Friday, April 25, 2008

friday morning

my darling son pulled off about 1/3 of the keys from my keyboard the other day. so i haven't used the computer much lately. typing takes a long time because i have to depress the little buds that remain after the keypad carnage that took place.

outreach team from ccbc germany leaves today, it was great having them. gave away hundreds of cups of tea and talked to a lot of people about jesus. last night a 7 foot tall demon possessed man tried to kill me, but it worked out all right. i came home and listened to fernando ortega for a bit to calm down before i went to bed.

i'll post some pics later on, (unfortunately no one got any shots of the man who wanted to kill me). rachel is going away to dublin for a ladies retreat, so me and eoin are having a lad's weekend starting now!

typing this took a lot longer than it should have.

p.s. i hate facebook chat, does anyone know how to disable it?

Monday, April 21, 2008

Last night the Passover feast was remembered by Jews around the world, different households no doubt celebrating in different ways, from the Orthodox Jews who went through the lengthy ceremonial meal and Torah readings, so my secular Jewish stepmother-in-law who just wished her friends a "Happy Passover" and everywhere in between.

In Jerusalem this year a group of Jews met near where the Temple formerly stood and actually sacrificed a lamb. The footage is available here.

It's bloody (as you would expect) but it is worth watching.

Christ, our Passover, was sacrificed for us. 1 Corinthians 5:7

Saturday, April 12, 2008

D.A. Carson on the Evangelical identity.

I'm not quite sure how to post a link to an mp3, so this is my first experiment.

What Is Evangelicalism? (1.28.08, Grace Fellowship Church in Toronto)

I really enjoy Carson's messages. His books are very important and thorough, but I get much more out of his talks. I listened to this one a couple days ago as I was running around on some errands in town and I thought it was worth passing on.

This is a blog I read that made me want to start a blog

6 Reasons Pastors Should BlogMarch 31, 2008
By: Abraham Piper Category: Commentary

In this article I want to convince as many pastors as possible to sit down and start a blog today. If I can’t convince them, then I want to convince churchgoers to hound their pastor until he does.
OK, all that’s overstatement, perhaps. You can still be a good pastor and not blog.
However, here’s why I think it would be good for you and your congregation if you did.

Pastors should blog…

1. …to write.
If you’re a pastor, you probably already know the value writing has for thinking. Through writing, you delve into new ideas and new insights. If you strive to write well, you will at the same time be striving to think well.
Then when you share new ideas and new insights, readers can come along with you wherever your good writing and good thinking bring you.
There is no better way to simply and quickly share your writing than by maintaining a blog. And if you’re serious about your blog, it will help you not only in your thinking, but in your discipline as well, as people begin to regularly expect quality insight from you.

2. …to teach.

Most pastors I’ve run into love to talk. Many of them laugh at themselves about how long-winded they’re sometimes tempted to be.
Enter Blog.
Here is where a pastor has an outlet for whatever he didn’t get to say on Sunday. Your blog is where you can pass on that perfect analogy you only just thought of; that hilarious yet meaningful story you couldn’t connect to your text no matter how hard you tried; that last point you skipped over even though you needed it to complete your 8-point acrostic sermon that almost spelled HUMILITY.
And more than just a catch-all for sermon spill-over, a blog is a perfect place for those 30-second nuggets of truth that come in your devotions or while you’re reading the newspaper. You may never write a full-fledged article about these brief insights or preach a whole sermon, but via your blog, your people can still learn from them just like you did.

3. …to recommend.

With every counseling session or after-service conversation, a pastor is recommending something. Sometimes it’s a book or a charity. Maybe it’s a bed-and-breakfast for that couple he can tell really needs to get away. And sometimes it’s simply Jesus.
With a blog, you can recommend something to hundreds of people instead of just a few. Some recommendations may be specific to certain people, but that seems like it would be rare. It’s more likely to be the case that if one man asks you whether you know of any good help for a pornography addiction, then dozens of other men out there also need to know, but aren’t asking.
Blog it.
Recommendation, however, is more than pointing people to helpful things. It’s a tone of voice, an overall aura that good blogs cultivate.
Blogs are not generally good places to be didactic. Rather, they’re ideal for suggesting and commending. I’ve learned, after I write, to go back and cut those lines that sound like commands or even overbearing suggestions, no matter how right they may be. Because if it’s true for my audience, it’s true for me, so why not word it in such a way that I’m the weak one, rather than them?
People want to know that their pastor knows he is an ordinary, imperfect human being. They want to know that you’re recommending things that have helped you in your own weakness. If you say, “When I struggled with weight-loss, I did such-and-such,” it will come across very differently than if you say, “Do such-and-such if you’re over-weight…”
If you use your blog to encourage people through suggesting and commending everything from local restaurants to Jesus Christ, it will complement the biblical authority that you rightly assume when you stand behind the pulpit.

4. …to interact.

There are a lot of ways for a pastor to keep his finger on the pulse of his people. A blog is by no means necessary in this regard. However, it does add a helpful new way to stay abreast of people’s opinions and questions.
Who knows what sermon series might arise after a pastor hears some surprising feedback about one of his 30-second-nuggets-of-truth?

5. …to develop an eye for what is meaningful.

