one way to live – by my standards? Everyone else is wrong?

Is this because I do not accept the choice of “others” in the way they live their lives? They are misguided?

I am ashamed to say my answer to the questions is “yes”.

And I consider myself a Christian!

Genesis 1:27 (NKJV) So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

God created men and women in His own image. Yes they do have different roles to play but inequality is not part of God’s plan. Men and women are created equal – but not the same. The Word of God is silent on the superiority of one race over another, one sex over another, one culture over another or one anything over another. Except good over evil of course.

The Word does, however, say there is only one God.

And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil. Ephesians 4:26-27 Anger is often the result of hurt pride or jealousy.

Romans 12:9-10 (NLT). Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honouring each other.

The amazing part of my journey, the ups and the downs, is the fact God’s Word, so powerful and so filled with mental, emotional and spiritual sustenance, has not played a bigger part in my life. Perhaps it has not been allowed to play a bigger part! The Word tells me how to be free.

John 8:32. And you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. Once I am free in the Word I find joy and deep satisfaction in life.

Once again I am led to the faith I try to follow and believe. If I am a witness to the light and if I am showing “others” and “them” the light, am I not making this world a better place? Am I not helping to heal and restore? Am I not obedient to the commands of a God I proclaim to serve?

My God wants one thing and that is a loving and reverent relationship with me and you and “them” and the “others”. The more Jesus we have the less antipathy towards “them” and “others”.

Abraham Lincoln said “The strength of a nation lies in the homes of its people.”


Proverbs 22:6 (NKJV) Train up a child in the way he should go, And when he is old he will not depart from it.

Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on Man’s inhumanity

How is my faith

Jesus replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

The disciples of Jesus. O Ye of little faith? You have got to be joking! Right? The disciples –  ye of little faith?

Well what is faith? What do we mean when we talk about faith?

Many people refer to their church or belief as a ‘faith’. I belong to the Protestant faith or the Jewish faith. Jesus was not talking about that ‘faith’.

We do need to understand what faith is and what it is not.

If I wanted to borrow some money I am sure I could approach members of this congregation and ask them to lend me some for a while. No problem I presume with most of you?

Oh dear. Hmmmm.  I detect a strong lack of faith amongst you!

A lack of faith because you do not know me well enough. We-ell maybe you know me too well! The point is       (now you have finished insulting me) our faith (or lack of faith) in a person or company or situation is based upon our knowledge of them. Their behaviour, attitudes and other factors influence our ‘faith’ in them.

Do we have faith in our God? If our faith in God is lacking do you think it may be the result of our lack of intimacy and knowledge of God? Do we truly know Him? If God is a stranger to us it affects our belief in His Word and the promises He has made to us? Why is God a stranger to us?

There is one way of overcoming that and it is for us to spend more time with God and understand Him through His Word – the Bible.

Let me also confirm that faith is not belief without proof. Many cynics offer this definition for faith. All it does is reduce faith to ‘I believe despite what the evidence tells me’!

Faith is not belief without proof or belief despite the evidence. Faith is a complete trust and confidence in somebody or something. That trust and confidence is built up over a period of time as they (or it) prove themselves faithful to me over and over again.

In our daily lives, we don’t trust complete strangers. The more intimately we know someone and the more time we have had to see him “in action,” the more likely we are to believe and trust him.

In short the main reason we struggle with faith is that we don’t truly know the God in whom we profess to have faith. If God is essentially a stranger to us, we are unlikely to believe, really believe, what He has said in His Word.

We need to spend time in God’s Word getting to know Him. Quality time. Skim reading a few chapters every day is not spending time in God’s Word.

The biblical definition of faith can be found in Hebrews 11.1 Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

I think that is a lot deeper than shallow religious beliefs. Confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.

The Message tells us this way – The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle on what we can’t see.

As Christians we need to be constantly reminded of Jesus Christ and all He has done for us and even what our response should be to Him. In Romans 10:17 Paul says Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?”

The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to.

So faith comes from hearing, that is, hearing the Good News about Christ.

Our faith needs to be built on the solid preaching of the Word. The God breathed Word of the Holy Bible. Sadly, too many churches spend their time, energy, and resources on the creation of “programs” that neither feed the sheep nor draw a clear distinction between godliness and ungodliness.

