Category Archives: Extreme Life Stuff

The Modern Argument…

PistolsThere was a time many years ago, where disagreement was fairly normal. People expected that throughout their day, they were going to encounter people with an opinion different to their own. When this happened, some would accept that having a different opinion was OK and there would be no further action taken, just two people perfectly happy that someone else thinks a little differently to them…but they can still be friends and get along perfectly well. Other times a conversation would ensue. A conversation that involved a trading of facts, perceived facts, even opinion. A conversation where cases were stated with reasons supporting their stand. A conversation where people would engage their intellect and actually think about what they believed to the point of being able to explain it to another. Often times the end result, was still two people that agreed to think differently and yet remain perfectly good friends. Of course there was the odd occasion when things got a little out of hand and the result would be that the simplest resolution was to walk 20 paces and draw pistols with the one left standing obviously being the one who was “right“.

But it is becoming increasingly obvious that, that time has well passed. The modern version of the above scenario is far different. These days, while being far simpler, the process always seems to be the same regardless of the topic. Basically it goes like this: “If you don’t agree with me, you’re wrong…and therefore clearly an idiot.”. Whether it’s politics or sport or the study of science and medicine or of course, the most obvious one…religion, the concept remains the same. The thinking that “I am awesome…and smart…and right” leads to the obvious conclusion that if anyone sees things differently that “you must be less intelligent than me…wrong…and obviously, not awesome“. So intelligent conversation about tough topics has been reduced to one person stating “how it is“, followed by an attack on the intelligence of anyone who does not agree with them.

This might seem OK to you at first…because after all, you are awesome…right? But this approach has it’s flaws. What if all 6+ billion of us aren’t as awesome as every single one of us clearly thinks we are? What if we are relatively uninformed about a topic and boldly “telling it how it is” to someone with an actual knowledge and understanding about the topic (followed of course by the obligatory “just sayin’” that makes it all OK). What if any, of the many people we regard as being idiots, are actually well researched, intelligent people that we would be doing well to listen to instead of accusing them of lacking any kind of grey matter simply because their study and research and keen interest in something they are passionate about has lead them to have the audacity to believe something different to us…even though we have never studied or researched or really even thought about the topic at hand before this second?

Argument

And yet we see exactly this all around us every single day. “I vote for this party”…”You must be stupid! Anyone with any brains votes for that party!”… “Really? Why?”… “Because we have brains you idiot!”. Insert whatever topic you like, the “argument” remains the same. People no longer support a stance, they just shoot down any other stance with an intelligence insult. Social media and the internet have totally empowered this too, enabling many people to “status update”, “tweet” or “blog” a thought process, only to have hundreds of retaliating insults and questions about how you could be so stupid and yet manage to have the ability to breathe…without a single real word being exchanged. There is a perception that, if we type it on someone else’s page, it’s OK. We’d never actually “say” some of these things to each other in person, but safely tucked away at home (or at work while the boss isn’t watching) behind a keyboard, we all suddenly feel like experts on everything…(well I did read something on the internet about that once!), and have no hesitation in attacking anyone’s values, beliefs, political opinions, religion, family life…anything really, by letting them know that if they think that, then they are obviously a moron.

Well, I kind of liked things the old way better. Civilised conversation allowing a presentation of supporting thought, documentation, information, facts or truth, that enabled people to engage each other with intelligence instead of simply dismissing that anyone else might actually have any. But I guess in this busy day and age when we’re all so busy (got to find time for Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Google Plus, LinkedIn, Pinterest…you name it…and all the other important things we dedicate ourselves to) we probably don’t have the time for intelligent conversation or processing the possibility that we, might not actually know everything. Imagine that! I wonder how many real relationships we actually have these days…or is it all just about “friends” and “followers”? Do we still go out and engage intelligently with others or just sit at home and sledge all the stupid people that don’t see things how we do.

Social Media

At least the old way, we stayed real friends despite our differences.

Just sayin’!

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A Visit From Mike Hanchett…


At Extreme Life, we recently had the privilege of having a weekend with Mike Hanchett.  Mike is a part of the New Covenant Ministries International (NCMI) team and travels the world extensively for most of the year training and equipping thousands in the area of the prophetic.

