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Spiritual Gifts

Been thinking about these lately, here is something I have been teaching...

Discovering your spiritual gifts
Explore possibilities
Pray about this, explore the scriptures, what stories resonate with you and have parallels in your own life
Examine motives
Think about how God might want you to serve. The primary purpose in all these gifts is not a selfish one. It is a missional one.
They will know you are my disciples because of the love you have for one another. How does the exercise of our spiritual gifts demonstrate to the outside world, the love we have for each other. How would you demonstrating, exercising your spiritual gift lead people to Christ? Would they see you grandstanding, or would they see you serving, loving, giving?
Why not? God may surprise you, I hope so, I hope the Holy Spirit, you encountering God does surprise you.
Expose yourself to a wide variety of experiences. Be open to the Holy Spirit.
Examine Feelings
Philipians 2.13 For God is working in you, giving you the desire and the power to do what pleases him.

What energises you, what are your passions?
Evaluate your effectiveness

I would encourage you to have someone that can speak into your life. Someone that loves you and has your best interests at heart. Sometimes truth is we minister, or think we are ministering but in fact all we do is make ourselves feel good. The true test of leadership is if anyone is following you. The bible says in proverbs, the wounds of a friend are true. In other words get your friend to tell you if they think you are effectively ministering in the power of the Spirit in the are you think you are. (Prov 27.6)

Jakovich speaks sense, Woosha....not so much

This from the Herald Sun makes a lot of sense,

"Jakovich, a player recognised for his self discipline and professionalism, acknowledged there was a culture and discipline problem at the club. "Where the club gets a lot of criticism is they've let a few (indiscretions) slip in the past couple of years and it's come back to bite them," he said. "There's a lot of people now saying there is a discipline or cultural problem in the footy club. "(And from the outside) you perceive that there is. "They (players) need to understand their responsibility. How many times do you keep having these incidents and so-called meetings and counselling sessions? "It has to come to a certain point."

Now I has booed Glen more times than......well a lot anyhow, especially when he decided to slap Longmuir, and earned the moniker "Slapovich".

But here, what he says is exactly right. Contrast his comments with the doublespeak of Worsfold, "Worsfold yesterday ruled out West Coast enforcing an alcohol ban on its players. "I know a lot of our players don't drink at all, so there is no use putting an alcohol ban on them," the coach said. "

So, because some of WC players are responsible, or tea totallers, we should not ban those, like Kerr, who cant handle it. How does this make sense John?????

This final comment from Glen sums up the culture at WC for me,
"Asked would the player be at the club if it wasn't Kerr, Jakovich said on SEN radio: "No, he wouldn't."

Interesting discussion

Had my pastors peer group today,
could not have survived this long in ministry without these guys.
We have all been through a lot.

Their prayer support and innate understanding is really strengthening for me.
Being a pastor is unique, and I dont know of any job like it. There are some things only other pastors understand, like, I imagine, many other professions.

Ha ha ha Woosha's post game speach

Apparently heard at Woosha's press conference after the game - he is so concerned at his teams fitness level and their inability to keep pace with freo last night that the eagles are going to install a gym at the East Perth lock-up

you little ripper

4 super goals, one from Paul Duffield of all people.

Against a side which won last years premiership, and had 18 of the players from that side in.

Woo Hoo!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Daniel Kerr


Aussie males are a pretty comfortable lot. Pretty secure and happy, generally speaking.
Many of us have the time to think, formulate our own views, and have been encouraged to do so. How different we appear to the males growing up in Australian in the 1930's.
I wonder how we would go today if someone did actually attack Australia, and it become obvious that the general population of men had to go to way to defend our country. Forget wars in far off oil rich countries, what would we do if we had to defend our country?

Would we have the toughness, the agression, the willingness, the risk taking ability to take up arms and defend our land?

(This post was inspired in part by something Saint Gaz had on his site. )

Peake a Freo boy for the next 3

One of my favourite players, Brett Peake, has signed up for another 3 years.
Listening to him on 6pr, he stated he really had no intention of leaving.

After polling so well in the Brownlow, and unexpectedly according to some experts, expect to see him take out the Brownlow, sooner, rather than later.


You need to obey the command and believe

I imagine most Christians struggle with belief at some point in their lives.
Doubts, fears, dissapointment with God.
If you are like me you have friends who struggle.
Have you ever warned them about that, exhorted, encouraged them to believe?

Heb 3
12See to it, brothers, that none of you has a sinful, unbelieving heart that turns away from the living God. 13But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called Today, so that none of you may be hardened by sin's deceitfulness.

It appears from this passage that if our fellow Christian is starting to doubt, we have to encourage them to stop doubting. Thats unusual, especially in this day and age when we encourage each other to journey together. Its almost non PC of the Bible.
We are to see to it
...... That sounds a lot like confrontation to me. Confrontation is not something I like, at all. And generally I am a good listerner (I hope), and are rarely presciptive. But there must come a time when my friend needs a good kick, stop doubting, start believeing, and get on with it. (in love of course) :)

Business plan done.....

