Friday, August 31, 2012

sick children

Even the youngest couldn't make it to school today. He got up and put on his uniform, but conceded pretty quickly that the 20 meter walk from our front door to the school gate was more than he could manage. He's been lying down all day.

We watched prehistoric creatures die on Walking With Dinosaurs and played Ticket To Ride on my Macbook (he wasn't up to the board game version!)

Child #2 also had today off. Now he wants to drive to my parents house to pick up his birthday present (3 books)* and come home again tonight. It's a 3 hour round trip. Child #1 and I want to sleep over there. Child #3 doesn't want to go anywhere.

I need to make a decision in the next 5 minutes.

*I foolishly promised that we would go and pick up his presents if he read some other books that we already had at home. He read them this morning and is holding me to it.

Stuart Townend - TWIST Conference 2012

Tickets are selling fast. You should book in now.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

What a wonderful denominational website!

Email addresses for all churches listed on the one page. A gift!

The Lord gives, the Lord takes away.


30th August, 2012.

Home with sick kids

The youngest has gone to school panadolled up. He has a perfect attendance record he doesn't want to spoil.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Doug Wilson on whether we should work with those who differ on complementarity/egalitarian issues.

The true gospel (the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) calls us to a life of repentance and faith, and it is not possible to work together with men "in the gospel" when they are refusing to call people to repent of the principal corruption of our day, which is that of sexual confusion. This confusion includes homosexuality, porn, fornication, divorce, women's ordination, and so on. This is the front line of the battle, and if I decline to strike hands with a man who is confused at this point, I am not saying that he is going to Hell. I am only saying that if he cannot detect a strategic moment in history like this, then he ought not to be a general. Keep him on our side, but him back in the Red Cross tent and ask him to wind some bandages. From here.

I disagree with Wilson that sexual confusion is 'the front line of the battle'. What would you identify as the front line?  

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Public service announcement

I've mentioned this here before, but Nathan has a recipe for sizzler cheese toast. You'll want to bookmark it.

I've run out of Veronica Mars.

Three series watched.

Feeling unsatisfied.

What I'm looking for.

Full, immediate, enthusiastic obedience.

Children, go to bed.

What not to say at a parent teacher interview...

... when told (nicely) that your child has some concerning socialisation problems - basically, she's arrogant and nasty.

I guess we'll just have to pray about it.

Teachers in a state school will interpret that as 'I'm a religious nut and unwilling to do anything to help my daughter.'

Prayer is good, so pray. But if you need to tell the teachers that prayer is part of your plan to deal with your child's behaviour, please also ask/talk about additional strategies that you might use.

That is all.

My Heart Delights yet again.

I always say, if you are trying to write a song, 50 billion versions is hardly enough. 

This is seriously the 11th hour. And 59th minute.  Yet we're still mucking around with the meter. Last night I needed to do a fairly substantial rewrite to lose a couple of syllables from 2 lines in each verse. 

I'm down to two options for each verse.  Thoughts? i.e. vs1X, vs2Y, vs 3Y. I'd appreciate feedback pretty quickly.


My heart delights
that Christ would leave his throne,
and come to earth
to claim us as his own.
The father’s plan
Enter our world as man
God in our form
A child was born

Jesus, Lord through all the ages
God from God and light from light
Came from heaven, brought salvation
Jesus, be my heart’s delight

My heart delights
that God would give himself
Seeking no power, 
no honor and no wealth.
What love and grace!
He suffered in my place!
walking for me
to Calvary.

My heart delights
That I can call him mine
My saviour, king -
God from before all time!
Lord light your fire
Become my one desire
My hope and sight
My heart’s delight.


My heart delights
that God would leave his throne,
and come to earth
to claim us as his own.
O love divine
Clothed in this flesh of mine!
God in our form
A child was born.

Jesus, Lord through all the ages
God from God and light from light
Came from heaven, brought salvation
Jesus, be my heart’s delight

My heart delights
that God would give himself
Seeking no power, 
no honor and no wealth.
Walking for me
The road to Calvary,
Bearing my sin
So I am free.

