Finding Our Way


As we have been working our way through the book of 1 Corinthians I found myself intrigued by that little phrase in Ch 2 ‘but we have the mind of Christ’…

What’s that mean and how does that shape us?

We dug into this a bit at QBC last week. This phrase is set in a chapter where Paul contrasts ‘worldly wisdom’ and ‘spiritual wisdom’, suggesting that we can view the world from two very different angles and that will obviously shape how we live.

So we began to talk about worldviews and the consequent journey to (or from) Christlikeness. My suggestion was that while we may think we work from a Christian worldview occasionally tainted by the world, it is more commonly the case that we work from a western worldview which only becomes ‘Christian’ if we intentionally challenge and dismantle ‘common wisdom’. We are primarily discipled by our culture and unless we are able to first recognise then and then challenge it we will always struggle to live lives that are aligned with Jesus.

We’re not that unlike ole mate Tony Abbott in that we say we subscribe to the Bible as our authority, but only when it suits our lifestyle. When the biblical worldview clashes with what we want to do we can give it the shove and do what we want anyway.

So – how do we live more Christlike lives? How do we intentionally work at shifting our worldview from secular western to biblical (albeit a ‘western’ expression)?

Last Sunday I offered 3 keys to that move. They aren’t intended to be exhaustive by any means, but more ‘simple and memorable’. As we embrace them we move towards Christ and the life he offers and as we choose not to practice these things we also move away from Christlikeness and back to pragmatic self serving.

So my suggestions for living more Christlike lives and shaping a more biblical worldview begins with:

1.Recognising our source of authority – realising that when we bow the knee to Jesus and call him Lord we are then allowing him to call the shots in our lives.

We can so easily become our own source of authority and in that we make what Paul would call ‘worldly wise’ decisions. Paul says if the world ‘got’ the type of wisdom we are speaking of then they wouldn’t have crucified Jesus, but when pragmatic self interest is at the root of our decision making then we end up doing what is expedient and self serving.

We’d probably wack him on a cross too because that works for us and makes our life easier. So the first step is acknowledging that there is such a thing as Godly/spiritual wisdom – that’s it found in the pages of the ‘book’ and that this is where our source of authority is derived from.

Take that block out of place and the rest doesn’t matter. Seriously – get authority wrong and nothing else is worth considering.

2. We become like Christ in Community – and when we are out of community we struggle. We are not intended to live the life of faith alone and our hope of becoming like Jesus only gains traction as we do it with other people. As Paul finishes this chapter he says ‘But we have the mind of Christ’.

And there are two ways to read that statement. You can read it like this – ‘we’ have the mind of Christ – every single one of us – we have the ability as individuals to discern what the spirit says to us – and there is truth in that.

Obviously we do that…

But I’d suggest there is more truth and stronger truth in saying ‘WE have the mind of Christ’ we – us – together – will discern the voice of the spirit and we will do that better together than me on my own.

If we believe what the Bible says about the heart being deceptively wicked and deceitful above all things then we know that we can fool ourselves into ‘hearing God’ approve of all sorts of things that we would like him to sign off on.

But try doing that around some people who really want to follow Jesus together and see what happens. This week I had a serious conflict with a tradesman who owes me money and today sent me 18 abusive texts. Internally I feel like going round there with a baseball bat… but if I put that as a serious suggestion to my close circle of friends in church they would probably help me return to my roots and consider a more Jesus like response…

When we follow Jesus together we offer our lives up for challenge and for response. We should expect push back at times. We don’t make fait accompli statements about what we will do contrary to what the scriptures teach and expect not to be challenged.

But if we are out of community then we put ourselves in a space where we have little by way of accountability and challenge.

We have the mind of Christ together.

3. Practicing Christian living – as we live more like Christ our worldview gets changed. As we accept a greater authority than ourselves and as we live in community we begin to behave differently. And as we actually do the stuff Jesus speaks of our worldview changes again.

Today as the abusive texts rolled in, I didn’t respond. (I thought of many clever things to say…) Part of that is because over the years I have learnt and practiced a more peaceful response to conflict. There was a day when I would have been ‘punching back’, but I guess a lot of practice over a long time has had an effect.

Its been said that ‘we are what we habitually do’, that our most regular practices give shape to our lives. That’s both encouraging and worrying… It means we can reshape our lives as we engage in the practice of new habits and as we choose to leave our old ways behind.

