2/11/2012 11:59:00 pm

Moving House

Posted by Tom French |

This blog has moved!

Mine is Around About Here has now become Tomtime 2000, you can access it here: tomtime2000.wordpress.com.

Please update your links, your shortcuts, your drunken tattoos and anywhere else you have my blog address stored.

All the posts have been moved to the new blog. The comments have not all moved (only about 4 months at this stage), so this blog and the comments will remain here for a while. You can see the comments properly by going here.

Thanks for reading. I'll see over at the new blog, I'm already there.

2/11/2012 05:41:00 pm

Yeeeeha

Posted by Howie |

2/10/2012 12:00:00 pm

Video of the Week: Bad Boys II

Posted by Tom French |

I'm writing this post on Wednesday and setting it to post on Friday, because I am sure I will not see a better video this week. This is freaking fantastic!



Once again, thanks to Mark White for finding it.

2/09/2012 11:59:00 pm

My Day

Posted by Tom French |

In the old days of blogging, I used to come home and blog about my day because I thought it was interesting. Usually it went something like this although sometimes I got overly enthusiastic like this.

These days I tend not to talk about my day because, no one reads my blog to find out about it. But in honour of the past, just once, I'm gonna do it. This was Thursday 9th February 2012.

I woke up this morning to the sounds of Adagio for Tron, which is my wake up music. Thank you Sleep Cycle App. It's nice to wake up to if a little sad (the music not the app). I read my Bible in bed, which was bad because I kept drifting off and dreaming about Jeremiah. I guess dreaming about Jeremiah isn't too bad, but sometimes it can be hard to figure out if Jeremiah really was at your primary school with you or if you just dreamt it.

I took my time this morning because to today was late arrival day at work. I went in at around 10. The traffic was pretty nice, but I had to park a long way from the office. I had two green bags full of commentaries on the books of Mark and John to carry with me too. I felt like a biblically literate homeless person. It was difficult holding the bags safely while standing on the median strip in middle of our local busy road. I was worried a car might clip one of my bags and drag me down the street grazing my knees, ruining my shirt and dashing my brains on the road surface. It would probably be the first time someone had ever been killed by a Bible commentary. If you get killed by a Bible commentary can you call it martyrdom? It is getting killed in the cause for Christ kinda.

I arrived at work a little before 10 just in time for Bible study. It was good.

Then I spent the day working. It was solid. I sent emails, did a little talk prep, made phone calls, booked visits, printed invoices, went to the post office. Boy, it was amazing. And I didn't get distracted by Facebook or SMH once. Maybe more than once, but certainly not once.

On my way back from the post office I bought myself lunch. It was a chicken and salad roll from the Vietnamese hot bread shop. There are rumours that the pâté from the shop will make you poo excessively. I thought about trying it to see if the rumours are correct, but felt if I discovered the truth it might ruin the mystique of the shop, so I said "No pâté, thanks."

During my lunch break I read a book on church planting for my church planting tripastorate (the three pastors) meeting tonight. I also sent some non-work emails.

At 6:15 it was almost time to go home. I broke one of my rules and did a work poo. I don't really like pooing in my work place but there were very few people left in the office to smell my present's presence so I relaxed the no-work-poo embargo. I also got changed while I was there out of my business clothes into my casual clothes.

At just past 6:30pm I left work. I walked all 13km back to the car and crossed at the lights seeing as I thought trying my luck with my voluptuous commentary carrying twice in one day was a little too much.

I drove to Pastor Scott's* house via Caltex to pick up some over-priced soft drink. Just after leaving the petrol station a lady almost drove into me while turning right at some lights. She was coming from the other direction as I drove through the lights, she didn't see me and almost smashed right into my side. After that I turned the invisibility switch on my car off because it's too dangerous. Suburu's do have a lot of neat gadgets though.

I arrived at Scott's just after 7, Pastor Kaye* was already there. Scott was cooking us a barbie. He's a real man. We ate then spent three and a half hours talking about Gotham City Church (the working title for our church). It was very exciting. Tonight we talked a lot about church government and how we want the church to function. We also spent a while discussing humour in our church, which I think others thought was a bit of a tangent, I felt it was a core theological issue. I think we decided some good things; racist jokes are out, poo jokes are probably still up for debate.

Still talking concretely about what we want the church to be like (everything from theology, to people we reach, to ministries we run, to how we run a service) was very exciting. It's good to finally be getting really concrete. And it turns out we all agree on most things.

We finished our discussions and prayed then I drove home. I sent an email to some youth group parents for tomorrow and now I'm blogging.

That's my day.

Don't expect another one for these for 8 years, but at least now you know what I did today. You can finally stop wondering.


*We don't call each other Pastor, but it'll help you know who they are.

2/08/2012 11:47:00 pm

Trinity Made Simple

Posted by Tom French |

When you teach the Trinity you could use this:

Trinity Diagram

Or you could use this:

Trinity Diagram


Yes, I know one of them is more theologically correct than the other. But one is funnier than the other. And if Funny and Correct Theology had Facebook pages, Funny would totally have more friends, so it's obvious which is inherently more valuable.

2/07/2012 11:48:00 pm

Martha Marcy May Marlene

Posted by Tom French |

Martha Marcy May Marlene

David is in Sydney for work and he asked me if I wanted to go see a movie. Me being me, I did. So we went and saw Martha Marcy May Marlene. I only really heard good things about this movie so I was feeling optimistic. It's about a girl who manages to escape from an abusive cult and must deal with the repercussions while living with her older sister.

