Saturday, 26 December 2009


I have just received disturbing news of a Christmas Eve attack in Peshawar

A member of the Assemblies of God and a Roman Catholic were among five who died in a suicide bomb attack in Peshawar on Christmas Eve. The Reverend Joseph John, priest-in-charge of St. Johns Anglican Cathedral was giving sick communion to a parishioner less than forty metres away from the blast.

Two day earlier Edwardes College, an Anglican foundation in the University of Peshawar, was closed prematurely for the vacation by the Principal, the Revd. Dr. David Gosling, after a huge bomb at the nearby Press Club caused students to rush out of their lecture rooms in a panic. People near the Club were killed, and a woman passing the site of the bomb in an auto-rickshaw died of a heart attack.

In spite of these events Christmas services at the main city churches passed peacefully. Attendance at the Cathedral was, if anything, larger than in previous years, and the Police provided maximum security. During the run up to Christmas individual church members had received threats on their mobile phones such as: “You’re our next target”, and “We’ll give you a Christmas gift, and it won’t be the baby Jesus.”

Peshawar has been particularly targeted by extremists in recent weeks, though the main focus of attacks has been Police check posts and government officials and headquarters of Inter-Services Intelligence, which is located near to Edwardes College.

Disturbing though these incidents are, there are indications that they are reactions to the military operations currently being conducted by the Pakistan Army, and that these are being largely successful. There are also signs that some of the more extremist organizations such as Jamiat ul Islami and Jamiatul ulama and individual Sunni clerics are denouncing suicide bombing as anti-Islam.

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Celtic Woman: Silent Night

I can't think of a better way of wishing everyone a happy Christmas than letting Celtic Woman do it for me (I do have a thing about Celtic female vocalists)

May peace reign on this special night when we remember the coming of the Prince of Peace

And as a bonus track here is O Come all ye faithful' . .... 'Wait for me ..... I'm coming, alright, I'm coming...'

spiritual audit

I received a spiritual audit which I have adapted from polar questions to more open ones. This may help us as we reflect on the year 2009 as it draws to a close ....

Spiritual Audit Question 1

But Noah found favor in the eyes of the LORD. Noah was a just and righteous man, blameless in his evil generation; Noah walked in habitual fellowship with God. Genesis 6:8-9 (AB)

In what ways am I walking in habitual fellowship with God and enjoying His favour upon my life?

Spiritual Audit Question 2

But Joseph said to them, "Don't be afraid. Am I in the place of God? You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives. Genesis 50:19-20 (NIV)

How can I interpret particular events in my life as if “God intended it for good” ?

Spiritual Audit Question 3

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it. Then you will be prosperous and successful. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the LORD your God will be with you wherever you go." Joshua 1:8-9 (NIV)

How am I strong and courageous in the face of life challenges, opportunities and complexities?

Spiritual Audit Question 4

For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance shall arise for the Jews from elsewhere, but you and your father's house will perish. And who knows but that you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this and for this very occasion? Esther 4:14 (AB)

In what ways has God placed me in a position of servant leadership and influence in my family, work, church, community or country ‘for such a time as this’?

Spiritual Audit Question 5

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. I will be found by you," declares the LORD. Jeremiah 29:11-13 (NIV)

In what ways am I experiencing my present and future plans to be secure in God, as I seek him with all my heart?

Spiritual Audit Question 6

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength. Philippians 4:12-13 (NIV)

What more things do I really need in my life? How am I learning the secret of being content whatever the circumstance?

Spiritual Audit Question 7

"Will a man rob God? Yet you rob me. "But you ask, 'How do we rob you?' "In tithes and offerings. You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. Malachi 3:8-9 (NIV)

How have I established a pattern of tithes and offerings in my life?

Spiritual Audit Question 8

But seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Matthew 6:33 (NIV)

In what ways do I seek FIRST the Kingdom of God and His righteousness in all that I do?

Spiritual Audit Question 9

Flee from sexual immorality. All other sins a man commits are outside his body, but he who sins sexually sins against his own body. Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your body. 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (NIV)

Do I honor God by keeping my body holy in actions and attitudes? What do I need to change?

Spiritual Audit Question 10

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. Colossians 3:23-24

How do I strive for a spirit of excellence in all my words or deeds?

Spiritual Audit Question 11

For day and night your hand was heavy upon me; my strength was sapped as in the heat of summer. Then I acknowledged my sin to you and did not cover up my iniquity. I said, "I will confess my transgressions to the LORD "— and you forgave the guilt of my sin. Psalm 32:4-5 (NIV)

Which areas in my life that need the God’s healing, forgiveness and restoration?

