Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts, Uncategorized

SLEEP – The Fastest Way to Grow


Have you ever noticed that we spend much of our life asleep? Despite all our productivity, life goals and ambition almost a quarter to a third of our life we spend flat on our back effectively doing nothing. Perfectly idle in a subconscious state. As babies we enter the world sleeping at routine intervals and then in our latter years our days dwindle buffeted by afternoon naps.

I was at a 7am prayer meeting a few weeks ago and I found God wouldn’t let me pray. I was a little annoyed because it was cold, early and I was ready to pray but felt constrained. Most people might think I was wasting my time or going a little loopy, but I knew God was up to something. Fortunately I was the only one who attended the meeting so I didn’t have to explain myself or feel guilty. No one else had bothered to wake up so I felt I was one up on them. So I thought.

Sitting on the cold concrete stairs locked outside of the building a thought of rest crossed my mind. Unbeknownst to me it became a rather gripping idea which seems to unravel on a daily basis.

I pulled out my phone and started reading the book of Hebrews. Maybe it was because of my desire for slumber but the thought of rest started to lead me down a trail of ideas. Straight after the writer of Hebrews talks about leaving the desert to head into the promised land he emphasises the day of rest, or the Sabbath. I saw that God might not desire for us to go back and forth between the desert and the promised land.

Hebrews 4:4
Therefore, since the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us be careful that none of you be found to have fallen short of it. 2And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world. For somewhere he has spoken about the seventh day in these words: “On the seventh day God rested from all his works.”God again set a certain day, calling it “Today.”

God worked six days and then rested. He never went back to work. It was finished. If we are to follow his lead we must realise the day of rest is “Today”. The sabbath is “Today”. Today is the day of Salvation. I discovered that we don’t need to only rest in peace when we die. We enter his rest when we receive him. Rest is salvation. Surprisingly the scripture warns us several times to be careful NOT to rest. Most people it seems warn of not working. I’ve never once in my life been reprimanded for resting too little?

I began to see that the sabbath is intended to remember God, but when Jesus showed up we can’t forget him because he is with us everyday.

The Jewish tradition of the Sabbath or Shabbat starts on a friday night with wine, dinner with the family and the married enjoying marital relations finishing at saturday lunch. These aren’t things that we should only do once a week. God wants us to experience this everyday with him at the centre.

In Jewish law the severest punishment is for those who don’t observe the Shabbat. I wondered why the same punishment for murder,rape and adultery is the same for mowing the lawn on a sunday. It is because rest and salvation are the one and the same. In no uncertain terms God commands us to rest. Our bias as is to appear busy. Busyness it seems is something to be proud of, something of a badge. We even lie to appear important. How was you day? “Busy”. Not many people would gladly admit to watching youtube videos for four hours.

We even label a whole industry “Busyness” or the “Business Sector”. Unfortunately busyness does not equate with productivity. I felt I was being made aware of a new type of business practice.

Running a small business I found to take a holiday was one of my most pressing challenge. I was afraid that when I came back, my business would irrevocably suffer. It wasn’t that I didn’t have a chance to rest, I just didn’t allow myself to rest because I needed to stay on high alert for the sake of the business and sense of duty. After several years of very few restful breaks, I started to wonder if God wanted me to live like this. To me, it was incredibly difficult to book in a holiday, not knowing how busy I would be, or what my financial situation would look like. Once I acted in faith, I discovered my perspective shift on the nature of God changed my life dramatically. I realised he wanted me to enjoy my life, and not just endure. I’m not perfect at it but more and more over the last few years I now cherish these holiday times and don’t allow future concerns from stealing my present sense of rest.

After starting to gain an understanding of rest I needed to go to the toilet. Feeling a little despondent and like I was wasting time at the prayer meeting, God asked me what room I was in. I realised I was in the “Rest Room”.

At risk of sounding vulgar,  I felt I needed to get rid of religious “waste”.   My religious activity was ironically separating me from him from the start, putting him at arms length and making me climb back into him via prayer.  Prayer was not a way to get to him. He was already with me. He was seeking me.

I felt he wanted me to understand I needed new regular revelation and needed to let go of the past otherwise it would make me bloated and poison my system.

I realised how all my christian activities were centred around getting to God. In essence they became the very thing that stopped me from seeing God because they perpetuated the lie that I wasn’t already with him

The time children grow the fastest is when they are asleep. On average a babies birth weight is doubled by 4-6 months and tripled by 12 months. Exponential growth occurs. For this growth to occur a baby needs to be at rest with his little heart and body optimised, building new cells. When we fill our lives with activities our thinking does not have required energy to be directed into thoughts of growth. We are too busy in survival mode to focus our attention onto new thoughts. Too busy playing catch up.

