The Abbot's Shoes

How to fool the world with bad science
Have you ever asked what a life of prayer might look like? Do you need to be encouraged in the times you talk with God? Then this might be for you.

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It is Well with my Soul

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“Saved alone” - these were the first two words that Anna Spafford telegrammed her husband, Horatio, after the ship that she and her four daughters were on sank in a shipwreck that claimed 232 lives – including their four daughters. William Chong continues our series that takes a fresh look at well-known hymns.

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Unlocking Revelation: 10 keys to unlocking the Bible's final words

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Need a hand understanding the book of Revelation? This could be a good place to start!

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Possessed by Love

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Encountering and living in the love of God changes us and leads us to offer that love to those around us - without agenda, because God first loved us.

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The LOVE of God

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Encountering the love of God is not simply life-changing, but it sustains life in its fullness, as Todd White’s amazing testimony reminds us.

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A Glorious Mess - Sharing in the Eternal Worship of the Triune God

How to fool the world with bad science
“Holy, holy, holy is the Lord.” How do you respond to these six words? Alan Burnett reflects on our response to the beauty of God.

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Hurt in Church

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This month we approached Craig Vernall, our Baptist National Leader, to reflect on hurt in church life. Craig sometimes has to get involved with the fallout when things go wrong in our churches. He shares some of his learnings and reflects on this sensitive subject here.

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The Greatest Journey

How to fool the world with bad science
Some mornings after I wake up, I switch on my radio to hear the news. On the hour the announcer begins, “Here is the news read by [whoever is on that morning].” On reflection it seems most of the news these days is bad or troublesome, however I am going to remind us in this article of some really good news which is worthy to embrace... Jim Hurn writes of the hope and joy of eternal life.

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How do you respond?

How to fool the world with bad science
How do you respond to the daily complexities and pain in the world? Do you jump right in to help? Do you bury yourself in other things? Andy Shudall reminds us that God was here before any troubles, and he remains faithful - will we remain dependent on God? Roland Peapell provides some thoughts on prayer as part of this reflection.

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Need a Doctor?

How to fool the world with bad science
In Luke 5 we are told that Jesus cruises on up to Levi, a tax collector and says, “Yo, follow me” (My adaptation!). So Levi ups and goes. He leaves everything and follows Jesus. I’m still trying to get my head around that, to be perfectly honest. That’s like the modern day equivalent of Jesus walking into a shop during business hours, telling the dude at the counter, “Mate, you’re done here, come with me,” and the dude just walking out of the shop.

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Healing In The Church

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The gospel (good news) of the kingdom is about wholeness, which means it deals with more than salvation. It also includes healing for the body.

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Seeking The Creator

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We will see God in action when we have our attention and direction towards loving God.

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The Kingdom Of God Is Not Just In Words

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Partnering with the Holy Spirit to build His kingdom here on earth.

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Identity and Sexuality

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How do we navigate our sexual identity in the context of our Christ-rooted identity?

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Who do you say I am? ...Understanding our identity in Christ.

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Who do you say I am? The importance of understanding our identity before God. In this two part article, Richard Cook shares part of his story as he explores his identity before God and Shona Birch calls us to consider Jesus’ commandment in Mark 12: 31 – what does it mean to love others as we love ourselves?

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Straining against the oars. What can we do when life is tough?

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Straining against the oars. What can we do when life is tough? National Leader Craig Vernall reminds us to remember God's provision in the stormy times which gives us the strength for the next day.

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Loving our neighbours - as ourselves

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In the second part of this two part article, Shona Birch calls us to consider Jesus’ commandment in Mark 12: 31 – what does it mean to love others as we love ourselves?

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The topic we don't want to talk about...

How to fool the world with bad science
(The article you don't want to read...but read it anyway!)

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Materialise the Invisible

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Erwin McManus is a world- leading advocate for the vital place of creativity in our spiritual lives and longs to see imaginations unlocked in the life of the church. He is the lead pastor at Mosaic, a church community in LA renowned for their innovation and creative expression. Erwin’s understanding of culture and leadership brings fresh insight to the church that must wrestle with its place in today’s world.

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The Bay

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How often have you asked "Where is God? Is there a God?" Roland Peapell tells us of one such time he asked these questions and the response he found.

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Isaiah 7

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Lyndon Drake explores how we might understand this passage, a Scripture commonly read leading up to Christmas. Here he considers how the gospel writers might have read similar passages and what that means for our reading.

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Can There Be Hope?

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Mark and Suz Holmes had been married for ten happy years and had four little daughters. Life was really good for the family...until April 7th 2000, when Mark was diagnosed with a massive brain tumour.

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Suffering And The Faithfulness Of God - Lamentations 3: 1-23

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Learning about the place of lament from a 'geber' - a strong man in right relationship with God.

