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Ian Acheson
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Photo courtesy of Multipedia and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, Ian from Down Under here. I was fascinated to read Ann's Monday post about the history of SUM. And it brought back so many memories for me that I thought I'd go back in time and share my SUM beginnings. It was September 2012. I had always wanted to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) conference and having a publisher for Angelguard I thought it a useful way of building some momentum for its release a few months later. My wife and I combined it with a holiday to the US with the plan to attend the conference in DFW on our final leg before heading home. The conference had started and I was having a ball meeting lots of fascinating authors including some of my heroes plus gaining a lot of useful information. There was one particular workshop titled “How to... Continue reading
Posted Oct 6, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Dan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hiya! Ian from Springtime Sydney. Yes, we in the Southern Hemisphere are beginning to experience the blooming of flowers, the tweeting of baby birds (and unwanted attacks while walking by overzealous magpies) and longer days. I was excited to know that Ann is to be leading us over the next month on a series on the great love chapter of 1 Corinthians 13. Hands up, how many of us had this read at our weddings? Mine is up. Interestingly, my wife, though not a believer and hence not a reader of the Bible, thought this chapter to be such a wonderful explanation of ultimate love and therefore, was very happy to have it read at our nuptials. To be honest, by that time I was a little over 1 Corinthians 13 having read it and heard it so many times over the years. My... Continue reading
Posted Sep 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
Hello, dear Sumites. Ian from Down Under here. In this challenging year, it’s very easy to hop on the blame bandwagon and start griping about everything and anything. Life as we know it has been turned upside down and really the ‘new normal’ is still so uncertain. What will life be like in 2021, which is less than 6 months away now? But the world has been here before. Sure, not in of our lifetimes, but in 1917-18 the Spanish flu pandemic was similarly crazy and in some places in the world, churches were shut for over a year. But they didn’t have such a thing as online church that allows us to worship at the top of our voices in our homes. Who we are God is love. That is His very essence. Love. Everything God creates is out of love. And His great mission is one of love.... Continue reading
Posted Aug 4, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Rob D and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Dear SUMite friends, Ian from wintry Sydney here. It's just turned July 1 here and it's incredible that half the year has already passed. Who could have anticipated what would go down this year? As I've mentioned previously, the Lord put on my heart the word, 'Awakening', in January but I had absolutely no sense of what that meant. Much has occurred for me personally, but it pales compared to all the global events. Awakening There is an awakening happening across the globe and it's important for us to hold on to the belief that God is in charge. And good has come out of these difficult times and will continue to I expect for years to come. Life for all of us is going to look different for a while, isn't it. Everything we're used to (outside of our homes) is having... Continue reading
Posted Jun 30, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of arztsamui at FreeDigitalPhotos.net What a year 2020 has been so far! Ian from wintry Sydney here. Be assured that those of us who don’t live in America are weeping for the people of that great nation and we continue to cry out to God believing for a wave of peace to sweep across that great land. As Ann shared on Monday, it was Pentecost Sunday this past weekend. For a few months now many millions from all around the globe have been believing for a shaking, a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit and increased boldness amongst believers to share the good news of Jesus. What we do know is that more people have been praying, more people have been attending online church services and more people have been declaring Jesus as their Savior. Hallelujah. Hope in the Waiting “The LORD is good to those who wait... Continue reading
Posted Jun 2, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Suriya Kankliang and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, dear friends. Ian from Down Under, here. Another month passes, another month where the majority of us are still in some form of lockdown due to COVID-19. It’s fascinating that we are all in this experience together and that God created us for this season. This is our moment. God made each one of us and our particular gifts and callings for this moment in time. As challenging as this season is, I get excited when I reflect on this season through this fresh lens. He has our Attention I saw a fabulous Instagram post a few weeks from a famous retired wrestler, Hulk Hogan. It said something along the lines of: every idol we worship (athletes, music, actors, money, business, church) has been shut down and all we’re left with is the ONLY thing that matters: Jesus, so focus on Him.... Continue reading
