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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."

Read, remember and pray Sunday, December 30, 2007 |

Tonight I spoke about New Year's Resolutions. The most popular NYR for Christians is to read the Bible and pray more throughout the new year. What is it that will help you to follow through with this resolution?

In response to Psalm 119 it's having a heart that treasures God, His Word and obeying it more than life itself. In order to treasure God and His Word, we need to plan to spend time with him to hide his word in our hearts.

Following are some practical tools to help you: Read it, Remember it and Pray it.

  • CCEC Daily Reading notes
  • McCheyne reading plan (this looks like a great resource!)
  • Free Don Carson Devotional through email - sample - based on McCheyne plan (Row and I do one of these columns each night)
  • Search for "Bible" in iTunes - look under "Audiobooks" to find the whole Bible for a bargain price - listen to the Bible on your iPod.
  • Click 'listen' at the top of any passage to listen for free online - I've just started using this - it's great!
  • Pray in response to the verses you read
  • Pray in response to the verses you remember
  • Don't close your Bible when you pray, but let the priorities of the Bible shape your priorities in prayer.
  • A Call to Spiritual Reformation - a good book showing Paul's priorities in prayer
Do you have any tools for reading and remembering God's Word?
Share them in the comments...

Extreme Scripture Memory Saturday, December 29, 2007 |

Dr. Andrew Davis suggests that there are numerous advantages of memorising whole books of the Bible as opposed to individual verses. One of the key things that he says is that it's easy to take verses out of context when remembering them in isolation. (I think there are verses in the Navigators system that do this.)

My memory is often elephant-like in it's ability to retain and use individual Bible verses. I'm thinking that I might have a crack at remembering a 1 or 2 books of the Bible next year. There are some that I can already recite large slabs of such as Ephesians, Philippians and Colossians that might be good ones to start with.

Can you remember entire books of the Bible? Check out the following article for some good tips on how to do it well.

An Approach to the Extended Memorization of Scripture

(direct download)

(h/t JT)

How Can Christians Explain Truth to Others? Friday, December 28, 2007 |

Hiding God's Word in your heart Thursday, December 27, 2007 |

I'm preaching on Psalm 119 this Sunday @ ccecnitechurch. In it the Psalmist is deeply passionate about the word of God. Rejoice, delight, recount, obedience, praise, understanding, wonder, zeal and love are some of his responses to the word.

I've been challenged to "not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God" (Deut 8:3 and Matt 4:4).

The following is one way that the Psalmist seeks to feed upon the word of God:
"I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you." Psalm 119:11
Jerry Bridges says that one of the ways that the Holy Spirit guides is by recalling to our minds scriptures that we have memorised. Maybe he said that so Navigators could sell more memory verse cards! My guess is that it's based more on Ephesians 6 and being armed with the Sword of the Spirit - which is the Word of God.

Here are 3 systems that might be helpful in arming yourself:
  • Navigators Topical Memory System. I have completed the first set of these verses which is about 60 verses. There are a bunch of other sets that I haven't completed. If you don't buy their cards... just use the verses they have on the above page and make your own cards.
  • Bethlehem Baptist Church (John Piper) - Fighter Verses. They do this system of over 500 verses as a church. Check the link above to find out more about how they do it, including subscribing to a Podcast with verse of the week. You can also buy the full set for super cheap from Desiring God.
  • Forever Grateful Music - Scripture Memory Songs by Mark Altrogge. CraigS has started using these and says that they are gold. Check out some of their samples and then order some CD's if all goes well.
Do you know more Bible verses or quotes from your favourite movies?
Do you read the newspaper or the Bible first thing in the morning?

Delight in the Word of God. Be passionate about it. Remember it. Hide it in your heart.

Do you use a system for remembering verses? Which one? What's it like??

Johnston Christmas 2007 Wednesday, December 26, 2007 |

Miers Christmas 2007 |

Jesus - King and Saviour Tuesday, December 25, 2007 |

Christmas Issue of J-Walk Monday, December 24, 2007 |

This is our biggest issue of J-walk ever! It's my last one as editor. To be honest... I didn't do much editing at all. I wrote the editorial. So... it's my last editorial. Alex Hartley has now begun editing j-walk. This is good... I'm excited about some of the plans for the magazine next year.

Here it is amigo...

Joga Bonito Sunday, December 23, 2007 |

Did you see THE game? Best ever? Relive the highlights below.
Missed it? Watch video 2 & 3 below... or video 1 for just the goals.

