Thursday, January 28, 2010

Appropriate rain

Today my Dad lost his five year battle with cancer. He passed away at the hospital in little or no pain.

Once my Mum, sister and I got home from the hospital it began to rain...

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Spreading out the dots

I'm going to let you in on a little secret.

This blog isn't really about my random thoughts on ministry and church. Really, it's about WORLD DOMINATION!!!

I love the visitors map on my blog. I love the dots that spring up all over the globe. I love it when 1-9 dots engorge into 10-99 dots.

And i love the power of knowing well in advance which countries will explode in a pretty display of visitor dots. Lately i was waiting with tingling expectation for Italy and the UAE to appear. 14 hours later, appear they did.

Well... There are a few places that my blog still needs to infiltrate.

China, Alaska, South Africa, I'm looking at you.

STOP PRESS: South Africa is about to be lit up. Now if only Anchorage and Beijing/Shanghai can pull their weight...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Becoming what you... dislike

In the heading i wanted to use the word hate. But that would be too powerful a word.

The other day i said "They can't do that! Not to MY house!"

At the time, my wife and i were driving past the home i grew up in (which my parents sold a few weeks ago), that is now lived in by "other strangers."

And they had parked their car on the front lawn.




It would NEVER have happened back in my day.

But, it's their home now, not mine.

And, for an instant i identified with the (normally older) folks that you encounter at churches who are resistant to change. Oh how i... dislike... them at those moments.

At least i can identify with them a bit better now.

Friday, January 22, 2010

Year Calendars

I am a genius! (or i ripped off an idea from somewhere on the Internet).

I'm sitting in my office peeling labels off 1cm by 1cm youth ministry logos.

No, this does not make me a genius.

What may (but i suspect really doesn't), is sending all the kids in the churches youth ministry a calendar for the year ahead with all the youth ministries activities already marked out, ranging from regular youth group to upcoming camps.

I did this a few years back for the young adults at my previous church as a way of informing them of any potential event that they may be interested in (even if it wouldn't tickle my fancy).

But now... Bible Society: COLLISION CALENDAR 2010 - Ancient Wisdom for Today's World... is my new advertising tool.

Additionally... Apologies for the drop off in posts lately, but this last week has had some potentially rocky/exciting/confusing times which i can't post on yet... but hopefully will soon.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Falling and drifting

On one of my old mobile phones i had a daily reminder that said "Do you still want to follow Jesus?"

I believe each day a Christian must make a choice, at least in how they will choose to behave, whether they will follow Jesus or not.

I think, generally, people abandon their faith in one of two ways.

One - A traumatic event happens and, as a consequence, they stop believing in God or wouldn't follow a God that would allow the set of circumstances that they are going through to transpire.

Or Two - The answer to the question "Do you still want to follow Jesus?" slowly changes from "YES!"... to... "yep"... to... "suppose"... to... "it's what i do"... to... "it's what i should do"... to... "maybe"... to... "not so much"... to... "not any more."

The journey away from God can be one massive step or a bunch of tiny ones. Either way, the result is the same. One just takes longer.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Look at that kids head... Convert him!

Today Ange and i were at the Mall and we saw a youth with a hideous haircut. Downright awful it was.

And it made me think... That guy should become a Christian.

I could only imagine the impact that someone, who willingly tries to stand out, can make for Christ.

Often, the church avoids people (especially young people) who stand out. People with weird or dyed hair. Or tattoos. Or piercings. Or all of the aforementioned.

These people, if on fire for God, can make a massive impact in their world. They are (caution: generalisation ahead!) either leaders who people follow, or people who are confident enough to be different (or both).

But these people aren't in churches all that often. Or they are, but are told to tone down and "fit in".

Reason #1 to do scripture in high school: You have contact with these kids.

The odd kids.
The weird kids.
The kids that are often avoided by churches.

The potential difference makers.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Fool me twice, shame on me

Question: What is worse than leaving your water meter reading work phone on the roof of your car and then driving away?

Answer: Doing it twice.

