stories

Missioners OMS share testimonies from abroad

OMS – Reaching the nations for Christ

2000. OMS is reaching the city of Medellin, Colombia (pictured).

Over the last year OMS International has seen growth in missionary numbers and new directions in missions with a greater emphasis on international partnership with the emerging national churches on “mission fields”, says New Zealand National Director Denis Shuker.

Continue reading “Missioners OMS share testimonies from abroad”

amreading

Reading through The Archives

The Star Wars Archives Episodes IV-VI

Paul Duncan

Taschen

509 pages, hardback

AMREADING. The Star Wars Archives is about the making of the first three Star Wars films. Film historian Paul Duncan interviews the creators and cast and crew to create a narrative of the making of the films as well as include developmental material such as from first drafts of screenplays. There are plenty of photos.

Continue reading “Reading through The Archives”

stories

Programming that contribute to spiritual and ethical development recommended

A good chance for “spiritual” broadcasting

2002. The Television New Zealand public broadcasting charter will gradually come into effect but TVNZ will not have an obligation to reflect programmes with a direct spiritual flavour as this will not be part of their objectives, unless there is a change to the charter before it becomes law.

Continue reading “Programming that contribute to spiritual and ethical development recommended”

stories

Legal ground to apply pressure to NZ on Air and Parliament

Christians in secular radio and television

Law change in religious broadcasting gets apprehensive response

2000. The law change in religious and spiritual broadcasting in New Zealand means that church groups as well as minority groups should, by legislation, expect their fair share of radio and television programming, but has been responded tentatively to by some Christians working in secular radio and television.

Continue reading “Legal ground to apply pressure to NZ on Air and Parliament”

stories

Hosanna World Outreach Centre was host of “inspirational” youth conference

Conference sparks up and inspires youth

2004. Being in the same room as [New Zealand sports stars] Michael Jones, Ma’a Nonu, or Linda Vagana might intimidate most New Zealand teenagers. 1Touch, a youth conference organized by Lower Hutt’s Hosanna World Outreach Centre, gave young people the opportunity to listen to their star’s testimonies on how they succeeded in life, which included a little autograph hunting.

Continue reading “Hosanna World Outreach Centre was host of “inspirational” youth conference”

stories

‘Focus on the future’ for national church

Shifting priorities

2005. The Presbyterian Church is consulting with parishes and presbyteries to decide on the priorities for the church’s national tasks.

Focus on the Future is a series of meetings with parishioners being held in the North and South Island and encourages written submissions.

Continue reading “‘Focus on the future’ for national church”

stories

Responding to the issue with heart and mind

To Be or Not to Be?

2000. Norman has always been a man of decision and authority; in fact some people have found him difficult and boorish.

He has recently, at the age of 56, suffered a heart attack and then, some four days after a severe stroke as a result of a blood clot detaching itself from the wall of the heart. The brain swelling after the stroke made his condition much worse and it was feared that he would die. He was ventilated and treated vigorously for his heart, lung and brain damage.

Continue reading “Responding to the issue with heart and mind”

poetry

A life giving word

As crude as the priest put it,

The answer he gave made sense,

Although I questioned the expression,

The answer resounded in spirit

I knew he was right.

I knew its truth.

I, myself, did.

The woman he was talking to listened

Wondering if this is the answer to

The dilemma in her life

(Her fatal suffering)

Albeit God was with her and

God was in the solitary voice –

Even when it’s not the prevailing wisdom.

The water flowed tranquilly,

To rescue her on hearing.

If she took it.

stories

Beautiful churches with “great acoustics, cool pulpits and loads of leadlight”

Church used for acoustic concerts

2004. New Zealand recording artist Bic Runga is on her one-month Acoustic Church Tour playing at 10 churches on a 16 date tour.

Bic Runga is a 26-year-old singer songwriter, signed to Columbia Records in New Zealand, and with two albums to her credit, Drive and Beautiful Collision.

