Saturday, January 31, 2009

New additions

Welcome to the Baldock clan our new kitten named Percival. He's soooo cute!

But he has already pissed on the lovesac...

Friday, January 30, 2009

Greiams and lizards

What do the Abominable snowman, the Yeti, Bigfoot, Nessie, the Greiam and a lizard all have in common?

Sure, you may have heard off all but the final two of the initial options, but i assure you they all belong together.

The answer? They are all said to exist, but sightings are rare.

As of today the Greiam dies at Balgowlah.

The Greiam you ask? A combination of myself an Liam which morphed together over our years at college. He went on conferences and ordered books, but alas, was never seen in the flesh. Like a ghost, he will walk around Seaforth, spinning on chairs and turning on lights. If you listen closely, you will hear the name Greiam whistling in the wind...

But i'm sure you're wondering how a lizard fits into the equation...

Well, it began a few years ago with Sarah. She sworer she saw a lizard in the office at Seaforth, but evidence was scarce. For a lenghty amount of time i thought Sarah had finally lost her mind. Then, like a theif in the night i myself saw the scaled office companion. With my own eyes i had seen a legend!

Well, with my departure from the office the lizard has been strutting about like he owns the place (and with Liam as his only competition, i think he could be the alpha male).

Today... photographic evidence has arisen of the elusive critter.

If you squint closely and want to spot a lizard, then you can just make it out...

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Creative Cecil

Oh my car...

On my way to work this morning my lovely car had another minor mishap.

After the years I've had fixing and repairing Cecil, he's had to get creative because he's running out of new things to break down.

This time? The opening of the gas tank.

You would think nothing could go wrong with the tiny door on the side of your car, but crafty Cecil found a way. I tried to simply unlatch the door. But Cecil had other ideas. In his world, you pull the lever with the petrol pump on it... and nothing happens!

Does the door open? No. Does it even make any sound? Nope. Instead? A spooky silence and the realisation that you can't drive far without refilling the car with petrol.

The solution? Slip a guy twenty bucks at the mechanics and he proceeds to remove the tiny door, bash it for a few minutes and put it back on. Presto!

The lesson from today? Anything can be fixed if you slip someone a few dollars and they give it a good bashing...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Less is more?

Today i drove past three churches within half a block. At Balgowlah there are two churches within half a block, the same at Seaforth and four in two blocks at Manly. I wonder why.

More importantly, i wonder if it the best method of reaching people and being the Body of Christ.

My point? Would we be better if there were less churches?

If you got rid of all/amalgamated the small dying churches, or combined those geographically close together, would it be taking a step in the right direction?

Now before i start, i want to say that i don't want to rip the heart out of churches left and right, nor do i think there is no value in smaller churches.

But... there is truth in the saying that less is more.

With fewer churches there would be a stack more money available for mission or developing buildings that are state-of-the-art and large enough to cater for community needs and increased church attendance.

With fewer churches there would be better ministers. In theory, fewer churches would mean less senior ministers, therefor the cream should rise to the top. Alternatively, there would be more ministry specific positions, creating a better fit for selective ministers.

With fewer churches there would be a critical minimum made in vital ministry areas. Numbers would inflate in service attendance and youth/children's ministry. Would there actually be more people at the start? No, but in time, numbers should rise due to the magnetic effect large gatherings have.

With fewer churches there would be less reproduction. It annoys me that churches copy what the church is doing down the road. Does it make sense that a church wants to "develop" a youth ministry, or playgroup, or whatever... when that niche is already adequately covered?

With fewer churches the power of increased people is unleashed. Your music should be better because you have more musos to chose from. Your scripture classes should be covered better because there is a larger pool of people passionate about scripture. Your techie support should be better because you have more than one techie guru.

Am i sounding the death of the local church? No. But could the local church work better with a firmer foundation? Maybe.

Finally... Don't believe me? Look at what is happening at larger churches. Better facilities, better leaders, more innovative ministries and larger impact.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Lone trys, saving the game and 2-3

Today, as i go through my final day as a 26 year old, it occurred to me that i haven't played competitive sport for almost a decade (yes we did play ultimate frisbee, but at the level we played, we weren't exactly competitive).

As i reminisce about my sporting prowess three events pop to mind.

The first is my lone Rugby Union try. Yes, in playing for more than 10 years, and over 100 games, i only crossed the stripe once. It was in the under 9's (?) against Collaroy. We had never beaten them and had a quite a rivalry building up between the teams. On that fateful day we beat them and i scored the first try of the game. I would love to say that my effort was the stuff of legend and is talked about by elderly gentlemen over a beer at BBQ's. I would love to say that i ran the length of the field, or chipped and chased, or even side-stepped half the opposition side, but alas that's not the case. Instead, from a scrum, five meters out from their line, their fly-half dropped the ball and i picked it up and scampered a few meters to score.

