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Fund Raising Request

We are trying to raise $4500 (AUD) to cover expenses of our move from Sydney to Townsville. Due to health and family reasons we are attempting to be in Townsville by July. We’ve sold various things and have raised $140, which is well short of the required amount.

There is a PayPal Link below that can be used. Anyone who knows how to contact us privately may do so and we can give bank account information for a direct deposit.

[edit on 1 June – removed to the website margin after reaching the goal amount per update]

There’s no obligation or expectation to give. If, for any reason, you’re uncomfortable or disagree with me asking this way, please, just ignore this or delete email, message etc.

The funds will cover removalists carriage of essential personal effects, transit insurance for those effects, 3 months of storage for remaining items, cost of sending our pet dog to Townsville, and travel by car for our family (i.e. petrol & food for a 2260km trip).
I’ll give regular updates on amounts received up to the goal total.

Some of our items being sold via GumTree.

Updates
May 24 Update: $180 (cash from sale items) + $320 (gifts)
May 25: $320 (sales) + $280 (gifts)
May 26: $170 + $550
May 27: $100 +$120
May 28: $25 + $1000
May 29: – + $200
June 1: – +530
Sales of furniture and personal goods on Monday June 1 mean that we have reached the goal amount.
Total to date: $4500

Thank you to everyone that helped our family in this way.

 
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Posted by on 23/05/2015 in General

 

Ministry is

saving-friend-battle-of-verdunIn a recent discussion around the formation and shape of Christian ministry there was a reflection exercise. In-part, the reflection considered how, if at all, Biblical patterns informed present day ministry practice. The term, “Ministry” can be quite ambiguous and is not simple to define.

Bible passages that stand out to me, (along with many others you could probably mention) are Aaron’s act as described in Numbers 16:47-48. Paul’s description of himself to the Church at Corinth (2 Corinthians 4:7-12), Jesus summary commission recorded in the fourth gospel (John 20:21) and Paul’s commission from God in Acts 26:17-18.

My “reflection” on these is a free-verse composition.

I love you, he said.
Here is everything I have. It’s yours.
I hate you, I replied.
I don’t want what you have.
I will burn it, despise it and destroy all you are.
My pain is too great. I cannot bear it.
I want to die and end it all.
Let me, take it from you, he said.
But why? I replied
It’s worthless, broken and full of shame.
Let me take it from you and give mine instead.
And then he died.
In brokenness, shame and indignity.
I am still broken.
I am NOT destroyed.
I AM re-made.
I have a treasure now he gave me.
Yet. It’s not for me.
It’s for all the broken people I can see.
I can love them. With his love.
Though they hate me.
Their pain is too great and they cannot bear it too.
I can take it from them.
They can be remade.
Because I can die for them.
Death can work in me and life will work in them.
I stand. Between the living and the dead.
He stood for me.

 What is ministry? It’s not heroic. It’s not taken for granted. It is something to live up to … and then die for.

 
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Posted by on 01/05/2015 in church, discipleship, Jesus, leadership, ministry

 

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Helmets save lives

Helmets save cyclists too

Mine saved me.

On my way home from a ride with my Sunday cycling group I came off my bike and suffered a traumatic brain injury. It was the Sunday before Christmas Day. Were it not for my helmet. I would have likely have either suffered permanent and significant brain damage or I would have died. I have no memory of the accident, or the 36-48 hours afterwards and to be honest, the few weeks after during recovery and rehab are a bit fuzzy also.

10882293_10152961386548980_7183192554321424354_nThat’s one reason I haven’t maintained my blog. Recovering from the injury and making some adjustments to my schedule, personal life and family time have affected much in how I prioritize people, relationships, activities and things.

So for my first 2015 entry before re-entering the fray… some photos of the accident.

The last is me standing at the site of the accident about between 2 and 3 weeks after the accident. The stain on the concrete is my blood from the head wounds. My daughter is standing in the background where it is estimated that I came off the bike.

Not all accidents can be anticipated or prevented. Some things happen without a known direct cause. But, gravity ensures that if a rider comes off their bike they will fall to the ground. If you’re wearing a helmet when it happens, your likelihood of survival increases enormously. Some people say they don’t like cycling helmets because it makes them feel like a dork. I’m more than happy to wear mine, now so even more. I’d rather look like a dork than a corpse. Although that photo of me at hospital isn’t too far off :)

And, yes. I have started riding again. With lots of support and encouragement from my team and a nice little Garmin kit as well. Stay safe, enjoy your ride. And always wear your helmet!

