Friday, March 30, 2007

Rainy Days

To follow up on the accident. It was only fitting that auckland started a terrential downpour the day after my accident. it definitely fit the mood. I am camping out with the teens this weekend, so i don't have time to post long, but i hope you can enjoy my story from yesterday!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Future- Verses I Need to Hear

I read through Proverbs and needed to right down a few verses that stuck out to me about future. It has been good to hear these verses in the midst of everything. The update on the accident is this...

Saturday Church picnic

the accident is looking like the repairs are going to set us back quite a little bit. Sad, but still at peace that there is purpose in that happening and hope Dan or i has a good chance to witness to this guy!

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him and he will direct your paths. Proverbs 3:5-6

Let your eyes look straight ahead, fix your gaze directly before you. Make level paths for your feet and take only ways that are firm. Do not swerve to the right or the left,; keep your foot from evil

For a man's ways are in full view of the Lord and he examines all his paths. Prov 5:21

Pastor Mike on the BBQ
To man belong the plans of the heart, but from the Lord comes the reply of the tongue. All a man's ways seem innocent to him, but motives are weighed by the Lord. commit to the Lord whatever you do and your plans will succeed. The Lord works out everything for his own ends- even the wicked for a day of disaster...In his heart a man plans his course, but the Lord determines his steps. Proverbs 16:1-4,7

Many are the plans in a man's heart, but it is the Lord's purpose that prevails. Prov 19:21

Now listen, you who say, "today or tomorrow we will go to this or that city, spend a year there, carry on business adn make money," Why, you do not even know what will happen tomorrow. What is your life? you are a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. Instead, you ought to say, "if it is the Lord's will, we will live and do this or that." As it is, you boast and brag. all such boasting is evil. Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it sins. James 4:13-17

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Things were going my way...

It was the start of a good day. Dropped Dan off and had time to read and find a hide out full of trees right beside a big traffic area. It was like i had found the peace in the midst of chaos. Work was quiet at the restaurant. I feel like i am finally wrapping my mind around the rest of the time here in my purpose and financial endeavor.
While i was waiting for Dan after work i recorded this

Then dan and i had a great time at my first rugby practice! Yeah. We were on our way home and i was out to a netball game which is essentially basketball but you can't dribble and there is not backboard. I was all smiles on the way home from rugby thinking bout everything... then i got in an accident. yeah not too much damage but the guy was cranky and it has kinda messed up the night. mmm.... i suppress these times by eating and sleeping. Sadly enough, outside of prayer, food, and sleep the other thing that cuts it for me is hearing other peoples, "I've had worse experience." Jan was sharing with me about a bad week she had with a ticket and accident in one week. I mean i will be the first to admit, "I have done a lot of STUPID things!" but for some reason, it just always sounds good to hear stories just as bad or worse to just remind you that... Life could be Worse! Anyways, no one was hurt and the accident was minor, but there are still details to figure out. Thanks for your prayers. If anything i feel like this was a spiritual attack to distract our minds in this time of concentration and breakthrough in Dan and I's purpose and walks and future while we are here. So if this is comfort to anyone else. This story was way more complicated and difficult, but i will spare you the sadness. Thanks for caring enough to listen to me process life.

Monday, March 26, 2007


I have a lot of choices to make over the next few months about ministry, calling, and ,in general, what direction i feel i should point my life in terms of occupation

It is very easy for me to get... frustrated, put off, and stressed over these decisions. Last night i was reminded as i read Proverbs that they are OPPORTUNITIES. I always seem to look at them as problems, when the reality is my stress is all over the good things in life.

I skimmed through Proverbs the other day and the general impression i received throughout the whole book was, Man makes his own plans, but God determines his steps. and God's plan will be victorious no matter what humans do, no matter what I decide! I need a peace that trusts that God will remain victorious and an insight to constantly remember that i am already on His side!

Sunday, March 25, 2007

So GOOD!!!


I have loved the prayer support of friends and family all over the US! I have friends and family in California, Indiana, Michigan, New Zealand, Australia, Lima, Europe, etc. praying for New Zealand, ShoreGrace, and my ministry Here!

