Thursday, 31 July 2008

Links just in case

Some people have had some trouble with the youtube video in the previous post.

Here are some links to go and see it yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nNuSBGa1mLM

or

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vhxURmVl0lQ is a shorter version.

Well worth the watch!

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The Flaw in Post Modernism

This clip from the 14th Season of ER is fantastic! The episode is called 'Atonement', and I haven't seen it, but from this clip it will be a compelling show.



There are some amazing statements in that clip, which we had a bit of a discussion about tonight at church. This guy who obviously believes there is a God, is searching for answers which this 'chaplain' cannot give because she is obviously a product of a post modern society, a hospital 'chaplain' who is around just to try and make everyone from everywhere feel better when they are in the wards.

Some of the choice statements made by the old man.

"What are you saying? Cause all I'm hearing is some new age, 'God is love', one size fits all crap!"
I think that's seen as the general view these days, we can make God who we want him to be, Jesus and the cross and all that might be good for you but I'd rather see God as a kindly old grandfather who I can manipulate however I want.

However this old man shows us that even with that culture these days there's still something within people that stirs for the truth. Jesus was confronting this man with the truth, but there was no one there giving him the right answer, and he knew it!

Do we today in the church try and be too user friendly, giving off that God is love, one size fits all opinion that really does seem to watered down to be of any use to people on the outside walls of the church?

"I want a real chaplain who believes in a real God and a real hell"
I know this is a story, written for the purpose of entertainment - through provoking thought - so on two levels this statement opened my mind. From the focus of society through the old man's eyes, we see what the expectation of a chaplain is. Not someone who'll just make you feel good, but someone who knows the truth, knows God and knows what he's on about (a real challenge to me as a Motorsports chaplain!).

Also the writers of ER, they nailed it when asking for someone who believes in a real God and a real hell! This man isn't scared of dieing, he's not even questioning what happens after death. What he's afraid of is what he knows happens after death, and he knows he needs the answers so he can stand before God atoned. That's what he asks in part of it, "I need to know if God can atone me". I wonder at what influence there was for the writers of the script to head down this path - divine influence? a sense of searching themselves? or a new found faith?

Also I wonder how many people in this post modern world are afraid of the same thing, deep down they do know what happens after death, they may ignore it all their lives but they know - and they want to talk to someone who believes in a real God and a real Hell. How many times when people ask you "What do you believe" are they really angling the question towards "Will I get to heaven"????

"I don't need to ask myself, I need answers, and all your questions and your uncertainty are only making things worse."
How many people out there professing Christianity are really only making things worse? Ironically read through some of the comments on this very video on YOUTUBE and you may see what I mean. People go 'gung-ho for Jesus' without any real certainty in Godly knowledge, and read some of the critical replies written by people who may want answers themselves but are only reacting worse due to bad responses.

This woman, the chaplain, you see after the old man blows up that everytime she tries to talk she's starting with those well drilled, counselling stereotype statements designed to calm or defuse a situation. There was no hint of stability in faith or certanty in truth, only falling back on human training and psycology. Obviously not what this old man needed.

"I need someone who will look me in the eye and tell me how to find forgiveness cause I am running out of time."
Wow how much would I love someone to say that to me! Be that ready to hear what Jesus has already done for him, and that no matter how terrible he's been, how guilty he is, he can have it all wiped away because that God he's searching for left heaven, came to earth, experienced our existance and the took the punishment we deserve instead of us.

Only through living and experiencing our world and lives, but not sinning once, Jesus was worthy to then say "I can take the punishment for everyone else". If I murder someone, I can't then go into a trial of another murderer and say "Let him go I'll take his place", because we both belong in prison... there's no righteousness there. Only because Jesus was perfect can he redeem us through righteousness.

I wish I could be there to tell the old man that! I really wonder where the TV show goes from there, how it ends, does someone lay that out for him or does it follow the 'chaplains' plight instead?

It's such a challenge for us as Christians, and personally me as a chaplain, to remember that God is God - Jesus is the Saviour, and only through him will people find forgiveness. If people are guilty and looking for that forgiveness we need to lay it out for them in truth, not new aged, 'God is love', one size fits all crap!

