Monday, 30 November 2009

Christianity and Martial Arts

Just wondering about initial views and opinions at the moment.

Something I've been reading about lately and pondering where it all fits in Biblically.

More to come...

Thursday, 26 November 2009

I Am Alive

If my blog was anything to go by, you would all be thinking I was still lost somewhere in the Canadian wilderness.

I returned home, and got stuck straight into my exam period for college. That was a tiresome, stressful and painstakingly long period of time. But that's been over for a while now and I've been enjoying some holidays with lots of trips to the beach and such.

With keeping in touch with people much more regularly on Facebook these days I guess I find it 'doubling up' to write daily life stuff here as well. I will try and delve into my thoughts more here - though I've been limiting the amount of thinking I've been doing since I started holidays so we'll see where this blog goes.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Snow

27 years old and yesterday was the first time I've ever seen snow!

Andy took his mum and I up to Grouse Mountain, just north of Vancouver. It was a fantastic spot, with a fun climb up the mountain in a Cable Car and then to get to the peak we had to take one of the ski field chairlifts (which I must admit got me a bit tense, that height and such a little bar holding me in). But once up the top we were able to experience Grouse's first snow for the season which had fallen the night before. It was icy and melting, but hey IT WAS SNOW.

The rest of the day was fun too - with Grouse Mountain putting on a Lumberjack Show and seeing some amazing views of Vancouver before heading back down and revisiting Stanley Park (and dodging the attacking Raccoons!)

Hmmm and photos don't seem to be uploading, but there are heap on Facebook if you're over that way!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

Vancouver

Went into the centre of Vancouver yesterday. Figuring out the public transit system was pretty easy (it's much better than Brisbane's) and Mum and I made our way into town via the Sky Train before walking round the dock area and then catching a bus up to Stanley Park.

That park is huge! We walked quite a bit of it, right up to the top where there was a lookout overlooking the shipping lanes entering the bay. We went to Beaver Lake, but saw no beavers and then made our way back through the gardens - seeing quite a few squirrels, which were pretty cute.

We then caught the bus back to Gastown, the older more traditional part of town which has a lot of those touristy type shops and was very nice to walk through.

Today Mum, Ness, Nathanael and I went to 'Metrotown', a giant Mall (probably twice the size of Chermside). I'm not one for shopping but it was interesting witnessing a very different culture of shops, clothes, food and sporting apparel.

I'm still feeling pretty darn crook. Seems all this sickness has allowed my sinuses to become infected. So feeling pretty rotten most of the time, but making the most of it anyway.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Not Jetlag

Spent all night in a feverish sweat, and feeling mighty crook.

Am a lot better today, still headachy and a bit disorientated. Not what I wanted after flying all the way to Canada, especially now I'm having to keep away from little Nathanael cause I'm sick.

Hoping it clears up real quick!

Sunday, 27 September 2009

14 hours in the air makes me sick

Well I've made it to Vancouver. It's an amazing looking place. And it has been unbelievable to meet and hold Nathanael, as well as seeing my sister and her husband for the first time in 12 months.

But I've never been this badly knocked around by jetlag. My biggest problem was not sleeping well in the days before travelling, and I simply cannot sleep on planes. So for 14 hours I tried to sleep with no avail - we left Sydney at 10:30am Saturday and arrived in Vancouver 7am Saturday (2 1/2 hours before we left... :-p)

It's knocked me around so bad I've been feeling pretty crook - I've had a sleep but it wasn't overly restful or deep.

Just want to feel normal again so I can enjoy my nephew and my trip!

Friday, 25 September 2009

2 Hard Weeks

Well I'm off to Canada tomorrow, but these past weeks have been incredibly draining. I have completed 5 assignments, plus sat a Greek exam. The workload has been intense but I've still managed to do alright with everything. Now I just have one assignment due when I get back from Canada and then I can concentrate on exams.

I'm glad I've got 14 1/2 hours to sleep on the plane :-)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

Welcome: Nathanael David White

Well something quite worthy of me taking a moment away from assignments and posting on here has happened. My sister, Vanessa, in Canada with her husband have welcomed little Nathanael David into the world on the 10th Sept.

Nathanael is my first nephew... so this first time uncle is very very excited! It makes working on all these assignments over the next two weeks worth it, knowing that once done, I can jet off to meet this fantastic little bloke!






Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Blog Hiatus

My life is oozing college assignments and class work. This is all intensified by the fact I am going to visit my sister in Canada in three weeks and need to have everything in early before I go.

So I am most probably closing the door round here for the next couple of weeks (unless something amazingly exciting comes up that I just have to throw up) so don't expect any big thought out posts... my mind is thinking hard elsewhere!

However, when I'm back in full swing there will be many exciting things to write about as I head to Canada for the first time and meet my first niece/nephew for the first time :-)

Lots of amazing firsts going on there!!!!

Thursday, 3 September 2009

Jesus Racing Test Day


Andrew Fisher and the Jesus Racing V8 Supercar team had a test day with Triple 8 Racing at Queensland Raceway yesterday.

It seems they had a good run, with both Craig Lowndes and Jamie Whincup offering the team some advice on the car, track and driving.

Andrew has to get use to the sequential gear box used in the main series, but from the look of his Facebook status he seems to prefer it.

It's great to see a Jesus Racing car out on the track with the Vodafone big guns.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Creed

The Apostles Creed - mistakenly first believed to be written by the twelve but in any case it was certainly a common and well known creed to the early church...

I believe in God, the Father Almighty,
the Maker of heaven and earth,
and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord:

Who was conceived by the Holy Ghost,
born of the virgin Mary,
suffered under Pontius Pilate,
was crucified, dead, and buried;

He descended into hell.

The third day He arose again from the dead;

He ascended into heaven,
and sitteth on the right hand of God the Father Almighty;
from thence he shall come to judge the quick and the dead.

I believe in the Holy Ghost;
the holy catholic church;
the communion of saints;
the forgiveness of sins;
the resurrection of the body;
and the life everlasting.

Amen.

10 Years

Just continuing thoughts from my school reunion last Saturday. The main thing that it made me realise was how much I had done these past 10 years, and how much of the stuff I'd planned to do while in high school I hadn't done.

At 17 I'd clearly seen myself married with at least one kid by the time I was 27, probably working a good job, maybe in Sydney or Melbourne (or somewhere overseas like London or Miami).

But now looking back, I can see that my life has been full of amazing things - even when looking at what other class mates have done I can't believe I've fitted so much into the last 10 years;

  • I.T Degree
  • 10 years of leading youth camps for WEC
  • 6 months of missionary work in Africa
  • Living in communities without power or water
  • Learning other languages
  • Playing in pub bands, bush bands, folk bands, rock bands and church bands
  • Working as an I.T Professional for a state-wide company
  • Experiencing business trips to Cairns, Townsville, Emerald, Rocky, Dalby, Kingaroy.
  • Running an entire online mobile office at Schoolies Week on the Gold Coast
  • Planning and managing multi-million dollar projects
  • Playing soccer at many levels
  • Preaching to youth and young adults
  • Doing chaplaincy work at racetracks and looking after some of Australia's biggest names in motorsport.
  • Working in the pits of Indy and V8Supercars
  • Beginning a second degree.
In essence I feel the last 10 years have been completing my place in God's plan, and that is the entire reason that my life feels so full and exciting.

