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  1. In our social media-infused world, we can find ourselves always “on” and seeking digital dopamine hits. As we navigate this complex reality, focusing on healthy character development may be the key. This includes maintaining integrity in our internal and external worlds, choosing a meaningful direction in life, and cultivating the strength and beauty of our hearts. By doing so, we may be able to engage more authentically in the Age of Instagram and beyond. Discover more insights in this latest blog post.
  2. The question “What if?” opens the door to exploring the possibility of God. Pondering the existence of a loving, creative God can lead to powerful journeys of self-discovery and spiritual growth. Let’s dive into this age-old question, and consider its impact on the way we perceive life and our purpose in it.
  3. When a church faces decline, it may be time to consider the blank canvas option. This approach involves acknowledging the spiritual heritage, purpose, and calling of a church, and letting go to allow for new life to emerge. By engaging in prayerful discernment and passing the baton to the next generation, a church can surrender control and put its faith in Jesus as the Lord of the church. This strategy may not be suitable for all, but for some, it could be the bold step needed to rejuvenate and revive their community of faith.
  4. Explore the connection between discipleship, vocation, and spiritual growth in this unvarnished journal entry. Learn how guiding people to follow Jesus intertwines with our individual vocations and how APEST shapes our unique responses to God’s call. Discover the personal and transformative effects of embracing our roles in Christ’s ministry as we engage in disciple-making practices.
  5. Reflect on the concepts of discipleship, spiritual growth, leadership, and evangelism through this rough journal entry. Take a quick look at the intersections between becoming a dedicated follower of Jesus, attuning to the divine presence, and embracing the call to serve.
  6. Discover how to address common critiques of the church and find resolutions in this insightful article. Explore the five critiques (form, substance, method, nurture, and usefulness) and learn how to navigate them by integrating apostolic, prophetic, evangelistic, shepherding, and teaching functions. What might a reinvigorated, Holy Spirit-driven Jesus movement for our age look like? Get a fresh vantage point on your church community and strengthen your faith through meaningful engagement with these essential principles.
  7. Five essential signs of a thriving organization: fostering a culture of innovation, embracing critique, igniting passion, recognizing and celebrating gifts, and cultivating transformative knowledge. Have a look at how these pillars bring life and energy to organizations, churches and communities, empowering us all to make a meaningful impact and grow towards a brighter future. Dive into the conversation as we think about the journey towards healthier organizational dynamics.
  8. Dive into the importance of personal growth, honing your skills, and maintaining a balanced perspective in a fast-paced world. Learn how to engage in meaningful conversations that shape our future, while staying grounded and up-to-date in a constantly evolving landscape. Reflect on the challenges and rewards of striking the right balance in our lives, as we navigate between the urgent, technical questions and the transformative, deeper inquiries.
  9. As we navigate the sudden shift from in-person gatherings to online communities, explore the importance of maintaining connections and fostering relationships. Discover how “small moves” and a “start” mentality can help create a nurturing, interwoven community in the digital age.
  10. In this introspective post, explore the thoughts of a leader adapting their ministry roles during a time of crisis. Delve into three frameworks that define key responsibilities, and examine the need to nurture personal faith, communal health, and the practice of mission within the church community. As the world adjusts to new norms, discover the importance of staying connected, fostering creative collaboration, and empowering each other to serve and engage with faith in a pandemic world.
  11. It’s the 26th of March 2020. New Zealand is in Day 1 of Alert Level 4 for Covid-19. It’s a national lockdown. On the positive side of things, over the last few days my family and I have never seen so many people out walking, never connected with so many neighbours, never seen so many […]
  12. into the far country we travelled, driven by spirit chastened by the curling optimism of generations past but holding to the hope of a love like no other
  13. dudeit’s the morninglife is hopeyet the carnage flies /
  14. when one is surviving barely hardly possibly only just surviving
  15. The letter to the Romans, written by the Apostle Paul in the first century AD, is a great read filled with inspiration, challenge, and a big vision of what it means to live. I’ve started scouting through it again recently and have a loose ambition to work all the way through, from start to finish, […]
  16. The world as we know it can be understood using the acronym VUCA: volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. What do each of these words demand of us? Volatility requires extra margins so that energy, time and resource don’t run out during unexpected crises. Keeping good boundaries should include the (five in this case) cornerstones of […]
  17. “In the beginning was the Word” At the dawn and before the dawn… was the Beginning that had no beginning. This is the intro to the Gospel according to John, a portrait of the life of Jesus. This phrase mirrors the beginning of the epic Hebrew poetry of Genesis 1. So when we hear ‘Word,’ […]
  18. I’m watching guitar videos. Technique, tricks (just a few of them) and the launch into freedom. I watch these players and they’re screaming. That is when music is on fire, once you stop thinking and get out of your head, and let it come on out! Somewhere in there the chaos gets out of the […]
  19. Embodiment: Being Formed In the beginning, God spoke with commanding intent. As he did so, all-that-is came into being. Through the repeating refrain, “God said… and it was,” the creative, rhythmic, breath of God is made the center and focus of this creation account.
