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"DAVID MIERS is reported to be in the top 10 cage fighters in Gosford. He has some serious dish washing skills and thinks that Elizabeth Bennet is hot. Although he thinks that his wife Rowena is hotter. David works in youth ministry for a great church. Likes to: speak in third person, watch and play soccer, eat food and surf the web. He has never watched Star Wars."

Lost and Found 6: The Pharisee Friday, June 29, 2007 |

Country and Western movies are fun. I remember watching them on Saturday afternoons when I was young. I honestly thought that there was a time when everything was black and white. It was while watching these movies that I learnt that the world has always been colourful, it just took a while to work out how to capture it on film!

In Country and Western movies, it’s always obvious who the goodies and baddies were. The goodies rode the white horse with the white hat and the white jacket. The baddies? They had the black gear on the black horse. From the beginning until the end it was always obvious who was who.

In Luke 18:9-14 it seems obvious. The Pharisee was a good guy. The Tax Collector was a bad guy. Finished.

Not according to Jesus.

This parable is all about what it means to be justified before God. It’s a legal term referring to a right standing and declaration of innocence before a judge. Who is the one who goes home justified before God? It’s not the good guy. It’s the bad guy who cries out to God for mercy. The good guy was trusting in his own goodness. He had too small a view of God and too high a view of himself. The bad guy recognised he was a bad guy – and knew that the only chance he had of standing before God was based on His mercy. The Tax Collector knew that he was lost. The Pharisee was lost too… but didn’t realise it.

Being justified is based on where our confidence is placed. Is it in you or is it in Jesus?

Verse 9 is a key verse to the Parable. Jesus tells this parable to some who were confident in their own righteousness and looked down on others: people just like the Pharisee. The problem for us is that we unknowingly pray a prayer like the Pharisee. We say: “Thank you God that I’ve responded to you like the Tax Collector. Thank you that I’m not like other people: like Pharisees and other religious nuts.” When we pray like that we need to be reminded not to be self-righteous.

Where is your confidence?
How do you treat the ‘sinner’ that comes into your youth group/church?
How do you treat the self-righteous religious person that comes into your midst?
Part 6 of Lost and Found. I'm writing a series of talks and studies on Lost and Found. These aren't talks or studies... just some thinking. 1, 2, 3, 4, 5.

Adrian do you want to try this? |

Prayer Friday #28 + making friends |

OBSERVATION: Because I'm freed up from secular work to do Christian work - it means it's super important that I'm intentional at making friends with people who don't know Jesus. I play sport. This has been successful in establishing real friendships with real opportunities to share life and Jesus. Tim B and Josh D have been good examples to me recently of working outside of the office in a public place (ie cafes). This week has been great for me doing this. Good conversations and good friendships being established. I used to drink around - but I'm now taking my computer to the one cafe. This has been brilliant!

"G'day Dave - the usual?"... "Yes thanks James."

Are you in ministry? Are you intentional in making friends for Jesus? Do you go to a Christian school but have no non-Christian friends? Make friends for Jesus. Jesus says to use money to buy friends for eternity. Are you? Don't be tight - spend $3 for a coffee and make friends with people. Maybe even buy one for someone!!

>The stuff above
>Had a great year 12 breakfast this morning. Pray our year 12's would know the biggest picture ( 2 Cor 4:16-18)
>Swing into Action campers
> Lost and Found talk prep

How's the weather? Thursday, June 28, 2007 |

People often talk about the weather. I think it might be a polite way of saying that I have no other way of interacting with you than talking about the weather. That's okay. It's actually an opportunity to interact with people in your community and build a relationship with them. Neighbours, Cafe owners, Check out chicks, mechanics, other parents, the bus driver, etc...

Jesus. He's the most important subject anyone can talk about. Imagine if you had a couple of extra insights into the weather... it would help you to engage with someone for a few more moments... and hopefully it will lead to a conversation about Jesus (not necessarily immediately).

Got it? Having something to say other than "yeah, it is hot" might mean you can make a more meaningful attempt at getting in conversation with someone. There are a whole bunch of desk top widgets (mac, google, yahoo) that have weather trackers. Matt, a friend from church, works for weatherzone. They have a great tracker with accurate details and other little pop-up bits with weather warnings etc. Spend a minute a day glancing at this tracker so that you can point people to Jesus - the Lord of the weather.

Lost and Found 5: The Rebel Wednesday, June 27, 2007 |

The Prodigal Son. He’s famous. His story is famous. It’s a much loved story of God’s amazing love.

The Older Son. He isn’t famous. His story isn’t well known. Often when we reflect on Luke 15 we stop at verse 24.

We have the story of the Lost Sheep (vv1-7).
We have the story of the Lost Coin (vv8-10).
We have the story of the Lost Son (vv11-24).
We forget the story of the Lost Son II (vv25-32).

It’s obvious that the younger son is lost. He tells his dad that he wishes he were dead (v12). He gets his share of the inheritance early and moves to a foreign land and wastes it all in wild living (v13). When tough times hit – the son comes to his senses and returns to his loving Father (v20).

There are two types of people present when Jesus tells these three parables: the tax collectors and sinners (v1) and the Pharisees and teachers of the law (v2). The tax collectors and sinners can clearly identify with the story of the Prodigal son. They, like the Prodigal, have wandered a far way from God and need to come home to him. They are the ones with ears to hear (14:35) who have come to hear (15:1) the offer of forgiveness from Jesus.

The Pharisees are more like the older son. They may not have wandered as far from God, they may not have squandered everything on wild living like the sinners and the first son, but they still need to recognise that without relationship with God they are lost. Their trust is in themselves rather than God. They claim to know God but don’t really know him.

What’s the point of this parable? There are two lost sons, not one. Both of them need to come home to their father. It seems that the first son does. The older son? Does he? We don’t find out. This is good – it leaves hope that even Pharisees (have you heard of Saul of Tarsus???) and religious nuts can come home to God.

Have you come home to God? God offers remarkable love and forgiveness in Jesus. The ultimate demonstration of God’s love is Jesus’ death for sinners (Romans 5:8). At the cross of Jesus, God is calling both religious nuts and worldly pagans, to come back home.

Tim Keller: Gospel-Centred Ministry |

The Resurgence have just released Tim Keller's talk from the Gospel Coalition. Audio, Video. I've only seen the first 15 minutes - but it's great so far.
  1. The gospel is historical.
  2. The gospel is doxalogical.
  3. The gospel is christological.
  4. The gospel is personal and individual.
  5. The gospel is cultural.
  6. The gospel is the basis for a worldview; it's massively transformational.
  7. The gospel is wonderful.
More detailed notes.

What a Savior MP3 and Chart |

Andy M & Danny G (assuming Dan would find this by himself) might be interested in this old hymn re-done by Sov Grace peeps. From Bob Kauflin.

Swing into Action 2007 |

After more than 15 years of Swing into Action (10 years of which I've been a part), it's with sadness that I announce that the camp has been called off for 2007 due to an insufficient number of campers. This is disappointing, yet God is still sovereign. Pray that those signed up for SIA will find other holiday camps to attend and more importantly will be connected into a youth group/church. The future of SIA is unsure - but it is exciting to help youthworks keep thinking through how to effectively proclaim Jesus (like they have been for the last 70 years) on school holiday camps. There have been many joys on camp including young lives changed by Jesus and... finding a wife!

Lost and Found 4: The Prostitute Tuesday, June 26, 2007 |

What do Paul Keating, John Howard and the Prostitute from Luke 7:36-50 have in common? They all dealt with Royalty in a way that wasn’t considered acceptable by the public. Former Prime Minister Paul Keating touched the Queen (on two occasions!) in a way considered unacceptable. Current Prime Minister John Howard did likewise in greeting the Queen. The prostitute in Luke 7 likewise touched the King of the Universe in a way that onlookers considered unacceptable.

What did Jesus have to say about this? He considered that this sinful woman’s response was more appropriate than the Pharisee hosting the party. Simon hadn’t recognised just how great his debt was to Jesus. The Prostitute demonstrated in her love for Jesus that she understood how much she had been forgiven. Her love for Jesus didn’t earn her forgiveness – but her love demonstrated that she understood the gracious forgiveness offered by Jesus.

Both Simon and the Prostitute were lost. Simon didn’t recognise he was lost. The Prostitute did. She came to Jesus knowing that he came to ‘seek and save those who were lost.”

Do you recognise you are lost? Has Jesus found you?
How do you treat sinful people (really really bad people) when they come to your youth group or church?
Part 4 of Lost and Found. I'm writing a series of talks and studies on Lost and Found. These aren't talks or studies... just some thinking. 1, 2, 3.

Lost and Found 3: The Paralytic |

Today began like any other day. I woke up to the sound of the chickens. Mum brought me in some breakfast and I lay in bed reading today’s Galilee Gazette. I still think it’s weird that my sister has been given the job of washing me, but I appreciate it nonetheless.

The boys came around this morning as they often do. They are good friends to me. They spend time with me when others just laugh at me. Often they used to take me out around the town – it was a physical burden to them – but they were creative in how they got me around. Despite my limitations, we got up to some crazy mischief.

That was then. Now that my pain has increased, it’s limited the number of outings to zero in the last six months. In fact I haven’t even left the house! The pain is bad. But the isolation is worse.

I was shocked today when they suggested that they were taking me out for the day. That teacher from Nazareth has been doing some incredible things. He’s my only hope. The boys know this too and said they will do anything to get me an audience with him.

There were more people there than we expected. I said that maybe we should go home and try again another time. However, I was glad when the boys suggested another way.

It was kind of funny how they pulled apart the roof and lowered me down. Suddenly all eyes were on me. I was a little embarrassed. There were so many people there. What would they be thinking? And the religious people? They always seem so serious and frown upon everything.

What came next stunned everyone, especially the religious nuts. The teacher said that my sins were forgiven. This outraged many people. Yet the teacher did more than that. He said to prove that he had authority to forgive sins he would heal my legs. And he did. I’m now walking. I was carried in on my bed but now I am carrying my bed out. I thanked Jesus. And I thanked my friends. That afternoon we had so much fun!

As I lay here falling asleep, I’ve begun to realise that of the two incredible things that happened to me today, being able to walk again is the least important.
Part 3 (Luke 5:17-26) of Lost and Found. I'm writing a series of talks and studies on Lost and Found. These aren't talks or studies... just some thinking. 1, 2.

Choose your own news |

ABC has a new look with their online news. I think ABC are the leaders in Australia when it comes to using new media such as videos, podcasts, RSS feeds and other Web 2.0 gear. Here is a tour on how the new site works. They have a great play list feature which means you can tailor the news to suit you! Kind of like a choose your own adventure! Very post-modern...

Lost and Found 2: The Fishermen Monday, June 25, 2007 |

I caught a fish once. Once. That's it. I've always lived near water, but never been a fisherman. Some of Jesus' close disciples were fishermen. They caught more fish than me - especially when Jesus gave them a hand! In Luke 5:1-11 Jesus meets some peeps at the end of a long and unsuccessful night of fishing. He tells them to throw their net in one more time. Begrudgingly they do. To their astonishment they get the biggest catch of their lives... even the boat starts to sink!

Simon Peter responds to Jesus with the words: "Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!" In the presence of Jesus, Peter recognises that he is nothing. He is sinful. He is lost. Jesus responds: "Don't be afraid; from now on you will catch men." This isn't a reference to them running down Oxford Street looking for men to catch - rather Jesus is calling them to a career change. Still fishing, but not for fish, but people - people who are lost, people that Jesus came to find.

After the greatest catch of their fishing careers - they leave all of it behind to follow Jesus. Are you lost? Are you willing to give up everything to follow Jesus? Only in Jesus can you be found.

ps - we looked after my sister's two fish at the start of the year - one of them died. Sorry Jen. Note to family: don't entrust us with your pets!

Lost Cat: Found |

Josh lost his cat. He's now back. I have another possible lost and found illustration to go with Riley's adventure from last weekend. Keep them coming!

Lost and Found 1: Who is Jesus? |

“Boy haven’t you grown”
“I remember when you were only this big”
“Why didn’t you perform any of your party tricks when you were living in Nazareth?”
I wonder if these are the words that Jesus heard when he returned to his old stomping ground. Did he have one of those Aunties that grabs your cheeks in such a patronising way – you know the ones?

In Luke 4:14-30 we see Jesus return to Nazareth, read the Bible, and preach a sermon. The local Nazarenes didn’t like what he said. They were amazed and astonished at the way that he taught – but they didn’t really take his message to heart. Instead they tried to kill him. But it wasn’t yet Jesus’ time.

Who is Jesus?
Jesus is more than just some country boy who moves to the city and then makes it big. Jesus isn’t just a cool guy to have around at parties (although water into wine is very useful!). Almost every religion is willing to accept that Jesus was a great teacher – but he was much more than that!

Jesus is the Spirit-Anointed one who brings Salvation
Jesus identifies himself with the Isaiah 61 passage that he read out in the Synagogue. Jesus is the one Anointed by the Spirit (already made obvious in Luke 3 with Jesus’ baptism and Luke 4 with Jesus’ temptation in the dessert) to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favour to the poor, prisoners, blind and the oppressed.

Jesus’ mission? To seek and to save the lost (Luke 19:10). The people in vv18-19 are lost. They are helpless. They are without hope. They are homeless bums, they are destitute, and they are troubled. Jesus came to seek and save people like that. When Jesus meets their physical needs – ultimately it is pointing to their far greater spiritual need.

Jesus is the Spirit-Anointed one who brings Judgement
In Isaiah 61 not only does it say that the Spirit-anointed one will bring salvation – he will also bring judgement. That is clear in this passage. There is judgement upon the people of Nazareth for rejecting their own local boy as there is judgment upon Israel in the time of Elijah and Elisha. Ironically, in taking offence at Jesus’ teaching, the Nazarenes try to kill Jesus. This is judgment upon them. Ultimately this near miss points us to the way that Jesus will rescue the lost: his death on the cross.

Are you lost or found?
Jesus brings both salvation and judgment. There are religious nuts that don’t recognise their need for Jesus. Jesus will judge those that reject him. Whether you are physically rich or poor – you are spiritually lost – and only in Jesus, the Spirit-Anointed one, can you be found.
Part 1 of a series this week on Lost and Found. I'm writing a series of talks and studies on Lost and Found. These aren't the talks... just some thinking. Would love to hear comments.

Human Tetris Sunday, June 24, 2007 |

(h/t plunks)

John Piper writes about my blog Saturday, June 23, 2007 |

John Piper:
And the point is not that the afflictions merely precede the glory; they help produce the glory. There is a real causal connection between how we endure hardship now and how much we will be able to enjoy the glory of God in the ages to come. Not one moment of patient pain is wasted. I do not lose heart . . . FOR all my troubles are producing for me an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison.
Check the rest out here.

Safari 3 - world's best browser? |

Apple claim that their browser, Safari, is the world's best. They've now made it available for windows. I downloaded it. But it didn't work. I removed it. Downloaded it again. Still didn't work. This afternoon the apple updater had a new download for Safari. I downloaded it for the final time. It works!! I'm giving it a go. They claim to be the fastest and use the least amount of resources. Firefox is good... but it has been getting clunkier and clunkier to run.

If you know any short cut buttons - let me know them in the comments. (esp the one that is ctrl + tab in firefox which moves from one tab to the next)

Prayer Friday #27 + Gen Y SMS Friday, June 22, 2007 |

Observation: the best digital medium for contacting Gen Y peeps on the Central Coast is SMS. Email, web, myspace, facebook, etc... are all good things... but Gen Y peeps have their mobile phones with them at all times. I send out emails each week to leaders, we have a youth group website, we have a weekly breaking news email... but if I want an instant and reliable response from leaders - SMS is the way to go.

Why am I saying this? Just thought of it. If I think of something again on a Prayer Friday - I might post it again! Stay tuned for the next observation...

1) Thank God for the gospel of Jesus.
2) Pray for swingintoaction - still need to sign up more campers
3) Pray for LOST N FOUND Bible talks & studies that I'm preparing
4) Pray that I'd pray more. Pray that you'd pray more.
It's all about JESUS. Trust him. Love him.

ps - Ben reckons this is the funniest 5 second vid on the net... what do you think?
pps - Dave vs Dan: 1-0.

UPDATE: Andy M wants friends

Don Carson: What is the gospel? Thursday, June 21, 2007 |

The Gospel Coalition site isn't yet ready - but theresurgence.com has just released the video and the audio of Don Carson's first talk: WHAT IS THE GOSPEL. It's very good. His primary text is 1 Corinthians 15:1-19. Have a listen or a watch. (Since getting broadband - I like to watch). Go subscribe in iTunes to help knock the nut cases out of the top 10! Here's something of a summary:
Eight Summarising Words
  1. The gospel is Christological.
  2. The gospel is theological.
  3. The gospel is biblical.
  4. The gospel is apostolic.
  5. The gospel is historical.
  6. The gospel is personal.
  7. The gospel is universal.
  8. The gospel is eschatological.
Five Clarifying Sentences
  1. This gospel is normally disseminated in proclamation.
  2. This gospel is fruitfully received in authentic persevering faith.
  3. This gospel is properly disclosed in the context of personal self-humiliation.
  4. This gospel is rightly asserted to be the central confession of the whole church.
  5. This gospel is boldly advancing under the contested reign and inevitable victory of Christ the King.
Taking Stock
  1. It is striking how cognitive the gospel is.
  2. The gospel is not the gospel if it remains exclusively cognitive.
  3. The gospel must transform all realms of our lives.
Check more detailed notes here.

Free album download: Take me in |

I'm the Prince of free and legal downloads. (I'd written 'King' but changed it because I'm sure there's people who apply more time and energy and are therefore more deserving of the title!). Row's friend Murray has released a live worship album online for free download under this Creative Commons license. I've only listened to it once, so I'm not willing to give the album an outright endorsement! But it seems to have some good tunes and the sound & production quality is very good. Take me in is conveniently found in 1 zip file (lyrics and chord charts are found in the resources page). Have a listen and let me know what you think.

My top 6 free AND legal music download sites:
  • music recorded live at mars hill church (gold! i love the brothers of the empty tomb...)
  • iTunes have 1 free track per week (this is a regular stop)
  • triplejunearthed.com (too much to listen to - I've checked out lots of the Roots gear)
  • other triple j free music (particularly during november - ausmusicmonth)
  • music.download.com (haven't been there for a while... but got lots!)
  • artist's myspace and personal websites (if can't download - you can listen)

Paul Potts has got talent Wednesday, June 20, 2007 |

I just watched the above video again. It's stunning! The Britain's Got Talent finals have now happened and you can view Paul Potts and his winning performances below...
The best performance was his audition video (the one above). The judges had written him off... but they and the audience were humbled by his mesmerising performance. If you only have time to watch one video - watch the audition one above.

Eternalweightofglory talent quest: If you were back at school - what would your compulsory entry into the talent quest be?

The world's most ...... blogger Tuesday, June 19, 2007 |

Nothing profound from me today. This dude is known as "the world's most hated blogger". Fill in the gap for yourself:
"The world's most ...... blogger".
What would yours be? 1 warm fuzzy for each creative entry. 5 for the best.

Swing into Action 2007 Monday, June 18, 2007 |

Swing into Action is a Youthworks holiday camp that I've been involved in for the past 10 years. We are struggling for campers this year. It's a great camp - and we've got more room for teenagers to hear the glorious news of Jesus! Please pray - but also if you have Christian teenagers in your family, church or youth group - encourage them to come along. It's for year 7-11's from 1-6 July @ Blue Gum Lodge Springwood.

I've been in bed all day today. So I made a myspace page for camp. Check it out. It has all the info about camp + online rego.

Youth Ministry: Fighting term three blues II |

Last week I spoke about how to fight term 3 blues in youth ministry. After a few months of planning, Dale, Nicole and I began phase 1 of our term 3 campaign with a photo shoot at Terrigal beach. Friday night we did a soft, teaser-like launch at youth group. Here is the flyer (pdf).

And drum roll... Here is the special website: www.iAGREEwithDALE.com.

We haven't really given anything away yet. We've simply said - term 2 was good... but term 3 is going to be even better! I'm looking forward to the fun stuff we've got planned (stay tuned for more details) for term 3 - but I'm really looking forward to what we'll be looking at in the Bible. As part of what we'll be looking at with seniors we've told them that every week next term will be a good week to bring a friend.

Do you lead a youth group? Any plans yet for fighting term 3 blues?

Found Dog: Riley Sunday, June 17, 2007 |

Yep. I'm not an animal person... but I worried more about this dog over the last 24 hours than any other animal ever!! I covered a few more streets this morning (about 30kms of looping around) - I even checked in some rivers and creeks! Row did a stake-out at the Pound in case someone came in. They did... he wasn't there. BUT at midday we got a call. A vet had him over night. Giddy up. He's back. I did more than just fill in the hole where he escaped... it's now impenetrable!

Thanks Riley for giving me an illustration for camp.

Lost Dog: Riley Saturday, June 16, 2007 |

Dan and Ren's dog Riley came to stay at our place for the weekend. He had other plans. Somewhere between 930 and 1130 this morning, Riley dug his way to freedom. We've spent 60kms, 3.5 hours, and endless tears searching for him. No avail. We've knocked on doors, we've been to the pound - twice, we've been on every single street in our suburb!

Last seen: on his way to the Elanora Pub. (Seriously - seen by a neighbour!).

If you live on the Coast - keep an eye out - he's never been lost overnight before - and it's bucketing down with rain. We prayed just before. Not sure how to pray for a dog - but thanked God for animals - thanked God for the dominion we have over them - and said sorry for failing in our dominionv(sounding like 2WTL!). Prayed also that we'd find Dan and Ren's friend.

Repost if you have a blog.

PS - Riley looks like a Tasmanian Tiger...

Best. Mullet. Ever. Friday, June 15, 2007 |

(h/t Justin B)

Prayer Friday #26 |

Prayer is good. I believe in the God of Ephesians 3:20-21. Do you?
>Thank God for coast youth REVOLUTION. Small night (storms). But miracle that even 80 people made it out. 1 girl became a Christian!!
>Pray for talk prep for a couple of holiday camps I'm speaking on in the holidays.
>One of those camps is full. One isn't. Pray it would fill.
The talks: LOST AND FOUND from Luke's Gospel.
Key Verse: “For the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost.” Luke 19:10
Series Aim:
a) To see that Jesus came to seek and save the lost
b) To see that we are lost and need to be found
c) To see that only Jesus can find us.
Can you think of any LOST AND FOUND stories? Leave them in the comments. Thanks.

Dan Godden and David Crowder Thursday, June 14, 2007 |

DAN GODDEN has a new blog address. Change your bookmarks and RSS feeds etc... Who's Dan Godden? Go watch these two videos for more...

I've just been for a walk (thanks Mark Driscoll for the reminder to exercise) and I'm loving O Praise Him (video above) by the David Crowder Band. It has a reasonable beat... it makes me walk faster and has some great throne room words about Jesus. I feel like I'm in a film clip as I walk down the street listening!

If you could be in a film clip - what song would it be?

Youth Ministry: Fighting term three blues |

My observation is that term 3 is traditionally a bluesy term in youth ministry (in fact in any ministry). In Australia it's the coldest term and the term that is most likely to have people disappear from your ministry. Here's 3 tips to fight term 3 blues:
  • Recognise that it's the bluesy term
  • Don't be boring and make it worse
  • Give the term something extra that will create a bit more vibe and energy. It might be more evangelistic events, it might be something crazy, it might be flashing lights, it might be...
If you can get through term 3 without losing droves of peeps - it will mean that in term 4 you can grow rather than re-build. Does that make sense? You can build your numbers rather than trying to find those that have disappeared.

We have some sweet plans for this year's term 3... wheels are currently in motion... I'll let you know soon of the crazy plans. Big. Big would be an understatement.

Got any ideas (tested or not) on fighting term 3 blues?

Youth Ministry: cyREVOLUTION mp3s Wednesday, June 13, 2007 |

We've had some great speakers at coast youth REVOLUTION.
Tim's talk from Friday night has just been upload. It was a great night. RSS feed: http://cyrevolution.podomatic.com/rss2.xml (go download in iTunes - it's currently ranked 21!!! EDIT: It made it as high as 14!!)

Gospel Evidences and Image Software Tuesday, June 12, 2007 |

I made a header for CraigS' new site: Gospel Evidences. This type of thing doesn't take me long. Here are my tools:
  • If I don't use my own pics I get them from yotophoto. I have it set so it only finds images that are legal to use (it's the yotophoto non-CC plugin for firefox or internet explorer)
  • I use Irfanview to resize images, basic colour changes + batch conversions and batch renaming. It's very quick and easy to use
  • I use gimp for more complex stuff. I think it's a bit like a photoshop - only free (and therefore not quite as capable)
I use all of these regularly in different ministries. Good tools. Easy to use. Free. Effective.

Do you do any of this type of stuff? What do you use?

Andy M on Singing in Church Monday, June 11, 2007 |

Andy M has 5 things to say about singing in church. Here's 1 of them:
OK, the whole "worship" thing. Yes, some churches misemphasise the purpose of church as being to worship God, in a sense which might suggest we are not worshipping God the other 6 days a week, and some have confused what we do in church with Old Testament cultic worship, and that we somehow enter into God's presence when singing in church i.e. the "praise and worship" time. BUT, we evangelicals have way over-reacted against some of these errors by almost purging the word "worship" from our vocabulary all together, and removing any sense that when we gather together as God's people we are worshipping God, or that singing can involve worship. I think we can and should acknowledge that singing does involve worshipping God, while recognizing that worship is also much more than singing.
Go read the rest and leave a comment.

Is he or isn't he? Sunday, June 10, 2007 |

Don Carson. Is he or isn't he? Carson has written oodles of books - but it's difficult to find what he believes about the Millennium in Revelation. It's been debated whether he is Premil or Amil. I thought he was Premil, but Reformation Theology is suggesting he's Amil. Heardy preached a cracker on it last term.

For the record - Revelation has little to say about the Millennium, but much to say about JESUS. It's all about Jesus. If you're a fruit loop and think it's all about the Millennium go and have a read of it! If you have no idea about what I'm talking about go read this and this (no girly skirt on Jesus in this passage - just a tattoo, sword and blood) about Jesus. Rock on...

Garage Hymnal Podcast Saturday, June 09, 2007 |

It's nuts on the Central Coast! Just saw on smh.com.au that The Premier has declared the area a Natural Disaster. It meant that there were lots of people missing from coast youth REVOLUTION... but it was still a good time. Tim Baldwin preached a cracker on Jesus starting a revolution in your heart. Garage Hymnal played the congregational tunes + a number of items. Good stuff. They also joined us on On the Poddy... good times. Keep praying for the Central Coast.

Have a good looooong weekend.

ps - this post is link city!
pps - currently watching the honourable wally norman - i like aussie humour!

Prayer Friday #25 Friday, June 08, 2007 |

> Praise God for new nephew
> Pray for coast youth REVOLUTION tonight

Youth Ministry: Engaging with culture Thursday, June 07, 2007 |

The dudes over at Marshill are very good at engaging with culture. They are helpful in showing how to discern the messages being preached by culture (this is the whole premise behind film & theology). The main question that they ask is what message is being communicated, and what gospel is being preached (i.e., what is hip hop heaven? What is hip hop hell?)?

Here's a snippet from a good piece on engaging with Hip-Hop culture:
"...Jesus prays for his followers, asking that the Father would leave them in the world and that He would protect them from the evil one. Jesus desires that we remain a part of culture, that we understand it, and that we seek to communicate the gospel in a meaningful way to those who have yet to receive God’s saving grace."
"...it is our mission to follow Paul’s lead in loving people of other cultures enough to learn how to communicate with them so that we can tell them about the gospel of Christ. This doesn’t mean that we have to roll on dubs, put on thick chains, and wear FUBU. It does, however, mean that we need to know the values of hip hop culture and be able to explain what the Christian response to these is.... Love them enough to learn how to effectively communicate the gospel to them so that they can come to know Jesus and his gospel."
In response to my posts on Central Coast culture and what it needs - it would be wrong to encourage our youth group members to have nothing to do with their peers who "get sloshed, stoned and sexed" at Erina Fair. But keep thinking through how to understand their friends (while not falling into the same sin) so that they engage their friends with the glorious news of Jesus.

What gospel is your local youth culture proclaiming? (i.e. What is that culture's heaven? Hell?)

Youth Ministry: When to run a youth group Wednesday, June 06, 2007 |

This is a quote from some guy here:
There are idiots who claim to be youth ministry gurus who say it is stupid to run youth group on a Friday night. My guess is that one of the reasons they have small youth groups is because all of their "Christian" family kids are getting sloshed, stoned and sexed with their mates from school on a Friday night and are still too hung over to be able to turn up to church on the Sunday!
Let me clarify a bit. I don't necessarily have a problem with youth ministries that don't run on a Friday night. Without knowing their context it would be hard for me to make the call. My problem is when people legislate and say: "You must not run a group on Friday night". So much has to do with context. Someone from outside my context is not the best placed person to determine the timing of our youth ministry.

Principle vs Form | The key is to talk in principle, rather than form. There may well be principles that are universal - but what form they take may look entirely different depending on the context.

What do you think are the principles in thinking through WHEN to run a youth group?
What form does that take in your context?

Youth Ministry: What the Central Coast needs Tuesday, June 05, 2007 |

The Central Coast has been in the SMH a bunch of times in the last 2 days: here (pics) on old and young alike wasting time at Erina Fair (see my post here); here on transport; here on gangs; here on a local teenage model; and more here (pics) on Friday nights at Erina Fair.

