Yet another busy week, and one with plenty of struggles, and a few small victories, which was good (I’ll take whatever I can get…).
This week has been an absolutely gruelling week at work with
Wow, this week has been really busy and intense…
Monday was the double act of N E X U S and the aftermath of the server upgrade. I was pretty much non-stop G.O. from about 8am. It wasn’t a stressful preparation for the conference with some last-minute sign-making, nametags and final room setup. The other side of the coin were questions relating to the use of our computer network, which had gone through some significant changes, for the better, over the weekend, but weren’t totally complete. I had the great opportunity to say “No” to various requests and questions, passing them off to Craig. I got out to have lunch with some of the guys before entering zero-hour as guests started turning up. The talks from the day were really good, looking at what the church is, and ways in which we can improve and make changes. Last year for dinner, I went and ate by myself, and I made people aware of this fact because it was such a disappointment. This year I had 5 groups of people ask me to eat with them, a significant change up from last year. I ended up going with Gary and Pearl with a few older guys up at Carlingford Court.
On Tuesday morning, there was again some computing issues (something that would ‘plague’ me all week), but we got to discussing a fair bit of the things that were said at N E X U S, especially at graceat6 meeting. One thing that was of note was the church and it’s mission: whether evangelism, and holding an evangelistic meeting, was part and parcel of that.
Tuesday night I went home to pick up my dad, before heading out for dinner at Fook Yuen in Chatswood via Macquarie Uni to pick up my mum. We were out for my sister’s 28th birthday, which was happening on Wednesday. Dinner was tasty; dishes of note were the spicy & salty pork chops, and the pigeon.
Wednesday night at growth group, despite intending to start at 7pm, we got going at 7:30ish and read through a great chunk of Matthew; the main concentration being on chapter 24. We split into groups and creatively worked out ways to explain the passage as well as come up with questions for the sections we were assigned. To be honest, I found it detrimental to the study, as I’m not a fan of the creative, and I’d prefer that we just go through the passage and discuss it as a group. I do see the reason why our leaders are doing it though; it gives our less vocal people a chance to interact and speak up, whereas they may not do so whilst the main group is together, either because they’re a bit shy, or more vocal and opinionated people constantly speak up, something that I think need to be addressed, or they need to be made aware of…
Thursday night was the last night of lectures for college for this semester, and sadly the last night of college with Nicky. In the lectures, Peter spoke about preaching biblical theology, something that is commonplace at St Paul’s, but apparently less so at other churches, by the way people were asking questions. There were some interesting (practically pointless) questions asked by some of my classmates again… I’m really going to miss Thursday night college with Nicky, she is a great sister in Christ and always helped to calm me down, listen and talk through things over the last semester. I really really value her friendship, but at the same time need to be quite cautious in how much I tell her/rely on her since her main male relationship is, and should be, with Steve. If God does bless me with a significant other, I hope and pray that she is as kind, caring, thoughtful and loving as Nicky (And no, I’m not writing this just because I know she is reading this).
Friday was a long long day. More computer problems, quite demanding ones, which I still managed to avoid, before talking to Rose and Toni about some of the duties they may need to cover in my absence over the next three weeks. At the end of the day, I got onto the usual touch footy. Numbers were down, I think a combination of long weekend absentees and ‘wet weather’. We ended up with probably 13 people. I managed to score 4 tries coming from a few intercepts and a few well timed runs. At SALT we had Pat Jones from Menai Anglican come to speak for an evangelistic talk from John 3. After SALT I headed out to The Argyle with Nicky for Random Soul Recordings’ first Sydney party called Takin’ It Back. Yogi and Husky AKA Random Soul pumped out a great mix of funky, deep and jackin house tunes, warranting some great dancing.
Saturday morning I got a good sleep in, something that is rare in my world… After a little bit of room organisation, I headed down to the bowls club in Denistone for part 1 of Hamish’s bucks. It was a good bit of fun, and I got to rekindle some of my lawn bowling skills. We wrapped up mid-afternoon and I snuck in a quick nap before heading out to the Red Oak Brewery in the city for part 2 of the bucks, aka dinner and drinks. Traffic in, and parking were a bit chaotic; I took a good 40 minutes to make it from Milson’s Point to parking the car. For dinner I had the bread board, quite the tasty light meal consisting of 4 types of breads with a pumpkin dip, avocado dip, Asian marinated olives and garlic oil.
