Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Review:The Good News about Marriage

Many of us have heard about the depressing 50% divorce rate for marriages outside and inside the church. But Shaunti Feldhahn believes the rates are actually much lower! After years of investigative reporting and research, she offers paradigm-shifting, rigorously supported information that reveals marriages as stronger, happier, and more committed than most people think. 

I read, and loved The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages, so when I saw this book by Shaunti Feldhan, I was keen to read it.  The premise sounded interesting; that the state of marriage is not in as much trouble as we are led to believe.
This book was just as interesting as the last one, but in a different way.  While the last one focused on how couples have happy marriages, this one is full of facts and statistics to tell us just how many marriages are happy. 

This is a very important book, for a number of reasons.  Firstly, if marriage is not the doomed institution we often believe it to be, maybe couples who were considering marriage will be more likely to actually get married, and not just live together.  Secondly, it offers hope.  Hope to couples already in a marriage that (1) their chances of success are better than they think and (2) if they feel like things are going badly, a lot of couple feel this way for a while, but manage to make it work.  One of the statistics that the book quotes is that couple who feel like their marriage is doomed, and yet persist, often change their mind within 3 years.  This means that if you feel like there is no reason to carry on, there is a light at the end of the tunnel that it might not last forever.  

The book relies very heavily on statistics, and quoting reports and explaining why research and figures might not mean what we think.  If you are not keen on that sort of technical information, this one might be too heavy for you.  There are a lot of tables and lists, and each point is repeated a number of times.

I will probably not be returning to this book to read it again, because it is not that sort of book.  However I will probably be pulling it out to quote and look up facts and figures in future when I have discussions with people about the implications.

You can learn more about the book here, or download the first chapter here.  I received a free e-book copy from WaterBrook Multnomahin exchange for this review.  They are currently running a promotion where if you purchase a copy of this book from anywhere, they will send you another copy for free.

Friday, June 13, 2014

... and so it begins.

If you are on the internet at the moment, there is a good chance that you will have, or will over the next few weeks, experience this…

(via The Oatmeal)

That’s right, it is World Cup 2014, where the world will go mad for a month over football.  Although admittedly for a lot of fans, this is a year-round obsession.  (At least in most of the world.)


Which would have led me into my 5 minute rant about the differences between American Football, and real Football… except that John Cleese stole all my best jokes, and condensed them into less than two minutes, so I will let him cover this one for me.

Over to you John.

Friday, June 6, 2014


If you have not yet seen this little video, then I am not sure that you and I are on the same Facebook.
But unlike some other videos that go viral, this one really is the cutest thing I have seen in a long time.

I am not sure if she is reading this from somewhere, or has the whole story memorised, but I love how she says the people of Nineveh were vain and shellfish, or where he bought livestock through his own labels.


But the way she shows God's anger, and then his love.... is amazing.  I have heard this story thousands of times, and told it hundreds of times, and presented in it Bible Study groups dozens of times.

But this might be the first time I ever felt it.

Just saying.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review : The Solomon Seduction – Mark Atteberry

_240_360_Book.1165.coverHave you found yourself in circumstances you never envisioned, tangled up with people you never approved of, and doing things you never imagined?

… Solomon was better equipped to see through Satan’s deceptions than any man who has ever lived, other than Jesus. But in the end, he became just as blind to them as everyone else. 

As you may recall, I was a huge fan of Mark Atteberry’s earlier book, Free Refill.  It is one of my favourite books, and one I go back to often.  So when I found this e-book, I downloaded it immediately to see what it was like.

The Solomon Seduction, from Thomas Nelson, is subtitled “What you can learn from the wisest fool in the Bible,” and the premise is simple:  Solomon was one of the people best equipped to deal with temptation, and to keep it at bay… but he allowed sin to creep into his life by compromising his beliefs, giving in to pride and lust, and just generally making trying to fool himself into believing he could handle it.  The book switches between examples from the life of King Solomon, and real life examples of how we too can know when we are being seduced. 

In fact the book is divided into 10 chapter, each called a Wake up Call, and each beginning “You know you are being seduced when…”
… Sin seems like a good idea.
… God’s commandments seem out of touch.
… etc.

