JamesPreston.Org Wins SA Blogger of The Year 2013 for Spirituality/Religion!

James Preston 2 7:45 PM
WOW! All I can say is thank you. To every single one of you. To those of you who voted, and supported this Blog throughout the year. You are all amazing. This Blog is nothing without people reading it, and so for that I have to say "thank you". From the bottom of my heart.

The moment I heard about the SA Blog Awards way back in 2010, it became a dream of mine to win one. At the beginning of this year, 2013, I made the decision to get "serious" about my Blogging, and set a goal to win an award. I didn't really have much power other than writing a new Blog Post as often as I could. In this case, once a week. Come hell or high water, I did that. I posted whatever I could, whatever was on my heart or mind, and made sure you had something inspirational to read each week. I saw the audience grow, and I was delighted.

Vote for JamesPreston.Org in the SA Blog Awards 2013!

James Preston Reply 6:30 AM
I'm really excited to announce that I have been entered in the SA Blog Awards 2013!

At the beginning of 2013, I set myself two goals for Blogging:
1. To Blog every week of the year.
2. To win a Blog Award.

I know the second one is fairly out of my power. But when you have a goal and a dream, you work hard in hope that it'll go your way.

So here's your chance to make a dream of mine come true! I would be absolutely delighted if you could take 2 mins to vote for JamesPreston.Org in either the best Religious/Spirituality Blog, or in the Entertainment/Lifestyle Blog Categories.

Learning From the Relationship Between Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak

James Preston Reply 7:08 AM
I watched the movie “Jobs” a couple of weeks ago where Ashton Kutcher does a good job of portraying Apple genius Steve Jobs. What struck me was the relationship between him and his computer engineer friend Steve Wozniak. If you either know the history of Apple or you’ve watched the movie, you would be quick to note that Wozniak was the one with a particularly uncanny talent to create computer hardware and software. Steve Jobs had some technical ability, but Wozniak’s talent was clearly superior to most others in the industry. Steve Jobs had the gift of seeing what the consumer wanted, Wozniak was the one who sat down and created such an experience.

The two talents together created remarkable machines. Jobs’ vision and Wozniak’s technical talent were a powerful combination.

Steve Jobs would then sell these products he and Wozniak created, and generate an interest in their product. Jobs then realised the need for expansion, and so hired other computer engineers to ease the workload. Steve Jobs then continued in his ruthless, never-say-die attitude, and cracked their first big deal with the release of the “Apple II”, and Apple as we know it was born.

Here’s the point: Without Steve Jobs, there is a very, very strong chance Steve Wozniak would be an unknown talent today. And certainly nowhere near as wealthy. You see, Wozniak was a worker. He wasn’t ambitious, he didn’t like people, and he wasn’t particularly interested in money. He just loved what he did; computer engineering. And if he was working on a computer, he was happy. Without Steve Jobs, he could quite possibly still be working for HP today.

Danny Silk and Kris Vallotton Video Interview

James Preston Reply 7:10 AM
I am absolutely delighted to announce the latest edition to my Sonic Substance Leadership Podcast.

Many of you may not know about the Sonic Substance project, because I haven't updated it for quite some time now. Between pastoring, business, a son, and the Blog, I haven't been disciplined enough to knuckle down and edit some of the quality interviews that I have recorded over the last few years. So many of you have joined the Blog without me saying a word about Sonic Substance.

Well, in a nutshell... Sonic Substance is a project that was birthed out of my experience as a Radio Presenter. I had interviewed dozens of incredible people over the years (Michael W Smith, Martin Smith, John Ellis, Third Day), but was always frustrated by the fact that once an interview was aired live, it was lost to those who missed it. So I started Sonic Substance to store these amazing interviews online for people to listen to whenever it suited them. (The new world of media!)

It then expanded into a much larger project to videos and a YouTube channel. The key is keeping it updated!


Seth Godin Video On Starting Your Own Business

James Preston 1 9:33 PM
If you haven't heard of Seth Godin... where have you been!? Nah, I'm kidding. There's so much material out there we can never be expected to hear of everyone.

Seth Godin is a marketer with a unique insight into where things are headed for business in the coming age. He is a prophetic voice for entrepreneurs, and big industry better sit up and take notice.

Considering I missed last week's Blog Post, I thought I would catch up 3 days late with a great video to inspire you, because it most certainly inspired me.

In this short summarised interview, marketing genius Seth Godin explains how the way society does business is changing, and there has never been a better opportunity than now to step out of your boat and into your big business dreams!

2 Serious Business Lessons From Facebook

James Preston 4 6:05 AM
Which is your favourite Social Network? I have a hunch that the majority would not say Facebook. Let's find out...

Take a second to take the Poll below and let's see. (I will edit this later to confirm/deny the hunch).
12pm Update: Ok, so it looks like my hunch was wrong based on the voting results below! But I still believe we can learn a lot from the discussion... Enjoy the article and please vote! :)





Social Networks have carved out some interesting space in the last 2 years. It is an always-adjusting game. One only has to look at MySpace. 5 years ago they would've competed for top of this list. Now they aren't even on the list.

The reason I'm sharing this is to point something out... Constant innovation is an absolute necessity in the technology game. And this is hyper-emphasised in the Social Networks industry.

My wife Corinne and I were discussing this last night. She has found a new favourite "escape space"... And it's not Facebook. It's Pinterest.

Why I Agree with Piers Morgan on Gun Control in America

James Preston Reply 4:29 PM
This is just a quick post. Not part of your weekly fix of Worldchanging. But I wanted to get this out there...

There has just been ANOTHER wild shooting attack in the United States of America! And no, I'm not talking about the one at LAX. ANOTHER one! This time at a Shopping Centre in New Jersey.

Now, I probably lean more Right than Left when it comes to politics. But I don't live in America, so have never voted for either faction's ideology. But really, the Right Wing need to stop this bickering about their love of guns. It is getting out of hand, and there is very little else to stop it but ban them entirely.

It is ATROCIOUS. We don't have that kind of fear to deal with in South Africa. I'm sorry, but with a society like that, and the way they are going, I can only but agree with Piers Morgan that guns should be banned.

The Right Wing have to acknowledge that the very very few are ruining it for the majority. (Those madmen shooting innocent victims).

At the rate these atrocious acts are escalating, banning public guns is fast becoming the USA's only option.

I don't always agree with him. And I most certainly can't say I like to agree with him. But Piers Morgan is right on this one. Guns have to go in the USA. Their society just can't handle that kind of freedom anymore.

Getting Out Of The Starting Blocks (To Create) - Guest Post by Tyron Akal

James Preston Reply 7:02 AM
Ever find yourself stuck before starting a new Creative Project? Today's Guest Post from Artist, Author and Pastor Tyron Akal gives you two keys to start!

Tyron blogs about creativity at www.tyronakal.com

----------------

"Inspiration far more often comes during the work than before it because the largest part of the job of the artist is to listen to the work and to go where it tells him to go." (L’Engle. The creative call)

Don't Be So Dogmatic - Why Being So Opinionated Is Unhelpful

James Preston Reply 4:51 PM
I am one of the most opinionated people I know. I am also one of the most gentle people I know. It's one of the strangest combinations you could ever have. Praise God for my gentleness, or else I'd be a hack to live with!

Martin Luther made a statement (among so many pearlers) that ranks right up there as one of my favourites...

"Self-righteousness is the default mode of the human heart."

I doubt he was a psychologist, but this is one of the most important observations of the human race any human has ever made. Because it is so true.

Our own personal opinion is the one that matters most. The opinion that we believe is the correct opinion. Everyone else is wrong. And it will take a lot of evidence to prove otherwise. And if you don't get my opinion, I am going to give you and show you mine until you do get it!

I saw this first hand when I had the immense and humbling privilege of "seeing" the Grace Message in its clarity like never before. It came by supernatural revelation. I had heard the facts for about 3 years straight. But all it took was one fateful night in 2009 for me to "see it".

But what I noticed over the next few months was intriguing... People who had also "seen this Message in its clarity" became worryingly harsh about it. Knocking those who didn't quite understand "it" yet. And publicly, too.

I am equally to blame. I had a few brainfarts of my own on Facebook for which I am deeply ashamed of and sincerely apologise for. These "brainfarts" came from a place of self-righteous bigotry where I knew it and they didn't!

