WA’S BAPTIST NEWSPAPER
IN CONVERSATION Gary Williams talks about the need for effective administration and management for Christian organisations. PAGE 12 >>
“It seems like the list of hard lessons to learn as a cross-cultural worker is endless.” KATH BEECK PAGE 4>>
3 New life The one birth that changed everything. >>
Photo: Kelly Crawford
5 Times and seasons Mounties celebrates 60 years of God’s work. >>
Member for Curtin Celia Hammond, (third from left) meeting with Baptist representatives Wayne Field, Nic Hornsby and Karen Siggins to discuss how to bring about greater change throughout the nation.
Converging on Canberra to promote change Forty Baptist leaders representing Baptist ministries, state unions and associations gathered in September for the annual Converge meetings with politicians in Canberra. This year’s focus was to advocate for Australian children living in poverty. During three days, close to 70 meetings were held with parliamentarians. These valuable connections were used to discuss Baptist Care Australia’s newly released report, Australia’s Kids – The State of the Nation. The report focuses on the seven domains across a child’s life: family, material basics, safety, health, learning, belonging, and hopes and dreams. “For many Australian children, life is full of positive experiences shared with people they care about and who care about them in return,” Baptist Care Australia Chairperson, Graham Dangerfield said.
“They are learning and developing, and are hopeful for the future.” However, the Australian Council of Social Service estimates that 739,000 children (17.3 percent of all children) are living in poverty – higher than any other age group. “Sadly, not all children and young people get an equal start in life. This report sets out some ways we can address the most urgent and important needs of Australian children by working together,” Graham added. Baptist leaders specifically advocated for a raise to the Newstart Allowance, providing
much needed income support for families. Delegates also encouraged the Federal Government to be a leader in social and affordable housing by allocating funding to states and territories in order to alleviate the current shortfall of 437,000 social dwellings and 231,700 affordable dwellings. “Home is more than just a physical place where we sleep and eat. It is the place where we are able to feel safe and secure, where we interact with our families, our friends, our pets, and our possessions. Having a safe, secure and stable place to call home is
central to helping children develop,” the report stated. Converge provided the opportunity for leaders of churches and agencies working with struggling families to share their stories and advocate for their needs. Lesmurdie Baptist Church Lead Pastor, Karen Siggins and Riverton Baptist Community Church Senior Pastor, Wayne Field represented Baptists in Western Australia. Pastor Karen has twice attended Converge and encouraged all Christians to participate to bring about change. “As Jesus followers, we stand for those who are oppressed and vulnerable, and Converge is a brilliant vehicle for that.” Author – Kelly Crawford
14 Finding faith Kanye West releases ninth album – Jesus is King. >>
Committed to being honest, transparent and above reproach. BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA
my view DECEMBER 2019
Patriotism vs nationalism What is the difference between a patriot and a nationalist? It is a question worth asking in the light of rising nationalism throughout the world.
Rhidian Brook Rhidian Brook is an award winning novelist, screenwriter and broadcaster.
Can you be one and not the other? Einstein, Orwell and a few Old Testament prophets certainly thought so. Einstein said nationalism was “an infantile sickness; the measles of the human race”. Orwell defined nationalism as loyalty to a cause or group – be it creed, race or country – that “recognised no other duty other than the advancement of its own interests”. Orwell contrasted this by defining patriotism as a devotion to a particular place or way of life, but without any feeling of having
to force it on others. A patriot might insist they live in the best place in the world, but they have the humour to recognise the same impulse when someone from, say, Spain makes the same claim. Nationalism is different to patriotism. The nationalist wants to secure power and prestige for whatever cause they have sunk their individuality into, and will often do whatever it takes to get their way. Where patriotism doesn’t need an enemy, nationalism
seems to demand one. It is exclusive, not inclusive. It’s especially dangerous when whole countries become nationalistic. Then the actions of a country are no longer judged as good or bad, but by who does them. Mass deportations or the imprisoning of people without trial might start to happen, but are justified because they are the country doing it. Rampant nationalism in its various guises – idolatry, indifference to others, violence – is what most of the Old Testament
prophets spoke out against. While false prophets flattered the nation by condemning the actions of people in other lands, the likes of Jeremiah and Amos had the gall to point to similar injustices happening in their own backyard. These prophets challenged people to think about where their loyalties lie. They called people to right action in the affairs of the heart as well as state. In this way they were true patriots. In their words, they imply that you can’t love your country, without first loving the people you live amongst, and recognising your connection to the people beyond.
I saw the rubbish – next time I won’t The glorious pink rays of the setting sun had been shining through our bathroom window every night as I helped the kids in the bath. Every night I mean to go out and get a photo, but the moment goes by too quickly.
Samantha Good Samantha Good is a crosscultural worker with Global Interaction in Mozambique with her husband Ben and three children.
Depending on the time of year, the sun sets directly over our road, framing the most amazing picture. I knew what the photo would look like in my mind. I would be so excited to capture God’s magnificent creation and showcase the best of the town where I live. One night my husband watched the kids while I ran out the front of our house to get this much-anticipated photo. I rushed out at just the right time and stood in front of our house.
Now I know that things often don’t look as good through the camera as they do in real life, but this was even worse. I looked at my phone screen – and the sunset was there for sure – but all I could see was the rubbish down my street that had been accumulating for quite some time and had now been pushed onto our corner. I tried to move down the street so the rubbish wouldn’t be in the shot, but it was no use.
I quickly took a photo and went back inside, disappointed. This beautiful sunset was ruined by the rubbish. Over the next few days, I pondered on this idea and my reaction to it, and God challenged me about it. Why was I disregarding the beauty of the sunset because of the rubbish in front? Did it make the sunset any less special? Of course not! My reaction was caused by where I fixed my eyes. At that moment God gave me the
opportunity to focus on His glorious splendour through creation instead of the problems of this world ... but I missed it. I saw the rubbish – but next time I won’t. “So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.” [2 Corinthians 4:18]
From FOMO to ‘hello to here’ … If you are like me, you often want to be somewhere else. It’s not that I’m unhappy where I am, it’s just that in a world filled with many options and possibilities – well, why wouldn’t you explore them all?
Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Principal of Vose Seminary and Pastor at Large for the Carey Group.
Those younger than me (an alarming percentage of the population) tell me it’s FOMO, (don’t you love my mastery of abbreviations?), aka ‘fear of missing out’. Here’s the irony – FOMO can actually see you missing out and get you to overlook what you already have. Recently I’ve been reading Pádraig Ó Tuama’s book In the Shelter: Finding a Home in the World. Ó Tuama is the leader of the Corrymeela
Community in Northern Ireland and brings a refreshing and hopeful perspective to Christian spirituality. He suggests we learn to say ‘hello to here’ and elaborates by telling the story of a remote tribe in Papua New Guinea. Their language has no word for ‘hello’ and so tribe members greet newcomers with the words, ‘You are here’, to which the expected response is, ‘Yes, I am.’ Pause for a while and think how richly suggestive this greeting is.