Posted May 5, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image Courtesy of Serge Bertasius Photography and Free Digital Photos.net Hi, Ian here from sunny Sydney. Wow, who could have imagined when I wrote about supernatural happenings and wilderness experiences in my last post that a few weeks later almost the entire would be thrust into wilderness. It’s scary with how fast things have moved. Our lives have been turned upside down haven’t they, normal routines (as Ann reflected yesterday) for entire households have been dramatically changed, there’s no short term certainty about many of the physical things of life: jobs, incomes, schooling, church attendance, exercise regimes and of course the health of our families, particularly those of us who are in the ‘more vulnerable bracket.’ God is Unchanging But God. He is the one certainty we have, and I also believe it is certain that this wilderness experience will end, however, none of us can be very sure either,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo supplied courtesy of imagery majestic and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hi! Ian here. Lent began last Wednesday with Ash Wednesday. I’m observing this season once again as I enjoy being intentional about seeking more of God and Lent and Advent seem to help me do that. Yes, I ‘give up’ something (sugar and Instagram this year) as it helps me focus on the wilderness element of the season; Lent, of course, mirroring the 40 days Jesus spent in the wilderness. But this isn’t a post about Lent rather a sense I’ve had in the past week about stirrings within me that I thought I’d share. Recently, I’ve read a couple of short passages on the supernatural happenings of God. Abraham and Sarah only birthed Isaac through supernatural intervention. Mary and Joseph birthed Jesus only through supernatural intervention. Paul and Barnabas’ ministry work that took the Gospel to the Gentiles is attributed to... Continue reading
Posted Mar 3, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Yongkiet at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, my dear friends. Seems ages since we’ve ‘met’. I trust 2020 has started well for you all and your hearts are in good places. My family’s had a tough start to the year. Besides the constant trauma on the TV each night as the bushfires raged through the land Down Under (we have been gratefully spared from having it too close) which cast fear and foreboding over people’s spirits, we and dear friends have had own personal traumas. Like our nation, we are recovering and walking, a little bruised and battered, into the future with hope in our hearts. Maybe you’re in a similar place. Or maybe you’re just feeling a bit frazzled with all that’s going on: juggling being wife, mom, friend, daughter, employee or boss. It’s at these times when it’s important we take care of our souls. The Easy Yoke... Continue reading
Posted Feb 4, 2020 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of jeswin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Dear SUMite friends, it’s Ian from sunny Sydney here. I love that Lynn’s previous post involved Mary as I too seek to dig a little deeper on one aspect of her story. Let’s quickly look at the scene once again. I’d encourage you to read it in its entirety, Luke 1:26-38. And as you read it, picture yourself in the scene. Stand alongside Mary, our teenage girl. Innocent and naïve. But one who is a committed believer in God. She has read all the stories of Abraham, Moses, the other Joseph and the like. These heroes of the faith are very dear to her. She knows God uses ordinary people to do great things. All of a sudden and out of nowhere, Gabriel arrives. Picture this mighty esteemed angel. I do wonder what he looks like. Is he a giant with wings like the... Continue reading
Posted Dec 17, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of LiturgyTools.net The Christmas season comes around every year and for many of us it’s kind of the same-old-same-old. Yes, the specialness of the season are the traditions of it and doing the same things every year. We put up the same tree and decorations, listen to the same Christmas music, have the same family mealtimes, attend the various end of year gatherings and church services and so on. The busyness of it and the stress of battling through all the shopping crowds, the cooking of all the food and keeping the house clean can serve to distract us. We consciously decide to stay positive and not allow the stress to affect us or the awkward family moments we often experience. And before we know it, it’s over for another year. We collapse on our lounges having eaten too much and exhausted from the intensity of our family... Continue reading
Posted Dec 3, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Chaiwat at FreeDigitalPhotos.net I arrived at a Prayer Meeting that I was leading and one of the members was already present. This was unusual for him as he typically arrived after the first 30 minutes. But I could sense something in his spirit was bursting. It didn’t take long for my friend to share the experience he’d just come from – an impromptu morning worship time where he had ‘laid all his burdens down’ before the Lord as he lay prostrate on the floor. I envied his freedom and the heightened experience of lingering with the Lord. We had time before the others arrived for me to share that I too had experienced something similar at the Writers Conference I attended a month or so back. Both our experiences were stimulated by Spirit-enabled worship. There’s something very special when you’re completely given over to worship, whether in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 5, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of BlueSuedeBallroom.com Hello, dear SUMite friends. Ian from sunny Sydney here. I returned this morning from a whirlwind trip to San Antonio to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) annual conference. This is now my fourth conference and the reason I keep returning is that each time I go I experience a significant God-moment, writing and non-writing. My first experience of this was at the 2012 event where I met our dear friend Dineen Miller who introduced me to SUM. I’ve written about our meeting a few times but in a nutshell prior to this conference I doubted I could ever have a ministry role outside my small little world as a result of being a SUM. Dineen both at the conference and, later through her contribution to SUM, clearly demonstrated otherwise and it dawned on me that I’d allowed myself to be deceived by the enemy.... Continue reading
