partnership? yeah, nah!

June 2, 2024 /

The 100% Pure New Zealand website, with its collection of Kiwi slang, describes ‘Yeah, Nah’ in this way: Kiwis are exceptionally agreeable, so even when they want to disagree with you, they’ll throw in a “yeah” as well. Basically, “yeah, nah” is a non-comittal way of saying no. As in: “Do you want to go…


images that teach (5): the lid

February 21, 2024 /

A curious thing happens in our society today. A person who asserts that death is the end and that there is no heaven can still be heard longing that a loved one be ‘looking down from above’. For those with ears to hear, this kind of thing happens quite a lot. What is going on?…


adding voices

January 20, 2024 /

I’ve been a big admirer of the Centre for Lifelong Learning at Carey Baptist College for some years. It is not too surprising because the pioneering energy for the Centre was provided by Mike Crudge, who was on the staff at Carey back in my time—and everything he did, he did with excellence. Over the…


short-term mission: 5 questions, 7 practices

November 7, 2023 /

In my recent post about Mekdes Haddis’ book, A Just Mission: Laying Down Power and Embracing Mutuality, I promised to add a further post with her wisdom regarding short-term mission. She offers five questions and seven practices… Five Questions On her website she expands on these questions a little bit more. Seven Practices nice chatting…


mekdes haddis: embracing mutuality

November 1, 2023 /

In these pages Mekdes Haddis addresses “a broken mission system … (where) we hurt culture” (x). It is her conviction that “by laying down power we will gain the ability to embrace mutuality. It is not easy, yet it’s the necessary work we must do as Western Christians” (109). It is a confronting book. I…


images that teach (4): bubbles, bad air, blindspots

January 3, 2023 /

With the focus of my work remaining overseas, I have needed to find ways to re-engage with life here in New Zealand.  Thirty years ago, I developed a course at Laidlaw College, The Gospel in a Post-Christian Society—and so, when Greg Liston asked me to assist with a new course at Laidlaw covering similar terrain (Ngākau…


growth indicators

December 11, 2022 /

The paper was bright orange. The printing was faded, originating in pre-photocopier, Gestetner days. There were two sheets. I still have them, somewhere in those boxes two metres from me… As a young pastor these sheets of paper captivated me. Developed by what was called the Association of Church Missionary Committees (ACMC), they described a…


beyond betrayal

May 11, 2022 /

Over the years I have enjoyed taking two pilgrimages… One is to Rangihoua Bay, about 200km north of Auckland — and Marsden Cross, the site of the first preaching of the gospel here in Aotearoa New Zealand, in 1814. On one occasion, as a way to celebrate my 50th birthday, 30 friends joined me in…


five books on mission

February 21, 2022 /

It took me a bit by surprise, but there has been just the whiff of exile about living back in Aotearoa New Zealand.  ‘Exile’ is a rich biblical metaphor and I’ve been helped by leaning into it.  It seems to capture many of my reflections, attitudes and emotions.    How do you live well in…


the 10:40 table

February 13, 2022 /

The name ‘Barby’ comes up frequently in this blog. In all likelihood, Barby and I first encountered each other in a church creche in the Himalayan foothills of India.  We did a lot of schooling together, especially the high school years in boarding school, during which time we became good friends.  It started in a…



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About Me


the art of unpacking

After a childhood in India, a theological training in the USA and a pastoral ministry in Southland (New Zealand), I spent twenty years in theological education in New Zealand — first at Laidlaw College and then at Carey Baptist College, where I served as principal. In 2009 I began working with Langham Partnership and since 2013 I have been the Programme Director (Langham Preaching). Through it all I've cherished the experience of the 'gracious hand of God upon me' and I've relished the opportunity to 'unpack', or exegete, all that I encounter in my walk through life with Jesus.