Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Keeping you from harm... Mr Incredible.


Our Youth Camp 'Connect 08' has the most magnificent of all themes: Superheroes. After a unanimous vote from my youth in favour of me going as Mr Incredible, I have gone shopping to find my supreme superhero outfit.
I cannot begin to describe to you how awkward it was asking the attractive 20 something yr-old shop assistant where the pantyhose section was in the female area of Farmers.
It disturbs me that I am even contemplating wearing this to camp one night, I may need to tone it down abit.
I haven't finished it yet so adjustens can still be made: thoughts?

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Indy: Adventure man.


Ok so I'm mega excited about the next Indiana Jones movie.

I remember one of the first times I watched Indiana Jones - it was the 1981 movie titled the "Raiders of the Lost Ark". It was an intermediate's interactive movie night with lolly snakes and hiding under blankets when Indy is in a cave. Great memories.
I used to love watching Indiana Jones with my dad or with my family - all the adventures he went on and although always coming off the hero, he always made you feel as though, with a bit of effort, you could be just like him. I reckon one the reasons Indiana Jones went off the scales as one of the greatest trilogies of all time, is because Indy is the personification of every little kid's dream of what they want to be when they grow up. He's not some Martial Arts expert or old school Schwarzenegger loaded with enough ammo and grenade launchers to blow New Zealand apart; he was an archeologist who just happened to find himself in adventures he didn't expect.

I think from the moment we build our first fort or hut from the lounge couches, bed sheets and library books, something comes alive deep inside. Something that cannot be explained other than wanting to be apart of something that gets our adrenaline pumping, blood flowing and our nerves twitching. I can't count the amount of times I've wanted to be on some adventure in the trees or jumping between buildings - a sort of desire to experience excitement that isn't made from a tv and console but from pushing the limits of the unknown.

The reason I like why Spielberg and Lucas have brought out another Jones movie despite a near 20 year gap, is because it shows this feeling and desire hasn't faded one bit. People today are just as excited and amped about the possibility of adventure as they were when the first Jones movie came out in 1981. There is something within each of us, displayed differently between male and female, that desires some sort of adventure.
Breaking out of normality and stepping into the exciting, dangerous, scary, thrilling, colourful, pioneering adventure.

I think we need to intentionally keep putting ourselves in environments where we have to experience those. I think we come alive when we do. And, as one person so wisely said, "the world needs people who have come alive." I agree.
So, come 22 May I shall be on my way to see one of the most anticipated movies this year - "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull".

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

The Kingdom Revolution: Part 1


After some great comments and points made by different readers, something that's come up is what really is 'revolution' and how does that look in reference to Christianity? Just before I put some thoughts down, I just need to say that although my bible knowledge and understanding of the bible is pretty good, I am in no way a scholar. I'm not even very intellectual or very good when it comes to delving deep into philosophy or the like. Therefore, I am really keen to see people's opinions but I'm keen to come to a general understanding or picture without getting too nitty gritty on details.

Rod made a great point in that revolution can be a word that is easily used or thrown around without really understanding its true meaning. The general meaning of revolution (as mentioned in the last post) is a 'radical change of society'. Rod made the point that when we talk about revolution in reference to Christianity we need to be thinking about how we are bringing the Kingdom of God to earth - 
"A revolution, in the Biblical sense, is when society at large adopts Biblical values on morality and religion. This is what is meant by 'kingdom come'."

Jesus seems to define revolution, as Rod mentioned, in his teaching his disciples how to pray in Matthew 6 noted as the Lord's Prayer. "This, then, is how you should pray: 'Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name, your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven."