Spiritual Audit Question 12

"His master replied, 'Well done, good and faithful servant! You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things. Come and share your master's happiness!' Matthew 25:23 (NIV)

In what ways am I faithful in the little things that God has placed in my life?

There is another spiritual audit available

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

looking back: moving on

Dreaming of a White Christmas

Well its has already snowed but its not yet Christmas. Snow and ice seems to be causing a slowdown in UK at present. Snow covered landscapes look stunningly beautiful in virgin white, but the effect soon wears off and can be disastrous. Staff travel time to work has increased - sometime hours more. And Basingstoke is now famous, as it became Ice-locked and cut-off Of course this become a chance for a good British moan about he weather and system breakdown.

Some times, like the state of Narnia without Aslan . it seems to be ‘always winter never Christmas’

I finally engaged with the Christmas spirit last Saturday at our International Carol service at Christchurch Woking. This is a little glimpse of heaven as we worshipped in over 20 different languages. If you are interested you can read about it elsewhere on this blog

Climate Change

The Copenhagen summit has been in the news a lot trying to get some international consensus on carbon emissions.

I find it hard enough to keep up with clearing leaves and now snow from the garden and drive, let alone addressing these huge Global issues

The C of E engaged with Green issues this advent in a series of excellent videos helping us to slow down and reflect more Church of England's online advent calendar with go-slow lifestyle challenges and stories ‘Ready, Steady. Slow’. CMS partner ‘A Rocha’ was one of the organisations featured

Melt down ?

The global economic downturn has been a financial meltdown affecting many. CMS also faces challenges. There are encouragements, with individual giving increasing but church giving decreasing, investments realising little, and legacies being very unpredictable. And pension commitments and increasingly project specific funding makes it more challenging.

So we in CMS are looking at ways of cutting back and becoming more efficient. Do pray for CMS in these hard times and tough decisions that need to be made particularly for the Senior Management Team (SMT) and trustees group.

DRIVE with Care

I am in the process of finishing off our report of the Asia process entitled ‘Mirror-indicator-Manoeuvre’

The process of engaging with partners through structured interviews and group conversations has been like looking in the mirror. It has been very encouraging as we have met many inspiring leaders throughout Asia who have a vision and a commitment for mission. Many are enthusiastic about the idea of Asia-CMS.

We are also indicating what possible directions we can go in setting up an Asian entity, And reporting to Trustees in mid January about the next steps as we manoeuvre and turn in a particular direction. Please pray for that time that we will have a clear mandate to continue and the resources to do so as well

As you are aware it is very hard to drive on icy, treacherous roads. Sometimes we need to slow down and proceed with caution.

Moving on

I usually use the year ending, with Christmas, birthday and New year in quick succession as a time to reflect…. I’m sure I am not alone in this. Sometimes reflecting helps us to move on

So I am also blogging a reflection exercise which may or may not be helpful. A sort of spiritual MOT

And may we all in CMS, particularly the Asia Team wish you all a very blessed Christmas and a fruitful new year

“Forget the former things; do not dwell on the past. See, I am doing a new thing! Now it springs up; do you not perceive it? Is. 43:18-19

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Phil. 3:13-14

Independent Christmas Rap

The Youff at our church are known as Re:Route and this year Ali and Jonny have produced a great rap for Christmas. Great fun - loved watching it ! Well done guys

Tuesday, 22 December 2009


The readings for the International Carol service follow the classic 9 lessons and carols format – as used by King's college Cambridge and through the readings you hear the great sweep of the biblical narrative rehearse the story of Christmas. I simply added the pictures (by He Qi - the Chinese artist from Nanjing) and the titles.

Lesson 1 Gen 3 'Love’s labour’s lost' Adam and Eve

The relationship with the creator is broken and lost and there is no longer access to life

Lesson 2 Gen 22 Abraham - 'love for the nations'

Abraham's readiness to give his son as a sign of God’s desire to restore relationship and bless all nations (even the welsh!)

Lesson 3 Isaiah 9 'Love is given' - n

a child is born and son is given - 'the wonderful counsellor, Mighty God, everlasting father prince of peace'

Lesson 4 Isaiah 11 'Vision of love'

God’s spirit – his being - resting upon him. a spirit of wisdom and undestanding. God's spirit upon him

Lesson 5 Luke 1 Mary: Love’s vessel

Mary's submission to God's will - becoming a vessel - openness to Love

Lesson 6 Luke 2 Bethlehem Love is born

where Christ is born at a moment in history BC/AD the dividing point of history. Emmanuel God with us = the incarnation = God became flesh.

