Thursday, December 30, 2010


YES, I have one. Praise God! Thank you to those who prayed.

It happened like this: Tuesday, sent 9 personalized emails out to 9 farms at 5:30pm.... Wednesday at 9:58 am received a call from a farmer offering me a job.... Thursday at 5:45 am, wide awake getting ready to work at Zebra Vineyard... 7am that same morning, working hard in a breezy 85 degree heat : )

This is hugely fortunate, as a rather unfortunate rain made all the local cherries swell and explode. A bad crop means that vast numbers of workers from various farms in the area are being let go of, while the grapes are thriving! Due to this surplus of workers, I'm extremely blessed to have a job right now as competition is fierce.

I currently have $4,000 in savings which is halfway to the finish line for Fall 2011! I have a little over a month and a half to earn another $4 grand. Keep that number in your prayers.


Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Green Acres, the place to be....

Above: Wellington, getting ready to board the ferry to the South Island, the "land of opportunity."
NEW NZ PHOTOS! Check link to the right---->

Merry Christmas all! Last week has been a whirlwind of learning and new experience. Life is good and things are smoothly moving along, praise the lord.

Life changed abruptly as left Auckland last Tuesday and I will bring you up to speed on what occurred over that week as quickly as possible. On Tuesday night Lachlan and Anna Gordon, with myself left to Lake Taupo where I slept in the van near the water. The next day we made the trip to windy Wellington (bottom of the north island) to wait for the ferry to come in. In the spare hour a had I made my way through the quaint city, visiting some of the shops that had the best Christmas eye-candy in the window (Cervelo carbon fiber tt bikes!). Cruising down the street I noticed an adult store drawing nearer to my line of site, at which I had to make the concious decision to look down at my feet... shortly thereafter I found myself floating in the air! A quick survey towards the ground revealed long hair and a trendy beanie in which I though to myself: " I know that trendy beanie!" - "James! I exclaimed." Within twenty minutes of being in a major NZ city I had found an old friend from Laidlaw (who was not shopping at the adult store) took me on a lovely tour of his city, leading me to another Laidlaw student that was doing outreach work downtown. Had a smashing time and possibly one of the better action packed hours of my life in NZ until the ferry came, upon which I watched a gorgeous sunset from the stern.

Thursday morning, after spending the night in quiet Picton, we picked up a German hitch-hiker named Toby as we cruised down the stunning coast with geographic features similar to California (Mom and Dad you would love it.) we stopped off in Christchurch where we bid Toby farewell. Christchurch is a stunning city, with a fun market where musicians and aspiring actors share their trade. Before night fall we made are way to Dunedin to spend the evening with Anna's parents farm who are successful hydroponic lettuce growers. I was invited in for tea and given a comfortable bed to stay in at this well kept farming estate.

The morning of Friday the 24th we made our way to Lachlans family dairy farm on the other side of Dunedin. I had a full tour of the farm, a fantastic dinner with selection that only a proper farmer can provide before the candle light service at a rustic country church, with a good deal of charm.

Christmas morning brought on a vicious onslaught of raspberry waffles, which I gave my best at defeating, but alas, was conquered. It was fun spending time with this family, but I couldn't help feeling empty and alone somewhere deep down in my heart as I longed to be with my American family and friends. To be candid, the backdrop to this was a deep rooted feeling of spiritual unrest. Even after teaching John 1 to my junior high students the previous Sunday I was wrestling with the impossibility of the virgin birth and incarnation of God. Towards the end of the year at Laidlaw I had some deeper questions about the atonement, and what Christ really achieved on the cross, and during this last week- the loneliness, theological questions, certain ministry frustrations and emotions compounded into a single force. To continue on in this story, I need to rewind a bit to Christmas Eve, where I met a guy named Zane that had embraced satan as his guide to spite his overbearing Christian parents, he has since found Christ and had his heart transformed. I found myself engaging him in a very "David" way bringing the convo to Christ, but for the first time, I found myself being ministered to as I asked him why he believed in Christ. His answer was short and to the point, to paraphrase him, "it was like a dark weight lifted from me." After the Christmas Eve service, I retired to my room in which I found Lee Strobles book, 'The Case for Christ' , sitting alone on the top shelf. I had been praying pretty passionately, and I figured this book was from God to me at that moment. The book answered some of my deepest questions that had come up over the year and in just the previous days leading up to this moment in time. The reason I share this is that I know that it's not just me who struggles with faith at times- if your currently in this boat, Lee's book might warrant a read.

Fast forward again to Christmas, after dinner, the family began unwrapping presents and to see the joy on the childrens faces for the gifts they received was nothing short of therapeutic for my worn out heart. I shortly found out that the family had presents wrapped for me under the tree! I had no idea that was the case, and as I ripped the wrapping paper my outlook began to change. I think God used that small token of love to nurse me back to the reality of what it means to be in relationship with him. Subsequently, I read the Case for Christ cover to cover and I'm now working through some of Spurgeons selected works which have challenged me... ok now back the weeks narrative, that was a significant side story though : )

Sunday morning allowed a decent sleep in as there was no church, and for the first time in my life I participated in the milking of cows! What a experience! I have so much respect for the hardworking dairy farmers. JJ, a farmhand, and I milked 400+ head of cattle in a couple hours, and throughout those hours I did my very best to avoid the explosive, waterfall-torrent-esque-fecal/urine-matter-explosion, that is a cows rear end. After a few unsuccessful attempts of hooking up the suction cups to the cows teets, JJ showed me the ropes, and I was away. Looking back, it was an enjoyable time, but I will leave it to the pros and just buy my milk from Safeway (thank you very much).

Monday and Tuesday were significantly more sanitary as Lachlan and Anna showed me around Dunedin, which smacks of the university town Bellingham in Washington. Dunedin, being a university town in its own rite, had a special character and feel to it. I might be able to live in this town. Monday night the Gordon family helped me get in tune with their (proud) Scottish heritage as I sipped whiskey from the homeland, and smoked a cigar near an open fire, underneath the tranquil Dunedin night skyline. Good conversation and ideal weather made it a perfect night for roasting marshmellow and lighting off a few fireworks.

Today is the last day of relative vacation like bliss, Lachlan+Anna and I leave for Cromwell early in the morning where I will start working again lord willing. Pray for me to get a job. I put my application in with 9 farms so all I can do now is follow up with them. Christmas in summer is about the least appealing thing I can think of, but this one has proved awesome, as God has been with me every step of the way.

Quick prayer list:

School scholarship
Men's Resident assistant
Increased faith


Saturday, December 18, 2010

Winds of change.

Life in New Zealand is changing quite rapidly. After unsuccessfully landing a steady job for the summer holiday in Auckland, on Tuesday night I will be moving to Christchurch, the land of opportunity, the place where fruit picking and pastures abound. I will be experiencing my first Kiwi Christmas with my married friends Lachlan and Anna and their family in Otago. No work has been secured there as of yet (the previous plan that is now a bit up in the air) so your prayers are greatly needed.

It's a strange thing to be away from family and friends over Christmas, the last few weeks have taken there toll. I couldn't put my finger on why I was so homesick, but now I think I can fully attribute that to the lack of Facebook and the instant disconnect from life in Washington. On the bright side, I got to experience a little of winter in Cadburys Chocolate publicity stunt called "Winter in the park," where participants enter into a giant climate controlled snow-globe that produces artificial snow from the ceiling. It helped ease some of my pain : )

I had been praying for 2-3 months about being able to attend one of my closest friends wedding in Guatemala, and today it didn't quite happen. Judah and Mary I wish you the best future possible and it grieves me that I won't be there.

Thank you all for the continued prayers and support. So far this Summer I have saved $3,000 NZD which is only about $750 off the halfway point. I was able to apply for a scholarship through Laidlaw this year and if you would pray that the selecting committee would be abnormally favorable with my application, that would be fantastic. I'm fully trusting God even amidst the emotional ups and downs. I was accepted into Laidlaws program on May 13th, 2009 - and God has taken care of me since that date with school and I know that even in dark times life has always worked out for me up until this very moment in time. In Christ, all of my hope rests.

I hope everyone takes a moment out to truly celebrate the incarnation, when the God that created the entire universe took on flesh. Wow, just let that marinate in for a second. I hear that so much that sometimes the gravity of Jesus being God is lost on me. God walked around on earth experiencing joy and heartbreak, just as we do today. The Logos that spoke the universe into existence became flesh... seriously blows my mind. This is what we celebrate and remember.

I have been in New Zealand just two weeks shy of 1 year and this will be my last blog entry of the year. Alot has happened in this one year and there is much to look forward to next year. Along with my being on the student council, I was asked to consider being the resident assistant (RA) for the men's dormitories on the Laidlaw campus. This potential opportunity excites me and your prayers are coveted for this as well.

