11/30/2007 11:28:00 pm

Ring Ring

Posted by Tom French |

I got a missed call from Germany today. I only know one German in Germany and they've never run me in their life. I have no good friends. I wonder why a German would call me.

They didn't leave a message. This saddens me. Oh well.

11/30/2007 03:43:00 pm

Response

Posted by Tom French |

While I'm yet to properly comment on the debate below I want to comment on a comment left a little further down. Perhaps because it's a little more personal. Plus blogging the response means I get to quote it better.

You seem to expect the government to be like a good church. Doing all those things a good christian should do.

But in essence the things the christian chruch should be doing we aren't, and the government is doing them for us.


I think a few people have talked about this. But my view is that we, as Christians do have a responsibility to love the poor, protect the innocent and seek justice. While the Churches should be doing lots of good stuff in the world, and they are (though they probably aren't anywhere near what Jesus has called us too), we need to be using all the resources we have available to effect change in this world. One of those ways is through politics. We live in a democracy and God has given us the gift of being able to use our vote and our voice to pursue the things of the Kingdom through means which are not specifically Christian. So I believe in the Church doing good stuff. I believe in the Government doing good stuff too. I care about getting Jesus' mission done with whoever is willing and able to do it.

That said there are things which I care about which are not the Churches' responsibility but that God does care about. And of the things I talked about in the post below (eg tax cuts, climate change policies, refugee policies and terrorism responses) many of them are solely in the hands of the Government to decide. It is not up to the Church to decide how we use our military (and I thank God because the Church with an army has historically been a very bad thing). It is not up the Church to decide how and who we tax, it is not up the Church to decide who lives in this country. These things I care about and these things are the issues of the Government, so I will vote accordingly.

You have stated the politicians aren't christians, aand so theres no point in reading a prayer - so if they are not Christians - why judge them by Christian Values.

Generally Christian Values are my values. I cannot vote as a non-Christian. I am not asked to vote as a non-Christian. I will vote according to my values. However I think that many of these issues are not "Christian" so much as simply moral. I am not voting for the person who prays the most, knows their Bible the best or believes in Jesus. I am voting for the people who will best, in my view, help Australians to love their neighbor.

I mean Mr Rudd loves his strip clubs. And has promised to fix all these things - but in essence isn't he lying? The bible says do not say that tommorrow you will do thi this and this. Instead say If God permits we will do this.

I think the point of what James is saying when he writes that (Jas 4:13-17) is that we must acknowledge our inability to affect the future outside of God's will. But you raise a good point on whether politicians sin when they promise things. The greater question is, do I sin when I make promises? The answer to that is yes. And I regularly make promises that are outside of my control. So there is a plank in my eye that I must deal with before I worry about Kevin Rudd's splinter of election promises.

The greens have no substance to policy. If they did run the country they are basically comunists.

I disagree. But as I said below, they're not going to run the country. When I voted Greens I did it knowing they wouldn't gain the seat I was voting in. I live in a safe Labor seat. If it had been iffy about whether or not Greens would win, I would have been a lot more hesitant to vote. I don't necessarily want the Greens running country. I do want them listened to.

So when you say lying cynical governemnt, by what values are you judging them by?

Mine. And what I can generally tell is values of most of Australia. When you say that you didn't know something when you did, that's a lie. When you say you didn't do something when you did. That's a lie. The Coalition seemed to regularly find themselves embroiled in scandals where it became clear they had lied to the Australian public (Children overboard and AWB being two that immediately come to mind, though I never completely got my head around the AWB thing).

Then again Kevin Rudd doesn't always seem as honest as I would hope. The whole Sunrise Dawn Service thing didn't turn out to good for his honesty, it just had much less an effect on the lives of other people.

Because I could say the same of you. You have never liked the liberals. You never even considered giving them a go. You looked at all the negatives about him, and are convinced he knows nothing and is a selfish up himself bastard.

And yet you have never met him in person


While I wonder what you are basing those statements on, I would reply that, I have never wanted to vote for the Liberals. But if you go through my blog you'll see that I haven't been whole heartedly, uncritically, abusing the Liberal Government. I commended them on their copyright laws and on their changes to refugee policy.

