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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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Scottie in Mexico

Tuesday, September 25, 2007 by Sam

A blog that would be well worth tracking at the moment is that of my great friend Scottie Reeves who is visiting a third world country for the first time for a short term mission trip with Global Tribe. I'm hoping he continues to find the time to post on his blog as his insights are wonderfully honest. The humble yarns of a guy looking to learn from his experience there. Check it out here.

Register for Soul Surivor Festival 08

Monday, September 24, 2007 by Sam

The second Soul Survivor festival is approaching fast, and thanks to the expertise of Jon Cumming (our festival manager and all round guru) and Mr Darnell, (one of the leaders of the movement and web ninja) we now have online registrations available. So if you are planning on coming, this is the easiest way to get there.

The other way you can help is to spread the word online...

Copy and paste this code and place it on your blog or website. Chur...

Please please please be true

Friday, September 21, 2007 by Sam

I haven't being this excited since... well... I dont think ive ever being this excited.
Rage have featured on my blog here, here, and here... and I am hoping that on both the 19th and the 27th of January (and the maybe the 30th) I will see my favourite band of all time, one that I thought had broken up forever, playing live...

Big Day Out is on in Sydney on January 24 and Melbourne on January 27, and the website suggested this meant that Rage was "obviously one of the headline acts for Big Day Out".

Check out the rumours and murmurings here and here

Christian Ego

Thursday, September 20, 2007 by Sam

Like a bunch of others I've partially enjoyed watching the comedy unfold in the "new christian party" debacle... until I remember that I'm probably lumped in with them as a "christian" in the mind of average Joe. Its still pretty funny.

But one of the articles on the whole buzz (found here) caught my attention as it made this comment:

The immediate flaw in this Faustian deal with Destiny has become apparent: too many egos, not enough party.

Again, its deep sigh time, in part because of the honesty of this piece. That "we" are known for having an ego rips me. Partly because of the painful journey I have gone through in my own ego being crucified (in part) and the joy, life and freedom found found in the ongoing pursuit of humility. And when you see humility, there is nothing more beautiful (think Paul Potts). And it rips me because you can see Ego a mile away, it smells bad, and it seems to be pretty common in Church these days.
And lastly in this random rant... what makes a political party a "christian party"? Is it because they are anti gay? Or stand for family values? Or anti abortion, or want to defend the rights of the poor? What is it?

The Article goes on to say

The holy grail for all Christians intent on forming their own political movement is the 5% threshold for seats in Parliament. They figure that given roughly half of all voters identify themselves as such, surely if one party could get its act together, getting into Parliament should be a shoo-in.

The reality is, as countless Christian parties have found out, not nearly that simple. For one thing, just because many voters are Christian doesn’t mean they will vote for a Christian party. In fact, some loathe the idea. They want more Christians in Parliament, but not all in one party.

Anyway, I really know next to nothing about politics and 90% of the people that read my blog dont give a rip, and haven't even got this far. If you have... well ... hello : ) But I like that last sentence, and is probably where I sit. It feels more "in the world not of it" styles, it feels more subversive.

Do unto others....

Wednesday, September 19, 2007 by Sam

So for the last month or so some "friends" of mine from blueprint have being having a bit of fun at their life group and flat by replacing a word in well known christian books with my name and having a good laugh. For example "The Sam I never Knew", "I Kissed Sam Goodbye", "Mere Sam Harvey", "The Problem with Sam", "Every Sam Harvey's Battle" etc etc.

So Scottie has just upped anti - I recieved this a few minutes ago. Mixing the current book thing with his long running joke of me being controversial... I have being cracking up, the cheeky monkey.
And yes I am mildly concerned about how much time he has probably put into this little work of art.

Be still my soul

Monday, September 17, 2007 by Sam

Man there is such a richness to life at times. And not just the "ohh I feel happy all the time" sort of buzz. That sort of attitude, dressed up in christian jargon that says stuff like "learn to walk in the abundance of God" seems shallow, fluffy and oh so western.

I think there is something about God being found in all of the emotions of life; joy, grief, loneliness, pain, laughter, in every circumstance. I would contend that when we decide to follow Jesus, He begins to amplify the width and depth of emotions that we feel, and perhaps even the frequency with which we feel them. He doesn't just make it all "happy". That has being my experience, especially in the last three of years, and at these times of deep joy or deep pain it feels like we are drinking deeply from the well of life. I think it is really sad that we try to avoid grief, brush over pain, and try to rush through emotions that aren't the "feel good" ones. It has being my experience that God does His deepest work in those places. Perhaps it is better to really sit in that place a little longer, and reflect a little more. And its not just a personal thing. I wonder whether we are meant to feel more deeply the experiences of the people around us. Certainly in churchy type work - perhaps its everywhere if we look for it - one minute you are celebrating with a friend, the next commiserating with another. Its good to deeply engage with that stuff.

