THE BIG PICTURE

June poster

Searching for the Holy Grail? The World Cup? Hoping to find it in the next month or so? Let’s take a short look at World Cup history. 

     Gathered at the round table were King Arthur and his knights. Amongst them, Lancelot and his son, Galahad. As they sat, an image of a grail began to appear, floating above and in the middle of the table. The vision launched King Arthur on a quest that continues to this very day - the quest to find the Holy Cup or Grail of Jesus the Christ of Nazareth.
    Chrétien de Troyes is the man responsible for the story. All made up of course. Sitting down one day in the 12th Century he wrote an imaginative poem so good that for the next few hundred years everyone piled in and added to the story. The result? Wonderful legends of King Arthur that we love so much.

     To see Outreach Media's June poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

May poster
One evening many years ago I saw something I’ll never forget. A performer had painted phosphor on a white wall in a large auditorium. Then, with everyone seated, he turned off the lights. Suddenly there was a bright flash of light for a millisecond – and then again at lengthy intervals. With each flash of light the man was revealed in a different pose in front of the wall.
      Next, the most amazing thing was seen. As the light switched off, the performer walked away leaving the silhouette of his pose captured on the wall, but fading slowly. The audience could only wait, anticipating another flash of light to repeat the effect. It was mesmerising and made me think about how every day we take constant light for granted. And each fading pose was a reminder that all life’s great events are passing - that life is short. If this life is all there is then our fading memory is the only light by which we can mark our existence.

     To see Outreach Media's May poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

April poster
Ever watched a movie and seen the boom mike come into view at the top of the screen? Or noticed a wrist watch on a Viking or a TV aerial on an ancient skyline? There you were, caught up in the story, believing in great characters, transported by imagery and suddenly the new story is that the movie was badly made. Which is OK if the movie’s a bomb and you’re laughing with friends. Now you’ve got a bomb story you can tell.
      But what if you were really into the movie and hoping for a satisfying end? That’s annoying.
      Speaking of bad movies, if your life was a movie there’s no way you’d want it to show in public. Despite your protests, any quality director would ignore your good deeds and focus on the bad stuff - the moral scandals. It’s those shocking, debasing, disheartening, yet oh so interesting things that compel us as we soak in endless movies and TV dramas. And all of us have moral failures, even if they’re kept private in the mind. The recurring pattern in every human story is disappointment and regrets, feelings of shame for wrong things that we’ve said or thought or done.

     To see Outreach Media's April poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 


I once met a very old man who was sexually abused in terrible ways. It happened a long time ago in a religious institution from his adoption as a baby up until he was 14-years-old.
      Despite the years passing, he still grieves. Each day there are memories and musings about injustice and what might have been. Although he was handsome and played sport at a high level, anxiety stopped him from asking out girls. He told me that he has never experienced an intimate relationship with a woman. Year after grinding year he’s been a ‘hard man’ working in a factory – a heavy drinker bottling his rage and trying to forget.
      Yet this man made it clear that he has no issue with Jesus. It’s going to a local church that’s the struggle. He just can’t trust a church. What if his church is abusing little children?

     To see Outreach Media's March poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

February poster
In the ‘Invisible Gorilla’ experiment you watch a video of six people passing basketballs to each other. Three wear white shirts and three black. Your job is to count every pass from a person wearing a white shirt. Nearly 100% of people count the passes correctly. But an incredibly high 50 per cent miss the gorilla. That’s the gorilla who walks through the action, stops in the middle, thumps his chest and then walks off again. It’s because people aren’t looking for dark colours. They’re concentrating really hard on people wearing white. It’s the way our brains work. We’re really great at focusing on one thing - but not two.
      Scientists speak about the cocktail-party effect where we’re able to shut out the noise and conversation of those around us to concentrate on the person we’re talking to. But we can’t do it with two people. Just one. Again and again experiments debunk the myth of multitasking. Research funded by Hewlett Packard found workers distracted by emails and phone calls suffered a temporary fall in IQ twice that of marijuana smokers. All of this means we’ve got to focus. We’ve got to focus on what matters.

     To see Outreach Media's February poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

Jan poster
According to Sam Kekovich, if you don’t eat lamb on Australia Day you’re un-Australian! That’s right, un-Australian. Which is a mighty big call. Sam’s annual tongue in cheek charge on behalf of the Meat and Livestock Association has been delivered dead-pan via TV and social media since 2005. Do you care? Well if you do, there’s good news for carnivores. Those little lambies are dumb and delicious. If you can afford lamb then removing the stain of being un-Australian isn’t much of a hardship.
     Just throw a roast in the oven or a chop on the barbie and crank up the heat. It’s pretty hard to wreck lamb. Whilst beef can get tough and dry, lamb is quite fatty and forgiving.

     To see Outreach Media's January poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

December poster
What’s the most famous thing to come out of Turkey? Turkish bread? Perhaps Turkish delight! Maybe the ANZAC legend? Well no. More famous than all of these is Santa Claus! Yes, it’s true. Santa Claus was born by the sea in Turkey!
      His parents called him Nicholas and as far as we know he had a normal 3rd century Mediterranean upbringing. One thing made him stand apart from the crowd though. He was famous for giving presents. And not just that...he gave presents secretly. And not only to children. He carefully looked out for anyone in need.