Contrary to thinking Howard "knows nothing and is a selfish up himself bastard", I think he is quite smart. I have worried about his pride. And I have commented that I think the election campaigns appeal to our selfish nature, but that comes from both sides.

However I have at times been harsher on John Howard than I should have. I have tried, especially on my blog from making personal insults and only commenting on his actions. But I am sure I have not always managed to keep to that ideal and that was wrong.

How would you feel if someone spoke to you like that? That your in youth ministry only for the money, and get paid a wage, while others in the community work for god for nothing and others starve? That you get your bennefits and perks whilst others live on the street?

That you only care about numbers and your church and being popular and bible bashing.


I would feel bad.

Its not true- but come on - lets be a bit more mature about it? Yes howrad is gone. But Rudd needs to be held accountable - he has promised to fix everyones problems.

I intend to find Rudd disappointing. If you go listen to my sermon where I talk about Kevin Rudd you'll see that even back in March I was expecting to be disappointed with Kevin because he is as flawed as the rest of us. I also intend to hold him accountable as all of Australia should. It is our job, as citizens to hold our leaders accountable so that they might best serve the interests of everyone.

I doubt he can. Time will tell - but greens support labor- they are more like a colation. I believe we need to get rid of the prefernce system.

Withought it, labor would not have won


I doubt Rudd will fix all our problems too. I have yet to decide what I think of the preference system.

The end.

Thank you for your comment Anonymous.

11/30/2007 03:35:00 pm

Funnies

Posted by Tom French |

These are real ads from a time before political correctness. Awesome.

11/29/2007 11:36:00 pm

First and Last

Posted by Tom French |

Sometimes, the last thing you want comes in first
Sometimes, the first thing you want never comes - Aqualung

11/29/2007 05:02:00 pm

Rise of the Skirts (or women in pants)

Posted by Tom French |

Still on the politics, I'm happy to see women deputies in both the Liberal and Labor parties. Hooray for the sisters! It'll be a good day when I don't even have to blog about how happy I am to see women in power.

11/29/2007 04:56:00 pm

Bring Back the Biff

Posted by Tom French |

So things are hotting up in the comments for "Tin Tin has a Win Win". Anonymous is doing his best to justify the Liberals past 11 years of Government. And so they should.

Anyway get in on the action. I love a good blog debate. As long as we all stay friends. If you voted Liberal, we need you, go join the debate, we the pinky-letfists are outnumbering Anonymous 4-to-1 at the moment. Anonymous needs back up, stat!

Play nice, type well.

11/25/2007 10:58:00 pm

Preached

Posted by Tom French |

I preached at a different church tonight. It was good to visit. Small and a little vibey but I enjoyed. I like new churches. Shame I don't hear new preachers when I go.

I preached a new sermon about Jesus being the High Priest. I did most of it without notes, which is new for me. Sometimes I go half a sermon without notes, but this was pretty much the whole thing. I had notes, but for some reason I got a little lost and decided to scrap them. It kinda feels like jumping out of a plane rather than waiting for it to land. Silly really, but invigorating. I'm not sure if it was any better. Or worse. Maybe a little less clear. But it seemed to have a little more passion. It's something I'd like to grow in.

11/24/2007 11:34:00 pm

Tin Tin has a Win Win

Posted by Tom French |

It was good to see Kevin and Johnny's speeches. Good bye John. Kevin really is a nerd. Still I guess we'll never have a Prime Minister like Matt Santos. We're probably doomed to be led by the uncool forever.

Still I liked Kevin's speech. He made me happy to have him as Prime Minister. I'm looking forward to having a Prime Minister I like. Well at least, one I like more. I hope we get the old Rudd back. The one who arrived in 2006 not the one who looked like Howard in 2007.

Tonight is a night of happiness for me. Yay for a fresh leadership, new ideas, making sure the fair go doesn't go "out the back door" and nerds in power.

Now I better go and finish that sermon.

11/24/2007 09:36:00 pm

Kevin 07

Posted by Tom French |

Kevin's in. This makes me happy.

The contest for Bennelong is enjoyable. I really hope Maxine comes out on top. To lose Howard would just make my day.

11/24/2007 06:52:00 pm

The Games Begin

Posted by Tom French |

I'm enjoying watching this election unfold. It's like watching sport but the Grand Final happens once every three years and I care more.

Go Ruddy!