We sung my Great Aunties favourite hymn, one she requested in her last hour alive, at her funeral today. The words are well worth reading, well worth reflecting on. If you want to have a listen to it, check it out here.

Be still, my soul: the Lord is on thy side.
Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain.
Leave to thy God to order and provide;
In every change, He faithful will remain.
Be still, my soul: thy best, thy heavenly Friend
Through thorny ways leads to a joyful end.

Be still, my soul: thy God doth undertake
To guide the future, as He has the past.
Thy hope, thy confidence let nothing shake;
All now mysterious shall be bright at last.
Be still, my soul: the waves and winds still know
His voice Who ruled them while He dwelt below.

Be still, my soul: when dearest friends depart,
And all is darkened in the vale of tears,
Then shalt thou better know His love, His heart,
Who comes to soothe thy sorrow and thy fears.
Be still, my soul: thy Jesus can repay
From His own fullness all He takes away.

Be still, my soul: the hour is hastening on
When we shall be forever with the Lord.
When disappointment, grief and fear are gone,
Sorrow forgot, love’s purest joys restored.
Be still, my soul: when change and tears are past
All safe and blessèd we shall meet at last.


Thursday, September 13, 2007 by Sam

Its funny how circumstances can change your view on things. For example, when I was 13 anyone playing at parachute was a hero. I would mosh away to my favourite bands, never in a million years thinking that it could one day be me.
And so on Friday there was this very weird moment as I arrived at Totara Springs Christian camp, the old site for the event, and go for a walk around as the sun was setting and a light mist started to build. I have never being to this site outside of the times that I was at Parachute as a kid so it was an absolutely eerie feeling to wander around an empty camp-site, and then to walk over the hill to see this big monument to my grommethood standing there, lifeless and empty.
It got me thinking about how much I have changed in that time - the painful discovery that the guys playing on stage were not better than me, they were human and messed up like me, that playing there hadn't made them feel "complete'. To discover that the dream of playing there was actually a pretty self centered egotistical dream, and that God has far greater things for me to dream about (even if they dont look as sexy as rocking out to a crowd). Most importantly it has become clear to me that my character, who I am, is far more important than what I do, and how others see me. Man its taken some tears and heartache to discover that simple life giving truth. And to be honest most of the time I forget it and live for all this other silly "stuff".

So to go to Wellington Hospital last night, say goodbye to my great Aunty, and watch her peacefully pass away brought another reminder about the priorities and values that really matter. I have never seen someone die before, but last night was a privilege beyond words to be one of a couple of people around her bed as my Dad prayed for her and anointed her head with oil, read Psalm 23 during which time she passed away. A very beautiful moment where heaven was close. My Aunty was lucid and talking to people right up till the last 20mins of her life, and so it was one of those very powerful times in which many profound, significant and healing conversations happened. I learnt a lot last night.

I am so grateful to God for His grace and His presence as He continues to shape and guide our lives, inviting, encouraging, and wooing us into places of depth, places of character, places of life.

Dance like Nobody is watching

Sunday, September 09, 2007 by Sam

Had my second consecutive weekend in the Waikato, spending time with Rich and the gang from St Paul's. It was incredibly life giving and refreshing to spend time in worship, to enjoy superb teaching, to rest, to have great yarns with no responsibility at all, to be prayed for. Its being long overdue to have some input and sit at the feet of people I respect off the charts and learn from these well worked out disciples. Its so hard to explain, and it sounds so freaken cheesy on an impersonal blog, but suffice to say it was a deep healing weekend on all sorts of fronts.

And tonight I'm off to speak at St John's church in Rotorua. Really looking forward to spending time with some of the guys that I met at an easter camp earlier this year.
Anyway, thats what ive being up to if you care. Quite a bit bubbling round inside the noggin at the moment, hoping to have some time to process that soon so watch out.

And here is a clip of white boys trying to dance. Oh yes...

