One night a man had a dream that he was talking to God. “What surprises you most about mankind?” the man asked. And God answered, “That they get bored with childhood. They rush to grow up and then long to be children again: That they lose their health to get money and then lose their money to restore their health: That by thinking anxiously about the future they forget the present, so much so that they neither live in the present nor the future: And that they live as if they will never die and die as if they never lived!”

Life without a mission is an omission.

Jesus said, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live even though they die; and whoever lives by believing in me will never die.”

John 11:25-26 NIV

“Make the most of every day because tomorrow is not guaranteed.”

Paul J. Meyer

“First I was dying to finish high school and start college. And then I was dying to finish college and start working. And then I was dying to marry and have children. And then I was dying for my children to grow old enough so that I could return to work. And then I was dying to retire. And now, I am dying… and suddenly realise I forgot to live!”


Think about this for a moment: One day in the future you are going to go to a funeral. There will be a short service and then everyone will leave; everyone, that is, except one person… you! This life is a short-term mission trip. Live it well. Be a blessing and add value.

R. Ian Seymour

Treasure your yesterdays, dream your tomorrows but thrive on your today’s.

Life is a book in chapters three,
The Past, the Present, and the Yet-To-Be.

The Past is gone- it could not stay,
It’s in your dreams of yesterday,
Remembered sometimes for its sadness,
But also for its joys and gladness.

Live for the Present, live for today,
So quickly does it pass away,
Help one another along life’s path,
Cheer them up and make them laugh,
For the Past it is soon destined to be,
So live it now – it yours, you see.

But what about the Yet-To-Be?
It’s locked away – God holds the key. (Anon)

“Purpose in life is far more important than property or possessions. Having more to live with is no substitute for having more to live for. God’s purpose for you is not that you should sit around waiting for Jesus’ return to redeem the world. He wants your life to make a difference now. You are called to be a blessing to those around you.” – Nicky Gumbel

May the best day of your past be the worst day of your future, and may your home always be too small to hold all your friends.

“We are not human beings on a spiritual journey, we are spiritual beings on a human journey.”

Stephen R. Covey

The Christian life reads rather like a weather report, don’t you think? We continually move from one storm to the next with a few showers and the occasional, sometimes prolonged, sunny-spells in between. Now I’m a fairly positive sort of person, at least most of the time. Someone once commented on this and asked: Ian you always seem so cheerful, is life such a mountain top experience for you? I replied that it was. Life is always a mountain top experience for me. It’s just that some days I am on top on the mountain and other days the mountain is on top of me!

R. Ian Seymour

Marshall Field (1835-1906), the US entrepreneur, presented twelve principles, which, he said, people needed to fully understand, in order to determine life’s core values. Here they are:

The brevity of time

The power of perseverance

The rewards of hard work

The importance of simplicity

The worth of character

The fruits of kindness

The power of example

The call of duty

The value of economy

The virtue of patience

The development of talent

The joy of creativity

Small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

Matthew 7:14 NIV

Eternity: Smoking or non-smoking?

Imagine cutting a single rose off a rose bush and sticking it in a glass of water. It looks good and smells good but really it’s dying. It has been cut off from its source of life. You can feed it champagne, buy it designer accessories and play it uplifting music all day long, but in a few days you’d see that it really was lifeless. Just like the rose, people are cut off from the “life source”. God is the source of real life but because of our disobedience we can’t have any of it. I’ve met people who argue, “But I feel great about my life”. Sure, but so does the rose in the glass of water… for a while! The Bible says that we are all “dead in our transgressions” (Ephesians 2:1). That’s not a good situation to be in. Fortunately, God has a solution that deals with the problem. – In botanical science, there is a process known as ‘grafting’ which allows us to take a single rose stem and restore it back onto the branch from which it came. There it receives new life from its source. God has being doing a similar thing for centuries. When someone becomes a Christian, they are instantly joined back to their life source – God.

Source: adapted from John Dickson, Hanging in There, p.13-14

“There is more to life that increasing its speed.”


The strap line to the Alpha Course is ‘Questions of Life?’ and I also have some of my own Questions of life. Questions like:

Why don’t you get mouse flavoured cat food? (You can get duck, rabbit, lamb, why not mouse?)

Why do we leave cars worth £thousands on the drive and put our useless junk in the garage.

Why does the word ‘lisp’ have an S in it?

Why do you never see the headline ‘Psychic Wins The Lottery’?

Why can’t women put mascara on with their mouth closed?

Why is ‘abbreviated’ such a long word?

Why is dyslexia such a hard word to spell?

Why is it that doctors call what they do ‘practice’?

Why is the man who invests all your money called a broker?

Why is the time of day with the slowest traffic called rush hour?

You know that indestructible black box that is used on airplanes? Why don’t they make the whole plane out of that stuff?

‘I have not seen the plays in town; only the computer print outs. I have not read the latest books, only the Wall Street Journal. I have not heard the birds sing this year, only the ringing of telephones. I have not taken a walk anywhere; except from the car park to my office. I have not shared my feelings in years; but my thoughts are known to all. I have not listened to my own needs; but what I want I get. I have not shed a tear in years; but I have arrived. Is this really where I was going?’

Quote from an anonymous, but <i>“successful”</i> businessman

“Fear not that your life will come to an end but that it will never have a beginning.”

John Henry Newman, British theologian.

Life is not what you want it to be; it’s what you make it.

“Be a blessing and add value.”

R. Ian Seymour

“Everything counts! Everything you do helps or hurts, adds up or takes away.”

Brian Tracy

“It’s not that I am afraid to die, I just don’t want to be around when it happens.”

Woody Allen

“The most important thing I have learned over the years is the difference between taking one’s work seriously and taking one’s self seriously. The first is imperative, the second disastrous.”

