Thursday, 30 November 2006

Lyrics speak

Here’s a quick post with a lot of meaning. Just thought I’d share the lyrics to two songs which have really encouraged and inspired me over the last week. I’ve felt a real burden to take stock of how I’m living in relationship to the grace God has given me. And the words to these two songs, Hillsong United’s From the Inside Out, and off the latest Newsboys album Your Love is Better than Life, just really stuck out as God speaking into my life.

Sometimes when we sing or listen to music, we don’t always take in the lyrics or the deep meaning of the lyrics, so read through these and see if God’s talking to you as well.

From The Inside Out
by Hillsong United - album: United We Stand (2006)

A thousand times I've failed
Still Your mercy remains And should I stumble again
I'm caught in Your grace
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

Your will above all else
My purpose remains
The art of losing myself
In bringing You praise
Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame

In my heart and my soul
Lord I give You control
Consume me from the inside out
Lord let justice and praise
Become my embrace
To love you from the inside out

Your light will shine when all else fades
Never ending
Your glory goes beyond all fame
And the cry of my heart
Is to bring You praise
From the inside out
Lord my soul cries out

Your Love Is Better Than Life
Peter Furler, Phil Joel, Paul Colman and Steve Taylor – album Go (2006)

I dunno nothing that I haven't been taught
I dunno why I was born into the family I’ve got
I dunno if I ever had an original thought
Maybe not, maybe so, maybe later, I dunno
I dunno how I can end a prayer, then turn on a friend
I dunno what I was thinking when I just pressed SEND
I dunno why I still criticize the things I dunno
I dunno, I dunno, I dunno, but I know

Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’m just a broken machine
Your Love is better than life
Without your love, it’s all a mindless routine
Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’m in another free fall
Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’ve got nothing at all.

I dunno what goes down the moment we die

Do we get halos & harps? Do we sleep? Do we fly?
I dunno how, when and why this world will finally end
Speculation’s gonna grow, who knows best, I dunno
I dunno if I should push ahead or stop and grieve
I lie awake and wonder how to make a city believe
I dunno when it’s a ministry and when it’s a show
Maybe neither, maybe both, I dunno,
but this one thing I know

Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’m just a broken machine
Your Love is better than life
Without your love, it’s all a mindless routine
Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’m in another free fall
Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’ve got nothing at all.

Here’s to the lover of my soul
Here’s to the lover of my soul
I dunno when to walk away or stand and fight
Just when I’ve got it wrong, I’m sure I heard you right
And when my arguments are watertight
You expose every hole with a flash and a flood
And I know
I hear you call in the eye of the storm
And I know
You’ve had my back since the day I was born
Still stoking my heart, still stirring my head
You’re my pillar of fire You’re the wine, you’re the bread

Your Love is better than life
Without your love, I’m just a broken machine
Your Love is better than life
Without your touch I’m not a full human being
Your Love is better than life
If I should ever leave, where would I go
Your Love is better than life
I look to you ‘cause You’re the lover of my soul

I dunno nothing that I haven't been taught
I dunno why I was born into the family I’ve got
I dunno if I ever had an original thought
Maybe not, maybe so, maybe soon, maybe later, I dunno
I dunno when I’ve got it right or wrong
I dunno how I can wrap it in a four minute song
But I know
My grip is better when I’m not hanging on
Your love is making us strong (all along)
Your love is better than life

Tuesday, 28 November 2006

Take My Wife

This is a bit of a follow on from my previous post - looking at how we react to, treat and view people who don't believe in Jesus, and how they view us because of that. A friend sent me this email a while ago, but I just happened to stumble across it again this morning while I was looking for something else. I was amazed at how it spoke on some of the stuff I'm thinking about at the moment... so thought I'd post it up here too.

It's an article written by John Fischer, Sernior Writer for Purpose Driven Life Daily Devotionals.

