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Occupy Sermon Series DP.jpg

The start of the year is a great time to refocus and catch God’s heart for our lives.  Many people make resolutions, make lifestyle changes, take holidays as well as those who start new jobs or new courses.

We’ve been talking about Occupying your Occupation at the start of this year at church – getting a vision for a significant part of our lives, and reframing it from just work to being on mission.

God has placed us in our workplace, our classes, our circles of influence on purpose and with a purpose and when we catch His heart for these spaces in our lives we can see significant things happen. Read the rest of this entry »

Lighten Up: Stylish Lighting Choices for Your Office: Chandeliers are the Best

The 15 second kiss experiment.

A few weeks back, I met a gentleman at church named Tim. Tim and his wife had been married many years (I can’t remember exactly, but it was at least 30) and weathered many trials through their marriage (cancer included).

Naturally I asked him what the secret was – as I usually do when I meet someone with an epic marriage. “How have they stuck together through everything?”

He simply replied,

The 15 second kiss.

Intrigued, I asked, “What do you mean?“… though I suppose I could have figured it out.

He responded, “Every day, my wife and I always give each other a 15 second kiss. It’s long enough that you can’t fake it – it forces us to connect.”


Make Getting Feedback Less Stressful

As a species, we have developed a “threat response,” a cascade of physiological, emotional, and cognitive events that occur when we perceive a conflict. We typically refer to this set of reactions as a fight, flight, or freeze response. Recent neuroscience research has shown that our brains and bodies can respond to certain interpersonal situations the same way we react to literal threats to our physical safety. Psychologists refer to these experiences as “social threats.”



Are You Ready to Stay Married?

If a couple is wise, even before they get engaged, they’ll ask their friends and family some big questions of their own. They will seek advice about developing domestic harmony, having a unified vision for financial peace and confirming their theological alignment. They will beg for insight into the melding of diverse backgrounds into a new family. They’ll gauge others’ opinions on the compatibility of their personalities, callings and life plans. They will ask for advice on wedding and honeymoon plans. Though these questions take different forms and concern different subjects, they are all essentially asking the same thing: Are we ready to get married?

But after the wedding day, the questions often taper off. Rarely do married couples ask themselves some of the great questions that helped get them to where they are. Having answered the initial question, “Are we ready to get married?” couples forget to ask the ongoing question, “Are we ready to stay married?” Like the former question, the latter can take many forms. For those of us who want to be really good at staying married, let’s revisit some of our original lines of inquiry to get some new answers to old questions.




demi body trransformation facebook message

“This picture makes me feel so many mixed emotions.. I remember the day I wore the dress in the very first picture. I remember asking for spanx to flatten my stomach because I use to feel so heavy and “fat”. Now looking at this picture, you can clearly see my hip bones. It makes me sad because I wasted so many years ashamed of my body when I could’ve been living the happy and healthy life I live today. It TRULY just goes to show you that your perceptions can lie to you. OR they can make you learn to enjoy life. Fortunately looking at the picture of myself in the red dress yesterday, I not only feel so grateful for the love and support I’ve had from fans, friends and family, but… I also feel.. beautiful. I’m so excited to live my life the way I deserve to and to the complete fullest.  Demi Lovato 2014 VMA



How to Motivate an Underperforming Employee

It’s your job to motivate the troops, but what about the stragglers? Many leaders believe we’re all adults, so if some employees aren’t keeping up, ultimately you must fire them.

Before the problem gets to that point though, are you putting in the right effort to get your weaker employees up to par? Amy Gallo, a contributing editor at Harvard Business Review, interviewed experts on how to correctly motivate those underperformers. Check out her suggestions below.

Address the problem head-on

Find the root cause

Make sure you are objective

Coach the employee and lay out the plan

Start a conversation

Follow up and monitor progress

Take action if needed

Reward them for changes




“Research assistants posed as jam suppliers and set up sampling tables at a gourmet store. In one condition of the experiment, six flavours of jam were available. On another condition, twenty-four flavours of jam were featured.”

