Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Bribery, Corruption and Free Books

I’ve decided to copy Frank again – hey, it’s so much easier than thinking for your self! I’ve added the email subscription option to my review blog, and if you join my email list you’ll go in the draw to win a CD from my collection – I’d even go as far to say that pretty much everyone that joins up can have one (well, everyone in New Zealand, maybe). Problem is, my CD collection contains many years worth of review material, all of it Christian, and to be honest it will be pretty much pot luck. In fact many of the CD’s don’t even have their cases anymore, but hey, it’s free music, so what are you waiting for, sign up now!

Ok, so that’s the Bribery and Corruption, now onto the free books, I have two more to give away:

Where Is God When It Hurts? By Philip Yancey

In The Likeness Of God By Philip Yancey & Dr. Paul Brand

First in, first served on the books, but pretty much everybody could get a CD…

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

150 Things To Do Before You Die

I stole this off Violet

What I've achieved is in bold -

01. Bought everyone in the bar a drink
02. Swam with wild dolphins
03. Climbed a mountain
04. Taken a Ferrari for a test drive
05. Been inside the Great Pyramid
06. Held a tarantula
07. Taken a candlelit bath with someone
08. Said "I love you" and meant it
09. Hugged a tree
10. Bungee jumped
11. Visited Paris
12. Watched a lightning storm at sea
13. Stayed up all night long and saw the sun rise
14. Seen the Northern Lights
15. Gone to a huge sports game
16. Walked the stairs to the top of the leaning Tower of Pisa
17. Grown and eaten your own vegetables
18. Touched an iceberg
19. Slept under the stars
20. Changed a baby's diaper
21. Taken a trip in a hot air balloon
22. Watched a meteor shower
23. Gotten drunk on champagne
24. Given more than you can afford to charity
25. Looked up at the night sky through a telescope
26. Had an uncontrollable giggling fit at the worst possible moment
27. Had a food fight
28. Bet on a winning horse
29. Asked out a stranger
30. Had a snowball fight
31. Screamed as loudly as you possibly can
32. Held a lamb
33. Seen a total eclipse of the moon
34. Ridden a roller coaster
35. Hit a home run
36. Danced like a fool and not cared who was looking
37. Adopted an accent for an entire day
38. Actually felt happy about your life, even for just a moment
39. Had two hard drives for your computer
40. Visited all 50 states
41. Taken care of someone who was shit-faced
42. Had amazing friends
43. Danced with a stranger in a foreign country
44. Watched wild whales
45. Stolen a sign
46. Backpacked in Europe
47. Taken a road-trip
48. Gone rock climbing
49. Midnight walk on the beach
50. Gone sky diving
51. Visited Ireland
52. Been heartbroken longer than you were actually in love
53. In a restaurant, sat at a stranger's table and had a meal with them
54. Visited Japan
55. Milked a cow
56. Alphabetized your CDs
57. Pretended to be a superhero
58. Sung karaoke (If you count SingStar)
59. Lounged around in bed all day
60. Posed nude in front of strangers
61. Gone scuba diving
62. Kissed in the rain
63. Played in the mud
64. Played in the rain
65. Gone to a drive-in theater
66. Visited the Great Wall of China
67. Started a business
68. Fallen in love and not had your heart broken
69. Toured ancient sites
70. Taken a martial arts class
71. Played D&D for more than 6 hours straight
72. Gotten married
73. Been in a movie
74. Crashed a party
75. Gotten divorced
76. Gone without food for 5 days
77. Made cookies from scratch
78. Won first prize in a costume contest
79. Ridden a gondola in Venice
80. Gotten a tattoo
81. Rafted the Snake River
82. Been on television news programs as an expert
83. Got flowers for no reason
84. Performed on stage
85. Been to Las Vegas
86. Recorded music
87. Eaten shark
88. Had a one-night stand
89. Gone to Thailand
90. Bought a house
91. Been in a combat zone
92. Buried one/both of your parents
93. Been on a cruise ship
94. Spoken more than one language fluently
95. Performed in Rocky Horror
96. Raised children (I'm in the process)
97. Followed your favorite band/singer on tour
99. Taken an exotic bicycle tour in a foreign country
100. Picked up and moved to another city to just start over
101. Walked the Golden Gate Bridge
102. Sang loudly in the car, and didn't stop when you knew someone was looking
103. Had plastic surgery
104. Survived an accident that you shouldn't have survived
105. Wrote articles for a large publication
106. Lost over 100 pounds
107. Held someone while they were having a flashback
108. Piloted an airplane
109. Petted a stingray
110. Broken someone's heart
111. Helped an animal give birth
112. Won money on a T.V. game show
113. Broken a bone
114. Gone on an African photo safari
115. Had a body part of yours below the neck pierced
116. Fired a rifle, shotgun, or pistol (I'm guessing Video Games don't count)
117. Eaten mushrooms that were gathered in the wild
118. Ridden a horse
119. Had major surgery
120. Had a snake as a pet
121. Hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon
122. Slept for more than 30 hours over the course of 48 hours
123. Visited more foreign countries than U.S. states
124. Visited all 7 continents
125. Taken a canoe trip that lasted more than 2 days
126. Eaten kangaroo meat
127. Eaten sushi
128. Had your picture in the newspaper (Front page of the Herald baby)
129. Changed someone's mind about something you care deeply about
130. Gone back to school
131. Parasailed
132. Petted a cockroach
133. Eaten fried green tomatoes
134. Read The Iliad - and the Odyssey
135. Selected one important author who you missed in school, and read
136. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
137. Skipped all your school reunions so far
138. Communicated with someone without sharing a common spoken language
139. Been elected to public office
140. Written your own computer language
141. Thought to yourself that you're living your dream
142. Had to put someone you love into hospice care
143. Built your own PC from parts
144. Sold your own artwork to someone who didn't know you
145. Had a booth at a street fair
146. Dyed your hair
147. Been a DJ
148. Shaved your head
149. Caused a car accident
150. Saved someone's life

