Wednesday, October 13, 2010

"Resurrection" in Hong Kong

Most of you might now we are in Hong Kong at the moment, but dont think I have sent an update since we got here so this is it.
Its been just about 2 weeks and the title of this blog pretty much sums it up for me - RESURRECTION. I will fill you in on some of the developments from these last few days (or actually today). We arrived with nothing but our clothes and our last salary from China with no jobs and no real clue whats going to happen. All we knew was God told us to go and so we did. We have been staying with new friends for these 2 weeks which has been great. The guys from church are all super generous and helpful since most of them have done something similar to us (just left everything arrived with nothing) so they know how it feels and all try help where they can. We have been given heaps of contacts for work so we had been trying to setup interviews etc.
(PS - Janna just informed me of a blog mix up, so the previous mail you received was not mine, but her's, so dont be confused!!)
The basics in Hong Kong are you need at least a degree to get a visa so the agency's we have been in touch with weren't super positive but one specifically said its still possible, just not easy (neither of us have one). Also, we arrived after the new term started so it wasn't looking so good for us. Janna got an interview today for a full time position which in itself was quite huge and it turned out to be an overly fancy kindergarten as well with all the latest gadgets and things. They loved her and offered her the job on the spot! They can only employ her though subject to her getting the work visa. Our agency will therefore apply this week and now they can also add a letter of employment from this (apparently one of the top schools in Hong Kong) school with the application which will add some serious weight. When she gets her visa I can simply get a dependant visa no problem and be able to apply way more easily for full time work myself.
Up until today we were still quite unsure of our future here so today has been very big for us! We are fully trusting for this visa to come through against all odds. Most people have said we will have to do the 'visa run' out of Hong Kong at least a few months since we will have to wait quite some time before we get full time work and then the visa, so as far as Hong Kong stats go, we are already way ahead of the norm, but were on another level anyways :)
The visa process takes 4-6 weeks but were hoping its quite quick but will have to wait. Its not 100% definite by a long shot but were just going to claim it in the spirit by faith until otherwise.
As far as church etc goes, we have really felt such a new release of life, passion and a sense of destiny with these guys. Have only been here for 2 services, one prayer meeting and one mens get together tonight as far as corporate goes, but its truly been a very quick settling in for me here. Maybe just the fact that I have the freedom again to be able to minister in day to day life has really set me on fire again for what I love to do so much. Excited to tell everyone some testimonies in the near future when they come!! Had a great opportunity to prophecy over a lady at McDonalds the other day, who was nearly shedding a tear, and turned out the be an atheist. Not that I was happy for her to be an atheist, but definitely stoked to be used to share Jesus with the lost again !!!
We have Glory and Grace (an international conference hosted by CCI) in 2 weeks and then a trip into China with quite a big team - so lots happening this month also.
Other than that been enjoying hooking up with some the guys here and being stirred for great things by many like-minded men and woman.
All in all its just been way massive so far and were excited to see what Hong Kong holds for us into the future. Our plan and desire is most definitely to stay indefinitely, but that depends on us getting the visa. So you can declare heavenly favour for us in that visa area as we believe we need to here.
Otherwise its all just too huge to even write about, im not sure how I would be able to articulate everything accurately. Just loving a free church, and real people who are very passionate about Jesus and advancing His kingdom !!
Big love and will keep you updated.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Clown For A Year...

So its been a mother of a last few weeks. Or pretty much our entire time here in Foshan has been quite a thing. From contract issues, passport and visa issues, internet issues, teaching issues... Some of those issues even lead to a few tissues :) Ok not really but it rhymes so I look clever. The biggest thing is still the passport as that is our key into Hong Kong on weekends to see our mates on a regular basis. The latest is (and has been for a few weeks) that this week is it!! So in stead of getting irritated were just staying positive and hope all gets worked out this week indeed.

I have also started teaching fulltime this month and that has been quite a challenge in itself as well. I have a total of 37 classes per week (around 33 different classes) at 6 different school from Monday-Friday. Most classes are around 20 odd students and some around 40. Most student ages are around 4/5 but I do have some 2/3 year old classes. Since it was my 29th birthday mid-August I often have a laugh at myself thinking that this mature (mostly), almost 30 year old very athletically built (self affirmation) married man is a fulltime freakin singer SLASH dancer (im a wiz at the hokey pokey) for chinese infants. I have coined a phrase (that I dont really like, but its true) that "the only difference between a great kindergarten teacher and a circus clown, is the clothes you wear".

