Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Hiking, Drain Rafting, & Dune Sledding

Kinda Funny! Right now i am watching the Christian channel in NZ called Shine. There is a program called Winning at Home on with Dan Seaborn. His son is one of my friends from school in Indiana!

Sunday and Monday were packed with Fun. Between Church i went on a hike with friends from East City.

After Cession it rained and Dan, David, Graeme, and i decided to try the boogie boards on the flooded drains! The current was so fast we had to run beside the person and the water and pull each other out with a rope.

Monday was a national holiday in Auckland so we went and played. We went to Bethel's lake and went Dune Sledding. I got worked by one of the jumps. Here is a video of it below. Click on it to watch the fun

Then the group headed to the beach and swam and played boche ball. They call it Patong over here. When the crowd left. dan and I went surfing until dark. We enjoyed friends, had good conversations, enjoyed God's creation outdoors, had fun, got tan, and got to surf. I would say that was a well accomplished day!

I had a meeting with Mike(pastor) Julia(assist. pastor) and a few of the leaders of Shoregrace tonight. I am excited about the future!

Fun Tidbits of New Zealand

The Common Greetings that i have picked up here:
"How's It?" Inflection goes up on "It"
"Hey ya"
"Chyas, Mate" They are saying Cheers but the accent makes it "chyas"
"Good on ya"

DATE: They write the date date/day/year. Today is 30/1/07 here.

CONVERT: How to Convert with the metric system
This is what they use normally:

Celsius to Farehnheit= C=(F-32) x 5/9

The easy way to do this in your head is:
-multiply C by 2
-subtract 1/10 of that number
-add 32

For Example, It is usually 23 degrees Celsius here.
23 x 2= 46
41.4+32=73.4 degrees Farenheit
23C=73.4 F

Kilograms to Pounds
I weigh 89kg's here that is

Miles to Kilometers

The highest speed on a motorway has been 100kms but normally is 80km
1 mile= 1.609 kms
(Yeah, they drive a lot slower here... going 70 feels like HEAVEN!

1 meter= 1.09 yards

There are supposed to be 5 meter waves tomorrow!
5 meters is 16.4ft! It won't get that big, but it will be fun too watch!

Keith Drury was one of my Professors in college. Seeing this Sign the other day made me smile!

Monday, January 29, 2007

Schedule to Get Out! it's a MUST!!!

When I was standing on Mt. Maunganui on Dan and I's 3 day trip, i was so BLOWN away by the thought fact that people were 30 minutes or less from theis awesome view and escape, but weren't willing to take a few hours out of their lives or schedules to enjoy. Please, PLEASE schedule in a time in the next week or two to get outside in a place that there will be no distractions or time restrictions, but just allows you to sit, enjoy, and think. you won't regret it!!! I am sure there are places within 10 or 15 minutes that would be perfect, but you have just not taken the time!

TOMORROW: I have had a lot of awesome fun dune sledding, hiking, sliding down a drain but i am to tired to blog so there will be videos and pics tomorrow of fun stuff!!!

Sunday, January 28, 2007

The Church Body at its Best

Can I tell you that i have a STRONG respect for ministers over here! This is not pastors over here complaining, but just my take on their lives & sacrifice:

NO MONEY: The large majority of pastors have to earn their income outside the church's giving
EVEN LESS MONEY: Living is more expensive
WORKING MOTHERS:Most homes have to have 2 incomes in New Zealand because of living, let alone ministry families with kids and little church income.
NO SYMPATHY: New Zealand does not have a huge poverty level or huge visible problem. it is very secular with a very high teen suicide rate, but it doesn't have the same effect as people starving or constantly dying of AIDS
NO US SYMPATHY: For most people in the US, I often feel like going to NZ sounds like more of a vacation than missions trip or work
NO GLORY: Since Christianity has never been the cultural norm, most of the ministry here is a lot slower since there takes are many barriers, questions, and mindsets that have to be breached before someone will readily accept the gospel
LACK OF RECOGNITION: In terms of recognition, good pastors in NZ will not get the respect or publicity they would get in the US. God still sees it, but sometimes it is hard from the human part to not get that affirmation.

