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 1840, William Mason was appointed New Zealand’s first Superintendent of Public Works, and St Paul’s was one of his earliest commissions. He soon styled himself the ‘Colonial architect’ and was surprisingly still alive when the current St Paul’s building was completed. A plaque to his memory can be found in the Requiem Chapel. This week Mason’s plans for the first St Paul's church building were rediscovered in the Turnbull Library, Wellington!

We're excited to announce that the Reverend Matt Bruns will be joining St Paul’s in May. Matt has been the Vicar of St Philip’s, St Heliers for the last three years. As some of you may know, Matt is a 'native son' of St Paul’s. Some years ago both he and his wife Rachel worked on staff here, and so we’re thrilled to be welcoming them back into our community. Matt will be officially joining our staff on Monday, 14 May and we look forward to introducing him to the church on Sunday, 20 May. By the way, we've had some issues with our email deliveries that have now been sorted out, so if you missed the email we sent recently announcing Matt's appointment, please check your junkmail box!

thu 22 mar | 12pm-1pm
In recent times, Christians have begun giving the practice of 'sabbath keeping' more attention in response to a culture that is becoming increasingly circus-like. Join us in this season of Lent as we explore ways to allow time in our busy lives to find freedom in the rhythms of rest. The church will be open on Thursdays between 12pm and 1pm - feel free to come for the whole hour, or just a part of it.

Did you know that as part of our Pastoral Care at St Paul’s we offer affordable yet professional counselling? We have a great team of counsellors who are here to speak with you if you need someone to work through difficult emotions or life issues with. Victoria Hathaway, who is currently training at Auckland University, and Hanna Cope are available for counselling during the week. Please email Victoria or Hanna for more information or to book a session.

St Paul's biggest outreach happens every week. Over two hundred people come through the doors for a range of events and activities. We need help – whether you’re a hugger, a do-er, an academic or an adrenaline junkie (or all of the above!). Take the plunge and find out how fun and enriching crosscultural ministry can be. Contact Conrad to find out more about how you could be involved.

We're holding a training lunch for anyone interested in joining our team of volunteer leaders in the pre-school. We'll be looking at how volunteers can best help, what we do in the pre-school and why we do it. If you're thinking about serving at St Paul's and are considering the children's ministry as an area to bless with your time and love then register for the lunch. We'd love to meet you.

sun 18 mar | after the 11am service
You may think that you have accidentally opened a Happening email from a few weeks ago - but no! We had so much fun at the church lunch in February that we are rolling out another one. Save the date and bring along your friends. The bouncy castle will be back and Jennifer has another mouth-watering meal planned. If you would like to get in on the volunteer action, let Jennifer know.

tue 27 feb | 7.30pm | st paul's church
You are invited to join us at The River, where we will be releasing breakthrough for every situation in need of the miraculous power of God. Jesus calls us to set captives free, open blind eyes, and heal the broken! If you need prayer for anything then this is the place to come. Free parking at Wilsons.

We are looking for someone to join the team to oversee a wide range of events at St Paul's. The ideal candidate would have formal training in event management, experience in the not-for-profit sector, and availability in evenings and weekends. If this position interests you, please send your CV and cover letter to Doreen before Friday 2nd March. A job description will be available on request.

It’s the start of the year and we are looking for new recruits to join the AV (Audio & Visual) team to help us operate sound and lyrics, and the worship team. We couldn’t sustain such a vibrant and rich worship & course life at St Paul's without all of the wonderful people who help out and serve in these areas. If you would like to talk to someone about joining the worship team, or if you have any experience with doing sound or lyrics - or you’d like to learn - please get in touch. Training can be provided and it’s a great way to serve and get involved!

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

Rev Jonny Grant

It already seems like an age ago that we celebrated our amazing array of Christmas services, remembering the story of God coming to us in Jesus in a whole host of creative ways. But there’s nothing quite like the Kiwi summer — tropical storms included — to take a break from the hard yakka, and to recharge for the year ahead. I hope you’ve had a safe and restful break and are desperately missing church. Thankfully the wait is over and so welcome back to St Paul’s. At this time of year, we are joined by new members of our congregation, and I want to extend an especially warm welcome to you. We’re looking forward to a great year ahead.

As we look ahead to what’s coming, it’s critical for us as followers of Jesus to remember the story that we find ourselves in. One of the characters in the Christmas story that particularly stood out for me recently was John the Baptist’s father Zechariah. He was a priest stationed at the Temple in Jerusalem who drew the lot to enter the holy place to burn incense at the altar. When the angel Gabriel gave Zechariah the good news about his wife Elizabeth’s conception, he totally missed the moment and was struck dumb for his lack of faith until after John was born. God clearly takes this priest on a journey because when John is circumcised, Zechariah is filled with the Holy Spirit and prophecies about God’s saving grace — known as “The Benedictus.” What I find most challenging about Zechariah is that he was a man of prayer, working in the very place where God was expected to be present, and yet he was shocked and off-balance when God’s messenger actually showed up to fulfill the very thing Zechariah had been praying for all these years: a child. I think that’s our challenge too!

