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Where's the Community?

It was community night tonight, or at least that's the impression I got, and we organised a community event, off to the pub we would go. Ryan, Robert and I. Ryan and Rob e-mailed lots of people, I messaged many also.

In the whole night, 4 people turned up. Julian and us. I had lovely time. I had my first ever Bourbon and Coke. That was ok. I might have one again when I feel the desire to drink alcohol. I had a Coke too. That was better. Julian didn't stay for long. Ryan and Robert played coin rugby. I sat there and drowned my sorrows.

If I ever get depressed I probably won't turn to alcohol. I would like to though, because they do that in the movies.

After we sat around for a bit more. Anmol and Helen may have turned up but we told them not too. We were a little out numbered by everyone else in the pub so we went home.

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I just saw an ad for Howie's Blog at the bottom of a Haloscan comment.

Bastard stole my idea.

If there's anyone in my life I compete with it's Howie.

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Counting Crows Distortion

Robert messaged me today and told me that the Counting Crows concert on Saturday had been canceled. Most disappointed I was. But I went and checked out the website to see what the Crows had to say. Adam's grandmother died and he's going home, to Baltimore, to be with his Mum. I'm happy to miss the concert so Adam can be with his mum.

He wrote:

I know a lot of you made plans to be here in Australia and I realize this is going to be a pretty disappointing bit of news, but I feel like I've let my life be governed by the rules of the road over all else for the past ten years. Just this once, I'm going to be where I'm supposed to be. My mom has always been there for me. This time I'm going to make sure I'm there for her as well.

That's really nice. Once I read that I felt pretty alright about missing the concert. Sad, but alright. I had to go to work, so I went and got Counting Crows Across a Wire: Live in New York City off the shelf and put it on in the car. I turned it up and sang as loud as I could in memory of the the Crows and my lost Saturday night. The car was distorting the music, but it felt great. I had a wonderful time.

I drove home doing the same thing. I hadn't finished the cd so I sat at the top of the driveway and finished listening to it. My voice hurts, but it was a really nice thing to do.

I hope all the family are well.

This circus is falling down on its knees
The big top is crumbling down
It's raining in Baltimore fifty miles east
Where you should be, no one's around
- Counting Crows

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And it's been a long December
and there's reason to believe
Maybe this year will be better than the last
I can't remember all the times
I tried to tell my myself
To hold on to these moments
as they pass
- Counting Crows

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I was just about to have a sleep when I realised I have a report for college due in today.

Oh dear.

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After the seminars we went to McDonald's and Scott was there. We told Scott to get a blog. I hope he does. I do like Scott, he's worth eating Maccas with.

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I got up this morning at 5am to write my talk for the seminars today. I actually wrote it last night but I didn't like it so I got up early to work on it. We turn up at the school at 8am and I was feeling tired and worried. There were six of us (Helen, Howie, Jo, Jamie, Matty J and I) and we were expecting about 110 kids per session. Ohmigoodness.

The first session began and the kids were kinda crazy. We had an activity where they had to do some impossible tasks for twenty minutes. Trivia questions, physical skill things, and strength stuff. I think they had a good time. If they completed all the tasks they won a case of Coke, none of them won.

We went too long and by the time I had to talk, I got in my opening illustration then the bell went. I quickly shoved in the Jesus message but it didn't seem to be the optimum time to say it.

Year 8 were much worse behaved. I got more of the talk done, but still missed out on some of it.

Year 9 were much better behaved. I got even more of my talk done, it even started to feel like a talk. Although I still didn't finish before the bell.

Year 10 some of the kids finished the sheet. That wasn't meant to happen. Luke took the case of Coke home. The illustration seemed to suffer a bit (it was illustrating the impossible task of being perfect to go to heaven) but it went alright. I think year 10 got the best talk. Some bits weren't as good as the year 9 one, but all in all it felt the most talk like. I finished it and I had fun when I got to tell people how much God loves them.

I think kids got the idea of why God can't ignore sin. Why it's important that there is punishment for sin. What I'm more hoping they understood is that Jesus took the punishment for them. It'd be terrible if they went away with the judgment and not the grace.

I don't like writing evangelistic talks much. I find them difficult. But when I get up there, and I find the groove, and I'm telling people how much God loves them and how much He's done for them, then I'm having a great time. Then I'm thinking "Man, this is powerful stuff". I'm not sure how much goes in, but well what can you do? We tell the word, God does the growing. And it really is fun to tell the Gospel.

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For the first time ever my hits from the USA are higher than my Australian. Fantastic. Thank you Haloscan. 69 vistors today and counting. I'm the bomb.

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I just bought myself an ad at the bottom of Haloscan commenting. It's kinda cool. Now an ad for my blog will appear at the bottom of 100,000 Haloscan comment viewings. I don't really care if people visit my blog, but I've always wanted to test out anti-advertising. I want to know if it works. I thought it was kinda funny too. Plus it's late at night and I have a lot to do tomorrow, so all that makes up for a good reason to do things like buy ads for your blog.

Mind numbing blog

Please don't bother with this advertising link. It's really rather dull.

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I just searched the net for the Sinner's Prayer, and I found this site. It's just beautiful.

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Why is life so full as a goog?

I have decided that things will calm down after the 25th of April. I'm not sure if that will actually be the case, but 26th will be my special "Ahhhh" day. That is my hope and prayer.

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I hate doing it all myself. I'm not the messiah, I'm a very naughty boy.

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I changed James' link on the side, now he's back in action and all.

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Doin' it for the Kids

Bad Headline.jpg

Perhaps the Advocate should have put a little more thought into where it puts its headlines.

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Today I was tired again. But it was quite pleasant.

I had fun. There was a trip to Maccas for lunch with Helen, Kaye and Jo which was a nice change even if the food wasn't great. It was good to have lunch not eating something from the local shops, somewhere different.

Helen preached tonight and did good. Said good stuff. I wanna go out and test out the ideas, good practical things. And she came across well, no worries. I knew she'd do good.

I got to catch up with Liz about the whole Anonymous thing. That was good. Like debriefing after a good game of tip. Ahh the memories.

Phil got his head shaved and a rat's tail. Wahoo. I think Phil's great.

The night ended at Macca's. Actually it ended outside Maccas with Kaye, Helen, Jo, Rach, Howie and David. There were much funnies. Kaye had the call of the night, but I think it should be left to the collective memory.

It was all nicely rounded off with drive by devon throwing in the Maccas carpark and along Forestway. I discovered how hard it is to throw devon and drive at the same time. Very dangerous but very funny.

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Praise the Lord for the end of daylight saving and an extra hours sleep.

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Yesterday I can't remember much of. I think I was tired. I had a bad small group. We didn't do any of the Bible study, no-one would stop talking. I think it was partly my fault because I encouraged the conversation. But they were also being rude and wouldn't settle down to do anything. In the end I had a chat with them about why we have small groups, and why they come. I hope things improve.

If I could run a group where I just hung out with the kids for an hour and a half that would be great. I love hanging out with the kids, I think they're tops.

