Blog Archive

Monday, September 28, 2015

It's not all Cricket-Story of Henry Olonga

I remember years ago being very impressed when Henry Olonga, fast bowler for Zimbabwe and Andy Flower their best ever batsman, took a stand on the cricket field with black armbands in protest over the repression in their country by the Government.
It meant the end of Henry's cricket career and threats to his safety.
I have heard Henry interviewed on radio before and his story is impressive.
He was recently in Adelaide as a guest of the Adelaide City Bible Forum.
Below is a link to an interview with him which is well worth watching.

And here is a clip of Henry singing some opera.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Koala Rescue-Paringa Paddock 1973

Many years ago I had a wonderful day out with my newly acquired father in Law, Dud Foweraker.
Dud was a conservationist and environmentalist from his very young years.
In about 1973 the Murray River was in some degree of flood or high river.
Near Paringa,near Renmark is an Island called Goat Island.
I am not sure that it is still an island these days due to the drying up of a channel around it.
Some years earlier than 1973 I believe the island was stocked with some Koala Bears from the former
Koala Farm in Adelaide which had been closed.
On this particular day I went out in a boat with Dud and his friend Ray Grimshaw in an aluminium dinghy to see how many Koalas had been separated from the island by the flood waters.
Paringa Paddock was quite flooded and navigable by a "tinnie" at the time.
It was great motoring quietly through the flooded gum and box tree forest.
There were in a few places overhead, Heron's nests with young birds peering down.
I managed to get a few reasonable shots on my old Pentax Spotmatic.
We located a large male bear who appeared to have been stranded for some time in a tree not far above the waterline.
We had a red washing basket on board.
Dud managed to lassoo the bear who growled quite loudly and bundle him under the basket and then into the back of the boat.
He sat there holding onto the side of the boat with one hand until we managed to put him ashore back on the Island.
Below are some pics I took of the proceedings.

baby herons

Dud in spotting mode

Dud and Ray

Dud with Camera

Thanks Guys

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

"The Daily Quiet Time" or "Learning the Vocabulary of God" by Geoff Thompson

This was how our Aunty Doreen left her quiet time Bible and Notes etc when she died in a nursing home.

Last Sunday,13/9/15, I once again had the privilege of leading the Uniting Church Service in Renmark and Renmark West.
Here is the order of service and Bible readings and the message.
The message is based on study notes and tapes I have by the late Mr. Frank Hunting.
The alternative title comes from a book by Frank Laubach called "Learning the Vocabulary of God"
He like Frank was also one who was very disciplined in spending time each day with God. Indeed he tried to do that continuously.
If anyone is interested in copies of Frank Hunting's sermons on this subject in Digital form please contact me.
I can also make available a pdf of his Bible study notes that are complimentary to the recorded sermons.
I also recorded this talk digitally at Renmark West and this can be supplied by USB on request.
 Geoff Thompson.

                  ORDER OF SERVICE

Call to Worship:  Geoff Thompson
Hymn: “Holy,Holy,holy, Lord God Almighty” AHB 65
Prayer of confession praise and thanksgiving
Hymn:  “Morning has broken”
Bible Reading:  James 3:13-18;
                         2 Corinthians 5: 14-21
Hymn: “I heard the voice of Jesus say”  AHB 500
Sermon: “Learning the Vocabulary of God” or “Our Daily Quiet Time” Geoff Thompson  
Hymn :  “Brother let me be your servant”  (Altogether again 191)(blue cover)
Benediction: as per back of hymn book  “May our Lord,God of Peace”

James 3 New International Version (NIV)

Two Kinds of Wisdom

13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice.
17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. 18 Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness.

Learning the vocabulary of God or Keeping a Daily Quiet Time

When I spoke here last,about a month ago, I was talking about the most important question we can ever ask and we discussed the answer given in the New Testament.
That was about why and how we become a Christian.
What I must do to be saved!
I said this next time I would talk about where do we go from there.
How do we live out the Christian life and how do we progress in our faith.

The Bible tells us that when we become Christians we are brand new creations.

2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV)

If that is so, is it obvious to people looking on that we have become a new creation?

Have our old bad habits been replaced by a Christian demeanor that attracts people to our Saviour?

Is our life such a testimony that people are drawn to the Lord Jesus?

People are watching us Christians all the time to see if we are real.
If we really do have something to offer.

Sadly we can all think of people who we think are letting the team down.
We think they are not really any different to how they were before they became a Christian.
For example they might still have a quick temper,
Might be critical of others  and always gossiping.

They may also  be quite selfish when it comes to helping others.
They  might always be wanting to put themselves first, jumping the queue, what about me?
They might not tolerate or show love to others who are different to us.

Now the thing is we all have blindnesses about ourselves and the so called “they” may in fact be us.
So how do we really allow Jesus to make a difference in our lives?

What next after conversion so that we actually do become new creations?