Yet how much of this have I taken for granted? How much do I look at the plans I had when I was 17 and feel a little sorry I haven't quite made it there yet?

What have you done these past 10 years? Should you be looking at it from a different angle as well?


Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Reunion

Last Saturday I had my 10 Year High School Reunion.

It was a good time. West Moreton Anglican College put it on at the school (in the Staff Room, which was kind of weird cause 10 years ago that's where we'd go when we were in trouble) and I found it a rewarding time to catch up with my old school mates (many of whom I hadn't seen at all in the past 10 years).

I wasn't exactly part of the 'in' crowd in high school, not in the popular group and one of those guys who sat on the fringe a fair bit. It didn't bother me too much, because I had a great group of friends at church, so didn't feel at too much of a loss. Finishing school I basically wrote off my class mates and just got more involved with my friends at church... in hindsight it is one of the things I regret the most. I missed everyone's 18th and 21st birthdays, and really lost a part of me which had played such a big role in who I was becoming.

Initially I think the reunion was a tad awkward. Here were heaps of people I knew, but didn't really have anything in common with anymore. However, as the night went on it just got better and better. Once we left the school and headed for Brother's Leagues Club for the 'after-party' things picked up a heap and it was just like old times.

A couple of big surprises, both in looks and occupations... but on the whole most people were just as I remembered them. I really valued many of the conversations I had, especially one girl who I don't think I hardly spoke to at school, but spent a considerable amount of time with chatting away last Saturday.

If anyone has their reunion coming up I can only encourage you to go - no matter how weird it might feel - because it truly is a special celebration.

I just hope it's not another 10 years before I see these mates again!

Friday, 28 August 2009

Testimony - The Power of your own Story

I teach a grade 8 class R.E on Fridays. It's done in two rotations, with 5 weeks in each class. I have one lovely class and another which is a little harder to control and share with.

I'm currently with this more challenging class and have found that the class outlines we've been given don't really work - the class is just too rowdy to get through that stuff.

We have been talking about "Who is God" and "Who is Jesus" and a heap of different stuff revolving round that, but every time the class has been so out of control that I don't know if anything is actually communicated to them.

Today I decided to ditch the class lesson as we were suppose to talk about "A Christian is someone who knows God through Jesus". Instead I thought I would share a segment of my own testimony. I shared mainly about the time when I was 14 and my mate passed away on a church family camp - it was a defining point in my decision to follow God and be part of his plan (only because I knew and believed that another part of God's plan had been to send his own son to die for us - thus "knowing God through Jesus").

The class was silent for the entire time - they sat and listen, they asked polite and good questions, and responded to any question I asked them. It was an amazing lesson, and the teacher (who sat and listened intently the whole time as well) was quite stunned at how well behaved the class was (he even took the time to congratulate them on their behaviour which I though was great).

I am humbled at how God can use the story of my life to convey his love for others. I know I'm no one special in the grand scheme of things, but because I am SO special to God, he uses my story to share his Word.

It is amazing...

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Bible College Poker Night...

Yep fun times to be had :-)

Thanks to Kaye for posing for some photos - she won, so had all the chips, which made for some classy shots.

poker-night_08

poker-night_07

poker-night_14

poker-night_10

Only amongst Bible College students could the young lady who's never played poker before end up walking away with everyone else's chips!

Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Jesus coming to the Mountain!

Andrew Fisher from the Jesus all About Life Race team has confirmed that he will be driving in the V8 Supercar endurance races at Phillip Island and Bathurst.

Andrew runs a Falcon Ute in the V8 Ute racing series, sponsored by the Bible Society and their Jesus All About Life campaign. He was expected to run a Falcon V8Supercar in the Fujitsu Development series for a number of rounds this year but due to health issues with a driver in the main race, Andrew has been asked to step up into the main V8Supercar series for the first time.

Luke Sieders, team manager of Sieders Racing says it was difficult for the family and the team, however health and safety are paramount. "Once I knew of Colin's decision, I jumped on the phone to Jesus Racing's Andrew Fisher to invite him and his team to partner us in our Enduro campaign", says Luke. "Jesus Racing is a professional organisation which has developed an extraordinary following over the past 3 years. Having Jesus Racing driver Andrew Fisher join David makes perfect sense for both teams."


Andrew and David have raced together in the MG series and the Lotus Championship, so their team dynamic will be a great advantage.The
Supercar is from 888 engineering. It will receive a Jesus Makeover and carry livery in line with the Jesus Racing Teams other race cars. Sieders is particularly happy Fisher agreed to come on board. With plenty of experience at both tracks, Fisher's times in testing have been well and truly on the pace.


"This opportunity has been a bolt out of the blue", says Fisher. "I had not given any thought to doing the
Enduro's at all so I am humbled to be approached by Sieders Racing Team. The decision to race was not one I took lightly, however it is an opportunity for our sponsors, Jesus. All about life, which is too good to pass up. Jesus. All about life is a prime time, multi-media campaign that is set to launch on the 7th of September and run through to the end of October, smack bang in the middle of the Enduro campaign",he says. "The timing could not have been better."
So we will see a car proclaiming the name of Jesus hurtling around the Bathurst 1000. It's not only the drive, but the exposure Andrew will have for his school and men's ministries that is exciting. Andrew has shown how one can use a passion to glorify God, and even just in his attitude to racing which has gained him the respect of so many.

I am looking forward to seeing the Jesus All About Life Falcon lining up for the greatest car race on earth :-)

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Late Wednesdays

Well Thursday morning now but anyway...

...it's probably mostly bad time management, but I'm always up till ridiculous hours finishing Greek homework on Wednesdays before the Thursday lecture.

So much to do, and it's all so tiring!

Tuesday, 18 August 2009

Healings...

Acts 19:11-12 "God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them."

So? That is a pretty amaziing work of the Holy Spirit in healing people, even through cloth that Paul had touched.

Why don't we see things like this today? Has the Holy Spirit changed? Have we?

Saturday, 15 August 2009

Rule of Faith

Irenaeus was the first to coin the phrase ‘Rule of Faith’, which he used to form a canon to organised his thoughts and lay a foundation for Christian belief.

The core to Irenaeus’ Rule of Faith was there is “one God, the Father Almighty, who made the heaven and the earth… Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who became incarnate for our salvation; and the Holy Spirit” (Against Heresies, I, 10,2).

The importance of the Rule of Faith in proclaiming the tradition of the Apostles is highlighted by Irenaeus declaring;

“…the Church, having received this preaching, and this faith, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet, as if occupying but one house, carefully preserves it” (Against Heresies, I, 10,3).

To Irenaeus this passing down of doctrine “as if she [the Church] possessed only one mouth” (Against Heresies, I, 10,3), was a clear sign of the Holy Spirit keeping that doctrine true.

