Monday, August 21, 2006

The agony and the esctasy

Grand final day had all the highs and lows you could imagine. Firstly Jacks game started to the roar of the Ferntree Gully Eagles team running through the banner before lining up for the national anthem. 3 minutes into the game with the pace not yet settled Jack smothers a ball off an opposition boot only to cop the full force of the boot on his RIGHT arm and yes resulted in another broken arm. End of game for Jack and a very distraught family and coach. The Eagles evetually went down by 3 goals in a great game, which Jack was sorely missed by the rest of his team. How could it get worse? Grand final 2 saw Rorys Upper Ferntree Gully team take on a tough oppostion determined to rattle them. Upper only had eyes for the ball and ran out comfortable winners 17.11.113 to 6.12.48, with the whole team contributing to the effort. As you could imagine there were many happy people. the only dampner being the opposition coach and runner not bothering to show up for the presentations afterwards.
Wild scenes followed and we spent last night (and the early hours of this morning) between Rory's club celebrations, Jack's teams dinner and finally Helen and Jack off to hospital for the inevitable x rays and plaster.

For Jack this is a real dissapointment given that it is the 2nd time inside 6 months that he has broken that arm, not to mention the broken thumb in between, and to top it all off he got his braces fitted today as well.

Special thanks to the many friends who came along to support the boys yesterday, as well as the emails and phone calls.

Talk about highs and lows and the emotional roller coaster, still not sure if I've come down to earth yet.

Sunday, August 13, 2006

The call to follow...

The other day I spoke at Syndal Baptist as part of UNOH's Wild Ones set. That's about getting around to a few churches in Oz and sharing the radical message of Jesus as well as promoting Surrender 06:Wild adventures with Jesus. Anyway I spoke on the passage from Mark chapter 2, the calling of Levi. This passage always hits me that following Jesus has consequences. Jesus comes and invites Levi to follow him, not when Levi is in a prayer meeting, not when he's singing praise songs, not when he's having his quiet time (there's nothing wrong with any of those things) but rather Jesus comes and invites Levi to follow him when he is doing his everyday stuff. For Levi this is collecting taxes, can't think of anything less "spiritual" can you? But further Levi is collecting taxes as a Jew from the Jews on behalf of the foreign invader, the Romans.

If I was a Jew I don't reckon I would be too pleased with giving my money to a foreign oppressive power, and I definately wouldn't be too pleased with the man who took my money, in this case Levi. But Jesus invites Levi to follow him and be one of his disciples to change the world, not real smart thinking on Jesus part, I reckon. Bit Jesus ways are not my ways, he constantly calls those we least expect to partner with him in order to bring about his purposes.

And Jesus calls him in the middle of the everyday. After I shared this the other night I had several chats with people who were encouraged to think outside the square of how Jesus calls us. See I reckon he invites us to follow him constantly, and most of the time it is in the everyday, when we're with our family, down the street, at the footy club, in the line waiting those extra few minutes at the shops, when we're confronted or go past those around us in need. What does his invitation look like to follow him in those situation?

I reckon we often get caught up in the fact that we have to create a "spiritual" environement to hear from God, but Jesus shows us different, you can be collecting taxes, mending your nets, out fishing or walking in your neighborhood when the invitation to step out and follow comes. What does it look like for you today? Jesus give us your ears and eyes to see and hear you in the midst of life.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Footy and the boys

2 sons, 2 junior footy semi finals, 2 wins, 2 boys teams go straight to the grand final in 2 weeks time, couldn't have had a better day yesterday. First Jack's under 13's Ferntree Gully Eagles beat their opponents easily, 12.8:80 to 5.4:34, the great thing was this was the only team that had beaten them during the year so was a great result with Jack getting plenty of the ball. Then in the afternoon Rory's under 15's Upper Ferntree Gully got off to a brilliant 8 goal first quarter to set up the match and run out winners 15.12:102 to 10.8:68 in a tough encounter.

So both boys enjoy the fruits of a week off and are getting ready for a day of grandfinals on Sunday August 20 at Scoresby, not sure if the voice box can take it much more though...

Saturday, August 05, 2006

A week in politics and the Micah Challenge...

This week saw me off to see 2 of our local Federal members. Firstly Aston member Chris Pearce, had invited some local church ministers for a morning tea and discussion. We spoke around a whole range of topics, from multiculturalism, to petrol prices to the Millennium Development Goals and Australia's level of aid. I was impressed with Chris, in his real concern for people and particuraly for an increase in aid, and yes I did get a chance to raise the current middle east issue as well.

The following day saw 15 local churches meeting with La Trobe member Jason Wood, under the Micah Challenge banner. This was great as we were there as part of a world wide movement of churches campaigning local politicians about the MDG's. We presented petitions and I was part of a smaller group that then met privately with Jason for a further hour to discuss, again Australia's aid giving and hopefuly see it increase. Again I was impressed at his resolve also to see this happen. What we need though is people all over the country though getting their voice heard to continue to put pressure on our government.
But the highlight for me was having 4 grade 6 students from Ferntree Gully North PS there with their principal presenting hard made cards to Jason asking for an increase in aid. These are the kids I teach CRE to each week and we had been discussing world poverty, justice and God's response over the past few weeks. They were rapt to be there and to have their voices heard as well. I was very proud to see the difference one person can make in the lives of so many, I think Jesus had something to say as well about being childlike...

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The darker side of Chocolate...

"How much does a chocolate cost?"
"A couple of dollars is that all?"
"Maybe a little more overseas."
"Hey Lady how much for the kid?"
"hey enough! I don't feel too comfortable."
"Its ok, have some chocolate its a great comfort!"
"So, How much does your chocolate cost?"

This 25 minute piece will perform Saturday morning at SURRENDER:06

A 'Prayer' to Condoleezza Rice

This weeks Sojourners had this quote in it, as the bombs and killings continue in the middle east. As of this morning I have had no response back to my letter, but much encouragment from others who went and did likewise.

"Sunday morning, I woke up to the news that an Israeli air strike hit a residential building used as a shelter in the southern Lebanese town of Qana, killing and wounding more than 65 people, including 30 infants and young children. According to tradition, Qana is the village where Jesus Christ performed his first miracle by turning water into wine (John 2).

Now I hear of fellow Christians who enjoy seeing the turning of water into blood in the name of end-time prophecy. Their call should rather be to turn water into wine of gladness, peace, and life. Are we looking for the presence of Christ in Lebanon and Israel or for the presence of U.S. smart bombs?"

- Riad Kassis, executive director and chaplain at the J.L. Schneller School in West Bekaa, Lebanon. Read the full story at Christianity Today.