This experiment proved to be an ideal method of understanding career choices. By giving the customers a variety of options, they noted how the quantity subconsciously affects the pattern of purchase more than the variety of options.

After laying out the choices, the researchers noticed that the twenty-four-flavour table have attracted more attention from the customers, but very few went on to purchase from the set. While, at the six-flavour set up, more customers were able to pick their choice easily and proceeded on buying a jar of jam.

Twentysomethings hear they are standing in front of a boundless array of choices. Being told they can do anything or go anywhere.

Based on the study, Meg Jay explains that one of the reasons we feel stuck on our dilemma is because of the overwhelming thought that we can do anything we want, if we want to. “Twentysomethings hear they are standing in front of a boundless array of choices. Being told they can do anything or go anywhere.”

But she elaborates that the idea of a ‘twenty-four-flavour table’ is just a myth. This much amount of options hardly exist even for those gifted with multiple talents. At best, each of us is choosing from our own six-flavour set.

So how do you begin to decide, really?

Well, “you’ve spent more than two decades shaping who you are. You have strengths, weaknesses, experiences, interests, diplomas, hang-ups and priorities…You’re standing in front of six flavours of jam and you know something about whether you prefer kiwi or black cherry.”

You’re standing in front of six flavours of jam and you know something about whether you prefer kiwi or black cherry.

Each bottle of jam represents bits and pieces of your ‘self’ reflecting your past, present and desired future. Choosing your options is merely just laying out the flavours of jam in your life and picking the one that tastes best for you. You can even go back to pick another variety next time.


and first read in Meg Jay’s book THE DEFINING DECADE

::: check out her TEDTalk HERE



download (7)


The worst thing people say to us moms. by Jenny Acuff

“We have heard all about Jon’s dreams and passions, but do you have any Jenny?”

This question always makes me laugh because I know people are not going to like my answer.

Folks want me to say, “My passion is baking or sewing or photography.” We all have a definition of what really counts as a passion and often it most be artistic by nature. People essentially think you’re going to respond with something that is found on Pinterest.

But do you know what my passion is?

Raising our kids.

Being a mom.

Taking care of the Acuff house.

That is my definition and I don’t particularly care if other people think those passions “don’t count.”

They count to me.



10 Ways to Do Adulthood Well

Don’t worry about aging. Worry about not aging well.

It’s hard to say when a person reaches adulthood. Leaving mom and dad’s house, finishing college or getting a job don’t seem to automatically make a person an “adult” these days.

If anything, adulthood is a daily and gradual process of choosing maturity over immaturity. It doesn’t happen in one big moment, but over years of wise decisions. Adulthood is a sculpture carved over time. It’s a process of a person casting away their childishness and taking the shape of Godly maturity in their thoughts, words and actions.




Reasons to be Passive (Part 3) by Paul David Tripp

You and I live in these little, mundane moments. The character of a life is not set in three or four moments of huge significance. No, the character of a life is set in 10,000 little moments, one after another. The character formed in those innumerable little moments is what positions us to respond in the big moments of life (see the Parable of the Ten Minas, Luke 19:11–27.)





FUN Prayers for Myers Briggs Types

INFP: God, help me to finish everything I sta

ENFP: God,help me to keep my mind on one th-Look a bird-ing at a time.

ENFJ: God help me to do only what I can and trust you for the rest. Do you mind putting that in writing?

INTJ: Lord keep me open to others’ ideas, WRONG though they may be.

INTP: Lord help me be less independent, but let me do it my way.




Conflict Resolution by Lysa TerKeurst

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger." Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

When I was in my early twenties, there was nothing I disliked more than conflict.  I won’t use the tired cliché that I avoided it like the plague.  But, since I just used it anyhow, I’ll admit I tried to navigate around conflict at any cost.

