the christian pulse THE MAGAZINE FOR MYCHRISTIANDAILY.COM June 2015 • issue two • www.mychristiandaily.com
THE CULT OF CELEBRITY AND THE
TRUE MEANING OF GREATNESS
MEMOIRS OF A WILD CHILD
JANET BALCOMBE AND HER ROAD TO REDEMPTION
ONE YEAR ON
BRING BACK OUR GIRLS
SPECIAL INSERT FIND A CHRISTIAN SCHOOL INSIDE
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2 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
“Just because I’m Billy Graham’s grandson, it doesn’t mean I get a free ride to heaven, there’s no free tickets lying around.” WILL GRAHAM
Radio presenter MATT PRATER’S candid interviews with: Mac Powell • Will Graham • Brother Yun Roma Downey • Norma King • Stephen Lungu Wayne Cordeiro • Neil Johnson • Jan Buchanan
volume one Radio presenter Matt Prater’s candid interviews with: Mac Powell • Will Graham • Brother Yun Roma Downey • Norma King • Stephen Lungu Wayne Cordeiro • Neil Johnson • Jan Buchanan
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CONTENTS issue two • june 2015
Cover story: Page 6, I Am The Greatest (iStockphoto.com)
UNDERSTANDING DIVERSITY KNOW WHAT ‘CHRISTIAN’ MEANS WHEN CHOOSING HEART EDUCATION ENGAGING TRUE LEARNING
TOP 1O DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PUBLIC VERSUS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COUNTING THE COST WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THE FEES
SEARCH FOR SCHOOLS NOW www.findachristian.com.au
06 GREATNESS I Am The Greatest
15 SPECIAL INSERT Find a Christian School
31 DREAMS Dreams In Eternity
10 REDEMPTION Inside The Mind Of A Wild Child
27 EVANGELISM Christian Mission, North Korea and Counting the Cost
33 MARKETPLACE The Christian Pulse Classifieds
13 TERRORISM Bring Back Our Girls One Year On...
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29 HOT TOPIC How God Made Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner
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
34 AFRICA INLAND MISSION Now is the time for Australian Christians to befriend Muslims
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 2015 www.inititatemedia.net
A soft answer turneth away wrath: but grievous words stir up anger.PROVERBS 15:1
From the Editor
ear readers, I hope you enjoyed our first issue of The Christian Pulse. I have been thinking lately about greatness. It is something that is within each one of us – but who can access this, what is it that stirs us to move out of our comfort zone? We are called to be an influence in this world and we have a responsibility as Christ’s representatives here on earth. I want to encourage everyone to step up and show the glory of God to a hurting world. We remember the terrible situation
in Nigeria when Boko Haram kidnapped students, mainly Christian and also some Muslim. The world has largely forgotten about these young women but we haven’t forgotten them. The world’s media should concentrate on the plight of these girls as their families are also suffering greatly – in fact some have died through stress. As a parent I can understand this. Dreams – they are forever with us and we are told to follow our dreams. What happens when they don’t seem to come to fruition, no matter how hard we
try? We look at what God has to say as his plans are for eternity. Let us show the glory of God in our lives to an uncertain world and make a difference – it is our responsibility to have an answer to those who are looking for hope and truth. Blessings, Lynn Goldsmith
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www.mychristiandaily.com | 5
I AM THE GREATEST
6 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
WHAT DOES IT MEAN TO BE TRULY GREAT? WE ARE BEING TOLD TODAY THAT IT MEANS THOSE WHO ARE PORTRAYED IN THE MEDIA, SEEMINGLY ACCOMPLISHING ‘GREAT THINGS’, BUT THIS IS NOT WHAT JESUS SAID. WORDS: BERNI DYMET
ho can forget Muhammad Ali’s constant declaration – I aaaammmm the GREATEST?! It’s one of those sound bites that will ring down through history for quite some years to come I suspect. These days, sadly, the once six foot three heavyweight champion of the world, Muhammad Ali (aka Cassius Marcellus Clay Jr.) is a withered old man in a wheelchair, suffering from Parkinson’s Disease. He was born in 1942, which now makes him seventy three years old. The reality is that given his health problems, he probably doesn’t have all that many more years left on this earth. So given what he once was and what he now is, it kind of begs the question,
what exactly is greatness? Is it something reserved for the special few; the leaders, the Victoria Cross winners, the great sporting men and women of our age? Or is greatness something that ordinary men and women like you and I, can aspire to? The Cult of Celebrity These days, the concept of greatness seems to have been hijacked somewhat by the cult of celebrity. Okay, young people have always swooned over the Elvis Presley’s and Marilyn Monroe’s of this world. We’ve always idolized the Muhammad Ali’s and the Sir Don Bradman’s of this world. There’s nothing new in that. But in the last thirty or forty years, there’s been a tectonic shift towards, if I
can coin this word, the ‘celebritisation’ of those sorts of people. Throughout human history, people have always looked up to those in power, to those who have achieved great things. But something different is happening these days. The media has a lot to do with it. Just about everybody knows the name Sir Edmund Hillary, the man who, with the assistance of his Nepalese Sherpa Tenzing Norgay, first reached the summit of Mt Everest on the 29th of May 1953. Hillary was named by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people of the 20th century, and yet he went on to lead a fairly ordinary life, until his death of a heart attack in 2008. Consider the difference in the way
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Hillary was perceived and treated, as against this list of more recent people: Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Corporal Ben Roberts–Smith VC, singer cum purveyor of lingerie Kylie Minogue … even someone who, so far as one can tell, doesn’t do anything much at all, Kim Kardashian. Somehow, more recently, these sorts of people have been elevated into larger than life figures, magnified through the lens and the immediacy of the plethora of media that we now have at our disposal. A case in point: when I typed “Kim” into Google to check the spelling of her surname, ‘Kim Kardashian’ was the first item that appeared instantly in the drop down list, complete with photograph. Really?! Is she the first among ‘Kim’s’ on planet earth just at the moment? Apparently so, at least according to her Google ranking (which to a large extent is set by our search patterns and behaviours). Now that is something that I find really quite scary, how about you? I’ll leave you to judge the contribution that these various people have made to society as a whole (by and large, no doubt, they are good people and some of them truly do carry the mantle of greatness). But my question is this: has the cult of celebrity somehow distorted our view of greatness? So … time to get back down to earth for a moment. Let’s think about the truly great people in your life. The Greatest People in Your Life If I were to ask you to name right now, right this minute, the two or three greatest people in your life, what I know is that even here, half way through the sentence, you can already see their faces before your eyes. Greatness – true greatness – doesn’t take all that long to identify. And without knowing you or the truly great people in your life, I can state with absolute certainty, that the greatest people in your life are the ones who have served
