Tuesday, 27 May 2008

I'm baaackkkkkkk

I am surprised how long it is since I last blogged. I'm still alive and kicking. I have resumed doing some woodwork which has been a hobby of mine. I have been making planter and blanket boxes, small shelves, toys etc which I hope to sell at the local markets and am hoping to have enough of a collection by the 2nd Sat of next month.

The trouble has been that some of the items I have been making we want to keep for ourselves, such as a large trunk which we are giving to the boys as a birthday present as a pirate chest to keep the lounge room tidy.

This has resulted in my being away from the computer a lot of the time. This is mostly because of tiredness and also since I came home from hospital I have spent way toooo much time on the net. Which has been beneficial as it kept me from boredom while I could not do any thing else.

I handed my walking stick back to the hospital on Wednesday and only have to go to rehab once a month from now on. Though I am still finding I have holes in my memory which is a little embarrassing. I found out a 2 new thing I new that I didn't know on Sunday. One was that my brother in law had his tonsils out 18 months ago and that they had renovated their kitchen around the same time and had been there shortly after they did it. I walked into the house expressing delighted surprise with what they had done only to be told they were not that old..... ahhh well I'm sort of used to it by now and sort of have a expectation these days as to what I will discover next.

I have an appointment with the job assessor with Centrelink next month and hopefully will start a bit of part time work or retraining. I was thinking about resuming part time studies but we really need some more income at the moment and I don't have the energy to do both. Working will be interesting as I have mostly done physical outdoors work, with some courier and commission sales work which I won't be able to do. While I have been doing some work around the house, gardening, wood work etc, it has been slow and what would normally take me a few hours takes me a whole day of more to get done.

If any one is praying for me, please pray that I would find suitable part time work for both my wife and myself.

Blessings craig

Friday, 25 April 2008

Every one is an evangelist - even the athiest

Joel makes some real interesting observations.

Does our life reflect Christ making him palatable for others to eat and drink?

Its A.N.Z.A.C Day - lest we forget

It's Anzac day today in Australia.

My grandfather William (Bill) was born on the 14/11/1896 and served our country in World War 1. He and his brother joined the army march as it passed through their home town of Gundagai on the 19/8/1915. He was initially sent to Egypt as part of the 3rd Battalion and joined the 5th on the 21/4/1916.

They were sent to France and fought at the battle of the Somme. Bill spent much time at Flanders Field and eventually they march into France on the 1/5/1919 where he eventually became discharged from the army back home in Australia on the 17/10/1919 four years later.
He was quiet about the war years and rarely spoke about them and when the 2nd world war broke out he refused to consider rejoining. He and his brother John became reasonably wealthy on the ship on the way home as they ran the two up games.

The only two things he told me about the war was that if a bullet missed by a 1mm it might as well have missed by a mile. The other was a time when an officer told him to construct an officers toilet. So he did and as he walked away from it the Germans fired an artillery round and blew it up. On reporting it to the officer he was curtly told "Well put it up again"
So he did and of course as he walked away the Germans fired another round blowing it up. After they blew it up the 3rd time the officer said "Don't put it up again, we ain't going to use it"

He died on the 27/11/1988 aged 92.

It's good to remember our past generations, especially to honor those who went to war to fight for freedom, many of whom never came back. A.N.Z.A.C day is good for us to celebrate, not for the sake of war glorifying in it - rather so that we can remember the horrors of it. Remind our selves of the cost of freedom. Hence the slogan "Lest we forget" is a good reminder of why.

As a Christian I think this is a slogan all Christian should take on board. "Lest we forget" Sunday is a time to remember what Christ done for us. He volunteered to come to earth, casting aside the power of His divinity, being humbled to live and experience the full limitations of being a human. Being tired, hungry, rejected as well as knowing what it is to be loved by a parent - to have good friends.

Christ went to war for us. He waged war in the heavenly realms so that we could have peace with God. He payed the ultimate price and made the ultimate sacrifice for you and me so that we could have freedom from sin. So that we could come into a relationship freely without any fear with the living God.

May every morning we wake up, spend time thinking about the cross, speaking to our living God - Lest we forget.

Thursday, 24 April 2008

We are building a backyard aquacultural system.

For some years now I have been interested in raising edible fish in the back yard. But up till recently thought it was a unrealistic idea. Recently I have come across some interesting websites that is all about backyard aquaculture, which makes the idea a realistic one.

Basically the premise is to reticulate the water the fish live in through some gravel filled containers that are used as garden beds to convert the waste in the water into healthy vegetables, cleansing and aerating the water back into the fish tanks where the process begins again.
The fish and food waste in the water produces ammonia - which is extremely toxic to fish. This toxins when processed through gravel filled garden beds change into a nitrate form, which when processed by bacteria in the gravel produces nitrogen which causes leafy greens to grow extremely well.
It has been our plan for many years now to put in a fish pond at the side of the house and I have been interested in building it as a rather longish feature along the driveway which continues up the back which is also on a slope. This feature would look like a series of small gardens and ponds that would cause the water to flow down the garden into the main pond/ponds and would be at least 2o meters in length. Though it would be a rather narrow 300 to 500mm wide for about 10 meters as it came down beside the drive way where it opens up to a larger area.

