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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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Wednesday, November 28, 2007 by Sam

Got dusted with some weird virus thing the last couple of days, and so kinda felt a bit on the back foot. But feel like I am getting on top of things now. Spent the day up in Feilding today, im very excited about the upcoming festival. Its great being on the site today picturing how everything will look, and there are an amazing group of people that are the area heads which are cranking it out. Registrations are more than double what they were this time last year, its going to be sweet.

Anyhoo, we have Bron and Phil from Grace Vineyard up this weekend to do some teaching at Blueprint. Should be an awesome couple of days, they are great communicators, and I love their depth in things like prophetic and healing ministry. There is no denying it... I love the charismatic flavour.

Here is a clip from my old band Agentc that I uploaded, back in the day with my dreds and playing the metal tunes that have nailed the hearing in my left ear. Its me on the left. Good times, and some great gigs over the time we were playing together. Something I really miss is playing music in a band. I am looking forward to the day that I can slam out some dirty covers as a middle aged washed up rocker in low life pubs.

Meet the Sibs, and some great NT Wright

Friday, November 23, 2007 by Sam

All the siblings were together for the first time in nearly a year tonight. Very good times, these guys are living legends. From left to right, Gabrielle, Pete, Me, and Rach.

And here is some great NT Wright sent through by my mate Rob Munro... full talk can be found here

"Paul, we heard you'd been shipwrecked. Fancy having to go through such a thing. In fact, that's exactly what they said on Malta: he's obviously done something wrong, so blind justice is determined to kill him, whether by sea or by snakebite. Foolish ones, Paul would reply, and slow of heart to believe; was it not necessary that the gospel and its carriers should follow their Master, should pass through the dark waters, in order to come to Caesar's city, Caesar who kills but cannot make alive, Caesar in whose empire Mammon, Aphrodite and Mars reign unchecked and unchallenged? Did you expect that the gospel would stroll in to Rome of all places with its hands in its pockets and whistling a cheerful tune? Was it not necessary that it should arrive having gone through fire and water, embodying the truth it comes to tell, the truth that you only live if first you die, that you only celebrate if first you suffer, that you only preach if first you drown. God forgive us for our pseudo-gospels of cheap grace, of cossetting self-fulfilment, of a Christ without a cross and a church which never got its feet wet."

Damm thats good stuff... and he's Anglican.... go the Anglicans!

I had a great time speaking at Primal church in Wellington tonight, and Im off to Auckland tomorrow to go the Muse gig tomorrow night, and then spend a couple of days on a retreat with the Blueprint Zeal guys from Auckland, Petone and Wellington Central, should be a sweet time : ) Its going to weird being in Auckland and being without transport, and Im a bit sad that I cant catch up with more of my friends on this trip. Next time

Help out the Wellington City Mission

Tuesday, November 20, 2007 by Sam

At blueprint there are two absolute heroes who have enabled our community to serve the poor in our neighborhood for well over a year now through a number of efforts and initiatives. They have a great relationship with the Wellington City Mission which is needing help this weekend. Go Debs and Nomes!
This is a message from the Wellington City Mission.

We are in urgent need of volunteers for our Street Appeal next week on Friday 23 and Saturday 24 November.

Each Christmas we provide more than 3,000 food parcels and hundreds of toys to clients and children in need. We also give to other social services agencies and food banks in the Wellington area.
To run our four programmes and to provide food and toys, we have to find $2.8 million each year.
Our Street Appeal on Friday 23 November along with the Supermarket and Mall Appeal on Saturday 24 November 2007 are our major fundraising drives.
On those two days we hope to have close to 500 collectors out in the streets throughout Wellington, Lower and Upper Hutt and Porirua. At present we only have around 160 collectors.

If you are keen to help, click here, or donate here

A song, the charasmatic movement, and the paperwork

Sunday, November 18, 2007 by Sam

A couple of things you may find interesting. Firstly a clip of the guys who were in the Philippines singing the song "Draw me close to You" at the end of a day filming.
The idea of the director, it was great to be able to sing in our own languages. After my start we have Indonesian, followed by Thai, followed by Burmese before the whole group does a round in English. It may seem a little cheesy, but the depth in the faith of these guys is something really special, and its pretty awesome to think that God doesn't speak English. I dunno, I kinda get moved by people singing worship in other languages. And for those that are interested, Blueprints favorite Filipino, Edmond, is blogging here. He makes an appearance in the video below, see if you can spot him!

And these two pictures by Jon Birch got me thinking... would be interested in your thoughts on both. Has the charismatic movement completely run out of steam? I consider myself and Soul Survivor to still be in the charismatic vein, so maybe not... but things have definitely changed, and the occasional abuses and excesses, perhaps the self-centeredness of the movement in the 90s has definitely changed the landscape a bit.

And this one... well it speaks for itself. I am so stoked that we have people that are prepared to wade through all the paper work for Soul Survivor here in NZ. It certainly seems that things are a little out of control when it comes to how much paper work needs to be done to do an event these days... anyway, if anyone can be bothered fighting the battle to see less paper work on a political level - good luck to you and all the best!

Thought provoking stuff

Wednesday, November 14, 2007 by Sam

Would be interested in your thoughts on these two thought provoking posts. The first by "Naked Pastor" on the place of suffering in our life. I read this in the midst of feeling the "ache" in my own heart over a couple of recent things in my life and so it grabbed my attention. The post can be found here.
The second by Dan Kimball on the discussion around "hell" in our theology - particularly in evangelism. This topic always grabs my attention, and I was challenged by what I read. Check it out here.