11/24/2007 01:08:00 am

The End of my World As I Know it?

Posted by Tom French |

Tonight could be the last night I go to bed with John Howard as my Prime Minister. Oh I do hope so. I've prayed for him and all that. But by golly, I hope he and his lying, bribing, cynical Government* get kicked out tomorrow. I do love a good election, not that I've gotten to vote in any yet.

Of course the prospect of Rudd and friends getting in doesn't really fill me with joy. Not now that they're now only a bit left of right. Or at least only a little left of centre. Not that I really care about lefts and rights. I do care about tax cuts that appeal to our selfishness, climate change policies that sacrifice as little as possible, refugee policies that look much like the old ones, terrorism responses that support aggression and leaders that look just like their opponents to gain power rather than change.

Still I'm really in the mood for a Labor government at the moment. With plenty of little guys to keep 'em honest.

I'm thinking I'll probably vote Greens tomorrow. The Christian Democrats will tell me they're all communists, which may have convinced me in the 50s, but right now I think we should be fine. People in general will ask me if I want to do drugs. Which they do, whenever I say I'm thinking Greens. So I had a look at their drug policy and I like it. They're not into legalising drugs. They're into not punishing users, but rehabilitating users and punishing dealers, importers and producers. I like that.

Of course if you look at the Checklist of Christian Values the Greens fail in all but one category. It always makes me wonder though why "Christian Values" means things like prayer in Parliament, pornography and abortion. While I care about these things (well the latter two at least) there are plenty of other things to put on a "checklist of Christian values". Where is the tick-a-box on caring for the poor, marginalised and vulnerable? Where is the question about foreign aid? Where is the question about support for unjust wars? Where is the question about care for the alien, the orphan and the widow? It worries me that Christian lobbyists are so narrow viewed. So maybe the Greens don't win the Christian check-list. But I care a lot more about how we treat people and this world than what prayer our (mainly) non-Christian politicians pray before they start work each day serving this post-Christian nation. So Greens still get my vote.

Plus if anyone is worried, the Greens aren't going to get into power anyway. They may just hold a bit of sway. And we like sway.

So at this point, a few hours out from voting, this is where I stand.

But if you're of voting age you can vote for whoever you want. Just go vote. Voting is more important than who we vote for. Voting is a gift from God to play our part in choosing the people we think are best suiting for establishing God's values on earth. I care much more that you care than who you care about. This is good stuff.

Yippah for democracy!

I hope Mr Howard gets to retire tomorrow and have a happy retirement by the ocean somewhere. I mean that. I hope he's happy somewhere other than Parliament House.

*I know that might sound a little harsh but I that's how I feel and this is my blog so that's what I'm going to say. I'm not preaching, I'm blogging. If it worries you, vote for someone else.

11/24/2007 12:53:00 am

Speeches Made How They Should Be

Posted by Tom French |

This story of the Knox Captain who stood up and told off his cheating peers and their bullying parents is a good one. I wish I was Knox boy now for the first time ever in my life. I hope this guy becomes Prime Minister or something.

11/21/2007 11:42:00 pm

Ductive

Posted by Tom French |

Some Wednesdays feel like the most unproductive days around. I usually spend most of the day in my office and I find it hard to concentrate for that long. Today however was most productive. And most not so.

I managed to organise Scripture Seminar stuff, do more Impact work, do sermon prep, edit a Bible Study, make some phone calls, teach scripture and more.

I also managed to research many planes on Wikipedia. Which was a joy. I do love planes. Especially fighter jets.

I'll have to put what I've learnt about planes into a sermon illustration and then it'll have been productive rather than distracting.

11/21/2007 02:41:00 pm

Good-Bye Sister

Posted by Tom French |

My sister, Jo, left today to go overseas for 14 months. She's off to Japan for a 24 hour Bill Murray/Scarlett Johansson experience. Then Mexico and seeing Central America. Then off to Washington, DC and finally settling in Guatemala to work with IJM (International Justice Mission) doing after-care with the people they get out of slavery. (I think I can say that, although maybe that's a secret. I hear they have a big of blog secrecy in the IJM thing.)

