Thursday, 31 May 2007

Children's Church Picnic

Last Sunday was the Whitehill Children's Church Picnic - well the whole church was invited but there was heaps of stuff there just for the kids.

It was a great time where everyone just hung out and laughed as some of the antics of various kids during some of the activities.

There was a great family atmosphere, and it was good to see so many people interacting with others of different ages, backgrounds and families... the 'oneness' of Whitehill was really put on display.

And with every good church event there was an excellent (and huge) BBQ, I even stepped up to the plate (hot plate) and cooked some of the steaks for a while.

Great Fun!

Monday, 28 May 2007

Bring It On!!!!

Time for Whitehill to whitewash the competition!!!

Building on a hobby

I've mentioned on here that I am growing in my enjoyment of photography. I just thought I'd share some of the recent 'shots' I've taken around the place.

These are a little old, so if you've looked at my flickr account you may already know them, I'll be putting some new ones up soon - so my post some of them here too.

I've found flowers (even simple 'weedy' ones) make for some impressive shots

A road I know well up on Tamborine Mt - a simple early morning shot

An old abandoned camp sit on Tamborine Mt.

My aunty's back fence.

Cresent Head NSW, the bridge is the landmark of the site, I like this shot because it just seems to have some sort of 'arty' feel about it.

5 - 4

Looking good again – the Bombers are back to more wins than loses in their for-and-against!

The last 2 weeks have produced 2 great wins for the Dons! The Brisbane thrashing was precious! And last Saturday’s Richmond game was a close but good win. It was good to see Essendon not drop their game under pressure, for them to keep the intensity up and come back with the last 4 goals of the 4th quarter to win shows a team that’s developing confidence!

For a man supposedly playing his final season James Hird is having a corker! Best on ground the last 2 weeks and playing some of the classiest football I’ve seen in a while. I love Hirdy, think he’s an absolute champion – wonders if the Bombers look like they could make a run at the premiership next year if he’ll actually hang up the boots at the end of 07?

Loving some of the photography up on Essendon FC

Thursday, 24 May 2007

Authentic Christianity – Like Chinese Food.

I was eating some Chinese food for lunch the other day, one of the dishes that was being served was ‘Crunchy Chicken’. I didn’t get it (choosing a freshly cooked soup over the pre heated dishes out the front), but noticed that the majority of customers were ordering the Crunchy Chicken.

I wonder exactly what ties Crunchy Chicken has to authentic Chinese dishes, and if the dish is more produced for an Australian audience, and that’s created the high demand.

I like Chinese food, but the distinct thing I remember when I went to China back in 1995 was how different the food is over there. My favourite dish was Gou lao ruo, which was pork pieces wok tossed in a sweet sticky BBQ sauce with some sour (or more savoury) herbs and chilli flavours… (Gou lao ruo translates into English as sweet and sour pork). Now if you order Sweet and Sour Pork in most Chinese Restaurants in Australia you get deep fried pork balls with a sweet and sour sauce, which is runny, not BBQ flavoured and has pineapple in it.

There was no pineapple in the authentic Chinese dish I loved in Beijing!

See most Chinese Restaurants in Oz cater for an Australian customer base. They also have access to different cooking styles. In both cases this has altered the traditional style of the food to be modelled on an Australian ‘flavoured’ dish. The desire to be a successful restaurant usually overpowers the traditional cooking styles so that they compromise on the authenticity to give the consumer what they want. Over a long period of years we all in Australia have come to accept this is Chinese food, many restaurants advertise ‘authentic’ dishes, but are serving the Australianised version of authentic Chinese food.

To the point where we now expect Sweet and Sour Pork to be a serve of deep fried pork balls with a runny sauce (with pineapples) to pour over them. In some cases places that don’t serve it this way may be questioned as to why they’ve changed…

Are we a bit like that in the Church? To appeal to the society around us, or because of some of the ‘access to different styles and mediums’ we have at our disposal, do we change slightly from our authentic beliefs? Has this been going on so long that now the general population just assumes that’s what authentic Christianity is? Has it been going on so long that we believe that’s what authentic Christianity is? Do we compromise on our authenticity to give the 'customer' what they want?

