kia ora and welcome to st paul's, a vibrant community gathering in auckland's oldest city church. come along, get stuck in and help us in creating, relating, restoring and whole pile of other 'ing' words...

In 1841 the Rev. Churton prayed these words at the laying of the foundation stone of St Paul’s, “We desire to build it as a temple for the worship of the One Lord God, our Creator, Redeemer, and Sanctifier, the Holy and Eternal One of Israel, as a house of prayer, praise, and thanksgiving. Do Thou Lord, graciously and favourably look upon us; prosper the work and bless its sacred purposes. In it, as Thy house, may our humble prayer be heard, and Thy worshippers made spiritually joyful.”

last sunday of the month - starting sunday 27 may after the 18:30 service
We are excited to be kicking off 'After Hours', our new 18:30 social space! Venture down to the Crypt after the 18:30 service and connect with the people you see every Sunday, while enjoying cheap eats and drinks. Good people, good food, good vibes. What more could you want? Invite your friends and meet some new ones. We'll see you there!

SPAM (St Paul’s Arts & Media) invites you to our STAINED multi-faceted community arts event that draws from St P’s historic stained-glass, to create for our present and give to our future. STAINED opens with three weekly historical talks, followed by eight weekly art workshops, and finishes with a three-day exhibition and stained glass restoration fundraiser. Deets at facebook.com/spamnz

Our next Infant Baptism & Dedication services are on Sunday 10 June. If you are interested in having your little one baptised or dedicated with the support of our wonderful church family, please email Shelley by Friday 25 May.

students free coffee
With exams fast approaching, we're going to bless the students of Auckland by giving away free espresso coffee, offering prayer and a space to relax during this hectic period. This will be happening from Wednesday, 23 May until Friday 25 May in the morning from 9-10am and in the afternoon from 3-4pm. Relieve your study stress and come and grab a coffee on us!

mon 4 jun I 7pm I st paul's
Chris Gore is the Director of Healing Ministries at Bethel Church, Redding CA. His passion is releasing the kingdom through healing and miracles. Chris and his wife Liz have three daughters, one of which has cerebral palsy. He knows what it is like to hold the truth of God’s word in tension with a confidence that every day is a great day for a miracle! Chris and his team will be leading a night of ministry for healing and breakthrough in any area.

Did you know that St Paul's has a host of Angels who cook frozen meals for people in need of a little love and support? Our freezer is very low on meals and in urgent need of a boost. Would you consider creating a few meals for us? Containers are available at the Welcome Table on Sunday. Just label them and return them next Sunday. For more information get in touch with the Angels.

St Paul's has a new small group launching Tuesday 22 May and meeting fortnightly at 7pm in the Crypt. Led by Brittany Smith, this will be a space for artists to encourage each other while they work together. There will also be space to work collaboratively and explore art prophetically. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or have been creating for years, everyone and all forms of art are welcome. To find out more, email Barbara or check out the facebook page.

Our Primary aged ministry is growing and we need more leaders to mentor and work with our Salt and Light kids. The team operates on a roster of two Sundays on, four Sundays off. We provide all the training you need and write the programme, so you get to focus on the kids on the Sunday morning. If you're interested or want more information contact Donald.

mon 4 jun I 7pm I st paul's
Here is a perfect opportunity to get involved and serve at St Paul’s - join the Sound Team! If you have any experience working with mixing sound and would like to learn how to operate the sound desk at our Sunday services we’d love to hear from you. We are holding two sound training evenings, Tuesday 22 & Monday 28 May 6.45 – 8.45pm. Please email Gabrielle if you’d like to know more!

After many years in youth ministry, my parents became parenting and relationship experts, sharing their insights across the globe through books and seminars. You can find some of those books in our “Requiem Library” in the corner of church. This inevitably meant that their material was full of embarrassing and apocryphal stories from my childhood, the truth of which I completely deny in all respects! Having said that, it’s hard to completely blame our own kids’ errant behavior on the other side of the family, and so perhaps the divine sense of humour echoes down through our genes, as a constant and humbling reminder! The point is this. All of my parent’s parenting advice was designed, not to teach people how to do life well, but how to be in relationships well. Indeed, all of life flows out of the quality of those foundational relationships.