For some the thought of rest is actually stressful, the thought of new ideas overwhelming. Who will do the work if I don’t? I would argue if you don’t have time to rest you are doing something God is not asking you to do. Rest is a state of faith.  It shows that we completely trust and completely feel safe in Gods in plans.

Isaiah 66
This is what the Lord says Heaven is my throne,
and the earth is my footstool.
Could you build me a temple as good as that?
Could you build me such a resting place?

Rest is receiving Gods nature. Heaven is his throne. The earth is his footstool. A throne is comfortable, a footstool makes him a little more comfortable. When we rest we are giving God his rightful place.

Rest is total authority. His feet on the footstool shows total dominance. We don’t’ need to be fight or flight mode because perfect love casts out fear.

Rest kills a religious spirit because religion makes you feel you can do it. We sometimes put ourselves in the place of Jesus. The messianic complex starts with thinking “If I’m not here, this ship will sink.” Its a burden we are never supposed to carry. If we are doing Gods will and what he requires the rest Gods responsibility.

Rest is visionary because it values relationship over the long term rather the production in the short term.

Rest gives God a voice to speak to us and for us. Many times simply stopping and listening has saved countless hours of wasted time, money and effort.

Rest is a statement that God is with us. When we don’t rest we are inadvertently saying, God is no longer in charge.

Rest reveals lies. It is the true understanding that it is finished. Jesus already died on the cross. It is not a something to be proud of when you put yourself back on it.

Later in Hebrews 4:3 it says
And yet his works have been finished since the creation of the world.”

The includes all works including the work of the cross.

Revelation 3:18
That book belongs to the lamb who was slaughtered before the creation of the world.

We can rest because God is not surprised by anything. God didn’t bat an eyelid even at Adam and Eve’s seemingly cataclysmic mistake. He already moped up the mess “The lamb who was slaughtered before the creation of the world.” At the right time he decided to reveal it to us.

1 Peter 1:19
but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. (NIV)

Its interesting that alot of the time we can only rest when feel like everything has been done. Many feel like there is always something to be done and actually struggle to stop. They think its a waste of time to stop and smell the roses. When we see that “It is finished”. The work of salvation is final we can cease striving. God never asks us to strive. He asks us to be led. To only do what the father does. The cross broke the curse of “toiling”. It now asks us to tend the resurrection life offered.

Psalm 127:2
In vain you rise early and stay up late, toiling for food to eat– for he grants sleep to those he loves.

Many people don’t want to rest because of fear. They want to please others. They hide behind works and serving others because if they stop they don’t feel loveable. Rest confronts the issue of value. It asks the questions “Am I just as important when I am not doing anything?”. “Am I worth spending time with when I’m not a practical help?”. Few find it enjoyable to confront these sensitive issues and prefer to scoot along the surface. Past rejection or hurt may be the reason we avoid rest. Sometimes we’d rather not actually deepen the relationship for fear of loosing what we have. Unfortunately being loved for what we do rather then who we are is a self defeating type of love, if we can call it love at all. It is a return to the curse of toiling and separation from God’s love.

Rest is unselfish because it puts value on other peoples actions and thoughts, and allows them in. We stop what we want to do and put importance on what others want. Rest allows space for interaction and removes the busy clutter that blocks relationships.

Rest improves relationships. It is no surprise we even use the term “Sleeping together’. When we are at rest, we are vulnerable. We are not in a self protective state. It facilitates deeper fully present, authentic connection. It creates an atmosphere for intimacy.

Rest is immensely productive. Fruitfulness comes from intimacy. There are so many things out of our control. Weather patterns, stockmarket, our health, the actions of others. Rest puts these concerns back on the shoulders of the one who is in charge and leaves the rest to God.

Discussing this with a friend Tom Biasetto he shared that elite athletes i.e. when Tiger Woods have a crucial putt to make or when Ronaldo was to make a spot kick, in those high pressure situations what separated them from lesser competitors was that their heart rate would drop to that of just above sleeping. They could master primitive fear states of flight or fight. Lesser sports stars in similar situations found their heart rate spike with a corresponding drop in performance.

Its funny the effect senior players have when they step onto a field. Experienced players change the atmosphere of the team. They are not panicking. They have composure and an air of confidence that instills strength into the entire team and even the supporters. They may not be at the top of their game physically but they are completely relaxed which facilitates the team rising to its potential.

