Finding True Hope In A Cliché World

I am going to be honest with you.

The last year has been difficult for me and my wife, Sarah. It has involved a lot of illness, worry, anxiety and stress on our behalf and a lot of uncertainty with God on mine.

The Last Six Months

Roughly six months ago, I started to feel lethargic, consistently nauseous and mentally absent. After getting myself into the best shape of my life in preparation for Ride Around The Bay, my health started gradually slipping and then rapidly sliding until I became a shell of myself, physically and emotionally.

It all came to a head during a particularly tough charity ride, where I started experiencing muscle cramps for the last three hours of the arduous ride. I thought with enough hydration, nutrition and rest that I could recover quickly.

That week, I threw up multiple times a day and wasn’t able to move away from the bed for the entire week. Doctors advised me that a test indicating muscle inflammation showed that I had ten times the regular amount of inflammation and that if I had pains in my stomach to race to hospital, as I would be having renal (kidney) failure.

I went from preparing for the biggest ride of my life to withdrawing from Bible College, putting a halt on most of my social life and placing significant strain on my wife to pick up the slack that I left behind. During those weeks and months, I lost a lot of hope.

The question that kept rolling around my head was always about GodWhere are you? 

The words of David, the writer of Psalm 22, became my words.

“My God, My God, why have you forgotten me?

Why are you so far from saving me, from hearing my cries of anguish”

I had done my part. I was running the race. I had stepped out in faith and listened to Gods call. I had followed.

Yet, once again, my body had started to fail on me. As someone who has had health issues since the day I was born, it is always difficult to navigate new ones. Every new issue can bring nagging doubts about God’s goodness and sovereignty, regardless of how much theology I know or the God I experience.

Another part of the problem is that it is really difficult to talk honestly about significant health issues without people becoming awkward and wanting to tie up the conversations. Many of us with health issues leave discouraged from our conversations, with an ice-berg level of submerged doubt and frustration that is often only shown in the tip at the surface.

During this time of illness, one of the most common things to happen was for people to give me cliches to try and keep my spirits up. I heard a mountain of them:

  • Everything happens for a reasons, you just need to wait to find out. 
  • She’ll be right mate, just stick in there. 
  • God must have big plans for you for you to go through so many trials. 
  • God won’t give you anything you can’t handle. You can handle this as well. 

I understand. 

Clichés are what you say when you don’t know what to say to someone doing it tough, it’s a socially accepted form of non-talk when actually not talking would be awkward.

They are also the single worst way of encouraging anyone going through any form of trouble. They last a moment; mean nothing and most of them aren’t even true or helpful.

What I craved above all else during this time was for someone to give me the good news of the Gospel because true hope lives in the truth of the Gospel. 

Hope Lives In The Truth of the Gospel

Don’t give me a cliché when I am in despair. Do not console me with meaningless words and sentences. Give me good news. 

Tell me about a prodigal God who has given the breath of life to men and women dead in their sins. How much more can I trust God with my temporary health when I know he was already done the miraculous in my heart?

Tell me about Jesus, the living and breathing Son of God who conquered death once and for all. How much more can I have hope in Jesus when he has conquered the grave?

Tell me about God’s plan to restore the broken world we live in. How much more can I have hope in this life when I know that one day he will wipe away every single tear from our eyes, where there will be no death or mourning or pain, for the old order of things has passed away (Rev 21:24)?

Tell me about how God himself invaded this world and took on our pains and sorrows? How much more can I trust God when he knows exactly the feelings I have and the physical limitations of a broken body in a broken world?

True hope is rooted in the Gospel and anything less is false promises.

If you know someone in despair, give them the gospel.

If you are in despair, seek Jesus and his good news.

Please. 


 

When God Feels Distant and You Feel Disconnected

What do you do when God feels distant and you feel disconnected? 