This morning, Nic and got to read Acts 16 and talk about a number of different things, including Hillsong and the way that we approach it as Anglicans… In the afternoon I headed to the movies to use up another movie ticket that I had, due at the end of June, to see X-Men: First Class. It was a good film, looking into some great X-Men lore. Some of the effects were a little off, I don’t recall seeing Stan Lee, and unfortunately there wasn’t a post-credit scene. There was also a scene in which Raven/Mystique is speaking to Hank/Beast about living in the world, but not being a part of it, which I thought rang true with the Christian experience.
Tonight at graceat6 I tried to do as little as possible, quite a difficult task really, hopefully to gear up everyone to ‘cope’ in my absence. I got to sit in the ‘pews’ with the regular people and experience church without tasks or jobs to do. I managed to hold myself back and not touch any equipment, or get up to correct errors, in the hope that people would learn to fix things themselves. Our preacher tonight was one of our overseas ministry partners: Kent. He spoke from Mark 1, which, after introducing Jesus, goes on to speak about guilt and shame in the healing of a leper and a paralytic. There were some great insights into the text, drawing out the deliberate actions of Jesus, and helping us realize/remember the relational nature of God.
This week will be an extra extra short week with tomorrow being a public holiday, and I have Wednesday off as a make up for the Saturday server install. I have quite a bit to do, and I’m flying out to Hong Kong next Saturday for just under three weeks. I’m looking forward to the time off, but then I am also aware and a bit fearful of the fallout that this will cause and I’ll have to sort out on my return.
This week started alright, before sharply falling and then rising up again slowly.
Monday morning, I got an hour off to recover from the weekend. At night I missed out on catching up with Geoff because of his college work, but I spent the time resting and recovering a bit more from the weekend.
Tuesday was the killer day. There were some problems with our new email system where people were upset. It brought up past issues with church technology and it’s past implementations, which had nothing to do with me, and felt like they laid blame on me, whether they meant it or not. Now I must admit that I’m a bit of a “blame monger” i.e. I seem to look for the blame in most things; where it rests, what was the cause of the confrontation etc etc. I’m not sure why, but whenever people seem to have a problem and approach me about it, I always seem to get on the defensive, seemingly subconsciously. So that pretty much ruined my Tuesday.. It was such a rough confrontation that I was almost in tears… and fragile for the rest of the day. In the evening it was my turn to cook dinner, so it was off to Coles to grab some ingredients for a prawn & pea risotto, which was delicious!! I spent the rest of the evening tweaking my parents new laptops.
Wednesday was a fairly good, quiet one. In the afternoon I made some physical changes to the church by swapping the projectors in the main hall because the main one had a yellow tinge to it. It was quite an involved job, especially since I did it with no help. After work, I got home to see my folks and deliver their laptops, before heading to growth group where we studied some more Matthew
Thursday night college was alright. We looked at the resurrection and the Holy Spirit, before our lack-lustre peer group on the biblical theology of the Sabbath. One of the guys that was supposed to be leading left early because he felt sick, so the rest of us had to work through without much direction. Rather than looking at the biblical theology of things, we looked at the passages almost solely, trying to understand them as individual passages, rather than threading a biblical theological thread through them.
Friday was again quiet, but a little tough to concentrate on proper work… It was good to get back into touch football after a couple weeks worth of breaks. I scored a try early on in the piece; a good stride down the left hand wing, off a ball from Mike. At SALT for supper, some of the kids had brought some sarsparilla, some chinotto, and some vanilla coke; all black in color. When I put them out, I did so alternately, making for a good troll on the kids after coke.
Saturday was an extremely busy day with 3 engagements to get to. The first was Equip Women’s Convention where we had to be in at Sydney Harbour Convention Centre at 7:30am. I picked up Alfie, Tim & Jack and we made our way out there. Basically our job was to prepare nametags and booklets, heard women to the auditorium for the talks, collect donations for morning tea, and then the big task of getting roughly 3,500 women to 6 different electives, including distribution of around 1,500 booklets at various entrance points. I enjoyed my time there, seeing many people that I knew from various Christian circles, as well as a whole punch of faces that I knew from seeing them around, but don’t actually know them. I can say that was really quite impressed with how many beautiful Christian women are out there, and would take the time out to attend such a conference, though I do find it a bit of a shame, for me, that the majority of them look to be married or engaged. I would like to hope that I’d find a wife out of a bunch of women like them one day… After dropping off the guys at the end of the long haul, I headed over to Pennant Hills for Jorge & Claire’s Engagement Party, which seemed to be in full swing, for some delicious gourmet foods, and good company. After a quick nap at home, it was time to get back on the party wagon at Alex Trevena’s 21st, with more good food and company.
