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about


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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Wangavegas

Friday, June 29, 2007 by Sam

Me and Chris Darnell are hanging in Wanganui this weekend at the "youth of the nation" conference. Although at this very moment I am watching Chris crank out a talk at the CCC palmy youth group. I have asked him to use the word "mega" in his talk as many times as he can tonight. I don't know if I'm a good influence on the lad. But I think I am letting him off light with that word.

"you are part of Gods mega plan"

Too easy.

Chris is a living legend, and I can't believe we get to hang out so much as we lead soul survivor together with the rest of the team. There is a depth with the guy that is powerful. I was bragging about Chris to my mate dave wells this morning. I think Chris is one of the best youth pastors out there. A very switched on cat.

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Back on the Plonk

Monday, June 25, 2007 by Sam

Yesterday marked the end of a five month "fast" from alcohol. At this very moment I am enjoying my first beer, and it tastes good : )

It was a bit of a random idea, of all the vices that can trip up young christians, alcohol was not one of the ones that I had ever really struggled with. I have good boundaries and regularly enjoy a cold beer with my family and friends. But earlier this year I was had a moment of frustration. I realised that for all my zeal to be a committed disciple, it had being a long while since I had made a rash decision to "lay something down" as a physical sign of my desire to continue to grow and change as follower of Jesus. You know those wonderful moments at camp as a 16 year old where you completely go for it, so you dump your girlfriend or give a bunch of money or commit to something else a bit reckless just because you are so passionate about following Jesus? Those powerful times of "first love" with Jesus. Those times where it moves from good intentions to great (and sometimes strange) actions. Where that passion translates to something physical. So in a moment of frustration and righteous anger at my apathy and indifference I decided to stop drinking. I picked a random date and went for it. That was five months ago.

So has much changed in that time? Surprisingly yes. I wouldn't credit it directly to this decision, but I can honestly say there has being a depth and a development in my character in the last months. I really feel that God has honoured that desire to crank it up a notch or two. Which also means that it has being a tough couple of months, painful at times, I have had to have some conversations that required courage with those that mentor me, but the fruit has being good.

The two greatest times of temptation:
  1. On a surf trip with my dad earlier this year. After a long day of surfing, a big pub meal and some great super 14 rugby on the big screen, the lemon lime bitters didn't cut it. Repeated for two nights.
  2. At my friends - Tim and Emmas - wedding. I was sitting with Tims airforce squadron at the reception. A bunch of absolute legends, I had some great yarns and many laughs. But once they cottoned on to the fact I wasn't drinking, they made it their job to tempt me in every possible way. And with a large bar tab it was the one time I really wondered whether I would call it an early end to the fast. But I got there!! Just.
It has being interesting to observe the drinking culture of the world around me, especially the christian crew. Don't get me wrong, I love a good beer, a whisky every now and then. But I am pretty concerned how acceptable it seems to be to go and have too much to drink. I am not sure how to respond to this situation, particularly at my church with grace and truth. And I have a bunch of Achilles heals, I would want grace extended to those particular things. But it has raised some questions and concerns if I am honest.

One of the best discussions on this topic can be found HERE, I encourage you to read it and feedback your thoughts. (Particulary the comments by "servant" (Frank Ritchie) and the discussion that then develops).

And I would whole heartedly encourage you to "fast" something for an extended period of time as an act of devotion... we need more wild followers of Jesus who make weird and wonderful choices to honour their King.

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Supergroove Goodness

by Sam

Shesh its being reunion paradise for fans of a bunch of bands lately (Rage against the Machine, Cream, The Police, and... wait for it... oh this is so exciting... The Spice Girls).
While knowing that Crowded House were back together, I had no idea that Supergroove were also back together to support them on there NZ tour. I am excited like a little school girl, there are not a lot of bands that I would throw my undies at in a excited mess of joy, but both of those bands are worthy in my opinion and if it means camping out to get good tickets... im there. I honestly cant think of two New Zealand bands that I would want to see more.

Its a big day for other reasons as well... but will be blogging about that later on... wow a two part blogging day. Its like an episode of shortland street.

Here's Supergroove rockin it out.


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Technology

Friday, June 22, 2007 by Sam

I'm sitting in a car on my way to Hastings at the moment and am simply writing this post because I think it is amazing that I can change something on the web while cruising through the middle of the manawatu. I love technology. Rehehehehehe

Shortest day of the year yesterday, and for a whole bunch of people I think its a weary sort of place where it is easy to get discouraged. It was so nice to spend time with the blueprint tribe last night. Not a lot actually changes but we share the load together in some mysterious way as we gather to worship. Scottie spoke very very well, I was proud of him, and will choose to ignore his cheeky comments about this very Blog.