It's a pretty darn good film. It's smart, well written, well acted and nicely shot with interesting characters. The cult is too not outlandish, though it is is pretty extreme in the end. Having once made a cult film which was not that great, I reckon the greatness of this one fills the hole in the market for films about girls in cults that our film didn't quite manage to fill. The cult leader was charismatic, gentle, horrid and abusive. Everything you need in a good cult leader. Elizabeth Olsen did a very good job of being messed up.

What struck me about the film was that one of the great strengths of the cult was communication. They were very good at talking to their people about what was going on and controlling the conversation. Communication made the cult work. When Martha (Elizabeth Olsen) was with her family, while she was safe, their great downfall was communication. Martha's inability to speak about her experiences and her sister and brother-in-law's inability to take time to listen to her, meant that they couldn't help Martha heal or begin to understand what she was going through.

The movie did a wonderful job of not treating the audience like idiots. While David and I agreed we love having everything spelled out for us, it's nice when a film is happy not be easily package everything for the viewer, and neatly wrap everything up. The film was happy to leave things unsaid and leave the viewer in tension. Just like life I guess, full of things left unsaid, full of tension and uneasiness about the future.

Go see the film. Unless you want something fun, then you should go see Man on a Ledge it has no cults but much more action and infinitely more helicopters.

2/07/2012 12:01:00 am

Avengers

Posted by Tom French |

Ahhmigoodness!



Forget The Artist. This is why cinema was invented.

2/05/2012 11:45:00 pm

Comments and Throne Rooms

Posted by Tom French |

As many of you would have noticed, my blog is a bit borked at the moment. I have been trying hard to get it fixed and make alternative blog arrangements. This is coming along, slowly.

However, what has been interesting is the amount of stress this has caused me. I have been feeling quite agitated about the state of my blog and it's mainly because the comments look ugly now and stuff up the formatting. I didn't have the most beautiful blog in the world, but now it looks like Geocities deformed cousin. I kinda feel like I would if I woke up in the morning with poo on my face but I couldn't get it off, and no one else was helping me do it.

It's pretty amazing to me how concerned I am with the image I portray on my blog. Why should I really care if my blog formatting is stuffed up and comments are a bit (lot) broken? This blog provides about 20 seconds of interest a day to about 30 people, it's not really a big deal. Most of the people who read this blog read it because they know me and no one reads it because it's got great design.

I worry with the comments being stuffed that people are going to stop reading my blog. Why would that stress me? I don't use this blog to bring people to Christ, nor do I use it to raise awareness of important issues, I don't advocate for the poor and I don't train people to be better leaders, lovers or friends. I talk about a few small thoughts, post a few videos, say a few silly things. It's not a big deal, but I stress anyway, because I want to be liked. How much value do I put into being able to broadcast my small thoughts to a small audience?

In fact not only have I stressed that my blog looks bad, blogging everyday has been making me worry that I don't have enough interesting things to blog about. And I don't. So I worry people might stop reading. Small thoughts, small worries, big deal.

On the other hand, tonight in church we looked at Revelation 4. About the great creatures standing in the throne room of heaven. Of the 24 elders, representing all the people of faith in the history of salvation, who lay down their crowns before God. The creatures and the elders who cry out:

“‘Holy, holy, holy
is the Lord God Almighty,'
who was, and is, and is to come.”

“You are worthy, our Lord and God,
to receive glory and honor and power,
for you created all things,
and by your will they were created
and have their being.”

God sits in heaven receiving all glory, honour and praise, and he deserves it. He made the universe, he is eternally good, he saved the world through the greatest act of grace in eternity. He is worthy. On the other hand I sit on earth and hope my comments will work so I can be thought of a little bit better by people who don't judge me on the state of my comments or the interestingness of my posts.

I'm not saying that my love of my blog stops me from worshipping God. I am struck however that my eyes are on my blog. And when I spend all this time thinking about my blog and how to fix it, I elevate myself and the importance of my blog. Were I to lift my eyes more, and consider my blog in the context of the glory of God, it may not be such a big issue.

How do you worship God with a blog?

You blog well, you blog to add value to people's lives, and you blog knowing that your blog isn't a big deal in other people's lives, it isn't a big deal in the world, and it isn't a big deal in God's big plans, so it shouldn't be a big deal to you. I want to lay this small blogging crown at God's worthy feet.

I guess it's similar to how we can live. We live well, we live to add value to people's lives, we live to lay our small crowns at the feet of God. The big things to us often aren't really the big things. It helps to lift our eyes sometimes.

God may care about the comments formatting on my blog, but if does he probably doesn't care much. It'd be helpful for me to remember that.

2/05/2012 11:37:00 pm

Sermon Upload

Posted by Tom French |

I uploaded my most recent sermon to the podcast.

You can get it here if you want.

2/04/2012 11:17:00 pm

Ordinary

Posted by Tom French |

On my phone I keep a list of things to blog about. One of the topics I have is "We are meant to be ordinary". I have no memory of writing it, or what thought inspired the idea. It's nice though. There are many great things in the world. Great inventions, great music, great people. But most of us won't make anything world changing or be anyone history making. Most of us are destined for ordinariness. This could be a bad thing, except that many things in life are ordinary and wonderful. Families, friends, potatoes and hoodies. Grass, sunshine, sleep and water. These are all ordinary. So being ordinary can't be too bad if that's the company we keep.

Maybe that's what I was thinking about.

2/03/2012 11:55:00 pm

Video of the Week: Thought of You

Posted by Tom French |



Thanks Mark White.

