Monday, June 29, 2009

NZ National Anthem has more than 1 verse!

Even though in sporting events we sing only the first verse from the Maori and English, the song actually does have 5 verses! I couldn't believe it when I first sung it, especially since I had been living in New Zealand for over 21 years!

I also could not believe the incredibly high standard of the lyrics. As I sang the song it actually made me proud to be a New Zealander. The song proclaims unity, peace, love, righteousness, truth and good. The standard it is talking about is not one that changes with culture, but is true at all times, claiming that this high standard is external to us humans. It calls us to be good no matter what circumstance we are in. And most of all, it asks God to guide us as He works out His plan.
God of nations! at Thy feet
In the bonds of love we meet,
Hear our voices, we entreat,
God defend our Free Land.
Guard Pacific's triple star,
From the shafts of strife and war,
Make her praises heard afar,
God defend New Zealand
Men of ev'ry creed and race
Gather here before Thy face
Asking Thee to bless this place
God defend our free land
From dissension, envy, hate
And corruption guard our State
Make our country good and great
God defend New Zealand
Peace, not war, shall be our boast
But should our foes assail our coast
Make us then a mighty host
God defend our free land
Lord of battles, in Thy might
Put our enemies to flight
Let our cause be just and right
God defend New Zealand
Let our love for Thee increase
May Thy blessings never cease
Give us plenty, give us peace
God defend our free land
From dishonour and from shame
Guard our country's spotless name
Crown her with immortal fame
God defend New Zealand
May our mountains ever be
Freedom's ramparts on the sea
Make us faithful unto Thee
God defend our free land
Guide her in the nations' van
Preaching love and truth to man
Working out Thy Glorious plan
God defend New Zealand

Saturday, June 27, 2009

My take: Today

RIP Michael Jackson! boy did I love his music in the 90s. And despite all the bad that has happened to him over the last 10 years, his death rectifies it all. He is no longer Jacko, the crazed man hanging a baby out the window. He is no longer Michael, a flawed man with child-like dreams of neverland. He becomes Michael Jackson, the icon, and that will surpass who he really was.

In other news, Charlie's Angels' Farrah Fawcett dies from cancer. Since I never really knew her, my generation will know her as "the other celebrity to also die"

What a jackpot in Big Ticket Wednesday, the biggest lottery in NZ history at $36m. You know lotto isn't statiscally random when less than 1 in 15 winners come from Auckland (since it should be 1 in 4 or something closer to that). I still think gambling is bad, but thats shapped from my personal values rather than from being a Christian. I have heard many Christians say that gambling is bad but have not investigated this since it hardly affects me. But it could be a worthwhile study to see what the Bible has to say about it.

Air Canada lands in Orlando! The Magic trade Vince Carter for Rafer Alston, Courtney Lee, Tony Battie. The trade gives the Magic yet another All-Star (4 after Howard, Nelson, Lewis) and a goto guy when the game is on the line, a key piece missing from last season. They however lose the young Lee who showed signs of great potential and could be a great player in a few years, but I guess the Magic are in WIN NOW mode. They may also lose Turk, who has been an outstanding and consistent clutch player. The Cav's also traded for Shaq, Spurs for Richard Jefferson. This is going to be some of the most talented and competitive teams going at it for a championship in recent history.

I'm getting new broadband internet after being fustrated at Slingshot's increasingly slowing speeds. Its becoming difficult just to load a web page let alone checking emails or internet banking. Telecom seems to have the best deal at the moment at 20Gb ADSL2+ at $59 a month which is just $20 over the basic package. Woohoo! more on this later :)

The economy is still not showing signs of recovery, it is however stabilizing at a low point. I hope for the people's sake that things pick up and people who are financially in difficult times are assisted. But ultimately God has things under control, and its far more important that we have a moral recovery than an economic one. A quick scan of the news indicates some crazy and sick people out there.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Philosophical Difference between Labor and National

Here is something someone at work sent me, which I found very interesting!

Philosophical Differences: $50

I asked my friend's little girl what she wanted to be when she grows up.

She said she wanted to be Prime Minister of New Zealand some day.

Both of her parents, Labour supporters, were standing there, so I asked her, "If you were Prime Minister what would be the first thing you would do?"

She replied, "I'd give food and houses to all the homeless people."

Her parents beamed, and said, "Welcome to the Labour Party!"

"Wow...what a worthy goal!" I told her.

I continued, "But you don't have to wait until you're Prime Minister to do that. You can come over to my house, mow the lawn, pull weeds, and sweep my yard, and I'll pay you $50. Then I'll take you over to the grocery store where the homeless guy hangs out. You can give him the $50 to use toward food and a new house."