I am here, and that may be a cause for joy, sadness or indifference, but it is where I am. And if it is where I am, and if I must offer everything to God, I offer this to God. I am here, but perhaps I have been so longing to be somewhere else that I haven’t noticed the wonder and joy of ‘here’. I might not have fully noticed the richness of the people who are with me here and now. The day may come when they are not here or I am
not here, and that may cause me, or them, great sadness. So, hello to here. It is not a place to run from nor a place to scorn. It will not be where I am forever located, so while it is here, let me explore in what way God intends it to be a gift to me and to those in my orbit – for all of life is a gift, even though some gifts take decades to spot. And to be sure, if I deeply say hello to here, fear of missing out can quietly take a back seat.
The power of a new life This year I became a grandparent for the first time. It was an amazing experience filled with tears of joy, love and more than a little adoration! appear. Life becomes difficult. Pain and suffering now mark the world and life on it. God then made a momentous choice. God would, in the person of Jesus, not hold onto comfort and power in heaven, but instead give up divine privilege and come to Earth – as a humble and vulnerable human baby. God has come among us! Our turning away from
Christmas invites us into a new life, because of the one birth that changed everything.
Photo: Shutterstock/Liudmila Fadzeyeva
Cradling this tiny new life in my arms overwhelmed me. She was so fragile, helpless and totally dependent on her parents – and that’s why I am telling you this story. It drove home to me the absolute humility and sacrifice on display in the Christmas story – Jesus Christ came to earth in the form of a tiny, vulnerable human baby. Picture this: God, the Creator and Sustainer of the universe, placed our planet Earth at just at the right distance from the sun to sustain life. Plants, fish, birds, animals and human beings – the crowning glory of Creation – all set up to thrive on this amazing planet. All is perfect and in harmony until the human beings turn away from the Creator’s influence in the hope that they can be fulfilled without God. But instead of fulfilment, they experience struggle. Thorns and thistles
God did not turn God’s heart away from us. No, God has now come to us. Not to condemn us, but to save us. Not to destroy us, but to restore us into relationship with Him. I typically wait until New Year’s Day to make resolutions, to start new habits, and to seek a fresh start, but it is often tied purely to my own willpower, determination and effort. Perhaps that’s why so much of it fails. In contrast, Christmas invites us into a new life, because of the one birth that changed everything. Just as I looked down at my new grandchild and was filled with love and amazement, so God looks on us and is filled with love – so much so that he sent His Son, Jesus. The baby born in Bethlehem assures, enables and empowers our own rebirth ... over and over. All we need to do is accept the gift He is offering. That’s something to celebrate. I am overwhelmed with the love of God who did this for humanity. That’s the Christmas message. BCWA Director of Ministries Pastor Mark Wilson shares some thoughts in
Author – Mark Wilson
the lead up to Christmas this year.
New church opens in Midland The Sanctuary Community Church opened its doors to the Midland community in October, after three years of gathering as a home group in preparation. Over 30 people attended the opening, with new people joining the church after hearing about it through friendships and online promotion. Pastor Dan McGrechan spoke of Jesus’ invitation to find rest in Him in a restless world – a theme emphasised in the church’s name.
Baptist Churches Western Australia Director of Ministries, Pastor Mark Wilson visited to encourage the new church and led communion with a focus on courage. “We are ordinary people learning to do life with Jesus, together with others, for the sake of Midland and beyond,” Dan explained. “We are excited to be part of what God is doing in our local community bringing life to the full.” The Sanctuary meets on Sundays at 9.45am, 36 Railway Parade, Midland.
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Pastor Dan McGrechan sharing at the opening of The Sanctuary Community Church.
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news DECEMBER 2019
With Christmas fast approaching, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of the season. But have you thought about how your celebrations might impact on the lives of others this year? Baptist World Aid’s Advocacy Manager, Bec Oates describes the many ways you can have a more ethical Christmas. “Whether it’s cutting down on your Christmas consumption, choosing to buy ethical gifts for your friends and family, or being wise with your Christmas giving, it’s important to recognise that your choices matter and that they can make a big difference,” Bec said. Every Christmas, each Australian spends around $1,000 on average. We purchase food, decorations, and of course, presents. In fact, the average Australian spends more than $600 on Christmas presents alone. “One ethical choice you can make this Christmas is to be more intentional about your consumption,” Bec said. She encourages us to start with small, simple actions. “Ask yourself if you really need more Christmas decorations … Do you really need a fresh batch of wrapping paper, or can you use up what was left over from last year?” she said. “Reduce what you buy new, reuse things that can have a
second life, and recycle the things which cannot.” “These actions, while seemingly small, can all make a very big impact on people and our planet.” When it comes to finding ethical gifts for your friends and family, Bec encourages people to choose Fairtrade certified items, which ensures that the workers who have made these products have protections for fair working conditions and pay. She also recommends reading Baptist World Aid’s 2019 Ethical Fashion Guide to help you make more ethical choices about fashion this Christmas, which you can access from their website. And according to Bec, this is not the only way in which Baptist World Aid can help you have a more ethical Christmas this year. “Our beautiful range of Big Hearted Gift cards are also a wonderful present option,” she said. “Each card actually translates to real, poverty-ending project activities in the field. So, when you give the Big Hearted Gift of a chicken, you’re also giving families poultry training and a sustainable income for the future.” “But most importantly, it’s just a wonderful way to answer God’s call to be generous and share His love with others – both near and far – this Christmas season.” For more information, visit baptistworldaid.org.au/bighearted-gifts
briefs Baptisms a highlight of Kalgoorlie camp Eight new Christians were baptised while at the Kalgoorlie Baptist Church camp held in Esperance in September. “Eight incredible stories. Eight baptisms in the chilly waters of the Southern Ocean. Eight followers of Jesus looking ahead as He leads them into the new season of the life He has created them to live,” Baptist Church Senior Pastor, Eliot Vlatko said. Eliot said it was a privilege to be part of the journeys of Abigail Bender, Lynndee and Conner Chrimes, Violet Costa, Carl Koekemoer, Carwyn Monck, Richard Scott and Halaina Torelli and witness their baptisms.
Yangebup Baptist celebrates 35 years On Sunday 15 December, Yangebup Baptist Church will celebrate their 35th anniversary. “God has touched many lives through the fellowship which started as The Lakes
Baptist Church, meeting in various schools and community centres before moving into our own facility,” Yangebup Baptist Church Pastor, Michael Lochore said. Past and present members of Yangebup Baptist Church are invited to a thanksgiving church service at 10am, followed by lunch.
Historical society recruiting help The Baptist Historical Society of Western Australia plays the vital role in maintaining the archives and the story of Baptist work in WA from its beginnings in 1895 to the present day. With the majority of current committee members over the age of 80, the Society is looking to recruit younger members. Please prayerfully consider joining this group, especially if you have an interest in Church history or are willing to volunteer in the Baptist Archives section at the Vose Seminary Library. For more information, contact Rhoda Walker at email@example.com
Photo: Unsplash/Heidi Sandstrom
Make your Christmas ethical
The average Australian spends more than $600 on Christmas presents every year.