Central Coast Mariners V Sydney FC - Goals - 22dec07

CC Mariners V Sydney FC - 1st Half Highlights - 22dec07

CC Mariners V Sydney FC - 2nd Half Highlights - 22dec07

I think that Brosque was offside when Vukovic was deemed to handle the ball outside the penalty area, so shouldn't have been given a red card. Also I think that both keepers made errors that lead to goals. Had both teams had their first choice keepers on the field, the score would have been lower.

But no complaints from this A-League fan!

Central Coast Mariners 4 Sydney FC 5 Saturday, December 22, 2007 |

What a game!! Good times with some family 2nite at the footy. Record crowd (17,500+). Probably record score. 2 red cards. Mariners 2-0, Sydney 2-2, Mariners 3-2, Sydney 4-3, Mariners 4-4, Sydney 5-4. The referee was pretty bad. But super entertaining match on beautiful Central Coast Summer's night.

(I can't link to any match reports because smh, a-league and sbs are all too slow!!)

Ahh... wait... here's the scorecard...

Jack Miller on Prayer & Preaching |

"Basically I am convinced that men who do not make praying their first priority in life and ministry should not preach or pastor. As preachers they will be confusing models of a Christian man, and as shepherds they will not show willingness to die for the sheep...As we seek faith and pray together, the power will be in the preaching, and other matters such as style will begin to take their own course." (h/t The Buzz Man)

Free youth ministry resources Friday, December 21, 2007 |

Schmoyer smashes it with a years worth of freebies. Had a quick scan down the list - there could be some helpful stuff there.

Osama Lovely, Eichmann Banal |

Chris Mayes has been churning out the blog posts this month. He's got a new name for his blog: A Disorder of Things; a new header: above; and been writing some good stuff. He's in the middle of a top 10 albums of 2007 and I found his latest post on Hicks and bin Laden particularly insightful. Here's a snippet:
Well, I think like the banality of Eichmann, the loveliness of bin Laden is hard for people to take because we think evil people need to thoroughly evil with no redeeming features. They need to hold all the negative character traits including tobacco smoking (Russians, Arabs and bad guys) and poor dental hygiene.
Read the rest

A whole new world |

(h/t two first names)

One month to go Thursday, December 20, 2007 |

Today is December 20. I finish up full time work on January 20. I have
a month until I finish full-time work with CCEC. Knowing that I don't
have long has increased my effectiveness. I want a good transition
such that next year CCECYOUTH continues to grow. I am tired from long
days and meeting with lots of our key leaders. But things are going
well and I'm feeling good about how things are looking. A couple of
days off over Christmas will be sweet and 2 weeks off before college
even sweeter. PS this blog post was done from my mobile...

CCEC Christmas Wednesday, December 19, 2007 |

Latest google searches to lead here |

  • steve chong sermon
  • weight of glory chapter synopsis
  • affluenza and christmas
  • scriptures to lose weight
  • eternal weight band
  • youth ministry conference blog
  • an eternal weight of glory
  • david miers
  • weight of glory
  • eternal weight of glory

Christmas Day Breakfast 2007 Tuesday, December 18, 2007 |

Please join us! Email me to RSVP and/or to find out our address.

Legends Monday, December 17, 2007 |

Here's a photo from our CCECYOUTH 2007 Leaders end-of-year party on Friday. We enjoyed a sweet meal at a steak ranch and then a few more leaders joined us for dessert at Dan and Ren's. After dessert we held an award ceremony. Each leader received an award. It was great fun.

Josh Harris on Affluenza Sunday, December 16, 2007 |

I listened to some sermons from Covenant Life Church last year on Affluenza (1, 2 & 3).

What is affluenza? Josh Harris explains it like this:
Affluenza is a nifty little word that some clever sociologist created by mixing two different words together. The word affluence means having a great deal of money. Influenza is a highly contagious and potentially fatal disease. When you mash these two together, you get affluenza, which is a useful word for describing the problems generated by a rich consumer culture that has an endless hunger for more and more stuff. Affluenza is the disease of greed. It's the materialistic mindset that says getting more money and possessions is the ultimate aim of life. Affluenza is the spirit of our age, and it has infected all of us.
Josh is currently blogging the text from the first affluenza sermon. In the sermon and the blog post Josh speaks from Luke 12 on the 'Disease of Greed'. Good, challenging stuff.

