Mandy's Musings

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Time to think

It never ceases to amaze me how 'busy' I can become. Sometimes I'm busy because of poor planning - having left things un-done, there is now only 2 hours left in which to do the said 3 tasks, so a frantic wave of activity ensues. Sometimes it is just a timing thing: the people I want to catch up with can all do it, as long as it is on a Monday ... so you flit from one thing to the next, never really settling in to each event. Other times it is because I purely can't say no!

And it worries me when it means I become too busy to think. To busy to just sit and stare into space and wonder what the possibilities are. To mull over that verse in scripture that is troubling me. My mind is so filled with the minute details that the big things get crowded out. It can mean that I make decisions on a pragmatic basis rather than seeking God's wisdom. That doesn't just worry me - it scares me.

And when I do take the time to reflect, i wonder how much of being 'busy' is about finding my identity in what I do. I must be important: I'm busy!

So today when I read Luke 10 and was reminded of the story of Mary and Martha, I was challenged to be less like Martha in the way I live, and more lke Mary, eager to sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from him. I was reminded also of Phil 4:7: 'Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, present your requests to him, and the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.'

My this next week be one filled with time to think, to reflect and pray.

Here's part of the passage:
Luke 10:38-42 (English Standard Version
Now as they went on their way, Jesus entered a village. And a woman named Martha welcomed him into her house. And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching. 4But Martha was distracted with much serving. And she went up to him and said, "Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me." But the Lord answered her, "Martha, Martha, you are anxious and troubled about many things, but one thing is necessary. Mary has chosen the good portion, which will not be taken away from her."

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Witnesses to Jesus

Today was the 3rd of our studies in Luke's Gospel, focussing on the witnesses to Jesus. We looked at Luke 1:5-79 as we considered the witness of Elizabeth, Mary and Zechariah.

I was really encouraged as we reflected on the mercy of our great God and his faithfulness to his promises to Israel in sending Jesus to save his people from their sins.

Zechariah really had it right:

“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel,
for he has visited and redeemed his people
and has raised up a horn of salvation for us
in the house of his servant David,
as he spoke by the mouth of his holy prophets from of old,
that we should be saved from our enemies
and from the hand of all who hate us;
to show the mercy promised to our fathers
and to remember his holy covenant,
the oath that he swore to our father Abraham, to grant us
that we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies,
might serve him without fear,
in holiness and righteousness before him all our days.
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High;
for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways,
to give knowledge of salvation to his people
in the forgiveness of their sins,
because of the tender mercy of our God,
whereby the sunrise shall visit us from on high
to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death,
to guide our feet into the way of peace.”

Monday, February 18, 2008

A bad day to start my MT&D diary homework

In year 2 of the Ministry Training and Development 'After College Training' for those in full time ministry, one of the tasks we have to do is to log, in 15 minute blocks, how we spend our day for 7 consecutive days. I decided that there was no time like the present, so diligently pulled out my log this morning and began.

But with only 4 hours sleep, and a very busy Monday, I am beginning to think that it was a very bad day to start. There is no obvious code to describe: 'have a mini-meltdown because you are tired and stressed and if anyone else asks you anything else you will stop coping!'. And even more annoying when you realise that event fits within one of the 15 minute slots ... it doesn't even get a whole one to itself.

Note to self: God is in control. It is Jesus who upholds the universe. Take some time to stop and remember all the good things he has done and what a privledge it is to serve him. And work out who you need to call in the morning to apologise in person for your ungraciousness.

A passage I need to constantly remember is Col 1:15-20:

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities - all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything, he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Viral Marketing

I engaged in my first piece of Viral Marketing today - using facebook to create a series of events put on by Moore Partners (formerly Alumni & Friends) on the 26th of March. I was happy to do it because I think the events are great. If you'd like to come and hear Don Carson speak at MTC, then check out their website: for more details. A real highlight will be dinner in the MTC dining hall followed by a 'chat' between Peter O'Brien and Don Carson.

