IN CONVERSATION Melbourne-born singer and actress Silvie Paladino talks about her Christian faith and how it impacted her singing career. PAGE 12 >>
“I believe the primary function of God’s Word is to reveal God’s Kingdom and God’s plan to reconcile the Creator with His Creation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus.” SIMON ELLIOTT PAGE 13 >>
3 Gifts transform lives Baptist World Aid has launched its new range of gifts to help end poverty >>
8 A pilot’s dream Photo: Andrew Field
The story of the pilots who established Mission Aviation Fellowship >>
SportsFest participants try their hand at archery tag, one of two new sports offered in 2017.
More than sport Held over the Queen’s Birthday weekend, SportsFest continued its long tradition of being the premier sporting event for Baptist churches in Western Australia. Over 1,100 youth and young adults along with 120 volunteers set up camp in Australind, Eaton and Bunbury for a long weekend of sport, culminating in the Sunday night church service and finals on the Monday. In total, 28 churches participated in 33 sporting activities ranging from basketball and bubble soccer, to Connect 4 and the ultracompetitive tug of war. “SportsFest is more than just a sporting competition, it’s a chance to hear God’s Word and be ministered to in a very approachable and unique manner,” Baptist Churches Western Australia Events Coordinator Jess Ford said.
“The whole weekend is a chance to represent what it means to be a follower of Jesus Christ.” “I love seeing how unique we all are and how we’ve all been created so special, but so perfect in what God has planned for us.” “This is observed from watching the many talented people participating in a wide range of sports, in volunteering and in caring for each other. We were blessed to have an incredible worship team come together and use their gifting to glorify Jesus and to have an amazing speaker in Dan Rodgers minister to everyone.” “I love seeing how all our gifts and talents can come together to create all that SportsFest is – it’s not
a one-person job, it’s the coming together of many of us, who are so uniquely talented and gifted.” “It’s a blessing to be involved in this and to be able to see people using their calling and their gifting in life to bring glory to the Father – it’s very humbling,” Jess said. With over 100 young people in attendance this year, Claremont Baptist Church won the large church competition and Gosnells Baptist took out the small church competition. When asked about Claremont Baptist Church’s success and why so many young people attend with their team, Claremont Youth Pastor Caleb Simmons responded that he thinks the rate Australians are becoming Christians through ‘one-night events’ is decreasing. It is more likely someone will become a Christian through sustained interactions with
11 Churches destroyed Christian friends and the Christian community. “Claremont has a long history of people coming to Christ through sports-related ministries like SportsFest. How we think that works – ‘strategy’, if you like – is through the Christian community modelling an alternative and attractive way of being human, and then for Christians to invite their nonChristian friends to experience that community.” “An open community which models love, grace and kindness to the outsider is the perfect platform to clearly communicate the gospel from, and our hope is that at SportsFest we can do both those things: model an alternative community and tell people about the Jesus who makes that community possible.” “We found that doing community well brings people back – with interest!”
Caribbean Christians provide support following recent hurricanes >>
We are stronger when we work together. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view NOVEMBER 2017
On getting your feet wet … I recently celebrated the end of winter with a few days at the beach. It was a misguided venture, with chilly winds and gloomy skies. Still, brave soul that I am, I ventured down to the beach many times accepting that while swimming was out of the question, a beach walk wasn’t.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
Strolling along the shore was pleasant enough, but was abruptly halted by a river of water flowing into the sea and blocking my way. True, it wasn’t deep, but my, it did look cold. I decided I wasn’t up to it and walked back in the opposite direction. In no time I was up against a similar barrier – another torrent of water gushing into the sea and preventing any further progress along that path. I resigned myself to pacing
back and forth between these two barriers, annoyed at how restricting they were. As I paced, I pondered. Were those two streams a metaphor for life? Little things that get in the way and hold us back, keeping us confined. I looked at the one. It stared back defiantly. It seemed to say sneeringly, “Get in if you dare … it will be cold, and wet. You’re not really up to it.” It was a challenge that couldn’t be ignored. I rolled
up the legs of my pants, and plunged in. It was icy, but not as bad as I thought it might be. Three steps in, and the sand mysteriously sunk away. I found myself in water beyond my knees, the bottom of my pants thoroughly wet. But it took only another few steps, and I was through. Mission accomplished. A lengthy stretch of beach lay ahead. I had it all to myself, and from that vantage watched other beach goers pace back and forth
between the same two obstacles that initially held me back. For a moment or two, I was gloating. But then I looked ahead. So much glorious sea and sand to walk along. It was a marvellous time. And when it came to walking back, crossing that river no longer seemed difficult.
God had spoken I was listening to a sermon online when Seb came into our room. He quietly crawled up beside me on the bed and we listened together. The sermon, by Allan Demond, was focused on hearing from God.
Liz Black Liz Black, along with husband Glenn and their children, are cross-cultural workers in Thailand.
Demond spoke about an activity he had learned from his daughter who was the Children’s Minister at his church. She used the game as a way to encourage children to listen for God’s voice. The game went something like this; close your eyes and take a moment to be with God, and ask Him if He was to play a game with you what would He want to play? I looked at Seb and asked him if he wanted to give it a go.
He wasn’t sure. “Do you think God can actually talk to us?” he asked. I responded, “Sure He can. Let’s ask Him.” So we closed our eyes and quietly asked God, what game did He want to play with us? After a few minutes, we opened our eyes and looked at each other. I asked Seb, “So what did God say?” “I don’t know,” he sighed. “The same thing just keeps going
around in my head and I can’t hear Him.” We closed our eyes and tried again. This time, when we opened them, I told Seb that God seemed to want to play badminton with me. Seb didn’t know what badminton was so I explained that it is like hitting a small ball with a racket to a partner. He looked at me with big eyes and said, “God’s telling you to just keep trying to hit the ball! So, when language is hard, like
the little ball, you just have to keep trying.” I was shocked. He had interpreted exactly what I felt God was telling me. I asked him again what God was telling him. He said he wasn’t sure but he just had soccer running through his head. I told him in soccer you have to run hard and kick it to the other players for help often, it takes forever and it’s pretty hard to get a goal. He turned to me and simply said, “Yes. God is telling me to just keep trying too.” His words were few but his face shone with a new revelation – God had spoken.
Got any dough? It’s not terribly polite to talk about money. It can be embarrassing to admit when you don’t have it. It can also be embarrassing when you do. In fact, research surveys show that people find conversations about money more difficult than those about death.
Scott Ingram Scott Ingram is the Director of Helium Digital Marketing and attends Church at the Stadium in Warwick.
Furthermore, in our local Baptist Christian culture, there are extra layers around the notion of money that can be quite loaded. The economic landscape has changed so much in recent years, we are all sensitive to the hit many people have taken through no fault of their own. We are told that financial stress in Australia is widespread, yet no Christian wants to be ungrateful to God for
the lives they have, or lack faith that things will improve. In church life, many of us move in social circles where abundance is simply seen as an opportunity for generosity and to further ministry, not to upgrade cars and homes. Giving is kept anonymous, in line with the teachings of Christ, ‘do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing’. [Matthew 6: 3b] I get kind of a kick out of the fact that a few people I know are
doing a lot better privately than they appear. I respect them for not thinking themselves better than anyone else, and quietly pouring resources into the lives of others as if they are nothing more than a middle man. Even a quick flick through the Bible shows that money was a subject Jesus talked about a lot – possibly because he knew how much help we would need in this area! I work with churches
and organisations that take their commercial discipline seriously, but perhaps risk being too shy when it comes to money. I would suggest that if people have bought in to your cause, illuminating them about what could be achieved with more funding gives them a chance to share in the joy. An honest update on where things are versus where they could land with financial resources, when done respectfully, is not a source of shame. Maybe I go to the practical too easily. But sometimes it really is as simple as saying, there are a lot of people, they are hungry, does anyone have any fish or bread?
