“When it comes to sex, a lot of young guys and girls think that god is a ‘big prude’, but in reality that’s just not the case.” winter_july 2014 volume sixty-one # two | free www.christianwomanmag.com
IS CHANGING THE CONVERSATION OF OUR YOUTH
OLD WIVES TALES OR FAITH IN JESUS?
FLYING ANYTHING BLIND FLYING CAN HAPPEN
BLINDTHE ‘GOD’ DREAM AWAKENING
LESSONS LEARNED FROM JOHN F. KENNEDY JR.
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CW contents: winter | 2014 07 Editor’s Letter 08 Flying Blind Lessons learned from John F. Kennedy Jr. How knowing your ‘instrument panel’ can save your life...Corallie Buchanan 12 Jewels for a Crown Darlene Houser Beeler encourages us to use the beautiful God given talent within to be a blessing to those around us... 16 COVER STORY: Sabrina Peters We talk to Sabrina about her experiences of being a youth pastor, sex and religion, love of Jesus and hopes and dreams for the future.Genevieve Smith... 20 How a quiet heart may not be the key to hearing God’s voice God spoke to me via a text message. Seriously.Tania Harris...
22 Anything Can Happen No matter what season you are currently in, Natalie Box encourages you to awaken your God-given dream... 24 Glimpse of the Garden Brenda Shipman uncovers God’s regard for order by going back to the Garden of Eden... 28 Old wives tales or faith in Jesus? What values and beliefs is your life based upon? Cherie Freedman discusses...
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4 Christian Woman Winter 2014
Correspondence New Zealand PO Box 47212, Ponsonby, Auckland 1144, New Zealand Unless otherwise specified, all Scripture quotations are from the New International Version, copyright-1973, 1978, 1984, International Bible Society. No part of this publication may be reproduced in whole or part, without prior written permission. Opinions expressed in this magazine do not necessarily reflect those of the staff. All attempts are made to verify advertising material, and no responsibilty is taken for misleading or erroneous material. Due to spam issues, all email addresses have been removed from our publishers section. Copyright 2014. www.inititatemedia.net
The New Face of Modern Missions Having a heart for people in need is second nature to Kayla Hanna. ‘Growing up, my family used to help out in a local soup kitchen and I saw how tough life could be for many people often without any warning or fault of their own. As a young person seeing these things, it changes you.” It was an early experience that meant Kayla was never going to sit behind a desk pushing a pen or tied to a computer.
“You only get one life – I really want mine to count.” “I want to make a difference; there is such a big world in need and I knew I was going to play my part in helping in some way.” “You only get one life – I really want mine to count. I don’t need to be famous, but I do need to be true to what I feel God has called me too. This is the only way for me to leave my mark.” It’s a great attitude. And while other young people of her age are dreaming of the big cities, bright lights and glitzy shopping strips, Kayla finds herself flying to Nepal and living in the desperate poverty of Nepalese orphanages.
“I look into these faces and I see bright eyed hope; in spite of their total poverty…” You can’t help but be moved by her passion. “I look into these faces and I see bright eyed hope; in spite of their total poverty and broken family circumstances, God still desires a future and a hope for them. In a small way I believe my mission is to help bring change.” Kayla’s visit to Nepal saw her working in a team that was bringing vital water, building construction and food supplies to orphaned
children she calls, ‘her kids.’ And when she is at home, alongside her Social Science studies majoring in human services and development, her focus are on fundraising to keep the supply of resources going. “I love combining my study with my practical field experience. There are some really big problems on the ground in that village – it really helps to be able to explore these strategic challenges being faced by this developing community both in the classroom and in the real world. I love how my lecturers at CHC encourage this type of real world learning. I am able to test what I learn in our field strategy meetings and it gives my learning such a motivating focus.” At Christian Heritage College, students are encouraged to engage in this type of discovery. According to Dr Johan Roux, Dean of Social Sciences for CHC, students come to both the undergraduate and postgraduate courses at different stages in their ministry development. “Not all are mission ready; but many realise that God has something important for them to do in the areas of compassionate care or social justice and want to prepare their minds, hearts and faith for the road ahead.”
These new wave of missional practitioners need to be personally equipped. And although young missionaries like Kayla are called and compelled to accept the spiritual challenge of Jesus’ Great Commission, in the physical world they are engaging in a complex and often daunting personal challenge. “Taking the Good News of Jesus to a broken and hurting world requires a deeper understanding of the cultural, physical and spiritual barriers that stand in the way. These new wave of missional practitioners need to be personally equipped by developing strong convictions in their Christian worldview, robust personal character and real world ministry and
professional knowledge and skills. It is probably this distinctive that makes CHC such a strongly preferred tertiary study option for students, not just in the world of Social Sciences, but across Education, Business and Ministry disciplines,’ say Dr Roux. For almost 30 years, CHC has been providing fully accredited tertiary course options and producing graduates who have pursued their calling as primary or secondary teachers, social workers, counsellors, pastors, youth workers, business entrepreneurs, accountants, marketers, missionaries and chaplains in all corners of the globe. Undergraduate and postgraduate options across most disciplines, as well as on campus, part time and external study options, allows each student the course and study model that best suits their stage in life. FEE-HELP and HECS-HELP are also available; making CHC accessible for all eligible students. At CHC, we will help you integrate transformative personal faith development with global standards of scholarship and professional best practice.
Equip yourself to tackle the mission God has called you to. For more information on how you can invest more deeply into your life and ministry, contact CHC on 07 3347 7900 or visit www.chc.edu.au.
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6 Christian Woman Winter 2014
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Snuggle up, keep warm and stay blessed! Editor
N O W BO O K
Welcome to the Winter issue of Christian Woman magazine. Often when ‘change’ arrives it is uncomfortable. We want to throw the doona over our head and hibernate until it’s over. Luke 5:37 is such an encouragment for those facing change. God is continually moving and wanting to pour fresh oil into our lives but if we stay the ‘same’ and don’t provide him with new vessels each day then that beautiful fresh oil will spill out and be lost. We do not know what is around the corner but the gentle voice of the Holy Spirit is calling us forward. Onward and upward to new levels, to new heights and unknown places in Him. Embrace the change! Be the change in your local community and have everlasting faith that He who begun a beautiful and miraculous work in you will see it through to the end. In this issue of Christian Woman we talk to Sabrina Peters about her experiences of being a youth pastor, sex and religion, love of Jesus and hopes and dreams for the future. Sabrina is an author, speaker, pastor and mother and her story will surely inspire you (page 16). Another amazing pastor is Tania Harris who has discovered that God can speak to you through text messages. This is a fantastic article about hearing the voice of God and being open to all sorts of ways in which He does speak to us (page 20). Brenda Shipman also offers practical advice on the ‘order’ of our world and God’s regard for order. If you’re constantly searching for your keys, purse, handbag, homework sheet that was due in last week, then this article is meant for you! Her tips will certainly assist in keeping you organised and efficient so you can be effective in whatever God has called you to do (page 24). Each issue of Christian Woman comes to you from a team of incredible writers from all across the globe and we pray that you find encouragement and inspiration from these pages. Please share your copy with friends and family and don’t forget to leave us at your doctors surgery - you never know who may pick it up and find Christ from these very pages.
