6/30/2010 11:49:00 pm

The Offence of Jesus Christ

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"If you have never really wrestled with the offence of Jesus Christ, you haven't come to understand the trajectory of his salvation - the graciousness of his salvation - you really don't know what he stands for. If you've never felt the offensiveness of Jesus Christ, and sensed it, and struggled with it, you don't really know what the gospel is." - Tim Keller in his sermon The Offence of Jesus

6/30/2010 10:02:00 pm


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Twice at Bible Study over the last three weeks we've been asked to write down the answer to a question about the Holy Spirit and what we'd like him to do in us. Both weeks I've written down self-control. I wish self-discipline was part of the fruit of the spirit because I'd write that down for sure. And invisibility. "For the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, invisibility, magical wizardry and self-control."

I've been feeling un-self-controlled lately. Doing the whole full time work, 8:30am-5pm thing has thrown off my whole "I'm a youth minister/unemployed person and I'll get up whenever I want and laze my way to midday" routine. Which has meant this year I've really been struggling to read my Bible and pray every day. So I want self-control, which is probably self-discipline, to actually get up and do my quiet times and not sleep as long as possible before I start turning up to work unreasonably late.

I've also been feeling un-self-controlled, because every fortnight, without fail, I run out of money. I'm on a full-time wage. Albeit a full-time Christian wage, but a full-time wage none the less. Last year, I was living off unemployment benefits, this year I'm living off a descent salary, with tax-benefits, and I still run out of money. You'd think I'd have learnt to save money last year. It's like I have a gambling problem. So I want self-control. I'm not sure spending all my money in the first few days of getting it is honouring God with my money. But it is honouring the that place that sells take-away potatoes. Oh yeah.

Anyway, all this to say, after Bible Study on Monday and praying for self-control, I got up at 6:30am on Tuesday morning, had my shower, had my church planting prayer meeting, and arrived at work half an hour early. This morning, I got up at 6:40am, had a shower and a shave, had my quiet time and arrived at work 5 minutes early. It could be a miracle.

Of course, I know getting up at twenty-to-seven isn't a miracle in most people's books, but I'm willing to believe, if only for the last two days, the Holy Spirit has done a tiny little bit of sanctifying of my relationship with the snooze button. Now I'm hoping he's sanctified my wallet too.

Although I really want to get Friday Night Lights: Season 2 on DVD.

6/29/2010 11:21:00 pm

Deathly Hallows

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This is an awesome teaser. Good work teaser makers.

6/29/2010 07:09:00 pm


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I've been spending many hours at work in Photoshop this past week. It's been quite fun. I've been making posters and bookcovers for the ministry resources we put out. Sometimes, when I get carried away, I start to fancy myself as a real graphic designer. And then I look at size of my 14" display and remember that I wasn't hired for my photoshop skills, but my Jesus-skills. And Jesus workers doesn't need 30" displays.

Speaking of skills, let me show you one of my youth evangelism designs that didn't quite make the cut:

Jesus Mad Skillz copy.jpg

6/26/2010 06:12:00 pm


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Howie, Josh and I went on the Sydney Airport Tarmac Tour, which was awesome. Then we did some crazy stunts in the Maccas' carpark which was even more awesome. Probably the awesomest thing on YouTube. Dramatic Hampster, you're going down.

6/24/2010 11:03:00 pm

Well Played

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If we are going to have to have a new leader, I think Mark Schwarzer should be the new PM.

It was great watching the Socceroos play this morning. They played so well. SBS are nattering on at the moment about how they're national heros or something. I'd be inclined to agree, except I'm not sure heros should be people who kick a ball well.

Still they did make me happy to be Australian, even if we didn't make it through to the group of 16.

Now if only New Zealand can beat Paraguay tonight.

6/24/2010 10:52:00 pm

Good-bye Tin Tin

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I was so happy when Kevin became our Prime Minister. Now I'm sad that he's not our Prime Minister.

