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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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Monday, October 29, 2007 by Sam

I'm getting a bit itchy to plug back online. I haven't checked my blog reader, facebook, digg, my youtube account, or how my car is doing in its auction since last Thursday.
Thankfully I can get my emails and txts on my ph. I could probably jump online via my ph, but I got a txt from Vodafone when I arrived here informing me that it cost $30 a mb. I'm not that desperate.

But still... what a nerd.

Observing humility

Sunday, October 28, 2007 by Sam

In the last couple of days I have being deeply impressed by the humility of certain people in the christian scene. Firstly the guys from life fm in Auckland, in particular Frank Ritchie. Warm hospitality, and a heart to serve and cheer others on. And yet again, those here in the UK have challenged me in their obvious and attractive humility, it is very hard to articulate how much a culture of humility permeates the christian scene here. The guys from the Asia-Pacific area that I am spending time with are very gracious and humble people.

Here are a bunch of quotes I've picked up in the last couple of days as I try and soak in and learn as much as I can from these extraordinary people.

Live for the success of others. (Sy Rogers)

There is no limit to how you can be used by God if you don't care who gets the credit.

Meekness and lowness of heart should be the distinctive of the disciple.

Humility is always rooted in serving others.

Humility is knowing you stand before heaven all the time. (Tash McGill)

Do you wish to rise? Begin by descending. You plan a tower that will pierce the clouds? Lay first the foundation of humility. (Augustine)

Galatians 5:22-26 and Colossians 3:12-14 have being key scriptures for me in the last week. Its deeply challenging stuff. I don't think humility can be really taught, I think its caught. Its good to be really challenged by the character of people around us.

UK - Philippines

Wednesday, October 24, 2007 by Sam

You wouldn't read about it, but on the eve of my sojourn to the UK and Philippines, my laptop breaks down on me. So there goes any work on the flights, which is frustrating, as well as being a blessing of sorts. I was hoping to do some work on some talks for a couple of camps I am doing next year, as well as some of the writing for the festival in January. Thanks to gmail a lot of that stuff can be accessed and worked on in some down time. And it will probably be a healthy thing for me to switch off for the flights there. I am looking forward to the much needed cave time. And cheers for the suggestions on the books, a couple have grabbed my attention, so will try and track them down. And no, it wasn't Asterix : )

So what am I doing? I'm in London for the first week, basically Alpha and Soul Survivor in the UK co-sponsor an training resource called Worship Central. NZ has a very similar partnership between Alpha NZ and Soul Survivor NZ, and so this development has being a natural progression in our work here. I am going to be joining about 20 others from around the Asia Pacific area in working out how it could look in our context. We have some amazing guys lined up to roll this out here in NZ.
The second week of my trip sees me in the Philippines, its my first time in this country and I am really looking forward to it! No disrespect meant to my London friends, but Manila appeals to me a wee bit more. Here I will be joining others from around the region helping in developing some training resources for Youth Alpha which will be filmed and shared around the place.

I feel a bit weird that I get to do this sort of thing. I don't deserve such hook ups, and I am certainly no different than others that don't get these opportunities. I dunno how to describe it, this lingering sense of guilt maybe. Maybe its the tall poppy fear. I'm not sure.

Anyway I am running with it, so I'm off. Will be blogging from my various locations via phone and internet cafes etc. Im hoping it will be an adventure (which means, I am hoping that things dont go to plan... it makes for better blogging).

Good Fiction

Monday, October 22, 2007 by Sam

Can anyone recommend some good fiction to read? I've never got a shortage of chrispy creme christian books to read, but have some space in some travels the next couple of weeks and so keen to disengage and kill time with a good read or two... and I am a guy, so its a better read when people die, the world nearly ends but doesnt due to some gadgets or outlandish Macgyver manoeuvre's.... actually whatever, just a good story...


