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I spend my days doing stuff for Soul Survivor NZ and my church "Blueprint" in Wellington NZ. I am perplexed, amazed, in awe of, and spend a lot of time thinking about this revolutionary called Jesus and what it means to follow Him.

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XXX Church

Wednesday, May 30, 2007 by Sam

So for the last couple of years on my computer I have this software called "X3 watch" that sends an email to a couple of guys I love and respect with a list of questionable websites that I might have visited, its a great accountability piece of software that has saved my bacon on more than a few occasions. You can download it from the http://www.xxxchurch.com/ website (how cool is that name). Anyway this is not a post on p0rn and my battle with it etc etc (will go there sometime in the future).
What I wanted to draw attention to is the newsletter this month that X3 send out. There is a brilliant yarn about the work this crew is doing - hanging out with Ron Jeremy, its pretty difficult to explain, but I was really challenged by this article. Check it out. And download the software lads.


I cant be bothered giving this a title that ties in what I am about to write about and has a zany edge to it so im just writing this instead

Tuesday, May 29, 2007 by Sam

I was reading Mark's account of Jesus before the Sanhedrin (Mark 14:53-65) and was trying to put myself in the shoes of Jesus - trying to feel the emotions that Jesus must have being feeling. I am conscious that He was aware of what lay ahead, I was thinking of how much Jesus must have being packing himself, freaking out. I am amazed at the restraint that Jesus shows, His silence in the face of some absurd accusations, I cant believe that he never once becomes or responds with the same evil that is being done to him. Here he is being falsely accused of all this stuff, his mates are bailing on him, a religious system is trying to get remove Him from the picture. And then this moment when he breaks his silence, and says the words that ultimately nail him to the cross. "Are you the Christ, the Son of the Blessed One?" the priests asks... "I am".

I don't know why, but I am amazed by this moment, this one little sentence that Jesus says that cements that path that he was to walk. I think that Jesus must have struggled with what was required of Him even after Gethsemane, and that in that time in front of the religious leaders he may have got off being crucified if he had continued to remain silent or responded differently. It must have being tempting. It strikes me as as such an intense moment and I am deeply moved by it for some reason right now.

Jesus continues to disturb me, He makes me uncomfortable about the way he went starting this revolution that we have so poorly continued. This "weakness is actually strength" paradox is popping up all the time at the moment in my readings and it deeply challenges me and my approach to so much of my life. Jesus is boldly weak in this moment, he steps into weakness, and in doing so changes everything.

Loosely tied to this is one of the most beautiful explanations of church and its relationship to structure, its a must read so make some time to read this if you haven't already. Once again its my mate Stu pulling out all the stops. READ THIS

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Countries Visited

Sunday, May 27, 2007 by Sam

Found this cool little tool that shows the countries you have being to, found it a bit discouraging because I thought that I had being to a few but turns out I haven't really scratched the surface. Its insanse when I look at this and realise that somehow I have had the privledge of seeing a bunch of the world by the age of 25, and yet its not like my parents are wealthy, my dad works for the church! I dont really know how all this stuff came together.
The cool thing about visiting a country is that it is an automatic story for each one. Like the time in Brazil having a gun held to my head by the local police (longer story than I can be bothered writing about here), or the time in Tonga when I got up to speak in front of a High School and completely froze - possum in the head lights style - and eventually had to be guided off the stage by another dude in the group travelling with us etc etc. So Ive visited 18 Countries which equals about 8% of the possible countries I could visit. (and actually being to them, not sat in an airport between flights). Im super keen to see more of Africa, and more of Asia in the future... hopefully.

create your own visited country map

Bunch of rants and raves that have being brewing around which should make there way to the blog sometime soon, and post two on the "Characteristics to Nurture in a Jesus Follower" is on its way, this was post one.

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My Hero

Sunday, May 20, 2007 by Sam

Mason, official "Joy Pastor" of Blueprint and Soul Survivor talks about his hobby

The Movement is Taking off... here is Mason and some disciples at the festival in January

Todays Surf Story

Friday, May 18, 2007 by Sam

For most of you this will be Hebrew, so just ignore. For those that have some time, here is today's yarns.