I have this quote on my screen saver that says Prayer changes things: Don't ever become skeptical of that

I was sitting in church one day and the pastor stood up and attributed the momentum forward in the services to the faithful prayers in the back room who were currently bathing the service in prayer. Lost in my thoughts in my seat i said to myself, "No, it probably has something to do with the new worship leader that is doing a great job and getting people involved." In my seat i was instantly rebuked by the Lord. I heard God speak through my thoughts and say,

"Shame on you." I had become so practical at that moment that i had put Man's abilities over God's. Who gave this man this talent? Who is responsible for bringing about life change? Who works through all of these Christians? Who brought him to this church? Who worked out all the details for this man and this crowd to be here at this point in history to see what was happening happen?

I had forgotten that every good gift was from above (James 1 & John 3).

Do you know how comforting it is to go into a time of prayer and to be able to proclaim that this time and this service is being bathed in prayer all over the world. To know that i am not going into this cold turkey, that the church isn't, but that we are just a part of God's moving and an instrument of the Lord's to prepare the hearts of may to come to him.

Thank you. THANK YOU. Thank you so much for your prayer. Ministry is taking place here, but it is not as easy to see the results, and can easily become a place of frustration. We need your help in prayer to prepare the hearts of the people we speak to, to be open and for us to see the opportunities and seize them. Thank you for your help! You are being the prayer mediators for the lost souls of New Zealand!


Thursday, March 22, 2007

Past Journal

Dan, Kate, and I went Surfing on Saturday. The current was crazy strong, but it was just fun to be in the water and the sky was beautiful as you can see below!

Below is Wayne Parks. we went into the store next door to look at boards and recognized that my board was a Wayne Parks board. Turns out i just met the guy below who actually shaped my board off the internet! How random is that to randomlly bump into the shaper of the board you own!!! Only in New Zealand! He was what you would picture a shaper to look at. Laid back personality with long hair, no shirt, sitting outside of his store with all the boards sitting in the back room.

Today was a freeing day in the Lord's presence. I feel like a lot of liberation is taking place in my life. His presence was deeply felt in my time of worship and walking home from work. There was even a sense of delivery and liberation as i prayed over New Zealand and sang the song "Ask and i will give the nations to you" by Shane and Shane. At the same time i am watching people search for community and resorting to the bar. I have walked by a couple of girls crying, hurtin along the sidewalk tonight outside of clubs. It honestly hurts to feel so free and to watch people so hurt. I cannot wait for the day that i see the Lord's working power active in my life in a way that i can help to convince, challenge, love, and change people's lives. I don't have confidence in the Lord or myself, or convictions strong enough to overcome my fear of misrepresenting Christ by preaching something I don't fully understand or feel confident to claim! If i feel this way now about my walk and have for awhile, not just in New Zealand, how about everyone else?!?

Lord, i can't wait for the day when i can confidently and boldly preach and clearly explain the gospel and see lives transformed... but i also fear the disconnect and separation that people might put between me once i do experience this power and victory in the future. I fear barriers people may put between my abilities and there's to experience the same: "Oh, your supposed to be able to do that as a future pastor." "You're Brent, it's just different..."
...I am far from perfect! I have a failed as a sinful human! I have victory now but am still a sinner in restoration. I am confused and don't know how to help people! I don't know how to succeed. i don't know how to be the man i want to be. I have been loved, though. Oh so loved by family of friends and the Lord. Thank you Lord. So what is the answer? What am i wanting you to do now, Lord?... another sign?!? Another "last time sign" of you telling me what to do until the next time i doubt... oh boy!!!

(My time has been good and challenging, but i have constantly been challenged with how to bring up conversations and minister to the nonChristians around me in the best way possible and although i have faith and confidence in the Lord, i still have a general sense of questioning as to the best steps to take and when is the time to be bold and patient... The best answer i have hear is to wait on the Spirit, but that seems so ambigous and hard at times.)

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Kiwi Differences

After Being Here Awhile Dan and I have made some other speculations about Kiwi sayings. CLICK HERE TO WATCH VIDEO! It is kinda long, but I hope you enjoy the video!
New Zealand is trying to pass a law that bans "smacking" children. Basically if the law passes parents can no longer spank there kids, the won't even have a legal right to put their kid in timeout. Taking away privileges would be the main punishment alternative. It has not gone through and is looking to be changed, but it is a really interesting conversation starter. This law has already been implemented in like over 10 countries right now!

Grading System in New Zealand is somewhat different! I think it reflects the laid back culture.