New partnership for teaching biblical literacy Christian Schools Australia (CSA) – a group of over 150 Christian schools nationwide – recently contracted Vose Seminary to design a series of professional development sessions for staff in CSA schools. The objective was to communicate the importance of biblical literacy to Christian education. What emerged is now known as Open Book and was launched at the CSA National Leaders’ Summit in August. Open Book consists of four hour-long professional development sessions, designed around the needs of CSA staff and can be delivered by the school leadership. It looks at the broad story of Scripture, of the role that the Bible plays in Christian formation, and how the biblical narrative can help shape and form Christian education. The project has been met with a high degree of
excitement because of the potential impact it may have in the training marketing as well as its creative presentation. “There appears to be a hunger from Christian Schools Australia’s staff and leaders – a hunger for staff to clearly articulate their faith in a meaningful, relevant but realistic way,” CSA Executive Officer for Western Australia, Dave Stephens said. “Open Book is an immensely powerful tool in this journey. Visually stunning and well crafted – I am sure this will be a valuable resource that equips Christian school staff for years to come.” Vose partnered with Sheryn Films to bring the project to life. Through its video sessions, Open Book participants will
not only learn about biblical history and theology, but they will be taken on a journey of imagination as they are confronted with a visual liturgy to capture the heart, mind and soul. Open Book Project Manager, Jon Bergmann highlighted the key role that CSA has in impacting mission and ministry in Australia. He emphasised the importance of Open Book to equip teachers with biblical knowledge so that they can lead the spiritual and emotional formation of young people. “This has been an important project for Vose,” Jon said. “Working with CSA has been a pleasure, and we are already excited about future projects that are emerging.” “We look forward to being able to serve Christian ministry in all its forms, as we bring the Bible to life for people in many different contexts.”
Over 1,200 church members past and present came together to give thanks and recount the story of God’s work over 60 years. As part of the celebrations, a 1.8 metre mosaic inspired by Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 was created to reflect the international and Christ-centred nature of Mount Pleasant Baptist Church.
Through them, we hear God speaking about matters of life and death to all people ...
Materials and labour skills were freely contributed, allowing all funds raised to be donated to a church in Burundi – a country recovering from civil war. “Funds are being used for food provisions for the poor and refugees, to support sporting ministries that provide valuable ministry tools, and teams of people who travel and work with various communities and congregations to forward the work of the Kingdom of God,” Mount Pleasant Baptist Church Executive Pastor, Simon Ford said. “In addition, remaining funds have enabled the rural church to
have electricity connected to their building together with water.” The mosaic was built by Michael Lush and a group of mosaic artists. In describing the mosaic, Michael explained that the inner circle depicts our world with a nativity scene highlighting Paul’s words, “But when the right time came, God sent his Son …” [Galatians 4:4a]. The next circle features seasons and focuses on the Indigenous people who once lived where the church now stands. Their six seasons, Mukuru, Djilba, Kambagarang, Birak, Bunuru and Djeran, feature a specific colour and reflect their observations of the environment and of significant events that govern their lives throughout the year. The 24 couplets from Ecclesiastes are featured throughout the next circle, depicted with words and images. “Through them, we hear God speaking about matters of life and death to all people wherever they may find themselves,” Michael said. The outer circle presents time through the numbers one to 12, to encourage people to become more aware of the minutes and hours of each day. Between the numbers, the flags of several nations are shown, representing all the continents of the world. “The flags remind us of the multicultural nature of our church community and of others throughout the world where we share in ministry, support and prayer, seeking to fulfil Jesus’ command to ‘go and make disciples of all nations’,” Michael said. Michael concluded that the mosaic would not have been possible without months of dedicated work from 13 artists – many of whom are members of the Mosaic Association of Australia and New Zealand.
Position available to join a Word ministry focused team as an enthusiastic, forward looking
Youth & Young Adults Pastor 0.8 – 1.0 FTE Enquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org by 14.12 . 19
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church unveiled a new mosaic titled ‘Times and Seasons’ at their 60th anniversary.
Pocket-sized visitor a big hit He may be small, but Arthur the chiweenie has been making a big impact at Baptistcare Graceford Residential Care in Byford. A cross between a chihuahua and a dachshund, the pocket-sized pooch has formed a special bond with 87 year old Joy Coake, who was finding things particularly difficult after her only daughter died of cancer. Three times a week, Mrs Coake and Arthur set off to visit other residents at Baptistcare Graceford, with Arthur snuggled into the knitted blankets she uses to line the basket of her walker. Mrs Coake says it was love at first sight when Arthur made his first visit to Baptistcare two years ago as a teeny-tiny pup who could fit into the palm of her hand. “My life wouldn’t have been the same without Arthur since my daughter died and me moving into Baptistcare and leaving my own home,” Mrs Coake said. “Having Arthur here makes my days brighter and fulfilling. I feel I have a sense of purpose and something to look forward to each day he is here. He is good company and everybody loves him.” The pint-sized pet belongs to Addie Blakemore, a Therapy and Leisure Partner at Baptistcare Graceford, who is delighted her beloved chiweenie is having such a big impact when she brings him into work. “Joy had become very withdrawn and distraught after
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church recently celebrated their 60th anniversary with a One All Together service, celebrating the Lord’s goodness and faithfulness.
Photo: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church
Celebrating times and seasons
Graceford resident Joy Coake bonding with Arthur the chiweenie and owner Addie Blakemore.
losing her daughter. I remember taking Arthur in to see her and they bonded instantly,” Mrs Blakemore said. “She takes him to visit other residents and sits him on their knees so they can stroke him and make a fuss of him, then she pops him back in the basket and off they go to make their next visit. “Arthur has a great personality and just intuitively knows when he can and can’t be too playful. He just seems to know when he needs to sit quietly.” Mrs Blakemore also has two bigger dogs and says
Arthur loves racing around at home with them and playing with her grandchildren. “It’s amazing how different he is when he’s at Baptistcare,” she said. “He’s a fabulous little dog and we all love him.” Baptistcare Graceford is accustomed to having fourlegged friends drop by as residents’ friends and relatives often bring along their dogs. For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au
news DECEMBER 2019
The meaning of Christmas
To register, visit www.biblesociety.org.au/ whychristmas Author – Penny Mulvey
Bible Society Australia has partnered with Susannah McFarlane to release Who? What? Why? How? Christmas.
Youth thinking missionally
Photo: Dan McGrechan
In partnership with Bible Society Australia, Susannah McFarlane asks some key questions about the Christmas story and explores Jesus’ birth through the eyes of four fictional characters. Who? What? Why? How? Christmas follows the story of Josh, Tom, Grace and Abby as they ask tricky questions familiar to all parents about the meaning of Christmas. Susannah takes an unconventional approach by retelling the story of creation and the fall, before introducing Mary, the angels and shepherds. She hopes the book will provide children with a deeper understanding of the reason why Jesus came to earth and what it means for their lives. “Having only become a Christian three and a half years ago, I am realising in our post-Christian society, children of Gen X and Gen Y families may never have heard or asked why there was such excitement about the birth of Jesus,” Susannah said. “This book has been a tremendous privilege to work on – I hope that it inspires young readers to ask questions and explore the Christmas story in a way that will harness their curiosity and create lots of interaction.” McFarlane has worked on both sides of the publishing industry, having been a leading publisher of children’s fiction for many years and is now also a celebrated author with over one million copies sold in Australia. Who? What? Why? How? Christmas draws on her own faith journey as inspiration. “It has been a delight to work with Susannah on this wonderful book,” Bible Society Australia’s Chief Operating Officer, Rev. Melissa Lipsett said. “The story of God becoming human is not a fairytale – it is the very heart of the Christian gospel of grace and love, and its message is for children and adults.” “Susannah’s wonderful characters invite readers to explore this ultimate love story through their own questioning,” Melissa concluded. Bible Society Australia is offering Who? What? Why? How? Christmas free to individuals and churches who register online prior to 5pm AEDT, 13 December.
