May 2016 • issue five • www.mychristiandaily.com.au
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CONTENTS issue five â€˘ may 2016
07 IN SHORT How to Talk about God: Without Being a Jerk 08 CHURCH 5 Bad Reasons to Leave a Church 10 COVER STORY Political Correctness Gone Mad
ABN 58 090 450 285 CEO Matt Danswan Editor Lynn Goldsmith Art Director Nicole Danswan Advertising Australia P: 02 9007 5375 Advertising New Zealand P: 09 281 4896
12 CONFERENCE What Makes a Faithful Ministry
20 NEXT GENERATION 10 Things you should know about Gen Z
14 GIFTINGS The Glory of Self Awareness
22 WORLD Islamic terrorist hunted pastor, but Jesus foiled plot with unusual vision
17 GOD CONVERSATIONS Three barriers to hearing Godâ€™s voice
Advertising Manager Ray Curle firstname.lastname@example.org Correspondence Australia PO Box 1321 Mona Vale NSW 1661 P: 02 9007 5376 www.mychristiandaily.com Correspondence New Zealand PO Box 318 334, West Harbour, Auckland 0661
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. Copyright 2016 www.inititatemedia.net
Front cover: Asheville, North Carolina, USA - April 2, 2016: Close up of a sign about bathroom use at a HB2 protest rally of the new NC law which denies rights to those who are gay or transgender on April 2, 2016 in downtown Asheville, NC
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How to Talk about God: Without Being a Jerk
n everyday life, most Christians avoid talking talking about their faith. They freeze up. They don’t know what to say. Or they fear rejection. Or they don’t want to come off as a narrow-minded jerk. The truth is, most people–even most churchgoers–lack a basic understanding in how to naturally bring faith into a real conversation. How could that be? Author Doug Pollock believes churches themselves may be responsible for this condition. In my Holy Soup podcast conversation with Pollock, he said, “Most churches put all the emphasis on ‘playing home games.’ Their home-crowd ‘sage’ is on the stage. And they’re always trying to invite people into that environment where the expert is up front. People aren’t really trained or encouraged how to have spiritual conversations. They think their job is just to get people
into the church building so the ‘master fisherman’ can go to work.” Pollock said people haven’t experienced what a natural, healthy spiritual conversation looks or sounds like in real life. They’ve only seen street preachers, or obnoxious people at work, or those who have been disrespectful when talking about faith. When people have those images, they won’t share their faith, he said. Pollock advocates training people in practical faith conversation skills. He recently helped produce a training kit entitled Activating God Space to do just that. Rather than simply preaching about faith-sharing, it allows people to actually try it out. Pollock learned much of his approach through his own failures. He calls himself a “recovering evangelist.” In his youthful zeal to
“spread the word,” he realized he actually repelled people. “They didn’t want to see me again,” he said. “I was quick to speak, and slow to listen.” He reformed. His approach today begins with listening–and asking “wondering questions,” which tend to invite people into comfortable conversations. Now he finds himself in friendly, spiritual conversations with all sorts of people, including those who some pious Christians would find repulsive. He’s learned to embrace them with “radical acceptance,” even though he may not always endorse all their behaviors. That’s an approach he says he learned from another great conversationalist and faith sharer, Jesus. Thom Schultz - holysoup.com
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Let’s be honest, while there are some good reasons for leaving a church, there are a lot more bad ones. As a pastor, I hear some of them every now and again. Here are five really bad reasons to leave a Church:
small is a sad and unbiblical goal.
