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March 2012

Posts from February 2012

My book - Your help


Last year was amazing. Your gifts enabled me to spend time in Turkey, China, Indonesia, Egypt, and Eastern Europe to equip missional leaders and their networks in those countries. And because we traveled most of those countries in our 4x4 overlander, the whole family could come along for free. It was a great experience. Life-changing, actually, for us and for the ministries we strengthened. And we did it on a shoe-string.

I want to write a book and give you copy. More about that in a second.

In 2012 we will be primarily in Asia, with NZ as our home base. The family is here in NZ now, living in a Mongolian style yurt. It has a dirt floor so its a bit cold at nights but we are building a platform for it. Being homeless is great for getting around on a budget but when winter comes its not as much fun. Bringing the truck (our home) over here will solve a lot of problems, as well as enabling us to continue the journey. From NZ, the next port of call would be Capetown when the time is right to return to Africa.

Yurt jones

We have 2 big needs right now.

1. I am flying overseas today to pick up the truck and continue the journey. I will be driving 4000kms through 6 countries. More details on which countries in my newsletter shortly. I need diesel money - about US$1500.

Paypal account is

2. Our truck is currently in Turkey but we need to ship it home to New Zealand where it will be our Asian base for the next season. Shipping cost is US$4,780. There is a container ship leaving early March which is not a lot of time but if enough of you kicked in a little bit, we could do it for sure.

The book.

Here's the thing. If you donate US$10 or more, I will send you a copy of my e-book based on my 35 country trek, a journey that has given me new perspective on the global Christian movement as well as my own life priorities. I hope to start a kick-starter thing but don't have time right now but if you give to PayPal and leave your email, I will make sure you get a copy of the e-book as soon as it is finished.


Can you pass on the need on your blogs? Facebook? other media? It would be a huge help. And we could also get the truck before winter.

And if you have a larger chunk to donate [God bless you] or want to do a bank transfer then read on for directions.

Continue reading "My book - Your help" »

PassionFest this week

There is a huge marquee on the field next to our yurt. Thats because PassionFest happens this weekend. Its a small, intimate, social justice festival for about 300+ people. We were here last year and loved it. So if you are in New Zealand then come on over and bring your tent. Read more about why we decided to do PassionFest this year instead of the better known festival called Parachute.

6a00d8341c5bb353ef01543780b40e970c pi


Is the number 666 really on our barcodes?

A blog reader asked if the number 666 is somehow integrated into the barcodes. This has been a discussion for over 30 years among Christians.


I asked my friend David Allis who is not only a Christian man but is also a leading seller of barcodes, to reply to the question, "Do all barcodes have the number 666 in them?'. He replied immediately [Thanks David]

"Nope they don't. 666 isn't encoded into all barcodes. However, we can put it in a barcode if you really want it :-)"

Of course I ordered 6 of them. But what about the QR barcode ?

Screen Shot 2012 02 23 at 1 17 46 PM

Looks pretty innocent at first appearance . . . Which is reassuring because this QR code was generated from the TALLSKINNYKIWI URL. Nothing sinister going on here.

Or is there?

Wait a flippin minute . . . WHAT DO I SEE HERE?????????

Barcode 666 qr

Not only is there a BIG DIRTY 666 on this barcode, [HELP ME Jesus!!!!] but I can also see two devil's horns, Marilyn Manson's right eye, a backwards masked image of Ozzy Osbourne's evil cat, and the ISBN number of Hal LIndsay's "Satan is Alive and Well on Planet Earth."

Related: Get a second opinion from some 666 mark of the beast geeks here and here.

More on TSK: About that pact with the Debil in Haiti, KISS, and the Heaven and Hell Tour with Motley Crue.

40 days of Lent

Ash Wednesday kicks off 40 days of Lent, leading to Easter.

I recommend getting in the mood by:

1. Playing Si Smith's video of Jesus in the wilderness called "40"

2. 1. Reading Tim Kimberley's History of Lent and the number 40.

"Interestingly, the earliest of Christians believed Jesus was dead in the grave for 40 hours. The number 40 has held significant importance throughout biblical history. The rains fell on Noah in the ark for 40 days and 40 nights. Moses was on top of Mount Sinai receiving the Ten Commandments for 40 days and 40 nights. Elijah walked 40 days and 40 nights to the mountain of the Lord. Jesus, most importantly, fasted and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights before starting his public ministry."

Remembering the Christchurch earthquake

One year today, since the Christchurch earthquake. Today we are having a one minute silence at 12:51pm to remember the 185 people who were killed that day. is running live updates of the anniversary today.

