Friday, 31 December 2010

Books, books and more books!

One of my new years resolution for 2010 was to read 24 books; 2 a month.

I have a chequered history when it comes to new years resolutions; I do now recycle and wear a cycle helmet when out on my bike but I do not drink as much water as tea.

I therefore am pleased to with the number of books that I have completed this year. Today I am finishing off Erwin McManus 'Wide Awake' and then I will have read 52 books: an average of 1 a week. (No wonder I struggle to get all my work done!)

How did you do with this years resolutions?

Have you decided what new discipline you will do for 2011?

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

slip, slop, slap, seek and slide

I know that many people in the UK are struggling to cope with the weather conditions in the lead up to Christmas: I thought I would let you know some of the difficulties faced in Perth at this time of year.

The temperature on Christmas Day is predicted to be 38 degrees (I now wonder if Santa is red due to getting sun burnt here before heading West to deliver presents!)

Last week our lodger whilst watching the Ashes test match at the WACA managed to get sun burnt in the shade.

We have noticed that our clothes seem to be perishing from the heat when we bring them in after hanging them out to dry for 10 minutes in the garden.

This Christmas we won't need a new jumper or a sledge. We won't be having a hot roast dinner or warmed mulled wine.... instead we are learning to slip, slop, slap, seek and slide:

slip on a shirt,

slop on SPF 30+ sunscreen,

slap on a broad-brimmed hat,

seek shade

slide on some sunglasses

I hope that your preparations are going well for Christmas.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Play it again Son!

Having been a good Christian for years I do own a guitar and can manage about 3 chords (enough to make me a member of the aged rock band Status Quo but not enough to ever play in public).

Some years ago in a fit of enthusiasm I brought a drum kit and had lessons for about a year but again never really pursued the passion.

Isaac has often talked about wanting to play the guitar: we brought him one for his birthday and since we arrived in Perth a guy in the church called Rob has been giving him weekly lessons.

Isaac has been delivering papers to pay for his lessons and this along with his enthusiasm has kept him practising.

As a proud dad this morning I could not help slipping my phone out and grabbing a snap of Isaac playing for the first time at a Sunday meeting.

Watch out Simon Brading.....it is not just the haircut Isaac has copied!


Wednesday, 15 December 2010

Let the Battle Begin

I have to admit that I have never been a huge fan of cricket (I had heard of Botham but that was about it.)

There are several reasons why that is changing:

My boys are getting keen (during the last test I had to text Josh the score throughout the day at school)

Our lodger, Dan, is a cricket fanatic and has even managed to secure himself a job working at WACA this week, so will be paid to watch (unless he is on car park duty!)

I am British living in Perth: we have drawn the first test, won the second and we have a good chance, so I am told, to win the series in Australia!

The Motto of the West Australian Cricket Association ground in Perth is 'where legends are made'.

Let's hope that with the eyes of the world on this city for the next 5 days - that the pomms secure victory!

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Perth Glory!

On Sunday I, along with my 3 kids, joined the throng going to worship at the nib stadium: to sing and shout for the world renown local soccer team: Perth Glory!

We got front row seats near the centre line and I was hoping that our 4 English Football shirts and my shouting would attract the attention of Robbie Fowler (ex Liverpool player) ....The only thing I did get was a sore throat.

For those interested we scored early on and I thought this would be the clincher to turn the season. Sadly they managed to put one in the back of the net in the last 5 minutes so it was 1 -1 draw.

Felt gutted at the score and yet glad that soccer is not my god.

Delighted to have time our with my kids!

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Gone Fishing

Whilst messing about on the Swan river with our Kayaks on a warm Saturday afternoon, we also took along Josh's crab net to see if we could catch anything...
We tied a piece of ham on the bottom of the net. Not sure the exact name of the 2 fish we caught (they are called 'tiddlers' in the UK) but we were all excited!

Afterwards I discovered they are poisonous to eat which made the adventure feel more wild and risky!

Isaac persisted and he managed to bag a crab!

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Education Education Education


The only time that I ever sat up and watched the results for a general election through the night was when Tony Blair swept to power in 1997 with the motto 'Education, education, education'.

I can't say that I excelled at school but I did end up becoming a teacher (and married a teacher) so I must have some appreciation for learning!

Maybe it was surprising then that when I moved from London to Perth that I did not think more about my kids schooling. Josh, Lois & Isaac finished semester 2 this week and will start their Christmas / summer break which means they don't return to their studies until February. (Lois tells me she deserves the long time off she has been in year 8 for 18 months!)