They are sacrificing money, time, and numbers for a more than worthy and noble cause. New Zealand is a very secularized place, that is well overdue for Christ to cause a great movement among the people. yet, since NZ seems to be considered luxurious from other parts of the world, and it is not in huge poverty, and it doesn't have a huge crisis; its pastors often get the shaft on needed financial and educated support and the people often get the shaft on full-time pastors dedicated to their church or most of ministries are therefore led by lay people in ministry.

THE COOL THING: People are still coming to Christ and the church is alive and active in being incarnational with their ministry. They are touching people in their community and the church as a whole and the Wesleyan churches are growing because of it!

East City Wesleyan

Dan and i went to East City Wesleyan today. THis picture does not do the room or ministry justice. Richard Waugh it the pastor in the white speaking off to the right of this picture. The room was packed out with a variety of nationalities and age groups. It was fun to watch. Dan and I were invited up and handed a microphone and asked to welcome the congregation... in a split moment i was asking, "what's a welcome?!?" I gave a quick testimony of our journey over and how the church has blessed us so far Rev. Waugh gave a great message of reading the word and making sure that you read for the bible to change you, not just to read to gain knowledge like you do with other books.

Cession Community Church

Dan and i took this one week off from Shoregrace to visit the other Wesleyan church that meets at night, as well. It had a relaxed feel and was the youngest congregation we have been a part of yet. Brett took time to share his vision of making sure they are reaching the unchurched and not just having transfer growth from other churches. That takes a lot of sacrifice, because you are sacrficing a lot growth in numbers to stick to your goal. That also affects the way you promote and bring people in. Brett gave a great sermon on Jesus and the fig tree and his challenge was very innovative and fresh.

Me & the Pastor at Cession, Brett Jones


Saturday, January 27, 2007

What is going on

Sunday Dan and I will be visiting two different Wesleyan Churches:

East City Wesleyan: a 5 year church plant that has grown into a healthy congregation
and i have heard describe as a laid back surfer style church.

Cession Community: Is going more towards the post modern service from what i hear

Monday Dan and I will travel with Annie Wright and some friends to do some dune sledding!!! Monday is an Auckland holiday and we WILL take advantage of it!

I also want to do a follow up post on my story on self criticism. I have had a good response from my friends and i believe it is worth posting again on. I actually believe there is spiritual warfare involved. i will explain later. It is time to sleep so that i can give God the rest and quality attention he deserves.

Friday, January 26, 2007

3 Day Trip

Dan and i made friends with this group below. A few of them are in an Australian Christian Band called Simeon. They are over in NZ for Parachute(the largest Christian concert in the Southern Hemisphere)

Dan and I blocked out Mon-Wed to take a short trip before work and church were in full force. So we set out Monday after watching the Colts beat the Patriots! Go Colts! Colts and the Bears in the SuperBowl is amazing.

On our first night Dan and i stopped at two spots and watched the sunset. The picture above is the first. The picture below is not the actual place but represents the second place. Dan and i parked off the road and climbed a random Hill on the side of the road. It took FOREVER to get up but the view was worth it! The sky was amazing and the slope in the hill was perfect so that you could lay back and have grass all around you with a beautiful blue sky and stars above you or lay on your arms and watch the sunset and small wave ripple forward to shore. We laid there for probably 2 hours and talked. When we got down it was dark and i dropped the car keys hopping a fence. Luckily we found them and even more lucky it didn't happen while i slided down the hill because it would've been impossible to find the keys there

Below just skims the surface. i don't even have pictures of Cathedral Cove, the hedgehog i held, or the waterfall we cliff jumped off of.

We Slept on the beach the first night at the hot water beaches on the Coromandel Peninsula. This was the view from our bags.

We woke up for the sunset which was beautiful

After that we experience the hot water beaches. There is a hot water current below the sand that comes from the rocks on shore and drains out to the ocean. At low tide you take a shovel and dig your hole in the sand, build walls around it, and sit in the jacuzzi warm water. Dan and i started late, so our pool below is pitiful but it still felt amazing.

Others digging their hot water pool to lay in.

Dan and I found a great spot called mt maunganui. it was a happening beach. People longboarding, surfing, and a volleyball tournament on the beach. it was the first busy beach i have seen in New Zealand. there just really aren't busy beaches here.

Dan and i climbed the mountain and enjoyed the sunset and some time with the Lord up there. Beautiful once again.

New Zealand is known as the Land of the Long White Cloud.

the Family of a friend let us sleep at their place one night. This is where we jumped off the waterfall and swam in the river. This is Dan playing with two of their girls.