you the most. They’re the ones who sacrificed for you, who protected you, who stood up for you – and they did all of this, even when you didn’t deserve it. Am I right? One of a handful of truly great people in my life is a man by the name of Graham Pratt. Graham was a Lieutenant–Colonel in the Australian Army. I served under him as a pretty smart, capable, brash, immature young Captain. It turned out that he, two other of our military colleagues and I, ended up hanging up our green baggy skins, leaving the Army and forming an IT consulting firm together. It was a firm that became internationally successful, to the point where we sold it to a publicly listed company. And during the 17 or so years that we owned and grew that company, through some very difficult times I might say, Graham, being 20 years my senior, was our Managing Director. He had great wisdom to guide the corporation, but he also had the patience and the perseverance to mentor me, and to help sand the rough edges off me. Who I am today, is to a large extent, due to his investment in me. We haven’t worked together for over a decade, but we still chat by phone pretty much every week. If he ever needed anything, I would be there in a flash for him; I’d crawl over broken glass for this man who invested so much into my life. So how about you? Who are the great people in your life, and what did they do to qualify for that exclusive shortlist? The Truth About Greatness Jesus had an interesting perspective on greatness. It’s a perspective that is far more closely aligned with your instinctive identification of the great people in your life, than it is with the present day cult of celebrity. His disciples were arguing about who amongst them, was the greatest (I’m
thinking at this point it was just as well that Muhammad Ali wasn’t there at the time!) James and John wanted to be at the top of the heap, so they sent their mother to ask Jesus to put them at His right hand and His left, when He came into His kingdom. (But) when the ten heard it, they were angry with the two brothers. But Jesus called them to him and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones are tyrants over them. It will not be so among you; but whoever wishes to be great among you must be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life a ransom for many. (Matthew 20:24–28) Greatness – true greatness – is about servanthood and slavery. It’s impossible to imagine a view more diametrically opposed to the cult of celebrity, and more closely in line with what we already know deep in our hearts than this, is there? Greatness is a deposit that we can make in the hearts of those around us by serving them, even when they don’t deserve it. Greatness is a legacy that we can leave in the hearts around us, that will outlive us and that many a time, will be passed down through generations when we are long forgotten. Greatness is a mantle that is available to each one of us, to you and to me, as ordinary and as insignificant as we may seem in the scheme of things, if only we will set our hearts like flint, on following the example of Jesus. So, let me ask you. Who is the greatest?
Berni Dymet is the ceo of the global media ministry – Christianityworks. His radio and television broadcasts reach millions of people each week in over 160 countries around the world. For instant access to his free, daily eDevotional, stop by at edevotional.net
Greatness is a deposit that we can make in the hearts of those around us by serving them, even when they don’t deserve it. 8 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
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FORMER METH-ADDICT AND AUTHOR OF THE MEMOIR TAKE A WALK ON THE WILD SIDE, JANET BALCOMBE, TALKS ABOUT HER LIFE OF ADDICTION AND HER TRANSFORMATION
Inside The Mind Of A Wild Child
10 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
This page clockwise from top: Posing after some of the worst moments in my addiction and psychosis; 19 years old and around the time my brother died. I was an addict then too - alcohol, marijuana and prescription drugs; This is when I was an Ice addict but hadn’t yet descended to the depths of physical and mental despair - that was to come. Opposite page bottom left: My sister-in-law Marlene and I; My ex-partner Mark; A newspaper article outlining my criminal charges
ow does a girl from a good family become a convicted kidnapper and meth survivor? Well, the kidnapping was just a misunderstanding. I was really a good girl, guilty by association! Mostly. I didn’t plan to blast meth into my arm for two years. It happened bit by bit. I didn’t plan to go out with a meth cook — he became one during the eleven years we were together. It was just as well he wasn’t a murderer, or an AIDS or Hepatitis victim. But plenty of others aren’t so lucky. I didn’t plan to spend twenty years off my face to kill my pain. It was just as well that Jesus Christ turned out to be who He said He was, or there would have been no happy everafter. In failing to plan, I’d planned to fail. Still, sitting in jail on a raft of charges including kidnapping, guns, drugs and counterfeiting was a little disappointing! Why hadn’t I planned out my life?
Well, I’d given up on myself by the time I left school. I believed the lies they told about me, those ones I called my friends. I was no good, unacceptable and unaccepted. If I turned my heart to stone and built a wall around it, it wouldn’t hurt anymore because I didn’t care. Except when my brother died. I turned to the easy crowd. They weren’t hard to impress and accepted me with open arms. After falling in love, I found out he was married. By 24 I was a drug-addict and an adulteress. A home-wrecker. My extreme make-under was complete. From career girl to junkie. We were full-time outlaws. Meth addiction turned me into a user. A user of people — just like it does to all addicts in the end. You turn up at your mates’ door with the eyes of a predator. Have they got any gear? No? Ok, let’s go. They’d turn up at ours with the same look in their eyes. I hadn’t liked the person I was before,
but I detested the person I’d become. My toxic relationship slowly squeezed the life out of my close relationships until I was isolated from my support system. The black spiritual doors that my fascination with the occult, and drug use had opened, was really something else again. I was psychotic and demonised. Malnourished and paranoid. Desperately unhappy. Completely lost. By grace I saw God contend with the demonic as it sought to contend with me while still in my sin. The demonic visitor that possessed my partner one dark night abhorred me. It saw I was oblivious to the angelic protection that held it at bay as an intercessor prayed. If this wasn’t rock bottom, it would certainly do until I got there. But sadly, I still had a long way to go. In and out of jail, eventually my partners’ drug-dealing morphed into cooking meth for two Auckland gangs. Inevitably things turned bad. “Well, we can expect a visit,”
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It was just as well that Jesus Christ turned out to be who He said He was, or there would have been no happy ever-after. Above left: Our wedding day with new husband Ray; Above right: My son Roq, husband Ray and niece Indiana.