I particularly liked the section on how we often try Sin Management as opposed to Sin Avoidance.  Where we try to manage our sin by saying “I can hide this”  or “I can handle this” or “I can stop this from affecting me/my job/my wife by…” as opposed to saying “How can I deal with this and get it out of my life?”

As with the previous book I read, there is nothing profound or new in this book, just honest truths.  It is presented from a Biblical and Christian perspective, but it is also very seeker-friendly.  It is not too heavy, but rather offers good and practical ways to deal with sin and seduction.

I did find it a little less gripping than Free Refill, and I think I am probably less likely to come back to this one again and again. It took me a while to read, which is strange for me, and it did seem a little like they were trying to stretch out less content and make it go further.  There were lots of lists and sub-lists, which made it hard for me to remember where I was and what point we were looking at.

However this could just be because I am not used to reading e-books, so I will give it the benefit of the doubt. 

Not the greatest book I have ever read, but still theologically sound, and extremely relevant.

I received the e-book free from Thomas Nelson Publishing in exchange for an honest review.  Click here to learn more about it, or click here for a sample.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

I may have been mistaken

I will admit, that there are certain things in life about which I can be a little bit of a snob.  Although I am sure that Dori would disagree.  She would raise her eyebrow and say “little bit?”

I drink filter coffee and espresso brew rather than cheap coffee.  (And I judge people who call it expresso.)
I turn up my nose, and say “No, but I read the book,” whenever asked about a film adaptation.
And I believe that Kindles and E-Book readers are not the same as real books, and will never replace them.


Sunday, May 25, 2014

Monday, May 19, 2014

If coffee is the answer...

...the question is irrelevant.

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Monday, May 5, 2014

What Would Jesus Do?

Do you remember those WWJD bracelets?  They were supposed to remind us to always ask ourselves “What Would Jesus Do?” in any situation.


Come on, you know you had one.

Well, I always think this is a bit of a difficult question.  Firstly, because we often have no idea what he would do.  Some of the things that Jesus would do would surprise us.


Secondly, because…wwjd2

Being able to answer the question of “What Would Jesus Do?” requires us to have a very clear idea of what Jesus did do, and a very clear understanding of who Jesus is.

I think a better question would be “What Would Jesus Say?”

Because we might not be able to be sure we can do the right thing… but if we are truly seeking to know who Jesus is, I think we can guess what he would say about what we are doing.

Would he approve?  Would he support us?  Or would he raise his eyebrow and give us a questioning look?

I think we probably know.

So maybe the question is not What Would Jesus Do? but What Would Jesus Want Us To Do?

What do you think?

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Never touch a writer’s pen…

I do not know if it is just me, or if it is a writer thing, but I really love pens. 

And journals. 

And notepads.

And paper.


Yeah…. so stationery is my friend.  What can I say?


So it was a really great Birthday present my wife gave me this year: A custom made pen made from Wild Olive Wood and 12C gold. 

I know for most people this is probably really boring; a pen.  But I really love me a pen I do.  And the fact that this is one-of-a-kind custom-made item is really cool. 

Yeah, I am easily amused. 

And the fact that it is engraved, means I can find it easily….7c016dfbea34d9853d3493f94f4ecb1f

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Happy Day...x2

In a couple of hours, I will be sitting on the beach at a dawn service, waiting for the sun to rise so we can declare together that glorious truth; that Christ is risen.

As I write this post, and as many of you read it, it is still Saturday the 19th. But if you are reading this post then that means it is 20 April where I live... which is also my Birthday.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Did they not learn their lesson from Susan Boyle?

I am not usually a great fan of watching these YouTube videos where the judges and audience on a Talent show are ‘wowed’ by a surprise contestant.  The videos are heavily edited, and I am sure most of the audience never actually rolled their eyes at that moment and…

And you know exactly what is going to happen next.

But nobody saw this one coming I don’t think.  Even without the judges reaction, this is one the most amazing things I have ever seen.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Review : The Surprising Secrets of Highly Happy Marriages

Have you ever looked at a blissfully married couple and thought, I wish I could know their secret?
Now you can. After years of investigative research, Shaunti reveals twelve powerful habits that the happiest marriages have in common.
Best news of all?
Anyone can learn the secrets of a highly happy marriage!
This was the first free book I received from WaterBrook Multnomah for  review in terms of their Blogging for Books Programme. It was also the first time I have ever ordered an e-book, because I prefer hardcover books that can look pretty on my shelf.

