The most fruitful summer of my life

Our calendars are clustered with our great many plans. We fantasise about futures that we hope will come to fruition. We dream up these ideal destinies, quite sure that we know what is best for us.

  • She's not always pretty!

    She's not always pretty!

    I think we have been a sold a lie. Admittedly, a very charismatic, oui oui merci sort of a lie. One that captivates us, entices us and tells us in sing songy voice that life, in all of its glory, should come easy.

  • Boasting in weakness

    Boasting in weakness

    As 2013 came to a close, so did my final year of full-time university study. Anybody who has been in tha situation knows what a good feeling it is to complete a degree, coming out of this life season with increased wisdom, knowledge, and (hopefully) time management skills. 

  • Sharing a beautiful gospel

    Sharing a beautiful gospel

    I was talking with a friend recently, a non-christian, who mentioned that, if he were to convert on his death-bed, it would probably be to Roman Catholicism. His stated reasoning was that they had beauty, a full and attractive aesthetic.

  • Afraid to ask the hard questions

    Afraid to ask the hard questions

    I've listened to plenty of discussions about sensitive issues such as politics, war, global warming, homosexuality, abortion and whether Israel should be allowed to occupy Palestinian land.

  • My definition of faith

    My definition of faith

    My cousin William is 10 years old and he is already cooler than me. When he was four, my aunty and I took him to church on Easter Sunday. The service was fairly traditional, with lots of old school hymns and several hearty rounds of 'Christ is risen, He is risen indeed'.

  • Will Christianity make me boring?

    Will Christianity make me boring?

    I was once afraid that if I fully followed Jesus I would have to pretend to be someone I'm not. I can trace this belief right back to primary school, where one girl was regularly held up as an example to us.

  • Cheap grace

    Cheap grace

    I remember some time ago, when I was a younger lad, the church I attended was really into using a particular small black book as an evangelistic tool. You may have seen the type, small little gospel tracts...

  • Think before you buy pink

    Think before you buy pink

    Slapping a pink ribbon on a person or product is synonymous with waging war against breast cancer. Pink ribbon products proudly display their devotion to the cause; promising to donate funds to breast cancer research or push for improved patient services.

  • Don't be a tosser

    Don't be a tosser

    While enjoying the view on one of my favourite walks in Sydney I am repulsed as I look more closely alone the edge of the path: plastic bags, empty bottles and general rubbish, all gathered among the mangroves.

  • The umbrella girl

    The umbrella girl

    This story was inspired by my trip to India, and a poem that I wrote. I was searching for a moment, a transcendent moment, where belief meets action, action meets conviction, and I changed the world. 

  • Take a sad song and make it better

    Take a sad song and make it better

    I was eight when I met him. A black furred, charming teddy bear named Dickens, he was given to me as a Christmas gift and I loved him. My sister had a matching golden haired bear named Chadsworth and together we would make and package them food out of paper as though these bears were of our own flesh and it was our job to nurture them.

  • The kind of love I never knew

    The kind of love I never knew

    If I asked you what your idea of love is, what would you say? Do you have a definite idea or picture in mind of what love is?

  • On the door and you

    On the door and you

    Doors are symbols, metaphors, why have we found them so potent? Why are they the symbol of our decisions and our fate? The movie 'Temple Grandin' uses doors as all the opportunities we are given in life and challenges us to enter them.

  • What makes a good person?

    What makes a good person?

    We often find it hard to comprehend how a seemingly godly non-Christian is in fact ungodly. Romans chapter 8 says, "Those in the flesh cannot please God." We see this as unjust. Clearly, my non-Christian neighbour should be saved if they're lovely!

  • Owning your brokenness

    Owning your brokenness

    All I wanted from 2013 was a fresh start. Last year was a bit of an odd year. I have never been so aware of just how many crappy things happen in this world—not just on TV, but in my life and in the lives of those close to me.

  • Jesus, inspire me

    Jesus, inspire me

    I am the person who clogs your Facebook news feed and Instagram account with inspirational quotes and blurbs. What can I say? I do love a good inspirational story and, while it's impossible to post an entire novel on Facebook, loading little quotes every now and then is just as therapeutic.

  • Can Love be defined?

    Can Love be defined?

    What is Love—billboards, popular magazines, television, films, books all reveal the various dynamics of romantic love – it's on display everywhere. These ideals are praised. There is certainly value in romantic love, and my question is whether I am the only one who is questioning whether this is what Love is?

  • How to live fearlessly

    How to live fearlessly

    Earworms are hard to avoid. Getting a song stuck on repeat is as easy as walking through a mall, going to the gym, or catching your colleague’s Ed Sheeran ringtone as it calls out “I’m in love with the shape of you” over and over and over again.

  • "That's so retarded"

    "That's so retarded"

    The words "retard" or "retarded" are dropped on the daily. Whether it's in music, such as the Black Eyed Peas hit song Let's Get Retarded, in popular films, such as Tropic Thunder where it is used 16 times in one scene alone...

  • Male weakness

    Male weakness

    Nobody wants to be weak. Everybody wants to be attractive, and attractive is not weak. Strength is not weak. Strength is value, and weakness weakens value. Weaker means less. At least that is what everybody seems to think.

  • Love is a battlefield

    Love is a battlefield

    The other day, overwhelmed by melancholy, and completely discouraged at my lack of progress in the area of emotional sobriety, I found myself contemplating cutting my hair short and moving to Berlin to ride a bicycle across the countryside, buying only the freshest organic produce from the cutest and humblest of markets.

  • Fuelling the fire

    Fuelling the fire

    What makes a piece of writing change your life? It's hard to pin down. Is it the timing? Is it the style? I'm sure you'll agree that there are times when words—words pushed out into the world by someone who doesn't know you exist—can be viscerally affecting.

