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theadvocate.tv

WA’S BAPTIST NEWSPAPER

“To be a Sacred Agent is not just about doing things for God, but with Him. Active together.” ANDREW TURNER PAGE 12 >>

APRIL 2021

“Freedom shouts at the doorways of hope beckoning a listening ear, but can we perceive its call? Can we hear its song?” AMANDA VIVIERS PAGE 13 >>

Fires ravage properties The 2021 fire season was catastrophic. There was the January bushfires in the Shire of York that threatened lives and destroyed a number of properties. Then in early February, the Wooroloo fires destroyed 86 houses and two fire trucks.

More funding for chaplaincy services in government schools >>

4 Let’s get growing A new series exploring the dynamics of Christian growth and maturity >>

8 Grit happens Learning to persevere and not be a good quitter >>

Photo: Carmel Bain

The February bushfire was a fast-moving fire that started in Wooroloo, 45 kilometres to the north-east of Perth. By the time the fire was contained, it had spread west into the City of Swan, 26 kilometres from its ignition point, scorching 109 square kilometres. In an email to churches, Baptist Churches Western Australia Head of Finance and Administration, Greg Holland shared that stories were starting to emerge of the fire’s impact on church communities. In response, the Baptist Relief Fund launched an appeal for funds to be able to assist those impacted by the fire alongside supporting community organisations working with impacted communities. Well-known Baptist Pastor, John Harris and his wife Rosemary lost their family property on the outskirts of York to the January fire. “It is all gone. So fast. House, Cam’s Cabin, sheds, Harris & Son Silver business of three generations, all gone,” John’s daughter said. John shared that the speed of the fire and its impact was alarming. From the time of messaging their daughter about the fire at 1.09pm, and then being ordered to leave their property at 1.35pm – “everything was gone by 1.44pm.” “Rosemary grabbed our overnight bags out of the house and we took off down to the highway where we watched the fire engulf our home,

3 McGowan promise

John Harris standing within the rubble of his business, Harris & Son Silver, surveying the damage.

Building healthier

sheds, studio and Cam’s Cabin, built in memory of our son,” John recounted. “Initially we were a bit numb. But we knew we could do nothing to change the situation, so we decided there and then to accept the situation, draw the line and step over it – to look forward rather than behind.” “Since then we have no questions of God – He has promised to ‘supply all [our] needs according to His glorious riches in Christ Jesus’.” [Philippians 4:19 BSB]

John and Rosemary shared how words had failed to express their gratitude since the fire. “Since the fire we have been overwhelmed by the love and generosity of the ‘Family of God’,” Rosemary said. Baptist Churches Western Australia representative, Matthew Chapman said that it is moments like these devastating fires that provide an opportunity for the church community to shine and support those around them who are doing it tough.

“The Baptist Relief Fund is one way that we can demonstrate what it is to be the hands and feet of Jesus – providing care and support to those the Christ loves so dearly, ” Matthew said. For more information on the Baptist Relief Fund, phone 08 6313 6300.

churches BAPTIST CHURCHES WESTERN AUSTRALIA


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my view APRIL 2021

His promise of peace There is a beautiful stream in Massangulo, Mozambique where many people go regularly to wash clothes. It is a great location to go to, to chat with people and sit with them as they wait for their clothes to dry on the big flat rocks.

Sally Pim Sally Pim serves with Global Interaction, working with the Yawo people in Massangulo, Mozambique.

A few days ago, a lady went down to that river and was washing her clothes when a storm approached. Seeing the rain getting closer, she bundled up her clothes and began the one kilometre walk back up to her house. As she walked, she started to feel intense pain. She was heavily pregnant and had gone into labour! She tried to keep walking, carrying the mountain of clothes, but the pain was too much and she stopped to regain her breath. Another lady, also returning home to seek shelter

from the storm, saw her and went over to help. Together they went off the side of the road and within minutes the lady had delivered a healthy baby boy. Miraculously the storm raged on, on either side of the ladies and the baby boy, but the wind never reached them. The storm tore down houses and broke tree branches, but where these people were remained safe from the damage taking place around. As people retold this account to me, they continued to use the word ‘mtendele’ meaning ‘peace’.

John 16:33 ESV says, “I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” In the middle of a storm, this woman experienced peace. Jesus’ promise is peace in Him, in the midst of trials and tribulations, grief and pain. Our prayer and hope are that our Yawo friends might know this peace that comes from Jesus, even in the midst of such hardness. We thank God for the

life of this boy and the safety and peace this lady experienced. Postscript After writing this, it turned out we know the lady who gave birth! We have been meeting up with her and her family regularly to share stories from the book of Luke. We even prayed together in the name of Jesus. It is exciting to see God at work in this lady’s life.

On masks … Like residents in many parts of the world, those of us who live in Western Australia were recently allowed out of our homes only if we wore a mask to protect against COVID-19. The novelty soon wore thin.

Dr Brian Harris Dr Brian Harris is the Director of the AVENIR Leadership Institute and lectures at the Vose Campus of Morling College.

This was especially true at the gym, where I remained masked even as the cross trainer reached recklessly high speeds. Trying to breathe through a soggy face mask is not fun! Wearing the mask reminded me of childhood games of cops and robbers. From memory, the mask disguised your identity enabling you to rob banks undetected. But a mask doesn’t really do that, does it? It might hide your mouth and nose, but your eyes remain visible – and your eyes say much about you.