  20. Ethic: A Way of Life [See Part 1 and Part 2] A free life is the calling and birthright of humans. This right is given to us by God, who created us freely. But it’s harder than you think. To live out our freedom-identity, we need some kind of road map, we need a way […]
  21. Identity: What does it mean to be human? [See Part 1] Humans are created to be free; freedom is at the core of our identity. However, as outrageous a claim as it might seem, we do not and cannot orchestrate our own freedom. Freedom is a question that leads us in the first place to God […]
  22. “Only the one who obeys a rhythm greater than their own is truly free,” claimed Nikos Kanzantakis (my paraphrase). Freedom, one of history’s great rally-cries, is positioned here in terms of ‘obedience’. Certainly, this is contrary to the common conception of freedom.
  23. [An instruction for Isaiah] With everything you’ve got, shout! Use your voice and use it loud, your sledgehammer words to hold them in their tracks. Confront the rebellion and resistance of my people, the house of Jacob. This has to be a hard word. [The diagnosis] Day after day they seek me, supposedly aligning themselves […]
  24. Fresh language goes hand-in-hand with fresh thinking. By allowing fresh thoughts to become infused through life in rhythms, practices and habits, space can be made for sustained change. Alan Hirsch has been consistent in his task to prod the church toward fresh thinking. 5Q is his most recent book, and in it he makes a broad case […]
  25. This is a call for release… Release from a captivity of imagination. Not a call to forsake true identity; a call to take it up! Ain’t no need to whitewash skill or experience; it’s time to tether these to a new way. This is a word with intent, determined to call forth hope. A word to look and see what […]
  26. Prayer is a present-moment activity. It requires the direction of our energies in fullness toward God, right here and right now. But in this present moment, faith-filled prayer takes us on a bit of a time-travel. It takes us forward, into a future not-yet-seen. While we are there – actively attentive to a possibility – we […]
  27. Where has aliveness happened? Somewhere in our past, distantly / deliberately, new life happened. In all sorts of places, through all sorts of people, new things have sprung forth. These new things were meaningful then. But the past doesn’t speak to the present without a bit of work… “The nouns of art (the paintings, scores, recordings, information) are […]
  28. There is a great hope. It is like a huge underground lake of fresh water, a storehouse and spring of courage, life and energy. It is a great treasure source of comprehension and fulfilment. Hidden throughout all the ages, the breath from our lips can utter of it little more than ” M . Y […]
  29. What conditions must come together for the dream team to spark, for the wind to change, so that it’s your time to shine, so that the stars come into alignment? We all work towards things that we hope will grow, mature, strengthen. These are some partial thoughts about what things need to conincide for that […]
  30. I spent yester-eve with (bro) Hamish and our mix-engineer Matt Caradus making final moves on the soon-to-be released ‘Black Boy Peaches’ album. It’s nice to be able to execute a “release plan” (lol) while actually being on deadline, unlike the last time (in the dark-ages of 2010) when we missed the Company Feel Good release-date […]
  31. Yesterday, as part of one of my university classes, a Thai monk led an introductory session on Buddhist meditation. He essentially focused on mindfulness and relaxation techniques. One part of this session included an exercise I already use (sometimes), which is helpful when seeking to focus: breathing practice. While breathing on the whole is clearly easy, breathing with intent is surprisingly […]
  32. I never understood the purpose of diminished chords. [A diminished chord that appears naturally within a major scale is that which starts in the 7th position of the scale. The chord is completed with two minor-3rd intervals on top (an interval which is 3-half steps up the scale). In C Major, this would be a chord with the notes B – […]
  33. I love the joy of hearing new things unfold. I love exploring and discovering new depths in unexpected places. I love how in the diligence and focus of practise there is a clarity of mind awaiting, an uncovering of new ideas. I love music when you can hear a passion, a unique life-expression, a heart-beat, coming […]
  34. To really give yourself as a musician and as a person, you need to have something to lay down. (When I say ‘lay down’ I mean in the sacrificial sense, not the ‘laying down a groove’ sense). Technique, skills, repertoire, ego – these have to be laid down for the sake of your band, for […]
  35. a. Life is ministry Main pastoral responsibilities are to family and team. When mission comes first, ministry happens.   b. Do it with a few, for the many With your team, aim for depth; with everyone else, aim simply to inspire. Deep teams will birth more deep teams.   c. If you aren’t willing, it’s unlikely […]
