Thumper…

April 1, 2018

The Interruption

Most of us have been there. We’re focused on a task or a goal and what we’re doing and tuned everything else out. We know what has to be done, what we need to do and the steps to take to get to the end destination and achieve the task or goal. Maybe we’re enjoying the journey as we go, but we never move our eyes too far away from the end goal. When we’re in that zone, any interruption causes us irritation, is annoying (or can get us angry) and is generally fairly unwelcome. As soon as we can, we get back to what we were trying to do.

But what happens when that interruption is bigger than a mere distraction and has life changing consequences. How do you react then?

Let’s pick up the story of Simon, a Cyrenian, who was in Jerusalem at the time of Jesus crucifixion.

Mark 15:21 “Then they compelled a certain man, Simon a Cyrenian, the father of Alexander and Rufus, as he was coming out of the country and passing by, to bear His cross.” (Also found in Luke 23:26 and Matt 27:32). For more background to the environment in Jerusalem at the time, take a read of Luke 23:13-47. It was a place of unrest and upheaval, with civil riots, hostility and unhappy mobs. Being around the time of the Jewish Passover, there were many people visiting the town, swelling the population. There were those stirring up hostility toward the Jews, and of course there were also those trying to go quietly about their business and stay out of trouble. It’s in that melting pot of cultures and differences that we find Simon and his two sons.

At this point, we don’t know a lot about Simon. We know that he was a father to Alexander and Rufus, was from the Cyrene area and was visiting Jerusalem. Cyrene was a Jewish area, around 900miles, or 1450km west from Jerusalem. It took over a month of walking to get there.

It was a coastal town, so there’s a good chance he’d heard about Jesus or the works of Jesus, perhaps even thinking he’d find out more about him by going to Jerusalem, but arriving in Jerusalem, he wouldn’t have expected the uprising that he found. It was also on every Jew’s bucket list to visit Jerusalem to participate in Passover. It’s a pilgrimage and is a big deal, perhaps a once in a lifetime opportunity for those a long way from Jerusalem such as Simon. Simon was focused on getting to Jerusalem and participating in the Passover. That was his goal.

Simon is innocently walking along, minding his own business, when he finds himself in a situation that has become immortalized for all time and retold millions of times. As he’s walking along the crowded streets of Jerusalem, trying desperately to keep his sons by his side, he hears a commotion going on not far from him. Perhaps he is curious as to what is going on, for no doubt he would have realised there was something different happening here as opposed to other parts of the streets. He is curious, but not wanting to get involved. He hesitatingly draws closer, moving slowly through the crowd. Being from another area, the accents could be hard to pick up – that’s if he even understands exactly what they’re saying. Perhaps he needs a moment or two to work it out, as you often do when you hear different languages or accents being spoken. As he’s drawn closer to the commotion, Jesus stumbles and the mob crowding around the spectacle hastily back away and retreat. As Jesus stumbles, the Roman soldiers look around and find Simon, who, in the confusion, doesn’t move quick enough and finds himself closer to the front than he would have liked. Then being an outsider, the crowd pushes him even closer to the front, placing him as a barrier between themselves and the Roman soldiers in a selfish act of self preservation by the crowd.

The Roman soldiers reach for Simon, who makes a lame attempt at protesting his innocence – lame because he knows what happens to those the Romans aren’t happy with, regardless of their innocence or guilt. The Romans treat him roughly, and push him toward Jesus and the cross lying on the ground. Whatever he was carrying has now been stripped from him and possibly even trampled underfoot or distributed by the remainder of the mob. His two sons are quite possibly nearby, but extremely frightened, wondering what will become of their father.

Simon now finds himself almost doubled over by the weight of the heavy wooden cross, taking one step after another, wondering how he found himself in this position. At first Simon’s reaction would have been one of reluctance – he definitely wasn’t a willing participant in this story. Fear of man would have kicked in – what are these people going to do to me? They are angry. Will the soldiers kill me or will they let me go to be finished off by the mob? And he may have been wondering – if this is Jesus, why is He being crucified? What has happened, what was going on? Confusion would have reigned supreme in Simon’s mind.