  • Fighting Abercrombie and Fitch?

    Fighting Abercrombie and Fitch?

    In case you hadn't noticed, we live in a discriminatory society. It's encased in our flesh, and pops out its head whenever we define ourselves against somebody or something else. However, we love the underdog, the lonely hero and the outcast winner.

  • “Church shopping”

    “Church shopping”

    When I first moved cities and started looking for a church to attend, I heard the term “church shopping” come up a lot from others also searching for a home church. I grew to dislike this phrase rather rapidly.

  • The real "Gay Issue"

    The real "Gay Issue"

    There are certain times in my life I wish I could twink out and re-write over the top of. It's funny how those cringe-worthy moments have a habit of haunting us.

  • Will the church get left behind?

    Will the church get left behind?

    Recently the robots and automation wave has been widely talked about as conservatively stealing 20–30% of low-end jobs that currently exist. That’s horrific, scary and terrifying. What is going to happen to the people who occupy those jobs today?

  • Nelson Mandela and one part of his legacy

    Nelson Mandela and one part of his legacy

    During his 27 years behind bars for fighting apartheid, Mandela became a rallying symbol for those fighting South Africa's white-minority rule at home and abroad.

  • What's wrong with the world?

    What's wrong with the world?

    What is wrong with the world today? To start I would like to quote Walter Hilton: “I feel myself so far from true feeling of that I speak, that I can naught else but cry mercy and desire after it as I may.”

  • Under pressure

    Under pressure

    Walking home after a depressing seven hours spent in the library working on an assignment, I came across a bumper sticker on a car that read, "When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping!" I laughed.

  • The humble hero: a WWII mission aviation legacy

    The humble hero: a WWII mission aviation legacy

    Meeting Trevor Strong is like meeting a long lost friend. His warmth and graciousness are the first things I notice as I shake hands with one of the men who, in the midst of the horrors of WWII, dreamed that aircraft could be used for a better purpose.

  • Dirty feelers and bountiful bottoms

    Dirty feelers and bountiful bottoms

    I am a sensitive soul. My grandmother and mother have remarked on it for as long as I can remember, naturally in hushed undertones that sound something along the lines of, "Gosh, she can be fragile," "Shhh, she'll hear you and you'll set her off!"

  • Prayer for the blind

    Prayer for the blind

    Lord God, I pray that the church would rise up from its complacency, and be salt and light on this Earth. Not to take real estate and possession of earthly kingdoms, but to preserve society from further atrophy and moral breakdown...

  • It's just a 'joke', Babe

    It's just a 'joke', Babe

    Comedy is one of our favourite pastimes in the west. We love a good laugh, something to relax to, and something to make us feel superior. Comedy has also been a vehicle for social change in the western world.

  • Parenting: Valuable lessons from our children

    Parenting: Valuable lessons from our children

    Before becoming a mum, I thought parenting was all about how I teach my children and what they’ll learn from me. I envisioned them learning from what I say, the way I behave and my experiences. After all, I’m the adult and matured one in this relationship.

  • Come out come out, wherever you are

    Come out come out, wherever you are

    I like to think of myself a smart person, but sometimes I am actually an idiot. At my office, only the senior management team have the power to lock up the building at the end of the night. This means once they leave, you leave. One night I was working late and there was only one manager left in the building.

  • Weddings, wine and an ordinary time

    Weddings, wine and an ordinary time

    A few weeks ago I was celebrating the wedding of two of my friends. It was a fantastic day—beautiful sunshine, amazing people and a joyful ceremony to make their marriage official.

  • Slowly working on it: How to play the marriage game before he puts a ring on it

    Slowly working on it: How to play the marriage game before he puts a ring on it

    I have come to the rather sudden realisation that pre-marital dating isn't just about avoiding sex, with the main focus being not taking one's clothes off.

  • Commercial sport: The hungry beast

    Commercial sport: The hungry beast

    In Australia we have a small population compared to our dizzying desire to being the best at all and any sport. I have yet to hear of an Australian Sumo wrestler world champion but I am sure there is a passionate young person with dreams to wear the mawashi on the dohyō in Japan.

  • Tap into God’s autocorrect for life

    Tap into God’s autocorrect for life

    Predictive and autocorrect on smartphones are supposed to help us out. But they’re not always right—and sometimes they’re laughably wrong. Like when you say you’re ‘auditioning your kids’, only to have autocorrect change that to ‘auctioning your kids’.

  • A journey worth taking: A series on Wisdom (part 1)

    A journey worth taking: A series on Wisdom (part 1)

    The story of the meeting of the Queen of Sheba and Solomon, the King of Jerusalem is found at 1 Kings chapter 10 and 2 Chronicles chapter 9. So what does a Biblical story from thousands of years ago have to do with you and me today?

  • Church drop out—because you haven't read enough about this already

    Church drop out—because you haven't read enough about this already

    If you happen to be a human that has been connected to wifi life support over the last few weeks you would have unavoidably noticed renewed interest in the issue of young people leaving the church. Surprise everyone, it happens.

  • Taking the plunge…

    Taking the plunge…

    A recent survey of people under 30 asked when they saw themselves as adults. Many thought they became adults around the age of 30. No longer is 21 the key to adulthood.

  • The age of assumption

    The age of assumption

    In the portfolio of things I do to keep busy, I work with the NZ office of a busy mission organisation. I'm responsible for keeping a steady stream of prayer communications coming out of the field and into the hands/mouths/prayers of a group of faithful pray-ers.

