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Above & Beyond – Group Therapy Tour

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Scarface

A quick snap of a Bentley as it passed by in the street. I reckon he’d roll in that, or a Rolls Royce Phantom…

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PHOTO

L’Arc Macau, Room 1725

Scrollable Panoramic coming soon (once I sort out some problems with it…)

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DIARY PHOTO

The Sunday Summary [11-26]

Wow, it’s hard to believe that we’re already half way through the year. I’ve felt like I’ve grown a huge amount already, but then I still have so much further to go; the growth has revealed other flaws that I’ve not previously noticed, or given enough attention to… My time in Hong Kong has been très busy, and you can see that by both the length and content of this loong Sunday Summary.

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The Sunday Summary [11-25]

Well, I’m currently in Hong Kong where it is “summer”. Temperature is higher, but humidity is also higher. Most places you go have the air conditioning on, so the difference in temperature between inside and out is significant.

This last week has felt a lot calmer, despite there being more things to be done…

On Monday I got a good sleep-in, before spending the day relaxing and not doing particularly much. I’ve been playing Infamous on PS3, which was one of the free ‘welcome back’ games on offer after PSN was hacked. In the evening, Geoff dropped around for dinner and our final run through of Smallville. We ducked out to the shops for some ingredients to cook up a chilli flakes, thyme, lemon and mushroom risotto, topped with hot pancetta. It was pretty delicious. We watched a few episodes of Community, and ate some Mersey Valley Vintage Cheddar with cracked pepper crackers whilst cooking dinner, and then 4 episodes of Smallville. The finale put some good closure on the 10 year long series. It was pretty obvious that Clark had to become Superman, but some of the other bits were a little bit more surprising.

Tuesday being first day back at work after a long weekend, there were quite a few bits and pieces to tidy up, as well as continue to work out handover of tasks & jobs to my colleagues. At night I didn’t do much, though in retrospect there was a heap more that I could have and should have done, like pack, and organise computer files.

Wednesday I took my day-in-lieu for my Saturday server install. It wasn’t as productive as I would have liked it to have been. I got my car out for it’s 5 year service in Hornsby before slowly making my way back to Carlingford in the rain. At night for growth group, we looked at Matthew 26 with a greatly diminished group. It was a really good discussion through, especially through the Lord’s supper, and Jesus’ words in verses 26 to 29; a great culmination of old testament ideas of covenant, law, sacrifice and God’s wrath, finding their fulfilment in Jesus.

On Thursday afternoon Nicky came with me to Gary’s place so we could enlist his help in biblical theology study for our exam. It was really useful and we got to go through the history of promise diagram. After that was all done, we enjoyed a fantastic home cooked meal by Gary of roast pork, complete with crispy crispy crackling, roast potatoes, pumpkin & sweet potatoes and broccoli, with Pearl, Tomas and Annabel. Then when I got home, it was packing time; many dilemmas in figuring how much to take considering that I have a number of planned purchases on my list.

Finally Friday rocked around, and I was pretty much in holiday mode already, but still slightly aware of the need to get things completed and not leave anyone in the lurch, yet with the opinion that leaving some things up in the air would help people more, and allow them to grow, than hinder them. My last touch for 2 weeks was pretty enjoyable, though playing on the wing always comes with sorrow and delight; having to always be on in defence, and not getting many opportunities in offence. It did pay off in the end when I got across the line for a try, thanks to Tony and Nicky for the assist.

Yesterday was my flight to Hong Kong. It was a comfortable flight, with plenty of delicious food and drink to keep us comfortable. On the lunch menu for me was a carrot and celery salad with a balsamic dressing, braised chicken with a tomato and fennel sauce and roasted new potatoes, cheese and crackers, a Lindor ball, coffee, a mango & cream Weiss bar and an organic peppermint tea.

The in-flight entertainment was alright, though there were plenty of movies I’d already seen, so I ended up watching Cedar Place and The Dilemma; both comedies. Kinda funny, but nothing lol-hilarious. and then The Mechanic. As I was talking to my family today, we were discussing what films they watched as well. Dad’s answers were the best; Just Do It aka Just Go With It and a film with no title, which turned out to be Unknown.

After touching down we made our way through customs and caught the MTR into Hong Kong central. You know those moments where you think you should do something, but don’t end up doing it and then regret the fact afterwards? I had one of those in the terminal; as I was waiting in the customs line, there was this girl standing behind me. I thought that I should have talked to her, but being an introvert, just couldn’t bring myself to do it… After passing through customs and baggage claim, before jumping on the MTR, I saw her again, wandering around, kind of aimlessly, not knowing what to do/where to go… If I had of talked to her in the line, I could have helped her get where she was going…
One of the great things in Hong Kong is how cheap the price of common things is. For the three of us to catch the MTR from the airport into Hong Kong Central was HKD$210, which is roughly AUD$30, and then the taxi from there to Causeway Bay was another HKD$50. Food is another thing that can be fairly cheap, with plenty of deals and packages available. We ate dinner last night at a local restaurant, eating chicken, broccoli and fish cakes with rice.

