Friday, April 29, 2011

Friday Funny

Another forwarded joke I found in my inbox....


Old aunts used to come up to me at weddings, poking me in the ribs and cackling, telling me, "You're next."

They stopped after I started doing the same thing to them at funerals....

Thursday, April 28, 2011

What's Your Hidden Talent?

Your Hidden Talent is Your Quick Wit

You are a great communicator. You have a real way with words.

You're never at a loss to explain what you mean or how you feel.

People find it easy to empathise with you, no matter what your situation.

When you're up, you make everyone happy. But when you're down, everyone suffers.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011


I'm almost too scared to write this for fear that something will go drastically wrong....



It's amazing how something that everyone takes for granted has caused us so many dramas.  We've waited for so long, it is still very much a novelty for us to be able to jump on the net whenever we like, without having to drive somewhere else and be rushed for time.

Our journey to get internet access in our new house began before we even left Buntine.  Duncan rang up Skymesh and applied for us to get satellite internet.  The government pay for the installation costs in rural areas.  We were prepared to wait, but when we didn't hear from them in over two months, Duncan rang them, politely told them to get stuffed, and began looking for other options. 

Ha!  Options in the country.  There's a laugh.  The only other viable option seemed to be Bigpond.  After hearing horror stories about satellite being as slow as dial-up, we thought we'd look into NextG.  We drove to the Telstra Shop in Albany (1.5 hours away) to buy a modem.  They said they were out of stock but they were guaranteed to have more arrive two days later.  Two days later we returned only to be told the modems still had not arrived.

We were not amused.  That's the last time we believe Telstra and any of their 'guarantees'.  This time we told them to hold one for us when they arrived and give us a call to come and pay for it.

Four days after that, I drove back to Albany and picked up the $300 modem.  It lasted for maybe one day before it carked it.  It wasn't a problem with our reception either.  Duncan had spent $250 on an aerial for the roof and it was getting decent range.  It was a problem with the modem itself.  After five days straight of calling Bigpond, speaking to countless offshore people who don't have a clue where we are or what they are doing, they finally agreed to send us a replacement modem.

The second modem brought us false hope.  It worked for three days before dying an untimely death.  Duncan is the more mellow one in our relationship, but even he was furious with Bigpond by this stage and their refusal to return phone calls or offer any decent support.  They agreed to send us a third modem.

To say Duncan was livid when the third modem arrived was an understatement.  He thought there was something suspicious about it when he opened the box.  The plastic was not wrapped around it properly, and when he looked closer, he saw that is had heaps of scatches on it.  There was no doubt about it: Bigpond had sent us a dodgy modem that another customer had sent back to them.  It didn't work at all - not even a little bit.  This time Duncan told them we did NOT want any more of their cheap, crappy modems, we would pay no fees for the few days we did have internet, and that we wanted them to send us postage packs so we could return the three dodgy modems and be refunded $300.

A week later, one postage pack arrived.  One.  For three modems.  And it was so small one modem didn't even fit into it.

What is wrong with these people?!?

We ordered a different kind of modem through a Brisbane company.  It cost us about $600, but it is absolutely brilliant.  Our internet is so fast, it hasn't dropped out ONCE and I can watch YouTube clips with no problems at all.  Unfortunately we still have to go through Bigpond for our usage though as the modem takes Telstra SIM cards.  But at least we don't have to deal with their nasty products anymore.

By the way, we're still waiting for Bigpond to send us more post packs and refund us our $300.

BUT we have internet :)

Some people have asked how on earth I've kept my blog going for three and a half months.  Scheduled posting, my friends.  I write my blog posts in a Word document and upload them all when I get to use the internet.  Then I use the scheduled posting option in Blogger to select which dates/times I want them all to appear.  It means I've had to be very, very organised, but my blog has precious few readers as it is, and I'd hate to lose them by not blogging.  I'm not one of the gurus with a massive readership who can close down my blog and have everyone realise via Google Reader when I've started back up.  I've always been and will probably always be a small fry.

I'm stoked that I can now start reading others' blogs and commenting regularly again.  I've finally got up to date with all of the unread posts in my reader, and fixed up my blogroll and added new blogs I enjoy to my reader as well.