Friday, October 19, 2007 by Sam

In Nelson for the long weekend, speaking at the spring camp for the Anglican youth groups of the area. Its a beautiful part of the country, and hopefully will be a fun couple of days.
I always wind up a bit nervous before speaking, full of self doubt and feeling like the worst christan and biggest hypocrite etc. And then I sometimes get hyper critical of myself after talks and all insecure. I'm slowly "chilling out" as I get used to who I am in God, and who He is, but with an average of two speaking thingees per week this year, I've spent most of the year either gearing up or recovering from talks. Its a miracle I'm not in the loony bin. I wish you could script God to "walk into the room". I'm so conscious that its just empty words and noises without God mysteriously taking the offering and speaking through it somehow.

Anyway, no reception out at the camp which will be nice. firing this off from the phone
Before I drive back out to the camp.

Have a great long weekend if you live in nz!

Soul Survivor Promo

Thursday, October 18, 2007 by Sam

The promo vid for Soul Survivor here in NZ is now on youtube. Take a look at it. This is the longer one that explains something of our values, and there is a shorter one for the

Would love it if you want to put either this one, or the shorter version on your website of blog to promo the event. Check them out here

In Rainbows

Wednesday, October 17, 2007 by Sam

Well this album has rocked my world, and Radiohead are one of the few remaining bands on my "must see before I die" list which has incidentally got a lot smaller with the U2 show last year, Muse coming up, Tool ticked a while ago, two Rage against the Machine gigs booked, and rumours of Mutemath being at Big Day Out.

So anyway, I signed up for this album before it was released, and thanks to my blackberry and wireless I was listening to it shortly after I got the email with my download link. I loved that you could pay whatever you wanted for the album, I flicked them $10 for their troubles. It was a pretty trippy first listen as I was absolutely shattered after a day at a conference in Christchurch, and was in that "twilight drifting off to sleep" zone, and actually fell asleep as the last song finished. But probably one of the more moving first listens of an album I have had. I was stunned.

Im not going to go through all the tracks, but a few deserve a mention.
The opener "15 Steps" is a great song, and threw me a bit as I thought the album might have being another Kid A - Amnesiac style of album. But it seems that Thom Yorke has got a lot of that out of his system through his solo work (the amazing Eraser). As soon as the guitar drops in I was sold. Big call, but I would call it the almost perfect radiohead song.
"Weird Fishes/Arpeggi" is another stand out for me, with a few unexpected turns, and a wide lush sound. I love that these guys can do the whole "musical journey" thing with their songs.
"Nude" is great, I sit there waiting for the piano to kick in ( at 2:45) and then enjoy the minute of hugeness.
House of Cards is pretty nice, and once you hit this point in the album you are normally "in the zone". Some Sigur Ross style guitars in there.

Listening to this album through headphones was pretty impressive. A very wide stereo spread, most guitars are panned hard left and right, and no surprises in that they are using some very nice gear. Tone dripping off the speakers :)

A reason its a stand out album is that the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. Nearly every track is stunning, and the tracks seem to work into each other making the whole album an experience rather than just some tracks. Only a few other bands have really done this. From the top of my head, Sergeant Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band, The Wall, Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness, (feel free to throw in your five cents here).
This band is also in the genius category because the guys know when not to play as well as when to crank it. For five guys to sit on their hands for most a of a track, and allow the song heaps of room to breathe is pretty amazing. There is a lot of space on this album.

The album is probably Radioheads most accessible work, and out of that comes my one beef. I wish that some songs were longer. It feels like they hit this incredible sweet spot in nearly every other song in terms of a trippy jam that starts building, but it feels like they refrain from staying in outer space for whatever reason.

It doesnt have any artwork, but you can browse through a whole bunch of ideas here. Chris Darnell voted for the work on the left as his favourite and being the little sheep that I am, its the one on my ipod as the album cover.

If you havent already, you can download the album here.

The best deal going

Monday, October 15, 2007 by Sam

Check out this sweet auction, the best deal ever... go on!!!

