Friday, February 27, 2009

Millenial competition

Today, as always, i took a gander at the stats for this website. It turns out that I'm nearing a milestone and it gave me an idea.

At the moment this blog has been visited by 972 visitors.

As i approach the 1000 mark i want to reward the lucky person. IN A FEW DAYS... IT COULD BE YOU!!!

Here's the deal. If you visit this site over the next few days, you need to leave a comment so i know when you have been here. With this i can track exactly who is the lucky 1000th visitor.

The results if you win? I will indulge you with anywhere up to $10 (yes, ten whole Australian dollars!) in an edible/drinkable thing of your choice.

I would appreciate it if the winner was from Australia, but if not... I'll work something out.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Stand alone stags

For a while I'm been thinking about guys living away from their parents home.

It first arose at last year's young adults conference at Katoomba. Mark Driscoll, the speaker, was a HUGE advocate of guys standing on their own two feet and moving out. He used the Biblical teaching about marriage and leaving your mother and father and cleaving to your wife. Now, I'm ok with that in terms of marriage, but before then?

When asked this very question, Mark just went on this married guys rant and didn't answer the question. I also would want to ask Mark when does the "get out of your parents home" time frame kick in? 18? 21? When you've got a full time job? Post study? How does it work if you live in a place that costs a fortune to live in and wish to stay local?

Lately, the topic has poped up again as I've heard guys talk/plan on moving out of home.

I'm not against it. But i am wary.

When i think of guys moving out of home i see a dirty, smelly, run-down ghetto. Sure, they may not start that way, but that's how they end up. And, depending on the room-mates, i see parties and plenty of potentially compromising situation you just don't encounter at home.

If you don't have a believer as a roomie, i can't see how this could be avoided easily.

For starters, if they pick up chicks (or have a girlfriend) the issue of sex and relationships come on the agenda. Add this to you having your own bed (which is probably a double/queen) you have then new temptation to have a girlfriend over.

I avoided this by purposely having a single bed and staying at home (not that i think my folks would have minded overly). With no space and less privacy, the potential for late night rendezvous was greatly reduced.

With maturity, can a shared bachelor pad be beneficial? Sure. Can the experience help build maturity and enable you to be a better partner in the future? Definitely. Should a single chap live with his folks forever? NO WAY!

But can it be a slippery slope of new temptation? Maybe...

Leading with friends

While i noticed that tomorrow I'll be leading newbies, i hope this is something that is replicated shortly at a new church.

But the (hopefully) new situation will also flow onto (hopefully again) new leaders. And it got me thinking...

What would happen if the incumbent youth ministry leaders didn't like the new youth minister? What (if you could imagine!) they don't like me, or (the impossible) my darling wife?

More importantly... Would we need to get along? Sure it's better, but is it necessary? Is it compulsory?

I'm not sure where i exactly fall on the issue. I've never had to, to my knowledge, face it and in theory, unless I'm an outright jerk straight off, it shouldn't flare up soon.

But i wonder... Do you play hard ball and tell everyone to get along? Do you cover up the situation from the kids? How long do you let an lingering ill feelings go on? Hmmm...

New groupies

Today i got the attendance for tomorrow nights small group. The thing that excites me is that i have never significantly lead any of them in the past.

For the first time in a few years, I'll be surrounded by relative "unknowns."

First, it paints a good picture of the continuing ministry that happened at Balgowlah once i moved on.

Second, i now get to wow a whole bunch of newbies.

The only dilemma is... Do we do get-to-know-you activities set down in the studies?

The answer? No way.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Working friends

Today i went to a brothel.

Everything was above board. I was just there to read their water meter, or, more specifically, ask them where exactly their water meter was located.

I was admittedly sus going in. The name on the door said Jemma's of (insert un-named suburb here). Situated in the back of an industrial area, i figured that Jemma wouldn't be providing a professional knitting service.