The worst part? My Dad wasn't there to see it. I don't know where he was, or where he went, but he missed it.

My other two achievements come from my short lived cricket career. To be truthful, i wasn't all that great. Sure, i couldn't see the ball, but that just made batting all the more exciting.

I battered last and on one occasion, i saved the game. I had to face the final over and i held out. It was blocking and leaving the ball at it's finest.

Finally, i topped the stat sheet for bowling. Did i bowl often? No. Did i bowl more than once? No. Did i bowl for more than an over? No. But when i did, i got the figures of 2-3. Two wickets for only three runs.

And that's about it... Did we win premierships? Yep. Do i have a stack of trophies at home? Sure. Was i a major contributor? Not exactly.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Ministry souvenirs

Today i finally cleaned out my old office (it has only been a year...) and seven boxes of books later there was one empty bookcase.

While i was there Liam mentioned that he was leaving behind the office printer which he was "donating." For a while it saddened me. Neil left a glass topped coffee table for the office and now Liam was leaving a souvenir of the printer. What was i leaving? The office lizard?

Well... As i dropped the boxes of books to my folks' place, it occurred to me that i was leaving behind a forgotten memento.

In the senior space is a knee high wooden coffee table table. I made it during my last year in woodwork.

It's strange the things you leave behind you once you depart from a ministry. I suppose i should have got a brass plaque to make it all official looking... oh well.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

To untie the knot?

I stumbled across this website yesterday. It's called

Truth being told, I'm not ready to chuck in the institution of marriage yet, and would even recommend it to others... But the points against seem to really stack up...

First, you become poor. Over time your spouse will strip you of everything you posses or will earn in the future. Prior to that you will indulge her in a huge diamond because she demands it (and it turns out they aren't actually all that rare!) and blow your dosh on a lavish ceremony that you will have no input in and will transform her into a different person.

Second, your relationship changes. The woman nags you for a child which destroys you're bank balance further and trashes her figure and attention that was placed on her husband. Sex? Forget it. She'll be at home having a holiday "raising the kids," all expenses paid by her hard working hubby.

Males are virtually slaves in a marriage.

Third, it turns out women have a convenient excuse for being unfaithful, being irresponsible, stealing the kids and being lazy.

The moral? You're going to die alone eventually so save your cash and instead enjoy the benefit's of non-marriage.

You do need to be married in order to throw an extravagant four-hour party, and share the same last name.
You do need to be married in order to involve the state and government in your romantic affairs.
You do need to be married in order give away half of everything you own.

In a bold statement, the author estimates that the percentage of happy and monogamous marriages to be under 5%.

Oh wedded bliss... Who wouldn't want it?

Monday, January 19, 2009

The fourth E

A while ago i stated my three E's to unleash the S.H.A.P.E. of ministry.

Lately I've discovered an important fourth E.

In order to know if you're effectively Equipping, Engaging and Empowering, you need Evaluation. Ah, the fourth E... How i love it when an idea flows through alliteration!

Now the fourth E can be broken into three segments. Knowledge, Skills and Passion.

Are they gaining the facts, the practice and increased desire when exercising the area of ministry that God has placed on their hearts?

Most importantly, are those in paid ministry resourcing the church with the proper books/tapes, conferences, opportunities, feedback and encouragement to help them be as effective in their place of ministry as they can be?

I blog for who???

So I wondered today about my blog and who exactly it is written for.

Admittedly, i didn't get the chance to give it a whole heap of thought because i was done be 1:15, but my mind glanced over it all the same.

The answer i came up with? Well... I'm not sure.

I could be writing for those people who know me.

I could be writing for the creepers on the web who trawl through random blogs (yes... i am one of them).

I could even be writing for potential employers. My stats always spike after an interview.

Actually... I've got it!

I write for the sanity of myself and my wife!

I write because my head swims with ramblings. More so now then before i started. If i didn't have this outlet then i would have to inflict them upon my tormented spouse.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Deep scripts

Ange and i got a DVD this avro. Nothing too exciting about that...

It could have been a much more noteworthy afternoon if Ange agreed to get the film i saw on the shelf. ZOMBIE STRIPPERS.

Imagine it... Zombies who are strippers!

I can only assume that it would go perfectly in a movie marathon with Snakes on a Plane.

Both have such interesting storyline twists...

One has Snakes... on a... Plane.

The other has Zombies... who are... Strippers.

Thursday, January 15, 2009


I've worked it out...