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FLYING BLIND A LESSON FROM JOHN F. KENNEDY JR. by CORALLIE BUCHANAN
8 Christian Woman Winter 2014
n the day of July 16th, 1999, John F. Kennedy, Jr. was killed when the light aircraft he was flying crashed into the Atlantic Ocean off the Massachusetts coast. His wife and sister-in-law were also amongst those who were killed. It was a terrible tragedy that was broadcast both nationally and internationally, and left many people wondering what happened. After intense investigation by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), it was concluded that the crash was caused by “the pilot’s failure to maintain control of his airplane during a descent over water at night, which was a result of spatial disorientation.” The hazy conditions that existed on the night of the crash were the major contributor to the crash. Other pilots flying that night reported similar conditions. The thick fog meant that pilots were unable to establish a visual horizon, therefore
making it virtually impossible to know up from down. It is a miracle that there were no more fatal crashes that night. Spatial disorientation is defined as “the inability of a person to correctly determine his body position in space.”1 This phenomenon can occur both in the air, and on the ground. It is typically a temporary state that people experience when their vision is obstructed by either weather conditions, chemical/physical influences (blindfolding), or an accident causing loss of sight. It is a condition in which the person’s perception of reality does not agree with actual reality. This is where the pilot’s instrument panel comes into play. It is here that the pilot can see the cold, hard facts about their plane’s stats. What direction am I facing? What altitude am I at? What other planes are around that might be a threat to this plane? How do I get to safety? Without this vital piece of 1 Source: Spatial Disorientation, Wikipedia.
equipment, he or she will have no way of knowing where their plane is travelling. Without a point of reference to guide them, the pilot quickly (and dangerously) becomes trapped in a web of panic based manouvers; a state that will ultimately lead to their death. Instrument flying is when your mind gets a grip on the fact that there is vision beyond sight. -- U.S. Navy ‘Approach’ magazine circa W.W.II. It appears John F. Kennedy Jr. had his own plan. He thought he knew what he was doing. Whether he consulted his instrument panel or not, we will never know. But if he had, he might have noticed that everything was not okay. Had he found the right answers in time, he might have saved his life and that of his family. Life can sometimes feel like we are flying blind. On the outside it can look
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Yet when hard things come our way, we seem to forget everything we know about God. We ignore our inner instrument panel and just focus on the storm outside.
and feel like we have it all together, like we know where we are going. But if we just stop to look at our inner instrument panel, we might find ourselves going in a completely different direction. This kind of disorientation is exhausting! As human beings, we like to know that we are in control. We feel much more at peace if we can see where we are going. A goal, a plan, a direction. They’re all key elements to our feeling personally secure. Or are they? Just when we think we know where we are going, life throws a spanner in the works. Much like the pilot who encountered the thick fog, we can find ourselves in a situation where we have no idea what to do. Something happens that causes us to lose our orientation. Suddenly everything is not so clear. Maybe it is cancer, or a death in the family. Maybe it is a failed relationship, or some other personal trial we were not expecting. Whatever it is, it leaves us questioning our faith in God. How could God allow this to happen to me? What could I possibly have done to deserve this? Why did God allow this fog to come over my life? In that moment, we lose our focus.
What happened to our inner guidance system, the one that reminds us who God is? What do we know is true, deep in our hearts? Isn’t it funny how when life is going well, we have no trouble believing in God and His promises. Yet when hard things come our way, we seem to forget everything we know about God. We ignore our inner instrument panel and just focus on the storm outside. Maybe this is what John F. Kennedy Jr. did. Self-pity is a terrible distraction. Instead of focusing on the instrument panel that was available to him, he panicked. He forgot about everything he knew to be true, and tried to fly on his own merits. We can see how successful that endeavour was! Flying blind only works when we rely on the instrument panel of our plane. Getting through life is only possible when we rely on God’s guidance in our lives, in both the good times and the bad. Think of the missionary who set out with all intentions to bring the name of Christ to the world, only to get there and discover that nobody wanted to hear about it. The hard conditions, the loneliness, and the despair in realising that your plans have come to nothing…
they all have a purpose. It causes us to ask ourselves, am I relying on my own plans to see me through life? Am I flying my life’s plane based on my vision alone? Have I consulted my inner instrument panel to see whether this is really what God would have me to do? And when we look at the instrument panel and discover that the direction we are travelling is not what we thought, what do we do then? Do we adjust our course so that we are in line with our instrument panel? Or do we take over control of the aircraft, thinking that we are capable of flying this plane on our own? This choice is crucial. It can mean the difference between life and death. Are you going to choose to be guided by God, or your own intuition? The decision is yours. Be aware though, that the choices you make now can impact the rest of your life. And as you learn to fly by God’s guidance, may He bless you abundantly over what you would ever expect! CW
Full time mother and author, Corallie Buchanan, is a woman who writes from her heart. Sharing God’s message of love and forgiveness, and mentoring other young writers is her passion. Corallie enjoys gardening, reading, and spending time with her family. Corallie is also the author of Watch Out! Godly Women on the Loose; a book which won her the award of Young Australian Christian Writer of the Year in 2007. She has a Bachelor’s Degree in Behavioural Studies from the University of Queensland, and a Master’s Degree in Divinity from Malyon Baptist Theological College. She lives her with husband and daughter in Brisbane, Australia.
10 Christian Woman Winter 2014
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Do you work motivated by love? DARLENE HOUSER BEELER encourages us to use the beautiful God given talent within to be a blessing to those around us...
I just have to go to heaven! My mama will need my help to carry her crown! Gina Bailey Ladies, if you are what I call ‘clever and crafty’, then you like to gather and collect all kinds of odds and ends and doo-dads that can be used to create unique, beautiful, handmade things. You save and cherish bits and pieces of mementos of your life and the lives of those you love. You make beautiful quilts or other items. you create those perfect custom cards for your friends and family. You are the type whose favorite past time is sewing, creating keepsakes, scrapbooking, making custom photo albums, and coming up with unique ideas for birthday parties. No special occasion goes unnoticed and your friends and family probably can’t wait to see what new thing you come up with next. And every gift you give is usually wrapped in such a beautiful way that people hate to tear it open! There are several talented ladies in our congregation that create beautiful thoughtful gifts, make custom designed cards, make quilts, and costumes for VBS. There are ladies with artistic abilities to come up with creative ways to design bulletins boards, special signs for special occasions like Secret Sisters and make their own visual aids for teaching children’s classes. That is certainly using your talents to serve God and the church as well as family and friends. The time and labor to plan and put together ideas and create are a statement of love and show your desire to create a special gift or make a day memorable 12 Christian Woman Winter 2014
JEWELS FOR A CROWN
As God’s children we are to be thoughtful and watchful and aware of the needs of others so that we may serve others with love and do unto others as if we are doing these deeds for Christ.
for someone special. This is work motivated by a lot of love. There is no desire to please nor an expression of love if you do a task with the attitude of “just get it done” or stop when it is “good enough”. Work that is motivated by love, work that uses your God-given talents is a blessing for the receiver as well as for the gift giver. It’s all about the details and getting it “just right” and hoping the recipient will be pleased. It’s looking for that expression of joy and surprise! It’s having all the guys hover over your pie at the potluck because they’ve tasted the love in your pie before! We are told to use our talents for Christ and we should love and encourage each other. Those who love the Lord are encouraged to work and not grow weary. As God’s children we are to be thoughtful and watchful and aware of the needs of others so that we may serve others with love and do unto others as if we are doing these deeds for Christ. We are to put our love to work and create special moments for all whom we come in contact with. Our very lives should be defined ‘as a labor of love’. Hebrews 6:10-12 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them. We want each of you to show this same diligence to the very end, in order to make your hope sure. We do not want you to become lazy, but to imitate those who through faith and patience inherit what has been promised. Our reward for all the love we give and the loving service we give on this earth is a home in heaven for all eternity. We will be honored and treated as royalty, as sons and daughters of God. We will be as the angels in heaven and we will never be in a state of need or want again. God promised his children a life eternal without any pain or sorrow of any kind. He also promised us a beautiful home that he is making for us right now. He promised us a crown in heaven. James 1:12, 2Timothy 4:79. It will never tarnish and will last for all eternity. We don’t have to be creative or artistic to make our own crown because our work will be over. Our Lord will make it for us and give us everything new. He will give us a new body, He will clothe us and adorn us and give us a crown! It will all be lovingly made by the same great artist that created this world and each of us. It will be a gift of love from the hands of the great creator, God. Isaiah 61:10 The more we use the talents God gave us to serve Him in this life, the more we focus our mind and heart on heavenly things and we lay up for ourselves treasures in heaven… Not because we can work hard enough to deserve or earn a crown but the Bible tells us our growing love, our sacrificial and steadfast living and loving and giving will gain us a crown. Matthew 6:19-21 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. We need to labor with love in the service of the Lord. 2 Timothy Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 13
jewel of courage like Esther had.
