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The church calendar has had 2 millennia in the Northern Hemisphere to find meaning. Easter happens in Springtime, meaning the promise of new life is resounded in buds and blossom and lambs leaping. Pentecost happens in the summer heat, giving embodiment to the fiery presence of the Spirit. Advent and Christmas happen in the dark of winter, meaning the candles are lit when the days are their shortest, and the longing for the coming of...

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Earlier this week I had a conversation with my five year old son, Sam about the significance of Holy Week. I have been fascinated by Jesus' statement, 'Father forgive them, they don't know what they're doing' (Luke 23:34). If Jesus reveals to us who God is (Col 1:19, John 14:7) then this offer of grace to those who aren't even looking for it is mind boggling. I wanted to help this truth make its home in...

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The story of the Prodigal Son comes up in the lectionary readings this Sunday. People who know me will be aware that I believe this short story to be a better piece of work than anything from Narnia, the Lord of the Rings, Roald Dahl or even Captain Underpants (the last two reveal something of my son's bedtime reading demands at present). When we look at the three stories of Luke 15 together we often  focus...

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Over the weekend I had the privilege of leading a church leadership team on a retreat exploring creative worship. To begin I led them through the traditional flow of worship, in a pretty non-traditional way. Beginning with our Call to worship, we scattered around the complex. We listened to this song, and as we felt drawn to respond, we came and took our seats in the circle. We moved into thanksgiving, where we wrote the names of...

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I was splitting firewood today. I scored a pile of free wood from an arborist who needed to get rid of it, and today was my first chance to get at with, first with the chainsaw, then the log splitter. I was reminded of how beautiful the inside of a log of wood can be. My favourite is red wattle, it has an almost checkered interior with red and white squares. It fades quite quickly once...

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In the airport lounge about to board a flight with my wife and our two children, I have a hasty phone conversation with a good friend. He is a minister and he wants to pick my brain on the Bible passage he’s preaching on this Sunday. It’s the feeding of the 5000 in Matthew 14. I love these conversations. Being an extrovert I tend to have epiphanies and make new connections as I hear myself...

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I find myself thinking about holiness a lot these days. One of the defining narratives that has shaped my understanding is Moses and the Burning Bush (in Exodus 3). Moses sees a bush burning without burning up. He goes over to investigate. He is addressed by a voice who names him and commands him to take off his sandals because he is standing on________? That's right, 'holy ground'. This story, along with others gave me the impression...

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[caption id="attachment_1051" align="alignnone" width="420"] Good Samaritan, by He Qi, China[/caption] I'm just back from a couple of weeks down south as part of my role helping churches with their worshipping life. During my time I had a number of awesome conversations with some great people serving God in local congregations. One in particular stands out. The minister of this church was telling me how varied his congregation was. Recently a conversation had sprung up in this...

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Here's a message I shared at Omokoroa Community Church last Sunday. You can warm up by reading Psalm 32:1-7. Many of you will have heard that something noteworthy happened in New Zealand Cricket last week. For the first time in our 84 years of being a Test playing nation, someone scored 300 runs, by themselves. Brendon McCullum, Black Caps captain, batted across 3 days for 750 minutes to bring this up. You could watch the LOTR...

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[caption id="attachment_993" align="alignright" width="300"] Abraham with the three visitors. Gen 18[/caption] So I've been thinking, learning and listening a bit recently, about a concept I will call, 'the anonymous Christ'. Its the idea that Jesus will show up at times and in ways that we didn't see coming. We are well familiar with this idea. But what about if we flesh it out? What if Jesus can arrive unrecognised and proceed to minister among us, still...

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