10/31/2007 05:09:00 pm

Note to Self

Posted by Tom French |

Do not drop your phone in a glass of water. It is bad for the phone.

I always knew storing my mobile on the rim of my glass of water would get me in trouble one day.

10/31/2007 02:29:00 pm

10 Reasons for Not Becoming a Christian

Posted by Tom French |

I'm preaching at an evangelistic service in a week and a half. At this stage I'm thinking I want to make a list of at least 10 reasons why you wouldn't become a Christian. What are the reasons it's a bad idea to be a Christian?

So please dear blog readers, in the interests of the gospel, tell me, why shouldn't a person become a Christian?

10/30/2007 11:02:00 pm

Povo

Posted by Tom French |

I managed to spend a lot of money at the beginning of month this month, I'm not sure how. I got to about week two with almost nothing left. Since Saturday I think I've spent $17. That's pretty phenomenal for me. I usually spend about $20 a day, at least. But I guess I've learning to live simply. Or learning to scrounge.

It really just means I spend more time eating at home, and I spent more time playing Command and Conquer rather than going out. It's pretty fun. Ryan and I have been playing over the network. The games take and hour or two, and they're heaps fun. But Ryan has always won so far. I just try and stay alive for longer.

Oh and we watched First Blood tonight. I've decided to re-watch the Rambos because, well, they're cool. And Rambo IV is coming out soon, so I want to be in shape. He's pretty cool John Rambo. He just blows stuff up. Yeah!

Yesterday at work things were rather quiet and then my friend Graham turned up randomly after he had a meeting in the area, so we got to have a quick soda together. It was swell. I need more random drop-ins.

Oh and I did my tax return today. $604. That doesn't upset me too much.

Posted by Tom French |

Who are they to protest me? - John Rambo

10/29/2007 04:35:00 pm

Bad Preaching

Posted by Tom French |

As I promised yesterday, here is my preaching blunder from last night.

I don't know if anyone was as worried about this as I was. But I was pretty embarrassed. I was preaching about how it's better to go with God's plan rather than work against it. We can either live like Jonathan or we can live like Saul. The actual line in my manuscript was:

Better to accept it and make the most of it than spending our lives pretending we can avoid and outwit God. Better to be like Jonathan who ended up happy and looked after than like Saul who fought it and ended up dying by his own sword. God’s plan needs to be our plan.


And as soon as I'd said it I remembered that I had meant to look up what actually happened to Jonathan. But I hadn't. I forgot. I knew that David looked after Jonathan's family at times. But I didn't know what happened to Jonathan. I realised that I may have just lied to the congregation while preaching. That's bad. Very bad.

So I stopped and tried to fix it but I don't think I did a very good job. You can listen if you want.

Saul and Jonathan.mp3

What I have done is look up what actually happened to Jonathan. He died in the same battle that Saul died at. He was killed by the Philistines. But what is good is that he fought well and didn't kill himself. What is disappointing is that I wasn't supernaturally right.

Oh well. It's a little embarrassing. I guess it serves me right for forgetting to check that fact.

I'll post the full sermon on the preaching blog some time in the next few days.

10/29/2007 04:33:00 pm

3001

Posted by Tom French |

This is post 3001 for my blog.

The last post was post 3000 (obviously) and what a magnificent post to have for such an auspicious occasion.

10/29/2007 12:35:00 am

Inspirational Dancer

Posted by Tom French |

One Legged.jpg

From news.com.au.

It's good to see there's someone doing something for the disabled.

10/29/2007 12:25:00 am

The Voice of Reason

Posted by Tom French |

Family First Senator Steve Fielding - facing defeat without Labor preferences - screamed louder, slamming the "grubby deal" that would deliver "drug shooting galleries in your street".

From today's SMH after Labor made a Senate preference deal with the Greens.

10/28/2007 11:57:00 pm

My Eyes

Posted by Tom French |

My eyes are sore. I'm sleepy.

I preached tonight and made rather a fool of myself. Which I will be sure to post the audio soon so you can all have a good laugh.

