Tuesday, November 30, 2010

An Invitation to hear Redeemer City to City Next Thursday

You can get all this information off of the FACEBOOK Event Page. And RSVP there too.

Redeemer City to City (Terry Gyger, Stephen Um and Jay Kyle) will be here in Sydney primarily to learn from those of us in Sydney, but are also happy to share what the Lord has been doing at Redeemer in NYC (as a case study) and what they are learning in large cities around the world.

So York Street Anglican, together with Vine Church, are gathering friends and partners to the heart of the city next Thursday December 9th from 7:30PM to 9:30PM.

Two presentations, followed by Q&A:

Terry Gyger, (Executive Director, Church Planting)
‘Redeemer, A Case Study in Church Planting’
  • A Biblical Case Study: Philippi
  • A Missional Church: DNA
  • A Compelling Vision: For the whole city
  • A Workable Plan: Context and Cooperation
  • Training is the Key: Equipping is More than Telling
  • Keeping our Eyes on Outcomes
Stephen Um (Associate Training Director, Asia/Australia)
Jay Kyle (International Director, Asia)
‘Global Cities Strategy, City To City - Church Planting’
  • The Goal is to create new movements of gospel-driven, urban-center church planting
  • Four Underlying Guiding Principles
  • Eight elements entailed in our strategic approach to any given city
  • Best Practices

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Vine Church is now meeting...

Haven't Blogged for a while, but HAVE to Blog this:

VINE CHURCH from jason perini on Vimeo.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A psychic gave three Australians in NYC $20 to buy a Bible

From a dear friend in New York City:
I was just sitting in a Borders bookstore--in the religion section--to kill some time this afternoon. Three twenty-something girls came in and started looking for an "easy-to-read" Bible, so I asked them what they were doing.

They said a psychic had just given one of them $20 and told them to go buy a Bible! They picked up an NIV, so I told them that'd be a good one, and it was exactly $20.

They had accents so I asked them where they were from. They said, Australia! I said, Sydney? They said, yes! They said they're leaving NYC tomorrow.

So I said, listen, you must find my friend Justin Moffatt back in Sydney. I gave them your website and your name, and told them you were at York Street. One of the girls said she worked a block away.

They were walking away saying, "Wow, that was totally meant to be. You know, we have to go now."

And, opinions on psychics aside, I must agree! I'll pray that they do indeed show up.

How about that?
Great Story! Haven't seen them yet! But we shall see...

Pic on Flickr by Serhio.

Friday, August 06, 2010

Now I know where the noise comes from...

We can hear the rumble of trains underneath our home. It's not noisy. But you can feel it. If I'm up, I can tell the first train coming into the city at the crack of dawn. We live just above (and to the north) of Wynyard Station in the heart of the City. We live in the end of town that Miranda Divine from the Sydney Morning Herald calls "The Manhattan end of George Street."

But thanks to my friend Jasper Lee, I can now see how close to my home the trains actually are. The photos above are from the State Archives. The Train line was opened in 1932. The building of the church I pastor is in each of the photos.


Sunday, August 01, 2010

Today's Hymns and Songs

OK, Craig blogged the songs they sung at Annandale today. I thought I might blog ours, just for fun:

8:30AM Book of Common Prayer: (Mark 12:41-44)
  • O Worship the King
  • I know that my Redeemer Lives
  • Thank you, O Lord of Heaven and Earth.
10:15AM City Church: (Mark 12:41-44)
  • Put a New Song in my Heart
  • Worthy of all Praise
  • Take my Life and Let it be
  • Blessed Be the Name of the Lord
6PM Evening Church (Text: Jonah 3)
  • God of Wonders
  • Come Thou Fount
  • The Lord is Gracious and Compassionate.
Let Glory be Given to God alone, right?

Picture by our Staff Member Jenny Ihn.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

$30,000 to announce that you already live together?

Just read this on Sam Brett's Blog. The quote below is in the comments section of the Blog, by a guy called Steve. It's worth reading:
Honestly? I think a lot of women just want to have a "wedding"; a day for the world to truly revolve around them. I see this all the time. It just seems to me that in my gen (gen Y) the girls have all bought the fairy tale package hook line and sinker. Even smarter women.

I have a mate who's getting married soon, and although he technically asked her, she more or less coached him into the position. She's a modern, capable and smart progressive woman, but she's totally bought all the wedding crap and wants to have this big fancy do.

