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What the Church Hasn’t Learnt Yet

homeless1

It’s been a while since I wrote my last blog.

I’ve written over 50 drafts all of which are unfinished, considered different ways to share ideas conceived in the most obtuse places and situations in my life, but the one idea that has stuck with me the longest over the last few weeks, is the idea that I probably know least about.

It came out of a conversation I had with the CEO of a mission organisation in New Zealand.

I’m unsure of how our conversation got to this point, but our meeting turned into a discussion about where the church is weak – and I can speak frankly about this because I’m a part of the wider church I’m talking about.

An idea came out of our discussions which blew my mind. It rocked how I see one of our (the churches) biggest shortcomings.

I do understand that for some smarter than myself this may be something that has been on the radar for quite some time, but in my world this idea really shook me for the first time ever. The idea came out of this story.

The person I was speaking with told me a story of when he and his church at the time had organised an outdoor event celebrating a special date in the history of the Christian church in his country. He told me they had planned the event with aplomb, plenty of seating for all guests and an airtight programme for the events proceedings.

The event started, members of the hosting church began to speak and everything was going to plan – until members of the public began to respond to the event.

People passing by stopped and listened, others heckled, others sat around those seated to participate in what was happening – and this was not the plan. The person I was talking to told me they began to panic. He told me as people began to respond to their event in ways they had not anticipated – they were not ready. They didn’t know how to respond to those who weren’t invited.

This struck a chord with me. I couldn’t help but be reminded of other situations I had experienced of churches being ill equipped to respond well to the – ‘uninvited’.

I’ve been to churches where the doors are locked if people don’t arrive to church on time (this also means the ‘uninvited’ are locked out too). I’ve been to churches where they’re more concerned with a smooth running church programme than embracing the ‘uninvited’ who walk in off the street wanting to know more about the love the church so boldly preaches about. I’ve even been in churches where the ‘uninvited’ have been asked to leave fearing more for the flow of the service than for that persons immediate need.

I’m unsure if this has been an issue in the churches history, but in my experience this is definitely an issue in the churches present.

In my experience – a large part of the western church (especially in the middle class) are still novices at responding to the ‘uninvited’. In our pursuit of ‘righteousness’ we’ve isolated ourselves, grown scared of the people and groups that we should be drawn to. Our concern has become more about the comfort of our 99, than the outright priority of the 1.

This has turned into a bit of a rant and to be honest I don’t even know where this piece is heading. All I know is that our admission as a wider church that we have been rubbish at dealing with the ‘uninvited’ could spark a real movement in making the ‘uninvited’ the priority again in our meetings, in our communities, in our lives.

Am I going crazy? Have I missed the boat or should someone be screaming at me DILLUSION? I’m not sure. But that’s the topic that has stuck with me most over the past few weeks. Feel free to add to this conversation if you think I’m nuts. Thank you for humouring me.

Rant over.

Image credit: http://blogs.psychcentral.com

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7 Reasons Why New Zealand is the ‘Bestidest’ Country in the World

anaura-bay-is-a-beautiful-place-for-a-holiday-gisborne-new-zealand+12876276759-tpfil02aw-18318My name is Jesse.

I was born in Auckland, New Zealand and grew up in Onehunga and then Orakei. I am married to the beautiful Jennifer Jayne. My mum is Abigail Boyce, and my dad is John Kaafi. My mountain is Maungakiekie. My river is Wairoa River in Auckland.

I have always loved New Zealand – Aotearoa is home.

For us that live here, we know our land holds something special – but for those that don’t, there is a large misunderstanding of why Kiwis have such an affection for our homeland.

So for those who don’t know much about New Zealand or for ex-pats missing the place they’ve forsaken for this season in their lives, here are 7 reasons (or reminders) of why New Zealand, Aotearoa, is the ‘bestidest’ country in the world.

