Thursday, October 29, 2009

Easy axxxess

In some respects, sinning would have been much more difficult in the past then it is now.

Today, porn is no more than a few clicks away.

Creep around the Internet, searching for porn or not, and you will inevitably find some.

Type the letters por into a search engine and the suggested search results will fill in the rest.

Today, any young person can be exposed to porn.

No more sneaking a peak at the newsagent. No longer is there a need to locate the R rated movies at the video store and catch a glimpse. Early porn exposure no longer is reliant on stumbling across it in the bush/beach/school or in "Dad's secret stash." (these are just examples that happened to... a friend of mine)

Today it seems much easier.

There's no more shame of hiring the video or buying the magazine and having to look a person in the eye.

Beyond that, you can get exposed to much more hardcore porn than you may have otherwise. Now you are just two clicks away from pictures and videos of things that you could never have seen a generation ago (or at least not as easily).

Then again, if you want to cheat on your partner and get away with it, there are plenty of websites to teach you how and hook you up with a partner.

Mmmm... Bacon

I had luch at Mum and Dad's yesterday and had bacon. It made me think of this...

If you're like Tom and can't read it, then you can look at a larger picture here...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Extraverted Introvert

Over the last few weeks at church I've been playing an up-front roll, either preaching or leading the services.

At another blog the author had the same personality type indicator that is on mine. He then wondered if he was seen in an accurate personality-type light by others in his church.

Like me, he was statistically quite an introvert, but would be displayed publicly as the opposite.

For instance, last Sunday i spent all dinner sprucing free stuff that our church was giving away. If you didn't leave with a vegetable steamer, herb storage device and an organiser, then you didn't stick around for dinner.

I think most people at church would be surprised to find that I'm a dominate introvert. It doesn't mean I'm overly shy, just weary around people I'm unfamiliar with and it takes a bit of energy to be around groups of people.

It would be a fair explanation why i love to read the papers for a few hours by myself between services.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Change reaction

Last night my new church had our first 5:30pm family-friendly service (combining two struggling services - 10:45am & 6:45pm).

Last night the church changed...

Church was done in a new way... A better way.

The week before i preached on change (which i have unsuccessfully tried to post) and in the sermon i referred to "the bell curve of change reaction."

Essentially, you will be this curve during a time of change.

You're position may change depending on the transition that you are going through... but you will be on it.

At one end of the graph is the INNOVATORS. These people make up 2% of a changing population and are the vision casters. These people are the ones who birth the idea.

The Innovators are then followed by the EARLY ADAPTORS. They make up the next 14% of a changing population. They see a good idea and they jump on board. They are the bandwagon riders.

In a creative twist, the MAJORITY are next. Wickedly divided into the early and the late majority (with 34% each) they are neither for nor overly against an idea. They will react once momentum starts and results begin to roll in. These people are more cautious then the preceding groups.

Finally, the LAGGARDS make up the last 16% of a people going through a time of transition. They will fight against the change, either going along kicking-and-screaming, or stubbornly not at all.

Over the last few weeks i have seen this play out at church with the lead up to the new service.

Some have quickly jumped on board and sacrificially contributed ideas, finances and time. Some have taken more time to warm to the concept. Others have dragged their feet or openly questioned the change.

But last night was good.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Didn't see that coming...

Talked or felt out?

To my core, I'm a facts guy. This is particularly true when it comes to my faith.

Today i wondered, if i was confronted with a question i couldn't answer (as if!), how much would it rock my faith?

The curly one that i posed to today was about the length of the ministry of Jesus. Was it one or three years? How many Passovers did it encompass?

The Internet has the answers.


Could there be a question that would faze me out of my faith?

Or, would i be more suseptabe to a set of circumstances that would shake my belief in God?

I figure that I'm more vulnerable to the first problem. But, then again, i am a thinker (or so my personality type suggests), not a feeler.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Seeing the sights

Things i saw whilst reading water meters today...

Multiple cats and dogs... Normal.

A Rabbit... Not exceptional.

A small frog on a fence... A little odd.

A heap of lizards... It was a warm day... so that's not unexpected.

A naked man... A first.

