Monday, 30 April 2007

Just reading through Joshua the other day and can't help but find a correlation between his behaviour and mine.

Joshua has just had an unbelievable triumphant victory over Jericho in what was possibly a few days ago. Following that, he decides to go to war against Ai. However, he is defeated.

It's not the fact the a rather humiliating defeat followed a great victory in such quick succession that stunned me. It was how melodramatic Joshua was regarding the defeat that made me stop and think.

He had just won a victory against Jericho. And then with just one, not two, not three, but just one defeat against Ai, he forgets everything that God had done for him, all the victories, all the blessings and simply wants to go back to what was familiar.

He had a calling. He had numerous blessings. But all it took was one defeat for everything to come crumbling down.

How true that for all of us. We pray fervantly. We ask for God's guidance. When all is said and done, we are convinced God has called us to go somewhere or do something.

And it starts smoothly. We praise God and thank him and pat ourselves on our back for heeding God's will.

Then it starts falling apart, and suddenly we have doubts. In fact, we so sincerely believe that God brought suffering to us and start wondering how we are ever going to survive, or why we even did what we did, or went where we went.

Oh how quickly the human mind forgets. Forgets the conviction. Forgets the past blessings. Simply forgets.

We really ought to take time to remember God more, particularly in time of crisis.

Friday, 27 April 2007

To all Snoop fans, I apologise in advance. However, I cannot help but find this hilarious.

It's good to know that occasionally, celebrities still do not get all sorts of privileges.

What still scares me though, is the fact that for someone who has that many criminal records he is refused entry into certain countries, he is still that popular.

This is role-modeling gone wrong at its highest.

Monday, 23 April 2007

I know a guy who's going to prison.

"So what?" you say.

Turns out he's not only going to prison for Cystic Fibrosis, he's going to broadcast his radio programme from inside the cell, and is planning a prison break with some help.

Wanna find out more?

Friday, 20 April 2007

Want to get from New York to London quick?

Better start training those arm muscles!

1. go to google maps
2. click on "get directions"
3. type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
4. type "London" in the second box (the "to" box)
5. click "get directions"
6. scroll down to step #24

Wednesday, 18 April 2007

While trying to while away time waiting to interview a lady for a news article, I entertained myself by uploading some photos of my New Zealand holiday.

At an average of 150 photos a day, I am very proud I managed to end up with only 29 photos!
This is exactly what I've been talking about. Unfortunately, at most times, to no avail.

Mark Batterson of National Community Church (Washington, D.C.) recently analysed four ways the church can engage culture:

  1. Ignore it
    The more we ignore culture the more irrelevant we’ll become. And if the church ignores the culture, the culture will ignore the church.
  2. Imitate it
    We can imitate culture, but imitation is a form of suicide. Originality is sacrificed on the altar of cultural conformity. If we don’t shape the culture, the culture will shape us.
  3. Condemn it
    We’ve got to stop pointing the finger and start offering better alternatives. If the church condemns the culture, the culture will condemn the church.
  4. Create it
    We can compete for culture by creating culture. In the immortal words of the Italian artist and poet, Michelangelo: criticize by creating. At the end of the day, the culture will treat the church the way the church treats the culture.
[Thanks to for the link.]

It's something that Bob Briner's been talking about since the year 2000, in his excellent book Roaring Lambs (if you haven't read the book and want to be challenged and inspired about engaging culture, make sure you get it).

The one thing that constantly baffles me is why Christians are constantly seen as aliens. True, the bible says we should be in this world but not of the world. But surely that does not give us the license to be so completely nuts that people generally look at us askance when we say we're Christians?

How can a church not just successfully engage culture, but be able to create a culture that everybody (even non-Christians) wants to be a part of?

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Published in the March/April 2007 issue of Christian Woman.

Find out more about Francine's ministry.

Friday, 13 April 2007

I just read a post that got me thinking about my reasons for blogging.

I started, gosh, almost exactly four years ago, largely because I was extremely bored at my old employment.

There were things to do, but not enough to occupy my time and so decided to start playing around with my web "skills". Which I promptly realised I had none.

My blog was then known as Mel's England Tales and that was what it was about. It was a tool for family and friends to keep up with what I was up to, without me having to spam their inboxes. It was also a fantastic opportunity for me to rave and rant and basically use it as a soapbox.

