Sunday, December 26, 2010

Chapter VII

Australian lingo continued:
1. You don't put gas in your car, you put petrol in your car. Therefore don't say gas station, they won't know what you're talking about. It's a petrol station or a service station or more likely a servo station.
2. Aussie is pronounce Ozzie
3. The bush is used when describing the outback or anywhere that is outside of town.
4. Arvo (pronounced Avo) means afternoon.
5. A ute is what they call there trucks (a pathetic excuse of a pickup truck)
6. They're not tank-tops they're singlets
7. Celsius degrees are starting to sound normal and make sense.

Question you may want an answer to:
How was Christmas away from the fam and friends? Pretty weird but it would have been way worse if it had actually felt like Christmas around here. But since everyone walks around in singlets and jean shorts because it's 35 degrees Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) you don't really get the Christmassie feel if you know what I'm saying. It's really hard to believe I just passed through Christmas season and day. No tree, lights, wrapped presents, hot chocolate, or Christmas movies. Although, I am very blessed to have spent it with such cool people and such an amazing family as Kane and Karla Keatinge. At the end of it all though I'm still not down with the summer Christmas season and I don't really see myself spending another Christmas here because of it.

More recent thoughts:
The comfort zone is a behavioral state within which a person operates in an anxiety-neutral condition, using a limited set of behaviors to deliver a steady level of performance, usually without a sense of risk (
Tiger Wood’s has changed his swing several times over the course of his professional career and so many would want to ask “Why?” But before we ask why the guy who’s got a one way ticket to becoming the undisputed most accomplished and dominating golfer in the history of the sport would risk his entire game by changing his already successful swing, let’s look a little more at the player himself.
Tiger Woods (Chris Bayly, you’ll like this):
 1. At age 3 he entered into a tournament against 10 year olds and won.
 2. At age 11, he for the first time legitimately beat his father, who was at the time an amateur golfer. His father hasn’t beaten him since.
 3. He owns the lowest career scoring average in PGA Tour history
 4. He has amassed the most career earnings of any player in PGA Tour history (even after inflation is considered).
 5. Woods is the only player to have won all four professional major championships in a row, accomplishing the feat in the 2000-2001 seasons. This feat became known as the "Tiger Slam".
 6. Woods set the all-time record for most consecutive cuts made, with 142 with the streak ending on May 13, 2005. The streak started in 1998, he set the record at the 2003 Tour Championship with 114 (passing Byron Nelson's previous record of 113 and Jack Nicklaus at 105). Many consider this to be one of the most remarkable golf accomplishments of all time. At the time, the next longest streak by any other player was usually only in the 10's or 20's.
 7. He is the highest paid professional athlete in the world making an estimated average of 100 million in 2010.

So why would Tiger risk everything by changing his swing? When asked this in an interview he said simply, “To become better.” Then asked, “And then to change it again a few years later?” He responds, “To become even better.” Tiger woods is an extraordinary golfer. One can say he seemed to have found a particularly triumphant groove. In other words, a triumphant comfort zone. Though he was flourishing, it was nevertheless a comfort zone and he recognized the danger in that. Even amidst his success and his wins, he noticed if he didn’t change something soon he could potentially stunt his growth as a golfer. Golf is his life. His passion and dedication for it is only one of many things that set him apart from other golfers. The temporary set backs, the criticism, the lost matches, the pain, the time loss from changing his swing are minor in comparison to the soon to be. It’s amazing that even he still found his victorious and profitable comfort zone to be limiting and insignificant when compared to what it could keep him from achieving.

