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Footy Tips AFL Round 23 / NRL Round 26, 2012

The last round of fixtures.
The NRL started a few weeks before the AFL, next year I’ll start on time and keep a cumulative tally of the league tips as well.

Have we found a form line yet?
AFL (138/189)
Round 23
North Melbourne
Carlton (The romantics will say they’ll be playing for Ratten, the cynics will say their playing for their contracts and to impress Mick)

Round 26
South Sydney
Saint George

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To Africa… And Adelaide

Over the next month mgpc are supporting two different trips, with similar objectives but in very different locations.
Here’s the piece I wrote for the September edition of our monthly church newsletter.

I know that Africa holds a special place in the memories of many of our longer term members here. I’ve been told of the many tales that Albert Harvey recounted during his time as pastor here. [During 1984-1994]
Through his skill with words many felt transported away to unseen plains in a distant land.
I don’t even have the benefit of having heard Albert’s stories. So to say I’m preparing to travel to Zimbabwe in just over a week [flying out Monday, September 3] is something of an overstatement.
I’ve got no idea what to expect, and am holding very loosely onto expectations about whatever it is that we may end up doing.
My experience of going on similar trips for the first time is that the reason why you’re going emerges once you’re there.
Even when we’ve sent others from MGPC on trips away, sometimes I’ve been told that folk aren’t certain why they’re going. I tell them they’ll know once they get there, and everytime, upon their return, they’ve known this is true.
So, by sending Jeroen [one of mgpc’s elders] and me, MGPC is going to Africa. We’re going to meet the Highfields Reformed Church in Harare, Zimbabwe; we’re going to get to know the leadership there, particularly their pastor, Isaac Pandasvika.
We’ll spend two Sundays with the Highfields Church, and I may be involved in some aspect of the Services. The invitation we received mentions that during September the church are engaging in evangelism within and outside their Congregation and we are welcome to participate in this program.
We’ll also be visiting Victoria Falls, because if you go to Zimbabwe, apparently you just have to go to see them. It must be like visiting Mount Gambier and seeing the Blue Lake, I guess.
Ralios [a member of mgpc who is from Zimbabwe] also seems pretty keen on us seeing some wildlife, as well.
All my vaccinations are current.
Jeroen and I will go, we’ll listen, try to ask sensible questions (take a lot of photos and video) and then think about the possibilities of any form of partnership between our two churches.
What a blessing it will be for two of us to go and observe and be able to reflect on our experiences together.

It’s not as far away as Africa, or as exotic. But the spiritual need of Adelaide is a great concern to us.
In October we’re taking a bus-load of us up to visit Para Hills Presbyterian Church. It’s hard to express what sort of encouragement that our visit will be to these folk as they seek to carry our their ministry and mission in very trying circumstances.
The visit will allow us to put names and faces together; to have pictures in our minds as we pray for a church and a local area; to better visualize the difference other forms of support we may be offer will make.
There are still places available. As I have said, go on this trip and you’ll be able to say you’re a short term missionary. If you really can’t go, perhaps you’d like to pay for a seat anyway to help with costs. We appreciate your prayerful support.

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How To Discourage Other Christians (via David Murray)

David Murray points out the difference between giving thanks and self promotion; the difference between showing how far you are in front of everyone and encouraging them to grow.
This is particularly pointed at pastors, but has applications for everyone.

How to make Christian hearts and heads droop.

Find lots of different ways of saying:

“I have the best parents in the world.”
“I have the best wife in the world.”
“I have the best kids in the world.”
“I am the best witness in the world.”


For a bit of variation, regularly use yourself as an example of godly character and conduct.
To make even more heads drop and hearts sink, use social media to communicate the same message.

If it’s all true (perhaps the biggest “IF” in the world), thank God in privacy and humility.
Then look really, really hard for a personal weakness and boast loudly and widely about it (2 Cor. 11:30; 12:9).
And watch God be lifted up, along with lots of Christian hearts and heads.

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Care And Handling Of Introverts

Thom Rainer follows up some posts on introverts by taking a light-hearted stab at characterising us and ticks a lot of my personal boxes.

