Sculpture with Soul

Posted: October 29, 2020 in Uncategorized

I’d often heard that there was a sculpture park in the Swan Valley area, but had never gone out of my way to find it.

So it was quite a surprise when I made the effort and discovered that Ron Gomboc and his wife Terrie had been running the Gomboc Sculpture Park in Middle Swan for about 40 years.

It was even more surprising to discover that Ron had designed and produced the iconic statuette that is used to honour the winners of the annual AAFTA awards.

In producing this video I thoroughly enjoyed listening to Ron’s story and his desire to use sculpture to tell a story. Check out the video, and go and visit the Gomboc Sculpture Park.

Amanda’s Garden

Posted: October 22, 2020 in Uncategorized

What a delight it was to have a look at Amanda’s Garden and to try and capture some of the beauty on the garden on video. Even more significant than that was to meet Barry and Lorraine Young and hear the story behind the garden and the Amanda Young Foundation.

When Amanda Young died of meningococcal disease in 1997 there was hardly any awareness of the disease, even among the medical profession. Since then Barry and Lorraine, though the vehicle of the Amanda Young Foundation, have not only brought awareness, but significant steps have been made in overcoming the meningococcal disease.

One of the privileges of developing these weekly “Inspire Newscasts” is the ability to meet people like Lorraine and Barry, to hear their stories, and to share them with you. There are so many great people doing great things in our community and we need to hear these stories in order to lift our spirits and see the good in our world.

Amanda’s Garden Fete

October 24 @ 10:00 am – October 25 @ 4:30 pm

24 & 25 October. Amanda’s Garden Fete. There is something for everyone at this garden. Massed rose displays, water features, large variety of trees, shrubs and plants in rural setting. Devonshire teas, sausage sizzle, plant sales, art display, Paddy’s market and music. Located at the junction of Margaret and Matison Streets, Southern River. 10am to 4.30pm daily. All proceeds go towards Meningococcal Awareness.  Entry $5. Enquiries 9398 7275. http://www.amandayoungfoundation.org.au.

Translation from the heart

Posted: October 15, 2020 in Uncategorized

I found it inspiring to hear Noongar man, Tom Little talking about his work in translating the book of Ruth in the Bible into the Noongar language of the south west of Western Australia.

Tom first got involved in Bible translation when his mum and his aunty began translating Luke’s Gospel a decade ago. As a matter of interest my dad was also involved in that ground-breaking work that saw a major piece of literature translated from English to Noongar.

Tom has done this work largely on his own, with the support of the Bible Society in Australia and it is clearly a work from the heart. Watch this short video from my “Inspire Newscast” series to hear Tom’s story.

An accomplished musician, Tom provides backing to this video from his own didjeridoo music and takes us into the studio where the words from an ancient piece of literature, translated into a language that nearly went missing, are brought alive through the medium of 21st century technology.

By the way, if you missed any of my earlier Inspire Newscasts, check them out on my YouTube channel, and FOLLOW this site.

Accessing the digital world

Posted: October 8, 2020 in Uncategorized

There’s a growing demand for businesses to make themselves more accessible by people with a disability. We’re probably a long way further on than we were just a few years ago, but there’s still a long way to go.

You’d think that technology would solve many problems, but my latest Inspire Newscast raises the point that people with disabilities aren’t always aware of what’s available to them, and the people who build websites, don’t always think about the needs of people with a disability.

Dr Scott Hollier’s lived experience with a disability has led him to investigate how to make the digital world more accessible to people with disabilities, to the point he co-founded an organisation he is now leading that is setting the standards for the future.

It was great talking about this with Scott and learning more about what it means to make the digital world more accessible to people with a disability. I’d encourage you to watch his story and share it on your socials. 

Badjaling Remembers

Posted: October 1, 2020 in Uncategorized
Photographs of the early days of Badjaling Mission has helped to remember and heal.

It was a very special privilege to be invited to attend a photographic exhibition at the wheatbelt town of Quairading to mark the completion of an important project.

The elders of Badjaling community, situated about 10 minutes from Quairading, have been working with Community Vision to produce a book and website that recalls some of the history of Badjaling.

