My fathers son….

My dads funeral was a seminal moment for me.

I didn’t misunderstand my father. I didn’t understand him.

In one of those rare moments when I had his attention we attended a football game. It was his beloved Perth Demons getting touched up well and truly. I was about 7 or 8 years old. We left at half time.

I didn’t understand why we left early. Dad had taken me to the football. It was great. One of those rare moments where we had gone father and son together somewhere.

In later years I began to understand why he was as he was. Someone who wanted to communicate with his son, but was just unable to. He didn’t ever talk to me, not really. And I don’t think it was because he was a bad father. He wasn’t. He was a great father. But things had happened to him when he was a child, nothing abusive, just no emotional connection. He failed miserably at having one with me.

But at his funeral. There was over four hundred people there. Many of them dad had personally led to Jesus, or pastored or led in some way. The effect he had on the kingdom was profound. Out of the youth group he led, in a church which was in many ways dysfunctional, many teenagers grew up to be senior church leaders and pastors now leading all over the state and country. His effect for Jesus was profound.

People talk about him to me, and at my weakest moment a tinge of resentment rises up. Then its pride. And I’m a pastor. His son.

I wish I knew him like others did. But at the same time, I wish I was half the man he was.

Cooking Brisket

Cooking brisket is a bit of an art. I have tried unsuccessfully a number of times to get it right. Yesterday I nailed it. Was the best brisket Ive ever had, and I made it myself!

First I got the nice fatty brisket up to room temperature and then rubbed a black pepper sauce on it. Then ground some black pepper, sea flakes, brown sugar and some cayenne pepper.

Now a low smoke in the offset smoker. Temperature around 100 degrees for about 6 hours. Fatty side down, and the fatter part of the brisket pointing to the firebox. But not too close.

The beef should look dark brown, but not black.

Now I wrapped in in about three layers of foil. But not before pouring some liquid into the parcel. I used some pork stock that had ginger beer in it. At the same as the brisket was cooking I was also slow cooking some pork shoulder. So the juice was superb. But you can use beer, wine, or any stock. Wrap it up so its properly sealed. It must be sealed so the moisture stays within. This is vital.

Then I stuck in back in the smoker for another 4 to six hours.

I unwrapped it with great trepidation. But it had a beautiful pink ring of smoke around the edge of the meat and it was fall apart tender with a lovely bark around it. Simply smoky, superb.

On the margins

Those who are on the margins are generally at the forefront of change.

I was talking with a group of people about selecting songs for a combined event recently. There is no question that Hillsong is now mainstream. Has been for some time. That is no criticism of them. And they have different streams which are more on the margins. But church communities which perhaps at one stage would not do ‘Hillsong’ songs are now doing them. Maybe not from the latest album, but Hillsong has crossed over into general acceptance within the Christian community and has been for a decade.

What is next for the church. Well Hip Hop as a musical genre is huge. I have been musing on how it might be integrated within the church as a new generation grows up with Mcing, slapping bass notes and beatboxing.

Planetshakers have been on the margins for some time. There are some church communities which embrace their music, but it is difficult because so much of it is anthemic, and needs a huge sound to make it work, and generally a huge audience!

This is their latest release. Its on the margins. Its on point for todays youth culture. I like it! I can’t see it being replicated easily. But its worth a listen…and a look!

 

 

Losing weight

It is no secret that I could lose a few kilos.

Today I shared with someone my weight and they were quite surprised. My problem is I carry weight reasonably well. In other words I don’t look as heavy as what I am.

I need to lose a few kilos.

I am travelling to Chicago in a few weeks for a ministry trip. I know from experience that it will incredibly intense, taxing, tiring. In this trip I am helping to lead a team, so I have added pressure leading Pastors in a foreign country. It will be physically taxing, there is a lot of walking. The need to be fit was part of the pre-requisite.

My goal is to lose a few kilos.

How do you lose weight? Everyone knows how to lose weight. Eat healthy food, do more exercise. Its a very simple equation. Use more energy than you take in. But the reason so many fail at losing weight is because we don’t measure the gain or loss.

I need to measure my kilos.

Every day, perhaps that is too much, but everyday I weigh myself. I need daily and constant motivation to continue to eat well. For myself I have cut out all carbs and most sugar. It is not easy. But I can see the results daily. That is what is helping me.

I am losing a few kilos.

Thank you volunteers

Recently a friend and myself visited a evening event where the speaker was using a lot of visuals.

We were both quite distressed as the visiting speaker continually made sarcastic remarks to the operator of the visuals. Whoever the poor nameless person was, they were literally a second behind the speaker, earning his passive aggressive remarks.

How delightful it was to listen to Mark Conner speak as a guest speaker at a church and hear him acknowledge and congratulate the volunteer. I have had personal dealings with Mark where he personally went up to the volunteer and checked his slides, put them into the computer himself, and then explain what he wanted. He then thanked everyone. He could not have been more humble.
Watch here at the 6 minute 30 mark for an example of how to treat people well.

As church leaders we deal with volunteers all the time. They serve the church, they serve God and they serve the leaders of the church. They often have their own jobs, they have families, they are busy themselves. Yet they want to serve a greater purpose, be part of something significant. Let us treat them well, acknowledge them with respect.

Who wants to spend their lives eating muesli bars instead of sushi

How much are we drawn to comfort, to the stable, to what we know. To that which fails to challenge us or take away our breathe.

I read this article, I presume it is satirical, where a world renown sushi chef gives reasons why granola bars are better than sushi. He writes that sushi in unpredictable, hard to prepare and goes off. Granola bars are none of that. (here) This is why he argues granola bars are better.

Sushi is not boring. No two sushi are the same. Its very temporal nature is what makes it interesting.

So is life. It is temporal. It is inherently unreliable.

Lets not treat life like a muesli bar when in fact this life we have been given, for God only knows how long, is something to be treated as interesting, full of possibility, full of challenge, full of the opportunity for joy.