Today I was meant to meetup with Nic, but since he had such a late night, we called it off. I helped Jase film a little movie in the hope of winning him a new phone, before heading to Macquarie Centre to see Fast & Furious 5; a good movie, with a nice twist, bringing it to a level of Fast & Furious meets Oceans 11. If this movie is the final in the series, then it wraps up well, however, like most movies these days, there was no definitive end with 100% closure, leaving an optional sequel.
At graceat6 tonight, James Davidson spoke from Luke 11:1-13 which is the Lord’s Prayer. From this he drew a number of conclusions:
- We need to remember that God is our Father
- We are to pray that God our Father is increasingly known and revered
- That we continue to ask God.
We are under His authority, yet, He is not like human fathers who are ‘evil’ in a self centered sense, rather He is tender hearted, generous and caring.
He is hallowed; meaning that He is completely unique and set apart, but that we should truly know Him as He actually is, and that His kingdom is progressively made known, not just in non-Christian hearts, but also in our own, so that the desires of our hearts move from being just centered around ourselves and our friends, rather around the glory of God.
Not in a nagging way, but with complete reliance on Him, persevering and letting God be the one who answers our prayers.
Seeking daily bread both in the provision of food to physically strengthen, but also in giving us eternal rest at the end of our days. Continuing to seek and ask for forgiveness Asking that we are not led into temptation or hard testing.
After church I got a chance to catch a few people, including Josh Charles who has stumbled upon this blog. It was encouraging to hear that he does read it, and finds it helpful/interesting to see how Christians are fairly normal, which is one of my main reasons for writing. Although I am also keen for discussion and feedback on how things are going, and that’s something I do lack on this blog.
The upcoming week should be kinda busy with a conference I need to organise for next Monday: N E X U S for those that are coming, it should be enjoyable. I’m also down to be taking a few photos for a Japan fundraiser we’re holding next Saturday, 4th June at church, called Jam4Japan. I’ll get some up here, but if you’re in the Carlingford area, and/or keen to travel there, then please do come along, should be a good evening with good tunes: 7pm – 10pm at St Paul’s Carlingford, entry is $10, with all proceeds going to relief in northern Japan.
At the start of the year we looked at an article on “how to be in a small group” which listed helpful tips on how a member should act and why we were there, or why we should be there. I have noticed that I’ve fallen off a bit on them, you may have as well, so as we start up again for the second semester of bible study, I thought I’d offer a timely reminder along with some ideas about how to action them…
- Turning Up
- Being Personal
- Loving Each Other
Generally an easy one to keep. Plan to go, make arrangements early if you need transport. Let other group members or the leaders know if you have any troubles, chances are that they will be able to organise someone or something to get you there
Probably one of the hardest to do. If you know what you’re studying then read the passage, and parts around it to give you some context. Think through the passage, if something puzzles you write it down, someone else may be in the same boat, or may suggest an answer or explanation…
Don’t know what you’re studying?? Ask the leaders.
Had homework or something outstanding from the previous study?? Do the homework or investigate and discuss the outstanding with people.
Be dedicated to praying for the group.
Pray before for the study, that those in attendance will have concentration and passion to study and discuss.
Pray after for the things that were learnt, for the difficult things to understand, and for application to lives.
Pray for the members of the group, make a note of their prayer points and pray over them. If you feel comfortable, let them know you’re praying for them, and/or ask them how they’re going with some of their previous points.
Share your real life with the group, both the ups and the downs. Get to know the members of the group, be interested in them and the things going on in their lives and they should hopefully reciprocate.
This one is a culmination of the previous 4 plus some more; serve each other, listen to each other, look to the good of the other people first.
I had an extra long weekend – Thursday through to Sunday and pretty much kept to myself for the whole time unfortunately…. My parents went for a road-trip down to Canberra for a conference and will be back today, and my sister kept up her busy schedule….
On Thursday night I played basketball and again hurt my knee, this time was just a twist as I changed direction on my way through the key, halfway through the first half. I was out until early in the second half when I decided that I would play through the pain, before the swelling came on. We lost, but it would have been worse if I hadn’t come back on…
Friday I spent the day hobbling around due to a swollen right knee. Went to the Physio and did some shopping for ingredients to make bolognaise, which I spent the greater part of the afternoon doing. The evening was spent at Code Red taking photos for SALT’s end of term social.