Take a look at this five minute Inspire Newscast video to find out about the project and hear from some of the people involved.

The event had personal interest as both my mum and dad spent time at Badjaling as single people, and later as a young married couple so I was able to meet current elders who were schoolchildren at the time.

Mum went there in 1930 at the age of 18 to work as a housekeeper for the two missionaries, Miss Mary Belshaw and Miss May McRidge and stayed for two years.

Dad went there in 1938 and at the age of 21 became the schoolteacher for 38 children. He had been sent to Australia from Belfast as a 13-year-old and had no family in Australia. Badjaling became his home, and when he was called up to military service he would return to Badjaling whenever he was on leave.

I hope you enjoy this video as much as I enjoyed the visit to Badjaling Remembers at Quairading.

Romancing the Stone

Posted: September 24, 2020 in Uncategorized
Meet Tom Hogg, the creator of “Romancing the Stone” garden

You can drive up Hawtin Road in Maida Vale, Western Australia, and may have noticed the sign “Romancing the Stone” without having any idea of what was behind that sign.

My latest Inspire Newscast takes a look into an amazing garden and introduces the story of Tom Hogg, the man behind that garden. When he started Tom had a vision for a garden that featured romance, fragrance, and the sound of running water.

And he’s achieved all three.

If you’re new to this page please “follow” the page so you can get updates each Thursday night when I put up a fresh good news story. I’m already working on some great stories for the next few weeks so make sure you share them with your friends on your social media networks.

Get Inspired

Posted: September 21, 2020 in Uncategorized
See how the community of the City of Kalamunda responded to the challenges of COVID 19.

It was just a month ago that I started putting together short videos under the title of “Inspire Newscasts”. The idea was to produce videos that would only last five minutes and that they would tell good news stories.

I’ve been surprised that in this time the opportunity to present these stories has grown unexpectedly. I’m already working a couple of weeks ahead of myself and finding more great stories to tell. The goal is to tell a story every Thursday night West Australian time.

It’s prompted me to upgrade my blog page and it now has the domain name of inspirenewscast.com so hopefully will be easier to find, and I can more effectively showcase my weekly videos.

I’ve got a great story coming up this Thursday, so look out for it.

Chasing Wildflowers

Posted: August 27, 2020 in Uncategorized
Cowslip Orchards at Canna

We’ve just got back from a drive around the midwest, chasing wildflowers. With borders closed, West Australians are being encouraged to #wanderoutyonder. There’s a lot to see around our state, but travelling with a focus on wildflowers is a great way to travel the state at this time of the year.

One of the highlights was Mingenew situated 380km north of Perth. Near to Mingenew is the Coalseam Conservation Park which was the site of WA’s first coal mine, but is now the home to carpets of everlastings.

From Mingenew we drove a little further north to Canna, a townsite that consists largely of a tiny store, and a Lutheran Church. But Canna is a popular place for orchid hunters. The thing about looking for native orchids is that you need to keep your eyes near your feet. They’re tiny, and it’s easy to miss them. But when you do, it’s a great thrill. Tiny as they are, native orchids are absolutely beautiful.

Blue Fairy Orchid

Before we left the area we wanted to see the Wreath Flower, Lechenaultia macrantha . Western Australia is the only place in the world to see this unique plant, often found on roadsides. After following some advice from locals we were delighted to find the Wreath Flower near Perenjori.

Wreath Flower Lechenaultia macrantha 

Please click on this picture to go to my “Inspire Newscast” on YouTube, and when you do, don’t forget to hit the subscribe button, so you don’t miss my next newscast.

What Have We Learned?

Posted: July 28, 2020 in Uncategorized

It is in that first moment, when we are threatened by the vastness and the mystery, when we find God. He is active throughout the process, but he is never more real to us than in the place of desperate impossibility, when we feel there is no way to do what he has sent us to do. Like the children we are, we cry out. If bravado moves us to the threshold, it is prayer alone that carries us into the house. The nothingness of starting something new, I would come to believe, is the essence of discipleship.

