Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Bible hearing

Words are important. They shape the way you think.

So, why do we have a Bible reading in a church service, not a Bible hearing?

I think it would put the segment prior to the sermon in better perspective. We don't just read a book, but hear from the Word of God.

We should pay as much attention to the Biblical text as we do the the sermon that follows its declaration.

Giving check-up

Do you think giving talks suck? Do they make you feel awkward?

There could be two reasons...

One - You need to hear what is being said. You're being convicted of a failing in your Christian life.

Two - The person presenting the giving talk is being insensitive.

Think of the process like getting a medical check-up.

If the doctor pushes on a part of your body and you feel discomfort, either something is askew, or the physician pushed too hard.

Ministry burnouts

Apart from Sunday Christmas next year, I'm really looking forward to 2010 at church.

The reason? The season of doing ministry burnouts has almost passed.

For the first six months you make a lot of noise, create a bunch of smoke, generate heat, gain traction, but don't make a heap of meaningful progress.

Once you've been around for a while, then you can make significant steps forward.

I hope 2010 is a year of moving forward.

80 minutes till undead

I just found out that it would take 1 hour and 20 minutes from being bitten by a zombie until i was infected.

I assume that this is a very scientific study, done by people in white cloaks who work in a fine academic facility like the Pond's Institute.

You can find out how long you would take here.

Church niches

Lately, I've been thinking that churches should work together by spreading out ministries.

When i look at the suburb that I'm working in now, there are three churches located in about four blocks, and they basically all do the same thing.

I think it would make more sense if they each did a few things. And do these few things really well.

Churches could work more effectively if they honed in on a few ministry areas, which they became locally known, and people were funnelled towards them if they fall into a particular niche.

There are a stack of options that a church could be known for... Preschools, children's ministry, youth ministry, young adult ministry, ministering to singles, parenting issues, ministry to the elderly, ministering to the poor, or to single mothers, or to those suffering addictions or being known for great music or creativity in worship... or whatever...

Sure, churches would still individually need to maintain support for those who go to their church and upkeep all the regular church activities, but I'm not convinced that a churches aim should be to "do it all."

For the majority of churches, they just aren't equipped (either physically nor personally) to do have a dozen, well run, effective ministries.

I'm not sure how or if it would work ... But maybe churches would benefit if the load was spread...

Those who go to churches would probably benefit...

Preaching to the unseen audience

My last post about ministers needing to be tech savvy, i was reminded about the unseen listeners located when giving a sermon.

Whenever giving a sermon i don't give a whole lot of on weight to the physical number in the building (it's nice if the number is larger than you expect though!) since the message can go beyond those who are present.

Your sermon can come up in future conversations during the week. Or a point remembered and used years later. I still use old sermon notes that i took years ago.

More likely, if you post your sermons online (thus the benefits of a tech savvy minister), they can minister to anyone with a computer.

In theory, the sermon that you deliver before 30 people, can reach well beyond the churches walls.

Tech savvy ministers

Ministers should be more tech savvy.
Imagine it if ministers in all churches could create a good looking PowerPoint presentation. Or put together a decent video. Or knew how to set up a web site or a blog. Or would never need to use clip art ever again.
I hate it when a capable minister has no technological clue. Or at least hasn't evolved from the late 80's. It hinders their ministry.
I couldn't imagine any professional communicator, who would give a talk (at least) once a week, who wasn't keeping up to date technologically.

Dreading 2010

I just noticed that Christmas is on a Saturday next year.

I hate those years.

The reason? Overchurching.

I think this is a big reason that church attendance is down the Sunday after Christmas.

Next year, there is no respite. Church Christmas Eve, then Christmas day, then the following day. By the start of the third service, everyone seems to be wasted, from the musos to the ministry staff. The buzz of Christmas evaporates quickly.

I suspect that i will need holidays the last week of 2010...

Monday, December 28, 2009


This morning i saw Dad get loaded into an ambulance.

Thus, Ramble-a-thon 2009 is postponed. I imagine it will happen from tomorrow... maybe.

For some reason i just don't feel like it today...

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The 2009 Ramble-a-thon is coming!

Over December the number of posts i make usually drops.

So... The Ramble-a-thon will commence from tomorrow.

For the rest of the year, whilst i sit around and watch cricket, the kitchen-of-half-baked-ideas-that-is-my-mind will be flung open for all to see.

I recently resurrected my list of blog ideas (which was lost in my virus infected laptop), so the topics will flow thick and fast...

Also, if you have anything that you'd want me to blog on, i will be accepting suggestions.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Diary dilemma

Happy Yuletide, seasons greetings and merry Christmas!

Over the last few days I've faced the same dilemma i face with each new diary.

Who do i cut and who makes the crossover?

This year, the selections are increasingly difficult with my new church.