2/03/2012 07:11:00 am

Fix the Blog

Posted by Tom French |

If you want to fix my blog with a temporary fix while I try and sort out a perminent one, go to
http://runnoft.blogspot.com/ncr.

I'm gonna try and make it work better.

2/03/2012 12:12:00 am

29

Posted by Tom French |

I turned 29 twelve minutes ago. My hair has fallen out and it's raining. This birthday sucks.



2/01/2012 11:55:00 pm

545

Posted by Tom French |

I was inspired by Lesley's February 545 photo challenge. I took one at 548 because I didn't want to copy her idea. I'm original! I'm not planning on keeping this up but it's a fun idea.

I'm sitting at my desk. That could be a regular occurrence.

We went and saw Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy tonight. It was more interesting than my photo.

2/01/2012 11:30:00 pm

Comments

Posted by Tom French |

For some reason the comments on my blog aren't working. At least they aren't for me. Are they working for you?

This is encouraging me to leave the blogger land and finally go join a blogging platform that's good.

Not that it's blogger's fault the comments don't work but comments are one of the main reason I hang around blogger.

Anyway, we'll see what happens.

1/31/2012 11:37:00 pm

Michael Caine and the Lesbian

Posted by Tom French |

Last night I dreamt I had to do an impression of Michael Caine in front of about 500 young people. I didn't do a very good job until I stopped trying to do Michael Caine as a hip-hop artist. After that, I was on fire.

About a week before that I dreamt that I was running the Entertainment Centre with a good looking woman. When I asked her out she told me she was a lesbian and introduced me to her girlfriend. Not one to be discriminatory or spiteful after a broken heart, I stayed in business with her. On our grand Entertainment Centre reopening night we had an amateur slapping competition. It's like boxing except amateurs slap each other. It was a great success until a riot broke out and we only had two security guards to look after it.

The moral to that dream is don't fall in love with a lesbian (unless you're a lesbian I guess) and don't have only two security guards at a slapping competition.

1/30/2012 11:55:00 pm

Poetry Club

Posted by Tom French |

Happily the temperature has gone up
Out performing the rest of this poor summer
Time to celebrate by sleeping in sweat
No air con in my room
I'm glad I have no lover
Girls sweat too. Yuk
Humidity breeds beds of bacteria
Time to celebrate by sleeping in sweat

1/29/2012 11:40:00 pm

Humilitas

Posted by Tom French |


On Australia Day I decided to read a book. I read this one. The whole thing. All 183 pages. I know, I'm pretty much a book reading demigod, the freak child of Socrates and Mrs Zeus. Aside from how awesome I am with my computer-like, pentium II speed of comprehension of words, the book was about humility which I didn't really need to know about. I read that book like I would read a book about thrifty home maintenance of secondhand washing machines, it's an interesting insight into a skill which is only important for those people who have much to be humble about.

Actually, surprisingly, it did feel relevant. For one, I had been struck during the week but how incredibly prideful and stupid I am. For two, my constant desire for recognition and glory is always tempting me to self-congratulations, which is especially tempting in the line of work that I'm in. Though I guess, pride is not exclusive to the arena of those who find themselves regularly standing in front of large groups of people.

The book is a pretty easy read. It's written in the style of a leadership book and it seems to be pitched at business leaders. I had just finished Great by Choice which is also a business leadership book (it was pretty fantastic by the way), so I felt like I was in the right genre frame of mind. It wasn't going hard on the Jesus stuff like a lot of Dickson's stuff (not that going hard on Jesus stuff is bad), though Jesus did make a solid appearance.

Dickson leads us through the history of humility as a virtue, gives the reader some historical examples, tells us why humility is a good idea and finally gives us ideas on how to be cultivating humility. One of the things that struck me reading the book is how much more you admire humble people over proud people. So I think to myself "I want people to think I'm great, I'm going to be humble", which seems like the wrong reason to cultivate humility. However Jesus did say if you want to be great you need to be a servant, so it's not as if it's wrong to strive for greatness through humility. But I guess it's a redefinition of greatness. Greatness is about not people thinking you're great, but being able to move beyond self-love and self-promotion and into other-centredness. That's where true greatness lies. Unfortunately I worry, were I ever to reach that greatness, I would be so humble and other-centred I wouldn't notice how great I am. The great humble person's dilema.

Still, I am convinced that humility is a better path than pride. When I'm self-obsessed and prideful, I will constantly be worried about how I am being received and how good I look in the eyes of others. Yet when I'm more concerned with other, and using my gifts, position, power and abilities for the benefit of others I'll be so concerned with others that I won't even worry about myself, I'll be at ease, the same thing I was striving for in my pride. It's an interesting flip, which seems counter-intuitive, but is also totally obvious.

It was a good book to read. Challenging, inspiring and not condemning and accusing. I know I've got plenty far to go on the journey towards humility. But I've at least read a book on the subject, so I'm probably at least a little bit more awesome for that, wouldn't you say?

1/29/2012 12:18:00 am

Blessed Meeting

Posted by Tom French |

I went to bed last night feeling very blessed. Mainly because I'd had a youth leaders meeting that was really encouraging. The Bible/Pray/Hang-out seemed good, wholesome, and happily long. The planning bit seemed quick, efficient and solidly done. We got a good team of leaders and we kicked off with a good leaders meeting. So I went to bed feeing blessed.

1/27/2012 11:55:00 pm

Video of the Week: Hello/Inspirational Speech

Posted by Tom French |

This week's video is actually two videos. I tagged both of these throughout the week for video of the week, since they're thematically similar, here they are.

Enjoy.



