Best Band Ever!


In the mid 1990’s Mark and I had the opportunity of living in Houston working with Mission X a ministry aimed to reach Generation X through music. Part of the Mission X ministry wasa band called the Friendly’s of which Mark was the guitarist, Tim Bisagno was singer, Marty Durlam was drummer and later Stephen Pether joined us as bass player but at the beginning we had quite a few temporary bass players.  In the early days of establishing Mission X and getting the band known, they played a gig at First Baptist Church Houston, where Tim’s father was the senior pastor.

The Friendlys in action

The Friendlys in action

It was a gig to raise awareness and funding for the band and Mission X. Our mission was to use music as a medium to tell others about Jesus and take this music and message to the world; in particular to pubs, clubs, festivals and prisons.  The band played well and gave it all they could. The music was loud and quite heavy and definitely not the typical music heard at First Baptist Church.

What made this gig a lasting memory was the response at the end of the show. People were coming up to us and saying things like, “Wow, you guys are the best band I have ever heard!” “That was

The Friendlys  L to R  Marty Durlam, Stephen Pether, Tim Bisagno, & Mark Holmes

The Friendlys L to R Marty Durlam, Stephen Pether, Tim Bisagno, & Mark Holmes

awesome; you are going to make it so big!” “Can’t wait for you to put an album out!”

Mark and I were taken by surprise by this incredible encouragement (but of course didn’t believe a word of it). However, it was still super exciting to hear and super encouraging.

I remember thinking that maybe this is why Americans do so well at everything they set their minds and hands to. Maybe it’s inbred in them to be each other’s cheerleaders and to inspire each other to go bigger and do better and to constantly praise successes no matter how small.  We left that gig that evening thinking we could do anything and go anywhere, that this band could actually conquer the world for Jesus.

This memory has never left me, and as much as I can I have tried to be like those Texans that night. One of my dear friends is a natural cheerleader. To her everyone is amazing, looks fantastic and is brilliant at all they do. It has been a true blessing to be on the receiving end of that sort of friendship.

 Jesus said;

And as you would like and desire that men would do to you, do exactly so to them.

Luke 6:31 (Amplified Bible)

We all want to be told; you’re are doing a great job, or that painting you did was beautiful, that song you sang was amazing, that university paper you got a B in was a fantastic effort or that outfit you just bought is stunning.

No one wants to hear; that painting has too many dark colours, you sang a bit out of key, an A would have been better, or that shirt is too bright.

I have learnt there is incredible lifegiving power in our words and when we speak them into others’ lives we actually have the ability to make or break a person.

As the bible says,

“Words kill, words give life.
They’re poison or fruit – you choose.”
Proverbs 18:21 (The Message)

Isn’t that the truth!

My parents in law, David and Val, have just spent three months in Austin Texas staying with Mark’s brother and his family. One day David was talking to a neighbour about his future plans and he said to David without any pride and very matter of fact that he was studying so one day he could become President.

David said what impressed him about this statement was he actually believed he could. This young man had been brought up to believe he could do anything he had set his mind to. He had been encouraged to aim for his dreams.

This blog and my book (which is in the process of being edited) are acts of obedience to what I believe God has asked of me, but I can tell you now they would not have even got started without the constant encouragement of friends and family who kept saying that I could do it and that I did have something to share with the world.

Being a cheer leader and an encourager does not come naturally to this Kiwi girl, but the more I have practiced it the better I have become at it and the more natural it has become. Also the bonus of encouraging people comes when I see their faces light up.

Bonnie at Cheerleading Champs.

Bonnie at Cheerleading Champs.

I want to be the mum who tells her girls they are amazing and can do anything they want. I want to be the friend who says, ‘you look gorgeous’. I want to be the church member who tells the pastor their message was great or tells the youth pastor they are doing a great job. I want to encourage family, friends, and even acquaintances to go for their dreams, and to make life happen.

