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  • What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    What are we thinking? Reflections on Church and Society from Southern African Methodists.
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    Methodism in Southern Africa: A celebration of Wesleyan Mission
    by Dion A Forster, Wessel Bentley
  • Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    Christ at the centre - Discovering the Cosmic Christ in the spirituality of Bede Griffiths
    by Dion A Forster
  • An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    An uncommon spiritual path - the quest to find Jesus beyond conventional Christianity
    by Dion A Forster
Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. by Dion Forster and Graham Power.
Download a few chapters of the book here.

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Entries in books (15)

Sunday
Apr102011

Another chapter published!

On Friday I received an email from Paul Chilcote to let me know that 'Making disciples in a world parish: Global perspectives on Mission and Evangelism' was published.

I was privileged to contribute one of the chapters that make up this book.  I wrote about the theology and ministry of Christians in Southern Africa in response to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.  In my chapter I discussed issues such as the contextualisation of theological methodology, an insight into what it means to live with HIV/AIDS and what it could mean for Christians and the Church to respond appropriately in that context.  It is entitled 'Evangelism, mission and discipleship in Southern Africa: How hope is overcoming tragedy'.

I'd encourage you to check out the book at the following URL - you can purchase the book from Amazon here.

Monday
Dec132010

Buy 4 of my books for under $25 / R175

Yup, that is not a mistake. You read correctly - you can buy 4 of my books for under R175 (just US$25).

All that you need to do is download the free Kindle reader for your PC, Mac, iPhone, Blackberry, or Android phone. Then, purchase one or all of the following books for some holiday reading! They will be delivered to your computer or phone right away!

An uncommon path

A Prayer Guide for use during examinations

Christ at the centre

An introduction to Wesleyan Spirituality

Friday
Oct012010

The predictable irrationality of ethics - why we find it more difficult to steal money

I read Dan Ariely's fascinating book 'Predictably Irrational' last month.  It gave me a great deal of insight into how we make irrational decisions, but more importantly how we can understand (and perhaps even predict) such blunders.

In chapters 11 and 12 of the book Ariely deals with the matter of ethics and morals.  He shows through a series of experiments how we make unethical decisions because of the way in which our brains value different things of the same value...  Perhaps you should read that sentence again?

Simply stated, let's say a Coke costs US$1, what is more valuable to us, the Coke or a US$1 bill?  Well, he conducted an experiment where he placed 6 Cokes in some University dormitory fridges, and a plate of 6 US$1 bills in other fridges.  After 72 hours he returned to see which of the items (the money or the cokes) were stolen more easily.

It is not surprising that he discovered that in almost all the cases the Cokes were gone, but the plate of money was untouched in almost every case.  

In short this experiment (and a few others that he uses to verify his assumption) shows that people are less likely to 'steal money' than 'steal coke' - why?  Well, there seems to be a far greater social stigma attached to taking cash than there is to taking objects.

Here's another example.  Let's say you're at work and your wife phones you and tells you that your child needs a pencil for school.  Would you feel OK -> Not too bad -> Too guilty to take a pencil home for her? Most people answered that they would feel OK to take a pencil home.

Now, let's say that there are no pencils at work, but there is a shop downstairs that sells pencils for 60cents.  The company's pettycash box is in your possession and no one is checking.  How would you feel about taking 60cents from the pettycash box to buy a pencil for your daughter (the value of the pencil you would have taken from your company is 60cents)?  

Most people indicated that it would be much more difficult to steal the money than it would be to steal the pencil from their employer... 

Why?  Well, we have been socialized to think that money is 'worth more' than goods or time!  People go to jail for stealing money, but we seldom hear about people going to jail for 'stealing a pencil', or 'stealing time', or 'stealing private phone calls' from work...

I was fascinated by this (predictably) irrational element to my own ethical decision making.  What do you think?  Is Ariely's interpretation of his findings correct?  Is the value of goods and time the same as the value of money?  