This bigotry pushed people away. Instead of inviting them into a study of their own, we pushed them back into their corner arming them with more reason not to jump in our water.

This wasn't "The Message's" fault. It was our human nature's fault. Our self-righteousness. What we believed was right dammit! And if you don't believe it then you're wrong! That self-righteous dogmatic approach hindered people's reception of this Message. But it doesn't change the Message one bit.

But that's beside the point of this post... This post is about our dogmatic beliefs. Not one particular belief itself.

This self-righteousness spans across all platforms: Technology, sports teams, politics, travel, religion, health. You name it. Self-righteousness is everywhere.

Opinions count. And they matter. And they're important. Without them we wouldn't change the world. Without a little bit of passionate dogma we would remain a passively loose-wristed society. But we must somehow find a means to give space for a change of opinion. And most certainly respect the opinions of others.

I am no saint. Trust me.

I am unfortunately deeply opinionated. But I do my best to ensure those opinions don't offend. My best doesn't mean I get it right all the time, but I try.

May we all respect each other's opinions, and be more mindful of how our opinion may affect our audience.

We can't convert everyone. And sometimes, our trying is only going to enforce their standpoint. Let's do our best to Love, and let the opinions come later.

4 Things The Government Shutdown in USA Taught Us

James Preston 2 7:03 AM
The USA Government finally ended their Shutdown on Wednesday night, 16 October, after 16 days of not being able to come to an agreement as to how its Government should be funded. So instead of agreeing to disagree, all Government departments were shutdown.

The shutdown intrigued the world, as it should taking place in the world's most dominant economy. Here are 4 things the circus-like shutdown has taught us:

1. Bureaucracy doesn't work
Democracy is a great thing, and in many ways a Godly thing. But something is amiss in society when Democracy itself gets in the way of significant decisions.

The bureaucratic systems in society today only serves to make people wait weeks for something that could take only a few hours to act on.

This is why the Virgin Group is not a stock-exchange-listed company. Richard Branson pulled Virgin off the London Stock Exchange many years ago. He could not handle the amount of time it took for decisions to made because all the shareholders had to be in agreement before it was enacted.

He bought all the shares back and took Virgin private again. All so that ultimately only a handful of people could make the important decisions and keep Virgin at the forefront of innovation.

I am not advocating autocratic dictatorship, but the truth is, the more people feel like they have a stake in a big decision, the longer that decision will take to get made.

This is why when America is at war, the President of the United States as "Commander-in-Chief" has power and authority to make decisions without consulting congress. It is too dangerous a time to wait for a decision to be made, they must be made quickly and efficiently.

In the same way, a big decision like funding the entire Government should be one that requires an authoritative voice to make the final decision.

I'm not saying Democracy doesn't work. It is the lesser of many evils. But the more bureaucracy involved in making decisions, the less powerful a leadership is. There must be a final, small, group of people, even one person, who can stand up and make that all-important final decision.

I know this is idealistic, and I don't really have many proposals to offer a solution. But maybe you do. It's food for thought when you're running a country one day.


2. Everyone wants a King like Jesus
This is a point Bill Johnson makes. And I love it.

Following on from point 1, the fact is... people actually long for a hero. Look at how George Bush was praised during the 9/11 attacks. Look at how Barack Obama was almost worshipped as the hero to rescue America after the financial crisis of 2008. Or the love the world has for the idyllic relationship between Prince William and Princess Kate. Deep down inside, people desire a hero and leader they can trust to lead them to greener pastures.

Our bureaucratic systems have emasculated those gifted to lead.

Many people would disagree with point 2. But that's because they think of Jesus as a harsh, Just Warrior who will wipe out anyone who disagrees with Him. The fact is; Jesus is the greatest King this world will ever have. His blood pulses with Love for every single person on this planet. Every one of them. His decisions would always be made with this in mind. His decisions will lead us to Heaven on Earth.

People (especially Americans) were desperate for President Obama to stand up and say "enough is enough, we are going ahead with this whether you like it or not!" As this News Anchor so accurately (and passionately) points out on this live TV show. I wonder how Jesus would have handled this crisis?


3. The divide in America is getting greater
It's getting clearer and clearer. Republican and Democratic footsoldiers are on the verge of hating each other. I say footsoldiers because the leaders themselves understand politics is a game of looking friendly with as many people as possible. But the footsoldiers are looking at the other party and shaking their heads, even clenching their fists.

The divide between Republicans and Democrats has never been greater. And this is seriously worrying.

This fact was clearly highlighted in this Government Shutdown. The Republicans were so opposed to the Democrat's healthcare plan, they boycotted the national budget. How much do you have to disagree with something to shut your entire Government down?

This only served to fuel more anger from the Democrats (especially the footsoldiers) toward Republicans, and I shudder to think where it could land up. I won't get into this divide now, the fact is, the rift between the two parties was never highlighted more than in this Shutdown.


4. The USA has more debt than it can handle
When someone cannot fund their own household because they don't know which debt to pay first, that person needs debt counselling.

When a leadership can't fund its own government, that nation is "in over its head" with financial crisis.

In a basic nutshell: This entire crisis stemmed around the fact that the USA had a deadline to agree upon how they would pay their debt before 17 October. The government couldn't reach that agreement.

I have heard some horrifying predictions regarding the US economy. I choose to hope those predictions won't happen. But the fact remains; the USA is in deep financial crisis, and something drastic needs to happen to keep it afloat.

There is no doubt they can get out of this. No doubt whatsoever, but if they keep playing bureaucratic politic games, they will only find themselves in a nationally crippling crisis.

Something must be done, and it must be done soon. It is going to take a radical decision by a radical leader to do it.
------------------
American politics are fascinating. I, like many of the world, am captivated by them, because they truly are a great nation. Almost every decision their government makes affects world economies. But with the spotlight on them for so long in such important times, how long will it take before one of their leaders rises up to actually make that all important heroic decision?

If I were an American, I wouldn't be worried. I would support my government, and pray that a courageous leader would emerge. That leader isn't going to be the anti-christ. What a load of hogwash. (Another post for another day). That leader will be blessed by God to lead the world's largest economy onward to greatness. Without it, they'll be left in the dust of Chinese imperialism.

Good Things Come To Those Who Wait

James Preston Reply 3:28 PM
I know you've heard that adage a million times. The problem with repeated cliches is that they lose their effectiveness. Even though they hold great insights of incalculable value. This one is no different.

Good things really do come to those wait.

Now, that doesn't mean if you sit around doing nothing just "waiting for something to happen" good things will come. No. It means your success will take time.

I'm acutely aware that this isn't very popular advice right now. From both a theological standpoint and a cultural one.

Culturally speaking; in a world of instant gratification and overused stories of overnight successes, patience is not something we're good at. We want something, and we want it now.

Theologically speaking; most of you readers of this Blog would, like me, believe Jesus accomplished everything we already need for our success and prosperity. (Prosperity meaning a number of aspects of life). Which can sometimes inaccurately translate into "I should be seeing my prosperity manifest now".

The impatient culture within which we live doesn't help our theology either. It serves only to emphasise our sorely lacking ability to wait with a smile.

But wait for what? Or more importantly, wait after what?

Wait for your success. And wait for it after you've received the promise of it.

Whatever it may be, whether it be the promise of a miracle, the promise that you believe you are blessed to be successful in business, you will be a great leader, the fact is... the promise is only the beginning.

The fruit proving you actually believe the promise is most commonly revealed in your actions after you've received that promise.

Abraham received a promise that he would be the father of many nations through Sarah. If he didn't believe it, he would've been like most other 90 year old man. Not exactly sexually active with his 90 year old wife. But the fact that he tried to "make things happen" with Sarah (regularly for 7 years!) goes to show that he believed God at His Word. Did Abraham believe 100%? No. After a few years he tried with Hagar. You know the story. But he still believed something was going to happen. And he kept trying.

That's what we need to remember in our society crazed with instant results. Hey, I love instant results as much as the next guy! I'm a classic 1985 baby, part of the MTV "want it now" generation! But the more I have wrestled with God over His promises, the more I have realised the harvest germinating under the soil is far greater than I even imagined. I just didn't give up tending to the garden.

