This week has been quite a restful week, however the weekend has ramped up to be quite a busy and stressful one.
Yet another late entry in the SunSum this week. I’ve been away again, this time down south at Port Hacking for the Mission Minded Network Conference.
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.
Monday morning felt really productive. I seemed to get plenty of things done, which was really good. Something that has been a bit lacking since Emma went to college. After work, I went out to Geoff’s place before we wandered down to Moore College for a bbq dinner. It felt like a really surreal place, seeing so many people that I knew who were happy/surprised to see me, but were caught up in their friendships with fulltime college students. We then went back to watch 3 confusing episodes of Smallville.
Tuesday night I cooked dinner for Steph, Hamish and Lairdy. On the menu was Honey Soy Chicken with rice and Buk Choi, which turned out alright, except that the Buk Choi was very bitter. During Steph & Lairdy’s Growth Group when I was confined to my room I setup my new iPod Nano to go with my LunaTik Multi-Touch Watch Band. I picked up a 16GB (product) red special edition iPod Nano, engraved with Made in CHONGLAND on the back to go with the watch band which I have Limited Edition 155 of 500. Thus far it’s been really enjoyable to use, being able to have tunes sitting on my arm, listening to them and being able to rate them with ease.
On Wednesday night for Growth Group, we joined up with the other Wednesday night group at church to hear from Martin Field, one of our overseas ministry partners working in Argentina with university students. It was interesting to hear how things are going in Argentina, how those that believe that they are Christian don’t value Jesus enough, because they see Him as either a baby, or dying on a cross, so instead they go through myriads of saints to get to God.
Thursday Night was the first night of college for me. This semester I am doing Biblical Theology with Peter Bolt lecturing. I went in with Nicky Sutton, who is also studying BT as well as Turns and Guthers. It should be a good semester, although with so many smart classmates, I’ll need to ensure that I stay on top of my studies.
Saturday was a very very quiet day. I spent most of it watching som television and sorting out iTunes meta-data for free singles I’ve downloaded from RCRD LBL and Triple J. In the evening I went to pick up Nicky Sutton and Billy to head into The Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst for Susannah Cole’s birthday. It took us ages to find a parking spot, but once we did, we joined the many other friends of Susannah’s over beverages and food. Just before leaving around 10:30pm, my body gave in to an illness which sent me to the gents to vomit, not a pleasant thing at any place, but probably worse when you’re in a public venue… The drive home wasn’t too bad, although I felt some amount of discomfort throughout the journey. We did stop off on the side of the road in West Pennant Hills to see some odd little parachutes floating around in the air, being propelled by candles, kind of like miniature hot air balloons….
Sunday morning, after a very restless night of vomiting and diarrhoea, I managed to get myself together enough to go and meetup with Nick Trevena for coffee and some bible at the Carmen Drive shops. We looked at Acts 1: what it means to be witnesses of Jesus, and prayed together. At graceat6, Mike preached on Zephaniah 1:1 – 2:3, a very very bleak picture of the judgement to come, but with a silver lining in that Jesus hides us from that judgement, a greatly reassuring message.
Apologies that this post is late, but given the circumstances, I hope that you’ll understand….
During my time working in the city one of the great experiences has been gathering together with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ to share in a meal. Lately it seems as though this has happened less frequently as the global financial crisis has hit and as my St Paulian counterparts have moved away from working in the city.
Another difficulty has been the limited time in which we are able to meet together, with people having to include travelling to the location of choice. As a result, dinner one evening was suggested, yet met with little enthusiasm. Adri was keen, being one who wasn’t often able to make it to the lunch meets since she worked fairly out of the way, and so tonight I met up with her and Simon to have dinner at the Redoak Brewery.
We met after work and opted to dine in the bar over the restaurant due to the price of the meals. We gentlemen opened with an Aussie Ale. Simon opted for the Tajima Wagyu, tomato and Root Vegetable Pie, Adri chose the Steak Sandwich on damper roll with homemade beer and tomato relish and hand-cut chips and I settled on the 9″ Redoak Pizza topped with Cinnamon and black tea smoked chicken, roasted pumpkin, salsa verde and Swiss cheese and roquette with Redoak Hand-Cut Chips. The meals were satisfactory, but not great…
Post dinner I settled in with a Blackberry Wheat Beer, not sure what exquisite beer Guthers enjoyed, I’m sure he’ll mention it here…, as we retired to the more comfortable loungey chairs… Despite the intriguing desserts on the menu, we decided that a cheaper alternative was required and so we left the Redoak in search of some form of frozen goodness.
After searching underneath the QVB to find places closed, we surfaced to find Passionflower. Simon had Chocolate Hazelnut, Adri went with the Strawberry Swirl and I gave up one of my favourites: Jaffa for Lychee Rose. The benefits of being a student even came into play to the tune of 10%, thank you Moore College!!!
All in all a pleasant evening with a lovely and extremely attractive couple, one that would welcome numerous repetitions. Love youse both!!
The remainder of my time in Melbourne has been pleasant.
Sunday morning after leaving church I met up with an old friend Dimos AKA Archon, whom I know from break-dancing. We had lunch at an Italian restaurant, both opting for the spaghetti carbonara, then just wandered back to Southern Cross Station catching up as we walked.