Posted Oct 1, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of photo stock and FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello, dear SUMites. Ian from Down Under here. Spring has begun and the Lord is spoiling us with some delightfully beautiful days. It was Father’s Day here on Sunday and Fiona had organized an afternoon tea with our two sons, their partners and grandchildren at our eldest son’s home. It was a gorgeous sunny day and we had a splendid relaxing time, six adults and two littlies. As you’d expect the latter received most of our attention and I rejoiced at strolling around the garden with our dear little Willow (8 months now) while two-year-old Moses entertained us with his ‘new words’ and racing around on his various tricycles. There was an interesting moment when Daniel swung his son around on a makeshift swing (Dan being the swing). It was delightful seeing the joy on Moses’ face – he kinda went into a... Continue reading
Posted Sep 3, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of thepathtraveler at FreeDigitalPhotos.net We’re a praying SUMite army, aren’t we, dear friends? Ian from freezing cold Sydney here. I trust those of you in the northern hemisphere are enjoying the warmer temperatures and having fun on summer vacations. Prayer. It’s one of those little words that we’re all familiar with, it’s a practice we all do, some of us I expect more than others and for most, if not all of us, it can be hard work. And it’s powerful. Really powerful. It changes hearts, saves people, heals people, restores people and most significantly it connects our hearts with God. The triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. “Through relationship, we carry and release the Kingdom onto the earth. This is what joy-filled prayer looks like.” – Beni Johnson Prayer is Relational It’s completely relational and usually reflects the state of our connection with God. If you’re... Continue reading
Posted Jul 2, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of anankkml via FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello friends, Ian from cold and wintry Sydney here. For a few months now I’ve been reflecting on the first words Jesus spoke to the Galileans on His return from the 40 days in the wilderness. This is what He said: “’The time has come,’ he said. ‘The Kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!’” – Mark 1:15 (NIV) Like me you’ve probably read that verse many times and then moved on. But I’ve lingered over it for a while now and every few days it pops back into the forefront of my mind. Besides it’s simplicity of four straightforward statements, it’s interesting when you think of the words as an invitation. In fact, it’s something I discovered a little while ago that rather than looking at Jesus’ commands as that, commands, read them like an invitation. Why? Because... Continue reading
Posted Jun 4, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
There has been much to celebrate in SUMite land in recent weeks. The SUMite Gathering at the beginning of April and our dear Lynn’s Mike coming to know Jesus as his Lord and Saviour being two BIG highlights. My family received some wonderful news this morning. John, my brother, some of you may recall, has been going through treatment for lymphoma since November. Today, he received news that he is in FULL REMISSION! Hallelujah. Praise the Lord! We’re naturally excited but I’m especially pleased for my mom and dad who found the whole experience very stressful. Like Lynn’s Mike who has stepped into a completely different ‘life’, John has also. Prior to his diagnosis he had lived a ‘quiet’ life as a Christian, so quiet that his wife and children weren’t really aware of his faith. However, in this ‘dark valley’ he discovered not just the ‘rod and staff’ of... Continue reading
Posted Apr 30, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of Sura Nualpradid at FreeDigitalPhotos.net I was reading the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000 the other day and was challenged to reflect on it from the eyes of the boy who had the five loaves and two fish. If you wish to read along I used the version in John 6. I don’t think I’ve really even considered it from his perspective and with the SUMite Gathering this weekend I thought there were some wonderful insights to encourage all of you who will be attending. And especially for those of you who might be nervous or a little apprehensive as is very normal before such an event. Jesus asked the boy for his loaves and fish. Conceivably the boy could have refused the request. But he didn’t as I suspect Jesus, like he was with every child he met, was kind and considerate in making his request.... Continue reading
Posted Apr 2, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of graur codrin at FreeDigitalPhotos.net From the beginnings of my faith journey as a teenager Romans 12:1-2 has been a favorite. It was the one I first memorized and regularly prayed seeking the Lord to help me not to conform to the world by transforming me through the renewal of my mind. Even at that immature stage of my faith I perceived that we were supposed to be different. We weren’t supposed to conform to the world. What does not conforming look like? It’s not necessarily about vocation nor how we spend our time but it starts within our heart. Heart? But didn’t I just mention ‘renewal of my mind’? I can do something with that? Read some books, listen to some podcasts, watch some of those great preachers on YouTube. I think that’s what I thought for so many years and so I hungered for knowledge. Don’t... Continue reading