In Matthew 6:22a Jesus says, “The eye is the lamp of the body.” While Psalm 38:10 laments, “Even the light has gone from my eyes.” As is often said, the eyes are the window to the soul. In our masked-up days, I looked into people’s eyes more – albeit from a COVID-safe distance. It was more interesting than looking at their masks and revealed a lot. I noticed the stress in some, others were anxious, yet others carried a deep sadness. True, some were full of mischief and fun (and my granddaughters

loved masking up, though technically they were exempt), but they the were exception. It has been a tough spell for many – and their eyes show it. It struck me how ironic this is. It took a mask to help me notice what was going on inside many people. Instead of covering things, the masks highlighted the reality – we are vulnerable. While we deeply need each other, we are potentially a threat to one another. We must ensure our interactions are safe.

It reminded me of Genesis 2 where the first person is made from the dust of the earth. This is how vulnerable we are – just made from dust. But that dust is then animated by the breath of God. The picture is clear. We are frail creatures – but creatures made alive by the breath of God. Thus, it was in the beginning and ever will be. Perhaps it takes a pandemic to remind us of this fundamental truth.

A new day for all Growing up in a more conservative expression of church and leadership, I am all too familiar with ‘knowing my place’ and ‘staying in my lane’. Those were the old days of safe, contained but somewhat limited effectiveness.

Karen Wilson Karen Wilson is President of the Baptist World Alliance Women and Vice President International Ministries for the Global Leadership Network.

In my role as President for Baptist World Alliance Women 2020-2025, I sense God asking me to find and create spaces for women and men to flourish together. This means creating ministries that are open to both, affirming both, where there is mutual respect and equal voice given one to the other. It’s a new day. I am excited to see the Church leaning into understanding how to stand together, how to discuss issues together, how to make room for one another and how to avail

each other of the others’ gifts. God has a Kingdom purpose for the entire body of Christ to flourish – male and female alike – and we are being ushered into that era where we are seeing it come to pass. I, for one, am excited that we get to not only see it, but also, be catalysts of change in the process. I see a global movement where women and men champion one another and stand together [Zephaniah 3:9]; where they understand their responsibility in the Kingdom

and encourage one another forward where they gather and await the move of the Spirit of the living God [Acts 2:1]. And where they stand firmly alongside one another [Galatians 3:28], in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the sake of the gospel [Philippians 1:27]. I am putting the call out there: let’s stand respectfully and confidently together in the calling God has given us. Let’s seek out spaces of commonality to work for the mutual benefit of

all. Let’s openly share tables of discussion for the strengthening of the Kingdom. Let’s go into all the world with a spirit of unity to proclaim Christ. It’s a new day.


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APRIL 2021

Promise of chaplaincy funding

“This wide-ranging package will also provide an additional $21.8 million for schools to engage chaplains ensuring every WA State school has access to resources to provide additional emotional and social support for students,” Premier McGowan said. This announcement acknowledges the valuable and positive contribution YouthCARE chaplains, currently led by YouthCARE CEO Stanley Jeyaraj, have made to WA school communities over the last 40 years. The new funding also allows new schools that do not have chaplaincy funding to access YouthCARE’s service.

“On behalf of YouthCARE, all our wonderful chaplains, volunteers and supporters, we thank the Premier Mark McGowan and the Minister for Education, the Hon. Sue Ellery MLC for this great news,” Stanley said. “It is a recognition of the critical role of YouthCARE chaplains to our state schools across WA.” “Our chaplains are there for their school communities, through good and challenging times.” “We look forward to getting on with the job by continuing the positive contribution we make to our school communities.” It is 40 years since the late Hon. Kim Beazley Senior

Photo: YouthCARE

In February, Western Australia Premier, Mark McGowan announced that a re-elected McGowan Government will deliver over $100 million of additional funding for important student support and wellbeing services and programs in schools. This announcement included funding for chaplaincy services in WA government schools.

Premier Mark McGowan and YouthCARE Chaplain from Great Southern Area, Danielle Smith discuss the details of the Premier’s announcement for student support funding.

recommended that chaplaincy be made available to State schools in WA and this announcement is a testament to his legacy. “I also wish to thank all our supporters including our volunteers, churches, local

businesses, local government, parents and the wider school community who have stood by us for many years in the delivery of this critical service,” Stanley said. “This announcement also shows the importance of

working together with other school services.” “We look forward to partnering with them in helping our school communities.”