It got me thinking about the different ways that we now communicate - in the past events like this would have a mass mailout, ads in Southern Cross and maybe an article in the Sydney Anglicans website. Yet nowadays with so much happening online, to not use this medium seems to miss out on so many people. It took me perhaps 30 minutes and I was personally able to make contact and invite about 300 of my Christian friends. The effect of the facebook feed is that friends of these friends, who I don't know personally, will also have been informed of the event. Like any advertising, it is incredibly hard to guage it's effectiveness. Yet for the time spent, if a few extra people get to come along and hear the bible taught, I think it is great.

What do others think? Is it offensive/annoying/unhelpful to get invitations like this? How do we be wise about how often to promote such things using these methods?

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Monday, February 11, 2008

A new blog

The Bible Talks has a blog!

Check us out at


Monday, December 10, 2007

A Christmas Meme

Ali tagged me for this Christmas Meme.

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Wrapping paper.

2. Real tree or artificial? No tree.

3. When do you put up your tree? See above - but with Mum & Dad it was always 1 December, their wedding anniversary.

4. When do you take the tree down? Hard to take down something you don't put up!

5. Do you like eggnog? Never tried it, but the thought of drinking eggs turns my stomach.

6. Favourite gift received as a child? I seem to remember birthday gifts more clearly than Christmas ones, although I am pretty sure my blue bike with the stremers coming out of the handlebars and basket on the front being a Christmas present from when I was about 8.

7. Do you have a Nativity scene? Yes. A hand-made one by my creative friend Karyn.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Mum & Dad - they have everything they need and don't like 'stuff'.

9. Easiest person to buy for? My brother - he can always use another Hawaiian shirt.

10. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Hotel stationary - you know, the complimentary stuff you get when you stay somewhere, all wrapped up!

11. Mail or email Christmas cards? Mail, but probably won't get to sending them this year so an email might have to do.

12. Favorite Christmas movie? I cried during 'Miracle at Christmas' ... hopeless I know!

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? Generally start during the January sales. It's a habit I get from my mum, who delivered our extended family presents, all wrapped, in March. I think she has already finished shopping for next year.

14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Yes.

15. Favorite things to eat at Christmas? I don't really eat most of the traditional Christmas food - no pudding or cake for me, I don't eat turkey or seafood ... but I love the summer fruits, especially Mangoes and Cherries.

16. Clear lights or colored on the tree? No tree - but clear lights.

17. Favorite Christmas song? This year it is 'O Little Town of Bethlehem'. Although I'll have to say that Emma Pask singing 'The first Noel' with James Morrison on the piano was pretty impressive, but I'm not sure that your favourite song can be somthing you've only heard once.

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? 3 yearly rotation with Mum, Dad and Kevin - a year in Qld (last year); a year off (this year, staying in Sydney); a year in Sydney (next year)

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes (embarrasing I know!).

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? These questions all presume you have a tree! But if I had one it would be a star.

21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I managed to convince Mum & Dad when I was about 18 that if I got home from church on Christmas Eve after midnight that we could each open one present, because it was actually Christmas day ... but really we do all the pressies in the morning.

22. Most annoying thing about this time of year? That people seem to have lost the sense that Christmas is actually all about CHRIST.

23. What is the "corniest" family tradition you do, or miss doing? We always got our stocking as a pillow case at the end of the bed, full of wrapped presents. Kevin and I always got an equal number of presents in total, and the often matched - when I got a book about Sam Riley, he got a hardcover Batman book. But we also always got an orange and chocolate coins. Mum & Dad kept up the tradition of the stockings even after we moved out for a number of years. I remember being most distressed when they forgot the orange one year (I think I was 26 at the time!)

24. Ugliest Christmas Decoration ever invented? Reindeer made of lights that go on the top of the house.

25. Which looks the best, theme trees or homey trees? Homey trees.

26. What does Christmas mean to you? Matt 1:21 "She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."

I'll tag Byron; Michael and Ros

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Friday, December 07, 2007

Hang in there

I knew I hadn’t been good at blogging recently, but hadn’t realised that it had been over 2 months since I last said anything.