1/26/2012 11:35:00 pm

Happy Halfversary 7D

Posted by Tom French |

Today is Australia Day.

It's also 6 months since I bought my camera. Me and her, we're getting pretty close. To celebrate, here are some photos I took. I was going to do a best of the last 6 months of photography, but I haven't really taken that many photos, it's mostly been video. So I'll just chuck up some photos from when Gem, Hannah and I went to the zoo in December.

You can enlarge any images by clicking on them.

Zoo

Hannah likes to fraternise with the evil Galatic Empire.

Zoo

You'll notice there are not many images of animals, this is because Hannah was much more interested in the gardens.

Zoo

We did however see a turkey.

Zoo

Gem and Han

Zoo

This is in honour of it being Australia Day.

We had fun at the zoo.


If you want to see more of my photos, you can always visit Flickr.

1/26/2012 12:38:00 am

Take Me Seriously

Posted by Tom French |

When I was 11 I was on the radio for a segment called "15 Seconds of Fame". People would ring up and do their amazing talent on the radio. I rang up because I did a wicked impression of a seagull. Wendy Harmer, the radio host, was very kind to me and suggested that the seagull might be trying to eat a chip. I didn't know what she was talking about.

I didn't win the competition.

It occurred to me just then that they probably didn't let me on the radio because of my wicked impression of a seagull but because I was young and cute. I'd never thought of that before. I'm feeling pretty devastated. I thought I was talented. Now I have to change my perspective on pretty much my entire childhood.

It hurts. When will people start accepting 11-year-old me for my abilities and not for my cuteness?

1/25/2012 10:41:00 pm

Crush

Posted by Tom French |

I have a celebrity crush on Andrea Allen.

I'm not quite sure she's a celebrity but she's in lots of Vimeo videos. If I met her I'd feel awkward and not know what to say.

If she googled herself she might find this. She might be offended that I'm not sure if she's a celebrity.

I hope she doesn't and isn't.

I don't like posting secrets on the internet.



Should have sent this in to post secret.


1/24/2012 11:56:00 pm

Flexible Hours

Posted by Tom French |

Yesterday I had my yearly review at work. I did pretty well. The boss a little upset that I use my speaking platform in schools to promote my line of dietary supplements to kids, but I think he understands, a man has to make a buck where he can. Other than that I think he was pretty happy with my performance.

One of the things that came up was a suggestion I made to be allowed to work from 10am-6:30pm. The official working hours for my workplace are 8:30am-5pm but over the last year we've been allowed to come in at 7:30/8am and work till 4/4:30pm. I have been doing this because, as a result of traffic, I only have to leave home 15 minutes earlier but I get to leave work half an hour earlier. However it's meant that I've had to be up at 6am every morning. While I try and get to bed by 10pm, I never succeed. If you have a look at the time I do my blog posts, it's usually around midnight (like tonight). So I've been getting less than 6 hours most nights of the week. I generally fall asleep at work in my chair and I'm pretty sure my productivity suffers when I'm asleep.

So I suggested the late start. Because I have a good boss, he was happy to let me test out the new working hours (I also gave him some free supplements, which may have made him more persuadable). I tried them today, and while I felt a little sad having to work till 6:30pm, I think I was more productive, I was less sleepy, and I really enjoyed the sleep in this morning. And I'm really happy that I could go to bed right now and still get a solid eight hours. Plus I got to have a night out and not worry about the time. So day one of the trial has been a success. We'll see how it goes. I won't keep reporting to you though because, well, I don't want to share all my personal information. Some things, like how a man's work hours trial progresses, should remain private.

1/23/2012 10:35:00 pm

Location Fixed

Posted by Tom French |

Tonight all the people who are currently involved in the church plant went to visit our preferred location. We wandered around, had a chat and a pray, and then went to the local RSL. They had $5.50 chicken schnitzel (ripper). We chatted and decided we all liked the place. So we now have a location. And it's very close to an RSL with cheap schnitzel! It's very exciting.

Tonight we officially moved from being a exploratory group to a core team. First item on the agenda was when we're going to be meeting each fortnight. Second item on the agenda was to ask for money. I gave my first offering talk. I think I did pretty well. I feel like if we're gonna be a church it's best to set the culture early and I want money. I am a visionary.

Actually I just told people they should open a bank account and start putting aside money the church so we have start up money. I'm hoping at least for each of the pastors to get a new car as a start up bonus.

So now that I've talked all about money. Let me say, I am actually really excited. I love that we now have somewhere to go. I love the group of people who are planting. I loved having everyone together for the first time, and I love that it was in the place are (God-willing) planting. I'm excited to see people come to know Jesus. I'm daunted by the magnitude of the task ahead. I keen to see Jesus work.

Hooray for the Kingdom. I hope it comes a bit more through this church.

1/22/2012 10:43:00 pm

Psalm 130

Posted by Tom French |

So I preached the sermon tonight. I didn't really talk much about shame. I did spend a lot of time talking about sin. Seeing as the Psalm talks about crying to God from the depths of sin, I thought I should first outline the depths of sin. That meant the first third of the sermon was spent hammering home the point "You are more sinful than you think you are." Which sounds bad, and it is, but I was talking about how we all deny God his glory and we don't really think our sin is as bad as it is. Rebellion against God, is not, in our opinion an offense that should be punished with and eternity in hell.

I spent the rest of the sermon hammering home "You are more loved that you can possibly understand." It was all about grace and God's non-condemnation of those who trust in him.

