Monday, January 31, 2011

Cricket World Cup 2011

2011 will an exciting year of sport. Along with the NRL which is outstanding every year, we've also got both the cricket and the rugby world cups. I'm really looking forward to both.

In regards to the cricket world cup my New Zealand 11 would line up as follows...

Martin Guptil
Jessie Ryder
Ross Taylor
Kane Williamson
Scott Styris
James Franklin
Brendon McCullum
Daniel Vettori (c)
Nathan McCullum
Kyle Mills
Tim Southee

Forget statistics for selecting the team. New Zealand cricket will never amount to anything based on statistics. Team is based on passion / power / potential. With this line up we bat through to 8 but even 9, 10 and 11 know how to hit the ball. Bowling lacks the quick and really Adam Milne should be there instead of Mills. Forget experience here; it’s worth having one player who can hit the 140km plus mark. Oh well. The reality is as Twenty20 cricket proves; pace isn’t everything in limited over cricket. In fact taking all the pace off the ball seems to be the way to go. No place for How or Oram in this line up. How’s just not quite there. Oram is past it, sorry to say.

Keys in the world cup...

Fielding - will be to field with 100% commitment 100% of the time. Stop as many boundaries as possible with full commitment in the outfield, restrict the quick singles in close, pouncing on everything and threatening with run outs by hitting the stumps again and again. Catching is going to need to be sublime. See Sinclair for sublime!

Bowling – our slow bowlers are going to be key in building pressure. Vettori will and obviously has to lead the way. N McCullum, Styris and Guptill/Williamson at times need to be on fire and need to bowl smart. It would be nice to see Ryder roll the arm over every now and then as well. We’re going to need to mix things up. Open with McCullum on occasion. Don’t let batters get settled and bowl smart. No the opposition and set fields accordingly. Smart slow bowling will be the key though. Of course Franklin, Southee, Mills need to back up as well.

Batting – There is a lot of potential here. All our batters have fired before we just need a few of them to fire all at once. The key will be to read what’s happening in the game and ignore at times the proposed line up. Bring B McCullum in early if required. Hold Taylor back if the openers have set a solid platform and let Williamson or Styris craft it around. Over all the batters are going to have to bat aggressively. This is risky but I think it’s where we could find an edge. Ryder, Taylor, B McCullum and even Guptill have the ability to really go for it; go for it is what they are going to have to do.

My prediction - We’ll make the quarter finals as we always do. Then, as long as we don’t get India we’ll make it through to the semis, this will be a big upset! Here though we’ll go down. Most likely to India.

Thursday, January 27, 2011


Taking contemporary to mean relevant, meaningful, and in tune with the rhythms, pace and heartbeat of today’s postmodern culture, then contemporary would be another great word to describe that which we are looking to do at St Luke’s. We see the process of re-embracing aspects of the churches ancient traditions and fusing them more modern practices as ultimately something that will resonate afresh in today’s cultural melee.   We’re all for podcasts and prayer candles, data projectors and the didache, iPads as well as 'I pray', forwards thinking as well as ancient remembering. We’ve not allocated this idea particular space as a value or expression to be documented but rather take the need to be contemporary as common sense. Perhaps in a postmodern world though, common sense just doesn’t look like it might always have looked.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011


Traditional is another term that we have chosen to describe an aspect of the style of church we feel God is leading us to develop at St Luke’s. By traditional we mean the intentional embracing of various elements of a more traditional church’s liturgy (form or arrangement of public worship). At times this will mean an awareness and celebration of the Christian Calendar or Christian Seasons, Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Lent, Easter etc, allowing these seasons to influence aspects of our own church gatherings and the communal life of our church. On occasion we will use set readings and prayers in our Sunday gatherings such as found in the Anglican Book of Common Prayer. In no way do we feel bound to any of these traditions but rather think there is something beautiful expressed and experienced in them and look forward to fusing the ancient with the contemporary. Our gatherings will always be full of life and the passionate celebration of the resurrected Jesus. We look forward to this passionate celebration being both, boisterous and noisy, as well as reflective and peaceful.      

Pictured is an Advent Wreath. It is usually a horizontal evergreen wreath with four candles and often, a fifth, white candle in the centre. Beginning with the First Sunday of Advent, the lighting of a candle can be accompanied by a Bible reading and prayers. An additional candle is lit during each subsequent week until, by the last Sunday before Christmas, all four candles are lit. Some Advent wreaths include a fifth, "Christ" candle which can be lit at Christmas. The custom is observed both in family settings and at public church services and of course can either be meaningless or full of meaning depending on how practiced in the home or in a public service. Ancient practices such as an Advent Wreath leading into Christmas have the potential though to help reshape one's thinking and attitude towards Christmas, highlighting the true reason for the season when accompanied by the set readings and reflections. A potentially wonderful practice for those both old and young!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bible / Theology

Another characteristic that we’re committed to developing at St Luke’s is biblical teaching which challenges and inspires our community to live Christ like. This means doing the best we can to properly exegete both the bible and our 21st Century post-modern culture. We want to live in the light of God’s word and its intent and meaning to the original readers, totally committed to the reality that it has meaning and truth for us today.

The bible offers us a grand-narrative of God at work throughout history. In truth it tells us that history is indeed HIStory; a meaningful story originating in love and purpose that is heading towards a beautiful mind-blowing conclusion. We want to live in the light of this story. The life giving, transformational, challenging, inviting, moving, all encompassing, subversive, counter intuitive, upside-down, passionate story of God’s love and plan for His creation.

At times understanding this big story and understanding the smaller stories found in the Bible seems straightforward and common sense. On other occasions it’s not so easy. At times it is easy to embrace the challenges of Jesus’ teaching. On other occasions, like it was for the disciples, so easy to miss the point. At times God’s word seems life changing and refreshing. On other occasions it seems dry and difficult to swallow. In all of this we’re committed to gathering around God’s word each Sunday and to allowing it to transform our lives. We look forward to the teaching of God's word being a moment in our service that is looked forward to with anticipation. Always we gather believing for the Holy Spirit to speak into our lives, struggles, dreams, situations and circumstances through the sermon and the preaching of God's word.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

2nd Sunday in Epiphany

Epiphany is the season of the church calender were particular attention and celebration is focused on the Divine mission of Jesus to the world. We remember the Magi's adoration of Jesus, his Baptism, his ministry and his call to us to be his disciples. It is a season to discover afresh, celebrate and enter to into the redemptive work of Christ in the world both as recipients of grace and as grace givers.

Lord as your people and we ask you to mercifully receive our prayers. We ask that we might both perceive and know what we should do with our lives and in what manner our lives should be lived. We ask for your grace and your power to faithfully fulfil the same. We ask this as individuals, as families, and as your church, through Jesus Christ our Lord, Amen.

Luke 2:41-52 - TNIV
Romans 12:1-6 The Message

Thursday, January 13, 2011



At St Luke’s we use the term Pentecostal to describe one of the characteristics of our church but not as the total definition of our church. We want to be open to the movement of God’s Spirit in the world and believe all Christ followers can and should live in real and authentic relationship with the Holy Spirit. We’re committed to that and in all we do want to cultivate that relationship in people’s lives. Inspired speech, inspired deeds, inspired living comes out of relationship with and the empowering of, the Holy Spirit. We do believe in overflowing baptisms of the Holy Spirit subsequent to salvation, we do believe in speaking in tongues, we do believe in Spiritual gifts and their use and function today. We’re not after experience for experience sake though; rather we are committed to God’s will being done on earth as it is in heaven. This is the main thing. The Pentecostal experience is not the main thing; it is just to help us pursue the main thing. Where Pentecostalism can be caricatured both positively and negatively we wish to embrace the positive and leave behind the negative characteristics. So as well as being Pentecostal in nature we’re also committed to a number of other values characterising our church which we’ll explore in other posts.


Pentecostal has come to mean all sorts of things to all sorts of people. Primarily the term is used to define churches or believers who place great emphasis on an overflowing baptism in the Holy Spirit, distinct from the indwelling of the Holy Spirit at conversion, and evidenced with speaking in other tongues. However Pentecostals around the world have come to be known stereotypically for a lot more than just a distinct perspective on speaking in tongues, sometimes positively and sometimes negatively.

Positive caricatures of Pentecostalism include (and are not limited to); a strong desire to get out there and make a difference in the world in the name of Jesus; a passion for encountering and experiencing the presence and power of God in the Holy Spirit and in the gifts of the Spirit; an ability to present the gospel in light of contemporary culture, an embracing of egalitarianism and the promotion of woman in leadership; an empowering culture which emphasises the priesthood of all believers and the ability of all (theologically trained or not) to have a dynamic and real relationship with God and with God’s word; and an attitude of faith and positivity in all things.

There does seem to be some negative caricatures of Pentecostalism as well; an over focus on feelings and experience often resulting in all sorts of hype; perhaps what could be referred to as theologically or biblically ‘light’ preaching and teaching (largely due to many Pentecostal pastors not being seminary trained); an inability to deal with the pain and suffering that exists in this world due to an overzealous sense of triumphalism; an over-focus on the ‘altercal’ as the primary (spiritual) means for healing perhaps at the expense of other (more material) ways of people finding health and wholeness such as counsellors, psychologists, and doctors; a dualistic worldview in regards that which is spiritual and that which is material; a reluctance for still or quite or reflection.

Obviously these are caricatures and would not necessarily fairly or accurately describe any particular Pentecostal church or believer. Like all caricatures though they are grounded in reality. In light of all of this our hope at St Luke’s is to leave behind some of the negative caricatures of Pentecostalism while still embracing the positive caricatures of Pentecostalism. Thus... (see Introduction/Conclusion).

Wednesday, January 12, 2011


Another way that I have described we're we are heading with St Luke's in various conversations over the last few months is through a simple diagram scribbled on the back of envelopes, napkins, or notebooks.

It hasn't always necessarily come out exactly the same but the six circles, Bible/Theology, Traditional, Pentecostal, Community, Postmodern, & Values go some way towards describing facets of what we see St Luke's looking like.

I'll un-pack them in the next few posts.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

St Luke's

I am so ready and so looking forward to 2011 and all of the changes, challenges, celebrations, curve balls, and chaos that the year is sure to bring. Along with 30 other fantastic kingdom dreamers, risk takers and adventurers, my wife and I are in the process of planting a church. This is an exciting new journey for us.

The main three things we get asked about our church plant are...

1. Where is it going to be?
2. Why are you calling the church St Luke's?
3. What's the church going to be like?

In answer to those three questions...

1. We don't know yet.
2. We'll get to this in future posts.
3. We're not exactly sure as there are so many variables that are totally out of one's control.

Here's what we do know however...

We want to be a vibrant, missional, faith community. Which at an entry level and as briefly as possible we’d unpack to mean that we want to be a community of people who's vibrancy and life is grounded in the life of Jesus and the reality of the Holy Spirit. A community of people committed to missional living. A community who gather for church on a Sunday but also scatter to be the church Monday through Saturday; shining boldly at times as a light but also flavouring subversively as salt in the nooks and crannies of everyday life. We want to be a faith community, a community who live out of a different story than that of consumerism, materialism, individualism and all those other words so often used to so accurately describe our western post-Christian culture. We want to live, move, breathe, dream and play in light of the grand-narrative of God's ongoing work in history, the grand-narrative of Jesus found in Genesis through Revelation.

That's the direction we're heading in and we're looking forward to walking, running, dancing, (and at times limping and crawling), onwards in that adventure!