IN CONVERSATION Shalom House founder, Peter Lyndon-James, talks about the radical change in his life. PAGE 12 >>
“Jesus is not just the pilot announcing, ‘It’s all going to be okay. Go back to what you were doing.’ He calls people to action ...” ANDREW TURNER PAGE 13 >>
3 Plane crash miracle A pilot starts to sweat when the fan at the front stops >>
6 Green Team success Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia
School leavers faithfully served by Green Team >>
Baptist World Aid Australia has changed the lives of countless people across the world during its 60 years of operation.
Celebrating 60 years of poverty-ending work This year, Baptist World Aid Australia commemorates its 60th anniversary. Together, with churches and supporters across the country, there is a rich, shared history to celebrate. The organisation grew out of a grassroots movement of Baptists in 1959, a response to the suffering of World War II refugees. “A small band of passionate, faithful volunteers met in a garage in the Northern Beaches of Sydney – that was the start of Baptist World Aid,” Baptist World Aid CEO, John Hickey said.
“Now, 60 years later, thanks to the engagement of the Australian Baptist movement, with around 1,000 churches across the nation, Baptist World Aid serves across 18 countries and has seen a positive impact in millions of lives.” On this momentous occasion, rather than looking to the past, Baptist World Aid is determined to remain future focused. “There is still so much more to be done,” Mr Hickey said. “The question we want to ask is, ‘How can we continue to see poverty ended across the world?’” Baptist World Aid believes that God’s call to be love in this world requires a whole of life response. “In any given week, our lives are made up of thousands of choices – it’s through these
choices, both individually and collectively, that we can end poverty,” Mr Hickey said. “It’s through these actions that we become part of building His Kingdom.” In celebration of its 60th year, Baptist World Aid has developed a mobile phone app and discipleship series that aims to cultivate and strengthen habits of loving generosity, equipping people to make Kingdombuilding choices. The Baptist World Aid ‘End Poverty’ mobile app was released in the App Store and Google Play in January. It includes a story hub and the popular Ethical Fashion Guide. In March, the organisation will launch The 60/40 Challenge
through the mobile app – 60 simple actions to end poverty over 40 days. The Baptist World Aid Board and Executive want to encourage people to take part in the discipleship series. To assist, they will donate $10 per mobile app download, for the first 900 downloads. “Join this discipleship journey and discover how your lives – your decisions – can change our broken world for the better,” Mr Hickey stated. The 60/40 Challenge commences on 4 March 2019. It will be possible to download the free Baptist World Aid End Poverty mobile app from an app store to take part.
11 Chris Pratt preaches Famous actor not afraid to share his faith >>
Building healthier churches BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view FEBRUARY 2019
Renewing the mind We had a tradesman over at the church recently. I was watching through the window as he wandered from one activity to another and didn’t seem to know what he was doing. I shared my thoughts with other people who came by the window. We discussed his work ethic and a number of other things about his capacity to do the job.
Rob Douglas Rob Douglas is the Senior Pastor at Maida Vale Baptist Church.
In short, I was pretty critical of him. He got the job done in the long run, and as I was talking to him, I discovered that he was implementing some new methods and procedures, so it had taken a little longer than anticipated. He also made a comment that he noticed a gutter was hanging loose and had screwed it back into place for us.
He had not only done a good job, but he had gone above and beyond what was expected of him and I suddenly felt very ashamed that I had been so critical. I suspect we all have those moments when we have an opinion about the capacity of shop assistants or tradies to do the job we would expect them to do. To make matters worse, we discuss
our opinions with other people and within a short time we’re gossiping negative ideas about people who we don’t even know. As I thought about my attitude, I realised that I had a choice of criticising or not criticising. I could train my mind to think positive thoughts about a person or to think negative thoughts. When Paul said, “Do not conform to the pattern of
this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind,” it was an intensely practical statement. When I see an amber traffic light I can either slow down, or plant my foot and speed across the intersection just as the light turns red. In the same way I can criticise people, gossip about them, and discuss their faults with anyone who cares to listen. Or, I can actively look for the good in people, praise them for what they’re doing right and praise them to anyone who cares to listen. Renewing your mind is a matter of practice, and more practice.
My annual step tally … Recently my Fitbit sent me a tally of interesting statistics for the year past. Apparently, I walked 1,127,056 steps in 2018. More interestingly, that entitled me to eat 701 scoops of ice cream that would have otherwise been forbidden had my step tally been zero.
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
It is true that Fitbit is a bit vague on this one. Would those scoops all have to be vanilla, or could they be burnt caramel or triple chocolate with cookie dough? Regardless, it averages out at almost two scoops a day – which is still heartening even if it’s vanilla! While a year with over one million steps might sound impressive, the statistically astute will be scandalised, probably exclaiming “What, a paltry 3,088 steps per day! Don’t you know
you’re supposed to aim for 10,000, and that to settle for less than 7,000 is hazardous for your health? Frankly, you’re a disgrace to the Fitbit community.” If they expect me to crawl away in shame at this outburst (renouncing ice cream forever), they will be sadly disappointed. Actually, I had a pretty solid year on the walking front – frankly, a more solid year than my Fitbit did. It was out of order for most of the year, only recording my steps
on about 100 days. Now that changes things, doesn’t it? If my 1,127,056 steps were clocked up in 100 days, then I averaged 11,271 steps per day. Not too shabby! With that little correction I move from a statistical failure to a pretty reputable member of the human race. Your judgement of me depends on how complete your information is … or to be more accurate, how well you know my Fitbit.
How many other failures have we assumed on the basis of incomplete information? That church never grows … or the neighbour who always seems so far behind on everything. Change one piece of information and we might see things differently. It struck me how true that is. If I actually walked not 1,127,056 steps, but 4,113,915 – well then, I’m entitled to not 701 scoops of ice cream, but 2,559. Freezer, here I come!
Where is your victory? “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” It’s a nice sentiment, isn’t it? We respond, “Death you have no victory” and “Death you’ve lost your sting”, but I’m not so sure now.
Ben Good Ben Good lives in Lichinga, Mozambique with his wife and three children. They are involved in gospel sharing amongst the Yawo people.
On 24 December, my Grandfather, John Johnston passed away. He was 90. I was fortunate enough to return for one week to say goodbye to him and to attend his funeral. Upon my return to Mozambique, I heard that one of my best friends in Mozambique had a daughter who was very sick in hospital. The following three days she progressively got worse until she passed away. She was one and a half. Death, no matter how young or how old, how expected or how
unexpected, is terrible. Death does win, and death does sting. There are no two ways about it. Watching the degeneration of a person and their descent into death is horrible. Death stings and will eventually win in everyone’s case. “Death, where is your victory? Death, where is your sting?” It is because death does win and it does sting that we can joyously retort, “Where is your sting? Where is your victory? Death is that all you’ve got?”
God entered into our world. He submitted Himself to the same end we will all face. And for a moment there, death did win and it did sting. But what happened next was that Jesus, by submitting Himself to death, to all our deaths, was able to pass through it, take away its final victory, remove its final sting, defeat it, and usher in a new world – a world the way God intended it to be, free from death and pain and suffering. Jesus is for us the first fruits of that new
world, a promise of what is to come for all those who call on His name. For those experiencing the pain and sorrow felt by the loss of a loved one, those who feel the sting of death victorious, it does hurt, and the grief is real. But from within that pain and grief, we who are more than conquerors, loved by the Father, can say with joy that goes beyond our understanding, “Death you haven’t won anything and while you may sting, you won’t sting forever.” The story is not over yet. Come, Lord Jesus, come.
