Rebuilding the fallen planet

Rebuilding the fallen planet

The state of the world is full of evil, injustice, war, exploitation etc. ... The Bible says we are dead in our transgressions: that is, spiritually dead. We are without hope in ourselves, having no relationship with God.

  • Carrying God's presence

    Carrying God's presence

    Essentially, as part of the body of Christ, we carry God's presence with us and in us. When we are aware of the presence of God inside us, our relationship with Him becomes more intimate.

  • 5 things to avoid when times are tough

    5 things to avoid when times are tough

  • The game of life

    The game of life

    So I've been thinking about games lately. One in particular: The Game of Life. Now maybe I'm on my own here but I personally find the concept to be pretty dull.

  • 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.

  • Satan's propagandists

    Satan's propagandists

    Argument "can't always be used" to win over people to our view or change their minds, especially if they are psychologically motivated toward their position by influences that are non-rational but rather emotional or psychological.

  • Thanks to two friends

    Thanks to two friends

    So life has been a little crazy the last few weeks, and sometimes when life is a little crazy you don't have the time to give a proper thankyou. 

  • Why pleasure will be the end of us

    Why pleasure will be the end of us

    As I write this, it's the start of the Christmas season of Advent, as we remember Jesus coming to earth as a baby. I'm reminded of the baffling way the God of the universe chose powerlessness when he entered our world...

  • 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.

  • Sundays are meant for sleeping-in

    Sundays are meant for sleeping-in

    There I have said it. I have confessed what I feel Sundays should be.

  • Enter the Advent

    Enter the Advent

    I've just finished a vacation, which meant two weeks with no urgent notifications or demands to clear my inbox. It should have been bliss, but it hasn't been easy this time.

  • The Small Group movement is both historical and crucial today in spite of our busy lives

    The Small Group movement is both historical and crucial today in spite of our busy lives

    Even a cursery reading of the New Testament illustrates that the small group movement by which many of the early churches began has remarkable tenacity and strength within it. 

  • Christmas jazz

    Christmas jazz

    Man, oh man, it has been a year! I am sitting here in my apartment, listening to Christmas jazz. It is a beautiful night and I can look out and see the whole city from my window, I feel amazingly blessed.

  • One size fits all

    One size fits all

    One size fits all: So inclusive. But in order to encompass the "all" we have to overwhelm at least "some" if not "most".

  • Owning your beliefs

    Owning your beliefs

    Oftentimes, we are content with being Christians only around other Christians. Talking to other friends and associates about God has a sort of taboo around it...

  • New World Order

    New World Order

    The world’s youngest elected leader, 31-year-old Sebastian Kurz, has vowed to destroy the New World Order and remove Austria from the European Union.

  • My slant on the crisis in Palestine

    My slant on the crisis in Palestine

    God has been returning the Jews to their home-land after the long Diaspora and two millennia of Roman, Christian and Muslim persecution throughout the world.

  • 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.

  • What do you want from God?

    What do you want from God?

    I will never forget the time that I was in Goa, on the west coast of India. I had taken a train there which is a story in itself. I arrived at this beach that I think was called Colva.

  • God speaks in many ways

    God speaks in many ways

    This is about my cat that I chose to adopt when he was maybe a week old, rescued near the creek by one of the kids in our church, and given to me. I named him Creek for he was found there.

  • Stepping out of the boat

    Stepping out of the boat

    I think most of us fear the unknown, we fear a life that is unpredictable, where God is truly in the driver's seat. We're afraid of the possibility of what could be, of what we don't control.

  • Listen to the stories of slaves

    Listen to the stories of slaves

    The barbarity of slavery in 18th and 19th century America seems far away from those of us tucked up in nice, comfortable 21st century New Zealand. This history is easy to ignore, but we need to listen to the stories of slaves.

  • The Lord's secret prayer

    The Lord's secret prayer

    Prayer is done for God, not for appearance. Our Lord warned against hypocrisy and the outward show of our duties. Instead, Jesus tells us that what we do must be done from an inward principle.

  • William Wilberforce and why he is a hero worth copying

    William Wilberforce and why he is a hero worth copying

    One of the great human desires is to have heroes, people we look up to and get inspired by. Heroes push us to become better, strive for greatness, and inspire us throughout our daily lives.

  • 'Twas a couple of weeks before Christmas

    'Twas a couple of weeks before Christmas

    I'm a stickler for tradition and a favourite from my childhood was being read the classic story 'Twas the Night before Christmas by my Mum on Christmas Eve. This is my adult adaptation.

  • I, Wonder Woman

    I, Wonder Woman

    Quite by chance, my most recent visit home to New Zealand coincided with the release of the 2017 Wonder Woman movie.

  • Be prepared

    Be prepared

    The book of Proverbs says that the wise see danger ahead and take steps to avoid it. God has also given His children signs of warning and portent and He expects us to take heed of these...

  • More on sex

    More on sex

    Recently, there have been a few shocking sexual scandals happen in New Zealand and there have been many comments made.

  • Obstacles: don’t remove them

    Obstacles: don’t remove them

    I remember observing my firstborn entertain himself in a portacot with some plastic bottles. There were one too many bottles in the tiny cot so some got in his way.

  • Information overload

    Information overload

    Cotton wool doesn't just wrap around young people's bodies, these days it has become entangled in our thoughts and it's numbing our ability to think and to focus. 

  • How to trust God when things go the opposite way?

    How to trust God when things go the opposite way?

    Have you ever asked yourself if God is still faithful and trustworthy when things seem to go exactly opposite to the way you intended?

  • How to design like Jesus

    How to design like Jesus

    When I tell people I work in innovation and design — I usually get quizzical expressions and “Tell-me-more…”

  • The sweet life

    The sweet life

    Who agrees that there is nothing like a rich chocolate brownie oozing with caramel sauce, or a perfectly fluffy crème brulee, or a plate of waffles lavished with maple syrup and whipped cream? 

  • Taking a knee

    Taking a knee

    Those of you who, like me, can’t look away from the never boring world of American politics may be aware of the current controversy engulfing the National Football League (NFL).