     To see Outreach Media's December poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

William Cooper couldn't be more Australian. He was a Yorta-Yorta speaking, Bangerang man, born by the banks of the Murray River in 1860. A shearer, a writer, a public speaker and, by the time he died in 1941, a political leader who could successfully demand a face-to-face meeting with the Prime Minister. As a man in his 70s, he started Australia's first indigenous justice movement - the Australian Aborigines' League. This movement would eventually lead to the famous 1967 referendum recognising the place of Aboriginal people in Australia.

     To see Outreach Media's November poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

Who's your G?

Big idea – do you realise what you’re saying when you say ‘oh my God’.

     When people say, ‘To tell you the truth’ does that mean they only tell the truth when indicated? And why on earth do people say, ‘For goodness sake’ so often? Do we really care so much about the ‘sake’ of ‘goodness’? Or what about, ‘At the end of the day’? Why not the beginning of the day?
      Most people would be shocked if they thought a little more about what they say. Strange clichés and ancient expressions come pouring out of our mouths with almost no awareness of their literal meaning. For example, in moments of shock, horror or exasperation we say, ‘Oh my God!’. You can hear this regularly in a shopping mall close to you. And, if you’re online or getting a text you’ll see, ‘OMG’ followed by an exclamation mark.
      But what do people think when they say, ‘Oh my God’? Are they thinking of God at all? Do they actually think about the God who’s there and listening? Or is it just verbal spak filler? Like, ‘like’ and ‘ah’ and ‘um’?

     To see Outreach Media's October poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

September poster
Mary Hannaby found treasure! She went for a walk with her son in the English countryside and, with a wave of her beeping metal detector, discovered a 500-year-old gold pendant the size of a postage stamp etched with a picture of the Holy Trinity. It eventually sold for £38,000. “We couldn’t believe it,” she said at the time. “We always dreamed of finding treasure.”
      Like Mrs Hannaby, most of us would love to discover great wealth. If only we had a treasure map to help us. Well, we do. It’s called the Bible. Within its covers, is a map for the richest prize known to humanity; the means to overcome death and find eternal life. And the key to the map is Jesus. Here’s what He has to say:

     To see Outreach Media's September poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

God love boat people
It’s so easy to get caught up with our busy lives and to feel overwhelmed by all that we have to get done. We rush and stress and worry about so many things.
      But in the cold, hard light of day, so many of our problems are ‘First World Problems'... losing the mobile phone, getting an appointment with the hairdresser, missing out on those tickets, even refinancing the mortgage. If we had no possessions and no home, if surviving was our every thought, then these problems would look very much like luxuries.
      We live such comfortable lives in such a wonderful country. And the overwhelming numbers of people in the world living with poverty and persecution can seem so far away and irrelevant to us. It’s easy to think of those people as different to us, ‘less equal’ somehow.

     To see Outreach Media's August poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

July 2013
Jesus began His ministry in Palestine nearly 2000 years ago. One of the first things He did was invite some fishermen to be His disciples. The astonishing thing is that they just left their nets and followed Him immediately. These men were willing to follow Jesus wherever He went.
      Right now Justin Bieber has more followers than anyone in the world. On Twitter that is! Following Justin is quite easy if you own a digital device. Just sign up for Twitter and read his 140 character tweets as they arrive. There are more than 22,000 of them.
      Twitter is all about connecting with someone you care about or have an interest in. The problem is that your favourite person usually doesn’t know you exist. And while you wonder about them it's a fair chance they’re not wondering about you.

     To see Outreach Media's July poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

June poster
People often say, "Why should I believe in Bible miracles if I can’t see them?"

     It’s a fair question. But it’s worth pondering whether or not you’d actually want to be there when they took place. Would you really want to, for example, be with the huge Israelite nation fleeing Egypt in the hot desert chased by the most powerful army in the known world at the time? The Egyptian army’s chariots were killing machines and their cavalry fast and expert. The Bible tells us the Israelites were terrified. Would you really want to be with them as they walked through those parted waters of the Red Sea, huge walls of water buttressed on either side by a majestic act of God? Would you really want to witness this great sign and wonder from the front row? Which would you fear more, the water closing in on you or that terrible army at your heels? The Bible records that the Israelites were so terrified that they pleaded with Moses to go back to Egypt where they’d been slaves. Oppressed, persecuted, slaves with a Pharaoh who liked to kill their children. Probably most people would prefer to sit that miracle out.

     To see Outreach Media's June poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

May poster
Hi, my name is Ross McKenzie and I’m a Christian. I’m also a Professor of physics and I have a lot of fun doing research on condensed matter.
      There are two ideas that the media often promote. One is that science can explain everything and the second is that science has done away with God. As a scientist I’m troubled by both. Because of this I’ve agreed to explain ‘why I believe’ through this Outreach Media poster and web campaign.
      The Gospel
      So what do I believe? I believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ. That He lived on earth, taught and died for our sins, reconciling us to God. I believe Jesus rose from the dead, and that He is coming again to judge the world.
     I’m convinced there are good, rational reasons to believe in this Gospel.
      Below are some of the main reasons. Each of these reasons may not be particularly persuasive to you on its own. However, when combined, I find them particularly compelling.