For many of us, the feeling that God is distant is more common than the feeling that he is near. I love the way one person put it, that our lives are more like the book of Esther than Exodus.  Esther is a beautiful story in the Old Testament, but God isn’t mentioned even once. When you compare that to a book like Exodus where God shows up in dramatic power, carving out an identity for his chosen people by leading them out of Egypt, it sort of seems like we are missing out.

What do you do when the sea isn’t parting for you and the invitation for a mountain top meeting with God hasn’t come this month? 

When God Feels Distant

Late last year, my church went through the book of Ecclesiastes and I got to speak on this very topic. You can have a listen to the talk here, but I wanted to work through some of the thoughts I had in this post. All of them have come from working through Ecclesiastes 5 and others thoughts on the topic.

Most of us will have had some time where God felt difficult to trust, like he was distant and we were lost. What do you do when God feels distant?

Guard Your Feet

The phrase guard your steps, in Hebrew, literally means ‘pay attention to the direction of your feet’. Unless you are unbelievably flexible, the direction of your feet will dictate the direction of your life and your passions and feelings.

When God feels distant and I feel lost, very often I completely shut down the pursuit of Him all together. I fall into some kind of weird determinism where the situation is unchangeable and I cannot change any aspect of it. I just let my relationship with God slip away until I am running on spiritual adrenalin. 

When that happens, two things are almost inevitable

  1. I look for the miraculous or my church to snap me out of my funk
  2. I stop trusting God

Instead of doing the things that I have historically done to get me excited about Jesus, I wait for a Red Sea moment or for the perfect church service that will uplift my spirits and it just doesn’t work like that.

I love what Matt Chandler says about the Christian life:

People ask me all the time, what does following Christ everyday look like? Find the very things that stir your affections for Christ and saturate your life in them. Find the things that rob you of that affection and run from them.

My experience is that when God feels distant, I have stopped doing many of the things that make me excited about Jesus in the first place and instead wait for my church to save me. I love the church, but one thing it isn’t is my Savior.

When God feels distant, I need to pay attention to the direction of my feet and saturate my life in the things that stir my affection for Jesus. 

Listen in to God

When God feels distant, one of the most difficult and awkward things things to do is to listen. More often than not, we fill our lives with noise to distract us. We create all of this noise because it means that we never have to engage with our disconnection, that we never have to come face to face with God or anyone who will point us to God.

One of the most helpful things for me has been learning how to sit in silence with God and listen to him.

Throughout this year, I have been going through a bible year to do exactly that. Remove distractions, draw near to God and let him whisper to me through the written account of his work in history. It has been refreshing to let God talk to me in this way.

Furthermore, we live in an age of fantastic technology and although it can be one of our primary sources of distraction, it has created some truly beautiful gospel resources that allow us to draw near to God. We can use it, as pastor Dave Miers has said recently, to put the gospel on repeat.

Find God-saturated, bible-filled teachers who preach the word and listen to them constantly in the desert. Find musicians, bands and rappers who fill your heart with emotion for Jesus and let their words soothe their soul. Find podcasts that reveal God’s truth to you and let it hit you so hard that only God can put you back together.

Here are a few examples examples of teachers, musicians and podcasts that God has spoken to me through. 

Teachers

Musicians

Podcasts

Follow The Holy Spirit

When you are guarding your steps and drawing near to listen to God in prayer and the scriptures, what will often happen is that something will be spoken and will start to resonate within your heart. That is the Holy Spirit inside of you leading you to spiritual water.  You need to follow it.

The reality is that it takes a real step of faith and effort to walk out of the desert, even whilst following the Holy Spirits direction. For a lot of us, we are just going to refuse to go, and then in true to form, we will stay in the desert and then complain about staying in the desert.

I love what my pastor Jonathan Smith said in a sermon last year:

“If you feel far away from God, go to church and be with Christians. Don’t moan midweek about how discouraged you are when you are actively denying yourself means of grace. God has laid out a buffet of encouragement and satisfaction for you and you’re sitting at the table complaining of an empty stomach”. 

Boom.

Listen to the Holy Spirit and start walking towards him. 

