Reminders of You

Back in 1983-1987 I was profoundly blessed to be in a youth group run by Gavin and Liz Hockly. It was through this Te Awamutu Bible Chapel youth group called “Word of Life” that I learned lots, was challenged to ‘grow-up’ and also had the blessing of being able to try the gifts God has given me. Big apology to everyone I used as guinea pigs back then.

Recently I mentioned ‘The Box’, a records box of memories that had been missing for 10 years. A lot of the items were notes, poetry and newsletters I had kept from my youth group days. It was a habit that I would carry into the 90s as I ventured out into the world. I wouldn’t quite call it journaling because it didn’t have the consistency that I see in those who ‘know how to journal’. But it is a record of things I’m happy to remember.

Today I started at the top and opened up this box of memories. One of the first things I found were the hand written notes from a bible study evening I was leading. I loved using audio visual. It wasn’t unusual for me to want to ‘play a song’ or show a video (VHS people!) to get a point across.

On this night I had hand written the lyrics to a song ‘Reminders of You’ by Geoff Moore and the Distance from the 1992 CD “A Friend Like U”. Part way through I had made a note to pause the song and ask people to think on what reminds them of the Lord.

You know every day I drive home from work I have the privilege of taking an off-ramp that turns back on itself towards the west. I see the most dramatic sunsets and they always bring me back to God the creator who spoke the world into existence. I look on every beautiful burnt orange or red sunset blasting through the unique branches of our Australian gum trees and am reminded that the sunset I saw yesterday was taken down last night and God painted a new one today. I am grateful for His love and care, His creativity and the freshness I see that remind me that like it says in Lamentations 3, His ‘mercy’ is also new every morning.

The song is written by Jeff Silvey and Billy Simon.

Reminders of You

(Verse 1)
A cross on a chain
Or a thunder cloud rolling
A Bible in a hotel room
Or lights on an evergreen

Tombstones on the hillside
Or a little child laughing
Just to name a few
Reminders of you

You abide in me, my hope my Lord
And I will not forget your name
Please keep sending me reminders of You

(Verse 2)
A table set for twelve
Or a northern star shining
A lazy Sunday afternoon
Or a cool mountain stream

A piece of bread with a red wine
A December snow falling
Just to name a few reminders of You

The Box – Hand written memories!

Ever lost something so special but couldn’t even remember how it went missing. What if it contained your memories? What would you pay to get your hands on the memories of the past.

My memory is a specialised filing system, and so is my wife’s. For me, numbers, websites, passwords, and things of this nature come easily. But ask me what year we went to the ‘that’ beach for a holiday and I’m stuffed. My wife can’t remember the password to her email account but if you ask who gave us that set of glasses for our wedding or what she made for dinner at the youth group camp, she will be able to tell you the name, the dish and the recipe. She is truly amazing!

A few months back I received news that a ‘box’ of personal items had been found amongst the records at Rhema Broadcasting Group which is the New Zealand ‘sister organisation’ to who I now work for, UCB Australia. Somehow in my stint in Auckland as Admin and Personnel Manager this box of memoirs had become buried and lost.

10 years later it was in my hot little hands. Filled with photos of acting days, newspaper clipping reviews of my time treading the boards and a ton of youth group memories I began walking back down a memory lane or two.

While the memories go back through good and bad years they tell a story. Its a story of growth and living, of thought and thanks and a few chaotic tall tales along the way. Over the next while I want to move this box of thought from handwritten and type written words into the digital age and place them here on my blog.

Watch for photos, newspaper clippings and poetry coming out my ears. Some good, some really bad and some about real moments in Pitchford History. I’m creating a new category for ‘The Box’ to keep track of these pieces.

Oh and BTW, there were two All Black posters lost in that move from Auckland to Brisbane back in 1998. So if you have my large black and white collectors posters of Sean Fitzpatrick or Christian Cullen please get in touch to return them. No questions asked of course!