What about us? If Jesus is my golf, do I carry the same passion about Him as Tiger has about golf? Tiger is willing to endure the discomfort “to become better,” do I?
A few scriptures come to mind: 
2 Corinthians 12:9 -"My grace is sufficient enough for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness"
Our weakness may be our fear… Our fear of stepping out of the comfort zone we’ve built and placed ourselves in the middle of. Our fear of taking a leap of faith. Our fear of the simple, yet astounding act of doing something we’ve never done before. Our fear of breaking routine. Our fear of what we may see by going to a third world country. Even though our fear is our weakness, God’s grace is sufficient, and His power is demonstrated only through the outworking of our weakness, or our fear.
1 Corinthians 9:24-25 "Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one gets the prize? Run in such a way as to get the prize. Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last, but we do it to get a crown that will last forever."
My life: I’m “in it to win it.” Others are merely “in it.” What others won’t do, I want to do. What others can’t do, I want to help them do. Where it’s too uncomfortable for others to go, I want to go. If stepping out of my comfort zone results in a heavenly prize that lasts forever then count me in.
Tiger's passion and commitment encourages me. He understands that only through pain can relief come, and us who believe can find confidence in the fact that there’s no better relief than from God.  I’ll take a leap of faith even if it means the landing may hurt a tad because at least I’ve increased my faith.  I’ll do something I’ve never done before because the possibility of the greatest experience of my life far exceeds the certainty of boredom within doing the already done.  I’ll break routine even if it causes a little anxiety because I’m tired of a steady level of mediocre performance. And finally, I’ll break out of my comfort zone even if it means I might not ever be the same again because, to say the least, I want to be better. I believe the better I am at serving God, the better I can be used by God to do good. I want to be better at doing good. For me, it is that simple. I think we can all admit we’d like to be better. Lets take a page out of Tiger's book and adopt his passion and commitment and apply it toward a life fixed on Jesus and then watch the insurmountable growth and favor occur in our life.

"A person stuck in a comfort zone is like stagnant water in a bucket, the longer he sits the unhealthier he gets" - Eric Dill

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Chapter VI

I took forever to create this blog. Apologies.
The semester is over and I cannot believe it’s already been 4 months. The weeks flew by at lightning speeds, and I feel like I blinked and missed something. To say I’ve “grown is an understatement.  I cannot put a finger on exactly what things about me are different but I feel something definitely is though.
I can remember arriving to an empty flat with just a child size mattress waiting for me at my door like it was yesterday. Also, the awkward moments after awkward moments of meeting new students every five minutes. But this is no time for reminiscing. Though awesome and very memorable, the past is in the past and I must focus on what’s ahead.
A list of what’s ahead:
Grad Ceremony – End of November
Work full time all during break
Christmas Day at Kane’s house (Fuel Youth Pastor)
New Years Party
Holiday (Destination TBD) – Early Jan
Buy a motorbike – Mid January
New students start arriving – Mid January
Fuel Summer Camp – Mid January
Semester 2 commences – Later January

Questions people may want to know answers to:
Do I miss home? Sorry home, but I’m enjoying it out here too much to dwell on home. I don’t have time to miss home.

