Keeping Up With Life in NZ

Leaving On A Jet Plane


Today is the day...we jump on a plane about 4pm local time and hit the Auckland tarmac (not literally) around 7.30am. The last few days have been a succession of goodbyes which is good because it spreads it out but is bad because it spreads it out.

Last night we went to see Chronicles of Narnia. A good night out. Tilda Swinton was magnificant as the White Witch I thought. Peter was a wimp. The beavers were fun. Some of the fantasy creatures were way cool. Favourite moment: just before Aslan is about to bite the witch's face off and she realises for the first time who he really is.

I am left with a profound question: how come so many Maori are ending up as mercenaries in people's armies these days? In Narnia you've got Shane Rangi as General Otmin (the Minotaur) and Patrick Kake as General Orieus, the Centaur (their face off was pretty cool I thought). This following on from Temuera Morrison turning out to be Boba Fett's Dad (forget the whole "Luke, I'm your father thing") and being like the template for the entire clone army (and subsequently the whole stormtrooper thing).

Deep questions.

See you Kiwis soon...


For Whom the Bell Tolls


A great weekend with Impact enjoying being a part of this vibrant community. Kristen and I got to do a last hurrah with Ryan and Angele, introducing the cessioncommunity to our partner church. We basically took over the service with Ryan, Kristen and myself joining with Dave (drums), Bailey (vox) and Tom (percussion) from the 2005 Student Missions team to form the nucleus of a worship band. Katie Sullivan, soon-to-be cession intern joined us in helping to tell the story of cessioncommunity and the partnership we have with Impact. It seemed to go well. It was a real highlight that Katie's parents and grandparents were able to be there.

I preached from 2 Corinthians 3 - us being a letter sent by Christ. It was an interesting experience having to preach 3 services with the same message. Each time different. Not at all boring, but high energy required!

Sunday evening it was off to Mars Hill. Rob Bell was in fine form - check out the Mars Hill website for the download. Faithfully, I persisted with my plan to introduce Rob Bell and Mars Hill to the riches of the cessioncommunity. It was my goal to create an initial opportunity to connect our 2 churches and to enrich Mars Hill with our innovative approach to worship in a post-Christendom culture, to create fresh impetus to Nooma using the cession-patented Abraham and Isaac approach to retelling OT classics and to offer a unique experience in visiting cessioncommunity here in Auckland, New Zealand. I had set up this opportunity via email and had Rob's instructions to meet him after service to set up a time. So, feeling like a groupie I followed my instructions, shook the great man's hand and introduced myself as "the pastor from NZ who emailed him." He seemed to recognise me was effusive and polite, but unfortunately too busy to meet this week. I then found myself on the end of a highly efficient deflection programme which culminated in being handed off to one of their pastors and offered a tour the next day. However, I've already been to Disneyland so I didn't bother.

Today was lunch with Ken de Peal, pastor at Allendale Wesleyan, and a chat with Dave Drury, connections pastor at SLWC and author extraordinaire. Fortunately, both had time to meet with me...

Its now countdown to our return. I am looking forward to being home but also sad to be leaving our home away from home once again. A wonderful family and great friends make this a place I am truly privileged to have as home. But a year at cession beckons - significant challenges that hold within them great opportunities for growth. May it be so.


Florida Postscript


The road trip is over...we cut 10 hours off our return journey driving through the night in shifts. So it only took us 27 hours...I could not believe how many trucks we saw on the roads and parked in truckstops - literally hundreds. It gives you some sense of the scale of a large country such as the US.

We had a great time in Florida. One highlight was heading to the Everglades and riding an airboat. This was a lot of fun, including seeing large alligators close up. One useful tip from our guide: as alligators can run as fast as a horse over short distances you should zigzag if trying to escape an alligator on land. There was no equivalent hint for the water.

Since we've been back I've had a session with the Impact Missions team. We've begun discussing some exciting possibilities for the future. I also attended a Church Planters Leadership Development group which was informative but mainly a chance to catch up with various people I've got to know here! Had lunch with the Watermark pastor families yesterday at a surprisingly average Mexican joint. But the company was as always first class...then off for a Sam Adams with Jim Wood. I hasten to add at this point that Rev Wood had a cherry coke or some other such sweet "pop".

This weekend I am preaching in 3 Impact services with input from Ryan and Angele, Kristen and Katie Sullivan our soon-to-be youth intern. We get the chance to communicate who we are as the cessioncommunity to our partner church. A little daunting in some repects but I am excited by what we've pulled together. Then on Sunday evening its off to Mars Hill which is always a highlight.

A family day today with Kristen's grandparents and other family turning up for the weekend. A sign that our time here is drawing to an end.


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