Friday, September 30, 2005

Ripping down the leggies

After much persuasion and realisation of the need to stay active, I've decided to don the whites again and come out of cricketing retirement!

Been rolling the arm over a few times down at training, and scored myself a game for tomorrow, in the fourths, which is C2, which will mean something to probably two of my readers! That comp will suit me well, as its all one-dayers, and weekends are notoriously hard to find at this time of year and leading up to Christmas.

Annoying thing is the rev only picked up a cricket ball six months ago and is already in the thirds! I reckon he must have threatened to punch them if he didn't get a game! Or he could just be a more naturally talented sportsperson than me-which isn't hard!

Should be fun though.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Life: A Gift

Found this cool little quote here. I thought it was a good one.

As we pray and come to know Jesus we discover that life is not a possession to defend, but a gift to give..

The world needs people who

Found this from Mim, who got it from a mate of mine Jono Broadbent-good kid. I thought it was pretty cool, would work well as a close to a talk or some such thing. And I would broaden it to all people-I think we could all benefit from a few of these qualities.

The world needs young people
-who cannot be bought;-whose word is their promise;
-who put character above wealth;
-who possess opinions and a will;-who are larger than their work;
-who do not hesitate to take chances;
-who will not lose their individuality in a crowd;
-who will be as honest in small things as in great things;
-who will make no compromise with wrong;
-whose ambitions are not confined to their own selfish desires;
-who will not say they do it "because everybody else does it";
-who are ture to their friends through good times and bad times, in adversity as well as in prosperity;
-who do not believe that shrewdness, sneakiness and hard-headedness are the best qualities for winning success;
-who are not ashamed or afraid to stand for the truth when it is unpoplular;
-who can say "no" with emphasis, although all the rest of the world says "yes".

Charles Swindoll, 'Living above the level of mediocrity, p.1078.

Monday, September 26, 2005

So are you a cult??

This was the question posed to me the other day when I was explaining to one of the boys down at cricket about our lil church plant project! I think he was half-joking half-serious too which makes it even funnier, and its now our running joke. He's always asking for updates on the cult, how many goats we've sacrificed etc!

It's funny the amount of people that, when I tell them I'm leading a team thats planting a church, they ask in astonishment 'Are you allowed to do that?!' I dunno what it is, but it seems some people just have this perception that you're not allowed to do that.

Particularly when I tell them its at my house, that just seems to be too much for many people's ideas. I guess we have enough trouble convincing the people in church that church is not a building, that church is people in community, so I probably shouldn't be surprised that others struggle to get their heads around it.

Float like a ox, sting like a butterfly

I'm beginning to think my co-ordination skills are most definitely not in the area of boxing. I've been doing it for a couple of weeks now down at the footy club as a bit of fitness until pre-season starts in a couple of months, and I've still got heaps to learn! Ducking when I should be weaving, jabbing when I should uppercut, its definitely not easy. But I'm loving the fitness, and its heaps of fun. Cinderella Man here I come hey!

'Alt Worship' at Franga

Heaps of exciting stuff going on at Franga (my abbreviation for Frankston Church of Christ for the uninitiated) at the moment. One of which is something which I guess you would call an 'alternative worship' night at our evening congregation.

On most Sunday nights we have the ol Sermons-Singing-Sitting in Rows kinda gathering, so this was pretty different for us.

It was set up in our chapel, which is a relatively small circular room, which we don't normally use for our worship gatherings. We turned off all the lights, lit a fair few candles all over the place and had a bit of ambient music going in the background. All pretty standard for this type of affair.

Then we had a few stations set up around the room. One was a wall where you could write down some prayers and stick them on the wall, another was a reading space where you could-surprise surprise-read some stuff, another where you could light a candle as a way of praying for a person or situation.

In the middle we had a table where you could draw or create some reflections based on the service or where God's at in your life etc, another where we just had some projected images scrolling through on the PowerPoint you could reflect on. We had a section where you could just sit and listen to various parts of the Bible being read out.

Communion was a little more elongated, being spead over three different spaces. First there was a table with a few verses about communion, and some small slips of paper where we were asked to write down a sin or something which was holding us back from God. We then went out into the hallway and nailed it to a cross, symbolising that we were giving it over to God, that we didn't want to hold onto it anymore. We then progressed to another room where we tok the bread and the wine. Quite a powerful experience.

A few people found it a little weird, which was to be expected, but I think it generally got some pretty positive feedback. This kinda thing is probably not for everbody, but then neither is the 'three Ss'.

I absolutely loved it though, I am beginning to discover that the more contemplative approaches to spirituality are much more my thing, which is kinda strange for me as a pretty active ocker kinda bloke. Most people when they think this kinda stuff think women dancing around, or looking endlessly upon flowers and all wearing purple, which was definitely not what this was!

The site I linked to before has plenty of resources to explain this kinda thing much better than I have, as does Worship Tricks, part of a guy called Jonny Bakers blog. Should have taken some photos, but not to worry.

Definitely something I'd like to keep exploring in the future, whether that be with our night congregation or the Huddle crew.