When am I going home? When it's free. Which won't be any time soon so it seems.
Are you still as excited about Hillsong Bible School as I was 4 months ago or did it die down? You guessed it… I’m even more excited. Things just keep getting better and better. Taking on more responsibility in the church. Helping change the lives of the kids in Church. New students coming in. Meeting more people.
Any girls here that I have my eye on? Nope. Sorry. The goal is to actually stay focused while I’m here. Just messing. Besides I’m a first year – no dating allowed.
Recent Events
Christmas party at Kane’s (Youth Pastor) house was hands down the best Christmas party I’ve ever been too.  Kane will be missed when he leaves to New York. Missed by family and girls that is. I don’t miss dudes. That’s weak.
Senior pastors over all of Hillsong Church Brian and Bobbie Houston put together a enormous Thanksgiving day feast for all the American and Canadian students. It was quite possibly the best day I’ve had in Australia yet. Playing volleyball, baseball, Frisbee, and tubing with all the “Big Dog” pastors of the church, as if they were just another good friend or peer playing along side us, was the best part about it. Lessons are learned from these pastors on and off the platform. Awesome guys.
Grad Ball. Wayyyy too much fun. Good times.
Most recent thought:
In Mark 13:13, Jesus says “The world will hate you because of Me…” The Jesus I believe in, the Jesus that has never let me down, the Jesus that has given me everything, will be the reason the world hates me, Eric.
Jesus said this to his disciples to which He knew it was only a matter of time before they would be living a frightfully difficult life. In fact, saying “they will hate you” was really an understatement. Jesus should have said, “The world around you won’t just hate you they’ll despise you. They will spurn you until they manage to kill off every single one of you. Your life will be threatened daily, and for hundreds of years they will make a violent attempt to rid the earth of the name of Jesus Christ.” Saying this would have scared too many off, though, I imagine, so he kept it simple.
Claiming and speaking the name Jesus Christ was practically suicide in some ways, yet this is when we can find Christianity spreading around the world more rapidly than other time in history after that. How is it we don’t have to go through what they went through, yet we still find it so hard to talk about Jesus? If anyone, if any people, had a good reason to NOT share the good news of Jesus Christ it was the early Christians, yet they shared like it was nobody’s business. In fact, they “rejoiced because they had been counted worthy of suffering disgrace for the Name.” Acts 5:41
The early Christians may have been stoned and persecuted for the Name of Jesus Christ. The worst we can expect is to have someone de-friend us on facebook. Or we might be at work and one of our co-workers might think we’re a little weird. Or the person next to you in line might think you’re awkward or something. Big deal. They we’re the cult of their society, the social outcast. We are a part of the largest, most influential, and most resilient religion in existence. They had only the words from the priests, scholars, and teachers to believe in. We have the number one most selling book of all time, The Bible, God’s truth in textual form, which has sold lifetimes more copies than the book in second place. They spoke Jesus with confidence and boldness. We can speak Jesus with confidence and boldness. This thanksgiving I’m simply thankful that the “hate” that I might come to know, is somewhat laughable when compared to the “hate” the early Christians endured. Thank you early Christians.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Chapter V

This blog is dedicated to my mom. It's her birthday today, October 10, 2010. The big five-O! Congratulations Mom, hope it's an awesome birthday!! A lame and cheesy video is below waiting for you. Enjoy!

Thought of the week...

Why do they keep inventing bigger telescopes? They've literally discovered matter and galaxies trillions of miles into outer space yet they still desire to press on with the search. The search to find what? What is it scientists are hoping to find? I have to assume the main reason they continue to search is because they won't be satisfied until they see where the universe reaches its end. They search in hope to discover that there are limits to our universe. I'd like to propose the thought that God knew if He made the universe small enough for "man" to grasp and understand, then we would immediately think that He is small enough to grasp and understand, yet He's not. To discover a limited universe would be to discover a limited God. Which again is not the case. God's too big, we're too little. We won't ever understand him nor will ever be able to contain him. Since when does the creation understand the Creator? I know for me this concept had a profound impact on my Christian life. Think about it. This means that whatever dream I had for my life, wasn't big enough for God.  Whatever I was dreaming, I needed to dream bigger. If I can envision a life that I can make happen on my own doing's than I'm not dreaming big enough. Here's the really important part: We don't create God's dream, we receive God's dream. He's already got it planned out for us.

Mom's Bday.m4v

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Chapter IV

I told you these blogs would become random…

Exciting News
In the middle of a worship song during chapel the other day we started doing an “Olaaaaaaayy olay olay olaayy” and it was sick! And in mackers the other night we got the whole entire place to start doing the “aussie aussie aussie, oi oi oi!!!!!!!!!” I always wanted to be included in one of those authentic, aussie chants and it finally happened in mackers. Doing those chants with real aussies in the real OZ land makes them so much better.

Not Exciting News
I still don’t have a job.

Monday – Day off. I usually work on assessments due by 12 that night.

Tuesday – Class in the a.m. Chapel at 12:00 p.m. Then meeting about upcoming week involving the youth.  Youth Administration field work after that until about 5. Then we catch a Hillsong bus to the Hills campus one hour away for a Leaders Vision Night and get back around 10:30. This is where all the pastors, leaders, college students, and anyone in the church who wants to come, gets together and to talk about where the church is going and what is to come in the near future – planned premeditated thoughts, not so much prophesying.

Wednesday – I open the church for 7:00 a.m. Start classes at 8:30 until 12.  Then we have a 2 hour break. This is often when we help prepare for the youth night on Friday. Then class from 2 – 5:00. At 7:00 we have The Gathering. It’s an awesomely orchestrated combined service for all young adult age groups.