     To see Outreach Media's May poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

April 2013 poster
Nothing says Australia more than lamingtons and pavlova - regardless of what our Kiwi friends might think. Each year, with the national anthem playing in the background and a sprig of wattle stuck to a mayor’s lapel, thousands of new citizens adopt our country’s quirkiness and identity by making the following commitment:
    “From this time forward, I pledge my loyalty to Australia and its people, whose democratic beliefs I share, whose rights and liberties I respect, and whose laws I will uphold and obey.”
      Did you notice the missing two words? That’s right - “under God”. They slot right after the first comma. New citizens now have the option of keeping God or omitting Him altogether.
      Ironically, a commitment that is supposed to unite us as one nation, instantly divides us. Two pledges are a reflection of modern society. Who knows how many options there’ll be in our nation’s pledge in year’s to come?

     To see Outreach Media's April poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 


As long as I live I’ll remember that hot afternoon. Being woken suddenly by stifled screams and sobs as our car crawled slowly along. I was the youngest of four. ‘Don’t let him see’, my mother said. But it was too late. I’d managed to get up and look. And there, with the sun shining through the opposite window, in the back seat of the wrecked car, lying bloody and starry eyed, was the first dead person I’d ever seen.
     That afternoon so shocked me. Our family never talked about it again that I can remember.
      Death from old age has such a different impact to sudden death by car crash. Both are terribly painful. But the car crash is so brutal and wrenching. Long after the violent clash of metal is over grief rages on like a maelstrom. And so it was in the ancient world with crucifixion. The death of Jesus by crucifixion was devastating to His followers. Their teacher and miracle worker had been nailed to a cross and left to die.

     To see Outreach Media's March poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 


As human beings, we do amazing things but we’re also pretty limited...compared to God.
      One quick way to work this out is by sitting on your lounge room floor surrounded by a pile of flat-packed furniture and just an Allen key. ‘Help!! How do I put this crazy thing together?’ Yet God put the whole universe together...in His mind. And then He just spoke it into existence. And He used only words!
      Take a moment to consider...whilst we’re busy working out how to cope with all the complexity in the world, God actually made this complexity. And He did it for us! He made the universe with a human scale to it so that we find ourselves in between galaxies and molecules. You see, there’s no need to live in fear of swimming pool-sized raindrops crashing from the sky and drowning us in an instant. And gravity isn’t so strong that it squashes us flat. Our world has been scaled and fitted perfectly for human habitation.

     To see Outreach Media's February poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

January 2013
Superman might have kryptonite, but for us mere mortals it's ice-cream. A super-villain of great cunning, ice-cream has the power to bring us to our very knees. How do we know? Because once the Christmas celebrations are finally over and the New Year starts, we loosen our belt buckle over our growing stomachs and make a firm resolution that we’ll drop that extra kilo or two by exercising more or eating healthier. ‘Definitely this time’ we say. ‘Without a doubt’. ‘Lock it in, Eddie’.

     But barely a month later, after a hard day at work, we’re standing in front of the freezer and justifying a sneaky pick-me-up to reward ourselves. As we lean in to open the door we look anywhere but at that local gym flier! Our focus is on the important matter in hand – the ice-cream tub. But should we have triple chocolate fudge or cookies-and-cream?

     Ah, if only we gave God as much priority as we did our stomachs...or our hobbies. Or that holiday we’re planning. Or what’s on TV tonight.

     To see Outreach Media's January poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

December 2012 poster
Is there anything honourable about your re-gifted Christmas present?
      The brute fact is that you spent hardly any effort matching those special qualities or considering the needs and wants of your supposed ‘friend’ or ‘dear relative’. You also expended no time in locating the gift or travelling to obtain it. Put simply, you didn’t find it or fund it. And frankly, it’s bordering on fraud.
      Which is why the re-gift is often a furtive act and part of the squalid underbelly of Christmas. Oh I’m sure you justify it to yourself with your pitch about recycling. But no one is really fooled. You wanted a Chewbacca dashboard bobblehead but got Jabba the Hutt. And because Jabba has no neck and won’t jiggle you re-gifted.
      But dear friend there is one guilt-free, purpose designed re-giftable item. He is the person of Jesus Christ. Re-gifting Jesus has no moral complexity. There are no regrets. In every sense, Jesus is for re-gifting.

     To see Outreach Media's December poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

Shhhhh. Don't mention Jesus.

It was all perfume and power seated for dinner that night. Dinner for six in the Matthews drawing room. Silver service, haute cuisine and Miles Davis playing softly in the background. Good wine, good friends, good humour, all of it good until...

Ed: Jokes aside, I can't believe that he can say that about her in a public forum and get away with it!

Joe: Well, we still live in a society that values free speech don't we?

Sue: Indeed, "I may disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it".

Joe: Ah, Voltaire?

Sue: (smugly) Well, it is often incorrectly ascribed to him.

Ed: Sure, but what he said just isn't true and if he throws enough mud some of it will stick, and that could end her political career.

    

To see Outreach Media's November poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

October poster

Sin is a smirk word. Have you noticed that so many public figures and media commentators just can't say 'sin' without smirking? Why is this? It's probably got a lot to do with that great Australian fear...being called a 'wowser'. Wowsers are those irksome moral police who are against fun, invent rules and love to ban things like alcohol, dancing and sex. So, mock sin and no one will accuse you of moralising.