Morling increase scholarships This year Morling College launched an expanded scholarship program to encourage students in their studies and ministries. The staff were pleased to receive a significant number of applications and offered scholarships to 60 men and women from all over Australia and overseas. This included 12 students based in Western Australia and part of the new Perth – Vose Campus. Perth student, Ben Good, works as an intercultural worker with Global Interaction and is completing a Bachelor of Theology. He will receive up to $10,000 through a Tinsley Institute scholarship which seeks to equip

and resource intercultural workers, evangelists, and church planters. “This scholarship will be of huge benefit to me and my ministry as I continue to participate in ongoing learning and capacity building,” Ben said. “This scholarship will benefit my intercultural work amongst the Yawo people of Mozambique, as I seek to empower Yawo faith communities to develop their own ways of following Jesus.” Author – Gayle Kent

Feel at home with Baptistcare Residential Care At Baptistcare, we take a personalised approach to care. Our dedicated team takes the time to really get to know you, so we can cater to your unique interests, needs and preferences. With 12 residential aged care locations across Perth and regional WA, we’re sure you will a find a place to feel at home with Baptistcare. Albany

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Photo: Ben Good

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1300 660 640 Ben Good, a delighted Morling College scholarship recipient, with his family, Elizabeth, Anna, Finlay and Samantha.

baptistcare.com.au

Mundaring Rockingham Salter Point York


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news APRIL 2021

Let’s get growing One joy in life for Monica and I at the moment is watching our grandsons grow from little babies to little boys. Each so beautiful. So energetic. So curious. So full of life and learning. So unique. Some things are predictable, other things not so much. How exciting when they take their first steps. When they speak their first words. Their first tooth. Their first lost tooth! The eldest of our five recently typed in and sent me his first text message. They’re growing up! But there was also the first surgery. Little worries about speech or sleep or habits we don’t want to see develop. We long for our children to thrive, to grow, to be well-adjusted, to be healthy and to become mature. We teach and train them, slowly and (mostly!) patiently. Sometimes it’s two steps forward, one step back. But then something wonderful and wholly unexpected emerges, and we can only express wonder and gratitude at the incredible gifts God has given.

No wonder the apostles Peter and Paul could speak of Christian development in terms of growth from infancy to maturity [1 Peter 2:1-3; Ephesians 4:13-15]. Spiritual growth can also be messy and unpredictable. It doesn’t happen according to a fixed timeline or schedule. It does not follow a nicely ordered path through a predictable series of steps or phases. Sometimes we progress in spits and spurts, sometimes two steps forward, one step back. In the case of a child, it is possible to grow old but not really ‘grow up’, not really become a mature person, responsible and respectful, accomplished and active. The same is true spiritually: it requires a strong intention to become mature, as well as some understanding of what spiritual maturity looks like, and how a Christian might take steps in that direction. And if someone does become mature it is not merely the result of human effort; surely a miracle of grace has also taken place!

Photo: RachenArt/Shutterstock

In a new series for The Advocate, Morling Campus Dean, Michael O’Neil explores patterns and dynamics of Christian growth and maturity.

The Advocate introduces a new series focussing on Christian Growth for its readers.

Only by the work of the Holy Spirit can someone become spiritually mature. And yet the Bible consistently calls believers to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ” [2 Peter 3:18]. It is clearly God’s intention that His children grow up!

Over the next few issues in the growth section of The Advocate we will explore some of the patterns and dynamics of Christian growth and maturity. Some things are predictable, even in the midst of all the messy unpredictability. We can mature as hearers of God’s Word, mature in prayer or in

service, in virtuous character, in Christian concern for all people, in knowledge or in hope. We hope you will join us as we learn together what it means to become mature in Christ. Author – Michael O’Neil

Interim Director of Ministries commences Pastor Karen Siggins has been appointed the Interim Director of Ministries for Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA), following the conclusion of Pastor Mark Wilson’s 14 years in the role. she is looking forward to serving pastors and churches during her time in the position. “A transition time, such as for BCWA and in fact the church across Australia, provides a unique opportunity and, I think, an imperative for us to ask, ‘how is God leading us now?’,” Karen said. “God is still the same; He remains our guide, our hope and our freedom.” “He remains the same but, as someone reminded me recently, it’s no surprise that the God who is Creator will change the way He works over the course of human history.” “I look forward to stepping into this new season together, confident in who God always is and travelling light enough that we are ready to move where and how He will lead us now.”

Photo: Hadyn Siggins

In a communication to churches, BCWA Council Chair, Martin Alciaturi shared that given the length of time between Mark’s departure and the likely date for commencement of a new, permanent Director, the Council resolved to appoint Karen to provide executive leadership during the intervening period. “Given her years of service as the Chair of BCWA, Karen is uniquely placed to ensure seamless continuity in BCWA’s work at this time for the WA community and its Baptist churches,” Martin said. In preparation for the appointment, Karen resigned as a Council Member, including her role as the Chair. Alongside this, Karen also concluded her role as the Lead Pastor at Lesmurdie Baptist Church, having been in pastoral ministry at the church since 2005. Karen commenced her new role in late March. She shared that

Pastor Karen Siggins started her new role as the Interim Director of Ministries for BCWA in March.

Author – Matthew Chapman


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APRIL 2021

99 year old gives bikes new life Ronald Morrison is a year shy of his 100th birthday and still his favourite place to be is in his home workshop where he spends hours restoring vintage motorcycles. late wife a hand around the house almost 20 years ago. Mrs Morrison, who passed away in 2007, had been living with dementia for several years and Mr Morrison had looked after her at home for much of that time. “There are lots of memories here – the house has seen a lot of history,” Mr Morrison said. “I’m happy at home; I receive the help I need and I enjoy life.” As well as singing at the Girrawheen Baptist Church and with the Bassendean Melody Club, there are regular family get-togethers to enjoy as Mr Morrison’s three sons, one daughter, four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren all live in Perth. While Mr Morrison’s relationship with Baptistcare has remained constant over the years, the help he receives has always been personalised to suit his needs at the time. As well as help with changing sheets, laundry and cleaning, Mr Morrison’s home care package has included help around the garden and, most recently, some personal care assistance. “It all happens very smoothly – I only have to mention something and Baptistcare is quickly on the job,” Mr Morrison said. For more information, visit baptistcare.com.au/tac

