Thursday, July 31, 2008

Waddaya Mean It's The End Of July Already?

I was walking along to withdraw some money to get some gas and electricity for our crib – we’re on a card system you see so we have to pay as you go. As I was walking along it occurred to me that with it already being the end of July then there’s only 152 days left in the year and I haven’t done as much blogging as I’d have hoped to have done.

I guess it’s easier if I’m just putting on web-site links or YouTube posts that I come across but to actually commit to ongoing original thoughts and slap them on the blog itself is a discipline that is not as easy as I first thought. So I admire all those who blog compulsively whether several times a week or in some outstanding cases once every day.

Not to feel down at the realisation, I’m still determined to make the most of the 152 days that remain. That’s not to say I’ll commit to blog posts every day, but it is becoming easier to slap down some notes on a daily basis even over the weekend. Perhaps the next step is just to transfer some of that material onto blog and hopefully with net access being sorted at home I can make it a regular discipline.

Today is the last day of my leave and the two weeks overall has been better than other periods of leave. I’ve had the chance to reassess some things in me life and although I haven’t been able to complete all that I’d like to do, it has been very useful and relaxing in some areas, so I’m grateful to God for that. I have no intention of returning to work with all guns a-blazing, indeed with August being the funny month that it is, I can afford to use it to build up to some major stuff starting in September. What I really want to persist with more than anything is continuing conversations and creating opportunities for those conversations to take place in group and individual settings. The podcast may have to wait for a while, but it is something I can be working on getting the infrastructure better to ensure it’s an ongoing thing rather than a one off.

The time for reflection and reviewing who I am and where I’m at has been really useful and in terms of impact on future behaviour I really want to kick on and achieve some tangible targets – more blog entries, more teaching noted, more daily devotions noted, more time spent doing the things I do best and avoid wasting my time over non-essentials.

I am working on getting the Dark Knight blog entry done before the end of the week (yeah, I know that’s tomorrow, or the day after if you want to be strict about it). Beyond that one thing I really want to give God big thanks for is Google Reader. What a concept! It’s been ever so helpful to me recently in being able to see what’s going on in my key areas of interest in one central location without having to search or go on Favourites all the time and to have a record of it all available whenever I log in and have it updated regularly is just bliss!

Also something to give God thanks for is the grateful return of football. I watched Man City in a UEFA Cup qualifier this evening and it was so good to have it on, even if Man City were wasteful and should have won a lot more comfortably than 2-0. Life just isn’t the same during the time when the footie is off. I’m none too optimistic about Liverpool’s chances, but more on that nearer the time. Well that’s your lot for now. More to come in the very near future,

in the meantime, be not discouraged at a grey and cloudy day, or when the rain pours and ruins everything – it’s just another opportunity to rejoice in another chance to breathe. I heard some reports today about people who have been paralysed from the neck down just because of stress, so that always put things into perspective about having the eyes to see just what God has done for us and how grey and cloudy days or rainy days are still as full of promise and richness as a sunny day as long as God grants us the sense to enjoy it.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Catching Up With All Those Thoughts

So you would have thought with having a two week break that I could make some time to catch up on some more regular blogging and letting you people genuinely know what is up with the gentleman whose initials are third and fourth in the alphabet. Oh but no, there’s always something that crops up as a reason why I can’t blog. So the reason why I haven’t been regularly blogging is because for about a month or so up to last Friday I really had no net connection as the router went all funny. So that was a pain in the neck. Now your argument is I could have blogged from work – done it before, probably do it again no problems right? Wrong. It’s not that straightforward – of late the domicile bliss of being in the room that I share with the wife sans wife and being able to just chill with the laptop on my … lap (that really is ingenious) multi-tasking as ever and just reeling the thoughts that come to me or having the chance to share that which has come to me. On the multi-tasking front for example I am listening and watching a random mix of tunes from my Xsecular file and at this minute it’s Seven Days by Sting. As well as that there are 10 net windows open with various links that I’ll get round to noting and the ever helpful Google Reader from which I’ll glean what nuggets to make a note of. There’s some catching up to do – to the region of 491 entries to wade through – but that’s the beauty of having this time doing something I enjoy. As well as those there is also the Word document on which I put down whatever notes I’ve made during the day. Of late these have been rather filled as I’ve had the chance to put down the copious web links and some notes that have been cropping up as well. The beautiful thing about the notes is that I’ll start on a stream of thought or a correspondence I want to do and I’ll stop it halfway through a sentence and leave it there for days at a time as I pursue something else and complete that as well. It’s good fun, really.