     But there's more at play than fear. There's also a sense that sin is where the most delicious life experiences can be found. Who wants to be one of those prim and proper people who miss out? We should grab all that life offers now because this life is all we have! Is it any wonder our leaders work so hard to warn us about the dangers of smoking. We've got to suck the marrow out of this one life.

     To see Outreach Media's October poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

September poster

I've actually seen someone walk into a fence to get away from me. It's because I was born with a broken face. Despite some clever doctors doing their best to fix me, a facial disfigurement means my face looks quite different to most people.

     So, when I go out, my appearance is a challenge for lots of people. I've got used to it...sort of. With the fence episode I responded the way anyone would: "What a strange thing to do..." I thought. So I meet a few people with a problem, but I know that I'm not the problem. Because these people have put value in the wrong place my scars trigger a reaction in them.

     It must be challenging seeing someone in front of you with such a scarred face. Especially if you think deformity is 'ugly and shameful'. But that's not the way God sees me!

     To see Outreach Media's September poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

Detox your soul

"Give me a drink!" It was the middle of the day in the Samaritan town of Sychar and Jesus was speaking to a woman drawing water from a well. The woman was surprised given that she was Samaritan and Jesus was a Jew. Jews avoided going anywhere near Samaritans and would never drink from a Samaritan cup. Yet here was Jesus in Samaria asking to drink from her cup.

     She replied, "How is it that you, being a Jew, ask me for a drink since I am a Samaritan woman?"

     Jesus replied, "If you knew the gift of God, and who it is that is saying to you, 'Give me a drink,' you would have asked him, and he would have given you living water."

     The woman was puzzled. So she quizzed Jesus about why he would offer water when, at the same time, he was asking her for some.

     To see Outreach Media's August poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

July poster

Falling into Sydney Harbour and almost drowning isn't the normal path to glory for an Olympic swimmer. But for one Australian champion, that fateful day when he was four years old shaped his entire life. After being rescued from the water by his older brother, he decided to overcome his fear by learning to swim - and how. Smaller than his peers throughout his life, he won school, state and national championships before attending his first Olympics aged 20.

     By determination and stamina, the young man won two events - the 200m freestyle and a 200m obstacle race, in which he had to slip over and under boats to the finish line - becoming Australia's first Olympic swimming medalist. Before retiring from the pool and becoming a printer, he amassed more than 100 various medals, seven world records and about 350 trophies.

     To see Outreach Media's July poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

The newspapers described how a boy on his birthday was taken by his friends to a remote bush site, tormented and finally killed with an axe. No real motive could explain the killing. One of the boys recorded the grisly act on his phone. Afterwards, when it was played back in court, the parents of the dead boy heard, for the first time, how their son died in terror, pleading for his life while the ringleader taunted and mocked.

     Can those devastated parents ever move out from under the shadow of that dreadful night? Can those murdering boys ever live without guilt?

     Surely this act defines life for both family and killers from now on? Both tied together in a bond of resentful hate and shame. One group with haunted looks avoiding the accusing eyes of the other. Both looking backwards as the years pass.

     To see Outreach Media's June poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

Jesus is the only real superhero. As God's perfect, obedient son, He came to earth especially for us so that He might die on the cross and pay for our sin. Because He was without sin, He rose from the dead. In doing so He defeated death for all those who trust in Him for eternal life.

     See how Jesus compares to some well-known superheroes:

     To see Outreach Media's May poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

Dear Mr Dawkins:

1. We agree, your god is a 'delusion'.
a. The god you create and then deny isn't the particular God who's there.
b. Why should God be made of the same stuff as us?
c. God is not an equation. He's a person.
d. God is entitled to reveal Himself when and how He chooses. Some scientists may not like this.
e. Belief in God neither 'subverts science' nor 'saps the intellect'.
f. Where's the epistemic humility?

     To see Outreach Media's April poster and read the full text, follow the link... | more... |

 

I've been watching Coke commercials for decades. I remember a brilliant one with a huge, plastic beach ball floating on the ocean with people inside the ball!

     And this was long before the days of computer aided graphics. It was real! And people really were sliding around inside it, falling and laughing and shouting and slapping each other on the back as they floated over the waves; great looking, happy people. And then, I guess, after the end of the shoot, they all went their separate ways. After all, it was a paid gig.

     That's the thing about Coke. It's manufactured. And everything it does is well...manufactured. Manufactured sugar water, manufactured fizz. For more than a hundred years Coke has been manufacturing a promise.

     And the promise is that if you drink Coke then you'll have a rich and wonderful experience of life with gorgeous, popular people right at the centre of the crowd.

     To see Outreach Media's March poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

The text to her friend read: 'Chiselled abs - bronzed skin'. Everyone knows someone who fits this description, whether it's Sonny Bill Williams, Arnold Schwarzenegger or Fabio.

     And who can overlook these magnificent masterpieces of humanity! Shining with eye-catching glory, they're god-like. Some of us want to be with them, some of us want to be like them.

     But perhaps the 'god-like' for you are those with creativity or power!

     Steve Jobs had both and changed the world. Just a glance at all the iPhones on the train is enough to tell us all that. Maybe you'd like to be just a little bit like him?

     But the reality is... we're not like these 'gods'. And even they fall short of their own divinity. So often their glory is, at best, skin deep.