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Light plane crash miracle “When the fan stops at the front, that’s when a pilot starts to sweat,” Derby Baptist Church Pastor Paul White said as he recounted his experience of crashing his aircraft into a remote Queensland forest, 80 km from Bundaberg on 8 January. Prior to the emergency landing, Paul was able to issue a mayday call but said that it was his EPIRB and SPOT Satellite GPS Messenger that were able to direct emergency response services to his location. RACQ’s LifeFlight helicopter arrived on the scene and a paramedic was winched down to assess Paul’s condition. Aircrew officer Shayne White said he could not believe the pilot was relatively unharmed. “He’s very lucky. Some of these scenes that we go to with those sorts of impacts come to a much worse outcome,” he said. “On the way out we were able to contact him via mobile phone. He actually got out of the aircraft, unpacked himself and started ringing people so we could ascertain his injuries were fairly minimal by talking to him on the way there.”
... he felt like the most blessed man in the world being able to walk away ... With insurance expected to cover the cost of a replacement aircraft, Paul said he was looking forward to getting home to his wife Laurel and getting back up in the air.
Photo: Paul White
Sharing his story with ABC News, Paul said that he felt like the most blessed man in the world being able to walk away from the wreckage with only cuts and bruises. Paul explained that he was flying from Derby to Bundaberg for regular maintenance on the single engine, two-seater Jabiru aircraft when the engine failed. Initially planning to land on a nearby road, his tactics changed due to powerlines running alongside the road. “With less than a minute before needing to land, I selected a spot of forest where a fire had gone through recently, as I was able to pick a path through the burnt out trees,” Paul said. “I uprooted a few trees, before a larger one ripped off the right wing, causing the aircraft to cartwheel.” “I came to a stop with my shoulder touching the ground.”
The plane is part of Derbybased Kingdom Aviation’s fleet of aircraft that are used in remote parts of the Kimberly, North Queensland and Papua New Guinea to share the message of Christ with people in some of the remotest areas of Australia and Papua New Guinea.
For more information, visit kingdom-aviation-ministries. com.au Pastor Paul White crashed into a remote Queensland forest and had to
Author – Matt Chapman
manoeuvre his plane between trees to stay alive.
Buechner writing competition ‘Faith and Fiction’ is the theme for Vose Seminary’s Buechner Writing Competition in its inaugural year. Current and former students of Vose Seminary have the opportunity to submit a personal essay of 2,000 to 4,000 words by 31 May 2019.
Current and former students of Vose Seminary have the opportunity to submit a personal essay ... Entrants can interpret the theme broadly, from the depiction of faith in a particular novel or film to the role fiction has played in their own faith journey. The $1,200 prize money has been provided by the Frederick Buechner Center, Massachuetts
Photo: Frederick Buechner Center
Competition coordinators Michael O’Neil and Nathan Hobby said they are excited with the prospect of alumni from decades past and present participating.
Vose Seminary launches its Buechner Writing Competition.
as part of their international seminary program. Born in 1926, Frederick Buechner is an American author of over 30 books. His writing has been praised for its ability to inspire readers to see the grace in their daily lives. For more information, visit vose.edu.au
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news FEBRUARY 2019
2019 BCWA calendar 19 February
Emotionally Healthy Leadership Conference
Speakers: Pete and Geri Scazzero Woodvale Baptist Church woodvalebaptist.com.au/whats-on/events/ehl-2019 A one-day experience which offers church leaders a new way of viewing their leadership role and the way they lead by connecting their inner spiritual life to core leadership tasks.
Keys to Effective Prayer – Stage Two
Speaker: Brian Pickering Mount Pleasant Baptist Church mounties.org.au/events A great opportunity to be encouraged and to grow in prayer life, learning how to pray for our nation and the nations of the world, as well as for the Church in Australia and beyond.
Preach Like a Boss
Serpentine Camping Centre baptistwa.asn.au Baptist Camps have been running at Serpentine for over 30 years. Over that time they have been significant in the lives of many people by helping shape and grow their faith while connecting them with like-minded people, with whom many form lifelong friendships. This camp is for youth in Years 7 to 9 during the winter school holidays.
Serpentine Camping Centre baptistwa.asn.au A camp for children in Years 4 to 6 held during the winter school holidays.
Speaker: Tom French Inglewood Community Church nextgenbaptistwa.com.au An evening for youth leaders to learn how to communicate effectively.
freshconference.net A state-wide gathering of women of faith from many different denominations and expressions of the Body of Christ. Women of all ages and all spheres of life come together for one day to worship and learn in a unique and powerful space of creativity, diversity, passion and unity.
Next Generations Combined Youth Night
Speaker: Tom French Riverton Baptist Community Church nextgenbaptistwa.com.au Baptist youth gathering to worship, hear God’s Word and have fun.
Communicating with Gen Z and Alpha
Speaker: Tom French Baptist Churches Western Australia nextgenbaptistwa.com.au An opportunity to hear how preachers can engage with the emerging generations.
Friends of Global Interaction
Next Generations – Beyond Kidsmin Conference
nextgenbaptistwa.com.au An opportunity to join people who are passionate about ministry to children in WA.
Restoration: Journey to healing and wholeness
Speakers: Allan and Helen Meyer Mount Pleasant Baptist Church mounties.org.au/events Sessions on the journey from brokenness to healing.
27-30 SportsFest September sportsfest.org.au
SportsFest is a sporting outreach event proudly run by Baptist Churches Western Australia — with over 35 sports and activities, and more than 30 participating churches.
Riverton Baptist Community Church globalinteraction.org.au A morning tea to assist in strengthening the partnership between churches and the life-transforming work of Global Interaction.
2019 Annual Assembly
Western Australia Chin Christian Church The Annual Assembly is an opportunity to reflect on the life of Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA) over the preceding year along with enacting the required business of BCWA.
Friends of Global Interaction
Vose Annual Book Sale
Vose Seminary vose.edu.au Over 30,000 second-hand books of all kinds for sale for you to choose from as well as plants and gifts. A sausage sizzle is also available to keep you sustained along the way. Mini-lectures will be held to give you a taste of Vose Seminary.
All Together Baptist Pastoral Retreat
8, 15, 22 and 29 May
Clash of Convictions: Grappling with challenging issues of our times
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church mounties.org.au/events Four evening sessions looking at the topics of sexuality, abortion, euthanasia and identity, and discussing both the Christian and secular worldview on each of these topics.
Next Generations – The Mix: Disciples character and SportsFest launch
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church nextgenbaptistwa.com.au
Riverton Baptist Community Church globalinteraction.org.au A morning tea to help strengthen the partnership between churches and the life-transforming work of Global Interaction.
Global Interaction Prayer Night
17-22 Leavers Green Team November greenteamwa.org.au
Leavers Green Team partner with the Western Australia Police to provide the Leavers Entertainment Zone and practically share the love of Jesus with over 8,000 Year 12 students each night.
Dementia advocate shares extraordinary story
Speaking to an audience of invited guests at VisAbility’s Perron Centre, Kate’s powerful words challenged misconceptions about dementia and encouraged attendees to re-evaluate how we, as a society, can better support and empower people living with the disease. Kate was only 49 when she was diagnosed with a rare type of younger onset dementia and was advised by health care professionals to get her end-oflife affairs in order and give up work and study. At the time she was leading a busy life, working full-time and studying at university while raising her two teenage sons. “Dementia is the only illness I know where people are told to go home and prepare to die, rather than fight for their lives,” she said. “People forget that you’re still a person and that you can still do things. It was just illogical to me that I would go from diagnosis to end stage overnight.”