During the past 5 months I have noticed many differences to the teaching style we were used to:

The teachers are more relaxed (we witnessed 1 member of staff pouring water over the kids heads in the playground)

Discipline is more 'old school' I have heard of pupils being hit by a 'ball of paper' missile dispensed from the front of the class.

Homework seems optional - one teacher explained they had not had the time to mark my child's work during the 2 week break - because they were out having fun.

Maybe this kind of system would suit my teaching style more than the UK?!


Monday, 6 December 2010

Body Boarding

Josh, my 15 year old, now has body boarding lessons during school on Friday (they drive to the beach for them)

He came home last week and said Dad 'How about you and I head out to catch some waves?'

Knowing that a good rule of being a Father is to say yes as often as possible - I found myself at the beach that afternoon.

We only have 1 body board which we take turns using.

This photos shows me on the board and Josh going faster than me just riding in the waves....


I do love being a Dad and going out with my kids!

Saturday, 4 December 2010

True Blue

I feel that I have now become an Australian man!

This week Nicky's parents gave me my Christmas present - a mere 3 weeks early!

There may be many reasons for the goodwill gesture:

because they love me so much,

they had nowhere to hide it,

they are too tight to pay for all the wrapping paper

maybe they want their Christmas dinner cooked on it!

It's a beaut!

I know that I have now have adapted to the Australian way of life - I have more cooking power in the garden than I do in the kitchen!

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

I'm dreaming of a white Christmas



Back in the UK when I was a school teacher my headmasters favourite Christmas song was 'I'm dreaming of a white Christmas'. I loved it too and we sang it often.

To me there always seemed something almost magical about a cold Christmas. People gathered together indoors, playing board games, hiding from the pitch darkness outside that was only occasionally punctuated by a zealous house covered in Christmas lights.

Yet Christmas here is very very different.

In the past 7 days has contained many days in the high 30's degrees! People talk about Christmas on the beach and what are you going to throw on the Barbie? (I still have yet to purchase that outdoor Aussie essential!)

We are trying to get into the Christmas mood: The kids break up next week for their summer holiday, we have started buying presents, we hope to have an advent calendar and consumed the first offering by this evening and I have had my first piece of Christmas cake (I know, I know I should wait and that the cake will be gone by the 25th December but I do look forward to my daily wedge!)

Now all I need to do is dig out the Christmas CD and starting singing along to 'I'm dreaming of a White Christmas!'

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

Pacific Rim


Nicky and I had the privilege of meeting up with some great folk for a week just outside Sydney.

Peter & Susan Brooks had gathered together the leaders of the newfrontier churches in this part of the world: people came from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia & the Philippines.

The 60 folk gathered represented 9 Newfrontier churches that are working into a combined population mass of 258 Million people (with a further 1.6billion people on the doorstep!)

There is a huge task to be done and to take the words of Jesus please pray for more workers for the harvest.

Charles Spurgeon when asked 'will the heathern who have never heard the gospel be saved? answered 'It is more a question with me - whether we- who have heard the gospel and fail to give it to those who have not - can be saved.'

Come join us!!!

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Outlaws.


Last night I travelled with Suzanne & Nicky to Perth airport to pick up their parents who have arrived from Sydney.

Roger & Jean left the UK at the start of September (on their retirement world tour) and have just made it here to Perth.... via the USA, Peru & New Zealand.

The in-laws are due to stay with us for 2 months and then head off to Melbourne & Adelaide before coming back for another 2 month visit next year.

I know they will enjoy time with the grandchildren and I am sure there will be lots of fun in the house.

Anyne got any tips on looking after old folk - suggestions would be appreciated!

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Newday

As a family for the past 3 years we have attended the fantastic youth event in the UK called Newday. Without doubt a highlight of our year as we gathered with 7,000 others for a weeks camping, fun and bible teaching. Every time was so inspiring which meant it was something we constantly talked about and looked forward to.

Newday UK takes place in August and as we moved to Perth at the end of June we missed out this year (The kids did suggest we stay and move to Oz in September).

The great news is that there is a smaller version of Newday here in Australia.

I am really looking forward to flying across to Sydney for the middle of January and gathering with the 100-150 that will be there. This time we do not camp but live in cabins and can go quad biking!
Can't wait!!!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

The Crown Church

I had always thought that James Hunting would be the guy to take over the leadership of The Crown Church from me.

It has been thrilling to watch from the other side of the world and see what an excellent job he is doing:
Updating the website
Reaching into the local universities
Bringing on new leaders
Making plans for Christmas

Having Lex from South Africa for the weekend.



James- you're the man!

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

The Wombles

When I was a kid I used to love watching the TV programme 'The Wombles of Wimbledon Common'.
I couldn't help but think about them with all that has been going on here recently.