The same is true in our lives of faith. Last week I spoke about the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, when the empty tomb challenged his followers to see life in a new light, and from a radically different perspective. The reality of our lives is that we live in a secular age, where seeing is believing, but we’re called — as people from another age — to see everything from a divine perspective, through the eyes of the Spirit who reveals the truth to us.

But, again, this is not primarily a matter of seeing the divine plan so that we can get on with it like good Christian soldiers. The Spirit has been sent to us, so that we might be drawn into relationship with God — that we would find ourselves “in Christ,” held by the Father, and sustained by the Spirit. What an amazing image of intimacy with our loving Creator Scripture invites us into. From beginning to end, from our genesis in the Garden (Eden) to our destiny in the Garden City (New Jerusalem), we are made for shalom — to be in perfect relationship with God and each other, and all of creation. That is what Jesus calls us into through his resurrection and the sending of the Spirit; that we would begin the journey towards our future destiny through intimacy with Him now.

On Wednesday, the funeral of the Reverend Bill Heald celebrated the life of a man who boldly pursued relationship with God, both personally and for the church. Bill was Vicar of St Paul’s for 9 years between 1984-93, and was a passionate sponsor of prayer and worship in the church. His legacy is a vivid reminder that God has been pursuing intimacy with his people since he first breathed life into Adam and Eve in the Garden. In those days, our forbears walked with God in the cool of the evening, and Jesus invites us to walk with him too.

One of the songs during Bill’s funeral was the great hymn “Abide with Me.” As we continue to explore what it means to live in light of Jesus’ Resurrection, we remember that this is, first and foremost, a call to “be in Christ”; to abide with him; to live out of the bold assurance of our Creator’s affirmation that we are His chosen children. Today, we may only see in part as Paul says, but resurrection life is a call to explore more of that part, and to walk further into the relational destiny that is set before us.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

After many years in youth ministry, my parents became parenting and relationship experts, sharing their insights across the globe through books and seminars. You can find some of those books in our “Requiem Library” in the corner of church. This inevitably meant that their material was full of embarrassing and apocryphal stories from my childhood, the truth of which I completely deny in all respects! Having said that, it’s hard to completely blame our own kids’ errant behavior on the other side of the family, and so perhaps the divine sense of humour echoes down through our genes, as a constant and humbling reminder! The point is this. All of my parent’s parenting advice was designed, not to teach people how to do life well, but how to be in relationships well. Indeed, all of life flows out of the quality of those foundational relationships.

The same is true in our lives of faith. Last week I spoke about the day of Jesus’ Resurrection, when the empty tomb challenged his followers to see life in a new light, and from a radically different perspective. The reality of our lives is that we live in a secular age, where seeing is believing, but we’re called — as people from another age — to see everything from a divine perspective, through the eyes of the Spirit who reveals the truth to us.

But, again, this is not primarily a matter of seeing the divine plan so that we can get on with it like good Christian soldiers. The Spirit has been sent to us, so that we might be drawn into relationship with God — that we would find ourselves “in Christ,” held by the Father, and sustained by the Spirit. What an amazing image of intimacy with our loving Creator Scripture invites us into. From beginning to end, from our genesis in the Garden (Eden) to our destiny in the Garden City (New Jerusalem), we are made for shalom — to be in perfect relationship with God and each other, and all of creation. That is what Jesus calls us into through his resurrection and the sending of the Spirit; that we would begin the journey towards our future destiny through intimacy with Him now.

On Wednesday, the funeral of the Reverend Bill Heald celebrated the life of a man who boldly pursued relationship with God, both personally and for the church. Bill was Vicar of St Paul’s for 9 years between 1984-93, and was a passionate sponsor of prayer and worship in the church. His legacy is a vivid reminder that God has been pursuing intimacy with his people since he first breathed life into Adam and Eve in the Garden. In those days, our forbears walked with God in the cool of the evening, and Jesus invites us to walk with him too.