Above is the closest thing i could find online to the New Zealand grading system, but from what i can tell from the teens is that at the final few high school (years 10-13), the grading system for my teens testing to go to college (university) is:

Grading System:
80-100% Excellence
60-80% Achieved
40-60% Merit

all of these are passing! I don't know about the subject and grading difficulty of the schools, so i may be ill-informed, but it sounds a little bit more relaxed than the states i would say!

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Fun last two weekends!

Last weekend Dan and i went to the Auckland Festival. We saw a fireworks show called Groupe F. They were amazing. It was sort of short, but the best fireworks show i have been a part of hands down!!! I felt like a kid again, looking up at the light filled sky, with my jaw dropped, seriously saying, "Awwhh... WOooww!" Dan has pictures on his page. Click Here to Look at them.

I was also able to put my silhoutte up on a building and danced in front of the big crowd!
Afterwards i was able to help 3 girls find their lost car keys. It was a good night.

I love crowds. There were 60,000 people there! That always makes me happy to be a part of!

This Weekend Dan, Geoff, Sam, and I went to Dan and I's first Rugby League game!
When we got there, a local kiwi band Dan and i have grown to like called "The Black Seeds" were playing. We rocked out to them.
The home team Warriors dominated! It was a fun gad

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Priority questions for thought...

If you were to Die tomorrow...(seriously, STOP, and think about it)...If you were to Die tomorrow,
......what would be your priorities for today?
If your life amounted to nothing you thought, you reached none of the occupational goals, success, and/or popularity that you wanted...
  • what would be you say to yourself, "Well at least I have..."
  • what in your way of living would be your source of fulfillment?
  • what would you wished you would've spent more time doing?

Impact of Wesleyan Camps

There has been an annual Wesleyan Family Winter Camp in June here in New Zealand for the last few years. Ignite was the 1st Youth Wesleyan camp. I knew it was a big deal, but i guess i never really considered the impact. I know it was a big turning point for some of the teens at ShoreGrace. One or two have gone so far as to say they wonder if they are even the same person coming back from camp. For all these teens coming from churches of 150 or less where they may have a youth group of anywhere from 4-30, having a group of 80 teens and a speaker, worship band, and camp focused on them is HUGE for impact and experience. I know there are stories like this at other churches as well.
Also just recently i was talking to Juliette. She shared she was raised in a Christian family, but it wasn't until the Wesleyan family camp 3 or 4 years back that she realized what it meant to be a committed follower of Jesus and that she has been intentional about her walk and commitment since then!

From conversations with teens in the other youth groups, the family camp also seems like a regrouping and reunion time for the body of believers to come together and worship together... So cool! Looking forward to that in June!

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Adventures Within

I have loved this job. it will only go through the next month or so, but it has been so good.
I did two week long camps in one of the richer canals of New Zealand on the Coromandel (Pauanui & Taurua)
I then snorkeled and Kayaked for 3 days at Goat Island
Then i led Kayaking and Dune Sledding at Bethels Lake
But you have no idea where these places are so below is the cool stuff.
kids being instructed with raft building
I just had about 5 times this week i thought, my life is great!

We were getting settled in to camp Monday morning and my boss Brett through me the keys to a van and said, "Go scope out and familiarize the tramp[trail] that you will take the kids on. There is a waterfall trail at one point to check out."
...Are you kidding me!?!
My boss just told me to go jog and explore a trail. I am walking through lush green bush with trees all around birds fluttering through and a stream running beside me. I have to walk over a shaky wooden bridge a few times to get over the trail. I detour up to a waterfall where i am jumping around from rock to rock seeing what i am capable of and whether the kids could handle it. I was able to just play in the woods!

That night the kids were led through the forest with no lights. The whole job of the instructors and parents was to scare the kids. I got paid to sit in a dark forest and make scary noises and grab kids feet! hahaha... that is hilarious ....sure i had some hesitation... but it was too much fun.

Where We kayaked and raced the rafts

The Next day i was able to explore another track. I was running through areas that made you wonder whether it was still on a trail or not. I was jogging and pushing my way through some thick reeds taller than me wondering where i was going and right as i came out the other side i just stopped. Everything in my body said, "Whoa!" as my eyes lifted up to see a 15 foot waterfall and hole in front of me with bush all around it and a trail up the side of the hill to the connecting waterfalls! SOoo Good!

The Last day i was able to write "Hi Garth and Rachel" (two coworkers) in huge letters on the dunes and to run up a hill a little ways to get a great view of the lake, bush, and dunes.

