Those who follow this blog regularly would know that I live in Christchurch New Zealand… and on Wednesday we commemorated a year on from the earthquake on 22 February that changed the way we live in Christchurch forever.
My church HPCC took it as an opportunity to get into our community and to see what how everyone was feeling… and a year on we found that some people are still really upset and uneasy about living in Christchurch… the constant living with the unknown…
“When will another earthquake hit?”
“Will it be big?”
and the list goes on…
As a church we were concerned for our community that we are apart of… so we went knocking on doors to find out how people are. The whole door knocking thing was pretty awesome… when the door was answered we would introduce ourselves to the house owner as from the local church down the road… what happened after that was amazing…
Some people asked “what do you want? What are you trying to sell me?” or “what is your sales pitch?” – they saw us as coming to their door as “selling Jesus” to them – the awesome thing was being able to tell them that we were actually interested in how they are feeling… is there anything that we ‘as a church’ can do to help them as a person in the community that we really want to see develop.
Some people gave the short “yeah I’m good” answer… and even if you tried to dig you were given the impression that it just wasn’t going to happen…
And then there were the people with their quake stories… they wanted to be heard. Some were still hurting… it was wonderful to be able to get beside these people, some needed physical help, like one elderly couple who needed some gardening done or help with some practical stuff… or the person who had just had an operation, and was bed ridden who we were able to come into her home and make her a cup of tea.
It was great to chat with these people… and if the ‘God’ question came up we would talk about it… and if the person was struggling we were able to ask if the would mind if we prayed for them.
But every house we prayed that God would bless the home and bless the conversations…
The thing I loved about going door to door checking everyone was still doing ok… (on all levels) – is it was a continued part of who we are as a church in our community… it’s a relationship.
We were able to work with some local business… work with our local schools and come up with ways to really build on where we are in our community and the partnership is awesome.
Where we are at community means relationships… it means building on those relationships. Through this we have been able to see people coming to Christ because of it – and that is awesome… however through this relationship I have a sense that we will see many… many more.
- Pray First (screaminggoose.wordpress.com)
The Easter holidays have begun in our house, which is GREAT… however we are in Christchurch, we’re still having aftershocks AND to add insult to injury… it’s raining.
The rain… changes everything.
Instead of battles in the backyard as the kids (all 5 of them) create their own wee imaginary worlds we have the battle of the remote… and it comes down to movies.
We have kids from the ages from 8 to almost 2 so we need to have movies that are family friendly enough for everyone. This weeks movies are The Little Princess (not intentional Abi) , The Lion King, Harry Potter, Tinkerbell and Bob the Builder… the fight is ON.
But what it has made me think about is how different people respond to different types of stories.
I’m currently going through the book in the Bible of Acts and one thing that James (the brother of Jesus) says is that we should leave each other alone as far as how people approach the Gospel.
You see some people come from a traditional Christian background and they a used to hearing and responding to the Gospel message a certain way.
While some people are not from traditional backgrounds and like to hear it in a more contemporary way.
So what’s that got to do with movies?
Well I have 5 kids they are all brought up with the same values and they are brought up in similar school systems and they all go to church… but the way they all take it in is very very different. In the mix I have twin girls born 14 minutes apart… yet one is a ‘Princess girl’ all things pink….all things fashion… all things girly. While the other likes imaginary worlds and animals. It’s amazing these kids live with each other all the time, yet they are so different.
So why do we expect Christians to fit in with one style of worship… we have guys wanting church to be more blokey… ladies wanting more songs about Gods love… and youth wanting more electric guitars.
The answer… don’t get offended by someone else’s worship… and don’t try and offend other people in their quest to worship God more.
My good friends at SamSoul are AWESOME and have their finger on the humanity pulse. With so many people in the world affected by the earthquakes in Christchurch & now Japan the SamSoul team have come up with some great designs that will not only let you look cool… but have the satisfaction of knowing that you are making an impact in what could seem a pretty daunting task ahead.
