Tag Archives: sydney

world youth day update, day 5 and final bits

i’m in aukland, new zealand, as i write this, on my way home. i flew in this morning from sydney, and am spending the afternoon with my good friend tash mcgill, before flying overnight tonite to l.a., and on to san diego.

my last day in sydney was reasonably uneventful, and really post-world youth day. i wrapped up my 24 hours of silence, got picked up by an a buddy who i know from hong kong, who now lives here. he drove me out to where i had an appt in the ‘burbs, and we had a leisurely coffee together and talked about the church in australia.

then, as i blogged in my post about the small world, i met with the owner of our largest ys product distributor in australia. i assumed i would chat with him about increasing the number of ys titles they sell, and stuff like that. but before we met, i’d checked out the youth ministry section in the large anchor store below their offices, and was blown away. it was about the best youth ministry section i have ever seen in a christian bookstore. three entire shelving units, plus part of a fourth, fully stocked with multiple copies of loads of ys books. 90% of the titles were ys books.

so, there didn’t seem to be much of a reason to talk to him about increasing our ys titles. instead, we talked about adding some ys/koorong co-sponsored one-day youth ministry training events. they’re excited about this idea, and i think we’ll do it next year.

after lunch, i took the train back to sydney; and in the evening, had a wonderful dinner with the 24 year-old president of world youth alliance. it’s an org based in nyc that works to educate and rally young voices around ‘dignity of human life’ issues. they work directly with the u.n, the e.u., and other political groups, and have offices in 5 regions of the world. all their staff are under 30. sounds like they do really cool stuff, and there might be some complimentary stuff with ys. oh, and we ate a wagamama, which is one of my favorite restaurants in the world. liesl and i stumbled across wagamama in london a couple years ago. subsequent to that, i’ve had a couple friends become fans. i think there are only a couple in the states, but they’re in the east (boston, i think?). best noodle bar ev-ar.

later, i saw the dark night, in a kick-butt aussie theater (big chairs, tables between them, a bar that serves in the theater, giant screen and awesome sound). and, now, here i am going home.

a few final pics, completely random…

here are two of me on the sydney harbor bridge (one, extremely dorky, i might add!):

and, here is a big freaky bird i saw walking around a park in the city, which i took a picture of for my bird-loving friend, scot mcknight:

and, finally, here’s me here in aukland, revisiting my love for the new zealand “latte bowl” (yes, that’s a coffee):

monday morning check-in, on, uh, tuesday

ok, so i forgot about my new practice of the monday morning check-in yesterday. but here’s the funny thing: i’m typing this in aukland new zealand, and it’s tuesday afternoon here. but it’s still monday in the u.s. so while this post will go live tuesday morning in the states, it’s being written on monday (even though it’s tuesday where i am). yeah. sure. whatever.

the weekend that was: yeah, world youth day, in sydney. blogged a lot about it, so won’t more here. really wonderful weekend — so glad i came here for it.

where i am at the moment: aukland, new zealand, on my way home.

on my to-do list this week: i have one day in the office this week again (wednesday), so it will be a massive catch up day. i think we’ll have an announcement to make, and i’m sure i’ll have some stuff to do with that. we were planning on camping thursday through sunday, but i talked to jeannie today, and i think we’re going to cancel that for a few reasons, not the least of which is that — this sucks — my whole family has discovered they have lice in their hair. don’t know where it came from — max was clearly the carrier, as he had it the worst. jeannie had to shave his hair off – poor little guy (he loved his long hair). i’m just hoping i don’t have them!

moving update: we had a couple more showings, and an open house over the weekend with good traffic. we’ve continued to go back and forth with one of the previous low-ball offers. we’ve countered, they’ve countered, back and forth. we’re within 5 grand of each other now, so i think it’s likely this will happen, and we’ll be in serious “bust a move” mode, trying to find a house and move within 40 days.

procrastinating about: i have so much to catch up on. i feel like i’m on my tip-toes to keep my nostrils above it all. so i don’t know that i’m really procrastinating about anything; but i’m still dropping balls, i think.