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Tell McDonald's Farm Workers Deserve Fair Wages!

"I will be swift to bear witness ... against those who oppress the hired workers in their wages, the widow, and the orphan, against those who thrust aside the alien, and do not fear me, says the Lord of hosts" (Malachi 3:5).

Farm workers who pick tomatoes for McDonald's sandwiches earn 40 to 50 cents for every 32-pound bucket of tomatoes they pick, a rate that has not risen significantly in nearly 30 years. Workers who toil from dawn to dusk without the right to overtime pay or any benefits must pick two tons of tomatoes to earn $50 in one day. Worse yet, modern-day slavery has reemerged in Florida's fields; since 1997, the U.S. Department of Justice has prosecuted five slavery rings, freeing more than 1,000 workers. As a major buyer of Florida tomatoes, McDonald's high-volume, low-cost purchasing practices place downward pressure on farm worker wages, putting corporate profits before human dignity.

+ Click Here to Tell McDonald's to Ensure Fair Wages for Farm Workers

Source: Sojo mail

Monday, August 21, 2006

The Weekend in Review

So I’m a copycat, I’m ok with being one on occasion, but I’ll always give credit, and the cat I’m copying here is Frank.

A weekend is a good one, by my definition, if you can look back and find something to laugh about. And laugh I can.

I have absolutely no idea what I did on Friday night – but this is probably due to with struggling to get over my cough, lack of sleep, long hours at work and the impending visit of MIL.

Saturday started with Work and then lunch with the aforementioned MIL. MIL time was surprisingly good, probably because I was on my best behaviour, and that they seem to have chilled out somewhat since being in Pakistan. Dione made yummy lunch and fresh bread.

After they left, we had to go shopping for Pizza ingredients as we were having special guests for dinner. Then it was get the kids fed and in bed, before said guests arrived.

Melissa and Jacob the axe man Powel arrived in timely fashion, despite phoning and saying they were going to be late. Jacob had a nice bottle of red with him – I’m not a wine buff, so you’ll have to ask him - one that would go well with Pizza. And it did go well. I’m not particularly fond of red, but this was one of the best wines I have had (note to self, invite the Powell’s again).

With my tired state of mine, and some red wine, I accidentally invented a new way of cooking Pizza. Fortunately it turned out all good and dinner was great (the pizza was nicely complimented by Melissa’s awesome salad).

The evening moved to the lounge with a nice fire and relaxed conversation.

Until Jacob noticed the Guitar hooked up to the PS2. All conversation stopped at this point as Jacob showed us his prowess with a guitar, shredding his way through a number of satanic rock songs before letting anyone else have a go. Melissa was so enthralled with the antics of Jacob, Dione and myself that she didn’t move from the couch for the rest of the evening.

Sunday morning saw my lovely wife succumb to some awful flu/cold and me succumb to the call of work. I only did a half-day though, and came home to make sure the family was ok.

A non-eventful afternoon followed, and then I took the two youngest kids to church and left Hope behind to look after mum.

Despite my worst fears, the two youngest were exceptional at church and I was able to enjoy the service, the first in a 4 part series on Winter Spirituality. I was also able to hand out a couple of gifts which is always fun.

Sunday night is normally relaxing with a movie, but by the time I had gotten my wife some dinner, and put the kids to bed, Dione was tuned into C4 who had the top 40 ballads of all time, including some defining songs of my childhood. So we settled for an evening of music instead.

Monday morning, whilst not strictly the weekend, I discovered that a David Crowder Band fan had posted about a past blog entry – it’s always fun to find that someone has linked to your blog!