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Gifts to end poverty Each Big Hearted Gift represents a donation to real, life-changing activities that are supported by Baptist World Aid and will help bring an end to poverty for good. There are gifts to grow incomes, such as fish farming and beekeeping. There are gifts that promote health, like hand soap and safe birth. There are even gifts to strengthen communities, such as childfriendly spaces. “These gorgeous gifts are an amazing way for you to share your passion for ending poverty with the people you love most,” Baptist World Aid Australia representative Samara Linehan said. “Every time you choose a Big Hearted Gift, you’re actually giving a loved one something that transforms the lives of children, families, and communities in desperate need.” One of the many people Baptist World Aid have supported through the Big Hearted Gift program is Manpura*. Manpura, her husband, and their three children were helpless to do anything but watch, as their world was reduced to rubble by a landslide in Nepal.
Every time you choose a Big Hearted Gift, you’re actually giving a loved one something that transforms the lives of children, families ...
That they managed to escape with their lives was a miracle. Sadly, they lost everything else. “In just a matter of moments, everything was swept away in front of our very eyes,” Manpura said. “Our house, cattle, crops, cattle shed, food, clothing – everything.” With no food, farmable land or belongings to speak of, Manpura and her family were plunged into dire poverty. The next five years were spent in constant hunger. But when Baptist World Aid’s Christian partner in the field began working in their community, Manpura received a wonderful gift – access to clean water. This little change had big consequences. Not only did health improve in her community, but Manpura was also able to use the water to irrigate her high value onion crop, which she had learned to grow through training provided by the Christian partner. Today, Manpura and her family have rebuilt their lives. Her children no longer go hungry. They are healthy and in school, and her farming business makes enough to feed her family. “This year, our Big Hearted Gift cards have a fresh new look and they’re even more beautiful than ever!” Samara said. “What hasn’t changed is the impact you make for people living in poverty each time you choose one.” To choose a big gift, browse your copy of Baptist World Aid’s The Little Book of Big Gift Ideas sent with this month’s edition of The Advocate or visit baptistworldaid.org.au/ big-hearted-gifts. * Surname not included for privacy reasons.
Photo: Baptist World Aid.
Baptist World Aid Australia launched its new range of Big Hearted Gifts in September.
Manpura has access to the great gift of water due to the Big Hearted Gift program.
Looking for some help at home? Stay independent and connected to your community. With Baptistcare’s tailored home services, you can design an individual package with your choice of supports.
briefs Collect used stamps for Global Interaction Help to raise funds for Global Interaction by collecting used stamps. Stamps are sold to dealers and collectors and the money raised goes directly to Global Interaction’s life-transforming work. The organisation’s goal is to share the gift of Jesus and see Him embraced by all people around the world. To get involved, cut the stamps off envelopes and deliver them to the Global Interaction office at
Choose from our flexible support services for your needs and goals including: • Home assistance – Cleaning, gardening, shopping, meal preparation, transport and more. Baptist Churches Western Australia, 21 Rowe Avenue, Rivervale. For more information, phone 6316 6300.
Pastoral changes Pastor Josh Thomas has concluded as an Assistant Pastor at Inglewood Community Church. Pastor Michael Fischer has concluded as the Interim Senior Pastor at East Fremantle Baptist Community Church.
• Personal services – Assistance with dressing, bathing, showering, mobility, medication, social support and more. • Wellness options – Co-ordination of occupational therapy, physiotherapy, assistive technology, complementary therapies and more. Services are available in the Perth metro, South West, Great Southern and Wheatbelt regions through home care packages or private arrangement. To find out how Baptistcare’s At Home Services can assist you, please call our experienced and friendly team.
1300 660 640 baptistcare.com.au
Baptistcare is one of WA’s largest not-for-profit aged care and community services providers, supporting communities for more than 45 years. We are a registered National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS) service provider.
news NOVEMBER 2017
Stuck in the church car park
Churches are doing fantastic things ...
With churches increasingly needing a quality online presence to stay relevant and connected, it can be hard to know where to start when time and funds are limited. “We realised that very few people understand the church space in our industry,” Scott said. “There are nuances in everything from different cultural groups, denominational language, and theologies.” “You just can’t nail these if you don’t have a genuine understanding of what they are about.” “Churches are doing fantastic things, but they are struggling to share them effectively. To better communicate what they are now offering – like quality teaching, great kids programs, and cafe areas – the chances of people walking through the doors increases.” Now with seven full-time employees, Helium also works with more sizable, established organisations in the mission and not-for-profit space. “These kinds of organisations already have websites, but need help rolling them out.” “Their needs will be more complex, like using their online presence to attract volunteers, managing their communications, or creating a visual identity through branding.”
The last 18 months in business has been a time for Scott to grapple with how God wants him to use his gifts in business for a Kingdom purpose. “We are a business, and we never wanted to give the impression we are pretending to be a ministry. Yet we make decisions every day that intentionally put people before profit.” Now working with organisations such as 98five SonshineFM, YouthCARE and Scripture Union, Scott and his team enjoy the opportunity to work on meaningful projects. “We just really thrive on doing work of significance.”
Scott Ingram briefs the team at Helium Digital Marketing about their next website build.
Mixing it up with young adults Baptist young adults from around Perth have enjoyed a year of unity and growth together. Part of the stimulus has been a new initiative know as ‘The Mix’. The Mix events are quarterly gatherings of 16 to 30-something year olds who are encouraged to explore and grow in Christian faith. “The quarterly Saturday nights include great biblical teaching from pastors, delicious desserts and a focused prayer time for our churches, our city, the world and ourselves. There is also plenty of time to catch up with friends and meet new people,” Baptist Churches Western Australia Next Generations Pastor Ed Devine shared. “When Baptist young adult pastors were brainstorming about what would end up being The Mix, we felt strongly that whatever we organised should unite and engage Western Australia’s young adults, and have a clear discipleship focus with the opportunity to take next steps of faith as God prompts.” “The relaxed yet intentional atmosphere of the nights, coupled with the dessert, that is shared builds great community and there’s a real sense of invigoration of spirit for our ongoing faith journeys.” An Evening of Laughter, the final event for 2017, will focus on celebrating the sense of humour God gave us and our thankfulness to Him for the joy He gives us. ‘A joyful heart is good medicine.’ [Proverbs 17:22a]
The event will be held at Woodvale Baptist Church on Saturday 25 November from 7pm and will feature comedy sets from international comedian Matt Storer and local funny guys Adam Przytula and Chris McCarthy.
Photo: Ed Devine
Since that initial project, Helium has developed a reputation for helping churches in Western Australia reach their local communities online. “We didn’t set out to work with churches – they just weren’t on our radar,” Helium Digital Marketing Director Scott Ingram said. “The feedback we were getting was that where people used to drive by and decide from the car park which church to try out, now that reconnaissance happens online,” Scott said. “There was increasing frustration from church clients that with so much out there, outdated websites were no longer bringing anyone in.”
Photo: Kirsty Russell Photography
Established three years ago, Helium Digital Marketing was built around servicing clients in the health, education and construction industries. Eighteen months in, the church plant Scott was involved in appointed Helium to build their website.