In Perth you get charged $20 to take any rubbish down the dump, so we try not to do it.
However once a year the council come round with a truck and digger to collect any rubbish that you leave outside your house. In trying to fit in with the locals on Monday I have left out a suitcase that the wheels had broken off of.

You can imagine my surprise when I went outside on Tuesday morning and discovered the collection had not been but the suitcase was gone. It was then that I noticed the piles outside homes around me were changing all the time. My neighbour left a freezer that grew legs and walked away. Another neighbour dumped a washing machine outside their house only for it to disappear.

I started to think that I was living on Wimbledon Common and that the wombles were taking the everyday rubbish we leave behind and making something useful from it....until my eldest son Josh came home with a spare bike tyre he had lifted off a bike dumped round the corner! (He assures me lots of people cruise round and pick up items off other peoples piles....shame I did not realise sooner it would have made Christmas cheaper!)

The truck has still not been but the whole game is certainly encouraging a lot of recycling!

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Late

The idea of cutting things fine - of giving the train or whatever it is starting on time - a fighting chance, I have always found exciting and adds to the thrill of life.

I agree with Calvin & Hobbes that creativity is not like a tap that can just be turned on or off - it needs the right conditions - often last minute panic! (This is why preachers are often finishing off their sermons on Sunday morning)

However this can backfire....

After a great time in Sydney last week Nicky and I were heading to the airport when we got caught up in some traffic.... the minutes ticked by. We got to terminal 3 and ran for the gate - but it was too late. The last Qantas plane to Perth that day had just left!

We ended up staying in a hotel for the night and had a lovely meal with a great couple from Auckland, Steve & Heather (thanks) before boarding a plane at 8am and jumping into a taxi at Perth airport which meant we were only 10 minutes late for church!

When have you been late and missed something important?

Monday, 15 November 2010

Lost

Last week Nicky and I went across to Sydney to meet with the other leaders from the Newfrontier Pacific Rim churches: people were there from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Cambodia & Philippines.
We landed on Tuesday and were due to meet the others on Wednesday so Nicky and I decided to go for a run together Wednesday morning.

We made a few mistakes:
We did not remember the address of where we were staying
We could not remember the route we took
We did not have a mobile phone with us

It did make the exercise more stimulating - fear is a stimulant!

We stopped a motorist who had no idea
Another motorist had a map book - but it was then we realised we had no clue where we wanted to go
We stopped in a shop and found our friends house number from the phone book
We asked in another shop where the road was - they had no idea
We asked another guy directions to the street - again blank

We did eventually get back.
Amazing how the mind can panic despite actually being quite close to home (I thought we had run miles!)

Have you ever been lost?

Monday, 8 November 2010

Junk Mail

I like the idea of my kids having a job and appreciating the value of work and money.
Since we have arrived in Perth Isaac and Lois share 2 paper rounds and Josh delivers junk mail twice a week.

To show my support I often help sort the leaflets and stuff the papers (Nicky tells me that I am too soft!)

With Christmas coming there have been more and more leaflets. Last night I was sorting them until 11pm. A small forest must have been brutally murdered to provide the paper for the 17 different magazines and leaflets that I collated. I honestly think I got through more paper last night than an American presidential election.

I often wonder who reads the stuff?
How many sales do the companies achieve as a result?

On the bright side the junk mail delivery does save me paper - I don't have to give my son pocket money!

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Dan Dark

I got to bed at 3:30am having picked Dan up at Perth airport following his flight here from Gatwick UK.

I feel really excited about him being with us... he seems a great lad and already the kids have adopted him as their older brother (they are all in the pool now - having been down the park to shoot some hoops!)

The sacrifice of my office for his bedroom is not a problem.

The fact that I used to lead a youth group with his mum and dad and remember Dan as a little lad in shorts is a tad more worrying.

Really looking forward to getting to know him more and believe he will be a tremendous blessing to our family and the church here
.


Friday, 5 November 2010

Future Hope

This week we decided to move Isaac to a new school (He worked so hard at the last one but in the end we thought a change was best)

Our youngest son now catches the bus each day to and from his place of learning. He will be there for the next 15 months before moving on to secondary school.

The name of his new school is New Life Christian College and the logo is Christ our Hope.

Each morning over breakfast I find it helpful to look at my son and see embroidered on his school T-Shirt, across his heart, Christ our Hope!

It reminds me again that I believe the hope for the future is not better housing, scientific discoveries or even education but Jesus Christ. He offers me forgiveness, the removal of my guilt and eternal life.

What is your future hope?

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

I hate running

I have decided that I hate running: it has probably taken me 5 hours to recover from my exercise this morning.