Work


Lots of stuff going on today. However it feels like one of those days where all the stuff you plan to do doesn't get done but all this other work ends up on your desk instead. My desk is a hive of activity today.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

The New Mother

Haha just saw the new Mother Energy Drink TV ad. I remember when the original drink came out I thought I'd give it a go. It tasted horrible!

They've re-released the drink, with a totally new flavour, and they're not hiding the fact the original was terrible. Big signage on the new cans state that it "Tastes nothing like the old drink"

The new ad is pretty funny, again telling us we all hated the old one so they've redone it - they then hunt down the original creators and open a can of whoop... well you get what I mean :-P

Almost enough to make me try the new flavour... not quite though.

Mobile post workday update


Lunch time... And i've decided my Microsoft man/clock needs a big gun to hold, to always remind me that Microsoft are forever trying to take over the world.

Monday, 28 July 2008

Another Take...

A few weeks ago I wrote about Why I Play Drums In Church. Well last night I experienced something a little different.

I sort of came from a different spot to play drums last night at church. I'd had a bit of a weird week and weekend, and was feeling a bit drained, and just sullen...

However playing the drums last night revitalised me big time. I know I wrote about drumming being my reflection of God's glory in my life, but last night I think God turned it around on me. He took my feelings of being a bit out of it, and through playing the drums he refocused me on living a life to bring glory to God.

It's not something I've really thought about before. But I really felt in the zone playing last night, and felt I played well. It came from feeling God work through me as I played, through relaxing as I played, and learning to focus back on God as I played.

I got a lot more out of playing last night than I have before... God teaching me through drums, an amazing thing.

Trip to Melbourne...

Finally got some photos up online from my little trip to Melbourne a few weeks back...

Some decent photography fun, some family and friend shots, and a heap of Essendon memorabilia!

Going to Windy Hill was definitely a highlight of the trip, I remember going there to watch the Bombers play when I was quite young. So to head back for a look was a good time.

Anyway here are a couple of the shots... the rest are over on www.flickr.com/deanoqld


Melbourne_2008_001

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There you are Gaz... we almost got there!

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Only in Melbourne... centre of the City, Maccas breaky, then kicking the Sherrin

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Standing on the Windy Hill ground

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Queensland coffee in Melbourne, loving it! Best cup of the weekend too!!!

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My lil cousin Monique

Thursday, 24 July 2008

Some choice shots from WEC camps this year

I've got the WEC Highschooler's camp blog updated... with a heap of photos up on my flickr account.

But thought I'd throw a few up here as well.

Camp A

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Me having a go at the ice slide!

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The amazing helicopter hat, yes for the dress up I built a functioning helicopter blade and put it on my head :-)

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The awesome Italy boys, team winners - and looking hot with their pink balloons


Camp B

The ice slide on Camp B was AWESOME!
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Glen is all style!

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I love this photo!!

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Haha get outta the way kid! Nah it made for a great shot

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

iPhone - The Verdict

OK so I meant to revisit this last weekend, but I just haven't had a chance.

First up - my initial post was admittedly over the top in it's criticism of the iPhone, however I felt that it only matched the over the top hype the media has created about how great the iPhone was. That first post was just testing the water to see how defensive people would come out in support of the iPhone, without even having have used it. No one posted here, but I had a few emails and even a phone call I wish I could put up here, it was quite funny.

Second - Thanks to Craig (the only person to reply to the original post) for his help in figuring out some of the things that were really bugging me about the iPhone (and for helping me find the user manual!!!!).

I had the iPhone for a few days, and then the Nokia N95 for the rest of the week and weekend. My initial thoughts on the iPhone were not good, however over the next few days I learnt to appreciate it a little more.

The web browsing is actually quite good, once I figured out the zoom capabilities the normal layout pages weren't too bad. The incorporation with Google is really good, iGoogle works well and the Gmail ability is excellent as well, being able to access your gmail account in an application on the iPhone.

