Monthly Archives: March 2010

Friday Fun Post

Being Friday on my side of the world I thought it would be great to have a fun post to get us ready for the weekend.

I’m going to ask the hard hitting questions, the ones that everyone wants answers to but won’t dare ask. You can count on me to get to the truth, so this week let’s take a poll –

(btw it’s anonymous I can’t even see who responds :-))

Enjoy your weekend! 🙂

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Children, Church & Craziness

I’d love your advice! 

If you have children, previously had young children, or simply have great ideas I want to hear from you! 

I’d love to know your tips for keeping children connected during a church service. 

Understandably our nearly two year old daughter is full of energy and loves to be part of what’s going on. She’s a good girl but doesn’t understand that sometimes it’s not ok to yell “YAY!!!” at the top of your lungs and clap her hands during a prayer for the sick or call out to her friend at the top of her voice when she spots her across the room. And you can forget about sitting still too, the world is just too big a place to sit still and not explore. 

I love these qualities in her but I also realise that they can be disruptive to our and other’s experience of church. I know she’s young but we’d love to help her connect with what’s going on and help her learn through the process. We’re new at this and pretty much clueless right now :-). 

What should we do, what’s worked for you in the past, how have you dealt with this situation? 

So hit me up, I’m ready for your awesome ideas on helping children to be part of church!

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Filed under About Me, church, Family, God Stuff, Parenting, Worship

Tithe Journal #5 & 6

This post is part of the Tithe Experiment series

The last month’s been a little crazy hence this combined journal entry; I just didn’t get around to posting one two weeks ago. 

28/02/10 Car died today, we think it’s the distributor; I need to source another one. So grateful to have a mechanic in the family who could tow me home and work on the car. 

01/03/10 Finding it challenging to trust God with providing for us. As the husband and father, and the sole bread-winner I feel responsible for providing for my family. I’m ok if I seem to go without but I don’t want my wife and daughter to have to… it’s a daily struggle to hand that over to God and wait for Him to provide. It’s a real lesson in humility and one that I need to learn – even if it’s the hard way I guess. There’s something deep with a man that drives him to provide for his family and he doesn’t want to fail that task.

04/03/10 Pay day. $250 to tithe account

08/03/10 Car was finally fixed today, it’s been an interesting week. Turns out it was the computer not the distributor but it took a lot of trial and error to work that out. Again SO grateful that my uncle fixed it for the cost of parts, it would have cost a lot to have it done at the shop. 

Been doing some savvy shopping this last month. It seems that God has been providing exactly what we need, right on time. For instance we were talking about how we might afford a chest freezer so we could buy in bulk and freeze extra meals in order to save money and the next day one came up for sale on the bulletin board at work which we were able to buy really cheap. Anyone have any tips on where to get discount/bulk food items in Canberra?

Money has been tight as we’ve had some unforseen expenses and haven’t been able to add to the savings this past month. We’re going to have to revisit the budget to see where else we can make some savings. No idea where that will be though… 

In all honesty I’ve been feeling pretty down the last month. The worry over how we’re going to get by has been a concern for me lately (actually reading back it seems to be a recurring theme). A single income, one child under two and another on the way, medical bills, rent, food, fuel, study costs are all mounting up and getting me down. Not to mention the need to buy our house sooner rather than later… it’s a lot of pressure on my shoulders and I’m finding it hard to deal with right now. I like the security having savings brings and we’re quickly going through ours and that worries me. The biggest thing is that we’re not making extravagant purchases, it’s all every day living… would appreciate your prayers… 

17/03/10 Our health insurance premiums are going up again… we have to keep our current one until after the baby is born, then we’ll need to shop around for a better deal, if there is one… Anyone have any tips on good Aussie family hospital cover? 

18/03/10 Pay day $100 to tithe account. I know this is less than usual but even this is more than we can afford right now – I’m trusting that God will honour it as it’s given sacrificially. 

Thank you to all of you who are journeying with us, praying for us and supporting us, we deeply appreciate it. We’d value you prayers, especially in regard to sticking to our commitment for the year and trusting that God will provide. As always we’d love to hear from you so please keep in touch.

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Filed under About Me, God Stuff, Tithe Experiment, Worship

Fellowship and Community #2

The other day I posted this and asked for your views on fellowship and community.