And I loved it.

The premise of the book, by Shaunti Feldhahn,  is that it is based on research into how happy couples answer certain questions about their marriages, and what makes them happy.  And the answers are often surprising in their simplicity.

What I liked about the book was that it was incredibly practical and down to earth.  It does not make vague suggestions about changing attitudes, it literally tells you what to think and what to say to start making these changes.  It also has a lot of advice that goes against what we are usually told.  I was particularly interested in the chapter in why it is sometimes more important to go to bed mad than to try and resolve your problems at night.  And many of the chapters I was able to point at small things and say “That is true, I like it when she does that,” or ask my wife “Do you like it when I do …xyz?  And do I do it enough?

The chapters are short enough not to bog you down, and included interesting graphs at the end, where you can study them if you are like me, or ignore the if you are like most people.  These graphs show that often successful marriages are based on people doing the right things, even though they sometimes think it is the wrong thing.

“We know we are not supposed to <Go to bed mad etc.> but we do, and we are happy.”

I would highly recommend the book.  But don’t take my word for it, go check out the sample below. 

If this review has been helpful, please take a moment to rate it.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Not gone

For those of you wondering why I am so quiet at the moment, I have not given up blogging for Lent.  In fact I am having quite a productive time... I am posting daily thoughts over at my other blog, FISH for Lent.
But never fear, I will still be posting over here as well... as soon as something post-worthy happens to me.
So how are you doing?


Friday, March 14, 2014

Grumble Hallelujah

18688eb_w185When Rivadeneira was disappointed by life, she didn't feel like shouting a hallelujah. But then it occurred to her . . . maybe she could grumble one! Sharing candid stories and inspiring Scripture, she encourages you to stop blaming yourself, circumstances, or God for the challenges you face---and praise him for things that make your life worth living.


I am sure we have all had that time when we really don’t feel like shouting for joy, but we know that joy is not supposed to be dependant on what we feel like.


This book focuses on the age old question of how to find God in the midst of suffering.

And it does it well.

The book is a great mixture of real life examples, and practical applications. Each chapter contains a little bit of both.

The author makes her story both interesting, and inspiring, without becoming too preachy or holier-than-thou.

I was a little worried it might seem too trite, but altogether it delivers on what it promises.

I think it is saved by how honestly the author opens up about her own shortcomings and difficulties.  It makes it very heartfelt, and relevant.

3 stars out of 5.

I received this book free from the publisher through Tyndale book review bloggers program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.

I AM A FOLLOWER : Book Review

_140_245_Book.558.coverFOLLOW ME.”

These two words echo the heart-defining call of our Lord Jesus Christ to his disciples.

Sadly, this life-changing invitation has lost much of its original meaning. Immersed in a society that worships success, we have succumbed to a trendy fixation with leadership.

In I Am a Follower, author Leonard Sweet explains how Christians in a twenty-first-century corporate-obsessed culture have shifted away from a Jesus art of following toward a popularized form of leading.”

I read this book, because I thought this sounded like a good principle: That we need to move away from a culture of leadership (actually it says cult of leadership) and focus on followership.

Which is a good idea.

However I felt that the author spent too much time focusing on why leadership is bad, and leaders are misguided, and how we need to stop focusing on leadership.


I would have preferred to hear more about how to develop as a follower, and less about how bad leadership is.

I agree with the basic premise of this book,that we all want to be leaders, when we are called to be followers. But I think we can't undervalue the gift of leadership as a calling, provided it is secondary to the followership.

I also found the book a little disjointed. It starts out with a very good prologue, which tells a story about a YouTube video. Of course it assumes you have seen the video, which I have, but it might make more sense if they spent more time explaining what happened in the video, not just what it means. Then it has a section which seems to be part of the prologue, that compares following to dancing. Then it has in introduction, which is actually about 25% of the book, so I think I would have called it something else, like “Followership”. Then it gets to the three areas it wants to focus on (The way. The Truth. The life) which read like short snippets from a sermon or thoughts for the day.

I guess it just confused me more than it enlightened me, because it made it hard to follow any logical thread other than “LEADERS ARE BAD”

Not a book I enjoyed, and not one I would recommend. I am however led to believe that his other books are quite good, so I will try another one at a later stage.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

A New Challenge :

I will be focusing on the Books of the Old Testament during Lent.  Not reading the whole Old Testament, because that would be insane challenging, but rather meditating on each book for a day.