To give you some insight to the story:

I blistered the soles of my feet playing basketball bare foot about 10 days ago and have not run since.
Today I put on my trainers and did 12kms. I did not wear a hat or take a drink. It was only when I got back that I discovered it was 29degrees.
It was the nearest I have ever got to stopping, was surprised that I was not sick and I had to sit with my feet above my head when I got home just to stop the dizziness.
Things were so bad that I choose to have a cold shower for the first time in my life!

So why do I do it?

I guess there are lots of reasons:
I want to be fit so that I can dance in church (for more than 1 song)
My wife runs and I do not want to be left behind.
I want to enjoy sport with my kids
I feel stimulated afterwards
I am mad
I am offically 'mid-life' and trying to prove that I still can
I enjoy eating too much and do not want to cut back.
I suppose that means I will have to find those trainers and go again this week!

Tuesday, 2 November 2010

A weekend never to forget!

Terry & Wendy Virgo came to Perth!

I collected them from the airport on Thursday afternoon having arrived from South Africa and we were back at an airport Monday morning as they took off for Sydney....but the time in between was great!

As a family we loved having Terry & Wendy stay in our home.It was good to show them a glimpse of the city and spend time talking over food!

They both served the church so well:

Terry was so inspirational as he spoke on Saturday morning from 1 Samuel 14 :'Expect great things from God and attempt great things for God' . He also wonderfully unpacked John 14 on Sunday and shared about the privilege of knowing God with us. On top of this Wendy addressed the ladies on Saturday evening, we had the young adults meet on Sunday afternoon for tea and Terry told his story and took questions on the Sunday night!

We saw people healed over the weekend and I am sure that all would have been hugely impacted by what Terry said but also the way he said it. Terry really is a humble man who loves Jesus, the church and is full 0f wisdom and grace - I am sure the weekend with him will impact me for the rest of my life.



Sunday, 31 October 2010

Something to get your teeth into

On Friday night the leadership team from the church went out for a meal with Terry & Wendy.
In our desire to introduce our guests to the Aussie way of life we took them to Outback Jacks.

I was impressed by how much steak Wendy consumed

I never appreciated how messy eating ribs could be.



As for me I choose to wrestle my way though a crocodile burger!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Rotary Breakfast

Left the house early this morning to attend my first ever Rotary Club Meeting.
It was fascinating being a 'visitor' - not sure where to stand, who is who, who to speak to, where to sit....a helpful reminder of how people find it when they initially visit church.

Despite it being 7:15am, people at the Rotary Club of Cockburn were really friendly. We sang a song out of the book and were offered fruit or a cooked breakfast (I took the fruit, even though Nicky was not with me.... I had not realised we were eating and had already consumed breakfast!)

Interesting to learn the various activities the group use to raise money and see some of the ways they generously give it away.

There was lots of fun in the proceedings:
People obviously are good friends (community) and banter with each other - especially when someone got something wrong.
We all stood up and had to play 'heads or tails' (place your hand on your head and or bottom and of the dice rolled have the same combination as you , you stay for the next round) - the winner winning a bottle of wine.
The members were 'fined' for various misdemeanours - basically a way of taking a collection that I estimated raised another $80.

Amazing that we covered so much and yet also kept to time....finishing promptly at 8:30 as stated up front.

An intriguing exercise and many helpful and stimulating pointers for leading a church!

Tuesday, 26 October 2010

Biggest & Best!

Sunday 24th October.

At church on Sunday we had the most people since I arrived in Perth almost 4 months ago - 65! We had 5 first time guests. Rob and the guys led us superbly in worship - some great contributions and we were so aware of the gracious presence of God. I felt the preach went well - I am not fishing for compliments.

In the afternoon we had friends from the UK round: great fun in the pool, eating and chatting and blistering my feet playing basketball barefoot down the park.

13 people came to the Vision and Values evening at our house: a chance to hear about the church and the adventure where we believe God is taking us - so they can decide to join the adventure!

Saturday, 23 October 2010

On your marks... get set... GO!

Today I had my first ever experience of Little League Athletics when taking Isaac to Melville Roar. I was stunned by the organisation and efficiency. I am sure we will be back there next Saturday.

I know that parents have to go on a roster and volunteer each fortnight (Nicky was there today from 7:30am to 12:30pm)

I don't know how many kids were taking part today but it felt like an army of ants organising the event.

For example at the long jump:
there was one person calling the children forward and after each attempt recording their score
there was one person who powdered and swept the jump plate and measured the jump
there was one person holding the measuring tape up to the in print in the sand
there was one person sweeping the sand back smooth
there was even one spare person in case anyone needed a break

It was so organised they even had a wheelie bin of water and a generator stood next to the sand pit so that they could pump water onto the sand and keep it smooth!

