Friday, December 15, 2006

Honour where it is due...

A word to my brothers and sisters at Christchurch St Ives in Sydney: You are blessed (in so many ways). Here is one:

The Apostle says: Pay to all what is owed to them: honor to whom honor is owed. I have just finished a subway ride listening to Nathan Walter’s sermon on 1 Corinthians 14 from last month. (For US friends: Wal succeeded me in being the pastor of evening church at St Ives in Sydney.)

The talk? Sensational! The bullseye was created for moments like this. He ‘rightly handled the Word of Truth’. He let the Word of Christ dwell in the congregation richly. It is rare to hear a talk with such clarity, humility and insight. And, of course, it raises more questions, which is the way it should be. (A talk should open doors, as well as close some). I gave a talk on this text maybe 3 years ago. Wal's was twice as clear, and twice as profound.

One of the best things about it was its balanced approach to tongue-speaking in church, and in the life of a believer. I think that he represents the Apostle’s words accurately. He didn’t react with either extreme on the matter, but rather said simply what the text said. Wal is a good man.

It reminded me of C.S. Lewis’ word on Martin Luther:
"For my own part I hate and distrust reactions not only in religion but in everything. Luther surely spoke very good sense when he compared humanity to a drunkard who, after falling off his horse on the right, falls off it next time on the left."
Luther’s point: There is no point in falling off the horse one way, and then reacting by falling off in the exact opposite way. That merely indicates that one is intoxicated. The key is to stay upright on the horse. To stay where you are supposed to stay.

How is it that Wal almost always gets that right??

Make mental note: Listen to more of Wal’s sermons... (for my soul's sake)

Love, Justin.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006


OK. We followed a blind person into the subway today. She lives in our apartment complex but we had never met her before. We were waiting near her for the train and she could hear The Boy beginning to have a meltdown. She is lovely. She announces that she is a music teacher and that she'd like to sing The Boy a song. Right there in the subway.

"What song should I sing him?" she asks.

My father has just taught The Boy a song that morning. So I suggest this song to our new friend. And she delightfully obliges. She has a strong voice, and people look around to enjoy her singing to our Boy.

Only after we changed trains did Laurel suggest to me that requesting "Three Blind Mice" was perhaps not a good idea.


She was grace-filled. And kind. She sang about the mice, and then Jingle Bells, let The Boy touch her Braille New York Times and she gave us her details so that we could be in contact.

My first words to her will probably be one of apology. Although I suspect that she will say: "Think nothing of it."

Little moments of grace.

Love, Justin.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Can you believe that the concept of ‘Win-Win’ has a Wiki entry? Well, it does. It’s small. But it's there.

Here is win-win:

Justin’s parents (Mike and Nowell) live in Sydney. They want:

  1. To see their grandchildren face to face, instead of on Skype. And to bond with and to get to re-know them (Primary reason)
  2. To visit one of their offspring and offspring wife, and to give them a break (A close second)
  3. To enjoy Christmas time in New York (a distant, distant third, I’d say)

Justin and Laurel live in New York. They want:

  1. A break in the demands of parenthood (Laurel in particular -- who has the lion’s share)
  2. A chance to walk down 5th Ave in crowds without a stroller
  3. To go on a dinner date at a restaurant without asking about high-chairs
  4. To go to a movie
  5. To go to work guilt-free :) (Justin) or continue to study child-free (Laurel)
  6. To go skating in Central Park without worrying if the kids are permanently *gone* in the crowds
  7. Enjoy being with parents for the Christmas season in New York City

Now -- I’d call their visit, win-win.


2 John V12: "Though I have much to write to you, I would rather not use paper and ink. Instead I hope to come to you and talk face to face, so that our joy may be complete."

Laurel and Nowell at the Central Park Zoo. (Above)

The Boy discovers Static Electricity with Grandpa. (Above)

Laurel waving on the Wollman Rink in Central Park. (Above)

Love, Justin.

PS -- Now, a total win would be to have a White Christmas -- which is defined as an inch of snow covering the ground on Christmas morning. But Wiki tells me that that the: chances of a White Christmas are 10% in New York. Those are bad odds...

Barneys plan...

Barneys (in Sydney) burnt down in May this year. This is the building in which my faith was, in part, nurtured. I served there while at the University of Sydney and at Moore College. I wrote about the burning of that building HERE.

For those of you interested, HERE are the initial plans for a new building...

Love, Justin.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Psalm 104:24-26

How many are your works, O LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures. There is the sea, vast and spacious, teeming with creatures beyond number— living things both large and small. There the ships go to and fro, and the leviathan, which you formed to frolic there.

Last Sydney 2003 Scuba Dive 15 second video: HERE

I can't be sure that the rays are the same fish, but Steve Irwin's fate has made me rethink this experience!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Psalm 107:28-31, Genesis 1:20-21

My question is: How is this possible? Seriously...

How is this possible?

(All pics taken at a scuba dive at Manly Beach in Sydney in December 2003.)

For a 15 second video of a Blue Groper, Click HERE.

Psalm 107:28-31: Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble, and he delivered them from their distress. He made the storm be still, and the waves of the sea were hushed. Then they were glad that the waters were quiet, and he brought them to their desired haven. Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love, for his wondrous works to the children of men!
For a 15 second video of me reaching out and touching the Groper: Click HERE

Genesis 1:20-21: And God said, "Let the waters swarm with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth across the expanse of the heavens." So God created the great sea creatures and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarm, according to their kinds, and every winged bird according to its kind. And God saw that it was good.

Thats how it is possible.

Recapture the wonder, I say.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Habakkuk 2:14

I've been a little busy. Church is growing! If you can make sense of this: we had, yesterday, in the first Sunday in December, almost half the total amount of the whole of December in 2005 (including Christmas services). So that's good. That's growth. That's more people for us to visit. :) Of course, the harder growth is still happening: Maturity and growth in Jesus. To that end, this Saturday, we are having a 'Teach-In' for students (most of whom are at NYU). We are spending 3 hours in the Prophecy of Habakkuk. If it proves helpful, we'll make it something we do regularly. So keep that in your prayers.

But, since I have not as much time right now, I'm going to post some pics from a Scuba day I had off Manly Beach, in Sydney, in December 2003. I just found these videos on a CD today. Each day this week, I'll post some pictures, a video, and a verse from Scripture. There are four videos.

Here is today's 15 second video:HERE.

And here is today's verse: In reference to the Day when God will come to judge and vindicate:
Habakkuk 2:14: "For the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the LORD as the waters cover the sea."