For more information, visit www.nextgenbaptistwa.com.au An Evening of Laughter is the final The Mix event for 2017.
“That still leaves a majority, but when those figures are explored, it breaks down to 7 percent active weekly in church, and 15 percent monthly,” Baptist Churches Western Australia Church and Leaders Support Pastor Mike Bullard said. “The Christian commitment of others is what might be called ‘nominal’. As for the rest of the population, there are a vast array of other beliefs, with many having little accurate knowledge of Jesus and Christianity.” “How can Christians be faithful to our calling to be Jesus’ witnesses in this environment? Will we be met with ignorance, indifference, perhaps even hostility? It can be comforting to know that the early Church faced a similarly challenging environment.” The Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:11-12, ‘So Christ gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up.’ “Paul identifies gifts that Jesus gives to His church. Those gifts are in the form of people who perform particular functions,” Mike said. “One of these functions is the evangelist. We probably all know someone we might consider an evangelist, however in Ephesians, Paul identifies that an evangelist’s role is not just doing evangelism,
but ‘equipping his people for works of service.’” “The evangelist does evangelism, but also trains others in the church to be evangelistic in their lives.” Crossover is the Baptist ministry set up to help Australian Baptists share Jesus. It is a group of people with the gift of evangelism who are committed to training others to share their faith in more effective ways. This year, three Western Australians were sponsored to attend the Emerging Evangelists Conference in Melbourne. This group included Peter Vermuelen from East Fremantle Baptist Church, Ashenafi Hailu from Ethiopian Full Gospel Church, and Rochelle Briers from Lake Joondalup Baptist Church. “At the Conference, we heard Karl Faase share on faith and belief attitudes in Australia. We heard reports from around the country of churches and individuals finding ways to effectively share their faith, Mike said. “We encouraged one another to keep on with the work of sharing Jesus in our world today.” “There are challenges in sharing faith in contemporary Australia, but, true to His promise, Jesus is still enabling people to be His witnesses, and the Spirit still moves to open hearts to believe in God.” The Emerging Evangelists Conference is supported by the Crossover Easter offering in Baptist churches. “Thank you to all those churches who participated this year. The funds are utilised to equip God’s people for works of service – in the case of this conference, in evangelism,” Mike concluded.
Emerging WA evangelists sharing a meal and what they have learned in Melbourne.
A cafe win-win
We live in a changing society. According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics 2016 Census, 52 percent of Australians identify as Christians, and that figure is falling fast – 88 percent in 1966, 74 percent in 1991.
Photo: Mike Bullard
Equipped to share faith
For more information, phone Baptist Churches Western Australia on 6313 6300. A Baptistcare Gracehaven resident and Rockingham student at the weekly community cafe.
Position available Part Time Oﬃce Administrator Hours: Tues-Fri 9.30am-3pm Claremont Baptist Church Enquiries/resumes to: oﬃce@claremontbaptistchurch.com Phone: 08 9385 2607
A volunteer community cafe has been enriching the lives of residents at Baptistcare Gracehaven residential care and students at a local high school in Rockingham for the past few years. The school was looking for a way to enable their students who have learning difficulties, to pick up skills they could use in the future to find work once they graduate. Kim Jordan, Lifestyle Coordinator at Baptistcare Gracehaven, met with the school and together they came up with the idea of creating a cafe for the residents. Like a regular cafe, there are menus on each table and the students go to each table to take the residents’ orders
using a notepad and pen. They then serve the residents their drinks and choice of cake, which they also bake themselves beforehand. “We have a hospitality stream at the school, and tis goes towards the students’ Certificate I in Hospitality,” teacher Phil Smith said. “Both the students and the residents like it. We’re very lucky, it’s a great win-win relationship and it’s a great set up for the students because it’s not too busy for them, but busy enough for them to get a feel for what it’s like to work in a cafe.” “I enjoy meeting new people. It’s nice to get out of the classroom and do something active for school,” one of the student volunteers said. “The residents love the social aspect,” Kim said.
“Some residents are unable to make a cup of tea or coffee for their guests, so they love bringing them to the cafe to socialise.” The cafe is full almost every week with happy residents out for a chat. “I’ve just moved into Baptistcare Gracehaven and thought this would be a good place to meet people,” Baptistcare Gracehaven resident Lydia* said. “Lydia was going to go to the shops, but I told her, ‘you have to come to the cafe’, and I brought her here,” fellow Gracehaven resident Annie* said. For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au/volunteering Author – Laura McRae * Surname not included for privacy reasons.
growth NOVEMBER 2017
Growing the whole child Unlocking a child’s potential rests on a set of core values that underpin the foundation of that child’s understanding and learning. For some, it is faith that provides the values around how we care, how we treat people, our honesty, integrity, and so on. Values that we need to re-articulate daily, weekly and help them to understand through practical programs and settings so they inform and shape their life. Developing a worldview, such as, what do I value? How do I know that I’m doing the right thing? What are my ethics? instrument or learning scientific principles, that view of hard work and consistency and application are very important for growing the whole child,” Dr Lambert said. “Quite often boys can lag a little bit in areas of communication and relational skills, particularly in relation to girls.” “Families will see that within their own family, the young boy maybe doesn’t say as much, or prefers to run outside and hit things than sit inside and make things. Gradually, they do have important things to say and they do want to talk, but the environment needs to be created for them.” “Then there are the philosophical principles that are imparted by significant adults in a child’s life. They mould who they are, why they make the decisions they make.” Dr Lambert uses the example of marriage, “If you wanted to form a view about whether marriage is valid in the 21st century, a young person would probably form that view because they have parents or a friend’s parents who actually has an apparently very happy and solid marriage, and they inquire about that. That’s a form of education.” “The learning community has a significant effect on growing the whole child. The Scots College looks to major communities of knowledge and the communities that practise that knowledge – business, enterprises and think
what does an
accountant, a church and a plumber have in common?
They’ve all worked with Helium Digital Marketing for one day and left our offices with a stunning new website by 5PM.
tanks around the world, such as Apple or Google.” “Communities of practice who have taken the science and the mathematics and technology and applied it in a lived community.” “The Scots College combine those two things to prepare young people for their life now and their life in the future through its patribus centres, which focus on experiential education, the holistic development of the child in body, mind and heart, entrepreneurship, social leadership and design thinking.” Dr Lambert also sees the parent community as a very valuable resource to the school community. “We find that quite often they’re looking for a way to contribute to the school, not just in a monetary sense, but, ‘How can I share my knowledge, experience that I’ve learned over 40 years and help my child’s education?’” For more information, subscribe to The Scots College’s free podcast, Brave Hearts Bold Minds at www.tsc.nsw.edu.au/podcasts
Photo: Shutterstock/Evgeny Atamanenko
Who better to consult on the topic of growing the whole child than Principal at The Scots College in Sydney and former Principal of Swan Christian College, Perth, Dr Ian Lambert. “I had the privilege of doing my own doctorate and working with an education philosopher. And his view was that you need to be careful that you don’t indoctrinate children,” Dr Lambert said. “You indoctrinate them by not giving them the opportunity to think and grow. You do need to provide a foundation for them on which they can actually make a decision. And he used the example of saying, ‘If children didn’t know what food was, and you just opened the doors of a supermarket and said “Go and get me some food”, then which aisle would they go down? Which food would they select?’” “The idea is that you can start with a Presbyterian, Catholic or Jewish foundation, and from that foundation start to formulate your beliefs and values. The view of the education philosopher was that people will develop more autonomy in terms of their intellectual journey from that foundation than they will by being told that there is no foundation and you just got to find your way in the world.” “Resilience is important in terms of persisting over time, and learning is like that as well. Whether it’s learning on the sporting field, learning a musical
Author – Laura Sheahan
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Marked by mercy Just over three million Australians use illicit drugs each year, according to the National Drug Strategy Household Survey 2016 key findings. These statistics are disturbing, as is the reality of living with drug addiction. Mark Johnston previously was one of these statistics. A childhood marred by physical and sexual abuse left him feeling hopeless and desperate for a panacea to dull the pain. Drugs became his escape from reality but only succeeded in making his reality so much more unbearable. By the age of 19, Mark had attempted suicide numerous times and was put into seven drug-induced comas. He was self-harming and prone to violent fits of rage. Helpless and afraid, Mark’s mother kicked him out of home and a family took him in. As he slowly recovered from addiction, they invited him to church but he refused again and again, until his uncle also came to live with Mark’s adopted family to overcome his own addiction. His uncle then started to share the gospel with him.