I've realised there are advantages in not having the net.  Firstly, I'm no longer as addicted to Facebook.  I don't feel the need to use it for dramatic attention-seeking or the like.

But I'm glad to be back online.  What a rigmarole the last few months have been!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

Technology is our friend – when it’s not messing with us for its own sick enjoyment.
 - J.D. Robb

Friday, April 22, 2011

Never Alone by Simone Richardson and Philip Percival

I love this song because it really captures the essence of what Easter is all about.  It reminds me that as I look forward, I find my security in looking back to the cross.

This song can be found on the CD, Let All Creation Sing by Emu Music

We’re not alone, for Christ is here.
Immanuel our God come near.
We’re not alone, for to our world,
Jesus has come, eternal Word.
And as He speaks, our souls laid bare.
Naked, ashamed, sin is made clear,
And yet He clothes us in His love
Never alone, Christ is with us, is with us.

The longest walk, earth’s darkest day,
The pressing crowd, His mounting pain.
A heavy load of grief and shame.
Breathless that we should breathe again.
“Father, forgive them,” comes His cry.
Silence from God blackens the sky.
A creeping dread in every heart,
Lost in the world now, God departs, God departs.

The dawn will come, the sun will rise.
Out of the grave we’ll see hope’s light.
Tomb opened wide, stone rolled away.
Morning has come, a brand new day.
“He isn’t here,” the angel said.
“He is alive, no longer dead.”
Our hearts are lifted, souls raised high.
Christ is with us, Christ is our life, He’s our life.

Never alone, is now our cry,
In joy, in grief, in lonely sin.
Never alone, for Christ is ours.
He lives in us, we live in Him.
And ’til we reach that final day
When fears are gone, cast far away,
We'll live secure, trust in His love,
Never alone, Christ is with us, He’s with us.

Keep Jesus in Easter!

Click here to learn about the Easter message or for a useful resource to share with your friends.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Rina's 30th

In late March we headed to Donnelly River for the weekend to celebrate our friend Rina's 30th birthday.  I first met Rina at a combined Christian Union event back in 2002 (we went to different unis), but I know her primarily through Duncan who has been friends with her for over 10 years!

It was a fantastic, relaxing weekend and I met heaps of lovely people.

The highlight was the Saturday night barbecue which included an African drumming lesson.  Rina's mum (who was turning 60) had organised it as a surprise.

Hmmm not our best photo!

The band arrives.

Dancing and kicking up plenty of dust in the process.

That's me with the black jacket on.

Rina and her mum celebrating their birthdays together.

Massive cake!

One of Rina's gifts.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Blame It On The Brain

This is the book which inspired my previous post.  Or maybe it was the thoughts that had long been circling in my head which inspired me to seek out a book which spoke on that very issue?  I suspect it was a bit of both. One thing that I was overjoyed about was that I had found a book which dared to speak out against a Christian culture which increasingly allows poor personal circumstances to be an excuse for ungodliness.  Too many times, people don't take personal responsibility.  Instead they are content to 'blame it on the brain'.

Edward T Welch is a Christian counsellor.  In this book he explores whether brain disorders are an excuse for disobedience.  In some cases, he questions whether some supposed 'conditions' have genetic or physical causes at all.  The tagline of the book is : Distinguishing chemical imbalances, brain disorders and disobedience.  Here is some of the blurb:

Research suggests that more and more behaviours are caused by brain function or dysfunction.  But is it ever legitimate to blame misbehaviour on the brain?  How can I know whether "My brain made me do it"?

Viewing brain problems through the lens of Scripture, Edward T Welch distinguishes genuine brain disorders from problems rooted in the heart....

Welch focuses on depression, Attention Deficit Disorder (ADD), alcoholism and homosexuality, and dispells some common myths we as Christians are quick to believe without there being any actual medical evidence available.  One is the 'gay gene'.  Welch writes that there is no evidence for the gay gene, yet many Christians are quick to believe whatever common belief is circulating without examining all the facts.  Welch also explores past beliefs concerning alcoholism, that whether it is a sin issue or a genetic issue seems to fluctuate with whatever is deemed acceptable by our culture at the time.  Welch gently encourages Christians not to hastily fall in line with whatever the latest opinion poll is saying, but to view these issues through the lens of Scripture.