Kate’s determination to continue to live a fulfilling life has given her a strong purpose and passion, despite being handed a fatalistic view of her future. She now spends her time travelling the world advocating for a human rights approach to dementia. In 2014 she co-founded Dementia Alliance International, a nonprofit organisation committed to representing and improving the quality of life for the 50 million people worldwide who have been diagnosed with the disease. “I spend a lot of time encouraging other people with dementia to stand up and reclaim their pre-diagnosis lives and become self-advocates,” she said. Kate’s words highlighted how important it is to respect the individual autonomy of people living with dementia, and warned of the dangers associated with promoting early dependence on families and the health sector. “There is a systemic and gross underestimation of the capacity of
On 12 December 2018, leading West Australian aged care provider Baptistcare hosted humanitarian, author and advocate Kate Swaffer to share her remarkable personal story and insight into how she is redefining the way the world views dementia.
South Australian, Australian of the Year 2017 and dementia advocate, Kate Swaffer gives insight into her life with dementia.
all people with dementia even in the later stages of the disease, she said.” “When you are diagnosed with dementia, everyone takes over from you, which only disables you further and teaches you to become helpless.” “It’s at that point people just give up – which is pretty easy when everyone’s telling you to do so.”
New religious freedom act The Federal Government has recently released the long-awaited Ruddock report into religious freedom. However, it is looking to delay a decision on one contentious issue, with a further review on discrimination against LGBTI students and school staff planned by the Australian Law Review Commission. said that he had accepted 15 out of the 20 recommendations. He also stated that a religious freedom act, as proposed in the Ruddock report, would be an integral part of the government’s response.
Photo: MyImages - Micha/Shutterstock
The review concluded that there is an opportunity to further protect and better promote the freedom of religion under Australian law and in the community. In his statement to the media Prime Minister Scott Morrison
The government is set to introduce new laws to further protect freedom of religion in Australia.
“Our government is acting to protect religious freedom in Australia and to protect the rights of Australians to be themselves,” the Prime Minister said. “Australia is a place where discrimination on the basis of a person’s identity – including their religious identity – is unacceptable.” “It is also a place where we respect the right of religious institutions to maintain their distinctive religious ethos. Our laws should reflect these values.” According to the Prime Minister, the introduction of the Act would see the establishment of a new statutory position of Freedom of Religion Commissioner in the Australian Human Rights Commission, helping to increase community awareness of the importance of freedom of religion. The draft legislative package is intended to be introduced in 2019, with the new religious freedom act becoming a key part of the Coalition’s election platform. Author – Matt Chapman
“Let us fight and strive to maintain function for as long as possible.” Kate is an example of how an individual can continue to live a positive and meaningful life beyond their dementia diagnosis. “I see the way I’ve chosen to tackle dementia as the Olympics of my life – once I learned to
focus on what I can still do and see the positives, my life is richer for it.” For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au/subscribe Author – Alice Hennessy
Optimal performance Staff from Baptist colleges across WA came together for a day of worship, learning and networking, September 2019. Teachers and fellow employees from Kennedy Baptist College, Mandurah Baptist College, South Coast Baptist College, Emmanuel Christian Community School, Carey Baptist College, Atlantis Beach Baptist College and Quinns Baptist College all took part in this event. Focusing on the theme of optimal performance, participants explored what it is and what it means to excel in the missional work of education. The day began with a presentation from Christian Schools Australia CEO Daniel Pampuch on adaptive leadership and living an abundant life – a deep relationship with God enacted. Participants then enjoyed an entertaining and interactive session with the Perth College ‘Inside Out’ team on growth mindset and wellbeing. The day finished with Matilda Joubert
hosting a student engagement session focusing on depth of knowledge.
... a great opportunity to work together ... “With the highest number of schools ever attending, this day was not just about upskilling but also about having space to meet new people and see old friends, network with peers and have a little fun throughout the day,” Mandurah Baptist College Secondary Principal, Tracy Holmes said. ”As individual schools who do the hard work of stewarding student futures daily, it was a great opportunity to work together and support each other in this important work.”
news FEBRUARY 2019
Author to engage WA’s youth The Next Generations Ministry of Baptist Churches Western Australia is hosting the Melbourne-based author and youth speaker from 13 to 18 March. Tom’s recently released book Weird, Crude, Funny and Nude: The Bible Exposed highlights Bible passages that are humorous and odd to show young people that the Bible has something to say about life’s array of circumstances. His wit and contemporary style help teens engage with God’s Word in a fresh way. “The Bible is God telling us the story of who He is, who we are, and what He has done for us in Jesus. If the Bible is our Creator’s word to us, then it will always be relevant,” Tom explained. “As much as anyone else, young people need to know who
God is, who they are, and what God has done for them, because if they can anchor their identity in the timeless truth of the Bible, then, when everything else shifts they will have a solid foundation to rely on.” When it comes to communicating with young people, Tom’s focus is to engage the listeners in a story. “I use a lot of personal illustrations because everyone likes listening to a story.” “If your listeners are having fun, they’re going to be more likely to listen to the difficult truths when they come.” “In the end, what I’m sharing is good news, so why shouldn’t we have fun while talking about it?” Tom will be presenting ‘Preach Like a Boss: How Youth Leaders
Can Communicate Effectively’ on Wednesday 13 March at Inglewood Community Church, followed by a Baptist-combined youth night on Friday 15 March at Riverton Baptist Church. On Monday 18 March, Tom will be presenting ‘Communicating with Gen Z and Alpha: How Preachers Can Engage the Emerging Generations’ at Baptist Church Western Australia, Rivervale. Additionally, Tom will be speaking at the assemblies of various Baptist colleges throughout his first visit to Perth. “Apart from just seeing Perth, which I hear is a beautiful city, I’m excited to see what God is up to on the other side of Australia and make some new friends in the process,” Tom said. For more information, visit nextgenbaptistwa.com.au
Photo: Emily Sandrussi
Author Tom French is coming to Perth to speak to WA’s youth on why ‘The Bible Matters’.
Melbourne-based author and communicator, Tom French will tour Perth in March.
Author – Ed Devine
In 2018, students celebrating the end of Year 12 were served by an improved Leavers Green Team. New to Leavers was the introduction of chaplains. Led by Pastor Michael Yoo and Anina Findling, they provided support to the Green Team volunteers. “To see the students utilise these chaplains was powerful – they began asking more about Jesus and looking for a church near them so they could start going for the first time,” Baptist Churches Western Australia Events Coordinator, Jess Ford said. Last year, the team had a clear message of who they were
and what they were about. Jess explained that they promoted the Green Team as an opportunity to let your light shine, and that’s exactly what they did. She also highlighted the importance of starting the event off right by laying solid foundations for a week of ministry. During Leavers, Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s Young Adults Pastor, Jonathan Anthony led prayer walks over the Entertainment Zone, constructed and operated in Dunsborough by the Green Team. Alongside the prayer, daily reflection and worship time was also held. These additions had significant impact, with the Western Australia Police Force noting that there was something
Green Team makes successful changes
Volunteers at the 2018 Leavers in front of one of the Entertainment Zone’s attractions.
different about The Zone and the leavers in 2018. “We are blessed as an organisation to be given the privilege of organising The Zone and are so grateful for churches
ENROL NOW FOR SEMESTER 1, 2019 Whether your future is in Ministry, Theology, Chaplaincy, Mission, Education or Leadership, Vose has a pathway for you.
