PRAISE GOD IT’S MONDAY!
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Issue No: 457     Published: 26 Jul 2010

MUSINGS ON THE KINGDOM - PAST, FUTURE AND PRESENT

KINGDOM PRESENT - THE KINGDOM PARABLES

The Parable of the Sower

Again Jesus began to teach by the lake. The crowd that gathered around him was so large that he got into a boat and sat in it out on the lake, while all the people were along the shore at the water’s edge. 2 He taught them many things by parables, and in his teaching said: 3 “Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed. 4 As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. 5 Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. 6 But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. 7 Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants, so that they did not bear grain. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil. It came up, grew and produced a crop, multiplying thirty, sixty, or even a hundred times.” 9 Then Jesus said, “He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” 10 When he was alone, the Twelve and the others around him asked him about the parables. 11 He told them, “The secret of the kingdom of God has been given to you. But to those on the outside everything is said in parables 12 so that, ”‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!’” 13 Then Jesus said to them, “Don’t you understand this parable? How then will you understand any parable? 14 The farmer sows the word. 15 Some people are like seed along the path, where the word is sown. As soon as they hear it, Satan comes and takes away the word that was sown in them. 16 Others, like seed sown on rocky places, hear the word and at once receive it with joy. 17 But since they have no root, they last only a short time. When trouble or persecution comes because of the word, they quickly fall away. 18 Still others, like seed sown among thorns, hear the word; 19 but the worries of this life, the deceitfulness of wealth and the desires for other things come in and choke the word, making it unfruitful. 20 Others, like seed sown on good soil, hear the word, accept it, and produce a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown.” (Mark 4:1-20)


This, one of the best known and most important (for Jesus took the trouble to explain it's meaning) parables, contains a number of important truth's, not all of which can be explained here.

I would like to deal with but two, one today, one next week, of principles that are less understood.

Today, we see the lesson that is to be learned from the different types of ground in which the 'seed' of God's Word was sown.

Without delving into the different types of soil, the overall message is that all new Christians need to be nurtured in their faith in order to avoid falling by the wayside.

I have huge respect for evangelists, those who have the courage to go out and witness in the highways and byways and make 'converts' through the 'sinners prayer', which incidentally, is not found in the Bible, although the principles behind it are.

However, many 'count converts' by this method, while failing to understand the basic message of the Parable of the Sower. As the popular saying goes, 'there is many a slip twixt cup and lip'. Sadly, many studies have found that over 90% of conversions in crusades, etc., have failed 'to stick', for they have been planted in the wrong soil.

To understand this, it is necessary to look again at the 'Great Commission'. For there, Jesus did not say to go out and make 'converts', but rather, 'disciples'.

The Great Commission

16 Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. 17 When they saw him, they worshiped him; but some doubted. 18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20)


What is involved here? FIRSTLY, we must 'go out'. That is what evangelists do so well. Whether it is out into the streets or travelling across the world, the infectious enthusiasm of the evangelist takes the message of salvation through the sacrifice of Jesus, to many people.

However, that is not all that is involved in obtaining a sound, long lasting conversion. For SECONDLY, we are required to make 'disciples' of people. Discipleship does not come through making a decision, but rather, through a complete change of lifestyle to one of becoming like Jesus.

To understand what Jesus means by discipleship, it is necessary to go back to the times in which He lived.

When a boy reached 13, he came into adulthood. The best and brightest would be chosen to become 'disciples' of one of the Rabbis of the day. They would follow the Rabbi round, imitating his every word and action. For their aim was become like the Rabbi.

Jesus is our rabbi. We are to become like Him. We may not be the best and brightest of the crop, but then, the disciples of Jesus were rejects from the Rabbis selection process also!

9 Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices 10 and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. 11 Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. (Colossians 3:9-11)

Discipleship requires both ongoing help and example, and, as we know ourselves, takes a lifetime. It is a process, not an event. So conversion without ongoing follow up is ineffective in maintaining over 90% of new believers in the faith.

THIRDLY, there is a requirement for baptism. Why? Not only because of the symbolism of burying the old life and taking on the new, but also, because it is a visible witness to others of a commitment made. An initial test of faith!

