Friday, April 26, 2013

On the Road Again. ..

"On the road again; I just can't wait to get on the road again. .. "

Oh wait, rewind. . .  maybe I CAN wait to get on the road again!

1,000KMs on the windy roads of New Zealand took us to all the wild and wonderful places of the northland: Dargaville, Kai Iwi Lakes, Waipua Forest, Opononi, Kaitaia, Cape Reinga, Manganui, Bay of Islands, Paihia and back to Whangarei.  We enjoyed sand-duning, boating, dolphins, silly games, motorbikes, great food and lots of togetherness.  Each day our crew of 51 packed up beds and food and hit the road again for the next adventure, always accompanied by a dozen dedicated leaders, 6 vans, 3 trailers. .. and a partridge in a pear tree.   He he!

"On the Road Camp" is designed to expose 11-14 year old teens to God's love as reflected through his majestic creation. At the end of each day's excursions we engaged in discussions and presentations revolving around Christ and his great sacrifice for all mankind.
Many of our teens have very little knowledge of God and the way of life he designed for the people he loves so much, so this camp was a great opportunity to share this good news with them and challenge them to think critically about how they want to choose to live their lives.  Thank you for your prayers!

This year our camp also happened to fall over ANZAC Day.  For my non-Kiwi and Aussie friends, ANZAC is "Australia New Zealand Army Corps" and the holiday is similar to Memorial Day in the USA, honouring fallen soldiers who sacrifice for our freedom.  We found ourselves in Kaitaia that day and a few of us early-birds decided to participate in the dawn parade and brief memorial service.  Very moving.

As I write this, a lack of sleep causes my eyes to droop and a 3 hour boat ride sends my body into a steady sway as it relives the earlier tour of the Bay of Islands. Seemingly endless hours behind the wheel of a van makes me eager to plant my feet on solid ground.  My mind and body are exhausted, but my spirit is alive and energized to know that the last 5 days have been used of the Lord. Only time will tell what all has truly transpired in the realm of the unseen and how God is moving in the lives our young people.

Please enjoy the beautiful photos!

Saturday, April 20, 2013

I think the drought is over!

Here in the North Island of New Zealand we have been in serious drought for many months, with only occasional relief offering hope this week.  As I speak, a thunderous downpour is making its way through our area, causing flooding.  Take a peek at these photos I just took a few moments ago. . . I think the drought is over, eh?

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Giving young people a chance to shine. . .

“Giving young people a chance to shine.” 

That is the mission of YouthZone Northland/Rock Solid.  Each week, Rock Solid clubs meet with intermediate school students from places such as far north as Kaikohe, Whangarei, and Dargaville, to Papatoetoe in south Auckland.  We strive to provide a fun and safe environments for young teens to be introduced to the God who cares for them and calls them to new life in his Son Jesus Christ.

 We want to give them the chance to shine in a dark world that would rather push teens to the side and disregard them because of their age and inexperience.

Many of our kids do not come from homes where Christ is known and honoured.  In fact, the homes of some of our kids can be very scary places where drugs and alcohol cause violence and abuse.  Other kids come from just typical Kiwi families that have their own unique struggles.  Regardless of what exists at home, all these kids have the potential to really shine in their own spheres of influence and we are here to equip them for that noble God-given task.
This Monday, 50 Rock Solid teens and leaders will venture out on our “On the Road Camp”!  We really need your prayers. This is different than many of our other camps, because we drive to new landmarks each day, sleeping in different places each night and enjoying the sights and sounds of the Northland, including Cape Reinga, the northernmost tip of New Zealand, where the Pacific Ocean and the Tasman Sea meet.   This 5 day tour involves many hours on the road driving which allows the perfect opportunity for sharing our faith and facilitating redemptive conversations with the kids.  If you’ve followed this blog for the last 2 years you’ll know that this will be my second “On the Road” camp with Rock Solid.  I look forward to all the exciting challenge we have ahead of us this week.

As you view the photos from the last 2 weeks of Rock Solid in Whangarei, please pray for each of the students and leaders that you see.  Thank you!

Monday, April 15, 2013

"Secret Keeper" Girl's Night!

What is a "Secret Keeper Girl"?