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Most Bizzare email I have received for quite some time

Thursday, June 21, 2007 by Sam

This is an excerpt from an email I received a couple of minutes ago from my good friend Nathan who is currently living in London. I could tell you a bunch of stories about this dude, he lives life to the full and when we hang out, fireworks happen! He was one of the first guys to make an effort to hang with me when our family came back from South America, and we have had some crazy adventures together over the last decade.


Subject: Hi from Iran

I saw you wrote something in Facebook, hopefully it's that photo i was asking bout.
I'm in Iran and facebook and bebo are banned here.
Iran's crazy, beautiful, friendly and altogether amazing, decided to go away last Friday night,
called work and told them i'm having this week off. Threw a dart at the atlas got Iran, jumped on Lastminute, got flights to Iran next day.
Talked my way into a visa (absolute miracle they wanted to deport me) and being crazy exploring since.



Well this is the photo Nath is talking about, travelling 180km down the Autostrada in Italy in a tiny little Italian car last year. Him driving, me taking the photo. It was all very surreal. Great times.





And this is us after weaseling our way into the Bank of New York building in London and walking around pretending like we owned the place. Makes me want to get up to some adventures. When was the last time you did something a little "out there"? Im real keen for some more stories...
I just hope ol Nath gets out alright...



What I am reading

Wednesday, June 20, 2007 by Sam

I dont really understand the complexities of the political system, yet I thought this quote was really good;
"Virtually every significant decision that has proved to be for the good of humankind has come at a cost. It is rare that legislation that liberates slaves, or insists on a basic wage, or releases countries from debt, or creates equitable trade laws, or exposes corporate fraud, or educates the poor, or provides health care for the vulnerable, increases productivity or is otherwise cost-effective short term. And that is one of the great problems facing the facing the democratic world today; change for good often costs more in the short term, but our electoral systems make it very difficult for governments to pursue long-term policies".

Found in the first chapter of a book called "The undefended leader", kindly given to me by Rich from St Pauls, and so far a great read - speaking directly to issues that I am grappling with. Began this book yesterday.









I have just wrapped up "The Secret Message of Jesus", and recommend it without reservation. One of the most well written and concise books on exploring the Kingdom of God. If you read nothing else this year, read this one.








Am also halfway through "Money Sex and Power" by Richard Foster. Its not a new book (first published in 1985), but I am really enjoying the reflections on these three huge areas of life. Ironically Im not getting much money at all, getting no sex at all, and would question whether I have much power. But its great reading, and hopefully one day it will be useful (wink wink).






Re-read of the year so far has to be "Finding Life" by Ash Barker. He reflects on his life, mission, consumerism, and the people he encounters and what needs to be done in the slum of Klong Toey in Bangkok. Again, this is a must read in my opinion.








And have just finished Pete Wards book "selling worship" which was recommended to me by a couple of friends. I have being looking for something to read that would be a good challenge to the place of music worship in the church today. Particularly with my love of music worship, and the place this has within Soul Survivor. I was pretty disappointed though, it was more of a history of how things have grown through the UK and the States in the last couple of decades. Nothing hugely controversial in there I thought. Oh well.





Feeling much better today, no more spewing. Stoked.

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Meh

Tuesday, June 19, 2007 by Sam

My apologies for the lack of activity on the blog, had a sweet time in Auckland - however somehow picked up a stomach bug (i think its food poisoning) that has left me running to the loo to deposit the contents of my stomach pouring out my mouth on a regular basis, and lying in bed not wanting to do anything - achy etc.

Stoked that Paul Potts won the "Britians Got Talent" contest... ol Paul Potts is going to be an amazing illustration of the kingdom of God in future talks. What a legend. Check out the performance here

Meh

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Telling Others

Wednesday, June 13, 2007 by Sam

Well I'm off to Auckland for another Youth Alpha training day this weekend (and to catch up with a bunch of different peeps for Soul Survivor... cant wait :) Its got me thinking about the word evangelism (which scares me to be honest). I honestly think Jesus is the best news ever (and I know that sounds cheesy, but how else do you say it). There are a bunch of approaches to sharing this wonderfully life ruining person that discourage and frighten me, and the very very big theological issues that underpin evangelism do my head in.
But I love friendships, I am all about youth alpha and its relational dependence, it focus on food and small groups. And I am so impressed by people like Matt Holleman and Mr Pierce and others that seem to be able to share their faith so freely.