  • Gratitude and assured glory

    Gratitude and assured glory

    We all have a moral responsibility to be grateful. We might briefly consider that this virtue has been neglected in our prevailing culture of entitlement, self-centredness and moral impunity. 

  • Death sucks

    Death sucks

    A few months ago I was looking through the list of funerals I’ve facilitated in my role as a pastor and noticed the disproportionate amount of people I’ve buried who were aged between 50–55.

  • The promise that starts with a bee!

    The promise that starts with a bee!

    Who has not enjoyed too much honeycomb, particularly as a child? More than once I joyfully over-imbibed on honey straight from the spoon.

  • Genius…

    Genius…

    I often hear about people who experience this wonderful creative flow. Something that writers would call the opposite of 'writers block'.

  • I’ve got to be happy!

    I’ve got to be happy!

    I’ve seen lots of stuff written about happiness recently. About making our happiness a goal in life — rather than chasing wealth or material possessions.

  • Binge watching Stranger Things 2

    Binge watching Stranger Things 2

    There was a time when we’d watch a TV programme and spend ages talking about it the next day. A time when we waited a whole week (or an entire off-season) to find out what happened next. Not so today.

  • Getting cynical about signs from God

    Getting cynical about signs from God

    I'm a cynic. When I hear people claim that God granted them a car park or made the rain stop, I have to wonder, did he really?

  • Daily miracles

    Daily miracles

    It's too easy to fall in to self-pity and despair when we're having a rough time. But when we take our eyes off ourselves and abandon our morbid introspection, we can look to God and see some of the goodness that He has given us.

  • Hoard or reward?

    Hoard or reward?

    The key to living as Jesus taught is to diagnose your heart towards your earthly stuff, and listen to others when they point you towards the greatest treasure laid up for you in heaven.

  • Learning to embrace my stretch marks

    Learning to embrace my stretch marks

    One by one they began to appear on my growing belly, the tiny zebra stripes of motherhood. Then almost overnight they seemed to get bigger, redder and angrier. Stretch marks. 

  • Four things our fascination with crime reveals about us

    Four things our fascination with crime reveals about us

    Our society is captivated by acts of brutal violence and horrific brutality. We greedily consume fictional crime stories on television and in books.

  • Quit

    Quit

    What if you just quit? I mean your job, just quit. What if you just went to work tomorrow, and quit your job. Be at a loose end. A new start. A fresh beginning.

  • Love and tolerance

    Love and tolerance

    Earlier this month, a sadly familiar scene played itself out in front of the eyes of a disbelieving world. A man, pledging his allegiance to the Islamic State, carried out an act of terrorism ...

  • Unlocking the Book of Revelation

    Unlocking the Book of Revelation

    The last book of the New Testament named Revelation does not neatly fit into one genre category like most other books we read.

  • Welcoming interruptions

    Welcoming interruptions

    Interruptions are inevitable. It's just the way life works. But, I keep asking myself, why is it that they come at such inopportune times?

  • Why am I doing this?

    Why am I doing this?

    Welcome to 2014: the Year of my Quarter Life Crisis. I am not entirely sure what this crisis will be, but as I hurtle towards the age of 25, I detect the slightest hint of impending doom...

  • The real enemy

    The real enemy

    I have a confession to make: I can be a pretty angry person.

  • Venturing into new worlds

    Venturing into new worlds

    Several years ago I helped out at a high school youth camp for snowboarding and skiing. It was a week long and created some memories for life.

  • You are victorious through Jesus Christ

    You are victorious through Jesus Christ

  • What 2013 taught me! I have learnt that...

    What 2013 taught me! I have learnt that...

    There is something about the New Year's Resolution that is fundamentally annoying to me. It might be the enforcement of the unrelenting pressure to be better that I am...

  • In praise of lumpy carrots

    In praise of lumpy carrots

    I hold it in my hand, lumpy and unapologetically orange, hairy with roots and clad with dirt. It's sprouting at the top with small lime green shoots.

  • The Power of Word

    The Power of Word

    In the beginning there were words. Words that in their being, brought earth and all creation into being with them.

  • Dear privileged middle class, I’m worried for us

    Dear privileged middle class, I’m worried for us

    I’m writing for the privileged, professional middle classes. You, who have worked hard to get to where you are, who haven’t wasted your opportunities.

  • ...Write

    ...Write

    "The word came and made his dwelling among us." These are the words of John in our fourth gospel. The words are possibly familiar to you, and they are rightly treasured in your mind as the beginning of the good news of Christ's incarnation.

  • When our leaders fail

    When our leaders fail

    Recently, the personal sins of my church leaders have been brought to my attention ... Shocking I know! My leaders are not perfect!

  • Things I wish I knew before I turned 27

    Things I wish I knew before I turned 27

    It's taken 27 years of growing, and of immersing myself in colder waters to get to this point. 

  • The Christian walk: A warm summer holiday?

    The Christian walk: A warm summer holiday?

    I was brimming with excitement when I finalized my bookings for my big trip to Europe last year. Having forked out a significant amount of money for both my air tickets and a new camera, I was certain my first trip to UK and France would be a complete blast.

  • Talent in a 'sex sells' industry

    Talent in a 'sex sells' industry

    At just seventeen Lorde (real name Ella Yelich O'Connor) performed to a room full of pop stars and music legends.

  • Why a loving God can’t just let everyone into Heaven

    Why a loving God can’t just let everyone into Heaven

    “If God is loving then why does he send people to Hell?” is a question that many people struggle with.

  • Competing desires

    Competing desires

    Competing desires circle my soul watching, waiting, to swallow me whole.

  • Where does my worth come from?

    Where does my worth come from?

    Where does human dignity and worth come from? It is something I recognise in others, but attributing it to them changes nothing about their worth.

  • 28 inspirational quotes to change your life

    28 inspirational quotes to change your life

    Great quotes can inspire us, motivate us, and give us that extra dose of 'boost' we need. It's time to put the past behind and look forward to the future with renewed vitality.