Yesterday before I sat down to write the sermon (I really did try to start early this time, it just didn't work again) Mil and I went to visit the neighbours for their Oktoberfest party. It was a rather scary thing to do seeing as we knew no-one except for the neighbours. But we did it, and we met a few friendlies.

When I arrived I was handed a beer, which I drank, slowly. As soon as I finished I was handed a cup of more beer. Which I drank too. I managed to make it through, but me being the lightweight that I am, came home, sat down to right the sermon, but it was all too hard. My eyes couldn't stay open. I had to have a sleep for an hour to sleep the Oktoberfest off. Only the could I rip into the sermon.

Can I just clear up for the sake of all those worried about my soul and integrity because of my drunken exploits, I was not drunk. Just sleepy. Alcohol can do that sometimes.

10/27/2007 08:37:00 pm

Dreams

Posted by Tom French |

Between our dreams and actions lie this world. - Bruce Springsteen

10/27/2007 02:05:00 pm

Salsa King

Posted by Tom French |

After youth group last night I had a birthday party to attend in Darling Harbour, a salsa party. It was, I have to say, one of the scariest prospects I could think of. Having to dress up then stand in a room full of talented people salsaing their booties on the dance floor. Just getting dressed to go out is a scary prospect. Since Kenya it seems that I only own one collared shirt. So every time I rock up to a party I expect everyone to look at me and think "Tom's wearing his only collared shirt again." Which would be true. Happily only one person abused me for my shirt.

I wore a jacket (Ryan's) and put product in my hair. I felt most self-conscious.

Getting home from Youth Group then heading out into the city at 11pm is a bit of a novelty for me. I felt like one of those people who go clubbing late at night. I couldn't work out whether it made me feel young or grown up.

Anyway, I arrived at the place and my name was on the door so I got in for free. It's because I'm famous.

After getting inside I made a bee-line for my male, non-dancing friends, and set myself up with a beer and a leaning spot on the wall, hoping that I might be able to stay there all night.

Unfortunately Louise had just been to a salsa lesson before the party with many of the people in our crew. So she decided to teach me to salsa. I learnt to do the three moves she knew, and we were set. I was pretty much the Salsa King after that. We ripped it up on the dance floor for a good three songs. While everyone else was trying to impress everyone with their spins, and dips, and legs over the shoulder, we wowed the crowd with the simplicity and beauty of pure, unadulterated, basic salsa. It's like while everyone else wanted to be a fantastic light show, we were just sunlight. We give the salsa world life.

At one point Louise commanded me to go save one of our friends from an overly friendly man on the dance floor with the whole "Now I'm dancing with you" move. This would have been a wonderful idea, except that I wasn't sure I had the moves to pull off a complicated manoeuvre like that. It's like the man's job to save the girls from other men but you have to save them with your dancing skills. It's kinda like you're in a real like West Side Story. And in a salsa club you have to save them with your salsa skills. As I had only been a salsa practitioner for about 7 minutes I wasn't quite sure I was up Salsa Saviour status yet. So we sent Curt in, who valiantly pulled some moves and saved her. It was rather a blow to my masculinity. Not that Curt did it, but that I chickened out. However had we been in a youth ministry club, boy-oh-boy, no sleazy man would be safe from my moves. I'll have to go to salsa classes so I have some Latin girl-extraction moves up my collared shirt-sleeve for next time.

At 1:30am people decided to go home, so I left too. I had actually had a good time. So that was most definitely a plus. We wandered back to Town Hall where the Northern Beachesers left me for a bus, and I went looking for mine. I managed to catch the last bus home at 2:15. I didn't know there was a last bus home till then. I thought they ran all night. But now I know. Must be at Central Station by 2:15am.

And so I arrived home from my salsa spectacular a little bit late and I couldn't work out if it made me feel young or grown up. But I did feel thirsty, so I drank some water.

10/25/2007 01:39:00 pm

There's No Place Like Home

Posted by Tom French |

Some SMH photographer as done a "walking tour" of the street art in Sydney's Inner West and made it into a slide show. Really they've gone to Enmore Road and walked around a little and taken some photos. But happily the places they walked were all close to our house. I see lots of these artworks most days. So if you want to know what the art of our place looks like, here it is. I quite like it myself.