10613090_10152995268623980_3069382014812075881_n

 
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Posted by on 01/05/2015 in Blokes, Just for fun

 

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2014 in review

The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 7,200 times in 2014. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

 
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Posted by on 31/12/2014 in General

 

Fair and unfair questions about the connection between religion and abuse

The Sydney siege has given rise to a lot of discussion in Australia about the role of the gunman’s religious beliefs in either inspiring or contributing to his actions which culminated in taking arming himself and taking hostages in the Lindt Cafe in Sydney this week. Precedents have been cited of others with allegedly similar professed beliefs committing heinous crimes throughout the world.

The overly simplified argument is that Islam was founded amidst violence and that many adherents believe they are justified and encouraged to pursue violence against those who disagree, reject or convert away from Islam. True enough, there are examples of this. Perhaps most notable are the recent actions of the Islam State cult and the Taliban or Al Qaeda. In other instances there are national governments lead by an Islamic ethos that display strong prejudice and discrimination against non-Islamic minorities in their countries.

Yet, making an inference, whether implied or explicit, that all adherents of Islam are on the same trajectory for the same reason as those that motivate the Taliban or the Lindt Cafe gunman is poor logic and hypocritical.

Questions ought to be asked about the contributing factors inspiring a decision to take hostages and murder two of them. What role, if any, did a perception or interpretation of religion play in that decision? But to assume that all other adherents of that religion, regardless of degree of traditional orthodoxy or intercultural expression, are no different to the gunman or the Taliban, creates some dangerous precedents.

Asking questions in general or debating the merits of an ideology or religion ought to be welcome in the public square. Such discussion ought to be able to take place without degenerating into ad hominem attacks and insults. These only serve to create animosity, fear, hatred and do nothing for the interests of truth and justice.

If, when considering Islam, you make a leap from one gunman or one criminal association or even the habitual practice of a particular government to extend to each individual without exception, then why don’t you do the same with other ideologies and intercultural religious expressions?

For instance, to cite the example made by Prime Minister Tony Abbott yesterday, when the IRA terrorists were bombing the UK and killing innocents, is every Roman Catholic a murderer?
Likewise, when an Atheist regime in North Korea oppresses an entire nation, is every non-theist an egomaniacal abusive dictator bent on destroying the world?
Or, when a Christian minister or Catholic priest abuses a child, is every Christian a pervert and a paedophile?

You can no more argue that Islam always attracts or inspires violence than you can that Christianity always attracts or inspires crimes against children. It goes beyond the absurd and becomes a deviance of it’s own.

Let’s ask the difficult questions, and lets make sure that all ideas and actions are held up to scrutiny. But let’s do it in fair play. I for one, am more than happy for my beliefs and practices to undergo the same. I’m confident you can do it and disagree passionately with my religious conclusions, regardless of how well I might make an argument, and still not malign me at the end. (If you do, well it’s no loss to me that you’re an incorrigible hard case.) Neither do you have to endorse or agree with me to ask those questions and seek understanding and clarification.

However, if, in the course of your examination you find some gross inconsistency in my character, I’m confident that you’ll attribute that to my personal flaws without condemning 2000 years of Christianity or every other professing Christian of being guilty of the same for the same reasons regardless of their background and context.

I hope my Muslim, Jewish, Buddhist, Hindu, Atheist and all other friends are equal to the task also. There’s no need for us to reach a consensus to have the discussion or to reap the benefits of civilised society.

 
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Posted by on 18/12/2014 in Culture, leadership

 

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After the Sydney siege, please be a messenger of peace

In the wake of the Sydney siege in Martin Place and continuing to be prayerfully sensitive about how to respond and move forward, I have noticed some comments by “christians” protesting the presence of Muslims and refugees in our community. These comments, often, come from a reaction of fear and confusion. But some are nothing more than racist rants and are not in any way representative of Jesus Christ, Christianity or the grace and compassion that ought to characterise Christian people. This is not an occasion to slander refugees or target Muslims in our society as though they are all terrorists. Such behaviour is beyond ridiculous and infantile. Please stop it.

In the first few hours of the siege yesterday I was concerned about the association of the gunman with Islam and why Islamic leaders had not been given an opportunity to decry his actions as outrageous evil. However, they did do exactly that later in the day. Why it didn’t happen earlier, I cannot say. However, were I in their place I would have been extremely tenuous about how to respond in a sensitive and compassionate way. No reasonable person of any faith or ideology could support or condone what was happening.