Not the best weekend because my wife who is still very under the weather, but there were plenty of laughs, and in the end that’s what counts!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Free Book!

I have two copies of Alan Jamieson’s A Churchless Faith for any Cessionite who is interested. First in, first served, Just leave a comment. I’ll bring the books on Sunday.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Airport Security

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

I’d been complaining to the local school for eons about their hedge – it had grown so big that we were getting no sun in our back yard, and Dione was finding it impossible to dry the washing. The lawn was a mud bath, and the concrete was green and slimy due it the permanent wet-ness of it all.

So when Dione was away on her retreat weekend, I decided to take action. I suck through the fence (we have a secret gate (it’s a long story) and did a hack and slash job on a section of the hedge. I left all the cuttings in a huge but neat pile.

On returning to our side of the fence, Hope was aghast, informing me that it was illegal to cut somebody else’s hedge (sometimes I hate brainy kids). I was wondering if we would hear from the school, but was planning on repeating my escapades this weekend with a view to getting the entire length done in another three weeks.

But my plans were not to come to fruition, as our kids woke us up on a lazy Sunday morning, with great news: ‘Mum, Dad, an Indian with a red spot on his forehead is cutting down the trees!’

A few hours later we saw that the Indian had trimmed the hedge down to the top of our fence, but at both ends, where the neighbours properties started – the hedge was left just as it was – big and bushy.

So after 6-8 months of complaining, a little action on my part spoke louder than any words I could utter down a phone line.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Aimeeisms #3

Took Aimee out on a date Friday night, and whilst out we went to Dick Smiths to buy Dione a present. Trouble is Aimee read the store name and said in a shocked and loud voice: ‘THAT’S THE D-WORD DAD! WE CAN’T GO IN THERE IT SAYS DICK

And earlier on Friday Dione took Aimee to get some blood taken, where Aimee discovered with a childlike-outrageous joy, that she has PURPLE BLOOD! That’s right folks, blood isn’t bright red, it’s more a deep purple…

And yes, Dione loved her present, and I rock on Killer Queen…

Friday, August 11, 2006

It’s Good To Be In a Cell Again!

Last night we had our first Cession Cell Group. It was really nice getting out and meeting at someone’s house again. It’s great ‘cause it’s just two couples (at the moment), and we’re going to be able to get to know these really cool people ;o)

We watched the first in the Chazown DVD Series that talked about having a vision. It also challenged us to look at what best helped us focus on God and what hinderes us.

The chocolate pudding was also very yummy!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Jesus Walks

I recently saw the movie Jarhead. I’d been excited about Jarhead since first seeing the trailer for it. The trailer it turns out was a misrepresentation of the movie, but had a cool song in the background. The song was also featured at the end of the movie.

The song is Jesus Walks by Kanye West and has some very interesting lyrics:

Yo, We at war
We at war with terrorism, racism, and most of all we at war with ourselves
(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
(Jesus Walks with me) with me, with me, with me [fades]

You know what the Midwest is?
Young & Restless
Where restless (Niggaz) might snatch your necklace
And next these (Niggaz) might jack your Lexus
Somebody tell these (Niggaz) who Kanye West is
I walk through the valley of the Chi where death is
Top floor the view alone will leave you breathless Uhhhh!
Try to catch it Uhhhh! It's kinda hard hard
Getting choked by the detectives yeah yeah now check the method
They be asking us questions, harass and arrest us
Saying "we eat pieces of shit like you for breakfast"
Huh? Yall eat pieces of shit? What's the basis?
We ain't going nowhere but got suits and cases
A trunk full of coke rental car from Avis
My momma used to say only Jesus can save us
Well momma I know I act a fool
But I'll be gone 'til November I got packs to move I Hope

[Hook x2]
(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the Devil trying to break me down
(Jesus Walks with me)
The only thing that that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
(Jesus Walks)
And I don't think there is nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
(Jesus Walks with me)
I want to talk to God but I'm afraid because we ain't spoke in so long

To the hustlas, killers, murderers, drug dealers even the strippers
(Jesus walks with them)
To the victims of Welfare for we living in hell here hell yeah
(Jesus walks with them)
Now hear ye hear ye want to see Thee more clearly
I know he hear me when my feet get weary
Cuz we're the almost nearly extinct
We rappers are role models we rap we don't think
I ain't here to argue about his facial features
Or here to convert atheists into believers
I'm just trying to say the way school need teachers
The way Kathie Lee needed Regis that's the way yall need Jesus
So here go my single dog radio needs this
They say you can rap about anything except for Jesus
That means guns, sex, lies, video tapes
But if I talk about God my record won't get played Huh?
Well let this take away from my spins
Which will probably take away from my ends
Then I hope this take away from my sins
And bring the day that I'm dreaming about
Next time I'm in the club everybody screaming out

(Jesus Walks)
God show me the way because the devil trying to break me down
(Jesus Walks)
The only thing that that I pray is that my feet don't fail me now
(Jesus Walks)
And I don't thing there's nothing I can do now to right my wrongs
(Jesus walks with me... fades)
The only thing that I pray is that me feet don't fail me now

Sunday, August 06, 2006

An Open Discussion on Tithing #1

I read an interesting book a few years back titled The Kingdom of God is a Party. In it, Tony Campolo suggested a radical departure from the normal way of tithing – one that was apparently more scripturally sound, but harder to preach. It’s one of the most memorable theological type books I have read, but alas I didn’t really study the scriptures for my self.

