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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."

Glory to God Alone Wednesday, October 31, 2007 |

490 years ago on October 31, 1517 a movement began. Martin Luther was a tough nut German monk. It was on that day that he nailed a list to a church door in Wittenberg. What was on the list? 95 problems he had with the church at the time. This event was the beginning of what is now known as the Protestant Reformation.


Amongst other things, there were significant problems with what the Roman Catholic church were teaching about how it is that someone can be saved. There were 5 slogans that emerged during the Reformation that help to summarise something of what the Bible says about salvation.

Here are a bunch of Bible verses that clearly teach these truths.

14But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work. 2 Tim 3:14-17
21But now a righteousness from God, apart from law, has been made known, to which the Law and the Prophets testify. 22This righteousness from God comes through faith in Jesus Christ to all who believe. There is no difference, 23for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. 25God presented him as a sacrifice of atonement, through faith in his blood. He did this to demonstrate his justice, because in his forbearance he had left the sins committed beforehand unpunished— 26he did it to demonstrate his justice at the present time, so as to be just and the one who justifies those who have faith in Jesus. Romans 3:21-28
4But because of his great love for us, God, who is rich in mercy, 5made us alive with Christ even when we were dead in transgressions—it is by grace you have been saved. Ephesians 2:4-5

8For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— 9not by works, so that no one can boast. Ephesians 2:8-9
15He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. 16For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. 17He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. 18And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. 19For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, 20and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross. Colossians 1:15-20
13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing: "To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb be praise and honor and glory and power, for ever and ever!" 14The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped. Revelation 5:13-14
EDIT: For more Reformation Day action and reading check out this symposium.

The Art of Delegation Tuesday, October 30, 2007 |

I caught up with the big boss today and talked through delegation. Good times. Here is a summary of 10 levels of delegation:
  1. "Wait to be told." or "Do exactly what I say." or "Follow these instructions precisely."
  2. "Look into this and tell me the situation. I'll decide."
  3. "Look into this and tell me the situation. We'll decide together."
  4. "Tell me the situation and what help you need from me in assessing and handling it. Then we'll decide."
  5. "Give me your analysis of the situation (reasons, options, pros and cons) and recommendation. I'll let you know whether you can go ahead."
  6. "Decide and let me know your decision, and wait for my go-ahead before proceeding."
  7. "Decide and let me know your decision, then go ahead unless I say not to."
  8. "Decide and take action - let me know what you did (and what happened)."
  9. "Decide and take action. You need not check back with me."
  10. "Decide where action needs to be taken and manage the situation accordingly. It's your area of responsibility now."
Read more info on each here

In order to grow a ministry (or business or whatever) I think leaders need to be effective in delegation. I'm getting better at it...

What's the deal with your delegation skills... good... bad... or ugly?

ccec nite church dot com Monday, October 29, 2007 |

The nite church crew just launched a new website. Not much there yet - but go check it out... and leave a comment.

Glasses = intelligent Saturday, October 27, 2007 |

I'm about to go and have an interview for a Bible college. I'm thinking of buying some glasses on the way to look more smarterer...

State of the Pulpit - Theology of Suffering Friday, October 26, 2007 |

Brendan Berlach Trio @ Lizotte's Thursday, October 25, 2007 |

Went with some peeps to see the Brendan Berlach Trio (+ some other local bands) at Lizotte's tonight (Wed). Check some of his music over at myspace.

Good jazz. Good food. Good friends. Good times.

The Galatians Battle Wednesday, October 24, 2007 |

I read the whole of Galatians yesterday with Dale. Super-encouraging time. One of the things that stood out to me while we were reading were the number of contrasts in the book. It would be easy to have a series on Galatians contrasting the different ideas. Here's a few (in no particular order) that I think are present:
  • Grace vs Works
  • Jesus vs Religion
  • Old Covenant vs New Covenant
  • Slavery vs Freedom
  • Law vs Liberty
  • Covenant Theology vs New Covenant Theology
  • Word of Man vs Word of God
  • Mosaic Covenant vs Abrahamic Covenant
  • Promise vs Law
  • Fruit of the Spirit vs Desires of the Sinful Nature
  • Hagar vs Sarah
  • Isaac vs Ishmael
  • Circumcision vs New Creation
  • Faith vs Law
  • True Gospel vs No Gospel
  • Mount Sinai vs Jerusalem from above
  • Boasting in the Cross vs Boasting in yourself
Good times. Dale can you think of any more?