Has the culture of music, entertainment, risky thrills, wanting to fit in, wanting to be uncontroversial, consumerism and materialism added ‘pineapple’ to our faith? Does this compromise the core biblical basis the church was founded on?

Like the Crunchy Chicken that was the obvious favourite for most of Brisbane’s CBD, are people outside the Church drawn into churches that offer a culturally acclimatised experience? Is that because they haven’t seen how good the authentic stuff is?

All I know is that if I had the choice of pork balls or traditional Gou lao ruo I’d be going the original and the best! I just pray that I’m also seeking an authentic faith of the same kind.

Saturday, 19 May 2007

Watoto Childrens Choir

From Uganda East Africa!

They're back in Australia so check out their schedule online and make sure you get to one of their performances.

Not only do they raise money for a great ministry, I can guarantee that everyone who goes to see them will be touched deeply!

If you don't go, here's what you'll be missing out on.

Friday, 18 May 2007

Saying Grace in a Restaurant!

Got this as a foward in my email today. Says a lot about kids and their faith, but also a lot about some adults and their stiff and stale 'faith'.....

Last week, I took my children to a restaurant. My six-year-old son asked if he could say grace. As we bowed our heads he said,

"God is good, God is great.
Thank you for the food, and I would even thank you more if Mom gets us ice cream for dessert.
And Liberty and justice for all!

Along with the laughter from the other customers nearby, I heard a woman remark,

"That's what's wrong with this country. Kids today don't even know how to pray. Asking God for ice cream! Why, I never!"

Hear ing this, my son burst into tears and asked me,

"Did I do it wrong? Is God mad at me?"

As I held him and assured him that he had done a terrific job, and God was certainly not mad at him, an elderly gentleman approached the table.He winked at my son and said,

"I happen to know that God thought that was a great prayer."

"Really?" my son asked

"Cross my heart," the man replied.

Then, in a theatrical whisper, he added (indicating the woman whose remark had started this whole thing), "Too bad she never asks God for ice cream. A little ice cream is good for the soul sometimes."

Naturally, I bought my kids ice cream at the end of the meal. My son stared at his for a moment, and then did something I will remember the rest of my life.

He picked up his sundae and, without a word, walked over and placed it in front of the woman. With a big smile he told her,

"Here, this is for you. Ice cream is good for the soul sometimes; and my soul is good already."

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Our PM is the Criminal?

An article on (here) today is saying that the Zimbabwe government is labelling Prime Minister John Howard a criminal with "Gestapo tendencies".

"The Australian people should really stand against John Howard's Gestapo tendencies and interference with other states. He wants to cause insecurity in our country and that we will not allow," Dr Ndlovu said on ABC radio today.

"He is the international Gestapo and a criminal ... he is worse than anybody else, his actions in banning the cricket is just one example of being the Gestapo," Dr Ndlovu said of Mr Howard.

Our PM had this to say on when banning the tour earlier this week.

“We don't do this lightly, but we are convinced that for the tour to go ahead there would be an enormous propaganda boost to the (President Robert) Mugabe regime.

"The Mugabe regime is behaving like the Gestapo towards its political opponents. The living standards in the country are probably the lowest of any in the world, you have an absolutely unbelievable rate of inflation.

"I have no doubt that if this tour goes ahead it will be an enormous boost to this grubby dictator."

(John Howard -,8659,21718816-23212,00.html)
Good call Mr Howard I say, and for the Zimbabwe government to turn around with a big “No I’m not You Are!!!!” really highlights (I think) the indwelling selfishness, corruptness and ‘un-care’ they have for their nation.

I’ve lived in Africa, in a country where the government cares more about itself than it does its people. In no way is The Gambia anywhere close to the state of Zimbabwe, but I have witnessed a nation with a self absorbed head of state. Obviously it’s the worst possible thing for a country, and so why do so many other nations turn a blind eye to the struggles of the people. If a nation’s government will not help the people, someone else HAS to!

