Friday, August 1, 2008

What's Greese? This is 2006 baby.

There has been a phenomenon that has quickly come through the ranks in the last few years. You may have noticed it. Despite the many many words I could use to describe this phenomenon of universal proportions, it's easier to simplify it down to 3 words. These words are High, School, and Musical.

I'm not quite as bad as my friend Sam, who some of you may know through the grapevine, as rumor has it that he once was so sucked in by this tweenage fad that he watched the movie 3 times in one week, but.... I am afraid to admit that I am finding myself getting sucked in again.

Although it has been quite a number of years since the first movie came out, 2 years to be exact, I am afraid that it has lost none of it's appeal. In fact, it's growing. The 3rd High School Musical movie aptly named "The Senior Year", is due to hit cinemas later this year, and, I'm excited.

This is the 100% modern-day life-soundtrack equivilent of what Greese was when my parents were growing up, and sadly I can now see myself singing along with my kids in 10 years when it again comes on the 'Colgate Saturday Night Kids Movie' and actually enjoy it.

This movie has got to be the one we all grew up on for those who were teenages in the 2000's and although it's taken me a while to admit it to the world - I am no longer ashamed to say that I love it.
Excuse me while I go and practice "We're soaring, flying....." at the top of my lungs in my living room....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Mid-winter surf session........ anyone?

Yesterday we had a massive storm which destroyed trees, powerlines and most people's ability to use anything relying on electricity for most of the day. However, along with all the ridiculous wind and destruction it brought; it brought swell and blustery offshore winds. Being 20 and somewhat unwilling to give up my sense of adventure too soon, I managed to get 2 other buddies into the car and drive to the beach.

I still can't even believe we went; I cannot find the words to describe to you just how freezing it was, other than to say that if you could imagine standing on an iceberg while it's snowing, wearing nothing but speedos and sucking on a frozen coke, you may get an idea of what it felt like.
I guess I'll just let the photos speak for themselves - hopefully you get the jist how our afternoon went down.

Yes, we were heating ourselves under hand dryer. Lovely.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Gingerbread Haka

This is awesome - I'll definitely be working on my gingerbread haka in time for tomorrow's test match against the Australians.


Sunday, July 20, 2008

Church - as it should be.

I am so blessed to be working with such an amazing team at church. It's the greatest feeling in the world to know that I don't need to torture people with my vocal abilities (which by the way aren't as bad as others might like to have you think) or setup, lead worship, be the lead musician, preach, MC, and then packdown all by myself.

It's an honour to be working with such incredible, committed, talented and passionate people and to me that's what church is - everyone pitching in to create an environment where people are loved, cared for, lead, grown and above all able to glorify God for who He is.

Acts 2 is legendary and is the kind of church I'm striving to not only be a part of, but also be.

Thanks guys, you rock.

Friday, July 18, 2008

'Cos you gotta havah faith, ah faith, ah faith.

You know what one of the hardest things I've found in my christian walk to do is?


Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "wow, this guy's original". However, despite the fact that it's more than often the guy wearing the "traditional old-school flannel shirt, skin tight brown shorts and socks in the sandals" christian look that says the kind of cliche statements like I did, it's true.

I think sometimes, and an emphasis on sometimes, we can get all complicated in our christianity and get ourselves into thinking it's more complex than it is. I mean, I complex myself out if I spend too much time with myself on my own. I get this thought that to 'please' God that I need to read this book or do this special thing over there. I make my christian walk so complicated, and then because I can't live up to my own super-special expectations I get to one of two places:
Feeling guilty or burnt out.

And thus the point of this post: don't make your christian walk more complicated than it should be.

To me I love how Jesus decomplicates things to make them simple for our human mind. I guess He can sympathise with us humans with limited mind memory and simple brain function because He was one. It's like He realised that it was crazy for the Hebrews to try and remember what Leviticus said in Chapter 4 verse 28 in regards to how to specifically prepare the herbs for the steak dinner so he simplified the law into two commandments.

I am absolutely convinced Jesus doesn't want to complicate our lives to the point where we can't do the simple act of obeying Him. Half the time He's beating my analysing of details part of my mind out of obeying Him and growing me to the point where I do as much as I can but leave God's part to Him.

