Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dish Washing Therapy

So tonight I washed Dishes tonight for a few hours... It definitely is not my forte, but i actually really enjoyed the opportunity. What i realized from it was that it was hard work but that is why i appreciated getting to do it.

Why? It feels good to be exhausted sometimes when you know that you have given yourself fully to serving and a good cause.

Some of the best days i remember are coming home famished and exhausted after giving yourself fully to a building project and the people on a missions trip or a week of youth camp or something like that.

The danger is if the joyful giving switches from serving to obligation or inescapability.

Processing thought:
Good exhaustion is when you have pushed yourself to the limit and end your work with a joyful servant's heart.
Bad exhaustion is when you have pushed your joyful servant's heart to its limit before the end of your work.
So a key is to working hard to the Lord is to be everincreasing our joyful servant's heart in longevity and limit.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Year Update

Slower Upload but High Quality

This is my year update. Its a large file so it may take a little time to upload, but it is worth hearing the three encouraging stories of different people i have been working with. Thanks.

Faster Upload but Lower Quality

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Cult or Cultural Differences? My two cents on Brian Tamaki's article today

To be fair to Brian Tamaki and Destiny Church, I think this must be considered:
I do not feel able to state my stance on Destiny or Brian Tamaki based on my personal lack of knowledge of his actualy ministry being a cult or church.
At the same time, I do believe that the NZ herald article attacked him somewhat unfairly today.

Two initial suggestions from an outsider looking in:
1. Don’t take the NZ herald as always completely objective. I have received a lot of flack for bias news reporting in the US, but it surprised me on the flipside how easily accepting some of my friends were of the NZherald's article and criticism against the church as being objective and not possibly slanted.
2. Don’t underestimate the multicultural setting in NZ. Even though the different cultures have to mix at school and work and in NZ life, people still often underestimate the strong personal differences in beliefs and lifestyle that are determined by their cultural background.
European descent= more industial culture
Maori/Polynesian=more tribal culture
Click to Enlarge

Although this chart does not clear up all of Tamaki’s teachings or sayings, I believe it says a lot. (it may look tedious but its worth the read!) If you realize the writer and probably you as a reader come from an industrial background and that Destiny church seems to be mainly a tribal culture with elements of the peasant culture your opinion might change a little. If you reread the NZ herald article after reading this cultural differences chart, a lot of the issues in question at least partially involve cultural differences and the actions don’t seem so much cultish but rather a different culture that we may not completely understand. It looks to me like the NZherald reporter is criticizing a more tribal culture model based on his industrial point of view.

In light of Destiny Church being predominantly Māori and Polynesian and Māori at heart it is probably coming from a more tribal culture. Do you know what a large church based more on a tribal model would even look like? Whelp, Destiny church just might be it.

Let me pose a few questions:
1. How easy would it be for an nzherald reporter from an industrial mindset to express his cultural point of view against a tribal culture church to a country that has around 78% European descent coming from a predominantly industrial culture?
2. Could it be that there are NZ churches who have formed their beliefs about church and their interpretations of the Bible based from their industrial cultural point of view and projected it universally unfairly to churches around the world or even a tribal church model on their backdoorstep?

No culture is perfect and it is obvious cultures have theological issues, but the rule of thumb in in cultural studies seems to be that no one culture is good, evil, inferior, or superior in and of itself. Its a given that you can’t completely separate yourself from your culture so this doesn’t undermine having an opinion coming from your own cultural point of view, but I do think it brings into question the legitimacy of one judging another culture's way of doing church from your different cultural point of view of God. It would be very easy to work on the assumption that your way is right and that other cultures can't be different and as equally right.

Please once again note that I am not as much invested for or against Tamaki in this conversation as much as the possibly slanted media coverage that is being treated as objective.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random American Observations of New Zealanders

It was fun hearing my parents initial observations about New Zealand:
A few were that:
  1. Kiwis say: "Yea, yeah.." multiple times when agreeing
  2. More Kiwi girls pull off the stylish bed hair look
  3. My dad saw more manicured flowers in public parks than gardens where as my mom appreciated the flowers in personal gardens as regular.
A few things i realized as well:
  1. I am more likely to answer a comment in agreement with a contemplative "mmm..." where as before i would've actually tended to have a verbal response instead of just make a noise :)
  2. I don't think there are really any popular songs written that have "New Zealand or Kiwi" in the actual title of the song outside of "God save New Zealand." (Where as there are a lot of songs talking about america or certain places in it)

Appreciating My Family

I also forget how much fun my family is until i am back around them! My Dad and i got to bungee jump of the harbor bridge which was awesome. Here is my video:

I also just enjoyed laughing and joking around with my parents. I told my mom that i wanted to swim out to this island by the harbor bridge the first day they were here and it became an ongoing joke whether i could make it or not. My dad would do it with me, my mom thinks i will die by ship or shark. :)It was really fun for my parents to meet the Mackays. The mackays have especially been my NZ family since i first arrived so it was fun to have dinner and hangout together.
It was Great having my parents around a couple of weeks ago. It reminded me how much a supportive family means to me and makes a difference.