Rest is not laziness. It is operating in the spirit. It is higher efficiency, clearer thinking, it is enjoyable, attractive, and a reveals who we truly are. We can relax in the individual identity of how God made us. We don’t have to work to put up a facade. We are accepted. More then accepted we are sought after. Our messy humanity completely connected with divine nature.

Adam received his wife while he was asleep. The disciples rested in the upper room for 40 days eating drinking at the feast of Pentecost until the Holy Spirit descended.

Stopping helps us face the larger questions in life that we subconsciously carry. When we start feeling the weight of what is on our heart many times it makes us tired and sleepy. It is because we begin to feel the burdens we are carrying. We are not supposed to be carrying these burdens. Many times the best thing to do is sleep. We are supposed to give them over to God to carry. To lighten our load. This dream state is a place where God can fill us with vision and ideas. When we wake we can trust that God has things under control. It is interesting how often I go to be feeling overwhelmed and by the morning the problems of the night before have seemed to dissipate.

When we rest we move out of our head and into our heart. Our heart moves slower then our head. To live from a place of the heart we must slow down. Then when we act we will live from our heart. Our words will come from the heart and be loaded. Have you ever found it difficult to be heard in a board meeting? Many times the one who is at rest is listened to the most. The person in panic mode is ignored. Even listening to them unsettles the team. The people at rest are usually the leaders. They have processed the issues and are resolved. When you are at rest, people stop and listen. They sense you have the ability. It calms their personal doubts and the voices of inadequacy that they may carry.

So how do we enter this magical rest you may ask? I noticed a cousin of our family Chas Gullo entered a building during a wedding once. To me it seemed the atmosphere of the room changed as he walked in. I felt a sense of peace. I asked him if he knew what I was talking about and I found his answer very enlightening. He told me that he walks as if he carries a dove is on his shoulder. He walks slowly and moves softely so he can be in-tune with what the Holy Spirit is doing.

Even just going to bed early is a way to enter this rest. I remember as a teenager I would wake feeling taller. While I was asleep my body entered a growth spurt. Although I am aware of God all day long, these days I also experience Gods presence the most when I am in bed, before I wake and as I sleep. I see it as a type of meditation on Gods goodness and feel like I am growing closer to him like never before. 

I’m not saying sleep all day and don’t do any work. I am saying carry God with us as we work. This rest isn’t something I can conjure up. It is something we have to perpetually receive. It is is something we carry. It is an act of mercy and grace.

Hebrews 4:11

Let us therefore make every effort to enter that rest, so that no one will perish, by following an example of disobedience.

I challenge you to today to listen do what he asks, rest and leave the rest up to God. It may be one of the most difficult things you will ever do. People around you may miss out on eternal life because you are so concerned about the tasks you need to accomplish. Don’t be disobedient. Make the changes you must to allow rest into your life.  It is one of the most fruitful modes of living.


Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts, Uncategorized

NEW BORN – Milk Drunk

I have started a business called “Picture and Portrait”. People send me a picture usually over Facebook and then I draw it. It is no surprise this black duck has been drawing a lot of babies lately. ALOT. What can I say? Parents love their bundles of chubbyness and they want them immortalised in a portrait for all to see.

It has dawned on me that this is how God sees us. Like a parent sees their child.

Over the last few weeks I feel I have seen a new side of God. The parental heart of God. A few weeks ago I was about to fall asleep and then I had a little day dream.

I was on my back with just a nappy. I then filled my nappy. God came and wiped me clean and replaced my nappy. I felt shame and was a bit embarrassed to let God see this. He then blew a raspberry on my belly and made me laugh and I forgot about my shame. We then blew bubbles in the bath tub and God frizz dried my hair with a towel. I then saw some “assets” and God told me to suckle and feed.

I later asked a friend about this because it felt a little strange. Was I going completely bonkers? He told me that the word ‘El Shaddai’ connected to Shadayim, the Hebrew word for “Breasts” and meant “The One of the Breast” or “Destroyer”. Without sounding too sexist those extremes seemed like very feminine attributes of God. I researched the Hebrew and confirmed it to be true. I realised God was my life source and without him I would shrivel and die. After being “Milk Drunk” God wiped the drool off my face. He then strapped me into a stroller and I sat there drunk asleep bouncing along as he jogged. I achieved things way beyond my abilities, but it wasn’t my achievement that mattered it was being in his company. At this stage in my own strength I couldn’t even crawl.

It wasn’t my abilities my prayers, my songs, my readings of his actions, my ideas, my strategies, my performance, my fruit, my strength, my service, my love, my affection, my generosity,or my words that mattered at this stage.

It was his prayers, his songs, his actions, his ideas, his strategies, his performance, his fruit, his strength, his service, his love, his affection, his generosity and his words that mattered.