Affluenza, Part 1: The Real Money Problem
Affluenza, Part 2: The Deception of Greed
UPDATE: Affluenza, Part 3: Greed Destroys Us

Christmas Tree 2007 Friday, December 14, 2007 |

What do you think?

This 5 year old kid killed a big bear... (h/t josh)

New Podcast RSS Feed Thursday, December 13, 2007 |

Hey punks. Here's the latest episode (#85) of On the Poddy. It's now got a new RSS feed: http://feeds.feedburner.com/ccec_podcast - Go change it in iTunes now.

Judge Rules in Sermon Sharing Scandal |

Big news regarding Tim Keller sermons. (h/t jpj)

This is it, this time I know it's the real thing |

In November 2005 and November 2006, I tried to get healthy. I had only short term results:
  • 2005 maximum 108kg
  • 2005 minimum 101kg
  • 2005 result 7kgs lost
  • 2006 maximum 111kg
  • 2006 minimum 104kg
  • 2006 result 7kgs lost
But on both occasions I didn't stick at it. The problem? I tried too much of a quick fix solution. If you stop eating you will lose weight. So I stopped eating. Sort of. I cut out as many Kilojoules (or Calories) as possible and went on special health shakes. However, I didn't really make any lifestyle changes.

In a health magazine I picked up somewhere, it said that it normally takes a few attempts for a health kick to kick in. I think it's kicked in! Two failed attempts... but this time I know it's the real thing.

The results:
  • October 16 2007 = 114kg
  • December 13 2007 = 104kg
  • 2007 result so far = 10kgs lost
The difference? Regular exercise. I've been going to the gym 4 or 5 times per week. I have been cutting out Kilojoules, but once I reach my weight loss goals I'll gradually increase them.

My next goals:
  • 100kgs by Christmas (if not New Years)
  • 95kgs by the start of college (feb 2008)
  • Evaluation. Set a lower goal? Or stay at 95kgs?
Why 95kg? That's what I was when I was 18 and fit and healthy.
Why at all? Health is good. I want to serve Jesus for as long as possible.

Has spending 6hours+ a week doing exercise diminished my current work? No not at all. I think I'm more productive and better managing my time.

Get fit fool.
Prior Coverage:
3 warm fuzzies up for grabs. Q1 Name the song that the title of this post comes from. Q2 Name the artist. Q3 Name the year the song was released as a single. YOU CAN ONLY ANSWER 1 QUESTION... and they must be in order...

More sex, more booze, more toys Wednesday, December 12, 2007 |

According to a survey (h/t CraigS), teenagers are getting more sex, more booze and more toys. Drugs and smoking aren't as popular. The survey shows teens are wealthier and more materialistic.

The results seem to be consistent with my observations of local teenagers. Some of the young guys I've met through the gym and high school scripture are very serious about their health (they want to look hot) and staying clear from drugs - yet they like hooking up with chicks and drinking beer - preferably at the same time! Likewise everyone has an iPod, an Xbox 360, a PlayStation 3 and a boxed set of their 10 favourite TV shows.

I was never allowed to get a gameboy. I'm glad. I think my parents helped me not to be as materialistic as I could be...

The Gospel - Mark Driscoll |

Streetbrand Magazine Tuesday, December 11, 2007 |

Just stumbled onto Streetbrand Magazine: youth culture, faith talk, positive living.

I haven't read enough to comment on the quality of the content... but had a quick look at their latest issue and it seems to be good with cultural engagement and design/presentation.

Stay tuned for a new issue of the best teenage magazine on the internet... need I say the name? J-walk (just in case you've lived a sheltered life!)

Fluoro Party Pic Monday, December 10, 2007 |

Good times @ Friday night's Fluoro Party. Stay tuned for more pics, a podcast and another world record attempt video...

2008 Announcement Friday, December 07, 2007 |

Next year I'll be studying at Bible college. It's been decided that we will leave CCEC for a year (and return in 2009). This is a bummer, we don't want to leave - but know it will be valuable... so are looking forward to having a break, thinking more about Jesus, and checking out some other churches & youth ministries. Row will continue in her current job in Gosford and we will continue living in the same house. I'll be available to do a bit of speaking.

CCECYOUTH Fluoro Party Thursday, December 06, 2007 |

Party Time!! Let’s get fluoro. $10 (includes dinner). North Avoca Surf Club. 630-900pm. Friday December 7.

