Saturday, May 30, 2009

New blog!

Sorry to be a pain to everyone who follows me here, but I've up and moved to Wordpress, coz it offers a lot more features and is easier to manage.

I'm working on getting a better domain name sometime soon!

In any case, something new is in the works that should be starting tomorrow. I've written a little intro for it, let's wait and see what happens! Go on over, update your bookmarks, and have a good one!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Man refuses to forgive friend of sixty-two years

BRISBANE, Australia

Sixty-seven year old Jonathan Duncan has had a falling out with his lifelong friend, sixty-eight year old William Jones, after the latter forgot to attend a rugby game.

"It wasn't a big deal, you know, but I just can't forgive him." Jonathan told reporters on Monday, the day after the incident occurred. "I had a spare ticket for the game and Will said he'd come along, but he completely forgot about it. Normally I'd just shrug it off, but this time I can't forgive him."

When asked why, Jonathan responded, "It's Biblical."

Apparently, the rugby game slip-up was William's four-hundred and ninety-first offense against Jonathan over the course of their sixty-two year friendship.

"I still remember the first one. William stole my bubble-gum. He later apologised - he always apologises, he's great like that. And of course, I forgave him. I had to, Jesus says we have to."

But with William, that law no longer applies. "Jesus said that we weren't to forgive seven times, but seventy times seven. That makes four-hundred and ninety times. I never thought Will would hit that point, but I suppose after sixty-two years, you end up forgiving a lot. We're practically like brothers as a result. Or, at least, we were until this last one."

William doesn't understand Jonathan's logic. "I always thought Jesus was talking figuratively. I haven't been keeping track of how many times I've forgiven Jonny, it's gotta be a few hundred too. Now that he hasn't forgiven me for missing the rugby game, we haven't really spoken since."

When asked about the possibility of restitution, Jonathan was sullen. "I'd love to make up with him, it really wasn't all that big a deal, it was a bad game anyway. But if I were to forgive him, it would be blatantly disobeying a direct command of Jesus, and I have to love my God more than I love my friends, you know? I've done what Jesus asked me to with William."

So what next for Jonathan? "Well, I'm looking for a new friend now. Gordon down the road I've known the last five years, and I've only forgiven him thirty-seven times. I figure he should last me out 'til I cark it."

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Lest We Forgive

Although it is not yet ANZAC Day here in Toronto, it is in Australia. This is the first of such days that I have remembered outside of Australia. I think it's also the first that I have properly understood.

For those who don't know, ANZAC stands for Australian and New Zealand Army Corps, and ANZAC Day is celebrated every April 25th, commemorating the first soldiers' landing in Gallipoli in WWI. It has, over time, become a day that invites Aussies and Kiwis to recognise the significance of all those who fought for and defended our country.

My grandfather (whom we called "Dadda") was one of those men. He changed his age in order to protect his country in WWII, and at twenty-one (my age now) was taken as a prisoner-of-war in the Pacific Islands. Many of his comrades didn't make it out alive due to the harsh conditions that they were forced to live in - Dadda wasn't expected to live past forty, have children or ever live a normal life again.

In God's providence, Dadda went Home last October, at the ripe-old age of 87 (the Australian cricketer's unlucky number, as he would remind us!), leaving behind a wife, six children and a brilliant Christian legacy for the Coller family. It was that last part that struck me once again today, as I was able to witness to a 67 year old Japanese man who does not yet know Christ.

It struck me that this conversation that I had with the man (his name was Ken) was evidence of amazing forgiveness. It was the Japanese that had brutalised Dadda, killed many of his friends and given him nightmares for years following the war. Following these events, the easiest, most natural and most justifiable reaction would be to hold on to whatever animosity and hatred that was surely felt towards them during the war years. Dadda, humanly speaking, had every right to pass on a disgust for the Japanese that would have been handed down to my father and thereby to me.

But Dadda didn't react humanly. I'm sure in his mind this never ceased to be a struggle for him, yet outwardly he handed down to his children and grandchildren a legacy of love (because God first loved us) and forgiveness (because we have been forgiven much). As if to force this forgiveness in Dadda's own heart, God went so far as calling my aunty (Dadda's youngest child) and her husband to be missionaries in Japan, where they served for seven years.