: “And these words that I command you today shall be in your heart. You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise” (Deuteronomy 6:6–7). God knows that the spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak (Mark 14:38), and so He commands His people to be in constant remembrance of these things.

If we go onto the 6th verse of Hebrews 11 we find the following – 6 And without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.

The Message again – It’s impossible to please God apart from faith. And why? Because anyone who wants to approach God must believe both that he exists and that he cares enough to respond to those who seek him.

Without faith it is impossible to please God because faith is believing the Word of God and acting upon it, not responding to our perceptions. But it is God who responds to those who have faith in Him and believe His Word.

The problem is man has developed his own traditions and beliefs to replace the Word and the teachings of the Word no wonder our Lord Jesus Christ says (Luke 18:8).  However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”     How many will he find on the earth who have faith?”

God is the One responsible for calling us, but we are responsible for responding. Many seem to fail in that responsibility, “For many are called, but few are chosen” (Matt. 22:14). Why? Why do many fail?

There are many obstacles that can get in the way.

What causes a lack of faith? A lack of faith results from relying on human reasoning when a trial or difficulty arises. When a decision is made that is contrary to the express will of God, a lack of faith leads to disobedience. No human being is perfect. We all make mistakes and sometimes sin. There is a difference, however as true Christians do not habitually practice sin. After making a mistake and sinning, Christians repent and try to learn from the experience not to repeat the mistake.

So maybe next time you do something in faith, to the glory of God our Father you will earn the title Men of faith.

He knows disobedience to God represents a lack of faith and like the Israelites of old, disobedience is the result of unbelief. Unbelievers could not enter the Promised Land. Neither will they enter the Kingdom of God.

John 14:12 The person who trusts me will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things, because I, on my way to the Father, am giving you the same work to do that I’ve been doing. You can count on it. (The Message)

Jesus Christ, the Son of God, has promised you – you will not only do what I’m doing but even greater things. Even greater things. Wow!

So, who is a man of faith? He is a Christian who understands, believes and trusts in God’s Word. He respects God’s Law and obeys it to the best of his ability. With God’s help and by means of the Holy Spirit, he does not allow human reasoning and disobedience to cause him to disregard God’s Word.


(This is the talk I presented on the South Coast in July 2017)




Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, South Africa | Comments Off on How is my faith

Where is my focus

Joker Aced by the King is a Face book page advertising my book available on kindle. Also available on Takealot.


I meet them regularly and I am sure you do as well. The Grumpies. The Grumpies sole aim in life appears to be finding fault in others. They sit passing comments, criticise a youngster reading phone messages, parents whose child is behaving as all small children do and will, look aghast at fashion or look at who is talking to who (Again! Skande!), condemn modern social activity, any change, any attempt for growth and so on. They are totally removed from the beauty of life. Where is their joy? Where is their life?

Where is their focus? Where is your focus?

In a sporting environment the statement is made that so and so lost because they lost focus. Their concentration waivered from the task in front of them. As a result their performance waned and their opponents took advantage of this lapse.

In a Christian sense this is exactly the situation Satan hopes to achieve. We take our eye off the ball and as a result we negate our relationship with Jesus.

Sadly you see them in most if not every cycle of life and also, even more sadly, in church.

Matt Redman wrote a beautiful song about ‘The Heart of Worship’ where he says ‘it is all about You Lord. It is all about You.’ If you don’t appreciate the music of today how about God’s Word of yesterday, today and tomorrow.

John 4:24. God is spirit and His worshippers must worship Him in spirit and in truth.

Psalm 29:2. Honour the Lord for the Glory of His name. Worship the Lord in the splendour of His Holiness.

Calvin Coolidge is reported as saying “It is only when men begin to worship that they begin to grow.”

Perhaps somebody can explain to me the conundrum where people attend church as a believer aaand also as a Grumpie. Surely the two are not synonymous?

1 John 4:7  Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.

Is Christianity not about supporting each other in love? Guiding, helping, leading and showing each one of us the will of God and His way?

The Old Testament prophets Micah and Nehemiah were pretty straight talking and they laid it on the line telling us firstly “You are supposed to know right from wrong” and then following up with “Have the courage to say ‘What you are doing is wrong.’”