When churches are faithful to the Great Commission, lives will be changed and people will be added to their number. Growth is inevitable for faithful and healthy churches. If you have a problem with big churches, you . “I’m not being fed” really wouldn’t have liked the first As a pastor with a teaching gift church, and you definitely won’t I take my job of feeding God’s like heaven. Instead of seeing size people VERY seriously. But there as a negative, learn to appreciate are also lots of other things vying all the variety and influence that a for my time: managing staff, big church can achieve. meeting needs, putting out fires and developing leaders – all while . “I don’t agree with overseeing the overall vision and everything that is being direction of the church. Years preached” ago a man in our church had a vision. He saw adults sitting in Guess what? Neither do I and I’m baby highchairs with a dummy in the pastor. As such I fully reserve their mouth. God showed him that the right to disagree with myself. many Christians are like that – big And every now and then I do babies who still cry every time they exactly that, because I’m learning, growing & asking questions, and want someone else to feed them. my hope is that you are doing the To leave a church because you’re same. I trust the pulpit at Bayside not getting “enough” is a cop out. Church to our team members Your primary call in the church is & visiting ministries and I don’t to contribute, not just to consume. always agree with everything that As a Christian, you shouldn’t is said or the way they say it but, require spoon-feeding for the rest unless it is rank heresy, I just let it of your life. Eventually you need slide because we’re all learning and to learn how to feed yourself so growing together. that, in time, you can actually feed others. Remember, your call is Chances are you are not going not just to be a disciple but also to to agree with everything that is make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20) preached anywhere. We need to learn to disagree on secondary issues. . “It’s getting too big”
I can appreciate the sense of loss that accompanies growth. When Bayside Church began 22 years ago we were a small band of Christians who could all fit into one living room. It feels very different now that we are a large church spread across multiple services & sites. There are moments when I miss the intimacy and simplicity of those early days. But remaining
He continues to build it. And one day, He’ll come back for it. It’s His. This is the same Jesus who came to seek and to save the lost and then commissioned his Church to go and do the same. The Church doesn’t just exist to meet your needs. You are a part of the Church that exists to meet the needs of the others. Put away the shopping trolley and pick up a shovel!
. Unresolved Conflict
This is the number one reason people leave a church and of course wherever you find imperfect people you will find conflict. The Church is one big family full of characters and misfits. Sometimes sisters argue and brothers fight. But despite it all, family is supposed to be the place where you stick together even when it’s hard – especially when it’s hard. Paul addressed a lot of church conflict in his letters. Nowhere do we hear him encouraging believers to bail on one another or move on down the road to a different church where it’ll be easier. Instead, much of his letters are his encouraging and coaching these ragamuffin communities in how to do this very hard and messy thing together.
One of the key aspects of the gospel is forgiveness and reconciliation. How will we ever demonstrate these things to the world if we . “My Needs Aren’t Being don’t practice them ourselves? Met”
People who use this as an excuse to leave a church have bought into the lie that, when it comes to church, it’s really all about “me.” Here’s the problem: the Church actually isn’t about you. It’s about Jesus. It’s His Church. He came for it. He died for it. He redeemed it.
Based on an article written by Aaron Loy in Relevant Magazine. Rob Buckingham is the senior minister of Bayside Church in Melbourne, Australia.
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POLITICAL CORRECTNESS GONE MAD IN THE AGE OF NON-OFFENSE WORDS: MATT DANSWAN
s I write this piece, it is not as a pastor, nor as a theologian or politician. I’m also not a journalist (hopefully my writing doesn’t quickly point that out). It is plain and simply as a father. I have watched on over the months as there has been talk around the world about transgender rights. Simply, should a transgender
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person be allowed to use the bathroom of their choice. I’m sorry (actually, I’m not), but we have simply gone too far. Clearly it is not my job to judge whether a man feels he now needs to be a woman, or a woman has run the course of that sex and feels it is time to be a man. At the end of the day we are all given
a free will, and so based on this I am not about to comment on whether this is right or wrong. However, I am a parent, and as is the case, my children at times need to use public bathrooms. And I am NOT OK with my nine year-old daughter using a public toilet when a (former) male heads in behind her.
WHY DO WE ALWAYS LISTEN TO THE MINORITY? WHY DO THOSE WHO KICK AND SCREAM SEEM TO GET THEIR WAY? How many transgenders do we have in our world, compared to straight people?
Are politicians stupid? Do they not know that many people have many struggles in the sexual arena, and that this is just opening up a can of worms? Are they seriously going to pander and appease a minority – albeit with a very loud voice – or as parents (and grandparents) themselves, are they going to realize that this is sheer nonsense and knock it on its head? Why do we always listen to the minority? Why do those who kick and scream seem to get their way? How many transgenders do we have in our world, compared to straight people? Why can’t politicians see that this is simply not OK? We have a responsibility to help the helpless here; that is our children. As I mentioned, there are some pretty messed up people out there, and as their carers, we need to stand up and say that this is not acceptable. Even if it makes us look like judgmental Christians.