Sometimes God wants you in the desert

The most difficult truth about feeling like God is distant is that sometimes,  that’s exactly where God wants you. There might be something that he needs to show you or teach your that can only come about by the self-inspection from wrestling with Him.

It’s out there in the struggle that we learn some of the most deep truth that God has in store for us. Truth that can’t be unveiled in prosperity and good times. The real deep truth.

In that case?

I would honestly just pray through the psalms and cling to God with all that you have in you.

Keep paying attention to the direction of your feet, draw near to God to listen to him and those who fan your affections for him and follow the calling of the Holy Spirit. 


5 Reasons To Still Love The Church (Even If It’s Broken)

If you’ve read any recent articles about the Church, you’d think it was permanently broken and on the cusp of being a relic of days gone past.

Young adults and youth leaving in droves, open letters have been written and pastors are clueless about the next step to take . I read it all and a lot of it I understand. The church has often lost its way, but I think something that gets lost in the emotionality of the concerns is that there is still many reasons to love the church.

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I have been heavily involved in the church since I became a Christian as a teenager. I attended the youth group and bible studies, served on worship and preaching teams and been employed as a youth pastor. I have been granted a unique perspective on the church, one from both behind and within the scenes.

The result of that is that from the first time I became a Christian, I have only had two months without a church to call home. It’s not because my experience has been perfect, in fact most of the time I have been disappointed by the church, sometimes heavily.  That said, that are many reasons I still love the church. Here is the top five.

Here are my top five reasons I still love the Church.

#1: The Church is Filled With Broken People, Just Like Me

Every church I’ve been a part of has been filled with broken people and will continue to be. Thank God. 

When it comes down to it, the Church is a community of broken people clinging onto Jesus like their lives depend on it because it does. Nothing more, nothing less.

You might have been involved in Churches that functionally practice the opposite of this, but that doesn’t mean it should be like that. Church, for me, is a place it has been OK to not be OK. It’s been the only place I ever felt comfortable talking about the darkest days of my depression, sharing my greatest defeats and talking about my brokenness. I love that.

#2: Jesus Died For The Church

“Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her” (Ephesians 5:25)

One of the craziest things that I will never get my head truly around is that Christ died for the broken, the notorious and the self-righteous equally. When you bring all of them together, we call it Church. It’s this community that Jesus, the Son of God, died for, which makes it infinitely precious.

When Jesus talks about the Church in the New Testament, it’s almost always in terms of affection. Jesus knew what he was getting into, he knows exactly the rag-tag broken-hearted mess of a community yet he still wants to describe it as his bride (Ephesians 5:22) and lay his life down for her. Jesus think the church is precious and worth redeeming. 

#3: It’s One of the Last Places that People Wrestle With Great Ideas and Worldviews

In my experience, the only two places where I have heard great ideas and worldviews deconstructed and discussed is in the halls of university and in the sermons at church.

Every single Sunday, a great idea or worldview will be wrestled with – sometimes excellently, sometimes poorly – but there will always be the clash of ideas. In the past, I’ve heard quotes from the Dalai Lama, Nietzsche and Richard Dawkins put forward in the same breath, dissected and discussed in great detail and passion.

#4: The Church Often Walks in When Everyone Else Walks Out

When I was first diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome as a teenager, I lost most of my friends. I don’t blame them, it was just that I wasn’t able to do anything with them anymore. Men build friendships by doing things together. I couldn’t do things, so I didn’t have many friends at that time.

I was loosely affiliated with a youth group at the time at my local church my parents attended, but I rarely attended myself. Once they heard that I had become sick, they not only made me a video with a message wishing me well, but the pastor came to my house and prayed for me and all these guys from the church came and hung out with me for hours.

When everyone else walked out, the church walked in.

#5: It’s God’s Church, and I trust him. 

I don’t really worry about the church anymore. I trust God with it.

It has some problems (actually, many problems), like any community that bonds over its brokeness and need but God is both good and sovereign and because of that, I trust him.

