A place for my random thoughts, anecdotes and reflections of what I see and experience in this lifetime.

Wednesday, August 01, 2012

More Apathy

I am quite worried about the amount of apathy in our church at the moment, in particular the apathy towards serving- whether in large or small areas.

I'd be bold to say that it's always been there for as long as I've been attending but it does appear to be getting worse.

Church is not perfect as it comprises of imperfect people. But if we are serious about belonging to the community we should be stirred and convicted of helping and serving in what ever ways possible. It's not about prestige or public admiration/recognition but a genuine desire to serve in an area that needs people and the desire to create a better Christian community for all who attend.

We completed a sermon series a month ago on G.R.A.C.E. The main theme was to not only show grace or be gracious to each other, but to further expand on this for the whole church community, each letter represented a sub-topic of its own:

G stands for Genuine

R is for Receptive

A is for Active (this is the one I want to focus on for the purposes of my ramblings)

C is for Community

E is for Encouragement

As Christians we are drawn to church as a means of worshipping God. Worship is not limited to singing or bowing in prayer, but also includes active service and genuine desires to glorify God.

To confess yourself as a Christian and attend church regularly but never participate or rarely participates in the church community is of great concern.
Some questions arise:

- Are we taking our Christian life seriously?
- Do we only want to do things that are fun and popular?
- Do we seek admiration or personal glory from others by only choosing to serve in ways that are up-front to get maximum exposure?
- Are we only serving because our friends are doing it, but our hearts are not really into it?
- Are the areas of need too boring, need too much preparation and personal sacrifice because we have to turn up to church earlier, stay back later or have to take a detour from our usual routine every now and then?
- Would we much rather be spending time outside of the Sunday services doing our own fun things and not preparing for church needs that happen during the week?

Monday, July 30, 2012

Are we taking judgmental way too far?

All over the news today- how the Aussie 4 x mens relay team 'shocked, disappointed' and made a 'disaster' of the final by not getting a medal at all.

The current generation of kids probably need to learn that it is not a good thing to brag about your strengths all the time, and also that life in general will not always give you what you want.

I'm sure Magnussen has learnt the hard way of what this means by having to deal with this in the media spotlight, but as more mature adults though (in the media) I really get uncomfortable by them consistently dwelling on what was 'expected and then it all just failed' and trying to find complex explanations of 'what went wrong'.

Am probably over-generalising here, but there seems to be a consensus that where there is talk about how great he is, the incredible journey he has gone on so far and how he is the 'next big thing to watch out for', the media over-emphasises this so everyone jumps on board.

But then when it all doesn't happen, the media does the horrible thing of actually trying to prove to the public that their much talked about hype is valid and that he simply 'didn't deliver' or 'fulfill their expectations'. What then happens in contrast to before, is that the general public then join in on the ridicule with comments and statements such as 'Such a disappointment' and 'Magnussen talks himself up and fails miserably- no longer supporting you anymore' on Twitter.

Yes, he is gutted and his dream in this one race didn't happen. But then again not all champions do well every single time. I remember back when Pieter Van Den Hoogenband won almost every freestyle gold medal, and then suddenly he was soundly beaten by other more faster competitors. What he did was simply shrugged it off by accepting the fact that he was beaten fair and square, and that he should just concentrate on the race itself, and if he happened to win a medal then that was a bonus.

We are our own worst critics, but I don't believe it is helpful by shielding the younger generation from the disappointments that will be inevitable in their lives, by only teaching them that successful people and people that win are the ones that have a happy, fulfilling life.

Anyone heard of Eric the Eel?

Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ministry of Food

For the last 2 weeks on a Wednesday night I have been helping out with food and service at the weekly Marriage Preparation Course sessions which completed last night.

It's nice to see a number of good friends that have recently become engaged attend the dinners and intimate discussions, learning and building strong foundations for a strong marriage.

Food and church ministry are probably most common in situations where the church provides catering services to people that hire the halls for various events (weddings, parties, engagements, other celebrations etc). We have a great church caterer who does all the official catering on a volunteer basis (but gets reimbursed through the church finances), but what other possibilities are there to expand this as a ministry that goes beyond the church door?

I've also been involved/attended a number of vacation camps, leadership conferences and training weekends over the years. Most recently I was speaking with the camp cooks at the last training conference. They are pretty much retired and have had a background in restaurants and catering so are probably more experienced that some when it comes to catering for large groups (between 80 to 150).

This particular training week offers training (in strand groups) on how to do church ministry such as writing a bible study, writing a bible talk, researching and arguing a biblical topic in light of what the world sees and an introduction to preaching.

