Interesting... (click here)
I'm starting to "get" MySpace. I've customised my page a bit, extended my network of friends. (click here)
A report from Access Economics showing how appallingly the state economy has been managed. (click here) Labor clearly has to go - I just wish the Coalition showed more promise...
David Simon's "Crimson Dark" has been nominated in the Outstanding Science Fiction category. (click here) Congratulations mate!
FIDE-O have some comments on Watchmen, who I had a bit of a run-in with last year. (click here) I'm glad to see these guys are starting to be exposed...
Got to church this morning and it was full of guys running around, very busy setting up church for video recording. Lights, cameras, mixing desk - all required careful attention. The guys were having a great time. Confirmation of one of Morrow's theses, that a good way to attract men to church is to give them things to do...
John Sandeman just sent me a fascinating US study on the characteristics of growing churches. (click here) For those who aren't interested in the pragmatics of church growth ("It's all the Holy Spirit!"), switch off now. For the rest, there are some fascinating findings. Among these -
- Recently planted churches are more likely to grow than older churches
- Multi-racial churches grow more quickly than anglo churches
- The younger the average age of attendees, the more likely the church will grow
- The more men in the church, the more likely it is to grow (!!!!)
- "Spiritually alive" churches are more likely to grow
- Churches that are willing to change are more likely to grow
- Churches that experience much conflict are likely to decline
- "Joyful" churches are more likely to grow
- Churches with drums are more likely to grow (truly!)
- Churches with a "recruitment" plan are more likely to grow
- Churches with a website are more likely to grow
- Churches that have special support groups (eg. bereavement, 12 step) are much more likely to grow (interesting)
- Churches that use multiple means (eg. phone, email) to follow-up visitors are more likely to grow
So, does this sound like *your* church??
Here is the pilot for the US Version of Red Dwarf. (click here) Thankfully, it was never picked up...
A discussion just getting underway on SydAng. (click here) Interesting link to a study showing that male dominated churches grow 3 times as quickly as female dominated churches.
Adrian continues his interview with a deaconess at Mars Hill Church. They talk about the experience of women at the church. (click here )
More youth pastors are getting involved with MySpace. (click here) This is a good move - MySpace is just huge with kids.
It seems the Stern Report has seriously underestimated the cost of it's recommendations. (click here)
Rudd is calling for an "education revolution". (click here) Will be interesting to see the detail...
2007 is beginning to take shape. I'm leading a home group on Tuesday night - some good people in the group, so should be fun. Thursday nights will be kick-boxing night. I may switch to jui-jitsu at some point during the year. Monday nights I'm going to attend evening lectures at a nearby bible college, doing an introduction to NT Greek. Alternate weekends I have the boys of course. I will attempt to use my few remaining free evenings to catch up with people - hopefully doing a better job than I did in 2006!
Adrian is interviewing a deaconess from Driscoll's Church. She discusses how Mars Hill uses their "members only" website to build community. ( click here)
DavidO will be a student minister with Evangelism Ministries this year. Well done mate, be sure to keep us informed of how things go. (click here)
In a very hypocritical action, SAH appear to have deleted Craig's dissenting comment.
The "Big Day Out" organisers are requesting that concert goers do not bring Australian flags to the event. (click here) Originally they were planning to confiscate any flags brought to the event, but they seem to have backed down from this.
Someone has started a new blog with this title. They are upset that some Sydney Anglicans believe God may have used evolution to create. (click here)
I know that this book has provoked a small amount of controversy, and I find this surprising. I don't think Dickson has said anything that is very different to the local received wisdom. Some people are unhappy that he states that all Christians are not evangelists. But given the rather specific (and, it must be said, biblical) definition of this word that Dickson uses, I don't think his conclusion can be faulted. Those who argue that every christian is an evangelist necessarily use a very broad definition of the word.
The book is very well written and discusses all the major issues involved in evangelism, including the place of prayer, money and good works. Dickson's exegesis is very thorough, and he references significant amounts of research in his footnotes. I think refuting his conclusions on biblical grounds will take some doing.
I especially liked his chapter entitled "Heralds Together". He has touched on something that pentecostals understand very well, and most anglicans don't understand at all. It is must-read.
I was helping wash up at church last week, and it took a long time! Someone said we had about 60 adults in the morning. I guess there were about 30 kids there as well. Average evening attendance is over 100, so we possibly cracked 200 people for the day. A significant milestone if we are doing that regularly.
There are both state and federal elections for us in NSW this year. Sandy Grant has put together some points to think about when voting. (click here )
Andrew Lim discusses cyber evangelism in 2nd life. My computer is too slow to run 2nd Life very effectively. (click here)
Click here. I love the way this is written as a dialogue. Makes it great fun to read. We should use this tool more often.
The Point opens up a can of worms. (click here) I'd like to think this sort of bravery self-sacrifice is what being a man is all about. I fear most of us fall a long way short...
A new book has been published documenting this - "Exodus: Why Americans Are Fleeing Liberal Churches for Conservative Christianity." Liberal church membership is in free fall. ( click here) And, like irresponsible tennants who have trashed their last house, some of the liberals are looking for new homes.
They are saying to us, "We actually like you guys, you just need to make a couple of small changes and we can all get along! You can do that, can't you?" This is what they did 100 years ago to the mainline denominations. If we give an ideological inch to these people, we are injecting poison into our church, we are condemning it to death.
When we stand up for biblical truth, we will get criticised for being "mean" and "narrow" and "not nice". It just happened on Sydney Anglicans where a (very liberal) Catholic said "No wonder people say such bad things about you guys." He was frustrated that we couldn't just agree that nice people go to heaven.
Perhaps these new liberals, neo-liberals, will sound nice, look nice, appear to be reasonable and accommodating. They want to come to our house, but they just want to change the curtains - nothing too significant. No! They must be resisted. If they come to our house, it is under our terms. And we will be counting the silverware because, frankly, they have a bad reputation and souls are at stake.
The women's ordination group are one such crowd. It seems such a silly little thing in some ways. Yet it is utterly associated with denominational decline. And, of course, it is completely anti-biblical. You must harden your hearts to the pleas of this movement. They will say "Oh - you are so arrogant! You don't listen! You are unloving!" Ignore the insults. These people, whether they know it or not, are the harbingers of denominational destruction. If being insulted is the price we must pay, so be it.
And my attitude is hardening against the emerging church as well. There is too much they are willing to place on the table for discussion. I know they are nice people, and their message of "can't we all just get along" sounds appealing. But many of them are just neo-liberals. They see the strength of biblically orthodox churches, they want to be part of it, but they want to change it. They want to compromise areas that should not be compromised. If they come on board it must be on our terms, not on theres. Otherwise they will have to go elsewhere.
This is not going to be a game of cricket. This is going to be a cage-fight. There is too much at stake to be naive here - especially in the name of being liked. Liberals caught the mainline denoms napping 100 years ago. I don't think it will happen again.
The first chapter of Pipers book on depression is "Faith alone and the fight for joy". That resonates with my soul. Joy is a fight - it doesn't just happen, we have to fight for it, take hold of it, grasp it, want it, desire it, take it. I think Piper has been right to make this idea of "joy" so central to his ministry. It is something that is so often missing from reformed evangelical Christian churches. If we don't have joy, we have failed in our understanding of the gospel. If we *do* have joy, our critics will be silenced. They will mutter a few words and then slink away, except for those who fall down and say "God is among you!"
This is an amazing tool for those learning the biblical languages. You select a book of the bible, and it generates a vocabulary list for you! (click here)
A new book from John Piper, available for free online. (click here) I haven't read it yet, but I'm sure it will be an excellent book for those struggling with depression.
Some interesting comments on Rudd's approach. (click here) He is beginning to attract some mild criticism from the left because of his outspoken Christianity.
"How to Deal with the Guilt of Sexual Failure for the Glory of Christ and His Global Cause" - by John Piper. ( click here)
Oh yes - Quickflix has just sent that to me, I should get it in my hot little hands tomorrow. Yeah, it's a few months old, yes, I know the result - still, can't wait to watch it! My youngest, Harry, will be very keen to see it as well - he's a great UFC fan. Royce Gracie is an MMA legend, a massive influence on modern Martial Arts. Matt Hughes was (until recently) Middlewight champion. A brilliant all-round fighter and also a committed Christian. This will rock...
I'm sure most laymen of an academic bent go through a period of wanting to learn biblical greek. I've picked up bits and pieces over the years, never gone too far with it. But I've really been enjoying the Biblical Greek VodCast. Brief, practical and entertaining. And I think all learning should be as entertaining as possible. Check it out. ( click here)
Jason has been arguing that formal church membership is a biblical concept. (click here) I am very much in favour of this.
I've now listened to all of these. (click here) They are really wonderful. Once again, ministers and ministers-in-training - listen to them!
Another collection of all the headlines from the USA. (click here) Classic quote from Mark Shea - "I think what she meant to say was that it is not splintering *just* over gay issues. There's also the fact that she's a heretic quack who thinks that saying "There is no other name under heaven by which we can be saved than 'Jesus' is 'putting God in a small box'"
This is one of my favourite podcasts - it is a novel about an inter-galactic football league. (click here) Sound a bit childish? No - it is very well done. Some mild offensive language.
JohnH has some interesting things to say. (click here) I suspect he is right that the Church of England will collapse in the near future. Sad in a nostalgic way - but it may well open up doors for the spread of the gospel. Europe is the new mission field for the 21st century. Our church has 3 link missionaries, and 2 of them are in Europe. Expect to see more of this in the future.
According to my judgement the most important point to be attended to is this: above all things see to it that your souls are happy in the Lord. Other things may press upon you, the Lord's work may even have urgent claims upon your attention, but I deliberately repeat, it is of supreme and paramount importance that you should seek above all things to have your souls truly happy in God Himself!Day by day seek to make this the most important business of your life...after much experience I specially commend this point to the notice of my younger brethren and sisters in Christ: the secret of all true effectual service is joy in God, having experimental acquaintance and fellowship with God Himself.George Mueller
A huge survey of wives in the US turned up the following -
* 33% would not marry their husband again
* 75% fantasize about other men
* 39% flirt constantly
* 50% suspect their husbands of cheating
There was only one nasty fight, Smith vs Morris in the quarter-finals. Morris (a ninja of all things!) was mounted by Smith and then pulverised by elbows. His face was a mess. Aside from that it was pretty clean - real over-reaction to give it an R rating. These days the UFC is only given an MA.
He writes -
JMjr tackles the EC over it's approach to morality. (click here) I'm not at all surprised to see ambivalence in the movement over homosexuality and abortion...
Too many Davids read my blog. DavidO makes some comments. (click here) He includes a link to the full video. Yeah, I've already watched it. Pretty chilling.
SMH readers (sorry JS, *some* SMH readers) are unhappy with Saddam's execution. (click here) Also David, you claim the entire Scriptural witness is against capital punishment. What a bizarre claim - we find capital punishment fully endorsed by God in the OT. The only relevant NT passage is Romans 13, which endorses use of the "sword".
David suggests a new years resolution for KJS that just might save the episcopalian church. (click here)
Justyn finished the Mini Manga book pretty quickly and now Harry is working his way through it. I bought Justyn a more advanced Manga book, and he is enjoying that. ( click here) I love encouraging them in creative skills.
Terrorist organisation Hamas complains that Saddam's execution violates international law. (click here)
Went to Paddy's Markets with my boys today and I found UFC #1 for just $10. (click here) It was a bit more brutal back in those days, less rules. Still, not that bad really.