Here at Whitehill Church of Christ we have a strong focus on Zimbabwe as a mission field, mainly due to the passion of a few members of the church who have been there numerous times. We now send a team yearly to Zimbabwe to encourage believers and help churches in any way they can. It’s only small, but if we can encourage the believers there it is a start to getting the country back on track.

Same with cancelling the Aussie Cricket tour, we can’t just keep accepting a government as it is. They are hurting their people so badly, we have to stand up and say no! Mr Howard has done that with cancelling the tour. The same thing happened with South Africa’s apatite – Mugabe is killing just as many if not more people today!

God gives leaders their positions, he told Moses that he’d put Pharaoh in power for a certain reason, even if he wasn’t honouring God. I struggle with this when I look at nations like Zimbabwe and The Gambia. My feelings are we should rid the nations of these dictators, in the case of Zimbabwe the entire government. My anger even goes as far as hoping one day soon Mr Mugabe will meet a bullet face to face. However I know God has a plan, and all we can do is continue working with what we can handle – in Whitehill’s case the Church of Christ churches in Zimbabwe.

My mind is tormented with this though – what would I do if I came face to face with Mugabe????

Wednesday, 16 May 2007

An Answer for Everything.

Have a look at this blog. Saw a link on Rodney Olsen's blog and thought I'd check it out. Interesting idea, and a good way to get your brain thinking for a little period each day!

Actually I like it so much, it's straight into my blogroll :-P

Monday, 14 May 2007

Manly Worship

So yeah, went to City North last night. Now I'm usually one to say that we put too much emphasis on music as worship these days, but I also know that musical praise and worship is a biblical principle and something God enjoys - it's just not the only aspect of worship or the most important...

I love to sing, and I feel I'm a good singer. Well last night I had the most amazing praise time, because of where I was sitting.

I sat in the second row with two other guys, so right in front of us were the singers on stage, but it was the little group of guys around me that emphasised my worship experience. Standing between two guys, and having another guy right behind me created an atmosphere I haven't experienced in a while. All 4 of us could sing, and I think all 4 of us were listening too each other because there were 4 distinct parts happening. I think I got the best deal being right in the middle.

Something about 4 guys whole-heartedly and unashamedly singing praise to their God really touched me. I got a real sense of ‘corporate worship’ as through listening to the other guys I was able to not just sing, but sing as a part of a group and together we were praising God.

It’s something you don’t experience everyday, and I felt it was a real special time, especially between a group of young men - when it’s so easy for men just to hold in their emotions and feeling and hide behind a tough looking exterior.

So thanks to Johnny, Matt and Dave for helping worship God so deeply. And Johnny beat me to it when as the sermon started he leant over and said “I like singing next to you”

All I could do was smile and say “Same to you”… Looks like I wasn’t the only one to realise the joy of corporate worship.

Sunday, 13 May 2007

Helping Other's Mothers

Happy Mother's Day.

Went to City North Bapo tonight - Guest speaker Andy Coller works for Australian Baptist Mission board and spoke on Helping Other's Mothers.

James 1:27 "Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world."
The Bible speaks alot about caring for widdows and orphans. And this verse is one of few that speaks about 'true religion', other's like it also speak on social justice, caring for orphans and widdows and more actions than beliefs.

So I hope you spoilt your mother today (I did), but also today remember the mothers all over the world, and in your own church and community who lack the support they need to confidently care and provide for their children and to feel like they are leading a fullfilling and positive life. There's so much we can do for people in our own community - and there are programs we can involve ourselves in to help 3rd world mothers and widdows.

Let's get serious about a religion God accepts as pure and faultless and ease up on sounds and actions that waft up to him like a bad smell...

Challenge to the Church

Reading a book by Dr Patrock Sookhdeo - International Director of Barnabas Fund and director of the Institute for the Study of Islam and Christianity - called ISLAM; The Challenge to the Church.

The book gives and excellent outline of core Islamic beliefs, and customs (both religeous and social) and I am about half way through now.