One of the songs during Bill’s funeral was the great hymn “Abide with Me.” As we continue to explore what it means to live in light of Jesus’ Resurrection, we remember that this is, first and foremost, a call to “be in Christ”; to abide with him; to live out of the bold assurance of our Creator’s affirmation that we are His chosen children. Today, we may only see in part as Paul says, but resurrection life is a call to explore more of that part, and to walk further into the relational destiny that is set before us.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

My first memory of Paul was at St Mary’s Church in London. He had just joined our staff team after a spell serving in the world’s biggest Sunday School ministry in New York. On his first Sunday with us, we showed a film of his experience in America, which included watching the Twin Towers fall from the rooftop of his building across town. The events of 9/11 would come back to haunt us a little later when Paul and I went on our first overseas ministry trip together. We were crossing the Atlantic to visit a group in Charlotte, North Carolina, who were planning to plant a church with us because of their vivid experiences of the Holy Spirit in London.

Paul and I barely knew each other, but we bonded quickly during the unnerving experience of US border security almost refusing us entry on the suspicion that we were religious extremists! Possibly realising that the US already had nearly 400,000 churches and that we posed a minimal threat, they eventually let us through, and we led a surreal weekend of worship services in various people’s giant lounge rooms. What I remember from those early memories of Paul was that he carried a bold testimony and presence that people were drawn to, especially these American Episcopalians (Anglicans) who were thirsty for God’s presence — they accurately described him at the time as a “real live wire.”

So, we were excited a few years ago when Paul and Katy made contact about possibly joining us here at St Paul’s. We were even more surprised when they made the bold decision to bring their family to the other side of the world and become part of the team a little over 2 years ago. We’re so thankful for the contribution Paul has made to St Paul’s since then. He’s been a vibrant member of our leadership team, and has brought increased passion and clarity to how we do mission and evangelism as a church, including spearheading a hugely successful Life Course last year. Just like during that first ministry trip to Charlotte, he remains a spiritual live wire and has brought freshness, creativity and inspiration to our Sunday services and other ministry contexts in all their different forms.

We will miss Paul, Katy and their family as they move to Edinburgh, and Paul joins the clergy at St Paul’s & St George’s Church (known as “P’s & G’s”). It’s a rare privilege to do ministry with friends, and Paul & Katy have been a great source of support for us over these last few years. They have played an important part in making the church’s transition to a new season possible. We also understand firsthand the challenges of raising a young family so far from home, and so we wish them well as they move closer to their own sources of family support.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

Resurrection Sunday is good news. In fact, it’s the best news we could ever conceive of. In fact, it’s news that only God himself could conceive of — a divine masterplan to reshape human destiny towards the total shalom of God’s goodness throughout all of creation. So, what better excuse for a party in church today? But the first Easter Sunday caused mayhem as it unfolded among Jesus’ closest followers. It caught fire quickly with those first on the scene at the empty tomb, but it took a while to spread among the others. This resistance is most clearly personified in Thomas, who tells the others that he will only believe it if he can put his fingers in Jesus’ wounds. Those words will come back to haunt him, of course, as Jesus’ affords him that opportunity a week later.

Despite Thomas’ bad rep as a “doubter,” he’s an important figure in the story because he most clearly represents our own experience of faith. A few days earlier, Thomas has seen his dreams and expectations go up in smoke, as his friend and leader breathes his last words on a Roman Cross, rejected by the very people he’d come to emancipate. This was the same Jesus who had taught with unique authority, healed diseases and afflictions of every kind, and had even called a dead man out of a tomb. But all of that went up on the bonfire of Good Friday. Now, just a few days later, Thomas is being told that all of those hopes and expectations were just pale shadows of what has now happened — Jesus is alive!

