Archive for October, 2013

HCS logoIt was a pleasure tonight to launch Hope Community Services at Linton and Kay Galleries in Perth.

Formerly Drug ARM WA, tonight’s launch marked the culimination of more than a year’s review of our branding, leading eventually to a name that reflected the heart of the organisation.

It was a pleasure to explain tonight how the new name represented a full circle for the organisation that was established in Perth 111 years ago as the Band of Hope and Temperance League, eventually becoming the WA Temperance Alliance then in 1993 became Drug ARM WA.

I explained tonight that in 2010 we began the process of looking at our statements of vision, mission and values and a new word found its way into our vision statement:

It was a new word, yet it was an old word. It was a word that the organisation started with 111 years ago when the City Band of Hope and Temperance League was set up. It was the word hope.

Our vision statement became “Nurturing Hope and Opportunity”. And we began to explore what it meant to offer hope in many different ways to people who were bereft of hope because of the circumstances in which they found themselves. Addictions, family breakdowns, incarceration and mental illness all contributed to feelings of hopelessness, and worthlessness.

So it wasn’t surprising that as we began the process of reviewing our brand, that once again the word hope came to the forefront. During this time we engaged a consultant to help us reflect on both the past and the future of the organisation, and to hear the thoughts of the people who made use of our services, as well as staff and other stakeholders. We spent time listening and reflecting and over time a new name emerged that we are proud to launch tonight.

At this important stage in the organisation’s life I salute my fellow Board members, our hard working CEO, Debra Zanella, and the many staff and volunteers who make up the organisation.

Services include:

There are a few things that the church should be doing. The church was established to worship but it was also sent out to represent Jesus in the marketplace. At different times in history, and at different locations, the marketplace may differ.  For one person it is their place of work, to another their golf club, to another their school or university, and to another it is with their friends in the coffee shop.

Yesterday Maida Vale Baptist Church was at one of the marketplaces where we have found a spot each year for a number of years. We spent the day at the Zig Zag Art and Craft Festival in Stirk Park, Kalamunda, where we ran a kids craft activity.  It was a full day’s work, spending time with hundreds of kids and their parents and grandparents. We weren’t there to preach, but simply to represent Jesus and to make a contribution to the lives of people and to the community as a whole.

It was a joy to see the smiles on the kids faces as they participated in activities they had never done before, like gluing, creating, drawing, and enjoying the day with their families and friends. And it was good to hear the comments from parents and grandparents who appreciated what we were doing for their families.

It’s good for the church to be in the marketplace.




Exploring God

Posted: October 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
Tags: , ,

ImageThere are often questions we have about God, and at times the answers seem hard to find.

I have come across a website that includes a range of videos, some of which only go for a couple of minutes, but cover subjects such as how can we know God?, how can we know if Jesus is God?, can we question God?, how can we hear God?, along with a range of longer articles on subjects like how big is God?, and how can I find God?

If you have questions about God, Jesus or faith, this is a site that is worth exploring.  I haven’t looked at all of the articles or videos, but what I have seen look really helpful.

As a starter take a look at “How Can We Know God?”, then continue exploring from there.


There are a few people who are “followers” of my blog which means that you get advice that I’ve made a new post and if you’ve got time you will read it.

Thanks for your support. I appreciate that people read what I have to say, and that they can benefit from my ramblings.

But I’ve been thinking about the Facebook type of following and the sort of following that Jesus talks about.

Yesterday in church I spoke about an incident that was recorded in Luke’s Gospel about a time when Jesus was walking along the road surrounded by a big group of people.

There were those people who we refer to as the “disciples” but there were others who joined Jesus and took part in a conversation about what it meant to be a “follower” of Jesus.

One man promised to be a follower of Jesus, but Jesus had to remind him that he didn’t  have a home of his own so following him would cause him to risk the usual comforts of life.

Jesus invited a second person to follow him, and he agreed to the idea, but put it off until some of his plans were sorted out. He made the comment that he needed to bury his father first.  I suspect that his father wasn’t even dead yet and following Jesus was something that would happen at a later, and more convenient, date.

