A Living Parable

Shaun was once a brilliant footballer and certainly ‘one of the boys’ at the local footy club. He was destined for great things on the football field – surely a star in the making – and his mates reckoned he was a bit of a legend both on the field and off.

Then one day he ‘found God’ and football didn’t matter any more. He still enjoyed it, but it didn’t occupy the same place in his life or his heart.

I saw Shaun last week. He is an old friend and someone I hope to stay in touch with as much as distance permits. Yesterday I went to a movie with one of those blokes who played footy with Shaun.

We discussed that period of life. ‘What happened?…’ M asked. ‘One minute he was into footy and the next he found God? How does a bloke shift his life like that?’

25 years later this question still puzzled him…

Shaun’s life was a livng parable – a story that spoke of hope, but did so in a way that aroused curiosity.

As I was praying this morning I felt like God was saying our lives ought to be ‘living parables’. Stories that engage people yet also puzzle them – that cause them to question and seek more – that tell a story of God’s kingdom in a visible compelling way.

Shaun did that.

What are the Chances?…

I have had this current laptop for just over 2 years now.

The battery was dying about 3 months back so I bought a ‘new’ one off e-bay. It turned out to be a dud.

Yesterday in the newspaper I saw that HP are doing a recall on the batteries in their ze4200 models. All I have to do is send them my machine serial number and the bar code on the battery. Even after 2 years they are willing to give me a brand new one.


Only problem… I threw that battery away 2 weeks ago.


What are the chances HP will send me a new battery?…

Yeh… thought so.


In our ‘time poor’ world (see In Praise of Slow) real friendships can be hard to come by.

So many of us live such busy lives that we don’t have time to just ‘hang’ with people. And yet its actually a prerequisite for friendship that we spend time hanging, chatting about nothing in particular… just being comfortable with each other, talking small, watching kids play, vegging.

Its been a ‘hanging out’ weekend. Friday night M & A came round for dinner, a couple of people whose company we really enjoy, but who we wouldn’t say we know real well yet. We hung out for a few hours, chatting eating dinner, drinking wine and watching our kids run around.

At 9.00pm when M & A went home I noticed that just across the road M & R were sitting in their garage with M & T having a few drinks. It’d been a while since we had caught up so it seemed like a great opportunity to ‘hang’. So I wandered over and sat down and chatted for the next couple of hours. It was a lot of fun!

Yesterday we caught some time alone as well as seeing family. After a busy ‘people week’ it was good to have the space.

Then today was spent ‘hanging’ again. K’s 2nd birthday party saw us hanging out for a few hours this morning, then this afternoon M & I go see Cinderella Man before Andrew & Jo come for dinner and we hang out some more.

I’m not a big fan of small talk, (even though I have learnt the art fairly well) and as an introvert people wear me out, but I have come to realise that unless we actually make the time to hang out and do the ‘small talk’ we will not grow a friendship of any significance.

Big things are simply small things that have grown.

The platypus in our bedroom

This morning I was due to take Herds to the airport so he could head off to Melbourne for the National finals of his bream fishing competition.

It was a 6.00am flight which meant leaving Brighton at 4.45am. I hit the sack pretty early and a couple of glasses of red wine saw me nod off fairly quickly.

All was going well until 2.30am”

Then Danelle woke up with a start and said ‘there’s something in our room!’

I woke up immediately with adrenalin pumping wondering what was going on. ‘Where?… What?…’ I am looking for a person, but not seeing anything.

‘Its got a beak’ she says.

‘A beak?… Like a duck?…’ I ask, wondering what the heck is going on and how a duck could have got into our bedroom.

‘Yes’ she says.

I look for a duck in our bedroom at 2.30am.

‘Sorry – just a dream,’ she announces before going back to sleep.

Unfortunately I didn’t sleep after that. Adrenalin racing and then various noises around the place kept me awake as I wondered if she really was dreaming or if there was something going on. I finished up getting up at 3.30 and doing some work, before going to the airport.

Later in the morning I rang to ask if she remembered the night’s adventure. ‘Vaguely” ‘ then a little bit more” but it wasn’t a duck, it was a platypus” ‘There was a platypus in our bedroom’.

Lets hope tonight he stays away.

We are a Mega-Church

Yes, that’s right.

Upstream Communities is a megachurch.