I was going to spend a night at home. But I didn't. I went up to the Mall with Howie and met David. We got some fried food and soft drink and sat out side Antonio's Grilled and Spilled or whatever it's called. Lesley came walking along and joined us at our table. Fun, Fun, Lesley added fun.

We all headed off to Woolies to buy Hannah presents. Woolies was an enjoyable experience. One of those ones where you wonder at all the wonderful things that Woolies stocks and you make as much use of them as you can without buying them.

Today was good fun. Howie and I filmed stuff for Soul. We did some with Ryan and some at church with my drama group we came home via Maccas (which I still managed to enjoy the taste of a 7pm tonight).

At home it was a quick sleep then off to Parramatta for a Soul night. I was on warm up the audience duties. It's a little stressful doing that. My job is to entertain and loosen people up. I'm not all that confident in my ability to do that. I'd rather preach. At least then I get to use the Bible and I don't have to be funny. I would hate to be a stand up comedian. My 2 and a half hours of entertainment at Soul is really freaking me out. Don't look at me, I can't make you laugh.

But the night was good. Nothing to massive anywhere which is good. I wasn't wanting anything emotional tonight. Matt did a good talk. And that's all I have to say about that.

Actually it's not. I found my way there and home using the street directory I got for my birthday. That felt good. I love street directories, especially new ones. And I made a wrong turn on the way home but actually found a more direct route home. Poshness.

Now that's all I have to say about that.

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I am reading about revival at the moment. Doing a little research for tomorrow night's warm up job.

I just read a story that reminded me of my first ISCF conference when I was in year 9. There was one night, the last night I think, where we had a special service to end the conference. We had a woman named Susan who had been speaker. She was very good. She was the first person I ever heard speak that really made me see that there can be value in up-front Bible teaching. She also played the keyboard and led the worship sessions. This last night she led us in a time of singing, and it was very nice. We sang "Ancient of Days" and we all loved it, so we asked her to play it again. She did. We got even more into it this time, play it again. This time people started to dance. Play it again. I started to dance. Again and again she played this one song. Every now and again she'd try a different song, but it didn't seem to work so back to "Ancient of Days" it was. Over and over. Hours of this one song, and it was fantastic. These days, I don't think many Christians could think of anything worse. But for us, that night, it was very special. We sang for hours, we danced, we shouted, clapped, and I have no idea why any of it happened.

When we stopped we all went to bed feeling fantastic.

Everytime I sing "Ancient of Days" I think of that night.

I only thought of this from the revivals because often things seem to happen at no-one's promptings, God just does stuff, and it can go on forever. I'm not sure how much changed because we sang "Ancient of Days" for a few hours, but it was a special few hours.

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I shouldn't be posting right now. It's too late. It's my sister's birthday tomorrow. I forgot. I bought her a present from Woolies at 11pm.

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Went training. Was fun.

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Gem's blogging again.

After food court today a few of us went up and voted. It was good fun to vote early. I think I might not be within the ward when it's voting time, so better safe than sorry. Plus, I don't want to vote on Saturday, too much of a hassle. We all managed to make it through the gauntlet of people running for Mayor or counselor (is that the right spelling?) without being stopped by one of them. It did require a little bit of selective hearing, and zero eye contact, but I thought we did very well.

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The whole commenting world is going bezerk (is that how you spell it?). Especially over here with Matthew. What is the blogging world coming to? There's more interest in the comments than the posts (I mean Tupperware for goodness sake!), I think there needs to be reform! Or if not reform, at least, more people should comment on my blog.

Addition: There are also a few fat comments over at David's post on Sex and Religion.

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All over China, parents tell their children
to stop complaining and to finish their
quadratic equations and trigonometric
functions because there are sixty-five million
American kids going to bed with no math at all.

(Michael Cunningham)

From Ruminations

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We had a commy dinner at my house tonight. I'm not quite sure how it happened. Somehow people wanted things to happen, but no one was organising anything and so I did and suddenly there were 300 people at my house. I think it was about 16 people. Or something like that. I'd provide a comprehensive list of everyone, but I can't be bothered. I'm not sure how everyone managed to eat, but we did, at least a little. And a trip to Maccas was had. And, and, and. It was a fun night.

James came, that was cool.

It was pointed out to me today that if you get rid of the "og" on my "I am Analog" shirt, it says "I am Anal"

Today was a very quiet work day. I managed to have long phone conversations with some of the boys in my small group, that was nice. One of my scripture kids got excited to show me his book of pictures that he and his friend were drawing.

Helen and I had a long lunch where we discussed nothing much, we just chilled out. That was fun.

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I feel fine
With the sun in my eyes
The wind in my hair
When I’m falling out of this sky
I’m doing better than I thought I would
But nothing’s ever as good
As when you’re on top

- The Wallflowers

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Last night after small groups I stopped off at Hornsby park to drop off Ryan's shoes to the people playing frisbee. Sadly Ryan wasn't there. But I said "G'day" to the boys anyway.

We stood around talking for a bit then two policemen came over to see what we were doing. They asked us if we had been drinking and what was going on. They left us alone when they realised we weren't doing anything.

It seems that I get in trouble, or at least checked on, by the police a lot more these days. In my teenage years I never had any trouble with the police. These days I seem to be always getting checked on, or told off, for something. Security guards too. I got in trouble the other night at the cinema for inspecting a Shrek 2 blow up thing that was looking a little deflated.

I don't think I'm ever doing much wrong, I'm just more likely to do things which are a little out of the ordinary. As Howie said, "Don't they have anything better to do?"

I don't know, it would be nice if police and security guards were are bit more polite and didn't treat everyone like a criminal. I kinda enjoy getting busted, because I usually don't think I've done anything wrong. But if I'm doing something they don't like, they could be friendly when they ask me to stop playing with blow up displays or driving around deserted carparks.

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Jem, Mil and Kaye. Three new bloggers in 2 days. Fantastic.

As Howie did point out though, the girls are kicking butt numbers wise. At least the guys got in first.

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I think that I got a little distracted this afternoon and changed my blog a tad.

The joys of having a digital camera. Now I'm all over my blog.

It's all about me.

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"I thought I would be over all that peer pressure stuff by now, all that left me with is a smoking habit and a bad HSC mark." - From Emily's first post.

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2. My "holding two things in tension" Weekend

Saturday started early. I went to church for a planning morning. It was good to do. I wasn't really in the mood to be at planning day, but I'm glad I was there. I tried to be as focused as possible, but my mind kept wandering to other things.

When the planning morning finished it was set up time. Helen and I grabbed some lunch then began the long haul to 7:30 when our youth Term Celebration was to start. I was feeling a bit tired, a bit apprehensive about how the whole thing would turn out, but I was excited because tonight we were preaching the gospel and giving people a chance to respond. I had those to feelings running parallel most of the afternoon.

Things slowly came together. I was partly in charge of making sure set up happened because Helen was off dancing and Kaye was sick. I didn't do a very good job I think. I had a lot to do myself, and I wasn't very good at getting people focused. Don't ever say I'm a born leader.

The night got closer and things started coming together. People put the church together and it looked pretty good I thought. Especially for what people were working with (dirty, ripped blacking, fairy lights, gaffer tape and an assortment of colours pieces of cloth.)