Then today I was able to speak about Jesus in a situation that might have seemed impossible two generations ago, if it weren't for forgiveness. I am indebted to Dadda for the sacrifices he made to defend my country,

But even moreso, I am indebted to him for the Christ-like example he set for his whole family, through circumstances that, God-willing, I will never even come close to experiencing.

Lest we forget. Lest we forgive.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Prayer and motivation please?

At risk of repeating myself once again, I'm going to start by saying: "Wow, it's been ages since I last posted!"

I'm currently in Tronno, the Canadian version. Lovin' it. Plenty of awesome people to get to know, and God's doing some great stuff here.

But I come to you now, dear readers, with a request. My first motivation for coming back to Canada were to get to know all the cool people who I only got to meet briefly last time (and I've met a ton more brilliant souls to boot!).

My second was to write a book (or, at least start one!). Over the past few weeks/months in the leadup, I've been realising that I have no idea how to do this task, or exactly what to write. All I know is that it's going to be based around my Elihu post from last September, as that's been on my mind the whole time since. You can read that one here!

So my request is that you guys keep me in your prayers... I really feel as though it's an important message, and I'm quickly realising my own weaknesses in trying to get it tapped out. Be praying that I'm motivated and writing the truth in coherent ways!

Any thoughts/resources on the topic would be greatly appreciated also. If you're a Christian, what does this mean for you? If you're not, how do you respond to that message? What's your reaction/does it make sense/do you agree conceptually/any other thoughts? My email is still:

Cheers y'all, wish me luck! Also, I've got some ideas for inspiration to be writing here a little more, we'll see how that turns out...

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Best Facebook status thread EVER

So Chris Goldring updated his status on Facebook with quite a humourous statement. I, being a master of the pun (if I do say so myself), decided to reply with an equally humourous statement. This in turn led Chris to reply with another zinger. Then Kanadian Kathy replied with a scorcher of her own. Not wanting to be outdone, Ivan felt he should join in the conversation. The thread snowballed, and by the end of the afternoon, we ended up with the masterpiece that you now have the opportunity to read. Be warned though, you may well die of laughter and/or collapse in amazement at some of our wits.

Chris is a small equine this morning. 10:59 - Comment - Like

Nick Coller at 11:09 on 24 February
Having a bit of a rough trot are you?

Chris Goldring at 11:14 on 24 February
I've been doing too much recently, I need to rein myself in.

Kathy Ross at 11:37 on 24 February
No you don't Chris, don't be such a nay-sayer.

Ivan Baker at 11:45 on 24 February
Stop horsing about. In-steed do some work.

Kathy Ross at 11:48 on 24 February
Hay, speak for yourself.

Nick Coller at 11:50 on 24 February
Yeah Ivan, try a bit of encouragement. Less stick, more carrot, as they say.

Chris Goldring at 11:53 on 24 February
Some of these puns are foal, stop stirrup-ing up trouble.

Nick Coller at 11:54 on 24 February
Like you've got such a good track record of good puns...

Kathy Ross at 11:59 on 24 February
This is all starting to filly a bit negative guys, let's not get cantered away.

Michael Allen at 12:02 on 24 February
Lets not get distracted from the mane issue guys...

Kathy Ross at 12:03 on 24 February
Mike's right, this is all getting quite tack-y.

Michael Allen at 12:05 on 24 February
Yep it needs to be bridled fast.

Kathy Ross at 12:07 on 24 February
I'm chomping on the bit for it to happen.

Chris Goldring at 12:07 on 24 February
I canter believe the quality of this thread.

Michael Allen at 12:08 on 24 February
Yeah but be flattered we aren't giving you the colt shoulder!

Kathy Ross at 12:09 on 24 February
It has turned into a bit of a dog and pony show...

Ivan Baker at 12:09 on 24 February
Wish I could contribute more but I'm having a bit of a mare. Better giddy up on with my day.

Michael Allen at 12:11 on 24 February
I don't think Chris appreciates all this attention; he is so shire and retiring!

Nick Coller at 12:11 on 24 February
I think we've saddle that can said...

Kathy Ross at 12:12 on 24 February
We really did go off to the races with that one...