Lesson 7 Luke 2 Shepherds: 'watching for Love'

Humanity (ordinary shephers) waiting/watching for Love - Angels appear and proclaim ‘Peace on Earth’. They are the first on the scene, eager to see and experience peace

Lesson 8 Matt 2 Magi: 'wandering for Love'

Wise men - astrologers -seeking earnestly after God and real seekers of truth eventually find him in unexpected places – led by a star and though a dream!

Lesson 9 John 1 Jesus: 'God’s final word of Love'

Jesus showed us what God is all about - became one of us so we could become children of God.

Postscript Rev 3:20 Behold I stand at the door and knock

if anyone hears my voice and opens the door I will come into him and dine with him and he with me Rev 3:20 The Divine invitation for all humanity - to be a guest, at a party, a meal a banquet.

Which is why I like the song ONE LOVE by playing for change – a picture of all humanity joining in the song and celebrating. and I suppose that is what Christmas is about - a celebration of Oneness. And of Divine Love.

One love: One heart by Bob Marley

Is there a place for the hopeless sinner Who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?

So when the Man comes there will be no more doom ....

There ain't no hiding place from the Father of Creation....

Give thanks and praise to the Lord and I will feel all right, Let's get together and feel all right'

Pieter Bruegel the elder winter scene Netherlands 1566

Dick a friend in the Netherlands sent me this image and reflections:

the picture in yesterday's newspaper gives a winter-scene in the Southern part of The Netherlands in the year 1566, being a detail of a painting by Pieter Bruegel senior.
That era was a hectic period in the church in western Europe, right after the reformation. But the painter paints a familar picture of the Middle Ages, with Joseph and Maria on the way to be registered. In fact he paints the people who are going to pay tax to the then Spanish ruler in the Netherlands.
No child Jesus yet to see. Still hidden and covered with Maria. The painter shows a winter landscape, in his typical realistic way.
....the poet J.Gerardt living in that same era, expresses himselves in a mystical way when he writes his verses about Advent. He left us a good number of Christmas-hymns, and writes:
"May I, may the church, may we be the soft manger to receive You. Come and lay deep in me, come my dear!".
This is a type of mystical expression of Advent, we have lost in our orthodox protestant-calvinistic way of thinking in Holland soon after the Reformation.
Also in our modern time we we do not express ourselves in this way!
Advent gives hope, and Christmas light to this world.
Jesus later asks his disciples: "What do people say whom I am". And the given replies are manifold, also till today. Who is He? Yes, there is an answer. There are answers, also with me. But often we can't express the fulness of it.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

One Love - International Carols

With over 20 languages, the International carol service (held at Christchurch Woking) is a little glimpse of heaven. It is a wonderful mixture of cultures and people.

The format is a basic 9 lessons and carols, but with all the readings in different langauges.

Once again we had an inspiring variety:
The chinese langauage school singing 2 carols Pu shi haun teng (Joy to the World) and Tian shi zai gao tian ge chang (Angels we have heard on high) in Mandarin; a swiss family with a charming song about presents the shepherds bring ‘Schoeffli tuen em bringe’
Multilingual versions of 'silent night' and 'O Come all ye faithful' sung by the congregation and an Armenian couple singing Farsi and Amrenian prayer songs Ari, Hisus ara (Come Jesus come) Eshghi Tazeh (touch my heart, Lord with your love) and we all learned to sing in Ikserkiri ‘Tera’ (We are Yours Lord)

We also had Hammad Bailey and Voice for Jesus in Slough singing a version of 1 Cor 13 about Love in urdu, as well as 2 other Christmas songs.

The theme came from Playing for change's 'One Love' (currently over 3 million views) which seems to encapsulate that vision of people around the world joining in one song.

Nagaraj from Bangalore had sung in the first Carol service 4 years ago and sent a rendition via YouTube. Hattiraviru, O Yesu (Be near me, O Jesus) It captured the spirit of the event. Simple and sincere.

Friday, 18 December 2009

A Procession of Prayers for Christmas

Prayers from around the world for Saturday's International carol service. All from John Carden's Procession of Prayers


Bright moon, scattered stars; so solitary is creation. The universe which God has created is especially silent on this night, It waits with bated breath for the Lord of Creation to return. The universe belongs to God. It is his home

Silence reigns supreme. The flowers of the field sway gently in the moonlight. This night, the vast earth awaits the homecoming of our Creator God. The vast earth and open fields belong to God. They are his home

Bethlehem lies dreaming. In his gentle mother’s arms the babe sleeps peacefully this night, The city of David awaits the homecoming of David’s descendant. The town of Bethlehem belongs to him. It is his home.