Monday
Jun212010

Download the first few chapters of 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' for free

Struik Christian Books have very kindly put together an Adobe PDF document that contains the introduction and the first two chapters of 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'!

The account of Graham Power's conversion and discovery of his ministry role in the marketplace is extremely encouraging and makes for wonderful reading!  

You'll also get to hear about Dion's journey with this successful businessman, and how he came to discover his role as a minister in the corporate environment.

Please click here to download and read the first few chapters of this new book by Graham Power and Dion Forster.

Please repost, email, print out, and distribute this preview as widely as you would like.  If it can encourage a friend or family member please send it along to them.  

Even if you don't want to buy a copy of the book please consider joining our 'Transform your work life' facebook page to engage with other Christians in the work place.

'Transform your work life' can be purchased online internationally at and in South Africa from Christian Republic. In South Africa the book is also available in most book stores (Exclusive books, Wordsworth Books, CUM Books etc. if they do not have a copy in stock they can order it for you from Struik).  

If you live in Malaysia or Singapore you can order your copy here.

We'd love to hear your feedback!  Your perspective and testimony are important as we join together in raising up thousands of Christians to be God's instruments of healing and transformation in the marketplace!

Tuesday
Jun152010

Transform your work life selling for only R88! A great Father's Day gift!

'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' is on special for only R88.00 (just a little more than US$10) on Christian Republic for a limited time. It is also available in most book shops (Exclusive books, Wordsworth books etc. If they don't have it on the shelf simply give them the title, the publisher (Struik Christian Books) and the names of the authors (Graham Power and Dion Forster) and they will order it for you.

Why not bless someone with a copy today?  

It could be one of the most significant gifts that you give to a friend, family member or colleague - their work life could be transformed into a source of immeasurable blessing for them and others! Proceeds from sales go to fund the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns http://bit.ly/tywlweb

Sunday
Jun132010

Do meetings WORK!? What do you think?

Mmmmm... meetings for the sake of meetings, conference calls, powerpoints.... I've been reading rework by 37signals.  

We need to find a way to do work differently!  What do you think?

Sunday
Jun132010

Some great advice for aspiring authors!

Since the launch of our book 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling', Graham Power and I have asked by numerous people how one 'gets published'.

Of course this question arises out of the reality that statistically only one in ever ten thousand manuscripts get published by a mainstream publisher.  First, let me say that this doesn't mean that those books that get published are better than the ones that don't.  Rather, it means that those manuscripts that make it through the process of being read, vetted, edited, published, distributed and sold have a reasonable business model!  Let us never forget that publishers are in business - they want books that have a good chance of selling and making them money!

A friend of mine recently wrote one of the most remarkable manuscripts that I've read in some time.  When he sent it to two of South Africa's major Christian publishers they didn't even read it, one simply said that they are not looking to bring any 'new titles' into their catalogue. I suggested that he self publish it - I know it will encourage and bless others, so it is too good to NOT be published because it doesn't make 'business sense'.

So, what do you do if you have a great story to tell or a ground breaking idea to share?

Well, there are various options to consider... My advice is don't wait for a publisher to give you 'permission' to be published!  

Some of the greatest success stories in recent publiciation come from self published books - have you heard about William P Young's book 'The shack'.  That great book started its life as a self published book. There are many other great examples! 

If you're interested in connecting with some great publishers who will help you to get your work in print then please leave a comment below, or send me a note via the contact section of this page, and I'll send you details for people that I've used in the past.  

Of course it is worth trying a publisher first, but if you hear nothing back, or if the reply is negative consider getting your manuscript proof read, get a nice cover designed, get an ISBN number (all of which are incredibly easy to do), and then get it printed!

You'll soon discover, as I have, that simply having a publisher doesn't mean that your book will sell!  Even published authors have to spend their time and energy getting their books into people's hands, on book shelves, and you still find that most of your 'sales' come from speaking engagements, book clubs, and personally sold copies.

