Chase your purpose

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Sometimes there’s a difference in what we are doing now and what we are passionate about. We feel as if our purpose is going unfulfilled because we are not in the immediate position to pursue it. Here’s the thing… life happens, and we don’t really have a choice but to pay the bills and to make sure we don’t starve and so often, our desires and dreams and purpose are often things that require money and don’t generate it.

Our world is one of materialism and even if money doesn’t rule your world, it certainly rules the world. Because they haven’t yet found another inhabitable planet, we don’t have a choice but to live on earth and be affected by it’s way of doing things.

So, here we are, on earth, with a burning passion to make a difference and to see change, but we are slogging away in our jobs. Too tired to do anything when we get home. Really wanting to, but just can’t. Don’t be too hard on yourself but also be careful of not allowing your dreams and passion to disappear. If you want it, you have to make some sacrifices and work for it. But while you are working towards it, you also need to do what you are doing at this moment in time, to prepare the way for what’s to come.

I am currently teaching and enjoy it, but my calling is to be in outreach ministry and that’s what I am working towards. But for now, I need to provide for my family and pay the bills and make enough money to start the coffee – outreach ministry that God has laid on my heart. It’s a time when God teaches us patience, but also a time during which Satan will try to convince you that you need to stay where you are and not pursue your calling. Practise patience, but also don’t accept procrastination. Follow your passion as soon as you can because that’s what gives your life meaning.

 

Wrong is never Right!

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Since when did chaos become order? Why has doing the wrong thing become cool? I feel like I’m living in an upside-down world where society accepts things that should never be the norm.

It has become “nerdy” to do the right thing and to stand up for morals and principles. Because when a person does that, you might just be offending someone. Here’s a question: Why can the world say what they want about Christianity, Islam, Judaism etc. but believers of those faiths are not allowed to say what they believe.

Here’s the thing – I am a Christian and I will never deny that. I believe that Jesus died for me and that He has made a way for me to live a life that is free and awesome. I believe what the Bible says, and I stand on that. But what I take most seriously from the Bible is Jesus talking about a new commandment (which is actually based on the “old” ten commandments). He tells us to love Him and to love every person. If you look at the “old” commandments you might realise that all 10 of them either talk about doing things that show that you love God or doing things that show that you love others.

And I take what Jesus is asking me to do, seriously. I love Him with all my heart because He is awesome, because He loved me way before I was even interested in Him, and because He gave His life so that I might live. I take what Jesus is asking me to do seriously. I treat all people with respect and dignity and I love everybody whether they are Christian, Atheist, Hindu, Muslim or anything else. You see, it is easy to love and accept those who think and believe the same as you. The real challenge comes in when that love needs to extend to people who believe differently. I respect people’s viewpoints and love them.

But why is it that I am not respected for what I believe. Why is it that I am not allowed to speak up when I am offended by hatred, vulgarity and injustice? Is it too much to ask to be treated the way I treat others? Can anybody argue that good manners is wrong? Can anybody prove to me that treating people with respect is bad? Can anyone deny that ethics and values are upbuilding.

The direction the world is taking is neither beneficial nor lasting. If we continue on this road of selfishness and arrogance, we are heading for self-destruction. It’s time to love one another, respect one another and treat one another with dignity. We need to look for the things that bring us together, instead of digging up the things that tear us apart. With more love and understanding we will achieve so much more as a human race.

Wrong is never right no matter what spin you put on it! Let’s do the right thing, stand up for the right thing and be the “ointment” for a ‘ripped apart” society.

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In a fast-paced world, everything must happen now. When we wait longer than 5 minutes for our fast food, we complain. When we are stuck in a traffic jam, we complain. When we don’t get what we want… now… we compromise and choose something else. Patience has disappeared off the radar.

In the past, patience and hard work were expected. Today these principles need to be “retaught”.  The thing about working towards a goal is that it prepares you, it makes you appreciate your eventual achievement, and it keeps you grounded. Years ago when I wanted to study at university, there just wasn’t the available finances to make it possible. I ended up studying for a year and working for a year. After 6 years, I completed my degree and I don’t think there was anyone at graduation that could have been prouder. Today, 25 years and another degree later, I still realise the benefit of hard work and patience.

When you really want something and you set it as a goal, don’t give up just because everything doesn’t fall into place on the way. Grit your teeth, roll up your sleeves and work as hard as you need to, to turn your dreams into a reality. If you want to be a leader in your field of interest, you need to be working when everyone else is going to bed. And you need to be up, when everyone else is pressing the snooze button.

What you are willing to sacrifice in order to make your dreams a reality, is determined by how bad you want it. Passion leads to purpose. Pursue your passion and and live your purpose!

 

 

 

What really counts!

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Someone once said that the 2 greatest days in any person’s life is the day they are born and the day they find out why! Those are certainly 2 very important days, but I would like to suggest that the most important day in your life is when you actually start doing what you were born to do.