It is in that first moment, when we are threatened by the vastness and the mystery, when we find God. He is active throughout the process, but he is never more real to us than in the place of desperate impossibility, when we feel there is no way to do what he has sent us to do. Like the children we are, we cry out. If bravado moves us to the threshold, it is prayer alone that carries us into the house. The nothingness of starting something new, I would come to believe, is the essence of discipleship.

Sanders, Brian. Underground Church (Exponential Series) (p. 28). Zondervan. Kindle Edition. 

I attended a function in the weekend that was organised to provide information about The Neighbourhood Hub. The idea was based on a 10-year-old experiment carried out in Florida called the Underground Church and is focussed on the establishment of a network of microchurches.

The function was well attended which immediately indicated that it hit a nerve in relation to how people view the church today, and their desire to see something new in the way we establish and grow churches into the future. 

Check out my observations of the day on my YouTube channel. Oh, and by the way, if you subscribe to my channel you can keep up with future newscasts. There are more in the can, as they say in the industry!!

I am delighted to see creativity in the way we think about church, and I have observed that such creativity is occurring around the world. It’s been happening for a while, but I sense there is a greater maturity in this exploration of fresh expressions of church now than was evident in the Emerging Church movement a decade or so back. 

One of the questions that arises is how you describe the church. It’s probably been the view of many in the past that the existence of the sacraments is what marks a church, as opposed to a ministry or a programme. Brian Sanders of the Underground Church talks about church as being the intersection of three circles, worship, mission and community. 

Others have suggested it is about relationships. Essentially it is the same three areas, a relationship with God, relationships within the Body, and a relationship with the wider community, all focussed upon Jesus.

I love this conversation and the willingness there is to explore what church should really be like and how we can move into the future. I believe that COVID-19 has accelerated some of this discussion, but I can’t help thinking that we were having the same conversations 30 years ago.

In fact I remember reading this copy of Time magazine in my school library in 1971 (that’s more than 30 years ago) and being excited that all of a sudden my Christian faith was now “cool”. I devoured everything about the Jesus revolution and it was probably that sense of excitement in a movement focussed around Jesus that led me to eventually becoming a pastor. Somehow, like many before us, we’ve been disillusioned by Jesus movements, then we got bogged down in running organisations. Perhaps we need to be reminded of the words that were repeated many times in the last book of the Bible: Anyone with ears to hear must listen to the Spirit and understand what he is saying to the churches.

What Makes You Happy?

Posted: July 20, 2020 in Uncategorized

The ABC recently had a focus on mental health and invited its listeners to nominate their favourite feel-good music. At the end of the nomination period our national broadcaster had a playlist of the top-feel good songs, compiled from many hundreds of nominations.

Leading the list of “Good Vibrations – the songs that make you happy”, was Katrina and the Waves, 1983 hit, Walking on Sunshine. I didn’t nominate a song, but if I had it probably would have been the Dire Straits hit, “Sultans of Swing”. That apparently didn’t make the list but for me it releases more dopamine than John Paul Young’s “Love is in the Air” which came in at about no.20

Many academic studies have shown how important music is in impacting our brain function and eliciting various emotional responses including happiness. For most of us, it doesn’t require an academic study to press the play button and to know how it feels to listen to our favourite music.

The search for happiness leads us in all sorts of directions, but there are times when even our favourite song can’t pull us out of that dark place we have fallen into. Most people who are looking for happy song won’t pull out their favourite Leonard Cohen album, but Cohen may have hit the nail on the head in his “Anthem” when he said, “there’s a crack in everything, and that’s how the light gets in”.

The Biblical writer, James put it this way: When troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy. For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  James certainly saw the opportunity for the light to shine through the smallest crack and dispel the darkness of hopelessness.

One of the leading evangelical theologians of the 20th century, J.I. Packer passed away a few days ago, Packer is quoted as having said: “The way to be truly happy is to be truly human, and the way to be truly human is to be truly godly.”

Keep playing your favourite happy songs, enjoy the garden and the open air, play a sport, ride the waves and read a book. Do all you can to enjoy life and find comfort from those things that make you happy. But remember that happiness doesn’t usually appear in the quest for happiness, but in the quest for something much greater.