As time progresses i will (potentially) have less contact with those from my old church. Do you put in someones birthday if it falls late in the year (with the possibility that you may not have seen them for months)? Do you cut people who you haven't seen for a while, but can pick up a friendship quite quickly? Do you put in people who will be away for vast chunks of time, meaning that they won't be transferred the next year?

Am i over thinking the whole thing?

Furthermore, when i originally departed from my previous position, none of the youth from the church made the diary crossover.

The problem? Now that some of the senior high kids are young adults, and i spend more time with them, i have no idea when their birthdays are.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The P's of giving

Leading up to a series on giving that is happening next year at church, I've been reading a book on stewardship and finances from a Christian perspective.

By coincidence, I've also been reading 1 & 2 Corinthians, which has the topic of giving throughout the letters.

In 1 Corinthians 16 Paul gives the recipients of his letter a pattern to follow when giving. The first part of verse 2 says... "On the first day of the week, each one of you should set aside a sum of money in keeping with his income, saving it up..."

The book i'm reading made the pints that giving should be...

Personal - each one of you - Giving is a responsibility and privilege for each individual believer.

Periodic - on the first day of the week - There is value in keeping the discipline of consistency in our giving.

Perspective - in keeping with his income - The amount we give is determined prayerfully before God. No matter what percentage of our income it is, we should support the work of the church, giving sacrificially and generously.

Premeditated - set aside... saving it up - Forethought should be given to our giving. Giving shouldn't first enter our minds when the offering is announced in church. We should set aside the amount we are going to give the day we get paid.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Good brotherly questions

Normally i don't post things that catch my eye on YouTube.

But... Holidays + bad, non-ratings period TV = Angry brother and "Why are you up a tree?" and "Why did you bang yourself in the head with a shoe?"

Need to kill a few minutes so it all make sense?

First you need to see this, then this.

Ah... Brotherly love and the questions we all want answered. If only we all had a "Squirrel Boy" with an anger management problem.

Apologies about the language. It's not really bad, but it could offend...

Riding the wooden hobby-horse

This week will, thankfully, be very quiet. Aside from church services on Christmas Eve and Day and a couple of family bashes, I've got an empty calendar.

So... I've been catching up on the blogs that a would normally trawl through in any given fortnight. Using alltop, I'm usually exposed to around 150+ blogs.

Today i stumbled over this post, about preaching at a lectern or not, and it got me thinking.

Or... it reminded me of the preaching styles that happened when we had a combined church service years ago. I was absolutely wowed when one guy, who was also really good, preached without a lectern, whilst one used a regular pulpit and the other a music stand.

I wrestled with this topic when i started preaching regularly and was pretty comfortable with the whole process.

After a while, i tried unshackling myself from the pulpit. And i found that it worked well.

I was more free to use body movement during stores and illustrations, use steps to the side and forward/backward to connect with my points and seemed to be more transparent.

Now, I've not chopped the pulpit into kindling. I still use one when i preach to older folks (or any audience where it will be the expectation) and have a stand of some description beside me for my notes, but i prefer not using one if the space allows.

The people are better than us

For some reason Blogger decided that spaces between the paragraphs of yesterdays post are at their discretion, not mine. Apologies for those offended by the drop in my usual aesthetically pleasing outlook. Hopefully it won't happen today...

Last night my church had a very short church service before we all went to the combined churches carols (about a block away).

As we were packing up after a bite-sized service, the family worker and i acknowledged that people in attendance were better than us.


Because we wouldn't have been there that evening.

Not for a 30 minute service.

Probably not for the carols either.

Both events were fine for what they were, just not catching enough to draw us away from family shindigs nor gloomy weather.

It's actually quite heartening. Ministering to a bunch of people who are remarkably faithful is nice.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Moving folks

Over the weekend my parents moved into their new unit and out of the home i grew up in.

As a result, I've been put to work.

I've destroyed cupboards, inhaled decades of dust, filled skip bins, made innumerable trips the half block to the new residence and scrounged various items from my past.


I can see few permutations that would result in me ever reversing out of the driveway at my Mum and Dad's old home again. Never again will i curse that cars that make the departure a risky venture.
And this makes me kinda sad.
Actually, the whole process reminded me of leaving my original church.
As the days tick down, you do things for the final time and slowly watch as much of what was uniquely yours departs with you.
The part of the process that I'm dreading most is when the new people move in. What will they do to my old room? Will they renovate? Will they rebuild anew? Could i handle them tearing the house i grew up in down?
I dunno, but I'm pretty sure that will be a sad day as well...

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Numbers petition

(I've already written this post once, but my Internet connection died as i tried to post. Originally, this was a work of genius. A masterpiece. Now... Here are the scraps that my mangled memory pieced together)

Leading into small group this week i was nervous. Numbers nervous.

One week prior there were only three of us. And they arrived as i was packing up to head home. It was my first ministry flop at my new church.

I was on holidays, so they had an excuse, and missed the usual enthusiastic Sunday night reminder. But the numbers were concerningly low.