  1. You might be an introvert if you enjoyed timeout as a child.
  2. You might be an introvert if you shop at 1:00 am in the 24-hour grocery store to avoid seeing people.
  3. You might be an introvert if you rearrange the name cards at a dinner table so you don’t have to sit next to people you don’t know.
  4. You might be an introvert if you like to have an extroverted friend with you so he can carry on the conversations you want to avoid.
  5. You might be an introvert if your favorite game is solitaire.
  6. You might be an introvert if your favorite number is one.
  7. You might be an introvert if you take plenty of reading material on airplanes to avoid talking to people.
  8. You might be an introvert if you smile when you see the “Do Not Talk” sign in the library.
  9. You might be an introvert if you try to convince family members that you are really okay staying at home for a week of vacation.
  10. You might be an introvert if you avoid buying new clothes so people won’t comment to you about them.
  11. You might be an introvert if you can’t understand what’s so bad about solitary confinement.
  12. You might be an introvert if you enjoy talking to yourself more than anyone else.
  13. You might be an introvert if the word “meeting” causes you to become mildly to violently nauseous.
  14. You might be an introvert if you work in your garden at night with a headlamp to avoid conversations with neighbors.
  15. You might be an introvert if you think social media is the greatest invention in 200 years because you can communicate without being around people.
  16. You might be an introvert if your favorite room in the house is the bathroom because you know you can be alone there.

Meanwhile the infographic below provides a scheme for interacting with introverts.

I trust any extroverts reading this have been able to cope with all this time we haven’t been talking about them.

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The Church Preserves The Gospel, Not The Parachurch (via Carl Trueman)

Carl Truman responds to responses about an earlier post wondering why certain Gospel centered parachurch fellowships can work around significant differences of opinion, but draw a line which defines them as complementarian. (A conviction I support, as does Trueman.)
You’ll have to dig around to find the various posts.
The responses generally defend why the position is considered a Gospel issue by these parachurch groupings.
From his post Trueman makes this observation:

The church, not the parachurch, is God’s means of preserving the gospel. For the full range of Christian truth to be preserved, one needs not only a commitment to orthodox doctrine but also a biblical structure for its maintenance and preservation. That certainly seems to be Paul’s perspective in the Pastorals. If the track record of egalitarians holding to orthodoxy in the second and third generations is poor, one has to say that that of parachurch groups driven by big personalities without transparent accountability structures and rooted in tending-to-minimal common ground statements of faith, rather than full-blown historic confessions, is equally suspect on this score. If one is going to make complementarianism a gospel issue on the grounds that this is necessary for preserving the faith, then one must also make ecclesiology a gospel issue by the same token. And that brings us back to a point I have made repeatedly over the last year: if the purpose of your parachurch is just to provide resources to help churches preach the gospel, that is fine but then just major on the gospel; if your ambitions are greater, then you need to come clean, be a church and be accountable as a church.

Read the rest here.

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Ctrl – New Album From Derek Webb

Derek Webb has pre-released his new album Ctrl for sale from his website.
This won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, from the early intonations of a shape note choir coupled with subdued yet soaring vocals Webb explores “one man’s desire for something he can’t have because it isn’t real, his journey pursuing it, and the costs of that journey.”
This is music to think along with, not hum along to.
There is a three song sampler from the album available for free at Noisetrade.
Ethereal and instrumentally spare, the album evokes Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens, and above all, Webb.
Here’s an interesting, substantial and excellent review of Ctrl from Mockingbird.

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Department Of Ruined Childhood: Roadrunner Edition

Reading a Mental Floss article about the animal residents of Death Valley and coming across this paragraph about a well-loved childhood animated icon:

English: A Greater Roadrunner at the Visitor C...

English: A Greater Roadrunner at the Visitor Center, Death Valley National Park, California. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The Bird You Don’t Want Your Children to See
Death Valley is home to the most iconic of desert birds—the roadrunner. Thanks to its Looney Tunes fame, the bird has become quite a tourist attraction. At the Death Valley National Park Visitor Center, sightseers can view roadrunners from large glass windows, and park officials often shout “meep, meep!” as they approach. However, the roadrunners don’t frequent the visitor’s center for the attention; they’re looking for fresh meat. Unlike their cartoon counterpart, real-life roadrunners are skilled hunters that use their lightning-quick speed to catch mice, insects, and snakes. They’re also pretty sly. Some of these clever creatures have figured out that if they wait by the visitor’s center, sooner or later a tasty bird will accidentally fly into the glass windows. The roadrunners then pounce on the stunned animal, ripping it apart and eating it in front of the horrified onlookers, Tasmanian Devil-style.

Never again will that ‘meep meep’ give rise to a sense of innocent amusement again, rather it will elicit grim foreboding.