Category Archives: Extreme Life Stuff

Rock Climbing…

What a privilege it was, to go rock climbing in The Grampians last weekend.  A group of Extreme Life guys got together early on Saturday morning and made the drive to some of Australia’s finest scenery, racked with multiple mountains and hundreds of amazing climbing possibilities…all via a very important coffee stop, of course.

About fourteen of us, piled into a few cars loaded up with all the required climbing gear and food and water for the day ahead.  The climbs are just under two hours away, so the drive is an important part of the journey.  Confined to the small space of a car, conversation quickly goes deeper than the normal friendly greetings and weather observations, and opens up a chance to truly develop relationship.

walking-trail

Upon arrival at the walking trail, we discovered that it was more of a creek, with a constant flow of water running down the worn path.  We loaded up and headed up the creek towards the looming mountains.  We ascended quite quickly and I was surprised at the elevation we reached in a short space of time…and how tiring it was carrying a number of kilograms of food and water while trekking through some rather unfriendly terrain, made even more so by the obvious indications and left overs from some very significant, recent rains.  With much gasping for whatever air could force it’s way through my severely congested sinus (I had a nasty cold all week…oops, forgot about that!), we reached the base of a number of sheer cliff faces, perfect for our day of climbing.  We quickly set ourselves up a base for the day and set about organising some top ropes.

paul-climbing

Angus and Ian made sure that our top ropes were safely and securely in place so we could all enjoy a safe day ascending and descending the surrounding rock faces.  We had a number of first time climbers, some slightly experienced climbers and a few more experienced climbers.  And all, had an excellent day.  One of the benefits of learning in this kind of context, is the strength that comes through encouragement.  It was awesome to see first time climbers stop and think they were done, restart, continue climbing and make it all the way to the top when their friends at the base of the climb shouted encouragement and instruction up the cliff.  The voices of encouragement really brought courage, strength and guidance, that enabled everyone to take their skills to new levels and their bodies to new heights.  Then of course, all enjoyed the abseiling back down.  Most of the guys made at least one or two successful climbs, enjoyed our packed lunches and had a great time enjoying a beautiful day surrounded by some of the most amazing scenery to be found anywhere in the world.

The journey home was somewhat quieter, as I think most of us had succeeded at completely wearing ourselves out.  All up, I’d have to say a great time was had by all.

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Relay for Life

This is just a very quick post to mention that I will be participating in the Cancer Council’s Relay For Life next weekend.

This involves wearing a purple, team jumper (that’s the hard part) and walking laps around a local oval throughout next Friday night.  The point of this exercise (pun intended!) is to raise funds for cancer research and treatment.

Screen Shot 2015-02-07 at 6.19.12 pmI don’t get involved in many fund raisers at all, so why this one?

Well I lost my mate and cousin Mark to cancer some years back and I have to say, I hate cancer.  My mother has recently battled breast cancer, one of my aunties has gone more than her few rounds with cancer, way too many dear friends have fought their battles with cancer. My Grandad lost his battle with cancer while my Grandpa was diagnosed with bowel cancer before passing away from other health issues.  My Grandma has also had to deal with various forms of cancer.  One of my uncles was also diagnosed with and passed away from cancer within six short months and my father is currently fighting this nasty disease too.

Cancer has claimed way too many lives and is putting too many families through massive pressure as they take this disease on. Fortunately now, many win their battles with cancer, but their lives and those of their families and friends, will show the signs of having been through the battle for many years.

Simply, this is something I can do to help…so I do.

If you’d like to support my efforts, please go to:

http://ccau.convio.net/site/TR/RelayforLife/CCVIC?px=1083366&pg=personal&fr_id=1885

and click on donate.

Absolutely no pressure…just thought I’d share and give you the opportunity.

I am participating as a member of the team from Extreme Life and would like to thank all those from Extreme Life who also participate.


Sheep Stealing?

I was recently  having a discussion with some people who were new to our town and were looking for a church to attend.  Ours had been suggested by a mutual friend, so they dropped in to have a look around and ask some questions.  I was a little surprised when asked if Extreme Life was the biggest church in town.  My reply was “Not yet”.  I was astounded when the reply to my answer was a pointed finger and the accusation of “Ah, so you’re a sheep stealer!“.

Image sent to me by email, not sure where it originated from.

Image sent to me by email, not sure where it originated from.

I very quickly responded, informing that we have absolutely no intention of ever stealing sheep from anywhere else.  In fact we are quite direct with people when it comes to such activity.  When we get repeat visitors from other churches here in town, we actually phone the other church and ask if they know that they have people dropping in more than once to our meetings.  This usually very quickly resolves any potential “sheep stealing” issues.

To be quite honest, the whole concept of just relocating believers from other churches to our church, is quite repulsive.  Christian relocation programs in no way answer the challenge Jesus left of  “Go into all the world and make disciples of all men“.  This involves reaching into our community to those who do not not know Jesus and showing him to them.  Our growth strategy is a very simple one…Be Jesus to our city, show as many people as we can his love and grace and the amazing power of Biblical, Christian living.  As we introduce people to Jesus and they follow the Biblical pattern of being “saved and added“, our church grows.  Simple!  The Kingdom is also grown as more and more people step into the rule and reign of Jesus.

Sadly, not too many churches are very well known for being effective at this kind of growth, or for even presenting the Gospel very well to those who do not know Jesus yet.  At Extreme Life, we value ensuring that every believer knows the truth and has a grace in the way they present it to others.  We never want to be the street screamers or those bashing down doors to offend people with something they don’t want to know, but we are always looking for opportunities to demonstrate the love of Christ to those who need it most.  Jesus himself said that “it is not the healthy that need a doctor but the sick” and that he came for those who recognise that we cannot earn of achieve our own way to God in Heaven, but can only freely accept the incredible gift that only he can give…His own righteousness in place of our lack thereof.

