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

“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

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

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Annual appeal and rebranding church website

Annual appeal and rebranding church website

“Together we can help Kiwis in need”

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.

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New look

New look

Church face-lift goes with new market image

Move over the religious services column in Saturday night’s newspaper. Advertise in a movie theatre, or the local rag. That’s what a Brethren church did in an attempt to re-invent itself in the eyes of the community.

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A house for pregnant teens

A house for pregnant teens

Home to grace pregnant teenagers

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.

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Creating good families

Creating good families

Impacting Christians and non-Christians

“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 different stages in life in their marriages and roles as mothers and fathers.

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Retired widower remarried

Retired widower remarried

Doubly successful in marriage

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

Cecil Marshall, now 86, 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.

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Outreach on

Outreach on

Calling Kiwis to the Olympics!

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 3000 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.

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Church leaders working together

Church leaders working together

Partners in Ministry – From relational unity to functional unity

A “rookie” pastor found that churches were not seemingly 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.

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Forgiveness is a good choice

Forgiveness is a good choice

Forgiveness is a good choice

You could be twenty steps away from forgiving someone who has hurt you. Yes, forgiveness is a process.

Twenty steps may seem onerous. It’s a lot of work for busy, occupied people, who are under other stresses without bothering with the ones they would rather forget. 

According to church consultant Dr. John Savage many people have never learned a strategy to forgive. There is advice out there however.

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Christmas brings resurgence of faith

Christmas brings resurgence of faith

Christmas brings resurgence of faith

The ghost of Christmas past and present called on me this Christmas. Two worlds representing the spirit of a Christmas 55 years ago and the other of a Christmas transformed by the changes of time, were neatly captured in some Christmas television programming.

Wellington’s community television station, Wellington Television, played that often-repeated Christmas interlude between dinner and supper, It’s A Wonderful Life.

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The church responds to cultural changes

The church responds to cultural changes

Cultural shifts offer challenges for church

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.

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Alive

Alive

I have been reflecting on the Gospel of John. The read has been enjoyable and compelling. This week, I have been reading the chapter on Lazarus and I learnt why Jesus rose Lazarus from the dead. I now share my findings from the gospel itself.

Lazarus was the brother of Mary and Martha, who lived in the village of Bethany, two miles from Jerusalem, in the first century. Jesus at the time was staying on the far side of the Jordan and was told that Lazarus was unwell.

Two days later, Jesus said to his disciples that Lazarus was physically dead. Jesus explained to his disciples, who were with him, that he meant that Lazarus was resting–meaning his disembodied spirit was resting in Hades, the waiting place for judgment of the dead (as David Pawson explains in “The Road to Hell”). Lazarus was not in heaven or hell. He was resting, in a waiting place for the spirits of the dead.

Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters and was going to wake Lazarus up, so his spirit would come back to his body. Lazarus would come back to life. Jesus went to Bethany and met up with Mary and Martha. Lazarus had been in a tomb four days and Jesus prayed and Lazarus came out of the tomb, alive.

Why did Jesus raise Lazarus from the dead? Love. Jesus loved Lazarus and his sisters. They would have been grateful they got their brother back and Jesus delivered on this for them.

I discovered that Jesus’ love in raising Lazarus has a much wider application as well.

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Myths and facts

Myths and facts

I have come across some odd sayings in my day. But more than odd, they were controversial sayings, but delivered palatably, with even with a hint that it should be accepted. Except when I heard it, I may have had the advantage of my knowledge over others in the crowd.

The controversies were told at church, but if one knows their Bible quite literally, as I do, you would think twice about the saying. You would recognize it as controversial and that it did not quite fit the evidence of the Bible. Maybe they were aiming for mass and consumer acceptance, but I sat there dismayed. Waiting for someone to correct. So here it is. The fallacies that appeared from time to time on my journeys. How do I reply…

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