Tuesday, 25 March 2008

Respect goes two ways I think

I had a great time up at Easter Convention over the past long weekend. There were times of fantastic teaching from John North and Rob Whittaker, as well as good times catching up with mates and just chilling out.

There was something that really bugged me though - and I want to blog it, being careful not to sound too offensive though...

The services at the convention had some pretty ordinary music - well that's what I though - but what I really struggle with is the attitude of the elderly people at the convention.

Personally I don't see the point of having someone special come up the front and take over the band just to sing a hymn... to conduct the congregation, wave arms around, set the timing and pitch with hand signals and stop the song every verse to give some conductive criticism. It's not the way I can really express myself to God in worship. BUT I'M NOT COMPLAINING ABOUT IT - I'll endure it willingly, because I know that's how some of the elderly people really connect with God, it's how they were brought up and it's what they know.

HOWEVER; God forbid drums start playing, or the tempo pick up in any of the other choruses. Then the old people are up in arms, complaining that it's not right, that it can't be worship, that people couldn't possibly have any purpose for playing like that.

The complains and plain whinging I heard from elderly people last weekend was on the verge of sickening. It only took 1 song, where there wasn't a standard drum beat, but more of a lead on the toms and we basically had old people sitting down or walking out of the hall. (Just to note, I wasn't playing the drums, and the guy who was did it much quieter and sedately than I would), how many hymns did we sing, how many times did we get conducted in a way we weren't use to, but did the Young Adults and teenagers complain? No! (well maybe there were some comments made, but only after elderly people had rudely commented on the other styles of music, and not directly to the elderly, or in front of anyone but ourselves).

Rob Whittaker actually took some time in one of his messages to focus on the overwhelming superstition in the church these days, that so many things are done just because. That there are things that don't really matter in the big sense of it all - and we should be able to let go of them.

It seems the young people can - but the elderly can't.

One woman my mother talked to had even left the building and was complaining the drumming was upsetting her heart! Please show me some medical proof of that one, otherwise get over the mental and emotional superstition you have and realise the only problem is in your unwillingness to allow other people to express themselves in worship.

Now I know these people are great believers, that we should respect the elderly, but what I'm saying is that I think the young people do - yet there is still the issue of older people being so rigid that it is them holding the congregation or church back.

The other thing Rob called people to was to "Say what you see!" so to not gloss over things that are hurting the church. I think that's my intention here - I'd love to see the elderly compromise on their way a service is run, just as the Young Adults have already done to still allow the older way of doing things to be a part of the convention services.

Wednesday, 19 March 2008

Weekly Photo Assignment

This weeks assignment is "Construction".

I thought I'd try something different.


Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Learning about marriage

Just out of coincidence I heard two Focus On the Family broadcasts over the last two days.

96.5 play the same broadcast at 10am and 10pm. I worked doing UPS battery testing at RACQ's two main Brisbane sites last night. I finished right on 10pm and hopped in the car just as Dr James Dobson was introducing his show. Then because of my late work last night I got up late this morning, ducked into the Ipswich RACQ branch to fix something and right on 10am hopped in the car to drive into work, hearing the follow on program.

Both were on 'The first 5 years of marriage', revolving around a new book the Focus On the Family counselling crew have put together after their extensive experience in taking calls and dealing with issues in marriages.

As a single guy I kind of wondered how beneficial it was to listen in, but I did anyway - and I kind of wonder if God had somehow woven all these events in the past few days just so I'd be available to hear these messages.

As Dr Dobson and another member of the team took phone calls from people with questions a couple of things really stood out about what a healthy marriage is all about.
  • - Today's society (even the 'Christian' society) gives this impression that we will find a 'soul mate' in the sense of once we meet and find that one person they will complete, and just mix into our lives and everything will be grand. The reality is that true love is not about finding someone that just fits with you, it's about working together to become unified and one. You don't just suddenly become 'one', you have to work together and go through some stuff before that will happen. Love keeps you going through good and bad to really create that oneness over time.
  • - To have a successful marriage you literally have to give up that Hollywood (or even Preached) version of marriage and really take stoke of what Biblical relationships are like.
  • - It's a complete U-Turn on society today. So many people claim 'falling out of love' as a reason for divorce... it's more a case on giving up on love, and not really understanding the full meaning of love that is the cause.
  • -Love is all about 'dieing to self'. Just as Christ did for us, a pure love between a man and woman will consist of each of them being willing to die for each other. That means emotionally, as well as physically (maybe not in the sense of jumping in front of a bullet, but more so in giving up something for the other). I think the emotionally one is the key, you have to have a complete change of mindset once you have a wife. Suddenly there is someone else who must be thought of before yourself.
  • -Everyone says 'There will be tough times', but that's kind of a blanket statement which doesn't help at all. There are some good books out there (check out http://www.families.org.au/) that really delve into resolving conflict, and what conflict really means in a marriage.
I guess as a single bloke this is all head knowledge with no actual experience. But I think for other single people out there this gives some good advice as well, especially when you think about who it is you may marry. I mean how many single people are out there waiting for God to show them the 'perfect one'! I don't know if God does that too often... but it's through building relationships that you then grow to a point where you can decide to make that commitment to marry start the process of becoming completely unified.