he calmly said one day. “I’ve got a loaded gun under my pillow but I won’t use it because I don’t care anymore.” “Neither do I,” I thought to myself. Suddenly my one year-old son and I both got sick. Very sick! Campylobacter. I fought as long as I could but eventually we had to go to my parents to recuperate for a few days. So I thought. But God had tricked me and we never went back. Why? I surrendered my stone heart to Jesus the living Christ. How on earth did it happen? Not without a fight. Unable to walk unaided back at my parents place, I looked at my reflection and saw the mask of death looking back at me. I’d had no idea how close I was. A few days later I realised I was blowing it; this thing called life, and cried out to God. “God if you’re real you’d better show up now or I’ll go back.” He showed up a couple of days later with a terrible vision. He showed my son’s eternal destiny hanging in the balance. He showed the spiritual reality of my life without Him. It was ugly, and it was the first time I’d been properly scared in my entire life. Terrified. It was only then that I accepted an invitation to a prayer meeting with my mother that night and there I accepted Christ. My walk on the wild side had just begun. After two weeks of relentless battery from hell I got the message. The enemy of my soul was not pleased. I learned the power of the name of Jesus and the power of His blood. I learned the power of praise and worship; and kept my eyes 12 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
on Jesus, not Satan and his antics. I began to experience true repentance and forgiveness. I had an insatiable hunger for the things of God; His word, prayer and worship. Over time, God healed my heart and over two years, did many miracles restoring my shambolic affairs, including erasing a $26,000 tax bill. I learned who God is and who I was, at an intense six-month residential Certificate of Evangelism course at Lifeway College in New Zealand. This was extreme bible college with army flavour... boot-camp, parade, drill and PT. I railed against God for many years to bring me a husband and then He gave me a prophetic word. “Nothing will happen for you in this area until you accept Jesus as your husband. Then you will be like royalty to Me.” I went after learning how to accept Jesus as my husband and what that meant. He led me on a journey of discovery and by the time I had fully accepted Him as my husband I didn’t want a natural husband anymore. Being royalty to Him and doing His will was all I needed and I set about writing my memoir, ‘Take a Walk on the Wild Side’. A few years later I visited my home church one weekend. There happened to be a visiting team from a large US prophetic ministry at the tiny country church. They pointed me out and said, “This day is for you. Jesus is here to see you. He is your husband. He is coming down the aisle to see you. You need to dream bigger” [abridged version]. I was completely overcome with Jesus glory and his love.
Finally, after thirteen years of being single and celibate God has brought me a husband. He is the son of Youth for Christ NZ’s first evangelist. He is one of the founding members of Promise Keepers in New Zealand and was campaign manager for international evangelist Bill Subritzky for thirteen years. He is royalty in Gods’ kingdom. When I realised who he was, I totally freaked. But God said to me, “Hey, remember what I said? When you have accepted Jesus as your husband, you will be like royalty to me.” I clearly saw how God led his blind child by ways she had not known. I now live Luke 7:47 — forgiven much, I now love much! God has never stopped surprising me. He is taking me from platform to platform for His glory, speaking and ministering together with Ray. Together we are seeing people set free from addictions and other bondages, and bringing hope to the hopeless. If he can do this for me, he can do it for you, your friends and yourJ family. We need to dream bigger.
Aussie Wild Side Cover.indd 2
5/05/15 2:08 PM
Janet Balcombe You can contact Janet via www.wildside.com.mx. Take a Walk on the Wild Side is available through Koorong (www.koorong.com.au) and Ark House Press (www.arkhousepress.com).
BRING BACK OUR GIRLS One year on...
RECENTLY WE MARKED THE ONE YEAR ANNIVERSARY SINCE 252 GIRLS FROM THE TOWN OF CHIBOK IN NORTHERN NIGERIA WERE KIDNAPPED BY THE ISLAMIC EXTREMIST GROUP BOKO HARAM. DESPITE THE MANY DEVELOPMENTS IN THE STORY, 232 OF THE GIRLS REMAIN MISSING. TIM WILSON FROM OPEN DOORS REPORTS...
t 10pm on April 14, Boko Haram attacked the Government Secondary School of Chibok. That particular evening many of the girls from the community were staying at the school, with exams scheduled for the morning. Boko Haram entered the school compound in seven vehicles filled with armed men wearing military fatigues. Some of the men set fire to buildings while others overpowered the security guards before storming the dormitories and
forcing 275 students into the vehicles at gunpoint. The attackers then sped away, disappearing into the Sambisa Forest. Extremist Islamic group, Boko Haram, claimed responsibility for the kidnapping, releasing a 45 minute video in which the group’s leader, Abubakar Shekau, stated, “I have kidnapped the girls. I will sell them on the market in the name of Allah.” While initial news reports stated that 100 girls had been kidnapped by the
group, it was not until a few days later that the true figure was confirmed. This reporting was an attempt by the Nigerian government to downplay the situation and continued with a statement promising the girls would be returned within a month. Outrage from the kidnapping fanned the flames of public opinion and people around the world took to social media using the hashtag #bringbackourgirls. Several celebrities got behind the initiative and raised awareness of the www.mychristiandaily.com | 13
tragedy. Pakistani female education activist, Malala Yousafzai and American First Lady Michelle Obama both posted about the tragedy to ensure the world knew. Despite the huge levels of awareness raised, the campaign yielded few results. It also did little in the way of deterring Boko Haram from continuing their reign of terror. While this was the single largest kidnapping carried out by the group, it was only part of a larger kidnapping campaign. Indeed, Human Rights Watch said, “The relative ease with which Boko Haram carried out the Chibok abductions seems to have emboldened it to step up abductions elsewhere.” Since the kidnapping in Chibok, the situation has been extremely difficult for the parents of the girls. Due to continued fighting in the area the girls were abducted from, family members of the girls have been forced to flee, resulting in the loss of their children, livelihoods and homes. In some instances, parents of the missing girls have been killed in fighting. Sadder still, 11 parents have died from stress directly related to not knowing where their daughters are now. “Just recently, one of the sisters of the Chibok girls came to our office and asked for some food stores and a mattress because she said her mother is always crying. She said they are always near her, comforting her, as nobody is taking care of her,” said Rebecca Dali, who runs the Centre for Caring, Empowerment and Peace Initiatives located near Chibok. The Chibok kidnapping represents only a small portion of the horror that Boko Haram has perpetrated across Northern Nigeria. While traditionally, Muslims and Christians have enjoyed generally friendly relations in the country, Boko Haram are at odds with this and have targeted Christians in attacks. Boko Haram, meanwhile, is finally being challenged by multi-national
military forces from neighboring Chad, Niger and Cameroon. As the Nigerian military and coalition forces have pushed Boko Haram back, gruesome reports of mass graves and bodies dumped into wells – many of them female – have emerged. Most recently, a report indicated that as Boko Haram retreated, they attempted to stone the women they could not take with them in an attempt to prevent them from remarrying ‘infidels’. Prior to the high level of military action that we are now witnessing, the Nigerian government also attempted to negotiate the girls’ release. Last May, news surfaced that Stephen Davis, an Australian, had been negotiating with Boko Haram for the release of the girls. Although he secured an agreement to win the release of about sixty girls, the exchange was compromised. In October, there was another glimmer of hope when the government announced it had again reached an agreement for the release of the girls. But just as the news broke, fighting intensified and Abubakar Shekau, whom the military previously had announced was dead, declared in a video released to media there was no deal. “War is what we want,” the speaker said. Davis became involved in the negotiations because of his recent history of interaction with the forerunner of Boko Haram, Jama’atu Ahlul Sunnah Lih Da’awa Wal Jihad. He was confident from telephone conversations he had with contacts in the group soon after the kidnapping, that there was a good chance of securing the release of some, if not all, the kidnapped girls. “I arrived in Nigeria on 3 May 2014, for the specific and only purpose of securing the release of the Chibok girls,” he said. “Soon after arrival in Nigeria and discussions with the Presidency I travelled to Borno State in the north east by military aircraft provided through the Presidency,” Davis said. “As the visit was to be discreet, it was decided that I
would be met at the military airbase by a civilian and travel in a private vehicle. Over subsequent days I met with the head of the Maiduguri University Teaching Hospital who was cooperative in providing medical team support for any kidnapped girls who might be handed over.” Davis said he came close to brokering a release three other times, only to have each handover ruined at the last moment. In one episode, “We had set out on a trip to receive a group of Chibok girls who were to be handed over at the village of Kirenowa near the northern border with Niger. At New Mart we picked up a military escort and continued to Kirenow.” Fifteen minutes before the exchange was to happen, another group kidnapped the girls to try and cash in on the several million Naira reward the police had announced just 24 hours before. Shortly afterward, Boko Haram attacked Kirenowa, wiping out the military barracks. They also took New Marte and Dikwa, both large towns with substantial military presence. Disenchanted with the poor response from President Goodluck Jonathon, Nigeria elected new leader Muhammadu Buhari in the April 2015 elections. Buhari represents a major shift in the country as this is the first power change since 1999 back to a former military leader. Buhari had made the defeat of Boko Haram a centerpiece of his campaign. “Boko Haram will soon know the strength of our collective will and commitment to rid this nation of terror, and bring back peace and normalcy to all the affected areas,” he said in his acceptance speech. “We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism.”