Photo: Baptistcare

Living independently at home has been very important to the spry nonagenarian, whose weeks are busy with walks, singing groups and restoring the vintage motorbikes that have been a lifelong passion. “The best thing for me about living at home is all my life’s here, including my workshop where I like to spend time,” Mr Morrison said. Mr Morrison, the retired managing director of an engineering company, relishes the time he spends in his workshop with his sons, who all share their father’s love of motorbikes old and new. Mr Morrison shared that it is thanks to a helping hand around the house from Baptistcare Home Care that he is able to continue to live in his home he and his late wife Emma built in 1953. “And if you’ve been blessed with the health, why not stay in your own home? There are other people with greater need than me,” Mr Morrison said. “I’m not ready to take up a bed somewhere else yet.” Like many older Western Australians, Mr Morrison, who celebrates his 100th birthday this year, takes advantage of a government-funded tailored home care package through Baptistcare. Baptistcare began lending the former air force engineer and his

99-year-old Ronald Morrison in his home workshop where he restores vintage motorcycles.

Photo: Baptist World Aid Australia

Even in the dark places

Marbz Diaz the new National Manager for Church Engagement at Baptist World Aid Australia shares his thoughts on global poverty and its challenges.

Meredith Wright from Baptist World Aid Australia (BWAA) recently met with the new National Manager for Church Engagement at BWAA, Marbeun ‘Marbz’ Diaz.

respond to the situation faced by those on the margins?’ It is not enough just to be accepted into God’s grace – He wants us to grow in that grace.

During their time together they talked about the invitation Marbz feels God is issuing to Australian Christians to partner with vulnerable, marginalised people. When Marbz grew up in the Philippines, he spent his first ten years living in a red-light district. Surrounded by poverty and heartache, as a young boy he began to question, “Where are you, God, in this dark situation?” Fast forward to December 2020 and Marbz was promoted to his new position as National Manager for Church Engagement, overseeing a staff of five across the country, after 18 years pastoring a church. Today, with a deeply held conviction that “God is always

But sometimes issues around global poverty can feel overwhelming. How do you stay hopeful? Firstly, seeing the witness of my brothers and sisters overseas brings about a fire in my soul that encourages me. They lead me in my understanding of what resilience is and what faith looks like. In situations of crisis, upon crisis, or war upon war, the witness of these faithful servants will outlast any conflict. Their witness is like the cedars of Lebanon in the Psalms. Our supporters here in Australia also inspire hope. They don’t know our brothers and sisters in these places, and yet they respond, in solidarity to

there – present even in dark places”, Marbz’ passion in service and leadership is to inspire others to see God at work where they might not otherwise. Tell us a bit about your role and why you love being a part of Baptist World Aid. I love being a part of what God is doing here – both overseas and here in Australia. As a pastor, I felt called to make disciples and that is still my calling. It is a privilege to be part of an invitation to churches in Australia to join in what God is doing in vulnerable communities overseas. For me, the gospel is an invitation to step into empathy, and ask, ‘How will God’s grace

loving their neighbours, with generosity. Seeing the work God is doing in His people here in Australia, seeing their generosity and God’s grace at work gives me hope. What are some ways we can practically participate in addressing global challenges today? First, pray. And then, pursue awareness. Baptist World Aid has lots of resources to help and of course you can help support global work. But prayer especially creates a desire to understand these situations better, that understanding then deepens our care and leads us back to prayer. We don’t come to God hopeless, we come with faith. When we pray, we pray believing God can and will act. When we pray, we come to understand our place in seeing God’s Kingdom come here on earth.


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news APRIL 2021

Teenagers encounter truth

Over six days, attendees engaged with 25 hours of lectures and participated in small group discussions and activities. A wide range of subjects were covered, including truth foundations, gender ideology, life issues, servant leadership, comparative worldviews, the reliability of Scripture and how to study the Bible. Outreach Specialist with OAC Ministries Western Australia, Geoff Westlake was the camp director and keynote speaker during the event. Geoff shared that responses from attendees were positive and included, “Heaps of fun, I can’t wait to come back next year”, “Opened my eyes, and really answered questions I had”, “I’ll tell my friends the gospel”, “Found my identity in Jesus”, “I’m with Jesus in everything” and “The best week of my life!” Campers learned skills for thinking and talking about life’s ultimate realities. After the lectures attendees split into groups of eight with a leader to discuss questions to help process the lecture content. They explored questions such as what do you mean, how do you know and what difference does it make.

Photo: Geoff Westlake

In late January, 70 teenagers and 30 young adults gathered at Worldview Australia Leadership Camp held at Camp Wattle Grove.

Peter Abetz interacting with wisdom-hungry teenagers at the Worldview Australia Leadership Camp.