Nick Coller at 12:13 on 24 February
I think we've pwny-d his status update.

Michael Allen at 12:13 on 24 February
We are all jockeying for the position of 'best punner'

Kathy Ross at 12:14 on 24 February
Yah, we've been a bit trough on it.

Chris Goldring at 12:15 on 24 February
Some of these are oats so simple

Nick Coller at 12:15 on 24 February
I just look for puns mare-ever I can find them

Michael Allen at 12:17 on 24 February
We are all just jumping on the band waggon now

Nick Coller at 12:18 on 24 February
You guys hafta foald sometime and let me win this race...

Kathy Ross at 12:19 on 24 February
You should be carted off for that one

Chris Goldring at 12:19 on 24 February
We are having a bit of a field day here

Michael Allen at 12:19 on 24 February
Well who would be up for a red rum to celebrate this masterpiece?

Kathy Ross at 12:20 on 24 February
Shouldn't we all be riding essays or something?

Michael Allen at 12:21 on 24 February
All of yours have been close but no shergar!

Nick Coller at 12:21 on 24 February
Shh, guys, people are getting annoyed. We should probably start whispering.

Kathy Ross at 12:23 on 24 February
All this punning is making me hungry... would anyone like a Seabuscuit?

Chris Goldring at 12:23 on 24 February
It is a pity Jim hasn't joined in. Gym-khana always be relied on for some good puns.

Kathy Ross at 12:25 on 24 February
I think we might be flogging a dead horse here.

Michael Allen at 12:25 on 24 February
Chris is a great ascot for the equine world!

Kathy Ross at 12:26 on 24 February
Hat's off to that one Mike.

Michael Allen at 12:27 on 24 February
And as sweet as a sugar lump, aintree!

Chris Goldring at 12:27 on 24 February
I think it is about time I Epsom lunch

Kathy Ross at 12:28 on 24 February
Now let's try not to get off track...

Nick Coller at 12:29 on 24 February
We should probably quit stallion for time

Chris Goldring at 12:29 on 24 February
Some of these puns have Fallon a bit flat

Nick Coller at 12:31 on 24 February
I agree with Kathy though - we really should get back to our stud-ies.

Michael Allen at 12:31 on 24 February
Whip up a bit of enthusiasm guys!

Nick Coller at 12:32 on 24 February
Oh, by the way Chris - that box of bowls last night was really heavy. Do you reckon you could chariot for me next week?

Michael Allen at 12:36 on 24 February
We will have filled your wall before-lock!

Kathy Ross at 12:37 on 24 February
That was lame, you deserve to be shot.

Chris Goldring at 12:40 on 24 February
I think we will have to colic a draw.

Nick Coller at 12:40 on 24 February
This thread is going to give me nightmares.

Chris Goldring at 12:40 on 24 February
I vet it will

Michael Allen at 12:41 on 24 February
Such typical students, grazing around all day with nothing better to do.

Kathy Ross at 12:42 on 24 February
Chris I think this is the most activity your wall has had since the year of the horse.

Nick Coller at 12:42 on 24 February
Be sure to make a good show jumping off Facebook then!

Chris Goldring at 12:43 on 24 February
I must admit this thread has gone a lot farrier than I expected.

Nick Coller at 12:44 on 24 February
Can you get off the Internet now that you've centaur of your emails?

Michael Allen at 12:44 on 24 February
We should stop mucking about.

Kathy Ross at 12:46 on 24 February
There you have it folks, straight from the horse's mouth.

Michael Allen at 12:47 on 24 February
Yeh its all getting a bit samey, a bit unicorn..

Kathy Ross at 12:48 on 24 February
This has been carriaged on too long.

Nick Coller at 12:52 on 24 February
I had a conversation similar to this with a lady once, it eventually drover crazy.

Michael Allen at 12:54 on 24 February
That sounds like a tall tail to me!

Nick Coller at 12:55 on 24 February
Nah, it's all true, it was quite saddening, especially as she was due to be in my other friends' bridle party the next day.

Michael Allen at 12:56 on 24 February
I am st-haunch supporter of telling the truth you know!

Sam Saunders at 12:58 on 24 February
Er...why the long faces guys?...

