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  • Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Restorative Readings: The Old Testament, Ethics, and Human Dignity
    Pickwick Publications

    Foreword by Walter Brueggemann, my chapter is entitled 'In conversation: The Old Testament, Ethics and Human Dignity'. A superb resource edited by Julie Claassens and Bruce Birch

  • 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 Transform your work life (64)

Saturday
Apr302011

Day 2 of the 2011 Methodist Prayer convention in Sibu, Malaysia

Last night more than 3500 people packed the main hall of the Kingwood Hotel conference center for the opening of the Methodist Prayer convention. Bishop Hwa Yung and Graham Power spoke about the global prayer movement. What was most significant for me was the 'concert of prayer' in which the entire gathering prayed together around critical issues in the world for almost an hour!

Today we continue with the conference. I shall be speaking at the Tamil Plenary sessions at 9.00 on the Bible and Prayer, then Graham and I speak on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life over lunch to a group of 400 business people, after which I will speak at the evening plenary on the Holy Spirit and prayer.

Thank you for your ongoing prayers for us.

Please could I encourage you to pray for the people of Syria today - they are facing extreme oppression as they protest for democracy. Also please remember our sisters and brothers in the United States of America who have faced the ravages of nature as tornadoes devastated parts of the South.

Wednesday
Apr272011

The journey begins!

The first snow has fallen on the Hottentots Holland mountains behind our home in Somerset West - it is wet in Cape Town. But, I'm off to much warmer weather! By 3pm SA time tomorrow I would have reached my semi final destination Sibu in Malaysia.

I am missing my family already. However, I am filled with anticipation for what lies ahead over the next two weeks! Scroll down a few posts or do a search for 'Malaysia' on this blog for full details of this trip.

I'd appreciate your prayers for me, my family and our team.

Sunday
Apr242011

Join us at the Unashamedly Ethical conferences in Malaysia

On Wednesday I'll be boarding a flight from Cape Town to Malaysia where Graham Power and I will first be heading via Kuala Lumpur to Sibu to speak at the Methodist Prayer gathering (with some engagements in Kuching along the way). I had the immeasurable privilage of speaking at the 2007 prayer gathering (it was during this time that I first fell in love with Malaysia and her wonderful people!)  

Malaysia has a very special place in my heart - I have been back a number of times since then, and will be there twice this year.

Then, on the 29th we head back to Kuala Lumpur to meet up with Steve Johnstone (the international coordinator for Unashamedly Ethical) to speak at an Unashamedlly Ethical conference (see the brochure and video below).  Please find the full details of the conference here.  I would love to see there if you're in the area!

On the 5th and 6th of May we go on Penang for another Unashamedly Ethical Conference. Please find full details of that conference here.

 

The Unashamedly Ethical movement challenges individuals and organisations to make a stand for values and ethics.  We are convinced that we will never be able to deal with systemic poverty until we address systemic corruption. Please consider joining us by committing yourself to values, ethics and clean living here - Unashamedly Ethical online.

I will also be doing some seminars and workshops with pastors and business people on the topics of 'ministry in the marketplace' and 'practical social transformation' (based in part on the book that Graham Power and I wrote together called 'Transform your work life')  If you live in Malaysia and would like to order a copy of the book please visit Canaanland here. If you live elsewhere in the world please get your copy here.

Prayer requests

Please could you support us in prayer.  Here are some prayer pointers.

 

  • Please pray for our hosting committee in the Methodist Church in Malaysia who will host us for the first part of our visit (particularly Bishop Hwa Yung and his leadership team)
  • Please pray for our hosting committee from the NECF - close friends who are doing incredible work in the Church and the marketplace.
  • Please pray for Graham, Steve and I while we're away.  Also please pray for our families.
  • Please pray that the Lord will use us and that He will create wonderful opportunities for us to bless, encourage and partner with our Malaysian friends in bringing about renewal and transformation in the Church and world of work.

 

Thanks so much!  I'll be posting updates as regularly as I can to my twitter feed and will post here as well as often as I can.