We can have relationship with God because Jesus opened the way by living the perfect life for us and having his perfect life, written over the record of our lives.  That is truly amazing!

My goal is to reach as many as possible with the incredible truth of the Bible and all of the benefits and blessings it makes available to us.  This will actually add to Kingdom growth instead of just church growth by relocating some current believers into our church.

Sadly there are other pastors in town that don’t mind the “sheep stealing church growth” strategy and are currently and actively targeting members of Extreme Life, inviting them to leave us and go and be a part of what they are doing.  Every time I hear of this happening, it staggers me that they would have the audacity to attempt this and the rudeness and just plain slack attitude of taking those building with us to build with them while having little concern for the tens of thousands in our town that desperately need to have Jesus presented well to them.  What I do love though, is that our guys largely, have the maturity to reject the advances of these predators and to let me know about it…but relax guys, I will not be blogging about who you are.  You have enough to live with already…yourselves!

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“Prophetic” People = Happy People

It has been said that “Prophetic People” are those who see the future, prepare for the future and become the future.Windscreen View

With this being true, truly prophetic people should have the least amount of hurt and resentment in their lives.  Truly prophetic people have no opportunity to have a victim mentality or things to regularly complain about.

This is simply because, if we really are prophetically seeing the future, preparing for it and becoming it…we are always looking forwardsand nothing bad has happened to us there yet.

It is only when the focus of our lives looks backwards that we have anything to complain about or hurts that can lead us into a victim mentality.

This is why when writing to a group of new believers in the Roman colony of Philippi (Philippians 3:14), Paul encouraged them to look forwards, and keep pressing on towards the goal.  With our eyes firmly focussed forwards on a God given goal, that goal will become the clearest thing we see in our lives.  When we have opportunity to discuss things in life with others, guess what we are going to bring up…that goal.  We will not see opportunities to complain or “bag out” on others, we will only see an opportunity to reveal our passion for reaching the goal that God has set before us.  Every discussion we have, will be a motivating force that helps to keep us on course and heading directly at that goal.  In essence, many of the natural things happening in our lives, will become spiritual motivators that constantly launch us forwards in our spiritual life.  The inverse is also true…if we are always looking backwards, nursing our hurts and offloading about others at every opportunity, these discussions too, will launch us…backwards, into exactly the things we are wanting to get away from.

Have you ever noticed that the windscreen in a car is much bigger than the rear view mirror?  That is because we need to have the best view of where we are going, not of where we have been.  Our focus determines our direction and we need to ensure that our focus is always on Jesus and the things he sets before us.  We all have issues and hurts and offenses in our past, and it is very easy to get distracted and dragged back into them, but becoming a truly “prophetic” person will ensure that we are free from such painful distractions and are able to get on with preparing for and becoming all that God has designed us to be and set before us to become.

The future is bright people…let’s go!

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In Ears Revolution

Recently at Extreme Life, we made the change from using floor monitors to using in ear monitors. This brings us into line with many professional musical settings and provides many advantages to Extreme Life.
For example, our front of house mix is now exceptionally “clean” as there is absolutely no monitor spill. You know that “muddy” sound that comes from speakers that are pointing away from you…well it’s not there any more, so the sound being heard in the room, is all from the front of house speakers. The huge benefit of that is, that we are only hearing what we are meant to be hearing and it is equalised and mixed for our listening. This produces a much more appealing sound for all in the room.
For the musos, we purchased a Behringer Powerplay personal monitoring system from Streamstone Audio (highly recommend these guys, check them out at http://www.streamstoneaudio.com.au). This provides every muso with a personal 16 channel mixer to select and mix their own personal monitor mix. They can then plug in what ever earphones/headphones/monitors they like (and provide themselves for their own personal use) and there they have their monitoring.
Personally, I chose some lovely Future Sonics Mg6Pro in ear monitors and am absolutely loving the sound I am getting from them.

These are a custom molded in ear and do the job beautifully. Others have tried everything from the standard iPhone ear buds to many different generic fit in ears and all obviously produce a result according to their price range. I would suggest in ears that actually insert into the ear canal and form a seal, as they provide much better isolation than “open” ear buds, but anything of a reasonable quality will provide a starting point.

Some of our musos found the transition a little challenging at first for varying reasons, but most having been on at least a couple of times now, are starting to enjoy the benefits of this change. The ability to adjust your own mix live and on the fly, is amazing. No more waving at the sound guy trying to get his attention so he can try to decipher your code for whatever change you are attempting to request!

I recently added a Sennheiser wireless system to my mixer and highly recommend this. It is a bit of expense to get up and running, but well worth the lack of cables and clear, strong sound being piped into my ear canals.

One of the biggest benefits I have noticed after using these for some time now, is the volume. I can play with the volume settings far lower than when using a floor monitor. Floor monitors all have to get over top of each other and all the other instruments, whereas with in ears, there are no amps on stage (they are all mic-ed up under the stage or instruments running through a DI) and the isolation of the ear buds cancels out whatever stage sound there is (like acoustic drums). This lack of volume leaves me feeling far less fatigued at the end of every session. Also, along with the isolation, it really helps me to “lock in” to my role and do my job to the best of my ability.

In summary, I am really enjoying the benefits of this transition and would recommend you look into it if you haven’t already.

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