Friday, September 23, 2005

The Australian: The atheist who's Selling Jesus

The Australian: The atheist who's Selling Jesus [September 20, 2005]
I found this fascinating story via Steve Addison's blog, which also has a lil write up. His is a great blog to do with all things church planting, and is a great read.

Basically the article is about how a whole bunch of churches have hired some marketing guru to help them advertise, and I guess in the end increase people following Jesus. It's just in Adelaide at the moment, but can be found here.

I am a little dubious about this, but it could have some good outcomes. I've seen the ad, and i like their approach. Basically capitalising on the whole 'Jesus=Cool, Church=Crap' thing that is predominant these days.

That's all well and good, but at the end of the day, Jesus does call us to live out our faith in community with other Christians. Which means, whatever form it takes, we're called to be a part of a church and the Church.

I do like what one of the dudes said 'We're just trying to trigger thoughts and conversations', which is definitely a response that resonates with me. If that is backed up by faithful Christians living out their lives missionally with those around them, then it might have some effect.

But I do wonder if that's the approach that Jesus would take? One part of me says no it's not, that the way Jesus did his ministry was through relationship with people, rubbing through onto them so that they would then do the same. I think of the Kingdom of God being like yeast in some flour, a small insignificant looking part, that infiltrates society subversively.

But then the other part of me says that Jesus did preach to crowds occasionally, that he was an excellent storyteller, and that maybe He would use the medium of the day-TV and radio advertising to tell the story of the Kingdom.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

What is the emerging church, anyway?

Spero News | What is the emerging church, anyway?

There are a few people/groups out there that have tried to succinctly define/explain the emerging church movement. This is another one.

Quietness of the blog

I've seen other people write that they are sorry for not having blogged for a while, but I am not presumptious enough to presume that the absence of me blogging has in any way adversely affected your life, so no apology needed.

I've just come back from playing volleyball at the State Teachers Games in Wodonga, and am off to Phillip Island in the morning to deliver an as-yet-unwritten talk/message at Youth Vision VCE camp. On why service to others is an integral part of our spiritual formation. Should be a good one.

Got a few blog posts brewing but they'll have to wait till later.

Sunday, September 18, 2005

The Importance of Prayer

Had my last class for a couple of weeks the other day-woohoo! No real break though, as I normally have to work a fair bit over the holidays to make up for my lack of money made during the school term.

In my public communication skills class the lecturer was talking about personailty type and how that relates to small group leadership, which was stuff I've covered before but still interesting. She then went onto talk about a study this guy in America had done that dealt with small group growth and multiplication.

The study was done with over 700 leaders of small groups whose explicit purpose it was to grow and multiply, so we can be pretty sure they were on about the same thing. He asked them 30 questions and discovered some interesting facts to do with factors that do and don't affect the health of the small groups.

Some factors that didn't affect the health and multiplication of the groups were:
The leader's gender, social class, age, marital status or education.
The leader's personality type.
The leader's spiritual giftings.

Factors that do affect multiplication:
The leader's devotional time. (He reckoned that leaders who spent 90 mins a day devotional time on average muliplied their groups twice as much as those who spent 30 mins)
The leader's intercession for group members. (How much they prayed for their group members.)
The leader actualy spending time with god to prepare a meeting.
Setting goals for the group.
Training.

Now if that doesn't challenge me as a Christian leader then I don't know what will. It does raise some interesting questions for me in terms of my understanding of prayer and how God works in all of that. I've got no problems asking those kinda questions, as long as my head understanding doesn't get in the way of the heart challenge that God is giving me.

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Contextualisation

Recently at our morning congregation I preached on the need to contextualise the Gospel-which is basically about explaining the message of Jesus in ways that are culturally relevant to particular groups of people. So taking the context, area, socio-economic status, nationality, culture seriously when trying to work out how to explain the mesage of Jesus to them. Of course there are certain elements of that message that remian timeless, but sometimes how we explain them has to change.

One of the classic Biblical examples of this (other than the fact that God became human in Jesus in order to restore right relationship with us) is Paul's message to the Athenians in Acts 17:16-28. You can find the full text here. He looked around him at the prevailing culture of his day, and used the messages, ideas and thoughts that were predominant for those people, to talk about God. I decided to have a bit of fun with it and re-wrote that passage as if Paul were talking to us here in Melbourne. Here goes:

'Then they took him and brought him to a meeting of the Mind Body Spirit festival, where they said to him "May we know this new teaching that you are presenting?

You are bringing some strange ideas to our minds, and we want to know what they mean." (For all the people of Melbourne, and all the foreigners whose internet forums and blogs they read, speant most of their time doing nothing but talking about and listening to the latest ideas from Deepak Chopra, Neale Donald Walsch and John Edward, amongst others).

Paul then stood up and said to the meeting of the Mind Body Spirit committe: My friends, I can see that in every way you are a very spiritual people. For I have wandered around you alternative spiritualities festivals, seen you interest in the Da Vinci Code, and watched all of your TV shows dealing with spiritual matters. I have been to your bookshops, and read through your internet chat-rooms.