Merry (May the God of the universe who took on Flesh, bless you and your family as you remember and celebrate the birth of Christ Jesus) Christmas,


Miss all you DCC Junior Highers/Highschoolers, I cherish the emails you send.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Tis the season.

There is nothing quite like 70+ degree weather to stunt the Christmas season vibe. This is my second summer Christmas, and they are not what they are cracked up to be (like the Corona commercials would lead you to believe). As of recently this summer holiday, I have played the role of 'Santas little helper,' packing and mailing toys to all over New Zealand and Australia. I have found it quite interesting to see the inner-workings of small business, namely a online based toy shop.

Many neat things have occurred recently in church and school life. My final scores came back the other day and it looks like I pulled through with 3x B+'s and a single A. I'll take it. At Church, the prep and planning stages of establishing contact then bringing a team to the missionaries living in Rakiraki Fiji, is well underway. A couple emails to DCC's team back home put me in touch with the heart and ministry model for Montana, which I will try to incorporate into ABC's overseas mission model. Please continually pray for this process, it's exciting and daunting at the same time.

Random news that's cool to me (and possibly me alone : )

-Sold my Kona touring bike on NZ's version of Ebay for more than I (my mother) bought it for then bought a meticulously kept Giant OCR2 racing bike with carbon fiber forks/stem etc. This trade simultaneously allowed me to stack some cash away in the bank for school and buy a meannnn bike.

Prayer requests:

-Work, post December 20th
-My leadership with the Junior High and High school students here in Avondale. I finished a book called "Contemplative Youth Ministry" by Yaconelli and I was challenged to shake up the way I have been doing things for the last few years.... pray for discernment.

Now for something completely unrelated, half a reflection:

I was listening to the radio today (a practice that rarely to never, occurs in NZ) and I started focusing on the pop lyrics to a song, "I want you to make me feel like I'm the only girl in the world, like the only one you've ever loved." It went on to suggest a less romantic premise of a spectacular, other worldly, one night stand, that would fix her seemingly endless quest for love. I have heard it said, "sin is a legitimate need met in a illegitimate way," and this seemed like the poster song to that statement. Genuine  relationship is so powerful, humans crave this love and attention but don't know where to find it. It seems pop music can be like a thermometer dipped into a specific culture, exposing its guts. I don't have any particularly deep insight to leave you with, I guess though, my heart just goes out to her. What a sad place to be. Maybe in that self-inflicting search of hers she will find true love that lasts a lifetime. All I can say is: what a good, faithful and loving God we serve,  I'm glad my search ended some 3+ years ago now. I can't imagine what life would look like outside of the reality that is the risen Christ now.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thanks, from 70 degree New Zealand.

I'm thankful for all the people who have invested in my life. I don't have to search very hard to find those that have made huge impacts on my life, to whom I'm grateful. At this current point in my life, I own almost nothing, so my "thanks" doesn't come from material things (which aren't necessarily bad) but from relationships.

I want to highlight my mother and father+awesome sister, as well as my DCC family, Upperroom Family and most recently my host family, the Quirkes+ABC. I cherish these relationships. I think God created me to love his people, so while I'm limited in means of physical possessions, I consider myself abundantly wealthy to know the people I do and experience all the joy filled and painful moments thus far in life.

Thank you for reading this and prayerfully journeying with me. Thanksgiving is not celebrated here in NZ (as it's a very American festivity) so I spent the time at a U2 concert, which if you ask me, isn't a bad way to participate in thankful remembrance as certain songs triggered various memories for me. This Sunday afternoon I will celebrate Thanksgiving with a few American professors from Laidlaw to make up for the lack of it during the week.... now if I could only get that pineapple upsidedown cake recipe from dad, this would be nearly as fantastic an experience as if I were at home, playing in the snow.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Free and clear! Click here for new (and old) pics of NZ!

Salutations! It has been 6 days since I deleted my facebook and I couldn't be happier. The only problem I have now is what to do with all these 10? spare hours a week. Check the link above for 60+ pictures of Laidlaw/Kinetic Junior High/Piha Beach/Auckland etc.

Summer is upon me and I'm on the search for work. A promising full time job at a outdoor gear store fell short and your prayers for work would be awesome. I'm beginning the process of working to save $6200 USD for next semesters classes that start March 1st. In my 3rd semester at Laidlaw I will be studying: Hebrew, Ways of Knowing, Theology of Suffering and Hope, and Biblical Interpretation.

On Thursday I will be attending the U2 concert at Mt. Smart in Auckland and I have a hitch-hiking trip in the works to cruise towards Wellington (bottom of the North Island). Thank you for all the prayers and support, as I stated in a previous entry, I will be updating here more frequently now.


Sunday, November 14, 2010

Summer Time.

As of Saturday night at 11:42 pm, I'm finished for the semester at Laidlaw Bible College with 2 more years to go in my bachelor of theology degree. Exams went well and all projects have been handed in. Thank you for the prayers and support over the previous (nearly) 11 months- this last year has been hugely transformative to my life.

I had been planning to secretly return to the states on Dec. 24th after attending my friends wedding in Guatemala, but after being voted on to student leadership at the college next year I realized that I would not have the finances to do both. My plan was to go to Guatemala by selling my bike etc and then on return take the semester off from Laidlaw if needed to pay for school. Now I must ensure that I have the $$ to attend school next semester as I'm committed to serving the student body with all that I have next year... maybe God will bless me through the lottery : )

Not to get weird on anyone here, but I have also taken a vow (of sorts) to not pursue relationships outside of friendship with the opposite sex for the year duration of my student leadership commitment. I think this will allow me to serve with integrity.

Another quick order of business is that I'm deleting my Facebook tomorrow night, my reasoning being found within these email conversations between friends of mine because of this announcement:

----------------------------------------Email 1------------------------------------------------------------------------
I have noticed in self reflection that facebook has actually shaped my world in ways that could be unhealthy. I'm ready to move on, tired of the dumb poses for photos and trivialized relationships- seriously, who has 1300 friends? I don't. Don't hear me say I'm hating on the whole thing, but for me, I'm hungry to experience life in it's fullest again, detached from a computer screen.----

----------------------------------------Email 2
I have been kicking this around for awhile. I don't think it's possible to maintain meaningful relationship with all the people I have ever met ever. I found myself checking FB much to often, wanting to get instant gratification/affirmation from friends. To be honest, I would do things (good things, not bad) because I knew the photo would end up online. I crave genuine, passionate, God given life experiences that flow organically, not simply because I seek recognition for anything. I want depth, and the ability again to live in the moment and cherish the people I'm around. In other words I want to be fully present where I am.


Thank you everyone for journeying with me. I will be far more active on here now with article posting+ pictures etc.

May God bless you in your journey, in the joy and pain.


Sunday, November 7, 2010

Pictures speak a thousand words.

Today my beard was shaved in a church raffle to raise funds for the Junior High students service trip to Fiji. This was the "before" photo. $325 (edit 11/15/2010) was raised and I want to thank everyone that participated in this cause... and no, despite popular belief, is the answer to the pervading question as to whether I own a volley ball named "Wilson."

Thank you to everyone who prayed for my sermon prep/delivery. It went well and I received encouraging feedback on how it impacted individual people. What a joy it is to open up and teach Gods word.

This week has been a struggle to get school work done, and now I'm  3 days out from my first of two exams. I opted to take a security job protecting a fireworks stand for Guy Fawkes Day (look it up on wikipedia, it's to bizarre/borderline sadistic to explain). The location of the stand was on the church property, being contracted out by a private fireworks company. This company hired me to guard it at $100 a night, to simply sleep outside of it. Long story short, I had an eventful night come Tuesday at 4am when 3 or so men tried to break into it... God kept me safe, but I didn't get much sleep that night or the rest of the week. I start school tomorrow $400 richer, but behind in my work. Goodnight everyone, it's 11:35pm and I'm heading to bed, where I belong.

In Christ,

Monday, October 25, 2010


Today, I received word that I was elected by a group of my peers to student leadership in the 2011 Laidlaw school year. I'm tremendously humbled by this opportunity to serve the student body and my heart is for growing this community of believers. The first thing I did was get on my knees and ask the Lord to consume my heart and ask for his guidance. Thank you to all that have been praying for me faithfully.

The role will entail working with and supporting the men and womens student presidents as we work with faculty and staff to bring more of Christ's likeness into our community of faith. The schools principle (Dr. Rod Thompson, a phenomenal man with a incredible vision) will be directly over-seeing the student leaders and mentoring this group. My understanding as of right now is that I will be partnered with a professor that will be the person I'm accountable to. This next year will be a tremendous time of being stretched and grown and I'm incredibly excited to journey with my peers through the joys and struggles that life brings. My specific role within the 10 leader body will be tailored to suit my skill set and passions and will most likely entail pastoral care+ community activities.