If you are interested, you can join me here.

#LentChallengeHowever I came across another Lent Challenge where the participants are reading the entire New Testament during lent. 
Not just thinking about it, but READING it. 


I chose the Old Testament for a number of good biblical reasons, but the best was probably because… there are 39 book in the OT, and 40 days in Lent, so the maths is easier than 27 books.  Smile

Plus some other really valid theological reasons.

I like what they are doing though, and I might try it in the future. Maybe next year.

But one of the things I really liked about it was this from their instructions.

4. If you miss a day, pick up where you left off. No guilt. No shame. Just more Jesus every day!

I think that is good advice for our Christian walk in general, and all Bible study in specific. 

If you miss a day, pick up where you left off.

No guilt.

No shame.

Just more Jesus.

Every day.

Hoo Ha Ha!

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

FISH for Lent

If you have been following my blog for a few years, you will know that I have a mixed approach to Lent. 

I don’t do lent in the sense of fasting or giving up something.  (Usually)


What I normally do is decide what I need to do or change about my life for the next 40 days that will help me to be more focussed on God, and feel closer to Him on Resurrection Sunday.

Sometimes that involves giving up something, like sleep or reading, so that I can use that time for prayer.  Sometimes it involves just being intentional about focusing on something relevant to my walk with God each day.


This year, I will be revisiting an old project of mine.  About four years ago, I wrote a Haiku for each book of the Bible.  I called this project Biblios Hokku, because it sounded snobbish and pretentious.  (Actually there were/are good reasons, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t also being pretentious.)

So this year, I will be looking back at each book of the Old Testament, one day at a time.  I will spend some time meditating on each book, and on what it means to me as a part of the whole Bible.  I will take the day to think about the message of that book.

In this way, I hope to get through the whole Old Testament by Easter.
(Not reading all of it, but looking at how it fits together.)

One of the interesting things that I noticed when I was reading the Bible to do the Biblios Hokku was how we often miss the recurring themes and messages of the whole Bible when we jump around and read some books and leave others.  Being “forced” to consider them all, in order, makes new truths jump out, and reinforces old ones.

As usual, I will not be posting the Lent Posts here. Rather I will do them on a separate, dedicated, blog called FISH for Lent. If you are interested in sharing this journey with me, then I invite you to swim over there and have a look around.     

Just a little something to whet your appetite…

Biblios Hokku
By faith, for service
our worth only in His eyes
we are saved for Him.

If you want to find out what this poem means for me, visit

Dave Walker's The Lent Group









Join my little Lent Group…


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Is it OK to lie to nuns?

I know what you are thinking, and you are probably right.  This seems like a stupid question.  After all, the answer is obviously… No.  (Isn’t it?)

Let me tell you a hypothetical story about a young man, his name was… uh…. Jacques Bate.  Yes, let us call him Jacques Bate. 
That sounds good.  Winking smile

Jacques went to the airport to pick up a family member last week.  (Hypothetically of course.  This may not have happened.)

While he was there, he arrived behind a nun driving a tiny car.  Do they drive any other kind?  She was clearly waiting for someone on the same flight as he was, and when he went to pay for his parking on the way out, he was in the queue behind the two nuns at the automatic pay machine. 

The nun who had come to collect the other one was quite distressed.  She has paid her money, and received her ticket back.  Now she wanted a receipt for the R10 she had just paid.  (To put this in perspective, R10 is the cost of a small fries at McDonalds.)
The problem was that you could only get a receipt if you pressed a button marked “receiptbefore you paid your money. 

She had failed to do so, and now could not figure out why she could not get a receipt.  So they gave up and walked away.

Mr Bate quickly paid his R10, and requested a receipt.  Now he had arrived at the same time as the lady, and left at the same time as well.  So their tickets were almost identical.

The problem was… if he offered the receipt to the nuns, would they accept it?  It is not like they would be cheating anyone; they had really paid the R10, and just made a mistake.  But taking it would be lying, wouldn’t it?

So Jacques gave it to them, and told them it had got stuck in the machine, and he assumed it belonged to them. 

