The Essential Keys to Forgiveness

LIBERATION DU CAMP DE CONCENTRATION DE RAVENSBRUCK 1945Corrie Ten Boom famously spent the last year of the war in the Ravensbruck concentration camp for women after her family was caught hiding Jews in their home. She lost her father shortly after their arrest and her sister died in the camp. Following a speaking engagement in 1947, she was approached by a former guard whom she recognised. He asked for the very forgiveness he had just heard her speaking about, having now become a Christian. Continue reading

4 Keys to Building Trust with People

Ross-Group-consider-a-trust-to-protect-your-assetsWe can never judge people unless we’ve walked a mile in their shoes, says an old proverb, but people will rarely let us see what that mile truly looks like for them. People seldom fully open their hearts to us when they share opinions and frustrations. Maybe they shouldn’t have to. Sometimes they will hide an inner world of experiences and expectations that are only flushed out by new encounters which press certain buttons. Other times, a dark and silent world of pain continues to be suppressed beneath a veneer of apparent pleasantry and patience. Assuming enough relationship and care exists to seek growth and change for the better, how do we help others to feel safer with us? How do we help them to venture enough trust to elicit the deeper conversations that are often important to have? Such skills can often aid teams, individuals, marriages and parenting, even though we can’t always assume rights to open up all things with all people. Here are a few important tips that can help, though. Continue reading

Three Vital Insights from a Powerhouse Event

AS1More than just reading history, I love learning from it. For example, some great lessons are gained from a church in Los Angeles which, in 1906, birthed an explosion of revival that dispersed leaders and missionaries all over the world. Some of these have come from my reflections on Cecil Robeck’s Azusa Street Mission and Revival (and the accompanying photo came from my recent trip to the site). The Azusa Street Mission was led by an African-American, William Seymour, in times of deep racial prejudice but provided more lessons than those of revolutionary social equality for contemporary Christian worship. Here are just three crucial insights that still speak volumes today. Continue reading

A Simple Five-Step Guide for Helping People

name-abcdeVery few people have training in counselling, but we can all “bear one another’s burdens” (Galatians 6:2). This involves helping others to shape healthy thought patterns, especially when we see what they don’t. Of course, Romans 12:1-2 encourages transformation through the renewing of the mind, which must often be cleansed from wrong thinking. Confrontation with biblical truth often prompts ownership of attitudes and actions, but it also needs a willingness to address them. This might seem unnecessary where we have blind spots informed by our past. But a simple and time-honoured technique can help break intractable situations open and steer a biblically sound reframing of unhealthy thinking. Continue reading

Unbroken

ZamperiniLouis Zamperini’s life has been commemorated in the recent movie Unbroken (spoiler alert!) It showcases his brutal treatment at the hands of the Japanese in the Second World War, after more than a month lost at sea buffeted by sharks and the elements. Although the movie seems to be a very accurate portrayal, it barely addresses Zamperini’s later life in which his forgiveness led him to share his story of redemption and then see people come to Christ. Continue reading

Jim Elliot

Jim ElliotJim Elliot and his companions’ death almost sixty years ago in Ecuador serves as an inspiring testimony of a surrendered life. Memories of the sacrifice of Jesus at Easter or of our war dead at ANZAC Day similarly remind us that, “greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends” (John 15:13). Elliot laid his down for people he was compelled to reach with love, a native tribe known to have already killed others, people nevertheless created in the image of God, some of whom ultimately turned to Him. Continue reading

The ‘Doolittler’ who did Much

Doolittle_raidOne of the pilots of the famous Doolittle raid in which Tokyo was bombed in 1942 was captured, imprisoned and tortured. Despite nearly dying several times, Jacob De Shazer’s life was changed when he read the Bible after having waited six months for it to be shared around by his fellow inmates. His inspiring story stands as a testimony to the power of forgiveness. Continue reading

BCC

keyboardThe ‘Blind Carbon Copy’ option in emails seems like a handy feature of messaging, where you can send to people without others seeing that this has been done. It has its place, but can also create problems worth us looking at, given how much communication happens electronically when so much of it is the source of conflict. Here are a few of my pros and cons. Continue reading

‘The Wacko of Waco’

cb_compound_burning_jt_130225_wblogAt risk of dignifying the mad exploits of former cult leader, David Koresh (sometimes dubbed ‘the Wacko of Waco’), a brief look at the Branch Davidian sect’s standoff at their “Mount Carmel” compound near Waco in Texas in 1993 serves to warn against the corrupting influence of destructive power that can turn minorities into dangerous influences. Continue reading