Thank you for all the support and for journeying with me over the course of my life. I believe being a leader is in being a servant. When Jesus talked about the "least of these," he was talking about the disciples so I must lower my self importance (which is different than lowering your self-worth) and serve my heart out. My focus is on Christ alone (where else should I go?) and I feel the weeks+ leading up to this day have prepared me to be a more focused and intentional servant. To God be all the glory-



-Please pray for my sermon prep and delivery on the 7th of November at Avondale Baptist Church as well as the road leading to service in Fiji next year with ABC's junior highers. Also for finances.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Promise Keeper weekend.

Above: International students dinner party.

Prayer requests:

My friend Sean Saffold is going hard for Christ serving in Myamar/Burma and has become very sick. I have very little details other than the email I received from his mother today.

Tiffany Manning who is serving in PNG is getting over her sickness, but both her Grandma/Grandpa in the states were in a car accident and need your prayer now for their collective surgeries. They are stable.

Myself Promise Keepers weekend, discernment for Church issues, studies, preaching.


Getting a day up at the mountain was quite enjoyable, it was nothing like Mt.Baker but the view from the top was stunning! Spear fishing didn't happen, I'm currently up to my ears in assignments, thank you for your continued support.


Sunday, October 3, 2010

Spring Break.

Just a brief update on life. Last Sunday I preached at Carbon Cluster, a group of South African university aged students on "Radical Jesus" (Mark 2:13-17) and it was well received. God did some sweet stuff on my heart during that time for which I'm grateful. Thank you to all who prayed for me, I preach again at Laidlaw (for a grade) on Wednesday the 13th, then on November 7th at Avondale Baptist. These are sweet times for me as I love the study/crafting/delivering of Gods word. I want to thank Phil Koistra at IBC in Port Angeles for first teaching my about the process of crafting a sermon and introducing me to Baptist preacher Matt Chandler who outside of my parents/mentors has had the biggest influence on my walk with Christ.

I'm currently half way through a 2 week break. I was able to take 2 days off to due a couple decent cycling trips, bush runs (running through the hilly jungle) and train at my boxing gym. They say, "the man that works with his head wrests with his hands," and that is an understatement. I love the times of refreshment out in creation. Thursday and Friday though, I was back home in the library, where I will spend the majority of my next week. I have two notable projects due in the next month that are worth 45% each in their respective classes, as well as other minor ones. It's all out, full on, from now until the end of year one at School. I have been here in NZ now for 9 months and it only feels like a few days.

I start guitar lessons tomorrow, go snowboarding Tuesday (for the first time in nearly 1.5 years!), and then on Friday head to the 2 day Promise Keeper conference in Auckland. Within this week I might be spearfishing/snorkeling off of Goat Island (what a name!) mixed in with 35+ hours in the library.

Prayer requests:

-Student leadership possibility at Laidlaw.
-For my church, Avondale Baptist
-Next two preaching dates.


Sunday, September 12, 2010

Reflecting on weeks past.

Two Wednesdays ago I heard the gospel message presented by a professor in a way that I had never heard before. He spoke of the way Jesus engaged a nameless woman in a crowd that had been suffering for years from a continual flow of blood. Not only did the Christ restore her physically but he gave her a new name: "daughter," reinterpreting the cold reality in which she had been living under . I could go on, but the moment has passed, and I couldn't recapture it here for you; but in this time, my heart was illuminated once again to the possibilities of how powerful the gospel is when unleashed in a diligent/creative way that is faithful to the text.

The following Sunday I had a incredible theological conversation with an elder at my church that set the stage for what was to occur later that night. At a Anglican church I attend in the city named St. Pauls, God again met me in a powerful way as I was communally worshipping through song as the name Yahweh was repeated again and again. Various scholars attest to the nature of the word 'Yahweh' in Hebrew as potentially being breath. Though this isn't implicit in the scriptures, it's consistent with Biblical Theology. When I came that night to St. Pauls, the previous week I had been meditating on the name Yahweh as I breathed in slowly the simple blessing of air he had given me (Psalm 150:6). While singing 'Yahweh' the presence of God through the Holy Spirit felt so close. Truly a sweet time, future thoughts of possible ministry flooded my mind, and even though I won't disclose it here (could have been just a passing thought, I will wait for it to be confirmed) it gave me a tremendous sense of passion and focus for what currently needs to be done.

The Wednesday after this God met me through study, early that morning. In the 6-8 weeks previous to that day I had been reading Augustine/Aquinas and books about them, including selective famous works by the two collectively. I was trying to grasp how our modern Evangelical theology had been shaped since (before) Christs death. Starting with Aristotle and Plato/Paul then working my way into modern times (Theological works stemming from Princeton etc). All of this came to a close around 7am that morning as I finished the final chapter on Biblical Authority by editor Jack Rogers. I want to aggressively attack, with some level of integrity, where a cultural context has been read into the content of scripture. The journey doesn't stop here, but God opened my eyes a little wider.

Now to bring everyone up to speed about my recent life in brief, I have been considering/praying about running for a position in pastoral care at Laidlaw, part of the student leadership body. Prayer in this area would be sweet. I was asked to preach to a cluster group on September 26th and I pray that God is with me through the entire crafting process. Please pray for me as well.

Areas for specific prayer:

To be brutally honest, this last week I was struggling with pride which I have since confessed to my accountability group and now... the world (wide web). I don't want any of it, I want more Christ in my life.

Prayer for future missions at Avondale Baptist Church to our neighbors in Fiji. Currently the pastor and I are pursuing what it would take to bring a group there.

Post-grad study in Jerusalem for Biblical Hebrew?

Preaching on the 26th and potentially October 10th.

More Christ in my life, with a greater passion for His words.

Student leadership. It would be neat for this opportunity to occur, but I would just as well be happy with not, if God has me elsewhere.


May you be blessed and encouraged through this week as you focus in on God, meditating on his revealed words. I leave you with these, that are so close to my heart:

Proverbs 3:5-6
Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding, in ALL your ways acknowledge him and he will make your path straight.


Friday, August 27, 2010


Just a quick update on myself- I've been sick for the last two weeks, with 3 projects and a content test due. After the first week (which just so happened to coincide with a school holiday) of being real sick, I started feeling better, then Monday morning came around and I started cycling to school again. At that point I lapsed and had some nasty chest coughs. I survived though, it's a great day to be alive. : )

Enough about me though. I really want to take this moment to point out one of the links on my page here to the right. "Mr. Rutgers in Guatemala" - If you haven't clicked on it before, check it out and you might be tremendously encouraged. Dick is a friend of mine that loves the people of Guatemala in a way that is inspiring. I know I'm making a bold claim, but the way he lives his life is an incredible representation of Christ. He faithfully pours himself out all day long working with handicapped children in the various parts of Guatemala, then comes home and nightly cooks for all the kids on his street. Reading his blog has been such a great encouragement to me and I imagine it would be for you as well.


Saturday, August 14, 2010

Facets of the Kingdom.

Outline to my first sermon ever. Pastor Willem gave me the opportunity to preach this Sunday at Avondale Baptist, and it was a sweet time for me. Not for prideful reasons, but just the process of crafting the message helped me grow in intimacy with the lord. God did some neat stuff with my heart. I don't think there is anything much like preaching to bring me into fellowship with God. From start to finish I was humbly giving myself to him daily. Anyways......


My (personal) prayer: God you want me to succeed. Humbly, I ask you to open my eyes and heart to the text. Speak through me and guide my study. Thank you Father.

Facets of the Kingdom


Goodmorning everyone, my name is Piper and I work with the intermediate students here and I appreciate the opportunity to open Gods word here with family. You know what they say: "When the Pastor is away the youth minister will play" - actually I made that up. I do want to open with prayer though. God thank you for this opportunity to open up your word and seek after your heart. I pray that our hearts would be impacted and that you would guide my mouth so that I can speak your words. Thank you Father. Amen.


If I asked you to describe heaven to me, what would you talk about? What do you think heaven looks like? -Encourage Feedback-

We are going to explore this concept today abit as we jump on into it. Unlike last time I was up here, I'm going to attempt to keep it to 20 minutes, no promises though : ) We will be covering some ground today. If you would open up to Genesis Chapter 18 with me- now I know it says on your newsletter that we will be looking at Hebrews 13:1-2 , and no Andrea didn't make a mistake when she put this together, but to get where we want to go today we have to start back in the beginning.

