Monday, July 31, 2006

National Tree Day

Mimos joined with many others around Australia to plant trees on National Tree Day. We went to the Strettle Wetlands in Thornbury. Mimos (around 25 of us) along with a few others planted 300 trees and grasses. It weas great to work together and contribute to making a great community park even greener. Mimos then went to our regular haunt - The Stolberg - and ate lunch together. After lunch we moved to the function room and reflected together (through music, readings and Scripture) around the theme of God the creator, the creation and our responsibility toward the creation.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Matt's School Concert

Matthew Monkey performed in the Warranwood Primary School Grade 1 play on Tuesday night. The concert was called "Lifecycles" and each of the 4 grade 1 classes dressed up as different animals (Crocodiles, Robins, Butterflies, and Monkeys) and sang 2-3 songs about their animal. Also some of the students gave some information about the animals and their lifecycles. Matthew was one of the spokespeople for his class and he did a great job. A long but enjoyable evening.

Monday, July 24, 2006

Personality Self Test

I came across this Personal DNA Personality Self Test on my mate Chris's blog.
I came out as an Animated Leader

Try it out for yourself and post your results in the comments.

My Personal Dna Report

The Basics of the Church

Some years back, Annette and I were taking a couple through pre-marriage counselling. In one of our sessions we were talking about vows and I asked what they would like to do for their vows - i.e. did they want to use traditional wording, make their own personal vows etc. The groom-to-be then asked, "What is the minimum?" Obviously not the response I expected. We should be looking to ask - What would be most meanigful? What is our commitment all about?
Some people ask the same question of the church. Maybe people who are disenfranchised with traditional models of church will get together with a Christian friend over a coffee and say "we're the church!!" But is this the church??

This raises questions about the essential nature of the church. I've been tossing this question around for about 10 years (since I started pastoring) and it has been the topic of discussion at Mimos as well as we've tried to identify the essential characteristics of the church and remove those things that are purely cultural or hangovers from a previous era.
In preparing to teach Planting and Growing Healthy Churches at Kingsley this Semester I have re-read The Shaping of Things to Come by Mike Frost and Alan Hirsch.
They identify these three core aspects of the church
1. Communion (In Relationship with Christ)
God’s Word
2. Community (in Relationship with One Another)
3. Commission (in Relationship with the World)

Gospel telling/Sharing
They comment that,
“many people accept church as it currently happens because they assume their local church service is somewhere prescribed in the pages of Holy Writ. As long as these three Cs are present and being maintained, any group of Christians can legitimately be considered a church in any place.”

The following questions are given to clarify their point:

  • Do you need to meet in a church building? Not necessarily.
  • Do you need to meet weekly? Not necessarily. The first Christians met every day. A church can meet as often as it needs to fulfil the above commitments.
  • Do you need a minister? No necessarily. The New Testament is clear on the need for accountability, admonishment, and learning. It does speak about leaders (elders) exercising humble and loving care for a community. But you don’t need an ordained minister for that.
  • Do you need to sing hymns? Not necessarily. There is mention in the New Testament of the value of singing spiritual songs. But if the goal is that worship and learning occur when you meet, you can use as few (none?) or as many songs as you need.
  • Does someone have to bring a sermon? Not necessarily. As long as people have an opportunity to hear from God through his Word and other means, it doesn’t matter if one person speaks for thirty minutes or thirty people speak for one minute each. Learning, worship, and the opportunity for God’s Word are essential. How they play out is entirely open to experimentation.
More about these matters some time soon. PD

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Church @ Home

The new missional church that our family is part of is called Mimos (which is Greek for imitate). We have been meeting together since February and have just finished 12 studies going through the book of Acts and identifying the missional nature of the church.
We are now transitioning into a new phase of Mimos. Up until this point we've all (around 35 adults and children) been meeting together each Sunday evening @ The Stolberg Beer Cafe in Preston to learn together, encourage each other, celebrate God and pray.
We are now going to start meeting twice a month in our own local communities (mostly houses). For some it will just be their family; others who live close enough will join together. Once a month we'll gather back at the Stolberg to worship, learn, and share in each other's lives. The fourth week we'll all gather at one of our local communities so we get to see where everyone lives, works and share's life with people. This way we can be better informed to pray for them and the people God is leading them to.
So, today we are having church @ home. We've done it a few times before. Annette and I and our the three kids will read God's word together, pray together and worship together.
Also this week the people of Mimos will be intentionally meeting with people in their communities to build friendships and have an opportunity to speak Christ into their lives.
We had a family from Thomas's kinder over for tea last night. It was great to spend time getting to know them and sharing our lives.
More on the nature of church in another post.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Where Would I Be Without My Jasjar

Jasjar - wierd name, great device.
As I mention in my "likes", I am a gadget man. But most of my gadget interest is limited to looking and drooling because of my limited budget and the wise counsel of my financial manager (wife).
However, I got my Jasjar for Christmas in 2005. It replaced my Imate Pocket PC which I'd had for nearly 2 years.
It's an all in one PDA/Phone/Camera/MP3 Player/Game Console/Video Player/GPS with built in WiFi, Bluetooth and it's 3G enabled. I carry it everywhere and use it all the time. It's my Bible, Calendar, Address book, Calculator, Street Directory, Dictionary, Remote Control, E-Book Reader, Note Pad, News Service and more.
It saves me time (or maybe it wastes time - depends who you're asking).
Anyway I'd be lost without it!

Apples and Following Jesus

After reading blogs, blogs and more blogs and being a member of a number of forums. I've decided to take the plunge and toss my humble thoughts out into cyber space.
Apples are one of my passions. I grew up on an apple orchard and I gathered a lot of information on growing apples in the first 30 years of my life.
As I have journeyed through life and have sought to become an authentic follower of Jesus, I have realised how many metaphors growing apples has for understanding ourselves and our relationship with God.
Let's start off with one.
The first apples to come ripe on our orchard were Gravensteins. Gravensteins have a green/yellow base with red vertical stripes. They have an amazing flavour which is heightened by expectation because it's usually been 8 months since you've tasted a tree ripened apple. We usually ate them before they were ripe and the tartness would cause us to screw up our faces but as the days progressed the Gravenstein got sweeter and more flavoursome. It's a bit like that as we walk with Jesus. At first, the life that Jesus calls us to live makes us screw up our faces - it's daunting, it's challenging! But as we walk with Jesus, our life as a follower becomes sweeter and more flavoursome. Jesus provides flavour that is sometimes smooth to our spiritual palate and sometimes it's sharp. But the expectation of what Jesus can offer to our lives - meaning, hope, and contentment all comes to the fore as we mature in him.
Lots more we could say here - but one of many great apple metaphors!!