But it begins with a different vision of the world – a different sense of what is really going on and what matters.

I’m concerned that we see Christians getting ‘better’ at actually being the kind of people we claim to be, not in a legalistic way, but in an acceptance that the life we are called to live is going to be lived in a counter-cultural way, that we will not simply follow the script and do what’s expected.

But that will take a source of authority, a community of people to discern the ‘mind of Christ’ with and a resolve to practice new ways of being.



‘Doing a Tony Abbott’













‘Doing a Tony Abbott’…

I wonder if a phrase of this ilk is going to enter our Christian parlance?

This week Abbott spoke at the annual Margaret Thatcher lecture and announced that the Bible and the ‘golden rule’ was good and all that, but not to be taken too seriously – certainly not to be adhered to if you are likely to put yourself or your country in danger. It makes good sense except when it doesn’t work to your advantage…

His exact words were:

“Implicitly or explicitly, the imperative to ‘love your neighbour as you love yourself’ is at the heart of every western polity. It expresses itself in laws protecting workers, in strong social security safety nets, and in the readiness to take in refugees. It’s what makes us decent and humane countries, as well as prosperous ones.

“But right now, this wholesome instinct is leading much of Europe into catastrophic error,”

“Our moral obligation is to receive people fleeing for their lives. It’s not to provide permanent residency to anyone and everyone who would rather live in a prosperous western country than their own.

“It will require some force, it will require massive logistics and expense, [and] it will gnaw at our consciences. Yet it is the only way to prevent a tide of humanity surging through Europe, and quite possible changing it forever,”

There’s no doubting his simple take on this is, ‘The Bible says X – X is good – really good even – and it has ‘worked’ – but if X means your life is affected negatively then X is bad’

I’m no Abbott fan and I disagree with him on this policy, but I think we need to exercise a bit of care with our critique because as Christians we’ve done exactly this for years. When we get to a place where we can finish the equation above with ‘but if X means your life is affected negatively then X is still good’ then we will have got the log out.

But while we read the Bible and consciously, knowingly say ‘what the hell – I’ll do what I like anyway’ then we can’t be taken seriously.

If we’re honest we are pretty good at ‘pulling a Tony Abbott’ … but then that honesty doesn’t always come easily…

Just a thought…




Finding Light on the Dark Side

On Friday I took the day off work and headed to the Willow Creek Leadership Summit to spend some time being challenged, inspired and refreshed. One of the things I have come to realise is that if I’m going to stay energised then I need to do the things to make that happen. I’ve found it difficult over the last 5 years to carve out the time and have often run on the smell of an oily rag. That eventually takes its toll. If you don’t keep yourself energised its hard to keep rolling.

I realise that to some the ‘Leadership Summit’ is the ‘dark side’, because it leans towards working with business principles and of course the church is not a business… So – yeah – I know that, but it’d be foolish to think we couldn’t learn or receive challenge from some of the best minds in the world.

So I went with the intention of savouring everything I could and spitting out any ‘bones’ as appropriate. These days I tend to think that if you can leave a conference with just one significant question, learning, or moment of inspiration then that’s enough. Let’s face it, there isn’t much that’s new in Christian leadership after 27 years, so its more about listening for the nudge of the spirit rather than picking up brand new ideas. (Are there any even?…)

The conference began with Hybels in full swing teaching about the ‘intangibles of leadership’. His basic idea was that for many years he has been teaching that there are 8 or 9 critical components to good leadership (vision casting, strategic planning, problem solving etc – all the usual stuff) but he had observed that there were plenty of people with these skills highly developed who were actually not doing well as leaders. What was the problem?… He stumbled on a book titled ‘The Intangibles of Leadership‘ that gave him a fresh perspective on the ‘below the surface’ stuff that makes a good leader. To be fair none of it is rocket science, but that isn’t the point.

He spoke about:

  • Grit – passion and perseverance over the long haul
  • Self Awareness – becoming aware of our blind spots by walking with people who are willing to tell us the truth
  • Resourcefulness – which he defines as ‘learning agility’
  • Self sacrificing love – the willingness to give of ourselves to those we lead at whatever cost.
  • Creating a sense of meaning – Referring to Simon Sinek’s Ted Talk, Hybels spoke of knowing clearly what your ‘white hot why’ is and letting that shape your life.