Wedding Vows Forever

photo_004 It’s often overlooked but Marriage isn’t a contract, its a covenant. If you are considering “tying the knot” with the ‘hunk’ or the ‘babe’ then take a moment to ask yourself is this for ‘convenience’ or ‘covenant’? Many enter into marriage particularly based on ‘young love’ for ‘the benefits’.

The longer I’m married I realise the benefits are on the end of giving not taking. That's where the difference is from a contract to a covenant. In a contract the parties keep taking until there is nothing left to take and then they walk away. Think on any commercial contract, any business deal and the objective is for a ‘win-win’ where both parties take as much as they can as fast as they can for as long as they can. Once there is nothing left to take the contract is dissolved and each party goes out looking for new fields to conquer.

photo_003 In covenant the parties give so that the agreement can last forever. In giving there is sustenance. In giving there is ebb and flow of strength and weakness. In giving there is hope beyond today. I am so grateful for a giving wife who has given in times of my weakness and loved when there was no love in return. Equally I am grateful for the love and appreciation I have for her where I can hold her, nurture her, encourage her and provide for her just because of who she is. Last night I lay in bed praying for her, thinking of 18years of marriage and how beautiful she is today.

photo_002 Today we did some picture hanging that included some wedding photos. One framed piece is of our hands with our wedding rings and either side are printed our wedding vows from 1991. Cheryl had the photos and the vows made up for a surprise Wedding anniversary present for me a couple of years ago. I share them with you today because of their increased significance to me. Cheryl and I wrote our own vows and they continue to show our love, our faith and our commitment.

My Vows;

Cheryl, I love you for your beauty and wisdom. I want all our friends and relations to listen to these vows I make today. Before our loving God, family and friends I pledge: To love you in body, person and spirit,
To provide for a home that we build together
as a haven of love,
To hold you tight when you cry,
To hold you soft as together we lie,
And to hold you high as you try to be all you desire.
I pray that I will lead our home as Christ led the church. Not for power but to secure you each hour. So together we can grow and learn to love each other more.

Cheryl, encouraging and forgiving one another in love, help me see this marriage last forever. I give you this ring as a token of my love. Let it symbolise the circle of family and friends who supported us today.


Cheryl’s Vows;

Andrew, I love you more than words can ever express. On this very special day which will always be with us, I pledge in the presence of our loving Father in heaven, family & friends:
That I will always love you no matter what highs & lows we may go through.
I promise always to care for you & meet your needs as our Father in heaven does without fail.
I will always be your companion as well as your friend who you can always depend on in your times of distress & happiness.
I pray that the trust that has been accomplished between us will continue to grow as we travel down life’s narrow road, that our love will grow as we learn to give and take so we will overcome any difficulties.
I know with Christ in our hearts & standing with us at our side our marriage will last forever.
Therefore this ring I give you is a symbol of my love as it signifies love which is unconditional & eternal just as our Father’s love is for us.


Please forgive the hastily taken photos off my iPhone. They were a little out of focus from the photos in our Wedding Album. I wanted to put something up here in this blog that reminded me of the significance of the 23rd March 1991. I will get some better resolution photos up in the coming days.

Update: After posting this I thought of the scripture in Ephesians chapter 5.

25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, 27 so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. 28 In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. 29 For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, 30 because we are members of his body. 31 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” 32 This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. 33 However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband.

The people at have put together a few challenging and helpful descriptions of the identifiers of a covenant marriage relationship.

Elements of a Covenant Relationship

Covenants are the fruit of a loving, faithful relationship. The vows we exchange at our wedding reflect a relationship already bound by steadfast love and faithfulness. The degree in which these words have meaning comes in direct proportion to the unconditional love that dwells within our heart for the one to whom we are repeating them.

Covenant partners take responsibility for their actions. As partners in a covenant marriage relationship, we are responsible for our actions. An example would be to remain “sexually pure” in our thoughts and actions towards our spouse.