This time of year council have a annual kerbside clean up and I'm looking out for a discarded pool liner which I can use for the pond linings. Being a scrounger / collector has been a boon for me as I have in my mums garage a Bio - cycle waste pump, float switch and aerator from when we connected to the town sewerage back in 1999. The waste pump may need some seals replaced but I'm sure the servicing of it will be much cheaper than it would be to buy a new one.

Monday, 21 April 2008

Alternative energy and self sufficiency

I have always been interested in being self sufficient or as much as possible in regards to food and energy. The monetary costs of being self sufficient in regards to energy have been way past our budget. Some of the ways we have however contributed to saving energy and food costs have been
a) Having a veggie garden and some fruit trees.
b) Installing a 4000 litre water tank.
c) Installing a slow combustion wood fire and which we sometimes cook on and boil water in winter.
d) Insulated the roof and walls when the house was built.
e) Connected to gas for hot water and the stove - the oven is electric though.

What I would like to do eventually when it comes to replacing the wood heater is to replace it with a wood stove...from this we can actually do away with the gas / electric stove during winter. We can also connect it to the water heater and use it to heat water.
Before you through up your arms in shock and horror. Good seasoned fire wood is actually better for the environment than what it is to burn coal and it is still going to contribute to the Co2 problem if it rots on the ground and so though the fire will still release Co2, it will only be the same amount as it would have naturally done any way. And we will be in front because we won't be contributing to the problems with coal and gas.

Our back yard is 17 * 20 meters and so we don't have a great deal of room to grow food. I have recently become excited about Aquaculture where you can fatten your own fish and grow plants at the same time in grow beds. See here and here. These beds will grow as much greens as I currently grow and possibly more in a much smaller space. The result would mean that we would be able to plant more fruit and nut trees as well as more staples such as pumpkins and potatoes and use less water. Aquaculture means less water is used as the water is continually recycled through the grow beds cleaning it of all toxins - Ammonia and nitrates which are good for plants. 10% of the fishtanks water needs replacing on a weekly basis. This means for a 2000 litre tank, 200 litres are used to water the garden ( in the aquaculture grow beds) each week.

We have been growing worms and composting for many years now and shortly will be getting some chickens. We have not been able to over the last few years due to our sons working on local poultry farms and the requirement was they weren't to have chickens. This will mean we can eat better eggs and if need be even our own chicken meat.

I would also like to go solar powered. We have around 200 sq2 meters of roof and use about 15kw of power a day. The problem is that the cost of solar panels are extremely expensive. Yet there could be a method to do away with solar panels or at least a few of them.

I came across a interesting alternative energy source called Wally Minto's wheel. The trouble with it is that it doesn't rotate very fast. It does about 1rpm, but the torque is extremely high. So it may be good for pumping water and milling grain but as it is it's not efficient for making electricity.

Last night I had a bit of a brain wave. I thought why not adapt it into a see saw mechanism. I have drawn a rough sketch of it below. This afternoon I also thought of adding another piston along each arm of the see saw so that there would be 4 pistons operating. Perhaps it would be possible to situate more pistons underneath the arms, but I'm not sure how you could do it within the hot water tubs?

It could be adapted to drive a hydraulic motor which would power an alternator to power batteries. Though I'm thinking that perhaps it would be more efficient to use it as a air compressor to power a air motor to turn the alternator / generator to charge the batteries.
last year while I was in hospital I watched a documentary about a French man who converted a small commercial van to run on compressed air. He managed about 200kms on a tank with speeds around 110 kms an hour. His next project was building one with a small petrol motor which would enable further trips which would also power a compressor to fill the air tanks. He also manged to build a small pump which compressed a small amount of air each time the brakes were used.
If he was able to power a small van over a distance of 200 kms, it certainly is possible for a air powered motor to turn a generator to charge batteries, especially as it is constantly compressing the tanks during the day. Which would make a solar powered system a lot more affordable as you would not need any or very few panels.



Thursday, 17 April 2008

The Gospel is the power of Salvation

I have come across a good Arminian Blog called Society of Evangelical Arminians. I myself lean more towards Arminian theology in regards to the Calvinistic acronym T.U.L.I.P and truly baulk at its doctrine of limited atonement and predestination.

Romans 1.16-17, "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith; as it is written, 'But the righteous man shall live by faith'" (NASB, and henceforth).

Christ's gospel is effectual, "even" on an unregenerate spirit. That forces me to ask the Calvinist: What power does the gospel contain if one must first be regenerated in order to believe it?

Romans 10.14, "How then will they call on Him in whom they have not believed? How will they believe in Him whom they have not heard? And how will they hear without a preacher?"

It seems to me that many Calvinists preach a false Gospel that says, "You must first be made regenerate by God before you may be saved" and in doing so water down the truth that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is Gods FULL power to save.