The two points that I found myself pondering were the idea of ‘grit’ (tenacity / resolve and the refusal to quit) and that of ‘meaning’. During the Forge/Upstream years I had a super clear sense of calling and had no trouble articulating my ‘white hot why’. As a result I was able to grind on thru some pretty difficult times.

In that period the missionary calling was burning deeply in me – the ‘why’ was as white hot as I have ever known. But for the last few years my ‘why’ has been less ‘laser focused’ and I sense it has impacted on my passion and my ability to persevere. I reckon my ‘grittiness’ is pretty high when I have a cause to give my heart and soul to, but in the absence of this its hard to take hits and keep going. Disappointment and discouragement has definitely been a factor over the last few years and with a less gripping ‘why’ to sustain me I’ve found myself often pondering whether I should keep leading a church.

Add to that, I’ve also been travelling thru the ‘mid life tunnel’ and feeling a more general sense of demotivation and disorientation. It was really disturbing for a long time until I was able to accept that it was like a middle aged version of puberty – a change period and it was ok and normal, even if it made me feel awkward. Richard Rohr’s book ‘Falling Upwards‘ was really helpful for bringing clarity to my confusion even if it didn’t re-ignite my sense of purpose.

So how does this all relate?

I came back from holidays two months ago still somewhat ambivalent about my role as a pastor. I could keep going and ‘doing the job’ but I wasn’t feeling the deep burn that I know is needed to sustain you and give focus to ministry. James words in Chapter 1 about the ‘double minded man’ were resonating with me and not in a good way. I was aware that I was looking simultaneously down two different paths and that I wasn’t going to do anything well in that state.

A good friend challenged me early on after we had returned to just get on with it, lead and enjoy it. I don’t think she meant it to have the quite the catalytic effect on me that it did, but in one short sharp moment I sensed the spirit poke me in the chest and say ‘This is it. Do it!’

I’ve had 2 or 3 similar landmark moments before where the only response possible is ‘ok… I’m in!’ So I made that commitment – to give this next season of church leadership absolutely everything I’ve got and to make sure that I am faithful with what talent I’ve been given. I told Danelle. I told our leaders. I told my friends. Because when you tell people you can’t weasel out. I was intentionally shutting down one of the roads my mind had been venturing down (the one of running a business full time)

That was the first step.

I have been doing some work over the last month to give better leadership to the church in the coming years and I know part of that involves operating with a greater sense of intentionality and purpose. That stuff flows from the ‘white hot why’. (I like Hybels way of articulating that). We aren’t motivated simply by information and facts, but instead by the things that captivate our hearts and that stir our deepest emotions. The missional purpose that gave such strong shape to my identity 10 years ago has faded. That’s not a bad thing. I still see its importance, but I think God had burned that message in my heart for a time and now it has mellowed – maybe come back into better balance with the other priorities of the church.

In the last few days as I have reflected on this ‘white hot why’, and what it is now, I have come to a different place. I left the conference on Friday disturbed because I couldn’t articulate it and I know that if I can’t give words to it then I don’t know what it is clearly enough. I began talking around it, writing, reflecting and puzzling. I knew something was there, but with so many distractions and competing agendas in life at the moment I was struggling to simply focus. But I pushed on because I sensed I was near – I was having a ‘tip of the tongue’ experience.

Then it struck me – like a sledgehammer out of the blue. Over the last two years the idea that has been inspiring, disturbing and captivating me is Paul’s statement in Philippians ‘For me to live is Christ and to die is gain.’ I’ve preached on this, blogged on it here and here, done a talk for Sonshine radio around this exact idea and it still bubbles away in me as a significant centring statement.

Its the place I find myself coming back to when I want to sum up the life of faith in a nutshell. Its my lens for viewing life. I dunno how it speaks to you, but for me its a strong statement – a call to a very different kind of life both here and now and also with a vision for beyond this world.

I think you see things differently at different points in life and for me this has taken centre stage in my understanding of discipleship – and because of that I see that this will give rise to how I lead a church community and how we organise what we do. Last week I did some work on ‘vision’ and priorities for the coming year and I couldn’t generate the kind of energy I know is needed to lead and engage others. You can write all the right words on a page, but if it doesn’t start a fire in you then its just leadership-babble and worse than no direction at all.