Tim Wilson Open Doors Australia
“We shall spare no effort until we defeat terrorism.” 14 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
UNDERSTANDING DIVERSITY KNOW WHAT ‘CHRISTIAN’ MEANS WHEN CHOOSING HEART EDUCATION ENGAGING TRUE LEARNING
TOP 1O DIFFERENCES BETWEEN PUBLIC VERSUS CHRISTIAN EDUCATION COUNTING THE COST WHY YOU SHOULD CONSIDER THE FEES
SEARCH FOR SCHOOLS NOW www.findachristian.com.au
www.mychristiandaily.com | 15
Lighthouse Christian College
ELC to Year 12
The Christian Choice for Excellence in Education Lighthouse Christian College is a co-educational, Christian College catering for students from K-12. Lighthouse provides a rich and exciting teaching and learning environment for your child by offering academic excellence, a wide range of co-curricular activities, facilities and resources.
927 Springvale Road Keysborough VIC 3173 Telephone: 03 8796 7373 Facsimile: 03 8796 7374 Email: email@example.com 16 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
IN THIS ISSUE: 06 Understanding Diversity 07 Do Christian schools remove children from the real world?
08 Heart Education 10 Counting the cost 11 Top 10 Differences Between Public And Christian Schools
www.mychristiandaily.com | 17
hen considering Christian Schools and Christian Colleges for your child it is important to understand the diversity. The inclusion, or exclusion, of the word ‘Christian’ in a school’s name, or its relationship to a church does not automatically mean it is more Christian than another. As parents it is important you ask questions rather than making assumptions. Here are some factors for you to consider • Is the school linked to a particular church or denomination?
• How strong is any link to a church or denomination? • Does the school only employ Christian staff? • If the school employs both Christian and non-Christian staff what are the percentages? • What criteria is used to select teachers? • Is the enrolment policy “open” or based on a minimum percentage of families being practising Christians? • What percentage of current families are practising Christians and how has this changed over
time? • What is the vision of the school? Even within an association of similar schools you will find differences of opinions, styles, policies and practices. Like churches we may not all agree on the details but we generally agree on the big picture. Schools change over time. Vision and culture may change - both for good and bad. You may even have gone to a Christian school as a child. You may have liked it. Maybe you didn’t. Regardless it is good to ask questions of whichever school you are considering.
This article was provided by www.WhyChristianSchools.com.au. Hear parents and teachers answer common questions about Christian education.
Prep to Year 12 Visit us online at brisbane.coc.edu.au 322 Wecker Road Carindale Queensland 4152 Australia t 07 3347 5899 f 07 3347 5900
18 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
Do Christian schools remove children from the real world?
ome parents feel Christian schools place children in an artificial hothouse. They claim children are not well prepared to live in a society where most people are non-Christian. The Bible says of Jesus… “For by Him all things were created, things in Heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together.” Colossians 1:16-17 We believe life is not an accident or coincidence. As Christians we understand we are created in God’s image. Any education system which
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“RATHER THAN REMOVING CHILDREN FROM THE REAL WORLD CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS HELP THEM SEE IT CLEARLY.”
place another view of reality is presented. Christian parents partnering with Christian teachers can help children discover and understand the truth about the world around them. Rather than removing children from the real world Christian schools help them see it clearly. The very first sentence of the Bible is “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Genesis 1:1 That God is the Creator is a basic belief for Christians. What we believe about God, Jesus Christ and the origins of life do influence how we act on a daily basis. These beliefs will also have a dramatic impact on how a school conducts itself. The beliefs of school leaders determine what priorities are set, what is important and therefore what should be measured and reported on. Secular education believes history and the world around us can be understood without reference to God or the Bible. By leaving these
20 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
out curriculums don't become neutral but essentially anti-God. Families are the first place children learn about the world around them. Schools then help children understand more about the world. In the early years families and schools can be likened to providing a hothouse environment for children. Consider the purpose of a hothouse or glass house. It is to nurture plants while they are young. A hothouse provides an environment where the conditions, watering and nutrition can be better managed. The hothouse is designed to grow healthier plants faster. When removed from the hothouse these plants are better able to thrive in all environments. In the home parents can help control what is taught, how much and by whom. The home and family life gives a child a framework of reality. Parents naturally want to protect, nurture, feed and strengthen their children. Over time parents expose their children to more age
appropriate ideas and experiences. In the same way Christian schools seek to work with parents as an extension of the family home. Rather than providing a different, or even inconsistent, environment Christian schools aim to reinforce what is taught at home. It is up to parents to decide which hothouse environment they desire for their children outside of the home. Do we believe this is God's world? If so a supportive hothouse environment where God and Jesus Christ are seen as relevant to daily life can help prepare a child for the realities of life “We will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of His body, the church.” Ephesians 4:15 This article was provided by www.WhyChristianSchools.com.au. Hear parents and teachers answer common questions about Christian education.
Covenant Christian School Northern Beaches / North Shore Sydney
Preschool to Year 12
We’re thinking about schools for the kids. Heard goo d things about Covenant. How’s your experience been?