The garden of your life requires you to take care of it. From educating yourself, to equipping yourself, to make the right decisions, to actioning ideas, you need to do something to get the ball rolling. But don't mistakenly believe that just because you did something means you will see something tomorrow. It might take next week, it might take next year, it may even take next decade! (Depending on what you're building).

The question is... have you started building? Have you started planting?

If so, keep at it. Don't stop. Don't give up. Ever. And one day you'll look back and see just how much fruit that "garden" has produced.

Because good things come to those who wait.


My Months Without Sugar

James Preston Reply 4:25 PM
I was wondering what to write this week... as once again I found myself short of time to sit down and focus on a decent article for you. It's been a crazy week for so many reasons, of which I won't go into.

But I just read a good article from Leo Babauta who Blogs at Zen Habits and "Minimalist". He is doing a month without TV or video, and plans on doing a month without sugar this month. He made it sound like it would be so difficult. And then I knew what to write... My months without sugar.

I thought I would give you some of my experiences of my months without sugar. Give you the side effects, the experience, and the difficulty.

It is possible that I have had less sugar in 2013 than I have in any other year of my life, maybe even my Baby years. Very possible.

As most of you know, I started the LCHF diet in March, and have been on and off throughout the year. My biggest break from the diet being just a few weeks back when I was back to my old way of eating for a whole 3 weeks. It was heavenly. ;)  Haha, no just kidding. That makes it sound like when I am on diet I'm in hell! Which is certainly not the case.

So I am now into my 2nd week back on the lifestyle* without any sugar or carbs. Zero.


  • No sugar in my coffee.
  • No bread/grains/pasta.
  • No starchy veg like Butternut or Carrots.
  • No fruit.
  • No fruitjuice.
  • No artificial sweeteners.
  • No peanut butter.
  • No yoghurt besides full-fat Greek yoghurt.
  • No cereals.
  • No sauces.
  • Water, coffee, milk & cream the only liquids.


That really is the essence of this lifestyle: No sugar. And that means carbohydrate as well, because your body treats carbohydrates exactly the same as it does sugar. Even Low GI carbs. They just release the glucose into your blood slower.

So how has it been?

Much, much easier than I ever imagined. So easy that after 7 months I am still living this lifestyle. Bearing in mind I used to be a sugar addict.


The first 4 days were difficult:

  • I got ravenously hungry. And I craved carbs. Chips, potatoes, bread. 
  • I had a slight headache, but not major.
  • I was very tired as my body adjusted to finding its energy source from other avenues (primarily fat).


The rest?
Easy as pie.

What makes it so easy is that I don't limit what I eat. I don't ration portions for my meals. I eat as much as I like when I like.

That's what makes this lifestyle so easy. It's really one simple rule: cut out sugar.

Obviously the key is that you replace it with fat. That's right... "fat". Even saturated fat!

After 7 months of living this way, my cholesterol sits at an average 4.8 and I feel healthier than ever.

I have cream in my coffee. Have lots of mayonaise with my salad and chicken. And eat a decent amount of Greek Yoghurt. These fatty food pleasures keep me sane, but more than that... keep me happy. I love them. If I get a bit peckish... I look forward to some coffee and cream. It tastes amazing, and keeps me going for hours!

The results have been incredible:

  • I have more energy than ever.
  • My waistline clearly is taking a good shape.
  • I never get tired in the afternoons.
  • I don't need afternoon naps like I used to.
  • I am seldom if ever hungry.
  • I eat less.
  • I am not afraid of skipping a meal, because the fat of my earlier meal/snack sees me through to the later meal.
  • I spend much less on takeaway. Much less.


I have stunned myself by how much I have enjoyed not eating sugar. Don't get me wrong. I still enjoy the good off day where I indulge in some Wakaberry Fro-Yo or a good Burger & Chips. But adjusting back to this way of life is a sinch.

Sugar is a problem. A major problem in society today. Possibly as bad as tobacco and alcohol.

I never thought I would ever say that. I believe some sugar as part of our diet is ok, and in many ways healthy. But it's just easier for me to stick to the rule of none at all.

But the truth is... the food industry is shaking in its boots because it sees what's on the horizon.

Life without sugar is one of the most natural and healthy ways of living I could ever have imagined.

Try it. For two weeks. It'll be easier than you think, and the results will simply stun you.

-------------------  

*I say "lifestyle" instead of "diet" because that's exactly what it is: a lifestyle. Not a diet.

For more info on the LCHF lifestyle, check out my most popular post of all-time:
THE PERFECT DIET

4 Reasons Why A Christian Cannot Lose Their Salvation

James Preston 2 7:54 AM
A Christian losing their salvation is one of the biggest stumbling blocks to a person comprehending the "Grace Message". It remains a pity we need to segregate ourselves to say "Grace Message" from the regular "Gospel", but the reality remains that much of what is preached as "the Gospel" today does not portray the Grace of God in its unadulterated radicality. I don't mean to come across as being an imperialist, by no means at all! If such a statement causes me to come across in such a light, forgive me. But we have to continue to make such statements to differentiate the message of what we declare to so much of what the Christian world is fed in their hyped up, look-at-me bookstores. The Grace Message. It's different to anything you ever knew.

Now, back to my point... A Christian losing their salvation. It amazes me how big a stumbling block this is to some Christians. A person's response to a Christian not losing their salvation is usually a revealing guide to their grid of understanding the character of God. If they respond in disgust and are quick to refute the point, then clearly there are streaks of religion in there ready to fight tooth and nail for our own ability to work for our salvation.

Which is exactly what the point of "eternal security" is about.

Who works for the salvation of the believer?
I would say as much as 95% of the church worldwide would all agree that we are saved by Grace.

Ephesians 2:8-9
For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – (9) not by works, so that no one can boast.

Galatians 3:1-2
You foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you? Before your very eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed as crucified. (2) I would like to learn just one thing from you: did you receive the Spirit by the works of the law, or by believing what you heard?

But if we are saved by Grace, why can't Grace keep us?

1. If our works can't get us saved, what makes us think our works can get us unsaved?

We are saved entirely outside of our works. Anything we can do. In other words... nothing we can do in our own ability and strength can gain us entry into the Kingdom of God. There is nothing we can do.
According to Galatians 3 and Romans 10 (and the confirmation of many other Scriptures that I don't have time for now) all that is required is for us to hear the Radical Message of the Gospel. That's it.

Romans 5:18
Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people, so also one righteous act resulted in justification and life for all people.

Taking into account only these 3 Scriptures I have shared with you thus far... Think logically... If there is absolutely nothing one can do to gain entry to God's Kingdom, nothing at all... What makes us think there is something we can do to be expelled?

Have a look at Romans 5:18 there... Jesus did one thing, and His one act resulted in righteousness for billions! One man's act! Nothing they did, but everything Jesus did!

If our righteousness is not based on what we do, it stands to pure theological (and logical) reason that no act of sin we perform can change our righteousness! Because our righteousness isn't based on anything we do!

Do you understand this?? I hope you are starting to see just why the Gospel is called "Good News"!


2. We were born with imperishable seed

1 Peter 1:23
For you have been born again, not of perishable seed, but of imperishable, through the living and enduring word of God.

Um, could someone just give me the definition of "imperishable" please?

You have to be pretty dumb to not realise that "imperishable" means it can never die. Never degrade. Nothing can cause it to perish! That is who you truly are! A New Creation Spirit being made of imperishable God-DNA!

I remain an evangelical. By that I mean one needs to be "born again" to enter/experience the Kingdom of God. (There is much debate in circles at the moment around this topic, one which I am studying up on and considering, but I still believe there is a fundamental key to being "born again")

Jesus said to Nicodemus in John 3 that to enter/experience/see the Kingdom of God, one needs to be "born again".

Evangelicals agree that something happens in our spirit-being when we say "yes to God". We are born of the Spirit of God. Our spirits come alive within us. Alive to God. Alive to His Realm. That is our true nature. It is that nature that will be in Heaven when/if our bodies die. Our bodies remain here, back to the dust, our spirits continue to live forever with God.

1 Peter is saying those spirits are imperishable. Nothing we can physically do with our mortal body can cause those spirits alive within us to die. Once they're born, they're born. And they can't be unborn.


3. Jesus Himself said we shall never perish, and nothing and no-one can snatch us out of His hand

John 10:28
I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

Many people who don't understand eternal security don't even know this verse exists. But it's there. Go check it out in John 10. The words of Jesus our Saviour Himself.