4:7-9 I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing. I Peter 1: 18-19 says we are redeemed with the precious blood of Christ. As the beloved children of God, washed in the blood of Christ we gain our crown and our inheritance. We must first have the crown of redemption before we can talk about jewels for the crown. Five crowns are identified: the Everlasting Crown (Victory) in 1 Cor 9:25, Crown of the Soul Winner in Phil 4:1 and 1 Thes 2:19, Crown of Righteousness in 2 Tim 4:8, Crown of Life in Jas 1:12 and Rev 2:10, and the Crown of Glory in 1 Peter 5:3-5. Let’s look at some of the most precious treasures spoken of in the Bible and see if we can gather some of these as jewels for our crown. 1 Corinthians 9:23-25 Speaks of living the Christian life as running a race and says we must run to the end, we must finish the race to receive the prize of an incorruptible crown. Let’s strive to add the jewel of steadfastness to our crown. I Peter 1 is subtitled as A Living Hope and Sure Salvation. Vs 6-7 tells us our living hope and sure salvation in time of trial is more precious than gold. Let’s adorn our crown with the jewel of living hope and rest assured in our salvation, especially in times of trial. I Peter 3 is subtitled as Godly Living and is a wonderful chapter of how we should live as godly women. Vs 4 tells us what is precious to the lord. Let’s
14 Christian Woman Winter 2014
have the jewel of a gentle and quiet spirit in our crown. Isaiah 33:6 God is our stability, a wealth of salvation, wisdom and knowledge and the fear of the lord is his treasure. Everyone should fear the God of all who is able to destroy both body and soul in hell. Let’s certainly have the jewel of fear, which also includes reverence and respect, as a child should have for their father. Luke 2:18-20, 50-52 Mary, the mother of Jesus walked with him all the days of his life and knelt at his feet as he died. She saw many things that he did as her son and as her savior. She knew, she believed, she loved and she marveled at all He did and at Him. The Bible says she treasured all these things in her heart. Let’s marvel at Christ and treasure all the things we learn about Him and all that we experience as Christians and keep them in our heart as the jewel of adoration to wear on our crown. Proverbs 31 is a chapter well-known as it describes the loving character and labors of a virtuous woman, a woman whose life has a purpose and a center, a godly woman. A woman who is strong, trustworthy and honorable. She is a blessing to all members of her family and those in the community who know her. There are many qualities listed there to aspire to that can be summed up in the most highly desired jewels that combine to become the jewel of noble character. Esther 4:12-16 Esther was so much more than a beautiful woman. She had courage to stand up in the face of fear and risked her life to protect others. Let’s adorn our crown with the fiery
Esther 1:10-12 , I Corinthians 6:18-20, I Peter 3:2 We need to be seen as chaste, respectful and modest like Queen Vashti and give respect and honor to the body that God gave us. Our body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and we need to have the jewel of modesty in our crown. Colossians 2:2-5 speaks of the full riches of complete understanding and knowing Christ. In Christ are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and understanding. Let’s prayerfully study God’s word so we can add the jewels of wisdom and understanding to our crown. At the end of time, time itself will end. We will enter into eternity…a time without time, a never ending world of beauty and peace and joy. We have so much to look forward to!! We have John’s writings of heaven’s streets of gold and pearly gates which gives us the assurance of heaven being a most amazing and beautiful place but I am even more thrilled when I read 1 Corinthians 2:9 However, as it is written: “No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him” Malachi 3:16-18 Then they that feared the LORD spake often one to another: and the LORD hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the LORD, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the LORD of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him. Then shall ye return, and discern between the righteous and the wicked, between him that serveth God and him that serveth him not. Zechariah 9:16 The LORD their God will save them on that day as the flock of his people. They will sparkle in his land like jewels in a crown. Proverbs 12:4 4A virtuous woman is a crown to her husband: but she that maketh ashamed is as rottenness in his bones. Philippians 4:1 [ Think of Excellence ] Therefore, my beloved brethren whom I long to see, my joy
and crown, in this way stand firm in the Lord, my beloved. 1 Thessalonians 2:19 For who is our hope or joy or crown of exultation? Is it not even you, in the presence of our Lord Jesus at His coming? This study has taught me that we each need to cultivate Christian attitudes and qualities in our lives and do what we can to teach and instill in the younger ladies the desire to acquire the same. Because, my sweet sisters, in so doing, WE become the jewels. WE are the crowns of our husbands and parents and families and all who we know. WE should be the jewels today that sparkle brightly for God and light the way for those who seek to know Him. WE will wear the robes so white and the crown so bright and WE will be among the jewels that sparkle for God today and in His land someday.
Beautiful Robes so White Beautiful robes so white, Beautiful land of light, Beautiful home so bright, Where there shall come no night; Beautiful crown I’ll wear, Shining with stars o’er there, Yonder in mansions fair, Gather us there. Beautiful robes, beautiful land, Beautiful home, beautiful band, Beautiful crown, shining so fair, Beautiful mansion bright, Gather us there. Beautiful tho’t to me, We shall forever be Thine in eternity, When from this world we’re free; Free from its toil and care, Heavenly joys to share, Let me cross over there;
This is my pray’r. Beautiful things on high, Over in yonder sky, Thus I shall leave this shore, Counting my treasures o’er; Where we shall never die, Carry me by and by, Never to sorrow more, Heavenly store. CW
Darlene Houser Beeler is a Christian woman raised in the church as daughter to a Church of Christ minister. She is married to an elder of the church with three grown children and eight grandchildren. She loves to search scriptures for topical lessons and enjoy writing scripture-based lessons for Women’s Bible Class.
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16 Christian Woman Winter 2014
SABRINA PETERS Sabrina Peters is co-youth pastor and power woman at REVOLUTION YOUTH – a Christian youth group on the Gold Coast at METRO Church that is completely revolutionising the way young people view religion. We talk to Sabrina about her experiences of being a youth pastor, sex and religion, love of Jesus and hopes and dreams for the future. Story Genevieve Smith Sabrina Peters is nothing short of an inspirational dynamo of a woman. She has published several books - the first being about Sex, God and Love, titled ‘Lady in Waiting’ when she was just 20 years of age. She is also mother to two beautiful, active children under the age of 3, is about to take on a Bachelor of Psychology University Degree and has been a youth pastor to Christian teenagers alongside her hubby Ben for the past 8 years. Did we mention that Sabrina is just 28 years old - although some could confuse her for being a teenager herself with her tiny stature, youthful features, infectious smile and bubbly personality. Sabrina hopes to revolutionize the way the youth of the Gold Coast view religion by allowing them to experience and learn about religion in a refreshing, exciting way. Revolution Youth has created a unique and innovative approach to involve young people in interesting and exciting religious activities and events that is bringing upon a rise of youth church goers, as well as of course teaching them about religion. Friday night has finally rolled around and after a long week of mum and wife duties, work and the daily grind, most women might like to unwind by kicking back to watch a movie with the family, having a BBQ with friends or even just enjoying a nice hot bath to relax. Well, it certainly does sound like a very relaxing way to start your weekend, but for Sabrina Peters, a Friday night is the time of the week for her to preach and praise Lord Jesus Christ at Revolution Youth!
Nearly every Friday for the past eight years you would have found Sabrina at REVOLUTION YOUTH – and she wouldn’t have it any other way! An energetic pop-rock band playing live music on stage, bright beaming lights, and three massive projector screens create the atmosphere. Hoards of young people wave their hands from side to side, swaying to the rhythm of the music and jumping up and down singing along to the lyrics of the catchy beats they hear. Sound very traditional or similar to a normal beginning of a church service? No? We didn’t think so either,
but this is just all part of what Revolution Youth is all about. Revolution Youth has been running for over eight years. It was established when Metro Church launched in March of 2006. Sabrina and her husband Ben have been the youth pastors of Revolution Youth since the day it started. Revolution Youth prides itself on providing a strong and lasting relationship with Jesus. The age consensus for Revolution Youth is 13-18 years, as its main aim is to focus on helping young people get through the ‘twists and turns’ of adolescence the RIGHT way
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“WHEN IT COMES TO SEX, A LOT OF YOUNG GUYS AND GIRLS THINK THAT GOD IS A ‘BIG PRUDE’, BUT IN REALITY THAT’S JUST NOT THE CASE.”