I just feel that God has been pouring into me and the experiences and time alone with him i have. I decided that is why i don't have a wife right now. It would just be WAY too much good in my life all at once! He is saving her so i still have something to look forward too! jk

it is great not perfect:
I still had to sit in the wind and occasional rain while waiting during lunch for the second group
it was pretty cold in the rain waiting to scare the kids
I got sick from the weather a week ago.

I know i know... poor brent. it is a rough life but someone has to do it.

I have gotten a lot more confident in archery, kayaking, boogie boarding, hiking, snorkeling, team games, tying knots, loading equipment, driving manual, raft building, safety management, and leading and controlling groups in these activities in different settings. Pretty cool.

Typical Work Day
6:30 Wakeup
7:00 Breakfast and kid Breakfast Duties
8:00 Gear Checks
8:30-12 Activity
12:30-1:30 Lunch and Lunch Duties
1:30-5:00 Activity 2
5:30-7:00 Dinner and Dinner Duties
7-9:00 Activity Run by Teachers
9-11:00 free time
11 or 12 Bed Time

My Blogging is Back!

It won't be every day, but i have endless thoughts to file and journal away from the past month and it will be an easy way to update you as well.

I got the camera and labtop and ipod back today.(the picture above was when i got my camera from canon!)

Today i had a day alone with God... Can i tell you how AMAZING it is to set aside a day or days alone with God with no pressures, no calendar, no way for people to contact you, no media, no time restrictions, and no have tos. I napped, i read, i wrote, i listened to worship music, i was rejuvenated, refreshed, and found myself laughing at how i felt guilty for spending too much time reading the Bible. It is kind of silly how good Satan is. I actually felt guilty for enjoying reading the word and wondered if i was spending too much time reading when i had specifically set this day aside to accomplish just the opposite!!!
Four years ago I spent a very meaningful week camping in my minivan out in San Diego. It was only fitting that the time of rest today was also spent in the front seat of the MacKay's minivan as it rained off and on outside.

I compiled a list of my favorite books along with each book's appeal:
Book (not in any specific order)
1. You are Special by Max Lucado: Simple Deep Truth For Life
2. In the Name of Jesus by Henri Nouwen: I Connect With His Heart
3. Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis: Well Illustrated & Thought-out Christianity
4. Pursuit of God by A.W.Tozer: Deep & Heart Felt
5. ScrewTape Letters by C.S. Lewis: Insightful Perspective that unveils Satan's tactics
6. Wild At Heart by John Eldredge: Knowing and Discovering the Inner Man in God
7. Purpose Driven Life by Rick Warren: Practical Life Truth
8. The Humor of Christ by Elton Trueblood: A New Perpective on Reading the Bible
9. Velvet Elvis by Rob Bell : Discovering Raw Truth
10. Irresistible Revolution by Shane Claiborne : Shows need for Community and Social Action
11. The Book of James: Concrete Action For Christians to take
12. The Book of Proverbs: Simple Wisdom For Every Day Life
13. The Book of John: Beautifully shows The Love and Truth of Jesus
14. For Men Only by Shaunti & Jeff Feldhahn: Good Insight into Communicating with Women
15. Redeeming Love by Francine Rivers: Great Biblically Inspired Christian Romance

Disclaimer: Keeping in mind that i am a reader, but not the most resourced reader by any means!

Friday, March 09, 2007

My camera is temporarily getting fixed.

My laptop is getting a new battery.

My ipod is also getting a new battery.

It's all good.... all broken... but all good when its under warranty!

So i will blog, but only occasionally for the next week since i have limited pictures, internet, and time. I often try to picture what is happening in the US. IWU just had its spring break this last week. Good times.

I have been here 2 and a half months! time is going to quick!!!

I used my new used 6'3" surfboard i bought online for $115 bucks for the first time Friday. It is a fun board. So Stoked!!!!

The rest of this month for me holds:
Mon- Wed- Adventure Camp
Mon- Dan is an extra on NZ tv show!
Thurs- Interview for another promotion job
Fri-Sat- camping and kayaking at base of volcano
End of month: Youth Camping Trip
End of month: Dan's girlfriend Julie visits!
Next month: Dan and i take two week trip to South Island
April or May: Dan's parents visit NZ for 10 days
June: Trace comes out to New Zealand and then to go to Australia over 2 weeks!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

This Weekend!

