Saturday, December 30, 2006

From Brick to Camera Phone

I have finally got rid of my old brick. It didn't die on my (even though I have given it more puninishment than any phone deserves in its life time.)

I got a new Sanyo 3100s. I chose this phone becuase the sales people at a number of shops said that they were reliable and easy to use.

The Staff at the Wharehouse in town were hopeless, they only sold me the phone because I knew what I was looking for. I then had to go upto dukes arcade telecom to change my number (Aparently they could have done the number change over at The Wharehouse themselves!) I changed my number over to my new phone and got all my contacts put over to my New Phone. So I could use my new phone without having to put all my contacts into my New Phone - Very Impressive!

So far I have been impressed. When I turned on the phone I could basically do everything I wanted to do with the phone without looking at the instruction manual. The amplication on the phone is excellent and I'm happy I no longer only have monophonic ringtones. Didn't really need to camera on the phone becuase the screen resolution on the phone is awful and so if the picture qaulity (only 0.3 Megapixels!!!!), but it will give me something to take pictures with until I get a New Camera (The camera lens is totally stuffed and one salesperson estimated it will cost over $500 to get a new lens so I'll have to get a new one :-( )

Friday, December 29, 2006

A concise history of World Religions

This is just a little history lesson on the worlds major religions. Hope you enjoy

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

21st Birthday - The Ups the Lows and the drops

I turned 21 today it has been a mix of emotions today, with some surprises and one real low!

I'm pretty tired and it has been an emotional roller coaster of a day

We went out for lunch today as a family. We went to Zillis Cafe. This was a really nice small cafe which mainly does turkish meals. It wasn't really flash, but it was nice and intimate. The owners were nice, cherpy and really really freindly. We all had a enjoyable time and felt rather full by the end of our meal. It is a recommended place to go and eat.

Me and Ben at Zillis before Lunch

Benjamin with his Calamari Rings

The Worst moment of my day though was when I managed to drop my camera on its lens! I think I've probrably damaged it and it will probraby not live to see another day. Might be out tomorrow trying to find another camera. Don't know why that would happen to me, oh well God Knows! Pretty Unhappy about what happened! Like I said God Knows why it happened!

The Pogues with Kirsty McColl / Fairytale of New York

My Favourite Christmas Song :->

C4 Christmas

U2 - Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Awesome picture of New Zealand from Space

This is just the most awesome picture of New Zealand from Space. It was taken on the last space shuttle mission when they were doing work constructing the International Space station. You can download your own free copy of this in Hi Resolution or Lo Resolution

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Revolution In World Mission

Revolution in world mission is written by Dr KP. Yohannan. The Book was first published in 1986, but has been updated regularly so its observations are still rather worthwhile and contemporary. The main argument of this book is that the tide in missions has changed. Once upon a time, those who did missions were white middle class men, sent during the 1800s, many a times with a joint mission to bring the gospel Jesus Christ with western imperialism. With the nationalist movements of the mid 19th century, and the overthrow of western imperialism, many Asian nations were closed to western missions as western missionaries were linked to imperialistic goals. The result was that Native missionaries took over where the western Christians left off. There has been massive conversion within countries such as China and India, but western churches have neither know of these developments or have supported the churches. The western church became introverted and selfish. Missions that were sent to developing nations in Asia could only focus on social justice issues without evangelism. The hope for missions in Asia, asserted by KP. Yohannan is the native missionary movement. This is because they can adapt to the cultures and are accepted within the cultures they minister to, and the cost of sending them is only a fraction of the cost ($2000 at most, compared to $50,000)

I came to this book with a critical mind and believe that this book has a lot to offer – it is a goldmine for good missiology, and for training missionaries. There are several important points that I got out of this book

1) The western church and western Christians are so well off. We have a responsibility to support our less well off Christian brothers and sisters in developing nations.
2) In the past, western churches have become selfish, focusing introspectively, not using their resources to build the church of Christ, but to fund buildings and other other projects that have no real impact (other than aesthetics!)
3) We need to allow these Christians to develop and minister in ways which are acceptable to the context they preach to. We should not be pushing a certain denomination or line – we should allow Christians go into cultures and allow them to contextualise the gospel.
4) “Contextaulisation” – this means preaching and teaching the gospel in the language of the people. Taking on the cultural dress of the group, preaching the gospel in a way that the people group will understand. For example if you go to a group of African Americans living in the Bronx you wouldn’t give them a soapbox sermon – the likelihood is you’ll get beaten up and your money taken and left in a trash can half alive or with a gun to your head if you are unlucky. No, you would come dressed up in the cultural costume and speak in the language (Baggy Jeans and speak in Snoop.)
5) The Focus of missions should marry both evangelism and social justice together. In the context of missions to countries such as India it can be seen the spiritual blindness that people live in worsens their poverty. K.P Yohannon tells that because Rats are sacred to Hindus and cannot be killed, plagues of rats go and eat the crops in India, meaning there is a lack of food. K.P Yohannan tells of how the ministry of Gospel for Asia has focused a lot on the untouchables, the lowest of low castes within Indian society. This caste has been created as a result of the religious worldview of the Hindu people. Gospel for Asia offers education where untouchable children can learn to read and write and also get told the gospel of Jesus Christ. As a result the families are changed, they get given spiritual freedom as the familty comes to know christ and economic freedom through the children getting an education.