When you think about the mind-bending nature of that first Easter, can you blame Thomas for struggling to catch up? Well, in the end he does catch up. In fact, when he touches Jesus wounds, he goes beyond the other disciples and speaks the words of worship that no-one else had uttered until then: “My Lord and my God.” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.” Jesus is speaking about us, those who have responded to his call to follow him even though we haven’t touched his wounds or seen him in the flesh. And that’s the challenge of the Christian life, isn’t it? That we place our trust in the unseen reality of the crucified and risen Jesus, who frustrates our fantasies and blows our minds.

Theologian Richard Bauckham puts it like this: “There is no smooth path to God which we can ascend with all our expectations of life confirmed and fulfilled. There is only the way of the cross, where the condemned and crucified Jesus contradicts our expectations, forces us to see ourselves as we really are, not as we would like to be seen, and reveals the world as a strange new landscape we had not seen before, a paradoxical game in which only losers can succeed.” The mystery at the heart of Easter is that the Lion of Judah must die before he can breathe life into death. We, too, must go on the recurring journey of Easter — to have our low expectations gloriously frustrated, so that we might find our way through the back of the wardrobe into the vast expanse of God’s reality beyond; a world that our weak imaginations need the jolt of Easter to enter into. The dazzling hope of Easter Sunday is all the brighter because of the darkness of Good Friday. The Cross of Horror has become the Empty Tomb. The reality that Jesus has faced the worst and overcome it, is both our heritage and our destiny! Let’s seize upon that hope today.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

During our six years in Vancouver, we lived in the area surrounding the city’s massive university, UBC, with its 60,000+ students. It was a stunning context, set within a rainforest on an elevated peninsula, with incredible views across the water to snowcapped mountain ranges on all sides. The student population existed as a city within (or underneath) a city, with every basement inhabited by student hordes. But it was in the cafés near UBC that the awkward relationship between the city and its students was apparent. It was impossible to find a plug in most cafes, because proprietors didn’t want students and their laptops taking up space from their wealthy clientele.

This vivid memory of Vancouver stands for me as the challenge we face as People of the Spirit in the present age. In John 16, Jesus makes a remarkable statement to his disciples. He says, “very truly I tell you, it is for your good that I am going away. Unless I go away, the Advocate will not come to you; but if I go, I will send him to you. … I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. He will not speak on his own; he will speak only what he hears, and he will tell you what is yet to come. He will glorify me because it is from me that he will receive what he will make known to you. All that belongs to the Father is mine. That is why I said the Spirit will receive from me what he will make known to you.”

It’s difficult to exaggerate what Jesus is saying here. He’s reassuring his disciples that his leaving and the coming of the Spirit will give them more, not less, than they already have. It’s not, Jesus says, that the Spirit knows more than Jesus knows, but that he will offer us greater intimacy with God, because he will always be with us, constantly revealing the truth to us. This is an astounding reality for us to grasp just as it was for Jesus’ first disciples. Along these lines, the apostle Paul encourages the young church in Corinth to interact with the Spirit during their gathered worship: “For you can all prophesy in turn so that everyone may be instructed and encouraged.” (1 Cor. 14:31)

Yet, all too often we can feel like a student at UBC, holding a cord but with nowhere to plug it in to receive the power we need. The Spirit can feel too abstract, uncertain or distant to experience or listen to. So, how do we live into Jesus’ promise that the Spirit will guide us into all truth and tell us what’s yet to come? This is a bold challenge for us individually and as a community of faith. Today, we’re exploring this journey into greater intimacy with God through the Holy Spirit, our Advocate and Helper (παράκλητος: paracletos). And we’re privileged to have two trusted travelling companions in David and Greta Peters.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

These days we are spoiled for choice when it comes to incredible entertainment — mini-series full of tales of corporate and political corruption on a grand scale. And yet these dramatisations struggle to compete with the reality of our world. Just this week, news headlines trumpeted a $700 million fraud in Silicon Valley, and allegations of a Cold War-style assassination with a weapons-grade nerve agent. All of this makes you wonder whether truth really is stranger than fiction.