We will never perish. Never. And no-one can snatch us out of His hand. No-one. Do you understand "never" and "no-one"? His Work is far too powerful to allow our works to hinder His...

Which brings me to my final point...


4. The Work of Jesus is far greater than the work of Adam

Romans 5:15-17
But the gift is not like the trespass. For if the many died by the trespass of the one man, how much more did God’s grace and the gift that came by the grace of the one man, Jesus Christ, overflow to the many! (16) Nor can the gift of God be compared with the result of one man’s sin: the judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification. (17) For if, by the trespass of the one man, death reigned through that one man, how much more will those who receive God’s abundant provision of grace and of the gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man, Jesus Christ!

I highlighted the words "much more" in verse 17 because that is an imperative to the understanding of the Finished Work of Jesus. His Work is "much more" powerful than the work of Adam!

We were stuck in a sinful condition not by anything we did. We were the unfortunate recipients of a heritage of sin. And nothing we could do could change that.

And if the Work of Jesus is far greater than the work of Adam (which it is!) then it stands to reason that once we are born into the Kingdom of God, nothing we can do can change that!!! The Saving Work of Jesus is far, far greater and superior to the condemning work of Adam! Far greater!

If we say our works can affect our salvation, in essence we are saying that Adam has more power than Jesus. This is why Jesus is called the "last" Adam. He is not called the "2nd Adam", but the "last" Adam. Why? Because His Work is so complete and final that there is no need for anything else to be done! The salvation work of Jesus is complete! God's requirement for the salvation and redemption of mankind was completed entirely at the Cross!

-----

I hope this has encouraged you. I hope it has brought faith and security to your heart. That is what the Gospel is intended to do. It's purpose is to raise faith in God's children and bring security and peace to your heart. I know for a fact that the Truth that I cannot lose my salvation brings me such peace and comfort to my heart that I can't help but be thankful to my Father in Heaven.

You may start to have questions rising up within you, questions which I get asked so often after this message. Let me very, very briefly offer a solution to these...

Question 1: "does that means I can go out and sin all I want?"
I'm not going to lie to you... Technically the answer to this is "yes". But when you hear this Message, do you actually want to? No born-again believer wants to go out sin. Follow your True nature within. And don't be afraid of people sinning because they believe this to be true. Your security should be in God, not in your hearer's (or your) ability to not sin.

Question 2: "What about Matthew 7:21 and Jesus says 'not everyone who says to me Lord, Lord.'?"
Matthew 5 to 7 is the Sermon on the Mount, early in Jesus' ministry, where He was talking to Jews (most of His ministry). And in particular a lot of what He was saying in the Sermon on the Mount was to the Pharisees. What he is saying in Matt. 7:21 is that Jews believed they were the chosen race, and they had the access to God. But Jesus was saying that means nothing without receiving Him as Saviour. He is the Messiah. And whether they are Jewish or not, their salvation depends on Him and Hi alone. The entire book of Hebrews was written in this context; to Jews who believed they were the saved, chosen race and salvation was through Jewish custom; whereas of course the author (Paul?) is saying the Jewish customs are over! It's Christ and Christ alone! And if they don't receive Jesus as the Christ, they've missed the boat.

Question 3: "what about the verses in 1 Corinthians and Galatians that talk about not inheriting the Kingdom of God"?
The great DR Michael Eaton has some remarkable insight into these passages which I would encourage you to find should you have the opportunity.

Each of these passages are written in the present tense. When Paul wrote them he was talking about "living in the reality of the Kingdom of God", which we know is "righteousness, peace and joy". If you act according to the flesh (anger, jealousy, etc.) you will hinder the flow of the Kingdom's river into your life, and you won't experience the peace and joy which God's Kingdom brings. So the key is to not allow yourself to get angry, jealous, etc. and hand it over to God, and instead allow Him to bring His River of Peace into your heart.
Besides... if those "acts of the flesh" listed in those passages were talking about salvation, then let's look at some of the less serious acts listed. We as Christians so quickly look at the serious acts like "orgies, sexual immorality, drunkenness" etc. But those passages also talk about "envy, discord, selfish ambition". If those passages were talking about our salvation, then we would be in a lot of trouble! I doubt there would be many Christians at all going to Heaven! So you see, it doesn't make sense to use these passages in a claim that our salvation is not eternally secure.

We must interpret Scripture with Scripture. The weight of Scripture points to eternal salvation. We cannot allow one or two (easily interpreted) passages refute what the weight of Scripture promises!


I hope this has blessed you! Thanks for reading, and please feel free to share this post with friends, and comment in the section below. Please, no slander will be tolerated in the comments section.

In His Grace forever,

James

(If this Post blessed you, be sure to subscribe to the Blog for once-a-week inspiration and encouragement delivered straight to your Email!)

For updates and daily encouragements, check me out on Twitter:

Bismarck Du Plessis Yellow Card Meme

James Preston Reply 10:29 PM

I know this is a little off topic for this Blog, but this "Meme" I created for Facebook has been gaining popularity so I thought I'd share it here.

I hope all you awesome email subscribers don't mind me indulging myself a little! ;)

If you follow me on Twitter, you will know that I am a passionate sport fan. And this weekend the Springboks played arguably their biggest game since the Rugby World Cup 2011, and until 2015.

But despite the importance of this weekend's game, referee Romain Poite was not up to the task and shockingly gave Bismarck Du Plessis two highly debatable yellow cards, meaning the Springboks had the impossible task of playing against the world's number one rugby team at their fortress home ground for 40 minutes. The sporting world are all in agreement that those two terrible decisions ruined the greatest rugby contest of the year, reducing it to a formality of going through the motions until the 80 minutes were up.

In my passionate despair, I was trawling the internet for news on the incident. In my searching, I found a picture of the moment referee Romain Poite dished out one of his two yellow cards to player of the day Bismarck Du Plessis. In light of everything that had transpired, I couldn't help but imagine in my mind what the referee could've said to Bismarck. Especially considering he would've known full well what expelling South Africa's top player would have meant.

So in that moment, I decided to create my very first "Meme".

I've always wanted to create a Meme, but between being extremely active on Social Medial, Blogging, running a business, pastoring a church and loving my family, there wasn't much point. Until this moment.

I think this one works quite nicely. And if you understand the context, it's pretty humorous. If you don't understand the context, it means nothing to you. In which case, I do apologise. Skip this Blog until next week. ;)

If you like it, then please share it using the Social Media buttons at the bottom of this Blog Post.
Much appreciated everyone.

And if you're visiting my Blog for the first time, be sure to subscribe on the right or at the top for FREE weekly inspiration to equip you as a worldchanger!

What about YOU? Are you a rugby fan? What did you think of the debacle? What are you hoping comes out of this controversy?


How To Drive Free Cars - 5min VIDEO by Dave Ramsey

James Preston Reply 9:12 AM
A big thanks to my friend Phil Drysdale for sharing this on his Facebook Page a few weeks back.

I have been a fan of Dave Ramsey since Jon Acuff, author of "Stuff Christians Like" moved across America to join his stuff. You know you're a big deal when successful authors are moving across country to join your staff.

Dave Ramsey's primary mission for people to be financially free by giving them tools to plan and budget their financial futures, get out of debt, etc. Sounds like a great resource if you want to be changing the world! (You can't change the world in poverty). Check out Dave's podcasts and resources here.

Anyway... my friend Phil Drysdale shared this video the other day, one which I hadn't seen yet. It's a really basic introduction to the wise way of buying a car.

This is basic knowledge that if you stick to from a young age, will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life!

Check it out...
(Remember, if you're reading this Blog in your Email, you'll need to open the Post in your browser in order to check out the video. Here's a direct link if you want to go straight to the video...
http://youtu.be/BKyV8CTHeJ0)

Enjoy!




Richard Branson and Virgin Galactic to Have Commercial Space Flight By 2014 - VIDEO

James Preston Reply 7:19 AM
I am about to get a soft. And I am not too unashamed about it. I say "not too", because a part of me is a little embarrassed  But hey, I figure it's worth you knowing... Here goes...

I shed a ted after watching this video.