  • When women crucify women

    When women crucify women

    Despite having lived on three different continents and in multiple ethnic, religious and social settings, I have not yet met a woman who has not, at some point in her life, experienced gender inequality,..

  • Amazing Grace

    Amazing Grace

    There are a few hymns that I really like, and “Amazing Grace” is one of them. But somehow, like so many other familiar tunes, the weight of the words soon gets lost in our familiarity with the song.

  • Is Jesus the answer?

    Is Jesus the answer?

    Answering questions seemed easy as a kid. At Sunday school it seemed like nine out of ten times the answer was 'Jesus'. It was easy to put your hand up and have something to say.

  • Expect the unaccepted

    Expect the unaccepted

    When I moved to Sydney for university I had what I now refer to as '2 years off.' The Christian label without the Christian lifestyle, or something to that effect.

  • Joy — a singing bird

    Joy — a singing bird

    “If I keep a green bough in my heart, the singing bird will come.”

  • Half price Wi-Fi

    Half price Wi-Fi

    Remember your childlike idealism? The longer I am alive the more difficult it seems to be to live out the things I find ideal. I am rather idealistic, some would say; I am childlike, and I love to journey toward my ideals.

  • Take your head out of that cloud of numbers

    Take your head out of that cloud of numbers

    Press releases with trillions of figures, statistics and decimals are the bane of any journalist's existence. The unspoken rule is that, without a justifiable reason, a news story should never have more than two numbers quoted.

  • Normal people

    Normal people

    We're always shocked when bad things happen to normal people. The terror attack in Sydney was an example of bad things happening to such normal people.

  • Let go. Let’s go!

    Let go. Let’s go!

    There's something about the past that makes us hold onto it so much. Sometimes we hold onto the past hurts, mistakes and failures; at other times, the past glories and achievements.

  • Put your hands in the air like you just got prayer

    Put your hands in the air like you just got prayer

    We all got into it for the same reason, us boys from Christian homes: girls. It would have been wrong for us to demonstrate our suitability for marriage through flirting (it never happens at church) so worship leading was always the best...

  • Oh the dreams we've killed

    Oh the dreams we've killed

    Sometimes it’s nice to look back on things and see what dreams I’ve achieved: many unknowingly. As a little girl I always dreamed of working at a horse stables; I achieved that in high school.

  • 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.

  • Courage to change

    Courage to change

    We all love a rousing Bible Scripture to tweet or post to our social media accounts. They become motivational memes and niceties that help us navigate long winters and bad days.

  • WARNING: You cannot unread this article

    WARNING: You cannot unread this article

    Humans are curious creatures, it's in our nature.

  • In the storm: the danger of compartmental Christianity

    In the storm: the danger of compartmental Christianity

    As I began to write this, I was under water. Lots of it. My bedroom floor was flooded with several inches of water. Water was streaming down the wall and pouring down from the top of my closet.

  • 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

  • Big fish, small pond

    Big fish, small pond

    I grew up in a small country town, and like most country towns, the local footy club was a central hub of the community.

  • Work together for NZ’s mental health

    Work together for NZ’s mental health

    Last week, 10 October was World Mental Health Day, but just how mentally well are we?

  • Prayer and mindfulness — are they contradictory?

    Prayer and mindfulness — are they contradictory?

    The practice of mindfulness has become mainstream. It’s being promoted in classrooms, prisons, workplaces and ad hoc groups. Many benefits are claimed for mindfulness...

  • Christian art

    Christian art

    I suppose my earliest thoughts on the topic of Christian art begin with a music festival. When I was fifteen the Christian music festival Parachute was in its heyday.

  • What about the Spanish Inquisition?

    What about the Spanish Inquisition?

    The last twelve months has in many ways been defined by the rising tide of 'religious' violence across the globe, and in particular the violence perpetrated by those who claim Islam as their religion.

  • Violence, mirth, community, and Christ

    Violence, mirth, community, and Christ

    You've probably seen those two masks strung together that symbolise drama, the one that is sad, the one that is happy. It's an ubiquitous sign of drama...

  • Person of Faith — Ian Worby

    Person of Faith — Ian Worby

    Ian Worby was 10 when he accepted Jesus as his Lord. His work commenced at 2TM, Tamworth but after two years he moved on to work for his father. When his parents divorced Ian struggled.

  • Let's talk about sex

    Let's talk about sex

    If you're expecting to read on only to find out how my provocative title cleverly relates to a much more "safe" topic then you will be disappointed.

  • The wonder of home

    The wonder of home

    "I want to see us become a family—the body of Christ become a home for the world."

  • In the Name of Jesus, why?

    In the Name of Jesus, why?

    Keith and Debbie Jaggers were missionaries in We, northern Ghana, Africa. The 30,000 population was predominantly Moslem. The hatred aimed at the Christians was intimidating ...

  • When God turned up at a gaming convention

    When God turned up at a gaming convention

    I pressed the record button and let out a sigh. It was a Friday night, only the fourth day into filming and my eyelids were already drooping from hours of travel, research and interview transcriptions.

  • Discovering your true name

    Discovering your true name

    We get told we're all unique, but I know of other Brads in the world quite like me. In terms of thought and creativity, aren't we just the sum total of everything and everyone that influences us?

  • I don't want to be a Jesus Freak

    I don't want to be a Jesus Freak

    I’m willing to bet good money on my ability to beat anyone else in a competition about Christian song lyrics. Seriously, you’d be dumb to take me on.

  • Dove's 'real beauty' fails to satisfy

    Dove's 'real beauty' fails to satisfy

    You may have seen the latest video from cosmetics company Dove doing the rounds online — a short 'experiment' seeking to change public perception of 'real beauty'.

  • Gandhi and social change

    Gandhi and social change

    Just the other day I visited my family and my father on father's day, and ended up along the way watching the biographical film 'Gandhi', made in 1982 and directed by Richard Attenborough.

  • More than lavender. More than hot milk and Bon Iver.

    More than lavender. More than hot milk and Bon Iver.

    Lavender has always been my creature comfort. Its oil is a nostalgic, fragrant sense of relief. I smell it and my neurotransmitters go to their happy place.