FOURTHLY, discipleship involves teaching the ways of Jesus. While the teachings we offer are good, the best form of discipling is on a one to one basis, where people can share their experiences personally and learn from one who has been through the challenges of walking with Jesus.

FIFTHLY, and finally, the key to discipleship is learning to be obedient to God's commands. Need I say any more! We all need to repent for the times we have failed to do so! But I trust we are changing...

18But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. (2 Corinthians 3:18 KJV)

There certainly is a need for our current approach to evangelism to be reconsidered. We must find ways to change a lip service commitment into a life changing experience. Discipling requires an intensive, time consuming, follow up process. Are we prepared to help the evangelist, through discipling, plant the seed in the good soil of the parable, producing a crop—thirty, sixty or even a hundred times what was sown?

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FROM THE WORD

Rules for Holy Living

"Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and greed, which is idolatry. Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. You used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. But now you must rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips. Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices and have put on the new self, which is being renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator. Here there is no Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all. Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity. Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him." (Colossians 3:1-17)

The Glory of the New Covenant

"Now if the ministry that brought death, which was engraved in letters on stone, came with glory, so that the Israelites could not look steadily at the face of Moses because of its glory, fading though it was, will not the ministry of the Spirit be even more glorious? If the ministry that condemns men is glorious, how much more glorious is the ministry that brings righteousness! For what was glorious has no glory now in comparison with the surpassing glory. And if what was fading away came with glory, how much greater is the glory of that which lasts! Therefore, since we have such a hope, we are very bold. We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit." (2 Corinthians 3:7-18)



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DAVID'S DOODLINGS

DISCIPLESHIP

214.-235. Discipleship is...

... doing the right thing because we want to, not because we are expected to.

... being a servant both to God and man.

... honouring God with body, soul and spirit.

... loving the Lord with all our heart, soul and mind.

... being 100% committed to the Lord's cause.

... putting the Lord first in all things.

... placing the Lord's desires ahead of our own.

... applying the Lord's will to our mind and emotions.

... accepting the Lord's correction graciously.

... being joyful in the Lord - even while being corrected!

... subverting our will to His.

... centred upon giving rather than receiving.

... becoming a little more like Jesus every day.

... being prepared to die for our Lord.

... honouring and worshipping God as Lord, rather than a 'holy Father Christmas.'

... being the one God would like us to be.

... placing God's needs and others godly needs ahead of our own.

... helping others attain to their ministries, even to the expense of our own.

... being Jesus to others.

... retaining the joy of the Lord in times of personal sadness.

... putting wrongs right - graciously!

... walking as one with the Lord, night and day.

878. 'A disciple' has no need of 'a title'.

879. A disciple turns words into actions.

880. Believers believe, while disciples live what they believe.

1315. A disciple 'walks the walk', not just 'talks the talk'.

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CRANWELL'S CARTOON

5 You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. (Matthew 7:5)





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TUESDAY TEACHINGS

THIS WEEK: THE POWER OF THE CALL

A look at the ministry call that Jesus makes on each one of our lives.

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LAUGHING AT OURSELVES

***Blessed are those who can laugh at themselves for they shall never cease to be amused***

*** "Those who can't laugh at themselves leave the job to others." ***

219. MARRIED BLISS
Adam and Eve had a unique advantage for starting married life: he didn't have to hear about the men she could have married and she didn't have to worry about not cooking things the way his mother cooked them.

218. TOP 10 REASONS FOR NOT READING THE SCRIPTURE
In one church, members were asked to read Joshua Chapter 1 in preparation for the following Sunday's sermon. A few members failed to read - here are their top ten excuses:

10. I was absent last week, and thought that the bulletin I received in the mail was for spending quality time making paper airplanes with my grandson.
9. I tried, but finally gave up trying to find the book of Joshua in my handy pocket New Testament.
8. I procrastinated until Saturday night, but the excitement of my wife's favorite WWF show was too distracting.
7. My dog ate my Great Chapters assignment sheet.
6. Spiritual giants like me read the Bible as guided from above, not as directed by mere man.
5. My Bible could not be found - prior to Y2k I had buried it in a metal box in the woods so I could access it when Anti-Christ takes over the world.
4. When the Pastor said "Joshua one", I thought he was telling us that "Joshua won" at the Israeli marathon race last week.
3. I'm a visual person so I looked at the Bible comic book pictures.
2. I'm an auditory person so I listened to the song, "Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho".