The last week I have been heavily involved in putting together our church's business plan for the next 3 years. We have had to do this for financial reasons, as we seek some funding for our relocation.

Its a pretty steep learning curve, but remarkably straightfoward if you have some guideance. Its also a faith thing. Determining where you want to be, with Gods help. Planning and believing your church is going to grow.
God wants His Church to grow, but plenty of them are not. Why?
Irrelevance, pride, stubborness, old paridigms, apathy.
Belief that if God wants the church to grow, He will bring the people, and all we need to be is faithful.

I think faithful is the most overused word in dying churches, faithful, yes faithful to the bitter end

I am so excited with our church at the moment, amazing possibilities, a great group of people whom I really care about. Together we can actually get the Bedford Bus onto the road. This is truly the beginning of an amazing ride.

If you are a pastor, and want to have a look at our business plan, send me an email.

Unmasked Part Three

Here is my third message in this series, took me a while to put this together.
The audio includes audio from a video I showed, sorry you cant see it!
Here I talk about doubts, lack of faith, when God seems absent....tough times.
I hope I prompt questions as much as share encouragements.
Download this or listen right now.

Unmasked Part Thre...

No bandwagon here

"the club has broken the 39,000-member mark on Monday before a ball has been kicked in anger in 2007". Schwab: "Our new membership level represents an increase in our membership of over 9 per cent on our record 35,666 members set in 2006."

No one can accuse me of being a bandwagon hopper. I thought this moment might come. Memberships and good seats are going to get harder and harder to come by.

Good luck trying to get a seat to see either of the WA teams this year.

Unmasked part three sometimes I doubt

Dealt with issues of faith this week. Tough sermon to write, spent a lot of time on it, trying to be concise, while also be comprehensive. Deliberatly asked and raised more questions than what I gave answers for. The whole point of this series has been that I want people to be vulnerable, be open. So to give pat answers is not going to help that.
Showed a good clip which dealt with issues of faith and a guy did not know how to pray for his sick friend.

Doubt vs faith, a battle we are stuck with this side of eternity. To try to pretend otherwise is ludicrous. But yet......

There are times The Holy Spirit breaks through in marvellous and suprising ways. Sermon will be online tommorow if you are interested.

Goodwin named, St Kilda players to follow

Crows player Simon Goodwin (well it wasn't was it??) has been named as the player who is being investigated for illegally betting on AFL Matches. Story

My bet? A few St Kilda players will be named next, apparently for betting against their own team in 2006...................

Well it would explain a few things :)

Brian Harris on board

Brian Harris, Principal of WA Baptist Theological College is on board as a contributor of Aussie Pastors Blog,

check out his first post.

God lets go, and out of love, lets us mess up

“Imagine God in Heaven surrounded by the choirs of adoring angels singing hosannas unendingly… “If I create a perfect world, I know how it will turn out. In its absolute perfection, it will revolve like a perfect machine, never deviating from My absolute will.” Since God’s imagination is perfect, there is no need for Him to create such a universe: it is enough for Him to imagine it to see it in all its details. Such a universe would not be very interesting to man or God, so we can assume that God continued His meditations. “But what if I create a universe that is free, free even of me? What if I veil My Divinity so that the creatures are free to pursue their individual lives without being overwhelmed by My overpowering Presence? Will the creature love Me? Can I be loved by creatures whom I have not programmed to adore me forever? Can love arise out of freedom? My angels love me unceasingly, but they can see Me at all times. What if I create beings in My own image as a Creator, beings who are free? But if I introduce freedom into this universe, I take the risk of introducing Evil into it as well, for if they are free, they are free to deviate from My will. Hmmm. But what if I continue to interact with this dynamic universe, what if I and the creatures become the creators together of a great cosmic play? What if out of every occasion of evil, I respond with an unimaginable good, a good that overwhelms evil by springing out of the very attempts of evil to deny the Good? Will these new creatures of freedom then love Me, will they join with Me in creating Good out of Evil, novelty out of freedom? What if I join with them in the world of limitation and form, the world of suffering and evil? Ahh. In a truly free universe, even if I do not know how it will turn out. Do even I dare to take that risk for love?”” – William Irwin Thompson.

Charismatic Chaos

Aaaaah, the blind idealism of youth. Does anyone else remember this book by John McArthur?
I can't believe I used to read and blindly agree with this stuff.
The problem with the cessantionalist viewpoint is summarised nicely by Jack Deere.

It is a theology born out of a 'lack of experience".

When young and niave, I was taught that theology and spiritual practices came from the bible. This was from people who followed the dispensationalist, cessantionalist view espoused by Mc Arthur and his ilk. That sounds fine and dandy, but.......