Yes. That is the honest truth. I watched this video and tears welled up in my eyes. Many of you may not give a hoot about what Richard Branson is up to. But when I see people with a big HUGE vision to radically transform the lives of thousands, and get close to seeing that vision become a reality, I get emotional. Almost every time. It's what makes me tick.

Richard Branson, Virgin Galactic, X-Prize creator Peter Diamandis and countless others saw something that 99.9% of the world didn't see. Or chose not to see because there were "more important" things to deal with. They saw something that would alter millions of lives, and the very limits of our transportation methods of the modern age.

Going to space is one step away from becoming a reality for average people. That's a bit ironic. "Average" people going into space in a Blog about wild dreamers. Anyways...

When I say "average", I mean people who weren't educated as Rocket Scientists and didn't have the drive to go to the Airforce kind of people.

Going to space has been described by the 500 odd people who actually have as lifechanging. The experience changed their perspective for good. Going to space must be one of the greatest experiences of one's life. And most of us are going to live to see it become a reality for the average joe on the street.

Sure, the first 15 years will be reserved for the mega wealthy. But Branson's goal is to make it achievable for anyone. And with Virgin Galactic's incredible team of engineers, that goal is one step away from reality.

Anyways, just a little video to encourage you to never give up on your dreams. Please. And dream big. Please. Enough of this small-minded, get-through-the-day stuff.

Watch. And be inspired. Until next week...




4 Basics To Living a Life of Purpose

James Preston Reply 11:06 AM
I recently responded to an email where the author asked about whether his life still had purpose. From his experience, he believed that following his dreams was pretty useless, and wouldn't impact the world much.

This in turn led him to believe his life now lacked purpose. I figured in light of what I've been preaching and writing lately, my response fitted quite nicely on the Blog. I've edited it to be a bit more general. Enjoy!

And please, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask them in the Comments section or Email them through.

1. Don't Let LIFE Jade Your Perspective of Your Purpose
The experience of life tends to jade us, and the more years we live in this strange world the more jaded we tend to get. It requires some serious focus and determination to keep your life filled with a sense of purpose. But if you are asking questions like "what is the purpose of my life", then deep down, you still long to live a life of purpose.

If you are thinking this way, then you're already in a small percentage of the world's population who long to live a life of purpose. Most people want a life of purpose from a young age, but with age comes the jaded cynicism of a broken society. So thinking this way is already a good path. And one that if you continue on without giving up, is sure to produce a fulfilling reward.

2. Your Dreams and Life's Purpose Are Connected
Dreams and life mission go hand in hand. I believe the dreams of our hearts are directly connected to the purpose of our lives. This isn't to say our dreams stay the same throughout our lives, though. But I firmly believe if we are fulfilling one seemingly small dream, it will lead to another and another, till eventually we have either accomplished many small dreams or find ourselves in the middle of building a big one.

What about you? Right now? Well, many factors will affect where to start. Whether you are married, in a committed relationship, your financial status etc. The less commitment you have to external factors determines how big you can start. This isn't to say such commitments are a bad thing, by no means! They just mean you would have to start a bit smaller before going after the big stuff. That is of course if you have big dreams. Many people don't know how to dream and therefore need to start small in order to "exercise their dreaming muscle".

I know much of this may be extremely cliched, but trust me... It works. I have seen in numerous lives, my own being the closest to home. The biggest cliche being "what do you love?" If you take steps in that direction, how much of an impact you have on the world will eventually follow suit.

If Walt Disney worried about how much cartoons would actually impact the world and make a difference, he may well have trashed that dream in pursuit of something more "impacting", and the world would be without The Lion King and Disney World.

It doesn't matter how much of an impact your life is going to have on the world, if you are doing what you love, you cannot help but impact people's lives and make this world a better place.

3. Start With What You Love - What You're Passionate About
If you had enough money coming into your account every month to support your lifestyle, and access to hefty capital, what would you go out and DO? Now, at first, obviously many people may say "well, I'll stop working! I'll rest. I'll go on a holiday." But eventually, you'll want to DO something. Start writing a book. Start a farm. Open a coffee shop. Start an orphanage. Etc.

What hobby/past-time do you have that when you do it, you feel most alive? Do everything you can to do that thing. Obviously this may be difficult depending on your work/financial situation. But once you have an idea of what "that thing" is, then start making steps in that direction. Do it in your own time. It may require you take a risk and take a loan, or do freelance/consulting work in order to pay the bills while you "build your dreams".

4. Don't Be Afraid To Aim High
Most people don't think of themselves as reaching great heights. But the key to living an impactful life is by aiming high. If you don't aim high, the arrows of your dreams won't travel very far. Big dreams are among the most important ingredients to success.

That's it for now. The rest is up to you.

I hope some of this has awoken the dreams of childhood within once again. And I do hope you take some steps toward living a purposeful life, and leave the spectating to others!

WHAT ARE SOME OF THE DREAMS YOU HAD WHEN YOU WERE YOUNGER BUT HAVEN'T STEPPED OUT AND TRIED YET?

Stepping Out The Boat Into Your Wildest Dreams - Guest Post

James Preston Reply 7:26 AM
Lisa, Katie, Peter & Amy Haynes
My good friend Peter Haynes has just embarked on one of the wildest adventures you could imagine with his family of 4 (including 2 young girls)! I thought it would be perfect for him to share the experience of his journey thus far, as it follows on nicely from last week's Blog about "how to follow your dreams".

As Pete will explain in this story, Peter and Lisa left literally everything to pursue a dream of studying at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Lisa Blogs about each step of the adventure at http://heartventure.blogspot.com/ 
Bookmark it and follow it, as the stories are incredible from a gifted writer!
Peter is also on Twitter here, I just wish he tweeted more. Maybe give him a shout and spur him on a bit! :)

And now, over to Pete...

Stepping out the boat of comfort onto the wild seas of your dreams

What a year this has been... my wife and I, along with our 2 daughters, have been on a wild journey of pursuing our dreams and learning some valuable life lessons in the process. It's an absolute privilege to have the opportunity of sharing some of these experiences and lessons with you.

Let me give you a brief summary of the journey we've been on and then I'll get into a bit more detail.

In April, somewhat out of the blue, we decided to investigate the possibility of leaving our family and friends and job and pretty much everything we had in Durban, South Africa, go to Redding, California and study at the Bethel School of Supernatural Ministry. Doors opened and momentum gathered and before we knew it, on 14th August we were receiving the keys to our leased apartment in the centre of Redding. What an amazing journey its been!

God had been preparing us for this over the past few years, He's been speaking to us and telling us to do certain things and also not do certain things. He kept tellling me to be radically obedient. God even told us to turn down an opportunity that had been our heart's desire for many years. We didn't understand it at the time but we knew that God knew what He was doing. At the beginning of this year, God even told us to leave our church of 15 years – we didn't know why at the time but as God spoke to Abram and told him to leave his father's house and go to a place he did not know, so it was with us. We had no idea where we were going, we just knew where we couldn't stay. It's not easy following God's voice when you don't understand but let me tell you something, this has been the greatest lesson I can take out of this whole experience – follow God's voice no matter what!

I have never felt more alive in my life as I do right now. But the exact opposite was true back in Durban. I felt dead inside. It felt as if God had lifted His grace off every area of my life – everything felt like a struggle and an intense frustration was building inside. But the moment Jesus spoke and called me out of my comfortable cruise liner of a boat, I felt the sinews growing back on my dry bones. And the moment I took that step out of the boat was the moment I felt alive again.

Looking back on it now, it seems like Jesus had left my boat a long time ago and had been waiting for me on the rough stormy waters, and the moment I took the step onto those waters was the moment His energy started pumping through my veins again. That's how it felt... I know He was always with me on those stormy waters.

Sometimes responding to God's voice does require sacrifice. We literally felt like we were leaving a cruise liner to walk on a deep dark stormy unknown sea. We were petrified! This season is costing us everything. Leaving family, friends, a good job, a beautiful home, life-savings etc. was not easy! But what we have gained even in this short amount of time has made it more than worth it. When God speaks, go with it because His plans for you are so much better than you think.

From the moment we decided to study at Bethel and move across the world, God started preparing us in every area of our lives. God is a genius! From our marriage, to the logistics, the finances, friends, family, you name it; God prepared the way for this dream to happen and to happen well. When we take a step of faith, God backs it up!