My bones, my flesh, my blood, my lungs and my heart, we are all made by his hand. This night, my heart is at peace, awaiting my Creator’s return. My heart belongs to him. It is his home


Heavenly Father

We thank you for your love

Especially to women who work with poor people

Teaching, nursing, and helping women during their labour.

We pray you to give them wisdom;

Guide them always to fulfil their duties without difficulties.

Lord, be with those they work with and send your Holy Spirit

To give us love to help all people.

We pray you to lead us through Jesus Christ, our Saviour. Amen

India (based on Maharati hymn)

Behold how the angels sing

Glory in the highest

Peace on earth

Love has taken a name and a form, and,

becoming meek for his helpless creatures,

has come to earth

The finger on which the sun is set as a diamond

He puts in his mouth

and plays with in a small cowshed

O Christ, give us this mind

That as the finger turns and beckons

We too may respond

United Kingdom

‘Lord God, Farther of Jesus Christ, be present, we pray at our Christmas celebrations which honour the birth of your Son, and make them fine and full; make our greetings sincere and our giving real; make our eating and drinking a delight without becoming an excess; enliven our relationship, both within our families and beyond them,with the Spirit of the Christ child’ Amen

Wednesday, 16 December 2009

'unveil hidden beauty... longing for redemption'

Great images in Calendar 2010 and slide show by nurandra - Lukus Augustine

"I desire to capture moments of truth that unveil hidden beauty, dreams, questions, suffering and longing for redemption"

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Network Organisations

I came across this introductory article online. It's a useful thought provoker about organisational structures .....

See full size image

See full size image

Organisational Design for Delivering Profitable Projects

"The typical twentieth-century organisation has not operated well in a rapidly changing environment. Structure, systems, practices, and culture have often been more of a drag on change than a facilitator. If environmental volatility continues to increase, as most people now predict, the standard organisation of the twentieth-century will likely become a dinosaur."
- John P Kotter

Organisational structures change with the changing business and social environment. Increasingly, organisations are project-based, expanding and contracting as projects of different sizes come and go. In some cases the organisation exists only for one major project, eg a film production. However in most cases there is a core organisation which continues between projects, and indeed holds the projects together. The individual projects are not only tied together administratively but more importantly are linked in terms of a central business strategy, charitable purpose or artistic mission. The core organisation selects projects strategically to fit its mission and core skills. In this way, synergies are achieved.

To work effectively in the project-based environment, organisations need to take on new forms. The traditional steady-state company with a fixed number of employees and a traditional hierarchical structure is not suited to this new environment. Instead, new models are emerging. Broadly speaking, we can call these new forms Network Organisations.

The old hierarchical pyramid which suits industrial age companies is not the most efficient way to manage knowledge-based companies. The 'wiring' of information-age organisations needs to be different and more complex. This has given rise to the concept of the Network Organisation. The characteristics of a network organisation are: 
- Independent teams
- Departments which share common values
- Projects which support each other
- Multiple links between projects
- Information and Communications Technology is used to connect the projects.
- There is a key co-ordinating role for the Chief Executive to construct the teams and manage the interrelationship of projects (a kind of 'air traffic control').

An example of a networked organisation is Asea Brown Boveri. This giant corporation split its business into 1,300 companies as separate and distinct business units. All the energy and resources of the corporate centre are then geared to facilitating cross-company co-operation, with computer networks and knowledge sharing being at the centre of this process. Another company is Thermo-Electron, where 80% of staff work for group companies called 'spin-outs'.

Note: This web page is not intended to provide comprehensive coverage of the subject, merely a brief introduction to provoke thought and to lead to a more in depth understanding and application of the topic, either through further reading - or from me as your management consultant, executive trainer or personal coach in a consultancy project, training course, workshop or seminar.

References and Further Reading

Front Cover

Kotter, John P. Leading Change. Harvard Business School Press. 1996.

see google books

Saturday, 12 December 2009

'Twinkle Twinkle' Indian Desi Style

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Nursery rhyme twinkle twinkle little star in different Indian / Desi styles. Enjoy!

If you really liked this then why not look at Indian Punjabi Jingle Bells - Bhangra style
See full size image

Have a 'Bera Din Mubarrak'

Friday, 11 December 2009

new technologies

I came across this helpful list of new technologies form the Network for Strategic Missions.

Well worth exploring.

25 Free/Cheap tech we use to achieve our goals