I Like Voting in Elections…

Animated flag of New Zealand.

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I really like election time… yeah I know that sounds crazy but the thing I like about it is the fact that I get to have a voice…

But here is the dilemma… who do you vote for?

As a Christian I have decided to start to look at politics through my faith… rather than my faith through my politics, so what does that mean… it means I aim to try and vote based on what God says, rather than how much money politicians say they will throw my way or what heart string pulling speech they will throw my way.

So here is my approach… I’m looking not at political lines – I’m looking at their morals, and their ethics.

Now I know what you’re thinking “Come on… nobody’s perfect” – but we’re not talking about Scouts NZ we’re talking about people who are leading and representing our country. My Dad is a guy who is morally and ethically a good guy, so I know for a fact that someone can lead a life in a way that they don’t need to drop their moral compass… I’m sure you can think of people like this too… so we know it’s not impossible. So isn’t it only fair to ask, shouldn’t we expect the person who represents us in parliament to not only do their job with good morals  but also good ethics.

In other words we want people who walk their talk… these people are OUR leaders and WE get to VOTE them in.

Solomon once wrote:

“The honor of good people will lead them, but those who hurt others will be destroyed by their own false ways.” (or another version says “the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity”) 

In other words, people who say one thing and do the other can’t be trusted… but those that walk their talk have some integrity.

Let me put it another way 

If they would lie to their wife… who will they not lie to?

If they gamble and are dishonest with their own money… what makes you think I will be happy with you handling mine?

I really don’t care what side of the political fence you sit on but if we VOTE people into our parliament who are filled with integrity, who  not only say they support family, but they prove it in their own lives.

And we NEED to vote… and not just some random vote to spite the BIG parties…

but a vote that was going to be better for YOUR community… for our country.

The great thing about our country is that everyone who is in parliament… is voted in… BY US!

 

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Album Review: Family Force 5 ‘III’

Family Force 5 - III

The album starts off with all the guts and glory that you would expect from Crunk Rock pioneers Family Force 5… straight in with a funky distorted guitar riff, and the words “Make a Big deal of it” shouted in the usual one part crunk, one part rock and a big dose of attitude… and as is shown from the off-roader on the cover it’s all in the aid to get you ready for a WILD ride.

Paycheck the second track on the album is less about the noise and more about finding a great groove… but that doesn’t mean that the depth of the writing is going to be any weaker, and as often is the case on albums like this the soul of the album comes in bite sized heart focused phrases like “I used to live my life for the discount, now I thank God for the hand out”

My favourite part of this album is the party cruncher “Wobble” this is a great party starter… and is FF5 at their funky dance floor rocking best… and is a great sample of how Crunk-Rock is taking the world by storm… but’s not all yelling and rocking, ‘You got it’ is like a Sugar Ray, Inner Circle and Jason Mraz collaboration… a Island reggae infused poolside band number… it’s the stuff that summer is made of.

One of the really high moments of III is the diversity the album shows, there is NOTHING that FF5 are afraid to touch… it’s like the ultimate mash up of their own sounds… it really is a trip through the best of pop/rock/rap/R&B music…

But in the middle of the rock and the summer swagger there is this amazing rock number called ‘Not Alone’ and it’s the ultimate rock number, the type that wouldn’t look out of place on a Bon Jovi or even Switchfoot album, and a real testament of the FF5 song writing ability, and a real heart searching track with the lead singer crying “I need you now, I want you now…To tell me that you’re not alone.”..  at this point you may be thinking have FF5 got all serious on me? And just to prove they’re the kings of the bait and switch they hit you with the track ‘Dang Girl’ – a real club stompin’ party poppin’ southern gritty rap style track to keep the momentum on the album dialed up to 10.

People have often asked me what is Crunk-Rock and here is the easiest way to explain it…

The attitude of Punk.

The swagger of Rap.

The fun of Dance/electronica.

The groove of Funk.

The guitar licks of 80′s Metal

And all of that is laced with a taste of the South…

Family Force 5 discribe it like this “Ghetto redneck music.”