  • An unreached people group

    An unreached people group

    In May 2015, Craig Bellamy, former rugby league player and now current coach of the Melbourne Storm in the Australian NRL, wrote a column in The Australian newspaper that said sports chaplains are a much-needed resource in rugby league.

  • The death of pride

    The death of pride

    Martin Luther, when asked to name the three greatest virtues replied, "First, humility; second, humility and third, humility." Knowing that humility is a good thing is one thing, but learning to be humble has its difficulties and it's not quite as simple as riding a bike.

  • Get a backbone boys

    Get a backbone boys

    In some very unscientific research I've done lately, a few of my female friends have told me they're sick of guys who don't want to grow up.

  • Life on board Logos Hope

    Life on board Logos Hope

    Can you imagine living with 400 people from over 50 countries in a big floating metal box, sailing around the world to bring knowledge, help and hope?

  • I did something strange

    I did something strange

    I did something strange the other night. Well, really I did three strange things in a row. They weren’t all on the same day or even at night either. The first was that I picked up a grapefruit from the side of the road...

  • 'Coming of age' or something like that

    'Coming of age' or something like that

    So last year was momentous. I turned 21. Yes, I was excited to finally be able to drink alcohol in America. Woot. Like a true female, I bought into the hype and turned my 'coming of age' into a week about myself.

  • Christian humour—an oxymoron?

    Christian humour—an oxymoron?

    "Elesha, what did the fisherman say when he caught a fish?" said an overexcited 8-year-old. "What?" I asked. "I caught a fish" she replied, giggling hysterically

  • Thoughts from inside prison

    Thoughts from inside prison

    His name is Zeus. Well, not literally Zeus, but it's close enough to the truth. He is a real person, but even without privacy laws I wouldn't want to tell you his real name.

  • Life on the inside

    Life on the inside

    Life is a strange and complex slice of bread. We spread out our layers upon layers of flavour in it only to discover that it is falling apart.

  • A pressure cooker in dry dock

    A pressure cooker in dry dock

    Logos Hope entered the floating dry dock shipyard in Subic Bay, Philippines for her annual maintenance work. Little did I know that the ship life I once knew would be radically changed.

  • Abandoned by God

    Abandoned by God

    Whenever I feel abandoned I hear on repeat the voices quoting Bible verses about how He will never leave me nor forsake me and that I should not let my feelings get the best of me.

  • Time to pop the tall poppy

    Time to pop the tall poppy

    New Zealand likes to cut down its tall poppies. It appears that I could be the only one here who is willing to rise above the toxic culture embedded in the soil of New Zealand and speak out.

  • What's the point?

    What's the point?

    What is the point of going to school? We've all fallen asleep in class at least once in our lives! Sometimes (in fact more often than not) the teaching we receive seems completely irrelevant to the issues we are facing.

  • Battling FOMO

    Battling FOMO

    Drummed in by our school teachers that the verb is a 'doing word', FOMO is not a one-off wishing we could be elsewhere, but something a large number of us seem to consistently do battle with.

  • Transparently transparent

    Transparently transparent

    Throughout my considerably gratifying life, I have learnt a number of note-worthy things, and as with all new learnings, these lessons have come at a cost to me, some greater than others.

  • Love changes everything

    Love changes everything

    Recently there has been much sobbing and wailing in our household. Juliet, one of our beloved cats, has died. However her life truly showed me the transformative power love has.

  • Has Facebook changed friendship?

    Has Facebook changed friendship?

    I have 17 Facebook friend requests I don't know what to do with. There are the people I haven't seen in ages, but I'm not sure I want to reconnect with them.

  • Hungry for fame and thirsty for significance

    Hungry for fame and thirsty for significance

    "Elesha Edmonds: Grammy award-winning hard-core hip-hop and gangsta rap artist." Welcome, my friends, to my wild imagination. An imagination jam-packed with secret obsessions and dance routines...

  • Show love, show extreme hospitality

    Show love, show extreme hospitality

    I was treated like rock royalty on my recent holiday to Singapore and Malaysia. Everyone was at my beck and call, eager to take my sister and me around for a tour of town.

  • Facing the fear of spiritual warfare

    Facing the fear of spiritual warfare

    I love the idea of being totally fearless, a kind of adrenaline junkie Bear Grylls type. Of being that person who sits calmly as a their South American tourist bus jerks awkwardly round a bend...

  • Christianity: From captive to captivated

    Christianity: From captive to captivated

    Christianity transforms us from being a captive to being captivated. The moment we accept Jesus as our lord and saviour, we are set free from our bondage of sin.

  • Turning suffering into joy

    Turning suffering into joy

    How could God allow suffering in this world? Why do bad things happen to us? The presence of suffering, injustice, tragedy is a problem for everyone.

  • You are victorious through Jesus Christ

    You are victorious through Jesus Christ

  • The good ol' days

    The good ol' days

    Bruce and I met when he was in his late 50s, and I was a 17 year old school girl. He was a worldly musician, I was dreaming of serving God in youth ministry. How did we become friends?

  • Limits of violence and punishment

    Limits of violence and punishment

    “Repay no one evil for evil… If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.” These verses are consistent with the non-aggression principle...

  • He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good, for goodness sake

    He knows if you've been bad or good, so be good, for goodness sake

    I'm really not that sure about God. I mean, I believe that He exists. But I find it really hard to believe that He's on my side.

  • The pilot’s dream: A WWII mission aviation legacy

    The pilot’s dream: A WWII mission aviation legacy

    The story of Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF) is fairly well known in mission circles. Birthed in the final throes of WWII, what started out with a few young Christian pilots has now become an international organisation of nearly 1,500 staff.