That's hard.

Hear me, I absolutely am for reading books, listening to sermons and going to teaching classes that help us to expand our capacity and grow us more into the plan God has for each one of us. But what I'm concerned about, for me personally anyway, is getting so complicated in trying to get my whole life under control and eventually humanly plan trusting God out of our lives.

After reading the recent post I put up that I stole from a guy called Jon Acuff, I was inspired to think about what God would say to me in a sentence. I figure God would say:

"Quit complicating your life to 'perfect planning' and just trust me." - God

So I'm gonna try.

Why don't you try with me:
What areas do you need to stop complicating and instead trust God?

Wednesday, July 16, 2008


This is legendary.

"Do you ever imagine how God spends His day? I do, but then I'm weird. I like to think He gets up early, shoots a round of Frisbee golf with David (the whole sling thing makes him pretty good), grabs breakfast at the Heaven Denny's with C.S. Lewis and then spends the rest of the day building waterslide parks for my eventual arrival. But apparently, I'm wrong. Apparently God spends a good deal of His day writing billboards.

Have you seen these? I'm not sure if they are international or not, but here in the states (I said "states" to make me look cool) we have a God billboard campaign. They're pithy little messages attributed to God that say things like, "I miss how you used to talk to me when you were a kid" and "Don't make me come down there."

I like them. I think it's good to step outside what we usually do and I love the God billboards compared to say the "Got Jesus" or "Got Destiny" milk-flavored billboards. But because it's Monday and early in the morning, I thought it might be fun to write our own versions. You crushed the sound guy haikus, so hopefully we can come up with some good ones. Here are mine:

1. "Hell has saber-toothed tigers. I'm just saying." - God

2. "I deserve a producer's credit for inspiring the Matrix move. (I had nothing to do with parts 2 and 3)" - God

3. "Would it kill you to have just one 'pop and lock breakdance Sunday?'" - God

4. "It's 'all' not 'some' when it comes to loving people." - God

5. "I saw what you did. I see what you are doing. I know what you will do. And I love you." - God.

6. "I got name dropped 26 times at the last Grammy Awards, that's a new record." - God

7. "David committed adultery with Bathsheba, killed her husband, let a war start that killed tens of thousands out of sin and I forgave him. What was it you were worried about?" - God

8. "I will never give you the answer. I will always be the answer." - God

9. "Please pronounce the 't' in 'How Great is our God. It sounds like you're saying 'gray.'" - God

10. "Prince ain't got nothing on me. I invented sex." - God

Those are my ten. I would love to see you post a few."

Go on.

Monday, July 14, 2008

NZGT #5: Band Manager extraordinaire.

In a recent post I hinted at the fact that our 3 drum trio 'Sticks' has made it into the 2nd round of New Zealand's Got Talent. To dispel all rumors that may or may not find themselves sweeping the nation; yes, we have made it.

The next round of auditions which, to my understanding, is televised, is on the 8th and 9th of August. Hopefully if we make it through I'll be able to attach a tele clip of us rocking it up.

As with any band, it's never just the band themselves who play on the stage that make a rock show rock: it's the ground crew.

We, as a band, are no different and a vital part of what makes us succeed as performers is the irreplaceable position of our 'band manager'.
In our instance, we've been blessed with a young man of unbelievable giftings named Jade, or to his friends, "Pounamu" (traditional Maori name for greenstone or jade).

He is part of the local youth ministry that Sticks are a part of and has been a significant part of the roots and growth of the drumming trio.

I had the privilege tonight of interviewing him, and tonight you have the privilege of reading into and understanding more of what makes this remarkable young man tick:


Rhys: So Jade, you have had, and do have the opportunity of being the band manager of 'Sticks', what has this opportunity meant for you as a person?

Jade: Well, ah, as soon as I saw you three, I just knew that there was talent right there and I was just waiting for the opportunity for New Zealand's Got Talent and as soon as I saw the ad for those auditions.... I just knew that this, was gonna be their future.

R: So Jade, being band manager, what kind of things does this involve for you in that position?