And the number one top excuse for not reading the assigned Bible chapter:

1. I started to read the chapter, but then came under persecution when an officer pulled me over and forbade me to read while driving on I - 80.

217. PREACHING AND PRAYING
There was a Pastor that died and went to heaven. Upon his arrival he was given an old shack to live in. He noticed a cab driver who had entered was given a huge mansion.

The pastor had asked Peter why he was given this shack after he had given his entire life to serving the Lord. He also inquired how a cabby reap such a reward. Peter responded, "It's simple, when you preached people fell asleep but when he drove people prayed "

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FACTS FOR FUN

LAST WEEKS QUESTION: Does your skin shrink in water?

ANSWER: If you spend time in water, you'll notice that the skin on your hands and feet appears to shrivel. But that's not because the skin is shrinking, rather that the skin is expanding from the absorption of water. The skin on our hands and feet is thicker, so when these areas of thicker skin become saturated, they expand. Because of their denseness, wrinkles appear and the skin becomes whiter with the increased water content. The thinner skin elsewhere in our body has more room to absorb water, so wrinkles take longer to appear. Surprisingly, skin does not wrinkle from seawater, seawater being so similar to the fluids in our body. (If we dry out can we get rid of ageing lines too?)

THIS WEEK'S QUESTION: What literary sisters used male names when they published their novels?

Answer Next Week.

SOME FUN FACTS

196. THE LAST FRONTIER
Scientists discover approximately 7,000 to 10,000 new insect species every year – and it is believed that there are between 1 million and 10 million species yet unfound. (How do they know if they haven’t found them?)

197. REACHING FOR THE SUN
New York City has the most skyscrapers of any city in the world with 140. Chicago is a distant second at 68. The term ‘skyscraper’ technically describes all habitable buildings with a height of more than 500 feet (152 m). ((What goes up must one day come down.)

198. PASSIONATE ENERGY
Scientists have determined that a passionate kiss burns 6.4 calories per minute. (But can you keep it going long enough to be useful as an exercise programme?)

A WORD PUZZLE FOR YOU

Make another word from this word using all the letters.

HOTELMAN

Answer at the end of A David Musing

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BIBLE QUESTION - WHERE IS THE QUOTATION FROM?

6) Am I my brother's keeper?

A - Genesis 4:9
B - Exodus 20:12
C - Luke 6:42
D - Philippians 2:10

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IF ONLY I'D THOUGHT OF IT!

"""OTHER'S SAYINGS TO ENLIGHTEN, AMUSE, OR BEMUSE"""

BILLBOARDS IN ARIZONA

Let's meet at my house Sunday before the game.
-God

C'mon over and bring the kids.
-God

What part of "Thou Shalt Not..." didn't you understand?
-God

We need to talk.
-God

Loved the wedding, invite me to the marriage.
-God

That "Love Thy Neighbor" thing... I meant it.
-God

Will the road you're on get you to my place?
-God

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WHY?

Some of Life’s Most Puzzling Questions - Can You Provide the Answers?

101. Why is it that it's bad to be mean, but for something to have "mean"ing can be good?

102. Why do we play in recitals and recite in plays?

103. Why is it that one person lives and many people live? Shouldn't it be one person live and many people lives?

104. If time heals all wounds, how come the belly button stays the same?

105. How is it that ‘back seat drivers’ usually sit in the front seat? (David Tait)

106. What would chairs look like if our legs bent the other way?

107. How is it that those who hate mice can still manage to operate a computer? (David Tait)

108. Can God make a rock so big that he can’t lift it?

109. Why are there interstate highways in Hawaii?

110. Why are there flotation devices under plane seats instead of parachutes?

111. Why are cigarettes sold in gas stations when smoking is prohibited there?

112. Why do fat chance and slim chance mean the same thing?

113. Do you need a silencer if you are going to shoot a mime?

114. Have you ever imagined a world with no hypothetical situations?

115. How does the guy who drives the snowplough get to work in the mornings?

116. If 7-11 is open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, why are there locks on the doors?

117. If you're in a vehicle going the speed of light, what happens when you turn on the headlights?

118. Why do they put Braille dots on the keypad of the drive-up ATM?

119. Why isn't "palindrome" spelled the same way backwards?

120. Why is it that when you transport something by car, it's called a shipment, but when you transport something by ship, it's called cargo?