“Paying such close attention to God’s written and living Word makes for genuine breakthroughs,” Geoff said. “They experienced the thrill of meeting the Truth.” The camp’s model came from Worldview Academy in the USA and was brought to Australia by Geoff after attending their Ohio camp in 2019 with some family members. “It seems this is unique for secondary schoolers in Australia,

but Worldview Academy has been honing it for 25 years. And thankfully they’re happy for us to benefit from their experience,” Geoff said. January’s inaugural Worldview Australia Leadership Camp was a collaboration, directed by OAC Ministries WA, under the auspices of Scripture Union Western Australia. Buses were provided by Rehoboth Christian College, design work by Wonderfully

Maed, with a range of speakers including Peter Abetz from Australian Christian Lobby, John Bond from Sonlife Ministries, Ben Dallin from Swan Christian College, John Tilinger from Strathalbyn Christian College, Tas Walker from Creation Ministries International and Mike Schutt from Worldview Academy in USA via Zoom. “All these organisations agree that Australia needs many more teenagers who are excited

about meeting Jesus in the ‘great conversation’, in all walks of life,” Geoff said. The team is planning to run the camp again next January. For more information, visit worldviewaustralia.org

Mount Pleasant celebrates youth baptisms Following Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s summer youth camp in January, a group of camp attendees decided to get baptised. their lives to Jesus for the first time.” The impact of the camp was evident from the testimonies of the camp attendees, including Ryan* and Jessica*. “It was at camp that I had an encounter with Jesus and knew that He would be there with me all the time,” Ryan said. “It was time to wash away my old life and start my new one with Jesus,” Jessica said. “It was a great celebration of what the Lord is doing in our midst even during this unprecedented time of COVID-19,” Michael concluded.

Photo: Mount Pleasant Baptist Church

Each year Mount Pleasant Baptist Church’s youth group, AMP Youth, led by Mount Pleasant Youth Pastor, Michael Yoo, hold two camps during the school holidays, one in winter and the other in summer. These camps continue to provide a great place to engage our young people, foster growth and embrace a relationship with one another and Jesus. “Last summer camp was themed Transformed focusing on Romans 12:1-2, encouraging and challenging our youth to break away from the norm and examining what a transformed life looks like,” Michael said. “It was a blessed time as lives were touched with personal encounters, and encouraging many to recommit to following Jesus and for some committing

* Names have been changed for privacy reasons.

Youth group attendee, Jessica*, being baptised at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church as a result of youth camp.


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APRIL 2021

Men aspire to greater freedom On 20 March, over 160 men of all ages attended the Aspire Conference to talk about stress, anxiety and mental health. Steadfast Men’s Ministry at Woodvale Baptist Church organised the event. righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of His splendour”, Graham emphasised that this is often not our experience as worldly junk can get in the way of us flourishing. “It is vital we learn skills to deal with the way in which little by little the junk gets into the ‘channel’ and then God’s means of grace brings us back to where we need to be,” Graham said. Graham also spoke about what he described as being “another means of grace” to help men in their journey through life: “They are the brothers God has given us to journey with us. When we carry one another’s burdens, we are living out the values of Jesus’ Kingdom vulnerably – small groups of men providing accountability and support for each other.” Woodvale Baptist Church Senior Pastor Rob Furlong said it is important to remember

Briefs

New DVD series for Karl Faase

Pastoral changes

Olive Tree Media, the team behind the award-winning Jesus the Game Changer and Towards Belief series, will be creating a new series based in Australia in 2021.

Baptists receive awards Don Warner, Community Pastor at Byford Baptist Church, was awarded Community Citizen of the Year by the Shire of Serpentine Jarrahdale, recognising his service to the Byford community. Elsie Penny has been awarded the OAM for Services to Indigenous Nursing. Elsie was a former resident of Marribank Mission and is a Board Member at Marribank Aboriginal Corporation.

Good family on the move Ben and Sam Good and their family have returned to their cross-cultural work with the Yawo people in Lichinga, Mozambique.

When the team created the second season of Jesus the Game Changer they travelled to 14 different countries but for this new series, due to COVID-19 travel restrictions, the team decided to focus on Australia. “For a couple of years we had considered producing a series filmed in Australia and focused on Australia – the COVID-19 now gives us the opportunity to pursue that vision,” Olive Tree Media CEO, Karl Faase said. The new series, Faith Runs Deep, will seek to demonstrate the depth of influence of the gospel message in Australia since its arrival on the First Fleet. The team will be driving across Australia, from the cities to the outback, unearthing the stories from history and people of today. They will be discovering where faith runs deep in Australia, as they share the stories of those lives that have been changed by Jesus and who have deeply influenced this nation.

that one conference cannot solve all the spiritual and mental health concerns men are struggling with.

“Hopefully it gets men talking more openly about their struggles and gives them some helpful tools,” he said.

“If we achieved that, then it has been an extremely successful day!”

Photo: Olive Tree Media

Pastor David Dean has concluded his pastoral ministry at Maylands Baptist Church. Pastor Bernd Faulhammer has commenced as the Senior Pastor at Yangebup Baptist Church. Pastor Greg Burgess has commenced as the Pastor of Kelmscott Baptist Church. Pastor Des Burgess has concluded at Chidlow Community Church.