I was a ‘stuff it and smile’ kind of girl.  The problem with pretending to be fine when you’re really not, is all that pent up steam will eventually come out.  And if you’ve ever held your hand too close to steam, you know how it can burn.

A much healthier approach to the inevitable conflicts we all must deal with is to face the issue head on with grace and humility having asked ourselves one very crucial question.  This question is so crucial that might I dare say not asking it could lead to extreme conflict escalationrather than relationship restoration.

So, what’s this crucial question?

Am I trying to prove or improve?  That’s the question.  In other words, is my desire in this conflict to prove that I am right or to improve the relationship at hand?







It Matters Whom You Marry

1. It will impact you spiritually.

2. It will impact you emotionally.

3. It will impact you physically.

4. It will impact you mentally.

5. It will impact you relationally.



TED TALK Meg Jay: Why 30 is not the new 20

That’s what psychologists call an "Aha!" moment. That was the moment I realized, 30 is not the new 20. Yes, people settle down later than they used to, but that didn’t make Alex’s 20s a developmental downtime. That made Alex’s 20s a developmental sweet spot, and we were sitting there blowing it. That was when I realized that this sort of benign neglect was a real problem, and it had real consequences, not just for Alex and her love life but for the careers and the families and the futures of twentysomethings everywhere.



The Wrong Address // Paul Tripp

God has a wonderful purpose for bringing into your life the things that you now face. Rather than working to deliver to us our personal definition of happiness, satisfaction, and contentment, God is working so that we would know him in a heart and life transforming way. He’ll put us in places that take us beyond the boundaries of our own character, strength, and wisdom. He does this so that in humility and weakness we’ll reach for the help that only he can give us.



What Binds Up Broken Relationships? // TULLIAN TCHIVIDJIAN

Broken relationships are everywhere.  But what breaks them? And how can they be restored? This is the question taken up by James in the fourth chapter of his epistle. James is a “horizontal” book, in that it is primarily concerned with the love that people ought to have and show for each other. Of course, as I’ve said before, the horizontal hinges on the vertical: where there is no faith, there can be no love.



The X-Spot

There are few better ways to witness the sheer power of human potential than to watch a runner cross the finish line of a marathon.

It’s incredible to see months and years of training, determination and self-discipline culminating in one moment of pure achievement. What fascinates me is I have never once seen a runner slow down as he or she approaches the finish line. Despite their exhaustion, marathoners actually sprint with the full force of their remaining energy. How?

When runners are 26.1 miles into the 26.2-mile race and can finally see the finish line, a special brain event occurs called “the X-spot.” Their brains release a flood of endorphins and other chemicals that give them the energy to accelerate.

The X-spot illustrates how forceful goal attainment can be in terms of increased energy and focus. When your brain recognizes that success is not only possible but now probable, the reaction is physically powerful. Similarly in football, running backs are said to have a “nose for the end zone.” With the goal line right there, players’ brains sanction the release of greater energy rather than reserving it for later rewards. They are thus flooded with increased vigor, speed, mental clarity and toughness.

Of course, this phenomenon doesn’t occur only in sports. No matter what your goal is—whether it’s finishing a marathon, completing a big project at work or losing 20 pounds—your brain behaves in the exact same way. What if we could access that increased energy, focus and drive not just as we approached the finish line, but at any point in the race?


i love this simple practical list of dealing with stress… (thanks GOOD HEALTH NZ) okay you might not find me dancing, but you will find me talking, sleeping, focusing on what i can control, eating well, being grateful and looking at the big picture.  i’m a big advocate of looking after your “temple” so that you can then live life to the max and be fully functional and thus flexible to the things God wants to do through you.  when i am stressless i am more open to the nudges of the Holy Spirit.  when i am refreshed and overflowing i am able to minister more effectively.  now hear me here – this doesnt discredit the “when i am weak, He is strong” (2 Cor 12) but it does involve partnering with God in stewarding our life.  burn out happens when we live at accelerated stress levels.  i want to burn ON, not out! 

when we’re mentoring tony and i often ask questions about healthy living habits – sleep, eating, iron levels etc. 

so, are you taking care of your temple?


