Looking Back at Harmony 1st year celebratory weekend


source http://www.harmony.org.nz/_blog/Harmony_Happenings/post/Celebration/

We are so grateful for what God has done over Harmony Church’s first anniversary weekend held 19-22 February 2010.
We started the weekend on Friday night with a fantastic line up of talent with Live Concert by Hannah Donald, Stephen James, and Band Grace Falls.  The night show cased all the artists talent beautifully.  Each element of the Concert bringing a new layer of enjoyment.  The testimonies were sincere and encouraging.  Jesse O’Brien, better known in New Zealand for his part in ‘New Zealand Idol’ had energy for all.  Stephen James guitar work was especially wonderful and Hannah’s sweet and strong voice was very inviting. Hannah’s harmonies especially when coupled first with Stephen, and then Grace Irving, were delectable.  The 3 acts provided a wonderful variety but also congruency in their message.  A great evening had by all.
Saturday saw the Bob Fitts Worship seminar.  There were many testimonies of how special this was with Bob taking seminar goers deeper into the depths of understanding God’s amazing love and grace.  The evening Concert was a very fun event with lots of people ending up dancing in the front with lots of enthusiasm. Sunday morning, we had the pleasure of Bob and Kathy Fitts’s presence once again in our Service.  Many were touched as Bob encouraged us to reach out to the Father.  These were holy moments.
Monday, Joaquin Evans, a young man full of God, hailing from Bethel Church in Redding, California was an inspiration in the afternoon with testimonies of healing’s he had witnessed and encouraging us to step out and trust the ‘Healer’.  “It’s not about us, its ALL about God”.  Many were prayed for and healing’s occurred.  The evening meeting was full.  Joaquin once again brought many amazing stories of miraculous healing’s that we were all encouraged by.  After speaking and building faith, he invited people to respond to God and reach out for healing with many different conditions being called out.  There was such an air of excitement and expectation it was quite electric.  Many people were still present at 11pm and the building was finally cleared at midnight. Many healing’s took place and people were encouraged not to take “offence” when God did not answer their prayers exactly “yet” in the way they hoped and to not let that discourage them from pursuing God as healer.
What a FEAST of a weekend!  God was Centre from the start and in every element.  What a wonderful way to celebrate our first anniversary.  At first we had thought we should do something to mark the occasion with our Harmony family and then we felt led to open the events up to the City to bless the wider body.  Many were blessed and over the next weeks, we hope to share testimonies of what God has done in people’s lives.
Hallelujah, what a Saviour!


A very special weekend it was indeed, one I will look back on for many different reasons. You all did an amazing job and if success of a church is to be measured in terms of transformed lives, this weekend as well as the past year must be showing some incredible statistics and therefore all the right reasons to celebrate. I have thoroughly enjoyed every minute I was there, and it had a considerable impact.Who said that churches need to be dull, dusty and boring? What an incredible mix of worship, depth, celebration, a spirit filled weekend for sure! And from a musician’s point of view, I cannot believe the incredible joy it brings when you see young people and ‘old people’ end up dancing and celebrating their hearts out TOGETHER! If we grown ups indeed need to become childlike again, than I have seen some older people pass the exams with shining honors (ps I am talking childlike NOT childish). Keep up the great work, you are an amazing team leading an amazing fellowship.

Thanks from my side for handing my wife that Harmony Church business card invite last August at the petrol station; who could have guessed all that happened since than. Sincere thanks from a rapidly transforming Renaissance Man.


Paulo Coelho on Bitterness: a reply to the post and the the comments

Paulo Coelho wrote an incredibly beautiful book: Veronica decides to die. One that is absolutely one of my favorites because it so much deals with the importance of love. Based on the book he wrote the following post which caused a lot of comments:

Paulo Coelho

In my book “Veronika decides to die”, which takes place in a psychiatric hospital, the director develops a theory about an undetectable poison which contaminates the organism over the years: vitriol.

Veronika Decides to Die
Like the libido – the sexual liquid that Dr. Freud had recognized, but no laboratory had ever been able to isolate – vitriol is distilled by the organisms of human beings who are in a state of fear. Most of the people affected identify its taste, which is neither sweet nor salty, but bitter. That’s why depressions are intrinsically associated to the word Bitterness.

All beings have Bitterness in their organism – to a greater or lesser degree – in the same way that almost all of us have the tuberculosis bacillus. However, these two diseases only attack when the patient is debilitated; in the case of Bitterness, the terrain for the disease to arise appears when we are afraid of the so-called “reality”.

Certain people, in their anxiety to build a world where no outside threat could penetrate, increase exaggeratedly their defenses against the outside – strangers, new places, different experiences – and leave the inside unprotected. It is then that Bitterness begins to cause irreversible harm.

The main target of Bitterness (or Vitriol, as the doctor of my book preferred) is desire. People attacked by this evil begin losing their desire for everything and in a few years are unable to go outside their world – because they have used up enormous energy reserves building high walls for the reality to be what they wanted it to be.