So, come Wednesday afternoon, I said a prayer. The "prayer-that-you-make-when-you're-uncertain-of-numbers" prayer.


Please have people show up. Please.

I know that a bunch of people are missing since they are no holidays, but there's still plenty of people who have no excuse.

I would love them to be there. Or at least it would make my prep worthwhile.

Please have them show up.

Actually, i would love new people to show up.

Just enough to fill in the gaps created by those away.

But not to many newbies that the group gets weird because the dynamic has changed.

(insert number) would be a good number. I would be comfortable with that.

Seriously, have the people that you want there.

Just let that number be close to the number i want.


Beliver kids options

At small group this week we were chatting about the movie "Keeping Mum."

We got to the topic of kids from Christian homes, especially minister kids.

They fall into three categories...

The perfect child - Gets along with their parents wonderfully and is ridiculously talented, smart, outgoing, confident, with a strong faith.

The rebel - Hates anything to do with God or the church. Would not be out of place amongst Satanists.

The nerd - Their idea of a good time is getting a new fastest time solving a Rubik's cube or painting Lord of the Rings figurines.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Pre sermon checklist

Things to do before giving a sermon...
  • Be thoroughly familiar with where you are going to preach. Be comfortable with the height and position of the lectern and microphone.
  • Have all your notes with you and a printed outline of the PowerPoint. Check you have each page. When you turn to page 5 and it's not there... life becomes difficult.
  • Grab a glass of water. I don't think I've ever used one when preaching or leading, but if i ever need one... it's there.
  • Put on deodorant and chew gum. No-one likes it when the guy praying for them smells bad.
  • Eat an hour before. Being hungry when preaching sucks.
  • Poop prior. Needing to poop when preaching is much worse than being hungry. WARNING: Choose your time wisely. Walking into the stall after a preacher, and being meet with a stench worse than death, is not appealing.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Church name tags

I hate wearing name tags.

In hell i would be wearing a name tag.

On other people they are great... especially when they wear them outside of the workplace and forget they are wearing them... but on me i think they suck. I think a part of the hate is associated with the knowledge that others will know my name without my expressed consent. Maybe i have underlying, deeper issues...

This morning i had to wear my church name tag since i was preaching. Whenever i go to the oldies service i wear it. Firstly, so the oldies will know my name, and secondly, because my ministers wife (who is lovely) got the badge for me and she was going to be in attendance.

The saddest thing? An oldie looked straight at the name badge when they forgot my name and the ensuing awkwardness was quickly dissipated.

It annoys me when things I'm not fond of have a useful purpose...

Thursday, December 10, 2009


I saw a sign today that should be a warning to everyone...


I feel sorry for poor Bill... He must have done something bad.

Really bad.

Time Efficient

Now that I'm on holidays i have plenty of time on my hands.

But not enough to view all six Rocky films.

Luckily... this is much more efficient...

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

I am not a tough man

Apologies for the lack of posts lately. Our computer at home has gremlins that had to be hunted down and mercilessly annihilated.

Meanwhile, i have two confessions. Neither make me a tough guy.

Confession 1: I'm addicted to checking my blog stats. It's been three days since I've last checked them ... and I'm having withdrawls. I think i need to go to "Webstat Checkers Anonymous."

Confession 2: I dropped by my Nan's today after work and had tea for two hours. It was awesome. One of the best things about reading water meters is that my final few days of each quarter (which i normally stretch out) are located right near her house. Getting to see her (at least) every three months rocks!

I've never claimed to be a tough guy, nor would i ever be mistaken for a tough-man contestant, but these two facts just make the case against my "tough guy status" much stronger.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Pass the botox... stat!

Yesterday Gavin and i went to watch the golf and i got sunburn on my forehead.

Now, every time i move my eyebrows, my forehead is on fire!

If only i had planned ahead and got botox injections to make my forehead immovable.

Next time...

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Becoming regular

Tom posted on his blog about preaching for the second time at his new church (here) and it got me thinking.

When you preach for the first time you invite everyone. Your family, your friends, your old youth minister, your old youth group leaders... everyone assosicated in any manner of your christian existance and you hope upon hope that they all arrive and are dazzled.

For your second time... you invite no-one... inwardly hoping that you'll be really good and amaze all the regulars.

The third time? No fan fare. No bells and whistles. Just you, the Word of God and a microphone once again (hopefully still being good!).

After a while you get into the routine and the novilty starts to wear off (and it doesn't have to be only preaching for this to happen. It could be your first sports game... anything with a "come and watch me do this!" factor.).

I'm begining to treat my blog visitors that way.

A while ago, an international visitor whould get a personal greeting.

Now, with my visitor world map lighting up across Australia, Asia, Eurpoe, North and South America, i'm not as fussed. It's nice to get visitors from places like Canada, Chile and South Korea, but just not as exciting as it used to be.

Still... if you are a first time visitor to the site... Welcome and look around. You all come back now.