What example do you set in your community, in your church, in your home and to all those you meet every day?

We determine the values, the attitudes, the love and the manifestation of the Holy Spirit in our church. We determine the values and attitudes of our church in our personal attitudes and values. In turn the church influences the community. As the consequence of a positive environment everyone can grow, not only in values and attitudes, but in our acceptance and in our appreciation of the power of the Holy Spirit.

Surely the objective of a follower of Jesus is to be one with the Holy Spirit?

I challenge you when filled with the Holy Spirit and being one with Him to continue being a Grumpie.

Test me – go on.




Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk | Comments Off on Where is my focus

Love is

Mags and I spent a few short days with our beautiful grand-daughters (must be hereditary huh?) down the South Coast. Jordy’s photos looking stunning at her matric dance and Kaley and Tayne growing into attractive and really nice girls. Nice? Hate that word! They are all wonderful kids. Then suddenly thinking of the grand-sons in UK with Ross starting university at Leeds and Todd’s last school year(s?). Young men and women who spark pride in parental hearts.

Where has the time gone and why did I not spend more time with them? Probably because they didn’t want to but I remember making the same whines about my sons. Where? Why? When? I just wish I had . .  .  .  .  .  .

Thankfully Mags and I enjoy many happy memories but how sad to reflect on that awful phrase “If only”. Certainly depressing once it is too late. How often do we hear of regrets, sadness and heavy hearts because time was not spent with the ones we love – our family? The things of this world are allowed to cloud matters – our personal wants and desires are placed before our responsibilities and our loved ones.

Then suddenly it is too late. The circumstances may vary from leaving home, emigration, illness or even worse. The stark reality is some day it will all change and even end.

Do we leave our children and grand-children with enough desire to return and spend time with us – even a short time? Hopefully we have been lucky in achieving this goal and we are known as a close knit family.

What if we do not? Well the grumpy grandparents really do become grumpy and start feeling unloved, lonely and aimless. Life is sad. Family is distant.

The children can leave home without having felt that love and support to guide them and help them through their lives. The “absent” parent can create so many issues in the life of a child leading to social and psychological problems through their later years. Dysfunctional is another word.

When the absent parent is the result of one parent withholding child access to another parent then there is a likelihood of another problem. The child starts hating the “withholding” parent, at some stage, for removing somebody crucial from their lives. A sense of futility develops. The child could now suffer guilt and hatred and rejection and feeling incomplete. Again a very sad scenario. Is there a solution to all of this? You bet there is.

Let me tell you a true story about a young boy now a grumpy old man. A young boy from a broken home.

I was raised in a home by a loving mother and a step-father who was jealous of our relationship and basically ignored me. My mother was a devoted and devout Christian who tried to get me to Sunday School, Church, Confirmation and so on. In other words I was raised in a Christian household and religion played a role in my formative years. I attended church regularly. High school I went to a Church school which required me to attend around 7 hours of church, chapel or something religious every week. When I reached matric I considered myself religious and found myself singing in choirs (you better believe it), a server in the city’s cathedral and the school chapel, reading the lesson and generally participating in religion and religious celebrations. In Standard nine I could just about repeat the whole of the evening service and communion service verbatim from the prayer book. I knew my services backwards. I was religious.

When I left school I also left the church. In fact my wife and I agreed to become Methodists (kind of middle of the road concession to each other) so that our sons could be baptised, attend Sunday School, be confirmed, attend church and so on and so forth. Actually I became a holiday Christian – I only attended church at Easter, Christmas, baptisms, weddings and funerals.

Was I happy? Yeah – kinda. I was playing sport on a Sunday morning anyway. Going to church was for the wife and kids. Religion after all is a female thing isn’t it.

Then my life changed quite dramatically. I was diagnosed with leukaemia. An aggressive leukaemia. I found myself hospitalised regularly every week or fortnight in an effort to top up my blood supplies (sometimes 3 or 4 pints of blood a week). At the same time I also required chemo, hospitalisation and specialist visits on a regular basis and all the time that little hole in the pit of my stomach suddenly became more than just a little hole. I didn’t know much but I knew I was lost.

I was frightened. I started to think about more than my selfish life. What happens when you die? What if the bible is true? What if there is a heaven – and that other place? What if what if. People were praying for me to be cured. People I had never seen or met or even asked for their help. I was more than touched.

