// CELEBRATION LUNCH WITH ALEX

// CELEBRATION LUNCH WITH ALEX

Alex Kwanten has been an intern at St Faiths Narrabeen during 2013. Today we reviewed, prayed, ate and celebrated a great year of personal growth.

Alex has served faithfully, diligently and effectively in our kids, youth, primary school, high school and music programs.

He has grown in his understanding of God's word and the good news of Christ Jesus.

We've enjoyed having Alex spend lots of time with our family and sharing life together.

Alex plays a mean guitar. I look forward to seeing him flourish as he begins a degree at the Australian Institute of Music.

Go well bro!

#KeepTrustingJesus

See more Instagram pics.

#HASHTAGRESOLUTIONS PART 2 // MORE GOOD STUFF

hashtag-resolutions-2

Jonathan Edwards had a list of 70 Resolutions. My attention span hasn’t ever allowed me to actually read them all, but from what I can tell they are rock solid. In 2014 I have a list of FOURTEEN HASHTAGS. My hope is that these #HashtagResolutions will give me some focus in different areas throughout 2014.

This is PART 2 of 4 summarising my #HashtagResolutions.

The next 4 hashtags on the list all express a desire for more good stuff.

#ChewMoreGum

This is a positive to replace a negative. The negative? Eating at random times (like Muesli at midnight). The positive? Not eating at random times. Does this mean I will skip meals and chew gum instead? No. Just that I won’t eat extra for the sake of eating. Instead I’ll eat Extra. This one is going well so far. However, I’ve run out of gum. So let’s see how we go later tonight!

#SurfMoreWaves

I turned my back on a professional bodyboarding career when I turned 30 and took up surfing instead. This is my ride. To be honest, I’m not very good at surfing. But my surfer swagger carrying the board to the beach is impressive. #SurfMoreWaves is about surfing more waves, but also a more healthy lifestyle. I work hard and need to be deliberate in taking time out each day for exercise. I’ve managed to do some exercise everyday so far this year. 8 days down. 357 to go.

#FinishMoreProjects

This is also related to the #NoMultiTasking hashtag. I’m an ideas man. That’s cool. But what is uncool is the number of projects I begin and leave unfinished. If it was a bad idea and took a little bit of time to realise, I guess it’s okay to abandon. But my goal this year is finish more of what I start. Stay tuned for progress!

#FlyMoreKites

This is our $10 Lightning McQueen kite flying in action. This particular kite has been on some amazing adventures. I accidentally let go of it on Narrabeen Beach a few weeks ago and it went over a tall block of units before landing on the roof of a shop. Luckily a (much younger, fitter and risk-taking) friend was at a nearby bus stop and climbed the roof to retrieve McQueen. #FlyMoreKites is less about the kite and more about being deliberate in spending time with my family.

Have you got good things you want more of in 2014?
Feel free to share any of your goals in the comments.

HIDING GOD’S WORD IN YOUR HEART

read-remember-pray

This is the second time I have written this blog post! I spent 3 hours pulling all these resources together on the 2nd of January, but for some reason the drafts weren’t saved and I lost it all 10 minutes away from publishing! It’s taken me a few days to deal with the grief of the post disappearing and then having to write it again!! I should be okay :)

I have hidden your word in my heart
that I might not sin against you. (Psalm 119:11 NIV)

As the New Year begins, regardless of what you think about ‘New Years Resolutions’, it would be good for your soul to follow the advice of the Psalmist and “hide God’s word in your heart”.

READ THE WORD, REMEMBER THE WORD, PRAY THE WORD

Reading, remembering and praying are three ways to help hide God’s word in your heart. Below are a number of resources that will help you to do this. Many of them use mobile applications, websites and other electronic tools. I think these are great! But they won’t solve all your problems. So pray now that God would give you the desire and will to read, remember and pray his word in 2014.

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#HASHTAGRESOLUTIONS // PART 1 KILLING BAD HABITS

KILLING BAD HABITS

Jonathan Edwards had a list of 70 Resolutions. My attention span hasn’t ever allowed me to actually read them all, but from what I can tell they are rock solid. In 2014 I have a list of FOURTEEN HASHTAGS. My hope is that these #HashtagResolutions will give me some focus in different areas throughout 2014.

This is PART 1 of 4 summarising my #HashtagResolutions.

The first 3 of my fourteen hashtags are all about bad habits I want to kill.