  • The journey to Manhood

    The journey to Manhood

    My theme for this initial section is initiation. We guys are born male, but we have to learn to be a man. Boys can only become men by the instruction and leadership of other men.

  • The only question that matters in the abortion debate

    The only question that matters in the abortion debate

    Before I begin, I would like to start by saying that I believe it is important to care about both the unborn child and their mother and to work to provide support and encouragement for them both before and after the baby is born.

  • Watoto mission trip to Uganda

    Watoto mission trip to Uganda

    Have you ever had a major turning point in your Christian life? After years of living as a 'lukewarm' Christian, I arrived at the major turning point in 2007. It was my Watoto mission trip to Uganda.

  • How to be white

    How to be white

    I am a white male. According to a growing way of thinking, I am a symbol of the oppression of women, of indigenous cultures, of anyone who is different to me.

  • Jesus wept. And then quickly apologised

    Jesus wept. And then quickly apologised

    Why is it that we apologise for our outburst? Are we apologising for being vulnerable and not being able to internalise the emotions we are processing?

  • Why I write

    Why I write

    I have been writing for Press Service International for coming up five years now—that’s a fair few articles. I have enjoyed the heights of bewildering numbers reading my articles, and also of the opposite happening.

  • Katy Perry and the 'Pastor's daughter gone wild' insight

    Katy Perry and the 'Pastor's daughter gone wild' insight

    MK's (Missionary kids) and EK's (Elder's kids) step aside. The PK's are in the house. PK's (Pastor's Kids) are church royalty.

  • The great Aussie Rules Commission—coming to New Zealand

    The great Aussie Rules Commission—coming to New Zealand

    New Zealand—here comes the AFL—Aussie Rules—they want you. The AFL began with the heartlands in the south and west and has spread across the country and across the southern hemisphere.

  • Jesus in the land of Mana

    Jesus in the land of Mana

    Poor old 'moist'. The most unpopular word in the English language. It's interesting that it's still considered the king of hated words when we have so many that should be blacklisted these days.

  • 12 lessons from a 7K run

    12 lessons from a 7K run

    I’m not athletic. I don’t, and have never, played a sport. My reaction time is slow. Growing up, I was more likely to be reading a book than sweating on a playing field.

  • Is it really OK to be single?

    Is it really OK to be single?

    These days, it's rare to find a mainstream media commentator that raises their voice in a way that resonates with the church–but I read an opinion article by Shelley Bridgeman this week that did just that.

  • A small part in God’s plans

    A small part in God’s plans

    A woman turned up at Mum’s church one Sunday looking for a church to call home. She later said it was the hug Mum gave her at the door that made her return the next week.

  • To love 'one thing'

    To love 'one thing'

    Life seemed far simpler as a kid, making huts under blankets, riding bikes and climbing trees. The older I get, the more stuff I acquire and the more I realise how returning to an entirely simple way of life is freeing.

  • What will history say about you?

    What will history say about you?

    Not too long ago Ben Affleck was accused of selectively editing his family history. Affleck discovered he was a descendant of slave owners while filming for the US TV show Finding Your Roots and was so ashamed...

  • Imperfection and dishonesty

    Imperfection and dishonesty

    I've noticed we can disqualify ourselves because we feel imperfect, self-imposing limits on what we can do. I know part of me feels I can't look for solutions or help anyone unless I'm perfect first.

  • Abandoning the binary paradigm?

    Abandoning the binary paradigm?

    More than a decade ago I read a paper that came from a women’s conference in Beijing. It’s proposition was that human beings should be able to choose their gender—and opt in and out of whichever gender they chose, whenever it suited them.

  • Ctrl-Alt-Del: Rebooting life

    Ctrl-Alt-Del: Rebooting life

    In 1981, a guy called David Bradley was part of a team building IBM's new personal computer. Back in the days, programmers had to manually restart the entire system whenever the computer encountered a coding glitch.

  • Flashbangs, memories, seeds, and impact

    Flashbangs, memories, seeds, and impact

    I remember reading this book a couple of years ago called Flashbang by Mark Steele. It was one of those books where you are invited into this Christian guy’s life: he tells some interesting stories, you laugh, you cry a little, you learn some new things but the whole time you’re thinking, “What is he building up to?”

  • Serving abundantly

    Serving abundantly

    Has anyone else laboured over the idea of serving continually, without regard for oneself but doing it from a place of limited capacity?

  • All things are lawful, but I will not be dominated by meat

    All things are lawful, but I will not be dominated by meat

    When I revealed my move away from eating meat, a proportion of Christians responded either neutrally or were supportive. Others were mildly perturbed, uncomfortably unfamiliar with hearing that a friend has given up something enjoyable.

  • Pornography and masturbation among Christians: lets fight it out loud!

    Pornography and masturbation among Christians: lets fight it out loud!

    And so I lead you dear reader, as a female writer, into the under-explored and secretive territory of porn (and with it, masturbation) in the church and its effects on marriages, singleness, families, views of the opposite sex and our general perception of reality.

  • A novel unlike any other's

    A novel unlike any other's

    Recently, I had the opportunity to travel to the Gold Coast from Christchurch for the official launch of Christian Today’s New Zealand website. International day trips can be brutal, but they do offer one good thing: time to reflect.

  • Mission of Foundational Learning

    Mission of Foundational Learning

    There is something so refreshing about 'back to the basics' moments in our lives. I have just experienced one such moment during my latest mission trip. Incidentally, the name of the organisation I worked with was the Institution for Foundational Learning (IFL).

  • Resting in God’s comfort

    Resting in God’s comfort

    Blessings come with new beginnings, as everything is fresh and exciting. I started a job as a junior staff worker with Christian Union last year. My day-to-day life became filled with opportunities to talk with students at Canterbury University about Jesus, which is an amazing privilege.