This is a great album… a summer rocker… a dancefloor filler… a foot tapper and it may even be the remedy for all things that ail you.

If you’re looking for a fun album look no further… there are enough style and flavour on this album to save you money on the next 8 albums you’re gonna buy…

 

Volunteers…

Volunteers fit new windows at The Sumac Centre...

People mucking in and helping out

I’ve been thinking A LOT about our discussions we have, and especially around our discussions about volunteers.

Why don’t we have many people volunteering?

Why is it the same old people?

And then what makes people stop what they’re doing and ‘volunteer’

Those sort of things…

One of the things I guess is about people who work for the church… “full time ministry” they get paid to help the church and help God… (at least that’s what it would seem to anyone who is looking in). The problem I have with this is that IMPLIES that everyone else is permitted to do part time ministry.

I’ve always had a problem with this and it recently came to a head while I was reading a page in Steven Furticks book Sun Stand Still – which I brought from Global Leadership Summit.

Steven said this:

“Jesus didn’t die on a part time cross, he doesn’t love us with part time love, he doesn’t cover us with a part time pardon for our sins, there is no such thing as a part time Christian, and there is no such thing as a part time ministry”

When I read this it was literally a moment when I thought (I may have even said out loud) “yes… that’s what we need” – “that’s what I’ve been trying to put into words”

(here I’m implying that sometimes I get lost for words… this is not completely true but you get the picture!)

You see I think it’s come to a point where people who have been part of church for a while  know that the volunteers are working to advance the kingdom… but I wonder if the volunteers (or those NOT volunteering) know the roll they play??

I’ve even caught myself saying “I don’t work here I’m just helping out…” or in other words I’m just a volunteer

I guess it’s made me wonder… what is our focus?

We’re not looking for volunteers… that has the wrong implications… we’re looking for something FAR greater.

I remember Ian Grant (from Parents Inc.) telling HPCC that he would encourage kids in the super market by just saying stuff to them like “wow what a great boy helping mum with the shopping I bet your mum must be so proud to have a strong boy like you helping her” – and then he would turn around and the young child would be being SUPER helpful…

I wonder if we do that enough at within the Church in general?

Are those who are getting paid by the church working as SERVANT leaders, lifting up our volunteers, training our volunteers, and helping them believe that they are part of an IMPORTANT part of helping to save souls? – And I don’t mean as part of their paid role to train but to really get beside these people with the knowledge that advancing the kingdom is often made possible BECAUSE of our volunteers.

They’re not just volunteers… They are “A connector to the current of the power of Jesus Christ”

I like that… it changes the view point…

Not a volunteer… but a CONNECTOR to the current of the power of JESUS Christ.

Blow up your small dreams…

Pastor Steven Furtick, Lead Pastor of Elevatio...

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Yesterday I was privileged enough to have been able to go to the Global Leadership Summit that was put on by Willow Creek church and the brain child of pastor Bill Hybills. The summit was awesome and I was able to listen to some amazing speakers, from clinical psychologist Dr Henry Cloud to  New York Times best-selling author, speaker and consultant Patrick Lencioni… all spoke on leadership and all passed on some really valuable knowledge .

All day I was excited about hearing 31 year old pastor Steven Furtick, and I like him for a number of reasons… he tells it like it is, and he packs no punches… but most of all I like him because he believes that the word of God is exactly that… the WORD of GOD.

One of the things he said which has stuck with me since hearing him…

“If  the size of your vision for your life isn’t intimidating to you, there’s a good chance it’s insulting to God” –

Wow… when Steven said that I was almost caught off guard… and the more I mulled it over in my mind the more correct he was… and I hate him for that… I was comfortable… and now I have to deal with stuff.

Before the day is done you would have travelled 1.3 million miles on your annual trip around the sun… Earth is spinning round its axis approximately 1000 miles per hour… yet it seems to me that we don’t really trust God enough for the small stuff… and to make matters worse we seem to take the big stuff (like us staying in orbit) for granted!

So why don’t we put our trust in God?