As Christians we boldly follow the God who can do all things — who is in the business of confounding human expectations and changing the scope of our horizons. But to enter into what God has in store, we need to go on the same journey of faith that Zechariah went on. Over the holidays, we’ve been reading our son Theo’s Marvel-inspired “Action Bible,” which is quite a ride! It’s impressed on me again the constant challenge God lays down throughout Scripture not to look back at the advancing Egyptians but to turn and face the new path that God is opening up in front of us — to put off fear in all its subtle forms, and to embrace faith and courage. That is the essence of the Christian life and it’s the choice we are faced with as individuals and as a church.

So, I want to welcome you into a new year, full of new challenges and God-inspired adventures. I want to encourage you to consciously choose faith and courage as your travelling companions this year. My prayer this summer is that God will refresh our bodies, renew our minds, and enlarge our spiritual imaginations for the surprising work that He is preparing us all for.

Rev Jonny Grant

The essence of the Christmas story is the advent of a world-changing reality unfolding in secret. It is a pattern that’s been embodied and played out in the lives of Christ’s followers ever since, through their humility and service. Recently, we witnessed a vivid example of this from our own community of faith. In November, our organist Michael Jenkins received a national award in the Parliamentary buildings, presented by Simon O’Connor MP. This “Unsung Heroes Award” was in recognition of Michael’s “faithful and sacrificial service in demonstrating a heart for mission in the local church and for being an inspiration and example to all Christians around New Zealand.”

Michael grew up aware of his family’s heritage in Christian mission, especially among Maori. Coming to faith in his teens, he was actively involved in teaching at children’s church and worked with ‘at-risk’ young Maori in Ponsonby. St Paul’s is an historic church, founded in the same year as the city, but it’s rare to have someone whose ministry here also spans the decades. Over the last 25 years, Michael has taught and ministered to young people, and particularly international students, through St Paul’s. As a professional music teacher, he has given many hours of free music tuition to promising students, as well as providing open and free keyboard lessons every Saturday morning in the church. Michael has given countless hours of free English lessons to international students over the years, with this hospitality providing an invitation to explore the Christian faith through social events and bible studies.

For decades, Michael hosted Friday night “gospel services” at St Paul’s for mostly Asian international students and immigrant families. He and his team of helpers served those who came, providing home groups and pastoral care. Michael has a huge heart and has generously opened his home to those who are most in need over the years.

Finally, Michael is St Paul’s resident organist, playing with passion and faithfulness in and out of season. We hope that forthcoming repairs will enable him to further harness its beauty and power for the sake of the church’s worship for many years to come.

This morning we want to thank Michael for his radical hospitality towards people from many nations and cultures over the years on behalf of this church. As this award suggests, he is one of our Unsung Heroes, whose humility has kept his ministry hidden in plain sight. And yet, like the Advent story, it carries the world-changing power of the gospel. So, today we want to shout his praises from the rooftops!

Rev Jonny Grant

One of the church’s early fathers located our core personal identity in “our memory”—essentially our consciousness about who we are and where we’ve come from. Developmental psychologists encourage families to tell children the stories of their heritage—how their grandparents or parents first met, where they came from, some of the challenges they’ve had in life and how they got through them. Our memory is the very foundation that we live upon and so curating our memories is a key part of what it means to “be in Christ”—progressively bringing our imagination and identity under the goodness of God’s grace.
My warmest memory from living in North America was spending Thanksgiving with various friends in all different parts of the US and Canada. Aside from the madness of Black Friday, there was something magical about families travelling from all over the country to be together for a few days of feasting and reflection. Thanksgiving has its genesis way back in the 1600s when the original pilgrim settlers arrived in America. It was a harvest festival that was about thanking God for His provision.
As we look ahead to the New Year, it’s important to take time to pause and reflect on what God has done in this past one. Thanksgiving is not about covering our memories with the mist of fantasy but, rather, it’s about thinking well of the year by redeeming our memories with the good that God has done. It’s significant that the Thanksgiving tradition was forged during the most challenging times, when they needed it most. It began with a group who were far from home facing an uncertain future. Many years later, Abraham Lincoln finally set a common day for the whole country to share Thanksgiving at exactly the worst moment in its history—during the Civil War. It was a symbol of the peace and unity they yearned for at a time when it seemed furthest from their grasp.
Out of the complex busy-ness of the year, it’s often challenging to separate out what we’ve journeyed through and to make sense of it all—to find a coherent thread. For some of us, the year may have been dominated by life-changing events like a serious illness or injury, the end of a relationship, a different job or stage of life, or the death of someone close. In times like that it can feel easier to look forward than to reflect on what’s gone before. But the Christian art of Thanksgiving comes into its own at times like this. The Christmas story reminds us that God has stepped into our shoes and has walked where we walk—including through the uncertainties and inevitable pain of human life and death. Not only does He understand the struggles of the world as it is, but He has also breathed into life the promise of the new creation.
So, as we pause to think well of the year, we thank God for what He’s done, and we renew ourselves in the hope that as we turn towards Him, the source of light, all shadows fall behind us.
Rev Jonny Grant

The end of the kiwi year can feel like a Doomsday Clock as we rush to cross every imaginable task off our list before the impending end of the world on Boxing Day! As we approach our annual “silly season,” we’re faced with a word that sums up an essential part of the human condition—limitation. We’re unique creatures because we are aware of the infinite (God has placed eternity in our hearts), but we are also constrained by the intimate (we can only do what we can do, even at the limit of our stretch).

We are limited across so many dimensions: by our time and energy, by our health and finances, by our relational states, by our families of origin and what we learned there, and by our capabilities. One of the most frustrating constraints we face is that we’re partial creatures, possessing some gifts but not others, and so we’re reliant on others to experience fruition. U2’s Bono once described the rage he felt knowing that he couldn’t write a song without the band, that his fullness lay in them.

It’s timely that our silly season coincides with Advent, because it is here—in the Incarnation—where the astounding message of Christmas and the Christian story really grip our experience. The idea that Jesus, being the Infinite One, chose to be constrained by the limitations of the intimate for our sake is staggering beyond comprehension. We tend to think Jesus’ temptations in the wilderness must have been easier for him because of who he is, but they also posed a challenge that we don’t face. Satan offered Jesus what he’d already known, an opportunity to step out of the frustrating limitations of the intimate and seize back the power of the infinite. Jesus, of course, famously chose to humble himself and embrace the will of his Father in heaven.

The Incarnation—God taking on human flesh—radically transforms our lives because it redeems our limitations; they’ve been shared by God. It allows us to make peace with the frustrating constraints we face, and to be present to the here and now of our lives, rather than always facing into what we don’t have. And, as we make peace with what is before us, it also opens up the possibilities of the infinite through the One who can do all things.

I’m always struck by the Apostle Paul’s orientation to his calling to preach the Gospel to the gentiles. Because we read history backwards, it’s easy to read Paul’s letters and ministry with the confidence that they would eventually shape the western world through the power of the Holy Spirit. But, the daily reality of Paul’s experience involved dealing with small, fledgling and often-dysfunctional communities, which existed on the margins of their societies. Paul is a great model for us because he embraced the intimate with conviction and passion, and God breathed the infinite into his work and ministry. As we approach the silly season, let’s make peace with the constraints of the intimate and be present to what God has given us. And, as we make space at this busy time, let's fill our minds with the One who has placed eternity in our hearts and can breathe new life into all things.

Rev Jonny Grant

I hope you’ve been enjoying the Alt Carols album this week. Aside from the diverse musical genres and creative artistry, for me the power of it has been lighting up age-old lyrics in a way that has landed for me in a new way. It has brought our essential story—the Christmas story—to life.

A few centuries ago, during the Enlightenment, it was decided that this story would have to justify itself according to the scientific principle, meaning that the Christian faith had to be proved through reason and evidence. Instead, the true curve of the universe is not revealed through scientific discoveries, but through the daily realities of our lives. We find there that we are not masters of our universe, but worshippers within it. It’s the heart as much as the head, which steers our daily lives and our future destiny. As Augustine says of our Creator, “You have made us for yourself, and our hearts are restless until they find their rest in you.” We are restless creatures, drawn to God as the Source of our yearnings, and yet also bent towards other loves.

The late novelist, James Foster Wallace, describes this struggle in his famous commencement lecture at Kenyon College in 2005. He says: “In the day-to day trenches of adult life, there is actually no such thing as atheism. There is no such thing as not worshipping. Everybody worships. The only choice we get is what to worship. And the compelling reason for maybe choosing some sort of god or spiritual-type thing to worship … is that pretty much anything else you worship will eat you alive. If you worship money and things, if they are where you tap real meaning in life, then you will never have enough, never feel you have enough. It's the truth. Worship your body and beauty and sexual allure and you will always feel ugly. And when time and age start showing, you will die a million deaths before they finally grieve you. On one level, we all know this stuff already. It's been codified as myths, proverbs, clichés, epigrams, parables; the skeleton of every great story. The whole trick is keeping the truth up front in daily consciousness. Worship power and you will feel weak and afraid, and you will need ever more power over others to keep the fear at bay. Worship your intellect, being seen as smart and you will end up feeling stupid, a fraud, always on the verge of being found out. And so on. Look, the insidious thing about these forms of worship is not that they're evil or sinful; it is that they are unconscious. They are default-settings. They're the kind of worship you just gradually slip into, day after day, getting more and more selective about what you see and how you measure value without ever being fully aware that that's what you're doing.”

Wallace brilliantly names the human struggle to live an authentic life. It’s a big project and one that took nothing less than God himself taking on the human condition and breathing heaven’s new life into a weary world. As Advent approaches, we’re seeking to let this story fill our imaginations afresh and to invite others into this wild adventure.

Rev Jonny Grant

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 :)


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

Best regards, 


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.


Hi there,  I am a 20 year old female student looking for a Christian flat or accommodation. Contact Giselle:

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  Keith & Joy

Im looking for a place to live till christmas,

27 Years old, Christian, does not smoke, apprentice builder Keeps Tidy and clean, & cooks

021 023 00987 Mobile number





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.