My heart delights
that I can live for him
and serve the one
who freed me from my sin
Lord light your fire!
Become my one desire!
My hope and sight,
My heart’s delight.

sar 2012

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Who needs drugs when...

... you can smash private schools in debating competitions?

It's official. Students should be able to use social networking websites and school students should be banned from paid employment

Why am I like this?

I get busy. On the outside I'm coping with it. Then I need to communicate something that's easily to communicate with people who I like, who are expecting the communication... And I can't do it.

Just send a simple 2 line email.

If you asked me to go to a meeting on the other side of town I'd get in the car. But I can't send the email.

Why not?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

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Monday, August 20, 2012

No spam for 3 days!

I think the spambots are off my back! I'll drop the word verification and see what happens.

[I've been getting heaps of very encouraging (This blog is informative and interesting. I'll be visiting it again.) and helpful (Check out my blog - Male Enhancements.) comments on my old posts. If a post is more than 2 weeks old, they come to me for email checking first. It was getting tedious.]

Sunday, August 19, 2012

The Cake Is A Lie

All my year 6s and 7s have to write me a song for assessment this term. They need to make up a song, type up the lyrics, do a rough demo vocal recording (on an iPod or phone or something), have a go at chording it up, and write out the music for four bars of it. After they are handed in, I work with them to fix up the chords, make garage band recordings, add some auto-tune and make class cds. It's fun.

Joel's song is based on the computer game Portal. He didn't attempt a cliche love song like most of the girls did... though I wonder if he isn't a little in love with GlaDOs - Portal's psycho AI antagonist. There's plenty of passion in his song anyway.

The cake is a lie
 the cake is such a dirty lie.
The cake is a lie
 the cake is such a dirty lie.

 GLaDOs & me, we used to be friends 
& we would play with portal guns together
then one day she said at the end 
there would be cake. The cake is a lie 

I stumbled on this old man’s lair 
I went in there
written in blood on the wall it said 
‘the cake is a lie’ and I thought... what the? 

the cake is a lie 
the cake is a such dirty lie
 the cake is a lie
 the cake is such a dirty lie 

And GLaDOs said ‘there will be cake at the end’
& i’m like, ‘oh yeah forget about that silly old man’
 then GLaDOs lies to throw me in the fire pit.
 And GLaDOs says ‘there will be cake at the end’
 & i’m like, ‘oh yeah forget about that silly old man’ 
then the cake is a lie, the cake is actually a lie. 

I cried & cried cause GlaDOs had tried
to poison me with neuro toxin
she made me kill Companion Cube
my only friend. the cake is a lie

I remembered the silly old man 
Written in his blood on the wall there was
An arrow pointing …. exit  


Do looming deadlines make you more creative?


But if you have a certain kind of personality that is high in openness to experience, you'll have sweet spot with an intermediate amount of time pressure that will make you more creative.

Read the study here.

Saturday, August 18, 2012

For Anthony and Alistair

Calvin: "You can't just turn on creativity like a faucet. You have to be in the right mood." 

Hobbes: "What mood is that?" 

Calvin: "Last-minute panic."

On the sabbath

Our church is studying Deuteronomy at the moment. 

A couple of weeks ago, when we were looking at the ten commandments in chapter 5, a penny dropped. Read this:

12 “Observe the Sabbath day by keeping it holy, as the Lord your God has commanded you. 13 Six days you shall labor and do all your work, 14 but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your ox, your donkey or any of your animals, nor the alien within your gates, so that your manservant and maidservant may rest, as you do. 15 Remember that you were slaves in Egypt and that the Lord your God brought you out of there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God has commanded you to observe the Sabbath day.

When the Israelites were slaves in Egypt, they never got a break. They never had a holiday. The point of the Sabbath is that they are no longer slaves - they have days off now! Free time! Public holidays to sit in the sun, sipping their honey flavoured milk...