She thought that over for a few seconds, then she looked me straight in the eye and asked, "Why doesn't the homeless guy come over and do the work, and you can just pay him the $50?"

I smiled and said, "Welcome to the National Party."

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Thou Shall Not Steal

Today we (re)visited Eastgate Christian Center for the 9am service. This was to allow us to visit the Ellerslie Car Fair afterwards. The first thing I noticed was two large stone tablets on the stage resembling the tablets that Moses brought down with the 10 commandments. There were only 7 inscribed which indicated they were going through a series on the 10 commandments and were up to the 7th study (from what I gather they skipped the first one, maybe to do it last?) on thou shall not steal. I was pleasantly surprised when Andy got up to speak. Andy is an amazing reflection of God and His work to transform. Visit his blog at Kiwi Chronicles.

The message really pierced my heart, and got me thinking about the many ways we have broken God's laws, and how much we really need Him, His mercy, and His grace.

Stealing is taking anything for yourself that doesn't belong to you. this can include:
  • Physically taking goods, services, possessions, money that belong to someone else
  • Borrowing things and not returning them
  • Stealing from your employer by slacking or surfing facebook, or by taking extra long tea breaks, taking extra stationary, making personal phone calls...
  • Downloading or purchasing illegal movies or music
  • Charging an unfair price on goods or services you are selling, including falsely advertising something
  • Evading your taxes
  • Being "ungenerous" with your time and money is stealing from God, as all things are given to you by God to bless you and for you to bless others
  • Disobeying your parents is stealing from their joy
  • Distrusting or being defensive to your spouse is stealing them of intimacy
  • Not respecting others is stealing their respect, because All people are made in the image of God and deserve respect simply for being human. This includes being late, which is stealing other people's time
  • Desiring something, coveting something, may be as good as stealing it in your heart
This is a timely message, as I am currently studying Matt 5 in my ACPC home group. Matthew 5 is where Jesus explains the old testament law and reveals its true intent and meaning. He gives 6 examples; anger, lust, divorce, promises, retaliation, and loving your enemy. But really we can extend these examples to ALL the old testament laws and consider their application in today's context, and I guarantee you will be astonished. I have broken all God's laws and I can only stand before God because of what Jesus did on the cross.

PS: Kathy finnaly bought a car! 2004 Nissan March

*EDIT* Kathy returned the Nissan March and got a Toyota Vitz instead

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Generation Y and the Recession

Just a few interesting links and articles about Generation Y (my generation) and the current economic situation:

Turn Gen Y's 'unreasonable' requests into a negotiating tool

What is Generation Y? from wikipedia:
Generation Y, also known as The Millennial Generation, is a term used to describe the demographic cohort following Generation X. Its members are often referred to as "Millennials"[1] or "Echo Boomers"[2]) . There are no precise dates for when Gen Y begins and ends. Most commentators use dates from mid 1980s to early 1990s.[3][4][5][6][7][8][9]Members of Generation Y are primarily the offspring of Generation Jones and the Baby Boom Generation
Generation Y, like other generations, was shaped by the events, leaders, developments and trends of its time.[17] The rise of instant communication technologies made possible through use of the internet, such as email, texting, and IM and new media used through websites like YouTube and social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter, may explain Generation Y's reputation for being peer oriented and for seeking instant gratification. This trend of communication is continuing into Generation Z.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

What a Cold Morning!!

It was soooooo cold this morning, close to zero degree, I found it difficult to get out of bed. I had an extra hot shower, and ate scrambed eggs for breakfast. When I went out to go to work, I found my windscreen was fully covered with frost! I quickly weighed the alternatives of wiping and washing it down with a hose and decided wiping it with a cloth would be easiest.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Knowing God's Name

How can we know God? How can we grow our desire to know God? That was a question I asked myself as I went home from BSF (Bible Study Fellowship), the study had been on Exodus 33:7-34:35 when Moses was interceding for the sins of his people. God had told them that He would no longer go with them to the promised land, and would send an Angel instead. But Moses pleaded with God.

As part of asking God to lead them, Moses asked God to reveal Himself to him. Moses wanted to know God. What does it mean to know? Well, there are 3 levels. At level 1, you are aware of something like "I know of Henry Ford" who invented the Model T, but don't know much else about him. At level 2 you have "I know Michael Jordan", the greatest basketball player that ever lived. I know plenty of things about him, when he was born, where he was raised, his NBA stats, etc. But all this comes out of books or DVDs. At level 3, you have knowledge by experience. "I know Auckland" because I have personally lived in the city, and I don't know Orlando, despite knowing a lot about Orlando.

So God responded to Moses' request. "No one may see me and live". That is because God is holy, and perfect, and sinless. Us evil humans cannot handle His goodness. But God goes on to tell moses He will show him some of His glory and proclaims His name; "I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy, and I will have compassion on whome I will have compassion."

