Thursday Thought – exam results

18 06 2009

I think I am freaking out about exam results day next Wednesday.
I am waiting to hear back about the Commercial Actuarial Practise course (the one with the 8 hour exam).
If I pass; relief, happiness, certainty, no more actuarial exams.
If I fail: uncertainty, stress, at least 6 more months of study.
Would appreciate your prayers if you can spare em.

Thursday Thought – Chaser

4 06 2009

Thursday Thought lives on!

I think there is a very fine line between witty satire and inappropriate, offensive humour.

And I think that line is all about your audiences understanding and view of the target of your satire.

I think the Chaser boys had the wrong target with this stunt AND misread their audiences view of organisations like the Make a Wish Foundation.

Making fun of world leaders is probably a lot safer.

Have they shot their new season to pieces? Can the come back from this? Will all be forgiven?

Thursday Thought – Depravity

14 05 2009

I think we are far more depraved than we give ourselves credit for.

I woke up at 3am this morning (when the mind has greatest clarity!?) and, whilst battling to get back to sleep, I was thinking about this Matthew Johns affair.

I read today that Pru Goward is calling for criminal charges, despite the initial investigation falling through.

Regardless of consent, legality, assault, criminality, whatever… it is clear that something very wrong and depraved has happened here. Matthew Johns is right to feel extremely remorseful and he has copped a heap of judgement as a result of this episode. No doubt all parties involved are feeling the torment of the aftermath of the event, not least the young lady.

But, I think this event is just another manifestation of the depravity that lives in all of us. It’s a direct result of Self-Ish-Ness. It’s about taking something for yourself that feels good and not caring about the consequences for others. As much as I would like to point at these actions and say I am nothing like this, in truth, how different is my sin?

Another story in todays paper had this quote from an Australian Rugby League player:

“It’s fine for David Gallop to come out and say you can’t have group sex but the last thing blokes will be thinking about on a Friday night at the club is David Gallop….”
“We already have so many rules: we can’t drink on these days, we can’t go to these places, now we can’t have group sex.”

And I think this comment highlights the heart of the issue with this problem – you can’t legislate against Self-Ish-Ness. As much as I am sure David Gallop and, at a higher level, the governments of this world would like to create laws against this sort of selfish, destructive behaviour, as long as there are depraved humans and wilfull intent, it will happen.

What we need is for people to follow this commandment.

“Love your neighbour as yourself”

If everyone were to just treat other people in the way they themsleves would wish to be treated, then we would live in paradise.

Problem is, who wants to follow a rule like that? It’s only in your best interest if EVERYONE follows the same rule – fat chance.

If only people wanted to follow this law.
If only we had it written on our hearts.
If only someone with power and authority were to change us from the inside, then things might be better.

I think… I can’t wait for the new creation.

Thursday Thought – Twitter

23 04 2009

I think I’m not entirely sure about this twitter thing.

I don’t tweet. Well I have an account, even 3 followers, but I’ve never used it. I don’t even look at other peoples tweets, unless they pop up on facebook.

The concept just hasn’t grabbed me. It reminds me of the old “icq” days. Remember that? I dunno why. Lots of people, saying lots, but with not much to say.

Am I being too harsh? Have I just not given twitter enough of a chance? If you tweet, why? What do you love about it?

Thursday Thought – Knowing God

16 04 2009

I think there is a big difference between knowing God and knowing about God.

I fear I rely to heavily on the latter, whilst leaving the former undone.

Ok. I confess. This isn’t an original thought. I stole it from J I Packer. I have just started re-reading his book “Knowing God”. This book is a ripper. It’s a cracker, a belter, a corker and a flamin’ bottler!

Since it’s his thought, I’ll let him put it on his words:

“We are perhaps, orthodox evangelicals. We can state the gospel clearly, and can smell unsound doctrine a mile away. If asked how one may know God, we can at once produce the right formula – that we come to know God through Jesus Christ the Lord, in virtue of his cross and mediation, on the basis of his word of promise, by the power of the Holy Spirit, via a personal exercise of faith. Yet the gaiety, goodness and unfetteredness of spirit which are the marks of those who have known God are rare among us – rarer, perhaps, than they are on some other Christian circles where, by comparison, evangelical truth is less clearly and fully known.”

J I Packer – Knowing God

Thursday Thought – Exam

26 03 2009

I think this big exam tomorrow is going to be tough.
I think 8 hours of report writing is heinous.
I think I would appreciate your prayers!

Thursday Thought – The Pope

19 03 2009

I think the Pope needs to work on his PR.

This story caused a bit of a stir from those sitting around me at work yesterday.

“What does he think hes going on about?”

“He’s not making any sense!”

“That’s a stupid thing to say!”

“This is like when he condemned that 9-year-old, pregnant to her step-dad, for having an abortion!