“I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” Jer 29:11
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sending their pastors and for all volunteers giving up their time to come and shine the light of Jesus,” Jess said. “When an amazing group of volunteers, the majority
RTO 0145 VET CRICOS 01052B ACT CRICOS 02650E
from Baptist churches, come together at Leavers with a clear goal to be His hands and feet, Jesus’ unconditional love and compassion is present for all to see.”
An orchard in the outback Initial survey work at the site has shown the soil is suitable for horticulture production and a groundwater bore will ensure there is a reliable water supply for the site. Minister for Agriculture and Food, Alannah MacTiernan said the Pilbara is normally associated with iron ore rocks, not stone fruit; but the government want to explore every opportunity to diversify the local economy, and the science is telling them that this could be a new industry for the region. Pilbara MLA, Kevin Michel is also excited about the new prospect for the Pilbara region. “It is fantastic that TAP will collaborate with Martu Farm managers and Martu elders to examine this potential new industry for our Pilbara,” Kevin said.
briefs Hijacked by God Former pastor of Hedland, Broome and Byford Baptist Church, Keith Ware said he never wanted to be a minister, just happy to be a good Christian involved in his local church, but God had other plans. In late August, Keith and his wife, Julie, released their book Hijacked by God, in which they tell their story warts and all. They share how God ‘hijacked’ them from a happy, comfortable lifestyle, to the very thing Keith had thought to avoid – becoming a full-time pastor in a church. Julie and Keith’s story provides an encouraging read for those who might doubt that God will use the most unlikely people in His ministry. The book is $20 plus postage. To order, email email@example.com.
BCWA staff changes Peter Vermeulen has commenced as the new Camps Coordinator for Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA), taking over from Brooke Bourdon. Doug Patching has commenced as the BCWA Business Manager, taking over from Dorothy Zander as she moved interstate.
Pastoral changes Pastor John Crosby will be concluding at the end of 2018 as the Senior Pastor at Morley Baptist Church. Pastor Ray Brown is undertaking an Interim Pastorate at Esperance Baptist Church. Pastor Kenny Ho is concluding at Perth Baptist Church and will
be commencing as the Pastor for Pastoral Care at Riverton Baptist Community Church. Pastor Bob Touchell is concluding as the Senior Pastor at Perth Baptist Church. Steve Ingram has been appointed as the Senior Pastor at Lake Joondalup Baptist Church. Peter Wight is commencing as the Pastor at Manjimup Baptist Church. Paul Sander has commenced as Pastor at Craigie Baptist Church. Timothy Van Aarde has been appointed as the Pastor at Collie Baptist Church.
Minister for Agriculture and Food, Alannah MacTiernan with Martu Christian Fellowship Chairman Elder, Peter Tinker.
“This exciting project will offer the Martu people more employment opportunities and the opportunity to expand and adapt their knowledge of horticulture.” Elders from the Martu Christian Fellowship have provided their support for the trial and are excited to see that with it will come knowledge, training and an even nicer space for its members and town people.
In an interview with the ABC, Darrien Rogers, a Martu man undergoing a traineeship in horticulture at Martu Farm, said working on the country was significant to him. “[It] means a lot, going out back to the community, seeing all my family and relatives and helping them,” he said. “I would like to see more Martu people doing a traineeship
and working around town, in our own community.” “Our government is committed to working hand in hand with Pilbara pastoralists and traditional landowners on realising a shared vision that will produce benefits for future generations,” Ms MacTiernan concluded. Author – Matt Chapman
BaptistCare sponsor NCLS Research
Changes at Vose Kerry Puzey has commenced as the Office and Property Manager at Vose Seminary and Justine Humphreys is concluding as the VET Lecturer and Unit Development Coordinator due to moving interstate.
Baptisms JJ Oberholzer and Nadia Naudé were baptised at a Narrogin dam by Narrogin Baptist Church Pastor Peter Aitchison on 11 November 2018.
Baptist Historical Society The Baptist Historical Society of Western Australia have their next public meeting on Sunday 17 March 2019, to be held at the Romanian Baptist Church, 451 Guildford Road, Bayswater. Victor Owuor will be speaking on the subject of ‘The Growth of Ethnic Churches since 2006’.
Martu Farm Managers, John and Angela Wilmot explained that the farm was started to create a safe space of wellbeing and to respond in practical ways to address the social disadvantage and challenges. The farm, in partnership with Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development, is a part of the $5.9 million Transforming Agriculture in the Pilbara (TAP) project that has been examining soil and water resources in the region for potential horticulture, fodder and field crop production. The three-year trial will test whether the inland and elevated location of Newman could be well suited to producing high-value temperate crops, due in large to the relatively cooler winter temperatures which assist with the dormancy phase of these crops.
Photo: Angela Wilmot
As part of its leadership and mentoring program, the Martu Farm, an initiative of the Martu Christian Fellowship in Newman expanded in early 2018 to include a nursery. Proceeds of plant sales will be used to fund a traineeship position.
The 2018 NCLS Research Board of Governors, including BaptistCare NSW and ACT CEO Ross Low (fourth from left).
BaptistCare NSW and ACT has recently become a primary sponsor of the joint venture, NCLS Research. Other sponsors include the Anglicare Diocese of Sydney, Australian Catholic Bishops Conference and Uniting Mission and Education. NCLS Research Director and Charles Sturt University Associate Professor, Dr Ruth Powell welcomed
the new partnership with BaptistCare. “We look forward to this new collaboration, as we continue to build on the fruits of 25 years of ecumenical cooperation,” Dr Powell said. “Churches are incredibly active in serving their communities. Alongside community service agencies, such as BaptistCare, our research can help strengthen the mission of both churches and community service agencies as they invest in the
fabric of their local communities and in Australian society as a whole.” BaptistCare NSW and ACT CEO, Ross Low said the research expertise of the NCLS Research team will add to BaptistCare’s capacity to make an informed contribution in its own areas of interest, and will also extend the scope of its work. According to Ross, all parties agreed that a strong and diverse partnership provided a great range of benefits for all.
feature FEBRUARY 2019
Change may happen almost imperceptibly over time but we can measure trends. Pastor Craig Vernall, former National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand and current Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church explains why one of the most worrying changes in Baptist church statistics is the number of children attending church on Sunday.
One decision or 52?