To give you and idea of the scale of the event - there were 2 lots of long jump going on at the same time (as well as discus, shot putt, javelin, triple jump, high jump, 100M, 200M, 400M, 800M....)

I know that the Bible often pictures the Christian life like a race.

I want to be part of a big church where all happily serve, where people try their best and those supporting cheer them on. I love the idea of the church having well thought through high standards and that people love it and come back week after week!

Friday, 22 October 2010

Each one counts!

Numbers are a bit like marmite - you either love them or hate them.

In my defence there is a whole book in the Bible named Numbers and someone around Jesus must have spent a lot of time counting as we know that He fed 4,000 on one occasion and 5,000 men plus women and children another time.

I appreciate that numbers only tell 1/2 the story and that when you are a small church percentages are even better!

We now have 19 people who are members at the church.
13 people have said they will come to join the church evening on Sunday night.
We had 30 people spread across the 3 Life groups we launched this week.
Our income has increased 50% on 2 months ago.
We have 85% of the church signed up to serve on a Sunday morning.

...but hey who's counting....its all for the glory of 1 Jesus!

Wednesday, 20 October 2010

Terry & Wendy Virgo are coming to Perth!

October Special!
I know that some people have got excited that the month of October has 5 Fridays, 5 Saturdays and 5 Sundays in it - something that only occurs every 800+ years

I feel more excited that we have Terry & Wendy Virgo coming to visit Perth - I guess it may well be ages if ever, before they come again !

Terry will be speaking Saturday morning (9am) and Wendy talking to the ladies Saturday evening (7:30pm)

Terry will speak Sunday morning (10am) and share his story and answer questions Sunday evening (7:30 pm)

All meetings are free and will be held at the Wetlands Centre Bibra Lake, along Hope Road.
If you know folks in Perth pass it on.
If you want more details ask.
Hope to see you there

Monday, 18 October 2010

Did you park or stop and get out?

It is so often the little things in life that we notice:
Kind words make you feel welcome
The wrong sauce on your subway changes the whole thing
Squeezing the wrong of the tooth paste tube cause marriage difficulties

Living in another country I seem to observe little things that fascinate me.

On Sunday instead of our morning meeting (we could not use our usual venue) we met in our 3 new Life Groups. I was pleased that including kids we had 14 people come for lunch, use the pool and just have fun together.

Having moved from London with semi-detached houses and little off road or on road parking visitors could end up parking in the next street and walking to a house. I found it fascinating to see out the front of my house the arrangement of the 8 cars that had transported our group together:


Saturday, 16 October 2010

What do you talk about?


Last night a local family we have met through school invited us round to have Pizzas. The guy had built his own pizza oven in the garden. He provided prepared bases and we designed our own meal before he cooked them in front of our eyes. It was a great evening sat outside chatting with new friends.

As is often the case when Australians discover we are new Poms they want to tell us about this great land: we heard about spiders, snakes and shark attacks. One story after another is brought out with the level of risk and danger increasing.

Things were more serious and honest when our host did also share about how he suffered a heart attack just over 3 years ago. This has resulted in him taking more exercise and being careful what he eats so as to prolong life for as long as possible.

The mouth speaks from the overflow of the heart
What is it that you end up chatting about when you are relaxing with friends?

Tuesday, 12 October 2010

A Big Squeeze

As a church we meet each Sunday and also in a home mid week. The small group setting is a great chance to build authentic community, supporting each other as we step out for Jesus throughout the week.
Despite me and the family being away (yes all 5 of us normally go the mid week group) there were 21 people gathered together in a home last Wednesday night!
This Wednesday we are gathering for the last time as one group - and having fun celebrating the need to go to 3 groups next week.
We prayed for the group leaders last Sunday: an Australian couple, a British couple and a couple from Zimbabwe!
I can't wait until we see another group emerge, and another and another.....

Friday, 8 October 2010

Camping?!

For the last 8 years around Easter I have taken one or more of my kids camping for a few days: to have some focused time with them. It has been great to have uninterrupted days to talk, laugh play and interact.

Having not done so earlier in the year, due to our move down under, the trip this year had been delayed until this week.

We have had a great time sand boarding, kayaking, body boarding and the usual games of monopoly and Yahtzee followed by an almost midnight feast!


However I feel slightly guilty calling it camping....

On Monday I went to the camp shop with my gas cooker regulator to see if could buy a connector and gas bottle. When I showed him the apparatus I had lovingly transported from the UK he looked and laughed. He thought the contraption had been smuggled out of Indonesia and told me it was far too dangerous to be used in OZ. Feeling snubbed I mocked his 'nanny state' and told him that camping in the UK was for men, about adventure (I forgot to say it involved surviving the cold and rain!)

