Friday, 30 March 2007

Blog Stats

I've had Site Meter keeping an eye on my blog since April last year. UNtil recently I didn't know it had a whole heap more stat other than just a count...

This graph shows how much the viewing of this blog has grown in a year. I think it looks pretty positive.

Thanks for reading everyone - make sure you let me know what you think of what I write.

Keep rocking...

Wednesday, 28 March 2007

When will it all end?

Do you find yourself just wishing that today will be the day Jesus comes back?

I know we're always to be ready and looking forward to His return, but sometimes I find myself thinking "I've had enough, Jesus come back now!!!"

One day I just want to be driving down the Ipswich Motorway when suddenly trumpets overpower the music from my stereo… all the cars stop as all eyes turn to the sky where clouds are rolling back, and the source of the trumpets is seen. A tear appears in the sky and a light brighter than the Sun baths the earth in a warm shadowless glow.

Suddenly the sky fills with Angels, lining the horizon as far as the eye can see. While they sing praise, and play trumpets a rider on a white horse appears from within the bright light.

Everyone on the motorway falls to their knees, and wether it’s in an exclamation of pure worship or a statement of realisation every single person, man woman and child proclaims that Jesus Christ is Lord.

What a day that will be. Even when things are all good, and my life is going great guns, that picture of Jesus’ return excites me so much!

Maybe I just long for it more when things are going a bit tougher.

Tuesday, 27 March 2007

Where do I really fit in?

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

You are my supply
My breath of life
And still more awesome than I know
You are my reward
worth living for
And still more awesome than I know

All of You is more than enough for all of me
For every thirst and every need
You satisfy me with Your love
And all I have in You is more than enough

Powerful words, I love this song. But do I really believe what I am singing? All of You is more than enough for all of me? But what about those other things I can't do without?

It's easy to say - I can do without my car if I have God - and I believe I could. He's more than enough for me that I don't need material things.

But what about loneliness? With Jesus I feel so much love, but without meaningful relationships with other humans I feel intensely lonely. Do I move churches to fill that loneliness gap? Or is ‘all of You more than enough’ so I can stay put where I am, do God’s work and stay with the social loneliness?

I know Jesus fills every hole in our heart, and I really think that if I was in the middle of Africa I could be by myself and be completely filled with God’s love and not feel lonely. Yet here, when I see the deep friendships and relationships others have and know I could have that too, I feel like I need more.

The church is Jesus’ body, his workmen on earth. If I’m somewhere and feeling like I’m all alone, but can go somewhere else and feel supported and cared for, should I move? Or rely on God being more than enough and continue doing the work God’s already got me doing where I am?

Does the church become part of the ‘all of You’ which will be enough for ‘all of me’? So if one part of the church isn’t enough… another part could be?

Confusion and long chest tightening thoughts here…………

Wednesday, 21 March 2007

Song Lyric Quote for the Day.

And if I am his reflection
With all my imperfections
Well I can't call myself
Anything but just forgiven
Paul Colman - Pray.

Monday, 19 March 2007

Understanding Paul's race a little more...

1 Corinthians 9:25 - 27
Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. Therefore I do not run like a man running aimlessly; I do not fight like a man beating the air. No, I beat my body and make it my slave so that after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified for the prize.

Ok so maybe I didn’t run a race yesterday – but I did get a clearer idea of what Paul was talking about here…

At the start of the bike ride yesterday they were very clear… this was not a race – you weren’t competing against the other riders, we were out to finish this together. But you know what?? About 25ks into that ride I realised I was competing against someone, I was competing against Me.

I doubted I’d finish that 60ks, I doubted I’d make it up the next hill… at the 40k mark when I cramped and fell off my bike I doubted I’d be able to get back on.

But I knew something, that giving into that doubt would kill me – seriously, I would have felt so useless if I had not been able to finish that ride. I had to push hard to ignore that doubt. I hurt, my legs, my neck, my ankles, my chest and lungs – I was aching – each hill towards the end of that ride brought a new wave of tiredness and fatigue onto my body…

… and I wanted to give up, so badly I wanted to pull over and sit down – or as I passed the dock where the City Cat was just stopping, I wanted to go down there and hope on it, for a care free trip back to the start finish line.

But what would it have been worth to do that? What accomplishment would be made???

Finally at the 60k point – after 2 and a half hours sitting on my bike I won the prize… I wasn’t the first in… I didn’t finish in any grand style – but I beat my doubting self… I won over the pain, over the mental agony that had been pounding my head ever since that first big hill.

I won!

