Yet another late one, but hopefully the last (late) one for a while.
Monday evening I got out to Newtown to have dinner with Geoff. We had home made Chicken Kebabs, they were well tasty. After that we played some games, chatted, and wrestled through some Romans.
It was another quiet week at work again, with many of the ministers still away on holidays. I managed to get some work done on our CCLI licences to update them for this year, with a slight reconfiguration.
Wednesday, when the rains came, we (along with a lot of people in our area) were affected by the rain. It was just after lunch when the heavy rain hit, and the sagging roof next to my desk, which has suffered from heavy rain in the past, started to drip and leak, before rapidly developing into a stream. It was straight into action mode from there, grabbing a couple of containers to catch the water as others moved papers and printers out of the way. As the bulk of the rain came, I had to check the rest of the building to make sure that it wasn’t leaking. There were only two other areas – Kara & Gary‘s offices that were suffering from leaks. The next step was to check the gutters for leaves, and boy did I find a bunch, so many that the rain water wasn’t able to make its way down the downpipes. I managed to scoop some leaves and silt out via ladder, but in the end I had to get up on the roof to reach some areas. Once that was all done, and I was soaked through, I was granted the remainder of the day off, so it was off home for a hot hot shower and to wash out my rain drenched clothes.
Thursday was dealing with the aftermath of the rain, along with printing and collating of books for the new youth conference at Merroo Conference Centre.
Friday was time to pack again a bit before and a bit during work for this new camp, as well as sorting out the regular work bits and pieces. By about 3:15pm parents were dropping off their kids (the year 7-9s) to head off to this new conference at Merroo, typically Asians first of all, before Caucasians…. I had planned to go a bit early again, since I had some administrative things to hand off to the organisers, but I ended up being one of the last to leave, having had to chase up some kids, and also pick up Chris, who only just managed to make it home around 5pm. Once on the road, it was a fairly smooth journey, with a dinner drive-through at Winston Hills McDonalds. We were slowed down a little by an accident on Windsor Rd which saw a semi-trailer, thankfully without the trailer, smash into a Lexus, which now resembled more of an accordion than a car.. Once at Merroo we waited around in the dark whilst looking around for someone to welcome and guide us around the campsite, which never really happened… It all came together in the hour or so leeway that was in the program for arrival before the first session.
I don’t want to go into a whole lot of detail for this conference, so I’m going to try to do it in summary, as much as I can. If you want to know more, please ask!!
In total, we had maybe 180 youth there, from year 7 to 13, and then another 70+ leaders spanning about 8 different church youth groups, there was also a mish-mash band, and a couple of delegates who were there to check the conference out, without bringing their group (for this year at least).
The band was led by Ben Pakula, a mad guitarist who is into metal, but has managed to find a great way for that to be integrated into his music ministry. The music across the weekend had a big rock/metal feel to it, with plenty of hymns and modern melodies arranged to suit Ben, but there was a great point where he stopped and explained/apologised for the loud and intense music, and opted to sing a song with just the lead singers plus an acoustic guitar. Ben also wrote a song for the weekend, it was quite catchy, and has been floating around my head, in parts. It would be good if the song were shared around as a resource, rather than just being a feature of the weekend.
The talks over the weekend were from the book of Titus and given by 3 speakers: Matt, Pete and Mike. They were all very practical, sometimes a bit fast, and encouraged us in the word, in leadership, in godliness, in the grace of God, and in doing what is good – which we see in the bible.
There was plenty of other things that happened as well, in and out of session: videos of each of the youth groups, and video interviews with older Christians from churches, which were a great encouragement, Memory verses, fantastic prayers (led by youth group leaders, as a model of how and what to pray for), discussion groups, and plenty of free time (almost 6 hours…). There was a strongish encouragement to meet people, but I feel that this is actually quite a hard thing to do; ie ‘force’ people into meeting others… I’m normally willing, but it’s quite a daunting task, and something that people really need to be attitudinally invested in. The easy thing to do is to meet someone, tick that box and then go back to hanging out and keeping up with your own group. I got to meet a few people, including Anna and Genessa, and also catch up with a few others that I’d met at Mission Minded Network Conference last year. It was actually really encouraging to see a bunch of familiar faces, outside of my normal Christian circle, that are considering fulltime paid word ministry. During the free-time sessions I got to play in a massive game of soccer, which dwindled and diminished quite quickly, as well as in a game of touch, putting a couple tries down, which was good.
I also went through a pretty rough patch in my current sick state, with headaches, swollen glands, sore throat, coughing and plenty of mucus. It wasn’t a great help for the weekend, especially combined with a cabin of rowdy year 8 boys, which is where I slept, for lack of a better word….
Also the conference was named DIG, as we are DIGging into God’s Word.
Tonight at graceat6 James Davidson spoke from Jeremiah 31 and Hebrews 10:11-26 which speaks of the new covenant that God promises. It was quite an interesting sermon, which divided things up into the details of this covenant, then how these covenantal promises are fulfilled in Christ with a Now – Not Yet schema, and then a final word about how we who are living in the in-between period are to live; how we are continually being sanctified, transformed to be like God, we know God, we hope in and cling to the New Jerusalem, and we are to continually encourage, teach the word to, and speak to the word to; one another.