Tuesday
Mar292011

Back to Cape Town - 27 March 2011

Our time in the US ended on a high note - the two day conference on our book, 'Transform your work Life' and our Unashamedly Ethical campaign went off extremely well. Both Graham and I were well received by the 180 people in attendance, we ended the weekend with the establishment of a UE community in Palos Verdes and another in Hollywood. We also had close to 90 persons commit themselves to the Unashamedly Ethics commitment to ethics in personal and business life.

LA was wonderful! It is such beautiful place, and our hosts, Dave and Kristen Wendorff were just wonderful. I feel that I have made friends in them that will last me a lifetime!

I am truly grateful for your prayers, the Lord blessed us in so many ways. I look forward to being back in the USA in June. But for now I cannot wait to get home! Our flight goes from LA to Washington (5 hours), then Washington to Johannesburg (via Dakar, which is 16.5 hours) and then Johannesburg to Cape Town (which is another 2 hours). Together with the airport lay overs it is almost 2 days in transit, but for the joy of being with the wonderful friends in Jacksonville, San Francisco, San Jose and LA, AND for the joy of getting home it is worth it! I cannot wait to see Megie, Courtney and Liam! They will collect me at just before 10pm.

Saturday
Mar262011

Palos Verdes, Los Angeles - 25 and 26 March 2011

Graham and I arrived at LAX airport in Los Angeles on the evening of the 24th of March.  We are staying with our friends Dave and Kristen Wendorff in Rolling Hills (which is in the city of Palos Verdes, California - I guess by South African standards we would say that it is a suburb of Los Angeles).  These are such beautiful, kind people, and their surroundings closely match their wonderful hearts.  It is truly lovely to be among such sincere, loving, and dedicated Christians!

Dave is a property developer (like Graham) - he has had a great deal of success in that field.  However, what is truly significant is that he has seen his business as an opportunity to bless the people of the city, to develop infrastructure to support transformation in society so that the 'good news' may be experienced wherever he has been busy.  So, he prays for his staff, his clients, and even the land on which he is building homes.  It is fantastic to be with Dave and his family!  We hosted their eldes son, Nathan, in South Africa last year.  And their daughter Louisa will be with us a little later this month.  Here we are with some friends from elsewhere in Californa, and our friend Larry Ihle from Minnesota having breakfast.

We are speaking at a 2 day conference on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life at the Rolling Hills Covenant Church.  It is a remarkable Church (which has a South African, Matthew Kennedy, who is the worship pastor!)  We are being hosted by our friend Joy Handley who is the president of Asia Access (a missions organisation that works in Japan).  He was in Japan at the time of the earthquakes last week and share some remarkable insights on how things are going there after the Tsunami.  He and his organisation are doing truly wonderful work!  Then the local pastor is Dr Andy Noch - we have had a great connection.  This is a special guy in an awesome Church.

Today we continue to share on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life - there are about 180 men at this men's conference.  Yesterday we also had a special luncheon with some business leaders and their wives at a beautiful country club (I have no idea what the place was called!) and some meetings with David Wood and his team from Hollywood who are running a Global Day of Prayer event there.  

Today is our last day in LA - we start our long journey home early tomorrow morning (LAX to Washington, Washington to Dakar, Dakar to JHB, JHB to Cape Town).  It will take 2 days to get home, but I can't wait to be home with Courtney, Megie and Liam!

Thanks for your prayers for all of us!  I am so pleased to tell you that Liam has recovered from his tonsillitis and the whole family are doing great!  We skype each other every day / morning (when I wake up at 6am it is 4pm back home - so the timing works quite well!)

This has been such a wonderful trip!  I know that the Lord has done some wonderful work in the lives of the people that we have had the joy of meeting and sharing with. It is always humbling to be encounter people who are doing such wonderful things, sometimes they just need a little encouragement to seek obedience to God, connection with the challenges the world faces, and one or two ideas for doing ministry for transformation.