One day, Mark decided to open a Bible and as he read Psalm 72:14, he watched in amazement as the face of God looked up at Him through the pages and said, “I’m going to rescue you from oppression, violence and fraud because your blood is precious in my sight.” From that moment, Mark picked up that Bible like no other drug before, reading it with the same urgency and desire with which is used to inject drugs. It was the first book he had ever read in his entire life. Soon after his encounter with God, Mark entered the Transformations Program at Transformations City Church on the Gold Coast, which turned his life around. He completed the program in a little over a year, becoming a staff member of the program in south-east
Queensland, where he helped pioneer a new campus. Today, Mark has a deep passion for discipleship, mentoring and recovery. He is sober and clean from drugs. He has a Diploma in Ministry and he regularly shares his testimony in churches, prisons and schools. He has also written a book Marked by Mercy to provide encouragement and hope to drug addicts like himself and their families. For more information, visit www.markcjohnston.com Author – Annette Spurr
Jesus the game changer
Mark sharing his story at Transformations City Church on the Gold Coast.
Asia Pacific Baptists gather
Baptist Churches Western Australia Church and Leaders Pastor Mike Bullard said if there are people who are unsure of who Jesus is, or the difference He has made in history and in the lives of people, the videos are a great way to help them in their spiritual journey to faith. “I was quite surprised, when speaking with a young couple in their thirties they told me they had no idea why we had an Easter holiday. Surely even a brief study of history would reveal that Easter is a Christian celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus,” Mike commented. “They’re not alone. Despite the wide range of knowledge available to people today, many remain unaware of the impact of Jesus and the Church on history.” “Others, of course, choose to focus only on the negatives.” A new national campaign that will include ads on Christian radio will be conducted from February to Easter 2018. “We’re inviting churches to get on board and invite people from their community to explore Jesus and the impact He has had on history,” Mike said. For more information, visit www.olivetreemedia.com.au
Photo: Mark Wilson
In a new video series, Jesus the Game Changer host Karl Faase travels to the UK, USA, Singapore, India and Australia, interviewing authors, academics and modern-day game changers about how the life and teaching of Jesus has changed the world and why it matters
Musicians leading congress attendees in song at the Asia Pacific Baptist Congress.
To find your local Baptist church visit www.baptistwa.asn.au
The largest multi-national confluence of Baptists of the Asia Pacific region was held in Yogyakarta, Indonesia in late September. Using Acts 1:8 as the key Scripture, the theme of the Asia Pacific Baptist Congress was ‘Never ending good news’. “The Asia Pacific Baptist Congress aims to strengthen the unity among Baptists in Asia Pacific, as one body with one vision: to reach Asia Pacific for Jesus Christ with the never ending good news,” Asia Pacific Baptist Federation General Secretary Bonny Resu said. Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries
Pastor Mark Wilson, along with his wife Karen, attended the Congress and Mark was unanimously voted in as a VicePresident of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation. “It was an honour to be nominated for the role and I am looking forward to being able to serve Baptist churches in this region,” Mark said. The Asia Pacific Baptist Federation is a regional organisation of the Baptist World Alliance, representing over 33,000 local churches, hosting 59 conventions in 21 countries, and representing over five million baptised members across the Asia Pacific region.
feature NOVEMBER 2017
The ministry of Mission Aviation Fellowship is fairly well-known in mission circles. Birthed in the final throes of World War II, what started out with a few young Christian pilots has now become an international organisation of nearly 1,500 staff.
The pilot’s dream
A WWII mission What’s less well-known is the story of the pilots whose God-given insight and faithful tenacity turned a fledgling dream into a flying reality. Born in Auckland, New Zealand, in 1917, Murray Kendon became a Christian when he was 16 years old. An engaging personality, combined with a burning desire to share his newfound joy, he soon became a passionate and dedicated speaker, eager for any opportunity to preach the good news. When war loomed heavy on the horizon a few years later, Murray was called up to train as a pilot. He learned to fly in New Zealand, moving to Canada and later Britain to finish his qualifications. Murray’s active service was with the Royal Air Force No. 179 Squadron Coastal Command, flying as a Wellington co-pilot. These aircraft were loaded with depth charges and armed with machine guns, 22 million candle-power searchlights and powerful radar. Their brief was to find and destroy enemy submarines and to comb the Atlantic for U-Boats which were sinking Allied ships. Murray’s heart was saddened by the brutality of war, but he threw himself into protecting and aiding the men who were desperately fighting for freedom on the sea. One night, Murray flew alone across the Bay of Biscay. He watched the flak from France over which a British thousand bomber raid thundered. Something stirred in his heart, and he later wrote down his thoughts: “How come thousands of planes can be found to kill and destroy, and only a handful to spread God’s amazing offer of free forgiveness and eternal life in glory?” Years before, Murray had heard the story of a missionary team who set out to find an unreached tribe deep in the jungle, returning weeks later starving and worn out by incredible hardship. At the time, Murray had felt sure a small aircraft would
have been invaluable for transport and supplies. Now, as he watched the planes roaring to their deadly task, that story came back to haunt him. Again, Murray’s heart tugged strongly towards the unique impact that an aircraft could have as a mission tool. Murray couldn’t shake this thought, and in 1944, not long before World War II would end, he shared his vision with Trevor Strong, a fellow Kiwi pilot who had recently survived nine months as a prisoner of war. During his captivity, Trevor too had felt a powerful call to missions. Now the friends decided to work together on Murray’s dream. Their ideas were still in embryonic stage when Murray travelled to London to visit Dr Thomas Cochrane, president of the Movement for World Evangelism. Murray passionately poured out his unshakeable dream and his crazy imaginings of aircraft enabling missionary work. Dr Cochrane’s answer was direct: “God has laid this on your heart, Murray. Perhaps He wants you to do something about it yourself. You pray about it, write an article … and I will publish it.” Thus, on 5 July 1945, the first recorded thoughts about a mission aviation type operation were published in the English newspaper A Christian Weekly. Murray’s printed plea was simple yet profound, and the ripples were unstoppable. Murray, his new wife Minnie, and Trevor, operating out of a tiny one-room office which they had hurriedly set up, found themselves approached by pilots, aircraft engineers, and even sponsors who had caught the fire of this crazy, wonderful dream. Fellow idealists in the UK, US and Australia were quickly linked in by Murray, and soon the expanding operation saw several countries unite under the common name of Missionary Aviation Fellowship (MAF), later changed to Mission Aviation
Fellowship. Things were just gaining momentum, and Murray had no idea that the lone Miles Gemini aircraft he initially obtained for MAF would become part of a global mission fleet. The vision of Murray Kendon and the purpose of MAF is lived afresh every day in the aircraft that ‘fly for life’. Every four minutes, MAF aircraft is taking off or landing somewhere in the world. For the countless people groups, aid organisations and missions who rely on the planes of MAF, a war pilot’s dream of peace has become their reality of hope. On 27 May 2014, aged 97, almost 70 years after he fanned the dream of MAF into a flame of reality, the founder of Mission Aviation Fellowship was quietly promoted to glory. Meeting Trevor Strong is like meeting a long lost friend. His warmth and graciousness are the first things I notice as I shake hands with one of the men who, in the midst of the horrors of World War II, dreamed that aircraft could be used for a better purpose. He was handsomely decorated as a veteran World War II pilot, and is genuinely humble and not at all concerned with making his heroics known. It is the joy of his faith, strong yet gentle like the man himself, which glows in the retelling of his adventures. In the 1930s, a 19 year old Trevor attended a week-long rally in his native New Zealand, finding his pardon and peace through Christ at the foot of the cross. This experience made a huge impact on him, and Trevor fondly recalls, “I found my joy in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ.” Less than a decade later, Trevor signed up for training in New Zealand to defend his country and his faith as a pilot. He continued his training in England, then began his tour of operations against the enemy.