121. You know that little indestructible black box that is used on planes, why can't they make the whole plane out of the same substance?

122. Why is it that when you're driving and looking for an address, you turn down the volume on the radio?

123. If you have your finger touching the rearview mirror that says - "objects in mirror are closer than they appear", how can that be possible?

124. Why is it so hard to remember how to spell MNEMONIC?

125. If someone invented instant water, what would they mix it with?

126. Why is it called a TV "set" when you only get one?

127. Why does your nose run and your feet smell?

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BIBLE TRIVIA (Manners and Customs - Clothing and Accessories)

MEN ALLOWED THEIR BEARDS TO GROW LONG ...

... and rarely, if ever, cut them.

Adapted from: '1001 Surprising Things You Should Know About The Bible' MacGregor & Prys

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Finding Faith and Employment at Church

by Adrienne Gaines, Charisma Online

With unemployment at record highs, churches and Christian organizations are stepping in to help job seekers both practically and spiritually.

Ministries such as Florida-based Christian HELP and Career Solutions in Dallas began helping the unemployed find work long before the recession hit in 2008. But since the unemployment rate shot up from 6.6 percent in October 2008 to 10.1 percent the following year to 9.5 percent today, the groups say the ministry needs-and opportunities-are growing.

Career Solutions founder David Rawles, author of Finding a Job God's Way, says jobs ministries can reach people at their lowest point. He knows of people who have committed suicide after becoming unemployed and others who came to faith after taking career classes at churches.

"Most people don't realize just how deeply affected people are, and the church is not doing near what it could do," says Rawles, a former human resources executive at GTE and Disney who developed career coaching curriculum for churches.

So far this year, Christian HELP has seen a 47 percent increase in Orlando-area job seekers over 2009. In addition to employment seminars, the ministry provides Bibles and food, as many families are left at the brink of homelessness after job losses.

"The counselors are trained to ask, What brought you here today?" says Christian HELP Executive Director Sandi Vidal. "It's really opened a door to ask what people's needs are and then to talk with them about what God wants for them and how that impacts their search."

Madison and her husband were living in a hotel and had only a bag of rice left to eat when she walked into Christian HELP. After losing a $350,000-a-year job and having a heart attack that depleted her savings, the Washington, DC, resident had moved to central Florida to take a position that ultimately fell through.

She found a job within two days of meeting Vidal, thanks to one connection that led to another, but she laments that many churches were insensitive to her plight. One ministry told her it was her fault she was unemployed because she hadn't been attending church services regularly. "We need as Christians to take people in and look at the whole problem," Madison told Charisma.

An outreach of Holy Cathedral Church of God in Christ led by Bishop C.H. McClelland, Word of Hope Ministries in Milwaukee has offered job placement services since 1996. Unemployment has long been high in its inner-city community, but the recession brought a wave of new needs.

"We understand that as the number grows we may have to develop other strategies because there are more people coming," says Vice President Prentiss McClelland.

Charismatic entrepreneur Tim Krauss estimates that less than 40 percent of churches offer some form of employment ministry, but he hopes to change that through his Job Connection. The online service enables churches to list available jobs in their areas while weeding out scams.

It costs $195 to set up, with a monthly service fee ranging from $95 for churches of 6,000 or less to $245 for larger congregations. So far, more than a dozen ministries are on board, including Willow Creek Community Church and Salem Baptist Church in Chicago, and Second Baptist Church in Houston.

The Job Connection ministry at Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, Michigan, got roughly 2 million hits the first two weeks after the website launched, says Geoff Brown, facilitator of the outreach. He estimates that roughly one-in-five of Resurrection Life members are unemployed, as Michigan has one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.

"At the very least [the ministry has] provided a better hope," says Brown, who became the first to find a job through the ministry. "And I think that's the biggest thing I needed after nine months of unemployment — hope."

Source: CharismaMag.com

© 2009 Strang Communications

via OpenHeaven.com

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A DAY IN THE LIFE OF ...