This morning we got to church at Tsim Sha Tsui Baptist Church’s english service. When compared to graceat6, this service was an absolute mess, and made me realise how good and well oiled our church actually is, despite seeing things not happen, or go wrong so often. The service leader was not particularly organised, we sung hymns, that were played on an organ with no song leader and were out of time and slow. The bible reading was from the good news bible. The sermon was from Matthew 18:21-35, but not preached in the normal manner that I’m used to at St Paul’s; the speaker used plenty of anecdotes at the start of each point that he was trying to make, which I think detracted from the word. He got the congregation to read through the passage relevant to each ‘principle’ he was focusing on, which he wanted to have the impact of getting the congregation to focus on text more, but the reading was not done with unity, and I was distracted more than focused. He also seemed to read in and fill out what was happening in the text, referring to the greek and trying to explain to the congregation participles and imperatives. In the end he did remind us that when we look at forgiveness, we need to be reminded of the cross; the mercy that God showed to us, and to show the same to others.

After church we hung out with some of the members at Delifrance for brunch. We have some family friends, the Chows, who have 2 daughters that we’ve watched grow up. It was good to see them, and also spend time with them. We ended up driving around Kowloon and then over to Hong Kong Central, taking in lunch at a place in IFC Mall. I got a tasty curry chicken, and a lime with aloe vera to drink.

This is my first Sunday summary post since being in Hong Kong, I’ve not worked out when to post, whether I abide by Australian time, or I post according to Hong Kong time, which is currently 3 hours behind…

So the main reason that I’m over here in Hong Kong is for my cousin Calvin’s wedding. Secondary to that is some shopping. I like the shopping in Hong Kong because things tend to be more my size, the exchange rate is usually good, there are plenty of options and the styles suit me well. I hope to refresh and reinvigorate my personal bible reading and prayer, with the discipleship journal, and a couple of Christian books, as well as work on my photographic skills, developing my eye to see and shoot some great shots.

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DIARY PHOTO

The Sunday Summary [11-23]

This week has felt extremely long!!
On Monday night Geoff came around to hang. We ate leftover chicken from graceat6 dinner with chips and gravy; great comfort food, before having a chat about life and difficulties associated with, and then watching a couple of episodes of the final season of Smallville.

Tuesday was pretty quiet. Steph wasn’t around for her growth group, so I had dinner by myself. I tucked into a chicken casserole that Linda gave to me a few months back, it was delicious!!

Wednesday I dropped around home to my folks place for dinner again before heading off to growth group where we flew through Matthew 13-16. There was alot to take in and see; plenty of miracles and talk of commandments vs traditions.

Thursday night at Moore College in lectures, in pairs we looked at biblical theology, working through methodology and then looking at the biblical theology of “good works“. It was a really useful class, though I found some of the answers and ideas that my classmates gave difficult and a bit frustrating to listen to. Our peer group time was really frustrating. Our scheduled ‘leader’ for the week didn’t chose a case study topic (miracles) to look at until 5pm that day, despite a group email on the Friday before, asking what we were going to be looking at. This was heightened by the fact that when we sat down to actually look at the study, he had only read half of it, and the rest of the group, apart from me and one other, didn’t even know what we were doing, due to lack of notice… We ended up not even looking at the biblical theology of miracles, but rather listed off a whole bunch of ‘purple passages‘ (important bible passages in relation to biblical theology), which whilst useful for something like an exam, don’t actually help you know and understand the method of working through a particular topic.

Friday got to me a bit. It was one of those days where a misunderstanding, coupled with impatience, threw my whole mood off kilter. I tried to make myself as sparse as possible, which probably isn’t the best method of dealing with problems, but makes thinks easier on the day. I think I should have just dealt with it and gotten on with thinks, but I’m stubborn like that… I do think it’s incredibly funny and odd how we seem to have lost ‘the art of patience’ in our day and age. Everything is so instantaneous that we can’t take the time to wait, but need stuff now now now!!! Touch football wasn’t too bad, though playing on the wing is always a tough gig; the ball rarely travels out, but when it does, there’s a bit of opportunity, usually covered though. SALT was pretty tough work. I think I was handed about 6 usb sticks with things to be run on the night, plus a couple of youtube videos… There was also a patience issue there…