Today I offer my thoughts on the subject

Community implies being part of something without having to really ‘get involved’ and participate fully. For instance I live in a community but I don’t have to do anything to be part of it other than simply live where I live. I don’t have to attend meetings, get involved with the committees, join the PTA etc yet I’m still part of the community. There are a lot of people living in my community who I haven’t met and probably wont because we simply have no need to in our daily lives. We happily go about our business, say G’day when required and leave it at that.

Fellowship implies something deeper. It implies that conscious action is required in order to be in fellowship with someone else. For example in The Lord of the Rings the “Fellowship of the Ring” swear to work together for a common cause, to travel together, fight together and ultimately to reach the goal for which they were formed. They all agreed to live and act a certain way despite their very different backgrounds.

So for me, fellowship means that we are working together to achieve the same purpose, pooling our collective resources to learn from each other, rely on each other and to help each other succeed.  Unlike community if we are inactive then we’re not in true fellowship because fellowship is “moving” somewhere, it’s headed in a certain direction, aiming to achieve a common purpose or goal.

Within the church context I think we may misuse these terms. In it’s simplest form we use community to describe those “out there”, those not part of our church and fellowship to describe those “in here”, us, inside the church, that meet on Sundays and worship together.

Technically and based on my definitions above I think this is correct. The church is a gathering of people who have come together for a common purpose, to rely on each other, learn and grow together and succeed. We ‘fellowship’ together at our Sunday service because we are there for a common goal, we sing together learn together, take communion together, pray together etc. In theory this is true, but in reality we may have to concede that maybe our ‘gatherings’ are more like community than fellowship.

I think simply gathering on a Sunday for a worship service isn’t real fellowship, it’s more like community. If we don’t stop and take the time to go deeper with people and with God before, during or after the service then I think we can liken the experience to a sporting match. We all gather at a certain place at a certain time with lots of other people. We know roughly what to expect, how long it’s going to take and what the process is for participating. We keep to ourselves or the group we ‘came with’ being polite to those near us but not going deeper than surface level.

For me the key is intentionality. Fellowship must be intentional, driven, focused and with purpose. True fellowship requires us to delve below the surface to make ourselves vulnerable and open to others, to give of ourselves in order to meet another’s need and lets be honest this is often uncomfortable and why we find it so hard to do.

So let’s not confuse fellowship with community. Let’s be intentional in our actions, services, ministries, work, etc so that we may build deeper relationships with others and minister Jesus to them.

Agree/disagree? Your thoughts?

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Fellowship and Community

I need your help.

I was having a discussion with a friend about the church and its use of the words “fellowship” and “community” to describe what it does and the “atmosphere” it feels it creates for those that attend etc.

We mentioned that often the church uses those words interchangeably (e.g. “we enjoy great fellowship here at…” or “we enjoy great community here at…”) and to be honest I don’t think you can.

I think there is a distinct difference between the use and meaning of “fellowship” to that of “community” and to use them out of context begins to give false impressions of the church to those who attend and to those who don’t.

I have my thoughts on the differences but before I post them I’d like to hear from you.

What does “fellowship” and “community” mean in the context of the church?

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Today I Blew It

Today I messed up.

I missed an opportunity to follow God’s leading and make a difference.

I was running some errands in town and walked past a homeless man with a sign that said “I’m homeless and I’m hungry”. I looked at him and I walked by, just kept going on my way.

All the while the words of Jesus was pounding in my heart “whatever you do for the least of these you do for me”.

I started to rationalise the situation in my head, “what should I do, If I give money he’ll probably use it for alcohol, maybe I should take him some food…” So stereotypical isn’t it, see a homeless guy and assume he’s on the booze or drugs.

I ran my errands and decided that I needed to walk back the same way, go and see him.

I still didn’t know what I was going to do as I rounded the corner where he was…

I’d taken $5 out of my wallet and had it in my pocket, that would be the easy solution, throw money at him and be done with it… I should go buy him some food, even take him with me, chat with him, show him he’s worth more than just a few bucks, that he’s valued for who he is…

As I rounded the corner – he was gone.

I couldn’t have been more than 10 minutes – but he was gone.

I looked for him but couldn’t find him. My heart sank, heavy with remorse at a missed opportunity to obey my Heavenly Father and show love to my fellow man.

I’m ashamed that I had to think about it, debate the decision, when I know that I am His hands and feet.

Today I blew it.

Why do we find it so hard to follow God’s whispers, why do we need to think we know best…

Forgive me Lord for not following your lead. Teach me, train me and grow me to respond without question, to be obedient Your call.

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Filed under About Me, church, God Stuff, Worship