I have some criticisms with this book though.
1) Yohannan only gets the rationale for missions half-right. Yes we are called to mission but we are called to mission so that people will come to worship God once again
Again I sight my good friend John Piper on missiology.
“Missions is not the ultimate goal of the Church. Worship is. Missions exists because worship does not”
Worship is the Fuel and goal for missions. It's the goal of missions because in worship we simply aim to bring the nations into the white hot enjoyment of God's glory”
(John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad)
The whole purpose is to see all humanity give him the glory he deserves and enjoy the freedom that Christ offers.
2) Short Term and Long Term western missions are still important . They are important as it gives a stakehold for western Christians in the whole church. Western missionaries provide information and reconnaissance in a way that pieces of paper and articles cannot offer. They provide an eyewitness and encouragement for further mission worldwide and locally. Missions trips also challenge also challenge peoples mindsets on the way we do things. They provide an intensive environment for Christians to grow and change and get out of their comfort zone. They give western Christians a means to grow and develop and to come to rely on God fully. They expand peoples views of the world and the way God works and the fact that God doesn’t work in the same way everywhere. They usually ignite Christians to find ways to engage with their own cultures back home and ways to change the world around them back home. They are also a real witness to people back time. How many times have I been able to talk about what I did in Siberia and share what my faith means to my friends because of the missions trip.
The “Mystical” nature of missions to other countries or places.
I have blogged about this before, because this has been an important moment in my life and journey I will go continue on about this. There is something really special when you worship with a whole group of people from another country and place. You speak entirely different languages but you can connect at a deeper level that what you could. Also it feels like you an enacting a scene from what heaven will be like – where people from thousands of different cultures, backgrounds, ages, all worshipping and praising the same God who saved them and made them whole. It is really special, and something that I’m happy that I have been able to share in.

3)Yohannan comments only on the bad that has happened within western missions.
I can name on the top of my head numbers of cases where western missionaries are doing awesome jobs in nations around the world and seeing peoples lives changed because of the ministry they are involved in. It’s not all bad news, but the need for balance between western missionaries and National missionaries. I totally agree that native missionaries are more affective, more adaptive on their mission field and that more funding and support should be given to these missionaries than what is given to western missionaries – but the approach should be balanced. It must also be remembered that we cannot stop the call of God. If someone is called to be a missionary into a culture by the spirit of God we cannot stop them from doing this and we must trust in the faith of God that he will enable them to reach out to that culture. Some may be given the missional gifting of tongues to reach out to a particular culture (this is quite an amazing gift when you see it at work!)

All in all, I enjoyed this book. It was a real challenge. Particularly on my priorities in giving and how selfish I can be at times. I want Gods will fulfilled on earth. Many times this will be costly to myself. Am I willing to listen to the call of God and sacrifice those things that I want for what God wants?

Another thing I saw was the dedication many non-western Christians have to God. Many of these missionaries pray and spend real time with God for hours and pray for the people they minister to for hours as well. As a result they develop hearts for those people. Am I willing to lose sleep over the lost sheep in my cultural context? The suffering I endure for the Gospel seems so little compared to the floggings, stonnings and electric baterns that Christians receive in other countries, but many a time I go quite, saying nothing about God, why is that?

All in all, this way a really challenging book. I enjoyed it. Have a read, I’m sure you will be challenged too!

Sunday, December 17, 2006

B Collision – David Crowder Band

I discovered the David Crowder Band around a year ago when my brother got given Illuminate for his Christmas present, as a result they have grown to be one of my favourite bands in Christian contemporary worship. They are one of the most musically innovative Christian worship bands today. They have moved outside the box of most worship bands, explaining their relationship with God in real ways that connect with contemporary culture through metaphor and imagery. They don’t stick with the clich├ęs in their lyrics or their music and are attempting to move Christian worship forward. The reason why I have grown to love this band so much is that they are musically really good! I enjoy listening to these guys at anytime, they are really fun to listen to at any time. (You can hear the fun they are having on the CDs when they have some of their interludes.) I walk to work listening to their stuff, or I can sit in my bedroom praising God. They are musically and lyrically talented and well educated.