The sense of accomplishment I had when I crossed the finish line was so immense I laughed out loud as I coasted to a stop, my prize – the free T-shirt – and I tell you what; I’m gonna wear it with pride; cause I really felt I earned it.

The race Paul’s talking about in that above verse is just the same – we’re not competing against other Christians, fighting to be the first or the best when we reach the gates of Heaven – we’re fighting ourselves, our own doubts, our own selfish ambition and vain conceit. Our aim is to have the same attitude as Jesus Christ (Philippians 2:4 -5), and that incorporates everything else that it means to be a Christian.

There are times in this race where I feel I’m not going to make it through the next hour, let alone the day, week or year. How can I continue???

On my bike ride I had a friend. He rode with me – when I struggled up a hill he pulled up beside me and encouraged me. He was much fitter than I was – and he could have gone up the hill faster than me – but he stayed beside me, with an encouraging word.

Jesus is your friend… he’s so much more powerful than you – he was there when the world was created, yet he stands beside you, encouraging you. He gave his life so you might live, now he’s running the race with you.

When I fell off my bike I ended up on the grass beside the road, my leg cramping. As fellow riders passed me the majority asked if I was all right, and they were quite willing to stop and help me if I needed it. The church family are like those fellow riders. They are part of the race, they are tired too – but they are willing to help you up so you can finish your race. They aren’t competing against you, so they won’t leave you on the sidelines to fail… they will help you get back up, and you can finish the race together.

Paul was talking about so much more than winning a T-shirt, and if I can feel so much pride in this shirt, because of my physical achievement on a bike. Imagine how much pride and celebration there will be when I overcome my human self to let Jesus work through me, and I finish THAT race and receive a crown that will last forever…

… that’s the sort of race I long to win!

Bike Week 07 - The Ride...

Sunday, what a day. Well what a morning anyway. Some of the RACQ IT guys had decided we’d put a team in for the Bike Week 2007 ride. I must admit I was a touch apprehensive because my usual riding pattern is a 10k ride through the hills of Ipswich which takes me about half an hour.

This ride was a 60 kilometre ride starting and finishing at Southbank in the city. I wasn’t quite aware of exactly how taxing that would be. We met at the entrance to Southbank at 7am, ready for our 7:30 start – straight away I felt slightly out of place as most of the other RACQ guys had their road bikes and I knew I’d have to work much harder on my mountain bike. Luckily one of the other guys was on a mountain bike as well. To make me feel even more out of place they all decided to start with the ‘elite riders’ (supposedly able to average over 28km/h for the whole 60ks).

Well we took off and wound out way through the city, along the Riverside Expressway and Coronation Drive, and I think for that bit I would have been averaging the 28ks, but then we hit St Lucia and Indooroopilly, and the hills got me. For a 60k ride they had some massive hills in the first 10ks and I lost a lot of momentum through that area, I ended up loosing Matt (RACQ guy on the mountain bike) who seems to handle the hills better than I.

Another bit of poor planning I feel was that the first rest point was 35ks in, over half way (and the hardest half at that) and the second rest point at 45ks. So by the time I made the first rest point I was pretty dead, and then the second came up pretty quick.

However just before the second stop I came a cropper! There was a really REALLY steep hill, and I’d caught Matt again so was trying to keep up with him up the hill. About halfway my right thigh cramped badly. In the initial shock of it I lost balance and hit the gutter, performing a nice cartwheel onto the grass. Nothing hurt except my cramping thigh, which took about 10 minutes to settle down, and Matt was long gone by then, he didn’t even see me come off, got to the top of the hill looked back and wondered where I went.

Overall I think it was the most physically gruelling thing I’ve ever done. I didn’t realise exactly how tough 60ks would be – and with trying to keep up and catch up to Matt I pushed harder than I would have on a leisurely ride. I averaged 21km/h for the whole trip, which on a mountain bike is pretty good I think (for me I think it’s great!!!). Coming back into Southbank 60ks and 2 ½ hours later gave me a huge sense of accomplishment… I’d run a race, with only my pain threshold and self-doubt to beat, and I’d prevailed. I felt pretty good, even though I was stuffed.

Good confidence booster (until I heard the other RACQ guys finished 40 minutes before me :-P).

Tuesday, 13 March 2007

HRT on the Verge of Exclusion.

THE future looked bleak for V8 Supercars driver and Holden Racing Team owner Mark Skaife tonight as the wrangle over his team ownership continued.

Skaife met a deadline imposed by the Touring Car Entrants Group (TEGA), the governing body for the V8 Supercar Championship teams, to supply documentation.