I am appalled by the tragedy. I am so sorry for the hostages and their families particularly those who were killed. I say that as an Australian man and yes, also as a Christian. However disgusted and angry I may be that this occurred in my home city, I cannot respond to terror, horror and inhumanity with words, threats or actions of violence and abuse. Peace engenders peace. If I want to pursue and develop peace in my community among my neighbours there is no place for vile hatred that perpetuates racism and discrimination. That means extending peace, friendship and hospitality to all regardless of their religion, irreligion or come what may.

The gospel of Jesus is a message of peace. We celebrate that great message every Christmas when we rehearse the announcement of the angels at his birth:

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14 NIV

Peace comes to all recipients of God’s good will or favour. The followers of Jesus are ambassadors of peace; not strife, not hatred, not bigotry, not disdain, not animosity; but peace.

You know the message God sent to the people of Israel, telling the good news of peace through Jesus Christ, who is Lord of all. Acts 10:36

That offer of peace extends to everyone, believer, unbeliever, anywhere in-between.

He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. Ephesians 2:17

We are to model peace and offer peace to all, without exception.

“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If a man of peace is there, your peace will rest on him; if not, it will return to you. Luke 10:5-6

To offer peace does not mean you agree with or endorse the views, opinions, or beliefs of the other person. An offer of peace does not mean that you agree with their religions, philosophies or ideals, or that you accept their position as equal alternatives to Jesus as the only way to the Father.

It does mean that you will seek to serve, love and support any and all: Christian, Non-christian, Muslim, Hindu, Buddhist, Atheist, or otherwise.

You can do that and repudiate the evils perpetuated in the name of various ideologies and religions. You can do that and be friendly and hospitable to Muslim neighbours and repudiate stupid racist jokes, name calling and other abuse or mistreatment (particularly of Muslim women wearing head coverings). You can do that and welcome and support refugees without maligning or misjudging their motives on account of one who happened to have an evil agenda.

To that end, I join with many others throughout Sydney who have offered to ride with or stand with Muslim friends, neighbours and coworkers and oppose any mistreatment or hatred. Some of you may not be comfortable entering a Christian Church building, but I extend an invitation to you to join us this Sunday for a Christmas lunch. (post edited in 2015 – comment for details on address)

I’ll ride with you.

I’ll pray with (and for) you.

I’ll welcome you.

In the name of Jesus, the Prince of Peace.

Photo on 16-12-2014 at 10.10 am #2

 
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Posted by on 16/12/2014 in Culture, Gospel, Jesus, ministry, Prayer

 

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Sydney Siege Prayer Advice

This is my letter to the Church community where I am the Pastor.

By now most will be aware of the situation, still under development while writing this, of an armed siege in a Lindt Cafe in Martin Place in the city.

In the days ahead the details of the situation will be clearer. For now though there is far too much speculation and unfortunate sensationalism happening in the media. Please follow the advice and example of the Police, Premier and Prime Minister and avoid such unhelpful speculation.

What we do know is that there are people being held hostage in the café; there are people in the building above the café that are unable to leave because of the hostage situation; there are people in Martin Place that are probably not able to safely leave their offices; there are people working in the city that may have a lot of difficulty getting home this evening; families of those affected as well as our police and authorities and their families will be under a lot of stress and pressure until the situation is resolved.

So I encourage you to pray for God’s will to be done;
that a safe and peaceful resolution can be achieved;
for spiritual and emotional protection and healing for the hostages, their families and the authorities involved;
for the counsellors that will need to sensitively assist them in the following days ahead;
for the city churches that are opening to welcome seekers and distressed city workers;
for the perpetrator or perpetrators involved to be brought to merciful justice and given repentance and restoration;
for members of our community who are confused by the terror of this crime and unable to process how they should respond;
for yourself and your family, that you might trust in God’s promise of true peace for those who know Jesus and that you are able to live in that peace now especially and share with others your hope in God through Christ.

The Anglican Prayer Book has a helpful example prayer that you could use (as suggested this morning by Rev. Dr. John Dickson), if you feel you would like to pray, but are unable to find the words. (NB: I’ve modified the old English phrases)

We beg you to hear us, good Lord. That it may please you to preserve all that travel by land or by water, all women labouring of child, all sick persons, and young children; and to show you pity upon all prisoners and captives. We beg you to hear us, good Lord. That it may please you to defend, and provide for, the father-less children, and widows, and all that are desolate and oppressed, We beg you to hear us, good Lord. That it may please you to have mercy upon all men, We beg you to hear us, good Lord. That it may please you to forgive our enemies, persecutors, and slanderers, and to turn their hearts, We beg you to hear us, good Lord.

May God’s peace in Christ be with you.

 
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Posted by on 15/12/2014 in Prayer

 

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