It all sounds pretty stupid to me... the two have been living together for 6 years, so the wedding really just seems like an overblown birthday party with an expensive fancy-dress theme. Think about it - they're about to spend about 30K to basically announce they're going to be together. Well... we kinda already knew that.

And while I appreciate the sentiment, a smart couple who were confident in the depth of their love for each other would have just gone to the registry and then put that money on a house.
Harsh? But Fair on modern marriage?

I'm marrying young people here at York Street all the time. I like being involved in their lives. More couples are living together than are not. The third paragraph in the comment above is what gets me: the couple have been living together for 6 years, and then they decide to get married in a $30,000 party. Often, the groom will leave their home the night before getting married, to almost simulate what used to happen! That does seem odd. I'm very happy that couples get married, but we have things upside down now.

In the Bible, the movement is: Commit covenantally (vows), then commit domestically and sexually (the last two being in the one act of 'leaving mother and father' - Genesis 2:24).

But today, its reversed: Couples commit sexually, then domestically, then covenantally (if at all).

Does any of this ring true? You got thoughts on modern marriage?

Pic on Flickr by Janelle Madalone.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Make sure your acts of righteousness are seen.

We made a discovery in Staff Meeting yesterday. We read Jesus' words in Matthew 6:
“Beware of practicing your righteousness before other people in order to be seen by them, for then you will have no reward from your Father who is in heaven. 2 “Thus, when you give to the needy, sound no trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may be praised by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you.
It assumes one thing: That it is fundamentally right and good to practice your acts of righteousness in order to be seen and rewarded.

Have a careful read.

In fact, only when we get this right can we be truly freed of the sin of hypocrisy, and of our thirst to be recognised by 'other peeps'.

Get it?

I can feel a C.S. Lewis quote coming...

Pic on Flickr by Steve Wampler.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

City. Contemporary. Bold. *Kind*

We've had this huge sign on our city deck for a few months now. It says of our New Evening Congregation: 'City. Contemporary. Bold. Kind.'

We like the word 'Kind'. Mostly because that's what people who are caught up in the story of Jesus Christ are meant to be: 'Therefore, as God's chosen people, wholly and dearly loved, clothe ourselves in kindness.'

But also becasue it is actually countercultural to be kind here in the city.

An example: I received this email from person at our New Evening Congregation this afternoon:
Kathryn (not her real name) was sick on Tuesday, and I emailed her to ask if there was anything we could do for her .. she's ok now, back at work, but she said it was the first time in a decade since coming to Sydney that anyone's ever offered her help. It made me think of the evening church word of being 'kind' - Sydney can be quite an uncaring place, Sydney needs Jesus!
Love hearing that.


I'm Back, I Hope

Been thinking of getting back into regular Blog posting.

Said that before.



Wednesday, May 12, 2010

LAND and ISRAEL in the Jewish Scriptures

I wrote this a number of years ago in answer to someone who asked about the fairness of the Conquest of Canaan. There is more to say about this. But here are three things about the LAND in ISRAEL and the promises of God in the New Testament:

1. God always intended his people to inhabit a PLACE.

We know from the Story of the Garden of Eden that God always intended his people to live in an environment. A ‘place’. A ‘good’ one. We were never intended for an existence outside of an environment (if that were possible). But it is only ‘good’ when God’s people live in that place under his rule (as God wills it). In the Garden, Adam and Eve did not live that way, and so the whole world is now subject to frustration. (Romans 8:19-20)

The Story of Abraham (Genesis 12) begins a new chapter in God’s redemption of the universe. God said that he would give a particular land (called Canaan) to Abraham's descendants. And in that land, by one of Abraham's descendants, God would bless the whole world (not just that particular land). The New Testament claims that Abraham’s descendant (seed) was Jesus, and in that land, God forgave sin, and provided new blessing to the world, in anticipation of a New Heaven and a New Earth.

So what is the progression from a nomadic Abraham pitching his tents in Canaan to the promise of a New Heaven and a New earth?

As you read the Old Testament, you begin to realize that God is always lifting the sights of the people higher and higher. Better and better. More and more glorious. There would be a land where justice and righteousness always reigned. And you begin to realize that even the land of Israel in the Old Testament was an image, a metaphor, a picture of what God promised to do with the whole world!

The fulfilment of God’s promise to Abraham is in Jesus, who by his death and resurrection, invites us to the ‘New Heavens and the New Earth’, in which sin is dealt with and God’s people live in a land flowing with more than milk and honey!! You can read about it both Isaiah 65:17-25 as well as in Revelation 21-22.

