Tag Archive: intentional


i love movies. But the other day i was sitting at the table with a group of guys and we spoke about movies for an hour and a half. It was an event so i felt kinda trapped in the seat i was in at the restaurant. And my head wanted to explode, because as much as i love movies, speaking about them for an hour and a half [in which everyone was pretty much regurgitating their opinions and holding on to them so not even change or wrestling or deep thought happening about movies which may have been a little bit better] in a row at that particular point in time felt a bit wasteful to me.

Because we all left that moment with pretty much the same amount of knowledge or belief we had started with and no evident change of opinion.

And i feel like to a large extent, when you put a group of people together who don’t know each other that well [and often when they do] they conversation will typically go to movies, sport or food and perhaps combinations of the three.


Which is largely why i have enjoyed the Deep Dive Conversation Dinners so much. By now you probably know the vibe – invite 7 to 10 other people around for a meal around a specific theme or topic [So far we have done church, race from the perspective of ‘why do you live where you live?’ and more recently money] and spend a good four and a half hours really diving deeply into it.

One of my favourite parts is the phone basket we have at the door where everyone switches their phone off and sets it aside for the evening so that we can all be completely in the moment.

Another favourite is the food which we view as ‘the breaking of bread’ which of course has special spiritual significance as well. One of the ideas behind these dinners has been taking arguments off of Social Media and getting people face to face around a meal to see if that argument can’t be transformed into a discussion where people may still leave with different points of view, but where they will have hopefully at least have listened to each other and been open to hear someone else’s perspective on an issue and more importantly their story.

Then there is the conversation. tbV and i typically don’t start with an agenda [[in terms of where we want to end up] but we do have a plan of how to get the conversation going and it changes every time depending on the theme. With church and location we invited people by way of introduction [which took most of the evening as people got to ask questions and push back and raise concerns or ask follow up questions as stories were shared] to share a little part of their journey as far as the theme was concerned and with the money one we had some prompts such as ‘In my family money was a source of…’ and ‘The messages i received about money, success and happiness from my culture were…’


The next Deep Dive Conversation Dinner tbV and i are planning is around the question of Food. What we eat, how we eat, where we get our food from, the ethics and morality of food and more… we are hoping to do this sometime in August although it may have to happen in September as August has some weekend events coming up.

But next time around i am hoping that there might be four other dinners happening on the same night or around the same time. Not on the theme of Food particularly, but on whatever theme grabs you. The idea is to grab a topic of conversation that you would like to invite some friends and maybe even some people you don’t know as well [Hello Facebook friends] to gather around and really chew on for an evening.

i have had people in the Northern Suburbs, in Durban, and even Americaland express interest in running a dinner and i would love to help [if you in any way feel like you need it] provide some momentum and guidance for those to take place.

All i ask in return is some form of feedback to post on the blog [to share the story with others] – was it great? was it horrible? was it awkward? [it usually starts off that way a little and that’s okay] was it deeply transformative?

So IF that sounds like an experiment or a challenge that you would be up for [and let’s call it something that should happen in the next six weeks so it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t happen the same time as ours] then leave your name in the comment section [for accountability] and drop me an email at brettfish@hotmail.com and i can share some ideas as to how we invite people, what we do on the night and tbV and i will commit to helping you with format/starting inspiration if that is something that feels like it would be helpful.


[For some Deep Dive Dinner Conversation around Money, click here]

[For Deep Dive Dinner Conversation dealing with Race and specifically Location, click here]

Who is in? 


For the last couple of years, my favourite word has been ‘intentional’.

i officially adopted it when we were still in Stellenbosch [so 2011 or before] as my ‘word of the year’ and then remember the next year happening and i didn’t have a new ‘word of the year’ [for the record, ‘intentional’ was my first ever ‘word of the year’ – it’s not like something i did regularly until then – just figured it was such a good word that it deserved that] so i gave ‘intentional’ another term in office.

