Friday, June 28, 2013

Kansas City: In case you didn't know. . .

Kansas City.

Unlike New Zealand, it boasts no waterfalls, no surf beaches, no mountains, no dolphins. Dangerously hot summers and biting cold winters come around every 12 months and each spring tornadoes steal livelihoods from hundreds of people, leaving them grasping for survival.

So why would anyone want to live here?

For those of you who grew up in the Midwest USA, humor me for a moment while I rave about our great city to my non-North American friends reading this blog. 

 Kansas City is the home of Royal's baseball, Chiefs football, big summer storms, and the best BBQ food in the country!  It is also home to many important people in my life including my parents and siblings, aunts, uncles,cousins and many friends.  I am grateful for the opportunity to reconnect during this time away.  

Kansas City is a city that lies on the border of the states of Kansas and Missouri and therefore is actually divided into two distinct cities. I actually grew up in a thriving suburb on the Kansas side called Olathe, which means "beautiful" in the native Shawnee Indian language. Approx 130,000 people call Olathe home and enjoy a good quality of life, excellent schools, and . . . did I mention good BBQ ribs!

With all that it has going for it, Olathe, like any place on earth, is full of lost and broken people who need a relationship with Jesus Christ.  Hidden behind the facade of wealth, education, and comfort are people searching for meaning in life, desperate to find someone to hold onto, to be a bedrock when life feels like a storm.

I am thankful to have grown up here and continue to pray for the  people of Kansas City even while I am away.  Will you join me?

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Leaving Fingerprints

 We've all heard it said that there are people who come into your life for a brief time and others that stay for longer, but each have their place in shaping you and your identity.

Think about this:  Each time you shake a hand, squeeze a hug or give a little nudge, you are leaving a bit of yourself on that person.  You are leaving fingerprints, evidence that you've been there, that you've somehow entered into that person's life story, even if only for a moment.

Likewise, you are being covered with the fingerprints of others. This last week at General Assembly, I left my fingerprints on a few old friends and received some prints from new ones.  I especially had the privilege of spending extended amounts of time with the delegates from our Asia-Pacific region which included people from Australia and New Zealand, as well as Korea, Japan, Philippines, Micronesia, Papua New Guinea, Thailand,Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Samoa. . .and the list goes on.

Our region represents 2.8 billion of the world's 7 billion inhabitants with hundreds of distinct language groups, and incredibly diverse cultural heritages and practices.  Our mission is to make Christlike disciples in the nations-particularly within the region where we are, Asia Pacific.  It is our prayer that by leaving our fingerprints on the lives of others in our spheres of influence, we are also leaving the fingerprints of Christ.

What are you doing with your fingerprints?

Friday, June 21, 2013

More sweet reunions!

I don't have much time to write today, but please enjoy a few more photos of some sweet reunions with fellow brothers and sisters from around the world.

Those of you who have Nazarene connections at all will probably see some familiar faces posted on this blog throughout the next few days.

Thursday, June 20, 2013

General Assembly: A glimpse of things to come...

For those of you who like numbers, get a load of this!

  At this 2013 23rd Global Nazarene General Assembly:

--  30,000 Nazarenes are expected to participate on site, representing the larger global church of over 2.1 million members.
-- This week we are also linked in via skype to 11 different regional sites in Argentina, Bulgaria, Ecuador, Guatemala, Haiti, India, Kenya, Philippines, South Africa, Trinidad and the USA.
--The delegates to the convention represent 74 different countries and over 28,000 Nazarene churches worldwide.

Participating in this assembly is a bit like experiencing a slice of heaven. Tune your ear to hear a plethora of languages worshipping the the One True God and you might just get goosebumps. Open your eyes wide and you'll see the the good news of hope and life in Jesus Christ celebrated by various cultural expressions.

It is truly a privilege to be here reuniting with old friends from around the world and making many new ones!  In reality, this is just a shadow of the great reunion of the family of God that will one day occur in its fullness, where all those who call God their Father will finally be together and the kingdom of God will become the kingdom of this earth.

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Indianapolis, home of the Hoosiers!

What is a "Hoosier?"

I don't have a clue, but neither does anyone else around me. He he!  Regardless, Donna and I are now enjoying good 'ole Midwestern US hospitality in Indianapolis, home of the Hoosiers.  Thank the Lord, after a very long journey that began over 2.5 days ago, we arrived safely last night with all our luggage and sanity intact, greeted by a lovely couple Tim and Debbie who graciously took us in for the evening.
We will be here in Indianapolis for the next week for Nazarene General Assembly, reuniting with Nazarenes from all over the globe and making important decisions about how we carry out the mission of Christ in our world.

Please continue to follow this blog for updates, photos.  .and maybe even some ideas of what a "hoosier" might be. 

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Rock Solid Photo Scavenger Hunt!

Good clean fun.  That's what we enjoy with a bunch of zany intermediate age students every Tuesday night at Rock Solid.  Just imagine the amusement in spending 60 minutes cruising around Whangarei in a van full of teenagers with a camera and a rather unusual "to-do" list!

Never underestimate the creativity and ingenuity of young people and the value of investing in quality time with them.  These precious young people have become very dear to my heart and I will miss them greatly over the next few weeks while across the sea in the USA. 

Please enjoy some photos from our photo scavenger hunt this week:

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Mangahwai Heads

I couldn't help but share some of these gorgeous photos from the pastor's retreat at Mangawhai Heads (pronounced "Mung-uh-fy") this weekend.  This gem of a spot is only an hour from my house. . .so why haven't I been there before?

It would be fair then for me to ask myself the same question about other things in my life. Are there people, experiences and places in my life here in New Zealand that I have neglected to cherish?  Are their gems right under my nose that I have failed to discover?  I would venture to say that the answer is yes.

Is the same true for you?  So what are you going to do about it?