Along these lines, our faith could be described as the ultimate Conspiracy Theory! In an amazing passage in his letter to the Ephesians, the apostle Paul confirms that we don’t live in a spiritually neutral — or “secular” — world, but in one loaded with the spiritual dynamics of a cosmic struggle between God and his opponents. As Paul says, “For our struggle is not against enemies of flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places.” (Eph 6:12)

This is strong stuff for us to grapple with as Christians, and it would be easy to disappear into a paranoid, sci-fi version of our faith. But Paul’s warning is an encouragement to be alert and aware of our calling to be Christ’s people in the present age, and to see the invisible realities that shape our mission. That mission is to bring the “good news” into the world through the new community of the church. It includes re-aligning every aspect of the world, which has come under the influence of these fallen spiritual powers, with God’s rule through Christ. As Paul says, this is now our prerogative through Jesus’ victory over these spiritual powers, for: “He disarmed the rulers and authorities and made a public example of them, triumphing over them in it.” (Col 2:15)

So how do we go about this? In Scripture there is no dualism between the spiritual and the material dimensions of reality; they are two sides of the same coin. And the same is true of the church — both the spiritual and material play equal and active roles in God’s kingdom.

Last Sunday I spoke about the finances of the church, which provides one of the clearest examples of this principle. Jesus describes money as a god, Mammon, and he warns that we cannot serve two masters at the same time. The key, of course, is not money itself, but who is really in charge of it — the fallen spiritual powers Paul describes or God. When properly focused, money plays a positive and essential role in the furtherance of God’s kingdom. Indeed, everything we do at St Paul’s is made possible by the generous giving of our congregation; it’s as simple as that. And so what we give into the church plays a vital role in our mission to re-align the world with God’s rule; both within our own hearts and within the structures and institutions of the world.

So, I want to thank those of you who financially support St Paul’s, including those who responded last Sunday. Thank you for your vision and generosity in giving to realities that can’t always be seen. And I also want to invite those of you who call this church “home,” to stand alongside us in the joyous project of nourishing our church so that she may thrive in the work God has set for us.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

“We have scorched the snake, not killed it,” Macbeth.

During the week, as part of our Diocesan Ministry Conference, we were treated to a night out at the Pop-up Globe Theatre for a viewing of Shakespeare’s Macbeth. Strangely, despite studying Shakespeare at school and University, I’d never been exposed to the “Scottish Play,” and my only knowledge of its plot came from the first season of Blackadder! So, both the unique context of the Pop-up Globe and the play’s script hit me fresh this week.

The next day, we had a fascinating discussion with the Theatre’s artistic director, Miles Gregory, discussing the potential resonances between theatre and church. It got me wondering why I found Shakespeare’s plays so powerful when I first experienced them as a teenage student. I think it has to do with the way that he brings the full drama of life — in both its personal and social dimensions — out into the open, and expresses that drama so clearly. I remember as a teenager feeling the discomfort of the characters, often royalty, as they bared their innermost thoughts and watched their lives unravel in public. But there was also something liberating about that process, a naming of life as it really is, rather than the surface tension of polite society. In fact we see a similar pattern in the lives of biblical heroes too, people like Moses, King David and Jesus.

And therein lies the most powerful connection between theatre and church. Both seek to name the full drama of life, to compress and express it in an abbreviated window so that we can see it more vividly than in the slow motion of our daily lives. As Christians, we also witness to a multi-layered drama, a Cosmic duel played out on an Eternal stage. During the play on Thursday night, one line leapt out at me with neon clarity and has stuck with me ever since. As his opponents circle, Macbeth says: “We have scorched the snake, not killed it.” He means that they have killed many enemies, but not enough to protect them. This line sums up the drama we find ourselves in as followers of Jesus in the time between his coming and his coming again. The serpent has been mortally wounded, but he still remains active for a time. And so we live in the tension between our present/future resurrection lives and our present trials.

