Stories I Thought You’d Like – News Comedy Edition

“It’s a good time to be a comedian, it’s a bad time to live on Earth.”

Zac Mander – Collective Noun (The Courier Mail – “Midnight Hour Time to Shine”)

If you are on Youtube or other social media, you experience a 24-hour news cycle that churns out the good and bad in rapid measure. Comedians and other social commentators have a field day mining these feeds for things to draw out and use. Plus with the internet, there has never been better and easier exposure for comedians. As such there are plenty of new people every day to follow and enjoy. Here are some notable pieces and people for me.

Alternative Facts, Dead People – Songify the News 12 – Schmoyoho (Youtube) – Length: 3mins –In which the White House argues for some pretty messy stuff. Schmoyoho takes clips of stories and fits them into a song, often making fun of the content or the people displayed in it. They also know as the Gregory Brothers and have great artistry in using Autotune to create songs for the news.

Nightly News Now Episode 6: Warnie, Waves, & Winnings – Collective Noun (Youtube) – Length: 7mins — Part of a six episode series of a parody news show. Collective Noun is a late night radio show in Brisbane that has a bit of a following around the world, especially online with their podcast and social media accounts. Using the news to make games and other fun bits, Dom Fay and Zac Mander are two Aussies who use the serious to make the funny.

Homeowner Deters Package Thieves By Leaving Paul Washer In Box On Porch – Babylon Bee – Article Length: short — Paul Washer shows up to preach to a potential thief. Babylon Bee is a Christian satirical news site, initially written by Adam Ford, that hits hard across denominations and countries. It’s fun to laugh at the truth seen in the eyes of satire, but it also has the power to make you see your own hypocrisy.

Check these out, and I hope you have a great day not being overwhelmed by the news!

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Stories I thought you should know – Christmas 2018

It’s been a big year for many people. There have been a lot of hard things to go through. There have also been a lot of great things to celebrate. I personally am happy to have been able to learn of some great stories coming out of the Middle East and Eastern Europe. There are also tragic stories I’ve heard, too. All this to say, here are some things this year (in no particular order) I thought you’d value.

BREAKING: AT LEAST 7 KILLED IN ATTACK ON CHRISTIANS IN EGYPT

Open Doors USA |Article – Length: 5 mins

“At least seven Christians have died and an additional 15 injured in Egypt today (Nov 2, 2018) after a violent attack on a group of Coptic pilgrims. The Christians were on their way to visit a desert monastery, when a group of masked gunmen stopped the bus and fired on it. The death toll is expected to rise.”

An Arab Evangelical Message to American Evangelicals

Arab Baptist Theological Seminary | Article – Length: 12 mins

” For millions of Muslims like Adel, Evangelical support for Israel and American foreign policy in the Middle East is a stumbling block for the Gospel. “

I Survived North Korea

SoulPancake (on Youtube) – Length: 6.20 mins

” Charles tells the story of his eventual escape from North Korea in 2008 at age 14. After a brief period of time in China at the age of 8, he was sent back to North Korea to work in a labor camp where he was starved and beaten… What have you survived?”

Pomplamoose – Living in a Bubble

Pomplamoose (on Youtube) – Length: 3.07 mins

How Open Doors Equips the Church in Nigeria

Open Doors USA |Video – Length: 3.44 mins

Kids Meet a Burn Survivor

Kid’s Meet|HiHo Kids – Length: 5.57 mins

This is a fascinating and moving encounter a burn survivor has with children.

New York Times – Length: Very Long

This photo-journal tells the stories of survivors and of the devastation of Aleppo, Syria. There is hope there, but it will be a long, long process of recovery. Note: There is limited free viewing of the NY magazine.

Love never fails

Tomorrow Clubs |Video – Length: 11:15

One of the latest, and right now, one of my favourite stories that I heard this year! Rostik’s story is one of tragedy and hope. Praise God.

Things I’ve Learned from India: Faithfulness and Gratefulness

In India I learned I should be more grateful and make more use of the Biblical teaching I’ve received.

I was in Tamil Nadu, India, 5 years ago, visiting the project and home of a child I sponsored. While at the project I was asked if I had a word for the children gathered there. I was put on the spot, but still wanted to encourage the children. I asked one of the staff to translate and read where Jesus allowed children to come near to him and be blessed. I said to them a little something about how God wanted us to have the faith of a child and that they could come to God at the age they were at. The staff were surprised at how well I seemed to understand the Bible and mentioned that to me a few times. After that, they honoured me with several opportunities to speak: at a pastors’ meeting, at a homeless outreach, and at a school assembly quickly arranged just for me!

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Giving a small talk at the project

I had never felt that learned or able to speak well in front of people, but their confidence in me enabled me. It made me think about how studying the Bible under wise and studied pastors had been something I took for granted. While I certainly didn’t compare to the passionate faithfulness of the Indian people I met on my trip there, I certainly had better biblical training than many of them.