God created every single person on the face of this earth differently and He did that for a reason. You are who you are for a reason. There is no other person amongst the 8 billion people alive, quite like you. Nobody with your exact gifts and potential. You are essential and an integral part of His creation. People might have humiliated you so often that you have started to believe that you are worthless and that you don’t matter. I might not know you and I might not know what your circumstances are but I know you are precious and very, very important. I know that because My Father says so. And even if you don’t know My Father, He knows you and He loves you in spite of what you might or might not believe. You have something to offer that the world needs. You have something to share that can change and save the life of someone.

You see, only when we stop trying to find approval from the world and we realise that God says “I can”, only then will we really be bold enough to attempt crazy things that will change the world and make it a better place. Only when we start experiencing the same compassion and love that Jesus has for us, will we start to realise that the thing that brings true meaning to our lives is reaching out to others. Imagine if Jesus decided to not do anything about the compassion and love He has for us. If He just remained seated at God’s right hand and spoke about how He cared for us. Everything would have been different. Jesus showed His love and compassion for us by acting on it. Love and compassion aren’t really feelings at all, they are actions.

So this is the thing. In Jesus you find your identity and you no longer need to look for acceptance in other people. And when you know who you are in the eyes of the One who created everything, you will live out His love and compassion for those who He loves and He cares about. And that’s EVERYBODY! Let today be the day that you reach out to someone and show love and compassion. That’s what we were created to do.

Authenticity is dying

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Be real! A mask may fool people but it doesn’t change what’s happening on the inside. Pretending to be someone you’re not takes a lot of effort and it takes a toll on the real you… and the real you is important to look after, because it affects your relationships with others.

Isn’t it obvious

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Am I delusional, uneducated or just unable to see the true value in the direction the eduction system is taking in most of the so-called “Civilized World?

I was told today that it is basically impossible for a child in Australia to fail a grade until he or she reaches grade 11 because that’s when external assessments start happening. Teachers can suggest that a child repeats a year but the final decision lies with the parents. And so, many parents are refusing their children the benefit of repeating a year because the competition with “The Jones’s” is more important than the future of their child. But then again, the parents might realise that the education system is flawed and there is no point in repeating a year in a system that favours those who do nothing and allows the hard workers to wonder why they even put in all the effort. Please don’t get me wrong! There are children that work really hard and still struggle. They need to be recognised and every effort needs to be made to support them in their work. I am refering to those who are at school to be entertained and are capable, but too lazy to do anything. These students seem to find pleasure in causing displeasure. How can it possibly be true that a child who refuses to do anything, and misbehaves in class can graduate to the next year level in the same way that a hard-working, well-behaved child does.

The reason for this conundrum is that there are very few schools that apply definites in the grading of work and tests. In fact, there are hardly any more tests that are written at school today. This means that the days when students actually needed learn, are long gone. Those were the days when hard work was rewarded and when there were consequences for a lack of effort. It has even got to a point where parents are encouraged to withdraw their children from one of the few standardised tests that still exist. This test requires students to sit still for an hour and it exposes them to a “stressful environment” that can have a detrimental effect on an otherwise, cotton-wrapped child. This is a standard test that is done once every 2 years, called NAPLAN.

Real education has been replaced with entertaining the child and making sure they are having fun. It’s all about what the child wants and how the child wants it presented. Since when, may I ask, do children know what’s best for them? Since when is learning anything in life based on what I want and what is comfortable for me? In fact, the times in our lives when we learrn the most are the times when we experience difficulties and when we are taken out of our comfort zones. Why would it be any different at school. I am the first one to admit that teachers need to make lessons more interesting than simply reading information from a textbook. But to suggest that learning is all about fun and if it doesn’t feel comfortable to write an assessment or do an oral, it doesn’t need to be done, is proposterous. It has become so ridiculous that teachers are no longer permitted to write any negative comments on a report (if one can call it that). So outrageous that marks are no longer given for assessments and tasks because you don’t want to offend a child who does nothing, by giving them a bad mark. Why does society seem to tip-toe around those who make the biggest noise but contribute the least? Why is the education system too afraid to identify those who are disrupting a learning environment and confront them about it. Why do these students get all the attention at the expense of those who deserve it. If you don’t study at university, you fail. If you don’t perform in your job, you are fired. If you don’t practice hard in your sport, you don’t make the team. If life gets tough and you don’t deal with it, you have a problem. Why then, are we teaching children exactly the opposite in schools?

I am tired of being a part of a broken system. An environment where the injustice is slapping me in the face. I’ve tried to turn a blind eye and I’ve tried to just go with the flow. But I realised that only dead fish swim with the stream! The next generation needs our full attention and it certainly has mine. When one really believes in something, it becomes engrained in our DNA and it becomes impossible to simply dismiss. It becomes necessary to speak up and advocate change. In fact, the most integral part of education is teaching those morals and principals. It is teaching good work ethic. It’s teaching that there are consequences for our actions – more serious consequences than stoning with marshmellows. A society without discipline is corrupt. A community without discipline is dangerous. And children without discipline are building blocks that create those corrupt and dangerous societies.