2 Corinthians 5:17
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come:[a] The old has gone, the new is here! (NIV)

For if a man is in Christ he becomes a new person altogether—the past is finished and gone, everything has become fresh and new. (Phillips)

17 When someone becomes a Christian, he becomes a brand new person inside. He is not the same anymore. A new life has begun! (Living Bible)

Even though some of us can quote that verse very quickly and surely, it is not automatic that our old habits, our old behaviours have been changed in an instant at conversion.

We often use that in our persuasions of others to become Christians.

No one is an instant mature Christian at conversion.

Our Christian life is to be one of change growing more and more like Jesus.

At conversion our potential has changed, our assurance of salvation has become real but we still might be pains in the neck to others.

Don’t misunderstand me.

We have been born again but we are baby Christians.

Our walk to Christian maturity is an ongoing thing that should be making us more and more in the image of Jesus.

We find this idea of an ongoing journey to Christian maturity  in the passage below.

2 Corinthians 3:18Living Bible (TLB)

18 But we Christians have no veil over our faces; we can be mirrors that brightly reflect the glory of the Lord. And as the Spirit of the Lord works within us, we become more and more like him.

2 Corinthians 3:18Amplified Bible (AMP)

18 And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord, [who is] the Spirit.
(Note the Amplified Bible is great to get almost every possible slant on any passage.)

So what is the best advice we can be given as a new Christian or should give to a new Christian.

How do we actually become new creations?

In other words after Decision, Conversion, then what?

Well we would hope we would be encouraged to continue to find a Church to worship in and receive sound teaching.

We would be advised to get involved in a group Bible Study.

We would be wise to regularly read our Bibles and spend time in Prayer.

These you would think are logical things for the new Christian to do.

The thing that I believe  would be really helpful to us as new Christians and even if we have been a Christian for years would be to establish on a regularly basis what some call a quiet time.

Is that familiar to you?

So why have a quiet time?

A life spent in regular daily communion with God should be the norm and is not beyond the reach of any of us.

Please note when I talk about a quiet time I am not talking about sitting in the sun enjoying God’s creation with a nice “cuppa”

So here are some thoughts about our quiet times and what we should be doing in this time that can be as little as 30mins a day.
If we do this effectively it will have a huge impact on our lives.

We will become more and more like Jesus.

These things I am about to talk about take a lifetime to work at but it is never to late to start.

So we don’t stop and say this is all too hard!

I haven’t arrived at anywhere near I would like to be with my quiet time.

So what are the elements of an adequate quiet time.

What I am about to share is drawn from Frank Hunting’s bible study on this subject and as brought out in his sermons.

No. 1   The Object of our Quiet Time:

To meet Jesus face to face.

Most of us will find this a difficult concept to grasp.

We cannot become more like someone unless we spend time with them.

Our youngest son was the last to leave our home and he was starting to get worried as he started cracking the same type of jokes that I did before he left.

He was becoming a lot like me.

Some of it good, some not.

A good  technique to enable us to visualise Jesus in our quiet time is by sitting opposite an empty chair and by faith realizing Jesus is there with us.
When we come into this place we know Jesus is here with us because the Bible tells us He is.
We are that 2 or 3 or more  gathered in His name.

No. 2  Confession and Repentance

Confession an repentance plays an important part in our quiet time.

We constantly fail in life….we constantly need fresh starts.

God has provided for this in I John 1:6-9

Note all the Ifs’

If we say that we have fellowship with him and walk in the darkness, we lie, and do not the truth:
but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.
If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.
If we confess our sins, he is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.
The new start is available immediately.

Verse 7 tells us the way to live in continuous right relationship with God and our fellow men.

but if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanseth us from all sin.

3. Bring who we are to Jesus

There will be no growth,no change,no Christian maturity unless we do.

Bring what we are to Jesus

Some of these things we need to  bring to Jesus.

Inferiority feelings
Self sympathy
A critical nature
Lusts- not just sexual
Fear of responsibility
Dominating nature
Spiritual Laziness

And whatever else makes us what we are.

These and others are the things which God may show you about yourself, are the things from which Jesus saves us.

This is where our salvation becomes “full!”


Ask Him to change us in the depths of our being

4.Study the Word of God

The emphasis is on the word study.

Amazing results will come over a lifetime if we just spend half an hour each day of real study.

Soaking in what Jesus said.

Which means going to the gospels time and time again and also
Studying what the apostles did and taught.

We learn hoe God thinks,

How Jesus thinks.

In 2 Timothy 3:16  we are told the following
16 The whole Bible[b] was given to us by inspiration from God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives; it straightens us out and helps us do what is right. 17 It is God’s way of making us well prepared at every point, fully equipped to do good to everyone.

5.  PRAY

Prayer has to be part of our quiet time.
It has to go beyond what might be called baby prayers.

We need to learn how to pray the way Jesus taught.
It has to be praying that enables God to work.

Enables Jesus to be in the battles people are having.

