Friday, May 28, 2010

Caffeinated Randomness - I can't hear you.

It has been a while since I did a Caffeinated Randomness post.  Probably because my life is so purpose-filled and intentional that there is nothing random to share.

If you believe that, I have a bridge to sell you.  

But today's story, well it really can't go anywhere else.  Because this is just so random, you can't make this sort of thing up.  :-)
Tuesday.  I am showing my sister something on my PC, when I feel something tickle my ear.  Me left ear.  (Pay attention.  This becomes important later.)  I scratch at it, and she tells me she thinks there was a miggie flying around.  (miggie = small flying insect; fruit-fly; midge)
Well, whatever it was.  It is now in my ear.  And I can't shake it loose.

So I try to irrigate my ear with sweet oil.  Of which I have about half a tea-spoon left.  After filling and draining twice, I use up my supplies, and still feel like I have something in there.  Bother!
So I call my friend, who is a pharmacist at our local medical centre, and ask for advice.  He suggested I come in, and let one of the nursing sisters look in my ear.  Which I did.
And they found.... nothing.

I found this hard to believe, because I could still feel it, and it still hurt.  But who am I to argue with a otoscope?
So I went home, and slept on it.

The next morning it still hurt a little.  But I decided that might just be all the oil, so I would just leave it.  So when my ears started itching, I just used a Q-tip in the right one. 

And it broke.

That's right.  Less than twelve hours after going to the medical centre, I had something lodged in my other ear.  What are the chances of that?

I mean.... really!!!
So now what?  I can't go back to the sister to ask for another examination, on the other side.  And I am not going to pay a doctor to look for something that may have fallen out.
Decisions. Decisions.
Long story short, I got a nurse at another pharmacy to look at it, and confirm there was something stuck in there.  Then I made an appointment to see my doctor, for which I had to wait the whole day.  With a piece of cotton wedged in my ear.
Not my greatest week.
So after the doctor did his thing with the forceps, which took about 0.27 seconds, I got to go home with clean ears.

And on the way out I stopped at the pharmacy to show my friend my medical report.  "Foreign object in ear"  Luckily the doctor hadn't specified which ear. :-)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The other me.

For those of you who know me quite well, you know that I like a good caption contest.  In fact I love any challenge that involves writing something.  Which is why some of you were surprised to find that I had only won the One Minute Writer once. 

The truth is that I entered under the name of Sharkbait by accident.  I actually write there under the name of Davidseven, where I have won no less than eight times, as well as being the first person ever to win Weekly Winner badge twice.

Not that I like to brag of course. 

If you click on the link to my other blog, you will find out about another major achievement I recently... achieved.  (Sorry, for a writer I am not very writerly today.)

I just though I wanted to share what I do when I am not being a FISH.

That is all.

Monday, May 24, 2010

RDM#26 - Right where I am supposed to be

For Rainy Day Monday today, I am going to be doing something slightly different.  As you know, the point is to post one of my old posts again, or to borrow one from a friend with their permission.  Today I am going to steal one without the author's permission.


Many years ago, when I was going through a difficult time about my purpose in life, and quite a few frustrations with my Small Group, I found a site called. On Being A Small Group Leader.  I discovered it completely by accident, where I was actually googling some some lyrics he quoted. 

One post in particular really touched me.  It reminded me why I wanted to be a Small Group Leader.  It re-confirmed that this was where I was supposed to be.  It helped me understand that whatever else I might do for the Lord, this was something I was

The post could have been written by me, it so clearly expressed my feelings.  And they are still as real today as they were back then. 

All excepy number 15, since I don't have any wife or children.  But the rest are all gold. :-)

The reason I say it is stolen, is because shortly after I discovered the blog, and while I was still reading through all the old posts, the writer stopped posting.  He jsut dissappeared.  I was so moved by some of his posts that I tried to contact him, and put a little effort into contacting him to let him know how it had changed my life.

I never found him.

But luckily the blog is still up and running, so the posts are still there.

So if you are Matt Howell, or know where to find him, tell him I am sorry I couldn't get his permission to share this today; and tell him to pop over and visit, and see how he helped a little FISH find his place in the world.

Right Where I'm Supposed To Be

I was talking with Mark, my friend and small group apprentice, about the small group we lead together.