But… ‘to live is Christ… to die is gain…’

I can start from there. I can lead with that… because it evokes something deep and visceral in me. It is a raw and untrammelled description of life under Jesus. You might say ‘Hamo – that’s just discipleship in different words…’ and yes… you’d be right… but those words matter because they create a mental picture in my mind – they spark my imagination and inspire me. They burn me.

I want to look back in 10 years time and see a church of people for whom those words have become the guiding motif to their lives. If that happens – if we can create that kind of a community then it will have been worthwhile.

We v Me


Lately my thoughts are that the greatest challenge to the church reaching its potential and being the visible evidence of the kingdom of God on earth is our often unconscious but tenacious commitment to individualism – to our personal autonomy.

A statement I have been repeating to our crew at QBC, almost in the form of a mantra is ‘we always takes precedence over me in the kingdom of God’.

In the life of faith our communal identity is always of greater priority than who we are individually. It’s one of those truths we ‘know’ from scripture but that sits completed at odds with our western way of life, which of course means we don’t know it at all. We are just aware of the theory and even the theory sounds odd.


If ‘we matters more me’ then we actually choose to surrender our own wants to the needs of the community. We choose to forgo what may ‘suit me’ to ensure the community is better placed… And seriously – who does that?

Even just to say it sounds weird. No one does that… And maybe that’s why we lack distinctiveness. Maybe that’s why we so often look like s religious version of middle class suburban life… If ‘we matters more than me’ then it rips apart our whole world view and takes away our autonomy.

I don’t like anyone messing with my autonomy.

What would it look like though if we gave it a shot?

We would seek the good of the community before we seek our own good. We would put our own desires in the context of what is happening beyond us and we would be willing to let go of our preferences and desires to enhance the life of those around us. Its a serious commitment to unselfish living.











We would make sacrifices of time and money for others. Rather than seeing church as a religious meeting to attend on a certain preferred frequency we see it as a community we need to engage with, both because we are called to do so, but also because it’s in this space that our life is more complete.

The biggest obstacles we face to living more communally and less individualistically are most likely busy lives. Somehow in the west we have managed to live in a state of perpetual manic busyness which means we don’t have the time to slow down and be with others in meaningful ways. Community is impossible when we are too busy to be with others. As a result the chances of our world seeing a depiction of the kingdom as an alternate reality is significantly limited.

It’s almost an unsolvable puzzle unless we are willing to forgo some of those hours at work, some of the $$ that come from those hours and reinvest the time in building a community that speaks of the distinctiveness of the kingdom of God. And having been here before I know that one of the accompanying challenges is that someone may make the choice to realign their life, but if no one else does then they will find themselves with time to spend and no one to spend it with…

I’m not holding myself up as any model of living in community. I find this stuff really hard and I’m naturally very individualistic. But if we are to have a hope of giving our world an inspiring depiction of life in an alternate reality then we can’t let this beat us.








Expel the Immoral Brother







So reads the chapter title in my 1984 version of the NIV bible over 1 Corinthians 5. When I look the same chapter up on Bible Gateway it has been ‘re-titled’ as ‘Dealing with a case of incest.’ A subtle change, but perhaps one that reflects a bit of how we treat things these days.

It ain’t cool to ‘expel’ people from church… It sounds like the kind of thing cults do and chances are you could even leave yourself open to litigation… In these days when numbers are already in decline who wants to willingly lose another person or family?

But what do you do with Paul’s words in 1 Cor 5:13? Is there ever a time for showing someone the door? Or do we always in every situation seek to keep them in the fellowship? Paul seems pretty clear on the fact that there is a time to exclude someone from the community and he speaks of it more than once. In 1 Timothy we hear him speak this way of Alexander and Hymenaues and in Titus he says similar of divisive people.

If we just take Paul’s words at face value then it seems very strong, but somewhat understandable. Where it gets a little complicated is when we read Jesus’ words in Matthew 18, where the final stage in the ‘conflict resolution’ process is to treat the person as if they were a pagan or a tax collector. What does that look like?

If we’re looking at how Jesus treated tax collectors and pagans then we see him eating with them and showing them love and acceptance, yet at the same time calling them to repentance. So some would suggest that ‘treating as a pagan’ is this kind of relationship. Normally I’m a fan of reading difficult passages thru the ‘lens of Jesus’ and concluding that his insights are given priority, but my take on this issue is that there is a time to show someone the door and let them feel the absence of Christian community.

