Tuesday, October 30, 2007

A Weekend of Discovery

This last weekend was one really busy weekend, it was a rollercoaster of learning, complaining growing and trying to find my place in the scheme of things. I got to say, it was brilliant. Great music, great food, and great fellowship, only thing that wasn’t great was the lack of sleep that I got over the weekend, which is causing me trouble at the moment.

I woke up early on Saturday to get a bit of study done and was then picked up at 9.30 and worked to 1.30 at the loft to get stuff set up for the Karel Van Helden concert that was being held there on the evening, I then went back to reading over notes on weber and NPM and other stuff to do with what is called “the bureaucratic paradox” (If everything in the last part of the sentence went over your head, that’s alright, its just theory, and theory never adds up to reality :->)

I then went back into town to enjoy the sounds of Karel Van Helden and the Waitings over a cold one. It was a brilliant concert and I had a good time listening to his acoustic rock. The concert was being recorded live so hopefully people who get it will get to hear me screaming out Yeah! And whatever else I said that I can’t remember now. Karel Van Helden is an excellent musician and a real perfectionist. His backing vocals were awesome, the percussion was strong and the double bass player did an excellent job. For someone who didn’t know any of the songs I really enjoyed myself and connected with the songs on personal levels. The journey through the evening was a challenge for me in a number of ways. Throughout the concert I was chilling out and just listening to the music praying and listening to Gods heart and where to go next. I’m still figuring out the logistics, the ground that I’m standing on. Its scary, but I know I have to push through, let God reveal his dreams, let God reveal my dreams to me so that I can glorify him fully. I then helped pack up the Karel Van Helden, I was a tired mess by the end of it, but I felt refreshed, renewed in my spirit – moving forward is hard work sometimes, but breaking through the envelope is the greatest moment

Sunday was another great day. I didn’t get much sleep on Saturday night, I was hyped up on pure adrenaline over a great day and ended up waking up early and actually getting to vineyard that morning. I was pretty dazed for the singing and spent it thinking and singing and kind of taking it in, knowing God was there in the presence moving through the room, shaping, changing, revealing himself. I ended up having a continued long conversation with Matt Mansell about Sanctuary Vineyard, what Gods doing in their group, and exciting me again and again to follow my passions.

I went home to lax out, I ended up playing a game of UPWORDS with my family. I ended up beating them by a pretty good margin and it was pretty fun.

I ended up meeting going out for a bbq that evening with the Capital Mosaic Crew. Wellington was just beautiful on Sunday evening, it reminded of how lucky I am to live in Wellington, it’s a place full of culture, politics, and humanity. My heart cry’s out for this city where I have been placed, a town that has shaped me, but also a town that I want to give back my talent, to shape this city in a way that will make it better, to see people passionate for the city, for the people of Wellington, to redeem the city, just as shown in the bible.

Back on track, I had an awesome evening out, the bbq was just awesome, the food was great, I havn’t tantalised by taste buds in this way for so long, conversation was great, I think I had another one of those glimpses of heaven I’ve talked about before. We then played Wii. Wii is so much fun, it takes a lot of energy to do but it is so involving, it doesn’t make you feel guilty for playing computer games because it’s a full workout, you just have to be careful that you don’t break anything.

So, the journey continues, discovering who I am, who God is, his dreams for humanity, his dreams for the whole of creation, what it means to live out the gospel in the here and now. I am excited, I am scared, I have seen the promised land, it is abundant, it is real, it is better than anything we have ever seen, will you join me, will you join us in finding meaning, finding intimacy, finding destiny? Will you fulfil the quest of the human heart, the quest for…

Monday, October 29, 2007

Prayer for the day.

I'm too busy at the moment to write anything substantial or deep, so I'll let the theologian and writer and missionary st Paul speak for me instead. This is my prayer for myself, for you and the church in general, and that from that prayer we will show people a life that is different, a life that is changed, as we follow the example of the master, our rabbi, the Lord Jesus Christ

"Let the Message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with the wisdom he gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. And whatever you do or say do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through him to God the Father"

Colossians 3:16-17

Monday, October 22, 2007

Maslins Farm - Labour Weekend 2007

We were up at the Maslins Farm for the weekend, it was a really fun and relaxing period. Here are a few of the photos I took. I will put up some more when I have some time. But take them in. Do you not just love that wonderful rainbow?

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Santuary Vineyard

I have put a link up for the Karori Vineyard Plant - Santuary Vineyard. There isn't anything on this at the moment but I thought I would let you know about this. Please pray for these guys as they are an awesome team with an awesome heart for Karori, the Church and spreading the gospel in Karori. I have had the pleasure of spending time listening to thier heart and playing a small tiny part in this plant and really want to see it grow into what God intends it to be.

Qoutes that have got me thinking!

These Quotes were part of a presentation by Paul Vink on being a christian "social entrepreneur"

"The place where God calls you is the place where your deep gladness meets the worlds deep hunger" - Frederick Buechner

This first quote gets me thinking as I'm still finding my calling, what gets me up in the morning, what gets me passionate, what makes me angry, excited, and fired up. I don't want to be scared and not use the talents that God has given me. I want to plant and sow into the lives of those around me in ways that are unique, creative and exciting.

"Though many of us are well intentioned we have invested our lives in consumerism. We have a love affair with "more" and we will never have enough. Consumerism is not simply a marketing strategy. It has become a demonic spiritual force among us, and the theological question facing us is whether the Gospel has the power to help withstand it" - Walter Brueggerman

I have to write a little more on consumerism sometime, but I'll let you take in this quote for the moment.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

The end is near!...

For Honours that is.

This year has been extremely busy, I cannot totally recount everything that I've done, everything I've learned and everything that I've experienced. It has probrably been the most stressful stretching and revealing experience that I've ever gone through.

Things I've learned about myself so far this year!
- I get stressed when I don't need to, I can cope!
- I have a pretty good sense of time management.
- I have a passion for the church that I never knew I had before - this is seen in the fact that I get angry, upset, but then I get passionate excited and motivated all at the different moments.
- I have a passion to see people reach their potential
- I want to live the life less ordinary, stretch change and grow.
- That there is a love and passion for Christ and the church that permeates my conversations and experiences with people.
- I really enjoy spending time with non-Christians sharing my faith and my story with them in small ways.
-Christ is my centre.
- I'm really excited for the conversations emerging in Wellington around christian faith in the 21st century. Its awesome to see the growth, challenge, planting and reaping that is going on@

Things I've done this year.
-I have written approximately 35,000 words.
-I have learned a hell of a lot about Female suicide bombers, Chinese energy security, Bureaucratic power and the WTO and global civil society interactions with it.
-Been part of a church planting conversation.
-Been part of a community of faiths experiences in moving forward.
-Spewed out complaints I've had with where I'm at where I've been going, why I'm there and how the hell I'm supposed to move forward.
-Spent a whole lot of time talking, detoxing, and spreading the love. (sometimes all at the same time!)

Things I need prayer for!
-That I would be focused on my study in the next few weeks and that I would finish the race that has been this year strong.
-That I would find a job.
-That I would find that the tribe (aka faith community/church) that I'm hanging out with is the right thing or not (I'm pretty much convinced that it is but I want to be "certain")
-That God would not allow me become complacent in the place that I am.
-That my passion for Christ and his kingdom and the Gospel would become deeper and be expressed through the way I live speak and act.

More on the journey in a while, I'll try to write a story of whats been going on, where Gods leading me. Warning, it may take some time as I'm supposed to be studying for exams and doing other things!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Another ASBO Jesus

Sad but so true!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

My Wrestling with Worship

I've come to a point of wrestling with how I have seen worship, how I view Gods reality, I feel like it I'm shortchanging myself, or shortchanging God in how I've viewed what worship is.

Ok, so what do I essentially believe worship is, I believe it is honouring God with my life, acknowledging that he is that centre. I honour him and put God in the highest place in my life and in how I live. I want people to come into the throne room and see the whole train of his robe filling the room with Glory. I want people to know of the goodness of God, his righteousness and how he is just so amazing that I can not really describe him.

I also believe that Gods glory fills this present reality, but many times we cannot see it, that we fail to see his hand on creation, we fail to see his hand over our relationships with people, over life in general. We kind of steer away from this. Why?

I think its essentially that we have become very dualistic in our thinking, we separate the fact that God is in this present, the reality we inhabit right now, working and moving and challenging and changing us.

This comes from not having a wholistic view of Christianity. Many a times we limit "worship" to our Sunday morning songs at church. Do not get me wrong, I think songs are a form of communicating our relationship with God and thinking and mulling over what God has done for us, but we have to move from the worship session at church being about this. More problematic is that we can see the Sunday morning service as our spiritual "fix". A experiential drug, that frees us from the realities of the rest of the week. We live in the world, but feel like we become dirty by being in the world, the only way we can become clean is through our spiritual fix on Sunday morning. Our drug that gets us through the week. (This is a caricature I know, but it has some real impacts when you think about it.)

But worship is essentially our whole life, seeing the way we relate to people as being a spiritual activity, our work is a spiritual activity, me writing this is a spiritual activity. Many times we ignore that God is in our ordinary,day to day moments.