  • Whakama: It's a bit of a shame

    Whakama: It's a bit of a shame

    Michael English was a certified big shot in the Christian music scene of the early 90's. The man was an acclaimed gospel singer and in 1994 picked up four Dove Awards off the back of a national tour. He was the top Christian artist at the time and had it made.

  • ANZAC—New Zealand

    ANZAC—New Zealand

    It was the morning of the 25th of April, and five people scrambled out of bed at 5:30am and into the darkness. The reason for this auspicious awakening was Anzac day.

  • Not all who wander are lost

    Not all who wander are lost

    In three months my wife and I are going on an adventure, traveling to new and exciting places, a pilgrimage of sorts. While looking through different travel websites, I have come across this line from a poem in the Lord of the Rings (one of my favourite stories) numerous times...

  • Goodbye New Zealand—a reflection

    Goodbye New Zealand—a reflection

    November 17th marks three years since I first touched down in New Zealand and three months until the end of my visa. It seems only right then that I should take a moment to reflect on my time here, to share with you some of the things I've learnt and some of the things I'm going to miss when I return to the motherland.

  • A slice of silence

    A slice of silence

    To label my time with God as a "quiet time" is something slightly ironic. There is nothing quiet about my "quiet time". In fact it is filled to the brim with noisy distractions. My quiet time starts with an entrée of worship music, followed by a main course of Bible digesting, and a long-winded prayer for dessert.

  • Why children’s ministry should matter to YOU

    Why children’s ministry should matter to YOU

    Children are a massive demographic in society yet there are some weird social norms around them. It seems that it is socially acceptable to roll your eyes and sigh when a child is brought into a restaurant but would it be socially acceptable to do that if a woman entered or an Asian person?

  • Infiltration from within

    Infiltration from within

    We have been experiencing one of the largest migration shifts in modern history. Unfortunately segments of migrants in recent times have largely failed to adopt our values or promote our national interests, and instead have refused to integrate.

  • I'm the Man.

    I'm the Man.

    Puberty has been a wonderful gift to me. Although it never ended up giving me any height, it has given me a lot hair. In the best places too. I've acquired the ability to grow facial hair with above average coverage.

  • Judge Judy returns

    Judge Judy returns

    I'm coming the terms with the fact that I can be a bit judgemental. I guess it comes with the turf of being a vegan, and the turf of being a Christian—you know, being a person with a strong, concrete, idea of right and wrong.

  • Like a gardener

    Like a gardener

    I was having coffee with my friend James, when he asked if I had ever been employed by a church, and whether or not I enjoyed it. It's a complicated question, but it made me think of a documentary I'd seen called 'My God'.

  • Busyness: it’s not all free throws and cheerleaders

    Busyness: it’s not all free throws and cheerleaders

    Ten years ago I had a staple commentary on my social life: without fail, meeting new people always ended up with being asked about my employment. Whether I was at a party, a sports function, a church event.

  • Facebook less, and loving the lonely

    Facebook less, and loving the lonely

    Only recently I've figured out that lonely people are everywhere, and that we've sold ourselves short of true connection and companionship thanks to modern living and possibly Facebook.

  • God wants you to be miserable—and other lies

    God wants you to be miserable—and other lies

    I moved to beautiful Sydney not so long ago, and let me tell you—there is a lot to like about this city! Beautiful warm days, gorgeous beaches, great food, and the people are pretty friendly too. And yet I get the distinct feeling the city is out to get me.

  • Selfish Christianity exposed

    Selfish Christianity exposed

    Did you notice that many Christians today are seeking primarily God's personal blessing for themselves, rather than discovering His purpose and allowing their lives to fit in to that purpose? What about you?

  • The God of everyday activities

    The God of everyday activities

    I was parked on the hard shoulder on Auckland's southern motorway during morning rush hour, cars and trucks racing past me at 100km/h. My little Honda Jazz shook like a leaf whenever a heavy-laden truck rumbled by.

  • Do we treat new Christians like bulls in a china shop?

    I haven't always been Christian and I certainly haven't always loved Jesus—or the church. There was a time when everything I chased was to satiate my desire for pursuing a life of pleasure and perceived freedom.

  • Good Friday: the death recorded as good

    Good Friday: the death recorded as good

    Good Friday is presumably the day when Jesus Christ was crucified on the cross. Though the exact day of the crucifixion is debatable, Good Friday is the Friday preceding the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday.

  • Neo-colonisation: Africa and the land grab

    Neo-colonisation: Africa and the land grab

    A couple of weeks ago I took a phone call from Christian World Service (CWS) Public Relations and Media Co-ordinator Greg Jackson. During our conversation Mr Jackson spoke about a 'land grab', something that I'd never heard of before but immediately wanted to know more about.

  • Unusual gifts

    Unusual gifts

    Last week I got given a gift that was pretty cool, in fact it was out of the ordinary. It was the kind of gift that blows you away. I thought I was just turning up to a BBQ get-together for the Mosaic Workshop artisan hub that my friend Tim and I used to run.

  • John Mayer's life lesson

    John Mayer's life lesson

    In a single noun I come face to face with every girl's fantasy, and every girl's disaster. A musician. More to the point, I can name them. John Mayer. Notorious for his eloquent words.

  • Repeat offender

    Repeat offender

    Sinning feels great. Sinning feels awful. Sinning can feel a lot of things, and the all-encompassing factor is how addictive it can be.

  • Culture shock in Cambodia—he said what?!

    Culture shock in Cambodia—he said what?!