The article: Bored and isolated teenagers run wild, brought me to tears this morning. Here's a snippet:
Beyond the narrow band of wealth clinging to the coast, where the beach provides a source of entertainment, young people say they have little to do. At worst, these teenagers pass their time drinking, taking drugs and having sex. Children say they start using alcohol at 12 and many have lost their virginity by 13.
Quite often we have teenagers too young to go to clubs, too old to watch cartoons, too poor to go to the movies who walk through/past our youth group venue (not fair from Erina Fair) on a Friday night. We've had numerous eggs thrown at us, we've had significant fights outside on the oval, we've had beer bottles thrown, we've had drunken kids wander into our events, we've had 10 year old boys show their head in the door yell out "Jesus, Jesus, Jesus" laugh and then run off... to name a few! (That's not to mention the naked 16 year old Thugby League team that ran through our Junior Youth Church service on the beach last year!)

The exciting thing is that we've had significant conversations with quite a number of these guys (and never had anyone from youth group harmed in any way - it's good to have large male leaders!) and even had them return the following week (sober) to find out more about Jesus. The great tragedy is that these bored teenagers, looking for something to occupy their time, don't realise that youth group and Jesus is where the real action is at!!!

A few months ago I posted some thoughts on what Central Coast teenagers are after:
  • Teenagers want to fit in
  • Teenagers want to be where the action is
They don't know what they're doing... they don't know what they're missing... Central Coast teenagers don't need better public transport, they don't need more services, they don't need more refuge beds, they don't need an education in how to use a condom, they don't need to learn where they ought to safely deposit their used syringes, they don't need to learn safe drinking habits, they don't need more skate parks, they don't need cheaper movie tickets... THEY NEED JESUS!! JESUS IS WHERE THE REAL ACTION IS AT! THEY NEED TO HEAR ABOUT THE REAL LIFE THAT THEY CAN HAVE IN JESUS. JESUS LOVES THEM. JESUS DIED AND ROSE FOR THEM. THEY NEED JESUS TO GIVE THEM A HEART TRANSPLANT!!

There are idiots who claim to be youth ministry gurus who say it is stupid to run youth group on a Friday night. My guess is that one of the reasons they have small youth groups is because all of their "Christian" family kids are getting sloshed, stoned and sexed with their mates from school on a Friday night and are still too hung over to be able to turn up to church on the Sunday!

CCECYOUTH Leaders - keep doing what you're doing! Your labours aren't in vain (1 Cor 15:58)
CCECYOUTH Teenagers - you are legends! Keep praying for your friends!

Is it time for e(mo)vangelism (here and here)?
How do we reach this hope-less culture with the hope of the gospel?
How can we run youth groups that aren't dumb and boring - but keep showing people the real deal JESUS?

HERE is the testimony of one guy who no longer does stupid things on a Friday night. Pray for more!
Are you a Central Coast Teenager? Go find out about Jesus here... come to simplyJESUS... come to ccecyouth... be where the REAL action is!

Wealth, Melbourne and MIA |

My brother is back on the blog. He's gone from no posts in 2 months to 3 posts in 1 day! Very good posts. Go check them out and leave him some comments.

THE Wedding of 2007 Monday, June 04, 2007 |

I've already been bagged by people for the photos that I took on Saturday. Here they are. Quite creative... don't you think? All taken on my phone...

Youth Ministry: Erina Fair & Central Coast Culture |

Guthers and Row both sent this smh article to me today. It's about Erina Fair here on the Central Coast. The article talks about how both old and young alike, with too much time on their hands, hang out there. Here's a snippet:
After dark on Friday there are hundreds of children in the shopping centre, some drunk. A 13-year-old boy with a heavy cough sits with a 19-year-old drug addict. Later, a 10-year-old boy licking a McDonald's soft-serve stands in the melee around one of five fights that break out that night. As 300 children rush from flashpoint to flashpoint, they are funnelled into the corridors of the shopping centre. Five security guards and a few police officers try to defuse the fights, but they are overwhelmed by the number and erratic nature of the group.
We read it tonight at a youth group leaders meeting. I'm interested to hear your thoughts (whether you're from the Central Coast or not) on this article...

How does it help us think about culture on the Central Coast?
How does it help us to think about reaching teenagers in that culture?
+ any other reflections...

J-Walk Issue #004 Friday, June 01, 2007 |

The Parents Issue

Listen to the companion PODCAST

Click here to download simple format (viewable on screen)

Click here to download fancy booklet (not for the faint hearted)

Click here to view and discuss articles online - more will be added over the next week

Guest Authors include: John Piper, John Dickson and Michael Corbett-Jones.


Prayer Friday #24 |

> Nath and Rach wedding tomorrow (sermon prep too)
> J-walk - best issue ever launching tonight
> Philippians 3 sermon for Sunday night
> Good (not too many fights) weekend with family