Friday, April 28, 2006

Two ways of reading the Bible

That title is a bit of a generalisation, but its the summary I came up with this afternoon when trying to explain to my VETAMORPHUS students about the different ways I read the Bible, and why we need both.

The first is the way in which we read it so as to hear from God, to receive encouragement/challenges for our Christian walk, to learn more about our faith, or Jesus, and to generally look for ways in which God's story is interacting and intersecting with our own.

The second is the more scholarly approach, of trying to understand who wrote it and why, who they were writing to at the time, what was going on in the church and world at the time etc.

See I reckon often we can get caught too heavily up in either one or the other. If we focus too heavily on the first, we may rarely get the chance to really delve into the stories, and perhaps try and find some much deeper meaning than we first thought. Then if we focus too much on the second it all becomes academic, and doesn't transform or change us, or speak into our lives as much as we'd like.

I think good Bible study needs a bit of both, because they shouldn't be mutually exclusive, they should hopefully be one...

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Learn to Dance with Napoleon Dynamite

Flash � Learn to Dance with Napoleon Dynamite

This is quite possibly the funniest and yet most useful website on the planet! Now you too can get your groove on with D'Kwon dance moves, as beautifully performed by Anpoleon Dynamite!


Saintgaz Strikes Back

Saintgaz Strikes Back

Excellent! My first ever 'blog friend' is back int he blog business, and hopefully will have some good stuff to say again. Check him out if you wanna hear the perspectives of somebody else doing the little 'emerging church' plant type thing. (Sorry Gaz, had to use the title, it seems its become so mainstream people who don't understand only know what you're talking about if you use it!)

Christian Freedom and Responsibility

Am really loving doing my VETAMORPHUS readings at the moment, am finding the discipline and regularity quite helpful. A theme that has come up a bit lately for me (particularly through Romans 12 and 1 Corinthians 8 has been about the freedom we have as Christians in terms of a lot of our actions-we're not tied down by rules and regulations, but that whole Spiderman thing of 'with great power comes great responsibility' and how aware we need to be of the ramifications our actions can have on others.

And this is particularly true for those of us working with youth and young adults, such impressionable Christians! The one I am always challenged on is drinking, I know for me thatgenerally just having a few beers is not a bad thing, but for many others its a real stumbling block in their faith. Now thats a whole other issue in itself, but I know there's always areas of my life those chapters challenge, so thought I'd give you guys the heads up if you were short of something to read!

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

What does it mean to remember?

Every year around ANZAC day and Rememberance Day, and very often around the Comunion meal in church I find myself asking the question-what does it truly mean to remember? Every week we are told to remember Jesus' sacrifice for us, and a couple of times a year we're asked to remember the sacrifices of our soldiers.

But what does it mean to remember these things? Is it simply a mental recollection of facts, or is it more about whether or not our lives are being lived in a manner worthy of these sacrifices?

In both cases, although in some ways they mean totally different things, I don't think its good enough that we just sit or stand there and feel really grateful, I think that to remember Jesus and to remember our soldiers is to live a life worthy of the freedom they died for...

Monday, April 24, 2006

The church's goal...

Found this quote today from Lesslie Newbigin, somebody I haven't read enough of. Unfortunately don't know where its from. Beilliant!

The church’s goal is not to make converts who make more converts who then make more converts in order to grow the church. There is no purpose to that other then the making of converts like one might advance the allegiance of a certain football team over other teams or sell cars to boost sales.
That will not change society.
That will not address justice or demonstrate the advancement and imminence of God’s reign. That will not promote healing and compassion.
In sum, the world will not necessarily be better off with a bigger church.
However the world will be made new when the name of Christ is advanced and those who call themselves his followers follow in his ways and in his purposes to his ends until he comes.”

Thursday, April 20, 2006

The Push Up Challenge...

Last Sunday we did one push up, then on Monday we did two, then Tuesday three...

I did totally steal this idea off Trav, but hey, why not!

The aim is to get to at least 50, let me know if you want to join up! Obviously honesty based as we can't check on you, so no claimimg you can already do 200 Rev (although you probably can!).