But just finishing off the section on 'Compairing Islam and Christianity' I just felt I wanted to write out a bit of what he has to say.

"The real difference between Christianity and Islam lies in the core issues of their sacred writings and the persons of their founders. Christians have frequently in their long history departed from Christ’s teachings and perpetrated cruelties against Jews, Muslims and heretics. However, when returning to their source scriptures they come face to face with the person of Christ and the Gospel of love and forgiveness he preached, as well as his atoning death and supreme example of humility, service, suffering and non-violence.

When Muslims return to their original sources, they have a very different encounter. The later dated verses of the Qur’an, reveled to Muhammad in Medina, contain much that is intolerant and belligerent. According to the most commonly followed doctrine of abrogation, later verses supersede earlier (more peaceful) verses… Muslims also meet Muhammad whose words and actions, recorded in the hadith, give many clear examples of aggression, warmongering… and genocide."
(Page 48-49)

"From the... comparison [given on ideals of grace, salvation, core beliefs] it is clear that it is impossible for a Christian to regard Muhammad as a legitimate prophet in line with biblical revelation or to believe that his message was authentic revelation…

Islam should therefore not be viewed as a brother monotheistic faith like Judaism with which Christians have a special relationship. The idea of three sibling “Abrahamic” faiths is an Islamic concept, not a Christian one. Rather Islam should be viewed in the same bracket as Christian heresies, Jehovah’s Witnesses or Mormons. To accept the Muslims’ concept of three “Abrahamic” faiths is effectively to agree with the Islamic teaching of replacement – Judaism was replaced by Christianity which was in turn replaced by Islam. The ultimate logic of this would be for all Christians to convert to Islam.

Christians must not let themselves forget the basic truth that it is faith in Jesus Christ which God is looking for, not faith in general. In a secular, materialistic culture, it is tempting to think that Muslims and Christians can be allies against the overwhelming godless hedonism which surrounds them both. But Christians must always bear in mind that Islam denies the heart of Christian faith, and that its very creed… was formulated to deny the deity of Christ and the finality of His revelation. When the muezzin calls “There is no god but God” he is saying that Jesus is not God, and when he adds that “Muhammad is his messenger” he is saying that Jesus has been superseded by Muhammad.”
(Page 53-54)

Saturday, 12 May 2007

A Thought

If you can't even give 10% of your income to the Church, how are you going to be able to give up your whole life to God's will?

Friday, 11 May 2007

What I like about the Church

I know I have a body of friends who I can rely on.

I have a heap of people I can ask for prayer and know they will support and uphold me straight away.

Had some dramas at work yesterday that were starting to get on top of me. Thanks to all those who I emailed and prayed about it straight up. Things turned out fine.

God Bless

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

Wanna give yall another shot

I usually have the creative tallent of a gnat caught in a bug catcher... but I finally came up with a funny caption for this picture.

I posted it and realised that it's about to dissapear into the nether of my blog archives!

And I want everyone to see my creativeness (Ok I'm selfish I know!). Well here's the picture below, and my caption below it. I'm sure there's people out there more creative than I, so make me laugh!!!!

"Um Dave, when I yelled 'STRIKE' that's not what I meant!"

Life Perspective

Some people just have a negative outlook on life in general.

Making my coffee this morning I said to a woman from another department;

"How good is it, we have a 4 day week this week."

To which she replied - "It would be better if it was a 3 day week."

Some people are never happy with what they get...

Friday, 4 May 2007

Psalm 121

I lift up my eyes to the hills—
where does my help come from?

My help comes from the LORD,
the Maker of heaven and earth.

He will not let your foot slip—
he who watches over you will not slumber;

indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.

The LORD watches over you—
the LORD is your shade at your right hand;

the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.

The LORD will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;

the LORD will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.


Tuesday, 1 May 2007

What's in a Name?

I gotta be honest with you. I find some of the things we’re calling our churches these days to be pretty lame and pathetic.