Friday, 11 April 2008

Ten Years - Roseanne Catt

I just finished reading this book which tells the terrible story of a lady given 12 years goal for a crime she didn't commit.

I like to think that in Australia we have a good justice system. Admittedly not a perfect one - but still good nonetheless. Her story tells a different story. It paints a picture of how our justice system does or at least did not truly have rehabilitation in mind. And it tells the story of how if someone with some authority in the system have something against you they can bury you without you even knowing your rights.

I believe every Christian needs to read this. We should be interested in justice and in rehabilitation, for the Christian message is one of Justice and Rehabilitation. In my view there is not much difference between sanctification and rehabilitation. Therefore our view towards justice and rehabilitation should be the same that we view our sanctification and that the end result should be towards changing lives and not making them worse.
She shares the horrific story of drugs, suicide, depression and corruption within the prison system.

Roseanne's story rubs against every thing within me that is Australian. We like to give people a fair go. We like to think that our nation is a nation that gives us all a fair go.
Fair Dinkum mate
is one of my favorite sayings. And it pains me to have read how not every Australian has been Fair Dinkum.

I have been encouraged to read her story of not giving up in difficult circumstances.

Monday, 7 April 2008

Don't you hate it when they don't get it?

I like playing with words. I like sparring with words in a fun fashion without tearing the other to pieces. Irony and satire can be sometimes the funniest type of humor around. The same with jokes.

But don't you hate it when you think you have come up with a absolute corker and no one gets it?
And if you have to explain it then somehow the humor of it gets lost in the explanation.

This happened to me recently on the Sydney Anglicans forum when discussing a book on the Men and Church thread. We were discussing John Elredges book Wild at Heart and the premise behind it where men and church are becoming to feminised.
Someone posted the following
Craig, Fred agreed with the basic premise of Eldredge’;s book, but would never EVER recommend it to ANYONE due to its
- dreadful use of scripture
- over reliance on pop culture examples
- embrace of Open Theism ie God as Risk Taker
I didn’;t read all of it, but did hear quite a bit of it as Fred read bits of it out in horrified tones!~ I know Vaughan (son) tried to read it but ended up throwing it across room in disgust.
Have you found any problems at all in Eldredge’s use of Scripture?
My reply which I thought was a absolute corker and brilliant play on words was,
I guess my philosophy is to do what Paul said to us in mimicking what ever he did…
Perhaps it was lost on them with my following statement
I think if he and the other Apostles were modern day student’s at Moore or any other theological college they would have been chided on their terrible use of Scripture in making their points
On a more serious note; in critiquing a book - we need to first consider the whole message of the book. Then in light of that message, critique the message / premise on its Biblical merit and not pull it apart on its seemingly sloppy handling of Scripture.

After all isn't that what the Authors of the NT have done to illustrate the points they wanted to get across?

Sunday, 6 April 2008

"...Failure to success in selling" - and how we evangelise today

Gordon Cheng made a interesting post about a book written by Frank Bettger

"How I raised myself from failure to success in selling"


That was one of the books that was compulsory reading when I did my insurance sales training.
I probably still have a copy or two over at my mums.

I have forgotten what the other one was, it was written by the founder of the company. I still remember today the words they taught us in overcoming objections to people who didn't want to buy a policy. What was worse is that they actually worked and people actually bought policies they didn't want.

In a way I wonder if the same kind of thing happens at times in our evangelism. We learn a method by rote - whether it be the two ways to live - The 4 spiritual laws or other. We learn how to overcome peoples objections and then through our selling technique we have them pray the sinners prayer and pat our selves on the back for another policy sold.

Yet how effective is this for making a deep heart felt decision for Christ, where the person truly becomes convicted of their sins and the need for Christ.
I see a danger where sometimes our evangelism could be based on the need to make another sale and not on the eternal needs of the person.

Forgiveness

The topic of forgiveness is something that is or should be something close to the heart of every one of us. Firstly all who call themselves Christians should know the real depth of how they are forgiven.
Scripture tells us that those who are forgiven much, love much. And so one could say that those who love much - know how much they are forgiven and out of that knowledge springs a well of love.
Forgiveness is something that we all are called to give freely to others. Yet I believe for some of us we are to quick to mouth the words we forgive, without first working through the reality of what it is we are forgiving. To truly forgive someone, it means that we truly have experienced and know the true reality of all they have done to us. We have to know the pain and allow ourselves to feel the physical, emotional, spiritual pain of what has been done to us. Then and only then are we able to truly forgive those who have sinned against us in what ever way they have done so for what ever it is they did to us.

Jesus went through the agony of the cross. He endured the pain of betrayal of His friends. He endured the pain of being mocked. He endured the pain of being flogged. He endured the pain of being nailed to the cross. He endured the taunts of unbelief. He endured the final rejection of His Father and the Holy Spirit leaving Him to die alone on the cross. And it was towards the end of His pain, towards the end of fully experiencing the pain, the shame and the loneliness of the cross that He uttered the words. "Father forgive them for they don't know what they are doing"

In other words, Christ is saying "I forgive you"