What’s Up

New year & all that.

As usual, I’ll make another attempt.

Some say blogging is dead. On Facebook the other day, a friend said that blogs were pretty much dead to him. Everything he needed, he could get from a couple of different podcasts.

I have to say that I’ve been enjoying the podcasts a fair bit.

Digression #1
In November I turned 40 and one of my presents was a “fitbit“. I’m the kind of guy who likes to be able to count things, and while at Bible College I was the only one in the group who wanted to play basketball without keeping score, I enjoy being competitive against myself. I’ve enjoyed the fitbit, because it lets me know, right there on my wrist, exactly how many (or how few) steps I have done that day. I’ve been aiming for 10k and if I get to the end of the day and I’m only at 6, I find that a real kick in the pants… so much so that I’m likely to whack my shoes on & walk for an hour or so, so that I can have 12k (the extra two thousand steps is just to show the fitbit who’s boss)!

It does’t always work, but so far I’ve been walking a lot more on average & I enjoy the fact that my resting heart rate is going down!

back to the action….

Now that I’m walking more (see digression #1), I need something to keep my mind occupied when I do so and podcasts like “This American Life” and “Serial” have done the job admirably. I’ve got a couple of new podcasts to listen to in the New Year, but they might remain blog-fodder for the moment.

With all that said, I don’t think I have a podcast in me personally, and despite the fact that I’ve been horribly inconsistent over the last 5 or more years, I really enjoy the process of blogging and know that when I’m doing it more regularly, I certainly feel more creative. So I’ll give it another go, maybe throwing in a New Years attempt to use my diary & evernote more for keeping my ideas in the forefront of my mind.


So, we popped down to Sydney today so that Shona & Pumpkin could go to an hour-long intro to  ballett thing in Chatswood. Whilst we were down there, we dropped some meals off at a friend’s house and they had a late birthday present for me (they had an early one too, but that’s a different story).

The things explainer: explaining complicated things in simple language.
The things explainer: explaining complicated things in simple language.

This is the coolest book I’ve seen in ages. Basically, the author Randall Munroe explains any number of complicated things, but the book only uses 1000 most common words in the English language! I’ve read a couple so far & they’re awesome.
Here’s another.

 

After playing drop-off, we drove to Kirribilli to drop something off to my niece. While we were there, we finally took out another present, this time a Christmas present that was for Gumnut.

Awesomeness.
Awesomeness.

 

If you can’t see from the picture, it’s basically a paper aeroplane. Not too exciting.

BUT, when you get a paper aeroplane that comes with a small rechargeable motor (which can be attached to just about any plane you can make) that’s a different animal!

The Powerup 2.0 was the unexpected winner from Christmas. It was small, easy to make, you can download more templates from the internet, but best of all, it exceeded expectations! I thought it would be one of these gimmicky things that gets an extra 5 meters out of a plane, but we had it take off & stay airborne for close to a minute!

It’s always enjoyable to get a photo of one of your kids with an authentic beaming smile.

Of course, spending time with my (including siblings up from Wagga & Melbourne) was the real highlight over the Christmas period. No amount of cool presents could compete with that. That said, it’s nice when you get something that is just cool, and even better when it’s not a thousand dollar iDevice, but a book or a paper plane!

Advertisements

The greatest story.

RESOURCES-4

My current favourite youtube watch, Casey Neistat said this:

“Tell a great story, tell a great story really well and people will forgive whatever gear you shot it on. Ask me about ideas, or ask me about story telling, but don’t ask me about hardware. Just google it or something”
Casey Neistat

Casey’s been making movies for over a decade now. These days he has all kinds of great gadgets, but for most of his career, he’s used $150 cameras and an outdated version of Apple’s movie programme. He hasn’t carved a career in video, advertising and creative pursuits because he has the biggest lens. He’s done it because he has a story to tell and he works hard at sharing it.

Christian, yours is the greatest story ever told. It’s great because it’s true. It’s great because it involves the listener as much as the teller, and best of all, it’s good news for everyone old or young, black or white, who hears and responds to Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross, and his resurrection to return to God in repentance and forgiveness!  I’m not  saying that we shouldn’t use every medium available to share this mind numbing, world shaking good news.
I’m not saying that we shouldn’t use good resources to share this good news. We should use every resource available to preach the gospel. If you’ve got lots of resources, make sure you use all of them to the greatest effect!
But what I am saying is that we must never forget that it is the message that we preach that is important, not the medium that we use.

Christian, the gospel that you preach in your rented hall, using a crackly mic and a couple of printouts, is just as powerful to save as the gospel being preached in the fab new cinema-style church building down the road where they have big screen videos and glossy colour brochures at Sunday.

Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage—with great patience and careful instruction” and do it knowing that God will work in you and through you. If your resources grow, embrace any new opportunity to point to Jesus. But never forget that the best thing we can do is tell our great story, knowing that when people hear about our great God and respond, they’ll forgive whatever gear we used to preach it.

 

 

***** Watch the video that got me thinking.

Storms

I should start by pointing out that the Goldsmith household was very lucky. We didn’t lose power, and only had to contend with mobile towers being down and a lack of phone lines and internet. The rest of the Coast, however, copped it this week! Schools and daycares shut, roads blocked everywhere. You know it’s bad when even the McDonalds and Coles in Kincumber were down for three days!

I drove round to visit a number of people in the parish who live in spots prone to cop it from storms. This is what greeted me at one end of a road when I was trying to do a loop rather than go back the way I came.