Had a great time in Christchurch, would love to make it a place of residence some day. And every time I go to this church I come away totally encouraged and refreshed. I know that this conference looks so flipping "name it claim it" hypey manipulative styles. It was anything but, and it was very difficult to find fault in the theology of Bruce Collins. I found myself made very uncomfortable by Jesus yet again. I love/hate this about following Jesus. You start looking at his claims, teachings, promises and actions and it quickly gets uncomfortable. Bruce Collins recently had lunch with Michel Green and Alistair McGrath, and he jokes he was "interrogated" by the guys on his thinking and theology of healing/prophecy for two hours. He was given a complete theological bill of health by these fairly respected dudes which counts for a bit in my books (see the pun, see it?... health.... healing, hahaha arent I funny). And so the good theology spills over to practice, and my parameters for who God is, and His activity shifted dramatically these last couple of days.
For those cynical, sceptical (which is still my ongoing battle!) I would suggest that this is one of the few guys worth listening to on the divisive and difficult subject of healing and prophecy today. If you are uber keen I could try and track down the dvd's of the talks and post them to you. Let me know, or you can do the "non lazy" approach and get in touch directly with the guys at Grace Vineyard or New Wine.

I hope I have opened up the can of worms enough to generate interest in this one, but not enough to get me in trouble, or labelled a loony or "one of them". Here's hoping :)

By the way, how amazing is the new radiohead album? Had the privilege of writing the review of the album for the latest Soul Purpose mag, though trying to describe this album in 100 words is torture. So to ease the frustration, will dump my more extended thoughts in the next couple of days.

Mumbo Jumbo

Tuesday, October 09, 2007 by Sam

Got a new set of wheels, largely credit to the genius of my bro. He totally walked me through the process of sifting through the lemons and the possibilities. Walked away with the same make and model as my old car (Honda Integra), but five years younger, and with 130 000 less kms on the clock. Its in great nick and I am stoked. Go the auctions for sweet deals. No more stress at intersections wondering whether the car will conk out on me. No more driving around with no warrant. Yeeeuusss.

Im off to Christchurch tomorrow, and am looking forward to spending time with my friends from Grace Vineyard. This trip came about through the invitation of a guy called Bruce Collins who was here earlier this year. We had some good yarns, and he invited me to travel with him on this trip around NZ with New Wine. Because of The Noise and a few other things I couldn't do the whole trip but am stoked to hang out for the next couple of days.
The reason I am making this a priority is because Bruce is one of the most thought out guys theologically and in practice that I know on ministry in the power of the Holy Spirit.
I shudder as soon as I write that last sentence because of how loaded it is. Words like "prophetic" and "healing" and "ministry" seem to be almost taboo words these days. And I can understand why, ive being seriously burnt, manipulated and abused by this stuff. I might have to tell something of my story around that sometime. And a blog is a stupid place to raise this stuff, but on this post im nailing my colours to the flag.
I think there is a place, and a prominent one at that, for this sort of "mumbo jumbo" as my friend Darryl calls it. Its a key value and part of Soul Survivor, its increasingly becoming a healthy part of the Blueprint community. When this stuff is biblically grounded and we create a space and the opportunity for the Holy Spirit to move in our gatherings, I believe that there is an opportunity in such times of "ministry" to bring healing and hope and freedom.
And so I am wanting to hang out with Bruce to learn and listen and soak in as much as I can. I do not want to have a "form of godliness but deny its power". I want the whole enchilada.

My name is Sam, and I am no longer a closet charismatic.

It was loud

Sunday, October 07, 2007 by Sam

Well the second ever Soul Survivor event - "The Noise" - has being and gone and it was an awesome day. I was pretty nervous about how this day would pan out, I struggled to sleep thursday and friday from nerves, which was silly because all the jigsaw pieces were in place for a great day. The nerve racking thing with running any sort of event is the fear that no one will turn up! I remember hanging around at our first festival earlier this year as people began showing up, and it sounds funny, but I was surprised!

Long story short, a great bunch of guys from youth groups around the country turned up on Saturday and spent the afternoon in different projects organised through the churches and the council. I was ssssoooooooo proud of the young people that cruised along to this event. They didnt just go through the motions, but threw themselves into the work, going the extra mile. The icing on the cake were the meetings, cranking worship, and deep "God" times. There are so many reasons this day was very special. Too tired to go into too much detail.

In other news I just stumbled upon the Rolling Stone site which has a track by track preview of Radiohead's new album with high quality bootlegs of the songs live. Its sounding sweet. Check it out here.