Michael Allen at 13:04 on 24 February
I would have thought the answer was obvious to that equestrian!

Nick Coller at 13:05 on 24 February
Something to do with da birds and derbies or something?

Ivan Baker at 14:18 24 February via Facebook Mobile
Never before in the fields of horse grazing have so many groaned so much at the efforts of so few...

Ivan Baker at 14:31 24 February via Facebook Mobile
Never before in the fields of horse grazing have so many groaned so much at the efforts of so few...

Michael Allen at 14:33 on 24 February
We get it Ivan, it wasn't good the first time!

Nick Coller at 14:43 on 24 February
We must be almost finished here, be sure to shut the gait on your way out.

Michael Allen at 14:46 on 24 February
It may be the end, but we have been spurred on to new heights of punnery.

Nick Coller at 14:57 on 24 February
Don't rein on my parade, Allen! I will have the last pun!

Michael Allen at 14:59 on 24 February
This may get violent, lead to a breech of the peace!

Michael Allen at 15:07 on 24 February
I think that settles it, you might say I just rodeo away into the sunset!

Michael Allen at 15:09 on 24 February
Alternatively you might say I just won the joust..

Nick Coller at 15:20 on 24 February
You canter gue that you've won just yet...


Good times.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

25 Random Facts

1. I was almost born on February 29, which would have meant I'd only had five birthdays to date. The town I was born in was a little place called Ayr (about an hour south of Townsville, which for all you non-Australians is about thirty hours north of Sydney) which, on Feb 29, 1988 was battered with a cyclone, forcing all the homes to be evacuated. This stress caused many of the March-due babies to be born prematurely, however my mother was strong and held on til the 19th of March.

2. I have lived in 13 different houses in 6 different towns/cities (8 if you include different suburbs within cities). I expect this number to rise to 15 houses in 8 towns/cities by the end of the year, but we shall see what happens!

3. Nick's law #1: You can never go wrong with a kebab.

4. Milk is the absolute best drink in the world. I will easily drink a litre/two pints in a day, sometimes more.

5. My favourite country is, of course, Australia. My second favourite country is Canada. Other than that, I have no ranking system, however, I have been to seven all up. This is another number I expect to rise by the end of the year.

6. As my mate Spurgeon quoted in a sermon once: "I'm a poor sinner and nothing at all; Jesus Christ is my all in all". This is true of me also, and I find my identity in Christ's sacrifice for my wrongdoings, which allows me to be reconciled with the creator of the universe. It's brilliant stuff, and it's for you too!

7. Charles Haddon Spurgeon is not really my mate, as he has been dead for 118 years. However, if he were not, I am sure that we WOULD be mates. As such, I shall continue to refer to him as "My mate Spurgeon". He was a good bloke.

8. After every movie I see, I look up the trivia for it. Thus I am basically a treasure trove of useless information about all the movies I have seen, and a few that I have not. When asked where I get said information, I will attribute this to Fantales wrappers.

9. I have made many, many good friends over the past seven months' traveling, and thank God for Facebook granting me the ability to keep in touch with them! (You know who you are - if you're reading this and I met you somewhere other than Australia, pat yourself on the back. Thank you for being awesome!)

10. From what I have heard, in order to speak Welsh, you need only clear your throat in a variety of different ways. In order to do an Irish accent, you need to hold an 'E' shape with your mouth as you speak. Also, Finnish sounds like Japanese, but with a_lot more syllables.

11. I have also been taught that to write 'alot' is a sin at roughly the same level as murdering an entire family. There should be a space between the 'a' and the 'lot'. I never really noticed until I was told off for doing it wrong.

12. I am consistently amazed at how many Christians are completely unaware that there is a talking donkey in the Bible. What are Sunday school teachers doing? Numbers 22, people! Even donkeys speak of the glory of God!

13. I am descended from convicts on both sides of my family, making me almost as (white) Aussie as you can get. On Mum's side, William Ezzy stole a barrel of brewers' yeast and was sentenced to seven years in Australia. He arrived in 1789 (the year after its' founding), and his wife and kids came with him. His granddaughter was the first woman to own a shop in Aus or something like that. Dad's side came over in 1790 for stealing something or other, not sure what. So when all the English lot call me a convict, they are actually speaking quite accurately!