Since then i never really found a word i liked better. Not that ‘intentional’ is necessary my favourite word but at the time it helped me think in a focused way – it brings in concepts like vision and passion, planning and strategy, and of course intention. Doing things with a reason and for a purpose. So it was just kinda allowed to linger at the top of the pile until another word or phrase could be found that was worthy of pulling the sword out of the stone. Or something literaturic like that.

And then it happened!

i wasn’t looking for a new word. It certainly wasn’t any significant time of ‘new phrase elections’ or anything like that. But i was at a meeting and a phrase i have heard a bunch of times over the last few years really just jumped out and latched itself into my brain.


i didn’t invent the phrase. But i really like it. i like the idea of it. And as with ‘intentional’ i really appreciate the depth and fullness of abundancy that i feel is wrapped up in those three words.

The idea that there was a normal. And then change occurred. But not just leaving it at that place and understanding of ‘oh, something changed’ which doesn’t seem all that significant. But transformation has happened, both in behaviour and mindset and now in the place of the old, there is a New Normal.

i think that idea is super powerful.

For example, South Africa. Apartheid. Mandela freed. 1994 elections. Change occurs [in some ways, forms, to differing extents depending who you listening to]. But that is not enough. We need for there to be a new normal in this country.  And we can see the need for it in the lack thereof in certain quarters, like News24 comments sections for example.  And it is a journey that has to be embraced [and the more of us the better] but i think both the idea and the language of ‘a new normal’ help us to really realise that things are needing to be and going to be different.

In the Bible there is a verse that talks about being ‘transformed by the renewing of your mind’ which i think is a great descriptor of what this phrase guides us towards. A significant change has taken place and what once was, is no longer, and in its place there is the new normal.

And it’s not just race stuff. Equality and opportunity for men and women. The book i have just written about the church is all about that.

It is both the recognition that the normal that we presently have is not good enough. And also that it’s not just a few tweaks or a little bit of fine tuning that is required. But things need to be shaken hard – some stuff, a lot of stuff, needs to be tossed out altogether. And we need to end up at a place that people who were part of the old system and way of thinking will be able to clearly identify as being different, new, better and on the way to becoming normal.

What do you think? Pure semantical jugglery? Or an exciting concept to get our heads around and an exciting premise to work towards? What is a ‘New Normal’ that you would like to see? 




wordsI enjoy words, but there are just some that stand tall above the rest.

And I’m not just talking simply about nice sounding words here like ‘cactus’, ‘gesticulate’ or ‘epiphany’, but words  with meanings attached that as a concept are particularly attractive.

The first one, that i declared as my ‘word of the year’ about 5 years ago was the word ‘Intentional’ which i continue to love as a word and as a concept.

It stands in the face of that old saying, ‘If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten.’

Or the other well-known one that ‘Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again but expecting different results.’

I find it to be such an important word for anyone who calls themself a ‘Christian’ or as i prefer ‘Christ follower’ – in fact i use the term ‘Christ follower’ personally because it is more intentional – it suggest that there is following happening, movement.

And that is what I like about the word ‘Intentional’ – it implies action, forward momentum, focus and moving towards a clear vision.

If you are not intentional in life then it is very easy and quick for things like apathy, procrastination and boredom to creep in.

Intentionality builds on questions such as ‘Who am I?’ and ‘What am I about?’ as well as ‘What is important to me in life?’ and even more personally ‘Who is important to me in life?’ and others. Intentionality leads you towards the life to the full that Jesus spoke about to His followers. It is about ‘being’ more than it is about simply ‘existing’ which is empty, cold and to an extent dead.

So ‘Intentional’ is a word i really like. What is a word you really like?