2. God always intended to remove SIN and INJUSTICE.

The second thing about the land is this: That God’s intention was not just positive, but negative (although negative is the wrong word). God needs to remove sin and injustice. He needs to remove opposition to him. He is a just God, who cannot stand evil in any form.

So we learn as we read the Scriptures, that God asks Israel to rid the land of all opposition to him. And he asks them to never adopt the practices of the nations around them. That is what is going on in these verses. You can see in Deuteronomy 7:4-5 that the 7 nations who occupied the land were in opposition to the one true God. That is, in part, what the Conquest of Canaan was all about.

‘It’s still unfair’, we say.

But not if the wages of every sin for every person is death (Romans 6:20-23). Take a quick read of Genesis 15:16. There, Abraham is told he cannot have the land yet because the sin of one of the nations living there had not ‘reached its full measure.’ In other words, the conquest that you read about in Deuteronomy is not simply over innocent people and it’s not framed as simply one aggressive nation conquering an innocent one in the name of God. It is, in part, about God’s hand of justice.

The ‘conquest’ also just an image, a metaphor, a picture of what God promised to do with the Devil, with all sin and opposition to him. This is what Christ conquered on the cross. (Revelation 18).

3. God has always been free to GOVERN the world as he pleases.

The last thing to say about the Conquest is this: That God is free to govern people and nations as he pleases. In the OT, God chooses 'little Israel' to display his Glory to the world. In Romans 9-11, God displays his Glory back to Israel by having Gentiles believe the Gospel of Jesus. In other words, these Israelites, the Canaanites and all people are guilty of sin, and God will be glorified!

God’s Grace is the only possible salvation for anyone to enter the fulfilled ‘land flowing with milk and honey’.


Pic on Flickr by Karen_Horton

Monday, May 10, 2010

Help me with Divorce (and Marriage and Remarriage)

My Text for Sunday Evening at St Philips: Matthew 5:31-32:
"It has been said, 'Anyone who divorces his wife must give her a certificate of divorce.' But I tell you that anyone who divorces his wife, except for marital unfaithfulness, causes her to become an adulteress, and anyone who marries the divorced woman commits adultery.
  • Is this the final word on divorce?
  • How does divorce cause her to become an adulterer?
  • Is there room in Scripture for a person to get remarried after divorce?
  • Historical situation?
  • Pastoral Implications?
  • Best things to read? Sermon to listen to?
  • Anyone I should call?
I want to get this one right.

And it is not easy.

Pic taken from my iPhone of Evening Congregation out for dinner last night. A local city restaurant opened for us, and about 75% of the congregation came. It was fun. They had to find more seats and make more food!

Friday, April 23, 2010

New Sermon Series in the Morning

In addition to our EVENING CHURCH Preaching Program (below), we are working our way through Romans in the mornings at St Philips. Martin Luther famously wrote in his Preface to Romans:
It is well worth a Christian's while not only to memorize it word for word, but also to occupy himself with it daily, as though it were the daily bread of the soul. It is impossible to read or to meditate on this letter too much or too well. The more one deals with it, the more precious it becomes and the better it tastes.
Here is the Series:

ROMANS: Making Sense.

11 April (R 1:1-17)
Making Sense of Romans

18 April: (R 1-2)
Making Sense of Wrath and Judgement

25 April: (R 3:9-31)
Making Sense of Justice and Grace

2 May: (Speaker: Toby Neal on Matt 13:44)
Finding Happiness

9 May: (R 4:1-3, 16-25)
Making Sense of the Old Covenant

16 May: (R 5:1-11)
Making Sense of Love

23 May: (R 5:4) Pentecost Sunday
Making Sense of The Holy Spirit

30 May: (M 6:5-18) Trinity Sunday
The Ethical Implications of the Trinity

Pic is a page from Paul's letter to the Romans from the Chester Beatty museum.

Sermon Series in Evening: Sermon on the Mount

A Friend of mine became a Christian by reading Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. He said that "Finally, someone wasn't changing the goal posts!" He said: "Reading Jesus is like looking into the eyes of God and falling in." So we are going to spend a fair amount of time just really meditating on each part of it. What do you think?