The conversation reminded me again of one of the best things about being me right now ... I feel absolutely sure I'm doing just what God put me on the earth to do. I really believe that, at this point in time, my life's work is to be a small group leader. All the experiences, all the learning, all the studying, has brought me to this point.

This is a place I've rarely visited, and it's a great place to be.

So, what do I like about being a small group leader?

1 - I like the preparation for the study portion of our sessions.

2 - I like thinking strategically about how to help our people grow spiritually.

3 - I like the challenge of finding new ways to communicate old truths.

4 - I like the snacks afterwards.

5 - I like the way our group laughs together.

6 - I like talking about God with others who like talking about Him.

7 - I like the look on someone's face when something "clicks on" for them.

8 - I like listening to our group members pray.

9 - I like the challenge of coming up with opening questions that have a purpose behind them.

10 - I like reading about leading small groups.

11 - I like the positive feedback I get from our small group director.

12 - I like having people to pray for.

13 - I like having people who pray for me.

14 - I like feeling like I'm not alone in our church.

15 - I like having the kids in the house, seeing the value Mom and Dad place on their spiritual lives.

16 - I like the way that I have to keep growing so I can keep up with the others in our group.

17 - I like listening to relatively new Christians struggle to understand the Bible, because I know their struggles will pay off.

18 - I like the way I feel when people walk into the house for our meeting.

19 - I like the way being a small group leader has become such a large part of my daily thoughts.

20 - I like knowing that, for whatever reason, God trusts me to do this for Him.

21 - I like watching people grow spiritually.

22 - I like watching the walls gradually coming down in our group as people become more willing to "be real" with each other.

23 - I like the fun we have when we have social events together.

24 - I like belonging somewhere.

25 - I like giving others a place to belong.

26 - I like knowing that I'm not responsible for making eternal things happen in the lives of others.

27 - I like learning to trust in God to effect life change.

28 - I like having a purpose for my life.

29 - I like feeling like I'm making a difference in the lives of others.

30 - I like feeling like I'm making a difference for the kingdom.

Join the madness.  Do a RDM post as well.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Let's get this fire started

I know I have been a little scarce this week; only two posts so far.  In addition to my busy schedule of work and play, I have been planning for Sunday night's service.  I am preaching again (third time lucky) at the 6PM service, and it is more than just a service. 

It's Pentecost.

(cartoon courtesy of Alex at Cake or Death)

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them
Acts 2:2-4 (New International Version)

2000 years ago the Holy Spirit came on the disciples, and the Christian Church was born. 

Now, 2000 years later, I wonder if we have forgotten Him.  Like when we invite one of the cool kids to our party, and he brings his younger brother with.  We invite Jesus into our hearts, but sometimes we still expect the Holy Spirit to sit quietly in the corner, and not speak unless spoken to.

I am going to be doing things slightly differently at the service, so please pray for us if you get a chance.  I am hoping that once we come out of that church, we can really say we had an experience with the fullness of God.  I am hoping that others are hoping the same thing as well.

The church... for too long has followed Casper, the friendly ghost instead of seeking the fire of the Holy Spirit. We have turned limp at the thought of our own cross; we faint when we think of suffering or sacrifice. Beloved, it is time to embrace the fire of God's Presence. It is the fire that purifies our sacrifice.
Francis Frangipane
Let's get this fire started. 


Tuesday, May 18, 2010


"Borrowed" from here.

Monday, May 17, 2010

RDM 25 - Servant/Leader


Ah, Rainy Day Monday again.  That day when I pull an old post out of the archives and brush it off.  Today I am posting from one of my own archives.


Okay, so the poster is a little sarcastic, but the rest of this post is so serious that I needed to inject a little humour. I was reading a post about leadership over at one of the blogs I follow. I was drafting a comment, when I realised that I have actually written something about this before; it was one of my first posts on Sharkbait's Reef before facebook removed me. So I decided to re-post it here.

Who or what is a servant leader? Are all leaders called to be servants? Are all servants called to be leaders?

The essence of this question comes down to this. We are all called to serve. To serve others, and to serve God. We are however called to serve in different ways. The true leader recognises his need to serve those around him, but also recognises that the best way to do this is to lead them. His decision to lead is not motivated by a desire to be the leader, but by a true desire to serve his followers. To have in his heart a burning desire to be of service to them, and to walk with them, for their sake, and as a service to God.

