When this year started my life was ambling along and I was looking for things to do most days. I was almost glad of my two days of teaching just to help fill up a fairly empty week!

Its now August and that has changed a heap. Today and yesterday have been sensational days and I have not been able to go surfing or fishing… ‘how sad’ I hear you cry! My brother sent me a text yesterday afternoon asking if I wanted to head out on the water.

Want to?… absolutely!

Able to?… nup…

Well I could have, but there was a lot of stuff that wouldn’t have got done. Some days I am happy just to drop everything and have fun, but now as activity has increased I am aware that I can’t do that anywhere near as freely.

Its great to see what we are doing in Brighton developing and to see Forge really gaining steam, but it does mean returing to where ordinary people live!

resident evil divx download

hackers online


As much as we may want to take a more holistic approach to defining / describing the gospel and make it about much more than ‘heaven or hell’ sooner or later we need to discuss issues of sin, forgiveness and atonement.

In some of the pendulum swinging that I have observed in the last few years it is as if some people have wanted to avoid this kind of language / emphasis, yet at the centre of our faith stands the cross, a reminder that no matter how good we live we still needed someone to die in our place.

In the centred set idea of evangelism (which I believe has much merit) we can often see people as simply ‘moving towards Christ’ – the ‘facts’ of doctrine don’t matter – and yet I tend to think that at some point a person does need to come to grips with their sinfulness before God, their need for repentance and his salvation. There needs to be a ‘realisation’.

It seems to me that sooner or later there is a cognitive element to our salvation where we come to grips with the reality of what Jesus has done for us. Of course that cognitive experience will vary from person to person and we can’t expect a child to have the same reasoned thought process as an adult (they might ‘get it’ better!)

Of course the danger in what I am writing is that we make intellectual acceptance of the gospel the key, and I’m not saying that. It seems salvation is a very mysterious process when we try to nail it down! But in y own experience when people move towards Jesus sooner or later the questions of the significance of his eath and resurrection must arise.

Local Legends

I’ve been reading a few new blogs again lately…

Its always good to discover local people who have stuff to say that is worth hearing.

One is Jules Birt, who was at our last Forge intensive. Jules is great guy and has been writing some really good stuff. It looks like he and a few of his mates will be planting a church next year and really encapsulating some of the incarnational missional principles we keep ranting about at Forge.

The other is this bloke who seems to want to stay anonymous… so I won’t reveal his identity! He is involved with a church near us and is another great leader around this city. A quote from his blog… “Evangelical Christianity doesn’t believe in winter … it’s against our religion.”

They haven’t blogged for a few days now so get over to their sites and tell them to get a wriggle on!

The Word for the Day is…


Tonight we start our time in the sermon on the mount (Matt5-7) and we look at all that crazy stuff Jesus had to say. It really is quite over the top… The theme seems to be very much aorund that of counter-cultural discipleship – challenging the way we see the world working as we follow Jesus.

If this was Jesus manifesto as John Stott would claim, then its a pretty tall order to fulfill.

I am doing an overview of the three chapters tonight – kind of a birds eye view before we hone in a bit.

Two of the questions I’d like to throw out there are

– What does countercultural discipleship look like in middle class suburbia?

– Can download bourne supremacy the divx you live counter culturally in middle class society?

If Jesus really means for us to take him seriously then we have a bit of a way to go I reckon.

One thing I find interesting is that he only thing Jesus ever posits as another God is money. You can’t serve God and… money. Why not sex? Why not sport?

I sense money is possibly one of the most powerful and alluring substances in our society because everything else often comes with it.

And for middle class people money really is the key… whether we admit it or not.

A Future for Baptists?

Yesterday, after 14 years of being a Baptist pastor I attended my first ever ‘assembly’ meeting. Assemblies are where the churches all across the state come together to discuss issues and vote on stuff.

I was hoping to keep my dismal record intact, and possibly never attend a single meeting, but yesterday did actually kindle some interest in me, so I drove across town for the day and met with other ‘Baptists’.

We were discussing the recommendations made by Paul Borden for WA Baptists to actually start becoming effective in what they do. He was fairly scathing of our current situation and in essence told us to make massive change or die.

We had a kiwi Baptist (Lindsay… someone or other) come and tell us about their experience with a similar approach.

At the end of the day its hard to say what I felt – hope? A bit… Excitement? Not really… Disappointed? No… I guess I look at the road ahead and think to myself that whoever wants to walk it has to be committed to working with systemic and organisational change. I find that fairly uninspiring stuff to do. I’d rather just get on with stuff.

Ironically the report was presented in light of the trend towards ‘post-denominationalism’… Maybe we ought to just close the denomination down, divide up the $$$ and let people get on with being church and see what happens.