Saturday was taken out with work stuff: Our server has run past it’s end of life and has been causing issues for the whole of St Paul’s and possibly beyond for the last couple of months at least, so we finally got a new one. The next step was to get that up and running, but keeping most of the settings of the old one. I met with one of our MTSers Craig, who is a legend network engineer, to get this all sorted, but the transfer was more of a hassle than we’d thought. Our old server continually crashed in the middle of key processes. This meant that things that would normally have taken 20 minutes, jumped out to an hour and a half… It was pretty painful, and unexpected. It will be interesting to see the reception over the next few days and how much troubleshooting we’ll need to be doing… We did however receive the generosity of Snixey and Cato by way of soup, bread and grapes for dinner!!!
At night, for a break from server stuff, I got to take some photos at our fundraiser Jam4Japan, which featured two bands: Tim Harris & Band (Wonki, Jack Day & MattyB) and The Cameo to raise money to help the relief efforts in Japan. All of the proceeds from entry, merchandise, food and beverage sales going to Mission To the World – Tokyo, which totaled just over $2,000. I’m pretty happy with my photos, and hope to get some up soon, but here’s one of my favorites from the night

This morning I got out to read the bible and pray with Nic. We went back to our old haunt at the Carmen drive shops, which has now rebranded. The barista Thomas is still there, and recognized us, organizing our normal coffee order for us. We read through Acts 14 & 15 which was interesting, but the surprise of the morning was a conversation come heated discussion on Christianity, religion and the literacy & validity of the bible between some of the staff at this cafe. We didn’t get involved, but it was pretty unexpected…
Tonight at graceat6 Mike preached from Colossians 1:15-23 which speaks about Jesus, specifically that He is:

  • Creator of All Things
  • Revealer of The Invisible God
  • Rescuer of people
  • The Risen LORD

So tomorrow is a conference that I’ve been organising called N E X U S, which is a conference that gathers mainly people, mainly clergy or those in training, previously associated with St Paul’s and their friends who have the same theological mindset of Bible believing evangelicalism, and seeks to encourage and exhort them in the word, helping them think about our future ministry. I’ve got about 200 people coming, and am hoping and praying that the day will run smoothly, without too many hiccups or stress on my part. Last year ran pretty well, but I was a bit disappointed in terms of fellowship with my brothers and sisters in Christ, as well as the aftermath of the conference. This year I have some experience under my belt and am ready to G.O. I’m surprising not particularly stressed, and the pessimist in me thinks that I’ve not done something correctly… but I guess I’ll find out when I get there….

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Leura Cockatoos

Whilst up at Katoomba Easter Convention, a pair of cockatoos turned up on our balcony around lunchtime today. The sliding door to the balcony was broken, so I wasn’t able to get direct shots, so these are taken through the glass.

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MUSIC PHOTO

The Gate @ Pablo’s

Last night I got on down to Pablo & Rusty’s Expresso Bar in Epping for another of The Gate‘s trial events, having run their course of shows in the backyard. On the bill for the evening were: Loopsnake, Cleptoclectics and Wintercoats – artists I’d never heard of before.


When I wandered up towards Pablo & Rusty’s, there was the familiar banner of The Gate leading people up the side alleyway. After presenting my ticket at the entrance, I wandered into the back ‘red’ room and saw Chris & Tracy Tate, old stalwarts of St Paul’s 7:15 service and guys from an old bible study group. I also met Jon Key, Tracy’s cousin and got to chatting with him for a short while.

After a little while of setting up, Loopsnake took to the small stage and began playing, laying down some electronic bleeps and pops with a dubby minimal sound. He looked to be enjoying himself on stage, constantly bopping along, which was a stark contrast to those in the audience who sat still on the floor, even when Loopsnake moved into a funky breaky sound. For those that are keen to hear some of Loopsnake you can do so at his bandcamp site.

After a short interval and equipment change, it was time for Cleptoclectics to start. His music was a quirky, offbeat Hip-Hop sound with many oriental sounds… He seemed to bounce between a good energy and a more subdued state… For some Cleptoclectics please visit his myspace.

Final act for the night was Melbournian Wintercoats; one guy with a violin and a few effects, delay and reverb switches. His method for making music was phenomenal; playing a bar or two, capturing it and then adding more and more layers, all generated with his violin by bowing, plucking, strumming or brushing the strings, flicking or tapping the body of the violin, and then singing over the top. It was quite an amazing act, similar to two other acts I’ve seen: Erik Mongrain, who plays the guitar in a different way, and Jamie Lidell, who often samples, loops and effects his voice to come up with something new. Most impressive track that Wintercoats performed was a cover of TLC’s No Scrubs. For some of Wintercoats‘ music, please visit his bandcamp site.

