Extravagant God

from Simon

Extravagant God



lavish God …

why do you waste so much time on us?

You create rainbows that no one sees;

shower down intricate separate unique

stunning autumn leaves by the billions

and one at a time

that we greet not with applause

but with complaints of inconvenience.

You place whales beneath fathoms of ocean

singing their plaintive haunting songs

too deep for our ears to hear.

You create fantastic jungles within a square foot of grass

a universe in an atom

breathtaking places that have never been seen or appreciated

by a single human being.

Why are we so bored and dull?

Why do we appreciate water most in the desert

health only during sickness

our friend when he leaves

our love when she dies?

Should we pray for less

for you to ration Your grace

to waste no rainbow?

Forgive us.

You don’t paint rainbows just for us to see

nor make birdsong just for us to hear.

Rebuke our terrible pride

and chastise our deism

that imagines You created only once

long ago

and can’t perceive Genesis now

or Eden here

or what a new day means.

Help us to do two impossible things:

to take it ALL in

(every miraculous atom of it)

and to waste our time on a rose

a place

a time

a person.

Perhaps one will bring us all

full time to eternity

one blackbird to You.

Prodigal God, may we find

a millionth of the joy that clearly is yours


Freeing the APEs

This week I am teaching from Ephesians 4 – the section on ‘apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers’ and arguing that the presence of all 5 is an essential element of a healthy DNA for any church.

Remove any one of the 5 gifts above and you create a mutant religious organisation that might look a bit like a church but in fact isn’t one.

Because we have seen the marginalisation of the APEs for so long I doubt many of us would have a real clue as to what a healthy full developed church would look like, but I for one would really like to have a go at discovering that.

During my time leading Forge I spent a heap of energy trying to help churches re-enervate their APEs and I think we made some progress, but by nature churches are conservative, status quo preserving organisations so giving a free reign to apostles and prophets especially can be scary.

My hope for QBC is that we will be able to empower all 5 of the gifts to function as they were intended and that we will have that experience of seeing the church functioning as Paul describes in Eph 4. Of course the goal of all these gifts is the maturation of the Christian community of attaining towards Christlikeness in every way, so I’m looking forward to seeing what this teaching unearths in people.

Automation, Intuition and Leadership

A few years ago when I first started installing reticulation I planned every job carefully, measured up, costed materials and stuck to the plan. It was a good way to begin as it kept me from making costly mistakes, but I don’t operate that way any more.

Now when I roll up to install a new system I simply make it up as I go, mapping out sprinkler location, the number of solenoids and working around any obstacles. Four years of practice has taken me to a place of automation and confidence in my own sense of ‘what will work’.

I have a feeling I am in a similar place with leadership these days. I remember when we started in youth ministry that I operated largely from a plan, with goals and strategies in place to get to where I wanted to get to. Its a good place to start and a relatively ‘safe’ way to ensure you don’t waste your time. But after 20 years, much like a working in a trade, you have a fair idea of what needs to be done when, what is important and what is inconsequential, issues to fight for and issues to let slide.

It was only today that I was reflecting on the difference in my approach to leadership within a local church and how it is now significantly more intuitive than planned. I think in a past life I would have described it as lazy and disorganised… because it can appear that way, only its not.

The things that once needed long periods of thought seem to come more naturally. The issues I once would have spent days pondering are now more easily resolved and the whole task feels much easier and natural than it once did. Its been said that the best athletes ‘make it look easy’ and while I wouldn’t want to compare myself with the best leaders I do think the same is true for leadership.

I have a hunch that good leaders ‘just know’ what to do and when and how to do it, while less apt leaders are still reading books on the subject and figuring out their plan. Even if a person is a ‘gifted’ leader I still believe there is a competence that comes with experience that simply isn’t there in a younger leader (yes there are a few freaky exceptions to this).

Anyway that’s nothing more than a bit of personal learning and reflection from my time in prayer and work today… Make of it what you will, but I have a feeling I am less likely to be spending days in strategic planning over the next 10 years and more likely to be applying the intuition gained from the previous 20 years to whatever may be the challenge at the time.

i’m still getting used to leading in a different way and occasionally feel the need to justify my existence with some hefty documentation and long meetings… but I think I’ll get over it…


I am reading fewer and fewer blogs these days, but one that I keep coming back to is that of film maker and media consultant Phil Cooke. I like Phil’s feisty approach and willingness to ask hard questions.

So recently I have been reading ‘Jolt’, essentially a how to book on changing your life. I haven’t been particularly looking for a book on personal change, but I found this one valuable. Once I got past the rear cover endorsement by Joel Osteen I began to enjoy some of Phil’s insights.

The book is an easy read with plenty of stories and practical examples, but it does offer some very useful and sane insights into how a person can change a humdrum life into a meaningful one. I found his chapter on priorities helpful as I reckon we all need to know our not negotiables if we are to live a life that is true to ourselves.

I wouldn’t describe the book as a life changer as much of what Phil says is John Maxwell (or similar) repackaged. But occasionally its good to read a book like this just to provoke reflection and assessment. I don’t think there will be any massive jolts coming out of it, but I think I can say it was a decent and easy read.