I can remember when I was a kid growing up in NSW, all the churches in our quiet little coastal region were named after their location. We were at Tanilba Bay Baptist, but I remember visiting the Salt Ash Church of Christ and even doing stuff with Nelson’s Bay Baptist. Obviously these churches were names after the little towns they were located in.

In Ipswich we first went to Churchill Baptist, then East Ipswich Church of Christ – again both location inspired names.

Now I look around Brisbane and the rest of Oz and see ‘Metro Church’, ‘Eternity Church’, ‘Planetshakers City Church’…. and recently on the radio I’ve heard David Evans and John James advertising their new church called ‘His Church’.

I don’t know, but this just feels weird to me. Why do we have to have some fancy name? Does it make us sound more like a nightclub, cause that will make people feel more comfortable? Does it just make us sound less religious and 'christian-y', which again will draw people? Do we really want to do that? What are our main focuses if we do that? Are we compromising if we do that?

Or are we feeding a young Christian community that is already too deep in consumerism, and caught up in the social effects of today’s Australian lifestyle? By ‘marketing’ our churches are we creating a softer, more likable, hip and cool place to go but compromising on the Biblical bases the church was built on??????

Does this ‘naming convention’ (to steal an IT term) encourage un-believers to try out church, or just it just providing a new flashy place for Christians to try out and move from existing churches?

I know there’s a lot of questions in there, and no answers. But I’ve been thinking about when you look at the history of the church, that the names of these churches really sound shallow [in no way am I labeling these churches as shallow, since I’ve only ever been to Planetshakers church in Melbourne once and none of the others, I have no real idea what’s going on in them, this is purely about marketing and names].

I'm also not really thinking about some of the 'emerging churches' in our communities. I think things like 'Forge' and ‘Upstream Ministries’ are doing something completely different to what these ‘traditional’ churches are doing and they don’t usually have an official name they project into the community.

All this though has made me take a pretty close look at my church…. Whitehill Church of Christ… and the more I look at it, the more I like it. Here’s why;:

  • It is locational. Whitehill COC is located on Whitehill Rd.
  • If you ask most people at Whitehill (especially our pastors) what type of church we are, they’d say a community based church fellowship.
  • The Whitehill name incorporates that community feel because if you know Ipswich, you know that Whitehill Rd is one of the longer streets, it’s not a major road, but it is long and well known.
  • Whitehill Rd cuts through multiple suburbs of Ipswich (none of them named Whitehill), so I like it because it’s broader than calling our church Flinders View Church of Christ (which is the suburb we’re located in). I like this better because I can remember people asking me why I went to East Ipswich Church of Christ (previous to our relocation to Whitehill Rd) when I lived at Brassall, because Leichhardt Church of Christ was closer.

When you look at Whitehill Rd as a symbol it paints a really nice picture. As I said Whitehill Rd isn’t a major road, in most cases it has to give way to many of the bigger roads it meets, but that's the symbol!!

Whitehill Rd runs perpendicular to Ipswich’s bigger roads - in a way connecting them all. It’s a smaller road (got it’s first set of traffic lights in 2005) but it is the link to many of the bigger roads that run through that part of Ipswich. I think that’s kind of what our church is – or what we’d like our church to be. Not the biggest and flashiest, but humble and effective in linking the community around us to Jesus.

Honestly I don’t think I’ve taken much time to look at why we call ourselves Whitehill Church of Christ – and maybe the people who decided on that name never thought of the points I listed – but after looking at this I think I can take a real pride in that name.

There’s a lot of meaning in a name I guess, maybe Metro Church has some good reasons for it’s title – if so I’d love to hear them – but I think the key is not to conform to the worlds new classy, market orientated ways and come up with some sort of gimmick name to be appealing, but stay humble, even if it is just Flinders View Church of Christ, and focus on serving the community of un-believers around you. Because I can guarantee you, they don’t care what you’re called, just what you do.

5000 in 1 year

I pretty well started this blog counter thing a year ago (maybe just over, end of April I think), and I've just clicked over 5000 hits.

Thanks to all of you for reading, and especially those who comment and add to this blog themselves. What keeps me writing, is actually knowing people are getting something out of it :-)

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