Thursday
Mar242011

Leaving San Francisco for LA

This picture shows the view from our friends Brett and Lyn Johnson's home - if you look carefully you can see the Apple headquarters (1 Infinite loop, Cupertino) and the Google headquarters in the valley. San Jose is a beautiful place!  It was quite cold up there.

Brett runs a company called Rep (short for repurpose).  He is a Chartered Accountant (I think it is called a CPA in the US).  He has a very keen understanding of the nuts and bolts of business.  He helps individuals and companies to repurpose what they do for greater significance and in order to achieve God's aims of transformation in society.  He is an incredible teacher!  You can see more about his organisation (which works with many of the tech companies in silicon valley, including Apple and Google) here.  Brett very kindly wrote an endorsement for my book 'Transform your work life' when it was published in May last year. When I was writing the book he offered some great technical and theological insights and even reviewed one of the critical chapters!  He is a good friend.

In this picture Brett is teaching one of his groups of business people on the relationsihp between faith and Capital (i.e., finance and human capital).  It was an awesome evening.  Graham and I got to share with the group.

Here's the original post:

We're sitting in San Jose airport about to fly to Los Angeles. Our time with Brett and Lyn Johnson and the Rep (Repurpose) team here was awesome!

It was fantastic to connect with our friends and I learned such a great deal about repurposing business for purpose, and of course the purpose of business should be to work together with God to transform and bless society.

I don't have much Internet access so I will have to write a more detailed reflection when I have more time.

I'm excited about the 2 day Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life conference Graham and I will be speaking at in Rolling Hills, LA.

We also had a chance to do some sight seeing.  Here's a picture of Graham and I at the Golden Gate Bridge.  I just love San Francisco!  It is an incredible city!  I need to visit here again!

Tuesday
Mar222011

Jacksonville - 22 March 2011 - Prayer breakfast and off to San Francisco

This morning we awoke early to get to the 'Potters House' for Graham to speak at the Jacksonville Prayer breakfast.  It was a lovely event with 700 persons in attendance.  The theme of the breakfast was to work together for community transformation.  Jacksonville is a very good example of how Christians can work together to engage the 'systems' and 'structures' of society.  They have engaged local politicians, the Sherif, the schools and various businesses.

It is great to see Christians (and Churches) taking responsibility for the tangible transformation and renewal of their society.

Graham spoke wonderfully about the power of simple choices to live with values and ethics, to stand against corruption, greed and abuse, and to life sacrificially to see God's Kingdom established in tangible ways in society.

We wrap up this evening at a city event - the City of Jacksonville is a sister city to Port Elizabeth in South Africa.  So, Graham, Etienne, Dawie and I have been invited to a banquet to celebrate that partnership and share greetings with some city officials in Jacksonville - today happens to be election day!  So, it is going to be an exciting evening.

We also had 2 hours off yesterday - Graham had to get some clothes sorted out, and so the rest of us headed along to the St John's Apple store!  I saw the iPad 2 in person... It is not enough of an update for me to upgrade (not to mention that my cash flow is WAY too tight), but there is simply not enough of a change for me to part with my 32gig 3G first generation iPad.  But, it was fun to be at the Apple shop - it was SO busy there!

Graham and I head off to San Francisco tomorrow at 4am tomorrow.  We will fly out of Jacksonville at 6am and then to Houston in Texas and arrive in San Francisco by 11.30 am.  Tomorrow evening (Wednesday) we will be speaking at a Christian Business gathering in San Francisco with Brett Johnson.

Please continue to pray for us.

Can I also please ask, very especially, that you pray for my wife Megan and my kids Courtney and Liam in South Africa?  Liam is sick at the moment - he has tonsillitis.  Please pray that he recovers quickly and completely!  It makes it quite difficult for Megie to manage her work, looking after the kids, and taking care of little Liam when he is sick and con not go to school.  Thank you!