The manager for the child sponsorship and survival program there took an opportunity to tell me how she spent time with the Bible each day. She said she started the day with the Bible and ended the day with the Bible. Her faithfulness to daily growth stood out to me. Christians like her are remaining faithful despite many difficulties, and so I’m spurred on to remain faithful, too.

We need to be supporting our struggling brothers and sisters in India. Persecution continues to increase in India, being 11th in the Open Doors World Watch list, and pastors continually need good training and support. Organisations like Overseas Council are bringing lasting and quality support to strategic Bible Colleges in India. Make sure to check out how you can impact the work in India.

For myself, this experience challenged me to use what I’ve learned for the sake of others and God’s Kingdom.

 

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A mountain range in Tamil Nadu


Thanks for reading! I’m looking forward to sharing more about what I’ve learned from India in the future. If you have any questions, feel free to ask them below.

 

You Can Provide Hope for the Middle East

There are many ways to encourage a fellow sibling in Christ. I just discovered one that utilizes an app and a few minutes of your time. Open Doors seeks to support the persecuted church around the world. Many Christians face extreme pressure for their faith, and OD provides help with training, practical support, and bibles and literature.

20180426_095939.jpgImagine there is someone you know in Syria who is a dear sister in Christ and is in need. How would you contact her safely? How about for her church or wider Christian community? The world of technology continues to grow and can provide for unique situations. OD has produced an app called Hope For ME that can be accessed by thousands of believers in the Middle East. They say it’s in order “to connect you with the persecuted church. We’re asking Christians around the world to write messages of hope that will appear on the app, encouraging persecuted believers.”

Have you ever received a letter or message from loving family or a friend and not been greatly encouraged? I can imagine this is how people might view a message from you on this app. I made a happy discovery of this service last night, and wanted to share it with you. So make some time, just like you have in reading this, and send a brief message to encourage your family in the Middle East. Click here to go over to the Open Doors website and leave a message.

Thanks for reading! Pete


Please note some requests by Open Doors:

  • Write in English
  • Be brief and encouraging
  • Please don’t mention Open Doors
  • Please don’t criticise a country or make proposals to help

Pic: A couple enjoys the bay in Alexandria, Egypt.

Stories I thought you’d like (Mid June)

There’s lots of cool stuff on the Internet. Here’s some I found recently.


Christian Living

Blessed Are The PersecutedOpen Doors Live (Podcast) – Length: 22 mins

“James talks about a woman who spent 2 years in a metal shipping container for her faith. Mike shares some audio he recorded from an underground church in China. But they both ask the same question: Can Jesus be seen in my life, and is it a blessing to be persecuted?”

 

Insight

Patient Story – Tarryn Vallance – Royal Flying Doctor Service – Length: 3 mins read

I know Tarryn as a battler of a woman. She went through so much with her accident and her recovery. I met her on a beach mission and was so encouraged to see her attend 6 months after her near-death experience. She is a practicing nurse now.

 

Theology

Review: The Bible Project – Brilliant but Flawed – Richard Sweatman (Gospel Coalition Australia) – Length: 12 mins read

“What is lacking is any explanation of the cross as a propitiation, that is, a sacrifice that turned away the wrath of God against sinful humanity.”

 

Humour

“INTERROGATING ZUCKERBERG” — A Bad Lip Reading – Bad Lip Reading (Youtube) – Length: 5.47mins

“Tension mounted during Mark Zuckerberg’s congressional hearing…”

Stories I Thought You’d Like (Early June)

I enjoy reading and listening to stories.  Here are some I found especially interesting in the past week or so.


Insight

Last year I was on the team to Lebanon with Justine.  She is an amazing woman with a great ministry and passion.  She is heading off to Jordan in October on a Muskathlon.  Her story is well worth the listen.

Rewriting the Story of the Starving Armenian– Taste –  10 min read

“What Americans didn’t know was that despite the moniker [of “starving Aremenian”], Armenian families like Kharmandalian’s had a rich food tradition that had been cultivated for eons.”

Christian Living

How To Love Your Wife As Christ Loved the Church – Tim Challies – 10 min read

“As a Christian husband, you are not left wondering or speculating about what it means to carry out your role in a way that pleases God and blesses your wife.  To the contrary, the Bible provides clear guidance: You are to love your wife as Christ loves his church.”

Humour

Almost Every Type of Crying – Tripp & Tyler (Youtube) – 3 1/2 mins watch

Stories I Thought You’d Like (Late May)

Every so often I hope to share with you some stories that stood out to me and may be of interest to you, too.