Photo: Bible Society Australia
The celebrated author of Fairy Tales for Feisty Girls and Bold Tales for BraveHearted Boys released a new Christmas title – Who? What? Why? How? Christmas.
Lake Joondalup and Quinns Baptist Church youth gather to pray for missionaries, after hearing from the Beecks.
Taking the good news of the gospel to all nations and people groups is a key part of the Baptist movement. The younger generation especially are eager to hear stories of missionaries and engage in missional thinking. On 8 November, high school students from Lake Joondalup Baptist Church and Quinns Baptist Church joined forces to hear from missionaries Cam and Kath Beeck and pray as part of Global Interaction’s Just Prayer initiative. “It was really valuable for our teenagers to be exposed to the
completely different way of living that the Beeck’s displayed to us,” Quinns Baptist Church youth leader, Ellie Hamilton said. “So often our youth are caught up in their digital realities and daily routines, that they become isolated from the realities of people on the other side of the planet.”
“To remind them that there is a great need in our world for Jesus and that they too can contribute to the work was powerful,” she said. Quinns Baptist Church Youth Pastor, Ed Devine highlighted how significant the night was. “Jack Beeck, Cam and Kath’s 14 year old son was a big inspiration for our youth,” Ed said. “Meeting someone their own age who speaks another language and has friends in Mozambique was impactful!” “We value the work Global Interaction does in widening people’s perspectives and
creating pathways for people to step into missional thinking and living,” he said. After hearing the Beeck’s share about their work and watching a skit demonstrating cultural differences, the youth prayed together for the ongoing work of the family and the people of Mozambique. For more information, visit globalinteraction.org.au
news DECEMBER 2019
Local Christmas events Austin Cove Community Church
Katanning Baptist Church
Quinns Baptist Church
Carols by the Canals Saturday 14 December at 7pm Lucie Hunter Park, South Yunderup Road, South Yunderup
Carols by Candlelight Sunday 8 December – kids activities and sausage sizzle from 6pm and the carols service starts at 7pm. Katanning Town Square, 16 Austral Terrace, Katanning Please bring non-perishable items to place under the Christmas tree to go to those in need this Christmas. Bring your own picnic blanket or chairs.
Christmas Eve Celebration 24 December – starts at 7pm and concludes at 8pm. Quinns Baptist College, 8 Salerno Drive, Mindarie A celebration of the Christmas story.
Australind Baptist Church Australind Family Christmas Carols Saturday 7 December – concert starts at 5.30pm and concludes at 7pm. Treendale Primary School, Opal Drive, Australind A free entry event to celebrate the start of the festive season. There will be an outdoor concert which includes performances from local groups. Bring your own picnic. Food will also be available for purchase.
Beaumaris Community Baptist Church Carols in the Park Saturday 14 December – free children’s activities from 5.30pm and carols start at 7.30pm. Sir James McCusker Park, 6 Silver Sands Drive, Iluka A community family event with free children’s activities, including a bouncy castle, cuddly animal farm and face-painting. Food and drinks will be available.
Bunbury Baptist Church Christmas Day Service 25 December at 9.30am 175 Spencer Street, Bunbury All are welcome to come and celebrate the Saviour’s birth.
Busselton Baptist Church Christmas Day Service 25 December at 9.30am 2 Recreational Lane, West Busselton A special Christmas day service for the whole family, themed ‘Those who Missed Christmas’.
Claremont Baptist Church Carols on the Court 22 December – food and family activities from 6pm and carols start at 7.30pm. 324a Stirling Highway, Claremont Family fun on the basketball court, including face-painting, a live nativity and other great activities.
Lesmurdie Baptist Church Reflective Christmas Communion Service Sunday 22 December – starts at 9.30am, with Christmas fun and carols from 4pm. 1 Varley Street, Lesmurdie Games, watermelon and icy poles followed by a family-friendly carol service. Christmas Day Service Wednesday 25 December at 9am
Maida Vale Baptist Church An Aussie Messy Christmas Saturday 14 December – program starts at 4.30pm and concludes at 7.30pm. 24 Edney Road, High Wycombe A night of Christmas celebrations for the whole family, including Christmas carols, bouncy castle, Australian birds of prey, displays, pulled pork rolls and much more.
Margaret River Baptist Church Carols by the Beach 24 November at 6.30pm White Elephant Café, Gnarabup Road, Gnarabup An annual highlight among the ‘Margs’ community where they get together to sing and celebrate the life of Jesus in a casual and informal setting.
Morley Baptist Church Christmas Festival with Carols Sunday 8 December – Christmas Festival at 5pm and Carols by Candlelight starts at 7pm. 33 Hanwell Way, Bassendean Live music, food stalls, bouncy castle, baby animal farm, face-painting and craft stalls.
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church
Cooby Christmas Carols Saturday 14 December at 5.30pm Hargreaves Park, corner of Hargreaves Road and Counsel Avenue, Coolbellup Grab a picnic blanket or chair for an evening of carol singing, with a free sausage sizzle and kids activities.
Extravagant Love – Christmas Eve and Christmas Day Services Tuesday 24 December – with two services starting at 4.30pm and 6.30pm. Wednesday 25 December at 8.45am 497 Marmion Street, Booragoon Celebrate Christmas at Mounties and reflect on the true meaning of Christmas. It is so amazing to consider that God the Father freely and willingly demonstrated His love for us by giving us the most extravagant gift – His Son Jesus Christ, the greatest gift of all!
Geraldton Baptist Church
Mount Zion Aussie Indigenous Church
Carols by Candlelight 15 December – carols start at 5pm and conclude at 9pm. Maitland Park, corner of Cathedral Avenue and Maitland Street, Geraldton An event celebrating the birth of Christ. The evening starts with family fun activities, including bouncy castle, pony rides, craft and face-painting, and ends with a carol service.
Christmas Celebration Sunday 22 December – starts at 3pm and concludes at 7pm. Centenary Park Community Centre, 105 Daley Street, Belmont MOZAIC will be holding a Christmas meal in Belmont and all are welcome.
Mount Pleasant Baptist Church – Coolbellup Campus
Golden Bay Baptist Church Combined Community Christmas Carols Saturday 14 December – family fun starts from 6pm and carols start at 7pm. Golden Bay Foreshore, Dampier Drive, Golden Bay A combined group of local churches sharing God’s good news through carols, a play, games, food and candles.