A Mission Aviation Fellowship Cessna 208 land
Flight Lieutenant Trevor Strong
Credit: Mission Aviation Fellowship
Credit: Mission Aviation Fellowship
MAF pioneers Jack Hemmings, Stuart King, Ken Ellis, Tom Banham and Murray Kendon at the dedication service of MAF’s first aircraft, the Miles Gemini, Broxbourne Airport, 1947.
Credit: Faisal Akram
n aviation legacy
ding in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Trevor Strong in 2014.
Credit: Mission Aviation Fellowship
Credit: Mission Aviation Fellowship
Flight Lieutenant Trevor Strong was a brilliant pilot and was soon assigned the highrisk role of a pathfinder, flying over enemy territory to seek a clear path for the Allied forces. On 25 August 1944, on his 45th and final pathfinding mission which would have earned his ticket home, Trevor’s plane was hit by enemy guns over enemy lines. Trevor, a capable leader, successfully evacuated the entire crew of survivors before jumping from the doomed aircraft himself, crash landing in a cornfield. Separated and alone, he evaded the enemy while making his way toward the Allied lines. It was a harrowing experience. “I’ll never forget the sound of dogs, howling in the woods as they came after me, ” he recalls. Two days later, Trevor was caught while searching for water. The enemy interrogated him in solitary confinement, finally transferring him to a prison camp at Barth, near the Baltic Sea, where 9,000 Allied prisoners were held. Once again, Trevor’s faith held fast, “The presence of the Lord was very real indeed.” He found a number of other believers, sharing Bible studies, prayer and fellowship. But the men faced a gruelling wait for the war to end. “As the war came to a close, things became very difficult,” Trevor recalled, “It was very cold and we were often hungry. It was a grim experience, but in all these things we were able to triumph in Christ.” Eventually, Trevor’s prison camp was liberated by the Russians. With the traumas of war fresh in his mind and the grace of God strong in his heart, Trevor flew back to England, meeting up again with his friend and fellow Kiwi pilot, Murray Kendon. That same day, Trevor heard for the first time of his friend’s unique vision: using aircraft as a tool of the gospel. Trevor immediately knew that this was God in action. His mind raced back to the night he had flown through flashing tracers in a battlefield in the sky; he had quietly promised God that, if he came out of this war alive, he would use his influence in Christian mission work.
Now as peace began, Murray was proposing a new kind of mission organisation: one that would use aircraft for help and hope, rather than for war. Trevor joyfully resonated with this. “I felt that this was what the Lord had called me to do.” In 1946, Trevor Strong, war-hero-turnedmission-founder, returned to New Zealand to finally marry his sweetheart, Joan Flemming. But his mission drive did not end with his departure from England, and he established the MAF NZ Committee in 1947, later becoming the first chairman of the MAF NZ Board. In 1959, MAF New Zealand was officially incorporated as a Society and, although Trevor was not able to continue flying due to hearing damage sustained from the war, he served on the MAF NZ Board and continued to play a key part in MAF in New Zealand for many years. He and Murray remained good friends. A few weeks before his 100th birthday, I asked Trevor if he knew the statistics of MAF today: that the pioneer aircraft he and Murray had first purchased was now a global fleet of 140 planes and that the one country in which they had begun using planes for mission had expanded to include 32 countries with 3,000 airstrips between them. There was a pause. Trevor gazed thoughtfully into the distance. “Well,” he said, then flashed his signature grin. “Fancy that.” On 8 February 2016, Trevor Strong took his final rest and was promoted to his greatest honour yet: meeting His Saviour and Lord face to face. Author – Emma McGeorge Emma McGeorge is a Public Relations/ Executive Assistant with Mission Aviation Fellowship in Papua New Guinea. Article first published by ChristianToday.co.nz and republished with kind permission.
10 news NOVEMBER 2017
Anglicans help volcano evacuees
Republished with permission from Anglican Media Sydney, www.anglicanmedia.com.au
Royal Australian Air Force personnel from RAAF Base Amberley Air Movements section begin loading a C-17A Globemaster aircraft with humanitarian aid and equipment for Operation Vanuatu Assist 2017.
Missile launch leads to prayer Following a North Korean missile launch that triggered emergency sirens in Japan and government warnings to seek cover, Baptists in Japan are expressing trust in God and asking fellow believers for prayer. “Every person I have spoken with has told me how they are praying for the situation here in this area of the world,” said Ben Howard, an associate pastor at Yokohama International Baptist Church, a 200-member congregation in Japan’s second largest city. “Prayers are becoming very specific. Several are praying that God will hold North Korea back and not let them be aggressive.” “Several church members mentioned they were praying for Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and President Donald Trump as they decide how to respond to these provocations, that they would have wisdom and that they would stand firm for the Japanese people,” Howard told Baptist Press in written comments. Shortly before 6am Japan time on 29 August 2017, North Korea shot an intermediaterange ballistic missile over
The Manaro Voui volcano has already rained rock and ash on villages, forcing the villagers to evacuate to other islands, with the help of the Australian Defence Force. The Royal Australian Navy launched Operation Vanuatu Assist – providing tents and food to the islands now hosting the Ambae Islanders, who escaped in a variety of civilian vessels. More than a dozen evacuation centres have been established in schools, churches and on sports grounds in other areas of the Pacific archipelago. Relief has arrived, thanks to the Australian and New Zealand Defence Force, but the displacement could last for months. Although the threat from the volcano has eased, the status is still at level four, the second highest rating. It could take months for the volcano to settle down enough to allow the islanders to return to Ambae. Three thousand of the residents have been taken to Luganville on the island of Santo. The Anglican Diocese of Vanuatu and New Caledonia has its diocesan headquarters on Santo, but its resources have been stretched to breaking point in providing help to the evacuees. “We are attempting to provide for the ongoing material needs of 3,000 Ambae residents and are appealing to our Anglican family across Australia for assistance,” Bishop James Ligo of the Anglican Church of Melanesia said. Anglican Aid has responded to the call for help from Bishop Ligo to assist with the aid effort and has launched an emergency appeal in an attempt to raise $100,000 for ongoing food and other material need. Anglican Aid already has a partnership with the diocese in building a safe house and care centre for vulnerable women and girls. Anglican Aid also provided emergency aid in 2015 after the devastation caused by Cyclone Pam. It is understood that the Australian Government has promised $250,000 in initial aid to the crisis.