The hardest work I had to do was to learn to be a son. To receive and understand my value and worth. I felt God was pruning away all these works of prayer, worship and reading my bible I thought were so important right back to letting him love me. A circumcision of the heart. The Gospel is quite simple. Many times we add lots of paraphernalia to it. It is so important that we are joined to the vine and not joined to good ideas, patterns or at worst addictions that ignore Gods subtle whisper.

God wants to deal directly with our heart. He wants to satisfy our heart for it is the place where good fruit is formed. An interesting thing about wine making is that the vines are heavily pruned. I thought it would be once a year at the most, but it is standard practice to prune the vine seven times each season. The purpose is so that the nutrition goes to only the most essential shoots of the vine and the foliage doesn’t block the new shoots from the sun.

I’m not saying any of these things are bad. I am not throwing the baby out with the bath water, but I am saying unless everything we do comes from an understanding of love it causes more damage then good. What does a baby have to do to impress its parents? Rest and trust. It is actually unnatural for a baby to take on works of life. True maturity is understanding that we are both an adult and baby before God. I am saying sometimes we need to get the order right. John 4:19 says “19 We love because he first loved us.” We must regularly prune back to the essential life giving attachment to Christ before we run off chasing “results” or proving our love by our actions. I am not saying don’t do any of the aforementioned practices. I am saying here is an incredible tool to put in your arsenal. It is arguably the most powerful as the rest stem from it. Be careful that you are not so busy trying to impress God. He is impressed by you already. Before you lifted a finger you have his heart. The more we realise that, the more Gods power can flow throw us unfiltered. When we attribute Gods power to our action he has to limit it, not only will it destroy us but it presents a formula that can be devoid or relationship. Pruning doesn’t remove only the bad parts, it prunes healthy things to become even healthier. We think we have lost something great only to find out there is better.

Here is a film I made about being pruned to become more fruitful.

Fruit that remains

After all this “work” it was now time to rest. We then fell asleep in bed no one needed to talk. We just enjoyed each others presence and my body started to grow.

Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts

BIRTH – It wasn’t your choice

Obviously as a single male the only experience of birth I have had is when I popped out. Fortunately for me I can’t remember it. For that I am very grateful. Needless to say for many parents, the memories of birth is something akin to ‘Flashbacks from Nam’. Without getting too graphic, we pushed our mothers to their limit bringing sickness, lots of blood, gore, scaring, mess and pain. Ironically we celebrate our birthday when essentially we didn’t do anything except be “Freshly Squeezed”. It is our mother we should really be celebrating.

When people talk about moving to the next level, many say something like ‘Your attitude effects your altitude’. I’d like to suggest a good attitude makes life less painful for those closest to us, but it may not have the strength to stop us. There have been many times when I have had a horrible attitude but still experienced blessing. Sometimes a bad attitude is the best I could do at the time. It’s all I had to offer.

After talking to Karina a friend and midwife in a local hospital, she gave me many fascinating insights into the birthing process and our so called ‘attitude’. Here are some thoughts she shared.

The position that the baby’s head is flexed is called its ‘attitude’. A fully flexed head on the babies chest in a type of bowing position is optimal so that the baby can be delivered with as little surface area as possible. It is more difficult for the baby to come out if it’s got its chin up.

An attitude of trust that things will work out even if we can’t see everything ahead can really help during the birthing of a dream. Drilling for all the facts can make the process more painful for everyone around us.

The overarching point is that even if a baby has a bad attitude, it is still pushed out of its comfort zone willingly or not.

From the moment that the head crowns, the midwife applies pressure, incase the baby’s head comes ‘flying out’. It is important when delivering that the baby’s head comes out at a steady pace, and the pressure that we apply on the head keeps the head in the fully flexed position. It may seem like we are delaying the process making it harder for them, as if we are pushing the baby back, but really the pressure is applied to bring support.

Sometimes it can feel like those around us are hindering or preventing the birth of our dream. It is important to consider that they may be assisting us. They can see things that we cannot see and may be in better suited position to help. The reality is, they can’t stop it. Universally we have one thing in common. We had the privilege of being born.

Fruit drops the easiest at the right time. It reminds me of a term a friend of mine Ben Naitoko has coined “Shake the bush”. If the time is right and the tree healthy, the fruit will drop with the least amount of effort. If not it won’t budge unless we force it picking sour fruit not fully formed.

Fruit produced, reproduces.