Recently however I have come across an article that seems to portray the same ideals (I say seems to as I have yet to read the whole thing) and this time I’m going to look at some of the scriptures myself, and use my blog as an open forum for my thoughts.

What I would like to emphasise up front is that I personally think we should support our church as our church supports us. How we do this is also open for discussion.

What should be tithed?
Leviticus 27:30-33
One tenth of the produce of the land, whether grain from the fields or fruit from the trees, belongs to the LORD and must be set apart to him as holy. If you want to buy back the LORD's tenth of the grain or fruit, you must pay its value, plus 20 percent. Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks and set them apart for the LORD as holy. You may not pick and choose between good and bad animals, and you may not substitute one for another. But if you do exchange one animal for another, then both the original animal and its substitute will be considered holy and cannot be bought back.

One tenth of the produce of the land. Does this mean that fishermen were not required to tithe their catch?

Count off every tenth animal from your herds and flocks… In other words, not necessarily your best ten percent, but a random selection? And what if you only had 9 animals, does this mean you wouldn’t have to tithe?

What if you were a labourer and had no produce of the land, this verse doesn’t mention anything about money.

Taking these thoughts further, what about the modern context? What if you didn’t work the land, should we assume that because we live in a very different world, we should replace produce with wage? And what about those of us who choose to work for charitable organizations and earn far less than we could if we worked purely for profit? Do these people fall into the category of those with herds or flock with less than 10 animals?

As I said before, this is purely an open discussion and I’m interested in other views, because it is all to easy for an individual to read a verse out of context and come up with the wrong answer.

Interestingly last night at church, Brett in his usual underplayed way spoke of the offering (I can’t remember if he used the T word!) as being an act of worship (nothing new there) but also tied in giving to the food bank as a form of worship/offering to God. This is the first time in my church experience that anything other than money has been an acceptable offering to God in a church environment. Cool.

One Question

Ok, so I stole this idea from Frank. But I’ve put my own twist on it. After all there’s no point posing the same question in two similar blogs is there?

So my question is not what would you ask God, but a slightly trickier, and more topical one:

If God had the chance to ask Ehud Olmert one question, what do you think it would be?

(for those who don’t keep up with current events, Ehud Olmert is Israel’s Prime Minister.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Aimeeism #2

The girls asked me in the car on the way to United Video what I did last night, so I told them I had watched Band of Brothers.

Aimee goes, oh Rapture Rubbish?

How she got Rapture Rubbish from Band of Brothers I don’t know.

Another thing I’m not sure of is if she was trying to say Rapture Ruckus, or if it was an insightful comment on the Left behind series…

Thursday, August 03, 2006

The Second Coming of Frank

I killed Frank. But then I had a change of heart, so now I’ve resurrected him. This time however, things are going to be different. This will be an occasional blog rather than the daily one that I had started out with.

I’m hoping I will be able to do something once a week, but I’m not promising anything.

This week’s creation is a stunning desktop background for your computer; I think you’ll like it. It has a nice sunny feel to it. Kind of reminds me that summer is coming. No, really, it is coming…

1.5 Million Lebanese Christians

I stumbled onto the Sojourners website whilst looking for information on Philip Yancey today, and came across this little gem of a quote reflecting on the current situation in the Middle East.

It's time for American Christians to start listening to Christians and churches in the Middle East, and Lebanon would be a good place to start. How many American Christians even know that Lebanon has had, for much of its history, a sizable number of Christians? Current estimates are 1.5 million Christians, or 40% of the population - which means there are fellow Christians potentially affected as casualties and refugees by the U.S. backed Israeli military attacks. It's time to challenge the theology of Christian Zionism advanced by many of the American Religious Right who are completely uncritical of Israel's behaviour and totally oblivious to the sufferings (or even the existence) of Arab Christians in the Middle East. These Arab Christians may not be sympathetic to the tactics of Hezbollah, but they are certainly not supportive of the highly disproportionate military responses of Israel, which now target their own families and fellow Arab Christians. Where is the American church's solidarity with them? In the Middle East battles between Islamic terrorism and Israeli military attacks, the perspective of Middle Eastern churches might indeed provide a much-needed third perspective.