and as such the kids were going to be surfing around a bunch of people naked, all of whom really should have kept their clothes on. Maybe it’s just me, but it seems that all the people who should keep their clothes on are the same ones that feel the need to take them off. I am not sure what the deal is with that.) Anyway, one would have thought that some of the nudists would have seen the moms and dads arrive at the beach, complete with tents, a PA system, and clearly enough infrastructure to see that there was an even going on, and show some respect. But no; there were grown adults wandering in and out of the surf with no clothes on, with no real care that there were young, influential children nearby. Admittedly most stayed away in the grassed area, but surely, just for one day, they could have put their costumes on
to have a swim? Again, the local council doesn’t want to offend that minority, so they give them a nudist beach. And with how strict councils are on everything to the way you put out your bins, to the time you can park your car in their car parks, surely they could have a rule that says as soon as an event takes place at the beach, it is now illegal to swim or sun bake nude. Fortunately most of the kids at the beach were pretty young and so focused on what they were doing that they missed most of the action. But why do they have to grow up in a world like this? If there are 7 billion of us, surely it is the majority that wins.
Matt Danswan is the CEO of Initiate Media, publishers of The Christian Pulse.
My boys are very keen surfers and are a part of the local boardrider’s club where we live. Once a month they are given the Sunday off church to participate in the club’s monthly contest, something they really enjoy. Just yesterday the contest was going to be called off because the surf was really small, and the contest directors thought it was not possible to run the event. However they found a secluded beach that had waves, and the word went out very early on the Sunday morning that the contest was on. The only issue with this secluded beach is that it is a nudist beach, www.mychristiandaily.com.au | 11
What Makes a Faithful Ministry? “Defining success may be the most important decision we make as God’s people. Measuring it comes a close second because what we measure communicates what we value. How leaders define and measure success gives form and direction to all aspects of ministry. It shapes the culture that follows and ultimately determines our future”. With these opening words, Gary Hoag, Scott Rodin and Wesley Willmer lay the foundation for their recently released book, ‘The Choice’, and go on to argue that the ‘Kingdom Path’ is markedly different to the ‘Common Path’ when pursuing effective ministry. Two of the authors, Gary Hoag and Wesley Willmer, will be visiting Australia in June to speak at CMA’s ‘Faithful’ conference for church, ministry and Christian business leaders, June 7-8 at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Each of them will be delivering a keynote address, but then together they will be taking a four-session elective which explores faithful ministry in terms of leadership, governance, fundraising and administration. The contrast they draw between the Common Path and the Kingdom Path is critical, and it challenges a few well-loved assumptions. For example, they contrast ‘Production-Driven Leadership’ (the Common Path) with ‘Steward Leadership’ (the Kingdom Path). Production-Driven leadership is all about continued expansion, with numbers-driven metrics, and places more value on the ends achieved, and less value on the means taken to get there. Many times, good and faithful people can simply get run over in a productiondriven environment. Steward Leaders, on the other hand, are utterly dependent on God for the ‘production’, and instead focus on ‘leading organisations in ways which reflect Christ-centred values, strategies, plans and actions’. No doubt some readers will immediately think ‘copout’, and that this focus removes the accountability that comes with having to actually generate results. No! Steward Leaders still measure results and impact, but their effort is not DRIVEN by the results – it’s driven by faithfulness and obedience to God’s call, from which the Kingdom outcomes flow. Further contrasts between the two paths are identified as Expansion-Focused Strategies vs Faithfulness Focused Strategies; Earthly-Oriented Metrics vs Eternity12 | The Christian Pulse, May 2016
Oriented Metrics; Results-Based Management vs RelationshipBased Management; and a Utilitarian View of Resources vs a Stewardship View of Resources. Every church and every ministry has to effectively deal with common issues like boards & committees, generating revenue, leading staff & volunteer teams, and managing organisational administration and obligations. The temptation is to simply apply ‘Common path’ tools and strategies – like what might work in business, or even in secular charities – but, according to Hoag and Willmer, this ‘common path’ approach fails subtly, but importantly, in organisations that are Christ-focused. With a combined seven hours of input over the two conference days, there will be plenty of opportunity to unpack these important topics in greater depth. Apart from their input on these topics, Gary Hoag will be wearing an additional hat at the CMA Conference: that of International Liaison for the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability (ECFA). For many years in the USA, ECFA has been accrediting Christian churches and organisations, large and small, with a ‘Seal of Accountability’ for those that meet their published standards. This ‘ECFA Seal’ has become a valuable tool for gaining the confidence of donors, who look for this seal as evidence that a church or charity is operating in accordance with widely held standards about organisational governance, fundraising, and financial oversight.