  • A new foreign policy

    A new foreign policy

    Christians need a new foreign policy. Of course, it seems strange to talk about Christians having a 'foreign policy'. We're not a country, and if you're a Protestant, it's hard to even talk about a unified church.

  • What Karl Marx taught me about following Jesus

    What Karl Marx taught me about following Jesus

    My lecturer bounded into class, replete with a Sex-Pistols-esque mohawk encircled by a shaved-and-tattooed skull. This was not theology, nor was it public relations.

  • Faith in freedom

    Faith in freedom

    It is for freedom that Christ has set us free! This verse serves as a declaration of the freedom that is ours because of what Christ accomplished: Christ has set us free!

  • I'm better than a four year old

    I'm better than a four year old

    When walking home from university one day, I took a shortcut across a muddy field next to a bunch of netball courts.

  • Don't rock the boat

    Don't rock the boat

    I can guarantee you've heard the story before. It involves sub-zero waters, a sinking ship and a soul-crushing end to "one of the most beautiful romances of all time."

  • Thoughts on tradition and the monarchy

    Thoughts on tradition and the monarchy

    The monarchy and royal family represent Anglo high culture: the best that has been produced aesthetically and politically by our society.

  • I like to party! And by party I mean read books

    I like to party! And by party I mean read books

    It's no secret to those that know me that I would quite happily take up a life of wandering in the wilderness in the hopes of becoming some sort of spiritual guru.

  • Is the Bible as unreliable as Wikipedia?

    Is the Bible as unreliable as Wikipedia?

    Remember the days of the multivolume encyclopedia? Not long ago nearly every home had a set gathering dust on the bookcase.

  • A conversation with a neighbour

    A conversation with a neighbour

    Yesterday, a neighbour reminded me of something so simple, and yet so vital to my spirituality. Something so simple I often neglect it, put it to the back of my mind, saying it is for other people.

  • Creativity is the natural result of spirituality

    Creativity is the natural result of spirituality

    Now here is something that makes sense to me: if God created everything, then God is the source of all creativity.

  • …Write (2)

    …Write (2)

    Last year I wrote a piece talking about the benefit of writing, in particular reflecting upon the opening of John's Gospel and how our own words might become like little christs, imparting his grace to others...

  • In fear of an affair

    In fear of an affair

    In 2015, thousands of users were exposed when hackers released private data from the dating/hook-up site Ashley Madison. A foul smell wafting as closets full of skeletons were opened up.

  • The importance of a humble demeanour

    The importance of a humble demeanour

    Humility allows us to be respectful of others. It drives out arrogance, boastfulness, vanity and aggressiveness. Instead of saying "Me first", humility allows us to say "No, you first."

  • When God texts back

    When God texts back

    I must confess I am absolutely hooked on the dating and relationship advice website HeTexted, which professes to help hapless singles or those in the dating scene...

  • When God is silent

    Philip Yancy recounts, in his book Disappointment with God, the story of a young man called Richard. Richard recently became a Christian and struck up a relationship with the author Yancy...

  • Falling in love with God

    Falling in love with God

    Have you ever fallen in love with someone? Isn’t it the best feeling ever in this world? The moment your heart beats towards someone, you instantly forget about the pains of the past...

  • Authenticity is annoying

    Authenticity is annoying

    They may make most people squirm and confuse anyone outside of church circles, but I love Christian buzzwords. They're so much fun. 

  • Let’s get some alone time

    Let’s get some alone time

    The scene made me think I could get used to alone time. Adventure. Space. Quiet. Yet, in reality, I find it difficult to learn.

  • Who is Jesus?

    Who is Jesus?

    There's a lot of talk about Jesus these days. From The Da Vinci Code debate to Jesus' claims to be the only way to the Father there's nothing like a little Jesus-talk in the lunch room to get a heated discussion going!

  • Why you should start a family while you are still single

    Why you should start a family while you are still single

    My husband and I do not have any kids, yet if you came to our house and you didn’t know us you may think we did — we have lots of photos of us holding babies, we have boxes of kids toys around the place...

  • Crap hit the fan. Again.

    Crap hit the fan. Again.

    There seems to be a lot of crap things happening at the moment. The problem with this statement is that I seem to be saying it all the time. Happy days.

  • The wisdom of Ecclesiastes

    The wisdom of Ecclesiastes

    Wisdom is a quality that is always praised. It is praised in secular society. It is very much praised in the Bible. But what is wisdom? Google defines wisdom as being the quality of having experience, knowledge, and good judgment.

  • A call to receive the gift of unity

    A call to receive the gift of unity

    Beyond His death, Jesus expected a dynamic and growing church that would last throughout the ages. On the last night, before Jesus went to the Cross, He began to do what He now does eternally. A few hours before His arrest, Jesus interceded for His own disciples.

  • I built a castle in the sand

    I built a castle in the sand

    One summer holiday, when my siblings and I were in our teens, we set off on a beach adventure to attempt something most ambitious. Something we had not tackled since childhood.

  • Nature and the city

    Nature and the city

    Being out surrounded by southern beeches and dwarfed by rocky outcrops was an experience I had sorely missed. The beauty, the richness, the wonder of the natural world, is truly one of life's great pleasures.

  • It's not that radical or silly, check this out!

    It's not that radical or silly, check this out!

    A couple of years ago I wrote in this space of a fascinating and intrepid bit of Christian history that had tongues wagging for months and the more spirited young men putting their overdrive in gear visiting churches far afield 'looking'!

  • Life's journey: Transits and the final destination

    Life's journey: Transits and the final destination

    My family and I recently travelled to Malaysia and had to transit in Australia and Singapore. Both transits were considerably short in comparison to my first journey to New Zealand from Malaysia.

  • Fight for now

    Fight for now

    In 65 days I am packing up 20 kg worth of my life, hopping on an air-conditioned plane and moving to London. Just like that.

  • Struggles of a first time voter

    Struggles of a first time voter

    I remember being told once to only vote for a party that had a chance of winning. In our case it would mean voting for either National or Labour, but I never really realised before that the advice came from an American and didn’t apply the same in New Zealand.