Genesis 18:1-3 (read)

A recently displaced man named Abraham had moved from a land he knew well at the command of God and was sitting at the entrance to his tent in the heat of the day. If you have been to the middle-east, you know mid-day it's a true scorcher and you don't want to be doing anything that resembles work. Abraham looks up and sees three men that approach him, and he immediately takes the posture of servant by bowing low. He jumps up and begins making preparations for them. He invites them to sit down, as he pulls out all the stops to ensure a feast would be in the works. He entertain these men without any second thought, he even encourages his wife to make haste. He addresses their comfort needs, provides water for those stinky sweaty feet.

- I don't know if anyone else can relate to being on the road or not showering for days...

Brief Guatemala story/ Abrahams:

I had the opp to work with kids in wheelchairs, and I lived in a dingy single room concrete flat. In this apartment I had a super dangerous shower called "the widow maker" which I wasn't afraid of bc I'm not married. It had exposed wires and.... As I traveled out of the town en route to Honduras I stopped at a flash house. I was blown away by all of the standard amenities the western world is use to. Hot shower, real washing machine, a television and a bed that wasn't on the floor... It was a huge blessing in the time of transition. It ministered to me in a big way

Taking a closer look at Abrahams heart we see that he spontaneously engages them, showing tremendous hospitality- from the moment he sees them, selflessly attending to their needs. His excitement builds, he wasn't doing this just because he knew he should, but out of a genuine heart of love.

Transition to Hebrews 13:1-2

Now let's jump into the text, where we will be spending most of our time.. Hebrews 13:1-2

Keep on loving one another as brothers and sisters. Do not forget to show hospitality to strangers, for some people have shown hospitality to angels without knowing it.

The author of Hebrews was keenly aware of his time and place. As numerous Jews had converted to Christianity, this caused tremendous tension amongst the Jewish/Christian community. With a sadistic roman emperor bearing down hard on the Christians bc of their faith, Christians were considered atheists as they only worshipped 1 God... Judaism was accepted- This new way of life, the Christ-like life was under siege from all sides.

-This was written to new Christians thinking about abandoning the faith, and returning back to a life they knew.

This passage was written as a loving reminder, that there was something bigger going on , something more at stake. Both Abraham and the Christians in the time Hebrews was written would of had great excuses to not share.... maybe there was a temptation to feel like they had nothing of value to give.

Where these rag tag Christians correct? What did they have to offer?

(Family) Story:

A loving family, maybe you have been apart of one/ Maybe you only saw what a loving family looked like on television, but the family in which you were brought up in didn't resemble much of anything that looks like love.. As a teenager (at least for me) you complain about the family that you have, then you realize that they weren't so bad after you move out and experience some of the world. In recent months, I was invited to live with a family here, the Quirkes. It has been such a sweet time. I had all but forgot what daily family life looked like in a family. What I saw was a family that tremendously loved each other, and I wanted in. I wanted to know where I could serve or help. I didn't understand everything that Quirkes did, but still I knew I wanted in.

In the same light, the original church was being exhorted to continue as they had fellowshipping. Acts 2 Spontaneous meeting, giving... meeting with each other. From an outsiders view, I would imagine, they might say. "Ok I don't understand everything these Christians say and do, but I see the way they love each other, the community, the fellowship and the way they love other and I want in."

The reason why it is so important to remember this is because at the time Christianity could have just faded away. as an aspect of it so unique to the world is the ability to love strangers, or even a step farther strangers/enemies/outcasts. The author reminds them, "never forget the love shown to you, share it with others- this is a practical outworking of your faith!"

In essence:

Don't just tell people the gospel, live it, model it, ... be the gospel . -At times things might start off easy but then, excitement fades.

John 13:35 says... they will know you by your love for one another- keep in mind it doesn't say anything about skills, talents or money, or how impressive your argument is that Christianity is the only true religion. It's love.

This reminder to keep engaging the world is nothing new... Theologian John Calvin wrote of the 16th century that "hospitality" is all but extinct.We as the church family, have the chance to provide family to those who don't have one to those that don't have one, With a loving father at the head that loves his children.

"Theres always room for one more." Tutsis fleeing, stayed in Hotel   This story was it didn't fit.

Maybe you have nothing to give... but if your in a loving relationship with God the father you possess something of the greatest worth. and you can extend that love and that community to those who don't have it, maybe even those you think don't like you.

Acts 3:6 "money and things I don't have but what I do have, but what I do have, I give to you in the name of Jesus Christ..."

The WAY of Christ.

Q:So what does heaven look like?

What are we saying when we say "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done?"

In Revelation 19 Heaven looks like this ...

, wedding supper of the lamb, we will be sitting at the largest most fantastic table you could ever imagine, sharing stories with one another, ( can you pass the butter? yes I can!) laughing-suffering will be no more. Sharing a feast with the King of Kings. A community of people together that love each other.

While Christ in his human form was on earth, he extended his table to anyone. He was open and ate with the most unlikely of characters. As followers of Christ we have known the verse "Iam the way , the truth, the life" - to follow the way of Christ is to open ourselves up to the people we are around everyday ... To be a follower of Christ our hearts should be fixed on Christ, our eyes heavenward, seeking to bring what we see there here to earth, expanding his kingdom on earth.

In Closing:

I believe one of the most beautiful songs ever written is Come thou Fount of every blessing. The line says: "Jesus sought me when I was a stranger, wandering from the folds of God." Let us never forget that at one point, no matter how brief we were strangers to Gods family, and what that felt like.

So maybe you today are a weary traveler in search of rest... maybe even a family./ or Maybe you feel God is distant and he hasn't spoken to you in the longest of times. You hear stories about him doing amazing things through other people and you say "He could never do that with me- I'm average"

Maybe as we open up to others the way Christ did, God will minister to us in the most unlikely of ways. As we operate in love, without a fear of surroundings (what the world can do to us) something beautiful occurs. We as Christians are not miracle workers, no , that is the power of the holy spirit, we can only create spaces for them to occur. By opening up our homes and hearts to the world around us, in doing so we openly ask the God of the heavens to use us.

So what does heaven look like, ? my prayer would be that today it would start looking like the life you and I live day to day, one of openness to strangers... loving people with abandon, no matter the circumstances, the way Christ loves others.

Want to be apart of the family? Romans 10:9 If you confess with your mouth "Jesus is Lord" and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.


Our father who is in Heaven, most excellent is your name- may by the power of your holy spirit we expand your kingdom here on earth.

God we love you, make us more like your son Jesus. Amen

-May you be filled with Gods grace this week.

-I would now invite this community for a tea and coffee- in the building next to us. 
 I Preached 28-30 Minutes total including Church response.

God Bless,

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great Expectations.

I recently started journaling again, and it has been a sweet time. Taking a moment to reflect on the day prior is a great way to quickly see Gods activity being played out in my life. As Christians (I speak for myself) it seems we have this preconceived notion that if we just read various biblical texts, pray in a certain way, the God of the heavens will show up in our bedroom with a display of glorious light and power. Maybe this has been the experience of some, and I don't doubt that in the least! It would seem though, that I have been met most often, taking a step, creating a space in my life for God to speak to me. For some of us at that moment would need to be 'carved' as quiet times have been few and far between and then when they have occurred, they have been frustratingly empty.

One of my passions is the Old Testament. I connect with the stories and the struggles of men and women that came long before me. Their collective journeys led them through times of immense pain or even worse... waiting. Emerging from the myriad of biblical testimonies of encounters with God (or attempts) these two spoke to me.

Genesis 11- We see a people that sought by their own power to build a kingdom apart from God. This manifested itself in a building that touched the 'sky' some 90 meters above the ground. Their rebellious ambitions were thwarted, as the God of heaven came down to see what they were up to. Man in building the tower sought, by sheer effort to bridge the gap between heaven and earth, offering up thoughtless sacrifices, sufficing a vain god's need of attention and harnessing the deities blessing....

Contrast Genesis 11 to Exodus 19:20

The Lord descended to the top of Mount Sinai and called Moses to the top of the mountain. So Moses went up....

Quite different to the language used during the Bable episode. Here we see that God is already present
and Moses prepares with the expectation of encountering God. The God we see in both accounts isn't interested in shallow sacrifices, but desires to be known in a real way by his creation.

I at times have approached morning devotions as a way to harness gods blessing for the day, without much thought of having a genuine encounter with him. Then the realization comes when he meets me that it's much less about me laying down my 'sacrafice' of sleep as it is a chance to meet him face to face. When that thought process gives way, and the expectation becomes seeing him, we realize that it is really to our benefit. Moses set aside whatever it was he was doing, simply creating the opportunity to meet God- he didn't do anything extravagant to warrant the visit (like appease god with fruit or vegetables), then the God of all creation met him on Sinai. I love that.