As I read Irenaeus I was personally challenged to compare my own beliefs and church alongside his Rule of Faith. Could my church (or any contemporary church) be included in Irenaeus’ claim that the Church worldwide was of “one soul and one and the same heart” (Against Heresies, I, 10,3)? It made me wonder how many heretical teachings are coming within the Church today, and how we should be refuting them.

Irenaeus also embraces tradition, which caused me to look at what type of tradition he meant. In many ways ‘tradition’ is seen as an ugly word in the contemporary church, yet the bold importance Irenaeus puts on the apostles tradition of faith encourages me to seek these traditions for my church.

-------------------------------------------
References
~New Advent website, 2009, accessed 10 August 2009, “Against Heresies”, New Advent, online:

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Second Chance

Well with a team forfeiting in our soccer comp and a draw in last weeks game the Div 5 City North Bandicoots are still in with a chance to make the finals.

We have to win the game this week, and we are tied with the team we are playing.


Winner goes through - doesn't get anymore tense than that!!!

Tuesday, 11 August 2009

Irenaeus


Excerpt from my Church History assignment on Irenaeus. I've been encouraged by reading his work, and am stunned by the amount of goodness to be found in the primary writings of early church fathers!

------------------------------

That Irenaeus is considered a significant Church History figure could be considered remarkable considering the lack of recorded history on the man. As Donovan (1997, 7) states; “keen detective work is required to know a man for whom no bibliography exists, of whom there is no portrait, whose letters have been reduced to scraps [and] whose sermons were neither taped nor – as far as anyone knows – transcribed.” However, it was his “struggle against heresy and his concern to strengthen the faith of Christians” which cemented Irenaeus’ importance in the history of Christian thought (Gonsalez, 1970, 158) and it was from this point that Irenaeus wrote his five books Adversus Haereses (Against Heresies) in c177

Irenaeus is first known to history as the presbyter of the church at Lyon in Gaul (Walker, 1986). From his writings it is seen that Irenaeus was a native of Smyrna in Asia Minor and had known Polycarp during his youth, however Gonzalez (1970, 157) remarks that “he must have been a young man when the aged bishop ended his life in martyrdom” (c155). Theologically Irenaeus was typical of the teaching of Polycarp and the School of Asian Minor, which was “the outcome of [the apostle] John’s ministry, and was distinguished by a firm grasp of Scripture, solid faith, conciliatory treatment of those within, and energetic polemics against heretics” (Neve, 1946, 79).

The churches in Gaul were associated with the church of Smyrna and as the presbyter of the church at Lyon Irenaeus “represented an important link between East and West” (Douglas, 1978, 516). Such distant travels to Smyrna and Gaul would have been obtainable during the period of the second century on account of the Roman Empire. Irenaeus himself stated that “The world is at peace because of the Romans, and we walk the roads without fear…” (Against Heresies, IV, 40,3). This peace benefited the spread of Christianity, as missionaries travelled easily, though Donovan (1997, 8) confirms this also abetted the spread of Gnosticism as well.

It was against this heresy from the Gnostics that Irenaeus aimed his writing Adversus Haereses. Irenaeus warns of his own work not to “expect of him the art of discourse” (Against Heresies, I, preface, 3) but he writes from a pastoral concern for the church as a whole. Irenaeus set out to refute Gnostic teaching specifically by appealing to “prophetic and apostolic Scriptures, which he was convinced would themselves confute the heretical teachings directly…” (Walker, 1996, 78).

______________________________________
references:
~Donovan, M A, 1997, One Right Reading? A Guide to Irenaeus, Liturgical, Collegeville.
~Neve, J L, 1946, A history of Christian thought, vol. 1: history of Christian doctrine, Muhlenberg, Philadelphia.
~New Advent website, 2009, accessed 10 August 2009, “Against Heresies”, New Advent, online:
~Stevenson, J, 1987, A New Eusebius: Documents Illustrating the History of the Church to AD 337. (2nd Edition), SPCK, London
~Walker, W, 1986, A History of the Christian Church (4th Edition), St Edmundsbury, Suffolk

Saturday, 1 August 2009

Flip side of dealing with sin...

Looking at how we can continuously deal with sin in our lives the question then must be asked.

-How can we maintain a disciplined check of sin on a daily basis without becoming legalistic?

Outsiders view of a supposed "Spirit filled church service"

Saw this on Snooky's blog, and checked out this article.

Worth a read to see how an unchurched middle class professional felt at a normal Sunday night Planetshakers service.

The room was buzzing with anticipation. I felt like a kid expecting Santa to arrive. It felt as if Jesus was going to turn up any minute.

Then out came the pastors. Middle-aged blokes peppering talk about Jesus with constant references to the footy, reality shows and McDonald’s. Almost swearing with ‘‘flipping angry" and "What the heck?" and plenty of ‘‘awesomes’’ thrown in to convince everyone they were down with the youth.

This lady had no intention of being fooled by people's emotions, and the only way she would have been moved towards God was if there was a clear interaction with the Holy Spirit.

As people yelled, "Yeah!", "Amen!" and ‘‘Awesome!" I wanted to yell, "I don’t get it". I love the way religion convinces people by making things deliberately incomprehensible and you feel too shy to say ‘‘I don’t understand’’ lest you reveal your stupidity.

I thought this was an interesting perspective, especially considering I am going to begin preaching at City North towards the end of the year.

The crowd left believing they had been moved by God and touched by Jesus. They hadn’t. They had been seduced by slick video packages and had their emotional desire for love, community and certainty met by manipulation. It wasn’t the Holy Spirit; it was just people.

Aren’t we awesome enough?

Shouldn't our services be focused enough on God that someone totally hostile towards him would have to realise we were giving ourselves and not merely trying to feel good about ourselves. Church services are about corporate worship, which is just another facet of the worship we give to God everyday. I think for the church community this article rings out truth in the styles of worship of some of the larger well known churches, meeting a need of human expectation and heightening human emotions, not truly worshipping God.



ref: Catherine Deveny, Shaken but not stirred by stadium-rock spirituality, July 29, 2009, http://www.theage.com.au/opinion/shaken-but-not-stirred-by-stadiumrock-spirituality-20090728-e02k.html?page=-1

Friday, 31 July 2009

Dealing with Sin

Have been thinking these last few days, how often do we really deal with sin in our lives?

When we deal with sin do we take full responsibility for it, or try and make excuses or gloss over the real feelings and thoughts behind our sin?

King David was a really good example of how to deal with sin, and I'm listening to some sermons on him, and reading a bit to try and figure out how to effectively deal with sin in my life. Hopefully I can share a bit as I go along.

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Continuing Recovery

Thank you to all those who have continued praying for Dad and our family.

Dad's been home from hospital a few weeks now, after having triple bypass heart surgery. It is a really long recovery process, but Dad is heading down it with confidence and patience.

He's started cardio rehab, and is getting stronger by the week. He's aim is to be well enough to fly to Canada with us in September to visit my sister and her baby (which is due at the same time).

Saturday, 25 July 2009

Day of Loss

Continuing on from our defeat in soccer... I went along to the City North Trivia night tonight.