Sabrina with husband Ben, son Lincoln and daughter Liberty
with a helping hand, Christian advice and a listening ear. Every Friday night, Revolution Youth members gather together at Metro Church, located in Southport on the Gold Coast to discuss life, enjoy one another’s company and of course, praise Jesus. Daniel Francis, now 19, attended Revolution Youth for 2 years and has since become a youth leader himself. He says Sabrina and Ben’s amazing work has changed his whole outlook on life and God. “Rev Youth was a place that showed me love and acceptance at times when the rest of the world wouldn’t. Going from part of the youth to a leader in the group, I’ve seen what’s at the heart and core of Rev and the youth pastors Sabrina and Ben. They are both like family to me - no they are family,” Daniel says. “Even when I make the most foolish mistakes, I have no doubt they will still love me and won’t give up on me. The difference they have made in my life has been extraordinary and I would be lost without them. Both Sabrina and Ben are definitely two of my most favourite people in the world.” Revolution Youth’s motto is that “REV is the place to be every Friday night! With lots of wild antics, sweet social nights, practical preaching, friends you’ll have for a lifetime and a real God that changes lives!” There 18 Christian Woman Winter 2014
is no such thing as a ‘standard normal night’ at Revolution Youth because each week there is something a little different on offer with many activities and exciting fun to be had. Right from the welcoming sermon and preaching through to the awesome youth bonding activities afterwards (tribal wars, panel discussions, bowling nights, op-shop and swap to chill and chat nights) Young people are encouraged to partake in spiritual and social activities. Whatever a young person is interested in, Revolution Youth has a massive range of activities which will excite, entertain and teach each and every one that attends. “Over the years Revolution Youth has seen literally hundreds of teenagers come through the doors.” Sabrina explains. “Some really connect into Rev and become the strength and passion of the church, others come in for a season then move cities or churches and some simply take a detour and we don’t see them for a while. Either way we recognize that our job is to preach Jesus, plant the seed and just LOVE them. We will always have open arms and open hearts when they want to come back home.” Sabrina’s latest project she is working on, or ‘baby’ as she refers to it, is in the form of an online website/ blog that she has very recently set up titled ‘The Virgin Diaries’. The content
on this website is exactly what the name suggests, however the topics Sabrina covers go above and beyond - with interesting and teenage-relevant topics such as ‘Kiss and Tell’, ‘Sex Talk’, ‘Soul Food’, ‘Kind Words’ and ‘Call me Maybe’ to name a few. Something in particular that Sabrina has always felt passionately about and strongly stresses to all young people is the ‘controversial’ issue of sex and religion. “WHEN IT COMES TO SEX, A LOT OF YOUNG GUYS AND GIRLS THINK THAT GOD IS A ‘BIG PRUDE’, BUT IN REALITY THAT’S JUST NOT THE CASE.” Sex, God and Love aren’t usually 3 words that we see or hear in the same sentence. But the truth is, sex is one of God’s best inventions! “Who knew, right?” she smiles. “In saying this however, Sex also comes with some very clear guidelines on how to get the most out of it. This is something we all need to remember, especially in today’s overly-promiscuous, ‘hook-up’ culture and society. The fact is, sexual intimacy is only one type of love and the Bible makes it pretty clear that sex was only ever meant to occur between two people within the covenant of marriage. This is because Sex is not about orgasm, it’s about oneness.” (Waru, S. Lady in Waiting, Page 7) Back in Genesis 2 it says “And the
About Metro Church A little history about METRO Church, the church where REVOLUTION YOUTH comes alive…METRO Church is a fresh, enjoyable, irreligious & ultra-relevant Christian Church, first launched on the Gold Coast and recently launched in Toowoomba and the Sunshine Coast. Since launching on the Gold Coast in 2006 and Toowoomba in 2012, METRO Church has seen thousands of lives authentically changed for the better through its dynamic yet very down to Earth expression of Christian faith, hope & love. In 2013 METRO Church recently launched on the Sunshine Coast and now enjoys church in all its contemporary flare & heartfelt Christian commitment as METRO serves this region.
two become one”. Sex is more than something physical, it is meant to bond two people together spiritually and emotionally forever. In saying this, God has a plan for each of us and his love for us is the greatest love the world has ever known. A love that gave it all, that paid the ultimate price when Jesus hung upon a tree and bled for you and me. There is no love that compares. We’re reminded in Proverbs that above everything else, we need to guard our hearts. Why?
Because your heart is the “wellspring of life” (Prov. 4:23 NIV). We must give our hearts entirely to God. It’s off limits to those who wish to have a taste, to sample pieces then walk away. ` The future of REVOLUTION YOUTH looks extremely promising with more and more teenagers around the Gold Coast experiencing the love, acceptance and praise of Jesus that Rev has to offer. Sabrina’s hope for the future is that Revolution Youth continues to
grow and provide young people with the guidance they need and appreciate the blessings brought upon them by God. “Our one most principal desire for the future of Revolution Youth is that it continues to be a place where teenagers always find “hope, value, purpose and family” and where they find the best kind of love that ever existed by meeting and loving Jesus Christ in a real way which changes their lives forever.” CW
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MAY NOT BE THE KEY TO
HEARING GOD’S voice WITH TANIA HARRIS
t is approaching midnight. The freeway is silent apart from the sound of an occasional passing car and the hum of the radio. I press the accelerator down heavily. In spite of my frivolity at dinner, I am not happy. A trail of unfulfilled promises that have piled up like unclaimed baggage in a holding room drag me into a melancholic reverie. When is God going to deliver? Does he have any idea how slow he is? All I keep getting is admonitions to wait patiently and ‘have faith’. Annoyance and frustration simmers as I replay the events of the past few years. Over and over I rehearse the pain of repeated disappointment. Finally my rambling thoughts explode into a verbal tirade that seems to bounce off the windows and echo through the car. 20 Christian Woman Winter 2014
I scream louder. “Why aren’t you doing something? What is going on? And don’t you tell me to have faith again. Answer me!” My words hang heavily in the air. I wonder fleetingly if God is offended by my irreverent ranting or if a sanctified lightning bolt was about to put me out of my misery. A familiar ‹beep beep› from my mobile phone punctuates the silence. I glance at it incredulously. Who would be texting me so late? I press the Enter key and read the bold lettering shouting back at me; “ONLY BELIEVE, ONLY BELIEVE, ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE, ONLY BELIEVE!” It takes a second or two to register. God sent me a text message? “Didn’t I say not to go on about faith
again?” I yell and fling the phone across the back seat. ____ Later that week I found out that a friend had been prompted by God at the precise moment I’d called to send me the message I needed to hear. It was surprising. No, not what he said. That was consistent. Rock-like in his purpose, God wasn’t about to change his mind. And it was not how he said it really. God can use anything. Burning bushes, animated donkeys, angelic visitations or text messages – they are all tools in his hand. Everything in creation can speak (Psalm 19:1-2). No, I was mostly surprised because he answered at all. This was not in
God can use anything. Burning bushes, animated donkeys, angelic visitations or text messages – they are all tools in his hand. Everything in creation can speak... heart and whisper secrets to us. But we need to come to him with vulnerability and honesty, unafraid to share our shameful thoughts and crude emotions, and whether it is via a text message or more conventional methods, he promises to answer all those who call on him. Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know. Jeremiah 33:3 CW Tania Harris is an Aussie pastor, speaker and founder of God Conversations, a ministry that equips people to recognise God’s voice. She is the producer and presenter of The Other Side of the Conversation study series seen on Australian Christian Channel and the author of The Easy Way to Hear God’s Voice available free when you subscribe to the weekly resource blog at godconversations.com. Follow Tania on Facebook or Twitter for podcasts, blogs and videos to help you recognise the voice of God.
