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What a day…

Well, more like what a week. Blogging has taken a back seat. Sorry dear readers. Let me explain. And then you can leave words of comfort and encouragement in the comments…

Here’s a snapshot of my week…

On Monday I had what was possibly my only day of holidays this semester. That was nice. I don’t remember what we did, so it must have been good.

On Tuesday the future of the Queensland Theological College, my educational home, became clear with the announcement that Gary Millar was going to take over as principal. I also took some photos for a story that was going in the local paper about a Hymns afternoon we had at church today. The story was based on a media release that I wrote last week, and was good (but small) except for a pretty minor factual error.

On Wednesday I gave a “devotion” (I hate that word) at the Presbyterian Church of Queensland State Assembly. I spoke on Romans 14. I wrote the talk on Tuesday, I’d done a sermon and an essay on the passage already so I thought it would be ok, but it seemed like a dangerous passage to choose to preach on as a student to a room full of old and experienced ministers. Then Robyn and I met up with somebody to discuss where we might end up as student ministers next year.

On Thursday I woke up having had a pretty restless night’s sleep to write my sermon for church, I’m preaching tomorrow on Revelation 19-20. Two exciting chapters. You should read them. I also had a few deadlines to meet for a PR consulting contract I’ve got on the boil, which is all coming to a head in a couple of weekends. The stress I was already feeling was compounded by an email from our landlord wanting to conduct an inspection we’d been trying to line up for about two months this Saturday (today). Given that we’re not going to be around much in mutually agreeable times in coming days, I said yes.

Yesterday I woke up and jumped in a car with a few college friends for a tour of some breweries and cafes on the north coast of New South Wales and on the Gold Coast. It was a terrific day. I really enjoyed it. And I’ll review a couple of the cafes on thebeanstalker.com tonight. Check them out. I got home late because peak hour is horrible and it hates me. And got stuck into tidying up a few rooms that we never use that have essentially become store rooms, and a house that had been a little neglected due to endofsemesteritis. I had a long conversation with the boss about some problems with my sermon, and when I went to bed after midnight, the house wasn’t finished.

We got up before 8 this morning to finish off the tidying ahead of an 11am inspection. The inspection came, the landlord and his wife are chatty, the inspection went. My parents turned up for a visit, right when we were due to leave for my 1pm soccer game. A 1pm soccer game which was the first of the season to be scheduled an hour away on the other side of the city. And I had the team kit. So I had to be on time. I also had to leave at half time, and our team was already short of players (and I’m the manager). We had to go to the hymn day, because I was making coffee (coffee I’d roasted during an already busy week). I’d promised to be there at quarter past 2. But because I was late to our soccer game with the shirts, the kick off was late, half time was late, so I was already running late when we got in the car. And then. We took two wrong turns (or missed two turn offs and had to do a u-turn) because google maps and street signs didn’t really agree. So I was late. The hymn day program was thrown into disarray. Fifty plus oldies who were visiting our church had to wait until the end of the program to get their coffees. And I smashed out 40+ coffees in 30 minutes.

Then I came home to finish/fix my sermon. Which I’ve now done, though it’s too long. Like this post. You’re probably tired just reading it. You probably didn’t make it to the end. Mostly because it was boring. But I hope it explains why I haven’t blogged much this week.

Now I’m sitting in front of the TV and I’m too tired to complain about the Bondi Vet and his stupidly trite cliches, his overly good looking face and his all too pleasant demeanour.

Why am I more stressed on holidays than during semester?

The disloyalty card

One of the issues plaguing the local tourism industry in the time I’ve been working in Townsville has been convincing people that the best way to grow their individual operation is to grow the pie for their “competitor” at the same time.

It’s as true in coffee as it is in tourism… and it’s probably true in ministry too.

In tourism your goal is to develop first an appreciation of a destination and then compete for the attention of the people who holiday in the region.

In coffee your goal is to develop first an appreciation of great coffee (compared to the average coffee served in the average cafe/diner/McDonalds).

This “disloyalty card” that has been produced by the current World Barista champion is a sensational idea.


The coffee guys are onto something with their focus on cooperation rather than competition. Strong competition and an educated market is a great thing for everybody competing – it’s not great for those left behind with a shoddy product.

The ministry application is probably tangential – but important… obviously there’s a Biblical compulsion to stay with a particular body of Christ (local church) – it’s not a matter of continuous shopping around while you look for the church that best suits you.

Izaac wrote about Godcasting the other day – the act of downloading and listening to sermons from quality preachers.

He envisaged a day where we will be warned off listening to sermons from gifted men by preachers jealous for the admiration of their flocks (or perhaps, more charitably, sensitive to the possibility that listening to exceptional preaching will cause discontent).

I think we should be encouraging Christians to listen to, read, and consume as much great teaching as possible. Chances are that those Christians keen enough to seek out great teaching will be the ones who are keenest to serve their church – rather than critique. And the idea of learning everything from one flawed vessel is scary. I’ll be encouraging everybody who comes to any church I preach at to seek a second opinion on whether my teaching is faithful to scripture. That’s the model we encourage when we’re training preachers and teachers at college isn’t it? Who wants to go to an institution with one lecturer.