I think I'm feeling rather let down by Labor today. I voted for Kevin. Well technically I think I voted the Labor person in my electorate. But I voted for a Labor party with Kevin as its leader. I liked that he seemed to care more about people that pleasing big business. I liked that he was going to say "Sorry". I liked that he was going take action on climate change.

So when Labor won, I was excited by the prospect of a new government. I liked that Julia was his Deputy. I was happy to see so many women in prominant positions of power.

Over the past few years, I can't say Kevin has made all my dreams come true. Though I thought he probably would be a little of a let down. Politicians always are. Actually, he was quite a lot of a let down at times.

But the past 24 hours have been most depressing. I'm sad that Kevin didn't get a chance to lead when things got tough. I'm disappointed that our politicians are so scared of losing an election that they'll oust their leader when things don't look good for them. I'm sad that Julia stood by her leader right up until she had him kicked out of the Prime Ministership. None of this makes me believe that they really believe in leadership at all. Only power, fear and job security.

Lots of people have been excited about the fact that we have our first female PM. I was looking forward to that prosect. But I don't want it this way. I don't really care about the gender of the Prime Minister if they get in through disloyalty.

But then again, that's politics. It's not like Kevin got in to leadership in any better fashion. And Julia will probably lose her leadership that way too, if she doesn't lose the election and step-down as a result.

Ahh. It's a shame.

Still, all the best Julia. I hope you lead us well.

6/23/2010 11:04:00 pm

24th June

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Tomorrow the Socceroos could be out of the World Cup and Kevin Rudd out of office.

Could be a big day for Australia.

My guess is more people will be paying attention to the soccer.

6/23/2010 02:35:00 pm

See Ya Later, Academia

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I'm home from my last exam, for my last subject in my BTh. This really could be it. I really could be finally done with Bible College. I only started in 2002. I have a full six months left to sit the last subject again if I fail before subjects start slipping off the back end. I've probably been a little hasty getting this done.

The first question I had to answer in the exam was What are the main objections to the doctrine of predestination? Discuss the strengths of the responses which may be given to these objections. I really wanted to discuss the weaknesses of the responses just because the question was a little too biased for my liking. But I answered like a good Calvinist because I can't be bothered risking another six months of assessments and stuff to teach the examiners a lesson they probably wouldn't even notice.

That said, I was pretty happy with the exam. I think the 5 hours or so of study I did for this exam really helped. I was pretty impressed. I think 5 hours is more study than I've done for college in the last 5 years combined.

I celebrated the end by eating Pad See Ew and reading Time magazine. Tonight I'm gonna go watch a movies with Ryan. I party hard.

Anyway I should go do some real world work, because I still have that to do. Probably for another 40 years or so.

6/21/2010 07:25:00 am

Kiwi Love

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Dear New Zealand,

You rock my world cup.



6/20/2010 11:36:00 pm

Big Hair

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I'm pretty sure it's time for a hair cut.

And some hair plugs.

Big Hair.jpg

"Advanced hair, yeah, yeah."

6/20/2010 11:32:00 pm

Sex Myths: Part One

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I've stuck up part one of the Busting Sex Myths talks I did at Soul this year. Remember, y'all helped me write them back here.

If you're interested you can go find it blogged about here or you can get the audio file here. I'll stick up part two next week sometime.

Remember if you like the talks and sermons I post, you can subscribe to the podcast by sticking http://feeds.feedburner.com/tompreaches in your RSS machine or iTunes. Or you could just search for "Tom French" on iTunes and you'll find me.

I'm telling you now, because like I said, I have 2 to 5 more talks to be sticking up on the podcast and I don't want you to miss out on hours of me pontificating about Jesus and sex and all that.


6/19/2010 12:47:00 pm

Christian Camping is Cool

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These guys are leaders on a Christian summer camp in the US. If they were my leaders, I'd become a Christian straight away. "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me" - even be awesome at trick-shots. Yeah baby!

6/16/2010 03:06:00 pm


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If you were going to define humility for an 8-12 year old how would you do it?