Then Dan and I visited the Hot water Springs. This is Dan in the fog
The Zorb
Dan and I visited Rotorua and went in the Zorb together. it is basically a big hamster ball that they put a little water in. You jump in and ride in this inflatable human hamster ball down the hill flipping all over the place. Completely Hysterical! it was a blast and totally unique

They have Chicken flavored Potato Chips here!!! They were pretty good. i've been told you either love them or hate them
L&P is the NZ soft drink. it is like a ginger ale with a little more lemon. pretty good. This was the big bottle in the town where it was created.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Please Read this!

This story is so important. Don't let the length stop you from reading it! Dan and I are going on a trip so i will not post again til Thursday!

Please Read This Story!
Levi Huffman is someone in my life who has emphasized understanding my personality and knowing who I am in Christ. One of the things I realized through this introspective learning, was that it is far easier to get someone to change their patterns of behavior than to change who they are. So often we tell people how to change, but to really tell someone that there is something wrong with their personality or the way they are is extremely difficult! Take my own life for an example. One of the hardest things I have ever had to overcome was a lie that had become deeply embedded in who I was. One strength I saw in who I was, was my drive to move forward and change for the better. So although I would take a compliment and appreciate the tingly feeling it gave me, I would always try and be fair with myself and make sure to also focus on the related weaknesses and problems so that I would know how to be better the next time. I called it critiquing but not being critical. I just always assumed that this drive was a gift from God or His words to me. One night, as I sat and listened to some of my guy friends encourage me as to how my friendship had been meaningful and impacting in their life over the past year, I realized a strong pull. Joel was one of the guys. Joel’s brother had moved away and I really desired to fill that hole as a brother in his life over the year. It ended up not happening and it wasn’t my place, but as he shared with me how I had been a huge influence in his life over the past year, I couldn’t help but say to myself, “thanks. that is awesome, BUT I wasn’t the brother.” One by one I heard each guy encouraging me and it felt good, but at the same time I kept finding a fault, and calling myself a failure to make sure that I was also being realistic with myself and not becoming complacent or cocky. After the time of encouragement, they gathered around me laid hands on me and prayed for me. It was at the moment that these guys were praying over me that I realized for the FIRST TIME that that push to be realistic and to look where I had failed, could possibly not be God speaking to me, but actually Satan putting lies in my head to steal my joy.

As I prayed strongly in the name of Jesus to combat these thoughts in my head that were lies about my failings: (“You weren’t a good brother… “You didn’t spend enough time with Him… “You had a chance and you blew it.”), it was one of the hardest struggles I have ever been in, in my life! I did not have control! Satan had so deeply ingrained this lie into my life, into who I thought I was as a motivated achiever, that I actually couldn’t control my own thoughts! It was Bad! I didn’t know they were lies. I thought these failure thoughts were my own. Even worse, I thought they were a gift from God in my personality. Talk about getting things twisted. I so appreciated those prayers over me that night as the men laid hands on me while I cried and tried to combat my internal struggle. It was almost as if I were throwing punches, but Satan just had my number. The next day, my friend Mark prayed over me during lunch. That moment, as he prayed for me over the lunch table, I experienced what it meant to be fought over as I began to cry in my feeling of helplessness and weakness. I had no clue how to change who I had become in my thoughts. It was one thing to tell me to enjoy the moment. To be content. That was easy! It was a completely other thing to challenge my motivated personality which I saw as a strength. One approach is not personal. The other is COMPLETELY personal! For those of you that feel uneasy because of this post… good! If this sounds too familiar to you, I am not going to tell you that it is okay to critique everything as a way to improve who you are. As soon as I tell you that it was okay for me to see where I could’ve improved in those friendships in the middle of that encouragement time, I give you an out. You would say that that is still a good quality to have. I am not here to do that. TOO many of us are cheated out of God’s love, grace, and our worth through HIM! As soon as you say “That is good, BUT…”, or you hear yourself saying I know God loves me know matter what… BUT I did this…” Question it! It is most likely Satan putting a subtle lie in your head that you believe is yours: that you are a failure or that you are not good enough or that for you to “make it in this world” and motivate yourself you need to think critically in this way. Satan almost all the time, if not always, is stealing your joy of living in God’s mercy and love. He is stealing your celebration of the goodness by pointing out the negatives. He is the ACCUSER. Satan is stealing your contentment by making you doubt that God’s love could actually be enough to motivate you… so you think you have to do it yourself!!! Harsh… I know. It hurts. You feel like what I say is true, but it is really hard to let go or to be sold on my thoughts. Yep, I was there too. Thank God I had friends praying for me and the Word to proclaim these lies from Satan for what they were and are. If anything I said above resonates, please seriously consider my thoughts. This is a deeper battle. It is no longer me just telling you that what you are doing is wrong, but it is me saying that something potentially is wrong with YOU, Although the problem may not truly be who you are or have to be. Just something that Satan has such a tight grip on that it is hard to see or let Go. Don’t walk away from the Lord’s moving if that is now. The Bible says that God forgives but I don’t believe it says that you will always have just as much opportunity to come back to the Lord at every moment. I truly believe that if God is tugging on your heart in this moment that you have a chance to come closer to God, walk away and probably come back to this same opportunity some time later in life, or to harden your heart and openness that much more towards the Lord’s moving on your heart every time you walk away. My prayers are with you in this post!