The issue Paul deals with in 1 Cor 5 is one where he says ‘even the pagans don’t tolerate it’, so for the church to allow and even boast about their practice of incest is bizarre and abhorrent. Clearly no one in Corinth has been able to sort the issue out, or has been able to exert authority over the people responsible so Paul has been called in to make a judgement.

And that he does… He doesn’t mince words.

His clear point is that we aren’t to be about the business of judging those who claim no faith alignment, but when people do, and are part of a faith community then there is an obligation on the church to call them to account. To allow unrestrained, wilful sin in any form (Paul mentions sexual immorality, greed, idolatry. lying and cheating) is to minimise the problem of sin and to sap the church of its distinctive character.

The point to make here is that this is repeated and unrepentant behaviour that is clearly out of line. It isn’t for an occasional moral failure, or for sin that is confessed and repented of. Its directed at a person who rejects Jesus’ authority and insists on doing their own thing to the detriment of the community. And that’s another key – we don’t seek first the welfare of the offending person – we seek the welfare of the community as a whole and if by their actions they they show that they don’t value the broader community then they will inevitably bring destruction to that community.

In that case then they need to be asked to leave or even sent away from the community to live as an unbeliever and to accept the consequences of that. My experience is that we rarely get to this point as most people who choose a path of wilful sin slowly ebb away from the community anyway, or those who need to be confronted often get ‘offended’ and feel ‘judged’ and then leave because they believe they have been badly treated. Maybe they have… We don’t always do confrontation well in church, but even where a perfect process has been followed, a person who doesn’t want correction can find a reason to baulk.

In these situations I think Paul would say ‘Yes. You have been judged. Your behaviour and character has been considered to be destructive to both you and the community and for that reason you aren’t allowed to stay.’

That’s pretty unPC and sure would cause a fair degree of angsty vibe within a church, but if we are going to be a distinctive and Christ flavoured community then there is a time to say ‘we have exhausted every avenue of seeking to help you see the light – now you’re on your own.’

Its a tragic place to get to, but if we never allow for it then we end up with a church where anything goes and there is no authority.

So that’s tomorrow’s sermon in a nutshell…

Saturday Morning in Nebraska


I don’t often watch movies on a Saturday morning, but today I stumbled across Nebraska on the iTunes weekly special list and thought it looked worth a gamble. For 99c what’s to lose?…

Its the story of a cantankerous and doddering elderly man in Billings, Montana receiving a scam letter in the mail telling him he’s won a million dollars and his subsequent journey to claim the ‘winnings’. The movie opens with Woody staggering up the highway, determined to walk the 1000ks to Lincoln Nebraska, because he can’t drive and has no other way of getting there. As a long time alcoholic and showing signs of dementia, he just can’t accept that the letter is a mail-scam and he is determined to go collect his winnings. He wants to be a millionaire. His equally gnarly wife (Kate) tells him  that if he had that in mind he should have started working on it a lot earlier in life and tried ‘hard work’.

Eventually his middle class, middle aged son relents, takes a few days off work and agrees to drive the irascible old man across the country, fully aware that all he is going to do is eventually bring him face to face with reality. The story takes shape on the father / son drive as they revisit Woody’s old home town of Hawthorne, where family and friends get wind of his ‘winnings’ and decide to try and cash in.

Shot in black and white, with a suitably melancholic musical score it is not a fast paced story, but that’s part of the point. Woody has all the time in the world and nothing to do – so why not chase the possibility of a big win? He’d like a new truck… even though he cant drive…

Woody’s wife Janet joins them along the way and adds a fair slice of comedy to the story. She has a bad word to say about everyone and doesn’t hold back. My favourite scene in the movie is her unloading on the redneck friends and relatives in Woody’s home town of Hawthorne who have been badgering him for ‘their share’ of he winnings.

Eventually Woody gets to Nebraska and discovers there is no pot of gold, although he does receive a free hat from the office girl who takes pity on him. ‘Does your dad do this often she asks?’

‘He just believes the stuff people tell him’ replies Woody’s son.