However I'm still not overly impressed with the iPhone as a whole. My biggest gripes are;
  • - The make! It's made like any iPod, that shiny metal case and a big touch screen. Basically it gets really greasy real quick, lots of finger prints and after a few minutes use it feels really gross in your hand! I mean it's probably something that a silicon cover will fix, but still it's apparent it is made to look good, not be good to use.
  • - It's slow! Menus, going back to the main screen, bringing up favourites and changing settings get really really painful after a while. It's something you probably wouldn't notice when looking at an iPhone's functions in the store, but after a bit of use it's annoying to have to wait 1 to 5 seconds for the screen to change and get you where you want to go. Once you start using the iPhone you realise that it isn't the most efficient way of doing everything.
  • -That touch keypad! Even after getting use to it, I still was having trouble. The spell check function on the iPhone is excellent - if you hit the wrong letter at the end of the word the iPhone will correct it for you in most cases... even if you only get one letter right it can usually guess the word you were attempting to type. However that doesn't make up for when the keypad doesn't realise you've hit a key at all so words come up without the first letter, or the space key gets hit between every letter. Even with being use to the keypad I still found I had to stop and correct way too much!

So there were a few other things as well. I think as a business tool I could use it if I didn't have to pay for it, however the data plans, the usage and it's settings all add up to it not being something I could conceive as worth it for private use. I'd still find it annoying to use all the time though.

Notice the one thing I haven't mentioned yet is that the iPhone is a phone... well that just doesn't seem important. Except that with the shiny make material means it feels yucky against your ear and cheek.

My feeling is that it's really a status symbol, I know because even though I felt the iPhone wasn't a good practical phone I still felt this urge to take it everywhere with me just so I could show it off. Which to me is the wrong reason to have a new piece of technology, but I still fell for it.

On the other hand the Nokia N95 worked great the whole time I had it... I am a bit of a fan of the Nokia operating system and I guess I'm use to using mobile phone web applications, but they didn't feel that much more troublesome than the iPhones web. Normal mobile keypad is easy to use these days because we're all so use to texting. The GPS on the N95 works well, but the directions can be a little slow and incomplete.

All in all the Nokia is definitely the better everyday phone, with all the same gizmos as the iPhone, and possibly more storage space with memory cards easily at the 16GB capacity of the iPhone.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Not to be...


Only a couple of laps into the ute race the engine in the Jesus All About Life Falcon blew. Oil everywhere and all Andrew could do was park it in the pits. He was running 5th at the time.

V8 weekend.


Willowbank's Qld Raceway is hosting a round of the V8 Supercars this weekend. The utes are also racing and Andrew Fisher has this morning qualified the Jesus All About Life Falcon in 4th spot... A fantastic effort. Looking forward to the main series qualifying at 11am.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

iPhone - ain't that great

Got back to work today, and we've receive 4 of the new, highly anticipated and new 'must have' iPhones from Apple.

It seems some people higher up in the company wanted them... but it means as IT Support staff we have to learn how to use them.

From playing with it today, and discussing it all with my colleagues we've come to a decision.

The iPhone sucks!!!!

Hard to use, the Internet is useless (opens in normal web browser mode, not phone mode so it's almost impossible to read and use)... you can't seem to change your default location on the GPS, the 'keyboard' is too small for fingers to use on the touch screen and there's no stylise to use.

Basically it's a device created to make hype and become a cult piece of technology, but it has not been built as a everyday usable device! It doesn't even come with an instruction book, you have to go to download it from the net (and that site crashes when you try and dowload it!!!!)

I can't believe people would line up for hours just to get one, without knowing exactly what they're getting, only knowing it's an Apple iPhone. It's true Apple style though, through marketing and meeting a 'coolness' value people seem to ignore the fact the products aren't really class leading at all.

I love my video iPod, and it's functionality is brilliant... they got that one so right, how'd they get the iPhone so wrong!!!!!??????

Weekend South - Go the Bombers!

Well I've been a tad busy on my last week of holidays. Half way through last week I headed to Camp B of the WEC Highschooler's Camps, again great fun, with a totally insane ice slide this week and some good country folk to make the bush dancing even more lively. Loved it, and had a great time with all the guys - again photos are to come, I'm busy editing and tagging them.

