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...