Sunday was by far the most productive day of the weekend. I did washing of 2 varieties; dishes and linen, before heading to church at night. The service seemed quite small, especially at the start, due to holidays. There was another engagement this week; Imanuel and Allison, but with a downside: Imanuel was set to lead the congregation in prayer, and we were told that since he was busy getting engaged, that we’d let him off….. So we had no general prayer, nor did we have prayer in response to the sermon on alcohol, throughout the entire service, there were 2 prayers; one after an interview with a member about their experiences with alcohol, and one during the Lords Supper.
This morning at work, I find out that another 2 colleagues had gotten engaged over the last few days…. That’s 6 guys that have, theoretically, dropped to one knee in the act of proposing in the last 2 weeks in my circle of separation…. I must admit, I’m a little envious that my knee hurts for other reasons….
This week at Bible study one of our members- Andrew returned after a bit of a holiday around Australia. It was good to have him back after 6 weeks.
We started off looking at the first 6 of the 39 Articles of Religion. Some interesting statements in here. I think I’ll get a series of those as we continue looking at them.
We delved into our continued study of evangelism with being beautiful. This was an interesting study, and quite hard for me to ponder and respond.
We started off reading an extract from an interview with Tim Winton, the Australian novelist and Christian, by Andrew Denton on Enough Rope. Tim tells a story of his familys interaction with Len Thomas, a man from the local church who sacrificially came to bathe Tim’s dad after being involved in bad accident where he was knocked off his police motorcycle through a factory wall.
It is through acts like these that we can show Christ’s love for non-Christians, building relationships and sharing our faith. As Jesus said in Matthew 5:16:”let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven” and Peter paraphrases in 1 Peter 2:12:Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day he visits us.
We went on to look at Titus 2:1-10:1 But as for you, teach what accords with sound doctrine. 2 Older men are to be sober-minded, dignified, self-controlled, sound in faith, in love, and in steadfastness. 3 Older women likewise are to be reverent in behavior, not slanderers or slaves to much wine. They are to teach what is good, 4 and so train the young women to love their husbands and children, 5 to be self-controlled, pure, working at home, kind, and submissive to their own husbands, that the word of God may not be reviled. 6 Likewise, urge the younger men to be self-controlled. 7 Show yourself in all respects to be a model of good works, and in your teaching show integrity, dignity, 8 and sound speech that cannot be condemned, so that an opponent may be put to shame, having nothing evil to say about us. 9 Slaves are to be submissive to their own masters in everything; they are to be well-pleasing, not argumentative, 10 not pilfering, but showing all good faith, so that in everything they may adorn the doctrine of God our Savior.
This is such an amazing passage that, I guess, describes the fusion of actions/behaviour with sound doctrine, or how the gospel of grace produces in believers a graciousness that points back to the gospel of grace.
So my brothers and sisters in Christ, I encourage you to continue good works and service as a result of the regenerating Spirit.
To my non-Christian readers, I hope that I and other Christians you know are treating you well and that you appreciate all that they do. I hope that you will be able to glorify God on the day he visits with us.
I have to admit I’m a fan of legs. In the city of Sydney there is plenty of opportunity to see ladies wandering around displaying legs of all shapes and sizes, especially on a work day. The most impressive, I find, are definitely toned, usually of the longer variety, and in a pair of high heels. I find it hard not to look at them all year round. In summer, they stride around tanned and bare, and then in the colder months out comes the fancy hosiery, in all it’s various forms and patterns, from seamed to fishnets.
God is not taken aback by them, as written by the Psalmist in Psalm 147:
10 His delight is not in the strength of the horse,
nor his pleasure in the legs of a man,
11 but the Lord takes pleasure in those who fear him,
in those who hope in his steadfast love.
So I should not be as much as I am, despite them being His creation, rather, I should fear the Lord an continue my hope in his steadfast love.
Every now and then I feel unsettled at how this tends to work out in my day to day….
It’s a selfish thinking, in a sense, as I feel particularly ‘un-loved’ by my fellow Christian brothers and sisters.
Yet I hope and pray that they do love their fellow Christians; it’s what Jesus commands us to do as his followers…
It is amazing how a little communication or a friendly gesture or action can show how much we love one another….
Do you feel unloved?? How do you love others??