J: Well, it's just um, you gotta attract the crowd and you've gotta expect everyone to turn up to practices and ah, for the next gig, you've just gotta prepare for the event.

Rhys: Great, that's great. So, what part of encouraging or challenging the band members to really keep their discipline, as you've talked about, what kind of role does that have? Does that play any role in your position?

Jade: Um, usually they're out and about, keeping their energy going. So, they sometimes turn up to practices very tired so this can overall affect the team morale and I think that you've also got to check that they're fit, eating well and that they've got their right sticks. Yeah, just keeping those sticks in perfect condition.

R: Fantastic. So just two final questions. Number one, where do you seen being band manager really taking you? Do you see yourself taking on any other positions as a band manager later in life or do you see this as the be-all and end-all position as a band manager?

J: Well, ah, after this project with 'Sticks' I'm thinking of retiring, but I can really see this you know, going really far.

R: Any last words Jade, just before we leave it there?

J: Ah, just all the best of luck to Sticks, we really appreciate all the support from the fans and wish us luck for the future.


So there you have it. Ladies and Gentlemen, the true foundation and growth catalyst of 'Sticks': Jade "Pounamu" Lee, Band Manager and all round world dominator.

On behalf of the rest of the band performers: we love you Jade

- and if everyone else in the world knew you half as well as we do they'd say the same thing.

I'd put money on it.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

The WAY to spend a SaturDAY.

Today I ripped out the old tenpin skills from the vault of skills. Yes, it is a small vault.... but a vault of skills none the less. 

Here's some photographic memories of our epic afternoon spent at the local arena:

Unfortunately, due to a car crash and a time resting comfortably on ACC money, my friend Dan has spent many a time over the last three weeks at the TenPin Bowling arena. 

Therefore, it wasn't really a fair game and so that then means that the 2 - 1 score isn't really a true reflection of my bowling ability.

How did you spend your Saturday??

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yesterday. Today. Tomorrow.

Today was a good day.

Today was a great day in fact.
Today I got to eat chocolate and not feel bad because I did 30 push ups and 20 sit ups in the morning.
Today I found out I'm confirmed for going to America for 3 weeks.
Today I worked on planning our next drum item for the second round of NZ's Got Talent.
Today it wasn't raining!
Today got a chance to properly listen to the new Hillsong album I bought two days ago.
And, today I successfully managed to procrastinate cleaning my horribly messy room to justify watching a movie.

I wonder what tomorrow's gonna be like.....

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Preach the gospel... how??

As many of you know, I work part time at a Video Store near my house, basically to keep bringing in the money to allow me to give as much time to the church and run the youth ministry as possible. It's a great environment which as well as gives me as many free movies as I like, gives me time to hang out with people my own age in the same area.

Today, as I was selling lotto to a customer - as any good youth pastor does, I heard this man yelling at the top of his lungs on the side of the road holding a bible in hand.

I groaned. 

I looked at the customer who I was so professionally serving who had obviously heard him at the same time as I did and it was pretty obvious what he was thinking.

I watched for roughly 9 or 10 minutes as customers one by one walked into the store responding in 1 of 2 ways: walking in with a crinkled brow clearly showing their confusion and/or frustration, or walking towards the counter shaking their head in disgust.

I took the opportunity to carefully not bag him but to unbiasly ask various customers what they thought of the way the guy was sharing his message. Precisely 100% of them in one way or another made it clear that either the guy was a loony or wasn't even worth talking about.

Clearly, this was not working out the best.

Really, to cut a possibly long blog post short, I am increasing thinking about the way in which we represent Jesus to this generation and the most amazing message of all time to people.

This was a prime example to me of how I wouldn't do it. 

To clarify, I don't usually have a big issue with open air campaigners such as people like Ray Comfort (who by the way is my good friend's uncle) because of their desire to ask people questions and to have good, personal discussions with people, but, I do have an issue with people who belt at the top of their lungs the "turn or burn message".

I mean really, are we turning more people away from Jesus than turning people to him in the way we present the message of Christ?

Are we speaking the truth in love and not just plainly, bluntly and forcefully speaking the 'truth'?