We sell quote a few copies of 'Transform your work life' via stores and the web, but we sell far more copies at speaking engagements. Remember that your publisher has hundreds of authors and titles to promote!  They have limited staff, time and budgets to keep their business running!  So, unless you make the effort to set up speaking engagements, tell others about your book, and sell copies yourself you may just get forgotten.

This section from Seth Godin's post below seems to agree with my ideas:

...the fledgling author, the one who has been turned down by ten agents and then copies his manuscript and fedexes it to twenty large publishing houses--what is he hoping for, exactly? Perhaps he's hoping to win the magic lottery, to be the one piece of slush chosen out of a million (literally a million!) that goes on to be published and revered.

You deserve better than the dashed hopes of a magic lottery.

There's a hard work alternative to the magic lottery, one in which you can incrementally lay the groundwork and integrate into the system you say you want to work with. And yet instead of doing that work, our instinct is to demonize the person that wants to take away our ticket, to confuse the math of the situation (there are very few glass slippers available) with someone trying to slam the door in your faith/face.

You can either work yourself to point where you don't need the transom, or you can play a different game altogether, but throwing your stuff over the transom isn't worthy of the work you've done so far.

Starbucks didn't become Starbucks by getting discovered by Oprah Winfrey or being blessed by Warren Buffet when they only had a few stores. No, they plugged along. They raised bits of money here and there, flirted with disaster, added one store and then another, tweaked and measured and improved and repeated. Day by day, they dripped their way to success. No magic lottery.

A great story (or idea), hard work, and self determination are certain to get you published and read! I've been reading 'Rework' over the last few days (written by the guys at 37signals).  They have some incredible advice for entrepreneurs, much of it can be related to writing.  I'd encourage you to buy a copy of it.  In particular they encourage one to get your product or service to market as soon as it can meet a need.  If you get caught in the cycle of trying to get it perfect (or published) it may never make it into people's hands!

Feel free to drop me a line with a comment, question or some advice of your own.

Tuesday
Jun082010

Reader feedback on 'Transform your work life'

I am pleased to say that 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' is moving off the shelves (and from the internet) at a good pace!  This is great news for the Global Day of Prayer and Unashamedly Ethical campaigns since the proceeds from all of the sales are donated to these two wonderful organisations! But, it is even better news since it means that the message of being a blessing, and finding great blessing, in the 9 to 5 window is getting out there! The feedback is starting to pour in at a steady pace as more and more people share their insights, testimonies, and experiences of discovering what it means to be a minister in the marketplace!  Here are a few little lines from some of our readers:
This powerful book has great potential to do what the title sugests: Transform your work life - turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling. You will discover Biblical perspectives, practical knowledege, and very usable tools to be a kingdom ambassador and change-agent in the marketplace. Through this book you will also be connected to a network of experiences and insights of this new move of God to transform our world in our life time. May you be equiped to be part of that and become a history-maker where you are everyday. (Dr. Johann Oostenbrink, Associate at Camino Consultancy Practitioning Coach & Mentor and Consultant in Organisational Development)
Johann is a wonderful leader who is doing a great deal to activate leaders for to reach their God given potential in their work life - his endorsement is an incredible affirmation for the book.  Thank you Johann!
I want to congratulate Graham and Dion for an excellent resource. Their new book ‘Transform your work life’ is a must for every working person and also for Pastors seeking to minister effectively to people struggling to turn their working hours into ‘worship.’ Well done guys!
This feedback comes from Rev Delme Linscott, the author of two great books 'Now' and 'Living Oceans Apart'.  Delme is a minister in a thriving Church in Pietermartizburg, it is such a blessing to have a pastor's perspective on the book!  Thanks Delme - you can read more about Delme's work at www.livingingrace.co.za
Hi Dion. I've finished the first chapter - great reading - and a topic I've struggled with for several years and still don't have an answer. It's a flipping big question and I just wish God would write the answer on my bedroom wall!! If I didn't have to get up @ 5am I would have finished your book tonight!!
This wonderful bit of feedback comes from my friend Philip Collier - Philip did an MA in Psychology and is an expert in neuroscience (see his great blog at http://www.brainsparks.co.za/ for more). He is currently developing a unique model to high level performance that helps athletes to surpass their current levels of achievement. I'd love to hear your feedback on the book as you read it!  You can either comment on this post below, or add a comment on the comments and discussion section of my blog, or leave us a comment on the 'Transform your work life' facebook page.
Thursday
May062010

Spotted in the wild! Sharing some personal excitement (and fun).