Families from 125 churches partner with Covenant for their children's education. • New Primary School • Dance Academy • Generous family discounts
We’re really happy the re. Fab community. Lovely tea chers. Kids love it and doing really well. Great mix of churches among families Is it pricey? Family discounts really
Check out the website . Lots of photos and videos. Let’s do coffee and chat :-) I heard there is good coff ee at the school cafe True! Let’s meet at Caf é Covie. 9.30? See you there :-)
what every parent needs to know
WHY CHRISTIAN SCHOOLS? Parents & teachers answer common questions about Christian Education. Watch the videos online
Your 'To Do' List Explore www.covenant.nsw.edu.au Read community news stories
WHAT TYPE OF WISDOM WILL MY CHILD BE TAUGHT IN SCHOOL?
Watch videos & enjoy the photos Book your school tour online or call Wendy (02) 9450 2688
www.covenant.nsw.edu.au 212 Forest Way Belrose (Enter via Dell St)
Heart Education H
ow might we define education? Often we can think that the meaning of purpose of education is to ensure we become employed. At Maranatha Christian School, education means much more than this. At Maranatha, the purpose of education is to produce discerning students who can think Christianly about the world, and use the talents God has given them to the benefit of others. In this way, they become successful and productive members of society. To achieve this we need to work with each family to educate
not just the head, but as importantly, the heart and spirit of each student. True education is firstly about engaging the mind. It is about developing our ability to think, engage and generate ideas, and embed the love of learning. It involves using our minds to analyse, synthesise and apply what we might discover. It is more than training. Training will only limit us to one particular field. Education, especially Christian education, on the other hand opens doors to many fields. Christian education
requires not just a desire or thirst for knowledge, but also the ability to use our minds to understand and apply what we have learnt (on other words, our ability to think) from Godâ€™s perspective. Just like an eagle or falcon, true education enables us to see a larger picture in the way God does, rather than adopt a narrow focus, yet maintain an eye for detail so that our world benefits. It is not enough just to condemn others out of our own ignorance, rather the more we can discover and increase our knowledge, the better we will be
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Anglican - P-12 - Co-educational 1 Morris Grove, Kellyville Tel 8882 2100 | Fax 9629 2041 firstname.lastname@example.org www.wcc.nsw.edu.au CRICOS Provider Number: 02315J
22 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
“We can educate the mind all we want but if we have no compassion, integrity or love for others, what good would it do us?” and the more we can contribute to ensuring our world becomes a better place for all. Through our Christcentred curriculum, Maranatha Christian School assist students to acquire and apply knowledge, knowing that with the application of knowledge comes true wisdom. Just as importantly, perhaps even more so, is that we educate the heart and spirit. We can educate the mind all we want but if we have no compassion, integrity or love for others, what good would it do us? At Maranatha, it is often said, ‘the heart of education is education of the heart’. What does this mean? Education of the heart or spirit involves understanding the big picture. We are all different yet loved by God. In a diverse community we need to encourage tolerance of each other
through word and deed for tolerance comes from understanding, understanding comes from knowledge, and knowledge comes from God. After all, we are all different, yet each of us will have gifts and abilities. Educating the heart also means giving students the opportunity to engage in service. At Maranatha Christian School, all students are involved in service. As William Wordsworth stated, The best portion of a good person’s life is his little, nameless, unremembered acts of kindness and of love. It is through these acts of kindness that we make everyone feel safe, secure and loved and we grow as a community. After all, the best way to challenge a wrong is by doing a good. In other words, Christian education will change our inside
rather than just our outside. It will encourage and inspire us, and give us the skills to step outside our comfort zone. At Maranatha Christian School, we believe that a good school should be a place where children have the opportunity to take risks and have a go, ie to try something new, knowing that there is a supportive safety net, both earthly and divine, underneath them. Christian education will give us more than a job, rather it will enable us to make the most of all that life has to offer, and be the best young man or woman that God intended them to be. Dr Roderick Crouch Principal/CEO Maranatha Christian School
Maranatha Christian School, Casey Campus Endeavour Hills 104-108 Reema Blvd, Endeavour Hills, VIC 3802 Direct: +613 9709 7219 Website: www.maranatha.vic.edu.au
St Andrew’s Cathedral School offers city-based and globally focused learning within a nurturing Christian environment, equipping students to impact the world around them.
Book a school tour today www.sacs.nsw.edu.au
www.mychristiandaily.com | 23
Counting the cost
Counting the cost
This article was provided by www.WhyChristianSchools.com.au. Hear parents and teachers answer common questions about Christian education.
ducation for every child is a modern concept. We now think of it as a right. Yet the provision and funding of education is debated around the world. The models of funding have changed many times over the last 150 years. Historically, education for most was provided by parents. At times it has depended more on churches. More recently it has been considered a government responsibility. However God has given to parents the primary responsibility for the nurture and care of their children. This responsibility has not changed over time. It has also not been delegated to government, the church or even teachers. If we do believe parents have responsibilities for raising children then parents also need to have choices. They should have options of where and what their children will be taught. Christian schools give parents a choice. Some Christians question paying school fees when they are paying taxes to fund government schools. Christian schools may even
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24 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
E. email@example.com 58 Douglas Rd, Blacktown
be accused of undermining the government education system and duplicating facilities. The Bible takes a different view, Where your treasure is there your heart will be also. Luke 12:34 Jesus saw it as a natural response to give to what we believe is important. What we are willing to allocate treasure, or finances, towards demonstrates where our hearts are. If providing an education which reflects a parent’s beliefs and supports their role is considered important then they will work out ways to make it a priority. When questioned about taxes Jesus’ reply was simple… Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s. Matthew 22:21 He taught that paying taxes did not stop an individual from doing what God wanted them to do. They were not to be considered mutually exclusive. Parents do need to carefully consider the financial cost of education if they choose a Christian school. It will come down to setting priorities. The apostle Paul taught… Everything is permissible - but not everything is beneficial. Everything is permissible - but not everything is constructive. 1 Corinthians 10:23 Paul faced choices. He felt some decisions were better than others. As a parent you face the choice of ‘which school should I send my child to?’ In our society children will learn the basics of education whichever school they attend. However not all they learn may be beneficial or constructive. We can be thankful we do have a choice. Like all choices we make, it is one for which we will be accountable to God. Our choices can have short-term, long-term and eternal consequences. Whatever you decide, we hope and pray that this has been helpful in your choosing a school for your child.