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Lament

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Lament, the expression of grief, is not a topic we often talk about. Yet it is a vital spiritual discipline. 'The Hare and The Tortoise: Learning to pace ourselves in a world gone mad' has an excellent chapter on this and other spiritual disciplines. Here are some of their thoughts.

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Fruitfulness

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Fruitfulness - that word which we know we should pursue, but often struggle with. Ruby Duncan reflects on some of the ministries that she has seen around the country and considers what makes a ministry fruitful.

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Faith without deeds: the dis-integration of student Christianity

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The outworking of faith in our practical everyday lives is an area that we all need encouragement and inspiration in. How can we avoid becoming stuck between the four walls of a church?

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On Faith and Creativity

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Every walk of discipleship is simultaneously a walk of creativity. It is important to become attuned to the ideas of our heart, and to not only believe in them, but to step toward them.

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Creative Excellence and Church: Idol or Antidote?

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When considering creative excellence and church, what comes to mind? Does your heart lift as you consider inspirational originality? Or would you label it as a demanding, unnecessary indulgence, that misses the point?

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A Poem: The Kingdom

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This is the fifth and final in a series of spoken word poems following the Easter story, that Danielle Bennett shared at Northern Easter Camp this year.

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A Poem: Hope Returned

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This is the fourth in a series of spoken word poems following the Easter story, that Danielle Bennett shared at Northern Easter Camp this year.

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A Poem: Despair

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This is the third in a series of spoken word poems following the Easter story, that Danielle Bennett shared at Northern Easter Camp this year.

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A Poem: Expectation

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This is the second in a series of spoken word poems following the Easter story, that Danielle Bennett shared at Northern Easter Camp this year.

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A Poem: Hope

How to fool the world with bad science
This is the first in a series of spoken word poems following the Easter story, that Danielle Bennett shared at Northern Easter Camp this year.

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Throwing in the towel? Forget it - you don’t have one to throw!

How to fool the world with bad science
A common idiom for quitting is ‘throwing in the towel.’ It says: “I’m no longer going to fight in this arena, so I’m throwing my towel into the ring to signal that I’m out of here.” But there is more to it than that and more than is commonly understood in the idiom’s generalised use.

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My Dad

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Grief hurts. It also changes our perceptions. But can we also let it be a reminder that we are in this together?

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Genesis 4: Where did Cain's wife come from?

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It's a hoary old question going back to the ‘Church Fathers,’ while there was still a Roman empire. But does it matter?

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The Rose

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Growing up, I came from a dysfunctional family and spent most of my early life with my Grandpa Bill (short for William) and Grandma Mavis (short for nothing that I know of!) who lived out at Whangarei Heads. I remember clearly the events of one day when I was about ten years old.

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Is God Angry With Me?

How to fool the world with bad science
At a recent youth event, some of our young people were told, “the Father wants to slam you, but Jesus will save you!” Most of us would shy away from putting it like that, but isn’t that what we mean when we talk about God’s wrath (anger) being satisfied at the cross?

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Is Reading the Bible Overrated?

How to fool the world with bad science
I once chatted to someone who felt almost as if they had sinned for not reading the Bible enough. This is strange, as for the first 1500 years of the church (perhaps longer), only the leaders and the elite few who could read had access to 'Bibles.' The rest of the church had no Bible to read, and most of the population could not read.

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Know Love

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Experiencing the love of God is sweet relief! With these bite-size reflections, ask God to open your heart and mind to His affection.

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Lessons from Job

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“How on earth did I end here?” I said to myself. It was a Tuesday night and I was sitting in a cold little church with a group of people I didn’t know well for an evening of prayer.

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Snowed In

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Sometimes it takes God snowing us in for our hearts to enter home again. Often we forget His nature and get lost in all sorts of other ways of living. We need His rest.

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Winter Garden

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Winter is the time for the garden to strengthen and protect what it’s already growing, not to lay desolate, void of life and growth until spring returns.

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Spiritual Practices

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Reviving ancient spiritual practices to shape our future.

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Love Playlist

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The June issue of the Baptist Magazine is about the love of God. As part of this, we wanted to create space to experience the love of God afresh, so alongside some reflections, we've complied a playlist for you to listen to - the link is here.

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The Crimson Worm

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Psalm 22 presents an accurate and detailed first-person account of the crucifixion, the view from the cross. This was written over a thousand years before the event, and hundreds of years before the Persians first invented crucifixion.

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The Hush

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One of the loveliest things about winter is when the snow comes. The heart is irresistibly stirred within as if by a certain special kind of magic; the eye captures the wonderful sight of glittering flakes soaring upon the wintry winds, like each one had wings of her own. They gently fall from above and are soon gathered together until the whole earth is covered in the most beautiful blanket of quiet white.

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Luke 16: 1-15

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This is a difficult parable. What do you do with a story vindicating dishonesty? Shocking! But our shock is far less than that experienced by the religious elite of Jesus’ day, when they saw Jesus welcoming sinners and eating with them.