Forgive me for one more post about my new book 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'.  

I just wanted to share a little piece of personal excitement (and family fun) with you!

Before today I had not seen a copy of the book in print!  Yup, that's the truth!  Naturally I had seen the digital proofs, but I had not seen a 'hard cover' copy of the book before today.

I had a meeting with a friend with whom I do some coaching - after the meeting I was walking past Wordsworth bookshop in the Somerset Mall when I thought 'I wonder if they have copies of my book on the shelf'.  So, I walked up to the sales assistant and asked her.  She had a look in her catalogue and sure as you know it, they had a few copies that had arrived just this morning!

So, I picked one up.  I was grinning from ear to ear as she rung up my purchase.  I was looking over the cover, checking the print quality (which is very good by the way!  The book has a hard cover with a gloss colour printed interior!) I handed her my credit card and her eye caught my name, she looked at the book's cover and then asked 'Do you know the author?'  I just smiled and said, 'yup, I've met him before'!  ha ha!  It was very cool.

Well, this evening Megie, Courtney, Liam and I went out for a burger to celebrate the new book and so we stopped in at another book shop (Exclusive Books in the Somerset Mall).  I walked over to the Christian Books section and there it was!  'Transform your work life' spotted in the wild!  So I quickly asked Courtney and Liam to stand in front of the shelf and I snuck a photo with my iPhone.  Another cool memory - take a look at the blue cover just above Courtney's head in the attached photo.

Lastly, I wanted to mention that if you order a copy of the book from Christian Republic you will receive a free leather bound journal!  I'm not sure how long this promotion lasts, so don't miss out!  The price is the same (R109.00, plus R20 counter to counter overnight shipping).

Once you've bought your copy please leave me some feedback on the book.  You can either do so on the discussion section on this blog, or you can join the 'Transform your work life' facebook page.

God bless you!  Please join me in praying that this book will offer encouragement, inspiration and fresh perspectives to Christians in their work life.

 

Tuesday
May042010

Transform your work life is for sale at Christian Republic!

Copies of 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling' are now available online at www.christianrepublic.co.za

Order you copy today and discover how you can transform your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling!

Once you've ordered your copy of 'Transform your work life' please visit our facebook page and share your testimony of how God is using you in your work life.

Your story could encourage others to discover the joy and blessing of being used by God in the 9-5 window!  

Also feel free to share any requests for prayer or help, or interact with the authors.

God bless! Dion

Sunday
Apr252010

Living a more intentional life

Yesterday morning a cycling friend said something that I hear just about every week; "Dion, I need to do something more significant with my life! I'm longing for something that will bring me greater fulfillment. I want to know that I'm making a difference in the world.  I'm simply not satisfied working for a salary".

Of course we discussed the reality that everyone has to face some parts of life that are mundane, not glamorous or filled with social recognition and easy access to the peace that comes from being 'on purpose'.  However, I did also speak to him about a simple little lesson that I have learnt from Bob Buford's book Half Time.

To find true significance you don't necessarily need to change what you're doing.  Rather, you might just need to change how you do what you're doing.

In other words, you don't need to give up your job, or go and live in a monastery, or become a missionary or social activist in order to make a difference and feel that your life and work are worthwhile to society!  You might be able to make a huge, tangible, difference right where you are!