I must say, I'm pretty pleased with this. Not my sister leaving, cause I liked having her in Australia, but her decision to go work for an organisation like IJM. They're a group who have heard Jesus' call for justice and are aggressively pursuing it. She's got the skills to go help people in ways lots of us couldn't. And she's following a call that will be difficult, uncomfortable, and potentially dangerous. It's also the kinda thing she's been dreaming about doing for ages.

So I'm excited to see what she'll do. I'm proud of her and I'll boast about my sister, or at the very least what God has done in and through my sister. And I'll try and send her emails because she'll like that.

Tops marks for her I say.

11/16/2007 11:33:00 pm

Going Up the Wrong Way

Posted by Tom French |

The Exilic Prophesy exam went ok for those who are wondering. I think I'll pass. But I doubt I'll do any better than that. Thank God for NIV headings is all I can say.

The other day someone asked me about my poor effort at Bible College and if I should be trying harder. And I think I should. I agree. I'm going to be doing two theology subjects next year and I'm pumped for them. I love theology.

After the exam and my post exam relax I went to work. Tonight was a social with my year 6-8 small group. We went and saw Fred Claus which, in the tradition of most Christmas movies, was not very good.

After the movie we took the boys to Coles as we had some time to kill. On the way back up the car park the boys decided it'd be fun to run up the escalators the wrong way. This is quite an understandable urge, I do it on a semi-regular basis myself. This time I refrained as I was feeling a little lazy. Happily for me, when I reached the top there was a security guard who had nabbed three of the boys and was giving them quite a harranging for their most dangerous of activities. Apparently there is a high likelihood of death or at very least serious amputation when running up the down escalators.

When he let the boys go he told me I should dish out some apocalyptic judgement on the boys for their misdemeanour and the protection of his two-year-old daughter. I didn't quite get that connection.

Then when we left he followed us up to the carpark to find more of our boys and tell them off for another 10 minutes too. While he was doing that one of the parents arrived. That's a bad look, going to pick your son up from youth group and finding him and the youth minister all getting a lecture from an irate security guard. He told me to dish out my punishment then went to talk to the parent. Unfortunately I didn't really take it all that seriously and just pointed at the boys and told them to stop smiling and look like I was telling them off.

I know that's probably not the best behaviour but I wasn't feeling particularly angry for what really is an activity that a little bit of fun. Of course it is a bit dangerous too but so is climbing trees and soccer and rumbling and playing tip and pretty much any of the activities that young guys like to indulge in that doesn't involve a gaming console. My only real worry about about the boys going the wrong way on the escalator was the inconvenience to the other patrons.

In the end I told them to respect the security guards, they're doing their job, and say "Sorry" when you upset them. At least that's what I've learnt from my semi-regular occurrences of getting busted by security, police and other enforcers of the peace. And I think I told them not to do stuff that's illegal.

I'll tell you next time I go to that shopping centre I'm not going run up any escalators the wrong way, though it will be darn tempting.

I wonder what Jesus would have done?

11/16/2007 11:26:00 pm

Dead Man

Posted by Tom French |

I got bones beneath my skin, and mister...
There's a skeleton in every man's house
Beneath the dust and love and sweat that hangs on everybody
There's a dead man trying to get out - Counting Crows

11/15/2007 11:53:00 pm

Zam the Man

Posted by Tom French |

I have my Exilic Prophesy exam tomorrow. I have to write about Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Isaiah and anyone else they decide is exilically inclined.

It's a worry. I remember a bit about Isaiah from that assessment I pulled out of darkened regions the other day. But Jeremiah and Ezekiel? I think I have forgotten whatever I was taught about them or I wasn't there because I was in Africa bringing the religion of the white man to the not-so-white men (that's the politically correct term isn't it?) I don't think I can even spell Jeremiah and Ezekiel without spell check.

Oh well. I only need to pass. Ps make degrees plus the pay-level is the same whatever your GPA and that's all I care about.

11/15/2007 12:03:00 am

Prophets and Priests

Posted by Tom French |

"If you have sin in your life and you bring it to your prophet friend he says 'Knock it off! Or you're going to hell!' That's a prophet.

You go to your priestly friend and they say 'Tell me about your childhood. How do you feel about this? Do you need a muffin? Here I'll rub your back. Can we meet again tomorrow? We should do this everyday... for eighteen years.' That's a priest.