Yep you guessed it... my table ended up with the wooden spoon.


Literally!!!

Fun night though!

Friday, 24 July 2009

Reflecting on Stanthorpe

I've basically told you what I did while I was in Stanthorpe but I wanted to take some time to chew over thoughts and impressions I had during my time there.

At the beginning of the week I was kind of wondering why we weren't doing more for the church, it seemed they were doing everything for us - giving us lessons on the town and culture, discussing with the Pastors their approach to ministry, visiting the church members who owned farms and wineries. It kind of felt like we were just sight seeing and not fulfilling the requirements of Week of E.

Later in the week, and especially now looking back I really value that time. The 'E' in Week of E stands for Evangelism, Exposure and Equipping. Obviously we'd started our week by being immersed in the Exposure side and it was that which heightened our Equipping to actually be effective in Evangelism later in the week. How many time do we just rock up to a place expecting God to work and us to know exactly what people need. Shouldn't we first , yes even before sharing the Gospel, get an idea of where we are, how the people live, and what previous attempts to share the Gospel have been made? By knowing this wouldn't we be able to more effectively structure the way we share when it comes time to evangelise?

That's led me to wonder what we've done in Kedron here with City North to understand who it is we are evangelising to. We've done it really well in some ways - in noticing the young skating culture around Chermside the church has turned the void space in the building into a skate park and runs 'Chilli-ramps' on a Tuesday night, some of those boys are now involved in youth group and coming to church services. Through seeing the need of local migrants in the community we've just started a "Speaking English" course in the church building, with members of the congregation assisting in teaching people to speak English. But is there more we can do in other ministries such as Young Adults, Seniors and Social Justice?

My week in Stanthorpe also highlighted the importance of school ministries. Through teaching R.E in some of the outlying primary schools to running an evangelistic event with the chaplain at the high school I saw that there is a huge populace of young people who have had no Christian influence on their lives. The high school ministry especially encouraged me of the power of the Gospel in young people's lives. We gave away around 70 "Essential Jesus" books through simply putting them on a table with a sign "Free Book" - we didn't hand any out, kids just took them when they grabbed their lunch and many wanted to discuss it more with different members of the team. I was playing music but could see groups of students sitting together reading the book, and most groups had a Malyon college student there being asked questions. It was really exciting to see that there was some genuine interest in Jesus, who he was and why he is important.

I've just come from teaching R.E at Wavell High and had a very similar experience. I used the "Two Ways to Live" presentation outlined in the back of the "Essential Jesus" book to teach the class and there was a really positive response to who Jesus is, and the importance of his act of redemption. I only had 6 of the books with me, but students in the class were quite willing to take and look at them.

I think maybe the most important thing that Week of E has done for me is to reignite my excitement for ministry, and without realising it the "Exposure" and "Equipping" parts were the most important of all.

Tuesday, 21 July 2009

Final Days in Stanthorpe


Saturday was mostly a rest day/do your own thing day. However as a team we decided to go on a bush walk in Girraween National Park. As a team we set off to the Granite Arch (a natural rock collect - quite impressive) and then a smaller group of us decided to climb the Pyramid Rock, and an even smaller number actually made it to the top. It was an insane climb, quite difficult and scary in some places.

We were walking up a steep rock face, no ropes no hand holds, just making your own way to the top. At one point I found myself alone, and on an exposed cliff face, only 10 meters of sloped rock between me and the edge. That part was quite frightening.

The sense of accomplishment when I
reached the top though was unreal! I'd been having knee problems all week, wearing a brace and had been in a considerable amount of pain, so to reach the top of that grueling climb was a pretty decent achievement. As you can see from the photos, it was spectacular up there!

On the way home from Girraween we stopped at a little chocolate shop (Heavenly Chocolate) and though chocolate is chocolate and I wasn't too interested in the range of bars and candy, they did have pure hot chocolate drinks available. I ordered a white chocolate and hazel nut drink and it was absolutely divine! Ben had a chocolate and chilly drink which had a very interesting flavour.

Saturday night we had a BBQ and bonfire with the youth of the church. It was a night of good food, good people, good games and a great devotion from Luke.

Sunday I was up early to pack everything up at my billets home - thanks so much to Nev and Fay for providing a 5 star home for us during the week, their hospitality would rate 5 star as well! - and then make it into the church by 8am for music practise.

The service went really well. I was encouraged at the Stanthorpe Baptist congregations acceptance of a slightly different music and service style and still join with us in worshipping God. Ryan preached a great message on "Why do we worship?" and all in all it was a good time of fellowship and praise.

After that it was time to have some lunch with the church before jumping in our cars and heading home. What a fantastic week, that I wished could have gone on!

Friday, 17 July 2009

Stanthorpe - Friday

6am prayer meetings = committed Bible College students!!!

Only 1 local turned up but it was still a good time. The temp was still in the negatives at that time this morning and it was a cold start to the day. We then went as a team and had breaky at a bakery in town and then stacked some wood for one of the church neighbours.

We did a prayer walk around town, which was a really worth while exercise and then we headed to the high school for a meeting with the chaplain, Noel.

We had a bit of a tour and discussed the ministry Noel gets to be involved in before helping out ourselves. We had a BBQ set up in their common area and Kim and I set up the guitar and drum for a bit of a rock out. 150 sausages were consumed in about 10 minutes and over the course of the lunch time about 60 "Essential Jesus" books were given to students. Some of the team had great talks with students about the Gospel and there was plenty of positive feedback about Kim and my music attempt.

We've decided we might start our own little 'band' called 2Pod :-p

This afternoon we got to do some more touristy stuff by going to the Bramble Patch and having some gourmet ice cream and frozen yogurt. A beautiful roast meal awaited Ben and I when we returned to our billets home, and as they watch the NRL (Broncos getting flogged!) I'm online following the live score of the Essendon/Western Bulldogs game.

Carn the Dons!!!

Thursday, 16 July 2009

Oh....

...and no snow yet - but we had sleet today.

The locals are still saying we have a good chance of seeing snow before Sunday.

Thursday in Stanthorpe

Yesterday was a quiet day - we spent most of the time doing prep for up coming ministries.

One of those was this morning when we went out to some of the regional schools to teach R.E - it was a simple program but a lot of fun with some very 'country' kids. The grade 4-7s were great fun with lots of gory motorbike crash stories (amazing how many of these kids have had some decent stacks off bikes) and then I got to go into the prep and grade 1 class at another school - pretty sweet!

One of the guys had some problems with his car, and we had to totally refill and bleed his radiator and cooling system in the engine - lucky it happened today and not half way home on Sunday. We also went to the Wine College, where I had a great cup of coffee and we spent a lot of time chatting and debriefing.

This afternoon we spent 2 and a half hours practicing for the service on Sunday. I think we spent so long because we really clicked as a group of blokes making music and worshipping together and just didn't want to stop.

There's a prayer meeting at 6am tomorrow, and we are then going to run a sausage sizzle at the high school during their lunch break.