[To read about another word i really like – Interdependence – click here]

oh David… David, David, David…

after many Psalms of “Crush the wicked!” and “The evildoers are gonna get it” he seems to have changed his strategy or approach to the more nonchalant one of “ah, it doesn’t matter, God will take care of it in time”

‘Do not fret because of those who are evil or be envious of those who do wrong;
for like the grass they will soon wither, like green plants they will soon die away.’ [vs. 1-2]

it could almost be like he is talking to his earlier self as at one point he utters, ‘I was young and now I am old,
yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken or their children begging bread.’ [vs. 25]
it’s like he is saying, ‘I’ve seen how this ends and we win.’

but as you read the psalm it still seems like he has not yet had his moment of facing the mirror – Mirror, Mirror, on the wall, who is the sinfulest one of all? [sounds more powerful in my head when i imagine it with the Charlize Theron elocution and accent] It is YOU, David! Seems like that one is still coming as he is still pretty amped that the wicked [as in “not me”] are gonna get it.

and then vs. 3 hits which is a great little gem: ‘Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe pasture.’

it’s like a ‘Love God, love people’ type summary of life – almost like a casual throwaway…oh, by the way, just trust God, do good things, be in the land and stay safe…

what really jumped out at me even from that line in the psalm was the word ‘dwell’ – i think i had a status a while back that went “be where you are” and that is exactly it. the word ‘dwell’ for me carries a depth, a commitment, an involvement, some strong intentionality – don’t just exist or reside or habitate but really dwell – dig your feet in and immerse yourself in the place where you are at.

and i am not saying move into a place and stay there for 80 years – what i am saying is that whenever you are in a place, be it for a visit or a season or a decent period of time, really BE there. invest in the place and the people [even if it is the shortest of visits] – we see that at the Hospitality House here at the Simple Way – a lot of people visit and have the experience and the conversation and the tour… but every now and then someone will tell me about the conversation they had with [insert local resident/friend of ours name] and it is a lot more exciting because even though that person was just passing through, they took an hour or a couple of hours to invest in one of the people we know, even in just hearing their story or sharing some of theirs. and it is a powerful, powerful thing.

many people exist, but a small amount of people really live. be a liver. wait, that doesn’t sound right. be a live’er. that’s better [marginally]

do you know the names of your neighbors? have you ever heard their story? invited them round for a meal? shared a batch of chocolate chip cookies with them?

maybe if you are doing this kind of dwelling in the land, safe pasture is a natural consequence because you have built up good relations with all those around you and so you have other people watching your back and cheering you on?

how about you make a conscious decision today to plan something creative within the next month that will increase your dwellingness in the context in which you find yourself today [whether it’s in a house or apartment or student res or boarding house corridor] and then come and share here how it went.

to be continued… [dun dun duuuuuuuuuuunnnn] but only if you click here.

[To return to the Intro page and be connected to any of the other Psalms i have walked through before now, click here]

so yesterday i posted about new year’s evolutions – with the idea of moving beyond a dream list of ‘i wish this for next year’ to some specific steps and actions to put into place to help you transform yourself into a better person in 2012. and my first evolution suggestion is this:


different people have different capacity for friendship and so everyone i imagine has different levels or degrees of friendship – not everyone can be our best friend and nor would we want them to be – but i believe it is important to have some significant people as close friends and to be intentional about building and growing relationship with them – so as you enter the new year, identify two to five people who can be these things for you [not necessarily one thing per person but between your close friends you should look to have this list covered]:

# people who build into your life – there are a lot of people who you can have fun with, but some people you leave them and feel like you have grown or benefited just from hanging with them – conversation will go beyond sport/food/movies and on to deeper things like life, love, God, changing the world – not always, there will be fun and crazy too, but a sense of realness and depth categorises this person and friendship – these people are so valuable…

#encourage – someone who cheers you on, whether it’s in relationships or work/school or just general life things – someone who, when the world is throwing tomato’s will come along side you, lift you up, put their arm around you and just love you…