Christian Living

If I Were 22 Again – John Piper (Desiring God) Length: Medium

“…it seemed to me I should go in the direction of, “What are the most important things I would do at 22?” Not in the abstract, but the real me where I was and who I was in 1968. What if I started over with all the same circumstances in place?”

Introducing the Pain-Pleasure Worldview – David Williams (Gospel Coalition Australia) Length: Short

“Guilt-innocence is eroding as the worldview of western culture. I think we are moving from being a guilt-innocence culture to becoming a pain-pleasure culture.”

Bishop Michael Curry’s royal wedding sermon – CBS News (Youtube) Length: 13 mins

Curry’s sermon during the royal wedding of Harry and Meghan has many people buzzing for all sorts of reasons. Regardless of your opinion, it’s worth hearing it so you can use it as a springboard for conversation about the gospel. I’m now of mixed feelings about the content and delivery, but it’s doubtlessly entertaining, and hopefully useful.

Humor

Kellogg’s Introduces New Relient K Cereal – Babylon Bee – Length: Short

‘Relient K frontman Matt Theissen stated he was hopeful that this cereal would further the band’s career in a changing music industry. “I really hope this product will be my escape from the pop punk scene into a wider mass market audience.”’

What I experienced in Lebanon last year

Last year in May I took part in a Muskathlon. In short, it’s a fundraising trip where you go to a country to support and learn about life-changing local ministries. You also take part in a walk, run, or cycle there.

In the lead up to the Muskathlon in Lebanon, I was asked a series of questions for the Open Doors blog. You can see my little piece (my name is Peter) along with something from the other members of the Aussie team.

At the same time, I received another set of questions to answer post-trip. Here are my answers.


After months of training and fundraising, what was it like crossing the finish line?

I ran half a kilometre to the finish line after 62km of walking. I was exhausted, but alive. I remember being fueled by anger at injustice, desire to finish well, and the joy of comradery. I also was getting very sick. (I’ll talk more on this another time.)

My experience of crossing the finish line was not straight forward. Yet, I’m glad I am able to still tell the tale with joy in my heart.

What has this experience done to your faith?

It’s made it all the more precious. To hear the stories of faithful believers, who have given up so much for their faith and ministry was a true blessing. To be with “muskathletes” who had all made sacrifices to be on this journey gave me such joy and encouragement. The power of prayer moved me and had a personal impact on me through my sickness. I am certain God used all I experienced to continue to grow me to be more like his Son.

Could you share one story (or one experience) that you will remember from this trip?

We were taken to a community centre run by a church. It was on the outskirts of refugee camps. The couple of hours we spent there were with Syrian and Iraqi refugee children, playing games and running activities for them. It was a chance to pour out love on these hurting kids for a little while. We had a blast, playing ball games, piggy-back chasey, and giving them snacks.

Everyone got a gift at the end, which was either sweets or a home-made crocheted toy.  I was struck with the thought of this being where love met suffering. Love came against suffering and swept over it with a force that would be felt for at least a little while. My hope and prayer for these children and other children like them, is for people to show love to them. They need a lot of grace and a lot of care. Life has been devastating for them, yet Christ is love and offers eternal hope.

What would you tell someone who was thinking about travelling with Open Doors, or doing a Muskathlon?

I would tell them a lot of things. Be ready for your faith to be challenged. You will see the faith of your brethren in Christ who’ve suffered through persecution. There is no doubt that persecution will come for believers if they are faithful and outspoken servants of Christ. Yet in some places in the world believers experience much higher levels of attack. Be ready with lots of questions and hearts ready to learn.

You must be ready to suffer. A Muskathlon is not a walk in the park. You are expected to aim for a half or full marathon, a 120km bike ride, or 63km hike, all to be done in less than a day. You are expected to aim for $10,000 in fund-raising for Open Doors*. All this effort takes its toll on your daily life when you are in the midst of it. Expect disappointments and exhaustion. Expect feeling like you can’t get the preparation done and wondering if it will be worth it.

You must be ready to be a team player. Trips like this stand and fall on team work. You need to be on-board with one another, supporting each other in your weaknesses, and loving each other. The leadership will be seeking to draw you all into a state of single-mindedness about the trip. They will guide with devotions, teachings, instructions, etc.

Finally, you must be ready to be filled with joy. Trips like this are a long journey that start with a prayer, a building of interest, or an invite, but will be carried by joy. Your team will support you and you will learn to depend on God more fully; the hard times will drive you to your knees and that will give you peace and joy. You will find reserves you didn’t know you had; you will discover your weaknesses and strengths. You will have joy as you entrust yourself to God.

 *Or Compassion International, depending on the trip.


Thanks for reading! Maybe you can consider going on a Muskathlon through Open Doors or Compassion.

Compassion Muskathlon in Indonesia – Deadline: End of May!

