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".

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Part 2 coming tomorrow will cover a summary of the Grace and Glory Conference held in Pinetown last week!
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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".

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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.
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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).
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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!

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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?


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A Basic Introduction To Cloud Computing (Part 1 of a Software Productivity Series)

James Preston 4 7:09 AM
This week a friend of mine made a simple statement on Facebook:

"Wish I had a small compact electronic diary... Do you even get such a thing?"

The statement generated 22 responses! All with tons of ideas & suggestions.

I've been meaning to do a Post about this very thing for quite some time, so that statement has pushed me to finally give my thoughts. Thanks Jennifer Weir for asking!  ;)

Please note that the goal of this Post is to introduce people who may not yet know about this type of computing, so please forgive me if it comes across as bit basic for you. Maybe you could leave some comments with advice or suggestions?

Computers have become a vital part of our daily life. I grew up when this wasn't the case, but by Grade 8 we had our first "486" Windows PC at home, and that was the start of my dependance on these little machines. As time has gone on, the technology has become even greater, and the various fields of my expertise require decent computing to operate. This means I need a computer for up to 90% of my work.

When so much of your work is done on a computer, it only makes sense that the basic necessities of a productive life (diary, notes, calendar, contacts) be accessible at the touch of a button.

But those kind of necessities are needed at any moment, when you're out in the supermarket, with friends at a restaurant, even on the beach! Suddenly you need to check your diary, make a note of an idea, or add something to your To-Do List before you forget.  And you can't carry your computer around everywhere.  Not yet, anyway.

In this 2-part Blog Series, I want to share with you 4 of the most basic tools that you need to operate as productively and effectively as possible. You could run your whole life, even entire organisations, with these 4 tools alone.

They are by no means conclusive, and not the only tools available, but with so many out there, how do you choose which software is the most effective? Well, that's why I want to help. I have spent hours over the years trying to find the most effective software to meet my basic productivity needs. When all you need is 4. And they're all free.

First though, in order to keep computerised productivity at a maximum, and keep downtime at an absolute minimum, you must understand this one concept: THE CLOUD

So in Part 1 we'll cover the concept of "Cloud Computing", and in Part 2 next week I will reveal the 4 basic apps that you will only ever need to be as productive as ever!

Cloud computing became popular with the commoner when Apple introduced their aptly named software "iCloud". (They added one letter to an already-in-use word and it became "theirs!) The truth is; Cloud computing had been around long before Apple's iPod!

When you understand the Cloud correctly, you will move away from one computer as your single source of all work. That's the point. There's nothing worse than that one computer crashing, or getting stolen, and everything is gone with it. All your work. Your Emails, your Contacts, your Notes, you know? The important stuff. Gone! With Cloud computing, you can carry on at anyone's computer as if nothing ever happened.

"The Cloud" is a basic term that refers to internet servers where all your data gets stored. As opposed to your own computer hard-drive. Your computer simply accesses "the cloud" via the internet.

These internet servers could be numerous places: Google, Apple, Mweb, Facebook even. Any data that gets stored there (instead of your hard-drive) would be termed as being stored "in the Cloud".

The biggest place to start with Cloud computing? Your Email. If you're still using Outlook, you are already behind the curve. Cloud-based Email has revolutionised my life. I can access my Email from any computer any time anywhere in the world, and not compromise on quality of font, signatures, my contacts, email addresses, info; you name it.

Google are the market leaders in Cloud computing. They have already created "The Chromebook", laptops with tiny hard-drives with their entire Operating System (like your Windows XP etc.) based in The Cloud. So everything you do with these computers, everything, is done "in the Cloud". Thus you could login using another one of these laptops and absolutely nothing would be lost, or different! It would be like your entire computer back in front of you.

In South Africa this isn't easy, yet. Things like photos, videos, music, large software, are all too big to keep stored on the Cloud because our Internet Connections aren't fast enough. But we'll get there. And our speeds are fast enough to cover the basics. And the basics are all you need for Cloud Computing to completely revolutionise how you work.

The Cloud concept is your number 1 concept in increasing productivity. Ideas, notes, memories, To-Do items, can't wait to be remembered for later. And if you write them on a piece of paper, you risk losing that piece of paper. But if you had access to a small device (like your cellphone) to quickly enter the Item, it cannot be forgotten, and can be accessed when it is more suitable for you when you are sitting at your computer.