  • The radio that broke my heart

    The radio that broke my heart

    If you've read any of my articles before, you probably would have picked up on the fact that I have a lot of pet hates. The incorrect use of your and you're. People who attempt to open the toilet door when the little sign clearly says engaged.

  • I want to get off the bus

    I want to get off the bus

    Being obedient to where God wants to lead you in life can sometimes feel like the biggest mistake you’ve ever made. I’m sure it’s easier to just ignore Him. I should know, I tried to ignore God for many years and sometimes I wish I’d tried harder ...

  • Vampires for Jesus

    Vampires for Jesus

    At the end of last year, I was given a significant amount of book vouchers. For someone who often prefers to hang out with books rather than people, having this much to shamelessly spend on books was understandably a really exciting prospect.

  • Unsettling change

    Unsettling change

    Change can be very unsettling. It interrupts the predictability and comfort of having things just the way we like them. But even for the most"I like it the way it has always been, thank you!" kind of people, we have to admit that there are some advantages to change. 

  • 2017 Formula 1 update

    2017 Formula 1 update

    It’s 2017 and no one has fixed the problems. If you take a closer look over the past two decades of Formula One Racing you can see that they have led this revolution.

  • Do monks have friends?

    Do monks have friends?

    I want to begin this post with a simple request. Close your eyes, and imagine a spiritual guru. What pictures came to mind? An old man with a beard? A Buddhist monk? A friar alone in their cave? Joel Osteen?

  • Stop picturing me naked

    Stop picturing me naked

    I am a girl. Despite the insurance statement I received today that clearly states my gender as 'Male', that's my story and I'm sticking with it. I realise I am probably at the age where I should call myself a 'woman', but I'm just not sure yet.

  • Building bridges or walls?

    Building bridges or walls?

    I’ve been watching the series A.D. on Netflix—a compelling dramatisation of the New Testament book of Acts showing the intrigue, the terror and the transformation surrounding the birth of the Christian Church.

  • Essay Question for Eng 102 (Writing Comp.) "Describe and explain your approach to one of the issues discussed in this course"

    Essay Question for Eng 102 (Writing Comp.) "Describe and explain your approach to one of the issues discussed in this course"

    I've been a student now for over five years. Without tooting my own horn too much, I'm pretty successful. If you measured success with cheeseburgers, I would be in orbit around the earth right now.

  • Facing our mortality

    Facing our mortality

    It’s been said there’s nothing more certain in life than death and taxes. We have to face taxes—we pay GST when we buy something, we pay some form of income tax when we earn money—and so it goes on.

  • Love thy neighbour

    Love thy neighbour

    I am a privileged person, all you have to do is inspect the corners of my life to realise this is true. I have travelled to new and foreign lands to experiences that I am lucky to have encountered,

  • Don't read this if you can't handle mystery

    Don't read this if you can't handle mystery

    I flew into Anchorage at 1am. It was light. I had heard of the 'midnight sun' from friends before but wasn't quite ready for seeing it in person.

  • People of Faith: Col Stringer—Pastor Crocodile Dundee

    People of Faith: Col Stringer—Pastor Crocodile Dundee

    In many circles Col Stringer is well known through writing and preaching. His unique background of wildlife and humour at churches and conventions all over the world, won him the title, Pastor Crocodile Dundee.

  • Faith as virtue

    Faith as virtue

    It's been a while since I wrote one of these 'faith-life' articles and life tends to shoehorn its way pressingly in between my abstract reflections on any particular topic.

  • What is man that you are mindful of him?

    What is man that you are mindful of him?

    There is something quite spectacular about realising how insignificant you are. Coming to understand that you are a speck of dust in this vast universe is nothing short of terrifying, humbling, and joyful.

  • What does your before and after picture look like?

    What does your before and after picture look like?

    I'm sure that you've seen those before and after pictures in ads for diet fads. The before picture always features some tremendously out-of-shape obese guy. The after picture then shows him looking trim, sculpted, and usually holding out the waistband of his old pants ...

  • The stones are crying out!

    The stones are crying out!

    Fake news! It is a common cry today but most often linked to politics. But recently Bible believers have echoed the cry.

  • Being in the middle

    Being in the middle

    Beginning something is exciting. Ending it is satisfying. The middle, however, is often less desirable. By the time we are in the middle of a marathon we have lost most of the energy we had at the beginning; yet we still have some way to go before reaching the glorious finishing line.

  • Forgiveness, an effort

    Forgiveness, an effort

    I'm kind of in a drought, living a sort of thirsty existence where I have nothing much to say or give but plenty of things to ask. My soul is parched so to speak and it makes me think of that verse that talks about the mouth speaking out of the overflow of the heart and how my heart must resemble a raisin at present.

  • The shadows of yesterday

    The shadows of yesterday

    I used to have a friend, I used to have a friend who was different. He was different, unlike any friend I had ever had, he was my different friend.

  • The secular and the sacred

    The secular and the sacred

    Growing up in a Christian home, I often encountered in those years the need to commit my life to a Christian beyond the church doors. That is to say, I had to learn how to not be a 'Sunday Christian' and my youth was full of clichés ...

  • Volunteerism: A thorn in the foot

    Volunteerism: A thorn in the foot

    We're all meant to do our bit, right? Contribute to society at large with our goodwill, service, talents and generosity. It's age-old custom, good for civilisation and good for us, actually—to partake in making the greater good, well—good. 

  • Because I'm happy ... kind of

    Because I'm happy ... kind of

    I have too many clothes. I tried to cull my wardrobe, but I have too many nice things that I can't bring myself to get rid of. I just moved house and the sheer volume of clothes to move was a royal pain in the derriere.

  • Breaking up with Busy

    Breaking up with Busy

    Comedy writer, producer, actor and director Mindy Kaling has some pretty good reasons to talk about being busy. After completing her degree at Dartmouth College she wrote and starred in a hit off-Broadway show where she impersonated Hollywood film star Ben Affleck.

  • Are people with disabilities contributing members of society?

