Tag Archive: bruce collins


the other day i was listening to one of my friends share some of their story with a group of people – four of our friends were speaking on the topic of serving God [and people] with our Time, our Talents [skills, giftings] and our Treasures [money, things] with each person dealing with a specific one of them.

as i listened to Lara [who is, among other things, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a nurse, a church member, a Simple Way board member] speak about Time, something she said jumped out at me and i was hit once again with the idea that sometimes our biggest strength can also become our biggest weakness [or if not the biggest then at least a source of weakness]

i think for me, something like competitiveness can be a good thing because it drives me to succeed and to push and to go further than maybe others think i can and so on, and to attempt things a lot of people might not, but when it is bad it is really bad and it can be a source of choosing goals over relationship, or getting into a bad mood [and generally helping other people feel bad] when i am losing in a game [Stop nodding, anyonewhohaseverplayedabunchofgamesagainstme!] or having some choice but not to kind words to say to the opposition on the hockey field.

it becomes tricky because unlike something that is just seen as a bad thing in my life, the answer is not eliminating it because it is a strength as well. and so i have to learn how to work on and emphasise the strong points while looking at diminishing or at the very least being aware of the weak points so i can hopefully let them appear less.

but that was just a taster… i have asked some of my friends and people who i respect if they will take some time to look at their own lives and choose a strength that they have which they have also witnessed the weakness side of and a number of them graciously agreed and so i will be running this series over the next few days.

i invite you to take a look at some of the strengths you have and see if you can identify the weakness that might lurk behind them. and feel free to share in the comments section. i am hoping that awareness of this will help us to be more focused on strengthening the strengths and weakening the weaknesses.

what is your Strength Weakness?

read the story of Steve Graybill as he speaks about a THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE

read the story of Tshego Motiang and her experience with EMPATHY

read the story of my good mate Bruce Collins and his experience with PEOPLE…

read the story of Lara and her take on SENSITIVITY…

read the story of Robert Murray as he speaks about the WOO FACTOR

read the story of Shae Leigh Bloem and her experience with being HARDCORE

read the story of Dalene Reyburn and her experience with AMBITION…

read the story of Sharné Finn Osborne and her experience with INCLUSIVITY

read the story of Tim Tucker as he looks at being a MULTI-TASKER

read the story of Jane Lee as she talks a little bit about CONTEXT

be where you are

at this present point in time my wife valerie [aka the beautiful val] and i are living and working and interning and ministering with the simple way community in philadelphia…

before this i was a youth slash student pastor [disclaimer: no youth or students were slashed during my time there] at a vineyard church in stellenbosch, outside cape town in south africa for 6 years. i remember the one staff meeting we had in the first year or so of my being there and my boss chris-the-boss asked me if i could be doing anything in the world what would it be? without skipping a beat i responded ‘i would be doing this’ and i meant it…

my second last year there i had a sense it was my last year at the church and told chris so but then during that year i met tbV and we were going to get married and she still had a year of study to do and so i ended up doing another year at the church because it seemed to make sense. and it was a very tough year in many respects – SO MUCH GOOD stuff happened and great relationships with people and so i don’t think i’d change it, but i definitely think that i would not have been able to answer that same question with as much conviction and really meant it or believed it. and looking back, i don’t know how i could have played it differently, because i don’t know where else i was meant to be, but maybe i should have been more focused in making sure i was in the right place.

i say all this in introduction because if my friend chris-the-boss flew over to philadelphia and took me out for coffee and sat across the table from me and asked me if i could be doing anything in the world what would it be? then the answer would be – living and working and interning and ministering with the simple way community in philadelphia – with absolute truth and conviction.

is it easy here? no. is it always comfortable? not a chance. are there times of being frustrated and wondering what we’re doing and what impact we’re making and could we be doing this a lot better? absolutely. but there is a knowledge deep within me that this is where val and i are meant to be at the moment, and that feels amazing.

i know too many people who are simply in a rut of doing the thing they’ve always been doing. a bunch of my friends feel pulled to something else and yet they continue on day in and day out going through the motions of what they’re doing. some of them will get to that new thing place, i have no doubt of that. but i worry about the ones who ten years from now will be sitting in the same place doing the same thing [nothing wrong with that if it’s the thing you’re meant to be doing, not talking change for change sake] and talking about the thing they should be doing.

which is why i get super stoked by my friend chris lindemann. and my friend bruce collins. and my friends kleinfrans [he’s not] and michelle. and my friend megan giggles. and my sister dawn and her husband glen who just moved back to south africa when the easier option i imagine would have been to stay in the uk. and my folks who continue to live life and not simply exist or settle.

what about you? if you could be anywhere in the world doing anything in the world, would it be that?