When we arrived at our 'camp site' it began to dawn on me the cross cultural lesson regarding sleeping outdoors. Not only did we all have electricity points, lights around the site and a pool: the kitchen area included a fridge freezer (remember at this point the one at my home had not been working for about a month) a kettle, a toaster, a sandwich toaster, cooking rings, BBQ's and a TV on the wall. I even found a teenage guy in the toilets straightening his hair! When I commented to one camper about the lavish style they told me I should try another site where there was even a laundry service available!

Tuesday, 5 October 2010

Good to gather?!

As a church leader I am always excited about gathering...the more the merrier.

I know when church planting I was accused of counting children in the womb - I do believe that life starts at conception!

Even I draw the line somewhere...

Last night in my sister in laws bedroom we
discovered a Huntsman Spider




We have also caught several cockroaches around the house




I know that I should be grateful for all that God sends my way but a few more of the 2 legged variety would be better!

Sunday, 3 October 2010

Make a joyful noise!

Today I did something for only the second time in my life - I led worship! (Those who know me will appreciate I love singing....but will still quickly want to pray for the church!)

We have a guy - Rob who is great at leading worship but he cannot do every week....so I stepped in the gap.

Joel on the guitar and his brother Jesse on the drums were gracious as I am not sure I started any song at the right time.

It was good to focus on the cross and Jesus dying for us.

I don't think I will be releasing an album any time soon and if you know anyone - particularly a keyboard player who would like to lead worship and is called to Perth then let me know ASAP!

Thursday, 30 September 2010

1st UK Visitors.

3 months to the day since we landed and we had our first visitors from the UK

Ian and Kylie (yes with that name she is Australian) came for dinner yesterday. They are actually over for a friends wedding. Within the last week they stopped off in Singapore for a weekend on the way over, have been to Sydney for 2 days, attended the wedding and looked at buying a property here in Perth!

Makes me realise that I have slowed down to the Aussie way of life more than I thought.

Great to see them and really enjoyed the traditional baked Marble cheesecake they brought from the Mamuska cheesecake shop!

Who's coming next?

Wednesday, 29 September 2010

Confessions

Confess your sins to the Lord and you will be forgiven; confess them to man and you will be laughed at.

I know I am forgiven and hope his brings a smile to your face...

I was just driving out of the car park when a lady (unnecessary detail but I am painting the picture) was trying to drive in. Seeing she would struggle to get through the gap and being a gentleman I decided to reverse backwards and give her space.

Sadly I did not check my review mirror and so drove into another lady (more unnecessary detail) who had sneaked up behind.

The kangaroo bars and the tow bar on the back of my vehicle ensured I had barely a scratch though I had left my mark on her car...


Lessons learnt include:
Being a gentleman does not pay
It is better to stand your ground and go forward than go backwards
People matter more than possessions

What lessons have you learnt today?

Monday, 27 September 2010

Count me in.

Yesterday morning we had to have a church AGM (apparently it's the law in Australia).

It was a great time.

There was a brief report on the last year but most of the time was looking forward.

I did a review of the book 'If you want to walk on water you have to get out of the boat' and we have agreed to buy a copy for anyone in the church who wants to read it.
We also talked about the step up in the budget (a 60% increase this year, followed by a further 50% hike next year).
In our desire to think bigger and go forward we are starting teams: welcome, song pro, kids, set up, refreshments... and it was great to see people keen to sign up afterwards (my son Isaac signed up for 4 out of the 5 teams!)
We have agreed the need to change the location of where we meet on Sundays and also to seek God for another name.

A significant day made exciting by people saying 'count me in'!

Thursday, 23 September 2010

Size matters...

I hope you have begun to realise what a BIG country Australia is and how spread out everything is.I was told the other day that Perth is the second most spread out city in the world! Think BIG.
I thought you might like to see the size of our kitchen appliance:


I brought the Fridge Freezer brand new just under 3 months ago. It wasn't long before I noticed that the food in it was going off; it was 28 degrees today and the beer in the fridge was not cold!

At the start of the week we called out an engineer to see why the milk kept going sour. He arrived today and told us that the fan is not working. Although we thought the freezer was OK he said it is not really cold enough and we needed to sit down and consume all the ice cream in it! He promptly left telling us that he needed to order a part (may be in by the end of next week)...give him a call if we have heard nothing by next Friday.

Despite now not having a working fridge or freezer as the outside temperature begins to rise - on the bright side I must have one of the world's largest Kitchen notice board.

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Under Attack!