14. Apparently, if you trace the Collers' descendants back further than that, we came from one of the Wesleys. Not John or Charles as they had no kids, but one of their 11 (?) brothers and sisters. Pretty cool.

15. We had a pet cockatoo when I was four. For some strange reason, my parents and everyone else who knew us at the time deny its very existence and insist that we never had a cockatoo. But I distinctly remember having a pet cockatoo. History revisionists, the lot of them.

16. I played violin for a year when I was eight/nine, and hated it. Nowadays I really wish I'd continued, as it just annoys me that I know HOW to play the instrument, but can't make a good sound out of it.

17. My favourite movie of all time is 'Who Framed Roger Rabbit'. The creation of this film is a feat that will never again be repeated in history, as it was animated without the use of a single computer. When you watch it with that in mind, you become absolutely flabbergasted.

18. Along the lines of animation, it is my opinion that the greatest musical sequence in any movie ever was the 'Holding out for a hero' sequence in Shrek 2. It is a phenomenal piece of music that manages to capture the essence of the entire movie in four minutes.

19. I once almost ran out of petrol 100km into the bush, which required me to buy petrol off a one-armed man.

20. My favourite Bible passage of all time is Job 33:19-28 which you can read here:

21. Nick's Law #2: There is no place comfier for an afternoon nap than a trampoline.

22. The greatest video game ever created was Lylat Wars/Star Fox 64 (depending on which country you're from). I have spent many, many hours on the single player, and still find Corneria (the first level) absolutely epically brilliant.

23. The best car I've ever had (out of three thus far) was a blue '93 Holden (or Opel/Vauxhall for you Europeans) Calibra that I named Adrosteia (which means "She who cannot be escaped"). She was sadly run up the back of six weeks after buying her, and written off. I've never fully recovered from the loss. She was fantastic.

24. One of my favourite things to do is to get to know cool people. Because I've been travelling and realise that I only have limited time in each place, this has forced me to condense this process somewhat into getting to know people as quickly as I can. I suspect this may have freaked some people out, as it can appear that I am coming on very strong. I apologise if this is you, I just think you're cool!

25. As a result of getting to know those cool people, my OTHER favourite thing to do is introducing cool people to other cool people. So if anyone elsewhere wants to come to Australia, rest assured that you have a place to stay, and we'll meet lots of cool people. Any Aussies wanting to go to anywhere I know cool people, I'll hook you up. I love networking.

Friday, January 23, 2009

New address

Just a few random updates.

First off, I have a new address:

12 Portland Street
Norwich, Norfolk, NR23LF
United Kingdom

Secondly, I'm heading to Wales for the weekend/Australia Day to hang out with the guys at Christchurch again. Woohoo!

Thirdly, you can't cook biscuits on al-foil.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Of hotness and coolness (yes, I'm talking about you!)

Until a fortnight ago, I had always assumed that once you got below freezing point, you wuldn’t be able to tell too much of a difference between temperatures – it would all just be cold.

Boy, was I wrong.

Finland is a unique place, in that you get a very broad range of temperature. Since I’ve been in Finland, I’ve experienced my hottest temperature (88 degrees in the sauna), and also my coldest (minus 20 degrees in the snow). It’s even MORE unique in that you literally step from one to the other. It’s quite a shock to the system to change temperature by a hundred degrees instantaneously!

What I found ironic though, is that while we were in the sauna, it was 88 degrees, but only 50% humidity. So while I hadn’t been in a hotter place, I used to live near Cairns, which could regularly hit 70 or 80 percent humidity. Just chuck some eucalyptus oil in the sauna, and the atmosphere was surprisingly similar to back home.

Now, I’m going to hazard a guess that, because most of the people reading this will be Aussies, you know what it’s like to be hot. But let me just elaborate on what minus twenty feels like – or rather, DOESN’T feel like. Minus twenty basically translates to loss of all feeling in your cheekbones within a minute of stepping outside, with your nose soon to follow. Even though your fingers and toes are protected by super thick gloves and socks/shoes, it only helps for twenty minutes or so. For a while there I wasn’t sure whether my second toe had snapped off or not.