Prophet: One minute counselling sessions 'Stop! Next.' I mean, that's it.

Priest: 'I knitted you a sweater, when you wear it, think about Jesus so you don't do that any more.' That's a priest."

Mark Driscoll on the difference between those of prophetic disposition and those of priestly disposition.

I know people will say "That's not what prophets and priests are like." But I took it out of context, so don't have a dig. I just thought it was funny.

11/14/2007 11:56:00 pm

Day of Joy

Posted by Tom French |

Today wasn't really a day of joy. It wasn't anti-joy either. Although if joy is that deep way of being and knowledge of salvation, then I guess that today was a day of joy. I appreciated my salvation today. The sun was out so I appreciated it more. I know that may not sound connected. But sunlight is part of grace so is salvation. So sunlight reminds me of Jesus.

Gosh, I sound like I should live in the Blue Mountains.

I think I was going blog about my day.

I was stuck in traffic for about and hour and a half for some unknown reason. Everyone in Sydney decided to drive north across the Harbour Bridge this morning. And why not? It's a world icon and it's beautiful who wouldn't want to drive across it on a sunny Wednesday morning.

I got scripture in time but not having done what I needed to do.

I told my class that it was our second last lesson together and I felt sad. I really do like that class, they're the nicest scripture class I've ever had. If I was 11 we could have all been friends. Not that we're not friends now, but I wouldn't invite them to my birthday, their parents might think I was strange. Friends with your scripture teacher is a little different to friends with your peers.

I pushed buttons and read Bible stuff in my office and had salad for lunch.

Did mentoring with my mentor.

Did small group in my small group.

Now I'm home and happy to have Jo's iTunes music on my computer. Good for iTunes and their 5 authorised computers I say!

The end.

11/13/2007 11:57:00 pm

Cleanliness

Posted by Tom French |

Today was booked in as the enthusiastic day of house cleaning. Emily booked us all in for some spring cleaning before spring ended. So today was my day.

I enthusiastically arrived on the scene to clean at about midday after an enthusiastic sleep in. Emily and I cleaned for about an hour before it was decided that we should break for lunch. So off to Thai Ryan, Emily and I went. The thai was good. We went to Doy Tao. They didn't have any Coke, which upset me a little.

When we got home from lunch it was back to frenzied cleaning for 20 minutes, and then we were done.

I'll tell you that's how all cleaning days should work. 80 minutes and a pile of thai food. I can't think of a better way to make the house nice.

11/13/2007 11:51:00 pm

10 Reasons Not to Become a Christian - The Sermon

Posted by Tom French |

Thank you very much to everyone who helped me with Sunday's sermon. I did use your ideas, you were very helpful. I enjoyed writing a sermon with all your help. It was like having an interactive sermon. Like when I preached there were 10 of us preaching it not just me. We make a good team.

If you want to know what the ten reasons I settled on you can have a listen. You can get it here: Ten Reasons Not to Become a Christian

Or subscribe to my preaching podcast by searching for Tom French in iTunes.

I'd type out the list but they work much better with the explanation and that's a lot of text to stick in.

I had a bit of fun with this sermon. Evangelistic sermons are always hard. Alter calls are particularly difficult. But I do them.

We had a bit of a response from this one, but I'm not sure if anyone become a Christian. But I preached and I pray I preached faithfully, so that's the best I can do. The rest is up to God.

11/13/2007 06:38:00 pm

iPod is Back

Posted by Tom French |

Ryan knows how to press buttons better than me so it's fixed. Thanks be to God. And Ryan.

11/13/2007 11:42:00 am

My Life is Ruined

Posted by Tom French |

I think my iPod may have committed suicide. What am I going to do?

11/12/2007 10:53:00 pm

Kicking Out

Posted by Tom French |

I did the sermon on 10 Reasons Not to Become a Christian. I'll post it sometime this week.

Mondays are funny days. Whenever I get home on a Monday I feel rather dead. Work isn't too bad. I generally have energy for that. But once I get home the adrenaline kicks out and I'm left feeling unimpressive. But then Tuesday comes and I like Tuesday. It is good to me.

11/09/2007 11:55:00 pm

Lies Exposed!

Posted by Tom French |

I went to The House With No Steps today to watch House Idol because one of the people from church was performing in it. And I discovered that there are actually steps in The House With No Steps.