Public vs Christian
TOP 10 DIFFERENCES Between Public And Christian Schools
nderstanding differences between secular and Christian education is critical if parents are to make an informed decision in favor of their child. We offer the following comparison so that parents can see that in every area of education there is a significant difference in approach. These two different philosophies reflect who is the ultimate source of truth. Please read and pray through these. PURPOSE OF EDUCATION Public Schools: To prepare citizens for a humanistic society that tolerates all lifestyles Christian Schools: To prepare citizens for the Kingdom of God who are equipped to spread the Gospel CONTENT OF EDUCATION Public Schools: Humanism - no values are absolute and no truth is final Christian Schools: All of life is studied in submission to the Word of God and its precepts CONTROL OF EDUCATION Public Schools: The State determines the content and
methods of education Christian Schools: The school functions in loco parentis, reinforcing and supporting parental values SCIENCE Public Schools: Naturalism - everything comes from matter, time, and chance Christian Schools: God is the Creator and Sustainer of all things; science involves knowing God through knowing His world HISTORY Public Schools: Controlled either by autonomous man or by an impersonal process Christian Schools: Controlled by an omnipotent God who knows the end from the beginning ENGLISH Public Schools: Literature must be representative of all cultures, which are seen as having equal value, and has no inherent meaning Christian Schools: Students are exposed to a variety of quality
Respect Learn Grow Come and view our outstanding facilities and see how we stimulate enquiring young minds. www.barker.nsw.edu.au
www.mychristiandaily.com | 25
Public vs Christian
literature, which is appreciated as a demonstration of common grace and interpreted in the light of God’s Word TEACHERS Public Schools: Varied backgrounds - Christianity or some other religion, humanism, atheism; may be straight or gay Christian Schools: Born-again, committed believers seeking to model Christ before their students RULES Public Schools: Determined by state and federal laws and guidelines Christian Schools: Determined by God’s Word and its moral standards PEERS Public Schools: Varied religious backgrounds, often receiving little moral instruction or values at home or church Christian Schools: Majority of students from Christian homes who are there because their parents support Christian values Chairo Christian School Chairo is a co-ed, non-denominational Christian school providing quality education from a Christian worldview perspective. With campuses in Victoria at Drouin, Drouin East, Leongatha and Pakenham, Chairo caters for students from Kindergarten through to Year 12 (VCE). Don’t hesitate to contact us to arrange a personal tour for your family and to discover more about Chairo. Address: 76 Balfour Road, Drouin, Victoria 3818 Phone: (03) 5625 4600 Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: www.chairo.vic.edu.au
02 8525 5111 www.sscs.nsw.edu.au from
A Firm Foundation Prep to Year 12
26 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
Barden Ridge, NSW
Christian Mission, North Korea and Counting the Cost THERE IS A COST TO EVANGELISM– PARTICULARLY IN THE DARK PLACES OF THE EARTH. HOWEVER, WHAT DO WE CHOOSE – TO GO ALL THE WAY WITH CHRIST OR TO ‘PLAY IT SAFE’?
any of you would have heard about the Australian missionary detained in North Korea, facing the very real possibility that he will die there for his “crime” of leaving Christian literature behind. The story is just another example of what a miserable hellhole of a country North Korea is. Indeed, just this week the UN finally seems to have woken up to what a horrific place this is. In a 372-page report released this week, the UN said Kim Jong-un should face the International Criminal Court for ordering the systematic torture, starvation and killing of his own people, comparable to Nazi-era atrocities. As one news report said, “The independent investigators’ report cited crimes including murder, torture, rape, abductions, starvation and executions. ‘The gravity, scale and nature of these violations reveal a state that does not have any parallel in the contemporary world,’ it said.” While I am glad the UN is finally catching on here, it would be interesting to see what the secular body would say about this case. Persecution of Christians is of course widespread there, and the arrest of the Australian missionary is not the first such incident. His story goes as follows: “An Australian missionary being detained in North Korea left Christian pamphlets in a Buddhist temple, his travel companion says. John Short, 75, who has been arrested previously in China for evangelising, is now facing a potential prison term in the
reclusive state. ‘There’s risk involved,’ his wife Karen said in Hong Kong. ‘He knew that too, but when you know what you must do, you do it.’ “Mr Short, who has lived in Hong Kong for 50 years, arrived in Pyongyang on Saturday and was taken from his hotel the next night. His companion Wang Chong told the ABC Mr Short left
pamphlets promoting Christianity at the Buddhist temple during a tour. . . . Last year, American missionary Kenneth Bae was sentenced to 15 years of hard labour after being accused of committing hostile acts in North Korea.” Karen Short said, “I know he’s courageous and he’s in God’s hands”. She also said, “My husband does what
Pyongyang, North Korea - May 3, 2008: Group of North Korean soldiers paying respect to the president Kim Il-sung at the Mansudae Grand Monument on Mansudae Hill.
www.mychristiandaily.com | 27
“I DO HAVE THIS MESSAGE FOR AUSTRALIANS ABROAD: YOU DO HAVE TO BE CAREFUL TO OBEY THE LAWS OF THE COUNTRY YOU’RE IN.” PRIME MINISTER TONY ABBOTT
he believes is what God wants him to do. Without sounding strange, that’s him, he’s a man of faith. We’re faith missionaries and he believed that we should care and not just talk but do something.” There are of course not just spiritual considerations which crop up here. There are political considerations as well. And on a political level, Prime Minister Abbott said this, “I do have this message for Australians abroad: you do have to be careful to obey the laws of the country you’re in.” All this raises questions of what Christians should do, both at home and abroad, in terms of Christian ministry and witness. I already had one person say elsewhere that Mr Short was unnecessarily taking “stupid risks”. There is no question that he was taking risks, but whether they were stupid or not all depends. If he was doing what he did by what he perceived to be the express direction of the Lord, then it of course was not stupid. While I cannot say whether this was the case or not for sure – and clearly the Short’s believe it was indeed God’s will for them – it must be pointed out that the history of the expansion of the Christian church is one of risks, maybe even “stupid risks”. Christians have always risked life and limb to share the good news of Jesus Christ to those who desperately need to hear it. Thus we have Christian
missionaries today for example, sharing the gospel in Muslim-majority countries at great risk. All throughout church history believers have taken enormous risks to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Indeed, the early church was full of such actions. Just read the book of Acts, and see all the courageous – or what some might call foolish and foolhearted – deeds being done by Paul, Peter and others. They bravely defied the authorities, the enraged mobs, and hostile environments to proclaim the gospel message. Indeed, Jesus himself could have been accused of taking “stupid risks”. He deliberately did things and said things which he knew would get him into big trouble. Others might have advised him to calm down, moderate his words and actions, and try to be more conciliatory. But Jesus was on a mission, a risky mission, and he knew he would have to pay the ultimate price for it. And so it is today. Obviously in places like North Korea one takes one’s life in one’s hands any time an attempt is made to proclaim biblical truth. This is also quite true in most Muslim nations. And increasingly in a secular West, it is getting very risky to speak biblical truth in the public arena as well. More and more people are being jailed, fined and losing their jobs for doing this very thing. So without knowing very much about
the Shorts, I can say this much with confidence: I applaud their boldness and their zeal to serve Christ, regardless of the costs. And we of course must pray for John and his family. This is not just a political struggle but ultimately a very real spiritual battle. And we all can learn some lessons here. We all can be greatly challenged by this couple. John Short knew the risks of sharing the gospel in this demonic and darkened nation. Not bad for a 75-yearold. So the question is: what risks are we taking for Christ and the Kingdom? What brave feats are we performing for the sake of the gospel? Or have we made it our custom never to take risks, never to rock the boat, and never to defy the system and stand for Christ, regardless of the consequences? Sooner than we realise, we all may have to start making courageous decisions as John Short did. Will you be ready for that?
