24 February 2010


Luke 19:10 (NLT)
And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost.

GIGO is an old data processing acronym in the 1970s' or 1980s' that stands for "Garbage In Garbage Out". It means that the quality of any information that can be derived by the computer is as good as the quality of the data that is put into it

I much prefer to define GIGO as "Good Input Good Output".

In much the same way, this phrase I first heard expressed by a Singaporean pastor, describes how our lives can be shaped by what we put into our lives and that always begin with what we believe in;

"Right Believing produces Right Living".

Many of us want to live right, that is, right with God, right with our family and love ones, right with friends and right with those we work with or encounter everyday. To have the right living, don't we have the belief that we need to do the right things, set the right examples, have the right connections and work hard to provide the right things for our love ones. However, do you find that in our concern with right living, it makes us focus more and more on ourselves and the things we struggle with that we lose focus on those who are really important in our lives and ending up not living right.

One of the stories in the Bible that best provide an example for this life's motto is the story of Zacchaeus the Tax Collector in Luke 19:1-10. Zacchaeus is a rich man hated and shunned by the people of Jericho, seen as a sinner by his fellow Jew and a collaborator with the oppressive Romans.

Yet Jesus invited himself to Zacchaeus home. Here is where the two opposites meet.  The "chief of sinners" and the "Chief of Love". In the brief time spent with Jesus, who without accusations, condemnation or judgment, but instead showed Zacchaeus, grace and honour by spending time with him, brought about such a transformation that no man would have expected of him. He not only gave half his wealth to the poor, but to those he overcharge their taxes, he gave them back four times the amount and this, according to the Jewish law (Exod 22:1; Num 5:6) was twice the restitution required of him.

Salvation has come not just to Zacchaeus but also to his house (Luke 19:9), that is, to all the members of his household. The Greek word for salvation is "sozo" which also means to prosper, preserve, heal and make whole.

This is the main message of the Gospel - "And I, the Son of Man, have come to seek and save those like him who are lost." (Luke 19:10)

Find out who Christ is, what He has done for you and what you have in Him. Believe Him! This believing will produce in you the right living.

Consider Luke6:43-45 (NLT) which is part of "The Beatitudes" teaching of Jesus

43 "A good tree can't produce bad fruit, and a bad tree can't produce good fruit.
44 A tree is identified by the kind of fruit it produces. Figs never grow on thornbushes or grapes on bramble bushes.
45 A good person produces good deeds from a good heart, and an evil person produces evil deeds from an evil heart. Whatever is in your heart determines what you say.

23 February 2010

Judge Not!

I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven's door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.

But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp--
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.

There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbour
Who never said anything nice.

Herb, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.

I nudged Jesus, 'What's the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How'd all these sinners get up here?
God must've made a mistake.

'And why is everyone so quiet,
So sombre - give me a clue.'
'Hush, child,' He said, 'they're all in shock.
No one thought they'd be seeing you.'


Remember...Just going to church doesn't make you a Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.

Every saint has a PAST...
Every sinner has a FUTURE!

Contributor - Anonymous

What Have She Heard?

Mark 5:27-28
When she heard about Jesus, she came up behind him in the crowd and touched his cloak, because she thought, "If I just touch his clothes, I will be healed."
These verses are part of the passage that talks about the healing of a woman who had been subject to bleeding for 12 long years. During this time, she not only spent her wealth seeking healing from many doctors but suffered under the care of the doctors of her time.

The most interesting question from this passage is, "What have she heard about Jesus?"

Why? You may ask. Because what she heard about Jesus caused her to seek Jesus out, believing that He heals, receive her healing (v29), and received a blessing (v34) from Jesus, himself. There is much to be gained from knowing what she heard.

She is a Jewish woman. Jesus calls her 'Daughter' (Mark 5:34) as oppose to the Canaanite woman whom Jesus answered with 'Woman' in Matthew 15:28. As such, she is bound by the laws, traditions and customs of her Jewish people.

The Law
Because of her bleeding she is considered unclean (Lev 15:26). Her law then requires her to be kept separated from the people (Numbers 5:2) and therefore should not be in and among the crowd.

What have she heard about Jesus? If it is about the Law, she would not be in the crowd, for the Law would have disqualified her.

When she approached Jesus from behind, she did so believing that she need only touch the edge of his cloak (Luke 8:44) and she will be healed. She has in a manner of speaking, "stole" her healing, judging from Jesus reaction to her touch. She only confessed after seeing that she could not go unnoticed (Luke 8:47). Is it likely that she feels unworthy to receive healing, because of sins in her life that she has to steal a healing?