Over the last eighteen months, similar Christian organisations have begun to emerge in various countries where ministry accountability is of growing importance, and CMA is delighted to announce that an Australian adaptation of ECFA, the CMA Standards Council, will be launched at the conference. Gary Hoag, officially representing ECFA, will be signifying the relationship between ECFA and the CMA Standards Council with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between the two organisations.
We already have donors and foundations telling us that they will be using the CMA Standards Council directory, and seal, as the first step of their due-diligence donor research.
A third purpose is simply to demonstrate, to the wider Australian community, that Christian organisations have nothing to hide, and are willing to take the lead in being open and honest about their organisational behaviour. As Christian churches and organisations, we are, in a very real way, custodians of God’s The newly appointed Executive reputation. If we conduct our Director of the CMA Standards Council, Stephen Kerr, will be ministries in ways that are illegal, giving a plenary address, and or unethical, or deceptive, we can then convening a plenary panel cause onlookers to think poorly comprised of donors, charities, and of God, and destroy our public the Australian Charities and Not- witness. for-Profits Commission. Further elective sessions will explore these These are just a couple of highlights from CMA’s fourteenth annual standards in more detail. conference. 300+ delegates are The CMA Standards Council once again expected to attend this has been created for several two-day professional development purposes. One purpose is to raise event for church, ministry and the standards of organisational behaviour in Christian ministries, Christian business leaders. Over by giving them a set of external forty different topics and speakers standards to aim for. Many are scheduled over the two days, organisations have asked CMA for to address a myriad of leadership this over the years, and finally we and management questions that will be able to point to a simple are relevant for ensuring that yet well-grounded set of standards our organisations are effective in and behaviours that organisations pursuing the ministry that God MUST meet in order to wear has called us to. But we don’t just the CMA Standards Council want to be effective in ‘common’ Accredited seal. terms – we want to be effective on Another purpose is to give the God’s terms! We want to hear Him Christian donor community say, ‘Well done, good and faithful some tools to find well-governed servant’! and financially accountable www.cma.net.au/conference churches and ministries to support. www.mychristiandaily.com.au | 13
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The Glory Of Self Awareness I
t’s possible, that the greatest each one of them, as He chose.” (1 most important thing you can do Corinthians 12:8) for your destiny today, is find out I have been incredible blessed to what you are not. have encountered a few of my A lot of Christian churches provide sweet spots in life. Preaching and space for people who are not writing being two of them. good at (singing, public speaking, greeting, counseling, leading) to do Now, I’m not even close to be being just that (singing, public speaking, a perfect preacher or a great writer. Both trades demand an incredible greeting, counseling, leading). amount of practice, feedback, It’s a blessing and a curse. encouragement and training. The blessing part is when people discover things that they want to work on, because God has called them in that area. So they get stretched, they trust God to empower them, and beautiful supernatural things happen.
But I find joy in both. And more often than not, people express their enjoyment of my preaching and my writing (and send me emails with a million spelling mistakes that need correcting; and others reach out to help me with my theological mistakes.)
The curse is when they get stuck doing the thing they should have Thanks! not done in the first place. And then we all suffer. We endure boring sermons, off pitch worship and makes-it-even-worse counseling. Now, we all have a calling to love people, share the good news, feed the hungry and worship in community. But the Apostle Paul (who had a clear vision of what God had called him to do) encouraged us to know that not all are apostles, or teachers or prophets, etc.
However, it took me a long time to settle on what I really wanted to be. And not just what I wanted to be, but what I was actually called to be.
have no grace to sit with them and listen to them ramble about their hearts and issues and questions for more than 20 minutes. Trust me, I have tried hard! But it’s just not me. My wife on the other hand, oh what a gift. She listens, and observes, and engages and prays (like really prays.) (Like 30-something-minuteprayers… prays!) It’s brutal. And whenever we tried to do it together, it was painful. My eyes would open wide and I would be staring into her soul while trying to send her a non verbal message that screamed out loud: STOP PRAYING ALREADY! IT’S BEEN 3 MINUTES AND I’M STARVING! Yes, she’s incredibly pastoral. It’s who she is. Doesn’t even have to try. Needs no titles to prove it. She just cares.
I wanted to be a pastor since I was a brand new Christian. That was the title that seemed to be the one with most value and influence. But now I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that is not my first calling.
Like Jesus does.
It’s not even in the top 10.
The point is that I tried for a long time to fit that specific mold. I booked counseling meetings
And he reminds us that, “God I really, really love people… but I arranged the members in the body,
Me? I’m more like Peter. Or Judas. Who knows?
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and appointments with church So what are you no good at? members in distressed… and it Own it. made me miserable. Which made them more miserable.
Don’t be afraid of it.
others what they (honestly and brutally) think about your ________________ (singing, public speaking, counseling, leadership).
Someone else in the body of Christ is incredible in that area. Listen to understand not to defend; Encourage them in it. And focus and keep an open mind. Be willing But get me in a room with 14 your energies and attention on the to die to selfish dreams and visions of grandeur. At the same time, receive feedback in the areas where Listen to understand not to defend; and keep an open mind. BE you are actually meant to grow and WILLING TO DIE TO SELFISH DREAMS AND VISIONS flourish. Which proved that I needed a way out of this misery.
OF GRANDEUR. At the same time, receive feedback in the
And learn to live in the glory of Romans 12:3: “… Everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, inmates in a maximum security things that make you come alive. but to think with sober judgment, prison, and I will preach the most each according to the measure of animated, most hilarious, most Self–awareness is the capacity for faith that God has assigned.” challenging and most Jesus filled introspection and the ability to sermon of my life (at least I’ll try). recognize oneself as an individual separate from other individuals. And I will be on a spiritual high for It’s taking an honest look into who Carlos A. Rodriguez is a a good 72 hours after that. you are without labels of it being pastor at Catch the Fire and right or wrong / good or bad. the founder of HappySonship. Honestly, I failed miserably as a His latest book is “Designed pastor. In more ways that one People that are not self-aware for Inheritance, A Discovery make excuses and get defensive. of Sonship”. He travels But I’m so glad to God I did. They shift blame and are passive extensively all around the Because I am now aware that I’m a aggressive. Sometimes they speak world and you can find out preacher, a communicator, a writer, about themselves in a manner more at www.HappySonship. a dreamer. Yet I only discover that that is embarrassing to those who com when I failed as a worship leader, are listening (because it feels so a counselor, a pastor, a university detached from reality). student, and a real estate agent. So in order to be awaken from
areas where you are actually meant to grow and flourish.
Knowing who I was not… was the deceit, we need humility and probably the most powerful community. indicator to point who I was. I encourage you today to ask 16 | The Christian Pulse, May 2016
Three barriers to hearing God’s voice
sometimes receive comments from those who are having difficulties in hearing God’s voice. Here is a list of possible barriers that could be a hindrance, along with some biblical keys to overcome them:
. The Barrier of Doubt or Unbelief
The first thing we need to do is settle the fact that God is speaking to us and wants us to hear Him: ‘My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.’ (John 10:27, NLT) Some people think that they cannot hear God speak unless they have a prophetic gift or special ministry. But this is a misconception. God wants to have a relationship with us! This is why Jesus paid the price of his life on the cross. Communicating with our Father is the basic right of sons and daughters and the joy of our God. It is what we are created for! (Romans 8:14). Never be intimidated by someone else’s gift or the way another person hears from God. God has uniquely wired you to hear from Him.
. The Barrier Consciousness
Sometimes people allow shame, condemnation or a sense of unworthiness to make them feel as though they are separated from God—and therefore, unable to hear His voice (Romans 8:1-2). We
need to remember that for Christians, the barrier of sin separating us from God has already been dealt with on the cross. Sin is not the problem – sin-consciousness is.
What we are hearing from God will be in accordance with His nature – e.g. the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23)
God’s voice will never contradict Instead our inheritance as Chris- what the Bible says (2 Timothy tian believers is to live in the 3:16) knowledge of our righteousness in God’s word will build the church Christ, rejoicing in the power of and promote unity (1 Corinthians God’s grace and forgiveness and 14:3) knowing the cleansing power of Jesus’ blood. (Hebrews 9:14,10:19- What you hear from God will withstand the accountability of over22) sight (1 Thessalonians 5:19-22) Rather than view sin or temptation as a barrier between God and us, The antidote to fear is relationship God wants us to take the very issue (1 John 4:18). Think about when that is troubling us into that place the phone rings and you pick it up. with Him (Hebrews 4:15-16). Sin How different are your responses loses its power when we bring it when the caller is a telemarketer versus someone you love? You see into the light (1 John 1:7-9). it’s not about the fact that someIf an issue of sin, addiction or one is speaking—but recognising temptation is continually troubling the person behind the voice. As you, in addition to prayer, find a you grow in relationship with God, safe place to share and be account- you will get to know His voice. You able—for example to a Christian can trust that what He has to share mentor or leader. As James says; with you is good and from His confess your ‘sins to one another.’ Spirit. (Luke 11:11-13) (James 5:16) Tania Harris is a pastor, speaker and the founder of Some people are fearful that God Conversations, a ministry what they are hearing may not be that equips people to recognise God’s voice. Tania is an from God. ordained minister with the It’s true that there are many voices Australian Christian Churches. around our lives, and that we need Hillsong is her church home to weigh up what we are hearing to in Sydney, Australia. Follow ensure it is from God. Maturing in her on www.godconversations. discernment is a process, so weigh- com ing up what we hear is important. Remember:
. The Barrier of Fear
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ot many people are able to maintain a twenty-four year heroin and methadone addiction, all the while raising five children. But Sydney woman Elizabeth Muldovan was an exception. Born and raised in Sydney Australia, Elizabeth’s addiction to drugs started off as a woman in her twenties – and would remain with her for close to two and a half decades. Hers was a life a life of depravity and destruction, couple with her an honest recount. In her recently released book, The Prodigal Daughter, Elizabeth recounts her life story. From the depths of hopelessness, to the saving grace of Jesus, this is a story that truly shows God at work. In fact it would be hard for a skeptic of Christ to remain that way after reading her telling story. When the average person thinks of a heroin addict, the stereotypical idea that comes to mind is of inner-city streets, of ‘junkies’ huddling around in a dark, dingy lane trying to find a vein in which to inject. But we don’t imagine a housewife doing her daily chores, including preparing the school lunches, getting the children out the door, and ensuring they are all run off to their after-school activities, homework completed, dinner made, and so on. It’s hard enough to do the work of a mother with your mind on the job, let alone being dependent on a damaging drug daily. And to top it off, Elizabeth did it with five children, not just a couple. But the twist in this story is that not only was she heroin dependent, but her husband also shared the same daily addiction. Here is a family in the city of Sydney, the city in which I reside, packing their children off to school, getting out the door to work – all the while sharing a dirty secret. As Elizabeth recounts in this amazing book, she and her husband were able to cope whist on heroin; it was this drug that kept them going and maintaining ‘normal’ lives. But when their lives really took a turn was when they decided to kick heroin, opting for methadone instead. As readers delve into the pages of this extraordinary woman and her life they will be held spellbound at the enormity of the power of addiction to drugs. They will also be aware 18 | The Christian Pulse, May 2016
From Heroin to Christ
E L I Z A B E T H M O L D O VA N ’ S EXTRAORDINARY LIFE
and in awe of the resurrection power of God to bring one of his children through to a new life. I have read the book and quite honestly, I couldn’t put it down. There is so much to learn from Elizabeth’s life. I asked Elizabeth what led her taking drugs in the first place. She explained, “The reason I delved into the world of drugs is because I didn’t really want to live. I didn’t have an identity and I felt like I didn’t belong anywhere. I was just lost and disconnected from society – I felt very rejected.” In hooking up with a drug addict, this brought her life tumbling down for all those years. Elizabeth’s children were very accepting of the addiction she had. They also had each other and they had their school friends and their own little world, apart from her addictions. This is how they coped with their lives while their mother