James Gartmenian puts it beautifully by calling the church “to free itself from our obsessive focus and our faithless worry that if we don’t protect the church, preserve it, reinvent it, spruce it up, perpetuate it, it will somehow just disappear and we will have failed.”

We can trust the wild and crazy ways of God to supersede our tendencies to micromanage and puff up our own self-importance in the future of the Church.

Whether the church is relevant, authentic and sexy or simply plain vanilla, once and all preserved through the ages it will persevere because God is in control of the ship, not me.

And that is why I still love the church. 


The Top 5 TED Talks Every Ministry Leader Needs To Watch

I love watching TED talks.

They are often challenging and thought-provoking and it’s a novel way to get a fresh take on things. TED stands for Technology, Education & Design and was created in 1984 under the guise that an idea is a powerful force.

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It’s mission statement reads:

“We believe passionately in the power of ideas to change attitudes, lives and ultimately, the world. So we’re building here a clearinghouse that offers free knowledge and inspiration from the world’s most inspired thinkers, and also a community of curious souls to engage with ideas and each other”

For ministry leaders  and volunteers, TED talks are a brilliant resource. Very early on a mentor persuaded me that leading involves a consistent call to learn. I’ve found TED talks helpful tools in the learning process.

Here are my Top 5 TED Talks Every Ministry Leader Needs To Watch 

1. How Great Leaders Inspire Action – Simon Sinek

This is probably my favorite talk of all time by TED. It would not surprise me if my wife could recite the three concentric circles part of the talk purely by how often I have talked about it at home and in meetings. If you have ever led something that failed to gain traction, have a listen to this excellent talk. In it, Simon Sinek unpacks the difference between what every leader does and what great leaders do by looking at Apple, The Wright Brothers and Martin Luther King.

2. The Power of Vulnerability + Listening to Shame by Brene Brown

For many people, this is the greatest TED talk. It’s funny, personal and thought-provoking. In a world that is struggling with vulnerability and shame, it would be amazing to see the church lead the way.

3. Every Kid Needs A Champion – Rita Pearson

For anyone who works with young people, listening to Pearson is a treat. With 40 years of experience in education, she reminds me a lot of Jesus. My favorite lines is in a conversation she had with a fellow teacher. . Lots to take out of this for leaders of every age group.

Friend“They don’t pay me to like the kids. They pay me to create the lesson and kids should learn. I teach, kids learn. Case closed”

Rita Pearson: “People don’t learn if they don’t like you”. 

4. The Key To Success: Grit – Angela Duckworth

Ministry is a tough slog at the best of times. We do it because we love it, but that doesn’t make it easy. Jesus never said it would be easy. Angela Duckworth argues though, that one variable that difference-makers is grit, a combination of passion and perseverance. Difference-makers are those who have a long-term goal and do not deviate in passion and do not give up.

5. Everyday Leadership – Drew Dudley

Drew Dudley may be the fastest talking man on the planet, but it lets him get a wealth of information through in six minutes. He ask the question: “What if we thought of leadership less of changing the world and more of what we did every single day”.  Excellent.

What TED talks have really captivated you?


5 Easy Ways to Get More Out of Sermons

I hold a weird place in the church.

First of all, I am a pastor and a preacher. I work for a local church as the director of Youth Ministry and preach roughly 10 times a year. I know the challenge of wrestling with a difficult text, of spending upwards of 10-15 hours writing a manuscript and then hours more practicing delivery, tone and mannerisms. I know what it is like to see eyes glaze over with boredom and how it feels when you hit that right emotional note after practicing a line for hours.

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However, I am also a member of the church and I have remnants of childhood ADHD. I cannot sit still. My youth, egged on by my wife, often joke that the reason I love church is that I get to do a lot, otherwise I’d never sit still.

When forced to sit down, I fiddle, I day-dream, I think about what I am going to have for lunch and what has happened during the week.  All of a sudden, I realize that I’m in church and that the sermon is important and that I should listen in. Too bad, five minutes has passed, I missed the important build up and I have no idea what the preacher is talking about. Once again. 