It still is a soapbox, but towards the end of 2003, I wanted my blog to take on a different turn. It's name changed to Mel's Mindcave, not because I have an empty chasm in my head, but firstly because I was leaving England and secondly, I wanted it to reflect more of who I am as a Christian.

I wanted it to be my ministry. In a very small way, an opportunity to show others what it is like to be a Christian living in the world. How values, opinions, lifestyle and everything else is shaped because of a love of God.

That goal hasn't changed yet, even though this site is now called Aussie Adventures. It was given this name at the end of 2004 when I realised I was moving to Australia to work indefinitely. The goal was still the same, but the name had changed.

But then I took on the job as public relations office for the Seventh-day Adventist Church and suddenly, this blog is not only about God, but about communicating for God, for the church and simply about the public relations practice.

Looking back at my posts, many of it has simply been about who I am and what I've been doing.

And sometimes I wonder, am I still serving the main purpose of this blog - to share God in an unobtrusive way.

I hope in a way I am.

Wednesday, 11 April 2007

Brilliant ad.

It made my heart jump to my throat at first, and then brought a tear to my eye.

If only it came true...

Tuesday, 3 April 2007

Embarrassed to say that I actually fell for this.

Initially I thought it was too good to be true. Then I wondered about the environmental impact.

Finally, I read the FAQ section and started getting convinced that it could be true.

That was when I started searching for the "Paper Archive" button but could not find it anywhere. (I even looked back the next day.)

Good one Gmail.

Monday, 2 April 2007

So, how relevant is Ellen White?
as published in The Edge, #61 February 2007

I haven’t always been a Christian, much less a Seventh-day Adventist.

Terms like “Pathfinders,”* “Camporees” and “Ellen White” all went over my head when I fi rst attended church.

They were phrases so ingrained into the Seventh-day Adventist mindset that nobody ever stopped to think that newcomers would perhaps be a little baffled as to what they actually meant.

For a really long time, I thought the Spirit of Prophecy was the Bible. I was also convinced that Ellen White was a biblical character and when that did not seem likely, believed she was a member of the church I was attending whom I somehow never got to meet.

There was confusion galore when “Spirit of Prophecy,” ‘Sister White” and “ Desire of Ages ” were all said in one sentence.

It took me months of regularly attending church to finally learn that Ellen White was one of the early pioneers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church and that she wrote a series of books collectively called the Spirit of Prophecy , one of which was The Desire of Ages .

Ellen G White.

The “woman of remarkable spiritual gifts who lived most of her life during the nineteenth century” and wrote more than 5000 periodical articles and 40 books.

Today, more than 100 titles are available in English, thanks to compilations from her 50,000 pages of manuscript. According to the Ellen G White Estate website, she is the most translated woman writer in the entire history of literature, and the most translated American author of either gender.

However, although extensively published and frequently referred to in Adventist circles, Ellen White most likely does not feature highly on any young Adventist’s “must-read” author list.

In fact, the very mention of her name may result in either a cringe effect or the rolling of eyeballs.

“She’s too old-fashioned,” may be a rather valid and common argument about someone who lived more than 100 years ago, but chances are, the main gripe does not stem from the innate need to criticise her writing style (J R R Tolkien had a similar writing style, albeit with a different focus, and is read more widely than Ellen White).

Instead, it is probably because they have been told too often what not to do because “Ellen White said so.” Although only a member of the Seventh-day Adventist Church for about seven years, I have already become all too familiar with “the teachings of Ellen White,” not from reading her literature, but from all-too-helpful church members intent on letting me know that “Ellen White says” we should not go to the movies or even ride bicycles for that matter.

Thanks to a few overenthusiastic church members and reactionary attitudes, Ellen White has been relegated to the shelf with titles such as “legalistic,” “fundamental,” “judgmental” and “strict.” Nobody likes to be told what to do and what is right, after all. Of course, the fact that she lived in the 1800s does not particularly make her seem relevant to young people today, either.

The problem with Ellen White however, is not that she is irrelevant.

