Unlearning is Growing.

Two entirely different walks of life... intersected and on the same journey...which walk has the greater potential to grow?

Andrew and I love to debate. This was our most recent debate. (Quite loud and heated I might add.) We were debating which of us has the greater potential to grow in our journey here at Hillsong College.  How we got on this debate... I'll never know (seriously). Here were some of our conclusions:

Experience teaches you things. You learn from good experiences and you learn from bad experiences:

You see,  Andrew comes to the table with far more life experience than me. (He has a whole 6 years on me!) He has had time to form ideas and lay foundations while experiencing the world and it’s great roller coaster of excitements and disappointments. 

Admittedly some of his ideas and foundations were forged by hurt and framed by wisdom. Many were shaped by the bible while a great majority were formed by experiences in his life.

It's almost a bit of a cycle: live life, experience things, learn from your experience and form foundations around what you learn.


Foundations are what you stand on. It’s the basis on which you live your life. 

I have had six less years to build up to everything Andrew has accumulated so far. I have a lot of foundations to lay.  I get to learn heaps by being here (in Australia).  I get to build foundations straight from the bible, sometimes skipping over the experience step. There definitely are experiences for me to learn from, but I'm in school where I'm learning at a faster rate than my experiences are teaching me. I am getting to align things to the word and spirit of God. 

What I do perceive is more life experience = more pre-laid foundation.

Acquiring new knowledge, setting new foundations, forming new ideas… learning causes us to grow. But, something else that causes you to grow (besides age, genetics and eating) is unlearning. Unlearning? yes. Unlearning. 

There is something that needs to be nailed to the inside of every heart: your experiences cannot hinder your growth. You may just have to do a bit of unlearning. What I mean by this is: in every experience you learn. Yet sometimes, in life, the things we learn aren’t always the kinds of things that we should build our ‘houses’ on. 

We must first unlearn the ‘sand’  foundations to learn the ‘rock’ foundations.

It can be painful at times. It requires self awareness, humility and wisdom to admit what is truly ‘sand’ and what is truly ‘rock’. But, God is pretty cool about helping you sort that out. If you let him, of course. The longer you stay stubbornly on the sand… the more painful it is to unlearn. 

Something we need erased from our hearts is the idea that unlearning things is a bad thing. Because I think it's quite the contrary, I think it's a necessary thing.


Oswald Chambers says it like this:

"It is not true to say that God wants to teach us something in our trials. Through every cloud (trial) He brings our way, He wants us to unlearn something. His purpose in using the cloud (trial) is to simplify our beliefs until our relationship with Him is exactly like that of a child— a relationship simply between God and our own soul... Is our relationship with God becoming more simple than it has ever been?"

This thought has sat with me for a few years now… I really believe God has a mission of helping us unlearn in order to grow a better understanding of Him. Seems contradictory? Redundant? It isn't. It is not necessarily about emptying a cup to fill the same one up again...

It is about getting rid of sandy foundations that we have picked up through experience that are unaligned to God’s word. It is about building houses on foundations made from rock. It is about getting to grow in a relationship with God, to the point where it is exactly as simple as that of a child. And he said: "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:3)

So, Andrew and I are both on a journey of learning and unlearning - growing at the same rate. To unlearn is to grow and to learn is to grow. One just has to be mindful of what God may be teaching you. 

Ps: In our debate we eventually pulled out markers and drew it out. Good debaters make good couples, am I right? :) 


There's many things I miss from back home. And honestly, the more I think about them the more I miss them and the more I wish I was around them again. But, much like I said in my last post, God's plans will sometimes call for you to step into what's unfamiliar and where the wind blows in the opposite direction. 


But the wind doesn't always have to be something that's in opposition to us. I'd even go as far to say that often times, we victimize ourselves to what opposes us. And it's not because we like to play victim but rather we are afraid of the mystery and unknown of where the wind may lead us.


If we'd simply change our direction, we could see that the very thing that we believe is opposing us is actually guiding and getting us to where we need to be.



This is Kyle. And before I moved to Sydney, I lived and worked with this fine fellow.


While I was off running around with a camera and leading an amazing team of volunteers, Kyle was directing, teaching, and pastoring a group of young, enthusiastic hearts. While learning all they could about ministry and serving the local church, the transformation that took place within their lives could be seen even in their posture and the way they carried themselves.