Photo: Billion Photos/Shutterstock

A key focus at the conference was to provide attendees with practical strategies to maintain spiritual and mental wellbeing. One of the key speakers at the conference was Christian Clinical Psychologist, Mark Webb. “It’s one thing to get men talking about their struggles with stress and anxiety, but we must also provide them with practical skills they can use,” Mark said. With this as his aim, Mark focused his session on what he called his ‘toolbox’ for men – the equipment required for good mental and spiritual health. Well-known Baptist Pastor and former radio host, Graham Mabury also addressed the conference attendees, sharing how his life and ministry experiences form the foundation for his talks with men. Using the biblical analogy found in Isaiah 61:3 of Christian men being “oaks of

Karl Faase is preparing to hit the road with his V8 Holden ute for his new series, Faith Runs Deep.

As the series will reveal, there are many stories in Australia’s Christian history to celebrate, but it is not a perfect story. There are moments to celebrate but sadly there have also been failures, particularly with the Indigenous peoples of this land. However, even out of these failures there are signs of hope. For Karl, Australian Author, Roy Williams encapsulates his motivation for the series: “Like many Australians of faith, I am

sick of being told that religion’s influence upon our country has been either minimal or malign.” [Post God Nation] Karl points out that there is a significant number of men and women who have and are making remarkable contributions to this country and its people due to their Christian faith. This series will seek to demonstrate that even though Australia is often spoken about as a secular nation, in reality, faith runs deep.

The series will be hosted by Karl as he travels across Australia in an iconic Holden ute – a 2013 VF SSV 6 litre V8. For more information, visit faithrunsdeep.com.au


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feature APRIL 2021

You learn perseverance by persevering. If you quit early or quit too soon you then you become good at quitting. You learn how to quit. Your character weakens. If you tough it out, then you actually develop inner resolve and fortitude.

Grit Happens Over the last couple of weeks my son Sam, has been picking up some retic jobs on his own and fixing things without me around. One Thursday, just after we had lunch at home and were about to head back down Marmion Avenue to the suburbs, the phone rang and a lady in Yanchep needed a solenoid located and replaced. “You want this one?” I said. “I can sort the others out.” “Sure,” Sam said. His hourly rate goes up if he works on his own, so it was a no brainer. The job was to locate a solenoid and replace it. He would make the same money if he came with me, but he would be finished early and be able to surf. We went our separate ways and he called me after an hour a little frustrated that he hadn’t found the solenoid. We discussed what he had tried and I offered a few ideas for what he could do differently. He pushed on and after another 45 minutes he called to say he still hadn’t found it. The cost to the client was mounting up and no result … I could hear the anxiety and confusion in his voice. What do I do? … I know that feeling all too well. I have dug up many a yard searching for elusive valves. “Do you want me to come and help?” I asked. “No. No – I really should be able to sort this out on my own,” he said staunchly. Good answer. I felt quite proud that after nearly two hours he rejected my offer of help, and he was absolutely correct. He should be able to find it on his own, but sometimes that is easier said than done. About half an hour later I had finished for the day, so I swung by to see how he was going. “No further on,” he said.

I saw numerous piles of sand, dirt and pavers where he had tried to trace the wires to find the valves. No-one knows that feeling of desperation and frustration like another ‘retic bloke’! An afternoon surf was looking less likely now. I followed his logic and his way of looking for the valves and it made sense. But so far – no result. I grabbed the solenoid detector and went for a quick walk across the front lawn, just in case he had missed something and instantly the detector started beeping. I had stumbled on it in less than a minute – a little bit of experience combined with a touch of a hunch. “Okay – all yours,” I said and I hopped in the car and went home. About 30 minutes later the phone rang and it was Sam. He had fixed the valve but now another one was stuck open. “This is crazy Dad! At this rate I’ll be here until seven o’clock,” he said. “Want some help?” I haven’t showered yet. He paused. “No – I should be able to do this I want to do this.” It was a brave answer late in the day on a 38-degree afternoon. I decided not to shower just in case. He pushed on and replaced the valve – but it failed on him. The new valve let water through. He called for advice. “Want help? I can be there in two minutes.” “No.” “I still haven’t made it to the shower …” “Go have a shower – I will work it out.”

He did. He had left the spring out of the solenoid and he spotted it shortly after. An easy mistake to make when you are hot and weary. He got those two valves working and then as he was testing the system another one failed. What are the chances? You know those moments when you’ve given all you’ve got and you’ve made good progress, but then it all turns to custard? When you have just had enough? Yeah – that. There are few things in life as valuable as the will to keep going even when you really want to quit. How do you learn this particular character trait? You learn perseverance by persevering. If you quit early or quit too soon you then you become good at quitting. You learn how to quit. Your character weakens. If you tough it out, then you actually develop inner resolve and fortitude. In writing of this suffering for the faith Paul says: “Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.” [Romans 5:3-4] You build character as you practice grit and determination – as you refuse to quit. He did not call this time. He just kept going. And going …

At 6pm I heard the throaty exhaust of his Navara drive up the road. He was earlier than expected.– Maybe he has quit for the night and is going to go back, I thought. Sometimes a break enables you to problem-solve better than just keep on going. I had encouraged him to consider just letting it go for a day or two, but he was intent on finishing. He wanted to do it and he kept going. As he came up the steps it was with an unexpected spring rather than a stomp and as I caught his eye there was a smile on his face. “All done,” he said. “Well done mate. Proud of you!” And I was – super proud. He had found the other solenoid, replaced it, cleaned up and finished the job. There was some eye fillet steak and prawns awaiting him for dinner. We charged the client a lot less than our hourly rate as he had spent the first two hours ‘learning’. But that is learning he won’t forget quickly. And the value of perseverance will stay with him for a long time. Sometimes the only way through is to keep going – to refuse to let your discouragement and struggle get the better of you.