Centuries later, the Pharisees had completely missed the point. All of the rules they set up made people slaves to the Sabbath, you can't do this, you can't do that. But the Sabbath was given for them to enjoy. It was meant as a sign of their freedom. They should revell in it! Sit back, relax and bludge! You are not a slave, so don't act like one.

So what about this commandment and us? Two things:
1. We're not Jews. It was never given to us. 
2. We were slaves to sin but we've been freed from that. We can show our freedom by not sinning. 

I think I'm getting my blogging mojo back.

But did I lose my readership during my bloggy winter?

Engage: A Guide to Creating Life-Transforming Worship Services

I read this book today. It's about doing the Sunday service well. It's written by Nelson Searcy, who pastors a church in New York. He is into:
  • everything being linked to the message in the bible talk, 
  • 'excellence' in everything, 
  • worship pastor and teaching pastor being on the same page, 
  • planning the preaching calendar a year out, 
  • having Sunday sorted by Thursday night, and 
  • creativity. 

It was annoying and helpful at the same time.

Annoying, because:

1. He keeps telling us about his church. 
His church is called the Journey Church. I find this hard to take.

2. His writing style is irritating. He keeps putting in these dreadful dialogues between 'David' (a young pastor) and 'Tim' (an experienced pastor who runs his life according to the letter of this book and has a booming successful church and no problems at all). He also loves and overuses acronyms (RTLs = Radically Transformed Lives) and alliteration.

3. He is on a different page theologically.
His theology of scripture, the spirit, church, worship... All different to mine. (And therefore wrong!)

4. He thinks he has got it all worked out.
He's the man and he knows it. But I think this kind of goes with the territory. Who else writes this sort of book?

5. I want to not like it because of reasons 1-4 above, but it has a lot to offer.

Helpful because:

1. The idea of having Sunday sorted by Thursday night is inspiring. Imagine how much less stressed we'd be!

2. I love the idea of pastor and music leader being on about the same thing in a church service. Practically, though, it's hard to manage. I like that this book offers a way to do it.

3. It prioritises long term planning of the preaching program and makes everything else fall under that. I'm a fan of this in theory. Good to see what possibilities it opens up.

4. It values creativity in service planning.

Has anyone else read it? What did you think?

Friday, August 17, 2012

Plumb lines for music ministry

I've been reading Sticky Teams by Larry Osbourne. I like it a lot.

He talks about 'plumb lines' - organisational proverbs that we write to clarify exactly what we value in a particular ministry area. They are a tool of alignment - when someone new comes onto your team, you share the 'plumb lines' with them to make sure that they are on the same page as you. They don't represent the only way of doing ministry, instead they represent your way of doing it.

I really like the idea of plumb lines so I thought I'd try to write some. Here are some that represent the things that I value in music ministry in church. These ones cover general stuff and how we play. I've not written any yet on how we choose songs. Any thoughts?

Plumb Lines for Music Ministry


Playing an instrument or songleading in church is not about being on a roster, it’s about ministering the word of God to people. A roster is about sharing the load so no one has to do more than their fair share. A ministry of the word of God, it’s about helping people know God better, better understand the gospel, and better love and serve Jesus. We want to do this as well as we can. Thoughtfully. Skillfully. Helpfully. Prayerfully.

Our job is to facilitate the singing of the congregation. We lead the music in such a way so that the congregation sings heartily. The measure of our success as church musicians is not in how good we sound, but in how well the congregation sings. 

The music is the first thing that a visitor notices about a church. We want our music to say that we are passionate in our love for Jesus, committed to biblical truth, contemporary but historically aware, and appropriately polished in our presentation.

How we play

The more often we play in church, the better we will get. It is unhelpful to be on a music roster only once a month. 

The more a particular group plays together, the better they will sound. So the same people play together as much as possible.