The night arrived we showed my video and it was liked. Helen and her crew danced and that went down good too. Music was sung and I stood at the edge wondering what I was going to say when I had to do the big welcome. I was feeling a bit dodgy about the video, apprehensive about but still excited about the gospel. I got up and said that. At least the big about being excited about the gospel. I said it was going to be a big night because we had a big God who has done big things. Helen sat up the back punching the air and I felt like a charismatic youth minister.

After my opening, we played a stupid game with toilet brushes and toothpaste.

Mitch spoke and spoke good. He told us about the crucifixion, in all it's gory detail. It was good to hear him tell us about Jesus.

When the night was done we did a lot of packing up. I think everyone felt tired. We made it out by about twenty to 12.

Sunday I woke up feeling sleepy. Went to church and tried not to fall asleep at the wheel on the way there. I arrived at church to hear that a joke annoucement we had made the night before had been taken seriously by some of the younger kids and it had been quite upsetting for them. It's bad when people don't get the joke. I think it was our bad, not theirs.

I went and found some of the girls before church and said sorry for our joke. They were all very nice about it.

I ran my drama group but we didn't do much. We just sat around and talked. I ran an impromptu Bible study on faith and works and we ate pizza left over from the night before.

After church one of my youth group leaders told me he is pulling out of youth ministry. I wholely support him in that because he's making the decision he feels is right. Now God has to provide us with a new male leader, or some other solution. Something to pray about.

I went up to my office after that and started reading about baptism as I had to give a short talk about baptism at the baptism service that afternoon. I had no idea what baptism was about. At least not confidently and I'd forgotten all about the talk. I read sitting on the floor in the corner. It was at that stage I was feeling bler. Too much to worry about, too little sleep. Helen found me studying my old theology text book and we had a long discussion about copyright and I told her how I felt about the whole thing.

The afternoon was a usual Sunday afternoon (lunch and a meeting) till I had to go to the baptism service. I got there feeling nervous. I was nervous because I had to go in the pool and baptize people (dunk people, Steve said the words), and because I had to do an under prepared talk on baptism. I had never been to a full immersion baptism before, let alone baptized anyone. I didn't want to go in, I might get it wrong, and drown someone, or so some dunking taboo. I was feeling a little out of my depth, so to speak.

The service started and I did my talk. It went good, I can't remember what I said but I think it was theologically correct. I talked from Romans 6.

Then it was baptism time. I got to go second. I watched Helen do the girls and I didn't feel too bad about it. It looked pretty easy. So in I went. The water was cold and everyone was watching me. The first person came in, I put my hand on their back and their shoulder "We baptize you in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit" and I pushed them under. Then pushed them back up again. We (the sponsor and I) put a sign of the cross on their head and that was it. It was easy. But it was great. I loved it. It was really special to be able to play that role in these people spiritual journeys. I sponsored two kids who came in and that was even more special. That I was actually asked to be the person who stood in there with them, not just because I was a paid member of staff. To be there right next to them when the declared to the world that they have died to sin and are alive in Christ. Fantastic.

Gospel and Baptism, what a weekend.

I went back to church and got changed, I had to dress up a little because the service that night was a confirmation service. I was the first person to meet the Bishop when he arrived. The good Anglican in me got all excited about the Bishop visiting. He didn't remember me though.

The service was fun. The Bish spoke good. The lights stayed on the whole service. I took photos of the confirmiees and then waited for everyone to go home.

I went to Maccas and found no-one there. Rach and friends had deserted me. Helen turned up a bit later so I didn't have to spend the time alone (even if I did have sms company). I came home and have no memory of what happened after that.

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Obeying copyright laws is so geeky.

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3. Romans 13 and Copyright Shenanigans

I made the video on Friday night for the youth night on Saturday. I was pretty pleased with the video. I used music from Run Lola Run and clips from about ten different films. It was pretty exciting I thought. I went to bed feeling quite pleased with myself. Although as I lay there for the short time between turning out the light and falling asleep it occurred to me that I had probably just broken a copyright law or three. A little uneasy I fell asleep.

In the morning I went through the day feeling both uneasy, but excited. I was excited about the video but uneasy because I thought it was probably illegal. I prayed as I tend to do, and told God that'd I go check out the copyright laws during the day and if I had done the wrong thing I wouldn't show the video. But I never got around to it.

We showed the video and everyone seemed like it. But I still felt uneasy. I drove home and felt bad because I said I'd do something but I didn't. I met Robert and Ryan as they were leaving for their trek to Dee Why. Robert mentioned that he thought that the video was probably completely illegal. I didn't really want to hear that.

I went inside and sat down and my computer and found a website that told me all about Australia's' copyright laws. It told me that my video was illegal. My mini-disks are illegal. Any music editing I've done is illegal. Any time I've ever shown a video at youth group or in church has been illegal. I didn't really want to hear any of that.

I was thinking the other day about making myself a t-shirt that said "I'm a happy legalist", at this stage I wasn't feeling that. I was feeling like an extremely pissed off legalist. I had been told by an advertising person for Sony that it's ok copy music in 3 times if you own it (it is in the US), but she was wrong. My whole mini-disk collection I have only copied cds that I own, or are owned by someone in the house. But still, it's illegal.

And the damn thing is that everyone does it.

So I was read up on the copyright laws, and I thought about what it would mean for me to comply. It was a big, disappointing thought.

I grabbed my Bible to see if I could find some way that Romans 13 could be talking about obeying the law in a different context.

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.

Shut up.

Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

Damn it.

Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.


I went to bed knowing what I had to do and was not happy about it.

I don't want to obey these laws, they hold no joy for me. But I have a commitment to God and His Word as given in the Bible. If I'm going to live by it, I need to live by all of it.

My reading the next morning was Psalm 119:

Oh, how I love your law!
I meditate on it all day long.

Shut up again! But I made up my mind. I'm going to obey the law even the silly ones which annoy me.

And as I think about it, I do get joy out of knowing that I can obey God. It is good to know that obeying the law, is important in my service to God. And I do love God's laws even if I don't love men's.

Today I bought a discman, and I can listen to my music legally. I have a mini-disk player too. I can use that for making videos and the like, which is what I originally bought it for. And now I get to be more creative in my video making, so it's not all bad really.

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This film could be funny.

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1. Openness and Honesty

I realised in the car on the way home that I am now "Mr Open and Honest" which I think is quite funny. There is very little I don't talk about. I don't talk about my love life, and I don't talk about things which could negatively affect other people (the reason I don't talk about my love life). I don't talk to protect others. And that's about it. I don't think I'm "Mr Righteous", I think I'm just incapable of lying. Ask me a serious question and I'll either tell you the truth or I won't answer. My inability to lie means I have to say more than I've wanted to, but I've coped.

I think my blog has made me much more willing to say things I wouldn't have in the past. I never talked feelings a few years ago. I never ever admitted if I was in a bad mood. I was always "happy" and life was always "fine". I wasn't allowed to be passionate, things was just "good". I felt all those things, I just never let them out. These days I seem to volunteer information I would never have in the past. Sometimes it occurs to me that I have no secrets of my own, and I feel a little naked. A bit free too.