Simon, an innocent bystander, is now playing a crucial role in the crucifixion of Jesus. What is running through his head? He was focused on getting to the Passover festival. Even the abnormal crowds had got him slightly annoyed as they delayed his journey. Now he was going in completely the opposite direction and further away from his destination. Simon was also now covered in the blood of Jesus that was covering the cross. It dawned on him that he was now unclean and unable to participate in the Passover. This interruption was not only a major detour, but now it had derailed his entire purpose for coming to Jerusalem. He had come all this way, only to come so close, but yet to be so far away from participating in his lifelong ambition.

As time went on and Simon completed what the Roman soldiers had forced him to do, what would Simon have been thinking? As he watched Jesus crucified, did he realise he was playing a crucial role in something much bigger than he could ever have imagined? Did those feelings of disappointment and anger give way to awe, excitement and reverence at being involved and having a unique first hand account of the crucifixion of Jesus?

After the initial shock, we know Simon’s reaction. He went on to become a Christian and live a life filled with faith and love. He was most likely well known among the Roman church because of the way he was referred to in the three gospels. Alexander and Rufus, his two sons who were bystanders to the scene, both became leaders in the early church.

The story of the cross will disrupt our lives. How will you react? With annoyance, reluctance and fear of man? Or excitement, reverence and awe? Will you allow the interruption to take your life on a new course, like Simon did, or will you shrug it off and keep doing what you’ve always done?

Mark 10:45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world, that He gave His only son, that whoever believes in Him shall not die but have eternal life.

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March 12, 2018

The Chrome Plated Yabbie

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 8:12 pm
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The other day I was challenged to write a short story about a random topic. The topic given was ‘the chrome plated yabbie’, which just happens to be a song from the 60’s, by Wild Cherries. You can check it out here. At the time, neither of us knew it was a song.

Meanwhile, the random story I had to write is below, it could be any length, with any story line, there were no rules in this challenge! It’s not refined, not edited, not polished up. It is as is.

In an era when times were much simpler, a carefree young boy ran happily down the dirt road. He stumbled over something and just managed to hold on to all his stuff. As he did, he paused to look at what had almost tripped him up. Amongst the loose rubble on the road was a slightly bigger greyish coloured item that looked like a stone. It looked interesting, so he picked it up, shoved it in his pocket and kept running down the road.
He soon met up with his mates – they had a certain place next to the big lake that they would meet. Because they were still short, the tall reeds blowing in the breeze obscured them from the road and they had a relatively private area to call their own. Not that it mattered much anyway, nobody came through their little backwater town and especially not to this part of the lake.

The boys knew the routine now. They could do it with their eyes closed they’d done it so often. They grabbed some water in the bucket and quickly checked the nets while Andy, the youngest, kept watch. He was ready to act as a decoy if needed. What they were doing wasn’t wrong, but old Mrs Bucket just didn’t like them being near the lake – and she was a regular walker along this road and had a temper shorter than a chinamans whistle. One day she had caught them feeding the ducks, so she had run after them as mad as a cat where she was yelling and screaming and flapping her arms like a crow and scared them off. Another time she took to them with a broom, it was all they could do to escape. Once they’d been caught and marched home by their ear to their parents. And of course maybe once or twice the boys had not helped the situation by filling her letterbox with rocks and her freshly delivered milk with water, and “helped” by pruning her prized rose bushes. They boys still didn’t understand what was wrong with the cutting the roses off at the base, she’d asked for them to be pruned right back! But those were definitely isolated incidents!