Covenants are based on freedom of choice. Covenant marriages are not built on coercion, deceit, and manipulation. Wives, submission is freely given and grows from respect, not fear and manipulation. In like manner, husband, choose daily to love your wife “as Christ loved the church.” You must freely choose to love and honor her in spite of the fact that you may not “feel” like loving and honoring her.

Covenants are rooted in actions based on choices, not feelings. Our feelings are forever fluctuating. Therefore to build a covenant marriage on feelings is to build it on shifting sand, which cannot support the foundation of marriage.

Covenant partners nurture their relation-ship. Our marriage will grow as we build up one another in love. This takes place when we value our spouse more than ourselves. As we experience the unconditional love of Jesus Christ, we are able to love our spouse as He loves us. Covenant partners administer unconditional love, forgiveness, and reconciliation while providing comfort and hope to their partner.

Covenants are based on commitments freely offered A covenant is built on selfless love, freely given and freely received. As strange as it may sound, a covenant marriage is one in which the “tie that binds” the couple together is a commitment freely offered with no strings attached. Paul said it well: “Love never fails” (1 Corinthians 13:8).

Succeeding through Self-Discipline

I would have to admit that the biggest battle of my life is with my ‘self’. I’m constantly having to pull my ‘self’ into line, give my ‘self’ a good talking to and keep an eye on my ‘self’.

Sound familiar? Its very much the battle Paul talked about in Romans 7. Try reading from verse 7 onwards and see if Paul isn’t talking about your life?! I love Paul’s honesty as he deals with fleshly desires. Likewise he bring us back to Christ as the answer.

A long time ago (like around 10 years ago) a friend gave me piece of paper with six points on it. The paper I had didn’t have a name on it so I did some research and found it had come from Rick Warren. While I repeat the article here as a reference, it isn’t the total answer as our life doesn’t fall into six convenient categories.

To me the power over our flesh comes from having more of God in our life and less of self. I have been amazed lately how often the sin of selfishness is at the root of other sins. When watching a series of sermons on marriage by Mark Driscoll called Peasant Princess many of the problems experienced in relationships came down to the issue of selfishness and ‘wanting’ rather than ‘giving’. Its amazing how often we complicate our sin with excuses but when the rubber hits the road its plain old greed and selfishness.

I think John the Baptist summarised the ‘whole of life’ approach in John 3:30 when he said “He must increase, but I must decrease”. John was talking of the ministry of Jesus as others around him were concerned John might be ‘missing out’. In all our endeavours Satan seeks to see us fall the same way he did, by drawing attention to our own wants in order that like him we might fall through pride and self sufficiency. Through the word we realise our dependence must be on Christ and him alone.

These two verses probably sum up this thought. Firstly let Jesus have first place in our lives so that the there is no place for selfish desire;

“But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:14

Secondly seek to grow in maturity so that the we can be fruitful in our lives and desires.

“5 For this very reason, make every effort to supplement your faith with virtue, and virtue with knowledge, 6 and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with steadfastness, and steadfastness with godliness, 7 and godliness with brotherly affection, and brotherly affection with love.” 2 Peter 1:5-7


By Rick Warren

High achievers usually have one obvious thing in common: personal discipline. Successful people are willing to do things that average people are unwilling to do.

I’ve observed that successful people express self-discipline in six key ways:

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MASTER THEIR MOODS. They live by their commitments, not their emotions. People who do the right thing even when they don’t feel like it accomplish most of what gets done in the world! “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” Proverbs 25:28

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE WATCH THEIR WORDS. They put their minds in gear before opening their mouths. “Whoever guards his mouth preserves his life; he who opens wide his lips comes to ruin.” Proverbs 13:3

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE RESTRAIN THEIR REACTIONS. How much can you take before you lose your cool? “Good sense makes one slow to anger, and it is his glory to overlook an offense.” Proverbs 19:11

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE STICK TO THEIR SCHEDULES. If you don’t determine how you will spend your time you can be sure that others will decide for you! “Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil..” Ephesians 5:15-16