    It was a hot Cambodian evening. The air was thick, sticky, sweet and sour all at the same time. Thirty of us were crammed on a bus travelling back to Phnom Penh in time for the massive water festival celebrations. My husband, Andrew, and I began chatting to the guy sitting across the aisle.

  • How to touch the world after your death

    How to touch the world after your death

    My eyes were puffy, my heart sad. I’d been to two funerals in the past fortnight and now I was attending another. None of these were for people I had been especially close to, but, still, I was one of many who had gathered to farewell and honour and remember.

  • Airbrushing abstinence

    Airbrushing abstinence

    What does abstinence look like? A body odour which only disappears on your wedding day? Or a giant metal belt that activates a siren if someone gets too close?

  • Give the microphone to death

    Give the microphone to death

    I'm 26 and I can't stop thinking about dying. I have no real reason for this preoccupation other than a few early grey hairs and a growing tendency to drive my car into stationary objects.

  • Five things to learn from death in order to truly live

    Five things to learn from death in order to truly live

    Recently I attended a funeral of an amazing man called Jared Noel. He died at the age of 33, and he had lived an extraordinary life. Since his death I've been contemplating what I can learn from someone who saw his own death coming, from someone who faced death head on.

  • Being a Christian athlete

    Being a Christian athlete

    As we stood on the sideline of the soccer pitch, I asked my friend from church, “Chris, how does being a Christian effect the way you play sport?”

  • A ‘been there, done that’ Christian?

    A ‘been there, done that’ Christian?

    I love a good computer game—especially a new one. As a kid I remember fighting my way to be first to play any new game we got. When we got the original Duke Nukem I wanted to be the first to complete the game.

  • Mother Teresa's legacy in my life

    Mother Teresa's legacy in my life

    Mother Teresa passed away more than a decade ago, but her legacy still lives on. It has also changed my life. In February this year, I went to Kolkata (Calcutta) to trace the footsteps of Mother Teresa. A close friend of mine from Malaysia joined me and together we volunteered with the Missionaries of Charity for several days.

  • Sometimes the earth moves

    Sometimes the earth moves

    Kiwi folk singer Jess Chambers captures the mixed blessing of life in New Zealand in her song ‘Island’: "I live on an Island. Close to the sea … Sometimes the earth moves … We live on an Island. Made from the same dust we walk over … We live on this Mountain. Forget ourselves, think we are greater. Sometimes the earth moves..."

  • Bears and their cubs

    Bears and their cubs

    The debate certainly continues to rage around homosexual marriage as it goes through the stages of being legalised in New Zealand, with Christian media around the world maintaining that we should be the vanguards of Christian morality.

  • Atheists who love hymns

    Atheists who love hymns

    A friend emailed about an atheist she knew who came to church. He came with his wife in order to listen to the hymns. Although he wasn’t a believer, there was something about the hymns that drew him.

  • Spiritual training- A game plan for Christians

    Spiritual training- A game plan for Christians

    I could feel my heart pounding in my ears. Marcelle was ahead of me, setting the pace. I blinked through beads of sweat to focus my gaze on her back. It was dark.

  • Faith and works—friends or enemies?

    Faith and works—friends or enemies?

    Martin Luther—one of the important figures during the reformation—started out as a Catholic priest, but when he actually studied what the Bible said he discovered that Paul declares in Romans that justification is through faith alone.

  • Struggles of a Christian teenager

    Struggles of a Christian teenager

    It's always hard to be different from the main 'popular' crowd but as I get older, it's more acceptable now than it was in my playground days, to be myself. But even in a grown up world, people still look at those who choose to be different.

  • How to read the Bible: A case study of Matthew chapter 8, verses 5–13

    How to read the Bible: A case study of Matthew chapter 8, verses 5–13

    Sometimes it is really hard to come up with inspiration for writing an article. Two weeks ago, I was forewarned that Friday, March 3, would be the due date, and even then I couldn’t think of a juicy topic. This should never be!

  • The Lord of the Rings and 'quality'

    The Lord of the Rings and 'quality'

    Caught in my mind recently and swirling around in my head during these last few weeks has been a particular quote from The Lord of the Rings. The Sunday Times in the UK has been quoted as saying that the whole of the English-speaking world is divided into those who have read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, and those who are going to read them.

  • Crying golden tears

    Crying golden tears

    The rain comes slowly. It meanders down from the clouds in syncopated bursts of rhythm, thankfully in no hurry to water the grassy patch on which I’m huddled.

  • Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and the f-word that comes to mind

    Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and the f-word that comes to mind

    It was your usual Friday afternoon; I was standing in line at the supermarket buying treats for the weekend. Of course, I had chosen the line where there was a toddler throwing a high pitched temper tantrum.

  • What do these stones mean?

    What do these stones mean?

    The story begins with a new generation of God's people, led by Joshua, about to cross the Jordan River to take hold of what God has promised them. God rescued the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he sustained them in the desert, and finally they are entering the Promised Land.

  • Waiting

    Waiting

    Must I WAIT? Can’t I do it NOW? Can I please have it IMMEDIATELY? Recently I’ve been hearing a lot of such questions from my four year old who has been finding it hard to wait. He even tries to get out of waiting by being as polite as he can.

  • A captivating dream

    A captivating dream

    A few years ago I did the Lake Taupo Cycle Challenge. This is a 160 km cycle around Lake Taupo in New Zealand. This was, by far, the longest cycle I have ever done. And I did it on my mountain bike!

  • Pūrākau people: Preserving who we are

    Pūrākau people: Preserving who we are

    I spent my early teens, my 'awkward years' in England. As if puberty wasn't bad enough already, I had the added discomfort of sporting a southern English accent, living with the pressure of trying to be good at football and being exposed to way too much garage music.