Thursday – Sisterhood service from 8:30 to 12. This is a service/eating/relaxing time for the women of the church and college that takes place every Thursday. The men serve the women. The men work with the women to help set everything up in the morning and then we have our own little gathering called Mr. Hood. Then we meet back and have class from 1:00-5:00.

Friday – Class from 9:30-5:00 with a break or two in between. Then from 5 until 11:30 it’s Fuel time. Fuel is what we call the youth service for my age group. We start with setting up the tribal wars. These are the games that they play at the beginning of the service. They usually involve a bunch of pads, ropes, helmets, milk crates, bungee cords, blindfolds, load music, screaming, blood, and sweat; basically we make it as intense as we can for the kids. Then right before the service we have a Fuel leaders meeting for about 45 minutes. Then the kids start pouring in and the tribal wars/service/connect groups goes until about 9:30. From then on out we just spend the next two hours goofing around, blaring loud music, taking our time tearing everything down and packing it all up.

Saturday – Day off until 5:00 p.m in which I serve at the 6:00 p.m. service that night.

Sunday – Serve at the 10:00 a.m. service, hangout for the rest of the day, and attend the 7:00 pm service – that’s always the best one.

What you just read is this week’s schedule. The weeks don’t always consist of the same events but are usually just as full. In the midst of all that I find time to eat, sleep, occasionally work out, and do my devotionals.  It’s safe to say social time has dwindled since the beginning of the semester.

Busy? Slightly. Too busy? No. No one is forcing us to do all that we do throughout the week. It usually comes down to us to know how much is too much. When we find ourselves complaining we just remember that students have been doing exactly what we’re doing for years and they got through it. In fact, some claim they had it harder.

It’d be one thing if any of the things we are doing were fruitless. But that isn’t the case. Everything I find myself doing, in all areas of the church, are benefiting me in some way.  But when did this become about benefiting me? Surprisingly, the things that I claim are benefiting me I actually do for God, for the church, for the advancement of the Kingdom of Heaven, yet I’d be lying if I said they aren’t benefiting me at the same time. 

Reality Check
If you were told that there's a million dollars a few miles from where you’re at you'd be there within minutes.  In fact, the truth is you wouldn’t be able to get there fast enough. You’d drop what your doing. You’d make time for it. You would never claim your “too busy” to secure that million dollars. After all, a million dollars does hold great value. But what about the value of our treasure in heaven? Reality is we’ve managed to put a greater value on a million dollars than on something that to us as Christians should be invaluable. If I believe this, why is it I don’t find myself doing everything I can to secure it? Putting a value on our treasure in heaven is what we do when we make time to serve and obey God and be a part of church fellowship. What we’re doing is saying God my time serving, obeying, and building a relationship with you is more important than time spent on the fruitless things of this world. On the surface committing time to these things doesn’t always seem appealing or isn’t always convenient for us, but keep in mind the Bible says our treasure is in heaven, not on this earth. And if we believe that, and spending time with God is all we have to do to get this invaluable treasure, then why wouldn’t I make time for it? 

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Chapter III

Australian Dictionary:
Heaps – Used in place of where we use really, extremely, or loads of.             
            Sentence: Man, that service tonight was heaps good.
Reckon – Used in place of where we use think. (Some country folk may already be familiar with this one, but keep in mind that all of Australia uses this, not just the country folk.)
            Sentence: I reckon I should take a shower at least once a day from now on.
Mate - Used in place of friend.
            Sentence: I let my mate borrow my shirt
Rubbish – Used in place of trash or garbage.
Bin – Used in place of garbage can.
            Sentence: Pick up that rubbish and throw it in the bin.
Hungry Jack’s – Used in place of Burger King - same menu and taste, different name.
Mackers - The nickname in which McDonald's is referred to by everyone, every time. 

Exciting News
I drove on the left side of the road and it was awesome! I found myself less in conversation and more in deep concentration while driving, but I reckon that’s better than running into an oncoming car. See what I did there?