The days of one single computer being the only source for all your work are quickly ending. So get on board before you find yourself way behind the curve!

In Part of 2 of this series next week I will give you practical examples of the 4 most basic apps that you need to get started with Cloud Computing. These 4 Apps are all you really need to the most productive you possibly can be.

So look out for Part 2 next week: "The Only 4 Apps You Will Ever Need To Be The Most Productive You Possibly Can!"

In the meantime, check out the diagram below to give you a Graphic idea of how Cloud Computing works:



TELL US YOUR STORY IN THE COMMENTS SECTION!

HAVE YOU EVER HAD A COMPUTER CRASH OR GET STOLEN? HOW DID IT EFFECT YOUR PRODUCTIVITY?

How To Pray For Nelson Mandela

James Preston 2 7:17 AM
The other day Corinne and I were praying, and we just felt God leading us to pray for Nelson Mandela.  It was a special time, and deeply emotional.  It wasn't very long, but we meant every word.

As we were praying, I found myself wondering what to pray for.  You know?  When you're praying out loud and people can hear you (and are listening) and you're thinking through each sentence before it comes out all while you're already speaking?  Haha.  What to pray can be one of the toughest questions to answer, which is why the disciples asked Jesus how to do it.  His answer stunned them and almost certainly disappointed them.  It was short and surprisingly simple.  And Jesus never said much else on prayer after that.  Helping us realise that prayer is simply talking to your Father, and speaking into being His promises.

So this got me thinking about all the prayer vigils and services happening around the world for Mr Mandela, and if there were others who wondered what I did; struggling to find the words to pray for this unique situation.  So I thought I would write up a basic outline of what we prayed that day.  Hopefully helping anyone who wants to pray for him but doesn't know what to say.  Hopefully it will give them a good guideline, and generate even more prayers for Mr Mandela.  Which can only be a good thing.

Nelson Mandela is arguably the greatest leader of our time.  I'll never forget an interview I did with the great DR RT Kendall, who, when I asked about his love for South Africa, couldn't help but talk about Nelson Mandela.  He said that he believed Nelson Mandela was the greatest leader to ever have lived since Biblical times.  That's a huge statement.  And I tend to agree with him.

We have a great opportunity to honour our hero by praying for him, and praying that only what is best would transpire.

I ask you to join me in praying for our great leader, Mr Nelson Mandela.  And if possible, read this out loud.  It holds a little more power that way.  If you're new to this, just know that God Almighty is your Father, and He Loves you more than anything, so you can call Him Dad, and talk to Him the way you would a loving Father:


"Dear Dad,
thank You for Nelson Mandela, and for raising him up to be such a great leader.
Thank You for everything he did for the nation of South Africa, and for so many around the world. 
May You reward him and bless him and his family for all the work he has done.
Bring him peace in this time, Holy Spirit comfort, and bring peace to his soul.  No matter what he is going through right now, may he know Your peace.
If he is to go home to be with You, may You take him home peacefully and with Grace.
I pray that if he is to go home to be with You, that it would be at the perfect time.  That you would ordain the perfect moment for him to enter the Courts of Heaven, and that when he eventually does, you would prepare his family, friends, and the world for that time.
But if he has the strength, and if the time is not now for him to go, give him the strength to fight.
I declare and release Your healing Power over him right now, and declare Life and health to manifest in his body.
Empower him and strengthen him to live many more full days in peace, rest and joy.
Father, I pray that you would protect him from those who selfishly want to dictate proceedings, and that only what is best for him would be allowed to take place in his hospital ward and home.
Bring peace to his family and to those who love him.  Let them know Your comfort and Your Love at this time.  And even for this nation; may there be a holy respect for him around South Africa at this time, and may the incredible legacy that he initiated and spearheaded continue for countless generations to come.  I pray that South Africa would become everything that he dreamed it would become and more!
Thank you again for such a great man.  Thank You for the work You did in him and through him.  Thank you for the great nation South Africa is and will become for his great work.
May you bless him and his family super-abundantly with Your Grace and Love,
In Jesus' Name,
Amen!"


Thank you for joining me in praying for our great leader Nelson Mandela.  May only the best for him transpire, as thousands of others around the world join in unity in declaring peace and comfort over him and his family.

Long live Mr Nelson Mandela.  And long live his great legacy.  God bless him, and God bless South Africa!

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