I think I’ll suggest that at the next assembly…

If I ever go…

While I’m Pontificating

While I’m thinking out loud here’s another one…

Church – how important is it that we have everyone in one place at one time?

Why do I ask?

Well, looking around my neighbourhood it seems like to make that happen is going to be tricky. The core issues are:

shift work – some people cannot meet at the same times as others to start with
small kids – there is a limit to when / where you can meet with kids
extremely long and erratic working hours – some people see their one ‘day off’ as untouchable – is that bad?

Could church be as simple as 3 blokes meeting together in a lounge room/pub/café? Could it be as simple as two families having a meal together?

Is that church?

Perhaps the question is what happens when they get together because two families who are not Christians can hang together and that obviously would not be church and three blokes can have a beer any day.

But if we meet the criteria for a ‘Christian gathering’ then could we call it church, if there is no minister present, no offering taken etc?

I think the answer theologically is ‘yes’. It is church if we come together in Jesus name to worship, share life, learn from the scriptures, pray etc – not that we need to do all of them every time… true?…

So why might we be apprehensive about calling that our church?

Does it seem a bit ‘illegitimate’?

Do we need a bigger gathering? Do we need to do it as a family? Are we just so conditioned to bigger is better that it feels wrong?

Might it be the way to go?…

Bye the Book?

How important is reading the Bible to a person’s discipleship?

Recently I seem to be hitting a fair slab of people who tell me they haven’t picked up the Bible in ages. Everything evangelical in me reacts to that fairly strongly as a problem, but is it really a problem?…

It seems to be almost a trend in some ’emerging’ churches not to value personal reading of scripture highly even if we would say we see it as authoritative. In established churches I think the same goes on – people don’t read the Bible – but there they just don’t talk about it as openly…

Is it detrimental to discipleship if we don’t read the Bible? Does it matter?

I was reading Randy Frazee’s Connecting Church this afternoon and he makes the following points:

“Our contemporary culture consists of the most educated people in all of history but they are also the most biblically and spiritually illiterate.”

He quotes Gallup who says ‘we revere the Bible but don’t read it’ (so really we don’t download last word the dvdrip revere it at all!)

His point is that our faith is rooted in the Jesus of the Bible – in the truth of the scriptures, but if we don’t know what that truth is then how do we grow genuine Christian community? If we are all bringing our own intuitive preferences and prejudices to what discipleship/community looks like rather than a biblical framework then how do we move ahead?

The stuff I hear seems to say ‘I know I should read, but I am surviving without reading scripture, so maybe it doesn’t matter…’

Does it matter?

We don’t want people simply feeling guilty because they haven’t read the Bible this week… do we?…

Or maybe we do want them to feel guilt… Maybe its a guilt we need to feel if we call ourselves disciples and followers of Jesus?… False guilt is destructive, real guilt is like pain – a signal that all is not well.

What do you think?

Have we overestimated the value of Bible reading in our evangelical tradition or have we simply failed to practice it well and are looking for ways out?

How critical is personal reading of the Bible to a person’s spiritual formation?

The Wild West

The last few days have been incredibly windy over here with 7 metre swells and all sorts of wild weather happening.

Today I am back at school.

When you are a Phys Ed teacher the worst scenario you can face is when it is windy – wind seems to drive kids crazy.

But… make it cold AND windy and then you’re really staring down the barrel of a loong day!

Today is cold and windy…

The siren has gone… recess is over… the time has come…

Rubber and Road

Over the last 5 months I have been doing some coaching with a great guy from the Seventh Day Adventist churches.

He discovered some stuff I had written, we had a coffee and he asked me to do some coaching with him because he was feeling the desire to explore new expressions of church and mission.

We have met 5 times now and the last time we met it felt like we had lost focus. We had gravitated back to me coaching him in his present ministry position in an established church. While I like him, I found the meeting quite draining.

As I reflected on this it occurs to me that my calling is to ‘plant churches that plant churches and to work at developing leaders who will do that’. He is part of a large and fairly orderly system that requires him to spend a lot of time in the establishment – but I don’t have a passion for developing leaders in that system. (I’ll say again, its not that its bad – its just not my gig)

I raised it today with him. What are we doing together? What does he hope to get from this time? We put on the table that if we were going to continue to meet it will be because he is seeking to follow his own call which he articulated as ‘to connect with Australian people where they are at’ free gundam wing endless waltz and explore new paradigms of ministry.

He also mentioned paying $$ for coaching, so I took him up on that too. If we meet again I imagine it will be a very focused and productive time because we will know where we are headed and the presence of $$ will cause both of us to be prepared and expectant. Its interesting how $$ changes equations!