Do your finances need an overhaul? Let us help you get your life back on track today an angelic moment singing Holy is the Lord in the euphoria of a pumping church meeting. My prayer was offered in the dark gloom of a faithless mood. God spoke in response to the ugly screeching of an impatient daughter whose faith was tearing and stretching like fingernails drawn across a chalkboard. Perhaps we forget that many of the saints who have gone before us have demonstrated the same openness with God. Think of the rawness of Job’s cries, the spiteful prayers of David and the moaning melodrama of the prophet Jeremiah. Honesty is not a sign of irreverence as much as it is a sign of trust. Vulnerability lies at the heart of intimacy and it is key to hearing God’s voice. I have only ever received one text message from God. He does not always answer me immediately or in such spectacular ways. But one thing is sure: He is a god who speaks. Like a passionate lover fervently pursuing an intimate relationship, he longs to open up his
For over 13 years, Crown Financial Ministries has been helping Australian Christians get their finances in order. Crown specialises in providing easy-to-use resources that reveal God’s way of doing finances, with particular emphasis on saving, investing and becoming debt-free. The very affordable resources include DVDs, textbooks, study guides and a free website budget monitor. So don’t stress about your money worries any longer. Learn the path to true financial freedom by contacting Crown today.
Visit: www.crown.org.au | Email: email@example.com Telephone: 1300 132 783 Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 21
No matter what season you are currently in, NATALIE BOX encourages you to awaken your God-given dream today...
ime is such a funny thing, don’t you think? Do you ever feel like it changes speed? I know obviously it doesn’t, but there are definitely times when I’ve been waiting for something and time just feels like it goes sooo slowly. In those times I feel like just grabbing the remote and pressing the fast forward button! But then there are other moments, those ‘moments’ we love and wish would last forever; that fabulous overseas holiday, that special family dinner where everyone was there together, or that hilarious weekend away with friends where you laughed so much your stomach hurt. It’s in these moments 22 Christian Woman Winter 2014
we want to press pause and make time stop forever. Time is almost too complex for us to comprehend. Probably because the one who designed time and pre-planned our entire existences actually lives outside of time in eternity (Isaiah 57:15 paraphrased). This great and wonderful God, our faithful friend and saviour, the One who sees your life and mine from beginning to end, he stands outside of time and sees our whole life as a masterpiece from beginning to end. When we look back over our lives, we can see each season beginning and ending, and they all make sense.
However, when we’re in the middle of a season, it usually feels like it’s never going to end. But all it takes is one moment for everything to change. In just one moment, literally anything can happen. With one phone call, one email, one conversation, the very thing that seemed like it would never ever happen, can happen. God is working behind the scenes in your life right now. He’s a God of goodness and abundance in one moment he can do anything. Let me ask you a question, are you flourishing right now? Would you say you’re happy and thriving? Or are there areas you’d like to see change? The
What’s your biggest dream? What are you created for? For some of you, that’s an easy question to answer. For others, you may not even know where to begin. Well I pray that even now as you are reading these words, God would begin to stir and awaken things in your heart.
definition of flourish is “to grow vigorously or luxuriantly, to thrive and to do well. It’s to prosper and to be in a period of highest productivity, excellence or influence.” The opposite of flourish, however, is “to decline, wither and die” (The Free Dictionary). Now that sounds pretty full on, but to put it simply, if we’re not flourishing, then we’re falling short of God’s great plan for us. It can often be easy for us to feel stuck, like nothing is ever going to change. But God is always one step ahead of us (thank goodness for that hey!) He knows our hearts and sees every desire, and guess what, he knew you would be reading this article today. He wants to encourage you. He knows exactly what you need and his promise for you is that “he is able to carry out his purpose and do superabundantly, far over and above all that you dare ask or think, infinitely beyond your highest prayers, desires, thoughts, hopes, or dreams.” (Ephesians 3:20 AMP). What’s your biggest dream? What are you created for? For some of you, that’s an easy question to answer. For others, you may not even know where to begin. Well I pray that even now as you are reading these words, God would begin to stir and awaken things in your heart. So how can we stir our faith to believe that anything can actually happen? Here are a few simple ways: 1. Ask God to awaken the dreams in your heart. His promise to you is simple, “ask and you shall receive” (Matthew 7:7 NIV). So as you ask this week, get ready because new things are going to awaken in you. 2. Write down and declare ‘anything can happen’. “Nothing is impossible with God” (Luke 1:37 NIV), so as you write out and begin to declare these three words, you take the limits off God. Your faith stirs his heart and releases his hand to move. 3. Stir your expectation and believe. ‘You get what you expect’. This saying is so true. “Our words have the power to release life or death” (Proverbs 18:21 paraphrased). Did you know God is just waiting on the edge of his seat to surprise you? So declare his goodness and truly expect to receive it today.
has so much goodness in store for us. He doesn’t just want to fulfil our needs; he wants to bless us with our wants too. He’s the best Dad in the world and he wants to spoil us. I love the message translation of Ephesians 3:20. “God can do anything, you know—far more than you could ever imagine or guess or request in your wildest dreams!” So I pray that whatever situation or circumstance you are in right now, you feel encouraged today. I will be praying for you and just remember, in one moment anything can happen. :)
Natalie Box is a writer, blogger and voiceover artist. She’s passionate about encouraging people to dream bigger, believe for the impossible and to walk in all God has created them to be. Visit her blog at www.thewritersink.com.au. Natalie will be heading to New York later this year to finish her book, “Anything Can Happen”.
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4. Take a step. Do something this week to sow a seed toward your dream. It might be sitting down for ten minutes to journal, or going to a café for half an hour to let the creative juices flow. As you step out and do something, God will add his power to it and you just watch what happens. Abundance is God’s normal. We must remember this. He Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 23
BRENDA SHIPMAN uncovers God’s regard for order by going back to the Garden of Eden...
Glimpse of the Garden
Order – A I have a vivid and somewhat disturbing memory of myself as a little girl. I am sitting on the floor of my tiny square walk-in closet, nearly buried in toys, clothes, books, puzzle and game pieces, and every imaginable piece of junk. Mom has emphatically ordered me to Clean up this mess! I remember a dark cloud of discouragement and self-pity settling in around me, This is so unfair! She expects way too much from me. With my usual martyr-like melodrama, I’d slowly pick up one marble and plunk it into my toy box. Sigh. I envisioned long tedious hours of cleaning and organizing ahead – thieves and enemies of my playtime. This scenario popped up quite often throughout my childhood and teen years, despite my mother’s patient exhortations, deadlines, sighs of exasperation, and yes, even tears. Untidy is too kind a word. Disgusting squalor more accurately describes the state in which I kept my 24 Christian Woman Winter 2014
bedroom; and even though I wouldn’t have admitted it back then, I hated it. Underneath all the arguments I had with my mother concerning my “untidiness”, I believe there lay a dormant longing for the order, cleanliness and peaceful environment that Mom kept in the rest of the house. I just didn’t want to do the work required to get there. It does take effort to put, and keep, things in order. However, when we take a closer look at the character of God, the work it takes to bring more order into our lives can be undergird with more joy as we grow in knowledge of our orderly Creator. Order in God’s Character Many years ago God stirred the stagnant waters of my heart with a longing to know Him. He began revealing different aspects of His wondrous nature to me as I studied His word. As an adoring suitor might hold up a brilliant diamond
before the light in order to win over the one he loves, God began wooing me to Himself by unfolding His beauty, love, comfort, peace, joy, justice, holiness, creativity and yes, even His order. The attribute of order intrigued me, probably because it stood in sharp contrast to my own tendency to be a “messy”. I dug deeper to learn more. In the first chapter of Genesis, I read that God created order out of a “formless and void” earth. The account of creation is replete with descriptions of God creating, separating, naming, placing, and setting cycles and seasons in motion. God was organizing! And when He finished, He called it all good and then placed Adam and Eve in the very first home – the Garden of Eden. This place was a picture of perfection, filled to the brim with every attribute of God, including His order. Cacophony, chaos and confusion did not yet exist. We can only imagine the joy that Adam
When we are organized, it is easier to more effectively bless others. How can we write a note of encouragement to someone if we can’t even find the stationery and envelopes?