Honestly I think I know a number of girls who at this point could possibly be someone I'd like to take my relationship further, but I think I need to stop waiting for the one to pop up, and maybe just focus not on building a relationship, but just sharing with people over time, and maybe finally one of them will decide that I am someone they'd like to build a unifying relationship with.

Friday, 14 March 2008

Paul Colman - One Night Only

Well I have my ticket, so now I'll advertise it to the rest of you. Only 400 tickets so be quick! Best musical concert you'll go to all year!!!

Wednesday, 12 March 2008


If you aim for the moon, you'll hit the fence... but if you aim for the fence you'll fall in the mud. So aim for the moon.

Arnold Baills.

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Hmmm Freedom of Press... Isn't that a must for a 'just' nation???

Just looking to put a link to the Freedom Newspaper in The Gambia for that last post and it seems that the Government has shut down their website and threatened to shut down the paper if they don't stop writing about the government.

There's been a lot of prosecution of journalists in The Gambia recently - it seems the Government doesn't like all their nasty deeds to be put out there for the world to hear. Blocking a website allows them to stop the international audience from reading what's really happening in the country.

Not really the sign of a democratic nation is it?

Check out http://allafrica.com/gambia/ for news stories from The Gambia - however some of these are written by government influenced news agencies.

HIV/AIDs Farce is getting sickening.

I really feel this is my soapbox to preach on at the moment. I have a passion for the Gambian people and seeing them exposed to such prideful stupidness really hits me hard.

I've posted on this numerous times in these following posts...

Gambian AIDs Cure...
Jammeh's AIDs Cure Condemned
AIDs Patients Blaming Jammeh for Crisis

These posts started all the way back in February 2007 - and President Yaya Jammeh is still claiming to heal AIDs patients, thought it's becoming more and more obvious he's doing much more harm than good.

This article in the Freedom Newspaper on the 9th March shows a reporters first hand look into Jammeh's AIDs ward, somewhere it seems he hasn't visited himself in quite a while. It also outlines some of the suspicion the faculty have for anyone from the outside coming in.

I've cleaned up bits of the writing with [brackets] just cause you'll notice it isn't the highest standard of reportive writing. It may still sound a tad confusing, but you should get the general idea.
Two HIV/AIDS patients were finally expelled even when the women cried and pleaded with those concerned persons to talk to the president not to expel them.
One of the ladies from Brikama cried and said her children would suffer if she leaves the place.

Sources close to the hospital stated that some "toubabs" [white men] went to visit those ladies because they had been friends, during their ailments. Upon visiting them they were later asked to leave the place because they had brought people who do not believe in the president's treatment. But the white people did not have [disproving the treatment] at the back of their minds but only to see their friends that they feel sorry for because each of them have a real pathetic story.

In a separate development, the smell of the hospital is sickening. The stench shows a symbol of people dead and smelling. The place looks clean but the smell is horrible. This reporter could not bear the smell and the horrible site of [those being treated] under the medication.

Some were not looking at all well. Some had stopped taking the western medicine [anti-retroviral drugs] and their conditions have deteriorated. Looking at their situation one would say they need more food and proper medication instead of the concoction given to them. Others believe that the concoction given has created the horrible smell [and] that the President himself has avoided [the ward] for some time now [due to the smell]. The sick there need urgent attention or else the President [will] be burying more patients than he [has previously claimed].

I hope you get the idea that this treatment seems to be slowly killing HIV infected people in The Gambia. And the toubabs (white people... a name I heard quite a bit there) are treated with suspicion anytime they try and help.

Sunday, 9 March 2008

Weekly Photo Assignment

This week's assignment was 'Monochrome'.

Not technically black and white photos, but one with one colour prevalent across the shot... the majority have been black and white though - and mine is no different.

I did leave a touch of the pink in it as both the vase and the wall behind it are shades of pink.

I was planning on heading out and taking some photos for this assignment, but as I was walking out the door I noticed the vase of dried wheat and took a quick shot - after a bit of editing decided I didn't need to go and look any further.


Friday, 7 March 2008

You Idiot!!

Ever have one of those moments when you think "Ahh what a idiot I am!!"... it's even worse when one of those moments ends up costing you a lot of money - or worse... 200GB of saved data!

Last night I was working on my laptop - accessing some stored files from my external harddrive. I'd worked for about 2 hours, and been periodically saving to that harddrive.

In a moment of stupidness I moved the laptop, forgetting the drive was still plugged in by the USB cable. It fell of the desk, while turned on and writing, and hit the floor hard.