Posted Mar 5, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of Pexels.com Hello, dear friends. Ian from sunny Sydney here. It seems ages since I’ve written. I trust the New Year has started well for you and you’re excited for what 2019 holds for you and your family. Recently, I was reading something written by Will Graham, the grandson of the late Billy Graham, where he sought some counsel from his famous granddad on navigating the challenges of a ministry that required a lot of travel around the globe. He was expecting some advice on how to run meetings better or how better to emphasize a point but instead received this simple message, “Pray, pray, pray” and “study, study, study.” It made good sense as this was what Will had seen his granddad doing most times he visited, praying and studying. Abiding and Bearing Fruit “I am the sprouting vine and you’re my branches. As you live in... Continue reading
Posted Feb 5, 2019 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo courtesy of 9comeback/FreeDigitalPhotos.nety/ FreeDigitalPhotos.net I received a call that I wasn’t expecting. From my sister. It was Saturday night, two weeks ago. She was relaying some information she’d received about our brother, John. He had been admitted into hospital that afternoon, had an MRI that found he had a ‘mass’ in his head. Oh dear. Not at all what we wanted to hear. And so the waiting began. Over the next week John had a bunch of tests and scans. Lots of waiting for things to happen – John dubbed it “hospital time”. All confirmed there was only the one mass. Everything else was normal except that movement in both his right arm and right leg were slightly impaired. The mass was pressing on his brain impacting a signal to those limbs. Finally, a biopsy was to be taken. But this was no simple biopsy as they had to... Continue reading
Posted Dec 4, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Image courtesy of renjith krishnan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net Hello SUMite friends, Ian from Down Under here. I keep bumping into a recurring theme of how to do this Christian life well. I’ve probably made reference to it in previous posts. It has two elements to it, and different people use different terms to describe these elements. A nun I listened to a few years back described a typical day as consisting of time for ‘contemplation’ and then time for ‘action’ ending the day with more of the former. Interestingly, if you studied a typical day Jesus lived we would probably find that’s how His day would be broken into. What’s critical is that a good life includes both elements. Recently I came across an alternative description: ‘abiding’ and ‘abounding’ which are taken from two key New Testament verses: John 15:4 (NRSV) – Jesus says, “Abide in me as I abide in... Continue reading
Posted Nov 6, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Photo credit: Austin Neill Hi everyone, Ian from Sydney here. For most of my SUM married life I thought I was okay doing the Christian life on my own. I’m an introvert by nature and enjoy my own company and for a number of years struggled with being in crowded situations. I still do and will usually choose to sit on the end of rows in any theatre or auditorium. This is purely a relief mechanism so that I know I can ‘get out’ quickly if I need to. As we’ve talked about many times over the years, it’s often easier for us Christians to maintain peace in our households by not engaging too much in church activities and such like. I’ve actually been very blessed by my wife who has always actively encouraged me to attend church: she knows it’s good for me. However, I resisted for years getting... Continue reading
Posted Oct 2, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello, Ian here once again. As you probably have noticed in many of my posts in the last few years I’ve sought to desire more of God, to experience that oneness with the Father that Jesus prays for us about in John 17. Hey, and isn’t it fabulous that Jesus, Himself, actively helps us in the process? Everyday. As He continually intercedes in prayer for us. This desire for more brought me, firstly, to writing a new non-fiction book, and then when I discovered I didn’t have sufficient material, secondly, to take up study again in participating in a Spiritual Formation course. To date I marvel at what I’m both learning and experiencing. The Heart It’s a journey of the heart as the prophet Jeremiah declared: “I will give them a heart to know me, that I am the Lord. They will be my people, and I will be their... Continue reading
Posted Sep 4, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage
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Hello, Ian from Sydney here. “Getting into one of the boats, which was Simon's, he asked him to put out a little from the land. And he sat down and taught the people from the boat. And when he had finished speaking, he said to Simon, “Put out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” And Simon answered, “Master, we toiled all night and took nothing! But at your word I will let down the nets.” And when they had done this, they enclosed a large number of fish, and their nets were breaking.” (Luke 5: 3-6 ESV) The disciples were experienced fishermen. They knew the lake of Gennesaret intimately having fished it for years. We’re told they fished all night and caught nothing. And this relative newcomer whom they knew to NOT be a fisherman tells them to cast their nets out again. What would... Continue reading
Posted Jul 31, 2018 at Spiritually Unequal Marriage