The reason the cartoon on the previous post makes me chuckle is because of the facial expressions. I've seen them before.

I've seen the one on the congregant. The look of shame and regret...

I've seen the one on the Pastor. The anger and displeasure... In fact, I've made that face on more than one occasion.

As for the face in the thought bubble? Well... I've only seen that one in my minds eye.

Giggles in the heat

Over the last two days I've been melting in the heat whilst working. Thankfully I've been done by 2pm each day.

So i figured that i should get a giggle while absorbing the sun. This is what i came up with.

I don't know why but it makes me chuckle...

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Greeting the extra 1.6

Going on from my rant about forced, fake church greetings, i heard a great idea for going the extra mile in welcoming people to church.

Normally people trudge into church on a rainy day (truthfully... more people decide to stay in their cosy beds) as a snivelling moist mess. They are then greeted with a smiling face once the door is flung open and quickly shut again. Your umbrella is taken and you shiver through a church service...

The idea i heard is pretty simple. On a rainy day you have a number of ushers, armed with umbrellas, waiting to whisk you from you car to the church door.

As a greeting idea i think it really works. You have a captive, appreciative audience. What could be better?

Monday, January 12, 2009

Vic the Shark Hunter

Today i heard Vic Hislop discussed on the radio.

If you don't know about Vic then you either a) haven't been to his shark museum at Hervey Bay or b) you haven't lived a life worthy of talking about in public. Wanna know more about his Aussie hero? Hear this guys rants about Vic at

On my first-year college tour we visited his dungeon of shark hatred. It was amazing. To get an idea, check out this review -

The gist? Sharks are monsters who roam the waters ready to devour. Anyone who's every drowned? Sharks. Anyone who's every gone missing? Those pesky sharks. Does that include those gone missing inland, far away from any water source? It does in Vic's world.

Want more evidence? Have you wondered why whales beach themselves? Simple. Sharks.

Anyway, you know you're doing good when a blog exists with the sole purpose of putting your teachings to a stop. Check it out at Blogs not your thing? Then join the facebook group "For all those that think Vic Hislop should be gutted like the uneducated pig he is" at

It's sad that the tall poppy syndrome has claimed another national treasure.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Channelling Gordon

Since i have the same personality type as Gordon Ramsey, i figured that i should use our compatibility to the best of my abilities.

Lets talk about the food at the Steyne...

Imagine... Gordon enters this fine eatery and orders a chicken schnitzel and a side of wedges. After a wait, his beeper goes off and he collects his food.

"F*&K me."

"The chicken is overcooked and dried. You can hardly cut the bloody thing! This is awful. This chef should be ashamed. And what is this crappy gravy? Blimey!"

Gordon chokes down as much of the distasteful chicken dish his gut can handle and then moves onto the potato wedges.

Surly they can't screw this up he thinks.

"F*&k me, they've done it again!"

"How can they cock this up? The potatoes must have been sitting on the shelf since 2004! I'm not sure there is enough tomato sauce on the planet to cover the taste of this disaster."

As the anger builds, he wishes he could go back to his schniddy.

"I've coughed up more appetising things then this. Whoever cooked this should chuck it in today and return their cooking licence. Serving this slop up at a place which serves booze is a recipe for mayhem."

As Gordon gets up to leave, his stomach hates him for the torture he has just put it through.

"I'll never eat here again," he think to himself. "Maybe i could bad mouth them on some kind of web-log."

Gordon stares over Manly beach and thinks... back to the RSL... at least they can do a good schnitzel there.

Friday, January 9, 2009

My twisted personality

You may notice that I've added a new feature to the blog. If you're interested in knowing just what the heck an ISTJ personality type means then go here...

The coolest thing? The Disciple Thomas, Augustus, Hannibal, Queen Elizabeth II, Gordon Ramsey, C.S Lewis, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Principal Skinner, Mr Spock, Bruce Wayne, Hannibal Lecter and Darth Vader are all like me.

Men shouldn't be ordained

In many of my latest round of interviews i was asked what my thoughts were about women in ministry. I have no problem with it personally, but the arguments against it normally go as such...

10. A women's place is in the kitchen.
9. The pastoral duties of women who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.
8. The physique of women indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as laundry and shopping. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.
7. Man was created before woman.

6. Women are too emotional to be priests or pastors. They cry all the freakin time!
5. Some women are beautiful, and this will distract male worshipers.
4. Pastors need to lead their congregations. But this is not a traditional female role. Throughout history, men have been recognized as not only more skilled than women at leading, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Women are prone to gossip. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus had no female disciples.

1. Women can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can cook potlucks, be in the creche, and perhaps even lead the song service on Mother's Day. By confining themselves to such traditional female roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.