Monday
Mar212011

Jacksonville - 21 March 2011 - Human rights day

This morning I woke up realy early - I guess that my 'clock' has not yet adjusted to the timezone, and now that the fatigue of our journey has worn off I don't need as much sleep.  So, I came down to the lobby of the hotel (where there is free wifi) and did a facetime call with Megie, Courtney and Liam!)  FaceTime is so cool!  It is much less bandwidt intensive, so the call and video quality are much better than skype.  I use my iPhone 4 and Megie has her Macbook Pro at home.  Being able to do a video call home is just such a blessing when one has small children!

From there I went back to the gym and did a great cardio cycle - I can't loose too much fitness!  I'll be riding the 60km Vigne-a-Vigne mountainbike race when I get back home (it is part of the last stage of the ABSA Cape Epic and is quite a tough ride).  So, I need to keep my weight down (a tough thing in a town that has such great food and big portions!) and my fitness up!

Today is a public holiday in South Africa - human rights day.  It is the 11th anniversary of the very first Global Day of Prayer gathering in Cape Town in 2001.  11 years ago today we met at the Newlands Rugby stadium together with 45 000 other Christians to pray for our city and nation.  Of course, from there it spread throughout the world until in 2009 every nation on earth participated in this prayer gathering (it is now held on Pentecost Sunday) - it is estminated that around 450 million people gathered in homes, Churches, public places (parks, schools and stadiums) across the world.

Human rights day this year has a special focus for me.  I have been thinking a great deal about the 'allied attacks' on Libiya.  I have been thinking and praying about the 'line' that gets crossed when one nation invades another.  I do believe that there must be a time when action is required to end the tyrany of a state or individual.  However, I am not sure when that line should be crossed.  Moreover, I find it extremely difficult that certain nations are left unchallenged (like Zimbabwe and Rober Mugabe), while others (like Libiya and Iraq) are invaded.  The only thing that I can assume is that there are other motives - such as oil, or regional political concerns, that make such action necessary.

Regardless, I shall be praying for the citizens of Libiya, and for those whose task it is to enforce the 'no fly zone' in that region.  May Christ rule in peace, and may that peace come swiftly and effectly without the loss of human life.

Today, here in Jacksonville, we shall be doing a speaking engagement for Unashamedly Ethical with 50 of the top business people in the city.  I am convinced that one cannot end systemic poverty without dealing with systemic corrpuption - that corruption takes on many forms.  In some instances it is structured (collusion, bribery etc.) in other instances it is much more subtle (little dishonest choices, greed, lust and disregard for the rights of others and the will of God).

We shall also have various meetings with the organisers of the First Coast Global Day of Prayer event which will take place in June 2011 - they've been doing wonderful work to date!

Yesterday I attended 3 different Churches - each one unique, special and a blessing.  I went to CrossRoad United Methodist Church, then to Bishop Vaughan's 'Potters House' (a special experince) and finaly to a very contemporary, young 'hipster Christian Church' called Celebration.  Each Church engaged with Kingdom issues and the Gospel in different ways.  The first Church is an affluent, largely white congregation.  The second Church is an African American, Southern Baptist, congregation - one of the candidates for the local Mayoral election was in attendance.  It was refreshing to see how this Church engaged their members, community officials and 'other powers' (such as gang leaders and drug dealers) in their service.  They are truly working for social transformation economic refermotion.  The final Church clearly catered to young, hip, Christians - they were energetic and MANY.  It was very encouraging.

Well, please continue to pray for us!  

Thursday
Mar172011

I'll be in the USA - drop me a line if you'd like to connect

Tomorrow I'm starting a LONG journey that will take me from my home in Cape Town for 10 days.

Here's the summary of my trip:

  • 18 March Cape Town
  • to Johannesburg (stop for some meetings)
  • to Dakar (refuel)
  • to Washington
  • to Jacksonville (arrive 20 March.  Do planning for the Global Day of Prayer international conference and broadcast in June. Do some speaking on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life.  Graham to speak at the Governor's Prayer Breakfast).
  • to San Francisco (arrive 23 March, meet Brett Johnsonn, speak at an evening event with Christian business people
  • to San Jose (spend time with Brett and Ed Silvoso)
  • to Los Angeles (arrive 24 March (late) speak at a two day conference (25-26 March) on Unashamedly Ethical and Transform your work life)
  • to Washington (27 March)
  • to Dakar
  • to Johannesburg
  • to Cape Town (late 28 March)
  • to bed  ;-)
  • to work (29 March!)