As we journey towards Easter, when we celebrate the ultimate victory Jesus won for us, we’ve been focusing on what a life of radical faith looks like in “this time between the times.” And we find that biblical faith takes humility (true perspective about who we are and who God is), courage (responsiveness to God’s invitation in spite of our fear or the risks involved), and awareness of the nature of the drama that we find ourselves in. As we face the inevitable challenges and bogs of life, we walk with the bold assurance that although the auld serpent is not yet vanquished, unlike Macbeth we have the armies of heaven on our side and a sure path ahead.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

As I write this, the news of Billy Graham’s death is just coming down the newswires. Described as the most influential religious figure of the last century, he preached to around 100 million people in person, and reached many more through radio, TV and later online. It’s fitting that he died aged 100, justifying a letter from the Queen who was deeply influenced by his authentic faith and direct preaching. Like all public figures, and Jesus himself, Graham had his critics. Liberals critiqued his message as “simplistic,” while fundamentalists saw him as compromised. Regardless, he left a lasting mark on the world for the sake of the Gospel. My life, too, was shaped by him to some extent, growing up with parents who led Youth for Christ NZ, which was part of the organisation Billy Graham founded as its first full-time employee. My earliest memories were at camps and youth events, seeing un-churched teenagers respond to Jesus at a time in their lives when he was supposed to be least relevant.

Although we think of Billy Graham as old-fashioned and belonging to another era with his outdoor “crusades,” Brylcreem hair, and clean-cut suits, he was actually a cultural innovator, finding new and creative ways of connecting with people from all walks of life, from royalty and heads of state to common people in every country on earth.

What made Billy Graham distinctive in an age when many other charismatic leaders fell away, was his humility and unwavering focus on the “good news” of Jesus. So, it’s fitting today that we remember the moment when Jesus first announced the coming of this kingdom that would be good news to those who needed it most. As we hear Luke’s description of Jesus reading the scroll from Isaiah, our first impression is often a sense of distance between him and us — Jesus is speaking in a faraway place, a long time ago, and declaring promises that can feel foreign to our own experience of life.

But Luke’s intention is that we would find ourselves within the Gospel story, exposed to its full drama and challenge. That we would hear Jesus’ words as words directly to us. And that we would come to know what it means for this kingdom to take shape within us and to be passed on through us.

For me, amidst his countless achievements, the real power of Billy Graham’s life and legacy is that he put himself in the story, he took Jesus’ words seriously, and he boldly passed them on to millions of people around the world. This Southern Baptist boy from Charlotte, North Carolina, showed that the kingdom Jesus announced all those years ago, is as real today as the day it first arrived. The Brylcreem may seem foreign, but Billy Graham’s humble heart and radical faith is an inspiring example for all of us.


Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

We live in a world that’s given its basic rhythms by the familiar seasons of the year. Just as they do for the ‘natural’ world, these cycles are designed to give us rest, renewal and flourishing with different emphases at different times. The Christian calendar picks up on this same rhythm, using the annual flow of the year to retell the story of God’s redemption plan through Jesus, as we celebrate Christmas, Easter, Pentecost, and so on.

But living within this seasonal cycle does not mean living in circles, like a repetitive Groundhog Day. As we journey through the Christian seasons of the year, they’re meant to lead us deeper into the radical ramifications of what it means for us to be the leading edge of the new creation that has broken into our world through Jesus. This is life-changing, world-altering stuff, if we can grasp it.

So, how do we live into the radical cycle of the Christian seasons, without just going around in circles? The answer lies in our unique attribute as human creatures. Unlike other animals, which live instinctively and reflexively, we are what philosopher Charles Taylor calls “hermeneutical creatures,” meaning that we have “desires about our desires.” Simply put, we get to choose whether the desires and habits we have, are the ones we want. For example, we may resist our craving for sugar because of a greater desire to be healthy. This means that, in a world of persuasion, we get to choose what sort of life we want.