We have to learn how to “faith things into being”

We also need to pray to God bringing our own needs to Him and allowing God to deal with us.

We have already touched on that.

6. We need to learn to listen.

In Mark 9 v7 after the amazing experience Peter,James and John had on the mount of transfiguration.
God spoke to them after the others had gone and said.

“this is my beloved Son, listen to Him”

But while he was still speaking these words, a cloud covered them, blotting out the sun, and a voice from the cloud said, “This is my beloved Son. Listen to him.”
Then suddenly they looked around and Moses and Elijah were gone, and only Jesus was with them.

Learning to be guided by God,

listening to Jesus,

has to become part of our Christian experience.

Learning what is His plan for our lives.

(Gave demonstration here of tuning in a radio. We can’t see radio waves but if we tune in we can hear what we can’t see.)

We tune in by using the Bible, not a radio.

The Holy Spirit will speak to us through what we read.

Now we might have already been following God’s plan for our lives for many years and have known His direction, but it is helpful to revise where we are at.
For most of us, who are getting on, we need to seek his guidance for the rest of the allocated time we are given.

The actual mechanics of keeping and conducting a quiet time will include the following.

devotional helps,

Such as "My Utmost for His Highest" by Oswald Chambers, "Our Daily Bread", "Everyday with Jesus", "Streams in the Desert" and many others.
"Awake my Heart" by Sidlow Baxter is very good.

a variety of Bible Versions

Not just one. A red letter new testament is great to concentrate on the words of Jesus Himself.
There are many versions of the Bible these days.
It’s a good idea to use a few to get all the possible meanings from the passage you study.
A parallel Bible is great to compare passages with up to 6 versions printed side by side.

using a notebook

A notebook is great to be able to keep a list of prayer points, write the guidance you think God is giving you,identifying things you need to get right and repent of.
It can be a spiritual diary that charts your growth to Christian maturity.

Getting God’s Guidance

We need to get God’s guidance and find His plan for our lives.
There are methods of guidance you can use but they must include checking against the scriptures so that your guidance does not conflict with God’s word.
It is is important to seek the counsel of mature Christians you trust to mainly makes sure your self is taken out of the equation.
In other words is that what you think God really wants you to do or is it just your own ego interfering.
Write down what you think God is saying to you.
With experience getting His guidance will become easier but often we are sure of our guidance only by looking back on the actions we have taken.


Well I hope that today our appetite has been stimulated to get down to business with God.

That we will make a decision that whatever stage we are at with God  and our Christian walk, that we resolve  to make Jesus truly Lord of our lives.

Not just our Saviour.

That we will go on to Christian Maturity

That we will spend time with Him each day.

That we keep working at keeping our quiet time.

Monday, September 7, 2015

Cricket Books

There is a proliferation of sporting autobiographies on the market these days.
Just about every test cricketer and many AFL footballers bring out books after retirement or as they approach it.
Some even several books.
I have a collection which I will advertise on Gumtree soon.
I enjoy reading them and also particularly those of Steve Waugh who illustrates his books with his own photography,
I am running out of space to  keep them.
Here is a sample of what I will be letting go.

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Making your Garden Bird Friendly

In Australia we are blessed to have an incredible range of native birds and some introduced species.
Many of our birds are attracted to our backyards because of our native shrubs and trees and also exotic species of plants and flowers.
We have a wonderful lot of birds come into our place every day in fact many breed here.
This is what we do, and so can you, to make your place a bird friendly place.
South Australia is Australia's hottest and driest state so water is a big priority.
We have 4 Birdbaths on our property.
Birds need to drink and they also bathe in our birdbaths and also sometimes just seem to enjoy a splash around.
 Our property  is just an average half acre house block in suburban Adelaide.
We regularly put out old bread and roll scraps every morning for our resident birds.
If I happen to sleep in a couple of spotted turtle doves walk towards our back door to let us know they are waiting.
One day we had 2 doves, a couple of crested pigeons and a handful of sparrows all approaching the back door.
Also during the hot weather we often put a garden hose sprinkler into some of our trees where the birds like to have a wet leaf bath.
We have  about 11 species come in on a regular basis.
It's a great education to have our young grandchildren giving out the bread and observing the birds.
Having lots of flowering shrubs and large shade trees is also a great habitat for the birds.
We have 3 cats. They used to catch birds but not anymore.
Two of them are a bit old and slow and the younger one seems to have learned we don't appreciate his hunting skills.
The main problems for the birds are a visit from a collared sparrow hawk, which will swiftly grab a dove or a smaller bird, or crows, which steal eggs.
There are owls here also but rarely seen in the daytime.
We deliberately leave a few tomato stakes and an old shovel standing in the garden so the birds can perch and observe.
They do like to sit on the clothesline too which can be annoying if you have items subjected to their bombs.
So why don't you see what you can do at your place.
Might I suggest you clink on the label below called "birds in our backyard".
It will take you to many other posts and pics on birds.