It is going to be an excinting time!  I count it as an immeasurable privelage to be able to do such trips! We do a great deal of practical and spiritual preparation to do the most possible good with each visit.

Please pray for the relationships we'll form, the speaking we'll do and the opportunities to encourage and bless the people we visit with. 

If you'd like to connect with us while we're in the US please drop me an email or DM me @digitaldion on twitter.

Please also pray for our families while we're away!

Thursday
Mar032011

Transform your work life to be published in the USA!

Russell Media

It is with great excitement that we can tell you that 'Transform your work life' will be released in the United States of America in June 2011!

We could not have asked for a better partner than Rusell Media!

Russel Media has a broad reach in the United States with a great emphasis on innovative marketing and communication mechanisms.

Moreover, Mark Russell, the founder of Russell Media, is himself a marketplace minister and theologian. Mark has a PhD from Asbury Seminary, having done his research on business as mission. He is the author of the highly acclaimed book, 'Our Souls at Work', and 'The Missional Entrepeneur'.

 

'Transform your work life' will go through a slight redesign and update to make it suitable for the American market.

Our intention is to launch the book during the Global Day of Prayer conference in Jacksonville between the 9-11th of June 2011.  Graham Power and I will be in the USA in 2 weeks time to visit some ministry partners and speak at various events in Jacksonville, San Francisco and Los Angeles.  Then we'll be back in the USA in June for the Global Day of Prayer conference and the Global Day of Prayer itself.

So, please keep an eye on this site for more details as they unfold. Please also keep Mark and his team in your prayers as they prepare the book for its American release.

Monday
Feb072011

The ministry of a chaplain in the contemporary missional Church

For the past 3 years I have been seconded by the Methodist Church of Southern Africa to serve as a Chaplain.  My chaplaincy has been to a number of organisations (which are all connected with the work and ministry of Graham Power, a prominent Christian Businessman and member of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa).

I have served as the Chaplain to the Global Day of Prayer, the Unashamedly Ethical movement, to two of the teams that helped to arrange the Third Lausanne Congress in Cape Town, and to the 2000 employees of the Power Group of Companies.

I often get asked what a Chaplain is, and of course what a Chaplain does!  In particular people seem to find the concept of 'corporate', 'industrial' or 'business' Chaplaincy quite interesting.  Most people are familiar with military Chaplains, prison Chaplains, and hospital Chaplains.

What is a Chaplain?  A little bit of theology and history.

Before I talk about what I do let me give a little bit of background to the concept of Chaplaincy.  Most scholars trace this history of Chaplaincy to St Martin of Tours, a 4th century Roman soldier who was convereted to Christianity.  He was stationed in the North of France and tradition tells of how he encountered a destitute man at the gate of the city of Amiens one day.  He was filled with compassion for the poor, naked, man and so took his sword and cut his Roman cloak (capella) in half and gave one half to the shivering man.  The legend further suggests that the poor man that he helpded later revealed himself as Jesus (similar to what we read in Matthew 24:34-36).  St Martin was later ordained and allowed to minister outside of the 'gathered Church' in places of great need.  He became known as the keeper of the bisected cloak (the capellanus) - from which we derive the name 'Chaplain'.

It is interesting to note that Martin and his cohorts spread throughout the country meeting the needs of people and establishing places of worship (which where known as Chapels, after those who birthed and nurtured them, the Chaplains).  The Chapel this came out of the ministry of the Chaplain, and not the other way around as it is commonly assumed.