Something happens when the sons of God make plans and take steps towards great things. As those who have been given dominion; when we take a step, it is as if there is this mad rush behind the scenes to make sure everything lines up well for us. The joys of having such a good and powerful Dad!

We are really excited to be a part of this culture that Bethel have established here. Here there is a genuine culture of honour. It's not just spoken about it, it's practiced! We have been amazed by the help and support we have received from people we had never even met before.

We arrived in Redding at 3pm on Wednesday 14 August. By 8pm, all our furniture was in our apartment. Furniture that had been given to us or people had helped us source it REALLY cheap. There actually isn't space for me to tell how much help we've received since being here.

We've realised that in South Africa there is an arm's length culture, where we help people but only to a certain point or we just talk about helping but don't do any helping. Here it's different. People do! We feel like we are 'doing life' with some people already. There's no arm's length culture, it's an embraced and intimate culture.

Coming to study at Bethel has been a dream of mine for many years now and while I believe the timing of us being here is now perfect, I also believe that it is important to pursue your dreams and take those steps out the boat when you hear the voice of Jesus calling. We could easily have stayed in Durban. I believe God would have still blessed us. But I think this is His best for us.

There are far too many people missing out on their dreams because they are too scared to leave the comfort of what seems to be a cruise-liner of a boat, but once you've stepped out; you realise it was in actual fact a smelly old rickety fishing boat. Do not let fear rob you of your destiny! Choose to live now, and the greatest way you could ever live is in intimacy with the lover of your soul, Jesus Christ. Do what He says when He says it and you will never live another dull day in your life.

When He calls you onto the water, do not hesitate. When He rides with you in the boat, enjoy the ride. Just go with His best for you.

May you be blessed as you live out His best for you.

9 Ways To Follow Your Dreams - SUMMARY

James Preston Reply 2:46 PM
The last few weeks have been pretty manically crazy for me. Just one of those seasons, I guess. But! In my endeavour to bring an inspirational Blog every week, here's a little something for this week!

It's just a basic summary of what I preached this last Sunday night at Highway Christian Community entitled "HOW To Follow Your Dreams". The emphasis on HOW. I took the examples of dreams I have pursued in my life thus far, and how I reached them. The sermon should be up online by next week some time.

I hope to give you a more detailed encouragement of how you can pursue your dreams next week, in conjunction with the sermon. Until then, here's some points to get your juices flowing. And hopefully see you start to identify where to start in pursuit of the things in your heart!

Firstly, you need to understand that there are 5 phases to dreaming...

THE FIVES PHASES OF DREAMING: 
1. The idea/dream 
2. Putting the groundwork in to see it happen 
3. The fruition of the work (the event itself – keep focussed if this is a job!) 
4. The looking back in satisfaction 
5. The platform for the next dream 

When you understand what phase you are in, it will help you know where to focus your energy.

Now, the 9 Ways to follow your dreams. (My sermon was actually 10, but I've summarised the 9th point from 2 into 1)...

9 POINTS OF ADVICE COMING FROM MY EXPERIENCE OF GOING AFTER MY DREAMS: 

1. Get the idea 

2. Go to God and ask Him – place it in His hands 
Proverbs 16:3
Commit your works to the Lord, And your thoughts will be established.

3. Take the first step

4. Do everything you possibly can within reason

5. Do your best

6. Make use of your connections – relationships are key

7. Never give up – even until last minute

8. Know WHEN: 
- to park it
- to resurrect it
- to change tracks

9. Keep dreaming

That's it for this week! And I look forward to expanding on this next week!

Have yourself a blessed weekend and keep your eyes on the prize of a changed world.

Grace & Glory with Rob Rufus - KZN 2013 Summary

James Preston 4 9:49 AM

This year’s Grace and Glory Conference with Rob Rufus started with a headline change. From the usual “Glory and Grace” to “Grace and Glory”. Minor, I know. But a few people did ask me about it. It has to do with marketing actually. This year we decided to drop the registration system and go with an “all welcome” format. By doing so, we anticipated a number of those curious about what all the fuss is surrounding Rob and his message. 

Anything containing the term “Grace” these days usually sparks some kind of interest. That’s because we find ourselves in a theological revolution sweeping the world by storm. But we’ve spoken about that.

It was for this reason that we decided to focus on the word “Grace” in our marketing, and thus it just made sense to switch the conference name to have “Grace” come first. And as one clever friend of mine pointed out: The revelation of Grace opens one’s heart right up to experience the Glory of God. So it all seemed right.

We also decided against having day sessions, and rather have 3 evening sessions, so people didn’t need to take leave or miss out on sessions. This seemed to help more people getting to the meetings and inviting their friends along.

For those that weren’t there, or if you want a refresher, here’s what went down:

The Thursday night Rob ministered on the foundational truths of Grace. Which in itself requires hours of exposition. In this short period on one evening, Rob chose to focus on the role of “The Law” (Ten Commandments, Moses Law, etc.) and its inability to make anything or anyone holy. I loved this because I remember how important this revelation was for me a few years back. People can understand the New Covenant and how Gracious and Loving God is, but if they don’t understand the role of the Law, they could easily (and dangerously) mix it with the New Covenant thereby nullifying the New Covenant’s Super Power! It is essential in our understanding of the New Covenant that the Old, Law Covenant of Moses is dead to us as Christians and not only has no power whatsoever to change us, it does not even apply to us!

This significant point was coupled with the radical truth about many of the words of Jesus. It was clear that when Rob went into this territory, some people became unsure. Rob unpacked the truth that many of Jesus’ words were spoken...
  • to those still under the Law of Moses.
  • to reveal their self-righteousness.
  • to raise the Law back up to its high, “impossible” standard.
The Law of Moses, in its truest form, is impossible for any human being to keep. Which is the point. The Law was given in order to reveal our need for a Saviour. And That Saviour instituted and ratified the New Covenant when His Blood was shed at the Cross, not when He was born or any time before. The New Covenant didn’t begin until that point. (Rob did mention that the New Covenant officially started at Pentecost, which is valid.)

The second night, Friday, became a bit of a standing joke for the rest of the weekend. This was because Rob was significantly more passionate and excited than the other nights. The message Rob brought was one of “fiery encouragement” to “finish the race” as Paul stated. He did this to ensure people don’t misunderstand the New Covenant as one of laziness and passivity. Rather, the New Covenant should inspired us so much that we can’t help but be pro-active in the things of the Kingdom and do all we can to establish it on Earth. Rob may have come across as “angry”, but if you know Rob, you would know it was simply his passion for the Kingdom coming through.

The verse that comes to mind that best applies to Friday night is...
Hebrews 10:24 
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds.

Spurring each other on is an essential part of the Christian walk. We need each other to encourage us to keep going, to get through the tough times, to not give up believing for the breakthrough, etc.

Some of the primary points coming out of Friday included...

  • The Truth that living in the Grace of God produces fruitful lives.
  • Believers still operate at different levels of maturity under the New Covenant, and its important to grow to be mature believers. (This was covered again on Sunday AM)
  • Renewal of the mind is absolutely imperative to living a fruitful Kingdom lifestyle.
  • The church was commissioned by Jesus to be an effective agent for change on the planet, and as New Covenant churches we should desire to be as effective as we possibly can be.
  • We are destined to prosper as children of God, but this starts with the next point...
  • The Message of Grace produces, above all else, “well-being in our souls”. This is true prosperity. As John said in 3 John 2; “I pray that you may be prosperous and healthy, even as your soul prospers.” Health, prosperity and success stem from a prosperous soul. And this is what the Gospel of Grace deals with; our souls. The root of the issue.

Saturday night, and the final night of the conference, was a glorious night under the ministry of Holy Spirit. As usual, the worship was passionate and intense as people reveled in the Goodness of our God and delighted in all He has done for us.

It was a perfect platform, because Rob had prepared to preach on intimacy with the Holy Spirit. An absolutely stunning conclusion to this year’s conference, a journey from Grace, to staying the course, to the goal; remaining “in the vine” in intimacy with the Holy Spirit.

This is what the New Covenant has achieved for us! That we “may all know Him” (Jeremiah 31:34). Through the work of the New Covenant, we all have a real, personal and intimate relationship with Holy Spirit. (Whatever you may want to call Him , He is a Real Person with a real personality and loves your friendship! All 3 of Them do!)