But a TEGA spokesman said the organisation had decided to take legal advice on the situation and announce a decision before the next round of the championship, due to commence in Perth on Friday week.

If TEGA is not satisfied, HRT will be booted from the championship.,8659,21367789-23770,00.html
This saga has been ongoing for some months now. It seems TEGA (Touring-car Entrants Group) are questioning the true ownership of the Holden Racing Team. They have been investigating both HRT and the Toll/HSV team with allegations that both team are operating under the same owner (which is naughty!). HSV have cleared themselves, but it seems Skaifey has let HRTs ownership change without informing TEGA – which could spell the end of HRTs racing license for good.

This would impact the V8 Supercar series in a dramatic way, not only is HRT one of the premier teams in the comp, but Todd Kelly (HRT Car# 22) won the first round of the championship at Adelaide last week.

The HSV team which seems slightly involved in this too just happens to be the home of Rick Kelly, controversial Series Champion from 2006 – which leaves the whole deal feeling slightly more dirty.

[Sidenote ~ did anyone else notice Rick’s mullet during the Adelaide round! A mullet with hairy sideburns… I know drivers usually have bad hair after the helmet comes off, but Rick that’s just bad all the time! – end sidenote]

Seeing HRT banned would not be the best thing for V8s, but I guess even if it was FPR I’d want to see justice done, and HRT have already been given so many breaks to provide all the paperwork. Waiting to see what happens....

Post Script

Holden Racing Team have been cleared to race with no penalty. I think the rest of the field who have done the right thing have the right to feel slightly ripped off that no penalty at all has been given.

Monday, 12 March 2007

Disco Beats - Unique Venue

International Outlook, Garry Skinner and Watoto.

This past weekend I’ve been up on Tamborine Mountain at the International Outlook Conference. This was my first I.O – but I have been up to Tamborine for so many other camps it feels like my second home.

I.O is focused on Overseas Mission. It gives all of the Missionary Organisations a chance to showcase the work they are doing throughout the world, and is the perfect place for anyone interested in short-term or long-term mission work. Obviously my main involvement was with WEC and I spent a fair bit of time hanging around their stand.

The main speaker for the weekend was Garry Skinner from the Kampala Pentecostal Church (KPC) in Uganda. Garry is Canadian but has been working in Africa for over 25 years, when God called him to start an English speaking church in downtown Kampala (Sidenote ~ not such a weird notion when you find out Uganda [like The Gambia] was colonised by the English as is an English speaking nation – end sidenote) KPC was founded in 1984 and now has well over 7000 members and almost 200 cells based all over the city. It is an exciting church ministry, with such an amazing community servant hood, including Watoto Child Care Ministries.

Garry and his family arrived in Uganda amidst civil war, they have seen the country torn apart by war, and then again as the HIV virus swept through the continent. Uganda is one of the worst effected countries by HIV in the world and Garry and the people at KPC felt as the church they needed to do something to counter the effect AIDs was having on their nation.

Watoto Child Care Ministries is a response to that.

Uganda has endured brutal dictators, the scourge of civil war and the deadly AIDS epidemic. An estimated 2 million children in Uganda have been orphaned by these calamities, 880,000* of them as a result of AIDS alone. (*UNAIDS stats)

The country is still reeling from a past of corruption, brutality and oppression. The economy is improving, but still struggling. Social services are scarce, water and sanitation systems are unavailable to most, and poverty and disease are prevalent. Every day, scores of children are orphaned and abandoned in the streets. The government is not equipped to provide care for them. Private babies homes and adoption centers can't keep up and are themselves unable to provide long term care a child. This is the reality that is Uganda. The situation is dire. The need is great. But the future is changing!

Watoto was born out of this need. It is addressing this crisis and is providing hope for the nation.
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2 million orphaned children! That’s the entire population of Brisbane! I love this ministry, I have a deep deep passion for what they are doing, and how they are doing it. I am excited about the fact that the whole ministry is being run by Ugandans, not external missionaries – the Ugandan people have seen the need in their nation and decided the church needs to do something about it. It’s not your traditional orphanage either, more like a Children’s Village. Each child is set up in a house with about 7 other kids and a Ugandan mother (usually a widow of a HIV victim) and that becomes their family. They are fed, clothed, educated and giving the spiritual guidance to become the future leaders of Uganda.

Watoto currently operates 3 children's villages and cares for over 1500 children. The villages include over 130 individual homes, each accommodating 8 children and a house mother. They also contain a complete school system for the Watoto children and the surrounding communities, a medical clinic, a church / community center, an agricultural project providing food, a clean water source and electrical power. The result is a self-sustaining village that serves the children while providing employment for women and teachers, and steady jobs for laborers.