"Take My Wife?"
by John Fischer
I heard a joke the other day referring to the church as the Bride ofChrist: "I like Jesus, it's just his wife I can't stand."
We laugh along with this, but at the same time, it is painful because we know, to a certain extent, it is true. Many people use their bad impression of Christians as the main reason why they don't want to become one, and unfortunately we have given this bad impression some legitimacy. I believe if our fellowship was as it should be, we could at least eliminate one popular excuse people have for not accepting Christ.
Fellowship is not a club, or a special interest group, or a lobbying effort, or a neighborhood crime watch. Essentially, fellowship is a bunch of sinners who can't believe they got saved enjoying together the fruits of God's amazing grace. As Robert Capon has defined it, the church is "a community of astonished hearts." I can't help but think that if our fellowship were more like this, more people would want to join up.
For one thing, they would feel welcome. The emphasis would not be on the sin that keeps them out, but the forgiveness that welcomes them in.
They would feel acceptance and worth, much like a person feels at an A.A. meeting when they discover they are not alone in their struggle. And finally, they would not feel judged, which is one of the biggest reasons why people stay away from church. It makes them feel guilty being around all those good people. Well if that's the case, I don't think those "good people" are telling the whole story about themselves. Essential fellowship means telling the truth all the time.
In my experience, one of the most exasperating reasons people give for not wanting to become a Christian is the fact that they are not good enough. Think about that ? not good enough for a gospel that welcomes sinners (the worse they are, the better). Something isn't adding up here.
Jesus said the world would know we are His disciples by our love for each other, not by our being holier than everyone else. And that love is a love that takes into account the worst about us. Look at the disciples: such a ragtag group of ruffians, crooks and fishermen. And they all managed to love each other. Is this a mutual admiration society? No, it's more like a "pinch-me-this-can't-be-true" bride reveling in the love of her groom and wondering why he would ever pick her.
Isn't that the way it should be for His bride?

Monday, 27 November 2006

What is a non-Christian?

Mythbusters continues at Whitehill. This week the myth to be busted was "Christianity is all about being a good person".

Pretty easily busted I say, the whole faith by works was busted well by Craig (one of the pastors at Whitehill). However part of the service really got me thinking.

Craig grabbed a whiteboard and asked a question for a bit of a congregational brainstorming session.

The first question was "What Is A Christian" - and I must say the points that came forward were good, Craigs point was made when there was nothing about 'being good' that came up as a main point for Christianity.

Here's the list.
  • Forgiven
  • Brought Right with God - Righteous
  • Holy - Set apart for God
  • Servant
  • Community
  • Loves God
  • Citizen of the Kingdom
  • Follower of Jesus
  • Giving Thanks
  • Does stuff wrong
  • Child of God

I think that's pretty good. The recognition that we aren’t perfect, and it’s through God’s forgiveness we are made righteous and brought into his Kingdom.

However the next brainstorm question shocked me with its answers. The question was "What is a non-Christian" and I have to say I'm really dissapointed with the list of answers given here...

  • Doesn't Believe in God
  • Does Bad Stuff
  • Liers
  • Unforgiving
  • Without Hope
  • Murders People
  • Selfish
  • Uses God's Name in Vain
  • Deliberately Sins
  • Also Forgiven

In my oppinion this list plain sucks. The thing that made me a little angry, most of these answers came from the older more mature Christians in our congregation.

Why do I feel like that? Well looking at that list, I could tick off a lot of them that I myself am or have been since I gave my life to Christ, and some of the most forgiving people I know are un-believers, and I know some Christians who are quite unforgiving. I know plenty of people who believe in God, but just haven't realised exactly how that ties into the Gospel, not all non-Christians don't believe in God.

What's the difference between sinning and deliberately sinning? Even so, I know I've sinned when I knew plain and well what I was doing was wrong. Paul himself said the things he knew he should do he didn't and the stuff he knew he shouldn't do, he did.

I look at that list and can see why people these days don't want to come to church, if we have this sort of attitude to people who don't believe in Christ, then how are we going to treat them? We'll be treating them like we know they are bad, but because we are good Christians we'll put up with them so they'll know Jesus and change their ways. I think that outlook alone puts us right in the middle of that list which we wrote out as describing non-Christians.

That list in itself shows that even though we say "Christianity is all about being a good person" is a myth, we have this underlying belief that we are good because we are Christians, and everyone else is bad. We believe we are so high and mighty, even though we say we're not, there is this underlying almost 'secret' belief inside us that we are!

As long as we have that attitude how are we going to effectively share the true Gospel with people who don't know it yet?

So what do I think the answer to those brainstorming questions are? I think out of most of those things there is only one difference between a Christian and a non-Christian, we all lie, we are all selfish, we are all unforgiving at times, but there are times when we all forgive, when we all serve... the one difference is that non-Christians have not accepted the forgiveness God offers through his grace. It's through accepting the gift offered by Jesus taking our sins on the cross that we can slide from under the judgement of God, and be made right with him.

Let's all get real with ourselfs and see we are not that different from the people outside of our church walls, let's actually move outside of those walls long enough to show people we are like them, we don't think we're better than them, we have just accepted an amaing gift, salvation through Christ, and they can have it too, simple as that.

Monday, 20 November 2006

Controlling the Fear

Ok, so I have an uncontrollable fear of spiders. I don’t really know why, and I can’t tell you when it started. I know that when I was 12 I was trying on a new shirt in David Jones and was bitten by a Black Widow spider which had made a nest in the shirt.

I got pretty sick that night, but there was nothing too serious about it.