My Mom: Came in one morning while i was asleep all chipper and said, "Oo.. i get to wake my boy up!" she proceeded to tell me a few huge compliments from different people and it was just a great way to start off my day. I also enjoyed grocery shopping with them the last night. My mom was trying to get me like 6 tomatoes to take care of my grocery needs for life and my dad was the realistic one saying "Reata, he's not gonna eat over two or three before they go rotten."
Gotta love and need both of these people in your life.

My Dad: Is just awesome. He was great at meeting people and joking around. I also received feedback from the local pastors here saying that he had some really good insights about the churches and that he was rather on to it. It is always fun to hear his thoughts and observations because he is always watching his surroundings and taking in the random animals, plants, hidden places, and how the businesses and people work. Apparently he was the main entertainment for the WIF board that came over as well.

It was really good for them to just see where i live and to be able to connect faces and names now. so good.
Jennifer and Kelly: I miss these two and need to talk to them asap. Sorry, sisters, love you and can't wait to talk. Anyways, both of them had hearts for the Lord and led by example in a way that made me want to follow. Also, although they were embarrassed of me as a boy sometimes, they were always proud of me as their brother and believed in me as an athlete and person which really made a difference.

Last Week This Week: A Big Week!

Last 2 Weeks:
Parents Visit-
It was so encouraging and good to have my parents around for a week during their visit. It was very refreshing and just all around enjoyable.
ATC Trainme-
These 14-16 year old guys are continuing to open up during this hour slot Paul, Ben, and I have with them. This week we had 4 of the guys express interest in going to our Christian summer camp. Don't know if it will actually happen, but what an incredible connection and breakthrough if even one guy does! I have yet to get a picture of them, but will do this soon.

This Week:
Equip Youth Leaders Seminar-
This weekend is the annual Wesleyan leader equipping conference. I have different responsibilities of teaching a seminar and setting up a few other logistics.
Half Marathon-
Me and four others from cession|community are running a half-marathon this weekend. It will be the first half marathon the four others have ever run and it will be a great experience to share and conquer together!Flying to Christchurch-
Through a few really cool connections it turns out that next Mon-Wed i will head down to Christchurch. This idea of this Christchurch planting is where the whole idea and calling of New Zealand first started with me. I have no clue as to what God actually wants to teach me through this trip as to whether it is a future opportunity or simply a growing experience but your prayers are appreciated.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Parents Visiting!

My parents made it safely to New Zealand!

So I got to spend a few days with my parents this last weekend, they have been away a few days, but now i have a couple more days when they return thursday afternoon from being in Rotorua a few hours southeast.

My Dad was entertainment as usual.
Here he is getting a picture with the grounds keeper because he liked his tattoo.
I actually embarrassed my dad before this picture doing the haka (its a rare occasion when i get to embarrass my dad)
My Dad hunting seagulls. (gotta love it)
Me and the Parents after sunday lunch.

Are Aucklanders really that bad at merging?!

I mean i figured something like this would be self-explanatory, but i could be wrong...

Hanging out with People

ATC Trainme
For those praying for this first meeting with the guys in the alternative education, thank you, it went amazing! Seriously. We spent about a half an hour talking about what it meant to "put yourself in others shoes" and to see things from their point of view. Then we spent a half an hour playing rugby with the guys. It was a great balance and chance to build good relationships. (You know how us guys are sometimes, we probably grew closer and bonded more in the half an hour of not talking and just running around than we will in the entire time we talk together the following 5 weeks!)
Sorry, no pictures yet but soon.

Youth Group
Here is a picture of the cession youth after rock climbing on Monday night. Paul to the right is the youth pastor and Rachel in the purple is the girls' leader.
After Church Hangout
This is a group from cession eating at Denny's after church. I love times like this.
Yes. New Zealand has Denny's as well and it is the only restaurant really open after 9pm outside of pubs and McDonalds drive thru. :)

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Two big updates and Prayer Requests for next weeketo

Mentoring Begins

This next Tuesday at 10am, Ben, Paul, and I

(ben and family)


will conduct our first actual lesson with six train me boys in alternative education. This is

probably one of the biggest breakthroughs I have been able to lead and be a part of being over here. Not only is it a chance to teach “the trouble youth” of auckland about life and God for an hour a week, but it also connects our church (cession) to this part of the local community in a way that Brett and the church have been working and praying towards for a few years now. Awesome to see how God works.

My Parents are Coming!

Ollie and Reata fly in this Saturday for a week here in Auckland. The trip is business related but I should get to spend 4 or 5 days with them and introduce them to friends which is really exciting!

Sunday, October 04, 2009

A Normal Day for me here in New Zealand

I put this video together for those of you who wonder what my daily schedule roughly looks like...
And I seriously apologize if you were expecting something different! hahaha