A large shout from Tom caught everyone’s attention. “I’m going to need help over here” he yelled. Everyone dropped what they were doing and raced toward him. What greeted them was an amazing sight. The net was literally overflowing with yabbies. They were hanging off each other as they tried to get into the net. Together they pulled the net in and filled their buckets. But the yabbies didn’t stop there. They started crawling out of the lake, up the bank and heading toward Andy. It was like an attack of the yabbies!

By now the boys had abandoned their buckets and had taken off at a run back toward the town. But all the time, the yabbies kept following them. Andy spotted Mrs Bucket up ahead, but there was nothing they could do. She started yelling, but the boys brushed her aside, knocking her over. Even as she went down, she kept yelling at them, waving her broom in anger at them. But the yabbies showed no mercy, and started marching right over her! The boys briefly paused to enjoy the sight of Mrs Bucket being over run by yabbies. She had yabbies everywhere – hanging off her face and hair, they had crawled up her and were tugging at her clothes. They’d never heard her yell so much, or seen her so angry. The boys kept running – what were they to do to get rid of the yabbies? And now a very angry Mrs Bucket as well, who had done her best to regain her composure, but was running along rather worse for the experience and with yabbies still hanging off her!

Tom yelled at Andy – head to the factory over there. They knew that yabbies were best killed by being thrown into a pot of boiling water. And the factory over there was perfect. It had massive vats of sulfuric acid used in chrome plating.

As the boys headed in that direction, the towns people came out to hear what all the commotion was about. Everybody was astounded at the stream of yabbies and quickly realised what the boys were trying to do and cleared a path to the factory. They raced in, jumped over the vat and the yabbies, who couldn’t jump, piled into the vat of acid. Plumes of steam came up as the yabbies flowed in to the vat. Bubbles of acid flipped the odd yabbie in the air and the noise of the bubbling vat started to drown everything out.
Then a strange thing happened that even stopped Mrs Bucket in her tracks. The vat started to heave and buckle. Everyone ran.
The vat started smoking and began to explode like a volcano. After the smoke and sizzling sound disappeared, everyone’s eyes widened as right there before their eyes stood a giant chrome plated yabbie.
The townsfolk stood and looked in disbelief. How… why… what…who could explain it? Nobody had any answers.

So they took the chrome plate yabbie and stood him in a prominent position on the shores of the lake. People came from miles around to hear the story of the yabbies and to see the giant chrome plated yabbie. The town was a thriving metropolis again. Everyone cheered Andy and the boys. And as for Mrs Bucket – she never bothered the boys again.

Andy pulled the rock from his pocket and turned it over in his hand. There was something about this rock. It was enchanting, mysterious, different and since picking it up, his life hadn’t been the same. What was it about the rock?

March 2, 2018

Modifying SharePoint Forms without SharePoint Designer

Years ago I was searching for a way to put some text at the top of a default form on a SharePoint 2007 list without using SharePoint Designer. I eventually stumbled upon a post from Dhirendra Yadav and it has been a go-to post over the years, especially as we’re still running SharePoint 2007 for about 90% of our intranet.

The simple little trick appends a parameter to the end of the NewForm (or EditForm) url and then allows you to modify the form without using SharePoint designer.

Grab the url of the form you wish to modify, then simply append this to the url:

?PageView=Shared&ToolPaneView=2

So you have something like: http://yoursite/Lists/yourlist/NewForm.aspx?PageView=Shared&ToolPaneView=2

You can check out the full post here but I wanted to put that command line somewhere because each time I visit his site to grab the link, I’m afraid it may have disappeared!

The great thing is, it still works in SharePoint online in O365 and although you can easily modify the default forms using the toolbar menu item for the list, I’m not sure if there’s an easy, no designer way, to modify non default forms. Anyway, no need to worry with this little shortcut!

Thanks Dhirendra!

February 17, 2018

In Christ – above reproach

Col 1.21-22 And you, who once were alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now He has reconciled in the body of His flesh through death, to present you holy, and blameless, and above reproach in His sight.

