Sunday, June 27, 2004

USA Roadtrip

Its been a bussssy time here in the USA - 3 Conferences down and just back from a roadtrip to Cedar Point. So rather than bore you with Conference details (other than to agree with Thompson on Wes Keitel) here's some of my unique experiences as a Kiwi in the USA:

Nuclear Power Plants The closest I get to one of these in NZ is watching Homer Simpson at work. For those of you who don't know, NZ has been sent to its room for some diplomatic time out by the USA on account of us not letting nuclear capable warships into NZ waters. We're staunchly no-nukes so seeing a nuclear power station was a slightly haunting experience!

120 mph Straight Up! We rode this roller coaster at Cedar Point that sends you from a standing start up to a speed of 120mph and then sends you straight up a couple hundred feet into the air, then down the other side. Its a blast. All over in seconds. Was it worth the 70 minute wait in line? Yeah...

Biblical Plagues The Cedar Point area was suffering from a plague of "Fish Flies". Apparently they live for 12 hours and exist only to mate and feed the fish from which they take their name...they also make a crunchy noise when you stand on them.

Johnny Rockets This dining experience was a real treat. Classic diner decor with table top juke box. But the highlight was the "spontaneous" staff dancing to tunes such as "Respect" and "Staying Alive" - all around the diner the waitrons would start singing and dancing in unison. Very cool. Our waitress was a few fries short of a happy meal which only added to the event!

More later...tomorrow we return to Watermark Church for a visit - looking forward to saying "hi" to old friends...


Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Back in the USA

We landed in Grand Rapids last night around midnight! Family and friends to greet us with balloons and camera flashes. Initial concern at lost bags turned into relief - they had come through on an earlier flight. Nothing too eventful on the flight - saw Starsky and Hutch - funny movie.

Today its off to WWF - no not the wrestling - Wesleyan World Fellowship - should be an interesting cultural phenomenon!

Jonesboy "Britt"

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Sunday Checkpoint

Tonight at cession we started the "Extreme Makeover" series with Week #1 "The Image Consultant". I preached one of those crossover messages where you do your best to preach a message that hits both seekers and Christians - basically about being created in the image of God and asking the question what does it mean to live like a spiritual person? It ended up being a lot more intense in the delivery than I thought it would...not sure what that meant for those listening. An interesting response from Nick the returning resident atheist - he asked me tonight whether he could help out on worship team in the future! Now while some would dismiss this out of hand, for me it was a wonderful expression of Nick's engagement of the community. We agreed to talk some more when I got back. I think he was just amazed that I quoted from Oscar Wilde and Winnie the Pooh in the same message and managed to say "eschatological" without tripping over my tongue - maybe I shouldn't use big words, but I don't think its the end of the world if I do...

I crack me up.

We also had an hilarious drama "Pagan Eye for the Spiritual Guy" - very funny satire of the Pagan Eye doing his best to lower the expectations of the Spiritual Guy - very cleverly done around the metaphor of preparing food as if it were the Queer Eye kitchen segment. Ask me about the dogfood sometime...

Well its bedtime for me...tomorrow we fly to the may be offline for a day or 2...

The Kiwi Flies Again...

Saturday, June 12, 2004

Hitched, Crushed and Packing...

Hitched...Jacob and Melissa were successfully married this weekend. I married them in an underground wine grotto! Very atmospheric. Seemed to go well. I preached on "Marriage is Made in the Differences" and felt the whole event was a great celebration and an awesome witness.

Crushed...The English Rugby team. I don't care what sport you play but 36-3 is a thrashing in anyone's world! The supposed world champs who avoided playing us in the World Cup final due to an off day in the semi finals just got smashed by the mighty All Blacks. Plenty of blood and guts along with tremendous skill from the Men in Black.

Packing... Me. In preparation for our US sojourn leaving in 2 days. First things first - 2 services to negotiate tomorrow and then some rapid fire planning for the next 2 weeks... Looking forward to some input and reflection time while I'm away.

Well back to tidying up tomorrow am's service - the boss is already in the US - nice for some!


Wednesday, June 09, 2004

The Return of the Jonesboy

Its been quite a week! And apologies for my silence to all my avid readers - I appreciate both of you...

This weekend just gone was the weekend of our National Convention at Lake Taupo. We spent from Friday - Monday together - people from all over New Zealand from every culture imaginable - Fijian, Tongan, Samoan, Chinese, Singaporean, Malaysian, Rotoman, Maori, Australian(!) and the occasional Kiwi. There were also some Americans - 7 in fact from Kentwood Community Church in Michigan.

The Convention was a huge success! We exceeded the camp facilities in the first year of operation - the kids and youth programmes were amazing. The times of worship were inspirational and LOUD! Workshops were relevant and empowering for ministry. Great time to build friendships, all within this context of cultural and ethnic diversity that I suspect is rare in this world.

So leading up to the weekend was full on. And these past 2 days the same - Tuesday was catch up day, Wednesday was last day with the Kentwood team. Tomorrow we head down country for a wedding I am doing and then Monday we're on the plane for the US. Plenty to do before then!!!

Anyway, I need to go and keep things moving.


Wednesday, June 02, 2004

The Eagle Has Landed

A team of youth specialists from Kentwood Community Church arrived in Auckland today to assist us with the Youth Programme at our weekend convention. Good to catch up with Rob Reynolds and Mark Carroll in particular and meet some of the others. Miraculously the best burger joint in the world - BurgerFuel - has opened just down the road from us! Ask Rob R if NZ has the best burgers...So one "Ringburner" later I'm feeling real satisfied.

Got a bunch of stuff to do tomorrow - just finished ECW Ministry Team meeting - it was an early start out at the airport (5.30am) so I feel the need for sleep!

Oh - my dissertation tutor kinda confirmed in an email that as far as he is concerned the dissertation is up to scratch. Cool. I wouldn't want to do that again anytime soon! Still waiting for official confirmation.

Anyways time for bed...