Thursday, August 27, 2009

'Inspiring People' for City Workers

What inspires people like Peter Costello, Allison Shreeve, John Anderson, Steve Mortimer and Roger Corbett? How do they tackle life’s challenges and achieve results - from the boardroom to the sports field? This is your opportunity to hear a panel of some of Australia’s most inspiring people discuss their successes and failures, celebrations and difficulties, faith and doubts.

'Inspiring People' is a series of events planned for September and October in Sydney, as part of the strategy to reach the Central Business districts. It is organised by Connect 09, the Anglican Diocese of Sydney, (And JAAL, CBF and CPX). Some things:

1. They are designed to attract outsiders, even those who don't know a Christian - hence we will advertise extensively in the CBD.

2. They will feature high profile Christians in prominent positions, who will tell their life stories, including their testimony, during panel discussions.

3. These discussions will be integrated with an offer to explore the Christian faith through the "Life of Jesus" course using "The Essential Jesus".

Choose from events over five weeks, either before, during or after work in the CBD, North Sydney and Parramatta. Starts Tuesday 15 September.

Of course we expect that many Christian city-workers will make the most of this opportunity to bring friends to a significant event where they can hear from: Commissioner Andrew Scipione (NSW Police Chief), Dr Michael Spence (Vice Chancellor of Sydney Uni), June Dally-Watkins, Professor Graham Clark (inventor Bionic Ear), Brad Mackay (Rugby League International), Lt General David Hurley (Vice-Chief ADF), Professor Alanna Nobbs (Macquarie Uni) and many more inspiring Australians.

What do you need to do?

1. Pray. All are welcome to come and find out more, and pray for the impact of these events. There will also be a special segment at the Connect09 Prayer Day today: Fri 28 August 2009 at Chapter House.

2. Encourage the city workers you know to get involved. We need prayer support, help with promotion and of course, people to invite their friends. All the event details are on the website 'Inspiring People'.

Please promote these events on your blogs, facebook pages, websites, everywhere!
Pic on Flickr by Shadphotos.

Auckland Churches (Advice please)

Anyone know any good evangelical churches in Auckland?
Good with the Bible and not crazy etc.
Someone from New York would like to know...


Derek Church Planter

Stephen and Cathy George are good friends from York Street. They put this together: (It's tops)

And I spent years with Mr Woodhouse -- MTS and all that.

Great talent. Love these guys.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Are Contemporary Songs Trinitarian enough?

I will post a report on our Evening Church Planning soon. But just to say that we visited Church By the Bridge on Sunday at 5PM. It was great to be there, and I'll write some thoughts about it soon -- things I am thankful to God for. Mark Smith gave a great sermon on the Trinity. And it got me thinking lots. Which is good.

We sang a set of four contemporary praise/worship songs at the beginning of the service -- all good etc. But the sermon prompted me to think about the songs: they were all very unitarian, rather than Trinitarian. Lots of 'Praise God' and 'You are Holy', and 'How great is God'. Lots of wonder in God; the stars speak of his majesty etc. They were good. And we loved singing them. But they seemed to lack the depth and power of a Trinitarian faith.

Now, this is just a gut impression. I haven't really checked out whether its true against the lyrics.
  • So is my impression true?
  • Are the classic Hymns more Trinitarian? (besides Be Thou My Vision!)
Pic on Flickr by Forgiven!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Legacy (William Cowper Thanksgiving Service)

Here at York Street Anglican, we celebrated 200 years since William Cowper arrived at the colony. The Governor came. It was grand.
Will post up my Sermon Download from the Sunday Sermon when our new office manager can figure out the best way to do that!

Worth a read.


Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Is Darth Vader a micromanager?

We watched Star Wars with the kids. Top stuff.

But Dr Laurel observed that Darth Vader was a micromanager.



Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Twist Conference for Sydney Musicians

Twist Conference website.

I'm looking forward to it.