Are we speaking to people in a way that values them as a person loved and desired by God no matter what their personal beliefs or attitudes are?

I don't know how many people are out there really trying to do it this way but I do think it is a problem. We're called as Christians in 1 Cor to be the "Aroma of Christ" to people. Do we smell attractive or do we repel people with bad B.O.?

Just some mind stuff to think about..... what are you thoughts?

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Top 5 Most Wanted for '08

A few weeks ago we had one of the guys from Excel School of Performing Arts come and stay with us while they were playing in highschools and churches around our area. He was called Jesse and funnily enough played drums... and guitar... and sang... and probably the piano accordian if I'd had one for him to play. Anywho we ended up at this ladies house playing pingpong - or table tennis for the misinformed - and discovered that his other bandmate had a legendary camera. 
Before long the shots were coming out and I realised that I wanted one.
Cameras are awesome. I got a $300 for free this year because I subscribed to NZ's best magazine.
So I came up with my 'Top Five Most Wanted Possessions" list that if I could, would get this year. They have to be under a k because otherwise I'd say a Lamborgini Montage or a luxury house on Longbay cliff, so thus - here is my top 5:

#1 - A Snowboard
From recent posts you will have read my new found love in snowboarding. It's great being able to carve it up on the snow, snap turns and getting the odd air (minus crashing - obviously still learning) without having to sit in the freezing watery conditions waiting for a wave.

#2 - A surround sound system + Dvd player
There is nothing better than shaking the upstairs shower floor with the bass freely flowing from your custom, powerful surround sound system. Connecting it to your computer or to your dvd player allows personal music to be played or to be sucked into the loud dvd experience.

#3 A car
This is a bit steep to try and get within the 1000 dollar budget but I'm pretty sure that I could pick one up for under the cut off amount. It may be missing a radio, back seats and a sparkplug but at least it should have an engine. A shell and an engine is all you really need though, right?

#4 - A massively cool, lense fitted digital camera
I'm not really down with the lingo on this one - all I know is I would like a camera that doesn't take 3sec for the shutter to close and have some good, crisply professional shots. Good camera's produce good shots I've been told. So hopefully my lack of photographic ability should be made up by a good camera. It would work well with #5...

#5 - A ticket to Europe
Again, abit hard to try and get within 1000 dollars, but I think with abit of extra busking and some sweet talk to the captain I may be able to get this. Europe has alot of great things to offer - the Eiffel Tower... umm.... 
... so that's my top 5 if I had the money.

If you had a grand for 5 different things to buy what would you spend them on?

Saturday, June 28, 2008

New Zealand's Got Talent #4 - The Audition

We got up at 5am having had approximately 5hours sleep - on our way to NZ's first New Zealand's Got Talent!
Ethan was still in his boxers without breakfast and expecting us to be arriving an hour after what we'd planned.
Being the first people there, standing in line with the constant, heavy rain holding us captive from moving much outside we figured we'd keep ourselves entertained and before long I was pulling out the greatest jokes one could muster up with little sleep.
Cutting a long story short, we were at the front of the line that gradually started building up in numbers, wearing only gumboots, stubbies, a singlet, a fluro orange workers jacket and a beenie all while the rain.... continued to pour from the heavens.
We were interviewed and filmed numerous times - I think somehow the fluro orange and silver reflective strips, and of course the massive ladder towering behind us drew some of the cameras attentions.

We had the awesome support of friends to come and see us audition, unfortunately they weren't allowed in the audition room but were happy to sit with us in the line and hang out in the rain together. Ah... friends.

Here's an insight to the feelings before the audition:

The audition rocked, we hear back in a few days whether we made it into the next round and therefore filmed and shown on TV.
New Zealand.... you do have talent.
Make sure you keep your eyes out for updates! Until next time - keep safe.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Snow in the Sun?