FINAL WORD. Or have we made it our custom never to take risks, never to rock the boat, and never to defy the system and stand for Christ, regardless of the consequences? 28 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
How God Made Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner
LOVE IS THE GREATEST GIFT OF ALL – TO LOVE THOSE WHO WE DON’T UNDERSTAND, BUT WHO ARE IN TORMENT. CARLOS A. RODRÍGUEZ TAKES US ON A JOURNEY OF DISCOVERY OF GOD’S LOVE FOR ALL MANKIND
magine Jesus chatting with Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner. It’s early in the morning and they are alone in the temple. The disciples are sleeping, still recovering from the previous day. But Jesus is up, and a man wants to talk to him about feeling like a woman. “I’m not sure there’s anything worse than causing those whom God loves, to question whether God loves them.” – Tullian Tchividjian “I’ve always been very confused with my gender identity.” says Jenner, 65, tearing up. And he tries to explain it, “God’s looking down, making little Bruce/Caitlyn ... he says ‘Okay, what are gonna do with this one. Make him a smart kid, very determined ... and then when he’s just finishing he says, ‘Let’s wait a second.’ “God looks down and chuckles a little bit and says, ‘Hey, let’s give him the soul of a female.’” Bruce/Caitlyn is guessing, but Jesus knows. Really knows. You see, Jesus was actually there when Bruce/Caitlyn was created. He perfectly knows The Father’s plans and intentions for this man. He was the word that formed Bruce/ Caitlyn perfectly in his mother’s womb. So Jesus looks at Bruce/Caitlyn and loves him. He loved Peter the hothead. He loved Nathaniel the racist. He loved Thomas the doubter. He even loved Judas the traitor. For sure he will love Bruce/Caitlyn the transgender. He also called out Peter when he was contradicting God’s will. He corrected James and John for being judgmental. He prophesied about Judas’ sin. For sure he would talk to Bruce/Caitlyn about his sexuality. But imagine that while they’re still talking, a mob of holy men arrive. They know that Jesus is a Friend of Sinners... “but come on! Not this kind of sinner!” They ask each other, “What is Jesus doing with this “guy”... alone in the temple?” The one Pharisee says, “It’s like that time he spoke to the fornicator lady near the well in Samaria.” An older Rabbi remembers, “And like that evening when the whore washed his www.mychristiandaily.com | 29
I believe the Bible is clear; Homosexuality is a sin. But so are about 30 different things I did today. That means we all need the Savior. We all need the sinless one to our rescue.
feet with her hair.” The newer Sadducee adds, “Or the time the tax collector became his disciple.” The other Pharisee reminds them, “Guys, it’s like the other million times we have seen him with the ugly and the dirty and the sinful.” And the chief priest replies, “He’s just one of them, you know, a glutton and a drunkard... but he’s pretending to be one of us, a teacher and a Rabbi.” These religious leaders (who know the Bible very well) remind Jesus that Bruce/Caitlyn was caught in the act of sexual immorality. They ask the Lord if he remembers the Law of Moses. Specifically the verses that talk against men sleeping with men and the reasons for the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, “And this guy wants to be a woman?!? Well, let’s stone him like one!” Gracefully, Jesus bends down and writes on the dirt. The newer Sadducee adds shamefully, “Oh God... not this again.” Yes, they all know what’s coming. They have seen it before. John 8 is fresh in their hearts. The woman caught in the act of adultery. And although they know the story (everyone in their world knows the story) they still judge, still demand, still bring rocks. Nevertheless, Jesus who is the same yesterday, today and forever, gets up and says, “He who is free of sin, throw the first stone.” One by one, they leave. They go back to the search. To find the worst kind of sin. Another kind of adulterous woman. Another one like Bruce/Caitlyn. And for 2,000 years holy men have kept trying to get Jesus to throw a stone. We do. But he never will. If your theology makes you feel superior to others, rethink your theology. 30 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner said in his interview with Diane Sawyer that he was a Christian and a conservative and a republican. He also said that he was not interested in men. Maybe this whole thing is a ploy to get huge ratings on his next reality TV show. Maybe Bruce/Caitlyn misses the attention he got while being the greatest athlete on earth back in the 70’s, so he’s trying to get it back. Maybe he’s jealous of his stepdaughters. Maybe he’s bored. I know this as gossip. But maybe he’s broken, confused, tired and alone; like we all are (in some shape or form). And if that’s the case, then this is the perfect opportunity for us to love him well. This is the time and the season for the sons and daughter of God to pray, reach out and love this man (and all the men) that are trying to become a woman. I don’t know which parts to believe about Mr. Jenner’s story. All I know is that, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 I know this as truth. That’s the superior story. This is the script I’m sticking with. God made Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner to be loved. You might not have access to a celebrity like him, but I’m sure you have one family member, or friend, or co-worker who considers themselves LGBT. You might look down on them. You might be weirded out by their behavior. You might even think that if you befriend them, their sexuality is going to contaminate you. But Jesus would have a chat with them. No stones in his hand. Only the scars of the cross. And this song of hope: “Neither do I condemn you, go and sin no more.” I believe the Bible is clear;
Homosexuality is a sin. But so are about 30 different things I did today. That means we all need the Savior. We all need the sinless one to our rescue. “With Jesus there is no us and them – there is just us.” Father Greg Boyle in Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion – A MUST READ. I will save the energy of hate and use it for love. I will not waste time debating ‘right or wrong’. I’ll learn to talk to the marginalised; to try and understand their journey, to make their healing my own. Pastor Greg Boyd writes, “45% of transgender teens attempt suicide. I can’t understand their inner torment, but they’re not making this up. I can’t judge them.” I won’t either. So let’s change our ways, let’s go back to the ways of Christ. It all starts by talking to the LGTB community as friends not as enemies. It ends by getting rid of the rocks, and the stones. Peace. “Our task is not to protest the world into a certain moral conformity, but to attract the world to the saving beauty of Christ.” Brian Zahnd in Beauty Will Save the World: Rediscovering the Allure and Mystery of Christianity. *The quotes from Bruce/Caitlyn Jenner in this article are from the ABC interview between him and Diane Sawyer.
Carlos A. Rodríguez is a pastor at Catch the Fire and the founder of HappySonshi
PASTOR ROB BUCKINGHAM DISCUSSES THE VALUE OF OUR DREAMS AND HOW GOD VIEWS THEM FOR ETERNITY.