tried to fight her addiction. But it was hard for them even so – very hard for them. They were supportive of their mother and loved her. “They accepted me just the way I was, although they didn’t like it and it was hard for them. That acceptance kept me alive through those years.” What was the final trauma that led Elizabeth to finally call out to God, I wanted to know? “The catalyst that got me separated from the co-dependant relationship with my husband was when he hurt my youngest child Grace, who was three at the time. I just thought I couldn’t keep Grace in that environment by herself because her older brothers and sisters couldn’t help. “If I left it would halve the risk to her. God just showed up in the refuge that I finally escaped to and I heard his voice twice, where He said, “Do you want to be made whole?” Well, of course I wanted to be made whole and well again for myself and my children so I just
gave into Him. Elizabeth’s mother was very influential in helping her daughter to want to be set free. She reminded her of who she was before she started using drugs, and that memory jolted something in her that had been lost all those years ago. “I thought to myself, ‘What happened, how did I get to this point before I started using hard drugs’? I had a good job, good friends, was connected to family, and then I met Francis and everything changed after that, so much. I got to the point where I forgot I had freewill. Being reminded of that was that we do have free will and we are allowed to seek God and allowed to worship him and pray to Him.” Elizabeth wanted to share her story to show the incredible love and power of God. She was adamant that this is available for all those who have addictions of any kind. Change is possible and there is freedom on the other side. If anyone is looking for a way out of addictions Elizabeth says to ask God to help you and forgive you and get baptized, and your life will never be the same again. God always forgives us. Elizabeth is passionate as she states, “I want to give God more glory for what He has done. I had Grace by my side and didn’t go to any psychiatrists or rehab. I only had God – He does the impossible. I didn’t have a car or home – no money, no phone. God did this for all the addicts out there – not just for me. He wants to set everyone free. He doesn’t want us bound up in addictions.” This book is one of transparency about the life of a former addict to the beautiful and gentle woman she is today. CW Lynn Goldsmith www.mychristiandaily.com.au | 19
doubt the generational name will . They will be the largest genstick, but for now we call them eration in history. Each of their Generation Z. There was Gen X, birth years is already a large cohort. then Gen Y (the Millennials), and By the time 2020 concludes, this now Gen Z. generation will include about 82 Their birth years are 2001 to 2020. million people. They will supplant The oldest Gen Zer is 15; the the Millennials who supplanted the Boomers as the largest generation. youngest has not yet been born.
. At least one of ten of this generation will marry across ethnic and racial lines. But the number could be higher.
. Homosexual marriage will be embraced as normative. But we cannot tell yet what percentage of Gen Z will be in a homosexual . The majority of this genera- marriage. We have much to learn about this tion is non-white. That is a first young generation, but we have . Two historic events have learned much already. Church in the history of the United States. shaped Gen Z. Most of them leaders, particularly, need to keep . Hispanics are the fastest-grow- were not born when 9/11 took an eye on this generation. There ing group in Gen Z. It is sim- place, but their parents and others are some fascinating trends taking ply a matter of fertility rates. His- have made the event a part of their place. panic mothers have an average of lives and insecurities. The second For now, letâ€™s look at ten things 2.4 children, compared to black event, the Great Recession, is still you should know about Gen Z. mothers (2.1), and Asian and white a reality though the recession is mothers (1.8). officially over. Gen Z parents, and thus, their children still feel the im-
20 | The Christian Pulse, May 2016
10 things you should know about
This article was originally published at ThomRainer.com on May 11. Thom S. Rainer serves as president and CEO of LifeWay Christian Resources. Among his greatest joys are his family: his wife Nellie Jo; three . Gen Zers prefer personal sons, Sam, Art, and Jess; and . Gen Z is and will be in church contact. Yes, they are fully seven grandchildren. Dr. Rainmore regularly. I read one er can be found on Twitter @ study by Joan Hope that noted a immersed in the Internet and so- ThomRainer and at facebook. big spike in church attendance by cial media, but they really want to com/Thom.S.Rainer Gen Z. My anecdotal observa- have personal interaction. Perhaps tions confirm an increase in Gen it is because of the Internet and soZers church attendance, but I was cial media that they desire personsurprised by the magnitude of the al interaction. increase in Hopeâ€™s study. We will need to monitor this behavioral The trends are early. The demopattern closely. graphics are breathtaking. And the pact of a weak jobs economy.