Yep, you read right, a NAKED MAN. In fact, an elderly naked man.

I don't know if this chap was gardening in the nude, or doing yoga without a stitch on, or if he had just got his groove thing on with Nan and was now working on his tan, but he sure didn't expect me to waltz through his gate searching for his water mater.

And i didn't expect to see a wrinkled ass when i woke up this morning.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Starting chips

At each of the church services on Sunday (two in the morning and one in the evening) i preached on to topic of change.

I received positive feedback, even hearing the annoying statement... Wow, you should really think of getting into real ministry!

After the second morning service, i was asked how i could get away with giving the sermon i had just delivered.

Two of the services i preached in are combining this week at a new time. They are in a time of change and not everyone is at the same point of the transitional response timeline.

So... How did i get away with my message?

I'm still playing with my starting chips.

Quite simply, it's the credit you have when you are still new on the scene. For some, depending on your age, prior experience, reputation, results, the time the church waited for you to arrive and your personality, you will have additional beginning leeway than others.

For a while, you can feed off these starting chips. You can make change or start new things based on the credit you have from the time you arrived.

At times you will use your starting chips and it will pay off (like it did for me on Sunday) and sometimes you will be found short.

In time, you can be judged on your own achievements and by their own standards.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The... Ugh... Team

I hate the name "The Dream Team."

It's a thing that makes me go... Ugh!

If you know me, you may find that odd. For i was once a part of "The Dream Team" at my previous church. In fact, I'm in the process of killing the term "Dream Team" at my current church.

At my previous church the discipling group leaders made up "The Dream Team" and the same label has been thrown about for the planning team of our new family-friendly evening service.

But, why the hate?

First, I'm not a fan of elevating people just because they happen to be involved in a ministry area.

Second, it can cause unrest amongst those who are not on "The Dream Team." It would annoy me not to be on the team.

And third, I'm not sure that i (or anyone) is really worthy to fill a "Dream Team" void.

When the term was first applied to the US basketball team it was because they were, undeniably, the very pinnacle of what they did and would be undefeatable by mere mortals.

Somehow... I just don't think that's me.

Maybe i should form a "Pretty Alright Team, who (if they follow God closely) will do Amazing things because God has a habit of using pretty alright people."

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Say or pray?

A question... If you go regularly to church....

How many times have you said the Lord's Prayer?

For me? It would be in the vicinity of around 650 times (with the LP said in most services i would have gone to in the last 13 year).

The question i posed in a devotion time i ran at a prayer day our church has on was... Do you say the Lord's Prayer, or PRAY the Lord's Prayer?

I'll admit, i find that i usually say the words, not especially pray them.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Jesus = BFF?

Today i heard a song that called Jesus their best friend. If you've been around Christian circles long enough, this won't be shocking.

But i wonder, how many people would actually call Jesus their best friend? If you're a believer, do you? When asked, do you say that the Son of God is your bff?

What does that mean anyway?

When talking to little kids we say that through the actions of Jesus on the cross we can become friends with God, but do we need to be best friends?

Something to think about...

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Phone Karma?

Want to know what a mobile phone looks like once it has been flung off the roof of the car you were driving?

Tomorrow i will find out since today the above scenario happened to me when departing work from Thornleigh.

The conversation i had with the lovely woman who discovered my work phone (in pieces in the middle of the road) was rather awkward though.



Between my exclamations of overwhelming thankfulness, the woman said that she hopes that karma will reward her for her good deeds.

I figured it was inappropriate telling her that i don't believe in karma.

She will get chocolates from me though...

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Non inspiration

This week I'm back reading water meters (thus alone with my intriguing thoughts) and in the process of crafting a sermon for Sunday and i am short on inspiration in both fields.

Usually, i have two avenues to kick start my thought mojo.

Blog-wise, i can normally look at a list of possible blog topics i wrote when i first imagined dipping my toe in the blog sphere. There was a list of around 150, but they are trapped tightly in my broken laptop.

Sermon-wise, i can usually delve into multiple commentaries about a passage. This time, I'm stuck doing a topical sermon, thus the inspiration is more difficult to track down and/or think up (or so i find). Who would have thought the immutability (non-changing nature of God) and the way He changes situations and transforms people would be so tough to get going?