I think the night was pretty successful, it certainly got a little warm inside the venue, despite the temperature drop outside, and you wouldn’t want to grow the audience too much more than an extra 20 persons, which shouldn’t be a problem given the following that experimental sounds has… I got some video of the night and hope to put that up somewhere soon…

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The Sunday Summary [11-11]

Monday night I went to the movies with Geoff. We went to see I Am Number Four; a movie with an intriguing trailer that somewhat sparked interest. The story and plot development left many things in the dark for the majority of the movie. With mixed amounts of alien phenomena, conspiracy theory, teenage angst, brooding and ‘love’; it felt like we were watching a combination of Smallville and Twilight. As the end credits rolled, we realised why it felt like Smallville, as Alfred Gough and Miles Millar; the writers also wrote Smallville.

On Tuesday night our family headed down to Epping for dinner to celebrate my brother in law: Arthur’s birthday. Mum had made a booking at the restaurant at the Epping Club, but when we turned up, we found out that the restaurant was closed, so we ended up heading around to an Italian restaurant on Beecroft Road in the Genesis building. They have all-you-can-eat pasta on Tuesday and Wednesday nights for $15 per person. They have a number of different pastas, or risotto that you choose, and then you choose the sauce that you wish to accompany your pasta, and the chef prepares it for you, on a platter with up to four different pastas. Also on offer is a reduced menu, with about 4 mains on it. I went with the char-grilled rib eye fillet of steak with hand cut chips and vegetables. There was quite a bit to eat, and I didn’t get all the way through it, but the chips weren’t quite cooked well either..

On Wednesday night at Growth Group, we gained an additional member, and were still down on numbers because of illness and timetable clashes. This week we looked at Colossians 2:1-15 which speaks about Paul and his struggles for the saints in Colossae and Laodicea; his yearnings to see them face to face, but more importantly that they would be built up and grounded in Christ Jesus. He reminds and encourages them, and us, that they have been brought into the Kingdom by the promises of God, which are fulfilled by Christ and his circumcision.

Thursday morning I updated my iPhone to iOS 4.3, which enables personal hotspots, amongst other things. I gave it a good test on the train in to college that night; at first it didn’t seem to work, but trying it over bluetooth seemed to kickstart it, though it made my phone quite hot. College was a pretty good and interesting night. We looked at the complexity and unity of the Bible, and then at promise and fulfilment in the scriptures. During group time we discussed the biblical theology of the fall in Genesis 3:1-7. It was both confusing and interesting; my group had some unusual observations and questions which I wouldn’t think to ponder or ask… On the train on the way back home I got personal hotspot working over wifi only, and that solved the heat problem, albeit a little slower.

Friday was a really laxed day, in fact the whole work week was quite restful and quiet, which is a relief after the last few weeks. Touch footy was pretty fun, despite not scoring a try this week, bringing my 7 weeks of consistent try-scoring to a close. We had a new guy Ryan show up and join us. Hopefully he’ll come back next week. I also got to premiere my KYCK ’09 video at SALT, which I produced during the week.

On Saturday I went to Chatswood for yum cha with some of my relatives who were in town for a wedding, and my folks before they jet off over to Israel for a biblical tour. I took the opportunity to wander down to Chatswood Chase to check out the Macbook Air’s which I’m considering a purchase, you can read my thoughts here. For most of the evening, I worked on a video project for Mike and his SALT talks for term 2. It’s coming along well and I look forward to when it’s finished.

This morning I met up with Nic Trevena to read the bible, chat over it, catch up and pray. We looked through Acts 3 & 4, and talked about the Holy Spirit and His ability to enable believers to speak the word of God with boldness, as well as the community of the believers.
Tonight graceat6 was a great night. It was an evangelistic service with Evan McFarlane speaking from John 2:1-12; which speaks of Jesus‘ first miracle, turning water into wine. Evan spoke about the passage in a different way from which I’ve previously thought about it, speaking of how Jesus thought about His wedding, that of Him and the church. Of the price that He needed to, and did, pay in order to be united with His bride, the church, which was death on the cross.
It was also great to see plenty of new faces in the crowd, hear some great prayers and get up as part of a growth group to introduce ourselves, especially with a baby photo flashed up on the screen, which got a great chuckle. For those that missed it, want to see it again, or aren’t at graceat6, here it is:
Baby SLaw

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Guthries

A couple of shots from SHToose’s Engagement party from the weekend.

Guthers Girls

Guthers!!