    Are people with disabilities contributing members of society?

    Are people with disabilities contributing members of society? Let's be realistic, depending on their disability, they might need life-long care and someone to provide for all of their needs.

  • Cottonwool kids

    Cottonwool kids

    We all long for a great story, to be powerful, or become part of something bigger than us. We're told, "You can be anything you want to be," but we're not told that life is often tough and very often mundane as you wake up on a Monday morning.

  • Wonder

    Wonder

    Sometimes, I am catapulted into a space that I thought I had left behind; a space that smells so musty it is oppressive. It is like the lingering scent of moisture, or the pale discolouration of a scar and it makes me feel out of control.

  • A father's vengeance

    A father's vengeance

    Gladiator, The Punisher, Taken, The Patriot, Collateral Damage and Max Payne are all films about a father's revenge. There is something powerful about a revenge story.

  • Apollo, Dionysius, Jesus, suffering, you

    Apollo, Dionysius, Jesus, suffering, you

    The world is full of stories that deal with pain and suffering, and in many ways they all offer their various solutions to it. As a classics student, I have come to learn to read the various stories of different traditions and different cultures ... 

  • Questioning suffering

    Lately, I have been reflecting on questions surrounding suffering: how can a good God, who is in control of everything, allow suffering to exist? Why does He allow it? Don't these questions disprove Christianity?

  • The 'worst thing' about Christians

    The 'worst thing' about Christians

    I work in marketing for a nail gun company, which basically means I spend a lot of time trying to find new ways to tell people how to nail things (yes, I understand what an innuendo is).

  • Walking distance

    Being in walking distance to the church I attend (Mosaic Morningside) is quite an important thing. I actually think it is one of the most notable ideals that we hold.

  • The lonely killer

    The lonely killer

    Have you ever felt lonely? Sad? Maybe an ache in the chest describing something unnameable missing? Perhaps a lostness when spending time by yourself, a not knowing what to do?

  • Finger pointing Christians?!

    Finger pointing Christians?!

    A glass of wine or not a glass of wine? To dance or not to dance? To work on Sunday or not to work on Sunday? Let's face it, we tend to feel strongly about our personal preferences regarding what Christians should and should not do.

  • Number your days

    Number your days

    Numbering your days, or being aware of the time you have left on this earth, is important. It sharpens our focus and can provide an acute sense of appreciation for the day and the moment.

  • Alice the camel

    Alice the camel

    When I was two years old, I spat at my Grandmother. We were driving about the town of Hamilton, me—locked in my cage of child restraints, her a picture of warmth with her golden skin and Elizabeth Arden's Red Door seeping from her pores ...

  • The lost ones—a simple call to action

    The lost ones—a simple call to action

    Last week, I was asked to give a three minute testimony at a church about why I want to go on missions. My two main reasons can be found in Psalm chapter 9, verse 11 ...

  • Facebook: some so far neglected considerations

    Facebook: some so far neglected considerations

    Much has been written about Facebook and the Christian. Most of what I have read though has mostly been written with a view towards developing an individual ethic, a kind of Facebook piety if you will, an important thing to discuss, no doubt. 

  • Why trusting in God should be the first thing you do

    Why trusting in God should be the first thing you do

    When life gets messy and ugly, and goes in the opposite direction from our dreams, we can really become worried, stressed and worked up! We lose patience and probably enter sleepless nights, trying to figure out what’s going to happen next.

  • And that's when I ran away from church

    And that's when I ran away from church

    Hello. My name is Casey and I am a worship stalker. Worship stalking is a nasty habit that rears its creepy head whenever I'm feeling a bit average.

  • The pen is mightier than the needle

    The pen is mightier than the needle

    I once solemnly pondered the validity of my ink-stained fingers and dog-eared thesaurus, whilst admiring a friend’s beautiful embroidery. Sewing, it seems, is a key ingredient to a well-balanced skill set.

  • When God is silent

    When God is silent

    Philip Yancy recounts in his book Disappointment with God the story of a young man called Richard. Richard had recently become a Christian and struck up a relationship with the author Yancy ...

  • Struggling to love and forgive

    Struggling to love and forgive

    Life can be a struggle at times. For instance, waking up at the crack of dawn on a cold, winter's day. Let's not forget the effort it takes to put on multiple layers of clothing before turning on the kettle for a cup of tea.

  • Life in the unrestrained pleasure-lane

    Life in the unrestrained pleasure-lane

    In case you haven't noticed, we live in a no-holds-barred, do-your-own-thing world. We have been force-fed on the thought that we exist to experience pleasure, that the pursuit of happiness and personal fulfillment should not be restrained.

  • “Let the little children come”

    “Let the little children come”

    As we get swept away into life, the older we get, the more we lose our childhood innocence and mourn the loss of that freedom. ... We envy the free-spirited nonchalance of a child as if we cannot obtain it ourselves.

  • You and I

    You and I

    We're the same you and I, like two parallel lines that have coiled together.

  • Why theology is for everyone

    Why theology is for everyone

    Have you ever had the experience of being at the doctors and they start talking to a colleague of theirs while treating you, using medical jargon that goes completely over your head? I know I have!

  • "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion."

    "Christianity is a relationship, not a religion."

    It's a common catch cry among my generation of Christians of my generation; I know I grew up with it as a standard that I carried proudly. I think I even thought it was the thing or the idea that would mark myself, and the people around me, for the rest of my life.

  • 500 years of reformation

    I am a proud Protestant. And in the 500 years since a German monk nailed a long rant of theology on a church door, there's been a lot to be proud of.

  • Sex isn't my fault

    Sex isn't my fault

    Why do you keep asking about boundaries? Picture this: God is sitting over here to the left. God is good. We like God. Now, the line between good and bad is lurking here on the right hand side.

  • Our target market is...

    Our target market is...

    Having been involved in the world of business prior to entering fulltime pastoral ministry, I’ve been involved in strategic planning processes in multiple diverse organisations.