A third person was really keen to follow Jesus but needed to go home and say goodbye to the family first. You still get the idea that it was a delaying tactic.

It seems there was a clear distinction between the disciples, that group of men who had given up their fishing, tax collecting, and other businesses, to follow Jesus, and some of the other people who were walking along the road with Jesus at that time, talking about the issue of following.

It seems that we can be fellow travellers with Jesus, but not followers in the way in which Jesus was inviting people to follow. That we can be like “blog followers” who can pick and choose what that following will look like.

When Jesus invited people to follow him, he didn’t just ask them to tick a box and read his blogs when we had time. He was asking for a level of commitment to him that involved putting him first in every aspect of our life.


I’ve added a couple of posts during the week that you may have missed. The Science of Happiness is a great video about the power of gratitude. And for a bit of light relief, look at The View from an Aeroplane Lavatory and follow the link to see some more great pics.

The Science of Happiness

Posted: October 17, 2013 in Uncategorized

Take a few minutes to watch this powerful video about the power of gratitude.

It’s time for some light relief…

While on a long-haul flight, when most people would sleep, read a book or chew on complimentary snacks, Nina Katchadourian spends her time locked in the airplane’s lavatory taking selfies in the style of 15th century Flemish paintings. Her series, dubbed “Lavatory Self-Portraits in the Flemish Style,” is part of a bigger piece called “Seat Assignment,” which is based on improvising with materials close at hand while in flight .

Take a look at the results!Image

Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace.

These are the words of Jesus from Matthew 11:28 in “The Message”. When we feel under pressure, stressed or tired we need to find a way to re-energise ourselves, and Jesus says, walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it.”

As we read through the Gospels we discover that Jesus’ approach to life was like breathing – in and out.  He would spend time in high energy ministry, with people coming and going, constantly demanding his time.  The next minute you would find him alone on a hillside in prayer.

This is the dance of life, the unforced rhythms of grace …. taking time to gain sustenance from God away from the busy-ness of life, then giving out with enthusiasm and energy that had been gained in solitude.

I’m still learning this dance, but I hear Jesus’ invitation and it makes sense.


ImageGod, may we go back to basics:-

From complicated tastes to a taste for the simple;
From instant gratification to delayed gratification;
From chasing status to acceptance of a humble position.
May we accept
May we accept ourselves
May we accept each other
May we accept You
May we accept the good things You give us –
No longer grasping,
but holding out open hands
ready to receive with thanks
Your every good gift.

Craig Watson 2013

A prayer from CBM’s August e-news where you can also read a good article on disability in the Australian Church.

During October and November I will be doing a series of talks at Maida Vale Baptist Church on the subject of discipleship. What is discipleship? Well, the word comes from the group of 12 people who followed Jesus during his time on earth – disciples, followers, or learners.

Another word may be apprentice. An apprentice is someone who learns on the job. That’s the whole idea behind discipleship.  Not just following Jesus, but learning from him, and putting his teaching into practice … on the job.

The interesting thing is that not only did Jesus call 12 people to follow him, and learn from him, but he also told them to go and make disciples. It seems that part of learning on the job is passing on what you’ve learnt to another apprentice who passes on what they’ve learnt to ….

Here’s a video I have put together about the series, The Art of Discipleship.  Hope you like it.

“Real isn’t how you you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child plays with you for a long, long time, not just to play with you, but really loves you, then you become Real.”

“Does it hurt?” asked the Rabbit.

“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real, you don’t mind being hurt.”

“Does it happen all at once, like being wound up,” he asked, “or bit by bit?”

“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. that’s why it doesn’t often happen to people who break easily or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept.  Generally by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out, and you get loose in the joints and very shabby. But these things don’t really matter at all, because once you are Real, you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand.”

The Velveteen Rabbit (or How Toys Become Real), by Margery Williams (First published in 1922)

I don’t think I need to say anything else ….