What it led to was a view that the so called sign gifts ceased at the completion of scripture. Something which you would think Scripture would clearly state??

It is erraneous to state a strong view of scripture leads to a cessastionalist view. In fact I think the opposite is true. A strong view of scripture would lead one to seek after the experience of the Charismata described in the bible, instead of inventing a convuluted theological framework to justify your own lack of exerience.

Equal second favourite to win

Fremantle have been installed on the second line of betting, at $7.50 to win the 2007 AFL Premiership. At this time last year they were installed at $18 and finished 2006 in third spot.

If you have some money to WASTE, I suggest you have a look at the Saints $9, or the Cats at $13.

Top Gear - Bugatti Veyron Speed Test

Here is the car Phil Baker has fallen in love with, not hard to see why!!

Top Gear Gets Attacked by Rednecks

This is amazing, and although dramatic, at least a lot of it does not looked staged.

Unmasked Message Two

unmasked Part two ...

Here is part two of my four part series on being unmasked.

Here I deal with the idea that we often feel we are not good enough for God, and this keeps us away from Church, from our Christian friends, from sharing Christ and from being all we can be, in God.

You can click play and listen online, or download it by right clicking link or go to file hosting site by clicking on the link

Another great Sunday

There is something going on at Church at the moment, another really good crowd in, some more visitors, some people connecting into small groups, a number of non church people coming to church and experiencing something good.
Its a good place to be.

I enjoyed speaking this morning, and enjoyed the response. God has been challenging me about a whole heap of things, all about being unmasked.

I finished with an illustration about the woman who poured perfume over Jesus. She was a prostitute, and most likely paid for the expensive perfume from the proceeds of her job.

The pharisee commented, "If he was a prophet, he would know what type of woman this was, and who was touching him".

Point is He did know. Point is she worshipped Him, and anointed Him, something the Pharisee should have done. Jesus accepted worship from a prostitute, and accepted with gratitude the perfume, which was ill gotten.

What a beautiful picture of grace, what a picture that Jesus wants to use us, no matter what we have done, and continue to do.

Consider this,

• Moses murdered a man.
• Abraham was a liar.
• Jacob was a cheater.
• Rahab was prostitute.
• David committed adultery and conspiracy to murder.
• Paul the apostle murdered Christians.

He can use us all, thanks to God for His grace

Is it just me??

Phil Baker Pastor Riverview Church
Stanley Tucci Actor (American Sweethearts, The Terminal, The Devil wears Prada etc)

“It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”- Aristotle
ht lowercase

I dont want to be close minded, I want to grow, experience more of God,
I cannot accept that there is not more of God, of experiencing His grace and presence in a more tangible way.

Last night I had a really interesting discussion about the "presence of God"
God is always with us, His presence is here, with me,
right now, always.


I dont always sense Him there
I dont always see His Hand
He is the Ruach, the breath, the Pneuma of God, He comes and goes as He pleases.

I want to learn more, and listen more, from those who have experienced God in ways I have not.


My membership pack to the Mighty Freo Dockers arrived today.
For about $200 I get entry to all the games, a quarterly magazine, a few stickers and other promotional items, a lanyard etc etc.
A few years back, there was a solid 22,000 members. We came week in, week out, and put up with some pretty ordinary football, along with some incredible highs. Seeing CLIVE sprint away from Slapovich in the 2001 Derby to kick seven 2nd half goals and win the game by one point, was something I will never forget.

Now.... there are 36, 000 members, membership is up by 4.5% over the record year last year. Home attendance is up 3.8%, after the record year before as well.

Its an interesting contrast to compare Freo Membership with church membership.

Reality is, I join the Dockers to be part of it. Yes, you get reduced seat prices, and you get seats. Getting seats is becoming increasingly difficult. But I signed up before that issue. I signed up to belong, to be loyal, because I really support the team. (take note weagles fans).

Church is the same, although more so. Membership to a local community of faith is something I take seriously. I am accountable, I am in relationship with people. The verse, "bear with one another" is one I need to take seriously.

Because its only as we choose to journey with people on our path, that we learn to grow up.

Its the easiest thing in the world to be a bandwagon hopping Christian. You never have to get close, you never have to be vulnerable. Its a lot harder to deal with conflict, stick it out, and be determined to care for each other, despite disagreements. Its also a lot harder to put aside your own agendas, as well as embrace a common vision.

That takes guts, determination and integrity, a bit like supporting Freo!

Haggard, not gay, becoming a psychologist

"The Rev. Ted Haggard emerged from three weeks of intensive counseling convinced he is "completely heterosexual" and told an oversight board that his sexual contact with men was limited to his accuser. "

"Another oversight board member, the Rev. Mike Ware of Westminster, said the group recommended the move out of town, and the Haggards agreed.
"This is a good place for Ted," Ware said. "It's hard to heal in Colorado Springs right now. It's like an open wound. He needs to get somewhere he can get the wound healed."