Snakes! I know this country is home to many deadly snakes and I have been running round a lake where Tiger snakes are known to dwell. (I had a sore ankle this week and wondered if I had been bitten and not realised but I am still here typing so I guess not!)

Today when out running I was attacked for the first time by Australian wild life - not a snake or a spider - but a magpie!

As I am puffing along, out of nowhere, this bird flew straight for my head. I ducked and picked up the pace a bit. Then it came after me a second time chasing me down the path and seemed determined to have another go at my brain! (The bird was focused on nipping, scaring, flapping at me and did not release the mess it can cause via a bird missile; which I have been hit by on many other occasions.)

For the rest of the run every time I saw a bird shadow approach I thought I was being hunted down by this crazy animal. One time I even flinched when a butterfly floated by.(I used to think my fear of dogs was bad!)

Just to reassure you I ran back another route and safely made it home.

I am sure the bird has forgotten me and is now having a go at another random passerby.
I have not forgotten the bird. Fear can last longer than the attack.

I wonder if you are running from something you are afraid of?

I will try that running route another time - but I may wear my cycle helmet just to be on the safe side!

Monday, 20 September 2010

No Worries

No worries was recognised as the national motto of Australia in 1978.

According to Wikipidea it can mean 'your welcome', 'sure thing', 'thats alright' or 'do not worry about that'.

I have noticed that people churn out this motto anytime anyplace...
On the phone
In the shops
When chatting
Printed on T-shirts
Even splattered across a car

If you had a motto what would it be and why?

Friday, 17 September 2010

H.M.S. George & Lizzie

In August 2009 we hired Kayak's in Mandurah and went for a paddle along the river. It was great fun, lots of photos and happy memories.

As soon as we decided to move Josh has talked and planned about buying his own Kayak.

Well we have bought 2! We found them in the local second hand paper, The Quokka.

We borrowed a friends UTE to take the Kayak's to the River Swan for their maiden voyage. After the short speech we poured Solo over them (it is cheaper than champagne) and decided to name them H.M.S. George and H.M.S. Lizzie.

I am getting some roof bars for the car this Saturday so we can transport the Finn Gizmo's (their official name) around, but in the meantime the kids have been playing on them in the pool.

I thought you might like to see Josh and just reassure you that despite his expression this happened in our back garden not in some shark infested waters!

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

U2 in Perth

My son Isaac sent me a text the other day telling me it was only 107 nights sleep before Christmas (and I thought I got excited!)
Anyway I am proud to say that I have already brought Nicky's Christmas present!

The band U2 are bringing their 360 degree world tour to Subiaco Stadium Perth and we have managed to get tickets for Sunday 19th December. It is great idea here that the ticket price also includes transport to the event (not a limo but a ride on the train)

It makes me want to ask the question - 'Should U 2 be in Perth?'
I am not referring to the band - but thinking about you.
It would be great to have some other folk come and join us who are committed to Jesus and His local church. People not just here for a nice life but radicals wanting to use their short life to make an eternal impact.

Let me ask again - Should U 2 be in Perth?

Thursday, 9 September 2010

The Best Book of All!

Despite having been around for centuries the Bible remains a best seller.

I try and read a portion every day and often find it so helpful during that day.
Martin Luther said "The bibles is alive, it speaks to me; it has feet, it runs after me; it has hands, it lays hold of me.”

As a family we read from it over breakfast in the morning.

My 2 sons have decided to take on the challenge of reading through the whole 66 books.
I started on 1st January this year and have just finished reading it from cover to cover.

What about you?
What have you read this week and how is inspired you?

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Josh Cornford 15 Today!


Happy Birthday Son!

Great this morning to watch Josh open presents... Top Gear Challenges 3 DVD and a Top Gear board game. (Apparently in a years time he will be old enough to drive a moped!)
After school we are going to assemble a table tennis table he was given and then watch the Top Gear programme on the TV (can you detect a theme emerging?)

I know that we will enjoy a Mexican meal together and have fun as a family. Birthdays are a great occasion to generate special memories together.

But without wishing to sound old - where did those years go?

I cannot believe it was 15 years ago that my first child was born.
Each birthday we have is really a way of keeping count of the years we have accomplished.

Life can seem short; it moves too fast and there is no pause button on the remote control of time. The challenge is that I don't just want to count my years but make my years count.

Sunday, 5 September 2010

Fathers Day 2

My 3 kids are twice as good as others....

In the UK in June we celebrated Father's Day and they brought me chocolate and wrote thoughtful words in a card etc.

In Australia today is Father's Day - and they have spoilt me again!


I received a Toblerone, dairy milk chocolate bar and a Yorkie (they know the way to a man's heart is through his stomach!)My kids also generously loaded me with lots of other presents including a home made trophy and an inflatable chair cushion.