For good or ill, most committed bloggers live with the constant question in their mind: Is this bloggable? This could become a neurosis, but I’ll put a positive spin on it: It nurtures a habit of looking for insight and wisdom and value in every situation, no matter how mundane.
If you live life looking for what is worthwhile in every little thing, you will see more of what God has to teach you. And the more he teaches you, the more you can teach others. As you begin to be inspired and to collect ideas, you will find that the new things you’ve seen and learned enrich far more of your life than just your blog.

6. …to be known.

This is where I see the greatest advantage for blogging pastors.
Your people hear you teach a lot; it’s probably the main way that most of them know you. You preach on Sundays, teach on Wednesdays, give messages at weddings, funerals, youth events, retreats, etc.
This is good—it’s your job. But it’s not all you are. Not that you need to be told this, but you are far more than your ideas. Ideas are a crucial part of your identity, but still just a part.
You’re a husband and a father. You’re some people’s friend and other people’s enemy. Maybe you love the Nittany Lions. Maybe you hate fruity salad. Maybe you struggle to pray. Maybe listening to the kids’ choir last weekend was—to your surprise—the most moving worship experience you’ve ever had.
These are the things that make you the man that leads your church. They’re the windows into your personality that perhaps stay shuttered when you’re teaching the Bible. Sometimes your people need to look in—not all the way in, and not into every room—but your people need some access to you as a person. A blog is one way to help them.
You can’t be everybody’s friend, and keeping a blog is not a way of pretending that you can. It’s simply a way for your people to know you as a human being, even if you can’t know them back. This is valuable, not because you’re so extraordinary, but because leadership is more than the words you say. If you practice the kind of holiness that your people expect of you, then your life itself opened before them is good leadership—even when you fail.


For most of you, anything you post online will only be a small piece in the grand scheme of your pastoral leadership. But if you can maintain a blog that is both compelling and personal, it can be an important small piece.
It will give you access to your people’s minds and hearts in a unique way by giving them a chance to know you as a well-rounded person. You will no longer be only a preacher and a teacher, but also a guy who had a hard time putting together a swing-set for his kids last weekend. People will open up for you as you open up like this for them. Letting people catch an honest glimpse of your life will add authenticity to your teaching and depth to your ministry,

* * *

To help you take the next step:
Video: Blogs in Plain English
Better Blog-Writing
Get started at Wordpress
Get started at Blogger

Friday, April 11, 2008

my jogging spot

this is so you can visualise me running around through the birds!

Hey Nic Lazz!

I also joined the world of blogging.

In fairness, I already have a blog to my name, but this one is going to be different. The other blog that I have is one that I only set up because the tech guy at my sending church kept on bugging me to make one. After the fourth email that he sent me, I finally, in frustration, set up an account and copied and pasted a couple of our generic update emails onto it. It made him pretty happy, and occasionally I post the odd ministry picture or monthy update to it.

What's going to be different about this one is that I am not using this to represent my church (not my sending church nor the church I am planting now) or any ministry. I'm actually not even going to use my full name. This blog is not going to be publicised to people that are in positions of authority over me (my church back in the states) or to the people that I stand in a position of authority over (my church here in ____, ______). I definitely am not planning on writing inappropriate things here, but I do want to be able to reference an author or a band or a website without having to give a long winded disclaimer stating that I don't support or endorse everything that he/she/it/they have ever published.

I found that more and more I was having to do that as I spoke with people, so I have pretty much given up referencing my sources of illustrations or information lately, which is a real shame. The hope is that this blog over the months and years (if i don't lose interest [which is a very real possibility!]) will be a great resource to my friends pointing them to lectures and articles, sermons and videos that have enriched my own life and ministry.It's not just going to be sermon prep, cultural contextualization, hermeneutical tips and that sort of thing... I'm also planning on telling stories about what I'm up to and films I've liked and maybe even recipes! Who knows!

So here's my first little post:

I just got back from jogging.

Well, not literally "just got back" because I got back, came upstairs, then decided that I would set up this blog, so I spent a long time registering the thing (coming up with a clever title and address took longer than you would think [turns out all the really clever people already got blogs about 3 years ago and registered all the good anonymous names]), then carefully wording my introduction that you just read.

So, "I recently got back from jogging" would have been a more honest way of saying it.

I've been jogging for about a month and a half now, on average I'd say about twice a week. I jog at this lake thats about ten or fifteen minutes from my house. It's a really nice place, its actually a swan sanctuary I think. The lake is exactly one mile in perimeter, so it's handy for measuring how long you jog. I've been doing three laps and I think soon I'm going to up it to four soon.

Generally I run in the mornings, and it's such a fantastic way to start the day. The comraderie around the lake is great. Old ladies are walking their dogs and men are sitting on the benches watching the birds but there is always a few people out early doing laps around the water's edge. Most people smile at you as you pass them, but there is a special nod of acknowledgment reserved especially for the moment when two joggers pass one another heading opposite directions.

It's a nod that speaks volumes, in one deliberate motion so much is communicated;
"keep at it"
"good job getting out of bed early this morning"
"don't give up"
"I'll see you in a few minutes when we pass again"

I don't think I'm reading too much into it at all. Go jogging early one morning and you'll see it a few times, I promise you!

But it's not just the nods of affirmation from my newfound peers that make jogging so rewarding, its the way you wolf down food when you get home, it's the feel of the shower afterwards, but mostly how your whole body feels warm for like 3 or 4 hours afterwards, which is amazing, especially if you live in a cold country and have poor blood circulation like me.

so, jogging is awesome.

to summarize: i blog. i jog.