I got pretty nervous going into the sermon. Mainly because it was quite heavy, I didn't want to make people angry, and the sermon didn't have as many jokes or funny stories as normal. I was nervous only really for myself. It was silly but pride is a great motivator.

Finally I spent a few minutes having the church stand and wait on God. It was a bit charismatic, at least for our church. No one laughed or fell over, but that wasn't much of a danger. I felt like I wanted to get the church engaged in waiting to hear God speak. It may or may not have worked. But still, it was nice to do something different and a little out of the ordinary.

Anyway, I might post the sermon soon for anyone who's interested. You would be free to listen. And you'd be free not to.

1/21/2012 11:56:00 pm

A Photo

Posted by Tom French |

Today has been long and I'm not done yet. So here's a photo from today. Consider it 500 words of blogging. I'd say it was 1000 but it's not a fantastic photo.

1/20/2012 11:56:00 pm

Video of the Week: Life in a Day

Posted by Tom French |

When they released this film I forgot to watch it. I watched it yesterday. Tomorrow (which is today because I'm sure you're reading this on the 21st) this film will have been on YouTube for year.

Anyway, this is a feature film made up of footage shot by YouTube users all over the world on 24th July 2010. I think there were over 80,000 videos submitted. I feel sorry for the people who sorted the footage.

What the footage sorters did find and what the editor and director put together is pretty wonderful. Full of interesting people, and small glimpses into their generally mundane and fascinating lives. You should set aside an hour and a half and watch this, preferably on a big TV in HD. It made me pretty happy.

Enjoy.



1/19/2012 11:34:00 pm

Guilt and Shame

Posted by Tom French |

I'm preaching on Sunday night on Psalm 130. I preached on it before at a school, but I'm rejigging it because the talk wasn't amazing and it certainly wasn't one I could do for church.

Anyway, the psalm focuses on God's mercy and redemption. It encourages God's people to wait for him expectantly.

I listened to a Tim Keller sermon on the Psalm a few days ago and he reckons there's a difference between guilt and shame. Guilt is when you've broken a specific rule, shame is when you haven't lived up to an ideal (yours or someone else's). He says that these days we a lot of people don't feel guilt much because we've worked so hard at encouraging people not to feel guilty. But people still feel shame. They haven't lived up to their own ideals but they're not quite sure what they can do to fix it because they have not absolute morality. That got erased at the same time as guilt was erased.

I'm not sure what I think. I feel like that's a neat way of defining guilt and shame, but I'm still trying to work out if I agree. I'm not sure how people experience guilt and shame. It's not really something we talk about much.

I'm going to spend a bit more time thinking about guilt and shame. I might solve the puzzle. Or I might not. If you have any thoughts about guilt and shame, how they relate, what they are, what the worst thing you've ever done is, that sort of thing, feel free to comment.

1/18/2012 11:45:00 pm

Predictions: Part 2

Posted by Tom French |

First things first, no unattended baggage blew up.

Secondly, we didn't predict any womanly changes for me. So no win there.

I cannot tell you much because the predictions ritual is very secretive, kinda like being part of the Masons or the Cinebuzz Club. What I can tell you is that of the twenty-six things we predicted for 2011 only 11 and three-quarters of them came to pass. While it was predicted I did not fall in love with a person called Tara (that was the name Jo picked), though The King's Speech did win Best Picture at the Oscars (hooray)! My nephew was not born ugly and got cuter, he was always pretty cute but he definitely got cuter. Jo didn't manage to finish knitting a scarf which we also predicted. She did however get herself romantically attached, which is a win all round!

The rest of the predictions I cannot tell you. Mainly because of secrecy, but also because I cannot remember, but I might not be able to remember out of secrecy. I'm not sure how good my security is.

Ask me next year and I'll tell you how we went this year.

1/18/2012 07:48:00 pm

Predictions: Part 1

Posted by Tom French |

I'm standing outside the Star Bar on George St waiting to meet Jo Kemp (if this blog were a sitcom then she'd be known as a former regular character on this blog). We meet around this time every year to make predictions about the year ahead and read the ones we made last year. I'm pretty excited as I have no memory of what we wrote. If we predicted that I'd become a woman then that predictions will be 80% wrong. I'll let you know how it goes. (Unless of course I get blown up by the unattended luggage that has been by the bin this last ten minutes. I'll let you know how that goes too.)

1/17/2012 11:42:00 pm

Warren Buffett

Posted by Tom French |

I think Warren Buffett is one of my new heroes. I read an article about him in Time today, and he's pretty cool. He's the third richest man in the world yet he lives in a house in Omaha which he bought in 1958 for $31,500. He drives himself around in a 2006 Cadillac DTS which is worth about $12,000. He likes eating at his local club (like an RSL Club I think) and he drinks almost 2 litres of Coke a day. He thinks the rich should be taxed more and there should be less private schools so rich people invest in public education. Oh and he's giving 99% of his $45 billion fortune away to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. Warren Buffett is who I would love to be, rich, humble, a lefty, and the owner of 8.6% of the Coca-Cola Company. Winner!

1/16/2012 11:36:00 pm

Quotable Quotes

Posted by Tom French |





Today at work my job was to find nine quotes to go in the resources that I write. However I couldn't find nine. I found one. That means tomorrow is going to be spending another seven and a half hours on the stupid quote sites. I get so bored of them. Still, I'm doing it for monies (and Jesus) so I can't complain.

I have, at times, thought about just making quotes up and attributing them to people. I figure it shouldn't really matter who says them just that what they say sounds pithy and/or true. I asked my boss if he'd have a problem with me making quotes up and he said "Yes". Shame.