Let’s all follow Jesus’ suggestion and “Do to others as you would like them to do to you.”But let’s do it with our words because all of us really do want to be encouraged and praised.

And maybe, just maybe, that word of encouragement or praise will spur another on to be obedient to what God has asked of them.  How awesome to give someone that much needed boost to take a step towards their dream and purpose.

Immeasurable Worth


So this past Saturday night I was all alone, which I actually do like on occasion because it means that I can watch any movie I want.  There was a DVD sitting on the shelf that I hadn’t seen starring Kate Hudson, who I think is great.  So I made myself a huge bowl of popcorn and sat down to watch ‘A little bit of Heaven.’  Little did I know the movie was about a young woman, Marley, diagnosed with bowel cancer, and how she and her friends and family processed the diagnosis and the illness as it progressed.

Yes, a complete tear jerker which I figured out early on and desperately went on a hunt for a box of tissues, coming back to the couch with a roll of toilet paper, no fancy tissues to be found.  Extremely glad I was alone I sat there and sobbed as I watched a movie with the emotions, feelings and reality I too have experienced.

But the thing that moved me the most was how much Marley mattered to her mum, her dad, her friends and her boyfriend.  She was so incredibly important to each of them in special and different ways.  Not only was she not coping well with cancer and its treatment, but neither were the people around her who loved her so very dearly.

Why?  Because Marley was precious to them.  There wasn’t and isn’t ever going to be another Marley.  She was unique, she was individual and she was special.  She was so very important to each of her family and friends because she was completely irreplaceable.

Mark telling one of his 'funny' stories.  We so miss his laugh.

Mark telling one of his ‘funny’ stories. We so miss his laugh.

I know exactly how they felt having lost my husband to cancer.  Mark is irreplaceable.  He was special, unique, and precious, and all of us, family and friends, love and miss him because of the unique relationships we had with him.

Just recently I read Philip Yancey’s new book, The question that never goes away. What is God up to in a world of such tragedy and pain?” (Excellent read!)

In it he writes this, referring to the Sunny Hook School tragedy that took place on the 14 December 2012.

‘I’ve seen demonstrated a deep belief that the people who died mattered, that something of inestimable worth was snuffed out on 14 December. In the midst of trauma even a sternly secular culture recognises the worth of individual human beings, a carryover from the Christian belief that each one reflects God’s image.  I recalled that after 11 September 2001, the New York Times committed to running an obituary to honour each one of the three thousand people who died in the World Trade Center attacks, as if they mattered and were not cosmic accidents in a universe of pitiless indifference.’

I love how he says that each person is of ‘inestimable worth’.  Because isn’t that the truth!

God tells us exactly the same thing in his word, the Bible, about how valuable we are to him…

You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body and knit me together in my mother’s womb. Thank you for making me so wonderfully complex!Your workmanship is marvellous—how well I know it…

You saw me before I was born. Every day of my life was recorded in your book.Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

How precious are your thoughts about me, O God. They cannot be numbered!

I can’t even count them; they outnumber the grains of sand!

Psalm 139:13-18 (NLT)

And when Jesus was on earth he said this;

And the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.

Luke 12:7 (NLT)



How amazing that Almighty God values us so much, that something as trivial as our hair being numbered is of significance to Him.

How mind blowing that we are so precious to Him that we are always in his thoughts.  

And how crucial for us to know that we are not some cosmic accident, but every one of us is created with love as a one of a kind masterpiece.

I am challenged from this time on to remember every person I come in contact with, whether family and friends that I love, or people I meet at work or even people behind the checkouts in stores, are special, unique and irreplaceable.

Precious cousins

Precious cousins

I am challenged to let my family and friends know that they are loved and special to me.  And I am challenged to treat each and every person with the love and respect that something of such inestimable worth and value deserves.

Body and soul, I am marvellously made! Psalm 139:14 (The Message)

So God created man in His own image, in the image and likeness of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Genesis 1:27 Amplified Bible (AMP)