Continue reading “Beautiful churches with “great acoustics, cool pulpits and loads of leadlight””

notes--writing

A genre filled with life

When is the abundant genre appropriate to write today? Perhaps not these days. But what about past days? Future days? Sometime ago in a person’s life? What was the narrative? Somehow, what is it? The abundant genre is about blessings, full of blessings, over filled with blessings. Even those blessings in disguise…hidden ones, silent ones, quiet ones. Still filled ones. Even goodness.

notes--writing

Powerful poems

Reading poetry is what I’ve been doing more of recently as a writer of poetry must read it to see how published poetry is done. One poem I read reminded me that poets choose subjects and write a poem on that subject. Choosing subjects is what poets do, but it is not the only basis for a poem. It is one of the ways to write a poem.

This poet obviously choose ‘freedom of expression’ as her subject and wrote an effective, even convincing argument for it. I was compelled by the subject because it was well done and made the point effectively. It even made me think about freedom of expression and asked how many of us are really good at it. I mean some people just dominate the argument…As you can see poems have power.

stories

Church relaunches with expansion

New $5.5 million building shows growth in Hutt

2007. A church’s $5.5 million building investment in an old relocated Mitre Ten shop is further evidence of growth in the Hutt Valley.

The Hope Centre, in Lower Hutt, previously the Hutt Christian Covenant Church, has re-launched because of rapid growth and attracted hundreds on its opening day.

Continue reading “Church relaunches with expansion”

notes--writing

Writing in anger

A reviewer assumed a screenwriter/director was driven by anger to make a work, but being driven by this emotion seems a stretch too far. How does one manage that emotion while working with it? Wouldn’t anger get out of control and interfere with the person doing the work, effectively disabling the person from thinking straight?

I guess anger in writing can smolder underneath, under layers one has built up to protect oneself from exposing the driving, motivating force behind a work or works.

The problem with writing in anger is that anger may be seen in how one treats the subject they are irritated about. An exaggerated treatment may reveal a bias towards a certain institution, but it isn’t the way it is. This is when things become unfair.

I think it is best to avoid those writings that are driven by the emotion of anger. There are other emotions to write with, and these can be negative ones. For me at least, anger is detrimental to getting on doing the work properly.

In the end one may be misrepresenting something or some group entirely and perhaps regret doing so afterwards.

notes--writing

One word says it

As I am progressing my sentence, and stuck for the right word, I try and use two words. Why use two words when I could use one? Two words tries to expand on the meaning in my mind — but it sounds clumsy and awkward. It just does not flow well. One word may say it much better. Just got to find the right word. That’s where words with similar meanings come in (synonyms), since one of those words may just say it better than two.  I google for a synonym and  I find the right word that replaces the two words that just did not sound right.

stories

“This vision to be a place of hope and inspiration and love for all has been growing in my heart for over 20 years.”

Church steps out in faith to build $7m worship centre

2006. The Presbyterian Church in the South Auckland village of Clevedon (a town in New Zealand; see picture below) has paid $1.2 million for 8ha of rural land on which it hopes to build a $7 million “worship centre”.

Clevedon, in South Auckland, New Zealand

Continue reading ““This vision to be a place of hope and inspiration and love for all has been growing in my heart for over 20 years.””

poetry

Bittersweet to hunger

Kind of nice, but bitter

The taste of convenance

Easy.

Homemade.

Over there, not.

Nowhere to find.

In the place I call home.

Kind of nice, but bitter,

Going cold, always sour.

My Sweet,

You never complain,

Alternatives, what?

I wouldn’t change a thing!

Except if it was mud cake in the face.

I am glad you are here

You will not go

For this is bitter to a hungry man,

And it tastes good.

 

When will thou arrive?

 

By Peter Veugelaers.

poetry

Strait through

A straight line I go alone

Steps along the way

The spring is infectious

Buoying me every day

Veering not to the left or right and not by design,

The course I am is full and sublime.