I went up the stairs (another bad sign!) and was quickly unsettled. Now, it wasn't exactly the set of a porno and i was the young buck "here to clean the pool (i mean read the water meter)," but the "receptionist" was not comprehending what i was trying to communicate (i hope she wasn't trying to decipher an obscure euphemism) so i quickly left.

The experience did get me thinking. With a brothel across the road from church, how would a friendship work between a "workin girl" and someone in ministry?

Does a youth minister just walk up to reception and ask if anyone needs a friend? What happens if you're seen leaving?

Or, what happens if you know a prostitute prior to her becoming a "woman of the night?"

You wouldn't hang together while she was "on call," but can you chat out front at other times?

Finally, do you need to tell the senior minister what you are doing? What happens if they say no?

Jesus hung with prostitutes after all... should we?

The step ask

A while back i raved about the power of the ask. In that case, it was about recruiting volunteers for ministry.

Now i want to blog about the step ask. The what you ask? Well... The invitation to someone you know, from someone else in your world.

The step ask first appeared on my radar with the "Way of the Master" TV shows (for those of you who have good memories, and were in small group, these are the "do you think you're a good person" guys). In an episode of their evangelism show they discussed witnessing to your family members. They made the point that asking those who know you best are sometimes the most difficult to ask to attend church. The same could probably be said for the closest friends in your life.

What does this have to do with the step ask you wonder???

Well I've seen the step ask in action thanks to Kim. For a while she has been inviting Gavin to church and on Sunday he actually came!

It reminded me of a stat that i remember, but could be a work of fiction. The stat says that it takes, on average, seven invitations to church before someone will actually rock up on a Sunday.

With the step ask your quota of seven is shared around.

Also, the step ask has the advantage of letting the invitee know that they will know someone else than their friend.

Monday, February 23, 2009

Jesus Saviour?

"One question I like to ask Christians that makes them wriggle is this:

If you could go back in time and successfully rescue Jesus from the crucifixion, would you do it?

I have yet to hear a Christian utter a yes that wasn’t then qualified into a no.

Me, I’d rescue the poor bastard in a heartbeat. Christians have no morals."

I just stumbled across this quote on an atheist blog.

The scene, in this case is the workplace so there is no forethought or prep... So here's my answer...

Quite simply, my answer is no. I wouldn't save Jesus.

Firstly, because i know me. I know that i would have deserted Jesus just as quickly as the other disciples. They travelled with Jesus for three years solid and left him at his greatest hour of need. Me, my dedication to Jesus wavers on most days ending in the letter y.

Secondly, I'm not sure i could stop the crucifixion. God, despite what we may think, is ultimately in control of history.

Third, Jesus isn't just the "poor bastard" victim in the equation of the cross. Sure, he was killed. But the cross is ultimately an expression of love in action. Jesus could have stopped the events of Easter, but he didn't.

With the realisation of the results that the cross achieved (a right relationship between us and God), I'm not sure he would want me to save him. He stopped Peter twice when he wanted to (even calling him Satan). Once when he wanted him to not head towards Jerusalem, and once when Peter was swinging his sword in the garden.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Bible relating

Last night in small group, the first one for the year, i started by asking "Are you reading the Bible at the moment, and if so, what has stood out lately?"

The question struck me earlier in the day and i figured it would be a good way to spark interest in any flagging spiritual disciplines. This week it was reading the Bible, next week will be another one.

To follow up, today i messaged the members of the group who were there with their suggestion on how they will "pick up" in their reading of the Word.

Each of the messages ended with the reminder that each relationship needs work and that this includes the one between us and God.

With the new year, and a new small group, i think encouraging others to work on that relationship is a good aim.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Heaven troubles

Today i was troubled by a potential future enquiry. Now, it may just be me, but i feel that it would make many Christians feel uncomfortable.

The situation is this... You're at a funeral. A young kid comes up to you and asks... "is my (Mummy/Daddy/whomever's funeral it is) in heaven?"

