Thursday, August 30, 2007

Blogs of the Week

I have not had the time to write a substantial blog of my own this week, due to the creeping amount of work that lies around my study that should get done, but there have been a number of posts from Friend's, mates, and blogs that I read often.

Mike Brantley, worker, planter and missionary with Communitas New Orleans has blogged on cultural captivity here and also given a confession of his own cultural captivity. These two blogs have a major impact on me as I am wrestling with what it means to be a christian in the culture that I live in and what it means for me as a person who will be going out into the workforce.

More on cultural captivity; Mike Zook, a mate of Mike Brantley's has written a blog on consumerism and that fact we are so caught up in it. He raises some interesting questions on how we do church in the western world and argues that it comes back to the fact that we have modelled our churches around consumer based models. Instead of following a Jewish discipleship model, where all are involved, growing, being challenged and being shaped. Instead 95% of people within western churches are passive.

On the cost of discipleship and church planting, Reid S. Monaghan, a church planter has written about what it means to be a disciple following the call of God on his life, dropping all and moving to New Jersey. For many people this is a crazy, crazy thing to do, most of us follow our career go with the flow and live in a way that doesn't shake up cultural values and norms. But following Gods call, Gods cry for us can be radical, shaking up those around us and challenging them. This can be very uncomfortable, considering one of the most important western values is comfort!

Finally, vineyard interactive pastor and Friend Matt Mansell has written a blog on one of his favourite worship songs, The Perfect Drug by Nine Inch Nails. This continues on his discussion on the sacred vs the secular and seeing past the dualism that we have created within western Christianity.

Anyway, hope all is going well for all of you, and I hope you get some challenge out of these Ideas as much as I did.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Black Gold

I saw this Documentary at Karori Baptist Church last night at thier night church. It was a really challenging movie to watch. Look out for fair trade as it is the way to go. The income that African nations get from trade is five times the amount they get from Aid. It is neccessary for these countries farmers to get a reasonable price for thier coffee - this can only be done if the consumer in western nations buy fair trade products showing multinational corperations that there is a need for ethical product. If you want any more information on this movie and fair trade coffee head to

Thursday, August 23, 2007

My Personality

Click to view my Personality Profile page

Though I'm not one for boxes, this describes some of my personality and who I am as a person. Its funny on the other Myers Brigs test I came out as a judging, but on this one I came out as perceiving (explains the fact that when I go supermarket shopping I don't take a list and I go don't do shopping in an orderly fashion!)

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Anberlin - <*fin>

This song just gets me every time I listen to it. Read the words, they are so hard-hitting and challenging, they are stirring me constantly to change the way I view those around me.

Rob Bell in his book Velvet Elvis writes "Heaven is fill of people who God Loves, Hell is full of people that God loves" (paraphrase) - How do we view those people that are are around us, do we view them as evil, sinful people, or misguided people that God loves and wants to communicate with, form relationship with and spend an eternity with. God sent his son Jesus not to condemn the world, but to save the world. We were all lost causes but because of Gods love Jesus came to the world to save us .

Anberlin <*Fin>
Feels like I'm miles from here in other towns
With lesser names where lonely ghost doesn't tell
Merry old William exactly what they want to hear
You remember the house that we drew
Told you and the devil to both just leave me alone
If this is salvation I can show you the trembling
You'll just have to trust me
I'm scared
I am the patron saint of lost causes
Aren't we all to you just near lost causes
Are we all to you just lost?
Tell me you're left behind
Something you'll mean everything right before you die
But if you gain the world
You've already lost four little souls from your life
Widows and orphans are hard to find
Their home is in daddy who's saving you random tonight
Where's your drink?
And would hurry and kill you
Sympathy's better than having to tell you the truth
That you are the patron saint of lost causes
All you are to them is now a lost cause
All you are to them is now causes
Billy, don't you understand?
Timothy stood as long as he could
You made his faith disappear
More like a magician
And less like a man of the cloth
We're not questioning God
Just those he chose to carry on his cause
We'll grow better, you'll see
Just all of us, the lost causes
Aren't we all to you just lost causes?
Aren't we all to you lost?
Lost causes
Aren't we all to you
Is all we are, is all we are
What we are is all we are