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WAXING LYRICAL

Some people can inspire in the midst of terminal pain and suffering, My mate Basil was one of those.

BASIL

It comes to us all, once to die,
Our best to ignore it, we do try.
Don’t know how, nor when, nor where,
Until death, in the face, does us stare.

For most, the sands of time predictably flow,
Plenty of life, our ultimate destiny to know,
Three score years and ten, normally more,
The last few perhaps, may be a chore.

For some though, death comes as a shock,
A life snuffed out at the tick of a clock,
In the fiery inferno of a collapsing tower,
Or a car, ramming another at full power.

But our Basil was chosen for a different task,
A walk through sickness and pain was his ask.
God knew what an inspiration he would be,
And he surely was, both to you and to me.

Basil I have known for a good number of years,
A wise man, a prophet, somewhat given to tears,
A man well respected, both at church and at home,
Salt of the earth, with not too much hair to comb.

But it was only during this current year,
That Basil’s character became so clear,
Oh, what had I missed out on, in days now past,
In a busy life, where spending time, comes last.

Unless the house has been built on a firm foundation,
Trials and troubles easily lead to spiritual ruination.
But through his pain, the light of his Saviour did shine,
What I saw in his life, I would like to see in mine.

Of course, he did naturally ask the question,
“Why me Lord?” I did hear him mention.
Then his wry sense of humour would shine through,
As into perspective, his whole life came into view.

Basil has been an inspiration to us all,
Through his trials, he has walked tall,
The quiet man - thought he had little to offer,
In his ultimate test, came through to conquer.

Basil my mate, us you still inspire,
In that certain faith, we so desire.
I will miss you my friend, so Basil tears I now shed,
As I seek to follow the path, in which you have led.

David Tait: 4 October, 2001

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A DAVID MUSING

We are back from our trip to the friendly islands of Vanuatu. What an amazing time we had! In my many trips away I would say that this has been the most effective, both in the spiritual and the natural.

Vanuatu has nearly 100% church attendees. The Presbyterian Church is the dominant grouping, but there are many.

Among many of the leaders, there is a desire to see God's kingdom come to their place. From the Prime Minister, who has dedicated the country to the Lord, to the church leaders, many are willing to work together to promote kingdom growth. The kingdom message is becoming both understood and the reality desired.

In the natural too, we had an excellent response from the Prime Minister, government officials and the people, to our ideas of helping the locals set up businesses to help overcome the major problem of 50%+ unemployment which plagues the country.

An holistic approach to seeing the kingdom established in this beautiful land. And likely to be an example to the rest of the world!

Thank you Lord.

Until next week.......

MAY GOD BLESS YOU AND YOU BLESS GOD.

His servant and yours

David Tait

Today's 'Word Puzzle' Answer: METHANOL

TODAY'S 'BIBLE QUESTION' ANSWER: 6) A - Genesis 4:9

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ABOUT US

WALKING WITH JESUS MINISTRIES is a non-profit, non-denominational, Bible based ministry located in Hastings, New Zealand. A ministry dedicated to developing discipleship, fostering unity amongst God’s people to achieve the Great Commission, and in doing so, preparing for Christ’s return. It is securely based upon the foundational principles of the Apostles Creed while recognising the wide and rich diversity of beliefs amongst Christians in other areas. In accordance with the Lord’s direction, materials produced by the ministry are available, free of charge, to genuine enquirers upon request. The ministry is solely funded by donations, as the Lord provides. A list of materials available (plus some fun!) is obtainable and freely downloadable from our website
wwj.org.nz or by contacting us as follows.

Walking With Jesus Ministries
7 Bull Street
Ahuriri
Napier
New Zealand

Phone: (06) 835 0567 International (+64) 6 835 0567

Email: enquiries@wwj.org.nz
Web: wwj.org.nz

Our role is to bless and encourage those in ministry while promoting co-operation and unity of direction amongst the body of Christ, as emphasised 3 times by Jesus in His longest prayer, immediately prior to His arrest and crucifixion. "… so that they may be one as we are one." (John 17:12, 21, 23-4) Our website is currently being developed to encourage your participation one with another, to share resources, and to enable you to promote events and items of interest to the body as a whole – and have a smile while doing it!

For comments upon and contributions to this service, please contact
david@wwj.org.nz

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