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MANAGE THEIR MONEY. They learn to live on less than what they make and they invest the difference. The value of a budget is that it tells your money where you want it to go rather than wondering where it went! “Precious treasure and oil are in a wise man’s dwelling, but a foolish man devours it.” Proverbs 21:20

SUCCESSFUL PEOPLE MAINTAIN THEIR HEALTH. That way they can accomplish more and enjoy their achievements. “that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor.” 1 Thessalonians 4:4

Where do you need to develop more self-control? The disciplines you establish today will determine your success tomorrow. But it takes more than just willpower for lasting self-control. It takes a power greater than yourself. Think about this promise from the Bible this week: “for God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The more I accept God’s control over my life, the more self-control He gives me!

Kindergarten Life Skills

A long time ago I found this piece on life skills for kindergarten and the office. It was funny but true in so many ways. Isn’t it sad how our maturity and wisdom don’t also grow in terms of overcoming selfishness and insecurity.

Doing a ‘google’ on it I found it was previously written by Robert Fulghum. His book by the same title dominated the New York Times best seller list in 1989 and through much of 1990.

All I Ever Really Needed to Know I Learned in Kindergarten
by Robert Fulghum

Most of what I really need to know about how to live, and what to do, and how to be, I learned in Kindergarten. Wisdom was not at the top of the graduate school mountain, but there in the sandbox at nursery school.

These are the things I learned: Share everything. Play fair. Don’t hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don’t take things that aren’t yours. Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody. Wash your hands before you eat. Flush. Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you. Live a balanced life. Learn some and think some and draw and paint and sing and dance and play and work some every day.

Take a nap every afternoon. When you go out into the world, watch for traffic, hold hands, and stick together. Be aware of wonder. Remember the little seed in the plastic cup. The roots go down and the plant goes up and nobody really knows how or why, but we are all like that.

Goldfish and hamsters and white mice and even the little seed in the plastic cup – they all die. So do we.

And then remember the book about Dick and Jane and the first word you learned, the biggest word of all: LOOK . Everything you need to know is in there somewhere. The Golden Rule and love and basic sanitation, ecology and politics and sane living.

Think of what a better world it would be if we all – the whole world – had cookies and milk about 3 o’clock every afternoon and then lay down with our blankets for a nap. Or if we had a basic policy in our nation and other nations to always put things back where we found them and clean up our own messes. And it is still true, no matter how old you are, when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

The Power of Encouragement

Recently a friend told me how he had been having a bad ‘day’. Someone who knew he was battling sent him an SMS that simply said “Have a great day”. There was nothing profound in the words, there was no wisdom to write in stone, it was simply the words of a friend saying “I’m with you”.

When my friend got this SMS he said it brought tears to his eyes. I read between the lines and felt he was saying that it was good to know he wasn’t alone. Someone knew, someone cared, someone acted.

Back in 1999 I cried out to a friend that I wasn’t coping. He sent this email. It hit home so well I printed it out and put it where I would treasure it. Reading it today I felt to send it back to this friend. I’m praying for him just like I believe he did for me back in ‘99.

Sent:   Tuesday, 23 February 1999 10:39
To:   Andrew Pitchford
Subject:   God

I’ve got this little Bible Society thing on my noticeboard. It reads…

Trust in the Lord with all your heart. Never rely on what you think you know. Remember the Lord in everything you do, and He will show you the right way. Never let yourself think that you are wiser than you are; simply obey the Lord and refuse to do wrong. If you do, it will be like good medicine, healing your woulds and easing your pains. Honour the Lord by making Him an offering from the best of all that your land produces. If you do your barns will be filled with grain, and you will have too much wine to be able to store it all.

Proverbs 3:5-10

Encouragement for you.