R2U2… or ‘d’ or something…

so friday nite there was a U2 concert or something, apparently.. you wouldn’t know by being on facebook at all – hardly a person mentioned whether they were going or not going or hating everyone that was going and kept reminding them about it or throwing their Steve Hofmeyer (very pricey tickets) into the Jukskei river (my favourite one) in protest…

and it’s weird cos ever since i knew U2 were coming to South Africa i was super amped to go – they are one of my top four bands (3 now that Tree63 are no more altho have Snow Patrol knocking on that door cos really enjoying them right now) but then when the tickets were released tbV and myself had just bought plane tickets to KZN so we would drive up to Botswana with our good friends Dreadlock Mike and Nancy the Twin and we couldn’t really afford both (not knowing what 2011 held for us incomewise etc)…

so i should have been more bummed or jealous or over the endless stream of statuses counting down etc etc but to be honest i wasn’t – i had actually agreed to speak at a camp for Rondebosch/Rustenburg high school CU groups this past weekend and it was only after meeting with the leaders of the camp and the other speaker (who said he couldn’t do the evenings so i was down for fri and sat nite speaks) that i discovered that the Fri nite was the U2 concert… hm…

and the whole way leading up to the concert i was somewhat convinced in my head that someone would offer us free U2 tickets (happened all around me) for the nite so my head went to ‘”flip, how do i explain to the camp people that i can’t speak on friday nite?” when the tickets come… and then i realised that there was actually no way out of it… and then quite soon after that i realised that actually i didn’t want the tickets to come…

now this is not anything against anyone who went to the U2 concert cos i am flippin stoked for everyone that went and it sounds like it was an incredible show and i am sure i would have loved it – there are some people, like my buddy Craig who is the biggest U2 fan i know, who i am toyoda’ly overjoyed that he was there and still need to hear from him how it was, and my brother and sister in law who got tickets a day before the concert as well, just flippin happy for them… but it was just the realisation for me (as not the biggest live concert guy ever) that for me, i was very amped that my friday was going to be spent with those school peoples at rocklands campsite in simonstown.

i didn’t get offered tickets so i never had to turn them down or anything like that but i had not doubt afterwards that i was in the right place. i don’t think God or those young people particularly needed me there (God could definitely have used a bunch of other people) but i definitely believe He did use me being there and we saw four girls make a commitment to follow Jesus for the first time ever and that really sealed it for me.

i was really encouraged by my good friend bruce collins’ (who was at the U2 concert in Joburg) story of how he was able to have some profound worship moments (during ‘Magnificent’ for example, one of U2’s most blatant lyric’d songs) during the concert and also the story he shared of the girl who got pulled up on stage and so for me it really doesn’t come down to going to the concert was less spiritual than not going to the concert or anything like that – for those who went and had an amazing time whether just a rad time with a favourite band or a great time with a non favourite band (Joel) or a spiritual experience, that is toyoda’ly cool… and for me it was the same not being there.

good weekend all round it seems. hopefully it was for you… as well…

what next? leaving the old people outside for the coyotes to finish them off…?