Not Exciting News
Approximately 1:30 a.m. Saturday night, yours truly launched his skateboard under a railing straight into the Sydney Harbor.  Yes, that does suck. Before the board reached the edge I was running and pulling things out my pockets ready to leap in after it. Instinct told me to save the board, and I was going to do just that. Good thing there was a large crew of friends to grab me before I jumped in. There was no hope. It had sunk to the bottom like a rock and the current problem appeared unsalvageable.

I haven’t watched TV in almost 2 months. 

I’ve been washing clothes by hand for almost 2 months, although I am getting better at it.

What have I learned over the past week?           
The message on Sunday night was once again remarkable. The topic was peace and here's what I gathered form it... 

God, He Himself, The Creator of the Universe, offers us peace. But not just any peace. Not the type of peace we can offer someone else. It’s not a peace we can just get from reading a good book. It’s not a natural peace. It’s a supernatural peace. It’s a peace that according to Philippians 4 transcends all understanding. Call me crazy but there’s something comforting about a God-given peace of mind that is so perfect we can’t understand it. We just have to accept it.

Let me share with you the story that was shared with us last night; an amazingly inspiring example of a type of peace that transcends all understanding to the point where the only logical explanation is that it’s a peace from God.

Horatio Gates Spafford, a prominent American lawyer in Chicago married Anna Larsen in 1861. On October 8, 1871, the Great Chicago Fire swept through the city. Horatio had invested heavily in the city's real estate, and the fire destroyed almost everything he owned. Nevertheless, Horatio and Anna Spafford worked tirelessly for two years to help the victims of the fire put their lives back together. Spafford soon decided his family should take a holiday somewhere in Europe. He was delayed because of business, so he sent his family ahead: his wife and their four daughters: eleven year old Anna, nine year old Margaret Lee, five year old Elizabeth, and two year old Tanetta.

On November 22, 1873, while crossing the Atlantic their ship was struck by another vessel and two hundred and twenty-six people lost their lives, including all four of Spafford's daughters. Anna Spafford survived the tragedy. Upon arriving in England, she sent a telegram to Spafford beginning "Saved. Alone." Spafford, broken and alone, sailed to England, going over the location of his daughters' deaths. It was during this journey, amidst the very waters that took the lives of his four daughters, Spafford wrote the exceptionally famous hymn, "It Is Well With My Soul". 

Spafford found himself in a time and place where all peace should have ceased to exist. Spafford replaced distress, loneliness, brokenness, and frustration with the power of God’s supernatural peace.  The power behind those lyrics doesn’t come from a natural peace. We can presume one would find it easy to write such lyrics at a time when everything in life is going well. But Spafford was in a time that few of us can claim to understand and none of us would hope to ever have to.  I cannot help but think it was at this very moment in his life that Spafford began to grasp a little of the peace of God that transcends all understanding. Let his story encourage us. When we find ourselves filled with loneliness, frustration, confusion, distress, or brokenness, let this incomprehensible peace overwhelm us. When we find ourselves in devastating circumstances let this Godly peace be your catalyst to a story that will help change the lives of people who hear it. Let this supernatural peace be what takes you from merely knowing God to a place of experiencing God. What's awesome is this peace is not far, it's just a prayer away. 

Monday, August 23, 2010

Chapter II

(the first post was Chapter I promise)

A Bit of Helpful FAQs:

If you ever want to make 100+ friends in one month… come to Hillsong Bible College.  Meeting this many awesome Christian men and women has been an adventure within itself.

Skinny jeans – Not only are they worn on a daily basis by 95% of the population (no exaggeration), but this trendy craze has proven to be successful amongst men of ALL ages.  By the way things appear to be going there’s no doubt in my mind skinny thigh-high jean shorts will be equally as popular, but we won’t get to enjoy those until the summer/spring days find there way here – should be a few more weeks.

The U.S. isn’t the only country that has controversial political elections where the news and radio fill the ears of everyone with the flaws and nonsense about each candidate. No one seems to be remotely excited about any of the future prime ministers.   Makes me miss Obama… sike.