book i’m in the midst of: the book of general ignorance

music that seemed to catch my attention this past week: matt maher

next trip: assuming our camping trip is off, my next trip is in a week, to grand rapids, for a zondervan leadership team retreat.

how i’m feeling about this week: canceling the camping trip feels good — it was feeling like i wasn’t going to have time to breathe. but i wish i had two weeks in the office with no other commitments.

world youth day update, day 2

have had a wonderful 2nd day here in sydney. the adoration (worship) last night with matt maher and the lifeteen gang was beautiful. the kids were pretty rowdy, as could be expected. but, of course, that also meant they threw themselves completely into worship. but the coolest moments where when a bishop (from lexington, ky) processed in carrying a cross (actually a monstrance, which is a new term for me — it’s a cross with a consecrated host in it), and the thousands of teenagers knelt in complete silence — i mean TOTAL silence — for about 10 minutes. it was a beautifully holy moment.

today, i tagged along with a few lifeteen peeps for a bit of sightseeing in sydney. we went down to the harbor and walked around for a bit. then we went on a small jetboat ride in sydney harbor. fantastic and fun! it was one of those jetboats that does 360-degree spins. we got totally soaked, despite wearing ponchos. but it was a total blast, and we got a great tour of the harbor and all the sights.

afterward, we made our way to the sydney opera house. man, that thing is even more amazing up close.

we walked around inside for a bit, and found they were about to have a spanish mass in one of the auditoriums, so went to that. the whole thing reminded me of the “every tribe and tongue” reality of the kingdom of god. there we were, a small group of americans, sitting in the sydney opera house, listening to catholic mass being said in spanish, completely surrounded by teenage pilgrims from spanish speaking countries around the world. very cool.

we had lunch as a waterside cafe, which had a perfect view of the downtown skyline, the harbor, and the harbor bridge.

then we walked over to the bridge. on the way, we joined the tens of thousands of teenagers from around the world who were walking through the city as part of a massive city-wide stations of the cross. lots of groups were carrying flags from their countries. again, i was reminded of the worldwide community of faith — it was hard NOT to be reminded of this!

tonite, i’m going to another worship event with matt maher and hillsong united. it’s an outdoor event, and they’re expecting about 150,000 to attend! tomorrow, we’re climbing to the top of sydney harbor bridge, which should be a kick!

world youth day, day 1

arrived in sydney (via san francisco and aukland) late thursday morning. it’s thursday evening as i’m writing this, which is weird, as it’s only wednesday night in the u.s.

i’ll try to post impressions each day while i’m here.

i met up with the lifeteen folk at the hotel. man, they are just such wonderful people. i feel like there are some similarities in the journey they’ve been on over the last few years, and the journey ys and i have been on. we had to figure out how to move beyond a wonderful and charismatic founder, and so did they. we were often perceived as arrogant (and often were), and had to move to more of a place of humility and serving youth workers, rather than thinking we had the answer to everything and were god’s gift to youth ministry; lifeteen has gone through the same kind of change. but the thing is, when i’m around these people, i’m blown away by their humility, graciousness and love. i aspire to be more like them. god’s spirit is so evident in their lives, in every conversation. i often feel like a spiritual lightweight around them. this is good — it puts me in a learning posture, open to what god can teach me and do in me.

we walked down to the sydney harbor and had lunch at an outdoor spot. thousands of teenagers from around the world are everywhere, and it’s just so cool. the pope was arriving by boat in sydney harbor around that time, but we didn’t stay for that, as we had to head back for the load in and sound check for the lifeteen worship night tonite (it’s a eucharistic adoration — i blogged about being a part of one of these at the lifeteen conference a few weeks back). my friend matt maher is leading worship, and lifeteen’s president, randy raus, is speaking. the event is in an arena that holds 10,000, and it’s sold out. should be an amazing evening, as 10,000 teens from around the world worship god together. i’m pumped to be here, and it’s cool to not have a role, so i just get to participate.