Sunday, May 30, 2004

pentecost confession

I wrote this confession to start our Pentecost service::

Breath of God, you are our life
forgive us for our apathy and blandness,
our lack of passion and creativity.
Breath of God, enliven us

Fire of God, you are our energy and heat
forgive us when we walk alone,
ignoring your warmth and the love of friends,
Fire of God, fall on us

Wind of God, you are unpredictable
forgive us when try to tame and domesticate you,
forgive us when we dictate to you when and where you should move,
Wind of God, blow on us

Breath of God, fire of God, wind of God,
blow away our cobwebs
light our fire
fall afresh on us this Pentecost,

Some other Pentecost resources on this blog:
– art and theology here
– an annual Pentecost journal here
– global Pentecost resource here
– Pentecost festival 06 here and 07 here

Posted by steve at 09:01 PM

Saturday, May 29, 2004


thick n lumpy
green, swollen
tide n time


spray spume
white froth top fluid force

Posted by steve at 10:47 AM

Thursday, May 27, 2004

Reading Whale Rider: Reweaving in Godzone

This is the abstract of a paper I am going to give in July in Auckland. It’s up on the web here.

Reweaving in Godzone: theological scholarship in Aotearoa New Zealand


Posted by steve at 07:53 PM

Kid A

Today is a Kid A day. This week has been a Kid A week.
in its right place

sort of bleakly beautiful,
on repeat.
that mix of soulful hope,
I’m it.

Posted by steve at 10:42 AM

Wednesday, May 26, 2004


there is a lot of pain in life. sometimes it feels like the more we speak, the less we understand. it is easy to point the finger. it is harder to be constructive. distance makes talking harder. silence makes me nervous. it is hard to create cultures of mutuality and empowerment.

Posted by steve at 03:53 PM

Tuesday, May 25, 2004

when dreams may come…

I have just had a sermon I preached at Opawa Baptist a few weeks ago accepted for publication.

The book, Recovering the Scandal of the Cross, sought to push forward some thinking on the atonement. It argued, very rightly, that Evangelicals have limited the atonement and thus made the significance cross smaller, more individual, less wholistic, than it really is. The book was academic and naturally raised the “so-what” and “how-to” question. This has lead to work on a follow-up volume, Proclaiming the Scandal of the Cross, a practical how-to. By a series of coincidences I am now involved.

The move to Opawa Baptist/BNCZ had the potential to keep me so busy, that I would not get as much time to write. I have been warned already that it would “hamper my writing progress.”

So I am pinching myself, because something I have done at Opawa has in fact helped, not hampered, my writing progress. It is like God is grinning. As I trusted and got on with doing what I sensed was right in this season of my life, God has opened up doors and provided opportunities to not just pastor and train, but to write.

And what’s more, to write in an integrated way, a way that is close to my heart, a way that bridges gap between theory and practice, thinking and the community of God.

And as a sideline, it is encouraging to know that my preaching at Opawa is at some sort of level that it gets included in a written publication.

Posted by steve at 02:05 PM

Singing of grace

I went for a 45 minute walk through a forest with my 4 year old yesterday. We walked along, hand in hand, with an occasional picky back ride.

Dad: Kayli, can you hear the birds?

Kayli: They are singing a song.

Dad: What song are they singing?

Kayli: Amazing grace.

Posted by steve at 11:48 AM

Sunday, May 23, 2004

book of the month: the book of tobias

The Book of Tobias, by Sylvie Germain, is a delightful read. The novel follows the life of a family through the European 20th century, dealing with death, migration and love. It does justice to the original Apocrypahal Book of Tobit, in which an angel assists a doomed woman and a beaten man to find love. This includes the delight of supernatural touching our world, and the struggles of being Jewish in an exilic context.

Sylvie is a superb writer, evocative and spacious, dripping with well-timed metaphor. I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys good writing, to anyone who faces the task of contemporising ancient texts or to anyone who wants to reflect upon life, suffering, the divine and love.

Posted by steve at 09:26 AM

Saturday, May 22, 2004

signs of hope

New blog; Emerging Women Leaders that might clear some space to move some conversations forward. Good stuff, especially if they can embrace some women bloggers from outside the US …

Posted by steve at 05:52 PM

Season of prayer

A number have people have asked for more info on what is happening with the season of prayer.

I have just moved to a new church, and it seemed to me that there were many links between us as a church facing a new future, and the Acts narrative, with the disciples facing a new future as Jesus ascends. They gathered, waited and prayed. Why could we not gather, wait and pray? Why could we not pause before God, create some space in our lives, to wait and listen?

I wanted us as a community to live in the Biblical story, to let it shape our lives and our dreams. So I divided the Acts chapters 1, 2 into “bits”; and isolated a theme;

Day ::: Biblical Text ::: Theme ::: Focus of prayer
Thu ::: Acts 1:1-5 ::: Fresh excitement ::: Mission
Fri ::: Acts 1:6-11 ::: Repentance ::: Confession
Sat ::: Luke 4:16-21 ::: Mission ::: Ministries, missionaries of church NB This is kid interactive.

Sun ::: Prayer in worship services.

Mon ::: Acts 1:15-26 ::: Leader ::: Leaders and new leaders
Tues ::: Acts 2:1-4 ::: Ministry for all ::: Everyone in church
Wed ::: Genesis 2:2-4 ::: Day of rest
Thu ::: Acts 2:5-12 ::: Many voices ::: Our community
Fri ::: Acts 2:14-37 ::: Preaching ::: Preaching, teaching, people saved
Sat ::: Acts 2:43-47 ::: Healthy community ::: Small groups, community building occasions, radical lifestyle discipleship

To download the file, go here

I made up a booklet; a prayer guide which I gave to everyone in the church. I will put these up tomorrow.

Each day we gather. A different person leads the prayer each night. I have supplied them with a bit of material from Richard Foster’s Prayer, in order to broaden our concepts of prayer.

At the end of the prayer time, we try and summarise in 1 sentence the main thing God is saying — this is a sort of communal discernment process. This is then placed on a phone number (New Zealand) 0508 -ASK GOD (0508 275 463). It enables those not at the corporate gatherings to ring in and remain part of what God is saying.

It’s not flash multi-media and it’s not rocket science and its not cool emergent sexy mission with VJ loops. It’s just a way of us living in the Bible story and in a hectic world, creating space to sit before God.

Posted by steve at 10:26 AM

Friday, May 21, 2004


yesterday the current school principal of my high school phoned. it is a Christian school. would I speak to their senior management staff retreat for 30 minutes … my experience of school and what I would say to them now

long pause on the phone from me.

you see, my high school days were a bit fraught. i was not the school pin-up boy by any stretch of the imagination.

i had to be honest. “you need to know that I did not have a happy time at school. you need to know that I have fairly strong opinions and that these are not always considered mainstream Christian. I love the Bible, but not everyone who loves the Bible thinks the same as me …”

no pause on the phone, they know, they still want me to speak ….

my high school past is something that I have not thought about in a long time …

what do you say to a Christian high school leadership team, educating in a postmodern world …

Posted by steve at 11:26 AM


40 days after easter,
Jesus ascends

for 10 days before pentecost,
the disciples pray,

at opawa we are following this pattern with a 10 day season of prayer
it is a project i have put a fair bit of preparation energy into
over the last weeks

i wrote a prayer guide, given to each person, so that the church is reading the same scriptures :: each day there are corporate prayer gatherings, different prayer leaders have been trained with different themes for each day :: each corporate prayer gathering tries to summarise in a sentence what was prayed, and this is loaded onto a 0508 – ASK GOD phone number – so that people can ring in and keep up to date.

10 days, to clear space in our life as a church community,
to wait, listen, be before God.

Update 1: DUH – thanx Tom

Update 2: we also did this 3 times at Graceway, as well as Opawa.

Posted by steve at 07:50 AM

Thursday, May 20, 2004

stencilling the Spirit in the world

intro to the service blurb
stenciling is a way of art.
it involves making your own design on a piece of card.
this design is cut out with a craft knife.

chalk is applied to the cut our area.
thus you leave behind your design mark.
(note – chalk washes off in water)

which got me thinking
about the Spirit is in our world,
in us, through us, around us.

tonite we reflect upon this Spirit.
what does it mean for the Spirit to leave, to stencil, a mark on our city?

you are invited tonite during the service
to make a stencil,
your image of the spirit.

you will need a pencil, a card, a sharp knife. some guidelines are available.

and this was (some of) the outcome… poetry, Scripture, story, communion … and then a piece of chalk as a benediction …


Posted by steve at 10:53 AM

Tuesday, May 18, 2004

stencilling the spirit in the world


I am leading a worship experience this Wednesday titled Stencilling the Spirit in the world. Inspirational spark via Jonny Baker.

I need prayers and words and images that speak of the Spirit in the world. Any help will be gratefully acknowledged.

Side Door :: Wednesday, 18th, 7:30 pm :: Opawa Baptist

NB: Chalk washes off in water.

Posted by steve at 10:05 AM