I don't know what I think of this whole "new me". Perhaps I can start a money laundering scheme, then I'll have a secret to keep.

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Well there's too much to blog about.

I have narrowed it down to three things:

1. Openness and Honesty
2. My "holding two things in tension" Weekend
3. Romans 13 and Copyright Shenanigans

2 and 3 mingle a little.

I'll start somewhere.

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(long exhale)

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You know how sometimes you just feel flat?

I feel flat. Maybe I'll try and go to bed early tonight.

This morning Keith and Dad went for a run. I was going to run with Ryan but he didn't come. I wasn't really expecting him this morning though. Once Keith and John had been gone 3 or 4 minutes I decided to see if I could catch them. I pushed myself as hard as I could, but I couldn't see them anywhere. I was always hoping they'd be around the next bend. I ran hard the whole way. In the end I arrived home and they were no where to be found. It turned out they had taken a different route.

The good news though was that the spirit of competition is still alive and well in me. I managed to cut 40 seconds off my best time. Sadly now I have a much harder PB to beat.

Today at the school we had the lunchtime group with 13 kids, which was the largest it's been since I've been there. I didn't run the planned activity because we got visited by some girls who weren't Christians. I didn't feel like the activity was all that appropriate (we were going to pray for our non-Christian friends) but I thought we'd do the Bible study anyway and trust God be bigger than my concerns. But didn't get to do it. In the end we spent the whole time answering questions from the new girls. I was happy to do that though. We can do the other stuff next week.

The rest of the day was pretty normal. I explored the roof of the church seeing if there were any goodies up there, but there weren't. We fiddled around preparing the youth night tomorrow night. I'm feeling a little un-easy about it. This has prompted me to spend this afternoon praying as I go about my activities. It'll all be good. God's good.

Tonight I may or may not edit a video for tomorrow.

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Sexy Women

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I have just had a look at the Koorong catalouge. It's nice to see how much mileage they can get out of one concept:

By Stephen Aterburn and Fred Stoeker (and one or two friends)

Every Man's Battle
Every Young Man's Battle
Every Woman's Desire
Every Man. God's Man
Every Man's Battle Guide
Every Young Man's Battle Guide
Preparing Your Son for Every Man's Battle

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I am listening to The Wallflowers and trying to decide if I should have breakfast now and blog later or blog now and breakfast later. I think that I have made the decision for me.

Yesterday I got to teach scripture again. It is good fun. My year five class is great. They're all lovely kids. None are antagonistic, most like to put up their hand, and they behave pretty well. They got prizes for getting the memory verse right yesterday. I had a bag full of goodies where they could pick out what they wanted. There were packs of cards, stickers, tennis balls, glow sticks, toy cars, they loved it.

I told the story of Palm Sunday. I didn't have anything planned so I rehashed some stuff I did in my first sermon at St Petes. I have a Jewish kid who doesn't have scripture sit in my class while I teach, but he's not allowed to participate. I have to ignore him when he puts up his hand. I feel bad. He was really eager to tell me where Jerusalem was yesterday. He listens to all the stories, I think I might have to keep making sure I tell the class that Jesus is the long awaited Messiah. I might talk to him next week and tell him I'm ignoring him because I have to, not because I don't like him.

I played handball for the whole of recess today. It was good fun. When the bell went one of the kids from church gave me a hug. My arms shot up in the air as fast as they could go and I quickly told the girl I wasn't allowed to hug her. I felt dodgy. Dodgy because I couldn't hug her and acknowlege her display of affection. Dodgy because I was getting a hug from a year 5 girl in the middle of the playground. We live in dodgy world.

One of the boys in my class saw me and gave me a high five because he liked the toy car. That's the way to do it. I love teaching scripture.

The rest of the day was pretty quiet. Helen and I talked together, we slipped in and out of "meeting". We dreamt about getting a new Church building. Yeah baby. I'd love a new building.

I went home at 2:20 and felt extremely liberated leaving so early.

At home I had a sleep for a few hours and then caught up with my small group over the phone.

In the evening we (In order of pickup: Howie, Jo, Jem, Chris, David and Sal) went and saw Camp. On the way to pick up Jem we found a Home Ice Cream van, did some bad calculations and bought a box of 6 ice creams for everyone in the car. They were damn good ice creams. Unfortunately we counted wrong and somehow decided there were only 6 of us going to the movies instead of seven. We decided to pretend we had seven until we knew who wanted ice creams and who didn't. It was ok, Sal, always prepared, had eaten ice cream before she came so we didn't have to perform a loaves and fishes miracle.

The movie was fun. I'm hoping it had its tongue in its cheek because otherwise it had one of the worst scripts I have seen in a while. There were some good bits. There was really bad character development and placement (I don't think that's the right word). People would turn up and say a few lines and disappear off the face if the film. It was like they introduced us to an ensemble cast then forgot about the ensemble. Oh well.

The film was very camp. And there were way too many shots of the good looking guy.

The music was lots of fun. And the singing and dancing made me grin. I had the most fun during those bits.

The night ended with trip to Maccas, because what night out isn't complete without a trip to Maccas?

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I had scripture seminars today. They were most goodness. I had to be there very early. My first small group I had a hard core atheist who was quite clear from the outset from the beginning. He was the only talkative person in the group. He even stayed afterwards. I told him about why I found it difficult to believe in a world with no God, and how I could see God's hand in creation. I was saying good things. I think I got the Holy Spirit. We talked for about ten minutes about how much God loved him and about Jesus, and creation. It was fantastic. He kept saying "I've never looked at it that way. I'll think about that" and he looked really happy. I told him to go away and read the book of John thinking about it as a story of God's love for him and he said he would. Wow!

It's conversations like that that you pray for. I'll keep praying for that guy.

The rest of the day was pretty good. Good questions. Except for the year 10s who were just stirring.

We had a prayer ministry thing tonight. I liked that.

MSN scares me when it has about six million little things flashing at me. I feel really pressured. Perhaps that's why I don't like it much, and I always feel the need to blog about it.

Not like ICQ, that was the bomb.

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I went and saw The Missing today all by myself. It was a pleasant experience, the flim was pretty mediocre. I went after having lunch with Grandpa and Valentina. That was also very pleasant.

The train home was very full. Van was on it and she was about a metre and a half away but we couldn't have a conversation because there were about 17 people squished in between us. I stopped listening to my mini-disk when I saw her though, just as a ceremonial sign that if we could have had I chat, I would have been listening. When she hopped off we said "Hello".

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Belvoir is getting an $8.3 million upgrade. That's good, I like Belvoir.

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I haven't felt the need to shove my head in a blender for a while now. That's nice. I hoping to keep it that way.

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Yesterday I spent all day sitting around writing and agonising over my sermon. I got it finished at about 1am and decided to pike on my morning run.

I dreamt all night that I was meant to go to Canberra and lead worship for Soul Survivor, but I couldn't because I was meant to be preaching in Sydney, and I didn't think I'd make it back in time. I was feeling a little stressed. It didn't occour to me that I couldn't lead worship, just the timing problems.