Photo: LSIS Jake Badior
A major volcanic eruption is threatening, forcing the evacuation of more than 11,000 residents of Ambae Island in Vanuatu.
Posing what Japan’s prime minister called a “most serious and grave threat”, North Korea launched an intermediate-range ballistic missile over Japan and into the Pacific Ocean on 29 August.
northern Japan and into the Pacific Ocean. It was the first North Korean missile ever to fly over Japan, leading Abe to call the launch “the most serious and grave threat ever” against his country, according to CNN. Within the region threatened by North Korea’s aggression are at least eleven churches that cooperate with the Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention.
“A true sense of confidence and trust in God’s sovereign plan prevails,” Hawaii Pacific Baptist Convention Executive Director Chris Martin said. “Our churches in Asia and the South Pacific are seeing this as another unique avenue to share the hope that is only found in Jesus Christ.” “It is an exciting time for the brilliant light of the gospel of
Jesus Christ to shine in a dark situation.” Republished with permission from Baptist Press, www.baptistpress.com
news 11 NOVEMBER 2017
Storms destroy churches Church congregations in the Caribbean are working hard to provide support to their neighbours in times of devastation and loss after Hurricane Irma and Hurricane Maria.
Some church buildings were without power for more than a month ...
In Puerto Rico, approximately 3,000 church buildings were damaged by the Category 4 Hurricane Maria, the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference estimated. According to a study by the Pew Research Center, more than half of Puerto Ricans come to church at least once a week, but in these times of damage and loss, many congregations had to adapt to the difficult circumstances. Some church buildings were without power for more than a
month and congregations opted for services out in the open or in members’ houses. “We are outside, bringing hope to people, the ones that need the most. We have brothers and sisters who don’t have homes right now, but the church is open to them,” Pastor Luis Paz told Christianity Today. Some pastors encouraged church members whose homes had not been destroyed to invite their neighbours into their homes for times of prayer and worship. While disaster relief agencies offer crucial support to affected communities in the months immediately after natural disasters, churches in the region recognise that their work and community support will be of equal importance in the long-term. “We know churches are not relief agencies, but they have a role to play when there is suffering and loss,” local church partnership coordinator for Samaritan’s Purse Daniel Zeidan said in an interview with Christianity Today. “They will be there after we leave. What the church does now will have an impact that will last a long time.” To support affected communities in the Caribbean, pray for sponsor children who lost their homes, for aid workers on the ground, for leadership and decision makers, and for local churches with devastated families.
Photo: World Vision
The two storms hit the Caribbean less than two weeks apart and destroyed houses, infrastructure and thousands of church buildings. Close to 200 people died across the region as a result of the hurricanes. Many sponsor children across the Caribbean were affected by the aftermath of the storms including 772 children in the Dominican Republic and 3,068 children in Haiti. Many lost their homes and at least 280 children had to be relocated, temporarily or permanently.
Residents wear boots to protect their feet as they clean-up their flooded community of Miches, Dominican
Author – Ramona Ötting
Republic, following Hurricane Maria.
Prayer for persecuted Christians On 5 and 12 November, the International Days of Prayer for the Persecuted Church, hundreds of believers around the world will unite in prayer for persecuted fellow believers. Alliance Religious Liberty Commission Executive Director Rev. Godfrey Yogarajah explained. Believers who are seeking support in organising a prayer event at their church can access a number of resources that Open Doors Australia has made available on their website.
Photo: Open Doors Australia
According to the organisers of the annual event which has been run since 1988, the International Days of Prayer have served as a platform to highlight stories of persecution as well as a source of solidarity and encouragement to persecuted Christians. “Hebrews 13:3 commands Christians to pray for those suffering as if they themselves were suffering. In other words, the Bible calls us to not only remember those who suffer but also to identify with them in their suffering,” World Evangelical
For more information, visit opendoors.org.au Author – Ramona Ötting The 50 most dangerous places to live as a Christian, with number one being the most dangerous, according to the Open Doors 2017 Doors World Watch List Report.
12 in conversation NOVEMBER 2017
Silvie shares her gift How did you become interested in singing and what led you to develop it into a career? When I was two and a half, I started dance classes with my two older sisters. I did that to the age of about seven and then I didn’t want to continue anymore. My mother’s side of the family is naturally musical. At this point, no-one had ever done anything as far as being in the entertainment industry. They would sing, and my aunty would play the guitar by ear. Her and my youngest aunty would sing songs together, and I would sing along. At Christmas time, I sang carols with the family and my uncle suggested to my parents that I had a nice voice and maybe I should have some singing lessons. At this stage I was about eight and a half. I started singing lessons and I did it because I loved it. It was something I was naturally good at. I didn’t have to try too hard. And it was definitely a gift that had been given to me. It was always a hobby and was never something I ever have imagined I would do as a job. I come from a very simple immigrant family, my father from Italy and my mother from Egypt. They were just hardworking sort of people. So, to have the dream of being a singer was too far out there for me, it was something that didn’t even enter my mind. I did, however, enter competitions. When I was 12 years old, I was asked to join a band called Universe. They played at reception centres for weddings and all sorts of events – being Italians they had events for everything. I was the lead singer and Dad would come with me. I entered a competition called the Italian Song Festival and won. And within a week I also won Young Talent Time’s grand final. So it was those two events within seven days of each other that were the springboard into the industry. And that’s how I came to be a singer. I was 15 years old. So I left school at 15 and a half, and I ventured into the music entertainment industry. I always wanted to be a contemporary singer and then musical theatre just happened when I was nearly 18 years old and I landed the role of Éponine in Les Misérables – my first show. So then musical theatre became what I wanted to do and I love that. How did you develop a faith in Christ? I come from a Catholic family so I’ve always known about God. I went through all my sacraments, baptised as a baby,
Holy Communion, confirmation and went to Sunday School. My mother has always been quite a spiritual person. So we certainly had stories of Christ in our home but I only knew God in my head. It wasn’t something that was a part of my life. I discovered God when I was in Sydney doing the musical Miss Saigon. A friend played me a song called ‘More Than Wonderful’ by Sandi Patty, and that sparked my interest in the God in this song because it certainly wasn’t the God that I knew about. My faith has always been a slow journey. At first I was ‘set on fire’ for God. But I suppose my flesh got in the way so I’ve had ebbs and flows with my faith. The last ten years of my life I’ve had a real relationship with God. So the Lord has been patient with me. I always say I opened the door to Christ, but I left the flyscreen there for a while. I don’t know if it was a fear thing. Would I have to change my friends, change how I speak, would I be able to do my job? Would God say, “No, you can’t do that job anymore?” So I think it was the fear factor of what I would have to do, how much I would have to sacrifice to really let God in. How has your involvement in the entertainment industry provided opportunities to share your faith? Do you have a standout memory? My stand-out memory was when I was doing Mama Mia! [The Musical] in Auckland, New Zealand and someone in the company was asking questions about God and church. He was homosexual and I spoke to him about God and told him that God is a God of love and acceptance and He welcomes all into His Kingdom. He said, “That sounds good, do you think I could come to church with you?” I said, “Absolutely that would be great.” So I took him to church and I think he was overwhelmed. I can’t remember the name of the church, but it was quite a big Pentecostal-style church, which sometimes can be daunting to people, quite a foreign experience sometimes. He really enjoyed it and we spoke about it a few times afterwards. I don’t know what happened after that but I felt like God had placed me there for that moment. I have the opportunity to talk to a lot of people in the industry and I try not to just talk [about Christianity] but to be someone that they see Jesus in.