I suppose i would say that the decision wasn't up to me (thus getting me off the hook) and that God, who is much more clever than me, would decide. From what we know God is fair and good and wants everyone to go to heaven.

But my answer sits awkwardly with me. Was the answer i gave actually biblically correct? Do i make God out as a softy? Should i avoid saying how God will decide? What age is it ok to mention that the answer depends on what they thought about Jesus? If the kid knows that their loved one didn't follow Jesus, does my answer just make God out to be a jerk in the eyes of the child?

I'm sure a better answer is floating out on the Internet, but there may not be a spare Internet portal available at the funeral.

Protection free judgement

This morning i heard that the average age a girl loses her virginity in Australia is 15.7 years old (somewhere in year 10). It got me thinking.

Back in the day, a 15 year old having sex would have gone hand-in-hand with the term "easy."

Now... not so much.

So it makes me wonder... What line do you cross to be considered "easy?"

Has the age line just moved further south, towards lower high school?

Is it the number of people you share your body with? if so, how many?

Or... Is it choosing to have unprotected sex?

If i had to choose from the three options, i think the third one may be a decider in many teenagers minds. It's the most dangerous option.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Cinema church and multi-sites

Last Sunday, for a fleeting moment i thought i was at the movies whilst in church. Just prior to the start i was sitting comfortably in a chair, waiting for the "show" to begin, with someone behind me eating and chatting quietly.

Now, I'm aware that this isn't some great observation that will change the world nor is a slur against the church service itself.

But it did make me think about the recent multi-site church movement.

The idea is simple. You have multiple sites, thus having a further reach, which view the services from a central location. From what i can gather they have separate worship (?), notices and, usually, a head campus pastor.

The campus is normally a refurbished factory, school or (and this is what made my mind wander) movie cinemas.

Now i can't think of many churches locally that use multiple sites. Instead, when a church wants to expand, they birth a daughter church, with a connection to their larger home base.

I think (and i warn this is not greatly thought out) this works better.

If you are going to have separate campuses, with separate staff, separate bands, separate congregations... Why not just start a new church? Wouldn't the campus pastor be better at addressing the issues of his particular congregation then a unconnected central sermon from the head minister?

Just my 2c.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Tween loving

I must be getting old.

The story in the news about the 13 year old kid in the UK who is a father is disturbing me. HE WAS 12 WHEN THEY HAD UNPROTECTED SEX!!!



When i think of the twelve year old chaps i know, or think back to when guys were in year 7, sex isn't something i immediatly think is on the agenda. Never mind fatherhood.

Normally the guys, lets face it... boys, are pre-pubecent, squeaky-voiced, shrimpy kids who are still wearing clothes their mum buys them... Including undies with cartoon areoplanes on them!

My mind wandered to the answer i would give kids about pre-marital sex.

For the most part, i would probably avoid mentioning the Bible upfront. When dealing with kids who don't recognise the truth of the Bible, why bring up a point of conjecture?

I would begin with the view the government takes of the decision.

It is illegal to have sex with someone under the age of 16. The feds recognise that under that age you aren't properly prepared to know the consequences of having sex.

When it comes to the possibility of becoming a parent, catching an STD and changing the physical and emotional dynamics of the relationship kids just aren't ready to view the ramifications of their actions.
This gives it importance. Importance in the act and importance in the consequences.

Sure, i would then say that this falls in line with the view of sex that God holds and go from there.

But the sarting point? The government.

Chanelling Dad

Last night at church the spirit of my father inherited my person upon seeing a young chap the worst for wear after a night out.

In his voice... my Dad said... "If you're man enough to go out, then you're man enough to get up!"

The older i get, the more truth i sense in above statement.

Beach Mission memories

On the back of last nights Beach Mission service the memories came flooding back from my two years of Beach Mission.