What have she heard then? If it was that sins would prevent one from receiving healing, she would not be seeking Jesus out.  Sins in her life would have disqualified her.

When she approached Jesus in the crowd, she did so from behind. She did not approach Jesus from the front with her faith in boldness, to ask for a healing. Yet, she did receive her healing and Jesus took notice of her one touch apart from the many around him who must have touched him too. It was her faith in Him that Jesus saw.

What then have she heard? If it was that she requires (great) faith to receive healing, she would have just stayed home. If she believe that she has the faith to be healed, then she would had boldly approached Jesus to receive it. But she did neither of the above.

Who You Know
Also, she did not know Jesus. She only heard about him. Had she known Jesus she would have known that as a Jew, she could have just asked for a healing (Matt 15:24). There was no need for her to approach Jesus from behind. She could approach Him from the front and boldly ask.

What have she heard? If it was that she needs to know Jesus first before she can receive a healing, she would have stayed home.  She did not know Jesus.

This is Worth Pursuing
In this passage, the woman with the bleeding represents you and me, believers or non-believers, with some aspect of our life's bleeding in some way. She also typifies the Church, bleeding in some ways.

This passage suggests that the remedy to stop the bleeding, is to hear about Jesus and hearing more of Him (2 Peter 1:2) will be good.

If it is not already done, this is what we, as individuals and the Church, corporately need to discover or re-discover. What this woman heard prompted her to seek Jesus out, raise her faith in Him that brought about a miracle healing in her life, giving her not only peace, but freedom from her sufferings (Luke 5:34). This is worth pursuing.

Now then, what have you heard about Jesus?

18 February 2010

Mildura Highlights - Stefano's Restaurant

Last night at Mildura and we were looking forward to a nice dinner at Stefano's Restaurant. The restaurant was awarded two chef's hats in the Age Good Food Guide 2007/2008. Love the atmosphere of the place. Converted the cellars of the Mildura Grand Hotel into the restaurant, with a seating capacity of approximately 60 diners.

You really have to book ahead and I mean really ahead if you want a table for the night. The place was packed full on that night. There are people from all parts of the country. On our right an adventures couple from Perth, drove all the way to see Victoria's outback for the fun of it. Sleeps in their swagman at the back of their ute, decided to drop in for a decent meal. On our right a couple from Sydney, to get away from the fast pace of city life.

The menu changes daily and it is a restaurant where you do not get to choose what you want from a menu. You get what the chef fancy to serve for the night, a five course Italian style banquet. But what a treat. Oh! you do however get to choose your wine. Margaret discovered Moscato, a dessert wine.

Waiter: "Do you have any special dietary needs?"

By that, he means what do you like not to have in your meal, such as nuts, eggs, milk, gluten, etc.

Us: "No problem. We eat everything except livers, everything else should be OK with us. Then again we do not like kidneys, stomachs and things of that sort. Everything else we can handle, except maybe chicken feet."

Waiter: "Not to worry, they are not part of tonight's menu."

We breath a sign of relief, afterall we do not get to choose our meal. Feeling a bit hungry by now we were looking forward to our first dish. Till then, there is always the warm soft bread and butter. Then out came our entree, rabbit meat served with preserved cherries.

Us: "Uh. Did we also mention, no rabbits."

Well, we did enjoy the entree and every other dish after that. Found the Zucchini flowers yummy. Margaret had the beef and I had the suckling pig. Double yummy!

Menu for the day, 30th. December 2009.

Terrine of Rabbit
with Preserved Cherries

Zucchini Flowers filled with Baked
Ricotta & served with Prosciutto di San Daniele

Pasta al Pesto
with Potato & Green Beans

Suckling Piglet or Beef
with Seasonal Greens

Bavarois with
Poached White Peaches

The menu is subject to the whim of the chef...

A photo of us with the man, the chef. You can "catch" him in Stefano's Cooking Paradiso, a PayTV programme for the Lifestyle Food Channel.

Website: http://www.stefano.com.au/

13 February 2010

Mildura Highlights - Murray River Happenings

These are some of the views from the PS Melbourne as it slowly cruise down the Murray River. There are many other house boats and steam paddle boat that uses the river with quite a number of them parked along the river bank, to enjoy the river or just the peace and the cool breeze blowing. One or two of the boats were even up "For Sale". Interested?

What I like most is PS Melbourne annoucing its arrival at Lock 11.

Mildura Highlights - PS Melbourne

Everyone here in Mildura says that "You got to take a paddle steamer and go see the Murray River. You haven't seen Mildura till you have a taken river cruise in one of these steamers."