  • Glitter and gold: buying the intangible

    Glitter and gold: buying the intangible

    Today is Monday. Today I am in Singapore. Today I didn’t know what to do with myself, so I took the train to Orchard Road after a steamed bun breakfast on the 14th floor of an HDB apartment block. I only got lost a couple of times.

  • Boredom, the curse of today

    Boredom, the curse of today

    God wants to build character in us through perseverance. He wants us to follow a divine quest, to create good stories and not to avoid boredom, but to live a life that doesn't understand the concept.

  • Growing smaller

    Growing smaller

    I live in a shed. It's not as exotic as it sounds; it's an insulated sleep out. At one point in its life it was a dingy garden shed, forgotten about in the corner of an old lady's garden, buried in pine needles.

  • Sisters in Christ, partners in mission

    Sisters in Christ, partners in mission

    If recorded missionary history were a play, women begin the first act as small and insignificant characters. With the spotlight focused on strong male leads and heroic battles of faith, one could easily have assumed the only role for a woman to play is a 'bit part' in the big picture.

  • Youth pastors and teachers: Too high a pedestal?

    Youth pastors and teachers: Too high a pedestal?

    Church has created a bad culture of placing people on pedestals and we need to be able to see the humanity that resides in all of us.

  • More money or more of God?

    More money or more of God?

    Would you turn down a lucrative job offer unless you believed God was leading you to accept that job? Or would you make an automatic, no-brainer decision simply because the job offered more money?

  • The Donald, blue lines and some healthy self-critique

    The Donald, blue lines and some healthy self-critique

    I think a reason Trump is so disliked by so much of the world looking on is his inherent lack of humility through his self-proclaimed greatness. According to Trump no one is better at “loving the Bible,” “respecting women,” or “getting crowds.”

  • The land is alive!

    The land is alive!

    When you look out of your window, and see sky, land, ocean, trees—or perhaps masses of houses—have you ever thought of these things as being alive?

  • Personal truth and objective truth.

    Personal truth and objective truth.

    Our hedonistic society has made a departure from objectivism, with its devotion to the importance and significance of truth.

  • Santa never sleeps

    Santa never sleeps

    It has reached that time of year when shops are putting out their Christmas decorations and selling festive treats like chocolate coins and candy canes. For some it has been that time of year since the beginning of September.

  • Transformation: the washing of the word

    Transformation: the washing of the word

    Transformation is the highest goal for Christians: an ongoing journey toward becoming more like Christ. The word Christian literally means 'little Christ'.

  • My Christchurch

    My Christchurch

    The view was breathtaking. The bright lights shone through the Canterbury plains as I watched the city of Christchurch down below me.

  • Are we all adrift?

    Are we all adrift?

    I have recently been reading a book on being logical and how to properly utilise reasoning in public discussion. Why am I doing this you may ask?

  • “Who do you say I am?”

    “Who do you say I am?”

    Who do we say that God is? How do we view each member of the Trinity—both as individuals and as One? Stop for a moment and reflect on that.

  • The many faces of compassion

    The many faces of compassion

    Compassion is a trait beautiful to behold. It takes on many faces and appears in surprising places. Compassion can have a huge impact on someone in need, but it is difficult to define and even harder to apply.

  • Encourage someone today!

    Encourage someone today!

    I was ready to say hello to my Creator when I recently went swimming in the open water for my inaugural 500 metre beach swim.

  • Church fishing—the quintessential tradition of the Kiwi Christian

    Church fishing—the quintessential tradition of the Kiwi Christian

    You've done it. Don't deny it. It's why you go to church. While the majority of society relies on the reliability of the understood dating game and prefers to conduct the hunt in the established locations of bars, clubs and saucy office hook ups, we Christians have it easy.

  • Love is the context

    Love is the context

    Have you ever met someone doing the most amazing things? Someone actively making the world a better place to live? Someone who far surpasses what is expected for a mere human, and does things that would make the pope smile?

  • There is no 'I' in 'anxiety'. No. Wait. There totally is. Oh gosh!

    There is no 'I' in 'anxiety'. No. Wait. There totally is. Oh gosh!

    I'm a worry. Seriously. This summer, while most of my friends seem to have been prancing around on beaches and smiling for cameras, I've spent most of my time creating a vast array of situations in which all the good things in my life could be taken away from me due to unforeseen external factors. My mind is convinced that the universe picks on me, and that I'm destined for catastrophe. I suffer from anxiety for a bit, every year or so.

  • Mucking in with Christ

    Mucking in with Christ

    It's okay if you're overwhelmed—I am too. You're a 21st century citizen, connected to the world through wires and screens, and you wish turning off the news was as simple as it used to be—the push of a button or the folding of paper. It's not that you don't care. You just don't know where to look and there are other things on your mind as well.

  • Hey God, can I get a like?

    Hey God, can I get a like?

    I'm what you'd call a reluctant Facebook adoptee. I initially only took the plunge because I needed to use Facebook for work. Prior to that, I cynically saw it as a mindless space where people shared photos of what they'd had for breakfast and other mundane life mom

  • Copy cats

    Something happened recently that made me ask myself the question: "do I have a habit of taking on someone else's present or past personal experience as my understanding of my own situation?" Because when a friend or acquaintance shares with us a season of life or circumstance, we can sometimes allow their story to morph into being the answer (or the problem) to our own.

  • What if we can't make choices?

    What if we can't make choices?

    When I was a student and studying education I struggled with the Bell curve. That curve puts most of the population with an IQ (Intelligence Quotient) of 100 in the middle (or at the top of the bell); and the higher the IQ the fewer people there were with that IQ, so the curve sloped down to the right.