Exciting news:

So after being here over a month our flat (apartment) just got a refrigerator about a week ago.  We have the world’s smallest refrigerator without it being considered a mini fridge. Like if mini fridges were little people and there were a maximum height to be classified as a little person, our refrigerator just missed the cut.   Keep in mind we have 4 guys in our flat and one mini fridge that just missed the cut, this refrigerator is going to be used in way’s it never saw coming. Do the math, 4 guys in a two bedroom flat. That’s 2 people per room.  Despite how horrible sharing a room sounds it really isn’t bad at all.  In a way it can be fun… or maybe that’s just me trying to remain positive.  

Opened a savings account with a 6% APY - anyone who might not understand my excitement just know this is unheard of in the US.

Found a cool little skate bowl in the middle of a random neighborhood.  Will probably get a chance to do some witnessing to other skaters while we’re over there.

In a way I’m a leader of a connect group of about 8 kids in the youth.  But that’s not the exciting part.  The exciting part is that these are some of the worst kids in the youth.  They’re the ones that never found themselves in other connect groups because they were too bad. So now it’s like the dream team of bad kids.  Two reasons I chose them:
1. I love a challenge.
2. I remember my days of being a nightmare of a kid for our youth pastor. These kids usually have a tough life and a past full of hurt.  It’s all about respect with these kids. They don’t give any because they aren’t used to getting any. That’s where I come in. Hopefully I can show them it’s possible to be respected amidst a world that’s seemingly out to get them.  This will require large amounts of prayer and patience on my part. But nevertheless, God’s glorious power will prevail and I’m confident there will be a significant change in the hearts of these kids despite whether it happens during my time at Hillsong or years later.

To be continued…

Sunday, August 15, 2010

8882 Miles Later...

To all who are interested:

Because I know my attempts of consistency will fail, I'll say now, these blogs will be random.

What is it like out here?
Plenty of cool beaches.  They drive on the left side of the road - finally got used to looking right instead of left when crossing the road.  Customer service out here is pathetic.  We take for granted how good it actually is in America.  I'm not sure if the no tipping is a result of that or if bad customer service is the result of no tipping.  But either way we don't have to tip.  And the price you see is the exact price you pay at the register.  No more of having to calculate the tax before hand to see if you'll have enough money to buy it.  That's pretty sweet.

What is church/school like?
To say the least Hillsong/Sydney is AWESOME!  The leaders and pastors and teachers are all phenomenal  - or as they would say out here - legends!!  I go through gum 4x faster than back home.  It appears this is the result of sitting in about 6 services a week, not including all the classes I attend in the church throughout the week. With that said, you can imagine how many times we get to listen to the same worship songs.  It's a good thing Hillsong arguably puts out some of the best worship music in the world, otherwise I couldn't imagine having to listen to songs I don't enjoy that much over and over.

The classes I'm taking are Intro to New Testament, Christine Doctrine, Church History, and Personal Evangelism, and World Religions.  All so far seem tremendously interesting and I can't wait to get deeper into them.  I was never a big fan of kids and never saw myself working them, but it seems as though God has a different mindset than me - who'd a thought huh?  For the next year or so I'll be working with the youth in the city campus - ages 13-15.  And based off the way things have started I can see myself thoroughly enjoying working with these youth.

What's the most helpful thing I've learned so far? 
We ALL have an enormous amount of untapped potential inside of us and it's a shame it took a bunch of strangers to point it out to me.  Potential I can't see or touch or even imagine but I know it's there.  God has a journey already laid out before all of us and the more we tap into God the more we tap into His journey.  And I for one fully believe God's journey for my life will bring more joy, excitement, satisfaction, fulfillment, friends, and blessings than any other journey I can create for myself.  And what's awesome about this untapped potential is that it's waiting for us.  It's waiting for us to turn the "possible" into the "actual."  But it gets even better.  Whatever we feel like is the best possible outcome for our lives isn't enough for God.  God has something in store for us that will exceed what we can ask, think, or imagine.  We aren't meant to just be average.  We aren't meant to just scrape through life hoping we turn out to be someone of significance.  We are meant to experience the unimaginable Godly blessings throughout life by tapping into our Godly potential.  This school will help me see and develop this potential into the actual.  And without having to mention others, for that reason alone, I know I'm in the right place.

More to come in the near future...