I went to a house party on Saturday night, the party was in the backyard of a house in Auchenflower. The backyard had a nice garden, and after about 10 minutes of standing talking, someone told the guy next to me to be careful of the spider. Turning I saw the web in the tree about 5 meters from my head, and this rather large ghost white spider.

I moved out of the way pretty quick, but found myself totally conscious of the spider’s presence for the rest of the night – even if I was on the other side of the yard.

Why does fear control us like that? Why does a small and quite insignificant creature which bears no threat to me still fill my mind when I should be enjoying other things?

The fact there was a spider in a tree really hampered my enjoyment of a party, do bigger fears in our lives (failure, ridicule, separation) stop us dead from achieving things God sets for us to do? How do we get over those fears, I can't even get over a fear of 8 legged creatures (yeah scorpians freak me out too).

Thursday, 16 November 2006

Another Drum Video ~ Newsboys

Check out this clip of a Newsboys concert. Maybe not the most fab drum solo, but the idea is pretty unique.

drum solo

More Videos

Wednesday, 15 November 2006

Nokia Returns

I got my phone back this morning. The storeman at work was running into the city yesterday afternoon, so I asked him to call in and pick up my repaired phone. It seems it was a software issue, and with a complete format and software reload the problem has been solved. I think I'll be a little wary for a week or so, because when I did my own software fix, the phone worked for a few days before playing up again.

Monday, 13 November 2006

Nice Things are Nice yes??

We’re doing a series at church at the moment called Mythbusters. Going along the line of the TV show we are looking at some common ‘myths’ within the Church, and Christian life and either busting or proving them. Actually it seems most myths have been chosen to be busted.

I must admit I roll my eyes at some of the ‘series’ titles and stuff we come up with in our churches today, trying to look hip and cool (and relevant!!). I’d much rather just do a series on a book of the Bible and really delve into what a certain section of the Word is trying to teach us.

Anyhow… Last Sunday night’s message was great. The ‘myth’ was “Stuff = Happiness” and Ben preached very well.

Consumerism is something I’ve blogged on previously, because it is something I struggle with at times. We all say the main things in our lives are God and Family… but man, I wonder if we were really truly honest with ourselves, if we’d find that we really did long after those material things deep down.

We may act like and say we don’t want all that stuff, but really we do have a longing that we have to squash so we can give that impression. I look at a brand new Ferrari, and I’d say “I don’t need one of those to be happy”, but then I catch myself gazing at pictures on the web, or outside the local cafĂ©, or driving one on my Playstation and thinking, that is an amazing car, I’d be stoked if I could have one.
Does the dreaming cause problems? Sure stuff equals happiness is a myth, which Ben busted with a great in your face, and thought provoking way. But even though I won’t ever own that Ferrari, and if I ever had the money to buy one I’d probably still find ministry things to spend it on instead, does that desire that burns inside of me to experience the thrill of owning and driving one deviate me from my walk with God, or hinder my true happiness?

Does owning a fast car, big TV, nice house, huge boat or a theme park make you happy? Does dreaming about those things stop you from seeking something else that will make you truly happy?

Sunday, 12 November 2006

OK maybe the Big Guy is teaching me something.

2 Days!!!

That's how long my phone worked for after I thought I'd heroically fixed the thing myself. Why it worked for 2 days and then started doing the same thing over and over again I don't know.

I dropped it into the Nokia repair center the other day so hopefully whatever is wrong will be fixed. Luckily I still have that spare phone.

I almost decided to delete my previous blog post, but guess it's a good lesson not to get too ahead of yourself huh!?

Gotta watch that pride...

Wednesday, 8 November 2006

Thank you Nokia Support

When I won my Nokia 3250 I was pretty impressed with the functionality and the 'coolness' of the whole twisting bottom. 3 different modes, Phone, Camera and Music player. I had one major misgiving about it though... how long would it last???

Well on Sunday night, just after I turned my light out and went to bed. My room was ablaze with the glow from my phone, thinking I must have a call I picked it up to see the number 3 continuously scrolling across the screen. I tried to stop it, but couldn’t – so I turned it restarted the phone, and couldn’t enter my pin because it always seemed to be all 3’s!!! Tired I turned it off and went to sleep.

The next day I left the phone off until I got to work, and when it started it was fine. However after 2 hours it started doing the same thing, and when the 3’s finally stopped scrolling, the keypad didn’t work anymore anyway. Frustrated I contacted Nokia to see how I could get the keypad fixed. I was told I’d need to take it too the Nokia Care centre in Brisbane and leave it there for the repair. Luckily I was able to grab an old dodgy Nokia 6110 from work to use and planned to take the phone in.