Ok so when you think mega church you instantly think of 5000 people or more, but that’s not what I mean. Maybe we can expand the definition?

If mega = Surpassing other examples of its kind; extraordinary then surely we could claim to be a ‘mega’ -church. We could also claim that our ‘church’ is 2 billion strong, because we are members of The Church…

So are we a mega-church?

In popular parlance mega-church has a well accepted meaning and there is a plethora of associated imagery. Large buildings, CEO pastors, huge budgets, multiple programs you know the drill.

So if I were to call us a mega-church you’d wonder what I was on about… No?…

So why would a large contemporary church choose to call themselves an ’emerging missional church’?

This question has me puzzled. What is going on here?…

Any thoughts?

Us… A mega-church… its a little absurd isn’t it?

E.A.T.P.P at Forge

Today at FORGE we dug around in the APEPT (apostle/prophet etc) stuff for quite a while with Hirschy and Andrew doing a great job of sparking our thinking.

Part of the exercise was to locate ourselves in the APEPT matrix, something I never find easy.

I was sharing with Alan on the way home that my sense of calling is very clear – to communicate the gospel to ordinary Australian people in ways they can understand and then to create church communities that they will want to be part of.

download this is england movie That has been my sense of calling for over 10 years now and I have no doubt about where I am to be investing my life.

But… when it comes to trying to fit myself into an APEPT framework it gets tricky. I feel like I am driven by a passion for seeing people come to know Jesus (evangelism), but I am also deeply aware of the need to develop church communities that are indigneous to them (apostolic). Both these things seem to sit in tension for me. Some days I am more apostolic, some days more evangelistic. Currently its a pretty even game between these two functions in my own life. Of course then you add teaching and it gets confusing. I actually feel a significant aspect of the apostolic role is to be a teacher – to communicate and protect truth. I do a lot of teaching – enjoy it and feel like I am pretty ok at it.

There are also times when I feel called to be prophetic – to call a spade a spade even if it is going to annoy a few people. I do this less, but by the nature of what we do there is a prophetic edge. Lately I feel this has been growing rather than lessening.

Then there’s the pastoral side of things. I don’t think this is my primary calling at all, but I can do it. Its not that I don’t care, its just that it doesn’t rate as high a priority as the other stuff in my psyche. I am not a gifted pastor, but I would strongly argue that if we don’t care, then we don’t look much like Jesus!

So – I feel the tension that always exists between being an evangelistic apostle who loves to teach or an apostolic evangelist who loves to teach. At times I wish the whole thing was simpler!

But I wonder if this isn’t how God intend it…

Let’s face it – whatever gifts he has given to me – whatever the make up – at the end of the day it is up to me to do what he calls me to, and be that any part of the APEPT schema.

Stood Up… Again…

Since I have been doing coaching work I have noticed that for every 5 or 6 youth pastors I meet there will always be one who will forget to show up. That’s about one ‘no-show’ a week.

Does that sound like a lot to you or does it sound normal?

I’m wondering what it says?

I guess if I charged them $200.00 a session with a $100.00 no show fee the numbers would drop significantly. At the moment the Baptist denomination pays me to show up and coach them whether they front or not.

The down side of this arrangement is less ownership by those involved. The up side is that I still get paid the same amount whether they show up or not and I don’t lose sleep over it.

Unfortunately there have been two occasions this year where I failed to front” And what was most embarrassing was that they were with the same guy and in my own suburb! I think because I am so used to coaching in a coffee shop and switching off when I come home that I completely tuned out on those days.

I absolutely loathe letting people down like that, so you can imagine what it was like having to call him after the second time” I actually half hoped he was going to politely tell me that coaching didn’t work for him. Now I dread ever ever standing him up again!gangster no 1 divx online

Synchronicity II

Back in my youth ministry days at LBC I got to know Grant Cullen quite well – the local AOG pastor. Although he was with the AOG he was still a good bloke (that was a joke – before you penties get mad at me!)

Around the same time I headed out to take a different tack, Grant did the same. Throw out the rule book, start from scratch and see what emerges. We crossed paths again recenlty and were amazed at how God continues to lead us down similar tracks.

He now has a blog and you can track his journey here.

He’s a top bloke and is involved with Owen on a Sunday in Hyde Park. Drop by and say ‘g’day.’washington heights movie