Mike is a gifted prophet himself, but rather than just being a traveling prophetic sideshow that delivers words everywhere he goes like some kind of prophetic father Christmas, he sees his role as training and equipping all the believers to live prophetic lives and encourages us all to grow in this area and develop a prophetic lifestyle.

We have certainly seen the massive benefits of this ministry approach at Extreme Life and I know of many other churches that can say the same.

While Mike was with us he had a prophetic word for the life of our church.  I am posting those points here so we can all take some personal responsibility for them.  They will not come to pass because Mike said them or even because God did…they will come to pass because we receive them, own them and pray into them with faith and expectancy that God will do His part in them as we do our part.  There are many things in these points that tell us what God will do, but just as many are dependent on us doing our part of the responsibility.  We cannot expect God to deliver His part if we are not willing to contribute to our part…so here they are:

  1. The Glory of the latter house shall be greater than the former house.
  2. This shall be a place where my presence is manifested.
  3. This shall be a place of Honour. From the youngest to the oldest honour will be shown to all.
  4. This will be a place where the priesthood of all believers is not only taught but practiced by all.
  5. This shall be a place of the Glory realm. There will be manifestations of my presence here that will go beyond natural explanation. I will manifest myself here and draw people to me.
  6. People will come here and not know why they are coming but they will feel peace in this place.  When people walk in they will sense there is something different about this place. It will be known for my presence and my peace.
  1. People will speak of you in the city and say “Have you heard what is happening at Extreme Life!”
  2. Not only needy people will come here, but you will begin to see whole people, ready to step into my plan and purpose come here. You will be surprised by who comes but they are coming because I am drawing them. They shall fit in immediately and join hands with you in this work.
  3. The Stigma of the past shall be broken. There is a residue of the past that lingers, that affects your fragrance in the city. The stench shall be gone and you shall be a sweet fragrance in this town.
  4. Words that were spoken shall be broken off you. I reverse declarations that have been made and release the favour of God. You will see my favour! Your people will see my favour! The town shall see my favour on you! I declare favour in every way to be released. Favour, favour, favour and favour with God and with men.
  5. This will be a place of healing. Mighty miracles will be done here. Young people won’t fear stepping up and stepping out. They will rise to the occasion and I see young people coming in the droves. I see the walls bulging and the roof going up and down, pulsating in the presence of God. Will you be prepared to receive this.
  6. There will be a boldness that dares to believe God and God will be God and honour your faith.
  7. The Lord says mend the nets, get ready, a shift has taken place and it’s a new day! It’s a day for my Glory to be revealed.
  8. My creativity is being released over you. Some will see what I am doing. Some will hear what I am saying. It is Me who has given you gifts and talents and it will be you who does the things I put within your hearts. Believe that it is me putting the ideas in your heart and mind and know what I call you to do will not be impossible. For nothing is impossible to your God and I will be working through you.
  9. You have been through a time of testing but the time is now right

Isaiah 42:6-9 and Joel 3:18

As you can see, there are some great promises in there…and with great promise comes great responsibility.  I trust you will join with me in taking responsibility for every one of them, doing the the things we can do and praying into the rest with faith and expectancy that God will do what He has said He will do.

I look forward to the day when we are walking in the fulness of these words!



Sharing The Load…The Bible Way!

There are so many models and methods of doing church in this day and age.  Everyone seems to have a new idea on how to “do” church.  Many of those ideas are great and we implement some of their concepts in Extreme Life, but I have to say that the ultimate authority on how this should be done, has to be God’s own word.  Let’s look at how God lead His own people as recorded for us in Exodus 18.

Moses was leading approximately two million people through a journey towards their inheritance in their promised land (itself a type of the journey of the modern church).  Within those two million people were a group of men previously appointed (Exodus 4:29) as “Elders“.  Yet here in chapter 18, we are told that all the people were “just standing around“.  These appointed elders were statues rather than men of stature.  They should have been actively participating with Moses in the leading and shepherding of God’s people, but obviously were not.  So Moses was singlehandedly doing his best to lead these two million people on a journey that many of them did not even want to be on…some of them would have rather have died in captivity and others longed to return to the slavery of Egypt (again, very much a picture of the journey of many modern churches!).  Moses’ role involved setting the direction of their travel and actually leading them, but it also involved conflict resolution.  Imagine every one of those two million people coming to him every day whenever they had an issue with anyone else among their massive camp.  God saw the pressure Moses was under and knew it was not good for either him or the rest of the camp, so He spoke to Jethro and showed him a better way.