Good Times

The Things That Never Get Old Here: (in sequential order)
Overlooking the city in the day but especially nights.
Time by the water, beach, or bay
NZ’s tomato sauce
Eating- especially chocolate
Working out- sometimes excruciating but always generates more energy!

Dan came home from work and said, "hurry, lets see the sunset down by the pier."
Dan, McNaught Comet, red clouds from Australia fires
Half a mile from where we live there is a estuary with boats and a pier. So we got down there and i decided to go for a swim! Then everyone went swimming. An older couple came out from their boat close to where we were swimming and pointed to the red clouds over the water and said they were the fires from Australia. We all started laughing at them. So far on our trip over here, it has seemed that everyone has tried to pull our leg and trick the ignorant Americans. Turns out... there are fires in Australia. After laughing in their faces for awhile and noticing they weren't laughing at all... we realized they were serious. awKWARD!!! Anyway, they informed us that Comet McNaught was going to be in the sky. So in the picture above you are seeing Dan dive off the pier. The red clouds over the horizon are smoke from the large fires in Australia and the comet is over the horizon by the boats!

This was my second Sunday Night at Shoregrace! The youth only split up at the very end. The teens were all very attentive and i am excited to get started with them. it has been very nice being able to get settled in this month, and then go head long into everything

Saturday, January 20, 2007

A Lot Can Happen in 2 Days!!!

Dan asked me the other Day how i stayed consistent with my blog so much. Honestly, right now this is my form of journaling and there really isn't enough time or space to write down all my thoughts. i have 6 potential posts waiting, but i know that if i post more than one in a day you won't read it all, so i am pacing myself. Good day, mate.

Tomorrow night will be my second Sunday with the youth... excited!

A lot will happen this week! We plan to have get an apartment and car this week. Our parttime jobs start later next week, so we are taking a 3 day trip(Mon-Wed) before we dive head on into work, ministry, etc.

Video Of the Day:Driving Through A Roundabout
This is a video of me playing minigolf, driving on the left side of the road, and through a roundabout. Nothing Flash, but good for you to see what it looks like driving here.

To see Click HERE

Yesterday, Dan and i worked! I am starting to get used to this whole job searching thing. I just went and served at a second restaurant on a trial run. I think i will work here at this Paper Moon Cafe in Marangai Bay (see below). I LOVE serving at a restaurant. This is a Cafe/Restaraunt. I was nervous and messed up occasionally, but did good considering this was my only second time serving in my whole life outside of my other trial night where i had one table two nights ago. This night i had 4 tables and felt a lot more confident. I overpoured a drink and forgot pepper for one table, but its all good. Thanks Trace for your tips on serving!

Dan is ultimately looking for a Graphic Design/ Photography job but has landed a backup part time job at a place called The Copper Room. It was crazy when i went in to see Dan Friday night, but he looked like he was doing great in the midst of chaos in Takapuna.

Both jobs are about 10 minutes from the downtown and the church. We are currently looking for housing somewhere in between.

Today we went surfing again. Dan and James had great rides! Below are a few pics. I also got to take out a 7 foot board and cruise. it felt aMAZING.

Today was a productive day. dan and i looked at an apartment, cars, and went to Annie Wright's Birthday party. Since Annie's B-day is in the winter back in the US, her friends made it snow in the garage. We all wore beanies and scarfs and drank apple cider in the middle of NZ's summer. brilliant!