I have Fusion(the youth Friday night service) Tonight and a chance to speak at the men's breakfast tomorrow morning. Cool opportunities. I am just constantly on the move planning, journaling, working or at a youth event. I have been good about protecting my time with the Lord pretty consistently because i need the strength and rest in Him. I served last night at the restaurant and it was fun and still a great opportunity, but in comparison to getting paid more to teach kids how to kayak and snorkel the past three days at Goat island just with a team of peers around my age just doesn't seem compare. The job is crazy cool and i am planning on going into more detail, but once again that will be at a later time. Thanks for caring enough to check my blog and keep up with me. even that is cool

Random Fun Opportunity: Dan and i just signed up for a company that finds commercials, extras and movies, extras in tv shows, etc. The family we stay with has done different advertisements and dan and i might be in some New Zealand if not American promos as extras! I'll keep you updated!

I am going to get my computer worked on so it may be a few days before my next post.

Monday, March 05, 2007

Life is Full

COMING SOON: Post on the fun job.

I didn't get to post on work because life was too busy today and other priorities came before the blog, but here were a few quick thoughts from the day.

I have not been as worried about being good enough, not being a failure, or proving myself lately. when God is doing good things you are more focused on the excitement of what is happening then your failures. Kinda cool.

A song just sang "will the world ever get tired of the silly love songs?" My answer is No. A needs of humanity are hope, community, and a fulfillment in love. A part from God these are best emulated in marriage just as the analogy goes, marriage is a portrayal of the churches union with Christ. As long as God's kingdom has not fully come, these needs will be unmet in this world.

Sunday, March 04, 2007

Ignite Youth Camp

Tomorrow: Update on Adventures Within Job... which i love!
our guys cabins

The Camp was Awesome! I really only have 20 minutes before my midnight curfew, but i will do my best to explain the camp and the outcome.

The camp went from Friday at 7pm to Sunday at 3pm. We had a Friday night rally, Saturday morning rally, Saturday night commitment time, and final Sunday rally with slideshow, communion, and every camper receiving a personal bible! (something a lot of these teens probably don't have).

The Camp was loads of Fun in Between. I made a video that i will try to put online
There was a confidence/ropes course, a zip line, archery, kayaking, a water slide, hill karts, etc. We played volleyball and football at one point. (you have to clarify that it is American football or Grid iron or else Kiwi's think soccer).

We were able to take the teens to look at the unobstructed or distracted star filled skies which is always awesome to stand in admiration of God.

During the invitation time on Saturday night... almost every came forward!!! I didn't know what to think at first! But it turns out a lot of big commitments were made! For a lot of these teens this gathering of 80 Christian teens and a compiled youth band was the closest thing to a youth retreat/camp that they have ever experienced.

A lot of teens at the campfire sharing time Saturday Night admitted to being skeptical about camp being boring, but all sharing that it had gone over and beyond their expectations. There were some blossoming leaders and preachers in this group.

Since coming back: A lot of Shoregrace teens have taken there commitments very seriously.
A handful of teens started up a small group on their own where they are all in the process of sacrificing something for lent some commitments being: not putting anyone down, no playstation, etc.


It was an awesome camp, let alone it being the first one in a exciting tradition to come. Us two random guys were a part of the beginnings of a youth camp that will continue to grow and blow people's socks off in New Zealand in the years to come!

Geoff Davies did a great job helping to coordinate that!
Exciting Times
There is so much more there untouched, but it is bed time. Until tomorrow!

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Food for Thought

This picture is from class a few months ago

So the overall update from the last two weeks is just... too... BIG! I will complete that tomorrow, but here is just some food for thought!

I was talking to some friends recently about Christianity. They were arguing that they wanted to be Christian but that they believed everyone should be able to do what the want and to choose to do what they feel. That ultimately everyone should be able to believe what they want to believe. I am all for that argument. Yes!!! That is what is means to be HUMAN!!!

...but not for Christianity.
Don't Allow People to Use that Argument for Christianity!!!
As Christians we proclaim that there is good and evil. We proclaim that everyone is entitled to choose how they want to live their life as humans, but we will hope, pray, cry, and scream our lives out as followers of Christ so that people might see....

...that people might see that following the Lord is the better way to choose.

Are you allowing people to think being human is the end
or are you helping people see why they even have a choice and what they can do with that choice?

Just a thought.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Catchup and Big Stuff

Some BIG things have happened since i was gone and so tomorrow i will be playing catchup on emails, calendar, work, church, and also blogging on everything. Stay in tune!