 

Remember me? Shouted a boy by other means a man

Are you still who you are,

Or have you gone lame?

I was who I was, I said.

And that is all I said.

 

Wanting to probe some more,

I anticipated a shock,

A meeting of no mere reunion,

A rude interruption.

 

I kept on going

Not fearing what lies ahead.

A bit maimed and bruised,

But I must cruise

Just get me to the other side.

Even if I die, alive.

 

A straight line I go alone

Steps along the way

The spring is infectious

Buoying me every day

Veering not to the left or right and not by design,

The course I am is full and sublime.

 

poetry

Feeling today

I better write this

While it is not compelling me, but

Impelling me to.

While not knowing why,

I have an idea,

What it’s about.

The day only comes once a year,

The smell of it, I know.

What it’s about I don’t.

So, what does today mean, to me?

A rather lonely sojourn?

While everyone’s in the know?

Why should I bother?

But I do. The day is another beautiful day

Isn’t this why we are free to celebrate,

Because it is another beautiful day?

Unhinged, unfettered.

Unleased with light.

Since that day many years ago.

 

notes--writing

Not widely known

I have no idea of the matter but I trust the reference book is correct. This is on the matter of who co-wrote the play Where the Rainbow Ends. The reference book cites that Reginald Owens was a co-writer which isn’t stated on Wikipedia. The reference book says he was the brain child of the play as well.

I have a good feeling the reference book is right, although I could be wrong. Clifford Mills is cited as the co-author (along with Reginald Owens) in the reference book. On Wikipedia, Clifford Mills wrote it with John Ramsey.

But where is Reginald Owen on that Wikipedia page? “It is perhaps not widely known that the famous children’s play Where the Rainbow Ends was the brain-child of Reginald Owen…” the reference book says (Page 13, Film Review 1973-74).

poetry

Alive

The rain is about to fall.

So, they told us.

But it didn’t come.

They all breathed a sigh of relief,

So, did I.

I enjoyed the sun, while it was there,

On a day,

Of heaven spent joys.

The rain might have fell,

But was kept back for more,

More of you, the sun,

Love of the rays flowed through

My heart rejoiced, for the sight,

Not blinding,

But alive,

And death did not gnaw.

life

Stuck

He had been drinking instant coffee for years. At home.

 

Every day, the same brand. The same mix. The same old instant coffee.

Three times a day. Sometimes four.

But recently he had been finding the same coffee didn’t taste as good as usual. He worried. Angst pulsed through his soul. What would he do?

He kept on drinking the same instant coffee. Until inspiration struck.

He went to the coffee shop across the road.

What would he find there?

He ordered coffee on the day after his last instant coffee at home. He knew of the brands. He chose latte, it sounded a bit different to the usual. After all he was having instant coffee for many, many years.

He took the cup home, put in the sugar, and took his first sip.

And another.

And another.

Until he finished his first ever latte.

He mused over the experience like a critic. “That was great”, he said aloud.

The next he went back to the coffee shop across the road. And the next day. And the next.

Until he forgot about instant coffee.

Then, one day, the coffee shop shut down for earthquake strengthening. He was shell shocked.

But he went home and prepared an instant coffee, but not in the old way. He put water in his instant coffee this time to see if it would taste better. Before he added boiling milk to the instant. He hoped water would make a difference. And it did!

It was instant coffee, after all. Did they ever tell him to add boiling water?

It tasted not so good. There happened to be another coffee shop in the vicinity. So he went to the coffee shop down the street and got his latte. It tasted so much better.

poetry

We

Weatherboards, straight across—

A roof, four walls.

I see.

Over there, I see you.

Close and near.

Not in that house they built.

You are to me,

A person.

Not etched in a wall

In the pew

The one who gave or did not

You are not a plaque.

But you are you

And I do

See you.