When avoiding outside attack, they also limit internal growth. They continue going to work, watching television, complaining about the traffic and having children, but all that happens automatically, without really understanding why they are behaving like that – after all, everything is under control.

The great problem of poisoning by Bitterness lies in the fact that passions – hate, love, despair, enthusiasm and curiosity – also don’t appear any more. After some time, the bitter person has no more desire. They had no more will even to live, or to die; that was the problem.

For that reason, for bitter people, heroes and madmen are always fascinating: they are not afraid to live or die. Both heroes and madmen are indifferent in the face of danger and go on ahead in spite of everyone saying not to do so. The madman commits suicide, the hero offers himself up to martyrdom for a cause – but both die, and bitter people spend many nights and days talking about the absurdness and glory of the two types. That is the only moment when the bitter person has the strength to reach the top of his defensive wall and look outside a little; but soon his hands and feet tire and he returns to daily life.

The chronically bitter person only notices his disease once a week: on Sunday afternoons. Then, as he has no work or routine to relieve the symptoms, he realizes that something is very wrong.

I can’t help but thinking that bitterness comes not so much from your circumstances but underlying that from being turned away from God, trying to make your own plans with all the human effort that takes as opposed to living the plan that God had and still has in mind for you. And are we not just great at turning it around: we make plans, ask for His blessing and then whe it does not work out the way we planned it we blame God for not listening.

I say this because I have been there and regularly I still am. I am far from perfect when it comes to that, but have found that once I started listening to what God had in mind for me as opposed to what I had in mind for God things started to change.

When the Dalai Lama laughs out loud it is for similar reasons, the bitterness,the anxieties and all the chemical formulas that come with that as a result of the laws of nature, have one underlying source, which is that we still tend to place ourselves on the throne of out lives.

Whatever it is that is causing your bitterness, depressions, anxieties, it is in my view related to what I said before: placing yourself in the center, placing yourself on the throne. Whether you look at it from the Dalai Lama’s point of view or God’s point of view (as far as I understand it), what it boils down to is Love an Compassion. And “love” to be understood here as outward directed and not so much affection. Both require that you start living in the here and now and that you stop dwelling in the past (hence the compassion component, which implies forgiveness)with a positive attitude towards the future (faith). And if things don’t work out: perhaps it is because you are focusing on the wrong things, they may be great according to your plan but that does not necessarily imply that they are great according to God’s plan for you.

I may be completely off the mark here but that is how I understand my own decades of bitterness. And guess what; it changed on the spot when I allowed God in my life again, when we discussed his plan for me, when we re-established the relation, that was meant to be in any event. I know I know, that implies belief in a personal God, and my response is that there actually is such a personal God if you let him.

Does this mean life will be easy from there on? Far from that in my case. Bit at the same time it is striking how the lows get shorter, the highs get longer and most of all since God’s plan an mine are getting aligned better and better I am getting the results, work wise, on a physical, mental and spiritual level.

I am not here to tell you anything just what worked for me.

And for those that need some comfort perhaps here one Psalm that keeps me going (Psalm 23):

1 The LORD is my shepherd, I shall not be in want.

2 He makes me lie down in green pastures,
he leads me beside quiet waters,

3 he restores my soul.
He guides me in paths of righteousness
for his name’s sake.

4 Even though I walk
through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.

5 You prepare a table before me
in the presence of my enemies.
You anoint my head with oil;
my cup overflows.

6 Surely goodness and love will follow me
all the days of my life,
and I will dwell in the house of the LORD

All I can say is that it works for me.

Love and blessings to all of you.

Buy the book at Fishpond here:

Veronika Decides to Die

A dramatic story of love, life and death that shows us all why every second of our existence is a choice we all make between living and dying. Veronika has everything she could wish for. She is young and pretty, has plenty of boyfriends, a steady job, a loving family. Yet she is not happy; something is lacking in her life, and one morning she decides to die. She takes an overdose of sleeping pills, only to wake up some time later in the local hospital. There she is told that her heart is damaged and she has only a few days to live. The story follows Veronika through these intense days as to her surprise she finds herself experiencing feelings she has never really felt before. Against all odds she finds herself falling in love and even wanting to live again!


‘Coelho’s writing is beautifully poetic but his message is what counts! he gives me hope and puts a smile on my face’ DAILY EXPRESS ‘

His books have had a life-enhancing impact on millions of people’ THE TIMES ‘One of the few to deserve the term “Publishing Phenomenon”‘ THE INDEPENDENT ON SUNDAY

Or perhaps just consider buying the bible first. It’s available here:

NIV Gift Bible

What are your thoughts?

Daily conversion frees and saves, Pope declares as Lent begins :: Catholic News Agency (CNA)

The article below came in via the Catholic News Agency and I have to say I found it inspiring and something to reflect and act upon.

