Fridays with Phil

Life, family and unshakeable faith



It’s never too late

This week my Mum was promoted to heaven.

She was 95 years old and until her final days was active and healthy.  In fact, her last week saw her attend the Lifeline Brass Blokes Awards night (pictured above) as well as her great grandson being dedicated at Church.

If I had to narrow it down to what I am most thankful to my Mum for, it would be her lasting eternal legacy.  Let me explain.

She made some brave decisions at age 54.  After separating from my Dad, I remember how hard Mum would work to find cleaning jobs at night while offices were closed and even got her driver’s license, something she was proud of her entire life.

Not only that, but that was when she started a relationship with Jesus and became a Christian. This new life gave her hope, strength and joy.

I can remember Mum sitting for hours with her Bible, a notebook and studying with the help of audio teaching tapes and various resources.

Raising a teenage boy without his Dad in the picture, Mum knew I needed to have healthy male role models and she started taking me to Full Gospel Business Men’s breakfasts, prayer meetings and Church services.

It was at those meetings Mum introduced me to Christian men who were successful in their careers, had healthy relationships with their family and were not addicted to life controlling habits.

As a single Mum, she was laying the foundation for my future and it is because of her selflessness and courage, her commitment to Jesus, and even her ability to reach out and find help in her time of need, that I am who I am today.

If Mum had not been the brave person she was, I would not have met my wife Lenore at Church or raised my two beautiful girls in a healthy family environment.

Yes, my Mums’ legacy is having generational impact.

When I look back and realise that my Mum was my age and older when I was in my teenage years, I’m amazed at her energy, stamina and zest for life.  Right up until her last week, her life was full of blessing.

Mum made me who I am today because of the choices she made to raise me in the right environment.  She courageously turned my life around for the better.

What we can all learn from my Mum’s life:

It’s never too late to make a change for the better;
We need to do what we can and leave what we can’t to God;
Jesus never leaves us;
We need the help of others and we need to be a help to others;
God’s Word is life changing;
To live today with as much enthusiasm and energy as we have and get up tomorrow and do it all again; and
The last half can be the best half.

Thank you Mum, until we meet again.


Your most courageous decision

If you want to make it through a difficult situation, you have a choice to make: turn and run, or face it and chase it down.

In the book of 2 Samuel, chapter 23, the Bible tells the story of a man by the name of Benaiah.  On a snowy day, he chased his challenge, a lion, down into a pit and killed it.  Benaiah could have fled the lion but he literally overcame his challenge.

To tell you the truth, I have learnt more by facing the “lions” in my life than from running.

I believe that doing our best to face up to situations that life presents with no escape plan, and no “out” is the boldest and most courageous decision any of us could make today.

Even when you have no idea of how you are going to face the future or what you should do next, if God is with you, He can give you what you lack.  At the time of weakness or doubt, He can give you strength and wisdom.

You just need to decide, “Will I run away, will I lie down or will I face reality, and give it my best shot?

So if you have ever felt like a lion is chasing you down, don’t ignore it, hide from it, or pretend it’s not there.  Accept it, stand and face it.

Acceptance is the state of mind in which we find meaning from what we are facing.

For me, my lion is MND / ALS.  I decided early on to face it and chase it down.  There is only one option, no white flags, no retreating.

As I’ve said before “I may have MND, but MND won’t have me”.

I will not allow disease to destroy my soul or my spirit.  I have decided that if I will die anyway, which we all will one day, then I may as well live fully to the best of my ability until that day.

What’s your lion today?  Will you run from it or turn, face it, and chase it down?

Your lion could be an issue that you need to confront in your life, something you need to pick a fight with and change.

You see, sometimes the lion picks us and sometimes we pick the lion.  Sometimes bad things happen to us and sometimes we need to choose to fight a battle instead of live with the status quo.

In either scenario, what we do in this moment, how we respond, and our attitude are all up to us and will ultimately make an impression on the next moments, months and years.

Be encouraged today that in our most challenging moments we can discover purpose.  The lion wants to take from you but it can give as well.  It can give you a reason to keep going and prove that life is worth the living.  Anything worth living for is worth fighting for.

You can sit there and imagine a life without difficulty and without resistance but it’s nothing more than a fairy tale.  Or you can face up to your challenge, and determine to live and thrive, lions and all.

Take courage today,

Want more followers?

Want more followers?

The best leaders are those who know how to follow well.  In turn, they are supported by followers, who are leaders, who follow and so on and so forth.

Martin Luther King Jnr was a great leader because he courageously followed the dream in his heart, a dream of a better tomorrow for his children.

A byproduct of his courageous “follow-ship” was that many followed that same dream and that dream became a reality.

Jesus Christ, arguably the greatest leader in history, followed the leadership or will of His Father.  He also told others, “Follow me, and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19).

Here, He is saying: Follow me, as I also follow my Father, and I will make you leaders (that is, people, who others will follow).

Whether you are following a leader, boss, or dream, or whether you desire to become a great leader, boss, or dream-caster: be encouraged to follow courageously.

What does the courageous follower look like?

Firstly, they are risk-takers.    We usually structure our lives to reduce risk to an acceptable level.  However, courage requires a willingness to consciously raise our level of risk to follow without reservation and wholeheartedly. If there is no risk, courage is not needed.

Nelson Mandela said, “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

Secondly, they are responsible.  Courageous followers discover or create opportunities to fulfil their potential and maximise their value to the team. They are not afraid to work hard to see their leader and team succeed.

Thirdly, they are willing to change.  Courageous followers see the need for transformation, whether in society, in organisations or in themselves.  They champion the need for change.

The sooner we get used to the idea of courageous followers supporting courageous leaders (who are courageous followers), the sooner we can change the world for the better.

I hope this has challenged you to be a courageous follower of others but also of dreams and visions bigger than yourself and your present reality.

I have a dream that one day there will be a cure for MND / ALS. For me to realise that dream I must courageously face the reality of this disease and be willing to take risks and be responsible so that awareness and finances can inspire research and breakthrough.

What is your dream or vision for your better future?

Ask yourself what steps of risk, transformation or responsibility are required to step out with courage today.


This is Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy and State MP NSW Tim Owen.  Leaders who are courageously bringing change to Newcastle city.  Passionate locals are joining in to make their dream a reality.
This is Newcastle Mayor Jeff McCloy and State MP NSW Tim Owen. Leaders who are courageously bringing change to Newcastle city. Passionate locals are joining in to make their dream a reality.

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