feature APRIL 2021

And yes – I realise that it is easier said than done, but I also know many people quit too soon. Sometimes you just have to keep going and going and going … So, maybe you need to hear this. Maybe your marriage is ‘too hard’, or your job is getting you down, or life itself is giving you the irrits and you’re considering checking out. You can quit – or you can push on. If you quit, then you learn to quit. Do it often enough and you will be a ‘skilled quitter’ – you won’t even realise you are doing it. But if you persevere and stay the course – if you ride out the discouragement and frustration then you will learn perseverance – which builds character and subsequently hope. So – well done my son for not quitting, but sticking with it and learning the value of perseverance. May this lesson serve you well as you go through life. Author – Andrew Hamilton

Andrew Hamilton is a pastor at Quinns Community Baptist Church, works in the community with his own reticulation business and is passionate about sharing Jesus in his own backyard. This article was originally published on backyardmissionary.com and is republished with kind permission.

9


10 world news APRIL 2021

New roadmap launched

The two major questions that shaped its formation were: Where are we going? And how will we travel together? Global Interaction Executive Director, Scott Pilgrim explained that the Roadmap is an important operational document for the organisation. “This exciting living document describes what, under the Spirit’s leading, we see is God’s preferred vision for our mission community,” Scott said. This has been summarised in the document as: “What We See: Vibrant faith communities following Jesus in their own distinctive ways; Why: Because nothing matters more than sharing God’s love for the world; and How: Through Spirit-led people, humbly contextualising the good news in every place.” Key milestones in the Roadmap include a strongly articulated missiology being lived out in strategic locations; more intercultural workers, including those from diverse backgrounds; dynamic missional engagement across the Australian Baptist movement; and renewed organisational capacity in partnership with others.

The development process involved hundreds of voices from across the Baptist movement, including pastors, young adults, academics and missionaries from Western Australia.

This exciting living document describes what, under the Spirit’s leading, we see is God’s preferred vision for our mission community Susan Campbell, a lead contributor to the Roadmap, said that it became a lesson in listening well. “As we began, I imagined the task before me: workshops, sticky notes, words, whiteboards, presentations, talking, talking and more talking,” she said. “However, I soon realised that my primary role was to listen.” “Listen carefully. Listen deeply. Listen for the question beneath the statements. Listen for the hope amidst the groans. Listen for the innovative idea buried in the mountain of words. Listen for the possibility for the future in the narrative of the past. Listen for the movement of the

Spirit, discerning God’s leading and guiding for the next season of our rich story.” Global Interaction State Director for WA, Dan McGrechan, said that along with a renewed vision emerged a renewed set of shared values. “One of the values that resonates deeply with me is the commitment to be patient and stay the course,” Dan said. “It seems to me that locally and globally, mission is patient work that moves at the pace of the Spirit at work in the lives of others.” “It is unhurried work – if we can stay the course, we will see God do marvellous things.” Global Interaction’s May Mission Month 2021 will focus on the key vision of the Roadmap. The complete Roadmap and May Mission Month teaching, stories, children’s resources and more are available on their website. For more information, visit globalinteraction.org.au

Photo: Supplied

After 12 months of consultation, Global Interaction launched its renewed vision for the future, 2021-2025 Strategic Roadmap, early this year.

Global Interaction works to share the good news of Jesus among least-reached people groups.

Calls for equitable distribution of vaccine

Baptist World Congress goes virtual Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the first virtual Baptist World Congress will be held 7 to 10 July. This year’s Congress will feature live worship, ministry expert sessions featuring live Q&As and multilingual opportunities for engagement.

Abducted Nigerian girl freed from Boko Haram One of the schoolgirls abducted by Boko Haram seven years ago from the town of Chibok, in North East Nigeria, has escaped captivity, according to Christian persecution watchdog Open Doors UK and Ireland. “One of the Chibok girls who has escaped was able to speak to her father over the phone and has been clearly identified,” Open Doors Senior Analyst for Freedom

of Religion and Belief in SubSaharan Africa, Illia Djadi said. “Even after escape, their painful journey is normally not yet over – they need to reintegrate into their community and cope with the trauma of their captivity.”

New believers baptised, despite flooding Flooding and persecution has not stopped new believers in Malaysia being baptised and joining local churches. “In some states, flood waters have gotten so high, you can only see the roofs of homes and buildings,” an Open Doors partner, Mikal said. “In the middle of this natural disaster, there is space for praise – five new believers were added to a church!” “It’s fantastic to hear from their pastors that these five are growing so much in their faith.”