7 Reasons Why New Zealand is the ‘Bestidest’ Country in the World

1. Because in New Zealand, New Zealanders know what ‘Bestidest’ means

Here we have our own lingo. The real Kiwis understand it, the rest of the world wonder what the heck we’re talking about. ‘Bestidest’ means ‘whatever you said, but better than that’ and was a word we used or heard at primary school, along with ‘meanest’, ‘oosh’ and depending on where in New Zealand you’re from ‘ow-fulla-baye’. There’s plenty more lingo where that came from – but that’s just a taste.

2. Because to New Zealanders, the start of this post means more to us than just an introduction

In New Zealand, we believe that you are not just you. You are a part of something much bigger than yourself. You are a product of those who came before you and you’re closely connected to the land that’s around you. We don’t always introduce ourselves like this but knowing this is important to us.

3. Because in New Zealand, the people are ‘too much’

The other day on my walk to work I stopped and had a conversation with a stranger about the glorious weather and day ahead overlooking the Wellington waters from one of our mountains just by the CBD. Those conversations happen a lot. The people here are friendly and we look out for each other. That’s our people.

4. Because in New Zealand, we have the most gorgeous country in the world – bar none

I’ve done my share of travelling, but New Zealand is God’s country. Our whole country is a coastline, lined with glorious beaches and bays and in-land we’re surrounded by gorgeous mountains, lakes, rivers and bush. Summer’s here are about more than the weather – its about connecting with our land and connecting with our people. Hard to match that in any other part of the world.

5. Because in New Zealand bombs are a good thing

Here in New Zealand, whoever does the meanest bombs is the King of the river, lake, waterhole or pool they just did their bomb in. A bomb is jumping into water and trying to make a ‘meeean’ splash. To us it signifies fun, artistry and relief from the sun, not what other countries think bombs are. I think other countries have got it wrong.

6. Because in New Zealand, lifestyle is king

In New Zealand, we place a high level of importance on lifestyle. All kiwis know that in December and January, our country pretty much shuts down. We’re all at the beach, in bachs, down at the river and spending time with family and friends. This is who we are.

7. Because to New Zealanders, Aotearoa will always be home

All points here have their outliers, but the majority of our people know exactly where they want their life journey to lead to – ultimately back home – where the land is plentiful – where the lifestyle can’t be matched – and ultimately where our heart is.

So that’s just 7 of the many reasons why Aotearoa is the best country on the planet. This is why all us Kiwis love coming home.

This is why New Zealand is the ‘bestidest’ country in the world.

Bring on summer.

P.S. If you think of other reasons why Aotearoa is the bestidest, keen to know your thoughts. Chur

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My All Black Team Prediction for the 2015 Rugby World Cup

RWC2015In some ways it seems like the 2011 Rugby World Cup was not that long ago.

It doesn’t take me long to conjure up the emotions I endured on that World Cup Final night as our All Black warriors tackled to a standstill to end our country’s 24-year World Cup drought. Oh what a night.

With the first game of the next World Cup scheduled for September 2015, somehow we are already at the halfway point between Rugby World Cups (man that went quick). So at this halfway stage – it is a great time for All Black enthusiasts like myself to begin to dream about how our team will take shape in the games premier showpiece.

This piece is not about how the All Blacks will fare in the 2015 Tournament – it’s focus is more on the players making the right noises in the New Zealand game to be selected for that All Black team to defend our Rugby World Cup crown.

The All Blacks completed a dominant year of results in 2012 as World Champions only dropping the one game and have yet to taste defeat after six tests in 2013 (including tests against France, Australia and Argentina). Some older heads of the New Zealand game are still making the right noises and Steve Hansen has introduced some exciting new talent who have shown real promise.

So based on these considerations, if New Zealand make the 2015 RWC Final, the team that I believe will be selected to run out onto Twikenham to defend our Rugby World Cup crown on that afternoon, will be:

15. Ben Smith

bensmith

In 2015, Ben Smith will be ruling the roost from the back. He will be at the peak of his powers come tournament time taking his kicking and running game to another level. This will be a close race with ‘Izzy’ but ‘Ghost’ will make every post a winner from now till the tournament cementing his place as the 2015 All Black first-choice fullback.

14. Julian Savea

‘The Bus’ will be making big noise as a player in 2015. Savea will give the All Blacks that power game they’ve utilised so well over the years. He has already scored 13 tries in 13 starts for the All Blacks. Potential superstar of the game.

13. Conrad Smith

‘Snakey’ will return from his sabbatical rejuventated ready for one more tilt at World Cup glory. He continues to lead our backline defense with aplomb and remains a cool head amongst a backline brimming with instinctive players.

12. Sonny Bill Williams

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If you caught SBW’s try assist on the weekend for the Sydney Roosters you would probably have come to the same conclusion that I did – SBW is far from done at the top levels of rugby, regardless of code. I’m picking him to terrorise defenses again, in union, in what will be his second Rugby World Cup tournament.

11. Cory Jane

Can you really go past this guy? I’m sure when opposing teams see his name on the team list they immediately put a strike through the words ‘aerial game’ on their strategy list. He’s the safest thing we’ve seen in the air in years. He also turns the impossible into the delightful with ball in hand. He’ll still be mesmorising defences in 2015.

10. Aaron Cruden

The future is here. Thank you Dan Carter for your wonderful service to New Zealand rugby but the 2015 Rugby World Cup will be Aaron Cruden’s time. Now back-to-back Super 15 Champion first five and still with a 100% winning record in tests he has started, Manawatu’s finest will be our best player to direct All Black traffic from the pivot at the 2015 tournament.

9. Aaron Smith

Continues to grow from strength to strength. Has shown that he belongs at this level and after back-to-back performances outplaying arguably the world’s top halfback (Will Genia) there are signs that he too may have it in him to be the worlds best come 2015.

8. Kieran Read

Possibly the most uncontentious selection across all enthusiast team lists for 2015. A natural leader and ball player, has all the markings to be in that top bracket of all-time All Black greats when he hangs up his boots.

7. Richie McCaw

His swansong. The Big Engine that always could. Will silence the doubters again. The G.O.A.T. Easy selection.

6. Steven Luatua

Steven_Luatua53

Will be a star of the game in 2015. A glimpse of a new prototype/hybrid rugby footballer, a player with the work ethic, graft and strength around the ruck fringes who can seamlessly take position in the backline as a great passer, runner and decisionmaker.

5. Sam Whitelock

A workhorse in the tight and around the field. Will be an automatic selection. He also brings tournament experience (will be his second RWC tournament).

4. Brodie Rettalick

A throwback in locking circles, will be a great asset for his hard edge and tenacious style. Will have grown into the role and will be firing on all cylinders come World Cup time.

3. Owen Franks

‘The Pitbull’ will be a 70+ test veteran of the game by the 2015 RWC Final – at the ripe old age of 27. Will still be a force in the game and possibly just hitting his straps at the tournament. Scary thought.

2. Dane Coles

Like Owen, Dane will also be 27 years of age but at a totally different point in his career. Yet to cement a place in the All Black squad at the moment, Dane has revealed glimpses of his ability with ball in hand. With Andrew Hore and Kevin Mealamu turning 36 in 2015 the tournament may be a bridge too far – so Dane, you’re next in line.

1. Tony Woodcock

Will be 34 years old, that’s only 28 in ‘Propping’ years. This would be Tony Woodcock’s final test for the All Blacks. The best loosehead on the planet at the moment, will have the fire to make one last statement before heading back to the farm in Kaukapakapa. An unassuming legend.

The Bench

16. Andrew Hore / Kevin Mealamu – hoping one of these two can still provide us with impact from the bench

17. Charlie Faumuina – explosive runner, good scrummager

18. Luke Romano – powerful, great work ethic

19. Liam Meesam – strength, impacting ball runner

20. T.J Perenara – quick, great passer and decision-maker

21. Dan Carter – one of the all-time greats

22. Israel Dagg – you’ve seen what he can do

Potential bolters: Tom Taylor, Ryan Crotty, Brad Shields, Benji Marshall, Ardie Savea, Frank Halai, Ben Afeaki.

So that’s my 2015 RWC Final team prediction.

Keen to know who you think will be making noise come 2015 RWC time.