North Beach Baptist Church Tinsel and Toys – Fun Fair and Carols in the Park 22 December – with fun fair from 5pm to 7pm, and carols from 7.30pm to 9pm. North Beach Primary School, corner of North Beach Road and Groat Street, North Beach A community event with lots of free rides and activities, food available and followed by carols in the park. Great for kids, families and all ages.
Waratah Christian Community Church Port Bouvard Carols 15 December at 5pm At the park between Batavia Avenue and Crowsnest Terrace, Wannanup A fun-filled event for the whole family celebrating Christmas in and with the community. This year, the theme is ‘Impossible Made Possible’.
Wattle Grove Baptist Church Christmas Carols Sunday 15 December at 9.30am 20 Puddy Lane, Wattle Grove ‘Long, long ago, in a Galilee far, far away.’ When we remove all of the trappings of the modern Christmas, what is it all about?
Woodvale Baptist Church Discover 7 Gifts of Christmas Every Sunday from 24 November to 29 December – services start at 9.30am and conclude at 11am. 67 Woodvale Drive, Woodvale Discover the seven gifts of Christmas at Woodvale Baptist Church: simplicity, silence, solitude, study, service, prayer and sacrifice. Carols Service 22 December at 9.30am Christmas Eve Service 24 December at 6.30pm Christmas Day Service 25 December at 9am
Yanchep Community Church Food4All Christmas Celebration 24 December – starts at 6.15pm and concludes at 7.15pm. Yanchep Community Centre, 7 Lagoon Drive, Yanchep Join Yanchep Community Church for their regular food distribution to those doing it tough, with the addition of some Christmas celebrations – food to share and a focus on the Christmas story.
Yokine Baptist Church (Sudanese Congregation) Christmas Afternoon Service Saturday 28 December – starts at 12pm and concludes at 2.30pm. 52 Frape Avenue, Yokine An invitation for all to celebrate the birth of Christ.
10 news DECEMBER 2019
The Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department announced Perth local, Karen Wilson, as their new President-elect for the next five year term, running from 2020 to 2025. The BWA Women’s Continental Unions presidents elected the future leader in a prayerful, thorough search process. “We were amazed and humbled by the excellent nominations we received from all over the world,” current BWA Women’s Department President, Dr Ksenija Magda said. “We marvelled at God’s abundant gifts in the outstanding women leaders from every continent we met during the search process.” “We are excited and grateful for the great unity in our final decisions – I am convinced the Lord is leading Baptist Women to a new level.” “Karen brings to the position her passion for helping people grow into their full potential, coupled with vast experience in ministry, working with women, and organisational strategic management.” “She is a gifted communicator, widely-travelled international
speaker, and cross-cultural change agent,” Dr Ksenija added. Karen currently serves as the Director for Strategic Relations for Baptist World Aid Australia/Transform Aid International and is married to Baptist Churches Western Australia’s Director of Ministries, Pastor Mark Wilson. Karen shared her vision for the ministry. “I dream of a global ministry where women champion one another and stand together [Zephaniah 3:9]; where they understand their responsibility to the family of God and encourage one another forward [1 Thessalonians 5:11]; where they meet regularly and are aware that they are not alone [1 Corinthians 14:26]; where they come together and await the move of the Spirit of the living God [Acts 2:1]; where they stand alongside their brothers in unity [1 Corinthians 1:10]; and where they stand firm in the one Spirit,
striving together as one for the gospel of Christ [Philippians 1:27].” The Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department elects new leadership every five years. The Executive Committee is comprised of the President, the Secretary-Treasurer and the seven Continental Unions presidents – the latter being elected by their respective Continental Unions. All the positions are volunteer. In addition, the Executive Director, a staff position, is an ex-officio member of the BWA Women’s Department Executive Committee. The new officers will be confirmed and inaugurated into their positions during the Global Conference of Baptist Women taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil from 17 to 20 July 2020. The quinquennial Baptist World Congress will follow 22 to 26 July 2020, Together 2020 – Baptist World Alliance Celebration. For more information about the 2020 Baptist World Congress, visit bwa2020.org, and for the Global Conference of Baptist Women, visit bwawd.org
Photo: Baptist World Alliance Women
New president for BWA Women
Karen Wilson has been announced the new President-elect for the Baptist World Alliance Women’s Department.
New workers for Malawi
To find your local Baptist church visit Photo: Global Interaction
The Hoppe family are excited to return to Malawi – this time in a new role to minister to the Yawo people.
Global Interaction have accepted Gunter and Sarah Hoppe, along with their children Joshua and Michael, as candidates for cross-cultural ministry in Malawi. They will now begin studying theology and raising a support team to prepare for departure in 2021. Previously living in Malawi from 2004 to 2006 and working for a commercial employer, the family have felt God calling them back to share the message of Jesus. Earlier this year when they sensed it was time to prepare to go, they connected with Global Interaction and were inspired by their ministry among the Yawo people. “The Yawo are the leastreached people group yet to hear the life-giving words of Jesus,” Gunther said.
“It is equal parts exciting and terrifying leaving home to pursue cross-cultural work, but we know that God has gone before us to prepare a harvest.” “We are excited to join the team as they proclaim Jesus.” Global Interaction Team Leader Jonno Crane is just as excited for the Hoppe family. “It has been amazing to see God at work in the lives of the Hoppe family,” he said. “We are looking forward to seeing His plans for them unfold further, as they join in what God is doing among the Yawo.” The Hoppe family are members of North Coast Church in Perth. Pastor Duane Olivier shared his delight. “It is our great joy and privilege to partner with them as they leave us and serve the wider church,” Duane commented. For more information, visit globalinteraction.org.au Author – Dan McGrechan
news 11 DECEMBER 2019
Restoring hope in Syria
The Centres of Hope aim to help people move beyond dependence on relief aid and begin to become selfreliant again.
“As a church, we want to stand next to the people and help them – we want to see a better future for Aleppo and Syria.” “We try to focus on the lonely and sick, elderly people, larger families without a bread winner, widows with no family
Pastor Abdallah standing in the ruined part of Old Aleppo in Syria, where eight years of civil war have devastated the landscape.
members around, and families whose members have chronic diseases,” he added. Like Pastor Abdallah’s Centre of Hope, other centres have gradually scaled down emergency aid and instead started to provide microloans to people who bring proposals for longer term incomegenerating projects. While the Islamic State has been pushed back in some areas of Syria, allowing for restoration to take place, the conflict in Northern Syria escalated when Turkish troops attacked Kurdish-led forces in October. Following a ceasefire agreement, the situation was defused momentarily, but according to Open Doors, many experts warn of longerterm consequences for Christians in the region. “Some bombs hit neighbourhoods in our town ... We received several families who left their homes and came to the city,” said Pastor George, an Open Doors local partner in Qamishli, Northern Syria. “Christians are leaving now in big numbers ... Every day there are more than ten buses taking people towards other cities.” To donate to Baptist World Aid Australia Syria Crisis Appeal, visit baptistworldaid.org.au/ appeals/syria-crisis-appeal Author – Ramona Humphreys
Combatting human trafficking in Romania
During the ongoing eight-year conflict, millions of people have fled Syria to seek safety in Jordan, Lebanon and the West, but many of the sick, elderly and those with young children were unable to flee. Many became dependent on food aid when their source of income was cut off by the war. Through ‘Centres of Hope’, Open Doors and local churches in Syria have been providing relief aid, medical care, children’s activities, training and loans, as well as marriage and Alpha courses to the community. The Centres of Hope aim to help people move beyond dependence on relief aid and begin to become self-reliant again. Pastor Abdallah started one of 16 of these Centres of Hope through his church in Aleppo. “I believe that we should be the same way as our Lord Jesus Christ, offering a better life for people spiritually, but also practically,” Pastor Abdallah said in an interview with Open Doors.