We are reconciled to Christ. No more darkness, no more distance. When we accept Jesus as our Saviour, we are reconciled to Him. No matter what we’ve done, it’s just a small step back and we are reconciled!!! We’re now blameless and above reproach in God’s sight.
Reproach – the expression of disapproval or disappointment.
In God’s sight, once we are reconciled to Christ, He is not disappointed in us, nor does He disapprove of us, or express that disapproval.
Think on that. In God’s sight, above reproach when we walk with Him.

December 28, 2017

Christmas Haul 2017

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 8:58 am
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We did things a little different this year, and did a Kris Kringle, so each of us got two others to buy for. Can’t say I’m a fan of the idea, but anyway. Here’s my Christmas haul this year, just because I can I guess!

  • Gecko Insect Killer
  • Lambswool seat cover
  • Assortment of plants: 2 Unknowns, one is possibly some type of lily, the other some kind of palm type thing,
    one Bush Christmas type of plant, one hanging basket of coloured flowers.
  • WOW Hits 2018 Deluxe Edition
  • Assortment of chocolates and nuts and a jar of homemade jam
  • Oasis Double Wall Insulated Drink Bottle (in pink – why that colour I don’t know)
  • Can Opener
  • Tea Towel
  • Chromecast
  • Maraca from Indonesia
  • Series of handmade candle holders for tealight candles
  • A few things from Purl Australia – Body wash and soap
  • A couple of power banks
  • The frame for my outdoor bench seat

The pergola has been used for entertaining quite a bit this year, including the extraordinary Filipino night we had there earlier in the year. I keep saying I think it’s nearly finished and it’s true, it is nearly finished, but I did a heap of work this year and I’m still saying it’s nearly finished…
I did manage to pick up some outdoor blinds for the pergola at bargain prices, which meant the money I got last year for one blind actually bought all the blinds!

December 25, 2017

One Unlikely Candidate

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 12:02 am
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It was another hot day. Puffs of dust covered the leather sandals with each step that was taken. Sometimes a scuff rather than a neat step was taken. Sometimes a leap of joy, nearing a run was seen, before a return to a more orderly pace. The young girl was obviously in a hurry. She could feel the dust in her toes through her open toed leather sandals.

As Mary walked, she reflected on the blur of the recent events. She was betrothed to Joseph, who seemed like a nice enough man. He was descended from David and had grown up in Bethlehem, but had found himself in Nazareth where he had been introduced to Mary. She had first met him at the temple where they had both been learning from the historical texts regarding the coming Messiah. They had had lengthy conversations as both of them were convinced that the Messiah wouldn’t come as most were expecting.

Life in Nazareth hadn’t always been easy. Being of Jewish descent in a country under Roman rule made life tough. Persecution was common for her Jewish beliefs. So was rough treatment if you were out walking the streets. Snide comments or being pushed out of the way by Roman soldiers wasn’t unusual – even in the backwater town of Nazareth. Many times Mary had got home after having to pick up her shopping that had been spilt when she was knocked over. It also came with the low standing their family had in the community, sometimes not even having enough money to put food on the table – but yet God had always been faithful. Mary’s heart skipped a beat as she considered the current events and reflected on the goodness of God – “For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant” (Luke 1:48).

It still barley seemed real. The angel Gabriel had come into her house when nobody else was round. His very presence had commanded her attention, and instantly she’d started trembling. She’d heard about the angels visiting the old testament prophets such as Daniel, Lot and even Balaam. When the stories were told, she’d tried to imagine what she would have done if an angel visited her. Never in her wildest dreams did she ever expect it to happen to her though. The fear and trembling subsided when the angel uttered the words “Do not be afraid”. The words brought a peace with them that she had never felt before. The angel went on – she was highly favoured by God and had been chosen to carry the Saviour of the world. He would bring a Kingdom that would have no end – that surely could refer to none other than the Messiah spoken about in the historical texts.