The ministry as usual was incredible, as Rob did what he does best and called those feeling the tangible presence of Holy Spirit forward, and released the Fire of Heaven on the room. Fresh, powerful, transformational encounters released all over the room. If you’ve never been to a Rob Rufus meeting, well, imagine hundreds of people squeezing into the front of the church hungry for more of God, and all personally encountering the Love and Power of God in different ways; from violent shakes on the floor, to loud shouts of triumph, to quiet smiles of peace.

Personally I too once again had a fresh touch of Heaven’s Fire. These can be really tough to explain and need an entire Blog Post, but trust me, it was a powerful time. I must be honest, I felt it could’ve gone on a bit longer. Not sure what happened, may have been a miscommunication or misunderstanding, but what happened was powerful and more than good enough for God to do His work.

Sunday morning was geared toward a local church context, but that actually gave it a unique feel and message. Many people found this message about Maturing as Children of God to be his best of the week. It was extremely practical, covering significant ground about the importance of growing into mature believers who can effectively establish the Kingdom of Heaven on Earth. 

The basis for this message came from Colossians 1:28-29:
He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. vs29 To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.

This message was one of loving admonition, encouraging people to step into maturity. Rob made a great point regarding vs 29... Seeing believers step into maturity was of huge importance to Paul, so much so that he “strenuously contended” to see it happen. Much of his labour and work in the church was to “spur” the believers on to maturity. Obviously he did this in the Powerful Grace of God working in him, but seeing believers rise up into mature worldchangers was imperative to him.

I loved a comparison Rob did between mature and immature people. He didn’t share these to discouragement or condemnation to anyone, no ways! The platform for “no condemnation” had already been laid. But rather this was a “spurring”, inviting people to start taking responsibility for their lives and get on with changing the world!

These are some of the differences. Now, these may come across as a bit harsh to you, but they’re not meant to be. 

  • Mature plan a bit in their lives. Babies plan for nothing. If you don't manage your life, you'll spend your life managing crises.
  • Mature make difficult decisions, even if it costs them short term pain, knowing short term pain produces long term gain. Immature people complicate everyone's life around them by making quick silly decisions. They crash their chaos into other people's lives. And make people who confront them feel guilty.
  • Immature people are driven by instant gratification. 
  • Mature people find their identity in being Children of the Most High God. Immature people find their identity in miracles and achievements.  (Immature people can still operate in Power and miracles, because they’re done by Grace - but those miracles don’t give them credibility, their lives give them credibility - Bill Johnson has some good stuff on this point)
  • Immature people fight. Mature people unite.
  • Mature people distinguish between Biblical priority and Biblical values, making “the Kingdom of God first” their lives.
  • Mature people defend the truth, the church and other people's integrity, and very seldom themselves. Immature people will always try and defend themselves.
  • Mature people are givers, immature people are takers.
  • Mature people are faithful pillars. Immature people are cater-pillars, eating up everything they can, sewing a cocoon around themselves, turn into a butterfly, and fly away. (Haha, loved that analogy!)
  • Mature people manage their moods, they manage their self talk, they talk themselves into faith. Immature people sulk and withdraw in order to manipulate sympathy from others.
------  
As mentioned, Rob brought these comparisons within the context of a loving encouragement to a local church. It was without doubt the best message I have ever heard of such “encouragement and spurring”, because it was so seasoned with Love and Grace. If you download only one of the messages from this conference, download this one.

We then asked Rob and Glenda to lay hands and pray for all our Life Group Leaders at Highway. We are down to 2 full-time pastors, so the workload is completely different to what it was for us say 2 or 3 years ago. But what has been great is that it has forced us to rethink “church”, and to do things differently. And one of those ways has been to lean a lot more on the capacity of the Life Group Leaders, which has seen them step up to the plate like we’ve never seen before. Having Rob & Glenda lay hands and pray for them was a much needed commissioning of their role, appreciation of their work, and release of refreshing Living Water over their lives as they carry a new “load”.

This too, was a deeply significant and special time.

And that was it! We blinked and it was over! 4 days of Glory! 4 days of washing in the Word, renewing our minds to see things through the eyes of the Kingdom and His Righteousness.

It was a special time together. And no doubt will go a long way to seeing many believers in KZN step up to the plate and be get on with the job of changing the world like never before!

After all, that’s why we still here, right? To change the world. We can only do that by His Grace.

Rob and Glenda Rufus - Apostolic Fathering

James Preston 3 7:12 AM
My post "Does Rob Rufus Go Too Far" written in September 2009 became this Blog's most read Post within 3 months, and it has stayed at the top ever since. People all over the world are clearly intrigued by this "Grace Message", and Rob Rufus is one of the key players in declaring this Message all over the world. Just type "Rob Rufus" into Google and watch the suggestions. One of them is "heresy". Anything remotely declaring the Goodness of God and His Salvation Work will be manipulated and twisted by the enemy as heresy and false teaching. Always remember this: Jesus, His Disciples, and Paul, were all called "false teachers" by the religious leaders of their day.


We are privileged among our circles to have Rob and his wife Glenda play such an important fatherly role to us. Paul said in 1 Corinthians 4:15 that the church has many teachers, but not many fathers. I know for a fact that for the first time in decades, Highway Christian Community has a personal father who we can look to as a local congregation of believers for input (besides of course the special relationship we have with one of our founding fathers; Greg and Michelle Haswell). This special relationship is the same for a number of other churches in South Africa and around the world who have come into the glorious freedom of undiluted Grace.

That's an interesting one, isn't it? Normally I wouldn't encourage people gathering around fathers for the sake of doctrine. As I write in "Moving From Denominationalism To Apostleship", if we gather together on the grounds of doctrine, then our doctrine could divide us in the future. But in our case, it was the doctrine of the New Covenant that drew us together, but we have since grown as friends and even with slight differences still honour each other and love being together.

We are experiencing a true apostolic relationship. One that I would encourage all church leaders to trust God for, if you do not already have such a relationship. The institutional, hierarchal system must have true relationship or else it will strain.

In our case, as a group of churches in KZN and South Africa, it is this apostolic relationship that makes Rob & Glenda's visit so special. It is more than just a conference with some good teaching (and good teaching it is!). It is the visit of parents from overseas who have so much to say and so much to impart. That's what makes this annual conference so special for so many churches in South Africa.

What excites me is that the relationships we as leaders in KZN have with other leaders in the remote parts of South Africa get affected. This week Rob travels with a dozen pastor friends from all over South Africa for a "Grace and Glory Conference" in eManguzi, in the townships of Northern Kwazulu-Natal, where leaders of churches in rural Africa will be exposed to apostolic relationships like this for the first time. And with this relationship, will come the opportunity to share with them the clarity of the New Covenant.

These are exciting times. And it is for this reason that I get so excited and so refreshed every time we have the opportunity to welcome spiritual parents like Rob and Glenda into our "home".

--------------

Part 2 coming tomorrow will cover a summary of the Grace and Glory Conference held in Pinetown last week!
--------------
What about you? Are you part of a group of believers who have such relationships? If so, how does it impact you? 
If not, do you feel there is a need for such a relationship? And if so, how would you "go about pursuing one"?

The 4 Basic Apps You Will Only Ever Need To Be The Most Productive You Possible!

James Preston 2 6:21 PM
Following on from last week's Blog about Cloud Computing, here are the 4 most basic Apps you will ever need to be the most productive you possible! These apps listed in this post are all based "in the Cloud", in other words they are all online, so you are not limited to one single computer or device; no matter where you are in the world you can log into any one of these apps and access what you need.

These 4 apps are based on the 4 most basic things we all need to be productive in today's world:

1) Email/Communication.
2) A diary.
3) A To-Do List.
4) A Word Processor & Document Editor.

With these 4 things you can pretty much accomplish everything necessary to be as successful as possible! And with these 4 apps below, you can do it all without ever worrying if you "left your laptop behind" or "not being able to find an Email".

But before I go anywhere, I would love it if you signed up for my weekly newsletter. It's been rated as one of the most inspiration newsletters on the internet, and I guarantee it will add value to your inbox!
Not spam! No jargon. Just encouragement from myself to help you be the best you ever, as well as a collection of some of the best articles on the internet to help you reach your peak.
You'll love it!