Warm fuzzy to the first non-Central Coast resident who can name the two streets at this intersection...

500th Post Tuesday, October 23, 2007 |

For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. 1 Corinthians 2:2

It's taken a week to work out what to write for my 500th post. I couldn't go do any better than the above verse.

Do you read this blog? Thanks for reading. If you've never left a comment before... do it now. Peaceout.

Art and Spam Wednesday, October 17, 2007 |

Dan has some great reflections on visual art within Christianity. Here's a snippet:
All of that being said, Best argues that artifacts should be part of the christian life, not as a way of explaining the gospel, but as offerings of worship to the creator God. I draw a picture as an expression of the creativity God has given me, and people can see his creative nature through my work. He gets glory from art. Artifacts are offerings, not tracts.
Read the rest.

The virus scanner that came with my computer 18 months ago, ran out over the last few days. I've started using the free scanner avast again. It's very good if you need a sweet freebie!

My ccec address has been getting 30+ spam emails per day. This has been annoying! I found a free spam killer this morning. It's called spamfighter and it syncs in well with Outlook. It works!! I was away from my computer this arvo for about 4 hours and the filter put all the junk in the spam folder and all the legit things in my inbox. Giddy up.

Light of Dawn Tuesday, October 16, 2007 |

Shout out to Ivan Harris. This is his entry from this year's ignite short film comp.

Why Mormons Do Better Youth Ministry Than We Do |

Greg Stier has written a great article over at youthministry.com Here's a snippet:
Let's face it. Most of us look at the clean cut Mormon missionaries that peddle the streets of our city and knock on the doors of our houses as somewhat out of date. Although they are kind and well spoken young men, when they knock on our doors we either don't answer or tell them we are already Christians who reject Mormonism and bid them good day.

We think to ourselves how "behind the times" these young people are forced to be when they are required to do door-to-door evangelism for their religion. We reflect on how grateful we are that we have the truth once and for all delivered to the saints. We may even think about how much more superior our youth ministry strategies are compared to theirs...
Read here how he suggests maybe we have some things to learn from them. He's got some really helpful stuff to say while clearly distancing himself from Mormonism.

Whether you've read the article or not, what do you think we can learn from the Mormon's on doing youth ministry (and ministry in general)?

Guessing comp: On which famous Sydney street is this soccer-loving cafe situated?

Holidays. Sweet holidays. Monday, October 15, 2007 |

State of the Pulpit - Joel Osteen |

Brad Pitt on God Sunday, October 07, 2007 |

Parade Magazine has two articles on Brad Pitt in their latest issue (here and here). Brad grew up in a Southern Baptist family but turned away from God in his late teens. Check out this quote on some of his thinking about God:
"Religion works," he goes on. "I know there's comfort there, a crash pad. It's something to explain the world and tell you there is something bigger than you, and it is going to be alright in the end. It works because it's comforting. I grew up believing in it, and it worked for me in whatever my little personal high school crisis was, but it didn't last for me. I didn't understand this idea of a God who says, 'You have to acknowledge me. You have to say that I'm the best, and then I'll give you eternal happiness. If you won't, then you don't get it!' It seemed to be about ego. I can't see God operating from ego, so it made no sense to me.
How would you respond to him? Is he right? Has he misunderstood something about God? Himself?

Comment away...

Prayer Friday #36 Friday, October 05, 2007 |

Pray that I'd follow the example of Justin and Joe. Thanks.

Substitution lies at the heart of sin and salvation Thursday, October 04, 2007 |

I think I've linked to it before, but Of First Importance is one of my favourite blogs. Each day they have a quote to remind you of what is 'of first importance'. Here's a Stott quote from a couple of days ago:
“The concept of substitution may be said . . . to lie at the heart of both sin and salvation. For the essence of sin is man substituting himself for God, while the essence of salvation is God substituting himself for man. Man asserts himself against God and puts himself where only God deserves to be; God sacrifices himself for man and puts himself where only man deserves to be. Man claims prerogatives which belong to God alone; God accept penalties which belong to man alone.” John R.W. Stott, The Cross of Christ (Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press, 1986), 160.