We joked about the idea of having a cooking strand..............as in developing a cooking and catering strand to train up younger people that may be interested in using cooking as a ministry opportunity in the future (for church camps, youth camps, training camps etc)
Jokes aside, Uncle and Aunty were pretty sold on the idea actually coming into fruition!

If successful wouldn't it be great if various groups of people could be available to cater and provide this to the wider Christian community? I'd probably separate this from say those that run catering businesses to the general public, as this ministry idea is more based on doing this voluntarily and on a standard budget (nothing extravagant or expensive as most smaller churches and organisations that need help like this would have standard budgets).

I learnt much from Uncle and Aunty when I was a cooks helper about a year ago. To be a capable camp cook requires not only knowing how to cook, but also to plan meals with various dietary requirements, know how to work within a food and drink budget and also portion and quantity control so everyone is satisfied and there is little to no wastage or oversupply.

Much as we would like it, these very talented uncles and aunties will not be around forever so there will always be a need for willing and gifted people to take over this ministry and train future generations to continue this.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012


When you have a monkey on your back that's weighing you down, isn't it a great feeling when it gets lifted off or removed?

It's almost the middle of the year already and to be honest this year has had many changes, some for the better and some not so. Old friendships move on, new friendships are made, people are born so their journey begins, others pass on as they complete their journeys, we reminisce and remember those that we love who have passed on.

It felt different without grandad at Anzac Day this year. We miss him among many others. We also share the joy of friends who bring new life into this world. I shall be a real Aunty later this year when my sister and brother in-law become parents for the first time.

An aside- Coldplay is paying us a visit later this year..................... para....para.....paradise!!!!

Tuesday, April 03, 2012

More difficulties to come

They say things always happen in threes (3s).

So far health-wise I'm 2/3 of the way there. Have pondered what the 3rd condition is going to be.

It's time like these I really do want to just have a happy, normal healthy life like so many that I know and love. On the surface it all seems really good and nothing is getting in the way of enjoying it.

I know that this is not always true, but it would be really help me if different people could remind me of that fact on a regular basis.
 One of the niggling sins I have is the tendency to take the 'why do others have such a better life than me' view, especially when all I find myself doing is sharing my problems with others (which does keep me grounded to an extent) but all I seem to get in return is that other people's lives are always great and there are no health, relationship or life complications.

At this point in time I think the 3rd possible medical condition I have is going to be answered soon and it may or may not be a good one.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012


Today is Shrove Tuesday (or Pancake Day) which means tomorrow will be Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.

Even though I publicly profess I am a Christian, I have never observed Lent as part of the Easter period. Friends of mine that attend non-Baptist churches (which is the only church I've been a part of so far) do observe this each year, in various ways.

You hyprocrite! I might hear some people say.

Wiki friend says:

This event, along with its pious customs are observed by Roman Catholics, Lutherans, Methodists, Presbyterians, Anglicans and some Baptists.[4][4][5][5] Lent is increasingly being observed by other denominations as well, even such groups that have historically ignored Lent, such as some Baptists and Mennonites[6]

Generally speaking, whilst fasting is the main activity observed during Lent, (e.g. only eating fish and basic foods for 40 days), others may choose to give up certain luxuries instead for 40 days, or choose to devote the 40 days to prayer, or focus on giving up their time, money and other things for the church.

I have wondered though why our particular Baptist church has historically ignored the greater part of Lent, and only observed from Palm Sunday onwards (being the last week of Lent). On the surface, one may argue that fasting is no longer required on this side of the cross (post death and resurrection of Christ) and what is most important is remembering the Lords Supper on Maundy Thursday and the Easter Triduum.

I agree that the last week of Lent is important, but why should the church as a whole not also observe the full 40 day period by undertaking some fasting, devoted prayer and commitment to the church and to God?

On what doctrine is the view based on to ignore the greater part of Lent other than the last week of it?

Might have to re-look at the constitution of our church and see what it has to say.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Please help me God

Dear Heavenly Father, I have been sad and upset in the past about many things.  But now I feel a sense of deep bitterness which I know is uncalled for and not appropriate, but it hurts so much more than I have ever felt it go before. Please release me from this anguish, teach me to overcome this and still genuinely love others and be a faithful servant to you. May I be reminded that your grace is sufficient for me, that nothing in my hand I bring to you is acceptable to you, but that what you really want is for me to confess that I have sinned and failed you once again and need forgiveness that comes through Jesus Christ.

It is not my will but yours, and it probably is not for me to know what will happen in the coming days, months or years, but all you ask of me is to trust in you, in your promises, in your Word, in your justice, in your faithfulness, in your providence and in your blessings to come no matter what.

Thank you for loving me no matter how much I hurt you and still have to learn.
I pray these things to you in the name of Jesus Christ my Lord,