The more into a song we are, the more convincingly we present it to church. Before introducing a song to church, song leaders and band members make sure that they know it well and are able to articulate what the song is about and what it contributes emotionally and theologically to church.

The congregation will not be more into a song than the musicians are. We pray for the ability to feel the content and emotion of the song and to communicate it with our instruments, with our voices, with our faces and with our bodies.

The chart is servant, not master. We choose the key, the introduction, the tempo and the arrangement that suits our congregation. We work hard at developing our musical skills so that we can adjust quickly to changes in style and key.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

I love the Ekka Holiday

Yesterday, while the world was working, Brisbanites got the day off.

The weather was beautiful. The boys went for a bike ride with Andrew while I went for a jog. Then we went down the coast to see my sick grandmother, then across the border to have a wonderful afternoon with friends.

Praise God for fairy floss and dagwood dogs and crowds and rides and smelly animals because these things warrant a public holiday.

I'm feeling refreshed and optimistic about life.

What fabulous weather!

Bring on spring!

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Flourish post #5 - NFC, NFA and music in church

[You'll need to read this post first to understand what I'm talking about here.]

Okay, so there are real differences between people in terms of their need for cognition (NFC) and their need for affect (NFA). But how do these differences affect which songs we like to sing in church? Here are 13 ideas.

1. High NFCrs need there to be clear logical progression between the lines of a song. It needs to make sense. High NFCers will notice if it doesn't make sense. For low NFCers, it kind of making sense is good enough.

2. The perception that a song might be complex is enough to turn low NFCers off a song. They've done experiments. You give exactly the same thing to two groups of people. With one group you hint that it is simple, with the other group you hint that it is a little complex ('You'll need to think about this.') If told it is complex, the low NFCers are likely to hate it - whatever it is.

3. Low NFCers love the familiar. Chord progressions that they've heard before, phrases they have heard before. If a song sounds like every other song, high NFCers will probably hate it and low NFCers will probably love it.

4. If a song is thought to be successful and popular, it is more likely to appeal to low nfcers.

5. High NFCers are not going to be moved by a song that doesn't satisfy their need for logic, depth and nuance.

6. Low NFCers are not going to be moved by a song that isn't 'safe' cognitively. (i.e.. familiar, predictable.)

7. Low NFCers value social clues. If others are getting into a song, they will like the song more.

8. High NFCers have higher verbal intelligence than low NFCers. This makes a difference in how quickly and fully certain lyrics will be understood. [note. Verbal Intelligence is only one type of intelligence. There is no difference between high and low NFCers on other types of intelligence.]

9. High NFCers like nuance. Lower NFCers generally prefer absolutes.

10. High NFAers are greatly influenced by mood. There's been experiments. Two groups. With one, you manipulate the environment to put them in a good mood (lighting, welcome, smells, whatever) and then present something (in the experiments it was a product or an idea but it could have been a song). With the other group you manipulate the environment to induce a bad mood and then present the same thing. The high NFAers assess the product much, much more positively when in a good mood than in a neutral or bad mood. And they think they are being objective in their judgement. Not so with low NFAers. So creating the right mood in church really makes a difference to how songs will be received.

11. High NFAers are looking to be moved by a song, so are more likely to be moved than lower NFAer.

12. High NFAers will get into a song more if there is a story attached to it.

More thoughts on emotion and music in my next post.

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Flourish post #4 - NFC, NFA, WT***

Time for explanation about the stuff I presented at a conference a couple of weeks ago - and in the blog posts below.

If you answered the questions in the posts here and here, you'll know your scores on two tests: Need for Cognition and Need for Affect. These tests were developed by psychologists and are used fairly extensively, particularly among advertising psychologists.

I'm interested in these tests because they help us understand why we like what we like.

Need for Cognition measures the extent to which we seek out and enjoy cognitive stimulation. It is not a measure of intelligence. It's a measure of cognitive motivation. Very clever people can score low on NFC. High NFCers, though, do tend to acquire more knowledge over time.