You know what – their prayers worked. I have been free of leukaemia now for some years. But that didn’t make me a Christian – I was still religious …… but…… a Christian? I didn’t know much but I knew I needed help.

Then I was invited on an Alpha course. I was told Alpha would help me to answer some of my questions. During the Alpha week end I found Jesus Christ. It wasn’t a “wow” experience, an all fall down for me but more a gradual movement towards our Lord. I was amazed at how good I felt. How peaceful I was and ….. I didn’t change much at first outwardly but something profound did change inwardly. I changed gradually inwardly. My friends didn’t notice immediately. I still did some of the things I did before, but I now sensed guilt and felt the need to know God better. I wanted to change. I wanted to know God better. I wanted to be a better man.

The word regeneration describes my change from old to new. An inner re-creating by God’s gracious action and the Holy Spirit. Regeneration is a radical change. Just as our physical birth resulted in a new individual entering the earthly realm, our spiritual birth results in a new person entering the heavenly realm (Ephesians 2:6).

Allowing Jesus Christ to change me into a new person is the single most important step I have ever taken in my life. I recommend it.

If you are blessed with children there is no doubt the grace and love of our Saviour will be the most peaceful, loving and awesome experience you can give your children. The benefits are enormous.

Try it.





Posted in Christ, Christian, Christianity, Durban Talk, Fathers | Comments Off on Love is

Bad language is a growing problem

“The good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and the evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For out of the overflow of his heart his mouth speaks” (Luke 6:45).

This is a problem in my life today. In fact if I want to stand up as a follower of Jesus it is a huge problem in my life. Let me hasten to add my sledging on the cricket field (and even the golf course) are things of the past. Sadly there is still a lingering addiction which surfaces from time to time. I am not proud of it. In my mind it proves a lack of vocabulary, an inability to articulate clearly, a communication deficiency and an absence of self-control.

I do restrict most of these aberrations to verbal as mouth often beats brain to the punch.

There is little or no excuse for foul, disgusting and filthy language when writing. Particularly on social media.

The only real excuse may be if your education, home life or environment was (maybe still ‘is’) lacking.

Jesus explained that what comes out of our mouths is that which fills our hearts. Sooner or later, the evil in the heart comes out through the mouth in curses and swearing. Our speech will always indicate what is in our hearts.

Matthew 15:11, Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man; but what comes out of the mouth, this defiles a man.

Interestingly I have doubts many of the ‘print cursers’ would repeat their words or their crude views in any form of polite company. Obviously if they will (or do) the question remains over their definition of polite company.

The Bible is clear. Swearing and profanity is a sin. If I am pushing towards a reward through Him then I have to accept I am a sinner and I need to change. Religion tells me God will love me if I change. The gospel tells me God’s love changes me. In my case the proof of that pudding is in the eating.

Philippians 3:12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it, but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.

Sin is a reflection of my inner being. My heart. My ‘inner man’ reflects what is inside me and provides evidence of that corruption or pollution in my every day words and actions and thoughts and writing.

As a follower of Jesus Christ I need to repent and place my faith in the hands of Jesus who gave His life so that I may be saved.

Romans 12:2. Don’t copy the behaviour and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.

Easy huh?

Nope! It’s not. Changing a lifetime of behaviour patterns requires discipline, will-power and courage. Plus a large slice of faith in His ability to help you change.


Posted in Christian, Durban Talk | Comments Off on Bad language is a growing problem

Fathers and men

I was privileged on Father’s Day to share my message with the local church. I have taken the liberty of sharing just some of my thoughts from the day.

Men were created by God to be spiritual and social leaders. The question we need to answer is have men and society fulfilled their obligation – their responsibility – towards women and children? As leaders?

Today we live in a world where single parenting is normal rather than exceptional.

We live in a world where women have been neglected to find their own way.

We live in a society where abuse and violence towards women and children is commonplace.

We live in a society where women have been forced to protect themselves through forming activist groups, 16 days of abuse for example. This resulted in the women’s liberation movement – perhaps better remembered for burning their bras.

So where are the real men of this world? And I am not talking about macho men. Most macho men are still little boys and furthermore those males who bully or abuse are not men.

