Monday, August 22, 2005

Dial Up Future

Been pondering recently the ways in which God leads us. We've been looking for a house for a little while now. Trying to downsize. And just when we think we might be onto something, it kind of dissipates. Now I'm not complaining about that, because I see it as one of the ways God is leading us. But it IS frustrating...anyways I'm getting back into my journalling as a way of staying more connected with my own processes and what God may be speaking to me...

If I were a painter
I would consume this canvas
But I find that I can barely join the dots
So I sit, pouring myself onto a page
That I might read the black and white of me
And pull up the grey from between the lines.
I try to dial up my future
But I all I get are the intermittent pips of disconnection
It is then I recall:
A prophet is never welcome in his own mind.

I like to help people, but I am really bad at helping myself. Keeps me humble. Well, relatively.


Saturday, August 20, 2005


So I hate these things. But I guess sometimes you just have to suck it up.

Age: 37

Family: I am married to the holistically beautiful and ever humourous Kristen and father to the perpetually laughing child Rhys, aged 5 months.

Religion: I was an atheist until age 19 at which point I had a miraculous encounter with God which resulted in me receiving a substantial gift of faith...I have followed Jesus Christ ever since.

Ministry: I am pastor to the cessioncommunity, a recent church plant within the Wesleyan Methodist network of churches. It keeps me out of trouble. For my sins I am National Secretary, which basically means a lot of stuff ends up on my desk...

Education/Work: Completed a BA in History and a Law degree at Auckland University. Practised law for 10 years and closed out that career with some post graduate teaching. Completed an MBA and became a pastor (yeah a common course of study for pastoral ministry...but very useful for church planting). Was bivocational (but otherwise comfortable with my sexuality) for 5 years and went full time in pastoral ministry this year. Currently completing a Graduate Diploma through Carey Baptist College.

Favourite Movies: The Sting, Chitty Bang Bang, The Fifth Element

Favourite Books: Letter to the Ephesians, Enders Game, The Life You've Always Wanted, Renovation of the Heart, Nights Dawn Trilogy

Favourite Webpages: Um none really...

Favourite Other Blog: Servant Geek Dobber until he tagged me. Deurty who I helped church plant with in Michigan. I read a fair few but tend to stream of consciousness surf rather than follow any regulars.

Extracurricular Activities: Hanging with the fam, Watching rugby, Reading, Talking with friends

If I could be anyone I would be: A better version of me

T.V character I am most often likened to: No one, although people often say I look like Nick Farr-Jones (superior Aussie half back). In fact someone said it today!

If I wasn't a Christian I would be stereotyped as: A know-it-all

Biggest Fear: Dying

Biggest Fault: Slave to my emotions

Biggest Mistake: As an atheist teasing my sister about following Christ...feeling better about her gradual re engagement of faith...

Weirdest thing I've done: Too many to name...I once played strip golf...and lost...the penalty was a nude run...I negotiated boxers but I had to carry a large wooden statue of an over endowed male figure with me as if it were the Olympic torch...

Anyways, its done. No tags. You tag yourself if you really want to keep this going.


Blogging Desert

Hasn't felt like a blogging week. So I didn't...

Sunday night we started the Money For Dummies series. It seemed to go well - actually better than I expected. It was a somewhat practical message which I struggled with a bit in the preparation. I had no end of material but was finding it hard to get excited about the overarching redemptive themes (ie there really weren't any). A new person specifically commented they would be back which surprised me - not that anyone would come back, but that a messgae on money would engender that sort of engagement. This week its Debt For Dummies...

We've been house hunting recently to no avail. I'm actually starting to get frustrated with it just a bit...all these grand theories about how much we'll save with this option etc. Its been instructive so far on trying to understand God's leading in this process. A couple of times we're felt to walk away, once from the almost perfect place (well under the bedroom/price theory we were working at that time anyway). Other times we've left doors wide open to see them close in a way we feel high levels of peace about. Anyways, it will happen - I think we know we can't stay here as much as we'd like to.

Good time hanging with Jeff Fussner yesterday - Jeff is my ministerial supervisor. I'm working on a revamped schedule and he was really helpful. So my life looks great on paper right now. Actually, its also pretty good in rea life but I want my time to count more - there are also some things I hold as high priorities/values that are not in my schedule. So I'm working through how to accomplish things for the long haul. Its a good process. And its all colour coded...

Today is leadership training which I always enjoy - we've had a few defections due to illness, bereavement and work clashes. Bummer. I'm not sure how many to expect! Praying it will impact those who do make it.

Speaking of impact - the car broke down on Thursday - right at a set of traffic lights. The indicator light starts slow down! Its like a UFO was right overhead...then the car I push it round the corner into a service station and ring the AA (yeah I really felt like a drink). They come pretty quick and its the alternator which has fried. We end up having the car towed (and that ends up being for free!) So, now its like $600 to have this thing fixed on the cheap...hmmm, might go check the account for acts of God!!!


Saturday, August 13, 2005

"You Give and Take Away"

Its been an interesting week, with a few stories to tell.

Remember the glasses? Well it looked like they would cost me around $350 to replace - I mean they were snapped in half! Someone then made a really good suggestion: use the old lenses and just buy new frames - this seemed like a cool idea - in fact it would mean that I could get away with around $150. It felt like God had placed that person's thought in my day. Then I get another idea: maybe they could fix them? So I take them up to the store and sure enough, they can! The estimate is $30. So from $350 to $30 I was feeling pretty good. I went to pick them up yesterday, pull out my card to pay and she says, "Don't worry about it". After I pick my jaw up off the floor I thank her and she says, "I'm feeling generous!" Whats more the old frames have been straightened (I'm a bit rough on glasses), screws tightened and generally overhauled. So from broken glasses to "just like new" in one week. On a pastor's wage I can tell you that "little things" like that feel like huge blessings.