That’s all I see.

stories

“After a while there was a need to have clear leadership”

Baptist churches face shortage of pastors

2006. Larger Baptist churches are having difficulty filling senior pastor roles meaning nearly half the pastor vacancies in Baptist churches are either for congregations of 300 or more or in multi-staffed churches.

Continue reading ““After a while there was a need to have clear leadership””

poetry

Looking up

I looked up.

peace overcame the dreary sky.

the clouds left behind,

a ray of light broke through

Shining bright over the heads of us

as I looked from the window,

inside the room.

I was watching the change,

I was looking up.

I remembered God,

the Father’s light shines on the

righteous and unrighteous alike.

He remembered me,

Just then.

He can send the rain,

For now, the light he sends.

poetry

Ways

The plan is this.

That it goes to plan.

What is the plan?

No pain in the game that’s lived in this life to get to where I need to be,

The need is great, no doubt I feel it strong,

Needy me, needy me,

Needing to get there,

Abide by the plan,

On hand,

Focused and dry,

No doubt in my mind

Got to do it do it do it

There is no turning back

Going forward, on track

Cannot stop, got to go,

Get in that place,

Where I want to go,

All obstacles I will put asunder

Until my life has got to where it wants

Then will I be?

Will I be settled within?

Calm and collected?

There will always be room for the break –

Into something new,

Jump right in.

I’ll stop what I do.

And go that way, the way

For it’s as fresh as new.

poetry

Help me see

You think you know it all. I got to help you, son.

The other guy is coming with a message you better here,

It will help you, I’m sure, son.

You are missing a few brains of that I have no doubt.

A bit dumb around the corners:

You sprouted wings like cauliflowers and cabbages on the sides of your brain.

But I am here, to help,

Unless some other together guy would get at you first:

The head guy. Amateur.

Bar the humble guy.

Who asked you,

Help me see.

For you see better than me.

stories

Annual appeal and rebranding church website

“Together we can help Kiwis in need”

2004. The Salvation Army’s theme this year is “together we can help Kiwis in need” elaborated in a breakfast presentation with a series of short messages about the work of The Army and their annual appeal. One hundred and twenty years serving New Zealanders was celebrated at Booth House in Wellington, April 16, which also looked forward to Salvation Army Week, to kick off on April 28 until May 4.

Continue reading “Annual appeal and rebranding church website”

stories

“A decision was made to go contemporary”

Brethren church goes modern

2001. It was do or die for a small Brethren church in Petone that was vulnerable to losing members, especially youth.

After approximately four years of soul searching and seeking God on their situation, a decision was made to go contemporary and be a place where people find reality in community.

Continue reading ““A decision was made to go contemporary””

stories

A house for pregnant teens

Home to grace pregnant teenagers

2003. When Treena and Marcus van Rijssel purchased a house in Wellington last year for the purpose of housing and supporting pregnant teenagers, two pregnant girls approached them to use the facilities which were not furnished or decorated. One of those girls has gone on to appear on Kids – a TV 2 documentary about teenage mums.

Continue reading “A house for pregnant teens”

stories

Creating good families

Impacting Christians and non-Christians

2000. “We exist so that God, working in and through us, will use us, to help people know, apply, experience, embrace and proclaim God’s truth on marriage and family. The result is godly families reaching others with God’s truth”, explains Andy Bray, Director of FamilyLife (in New Zealand), a ministry that encourages a variety of couples at various stages in life in their marriages and roles as mothers and fathers.

Continue reading “Creating good families”

stories

Retired widower remarried

Doubly successful in marriage

2013. A retired New Zealand vicar who’s been blessed with two long, happy marriages knows the secret of success.

Cecil Marshall, now eighty-six, was married to Barbara for 40 years. After her death 18 years ago, he was devastated but remarried and has enjoyed another 17 years of marriage to Margaret.

Continue reading “Retired widower remarried”

stories

Outreach on

Calling Kiwis to the Olympics!