#hold you accountable/wound you with love – proverbs 27.6 here ‘wounds from a friend can be trusted, but an enemy multiplies kisses’ – one thing to ensure before you invite this friend to speak into your life is that you can take the ‘wounds’ they might dish out – it is SO IMPORTANT to have someone in your life who is not a ‘yes person’ and will just thumb up everything you say or do – someone who when they notice you are in danger of messing up, will gently pull you aside and bring friendly caution and if necessary, gentle rebuke – you won’t always like this person and what they bring, but you will always appreciate it, because even if they get it wrong from time to time, you know the love it comes with. this person needs to be invited to speak into your life as it won’t happen naturally and once you give the invitation then you need to be prepared that they may just act on it… i honestly feel like my life is open to accountability to everyone, but some of the specific people i have invited to speak strongly into my life are my beautiful wife Valerie and then people like Rob Lloyd, Regan Didloff, Mandy Hunt, Bruce Collins, Chris Lindemann, Mike Strauss and others…

#listen to you/shoulder to cry on – you may need this person on call after the previous person is done with you… just kidding, but it is important to have someone or ones who will just listen to you when life has kicked you in the sore places – not feel the need to give you answers or solve your problems [so i may not be the best one for this, eek] but someone who will hear when you are struggling or angry or hurt or confused and just give you some love and a shoulder if you need to shed tears [which are a great thing and i wish i could do it more!]

#challenge/inspire/push you – i had this as two separate things but decided to combine them – someone who will help you to go further than you have been before – to try new things – to take risks [the good kind] – to pursue the life to the full that Jesus spoke about when He described His mission here on earth [John 10.10]

i am sure there are other things that could be added to this list and feel free to comment and do so below, but these are some of the important things that came to mind in terms of the right kind of people you should hang out with – not exclusively [see my next post] but make sure that you are intentional in terms of spending time with these kinds of people…

to continue to part ii click here…

i’m not a big fan of commercialised Christmas vibes and in particular Christmas carols – woergh – kinda hate them with a passion…

my wife, TBV, is a big fan of Christmas and Christmas-related stuff though (although she says carols aren’t huge for her either!)

and i realised the other day that in my adamant ‘we will fight carols on the beaches, we will fight them on the shores, we will never surrender’ and ‘i have a dream of a Christmastime where all carols will be banished to the basement of society’ and ‘you want Christmas stuff? I think i’m entitled to it. You want Christmas stuff? I WANT THE CAROLS! You can’t handle the carols!’ speeches she may have got the vibe that i don’t want any Christmas stuff.

fortunately i figured it out just in time and, even though i’m not the hugest fan of all the Christmas stuff i realised this is important stuff to her, because it means more to her to have it than it does to me to not have it i quickly messaged her and told her ‘of course we’re going to have stuff and start planning and if we need to buy any stuff then let’s do it’ – let’s just say that it went down well.

one of the secrets to loving your woman well is to know what means a lot to her and even if it does mean some small sacrifice (and this one really isn’t a huge sacrifice, something i’m less interested in getting around to or making an effort for as opposed to being set against so really not a big deal) to take many opportunities to go out of your way to provide that for her.

i think sometimes in relationships we can caught up in doing only stuff that benefits both of us – so buying a slab of chocolate or bag of chips or renting a dvd that i like so it feels like i’m doing something for her, but actually i’m just selfishly including her in something i wanted for myself… and then never sacrificing anything for the benefit of something she is actually very much wanting because it doesn’t do all that much for me.

there is an amazing picture of this kind of love in the story of King David at a time when he has sinned and God is busy punishing Israel with a huge destructive plague and David goes to this man Araunah to offer a sacrifice to God on his plot of land and Araunah offers the place and the wood and the offering free of charge to the king and David refuses to take it for free saying, “No, I insist on paying you for it. I will not sacrifice to the Lord my God burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” [2 Samuel 24.24]

how much sacrifice exists in the love you have for your wife or girlfriend?
is it time you changed the way you ‘love’?
when last did you buy her some flowers?

for the next part of ‘How to Love your woman better’ – Verbal Blessing – click here.

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