Scandal! I walked up a whole flight of them. Ten steps maybe. And they weren't even on a gentle incline. It was quite steep!

The whole place is built on a lie! I can't believe a charity would blatantly lie to the public like that. It'd be like Médecins Sans Frontières having doctors who wouldn't cross borders. It'd be an outrage.

I'm going to call Today/Tonight.

But, that said, I quite enjoyed the show. People with disabilities are always a joy to watch. And what they lacked in stage craft they made up for in personality. So I forgave them. I'd be a bit of a knob if I didn't.

11/07/2007 07:34:00 pm

Funeral Day

Posted by Tom French |

I went to two funerals today. Normally I do two a year. You know what they say "If you only do them once a year..."

Number one was Howie's Nan's funeral. I'm not sure, but there didn't seem to be many people there who weren't related to her. I felt a little like an intruder. I liked Nan when I met her. And I like Howie. So I was happy to go.

Funeral two was for a woman I never met. I was on church duties, setting the church up, running the PowerPoint and sound. There were probably about 150 people at that funeral. It was for an 83 year-old woman who had 34 children, grand-children and great-grand-children. Imagine their Christmas list.

They did a lot of eulogising (in contrast to Nan's where there was none) and from what I can tell this woman was the best woman in the world. She was pretty much perfect. And she was a damn good cook. I hadn't had breakfast so every time they talked about her cooking I got a little hungry and angry that I was stuck in a sound desk surrounded by crying women and glum men in suits.

My job of putting on the PowerPoint presentation got a little stressful when it wouldn't start. If there is any event you don't want to stuff up technically it's a funeral with a hundred unhappy people waiting on you to project their memories on to a screen. But I got it in the end and Frank Sinatra sang to photos of this lady, so all was well.

She did seem pretty good. I'm sad I didn't get to meet her. Or eat her cooking.

When I was setting up the chairs for the funeral beforehand the undertakers carried the coffin in. They were a lot more jovial bringing it in than when she was taken out. At one point everyone left the church and it was just me and the coffin. I realised I'd never been left alone in a room with a dead body before. It wasn't a big deal. I wish it was would have been a better story.

It did occur to me that it is a little weird that the place where we put the keyboard and bass guitar on Sunday is the same place we put the dead bodies during the week. What odd buildings churches are.

Funerals are funny things. I feel like other cultures do death better than us. Other cultures mourn for years, and eat lots of food and have lots of music and hug and cry for days. At least that what the books and movies tell me.

We spend an hour in a church. It just seems a little token to me.

I decided after today that when I have a funeral I want people to talk about what they didn't like about me. I don't want people leaving thinking I'm Jesus the Sequel. Because if you really what to remember me remember the fact that I was selfish and arrogant, as well as the fact that I make brilliant pasta and microwave meals.

The minister of the Catholic church did a sermon about old age and how it's bad. And about how we neglect old people. I think. I found it a little hard to follow but he had some nice images.

Joe, my minister, talked about hope and that we find hope in death only in Jesus. It was pretty good. Because really, when you're preaching at a funeral, it's no use preaching to the dead body, they're gone. It's the rest of us, living somewhere between life and death you have to worry about.

I did spend a lot of the day reflecting on my hope in Jesus. I am very happy to have a saviour who has died for me. I'm happy to have a hope for life beyond death. I am thankful that sinful me has been saved from hell my sinless Jesus. I am thankful that death is not the end. Death doesn't excite me, but I'm not to worried about it. My God, he has done it.

To quote Nan's order of service: "We grieve...and live in the hope that death opens out into victory."

That was the best thing I heard all day.

11/07/2007 04:58:00 pm

Take My Survey!

Posted by Tom French |

Ty had a good idea of surveying his blog readers. So now I've stolen the idea.

So please click here to take my awesome online survey. I promise it'll be more fun than you could have thought possible.

Please ignore the advertising. And I'll stick up the results when I get around to it.

No doubt my HTML friends will abuse me for using such an ugly free survey site. But to them I say "Bah!"

11/04/2007 03:46:00 pm

Paradise

Posted by Tom French |

My family and I are currently on holiday in Paradise (Suburb not after-life). It's joyous. I like my family.

I might blog again when I'm back.

Subscribe