I want to help us both out by giving some really easy helpful points that help me focus during sermons, and have helped me get a lot more out of sermons. There are many resources out there for preachers and public speakers to get better at delivery and to be engaging when they speak. There aren’t a lot of help for people to get more out of sermons.

Five dead-easy ways to get more out of sermons in 2015.

1. Pray for your pastor or preacher.

Something I try and do every single Sunday is to pray for my pastor, either with him or on my own. When I do this, it helps me remember that he is just a man, that he isn’t Jesus, and that it isn’t the messenger that I need but the truth. I need the truth, and he needs to deliver it.

I pray for God to direct his words, for my heart to be convicted and for me to turn to God.  When he stumbles over the words, or the message seems difficult to understand or contrived or the odd week that he hasn’t quite nailed the analogy or been able to spend enough time in the word, I remember that all week God has been talking to him and God is trying to talk to me through the spoken word.

I need the truth, not the messenger. Listen in.

2. Sing really, really loudly to prepare yourself.

From a young age, I made a weird promise to myself. I promised myself that I would be the loudest singer in every church I ever attended. It sounds like a silly thing, especially because I have a terrible voice that no-one wants to hear, let alone myself, but the truth is that I sing worship loudly because I have a deaf heart that needs to hear life-giving words.

I sing worship loudly because it gets my heart ready to hear those words.  I’m not always in the right head space to listen well to the sermon, whether it be through tiredness, a rough week or the sheer fact I have a short attention span. However, after spending time worshiping God, I know the importance of focusing in on the sermon.

3. Write key thoughts, ideas and themes down in a notebook during the sermon

I have the remants of childhood ADHD and sometimes, my mind wanders down through a forest of thoughts and rarely comes back unless called. One of the most helpful ways I have found to stay focused is to take notes during the sermon. It’s an effective learning tool for some, including me.

I write down quotes, maybe an important story or a section that has really picked up my interest. The most important part for me is taking a one-line summary of the sermon or the response I felt from it. Even if it’s something small like “Talk to Sarah about getting to know our neighbours‘ or spend more time praying on monday I find it helpful. It consolidates it into my mind.

4. Talk about it after the service.

I am a verbal processor. I drive my pastor and my wife mad with incessant questions about everything, but I need the wall to bounce my questions off to lead me into deeper understandings. A lot of the time this happens between me and my wife on the car ride home from the service, but I also send my pastor an email, a text or ask a question face to face, or, if it’s a deeper question that needs discussion, ask it at my weekly small group.

Faith hasn’t always been a private endeavor like it is now, it was something done in community. Being able to talk about it, discuss and argue and really nail it down is vital. Find someone you can talk about the sermon with.

5. Dig deeper into the verse in my own time. 

I am convinced that the reason I have learnt and grown so much in my faith over the years is not because I am especially intelligent or listen well but because I’ve written sermons a lot. Whether it’s writing sermons for youth and adults, spending time specifically in the bible and writing it out in my own words has made a massive difference to my walk.

So, in the week after the sermon, I read the text that he preached from a couple of times and try to answer these four questions:

  1. What does this mean in my own words
  2. What do other people think this means?
  3. What would the original people think this means?
  4. What would it look like if I lived this out?

This has helped me, a notorious fiddler and day-dreamer during sermons to hear the truth and apply it to my life.

What do you do to get more out of sermons? Leave a comment below. 


My 2014 Survey – Results

Last December, I launched my first Reader Survey. I did it because I wanted to get to know you, the readers, better and because it helps me improve the content that I create.

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If I boiled the results down into a “readers profile,” it would look like this.