Having served in the same church for 24 years, I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a generation of families raise their children within a church context. What I’ve discovered anecdotally won’t surprise you when I say that families who positively engage with church life on a Sunday will see their children, by and large, rest easy with Jesus and His church. These families make one decision every year to attend church on Sundays. Other families make 52 decisions a year depending upon circumstances or feelings. When I talk with the parents of active families their answer is simple and positive: “This is who we are. This is how we roll. We do church on Sunday and everyone’s involved.” What I’ve noted is that these parents always maintain a grateful predisposition towards what we all know is an imperfect institution: the local church. There’s very little of “What’s in it for me?” and a lot more of “Where can I help and where do I fit in?” Excuses, excuses Over the past 12 years, the weekly church attendance of Baptist children has dropped by 33 percent. In the same period adult attendance has dropped by 21 percent. This is alarming. But the number of people still found in our total worshipping community has taken a relatively smaller dip. This means Baptists are still involved but are attending church on a week-by-week basis less frequently. There are always arguments to defend these statistics, such as: “You don’t have to be a churchgoer to be a Christian.” I agree. But in saying this, I don’t see solid numbers of non-church-attending Christians making a positive mark upon society. If being a Christian is all about my morning quiet time then I’d be less concerned. But the church is called to be a positive witness, an alternative community that lives and breathes Kingdom values and seeks to transform society. Reducing family church attendance to a minimum is a recipe for heartache. I’ve had a number of these conversations with parents of young adults who have left the faith. It’s a hard conversation to have with a parent when I point out an obvious
reason: for the child, church and Jesus are synonymous. Avoid one and you’re diminishing the value of the other. So, every time a parent makes a decision on a Sunday morning to go to the beach because it’s such a nice day, or to stay at home because it’s cold, or to have a break from church during the school holidays, or to not go today because the sermon series this month is not to their liking or the church should make better quality coffee, they are telling their children that attending church is just one of several multi-choice options and certainly not the most important. In other words, a family can make one decision a year to attend church 52 times or the family can make 52 decisions a year as to whether church is a priority today. Investing in our children In saying all of this, I truly believe that a local church’s best resources need to go into their children’s ministries. Whatever we focus on within our church life, our children deserve the best we can give them. This isn’t watering down the children’s ministry to a Wiggles experience. But please ensure that it’s fun and engaging, and being led by people who care. Give your best to the little ones. As a ten year-old I was invited to church by a local family doing a car run through the rural neighbourhood that I lived in. I hadn’t attended church before and I only went for a few months afterwards. But that was all that was needed to plant a seed of faith in my life. Growing a healthy church takes time. So what better way than to grow it with the children’s ministry leading the way. In only a few short years you will have a youth ministry and then young adults work. All this in ten to 12 years. Time is your friend. We can’t take short cuts when making disciples. If you’re reading this article, then chances are high that someone or a group of people discipled you into a place of maturing faith. What would it take to pour your faith experience back into the lives of our children? Why don’t you approach others who hold responsibility for the children in your church and offer a hand to see our most precious resource come to faith in Jesus? Author – Craig Vernall Craig Vernall is the Senior Pastor of Bethlehem Baptist Church in Tauranga, New Zealand and, at the time of writing this article, was the National Leader of the Baptist Churches of New Zealand. This article was originally published in the Baptist Churches of New Zealand Baptist Magazine.
Photo: Stokkete /Shutterstock
If the downward trend in children’s church attendance is a picture of where the church is heading into the future, we have reason to be concerned. We can find lots of reasons for the decline, and some may be valid: 1. Families are having less children. 2. Sunday is the new Saturday. 3. People in general attend church less often. 4. Children are participating in Christian activities during the week.
Ayesha Michael was one of Carey Baptist College’s first students, graduating in 2002.
Inaugural student wins Women in Business Award growing client relationships, many of which still remain today. With over 14 years of sales, marketing and customer relations experience, Ayesha was always torn between her practical nature and creative streak, trying to determine where she saw herself career wise. It was a welcome surprise when she realised she could combine the two and started her own business, doing exactly what she loves every day. In 2013, Ayesha gave birth to her first child and decided to start her own children’s fashion label which she successfully conducted for three years, marketing entirely through Facebook and Instagram. After the birth of her second child in 2017, the family went to South Australia so her husband could pursue his mining career. They moved to the remote mining town of Roxby Downs, with a population of less than 4,000 people – no shops, restaurants or cafes, no family support or social life.
Ayesha would always find opportunity wherever she went and soon started to meet people, mainly women at the park with their children and discovered a common theme – her story wasn’t unique! Women were leaving their careers and family behind in support of their partners and moving to the desert to start a new life. Most of these women were still searching for something more to life than just being a partner, wife or mother, so she sold her business and decided to take a new direction. “A fire within me had been lit that I didn’t even know existed. I yearned to bring women in our community together and thus Yellow Cake Creative was born,” Ayesha said. This isn’t just a business, rather it’s a community where Ayesha encourages and supports women to start their own business, to give their town a bit of variety and make them feel valued and important
once again. Through business planning and discovery sessions she has mentored start-ups and taught strategies learned from her previous business including how to effectively use social media. For many people, desert life is strange and can be very isolating. The transient nature of the town means people are constantly coming and going, following the mining work. So even those that have been settled for five, ten or 15 years can suddenly find themselves with no more friends around. Yellow Cake Creative has grown to include workshops and women-only events which are popular, and have created a supportive community of women. In Ayesha’s first year of business, she was nominated for and subsequently won an award in the Spirit Category at the 2018 South Australia Women in Business Awards. Ayesha Michael, an inaugural Carey Baptist College student, is the recent recipient of a Women in Business Award.
Photo: Candice Dikolli
“Students at Carey probably cannot imagine what it was like to attend 20 years ago. We would arrive at school and walk down the dirt path to one building of 70 students and six educators,” Ayesha said. “My mind is blown when I see its growth today and feel proud to be one of Carey’s inaugural students.” “What I’ve learnt is that everything starts small, with one idea from someone courageous or crazy enough to think it will work and give it a go!” “When you have enough support behind you from your family, friends and community you really can do and achieve anything!” Ayesha graduated from university with a Bachelor of Arts in English and Creative Arts and then went on to work in sales and marketing in the wine industry. She was promoted, moving into an Area Manager role which involved meeting budgets and maintaining, building and
10 world news FEBRUARY 2019
Zimbabwean pastor arrested
Mawarire was arrested by armed police at his home, initially charged with a lesser crime of inciting public violence. This came after he circulated social media posts encouraging Zimbabweans to participate in a stay-at-home strike called by the country’s biggest labour union. A spokesman for Zimbabwe Lawyers for Human Rights, whose lawyers are representing Mawarire, said police had decided to upgrade the pastor’s charges. Mawarire was formally accused of encouraging civil disobedience, though his lawyer denied that he had incited violence. President Emmerson Mnangagwa’s government decreed a 250 percent increase in fuel prices in early January. This triggered a three-day strike during which protesters barricaded roads with rocks, burned tyres and looted shops. In one week, police rounded up 600 people in a crackdown on protestors; a doctors’ group said 68 people had been treated for gunshot wounds and there were over 100 cases of assaults with sharp objects, booted feet and baton sticks; and according
to Human Rights Watch, security forces have shot dead at least 12 people. There were further reports of violence throughout January, as army and police patrols searched hundreds of homes in Harare, the capital, for property stolen in outbreaks of looting last week. A significant number of people remain missing, including senior union officials involved in organising the three-day shutdown. “This is just a foretaste to come,” President Mnangagwa’s spokesman, George Charamba told the state-controlled newspaper, The Sunday Mail. “The government will not stand by while such narrow interests play out so violently,” he said. These harsh words have increased concerns about the deteriorating human rights situation in the African country. Britain’s Minister of State for Africa, Harriet Baldwin said Britain condemned the violent behaviour of some protestors, but was “deeply concerned that Zimbabwe’s security forces have acted disproportionately in response”.
Photo: Philimon Bulawayo/Reuters
Leading Zimbabwean activist and pastor, Evan Mawarire was charged in court on 17 January. This occurred following accusations of subverting the government – punishable by up to 20 years in prison – after violent protests that resulted in a brutal crackdown from security forces.
Activist Pastor Evan Mawarire is taken into a vehicle by police outside his home in Harare.