The very peace that the angel had brought and the calm authority he spoke with, had left her no doubt that the words were true. Nevertheless, Gabriel had said that Elizabeth was also with child, so here she was hurrying along the road to go and see her to put everything beyond doubt. Elizabeth! Who would have thought that was possible. But Gabriel had said with God, all things were possible.

Thinking it through was a little mind blowing. This news had implications not just for the current generation, but for all generations. This would be a Saviour born to reconcile mankind now and for all future generations – “All generations will call me blessed” (Luke 1:48) That was a big responsibility she had and now was the appointed time for the Saviour to arrive.

The other problem she had was Joseph. He was a very just and God fearing man, but would he believe her when she told him that the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit? It had never happened before. He could easily put her away somewhere, divorce her, or worse still have her stoned. But yet the peace that had arrived with Gabriel assured her that everything would be ok. It was just a trust and assurance that God was with her, that she was highly favoured and that it would all happen just as was said. Another thought crossed her mind – why would God choose somebody who had no experience raising children to bring up the Saviour of the world. What an awesome responsibility. Mary hoped that she wouldn’t muck it up.

A loud shout brought her back to reality with a jolt. She quickly apologised to the man she had accidentally bumped into as she hurried along the road. She had better be careful, she was soon to give birth to the Saviour of the World!

Nearing Elizabeth’s, she could no longer maintain an orderly pace. She broke into a run, eager to see Elizabeth as soon as she could. A quick glance told Mary that Elizabeth was pregnant, but before she could say anything more than a greeting, Elizabeth began to prophesy. If Mary could just believe, everything would happen as the angel had said.

As we reflect on the Christmas story, the life of Mary serves as a reminder that God has something special for each of us to do. He’s not too fussy about our status in life, where we live or what we’ve done in the past. Like Mary though, He just wants us to believe Him and be obedient when He tells us to do something. Luke 1:46-55 gives us an indication of Mary’s heart – she was available, knew God intimately, was willing to pay the cost and be obedient regardless of the cost or potential consequences. Sometimes we only think of ourselves and our own comfort and aren’t willing to risk anything for God. Those thoughts keep us from doing something that may be part of a larger plan. We often don’t realise how our small part fits into the bigger picture and the impact we could potentially have.

The birth of Jesus changed everything. He gave us hope, that confident expectation of better things to come. Through His subsequent death on the cross, He gave us victory, forgiveness and freedom from sin and condemnation. His Kingdom is available to everyone, thanks to the obedience of one unlikely candidate.

Have a great Christmas!

December 20, 2017

Shattering!

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 4:14 pm
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I’m not sure how many will believe this story, but anyway, I’ll give it a shot!

So there was a big storm last night in our area. Strong winds. I had the front door open to let in a bit of a breeze – that was at the point when it was still a breeze. But then came the strong winds. I heard a bit of a crash that sounded sort of far away and a bit like a bit of tin flapping around. Went and checked out the front door – nothing obvious there and the sound wasn’t there anymore. No worries. Decided to shut the front door, because it was getting stronger.

Wandered down the passage and something caught my eye. Nothing major, just the dark sky out the window. Kept walking. Wait! Did a double take. I can see sky out my bathroom window… That’s now how it’s meant to be! Went back for a closer look and yep, there is the sky, the rain and the fence and the fresh air (evidence of) all visible through the window, the frosted window that doesn’t open…

There was a moment there when I thought oh no, how long has it been like that, I’ve been home for hours, has the house been robbed and I haven’t noticed or worse still is somebody still here.

The broken window!

But on closer inspection, all the broken glass was outside, it had to have come from inside. That noise I heard when the massive of gust of wind came was obviously the window shattering from the force of the wind. Which is also extremely odd and freaky, because the bathroom window is on the opposite side of the house to the front door and accessed via the passage.

Anyway, a call to Mum and Dad and they came around soon and we got it boarded up and the glass cleaned up. The glazier came today to measure and we’ll be back to normal soon!