  • My typical reader is a male or female (50% each) between the ages of 21-30 (94%).
  • They are mostly single, but not overwhelmingly so (53%). Many are engaged (26%) or married (26%)
  • They identify themselves as Christian (100%) and consider their faith very important (96%)
  • Most of the pressure in their life comes from places such as church, the family home, work and from themselves.
  • They would like to see more real stories from a variety of people, how to live as a Christian and Christian thought articles. They also wouldn’t mind seeing more articles on relationships and leadership.
  • They believe that in 2015, I should focus most on quality content, building an engaged audience, finding guest posters and seeking to guest post on other, well-known blogs.
  • If they had the ability to change one thing, they would make an archive of old posts to help search for older material, have more comments on the site and make sure there is a consistency in posting.

Based on my readers’ comments, I have come to five conclusions:1

1. Talk about faith more. One of the things in the back of my mind is to be ale to reach a broad as audience as possible, whilst still remaining true to who I am and what I believe. This is not to tone down my words when talking about Jesus, but I don’t want to make anyone feel excluded or like an outsider. This survey was a great confirmation for me that people want me to talk more about my faith, and that my tribe believe many of the same things I do.

2. Speak into the pressure points. My demographic is in the same life stage as me, but many of them face different pressures than I do: family, church and from work. This gives me a great insight into what you are facing in life and the ability to write into that. I’m going to spend more time working out to wrestle with the pressure points in peoples lives.

3. Post consistently. This has been one of the most difficult things to do over the last couple of years. Mainly, because I have not carved out a designated time to write for myself, so it can be weeks or months before I post. I relied on passion to get the job done, but I want to be more consistent this year. One of the things I have done is to make a perfect week (get a free copy here: day three) and to commit to writing once a week.

4. The past matters. It’s easy to be embarrassed by my earlier writing, whether it be by grammar, topic or writing style. I know that I have improved a lot since I first started writing almost four years ago but I also know that there was some jewels amongst the thorns. One of the most consistent pieces of feedback was the ability to search for old posts that people enjoyed. I’m going to rectify this by making an archive of all my posts, first by topic and then by date so that you can search through posts. I’ve also re-added a search function on the right-hand side of the page.

5. Honesty is the biggest drawcard.  The greatest draw card is honesty and passion. The posts that have gone viral this year (this, and this and this) have all been indepth, raw and emotional posts that revealed something that most people wouldn’t know about me, my marriage or my life. People want more of that. Overwhelmingly, the most popular topic to focus on for next year was real stories from real people.

I’m thankful for everyone who took the survey.


The Bible Year

Have you read the bible? 

Bart Erhman, prominent atheist scholar, asks his Survey of the New Testament class at the University of North Caroline three questions every single year.

  1. How many of you believe that the bible is inspired by God?
  2. How many of you have read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code?
  3. How many of you have read the entire bible?

Almost everyone raises their hand to the first question. Again, most raise their hand for the second. No-one raises their hand for the last question. Ehrman goes on to say, ‘I understand why you have read the Da Vinci Code, Dan Brown is a good author. There is something I do not understand though. You are telling me that you think God wrote a book and you have not read it yet“.

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Guilty as charged. I have not read the entire bible. There are books that I go back to all the time, like Romans and Philippians, but there are huge chunks of the Old and New Testament that I have not even glanced at. I am willing to bet that a lot of Christians are like me. 

God doesn’t command Christians to read the bible everyday, instead he lists the benefits of doing so. He tells us that his word will be a light to our feet (Psalm 119), that knowing the truth will set us free (John 8), that it will help us fight temptation (Matt 4) and that in it, God has revealed everything about life and Godliness (2 Peter 1)

God wants us to have a spirit-filled, abundant life and reading his word is one of the primary means of grace.  Time and time again though, I find myself looking elsewhere for advice than God’s word. When I need advice, I read a book, article or listen to a podcast. I read what other people think God has said instead of letting him speak to me directly.

Bible Year: My Challenge This Year

I want to challenge myself this year (and anyone else who would like to join me) to put every book but the bible on the shelf, until you have read the bible all the way through. You can read straight from Genesis to Revelation, like I am going to do, or follow any series of reading plans (fellow blogger and pastor Dave Miers has a fantastic list here).