Trees down

Well, the cleanup is still going. There are still houses without power, but we’re mostly through it & life goes on.

It was a close one though in Saratoga. Lots of that area still damaged, but they had power at the RSL for Saturday dawn service, where ANZAC Day saw at least 2000 people come to pay their respects. Always an honour to be a part of proceedings there.

 

Friday

I spent most of Friday driving to Watsons Bay and back for a funeral.

#1: It’s wonderful to be able to attend a Christian funeral. While there is a deep sense of grief and loss, one also experiences the joy that the deceased is now in the presence of their maker, and that if our trust is in Jesus, who died for our sins, then this is not the end.

I drove down with one of our parish wardens. We left at 10:30, and didn’t get a chance to have lunch until 3ish. Of course, if you’re in town, you may as well have lunch somewhere nice, so we stopped off at Batch Burger in Kirribilli. (As an aside, I’ve always wanted to try poutine. While there was straight cheese instead of curds, it was pretty awesome. Not good for the diet though!) It was a sad circumstance that brought us together, but it was a wonderful opportunity to spend 4 hours travelling together in a car, then top it off with a nice lunch together.

#2: It’s wonderful to spend time with older Christians, to hear their stories and learn from their experiences.

I lost almost a day’s worth of work time, but I was thankful to be able to support a grieving member of our congregation in a small way, and I was excited to be able to strengthen a relationship with one of the pillars of our congregation.

I’d call it time well spent!

A great burger, and Poutine!
A great burger, and Poutine!

Maslow or Connor?

Hammer
You get bonus points if you can tell me where I got this graphic from!

 

I heard it for the first time the other day, having coffee with my mate Dan, but it turns out he was quoting Maslow’s “Law of the instrument.”

“If all  you have is a hammer, then every problem is going to look like a nail.”

I love a good turn of phrase, and that’s the first thing that drew me to the statement, but I’ve been thinking about it, off and on, for a day or two now.

From my work perspective, do I get caught up in a narrow attitude to the many different elements of my job, causing me to hammer away at all of them? Am I failing to look at people and tasks in a nuanced way? And if so, am I failing to love those people I serve, by understanding them within their own context and with their own specific needs?

I want to have a lot of different tools at my disposal. And I want to make sure that, as I serve God in full-time ministry, I’m doing the job right!

Problem solving friends

BA

So can you guess what this is for? I’ll give you a minute, then you can scroll down…

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

.

OK, so I surf every Saturday. Many Saturdays the surf is small & I don’t have a problem. Some days the surf is a little bigger & sometimes I feel a little nervous. Occasionally the surf is massive, and on days like that I chicken out! It’s not that I fear being dumped that much. My experience so far has shown that being dumped doesn’t really appear to hurt much. My big fear is drowning! You get dumped, you get held down, and you can’t make it back up for air… there is nothing worse than the feeling than being “rag dolled” by a wave and panicking about getting a breath.

But there are two things that have helped me.

#1 – On one particular day I was trying to psyche myself up to get out there, when a mate called Brendon saw me on the beach & said g’day. I told him about my concern, & he have me the best surf advice I’ve ever had. He said “watch some of the surfers out there, particularly the ones who get dumped. When you see a guy go under, count how many seconds they stay underwater. I bet you it’s rarely more than 10 seconds and often much less…. but when you get dumped, it FEELS like it’s forever.”

He was right. Ever since, if I get dumped I start counting, and the longest I have ever been down was 13 seconds, and that was on a wave that would have had a 10-foot face! The advice has also helped with rips & things like that. Rather than freak out & let my anxiety be the cause of a difficult situation, I count slowly, breathe calmly and realise I can always get myself out of situations (so far).

#2 And now we come to this device. I was saying to my mate Colin that my biggest concern is that I can’t hold my breath for a long time, and I don’t have the kind of time I would like to put serious work into my cardio. At some point we remembered that there are breathing regulators you can buy that you can use during the day that restrict your airflow, make you work harder to breathe and can therefore increase your lung capacity. A search on the internet, however, showed that they are pretty expensive.

One night Colin turned up at church with the hose fitting in his hand. I had no idea what it was, but he told me it was a flow regulator… but of course, there is no reason why it wouldn’t also regulate air! I had a SCUBA regulator mouthpiece from another failed project. Throw in a zip tie & now I have a breathing regulator so I can improve my lung capacity whilst working on sermons!

The last thing to add is one of those little nose clips that synchronised swimmers use. They are between $5-$10. For a princely sum of $15, I have a fun little tool to help me breath better, AND help me surf better.

Thanks Colin. I thank God for problem solving friends like you!

Time goes by

Having watched Casey Neistat use time lapse a lot, I played around with it a little myself. I was struck by how pretty it is when you can watch the clouds billowing at high speed, and when light and shade on the front drive ripples and pulses. The world at realtime is a pretty awesome place, but there is an extra level of beauty to it when time becomes a dimension that you can play around with.

Often, when we have the opportunity to look back through time, we can see that individual moments, days or years, that might have been a source of frustration, or even anger, are now seen as beautiful moments that helped shape who we are today! If only we could have the full perspective at every point!

I wonder whether Heaven, being atemporal (as I think it is) sees an extra level of beauty in creation, because whilst we, fixed in time, feel like individual dabs of paint being smudged across a canvas, in Heaven they see everything in light of the finished work of Art?