We were in Wellington, NZ last year when it happened and raced down there as soon as we could to help out. About 2 months ago we returned to Christchurch and had a coffee in the new retail area area of Christchurch called Re:START. Its a creative space made with shipping containers and quite earthquake proof.


Sam Chapman, who was with us when news of the earthquake reached us, said something very profound:

"Why we do wait for a crisis to realise just how precious we are to each other? We've got a whole society out there saying, "Love me before I become a statistic! Don't wait till something goes wrong. Love me today!" I hope that out of the rubble, not just materially, but spiritually, psychologically, that the lessons we learn from tragedies like today, and there will be more . . . lets love each other! Lets not wait."

Sam Chapman, Feb 22, 2011

Sam will be with us this weekend at Passionfest.

2012 Report: Emerging churches in deprived communities

Somebody say H.O.S.P.I.T.A.L.I.T.Y . . .

"There were two messages about how the groups understood mission. First, mission meant an incarnational presence in the everyday life of the community. Second, mission meant engaging with residents to restore their capacity to act, to articulate needs and to seek to have those needs met.

Hospitality was the main means by which this presence and engagement was offered. Two groups ran cafes and three others had a house in which people could gather. Hospitality created the sense of belonging together which made it possible to raise questions of belief."

2012 Report: Poverty and Fresh Expressions: Emerging forms of church in deprived communities, Church Urban Fund, [Full report PDF]

So what do Aussies REALLY think of the church?

A recent survey from Olive Tree Media shows what Australians think about Christianity.

Survey australian church

Here are the main reasons why Aussies say they don't go to church:

Church survey christianity and the church

Here's some doctrines and practices that Australians say block them from church.

Church survey dp

However, the survey showed a surprising knowledge of what Jesus said.

Survey jesus message

Read the whole thing or download a PDF. Olive Tree are producing a series soon.

[HT: Baptists and David Allis the barcode guy]

This Gypsy Life

"This gypsy life must of necessity be a simple one", A Thousand Sunsets, 1944, page 19

If you have been following our journey, you will know we just spent almost 3 years on the road in a 4x4 overlander motorhome. We traveled through 30 countries from North Africa across to the edge of Asia. Some people would call that 'weird'. I thought of it rather as 'economical', 'strategic', 'sustainable', 'itinerant', and 'thoroughly satisfying'. And its a journey that is continuing.

So you can imagine my joy yesterday when I picked up a book written in the 1940's by a Methodist home missionary who also traveled 3 years across the dodgy mountain roads of  New Zealand . . . in a FLIPPIN' CARAVAN!!!

Rita snowdon caravan methodist

Her name was Rita Snowden (1907-1999). She wrote a number of books on theology, devotions, literature, etc. But the account of her life on the road called "A Thousand Sunrises" is my favorite. She had the same habit I do of weaving theology and missions history to bear on her stories and events. Sometimes too much.

Quite a woman! She was awarded the O.B.E. in 1975. Once she found an old motorbike without an instruction manual. So she pulled it apart, put it back together again, and then rode it 20,000 miles.

She was a great writer. Her book is blog-like and, like the writings of Dorothy Day, a good model for bloggers.

"But you must know that this is not a guide-book, a travel-book, nor an autobiography. It is rather a book of the heart. I wrote it first for one only. But all beautiful things must be shared, she says. Accordingly, I offer you now something of my heart, my right hand, a share in my caravan, and nearly three years of roads" Rita Snowdon, Introdution, A Thousand Sunsets, 1944.

American church: Not dead yet

"Most of our churches are built around feeding consumers." Mike Breen

My English friend Mike Breen just wrote an article called "An Obituary for the American Church" in which he outlines 3 problems he believes could kill it: a culture of Celebrity, Consumerism and Competition.

Not dead yet church

Well said. I agree with Mike and recommend reading his article. But I think the "obituary" word is a little too alarming for me.

There is hope for the American church. Its not dead yet. Not by a long shot.

Mike Breen is right that the American church needs to reject its Celebrity, Consumeristic Competitive nature that stem from its temptations of Appetite, Affirmation and Ambition [Mike alliterates like a good Baptist] but there is a huge stock of examples and stories from America's past that will help it move into more holistic, effective ministry in the future. This is happening already and its good to see.

I met Mike Breen at St Thomas Crookes,  Sheffield in 2000. An amazing church with an amazing history. Mike has just blogged some of that story and why he chose movement over mega-church. I had the privilege of preaching there a few years later.

Wedding today: Chris and Sophie Sylvester


There is a marquee next to our yurt. Chris and Sophie are getting married today and our family, having helped to set up the wedding space, are taking off for the day. Chris and Sophie - congrats on your special day. Every blessing for your future together.

By the way, this is the yurt that we are living in while here in NZ. Its nice living in a round house - very hobbit-like.