So why have I written this, why am I thinking this, where am I going with this.

I went along to a community of faith in the weekend where singing is not part of their worship, it might never be. But they want to see people come to know God and his reality. They have a heart for Wellington city and want to see it changed. This is really strange for a vineyard boy, a guy who has been brought up in a church that has led to loads and loads of new songs to the Lord. I know that we preach worship is all life but getting hold of this reality is really difficult sometimes and I've been struggling with it. I have essentially come to see singing as worship rather than seeing life as worship.

I am wrestling with this because it has again created a crisis in my thinking, what does worship look like, do I worship God in spirit and in truth, why has singing become so important to me, is it part of my cultural outlook rather than the reality I should live in?

What does it mean to say Jesus is Lord? What does it mean to see my whole life as worship, how does this look like moving forward? How do I become more wholistic in my faith experience?

More on this as time goes on!

My Apologies to the World!

This was on Mike Zooks blog today, I can so relate to this!

Again I am a broken person please forgive me!

We, the body of christ, are a broken people please forgive us!

Friday, October 05, 2007

Not my Dream! - Or Part 3 in a continuing series on Love and Movement

These are the edited lyrics to Switchfoots American Dream, I just needed to continue expressing how I'm feeling, about life, about moving forward into the dreams of the God, out of the lies, the lies of Disney Jesus, which hollows out the message of the gospel and replaces Jesus with a domesticated image, rather than the radical Lord I follow and serve and worship.

Jesus does not want us yoked to the idea that success, security and money will bring us happiness. The only thing that can bring us salvation is Jesus' saving love - shown by his death of the cross. I want to live and die for bigger things! I want to show people to Jesus, by the way I live, act, and engage with them. This is a continuing process, something that costs, but man is it the only way to live!

When success is equated with excess
The ambition for excess wrecks us
As top of the mind becomes the bottom line
When success is equated with excess
If you're time ain't be nothing for money
I start to feel really bad for you honey
Maybe honey put you're money where your mouth's been running
If you're time ain't be nothing but money

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom

This ain't my dream
I want to live and die for bigger things
I'm tired of fighting for just me
This ain't my dream
When success is equated with excess
When we're fighting for the beamer, the lexus
As the heart and soul breathing the company goals
Where success is equated with excess

I want out of this machine
It doesn't feel like freedom

Cause baby's always talkin 'bout a ring
And talk has always been the cheapest thing
Is it true would you do what I want you to
If I show up with the right amount of bling?
Like a puppet on a monetary string
Maybe we've been caught singing....
.... That ain't my dream


If you are wondering where this is all going, stay tuned, wrestle with the words, as I too wrestle with them, and try to follow the ways of the Master.

This has been such a spiritually challenging, stretching, and revealing week!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Free Burma!

Free Burma!

We have all seen the images and heard about what is occuring in Burma, its time to take a stand. The injustice that is occuring the has gone on long enough. The international community needs to show that the actions of the Burmese government are not desirable.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

ASBO Jesus

Ok, I thought I would attempt to lighten the mood a little with the help of a couple of cartoons from the adventures of ASBO Jesus. ASBO stands for Antisocial Behavioural Order and is given to misbehaving teens in the U.K.

H.T Dan Kimball

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Love is a Movement - Pt 2 - The Fear of Movement

Ages ago my friend Mike Brantley wrote a blog entitled "why do we run back to Egypt and whine so much". We leave the slavery of our society, or sin, of life and run towards Gods arms, then we feel like we are alone, we see that living a life following the will of God is a struggle. We want the comfort back in Egypt where we were fed, clothed and we seemed to be happy.

The problem with going back is what we lose, we lose our freedom to the shackles of consumerism, to the shackles of the worries of a life that is ordinary. Egypt is not really that good, its a place full of slavery!

But we continue looking back, we whine, and thirst for that which can only quench us temporarily.

Oh man I struggle as I write these words.

Look at the world we want so badly, we seem to continue wanting to go back to comfort, but what does the comfort provide for us. No comfort!

Look at what this longing for more has brought us!
High divorce rates
High Suicide rates
Large numbers of beatings and homicides around what is meant to be the best times of the year, Christmas
A Breakdown of community
selfishness, loneliness, and spiritual poverty.
High levels of consumer debt

The thing is I talk about these in reference to the world, but whats occurring in our church bodies us probably similar
- People struggling with long hours at work because of the level of debt they have. Not having time for families
- a longing for consumer goods to keep up with the Jones.
- credit debt
- High divorce rates among christian families
- Not enough parenting due to the fact that we have become obsessed with work and providing consumer goods to our kids, rather than spending time caring for them, giving them teaching and showing them who Christ is through relationships with neighbours, with fellow Christians and with them
- and when asked to change we say its too hard, too difficult, we can't change and we go forward, as broken individuals, not realising our need, that there is a way we can change. God holds the freedom to break free of our shackles, we have to be willing to trust him and push forward.