In verse 20 Jethro tells Moses that rather than everyone coming to him at the first sign of dispute, he should teach everyone the laws and decrees and show them how to live.  By teaching (educating) them all, all the people would be empowered with knowledge and understanding to help them make good decisions and avoid or resolve their own problems.  By showing them how to live (equipping), they all had a practical demonstration and model before them making it something they could see, understand and grasp to apply themselves.

In verse 21 we see that Moses was advised to select some capable men that met with a list of selection criteria (men who fear God, trustworthy, haters of dishonest gain, from all the people) and to appoint them as leaders over tens, fifties, hundreds and thousands.  This would put a support structure around Moses so that most conflict and relational issues would never even make it to his attention…they would be sorted out by either the better equipped people themselves or if they could not find a resolution, they could take it to their leader of ten…and if there was still no resolution they still had a leader of fifties, hundreds and thousands to go to.  This gave a much better solution to the problems, because people were actually approaching leaders they had a much better relationship with.  There is no way all two million of them could have a personal relationship with Moses, so he would often be giving resolutions and advice to people who didn’t know him.  Now with the leaders of smaller groupings, they would actually be approaching people who knew them and their situations and could give advice based on a much more personal perspective.

Based on a population of two million…Moses appointed approximately 200 000 leaders of tens, 40 000 leaders of fifties, 20 000 leaders of hundreds and 2 000 leaders of thousands.  That makes a leadership base of around 262 000 leaders which is about 13% of the population.

This model that Jethro presented to Moses had two main goals identified in verse 23.  That Moses would be able to stand the strain and the rest of the people would go home satisfied.  At the start of the chapter we had one man working to maintain civil peace among two million disgruntled travellers while everyone else just stood around.  We now have two million people who are better educated and equipped to live with over a quarter of a million people assigned to help them with the issues of daily life.  That sounds like a win – win to me.

This model has one major flaw in many modern applications…we all perceive ourselves as Moses.  We are not Moses…we are one of the appointed 262 000 leaders!  Some one else appointed all of us to our leadership and we must remain inside that relational and authority structure.  This is for our own safety and the safety of all those we happen to lead.  This is a place of accountability and also a place of education and equipping exactly like we saw in Exodus 18.  It also provides a source for all of us to seek guidance from leaders of different capacities as we need it…and we will need it whether we admit it and seek it out or not.

At Extreme Life we aim to implement this model as best as we can.  That is why we provide leaders at many different levels.  We have leaders of home groups, youth groups, mens ministries etc.  Everyone who is an active part of Extreme Life (building themselves in to some of our many smaller groups) should have a number of leaders that they can approach for leadership, guidance, advice, perspective, education and equipping.  Of course there will always be those that want to avoid this kind of personal responsibility for their own lives and avoid building themselves in to such a pattern and also those who want to function in isolation and a complete lack of accountability. The Bible teaches these things for a reason and if we want the outcomes of leaders who can stand the strain and all people living satisfied, I would strongly suggest we adopt the models that God gave us in Scripture with those outcomes!


The US Equip…

I have finally gotten around to writing some feedback on the Equip in the US I attended recently.

What a sensational time it was! I arrived in the US a few days early to allow for some adjustment to the time zone. I spent those days in Denver, Colorado where I had some amazing time with great friends like Terry Kreuger and Tyrone and met some incredible new friends like Steve Burnette. Steve was kind enough to host me while I was in Denver, and did so incredibly well….an absolute legend!

I also had the opportunity to visit Redemption City on the Sunday where Ty preached a great message on some Biblical realities about the identity of Jesus Christ. I also attended the Redemption City mid-week prayer meeting and the elders prayer meeting. It was great to see some long term friends at these times.

Amazingly, I also had the incredible opportunity to ride one of the most spectacular Harley Davidson motorcycles through the Rocky Mountains with my mate TK…what a way to spend a morning!