We always knew there was no million dollars, but the punch in the story is what happens next… however I won’t spoil it. Suffice to say it doesn’t change pace, or tone, but quietly takes a direction that offers a smile and some joy for Woody at the end of a long and dark road.

Spend the 99c – you won’t be disappointed.

Love this pic

Love this pic

A Week in the Life…

Well we’re back from holidays and life is in full swing.

The guys who looked after the church leadership while we were gone are ready to take a breath and a couple of hot days this week saw the phone ring hot with people needing retic fixed up.

How’s a week shape up for a retic bloke cum pastor? If you are interested here’s how this week rolled.


Slow start… most mornings begin with prayer and reflection and this one starts a little later as there is no rush to be anywhere. I’m back in Luke at the moment seeking to reconnect with Jesus in the gospels – a regular place I go…

Teaching prep and admin… we are hitting a new teaching series in the book of 1 Corinthians and I began some reading around this letter. When you go to a church conference inevitably you hear about the ‘Acts 2’ church and the Corinthians are held up more as a bunch of losers and the church not to be like. I wonder if they aren’t a bit more like us than we want to admit. Some meaty issues in this letter so I’m partly looking forward to it and partly wishing we had picked something easier…

Most of Monday happens at home around the computer, updating websites and writing emails as well as reading.

There are constant interruptions from phone calls as its that time of year when people want their sprinklers fixed and Monday is the day everyone rings. I’m pretty good at ignoring it, but right now I still need to generate work so I’ve had to multitask more than I’d like.


Reticulation install in Yanchep on a big block. I’m working alone but hope to get it all done by 3pm…

The plumber is late so its a slow start. I do other things while I wait, one of which is trying to push a pipe under the driveway using some dismal water pressure. If the plumber was here I would have a better water source and would be able to do it. He arrives at 9 instead of 7.30 and discovers he hasn’t got the right parts so he needs to drive back to Clarkson to pick up gear.

In the meantime I manage to break two stormwater pipes and hit a gas line just 50ml below the surface… After an hour of trying I can’t get the main irrigation feed under the driveway so I go and do something else and hope that when the plumber gets back things will change. I’m weary from the ‘plunking’ and the day is heating up.

I go drag the trencher around and dig a heap of trenches. I get most of the trenching done, but its heavy work in soft sand and warm sun so at 11.00 I head home as I’m feeling a bit woosy and like I need some food. I hate the first hot day of the year…

A quick sandwich and a coffee and back to it. The plumber finishes his bit at 1pm so I can ‘start’ from the new water source. Another half an hour and I have got under the driveway – a big relief as the day was looking grim with that problem unresolved.

I begin installing the retic but text home at 2pm calling for help – one of the kids to come and fill trenches would be nice – and apparently I also asked Danelle to bring me a ‘fuzzy drunk’… whatever… auto correct is fun

Ellie comes as Sam is knackered from two hours of surfing (love home schooling for flex). I finish off the install and she follows me filling in trenches and sweeping up. With her help I finish at 4.30 and walk thru it with the client who is very happy. Not as happy as I am given it was looking seriously ugly earlier that day. Also very grateful for my daughter who helped me get thru and finished earlier and she earns some good $$ as well…

Danelle picks Ellie up while I head off to do a quote – a backyard retic and turf job. I get the job and head home for a shower. I spend another half hour returning calls, one to a woman who wants me to do her wedding because her current ‘pastor’ is moving house and can’t do it. I have no idea who she is and I’m not remotely interested. It probably doesn’t help that I’m exhausted…  There was a day when I would have felt an obligation to be available for this kinda thing, but not anymore. I love doing weddings for friends, but to be the religious guy for random strangers doesn’t light my fire. Sorry – nope…

There’s dinner and an early night. The first warm day wins again.


On the road early and not sure what I’m going to hit today. A nice easy one  for a regular in Butler to kick things off and then down to Ocean Reef to solve a solenoid puzzle. It is a puzzle and I don’t have the right parts to fix it, meaning a trip to Total Eden… down time…

I slip a couple of quotes in before I pick up the parts and head back to see Barry, an 80 year old whose son went thru Uni with me we discover. The puzzle is solved and we are all happy even if Barry’s wallet is now considerably  lighter.