Being uncomfortable means making hard choices, means that we are going to give up that which we feel we hold dear, and taking hold of the only one that can give us freedom, Jesus Christ

We have to move past the idea of success being about what we have, the treasures we have built up, the kingdoms we create and move into the presence of God and asks what he treasures, what he wants us to put our efforts into.

For some it will be fine, they have their priorities sorted, but others are going to have to take costly decisions, refocusing their priorities on God, a God of freedom and love!

Freedom is not found in things, in material wealth or goods. The stuff we have can actually lead us further into spiritual poverty and hold us back from the plans that God has for us. The resources that God has given are Gods, not ours! We need to keep on coming back, critiquing ourselves, looking forward to where God wants us to be, rather than looking back at what seemed so good, but actually enslaved us. Moving forward is going to be costly, and its something that I wrestling through with fear and trembling!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Love is a Movement....

A day in L.A.
And millions of faces
Looking for a movement
'Cause everything's stuck
And everything's frozen

And everyone's broken
And nobody moves

And everyone's scared
That the motion will never come
This is the incompletion
Stuck in a line

Love is a movement
Love is a revolution
This is redemption

We don't have to slow back down
The stars are alive

They dance to the music
Of the deepest emotion
And all of the world
Is singing in time
As the heavens are caving in
Mysterious ways
Why God gave His life
To put motion inside my soul
It's bigger than cold religion
It's bigger than life

We're starting now (x3)
We don't have to slow back down
This is a revolution (x2

I'm not going to write much on this, because I'm stressing over university work at the moment (My last essay Is causing me such pain that I don't know what to do!)

This song gets me, Jesus was not a man who sat in steely chambers, like an academic debating the meaning of Life, he was out there changing the world, one deed, one sentence at a time.

But he also chose a group of men and women to join him, to learn off him, he created a movement that was to change the world, that is changing to world.

As has been said, there is only one hope for humanity, and that is those people who follow Christ, the Church. It is the last and only hope for humanity.

We are to be a movement of love and grace, sharing the redemptive love of Jesus with the world.

But I'm going back to one thing here, we are a movement, an organism of men and women, working together to bring the kingdom in organic natural ways.

We an an organism, a body of people working together. In this we do have very important parts - ministerial parts that are needed if we are to be a healthy community.

We need pastors - Pastors are Shepard's, they care for the flock, they are there encouraging those within the body
We need teachers - teachers care for the word of God deeply, they carry it in there heart and want to teach it to people
We need prophets - prophets put God at the centre, they have a heart for seeing Gods righteousness and Justice done on this earth. They do not fear treading on toes for seeing the heart of God done, they have strong sense for justice to be done on earth, and will call people to action.
We need apostles - Apostles are innovators, they lead the way forward for new expressions of community, of ministry, they are willing to move the body forward if encouraged and allowed to flourish. Those that are in this category are usually artists, business entrepreneurs etc, they create forward movement in the body
and we need evangelists - Evangelists are recruiters, they love people, they seem to have an uncanny job of bringing the message of salvation into many things. They just love hanging out with people on their own turf and sharing into their lives and pushing them forward. They find new and creative ways to share Christ (If you want to meet a great evangelist friend of mine you should meet Andrew Watson, the characteristics of an evangelist just flows from him constantly!)

OK, so This has kinda just come spurting out, what am I saying, where am I going with this weird blurb on where I'm at with life, church, etc.

God has created a movement, not an institution, we are to move forward as communities, creating something New and fresh. It has Christ at its centre, it cannot go forward without Christ at the centre, if it attempts to it will turn into a chaotic mush! We need to recover who Jesus is, reading the stories of the Gospel. Jesus was always on the road, the most dangerous place of all in the time that he lived, sharing into the lives of people. To move forward and create momentum we may in fact have to drop the superfluous (our buildings, our structures, etc) so that we can again become a movement centred on Christ and building his kingdom. We need to focus away from all that holds us back, the comfortable pews of church and moving forward into movement that reaches the lost, the lonely, the poor, the brokenhearted. I am struggling with what this means for me, like many others, but I myself have to find movement, find where God will lead me, to become uncomfortable, to become stretched to the extremes of my limits, so that I can live an authentic, real life as a Jesus follower