Media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Whatsapp, remained blocked after a government order. This resulted in accusations that the government wanted to prevent images of heavy-handed police tactics being broadcast around
the world. The US Embassy urged that access be restored. The price rise is the latest blow to millions of citizens who are increasingly unable to buy basics such as fuel, food and other necessities. The violence is the worst
seen in Zimbabwe for a decade, prompting many to make comparisons with the worst days of the 37-year rule of the autocratic former president Robert Mugabe. Author – Gilbert Siahaan
Sunday Schools at risk in Indonesia
The draft ‘Islamic boarding schools and religious education’ bill aims to regulate how schools and religious institutions teach religion, and the government’s involvement in financing and supporting religious education. If the bill passes, every Sunday School will be required to have at least 15 participants and the organiser must have the approval of the Ministry of Religious Affairs. More than 200,000 Christians have signed an online petition to Indonesian President Jokowi and the House of Representatives in protest of the bill. Many are worried that the bill will be used by extremists to curtail the religious freedom of Christians. This concern follows the Joint Decree on Houses of
Worship that regulates church membership which has been widely used by Islamic extremist groups and the government to stop Christians from building places of worship.
More than 200,000 Christians have signed an online petition to Indonesian President Jokowi...
It has also resulted in extensive stealing, burning and attacking of churches in Indonesia. The Communion of Churches in Indonesia (PGI) stated that Sunday School is vital and must not be equated with other informal religious education such as the Islamic Pesantren (Islamic boarding schools). They also pointed out that Sunday School should not require permission as religious freedom is already guaranteed in the Indonesian Constitution (Article 29). Church leaders have emphasised that Sunday School is an extension of church services and are informal activities. The House of Representatives has promised to hold hearings to ensure that religious freedom is upheld.
Photo: GNNick /Shutterstock
Christians in Indonesia are opposing a new religious education bill that will require them to obtain government approval for holding Sunday School classes.
Churches in Indonesia face the possibility of further restrictions should a proposed bill be passed.
world news 11 FEBRUARY 2019
Photo: Protestantse Kerk Den Haag
24/7 church service to protect family
Bethel Church is a sanctuary for a refugee family who fled Armenia for political reasons.
A church in the Netherlands has been holding a continuous church service for several months to protect an asylum seeker family from expulsion. Bethel Church in The Hague has been offering refuge to an Armenian family of five since 26 October 2018. As Dutch law prohibits officials from interrupting religious services, the church has been holding a 24/7 church service to keep authorities from arresting the family who lives on the church’s property. The Armenian family has been living in the Netherlands for almost nine years, having fled political persecution in Armenia. When their asylum
status was overturned, they appealed for a ‘kinderpardon’ or ‘children’s pardon’, which allows asylum seeker families with children who have lived in the Netherlands for more than five years to stay in the country, but this appeal was rejected. Bethel Church found itself facing a choice between respecting the Dutch government and advocating for children’s rights. In the end, the church chose to offer refuge to the family to create a time of respite during which
they have invited politicians to discuss the family’s fate and the effects of deportation on children. The continuous service has since turned into a national movement as it cannot be continued by one church alone. More than 550 pastors from about 20 denominations have rotated through Bethel Church, leading times of worship and prayer. Some even travelled from Germany and Belgium to take a shift at the church. “What this church asylum is teaching me in the first place is how enormously connecting and boundary-shattering the most basic compassion can
be,” Bethel Church Pastor, Axel Wicke said in an interview with Christianity Today. Jan Wolsheimer, Director of Missie Nederland, the Dutch arm of the World Evangelical Alliance, told Christianity Today that the church asylum has not been without criticism by the wider Christian community in the Netherlands. Some criticise that the initiative taints worship with political activism. Addressing the criticism in his Dutch blog, he described the church service as a place where there are “no screaming crowds, no banners, but deep poems and candles
fluttering in silence in front of the Eternal”. “That is exactly what I experience here … Not a misuse of worship, but a marathon service that flows like water. Rippling, hopeful and continuous,” Jan said. Bethel Church is asking believers from around the world to keep the Armenian family and 400 other asylum seeker children who have appealed for a ‘children’s pardon’ in their prayers. At the time of printing, the Dutch government has not moved from their intention to deport the family. Author – Ramona Humphreys
Actor shares his faith
At major events such as the MTV Awards and the Teen Choice Awards, as well as on social media, Pratt encouraged young people to pray and connect with God. In his acceptance speech for the Generation Award at the MTV Movie and TV Awards, he said, “God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that, I do.”
God loves you. God wants the best for you. Believe that, I do.
“Learn to pray. It’s easy and it’s so good for your soul,” he added. In an interview with AP, Pratt said that he is unashamed to share his faith, even on the big stage. “Nothing fills my soul more than to think that maybe some kid watching that would say, ‘Hey, I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking about praying. Let me try that out.’”
Throughout 2018, Hollywood actor Chris Pratt took many opportunities to talk about his faith and inspire young people to believe in God.
Author – Ramona Humphreys Chris Pratt at the premiere of Disney and Marvel’s Avengers: Infinity War held at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood.
12 in conversation FEBRUARY 2019
A prisoner set free For 32 years Peter Lyndon-James lived a life he hated. It all turned upside down when he gave his life to God. John Igglesden recently had the privilege of catching up with Peter and learning more about the radical change in his life and his current ministry. and I hated who I was. I wanted to change. I tried to hang around normal people, but I felt like I didn’t belong. The people I felt comfortable around were doing what I didn’t want to do. When problems came my way, the easiest way to fix it was to stick a needle in my arm, pop a pill and have a drink. One day, I had a full-on lifechanging encounter where the ‘fella upstairs’ grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, and said give up everything you own and follow me. My life started changing from then. So, is that when you first encountered God’s presence? When I was 17 in Riverbank, I remember watching The Cross and the Switchblade about Nicky Cruz. I remember thinking, his life was my life. He didn’t want to be where he was, but he didn’t know how to change or get out. Later, he asked Jesus Christ into his heart and it showed how his life changed. I went back to my cell that night and got down on my knees and prayed, “God if you are real and you can change that bloke’s life, then you can change mine.” He gave me a Scripture, John 8:32, “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” But when I got out, I stopped reading the Word. After I was raided, I went for a drive and something happened. I heard a voice that said, “Peter, I want you to follow me,” but there was no-one else in the car. I started following the car ahead of me. It pulled over in a park and I saw a family, then I heard a voice that said, “Peter, I’m offering you this,” and I started crying. This voice was offering me a family. I never had a family. I got back into my car, started driving and it happened again. I pulled up, the car drove off, and I saw a brand-spanking new house. The voice said, “Peter, I’m offering you this.” It was a place to call home. I called my wife and said, “Something weird is going on.” I was thinking maybe the coppers were trying to freak me out. I thought I’ll get on my motorbike and lose them. So, I got on my bike, booted down the highway near Lancelin and I heard this voice, “I want you to follow me.” Suddenly the bike died. I ended up hitching, a young couple pulled up and we started driving. This young dude
Photo: Shalom House