Still I'm hoping he changes his mind. Just in case he does, I'm going to make up some quotes and store them here. So for your reading pleasure, here are some things the people below did not say. (Feel free to add your own in the comments.)


"The Lord giveth, and the Lord taketh away", right now I just wish he was doing more givin' than takin'. - Martha Wilkes, in 1957 after losing her house to a tornado.

If I was a polygamist and could marry mythical creatures, I'd marry a mermaid and a reverse mermaid. One to take out on the town and the other for her childbearing qualities. Of course I could achieve the same result by just marrying a woman and a fish, but I think I'd find taking a fish on a dinner date too confusing for my appetites. - Michael Cera

I probably didn't say this. - Mark Twain

Great stories are like rare diamonds. They are a beauty to behold and have the strength to cut through even the hardest of men's hearts. Only the author who is willing to toil alone, digging deep in the blackest darkness will be able to produce this treasure of a pressured soul. - Leo Tolstoy

Doubt and faith are not enemies but allies. It is ignorant certainty that fights against them both. - G.K. Chesterton

I always say that the secret to success is to believe in yourself. That and make sure you're drunk by midday. - Ulysses S. Grant

1/15/2012 10:33:00 pm

Greatest Bible Study Ever

Posted by Tom French |

I was in the shower this morning listening to a Driscoll sermon. He was preaching on Luke 24:13-35 about when Jesus appears to the two disciples as they walk to Emmaus. As they walk along, not recognising Jesus, the disciples express their sadness that Jesus was killed. Luke then goes on to say how Jesus led them in a Bible study: He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself."

I've always read that and thought "Man, wouldn't it be awesome know what Jesus said there? To have Jesus do a Bible study with you about himself. If only we knew what Jesus said." And then it occurred to me, we do know what Jesus said. We don't know the exact words but I'm pretty sure we know the content. The two disciples, whoever they were, surely did not keep Jesus' teaching to themselves. They obviously talked about the encounter, how else did Luke know about it? And they wouldn't have kept what Jesus said a secret, they would have told the other disciples. And that teaching would have then influenced how the early church interacted with the Old Testament. And I reckon that same teaching wound up in the New Testament. When the New Testament deals with the old, it would have more than a little of the influence of Jesus' Emmaus Bible study (and any other similar teachings he did) on it. The disciples were of course influenced by the Holy Spirit, but my guess is Jesus laid a lot of the ground work himself for how the biblical writers interpret and reference the Old Testament. If that's the case then we may know not know what Jesus said in that Bible study, but whatever Jesus said, if we've read the Bible, then it's probably not new to us.

Still it would have been awesome to be part of that discussion of the road to Emmaus. It'd be like the difference between reading Lord of the Rings and having Tolkin sit down and read it with you. One is definitely cooler.

1/14/2012 11:43:00 pm

Foster the People

Posted by Tom French |


I bought Torches by Foster the People in December for my drive home from camp, so I've had it for about a month now. It's a pretty fantastic album. Plenty of joy, poppy tunes, musical talents. It's one of those albums that will put you in a good mood and make you want to dance. That's a bit of a winner.

We had brunch today and brunch opened with this album. It set the tone for a pretty awesome brunch, full of dancing and pancakes, as you can see from the below photo.

brunch

I think song might be my fave. Enjoy it for you inspirations:

Houdini by Foster The People

1/13/2012 11:54:00 pm

Video of the Week: Stormtrooper Playing Accordion

Posted by Tom French |

Here is the video of the week:



Now that you've seen it, I think it's clear to see why it's video of the week.

1/13/2012 12:09:00 am

Positive Obedience

Posted by Tom French |

I'm reading a book at the moment called, The Obedience Option. It's about obedience, which surprised me as I thought it was a spy novel. I guess sometimes titles and their books match up.

One of the points the writer makes is that obedience is primarily about choosing God's glory above anything else. And this may be an old and basic concept for many of you guys, but it was pretty revolutionary to me. Not that I couldn't have guessed it seeing as everything is about God's glory, but the idea that when I choose to obey God, I am actively choosing to glorify him, that's a big deal. Often I have viewed obedience in the negative, obedience is not choosing to do the sinful thing I feel like doing. And then I go from there to give myself positive reasons why obedience is a good idea (e.g. because sin hurts people, it makes God sad, it's why Jesus died, I might get put in jail). Sometimes I even have the idea that obedience feels better, in the long run, but when you're staring temptation in the face, it's hard to believe that. However when I view obedience as an active choosing of God's glory, it becomes for me a much more exciting prospect. Obedience stops being about me and starts being about God. I love God, and I love to glorify God, so getting to actively choose to glorify him, to do something that makes him look good, that's exciting. I'd rather be obedient because it's good, than not be disobedient because that's bad. And glorifying God is the best, so that's the best.

1/11/2012 11:18:00 pm

One Day Camp

Posted by Tom French |

I was meant to be on camp for work this week, but not enough people went on camp, so I was made redundant from camp.

But I did go to camp for one day. It was pretty fun. As soon as I arrived I was asked to tell a joke. 7:30 in the morning and I have to tell a joke. It's traditional that I tell a joke at this camp. So I told this one:

Am man walks in to the doctors with a penguin on his head. The doctor says "What seems to be the problem?"

The penguin replies "Well it all started with this growth on my foot..."


It went down ok, but people didn't think it was as good as I think it is.