They are an indeed creative exciting refreshing group within the “Christian Genre”. They are probably one of the most revolutionary groups since delirious came out with their cutting edge CD’s in the mid 90’s. At times this band can go a bit over the top, and sometimes their overuse of synths can get a bit painfully annoying!

B Collision is a follow on album from The Beautiful Collision, basically remixing the originals of The Beautiful Collision and doing them using bangos instead of guitars. This might sound lame, but it an amazingly awesome album, because that band has the ability (and probably a good enough producer!) to pull it off. They have used the bangos to create an awesome fresh listening experience.

Another thing I love about the David Crowder Band is they take old classic hymns and make them contemporary with the use of guitars and synths. I love old style hymns because of the doctrine and ideas that are contained in classic hymns. Songs that they have sexed up earlier include All Creatures, and I Saw the Light. On this album the do I Saw the Light again using bangos and Everyone Wants to Go to Heaven, and the redo I Can Hear the Angels singing. In redoing these songs, their meaning and the truths that they hold can be carried onto future generations and to the culture of contemporary western society.

Musically these guys are awesome; this is one of my favourite albums by these guys so far. I recommend this album to anyone who enjoyed the O Brother Where Art Thou CD or contemporary Christian worship music that sounds fun, fresh and innovative. Actually I recommend these guys to anyone. Try them, they are really cool!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Social Justice - Reid Monaghan

I read an article by Reid Monaghan on social justice. I think this gives quite a balanced view on social justice and christian mission. As a christian I feel I am called to help those who are less well off than I am. I know from my own life that the saving power of Jesus christ was partly shown through the love of christian families for me and my family when Dad was ill with cancer. Thier care, support and love for us gave me an understanding of what God had done in thier own lives and in the lives of my own family. Our family has been blessed by many people who have shown there love for God by helping those who are less fortunate. I came to know that God was real partly through the love of people who provided for us. I probrably would not be a christian if it wasn't for these people showing the love of christ through these actions of charity. I am grieved when people see evangelism as only preaching the gospel and saving people from hell. This is an important part of the redemptive plan of God, but got wants to save people from their situations as well on this earth. We need to take a wholistic approach to what the kingdom of God really means.

Top 20 Singles

A list of the most popular songs in the last 20 years has been released. Nirvana's great teen anthem "Smells Like Teen spirit" came out first. The Gunners dropped to third, even though the song is much better than "Hey Ya!" by Outcast. I don't understand why there are not any songs by Michael Jackson or the Spice Girls on the list ("Wannabe", should have been a contender! - even though I hate the song myself) . I don't also understand how Oasis "live forever" got on the list as I would have thought that a better track would have been "Champagne Supernova", or "Wonderwall". I find it funny that some of the songs on the top twenty I have never heard of before, but maybe thats my bad! And as good as The White Stripes "7 Nation Army" is I don't think its one of the Top Twenty. One thing I'm happy is, the crazy frog did not claim a place on the list.

1. "Smells Like Teen Spirit"- Nirvana
2. "Hey Ya!" - Outkast
3. "Sweet Child O' Mine" - Guns N' Roses
4. "Unfinished Symphony" - Massive Attack
5. "One" - U2
6. "Live Forever" - Oasis
7. "Bitter Sweet Symphony" - The Verve
8. "Common People" - Pulp
9. "There She Goes" - The LA's
10. "7 Nation Army" - The White Stripes
11. "Song 2" - Blur
12. "Crazy" - Gnarls Barkley
13. "Angels" - Robbie Williams
14. "… Baby One More Time" - Britney Spears
15. "Personal Jesus" - Depeche Mode
16. "Like A Prayer" - Madonna
17. "Firestarter" - The Prodigy
18. "Brimful Of Asha" - Cornershop
19. "Stan" - Eminem
20. "I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor" - Arctic Monkeys

Blog Changes

I've just taken the risky choice of moving my blog to Blogger Beta. I was worried that I was going to lose all my HTML and that would have sucked as I don't know any HTML at all. I have got to say that it was worth the move. It was easy, which is really good considering my illiteracy and my stupidity when it comes to anything that is to do with my blog. It opens alot more doors and lets you create and customise your blog alot more, especially photos and other peices of Java script. Another good think is you can arange and rearrange things with ease and when you post a blog you don't need to republish the entire blog again like you had to do in the old blog which is a real time saver! I think I'm going to have alot of fun with the new engine, also I'm worried that I might make a number of mistakes with this new engine, and that I could go through some really stressful periods. Can't understand why anyone would think the New engine sucks though! Looks all good to me