Margaret Fontey

The following prose, “If I Had My Life To Live Over Again,” is attributed to the late Nadine Stair of Louisville, Kentucky, USA. It is estimated that Ms Stair wrote this poem around 1976, when she was in her late 80’s/early 90’s and dying of cancer.

If I Had My Life To Live Over Again…

I’d dare to make more mistakes next time.

I’d relax, I would limber up and I would be sillier

than I have ever been this trip.

I would take fewer things seriously.

I would take more chances.

I would take more trips.

I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers,

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would perhaps have more actual troubles but

I’d have fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of these people who live sensibly

and sanely hour after hour,

day after day, oh, I’ve had my moments and if

I had it to do over again,

I’d rather have more of them.

In fact, I’d try to have nothing else.

Just moments, one after another instead of living so

many years ahead of each day.

I’ve been one of those persons who never goes

anywhere without a thermometer,

a hot water bottle, a raincoat, a parachute.

If I had to do it over again

I would travel lighter than I have.

If I had to live over, I would start barefoot

earlier in the Spring and stay that way

later in the Fall.

I would go to more dances.

I would ride more merry-go-rounds.

I would pick more daisies.

“I have found that if you love life, life will love you back.”

Arthur Rubinstein (1887-1982), musician

“If you live for the next world you get this one thrown in the deal. But if you live only for this world, you lose them both.”

C. S. Lewis

“Be a blessing and add value.”

R. Ian Seymour

Almost everyone walks away from a funeral a bit more thankful for the life and loved ones they have. We feel a little more love, a little more gratitude, a little more urgency to make every day count. We realize we have no dominion over death—but we do have control over our daily decisions. We can make better, more purposeful choices—and often at a funeral, we determine to do so.

Source: Clarifying Your Mission in Midlife, reading plan on YouVersion by Peter Greer & Greg Lafferty, day 5 of 7

“Every man dies, but not every man truly lives.”

(line from <i>Braveheart</i>)

“During your lifetime you will directly or indirectly influence the lives of at least 10,000 other people. The question you need to ask yourself is, ‘How will I influence them?’”

John Maxwell

You can’t be a positive influencer if your thinking is like this:

When the other fellow takes a long time, he’s slow.

When I take a long time, I’m thorough.

When the other fellow doesn’t do it, he’s lazy.

When I don’t do it, I’m busy.

When the other fellow does something without being told, he’s overstepping his bounds.

When I do it, that’s initiative.

When the other fellow overlooks a rule of etiquette, he’s rude.

When I skip a few rules, I’m original.

When the other fellow pleases the boss, he’s an apple polisher.

When I please the boss, it’s cooperation.

When the other fellow gets ahead, he’s getting the breaks.

When I manage to get ahead, that’s just the reward for hard work.

John Maxwell

John Maxwell, Become A Person Of Influence, 1997, Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson Publishers, p.113

Dance as it no one were watching.

Sing as if no one were listening.

And live each day as if it were your last.

Where there’s a will… there’s also, usually, a bunch of relatives!

Many people reach the end of life only to discover, to their regret, that they spent most of it on things that don’t matter.

Max Lucado writes: ‘A little boy is on the beach. He packs the sand with plastic spades in to a bright red bucket. Then he upends the bucket and a sandcastle is created. A man is in his office. He shoves papers into stacks and delegates assignments. Numbers are jiggled, contracts are signed, and a profit is made. – Two builders; two sandcastles. They see nothing and make something. And for both, the tide will rise and the end will come. Yet that’s where the similarities cease. For the boy sees the end while the man ignores it. Watch the boy as dusk approaches. As the waves near, the wise child begins to clap. There is no sorrow. No fear. No regret. He knew this would happen. He is not surprised. And when the great wave finally crashes upon his castle and his masterpiece is sucked into the sea, he smiles, picks up his tools, takes his father’s hand and goes home. The grown-up however, is not so wise. As the wave-of-years collapses on his castle he is terrified. He hovers over the sandy monument he protected. He blocks the waves from the walls he has made. Salt-water soaked and shivering he scowls at the incoming tide. ‘It’s my castle,’ he defies. The ocean need not respond. Both know to whom the sand belongs… Go ahead and build, but build with a child’s heart. When the sun sets and the tides take; applaud. Salute the process of life, then take your Father’s hand and go home.’

Source: quoted in The UCB Word For Today, 5/8/2007

In the middle of life is the word “if” – and that seems to be the problem for a lot of people: “If only I… If only this… If only we… If only they… – If only people would stop moping and start coping, that’s what I say.

What is the meaning of life? The law of averages tells us that during a typical lifetime the average person will sleep for about 23 years; spend around six years watching television; about three years eating and drinking; another three years getting either dressed or undressed, and around nine months in the bathroom (more if you’re a woman)! Now, there must be more to life than this and quite frankly, there is.

“Discover a dream that is so important you are willing to commit your life to it.”

Paul J. Meyer, author

“Life is not a stress rehearsal.”

attributed to Loretta Laroche

The best and most valuable things in life are not things.

Life is… more than simply crossing things off your to-do-lists.

“The life of each one of us will eventually serve as either a warning or an example. A warning of the consequences of neglect, self-pity, lack of direction and ambition; or as an example of talent put to use, of discipline self-imposed, and of objectives clearly perceived and intensely pursued.”

Jim Rohn, writer and speaker

Life is 10% what you make of it and 90% how you take it.

May you live as long as you want and not want as long as you live.

“May you live all the days of your life.”

Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), writer, satirist and church minister

“I plan on living forever… so far, so good.” – Anon.

A person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness.

– Ecclesiastes 2:24-26