I haven’t read any stories where the Pope is given the chance to explain his belief that condoms only aggravate the AIDS problem, but I imagine his reasoning is something like:

AIDs is spread as a result of promiscuity –> the solution is monogamous marital relationships –> condoms only encourage promiscuity –> therefore condoms only make the problem worse.

Now the Pope might be absolutely spot on with his assessment. Abstinence outside of marriage may be the only solution to the AIDs problem. For Catholics, his comments may be the reminder they need to flee sexual sin. His comments may be the leadership those in the Catholic church need.

But to outsiders, including my work colleagues, all they hear is the a self-righteous man who has lost touch with reality and only wants to condemn the poorest and sickest people in the world. Regardless of his intentions, that headline screams insensitivity. Someone put it: “The people will not follow what the pope is saying. He lives in Heaven and we are on Earth.”

I don’t know how the Pope views his role as God’s representative here on earth, but I think he would have better PR if he was seen demonstrating the love and forgiveness of Christ to those who need it most.

Thursday Thought – Allegedly

12 03 2009

I think no one knows how to deal with alleged sexual assault.
Taking the Brett Stewart case, what is the most appropriate response by those involved?
Manly wanted to take the view that because they were only allegations he should be allowed to carry on his normal role.
The NRL thought otherwise and decided to ban him for “getting drunk” at the pre-season function. This despite not banning a Manly team mate who also got drunk and slapped a sponsor.
But what is the right response?
What’s the best thing to do for the sake of the alleged victim? For the accused?For the community at large?
Just watching him on the footy show now. His interview before all this happened was very telling!

Thursday Thought – Part-time Ministry

5 03 2009

This Thursday, I’m sharing some of my own thoughts and looking for some of yours.

I’m thinking about the concept of “Part-time Ministry”. That is, being trained in and involved in pastoral ministry for a few days a week whilst supporting yourself financially with secular work on the other days.

On the one hand, this seems like a great idea. Many ministry minded lay people already spend a large chunk of their free time in ministry work. Going part time would only increase this opportunity. Also, being self supporting would mean these ministers would not be a burden on a church and would have an extra level of flexibility relative to someone employed by the church. It would mean that they could maintain relationships with people who don’t know Jesus in the work-force and have excellent opportunities to tell people the gospel within their paid work.

It also could provide a perfect entry point to someone who is contemplating committing their lives to full-time ministry, but who doesn’t feel entirely ready to take the plunge and cut all ties with their work.

On the other hand, why bother? Living in Sydney we have a great opportunity for ministers to be fully employed in ministry whilst still earning a good wage. If ministry is so important then really, shouldn’t you be devoting ALL your time to it? And anyone who has tried to balance multiple part-time activities would tell you that it’s incredibly difficult to leave one behind when you try to work on the other. There are people here at my work who only work 3 days a week, only get paid for 3 days a week, but are sometimes in here for 5!

Maybe this whole part-time thing is just an excuse to try and keep a foot in both camps? Perhaps it just shows a lack of courage to commit yourself to full-time ministry? (Don’t necessarily believe that – just arguing it!) Having a part-time person on a ministry team could be a worry. How do you know they are not going to ring up tomorrow and say “can’t come in – somethings come up at my ‘real’ job”? Will they really be committed if it’s not their whole life aim to build up a church?

On balance, there may be room in Sydney for just this sort of ministry opportunity. Maybe even as a short term thing before eventually committing to full-time work or ministry. I think it has some potential. But the feeling that I get is that it’s not encouraged. Am I right? Is this seen as a bad idea? Is it more than just the things I’ve listed above?

What do you think? Is this a wonderful opportunity that could greatly expand the harvest? Or is it a selfish attempt for someone to have the best of both worlds? Or something else?

Thursday thought (GMT)

27 02 2009

Thursday thoughts operating in a different time zone this week. Do not become disillusioned. Repeat: Do not become disillusioned!

I’ve had a very busy Thursday on a study day completing an assignment on the impact of climate change on a timber plantation. Pretty interesting.

But I’ve also been putting the finishing touches on Friday nights SALT talk from 1 Peter 1:6-7 – Joy in adversity.
I’ve been thinking about what are these trials that test the genuineness of our faith.

The immediate thought is persecution; opposition for being a Christian. (Is that how to use a semicolon? I’ve always wondered…) But whenever I contemplate Christian persecution, my own experiences seem really lame. Truth is, I personally don’t face too much opposition to my faith from non-Christian colleagues.

Maybe these trials that test our faith aren’t just external, but can be internal as well? My example is the ongoing battle I have with myself about how much easier/more lucrative/carefree life would be if I weren’t a Christian. It sounds foolish to talk about in the light of day, but when you are at your lowest ebb and the temptations of money/career/etc are at their highest, this can be a real crisis of faith.

My encouragement from this passage? These trials are there to test the genuineness of my faith. When I come out the other side still trusting in Jesus, this results in praise, glory and honour when jesus Christ is revealed.

They are my thoughts. What are yours?