In the afternoon I got a call from Mr Turner who also happened to be in Melbourne with Thea on holidays. They were keen for a catch-up over a meal, so we’d arranged to do something on Monday. That evening I was making my way out to Balaclava to meet Veigli and Clare for dinner and trivia at a pub, when I saw Matt and Thea wandering the streets. I gave them a call and found out they were on their way to The Local Taphouse. They invited me to join them, but I refused, having already made plans with Veigli. When I met up with Veigli it turned out to be at The Local Taphouse, and 5 minutes later, who should happen to show up but The Turners. They ended up joining us for dinner, which was very very slow to get out, a few tasty beverages and some minor celebrity spotting. After dinner, we jumped in the car and went for some gelato. I opted for some blood orange and chocolate indulgence in the hope of a jaffa flavour, an old favourite of mine. The blood orange was definitely a tasty finish to the combination as well as cleaning my palette. After that it was time to bid farewell to Veigli and Clare as we caught the tram back to town.
Monday morning I woke late, and wandered up to Little Bourke Street to meet The Turners for Yum Cha. We wandered up the street a little before we could find a decent looking venue. We ate a variety of dumplings: Ha Gou, Siu Mei, Spring Rolls, Gou Choi Gou and Pork Buns. After lunch, Thea wandered off herself whilst Matt and I went in search of some laneway pubs. We didn’t end up finding any, but instead we ended up sipping lattes at Brother Baba Budan and looking at cameras and lenses.
In the evening after a swim and a spa I got my photo gear together to go out to shoot some sights of the Melbourne CBD. After wandering for a good hour and a bit with my D50 and gorillapod I was exhausted, cold and a little damp. Here’s a couple of my favourite shots, the rest are in my Flickr:
My final Melbourne experience was St Ali before jumping on the Skybus back to the airport and flying to Sydney and wrestling with the new Cityrail timetable via the Northern Line through Macquarie Park.
On Saturday I spent the majority of my day at the Newport Arms Hotel to mark the engagement of Geoff and Tiff.
I rocked up just after 2pm with Geoff, Tiff and Kim to find the place pretty busy with the lunchtime rush; sitting in the sun, looking over the water and enjoying their time. There was already a table of people when we arrived; we were a tad late on account of a compounded effort.
As the day progressed, many people turned up; uni friends, current and previous church peoples and family. It was good to see and catch up with the many people that I used to church with and don’t get too see as often any more. It was funny how some groups seemed to just keep to themselves, and how others branched out to meet other people. It was also good to meet baby Milo.
For dinner I had the Atlantic Salmon with chips and salad. It was really average, especially for the price…. There wasn’t much to the flavour and it was a bit dry as well.
I got some happy snaps which are up on Flickr, including some guest portrait shots by Geoff.
At the end of the night, about 10:30pm, we ended up leaving the Arms and headed back to Geoff’s place where the happy couple opened some engagement presents before we called it a day/night.
Had the pleasure of dining with some of my fellow St Paulians today down at <a href="World Square Pub, previously named Equilibrium. At the table were Ally Serje, Manny Costigan, Becky Chan and Josh Lear; a smaller number than I’d expected, but still great company nonetheless.
The menu was filled with plenty of interesting dishes, but I opted for the Pear & Cider Chicken with chats. It came well presented: almost a quarter of a chicken, a stack of chargrilled eggplant & capsicum and the chats with some sundried tomatoes, topped off with the cider sauce. There were a few things wrong with the dish which meant that it didn’t satisfy as much as I’d expected:
- the chicken was to be a breast, stuffed with pear, mine was not breast and there was no pear flavour that I could pick up.
- the taste was quite bland overall, especially the chicken, vegetables and sauce.
As a dining venue, the pub is a nice place, itdoesnt feel like a pub at all. Prices are a little on the expensive side, but reasonable for the city. I’d head back there for a drink at least, not too sure about eating there; whilst the food choices are interesting, I’m wary of their execution.
Mundane Monday off to a flying start!!
Listening to a random selection from several albums:
- Kings of Leon – Only by the Night
- London Elektricity – Syncopated City
- London Elektricity – Billion Dollar Gravy
- Mistabishi – Drop
- Cicada – Cicada
- Gift – 3
Diary is looking quite busy for the week. So far I’m booked in for:
- Steak Dinner at West Ryde for Hamish’s Birthday today.
HAPPY BIRTHDAY HAMISH!!!
- Bible Study on Tuesday night
- Thursday Lunch at World Square Pub with City St Paulians
- Work Social on Friday night, we’re having a poker night
- MANDAY on Saturday at church. We’ll be hearing from Geoff Hall, James Moore and James Warren on Paul, a man that suffered much for the sake of the Gospel
- Hamish’s 21st on Saturday night
- Church on Sunday night. It’s a guest night with a guest speaker
Hoping to drop my new CHONGLAND theme in some time mid-week, it’s mostly finished, but I’m having issues getting some aesthetics looking pretty….
And from my reading this morning: Psalm 136
26 Give thanks to the God of heaven, for his steadfast love endures forever.
A great reminder to pray and thank God for the great love that He shows to us. I’m also reminded of the love that He showed in the sacrifice of Jesus.