Quite honestly the issue of male domination reflects a personal moral failure and is not a teaching from the Word of God.

Where are the good Christian men, leaders who stand up for what is right, what is good and who guide their families spiritually and in society?

The Old Testament prophets Micah and Nehemiah were pretty straight talking and laid it on the line telling us “You are supposed to know right from wrong” and then have the courage to say “What you are doing is wrong.”

Do our leaders reflect the standards and the courage to do this? Sadly my answer is not always.

Whilst this is father’s day discussing the family it is not just about mom and dad and kids and gramps and cousins and aunts and uncles – BUT – most importantly – it is the family of Christ. The church. This is also a family where values start and spread to all we meet. The family leader is the example, the role model, whom other family members will adopt and follow in the future.

Who is that leader? You are. You are the leader. You determine the values – the family’s values. You determine the values and attitudes of this church.

Surely the objective of a servant leader is to protect and look after his people.

Trust is the life stream on which vulnerability, caring, commitment and grace flow between family members. Trust pours first out the servant heart. The heart which is committed to serve and support others, through keeping promises, through encouragement, in always being there to support and build, through expressing appreciation, towards repentance and reconciliation and restoration.

Here’s another question a leader needs to answer.  “Who am I”?

Why did the all-powerful God who made the heavens and the earth put us here? Until we answer that question, until we establish God’s will for us and what He expects of us we cannot answer the question. The issue “who am I” remains unanswered. We remain unfulfilled. So who do I use as my role model?

Jesus Christ came to this world with one intention and that was to please God. His Father.

Does anyone believe we have been placed here for any other reason? We are here to please God our Father.

Jesus told us in Luke 10:27 “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’” That is repeated 3 times in the Holy Bible. We repeat it every Sunday.

Now we can really start soul searching.

We have been called by Jesus Christ to enjoy a special relationship with Him. We tell everyone we have accepted Jesus Christ into our lives. How do we reflect this special relationship in our daily life?

Do we recognise this love in our life? More importantly do other people recognise this love in our life?

God promises us an opportunity to share His infinite wisdom. His plan to live in harmony. His promise of eternal life.

How do we participate in this mind-boggling offer?  Do we participate?

Finally let me go back to the husband and father scene. What does God expect of a man?

He expects man to protect his family and to provide for his family.

The man as the protector.

1 Peter 3:7 “Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honour to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”   So that your prayers may not be hindered

Your marriage relationship (both wife and church) has a huge influence on your whole life. Not only is it protection for the family but is a witness to many others in how you live your life, how you treat others, how you speak to others and how you respect the views and opinions of other people. A sound marriage built on the principles of Jesus Christ is a foundation for a family to build upon and grow.

The Christian Husband as the provider.

1 Timothy 5:8 “Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.”

Probably the most direct and non-optional directive given to the husband on the behalf of making provisions for those of his household. The word makes it very clear regarding the man that would refuse to do this (refuse – as opposed to unable or incapable for other reasons). That man has denied the faith and is worse than an infidel.

Remembering that family includes the church.

So yes I do believe this world is in a bad state and I do believe this world needs strong leaders to lift it up so that the love of God is evident in what we say, so that the love of God is evident in what we do, so that the love of God is evident in what we think and most certainly so that the love of God is evident in our attitudes and acceptance of each other.

But then, after all, this is exactly what God tells us to do in the Bible. Isn’t it?

Perhaps we need to reach for the manual of life, the Word of God, more often. Even share it with our family.

Posted in Christian, Durban Talk | Comments Off on Fathers and men

The joy of life

The joy of life is living it and doing things of worth,

In making bright and fruitful all the barren spots of earth.

In facing odds and mastering them and rising from defeat,

And making true what once was false, and what was bitter, sweet.

For only he knows perfect joy whose little bit of soil
Is richer ground than what it was when he began to toil.



How true. We tend to focus on negative thoughts and things without looking at how we overcome odds, our achievements, successes, how we are improving and building and encouraging and motivating ourselves and others. We miss so much when we forget just how awesome is this person God has made and exactly what God gave us the power to achieve. We are awesome creatures. We are God’s creation. His children.

Ephesians 5:4. Obscene stories, foolish talk and coarse jokes – these are not for you. Instead let there be thankfulness to God.