Throughout the year, I am going to post Facebook and Twitter updates of favorite verses & insights I have with the hashtag #bibleyear. If you want to join me in having a bible year and posting about it online, I think that would be great and a real encouragement to each other. It would be fantastic to build up each other with what we have read and learnt throughout the year. I’m excited to see what God will show us.

Rules of the Challenge

  1. Read every single book of both the Old & New Testament
  2. Do not read any other book, either physical or e-book, until you have finished.
  3. Tell people about what you are learning! #bibleyear
“All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every god work”.  (2 Timothy 3:16)

 

If you want to have a #bibleyear this year, comment below and tell us that you are in!

Why Your New Years Resolution Will Fail (and How You Can Change That)

Every single year, most people will fail in making their New Years resolutions into reality.

A recent survey of 1000+ Australians showed that 69% intend to make at least one resolution in the new year. These resolutions are based around things such as weight loss, exercise, quitting smoking, being more frugal with money, working towards a qualification and/or addressing problems that have been causing problems in relationships.

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Let’s be honest. We’ve all made resolutions that haven’t stuck. I’ve made countless commitments to lose weight, increase my fitness, save more money and do more interesting things in the new year. Heres the thing, I want to actually finish them. 

The shocking truth is that a quarter of all resolutions don’t make it past February. 60% are dead by June and by December, only one in 10 people will have made a change in their life. The average person will make the same resolution about ten times without succeeding.

What is the cause of all these broken dreams and failed resolutions?

Simply, most of us are not very good at making resolutions that are achievable. We make resolutions that require large investments, determination and hard work but can’t plan the steps in between. Then, we lose passion and give up. I think we can change that though.

When I was a young boy, I was once told that I wouldn’t finish high school, get a degree or have a family due to a chronic illness. Ten years on, I’m on my second degree and been married for a yearI have an aversion to being told that I can’t do something.

I started the Radical Change four years ago because I wasting my time doing something that was unimportant rather than chasing my dreams. I hated that, so I quit Facebook (the unimportant thing) and wrote up a list of everything I wanted to achieve. It took me four years, but slowly and surely, I knocked them off the list.

Whether your dream is long, short, hard or difficult, you can achieve it in 2015.

Earlier this month I developed a free 7-day email series aimed at helping you chase your dreams, crush your goals and achieve more in 2015. There has been a bunch of people sign-up so far and get a head-start on their resolutions but there is no reason for you not to join them.

Don’t live the same year 75 times over and call it a life.

Sign up RIGHT NOW and make 2015 the best ever. 





Santa vs. Jesus: Who Has The Better Christmas Story?

It won’t be long now.

Santa Claus has left the icy peaks of the North Pole in his reindeer powered sleigh, beginning his trek around the world to deliver joy to children of all ages across the globe. Tomorrow morning, the world will wake up and rejoice, presents will be unwrapped and everyone will eat and drink too much. Christmas is here.

Nativity_tree2011

For a long time, Christmas has been my very favorite time of the year. Mum often recounts how I would wake up at 4:30 am, put socks onto my hands and feet and glide silently down the halls to check the bevy of presents Santa had left that year. I really, really, really loved Santa.

Over the last few years though, the excitement I feel around Christmas time has changed. I can only describe it like a young boy who loved football, who grew up and discovered that love was more fulfilling and true. It’s not that Santa has failed in his mission to bring joy to the world, it’s just that there is a far better story on offer than the one he tells.

Santa

I don’t want to be too harsh with the jolly red man. He brings happiness and joy to millions around the world and displays a generous spirit that more should follow. My main, and only, frustration is that he is a poor imitation of the real deal. 

I’m not opposed to many things, but one thing I am against is trading a better story in for a weaker one. When it comes down to it,  Santa has a weaker Christmas story than Jesus. 

Santa brings presents, but it’s dependent on our behavior. If our record throughout the year doesn’t stack up, Santa himself, the jolliest of jollies, will bring judgement against us and deliver us coal. As an energy-filled, vase-breaking blur of a child who constantly flirted with being more naughty than nice, this caused serious anxiety to me around Christmas time.