CCEC Carols 2007 |

This Saturday on the Oval @ Erina High School.

Chaos in the Classroom - James Fong |

I haven't read the whole article - but if you are a high school scripture teacher - GO READ THIS ARTICLE!!! Classroom management is probably the most significant skill that high school scripture teachers need. You may be a gifted Bible teacher, but unless you can manage the class there won't be an opportunity to teach the Bible.

James Fong is an experienced scripture teacher and shares some useful strategies.

What strategies do you use in the classroom? (Would love to hear from any teachers... not just scripture).

Watching the USA - Jon Thorpe |

Jon recently went to 2 conferences in the USA: Youth Specialties' NYWC and a Passion conference.

I'm interested in the bigger picture of youth ministry in Australia (and the world). Jon has some mixed feelings about the youth ministry scene in the USA. Lots of good stuff - but significant things missing.

Go check his thoughts out here.
(There aren't any comment facilities over there... so feel free to leave any here)

Good Stuff on Youthworks.net |

Jon Thorpe (in an email) linked to a section on the youthworks site called 'good stuff '.

I'd never seen it before. But there's a whole stack of articles on there (4 on the above link and a bunch of archived ones too). It's in an obscure place and they really ought to put an RSS feed on it to make it more useful. I might link to some...

Ferrero Rocher Record Attempt Wednesday, December 05, 2007 |

Jodie McNeill has a new job... |

...Director of Youthworks Camping Ministries

Teenage Mental Health Tuesday, December 04, 2007 |

Jon has left a long comment below. Check it out. It's in response to Tim.

Jon is a health professional - so heroic youth pastors - listen up!

Tips for helping a cutter find relief |

I haven't read this yet... but looks interesting.
  1. Listen to their pain
  2. Ask questions
  3. Cutting can become a chemical addiction
  4. Find good Christian counseling for the student
  5. Encourage them spiritually
  6. Surround the cutter with encouragement
  7. Research cutting yourself
  8. Offer some alternatives
Read the article from Tim Schmoyer

Phrases that Crush the Spirit of Creativity |

From youthministry.com
  • We tried that before.
  • It costs too much.
  • That's not my job
  • They're too busy to do that.
  • We don't have the time.
  • Not enough help.
  • It's too radical a change.
  • The staff will never buy it.
  • It's against company policy.
  • We don't have the authority.
  • Let's get back to reality
  • That's not our problem.
  • I don't like the idea.
  • I'm not saying you're wrong but...
read the rest here

ypulse |

here's the link

three ways to live Monday, December 03, 2007 |

Two ways to live is gold. Tim Keller pushes the response to 'live my way' (as opposed to 'God's way') a bit further into 'moralism' and 'irreligion'. It's very good.

I heard it in this (mp3) sermon (found here) and then found the above youtube vid that had a short summary of the idea.

I think it relates to the post I did last night. If you think you know how (or at least what I'm thinking) leave a comment...

Loving the lost Sunday, December 02, 2007 |

There are two extremes on the cultural engagement spectrum. At one end there are Christians who are no longer being shaped by the Bible but by their surrounding culture. At the other end are Christians who denounce everything in culture as wrong.

My observation is that reformed evangelical Christians are more likely to fall into the latter. We run in the opposite direction from culture. We create Christian schools, home schools, Christian contemporary music, Christian sports comps, Christian monastic communities (sometimes in the guise of a theological college), Christian political parties and the like.

I've been reminded a number of times lately of a quote from Francis Schaeffer that has stuck with me. It's the final paragraph in a chapter describing the despair experienced in the lives of 19th and 20th century artists. As I first read the chapter I began to laugh at the desperate things done by some of the artists. That was until the final paragraph. A timely rebuke:
These paintings, these poems, and these demonstrations which we have been talking about are the expression of men who are struggling with their appalling lostness. Dare we laugh at such things? Dare we feel superior when we view their tortured expression in their art? Christians should stop laughing and take such men seriously. Then we shall have the right to speak again to our generation. These men are dying while they live; yet where is our compassion for them? There is nothing more ugly than a Christian orthodoxy without understanding or without compassion. (The God who is there)
There's a significant relationship between what Schaeffer is saying and humble orthodoxy.

3 warm fuzzies up for grabs. 1) name of artist above. 2) name of painting. 3) museum where it's hung. (one per person)