Dreams in Eternity
www.mychristiandaily.com | 31
o you have dreams for your life that have still not been fulfilled? I sure do! I’d still love to see those dreams come to pass in my lifetime but what if they don’t come true? What if we get to the end of our life and it doesn’t all end happily ever after? Sometimes unfulfilled dreams and expectations become a deal breaker that cause people to walk away from their faith – I’ve seen many people do that over the years. The Bible says, “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life.” (Proverbs 13:12) So, how do we continue to walk in faith in the face of unfulfilled dreams and expectations? Firstly, we need to realize that… ‘No’ is an answer Matthew’s gospel tells the story of the mother of Zebedee’s sons – James and John – who came to Jesus with her sons and asked a favor of him: “Grant that one of these two sons of mine may sit at your right and the other at your left in your kingdom.” Jesus’ response was, “You don’t know what you are asking…these places belong to those for whom they have been prepared by my Father.” In other words the answer was “No!” Christie and I have three daughters and there have been many times over the years that they have requested something of me and I’ve said “no.” I tell them, “No is an answer!” And God says the same thing to us. God always answers prayer and sometimes the answer is “yes”, sometimes it’s “not yet”, and sometimes it’s “no,” because “No” is an answer! “Different” is an answer I have discovered over my 36+ years of being a Christian that invariably God doesn’t fulfill my dreams in the way I would expect. So, I’ve learned to not try and work it out! As you read about Jesus’ life in the four Gospels one thing stands out loud and clear – Jesus was not the Messiah the Jews were looking for. They
were looking for someone to liberate them from Roman rule and establish God’s Kingdom on earth. They weren’t looking for or expecting a suffering servant and so many of them missed the Messiah because He turned up in different packaging (read the interesting discourse about Jesus in John 7:40-52). God often fulfills our dreams in a way we don’t expect. It’s usually different! “Not you” is an answer In Luke 4:25-30 Jesus says, “I assure you that there were many widows in Israel in Elijah’s time, when the sky was shut for three and a half years and there was a severe famine throughout the land. Yet Elijah was not sent to any of them, but to a widow in Zarephath in the region of Sidon. And there were many in Israel with leprosy in the time of Elisha the prophet, yet not one of them was cleansed—only Naaman the Syrian.” All the people in the synagogue were furious when they heard this. They got up, drove him out of the town, and took him to the brow of the hill on which the town was built, in order to throw him off the cliff. But he walked right through the crowd and went on his way.” Why were the people so angry? Jesus mentions the socially weak (widows) and the marginalized (lepers), but the main point of His teaching was that nonJews were the ones to accept Elijah and Elisha. The people of Sidon and Syria were people whom the Jews particularly despised. Jesus’ point: Most of the Jews would not receive him, but the Gentiles will. He was saying, “Not you.” He said the same to King David when he wanted to build God a Temple. “Not you” David but your son Solomon will. In Luke 10:23-24 Jesus turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. For I tell you that many prophets and kings wanted to see what you see but did not see it, and to hear what you hear but did not hear it.” In other words there were many who dreamed of seeing the Messiah but God said “Not you.”
“Not now” is an answer The Bible is full of examples of divine delays: Abraham and Sarah waited 25 years for Isaac. Joseph waited 13 years to become Prime Minister of Egypt. The Israelites waited 400 years to be set free from slavery and Paul waited 17 years to become an apostle. “Not now” is an answer. The writer to the Hebrew Christians speaks of many Old Testament believers: “All these people were still living by faith when they died. They did not receive the things promised; they only saw them and welcomed them from a distance, admitting that they were foreigners and strangers on earth. People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. If they had been thinking of the country they had left, they would have had an opportunity to return. Instead, they were longing for a better country—a heavenly one. Therefore God is not ashamed to be called their God, for he has prepared a city for them…these were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised.” The Proverb “Hope deferred makes the heart sick, but a longing fulfilled is a tree of life” is only true if we see our lives as time locked and restricted to this earth only. When we have an eternal perspective we realize that it’s not just about here and now but also about the hereafter. When you get discouraged about unmet expectations, unfulfilled dreams and unanswered prayers have a read of Revelation 21:17 and let the promised future be your inspiration. If you have wondered if your dreams will ever be fulfilled the answer is ultimately “yes.” And God has all eternity to make it up to you!
Rob Buckingham is Senior Minister of Bayside Church, Melbourne www.baysidechurch.com.au
When we have an eternal perspective we realize that it’s not just about here and now but also about the hereafter. 32 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
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AFRICAN INLAND MISSION
Now is the time for Australian Christians to befriend Muslims
ow is an opportune time for Australian Christians and churches to connect with Muslims in Australia. This is the view of international author and advocate for Christians connecting with Muslims, Fouad Masri. Fouad is founder and president of the Crescent Project in the USA. He will be guest speaker at a series of events in Australia hosted by Africa Inland Mission in August 2015. The theme for these events in Sydney, Brisbane, Adelaide and Melbourne is “Christians Sharing the Hope with Muslims”. Full details including how to register online are on www.AfricaInlandMission.org/au or by phoning (02) 4322 4777. According to Fouad, Muslims in our communities are interested and will appreciate contact by Christians and churches in Australia. “Today the militancy of Islam is more and more in the mind of Muslims and many are asking questions about the truth in their religion. “Today militant events are not one off, but are occurring widely in places like Libya, Algeria, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, 34 | The Christian Pulse, June 2015
Yemen and more. Muslims are asking what is true religion and why is the Muslim world suffering? ” “They need to be touched by the love in the Gospel”, Fouad said. Fouad said in the August seminars he aims to help Christians understand Islam and how to build bridges instead of walls. “We need to be able to communicate effectively with Muslims.” Fouad said these events are a great opportunity for groups to come from churches and learn together how they can connect with Muslims. “Christians need to be praying for their Muslim neighbours. On women “Today the majority of Muslim women are illiterate. They cannot read or write. Many do have an education and have joined the workforce, some as professionals. “Many Muslim women have not read the Bible or even seen a page of the New Testament or Injeel.” “Islam does not offer equal social rights for women. Many women who come to Australia do not have an
Australian or Christian friend.” According to Fouad this offers Australian Christian women a great opportunity to make friends with Muslim women, and share the Hope they have found in Christ. “Islam allows polygamy, child brides and one-sided divorce. “Due to the conflict in the Middle East, refugees are pouring into our countries. Many Muslim women and children are suffering from traumatic stress. “The role of the church is move beyond the barriers. Followers of Jesus Christ are called by our Saviour to look behind the news headlines and share the Hope of Jesus.” The Africa Inland Mission Conference events at which Fouad Masri is speaking, include one-day seminars in Sydney on Saturday 22 August and Melbourne on Saturday 29 August, and evening seminars in Brisbane on Tuesday 25 August, and in Adelaide on Thursday 27 August. Register and see details on www.AfricaInlandMission.org/au or phone (02) 4322 4777. Early- bird registrations close on 30 June.
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And let the one who hears say, “Come!” Revelation 22:17 (NIV)
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Published on Jun 22, 2015
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