Only a few days left, but still a lot too do :-)

Photos from Stanthorpe

Chappy milking the goat on our first night in Stanthorpe

The amazing house we are staying in for the week - what a beautiful view to wake up to!

On top of Marley Mountain

Sunset on Marley Mountain

Kim joining in some of the activities during the high school program

Visiting an apple orchard

Tuesday, 14 July 2009

Snow

Oh and yes... they have forecast snow for Stanthorpe tomorrow!!!

WOW! (I've never seen snow)

Day Wrap Up

Another great day in Stanthorpe.

It was a tad overcast this morning, but I was still able to get some nice photos of the place where Ben and I are staying. I'm not on my laptop at the moment but if I get a chance to duck up to the McDonalds and use their free wifi I'll put some photos up.

Today 4 of us headed with Darryl to the highschool to assist with the No Limits program that the chaplain (Noel) is running with a group of grade 11 students. The program is not evangelical, but focused on teaching moral and life skills to boys who may not be fitting in their social scope. They are about mid way through the program and it was good to see the boys able to recall so much of the previous material when asked about it.

Highlight of the day was probably as we were walking back to the car and Darryl found himself sliding down a muddy hill (even stopped the locals driving past long enough to point and laugh at their Baptist Pastor rolling in the mud)...

This afternoon we visited the Carnell's farm (Andrew Carnell is a friend from City North and college so was great to see where he'd been brought up), and we had a good look at how much is involved with the fruit farming routine - and also to sample some fantastic country baking!

We then visited Symphony Hill Wines and had a tour of the facilities. It is run by a couple from the Baptist church and was interesting to hear how they were using the vineyard as a ministry tool. And tasting some of the wine was unreal as well - excellent stuff.

Tonight we've been at the young adults Bible study... so it's been a long day.

Monday, 13 July 2009

First Days in Stanthorpe

Not quite as cold here as we were expecting.

Only down to 1 degree last night, didn't even dip in to the negatives. Tonight though I think we're -3 already, but the place I'm staying is totally climate controls (amazing!) so I'm sitting here in a t-shirt and feeling fine.

Yesterday the team went to the Sunday Service at Stanthorpe Baptist and was introduced to the church. We had lunch with our host families at the local park and spent the afternoon doing our own thing.

Today we did a cultural walk of the town, learning from the senior pastor David about the culture of Stanthorpe and how that effects ministry. Lunch was at a cafe/winery out of town and then the afternoon was spent at the associate pastor's, Darryl, home talking about pastoral life in the country - and coming from a city church to a country church.

Tomorrow I'm going to the highschool to run a program with boys at risk, not sure exactly what it involves but I'm looking forward to actually doing something practical to help out around here.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

Off to Stanthorpe

Alrighty. Part of college this year is to participate in Malyon's Week of E - a week of practical ministry in either a city, surburban or country setting.

I'm on the Stanthorpe team, heading out into the country to work at the local Baptist church for the week.

I'm looking forward to it, and will be leading the service there next Sunday.

Probably not looking forward to the cold so much...

I've got some fantastic photos of the Watoto Children's Choir from Wednesday at Whitehill and tonight at Stafford Salvation Army, but you'll have to wait to till I get back.

Or you'll see the Whitehill ones on my flickr account.

Friday, 10 July 2009

Feeling Forgotten

Do you ever wonder if all the work you did for years really mattered?

Or if for some reason you're not doing that same thing one year people will even notice you're gone????

Tuesday, 7 July 2009

Oldest Biblical Manuscript now online.

World's oldest bible made available to the public online.

Reuters

July 07, 2009 07:40am



A COPY of the world's oldest bible that has been made available online will help unlock several mysteries of Christianity, experts say.

The Codex Sinaiticus was hand-written by four scribes in Greek on animal hide in the mid-fourth century around the time of the Roman emperor Constantine.

Head of Western manuscripts at the British Library Scot McKendrick says that the digitising of the historical artefact means academics can examine the early workings of Christianity.

"The limits on access to this manuscript previously have meant that people have tended to dip, so that they have seized on particular things,” Mr McKrendrick said.

"This 1,600-year-old manuscript offers a window into the development of early Christianity and first-hand evidence of how the text of the Bible was transmitted from generation to generation,” he said.

The Bible's remaining 800 pages and fragments - originally some 1,400 pages -contains half of the Old Testament. The other half has been lost while some pages have been rendered unreadable.

According to McKendrick, the digitising of the Codex Sinaiticus was a four year project that allowed experts to uncover evidence that a fourth scribe had worked on the text.

"The Codex … is arguably the oldest large bound book to have survived," McKendrick said.

"It marks the definite triumph of bound codices over scrolls - a key watershed in how the Christian Bible was regarded as a sacred text," he said.

The assembly of the book includes previously unpublished pages of the Codex found in a blocked-off room at St. Catherine's Monastery, at the foot of Mount Moses, Sinai, in 1975.

Collections of sections of the bible are currently held by the British Library in London, the Monastery of St. Catherine in Sinai, Egypt, the National Library of Russia and Leipzig University Library in Germany.

The Bible can be viewed online at www.codexsinaiticus.org/en/, includes modern Greek translations and some sections translated into English.

Monday, 6 July 2009

Watoto Childrens Choir - Brisbane this week!

Check out www.watoto.com to find where the choir is going to be. They are only around the Brisbane area this week.

They are certainly something you should catch if you can.

Amazing!


Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Homeward Bound

Well I spent last night in Ipswich after visiting Dad. Mum needed some company after being in this big house all by herself for the last week and a bit.

Today I drove Mum into Greenslopes and Dad was discharged from hospital. We're back in Ipswich, and just the fact he's out of hospital has made Dad feel so much better.

He's still really weak, and gets tired quick - but at the moment he's gone for his 5 minute walk, and instead of it being up and down the hall of the ward, he's able to go out with Mum into the garden and the sunlight!

There's still a long road to full recovery, but God has been working amazingly over this last week. Thank you all for your prayers.

Fizzy Vimto

Back in 2004 when I was in The Gambia the easiest and best way to have a drink was to keep an empty glass soda bottle in your bag so you could go to a pitiko (a small shopfront) and get a cold soft drink. By handing over your empty bottle you could then take the full soda and walk off and drink in your own time. Otherwise you'd have to stand at the pitiko and finish your drink and hand back the bottle.

Not being able to trust the water in the country to be safe to drink, softdrink was always the best option if you were out somewhere.

I've never been a big Coke-a-cola drinker, and during my time in The Gambia my fav
ourite drink was Vimto. It's a berry flavoured, creaming soda like drink which I found very refreshing. However, returning home there was nothing like it to be found in Australia.

I've been keeping an eye out in those novelty candy shops which sell US softdrinks (Cherry Coke ect...) but since Vimto was a UK soda I'd never seen it anywhere.

Untill last Friday, I was in the Brisbane CBD and a novelty candy store right near Central Station had a small can of Fizzy Vimto in their fridge - very excitedly I bought a can and was able to experience a memory from my time in The Gam!

I've had another can since, but it will be a treat, as it is not the cheapest can of softy around! But I think it's more the memories it brings up that makes it so special.