     To see Outreach Media's February poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Shaking hands and kissing babies sure makes a lot of friends. Take US President Barack Obama for example. More than 24.2 million people "like" him, according to his Facebook page. But he isn't close to being the world's most popular person. He trails cartoon character SpongeBob SquarePants, who has 29.5 million fans, and even Lady Gaga's 45.7 million followers.

     However, even they still have ground to make on the most "liked" person. Who might that be? Amazingly, it's entertainer Eminem, adored by a whopping 49.8 million people.

     Facebook has revolutionised how we connect with friends and reconnect with forgotten ones. It allows us to share our daily lives, our photos, our music and our humour.

     But are those relationships genuine?

     To see Outreach Media's January poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

In 1931, a graphic artist called Haddon Sundblom came up with the modern image of Santa. You know, the big man in red? Sundblom was working for Coca Cola who were looking for new ways to sell their drink. What a success story!

     Now, all over the world, children are told that if they're good enough, a strange fat man in a red suit from a North Pole factory with magic elves and supersonic reindeer will come to their house and... break and enter.

      But isn't Jesus the reason for Christmas? So why are people swapping Jesus, who is real, for Santa, who isn't? The real magic of Christmas is that Jesus came amongst us to save us. And Christianity stands or falls on the historical facts of this wonder.

     To see Outreach Media's December poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Jesus Only Came for Sinners

"You really are self-righteous!" How's that for a top rate insult? It means you think you're morally superior, that you're better than others. Only proud and arrogant people think that way. So who gets called self-righteous? Well, often religious people. Some of them really seem to think they're pretty good, more righteous than others. Which is ironic if it's true because Jesus hated self-righteousness. That's right, he really hated it.

     In first century Israel there was a clear class distinction between the clean and unclean, the acceptable and the outcast, the righteous and the unrighteous. Then along came Jesus, a prophet of God, healer, preacher and by all accounts a holy man who worked miracles. Except He didn't behave as He was expected to. He healed people on the Sabbath (the Jewish day of rest), talked to prostitutes, touched the unclean and ate with the ones you'd least expect: 'sinners.' Worst of all, Jesus offered forgiveness to these 'sinners' while constantly rebuking and accusing the religious leaders of hypocrisy, self-importance and self-righteousness.

     To see Outreach Media's November poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

There you are, quietly making your breakfast when suddenly the toast pops with an image of Jesus burnt crisply in the side. Wow! Miracle! And it really looks like Jesus. You know, the stained glass window Jesus. Perhaps God wants to chat? Or maybe someone tampered with the bread.

     The internet has loads of Jesus toast stories as well as plenty of do-it yourself tips on how to create them. Nearly all of them involve tampered toast and people making fun of other people who claim they've seen Jesus in some everyday thing or place and so now it's time to believe. It could be a potato chip or a cloud in the sky or the cream on your coffee or just a tree stump. It could be anything. But God is talking! To you!!

     People have been reporting these kinds of 'miracles' since Jesus's earthly ministry 2000 years ago. So what are we to do?

     To see Outreach Media's October poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

September poster

The myth of the lazy Australian was debunked long ago. One study found that we work harder than anyone in the western world.

     The fact is we're all working long hours. But what for? Food, clothing and shelter? Most Australians already have the basics. So why do we work so hard? What are we striving for?

     Perhaps, in a moment of quiet reflection, we hope for a better existence in the future. Where we finally achieve our goals. When at last we have that job or get married or pay off the house, or build the extension, or go on that trip...and so we finally arrive at that wonderful and better state of life.

     In the meantime we work hard. And hard work is good. It's satisfying to achieve something you've worked for. But working is not what life is ultimately about. It's an illusion to think that we'll find our purpose in work.

     To see Outreach Media's September poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

We're not meant to be alone. A 2001 study done by the American Psychosomatic Society found that isolated people die sooner. If you're alone it's hard to get medical help. But that wasn't the significant reason. Put simply, the body of a socially isolated person doesn't function as well as other people. Why? Well, science has only some answers to offer.

     For example, touch is important. When you're touched warmly, the body releases Oxytocin, a hormone that builds trust and reduces levels of the stress hormone Cortisol. While this is fascinating it's only a small part of the story. Psychology has shown that that we're social creatures. We need affirmation, encouragement... we long to work in teams.

     To see Outreach Media's August poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Ba Boom. Ba Boom. Ba Boom. My heart is beating loudly inside my chest. Meanwhile, the rest of my body is completely frozen.

     I stare forward in terror, not daring to blink. Opposite me, the lion also stares. Its eyes glint in the African sun, holding my gaze. It's so close that I can see every row of sharp, pointy teeth. Its muscles tense. Surely it's about to strike.

     Then it turns away, disappearing as fast as it arrived. I live to breathe another day.

     Some things are just completely terrifying. Our senses overload with panic and confusion while our hearts race out of control. The mighty lion does this.

     To see Outreach Media's July poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Osama

In America, former Arkansas Governor and Christian pastor, Mike Huckabee offered this blunt message after he heard of the death of Osama bin Laden: "Welcome to hell." Is this a right response? Should we be delighted that Osama has fallen into the hands of God? No. The Bible says it’s a ‘dreadful thing to fall into the hands of the living God’ (Hebrews 10: 31) and that God takes ‘no pleasure in the death of a sinner’ (Ezekiel 33: 11).