I came home from WEC on Friday to turn around straight away and jump on a plane to Melbourne with my Dad, Brother and two mates. We flew down mainly to watch the Essendon/Brisbane game at Telstra Dome (with 2008 being the second year in a row the Bombers haven't played at the GABBA we decided to head south to watch a game under the roof of the Dome). Obviously it was an awesome experience with the Dons trouncing the Lions quite convincingly. Dad, Brett and I are all Essendon supporters, but our two mates, Tony and Andrew were barracking for the Lions so they copped it for the rest of the weekend.

Friday night though we went out for a walk and ended up touring the Crown Casino, I've been there before but it's always a mind blowing experience, so much going on, so much money being wasted.... it's all very intense.

Saturday we jumped on a train and headed to Essendon, and walked up to Windy Hill - I remember going there as a young kid with Dad to watch a game, but it was amazing to head back to the Bombers hallowed ground. Plus the Bomber Shop was there so I've stocked up on all the merch I'll ever need.

Then my cousin and his daughters met us in Essendon, Brett, Tony and Andrew headed back into Melbourne for some tourist stuff while Dad and I headed with Ken to his parents play to visit the rest of the family.

That night was the game... followed by another walk to the Casino... it's awesome to be able to walk into any place wearing a Bomber's jersey, Bombers jacket, Bombers scarf and Bombers beanie... it's just common dress down there!

Sunday we visited the Queen Victoria Markets before jumping on a plane for the flight home.

I've got plenty of photos, but with about 800 WEC photos to process and sort and then the 400 I took in Melbourne, you may have to wait a bit to see them!

But I LOVE my new camera!!!! :-)

Monday, 7 July 2008

Canon 40D

I finally made the decision to step out and buy myself a new camera today. I've been using a second hand Canon 300D for about 18 months now, and photography has turned from a slight interest into a full blown hobby.

For a while I've known the 300D wasn't cutting it. The photos I took for Watoto just weren't totally up to scratch, and it was tough with the slow focusing and slow writing to get the shots I wanted. Then last week on WEC Camp I took a lot of photos, and used a friends 350D - which is only slightly newer than mine but so much better.

So today I purchased a Canon 40D - and it's special! It's the next series up from the current 450D and just had loads more stuff inside!

I'm really excited and feel now I have the equipment to push my passion for photography forward. I've been playing all day, but here are just some of the shots I've got. There will be many many more....

40D - 01
Me with my new toy :-)

spirits
Just shooting stuff around the house

lightbulb
And trying all the new settings for white light balance and stuff

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Good old Wilson is always ready to pose as a model

wilson2
He really is a champ of a dog!

Why I Play the Drums in Church.

Someone told me at church last night that a fairly elderly man had commented to them that he loves the passion and energy I put into my drumming on Sunday nights. I don't know the man, but by some of the comments from people who overheard the complement it seems this guy may not have been too much into having drums in church before now.

It was a humbling complement, and not the first I've received since starting to drum at City North. I am humbled because those comments (more about passion and energy than skill or coolness) reflect the reason I play the drums.

Back in year 8 (1995), in a music class I picked up a set of drum sticks for the first time. It was a whole class participation thing so everyone was having a go, but when I started playing the simple 4/4 time beat the teacher remarked that I must have played before. When I told her it was my first time she took notice and the next year she coaxed me into beginning drum lessons. So I've been playing since 1996 - which is a fair chunk of time - and I did lessons up till the end of 98... since then it's just been me learning and growing as a drummer as I played and listened to all different types of music.

However; the one thing that has always defined my drumming is that it's a reflection of God's glory in my life. I class it as a gift, mainly due to that first time playing when I just picked up the sticks and played a steady beat - it was so natural and even though I know I've gotten a lot better since that day, the basic rhythmic instinct was there, even before I was taught anything.

School bands weren't something I was ever good at, the technical drumming needed didn't reflect that instinct I had, and I am not and have never been a good technical rudiment drummer. My music teachers all thought I was half rate - until one turned up at church one night and saw me play there... she wanted to know why I played so well at church but didn't play like that at school.

The simple fact is, when I play drums in church it is my way to worship God, it's a gift he's given me, and I get to use it to bring glory back to him.