Photo: Geoff Busby
Melbourne-born singer and actress Silvie Paladino performed at the Governor’s Prayer Breakfast and Mount Pleasant Baptist Church in September. Vanessa Klomp had the privilege of catching up with Silvie while she was in Perth.
What is the biggest challenge in your Christian walk? To keep focused on God, to not live in the flesh, to not allow desires of the flesh to get in the way. For me in my ministry, my secular work is very similar to my ministry work. I’m a singer in my secular work and I’m a singer in my ministry, so the line can sometimes get blurred between what is work and what is ministry. I find the most challenging thing is to remain authentic to God, to not let it be about myself but about God because as a performer it’s so much about you. So it’s something that I really need to always keep myself in check – that I’m not getting the glory for myself but for the glory of God; to bring people to His Kingdom, to prepare their hearts for Him. He’s the one who does the work – it’s for me to get them to Him. What do you do to maintain your own personal health, spirituality and wellbeing? I don’t drink or smoke and try and be as healthy as possible. I’m a busy mum as well – I have two children, a 17 year old and a 14 year old. They keep me on my toes. For my spiritual walk, I have a Bible app on my phone that I tap into every day and have a daily devotional book that I tap into. I just try and live a life as close to what Jesus would want me
to, but I fall short of that all the time, but I try. It’s really hard. It’s something that you have to really reapply yourself to every day because life and the world are a major distraction. It’s easy to fall into old habits. My church is the Essendon Baptist Church and it’s difficult in that a lot of the time I am away from home. But when I come home and walk into that church – I just take a lovely breath in and feel like I’m home. People know me and I know them, it’s a real sense of community, and that’s what church is. It’s about people who believe in the same thing. You can have that anywhere but it’s that lovely feeling of knowing people. I do go to other churches as well with my ministry. Often I do two concerts on a Saturday and then I’ll stay for the service on Sunday and maybe do a song, but as a part of the actual service rather than a performer. It’s lovely that no matter where you are, you all have that same bond, that love of God. What is on the horizon for you and what are your aspirations for the future? I would love to do another musical. I still love my secular work. I love the idea of a song through story and marrying the two together. I think it’s a wonderful artistic challenge that I really love to ‘sink my teeth’ into.
Obviously, I want to be a great mum and a great wife and a great woman of God. I’m not quite sure what God has in store for my life but I feel that He’s drawing me closer and closer to Him and more and more into ministry. So I’m open to going with that. Sometimes I think why me, I’m certainly not worthy. I don’t feel that I’m a good enough Christian but He’s put me here so I’m going with that. I’m working a lot in ministry these days, more than I would have thought. At the moment it’s maybe 50/50 with secular work. I’m releasing a new album at the end of this year which is a Christmas album. It’s Christmas album with all the traditional carols because I’m known for my performances at Carols by Candlelight. In some way we have been resisting making one, but we thought God’s put me there so let’s go with it. It’s nice that I’m doing a lot of recording as well as a lot of concerts. Life is pretty busy which is good, even after 30 years – this year I celebrate 30 years in the industry.
growth 13 NOVEMBER 2017
Something about bigger stuff
In all the wrestling over things that are not my personal struggle yet enormously important in national conversations, I am constantly overwhelmed by a few things of which I am utterly confident. Three big truths. ‘For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son that whoever places their hope and trust in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world but that through Him the world might be saved.’ [John 3:16-17] ‘For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.’ [Romans 8:38-39] ‘“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me, and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me – watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me, and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.”’ [Matthew 11:28-30] There is much I do not fully understand in God’s Word. Details that make me feel the need to raise my hand to Jesus to request further clarification. But Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Again and again and again. I believe the primary function of God’s Word is to reveal God’s Kingdom and God’s plan to
reconcile the Creator with His Creation through the person and work of His Son, Jesus. The arc of the moral universe is long, said Martin Luther King, but it bends towards justice. Genesis to Revelation is long, too, and it bends vigorously towards redemption. The arc of God’s embrace in Jesus is eternal and wraps its arms around the world again and again, in love. There are mega-themes in God’s Word – love, mercy, repentance, justice, reconciliation, and grace are chief among them. So much about them is encouraged, commended, promoted and, emphatically, incarnated in the person and work of Jesus. One day, I will stand before a Holy God with a confidence that is not rooted in anything good that I have done but because of the good that Jesus did for me. For us. Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven – because of Him, not me. On that glorious day, God will welcome me with open arms because of Jesus. He will declare that there is no condemnation hanging over me, only love. Because of Jesus. And somewhere, in the eternity that ensues, perhaps there’ll be some conversations: How did you love the world that I loved, Simon? How did you cherish the creation that I cherished, Simon? How did you walk humbly, love mercy, and act justly, Simon? Did you spend more time wrestling with the small stuff or living out the big stuff?
Photo: Shutterstock/ Tiglat
I haven’t written much lately, but I’ve been reading, talking, listening, and thinking plenty. Stuff too tentative to publish and too muddy to matter. More comfortable with conversation, prayer, podcasts and rumination, the pen’s been silent.
Were the things that are biggest for me, biggest for you? Did you elevate your passion for the gospel above your passion for some form of morality? Did you tell people about my Son, Simon? Those questions won’t be spoken in judgement; they’ll just reflect the desire Jesus has for His passion for creation to be my passion for creation. As I wrestle with issues that are big in our culture in 2017, I then imagine subtly turning the conversation with Jesus to some of the things that sometimes tied me in knots. The thoughts and verses with which I wrestled. The tangents amidst the vigorous arc.
I imagine my list of questions, and then I realise that, in the light of God’s holiness and overwhelming love, the things of earth will be appropriately dim. For now, I see in part, as in a mirror dimly. It’s the fog that can cloud me, not the clarity of God’s faithful love. But then I will know fully, even as I am fully known. Once all has been rendered peripheral, three things will remain: faith, hope and love. Camp on the greatest thing. Author – Simon Elliott
Simon Elliott pastors The Big Table, a church-planting church in South Perth, and manages a design and advertising business, The Globe, that he started in 1993. He also coordinates Write Something – a collective of writers who combine to post on a regular basis. Each of the contributors desire to see the world the way that Jesus sees the world – with eyes of love, grace and mercy – and to allow those Kingdom-eyes to drive the lens through which they work with words. Used with permission from Simon Elliott, writesomething.org.au
digital church 09/10/17
twitter.com/LouieGiglio Just because you can’t see God working doesn’t mean He isn’t working. Don’t curse Him, thank Him. We walk by faith, not sight.
odb.org God sees our pride, anger, and lack of love for others, but He also knows who we are in Christ … Remember how God sees you and seek to let that define who you are.
lifeway.com/pastors Jesus is about moving toward Him and letting go of what we hold most dear.
writesomething.org.au The moment we’re filled with the Spirit of God, He gives us a deep and enduring reason to think and live out unstoppable lives. Unstoppable at proclaiming His goodness …
desiringgod.org The secret to reformation in 1517, and still in 2017, is the people of God meeting personally with Him through His very words.
ourdailyjourney.org Like the nurse’s compassionate care, God has tended to our souls. He has gently washed away our sins and made new life possible through His Spirit [Titus 3:5].