How do you view those things the Bible calls sin, such as gossip, flattery, profanity, lying and cheating? If you don’t see these as sins, you must face up to the fact that your values differ from God’s.

The uncomplicated joy of living in the Kingdom of God is so full of benefits and love you begin to wonder why everybody is not seeking it. Perhaps one of the reasons is we complicate the love of God and living in the Kingdom to such a degree we cannot understand it anymore. God forbid we can now explain it to anyone else. The love of God is simple and straight forward. We don’t understand it for any number of reasons. Maybe we do not want to, or we are not in the Kingdom for a number of reasons or we are oblivious to the teachings of Jesus.

Luke 17:20-21 (NKJV) Now when He was asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, He answered them and said, “The kingdom of God does not come with observation;  nor will they say, ‘See here!’ or ‘See there!’ For indeed, the kingdom of God is within you.”

Gospel of Thomas 3 Jesus said, “Those who lead you say, “See, the Kingdom is in the sky…” …Rather, the Kingdom is inside of you and it is outside of you.

Luke 13:18-19.  Then He said, “What is the kingdom of God like? And to what shall I compare it? It is like a mustard seed, which a man took and put in his garden; and it grew and became a large tree, and the birds of the air nested in its branches.”

1 Cor 4:20 The Kingdom of God is not based on talk, but power.


this web-site provided a lot of thought and ideas.

Solution? Very easy – Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.

In other words number one on your list has to be seeking the Kingdom. If it is not, life will be difficult. We cannot serve more than one god and if your concentration is not on Him – sorry for you!

Where is God’s dwelling place? God dwells in His Kingdom. Where is God’s Kingdom? God’s Kingdom is among us. When is God’s Kingdom coming? It is here now for all who have eyes to see it.

In short the Kingdom of God is in all of us and fills us. We need to seek a strong relationship with Him to advance in His power, love and grace. Nothing complicated about it at all. Just work at it – like you do with any relationship you want to flourish and grow.

One thing I do promise you – is peace and love and finding yourself with God. Nothing on earth beats that. Nothing in heaven either.

Posted in Christian, Durban Talk | Comments Off on The joy of life

Why am I a Christian?

Why am I a Christian? What does it mean “I am a Christian”? Is it important?

The reason I ask the question is because over the past few weeks (social media and public places) I have seen or heard a number of atheists building themselves up into quite a frenzy because of the faith of others. Non-belief I can understand. Been there – done that. What does amaze me is the pure vitriol that flows from these sources.

One would think that anything so insignificant to them hardly deserves the frothy sometimes crude responses.

People ask me why I do not present any counter argument. The truth is I would be wasting my time talking to people who do not want to listen. Nobody has ever been converted to Christianity through losing an argument. I do not involve myself in arguments over faith particularly other people’s faith or lack of faith. That is a matter between them and God.

So I thought rather examine why I am a Christian. The answer is, in simplest terms, because I was called by God. In the space of moments – literally – I went from a cynical agnostic to being filled and enveloped by the most wonderful and loving sensation to which I have ever been subjected. I was filled by the Holy Spirit.

I cannot explain it and I cannot expect non-believers to accept what happened. Until you have been filled with the Spirit of God you will not know the compassion, the joy, the peace and the love in your life.

What does it mean “I am a Christian”? In my case it means I love Jesus Christ and I know with conviction that He loves me. It means I want to build my relationship with Him and serve Him according to His will. It means I want my life to be a witness for Him.

Is it important? Hell yes! I have never in my entire life been involved in any relationship which has built me up and made me a better man, husband and father so much as loving Jesus.

Here is a testimony I made early in my faith which tells it as it is and was for me.

I was always angry or depressed, lashing out at a world I believed owed me a life.

Cynicism isolated me from real people.

When I found Jesus Christ I started on a journey with Him in which He has helped me to build a relationship with Him, to find peace, to find joy and to find my wife and children.

God called me to minister to men and in the process He gave me insight into my life.

He has used me to help others.

I am amazed how much fulfilment there is in serving God.


Obviously, because I am a human being, I wander off the chosen path more often than I wish. I do and say things which I regret. I am horrified when my faith is used, abused or convicted by others for their own personal greed or ego or whatever.