They took it without question, and walked away relieved. (Clearly even nuns are afraid of other nuns, and the convent book-keeper must be a real terror.)

Now this post is not to tell you what a wonderful person JB is.  This whole thing might be hypothetical, remember. 

It just got me thinking… is it actually wrong? Technically it is lying.  Even if the motive is good.  And nobody was hurt.  And somebody was helped.  And the truth was not damaged.  (The receipt was for a real payment.)

But JB knew that they would not be able to accept the receipt with a clear conscience, so he made a decision to be the one who told the lie.

What do you think?

Hypothetically of course.

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

What time do you have?

In South Africa, we have the oldest regularly-used large-gun in the world.  What that means is that we have a big cannon that has been fired every day since 1806.


320px-Noon_Gun_Firing_Signal_Hill_Cape_Town_4_September_2008It is called the Noon Gun, and it is fired from Signal Hill in Cape Town every day at precisely noon.  It has only failed to fire once in the last 200 years due to a technical hitch.

Timing guns were very important years ago to let the sailors calibrate their Maritime Chronometers.  It was important that the Chronometer be re-set and checked regularly as a delay of even half a second could mean that you were not able to navigate accurately and you would be lost at sea.  So every ship would make sure they were up to the second when they were in port.

For two centuries, the sound of an explosion echoing across the city has been a reminder to all as to what time it was, and for years you could see residents check their own watch at 12h00, and smile to see that they were only off by a few seconds.  If it was more than a few seconds, they would frown slightly and adjust their own watch.

Of course the Noon Gun is more accurate than ever these days.  The gun is fired electronically by a signal from the Southern African Astronomical Observatory, which is timed to even take into account the millisecond delay as the signal is relayed by telephone lines.  The SAAO is synchronised to the Atomic Clock, making the Noon Gun one of the most accurate time announcement devices in the world.


When the gun goes off these days, people reach for their ‘phones or look at their watches, not to check their own watches, but to check the gun!  If their watch doesn’t agree, they shake their head sadly…. and leave their watch, assuming that the gun is late today.

After all, their watch/phone/p.d.a .can’t be wrong.  If it disagrees with the gun, then the gun must be at fault.  Their world is never wrong.

Unfortunately I think that is how a lot of people treat the Gospel these days.  In the past, we would allow the Gospel to shape our understanding of the world.  Now we try to shape the Gospel to our understanding of the world.  Once upon a time if we heard God speaking to us, we would listen and obey, even if it made no sense.

Now we say to ourselves, “That doesn’t make any sense, I must be wrong.”

We try to change the Gospel by saying “It obviously doesn’t mean that, because that is illogical.” or “It can’t mean that, because that wouldn’t be fair.” or “God can’t mean us to do that, because it violates somebody’s freedom of choice.”

We think that God, and the Gospel, need to change to suit the modern world, instead of trying to make the modern world change to suit God.

We ignore the never changing, always correct sound of the Noon Gun, and try to follow our own devices.  We just assume that if there is a problem, it is with God and the Bible, and so we change the message.  We soften the blow.  We try to make it “fit”.

But God didn’t call us to make His Word fit.  He called us to make his word known.  He called us to speak the truth.  He called us to live lives that don’t always make sense to us, or those around us; and often fly in the face of what the world preaches.

HE called us to never stop listening for his voice, daily, and adjusting our own lives to match.

Are we doing that?

Are we being Faithful, and True?

Are we Faithful In Serving Him?

I am trying to be.  How about you?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

My favourite hymn.

I always thought there was something fishy about this one.


(From Cake or Death, by the ever talented Alex Baker)

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

2014 and a “new” word

I know I have been a bit scarce of late… And by “of late”, I mean the last 3 years.

I will try to be a bit more faithful in posting this year. 

As I have mentioned before, I don’t really like New Years Resolutions, and never make them.  However in 2011 I discovered the idea of choosing a Word for the Year.

I really like that idea, and it is in fact part of my sermon series I am planning for later this month and next month.  So while I ponder how this affects my life for this year, I have decided to use the same word from 2011 again.

FISH – Faithful In Serving Him. 
(Yes, I know it is actually 4 words. I cheated.  Deal with it.)

Why am I choosing the same word again? 

Because I still don’t think I am doing it right, and I want another try.

How about you?