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Luke 19: 11-27

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You’ve probably heard of using your talents for God and being a good steward of your money. These might be good ideas, but they have nothing to do with this parable.

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Revelation 20: 2

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Revelation 20: 2 - "He seized the dragon, that ancient serpent, who is the Devil and Satan, and bound him for a thousand years." What about the millennium? Many millennial sky-scrapers have been erected on flimsy bamboo bases. Rather than floating away in ethereal fancy it might be better to consider the meaning of John’s millennial message to its suffering first recipients. John’s message is not about something thousands of years later. John is rather showing that their present hard time is actually a victory time – and the best is yet to be. So hang in there, in hope and trust.

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Revelation 11:15

How to fool the world with bad science
"The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Messiah." My first study, based on Revelation 1, focused on Revelation as a Jesus book. That is its central theme. But I hear an objection. Revelation 1:1 also speaks about the future, about ‘what must soon take place’. Isn’t Revelation essentially about the future?

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture: Revelation 1:1 - The Revelation of Jesus Christ

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Far too many readers skip over the Book of Revelation as too scary or too confusing. What a pity. For this is one of the most inspiring books in the whole Bible.

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Unpacking Difficult Scripture - Numbers 20

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Moses is perhaps the greatest hero in the Old Testament. Through him, God freed the Israelites from slavery to Pharaoh in Egypt. God chose him to mediate the covenant between the LORD and Israel. Yet in Numbers 20:12, he and Aaron are told they will not bring the Israelites into the promised land. What's going on? Is God being arbitrary, withdrawing favour as ancient gods used to do?

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How to share your faith without it being awkward

How to fool the world with bad science
Often, between juggling our daily duties, social lives and relationships, it can be easy for us to lose track of our purpose or how God is using us in each circumstance. We invest in relationships and in our families through physical, emotional and spiritual care. But have we considered that we have a greater purpose beyond those duties?

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Taking the Bible message seriously

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The words of the series is half finished. The foundations are laid, so it is now time to look at the details. We’ll give an outline here, but for more information go to the website (Word BigBible.org/faithfully/). It has videos, articles and discussions.

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The differences that matter

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Reading the Bible “faithfully” is not just prayerful, it also respects God’s choices of when and where to reveal Scripture, and the messages God gave. It intends to apply the Bible’s teaching to life today. Last month we began to look closer at how historical situations impact what the Bible says and what it meant...

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Mastering the art of listening well

How to fool the world with bad science
After a three year absence, a woman recently returned to my pastoral counselling office and said, “I once asked you how I can love people better?” She then paused. Externally I smiled; internally I began to worry and thought, “How did I respond?” After a lengthy silence, she continued, “You told me to listen to people’s stories with my full attention.” I breathed a sigh of relief and she proceeded to inform me how this practice had transformed other people’s lives and her own. It also changed her whole approach to friendship-making.

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Kai hau Kai

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In ancient Māori feasts, kumara was shared in a ritual called Kai hau Kai. The idea was based around the coming together for reunion, reconnection and restoration of relationships.

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Showing our Common-Union

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Dale Campbell explores the richness of Communion, inspiring us to look at fresh ways of experiencing its unifying power in Christ.

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Trusting God to reveal the truth

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"An atheist may be able to discern the message Paul wanted the Galatians to understand, but that alone is not reading the Bible faithfully. God intends Scripture to change us..."

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God remains faithful: the principle of the thing

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At the start of this series we took notice of the way God chose to give Scripture to us. To make the Bible, God inspired many people (all very different) in many times and places. “...Moses in the desert, David in Jerusalem, Ezekiel in Babylon... different people, different periods, different places, different life-issues... This varied collection was God’s deliberate choice, so we should take the variety seriously.” Thus Scripture is time-bound, tied to the language, customs and interests of particular times and places. The writers God inspired wrote about things that interested their hearers, or at least things God wanted those hearers to hear.

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Don't miss the point: Teaching or just saying

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"There are many clues, the skill of spotting them and putting them together is one we can practice. The key is to keep asking ourselves: What is the point of this passage? What is the “main thing” Paul (or whoever) wanted their audience to “get”? To keep things focused I suggest trying to express this “main thing” in one short simple sentence..."

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Taking Scripture seriously: How does this passage fit?

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Noticing how a particular passage fits into the flow of a book, or the flow of Scripture as a whole, helps us understand faithfully. Tim Bulkeley helps us look at scripture and how it fits together...

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What Kiwis think about sin

How to fool the world with bad science
Theologian Cornelius Plantinga (Not the Way it’s Supposed to Be: A Breviary of Sin) insists, with others, that sin – the culpable breaking of God’s shalom – is an indispensable component of the Gospel. No sin – no need for a Saviour. So how are we meant to get the Gospel across to these ‘good’ and ‘moral’ kiwis.

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