But all this really is just a segue (thanks debs) to this great clip. Part of me secretly wants to be like Dylan Moran (the crazy irish guy in this clip). I dont really know why.



And for something completely different, here is a clip from the wild band "No Longer Music". I was privileged enough to tour with NLM in 2002 throughout brazil, and it there were some incredible moments in crazy Satanist and Gothic nightclubs where the presence of God was like liquid as David Pierce preached a hardcore gospel to those on the fringe. My claim to fame is the opening song on the NLM set was written by me! It is called "No Alien Bullship" (lyrics by David... i wouldnt write anything that strange)

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Kingdom Moment

Monday, June 11, 2007 by Sam

Occasionally there are moments in life where the least become the greatest. These are glimpses of a kingdom where the values are wonderfully upside down, where people who are at the bottom of the rung become great if just for a moment. This was one of these moments for me late last year.

Another was watching a home movie that my brother and friends were making for the film festival. There was this guy in the film who is a mental health client, and didnt really act at all but his character was the best in the film... everyone was coming up to him and congratulating him. It was brilliant. I could go on and on, these moments are absolutely beautiful.

And this is one of these moments, captured on film. This clip moves me to the core. Humility just oozes off this guy, a meekness of heart is evident, he clearly does not consider himself to be some big shot.

"For Paul Potts from South Wales, the world of show business seems a million miles away from his normal life as a mobile phone salesman. “By day I sell mobile phones but my dream is to spend my life doing what I feel I was born to do, sing Opera. But I really suffer with my confidence and I find situations like this really difficult.”

I see more of the character of Jesus in Paul Potts than I do in my own life by a long stretch. I want to be a person who helps usher in this upside down kingdom.


Going Deeper

by Sam

There has being something stirring me in recent weeks about going deeper. Creating space to go deeper in my relationship with God, creating space for us as a church to go deeper when we gather. There is something about "going deeper" that speaks of slowness and contemplation and peace and identity and character that really resonates with me.

This line of thought was kicked off by a conversation with Stu a couple of weeks ago. When asked about his two and five years dreams for a church he was being interviewed to lead, he answered something along the line "in two years I foresee no numerical growth, but hopefully we are deeper people. In five years hopefully that depth is translating itself into a worthwhile contribution to our community". (I cant really remember his exact words, and the punk is having a well earned break overseas sometime soon but that was the general gist of it).


Which is why I love this post.

"Dave Johnson—pastor of Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, Minnesota—says our desire for external impact should take a back seat to internal transformation."

"When God empowers us with the skills to powerfully carry out his purposes it is like a weight being put upon us, and it takes real interior strength to carry it for any amount of time. This interior strength is a character formed in the image of Christ."

"The reason many of us ignore the formation of our character, says Johnson, is because it will slow us down. Many ministry leaders want success, a big church, or a crowd. But how many of us want a real life? How many of us want a life in God? We can have that, Johnson believes. We can have a character that produces love, peace, patience, kindness…but it will slow us down. It might mean the church won’t grow as big as quickly. It might mean the crowd will get smaller.
But the alternative is both devastating and all too common. The alternative is a ministry of high impact but shallow character. As only Johnson could say it, “In the bible it was a miracle when God spoke through an ass. Now it happens everyday.”

And on another tangent altogether, I thought this was a great post by Mr Ritchie on the coming Benny Hinn crusade.


Thank you for reading this ass

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Nice Little Quote

Sunday, June 10, 2007 by Sam

From Chris Darnell in an inspiring talk he shared to the SSNZ leaders yesterday on what it means to be "fully alive".


"I would far rather die of thirst than drink from the cup of mediocrity"


From a Stella Artois commercial a while ago. Makes me thirsty and it makes me want to live that little bit more generously, that little more recklessly, to be a little more wild. I am absolutely loving thinking about what it means to be "fully alive" following Jesus.


Interestingly, that is the theme of the Soul Survivor festival in 08.

Its huge.

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Go Team NZ

Wednesday, June 06, 2007 by Sam


Straight out of the box I will say that I haven't being following the Americas Cup that much this year... until we started winning.

Yep, im that sort of fan. Im disappointed in myself, but hey... im going to run with it.

Just one race away from taking on Alighni. You beauty, I am really amped and flippin proud of the lads representing this little country over in Valencia. With no TV at home im watching things from here.
There are a couple of embarrassing stories about previous americas cup events, which I will save for future posts if we keep on kicking ass.