Here is what my mate had to say about the range at her blog site Here to Eternity (which is worth checking out too by the way):
There are ways to help even if you’re far away: the Red Cross in NZ has launched a Christchurch Earthquake Appeal and the Red Cross in Canada and World Vision worldwide have appeals going for Japan. Money will go towards rebuilding, rehoming and feeding people as well as helping organise people on the ground.
If you happen to like getting a little with your giving, SamSoul has just launched it’s t-shirt line and they are running “Rebuild Christchurch” and “#prayforjapan” campaigns. 20% of profits from each sale will go towards Red Cross and World Vision efforts here in Christchurch and over in Japan. Plus all the shirts are fair trade and made by Freeset – an organisation that helps prostitutes in India learn sewing skills and hence gets them off the street and earning a decent wage.”
So here you have it… look stylish and give to a great cause. There are a lot of people out there who are hurting… pray for them, but you can also help the Red Cross by simply buying a T-shirt from SamSoul.
This is the first blog since I stood in the Cathedral square in Christchurch and I stood helpless as a huge natural disaster tore the central city of Christchurch in the South Island of New Zealand apart.
Just over a week later I find myself in the middle of the aftermath of the 22/02/2011 Christchurch earthquake. I find my self praying more. As lot of others are now starting to do, after coming to the realisation that they are in fact human. Now this in itself isn’t unusual… but the content of my prayers was starting to become different.
In the past (if I was to be honest) my prayers were starting to be more inward focused.
“Lord Bless ME” … “Lord Help MY family”… “Lord let ME have this…”
And lots of us have been in this place I’m sure… but in the middle of the total destruction my heart was changed to be more outward focused.
And it all came to a point with one simple question.
“If all the prayers I prayed in one year all came true… who would be better off?”
Or another way of saying it is “If God answered all my prayers the way I wanted… who would be more better off – Me or everyone else around me?”
If we were to be completely honest… most of us would say we would be better off.
But here is the thing… the church… this amazing movement… isn’t about us looking into ourselves… it’s looking outside ourselves, and more importantly trusting in God.
Yet we have somehow made this all about ourselves…
If you read through the book of Acts, you’ll see that the church prayed for boldness, so that they could go out.
So what makes US different?
It’s Christ in us… so we can look outwards.
Before I end please hear me… this is not about NOT praying for yourselves and your family… because it’s good to do that, in fact the Bible encourages that, however if all we pray is for ourselves and our needs, then we have missed the focus and purpose of the greater Church.
I love it when bands that work hard are rewarded. Dukes are one of those bands. Winners of the MTV’s Kick-start competition they have cut their teeth touring and done it in style; they’ve toured with the likes of INXS, Gomez as well as NZ acts such as Th’Dudes and most recently the acoustic tour with Dave Dobbyn… these guys have done their time… and NOW is their time to shine.
The core of the band are Christchurch brothers Matt & Jo Barus and like other NZ musical siblings (Tim & Neil Finn, Jools and Lynda Topp & Hume Brothers of Evermore) there is a real ‘togetherness’ a real fun aspect to the album, and this sort of feeling only comes from years of jammin’ with each other and I would expect the odd sibling rivalry – something that would push for better and better sounds.
And that brings us to ‘Still Life’ the second full length album from Dukes, and it comes just as the sun is out and the BBQ’s are starting to crank… this is the perfect Sunshine album with some already well known songs like ‘Self-control’ ‘Time is a Train’ and of course the top 10 single ‘Vampires’.
This album combines the best of good kiwi summer music… great melodies, catchy tunes and a good dose of FUN.
You would have to say that this is the album for all summer occasions… ‘Paper Heart’, and ‘Secrets’ are the perfect album for a sleepy summers evening with good friends most likely over a nice wine or beer, while the beach waits for hits like ‘Ooh Ooh’ and ‘If I have No Heart’ that come pre-smoked and tasty and have that fresh sound of a kiwi sun drenched summer.
This album can roll with the best of Kiwi music past and present.
Imagine an album with the best parts of Dave Dobbyn, Crowded House and the Black Seeds and you’ll be pretty close to this summer’s Kiwi Summer album.
Soak it in people… better still… take a picture!
Dukes LIVE: 10/10 (Go see these guys live… rock ‘n’ roll!)