  • What do you do to constantly challenge your underlying beliefs and assumptions?
  • Would you do anything differently if given the opportunity?
  • How and where do you find inspiration?
  • How do you balance your work and home life?



    @BurkParsons   Accountability is first and foremost an arm around the shoulder, not a finger pointing in the face.

    calendar term 2 2013 copy

    *** once every 6 weeks or so we have a LIFE APP night at housegroup… usually this is a night where people write their own questions on a piece of paper and stuff it into the hat/handbag/bowl etc and then we pass it around and draw a question out and discuss.  no question is too trivial or too tough.  it can be anything from relationships to work place conflict, to church to whatever…


    this time round however we’d had our pastor come and talk the week before about leadership and personal organisation and two guest speakers at church – kristen williams on the kingdom of God now and not yet and len buttner on elisha and the arrows/strike the ground – who rocked out about more leadership and character and ministry and God stuff… so we used all of that as our springboard and i made up the questions and hosted the discussion… 


    it begun with “an easy” question, and a packet of old photos that my parents sent me in the mail this week.  which i passed round, regardless of the terrible fashion/hair choices i made/didn’t make as a child… was a real flashback night…  i would count those photos, and my usb stick, with all my photos and preaching messages written and audio copies would be counted as my most treasured possession… more because of what those photos and writings mean to me rather than the $40 stick… amazing how possessions are really more treasured because of the feeling or the memory attached to them… even the guys with their treasured iphones could rationalize it because of the photos and preaching notes etc on them…


    What is one of your most treasured possessions? Why?


    One thing I would like people to know about me is:


    What are your thoughts about:

    The power of God is released through obedience

    God wont promote you to a place that your character cannot withstand

    Live in a way today that prepares us for tomorrow

    You will reap what you sow


    Where does grace fit into that?

    What is the tension between grace and action?

    How do we live in the tension between the promise and the fulfilment?


    What habits and behaviours are you trying to establish or change?

    What is one thing you can do this week to step towards that?

    What is your spiritual goal?


    What is one thing you are excited about now or in regard to your future?


    How do you plan your week?

    • Define your priorities
    • Inflow / outflow
    • Time with God


    Explain the difference between these 2 perspectives:

    I’m looking for the right person

    I want to be the right person

    *** something a bit different this week, just a solo entry in the Totally Love Tuesday.  this post is inspired by the awesome housegroup leaders meeting we had on sunday before church.  i’m praying that i would grow to become a better leader.



    love this management/leadership video by Scott Williams – i love how it looks (i’m so that way wired!) and i love what it says!

    people don’t want to be managed, they want to be led – there is a difference b/w a manager and a leader!~


    essence: managers = stability // vs // leaders =  change

    rules: managers = make the rules // vs // leaders = break the rules

    approach: manager = planning the details // vs // leader = setting the direction

    culture: manager = execute // vs // leader = shape

    conflict: manager = avoid // vs // leader = use

    direction: manager = existing road // vs // leader = new roads

    credit:  manager = take credit // vs // leader = give credit

    decisions: manager = make // vs // leader = facilitate

    vision: manager = tell // vs // leader = sell

    style: manager = transactional // vs // leader = transformational



    Read the rest of this entry »


    this week at housegroup we’re on the topic of RELATE.  last week we did heaps of random questions about romance and relationships (how do you know you like someone, how do you know someone likes you, how to let someone down easy, good ideas for first dates, how far is too far etc) and this week we’re talking DIFFICULT PEOPLE. 


    i read this somewhere, so cant remember where sorry. 

    is this our default position when it comes to dealing with difficult people in our family, workplace, social group, church, class, flat etc…?


    How I deal with difficult people:

    1. First I take a deep, calming breath and think about puppies.
    2. I sew an entire blanket to keep my mind off the trouble.
    3. I eat two bags of burger rings.
    4. I adopt a Vietnamese child.
    5. I eat bacon.
    6. I kick the difficult person in the groin.



    i did find lots of other useful stuff and am figuring out how the night will look, but thought i’d share some of the stuff that has come across my screen this week…


    STUFFERS by Lysa Terkeurst 

    Have you ever tried to keep the peace by avoiding confrontation and just stuffing down the issue? I have. And it hurts.

    It hurts me. It hurts them. And it certainly hurts relationships. Instead of keeping the peace, it actually slowly erodes the relationship…

    Boundaries, as opposed to barriers, provide safe passage ways for communication to flow. It may be tough for some to stay within the boundaries you’ve set but at least there is clarity on what works and what doesn’t. 




    The reality is that I don’t often take that opposition to God first; I try to deal with it on my own.  I get frustrated when they can’t be convinced and then I may just give up on that person. If they need to be changed, God is going to be the one to change them. And we also have to be ok with the fact that they may not need to be changed. I may be the one who was wrong all along and need changing.




    Can you recall the last time you had to deal with a negative or difficult person? Or the last time someone said something with the intention of hurting you? How did you handle it? What was the result? What can you do in the future to get through these situations with peace and grace?



    THE BAIT OF SATAN by John Bevere

    In reality in day-to-day life with all its challenges, we are tempted to be offended by other people. They hurt us. Life does not turn out as expected. People misunderstand us or don’t treat us as we think they should. I read a story from a highly respected intercessor and author, Francis Frangipane, who had a great
    opportunity to get offended when he was not recognized and greeted at a conference by the main leader. All the other ministers and their wives were personally greeted but Francis and his wife were bypassed. He was embarrassed and was tempted to be offended. But he learned through that offending situation to know how others feel when overlooked and to turn the offense into an opportunity to become more Christlike. He said this: “The occasions for taking offense are practically endless. Indeed, we are daily given the opportunity to either be offended by something or to possess an unoffendable heart. The Lord’s promise is that He’s given us a new heart: a soft, entreatable heart that can be filled with His Spirit and abound with His love.”




    Forgiveness doesn’t start with the other person. It starts with you and Jesus.

    Forgiveness is far more about your response to the gospel than it is about the repentance of the person who hurt you. It’s about believing that the cross of Jesus Christ is a sufficient payment. Not only for everything you’ve done. But also for everything that’s been done to you. It’s about daring to believe the sometimes scary but unchangeable truth: Jesus Christ loves and died for the person who hurt you just as much as He loves and died for you. No exceptions.



    PRE-FORGIVENESS by Rick Thomas

    We must, by the grace of God, filter the events of our lives through the filter of God’s sovereignty. We then humbly accept those events as part of His good work in our lives. If we do this then we have a mature understanding and practice of biblical forgiveness…

    When bad things happen to me, the only way I can process and accept them correctly is after I have gained “sovereign clarity” on my troubles. Joseph had sovereign clarity.

    • Do you have sovereign clarity on the disappointments in your life?
    • When you review the tape of your life, can you now see with sovereign clarity?

    If you cannot, then you’re a candidate for harboring such things as bitterness, anger, anxiety, discouragement, worry, criticism, resentment, cynicism, and even hate. And more than likely the person who offended you will feel some of these things from you. It is very easy to look at the person who hurt you and become bound by the pain, anguish, and frustration of it all. If this happens, then your heart is not anchored in God’s sovereignty. You will be like a kite in the wind. Your response to the offender will depend on how you’re feeling, the type of sin sinned against you, the kind of relationship you have with the person, their attitude, your attitude, and the cravings of your heart. There is a 99.9% chance you will not respond humbly to the person if this is how you’re processing the disappointments they caused.






    so what are the tips you would give when dealing with difficult people???

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