We see this vividly in Jesus’ forty-day encounter with the Devil right before the start of his ministry. Jesus’ ancient enemy offers him some easy outs, appealing to his lower cravings and tempting him to live according to the rhythms of the old creation — to make the same choices people always had. But Jesus, filled with the Holy Spirit, resists these cravings and chooses something different. He chooses to embrace the radical path of following God’s calling and trusting His purposes and plans, and the rest is history.

The Early church took Jesus’ bold example seriously, and used the forty days leading up to Easter as a time of refocusing their lives around him, and preparing for the coming of Resurrection Sunday. That’s why we observe Lent, because it encourages us to live further into the radical mysteries of following Jesus. So, I want to invite you into this positive season of preparation for Easter with two practical suggestions. First, you could “take up & read,” by reading a chapter of the Gospels every day. Luke and John have 45 chapters between them, so you could read both and still have a day to spare before Easter (there’s actually 46 days between Ash Wednesday and Easter)! My second suggestion is to take up courage in the Spirit. We can only follow Jesus and do what he did because we have the same Spirit within us. So why not commit to the adventure of stepping further into engaging God’s empowering Spirit within your life. You could start by coming to the movie we’re showing at St Paul’s this Friday night, “Christ in You.” It will challenge you, but it will also call you into the radical journey of following Jesus.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

As I write this, PM Jacinda Ardern has just announced that she’s pregnant and due in June. It takes me back to those foggy early days after the arrival of our first child, when all of life seemed to merge into a sleep-reduced haze. I remember the mixture of joy and terror, holding this fragile child with all of the potential and uncertainty that lay ahead.

Today we’re looking at the nature of faith and what it means to put our fundamental trust in an unseen God in the age before Jesus returns. Faith can, at times, feel like holding a vulnerable child. The great theologian Karl Barth named it well when he said that everything we believe and do as Christians is enabled and sustained by the Holy Spirit — our faith “hovers in Mid Air.” Barth’s point is not that our faith appears to hover in Mid Air, but that it actually does, held up by the wind of God’s breath. This leaves us in a challenging place as people of faith living in a materialised world, where we’re taught to put our trust in tangible things like houses, careers and our own bodies (Bitcoin being an obvious exception to this rule!).

But Jesus calls us to live boldly in the time between his coming and his coming again; a time when our faith “hovers in Mid Air.” This is swimming against the tide of our world to say the least, and we need to be attentive to what faith looks like. As I said last week, more than anything else, faith takes courage. Karl Barth was a Swiss German theologian who resisted the rise of the Nazis and their adjusted vision of church. He mentored another pastor called Dietrich Bonhoeffer, who also refused to let the church become a shape-shifter for the Nazi cause. Bonhoeffer’s faith took huge courage, but it was also fuelled by the perspective that God’s greater, yet still invisible, kingdom made sense of our faith. Bonhoeffer believed that God had a destiny for each of his followers. After a year in a Nazi prison, he wrote, “I’m firmly convinced—however strange it may seem—that my life has followed a straight and unbroken course, … and is being determined necessarily and straightforwardly by a higher providence. I believe that nothing that happens to me is meaningless.”

I’ve been struck over the last few years how challenging faith can be. Like the Israelites eating manna and quail in the wilderness, God sometimes doesn’t give us more than we need, often laying down the track as the train rolls over it. This is designed to strengthen us in our faith, so that we come to know that the divine breath sustaining us is the most secure place on which to build our lives. That’s the challenge of faith and it's the challenge for us this year — to entrust every aspect of our lives again to the wind of the Spirit for the glory of God and His greater purposes.