God's name and His mercy and grace go hand in hand. To know God, we must seek His Mercy. For there will be day where each of us must account for our actions before a just God. He showed His mercy to us at the cross, the ultimate expression of mercy.

Luke 18:9-14

9And He also told this parable to some people who trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and viewed others with contempt:

10"Two men went up into the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector.

11"The Pharisee stood and was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust, adulterers, or even like this tax collector.

12'I fast twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.'

13"But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to me, the sinner!'

14"I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted."

The tax collector realized he was a sinner before God, and asked God for mercy. Its not how religious you are, after all no one can measure up to God's perfect standard.

Who shall recieve mercy? those who seek Him, those who turn away from their own self-sufficiency.

Monday, June 15, 2009


The Magic lost pretty badly to a very good Lakers team playing at an incredibly high level.

Although I could say "next year", this series has raised a few questions about D-H. Can he become an offensive force that can dominate on both ends of the floor, becoming a go to guy when the team needs him? He was severely limited by the Lakers front court this series with very little help from the rest of the team.

Turkoglu's future with the team is also in doubt, with Rashard Lewis' large contract, they may not have money to re-sign him or anyone else for that matter. He may however opt to stay for a chance for a championship again. Marcin Gortat may also leave for more money and more playing time. The Magic also don't have any draft picks.

Then there's Nelson's return, lets see if he can get back to his All-Star form. Courtney Lee was also playing the ball of his life in the first 2/3 games of the playoffs before getting hit on the head. He may develop over the summer and next season into a very good player.

Seems like the Magic have a nice young core of players (although Turk and Shard are in their primes now) they have some nice backups, but the future flexibility seems bleak.

But for now, time to rest up and get back to the gym, and prepare for next year.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Fair Trade at Salvation Army

This morning (Sunday) I woke up to my alarm which is set to 7:50am and after setting it off and realizing it was 45min too early, I headed back to sleep. When I next woke up it was a good 10 minutes past 9 and the Church Service at Howick Baptist was starting at 9:30. So after quickly showering and brushing my teeth, I sped off to pick up Kathy. Thinking constantly that we would be late again for the 4th consecutive time I was also thinking about other churches we could attend.

After picking Kathy up and learning that her parents would be attending Salvation Army (a few blocks away from Howick Baptist which had a service starting at 10am) it gave us a moment for a breather and some breakie! So I stopped at McDonalds and used my good 'ol entertainment book to grab 2 McMuffins and a hash brown (mmm yummy hash browns!) and a McCafe Mocha, we headed over the service.

Upon ariving, we noticed the hall laid out with tables like it was a restaraunt with a variety of cookies and chocolates and sandwhiches on it. Wow this isn't a church service! So after a song and a welcome, the leader or speaker announced that this was a special occasion which to try out some fair trade food and coffee. After some messages we watched a video clip about fair trade coffee. All the while I was thinking about the coffee I had purchased and was still sipping! it had approved by the rainforest alliance but nothing about fair trade stamped on it...

The economics behind the Oxfam fair trade cooperative is quite interesting. This however is purely my take on it. Bassically you have many many farmers selling coffee beans at a low price due to supply (see Economics 101 Supply and Demand theory). The problem arises because the price is barely enough to break even, and the standard of living in those countries is simply unacceptable. The Oxfam organization essentially unites all these farmers and sellers to pool their supply and boosting their selling power. They can demand a higher price, turning a "perfect competetive" market into more of an "Oligopoly". Some can argue that this creates market inefficiencies but I think that there are market externallities which need to be taken into account. The cost of such low priced coffee beans is having a negative impact on their economies and the world. Deforestation, Crime, Instability, Visous-cycle of uneducated communities... you get the picture.

It certainly has achieved what it set out to though, which is to raise awareness of fair trading and I will definintely think twice before buying that coffee next time!

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Orlando going down 3-1

Well after game 4, with Orlando going down 3-1 to Los Angeles in the NBA Finals, its pretty much all over. I strongly support the Magic and Dwight Howard but its just not their time yet. Dwight play really well on the defensive end but lacks the offensive presence to take over the game like a true superstar.

In other news, my second favorite NBA team are favored to win it all. For those interested, here's my top preferences.
Orlando Magic
LA Lakers
Miami Heat
Chicago Bulls
Boston Celtics

My New Blog!

So I used to have a blog over a Posterous. But I didn't like how it simply shoved everything into pages when you start to accumulate too many blogs. I wanted it to sort by month/date and also show a list of key words for people to refer to. Plus I also want to be able to further customize my blog as to allow more personalization so people can get a better idea as to my personality.

So here we are, lets see how far my customization goes!