Saturday, 21 November 2015

Jesus Freak is 20 years old

20 years ago I was 13, in my first year of highschool and my first year of youth group. I was impressionable, passionate and a little confused about life in general. This song had a profound impact on my confidence as a Christian young person. It gave me an identity, and a rallying point of unity with other Christian teenagers who all loved the song, and its message.

I remember later in my teens spending hours in a mate's rumpus room learning to play the song on the drums - I don't think we ever performed it, but it was the ultimate jam song.

I also remember the youth pastor using the musical video again and again... but we didn't care. As soon as we saw that white dove appear on the screen at youth group or a Sunday evening service we knew things were about to get awesome.

I missed the 1996 DC Talk tour of Australia (I remember the concert was at Dreamworld, but as a 14 year old my parents weren't willing to let me head out for the late night car trip with other teens from Ipswich).  However I saw Toby Mac at Sonfest in 2003 and as his set ended the crowd erupted into the chant of "Jesus Freak.... Jesus Freak" - eventually Toby came back out and performed it and it was epic! One of the best memories I have!

It's still my all time favourite song, and 20 years later, now a worship pastor and pretty much a legitimate muso, I look back on this album (not just the one song) and think the entire thing was creative genius... I've made the statement a few times that Jesus Freak is the best Christian rock album of all time (I still buy a copy for young guys I want to see get into some good Christian music).

I shared this article from Christianity Today on Facebook this morning, it's good to see other people agree with me.

Now I'm going to rock out to this album to celebrate 20 years of influence

Thursday, 19 November 2015

The most worthwhile thing I did with my money this week.

Child sponsorship is an amazing thing, if done right.  I can't speak for other organisations, but from my experience Compassion International does it as right as they can.

Recently I spent the morning with a former sponsor child, he's now an accountant, and pastor, and travelling to tell people the worth of child sponsorship, and how a 15 year old girl changed his life. Then this week I received a letter from my sponsor child, telling me about how he's given his life to Jesus.  What an amazing encouragement that is. To think my small contribution has not only changed his health and education, but impacted on his eternity as well - that's just incredible!

I've been sponsoring Abby for 3 years now, and it's been a different experience having a child who speaks English.  He's written to me himself (without the help of a translator or teacher) right from the beginning, and it's allowed us a deeper level of communication. He asks me lots of questions, and this time sent me a photograph of himself with the presents he bought with the money I sent for Christmas (some 'cool' shoes and a backpack for school).  It's great to be able to influence through letters as well as simply provide funds for buying things.

If you're not sponsoring a child, seriously consider it. I gain so much from it, and I seriously hardly notice the financial side of things, even now only working part time. It is well worth it, and I really believe all of us in Australia are wealthy enough that there is simply no excuse not to.

Abbey, and his letter and drawing :-)

Monday, 16 November 2015

...this is important.

One thing I did during my break between jobs was unplug from social media.  I find many social media platforms integral in my day to day ministry life, so I took the opportunity to really break free when I wasn't in any formal ministry for a few weeks.

It was easier to disconnect than I thought. And I did naturally use some of that extra time in spiritual thought (reading, praying, worshiping) - so when I saw Chan's quote today it resonated with me.  I think I need to find some time daily to ignore my phone/computer/tablet and turn off all those beeps and chirps of notifications to really shut off for a while to be alone with God completely.

Thursday, 12 November 2015

New ministry; new opportunities; steep learning curve!

I am just finishing my second week at Birkdale Baptist Church.  It's been great! It's also been tough, just in having to learn a new culture, adjust to different working conditions and methods and just being in a place where you're not 100% comfortable yet.

As I have been introduced to the different ministries of the church I have observed so many opportunities where I think I will be able to influence for the better.  However, at this stage I have to balance that with meshing myself with the culture of Birkdale (and Cannon Hill) so that I can implement things in the best way for the church, and not myself.

It's an interesting dynamic, because I am surrounded day in and out by new opportunities, but I may not quite understand their full effect yet because I don't really know the church.  So it feels I have a massive amount to learn, and need to be careful about where I actually dip my toe before I dive in.

But they are a great bunch of people.  My induction service last Sunday was a little quirky but a lot of fun - and I am looking forward to really letting God use me as I gain some influence here with time.

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