In his important book “The Tangible Kingdom” Hugh Halter writes “if you go to Africa and hang out in a village of starving children you’ll get a heart for starving children.  If you hang out with the mentally ill, you’ll get a heart for the emotionally imbalanced.  If you want an authentic heart for people outside the church … you’ve got to be with them.  As they grab your heart, your posture will change, your angle of approach will change, and the Kingdom of God will be a little more tangible”.

About eighteen months ago we launched an overarching theme for our QCCC sites.  Known as R1202 (Romans 12:2) it’s a bright, colourful hand that is now a visual presence at each site.  The attributes in R1202 are drawn directly from the Beatitudes and it has multi-layering so that the interplay of colour, fingers (and thumbs) and words create up to sixty memorable object lessons that we can refer to, depending on the age and demographic of groups we’re working with

At QCCC we get to hang out with more than 50,000 people each year, with huge variation in age, needs and desires.  It means we have a heart for people coming away from their everyday hum drum, it gives us a heart of service to make sure they have a wonderful time away, and a heart to see their time with us spent well.  Often we don’t have a lot of time with people, but we’re just a small link in the chain of the Holy Spirit’s work and prompting in their life which started long before they come to us and will go on long past.

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Name change

After something of an absence from blogging (long overseas trip), I’m back!  The site has a new name too – Freed Eagle.  This is a reference to my personal journey over the last 3-4 years, but also pays homage to one of my favourite verses in the bible:

But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.  They will soar high on wings like eagles.  They will run and not grow weary.  They will walk and not faint. Isaiah 40:31

It’s good to be back and looking forward to sharing more.

Oh Father, what have I done?

The scary occupation of parent must surely be one of the things that teaches us the most about ourselves, and this world we inhabit. It’s just as well parents don’t genuinely know what they’re in for before they embark on the journey. The world would be de-populated if they did.  The full reality of the sacrifice required to be an effective parent is a truly sobering thought.

Our beloved middle son has a mild anxiety disorder that manifests itself as a form of oppositional defiant disorder when it’s in full flow. He is known as our “charming challenge” because he is a delight to nearly everyone he meets, but he can be a monumental handful for those he is familiar with. Quite literally it feels as though familiarity breeds his contempt (and it also helps to remember he’s not yet ten years old and doesn’t seem to have a malicious bone in his body).

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Reserve Graders

On the fringes

Recently I heard a talk by someone celebrating the faithfulness of an orphan mission in Central Africa, totally reliant on donations and therefore operating “on faith”. The talk was of the numerous close calls, near misses, miraculous intervention and “God always coming through and rewarding the faith of the place”.

And it’s a fantastic story. I am in awe of people living on the edge like that, their bravery, their faithfulness and their ability to live completely reliant on God. But I did wonder that for every stunning story like that, how many other similar outfits out there that embark on a similar path and struggle for years or fall over? What thought do we give to the hundreds of faithful people who enter ministry with a full heart, wonderful intention, but end up burned out, broke or worse? Was it their faith that was lacking? I doubt we can judge but I suspect not.

On a few occasions I have been in the presence of earned celebrity. And when that has happened I have often been struck by the star-power, or the extremity of talent that these people ooze. I’m talking of entertainment celebrities and the wattage of their star-power, a celebrity that drips with extreme charisma.

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Gaga’s Like a Prayer moment

Last night at Mapleton we were hosting a high school group from the local area.  You can always tell when a high school group is in, rather than the dominant weekday clientele of primary schools.  The volume levels are a bit higher, the tone of half the voices is lower and the movies in the hall go later and are louder.  But strolling around the campus you’re also reminded of the awkwardness of adolescence, that half world between childhood and adult where we slowly feel our way towards independence.

All of a sudden parents and teachers aren’t the sole, or even most important guiding voice.  The opinion of your peer circle grows in importance and so does the influence of popular culture.  And at the moment there’s few artists with a hold on the teens like Lady Gaga.  And last night she fired the next shot from the breech of her latest album – a single entitled Judas.  She’s been pumping it for ages on Facebook, complete with scarlet cross, just in case you were in any doubt of its religious connotations. 

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