On the other hand, the leader who wants to lead, and decides he must do so by serving is not going to be able to do either. His desire to be a leader is going to hamper his ability to serve, and his attempts to serve will drain him as a leader. God gives leaders the special gifts to equip them: leadership; teaching; counselling; shepherding etc. But if our desire is to be leaders, we will burn ourselves out. If our primary desire is to serve God, and serve our fellow man in love for God and them, then God will sustain us.

God will sustain us in our service of him. We are all called to serve, and we are all called to lead. But while serving does not always involve leading, leading must always involve serving.

If you are taking part in Rainy Day Monday, link to us with the widget below.  This might be the last time we have a Rainy Day Monday for a while, so take part while there is still time. :-)

Friday, May 14, 2010

Men of Fear

I could lose my guy card for this.  You know that, right?

You women are always asking us about our feelings, and we're always putting you off.

Woman : Tell me about yourself.
Man : I'm hungry.
Woman : No, tell me about your feelings.
Man : Okay.  I feel hungry.

Well I'm about to share with you a feeling I think all real men have; one we'll never admit to. 


Real men are afraid all the time.

Sometimes we're afraid of spiders as well, or rats.  But we deal with them, so that you don't have to.
Sometimes we're afraid you'll realise this, and won't let us do it for you.
Sometimes we're afraid that we won't be strong enough.  That you'll need us, and we won't be there.
Sometimes we're afraid because you're hurting, and we know we can't fix it.
Sometimes we're afraid we might be the one to hurt you.  Really afraid.  You have no idea.
Sometimes we wake up in the middle of the night afraid that you might realise you're too good for us.
Sometimes we are afraid that when the moment comes, we might not be able to be the man you deserve.
Sometimes we're afraid.
You do that to us.

I think real men are afraid of this all the time.

That's how we know they're real men.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Book Review - The Voice

"The Voice™ is the product of the best minds in this emerging generation of Christian leaders. Together they are helping young people fall in love with the Scriptures. Instead of confining God’s Word in the framework of biblical criticism, The Voice™ highlights the beauty of God’s communication to His people"

So says the blurb for this New Testament translation I am reviewing today. 

I agreed to review this book in exchange for a free copy from Thomas Nelson through their Booksneeze programme.  As always, they took a huge risk, because I am not easily impressed.

I was not too sure of this one when I first saw it; I have always believed that we should adapt ourselves to the Bible, not the other way around, and thus am very wary of anything 'new' or 'relevant' in a Biblie.

This is a translation/interpretation of the New Testament, putting it into more poetic language. Don't be fooled into thinking it will be like The Message. The language is still pretty biblical, and not very "slangish" as in some other interpretations. I liked the fact that when words were added in, they were done so in italics, so that it was clear this was an amplification/explanation and not part of the biblical text.

I enjoyed it actually, and could not find anything heretical or blasphemous about it. Just don't treat it as a bible, treat it like a bible companion, and you will be fine. I would still recommend to readers to use another version as their main reference bible, but it makes for a good 'story'.

Much of the language is a little repetitive, and theologically biased.  Such as referring to Jesus as "liberator" all the time, and John as "John the immerser".  But nothing struck me as particularly problematic in any of the interpretations, as long as you remember it is only an interpretation. 

Learn more here

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Biblios Hokku – Thessalonians

Yes, it has been a while, but here is another piece from my Biblios Hokku project.  (Writing the Bible in haiku.)  If you are the sort of person who likes to read ahead, click on the link above and see all the books.  Otherwise just sit back as we do them one at a time.

The apostle Paul felt it necessary to write a letter to the Thessalonian Church, teaching primarily about the second coming of Christ.  1 Thessalonians is possibly the oldest letter in the Bible, and so much we read here might be revealed for the first time. 

Rejoice evermore.
The dead in Christ shall arise;
just you wait and see!


The Thessalonians were glad to hear this, but then soon they started hearing disturbing reports.  False letters were being circulated with Paul’s name on them, claiming that Jesus had already returned, and they had missed it.  Many became despondent, and stopped working for the kingdom.

Paul responds by sending them another letter, clearly from him, in which he comforts them that the event is still in the future, and that they should continue their good works until that day.

This is my message:
Fear not, he is still coming.
Don’t stop good works yet.

Monday, May 10, 2010

RDM #24 - Confession


As you know, Rainy Day Mondays are a day for me to pull an old post out of the archives.  Today I am taking the opportunity to re-post a piece from one of my blogging buddies.