My 250GB harddrive inside was instantly pulverised - and the 200GB of computer backups, videos, photos and State Youth Games promo (which I'd been working on) was lost forever. Plus the fact that drive cost me a fair bit of money - it's more the work and stuff lost that is a cause of pain!

As long as no computers at home die before I get another drive the backups won't be a worry - I'll just do them again, the videos I could get again eventually, but the SYG stuff is pretty well gone!

Just bought another harddrive online - $128 for a 400GB drive, I think that's about the same price as I paid for the 250GB drive 18 months ago... storage space is relatively cheap these days.

If only I would think more, then maybe I wouldn't cause myself so much pain.

Wednesday, 5 March 2008

This Week's Photography Assignment

Assignment topic = Shadows.

So thought I'd dress up as a bit of a cowboy and get the good old hat shadow sleeping look.

I think it came out alright.... I'm just glad we went to The Australian Outback Spectacular the other week - otherwise I wouldn't have had a cowboy (the Aussie kind) hat.


Tuesday, 4 March 2008

Burning Hot and Bright

We have a wood fire heater at home, it’s great during winter. The heater warms our entire house (and it’s a real big house), but also creates a warm atmosphere with its bright glow in the middle of the lounge room.

However the long cold months in Ipswich can take a bit of a toll on the fireplace. Usually we just keep stocking the fireplace, adding wood and letting the hot coals light it up. We keep it hot and stoked during the night, and allow it to burn down to nothing during the day. In the evenings we just add more kindling and a little paper and get it going again. However you do start to accumulate ash in the bottom of the heater.

Before winter begins, and sometimes half way through, you need to clean out that ash. Ash starts off as good healthy wood, it burns hot and the flames grow, burning bright. This breaks the wood down into hot coals, these glow hot as well, igniting more wood that you put in there, which in turn burns and becomes hot coals to repeat the process again and again. It seems like a healthy cycle of warm goodness, however; as it cools a little the coals become ash, and once it is ash it’s good for nothing. Eventually that ash fills the fireplace, and even though you can still have a fire it is slightly smothered by the amount of ash in there with it.

So it’s good to get in there and clean out the ash. That off coloured grey powder just seems so dead and lifeless as you sweep it out. It’s good for nothing, not even the garden, you just toss it away.

Then with the bricks swept and clear, you place in some newspaper, kindling and wood, light it up and get that clean warm glow heating up your house burning bright and looking fantastic.

I think sometimes our Christian lives can be like that too. We have stuff that burns within us; passions, desires, goals and dreams. Full of wonder and worship we partake in so much stuff that it makes our lives just like a hot wood fireplace, warming us and those around us.

But over time those things can start too cool, we can still have a fire in there, but it just doesn’t burn as cleanly. Theology, music, religion, service, work, relationships, expectations and just day to day life starts to turn to ash, filling us up. These things start off as good burning material, but can slowly turn into useless ash that stops us from burning as hot. We can still burn some of it in there, but it’s kind of choked by all the other stuff around it.

So at times we need to get in there, clean out the ash and sweep the place ready to place new wood. By cleaning out our lives, taking stock of everything, recommitting our core beliefs and getting back to a distinct focus on Jesus we can make our hearts ready to burn hot at bright again. New wood can then be added, but starting from a clean swept fire place that is clear from anything that could hinder the coals from burning hot.

I think I did a bit of a clean out over the last weekend. I went away on Counter Culture’s Focus Camp. We spent a lot of time in worship and prayer, just focusing our hearts on Jesus.

A teaching DVD message from Louie Giglio really started my sweeping clean out. He spoke of God’s plan, really grabbing the idea that everything is done for God’s glory and not for ours. How often do we go to church with expectations of what we will get out of it? Everything that happens, be it bad or good, loud or quiet is for the glory of God. It’s all about him – God created the world and us for his glory, that may sound egotistical, but it’s not. God is God, he knows it, so he can’t be anything but God. God is all powerful, all knowing, and almighty – if God knows that, and he is truth, then he must act like it – not out of ego, but out of majesty.

I think that really refocused my relationship with Him. I don’t think I’d had anything too bad going on in my life, I think I was just feeling choked by the amount of stuff going on in it. So sweeping everything out, and then cleaning it with the knowledge everything I do is for God’s glory not mine will allow me to start putting more stuff back in that will allow me to burn clean and bright once again.

Monday, 3 March 2008


I played the drums at City North last night for the first time. Kind of a last minute swap with Ben, who asked if I wanted to play since I was there early enough for the practise.

It wasn't too great - I felt pretty self conscious playing, didn't have the greatest foldback, but didn't ask to have it improved and spent too much time worry about noise levels.

Plus the fact I was on a different kit (one I didn't really like the sound off) with heavier sticks just meant I didn't feel too natural playing at all.

I expect it will improve as I play there more and get to know the others who play in the band.
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