I don't know about you, but life gets so busy, I am faced with some many pressures, demands, expectations and simple daily tasks that I often don't get the opportunity to live life on a deeper level.  My good intentions simply pass me by and I end up living with a measure of guilt and frustration.  Sometimes I need support, sometimes it's understanding, sometimes wisdom, and at other times I need accountability.  I have many friends, but very few deep and significant relationships that can offer me these forms of support and challenge.  There are very few people, and places, where I can be entirely vulnerable about my challenges, fears, expectations and hopes without worrying that I will be judged, or betrayed.  This group of 8 guys has allowed me to live life with greater blessing.  We've been meeting for the past year (4 hours, once a month).  Watch the video below for more details about the concept, structure and content of our meetings.

Well, I have found that the simple structure of Forum, that myself and friend, Dr Vonnie Mostert (a clinical psychologist), set up has been invaluable.  You can read more about the concept here at the Network of Christian Forums website.  There are already more than a dozen such groups of women and men across South Africa and the world.

If you're inetersted in more information about the Network, perhaps for yourself, or perhaps as a structure to support Christians in your Church or business then please drop us a line.

The video below was recorded by my friend Steve Johnstone the international coordinator of the Unashamedly Ethical campaign.  He uses it as a promotional video for forums in the Unashamedly Ethical community.

I'd love to hear of any other tools or structures that you use to live life with greater meaning and intention.

Lastly, if you're interested in some reading material on living life with greater intention, purpose and blessing, please check out my new book 'Transform your work life:  Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'.

 

Wednesday
Feb102010

Ancient laws, contemporary controversies

My friend Prof Cheryl Anderson, who I first met at Garrett Evangelical Seminary in beautiful Evanston Illinois - right on the Northwestern University Campus, in 2005, has just published a fantastic book entitled 'Ancient laws, contemporary controversies:  The need for inclusive Biblical interpretation.' (Oxford University Press, 2009).

Cheryl is a Professor of Old Testament who has done some wonderful work on contextual hermeneutics.  Her approach to reading the Bible responsibly is well worth studying!

Cheryl, thanks for sending me a copy of the book!  It looks fantastic!  I can't wait to read it!  It will help me to gain a better understanding on how we treat the text with integrity when there are so many elements of it that we no longer accept as morally or theologically binding (e.g., slavery, incest, polygamy etc., are no longer deemed acceptable because of shifts in culture.  We can't simply dismiss them without having some clear reasoning for passing over these elements while holding on to others)!  Anyone who is serious about the Bible, as I am, should read this book!

Here's the link to the book if anyone reading this blog would like to buy a copy.

Here's a description of Cheryl's project:

The Ten Commandments condone slavery, and Deuteronomy 22 deems the rape of an unmarried woman to injure her father rather than the woman herself. While many Christians ignore most Old Testament laws as obsolete or irrelevant-with others picking and choosing among them in support of specific political and social agendas-it remains a basic tenet of Christian doctrine that the faith is contained in both the Old and the New Testament. If the law is ignored, an important aspect of the faith tradition is denied.

In Ancient Laws and Contemporary Controversies, Cheryl B. Anderson tackles this problem head on, attempting to answer the question whether the laws of the Old Testament are authoritative for Christians today. The issue is crucial: some Christians actually believe that the New Testament abolishes the law, or that the Protestant reformers Luther, Calvin, and Wesley rejected the law. Acknowledging the deeply problematic nature of some Old Testament law (especially as it applies to women, the poor, and homosexuals), Anderson finds that contemporary controversies are the result of such groups now expressing their own realities and faith perspectives.

Anderson suggests that we approach biblical law in much the same way that we approach the U.S. Constitution. While the nation's founding fathers-all privileged white men-did not have the poor, women, or people of color in mind when they referred in its preamble to "We the people." Subsequently, the Constitution has evolved through amendment and interpretation to include those who were initially excluded. Although it is impossible to amend the biblical texts themselves, the way in which they are interpreted can-and should-change. With previous scholarship grounded in the Old Testament as well as critical, legal, and feminist theory, Anderson is uniquely qualified to apply insights from contemporary law to the interpretive history of biblical law, and to draw out their implications for issues of gender, class, and race/ethnicity. In so doing, she lays the groundwork for an inclusive mode of biblical interpretation.