Playing catch up now and a horrible job to come in Iluka on a day that is hotter than the previous one. I installed some retic for some folks before holidays and they would like all microsprays changed for drippers on tube… all 87 of them… because they have changed their minds… I let them know its going to cost a lot as it means digging up all the old stuff, removing it and then making up 87 drippers and installing them, under trees and in all sorts of crazy places. And its tedious work that won’t do the dicky knee any good. Two and a half hours later I get it finished. In the process I discover the concretors have damaged the main feed in about 5 places and it will mean some creative re-routing of pipe to repair. The owners are good people and happy for me to fix it, but its a tricky one… booked for next week…

I’m running well behind now so I skip a job I had intended to do, knowing I can do it next week and go to service another regular in Butler on the way home. Its a big block with the retic controller located in the most inaccessible place so I’m grateful for my remote control which turns a 90 minute job into a 45 minute one. I head for home at 4.30 and get in the door soon after, returning all my phone calls on the drive home.

The goal of finishing at 3pm isn’t going so well this week, but I’m just happy to be finished.

Its home group night so I shower, chill and scoff down some dinner before heading out to catch up with our crew for the first time in 10 weeks. Its good to see everyone, but I’m pretty wiped out so the early finish is nice.

I get home and read my Jo Nesbo novel until late. I’m tired but enjoying the book.


Its still early in the season so I’m prepared to travel a little further for work which means this morning I am in Kingsley. I use the drive to listen to the first chapter of 1 Corinthians a few times. I get a few inspirations and get Siri to take notes.

When I get to Kingsley a dodgy controller gets replaced as well as a solenoid and some sprinklers. A nice quick 45 min job to start the day before off to see a senior cit with another dodgy retic box. Fifteen minutes here and then off to Warwick where there is a wiring problem. Tracing wires… fun… not. An hour later the loose connnection is found and its pouring with rain as I hop in the car.

I drive to do another controller and a 5 minute job takes longer than it should. It starts to go bum up and the rain gets heavier, but I manage to find a way around the problem and get out of there only half drenched. Dodged a bullet…

I’m on the homeward stretch now and its only 11.00… This day is looking better.

I stop in for an old customer in Madeley, just to repair some dog damage and discover that as well as chewed sprinklers, he has left his control box door open and needs a new one of them as well. Easy work = happy Hamo

I grab some lunch from the lunch bar opposite Total Eden in Joondalup – supposedly satay chicken and fried rice, but more accurate would be satay potato with chicken flavouring. I have lunch in the shop chatting to the staff who I haven’t caught up with for a couple of months. I know this is a better day as I can stop and chat for half an hour and enjoy it.

I check out a water feature that isn’t working in Kinross on my way thru for a regular client. The pump has died, but I’m no expert with small pumps, so it would be trial and error to get it right and I pass the job on to someone else who might be able to solve it straight away. Ted shows me his backyard that backs onto the trainline and will soon back onto the freeway… He’s not a happy man as its all got very close to him. Crazy…

From there I head to Quinns and am nearly done. But of course, just when you think you’re on the home stretch you get a messy one. Not hard, just fiddly and in drizzle. I’m tempted to defer it to next week and head home, but I know that I can push thru if I want to… so I grit my teeth and trudge on. All done and another happy lady. (I’m constantly bemused by how happy a functioning retic system can make people!)

Its 3pm now and I’m wondering about the next job… should I start it or head home? Its in Quinns so I drop in to have a look and assess whether I’m going to keep rolling. The owner tells me the solenoid does’t work, but I discover he simply hasn’t set the controller correctly. 5 minutes and I’m done… I hate to bill people $75+GST for an instant fix so I let him pick a number – ‘how’s $50?’ he says… ‘Sure’… I’m happy to be finished early and he’s happy its a cheap, quick fix.

I have a quote scheduled for 4pm but I’m not hanging around for an hour so I call and reschedule.

Heading home at 3pm – that’s the plan I am trying to work to…

I drop in for a haircut, to give Danelle a breather from the monthly shave and meet the world’s most extroverted hairdresser. She doesn’t pick the ‘I’m an introvert at the arse end of a long week leave me alone’ cues, so I make a mental note not to go back there. A quick stop at the chemist to pick up some anti-inflammatories for the dodgy knee and then home to have a shower.

Two weeks of invoices get entered while I down a coffee

Its a cruisy afternoon and evening as Danelle and the kids head out and leave me alone to cook my own dinner.