Could you tell us your life journey and how you became a Christian? Between seven and nine a lot of bad stuff happened. My dad ran off with the babysitter when I was seven. I got sexually molested. My mum was bashed on a daily basis. Every time my mum was in a rehabilitation centre, I was put in a children’s home or with foster families and I would run away. When I was nine, a lady at a children’s home said to me, “Well you obviously don’t want to be here anymore as you’ve run away three times in four months, so we are going to give you a choice. You can go to Longmore [Detention Centre] or you can live with your Dad.” I looked at my Dad and I heard a voice, “He doesn’t love you anymore.” I thought, if he did love me, I wouldn’t have been molested, my Mum wouldn’t have been bashed, and our family would be together. I remember thinking, “Yeah that’s right, he doesn’t love me.” I then felt an overwhelming anger in my heart and from that day forward I hated his guts. I spent three months in Longmore. When I got out, I went to a children’s home where I met some of the kids from prison. I started doing drugs, smoking cones, breaking into houses and stealing cars. I spent seven more years locked up, then moved to Riverbank [Detention Centre] for kids between the ages of 16 and 18. After 18 months, I graduated to jail in 1991. I met my wife in 1989. She had never done anything wrong. She didn’t realise my past. I got out of prison in 2001 and started selling drugs for a living. I was selling 2.5 kilograms of methamphetamines a day and heaps of guns. We would often get raided by the police. I remember one morning, the helicopter was over the roof, the Tactical Response [Group] had come through the doors, I had a shotgun to my head and I remember looking down and seeing my wife lying on the floor, also with a shotgun to her head. I spent 26 years of my life trapped in a world that I didn’t want to be in, and I didn’t know how to get out. All I wanted was to be a normal person. I wanted to be free from drugs. I wanted to be able to jump into bed with Mum and Dad for a cuddle. I wanted to go on family holidays. I didn’t have any of that. I remember lying on the ground with this shotgun to my head
turned around and said, “I really strongly feel like I’ve got to tell you something. God’s telling me to tell you He really loves you and has a calling for you. He has a plan and a purpose for your life.” I broke down. I made them pull over and ran into the bush and cried. By that time I was 32 and hadn’t heard from God since I was 17. I thought He’d given up on me. I stuck my thumb out and started hitching again, and a bloke pulled up in a black F250 [Ford utility]. Out of the blue he said, “Mate I’ve got to tell you something, I really strongly feel God is telling me to tell you that your life is not a waste, He loves you and He has a plan and purpose for your life.” I ‘bawled’. I cried all the way to the roadhouse, rang my wife and said, “Something weird is happening, you gotta come pick me up.” But she had to pick the kids up from school, so I walked out to the highway and hitched. An old granny pulled up and said, “Son, I don’t usually pick hitchhikers up but you look different.” She said, “Son I feel like I’ve got to tell you something. God’s telling me that your life is not a mistake, you are good enough, and He has a plan and a purpose for your life.” I just
wailed. Three strangers in ten minutes telling me God loved me and had a plan and purpose for my life. I cried all the way to Bayswater. I said to the missus, “I can’t stay here. I have to go somewhere and think.” I booked a motel room and woke up at 3am after having a dream. In that dream God said, “Peter, you’re going to travel the world with a group of Christian people, and you’re going to tell them how to change their lives.” The same presence I felt in my prison cell as a boy washed over me, telling me how much He cared for me. I said to my wife in the morning, “I’ve got to go to church.” We ended up pulling up to a church in Morley and I heard this voice, “I want you to go to that church.” As soon as I walked in my legs started to buckle and I cried uncontrollably. The preacher did an altar call, I went forward, fell to my knees and asked Christ into my heart. I paid off all my drug debts, gave away everything I owned and pleaded guilty of the charges I was on. When I got out of jail, I was accepted into Bible college and did a three-year Advanced Diploma in Theology, then became a volunteer Prison Chaplain at Acacia Prison. And today I’m a full-time volunteer.
That’s Shalom House now, isn’t it? Yes, I started Shalom House in 2012. Today it has 140 men and ten families. We’re 100 percent self-funded and we are a registered not-for-profit charity. Do you accept men with any addiction, or is it specifically drug addiction? Any addiction, whether it be pornography, anger, bitterness, resentment or sex addiction. We are open to any male with any life-controlling issues. We also have ten couples in programs with all their children, and we bus them to school. Every single fella that comes through will leave 100 percent debt-free. It’s out in the Swan Valley and we just purchased a 60 acre property to build a community centre on. Shalom House is now at the point where I can step aside and use what I’ve learnt to help rehabilitation centres across Australia. For more information, visit shalomhouse.com.au Author – John Igglesden
growth 13 FEBRUARY 2019
I was feeling good. It was the end of last year and I had coordinated an office fit-out and move. After searching for the right space, negotiating the lease, organising 30 contractors for the build and spending nights getting set up, we were in! Having cleaned the old place, all that was left was to deal with anything that cropped up on the property report and hand back the keys. Or so I thought. The emails started. The office needed repainting. Not expected, but sure. A small chip was on a skirting board. Couldn’t actually see the chip in the attached image, but an easy fix. Some shoe scuff marks were on a wall. Hmm. I checked the contract. Surely this fell under ‘reasonable wear and tear’? But I am by nature an accommodating person. I could pop over and deal with it. Then things got even pettier. “Please find attached a list of items that need professional rectification. Would you please let us know your thoughts and proposal for the ‘make good works’?” There was a sole fingerprint on some glass. I phoned and was polite and calm. But later, another email. There was a piece of Blu-Tack left on the balcony, so I would need to ‘make good’ by repainting the whole outdoor area. Was this a
joke? There was a piece of toilet paper in the (public shared) toilet that was clearly outside the area I leased. Then, the one that tipped me over the edge. There was a small piece of sticky tape that remained on an internal door frame. We would be charged rent and the bond withheld until this was resolved.
Like anyone, I deal with stress all the time, so what was it about this that had made me so disturbed?
I was getting really worked up. How can two people’s concept of what is reasonable vary so wildly? Or was I being taken for a ride? I had just dealt with a small mountain of logistics and challenges moving, and yet it was these discussions that I was having sleepless nights over. We resorted to seeking legal advice which quickly put a stop to the lengthy list of endless trivial requests. I might have been vindicated, but I still felt defeated. Like anyone, I deal with stress all the time, so what was it about this that had made me so disturbed? I like to be the person who everyone likes, to be fair and reasonable, and an all-round nice guy. I also – perhaps naively – expect that if I treat people in this way, they will reciprocate. Yet that doesn’t always happen. These interactions forced me to step outside of my preferred way of relating and be someone else. Sometimes as Christians in the workplace, we don’t always get to be the stereotypical nice guy or girl who just ‘turns the other cheek’. It was this internal conflict within myself, as I resolved my faith with a practical need to sort this out, that was keeping me awake. I found hope in Exodus 14:14: “The Lord will fight for you, and all you have to do is keep still.” For
Photo: Scott Ingram
A sticky situation
me this is significant as we learn our place is not always to fight or take new ground, but sometimes rather to stand firm in what we believe. This verse is at a point in the story where Moses was telling the people of Israel to be still and trust God. Meanwhile they are standing on the edge of the Red Sea and the Egyptian army was on their back. It was an impossible situation, but a situation brought on by the Lord.
It served as a reminder that God is in control, that God is people’s true salvation, that they were incapable of escaping without Him, and what seemed like their battle was in fact His. He is here to fight our fights for us. Author – Scott Ingram Scott Ingram is the Director of Helium Digital Marketing and attends Lake Joondalup Baptist Church.
Responsibility begins with response
of peace? [Luke 14:32] And all those parables about being ready because we never know when we’ll face the Master. Our news is not merely that God loves everyone. If our message can be met with ‘that’s good to know’ or ‘that’s lovely to think about’, then it’s much less than the gospel. Imagine Fred proposing to Helen over and over and getting that response … and then Helen’s agony when she
“In the unlikely event of an emergency, oxygen masks will fall from the ceiling.” If you’ve flown before, you know the drill. And the next part of the safety message: “Be sure to fit your own mask correctly before assisting
others.” It makes sense, doesn’t it? The faster you get yourself sorted, the sooner you’ll be able to help others. But it doesn’t seem to make sense to many of us sacred agents. When we share the gospel, we often forget that part. Calling people to a response – to ‘hurry up and get themselves sorted’ with God – seems a bit pushy to us. Aussies don’t like to
be pushed. And Jesus isn’t pushy, is He? Is He? Actually, the urgency of being reconciled to God is all through His teaching. “Settle matters quickly with your adversary who is taking you to court. Do it while you are still together on the way ...” [Matthew 5:25a] Won’t a king facing a stronger king send a delegation while the other is still a long way off and ask for terms
... the urgency of being reconciled to God is all through His teaching.
sees Fred finally marry Susan instead! Jesus is not just the pilot announcing, “It’s all going to be okay. Go back to what you were doing.” He calls people to action – to come and belong to Him and join His mission.