I had the most heavy surf in a very long time today. The story goes like this;

After leaving Wellington at 6:30 am (its one of the few things that will get me out of bed with a grin) and picking up my mate Hayden, we drove over to Tora, which is middle of the nowhere on the east coast of NZ.

After an uneventful drive, we turned up to discover the waves were amazing but huge. So big no one was out at the main break in Tora but we found a guy out at another break around the corner, which looked a lot smaller.

That was until we saw him catch one, which was when we realised that today was going to be a day when legends were made and stories exaggerated... But the pictures dont lie, so have a look at the size of the waves we were surfing today:

Well the waves were very very intense, made more so by the fact that we met my mate Dan who took us to a secret spot 20 mins up the coast that no one to our knowledge has surfed before. So me and Hayden paddled out, were totally blown away by how big and heavy it was (you could park a bus in those barrels). After sitting on the shoulder for about half an hour we started getting keen for a wave. I paddled for the first wave, an absolutely gargantuan wave, made the drop, bottom turn and starting flying down the wave. Very quickly I worked out that I wasn't going fast enough and so tried to punch through the side of the wave, and failed miserably. I got pretty punished, came up, saw Hayden catch a monster and then quickly jump off the wave, before that wave landed on my head, and the next three waves after that. By this stage I have a tiny amount of oxygen left, and after coughing up a bunch of sea water, manage to haul my lil carcass out of the way of the breaking waves by paddling across. Try to picture yourself at the bottom of those suckers... not cool. I was wondering whether it was my time to meet my maker at one point.
Hayden found this all quite amusing once he worked out I was ok. So after a while we try to paddle in and discover a rip like a river is flowing against us. By this point im throwing up the prayers, pleading with God, and convincing my muscles to keep on going.

Needless we say, we got in, and straight away are super stoked, we tried to climb our own little Everest today... but in all honesty Everest probably won : )

So we walked through the swarms of bees to my mate Dan (who works as a beekeeper out at Tora)

Those black dots around Hayden are bees... many many bees

And then we drove through the small river to get out...

And finally (about five hours later than planned) we get home... I missed an appointment, but all in all it was a great day. It has being good to reflect on some of the things that matter in life, and to really push myself to do something out of my comfort zone. I lost a bit of confidence after getting so dusted today on some big waves, but reckon the next surf will see me back on the bike. Here's a goodie on some smaller waves from trip a month ago to Taranaki with Dad.

The only thing I can tie this to biblicaly is that I disagree that there will be "no more sea" in heaven. I think it is a purely metaphorical picture, Heaven must contain a sweet right hand reef break or else I will be having some stern words with Jesus and the crew.
And the one thing that has being a bit of a mission following Jesus is that for many years surfing had to cease. I am really enjoying getting back into it this year, and will fight for time to get away and have some waves as it is a very spiritual exercise for me. Though to be very honest I still feel pretty guilty about getting away to do this from time to time, and that is something I need to get over. Im going to try not to care what people think and just run with it.
Thus endith story.

Fav Tune Today: "Power of Love" by Huey Lewis and the News. Dont ask... just dont ask


Great Quote

Thursday, May 17, 2007 by Sam

From some random guy tonight; "ladies and gentlemen..............., the church has left the building".


Music Month - My Fav Tunes

Tuesday, May 15, 2007 by Sam

To honour NZ music month I think I will start finishing off most future blog posts with what my favourite tune is at the moment. Like many I am fanatical about music, all sorts of crazy genres, especially homegrown tunes. There is nothing that spins my tyres more than discovering some artist that has amazing music and is flying under the radar. And with myspace and the ease in recording these days there is plenty of stuff out there.

Fav Tune at the moment: "New Scent" by Wellington Band reflector. www.myspace.com/bandreflector Not the greatest recording but captures something very nice. Frustrating that I cannot buy an album or download tracks so have clocked up quite a few myspace hits in the last week.

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Monday, May 14, 2007 by Sam

Have a look at this great post by Chris
And this interesting set of photos by Dave Walker.
Oh... and if you havent discovered this blog yet... I suggest you have a look around. Hammertime. hehe (thanks chris)

Good food for thought.

What is not good food for thought however is the comment from one of my English friends in an email yesterday.