Well that’s the most unusual incident I’ve had around my house. Never would have expected a freak incident like that though!

Update: Found out my brother had a broken window from the same storm also. He lives near Warragul. The wind blew and broke his window too. Twice! In the same family on the same night!

Boarded up!

Boarded up!

November 13, 2017

The Swan Song

Filed under: Church life,Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 9:17 pm
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A few months ago I received this awesome biscuit, hand made and hand decorated. The lovely swan biscuit was a gift on my last day at church in Geelong – chosen because it was my “swan song”. For the last couple of years I’d been heading down most weekends and some week days/nights to church there, where the parent church of my Bendigo church is located. It was a great couple of years and I made some great friends – but like with all things, there comes a time to move on.

So I finished up there around the end of August and now I’m enjoying some quiet Sunday’s. I’ve been getting my backyard done (will need to post some photos soon), catching up with friends that I hadn’t really been able to spend much time with the last couple of years and just generally enjoying having Sunday free. It will be interesting to see what happens next. I have a few ideas, but in time, all shall be revealed!

If anybody is looking for some handmade biscuits drop me a comment and I can put you on to Leonie who’s just beginning to build her biscuit baking business. She’s just completed a huge batch of biscuits for me at work, specially hand crafted pigs, which I’m sure will taste just as great as the swan did!

August 17, 2017

Thought for the day…

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 10:28 pm

As I was driving to work the other day, I came up with this.

Some things work. Some things don’t. Don’t be afraid to pull the pin on those that don’t. Learn. Then move on.

Sometimes we try to hang on to things hoping that they’ll change. Maybe we’re afraid to move on because we don’t know what’s coming or where we’ll end up. Perhaps we keep doing things out of habit, becuase that’s how we’ve always done them. Or you invested plenty of time/money/effort into something, so you’re reluctant to let it go. But don’t be afraid to pull the pin on those things that haven’t worked out as planned. Whether it’s personal, business, within the church or your local tennis club, don’t be afraid to pull the pin and move on. We only fail if we don’t give something a go.

It reminds me of the scripture in Matt 10:14 And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.

In the context of this scripture it’s talking about preaching the gospel. But I like the lesson at the end. As you move forward, you don’t take anger, hurt or resentment with you. Don’t allow offense or bitterness to creep in.

You put on that new man, you renew your mind and you move forward with peace, joy and love in your heart.

If things haven’t worked out as planned, shake the dust off your feed and move on. It will sure save you a lot of stress if you do!

December 28, 2016

Recap

Filed under: Idle Ramblings — pearsey @ 1:58 am

I haven’t updated my blog much this year, but there’s been good reasons for that. This year has been an interesting year, but really, not much out of the ordinary. I’ve spent the last 15 months attending church in Geelong, I’ve managed to get a fair chunk of my backyard landscaped and the pergola built (finally) and I had a tour to India back in October for 3 weeks. The year started off when I officiated at a surprise wedding in January which was a heap of fun. In February our family attended the Edinburgh military tattoo in Melbourne, which was really good.  It’s always stirring hearing massed pipe bands playing traditional Scottish tunes and I think my other highlight from there was the Shetland Fiddle Band who did an awesome job making those strings sound good (it sounded much, much better live).  Spent some time on the Geelong foreshore at Christmas time (I may visit Geelong a lot, but I rarely get to look around) and it’s great how they’ve turned it into a nice place for people to enjoy.  Otherwise, my backyard really did take up a lot of time. Oh that and travelling to Corowa every Monday since May. That was a hard slog getting up early on Monday’s after getting home from Geelong the day before.  I haven’t had much of a chance to do much cooking or photography, but I’ll update what I can over the next couple of weeks, with my India trip and possibly some cooking updates.

Anyway, not sure what this year will bring, but it would be good to use the pergola a lot more and hopefully have some new adventures!

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