The people who do so – who emphatically and publicly say ‘yes’ to Christ in baptism, getting themselves quickly sorted with God – these are the ones who (masks fitted and breathing in the Spirit) will go on to help others also find life in Christ. For responsibility begins with a response. “All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation … We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.” [2 Corinthians 5: 18 and 20] Author – Andrew Turner Andrew Turner is the Church Development Facilitator with Baptist Churches of South Australia and author of the Sacred Agents blog.
14 arts FEBRUARY 2019
A Review of Uncomfortable It’s always Christians who make me want to give up the faith. The dumb, embarrassing things they do – the women’s evangelistic craft nights, singing songs that should have been left in the 1970s, International Roast as the standard morning tea fare. If you can think of similar experiences and cringe, then Uncomfortable: The Awkward and Essential Challenge of Christian Community by Brett McCracken is for you.
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with every sentence. It went on for pages. I was constructing in my head a brilliant church with fantastic, purpose-built spaces, wonderful music (just my taste) and super encouraging Christians connecting well with the local community. And then he explodes this fantasy by saying this is exactly what we cannot be doing. This consumerist mindset has infiltrated the way we approach church and it is poison.
... church shouldn’t be about being perfectly understood and met in our comfort zone ...
“If we always approach church through the lens of wishing this or that were different, or longing for a church that ‘gets me’ or ‘meets me where I’m at’ we’ll never commit anywhere (or, Protestants that we are, we’ll just start our own church). But church shouldn’t be about being perfectly understood and met in our comfort zone; it
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I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is easy to read, gospel focused, culturally astute, biblically faithful, personally challenging and funny. You don’t get that combination very often in a Christian book, let alone a book about church, which is what this is. I was so excited I could barely put it down. Uncomfortable is one of a wave of books that are trying to help Christians live in a postChristian world. McCracken sees the answer in committing to your local church, no matter how uncomfortable and challenging that may be. His thesis is that the church is uncomfortable for a reason – it is God’s plan to place us in communities where we do the hard work of “doing hard things, embracing hard truths and doing life with hard people for the sake and glory of the One who did the hardest thing”. Church may be weird, but that’s a good thing. Instead of being like the culture around us, this book calls Christians to “debunk and destroy the toxic consumerist approach to church” and be willing to commit to “the nearest non-heretical, Bible-believing church where we could grow and serve – and where Jesus is the hero – however uncomfortable it may be”. I think every Christian should read it. The book starts with an outline of the author’s dream church. I found myself agreeing
should be about understanding God more, and meeting him where He is.” I was soundly rebuked. And hooked. There are so many funny lines in this book. “Every time we sing the praise chorus refrain for the sixtyseventh time as if in the Hillsong equivalent of Groundhog Day …” made me choke with laughter so hard until my coffee was pouring out of my nose. It’s the delight of the self-depreciating in-joke that only Christians can appreciate (without being mean, crude or sarcastic) that makes the book so enjoyable to read.
The conclusion is hopeful, beautiful and inspiring. He encourages Christians to see that to live the uncomfortable life together for the sake of Christ is worth it in the end. “We are, mysteriously, part of a cosmic plan God has eternally known. And we have an eternal inheritance. The discomfort we endure in this life as a peculiar people will be a blip in the timeline of our infinite history. We will at last be the perfect church we presently long for; the unblemished bride at an unimaginable wedding feast.” “The dream will be real.”
Author – Michelle Underwood Michelle Underwood teaches Biblical Studies at Thornlie Christian College.
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Between Heaven and the Real World Steven Curtis Chapman Steven Curtis Chapman begins his biography by reflecting on moments of his childhood that helped define his life. You see his faith in what he felt called to do – that even when others don’t think you can make it, God can use you mightily. Steven shares that as he struggled through his music career, he learned to trust God when he was weak. You then read about what inspired his music, as he shares his joys, struggles and faith through his songs. It is an amazing journey of honest truths about family, faith and life-shattering struggles as Steven finds the moments of heaven in this world – moments where God gave Steven new hope. He encourages the reader to also turn to Jesus.
Dr Michael Kok – Vose Seminary New Testament Lecturer and Dean of Student Life Mike, you hail from Alberta, Canada and came to Perth in 2018. What led you to this role? I was happy to leave the snow and freezing temperatures behind! But seriously, I have been teaching in higher education since 2010 and I consider it to be a vocation to help Christian students navigate the world of biblical scholarship, so it is a privilege to serve at Vose.
Alison You undertook your PhD in Sheffield, United Kingdom, what was it majoring in? I have a PhD in Biblical Studies and my research focuses on the later church traditions about the Gospels. There are fascinating stories told about the Gospel writers from the second century onwards, but the Gospels themselves rightly keep the spotlight on Jesus.
Alongside being the Vose New Testament Lecturer, you’re also the Dean of Student Life. What does this role entail? What is life like for a student at Vose? I assist students with developing a plan for how to achieve their academic goals, organise our chapels and spiritual formation program, and schedule fun events, such as a board games night, with our student leadership team.
Indivisible Based on a true story, Indivisible is an eye-opening look at a marriage under extreme pressure and a couple determined to make it work. Darren and Heather Turner are young and idealistic about Darren’s new role as an Army Chaplain. However, when his first posting ends up being in Afghanistan for 15 months, the shine starts to wear off. Between Darren learning how to cope with loss and not understanding God’s answers to his prayers, and Heather dealing with a young family on her own, this posting is a challenging test of their faith and their marriage. Indivisible is a confronting insight into the real-life drama of servicepeople and their families. But God is always there as Darren and Heather work through the difficulties to build a strong marriage and family.
What is a feature of Vose that you’d like to share? Since Vose values a generous orthodoxy rooted in our evangelical Baptist heritage, each student is invited to discover how his or her faith may be enriched by classes on the Bible, theology, missions, worldview, ethics, apologetics, leadership, pastoral ministry and so on. Who are the current or historical figures who have influenced you the most? I can think of many biblical or Christian theologians who have shaped my thinking and character, but I want to express my gratitude here to my parents and to my former professors and pastors for the many ways that they supported and invested in me. What is one thing about the New Testament, you wish more people took notice of? I want students to grasp how the New Testament writings were understood by the original readers within their diverse social and cultural contexts. May we continue to find ways to show how Christ is relevant to our society and culture today. A final message … To find out more about what life is like at Vose, come visit us on an Open Day or join us for chapel and lunch on a Wednesday during the semester.
listen Burn the Ships
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Reviews by staff at Koorong Mount Lawley Website: koorong.com Address: 434 Lord Street, Mount Lawley Phone: 08 9427 9777
For King and Country Burn the Ships is For King and Country’s newest album. An encouraging range of music, from the upbeat Joy to the melodic tones of God Only Knows. Let this Australian band show understanding for the toll that life takes on you, and then lead you into the presence of God to be healed and nurtured. My favourite song on the album would be Joy, an encouragement to choose joy in any and all circumstances, despite the challenges, because God is our joy. Dorothy
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