God called us to be fruitful and multiply. It seems we can’t help but reproduce what we are. We all carry seed in us. It is not our natural design to be barren, or produce unhealthy fruit. Fruit of hate, sadness, frustration, impatience, hardness, brashness, lack of control, and unfaithfulness are not our original DNA. It is fruit grafted in from a different spirit. The fruit of the Holy Spirit is our original purpose. It is how we find out what it is to be fully human. It is contagious too.

Galatians 5:22-24
But what happens when we live God’s way? He brings gifts into our lives, much the same way that fruit appears in an orchard—things like affection for others, exuberance about life, serenity. We develop a willingness to stick with things, a sense of compassion in the heart, and a conviction that a basic holiness permeates things and people. We find ourselves involved in loyal commitments, not needing to force our way in life, able to marshal and direct our energies wisely.

When we live attached to his vine. It is a place of rest. We are receiving life giving nutrients. To give nutrients we have to receive all of the above starting with affection. Attachment is letting his love flow through us. It is an effortless life or death situation. It is how we are fashioned. It is our most perfect fit. It is how we become activated.

John 15:5 “Yes, I am the Vine; you are the branches. Whoever lives in me and I in him shall produce a large crop of fruit. For apart from me you can’t do a thing. 6 If anyone separates from me, he is thrown away like a useless branch, withers, and is gathered into a pile with all the others and burned. 7 But if you stay in me and obey my commands, you may ask any request you like, and it will be granted! 8 My true disciples produce bountiful harvests. This brings great glory to my Father.

Bountiful harvests are not an overstatement. The good news is that we are made to be connected to the tree of life. Not the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. We don’t need to know all the answers we need life pulsing through our veins. There is natural life. Natural seasons. The tree of life doesn’t follow natural seasons. It has so much nutrient rich nectar, it is always producing fruit.

Revelation 22:2 On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations.

When Jesus came he came to bring heaven to earth. If it is perpetually fruitful in heaven he wants earth to operate under then same rules.

Mark 11:12 The next day as they were leaving Bethany, Jesus was hungry. 13 Seeing in the distance a fig tree in leaf, he went to find out if it had any fruit. When he reached it, he found nothing but leaves, because it was not the season for figs.14 Then he said to the tree, “May no one ever eat fruit from you again.” And his disciples heard him say it.

Notice it was not the season for figs? I am starting to realise fruit needs to drop out of season because Jesus wants it to. We are not season dependent, God does not only love us 3 months of the year. He loves us warts and all, rain hail or shine. When we are led by Gods will, his life flows out of us 24/7. Sometimes in evangelical circles we can be so obsessed with seasons. I’m starting to realise there are really only two. Generating fruit, and delivering fruit. With the life of Jesus in us, the sabbath is every day, fruit from the tree of life produces each month and the year of jubilee is every year. Could this be the solution to world hunger? Perpetual fruitfulness?

2 Timothy 4:2
Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage–with great patience and careful instruction.

It takes patience to believe in and out of season because if you are producing fruit out of season people aren’t as ready for it. It doesn’t mean others can’t eat it or don’t want it, they just don’t expect it.

We are meant to have fruit before it’s time. To see what is to come without needing patience with God. Our patience should be with man. Patience because what we have is before it’s time and at first confuses those around us. God actually demands it and has very little patience for dormant plants with no fruit. He wants to break the limitation of seasons over our life. He wants ripe fruitfulness all year round.

The United States Bureau of statistics state (2010) every minute over 250 babies are born around the world. God is fruitful. As we join with him we will be too.

Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts, Uncategorized

CONCEPTION – Its the fun part

Start thinking about that book, that screenplay, that tv show, that song, that ted talk. Start dreaming about that business idea, that concept, that strategy, that building, that event, or even that dress.

Women looking to get pregnant can’t drink alcohol, their sleeping patterns change. They have a different routine. You can not use other peoples systems. You can learn from them but you have to make your own from experience. Systems are never the problem. It is redundant systems that are the problem. Without going through the grass roots, dirt under fingernail experience you will not be able to make or understand the adequate system for your dream. We are all very unique.

God is just as much in the detail as he is the macro. He is in the mathematical structure of the DNA as much as he is in the windswept hair of a child or the protrusions from baby kicks in the womb. He is just as much in the systematic as much as the romantic. He is in the fine wining candle lit dinner as much as the steak and three veg.

Many people say we need to give God room to breathe in a church service. This usually means that the worship should go for four hours. I’ve never been in a church like this where they sing one song for three minutes and believe God has come. Apparently God only comes if we have an unstructured very long time for him to come. Of course this is not true. God can be just as free in the rigid system, the rigid routine of a dream as much as the unstructured ethereal aspect of a dream. Rigid systems of the internet, facebook, franchises, websites, computer games are the most fruitful sometimes because they are easily reproducible and deliverable. My point is the rigid system must be current. The same processes that once worked may no longer work. They must be fine tuned on a daily basis otherwise they could put the dream at risk. Sometimes it’s quick and sometimes you need to actively create an atmosphere of romance.