Aarik Danielsen thinkchristian. reframemedia.com The point of our redemption, in fact, is to tear down any walls, manmade or supernatural, that keep us from dwelling in unity with God.
Mark Thompson moore.edu.au The Reformation still matters because the price of its revolutionary change was so high – the blood of these men and women.
JD Greear jdgreear.com/blog When Paul went in to plant a church in a new city, he didn’t plant a church for the Jews on the north side of town and another for the Gentiles on the south. He planted one in the middle, where Jew and Gentile would come together and bring glory to Jesus.
CS Lewis twitter.com/CSLewisDaily If God forgives us we must forgive ourselves. Otherwise, it is almost like setting up ourselves as a higher tribunal than Him.
14 reviews NOVEMBER 2017
Fearless evangelism in post Christian world Australia has a distinctly Christian heritage, but today, mention Jesus in a Queensland school and you could find yourself in hot water.
1. What will other people think about me? Get over it! That’s fear of man and it’s a trap to stop you from being who God created you to be. You should be much more concerned about what God thinks of you. ‘The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is safe.’ [Proverbs 29:25]
Editor: Managing Editor: Subeditor: Production: Creative: Advertising: Distribution: Editorial deadline:
Matt Chapman Andrew Sculthorpe Caitlin Quartermaine Vanessa Klomp Peter Ion Sally Phu Sally Phu 5th of each month
2. What if someone gets angry? It’s actually very rare for someone to get angry if you take a gentle, loving and kind approach. And most importantly, don’t be judgemental.
Author – Annette Spurr
3. What if I can’t answer their questions? You might be surprised to hear that not knowing all the answers is a good thing! It shows that you’re not proud and arrogant or think you know everything. And it’s a great excuse to follow them up. Just say, ‘I don’t know the answer to that question. Let me find out and get back to you’. 4. How do I start a conversation with a stranger, without coming across as ‘weird’? Just be friendly. Say ‘hi’ and ask a general question (ask God to give you a good conversation starter). Then gently, gradually find a way to bring up your faith in a general conversation. Look for a natural segue, rather than getting ‘straight into it’. 5. Does it matter what I say? Yes, it does. Don’t chase a ‘quick conversion’ from someone who doesn’t really understand what they’re doing. A lot of the younger generation don’t even understand what sin is. Explain sin and explain the remedy – Jesus on the cross. Explain that
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The Christmas star Due for release in America just in time for Christmas, The Star is a 3D computer-animated Christian adventure comedy directed by Timothy Reckart. Produced by Sony Pictures Animation, the story is centred around a donkey named Bo, who finds the courage to break free from his daily grind at the village’s mill and starts out on the journey of a lifetime. Along the way, he meets a sheep named Ruth and a dove called Dave. Accompanied by three wise camels, and some other eccentric stable animals, Bo and his new animal friends follow the star and become the unsung heroes in the first Christmas. The movie features several famous and familiar voices, including Steven Yeun, Kelly Clarkson, Oprah Winfrey, Gina Rodriguez, Tyler Perry, Keegan-Michael Key and Zachary Levi. The trailer hints at a promising soundtrack, with Mariah Carey producing a new song for the film. A release date for Australia is not available at this stage, but the film will be available on online platforms in coming months.
Photo: Sony Pictures Animation
The latest Australian Bureau of Statistics Census data shows a steady decline in the number of people professing a Christian faith in an increasingly pluralistic society, it is no wonder Christians are fearful about fulfilling the Great Commission. Helen Devenish is a street evangelist in Hobart, reaching dozens of locals every week with the gospel message, simply by starting conversations in her local coffee shop, walking through the mall or while stopping to help a mother struggling with her pram. Helen is an ‘evangelism expert’ and is the author of Let’s Go! Fearless Evangelism. In her book, she shares her experience of overcoming ‘evangelism anxiety’, and some of the incredible stories of salvations and healings she has witnessed as she ministers to the homeless and the wealthy alike on the streets of Hobart. Helen has five tips to help overcome ‘evangelism anxiety’ and answer the call of the Great Commission.
repentance means turning away from your sin and asking God to help you stop. It’s going to mean change, so explain how good God is and how He can help them through the change.
Featuring many familiar voices, The Star is set to arrive in American cinemas just in time for Christmas.
For more information, visit thestarmovie.com
intermission 15 NOVEMBER 2017
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Photo: Jess Magowan
Yellow Day is an unusual and enjoyable look at how chance encounters and difficult circumstances or tragedy can direct us to God’s purpose. It also demonstrates how the circle of influence grows from one impacted life. With both live action and animation, the focus of the movie is an annual celebration called Yellow Day. Born out of tragic circumstances, the day celebrates the achievements of special needs children and how it impacts one man’s life. The film starts with a chance encounter that introduces him to the impact of Yellow Day, which sets him on a new path. It ends when he attends a Yellow Day for himself and experiences the wonder firsthand.
Jess Magowan – Inglewood Community Church Worship Pastor What led you to this role? I started attending Inglewood Community Church after a few months of ‘church hopping’ and avoiding planting myself somewhere. I needed a part-time job, being a student at Vose Seminary, so I started working for the church as the Toddler Jam musician, and about a year after that the opportunity arose to be the Worship Pastor. That was my dream, so I jumped at the chance. It all fell into place really.
read The Joshua Code OS Hawkins I initially selected The Joshua Code devotion book purely based on the title, assuming it revolved around courage, however it is actually based on the code that Joshua lived by as shown in Joshua 1:8, ‘This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.’ This devotion is a little different to the norm giving you one ‘devotion’ or Scripture for the week, not every day, and breaks down the Scripture to help you commit it to memory and meditate on it. Challenging and inspiring.
Who makes up the ministry team you are a part of? Mark Edwards is the Senior Pastor, Andrew Binns: Children and Youth Pastor, Josh Thomas: Young Adults Pastor, and then the incomparable Ben Humphreys is our Music Director. Karen Mihic is our Administrator, and Tracey Howells looks after Toddler Jam. In addition, an amazing team of volunteers make up our worship, sound and audio visual teams. Tell us about the pieces of technology, apps and software that help you the most. I use Apple Music all the time to listen to the amazing amount of new worship music that is being released weekly these days. Planning Center For Worship is an amazing tool for service and teams planning, and people management. MainStage is a great tool for getting all the big key sounds that are prevalent in worship music these days. Do you have a plan to intentionally develop yourself as a leader? I never want to stop learning. I have just finished my Bachelor of Ministry at Vose, and am thinking about doing a Masters in Leadership after a bit of a break from studying. What advice would you give someone going into a leadership position for the first time? Be faithful. Realise that you will fail and you don’t know everything. But be confident in your calling, because it will get tough.
listen There is a Cloud
This voucher entitles you to 15% off your next purchase in store at Mount Lawley The Advocate – November 2017
Reviews by Koorong Mount Lawley Assistant Manager Dorothy Waddingham Website: www.koorong.com Address: 434 Lord Street, Mount Lawley Phone: 08 9427 9777
Elevation Worship There is a Cloud is another uplifting and inspiring worship experience from Elevation Worship. Like the hope that was inspired by the tiny cloud spotted on the horizon, Elevation Worship want to inspire hope in people’s hearts and churches that turns into a revival moving God’s Kingdom forward on Earth. Songs full of hope, God’s faithfulness and courage to continue on the path and breaking down strongholds.