Yesterday my friends and I went snowboarding at SnowPlanet about 20min north of my house. It's a completely indoor snow complex but dispite being miles from anything remotely close to snow, it's made man-made snow inside the complex.
"SnowPlanet - Snow 365 days a year."
It was my first ever experience at Snowboarding, and flip it exceeded my expectations! There isn't much to say other than it is by far the best winter sport around and I have now discovered my winter fix. It's alot harder than I first expected... I was expecting to do some airs and rails before the end of the day but unfortunately I think those expectations were a little high. And so was the top of the mountain on only my second try on the board. Not a good idea.
Point is - find stuff you enjoy. I wasn't too looking forward to winter with it's cold waters and drizzly rain, but finding stuff that gets your heart pumping and your muscles aching is always worthwhile. 
After all, life isn't too much fun when you're just reading books inside.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

New Zealand's Got Talent #3 - Rehearsal One

The audition can only be 1min 30sec so we've had to be pretty disciplined in what we put in and take out. Hopefully, if we get a chance to get through to the next round, we'll pull out some other awesome stuff that most of you haven't seen before.
Audio quality isn't fantastic - filmed right off my MacBook.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

NZGT #2 + Question...

I've been pretty blown away by the really quick interest people have shown in our audition for New Zealand's Got Talent. It's not just me who is auditioning in our slot - it's also some of my best friends Ben and Ethan. Basically, we're 3 drummers from our church who were asked about 2 years ago to come up with a dynamic, raw drumming item for a 'Creative Celebration' service at our church. It went off and was so popular we were asked to perform time and time again, eventually being asked to play in a large highschool assembly and at a cultural arts evening.
For those who are interested, our audition is the 28th of June (two weeks away!!) held in Western Springs. Next post will unravel abit more about what we do, how our rehearsals are coming together and hopefully a short video of a previous performance.

I'm not entirely sure on what to expect in regards to the audition or our chances of progressing to the next stage in the competion, but at the very least we'll be looking to do our greatest performance yet - and hopefully cranking the place big time.

It was pretty classic yesterday - I was chatting to a friend online yesterday about it and as we were talking she said she had found heaps of old highschool photos that I hadn't seen in years. She uploaded them on facebook and so amptly named the album "Dedicated In Loving Memory to Rhys Lake". I laughed... as convincingly as you can through online text and proceeded to look through the photos - circa 2001 - 2005. Within 10 minutes I had an email from a friend I hadn't chatted to in yonks who was in panic and beside himself:
"dude. i saw jo mackie's "a folder dedicated in loving memory of rhys lake" and i was like "NO!!" my heart did a little turn and i was freakin out for a second til I clicked on your profile and saw that it had been updated like 5 minutes ago...
"yeah um thats probably the weirdest thing you've read today but i thought better out than in - i mean, if nothing else, it's nice to know that someone would be gutted if you carked it right? :)"

The thing is, it is nice. I don't know about you but every now and then I wonder what the world would be like if I died suddenly someday. Today. What if for some reason I fell over and cracked my head or tripped into the front of an oncoming car and didn't make it. Now before you all of a sudden start questioning my suicidal thoughts - of which I don't have any! - I think this honestly is a pretty full on but enlightening question to ask yourself. I mean - if for some reason you were no longer here, would the world be any different? Would the world's loss of us really make a difference? To our family and close friends most certainly. But to the world. Is the way I am living, or what I have done with my life so far, made a difference to this world in some way?

Wow - this is deeper than I intended. And I understand that sometimes we can be so hard on ourselves about judging our significance on whether we've helped to reduce Africa's severe hunger or something, which isn't the place or way we are to judge our significance. But what I'm generally getting at is whether the way we're living, or the goals and dreams we have for our lives, are big enough to touch this world. We may not change the world's politics, or single-handedly cure cancer; but are our goals, our commitment, our risk taking, our ideas... our way of living, equal to our potential?

If you died today and somebody put up a photo album online dedicated in loving memory to you - would not only your friends and family miss you; but the world? This isn't a condemnation call or a judgement post - it's simply a challenging question that as much to me a wake up call about my life as it might be to you.

I walked past a sign of a quote by Einstein of which I can't remember exactly but said something like "If each of us lived at our complete potential we'd absolutely astound ourselves". I don't know what my potential is or what I'm going to do with my life but one thing I do know; I want to give it everything I've got.

Circa 2003 - Rhys and monster Bradley