Stephanie at The Red Clay Diaries started her first blog post by saying “Hi there! I’m Stephanie, and I guess I have something to say. At any rate, I have a place to say it.”  Well, lately she has become so popular that she has been guest-posting all over the blogosphere, so I guess she must have a lot to say, and a lot more places to say it.

So I thought while she was in a giving mood, I would ask whether I could re-post one of her early writings which I really enjoyed, and she kindly agreed.  This post really spoke to me when I first read it; I hope it speaks to you as well.



What is it about the spiritual disciplines that I so strongly resist? I’ve been a Christ-follower for over 30 years. I know how much I benefit from keeping a regular appointment with God. It’s the only reason I get up at 5:30 a.m. every school day — ostensibly to give me time alone to pray, journal, or study Scripture before I have to wake the kids. I’ve carved out a full hour of quiet time every morning.

Okay, so what did I do with it today? Let me tell you: I checked email. I followed an interesting link in an email. I checked the weather. Then I surfed all the Black Friday (day after Thanksgiving) ad sites. I wasted an hour doing nothing of any importance. I only get a few hours a week all to myself, and I used it to play. What is wrong with me?

I know what it is. Let’s just say I have a problem with authority. My mom was a little controlling, and I responded by rebelling. When I was supposed to do homework, I played. When grounded from TV, I snuck and watched it anyway. As a kid home alone, I wasn’t allowed to cook anything – even with the toaster oven – till my teen years. So what did I do as a tween when Mom wasn’t home? I toasted breadAND lit every candle in the house.

Unfortunately, my rebellion usually cost me. I wasn’t even aware of the biggest price until adulthood: an absence of internal discipline. It took external force — or nagging — to get me to obey.

What does this have to do with reading my Bible and praying? I’m still a rebel at heart, and I have to fight for internal discipline every day. Something still rises up within me whenever I tell myself to do anything. I decide to cut back on sugar, and within a week I’m all, “Let’s eat brownies for breakfast! I decide to keep up with laundry by doing a load a day… and days go by without me entering the laundry room. Right now, to get to the utility sink I have to wade through at least 5 loads on the floor. I decide to start a blog on my spiritual journey and THE NEXT MORNING I’m refusing to even think about writing. In essence, I rebel against myself — and probably God. Acting on this temptation only hurts me.

So here goes: I’ll confess it to you (and God) in this posting. Maybe that’ll teach the 11-year-old who still lives inside me that she’s better off just doing the right thing. In the meantime, I hope I find out that I’m not alone in this.

So go visit Stephanie at her site, and then come back and join me in a Rainy Day Monday as well.  You know you want to. 

Sunday, May 9, 2010

In honour of Mother's Day (you did remember, didn't you?) I have decided to re-post something I wrote a few months ago.  It wasn't written with Mother's Day in mind, but I think it's still relevant.

I am a pretty good cook, if I do say so myself. My chicken and pasta dishes are quite tasty, and don’t get me started on my Lamb Chops in Garlic and Butternut. Mostly I am self-taught, finding recipes and adapting them to my tastes; but one thing I did learn from my Mother – Potato Salad.

My mother never sat me down and told me “This is the recipe for Potato Salad” for the simple reason that she has no recipe. Instead I watched her for thirty years as she added a little of this, and a little of that until it ‘looked right’. Not the easiest thing to learn, trust me on that. I helped to peel potatoes, and boiled eggs and gradually did more and more until now I can make a decent potato salad. I never asked her to teach me, but it tasted so good, I just couldn’t keep away, and one day had to try it for myself.

Of course my potato salad is slightly different. I prefer to grate the onion with a serrated steak-knife rather than cutting it, and my pieces are smaller. It’s just the way I prefer it. So I learned a great deal from watching, stuff that could be explained, but can only be learned by watching, tasting what works for you, and making mistakes.

My Mother is also probably the reason I am a Christian today. It wasn’t only her potato salad that she showed us over the years, and she made her faith so tasty, that we all chose to try it for ourselves.

Are you making Potato Salad for your kids, and those around you?

Monday, May 3, 2010

RDM 23 - Free Will


Another post from my archives for Rainy Day Monday today.  I don't know if this ever happens to you, but some days I just feel like this.
Free Will

Why can’t you just
overwhelm me already.
You gave me free will
a wondrous gift to be sure.
But I don’t think I’m using it right.
Can’t you take it back, please?