Worse still: Add your iPod into the annoying equation.

Silver lining: You track down your work phone, which still functions, thus avoiding a chewing out from your boss.

Dark cloud: You don't locate your iPod.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Overbooked preaching

On Sunday i preached on "taming the tongue" from James 3. I could have easily overbooked the sermon.

During the sermon i pretended to finish the sermon after only saying one sentence, had those in the congregation show the underside of their tongues to one another (yes, even the oldies!), frantically drank my glass of water so i could then drink milk straight from the container and subsequently added off milk to the newly sampled container. Sure, this seems a but excessive in only 20 minutes, but each illustration added to the sermon and made each point memorable (or so i was told!).

But i could have done more to theatre-ise my sermon.

Originally i had planned to dramatically show the effects of gossip by cutting open a feather lined pillow and then hitting the pillow to make the feathers explode out.

But i was aware of overbooking.

Overbooking: A wrestling term where a show has dramatic changes, but none stand out due to the quick progression of the program, thus reducing the effectiveness of what has just transpired.

One constant criticism of a particular wrestling company is that they overbook their show. Any surprise isn't given enough time to adequate sink in (eg happen just before a commercial, or have the announcers talk about the implications of what just happened).

Last Sunday i didn't want too many memorable things to occur, and thus water down the overall effect or confuse those in the pews.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Spouse swooning

At last nights wedding i mentioned to the youngest brother of the bride that he was the second most popular chap in attendance (after the groom obviously!).

The reason? He sang during the ceremony, and being is sickeningly talented, all the single ladies (yes, all the single ladies) would have swooned over his musical prowess.

On the way home, Ange admitted that she has a similar thing happen to her when i preach. She swoons. She internally struts around and declares... THAT'S MY MAN!

And i did the same thing today over her.

While we were visiting my Mum, my niece was there being babysat.

And my wife performed child minding that produced a swoon from her husband.

Wedding reminders

Yesterday Ange and i went to a wedding.

I like going to weddings. I find them useful. They remind me what i signed up for when i became a husband.

Actually, it's one of the advantages of marrying before most of the people that you hang with.

Pretty much every year (at least), you get a reminder of the vows that you said and the promises that you made.

A similar thing happens when i go to baptisms and confirmations.

When you watch others go through the same milestones that you yourself have, it pays to pay attention.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Prayer awkwardness

I significant pat of my job seems to be leading church services.

As a result, it sometimes creates an awkward churning in the depths of my being. And it all surrounds public prayer.

Prior to any church service, there is usually joint prayer involving the preacher, the service leader, the band and anyone else milling about and willing to be involved. This makes me uncomfortable.

During the services there is also prayer, on occasions, group prayer (as i lead last Sunday). This made me feel awkward.

Why the awkwardness?

The problem: Do you steal/borrow what you have heard or use your own prayer material?

When you are in joint prayer before the service, and you know what (roughly) you are going to say to open the service, do you preempt your service opening? Really, you're just going to pray that people will be aware of God's presence, that He will work during the service and that what happens during the service will being honour to God.

But... Do you save your prayer for the start of the service?

Or, when you're bringing a group prayer segment to a close, do you repeat what your group has just prayed if it was really good? Would you be viewed as a prayer thief? Do you rein in your own prayer input because you will get up and close the prayer time?

Maybe these are problems only i worry about...

Monday, January 4, 2010

Verse skimming

I admit it, to my shame, I'm a verse skimmer.

Whenever i read a book, i gobble up the authors words and (barely) glance over any bible passages.

I have a problem.

I know i should AT LEAST READ the verses quoted by authors, but for some reason, i just can't bring myself to do it.

The sad truth could be that i (at least in my actions) value the words of various authors more than the Word of God...

I hope I'm not the only one with this condition... I'm calling it versicus skimmicus.

Saturday, January 2, 2010

The injury of the next generation

Yesterday Ange and i got a Nintendo Wii.

My shoulder thinks that I've played it more than i should have.

I think i now have Wii elbow.