"She’s also a girl who embraces modesty. Why? Because she knows that she is a masterpiece created by God. She strives to keep the deepest secrets of her authentic beauty a secret!"  (

We hosted a "Secret Keeper Girl" teen sleepover Friday night full of heaps of girly fun like a toilet paper fashion show, cookie decorating, glow-stick art, and much more!   In the midst of the fun we had very purposeful discussion times on what it means to be pure on the inside and out, what it looks like to dress modestly and with good taste, and how to value ourselves as the priceless treasures that we are.

This message of biblical purity and modesty is extremely necessary in our sexually-charged culture where beauty is often defined in shallow, harmful ways.  Thanks to Jenna Briles for all the effort she put into organizing the evening!

CLICK ON THIS LINK  to see the nifty stop motion video we made out of glow sticks!
Cross- Glow stick stop motion video!

Sunday, April 7, 2013


Cycles.  There is the water cycle, the lunar cycle, and the carbon cycle.  The dependable change of seasons each year and the ebb and flow of the ocean's tide are cycles built into our universe by the clever Creator who knows that finite minds need something with which to measure time, success, progress, etc.

Talk about living in a bubble, eh?
 Some cycles are very healthy, like the sleep cycle or the life-cycle of a butterfly.  Creation is extremely rhythmic and cyclical. God intended it that way- to give a positive cadence to existence on planet earth.  Without these repetitive and predictable sequences, life would be a grand mishmash of confusion, lacking in stability.

Not all cycles are good however.  Because sin's power entered the story of humanity in that first act of disobedience in the Garden of Eden, some cycles have been altered, spoiled, and perverted.  I am beginning to notice some of these unhealthy rhythms that plague individuals and families within my sphere of influence.

You know, if you stick around long enough, the true character of a person will eventually present itself.   You will begin to recognize recurring behaviours and habits, good and bad. Beware, others will also begin to identify these in you.

Some of these aren’t so positive, like the cycle in and out of abusive relationships, or the dependence on nicotine, alcohol, or illicit drugs.   Some people enthusiastically make promises to “turn over a new leaf” and quit smoking or to begin a new course of study that will open doors to new employment, only to give up just weeks later.  Others exhibit the signs of insecurity and an unsettled conscience; they find themselves running through the revolving door of confidence and timidity, guilt and innocence.

Cycles can be quite binding, especially when they trap us in the workings of the temporal.  I am beginning to get quite sick of the cycles I see around me. Sometimes they make just make me outright angry! I want to see bondage broken and individuals, families and communities set free to live lives of holiness, no longer at the mercy of the old cliché that “history repeats itself”. Consider this insightful poem, The Habit.

The Habit

I am your constant companion.
I am your greatest helper or heaviest burden.
I will push you onward or drag you down to

I am completely at your command.
Half of the things you do you might as well turn
over to me and I will do them - quickly and

I am easily managed - you must be firm with me.
Show me exactly how you want something done
and after a few lessons, I will do it automatically.

I am the servant of great people,
and alas, of all failures as well.
Those who are great, I have made great.
Those who are failures, I have made failures.

I am not a machine though
I work with the precision of a machine
plus the intelligence of a person.
You may run me for profit or run me for ruin -
it makes no difference to me.

Take me, train me, be firm with me, and
I will place the world at your feet.
Be easy with me and I will destroy you.

Who am I? I am Habit.

Have you ever been in a fighter pilot simulator? The dizzying twirling and spinning leaves you unable to discern which way is up and wondering if your lunch will stay inside your stomach until you make it to the toilet.  Your body seems to be screaming for escape from the cycle; all you want is for it to stop. 

Take a look at your life today.  Are there patterns of behaviour to which you’ve grown so accustomed that you barely recognize their presence?  Are you aching for a chance to escape the pull of gravity that orbits you back into the same thing over and over?
Sometimes the best thing to do is bravely ask someone outside your cycle to look at your lifestyle and habits, and give you an assessment of what they see.  Then in the courage and strength that only God can give, ask Him to perform an evaluation.  Give to him the results of that test, grant Him permission to penetrate that harmful cycle, and then cooperate with Him as he provides a clear way of escape for you.

I want to live outside the cycle.  I want that for my people.   I want that for all people.