     However, when a mass murderer like Osama bin Laden is killed, it’s right to feel relief. He’s been stopped from killing any further and we can all feel a little safer. It’s also right to thank God that he doesn’t let tyrants and murderers continue without check. Death is God’s chief method of thwarting every Hitler, Stalin or Genghis Khan.

     To see Outreach Media's June poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Mother's Womb

Pregnancy and childbirth has been one of the most astounding experiences of my life. However, as I followed the weekly updates of what was happening within my womb I became strangely aware that I wasn't really in control. I didn't know how to put a lung or a kidney together, or when to start making the fingernails. Though my body was doing the work there was someone else masterminding the whole process - God.

     In Psalm 139, King David says to God "You knit me together in my mother's womb." Knitting is not a task that can be done at a distance, via remote or pre-programming, it is a careful and up-close undertaking. How spectacular that each one of us has been knit together by God! We can actually say, "I have been handmade by God."

     To see Outreach Media's May poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

The death notices in the newspaper can make gripping reading as friends and family try to express all that a loved one's life meant to them and the world. A death notice is so final. A last broadcast to the community that a living being has finished contributing to this world.

     Mostly obituaries are a solemn expression of love, such as the notice written by Heath Ledger's family: "With much sorrow and sadness on the sudden loss of Heath. Our thoughts are with Kim, Sally, Kate, Ashleigh and Olivia. We will treasure our memories of a much loved nephew and cousin."

     Some are surprisingly honest, such as this notice from 7th August, 2008: "Dolores had no hobbies, made no contribution to society and rarely shared a kind word or deed in her life. I speak for the majority of her family when I say her presence will not be missed by many, very few tears will be shed and there will be no lamenting over her passing."

     To see Outreach Media's April poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Want to live? Then trade. Barter, deal, exchange, do what you can with what you've got. If you've got time and expertise then swap it for money. Then swap the money for goods and services. This is the way the world works. It's how we survive.

     If you have nothing to offer, no skill or idea, no strength or money, land or goods, then you'd better hope that somewhere, someone cares for you, that somehow there's welfare. Otherwise you're doomed. Because, frankly, with nothing to trade for such basics as food, clothing and shelter, your time is short, and you won't survive.

     If you can get it, the easiest and best thing to trade with is money. It buys nearly every luxury imaginable. However, there is something you can't buy with money. Favour with God. That's because there's nothing God can buy that He doesn't already own. After all, He made the world! He runs the universe.

     To see Outreach Media's March poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

In case you hadn’t noticed, geek is chic, tech is cool and ‘apps’ are very much in. Most of the excitement is to do with smartphones like Apple’s iPhone and phones running the Android operating system.

     So why are people frothing over apps? Because they’re so useful! With all kinds of sound, motion and light sensors built in as well as cameras, GPS location and 3G data, the smartphone is the ultimate gizmo. It’s the 21st century electronic Swiss Army knife.

     Apps can help you check out train timetables and plan your journey or scan a bar code and instantly find the cheapest price anywhere in the world. You can use GPS to find out where you are and how long it will take to get where you’re going. You can even see what your destination will look like. Or why not point your phone at a public building and let it tell you what you’re looking at. Or point it to the night sky and name a constellation.

     To see Outreach Media's February poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Ray Kurzweil is a famous and brilliant scientist. He predicts that, by 2028, clever research will lead scientists to reverse engineer the brain, enabling computers to reproduce much of what our brains do everyday.

     Kurzweil has lots more predictions. In the last five or so years gadgets in our pockets (smart phones) have allowed us to easily access knowledge from all over the world and back through history via the internet.

Kurzweil predicts that by the 2030’s ordinary people will have all this implanted in their brains. Instead of looking at a gadget we’ll find answers by just thinking a question.

     Eventually, Kurzweil predicts that we’ll have holographic versions of our ancestors to look at and speak to and that we’ll even find ways to turn off the aging process.

     Kurzweil is a technological optimist. He’s hoping that technology will save the human race.

     To see Outreach Media's January poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

In 1988, Devon Harris, Dudley Stokes, Michael White and Samuel Clayton traveled 5000km for what seemed like a foolish exercise...

     These men were part of the first Jamaican bobsled team, which debuted at the Winter Olympics in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Many thought it was a joke and you can understand why. How could a winter sports team come from the Caribbean, let alone a team that had very little practice on a bobsled run and that owned no sleds? People will do almost anything for Olympic glory and for this we could excuse them their foolishness.

     At Christmas time we are reminded of another group of men who travelled a long distance. They followed a star in search of a baby they didn't know, who was born in a small country town in the middle of nowhere.

     To see Outreach Media's December poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Have you heard the joke about the new boss? Wanting to stamp his authority on the workplace from his first day, the CEO of a company toured the office, looking for someone to sack. Sure enough, he found a young man who appeared to be lazing about. "You!" the boss barked. "How much do you earn in a week?"

     The nervous young man answered, "$400. Why?" The boss then slapped $1600 into the young man's hand and said, "Here's four weeks pay in advance. You're fired!"

     Content he'd made his point, the boss then asked the remaining employees, "What did that guy do here anyway?"

     Finally, one bravely answered: "Deliver the pizzas."

     It's a simple joke but one that reminds us that throughout our lives, we'll work for several, if not, dozens of different bosses. Each with a vastly different personality, which affects how we enjoy our jobs. What kind of boss do you have? The corporate bully who uses power to intimidate? The weak leader who doesn't have the respect of his or her employees?

