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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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. I am a Christian; I love God with all my heart and always strive to follow his plan for my life.

  • 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 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Jesus, inspire me

    Jesus, inspire me

    I am the person who clogs your Facebook news feed and Instagram account with inspirational quotes and blurbs.

  • 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.