Steven took the example of Joshua asking God to make the sun stand still…

What was he thinking?

Did he actually know what he was asking?

With my small brain I can’t work out how it was done… but it’s in the Bible so however it was done, I’ll believe it – but it made me think of my own life – how big are my dreams?

We feel that conviction in our hearts to do something… and then we do something that is just enough to make us feel like we’ve done something, but we wonder why that uneasy feeling doesn’t leave us… or it just keeps coming back.

An example that comes to mind is when we hear the stories of famine in Africa… it’s easy for us to throw money at it, or some may go even further than that, but it’s only really a token gesture… and if we are to be honest – we know it!

So… how big is your God?

Is he only a little bit bigger than what you can imagine?

Or is he so big he can  “accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20) – because if THAT is the God that you serve, then asking the creator of the universe to come into your life and do the impossible is very achievable…

However the risk is not doing  that… not believing that YOUR God can do ALL things, and your God becomes just as lifeless and boring as your own personal Christian life it’s one of the reasons people leave the church… their God isn’t BIG enough and when their faith is challenged their god is M.I.A.

So let me ask you this –

Are you going to let your Christian life out of YOUR comfort zone, so that God can be in HIS comfort zone, which is performing the impossible in the life of someone he cares so much for?

 

Why you have to discover for yourself…

Image representing Google Search as depicted i...

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What bugs me more than most is when people join in an argument, about a topic… and then half way therough you discover that they are basing their argument on  the opinion of someone else.

The latest Rob Bell argument was a good example of this…

My thought is you can’t join the argument if you haven’t looked into the topic (or in this case read the book) as then you are only echoing a view of someone else… just like you would quote the word of God directly from what it actually says in The Bible… so that when someone says “ok so what was that in context to?” you can tell them?

If you quote something out of a book that you haven’t read there is no way you can follow up if someone asks you the context in which it was taken.

Can you?

But you haven’t read the Koran?

That’s right I haven’t… but I’m not going to have as debate on it… all I can do is argue what the Bible says.

The best people for this (that I have heard) are people who have read it (or were once Muslim) and then converted to Christianity… so they know both sides of the story and has an understanding of BOTH.

Anyway… all this got me thinking of some of the worlds top pastors… and more importantly

What does Google say about some of the top pastors in the World… 

Now I pick a few people who I though are pretty theologically sound and chucked in a few randoms and found that according to Google… every preacher in the world today is pretty much a False teacher or heretic… and to make this social experiment legit here’s the proof…

Rick Warren

Mark Driscoll

John Piper

For the record I also put in Rob Bell (who I knew was gonna come out bad – according to Google) and a few other controversial names…

So what does this all mean?

Does this mean we shouldn’t read anything apart from whats in the Bible?

To be honest I think the way Google search engine gives us the results tells us more about ourselves than about the people we ‘Google’… I wonder if when the focus is on a certain topic… or even on a certain person – I wonder if it might be a good idea to have a look into what they are saying… and this doesn’t mean that you should believe every single thing that they say or that you should become a ‘fan’ on Facebook…

And then HERE is the crucial part weigh what they say against Scripture, without relying on Google or one critic’s blog post to tell us what to think… or what to believe.

What happens when we take snippets of the argument is that we often throw the baby out with the bath water… take for instance the latest Love Wins debate…

Do I agree that the church has leaned to much towards the Judgement of God and less about the Love of God? yeah I do, and I have often thought about it, but it also needs to have the justice message as you can’t separate Justice from Love when you talk about God.

Do I agree of Rob Bells view that seems to be that people who go to hell get a second chance later on? No I don’t, and that’s ok, it seems to be walking a little too close to universal-ism for me… however I do believe in a God of grace, and I believe he desires ALL of us to enter the kingdom of God and in the end that is something I don’t have to worry about.

But unless I look into what the ‘hot topics’ are I am only going off someone elses view and that view is ALWAYS tainted by their own individual past… so why not look into it yourself with your own eyes and see for yourself (or as the bible says “Test all things”) – because if you don’t… then according to Google everyone’s a heretic and false teacher.