     To see Outreach Media's October poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

I know a man who found out that his wife was cheating on him for years. Another man told me about being molested as a child.

     As a Christian minister I can say without doubt that 'forgiveness' is the most explosive and difficult topic of all. It's not hard to work out why. So many people have been wronged. And sometimes they tell me the messy details. Which can make me weep. Or get really angry.

     It might surprise you that I think anger is right. However the Bible agrees. 'Be angry' it tells us...'but don't let the sun go down on your anger'. In other words, anger must have an end. It's never justifiable to 'maintain the rage'.

     To see Outreach Media's October poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

On 27th July, 1996, Ivan Milat was finally convicted of seven 'backpacker' murders committed in the Belanglo State Forest south of Sydney in NSW, Australia. To this day, despite damning evidence, he says he is innocent. He's been called Australia's worst 'serial killer'.

     Like every country, Cambodia also has its killers. After the Vietnam war ended in 1975, Cambodia was ruled by the Khmer Rouge whose terrible leader, Pol Pot made war on his own people. Estimates vary, but at the very least one million Cambodians were killed for no reason other than being educated or perhaps wearing glasses or just being in the wrong place.

     To see Outreach Media's September poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Have you decided who you'll vote for on August 21st?

     Will you vote for Labor's leading redhead, or Liberal's lover of budgie-smugglers? Or perhaps you're fed up with both of them and are planning to go with one of the minor parties. It's possible that you don't actually care who's elected. Maybe you think that going to the polling booth is simply a waste of time.

     But when the last ballots are counted you may be disappointed. You may feel unsure of how the result will affect you and your family. What can you do? Start a revolution? Move to another country?

    Whether or not you have an interest in politics, the fact is that this election will affect the lives of every Australian. The elected party will have the very important task of deciding what's best for our nation. Their decisions will impact areas as diverse as health care, immigration policy, education and foreign affairs.

     To see Outreach Media's August poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Can you feel the excitement? That one magnificent moment where the whole world is on the edge of its seat, bristling with nerves as a ball rockets between defenders towards a goal? That breathless second when people everywhere silently plead: "Please God! Please God! Please God!" hoping for glory to remember for the rest of their lives? Then - YES! Goal! Victory! Lounge rooms full of friends jump to their feet and scream in utter joy. Car horns blare. Strangers hug in pubs. Stadiums erupt in loud singing. Players drop to their knees, weeping and hands clasped to their faces in prayer.

     With such euphoria, it's easy to see why many people say sport is religion - especially when it comes to the World Cup. But do you ever stop and think who you're praying to? Who actually might be listening?

     To see Outreach Media's July poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Take two molecules of hydrogen, one molecule of oxygen and combine them in the right way. Incredible! Now you've got two molecules of water. That's all water is. Now, heat the water until it turns into a gas. It's usually called steam or water vapour. But there's nothing different about the gas at a molecular level. The gas is still made up of water molecules. In fact, all that's happened is that the molecules of water are further apart.

     So, there you go. Whenever you look up at the sky and see a giant cumulonimbus cloud standing up like some ancient battle fortress with imposing ramparts and mighty buttresses fortifying the heavens from terrestrial attack...well, get over it. Its just steam - water vapour. Nothing else!

     To see Outreach Media's June poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Thankfully God doesn't think we're imaginary. Imagine if did? If He ignored us as though we didn't exist? If He simply walked away from His creation, like a failed project, abandoned to run its course? ... switching out the lights, turning off the rain, refusing to maintain the delicate ecological balance of our universe and our world...

     Thankfully, even though we treat him and others so badly, He's willing to forgive and stay committed to us. The Bible calls this grace. In grace He keeps the earth turning and preserves His creation. In love He preserves the precious conditions for life, even though we often forget and neglect Him. But sadly, some 'imagine' God's not there.

     To see Outreach Media's May poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

He's Alive!

In 1937 a sailor called Frank Jenner left behind a life of addiction to gambling and became a Christian. Out of sheer thankfulness to God, Frank promised from then on to speak every day to ten people about eternal life.

     Everyday, for 28 years, usually on George Street in Sydney, Frank would politely offer people a tract and ask: "If you were to die tonight, where would you be, in heaven or in hell?". All told, Frank spoke to more than 100,000 people until his health deteriorated.

     To see Outreach Media's April poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

My name is Derek Higgo, I’m a psychotherapist in Sydney providing counselling for couples and individuals. The larger percentage of my work concerns men of different ages struggling with pornography. More and more people are struggling because pornography is not accountable, it’s anonymous and it’s so accessible.

     Sadly, by the time the men I speak to come to me, they’ve often developed a pattern of addictive behaviour, their marriages are damaged and they’re under a burden of immense shame, guilt and depression. Some are even considering suicide.

     To see Outreach Media's March poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

"God is dead" said Friedrich Nietzsche (German Philosopher 1844-1900). In saying this he concluded that this also meant the death of any fixed and eternal reference point for truth and morality. In effect, the death of truth and morality itself.

     So, what was left? Was there only one truth left in the universe? The simple truth that: there is no truth? That seems too ironic. Too good to be, well...true! But if it's not 'True', then where do truths come from?

     Nietzsche was right, they can only come from God. Without God, everything is relative or disconnected. Yet Truth or 'truths' seem to come creeping into every discussion we have. Is gravity true? Is it true that our earth has a Sun? Is it true that certain historical events took place?