Should be fun!

Hayden, Gillespie consider nude run

Hayden, Gillespie consider nude run
Not only is it the funniest thing ever that Gillespie makes 201 not out, then they decide to do a nudey run to celebrate! Guess this proves that great cricketers minds think alike...

Thursday, April 13, 2006

The meaning of Easter...

Whilst I'm thinking through and trying to get my head around what to do at camp for worship, it's got me thinking about the meaning of the cross and the resurrection and the whole Easter story in general. I've obviously heard the 'Jesus died for our sins' story, which has truth to it, but is far too simplistic and I think probably doesn't let us see the whole picture of what Easter's all about.

So does anybody care to explain their understanding of the cross, or point out some other decent resources that offer a balanced viewpoint?

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Easter Saturday?

Am putting together a 'worship experience'/spiro night for an Easter camp over the weekend and am slowly sifting my way though the plethora of resources on the internet, and finding very little for Easter Saturday, which is when I'm running this particular session.

I'm wanting to particularly focus on the very first Easter Saturday experience for the disciples, the disappointment, disillusionment, the loss of a great friend and spiritual leader. The questioning of their faith, what would it have been like for them? Would they still have hope? Did they have any idea what Jesus was talking about when he talked about rebuilding the Temple in 3 days.

I'd also like to track the theme of 'whoever loses his life for me will find it' and exploring the idea of the Easter story as an allegory for the Christian journey, of laying down one's life for others, the real pain and hurt that can bring, but which ultimately leads to resurrection and new life. I believe that story in itself has real power.

Not by any means is that the complete meaning of Easter, but its the window I'm looking at at the moment. The other windows, through which we look out and see the stories of Atonement, Redemption, Divine Example of Love and others, all help us to more fully see the meaning behind Easter.

So, does anybody know of any good worship/prayer resources to use for Easter Saturday?

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Pepsi Give or Take

Pepsi Give or Take

Pepsi are running this prmotion where they've got a pool of $10 000 and you can either give 5 cents to charity every time you click on give, or take 5 cents every time you enter the competition to win the 10 grand.

Now it goes against every grain in this competitive body, but I clicked Give, although I am very tempted to go back and click Take, so that when I win the competition, under my 'give 10% of prize winnings to charity', rule, I can give them more money!

Liquid is on again.

What is Liquid?

Liquid is about becoming a faithful follower of Jesus in Liquid Culture. It is discipleship, it is conversations, it is theological reflection, it is options for life. Join with people from the different streams that make up the the people of God in this time and space, people with a heart to deepen their Spirituality, with a desire to understand Culture, and with a passion for Justice.

Once again we will have workshop facilitatators making space for conversations around Spirituality, Culture and Justice as well as some specifically named issues including:

* Personal Spiritual Direction and the Emerging Missional Church
* Pentecostal Spiritualities and the Gospel according to Bono
* Spirituality in Mission
* Australia to Afghanistan and Back: Mission that calls for change here as well as there
* Ministry or business
* The Jesus I never knew
* Compassion and humility - the other dimensions
* Jesus, Friend of the outcast
* Justice before it was trendy, a look at the Jesus people movement in Australia

When and where is Liquid?
Thursday 20th April:Visits to various locations and mission organisations around MelbourneFriday 21st to Saturday 22nd April:Workshops, plenary sessions, conversation spaces and various worship experiences.
Date and Time:20-22nd April, 2006Northern Community Church of Christ81 High Street Preston, 3072

More details are here and you can register online.

Consumerism in Community

Following on from some of the comments in regard to my last post, I have been thinking a bit about the real problem of consumerism in community.

See what I was referring to in my last post was more like the idea of doing certain courses/programs or hanging out with and learning from certain people, rather than being involved in intentional community with them, because i think there's a difference.

I see so many people these days leaving church, or leaving their small group, or whatever form of intentional Christian community, just because 'I wasn't getting anything out of it' when in fact this type of community is something that ideally we should be putting more into than getting out of. So when the musical worship isn't as fun/exciting/bringing you closer to God, they leave. Or the teaching isn't relevant, or there's not enough young people, or it doesn't help them in their spiritual journey, then they leave.