"glad you're well you cheeky Australaisian (why is your continent basically Australia spelt differently? Does that make your country feel a bit inferior?)"

Any comeback suggestions would be very welcomed as I have yet to unleash the fury.


Cool Stop Motion Clip

Sunday, May 13, 2007 by Sam

I shudder to think how long this would have taken to create.

Batería, piano y Stop Motion - ZappInternet

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Nelson Love

Friday, May 11, 2007 by Sam

Im in Nelson for a youth alpha training day tomorrow. Its being a great day hanging some very cool people. Firstly, Michael Treston who is the chief wugga wuugga for the Nelson Anglican Youth scene, and a great guy. Its cool sitting down with different folk who have being cranking out youth work for so long, and we shared some similar observations about youth work and churchy stuff. Very cool yarns. And then a guy called Ken Williams who has absolutely blown me away with the yarn about his Presbyterian church which is celebrating there fiftieth birthday. Now before you start yawning and those religious start manifesting - check this out. To celebrate they have decided to GIVE AWAY fifty thousand dollars to mission and the poor. How cool is that??? SO far they have raised 33 of the 50 grand and are on track to have it tied up by labour weekend. A little pressy church in Blenheim showing the world what is possible... except they arent doing this to show the world... which is why I have to blog about it.
And finally Im staying with Phil and Greta Greenwood who do youth work at St Barnabas church in Nelson and are great fun to hang out with, along with their two gromies who are very wild.

Ive said it once, I will say it a thousand more times. Youth Workers are the best bunch of people to spend time with, and its my incredible privledge to get to spend time with so many of them.

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Fuse 07 Queens Birthday Weekend

Wednesday, May 09, 2007 by Sam

Its exciting to be a part of the team organising "Fuse" a new event coming to replace CTC. So what you got??? Auditions for the event are still being held around the place. Check out the Fuse website to work out where to audition. Here is the promo dvd made by Mr Galloway, and click here if you want to stick it on your blog or website to help spread the word.

I was the emcee for the Wellington Heats, and I was completely and utterly bown away yet again with how gifted young people are. The dancing, songs, art, and the creativity crammed into each expression. A highlight on Saturday would have to be "kreafly" a crazy emo screamo metal band who were followed by "straight blessed" a bunch of gangsta (quite literally) new Christians performing their original rap tracks for the first time ever live, And it was all world class. Followed by someone doing some ballet. Very very cool mix of acts. And that isnt even mentioning the art, and photography and the soap box, b boy and b girls comps etc etc.

Go NZ Young people for being the most creative crew in the world...

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by Sam

cartoon from www.weblogcartoons.com

Cartoon by Dave Walker. Find more cartoons you can freely re-use on your blog at We Blog Cartoons.

Qualities to nurture in a follower of Jesus (Post one)

Monday, May 07, 2007 by Sam

I've come to the conclusion that are some very important qualities that need to be cultivated today - in emerging leaders - in all of us - in me. One of these that has being bouncing around the last couple of years is a teachable spirit. By this I mean people who have a humble heart, a person who is quick to listen, someone who can have their faith or theology robustly challenged and not freak out, a person who can sit with mystery, and tension, a person who does shift in understanding, and in practice, a person who wants to learn from others,someone who carries honestly their doubts, questions and uncertainty, people grounded, and authentic and real.

Tony Campolo said something on the "Quest" training sessions, that had an enormous impact on me. It was something to the effect of "If you cannot entertain the possibility you are wrong, then you are not engaging in dialogue". Darryl once made the comment (im sure he stole from someone else) that "a mind expanded will never return to its original size". The issue with some of us is that we are often hang round of the same "ilk". It has being my great privilege to travel the width and breadth of the country and spend time with people from all sorts of different approaches and theologies in the last year, and it is so exciting to see the Wellington crew start to honestly yarn about following Jesus, and discuss our different approaches and understandings. We are truly better off for it when we can critique each other and models around us in a spirit of love and with a genuine desire to see the Kingdom of God grow, the Church be all it can be, and young people discover this incredible God that loves them to bits. But to honestly be people "that could be wrong..." woah, that is huge stuff.