Recently my routine has changed quite dramatically. I have given my self permission to have mental space to think. I guess it has become more romantic. I like to be busy. It feels like I am achieving something with my life. It is actually difficult to avoid an immense sense of guilt for sitting at the beach, sipping a late, lying in bed or chatting with a friend about an idea. Personally I try not to tell too many people that my new routine strictly involves a lot of daydreaming. It seems counter intuitive but without seasons of rest we can actually malnourish our dreams and not give them the proper nutrients to develop something fresh. I am starting to (slowly) realise that this empty space is actually essential for developing really great ideas. Those ideas that grip you. Those ideas that motivate you for a lifetime. That tap into your passions and make you feel acutely alive. Have you ever noticed you get your best ideas when you are on holidays usually lying in bed , in a hammock or a spa bath? I don’t think it is a coincidence. Conception is the fun part. Sex doesn’t usually happen writing emails? It needs an atmosphere of rest and seclusion, especially in a climate that is screaming for your mental space. Don’t let everyone else’s babies distract you from your baby making.

A strange phenomena that happens is when we shift from a barrenness of ideas is that our incubator becomes very fertile. We begin to see ‘A stream in the desert’ as the seer Isaiah puts it.

‘See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? I am making a way in the wilderness and streams in the wasteland. Isaiah 43:19’

There are only so many babies one can carry at a time and there needs to a time to replenish after birth. Contraception is sometimes a good thing when we realise the commitment and responsibility it takes to carry a dream. Once we get an appetite for conception like all appetites it grows.

A pregnant mother may be lethargic on the outside but on the inside she carries a baby making factory in full flight. It drains all the systems and puts them in overload. She may be just laying about and eating lots, she may not be climbing Mt Kiliminjaro but internally she is creating something that has never been seen before. Mt Kiliminjaro has been climbed before, cover bands are dime a dozen. The crowd won’t willingly accept that you have something new to offer. They don’t want take a risk on you. What they really want is something new, but they don’t think you have what it takes. They don’t trust you and they are also afraid that you might succeed. It rattles their identity to see you comfortable in yours. People who have never been preggers will wonder why you don’t have your hiking boots on and why you don’t know the latest Coldplay song. Why aren’t you busy? You will find other dreamers will not make you feel inadequate. They will meet with you in your uncluttered your days. The don’t confuse busyness with fruitfulness. They see the seed of potential. They don’t need it all fully formed to believe in you.

Relationships are very important in this early stage. Be mindful to nurture relationships. Invest into them when there may not be immediate benefit, for as dreams grow they will journey with you and spark spin offs. Allow the cross pollination and ownership of ideas to be shared and carried, for the dreams will be too big for one to carry. It is a family of dreams.When we meet people with dreams of God they point out the dreams in us. When Mary met Elisabeth, Elisabeth saw the dream Mary was carrying.

Luke 1:42 Then she spoke out with a loud voice and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed, as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. Blessed is she who believed, for there will be a fulfilment of those things which were told her from the Lord.”

John the Baptist, Elisabeth’s son, then made the way for Jesus. It was a dance of a families helping each other over a lifetime.

Bringing it back to the start, when is a dream conceived? The moment it is thought? If we are figments of Gods imagination when is the moment God thought of us? Is it before we existed physically? Are we eternal before we are born? I’m not sure if we will ever know but the point is that God has been pregnant with us and with the plans of his kingdom, before we even became pregnant with the idea. Essentially we are surrogates of God dreams and he had quite a lot of joy when thinking about us. Being surrounded by people who believe in you and your dreams is the most fertile soil, some people may call it the Bride of Christ (the church). It is the safest incubator for dreams to grow.

Jeremiah 1:5 “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

God has put dreams in your heart ahead of its time, to help nations and actively reveal peace love and joy to them in a way the earth can interact. So go on! Don’t keep second guessing yourself. You have everything you need. You are highly reproductive, all your parts are in working order. Brainstorm, daydream, relax, get romantic and concieve. It’s one of the most fun parts and it also may be the start of a little miracle. It’s just an idea.

Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts, Uncategorized

CONCEPTION – It’s just an idea

I write this on February 2nd 2014. My birthday. I just turned 32. At 32 pretty much all of my friends are having babies or if not practicing quite frequently. Babies are on the brain. At 32 I’ve noticed many people are also starting to live their dreams, or at least actively working towards them. One friend has a bustling children’s earmuff company, another is touring the world in a band, one climbing the corporate ladder in consultancy and another has a blossoming little house and young family. It appears everyone is pregnant with something. Here are some thoughts I have had on a connection between the two – Babies and dreams.

Recently I talked with a friend and was overcome with grief. Within seconds I started crying like a baby ( excuse the pun). Without saying a word I just felt very sad. Gut wrenchingly sad. Like when you want to fake vomit. A newly wed, it felt like she had recently experienced a miscarriage. I wasn’t particularly sad beforehand but now when I started talking with her I could feel her pain empathetically. Crying in public isn’t the most manly things to do at the best of times but it felt like I was helping her to grieve. Without directly addressing the issue I talked and comforted her like she had been through the trauma of a miscarriage and just held her. Afterwards she thanked me and said it was incredibly helpful with a specific loss she had felt. I remember when I mentioned it to a friend, he asked if she had actually said “miscarriage”. 100% confident of my diagnosis I went and checked with her if she could share any more detail about our moment. She mentioned that she felt a dream had died and was grieving over it. It surprised me but I could see a correlation and I was glad that I learnt from past experiences not to join all the dots and blurt out things prematurely. A few weeks later it dawned on me the similarity between dreams and babies. Are babies just dreams? I started seeing many mirroring ideas between the two.

A dream must be conceived nurtured and then born. Before it is born it is very fragile and can be easily killed. It is also very personal because no one else can see the dream before it is birthed into the world. The loss of a dream before it is born only tends to grieve the one carrying the dream as others cannot interact with it until it is born. It is not the loss of experience and memories the person grieves but the loss of the potential.

I realise miscarriages and abortion to be very sensitive subjects. 1 in 4 women experience miscarriage in a lifetime. Some say up to 50% but because it is such a private matter it is impossible to tell. 75% occur in the first trimester. In Australia 90 000 abortions occur each year (250 per day) with 1 in 3 women in Australia aborting a child in thier lifetime. It is this early stage where dreams are the most fragile. For some the environment to sustain the dream is not naturally healthy to sustain life or alternatively we do not feel we are adequate enough to give birth to the dream and abort it early or we simply don’t want it. I am not discussing the pros and cons of abortion, that I leave up to you. I am just fascinated by the connection between dreams and conception. I apologise in advance if I stir up very real and strong emotions attached to ideas around conception but I do believe it is beneficial from a dreamers perspective. If abortion and miscarriage are uncomfortably painful subjects for you or the experience is fresh, I strongly advise you to stop reading now.

When a dream is aborted or miscarried it is not just the one dream that is killed, it is all the dreams that dream might help and inspire or reproduce. It is not 90 000 lives that never exist, it is every life that those children will ever conceive down the generations being aborted too. If the invention of electricity was never conceived the myriad of inventions based on electricity would never come into fruition. I say all this to emphasise the importance of nurturing safe environments for people to carry dreams. Even if they are unseen, or intensely personal, they are still incredibly important and very real.

In Hebrew times many people worshiped the God Molech by sacrificing babies for personal gain. The name Molech in Hebrew means: “to ascend the throne” or, in other words, to usurp God’s authority. Leviticus 20:2 tells us that Molech worship involved the sacrifice of one’s offspring. Essentially when we let dreams die we usurp Gods authority and put ourself in the place of God.

Leviticus 18:21: “And thou shalt not let any of thy seed pass through the fire to Moloch.”

The dreams we have are seed for our future. They are the provision for us and for those around us. When we let them die they pass through the fire to Moloch and are destroyed.

It takes a lot of money and work to nurture babies. There are prams, toys, an extra room on the house, a bigger car, scars, permanent body shape changes , sleepless nights, poo, vomit, the list goes on, just ask your mum. Many people sacrifice the seed because they don’t want the pressure later on. They want immediate results and short cuts. They want to spend the money on themselves rather then on the next generation. We see this in many churches who put more money towards the adults because they tithe rather then the children because they don’t give anything back. In Amos they believed if they ripped open the pregnant women they would enlarge their borders.

“For three transgressions of the sons of Ammon, and for four, will I not revoke its punishment, because they have ripped open the pregnant women of Gilead in order to enlarge their borders” (Amos 1:13).