Santa turns up once a year, brings joy to the world over the course of a day and then heads back home to rest up his feet. No-one wants to hear about Santa in April. He’s a bit of a flash in the pan like that.

I like Santa a lot, but I believe that there is someone else with a better story to tell.

Jesus

So what does the holy man from Nazareth have to do with it?

I think he has a better story to tell. 

I’ll admit, the Jesus narrative seems like a bit of a tired tale, one that gets rolled out to appease those who want people to remember the reason for the season and all that jazz. Like I said, that doesn’t bother me. I want the better story.

Here is what I understand about Jesus and his story:

  • This world is intimately broken from the inside out.
  • Jesus came to fix the broken and restore things to the way they should be.

There’s a whole bunch of other stuff floating around, the book written about Jesus (the bible) is pretty big but when it comes down to it, that’s the main story. That story has changed everything about my life.

The fact that the world is broken is something I can get on board with.

At a very young age, I was diagnosed with a chronic illness. You don’t have to convince me very hard that our bodies are broken.

Every single week I hang out with teenagers and I can see it in their eyes. They carry it with them through bitter relationships with their parents, anxiety, depression and working out who they are. You don’t need to convince them that the world isn’t as it should be.

Late last year, I got married and if anything, being married has shown me how broken I am and how I am no-where near as good as I thought I was. I fall short, often – ask my wife.

Jesus speaks into that brokenness in a way that Santa never can. He says, I see what you are facing and I am going to do something about it. I am going to set the world back in order. I am going to put you back together – slowly and carefully but completely. 

Jesus has a plan for this world to become restored. That’s why the story written about him calls him the light of the world (John 8:12). That story of brokenness becoming whole is the dominant story line in my life and it is all because of Jesus.

It’s something I will celebrate this year, and every year. When I was a little kid, the story about Santa was good, but to be honest, the story about Jesus is even better. 

Whats more?

It’s real.


Chase Your Dream: 7 Days to Crush Your Goals & Achieve More

Every single person I know has chased their dream and failed at some point.

After a heart attack, only 1 out of every 7 people will change their lifestyle. The average person makes the same New Years resolutions 10 times without ever achieving success. A quarter will abandon their resolutions after one month, whilst over 60% will still be hustling after six months. Only 10% will actually achieve their goal.

I want to help you change that.

Photo Credit: Arya Ziai via Compfight cc

Photo Credit: Arya Ziai via Compfight cc

Imagine, for a moment that you have been given a magic wand. This is no ordinary magic wand, this specific wand gives you the ability to change the things you do not like about yourself, waking up the very next day to a life exactly as you would like it to be. One drawback though, you could only change yourself – not anyone else.

If you had a magic wand, what would you change about yourself?

The difference between making that dream a reality and remaining where you are is to harness the power of goal setting. Over the past month, I have been hustling hard to create a 7 day email series to help you chase your dreams and crush your goals. I want to see you achieve your goals in 2015. 

It’s called 7 Days To Achieve More Than You Ever Dreamed Possible.

There is nothing more common than someone who has a dream and never achieves it. All it requires from you is to be average and all that average requires from you is to not die. I want you to discover awesome and leave behind average.

You will need to destroy something though.

It is the word someday

Someday I will write a book.
Someday I will work on my marriage
Someday I will have a better relationship with my kids
Someday I will get in shape
Someday I will launch that business
Someday I will build that house
Someday I will be famous

Do you want to know the real and ugly truth of someday however? Someday does not exist. It is a figment of our imagination that we have conjured to protect ourself from the fact that what we really mean is that we will never accomplish that dream.

I will never write a book
I will never work on my marriage
I will never have a better relationship with my kids
I will never get in shape
I will never launch that business
I will never build that house
I will never be famous.

Don’t let someday be the final word in your dream.

Sign up here, chase your dreams and achieve more than you ever dreamed possible.