Minus twenty degrees translates to water freezing in the open air after an hour or so; there’s no chance of your car CD player working; and there’s frost forming on the INSIDE of the car windows. In short, it’s freaking cold. I never thought I’d be relieved to return to temperatures of minus five.

We were about thirty kilometres south of the Arctic circle, in Matti’s family’s winter cottage and I got to try my hand at downhill skiing, for free nonetheless! It’s a good thing, because I’ve always said that the best skiing is free skiing. I wasn’t all that good at it, in fact, I couldn’t actually stop. But then I took the plunge and went on a proper slope, and found I was able to once I got a bit of speed up. I didn’t fall over at all, which I was fairly proud of. I wimped out after an hour or so though – it was minus eighteen, and Matti and Emilia were both freezing as well, and they’re both Finnish!

I spent Christmas with Matti and his parents – my first white Christmas. It was very, very enjoyable. They have all their celebrations on Christmas Eve in Finland, so it meant that I was opening my presents at around about the same time my family was back home. There were no prawns to be found, however dinner DID consist of cold ham and salmon, as well as an assortment of random casseroles, all of which were scrumptious.

We went to a Lutheran church on Christmas eve, and then a Pentecostal one on Christmas day. I didn’t understand a word of either service, but thoroughly enjoyed them both nonetheless. Singing in Finnish is fun. It’s a strange experience, singing in an unknown language, but knowing that you’re still singing praises to God, along with an assortment of other believers. I picked up a few Finnish words to add to my reportoir – Herra means “Lord”, and “Mailmaan” means “In all the world”, and “Kitoss” means “Thank you”. Unfortunately, I never got to say “Katte voita” in context – there were no leaking roofs to be seen. It was useful for something though, as all the Finnish people I met were thoroughly amused at the fact that that was the only Finnish I knew.

More to come!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Free CD? Yes please!

Hey y'all,

My mate Bob Kauflin and the guys at Covenant Life have decided to memorise ten worthwhile hymns over the next ten months, and to assist with that they've recorded a CD with some fairly good remixes. And you can get it for free! (Or whatever you want to pay for it).

Like the rest of Sovereign Grace's stuff, I listened through it once and it didn't immediately jump out and grab me - but then I listened through again, and before I knew it, I'd listened through a dozen times. It's good stuff, believe me.

So head on over to, download it, and get into some good lyrics put to some good music in a variety of different styles. For free. Did I mention the free bit? That's what sold me... so worth it!

Saturday, November 22, 2008

What on earth is that falling from the sky?!?

The Christian Union is having a 24 hour prayer time at the uni at the moment - I just got home from doing the 7pm - 7am shift to get a bit of sleep before returning for the rest of it (and then two birthday parties immediately following).

Upon exiting the nice, warm classroom, I immediately thought it seemed a little more fresh than usual... then opened the doors outside to discover the most beautiful sight ever - dawn was just breaking and sending pink hues across the sky, and it was SNOWING!!! Imagine that - snow!!! It's not just something they made up for the TV to fool us all, it actually comes from the sky! I got a weird look or two as I walked home, most of the way with my head raised and my tongue out as far as it could go to taste some.

It was an amazingly cool experience - to be spending some time with the Big Guy and then to depart from that to discover that He's decided to paint some new pictures on the scenery. So, so cool.

...but also so, so, SO freaking COLD! My hands have literally dropped off, which has required me to type this with my nose, which is also about to go. So if I suddenly stop typing, you'll know w

(That was just a joke. My hands haven't really dropped off.)

Nick's English Week

It's been a while - no surprises there, really. Over the past two months I've basically just been doing life here, so I figured I'd post a quick rundown of my standard week for your reading pleasure. (Who'd have thought life goes on as normal in another country?)

10am - Church at St Andrews, Eaton. It's an old school Anglican church with organ and lots of old people - new experience for me, and I'm actually kind of enjoying it. The main reason I'm going is because the pastor (sorry, the vicar rather) is a really, really top-notch bloke named Phil Rodd. Adam Moore's the youth guy there too, and including he and I, there are approximately two people in the 18-35 age group. As I said, this is a new experience for me, and it's good to be able to support him!
Sunday roast for lunch - usually chicken or pork. Good stuff.
8pm - student Bible study at Holy Trinity, the more-modern Anglican church that I first got in contact with when I arrived.