Off to Turners Car auctions to hopefully buy a car tomorrow, the once faithful integra is no longer faithful, or road worthy for that matter. Thankfully my mechanically minded brother is coming with me to help me try and find one, or else I would have probably come home with five magic beans instead of a car. Im easily swindlled, and no jack tweety about cars. Hopefully Im posting pictures of the new wheels in a couple of days.

Im tired, and I just realised I am beginning to ramble.


Friday, October 05, 2007 by Sam

Thoroughly recommend you weigh in on the discussions happening in the last three posts over at Servants Thoughts.

Off shortly to Feilding to set up for the Noise event tomorrow. I am looking forward to this day for a whole bunch of reasons - catching up with youth worker mates from around the country, hanging with the Soul Survivor team, getting up to mischief with the guys that are coming. But I am most excited about it because it is once again a small attempt at doing more than just singing and talking about living for others. Its a chance and opportunity to practically do that for one afternoon, with the dream that it spreads far and wide. I love what the guys at City Lights are doing, and if you are in Auckland, I would encourage you to cruise along to their next event on the 13th of Oct.

And lastly, another little yarn about blueprint camp. As part of the camp, we were split into teams from which we would compete in the "Blueprint Olympics". We had to make our own country name, flag, make up a national anthem, write about our history etc.... It was very very amusing to see how warmed up we got about our fake country.

Our Country: Bambia, a little worn torn country in the middle of africa, busy killing each other in a civil war. Main population is some sort of weird Rasta Deer with guns in their antlers. Chief export: Cooties (you know, the cooties you get from girls in the playground). And death.

Will has being busy finishing the flag off the last couple of days. Here are two versions:

And yes, we came second in the blueprint olympics. Awesome. Christians are cool

Mathew 25:40

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 by Sam

"At the end of the twentieth century, most of us will have to repent, not of the great evils that we have done, but simply great apathy that has prevented us from doing anything" - Martin Luther King Jr

Burma is ruled by one of the worst military dictatorships in the world. This week Buddhist monks and nuns began marching and chanting prayers to call for democracy. The protests spread and hundreds of thousands of Burmese people joined in -- they've been brutally attacked by the military regime, but still the protests are spreading.

I just signed a petition calling on Burma's powerful ally China and the UN security council to step in and pressure Burma's rulers to stop the killing. The petition has exploded to over 200,000 signatures in a few days and is being advertised in newspapers around the world, delivered to the UN secretary general, and broadcast to the Burmese people by radio. We're trying to get to 1 million signatures this week, please sign below and tell everyone!


Lotsa News

Monday, October 01, 2007 by Sam

Its funny how when you people dont post on their blog for a while, its normally because too much is happening, not too little. Anyway, thats being my buzz at the moment. Its meant to be my precious day off today, but with all that is happening I've got to engage with my "to do list" and tick off a few urgent things.

Blueprint Camp
I've being at my church camp in the weekend, it was awesome to spend extended time hanging with the amazing guys at my church. I feel pretty inadequate (in a weird good way) at my church, because it is chocka full with living legends. It was a great weekend, with the "Blueprint Olympics", a bogan party, long games of Mafia, and best of all, some great times of worship and chilling with God as a crew. A stunning weekend. Here is a picture of the awesome Blueprint crew.

Left camp pretty sleep deprived, was speaking the The Rock church that night, was one of those "speaking through the fog of a brain that is functioning at 30%" talks. I was chatting to Mick Duncan a couple of weeks ago after he had finished talking at a particularly draining day, and he said "I will take no thought seriously in the next 48 hours". I thought it was really good advice, as I get really pretty down on myself and all insecure after nearly every talk I give. Weird and lame, something I'm trying to work through. Anyway...

The Noise
I am looking forward to this Soul Survivor event is this weekend, and this is a shameless plug! A day of worship, teaching and ministry, as well as practical serving projects in the town of Feilding. Be awesome to see you there if you are around. Info can be found here. Here is a photo of one of our projects at the last summer festival.

Radiohead album
And radiohead are dropping their new album in 10 days. Pretty amped. Ive got their blog on the my blog reader and so have being tracking that for the last year or so. At the very least, it will be an interesting album, at best, a work of genius yet again from this amazing band.