 Maybe that doesn't speak to you, but possibly Tiffany Mannings recent venture can though. After months of waiting and prayer, God met her in a huge way (as he met me) with the blessing of financial support and a visa! She didn't pray "special prayers," but frequently and in true Tiffany Manning form, with passion. She consistently shared her story with others(sharing before it had all worked out, reminding everyone that she sought His will and that if this trip to Papua New Guinea was in His plans for her it would be blessed.), chronicling the journey (period of waiting) through email etc. Her story of Gods provision won't be soon forgotten, and He is glorified!

 I love reading how God promises a man something, then it's fulfilled. Everytime. Without fail. The God of the Bible is a God that faithfully provides for his creation. Without remembering that scope of history, it can make the times of waiting unbearable. As I recount how faithful God has been to me, writing that down will help me through the times of struggle. My hope is that is shifts the focus off myself in the momentary situations, and back to God overall plan of redemption to his world. God wants all of his creation to see him face to face, not to offer meaningless sacrifices, but to know and love him. When we remember what he has done, we meet him face to face. *Meaningless sacrifices not required*

Monday, July 26, 2010


Today, after waiting 4 weeks, my student visa arrived via mail before sunrise at 6am. With a massive 4 days to spare, my duration of study has been secured for the next 6 months. Praise the Lord. The day after the necessary monies arrived nearly a month ago, I submitted my visa application and began to pray. When I started this semester last Monday, I had to sign a document at Laidlaw that legally alerted me to the fact that I could study until the 29th (by agreement of terms), but thereafter, without a student visa, I wouldn't be allowed to continue on. To speak plainly: without the visa, I would of had to effectively left the country asap, fleeing from NZ immigration by boat, under the cover of darkness to Australia (Ok that's over dramatic, but visa-less and out of school would have put me in a strange predicament). Thank you to everyone that prayed. I wasn't anxious for a moment the whole time, just excited for how close it would come to the deadline so I could share what God did for me last minute. Semester two at Laidlaw has proved to be amazing thus far. I'm taking two theological courses, a preaching course from renowned pastor and author Timothy Keel of Jacobs Well Church, Kansas City and Introduction to the Old Testament. Doesn't get much better than this. I daily wake up grateful, counting these blessings and provisions from the God we serve.

Thank you to everyone that has also been praying for my students and leadership role at Avondale Baptist Church, KINETIC MINISTRY has just been launched today. It's an exciting time and there are upcoming developments to stay tuned for.

Fun fact #28 - I have now been away from the US nearly 7 months, making NZ the 2nd longest country I have ever lived in, aside from my country of birth.... more updates coming soon.

Psalm 121:1-2,

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Family Traits (click here)

I found this sermon like a tall glass of cold water to my soul.  Simply click on "Family Traits," the title of this blog above and it will download to your computer after you save it.

If that link doesn't work, use the one below and it's the sermon from 6/12/05 Truth pt. 2 , from the series Family Traits.



Livin' on a prayer

This Sunday I "preached" for the first time in my life, in which I capitalized on microphone time for an an accidental 54 minutes. Apologies to everyone that were still tuned in past the 40 minute mark, I was pretty amped up that day on what God has done in the world.

In the previous week, my spirit had become quite restless and I wasn't content with just hanging out around the house studying any longer. I needed an adventure. I thought about starting a monastic monastery treehouse in the Waitakere forest, to no avail. On Saturday night I knew I wanted to trek to the most northern point in NZ, Cape Reinga, and my plan was to leave Sunday after church with my backpack, Bible, and a dream. I didn't realize that preparing/talking for nearly an hour up front was just about the most draining thing I could ever do and I ended up napping all Sunday afternoon.

12 cars, 1000 kilometer hitch-hike journey. Going to Reinga I had a sign that said "North" and then my sign to Auckland said "South." This is a long post. Feel free to skim through. I give you permission. Seriously. At the end I will throw in a brief summary for the skimmers. It will be highlighted.

Monday at 10:15am I excitedly set out from Avondale to the cape with aspirations of drawing closer to God and experiencing His spirit, not just studying about how it's moved over history- I wanted to experience it firsthand, ending a dryspell of tedious predictability in my life. I chronicled what followed in the "notes" section of my Bible (the blank pages at the very back that no one uses.)

I didn't catch the first mans name, but my first hitch that came some 20 minutes after I stuck out my thumb landed me well outside of Aucklands north shore, where I was then picked up by a Indian man named John outside of the freeway. We talked about life and then the conversation drifted to Christ where I found out he was a believer from Fiji making a living here in NZ. He dropped me off on the far side of his town to assist me closer to my destination. Not long after a woman named Denise picked me up. Denise is runs her own farm and is keen on organics. The conversation shifted again to Christ and I found out she was a sister, and involved (at one point) with YW AM. She is experiencing some rough medical conditions, and her Aunt from the middle east renounced her relationship with Him as she is slowly dying. Driving down the road, I just prayed for her and it was encouraging for both of us. I asked her why she picked me up, being a woman, and me being a guy with a sweet beard; her reply was that I just had "an aura of Jesus all over," and she knew it was ok. I found that statement curious, and I slowly realized that "my" trip up north might have little to do with myself. We stopped at an organic farm, then her farm where she gave me fresh eggs, sweet potato and pumpkin. We attempted to move a young piglet from one pen to another as "Abraham" and "Sarah" the cows watched in delight. Denise decided that she was up for a drive and took me all the way to Wellsford(?) after we hiked a scenic 1.5 mile cliff(Kava Kava?) that overlooked the river far below. Nearly an hour passed until a warrant of fitness officer picked me up and took me past Whangarei. Again the conversation moved to Christ and we talked about his Irish/Catholic upbringing and then life in the UK until he moved to NZ. I was dropped off on the outskirts of town as the light faded fast from the sky. Andrew a Baptist preacher picked me up with hopes of converting me to Christ, after it was established what both our lives where about, we talked about preaching, techniques/failures of new preachers. He offered to pay for a hostel after hearing about where I planned to sleep, but I turned him down as I didn't want him to spend his own money. He then took me to his mentally challenged friends house that attended his Bible Study, where I spent the night. Ananta was Jewish by birth, raised in NZ and at 17 was in a car accident that left him mentally handicapped.... this didn't seem to phase his passion of singing and reading of scripture. We took turns reading Matthew from chapter 2 and Anata decided he liked the way I read so he just asked me to keep reading. After key points in Jesus message, he would say, "we need to stop and sing," then would start singing hymns. Anata chain smoked and the house was clean but smelled repulsive- even with those conditions I laid in bed that night thankful that the lord had abundantly provided for me. The next morning Anata walked me out of town, where I found a loaf of bread in a plastic bag. I didn't take it as I wasn't sure of it's origins but to me it symbolized Gods provision. At the start of the journey, my plan was to fast, but that shifted to , "I won't eat unless God provides it." Shortly thereafter a Maori man picked me up for about 10k , I didn't catch his name, but he dropped me off at a gas station.

Sue, a middle age woman that picked me up next was one of my favorites along the way. We talked about life and my travels etc, in which she told me about her journeys and dreams to sail around the world with her husband. I shared what Christ had done in my life with her, and she asked me to keep talking even after I prodded her to share as I felt I was hogging all the talk time. She said I was "so inspiring to listen to," and that I was the first hitch hiker that she had picked up in 20 years. I asked her why she broke her 20 year streak, and she replied with, "I saw your smile, and something just told me to." God, have in given me the ability to encourage her to consider Christ, greatly encouraged me. She drove me over 200 kilometers and even took me to coffee (*hot chocolate). She was on her way north to discuss chemical/fertilizer options with a farmer and dropped me off just before the farm. She initiated a big hug, and I was more than happy to embrace her with joy.

It took around an hour to get picked up at this point by a corn farmer named Bryan. Bryan drove me to his house just some 40k south of my desired destination. After knowing me for a solid 10 minutes, he offered me a place to stay- I was completely baffled by this hospitality shown to a stranger. We worked on his flat tractor tire for a moment, then I walked around his million dollar home that was RIGHT ON THE BEACH. He drove me back to the road, and I told him I would take him up on his offer and that I would see him later in the day.