10/24/2007 07:02:00 pm

Workplace Relations

Posted by Tom French |

Just made myself some ultra garlicy pasta here at work only to discover someone had thrown out my cheese. It had months till it went off.

I'm very upset. Now I won't have the cheese smell on my breath to offset the garlic smell. I guess I won't be kissing anyone tonight.

10/21/2007 11:55:00 pm

Occupational Hazards

Posted by Tom French |

So youth group today involved me getting my sunnies trodden on, my clothes covered in raw egg, and getting smashed in the nose by a big knot of rope (my teeth still hurt).

Curt kindly went home and got me some of his clothes for church. Now I smell like Curt. I haven't smelt this clean in years.

10/21/2007 11:49:00 pm

Somebody Wants Me

Posted by Tom French |

I got this email today:

Hi, my friend!

I have always dreamt of being a housewife. I think that it is the highest level of the comfort a woman can give to her man: Just imagine yourself coming home from work, and the supper is ready, the house is clean, kids are tidy and ready for school, and you can take your dearest family out for a picnic for weekends and also to the entertainment park. Or watch football with your son, while I will be enjoying just seeing two of you cheering for your favorite team. And all the neighbors will be saying: "it is a wonderful family" about us: I don't give promises which I can't prove, so I promise that when we like each other I will give to you all my love. You can share your thoughts with me at http://russianbrideonline.info/ and tell me that you with to continue our acquaintance.

Kiss-kiss

Marinka


I was most amused. She really does know exactly what I want in a woman. I can't think of anything more fulfilling in a relationship than someone who is there purely to make me happy. I would be hoping she has absolutely no personality at all. That would be best.

10/20/2007 10:29:00 am

Kicking

Posted by Tom French |

Last night for a youth group social we took the year 6-8 boys to Zone 3 the laser tag place. When we arrived there were about 20 boys aged about 9-10 running around. We were put in a game with them. The ten of us aged 11-13 and Curt and I (18 and 24) verses two teams of 9 and 10 year-olds. We walloped them.

While it's may seem like it shouldn't be fun, walking into a maze full of kids and shooting six of them then walking walking away unharmed really does feel pretty satisfying. Something like how Jason Bourne might feel if he actually enjoyed what he did.

It's much more fun than when I play my youth group and all the 16 year-olds wallop me.

Sadly I only got to play one game because I had another social to go to. But I always do worse in the second game so maybe it's better that I didn't stay.

10/20/2007 10:28:00 am

The Man

Posted by Tom French |

Van Morrison now has his entire back catalogue on iTunes. I've been waiting for this for a while. Yeah!

10/19/2007 01:36:00 pm

Election Time

Posted by Tom French |

I haven't said anything about the upcoming election yet. But I'm pretty excited. Although I'm getting nervous now. It's like when you spend ages waiting for a sporting match to start, sure that your team is going to win, and the when it begins you start to get nervous that maybe you were wrong.

I'm not a big fan of election campaigns. I get bored of everyone parading around and trying to bribe us. How rude of Howard to kick off the election campaign with a promise of $34 Billion dollars in tax cuts. How rude of we Australians that we're selfish enough to go for it.

Rudd has been impressing me less and less these past few weeks. His swing to the right (which has been inevitable) has been disappointing. He started so strong, and so different. Now he looks like John Howard but with a tad more compassion. But just a tad.

Labor's policy section of their website is a little light on the ground. And their climate change ideas, while ok, aren't really inspiring.

I would love it if Rudd had continued to own the campaign and Howard had to try and look like Rudd and Rudd got to set the agenda. But I fear it's going the other way.

Still I've got a lot more hope for a new Government on November 25 than I've had for a long time.

Yeehaa. Bring on the voting.

10/19/2007 01:03:00 pm

Eye Contact

Posted by Tom French |

I noticed the other day that I often go through whole interactions with shop assistants and checkout people and I don't once make eye contact with them. I decided this is a little rude because it feels like I'm treating them like inferior service people who don't deserve my acknowledgment.