After my first week of official teaching fulltime, my boss got 6 complaints about my teaching from the schools. Now it seems very funny but no one enjoys a good sized chinese knife in your back. They will love you to your face and then complain behind your back, BUT I still love it here and love the people regardless. Understanding myself (and no one else it seems cares) that I have only been teaching kindergarten for, well, ONE WEEK I had to just get off my high horse and realise I have a long way to go before becoming the number 1 rated foreign teacher in the East (my long term goal). Had to take some shots to the head (and ego) and basically the comments that were worth anything (and true for that matter) would be solved by me becoming MORE like a clown.

Dont confuse "becoming a clown" with making people laugh either. The latter I can do quite comfortably (meaning not everyone laughs but I enjoy trying anyways). Becoming a clown means doing songs about animals and also BECOMING that animal, including appropriate sounds and body movements. This is not easy for any adult male (or not me at least) so I have to keep reminding myself Im a professional and I get paid to do this, that way I feel way more grown up :)

Dont get me wrong, I really am starting to enjoy it more and more every week and it really is fun work - if you can even call it real work.

But thats just some insight into the largest part of our daily lives here in China at the moment. Other than that we have met a few more foreigners which has been great to hook up with them at Star Bucks from time to time. They also seem to be serious social event organisers so also wanting to join them for their next trip out somewhere on the weekend. Im also hoping to get my Manderin skills polished more and more by starting private lessons this week which Im really keen for! Loving the language and I can only teach myself so much (meaning online and iPod kind of stuff) which is great but need some expert help to advance to the next level.

Janna and I agree that we really want to learn how to swear in Manderin since there are many times when you really want to but anything in English just dont cut it. Besides, dont think they really swear in Manderin but maybe il just look for the Manderin word for "crap" or something similar.

Other than that missing everyone big time and will bring news regarding our passports and our next trip with the Hong Kong guys (sounds like it will be next weekend !!!!!!)

Big love and all that other intimate stuff.
PS - Dont get me wrong WERE FULLY STOKED AND LOVING IT - just good to be honest and let you into our real lives you know...


Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Slowly but surely...

Sitting here at Star Bucks where I can get wireless internet and a good cup of coffee. It has been quite an intense last week or so here in our new home in Foshan. Contract finalising, finally finding an apartment and moving in, started some teaching and just the usual stuff you feel I guess, going through some transition (again).

But looking back now on the blur of the last little while, it really has been great and were super stoked.

The current deal is as follows: Janna will be working full time this month and I will be more flexible (stay at home and Star Bucks husband). Well even "full time" is bit deceptive since Jan (and I will be from next month) teaches 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon, with about 2 1/2 hours break in the middle. I know most of you will be thinking thats not even real work, but you have the right to comment IF you have taught kindergarten before !! Between 4-6, 20-30 minute classes in a row with 20-30 students (2-6 years) old IS NO GAME. At the same time however, we are having heaps of fun and are fully enjoying it.

Our employers have been organising me part time work at pretty much the same rate as our full time salary comes to which is great. I had 2 days so far and have another afternoon tomorrow. Chinese are classic since they just want westerners to be at their events so they look good. For example, I taught for 2 days at this one school and tomorow afternoon I am going to their 2 hour graduation show and have to "perform something" for 3 minutes. I did think about dancing, but had to consider wanting to get some future job offers as well so I'm settling for a speech on "the importance of English for young learners in China". Sounds huge but I probably wont even really prepare since maybe 2 people there will "sort of"understand me anyways.

Other than that I started with a one hour per day private lessons with 3 students, two of which are 12 and the other one 13. Its very easy and pretty much consists of me having a daily topic (going to the supermarket, watching TV, restaurant etc etc) and just chatting and practising with them. I have discovered that as long as you ensure people like you, your teaching skills becomes less important. So I just speak some chinese to the parents and make them laugh and Im an instant hit before I even had my first class. In China, good social skills gives you immediate access to important people so its a worthy focus point. I say this all humbly of coarse, understanding everything I am and ever will be is firmly rooted in my identity in Jesus. He did however create us to be in relationship with others so I am convinced I should excel socially just as much as in anything else.

Our apartment is also very kif. It was a bit of a thing negotiating and re-negotiating things with our employer and the agent, but the final result is a favourable one. One bedroom, one living room, kitchen and shower/toilet in the bedroom. We have avoided the shower-in-toilet combo that prevails in China up until now, but its not all that bad. Just means your toilet floor is wet (with water of coarse) more than you would probably like it to be. Were on the 9th floor in a great location and have a lift as well (which is not that common in China - even for 8 floor apartments). Our view is only of the city but at least now we have one - haha.

Spiritual "side note" (realise how much I love my inverted commas). - we were created to be completely passionate and on fire for God. Anyone who excludes them from the passionate one's because they think its just not their personality or not their "calling" - is unfortunately under the influence of a lie. We were ALL created and destined for daily and ongoing levels of deeper and deeper intimacy with our heavenly father. The result of that intimacy will be a flow of passion that cannot be quenched. The cross of Jesus has given us access into the original design of human beings - God intimacy.... The garden... (read Genesis if your not sure how that was). Walking and talking with God in a very real and very intimate way thats not just limited to the inner voice of God. I am starting to believe our relationship with God should primarily be a very tangeable and sensual (including the senses) relationship. Also including of coarse, the inner voice and guiding of His Spirit.

Which marriage would you prefer: one that communicates only via e-mail and text message, with some flowers and gifts sent to your home and a weekly phone call to catch up. OR a daily intimate touch, laugh, sense, feel, adventurous marriage that also includes the above.

To only have the first type of marriage-relationship with God is called religion and is sub-standard, dull, boring and not reflecting the true God to the worlsd. The latter is what Jesus really died for and reflects God in a way that will attract the world to Jesus in us, and not drive them away.

Big love,

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is His Glory and Presence Really THAT Important??


I remember the night I got saved so clearly, well sort of clearly... It was a bit of a mess, including laughing, crying, rolling on the floor and some other stuff BUT I encountered God tangibly and no one was going to tell me otherwise. I got up off the carpet floor on the 3rd or 4th floor of a mates small apartment, having encountered Him personally and intimately for the first time of my life and everything changed.

I didn't feel the need to explain what happened, I didn't need scriptures to back up whether or not it was God and I did not feel ashamed or out of control, it was pure heavenly bliss! We use to meet at a mates home group (Grant Hansen) with a bunch of mates and most times we just spent time in His presence together laughing, prophesying, shaking, worshiping, or whatever else God was up to that night, and we were "addicted". It was only when religion got its filthy hands on me that I needed to "understand" those times or explain them theologically.

Then after a few months or so I got very mature and wanted to be a deacon and plant a church and do all those wonderful church things, but at the expense of true intimacy with Him. It was about 6/7 years of going through the system: going to all services, prayer meetings, sharing at the meetings, getting people saved, eventually going to deacons meetings, then leading a home group and finally becoming a deacon (by then I gave up on being an elder since I didn't want to wait any more years).

(PS - not blaming any church or individuals specifically - just religion that got a hold of me !! Partially my fault and partially the system I found myself in unfortunately)

Then roughly 2 years ago when Annerline Breetzke and Clive Bredenkamp came back from AUS where they had amazing encounters with God. The came back to Durbs and things changed for me again, for the good. They started to meet together at their homes outside of church (because the stuff that went down just would not be allowed at church, and that's the truth) and somehow I stumbled across their times together.

I was bit nervous at first but it didn't take me long because the Spirit in me rejoiced and instantly recognized that God was there it beautiful intimacy. I was a child in His presence again. And yes, I fell over, shook, laughed, cried (often), convulsed in strange ways BUT every night when I went home, I was more and more in love with Him. Through the weeks ahead I was more passionate to reach the lost, more passionate about getting to know Him, more sensitive to religion and man-made traditions and anything that binds up or controls. I was at peace, full of joy, had no fear or man or the future - I was simply fully secure in Him alone...

I was never again really satisfied with many things in church and started asking many questions to God, myself and others. Some thought I was rebellious and other were just challenged because of their own mediocrity. The more you encounter Him personally, the more you will be completely dissatisfied with anything that is mediocre, lacking God's presence or at very least, lacking a desire to see God manifest Himself more, and keeping people controlled and deceived. The very nature of deception means people don't know they are deceived, so feathers are bound to be ruffled.

What I have learnt in the past few months is that I don't have to twist Gods arm or try to convince Him of my righteousness or great effort to make Him respond and reveal His glory to me. I now am starting to realize more and more how God will never do ANYTHING for me EVER again, because Jesus has already done everything on the cross. I never have to ask for favour, blessing or access into His presence or any sort of provision or forgiveness. It has all been done. I just have to believe that its all mine and all past tense completed - I must just make it my reality by changing the way I think.

I want to boldly and unashamedly declare, that I have once again made His presence and His manifest glory my main priority and desire in life. Out of that, all other desires and dreams get fulfilled, and outside of that, nothing will last. I want Him to do anything and everything He needs and wants to for me to experience Him fully, powerfully and intimately like I was created to do. I want to feel the electricity of heaven shooting up and down my body again :)

I want to be like a child in your presence, again...

All I want is you...

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Things Are a Changing...

So I sort of gave up on the daily dairy entry thing a while ago for the holiday and will have to give you an action packed update of the last few weeks and the new moves on the horizon.

So I think my last entry ended somewhere close to us just finishing the trip with the Hong Kong guys. We then traveled 14 hours or so north up the east coast to Xiamen to visit friends of ours from Durban (Paul and Tori) who also teach English. During the week were there we stayed with them for about 4/5 nights and 3 nights we stayed on a small island just off Xiamen.

Xiamen is great but for some reason not really my vibe. I'm still deciding what "my vibe" is, but Xiamen wasn't really it. Tori also had her baby while we were there but we didn't get to see the little one since we left while she was still in hospital.

Then we returned to the South for a 10 day summer camp from the 13-22nd of July in Dongguan. We had an amazing time and tried to organize a fulltime position at the school but it didn't work out. They had one position but obviously we both need a job so it was a bummer (at the time). I taught 6-9 year olds and Janna had 9-12 year olds. We had around 2-3 classes/day and a double lesson from 19h00-20h30 to help them prepare for the final days performance. Was exhausting work BUT loads of fun and we realized how much we would prefer the little ones (I guess its easier said before you actually teach them every week - haha) than high school. Our high school kids either dont listen and irritate you, or they dont listen and sleep - there were some good classes, but out of the 24, most of them were a bit of a rash.

ANYWAYS - we were still clueless whether we should just go to Hong Kong and spend some time there waiting for our visa docs to get sorted out or wait in China and try look for other work for next semester (its a bit of a complicated one so wont bore you, but its been a bit of a rash with the current employers since we never got the legal documents to teach).

We were just about to go to Hong Kong to see what could happen when we got an email to meet for an interview in Foshan (around 90min's from where we were by bus) that weekend to see if we would be suitable for some openings over there. We were quite excited since the initial package was loads better than our current one but the big bonus was that we would be down south close to our mates for trips to China on weekends and to go to CCI with Rob Rufus and crew in Hong Kong on other weekends as well.

The next few days we had a few meetings with the recruiter (young guy from the UK - which was great to deal with a foreigner for a change), language school owner and some teachers at the kindergartens. It was a bit frustrating at times since the contract changed almost daily and even changed one more time about 20min's before we were to sign, so it was stretching BUT we confirmed and signed !!

So we will be closer to HongKong for weekend trips to CCI and should also be able to make the weekend trips into China as well. We get paid around 40% more each (but have to work 5 days/week now) and dont get the massive 2 month summer and winter holidays BUT the pro's far outweigh the cons so were very excited.

Janna starts Monday so we have just returned back to our apartment to fetch the rest of our things and fly back on Sunday. I officially start on September the 1st only but have some private lessons for 2 weeks or so before for some extra cash.

So thats about it for now...

We wont have internet at home (but will visit internet cafes from time to time) and most probably wont have access to Facebook, Twitter and Blogging until we visit Hong Kong on weekends, so this might be it for quite some time...

Big love from China,

Sunday, July 4, 2010

China Travels - Part 1

Day 1 - 20/06 Depart for Taiyuan from Hejin (our home city) at 8am for a 4 1/2 hour bus trip. Arrive safely and look for a place to stay for 2 nights.
Find a very average place for R100/room/night but we have ensuite bathroom which means we stay.

Day 2 - 21/06 We (Gareth, another teacher with our company from the UK is with us) leave for the medical exam centre around 09h15 to have our medical done.
We need this in order to apply for our Z-visa (work visa) and is the only reason we came to Taiyuan (the capital of our province, Shanxi).
The medical was harmless and Gareth leaves straight afterwards for his further travels. I Have a very average cup of Brazilian coffee for R31! One ride at the local
fun fare wasn't all that bad, but then again, I am hardcore (cant wait for Hong Kong Disneyland!!)

Day 3 - 22/06 Decide to upgrade to a hotel down the road. Super kif room (tripple the price but it was worth it). Met a Spanish architect who happened to be on our same flight to Shenzhen the next morning. Missed the SA vs FRANCE game but fluked the first goal on TV in our room (live).

Day 4 - 23/06 Checked out at 6am and left for the airport for our 8am flight. Got ripped off by the taxi driver. Chatted to the Spanish architect (Jorge) for a while and nearly missed the flight. Arrived at the hostel in Shenzhen around 12pm (ITS FREAKIN HOT HERE!!) and waiting for our room. Went to a theme park around the corner the afternoon which was good fun. Found a Star Bucks (stoked!) by accident while looking for a dinner spot later in the evening.

Day 5 - 24/06: Had a good nights rest. Met a Chinese guy at the hostel looking for work in Shenzhen (Eric) who we hanged with quite a bit today. Helped us buy our tickets to Xiamen for Monday (got the soft sleeper seats STOKED). Had a late lunch and met Eric again later for our 2nd round of Star Bucks

Day 6 - 25/06: Checked out of the hostel and met the Hong Kong crew and left for the weekend trip to Meizhou and 3 Rivers. Left Shenzhen around 14h30 with a group of 22 (the rest of the 22 came later that night) for a 6 hour drive which turned into 8 hours after an accident on the way (not by us). Arrived around 10pm and still had dinner with some locals. Sleep time quite late after watching some World Cup!

Day 7 - 26/06: Just so so rad to hang with brothers again - and pumoed up brothers too. Our first stop in the a.m is at a church nicknamed "Acts Church" because of all the radical stuff that goes down there. Quite a timid time since there has been a bit of a stair among the locals about the "charismatic" vibe and some material that has been circulated causing some resistance. Ryan Aitkin (sporting a recent tattoo on the upper/inner right arm) preached a ripper! Off to another church (quite a bit bigger than te previous one) and Candice preached and we prayed for healing etc afterwards. Bunch of healings but no salvations as the rain on the day caused only the locals to pullin.
Then lunch and end the Saturday with another meeting which was just as rad and leaves me exhausted but spiritually buzzing with the reality of the Kingdom in China and finally being part of it.

Day 8 - 27/06: The final day and we only have one meeting at a church Esther (the living legend Chinese lady) built and where Candice stayed with a mate for a few months a while ago. Amazing place and amazing meeting. 10 or so salvations and bunch of healings afterwards as well. The have some lunch and end with a meeting at a school that wants us to pullin for ongoing English teaching/training and gospel preaching combo relationship vibes. Blew my mind sitting in a meeting where a principal confesses his faith and welcomes us to teach in the morning and preach the gospel and heal the sick etc in the afternoons IN CHINA !!! WHAT THE STUFF !!!!

Loving these Hong Kong guys - fully free, free thinkers and not tied up in theolical insignificances (probably not a real word). Love Jesus passionately, believe 100% gospel, 100% Kingdom and know exactly who they are and what they're capable of in Christ. No man made traditions, and religious webs or fear of anything. Flippin love these guys. Still amazes me that anyone who loves Jesus and has His spirit can have anything against Rob and the Hong Kong guys, absolutely ridiculous I tell you.

Day 9 - 28/06: Worst day ever. Consists of getting ready for train trip, checking out, having lunch, having StarBucks (obviously), heading to main train station (via local tubes), train being delayed and therefore waiting in 2 other long queues to exchange tickets and go back home with ALL our luggage etc etc etc. AND it was FREAKIN HOT AGAIN. So not a great day, but we made it back to the hostel again to start the process over the following day.

Day 10 - 29/06: Better today since we actually made our train to Guangzhou. Waited at the station a few short hours and departed for Xiamen from Guangzhou around 19h00 for a 13 hour-odd trip. We paid RMB380 odd each for soft sleeper compartments. Consists of 4 beds in a closed off compartment and a relatively good bed (closed off to other compartments). WAY worth the extra bucks!! (If you want to save money you can go for a hard seat, soft seat or hard bed option, but not recommended for anything over a few hours)

Day 11 - 30/06: Arrived in Xiamen around 09h00 and got ripped off by a private taxi driver to get to the ferry (he reckoned 20 min’s away, only turned out to be 12, I timed it) A new town will often mean getting ripped off when they see the bags and foreign faces, so you learn quickly. Took the ferry to Paul and Tori’s section of Xiamen, and then a bus to their apartment. By the way, FREAKIN HOT IN SOUTERN CHINA!!!

Day 12 - 31/06: Paul and Tori have been hosting us magnificently (writing this in the past tense) and they are doing well. Tori is FULLY pregnant and they are in the process of confirming the date for the C-section operation at the hospital. They have aircon (bless their souls).

Day 13 – 01-03/07: Paul has coffee (roasts and grinds his own coffee, legend) and wifi setup with streaming TV so I could follow the quarter finals of the Football, stoked! GAAN HOLLAND GAAN!! Days spent mostly just relaxing indoors with aircon, movies, iPod (Chinese “studies”) etc. Our first real proper break to relax for a few days.

Day 14 - 04/07: Paul and Tori left today for the hospital and we have the place to ourselves until Tuesday the 6th. Used their portable splash pool on their veranda today (hope you guys don’t mind). Jan and I also seriously keen to study UNISA (teaching degrees) so were looking into the options. Not easy from China, but easier from Hong Kong, so we will see how the next few weeks and months unfold, EXCITING TIMES !!

Monday, June 14, 2010

Next Few Weeks....

Our next few weeks are going to be LARGE !!

School finishes for the holidays this coming week so Jan and I are fully stoked and pumped for the holiday. Our break should be close to around 2 months and then back to school somewhere in mid-August.

Our approximate movements will be as follows:

1) Trip to Taiyuan (capital city of our province - the yellow province in the middle) to get our medical tests done for our work visa application in Hong Kong later. Its about a 4 hour bus trip away to the north, from our current location. We will stay about 2 nights while we are there.

2) Then we get on a train for a mother of a trip (around 34 hours) that departs close to mid night and arrives in Guangzhou (in Guangdong province, the other yellow one far south) around 10am the "following-following" morning.

3) We then join Candice Swanson and the City Church crew from Hong Kong for a 2/3 day outreach in Shenzhen. Don't have huge details but we will be going to 3/4 churches so it will be great fun and so kif to hang with some mates (whom we haven't met yet) !!

4) After that we will probably visit Paul and Tori in Xiamen in Fujian province (blue one just north along the coast) for a few days.

5) Then we cruise further up north to Hangzhou in Zhejiang province (purple along the coast) to start a summer camp job from the 5th - 20th of July. We will earn just more money in 2 weeks than one month salary back in Hejin so the timing is good. We dont get paid over the 2 months holidays and as you see will be doing some serious traveling so the money will be well received.

6) THEN we head all the way back far south to Hong Kong to sort out our work visas and obviously hang with the friends we will be meeting at the outreach from City Church. We will hopefully stay around 2 weeks if we can.

7) Finally, back home for some relax time before we start teaching again.

This is quite an open ended itinerary at the moment and things could change a lot, so we will just have to wait and see.

We wont have our VPN in order to get onto secure sights such as Facebook and Twitter so this week will be our last on those forms of communication. We should have access to email from time to time though.

Ok that's it for now - no serious deep spiritual input unfortunately (sorry Forklift) - but will give some serious feedback after the outreach and trip to City Church - CANT WAIT !!!!!

Big love,

Sunday, June 6, 2010


"I cared not where or how I lived, or what hardships I went through, so that I could but gain souls to Christ."
David Brainerd

Ok so were having a 4 day break at the moment and its time like these that you really miss your family and mates. I wont go so far as saying I'm lonely, but definitely a bit bored from time to time. I know however that the main reason I feel funny sometimes is because I miss the random opportunities to share the gospel easily and effectively back in Durban (not home, since China is now home). The reason I miss it so much, is quite simple, it is the reason I am alive.

I understand many people don't really enjoy the thought of the responsibility the individual has of sharing the gospel, healing the sick and destroying the works of the devil, because it means just that, it means responsibility. I quite like this quote:

"Evangelism is the perpetual task of the whole church, and not the peculiar hobby of certain of its members."
E. Wilson Carlisle

I wont go into trying to convince you of that fact, (which just in case you were doubting it, just read the gospels, and see how Jesus lived His life, and how He expects us to live). One might expect a decrease in enthusiasm due to the lack of opportunity I am currently experiencing, but in fact, a constant and ever burning desire to see His Kingdom advance and people saved is often all I think about.

We have had he odd obscure opportunity here and there but with the massive language barrier and lack of any real common ground to work from with the locals (new respect for the likes of Hudson Taylor and crew!!), it hasn't really been what I would have wanted. However, I am in no way discouraged or feeling any sense of failure in our move to China. I am learning a lot about the people, the culture and also slowly but steadily building my Mandarin skills (they love it when you can communicate with them) which are all utterly invaluable for the future.

It's also been an awesome time of getting rid of a lot of "stuff" I use to believe (maybe for the next blog) and some major mind-renewing as well. We are looking into relocating to somewhere further South after this contract to get more involved with some "front lines of battle" spiritual warfare.

The conclusion here is this, we, the church, are on earth to set others free. Stop hiding behind "your corporate calling" or your "worshiping gift" (which are all good things, don't miss quote me here) The church needs to believe who they are, and what their mission is. Let's get back to basics...

We simply responded to a need, the need is millions and millions of Chinese people who have no clue who Jesus is, and we will figure out the details as we go. Not everyone moves to China I know, but everyone is surrounded by need. You and I have the answer living inside us, don' make it complicated, don't wait for an angel to give you a word of knowledge, but start with simply responding to the Word of God and doing it.

I will leave you with one more quote:

"The gospel is only good news if it gets there in time."
Carl F.H. Henry

Big love,

Monday, May 31, 2010

The Quest For Zero Defect...

So I want to keep these things short because no one likes to read a LARGE mother letter. My dream for the church basically consists of seeing the saints believe who they are & advancing the Kingdom because they know they can. Also having all the "extra stuff" that we have added to church being eliminated and going back to basics. Very simply, as we hear so often but see lived so little, lets get back to the bible.

This first blog will be a few of my thoughts (and I believe they are biblical) regarding money. Let me just hit a few things regarding tithing:

1) Its only mentioned once by Jesus and nowhere else in the new testament. When Jesus does mention it to the pharisees I believe he is simply confirming for them that living by the law is completely futile. If we have to take everything Jesus says out of context, we will still be practising some law, which, as we all know, is rubbish.

2) If it was so massive a requirement (as preached by the church) then why does Paul not mention it once?

3) The classic passage from Genesis about old Abram (since he is pre-law, they really like that) and he gave the tithe. As far as I'm concerned this is the biggest biblical point you can make for the tithe. Lets consider this:

Genesis 14:18-20
The blessing was given to Abram, a very important fact to remember. In response, Abram gave ONE-TENTH (10%) of all the goods of Sodom that were stolen by Chedorlaomer to Melchizedek. Abram did NOT tithe from his own possessions, an essential fact to refute tithing practices in the new covenant.

Genesis 14:21-24 The king of Sodom offered to give Abram all the goods of Sodom that were recovered for himself, but Abram refused, taking not one single item, to give honor to Yahweh, lest people say this pagan king of Sodom made him rich. This is a very important point, because Abram took NO INCOME and the tithe he gave to Melchizedek did not come from his goods, but those of the Sodomites and 1/10 of Lot’s recovered goods.

Also remember, the tithe from Abram was a response to ALREADY being blessed, most people preach tithing IN ORDER to be blessed.

I'll leave it there for now regarding tithing.

So what do we do with our money every month you may ask? Well, even though I don't believe in tithing the way most of the church preaches it, I am absolutely convinced of sowing and reaping as a Kingdom principle (2 Corinthians 9:6-8). We give 10% to a friend working into China and has no job, so no income. Would love to be more creative with other ways, but bit limited here in China :) Don't just give your money to a church unless they are preaching the gospel properly, as far as I'm concerned, you are not sowing wisely.

I'm also convinced that biblical financial priorities (in no particular order) are:

1) Poor, widows and orphans
2) Other churches in need
3) Advancing the gospel locally and apostolically.
4) Sharing with those who teach the Word of God - yes Spaull child, I do believe it :)

My problem comes when our priorities are massive buildings, latest sound equipment, full time staff salaries (including elders), and absolutely any other expenses even if they seem justified (coffee machines). In ACTS there were "no needy among them". If Paul can go through times of having no clothes and food (he said that) then he had his priorities right. Not against full time elders or staff BUT if they are the priority, then yes, I'm against it.

Could go into more detail but I think my point is made.

Bit of an intense first blog, wont always be the same.

Big love,