I spent all day wearing really bad clothes. I had green tartan shorts, and a maroan, flowery shirt on. The shorts showed my knees and a little too much leg. I was wearing it as a sermon illustration. I wanted people to persectute me for my clothing, and I got that. I was inspired by Ryan's Rough Edges shirt wearing at the pub. I was scared to go to church because I was feeling like such an idiot. It's funny how we are so attached to what we wear. I would like to think that I don't care about what others think about me, but today I was quite aware that that is certainly not the case. It was hard having such terrible clothes on and knowing everyone thought I looked stupid.

Most of the day was pretty normal apart from the clothes. Youth group went well today. I sat in the youth meeting and felt like I was at a youth meeting. That was really nice. Helen spoke good. She inspired us to pray.

I preached and it went good. I always get terrified before I do a new one. I get so much pressure. I feel pressure to do one that's just as good as the last one. And then there's pressure to not worry about what people think. There's pressure to make sure you're not just putting on a show. And there's pressure to make sure it's not boring. There's pressure to preach God's word and not yours. I really wanted to run away and pray for a few hours before church but I didn't have the opportunity.

But it all went fine. People laughed in all the right places, and no one booed me off stage. I pray that God spoke. I played a Michael Franti song and I accidentally gave the impression that I wrote it. Oops, I'm a dirty liar.

We went to Macca's after church and hung out as usual. I had fun. Rach played with my camera.

When I got home Mil and I had a talk about evangelism and God stuff. It's our second since she moved in. I'm sure we'll have many more over the next few months.

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Ryan, and My Dinner Last Night

Ryan With Meat.jpg


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My Camera

So I have a little bit of catch up to do.

Up above you will notice my new camera. It's very nice. It takes good photos.

I bought it on Thursday. I went to the city, looking in one shop, liked the camera, went into another, found it was cheaper there, and bought it. It cost me $699. I'm sure spending that much money needs a lot more agonizing, but I couldn't be bothered. I figured I'd probably buy it anyway so I decided to cut out the hassle.

After my hefty purchase, I retired to Hyde Park. I lay on the grass in my usual spot, read my book, wrote a postcard, slept and read my Bible. I also rang my small group sitting on the grass with my legs crossed. I felt like a contented hippy with a mobile.

The Testament by John Grisham is what I was reading. I finished it last night. I'm not sure if I have talked about it yet. I thought it was alright. A little simple and easy to digest. The main character became a Christian and at times it read like a book from Koorong. But I enjoyed reading it.

After my park time I took myself to the Maccas on the corner of Park St and Pitt and sat up stairs. I sat at a bench looking out the window. It was fascinating. I love looking out windows in the city. I could see everyone walking around. There was a drunk woman on the street opposite shouting at everyone but I couldn't hear what she was saying. Straight across from me was Fitness First and I could see straight in their window. It looked quite surreal, there were rows and rows of people all running and riding to no-where. They all had their eyes fixed on the same unseen point ahead, I assume it was a television. As I sat there eating McDonald's I became quite repulsed by the idea of going to the gym, I didn't want to participate in that strange ritual.

I wandered down George St, to meet Dad and Jo at Belvoir St. I got distracted by an internet cafe on the way and arrived about 15 minutes after I said I'd be there. We went and saw What the Butler Saw (which David had warned me that I might find inappropriate). It wasn't all that good. We all found it a bit dull, but most people seemed to like it. There only seemed to be three jokes the playwrite could make, and one subject to talk about (the subject started with an S and ended with and X, can you guess?). So I was a little bored. Although I get bored with lots of sex jokes in anything. I would rather people were a bit more inventive some times. But there were some good lines. My favourite line was when the doctor was found by his wife holding a dress and she said something like "Are you thinking of taking up transvestism? I had no idea our marriage was on the brink of fashion."

Yesterday was a work day. Not too much spectacular happened.

I was in a silly mood in the afternoon, making meetings not so useful for everyone else. I played hand ball with my small group. Good fun. One of the kids in small group asked me if God invented sex and was quite surprised when I said that He did.

In the evening Ryan, David, Howie and I watched a dvd and at frozen food from Woolies. I didn't actually watch much of the DVD at all. I slept through almost the whole thing. It was a good sleep though. Why is it that when you fall asleep in front of the TV you always wake up really sweaty?

I went to bed and read my book at the end of the night. I finished at around 3am then went to sleep.

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Lots of angry Spaniards marched to show their anger at the terrorism that killed 199 people this week.

I think that's fantastic. If I could go to Spain and join the protests I would. Show the terrorists they suck.

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George W Bush makes a speech to Evangelicals about gay marraige.

Sometimes I wonder if there are more important things to be talking about.

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Pimples are so rude.

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Dear TOM,

You will have received our March 2004 e-Newsletter in the last few days.

As you may have gathered from the awards listed, the reference to
obtaining awards for 6,000 points should have referred to 10,000 points.

We apologise for any inconvenience caused.

Kind regards,

Doug Crocket

Doug Crocket
General Manager, FlyBuys


If you prefer not to receive further monthly FlyBuys E-Newsletters please click here to unsubscribe.


Posted by Unknown |

I woke up in determined mood this morning. By the time I had finished my shower I had decided that I would learn the piano, guitar, drums, buy a digital camera, and clean my room. I'm not sure if I'll do any of them.

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I just got an e-mail that said:

Dear Sir/Madam,

We were informed that your card is used by another person or stolen. It could happen if you have been shopping on-line, and someone got your "Billing information" including your card number. To avoid and prevent any billing mistakes and to refund your credit card, it is strongly recommended to proceed filling in the secure form on our site and applying for our Zero Liability program. This program is free and it will help us to investigate this accident.

Sincerely yours, Visa Support Assistant, Alwin Desagun.

And then there was a button that I could press that said "Continue", I almost fell for it.

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I wrote Matt an email today where I made extravagant use of my job title, I make jokes about my job title often and so does everyone else. I recently changed my job title on my office door to "Da Bomb". I wondered on the way home today why I am so fascinated by my job title. I decided that I think it's absurd someone giving me a job title. I can't believe that anyone would give me a job, responsibility, a title, a salary. It often shocks me. I'm sure that soon someone's going to notice that I'm just a 21-year-old boy and tell me to go home, stop being naughty and leave my job title at the door.

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I'm trying to kill time. I'm meant to ring my small group now. But I can't because I don't know where we are running it, and I'm waiting on a phone call. So I'm sitting here trying to work out what to do.

I could go home, but it's peak hour and I'll have to sit in traffic. However it will be peak hour for a while.

I'm listening to John Mayer. He's singing quite well at this stage.

I set up my internet banking to send me sms when I get money put in my bank account. This means that I will look both popular and rich at the same time.

I'm wondering if there is something productive I could be doing, but I don't think so. I could count my post it notes. Or my paper clips.

I asked the office manager for paper clips last year sometime. Post it notes and paper clips. They were the two most useful things I could think of. As of today, I haven't used a single paper clip. Perhaps I should go use one now.

Yes that's what I'll do, I'll paper clip something for Helen, create a bit of office cheer.