God loves us so much that He sent His Son to die on the cross for us. And it’s because of this amazing love He has for us, that His Holy Spirit convicts us. It is because of this amazing love that He disciplines us. And sometimes, that discipline is harsh because He knows what’s best for us and He wants us to make the right choices. If we are so concerned about our younger generation, then we won’t be so afraid to enforce disciplne, because we know it’s in their best interest. It’s time that we stop trying to do the popular thing, and we start doing the right thing. It’s time that we stop trying to be buddies to the younger generation, and we start earning their respect.

 

Every experience is an opportunity to grow!

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My family and I have recently, literally traveled around the world and ended up 500km from where we set out. We felt called for something away from where we lived in Tasmania. And when the opportunity arose to go to Mexico to teach at a mission school there, we jumped at the opportunity. We never made it about us, and our intentions were to make a difference in the lives of others, so it had to be what God was calling us to do – Right?

We didn’t have the finances to support ourselves, as the school didn’t pay salaries, so we were hoping that we could do something on the side to make a few dollars for us to survive, but that didn’t seem to be the way things were going to work out. Obviously there were questions. We started wondering why things didn’t work out the way we would have liked them to. Ultimately we weren’t doing this to make our lives more comfortable. In fact, it took us right out of our comfort zone! So we kept questioning God’s plans for us!

After spending a month in Puerto Escondido, we had to make a decision. We had limited finances and we were in a place where we weren’t permitted to work. We have 2 young, awesome boys who we also had to think about. They need a good education and they have high aspirations as far as their sport is concerned, and we have always wanted to provide them with the best opportunities. There were times when we felt that the plans that God had for our lives and the opportunities we wanted for our boys, were going in different directions. My wife, Bev, had a strong feeling that we needed to go back to South Africa, where all our family lives. We hadn’t seen them for 6 years! So we flew to SA, contemplating whether we should make a life for ourselves there. Having spent a month in beautiful Port Elizabeth, we felt that we needed to return to Australia.

After long goodbyes, but feeling at peace with our decision, we boarded a plane to Brisbane and were plannning to live in the Gold Coast. Money was really running out now and we needed to find some source of income. Fortunately we had friends there who were actually ex neighbours from our days in Port Elizabeth, who were very helpful. But jobs just didn’t come. Again the questions started. Why would God take us around the world, bring us back to Australia where we felt we needed to be, just to run out of money and let our boys wonder whether it is such a good idea to trust God to provide and to direct our paths?

At the point when things were getting desperate for us, we were both offered jobs in Darwin with fantastic salaries. We felt that this must be it! God had heaard our calls for help and He had provided us with jobs where we were earning more money than ever before. We were going to buy a house and settle. But neither of us were settled, happpy or content in our jobs. The boys were seriously struggling to settle at school! Again the questions started. God, why would you send us around the world, provide us with more finances that we need and still we are not at peace? We were starting to wonder whether we would ever be happy!

We then sat down one evening and made a unanimous decision that we needed to go to a place that we could see ourselves enjoying life. Where we would fit into the lifestyle and where we could enjoy our love for the outdoors and for sport. Right there and then we settled on Melbourne. Having traveled there on numerous occassions, we knew the city and loved everything about it. As soon as I secured a job there, we started making plans to move. A month later, and here we are. We have secured a great school for our boys, I love the school that I am teaching at and we absolutely love this place and feel completely at home. All we still need to do is find a place to rent and we believe that it will happen within the next week.

The past 9 months have been exciting, scary, uncertain and exhilirating all at the same time. And here wee are – 500km away from where this amazing journey began. But the lessons that I have learnt over the past few months have been invaluable and life-changing. The first thing that I have realised is that life is there to be lived and enjoyed. That doesn’t mean that everything will always be enjoyable. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t step out of our comfort zone. But we cannot merely just go through the motions and exist. Life is too short not to seize every moment and not to chase adventure. God created us with enquiring minds and with adrenaline in our bodies. There’s a reason for that. We need to use both!

Through all these experiences, I will never again doubt that God is always there and He is for us. When we put our faith in Him, He always comes through, even if it is not in the way that we might have expected.

And finally, I have realised that God uses every single event in our lives to grow us and teach us, if we let Him! No matter what you might be going through at this very moment, it is all about growth. Instead of being angry at God and shaking your fist at Him, rather ask Him what He wants you to learn from each experience. That’s what I’ve been doing and it has made a world of difference. Now, I no longer see difficult situations as being unfair and feeling sorry for myself, but instead I see them as opportunities to improve myself and to become more like Him and less like me!

So, remember that God wants to use you and He can use you no matter where you are. So, why not go where you know you will enjoy being, and allow Him to work in you. It’s great and I wouldn’t change my life for all the money in the world. God is good, He is faithful and I plan to make Him known wherever I go.