Dove Onslaught Wednesday, October 03, 2007 |

This is the latest Dove from the 'Campaign For Real Beauty'.
(h/t ypulse - check out some of the stats below)
  • The average person sees between 400 and 600 advertisements per day - equivalent to more than one message for every waking minute.
  • The average US girl has the opportunity to see an estimated 77,546 commercials by the time she is 12 years old.
  • 93 percent of girls and young women report feeling anxiety or stress about some aspect of their looks when getting ready in the morning
  • This could explain why more than 70 percent of girls and young women avoid activities when they feel bad about their looks including giving their opinion, attending school and even going to the doctor.
  • 76 percent of girls and young women admit to partaking in unhealthy activities when they feel badly about their bodies
  • 58 percent of girls describe themselves in negative terms, including words like "disgusting" and "ugly," when feeling badly about themselves.
  • Nearly four out of 10 engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, such as anorexia or bulimia.
  • More than one out of 10 girls has used cutting or self-inflicted injury as a coping mechanism.
While on the net - check out one of their previous ones: evolution AND a parody I just found... very funny!

NYMC #14 - Preaching Christ Crucified Tuesday, October 02, 2007 |

The National Youth Ministry Convention 07 was lots of fun! I met some great people, was reminded of some incredible truths and have been challenged to trust in God and not myself. There were just under 500 people at the convention and it was exciting to meet so many who are passionately proclaiming Jesus in their context.

The convention closed with a time of communion. The organiser, Stephen Parker, closed with a clear reminder of the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ. This was an encouraging time - however the cross of Christ was not given the centre stage throughout the whole conference as it ought. I think that it is helpful to get speakers from different backgrounds, but there were some who share a different gospel and ought not be part of this conference if it runs again in the future.

I said it elsewhere, but what was missing most from the conference was the gospel of Jesus' death and resurrection for sins. A pastors conference ought not be an evangelistic rally, but as the troops are brought in from the battlefront, they need to be equipped and reminded of what really matters. In 1 Corinthians 15 Paul outlines that which is of first importance:
3For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, 4that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures, 5and that he appeared to Peter, and then to the Twelve. 6After that, he appeared to more than five hundred of the brothers at the same time, most of whom are still living, though some have fallen asleep.
Australian Youth Ministry needs leaders who will preach Christ Crucified to a dying generation.

NYMC Live Blog Summary:
Did you go? I'd love to hear your reflections...

NYMC #13 - Graham Stanton Monday, October 01, 2007 |

Graham Stanton is the Dean at Youthworks College. On Friday morning I went to Graham's workshop on 'Answering Difficult Questions'. It was brilliant! There were some guys sitting nearby that were expecting him to go through a list of tough questions and then give the answers. What they got was much better! Rather than giving the specifics of different questions, Graham gave a Christ-centred framework to help think through how to answer difficult questions. Here are some of my notes:
Understanding God's Drama (Vanhoozer):
  • Creation
  • Fall
  • Israel
  • Church
  • New Creation
We live in the 5th Act of the drama. Understanding the drama will help us to understand how to live in this Act (and therefore answer questions).

Principles for answering questions:
  1. Directed by God – therefore study scripture
  2. Does your answer point to Christ? – magnify Christ
  • How does the doctrine of creation help me to answer this question?
  • How does the doctrine of the fall help me to answer this question?
  • How does the doctrine of redemption help me to answer this question?
  • How does the doctrine of eschatology help me to answer this question?
  • The mast of the boat is CHRIST.
Being from similar tribes, we had fun hanging and chatting with Graham over a couple of meals...I also scored a free lift back to the airport - thanks!

NYMC Live Blog:
#1 - Live Blogging; #2 - Getting here, #3 - Josh Griffin, #4 - My Place on MySpace, #5 - Thanksgiving, #6 - Josh Griffin Podcast, #7 - Tim Hawkins and trusting God, #8 – The danger of assumptions, #9 – Forge and the emerging church, #10 – The Skit Guys, #11 – Duffy Robbins,#12 - Tony Campolo.