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I got to play handball with the scripture kids today. Good fun.

Mr French played handball!

Pip just asked me if I have noticed that my new t-shirt has shorter sleeves than all my other t-shirts. I had noticed that. It's annoying all the good t-shirts these days have shorter sleeves than I would like. I think they are meant to show off my deficient biceps, it's the "new thing". They really just show my white upper arm. I think it's a sacrifice I have to make. I'd rather have shirts I like and show off a little too much arm, than go the other way. Sadly I am victim of the fashion.

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My head this about this big...

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I have noticed that the days that I don't blog about are usually the days that I sit around and do very little.

Today I read commentaries, swept the floor, cleaned a littled of my room and listened to music.

Today's listening was:

Norah Jones - Feels Like Home
Various Artists - Costal Chill 2
Counting Crows - This Desert Life
Norah Jones - Come Away With Me
Van Morrison - What's Wrong With this Picture
Bruce Springsteen - The Essential Bruce Springsteen - Disk 1

Tonight I went to small group. We had some dinner and I had to tell "My Story" (I always feel like such a boring person, I don't feel like I've had a boring life, I just feel boring) and we talked about Jesus in the Old Testament. I'm still trying to work out how much to say in the group. I could talk for hours on the issues we discuss. However I don't want to dominate, and I try and work out how important it is that I make my view heard.

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I watched the last hour of Breakfast at Tiffany's on Foxtel last night.

I don't know what to say about it, except, it was wonderful.

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Most of us are pastors, quietly tending to our flocks and their internal needs, rather than prophets, challenging our people to look outward and commit themselves to creating a more just society.

I believe the role of pastor is incomplete without a prophetic dimension. We ministers sometimes forget that Jesus, our role model, not only cared for hurting individuals, but also shattered the cultural conventions of his day and turned his society upside down. The Bible is clear about the need to "do justice".
- Henry G. Brinton

I just read that in a good article at SMH. It's just below the article about the topless protest.

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I just went to the Annual Vestry Meeting.

It was ok. I'm glad I went because I think it was the right thing to do. I should try and be more interested in everything though. I felt guilty during the budget bit and I often got distracted during the rest of the meeting. New shoes are such a good thing to think about when in an AVM.

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Welcome to Gem and Mil who moved in last night for the next three months.

Yay for a full house.

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New Shoes

I bought new shoes, and I told the shop assistant a bit about Jesus too. Funny that.

She asked me what I was doing today, I said I had defrosted a freezer, eaten some lunch and bought some new clothes. She asked why I bought the clothes and I said they were for my sermon on Sunday and she asked what it was about. I told her it was about persecution because we share the gospel. When we tell people about Jesus people think will think we're idiots but we have to do it anyway, because it's important. Or something like that.

When I had picked the shoes I liked she went outback and couldn't find any in my size and bought out every pair of shoes they had in my size. They had two pairs, damn big feet. I picked the pair I liked best and headed to the counter. The lady wished me luck on Sunday. It was very nice of her.

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And again the sun is shining, the sky is blue, the leaves are green, the rain is in the ground and God is good.

See the bird with a leaf in her mouth, after the flood all the colours came out - U2

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Right now I am not feeling "smug and comfortable", I'm feeling neither and I think that's a good thing.

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So where am I at?

My life is so full, brain more so. My head has a million and one blog posts, but most of them aren't coming out.

Let us do the traditional sum up.


I went to college on Friday. I had about 3 and half hours sleep the night before. I stayed awake making my plans for the weekend, and then had stupid dreams. I dreamt I turned up at Tim's party and it was actually Soul Blokes. I had to do my talk in 20 minutes and I hadn't written it. I also had to be a bouncer and Jamie and I had to stop people doing doughnuts on Tim's front lawn. It was a most stressful dream.

Anyway, I went to college and had my first class of DM241 Youth Ministry Field Education. There were six of us in the class. Or was it seven, not sure. There was a lot of talk about critical reflection, which is terrible. I hate critical reflection with passion and it seems to me that this class is pretty much all critical reflection. Vomit.

But I had fun. It was a good way to learn, small class, nice people, comfy couches.

Graham and I went out for lunch at Maccas and then I dropped him at his church. I almost crashed on the way there when I tried to merge into a Land Cruiser with the number plate "FROSTY". The guy shouted at me on mute through our wound up windows. He shook his fist too. I waved at him and tried to look like it was all my fault and appropriately remorseful. It was all my fault, and I felt like an idiot

I arrived at church and had a sleep on my office floor for about 20 minutes.

Had a meeting then I took my small group bowling. That was good times. I got beaten both games. I had a ripper of a game the first game, with strikes and spares all over the shop, but alas there was a plucky year 8 who was just a little better than me.

I got my butt kicked in the second game, I only beat one kid. How am I meant to be a respected leader of a small group if they all beat me at sport? Shouldn't they be in awe of me? Next small group outing we're going to pub and I'll play the pokies and they can just watch. That way, at least if anyone's going to win it'll be me.

After bowling we went to Maccas where I bought them all Sundays and felt like their favorite Uncle, except they were all rude to me. I'm hoping it's affectionate rude. Like when you are rude to the girl you have a crush on when you're in year 7. Although, I hope none of them have a crush on me.

I think it's time to move on.

I finished writing my talk for the next day at church then drove to Tim's party, and got random breath tested on the way. That is one of the funniest activities to do in a car, ever.

After the breath test I got teased by a bunch of teenagers in a shiny bomb for my car. I think they thought my van was funny. They waved at me to go faster and laughed. I tried hard to avoid them at traffic lights. When I couldn't do that, I desperately avoided eye contact.

Sadly it turned out the teenagers were heading to the same party as I was and I had the embarrassing task of arriving at the party, parking and getting out of the "Van of Fun" alone, and walking past a large group of cool people. They all looked at me and I said "Good evening". Someone remarked to another "Who's that guy?"

The party was pleasant. I stood out the front and talked to people. I had a look at the inside, and enjoyed the lights. I bopped in time to the music outside every now and again. I can't remember if I am pleased with my party conduct this time. I think it was alright. I didn't embarrass myself too much. Probably felt uncomfortable enough not to do some of my old party antics.

I went home when I thought I should.

I went to bed at midnight, had eight hours wonderful, stress-less sleep.


Soul Blokes day. I was stressed, I had big day ahead. I never really felt great about the talk. I drove to work and spent a few hours in my office going over the talk and worrying.

Mitch arrived and I gave the panel a run down on the topic of the talk. I got grilled by one of the panel people, I was just expecting them to nod and say, "That's cool". I wasn't expecting to have to theologically, and sociologically, justify my two minute out line of my talk. This didn't help my stress. I hadn't eaten all day because of stress. Somewhere after 2pm Soul Blokes/Soul Sista started. There weren't many Blokes there, a lot more Sistas.

We played some blokey games that involved bashing each other with pillows, holding hands and getting carpet burns. I ran around with Matt holding his hand and avoiding people who were trying to hit us. It was a weird feeling, running around and holding hands is not an activity I usually engage in and with another guy, I think, I don't know what I think. I felt like I was in some satirical tv show where men hold hands and skip through daisy filled fields, while the canned audience laughs.