Piper makes a friend: after waiting an hour a Aucklander named Mike picked me up. Mike reminded me completely of Ron Tisdale, heading north on a fishing trip. God told Mike that he was going to pick up a hitch hiker that day, and after the convo led to Christ, we were able to mutually encourage one another. He pulled out all the stops, and took me on the greatest tour of Reinga that I could ever imagine, seeing all the spots, doing the hikes around the point. Years prior, he worked as a park ranger and he knew the place like the back of his hand. One highlight after another. To much to talk about. Towards the end of the day we drove over the dunes in his Toyota Hi-lux. I was completely in awe of NZ's natural, unspoiled beauty... we drove through pristine fresh water streams and view untouched beaches with no one insight for days. I have never seen beauty like this before. The northern beaches in there splendor have no comparison. He let me drive at nearly 60 mph down "90 Mile Beach," to which I told him that it was my first time driving down a beach or through streams (illegal in the US) , he said in NZ that that is normal. We went clamming as the sun set, and both caught a limit each within a half hour. We got a flat tire after going down a backroad, but that gave us ample time to view the LUNAR ECLIPSE... something I had never seen before. I'm still in complete awe of this phenomena and Gods creativity. We prayed, and parted ways as Mike dropped me off at Bryans house. Bryan cooked me dinner and we talked about how lonely he was since his divorce. My heart went out to him. Later that night I walked out on the beach and I observed more stars and (I honestly think) galaxies than I knew where possible. I though I could reach out and touch the sky. Incredible. There are no words, I'm not going to try to describe it. Took a shower and went to bed in my own deluxe room with a view of the ocean. At this point I felt that God loved me to much.

Next morning watched sunrise. Bryan drove me down the road and I told him that his hospitality to a stranger mirrored the teachings of Christ. We talked about how he grew up Presbyterian and his mom loved the lord, having died at 102 (1900-2002).

At this point I want to say sorry for the length. Sorry.
After Bryan dropped me off I got picked up by a Maori man on his way to work (at this point im heading back to Auckland). We talked about Christ and Reggae. Really cool dude.

As he dropped me off (9am ish) I went by the bay and read on from Matthew where Anata and I stopped. God really spoke to me. I was picked up some two hours later by a Christian couple from Australia that I tried to share Christ with until they told me that they were believers and that they had a flatmate with a hitchhiking ministry that traveled all around NZ sharing Christ with all she met, leading many to the lord. I was stoked. Cheryl and Brad bought me breakfast and gave me $30. I told them I didn't need anything, and that God was fully taking care of me, but Cheryl INSISTED that I not rob her of a blessing from God by rejecting her money. Wow. Not only did this trip not cost me anything, I made money.

5 minutes later I was picked up by a South African couple (white) that had fled their country because of the genocide/apartheid AGAINST white people. NZ is fairly friendly with the fleeing white folks from SA, but the world rejects that is happening as it's not PC to talk about black people murdering white people on a massive scale. I was shocked and heart broken hearing about the conditions in South Africa. I knew it had the highest crime rate in the world, but had no idea about how the people lived, sleeping with guns under there pillows. Liz and Steven where going to pick up their daughter at the airport, so happy to have finally gotten her out of SA. Steven shared story after story of his close friends and people he knew being murdered in their homes/beds. Gun battles is a normal way of life. Liz told me many stories of going shopping at a mall, then ducking for cover as mall security battled potential robbers as bullets flew over her head. This is normal. They talked about these things like it was normal. They said, "you just get used to it, you don't know otherwise." The couple loved NZ for it's peace and security. Life has no value in South Africa as murders are committed for fun. Liz and Steven are trying to secure there daughter a job in NZ so she can stay, they fear for her. Pray against the nearing all out genocide of SA, "kill the whites" is being chanted by radical government leaders and the Caucasian minority knows they will be slaughtered when Mandela dies; for those of us that know our recent history, chanting is always how it starts... Rwanda etc, and then the children grow up hating even more fervently the faceless-dehumanized enemies, it makes killing easier when a nice song justifies you. Wow. It was alot to take in. Terrible. I shared Christ with them but it didn't really go anywhere.

Some of the best days of my life. So much was omitted, talk to me sometime if you want more. I feel fully alive again, and it seems God has confirmed me as more of an evangelist... speaking to me through the various situations. I'm excited to go back to school with this all in mind. Thanks for reading this chapter in my life. God took care of me in ways I never expected. I'm so glad I put my books down for a few days. Amazing. Life is good.



I left with $20 in my pocket "just in case money" and came back with $50. God took care of me everystep of the way, ministering to and being ministered by the 12+ people I came into contact with. I left with no plans, free for the Spirit to move me where it saw fit- and it was evident. I experienced overwhelming beauty, and also reflected on others painful memories or current state of affairs. From those that had loved and lost, to those separated and lonely; even seeing a handicapped man that lived by himself seeking a relationship or someone to talk to. I was moved by the thought that broken and lonely people experience life alone, physically and spiritually. It was affirmed to me that I need to be spending time with people like that encouraging, not being like them, living out of my room reading books and listening to sermons ABOUT God. Life is what takes place outside of our comfortable walls and church buildings. Bible college can be particularly destructive if God simply becomes an act of the mind, it refreshed my vision to participate in something that didn't follow traditional logic. The passion I feel again is exciting, maybe one day I will be granted an opportunity to see how God moved mightily in their lives... If not I trust that Gods hand was in it even if I can't see it.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Farewell to visual boredom.

It's about time this site was redone. I don't think the all brown theme caught the (please picture a flower child saying this) "shades of my personality man," and decided it was time for change. I don't think spray paint on a wall "captures all," but it's a step forward.... this being said:

It looks like I will be in New Zealand for the long haul, with a visit home nowhere in sight. I have just passed the 6 month mark (crazy!) of this present journey. Thanks for all the prayers and support, it is greatly appreciated. I'm all set to study next semester at Laidlaw, let the good times roll : )

The reason why I'm sending this out is to alert you of three new ways to stay in contact with me:
----------------------------------------------------------------------- (previously )

360. 775. 2845

David Piper (feel free to send me Good Earth Tea)
23 Powell Street
Avondale, Auckland 1026
New Zealand

I now have an online Skype number that works just like a cellphone and costs YOU, the user NOTHING! 360.775.2845 is a local Port Angeles number that is forwarded to me in NZ via the internet. Leave me voicemails, call to catch up etc - and pass the number around church! It's FREE for me if you call, cost me 2 cents to call you! Technology is cool.

I changed the address to ".com" again instead of "" to make it easier to remember.

My Kiwi host families names are: Phillip+Naomi Quirke, Molly and Lucia. They have been extremely supportive, and I'm very thankful that God has placed them in my life. In your prayers today, please thank God for them!

Happy 4th of July.


Thursday, July 1, 2010

Stream of thought.

I was asked a question recently that encouraged me, as I had to verbalize my thoughts. I felt like it might encourage whoever reads this, now I'm posting it here so that we might all celebrate Gods glory together:

Hey, could you do me a favor and tell me who you know God to be and what you like about Him? Thanks

What I have learned and seen to be experientially true. I'm only writing this for myself and at no point will it be my goal to "try and point out stuff" to you:

God is the soverign creater of the universe, he created out of love and sustains the life of his creation. We don't wake up and tell our hearts to keep beating, the air we breath is a gift. I like this because I can't give him anything or bring anything to the table except offer my life up to him in trust, and complete faith. God is creative, beautiful and wise. The scriptures we have allow us to see his involvement and love for those who seek his face over the course of history. The promises he made he has kept, starting with Noah and Abraham- because of this I know I can trust Him in anything. Things may happen that I don't understand, but because I know he is the creator and his plans for me are superior to mine. This allows me to be content in any situation; this in itself isn't true always, sometimes I struggle to get there, but I feel he has met me in those places in certainly unexpected ways. I love that he isn't a god off in the clouds, but in Hebrews 4 we know that he is a God that has labored with and suffered for his creation. He chastens those he loves Hebrews9; This gives me hope and joy in my sufferring. I know that walking in obedience to God produces joy when happinness is unavailable, his promises give me peace in sufferring. He works all things for HIS good, we live for His namesake. That reality frees me from the pursuit of money and glory etc, in living for his purpose and the exapansion of his Kingdom on earth, we find our purpose. Scripturaly, the only thing I'm "called to" is my salvation in Him. My calling is to bring glory to him, and that provides so much freedom. I love that God has blessed me with certain skills and then witheld other ones, as it forces me to rely on his strength. I want to run with the strengths he has given me, and that could take me anywhere. I know He is pleased with me as my heart is after His heart. I love God because he saved me from myself, gifting me with faith to believe in Him. I love Him for the friends he has given me that have revealed other pieces of his nature to me that I lack. I love that he has allowed me to see other cultures and know that he is the God of all creation. I love God because I know its not my job to save anyone, he does all that. I'm called to dig wells, not build fences- drawing people to the water of life that He gives- Its my prayer to model this in the way I speak and interact with people. It's not my duty to protect boundries (fences) with those that stray away as He is working on them in His timing. God is outside of time, I love that he has a depth and scope of eternity that I can't see and I trust him in this. I love that He is my Daddy, that cares for me even when I'm covered in poop. He loves me NOW, not the bible college graduated David that can "really" help the kingdom. He love me then when I was living for myself. I love him because of the assurance and promise that he began a good work in me and will see it through to the day I die. I can't work my way into heaven through merit and good deeds. Only through the Cross of Christ that I'm redeemed. I love that he sent his son jesus to die for me, to show me that His death should be my outcome. I love that in the future He will make all things new. I love that in the beginning (genesis) we share a meager snack with the Devil, and that in the end (and new beginning!,revelation) we FEAST with the King of Kings!! What is man, that HE is mindful of him? Where His spirit is there is freedom, He makes all things beautiful in its time, I know that my redeemer lives and that after my body has faded away I will see Him face to face. He is just and merciful.