  • Are you stuck in a bad religion?

    Are you stuck in a bad religion?

    Good religion promotes healthy self-reflection. An examined life provides opportunity for growth, understanding and an increase in our ability to bring our fullness of self to some usefulness in the world.

  • Finding sports Holy Grail: Flow

    Finding sports Holy Grail: Flow

    All athletes strive towards it. They know when it is happening because their performance and enjoyment spike. Yet no one can control when it occurs. The “it” is an optimal performance state called Flow.

  • Victimhood and personal responsibility

    Victimhood and personal responsibility

    Today we find ourselves living in a very fractured and polarised society. Politicians and ideologues have divided society up along divisions of class, race, gender etc., as part of their agenda.

  • The worldview more offensive than Christianity

    The worldview more offensive than Christianity

    Since the beginning of 2017, I have been on a tumultuous road to embracing a new way of life.

  • Singleness: God's gift that nobody wants

    Singleness: God's gift that nobody wants

    Several years ago I attended a wedding as a single person and I didn't know many of the fellow revellers well.

  • Annoying Jesus

    Annoying Jesus

    People are annoying. You know the ones.

  • I am afraid

    I am afraid

    I came to a crazy conclusion the other day. It wouldn't be so crazy if I didn't try to avoid thinking about it so often.

  • To know good from evil

    To know good from evil

    Is Trump a good guy? Was Hitler entirely evil? Can a gay man lead a church? Does divorce disqualify you from starting a new relationship?

  • A love like Peter's

    A love like Peter's

    One of my favourite characters in the Bible is Simon Peter. Of all the disciples, he captures my heart the most and stirs in me a strong empathy.

  • The land is alive!

    The land is alive!

    When you look out of your window, and see sky, land, ocean, trees - or perhaps masses of houses - have you ever thought of these things as being alive?

  • The unloving moral policeman: judgmental and indifferent

    The unloving moral policeman: judgmental and indifferent

    Earlier this year, the family of a seven-year-old boy involved in a tragic quad bike incident in New South Wales was subjected to online critics for allowing the deceased, just a boy, to ride the vehicle.

  • My Christchurch

    My Christchurch

    The view was breathtaking. The bright lights shone through the Canterbury plains as I watched the city of Christchurch down below me.

  • Dynamite for a battle-torn planet

    Dynamite for a battle-torn planet

    On September 11, 2001, I was sitting on bed with my dad—as we watched the news, he attempted to explain what was going on.

  • Are we all adrift?

    Are we all adrift?

    One thing I have noticed increasingly frequently lately is that our culture seems to be dominated by emotive appeal in many cases and a lack of real evidence or argument presented for peoples positions.

  • Empathy

    Empathy

    Many people will have heard the proverb about putting yourself in someone else's shoes, but it is most often not taken very seriously. It is seen to be clichéd.

  • Catching the stars

    Catching the stars

    "How do you catch the stars?" she asked. The childish voice lisped the question. The little toes curled in the soft grass.

  • Fake it till' you make it?

    Fake it till' you make it?

    Let's be honest, in this case, we're all guilty. We all have our very own shameful stories of faking it.

  • To be honest…

    To be honest…

    I became a thief at the innocent age of eight. I was sucked into this crime, after finding a yellow smiley-faced pencil sharpener, during the daily classroom 'pack up'.

  • The new in the old

    The new in the old

    The end of last year was quite a crazy time for me and my wife Sierra. The end of year usually is, but last year was different: it was the end of a season.

  • I want a new New Zealand.

    I want a new New Zealand.

    Often I am made aware that in many ways I am failure as a New Zealander. I grew up playing soccer rather than rugby, I don't know how to count to ten in Maori, I don't own a pair of gumboots, and to add to the blasphemy, I find the beloved Lord of the Rings movie franchise incredibly dull.

  • Cake-time Christianity

    Cake-time Christianity

    The truth of that lesson burns. I've always loved to think that if I set my mind to something and plan and write lists and line up A with B and C then all will be well. Difficulties? Ignore them and power on. Roll out the bumps like a steam-train or sail over them with the casual calmness of a catamaran.

  • How to parent in public

    How to parent in public

    Cucumber, lettuce, tomato... with effortless repetition the teenage boy at the checkout scans my groceries, the bleep bleep punctuating the bustling of a busy supermarket. Suddenly the tantruming wails of a small child echo loudly from the next checkout, and pained cries drown out the bleep bleeps and rustling of plastic bags. The checkout boy and I look over to a flustered mother attempting to calm her child.

  • Removing the labels

    Removing the labels

    I grew up with a black and white Christianity. A "this is right—and that is wrong" approach to the world. For instance, alcohol and homosexuality were bad, attending church good and praying daily even better.

  • Jet planes

    Jet planes

    I grew up in a place called Beachlands, Auckland, New Zealand. This was an amazing place by the way, and I feel it should at least be the capital of New Zealand! I went to a youth group put on by the local church, and after a time, I helped run it with some other cool people. This was about eight years ago and it was a great time of my life. I was in my early twenties and all I had were hopes and dreams.

  • Feeling run over by sin and separation

    Feeling run over by sin and separation

    On a quiet Saturday morning in Auckland, a lady in a large SUV sped down the road wanting to turn onto a deserted side road. I happened to be crossing it on foot. In fact, I was nearly halfway, but rather than coasting for half a second longer, she decided to turn sharply and honk loudly—one of those extra-long honks screaming, "MOOOOOOOVE!"

  • Grateful for life's busyness

    Grateful for life's busyness

    I breathed a sigh of relief when I saw the Young Writers' email saying this month's article was the last for 2016."Thank God," I thought.