I saw several intakes make their way through the program and each time, I can honestly say, the individuals that I met at the beginning of the internship were not the same individuals I would've come to know by the end of it. And at each season's conclusion, we'd all be pointing to Jesus, giving Him all the credit.



So why the heck am I writing this? Well, one, because I wanted to show some video work I had done while I was on staff at The Father's House. You'll see those below.


But the real goal of this post is to say:

It's time to turn with the wind instead of pushing your way through it.


God surely knows what He's doing when He calls you to go somewhere or to do something. I can speak that from experience I've gone through and that I'm going through now.


So maybe MessageMakers is that next thing for you. Check out http://messagemakers.tv for this next season's dates and all the information you'll need to sign up. And if you're more of a visual person, check out this promo I did for the program a few months back.


And help us celebrate the MessageMakers in this video who just finished their program this past week. Congrats you guys!


Much love,


Guest Post: What on Earth am I doing here?

This is a post from our friend, Andrew. He too made the great trip across the seas to be in Australia and attend Hillsong College. From riding on the airplane to roaming the city for kangaroo pizza, we have loved getting to do this journey with him. He's a realist (sees things like it is), bookworm, guacamole making king and he has a heart after the things of God. We love him and we love his perspective. We think you'll like it. 

"The teacher has called you here. If he had of been able to do what he wanted to do in you there he wouldn't have called you here.  He's looking to see if he has your attention, your obedience, your love and your worship.  It's never been about you, it's always been about him." - Robert Fergusson


Greetings to everyone from my back porch here in the suburbs of Sydney!  The sun is shining, the sky is blue, it feels like a beautiful fall day.  It's hard to believe it's been a month already and that this is the longest I have ever been outside of the Rochester area (we won't count the time I lived in Ohio as a baby/toddler)  


Many friends have asked me how everything has been going and if the school is what I expected.  To be honest, I'm not sure what I expected.  I was definitely excited and nervous, and unsure of what to expect from school.  There have definitely been some surprises and most of them have been good!  


I am living with 4 other guys, one being Andrew (we're sharing a room).  We're living in a full house in the suburbs and are about a 45-60 minute walk from school.  Public transportation has been an adventure depending on the time of day or day of the week.  A one hour ride home from the city turned into a two and half hour ride home the first weekend that I was here... that won't happen again.  Honestly, most of the time I don't feel like I am 10,000 miles away having the luxury to see familiar faces from home and living in suburbia.  Andrew and Chloé have done an amazing job of making our guys house feel like home.  They worked tirelessly on our living room to make it a place that people want to sit in.  Having the opportunity to get to know them and do this journey with them has been incredible.  Our back porch is the best part of our house which will be a great place to host people once summer arrives.  I'm still believing for a grill which will make the porch complete and my cooking life significantly better!


Sydney is a gorgeous city with many beautiful views depending on where you are.  Darling Harbour is easily one, if not the most beautiful harbor in the world, the ferry ride to the northern beaches is incredible and I definitely have to pinch myself on some of the sunrise/sunset views on the ocean.  Spending time with my sister has been great.  This is the most time we have spent together over the last 6 years.  Hard to believe!  Last week we ran the City to Surf which is 14km run from the city to Bondi Beach.  It's the largest fun run in the world with somewhere around 87,000 runners.  Having the opportunity to do life with my great friends Sam and Bekah during this season has been great too.  I love you guys!  The three of them have made the transition so much easier.


School has been great so far.  We have had the blessing of being taught by some incredible teachers and hear some incredible messages in chapel.  If I could only take one thing from here and implement it back home it would be the atmosphere of honor.  Honor is instilled in everything Hillsong does.  Between the honor they give to each other, guests, and to the Word is incredible.  It pours out of everything they do.


One of the most common questions I get asked on a daily basis is: What are you planning on doing after school?  I can honestly say I have no idea and for the first time in my life I am alright with that.  These last 8 months since I started the application process has been quite the journey of trust.  I know God is going to continue to stretch and pull things out of me over this next year.  As Robert Fergusson said "The Teacher has called me here." and now that I'm out of the boat I plan on keeping my eyes fixed on Him.


Miss you all and hope to see you soon,


Andrew Hempfling