I did other things today other than telling jokes. I listened to a talk, and almost hit a girl in the head with a frisbee. I threw the frisbee and it was meant to go over her head (silly idea) but it did not, it skimmed the top of her head, glancing off her plastic head band. She was talking to her dad at the time. Oops, that was embarrassing. (Can frisbees kill people? That would have been more embarrassing.) She forgave me, I think.

Oh and I dressed as a bearded lady for a carnival event. I haven't done that since 2008 so I thought it was time. Wearing a dress and fake boobs; That's what my job is all about.

And that was my day on camp. I would have liked to have been on camp, because it's pretty fun. But at least I can probably sleep more here.

1/10/2012 11:19:00 pm

Meeting, Meeting, Movie, Meeting

Posted by Tom French |

Today I wasn't at work but I did plenty of work. I had a meeting with a potential new youth leader, had a meeting with my second in charge at youth group, the two of us then had a meeting with another potential youth leader, then I went want and watched Cobra (Yes!), then had a meeting at the pub about our upcoming YouTube Bible extravaganza. So much meeting. I felt like I was back in church ministry.

Still I enjoyed myself. I drank a lot of beverage and did a lot of wee. It's the work of the kingdom.

1/09/2012 11:33:00 pm

Last Words

Posted by Tom French |

"I've never felt better." - Douglas Fairbanks Sr's last words

1/08/2012 11:54:00 pm

Superman III

Posted by Tom French |

I bought the blu-ray box set of Superman for myself for Christmas a few weeks ago, and I'm loving it to bits. Superman is awesome and the special features are wonderful.

Yesterday I watched Superman III and it has to be one of the worst movies I've ever seen. I had never seen it because my video store as a kid never had it, and judging by Superman IV, I decided it wasn't high on my list of films to track down. If it didn't have Superman and actually took itself a bit more seriously it'd up there with the Twilight Saga in the magnitude of it's crime against cinema.

The whole film is built on the premise that computers can do anything. The villan uses a computer to reprogram a weather satellite to stop monitoring weather and start causing weather, then he uses a computer to reroute every oil ship in the world and turn off every petrol pump, and finally he builds a computer that is so sophisticated is can look at any person or thing, analyse it and find and exploit it's weakness, the computer even turns a woman into a robot and puts Superman in a bubble he almost cannot break out of. It's from a time when computers were not that common so people could be more easily fooled into thinking they can do anything. One guy hacks into his companies payroll system by typing the command "Override all security". Genius!

Also in the film, Superman gets turned bad by some poorly synthesised kryptonite. Superman becomes a womaniser, alcoholic and serial pest. He stops fighting crime and starts doing things like blowing out the torch at the Olympic games. He's a naughty one.

Beside the absurd plot, is some pretty terrible acting (though Christopher Reeve seems to be working hard to do his best with a bad hand), rather silly slapstick and some of the worst paced action I have ever seen. There is however some beautiful photography, which looks especially good in Blu-ray.

Now you may think from this review that I hated the film, but I actually really enjoyed myself. It was a whole lot of fun to watch, if only because it's so bad. I spent a lot of the time having a good laugh. Plus I love Superman, so I can't really lose.

I decided that I love the film so much I want to use it as a sermon illustration. First available chance, I'm gonna do a Superman III reference.

Watching the film did remind me how good Hollywood has been in the past of destroying perfectly good francises in the chase after money. Superman, in my opinion, is one of the greatest comic book adaptions of all time. To have gone from the greatness of Richard Donner's Superman to the camp, embarrassment of Richard Lester's Superman III it makes me think that Hollywood can destroy anything. Still they can also fix things. We went from Batman and Robin to Batman Begins. Redemption is possible.

Anyway I recommend you all see Superman III unless you all don't love everything Superman. Otherwise watch Return of the Jedi or something. 1983 did have good cinema, Superman III just wasn't it.

1/07/2012 11:39:00 pm

Location Scouting

Posted by Tom French |

Scouting

Kaye and Scott take photos of potential.

Today was a pretty exciting day. Kaye, Scott and I went on a field trip to our two potential locations for our church plant. Kaye and Scott are the other two people who are going to be pastoring the church plant with me, so chances are, they'll be making more appearances here on the blog in the future.

We headed out to north-west Sydney and visited to very different places. One semi-rural community (on the rural-urban fringe I learnt about in year 11 geography), which is about to go nuts with development. And another housing development that is surrounded by a golf course. The semi-rural scouting trip consisted of walking around the suburb, visting the shops, the station and looking at all the paddocks which will soon turn into a warren of brick homes with their garages set one metre back and solidly built letter boxes on the front lawn. We saw some cows, dead birds and a brown snake. We also saw their giant train station, boarded up old church and second hand furniture shop. I spent a bit of time thinking about that book "Where the Forest Meets the Sea" and about how the small sea-side community got completely changed by the seaside development. This little community is soon going to become something completely different. Hopefully it'll retain its heart.

We followed this up with a trip to the housing estate. We visited the sales centre and had a chat to the salesman there. We told him we wanted to plant a church and asked him if anything was planned for the area. He said he hadn't heard anything. He also told us it was the first time in his career that anyone has talked to him about planting a church. He didn't have any land for us to build our mega-church on but the community centre is being built and we could probably use that. It's right next to the golf club which means after church lunch in the bistro is a distinct possibility. I like that.

It was a pretty enjoyable trip. Very encouraging. Between those two places I think we're gonna have somewhere to plant a church. I'm feeling excited that things are moving. The three of us are getting on pretty well, and we're learning to navigate our way through leading something like this together. I wouldn't say we've found our rhythm yet, we're still pretty polite to each other, but it's early days. We like each other and tend to be on the same page with the way to go about things. I'm certainly enjoying having people to do this with. I think doing all this and making these decisions by myself would be lonely and intimidating. But doing them together, it's exciting and energising. We don't really know what we're doing but we don't know what we're doing together and that's the best way to to do it.