Exciting times ahead. Go the All Blacks.

Photo credits: Richie holding cup – www.stuff.co.nz, Ben Smith – uk.eurosport.yahoo.com, Sonny Bill Williams – www.foxsports.com.au, Steve Luatua – www.superxv.com

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The Practise of Pausing Time

me at the altar3Fifteen minutes is a long time when you’re waiting at the altar.

Hollywood movies warned me this was the way it was meant to play out, but that did not prepare me for how I was feeling at that moment.

Two o’ clock, at a snails pace, turned to two fifteen. I could sense from guests a small amount of pleasure at watching me squirm. To be honest I would’ve enjoyed the squirm as well from the pew seats.

Surely she’s not too far away.

And then like the Hollywood movies – our wedding story began to unfold.

A light murmur spread through the church as my future wife arrived outside. Once the murmurs settled, our wedding song began to play, and one-by-one the bridesmaids elegantly made there way down the aisle. My wife then joined the party by entering at the rear of the church.

And then it happened.

As soon as she came into my vision…

I paused time.

I paused it. There’s no other way to explain it.

And for that paused moment, which may have been brief, I was not bound by that hour – or that minute – or that second. I was freed to live that moment out with the intensity and fervor that it deserved.

Her elegance, those eyes, the breathtaking beauty, the nervous excitement, that dress – the moment became bigger than the timeframe it was lived within – removed from the confines of time and space.

When I close my eyes I can still relive the whole moment in its intensity and entirety.

***

It’s this practise of pausing time that I think is a great lesson for all of us.

For a lot of us, with time –  it always seems like we’re running out of it or we don’t have enough of it. I’ve been a victim to its pressure, encouraged to save it and told not to waste it away.

My past has conditioned me to pursue being on it – to set plans to it that are bound by it. And I’m told if I’m wise I should manage it well, set it aside and watch it carefully.

But these are not the concepts that grind me the most about time. It is my feeling that I am subject to it. Like time is my Master.

Well today is a new day. I’ve been looking at it wrong.

Time is a means – it is not an end. It exists for us, we don’t exist for it (let that breathe for a while).

Time is a tool with which we live within not a master that we serve under. We need to master it, not the other way around.

We must engage more in the practise of pausing time.

And I’m not talking about planning our time better – that’s too mundane. I mean we must learn to pause time – more.

In moments like walking down the aisle toward your future husband, holding your baby in your arms for the first time, standing atop gorgeous mountains or walking alongside flawless lakes – in these moments when time stands still – we need to stand with it. Be attentive, be immersed, be still.

Mastering this practise opens up a whole new world of heightened awareness and sensitivity in the moments that matter.

You are not subject to time – time is subject to you.

So this is my challenge – in the moments that transcend time – I dare you to transcend with them.

I dare you to more often engage in the practise of pausing time.

Photo: That’s me waiting at the altar – she did eventually join me there:)

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Jessesworld Blog Rules: Nothing lame

ImageSo this is my first real post. Stoked you’re checking it out.

I thought this would be an opportune time to lay down some ground rules for this blog straight off the bat.

1. If you’re reading my blog – I don’t want you reading something lame. If this is going to take some of you’re valueable time, it better be a worthwhile read – so that’s the goal.

2. I wanna try and stay away from cliche thoughts and angles on topics (if I can help it). People want to hear and think about new ways of seeing the world – a raw perspective – hopefully what I write will give you that, whatever the topic.

3. Lastly, I wanna have fun. Topics I discuss on here will be out of passion for the topic – not hate on opposing views. I will always unashamedly share my position on something – though will also commit to listening and learning as others wanna share theirs.

The big idea of this blog is to share new ways of thinking about things, my vision of the future on different topics and to add value to peoples lives whether it be in a big or small way.

Here’s to the start of this journey:)

Cheers,
Jesse

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Hello World!

Welcome to Jesse’s world.

Great of you to visit.

Hoping my blog provides you with some inspiration, laughter, entertainment and food for thought on things important to me.

Here’s to a long fun-filled bloglife.

Chur.

Jesse

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