Tuesday, 30 June 2009

Firm Foundation

The Wise and Foolish Builders

"Why do you call me, 'Lord, Lord,' and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete."
~Luke 6:46-49

Practically, I think I only came to understand this passage in its entirety this week. I read this as part of my daily Bible readings last Tuesday night, just after I'd learnt that my father would have a triple bypass heart surgery the next morning.

For almost as long as I can remember I have 'heard Jesus words and put them into practise'... sure I've failed heaps of times, but all in all the main focus of my life has been to live for Christ, follow his teachings and strive to have a relationship with him.

Over the past semester at college, I've learnt so much more academically about the Christian faith, and in a way I think it made me a tad complacent and tough to the relationship side of my faith. I haven't had the best time relating with other people or God himself as I gained all the head knowledge, but couldn't convert it into my true relationship with God.

However during this week as a huge 'flood' came to wash me away, it was the foundation of Jesus on which I have been building for so long that kept me standing. The flood waters came, and this passage doesn't say they don't damage the house, you'd have to imagine they would (think of the recent flooding in Brisbane, the houses withstood the water, but the land around and parts inside were still damaged), but they can't destroy it. And in a way it's been the same for me this week... I've still had damaged emotions, my world was shaken upside down, but through it all I was not destroyed.

In every moment of this week I have known my God, and in everything that was happening his hand was covering it. If that meant Dad would return home to him then that wouldn't crack my foundation - because Jesus gives us more than an earthly perspective - he gives us an eternal perspective.

Then Sunday night on my way home from church I saw a man crash into a sign post on his scooter - it flicked him off and he crashed to the ground unconscious. I pulled over and with the help of an off duty police officer we cared for the guy until paramedics arrived. Ends up the guy was drunk, and not seriously hurt, but he was still incoherent when the ambulance left 30 minutes later. Even during this quite chaotic and suddenly intense time I knew God was working - there had been no cars around for ages and I just happened to be there right as this guy had his crash and he was flicked off to the side of the road so people would not have seen him if I hadn't of actually seen the crash. God was looking after this bloke, even in his stupidity of riding a scooter drunk.

What's God done in your life to be looking out for you lately? And do you have a strong enough foundation to withhold a flood?

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Coming through...

Dad came through his triple bypass surgery well.

He's still in ICU but I visited today and he was awake and alert. I was still pretty down last night because after a whole day of waiting, when we were finally allowed in to see Dad he was still unconscious and on a breathing machine. Not the nicest way to see your father!

But today we chatted, made plans to see Transformers in a week or so when he gets home and there was just enough in the conversation to give the idea of a beginning of the return to normalcy.

He has a long rehab ahead, but in most cases the really risky stuff is over.

Praise God he has given us this chance to continue in relationship!

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

When your world is turned upside down.

Monday just after lunch I was just getting changed and ready to go out and see a movie when my father called me.

He called to tell me he was being admitted to hospital because they thought there was a blockage in his heart. He had been having some chest pain, and had been to, and failed, a stress test that afternoon. I went and saw him last night and he seemed pretty ok, being monitored and having a procedure this morning to find the extent of the block.

We found out that he has 4 blocked arteries, one major block in the main artery and then 3 minor ones. I sat with him and Mum all day in his room waiting for the doctor to come with his course of action but he never came. I left about 90 minutes ago, and during the drive home everything has changed again.

The doctor conferred with a specialist, they both visited Dad and explained that a stint would be risky and possibly not a 100% solution in this case, so they then had a surgeon come in and walk Dad through the triple by-pass he will perform at 8am tomorrow morning.

This has all been so sudden that it is a great shock. The surgeon said that it is a miracle that Dad hasn't had a massive heart attack already with the blocks in his heart.

In a way that sums everything up, right from the point where all my plans changed with Dad's phone call, to right now knowing I won't see Dad again before he goes into the biggest surgery of his life, I know with 100% certainty that God has been in control of everything. In every painful aspect of this whole ordeal there has still been so many things to praise God for.

Emotionally I'm a wreck, but I don't think I have ever been more spiritually strong or covered by grace and love. All the theological 'mind-work' stuff I have learnt at college was today turned (by God) into a practical understanding to a point where I know the realness of what God is doing in this situation, and that no matter what I can praise his name.

So please be in prayer, our God is big and there is nothing that he cannot do. Yet praise God as well, because in the good and the bad God's grace covers all! And when your world is turned upside down, it is still apparently clear that God still holds that world in his hands!

Please Pray

Dad's having some heart trouble.

Simply don't want to say much more, but God knows and is faithful.

Thanks

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Goodbye Best Mate!

Over 12 months ago I posted here about my dog Wilson starting to slow down. At the time he stopped eating and wouldn't get up when people came outside - luckily back then it was just a tummy bug of some sort and he got better in a few days.

But at 13 we knew he was slowing down for other reasons too, and now a year on at 14 Wilson passed away today.

He's been getting worse and worse these last few months. Arthritis in his back had caused his back legs to grow really weak and he had struggled walking for a while. However no matter his physical condition Wils had continued to show a great spirit of life and push through any physical difficulties to continue being a faithful dog and companion.

This past month has been really hard though, he was totally deaf and it became obvious he was losing his sight as well. He
kept falling off the veranda at home and could not make it back up the single step, so would just collapse on the cold grass and wait for someone to find him. It's been really tough on Mum, since Brett and I have moved out and she's been left caring for him. We knew Wilson's time was almost up, and with winter coming that he would not be with us much longer. Ever time I've visited Mum and Dad out in Ipswich I have made sure I've spent plenty of time out the back with Wils not knowing if it would be the last time I'd see him.

Last Sunday I noticed a distinct difference, he seemed confused and disorientated, constantly stumbling in circles and not interacting with me like he has for the last 14 years. Today Mum let me know that he was having some trouble breathing, and couldn't stand at all. They made the decision and took him to the vet. Mum said that on the vet table Wilson just lay down and closed his eyes, he was ready, and it's so strange how dog's can sense timing so well. Usually he hated the vet and was abnormally agitated but this time Mum said he was totally at peace.

It's hard not being there, and knowing the next time I go 'home' he won't be there.

We've had Wilson since he was 6 weeks old, just a little bundle of white and grey fur which grew to be my best mate. I was in high school when he came into my life, and through all the troubles of growing up I always knew if I went into the backyard to vent my dog would always come and sit with me - it was like he always knew when I needed company and comfort.

I've been privileged to only have 2 dogs in my life, both of them living till they were 14. My childhood is filled with great memories of Sol, and then Wilson was there as I grew to become a man. I think pets really teach us important responsibilities and Wilson was mine through those important stages of my life.

I always joked (but in honesty with much truth) that while in Africa I missed my dog more than my family - every time I've been away from Ipswich I have always missed my pup, wanting to get home to see him.

And now the thought of returning there and him not being there causes tears to flow down my face.

I don't know how to round this post up, I just felt the need to spill my thoughts and emotions somewhere - I know some people would think it silly, writing an 'ode' to a pet - and I know some people don't get attached to their pets - but I feel like I've lost my best mate, and I'm gonna miss him.