Photo: Open Doors Australia
Despite persecution, violence and direct threats to their lives, local church leaders in Syria, supported by Open Doors, have helped strengthen those who remained in the country during the civil war. While there are glimpses of hope, much work remains to be done.
IJM’s new anti-trafficking program will launch in Bucharest, Romania to combat human trafficking in Europe.
The Christian organisation International Justice Mission (IJM) is launching its first trafficking program in Central and Eastern Europe with a team based in Bucharest, Romania. Romania consistently ranks in the top three European countries with the highest number of identified human trafficking victims and is a key country of origin of human trafficking to Western Europe. IJM is assessing multiple forms of human trafficking
in Romania – including sex trafficking, online sexual exploitation of children and labour trafficking – to provide support and develop programs that strengthen anti-trafficking efforts. “We believe that together, we can make a significant
impact that will change the balance of power between people who are vulnerable and those exploiting them,” IJM Director for Central and Eastern Europe, Shawn Kohl said. According to the Global Slavery Index, an estimated 86,000 people are living in modern slavery in Romania. Author – Ramona Humphreys
12 in conversation DECEMBER 2019
In 2001, Queensland-based Gary Williams established Christian Management Australia (CMA), a not-for-profit charity seeking to help the Christian sector in Australia become more effective in its governance, leadership and management. Vanessa Klomp from The Advocate recently caught up with Gary to hear the story of CMA and its impact on Australia’s Christian sector.
Prior to establishing CMA, you were a pastor in a local church on the Gold Coast. What inspired you to start up CMA? I was responsible for the administration of the church – all the finance, staffing, board and operational matters. Although I drew on the resources of some professional associations for training and problem-solving, these secular organisations – like the Fundraising Institute Australia or the Australian Institute of Company Directors – missed on two fronts. Firstly, they were no help with the things that are just plain different in a church. I couldn’t find any training or resources that addressed these matters in a spiritual and church context. Secondly, when I could get training, there was no sense of spiritual integration. After much investigation, I discovered several Christian organisations in the United States that were focused on providing resources and training specifically for the Christian sector that recognised and addressed all these ‘religious’ peculiarities. I had found what I needed, but it was in an American context, and a long way away. A few church admin friends had said they wished there was something like that in Australia, so I contacted the US organisations, got some contacts and tips from them, and after much personal prayer, decided to build an Australian version of what I had found so helpful overseas. ‘We’re a church, not a business ...’ is a widely touted comment from leaders and members of churches. Why is administration essential to running a healthy church? If you want to reach the unreached, or feed the hungry, or make disciples, or achieve something for the gospel, you can do it in a personal capacity without a ‘church’ or an ‘organisation’ and you can bypass all the admin – go for it! But as soon as you want the benefits of an organisational structure – a building, salaries, insurance, the ability to receive donations and not pay income tax – then you
have an organisation, whether you like it or not. And as soon as you have an organisation, the way you manage and administer it determines whether it’s an effective organisation, or an ineffective one; a well-run one, or a badly-run one; a good testimony to the onlooking world, or an organisation whose mismanagement brings shame and disgrace to the name of Jesus. Churches aren’t businesses – but they are organisations: good ones, mediocre ones or bad ones. The ‘spiritual gift of administration’ in the New Testament is a spiritual gift – it is part of the overall spiritual function of a Christian church, and it has a huge impact on whether the leaders can actually achieve anything. Leadership, without the support of godly and competent administration, will never deliver on its full potential. Godly and effective administration unleashes a church to achieve what God has called it to! It also protects the church from scandalous failures. The tragic debacle of historic sexual abuse within churchbased organisations was a terrible, two-part failure: it was a spiritual failure (sin) and it was a governance failure. If the church governance structures had been better, the sin would not have gone undetected, and unremedied, like it did. What impact does effective church governance and management have on the people we reach? I once worked in a chaplaincy organisation that had ten full-time staff in schools weekly – then the CEO announced that he was retiring. The Board, prayerfully, took one meeting to decide that the next-most-senior staff should be the next CEO, and it was a poor choice. The organisation stumbled, the donors stopped giving, the staff were laid off, and within a year, there was only one part-time worker remaining. I was in the office one day when a state school phoned, asking if we could send a chaplain, and we had to say, “Sorry, we don’t have chaplains anymore.” The ministry
Photo: Christian Management Australia
The spiritual gift of administration
Gary Williams is the Founding National Director of CMA – an association of over 1,400 church, ministry and business leaders around Australia.
was decimated because of an elementary failure in governance: succession planning. The Board were spiritual and prayerful people but didn’t have a clue about governance. I also saw a church almost torn apart by a verbal promise, relating to salary, made to a pastor, that was never put in writing. It took two years to solve this problem – a problem that with five minutes of good management would have prevented. During that two years, gifted teachers, counsellors and leaders were distracted from their ministry roles to deal with the conflict. When board issues, or money issues, or personnel issues, or operational issues are poorly handled, much of the organisation’s energy turns inwards to navigate the problem, resulting in less energy available to devote to the outward-facing mission. CMA provides training for churches and the not-for-profit sector around Australia. What are some of the stories that you’re hearing from these groups and what are the challenges they’re facing today? Ministries are supported by lots of fantastic volunteers and staff, serving on boards, committees, and in the trenches. These organisations used to occupy a fairly privileged position in society, and because they were
charitable in their focus, they escaped a lot of scrutiny and were often given the benefit of the doubt when mistakes were made. But times have changed, and ministries simply won’t get away with some of the casual approaches that used to be okay. People no longer hesitate to sue a church if they feel they have been hard done by, and even Christian staff will often assert their legal rights if the church fails to meet, in detail, its employer obligations. The issues we hear about, from our members, tend to be in the areas of boards, money and staff. Governance obligations are getting stricter, and often church boards have never received specific training about governance. And the consequences of getting it wrong, even in seemingly small areas, can be serious. Finding good staff is always a challenge, as is managing them well and helping them achieve their potential. This all leads to additional expense, yet funding is also getting harder. The ministry world is changing quickly and keeping up with everything is difficult. CMA launched a new initiative, Q4 – Rethinking Retirement. What have you observed from people who have successfully entered retirement? This is a gigantic challenge and opportunity! Hundreds