For lunch, which we ate outside, I had a hot curry and a cold beer.

I love my kids.

We also had a brilliant time at church today when we remembered our Father in heaven. We listened to a 29th chapter song 'Man up' and I showed the attached youtube video. (It was our biggest Sunday meeting so far - 61 including kids!)


Thursday, 2 September 2010

Walk on water!!!


John Ortberg's book 'If you want to walk on water you've got to get ot of the boat' grabbed my attention when I first read it back in 2001.

He brings the superb challenge from the story of Peter and the disciples struggling against the storm in the middle of the night. Afraid and exhausted these rough men see what appears to be Jesus walking on the water. Impulsive Peter cries out asking if he can join Jesus on the water. Peter does not ask for a guarantee - just an opportunity. Peter does not receive a promise from the Lord - just a command, and over the side of the boat he goes!Leaving comfort and facing failure he puts one foot in front of the other.

I have decided to re-read the book this week!

Stagnation is often the result of unrealized potential and nothing stinks like that. Fear is often the thing that hinders our growth. There is danger in getting out of the boat - but there is a danger staying in as well.

How about you?
When was the last time you stepped out of your comfort zone?
When did you last try something for the first time?
What are you reading this week that stirs courage in you?

Tuesday, 31 August 2010

STING


Saturday was 23 degrees so we packed a picnic and headed off to the sandy friendly beach.
Great to play bat and ball and beach soccer as a family.
I then decided to take a dip and we had fun pretending the sea was warm when really we were all freezing!

None of us had noticed the lurking creatures until it was too late. I felt a sting and then my arm slowly started to go numb.
I gazed down to see I have been hit by a jelly fish - I acted as though it was a box jelly fish - and with only minutes to live I raced back to Nicky and the safety of the towels. I took a photo of the zig zag scar left on my skin (but when I downloaded the image I struggled to see red line amongst the freckles.)

As a man I felt I had to make light of the situation. I tried to be strong and pretended I was fine. I wanted to adopt the Australian image of guys like Steve Irwin and smile despite the danger and pain. I wanted the boys to be impressed by their hero dad.

The reality was no-one took much notice of my injury as my 13 year old daughter Lois had been stung at least 3 or 4 times!

Friday, 27 August 2010

Billy - my long term friend

Yesterday Isaac and I spent the afternoon assembling 3 Billy Bookcases.(I know that Perth is one of the most isolated cities in the world - but it still only takes me 20minutes to drive to IKEA!)

It was great to finally unbox the books that I packed away in The Crown Church office just over 5 months ago. I know that I will not use some of them for months to come but it is comforting to have them decorate the wall and hopefully making me look more qualified to do this job.

Isaac being the enthusiast opened up the boxes and grabbed the instructions to find out what to do. It's not just because I am a man that I told him to put the 'how to' sheet away; I worked out that I have been building Billy Bookcases since before my kids were born. It was the first book case that I brought in my first house. I have assembled them in every house and every office since.

It is good to stop for a moment in this ever changing world and remember long term friends.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

A womans perspective


You have heard loads of spin from me - here is the truth from my wife, Nicky:

Moving countries is certainly full of big challenges. Despite the language being the same (well almost!) there are so many other differences that it does feel like a very different culture and I am definitely a 'foreigner' here!

Not knowing how everything works and is organised can make you feel very vulnerable and even silly at times but we are beginning to learn the ropes!
People however, have been very friendly and patient in helping out, sometimes too patient, it is not uncommon to sit in the bank for an hour as they open an account for you and chat about how you are settling in!

You do miss 'home' in so many ways, especially friends and family but modern technology is great for keeping in touch and we have been so blessed by all the people who have skyped, phoned, texted or emailed!

It is often not until we do not have things anymore that we really appreciate them, so what do I appreciate today?
a husband who is encouraging, inspiring and who keeps going no matter what
fantastic kids who have taken on the challenge of moving so well and humble me in the process
'old' friends for all their support and encouragement
'new' friends for their warmth and kindness

Are you appreciating what you have right now?!!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

TED & BBQ's!


On Saturday as a family we went out on the River with a great couple called Mark & Anna.
Mark has a small boat with outboard motor and a 2-seater canoe!
He also provided the TED and BBQ!
Despite the rain we had a great time - really helped by the excellent company.
Thanks.

We had a Church BBQ & Bonfire in the evening (and another TED!)
A great time on Roly & Judy's 10 acre plot.
So good to spend time having fun together and building memories.

P.S. The news that Arsenal won 6-0 at the weekend has raced round to this side of the world!!!!