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Most churched Australians would have heard of the Watoto Children’s Choir which has toured here every year since 2003. Garry is a firm believer that anything adults can do, children can do as well, and the choir is the children’s way of sharing Jesus with the world. Some of the stories which have come from the Choir’s ministry are simply amazing. They truly do understand Jesus’ great commission and know that they are carrying it out while on tour. Plus it gives them an amazing look at the world outside of their country and a growth in confidence and personal abilities.

I’ve seen the choir many times… in fact the first was just before I headed to The Gambia. I fell in love with the kids - their passion, their understanding of God and their humble worship left me feeling in awe of them. They’ve all had such hard lives, loosing 1 or both parents to HIV, yet their joy and determination to make other’s see Jesus is overwhelming. Since my return from The Gambia, each time I’ve seen them I’ve been crying for the whole concert… the tears just run and I can’t help it.

Garry used all of this to speak on “God’s Answer; The Church”. Quite appropriate for the themes of I.O and I think I’ll blog on one particular message he gave in some more detail. But the main idea was that governments, and companies are not going to solve the worlds problems... why would God use governments, when he has his own people right here. The Church is God's tool to complete his will, and having millions of HIV orphans die on the streets of Uganda is not his will.

But my favourite part of the weekend was sitting down to dinner at the WEC centre and then having Garry actually come and sit next to me – he had been invited back to WEC for dinner – we had a good conversation, he was quite annoyed at The Gambian president’s claim of curing HIV (here) and having a personal discussion with him on the effects of HIV in Africa (from both of our experiences) and what the church should be doing is something I will not forget for a long time, I think God planned for me to sit next to him that night.

In fact I’ve thrown in my lot with Watoto. After speaking to the Australian director, I willing offered my I.T skills and anything else I can do to help the Watoto Australia team (based at Gateway Baptist here in Brissy). I would love a chance to meet the next choir in a more personal way, but all I really want to do is use my skills to help them with their ministry. If I meet them I know it would just be an added bonus, and though I don’t expect anything in return for what I’m doing, I pray God allows me to delve deeper and deeper with my involvement with Watoto.

Thursday, 8 March 2007

Respect the Flag

One of my fond memories of Primary School was to be on 'Flag Duty'. The grade 6 kids were in charge of putting the flag up every morning and bringing it back down before we went home. We each had individual lessons on exactly how to fold the flag, how to make sure it NEVER touched the ground, either as we were lowering it or folding it, and how to carry it with dignity and place it in a special spot in the school office. It was a two person job, because of the risk of the flag touching the ground. We had a roster, and we took the job seriously.

It seemed like a lot of work, just to fly a flag on our school grounds, but it taught me a real respect for the flag, and an almost ritual way in which it should be handled to maintain that respect.

Fast forward to 2007 and I’m not sure about your local Macca's, but mine has the Australian flag flying out the front.

Yesterday when I was driving home I noticed the young Macca's worker out taking the flags down for the evening. I was stuck at the traffic lights, so sat there watching him. I was shocked to see how he brought the Aussie flag down... letting it drop all the way onto the ground, sit there while he untied it. Then he picked it up, screwed it in a ball and carried it under his arm back inside.

I was disgusted, I almost wanted to pull in and have a go at him. But it made me think, do the young people today even get taught to respect our flag? Is there anything in their younger lives that would encourage them to treat the flag with any sort of dignity… without the grade 6 flag duty would I even care???

For me it seems like a really big thing, just the utter disrespect this guy showed, but maybe he doesn’t know any better, and so I’m thinking about writing a letter to the McDonalds Brassall store manager just to see if maybe there should be some sort of information given before they are told to just ‘run out and bring down the flags’.

Maybe I’m just old fashioned and anal….

Tuesday, 6 March 2007

Chaplain's work after Fatal Accident.

We’ve had a real tough weekend at Willowbank Raceway. What is usually one of my favourite weekends of the year, the Nostalgia Racing meet, was marred by a fatal crash at an open practice on Saturday night.

Nostalgia racing is for pre 1970 cars and dragsters and is a one day event. However, every Saturday night there is a public ‘Test n Tune’ night where anyone can turn up and have a run on the track. A lot of the Nostalgia guys used that as an opportunity to test and dial in their cars for the Sunday competition.

One racer took his rail dragster (not unlike the one pictured) for a test. He crossed the finish line and his shute did not deploy, it seems he didn’t brake very hard and tried to turn his dragster at the end of the track instead of running into the braking sand. A rail isn’t designed to turn at all, let alone make a wide arching turn at 150km/h, the dragster rolled, and ended up slamming into a concrete barrier, killing the driver instantly.

