Church – Rain, Hail and Shine

RHS1I’m troubled by the recent tendency to refer to times of corporate singing as “the [singular] worship”. The biblical textbook on the matter of worship, Romans 12, describes “intelligent worship” as the act of “giving God our bodies as a living sacrifice, consecrated to Him and acceptable by Him”. It then goes on to list what this looks like – intellect (“let God re-mould your minds from within”), spiritual formation , preaching, serving, stimulating the faith of others, generosity, leadership, empathy, affection for each other, hard work, prayer, magnanimity and hospitality. Something I like doing as worship is cost-benefit analysis. Read more of this post


Integrity or …. ?

Laws exist to fill in the gap and police the failure of character. Laws can never do what the integrity values can do; they are simply a ‘back-up’ system”.   Henry Cloud

In Jesus’ ministry this clash between integrated character and the “back-up” system of laws was starkly illustrated in Luke 13:10-17. Jesus’ integrated character and his empathy, observance of the negative and his orientation towards truth, increase and transcendence come together to deliver a result. Despite knowing the objections about his habit of healing on the Sabbath Day Jesus very publicly heals a woman inflicted with a psychological illness.

The president of the synagogue publicly lambasts Jesus for his failure to observe the law. Rob Bell suggests “when we see religious communities spending most of their time trying to convince people not to sin, we are seeing a community that has missed the point. The point isn’t sin management; the point is who we are now”.[2]

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God of Adventure

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA pastor recently asked: ‘Where in the Bible do you find camping culture mentioned?’   Well, I’m glad he asked because I’ve been reading an excellent book by Bruce Dunning called ‘God of Adventure’ which establishes the biblical validity of ‘Christian Adventure Learning’, arguing a case that liminality (conscious awareness) and adventure learning combine to be one of God’s principle tools to connect with his people, challenge them, and have them participate in his redemptive purpose for his creation.

The book takes the reader through more than one hundred biblical examples of adventure learning and camping.  For example:

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Are Zimbabwean orphans really funny?

Orphan David on arrival

Australia’s favourite curmudgeon Peter Fitzsimons had a sly attack at Manly supporters in his column last Saturday, using Zimbabwean orphans as the punchline to his “joke”.   

My thanks to Fitzphile Sam Clough, who drew my attention to this fascinating news item: the Manly cheer squad has just returned from a trip to an orphanage in Zimbabwe.
”It was a great chance to meet underprivileged people with very little hope in life,” said Alfred Mgombo, aged six.


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Of salt and yeast

In a past life I was a franchise of Domino’s Pizza Enterprises Australia.  In fact I’m proud to admit one of the stores I was responsible for set an Australian record for opening week sales.  I even have the T-shirt to prove it!  All that to say, I’ve dabbled in enough pizza to know a bit about their bases and the secrets of great dough.

Some of this came back to me recently as I sat in on some sessions on Jesus’ parables by a mate of mine, Rhys McFaddden.  Talk turned to Jesus admonition to avoid the yeast of the pharisees and his urging followers to be salt.  For me it wound me back to memories of flopped deep pan bases, none more so than when we were trying to make them in drought-ravaged Broken Hill when it’s water supply (Menindee Lakes) was down to 3%.  The town water became so saline that it was undrinkable – petrol stations stopped honouring discount vouchers and instead gave out casks of spring water with purchases. 

In the shop we had to start using cask water in the pizza bases too, because the saline content in the tap water was killing off the yeast in the dough mix and we couldn’t get any bases to rise. 

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