They just saved all of the lost, like you
They just saved all of the lost, like you
They just saved all of the lost, like you
He just saved all of the lost, like you
They just saved all of the lost, like you
(Lost causes, we are is all we are)
They just saved all of the lost, like you
(To you, lost causes)
They just saved all of the lost, like you
They just saved all of the lost, like you
They just saved all of the lost, like you
He just saved

Jesus said "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised." (E.S.V)

What does this mean to our Friends and our neighbours, who needs the love of Christ shared into their life - how do we do this? God wants us to incarnate into the world around us. To be wholly holy prayerful worshipful people. People who live differently and show Christ is ways that are relavant to the world around us. What does this mean for you? What needs to change in your own life?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Heroes of Faith

Matt Mansell has talked about those who have left spiritual legacies for us in his blog just recently. I have a real desire when I have some time to write a series on Heroes of Faith. I think theres a biblical precedent for this. In hebrews this is set out very nicely in hebrews 11 and 12. The writer of hebrews tells to story of past heroes, echoing what they did and how they were compelled for action, then he goes on to say that we have the same challenge in our lives, to be heroes of faith to those around us. To disciple and bring people onto the journey of life.

Anyway I was wondering if anyone has some good sources on a number of individuals

Martin Luther King
Martin Luther
Dietrich Bonnhoffer
Jesus (I have many sources here but anything else is always a pleasure)
St Francis of Assissi
St Augustine of Hippo
John Calvin
Mother Terressa

If anyone else can think of any others they think would be good that would be awesome. And if you have any good sources that you know of please tell me.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Slavery Still Exists!

One of my mates Sym was talking me about the issue of slavery in contemporary society. One area I suggested where slavery still existed was in consumerism. Many in the west are enslaved to the idea that the more we have, the more status we hold, or the more happy we are. The problem is with this is that it is a lie. The more we have doesn't mean we are more happy - in fact we are driving ourselves further and further into debt. If you look at New Zealand, we have some of the highest levels of consumer debt in the developed world, we collect more and more stuff to "keep up with the Jones." The other issue with consumerism is that it is causing/creating further enslavement around the world, particularly of poor people in developing nations.

Some stats on slavery - from Trade Aid New Zealand
1999 - It was estimated that 20 Million people were bonded into labour. The tasks of these people include brick-making, carpet weaving, domestic labour, stone quarrying, sex work industries, foot ball stitching, rubber plantations, factory work.

700,000 t0 2 million women and children are estimated by the U.S government to be trafficked across borders each year. Jobs include farming, camel jockeys, domestic labour, fishing, mail-order brides, market stall labour, restaurant labour, and the sex industry.

More than 80 Million children worldwide aged under 14 are estimated by the ILO to work in conditions hazardous to their health. Work includes domestic labour, drug trafficking, fireworks manufacturing, fishing, brick-making, carpet weaving, sex work, stone quarrying, soldiers, cocoa (where does that chocolate your eating really coming from - it makes you think!)

Anyway these are just a few examples check here for more stats on slavery and injustice, it will shock you!

There is something we can do about this.

1. There is a petition to the government to end slavery run by Trade Aid
2. You can buy fair trade products. These can be found at trade aid, in wellington there is a fair trade coffee shop call peoples coffee in Newtown that you can buy fair trade coffee from. If you got to Vic university, restoration coffee ( the coffee shop down nearest to the weir house and the cable car) sells fair trade coffee.

More on this later when I have more time, and can get some further research done!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Dreams... for Nathanael, for christians and for the church... and for the world...

I want a people with dreams, dreams beyond belief, radical out of the box dreams, dreams that set the world on fire, dreams of justice, dreams of joy, dreams of peace, dreams of salvation.

The Lord Is Wild and Untamaeble. Don’t put him in a box! He wants men and women with a passion, a creative vision for the world, a vision that brings out his character, challenging people, growing people, setting people free to live the way I intended. Its creative and fresh, a beautiful artwork, made of people, Its organic, responsive, dynamic and fiery. It will set the nation on fire, it will set the world on fire, nothing like this has been seen before, nothing like this has gone before.

God is calling for a wholly, holy passionate creative people doing Gods work, creating Gods work, being Gods work

We are a physical expression of incarnate Christ to a broken imprisoned world.