Anyway, so the wife finally sorted out the net business and got me back online from home on Friday and after giving God thanks and praise and extending a rather perky peck on the cheek for the wife finally completing her deed I’ve sought to make up for lost time. So here are some of the notes I’ve been making with links and the such like that has been rolling in the mind of the da man cd in the interim period from the last entry til now.

From 15-07-08

· The bigger picture goes to the question do Christians need to monitor their intake on television, radio, internet, etc.? I’m reminded of the proverb to guard the heart with all diligence as out of it flow the issues of life. Earlier on today, I was only too aware of how vulnerable I am to attack in going back to some stuff that I haven’t touched in months. I was only too conscious of the fact that I could take little bits and bobs to satisfy the flesh whilst building a desire for it again. In the intervening months I’ve had such a good time loving Christ and desiring to be sold out for Him, that I’m too aware of how precious that is to me and how dependent I am on Christ to maintain that, even in the light of the challenging marital circumstances. I want to be so awash with godly stuff that when the buzzers go off in me head then I’m able to take the hints and follow the Saviour into the proper thing.

· I am convinced by David Tennant’s portrayal of the Doctor – he does a good job and I’ve never seen him do a cropper. While thanks may go to writers and directors, et. al. the brother still has to come through with the performances and this he does to a really good degree.

From 17-07-08

John Piper has not joined a gang – brilliant stuff!

· I look at the word source. I refer to it in my understanding of the role of a man. Back to the whole bit about us being here to look after the garden ensuring that the fruit it is to be producing comes through and enjoying what is produced. I then link it with the concept of fatherhood and look at the word and its meaning. When I look at how the dad is the source of the family from which everyone gets their name and identity I then connect to how we know we’re God’s children because our behaviour suggests we’re linked to the source. It makes me chuckle thinking that the Dryden Family is a production of Chris Dryden. If Authrine is unfruitful, if Abigail is rebellious, if Deborah is unruly then we can turn and look at the production values and who the producer was. Likewise the Executive Producer expects the production team to run on values in line with that which was set out at the beginning.

From 18-07-08

· God is Roman Abrahamovic and we are managers of Chelsea – he is the owner, we are the managers. He has brought us to look after his club and ensure that it fulfils its promise of winning trophies and producing good football. It’s his club but we manage it and have the resources at our disposal to put together the team that produces the necessary output to meet the overall targets.

From 19-07-08

· Recalling something I heard from the Josh Harris sermon as part of NA2008, I am intrigued at the whole concept of reformation to see that there’s something about taking God’s Word seriously and also there’s something in the inevitability of God fulfilling what His Word says. In the same way as a believer we live in the light of knowing God and seeking by His Spirit to have a spiritual reformation that will get rid of everything unpleasant to God.

From 24-07-08

· This is why I love spending time searching the web and getting involved in such stuff as to get my mind engaged in spiritual stuff that has implications on my social and cultural engagement. For example after touching on the subject of race and manhood over the weekend, here’s a fascinating blog entry on
racism, the gospel and politics. This in itself refers to another fascinating blog entry on voting for Obama. In the light of the article you’d get the impression there’s implicit value in taking part in the political process of voting, but I’ve not had the argument made clear to me beyond reasonable doubt and yet the more we consider things, the more implicit is that the issue is worth defending on gospel grounds.

· Right or wrong I’ve tended to associate Pyromaniacs with articles against something usually someone on the emerging side or maybe a prosperity gospel proponent. So it was refreshing and illuminating to have that stereotype shattered by
this article on my kinda subject – discipleship.

· Combining two themes – politics and Pyromaniacs, here’s something they have to say about
what the church can say to government. That has implications for the church’s missional portfolio and what we say in our communities.