Burger Fuel is also a big burger joint here. The Burgers are HUGE! Dan and i rewarded ourselves for our long day of productivity before Annie's Party. The meat was mediocre and expensive, but it sure filled us up!

Friday, January 19, 2007

Kiwi Culture and the Church in New Zealand

Kiwi Culture:
The average income is approx $38,000 but the housing and living here is way more expensive! Cell phones range from $80-$1,000 in stores. Houses usually ranges between 500,000 to over a million

I love the music over here. The cultures use a lot more voices in their communities than instruments to express themselves in music. Below is a group of youth at the Wesleyan Youth Camp singing some sort of Tongan Worship Song.
Click HERE to see

There seems to be an underwritten heirarchy. If you make it big in New Zealand, you go to NZ's big brother Australia. If you make it big in Australia you to go the US.
There still is a lot of New Zealand Pride though

The only time i have seen most kiwis get really competitive is with the all blacks in rugby. It is almost as if they fight for the Kiwis. i see more All Blacks memorabilia than New Zealand flags around by far!

People down here play things down. I have been told, that even their voice inflection at the end of a sentence which usually leaves the sentence as a question instead of a proclamation may reflect their insecurity in not wanting to press anything on anyone. They leave it out there as an idea.
This is reflected in:
Jobs-Less competition it seems
Goals- A worship leader came to NZ from a thriving church plant in the US to help a church that said they had great plans to move forward. When the music pastor saw the goals of the church he was very frustrated at how small they seemed compared to what he had seen in the States but for the NZ church here the steps in music in growth were very stretching.

There is saying that reflects the attitude here which says "Don't talk about it just do it" and "Do it with Less." TO understand this attitude, Jeff recommends watching a movie called "The World's Fastest Indian" i haven't seen it yet.

The Kiwis don't pride themselves as much in competition but in ingenuity.

The Wesleyan Church:
Richard Waugh and Jeff started talking about the Wesleyan Church Last Friday night.

The Wesleyan Church has only come to New Zealand in the last 6 years since 2000.
There are now about 20 church plants on the North Island and none on the South Island. (There are still other Protestant churches here this is just Wesleyan)
The largest wesleyan church now in NZ is East City Wesleyan which runs around 140 in attendance. That means the majority of these churches are still young, forming structure, and establishing what they are and will become. The majority of the pastors are not fully employed by the church but have to find their financial income partially through other jobs.

Mike Yates and Michelle came over from Australia to NZ to start Shoregrace without any church sponsor. They came over without any support from a mother church. With the support of one other couple they have grown a quality community of people that are serving and impacting those around this area. Over three years, they have grown to a group of 50 or so! That is HUGE for only three years.

Picture yourself going with your wife, if you have one, maybe one other couple to a new place and starting to invite people to meet with you and join your vision for a church. I would be pretty stoked with 20 new people around me let alone 50 or more coming along beside me and the vision God has imparted!

Their idea of church Membership/holiness is some what different here. Jeff Fussner who is a missionary down here explained it as in america our church membership or standards of holiness are in a closed set in mathematical terms. Down here it is more in an open set. See the chart below: It is more about the direction you are moving than the place you are at

Do not get me wrong. i believe both approaches have strengths, they are just different approaches

Wednesday, January 17, 2007


Tomorrow: I will post how the church and culture is different from the US vs NZ. It will be interesting!!!
Right before serving
Today was a BIG day for me. Solely for one reason... I served at a restaurant for the first time in my life! They had me run a two hour trial shift without any experience. The two others servers were very helpful and friendly. I felt pretty good about the way i served and i think the customers went away happy. I absolutely loved it! The job offer stood at minimum wage so i have to decide on taking the job in the next few days. If nothing else, i know i can do it no. I know the glamor will runoff, but as for now i look forward to being a barista or server.

Yesterday Dan and I took the boys to the car auction... We are planning on buying a car in the next week. it is a real one where they call out the bids, the guy talks all fast, and he bangs a gavel and says, "SOLD!!!".

Then we went and played minigolf with the boys. just a good time to connect and get the boys out of the house.
A lot of our ministry will be taking people out of there worlds and just spending time with them. Living with 3 teens has been an opportunity these first 2 weeks!