God is calling us to be creative like kids again, to create things, to bring them to the father, to be willing to paint with our fingers, to be willing to paint with our hands something beautiful, something fresh, something that challenges perceptions, a painting of love to those around us. God wants us to hone our creativity, whether its in art, buisiness, science, music, when we go after our passions the fire that burns within us, we are worshiping our Lord and saviour.

One person can change the world.
One person can have a dream and set the world on fire
God does not want us to lock our dreams or passions away, he wants a radical church, a radical people that will listen to the crys of those around it, challenge the empires of the world. A church that listens challenges and grows a passionate beast that cannot be stopped, a passionate untameable community of faith, firing up those around it, remaking the world, recreating the world.


“Christ is the visible image of the invisible God
He existed before anything, was created and is supreme over all creation for through him God created everything in the heavenly realms and on earth.
He made the things that we can see
And the things we can’t see
Such as thrones, kingdoms, rulers and authorities in the unseen world
Everything was created through him and for him
He existed before everything else
And holds all creative together
Christ is also the head of the Church
Which is his body.
He is the beginning,
Supreme over all who rise from the dead
So he is first in everything
For God in all his fullness
Was pleased to live in Christ
And through him God reconciled everything to himself
He made peace with everything on heaven and earth
By means of Christs blood on the cross.

Christ in an affront to this world, he has called us to go against evil, injustice, violence of the world, not to sit in pews, Christ has called us to take on this worlds kingdoms and rulers – to preach against selfishness, consumerism, violence, idolatry, paganism, slavery and bondage – we are called to be shining lights to this world, we are called to bring deliverance to our neighbours, our cry is to go out into the world and proclaim the love of Christ to all.

Stir in us a holy discontent for our communities, for our friends and for our loved ones.
“Don’t put your light under a bushel” – don’t hold my love in the church – go forth into the world, multiply and be prosperous

Generous Living

These come from some scribbled notes I was writing at cell group last night - the passage we were looking at was Mathew 6: 1-6

"Be careful not to do your 'acts of righteousness' before men, to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by men. I tell you the truth, they have received their reward in full. But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

Again in this section think its important to note the situation Jesus is commenting on - Jesus is critiquing the "hypocrites". I've written about this earlier, Hypocrites literally means those who act. These people put on the act of Holiness so that they can look good in public.

In the case of giving this was usually done very publically, there would be a box where people would put their money and the amount you gave would be a sign of your "Holiness" or your social status within the religious community.

But does this mean that we are not to give? I think the answer to that is an astounding NO! Generosity has been an essential part of the christian gospel throughout the last 2000 years. Hospitality in particular has been an essential virtue of the christian church - particularly because of the long distances people travelled from place to place - itinerant preachers such as Paul needed places to stay on their long journeys.

Going further Generosity was a defining aspect of the christian church through the first 200 years. The christian movement grew because it cared for the needy, healed the sick and proclaimed the good news of Jesus Christ wherever it went, generosity and generous living were essential.

Looking through church history, renewals of the church have occurred because of the humble generous living of Christians. The Franciscan order are testament to this. Francis of Assisi was from a well to do family, but after a run in with his father after selling some of his cloth to give to the needy he decided he would break from the world and the system of the world at that time and "follow naked, the naked Christ." Francis went about to create a new movement for the Kingdom of God. The movement was important because it was radically different from how those around Francis were acting. Historian C.H Lawrence describes the thirteenth-century church as an institution in crisis, which had no response to a changing world. In this period there was a newly arising secular culture, the friars of Francis were a fresh new way of seeing the world and challenging the emerging secular society. Francis' order challenged the institutionalised christian - which was a large concrete structure that had been acquiring wealth for itself - not for the formation of Gods kingdom. Francis entered this situation as a passionate young man - and as a result led to others following him - with the creation of the Order of Friars Minor and the poor Clare's. These communities of faith were able to be a source of hope to a desperate society

So enough with my tangent. Why does Jesus want to give money in private? Does Jesus want to give in private

Luke 21:1-4
He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury; he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins. He said, ‘Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them; for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.’

The context of these verses is that Jesus is criticising the hypocrites. The poor widow gives all her money. In her giving she is sincere, becuase she gives every cent to God.

God wants us to be givers - generous givers - not because we will gain praise from human sources but because we want to serve God and see his kingdom established on earth.

Mathew 5:16
"In the same way let your good deeds shine out for all to see so that everyone will praise your heavenly father"