I gave one half of my talk then, and felt mild.

Afternoon tea was had.

I gave the second half of my talk. People said good things to me about it. I was just pleased it was done. I'm happy to put that talk in the talk vault and leave it for "The Very Best Talks of Tom: Vol. 38". Sometimes you just come away going "Bler".

We had a panel for the guys where we covered three topics, sex, make-up and gambling.

The evening held singing, trivia and Matt and Chris playing music. I had fun, hung out with nice people. Chris and Matt played good, I was most impressed, and hope that one day I can be as good at making music as them, as long as I don't have to do any work.

The night ended and we packed up. Sometimes packing up can be the funniest part of the night. I'm not sure if it was on Saturday, but it was a pleasant activity. Sal and I had a race to do chair repositioning, I think they should make it a sport at the Olympics. At least at the Christian Olympics.

Following that there was a drive home. It rained on and off. I don't think there was any roadwork on the Mona Vale Road, but I'm not sure. Probably the best drive home one can have traveling that way.

When the drive was over I could go home and sleep. Debrief could happen later.


I ran in the morning. I did my run 50 seconds slower than my best time. Shows what happens when you don't run for a week.

I arrived at church early to learn Power Point stuff, but ended up learning nothing*. It was good to be there anyway. Good bonding session with the other Power Point presenters of the church (I wouldn't say I'm a Power Point person actually. I've never run it during a service, but hey, I'm happy to be pigeon holed as someone technical.)

Drama was fun, I had two boys and they were good quality. My office got "Love Bomb-ed" by the Service Team during drama, that was really tops. I felt special.

Lunch was good, seeing as the day before had so little food, I was happy to fill me with stuff.

Meetings then church.

Ministry time was good tonight. There was a call to go up the front and pray for people who you have been praying for to find Christ. It was wonderful to actually come up the front on behalf of someone else. To cry out to God and have it not be all about you, it was a liberating experience. It was great to be able to serve people who you love while they aren't even there.

After church Jo and I headed off to SNOAM but we heard rumor that not much was happening so we picked up Howie and David headed off to Maccas. We got kicked out soon after arriving as it was closing time, so we spent then next forty-five minutes hanging in the carpark like the sic fellas normally do. Then it was off to hang out outside the Big Brother convenience Store. Much laughter all night.

We dropped Jo home, then David, then Howie and I came home and watched the coolest documentary on trucks on the Discovery Channel. Trucks are fantastic, especially big ones.

*That's a lie, I learnt one thing. One thing I'd been wondering about Power Point for a while too!

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Right now I'm running a drama group. The great thing is that I can set tasks for my group to do, leave them to it, come back ten miuntes later and see how they are going.

They are sounding good at the moment, lots of silly accents.

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I feel like writing something criptic right now that very few people will understand, and I'll be able to look back on in a few years and say "Ahhh, I know what that was about."

But I can't be bothered, so I'll leave it as this.

Posted by Unknown |

Things keep going, and they don't stop.

Yesterday was a fat day. Today is fat. Tomorrow is about the same. Monday is good.

I'm feeling a bit bler about today. I have this talk to do, and it's just not feeling very good.

But may the Spirit move, because our faith doesn't rest on man's wisdom, but on God's power.

Can't wait till Monday.

Posted by Unknown |

...but alas the titles don't work.

Oh well.

3/04/2004 06:26:00 pm

A New Title

Posted by Unknown |

I have now set my blog posts to have titles if I so desire.

"That's Mr Blog Post to you!"

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I've now discovered that I can send e-mails from my phone, and so have been trying to find out if I can e-mail blog posts. That, sadly, can only happen if I am a member of Blogger Pro, and to be a member I have to pay money (which is no problem if I'm in rash, spend-my-money-on-useless-things mood), but they also aren't taking any new members at the moment. So I guess all those blogable thoughts that I have while walking along that make me think "If only I could blog from my mobile" will have to stay un-blogable. Or at least remembered till I make it to a computer.

Posted by Unknown |

"Quick, think of an illustration"

I have to write my seminar, talk, thingy today. It's about being a bloke (naked chicks and Holdens, grunt!) I'm feeling a little lost. I'm hoping it all comes out. I've been praying for weeks, so I'm hoping it's answer time. Matt wrote a good article for this particular gathering about being a guy. It has been an insipiration for me. I wanted to talk about something blokey, that wasn't sex, but I wasn't really sure what. Matt's article was about identity and belonging (I hope it was) and I thought, "Yeah, now theres a good topic". So I'm speaking about that. Hopefully it'll look like we had planned it this way, and no-one will see that I'm really just stealing ideas.

I have to read my commentaries and eat in the food court today (it's food court day!). I am looking forward to these things. Writing talks is much more fun than writing annual vestry meeting reports.

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The Man Spinal Tap.jpg

These posters are now on my office wall. I'm having fun.

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Today I hung out with my scripture kids for about 5 minutes after the bell for recess went. They talked to me about books and food. It was very exciting. I made some progress. I'm aiming to spend my recess' playing hand-ball in the playground. That'd be sic fun. I love handball. Maybe I could get myslef some play lunch too.

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I just finished writing my report for the Annual Vestry Meeting. It was due on the 23rd of Feburary. I'm so glad I don't have to write many reports for work. I dislike them so much.

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Congratualtions to all the famous people in Hollywood for being in Hollywood and being famous.

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I just noticed that Hannah has a game called "My First Lotto". Good to be encouraging it young I say.

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I had a good day today

If I had to sum up my day in three words: Hooligans, Scientology, Oscars

The peaceful serenity of my morning quiet time (actually I think it was early afternoon) was disturbed today by a bunch of hooligans in my neighbour's tennis court. They were graffiting my neighbour's tennis hut (a brick building next to the tennis court). I heard this as I prayed and thought "Oh dear here's trouble. I should do something about this...No I'm praying, that's more important. Maybe when I finish praying they'll have gone away... No, that's bad, you better do something... What am I going to do? Ask your mother, Mother knows best". So I scampered up stairs and said "Mum, there are people on the neighbour's tennis court graffiting. What do you think I should do?" I was hoping desperately that she didn't say "Go and tell them to go away" lest they get angry at my request and stab me with a flick knife, hidden in their baggy pants. She suggested the police, then decided that was a bad idea and told me to ring TAFE security. That was also decided against because we were just assuming they were TAFE students. Then she got up and said she'd go talk to them. "I better talk to them. You can't. You're just a boy like they are, they won't respect you." I wondered whether I should be offended by that comment, but then decided as long as I was safe from the hooligans with knives and stolen guns, I was happy. I figured they wouldn't shoot Mum. You're not allowed to shoot mothers. Especially when you're a boy-hooligan.

Mum went outside and said: "Excuse me, that's my neighbour's property"

"She doesn't mind" one of them replied, while I hid and watched from the safety of the kitchen.

"Have you asked her?" said my fearless mother

"We're making it look better" and then they grabbed their stuff and climbed the fence.