11 April: (M 5:1-12)
Looking into the Eyes of God

18 April: (M 5:13-17)
Salt of the Earth

25 April: (M 5:20-26, 43-48)
Surpassing Anger and Enemies

2 May: Speaker: Huw Jones
The Reason for Music

9 May: (M 5:27-30, 33-37)
Surpassing Lust and Lies

16 May: (M 5:31-32)
Surpassing Divorce

23 May: (M 6:1-4)
Taking Care: Poverty

30 May: (M 6:5-18)
Taking Care: Prayer

6 June: (M 6:19-24)
Taking Care: Money

13 June: (M 6:25-34)
Taking Care: Anxiety

20 June: (M 7:1-6)
Taking Care: Judgmentalism

27 June: (M 7:7-14)
Two Paths: Finding the Right One

4 July: (M 7:15-20)
Two Trees: Discovering the Nourishing One

11 July: (M 7:21-23)
Tough Words and Authenticity

18 July: (M 7:24-27)
Two Foundations: Building a Confident Foundation


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

I think you need to read this Psalm...

Call me Moffatt the Prophet, but I think you need to read this Psalm:
1 My heart is not proud, O LORD,
my eyes are not haughty;
I do not concern myself with great matters
or things too wonderful for me.
2 But I have stilled and quieted my soul;
like a weaned child with its mother,
like a weaned child is my soul within me.
3 O Israel, put your hope in the LORD
both now and forevermore.
Am I wrong?


Friday, April 16, 2010

Those African Americans know how to preach

The cleaner -- a top guy -- and I just watched this in my office -- Little Hogwarts.

Keep watching to the end.

Man -- they don't preach like this any more.



Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010

C.S. Lewis on Church Music

C. S. Lewis from his essay entitled ON CHURCH MUSIC:
When it (music in the church) succeeds, I think the performers are the most enviable of men; privileged while mortals to honour God like angels and, for a few golden moments, to see spirit and flesh, delight and labor, skill and worship, the natural and the supernatural, all fused into that unity they would have had before the Fall.

But I must insist that no degree of excellence in the music, simply as music, can assure us that this paradisal state has been achieved. The excellence proves 'keenness'; but men can be 'keen' for natural, or even wicked, motives.

The absence of keenness would prove that they lacked the right spirit; its presence does not prove that they have it. We must beware of the naive idea that our music can 'please' God as it would please a cultivated human hearer. That is like thinking, under the old Law, that He really needed the blood of bulls and goats.

To which an answer came, 'Mine are the cattle upon a thousand hills', and 'if I am hungry, I will not tell thee.' If God (in that sense) wanted music, He would not tell us. For all our offerings, whether of music or martyrdom, are like the intrinsically worthless present of a child, which a father values indeed, but values only for the intention.



Pic taken by Jenny Ihn!

Friday, March 26, 2010

New Website for York Street Anglican

I present to you: The NEW WEBSITE of York Street Anglican.

Take a look.

Comments, corrections and suggestions are always welcome.

Those Moore College students made us work this week (not that we don't every week!). And on the the things that tumbled out this week is a new website. It has been a few months in the making. And, of course, we've got somethings to work out next week (sermons online, for example). Bonnie is our Executive Administrator has been brilliant throughout this process. Give us feedback.

(You can also follow us on TWITTER and find us on FACEBOOK.)

Pic is by Bonnie Rozorio.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Evening Service Starts in 10 Days

We've been having a Moore College Mission here this week. Some of them put up this sign outside the church. Have you seen it? Can you tell me if anyone graffiti's it!?

Pray that we begin well, with hope in God, proclaiming Christ in love.


Monday, March 22, 2010

Listening to Sydneysiders (Moore Mission)

(Totally H/T Michael Nhieu)

"This afternoon the St Philips York Street Moore Mission team was sent out to observe the city with 'spiritually sensitive eyes' and to meet and listen to Sydneysiders to gather information about the people St Philips is trying to serve.

"Armed with a clipboard and friendly smile we surveyed and listened to a variety of people on the streets of Sydney. Here are some of the interesting and insightful responses we’ve been able to gather:

Words that people have chosen to describe Sydney:
Beautiful, Expensive, Opera House, Habour, Fresh, Lovely, Beaches, Oz, Fresh, Sun, Water, Money, Big, Mardi Gras, Food and Wine, Sunshine, Ambience, Wonder of the World, Busy, Sunny, Somewhat friendly, Holiday, Young people
Things that Sydneysiders would like to get out of life, hopes and aspirations:
Happiness, Financial Independence, Freedom, Money, Marriage, Family, Good Health, Friendships, House, Peace, Satisfaction, Fun, Comfortable life, Long life, Health, Good education, Lack of terrorism, Ability to get on, Excel in work and life, Success, Relaxation.
Things Sydneysiders found difficult or dislike about working in the city:
Public transport sucks, Job security, Being bothered by charity workers, Invasion of personal space, Medical care, Education for children, Better salary, Rent and food prices going up, Loneliness, Finding peace of mind, People not content with life, Difficult employers.
Quotes from people in the city:
  • “There is no hope or aspiration for Sydney city workers because they are too busy paying off their mortgages”
  • “Love Sydney, love the people, hate the violence”
  • “I’m having too much fun to look at the bible”
  • “Sydney is too noisy, there is too much traffic and the climate is bad”
  • “Want to die at the age of 90 walking out of a brothel with a heart attack”
  • “Sydney is difficult to live here and find a job”
  • “Can’t raise a kid in a unit in the city”
  • “All paths lead to God”

“Now while Paul was waiting for them at Athens, his spirit was provoked within him as he saw that the city was full of idols. So he reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the devout persons, and in the marketplace every day with those who happened to be there.” – Acts 17:16-17 (ESV)


Friday, February 26, 2010

We went to the Winter Olympics

Personalize funny videos and birthday eCards at JibJab!


Monday, February 22, 2010

A Sense of York Street Anglican

This pic (taken from an iPhone) is of a model of part the Central Business District of Sydney (like Wall Street in NYC). The model is under a glass walkway in Custom's House near the Opera House. York Street Anglican is represented in the middle of the picture -- once towering above Sydney, now dwarfed by her.

You can compare this picture to Google Maps if you like.

The Road to the left of the Freeway crossing the Harbour Bridge. The Opera House is to the right of the picture.

Some perspective for my American Friends.


Sunday, February 21, 2010

Love this Pic

Profound, and just a little bit sad.

Or a lot sad.


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Dinner Tonight

Guess where?


Friday, February 19, 2010

New Evening Congregation brainstorm...

Our Evening Service met last week.

We gathered in the front of our church. The lights were dimmed. We sat in the round. Lots of anticipation. Good Gandevia coffee and fruit and chocolate. (see my iPhone pic)

And we then spent about an hour discussing how we could be sensitive to the newcomer. We brainstormed, and prayed, and discussed what we thought may work for someone who does not know God, especially for someone who lives within 15 minutes walk, drive or public transport from POSTCODE 2000.

This is the upshot of our discussion:


People felt the current lighting was adequate, but would prefer spotlights on main areas – on preacher and band, less yellow light, and other mood lighting. A few commented that the lighting was potentially too dim. One comment was to have mood lighting illuminating the bell ringing area.


Our people identified food as hospitality, either inside or outside the church. The thought is that we should have food where possible served before and after service, but it needs to be good, otherwise not worth doing at all. Universal support for good coffee to be served, either by a barista or good quality plunger.

Food after church was broken down to those wanting to share a meal in church as a witness of community, and those wanting more casual but open welcoming to going elsewhere for food after the service. It was felt that cost, accessibility from the church (no more than 5-10 minutes), ability to cater for large groups, noise and variety of food options were most important. Some felt like they would like a venue where they could opt of either a full meal, or just a drink.

Venues for food after church included Jacksons on George, The Glenmore, The Australian, Cargo Bar and the two Japanese places on York St opposite the church.


People felt like the Chancel (front of Church) worked for the short term, and preferred the orientation as it was set up. They suggested maybe that the band stand in the middle, but were soon at risk of overcrowding the area. Others wanted the musicians to the side, and the preacher facing the main area of the church as to not make latecomers feel embarrassed. Most people did not like the use of the communion table in the middle. They felt it was either ritualistic (high church) or cultish.

If using the existing pew setup, people were universally against the use of the pulpit (seen as high church). Suggestion then for greater visibility of the musicians and preacher was that the chancel should get a raised platform of about 1 foot, but needed to be done tastefully.


Universal support for direct debit and credit card giving. Felt that plate passing was uncomfortable to seekers and new people. Felt there needs to be a box in the back to give, but (naturally) it needed the accountability of how that money was to be handled.


One point that was raised: we should be potentially more thoughtful about where our church sits relative to our culture. Should it match or be different to our cumulative backgrounds? Thought needs to be given on how the space can let us anticipate an encounter with God, with silent spaces, and not being too formal, ordered or predictable.

It's the right discussion to be having.

Has your church thought through all this?

We have a long way to go, but I'm keen to see where God takes us.

Pic of the food on Sunday taken on an iPhone

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Where I used to live in New York City

My Friend Ben Jonker sent me this article from the Sydney Morning Herald this morning. It is about the set of apartments we lived in while in New York. It is called Stuyvesant Town, and it's sale a few years back was the largest property deal in US history. But a few year on, they are in big trouble. From the article:

Stuy Town is...
...a complex built immediately after Word War II and so vast that its 110 connected apartment blocks have their own newspaper. The lenders to the deal included the world's savviest property speculators, such as the Singapore government and the Church of England. They watched in horror as the asset crashed to a value of less than $2 billion. Last last month the humiliated owners - they had borrowed $4.4 billion - handed back the keys to their banks and walked off.
Its incredible how much was lost.

Take a read.

Imagine just handing over the keys...

The First Pic is outside our old apartment.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Lent Preaching Program at York Street

Sunday Mornings 10:15AM in Lent:
(Lent Series on Mark 10-16):
  • Passion - Joel 2:12-17 (Feb 21: Lent 1)
  • Passion's CHALLENGE - Mark 10:17-34 (Feb 28: Lent 2)
  • Passion's LEADER - Mark 12:1-44 (Mar 7: Lent 3)
  • Passion's WARNING - Mark 13:1-37 (Mar 14: Lent 4)
  • Passion's PATH - Mark 14:1-72 (Mar 21: Lent 5)
  • Passion's PROBLEM - Mark 11:1-25 (Mar 28: Palm Sunday)
  • Passion's SUFFERING - Mark 15:1-39 (April 2: Good Friday)
  • Passion's HOPE - Mark 16:1-8 (Apr 4: Easter Sunday)

Sunday Evenings 6PM in Lent:
(Lent Series on 1 Peter 4:7-11)
  • Learning to PRAY - 1 Peter 4:7 (Feb 21: Lent 1)
  • Learning to LOVE - 1 Peter 4:8 (Feb 28: Lent 2)
  • Learning to offer HOSPITALITY - 1 Peter 4:9 (Mar 7: Lent 3)
  • Learning to use GIFTS - 1 Peter 4:10 (Mar 14: Lent 4)
  • Learning to SPEAK - 1 Peter 4:11a (Mar 21: Lent 5)
  • Learning to SERVE - 1 Peter 4:11b (Mar 28: Palm Sunday)
  • Opening to the City of Sydney (Apr 4: Easter Sunday)
For your prayers.

Pic on Flickr by patchworkgandolf.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Report: New Evening Service

Just thought I'd report in on how God is showing his kindness among us at York Street with the New Evening Congregation:
  • 32 People met on Sunday at our city apartment
  • Another 6 couldn't be here, but are keen
  • Matt Straw played tunes on his classic record player
  • We ate and met each other with joy
  • Three musicians, including one banjo player, led us to sing with joy
  • We took communion with 200 year old communion silver
  • Our text from Jesus was Matthew 9:9-16:
On hearing this, Jesus said, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. But go and learn what this means: 'I desire mercy, not sacrifice.' For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.
  • Last person left 5 ours after we began.
  • Next week, we gather again, asking God what is good and perfect will is ...
So many possibilities.

We have only prayers.

Pics by Jenny Ihn.

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

New Evening Congregation starts this Sunday...

I am still haunted by Frederich Nietzsche's observation that he would 'believe in a redeemer' if the 'redeemed looked redeemed'.

I wonder if you feel the same.

I am haunted, because I most certainly *do believe* in a redeemer. I believe in the redemption he brings, and I enjoy the redeemed community he creates: Jesus has died, Jesus has risen and Jesus has formed a new community of people who belong to him, eager to do good. At York Street Anglican, we have been given grace to take our place in this Story of Redemption, for the sake of Sydney, to the Glory of God.

To that end, we are beginning a New Evening Service this Sunday.


We mark the beginning of this community in a fresh and hospitable way. 5:30PM for a 6PM Start.

We will meet in our Apartment. Dr Laurel and I are hosting, and Matt Straw is organising. Our living space will be recreated into a place where the Redeemed can look Redeemed: we will eat, break bread, sing, pray, hear from God's Holy Word, and ask every question needed to to begin in a fresh way.

(Parking: There is always parking on the streets around - Jamison, York, Clarence. The Wedding Bay on Clarence St costs nothing on Sundays. Or simply bring a few gold coins with you, or use the Credit Card Meter in front of Mio's on Clarence St. Easy.)


A New Face to Sydney -
Orthodoxy; Orthopraxis; Orthokardia. (Lent Series on 1 Peter 4:7-11)
  • Feb 21: Learning to PRAY - 1 Peter 4:7 (Lent 1)
  • Feb 28: Learning to LOVE - 1 Peter 4:8 (Lent 1)
  • Mar 7: Learning to offer HOSPITALITY - 1 Peter 4:9 (Lent 1)
  • Mar 14: Learning to use GIFTS - 1 Peter 4:10 (Lent 1)
  • Mar 21: Learning to SPEAK - 1 Peter 4:11a (Lent 1)
  • Mar 28: Learning to SERVE - 1 Peter 4:11b (Palm Sunday)
  • Apr 4: Easter Sunday -- Opening to the City of Sydney.

In the end, this is not about a 'Service'. This is about a Community who love the Redeemer. So we want your say. Especially while we plan, we want you to be bold and speak up. What would be good for your friends who don't yet believe? Where ought we to meet? What ought we to study? What ought we to sing? How do we pray? What do we do? We want to know the way forward. And there will be ample opportunity to pray about that.


We are working towards one thing: Opening our doors to the City of Sydney on Easter Sunday: April 4.


Let me know if you or any you know would like to be a part of this...

For the Redeemer,

Justin and Laurel and Matt


Free Nelson Mandela

You kids won't even remember this, but when I was a kid, Nelson Mandela was in still prison. Gosh, this Youtube brings back many memories:

I went to look for this song for no other reason than the song came into my head. I wondered while listening to the song how long it has been since he was released. So I googled it.

And -- get this -- it has been 20 years today that ' F.W. de Klerk reversed the ban on the ANC and other anti-apartheid organisations, and announced that Mandela would shortly be released from prison.' He was released 20 years ago on February 11.

20 Years today. Freaky.



Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Dr Laurel on Shakespeare (3rd Interview with CPX)

Shakespeare's fun with love from CPX on Vimeo.

What's not to love?


Dr Laurel on Shakespeare (2nd Interview with CPX)

Shakespeare's wise fool from CPX on Vimeo.

This is the Second Interview...


Dr Laurel on Shakespeare (1st Interview with CPX)

Totally proud of my wife, if that is allowed. Laurel was interviewed late last year by the Centre for Public Christianity here in Sydney on Shakespeare. She's on the front page. Nice.

Laurel did her PhD on "Shakespeare's Idea of Nothing." I believe that the three videos (which I will post each in turn) were released yesterday in time with the start of the new school year (Southern Hemisphere).

Take a watch:

Her Graduation: Graduation pics.
Her Defense: "In Defense of Nothing".


Monday, February 01, 2010

Is God Killing the Uniting Church?


Read this.

It's called 'The lowest common denomination: a lament'.

It is a piece by Scott Stephens, a pastor and theological educator in the Uniting Church in Australia.

He builds a case, and he ends this way:
What if God is killing the Uniting Church? Here is what Stanley Hauerwas told the congregation of Broadway United Methodist Church in South Bend, Indiana, in 1993:

“The plain truth is that Broadway survives as part of a larger church that is dying. Mainstream Protestantism in America is dying. Actually I prefer to put the matter in more positive terms: God is killing Protestantism and perhaps Christianity in America and we deserve it.”

Is God is killing the Uniting Church?
I don't really know about the Uniting Church.

But I pray to the God whom I fear that he will spare us.

Pic on Flickr by oldsads.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

On Being Australian

Today is Australia Day.

It is earily quiet here in the city. Almost silent. But it is early in the day. All this will change later in the day.

I wrote a series of posts a few months back called: 15 Minutes Around Postcode 2000. A group of us at York Street are trying to work out who it is that we are trying to reach. And so we came up with 9 things we think characterise Sydney-siders.

Three that apply to Australia Day:


Sydneysiders belong to 'multiple, highly-motivated global tribes which exert influence, not control'. Like most Australians, they are passionate about being Aussie, without any substantial understanding of what constitutes the national identity (unlike many Americans). Sydneysiders don’t know Australian history; they only know some Australian stories. Traveling brings out some sort of essential Aussie-ness, and so young people travel often and regularly, with families often holidaying overseas.


Sydneysiders pride themselves in community spirit, helping fellow Aussies when in need. They value time to socialise, and they like crowded summer events (e.g. Cricket, NYE, and Australia Day). They have numerous social connections but often few deep friends. They are often sexually active, with the assumption that something is not right if they are not.


Sydneysiders choose pleasure over pain; beauty over ugliness; simple over complicated. They are comfortable and maybe even indulgent. They love the weekends over weekdays, knowing that Sydney is its own heaven. They have unusually good water skills, and they are into personal time, sport, sun, socialising, weather, concerts, movies, and the SMH. They care deeply *where* they live. They are green, but only when convenient.

Thought I'd repost this today.

Any thoughts?

Have a day of joy. We're having a BBQ in Mascot with 2 other families.

Pic on FLickr by robyngeeringphotography.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Fear and love (Tomorrow's Sermon)

Tomorrow's Sermon Preview:
How can I learn to love God more?

Two ways from Deuteronomy 6 and 1 John 4:

1. Tremble with a Fear that leads to Love.
We'll see how we go.


Friday, January 15, 2010

Help me with Fear

I'm preaching this Sunday on the Fear of the Lord.

Here is my text: Deuteronomy 6:13-19:
It is the Lord your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. 14 You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you— 15 for the Lord your God in your midst is a jealous God—lest the anger of the Lord your God be kindled against you, and he destroy you from off the face of the earth.

16 “You shall not put the Lord your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah. 17 You shall diligently keep the commandments of the Lord your God, and his testimonies and his statutes, which he has commanded you. 18 And you shall do what is right and good in the sight of the Lord, that it may go well with you, and that you may go in and take possession of the good land that the Lord swore to give to your fathers 19 by thrusting out all your enemies from before you, as the Lord has promised.
Lots of great stuff there. Lots to talk about. But you can help me:
  • Why fear?
  • How does the dynamic of fear help you to love God?
  • What is your testimony of the Fear of the Lord?
  • How does this message become evangelistic?
  • Who is good to read on Fear? (Besides Kierkegaard... I don't have the time... :)
Any other thoughts or reflections on fear would be great.


Celebrity, wash thy hands

About the funniest thing I've read in a while. Nice.


Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Attention Moore College Student Ministers: Can you serve in two congregations?

Quick Questions for any Moore College Students reading this:
  • How do you feel serving two congregations (if you are a Student Minister)?
  • Do you give weight to one gathering, and not the other?
  • Would you have a preference to serve at one? Why? Why not?
  • Does it change if one congregation serves one purpose, but not another (e.g. Morning Church, then Youth church?)
  • Does it change if you have a family?
  • Positives? Negatives?
I'm just trying to work out how it feels working in a church for just one day.
    Help me, if you can.

    Pic from Dan's Blog.

    Sunday, January 10, 2010

    York Street 2010 Developments: #1 Podcasts

    York Street Anglican is podcasting again. Early stages yet, and we'll get better at it. Bonnie is our office person here, and she is putting them up.
    • You can go to our SERMON Page.
    • Or THIS link (hopefully) takes you to the iTunes page.
    There are just three sermons there at the moment.

    Two from our Advent Series:
    • Simeon — We need a Hope that Satisfies our Longings (25 minutes)
    • Jesus – We need a Son to show us his Father (21 minutes)
    The first of our Summer Series:
    • Begin Again to Love God. (21 minutes)
    Hope they help.


    Wednesday, January 06, 2010

    After Church on Observatory Hill

    I may try to post some of my favourite summer pics. This one was taken with an iPhone after Church last month on Observatory Hill, just above our home.

    You can click on it to make it bigger.


    Saturday, January 02, 2010

    Cool Lego Commerical

    Love this commercial:

    Love it on so many levels.

    H/T Dan Philips.


    Sermon Series: New Beginnings for an Ancient People

    York Street Anglican has this one simple irony going on:

    It is the oldest parish in Australia, and yet it has this new feel about it. We are small, but full of potential. Love this space.

    Therefore, Deuteronomy 6 is perfect series for Summer: An Ancient people on the Edge of Promise, with a History, but with New Possibilites and New Beginnings. Plus, during summer, it is nice to only spend time in a few verses at a time.

    It's too hot for large tracts of text, right?

    Here is the Series:

    New Beginnings for an Ancient People (A Series in Deuteronomy 6)
    8:30AM (Book of Common Prayer)
    10AM (City Church)
    3 York St, Sydney.

    May God be with you.


    My Favourite Picture on New Year's Eve

    Love this one.