of Christians are retiring in Australia every week, and many would love to be more engaged in ministry but don’t seem to get the chance. Gifted leaders, having just left multimillion dollar responsibilities, are invited to coordinate the church’s gardening roster. What a waste! If the Christian sector doesn’t present these people with meaningful ways to engage, then these people will either slowly fall for the world’s lie that retirement is a time of leisure and indulgence, or else they’ll find a secular outlet that, although worthwhile, often fails to satisfy their spiritual yearning for something more significant. In retirement, sometimes the good can be the enemy of the best, and Christians could spend this stunningly significant phase of life merely doing something useful, when they could be changing the world for Christ! This could be the most significant period of their life, but the church hasn’t thought deeply enough about how to marshal this willing and experienced workforce. Filling slots in a volunteer roster is not a solution. CMA is hosting a Board training day in Perth next February. For more information, visit www.cma.net.au/governance
growth 13 DECEMBER 2019
Seeing through different eyes
While it’s a tough lesson to learn, it’s also a beautiful one that involves daily surrendering to God, looking for where He’s already at work in people’s lives and being invited to join Him there! When my husband Cam and I first moved to Mozambique in 2012 as cross-cultural workers with Global Interaction, we thought we were probably going to do a pretty good job of it. Cam had studied agricultural science, had a PhD in plant breeding and was partway through theological studies. I had studied physiotherapy, had finished a Graduate Certificate in International Health and was also partially through theological studies. We hit the ground running and worked really hard at learning the language and making friends, but it didn’t take too long to work out that there was way more to this ‘empowering communities to develop their own distinctive ways of following Jesus’ gig. The challenge of giving up our old identity and being reduced to an almost childlike state, requiring the help of others to do the most basic tasks hit Cam a little harder than it hit me. Learning a new language didn’t come easy; finding a group of guys to hang out with in the city was a challenge; and being constantly bombarded with new sights, smells and information left him feeling a bit down about the decision to leave a pretty sweet life in Australia for Mozambique. But through it all, God had a plan. Initially, Cam had thought that he might be involved in helping local farmers improve their farming techniques. The staple crop in Mozambique is maize and people rely on getting a good harvest to see them through the year. Often the crops just don’t yield enough and come March, many people experience a ‘hungry season’ eating only one meal a day. At first glance, there are quite a few things about planting a maize crop that could be easily changed. No-one really uses any sort of manure or compost. They plant three seeds in one hole about one metre apart, whereas one seed every 30 centimetres would probably work better. They have large spaces between rows that could probably be reduced, and the large ridges don’t seem to preserve soil moisture at the
end of the season. The list of easy fixes seems endless to the untrained eye. We learnt that there are a host of reasons why people either couldn’t or wouldn’t adopt the farming innovations that initially we had thought were no-brainers. We came to understand more about the worldview of our friends and how their understanding of the spiritual realm plays into every aspect of life. We also learnt some really practical things, usually through putting out dumb ideas and then being told through tears of laughter, for example: “No Baba, you can’t plant a farm up there on the side of the mountain next to your house. The monkeys will come and eat everything!” We came to realise that the overwhelming forces at play in the lives of our friends were spiritual, and that even if people were to adopt new farming practices, they weren’t going to address the underlying issues of fear, power and a sense of hopelessness. We began to see more and more that people were in desperate need, just not of the thing that we thought was most helpful. Cam’s focus began to shift more and more to spending time with people, building relationships and trust, as well as sharing God’s Word and the good news about Jesus. We were surprised at the openness that people demonstrated and the hunger that they had to hear God’s Word. God was already at work in so many hearts and he was inviting us to be a part of that! Where we saw physical hunger and physical needs our friends were saying their greatest needs were spiritual. As we’ve journeyed with a handful of people who are now following Jesus, we’ve seen the Holy Spirit move in their lives and transform them as they seek to follow the straight path. We’re seeing transformation play out in so many areas of people’s lives – from the way that they walk with respect, the way that they interact with their families and neighbours, and the way that they place their trust in the power of Jesus, rather than other spiritual forces. It’s certainly not a lesson that has been easy to learn. We have to surrender daily, to try to take off our Western lenses as much as we possibly can and see things through the eyes of our friends.
Photo: Scott Falconer
It seems like the list of hard lessons to learn as a cross-cultural worker is endless. Perhaps the most brutal of these plays out in the first few months on the field, when you realise that the majority of the hard-won skills, talents and plans you brought to the game either aren’t useful, needed, wanted or relevant.
Cam Beeck and local chief, Baba T surveying the field and assessing the harvest.
We can’t help but process things through our own worldview. Of course, that’s an impossible task without God’s help, and so we do our best to spend time with God asking for direction and wisdom. Through that really difficult – and at times painful – process, we’ve had the incredible privilege of being invited by God to be a part of what He’s already doing in so many lives. Author – Kath Beeck Kath and Cam Beeck along with the three children are crosscultural workers in Mozambique with Global Interaction. To engage with the Beeck’s and to read more about their story, visit www.beeckbrief.com
14 arts DECEMBER 2019
In Christ Alone a UK favourite
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Keith and Kristyn Getty at the BBC’s Songs of Praise, where a BBC poll honoured the song Keith co-wrote.
“A couple of months later, we had In Christ Alone and the rest is history.” “We hope you can know the heights of love and depths of peace that can only be found in Christ alone,” he added. Keith Getty was originally from Lisburn, Northern Ireland and now lives in Nashville, Tennessee with his songwriter wife, Kristyn. Author – John Igglesden
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Kanye finds faith On 25 October, American rapper, producer and fashion designer Kanye West, released his ninth studio album titled, Jesus Is King. This is the first album from the artist since reaffirming his faith in January 2019. The album is described by Kanye as an expression of the gospel and as a Christian hip-hop record. The 28-minute-long album is free of profane language and includes biblical references and themes throughout. Many songs from Jesus Is King were sung live by Kanye, the Sunday Service gospel choir and a supporting band at a weekly church-like event created by Kanye called Sunday Service, which started in January 2019 and has been held weekly since then. Jesus Is King features other artists including Clipse, Ty Dolla $ign, Fred Hammond, Ant Clemons and Kenny G. Multiple producers worked on the album, including Mike Dean and Timbaland.
Photo: Shutterstock/Everett Collection
Amongst songs such as Amazing Grace and I Vow to Thee, My Country, the hymn Jerusalem was voted in first place and How Great Thou Art came in second. The vote was comprised of members of the British public. The show was hosted by singer Aled Jones and included performances of the most popular hymns, including a performance by The Kingdom Choir, who sung at the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. In Christ Alone was written by Keith Getty and Stuart Townend in 2001. Getty wrote the music and Townend penned the original lyrics. It has set the record for the most-sung hymn in UK churches for nine consecutive years. The song includes themes of the life, death and resurrection of Christ. “We are honoured to be included in this illustrious list,” Keith said. “The true story of In Christ Alone is that I found an unpaid electricity bill in my office and on the back of it I had written a melody, played it and recorded it, and then sent it to Stuart Townend.”
Photo: Jersey Road PR
During a special BBC episode of Songs of Praise, worship song In Christ Alone was voted UK’s third most popular hymn. It was also voted the UK’s most popular modern hymn and was the highest voted hymn to feature living writers.