1/06/2012 11:54:00 pm

Video of the Week: Landscapes Volume Two

Posted by Tom French |

I tend to watch a lot of video online these days. Partly because it's part of my job, partly because I want to see what kind of stuff other people are making, mainly because the internet is chock full of video goodness. I decided ages ago that I wanted to start posting a video of the week. It may not be a video that I discovered this week, but it will be one that I want you to see.

This film hit Vimeo a few months ago and a few people told me to watch it. So I did. It's pretty beautiful. It's one of those special things that moves me in my gut like a great guitar solo, or a majestic piece of art. This is rather fantastic.

Watch it full screen.




1 The heavens declare the glory of God;
the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
2 Day after day they pour forth speech;
night after night they reveal knowledge.
3 They have no speech, they use no words;
no sound is heard from them.
4 Yet their voice goes out into all the earth,
their words to the ends of the world.
In the heavens God has pitched a tent for the sun.
5 It is like a bridegroom coming out of his chamber,
like a champion rejoicing to run his course.
6 It rises at one end of the heavens
and makes its circuit to the other;
nothing is deprived of its warmth.
- Psalm 19:1-6

1/05/2012 08:55:00 am

What I Have Achieved

Posted by Tom French |

On 20th February 2011 I posted this blog post saying that by 31st December 2011 I wanted to have $1000 in a savings account and a tidy room.

I'm happy to say that while I had many things on my list of things to achieve which I did not achieve (sit-ups and push-ups anyone?), I did achieve those two. I probably posted them because I thought they were the most achievable, but I partly think I achieved them because I knew I'd blogged about them. Blog accountability. Or maybe the magical power of blogging things into existence.

In light of the great success I have with blogging my goals, while I haven't really made any goals for 2012 (don't get a gender realignment will probably be on the list though), I will say that by 31st December 2012, I hope to have $32 million in a savings account and a tidy room in my holiday house in Gosford.

Now we're talking.

1/04/2012 11:22:00 pm

Hug It Out

Posted by Tom French |

I finished season 8 of Entourage last night. It was the last season. It's pretty sad because I love the show. It helps fulfill my desires for fame through the vicarious vicariousness.

They say there'll be a movie. I hope so. I hope it's better than The Simpsons Movie. I couldn't handle a mediocre Johnny Drama.

1/03/2012 08:35:00 pm

New Years Eve

Posted by Tom French |

New Years Eve was pretty great. I'd tell you all about it, but I made a video instead. This is it:

1/02/2012 11:59:00 pm

Expensive Rug

Posted by Tom French |

On Friday I went shopping and bought an $8000 rug. It's a picnic rug, second hand, and it's got a hole in it. It's not that impressive. What is impressive is that the guy who sold me the rug threw in a free car while he was at it. A 1999 Subaru Impreza RX. If you don't know what that means, it means I'm now imprezive.


I went out with Gough looking for a Corolla on Friday arvo. I took Gough because he's friendly and he knows how to buy secondhand cars. I am mildly friendly and I have no idea how to buy a car, so he's a good man to have around. We went out to Mascot and saw a 2003 Corolla covered in Hello Kitty stickers. Seeing as I love Hello Kitty I wanted to snap it up right away. But we took it for a drive and Gough checked the car out, asked it to turn it's head and cough, and it checked out fin. I still wanted it, though I only wanted to pay $9000 and they were advertising it at $9900. So I pulled out my wicked bargaining skills. I said "I'll give you $9000 for it."

They replied "Someone offered me $9200 on 23rd December".

"I can only do $9000."

"We'll think about it."

We left.

Who's a bargaining king? I am.

I was willing to give up for the day, but Gough encouraged me to go have a look at a Subaru he'd seen on the internet. It was going cheap, so I went and looked. The guy who owned it was very friendly and very fit, so I liked him. He let me take it for a drive while he talked to us about the fitness industry, women and sustainable home temperature management. He also asked if we thought his price was reasonable, I said I have no idea because I'd been researching Corollas. It pays to be informed when making a large purchase, that's what I always say.

After driving and letting Gough check the car for any lumps that shouldn't be there, I decided to buy the car, so we entered into negotiations. I said "I think I'll buy it."

"Ok."

"I can do it now, I have the cash." So I bought the car then for the $8000 he was asking for. Yep, I'm a bargaining king.

Still I'm pretty happy with Wilma (that's her name). I looked it up when I got home and it turns out, $8000 is pretty good for a 99 Impreza RX with around 100,000kms on the clock, and most of them don't come with a rug thrown in. I had no idea, I researched Corollas.

So there you go. I now own a car and I'm giving my work car back to my work. If you ever want to come say "Hello" to Wilma, let me know, I'll get her insured, then we'll go for drive. I will not, however, let you sit on my new rug. It cost me $8000, it's too valuable to be sat on. You can look but don't touch.

1/02/2012 03:06:00 am

Resolution

Posted by Tom French |

Happy New Year and all that.

I made a resolution to blog everyday in 2012. It's 3am on the 2nd January. I haven't gone to bed yet. I hope this still counts or I failed at the starting line.

Just while I'm here, we invented a new fashion tonight. They're shorts and pants. Very sexy and good for all seasons. If I achieve nothing else this year, after doing this, I would say it's been a successful year.

Here they are, they're called 'Shants'.

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