Of late, I’ve had a few ‘blasts from the past’ where I’ve reconnected with a few people I haven’t seen for years. And yes – Facebook is at least partly responsible! It’s reinforced to me how much we are influenced and shaped by the people around us. In a sleepless night while I was tidying up I discovered one of my ‘memory boxes’, full of letters and cards. One of the letters on top was written in about 1993, from someone who sadly today is not living as a Christian. Here’s what it said:

"Smile! God loves you


Problem solved.

• When your anger gets to much and your gonna explode, say Galatians 5:22-23 in your head, even out loud
• Implement the stuff you learn at Youth Group and Church into your life
• Forget about pleasing your mum and dad, forget about pleasing your brother, friends, uncles, aunties, even yourself. Do what pleases the Lord. E.g. Mark 12:31, Luke 6:35, Luke 10:27, Matthew 5:43, Matthew 5:44, 1 Corinthians 13:8. Stuff the world! You’re “dead to sin” if you are a Christian, so live like it. Don’t just say it, do it.
• Friends, who needs them! They let you down, forget to call, don’t show up, cause petty arguments, steal boyfriends, borrow clothes etc. You’ve got the bestest friend in the whole entire universe in your corner who loves you beyond belief. Talk to him, draw close to him and he’ll craw close to you, submit yourself to him and things will fall into place. So be patient (James 5:6).


It was really hard to read, knowing where the person now stands before God. Here is someone who had a significant impact upon me as a Christian, who is now living in active rebellion towards him. As a result, I’ve been reflecting on the way that our gracious Father works through others to teach us more about himself, and the way that we have a role to play in spurring one another on to love and good deeds (I’ve been thinking about Hebrews and the warning passages a fair bit).

Let me leave you with Hebrews 3:12-4:13:
12 Take care, brothers, lest there be in any of you an evil, unbelieving heart, leading you to fall away from the living God. 13 But exhort one another every day, as long as it is called “today,” that none of you may be hardened by the deceitfulness of sin. 14 For we have come to share in Christ, if indeed we hold our original confidence firm to the end. 15 As it is said,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts as in the rebellion.”

16 For who were those who heard and yet rebelled? Was it not all those who left Egypt led by Moses? 17 And with whom was he provoked for forty years? Was it not with those who sinned, whose bodies fell in the wilderness? 18 And to whom did he swear that they would not enter his rest, but to those who were disobedient? 19 So we see that they were unable to enter because of unbelief.

4:1 Therefore, while the promise of entering his rest still stands, let us fear lest any of you should seem to have failed to reach it. 2 For good news came to us just as to them, but the message they heard did not benefit them, because they were not united by faith with those who listened. [1] 3 For we who have believed enter that rest, as he has said,

“As I swore in my wrath,
‘They shall not enter my rest,’”

although his works were finished from the foundation of the world. 4 For he has somewhere spoken of the seventh day in this way: “And God rested on the seventh day from all his works.” 5 And again in this passage he said,

“They shall not enter my rest.”

6 Since therefore it remains for some to enter it, and those who formerly received the good news failed to enter because of disobedience, 7 again he appoints a certain day, “Today,” saying through David so long afterward, in the words already quoted,

“Today, if you hear his voice,
do not harden your hearts.”

8 For if Joshua had given them rest, God [2] would not have spoken of another day later on. 9 So then, there remains a Sabbath rest for the people of God, 10 for whoever has entered God's rest has also rested from his works as God did from his.

11 Let us therefore strive to enter that rest, so that no one may fall by the same sort of disobedience. 12 For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and of marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart. 13 And no creature is hidden from his sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of him to whom we must give account.

[1] 4:2 Some manuscripts it did not meet with faith in the hearers
[2] 4:8 Greek he

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