Author – John Igglesden
American rapper Kanye West has professed a faith in Jesus Christ and has released a worship album entitled, Jesus Is King.
coffee break 15 DECEMBER 2019
A minute with ... Tracy Holmes Tracy Holmes is the Senior School Principal of Mandurah Baptist College and is passionate about growing young people in their education and their relationship with God. Share briefly about your faith journey. I was fortunate to be brought up in a Christian home and a lovely church community at Yokine Baptist Church, but it was a religious studies teacher in primary school that actually led me to make a decision for God. When she told me that I’d be left behind with all the bad people of the world when Jesus came back again – it terrified me! Fortunately being in a great family and church, my viewpoint was corrected and the years of input paid dividend. What led you to your role as the Senior School Principal of Mandurah Baptist College? I was originally on another pathway when I was asked to consider Mandurah Baptist College. When I went down to visit, the staff were so warm and welcoming that I felt immediately at home, which coincided with the original pathway changing – so it was a clear decision for me. I haven’t regretted the decision. What is Mandurah Baptist College known for in the community? We are known for many things, but I love that we are known for student empowerment, incredible staff, some great programs (Arts, Volleyball, Politics, Specialist) and a great environment to be in and work in every day. I love that the aspect most people comment on about the College is the incredible staff who live out their vocational mission every day. They’re a blessing. As a Christian school, with students coming from all walks of life, what effective ways have the staff found to share Jesus? We run Christian education, devotions, prayers and have guest speakers, but the most effective way we are seeing in development is through two particular means. Firstly, through relationship. Our incredible staff are brilliant at living out their faith – word and deed working together in a relational context to show what it is to live a Christ-centred life. Secondly, through empowering our Christian students, who run their own worship assemblies (with speakers who are students, graduates and community members), acts of service and give their own devotions at assemblies. It is incredible to see their passion for sharing their faith and in seeing their peers discover God.
Commentary on Chronicles In September, Crossway Books from the United States published Volume 3 of the projected 12 Volume ESV Expository Commentary, with passage by passage exposition and application of the books of Samuel, Kings and Chronicles. John Olley, former Principal and now Research Fellow at Vose Seminary is the commentator for 1 and 2 Chronicles. For John, this commentary is an opportunity to honour Dr John Thompson, a leading Australian Old Testament scholar whose books on archaeology and major commentaries on Deuteronomy and Jeremiah were widely acclaimed around the world. John is thankful that his own studies at Morling College coincided with Dr Thompson’s three years as Old Testament lecturer at Morling, after gaining his PhD at Cambridge. Dr Thompson became John’s mentor and friend – a person who combined depth of scholarship with warm devotion to Christ and a pastoral heart. His scholarship was because of his devotion. There is a happy coincidence – Dr Thompson’s last major work was a commentary on 1 and 2 Chronicles, published in the year he turned 81. Now John has also written a commentary on Chronicles, published just after his own 81st birthday. John commented that Chronicles is often overlooked as it seems to repeat what is already in 1 and 2 Samuel and Kings (the early Greek translation called it ‘Things left out’!) However, it is “a powerful story in its own right that encourages God’s people at a time when they are a weak minority in the larger Persian empire – and so relates to many situations Christians face today,” as he writes in the book.
Chronicles focuses in the importance of worship with the singing and music that sustains faith. Johann Sebastian Bach once described 1 Chronicles 25 as “the foundation of all God-pleasing church music” and commented that music was established by God Himself to proclaim His word, with Him being graciously present. In singing Psalms, worshippers affirm that it is God who is Creator and sovereign over the world, not the Persian emperor or any other ruler. They remember and trust in his “steadfast love” seen through His promises to Abraham and David. Chronicles tells God’s story that begins from Adam and continues to the present. Many readers in Western countries are deterred by the opening genealogies (there are nine chapters of it!) and the many lists, but to Jewish readers and many around the world today, these hundreds of names are a reminder that all have a part in God’s purposes. “All Israel” is a favourite phrase of the Chronicler – all of the tribes are involved, not only the dominant Judah – and he affirms the contribution and inclusion of people, men and women, who may be regarded as “foreigners”. It is John’s prayer that the work will encourage people to do as does the last Hebrew word of Chronicles, “go up” to worship the King of Kings.
What are your hopes for the school moving forward? That we can continue to be effective in our mission – both spiritual and educational – and that we can raise up great people to lead on.
Photo: Hannah Moore
What are your hopes for your own faith journey moving forward? Learning and growth. I’d love to think I am getting wiser, but I know I need God’s insight. God is infinitely patient and I appreciate that. Hopefully I can serve Him well.
God said, “Lazarus, come forth!” but he tripped and came last. Dr John Olley (left) presenting the new commentary on Chronicles to Dr David Cohen and Vose Seminary Librarian, Bridget Barry.
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16 sport DECEMBER 2019
A key part of this year’s Ashes-winning team, Marnus Labuschagne is one of the country’s top cricketers, with cricket legend Steve Waugh describing him as “the future of Australian cricket.” But despite being a weapon on the pitch and having an immense passion for the sport, Marnus calls it “a fickle game.” “In the big scheme of things, what you’re worth, what you put your value in, isn’t out there on the pitch; it’s internal and in Christ,” Marnus said in an interview with Eternity News. Waugh, Australia’s team mentor, highlighted his admiration for Marnus, calling him a “quality player” who is “really eager to learn.” “I like the way he goes about his business,” the cricket icon said about him. Born into a Christian family and being raised in the church, Marnus made his own decision for Jesus when he was a teenager.
“My faith is a massive part of my journey to get here.” “It gives me perspective of everything, of how privileged I am to be doing what I love.” “From a child, the only thing I ever wanted to do was play cricket, and now I get to live my dream – it’s pretty special,” he said. Known as Australia’s ‘Mr Fix-It’, Marnus isn’t the only Aussie cricketer known for his faith. In an interview with The Sydney Morning Herald, he explained that he and other teammates are part of a ‘life group’ where they meet weekly over a meal and have a conversation about the previous Sunday’s sermon. “Cricket is always going to be up and down, but if you have a constant – Jesus Christ – in your life, it makes life a lot easier,” Marnus said. On the base of Marnus’ bat is a sticker of an eagle – a reference to one of his favourite verses in the Bible: “But those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.” [Isaiah 40:31]
Marnus Labuschagne is an all-rounder who made his Australian national team debut in 2018.
Author – Gilbert Siahaan
Giroud quick to glorify God Not only was he part of last year’s FIFA World Cup winning French national team, Olivier Giroud was recently a guest editor for the September edition of France’s JESUS! Magazine – with the tagline, “The first magazine which Jesus is the hero.” The Chelsea striker has never been quiet about his devotion. “I try to speak about my faith whenever I can,” Olivier said. “I feel I have to use my media profile to talk about my commitment to Jesus Christ and the matters that concern me.” When his team won the 2018 World Cup, he was quick to show his gratitude. “I’m very religious so, at that moment, I just thanked God.”
Photo: Cricket Australia
The faith of Mr Fix-It
“I was very grateful to have the opportunity to live my dream.” “To live every single day for me is a day blessed.” The footballer has tattooed on his right arm, “Dominus regit me et nihil mihi deerit”, which is translated to “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want”, from Psalm 23. Author – Gilbert Siahaan
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Olivier Giroud on the French national team at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.
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The Advocate is the source that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment.
Published on Nov 27, 2019
The Advocate is the source that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment.