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Happy 4th from an Australian American

This time last year we were studying for an important test, learning about systems of government, historical events & how to spell words like ‘and’, ‘the’, ‘Lincoln’ & ‘Washington’… now this week we celebrate our 1st July 4th as American Citizens!

There are many things we love about this nation that has been our home for more than a decade now like Kansas style ribs, half n half in my coffee, the way the morning sunrise hits the Rockies and turns them purple, but most of all its what defines an American… another Australian once wrote (paraphrased):

‘An American can come from all corners of the globe. An American is free to worship as each of them chooses…or not to, for that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God. An American lives in the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence , which recognizes the God given right of each person to the pursuit of happiness. An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need, never asking a thing in return. The national symbol of America , The Statue of Liberty , welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed. These in fact are the people who built America.  Many have tried to harm Americans. But, in doing so they have hurt themselves . Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is, in essence – an American.’

March 10 yrs ago we were processed through customs/immigration at San Francisco International Airport – a far cry from Ellis Island – but the same opportunity awaited us; the chance to know and love and be loved by Americans. So this 4th we are proudly ‘Australian Americans’ and proud to be so … but even more so, we’re humbled to remember that above all, in our independent Freedom, we are dependent on the King of Kings that in His mercy and amidst our searching, doubting, worshiping and praying offers us eternal freedom.

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Learn the music – then forget it!

I’m increasingly learning the value of the ‘no music on stage’ rule and how much it increases energetic interaction with ‘the room’. Recently I was reminded of of this great challenge from jazz music legend Charlie Parker:

You’ve got to learn your instrument. Then, you practice, practice, practice. And then, when you finally get up there on the bandstand, forget all that and just wail.

 

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People & Things

God made us to love people and use things. Why is it that we so often love things and use people? – Calvin Miller

Great blog from David Timms reminding us that too often we:

We love “things” because they require little or nothing of us. To love money, possessions, or even organizations (yes, and churches) requires little of us. It’s so much easier than loving people. “Things” don’t argue with us, disagree with us, challenge us, or correct us. “Things” let us do whatever we like.

No longer do we share messy life experiences as we love one another. Instead, we are challenged to be part of a “higher cause,” a vision bigger than ourselves or each other. We may use the language of love—“loving God; loving others” or some such slogan—but our actions (at times) may reflect a recruiting drive more than pastoral engagement. The organization assumes greater importance than the individual people.

We increasingly tend to love things and use people.

What might we glean from revisiting and reviewing the life of the One who owned virtually nothing, built virtually nothing, but gave Himself totally to those around Him?

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Slingshots, Rubber Bands, & A New Season

After nearly five years of diligent effort and God’s gracious favor serving the local church through worship searches, Slingshot Group are stepping out in immense ways and EXPANDING SERVICES TO INCLUDE ALL AREAS OF STAFFING AND COACHING. You could say “the rubber band just got stretched farther!”  Some of the brightest and best ministry specialists in the country have been recruited to tend to specific staff needs and coach entire ministries toward the remarkable. Slingshot is no longer “just” worship.

Check out the new website – www.slingshotgroup.org – it tells the story in a new and compelling way, and introduces the fantastic team of staffing experts and coaches who have recently joined the quest to help churches reach the remarkable.

PLEASE PASS THIS NEWS ALONG to your friends and ministry partners.

Its time to take aim at the giant obstacles that can get in the way of advancing the kingdom!

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Reach!

Ah, but a man’s reach should exceed his grasp,
Or what’s a heaven for?

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O death where is your victory?

“Since death was seen in the scriptures as the ultimate result of human rebellion against God and the failure to obey him, if death were to be defeated, then idolatry, rebellion, disobedience, and sin would be defeated along with it.  Death, like a great ugly giant would do its worst, and pour out its full weight upon him.  And the creator God would overcome it, showing it up as a defeated enemy.”

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His Scars

Isaiah 49:16 says: See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands.

This Good Friday imagine God saying to you the words of John Fischer’s poem:

Not in the sky, because the sky is too high
Not in the clouds, because the clouds can’t hold you
Not on a stone, for a stone is too cold
Not on silver or gold, lest anyone think you could be sold
Not in a book, because a book could be lost

But on the palms of my hands
On the flesh
Where you can’t be lost, sold or forgotten
On the flesh
Where I see you all the time
On the flesh
Where the pain was measured out in love
On the flesh
In the warm, permanent skin of my Son

There you are…
Eternally
Indelibly
Part of me

Engraved
Cut into
At great cost
Scarred forever

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Advice from One PK to Another

Some months ago at LifeBridge I shared that my Dad was about to be ordained into ministry. So, in my late 30’s I’m about to become a ‘Pastor’s Kid’ (I added that my mid-life crises was in danger of becoming a belated teenage rebellion!)

Last week I received an email containing advice on the matter that was worthy of posting. While, it’s maybe too late for me, I do have two PK’s in my house that will be navigating their way in the world… & (to all the young PK’s out there) maybe it’s not too late for you: More…

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Directionally Challenged Eternally Grateful

Many things define us: I’m a husband, father, musician, pastor, male, bloke…another thing defines me as a bloke; I HATE asking for directions!

At LifeBridge we’ve been learning how God gave Moses and His people the Ten Commandments as rules for living and part of His Covenant with them. Then the new Covenant; He sent Jesus to save us by grace… then, possibly the third greatest gift to MANkind; More…

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Cyber Trip

A couple of weeks ago, just before our 5pm Saturday church service at LifeBridge, I attended a Sunday 10am service at my home church in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia, without leaving the building in Colorado! How did I do it?: With my iPhone and my brother-in-law’s iPad (gotta love technology when it works!) More…