because that is who God is, and I want to be more like Him. This understanding is what motivates me to clear the clutter, purge the pantry and sort all my stuff.
and Eve experienced while dwelling in such a peaceful refuge. Other places in the Old Testament reveal God’s regard for order: when He formed the multitudes of Israel into a nation; instructed Moses in the building of the tabernacle with detailed plans that resulted in a glorious well-ordered atmosphere for the Israelites to worship God (Exodus); told us to order every step of our daily lives according to His Word so that sin will not have dominion over us (Psalm 119:133); and said to have our houses in order before we die (Isaiah 38:1). I can’t help but think God had order in mind when he said of the Proverbs 31 woman, “She looks well to the ways of her household.” (Prov. 31:27) And what a relief and blessing for us that God’s covenant with His children is “ordered in all things.” (2 Samuel 23:5) Later, in the New Testament, God gave specific instructions for the church, “But all things should be done decently and in order.” (1 Cor. 14:40) Orderliness in the home is listed as a requirement for leadership in the local church. Also, in Matthew 6:33 we see God teaching His disciples how to order their priorities, “But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Many more examples throughout the Bible clarify the fact that God is “not a God of confusion but of peace” (1 Corinthians 14:33), and He wants us to emulate Him in this area of our lives. Why be orderly? For me the answer is simply
Order in Creation One of the many wonderful things I love about God is that He reveals Himself to us through His Word, says Go and be likewise, and then says Here, let me show you what I mean. Take the beaver for example… and shows us through the beautiful vehicle of His creation. What a great teacher! Hugh of Saint Victor said, “All nature expresses God.” Job understood how God speaks through His creation when he said, “But ask the animals, and they will teach you, or the birds of the air, and they will tell you; or speak to the earth, and it will teach you.” (Job 12:7-8) Let’s take a look at one of the most orderly creatures in nature - the beaver. Besides its uncanny ability to organize the construction of large earthen dams, and an underwater home consisting of elaborate tunnels and rooms designed for feeding and sleeping, the beaver practices a surprising level of grooming and cleanliness. God equipped this animal with oil glands that enable the fur to shed water quickly; “louse catching” claws that he uses to rake out harmful parasites and untangle snarls; and a strange habit of sprawling on top of ant hills so the ants can crawl all over the beaver’s fur, searching for and eating bothersome parasites. These are God-given tools and instincts that help the beaver maintain an ‘orderly’ appearance and lifestyle. Of course, we don’t have special claws, but we do have combs and brushes. Neither will we be called upon to build a dam, but we can organize our pantry! Order for the Benefit of Others Webster’s 1828 dictionary states that, “Good order is the foundation of all good things.” Could this principal apply to our relationships as well? When we are organized, it is easier to more effectively bless others. How can we write a note of encouragement to someone if we can’t even find the stationery and envelopes? We will be less likely to have people over for ‘table fellowship’ if the bathroom is a mess and there is no food in the freezer. How can we crochet an afghan or make a baby quilt for some young woman if our needlework supplies are in a jumbled mess? We probably won’t; it’s just too discouraging, and seems too daunting a task. Also, what a blessing it would be for the members of our household to seldom have to search for scissors, tape, envelopes, etc.! Having a place for everything and everything in its place not only makes our lives easier, saving time and frustration, but it also shows consideration for those around us. Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 25
TINY STEPS TOWARD ORDER
It is a living out of Philippians 2:3, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves; do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.” Order and Depression I have come to see, through my own personal struggles with depression, that disorder contributes to feelings of discouragement. The reverse can also be true. Depression may lead us to such a state of weariness that we just do not have the energy it takes to organize. While going through a particularly difficult time in my life, I remember feeling so overwhelmed with grief that I simply did not care about the house; organizing and cleaning became just another burden. The more I neglected the house, the more the mess seemed to grow into a monster with tentacles, dragging me farther down into a pit of despair. It is during such times that we need to call upon others for help – friends, family members, or housecleaning services. God wants us to “bear one another’s burdens.” (Galatians 6:2) Our loved ones most often count it a privilege to help; they’re just waiting for the phone call from us. On those dark days of discouragement, I found that whenever I did organize even one tiny corner of the house, my spirits would lift just a bit. Looking at that one area gave me a sense of peace. Whenever we see order, we are seeing the character of God – and that gives us hope. Hope, in turn, leads us away from depression and sets our feet on the path toward joy. A Word from Winnie Winnie the Pooh wisely said, “If you are trying to find your way back home, and keep finding yourself instead back at the same sand-pit, it may be that the sand-pit is following you about.” Unfortunately, as long as we live in this old sin-cursed world, sandwiched in between Eden and our final heavenly home, the sand-pit of mess and disorder will continue to follow us about. What a joy to know, though, that when we do struggle in this area, we can rest in God’s acceptance of us because “the Lord is our righteousness.” (Jeremiah 33:16) As we press on to know His matchless character, God will Himself lead us back home – to peace, beauty, order, and ultimately to the home of His heart. CW 26 Christian Woman Winter 2014
1. Develop the habit of putting things away as soon as you are done using them. 2. Periodically straighten gift wrapping paper, boxes, bags and bows in under bed storage boxes. 3. Try to do laundry and ironing the same day each week. 4. Put all cards and letters that need answering in a basket on your desk. 5. Store all holiday decorations in easily recognizable containers (e.g. Christmas ornaments in clear plastic boxes with red lids.) Label each box with its contents. 6. Sort through all books and movies. Take unwanted ones to Friends of the Library used bookroom or thrift shop. 7. Clean out from under one bed in the house. Use under bed storage boxes to store extra blankets, holiday decorations, out-of-season clothing, even canned goods, books, or extra dish sets. 8. Keep a pocketed folder in the kitchen to store those new untried recipes. 9. Take five minutes to organize just one area: your purse, sock drawer, underwear drawer, shoe shelf, cabinet under bathroom or kitchen sink, cosmetic container, a desk drawer, one cabinet in kitchen, etc. 10. Keep a bulletin board above your desk or computer center to display a calendar, doctor appointment reminders, frequently used phone numbers, etc 11. Keep a master “To Do” list (I use a legal pad); cross off completed tasks and add new ones as they arise. 12. Set aside a few minutes to “Empty”: trash cans, pencil sharpener, paper shredder, old e-mails on computer, etc. 13. Set aside a few minutes to “Fill” (restock): ice bucket; flour, sugar, coffee and tea canisters; Kleenex boxes, toilet paper, and paper towels; cleaning supplies under each sink; bar or liquid soap for every shower, tub or sink; pens or sharpened pencils and scrap note paper by every telephone, etc. 14. Practice the habit of doing the most unpleasant tasks first. 15. Keep all keys on rack by door that leads to garage. 16. Store important documents in metal lock box: marriage license, diplomas, birth
FINDING USEFUL EMPLOYMENT IN BIBLE STUDIES Materialism and the ‘me’ generation and the prevalence of pornography have twisted our culture, so that people today give lip service to words like love, trust, and honour, but in reality they only trust the things they can see, the things they can manage. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20). This distortion is happening more frequently today and because of this we must sift everything we hear or see through the Word of God. If we don’t, we will be easily influenced by the prevailing thought on radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. The picture is not all doom and gloom; there are some attempts to use television for good, and there are some Christian radio stations and Christian magazines, but not enough. The weight is on the side of evil. This is because, to fallen humanity, evil is more fascinating than good! Goodness seems to us bland and boring when portrayed on film or in a novel, while evil seems fascinating and alluring. However, in real life it is goodness that is exciting, robust and healthy while evil is ultimately boring, degrading and a threat to life. For all these reasons I would encourage you as women of God to study your Bible earnestly and regularly. After a day in the university, the business world, the market place, or even in the home, you need to read it to reorganise and cleanse your thinking. If we do not use the Bible as our base, then we risk the fate of the frog placed in cold water, who was slowly brought to the boil while he swam happily around not realising he was being cooked! Do you realise that to change a culture all you need to do is change the meanings of certain words? Think of the word, “gay”, which used to mean “happy”, and the word, “wicked”, which used to mean “evil”. Now “gay” means homosexual and “wicked” means “good”. What a twisted culture we live in. In the market place in this 21st
century people are mostly happy to talk about “God”, but if we mention the name of “Jesus” there is immediate hostility. Therefore there is even more need to be sure of our faith so we can be ready to prove what we believe. Helpful verses are found in John’s gospel, where Jesus states unequivocally that he is God. Apart from Jesus’ own words, we also have the words of Pau,l who began as an enemy of Christ and Christians and was instrumental in having some believers killed for their faith. His dramatic conversion on the road to Damascus changed his thinking forever. There are many scriptures proving who Jesus is and why he came in human flesh to show us what God is like. This would also make a wonderful study and would prepare you for being a successful witness, for if you mention Jesus, with so many religions vying for recognition, you will be asked questions like, “Why do you maintain Jesus is the only way to God?” How can you study the Bible in a systematic fashion, which will enable you to have a solid stable Christian life and gain a satisfying career? There are many reputable Bible Colleges that enable women to train for the ministry, or for a counselling career. If you are a stayat-home mother then a correspondence
course is ideal for you. Vision College has a great correspondence course. This began 40 years ago because pastors were losing many of their best young people to distant Bible Colleges. Vision College enabled those pastors to train their people in their own church, and as the idea spread to other churches Vision College were able to assist in training many thousands of eager Christians in 153 countries around the world. The College now constantly hears of graduates gaining careers in the church, or counselling, and several related careers. One graduate has become a court counsellor and is able to do much good among those facing court procedures. Others have become pastors, are used in family counselling, or work with prison ministries. Even if your own inclination is to work in business, marketing, or teaching, you also should do some formal Bible study. This will give you a good grounding in truth, honesty, and justice; it will also gain you a strong and stable work ethic. Owners and managers are looking for people they can trust. This does not mean you have to thrust your witness forward, but you should always be ready if asked, to give an account of the hope that lies within you (1Peter 3:15). CW
Join the conversation online: www.christianwomanmag.com 27
Old wives tales or
Faith in Jesus? What values and beliefs is your life based upon? Cherie Freedman discusses...