The book is a bit 'sciencey' in parts, but is generally very readable.  Welch gives helpful case studies and suggestions throughout the book, and is definitely not one of those wackos who dismiss medical research - rather he explores what the research has discovered over time.  But he also provides a Christian viewpoint.

Some people may find this book provocative due to its subject matter, but it's definitely worth a look.

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Pendulum: Grace and Godliness

I'm bound to be shot down in flames for writing this....but, like the infamous money post from 2008, sometimes you just have to say it or you'll go completely mad (I might already be insane...who knows?!?)

Some readers may even be rejoicing, thinking, Oh goody, something controversial.

Please note: I am speaking about relationships between Christians here - not those with people outside the church.

Some people's lives really suck.  I can see that.  Their suffering is painfully obvious.  I can sympathise with them even if I can't empathise.  The good thing about churches is, that when you look around, normally they are collectives of really odd sorts of people.  People who don't quite fit in elsewhere.  People who have been rejected by those outside, but found love, grace and acceptance by those in the church.  My mum once came to church with me in Perth and remarked that some of the people there looked really weird.  She wasn't meaning that as a compliment, but in a way, she's right.  The church ideally should be welcoming those the world rejects and introducing them to Christ's love.

But there comes a time when love is not soft and cuddly.  Paul demonstrates this in 1 Corinthians.  Sometimes people require 'tough love'.  We are called to be gracious, but we are also called to be godly.

My beef is when is there ever a big enough excuse for a Christian to display ungodly behaviour?  I can't see one in the Bible.  We are called to bear with one another in love and overlook some insults, but I think some people have really misused those verses.  Their interpretation of 'love' is that it means saying nothing and just letting a fellow Christian grow in ungodliness, hurt others around them and use any excuse in the book to justify their behaviour.  They're depressed, they've got cancer, they've lost their job, their spouse has left them, they had a rough childhood....

There is a huge difference between understanding why people are the way they are, and using that as an excuse.

Yes, I'm writing from personal experience.  I've been absolutely crapped on by some people and have had to stand there while they justify their behaviour with a string of excuses.  I'm sorry, but it doesn't cut it, especially when I had done nothing wrong except maybe for breathing.  When I've tried to do the Matthew 18:15-17 thing, it was very hard to find anyone else in the church to support me.  I dislike confrontation and would much rather avoid it if I could, but it wasn't the right thing to do.  When I've asked who I thought were godly people in the church for help, I've been told, "I don't want to take sides."  or "So-and-so's got depression."  It was implied that I should just allow them to treat me like crap because they've got issues going on.  But who HASN'T got issues?  I honestly think some people don't really believe Christians should be allowed to treat each other badly and take out our problems on others, but they are too cowardly to confront so they do nothing in the name of 'grace'.

How you might confront would depend on where the person is at, but to do nothing is worse.  It implies that the church cares more about one difficult person than everyone else or that they care more about surface unity than they do about people's godliness.  Why does everyone else deserve to get hurt by this person?  Who is looking out for them?

Some people have tried to justify poor treatment of others by saying their behaviour is beyond their control.  To be honest, I'd want a psychiatrist to prove that before I believe it.  I've also noticed that some people will choose their targets i.e. they won't choose someone sharp or blunt to take their anger out on, they choose someone who they think will just cop it.  Then they'll go and blame their behaviour on their period or their hormones or something.

The saddest thing is that some Christians don't really seem to believe people are capable of doing evil simply because we are sinful.  You may have read the story about the man who threw his daughter off a bridge in Melbourne.  A friend of mine remarked that he must have been mentally ill to do that.  Really?  So all great sin must be caused by mental illness?  That implies that we don't sin unless we're ill.  Really?

Everyone could find some kind of issue in their lives which they think is their God-given right to treat people like poo.  Then where would we be at?  I don't see Paul saying to the Corinthians regarding the man who was sleeping with his stepmother, "Oh you need to show grace.  This man's had a tough life."  No, Paul showed 'tough love'.  He told the church to evict the man, to hand him over to Satan, but with the hope that he might repent and be welcomed back again.  I wonder how 'loved' the man felt, but Paul had the man's godliness in mind.