· I wonder why the cinema industry persists in spacing opening dates for their films when the technology is there to allow us to know what is in a film even before it’s released in its first country. Why not just release it everywhere at the same time?

From 26-07-08

· So getting back to basics with the family is a challenge anyway. To make it even more challenging here’s some advice on saving the family from being
distracted to death.

From 27-07-08

Moving metaphors – good stuff to remind me of who God is.

From 28-07-08

· Good
critique on the Jesus invitation and deeper reflection on where He is

· As I explore the gospel further
articles like this by Tim Keller are highly instructive

· As an example of how useful Google Reader has been, I never gave much notice to the
Gospel Driven Church, but this article on what their church is all about and how it does what it does was a fascinating insight into how church is done. As well as that the motivating driver for the pastor of the church and writer of the blog resonates deeply with my own desire in my context. Here’s where his church is at as well.

From 29-07-08

· I wonder how many churches would
take this position and pay the cost of faithfulness to God?

· This is a good entry that has good practical implications on how I can do life better if I learn to
anticipate things, ask the right questions and work towards the right answers to those questions.

· I love posts like this that remind us of
the real reason for meeting and what should result from it.

· This is a powerful article on the
differences and similarities in what is faced in the United States of America and the Union of South Africa. It makes me consider what would be the key issues to address for the church and community context in which I live.

· I was reading a comment about why churches won’t become multi-cultural and the point was that it’s not about classism or racism but it’s because there is a mutual understanding that different cultures worship in different ways. That is a very dangerous comment to make. The deal of multi-cultural church is not to withstand the forces of prejudice and discrimination, it is to show the world how the gospel does cultural blending and brings a body of people committed to the sovereignty of God as expressed in a Kingdom culture that supersedes all other culture and sub-culture. This does not negate the value of the cultures in which we live, but it does say wherever cultural norms and values clash with kingdom values – and every non-kingdom culture by definition has elements that clash with kingdom culture – then these most bow down, submit and be removed in favour of kingdom culture. One blatantly apparent way in which various cultural norms contradict kingdom culture is in this separatist perspective on communal worship that says because I’m not comfortable worshipping in your cultural way I’ll leave you to it and I’ll do my thing over here and perhaps we can meet up every now and then. That doesn’t promote body-building at all. How can true gospel community arise in these circumstances? How can I ever benefit from the gifts you have to offer if the structure never affords me to spend quality time with you in that context? There again is the tricky issue of working out gospel community and kingdom culture in the light of the various pressures to conform and withdraw from each other for ‘perfectly reasonable’ premises which threaten the very real unity of the body.

From today

So if you thought this was a long post you need to understand that these are just selections from the stuff I’ve been noting over the two weeks. Just goes to prove how good it would be to get into a funk and rhythm of blogging so it doesn’t all pile up and then I have one of these heavy download sessions. Let’s hope and I’ll act on the hope that the change will come for everyone’s good!

Something I’m hoping to blog on soon and preferably before the end of the week is my take on The Dark Knight. Now if you’ve seen me Facebook profile then you’ll already know what some of my initial feedback was on it, but its worth a blog in itself so look out for that. As well as that whilst in holiday mode and hoping to escape tomorrow and Friday to catch up on some other stuff there should be more blog activity on this blog and the others that are up and running including the debut entry for the Daily Thoughts blog.

That should do for you for now. In the meantime have yourself a good ol’ time wherever you are and know that no matter how bad things may appear the bigger reality is not that things could be worse but that things are going to get better for it’s not a issue of cup half full or half empty, but followers of The Man will know it’s about having cups overflowing and with goodness and mercy pursuing us.

For His Name's Sake
da man cd

Monday, July 14, 2008

Really Proud Of That

I didn’t think I’d been away that long! Evidently I had, but nonetheless. I was provoked to blog only to point to an excellent blog entry about the manifestations of pride – if the list was of 100 I would only be guilty of 63 … but I guess that’s enough for the pass mark of having to be careful of the pride in me!! Dear God help me. Dear God help us. Good writing and referring, well worth reading – so read it!!!

For His Name's Sake
da man cd