Dad and I as chaplains had planned to be at the Sunday competition, but do not usually attend the Test n Tune nights. We were both at a friends 21st birthday party when the Track Manager called Dad and asked him to come out to the track.

The wife of the racer had been at the track watching the run, and with all the other stuff going on the officials just did not know how to handle a grieving wife and family. We had a quick conference at the party, and decided Dad would go out with the Whitehill Minister Darryl, and I’d take Mum home before waiting to see if I was needed at the track also.

I didn’t have to go out Saturday night, but during the race meet on Sunday I talked to a few of the officials who were there that night. And in letting them tell their stories to get it off their chest I ended up with a vivid and very real picture of the situation, especially from the crash rescue team who were first on the scene. Dad was there until midnight Saturday, but the body could not be removed from the car until about 3am – due to Crash Scene Investigations and Police reports. The car was removed by the Police at about 3:30am, and the last official left just before 4am. All officials who were at the crash site were back at the track early in the morning to set up for the competition day ahead. So there were lots of very tired, and very down people at the track on Sunday.

Dad did a great job, caring for the family, making sure they had a way to get home, and the support they needed. He also sat and chatted with all the officials before he left Saturday and between us we met with them all again individually on Sunday (Dad being the official Track Chaplain did do most of the work, mainly because everyone recognises him and came up to start the conversations themselves.).

Something Garry Coleman (V8 Supercar chaplain) said to us when we first started, was that unfortunately it usually takes a tragedy before the people at the track realise what value the chaplains are. I’ve seen this first hand now, with the change of attitude towards us as chaplains.

The Sunday racing went ahead, and was good hard racing – but there was just a real heavy feel over the whole event.

A very silly crash added to everyone’s distress levels when the owner of a beautiful Z28 Camaro let his teenage daughter drive the car on a parade lap. When trying to do a burnout (which wasn’t suppose to happen anyway) she lost control and slammed the wall straight on (which meant she spun the car 90 degrees to the track). At the time all the show cars were just cruising down the track to show off their rides, so for a car that wasn’t even racing to crash is bad for the track, embarrassing for the owner (and expensive!!!) and just annoying to the staff! It took 45 minutes to clean up for racing again, the Camaro is pretty well a right off - and it all happened because of a lack of responsibility mostly on the father’s part.

Please pray for all the people who have been affected by this accident, especially the family who have lost a husband and father (he was over 60 so there may be grandchildren as well, I don’t know). The officials have had to deal with a lot, especially with the body remaining in the car for over 3 hours while they had to clean up around it.

Pray also for Dad and I as we continue to deal with this ourselves and others issues arising from it.


Friday, 2 March 2007

Month in Review - February

Wow some big things happening in Feb07!!

If claims from The Gambia are to be believed then the AIDs problem is over, we have a cure! Well that's what Gambian President Yaya Jammeh has said, but he can only cure AIDs on Thursdays, so that may be a slight drawback....

Also on my blog this month I've had a whole heap of stuff going through my head that I've whacked up here, from thinking about the pain Jesus went through on the cross to the impact of an amazing muso (Keith Green) on our lives today.

Plus we can't forget that the V8 Supercar season starts this weekend in Adelaide, and all the news coming from team swaps and sponsor swaps, I'm getting really excited about the 07 season!

Personally I've had a really busy month. We moved offices at work, and then back again after our area had been refitted, I've done a couple of regional trips to Bundaberg and Hervey Bay and we're finally completing a project which involves changing the computers in all 150 of our Roadside Assistant Patrol Trucks.

At home I've had to get use to living with my brother again, since he moved home - which subsequently led to my first tangle with Windows Vista when he bought a new laptop.

I've met some cousins from Canada who were visiting my Grandparents, and took them for a night river cruise on Brisbane's City Cat ferries.

But I think the most significant thing is finding that amazing coffee shop, Cafe Modena, in Brisbane. I have a Microsoft seminar in the city next Friday, and so I plan to visit the cafe again (and again and again) during the day.

Check out this link for all my posts from Feb is you missed any...


Thursday, 1 March 2007

Help me win free lunch for a year.

We're getting a new coffee shop here at RACQ Eight Mile Plains. And the Marketing department are running a competition. Name the new RACQ staff coffee shop and win your lunch free for a whole year!

So in my total incapacity to come up with anything creative I turn my destiny of free lunch over to you, my faithful blog readers. Send me your ideas so I can blitz this comp!!!
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