One thing bugged me – there was no visible problem with the keypad, and the continuing scrolling and the fact it worked once it had been off for a while; it didn’t seem to look hardware related. I did a bit of research myself and found the Nokia Software Updater. This little program finds any firmware (device drivers and hardware configuration files for electronic devices) updates and automatically installs them onto your device. So I downloaded the 3250 Updater and connected up my broken phone.

30 minutes later I had 60MBs of updates installed on the phone, the memory ‘flashed’ and A WORKING KEYPAD!!!

I contacted Nokia again today to inform the firmware upgrade had solved the issue, and was duly informed that there were no software problems with keypads and I still needed to send the phone to Nokia because I had not fixed it.

I think they may have missed the “Network Administrator” title in my email signature because I think only a technologically illiterate hack would have believed that if something was not working and now was, that it still wasn’t fixed.

So thanks for your help Nokia, maybe once you see a couple more software related keypad problems you will believe me.

Monday, 6 November 2006

Times of Gomorrah

Was reading the old book the other day and came across the story of Sodom and Gomorrah. They were two depraved cities, living in huge amounts, in fact they were celebrating and openly partaking in everything that was against the law of God.

God had had enough and decided it was better to blow the two cities away than let them continue to infect the world with their depravity. He found one righteous man, Lot, so told him to get out of the city before the flaming balls came from heaven to obliterate everything.

And I guess most of us know the pillar of salt story, always made me wonder ‘why a pillar of salt?’ Why not a toad? Or a snake? Or a tumble weed?

Anyway at Indy a few weeks ago, I blogged about how I’d felt witness to the depravity and self centeredness of this generation. I also mentioned something Pastor Garry Coleman mentioned at the Indy Festival Chapel Service… “You look around Surfer’s Paradise and think that if things don’t change God is going to have to resurrect Sodom and Gomorrah and apologise.”

Man you look at all the stuff going on in those two cities in the Old Testament, and I can pretty well guarantee most of that stuff was happening over the Indy weekend, and happens on a weekly basis all over the world. Our world has sunk into that depravity and sin-nature to levels I don’t think would have been seen in the Old Testament.

Yet there are no fireballs from heaven, and Christians fleeing cities with some turning into pillars of salt.

The key, I feel, is the new covenant of grace which God signed with the death of his Son. Since Jesus took up a cross and died, God’s law is justified only after grace is applied. For believers when they come home to their father, grace covers the law and God sees only the Son. Yet people who grieve the Holy Spirit and don’t accept that grace which Jesus gives, the law must be repaid, just as in the time of Sodom.

Out of God’s love for us, he’s provided that amazing way out…. that through accepting the Son, all of our sins, all of our depravity and all of our evilness is then placed on Jesus, in fact Jesus willingly takes all of that junk and puts it to the punishment he’s paid already. God then looks at us and sees no sin, only another Jesus standing in front of him.

The simple truths of that fact totally astonishes me.

But imagine how much it must be hurting God to see Surfer’s Paradise, and Las Vegas, and so many other cities of the world just revelling in sin!!! God must feel that same hurt he felt when he decided to nuke Sodom and Gomorrah, yet out of such great love he still sent his Son, knowing that in 2000 years time we’d be hurting him just as much.

God is good! I pray as Christians we can share him with all those in the world who currently don’t know him.

Thursday, 2 November 2006

Tony Royster Jr - The Man

Ok so after my absolute amazement at the 12 year old drumming FREAK! I decided to do some more research into the kid.

Tony is now 21, making that YouTube video below 9 years old! He started playing drums when he was 3, and is now considered one of the best drummers in the world.

Tony Royster Jr. was voted #1 Up and Coming Drummer by Modern Drummer magazine 2000 readers' poll and has been voted #2 in the UK 2001 readers' poll. He has appeared on the cover of the millennium issue of Modern Drummer magazine with Dennis Chambers and continues to receive high marks that earn him endorsements with companies such as DW Drums, Zildjian Cymbals, Vic Firth sticks, Evans drumheads, LP percussion, Drumframe, Shure microphones, Warner Bros. Publications, HQ percussion products, Drumometer, and Specialty Cases.
I've been playing drums for 10 years, yet I've never really been so passionate about it that I've watched or even looked into some of the worlds greatest drummers. However Tony has a new DVD out which I'm thinking of buying online, my interest has been triggered, mainly just by how much I learnt from watching his solo at 12!

Though this is the last little blurb of his autobiography, I like it when people use there gifts to have a positive influence on society...

Most importantly, Tony is a positive role model for all kids. His motto is "Be cool, stay in school" and he sets the standard for personal achievement among his peers.

Wednesday, 1 November 2006

No flippin' WAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Wait for this to buffer and watch it. Just do it!!! This kid is 12 years old and is totally unbelievable.

I feel I'm a good drummer, but I am absolutly nothing compared to this kid.

I've watched it about a dozen times now.

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