Especially this week - a week of large bills mainly on cars:

Service & Seat fixed $140
Tires $300
Warrant fees $80
Brake Pads $200

Total: $720

But it doesn't end there. Kristen needed to get a light fixed on her car and they did it for free.

But it doesn't end there. What do I find in the letter box yesterday afternoon? $250 in cash left anonymously!

But it doesn't end there. I'm checking our bank accounts yesterday evening and what do I find? A deposit of $500 has been made anonymously. Its titled "ACT II" in humourous reference to a previous anonymous (and very large) donation which is still a compete mystery to us.

So the way I look at it we're $30 in credit! That must have been for the glasses...


Monday, August 08, 2005

Life Without Sky

Everything I've read about the AB's narrow loss to South Africa makes me glad that responsible (read: boring, killjoy and depressing) financial decision making to lose the satellite subscription has occurred. Saturday night was a frustrating experience as I realised that free to air coverage of the 1am NZ time game would not be replayed until 4pm the next day! That's ridiculous. So I still haven't seen it cos the VCR is broken (see responsible financial decision making above). But I think I can live without a game of dropped ball and intercepted passes.

Had an interesting Friday. First, I ventured out early to have my car fixed (see responsible financial decision making above) and thus to avoid being fined for not having held a warrant of fitness these past 5 months. Its not my fault really - every time I take it in they find something new and then we have to save to get it fixed (see...above). So I don my sunglasses and stride manfully home in the chilly morning temp, my usual glasses in my pocket. I arrive home, well at the reserve immediately adjacent and make a big mistake. Instead of walking down the reserve and up our driveway I decide to jump the fence. I forgot something. No, my athleticism had remained intact. No, it wasn't the wrong fence. No, the fence wasn't fragile. But. My glasses, the ones in my pocket, were. So I am living in a state of semi blindness. I'm very glad I didn't have to preach this Sunday! On the positive side they can be fixed for $30 rather than the $350 I priced out new ones at (see more of the above). Meantime I have learned that the old song "I wear my sunglasses at night" is not as crazy as it sounds - I can actually see much better with them on...

Then it was off for coffee with Frank Ritchie...except he didn't have coffee...we talked bollocks about a range of things sprawled out in sun draped chairs on the Auckland waterfront. I discovered I am a very narrow conversationalist. I need to get out more ;)

The afternoon I went all over the area with Jim Wood looking for potential church buildings - if anyone can come up with a solution it will be Jim - great brain that boy.

Friday night was beer and pizza with the wife, except she didn't have the beer Marcia :)

Sunday night was cool - we ran our latest cafe, featuring the BlairGilesband. Lots of new faces and a typically amazing performance from Blair and his crew. Food was fantastic thanks to our own Jean Wan and her team of chefs. Great fun. I just had re heated spring rolls and salsa for breakfast. Mmmmmm

Anyways better get into the day, I'm rambling.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Top Ten

So Rhett suggested a Top Ten album's thingie and so...

BJ's Top Ten Albums Of All Time

1. Swamp Ophelia (Indigo Girls) Stunning lyrics, amazing harmonies, huge intensity
2. Emergency on Planet Earth (Jamiroquai) Great feel, astonishing musicianship
3. Released (Nina Simone) An album that's all heart and searing lyrics
4. You Grow Closer (Aretha Franklin) Aged 16, previously unreleased and unbelievable
5. Stephane Grapelli Live in Copenhagen - the old master at his best
6. Tourist (St Germaine) Compelling, jazzy, busy
7. Best of Talking Heads - OK so this is cheating...but every song is a winner
8. Love Over Gold (Dire Straits) Guitar hero, cynical lyrics and ambience plus
9. Under the Ice (Blair Giles) Sweet vocals, intoxicating lyrics and very unique
10 = Shaking the Tree (Peter Gabriel) & Temple of Low Men (Crowded House) - Idiosyncratic and brilliant musically/lyrically v Archetypal NZ, melody plus and brilliant musically/lyrically

Now I appreciate this is not exactly a classics of rock/pop etc. And there are some songs that didn't make the list via the album that would if they were in there for the song alone - in that category I include: Rosanna (Toto), Baby Its You (Promises), Blame it On the Boogie, a personal all time favourite (Michael Jackson) and Signed, Sealed and Delivered (Stevie Wonder) I also self-imposed a rule - if this was truly going to be honest I had to own the CD - there is one album that would have made it if I owned it - Michael Jackson's "Off the Wall". Also I decided that only one album per artist was permitted so I struggled a bit there with the Indigo Girls, Aretha Franklin and Nina Simone picks. Finally, I allowed myself only one greatest hits/compilation type album - I was very tempted to include the "Commitments I" which is how great soul would have sounded way back when if the recording technology was better.

Interestingly, this reveals some things about my tastes that are probably true - I am first and foremost a soul/jazz lover but also a sucker for tight harmonies and interesting/bizarre lyrics that provoke me emotionally. It also reminded me that music is for me an emotional medium that moves me primarily at the heart level - its lyrics that move me by the way I identify with them that I gravitate to rather than those that challenge me intellectually.

And no U2.

But the Indigo Girls drop the F-Bomb on "Under the Sun" so thats OK...what?!