The truth is we increase more if we invest in the children. Into the small fragile dreams that we have. Rather then sacrificing them for immediate mundane short term jobs we should be sowing deep in the heart of our passions and dreams. The long term results will greatly outway any short term gains. It may seem lonely, you may be misunderstood, you may not eat the finest foods, you may not be able to go out and party as much, you may be stuck in your house, you may not be travelling the world, you may not have the nicest car, you may not have the best clothes but your dream is alive and still kicking. Your dream is nurtured and whole.

Personal Work/Interviews/Thoughts

Is it ok to experience pleasure?

Pleasure to some may seem like the antithesis to spirituality or Christianity.

I think pleasure is one of our primal desires because it is fundamentally integral to how we are wired.

King David understood this.

Psalm 16:11
You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.

What if the source of eternal pleasure was holy rather then evil?

Luke 22:69
But from now on the Son of Man will be seated in the place of power at God’s right hand.

Notice that Jesus and the source of pleasure are in the same spot. At the right hand of the father.

These pleasures include, sexual pleasure, emotional pleasure, spiritual pleasure, infact nearly all sensory pleasures too. I think the more insidious pervasive lie may be that these pleasures aren’t from God.

What if the most evil perspective of pleasure is simply believing pleasure doesn’t come from God? This line of thinking divorces pleasure from its union to God. Pleasure itself then potentially becomes God. This is called Hedonism.

As a reaction many go to the other extreme and make the lack of pleasure a way to God. This doesn’t work either as it is like loving the person without loving being around them. This denial of all pleasure is called Asceticism, an uncomfortable situation at best. Why then do we have, taste buds, scent receptors, endorphins and erogenous zones to name a few? Simply to torture us?

This projected self hate is truley a destructive force. It attacks our identity and makes us inhumane. We take one of the most powerful and attractive attributes of our existence and effectively neuter it. We are not walking buckets of shame. We are made for saturated fullness cultivated in an environment of safety and commitment. As described in Solomon’s song.

Solomon 7:13
At our door is every delicacy,
both new and old,
that I have stored up for you, my beloved.

James continues in this consistent pleasure

James 1
16 Don’t be deceived, my dear brothers and sisters. 17 Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

Many are spiritually anorexic as they don’t reconcile pleasure with God. They live on fumes and rations and end up binging in dark corners full of shame late at night hiding from God. They guiltily grope for a glimpse of momentary pleasure rather then eternal pleasure. This lack of satisfaction becomes a petrie dish for the cycle of addiction.

2 Timothy 3
3 But mark this: there will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God – 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.

Of course the pursuit of pleasure devoid from God is like being connected to a branch cut off from the pleasure tree. It ultimately leads to destruction, becomes a blockage to a connection to the source and eventually runs dry. Likewise I believe much of the reason many people don’t experience the power of God in their life is because they do not understand the pleasure of God. They run on dead branches of duty disconnected from the life giving source of union. They are utterly unconvincing because it is clearly evident for all to see they don’t want to ; they have to.

In 1965 Mick Jagger penned the anthem. ‘I can’t get no satisfaction.” I observed him recently as a frail grandad singing it with a packed stadium. The song still resonates half a century later. .

John talks about a river of satisfaction that never runs dry.

John 4:14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.”

We are born for eternal pleasure. This explains the search in pubs on every corner, the rave parties into the night, the whole entertainment industry, the resultant children born after nights of bliss and Ferreror Rochers.

The word Eden actually means ‘pleasure, fruitful or well watered’. Gods plan is to restore us to back from barrenness to live in the fruitful Garden of Pleasure.

Nehemiah 8:10
Then he said to them, “Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”

This is permission to be Holy and enjoy Gods pleasure. God wants us to be strong and passionate, not desperate and weakened. Passionate from a full satisfied place, not desperation from an empty place.

In Nehemiah’s day, they had wine. That wine was good but now we have access to a new wine. Jesus turned water into wine symbolising a new type of Spirit released on the earth. The Holy Spirit. He has all the attributes of wine. He makes us less conscious of ourselves, able to relate better, light in conversation, full of laughter, less inhibited and more loving, bolder and more confident, harder to hurt and just brings to the table an overriding sense of peace and satisfaction.

It is why Paul said. “Do not be drunk, but be filled with the spirit’.

God actually wants us to take pleasure in exploring new experiences and searching his creation.

Psalm 111v2
The works of the Lord are great,
Studied by all who have pleasure in them.

It is not just for a select group either, but for anyone who just enjoys the details.

When we see Jesus as the source of eternal pleasure we move into a place of power and holiness rather then desperate powerlessness and unholiness. The joy of the lord is strength, sustaining us in every season like sap to a tree . As Adam and Eve walked with God in the Garden of pleasure, God has made a place where we can make our home and live forever well watered, holy, pleasured and forfilled.