2000. Blood, sweat, and tears is going to flow from thousands of people worldwide at the Olympics this year. And it will not be just the athletes. The YWAM 2000 Games outreach in Sydney, where the Olympic games are being held in September, will be well underway with an estimated three thousand people. Lots of travelling, little sleep and battling crowds is the order of the day but promises to be one of the most memorable and exciting times in someone’s life. The NZ organizers are looking for 250 New Zealanders to take part.

Continue reading “Outreach on”

stories

Everyone “should have access to the arts”

Caring Christian community

2001. Twenty years ago, a person who had a psychotic experience may have been admitted into a hospital ward for years.

That same person or a person with the same set of symptoms may never enter a hospital today because there is better care in the community and more support for the family. The illness can be treated without necessarily having to be admitted into hospital.

Continue reading “Everyone “should have access to the arts””

poetry

Integrity

Whetting my appetite on a diet of malnutrition things I am supposed to not eat but eating them anyhow no one will see my diet of mental malnutrition but nevertheless I go ahead and hope for the best making sure no one sees me and I die a death, losing myself, my integrity, did I even regret the impulse that came over my brain in a haze of momentary lack of mindedness set on just one thing and forgetting I said it was mental malnutrition. The death of my soul, now a hole, and no one knows, but I die, alone. I jumped from thing to thing and the desire grew and blew and blew until it flew, and I’m left with the residual hue nothing like I wanted.

stories

Church leaders working together

Partners in Ministry – From relational unity to functional unity

2003. A “rookie” pastor found that churches were not co-operating as strongly as ideal, and he desired a greater unity. It was not enough to motivate Stefan Schlogl, Pastor of Victory Christian Centre, to action but when God spoke to him about initiating fellowship between ministers in the Hutt Valley, he immediately sent letters to some of them sharing his vision.

Continue reading “Church leaders working together”

stories

Circa 2001: Renewable energy generation in New Zealand – State of the nation

2001. New Zealanders will be consulted this year on climate change and related issues, initiated by the Government.

According to the Cabinet paper, early decisions and directions, more public education about energy efficiency choices and actions available in the residential, commercial, and other sectors, is to be considered.

Continue reading “Circa 2001: Renewable energy generation in New Zealand – State of the nation”

poetry

Appeal

No, not laughable

Breezy, uplifting and touching

A hint of how much I love you

She’s rich but not annoyingly so

No self-indulgent phony

Sounds the most honest

Apt considering her title (she’s not channeling a future divorce)

She’s surprising

How is she really feeling Mostly sentimental gut feeling

Don’t ask if I think this is better or an embarrassment Her appeal outstanding

life

Television program induces fears

2017. Autopsy is a television series from Britain’s ITV studios that analyses the events around the untimely deaths of famous people. Dr. Jason Payne-James looks at the cause of death that is on the celebrity’s death certificate but looking closely at the evidence he concurs with the certificate or comes to another conclusion.

The subjects of the series are people well-known in film, music, and sports. The days leading up to the deaths of actors Robin Williams and Heath Ledger, and others, are analyzed.

In the episode I am looking at today, the life and death of the Irish-born, Manchester United footballer George Best is scrutinized.

Continue reading “Television program induces fears”

notes--writing

Abandoning one project isn’t abandoning the ship

There is a difference between abandoning something and abandoning ship. Abandoning ship means whatever you were occupying is abandoned for ever. Abandoning something means you let go of part of the whole. I may have let go of a long cherished but burdensome project without abandoning ship. I will still write of course, but I won’t be writing a certain project that I really am unmotivated to write anymore. I guess one should be motivated to write a project, but when it becomes a burden, one loathes the thought of writing it. So, I think I should stick to those writing projects, in terms of fiction, that I really have a strong motivational investment in.

poetry

Porridge and poetry

Free verse is all porridge and poetry

Mixed and thrown together like a whirlwind of expressive rage

Hot in the pot and bubbling away

An orator who’s been told life is poetry and anger swirled all together,

Sounding like a dear old bird chirping,

Not so. Beaten into life by the wordsmith’s device

Heated words used in free verse candor

Sounding like he’s got a grip

Dying on the inside, the boy’s got lip

When a wind is getting closer

The poet dives for self-respect

The free verse expresses regret.

poetry

Illusion

It is this way, so the illusionist said to the one he called the magician.