You seem to be searching for something to connect with, something to worship, and I am here to tell you about the one true God.

I have seen your care and concern for creation, and the connection many of you seem to express in nature, the feeling of God that you describe when surfing or looking up at the stars. For the God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by hands.

He is the giver and sustainer of life "The Source of life' that I hear you speak of. I see you searching for meaning, purpose and direction, well I am here to tell you that there is a divine path set out for each of us. I encourage you to keep searching for God, for God is never far away.

He is the Source, our Connector and through God we find our innermost being.

As your well-loved authors have said "We are all children of God".

Obviously we don't know, but thats what I reckon Paul might have said if he were here today.

Aussie Cricket

Go Matty Hayden! I always knew he'd come through with the goods! Now as long as that stupid bloody English weather doesn't keep stopping play, I reckon we're a hot chance to take out this last Test and retain the Ashes! Bring on sleepless nights!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

praise for peanut butter and where jesus is.

And that has made all the difference. : praise for peanut butter and where jesus is.

I have been disturbed by my own ability to so easily remove myself from the tragedy that has been Hurricane Katrina. I think when we stop feeling compassion for these people and the 12 000 people that die every day in the Two-Thirds World, we start to lose what it is to follow Jesus. This is a great little reminder of where Jesus is in all of this, follow the link up top.

This is a snippet:
jesus is there when a newsman puts down his microphone and starts to rescue people.

jesus is there when a man gives up his seat on a helicopter, so someone else can go.

jesus is there with the fireman who just worked his 23rd hour.

jesus is there with the woman who covers her baby with her own body, to shelter him.

jesus is there when a 5 year old holds onto the hand of a 105 year old woman, because she was scared.

Being poor

Read this

What the?

Can anybody tell me the deal is with that weird hymn they play to cricket highlights before they start a test? I've got no idea what it means? I'll try some English blogs for some tips, but if anybody can help me out that'd be awesome.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Welcome to the M.P.N.F.L. - The Home of the Mighty Sharks!

Welcome to the M.P.N.F.L. - The Home of the Mighty Sharks!
You beauty! For the first time in my illustrious footballing career, I have scored leauge votes! Even when I came third in our club B+F a couple years ago I didn't score any. It's a tough life being a fullback!

Monday, September 05, 2005

Serving the servants

I was driving home from a VETAMORPHUS info night tonight, and I saw the lights on, as they are every Monday night, at the CFA (Country Fire Authority) at the end of my street.

For a while now, particularly sparked by some of the ideas we were tossing around in our local area Mission Action Teams, of how cool it would be for us as the church to get out and thank all of the people in our local area for all that they do to serve our community.

So tonight I did just that. I think we as the church should be on about looking after the people in our community, and these guys definitely are, so in some way they're serving the Kingdom of God-whether or not they would say it as such.

I told them I was starting a church 200m down the road, and if there was anything we could do to be of service to them, to let me know.

Do we need to read the Bible?

This post follows on from the previous one, which in the comments of Mase pretty much made the point I'm going to.

That if we are to truly try and live that life that Jesus did, if his life is indeed to be the yardstick by which we gauge our lives, then its just massively important to be immersed in reading and conversing with the Bible-particularly the Gospels.

I think I've talked about this before, but for a while I felt people were enforcing reading the Bible on me, that I had to read it all the time to be a good Christian and that kind of rubbish, and for a while I reacted very strongly against that, and made it my mission to prove that you could in fact be a Christian without looking at the Bible. I still believe you can (but I reckon its important if we're to grow heaps-as I've just explained above), but luckily I've matured enough to get over other people's stupid comments and realise the value of it myself.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

Because Jesus might do it

Got around to listening to some more of my tapes from Forge and have been inspired about many things once more.

Was listening to some stuff from Michael Frost and it was just brilliant. For anybody that hasn't heard him before-he's an extremely gifted communicator, and always leaves me more fired up to follow Jesus.

One of the things that has been playing in my head is this one saying 'because we can imagine Jesus might do it'. We shouldn't start new churches and try to live missionally in our areas because everybody else is, or just because people are leaving church at the moment, or because him and Al Hirsch, or any of the other Forge dudes said it makes sense, but for no other reason than the fact that its something we could imagine Jesus doing.

If we can imagine Jesus spending all his time developing programs to invite people to, then we should too, but if we can't, then don't. If we can imagine Jesus talking to his neighbours, then maybe we should. If we can imagine Jesus having a big house and a nice car, then maybe we should too...

I guess its just been a real time of revisting what has now beome a crappy corporate slogan-WWJD. As much as that pithy little acronym annoys me because of all the marketing and crap behind the bracelets/shirts/stickers, the moment we stop challenging ourselves with that question, I believe we start to lose what it is to follow Jesus into the world.

� mDNA - organic systems and communitas not community � � Blog Archive � Signposts

� mDNA - organic systems and communitas not community � � Blog Archive � Signposts
Phil and Dan are starting to put together some more thoughts on mDNA (missional DNA), the first few posts of which had some great stuff. Well worth checking out.