Some Christians need to get serious about showing grace.  Others lean too far the other side and need to get serious about godliness.

Sometimes I wish I had some kind of excuse to really let rip at some people.  But I don't.  People would rebuke me and rightly so.

God wants us to be like Christ.  We have been given His Spirit.

What I would like to say to people suffering in any way is this: "I'm really sorry that you're going through that....but I will not be your punching bag."

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Quote of the Day

We are products of our past, but we are not prisoners of it.
- Rick Warren in his book The Purpose Driven Life

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Don't Get Me Wrong by The Pretenders

Yesterday Duncan and I celebrated our third wedding anniversary. Can you believe it is three years ago since the 12th April 2008?

When I first realised I liked Duncan, I was determined not to scare him away. I think a lot of girls unwittingly turn guys off by pretending they’re not interested when they really are. This time I was not going to stuff things up by being an ice queen.

This is my song.

Don't get me wrong,
If I'm looking kind of dazzled.
I see neon lights,

Whenever you walk by.

Don't get me wrong,
If you say "Hello" and I take a ride,
Upon a sea where the mystic moon,
Is playing havoc with the tide.
Don't get me wrong

Don't get me wrong,
If I'm acting so distracted.
I'm thinking about the fireworks,
That go off when you smile.

Our very 'out there' first dance :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

I Was Just Thinking...

Some people need to be given a big cup of ‘get over it’.

Others have genuine concerns and need tea and sympathy.

The wisdom is knowing the difference….

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Awesomely Awesome

What is with the overuse of the word ‘awesome’ today?

Everywhere I go, someone describes something as ‘awesome’. A cake is awesome, holidays are awesome, a TV show is awesome. I have even been told that I’m awesome. Really? That’s very flattering, but if I’m honest, then I really can’t say that’s true.

The Macquarie Dictionary (1991) defines awe as:
1. Respectful or reverential fear, inspired by what is grand or sublime.
2. Power to inspire fear or reverence.
3. Fear or dread.
(page 117)

In light of that definition, can a cake really be awesome? You fear a cake? Do you bow down before it in reverence? Really?

A cake is not awesome, it is tasty.

If the dictionary definition is correct, then there are very few things that can truly be awesome. Personally, I don’t want to use the word awesome to describe anything but God. It’s not about being legalistic or nitpicky. For me, it’s about acknowledging that our mighty God is the one who is truly awesome.

So why do people overuse the word ‘awesome’?

I don’t get it. Please explain….

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Bible Verse of the Day

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-18

Friday, April 01, 2011

A Foot In Two Worlds

A Foot In Two Worlds by John Chapman is one of those books that will not change your life with some radical new teaching or insight, rather it reiterates what we already know as Christians – that following Christ is a life of freedom, forgiveness and joy, but also one of suffering, sickness and battling with our sinful nature as we await Christ’s return.

In just 85 pages, the book explores the concept of ‘now, but not yet’. That is, that Christians experience some of the kingdom now, but it will not be fully consummated until Jesus returns. Therefore, it is easy to encounter Christians who believe that true followers of Christ can have full victory over sinful temptation and will receive healing from ailments right NOW. If they don’t, then they have obviously don’t have enough faith.  People who say that to others who are sick or suffering make me furious.  John Chapman uses plenty of Scripture to demonstrate that the Christian life was never meant to be a walk in the park now. Sometimes the only way is to simply press on.

Chapman also explores the various reasons why we suffer in this world – the devil, fallen creation, and persecution from others. Christians have a foot in both camps. We are citizens of the world to come, but while we are in this world, we press on with that great hope.

I find that I often know this stuff in my head, but when trouble comes, it takes longer to impact my heart. Often I cry out “Why Lord?” as if suffering were strange and unexpected, instead of remembering that there is no promise in the Bible that it would be easy. A Foot In Two Worlds might not be mind-blowing, but it is a great encouragement from a man who has been a Christ follower for over 60 years