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.

  • 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?

  • 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.

  • 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?”

  • 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?

  • 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.