At its best, I think this is where blogging can be really interesting place where people with different views on things can engage and wrestle in a constructive dialogue. At its worst its a bun fight with people very intrenched in their own positions and hardly any positive dialogue taking place. Its pretty easy to make big statements (ive made a few of them) that you would probably not say in public.
At its best the emerging church movement gives freedom to un-learn, and maybe re-learn what it is to be Church. At its worst, it throws the baby out with the bathwater and arrogantly declares that "we can do it better, more authentically than anyone before us".

I would argue that we should value theological study (of any sort) is important - it scares me how often young leaders think they know the bible and butcher scripture in their talks, or how much faith is built around an incredibly small understanding of the bible. I sat through a talk recently in which a young bubbly guest speaker at a combined event proceeded to give the complete opposite message to the book of Ruth from which he was basing his talk. I'm not sure if it was that, or that kids that went for it hook line and sinker that scared me more... but I digress on a tangent. My point is that we should all attempt to be scholars of varying degrees, we all have a theological framework whether we call it that or not. There is so much to discover in scripture, and its a book that we will never get to the bottom of. But it is incredible exciting to discover the truth, and to reflect on its application. Hebrews 6 begins by saying "We must try to become mature and start thinking about more than just the basic things we were taught about Christ. We shouldn't need to keep talking about why we ought to turn from deeds that bring death and why we ought to have faith in God". (CEV)

I believe that this is part of the command to "work out our faith with fear and trembling" (Phillipians 2:12). We need to encourage ourselves and young people to grow up, to stop being spoon fed, to realize that you are not a bad Christian if you don't believe everything said from the front. We need to remind each other that you don't have to act a certain way in church to be loved by God. We need to constantly talk about the God that He loves us to bits, the grace that is freely ours. To follow Jesus is to wrestle with what it means to follow Him, it is to feel uncomfortable, it is to pursue His truth not our culture no matter what it costs us.
In saying that we don't need the opposite. The truth is that you don't know it all. You don't have it sorted. The way you are out-working your faith is flawed. And so is mine. Welcome to existence.

And so in conclusion. We do not need more speakers. We need more listeners who sit at the feet of Jesus and learn from the greatest Rabbi there is and ever has being. We need people that can sit with the doubt, and the mystery, people who are not precious about their theological position, but can honestly say "I could be wrong". And more than anything, people who pursue truth, honesty and integrity, that we would continue to explore what it means to follow Jesus, and what it means to outworks his teaching today. Lets not pretend this is easy. It requires enormous amounts of courage to live this sort of life. But I believe that Jesus is the Truth, as well as the way and the life. And Truth loves being discovered.

And so we hold on to this beautiful promise in Phillipians 1:6 "There has never been the slightest doubt in my mind that the God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish on the very day Christ Jesus appears". (MSG Version)

Sorry for the mini sermon... gotta learn how to write this stuff without sounding like a blimmin school teacher. However If you wanna come forward to the altar call, you can do so now... ; )


To Continue the Celebrity Lookalike thingee

Thursday, May 03, 2007 by Sam


Celebrity Lookalikes

Wednesday, May 02, 2007 by Sam

Anyone else think it a little strange that a jewish man born in the middle east winds up looking like branson??? Or that branson looks like a rather well known character from a couple of thousand years ago???

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Matthew Hollemans Debut Video Clip

Tuesday, May 01, 2007 by Sam

I've spent the last couple of days on a retreat with some extraordinary people who serve blueprint church community and the people around it. Incredible people because they all live off support from others to do what they do, have all paid a huge cost to do what they do and all weathered some storms. The misconception about doing full time churchy type work being "glamorous" is the biggest hoax ever and bugs me no end. You think its a sweet gig? Then quit your job and start serving a church or being missional. There are HUGE numbers of churches and youth groups desperate for someone to step up. These guys have all gone "all in" (to use poker terminology) and so consequently its being a great two days, filled with laughs and wisdom and honesty. Ive being deeply challenged by hanging with them.

One of these guys is my old flatmate Matt, a wise man, a gifted man, and a ridiculously good looking man. So check out Matt's debut video. I reckon it is brilliant. And props to his flatmate Kieran Rynhart for busting his guts making it. Check out Matt's Website and his Myspace page or for a Hi Res version check out the Twig Records page.

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