A few years out of highschool I was playing on a WEC Camp and God gave me a vision while playing. Suddenly as I was playing I was in a long dark room. There was a spotlight on me and my drum kit, and up the other end of the room was the throne of God. It was just a throne with light too blinding to see anything else coming from it - there was no one else there and I was able to focus my whole effort of drumming onto that throne. It was like God was saying "I'm listening, and you play only for me".

Even since that night I play well when I have those words in mind, God's listening and I'm playing only for him. If I'm thinking I look cool or impressive with my drumming I never play as well, and I always feel that. I know sometimes I go into church with the wrong attitude to playing the drums, and on those nights playing is never a fulfilling experience. But when I am allowing it to be a response to all God's done in my life, is when people comment how well I play.

It's probably why I like band practise so much more than the service... because there is no one watching and my own selfish thoughts don't creep into my head. It's also why I always feel so unworthy whenever someone complements my drumming skills, because I feel it's just God working through me, and something I do for him - people telling me how good I am just feeds my human ego, and I hate that with my drumming.

But also it's why that comment from that older man last night made me smile. I'm glad the passion I have for serving God is reflected in my drumming, and I'm glad it's made a man a little against drums in church realise it is a valid form of worship. Only God working through me could do that.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

WEC Camp A

It was a good week.

It was a tough week.

It was a joyful week.

It was a tiring week.

WEC Camp is a great mix of fun and games, and Biblical input. I find teens these days don't really care as much for the Biblical input as we use to... but finding ways to make it relevant was done really well by the main speakers of the week. I think one of the keys is that it is the camp leaders who speak in evening meetings, so it's people that the campers have seen all week, and just hung out with each day.

I had the grade 12 and 11 boys - I'd only been asked to go on Camp A on Saturday, and only found out who I was co-leading with Sunday. Thankfully it was a bloke I've known for many years. Andrew is a top bloke, a youth pastor in Brisbane and a great youth communicator. I really enjoyed leading the older guys cabin with him.

Each year there is a tough fought out Cabin Competition on camp. It includes dorm inspections for cleanliness (intense inspections and not a speck of dust can remain in the cabin!), learning memory verses (possibly performing them to a song to add a little spark to your verse) and presenting a Field Focus (which is a small drama, skit, song or just reciting facts about the country and missionaries associated with your cabin). In previous years I haven't been able to talk too much about the countries, as the one's my cabins have been associated with have been closed to missionaries, and we don't want to risk any danger to the missionaries that are in the country.

However this year my country was Italy, and we learnt some great stuff about the WEC Betel ministry there. Betel is a drug rehabilitation program, which includes a peer based support program and refuge house for addicts.

The Italy boys in the cabin this year were a bit of a challenge, but each one of them were top blokes... I don't quite know how, but Andrew and I managed to coach them into cleaning the dorm to perfection, learning the verses and performing 3 different Field Focuses (the third one was amazing, moving and spine chilling - brilliantly executed and really made everyone think!) All that lead to Italy winning the seniors dorm competition this year - which was a surprise but the boys were worthy of it.

It's such a fierce competition, and as a leader the pride is sure there when your team performs and beats the others (good bragging rights in the leaders circle as well!). It was a tough fought competition with the grade 12 girls Thailand team, but we kept a steady lead all week. And let me tell you, no chocolate tastes sweeter than when your munching on the prize block from the WEC Dorm Comp!

The best thing of the camp though was the 2 first time commitments to God in my cabin alone, plus the others from all ages... and then the numerous re commitments, mind straightening and preparation for future mission work that happen during the whole week. Leading someone to Christ and talking them through making a decision to let Jesus be the Lord of ALL THEIR LIFE is a great privileged, and one I feel so humble to have been a part of this week.

There was also some good music, a bushdance, an ice slide, lots of soccer and a dress up night to cover all the fun and games needed to make it a memorable week. The dress up night this year was themed 'Hats'. Basically any hat creation was the go.... I found an old self reeling power chord thingo and with a bit of modification made a working helicopter helmet. Yep 3 alfoil blades which spun at quite an impressive speed... I was pretty happy with my engineering feet!

So Camp B starts on Monday - I'm not leading on it now, but will head up there on Wednesday to take some photos for the website. I'll put some of the Camp A ones up here at some stage as well.
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