. Rapid change is normative for Gen Z. None of us could have . Gen Z will be highly entrepreneurial. They have learned imagined the Internet of Things or from their parents that you cannot wearable technology or many othtrust an employer to take care of er technological trends. They are you. It is best to create your own normative for Gen Z. This generation is accustomed to rapid change. job.
signs are, to a large extent, hopeful.
www.mychristiandaily.com.au | 21
Islamic terrorist hunted pastor, but Jesus foiled plot with unusual vision
l-Rashid was the commander of a fanatical Islamic group that sought to convert everyone to Islam and make all nations fall under Islamic rule.
a former Muslim and the leader of a group of ministries boldly evangelizing Muslims in Asia, the Middle East and other developing countries. Pastor Paul and his team were distributing Bibles in many He was angered by reports of languages and forming underMuslims converting to Christian- ground house churches in restrictity and spreading the Gospel. So ed countries. he formed a special task force to track down the Christian leaders The terror leader developed a plan who were responsible and convert to kill Pastor Paul’s family first, then or kill them. capture the Christian leader, force him to convert back to Islam and Rashid heard about Pastor Paul, use him as a propagandist against 22 | The Christian Pulse, May 2016
Christianity. They made many attempts. “We attacked them several times,” Rashid recounted, “and miraculously they escaped.” Once they initiated a plan to kill the family at night, but saw what appeared to be soldiers or gunmen stationed around their house, so they backed off. Rashid discovered the family lacked adequate food and their children were hungry and weak.
Surprisingly, Rashid had a Bible in his room. “ACTUALLY I WAS USING ITS VERSES FOR CRITICIZING CHRISTIANITY AND JUSTIFYING ISLAM.”
So he sent a woman to deliver poisoned fast food to them. But on the way to their house a dog bit the woman, seriously injuring her, and she never arrived.
Rashid surrendered his heart to Jesus Christ and was born again. “I lost my peace,” Rashid recalls. “I accepted the Lord Jesus as my He was afraid to say anything to personal savior, was baptized and his friends. received the gifts of the Holy Spirit and I’m evangelizing people They sent a second woman with Surprisingly, Rashid had a Bible in through “Bibles for Mideast,” he poisonous chocolate to give Pastor his room. “Actually I was using its says. He has become one of their Paul’s children. The boys ate the verses for criticizing Christianity key leaders. chocolate and survived, but the and justifying Islam.” pastor’s daughter got very sick. He opened the Bible and his eyes “Thousands of Muslims are secretly believing in Jesus Christ as their “I was watching with two others fell on this verse: “That was the Savior. They don’t have Bibles and from an ambulance near the hos- true Light, which lighteth every the rulers do not allow them to get pital to see his daughter’s death. man that cometh into the world. Bibles. The Bible is totally prohibOur plan was to kidnap the dead He was in the world, and the world ited in certain countries. But peobody along with his family in our was made by him, and the world ple are so thirsty for the Word of knew him not.” (John 1:9-10 KJV) ambulance,” Rashid recounts. God.” “I understood it was about Jesus,” Then something happened that “Many of our team members are amazed Rashid. “I saw a ball of he says. He realized the ball of converts from Islam to Christianilight came down from the sky and light that came from above was ac- ty with the gifts of the Holy Spirit stand over the room where his tually Jesus, who suffered when he and have good experiences of dodaughter was lying unconscious,” was nailed to the cross. ing personal evangelism, conducthe says. His heart softened, Rashid went ing crusades, and pastoring house To his utter disbelief he watched a to see Pastor Paul and shared ev- churches,” he says. Many are lay hand come from the ball of light, erything with him. Unsure what pastors who earn a livelihood to touch the pastor’s daughter, and his reaction might be, he was sur- support their ministry. she immediately regained con- prised when Pastor Paul embraced “Bibles for Mideast” is distribhim, with tears running down his sciousness and stood up. uting Bibles and establishing face. underground house churches He was astonished to see a hole in “I was once an enemy of Jesus throughout the Middle East. the middle of the hand and that Christ, but he loved me,” Pastor For more information, please blood was flowing down. “I tremPaul said. “He was crucified — go to: https://bibles4mideast. bled with fear,” Rashid says. “I felt gave His life for me – then He rose com. giddy and fell down. My friends from the dead. Because of His love moved me from there at once.” I can love you, because Christ loves After this unusual incident Rashid you. I believe Jesus Christ Himself found it difficult to sleep. When he brought you here to share this love attempted to drift off, a vision of and to find salvation.” the hand entered his mind. “Jesus is the prince of peace,” he The following night a shadow of continued. “And He will give you a human face appeared with the peace. Accept Him as your Savhand and asked him why he was ior,” he exhorted. www.mychristiandaily.com.au | 23
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Published on May 17, 2016
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