Tomorrow begins at 7am with our leader’s prayer meeting, before Ryan and I catch up for an hour and chat. That’s always one of the most valuable hours of my week. Having someone you talk honestly with is a gift so I enjoy this time.

Then I sit to write down the teaching for Sunday and hope that over the week the rough thoughts I had on Monday tumble out into some sensible order tomorrow morning. I like to close the laptop by 1pm with a solid first draft printed out. Then I revisit it later that day and give it a polish for an hour or so. I alloacte a sermon around 8 hours in total these days and if it isn’t done in that time then so be it… Such is life when you wear two hats. Its nice to rest the weary bones, but sometimes if its been a hard week the brain doesn’t kick into gear easily so I never know if teaching prep is going to come easy or hard. I sense some thoughts have been percolating, but I never really know until I start the writing process tomorrow.

Aash is coming for coffee at 2 so that’ll be good to catch up and share some stories and encourage one another.

Friday night will involve kids at kids ministry and then youth groups so I’ll be taxiing and shuffling them around while Danelle is on the Fresh Conference. Living in Yanchep means we do a bit of extra driving, but its just the price you pay for paradise!

Highlight of the day might just be pizza for dinner and a good book…


Will be veg day…

I have a new boost gauage and EGT gauge to go on the cruiser so that might get done. Ellie has her netball final and then the rest of the day is empty.


Church and chill

That’s the week… How’s yours looking?








Farewell to Facebook


For a few years now I’ve pondered dumping Facebook and the other social media I have active, but I’ve been hesitant to make the jump. Social media is a double edged sword, keeping me in touch with lots of people I rarely see, but also sucking me into its quicksand vortex of mental slush and holding me there way too long.

I’ve noticed my ability to think and concentrate has deteriorated and I’d say part of it is a result of the way I’ve been reading online. I read an article online (ironically…) a while back about how the ‘internet is rewiring our brains’ and shuddered because I could feel some of the effects on myself – a shortened concentration span and a distractedness that meant I struggled to read a book or fully engage in conversation because I was wondering if something ‘better’ was happening elsewhere. The fact that I have a naturally addictive component to my personality also means I tend to REALLY get stuck into things like this rather than just having the occasional skim. Its well documented that net surfing has an addictive component so I feel like I’m hitting some unhealthy territory at the moment hence the exit.

The other factor that concerned me was the way I may have been communicating the shape of my life online. I try to ‘keep it real’, but as I reflected on some of what I’d been posting I realised it could have been seen as a bit unbalanced towards my life being better than it is. No one really wants to know if you’ve had a boring day. No one really wants to hear your inner turmoils online, and no one certainly wants to read a vague attention seeking post that seems to imply the world has ended, when in reality you have just run out of milk.

I had ‘unfollowed’ around 600 people on my ‘friend list’ in an attempt to keep the volume of info down, but over the years I’ve found some things just don’t happen in ‘moderation’ for me and I need to dump them entirely and recalibrate my internals. It isn’t as easy as ditching Facebook altogether because my business is linked to it, our church has a facebook site and people send me FB messages, so I will be there in some form by necessity. This blog is now linked to FB so I will still ‘pop up’ online occasionally when I post on here. But you probably won’t see many pictures of my holidays, dog, car or kids, nor will you hear my occasional snapshot reflections on the world… however there are a gazillion others to fill the void…

What’s odd is that in the last week as I have stopped using FB I’ve been conscious of framing some of my daily thoughts in the form of a FB post… bizarre hey… That my brain has begun to sift thoughts into public and ‘other’. I’ve had the odd moment where I’ve thought ‘I should post that!’ and then asked ‘what if I don’t?…’ and generally the end result is that nothing will change in the world.

As well as FB there is Instagram, and Gumtree, all ‘time wasting’ and ‘distraction’ sites that I’m going to be checking out of for a bit. This blog will keep rolling – its actually suffered from neglect because now I can just say in 50 words what used to take 500, but this is a format I enjoy and feel I need to invest more in. I’m hoping the end result will be that my ability to concentrate will return and I will be more mentally present in the conversations I have.

My plan is simply to skim FB / Instagram and Gumtree once a day for anything of value and interest but not to post and not to interact and see what develops.


So if you have seen me online and interacted and you are wondering ‘where did Hamo go?’ then this is just a heads up. I’m checking out at least for a while…