hen I was a little girl, my mother told me lots of things that I’ve since learned were untrue. She had grown up in an era where old wives tales were the truth. Here is a sample of some of them: • Ice cream leads to nightmares. • Sitting too close to the television screen is bad for your eyes. • Don’t go outside with wet hair or you will catch a cold. • Don’t swallow chewing gum or it will stay in your stomach for seven years. • Don’t make silly faces or it will make the silly face permanent. • Chocolate leads to acne. • Eating carrots will improve your vision. • Eating crusts (off a sandwich) makes your hair go curly. And if you’re a boy you’ll grow hair on your chest. • When you lie white spots appear on your fingernails. And I guess over the years, more through disobedience than anything, I learned that:
• You can eat ice cream and not have
nightmares. • When I went outside with wet hair, I didn’t catch a cold; I just had cold ears. • Sitting too close to the television wasn’t nearly as bad as the stuff I watched on it. • When I swallowed chewing gum even if it did stay in my stomach for seven years, it didn’t affect my health – though perhaps it may have long-term? Who knows? • My face changed back from silly to normal – though some may choose to question this. • I still eat chocolate and don’t get acne anymore. • I eat carrots most days and now in my mid forties, my vision is deteriorating regardless. • I spent many years in my childhood trying to not eat crusts because I didn’t want curly hair. Yes I had curly hair anyway. Now I eat my crusts and use a hair straightener instead. • When I get white spots on my fingernails, it’s usually due to a zinc deficiency not lying – because we all know that when you lie you end up with pimples on your tongue don’t we? But my mother wasn’t the only source of old wives tales. I also learned many more from growing up in the world: 28 Christian Woman Winter 2014
• With hard work you will always succeed. • You are in charge of your own destiny. • Be careful of the church because it’s only after your money. • Make sure you put yourself first if you want to be important. • Life is all about me. • Everything in the newspapers is true And also I learned a few more lies from within the church as well. Ones like: • If you’re good, then bad things won’t happen to you. • Salvation is by grace plus works. • Baptism in necessary for salvation. • Infants need to be baptized to be saved. It’s amazing isn’t it, what we come to believe or believe in? When we’re a little child, our minds are so soft and pliable. They’re like sponges that will soak up usually whatever is said to it. Whether it’s from our parents, school teachers, sports coaches or other family members; what we read in newspapers and books or see on the television or in movies, we will choose to believe until it’s shown different to us. And that’s the thing isn’t it – until we’re shown different. The world and people and media, even our family and friends, tell us so many things. And unfortunately as we believe, we may end up building our lives upon details and values, whether they’re good or bad, or true or false. But it’s only when the storms of life come that what we’ve built our lives upon, what foundation our lives are established with, will be tested and proven. And what we have built our lives upon will either see us anchored and left whole after the storm passes, or totally destroyed and broken. If our lives are destroyed and broken, we then have to begin to rebuild our lives, but this time what values and beliefs will we choose to build it upon? Hebrews 11:1-2 in the Message Bible says, ‘The fundamental fact of existence is that this trust in God, this faith, is the firm foundation under everything that makes life worth living. It’s our handle
on what we can’t see. The fundamental fact of existence – The most basic & important fact of your existence is, what you believe in. You can believe in many things. You can believe in climate change; you can believe in reincarnation; you can trust in money and material wealth; you can have confidence in gossip and trends; you can follow demons and spirits, gods and religion; you can have confidence in fame and fortune; in statues like Buddha, fashion and even in health and fitness. Some people believe in myths and legends, rumours, sporting identities, celebrities and psychics etc. But your belief, the only thing that is worth you trusting in, has to be Jesus. Your faith in Jesus needs to be the firm foundation upon which you build your life. Jesus himself shared this in Luke 6:46-49 ‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ and do not do what I say? I will show you what he is like who comes to me and hears my words and puts them into practice. He is like a man building a house, who dug down deep and laid the foundation on rock. When a flood came, the torrent struck that house, but could not shake it, because it was well built. But the one who hears my words and does not put them into practice is like a man who built a house on the ground without a foundation. The moment the torrent struck that house, it collapsed and its destruction was complete.’ There will be times in your life when disaster will flood it, if it hasn’t already done so. It’s the nature of us living in a sinful world. And whatever we’ve chosen to believe in will be the main factor as to how well we not only survive the disaster, but also will determine how and where our lives head to after that disaster. I’ve lived through many disasters. Some self-inflicted, but there were some that were of no doing of my own. The ones that were self-inflicted I could figure out eventually and hopefully learn from my mistakes. But those random calamities that seemed to at times, just come out of left field with no warning, they were tougher to navigate through.
