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A random story and what up

Monday, May 26, 2008 by Sam

Random irrelevant story; So my room at my flat is actually removed from the house itself, and today while working on a talk I thought I would grab a book from my little cave/room. I walked to my room, found it locked, wandered back to the flat to discover that the front door has also locked behind me as I closed it. Not cool. With it being bitterly cold and all the rest of it, no windows were open so I wandered around aimlessly trying to work out what to do before resorting to walking across wellington to pick up keys from flatmate. I then wandered back, and continued to work.

End of Story

Im off to Nelson tomorrow to speak at the yearly Anglican Clergy School that they have for the diocese. This year is focussed on worship hence me being there. Im quite intimidated by the prospect of having to share in front of this sort of crowd, but hope that there will be some good discussions over the coming days.
Then back to lead worship at Church on Thursday night, Chris Falson is speaking which should be rockin.
Reheasal on Friday night for Fuse.
Speaking of Fuse it just round the corner! I am emceeing again (isnt that a weird word) and leading worship on the Sunday morning service. It should be a cracker weekend with some good numbers projected for the event (and after all thats what its all about)

Discernment and the pursuit of truth

Tuesday, May 20, 2008 by Sam

I'm about to start writing a talk that I reckon has being a few years in the making. We are doing a series on discernment at blueprint at the moment, looking at the place that questions and doubt have in out faith. Part of the motivation of this series has come from looking at Scott Peck's four stages of faith. The bit below is copied straight from wiki
  • Stage I is chaotic, disordered, and reckless. Very young children are in Stage I. They tend to defy and disobey, and are unwilling to accept a will greater than their own. Many criminals are people who have never grown out of Stage I.
  • Stage II is the stage at which a person has blind faith. Once children learn to obey their parents, they reach Stage II. Many so-called religious people are essentially Stage II people, in the sense that they have blind faith in God, and do not question His existence. With blind faith comes humility and a willingness to obey and serve. The majority of good law-abiding citizens never move out of Stage II.
  • Stage III is the stage of scientific skepticism and inquisitivity. A Stage III person does not accept things on faith but only accepts them if convinced logically. Many people working in scientific and technological research are in Stage III.
  • Stage IV is the stage where an individual starts enjoying the mystery and beauty of nature. While retaining skepticism, he starts perceiving grand patterns in nature. His religiousness and spirituality differ significantly from that of a Stage II person, in the sense that he does not accept things through blind faith but does so because of genuine belief. Stage IV people are labelled as Mystics.
Really we are wanting to encourage each other to move from stage II in which so many people and churches probably camp. However it takes courage to ask questions, to go through a period of deconstruction, though I think it is crucial to developing depth in our faith, and I suspect may be why we loose so many young Christians as soon as they hit uni and realise that things are quite as black and white as they may have first thought.

Anyway, I must endeavour to avoid the pull of facebook, youtube and my blog, as well as all the other little bits and bobs that lends itself to procrastination and actually write the talk. So im cranking pitchblack (the best background sermon writing music) and going for it!!!

Whats on the radar

Friday, May 16, 2008 by Sam

Off this weekend to hang with my friends that lead soul survivor here in NZ, kicking off with a dinner with the board members from Alpha here in NZ. It is an opportunity to continue to yarn how we continue to work with Alpha, especially as Worship Central. The rest of the weekend will be spent in worship and discussion as we continue to roll out Soul Survivor events here in NZ.

I awoke this morning to find NT Wrights latest book "Surprised by Hope - Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection's and the Mission of the Church" had arrived on my doorstep. I'm only 30 or so pages in but shesh, its like Christian cocaine... sooo good. And I finally began "Dangerous Wonder" by Mike Yaconelli last night, which kept me up well past my bed time.

In the middle of writing a bunch of fairly solid talks at the moment. One on discernment for the coming Thursday at the print, and two talks for a clergy school in Nelson the following week focussed on worship. Im enjoying the challenge, though feeling a little nervous as these particular topic need to be communicated with wisdom and clarity. Mmmm... Im feeling a little in short supply on both those facets...

BTW, check the tagline for this christian store... "essentials?" What the???

Theology Outworked

Thursday, May 08, 2008 by Sam

Im back from a great training day in Dunedin, and a very funny night judging a talent quest at my brothers uni hostel - bizarre mix of activities but loads of fun.

The last couple of days I've being slowly working through an absolutely stunning lecture by N.T. Wright on worship (you need about a week of processing per one hour of teaching by this ninja) as well as having long yarns with people who are speaking during our series on "discernment" at the moment, amongst other reading and dialogue. This alongside the letter found at the bottom of this page... (and to hear Chris Marshall in action, cruise along to our next "Square Meal Exegetical" series at blueprint on the 19th and 26th of June) and this video of Tim Keller speaking at google (Check out the Q and A time at the end - HT Andrew Jones) has really got the noggin working overtime.

Something has clicked the last couple of days in the midst of all this thinking and intellectual stimulation. And though it is just such a simple revelation and something of a generalisation, my thoughts are this. I would contend that the best theologians are those who are involved in the nitty gritty outworking of their theology - where theory and practice are colliding. Sadly some ardent practitioners are weak on theological understanding and see little point in engaging with this stuff. And many theologians are lost in academia and are little use to beast nor man.
My prayer for myself and the community at blueprint is that we would be passionate about pursuing truth, and that it would fuel our love for serving Jesus, and for Jesus himself.

And anyway, damm its good getting stuck in to some meaty teaching... NT Wrights page is a treasure chest of bible nerdy goodness...


Tuesday, May 06, 2008 by Sam

Dont have much to say about this particular vid, except that this is fairly normal behaviour from my brother Pete... If you think thats a bit "out there", check out photo five from this story. In comparison I am but a quiet introvert who lives a peaceful and normal life.

Youth Alpha Job

Sunday, May 04, 2008 by Sam

So Alpha are looking for someone to come on board for the National Student and Youth Alpha work. Check out the job description here Im keen it's someone who is a bit of a legend coz I have to work with them! But seriously, its a great job full of whoppertunities.

A couple of posts that have got the ol rat running on the wheel, or the monkey wheeling around the little car inside my brain...

This post by Dan Kimball is a goodie, and is one that I will be using as the means to get some discussion going at the print.
And this post got me playing devils advocate with myself, I dunno... thought provoking stuff.

And his video is very grainy, but is of my mate Andy Campbell after he fainted on our flight to singapore. This is a classic moment when the stewardess realises we are filming. Good times : )

Who am I?

Friday, May 02, 2008 by Sam

Twice in the last two days this Scottish preacher, Robert Murray M'Cheyne has come up in conversation. Last night as Bruce Bell spoke, and today in a conversation with my friend Ray Muller. He is credited with this quote: "What a man is on his knees alone before God, that he is and no more".
This quote is one of those "depth charge" style quotes - I can hear the ticking, and have a suspicion that this statement is going to profoundly challenge me.
I think God is challenging me yet again on the absolute importance of our private world with Jesus. Recently Mark Johnson said that if he was to summarise the bible into one world he probably wouldn't pick "love". He would pick "relationship". I know that I talk a lot about Jesus, think a lot about Jesus, discuss how we can help people get to know Jesus, plan how to serve Jesus church, give speeches about Jesus etc etc.
But Jesus is kinda whispering to me about hanging out and chatting, calling me to some time on my knees where I continue to discover who I am - and the scandal that who I am is not tied up with what I do...
Argghhh, ive got so much to learn, so far to go...