Blessings,
Rev Jonny Grant

Hi, we are looking for a female in her 20's to share our cosy house in New Lynn.  Professional Mum, student daughter, and Holly the Jack Russell. 
$200 per week for fully furnished room, utilities, and 5 dinners.
We share jobs and cooking. 
No off-street parking sorry, but we are on a quiet cul-de-sac.
Give me a call if you are keen.  The room will be available from 23 April.
021 060 3480

We're looking for a new flatmate to join our cool townhouse in Onehunga! Our ideal tenant would be a male 21-35 yo working professional. There are currently 3 girls and 2 guys living here. We are all involved in different churches but enjoy hanging out when our busy schedules allow.  Rent p/w is $175 including expenses. Text or call Chelsea on 0210789820 to have a chat if you're interested or have any questions :)

"I am a Geography graduate from the University of Auckland. I am a Christian.
I am 23 years old and I am seeking accommodation in central Auckland suburbs. Ideally, I am looking to move into a Christian flat or board with a Christian family. Please get in contact if you are looking for a flatmate or boarder. My email is estherchan.ky@gmail.com"

Hi,

My name's John Watson, am 32, have been at St Paul's for five years, am involved in the worship band and various others things, and work at Tearfund as Media and Comms Team Lead. 

Have been struggling a bit to find good accomodation at a good price. Currently living in between my two parents' places and at friends.

I know there are a lot of people in a similar situation, but I just felt to post something on here in case there was something out there.


Am on 021 564 663 or jwatson.nz@gmail.com


Best regards, 

John. 

Part time nanny wanted starting late Feb. Two mornings a week 9-12pm to care for one awesome 2 year old. Light housework/cleaning/cooking needed. Full license preferred but not essential. Must be reliable, trustworthy, hard working and easy going. Days are flexbile, would suit a uni student as this could be ongoing for 3 years. Based in Morningside/Mt Albert Text/call 02102402697.

 

Hey! We are looking for someone to join our lovely flat.  It's a medium size, sunny room. It comes with a small wardrobe, but room is unfurnished. The home is 3 bedrooms and is fully furnished (to share with female flatmate) and the two male flatmates live out back in sleepout with their own lounge. They share the kitchen and the two bathrooms.   It has good off-street parking - a shared double carport and two carparks (behind the house). Also has a nice private back courtyard perfect for chilling in the summer. All flatmates are in their early 30's and are all working.  Everyone has busy schedules but are pretty laid back and friendly when we're home. Ideal flatmate would be a similar age, easy-going, preferably female, Christian, keen to hang out sometimes, but also able to do your own thing. No pets. Cost for the room is $150 and expenses are around $25-30 a week including utilities, Netflix, internet, some basic shared food and cleaning products. Move-in cost: 2 weeks bond ($300) and notice is two weeks.   We like a clean and tidy home and hope you will be willing to help with the chores. It is easy to get onto the South-Western MW. There are buses that go to town but would recommend having a car. Available from Saturday the 27th of January, so get in touch if you'd like to find out more. Thanks Debbie


Hi there, 

We're looking for a new flatmate to join our great lil flat in Onehunga! We are 2 girls and 2 guys, all in our 20s, all working.

Our ideal tenant is a 20-35-year-old working professional. Preferably a girl as she will be sharing a bathroom with the other girls. 

We are all involved in different churches but enjoy hanging out when our busy schedules allow. 

It is a modern room with great views of Manukau Harbour.

Rent p/w is $175 including expenses.

Text or call Rhys on 027-677-9888 to discuss further.

 

We are an older reliable Kiwi couple who have been engaged in mission work in Thailand for 10 years.  We are coming back to NZ for a couple of months and are looking for a house-sit in the Auckland area for the two of us for the period of 2 December - 8 January.  It doesnt have to be for the whole time.  If you can help can you please drop us an email at djkk.dean@gmail.com.  Keith & Joy

Want to know more about our story as Auckland's oldest church? The "Mother Church" of Auckland in fact? I've been beavering away at our formerly sparse Wikipedia article over the last few months, incorporating Kate Hannah's wonderful brief history, the Parish Profile we all helped create, various written and pictorial historic sources and some contemporary stuff including Tom Roberton photos. Hit the W icon at the top of this page or click here.