  • Significance in Life

    Significance in Life

    A long time ago, and in a land very far away from here, there once lived a King. With a lot of time on his hands, and perplexed about the meaning of the life he had landed himself in, he embarked upon a quest to discover if an individual life could have any objective significance at all.

  • Le Tour de France: It's a team effort to win it

    Le Tour de France: It's a team effort to win it

    As the days get darker in the southern hemisphere and the nights get colder there are a few things that light the soul. Sleeping in, hot coffee, chocolate and cycling. Like those middle aged men in lycra, those happy few who ride up the local mountains and bike lanes.

  • What do we really need?

    What do we really need?

    Veruca Salt, one of the not-so-sweet characters in Roald Dahl's Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, was famous for demanding whatever she wanted. Her indulgent parents didn't know what to do, especially when they couldn't comply.

  • Is secularism inevitable?

    Is secularism inevitable?

    Once upon a time Christianity was main stream in New Zealand. Fifty years ago a large majority (87%) indicated in a national census that they were Christian.

  • I'm always right.

    I'm always right.

    It was one of those crisp and glorious winter days. You know the kind of day, when the taste of renewal is fresh on the lips, when the sun's warmth pulsates through your body, heating you to your bones, making the dust pirouette in the luminosity like glitter.

  • Are Likes really Likes?

    Are Likes really Likes?

    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 moments.

  • The importance of being distracted

    The importance of being distracted

    There are three kinds of note-takers. There are those who do, those who don't, and those who draw pictures (related or not, most likely not). For those familiar with the 'church experience' note taking is a key element of our participation in the whole affair. 

  • We need to get better at dying

    We need to get better at dying

    I am currently surrounded by people who are dying. Some, slightly removed from me and some I look in the eye every day. It appears that there are two responses to a terminal diagnosis, after the normal shock, grief and anger.

  • I don't want to be racist, but…

    I don't want to be racist, but…

    I was always the girl that wanted to stay home and live under the protective wings of Mummy and Daddy as long as possible. Despite my best intentions to leech off them for the rest of my life, my time in high school gradually fostered a need to try something new...

  • God is not dead yet, Dr. Geering

    God is not dead yet, Dr. Geering

    The year was 1967, and a New Zealand Theologian called Lloyd Geering was being charged by the Presbyterian Church in New Zealand for doctrinal error. The case would become national news and discussed across the country.

  • The evolution of #squad

    The evolution of #squad

    There is a different definition of the word 'squad' in town—bringing a complicated history and a fresh set of cultural expectations.

  • Orange is the new blasphemy

    Orange is the new blasphemy

    It's not often that Christians are portrayed as gracious brethren by the media. We can expect to be stereotyped and hated more often than not. John tells us that the world will hate us because we are not of the world.

  • Growing up as a P.K.

    Growing up as a P.K.

    My dad is a pastor, so growing up I got stuck with the label known to every pastor's kid: PK. When I think about this label, a lot of struggles and blessings come to mind.

  • Faith not fear

    Faith not fear

    Bill Johnson said in his book When Heaven Invades Earth that the opposite of faith is not doubt, it is fear. Doubt is often fear-based.

  • Stuck in a moment

    Stuck in a moment

    There have been moments in my life that have impressed themselves in my mind, nestled themselves under my skin, woven themselves into the fabric of who I am as if to say that these are the moments that make up me. 

  • Amazing failure, how sweet the sound

    Amazing failure, how sweet the sound

    I’ve just finished reading Eric Metaxas’ biography on William Wilberforce, Amazing Grace. It’s a fascinating tale of a man who had incredible political nous, an astounding intellect, engaging communication skills...

  • Getting angry for the Gospel

    Getting angry for the Gospel

    We live in interesting times. Apparently it is likely that right now, if you are born anywhere in the world, conditions are likely to be the best they have ever been.

  • The fragility of life

    The fragility of life

    Life can be described in so many ways: fulfilling, hard, long, fun, meaningless, meaningful, exhausting, exhilarating. Yet there is one word that seems to most accurately describe life in all forms—fragile.

  • Lost in translation

    Lost in translation

    I was 17 years old when God told me who I was going to marry. I remember it so clearly. I was living in Sydney at the time, and had come home to Auckland for my uni break. I was sitting in church, my 'future husband' was on stage playing in the band and it hit me like a ton of bricks.

  • Trial and triumph

    Trial and triumph

    Often in the work place you have to deal with power politics and passive-aggressive colleagues or customers who undermine, backstab, gossip and bully.

  • Beliefs Christians should abandon: a dialogue

    Beliefs Christians should abandon: a dialogue

    It's 12:30pm as I walk through the village to meet a friend of mine at the local café, but it still looks like morning. These sodden Auckland days make all times seem the same.

  • In love with the shape of you

    In love with the shape of you

    I know little of Ed Sheeran’s music—until recently it was just a few seconds of a ringtone: “I’m in love with the shape of you.” I listened to the rest of the song.

  • Missing a piece of the puzzle?

    Missing a piece of the puzzle?

    I'm not much for jigsaw puzzles, but I know that you need all the pieces to enjoy a satisfying outcome. In many ways, life is like a 1,000-piece jigsaw puzzle.

  • 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.

  • The interruption of India

    The interruption of India

    I have spent most of my life struggling to fit into my skin. Not in an excess of skin, baggy-round-the-eyeballs sort of a way, but in a constant, rigorous and unrelenting wrestle to be okay in the skin that I am in. 

  • 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!

  • So what's the plan?

    So what's the plan?

    My mum has one particular recipe book that is prized above all others. It is the book in which she has collected family recipes passed down over the years, carefully hand-written by loved ones, some of whom are now no longer with us.

  • The things we have lost: Musings of an immigrant

    The things we have lost: Musings of an immigrant

    What does it feel like to be an immigrant? To be a refugee or a TCK (Third Culture Kid) or a stranger in a new city?

  • FAITH: What is it anyway?

    FAITH: What is it anyway?

    I distinctly remember watching four years ago that documentary, or should I call it propaganda, by that most famous atheist Richard Dawkins called 'The Root of All Evil.'

  • Is this God's will?

