Sunday, July 31, 2005

part 8 (seeing jesus through a porn star )

And that has made all the difference. : part 8 (seeing jesus through a porn star )
This string of posts, which this is the last of, starts here
I link to a few things, but this is unbelievable. I'm not gonna post anything for a couple of days, so everybody who comes past this blog checks it out. Do it, it'll be the most inspiring/challenging/encouraging couple of minutes of your day.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Basketball Nationals

Loving the first day of the Basketball Tournament I scored a gig at chaplain as. As per usual all the kids are getting stuck into me about being a bum who justs walks around and chats to people, but thats pretty much my job description so I can't complain.

It is funny though how some people just don't get what I do, either in terms of my job at the school, the ways I think about church, Jesus and spirituality. But you get that sometimes. I reckon I can only expect more of that as church stuff starts to kick along. Good times though hey!

Monday, July 25, 2005

Christian Meditation?

As part of my gig doing chaplaincy for the Victorian Schools Basketball Team I'm planning on doing a bit of meditation/prayer with the kids. Just to show them a few alternative ways to connect with God-something they probably wouldn't do at school or youth group etc.

I've got a fair few ideas, just wondering if anybody else knows of any good resources/websites to look at or get some ideas and perspectives from. I've google'd it, but I hate sorting through the 310000 responses you get there to try and find something helpful!

Saturday, July 23, 2005

Digital Orthodoxy - Home

Digital Orthodoxy - Home
I found this really good youth ministry website-a top quality resource, and also a great place to share some of your own ideas. I encourage all in youth ministry of any kind to go check it out.

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Baby steps

After much thought, prayer and procrastination, me and a few of the boys finally got together last night to, in my words 'work out what the hell we're gonna do with this church thing', to start planning some small steps towards getting our new church/congregation happening.

It was a really encouraging time, just hanging out, having some good quality food and discussing our own thought's and ideas. So we'll be getting together regularly over the next little while and just see where it goes. We then went out to the pub and saw a couple of our mate's band Colourshy play, and hang out with a few of the crew there. A good night all round.


Couple of good little quotes I found today:

More and more of us are feeling that if we have a version of the Christian faith that does not make us the kind of people that make this a better world, we really want no part of it.

When we make it sound like we have all the bolts screwed down tight and all the nails hammered in, and everything's all boxed up and we've got it all figured out, at that moment, I think we have stopped being faithful.

From Brian McLaren, via here

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Luke 10??

8"When you enter a town and are welcomed, eat what is set before you. 9Heal the sick who are there and tell them, 'The kingdom of God is near you.' 10But when you enter a town and are not welcomed, go into its streets and say, 11'Even the dust of your town that sticks to our feet we wipe off against you. Yet be sure of this: The kingdom of God is near.'

What in the world does that mean? Discussed it last night at our MAT and again this morning with the Ministry Team, and I really can't get my head around it.

The broader general context of it is that Jesus is giving instructions to 72 of his disciples that he is sending out to travel across the countryside and tell people about God.

But those two verses, 10 and 11, just don't seem to fit. It seems to me to go against every philosophy of Love Thy Neighbour! Is Jesus advocating here that we only love our neighbour if they will listen to our message, and if not just ditch them. I always thought authentic mission was about loving people first and foremost, and out of that sharing the love of Christ with them? Surely Jesus is not advocating that we just ditch our mates who won't have a bar of our message??

On the Bible...

I have been pondering a lot lately on the place of the Bible as a tool for spiritual formation. How important is it? Can we know or understand God outside of the Bible? Can we have a relationship with God where the Bible plays no part in that? I think I've got a couple of clues where I stand on some of those, but still working.

I guess I have never been somebody who has relied on the Bible as part of my personal spiritual formation, it has played a big part at various times, but I have gone for ages where I haven't even looked at it, but still felt my relationship with God has grown. I think for a long time that was the rebelious nature in me, trying to stick it up all those people who I'd felt pressured me to read it over the years. I've mellowed a bit on that one, and am now starting to realise the richness to be gained from engaging with the Scriptures.

If we look at the Bible as the story of God's interaction with the world, maybe I need to be soaking in, engaging with, viewing my own life through the lens of that story, to better see where God's story can become my own. Seeing where God's story enriches, challenges and stretches my own. Seeing where God is challenging me to view my own life from the viewpoint of Jesus, to see how much of Jesus people can really see when they see me...

Friday, July 08, 2005

Dangerous Stories 1

Saturday morning's sesiion opened with one of my favourite speakers going around-Michael Frost. Loved a lot of the stuff he was on about, but his thoughts on worship really got me thinking. He talked about the feminisation of many of our worship songs-the rise of the 'Jesus is my boyfriend' kinda songs-and why they might be so predominant.

He talked about how our imagination has been so captured by the secular media that it has severley skewed our concepts of what it means to love. We are told that the way you express love is predominantly sexually-and that's so true-I see it everywhere. And this image has hijacked the hearts and minds of those in the church, and this often expresses itself in our worship music.