It lies in the fact that some have forgotten to use “the Word of God as the rule of [our] faith and practice,” preferring instead to use the specifics from Ellen White’s writings as a weapon to reproach others about their behaviour. We forget that she is simply a “lesser light to lead men and women to the greater light.” As a friend once mentioned, “She wrote for her time period, not for mine and I must respect that boundary. The relevance I can draw from her writings are not specific ‘do’ and ‘do not do’ things.

I can draw guidelines from her writings but they can never be as specific as ‘do not go to the theatre.’” Ellen White did write about things that are very much in the context of her time, but the principles are still relevant today. The reason she instructed people not to ride bicycles had nothing to do with the mode of transportation but the high price of owning one then. When put in context, her counsel not to put on cosmetics or wigs made sense because face powders in the 19th century contained white lead or mercuric sulphide and wigs were terrifying monstrosities that threatened to snap one’s neck.

Many of Ellen White’s teachings have also become Adventist traditions and lifestyle habits. Thanks to her promotion of a healthy diet and abstinence from alcohol and tobacco 100 years ago, National

Geographic magazine recently reported Seventh-day Adventists were longevity superstars. An achievement only made possible because her health principles are still followed today.

The aim of her teachings was simply to help us deepen our relationship with God and to become more Christlike. We understand the Bible better through her writings, we gain practical advice on how we should lead our lives and we remain pure and healthy, able to learn more about God.

If we took the time to read her counsels, we would come to realise that she has left behind a very beneficial legacy for Seventh-day Adventists. A legacy that gave the church its vision and direction, which led to the establishment of a worldwide education system and a network of hospitals and clinics. A legacy that consisted of Christ-centred healthful living and a faith- and love-based church.

Ellen White can only be relevant to us if we are looking to deepen our relationship with God. Ellen White is relevant because of her insights about one’s relationship with God.

Her themes on the love of God, Jesus Christ and His sacrifice and the centrality of God’s Word draw us closer to God, providing us with gems and further understanding that only reading the Bible would not.

Specifics change, but principles never do. The way the Seventh-day Adventist Church relates to the world today may be different from when Ellen White was writing her counsels, and it needs to do so in light of an ever-changing environment. Staying relevant requires a shift in traditions and the way things are done. But that does not mean Ellen White, the founding pioneer of the Seventh-day Adventist Church more than 100 years ago, is no longer relevant.

Ellen White remains relevant, but only if we read her books in accompaniment with the Bible and with the sincere desire to know God better. All we need to do is to take the time to read her writings, remember the context in which she was writing and apply the principles to our lives.

Speaking of which, where is my dusty copy of The Desire of Ages ?

*Pathfinders is the Adventist Church’s worldwide youth activity organisation that has groups in local churches. Groups from various localities or regions meet at Camporees about once a year to interact and for an opportunity to share skills and experiences.

Sunday, 1 April 2007

It was a keenly anticipated holiday. One that would come after months of long hours, stress and worry. One that would mean two weeks of not having to think about work, of being able to reconnect with myself and of engaging in one of my favourite activities, traveling.

It also meant actually being able to focus completely on one of the most important things in the world, relationships.

Almost a week has passed since the fourteen days spent with my mum, brother and Daniel touring New Zealand and seeing some of the most amazing sights in the world.

The tour started at Auckland where we made our way down to the South Island, stopping at
  • Waitomo to see some glowworms and sleeping in a plane motel,
  • taking the ferry from Wellington to Picton,
  • swimming with fur seals at Kaikoura, nearly freezing to death,
  • soaking in hot pools at Hanmer Springs that looked suspiciously like glorified swimming pools,
  • being snowed on while crossing the Lewis Pass and having to get out of the car to play in the snow,
  • climbing a glacier at Franz Joseph,
  • meeting up and having dinner with a friend and his family whom I haven't seen in about five years,
  • inhaling the "aromatic" scents, seeing live kiwi birds, going on luge rides, and of course Zorbing down a hill in Rotorua,
  • peering into geysers, bubbling mud pools and actually trying to soak in a mineral pool at the motel that was way too hot, and
  • tramping around a live active marine volcano at Whakatane
It has been an incredible experience to be able to travel around such a beautiful country. I've lost count of the number of times when we either had to stop the car or hang out of the car to take photo. We averaged about 150 photos a day.

But most of all, the holiday has refreshed and revitalised me.

I actually feel ready to face work again.
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