How will you be going against the current? I will keep you posted and please you keep me posted.

Vatican City, Feb 17, 2010 / 11:05 am (CNA).- The Holy Father dedicated the General Audience on Wednesday in the Paul VI Hall to the significance of the Lenten season which begins today. He emphasized the importance of daily conversion for swimming “against the current” of a society that promotes a “superficial lifestyle” and “moral mediocrity.”

Lent, Pope Benedict observed, is an “acceptable and grace-filled time” in which we can better understand the words “repent and believe in the Gospel.”

The call to conversion is one to take with “extraordinary seriousness” because it “reveals and denounces the easy superficiality that often characterizes our lives,” Pope Benedict taught.

“Repentance means changing direction in the path of life,” he said emphasizing that this is “not with a small adjustment, but with a true and personal reversal.” It is going “against the current, where the ‘current’ is the superficial lifestyle… that often pulls at us, dominates us and makes us slaves of evil and, so, prisoners of moral mediocrity.”

In our conversion, the Pope explained, we shoot for the “highest measure of the Christian life” as we put our trust in the “living and personal Gospel” of Jesus Christ.

“His person is the final goal and the deep meaning of repentance… he is the road by which all are called to walk in life, letting ourselves be illuminated by his light and sustained by his strength that moves our steps.”

In this way, “it isn’t a simple moral decision that rectifies our life’s conduct, but a choice of faith that involves us entirely in the intimate communion with the living and concrete person of Jesus, noted Benedict XVI.

Repenting and believing the Gospel, the Holy Father elaborated, are expressions of the same reality and conversion, which “is the ‘yes’ of he who gives his own existence to the Gospel, responding freely to Christ who first offers himself to man as the way, truth and life, as it is He alone that frees and saves him.”

This is the meaning of the first words with which Jesus preaches the Gospel, ‘This is the time of fulfillment. The kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel,’ the Pope added.

Pope Benedict also focused on how repentance and conversion are lifelong commitments.

“Every day is a ‘acceptable’ moment, one of grace, for every day we are invited to give ourselves to Jesus, to trust in Him, to abide in Him, to share His lifestyle, to learn true love from Him, to follow Him in doing the will of the Father every day, which is the only great law of life.”

“Every day” we need to seek conversion, Pope Benedict continued, “even when we are faced with difficulties and troubles, in spite of the tiredness and the failures, including when we feel like abandoning the path of following Christ, and when we want to withdraw into ourselves, into our selfishness, without realizing that we need to open ourselves to God’s love in Christ to live the same logic of love and justice.”

The Holy Father also reflected on the meaning of the ashes distributed today. The ashes given on the first day of Lent, he said, serve as an act of renewal “of our commitment to follow Jesus, to let ourselves be transformed in His paschal mystery, to win over evil and do good, to let the ‘old man’ tied to sin die and let the ‘new man’ be born transformed in the grace of God.”

In closing, Pope Benedict invoked the protection and aid of Our Lady to accompany us in these 40 days of prayer and sincere penance so that we will be purified and “completely renewed” for Easter.

via Daily conversion frees and saves, Pope declares as Lent begins :: Catholic News Agency (CNA).

Ash Wednesday in Chancery Lane

Yesterday it was Ash Wednesday. I had to be in town for a case. There is a tiny wee chapel: the Holy Cross Chapel,  in the very center of town, about a minute away from the Christchurch Cathedral: the . At around 12.15 a service started to commemorate Ash Wednesday, the start of the Lent.

When I passed by it was amazing to see how this tiny chapel was so packed with people giving up their lunch breaks to go and attend the service. The chapel was filled and so was the hall of the chapel, people were siting on the floor: homeless next to lawyer and doctor, all praying the same prayer of Matthew 6:9-13:

Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name,
your kingdom come,
your will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us today our daily bread.
Forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.
And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from the evil one
for yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever.


It was so amazing witnessing this community spirit. For the first time in my life, this prayer, which I grew up with but always felt as a bit of ritual gave me goose bumps. Right in the middle of town people from the most extreme walks of life joined together in this prayer, it was beautiful and touching. It gave a sense of hope and joy to see that in this little lunch break people could forget their differences if only for the time of the service and be united in the same cause. It is at those moments you realize how much we are all in all together.


The Death of Global Warming – Walter Russell Mead’s Blog – The American Interest

The global warming movement as we have known it is dead. Its health had been in steady decline during the last year as the once robust hopes for a strong and legally binding treaty to be agreed upon at the Copenhagen Summit faded away. By the time that summit opened, campaigners were reduced to hoping for a ‘politically binding’ agreement to be agreed that would set the stage for the rapid adoption of the legally binding treaty. After the failure of the summit to agree to even that much, the movement went into a rapid decline.The movement died from two causes: bad science and bad politics.

Read the rest of the article here>>>

I guess the truth does set free.