Well you know the old adage, "While in Rome, do what the Romans do."

So we head of to the Mildura Wharf. There are a number of paddle steamers we could take for the day; PS Rothbury, PS Mundoo, etc. However given our dinner plan for the day, we decided on the PS Melbourne cruise that goes through Lock 11, down the Murray River and then back up to the wharf. Roundtrip just above 2 hours.

PS Melbourne is one of Mildura's original steam driven paddle steamer. Originally built for the Victorian Government as a work boat in 1912. It was restored to a passenger carrying steamer in 1965.

Now, this smiling man with the black glasses and moustache is the engineer that keeps the boat steam engine running. Its quite a hot and noisy working environment but he seems to enjoy it very much.

"Not much to do." he says. "Just shovel in the coal and watch the pressure. Must watch the pressure. Always watch the pressure and all will be well.".

He seems to emphasize that a lot.

Web-site: http://www.paddlesteamers.com.au/

This video is of the PS Melbourne coming in to the Mildura Wharf to pick up the days' passenger/tourists. For speciall effects, you can hear the breeze blowing and the birds in the background.

11 February 2010

Mildura Highlights - Where Two Great Rivers Meet

One other attaction of Wentworth is the point where the two great Australia rivers meet; Darling River (2740km) and the Murray River (2530km). At the time, the Darling River was muddy in colour while the Murray River looks cleaner.

The river is where much of the town activities happens; water activities, beautiful scenery, BBQ parks, walking trails through nature reserves, birdlifes, etc.

A good place to rest under the shades of the trees. Cool with a slight breeze blowing. There are families with children swimming by the river banks, people in their portable chairs drinking beer, reading a book and I can hear the joy of skiers and swimmers across the waters, near a house-boat.

What a contrast. Within just a 5 minutes drive of each other, from Wentworth town, there is the Perry Sandhills and the two great rivers. The bareness vs the richness of the land, one where there is an absences of water, the other where water flow in its fullness.

Hmmm ......there is a message here. The word that came to mind, "Choices".

10 February 2010

Mildura Highlights - Perry Sandhills

Never seen a desert before. Heard much about its beauty and surprises you could find out there in the sands.

Well, Perry Sandhills is right at the edge of such a desert. So, after some persuasion on my part, Margaret agrees and we headed out to Wentworth. The sandhills are located just outside the town, on the Old Renmark Road.

Perry Sandhills was named after George Perry the first land commissioner to serve the area. Said to have been used in such movies as "The Man from Snowy River II", "Flying doctors" and "Boney".

The first thing we notice were the barreness of the car park. Then the many "Australian salute" we do on account of the flies. Next the heat. Oh! the summer heat.

Still not wanting to miss the opportunity to experience the desert, I went up a nearby hill while Margaret waited near the car. After a minute or two, seeing the view from the hilltop and experiencing the quiteness, the peace, I can feel the attraction of the desert.

But then, the heat got to me and the flies buzzing around. Oh well, back to the car. Back to town for a nice cold drink.

01 February 2010

Mildura Highlights - Orange World Tour

Next day, was a hot summer day at around 38C. So, what can we do in this seemingly small sleepy town. Asking a local girl.

Me: "The town seems quite. Not many people about."
Local girl: "Oh, everyone has left town to go on their holidays. The ones you see here are tourists."

Hmmm.... maybe, we should be doing the same thing. Makes you wonder if coming here was a good idea afterall.

Now what? Finally decided on a place called "Orange World" about 10 minutes drive from the Mildura Post Office. Located on Silver City Highway, Buronga on the way to Wentworth, NSW.

Took the Orange World Train Tour of the farm which highlights the life of an orange grower in the region, the history of the region, the farm and its orange farming methods.

Orange World is a 50 acre farm that has over 10,000 trees with 30 different citrus varieties including Navel and Valencia oranges, mandarins, lemons, and grapefruit and avocado varieties. Primary produce however, it the Valencia variety which may looks green in some parts of the orange skin. However, it is a lot heavier and juicier than the Navel variety from California. Buy Australia!

Say "Hello!" for me, when you see Mario and his wife. They run the whole 50 acres place. An Italian couple who visited and fell in love with the city Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and its many spicy food.

While there, ask Mario to show you how to peel an orange using a specially designed orange peeler they have for sale in their store.

Orange World and Mario himself, was feature in Stefano's Cooking Paradiso, a PayTV programme for the Lifestyle Food Channel.

Website: www.orangeworldmildura.com.au

For me, the real highlight of the Orange World Tour is Uncle Brian.

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