HT Tash

Notices time

Friday, September 07, 2007 by Sam

It feels like there is life and joy dripping off the wall at blueprint at times. The Tribe gathers and its game on.
So tonight, Mike gets up at notices time and the yarn goes something like this:

Mike: so its my 24th birthday tomorrow
Everyone else: yay!!! Clapping etc.
Mike: and so I was thinking about having some drinks tomorrow night and getting drunk.
Everyone else: cracking up with part shock and part delight. I begin to wonder whether that was the notice and that was the invitation
Mike: but decided instead that to celebrate my birthday I'm going to have the mad prayer time. So join me at wanui beach on Saturday night for bonfire and prayers
Everyone else: cheers and woop woops.

Isn't that beautiful? My heart swelled with pride at the honesty of the moment. No masks, just one dude getting up to invite others to an awesome celebration Jesus styles.
Story retold with permission.

A view from the otherside

Wednesday, September 05, 2007 by Sam

After already being rescued twice at sea in my life to date, and in the hope that we one day get a motorboat, me and Dad are attending a "day skipper" course at the local boating club which runs for the next 12 weeks. It was the introduction evening tonight.
It was quite an eye opening experience to turn up to a random club - someone else's familiar turf, be greeted by well established regulars and sit through a presentation with a bunch of jargon some of which I didn't understand. Tonight amongst other things, I learnt that the warp needs to be 3 to 5 times as deep as the water you are in, heard some long winded but entertaining stories of rescue at sea and even saw a video of a boat that capsized in which the occupants died. Overall pretty interesting stuff.

Made me wonder what its like for people attending church for the first time. Im intimidated enough going to a cafe or bar that I havent been to before (discovered this gem last fortnight... chur andy).

It continues to amaze me that in spite of our best efforts otherwise, people still seem to discover Jesus.

Deep as a Puddle is One Year Old!

Tuesday, September 04, 2007 by Sam

Its a year to the day since I started blogging, and Im actually quite surprised I am still at it. It has being a very positive outlet for me. I've never being very good at journaling, but for some reason blogging has being a natural way for me to articulate where I am at, to process what I am working through and to keep friends up to speed with my movements. I love communicating whether that be speaking, chatting, writing, and blogging has being another outlet for this gift.

Scott McKnight explains very articulately the compulsion to write here when he said:

"...writing is a lifestyle, a way of life, a way of being, a modus operandi, a way of breathing and eating and drinking. Better yet, writing is a way of learning, a way of coming to know what someone wants to know, a way of discovering.

Writing is not something to do when everything else is cleared off the desk; no, it is something that makes order of the desk. I don’t get up wondering what I will write about, but I write about what I’m wondering. (That’s almost Chestertonian.) In other words, as Augustine spoke of “faith seeking understanding,” so writing is a pen seeking understanding".

Significant Posts
As I look back over the last year there are a couple of posts that were significant for me as I tried to express what was rumbling around inside my noggin.

This post on "denominations" was nice to finally get out.
There was the painful month of "movember" summarised here (seeing the growth of the molestache is like watching the evolution evil incarnating itself on a top lip).
The most scathing rants I had to make were a two part series on the christian bands subculture. Post one here, two here.
Probably the post I am most proud of is one that was the articulation of years and years of pain, hard lessons, questions, frustrations, disappointment in myself, and probably a bit of fear as to what other would think if I actually wrote what I thought - check it out here.
One of the many random adventures, but probably the best on the blog so far found here.
This post containing reflections after a fast from alcohol has sparked some good yarns in the real world.
I am continually frustrated to see how far and wide the prosperity gospel has spread. Its not just a myth folks. This post was written after yet another confrontation with the beast.
And last month it was very good to get honest about perceptions, and find some healing and perspective changes in the comments.
And it was nice to bang the "grace" drum again.

So to the bunch of you that read this from time to time, I am at a loss as to why, but thank you. Thank you for your comments and encouragement. I have shifted in view a number of times thanks to your wisdom and insight. And Im stoked at the genuine friendships that have occured with people that I wouldn't normally get to rub shoulders with thanks to this medium.

Stroms Not Blogging

Monday, September 03, 2007 by Sam

For those that visited earlier... major error on my part... turns out the blog I was referring to is actually Dr Mark Keowen, the NT lecturer at BCNZ. My bad... anyway, he blogs here for those that are still interested. Clarifies the K in the name though : ) Should have done more research, cheers Dave for letting me know that!

Here is me and my flatmate of three years, my frickin great mate Dave graduating from BCNZ a bunch of years ago. As you can see we were starting to look like each other at that point!

What a wonderful world

Saturday, September 01, 2007 by Sam

This vid is probably making the rounds at the moment, a very clever little number.