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!

Easterfest - Saturday

Saturday in Toowoomba got even wetter, with Queens Park slowly turning into a mud bath. 

Matt and I went and watched JC Epidemic's BMX and MotoX show, the stunts the BMX guys pull are just fantastic.  However the MotoX didn't really happen as the damp ground meant they were unable to reach the speeds needed to jump - and then on one attempt Jimmy Bartel pulled off the jump ramp just as a camera man was stepping out to catch him on video.  Unfortunately Jimmy ran into the guy and came crashing off his bike. 

It was a pretty big accident, the video camera was destroyed and initially it was thought the camera man had a broken wrist, also Jimmy went down and didn't get up after landing heavily on an already injured knee.  It was pretty shocking and they cleared the crowd out pretty quickly.  I felt compelled to see if I, being a motorsports chaplain, could help in any way.  The Easterfest staff were thankful for the offer and let me through down to where the medical teams were working.  I did the usual chaplain thing, letting the medical teams deal with the injured and just stayed at the back talking to friends and officials who's been close to the accident.  They took Jimmy off to hospital and the camera man ended up being ok.  

I spoke to the JC Epidemic guys a couple of times again over the weekend and Jimmy even came back to the Festival on Sunday, on crutches as it seems he has torn ligaments in his knee.  Keep all the JC guys in your prayers this week.

Music wise the day went well - I caught a 'secret' NewWorldSon show and saw Half Way Out's final ever gig (with mate Dave Poulsen on Sax). 

The Main Stage in the arvo was the place to be though with The Sowers Group an African Gospel band who really reminded me of church singing times in The Gambia, and Naturally 7 with their amazing acapella and human instruments - the bass and drums done only by the voices of two of the members was mind blowing, the harmonies even more so - certainly the most talented act of the entire festival!

The highlight for me though was the Paul Colman Trio reunion! Having been a huge fan for so long, to see Paul, Grant and Phil together on stage once more was almost overwhelmingly exciting. It was a great show, with Adam Lester on lead guitar and even getting Adrian Ross out on didjerydoo. Again I ended up in the mosh pit right at the end of the catwalk, receiving a hi-five from Paul and Grant during the acoustic set they did right there. I only have dodgy camera phone photos unfortunatly, but I did find a YouTube vid of Dip with the didj solo from Adrian.

Check em out and feel very sad that you missed an amazing concert.

Easterfest - Thursday/Friday

Well what can I say.... apart from that Easterfest was great fun! Good friends + good music = good times!

Camping was a bit of an adventure, Matt and I got up to Toowoomba a bit later than expected and were left with this tiny patch of grass to pitch two tents... we ended up setting them up so they were literally opening over each other (Matt had to use a side entrance to his because the main dome entrance of his fly was covering the back right corner of my tent).

Oh and it was raining as we set up, so everything got wet; clothes, bedding, food... everything. 

Friday was the first day of the music and we travelled round the stages catching various acts until the main program started on Main Stage in the afternoon.  I was watching a friend, Bell Morrison, play on one of the smaller stages and missed most of Canadian band NewWorldSon's  first set on Main Stage, but hearing the end of it I knew I wanted to see more.  Their other sets on Saturday were amazing, and I have found myself a new band to groove along to their funky funky tunes.  If you're into Southern Gospel, Funk, Jazz but like modern music then NewWorldSon is something you'll love, their blend of music was incredibly cool.

Friday night's main act was the reunion of Audio Adrenaline! Wow it was great! Matt and I got ourselfs right down in the mosh pit, right up against the end of the cat walk and had probably the best viewing spot of the night, I got to hi-five lead singer Mark and really enjoyed being right up close to the action. I love Audio A's music, and have seen them live before, so it was amazing to know that maybe I have been present at their last ever concert.

(Photo by Trent Roullion - You can see Matt quite clearly in this photo and my head just behind his)

Thursday, 9 April 2009

Easter weekend

I've had a fantastic week of reflection on the cross and Jesus' grace act on our behalf, but I have run out of time to write about it.

I had a Greek exam this morning, so all my focus has been on that, and now that it is over I'm packing and heading off to Easterfest (The Australian Gospel Music Festival) with much excitement of seeing The Paul Colman Trio and Audio Adrenaline for one last time!

Have a great Easter, remember the one who, by his unbelievable act, has set us all free.

Friday, 3 April 2009

Christianity v's a Christian.

Ask someone what they think of church or Christianity and you'll most probably get a bit of a negative answer.

But ask someone if they know a Christian, and most times they'll only have really nice things to say about them.

Wednesday, 1 April 2009

Thy Word

Not even a minute after posting that last blog a guy from college walked up to me and told me he'd been praying this morning and God had given him a word for me.

He was sorry he hadn't told me this morning, but he'd run out of time.

He then said "God wants you to know it will be alright."

That was it... but the timing just after I'd been contemplating not getting the exact mark I'd wanted... and also having a bit of a contemplation about the Greek exam I have next Thursday that feels so overwhelmingly big, it was the perfect time for God to speak into my life through that word. I was feeling that I wasn't quite as good at all this study stuff as I'd thought I was.

No matter what we do, or how much effort we put in, everything is in God's hands, and I'm glad at this time he's reminded me everything will be all right, even when I don't get my own way.

Taking the Time to Stop and Look

Two assignments back, and in both cases I got one mark less than I thought I was going to.  A bit of a hard hit, thinking I was a tad better at this than I actually am.

With my I.T degree, a pass was all I cared about, this was probably more because I wasn't enjoying it and was just doing what I had to do to get out of there... this time round, I really want to do well, and just a pass doesn't seem like such a great achievement. 

So probably to most people the marks I go were really good, but I just felt I was one click off the mark I'd set for myself.

So just taking a moment to reflect on the comments of the lecturer and figure out how to lift my game just that little bit.
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