Oh well, i still have one faithful follower to read my blog when inspiration strikes and days until i need to worry about the sermon.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Giving or tipping?

Yesterday, before i crashed after camp, i tripped over a blog that asked if Christians actually give to their church, or just tip them.

In the end, the average committed believer shells out somewhere in the vicinity of around 2-4% of their income. When you stack this up against what Joe Blow gives away in nations who regularly give tips, churches may really be full of tippers, not givers.

If it wasn't for Jesus...

I got back from camp yesterday and i feel quite post-campy. Sleepy and sniffily.

Camp always brings odd realisations.

Like the "if it wasn't for Jesus kids" is the latest.

You know... you have probably met them. You may have even been one in the past.

The kids who are weird. Magic-show, elf-card playing game weird.

The kids who incoherently chatter. Non-stop.

The kids who latch on and won't let go. Year after year.

The kids who don't shower. Nor have discovered deodorant.

The kids who, if you didn't love Jesus, you would avoid.

When i think of the difference my faith makes, and ponder my new church, i see this.

Wherever you go... Churches have included creepers. Lurkers are accepted. Freaks are valued. Weirdos are given a voice and a place to be themselves.

I think that's the way it's meant to be and a sign of a healthy faith community.

Follow me or i will look lame...

I noticed that this blog, despite the dozens (!) of people who indulge in my ramblings, only has one official follower.

I feel like such a loser.

So, do me a favour, take a second and click the FOLLOW BLOG box at the top of the screen and show me some follower love...

Nick has.

Don't leave him all on his lonesome...

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Christian HOF

I'm not sure i would be all that comfortable being inducted into the Christian Hall of Fame...

Technically, i already am because i could be called "The Unknown Christian", but it seems odd that there are 62 entrants from the year 1900 onwards and only 40 prior to that (including no-one mentioned in the New Testament!).

Drinkin for Jesus

This is disturbingly stupid...

If you don't know the poem, the moral is... when life's tough... God will be carrying you.

The moral when the poem is referred to on a shot glass?

God will be carrying you... because you won't be able to walk in another ten shots.


When life's tough... God will carry you... so you can have have a drink.

Dear church: I resign!

Over the last few days i have been cramming for my Ministry of Pastor competence assessment.

Actually, it has been really helpful in reminding me what the church stands for, why the Uniting Church holds certain beliefs and why it behaves the way it does.

One thing that stood out, in light of some thinking I've been doing about people leaving church, was the weight the Basis of Union puts on church membership.

Personally, I've never made a massive deal about it, nor have i generally had it stressed to me.

Sure, you should be a committed member of a church, but (unless you want to take part in the decision making processes of the church) it hasn't been high on the agendas that i push.

In fact, i haven't even transferred my membership to my new church, nor have i looked into how i would make it happen. I don't know if i just start telling people, or there are papers to be processed and forms to be stamped.

But, a few people, when they have left the current church I'm at have sent resignation letters. Not just letters to the various teams that they were on, but a quite formal letter to the Church Council.

I'm not sure i would.

If i was hurt enough to leave a church, i probably wouldn't go to the effort to type up a diatribe, no matter how constructive my comments may be. Alternately, if i was departing on fond terms, i would say by farewells in person.

Z's instead of S's

Over the last few days Ange and i have been without the Internet (thus the lack of blog action)... So this insightful comment should have been posted a few days ago.

Thankfully, Kraft (the makers of Vegemite), are going to change the absurd name of the new "non-Vegemite" from iSnack 2.0.

The stupid name got me thinking about children/youth ministry names.

On the back of the planning meeting i had on Sunday for our churches new family friendly evening service, i made a joke about a potential title for our kids program.


Never fear... it won't be called that.

I would cringe if it was.

I hate it when we insert z's in the place of s's... Or when we purposefully put letters backwards... All in the effort "too be cool."

It's not.

At least now-days.

It's no longer the late 80's.

It could be worse. We could give the kids ministry a name that will quickly become dated... like what the "new Vegemite" name would have quickly been.

Any ministry/church name with an "i" at the front of the title will not be cool in 2012.