I think this false image of love that has so fully been drilled into my brain is a big part of the reason I have always struggled to express my relationship with God as one of love. Because when I think love, I think romance, and that is a totally not a way I relate to God! It's taken me a long time to recognise that I do love God, but just not in a way that many others might. My love for God is more similar to how I love my Mum-I love her and respect her for all the great things she has done in my life, and the support she is to me.

I need to be careful not to look down at those whose faith is a simple one of love for God-because that's a totally valid way of expressing our relationship with God-and who am I to discredit their experience?

Thursday, July 07, 2005

On Teaching...

Due to Forge induced tiredness and resulting sickness, am still yet to sit down and process my thoughts from Dangerous Stories, but last night was just able to attend my local area's Mission Action Team (a 5-week small group looking at what it means to live missionally in our community) which I am really enjoying.

I feel we are starting to develop an inkling of that sense of 'communitas' (a term invented by some sociologist to describe the powerful bond formed in a group that is meeting together and working toward a common goal) it's just really encouraging hearing everybody's stories about how they are seeking to be Jesus-with-skin-on to their communities.

Anyway, it was a really interesting feeling being part of a group working through materials you have yourself put together (with Cindy n Grant). I knew where we wanted the discussion to go, the questions we wanted it to stimulate in people's minds, the direction people might move toward, but I really had to stop myself from saying all of this.

I really felt that if the people in my group were to grasp the concepts we were on about, they would have to get there themselves. I could have easily just said the 'answers' and gone home feeling satisfied that I had 'taught' my group something. But would that have really achieved what we hoped? Maybe not.

It is interesting to pick up the vibe around the church that after being given the oppurtunity to sit around and discuss, to flesh out and explore what we have been talking about in our sermons for a while now, that people are really starting to get excited about mission and their community, many for the first time.

I wonder what all of this says about the ways we go about 'teaching' in our congregations...

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Forge Craziness

In more ways than one, this Forge Summit has been crazy! So so tired, so many crazy missionaries, crazy church planters and followers of Jesus-it's just inspiring to be around so many others thinking along the same lines as you. Lets you know you're not the only crazy fool out there.

Way too tired to put any thought into a decent post, so will get onto over the next few days.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The Spontaneuos Expansion of the Church

I found this great little excerpt through the link above, its a good little read.

The spontaneous expansion of the Church reduced to its element is a very simple thing. It asks for no elaborate organisation, no large finances, no great numbers of paid missionaries. In its beginning it may be the work of one man, and that a man neither learned in the things of this world, nor rich in the wealth of this world. The organisation of a little church on the apostolic model is also extremely simple, and the most illiterate converts can use it, and the poorest are sufficiently wealthy to maintain it. Only as it grows and spreads through large provinces and countries do any complex questions arise, and they arise only as a church composed of many little churches is able to produce leaders prepared to handle them by experience learned in the smaller things. There is no need at the beginning to talk of preparing leaders to face great national issues. By the time the issues have become great and complex the leaders of the little churches of today will have learned their lesson, as they cannot possibly be taught it beforehand.

No one, then, who feels within himself the call of Christ to embark on such a path as this need say, I am too ignorant, I am too inexperienced, I have too little influence, or I have not sufficient resources. The first apostles of Christ were in the eyes of the world ‘unlearned and ignorant’ men: it was not until the Church had endured a persecution and had grown largely in numbers that Christ called a learned man to be His apostle. The missionaries who spread the Gospel and established the Church throughout the lands round the Mediterranean are not known to us as men of great learning or ability. Most of them are not known by name at all. Only when the Church had been established and had spread widely did Christ call the great doctors whose names are familiar to us by their writings or by their great powers of organisation and government.What is necessary is faith. What is needed is the kind of faith which uniting a man to Christ, sets him on fire. Such a man can believe that others finding Christ will be set on fire also. Such a man can see there is no need of money to fill a continent with the knowledge of Christ. Such a man can see that all that is required to consolidate and establish that expansion is the simple application of the simple organisation of the Church. It is to men who know that faith, who see that vision, that I appeal. Let them judge what I have written...

Mission as personal formation

Not long ago I was talking to a mate who had recently become a Christian about the new choices he was making in terms of what he was doing with his time now he was a new Christian. He promptly reeled off to me a whole bunch of 'non-Christian' activities he was stopping. I was particularly annoyed at him stopping being part of a certain sporting team we were both in.

His reason was that he simply needed some time to work on his own faith before he could do too much else. Now coming from the background he did, I didn't totally disgree, i think it was really important for him to involve himself in Christian community-but not five days a week!

It was a classic case of 'redemption and lift': somebody comes to faith, then within six months to two years they have no significant relationships outside the church. Thats a ctually statistically proven.

I've always been of the school of thought that the best way for a person to grow and develop in their faith is to actually go out and put it into practise, to go out and participate in God's mission to the world, a big part of which is done through just being Jesus-with-skin-on to the people we find ourselves encountering everyday.

People talk of wanting to share their newfound faith witht the world, yet then that night go to yet another Bible study, church meeting or program...