Sunday, February 10, 2008

Taronga Zoo and Australian Hospitality

On Saturday we decided to take the ferry boat over to the Taronga Zoo, Sydney's zoo because "after a short shower at 10:00 am it is supposed to be fairly sunny until the evening when we may experience another short shower." Hm....not so. It did start to rain at 10:00 am but did not let up for the rest of the afternoon. Lovely. But the zoo was a nice trip anyway. When the ferry dropped us off, we took a cable car (like what you'd find at a ski resort) up to the top of the mountain to enter the zoo. Saw lots of animals as the pictures above show...
This morning (Sunday) we went to a church we passed on the way to one of our trips to Ikea. The people were very friendly and an older couple invited us over to their home for lunch. A very interesting and fun afternoon! Learned about their role in promoting Christian concerts all over Australia as well as finding out that the man was in charge of organizing all of the transporation for the artists for the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2000 Olympics....Karen, I know you're jealous!
After leaving their home we went over to Hillsong for their evening service. Very good! The couple that Phil met several months ago invited us to sit with them, go out for coffee after the service and then go out to dinner with them after that. Quite the long day! I even branched out, was brave and tried Vietnamese food for dinner. Not sure if I'll try it again.
You hear a lot about "community" in church and that we should be looking for opportunities to build into other people's lives, or be "intentionally intrusive" in people's lives as our sunday school teacher is fond of saying. I can say that at both churches we attended today, we met people who take that as a personal charge. A truly good day.


Mark M said...

Hey guys! So good to hear of the adventures down under. Interesting comments about the churches you visited. That's really great--something we should all try to be more intentional about doing.

September said...

Thanks for contacting good to reconnect...have a great time in Australia! How was Hillsong?

Sandra said...

(the role of Sandra will be played by Phil tonight...)

It is challenging, especially as someone coming from church leadership, to be on the other side realizing how good others can be at welcoming you into fellowship where you are so weak in situations where you should be doing the same....

Sandra might post some of her own answers to Hillsong, but I'll give you my perspective. I've probably attended Hillsong 6 or 7 times total in my trips to Sydney, Sandra has been there twice now. My initial thought in going there was just to see what the hype was all about. It was an attraction to me more than a worship service, and I approached it a bit skeptically. Hopefully this doesn't offend anyone, but I was expecting a bit of Joel Osteen, but what you get is vastly different.

So the worship is probably what you'd expect it to be. For those of us used to traditional US churches, even the churches who have become more progressive and contemporary- it is different. It is loud, it is charismatic, yet it's still worshipful (I think I'm making that word up, but you get the point). It's not "comfortable" at times, but I really can't say that I've seen anyhing that I thought was not Biblical.

Where I have been really impressed is in most of the speaking that I've heard come from Hillsong. As you can imagine in a megachurch, you hear mostly guest speakers, although I have heard Brian Houston lead a few times. With the exception of maybe one message- I found the speaking to be very solid, very scriptural and sound teaching. Once I felt that the Biblical base of the sermon was a bit light for my taste, but still not unBiblical. I have yet to hear teaching from an actual Hillsong pastor or staff member that I did not feel was solid.

So maybe I don't agree with every point of their practice, but I haven't yet found anything that would prohibit me from worship at Hillsong.

c&v said...

Its great that you are having a chance to be a part of different worship services and experience the community there. Its great when we, as a body, can learn from one another . We are praying for you both and love reading your updates! It sounds like you are enjoying your time there and are taking everything in....despite the rain showers and bats:)

Sox and I bonded this morning over an "please eat your pills" session. Sitting on the floor in front of him, with a peanut butter-pill sandwich, I looked up and saw his face. It was as if he was saying "Please dont make me eat that again". He ate them like a champ...and then got a treat. He is doing great and im sure will be excited to see you in March:)

Better go for now...

p.s. I have to admit, we all enjoy the Hillsong cd/dvd you left in the theater:)

Bob & Claire said...

I am so impressed that at 2 different churches there were people who did stuff with you after the service! Very challenging. There is actually a family who has just started coming to our church who moved here from Sydney. They are originally from South Africa and were in Sydney (and over here) because of his company. They went to a Presbyterian church--Rantwick or something like that maybe? I should have written it down, LOL. They lived close to the Harbor Bridge.