I wrote "Humility is not thinking you're better than you are." I'm not sure it's the best answer though.

6/15/2010 09:49:00 pm

Finding the Good

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"At least they know the ground even if they don't have good memories here." - SBS Commentator early in the New Zealand vs Slovakia game, finding a positive in New Zealand's experience at losing at the ground - "Well at least they've got practice losing here."

6/14/2010 11:20:00 pm

Shared Loss

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I'm pretty happy I got up at 4:30am to watch the Socceroos get smashed by Germany. Not because it was an enjoyable experience, but it was an important one. It's going to be defining our national sporting identity for the next week, so I figure, I'm glad I shared the experience with the rest of Australia.

6/11/2010 11:36:00 pm


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Tonight for youth group we took our boys to play laser tag. Usually we get about five or six boys along, last week we had eight boys, tonight we had fourteen boys. We've almost tripled in size in two weeks. It's the great laser tag awakening.

I told them all to come back next week. Let's hope they do. Next week we'll tell them about hell and punch them till they give their life to Jesus. Youth need the gospel and not just laser tag.

6/10/2010 11:06:00 pm


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Antiformal 2 blog.jpg

Lesley just stuck the above photo on her blog of the great Anti-Formal of 2000. Brilliant! I am so pleased to see this photo has survived. It's from the era before digital cameras. I'd given all those memories up, lost to the metaphorical-fire of real photos in real boxes, where no real person actually looks.

Anyway this was taken on the night of the St Ives High Year 12 formal. Howie, Chris (on the toilet next to me) and I had decided we didn't want to go to our formal, that most important night of our lives, we were going to have an anti-formal. So we did. We encouraged people to dress daggy. Which as you can see we obeyed, though I am struggling to see how what we're wearing in that photo was different to anything else we wore 10 years ago. Especially Lesley, she was always wearing 80s formal dresses around. Whatever the case, that night we watched Muppets from Space on a tiny TV, in the middle of the cold, empty church hall, maybe even with the fluros on, we had frankfurts and cordial for dinner and photos were done in the girls' toilets. Classy. It was one of the best nights of my life.

You want non-conformist youth, that was us.

Just to note, while I am sitting on the toilets with my pants down, I was wearing boxers underneath I think. I wasn't one for getting naked in public. If I'm not mistaken, I was wearing my trackies that night, the same trackies that I still wear every morning while I grumble my way from my bed to the shower. My trackies are the only good thing in my life before 8am.

6/09/2010 11:17:00 pm


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I stuck up a new talk on the preaching podcast/blog. It's one I did at a school last month. I recorded it on my phone because I thought it might be good to post.

Things have been very quiet on the podcast this year. This isn't for lack of preaching, but lack of access to recordings. But between now and August I should have about seven new talks and sermons to post. So things should speed up a little.

Anyway, if you want to listen, you can go listen to the new one here.

6/09/2010 12:25:00 am


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I've often dreamt of making full use of the Sydney Film Festival. I'd love to take two weeks off and just watch movies all day.

Alas, this year was not the year. But on Saturday I did manage to find a day mostly free to watch movies. So Ryan and I went movie watching. Three movies in one day. Excellent.

Movie One: Ordinary People

Ordinary People.jpg

This is a film about how war makes ordinary people willing participants in atrocities very quickly and easily. At least I think that's what it's about. It was certainly the most pretentious and arty of the films we watched. It was shown in a cinema full of film snobs who say they love movies, but only go to the cinema three times a year.

I think watching the film brought out my rage at the pretentious attenders of the Film Festival. Because they have this love of cinema, which doesn't extend to going to the cinema to watch the movies that everyone is watching. In fact they don't go to the movies, they only watch "films", because they're snobs.

I know all this because I judged the back of their heads in the darkened cinema.

Of course the film should have made me angry about war and stuff, but there were more immediately pressing issues for me to be concerned about.