Although this verse is quoted so many times, even in Hollywood movies, this small passage has powerful meaning if we take it seriously. Obviously, if Jesus was teaching his disciples to pray and the if topics he prays about are few, then the things he touches on are pretty important.
I just want to quickly touch on a few things over a few posts of some things that I have discovered from studying this verse:

1. Christian revolution is about God's values and vision being established on earth - not ours.
I agree with some of the comments left on the previous post - revolution (seeing a radical change in society towards God's plan) isn't solely or essentially about you or me. It's often easy to fall into our own way of doing things and work hard to make the world look like how we think it should. However, as we see through Jesus passionately teaching his disciples to pray, it's about God's kingdom to come and His will to be done on earth. The Bible declares that His ways are much higher than our ways and His thoughts are much higher than our thoughts.
This can seem quite cliche and easy to do, but the challenge is that if we take this point seriously, we need to make an intentional effort to do what God commands us to do rather than our own 'reasonable' actions. For example, if someone wrongs us, we're not called to retaliate or to somehow plot revenge, but, as God commands us through the Bible - love your enemies.
It's a big call to do what God commands us rather than to do what we think is right but it's the primary thing that will cause a 'radical change in society' towards God's kingdom to be established on earth.

We see change when we begin living in accordance with God's pattern for living. We're called to begin changing our way of living in Romans by being tranformed more and more like Christ. Revolution no longer becomes about us when we stop seeking to follow our plans and seek to follow God's pattern for living.

We need to live out the commands of Jesus - love your enemies, be generous, love others as we want to be loved, care for the needy, pray for the sick.

When enough people start doing what God calls us to, that is when God's kingdom - revolution - begins to be established on earth.

Recent outreach event from our church in the community - "bringing God to the community."

Friday, April 11, 2008

reLOVEution


There seems to be talk about a Jesus revolution all over the world at the moment. And it's awesome. There seems, from speaking to other people especially youth, that something of a revolution is beginning. Not just a heap of hype or talk with the word "revolution" printed out and slapped on the front, but a real transformed change and passionate group of people ready to make it happen.

The word revolution is defined by the dictionary as "a radical and pervasive change in society and the social structure".

Most of us with a brain realise that the world is in desperate need of change. Anyone with a sense of logic and honesty will give you that. Injustice, poverty, sickness, economy, politics: almost everything. The thing that's challenging and yet at the same time hugely exciting is that we are the people to create the radical change in society.

Joel Houston, leader of the band Hillsong United talks of revolution:
"See the world is a place made up of places. And every place has a history. And every place's history is reflected in what becomes it's culture. And culture itself is defined through its people. And the people; well, they are the future... and the future is now.
So then - looking at it in the same light but from the other side of the room; at this moment in history, we are the people in the places... and we are the ones defining cultures... and we are the ones creating history... and so the question must be asked: If we are the future; how are we making it look?
I don't know about you, but if our generation is remembered for iPods, myspace and youtube we missed it. If history speaks of our generation as self indulgent pioneers of the digital age, reality television and purpose built celebrity we'll have failed. The world will change by itself, for better or for worse. It changes daily. But we need to be the ones to shape it - how do we want it to look?"

I agree. Is all I can say. I don't want to finish my life and realise that the time I had here on earth was spent watching youtube, gaming and talking about who was with who now. I want to see people saved. I want to see youth ministries become effective, see young people finding the purpose to life in knowing Jesus, seeing a generation raised up who know God for themselves and are passionate about telling others about Him.

I want to see the poor become wealthy. The hungry be satisfied with food. The lonely find family. Hurting and broken people become whole.

We're the ones to do it. We are the ones with the answer, we have the opportunity to see it happen. All we need to do is desire it enough and be willing to step out and do what we're good at to make a difference.

We may not be able to change the whole world on our own but if we can change our world. When we are willing to change our backyard - before we know it a social and global revolution will have taken place.
Start making changes to our world today, because in the famous words from a guy called Jon - "we were meant to live for so much more".

Monday, April 7, 2008

Michael Clayton: My Review


Michael Clayton. One word: awesome.
I watched Michael Clayton, played by George Clooney for the second time tonight, delayed somewhat by time taken for it to come out on DVD.

The movie is based around the character Michael Clayton who is a 'fixer' at a large lawyer's firm in NY. He finds himself stuck in a huge dilemma as he is called upon to help sort out a quickly growing issue with one of his associate lawyers. The associate lawyer, Arthur Edens, has been defending a case for "U North" and begins to discover he is really on the wrong side of the case. As he begins to build a case against U North he releases the start of a massive unraveling of something U North has wanted to hide for numerous years.

