He’s So Nice He Could be a Christian…

I have heard this a few times lately.

Its a statement I struggle with because it:

a) implies Christians are ‘nice’ – some are 🙂
b) people who aren’t Christians might be ‘nice’, but its not to be expected

When you take that point of view into the world with you its going to show in relationships.

Actually if I were more blunt find it offensive – there are a hell of a lot of pagans out there who are great people.

Why do we sometimes assume that if a person shows love and kindness he/she is potentially a Christian and not just another reflection of ‘the image?’…

Anyway – rant over…


beach.jpg Or stupidity?…

Knowing it was going to be 38 degrees today we (Ellie, Sam and I) ventured to the beach. As some of you would know it is a major operation to get 2 kids to the beach when there are two parents present – but with just one it certainly adds to the adventure!

After dressing, suncreaming and packing drinks and food for two kids we headed off.

We managed to get to the Yanchep Lagoon where Fatboy spent the first 15 minutes whinging and crying. I almost packed up and came home… Then he stopped and we had a great hour of fun building sandcastles, digging swimming pools and messing around.

I feel pretty proud just to have done it!

Community Rhythms

Over the last few months we have been discussing how we will gather as a ‘church’.

We are aware of the need for the mission to shape our gatherings and not the other way round. But we need to do something now…

So what we came up with is the following 4 week cycle.

Week 1 – Focus Meeting – only the missionary team can attend and it is intentionally about equipping for mission, prayer and bringing us back the core reason we are in this area. On this week if you were visiting the area and ‘wanted to come’ we wouldn’t let you!

Weeks 2 & 4 – Primary Communities – the term ‘primary’ is intentional as these smaller groups will be ‘church’ for us – our primary place of nurture, teaching, worship and mission. I sense (know)that in most of our churches Sunday is primary and a smaller community is optional. We have opted to go for a fortnightly meeting as our base point. These are intended to be open meetings, but meetings that support us in our won spirituality as we serve in mission

Week 3 – Big Gig – Simply put a bigger event where we really do broaden the scope of what we do and who might feel welcome. It might be as simple as a party, it might be an easter celebration, a baby dedication, a community work project. A priority in big gigs is to run things that our neighbours and friends will feel very welcome being a part of. They will rarely be overtly ‘churchy’ but they will be very missional.

Outside of the structures we expect that we will relate to each other as friends. If we don’t see each other except for when we meet up then we need to question the genuineness of the friendships anyway.

Above all we need to keep coming back to our calling to be a missionary team here in Brighton. A ‘church’ may see gathering as the primary concern – we need to see relationships with neighbours as the primary concern.

What’s exciting is that I can see our team have really got it and are enjoying being the people God has called us to be.

I’m not sure if the rhythm we have set will work, but if it doesn’t… we will change it! Simple as that…


Today I got up at 4.00 to drop Danelle at the airport. Ouch!

She has a conference in Sydney until Monday – which means that I am now responsible for two children…

Thankfully we have good friends who have offered to look after the kids while I work today and tomorrow. But after that its all down to me…

Tonight we had fish and chips for dinner!

Actually it was a great night out. We went to the local marina and had dinnner in the pub – the kids were really good and loved being there near the sea, around the boats etc – whew… one night down!

Think Time

One thing I always feel when I work hard and get busy is that I run the risk of getting behind on my ‘think time’.

When life is ambling along at a steady pace I am able to create lots of space for thought and reflection – when it speeds up I find myself thinking and reflecting less and simply doing more.

Its a dangerous place to be as if I don’t stop and reflect on what I am doing its easy to get caught up with just go go go.

Right now I’m in a busy patch and that’s ok, (it will end) but one thing this blog can do for me in this period is help me to keep reflecting on life and where we are at.

Fishers of Fish

nemo.jpeg Tomorrow Herdo and Mark and I head out to try and catch a few fish. Herdo is a fairly legendary fisherman and Mark is a neighbour I have only just met.

Me” I’m a lover of fish but pretty hopeless at catching them. Hopefully I’ll learn a bit of these two!

It’s funny how we met Mark”

He and his wife live about a km away also in Brighton, and she is in Danelle’s mother’s group. Recently they decided to sell their house to come and ‘live in our street’ because they like the vibe better here – more parties – more community (their words not mine.) The funny thing is they sold their house in 1 day and have bought a block just round the corner”

They seem like great people so we are really looking forward to getting to know them better.