So I decided to start trying to make eye contact with all the people who serve me in shops and stuff. It's pretty confronting. It's like when you make eye contact you make a connection. It feels a little too intimate for a supermarket setting. I tried it with one guy and he wouldn't look at me. He looked everywhere but my eyes. He probably thought I was rather creepy seeing as I spent most of the time staring at his eyes. But still I guess it's a lot easier if we don't make eye contact with people. We don't have to care so much then.

But I'll keep trying and see if I get better at it. And hopefully I don't creep too many people out.

10/17/2007 11:51:00 pm

Running Up That Hill

Posted by Tom French |

I've changed my running route this week and I discovered, as I explored a new route, that running while listening to a sermon is not very motivational. You may be inspired to live for Jesus, but it doesn't make you run any faster.

10/15/2007 03:31:00 pm

Fatherhood

Posted by Tom French |

I just did this "Compare People" thing on Facebook. It's a bit silly because I keep having to skip questions, because I don't want to compare which of my friends have the hottest body, and which of my friends I'd rather sleep with.

But at the end of my time of comparing it gave me a read out of how I rank among my friends. This is what I got:

Where Do I Fit.jpg

Judging by that I think it tells me that I'm going to be good father, but one who is a little insane with really bad fashion sense.

That sounds like many fathers to me. In fact I'm not sure you can be a good father without being daggy and a little bit crazy. But I could be wrong on that one.

The rest of the things it says about me? Well not much really. But I'm real flattered that I'm a better friend to one person than the other person I was compared with, though I'm not quite sure who that was. Probably Kevin Rudd or something.

10/14/2007 04:49:00 pm

Eating

Posted by Tom French |

Max Barry writes a good but rare blog. He has some good insights from the mind of a writer into the horror novelist who ate his girlfriend. It's quite well thought out and definitely worth a read.

10/14/2007 12:24:00 am

Late Night Madness

Posted by Tom French |

It's past midnight on a Saturday night (Sunday Morning really) and I've just come in from hanging my dripping wet washing on the line because our washing machine has stopped pumping water. It's rather sad. Now it's kinda just a big tub with lights. It's also kinda sad that I spend my Saturday nights hanging out washing. Where are all the parties I used to go to?

But don't worry, now I'm off to bed! So that'll be fun!

10/11/2007 07:53:00 pm

Taking One for the Team

Posted by Tom French |

I've been watching The West Wing a lot lately, and I always like it when politicians go and do what the President wants even though it's not what they want. The White House crew keep convincing people (and each other) with lines like "We serve the President of the United States of America!" Usually I like it when people stand up for what they believe in. But I like it more when they stand up for a higher cause even if it's hard for them.

One day I want people to ask me why I've done what I've done and I will say quietly "Because I serve the Lord of Heaven and Earth" and then music will swell, and the credits will appear but not before there is a final shot of me sitting in my office chair staring out my window with a melancholy but satisfied look on my face.

10/09/2007 12:05:00 pm

Pulpit Rocking Beats

Posted by Tom French |

So I found a new function on my computer yesterday. It's an add-on to Adobe Audition called "Loopology".

I was so excited I remixed a sermon by Tony Campolo. I had heaps of fun. This is going to be the new dance-floor phenomena.

Wanna listen?

Get it here.

The original sermon is the 1997 Inauguration Day sermon he preached for Bill Clinton and Al Gore. You can get the full thing here, which is where I got it from.

10/07/2007 11:50:00 pm

Serm

Posted by Tom French |

I spent lots of my weekend writing a sermon. It was quite a hard one to write. I spent many hours writing, deleting, re-writing. It was tough. I found it hard to figure out what God was wanting to say.

I had to go to bed last night without a fully written sermon, so I spent most of today still working on it.

I finally finished it at about 4:30pm.

I got to church tonight and God did stuff, lots of people shared, and we sang, and the Spirit moved, and I didn't preach. No wonder I couldn't figure out what God wanted to say, he didn't have anything to say through me.

But still, now I've got a spare sermon. Sweet.

10/05/2007 10:35:00 pm

Toothbrush

Posted by Tom French |

I bought a new toothbrush today. It was a cheap one without 360 degree, 24-hour, electronic cleaning. But my teeth still feel pretty clean so that's good.

I went out buy some dinner tonight and Enmore was full of bikies who had decided to hang at the local. They looked scarier than they were because none of them tried to kill me. I decided to look at a new cafe to see if they had good food and when I walked in this Greek lady said "You've come to buy food! Here's a menu. Eat in or take away?" She was so expectant that I was going to buy food that I felt like I had to (it may also have been partly due to the fact that she was rather attractive and attractive women have a way of forcing you to do things you don't want to, especially if they're older than you but that's a whole other story). So I ended up buying an over-priced burger on Turkish bread (do Greek people do Turkish bread?) which I didn't really enjoy (too much pesto and sundried tomato, who puts pesto on a burger?)

I made a mental note not to step into that cafe again lest the Greek (or maybe Turkish) siren of the eatery forces me to consume another pesto laden pseudo-burger. That would be bad.

This post didn't have much to do with toothbrushes.

10/04/2007 10:38:00 am

Boobies

Posted by Tom French |

Last night Howie accused me of having man boobs. Heh. If I've got man boobs he's got udders.

10/03/2007 10:29:00 pm

Waffle

Posted by Tom French |

I went out to a birthday dinner last night at Dee Why RSL. It's pretty posh for an RSL now. I couldn't find ugly carpet anywhere. I think that might be against RSL law.

Anwyay, I had myself a t-bone steak, and it was good. Then it was off to Max Brenner's for chocolate face stuffing. I got myself two Belgium waffles with melted chocolate, ice cream and strawberries. I thought about just having one waffle but I had just enough money for two so I saw it as a sign from God. I left feeling mighty stuffed.

This morning I woke up for my run still feeling stuffed. But I thought "I'll run anyway". Bad move. I felt like I was going to vomit the whole way. I had to sit down when I got back and just wait for the feeling to disappear.

Perhaps it was God's discipline for my gluttony.

Note for next time: No waffles before running.

10/02/2007 04:51:00 pm

Setting Awesome Free

Posted by Tom French |

Over the past few years I've heard quite a few people complaining that the word "awesome" has lost its meaning. The last person I heard was talking about it was John Smith at Black Stump. We had a discussion about it at our camp site. But there have been many others talking about it and I regularly seem to be having conversations about the matter. Awesome, they say, should only be used for God. Awesome means "inspiring awe". When we look at someone's shirt and say "That's awesome" we're not actually filled with awe. When we eat a meal and say "That was awesome" we're lying because awe is not the feeling we feel. When we see a band and say "They were awesome" either we're easily impressed or we don't actually know what awe actually feels like.

Awesome, they say, should be reserved for God. Only God is truly awesome.

This view however is not one that I hold. Awesome, in my view, should be allowed to be used however we want to use it. Language is not static and concrete it is fluid and dynamic. Saying that word's meanings should only have one meaning, their original meaning, is like saying that candles should only be used for light and never for birthday cakes. Language is a tool be used, not a bunch of rules to submit our communication to.

If people decided to use the word awesome to describe things which don't actually fill them with awe, yet everyone understands what they mean, they aren't wrong, nor have they used the word wrong. They have communicated their feelings and their hearers have understood, language has done its job.

If I say a meal is awesome and I say God is awesome, I obviously mean two different things. I do not worship the meal, nor do I find God tasty. If I call a person violent and I call a storm violent that doesn't mean I think the person is going to blow down trees and destroy houses, nor do I think the storm is going to kick someone's head in.

My issue with people's insistence that awesome should only be used for God isn't really a linguistic one. I don't care too much if language purists want to try and preserve English in its "unadulterated" state, safe from the grotty hands of popular culture. They're fighting a losing a battle to preserve a way of speaking that's only as "true" as when they first learnt to speak, read and write. People have been using and abusing language for as long as they've been talking. You're not going to save language from the mischievous minds of those who want to use it to speak easily if not always eloquently. Let the people have their language, and the purists have their trivial arguments. I have bigger fish to fry. (That's a turn of phrase by the way, I don't think I've ever fried a fish in my life, let alone fish of varying sizes.)