On the Monday I flew to Kansas City for the Equip.

It kicked off on Monday night with some sensational worship and another amazing message from Tyrone and went through until Thursday evening. Throughout the course of the week we were privileged to also hear from: Ron Larson, Matt Doty, Mike Hanchett, Steve Sudworth, Steve Barr, Ashley Bell, Russ Doty, myself (incredibly…my first Equip appearance ever!!) and another great session from Tyrone, as well as breakouts with Terry Kreuger, Steve Sudworth, Matt Doty and Mike Hanchett. The preaching and worship were simply awesome all week…I would have to say we were well and truly equipped, strengthened, encouraged and challenged. Such a good time and I am so glad I went.

After the Equip, I spent an amazing weekend with Ron and Kathy Larson and The River Church in Kansas City…an experience I am personally the richer for in so many ways! The friendship with Ron and Kathy, the reception from The River, the worship with the guys there, their ridiculous generosity…and of course, the Kansas City catering! Wow!! What an amazing church, lead by an incredible family. I had the privilege of preaching at their Sunday morning meeting and loved every minute of it…I cannot thank them enough for having me there, it was a true pleasure.

My final encounter before heading home was at In and Out with Matt Doty (who I travelled to the US and back with) and Jody Romero. If you eat burgers, you have to get to In and Out sometime, they are simply amazing! A huge thankyou shout out to Jody for picking us up at LAX and taking us there before our flight back to Australia.

In summary, I had so many good times on that trip and met so many amazing people…I am so glad I went. Yes it cost me personally and financially, but it was one of the most rewarding trips I have ever been on in my life…I am so glad, I got there!


NCMI Aus and NZ Elders Week…

Last week we had the privilege of being a part of the Australian and New Zealand NCMI Elders Week.

Hosted by Lighthouse Church in Sydney, Paul and Monika Zanardo and their incredible team did an amazing job of hosting us all.

The NCMI Team couples gathered on Monday afternoon just to gather thoughts and ideas for the week and to pray into the rest of the time with all the elders (pastors). On Tuesday morning we met again but with all the lead couples from the churches. This was an amazing time of openess and vulnerable ministry that I have no doubt, changed many lives.

On Tuesday afternoon we kicked into full swing with the addition of many of the elders from the various represented teams (it was especially amazing for me to have David and Joanne Williams there with us this year!).

I had the privilege of speaking in the first session on recognising, raising up and releasing leaders. It was a very practical session with some very real “hands on” moments and illustrations of things that have worked well for us at Extreme Life in Warrnambool.

Matt Doty took the next session and spoke into the tasks and roles of the priesthood of all believers and deacons and elders. A very refreshing look at how they all fit together and function as a part of a significant body.

Wednesday morning was a partnership between Paul and Monika Zanardo. Paul spoke on partnering with the Holy Spirit in ministry and Monika shared some of her revelations on being an elder’s wife from the Biblical accounts of the life of Sarah.

Rudy Furlong then brought a session on the importance of having (and keeping) a pioneering spirit. Some great illustrations from the life of Joshua, one of the ultimate pioneers.

We also had our faith stirred and were greatly encouraged by an amazing teaching and perspective from Leon Van Daele. There really is nothing much like Leon in full flight at the moment.

On Thursday morning we heard from Michael Nicholas on guarding our wellspring and we rounded out with some thoughts from Bruce Benge on dealing with disappointment followed by a time of hands on prophetic and practical ministry.

We had a number of musical worship times together too lead by Matt Doty, Tim Oliver and Joseph Fa’afiu. These were truly refreshing times and the intensity as all pushed in and participated willingly and passionately just helped make them such a great time of connection with our King.

All up, it was an extremely worthwhile week that I am so glad I got to be a part of. Partnership with all of these other amazing couples is both a huge privilege and a responsibility. It is way more than just emailing or sms-ing one another now and then to say what we are doing. It is an active participating together in adminstering our part of the Kingdom. I could not think of anything worse that trying to do this amazing task if isolated and alone, but doing it together with these amazing people adds a huge dash of awesome.

Thanks again to Paul and Monika and their amazing team and to all who made it a great week by paying the price to be there and actively participating and partnering with us…You are all awesome!


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