Signup for the Inspirational HERE:

* indicates required


And be sure to Follow James on Twitter:



Ok... so here goes! We start with Email...

1. Email: Gmail
There are 3.2 billion Email accounts in the world. It has become the most efficient way to communicate between corporate environments because it gets delivered straight to the workspace of an individual, especially a decision-making individual.

But it comes with its challenges. Most of which is spam. A terrifying 71% of all Emails sent are spam. (And I don't even think that counts the forwarded hoax mails from colleagues!) This could possibly be the most efficient thing about Gmail. Check out the Screenshot below of my Gmail:




Notice how few of my Emails are Spam Messages or from Social Network sites like "Facebook", "Twitter", "Groupon" etc. Every single one of those Emails are directly addressed to me and pretty important. That's how my inbox is.

Everything else goes into little folders on the left. See the folders in Bold with bracketed numbers next to them? Those are the folders with new mail in them. In this case it's "BlackBerry", "Quotes", "Computer Work", "Groupon Stuff" and "IT". Every single one of those skipped my inbox completely so when I log into my Email, only the ones addressed to me get through to my homescreen.

This happens because every time I get a new Email from an unrecognised Social Networking account or strange Spammer, I simply copy the Email address, click on Filters, and place that Email address in one of my filters and boom! I will never again get another Email from that address in my inbox. Meaning that my inbox remains clean with only Emails I want to and need to read!

I can even tell those really Spammy emails to either be "marked as read" or "deleted" so they don't even waste my time.

Microsoft Outlook and other Email Clients also have this Filter & Folder system, but none are as efficient, quick and easy as how Gmail have set it up.
---------------------------------
Some people worry about having a Gmail address for work situations, and how unprofessional that is. Well don't worry! Gmail will let you send mail from any address you choose, and will even check those email accounts for you, so all email to those private addresses get sent to your Gmail inbox. It's like a portable work email. And the great thing is; I can choose which address I want to send from when sending an email. So, depending on my situation be it work, ministry, radio, personal, blogging, I can send an Email from the appropriate address at the click of a button. And you can even set each Email address to have its own signature! Genius.

More perks of Gmail include the search option. Google is the king of online searching, and no matter what you're looking for, just one very quick search and it will pull it up for you. I now no longer print out or save documents. It's all online ready to be searched and forwarded. (Obviously the security is important here. And it's important to note that Google has never been hacked by a major cyber-terrorist. Also their SMS security measures and others are really, really tight. Plus I change my password every couple of months).
------------------- 
And of course my favourite thing about Gmail is that it is online. (In the cloud). So no matter where I go or where I am, as long as I have internet access (through any computer) I can log in to my Email (even my work Email) and get back to people or search for documents and get important info. It is all so easy. And if my hard-drive ever crashes, no problem, my Emails are all online.


2. Diary: Google Calendar
Again, all online, and you never have to worry about leaving your diary behind. You can just borrow a friend's computer, log in to your Google Account, and check the time of an appointment. Or change it. Whatever.

Now, the great thing about Google Calendar is that it syncs with pretty much everything! It syncs with Microsoft Outlook (if you're still using it after point no. 1), it syncs with Apple's iCal, it syncs with my BlackBerry, it syncs with Nokia even! It syncs with anything and everything. And it is incredibly flexible. I messed up one of my Google Account (I have a few) calendars, due to a silly mistake on my part. So instead of reconfiguring all my synced devices, I simply made a new calendar and paired it with my main Google Account. It worked perfectly.

My BlackBerry is synced to my Google Cal, and all I do is enter an appointment and then when I next open my computer there it is in my iCal. Or vice versa.

And I can share any calendar I like with other people, and they can see appointments and events, or change events if I give them permission. We use this very effectively at our Church offices. We've never been more organised in the last 10 years!


3. To-Do List: ToDoist
If you don't work with a To-Do List, you should stop what you are doing and Google "the importance of a To-Do List". Millions, no... wait... BILLIONS of people will tell just how important having a To-Do List is. You need to know what needs to be done, remember it, and set goals to get those things done!

This was something school failed to teach me. And one that should have had an entire lesson devoted to and revisited once a year. Maybe I bunked those lessons. But this one thing would have been more valuable than most of what I learned at school.

I only started using To-Do Lists when I entered the working world. I quickly realised that if I didn't write things down I would forget them and get into trouble with the boss, clients, and myself. But even that didn't help too much, because I would lose the paper I wrote them down on and then be in even worse trouble because there may have been dozens of items on those lists!

Only recently have I discovered the power of online To-Do Lists. Jut like Gmail and Google Cal, I can't believe I worked without them in the past. (I worked for years as a pastor with one piece of paper each week - I had nailed it to a degree but my papers were messy and irritated me when I left them at home or the office and needed to write something in them quickly).

I started with Wunderlist, but they bumped into programming issues. After an entire day searching for alternatives, I came across ToDoist. I highly doubt there is much out there that is better.

ToDoist is a basic platform, it doesn't take up much internet, is neat and tidy, and yet is so functional and effective. I arrange all my tasks into separate "projects"; from "General" to "Meetings" to "business" to "Blogging" even to "Movies to Watch"! As you can see by the below pic...



As you can see, everything that I do is right there! And there's nothing better than clicking one of those boxes when you've completed a task and checking out your points go up! ToDoist has a really nifty little system called "Karma" whereby you earn points for completing tasks. It's a really clever motivational system to get you working hard, but can be disabled if you don't want to get distracted by silly shenanigans. I like them though.

Using the Google Chrome (my internet browser) Extension you can add Gmail tasks to it (hence the "Glenda" Email there to be done) and even add Websites to read. This way I can actually click on an item to get to where I need to go to get the job done.

And ToDoist too is all online! So I have a link on my phone and iPad which take me straight to a mobile version (meaning it's even quicker to load) of my To-Do list and I can add things as I remember them or check what needs to be done if I'm not near my computer. I can also log in from any computer in the world. (I hope you're noticing by now how important "Cloud Computing" really is!)


4. Note-taking: Google Drive
And finally. taking notes and writing journals! This is the most recent addition to my collection of Online Operation. And again, I can see this making my MS Office redundant. The features are absolutely brilliant. Everything you can think of in an Office Application. From Word Processing to PowerPoint Presentations to Excel and even PDF storage, editing and saving.

I store most of my important PDF documents and online books all in Google Drive. I also now keep most of my important documents like account details, database lists, email lists, quotes, articles, you name it! All completely online at the touch of a button. And you will also notice in the screenshots above that I have a button in my Browser called "QuickNotes" which I use when I need to make quicknotes about anything and everything. I find Google Drive's Word Processor is faster than my Mac's basic Text Editor, that's actually what made me change.

I have the Google Drive app installed on my iPad which means I don't need any fancy software on my iPad to edit Docs, all I do is use my free Google Drive, and the best part is that you can keep some Documents "offline" (meaning that you don't need an internet connection) on your iPad, and Google will sync back online when you have an internet connection again.

You may also be wondering why it's called "Google Drive". It used to be called "Google Docs", but they changed the name because it has expanded to become more than just a Document Editor, and is now a fully fledged online hard-drive, where you can store anything and everything. Including photos and pics!

--------------------------------------  

These 4 apps are all you will ever need to be the most productive as possible across all platforms of devices, without ever risking losing your data to a hard-drive crash or device theft. There are all kinds of fancy apps out there that cost an arm and a leg, but with these simple apps you can do all you need without paying a cent!

That doesn't mean there is no space for other apps. Of course there are many, many more to tweak your repertoire of efficiency and productivity. But this is a fantastic start!

I hope this fairly lengthy series has helped you get started in making the most of the amazing invention that is the internet. And that you will never again have to rely on one single device for all you productivity needs.

Which of these Apps appeals to you the most?

How much of your work is online "in the cloud"?

What would you suggest I could do better?


For daily updates and encouragement, follow James on Twitter:

Spiritual Blog of 2013!

Spiritual Blog of 2013!

Welcome to JamesPreston.org

Weekly Email Inspiration:

Enter Your Email for powerful inspiration:

FOLLOW JAMES:

James Interviews Mike Stopforth about Entrepreneurship:

James' Top Ten Movies:

James' Popular Blog Posts:

Search

James on Google Plus: