Friday, April 29, 2011

The worst hymn ever written?


And did those feet in ancient time
Walk upon England's mountain green?
And was the holy Lamb of God
On England's pleasant pastures seen?
And did the countenance divine
Shine forth upon our clouded hills?
And was Jerusalem builded here
Among those dark satanic mills?

Bring me my bow of burning gold!
Bring me my arrows of desire!
Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!
Bring me my chariot of fire!
I will not cease from mental fight,
Nor shall my sword sleep in my hand,
Till we have built Jerusalem
In England's green and pleasant land.

I have an AFL dream team

We're called the penguins. Mundy is my captain. In real life he plays for the purple team. Chapman is my vice captain. He normally plays for the light blue and white striped guys.

Go team!

Don't waste your bad traffic. Passing out Sermon Jams in traffic!

church websites

I've looked at about 300 church websites in the last 2 days. Here are some thoughts.

  • Don't use istock people. They are so fake. It's obvious that they don't go to your church. Makes me wonder if any real people do.
  • Don't over-font. Clean and clear is best. [But if your church is an over-font kind of a church, by all means, over-font your website too. Better that I know before I turn up.]
  • Keep it real. Don't try to be something that you're not.
  • Don't have little 'contact us' forms. Makes it hard for spammers like me to get my pre-written and nicely formatted email to you.

The websites I liked best were those from the salvation army. Like their dress, the websites were uniform. Different picture on each (of their congregation) but everything in pretty much the same place. They had the annoying little comment form, but hidden in the corner of each site was also a 'contact us' button. Magic!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

when does information sharing become spamming?

In the last 12 hours I've sent out well over a hundred emails marketing an event. I've also gotten frustrated with a fb friend who keeps on inviting me to things I don't want to go to. Is there a line?

There are a remarkable number of churches in Queensland

I know because I'm trying to get info about to all of them. 

How fantastic that it takes so long.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

AFP - Australian Federal Police

My cousin Lisa is on AFP right now.

Channel nine. 8pm.

She's a goodie (AFP!)

Letters from important people

100 years!

Monday, April 25, 2011


  • I helped set things up for my grandfather's 100th tomorrow
  • ran 5kms
  • played ticket to ride with our boys
  • saw my sister and her husband and played with their kids
  • hung out with my brother and his wife (and my folks)
  • went to the beach (briefly)
  • helped make fresh pasta
  • saw Karen and showed her how to play ukulele (C, F, G, Am)

An excellent day.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

going down the coast...

... to celebrate my grandfather's 100th birthday.

Pretty special.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

women in john or women in kings?

I have to speak at a women event in early June. It's an informal thing for church women (not at my church) and there won't be many there. My brief is to talk about anything at all that I'm interested in. I think I'll do something biblical, though not a straight exposition. Last year when I was working on Kings I thought I'd like to do a talk on women in the books of kings sometime. Interesting stuff. Athaliah. Jezebel. But I've recently started work on John. I could look at women in John's gospel.

If you were at such an event, what would you like to hear?

Easter cake

So. Am I into Easter or what?

Easter cake so far

I still need some trees, a boulder and other bits and pieces.

Finished cake here.

Commentary on John's Gospel?

I'm planning to look closely at John's gospel for the rest of this year. I'm writing some kids church material next year and any women's events I'm invited to speak at, I'll speak from John.

So I'm after a decent commentary. My greek is limited and rusty. I get excited by big picture structural stuff.

Any suggestions?

Carl Trueman and hot wives

Yeah. No more of it.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Andrew loves me very much.

I know because he got me a stay at home server.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

chess rewrite

There were significant rewrites for the Chess Concert performance. I'm not convinced they were for the best. (Of course I'm not!)

The main issue I've got is the need to redeem the three main characters. They all had some turn around at the end and became nice(ish) people who were concerned for others. The beauty of the original was that they were all such a mess.

You and I was still beautiful. But not so good as this.

chess issues

The American has a pathological narcissistic disorder.

The Russian is just incredibly selfish.

Florence has big problems. Codependency. Putting up with all sorts of crap if it means sleeping with the big name.

I love this musical.

Good Friday Song Set

Hmmm. I wonder what I'll be playing tomorrow?

Any guesses?

easter joke

Someone asked Joseph of  Arimathaea , “That was a great tomb. Why did you give it to someone else to be buried in?” “Oh,” said Joseph, “he only needed it for the weekend.”

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha.

From here.

chess in concert

I bought this today. If anyone is up for a Groban drool fest, come watch it with me.

Easter Sand Animation Part IV - Resurrection

Okay guys. I've heard you all. It's time...

...for some Easter spirit.

How is this?

I'm going to make a big Easter Sunday cake. It will be a tomb scene. Grass (lollies), trees, footpath, half easter egg representing tomb (yes, I know. It's been done before). I'll have figures for the women and angel and something to look like bandages inside the tomb.

It will be an exciting and delicious cake.

And as well as convincing you all that I do have easter spirit after all, it will kill another 2 birds.

I need a kids talk for church on Sunday and it's my turn to do morning tea. I'll use the cake as my prop to tell the story for the kids talk. Then I'll serve it up afterwards.

After other ideas for this weekend? We bought the sand bible Easter bits for RE. It is brilliant. Played the video while I read 3 chapters of Luke. Word for word. Held the kids for 20 minutes. Well worth the $30 we paid. The kids wanted to watch and hear all over again. We'll be using it in church as well.

coming into easter...

...with no food in the cupboards.

No weetbix. No milk. No meat. No vege (except frozen). No pasta. No cans (except another cream of celery soup which I'm not excited about.)

Looks like I may have to go shopping.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Okay family, I want you to keep an open mind about this dinner.

Think of it as risotto. Or something.

I love Jesus but...

I'm not into easter. Pleased for you if you are.

Romans 14:5 One person regards one day above another, another regards every day alike Each person must be fully convinced in his own mind.

Colossians 2:16-17
16Therefore no one is to act as your judge in regard to food or drink or in respect to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath day--
17things which are a mere shadow of what is to come; but the substance belongs to Christ.

Another day, another cooking adventure.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

exodus map

I made this today.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Choose you own adventure baking

Today we played masterchef with our boys and two extras. They could make any kind of biscuits they wanted. Micah put muesli and Hundreds and thousands in his. Nathan made cornflake cookies coated in two types of chocolate. Joel and his friends made chocolate biscuits stuck together with melted mashmallows, dipped in chocolate, with cream on top. Extreme.
Micah's probably tasted the best.

five good things about presbyterian assembly

1. Things are done decently and in order.
2. Our polity does not allow for public slander.
3. Matters of doctrine cannot easily be discussed.
4. The standing orders normally require that notice is given before motions are put forward.
5. It is difficult to swing a surprise.

Once I would have considered #1, 3, 4 and 5 bad. Now they seem very good.

Assembly is coming folks. Just 10 short weeks away. Alert but not alarmed, Andrew says.

a different world

I do a class at 6am on Monday mornings. I've done the same class since late 2005. Our instructor got married yesterday. This happens approximately every 2 years. The third wedding I've been around for. We'll see the pics in a couple of weeks. We had a fill-in instructor today. It was her first class back after surgery 7 weeks ago. She has new breast implants.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

GTD Chapter 5 - Picking up stuff

This chapter is too stressy to write about. Basically you go around your house and office and car and caravan and boat and holiday house and briefcase and collect everything that isn't where it ought to be and put it all in your in box.

I'm not going to write any more now. I'm just going to take some slow, calm breaths into my paper bag.


There is a difference between getting things done and getting 'Getting Things Done' done. I like that Readeral gets that.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Jeff Lynne - Armchair Theatre - Blown Away

Big Egg. This is so cool.

Dreamworld and White Water World

Yesterday we went to DW and WWW with Martin and Julie and their very grown up kids. Fantastic to see them again. Fantastic to be at Dreamworld with someone who was happy to spend half the day sitting and chatting rather than queueing up for rides.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

our house

We've lived here for five and a half months now. We thought about moving for about 10 minutes before we decided.  It was the best decision we've made in years.

It is fantastic living across the road from school. The convenience is worth a packet. I can work a lot and the kids don't feel it. I save hours each week driving. The kids take responsibility for getting themselves to and from school. (It's 20m to the school gate!) Tennis/choir/band at 7.30am? Well, off you go! Forgot your homework? Go back and get it! We have the boys friends over every Tuesday and Wednesday. The kids know they can invite people round on these days and on free Fridays and I'll be fine with it.

I've always wanted to have a home where my kids' friends liked to hang out. Now I've got one. Satisfied and thankful.

[Hoping we don't get evicted any time soon. The joys of renting!]






We're pulling the kids out of school tomorrow and going to Dreamworld. Friday's a student free day. I'm going to a music pd. It looks like fun - choir repertoire reading.

Then 11 days off!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

You know you're a presbyterian when...

... a nicely worded motion is a thing of beauty to you.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Darwin, Race and Religion in Australia.

By my brilliant sister-in-law, Joanna. Have a read.

I think my life would be complete if I had one of these...

Thanks Al for pointing out the solution to all my problems. And for only $89!

This stunning standing file rack was designed by David Allen and manufactured to our specifications. It combines functionality and elegance for your home or office workspace. Includes a set of our GTD® System File Folders.

A standing file rack can be the most convenient location for supplies and reference material that you need immediately at hand. This graduated version saves desk real estate and makes all folders, action or support, very visible and accessible. 

David Allen on the value of a standing rack:
Attempting to use amorphous piles to create visual overviews and reminders to stay in control is haphazard at best. It is much more efficient and easy on the brain to sort by labeled files that can clearly delineate what things mean to you and what is worthy of immediate reference. 

When you suddenly realize you have a call with a key client in five minutes, to trust that you have all of the relevant background information at hand for a quick scan ahead of time provides enormous relief. Knowing you have a trusted place to capture and park good ideas and interesting materials as they emerge, ad hoc, increases the likelihood you’ll create and capture more good ideas.

Nothing beats having clear focus and that is best served by ensuring all of your inspired thinking and useful information have a good home, with clean and clear edges around the topics and categories. A file stand, one that matches the quality of the in-trays we have designed, has been on a someday/maybe list for years and now we have it and it is a “grand” stand. 

GTD is like godliness...

"... You jump in and try and realise you're no good, but you keep going hoping the spirit of Dave Allen will change you eventually."

Andrew, 2011.
[not (entirely) serious]

a list of random things that make me happy

1. The bay window in our lounge room. Together with the high ornate ceilings and fresh paint.
2. Children borrowing my ukuleles overnight and writing me letters begging to take them home over the holidays. A handful of kids in each class can play them well now. (Well = Smooth progressions between 4 chords. Smooth enough to be able to comfortably sing along with.)
3. The thought that next year might be a new chapter for my grown-ups committee.
4. The current stage that my kids are at. Less cute than most previous stages but so much fun.
5. Knowing holidays are nearly here.
6. The decision to lose 5kg in the next 8 weeks. It's been creeping up... Time to take action!
7. Andrew sitting on the lounge reading theology books in his running gear. All's right with the world!
8. Realising that I'm no longer afraid of books like 'Getting Things Done'. I've read one. I'm unlikely to implement anything he says, but that's okay. [I'll write another post on this one]
9. Cold(ish) nights where I can snuggle under a doona.
10. Living across the road from school and down the road from church.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

the mentalist

In real life this guy would be unendurable.

Friday, April 8, 2011

footlocker art pize

What a great promotion!

I want to enter.

new shoes!