Now i don't think any of these reasons hold weight, but if you tweak them a little... Men shouldn't be ordained either...

10. A man’s place is in the army.
9. The pastoral duties of men who have children might distract them from the responsibility of being a parent.
8. The physique of men indicates that they are more suited to such tasks as chopping down trees and wrestling bears. It would be “unnatural” for them to do ministerial tasks.
7. Man was created before woman, obviously as a prototype. Thus, they represent an experiment rather than the crowning achievement of creation.
6. Men are too emotional to be priests or pastors. Their conduct at football and basketball games demonstrates this.
5. Some men are handsome, and this will distract women worshipers.
4. Pastors need to nurture their congregations. But this is not a traditional male role. Throughout history, women have been recognized as not only more skilled than men at nurturing, but also more fervently attracted to it. This makes them the obvious choice for ordination.
3. Men are prone to violence. No really masculine man wants to settle disputes except by fighting about them. Thus they would be poor role models as well as dangerously unstable in positions of leadership.
2. The New Testament tells us that Jesus was betrayed by a man. His lack of faith and ensuing punishment remind us of the subordinated position that all men should take.
1. Men can still be involved in church activities, even without being ordained. They can sweep sidewalks, repair the church roof, and perhaps even lead the song service on Father’s Day. By confining themselves to such traditional male roles, they can still be vitally important in the life of the church.

Strange that when the reasons are about blokes they become humorous, but when applied to sheilas it is (for some) the hill to die on.

(i must acknowledge that this was partly inspired by a comment on another blog)

The gospel: FTH

Flowing from the last post, i figured that i should blog on what i tell people, and teach youth, when I'm asked to explain what the gospel is. Due to my short memory and young people's short attention span, i nail it down to three words. Forgiveness, Transformation, Hope.

Forgiveness - The Bible insists that there is a barrier between us and God. This is called sin. Sin is where we disobey the ways that God has instructed us to live for our benefit. Each of us has fallen short of these instructions and have created a barrier between us and our Creator.

Due to his mercy, God has dealt with this barrier between him and us. Through the actions of Jesus on the cross, the justice of God was satisfied on our behalf. In our place, Jesus was crucified because the justice of God demanded that sin be punished. If we place our trust in this action, the forgiveness of God is available as a gift to us.

Transformation - But Christianity is more than an action that happened thousands of years ago. It is meant to make a change in our life and God helps us in this goal.

Upon trusting in the death and resurrection of Jesus, God places his Holy Spirit in us. This helps, guides, instructs and convicts Christians to live they way God intended us to live. Over time Christians become more like the one who lived this perfect life, Jesus.

Hope - Furthermore, Christianity is a message of hope. Believers have the hope of heaven and the judgement of God.

For a Christian, death is not the end. Upon belief, a believer is granted eternal life. When we die a Christian is promised a place in heaven, to be in relationship with God, as was originally intended.

Beyond this, we are told of a day when Jesus will return and God will judge the world. This holds no fear for a Christian. Instead, God will instigate justice over all creation. There will be a time where justice will reign. Those who "got away with it" in this life will not before God. And as a result the old will pass away and pain, tears and suffering will swept aside.

So there it is... FTH... the gospel in a nutshell.

Unknown love

Today, while driving to work i heard some guy say that a bloke at Coke wanted to give away music with cases of soft drink. The plan, in his head, was to give away Beethoven's 5th symphony.

He figured that everyone loved this piece of music, just some people didn't know it yet.

It made my mind wander to the way people need the gospel, but are unaware of it. Due to the need God has placed in the hearts of people to be in relationship with him, they long for the gospel. Many just aren't aware of it yet...

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Ring legacy

Today, while at my folk's (once again changing a flat tyre), i received the start of a new legacy in the Baldock tribe.

Today i got one of my Pop's old rings. It matches one my Dad wears which Mum gave them.

The thought of passing on these two rings to the gents in the family sounds nice...

Erin Louise

My sister and her husband did good...

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Superman in the pews

Whilst trolling through various blogs i stumbled upon this website...

Turns out Superman, if looking for an old Methodist church in Australia, may well stumble into a Uniting Church. I'm not sure what I'd tell 'ol Clark Kent. But it would annoy me when he had to leave midway though the service to "save the world."

Monday, January 5, 2009

Twilight ramblings

I would love to say that the title of this post referred to the time of writing. It's not. It's about the best film I've seen so far in 2009!

It's also the only film I've seen so far this year. Thus, it is the WORST FILM OF 2009!

In retrospect, i have three ramblings.