    “Is this God's will?” has to be one of the most common questions I ask myself. Of course, I'm not talking about trivial things such as, “Is it God's will that I am to have a burger or a sandwich for lunch, and if so, which topping should I go for?”

  • Growth is spelt TROUBLE

    Growth is spelt TROUBLE

    Back when I was a youth, I remembered being baffled by a nearby youth ministry which was plagued with problems. The youth leaders were constantly resolving family problems, school issues and all sorts of troubles.

  • Lead balloons

    Lead balloons

    I am learning what it means to sit still at the moment. I live in the middle of a whirlwind, fully occupied life and a fanciful, unrestricted imagination… I very rarely sit still.

  • What children can teach us about faith

    What children can teach us about faith

    Faith? What is it? In the beginning stages of becoming a follower of Christ, I came to know that faith is simply believing in Jesus, believing in the Father and Holy Spirit.

  • Why you (a hip, twenty-something, Jesus-loving, well-adjusted, cardigan-wearing Christian) should read Plato

    You've probably heard of Plato. I don't know which image you have of him in your mind. Is it the image from Raphael's School of Athens? Or the more popular idea of a 'philosophical ninja'?

  • Why evangelicals should care about animals

    Why evangelicals should care about animals

    Should we care about people or should we care about animals? Why is that a question people ask? What I don’t understand is why people think that you can either care about animals or people.

  • Faith as virtue

    Faith as virtue

    It's been a while since I wrote one of these 'faith-life' articles and life tends to shoehorn its way pressingly in between my abstract reflections on any particular topic.

  • Reading the Bible today

    Reading the Bible today

    I get asked a lot by Christians if I have been reading my Bible lately and so often it is a guilty “not really” as I look away, knowing that I should but not feeling enthused by it.

  • See ya, Jesus

    See ya, Jesus

    'See ya,' we say to friends when we part, whether in person or even on the phone. Kiwis have a weird habit of saying 'see ya' to complete strangers who we may never meet again.

  • Living in a feminist society

    Living in a feminist society

    It is difficult to think of an element of society or our lives that has not been affected by feminism. Since the feminist movements in the 60's everything has changed: the family, the workforce, our laws, social etiquette, medical practices...

  • Human sucking

    Human sucking

    Now here is something we all need to face—sometimes we suck. One thing that has dumbfounded me recently is how many people think they don’t suck, that they have it right, and that they don’t do things wrong.

  • Complacent, compromised, content

    Complacent, compromised, content

    A brother I used to be at church with was in love with the idea of revival. Periodically, we'd pray for a revival here in New Zealand like a lesser known, Welsh, revival.

  • Throw out your purity ring

    Throw out your purity ring

    Humans will make symbols out of anything. Symbols are a potent way to interpret reality; we use them to communicate to each other and to define ourselves. In the Christian sub-culture there is one symbol that is readily understandable...

  • Christianity: a prescription gone wrong?

    Christianity: a prescription gone wrong?

    Today’s traditional Christians proclaim that they have “good news for the world” yet appear as one of the least compelling people groups on the planet.

  • Listen up.

    Listen up.

    I read a great article in the latest Christianity Today issue. The writer, Christine Herman, was talking about the power of arguing with our mouths shut.

  • What to do with doubt?

    What to do with doubt?

    It's a familiar story. Or perhaps it should be. A young adult from a Christian family hits university and begins to have doubts, and is confronted with questions, about their previously unquestioned Christian faith.

  • Should he stay or should he go?

    Should he stay or should he go?

    I’ve sat at my father’s deathbed twice, almost three times. The first time was when Dad suffered a major stroke at 66. We weren’t sure he’d survive. He did, but was left paralysed on one side and with his personality very much changed.

  • Committing to church in a casual age

    Committing to church in a casual age

    With life and work becoming increasingly casual for many people, how does this affect the church? Belonging to a church is an invitation to commitment. Yet statistics show that church-going is becoming less regular...

  • I’m Engaged! At Last!

    I’m Engaged! At Last!

    The next General Election in New Zealand is coming up on Saturday 23rd September 2017. This is the opportunity that those of us who are 18 years of age or older have to participate in our democratic right...

  • Communities with long memories

    Communities with long memories

    We live in a society permeated with stories. Some are personal, some impersonal. Some fictional, others lived out through every waking moment. What we often forget as we are figuring out our own individual plot lines is that there are bigger stories...

  • Obsession with the ‘centre’

    Obsession with the ‘centre’

    Christian culture is near obsessed with the centre. Words like ‘mainstream’ and ‘crossover’ drip off the tongue like diamonds. Influence is king.

  • I'm sorry, I have to give what to who?

    I'm sorry, I have to give what to who?

    I'm 23 and I'm having a mid-life crisis. I just got home from a 21st where I was talking to a 21 year-old about how he always thought that by 23 he'd have it sorted—got the job, got the girl, got it together (then awkwardly admitted that he's not looking good on any of those…) 

  • Desmond Tutu and Les Misérables' lesson: be the difference

    Desmond Tutu and Les Misérables' lesson: be the difference

    1940's apartheid South Africa: a small African boy of age nine and his mother, a domestic worker, are walking down the street. Passing the other way is a tall white man, a priest in a black cassock.

  • Facts Sheet—2017–18 EPL season

    Facts Sheet—2017–18 EPL season

    The 2017–18 (EPL) English Premier League, is the 26th season, the top English professional league since the establishment of the current association football program in 1992.

  • Three things a Baptist learnt from the Anglican Church

    Three things a Baptist learnt from the Anglican Church

    Eight years ago I attended an Anglican church for the first time. As a Baptist pastor's daughter I was suddenly transplanted into a church community where men sometimes wear dresses, people sprinkle water on babies' heads...

  • Abortion celebrated—a disturbing paradox

    Abortion celebrated—a disturbing paradox

    About a month ago everyone was all abuzz over the first public appearance of Xiao Liwu, the baby panda bred in captivity at the San Diego zoo. The world cooed and pondered this miracle of life engineered by the San Diego zoo and their panda breeding program.

  • 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.

  • 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...

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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).

  • 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.

  • 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.