Robert Jones writes in the Journal, Epworth Review:

Here then is the initial feature of chaplaincy, that it first addresses the acute need with practical care. Secondly, it goes to where people are without wating for them to come where we are....  Finally, this story says something to us about status, for at the moment of the inception of [St Martin's] ministry, Martin was still a lay person. He was later ordained... Chaplaincy has had the potential from the beginning to be a ministry of the whole people of God.

I have found this image very helpful in my own ministry.  I am one who is called to meet people at their point of need.  The 'world of work' is often a place of great struggle, hardship, and drudgery.  I have had wonderful opportunities to offer practical and spiritual care in the workplace. Second, I constantly strive to facilitate instances of worship (Chapels if you will).  Sometimes these are places (like the prayer room we have at our offices).  And at other times they are short momemnts either with groups of individuals - for example when I go out onto our building and construction sites to meet with our staff.  Most importantly I have attempted to 'extend' the office of Chaplain to numerous people in our company and in other companies and contexts.  We have numerous 'lay people' who are ministers in their own right, offering pastoral care, teaching, and mobilizing ministry.

What do I do as a 'corporate' or 'business' Chaplain?

My Chaplaincy is primarily characterised by service.  I'm sure that each Chaplaincy is unique in its character and form, attempted to meet the needs of the context in Christian love.

However, since I serve a Christian man, and serve in a Christian organisation, I have many wonderful opportunities for ministry.  Among other things I do the following:

 

  • Offer counselling and care to our staff and their families.
  • Lead prayer meetings and Bible study groups in and around the workplace.
  • I develop and share materials on spirituality in daily life (prayer guides, daily reflections, ideas for ministry and service etc.)
  • I oversee and assist in the ministry of The Global Day of Prayer internationally and perform the same function with the team in our Unashamedly Ethical Office.
  • I oversee the management of our company's Corporate Social Investment and Charitable giving (we have a Charitable Trust for this purpose).
  • I do executive coaching for some of our senior leadership (with a particular emphasis on work life balance, spirituality, personal calling etc.)
  • I sit on numerous committees in the company that have an input into the wellbeing of our employees, that look after aspects of our decisions (particularly in regard to ethics and social responsibility).
  • I travel to lead workshops and retreats on the book that Graham Power and I wrote together called 'Transform your work life: Turn your ordinary day into an extraordinary calling'
  • I consult to individuals and companies who are serious about finding God's direction, guidance, and will for their lives and their resources.  I help to reshape both individuals and structures for greater significance in God's Kingdom.

 

Of course I perform a myriad of more mundane tasks that relate to budgest, meetings, planning, strategy, correspondance etc.

What is central to everything that I do as a Chaplain is the understanding that 'work can be worship' (Col 3.23).  And the little phrase I often use which says:

While some are called to pastor congregations, everyone is called to ministry.

I'd love to hear your ideas, feedback!  Do you do something similar?  Do you long to do something similar?  Have you got any creative ideas or inputs that could shape and form such a ministry?

Tuesday
Nov232010

Where the magic happens ... sometimes

This is my office at Power.  The picture was taken using Pano (an iPhone app that stitches photos together to form a wide angle shot). On the very left you can see a picture of me doing the Argus (my first one back in 2001), then my Ordination Certificate as a minister of the Methodist Church of Southern Africa, then a lovely picture of a cross that my daughter Courtney painted for me.  Some family photos - my Sony Vaio UX 180 p lives under the orange dusting cloth (I use it to connect to our large Nashua copier / printer at Power since the Nashua does not have an Apple Mac Printer driver...)  Then you'll see some scale models of Vespa scooters.

The book on my desk is 'The Church in a Postliberal Age' (a collection of articles from George A Lindbeck, edited by Stanley Hauerwas).  Then you'll see my trusty 13" Macbook and an Apple Mighty Mouse, my 32Gig iPad 3G, a cup of Coffe, a stack of mail for a friend, my bookshelf (that has my most used books on it ... I have HUNDREDS of books on shelves at home).

It's a comfy space, quiet enough for counseling and prayer with colleagues.  I get a lot of work done here!