#NoToiletTweeting

Maybe this is too much information for hashtag one? If so, I’m sorry. Feel free to stop reading. Apparently there are studies that say that sitting on the toilet for too long isn’t good for you. But this is more about using time effectively and not feeling the need to always check in to social media. 4 days into the new year. I’m tracking with 100% on this one.

#NoMidnightMuesli

I love good muesli. Thankyou Australia have recently launched food products. If you buy their muesli you are helping to provide food for communities in the developing world… and you get to eat the tastiest muesli on the market. Even better than Carman’s! However, this resolution is about not eating it at midnight. It’s a great late night snack, but terrible for your diet to be having it soon before bed. 100% so far on this one.

#NoMultiTasking

I’m not going to link to any articles, but it seems that the different life hack websites are all suggesting that multi-tasking is a myth. I regularly try to multi-task, but it leads to greater ineffectiveness. So I want to quit. This is harder to measure than the first two, but so far so good.

Have you got bad habits you want to kill? Kill them! But be specific and realistic. Feel free to share any of your goals in the comments.

10 MOST VIEWED BLOGPOSTS FROM 2013

top-10-2013

2013 was a good year on this blog with significant growth after relaunching in October. Thanks for reading. It’s always interesting to see what gets the most clicks…

10 Most Viewed Blogposts from 2013

  1. SAM ROBSON // ACAPELLA HYMNS – This post has gone gangbusters! It’s the most popular post of all time on my blog. I’ve had a number of emails from people thinking I was Sam Robson and many others trying to contact him through me. Search for his name in google and my site is one of the first hits. I think there is a cricketer with the same name… but don’t worry no plans for talking about cricket on this blog. If you haven’t listened to Sam’s a cappella tunes… give them a listen!
  2. SAME-SEX RELATIONSHIPS, KEVIN RUDD and HOW TO READ THE BIBLE – this is obviously a controversial topic. I think I was able to be loving in the way I wrote the post. I had some good conversations with lots of people about the content.
  3. LALAH HATHAWAY // YES, SHE SINGS CHORDS – Lalah is amazing! Watch this video. It’s nuts!
  4. REDEEMING SOCIAL MEDIA // INTERVIEW WITH NATHAN W. BINGHAM @NWBingham – I did a series of blogposts leading up to the National Youth Ministry Convention. This one was pure gold from Bingham. It also got linked by Tim Challies in North America – increased the read count.
  5. KYCK 2013. THIS IS LOVE // PROMO VID – KYCK was a large youth conference I spoke at in April. Cool vid. God did an amazing work through the conference.
  6. THE BIBLE ON CHANNEL 9 – I thought this was a good series. I also had a resource page that got decent hits after the series.
  7. I HAVE MASTERED SINGING CHORDS LIKE @LALAHHATHAWAY #SOUL – See #3 above for context. Lalah Hathaway actually retweeted this one and left a comment on Instagram! I will keep practising.
  8. UNCLE JED // BROTHER – To be honest, this was a social media experiment to see if I could pick up hits during Australia’s Got Talent. It didn’t go gangbusters like #1 above, but it obviously did okay to make the top 10!
  9. THROUGH THE BIBLE // THROUGH THE YEAR // WITH JOHN STOTT #BibleStott – this series of daily devotionals has been such a wonderful refreshment for my soul. Stott was a sharp guy at explaining scripture with precision.
  10. 5 THINGS CHURCH LEADERS CAN LEARN FROM APPLE KEYNOTE PRESENTATIONS – this post was a fleshed out speech (rant) I gave at our staff meeting on the day of the Apple Keynote. I think it helped give our vision night in October better shape.

3,2,1

3 Posts Always Worth Reading

  1. JESUS // THE MAN – who is Jesus?
  2. JESUS // THE MISSION – why did Jesus come?
  3. JESUS // THE MOVEMENT – what does it mean to follow Jesus?

2 Posts I’d have liked seeing in the Top 10 Most Viewed

  1. KYCK SEES 900 YOUTH COMMIT TO CHRIST – this really was an incredible privilege to be part of! Praying now for the 900 who responded to the good news of Jesus.
  2. COMPASSION IN INDONESIA (feat. Colin Buchanan) @CompassionAU – I went to Indonesia with Compassion in April/May 2013. You could read the 25 blog posts from the trip or watch this video produced afterwards.

1 Honourable Mention

  1. How do you spell the colloquially shortened form of breakfast? – This was a super-short post from 2007 that constantly ranks well in google. The original post didn’t even give an answer. So in 2013 I expanded the post with an answer.

Thanks again for reading in 2013. Peace.