William Cowper Celebrations at York Street Anglican

William Cowper Celebrations on Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

William Cowper was Australia's first Parish Clergyman. He was given charge of a parish: St Philip's in Sydney (rather than being a chaplain). 200 years ago next week, he arrived in Australia, and his descendants, along with St Philip's Church, have organised the following events to remember his life and contribution:
  • SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST (10.00AM): Thanksgiving Service at St Philips.
  • MONDAY 17th AUGUST (5.30PM): Book Launch: William Cowper (1778-1858): The Indispensable Parson, by Dr. Peter Bolt will be launched at the Mitchell Library at 5.30 for 6.00 pm. Click here to RSVP. And you can also read about Peter Bolt Publishing.
  • TUESDAY 18TH AUGUST (NOON): Civic Commemorative Service. Preacher: Archbishop Peter Jensen. (In the presence of the Governor of New South Wales.)
You can read it all HERE.

And you can RSVP for any of it, or any questions can be made by clicking HERE.


Come back, Word Verification, Come back

Almost two years to the day that I killed my Word Verification (Begone, Word Verification, Begone) I'm bringing it back.

Too much spam lately.

I'll see how it goes. Hope it doesn't stop you from commenting.


Sunday, August 09, 2009

On Richard Johnson


On Richard Johnson.

Essay by Craig Schwarze, who is writing a biography of Johnson.
4 Essays in anticipation of the Cowper celebrations at St Philip's.


To an 18th century Englishman, Botany Bay was as hostile, distant and isolated a destination as could be imagined. The convicts imprisoned aboard the ships of the First Fleet were transported by force. For the marines who were guarding them, Botany Bay was an opportunity to further their careers.

But there was one man travelling on the First Fleet who was not compelled, and for whom Botany Bay gave no career advantages at all. His name was Rev. Richard Johnson, and he was the chaplain.

What motivated him to travel to Botany Bay, to Australia?

He was well aware of the difficulties he would face. He wrote:
The idea of leaving my parents, relations, friends, the dangers of the sea, the place to which we were going, to the very ends of the earth, to a country wild and uncultivated, to be exposed to savages, and perhaps to wild beasts... Those ideas so impressed my mind with fear and terror that I almost resolved to decline the offer.
He did not decline the offer. Instead he traveled to Australia, spending 12 difficult years here, struggling with a brutal environment, and preaching to an indifferent audience. Why did he do it? We find the answer in a small tract he wrote to the colonists in 1792. It begins –
I Beseech you, brethren, suffer this word of exhortation. Your souls are precious. They are precious in the sight of God. They are precious to the Lord Jesus Christ. They are precious in my esteem. Oh that you yourselves were equally sensible of their value.

We have now been here almost five years. During this time, I trust, I have been faithful in the discharge of my duty, faithful to my God, my country, my conscience, and to your immortal souls.

I would, nay I do, humbly hope, that my labours have not been wholly in vain. Some of you, I trust, have been convinced of your folly, sin and danger; you have earnestly sought, and happily found mercy with God through a Mediator. You can now approach him as a God reconciled, a merciful Father and Friend, and are evidencing the reality of your conversion, by an upright life and conversation.
We see here both his motivation and his message. His motivation was his belief that the souls of the marines and convicts were "precious in the sight of God". He was motivated by love and concern for their eternal well-being. His message was the gospel - that mercy and reconciliation with God can be found through a Mediator, that is, the man Jesus Christ. This is the same gospel that has been preached down through the centuries, and is still preached by Christ's faithful ministers today.

Johnson gave up everything to preach this message in Australia. It is a great tragedy that his name is largely forgotten today, even amongst Australian Christians. He was the first gospel preacher in our country, a true ministry pioneer. We ought honour his memory, but even more, we should seek to follow his example.


William Cowper Celebrations:
  • SUNDAY 16TH AUGUST (10.00AM): Thanksgiving Service.
  • MONDAY 17th AUGUST (5.30PM): William Cowper (1778-1858): The Indispensable Parson, by Dr. Peter Bolt will be launched at the Mitchell Library at 5.30 for 6.00 pm. Click here to RSVP.
  • TUESDAY 18TH AUGUST (NOON): Civic Commemorative Service. Preacher: Archbishop Peter Jensen. (In the presence of the Governor of New South Wales.)
RSVP, or any questions can be made by clicking HERE.


Friday, August 07, 2009

Hello Optusnet Reader....

Someone in Sydney, with Optusnet, has just spent 5 hours reading what appears to be my whole Blog. That's a long time. Email me! Keen to know your interest.

My contact details are in my profile.



Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Kyle, Jackie O and the smell of hell

My latest post on Sydney Anglicans, for people who don't want to comment there:

Kyle and Jackie O were suspended indefinitely from 2DAY-FM yesterday after last week’s lie detector stunt.

John Birmingham rightly asks on his Brisbane Times Blog:

In what moral universe does interrogating an underage girl about her sexual history, while she’s hooked up to a polygraph and sitting in front of a live microphone, strike anyone as anything other the basest, most grotesque and abusive form of media exploitation imaginable?

There were so many things wrong about the stunt that it is hard to know where to begin. So I read secular articles, opinion pieces, and blog comments from the Australian public to see what they said.

There are at least ten things about the stunt that smells like Hell, even to the public:

1. Placing an underage girl on the radio and interrogating her about her sexual history.
2. Doing this for the purpose of entertaining the public.
3. That her plea “I’m scared ... it’s not fair” was not enough to pull the stunt in the first instance.
4. That a mother brings her daughter to a radio station to ask her about sex and drugs.
5. That lies exist. (Why do we live in a world that has lie detectors?)
6. That this kind of stunt has happened before, and Kyle and Jackie O did not learn from it then.
7. The glib response of Kyle when after the revelation of rape: “Right, is that the only experience you’ve had?”
8. The rape itself (Police are investigating the claims.)
9. That the mother knew about the allegation a month before and still brought her in.
10. That this stunt is like so many other sordid ones that Kyle and Jackie O have done with the lie detector.

But perhaps the greatest smell of hell is what all this says about the listening public. One Blog Comment by ‘Dirk’:

YOU got what you wanted – now what? WE are the ones who endorse a gradual degradation of sensitivities…. This is what we asked for: a constant erosion of moral behaviour by clowns that push the boundaries of ethics. Everyday. … As I said – we elected a pig like him to represent our need for entertainment.

Tough words.

When it’s obvious, sin, injustice and bullying are named. And then shamed. And I’m glad that this is the case on obvious things. Like this stunt.

But Jesus said that this is true of all sin in Matthew 10:26-28:

There is nothing concealed that will not be disclosed, or hidden that will not be made known. What I tell you in the dark, speak in the daylight; what is whispered in your ear, proclaim from the roofs. Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

May God show mercy.


Work 4 Hours a day... and be happier

Caroline West, senior lecturer in philosophy at the University of Sydney, defends working 4 hours a day in order to be happy! She says in this Sydney Morning Herald article:
In a lovely little 1932 essay, In Praise of Idleness, he [Bertrand Russell] wrote: "If the ordinary wage-earner worked four hours a day there would be enough for everybody, and no unemployment – assuming a very moderate amount of sensible organisation."

At the time this suggestion met with ridicule, but as the toll of long working hours on individuals, families and communities becomes increasingly apparent, the time for taking Russell’s idea seriously may slowly but surely be arriving.
Lots of other insights there about comparisons, self esteem, treadmills, pride etc.

Thoughts? Could it even be done?

Pic of Betrand Russell

First Sunday of month: BEG (New PM Congregation)

I can't think of anything better than being linked to a missional church like Christ Church Inner West Anglican Communities, led by my friend Andrew Katay. His post, Missional Moving Out is worth a read.

It is a pleasure to be quoted by him.

York Street Anglican had our first Evening Congregation Planning on Sunday Evening. As we said, we met to beg God to act.

15 peeps squashed into our new lounge area in our new apartment with a view down Jamison St to George St.

We read the Bible (Isaiah 40, Ephesians 3, and Colossians 1); we begged God to act; we talked through some city profiles; proposed our 'song sheet' and went home with homework (an activity about providing a thoughtful and considered profile of the City.)

We filled our apartment with singing to Jesus like:
  • All creatures of our God.
  • Come, Thou Fount.
  • See Him Coming
  • How great is our God
  • O Lord My God
We then walked down to the Cargo Bar on the King St Wharf (Darling Harbour) and had dinner.

Room for plenty more. If you want to join the planning, then...
  • EMAIL me if you think God is leading you.
  • EMAIL me if you simply want updates for your prayers.
  • Send THIS LINK to people who may be interested.
And happy to partner with CCIW in whatever way seems good.

Pic on Flickr by p.altuna.