Archive for March, 2012

Invitation and Sir Richard Hadlee

Sir Richard Hadlee adored by the New Zealand public is less so by the English cricket fans, admired maybe but not adored.

You see Hadlee took too many English wickets during his stellar Test Career. But for those of us interested in the laws of

success and failure, you may be surprised to learn that Sir Richard actually bowled 22,000 balls to take his 431 Test wickets.

That means Hadlee bowled 21,569 balls that failed to take the wicket he desired.

Interviewed about his career, Hadlee however revealed his bowling strategy. He said that he had a jack, queen, king, ace,

bowling plan, which set the batsman up for the ace wicket taking ball. So in the midst of 21,569 balls of seeming failure not all

were wasted, in fact they were preparing for taking the batsman’s wicket.

In the area of invitation there will be seeming failures, when people say no, but perhaps we can invite people strategically.

Perhaps our jack invitation is simply to invite them to eat with us and another Christian friend. Perhaps our queen invitation,

is to invite them to do something fun with our Christian friends. Perhaps our king invitation is to invite them to a study involving

our friends, and perhaps by then our ace invitation can be to our home group, our church service, or into a relationship with


The jack, queen, king, ace of invitation

When is an invitation to church too late?

I once conducted a Seminar in church and knew that I had to finish the session by a certain time because the church had been double-booked. I didn’t bother to ask what the other event was as it was no problem as long as I finished on time.

With ten minutes to go, only I could see what was coming up the aisle of the church. As the coffin came up the aisle of the church followed by gowned clergy, my jaw dropped. It was almost one of those moments when the world slows down to a crawl. The coffin ended up 6 feet away from me as I desperately concluded the Seminar, skipping over my final few slides.

As the seminar was about invitation, one friend cruelly said afterwards, “well at least you got another one back to church!” Yes but unfortunately too late!

You should be okay. Invitational Fear

Travelling in Australia is always fraught with danger for the intrepid explorer. For example I am generally prone to be bitten by all sorts of insects and coming out in lumps. So imagine my slight discomfort on a recent visit to a diocese which I will not name for legal reasons (Rockhampton) when my lord Bishop (for that is how you should really address them) showed me my sleeping quarters. In the midst of the room there was a bed, but dominating my thoughts was the mosquito net handliy placed above the bed.

I went to bed on my first night with the Bishop assuring me in the grand way they do before a congregation during the Absolution that “You should be okay!”

I woke next morning surrounded by the net and several hungry looking mosquitos on the other side. This happened for three consecutive nights. One night I heard the mosquitos sawing through the net, on the second night I heard them trying to tunnel under the net, and on the third night I witnessed the most extraordinary Mosquito Parish Council Meeting where I and my blood were the only agenda items.

In the end despite one or two bites, I survived. I have been asked to go on a number of televsion programmes already to tell my story of bravery!

I want to say in the area of invitation “you should be okay!” You may face rejection, you may face a fierce response, you may even put your friendship at risk, but I want to say in the end “you should be okay” and more than that, you will have a tale to tell, maybe not as long as mine.

Invitation and the law of averages Shane Warne

Before he retired from Test Cricket Shane Warne had taken more wickets than any other bowler in the history of the game.

He actually took 708 wickets. But many people will not realise that he had 40,700 attempts at taking a wicket. So he bowled

39,992 balls that did not achieve their desired effect. Not only that, he conceded 18,000 runs

This means that arguably the best bowler of all time had to bowl 57 balls before he took a wicket. In other words Warne endured

the failure of 57 wicketless balls, but kept on going because the law of averages said in his case that each failure increased

the chance for success

The law of averages strikes also in invitation. Not every invitation to something we love is going to result in acceptance. But

if we persist long enough our own law of averages in invitation will appear and if we endure or as old versions of the bible say “suffer long” (longsuffering) we will succeed.

Invitation Training and the dip

Baby eagles learn to fly primarily by observing their parents. To encourage young eagles who don’t show an interest

in fledging, the parents sometimes fly around the outside of the nest with a choice piece of food in their claws.

Such gentle coaxing goes against the popular myth that eagles push their young right out of the nest in

a “sink or swim” flying lesson. While food is a great motivator, the young eagles are curious about the world

and like to imitate their parents. By perching on a nearby limb with a choice meal, the eagle parents are encouraging

their young one’s sense of curiosity–and its appetite–until the young eagle begins to leave the safe environment

of the nest on its own accord. It will then of course initially plunge downwards (the dip)

In the same way that eagle parents coax their eaglets to fly, Jesus used a similar pattern with the disciples.

We can think of Jesus sending the seventy two, Jesus inviting Simon Peter to walk on water, Jesus asking the disciples

to feed the five thousand. In each of these incidents there is I believe a substantial risk of failure (the dip).

The Seventy two faced rejection, Simon Peter sank, and the disciples panicked by saying “where could we get enough

bread?” Moments of crisis, but also moments of growth! Invitations of the seventy two accepted, Simon Peter walks

on water and the five thousand are feed. You see God the Father is right in the middle of the dip and its in the curve of

the dip, which of course are His loving arms that we find our identity and security. So try invitation and the dip.

Invitation and the dip

Seth Godin American Entrepreneur, Author and Social commentator in 2007 wrote a little book called The Dip.

The Book teaches you when to quit (and when to stick)


The dip is a temporary setback that can be overcome with persistence –

and how to recognize if you are within one worth pushing through, or one worth quitting.

Within this concept I find one of the major ways that God trys to teach His children. Some examples from the bible

Moses 40 years in exile, Joseph in a prison, David faced by Nathan about adultery and murder, Jesus in the wilderness

The Apostle Paul in prison, the disciples betrayal. I could go on……..

It is in the dip (if we choose to listen) that God disciples and matures us.

Invitation creates eventually for most of us the dip, when we have to face the rejection of a friend and family member. Multiply

this across a whole congregation and you can have a whole church going through the dip together.

Some churches and people choose to take the easy way out by quitting and stopping invitation entirely.

While others discover at our lowest ebb that God is there and wants to deepen His relationship with us