Mum came back inside and there were congratulations all round. I went into my room and noticed they were still there, but inside the hut. I dobbed on them to Mum again and she went out and said "I think you better go, really". Then they grabbed their stuff again, and she watched as they really did leave this time.

My Mum should join Neighbourhood Watch.

After this excitement I packed my bag and headed to the city with the vague idea that I might either watch a movie, buy some new shoes, or read a book in Hyde Park. The only thing I knew I wanted to do for sure was have a large McOz meal for breakfast, with a Coke.

This I did, and it was good. The chips were cold.

Once I'd finished, I visited Dirt Cheap CDs and had to convince myself that I really didn't need another Michael Franti cd this week. Once I'd done this it was about 4:30. I headed for Hyde Park figuring that home was a long, crowded, seatless, train trip away, so I thought I'd kill the time till peak hour finished in the park, reading. But I never made it to the park. I found a bookmark thing on the ground inviting me to see a free Scientology exhibition at the Church of Scientology in Castlereagh St. I visited and was shown into a room with a short display of pictures and plastic plaques on the wall, explaining all about Scientology.

I wandered for a bit and was soon joined by a women who must have noticed me looking quite perplexed trying to work out one of their charts to spiritual enlightenment. She offered to explain all the stuff to me. I've forgotten her name. She was nice. She took me around, and answered my questions. She found out that I was a theology student, I'm not sure what she thought of that.

When she'd finished taking me through the exhibition she gave me some reading material, and introduced me to a trainee Scientologist who is planning on setting up a Scientology base in Tasmainia. She offered to answer anymore questions I had. Her first question was something like "How did you find it?" I think I must have said something non-committal like "It was interesting", because her next question was, "What are your reservations?" I told her it seemed like a bit of a selfish religion. Everything that one did, was for one's gain. You learnt so that things go better in life, you obey the moral code for your own survival, you help people because it makes you feel good. She told me that it wasn't selfish, but it was for your benefit. Or something like that. I failed to grasp how it wasn't selfish.

I asked her what the eternal significance of all the learning and helping was. I said, because I believe that whatever we gain in this life, our money, jobs, careers, knowledge, all that stuff, will be of no significance when we die. She said that I had to make up my own mind about what happened when we died. I asked her what she thought happened. She refused to tell me, and that I should buy L. Ron Hubbard's book Dianetics. I didn't really want to do this, I was looking for a straight answer. They (my old guide joined the conversation again, as did another lady) told me I wouldn't get one, because I had to decide for myself what was true. And that then, what was true for me, was true for me. What was true for them, was true for them.

It was at this point that we hit the crux of the argument, and why it was going to be impossible for us to agree. I told them that I didn't see how it could work, for me to believe that what's true for me is my truth. I didn't think that subjective truth worked if one believed in absolute truth. I suggested that if I believe in absolute truth and that the Bible is the word of God, and they didn't, they couldn't both be right. Either there was absolute truth or their wasn't. Either my beliefs that cover the whole of humanity are right, or they are wrong. They can't be just right for me, and not right for anyone else or they would be wrong for me, and my truth couldn't be true for anyone. 2+2 cannot equal both 4 and 6 at the same time. Absolute truth, and subjective, personal truth are, in essence, mutually exclusive. But they wouldn't accept that. Their absolute truth was that what's true for the individual is true only for them and each person decided their own truth.

One of the other women took me around the exhibition again, and we continued to talk. It was a good conversation. I did a bit more explaining of where I'm coming from. She explained a bit more. We kept coming back to the problem of truth. In the end we decided that they were never going to answer the question to my satisfaction and that we would have to end the conversation, disagreeing.

I must say, that as negative as I'm sounding, they were all very nice people. I was impressed with their desire to see good things done in the world. I was inspired by their selflessness. It seems to me that I met selfless people in a selfish religion*.

The women that talked to me at the end asked me if I was from Hillsong. I laughed and said "No". She said she wanted to come and visit my church. I told her where it was and gave her the address and my work number. I got invited go to L. Ron Hubbard's Birthday Party. They asked me to do their personality test, but I declined because I didn't have time. I'd spent about an hour and a half there. I had a nice time, and the woman told me she had enjoyed our conversation. I hope that was true. I was trying hard to be a nice, respectful person. I left saying lots of Thank-yous to the many people who had talked to me over the course of the afternoon.

On the way home I sent out many sms-s inviting people to my Oscar party tonight (I'm never sure who to invite to things, I'm never sure how wide to spread my invite net. I guess that's the problem with never minding who turns up to my events, I always want everyone there.)

I got home, checked the blogs, got myself a packet of chips and a Coke, and sat down to watch the Oscars. Only two people had replied to my sms, and they were both to say they weren't coming. I thought it was a little funny that no-one turned up to my party and I started composing blog posts in my head about it. Mum and Hannah arrived home and Hannah joined me for a while finding Billy Crystal hilarious. So I wasn't alone for my party, just no-one I had invited turned up.

And then lo and behold, I got and sms from Sal saying she would be there soon. I started composing my reply when there was a knock at the door and there she was. Suddenly I had a party happening, a massive two people (not including my mother and Hannah who didn't really join in). I started eating my dinner and we watched some awards. Soon Jemma also arrived. And then Chris and Howie. Amazing. What a party. And the Oscars were fun (although they didn't need to show us the Libra ad so often).

After the delayed telecast was over, we had a special Oscar party photo on my new phone, and everyone went home. And although it wasn't nearly as blog worthy, it was a grand evening, almost glamorous, without the glamour.

I also did the washing up and debriefed my afternoon with the Scientologists some more.

*The whole other question that goes with this for myself is, "Is Christianity a selfish religion, if our end goal is to go to heaven?" While the answer is, I believe, "No" because that shouldn't be the end goal, perhaps the better question is, "If I believe that Christianity is not a selfish religion, would I still be a Christian if there was no eternal life?"

Posted by Unknown |

It's funny, there used to be a post just before this with a photo of a man who looked quite on the geeky side. I stuck it on my blog for about 1 minute, then I felt bad and deleted the post. I was paying out Ryan, Chris and David, and the guy in the picture. I didn't think it was a very nice thing to do (mainly to the guy in the photo, I'm hoping Chris, David and Ryan had a laugh). And I thought it looked especially bad since I had a just done and extra spiritual Bible quote below it.

Sadly the post still arrived on my blog, even after I had deleted and republished. My sin was in the open, I am forced to live in the light. My bad.

Posted by Unknown |

"Eh, that's nice"

Today as I drove home I was doing my drive home prayer, and I felt inspired to read that old favourite in Romans 8. So when I got to the top of the drive I turned on the car light, pulled out my Bible, and read it. And it was damn good. God is damn good. There is nothing that can go right or wrong in my life that can separate me from God's love, and I think that's fantastic.

God loves me. Brilliant!

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all--how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things? Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who is he that condemns? Christ Jesus, who died - more than that, who was raised to life - is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

"For your sake we face death all day long;
we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Romans 8:28-39

Usually when people stick verses on blogs, or read them out because they have been particularly inspiring, I hear them and I think "Eh, that's nice" and that's about all. But this is my blog so I can stick on what I want.