But if I must talk about the film, it was about the day in the life of a young, Russian (probably) soldier, who spends most of the film sitting around, sleeping, drinking vodka. Every now and again he executes "terrorists". The film had many long silent shots of this guy sleeping, staring at the sky, riding on a bus, and drinking vodka, just as you expect to see in a Dendy cinema. It seemed to be about how mundane and ordinary life is, except when you're putting people to death.

It wasn't a bad film really, though it can't have been that good an arty film because I think I understood the point. But it has certainly confirmed my desire never to be soldier in any army. Despite how much I love guns and tanks and stuff, I hate killing people more. Thank you, film.

If I was Margaret or David, I'd give it three and a half stars.

Movie Two: Cell 211

Cell 211.jpg

Now this was a freakin' movie!

The Sydney Film Festival described this as a film that "delivers a sharp uppercut to the fiercely clenched jaw of the Spanish penal system." If that doesn't make you want to watch the film, nothing will. The Spanish penal system has been crying out for a sharp, celluloid uppercut for a very long time and we're glad someone has finally gotten around to delivering it!

By golly this was a good film. I didn't go in expecting much, but I think this is the best prison film I have ever seen.

It's about a prison guard who gets caught in the middle of a riot on his first day of work and pretends to be a prisoner to survive. It's amazing. It's tense, got brilliant characters, it doesn't preach, it has plenty of blood and unflinching uppercutness (which made many of the film goers gasp and say "oh my"), and it has a tight, well paced, fast moving story.

If you get the chance to see this film, see this film. It'll make your month.

Movie Three: The Loved Ones

The Loved Ones.jpg

After a falafel roll and a can of drink, it was time for our third film. Jemma joined us for this.

The Loved Ones is an Australian horror film. I didn't know anything about it, but I was looking forward to watching something in English.

It turns out we were at the Sydney premiere and the Director, Producer and some of the actors had come along to introduce it and do a bit of a question and answer afterwards.

Once the film started I really wanted to like it, because the director was there. I didn't want him to see that I wasn't impressed. But I didn't have high hopes, because Australians don't tend to make a lot of good movies. Especially not horror or action. (Though Wolf Creek was pretty good).

Once the film started it seemed to confirm my fears. It was just your average horror film. A carbon copy of every teenage slasher flick to come out of Hollywood in the past 30 years. There's the requisite troubled main character, hot girlfriend, nerdy best friend, sex scene, kidnapping by a freaky man and high school dance. It was all there. I was really disappointed that this director I just saw interviewed had made something so unoriginal.

And then at the beginning of the second act, the whole film took a brilliant twist. A really simple one, but it changed the whole deal, and suddenly it was a new take on an old idea, done with humour, wit, and charm. I'd tell you what it is, but if you can watch the film without knowing what's coming, it'll make it all the more exciting.

It being a horror film, there's plenty of blood and painful torture, but it's also a whole lot of fun. It's obviously made by a guy who loves horror movies to bits. It's like Shaun of the Dead if only Shaun was actually a good zombie movie (though it's still a good comedy).

This was excellent film number two of the day. If you can handle a horror film, go see this one. It's one of the best horror films I've seen in a long time. And it's Australian. Who'd have thought?

So there's my SFF experience. Maybe next year, I'll take the two weeks off work and just watch "films" the whole time. That'd be great. And pretentious. Oh my.

6/08/2010 11:10:00 pm


Posted by Unknown |

I bought a fridge on Sunday. It's been more significant than I thought it would be. Now I feel like I'm properly an adult. I own a whitegood. All the stuff I own doesn't fit into one room anymore. I feel like it's time to settle down, like it's time to get a mortgage to house my fridge.

Damn it, van Warmelo, you seduced me into middle age. You and your reasonably priced, lusty fridge.

6/03/2010 10:48:00 pm


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I had a beer tonight and I just had two cold and flu night tablets, which you shouldn't take with alcohol. Things are going to get cra-zy.

I expect to wake up in my frontyard with no pants on.