Part of our dream in moving here was that we would be part of creating a community that people would want to be part of. Its great to see that happening!

nil by mouth download

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Barby for Fatboy

cake.jpg Saturday night was Sam’s birthday and ‘dedication’. We called the night ‘Thank God for Sam’.

You may not know that Sam is our second IVF child – Ellie being the first. For 8 years we waited and tried” and tried and waited.

Then on our first IVF attempt Ellie came along. She is a babe!

party1.jpg On our second attempt the first implanted embryo produced Sam, a very happy, chubby little boy. Sam was our first choice for a name because it means ‘asked of God’ – and we did some asking!

We decided to wait until now to dedicate Sam, because we wanted to do it with the community we are a part of. It was great to spend Saturday night with family and friends – many of those friends now being our neighbours.

It was a simple gig with lots of food, drinks and a short section devoted to Sam. Danelle and I shared some of our story, I shared a prayer we had written for Sam and then Herdo prayed for us.

prayer.jpg aliens dvdrip download Simple, but meaningful!

Now I have two other similar gigs to do for our neighbours – people who probably wouldn’t call themselves Christians, but who want to do something meaningful for their children. I’m looking forward to exploring what that might look like for them and sharing the occasion with them.

If you’re interested here is my prayer for Sam”

Father we thank you for the gift of Sam
We thank you for our little boy – fatman, boofer boy, chubba bubba”
Who has brought so much joy into our lives – we love him.
Thank you for hearing our prayers when we were at the end of our rope
And giving us not just one, but two beautiful children.

As we pray for Sam, we ask you will watch over his life and protect him from harm.
We ask that he will grow up to be a man who knows what it is to live life to the full as you intend.
Help us as parents to love him and to guide him, to respect his choices, to be patient with him, to encourage him and help him reach the dreams you have put in his heart.
We ask that through our lives and our actions he would know what it means to be a follower of Jesus.
As we nurture him, we ask that he would become a man of conviction and integrity – that he would live a life marked by grace and courage and selflessness.

We pray that as he grows up he will leave a mark on this world.
That he will not be afraid to develop genuine relationships – that he will not be satisfied with a comfortable mundane life, but that he will know the joy of a life connected to God, to people and to a sense of calling and destiny that is greater than him.

We thank you for our friends and family who stand with us today and celebrate Sam’s life. Thank you that we don’t do this alone.

With your strength, we commit ourselves to Sam and to walking with him thru life whatever that may bring.

Thank you for trusting us with Sam.

Get Your Gear Off!

One of today’s sermon illustrations…

“Let me ask – in the last week how many of you seriously pondered whether you would head off a nudist colony this weekend?

Hmmm… not many!

But” If that nudist colony had better volleyball courts, a bigger swimming pool, better food and great coffee would you then go?

Still not convinced hey?!

Makes sense – because you wouldn’t belong there – you would feel dreadfully uncomfortable there – it isn’t your thing – the values and practices of the nudists would make you feel like a fish out of water. And everything being offered there you can get somewhere else without feeling uncomfortable.

Perhaps that is some of what it is like for people outside the church?…

I mean I have never even considered going to a nudist colony – do we really think our churches ever go thru the heads of people who are not Christians?…”

(BTW – what is it with nudists and volleyball? Seems like one sport I wouldn’t want to play naked!)

Went to Church Today…

Believe it or not that is news!

I’ve got a stack of preaching gigs over the next 6-8 weeks and the first one was today at Warwick Church of Christ.

I really enjoyed it – the whole bit! I haven’t been to a church service for over 8 weeks but it was really nice to be back in that environment today.

I actually find singing a helpful way to worship, but given our current situation we are not doing much if any singing and things don’t look likely to change greatly on that front.

I wouldn’t say I miss singing – I rarely think about it – but it is good to occasionally be able to worship in that way!

Examen as a Spiritual Practice

A few people asked what this looks like.

To save me re-inventing the wheel go here

download uninvited the online

to see Darren’s take on it.

Or pick up Sacred Companions by David Benner. This is a brilliant book on personal spirituality.

Essentially for me what it means is something like this:
– 10 mins centring prayer – very difficult
– 10 mins reflection on God’s presence in the day just gone
– confession
– a short passage of scripture to meditate on
– maybe journal on it
– 20 or so mins of intercessory prayer

Often I will use Sacred Space as a guide.

The essence of it is the fact that when I slow down and stop to be with God I realise that I am not keeping the world going – a helpful reminder of my place in the scheme of things…