ASICS GEL-Cumulus® 12 Lady White/Lavender/Tangerine

time for a change

I was bored.

Like it?

Thursday, April 7, 2011

music in children's ministry - help please!

I'm running a couple of electives at a children's ministry conference next month.

One is about using music with kids.

I need some help.

1. A list of good songs to use with kids. Any ideas?

2. Your opinion. I hate getting kids to sing along to a cd player. Really hate it. Is this just a silly hangup I have or is there something in it?

poetry and piety

That which is of infinitely more moment than the spirit of poetry, is the spirit of piety. And I trust, all persons of real judgment will find this breathing through the whole Collection. It is in this view chiefly, that I would recommend it to every truly pious reader, as a means of raising or quickening the spirit of devotion; of confirming his faith; of enlivening his hope; and of kindling and increasing his love to God and man. When Poetry thus keeps its place, as the handmaid of Piety, it shall attain, not a poor perishable wreath, but a crown that fadeth not away.

JOHN WESLEY. London, Oct. 20, 1779. From the Preface to the Methodist Hymn Book.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011


Tonight I read Nathan and Joel the story of Aragorn and Arwen, found in an appendix at the end of LOTR.

We were all sad together.

can't believe this term is still going

Week 12.

One more to go after this.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

give up adjectives for Lent

Go on. Do it.

Today I'm listening to Gary Millar speak at QTC.

Right now I'm in a lecture on preaching OT narrative. Gary says that we need to make people feel the story. Okay folks. Listen up. If you want to make people feel a story, don't throw adjectives at them. Tell them the story well, then they won't be able to help but feel it.

That's all.

Monday, April 4, 2011

GTD chapter 4 - It's all about the automatic Brother Labeller.

David Allen really finds his groove in this chapter. He gets down to the nitty gritty and tells us what we need to buy and do. Details are not in short supply. Here are some gems.

- Manilla folders. You'll need lots of them. Order more when you only have 100 left.
- A Brother automatic labeller is key. It needs to have white tape and print black letters. Buy one that comes with an AC adaptor. Don't share your labeller with anyone else. Get your own and keep it close at all times.
- Label your manilla folders with the Brother. Don't hand write on them. Having files with printed labels changes your relationship to them. They'll look at home on the board room table... and you'll feel like a legend carrying them around.
- Arrange your files alphabetically
- Don't use multi coloured manilla folders.
- Don't use hanging files. Just stand up your plain coloured, brother labelled manilla folders and squash them in with the back plate.
- Don't skimp on your filing cabinet. It needs to run smooth...
- You need a big stack of letter sized paper.
- You need a desk and filing system set up at work with a replica system (maybe smaller) at home, and a micro in-transit office to carry with you where-ever you go. (I have a macbook. It does all of this.)

I don't have any automatic labeller, let alone a Brother with an AC adaptor. I don't have a stock of manilla folders either or a smooth rolling filing cabinet or a stack of letter-sized paper. And yet, somehow...

Saturday, April 2, 2011

church involvement makes you fat

So says the study.

Not surprising, really.
1. At church, food is always around. There's great homemade goodies at every event. To not eat cake and bikkies takes heaps of self control.
2. Eating together is such a social thing. To sip your water while everyone is having a lamington feels wrong.
3. At church we try not to judge each other by how we look, so the pressure to be supermodel thin is off a little.
4. We believe that this life and this body isn't all there is. So we relax more about our health now.
5. Obesity tends to be a community thing. The fatter our friends are, the fatter we let ourselves get. In a group like a church, obesity can spread.

What to do about it?
1. If you're rostered on for church or bible study morning tea or supper, leave out 70% of the junk you usually bring. Carrot and cucumber sticks instead.
2. Decide before a church event how much you need to eat and pace yourself.
3. Sometimes I kid myself that baking is a virtuous activity. Really, it's just an excuse to nibble on choc chips and lick the beaters.

But who cares anyway? On average, we still live longer!

Other thoughts?