  36. ‘Just enough’ is the place of neither too little nor too much. In music, the place of ‘just enough’ might be something like this: just enough technique to execute and contribute artistically and just enough disciplined practise to be natural. It might be just enough study to be aware of the the depths without becoming lost […]
  37. Some observations about ants: a. They are consistent and diligent at searching b. They are not systematic c. Their movements are a sort of fast-chaos d. The speed and determination of an ant makes up for the apparent lack of sure-fire plan e. It’s a numbers game f. They don’t mind crashing into each other g. There’s no despair in […]
  38. We build things so that the world outside becomes like the world we long for on the inside. People and situations change, but built-things don’t, not very easily. So people build something that they fit perfectly into. And then they change, or somebody else does. Then they don’t fit, or the built-thing doesn’t fit, or something. So when […]
  39. This post is dubious at best. But I won’t delete it yet… Introverts live in an internal world. They need to shape the world around them in such a way that they can interact with others authentically (according to who they are on the inside). Some examples: An introverted thinker may express their ideas in […]
  40. A final and to-the-point finish to this talk: a “can do” attitude goes a long way. Whatever your issue is, a “can do” attitude is determined to find a way through. No problem is too big for resolution; no struggle is too hard to persevere through; no lie is to powerful to overcome. A “can […]
  41. Here is an approach to reverse the damage caused by “The Three P’s“. It helps first to write down the problems. 1. Dispute the Negative Stuff With Truth: Identify the lie, and say “that’s absolutely wrong.” Put it into perspective, look at the good stuff… be objective! It’s all to easy to take mistakes too personally when you’re stuck […]
  42. These three things initiate the Downward Spiral that leaders can find themselves in: 1. Personal: “I’m no good; why did I think I could _______?” Dr Cloud tells a story to illustrate that although we all make mistakes, those of us who are naive, oblivious or cheerful enough will survive these critical times by refusing to take […]
  43. Some time during the hard-work of leading, it starts to happen. What does? The downward spiral. If you haven’t experienced it yet, just keep succeeding… it will come! Leaders start Here and move on towards There… and somewhere along that path, the surrounding circumstances cause them to go Out of Control. It’s a kind of learned-helplessness. When what […]
  44. Dr. Henry Cloud starts his talk on Reversing the Death Spiral of a Leader with a story of a family business, involving a father-boss and a son-employee. Unfortunately, at some point the son makes a momentous stuff up, and his dad fires him. Or at least his boss does. Immediately afterwards, dad changes tack: “I hear […]
  45. Artist Linnea Spransy sharing for 3 minutes on the importance of limitation in art. There’s also a neat book called Chaos: Making A New Science which dives much deeper into some elements of this talk, tracing the development of the chaos theory. It contains firstly stories of the people involved and how they chased after or stumbled […]
  46. In life, good intent can do well enough… but it’s not until we deeply connect with others that true change really takes place. (Goff illustrates this point by telling a story of a Ugandan criminal he worked with who experienced stunning and transforming forgiveness, and the powerful changes that resulted.) Forgiveness – the saying here would […]
  47. Do you want have power in your leadership and life? If so, learn to say “Yes”. OK sure – don’t say yes to everything! But do ask yourself: “What matters the most?” Say Yes to that. When you say Yes to some things, you’re also saying No to others. Goff makes a habit of quitting something […]
  48. If we weren’t afraid, we could live up to the high calling we’ve received… but all too often we fake it. If we weren’t afraid, we could help others live up to the high calling they’ve received… but all to often we simply pull others down. Don’t be afraid: be honestly, truthfully, daringly yourself! Don’t be […]
  49. For real growth, embrace (or give) real responsibility. We learn when we’re stretched to our limits (and beyond), and failing is part of the process. Leaders can provide the environment and support for safe risks (what Tim from Endeavor Movement calls “falling forward”), but we must allow room for a real victory. Or a real […]
  50. The leadership gift takes time to develop… kind of like a photo from a polaroid camera. Objects start to develop slowly; you can make out an outline, a face, a smile. With time, the picture gets stronger, and at a certain point it reaches completion. This truth has a nice parallel to the Christian hope […]
  51. This is how we know what love is: Jesus laid down his life for us, and so we ought to do for our brothers and sisters… Let’s not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth. (Paraphrase from 1 John 3:16-18) Love God… love people…. and do stuff! We make a difference that counts […]

creativity + spirituality + the transforming vision of Jesus.

© Tom Mepham 2023