6/02/2010 09:23:00 pm

Economy of Awesome

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Today I did a talk in a primary school where I ate a chocolate ├ęclair as part of my opening illustration. Because of that all the kids thought I was amazing and mobbed me afterwards.

Chocolate ├ęclair eating leads to celebrity status. I'm living the fatties' dream!

6/01/2010 06:09:00 pm


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I went to see Q&A getting filmed last night with Howie and Dingo in Studio 22 at the ABC.

On the show was Liberal Senator Corey Bernardi, Clare Bowditch, Miriam Lyons, Mitch Grady and Maxine McKew. They were a good group. Everyone spoke rather well. Bernadi and McKew just sounded like politicians who can never say anything much except for the party line. Bowditch spoke like an artist about "listening to your inner ear" and "speaking from the heart", but I generally agreed with her. However, the winner of the night, in my view, was Mitch Grady. He's an "aspiring Liberal" whatever that means, but he was smart, persuasive, and spoke very well. I hope he doesn't become a politician because he won't be allowed to speak well anymore.

It was a rather rowdy crowd. I had some young Liberals in front of me who would only listen to Bernardi and spent the rest of the night muttering that everyone else was an idiot and should shut up. I wanted to kick them in the back of the head. But I didn't because Jesus would not be pleased.

The largest applause of the night followed Corey Bernardi's explanation of why he wants to ban the burqa: "If we think that we’re not going to have a problem in 20 years as the burqa becomes more prevalent, I think we’ve got to think again and we’ve got to nip it in the bud now and say, “Enough is enough. We have a different culture, a different society here, one that is open where you can see people’s faces and you can communicate effectively with others."

He says his argument stems from people using the burqa as a disguise to commit a robbery in Sydney. It seems like a rather absurd reason to ban a burqa, it's not like there's a campaign out there to ban ski-masks and motorcycle helmets. This has to be about more than just public safety. Otherwise you can just ban the wearing of face coverings in banks, police stations and at airport security screening.

It worried me that there was such a depth of approving response in the crowd to the idea of banning the burqa. I'm disturbed by any attempts to limit religious freedom in our country. Just because I'm not a Muslim doesn't mean I want to stop them expressing their faith in the way they believe is right.

Mitch responded pretty well when he said: "I think there’s a very fine line between a country who, through a law, interferes with somebody’s choice by banning the burqa and a country who, through a law, interferes with somebody’s choice by forcing them to wear a burqa... When we’re having these debates, we need to go back to first principles. When do we ban something in a western liberal democracy? ...We have to accept that in a Western liberal democracy we all have rights and freedoms and choices and that those rights are not granted at the whim of the state but they’re granted to us on the basis that we have innate integrity as a human being and so what it essentially means is that rights in our society must apply axiomatically. You don’t need a reason to give somebody a right but you do need a damn good reason to take it away."

The issue of Rudd's back flip on using government funds to pay for political advertising in the mining taxes debate came up. Corey scored some easy points in that one, because poor Maxine is stuck trying to defend something which is clearly the result of Rudd's lack of integrity and by trying to make it out as being in the public interest.

Once again Mitch put it well: "What I find interesting about this debate is that the government seems to think that if somebody expresses a point of view that’s different to theirs, then that is misinformation. That’s not - it’s not misinformation, it’s an argument and as a government you need to be prepared that other people are going to have different points of view. Now, the government has no shortage of mechanisms available to get its message out there: political journalists and what not. If you want to air a political advertisement, then that should be paid for by political parties and nobody is stopping the Labor Party from submitting an ad defending that policy. But the government should not be - whether it was Howard and WorkChoices, whether it was Labor and the mining tax, the government should not be spending money to defend policy and it’s very different to swine flu, which had a clear public benefit. This is a benefit that only serves to try and keep Kevin Rudd in power."

To which the Liberal Senator responded "Hear, hear!" I think he may have only listened to the last line and missed the bit where Grady stuck the boot in Howard.

All up it was a fun night. Probably most fun was being part of live television, I love live TV. And I love politics. But live TV is 1000 times better.

I think I might go back.