Do I believe in prayer and in particular, do I believe in the power of prayer? Without any shadow of a doubt. I have been involved far too often and witnessed even more often the power of prayer in changing and healing and helping others.

Do I find comfort in the Bible? Absolutely! I believe the Bible is God inspired and I do find it inspires me, helps me, guides me, leads me, challenges me and holds me when I read it.

So I can only say to the nay-sayers I am so sorry you do not want some of what I have. I am so sorry your life is consumed by a need to attack a faith which brings so much to so many in this world. I am so sorry you do not understand the depth and compassion of this love. I am so sorry you do not believe.

I ask all Christians to pray for you and to draw you closer to Him.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonour others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.

(1 Corinthians 13:4-8)


Give to every other human being every right that you claim yourself.  Robert Ingersoll


“I would rather live my life as if there is a god and die to find out there isn’t, than live my life as if there isn’t and die to find out there is.”  ― Albert Camus


Posted in Christian | Comments Off on Why am I a Christian?

Leaders as men

Some two years ago I wrote a blog on issues with fathers as parents. Today the problem is as bad as it ever was and is illustrated by male attitudes and abuse. No man would ever stoop down to those levels.

I think the words need repeating.

The saying goes that a man who wants to make this world a better place should start by improving himself and his attitudes. Now ain’t that the truth.

We spend so much time criticizing others we sometimes forget to look in the mirror and reflect on a few home truths. A perfect world methinks is made up of people who want to improve themselves and are honest with themselves. As opposed to trying to make people do their bidding, follow their creed or believe their lies for personal reasons. Manipulation is probably the word.

The thought then struck me (thinking does hit me occasionally!) how much better this world could be if leaders (and most importantly fathers) actively sought improvement.

Is that not the problem in our world today? Too many fathers have abdicated their responsibility, capitulated to feminism, given in to greed and indulged in selfish activities. Then they wondered, why the mess in this world? Is the mess not, in part, a direct result of fathers spending more time in the pub or sports field or their own selfish pursuits than they do in leading and developing their family – and their children in particular?

Imagine your child coming to you and asking what are the four most important rules/values in your family? Do you have any? What do you say?

The scary bit is how do you measure up against those values?

Fairly obviously we need to establish and live by these rules if they are to be of any consequence. However, whilst I accept leaders can be born and not made, there are 3 qualities I suggest any sound leader (and fathers are leaders) will promote and abide by daily. Abide in daily? Whatever! Just do it!

Firstly, I always recognise a great leader through their ability to inspire and excite followers. In other words they clear away constraints and blocks. They build natural energy which is channelled into creativity and initiative.

I also believe leaders build positive optimism and move away from negativity. In this way helping to remove doubt and insecurity.

Finally (and perhaps most importantly) good leaders have integrity. They are honest not only with themselves but also with their followers. Honesty, in itself, requires one to be fair. It demands we treat all people equally. It also suggests to me a measure of forthrightness and candid behaviour which encompasses all the above points.

The tragedy of many leadership “styles” is the fact they ignore what impact they have on the lives of others. It ignores the negativity and unhappiness our actions (or lack) have on those who believe in us, follow us or love us. Tragically it leads to diminished or even loss of trust. Something which is so difficult to earn at the best of times.

“Finally people of integrity are people of honour and other people simply prefer dealing with people of honour because they value the principle of trust. John Adair, one of the foremost thinkers on leadership, commented integrity is moral soundness or excellence: the undeviating adherence to truth and a code of values. Integrity implies trustworthiness and incorruptibility to a degree that one is incapable of being false to a trust, responsibility or pledge.”

The question is, will the application of these fundamentals in my life guide my children towards being better people?

Then again will the application of these fundamentals in my life, whatever and whoever I am, make me a better person?

When I was a young man, I wanted to change the world.

I found it was difficult to change the world, so I tried to change my nation.

When I found I couldn’t change the nation, I began to focus on my town. I couldn’t change the town and as an older man, I tried to change my family.

Now, as an old man, I realize the only thing I can change is myself, and suddenly I realize that if long ago I had changed myself, I could have made an impact on my family. My family and I could have made an impact on our town. Their impact could have changed the nation and I could indeed have changed the world.

Author: Unknown Monk 1100 A.D.

Posted in Christian, Durban Talk | Comments Off on Leaders as men