I’ve lived through droughts and floods, poverty, fires, sickness and even death. There was a stage in my life that continued for over a decade where I underwent a very traumatic period. It included a flood, the death of my son in a car accident, three operations within three months, a major fire on our farm, a windstorm, drought, chronic fatigue, another infection and operation and threatened poverty. It felt like my whole world was just one disaster after another. The only reprieve during this time was the pregnancy and birth of two of my sons. In that time I really came to understand exactly how Job in the bible felt. Job was a man who lost his children in a storm, lost his wealth and income, but even after he’d lost all this, this is what he had to say, “Naked I came from my mother’s womb, and naked I will depart. The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; may the name of the Lord be praised.” Job 1:20 Then Job was struck down with painful sores from the soles of his feet to the top of his head. He would scrap his sores with a piece of broken pottery as he sat among the ashes of a fire. His wife by this time had completely lost faith and she said to him, “Are you still holding on to your integrity? Curse God and die!” Job replied, “You are talking like a foolish woman. Shall we accept good from God and not trouble?” Job 2:9-10 Then Job’s three friends decided to go and empathize and offer comfort to him. The bible says that when they saw Job from a distance, his friends could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads and they sat on the ground with Job for seven days and seven nights without saying a word, because they saw how great Job’s suffering was. Well their silence may have lasted seven days and seven nights, but they certainly made up for their silence in the ensuing days. They accused Job of sinning and declaring that all that had happened to him was indeed the result of that sin. I can remember that not long after we
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had a shed fire and wind storm on our farm and three major operations within three months, that there were certain Christians, that believed that my husband and I must have been sinning so they didn’t want to talk or have anything to do with us. That was real comforting…. But getting back to Job and I encourage you to read the whole story yourself in his book in the bible. Job reaches an amazing faith filled conclusion after everything that had happened and after all the counseling from his friends, where he says these words to God, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” Job 42:5 You see despite the love Job had for God, it was finally there in the depths of his despair that he was able to say, “Now my eyes have seen you.” It was there at rock bottom where Job came to understand the ferocious and passionate love that God had for Job. It was there at that all-time low that Job’s faith in God was what made his life worth living. And it was there at my lowest point, when there was nothing left of me to give, when all my normal had been stripped away, when my son was wrenched from my arms and his remains laid to rest in a grave, that everything that I had built my life upon was tested. Most of my beliefs were questioned and found not true except the one thing that I had built my life upon as a young 12-year-old girl – Yes Jesus loves me. Yes Jesus died upon a Cross-for my sins so that I could have eternal life and in abundance. It was Jesus’ love for me and faith in me; and my faith in Him that kept me going, that helped me find a new normal for my life. It was my belief that this period in my life couldn’t last forever, that at some stage just like Job, the blessings of God would one day flow into me and my family’s life once more. It was here that I too like Job, came to realize, “My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you.” You see faith in Jesus is what makes everything in life worth living. Your faith in Jesus is what gives you a handle on what you can’t see. When all I could see was darkness 30 Christian Woman Winter 2014
and despair, Jesus and His word shone light and hope. When the world said to me it’s all over, your son is dead, it was Jesus who gave me a vision of where my son was. It was the day after my son had died in a car accident and we had to take two of our daughters to the hospital to have their injuries dressed. I got to spend a few very short minutes in the hospital morgue where I held my dead son in my arms and wept quietly and pleaded with God to show me where to from here. As my husband drove our broken grieving family home from the hospital, I had nothing left to give. All I could do to save myself from losing it completely was to sit in silence as all my four daughters cried in the back seat. We got home and all I could do was go and lie down on my bed. I eventually cried myself to sleep and then I had the most amazing dream: I saw heaven. It was amazing. The sky was so blue and clear. The grass was so green and fresh. And there was the biggest tree I have ever seen. And around the tree were so many children - running and laughing. They were so happy. And there was my little boy laughing and smiling and he was so happy. And then my husband came and woke me up and that’s how I probably remember the dream so clearly. In the NIV Hebrews 11:1 it describes faith as being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. My faith in Jesus allows me to be sure of what I hope for – I hope that my family is all reunited in heaven one day and that I’m going to see my little boy again. And by my faith in Jesus, I’m certain that even though at the moment I cannot see this, I know in my heart that this will one day be. My faith in Jesus is the foundation that makes my life worth living. It’s my handle on what I can’t see. My faith is what has kept me from going crazy. My faith is what has helped me to live life and live it abundantly. Is your faith in Jesus the firm foundation of your life? Or have you build your life on weaker foundations? Have you built your life on lies that the
world has told you? Lies like: “You need a bigger house even though you can’t look after or afford the one you do have.” “You just need another drink. That will help you get through.” “You just need to find another job because then you’ll be happy.” “You know go shopping. That always helps you feel better…. at least for now.” “If only you could lose some weight, then your life would be better.” “If only you could look like Jennifer Hawkins or Angelina Jolie, then things would be far better.” “If you could just get a degree, then you’d get a better job and then you’d be happy.” “If you just win the next bet, then you’ll have enough money to fix everything.” “If I could find a spouse, well it will be all okay.” “Or perhaps if I could just get rid of my spouse, it will all be okay.” You know all these things, material possessions, alcohol or drugs, career, fashion, gambling, looks and education – absolutely none of them, absolutely none of them helped me when I lost my son, when the drought hit our farm, when a shed fire destroyed our main farm machinery. Absolutely none of them gave me any relief from the pain and sorrow and grief of long-term sickness. Absolutely nothing helped me but my faith in Jesus Christ. The only thing that helped, that offered hope, that paved a way forward was my faith in Jesus Christ. When the chips are down, when life is at it’s blackest, when you have no strength to go on, no ability to move past the hand that life has dealt you; it’s at this point that you really do understand and see what you actually have founded your life on. What have you built your life upon? What is it that get’s you out of bed each morning when fear and depression want to keep you there? What or who directs your decisions when poverty tries to keep you from
Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like someone who looks at his face in a mirror and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like.
paying your debts? What are you thinking when you wake up for the umpteenth time covered in your own vomit from a night where you can’t remember a thing? What or who is influencing your identity when you look in the mirror? What or who is swaying your opinion? Jesus says in John 16:33 ‘I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” Jesus knew you were going to have troubles. But He tells you to take heart – He’s already overcome the world. Jesus offers you a way to live a life with abundance. ‘The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.’ John 10:10 I don’t want to live my life with no direction or hope; I want to live a defining and influencing life of good. I want to live a fantastic life that is to the full, overflowing with good things like peace, joy, love and patience and hope. But to do this my faith has to be in the living hope of Jesus Christ. That’s what has to be the foundation upon which I build my life. And that has to be the foundation upon which you build your life. Why? Because it’s the only thing that makes your life worth living. He paid a tremendous price for my life and yours. He paid the penalty for my sin and yours by dying the most gruesome and painful death when He had done nothing to deserve it. He then rose from death three days later showing he really was God’s son. You see Jesus thinks that you’re worth it and when you have a revelation of what Jesus has done for you, you realize that your life is indeed so precious and worth living. Jesus is the firm foundation upon which we build our lives, that makes our lives worth living. I Suppose if, from the day you were born, you were only influenced by God’s word. Wouldn’t that be cool? But that’s not anyone’s reality. We all have many things vying for our attention, wanting to influence our lives. So what’s our answer? What can we do to make sure our lives are
built on the foundation of faith in Jesus wouldn’t have time to be disillusioned Christ? and disappointed. Though trials would It’s like Jesus said in Luke 6:46-49 come, we would not be shaken. We would ‘Why do you call me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ have this unshakable confidence that and do not do what I say? I will show God is with us. He’s never leaving us nor you what he is like who comes to me forsaking us; that God has a future full and hears my words and puts them of good plans and hope for us. We’d be into practice. He is like a man building unbeatable! a house, who dug down deep and laid the Others would see us staying calm foundation on rock. When a flood came, during the storms of life. They would the torrent struck that house, but could not see us empowered through faith, not shake it, because it was well built. Those swayed by fear or doubt. We would be who come to Jesus and not only hear the ones who make wise decisions and His words but put them into practice, stay firm despite whatever life throws at they are building their lives on the best us. We wouldn’t be bitter or sour with foundation they can. our lives. No we’d be filled with love James 1:22-25 ‘Do not merely listen and confidence, knowing that whatever to the word, and so deceive yourselves. happens it’s all going to be okay. Do what it says. Anyone who listens to the So let our faith in Jesus, be the firm word but does not do what it says is like foundation upon which we build our someone who looks at his face in a mirror lives, because it is the only thing that and, after looking at himself, goes away makes our lives worth living! CW and immediately forgets what he looks like. But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it— not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do. Wouldn’t it be amazing if we all adjusted our thinking and direction to having faith in Jesus? CLICK HERE How fantastic FOR MORE INFO would it be if we all not only read the bible, but also put it into practice? Can you see how not only our lives but also that of our community would be transformed? We would be known as people of faith. Our lives would be such a witness to people. HOSTED BY We’d be living REV. DR. GORDON MOYES such worthwhile lives, that we
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