     To see Outreach Media's February poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

Imagine playing hide and seek with God. My turn to count. 1... 2... 3... Where would He hide? What is the best hiding place ever? The God of the universe would definitely know all the best places. 8... 9... 10...

     Before, when it was my turn to hide, the all-seeing Father just had to open His eyes to see me. Only He didn't even need to open His eyes because the all-knowing Father knew where I'd hidden. Only He didn't even need to think about it because the Father who prepared all things before creation knew where I was going to hide before I hid there. Hiding from God isn't easy!

18... 19... 20... Here I come, ready or not!

     To see Outreach Media's January poster and read about the meaning behind it, follow the link... | more... |

 

December 2009: Jesus. Not available in stores. God's Christmas gift... | more... |

November 2009: Don't Let Christians Put You Off Jesus!... | more... |

October 2009: Jesus said: "I am the way, the truth, and the life"... | more... |

 

September 2009: Too brainwashed to read the Bible?... | more... |

August 2009: Then what?...  | more... |

July 2009: A txt msg frm God... | more... |

June 2009: Even if you don't make a sound, God still hears... | more... |

May 2009: Get clean... | more... |

April 2009: Wondering if God loves you? Easter nails it... | more... |

  March, 2009: God Hates Religion... | more... |





 

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THEY SAID IT

 

 

"Surely now, the parties must realise that it is time for them to act."

- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at a press conference in Cairo on 25th July, 2014, in reference to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israel which, as of 28th July, 2014, had claimed the lives of more than 1000 people.

For more of They Said It, follow the link...  | more... |

 

 

THIS WEEK ON THE WEB

 

 

29th July, 2014

Writing for Fairfax Media, MICHAEL GREEN takes a look at the growing gap between rich and poor in Australia and what can be done about it. You can see his report - What happened to the fair go? - here...


For previous 'This week on the web'... | more... |

Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...

 

 

MUSINGS   

 

 

INDIVIDUALISM...

30th July, 2014

PAUL CLARK

The 2002 Chinese movie Hero starring Jet Li is a visceral feast. Its story line sucks you in only to shock you at the end; for the message of the film is - is worth the sacrifice of the individual, the minority, for the sake of the community. To have a united China, all the individual tribes had to be consumed.
It’s a message that shocks our Western sensibilities. ‘Give up our individuality, our rights, for the common good? No way!’ It shows how far down the individuality road we’ve come. The rise of individuality is at the demise of community.

Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...  | more... |

 

 

THE WORD EXPLAINED

 

 Wordle

Almighty

Adversary

Advocate


| more... |

 

 

BLOGS

 


TOMBS OF JONAH AND DANIEL DESTROYED IN MOSUL, SAY REPORTS...
Following news last week that members of extremist group, the Islamic State, had destroyed the tombs of the Old Testament prophets Jonah and Daniel, both of which were located in Mosul in northern Iraq, we take a quick look at their history.

First, Jonah. There is tradition that the Prophet Jonah - known for being swallowed by a leviathan or great whale after refusing to obey God's commands to deliver a warning to the people of the Assyrian city of Ninevah, a message which he did eventually deliver - was eventually buried in the ancient city where Mosul now stands.

DAVID ADAMS reports... | more... |


TOASTER SELFIES; A SPY BASE ON THE MOON; AND, TOURING LONDON'S LOOS...

Like to look at yourself as you eat? US-based company - the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation - has produced a Selfie Toaster that allows users to imprint a picture of themselves on their toast. Simply supply them with a picture of yourself their "toast engineers" will create a toaster than puts your imprint on each piece of bread you toast.

DAVID ADAMS writes about the odder side of life... | more... |


AN END...AND A NEW BEGINNING...

What's on my mind?... Thanks for asking, Facebook.
Time to say goodbye to Just Been Thinking after many years, stops and starts. Thank you for your attention over the years, readers. Thank you for your endless commitment, encouragement and patience, David Adams- editor extraordinaire.
And now...I migrate back across to sightmagazine.com.au to begin a Coach Column, sharing insights in the area of human behaviour and life design.
 The final instalment in ANN WOJCZUK's blog about 'life, the universe and possibly everything'...
  | more... |


THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM FOR FEAST OF TABER-NACLES...
Despite the recent tensions in Syria, over 5,000 Christian pilgrims from nearly 100 nations will descend on Jerusalem for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.

The festival began last Friday evening in Ein Gedi at the Oasis Hotel and continues to Jerusalem's International Convention Center for the remainder of the week of Sukkot. The weeklong celebration is expected to generate $US16 million in revenues, and is the largest annual tourist event to Israel.

ELISA MOED, of Travelujah, reports...  | more... |

 

A DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE...

Can you think of a time when someone has been brutally honest and vulnerable about themselves and it's taken you by surprise? For me it happened about 20 years ago at a church I had just started attending.

As I remember it, the person leading the service that day asked anyone to come forward who wanted to share what they thought God had been doing in their lives recently. One young guy got up - he was probably about my age at the time - and told about his relationship with his girlfriend and how he had recently gotten her pregnant, and how he had walked away from his faith. He then shared about the support he had received from the church community through his struggle.

 NILS VON KALM'S blog on faith, life and how it all might fit together...  | more... |

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