Reminders on Calling

Back when I first started working with United Christian Broadcasters in Australia around 1999 I faced a hard patch which tested me in terms of my calling and resolve. As much as I had youthful passion I recognised I didn’t have much ‘sticking power’. One time when praying the Lord gave me this encouragement which I wrote down (always a good idea), printed it out and kept it in front of me. Maybe its what you need today. I know that reading it has encouraged me again.

You are here because God called you to this position.

Now honour the Lord by praying about everything.

Bless His name by rejoicing in every circumstance.

Love your Brother and Sister with brotherly affection and take delight in honouring one another.

The scripture from Romans 12 v 12 was the appropriate full stop to these words.

Be glad for all God is planning for you. Be patient in trouble, and prayerful always.

Beating burnout

Back on 10th November 2004 I saw this devotional on I printed it out and tucked it away. I saw the printout recently and with the launch of the new website for word4U2day I thought it was a good reminder for us all. If you haven’t registered yet then visit the new website and sign up.

Wednesday, 10 November 2004

Help, God – the bottom has fallen out!…

Psalm 130:1 TM
If you burn the candle at both ends, you aren’t as bright as you think! In these times of working harder but achieving less you can get irritable and cynical and lose your sense of humour. David was there: “Help, God – the bottom has fallen out.” If that describes how you feel sometimes, here are two helpful suggestions:

1) Don’t go it alone. The Bible says that on the seventh day: “God…rested from all his work” (Genesis 2:3 TM). And rest is still one of His priorities for your life. But that can be a problem when you’re a one-man band. Check out Moses. He had trouble sharing out the responsibility for keeping two million Israelites happy in the wilderness! Finally, he told God: “I cannot carry all these people…the burden is too heavy…kill me…now” (See Numbers 11:14-15 NIV). Wow! Now that’s major burnout! And what was God’s response? “I never told you to do it all yourself. There are talented people all around you just waiting to be asked. Don’t be a plonker Mo’ – get them involved!”

2) Nobody’s perfect. Chuck Braun runs a company called Idea Connection Systems and gives all his trainees ‘a mistake quota’. It works like this: each person can make up to 30 mistakes during a session with nothing to worry about. If anyone uses up all 30, Chuck gives them another 30, then another. And the result? They learn to see their mistakes as a creative process and begin thinking of them as part of the learning curve. And you need to do that too!

Accountability, the Heart Check-up

I recently came across a piece of paper from a friend in Hamilton, New Zealand. When I first got involved with Radio Rhema he challenged me to meet with him and walk through these questions. I believe they are a variant of seven questions Chuck Colson went through with his team when he formed Prison Fellowship.

Its fair to say I haven’t been using these questions for over ten years and yet when I look at them they are questions I ask myself on a regular basis. I feel they are healthy spiritual check-up. Zig ZIglar would say we need a check-up from the neck-up… ie. get your head straight. These questions deal more with the ‘heart’ of the matter.

  1. Have you been with a person of the opposite sex this month in an inappropriate way?
  2. Have you been completely above reproach in all your financial dealings this month?
  3. Have you exposed yourself to any sexually explicit material this month?
  4. Have you spent time daily in prayer and in the Scriptures this month?
  5. Have you wasted large amounts of time frivolously this month?
  6. Have you fulfilled the mandate of your call this month?
  7. Have you taken time off to be with your family this month?
  8. Have you been ashamed of the Lord this month?
  9. Have you done anything this month that you would regret if the Lord returned today?
  10. Have you just lied to me?

You can change the frequency from monthly to weekly if this is how often you meet. As these questions become part of your own ‘check-list’ I find they are also a great hedge built around your heart protecting you from making those wrong decisions.

For more wisdom on accountability and leadership, read this excellent article by Kenneth Boa.

World Wide Web in Plain English

I love the work of Common Craft who produce a variety of presentations for work, home or pleasure on the intricacies of life. Often I am asked to explain how something happens. Immediately the mind goes into spin mode followed quickly by rinse, spin, dry and repeat. That’s where Common Craft come in. They do a great job of making the complicated seem simple or at the very least opening the door of understanding. 

Here is one key example;