IMAGE CREDIT: Joel Coleman. Used by permission.

5 CHRISTMAS ALBUMS THAT DON’T SUCK

Did you know that Mariah Carey receives $873,000 every year in royalties from her Christmas tune “All I want for Christmas is you”. Don’t get me wrong, Mariah Carey’s Christmas album is great! But a little cheesy. It’s time for another edition of 5 Christmas Albums that don’t suck! You can see volume 1 here.

The criteria for inclusion in this list? Obviously not sucking is essential. It also needs to have been released during the last four years (since the last list). Finally the bulk of the songs need to be Jesus songs… i.e. not the lame Santa songs. (Tangent: who would win in a cafe fight between Jesus and Santa? Check this). Here goes…

1. JOY HAS DAWNED by Kings Kaleidoscope //

This EP was released last Christmas and I haven’t stopped playing it for the 12 months since! I blogged on it three times… here and here and here. I also based the Christmas preaching series at St Faith’s on the title track. Why so much attention? Kings Kaleidoscope are one of my favourite bands and this EP is packed with energy and joy through its 5 tracks.

>> STREAM ‘JOY HAS DAWNED’ FOR FREE OR BUY IT FOR $4 FROM BANDCAMP

2. THE OH HELLO’S FAMILY CHRISTMAS ALBUM by The Oh Hellos //

I’ve had this one on repeat for the last 24 hours. It’s amazing! This folk rock EP walks through the story of Jesus in 4 movements with a pastiche of different Christmas Carols. It feels like it could be the score to a short film on the birth of Christ. Don’t shuffle the tracks, listen to them in order.

>> STREAM ‘THE OH HELLOS’ AND DOWNLOAD IT FOR FREE FROM BANDCAMP

3. REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY by Citizens //

Citizens released this EP last month and it was being regularly played in our car until our 2.5 year old put a 10 cent coin in the CD player. Another energetic offering from Mars Hill Church.

>> STREAM ‘REPEAT THE SOUNDING JOY’ FOR FREE OR BUY IT FOR A FEW BUCKS

4. CHRISTMAS SONGS COLLECTION VOL. 1-5 by Folk Angel //

42 tracks of Jesus-centred Christmas song goodness! Excellent arrangements. Keep an eye out for the great artists they’ve collaborated with on some of the tracks.

>> STREAM ‘CHRISTMAS SONGS COLLECTION’ FOR FREE OR BUY IT FROM BANDCAMP

5. SILVER & GOLD by Sufjan Stevens //

This is quirkiest of the list. But Sufjan has cool stuff. I’ve particularly enjoyed using one of his tracks as the title track for a radio station on Pandora: it pulls out lots of great modern artists as well as old school stuff like Ella Fitzgerald and Johnny Cash.

>> STREAM ‘SILVER & GOLD’ FOR FREE OR BUY IT FROM BANDCAMP

Got any others you can suggest? Leave any recommendations in the comments.

See below for 4 of the 5 albums embedded to play on this site

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WHAT DO YOU BUY JESUS FOR HIS BIRTHDAY?

JOY HAS DAWNED

How are you tracking with your Christmas shopping? Started? Finished? Almost finished? Perhaps you’ve only got those people left to buy gifts for. You know the ones… those that are hard to buy for. They’re picky or they’ve already got everything! Good luck with that. What about Jesus? How would you go if you had to buy a gift for him? He’s the creator of all things – how do you give to the Creator something that doesn’t already belong to him?!??

In this sermon in our Joy Has Dawned series I explore the 3 gifts given by the Magi to baby Jesus. Traditionally these gifts have been seen to symbolise something about the identity and mission of Jesus. This was first suggested by Origen in the 3rd Century. Is this a good reading of the text? Have a listen below to hear what my thoughts.

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LET’S BUILD A TOILET BLOCK + WATER TANKS IN INDONESIA // @COMPASSIONAU

DONATE TODAY!

CLICK HERE TO DONATE

In the Summer of 2009/2010 readers of this blog raised $1741 for a clean water project in Rwanda. Then in 2010/2011 we helped to raise $2835 for a clean water project in India. It was really exciting to see the way that $4500 could be raised via social media.

IT’S TIME TO DO IT AGAIN!

Earlier this year I was able to see firsthand the incredible way that Compassion are doing Christ-centred, child-focused and church-based work in Indonesia. You can see a summary of my blog coverage on this post.

THE PLAN THIS SUMMER? BUILD A TOILET BLOCK AND WATER TANKS AND MORE!!

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