Midnight showers.. Sitting on the pool table and laughing until all hours of the night... getting in trouble for the aforementioned point... Morning prunes... New Years Day chilaxin'... Being visited my my girlfriend at the beach... Late-night Blackjack... The set-up and pack-down... double handling... The cheeseburger challenge... The Wagga Boys... Visitation... the talent nite... Being too-cool for scooping... The post-mission Calender.

Oh the memories...

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Build it and they will come Vs Don't build it and they won't stay

I saw a bunch of scripture teachers heading into a primary school this morning and (surprise, surprise!) it made me think... How many churches send people into schools with the expectation that they will waltz out magically with a horde of kids?

I wondered about the mindset some churches have that states "if we build it (or send them) they will come."

It's kinda understandable. You need ministries like church services, creches, children/youth ministries, oldies services... ect, but there is no guarantee that the target group will darken the doors. Sure, even if it "worked in your day" or "got you there" it may not for someone else.

I feel that a new mantra is required. "Don't build it and they won't stay." The reality is, that if you don't provide services and ministries to people once they DO arrive through the church door, they probably won't return.

If a mother turns up with a toddler and there is no creche, they will go to a church that does next time. Ditto for children's ministry. Same for a ministry to teens.

If you want a motto that comes close to having truth in reality, then "don't build it and they won't stay" fits the bill.

Praying for the... Eww

Today my mind wandered to a disturbing place...

If you're a believer, and your folks are still together, do you pray for your parents sex life?

Sure, i could have phrased it... Do you pray for your parents relationship? For their physical and emotional connection?

As a kid, you should care about the closeness of your parents amd the health of their relationship. And yep, a part of that means sex.

Oh... and by the way... Don't visualise your oldies bumping uglies.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Today i found a business card down the side of the couch. Nothing strange there. I find all kinds of goodies down the side of the couch...

But today was different.

On the card are two cartoon penguins. One has a large fish on his head. On the top it says Relax, God's in Charge.

The card is Ange's, but i had the same one years ago... Thus RGIC... If the acronym is familiar then you will now know that it didn't originate in my mind.

It's funny.

One day after another disappointment, i happen to find the RGIC source.

Monday, February 9, 2009

A kick in the guts with perspective

Yesterday i found out what happened to the youth and young adult position that was being being created for me. A promising start of somewhere between 20-35 hours was whittled down to only 15. Darn.

I will still have a sit down chat, and if the timetable and direction of ministry work out then i may still work there, but it's not what i was hoping for... still reading water meters...

But the news has given me some perspective. As happened last time a possible ministry position fell through, i only need to look around to see that things aren't really that bad...

Last time it was a funeral. This time it's fatal bush fires.

I still have my family. I still have my darling wife. I still have a place to live. I still have all my possessions. I still have my job despite the economic crisis. Today a lot of people don't.

A little perspective helps...

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Blog stopper #2

A while ago i said that the minister of the church i was working at could tell me to stop my blog and i would comply (at least for a season).

Well, i haven't blogged much lately for the second reason... Can you guess?

Monday, February 2, 2009

Eulogising a co-worker

After yesterday i figured should give my 2c about the bloke who invaded my office a few short years ago.

I will keep it short because there is a kitten sitting on the keyboard and typing around a feline is problematic (but it is kinda cool that my pet can sit on the keyboard and not weigh enough for any of the keys go down...)

In a sentence... Liam made me want to do my job better. Much better. There were moments, all too often, that i would sit in awe of what he was doing and see the need to "lift my game."

With his increasing tech knowledge, creative production values, pastoral commitment and organisation, he (at times) had me shake my head at my non-sound desk proficiency, comic-sans fonted, blank background PowerPoint, indifferent personal connection and sloppy rosters.

I hope at my next church there is someone else as on-the-ball as Liam.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Norm, John & Warwick

Today i went to my first morning service at Balgowlah for a while, being Liam's farewell service.

It made me think about the things i miss the most about working at Balgowlah.

In short, it's three gentlemen... John, Norm and Warwick.

Why? Their firm handshakes, encouraging words and smiling faces.