Friday, 12 June 2009

Time For a Break

Well this past week and a half has been quite an intense and overwhelming time. I haven't had to sit exams for about 5 years, and the experience was not a welcome one really. Such focused times of study, and higher than usual stress levels have made this week a real struggle to get through.

The Greek exam last week went fairly well - I'd studied so hard, and knew most of the vocab straight away - the rules and everything were pretty easy and I think I got most things right.

This week I've had to write two exams, an Old Testament and a New... Both exams were 3 essay questions, in two hours. I just sat down and at the start of the exam started writing and didn't stop until the two hours was up. It was insane - in fact I didn't really get the Old Testament on finished, which was really disappointing.

But now I'm on holidays for a few weeks. Honestly I don't think I've worked as hard as I have this semester in a long time. I certainly didn't work this hard doing my I.T degree, and don't think the work was even as intense when I was a Network Support Officer. Bible College is tough, but I find the topics all feel so personally relevant that the hard work is always worth it.

However, I do truly feel worthy of these weeks off, and am going to be using them to catch up with friends, get back into jogging and just generally have a good rest!

Monday, 1 June 2009

Greek Exam this Thursday

ούκ έπιστευσαν οί Ίουδαιοι περι αύτου ότι ήν τυφλος.

If you can read and understand that then you understand the pain I've been through this week studying.  People who haven't done NT Greek just don't have any idea of what it takes!


Wednesday, 27 May 2009

An idea from Matthew 17:24-27

After Jesus and his disciples arrived in Capernaum, the collectors of the two-drachma tax came to Peter and asked, "Doesn't your teacher pay the temple tax?"

"Yes, he does," he replied. When Peter came into the house, Jesus was the first to speak. "What do you think, Simon?" he asked. "From whom do the kings of the earth collect duty and taxes-from their own sons or from others?"

"From others," Peter answered. "Then the sons are exempt," Jesus said to him.

"But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line. Take the first fish you catch; open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin. Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours."
~Matthew 17:24-27

This is not any type of theology from this passage just an interesting thought...

From Exodus 20:11-16 is shown the idea that an annual half-shekel tax is to be given to the Tabernacle.  At the time of Jesus there was an annual half-shekel tax payable to the Temple by every free male over the age of 20.

Since there is no ground for disassociating Peter from the other disciples in the matter of the tax (and that Peter and Jesus were the only ones paid for here...) it's hard not to entertain the idea that Peter was possibly the only one of Jesus' disciples over 20.

What do you think?


---reference--- 
Ellison, H L, 1979, “Matthew”, New International Bible Commentary, Bruce, F F (ed.), Zondervan, Grand Rapids, 1121-1155

Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Gonna have to try this one...

Dilbert.com

Biblical Case for Spooning

Ecclesiastes 4:11 "Also, if two lie down together, they will keep warm. But how can one keep warm alone?"

Jesus and Ethics

“From the time of the first Greek philosophers, ethics has had but one meaning: it is the reflective study of what is good or bad in that part of human conduct for which man has some personal responsibility” (Keck, 1996, 7). In this general view of ethics, the world considers that the case for morality rests on a natural law “which was the same for all persons, whether they knew Christ or not” (Spohn, 1999, 2). Yet Keck (1996, 10) highlights that a believer's ethics differ from the common view in that they have their foundation in a specific ‘event’, “namely the event of Jesus (including his resurrection and exaltation to God’s right hand), and the community that resulted.”

One might then ask; to what extent does the life and ministry of Jesus give Christian believers an example of ethics and morality? The answer is both simple and complex. The Gospels are not a recorded ethical guideline taught by Jesus. They do not specifically outline any kind of ethical system of moral values – Jesus himself does not set out to teach on ethics specifically. However, through Jesus’ announcement of the coming kingdom, through his teaching on kingdom living, outlining his understanding and expectation of the higher righteousness of God’s law and also his life example of these teachings, believers find they can formulate their own ethical system based on the beliefs and actions of their Lord.

When coupling the model of Jesus’ life to the belief that once reborn into Christ’s salvation his followers remain in him, one sees that Jesus becomes the central focal point for all ethics and morality – in that anything outside of Christ is not of God, and anything done apart from him in darkness is regarded as sin.

Once this conclusion is reached, the answer to the extent of Jesus’ example in terms of ethics and morality is that all ethics for Christian believers can be found in Christ.

---references---
Keck, L. E. 1996, "Rethinking ‘New Testament Ethics’", JBL 115:3-16
Spohn, W C, 1999, Go And Do Likewise – Jesus and Ethics, Continuum, New York

Sunday, 17 May 2009

Weekly Photography Assignment

Haven't had a chance to do any photography for ages.  But this weeks theme is 'Ghetto Lighting' - which is where you find your own sources of lighting the photo, no professional screens, no camera flashes and no natural light. It was easy to quickly set up a shot and feel part of the group at Digital Photography School again...

So here's my Greek New Testament (The book of Acts) lit by a single LED torch... I love the rainbow effect around the edge of the lit area!

dps_assignment_ghetto3

Sunday, 10 May 2009

Tuesday, 5 May 2009

Frustration with Insurance

Doesn't matter how helpful people claim to be... things with insurance companies are NEVER easy.

You'll remember that a few weeks back my iPod was stolen from my car in my backyard... I'm very grateful that Ben's (housemate) home content insurance covers this theft. The initial lodging of my claim was pretty easy, asking for proof of purchase and stuff.  But since then, I've been continuing to be asked again and again for more information and it almost seems like they're stalling to see if I'll just get sick of it all and drop the claim.

Very frustrating! 

Monday, 4 May 2009

Late Nights

They seem to be much more frequent now I'm a student, but more frequent again now that I'm living here with two other guys.  These times late at night all is quiet, and I can get some good notes for my assignments down without any distraction.

Just glad that now because I'm already in Brisbane I can sleep in a bit and still get to college on time (I do not miss Ipswich Rd one bit!!!)

Sunday, 3 May 2009

Jesus and Prayer

Continuing some points from the assignment I wrote last week.

------------------------------------------------------
No one in history could have been more certain of their call than Jesus.  Jesus was well aware of the purpose for his entire life and ministry, including the journey to the cross.  In total confidence Christ understood his calling and he “steadfastly pursued his task” (Kruse, C, 1983, 1)

Yet in Gethsemane Jesus prays with great anguish, his body cringing at the pain and suffering to come as he cries out to God.  He is adamant, however, that God’s will be done and after wrestling in prayer three times, his resolve is firmed in God’s plan and his soul strengthened through his dependence on his Father.  Then while his accusers and betrayer walk up the hill, Jesus stood, “with his sleepy disciples, [waiting] in perfect composure for all that was to follow” (Matt 26:36-46) (White, J, 1977, 147).

If one so confident was still dependant on prayer for guidance and strength, how much more do we, in our ministries, need to be dependent on God for the same reasons?