All that was holding me back from studying next semester was provided, in incredible ways and unexpected sources. I'm overjoyed to tell you my visa is in the mail, and He is faithful. Thank you for all your thoughts, prayers , and encouragement. During this vacation time, I'm reading classical Christian literature and studying the word. I would love to catch up with YOU (whomever YOU may be)... my email is


Thursday, June 24, 2010

From the PDN


Isaac Alexander Smith went to be with the Lord on June 19, 2010, following a serious accident on the way to a family gathering in Agassiz, British Columbia, Canada.

Isaac touched many lives during his memorable 12 years on Earth. Although we will miss him every day, he will remain forever in our hearts and we are thankful for the privilege of knowing him and for all the wonderful memories.

Isaac was involved in the Dungeness Community Church Youth Group and Theatre, the Missoula Children's Theatre, Aspire Academy piano and Olympic Peninsula Home Connections.

Isaac had many and various interests, including drawing, composing piano music, bike riding, kayaking, reading, Lego, inventions, stop motion movies, Fantastic Mr. Fox, magic tricks, guitar, sword fighting, motorcycles, building forts, camping, hiking, tubing, fishing, mechanics, swimming, playing spy, juggling, archery, birdwatching -- especially eagles -- and the color blue.

Isaac's life is one to be celebrated. He loved Jesus with his whole heart.

He committed his life to Christ during a bedtime conversation with his father in which he expressed his concern that he could go to heaven to be with God and Jesus.

He prayed with his dad that night -- he was only 2 years and 9 months old.

Just one year later he expressed to his dad, "Dad, I was wondering, if someone in the neighborhood or school got hit by a car and people were around him and crying, I'd go out there and tell them, 'Why are you crying? He's in heaven.'"

Isaac always asked questions about God, trying to wrap his mind around spiritual truths.

He had a sweet ability to see the hurt in others' lives and bring encouragement and help.

A month ago while working with his grandfather in the garden, Isaac spoke about heaven and how cool it would be.

Isaac is survived by his loving parents, Josh and Teresa Smith; sister, Adalie; paternal grandparents, Ron and Jeri Smith; maternal grandparents, Fritz and Hanne Seidel; paternal aunt, Sheri Huisman (Therin, Jessica, Zach); paternal uncles, Der Smith (Lani, Dammond, Destiny, Joelle, Jenaye, Laila) and Matt Smith; maternal aunts, Jackie Seidel, Stephanie Westlund (Scott, Cameron) and Katie Bidulock (Darryl, Owen); and maternal great-grandmother, Alma Kobabe.

He was predeceased by maternal great-grandfather, Heinrich Kobabe; maternal great-grandparents, Pearl and Clair Gilchrist; and paternal great-grandparents, Neil Smith and Genevieve Schmuck.

There will be a memorial service Saturday, June 26, 2010, from 10:30a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at Dungeness Community Church, 45 Eberle Lane, Sequim. A reception will follow the service.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to a fund set up in the name of Ron Smith/Isaac Smith at Sound Community Bank.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Isaac Smith, a young man of great faith.

I had the privilege of knowing Isaac Smith, his smile and laugh will not be forgotten. He was the ideal student for a teacher, (any teacher, I would imagine) bright, attentive, with a heart passionate to know more about God. You could simply look at his face and tell gears were constantly moving behind those bright eyes. He spoke from a depth and maturity beyond his years, and was truly a pleasure to be around.

My father emailed me, while I was in the Laidlaw Library. I haven't wept like this since the death of a treasured highschool friend. This isn't an email you ever want to receive or could even fathom. I was in front of my laptop when I started crying, and praise God that I had two Godly friends alongside of me. We stopped in the middle of the library and just prayed. For the family, for the friends and the salvation of the truck driver.

I distinctly remember Isaac's father Josh asking me about my vision behind the youth ministry at DCC. It was the first time I had been asked this by a parent, and I wasn't the slightest bit put off. What I saw was a father that loved his son, seeking the absolute best for him. Isaac loved God with his whole heart, and I know that was in part to witnessing his father live with integrity and model what matters most. I can't imagine what this feels like for a family, let alone on fathers day.

What I do know is that we have a Father in heaven that is greatly concerned with our struggles and wants the absolute best for us. He created a perfect world, in perfect relationship with his creation. Sin fractured this relationship and now disease, sickness and death became present realities. I can't imagine the grief God experiences now, death isn't the way he intended it to be. Death is terrible, and Hebrews 4:14-16 tells us that we don't have an absentee god aloof in the clouds, unable to understand suffering. We have a God that has been through it and experienced loss. The hope of the believer rests firmly on Gods promise of salvation. The death and Resurrection of Christ firmly established His kingdom here on earth. For the believer whose hope is in the Lord, we know that death isn't the end.

In Revelation, God promises all things to be made new: a new heaven and a new earth free from sin. We enter into this promise as heirs of to His Kingdom. The Lord gives rest to those who are weary. Isaac's present reality is a world free from tears, sin and death. Praise God for all he has done and the assurance we have as believers in his promise. We place all hope in our heavenly father, who keeps his promises. Our time is short. A horrible tragedy like this reminds me of the current state we live in, and the need to maximize our time sharing the joy and hope that comes from living in obedience to the Father. We don't know how long we have, and we mustn't live lives like we are here forever. One day everything will be made right with Christs return, death will be forgotten.

I pray with all my heart for peace that surpasses ALL understanding, to the Smith family. This is a terrible situation, but I rest on the promise that good will eventually come from it.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

Running Hard.

It dawned on me as my Kiwi friends were gearing up to celebrate the World Cup that I was in China 4 years ago celebrating the very event in my Shenzhen apartment. The time just goes by! I began to think about what has happened in the four years since then and I could argue that they have been some of the most important years of my life. I truly believe that God infringed on my sinful free will during this time, and saved me by his grace. One can only imagine it played out something like this: “I've had about enough out of this David Piper doing his own thing, time to have him fall desperately in love with me.” The faith he gifted me with has turned my world upside down and there have been no regrets following Him. What an adventure, so much to be grateful for!

Between updates, exciting things have occurred. Ministry at ABC is expanding and growing, I'm feeling less overwhelmed at Laidlaw and extra-curricular relationships are being forged. I'm so thankful for this opportunity to study Gods word everyday, being gripped and shaped by the new lenses in which I read the Biblical story. I'm currently halfway through teaching a series with the Junior High students here at ABC over the whole Bible (critical excerpts). I love seeing the next generations eyes widen as they see the culmination of Gods promise since the beginning of time unfold into the central focus of the Bible; the coming Christ and his life+death in the gospel account. It is so easy to look at that big dusty book on your desk with disdain when it's not read as a complete story, with a beginning and an end. If you don't have the firm foundation of where you came from, you don't know where you are going. Full steam ahead without a rudder. This makes for an excited teacher and (hopefully) eager students.

While studying through the book Hebrews this month, chapter 12 caught my attention. The author in chapter 11 shares the struggle and tests the patriarchs persevered through by faith. By faith, when Abraham was as good as dead, was blessed with a son. By faith the walls of Jericho fell as the new leader of the Israelites deemed it a good idea to attack the heavily fortified city with a marching band. By faith in the sovereign LORD, not out of intrinsic strength, but weakness did they conquer. This is the story which you and I have been reborn into and under as heirs of Gods promise. We have the story, and in chapter 12 we are reminded of what we are fighting for.

Over ten years ago now, a gun was put in the face of a young student named Cassie Bernall at Columbine High. Her would be killer asked her a simple question, “do you believe in God,” to which she replied, “yes.” I'm sharing this because it struck an emotional cord in me with the backdrop of Hebrews chapter 11.