Now thats consumeristic religion if ever I've seen it, but you all know that.

Some of you may say this is a little hypocritical of me, having left one congregation at my church to start another, but you see the thing with me is that I didn't want to get some crew together to start the Huddle cos it would be more helpful for me, but because it would hopefully be something I could bring others to, and would be helpful for those not plugged into a church.

Having said all that, I do believe that sometimes we need to work out if a particular church/group is holding us back rather than helping us move forward in our spiritual walk, but then thats a pretty tricky line...

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Who do I need to surround myself with?

Was chatting with a good friend the other night about the different Christian courses, programs and theological colleges that we have been a part of and considered getting involved with.

It got me to thinking about the much deeper understanding I have now of the different arms of the Christian faith, how different Christians think, pray, understand God, what they believe about the Bible etc. I probably went through the stages of having no idea about this kind of thing, to being arrogant/proud about how my ways were so much better than everybody else's to now really loving the diversity I see in the Body of Christ.

This then caused me to reflect on a conversation I'd had with my spiritual director (you should all look into it-can be very helpful) about my struggles with prayer, and the need to surround myself with others far more committed to and experienced in prayer than I (and then to be able to move on from needing the support of those people-but thats another post) because those people just have so much to teach me.

I've found that being able to know a little bit about where a person/group of people are roughly coming from, can be helpful in working out if they're the people I need in my life right now.

Basically, there are some areas of my Christian life that I'm more on top of than others, and I really need to surround myself with those who are much further along in the areas I'm weak... Which are too many!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Relational Accountability in the EC

Caught up with a good mate today and chatted about what accountability looks like in planting churches of the sort we're both having a crack at, him much further down the track than me.

We talked about the idea of accountability in these kind of things, an idea I'm a fan of, but haven't really got my head around. As a general life principle, I love it, just not sure how it works in these kind of set ups.

I guess perhaps I had this really negative idea of people looking over our shoulder, trying to keep us 'on track' or control the direction of the group.

Luckily this hasn't been the situation so far with me and Frankston, I actually don't think I could ask for a more supportive church, which is awesome.

So the relational accountability he talked about is me and Grant getting together, him asking me questions about how its going, supporting me in stuff I can't do, or when things look too hard, hearing my story, as well as me hearing his story, and being encouraged to do all that we set out to. That is the kind of accountability I want/need, and I hope it continues.

Not only have I found it helpful so far, but research shows these things have heaps more chance of getting and staying off the ground with the support of other churches/denominations.

What have other people found helpful/unhelpful?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

A Churchless Faith: Matt 25 the way many wish it had been written

A Churchless Faith: Matt 25 the way many wish it had been written

Was having a great discussion recently with a friend about the idea of helping people because thats what we're called to do, (and thats mission) not just because as a result of us helping them we want to share Jesus with them.

This is quite a funny but true re-write of Matt 25 and how many people would like it to read. Looks like a good blog too.
This one's just a pretty standard funny photo. Love all the funny paint jobs you get sent in emails. Posted by Picasa
Here's me dressed as the funniest movie character in history! Posted by Picasa

Backyard Missionary � Blog Archive � Discipleship Dilemma in Youth Ministry II

Backyard Missionary � Blog Archive � Discipleship Dilemma in Youth Ministry II

Hamo offers up some more ideas in this fascinating discussion on youth ministry, well worth a read.

Last Minute Heard Tickets!

All you switched on Melburnians will of course realise that the second biggest sporting occasion on this weekend (second only to the mighty Tyabb Yabbies Reserves starting their tilt at the premiership) is of course the Davis Cup tie vs Belarus.

As is the case with any decent tennis event worth attending, the Heard will once again be out in force!

Unfortunately a few very un-Australian people have pulled out after ordering tickets so we have a few spare tickets that need to be snapped up to ensure nobody is out of pocket. We've got a few tickets for all days, particularly Saturday.

Prices are $40 or $25 for high school age students for Friday and Sunday, with Saturday at the bargain prices of $20 or $15 for high school age students.

Get onto it!