He has come out of hiding,
The people looking out for him have suggested he leave town,
he is going to retrain and become a counsellor/psychologist.
You really have to feel for the guy. Everything he was, is gone. As a male, his significance is gone.
everyone knows who he was, and who he is now.

I hope he can live out his life in peace and joy,
rediscover his first love and ..............just enjoy life.

An Eagle, A Docker and a Magpie

An Eagle supporter, a Collingwood supporter and a Dockers supporter
were arrested in a small Arabian state when they were caught piddling on a religious building after an all night drinking binge.

The trio have to face up to the local sultan and are dished out the typical punishment for Religious desecration - 20 lashes of the whip to the back.
But the Sultan was a big football fan so he kindly granted them two wishes each – but they were not allowed to reduce the number of lashes or the type of punishment. The Eagle supporter says "Well we are on top of the ladder so I go first. I want the pleasure of a beer and a pillow." The Sultan grants his wishes. With a wide grin the Eagle supporter drinks his beer and binds the pillow to his naked back. But after 10 lashes the pillow falls apart and he has to painfully endure the remaining 10 lashes which leave deep welt marks on his back.

The Collingwood supporter saw all this and spends a few minutes thinking before, smiling. "I would like to have two pillows for my back". The Sultan thinks about the uniqueness of the wishes but decides to grant it given he has used up his two wishes in one go. However after 15 lashes of the whip both pillows have fallen apart and the Collingwood supporter has to painfully endure the remaining 5 lashes which leave deep welt marks on his back.

The Dockers supporter is grinning from ear to ear and mutters something under his breath about a bulldust penalty. "Ok my first wish is to double the number of lashes to 40."There is stunned silence in the hall. The Eagle, Collingwood supporter and Sultan are a little surprised at the first wish but then remember the strong fighting performance the Dockers have been putting up during the 2006 season.

The Eagle and Collingwood supporter look at each other and nod in admiration - obviously this Docker supporter wants to show how tough he is. The Sultan asks the Docker supporter for his second wish.

"Tie the Eagle supporter to my back" he replies.

HT Dockerland

Unmasked 1 Prayer bores me

Reality is...... praying sometimes bores me.
Ever felt like that?

Here is a message I gave on Sunday Morning about that, and about spiritual warfare, discovering who you are, being authentic in your prayers according to how God has made you.

Unmasked 1 prayer ...

You can also go here if you want to download it.
Listen or right click and save as

Communication and preaching

I am doing a lot of work at the moment on improving my communication skills.
A lot of what Seth Godwin goes on about has been really helpful.

I am convinced of a few things as a Pastor/preacher/communicator.

People want to listen and learn, but get bored pretty easily.
If I get about 40 chances a year to speak to people, I had better make the most of it.

A lot of people are visual learners. This is only going to increase.
I have better make sure I use visual aids.

People want to connect emotionally with what is being taught.
Stories are vital, as is passion, I had better believe and live what I speak about.

Bible stories as illustrations are only effective if they speak to me, today, about my circumstances. How often did Jesus use Biblical illustrations? Not often. He quoted scripture, and sometimes referred to OT stories, but most of His material was gathered as He walked down the street.

God needs to do whats really important, but that does not excuse me from being slack. In fact, I need to use all God has given me.

The biggest sin I can commit as a speaker, apart from speaking heresy, is make the most important message in the world, BORING.

Pioneers at Bedford

We had a great Sunday today.
Church was packed, and it was exciting,
The worship team played at just the right level, and the Worship Leader led with sensitivity.
In my view worship time at Church is best when the church get into it, sing loudly, laugh, enjoy, pray together. Today there was a real sense of oneness and unity, it was quite profound.
I started my new series on Unmasked, talking about prayer, and how, if we are frank, it bores us sometimes.
I ended with an awe inspiring quote from Watchmen Nee, The righteous man. Woh, God's Spirit moved.


We had our special members meeting.
Almost unanimous vote on the next stage of our relocation. Incredible sense that God is with us, as much as we are stepping out as the original founders of Bedford Baptist Church did, as pioneers. wow. wow. wow.

Pizza, Hillsong and Central Baptist

Every year, when on my annual pilgrimage to Hillsong Conference, my mate and I have Pizza on the main street of Sydney, George St.
Directly opposite our favourite pizza shop is Central Baptist Church, which seems to have a strong ethnic, Chinese congregation.
We often wonder about the old Gothic building, set in the heart of Sydney, and wonder what goes on there.

Well, obviously something!!
Here is the sign they have out the front.


Sort of reminds me of that old bumper sticker, "Jesus loves you, everyone else can't stand you"