Hebrews 12:1-2
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us. Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

This is the story that Cassie has been swept into and that we are living in. We are here on earth for this time and place. We are witnesses to what God has done since the beginning through faithful servants that where nothing spectacular on their own. It's so easy to forget that we are children of promise and to think that somehow the Bible isn't relevant for today. We as witnesses to Christ are living in the “Now, but not yet.” Gods kingdom is here, but has yet to be fully consummated with Christs return. We have victory over death through the death and resurrection of Christ Jesus, but sin is still a present reality. It's time to turn off the TV and run! We are more than conquerors not through ourselves but in Christ. This life we have is so short! Mind the distinction between “everything that hinders” and “sin.” Often we do “moral” things that take our focus away from the biblical story that we currently live in. I struggle with this as at times;I have to consciously remind myself of what the reality of the world is, to not get caught up with its short term happiness's as I sacrifice joy.

“Witness” comes from the Greek word “martyr,” and that should draw a clear picture of what it means to live lives of sacrifice to Gods kingdom. The witness of Abraham, Isaac and Cassie Bernall should spurn us on to passionately pursue God in faith at all costs. For me to read that and realize the implications of living like I know where I come from, just makes everything else boring. My continuing story (part of a bigger and ongoing one) at Laidlaw has simply got me amped to know more about the God that created me and to re-frame the competing false stories of the people in the physical world around me.

What's your story? Have you shared it with anyone recently?

Thanks everyone for all the prayers/emails/encouragement I have received in the last month. I get stoked when I hear of other witnesses going hard in Spain/Chile/Port Angeles/Sequim/San Diego, it encourages me to keep running. Special thanks to my father and mother for all of their faithfulness and support.



Sunday, May 30, 2010

Final Date

Above: Sunset at Piha

Straight from the horses mouth (NZ immigration) :

Hi Dave,

It is always best to apply earlier (one month in advance) to ensure that your permit is processed on time to allow you to continue your course without interruption. You are however able to apply up until the date your permit expires this is fine. If your permit does expire before you have received a new permit you will not be kicked out of New Zealand if you have an application under consideration. In other words you can apply any time before 27 June and be fine but we recommend that you apply 30 days before your current permit expires to avoid stress and problems for you.


Now the latest date for my student application is known. It can be pushed all the way to June 25th, which is the Friday before my student application expires.

To study in NZ as an American you must maintain fulltime status to receive a visa, the minimum is 3 classes (I'm currently taking 4). With this being said, current minimum needs are $4775 NZD = 3,241.19 USD after current contributions and my savings. $3,241 USD is the number to ask the Lord for as you pray for me, June 25th is the day it's needed by. Thank you for journeying with me! All the prayers and support are very encouraging! The reason for the push now is that the courses I need to take for Theology are offered in succession of each other. To miss next semester would mean that I would need to wait (possibly a year) until the courses are offered again. At that point I would have a diploma, then I could also pick and choose from a variety of classes available as the pre-requisites for them are out of the way. The end of semester 2 is a much better stopping point if I had to start working again. If you feel moved to donate, please contact my parents at 360.681.5154 - Mike and Deanna Piper.

I had a brilliant weekend of Study at Laidlaws Piha beach house, preparing a series I will be teaching on Sunday(s); connecting students to the whole story of the Bible and how they fit in on the timeline from Creation to Final Consummation. I was able to glean from John Pipers knowledge of Biblical interpretation (5 hour series on the Bible) as well as apply what I have learned this semester at Laidlaw. Exciting times; excited to lay this foundation down as the students have pondered aloud deep faith related questions. After a 4-5 week series we will begin to GO DEEP. Please pray for clarity of thought+speech and student comprehension of truth.

His ,

Photos link to this weekend:!/album.php?aid=180862&id=581352796&ref=nf

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Finance Update.

I want to take this time out to let you the reader know where I'm at financially. On my weekly income I have been able to sustain myself through the ministry I'm involved in at Avondale Baptist Church. God blessed me with this within two months of being in New Zealand. I was able to pay for the first semester of schooling at Laidlaw, and through contributions made by my DCC family I was able to get situated with housing/books; money which I faithfully used with a clear conscience, being a good steward of my resources and managing my budget(check the finances link to the left for more details!). Rent is $400 USD a month and I spend on average $28usd a week on food. Money donated allowed me to live for over 3 months here, and when my saving nearly ran out, I began receiving monthly income from youth ministry here praise God. God has always taken care of me, even when things have got tight- He has been faithful.

Right now I'm approaching the end of the semester at Laidlaw and I don't have the money to pay for the next semester. My original plan was to get a working visa for 6 months and go back to school next February, but after talking with the school counselor- that would set me back quite aways. The introduction course I'm taking are offered in consecutive order, essentially I would have to wait until courses where offered again at a later time. The counseling office told me I might be able to work around this but it would be much easier to continue on into the 2nd semester and then working if I needed to at the years end. Also, at the end of the year I would have a diploma to show (not a Bachelors Degree). I wrestled with sharing this, my thought was “maybe I should just pray harder and money will fall from the sky because that is what real faith is,” and then at the same time I feel like I should just come out and ask. For school next semester with all fees it will cost $5,493.73 USD. On my current budget , I can simply sustain my careful living with food+lodging but I don't have the ability to save money. I daily bike the 16 miles to school roundtrip to keep transportation fees down. I would ask you to consider donating to my school fund by contacting my parents Mike+Deanna at 360.681.5154 . I'm not opposed to doing physical work as some of you know (before I left I was scurrying around on your roof tops fixing gutters and climbing under houses to vacuum rat poop etc, saving that money for Bible College. In the last 9 weeks of being in the states I worked 50 hours+ a week) and I'm not opposed to doing so now in Auckland. Paul made tents and God took care of him, If I'm suppose to make tents for the next 6 months – I'm truly ok with that. Everything always works out ok, and I know God has a plan/time for me and maybe its best I work. Whatever the outcome I ask that you would pray for me and or consider donating. If less is donated than needed for school, it will be saved until I make it back. If more is donated, it will be put towards future schooling (2.5 years to go).

I see God moving me into some aspect of full time Pastoral care (be it overseas or continued youth work) and I'm passionate about reaching people here in my short time(life), expanding Gods kingdom on earth. I have read through the Bible twice this year in my personal devotional time as well as studied various Pauline letters/John in depth and listened to over 120 sermons to better understand Gods word+ sound doctrine. God is the center of my life, the source of my joy and purpose. If you want a more in depth account of anything I have spoken about email me at . Your prayers really have made a difference, thank you for reading this and your consideration.


Sunday, May 2, 2010

Good stuff.

Above: Laidlaws International Students.

Caution: A lot of brutal honesty below and I'm exhausted soooo....

After weeks of praying and being prayed over, God broke through to my heart. A conversation and a Bible verse out of nowhere led me to worship quietly in my study cubicle at Laidlaws Library. Dreaming of the day when I could pack up and leave, something inside of me clicked. I had been praying about staying in NZ or leaving as I have felt so overwhelmed by various things physical/spiritual/emotional (exhaustion from daily not sleeping well/consumed by study 7 days a week/ not having someone to share with because I had no time to develop friendships) that I briefly was ready to throw in the towel. This Friday God spoke to me in the Library. I was given a renewed passion and vision for my journey here. Long story short the word that came to mind was "persevere!" Growing up in school I would be frustrated by seeing students that were seemingly as smart (or perceivably less) attain higher grades and success etc. One of my large short comings is the ability to persevere amidst struggle. Alot of things came easy to understand the first time, but if it didn't, stupid pride/boredom/frustration would block me from pressing forward. I didn't realize that was a factor here until circumstances led me to that. It seems when we are at our wits end and all that is left is emotion are we exposed for what we are underneath the facade with which we try to cover up and hide from the world.... even from ourselves I suppose.

I was seriously thinking of moving out of here at the end of the year back to Guatemala or... where I felt God moving through me. I call this "instant gratification" now as being at school is my spiritual act of worship.I'm passionate about evangelism and the marginalized but I can't jump to that when life in NZ loses it's flavor etc , it's time to push on.

Solomon asked for wisdom and He was blessed. I echoed this very sentiment until Friday when it dawned on me that Solomon and I are two different people(wow! deep I know!) with different struggles. Potentially at one stage he lacked wisdom and asked for it and was given in abundance- What I need and needed to ask the Lord for is perseverance. In the Library, I asked the Lord and now I feel a tremendous sense of peace. I just felt so much fatherly love come down. God has called me to New Zealand to study for 3 years. Im at Laidlaw in this season and I MUST remain faithful. This is the battle I must fight. Part of my question to Him was , "should I even be here" - and now it's clear and my strength is rooted in that. So much other great stuff happened on Friday but I'm exhausted now and it's time for bed. I don't have the funds to continue next semester so please pray that I get a job! This Friday JH Youth group starts for the first time at Avondale Baptist, pray for me and this launch date. Also for balance in my life. Exciting times.


Personal thanks to the Godly women on my prayer team +My Dad and Mom that have been walking with me via Skype. Your prayers are hugely appreciated. 5:30 pm Thursday (your time) is when it all became clear.