Mock on

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Fuse 07

Tuesday, June 05, 2007 by Sam

What an amazing weekend, it was such a privilege to be part of the first ever Fuse event, replacing the CTC weekend after 41 years.

A couple of reasons why the weekend was special;

Scottie has summarised things very well, so have a look at his blog. But I want to underline how proud I am to be a part of my church, the blueprint crew. They have amazing hearts to serve, and do it with the best attitude - they have lots of laughs, happily do mundane tasks, chip in to help without being asked, serve and serve and serve.

Global Tribe are an awesome organisation, and one that deserve the platform they are quickly getting here in NZ and around the world. Particularly the generosity of its president Anthony Walton. He lives the values of Global Tribe, and is generous to a fault and his heart breaks for the poverty and injustice in this world. The generosity of Darryl and the YFC leaders to let this initiative be run by someone else is something special, and is a glimpse of the "body of Christ" working together in some sort of functional capacity without the usual paranoia of "guarding our turf". YFC happily and supportively handed there "turf" to another organisation, and I think God is chuffed.

The team putting the thing together were awesome. The huge number of YFC workers who worked this weekend, as well as Dave Treeby - an absolute machine, Tracey Bedford, Stacey, Scottie, Hayden, Andrew Galloway etc etc. As Scottie put it; "I can't wait to work with them again at our next underpaid and overworked venture together". Lots of fun, lots of submitting to one another, lots of affirmation thrown around. It was a very simliar crew to the Soul Survivor festival, and the depth in some of these friendships is why I think these events become more fun not less.

But most of all, it was the huge number of young people who expressed a little of the incredible creativity that God has crammed in them. What makes this event so cool is that nearly everyone at the event is contributing something creative, and so there is this very cool buzz happening. Everywhere you look there is art happening, created, expressed. What an awesome way to honour God.

I think Fuse 08 is going to be very exciting, and just like the Soul Survivor festival, I cant wait to see what God is going to do, and im looking forward to hanging with friends making it happen.


One little observation that I am chewing over. I was struck how young people are very clued up about the injustice and poverty in the world today. They know the information, the statistics, and a bunch of them got up and talked passionately about this issue throughout the weekend. It was awesome. For the most part young people cannot plead ignorance to the issues of poverty and justice

But the question I am wrestling with is this; Is it translating into action?

This weekend we tried to raise money ($5000) for a house for those impoverished in Mexico, and I think we did it, but it was a bit of a challenge. As I was MCing I felt the battle against apathy, I felt the sludge of consumerism, I felt the "compassion fatigue". And that was just in my life!!!
It wasn't like we were asking for money for a church building fund, or even for Global Tribe as an organisation. We were asking it for the poor, this money was all going straight to the poor. And yet it was so easy to go and buy some burger king or guitar strings, and a battle to give to something that isn't for me.

I don't know what the answer is. It is something that we will battle with in coming years with Soul Survivor, at Blueprint, at Fuse.

I do know where the problem begins.


Me

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Hello Blueprinters!!

Friday, June 01, 2007 by Sam

As per the chat last night, here is that quote, and a bunch of blogs worth getting amongst.
Blueprint Bloggers;
Scottie Reeves
Phill Smith
Andy Tate
Debs Phillips
Will Watterson
And MASON!!! but I wont link to his blog or else Scottie will get mad.

There are bunch of other links on those blogs to other writers who are worth a gawk at.

And that amazing quote from last night, from Mike Yaconelli of Youth Specialties, I think its from his dangerous wonder column that he used to write. Anyway, its being sitting on my computer for a while. How huge is this!

See what the battle in the Church is today? It is not abortion. It is not pornography. It is not homosexuality. (or the smacking bill!!!)
It is reality.
It is honesty.


We are afraid to be ourselves, to let ourselves be known, to come out of hiding.
What the world is longing to see in the Church is not moral purity as much as moral reality. The world wants to see a Church that is made up of people who are not afraid of their blemishes, because their blemishes only point to the unblemished character of Jesus.

What we don’t understand is that when people look at the Church and see only impostors, they conclude that Jesus is an impostor. But when they see followers of Jesus who are real, they see a Jesus who is real. The Church does not need to fabricate holiness, it needs to seek holiness.Holiness is not where we arrive, but where we are going.


The power of the Church is not a parade of flawless people, but of a flawless Christ who embraces our flaws. The Church is not made up of the whole people, rather of the broken people who find wholeness in a Christ who was broken for us

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