My issue with the argument is that people seem to think that if we don't keep the word awesome for God, somehow God will diminish in his awe-inspiring qualities. As if God's formidable and breathtaking nature is under threat if we use a word once used to describe him to describe things which have very little resemblance to the divine being.

By saying that awesome should only be used to describe God we are not reserving a word for God but reducing God to an adjective. God's awesome nature will never be under threat whether we describe him as such or not. God is not awesome, awesome doesn't do God justice, he is beyond awesome, he is beyond terrifying, he is beyond majestic, he is beyond magnificent, he is beyond great, he is beyond gracious, he is beyond loving. Language wilts in the face of an ineffable God. Descriptions of God do not make God any greater, they just allow us to perhaps grasp a little of what the true character of God is. It is God condescending himself to allow us to describe him rather than our descriptions displaying our understanding of what is infinite.

So I say we should set awesome free. Let people use it how they want to use it. Our worship of God will not diminish if we have one less word to use for God. We can always find a new word or perhaps just share an old one. Our worship is not about our words anyway. Our true descriptions of the character of God will not come out of our mouths but out of our hearts and out of our lives. As we understand better the nature of God our words may not become more eloquent but our lives will become more beautiful as we more truly reflect who God is.

And I reckon that's fully sick.

10/01/2007 11:04:00 pm

Stumped

Posted by Tom French |

I'm now returned from that great festival of liberal, drug taking, debauchery indulging Christians, Black Stump. And I did have a good time. Though I didn't involve myself in any of the above mentioned activities (except maybe a dash of liberalism here and there) nor did I see anyone else indulge in the above mentioned activities, except liberalness which often gets a bit of a workout at Black Stump.

It was well fun to be at Stump. I didn't go to one Bible Study, and I only made it to one main meeting.

One afternoon I did try to go to a workshop on "Can Christians and Muslims live together in Community?" but I fell asleep three times in the first ten minutes so I left to have a snooze. Turns out we were camping next to a band called Playjerise who were practicing their set for the night with a string quartet. So I woke up to a string quartet wafting through my tent. It was one of the most wonderful ways I could think to wake up.

I went and saw them that night and I think they were the find of Stump. I didn't get around to buying their album, but I reckon they're on the list. Maybe I'm of to JB tomorrow to buy.

I saw my friends Revive, who did a good set.

I did manage to see the Breakthru' show twice (because that's how many shows we did) and I did enjoy that. Show one didn't go nearly as well as show two. I always love when the show gets to the stomp piece. I like drums and taping and people banging stuff. 'Tis cool.

Sadly on show two the sound guy stole my job of pressing play on the DVD. He just took the remote off me and pressed play. It was most sad. I have very few things to do at Black Stump, and the sound guy stole a big part of my job. It was most depressing.

Tony Campolo spoke on Sunday night. He did the only teaching that I actually heard. I enjoyed listening to him. He told us to sponsor a Child, as he tends to do. And while I sat there thinking that you pretty much know what Campolo is going to say when he talks (Jesus says "Help the poor"), it occurred to me his persistence and courage to sound like broken record has changed thousands, perhaps millions of lives. So I reckon I'll let him keep going.

The Outback Hippies were masses of fun, as usual. 2:20am they finished this year. Not a record sadly. Maybe next year. 3:20am. That would have been awesome.

But really I spent most of my long weekend sitting around our campsite. And that was good too. As Howie said, Stump now is about the community and the friends rather than the music. And it really is. I love having the option to go to whatever I want if I want to, and the freedom to just sit at my campsite and chat if that seems best.

And that, was Stump for another. My last Stump at Cataract Park. That place is so full of memories. It's sad I will probably never go there again. But I guess I won't really notice till many years have gone by, and by then, I'll probably have gotten over it.

Hooray for Black Stump.

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