Solitude
“Solitude… draws us into the very place from which so much of our efforts are designed to help us escape – being truly alone with God without agenda” (Blanchard, Hodges, 2005, 155). Jesus’ habit of solitude is well recorded. Before beginning his ministry he spent 40 days in the desert (Matt 4:1-11), before choosing the twelve he spent an entire night alone (Luke 6:12-13), after hearing of John the Baptist’s death Jesus withdrew by himself in a boat (Matthew 14:13) and there are numerous accounts of him going alone into the hills either before or after being with large crowds. 

“It was out of a leader’s wilderness preparation that Jesus was so effective in his public life of service” (Shawchuck, Heuser, 1993, 41).  Jesus gives us the divine model of prayer in ministry. He shows us that it is only through spending time away from the busyness our ministries create, and relishing specific time alone with our God, can we then return our work in any sort of effective manner.

Saturday, 2 May 2009

Finally Set Up

I moved my desk into my new place today - it's great knowing I don't have to write anymore assignments lying on the floor!

And it's the completion of my moving in phase, now I feel like I'm really settled in!


Monday, 27 April 2009

The Role of Prayer in Ministry

Here's the introduction to the assignment I'm currently writing.  Just thought I'd share this rough draft with you, and may share a cut down version of the main points later.

--------------------------------------------------------------
What role does prayer have in ministry? Every one of the world’s faiths has some aspect of prayer, from indigenous tribes offering gifts to nature and praying for everyday items such as rain, food and health to Muslims who stop what they are doing five times a day to offer their prayer to Allah (Yancey, P, 2006, 5). Prayer forms the foundation of communication in the Christian faith as God grants us access to himself through prayer. As people in full time ministry, do we understand the unique role prayer plays in our ministries or do we treat it like the tribesmen asking for items or Muslims, who pray out of obligation?

With so much else going on in the modern church, pastors find themselves at the centre of all the activity. They are regarded mostly on what that are doing for the church than their focus on spiritual discipline. In the church these days as pastors when someone calls for us wouldn’t we rather “have the secretary say... “I would really prefer not to disturb him just now; he’s busy – meeting with someone,” than to say, “May the pastor return your call this afternoon? [He’s] spending the morning in prayer”? (Shawchuck, Heuser, 1993, 41). 

It is too easy for pastors to focus on the ‘doings’ of their ministry and to forget that nothing happens unless God intends it, as that happens prayer tends to become requests in times of need or token thankful prayers before or after events. This does not even begin to fulfil prayers proper role in our ministries as we need to recognise our utter dependance on God in all we do.

To gather the true idea of where prayer fits into ministry, one needs only to look at the Son of God, and how, as the perfect example of our relationship with God, Jesus used prayer in his ministry.  Also as God’s appointed messenger to the gentiles, Paul gives good solid examples of using prayer as the foundation for ministry.

Saturday, 25 April 2009

Lest We Forget...

Essendon's ANZAC Tradition

I love that Essendon play Collingwood every ANZAC day.  I love the fact that my team is involved in the biggest game of the year outside of the finals, but most of all I love that the AFL use the time to telecast a fantastic 'modern' styled remembrance of what ANZAC Day really means.

Their before game telecast is fantastic.  The stories of old diggers, the one this morning of the fellow who was in a Japanese prison camp when the H-bomb went off was particularly awesome, who with all their gusto remember mates and tell their story.  AFL players from the Bombers and the Pies take a forward action and get out to interview some of the diggers themselves.

The game is fantastic, but the best thing is that it's done in a way that doesn't cause us to glaze over the importance of today.

Now if the Dons could just win by 60 points :-)

Wednesday, 22 April 2009

Trying something new

Camping over Easterfest didn't give me the opportunity to shave for a few days.  Coming home I've kinda just thought 'what the hell...' and kept the growth going.

After a week I was able to fashion the beginning of a beard...


...I'm not convinced, but we'll see how it goes...

Tuesday, 21 April 2009

This never happened in Ipswich

It seems I made a mistake that's cost me big time.

I moved my car on Monday so my new housemate could get his out to go for work.  When I parked again I must have forgotten to lock my car. This morning when I hopped in to go to college the first thing I noticed was that my iPod was gone.

It seems someone discovered my car was unlocked, even though it was right down the driveway, beside the house and well off the road, so they decided to help them self to my iPod and the FM transmitter connecting it to my car stereo. Quite a brazen act to come right onto our property, right beside the house.

Now I'm not attached to material things, and this theft won't ruin my life, but it is a bit of a gut wrenching annoyance, just the thought of someone being in my car uninvited churns my tummy.  I'm lucky they only took the iPod because my sunglasses, mobile's handsfree bluetooth connector and a heap of loose change were all in the same area as the iPod. The thing that gets me down the most though is that I have to take most of the blame... it's my fault the car was unlocked, and that was something I hardly ever do, I feel quite dumb about that!

I do wonder what they'll think of the music though, I had none of today's popular titles on there... and I was listening to Keith Green the last time I used it, so here's hoping his powerful words might just work a miracle in the thief's life!

Thursday, 16 April 2009

Moving In

Well I'm pretty well moved in.  I wasn't able to bring everything with me in one shot, but I've got my new room decently set up.  I'll have to get a photo and throw up here when it's all done.

So I am now a resident of Zillmere, moving in with a couple of guys from church, which is great because it's close to both church and college.  I certainly enjoy not having to travel all the way back to Ipswich at the end of each day.  

Ipswich is a great place to live, no complaints there, but the travel was killing me.

Wednesday, 15 April 2009

The Day has Arrived

I haven't said anything on here as yet.  But today I am moving into Brisbane, I've found a place with some mates at Zillmere and am in the process of packing up most of my gear and heading out there.

It's amazing how much stuff we accumulate isn't it!

Easterfest - Sunday

Sunday we gave up and just decided to live wet and muddy.  Matt and I went to Toowoomba Community Baptist Church for their Easter Sunday service, but still couldn't help but turn up with mud on our shoes and splashed up our legs.

Grant Norsworthy from PC3 lead the service and preached, which was a great surprise.  His message was fantastic, laying out the paradox of Christian faith, that we must die to live and that we then become living sacrifices. His focus on true worship, not what most people perceive as worship was refreshing and challenging.

Back at the festival I caught the Nainby show (which was excellent) and saw the jazz sets including the Chris Poulsen Trio.  

The actual community church service held at the festival was pretty ordinary.  It felt like one huge marketing campaign, and at a time when so many unbelievers had probably come along it really felt a waste not to present the Gospel at all.

Straight after the service though PC3 did a impromptude 'secret' show that simply went off.  With an acoustic set, where I think PC3 are at their best, they brought the house down with a rocking show.  

After that the Fancy Pants Ball with Scat was a lot of fun, Scat doing some real different music this time.  Then we went and sat in the cafe and listened to Lydia Cole, Stu Larsen and Tyler Burkurm (From Audio A) do some acoustic sets.

Since it hadn't rained all afternoon Matt and I decided that after the final show (around 11:45pm) we'd pack up the tents and head off home... it was a real late night, but ended up being worth it since it started raining in Toowoomba Monday morning and we'd have been packing everything up in the wet.

All in all an awesome weekend!
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