The illusionist saw it no other way in the vision of the magician he seen

There was no grey ground and no questioning He had it right

And woe and before him the magician came creeping back who he viewed in a suspicious light

There was only one way of looking at her, and this way was right:

The magician was a wicked old willy.

Who happened to be a loved one gone by,

Never seen the same again,

The love he had was broken,

As the magician was seen through the illusionist’s eyes,

Never to be blown.

notes--writing

When public profile does not matter

He just wanted to write. He did not want to show off. But Mrs. Humstead wanted to show every one of importance his writing. Except no one wanted to read it. The writer observed rather than get upset. He knew being such a small timer not everyone was going to have the time to read his work. But he just wanted to write. He knew there were many competitors and more over those who would pillage his work for their own ends…He was wary of those but remained calm. What did it matter? Peace of mind reigned over him before action strikes. Another piece of writing.

stories

The church responds to cultural changes

Cultural shifts offer challenges for church

2004. Religious belief is not declining in New Zealand and other Western countries – the situation is increasingly described as a change from “religion” to “spirituality”, so is the consensus from sociologists, theologians, and academics from around the globe who say there is a resurgence of spirituality and belief in God outside of institutionalized Church.

Continue reading “The church responds to cultural changes”
stories

Christians stir controversy at Parliament

Enough is Enough

2004. The Rally for Human Rights preceded hundreds who marched Monday in the Enough is Enough rally taking a message to Parliament’s steps about the sanctity of marriage, proposed legalizing of civil unions and the Care of Children Bill deemed to undermine the marriage institution.

Continue reading “Christians stir controversy at Parliament”
poetry

Smelly

Commercial intent, he said.

They said his nose was out of joint,

Because he smelt commercialization.

“You just hate anything commercial.”

But he grimaced at the candy smell in the foyer of a cinema

That was in the shop of a petrol station.

It was the smell that made him bark “Commercial intent”

And the manager was there to hear it.

The candy smell was smothering and moldy

No wonder he cried out

As life was choked out and inseminated with artificial popcorn, but

Could this be a matter of sour grapes?

As just the day before he had been given white bread for dinner.

Like the times he had been at the cinema he brought down curses on the place he was now standing.

In the shop of a petrol station.

There was such a mess.

poetry

Understanding “The Persian Rug”

How does one understand today’s poem “The Persian Rug”. Although it may sound like red carpet service for politicians despite their misdemeanors, it does not mean that at all. I can imagine a politician’s flaws being overlooked, though, and life goes on as normal, but this has nothing to do “The Persian Rug”. Quite simply the poem is spiritual. I am not using a strict religious metaphor from the Bible. I could have used another idea than the one I did, but I use “Persian rug” because it sounded like something exotic and transcendent which fitted in with my meaning. It is about how Jesus treats a person despite their flaws and sins. He died for sin but is not condemning someone for their sins. In a way he is treating the person in my poem like royalty even though he does not deserve it. This is God’s goodness to that person.

poetry

All I need to know

In moments, words were said,

Were they two divergent things expressed about the same thing?

One moment straight as an arrow that pierces the soul

Another moment as cheerful a schoolgirl chatting

Two divergent things expressed about the same thing? What’s the point, my friend?

She says one day coffee’s the killer

Next day asking if I’m getting a coffee — with a light touch of fun.

One day it’s one

One day it’s another

And the same

And the last day sinks the nail: you drink too much coffee.

Coffee is the cheerful killer she so wants to rid me of.

Dare I ask for more explanation, other than her innocent smile.

All conceived in love.