Open Doors Muskathlon in Jordan – Deadline: End of May!

Featured pic: Me running across the finishing line!

Stories I Thought You’d Like – Early May

Every week or so I hope to share with you some stories that stood out to me and may be of interest to you, too.

Length: short

“The Syrian conflict has consumed the world’s news headlines since it began in March 2011. For Christians in Syria, the war that has lasted nearly eight years. And whilst the fighting isn’t over, we still believe there’s hope.

The Islamic State have been dispersed from their Syrian strongholds; the city of Aleppo is on its way to recovery; and Christians are returning home to parts of the country to rebuild their lives and their communities.

God has not given up on Syria.”

Easter In Iraq – Father George – Open Doors (Youtube)

Length: short

“This Easter is very important to the faithful in Qaraqosh. It is their first Easter after returning to this town. It is a big message also to the world. As Christ rose from the dead, also this congregation is rising from the ashes.”

 Why We Sent Our Children to Local State Schools – Fiona McLean (Gospel Coalition Australia blog)

Length: medium

“While it may not be the same in other countries, I believe that sending our children to local state schools in Australia is still a godly option, not a compromise that will damage our children, nor an abdication of our parental responsibility to raise our children to know and love God.”

The Ballad of Loki: Songify the Avengers – Schmoyoho (Youtube) –

Length: short

A mashup of Loki’s story in the Avengers. I’ve never watched the movies, but this was enjoyable enough.

 

Fancy something more in-depth? Check out a podcast episode I enjoyed:

Robin Bailey – No Filter with Mia Freedman (Omni.fm) –

Length: 29:59

‘”I just had no idea how traumatic was going to be. And what the fallout was going to be for everyone around us.”

Brisbane radio presenter Robin Bailey seemingly had it all. A husband, three beautiful kids and a successful career in radio and television.

Then her husband took his own life.’


Enjoy!

That Story Show! – Keeping It Real & Real Funny

Stories have always had an appeal for me. Whether it was growing up with fictional adventures in books or movies or real-life ones from around the world, I love stories. I even made a couple of my own short stories over my school years. After discovering the world of podcasts, my search led me to ones that told funny true-life tales. I found there were a couple of clean comedy podcasts to enjoy, and I was set.


A podcast I’d like to share with you is That Story Show (Formally Nobody’s Listening). It’s a show that ran from 2006-2016 with 260 episodes. It’s creator is James Kennison, who was a children’s pastor at one point, and he had a range of co-hosts, including his brother David and friends, plus other guests.

The Rundown

In the show, the typical format is of a Weekly Update section, then Featured Story, and Listener Stories. There is then a Recap Song at the end to run over some key stories of the podcast. James and his guests start by sharing funny things that happened during the week, and bounce off one another with similar experiences. The featured story tends to be from the hosts, but could be a special one from a listener. Throughout the show James interjects with quick one-liner puns or comments, infusing each moment with energy.

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The dynamic nature of having two or more people on a podcast is what can make (or break) a podcast, and this show really works well with multiple hosts. As brothers, James and David had shared experiences, and were able to present the humour from both sides. Each co-host provides different perspectives and stories. I have yet to listen to all the 260 episodes with all the different co-hosts, so more fun is yet to be had! The longest running co-host was John Steinklauber, who was around for about 140 episodes. He stands out as my current favourite co-host with his genuineness, funny voices and laugh.

What I Enjoy

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James Kennison, host of That Story Show

One thing I value from the show is the hilarity of hearing awkward true-life stories told in interesting ways. I love good story-telling, and this show does it well. There is never a dull moment. Another thing I value is James’ openness to talk about being sick. From 2012 to 2014 he suffered through extreme depression with multiple disorders and stopped the podcast. Yet once on the road to recovery, James started That Story Show up again, and was able to share bits here and there about his experience. I’m grateful he didn’t hide his health troubles and was able to return eventually to making people laugh, and maybe getting a bit of joy back from it, too. That’s all testament to the support of his family and wife, whom he thanks in each episode with, “…thanks to our spouses for letting us record…,”. The public face of a podcast are the hosts, who get the praise, but the silent support of their family and spouses normally doesn’t get noticed or appreciated. I like that this podcast acknowledged that support each week.

Some Things To Know

That Story Show contains an abundance toilet-humour and the hosts are also not afraid to poke a lot of light-hearted fun at how Christians act and think. While I think these are good reasons to enjoy it, I can imagine they might put you off. While the show was running, there were months and years of long silence due to James’ sickness, etc., but listening to it now you won’t have the frustration of waiting for a new show!

If you’d like to check out That Story Show, or another podcast of James Kennison’s, hop over to NLcast.com for his full list. I’m sure you could find one right for you!

Thanks for reading!


NOTE: Pics taken from Sticher and James Kennison’s website.