Michael Clayton is thrust into the case to make it all go away somehow but in his discovery is in turn targeted to hide the evidence.

The reason for me this is one of my favourite movies of all time is the movie subtly challenges the viewer to question themselves about the power of integrity. The power of knowing who you are, what you want to do and sticking to being honest.

George Clooney portrays a struggling, desperate, lost and confused Michael Clayton causing us to truely and honestly feel his despair. The kind of feeling where you get a small lump in your throat and realise you are stuck in some massive hole of nothingness and have absolutely no idea how to get out. It's a movie that, although is helped to create this feeling by magnificent cinematography, bleak lighting, and great dialogue; its strength is in the deep, clear characters themselves.

One of my favourite scenes in the movie is when Michael is driving to nowhere, away from anywhere, and stops his car next to some horses are who are grazing ontop of a small hill. He climbs to the top and looks into the eyes of the horses who are innocently standing together. His look of reality hitting him in the face with what he's lost and the fact he no longer seems to know who he has become is incredibly moving.

Reviews online by other viewers have described this scene as a "What the heck is my life about" moment. I find it challenging because we clearly see a man who has lost his wife, his investment, his talent and his true self and he's realising it all in a moment of rest from his busy work.

This movie has made me think hard about keeping to who I am and not compromising for anything. Not letting honesty or integrity have a walk for a while, but intentionally, and stubbonly, staying focussed on who I want to be.

Fantastic movie, don't miss it!
10/10

Saturday, April 5, 2008

Live it out.


Today I bought "Experience Hendrix: The best of Jimi Hendrix". Although I haven't really had much of a chance to listen to it and really absorb the skill and ability everybody talks about I'm starting to fall in love with blues music.

One of my all-time favourite musicians and consequently one of my favourite albums is Continuum by John Mayer. The laid back, groove bass line and full sounding drums creates one of the greatest music I've ever listened to.

I love that God was the one who invented music. Some people reckon that t
here'll only be hymns in heaven. I disagree. I reckon that people worship God and give Him the honour and glory that he deserves in their own way; We don't even need music to do that. In heaven I think that somehow, through the awesome conductor that I'm certain God is, He'll somehow mix hip-hop, funk, jazz, heavy metal, rap and (possibly) country into something we all love to listen to and something we all want to be involved with.

I'm looking forward to eternity where maybe even I can play drums with some of the greatest musos of all time. How awesome will that be? Doing two of the things I love heaps; worshipping God.... and playing music.


That's who I am and what I love - God and music.

But, worship isn't about music.

As I said before, we don't even need music to worship God. People are good at, and enjoy, so many different things. Art, accounting, writing, singing, buildin
g things, computers; there is no end; because there is that many different people who are uniquely gifted. We are all called to give God glory through who we are.

We all thank God, tell Him how much we love Him and thank Him in so many different ways. I think sometimes though we don't. We don't think that what we are good at is enough, or that because we don't play a musical instrument or have a voice that can hit a very good note that we can't give God glory. But, you know what? Who you are is enough. God is blown away by us living our lives in honour to Him. Romans says our the ultimate act of worship is by being "living sacrifices". It's not about singing some songs on a Sunday and then going to work and doing our thing until the next church service. We're called to live out our love for God. Live our worship for God through being who God's created us to be and doing it for God.

Our lives are created by Him for Him. If you don't know Jesus then things don't and won't make sense. Our identity is only found in Him. 

If we live our lives for Him, not to try and make Him happy, but in thankfulness for what He did for us by sending His son Jesus then we are doing what we were created for. We have no excuse for not giving Him honour. We need to understand that our worship for God comes through not doing things for Him but, living for Him.

Do what you love. Love what you do. 


Be who you are. Let it show. Step out and do what you know God's gifted you in and see your love for God grow incredibly without effort.

Just live for Him.