Archive for April, 2013


There are 14,000 known uses for salt, according to the Salt Institute, the North American based non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing the benefits of salt. They claim that salt is the world’s oldest food additive and on their website highlight some of the benefits:

(Keep reading, you’ll get to the point of this post soon!)

  • One component of salt, sodium (Na), is involved in muscle contraction including heartbeat, nerve impulses, and the digestion of body-building protein.
  • Sodium is the major extracellular electrolyte responsible for regulating water balance, pH, and osmotic pressure;
  • Salt is important in nerve conduction. Because of sodium’s importance to your body, several interacting mechanisms, including generation of hormones angiotensin and aldosterone, adjust the system in the event of consumption of insufficient amounts of salt which would threaten the body’s nerves and muscles and interference with the sodium-potassium “pump” which adjusts intra- and extra-cellular pressures. If your salt intake varies widely, these mechanisms activate to assure that your body remains healthy, maintaining a relatively constant blood pressure;
  • The other component of salt, chloride (Cl) is also essential to good health. It preserves acid-base balance in the body, aids potassium absorption, supplies the essence of digestive stomach acid, and enhances the ability of the blood to carry carbon dioxide from respiring tissues to the lungs;
  • Because salt is essential to good health, the human body is hard-wired with an innate salt appetite;
  • Iodized salt is used by 70% of the world’s population to protect against mental retardation due to Iodine Deficiency Disorders (IDD);
  • Many countries fortify salt with fluoride against dental caries in situations where fluoridating drinking water is inappropriate;
  • A growing number of countires fortify salt with iron to prevent anemia;
  • Salt brings to food far more than one of the five basic taste sensations (sweet, salty, sour, bitter and umami); it enhances other tastes. Sweets taste sweeter. Salt masks bitter tastes, making naturally bitter foods like chocolate and broccoli become delicious;
  • Before recorded history, men learned salt’s key role in food safety and preservation by retarding the growth of spoilage microorganisms.

OK, here’s the point. Today at church I talked about the followers of Jesus as being a “redemptive presence in our community”. I wasn’t the first to say that. Jesus said it, not exactly in those words, when he said to his followers: “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot. He then went on with a different image, but same theme: “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.

What do you to stay salty and remain alight? Use the comment section to share your thoughts.

We tend to think that management has always been here, but it is just something some guy invented in the 1850s. It’s a brilliant technology but it is designed to get compliance. What we have is a set of motivational mechanisms that were good for 19th century work and not bad for 20th century work. But they have outlived their usefulness for most 21st century work. If you ask people when they were most engaged at work, they don’t say: “I was so engaged when my boss told me exactly what to do.”

From an interview with Dan Pink. Some useful thinking about leadership and management in the 21st century.

Song of Australia

Posted: April 24, 2013 in Uncategorized

Here’s a song for Anzac Day from Colin Buchanan, Lee Kernaghan and Sara Storer.

Up … in … out

Posted: April 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

I reckon that little two or three letter words are easier to remember than big words.

That’s why I am using the words UP, IN, and OUT in my current talks about how the church functions.


UP represents our focus on God. Worship is the highest calling of the followers of Jesus and we need to learn how to put God as a priority for every part of our lives.

IN represents the focus that we have on the church and the need to develop a healthy church. I suggested on Sunday that among many other things we need the following qualities:

The Prayerfulness of Anna (Luke 2:36-38)
The Grace of Stephen (Acts 6:15)
The generosity of Aquila and Priscilla (Acts 18:1-4)
The trust of Barnabas (Acts 9:26-30; 19:11-26)
The faith of Lois and Eunice (2 Timothy 1:5)

Finally, OUT represents the need for the church to reach outside itself to represent Jesus in its involvement in the world. I’ll be talking about that next Sunday.

Last week’s video shows how the three elements come together.

The nifty thing about “Up … In … Out” is that focussing on one without the other two doesn’t make a lot of sense. Put all three together, and hey presto! you can see the cross.


I just came across a useful post by Fred Kofman about the way we handle opinions and ideas that we don’t like.

“No idea is stupid. “Stupid” is an arrogant opinion, an unskillful way of expressing that you don´t like the idea. Maybe you don´t understand it, maybe you have contradictory evidence, or maybe it derails a cherished plan. Whatever the reason, you can be sure that its proponent does not think the idea is stupid.”

The opposite of arrogance is humility (from the Latin “humus,” meaning ground.) A humble person does not place himself above others; he does not pretend to hold a privileged position. Humility is the acknowledgment that you do not have a special claim on reality or truth, that others have equally valid perspectives deserving respect and consideration.

See the full article here.

A recent walk around Lesmurdie Falls taught me some important things about Life, God, and the Needs Around Me. This video blog suggests that if you go to the top of the waterfall you will gain a greater perspective on the realities of life at the bottom.

It’s one of the illustrations in my message at church this morning.

The Australian Sports Commission has released a report today that says that Australia’s sporting clubs have the potential to recruit an additional 3.8 million members if they consider new ways of delivering sport to Australians who want to get involved in club-based sport.

The report, released by Minister for Sport, Kay Lundy, identifies 10 adult segments and shows where the best potential for growth lies.

The issues raised in the report sound very similar to the issues faced by the 21st century church and I wonder if there is anything we can learn from this report.

The 10 segments identified in the report are the Loyalist, the Socially Engaged, the Sport Driven, the Apathetic Clubber, Sidelined Sportsters, Club Wary, Ponderers, Self-focussed, Sport Indifferent, and Sport Atheists.

They’re all there in sport, and Australian sports clubs are currently hurting as people move away from organised sport.

… And they’re in the church too.

This is a document that needs to be read by church leaders.


What’s in a word?

Posted: April 8, 2013 in Uncategorized

It was a great privilege yesterday to spend time with a whole lot of friends who shared in my induction as the new Team Leader at Maida Vale Baptist Church. Thanks for supporting me in this way.

I was reflecting on the title of Team Leader. It seems a bit less spiritual than the traditional term, Pastor, but somehow I think it acknowledges 21st Australian culture a little better than a word that originates with the first century Middle-Eastern idea of sheep-herding.

Pastoring, or shepherding in the first century involved working with small herds of sheep, sleeping out on the hills to look after them and making sure they weren’t spooked by foxes. In Australian society I think of shepherding quite differently and the idea of running a mob of sheep across hundreds of hectares of dry paddock, occasionally driven together by a helicopter for shearing, is not the picture I have of a pastor.

I think I would prefer to see myself as the leader of a team of people who are trying to find their way through the realities of life, and in that journey discover Jesus.

I’d like to see myself as the leader of a team of people who have discovered that Jesus provides the resources they need to navigate life and are learning how to put those resources into action every day.

I’d like to see myself as the leader of a team of people who are making a difference in their local community and the world, as we walk together in company with Jesus.

But it doesn’t matter if you see yourself as part of a flock or a team, I’m looking forward to having you join me on this new adventure together.