Monday's generally my day off - I don't have anything to do until
4pm - Creative writing: Poetry. Lots of reading and writing poems, it's a very cruisy class.
6pm - Confirmation classes. Adam and I take two classes of kids who are looking at getting confirmed, and for an hour each week we go through an aspect of Christianity. Next week's the last one, because the confirmation service is next Sunday. Monday's group has 4 kids aged between 11 and 13.

Cleaning day! Spend between three and four hours doing the whole house's vacuuming/mopping, as well as cleaning all the bathrooms and any other assorted jobs that need doing.
4pm - Pick up Mima (the youngest kid (9 years old)) from school and take her to her Bible class at Holy Trinity. Lots of fascinating discussions abound in this twenty minute walk.
7:30pm - Christian Union. Basically a church service for the CU guys, with music and a speaker that comes in generally from one of the churches in the city or one of the university heads.

9am - Actor and the Text performances. Two 15 minutes performances with workshopping immediately following. I've been in one so far, have to do one more before the end of semester.
12noon - Creative Writing: Prose. A fun subject which is spent workshopping each other's pieces. My one's due in this Wednesday, should be fun.
7pm - Confirmation class 2. This class has 6 kids who are a bit older - between 12 and 16.

9am - Actor and the Text seminar. Do all sorts of assorted exercises in this class, generally revolving around the theories of acting.
1pm - CU Action group. Basically a Bible study with a few other guys and girls from the CU.

7am - Breakfast with Patrick, Zac and soon-to-be John. Really good English breakfast too. Prayer and Bible study to follow.
The rest of the day is spent doing uni work, meeting up with people and doing some more assorted jobs.

Finishing up whatever hours I have left for the week, and then going out with mates and doing stuff.

Obviously there are a lot of gaps in this timetable - that's generally spent doing a few extra hours around the house, hanging out with mates at their house, one of the many pubs in Norwich or seeing shows/gigs, actually doing some uni work and talking with people from back home.

So that's basically been my life the past little while, and will be for about three more weeks. I shall endeavour to update a little more frequently with some of the more interesting things that have happened (including a trip to LEGOLAND!!!, seeing a freaking AWESOME funk band with three saxophones named Small Town Bullies - look them up on Facebook, and seeing Quantum of Solace twice. Is that out in Aus yet?)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Challenge or Opportunity?

Over the past few weeks, the story of Naaman has popped up at least three times. When that happens, you tend to sit up and take notice of it.

One of the things that strikes me about the story (which you can read in 2 Kings 5) is the difference in reactions from the king of Israel and from Elisha. Read verses 6-8:

The letter that he took to the king of Israel read: "With this letter I am sending my servant Naaman to you so that you may cure him of his leprosy."
As soon as the king of Israel read the letter, he tore his robes and said, "Am I God? Can I kill and bring back to life? Why does this fellow send someone to me to be cured of his leprosy? See how he is trying to pick a quarrel with me!"

When Elisha the man of God heard that the king of Israel had torn his robes, he sent him this message: "Why have you torn your robes? Have the man come to me and he will know that there is a prophet in Israel."

When approached by Namaan, the king immediately saw it as a challenge, and a situation wherein he would lose some of his own power. Contrast this with when Elisha encountered the situation. Elisha saw it for what it really was - an opportunity for God's power and might to be shown.

Which got me thinking, how do WE react when faced with challenges from people questioning us about God? Do we get worried or depressed that we'll say the wrong thing, or that they'll laugh at us and we'll lose face with them? Or will we praise God that He's getting an opportunity to work through us, and show Himself to those people?

Philemon verse 6 reads "I pray that you will be active in sharing your faith, so that you will have a full understanding of every good thing we have in Christ." When faced with questions and with challenges, it's an opportunity for our own lives and our own knowledge of who we are in Christ to be strengthened! While Namaan benefited greatly from his experience in Israel, surely Israel also benefited - because they had the opportunity to see how great and powerful their God was.

So in all circumstances, don't be afraid to do a shift in your mindset and turn challenges into opportunities. Everyone benefits, and God gets the glory.