sounds far fetched maybe, but i have just been thoroughly revolted by what i have just read [and i know in this day and age we can get mildly upset and tut tutty and each-to-their-own-device but maybe it’s time for people to stand up and SHOUT WILDLY AGAINST THIS KIND OF FILTH…] and we need to draw a line…

it started with me reading my good buddy Bruce’s rant [totally justified and i agree wholeheartedly with the sentiments expressed] or question [but i know the rant is simmering beneath] about the question of whether there should be a filter on what we tweet, which you can take a look at here:

http://baristabruce.wordpress.com/2010/11/17/who-am-i-allowed-to-chirp-what-am-i-allowed-to-tweet/#comment-302

well actually, to be honest, it began a little earlier with this blog i wrote after my encounter with two horrible t-shirts and then the recent one i wrote about young people using the word “rape” to describe a bad sporting or examination encounter

but then i went on to yahoo and happened to catch site of the heading of this article where firstly a guy passes out and everyone is too busy tweeting and facebook statusing to go and help him, and later ends with people taking phone pics of a guy as he dies on the street…

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20101117/sc_yblog_thelookout/if-the-science-guy-passes-out-and-nobody-tweets-it-did-it-happen

as a society we are becoming sicker and sicker and what is the worst part is that it is becoming the norm, it is becoming acceptable – we have legalised abortion (baby-killing) and made divorce easier than getting a visa to fly overseas and our government seems to have an anything goes policy when it comes to government officials being involved in corruption/mismanagement of funds and so on…

where does it all end?

i’ll tell you where it ends. with the church!

will the real Christ followers please stand up? because this is where the call to be holy, to be set apart, to be different is at its most vital…

Engage the young guys who are wearing those shirts. Refuse to let someone get away with a statement of how they were “raped by that exam” without being challenged to never again use that word (and sentence) lightly. Leave your flippin phone in your pocket and go and get up on that stage and see if that man is okay. Shout, scream, make a noise – IT IS NOT OKAY – THIS IS NOT ACCEPTIBLE – I WILL NOT STAND FOR THAT.

Cos there HAS to be a line. And we need to speak and act and react in absolute love and compassion and know when and where and how to speak and act. [and the Holy Spirit will guide us in this area, if we pay attention] But we cannot stay silent any longer!

my friend bruce collins recently held a 50 word short story competition which i entered and i have made it to the final five with some really stiff competition – here is the blog and head on over to http://baristabruce.wordpress.com/2010/11/01/five-50-word-finalists to vote for your favourite…

‘Many years ago, there was a 50 word short story challenge somewhere on the interwebs. I fell in love with the concept of telling a story briefly and precisely. Hence, I thought it would be fun to put out such a challenge to all my fellow writers out there to write short stories of exactly 50 words. No more. No less. As with any great story, a good climax and awesome twist make 50 word stories particularly enjoyable.

Thank you to everyone who entered. I recieved a total of 12 entries. The five finalists will follow. Please vote for your favourite(s) by commenting on this post with the number(s) of the story(ies) you think deserve to win. Voting will close on Thursday 4 November 2010.

1. Caged by Jean
Help. Some one’s got me. He took me. Broke me. Nothings left. Tattered. In ruins. Like the clothes that once lay on my back. All that’s left is a piece of who I used to be. They’ll never touch that. Desperate. Alone. Why can’t you care enough to say hello?

2. Romance Resurrection by Shae
A gentle face lost in the crowds. Only the words shaped by his voice, to set him apart. A symbol. His hands always outstretched: giving, healing, helping, holding. Until… A kiss. A questioning. A beating. A cross. A cry. A death. A piercing. A tomb. Now alive.

3. Mr Wrinklybottom by Brett
Mr Wrinklybottom had feared cats his whole life. Incomprehensible paranioa had seized him and inexplicably never let up. Even now, running through the tunnel he glanced backwards to ensure he wasn’t being followed. Suddenly he stood facing a mirror. It was then Mr Wrinklybottom realised that he was a mouse.

4. Untitled by Simon
He woke to pain, upside down, vinyl biting his collar. Crimson water flooded his mangled world. Feeling it’s source, his blood ran cold.His vision swam; the car sank. A time to put things right, to make amends. One last prayer; ‘God, I may have left it a little late…’

5. A Rose by Anne
The crusty unyielding loam beneath my crumpled, dead shriveled exterior oppressed me.

“ Dead-life,” I murmured.

Clutching a desperate urge for survival, I thrust out a tender fragile cry. Water unexpectedly drenched forgotten ground. The urge to live bundled out misshapen. Grace rose. Light shone down. I smiled.’

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