On the radar for the next couple of days: Ash Barker is speaking tomorrow night at blueprint, the author of one of my favourite books, I am really looking forward to hearing him speak. If you are around I suggest you get down to the print for a sweet night. And then its off on a retreat with Rosemary and Brook. I am amped about spending a couple of days getting some vision for next year, and working on some talks for the festival over the summer. Your prayers that it would be a good time of rest and that we would have some sweet "God times" would be appreciated.
And then I am speaking at Blueprint Sunday night, drawing from the tail end of Romans 7 and the beginning of Romans 8. I am looking forward to it : )

Photos from Manila

Monday, November 12, 2007 by Sam

Here are a few selected photos from Manila with the associated stories.

The guy who funds a lot of the Alpha work in Manila is a guitar collector, and lost track of the numbers of guitars in his collection at 250... he estimates he has around 300+ guitars. Every guitar was top shelf, limited editions. No junk there. On top of this is every type of guitar amp you could imagine. Matchless, Vox, Carr, Mesa Boogies, Fender etc etc etc. And remember, he doesn't play guitar, only a collector.... crikey... ching ching

The Beatles covers band that played the last night we were in Manila at the personal club of the guy mentioned above. One of the sweetest covers bands I have ever heard, and took requests for any Beatles song you wanted. I threw out "Day in the Life", a song I had studied at high school and by no means a simple song. They absolutely nailed it, complete with weird orchestra crescendo. A very cool night, and hearing the song live was a musical highlight of the trip.

Walking back to the place where we were staying after some heavy rain which had flooded the streets - at places knee deep. A lot of the kids were having the time of their life, getting some relief from the 29 degree heat. The poor kid on the left was getting a bit cold though! Check out the gangsta hand signs : )

In the middle of filming a clip for the Youth Alpha training dvd. We actually did very little filming, it was mainly the guys from Asia who cranked it out. It is quite something hearing talk after talk in Burmese, Thai, Malay etc and having to sit in the audience and act like you understand in case they pick you for a crowd shot... After day four of non-stop shooting, you get into this weird twilight zone.

At the street kids ministry that we visited. This night has deeply challenged me again to step up and live more simply and share more passionately for the many people around the world who live in tragic humiliating conditions. In the midst of it all they are some of the most gracious, generous and fun filled people.

Typical street scene in Manila, lots of people, crazy driving, and Mc D's! Its weird being in a place like this and seeing Starbucks on every other corner, Burger King, Maccers and other parasites everywhere.

We were warned as we arrived that we would have a very hard time paying for anything as the Philippino people are ridiculously generous people despite 30 million of them living on less than $2 a day. It was true, we had to be very sneaky to pay a bill before they did. There are stories of fights in the villages outside of the Manila as to who will pay the bill. Pretty humbling stuff really, something we could all learn a little bit more here in out western world.

Back to NZ, and its time to quickly recover from the travel and get back into it tomorrow morning. Lots happening as we approach the Soul Survivor festival, and start looking at 2008.

Thriller in Manila

Wednesday, November 07, 2007 by Sam

Im in Manila at the moment, and my blackberry isnt doing emails so the blogging is going to slow down for a little while. Its being wonderful surrounded by the richness and beauty of the third world - the smells, the people, the driving, the craziness, the food. Memories of our families years in South America have being flooding back as there is a definite South American influence throughout their culture and history. A highlight so far has being a visit to an orphanage/children's ministry in the slums last night, it has deeply impacted me, and broken my heart once again for those who live in such poverty and brokenness and yet have so much life and joy.
There has also being the occasional glimpse of the underbelly of this city, which again has really shaken me. Dont really want to go into this at this point.

I miss my church family to bits, its being the first time in a while that I have missed two consecutive thursday night gatherings, and I am very mindful that it is crunch time for the upcoming Soul Survivor festival, but it has being so good to get outside the NZ culture and be surrounded by the reality most of the world live in once again. Its being a while between drinks, and the last couple of days have being very invigorating, and an incredible encouragement and blessing to me.

If you live in NZ, and have yet to go to the third world, even for a short time, then I would urge you with all the passion I can muster to save up, fund raise, whatever... and go and spend time surrounded by these incredible people in these culturally rich places. From my perspective there is no excuse, and is more transforming than 100 conferences combined. You may not be called to living in these sorts of places long term, but it is so important to get your head around how most people are living.
I feel a rant coming on, and I have to jump off this computer in a minute, but will try and explain myself more fully down the track.

Other than that, check out Phil's "Week in Review" and I hope movember is rocking!


Friday, November 02, 2007 by Sam

This cartoon is dedicated to my friend Stu, in memory of his infamous "hands round the waist" hug given to my dad the first time they met.

Some Photos

Thursday, November 01, 2007 by Sam

All the best to those who are bravely embarking on the movember adventure, this year I will definitely not be joining you... last year was just too traumatic.
It sounded like the Supergroove and Crowded House gig rocked, looking forward to hearing reports from it from the lads back home.
Had lots of good meetings and lots of great conversations the last couple of days. My jet lag has persisted, hits about 5pm and I just have to operate through this fog - an overwhelming desire to sleep. Im normally a night owl, and so have being getting used to early mornings and early nights, seeing life from the otherside! Here are a couple of pictures from my travels the last week or so.

At the West End in London - Being people of culture, we chose to watch "spamalot"

Tim Hughes, most humble dude on the planet

The rockin worship team from the camp in Nelson. Note the dude with the toilet paper in his nose! Why would anyone do anything else but youth ministry?!

Same camp, this time the "primo puke challenge" underway