Here are some characteristics of people with high NFC:

 - have high intrinsic motivation to engage in effortful cognitive endeavors
- use central path (information, reasoning, logic) to persuasion, rather than peripheral paths to persuasion (short cuts - do I like the way speaker looks, sounds...) 
- unstressed by cognitive tasks
- base judgements and beliefs on empirical information and rational considerations
- more likely to be curious
- more likely to desire new experiences that stimulate thinking
- perceive social issues to be personally relevant or involving
- desire to maximise information gain
- more likely to be open to ideas, actions, feelings and values.
- Tend to have high verbal intelligence but NFC is not related to abstract reasoning ability.
- tend to be low in neuroticism, low in external locus of control and low in social anxiety.
- much better long and short term  ad recall than low nfc
- uses attitude moderation - see shades of grey
- in team work situations, are much less likely to 'loaf'

Here are some characteristics of people with low NFC:

- much lower motivation to engage in effortful cognitive endeavours
- use peripheral paths to persuasion
- anxiety levels measurably increase if confronted with a task they perceive to be intellectually challenging
- use social comparison clues in decision/opinion making
value factors such as attractiveness and popularity in one’s identity,
- tendency to ignore, distort, avoid new information
- preference for order and predictability
- decisiveness 'this is just how it is.'
- tendency towards dogmatism
- find comfort in the familiar and predictable.

There is no gender difference with NFC.

Need for Affect, similarly, measures the extent to which people seek out and enjoy emotional stimulation. NFC has been highly researched and used extensively for the last 30 years. NFA is still in the development stage, but here's what's been established so far.

Need for Affect is a different thing to NFC. They are not opposites. You can be high in one and low in the other, you can be high in both, you can be low in both.

Here are a few characteristics of high NFAers.

- high NFA people are influenced by mood. For example, put them in a good mood (through a sunny day, a warm room etc) and they are much more able to be persuaded to do or buy or think something. Not so with low NFAers.
- high NFAers experience narrative transportation to a much greater extent that low NFAers. They get drawn into a story. This can be used very effectively to persuade them of something.
- high NFAers are more open to feel emotion, so have lower trigger levels for things that will make them feel something.
- Women tend to have a higher NFA than men. 

Our NFC and NFA are pretty much stable. There is no point judging each other on this or trying to change each other. We are what we are. It isn't a sin thing. 

It's about how we naturally process information. You can consider your NFC and NFA scores together and find out what kind of processor you are.

NFC - greater than 107 = high nfc. Less than 107 = low nfc
NFA - greater than 85 = high nfa. Less than 85 = low nfa

Low NFC, Low NFA = passive processor
Low NFC, High NFA = feeling processor
High NFC, High NFA = combination processor
High NFC, Low NFA = thinking processor

Now, I find all of this fascinating, but it's particularly interesting when you use it to think about music in church. Thoughts on that will come in another post.

What kind of processor are you?

My Heart Delights, version 3 billion.

Last chance for comments, guys. It gets recorded soon - probably this week. 

My heart delights

My heart delights
that Christ would leave his throne,
and come to earth
to claim us as his own.
God from eternity
shared our humanity!
Our God in flesh adorned
A child was born!
Jesus, Lord through all the ages
God from God and light from light
Came from heaven, brought salvation
Be alone my heart’s delight

My heart delights
that God would give himself
He sought no power, 

no honor and no wealth.
What love is this? What grace!
He suffered in my place!
He walked the road for me
To Calvary.

My heart delights
That I can live for him
And serve the one
Who freed me from my sin
Oh Spirit, light your fire!
Make him my one desire!
Burn through the coldest night
My heart’s delight.

sar 2012

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Sorry for the silence

There will be a big post soon with what's going on.

Friday, August 3, 2012

trying to finalise a song

My Heart Delights. Remember it? I think 2 lines have survived. We are up to tune 30 and lyric version 563.

I'd rather be listening to Green Day.

Joel's birthday cake.

What do you think?