One... I'm glad my wife couldn't read my thoughts. WTF ran through my mind more than i though possible. Was it the worst film I've ever seen? Not quite. Was it the second worst? Thanks to the "Horse Whisperer," yes.

Two... Wooden acting. Wide eyed wooden acting. Big haired, wide eyed wooden acting. Big haired, wide eyed wooden acting of awful dialogue.

Three... Did i mention the paisty flavour of the film? I wish i meant that it tasted like Clag, but no. The town the movie was set in was choc full of paisty folk. Even the humans! Trust me, i know paisty and i would have fit right in.

Laugh? Cry? Dream?

I've been trying to get my head around the differences between youth and young adult ministry.

For teenagers you ride the wave of growing up while they work our who they are and how God and faith fit into the equation. Their lives revolve around school, family and friends.

When you step out of the shadow of school, you're more balanced. You move into serious study or work and your head is more preoccupied with relationships, responsibilities and the future.

I'm mostly wandering about what you ask when you meet both groups for the first time.

With teens you're more on a fact finding mission. School? Family? Friends?

With young adults you can go deeper. What makes you laugh out loud? Why makes you cry inwardly? What are you dreams? Sure, you may not dive into these questions after the sentence... "G'Day, my names Graham, check out," but with these answers secured, you learn about about a person.

Doin Business

As my mind wandered over the service last night i recalled a phrase i quite liked that was said before communion. We were given a time to do business with God.

I like it.

Sure, I'd heard it used before, but this time it has stuck with me. I think, next time I'm going to do a response time I'll try to use this wording.

I'm a big fan of it because, one, it's non-confrontational. You aren't bombarded by choices and pestering. Secondly, i believe it leaves more than enough space for your conscience and the Spirit to speak to you about what you and God need to transact.

Sunday, January 4, 2009


Yesterday Gavin and i went to the most boring day at the cricket all summer.

How do i know? Well for one, only 250 runs were scored. Second, when a wave started, it went around the ground six times. Finally, a bloke named Dubbo.

Dubbo made the mistake of wearing a shirt that had his name on the back.

The result? Hundreds of people yelled Dubbo's name, encouraging him to drink beer. And drink he did.

Good man that Dubbo.

Pre liturgy spiel

Tonight Ange and i went to church at All Saints with Sara and Claire. While there they did their usual use of liturgy.

Truth being told, I'm not a massive fan.

I've got no problem with saying good sound theology, but I'm just not certain that it connects people with God. Isn't that meant to be the point?

Well this evening i liked the spiel that was given before we read the confession. In shot, we were asked to read the words silently to ourselves first and see how they apply to our lives, then we read them together.

For me, this works much better. It makes the monotone reading of words more personal.

Friday, January 2, 2009


I just got off the phone with a minister. The conversation was... encouraging.

Does it mean i will be burning my water meter reading outfits tomorrow? No. But compared to many of the conversations I've been having over the phone with ministers lately, this one was a positive change...

Sleepless rewards

I hope this isn't a trend for the year ahead.

Imagine it... You go to bed at around 11:30 last night. At 12:30 you are still awake so you read a little and then try again. At 1:30 you get up to have a glass of milk and watch TV. There's nothing on so you're in bed again soon after. It's approaching 4am and you're still awake. Life sucks. You decide to sleep on the couch... a short time later you finally fall asleep.

The lesson you learn? Counting sheep doesn't work.

But... you're a smart man... knowing you'll probably feel life crap on 3.5 hours sleep, and unknowingly stop your alarm in the morning, your uncomfortable sleep on the couch rouses you in plenty of time to get to work.

Luckily, you sound A HEAP worse then you feel.

So you work at Crows Nest and decide to stop around 1pm cause you've had gut full.

The ray of light in your day? You got a $70 gift card from work for being the 2nd best water meter reader in the final quarter of 2008. You also get to go to the cricket tomorrow.

Maybe 2009 isn't all doom and gloom...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

My sporting future

I just went to the world rock, paper, scissors website. It was amazing.

You know people are taking it seriously when they have a poll asking...
What do you think of Rock?
a) Most overrated throw in the game
b) Solid throw, I use it often
c) Only when backed into a corner
d) Rock is for rookies

Worse still, there is a thrilling article titled "How to beat anyone at Rock Paper Scissors." Beyond belief, they even have trading cards.

Go to and waste minutes of your life that you'll never get back.

If you're wondering... i said that rock is for rookies. You know you were wondering...

Hehehe... Doodles

Turns out there is an Icelandic Phallological Museum. Amazingly, their website says it's the only one dedicated to the subject in the world.

I can just imagine all the teenage boys chuckling and poking each other as they go there on a science excursion.