Photo: Rawpixel/Shutterstock

International Briefs

Global leaders from the Baptist World Alliance are seeking an equitable distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

As the number of COVID-19 cases surpass the 100 million mark, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) is issuing a call to Baptists around the world to stand together in combatting this global pandemic. Members of the Baptist World Alliance Forum for Aid and Development (BFAD), an international network of more than 25 aid agencies, have collaborated on a statement outlining key calls to action. “We acknowledge the solidarity shared by the millions

of Baptists and non-Baptists alike in the face of the suffering caused by the COVID-19 global pandemic,” BFAD Facilitator, Rachel Conway-Doel said. “As we move into 2021, we also recognise our responsibility to participate in the solution to this crisis.” The four-fold call to action includes: calling for the cooperation of governments to support systems of coordinated mass vaccination and enhance access to vaccinations through aid and economic innovations; urging Baptists globally to participate in enabling global vaccination; repudiating unhelpful narratives associated with mass vaccination and asking

Baptists and all people of goodwill to do so as well; and issuing a clarion call for just access to available COVID-19 vaccines globally. “We stand together both in prayerful lament for the many who have been impacted by this disease, and in hopeful expectation that we can make a difference in the lives of those most vulnerable by choosing equity and justice at this crucial time,” BWA General Secretary, Elijah Brown said. For more information, visit BaptistWorld.org


world news 11 APRIL 2021

UK gets Hong Kong ready “Hospitality is one of the defining features of what it means to be a follower of Jesus,” Dr Kandiah said. “Jesus once said, ‘I was a stranger and you welcomed me in’ – because what we do for the least of these, we do for Him” “There’s a huge opportunity right now for the church to show that ‘Jesus-loving’ hospitality to people who need our help.” Dr Kandiah explained that for people moving to the UK in the middle of a pandemic, when they might struggle a little bit with their English, when they come with lots of skills at a time of mass unemployment and while race-based hate crime is going through the roof against people of Chinese appearance, there really needs to be a concerted effort to make sure this group of people feel welcome. In an interview with Nicky Gumbel of Holy Trinity Brompton church in London,

To find your local Baptist church visit baptistwa.asn.au

UK churches prepare to welcome thousands of migrants as Hong Kongers flee from their country to escape the Chinese Communist Party’s tightening grip on Hong Kong.

home of the Alpha course, Dr Kandiah said that the UKHK Church Network of Hong Kong Ready Churches seeks to offer very practical help to people. “If you have moved into a new neighbourhood ... having someone on the end of the phone at your local church who can say: ‘the bins go out on Thursday, I can help you

get sorted with a doctor, I can help you get your children into a local school, I can help you with some of those forms’ – that’s a life-giver to those people!” he said. “What a wonderful thing if it’s the church that’s the first call that people make – that’s an opportunity to demonstrate really practically the love of God.”

The British government estimates that 72 percent of Hong Kong’s population – 5.4 million people – are eligible to participate in the visa scheme. It expects about 300,000 to take up the offer in the first five years. Author – Ramona Humphreys

New leader in ministry’s 100-year history

Photo: BWA

The new visa scheme, which offers millions of Hong Kong residents a pathway to British citizenship, came in response to China’s crackdown on pro-democratic protests and the introduction of a controversial national security law. Hong Kongers with a British National (Overseas) Passport, and their dependents, can apply for the visa allowing them to live and work in the UK for five years, before applying for British citizenship. Dr Krish Kandiah, author of Paradoxology and founder of Home for Good, a charity finding loving homes for children in care, rallied for churches to open their doors to the newly-arrived. More than 500 churches from various denominations around the UK have signed up to the campaign so far, making a commitment to welcoming Christians from Hong Kong into their church community.

Photo: Dr Krish Kandiah

Churches in the United Kingdom have been told to be ‘Hong Kong ready’. The UK government expects 130,000 people from Hong Kong to resettle on the British Isles this year alone under a new visa provision.

Rev. Marsha Scipio is excited to serve Baptists globally as the new Director of Baptist World Aid.

Following a global search, the Baptist World Alliance (BWA) has appointed Rev. Marsha Scipio to serve as Director of Baptist World Aid (BWAid). With the origins of BWAid arising a century ago in response to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic, this appointment comes at a pivotal

time as the world continues to battle COVID-19. Within the BWAid portfolio, Rev. Scipio will lead the BWA’s response to people in need by collaborating in times of crisis, networking agencies, supporting sustainability and creation care, building capacity and empowering local church engagement. “I look forward to working alongside sisters and brothers in times of crisis; to sharing

resources and knowledge to promote sustainable development, especially in places where the most vulnerable Baptists reside; and to intentional collaboration with leaders in the international aid community,” Rev. Scipio said. “I am excited to partner with our BWA regions and Baptist family as we stand together to serve all God’s children.”


12 growth APRIL 2021

Being a sacred agent Andrew Turner is a ‘Sacred Agent’ who works as the Church Development Facilitator with Baptist Churches of South Australia and is the author of the Sacred Agents blog. Andrew is passionate about helping churches put their roots down deeply in God and flourish in local mission, leadership development and church planting. Andrew’s blog, Sacred Agents, unpacks his thoughts on what is means to be a Sacred Agent, caught up in God’s mission. Andrew shared a few of his thoughts with The Advocate.

Working for Jesus? Ten years ago, the driving idea behind the blog Sacred Agents was to remind ourselves that to be a Christian is not merely to be a follower of, but also a representative of Jesus. We’ve looked at how He called His followers apostles (sent ones), not just disciples (learners). Charles Spurgeon chipped in with, “Every believer is either a missionary or an imposter.” I’m constantly saying that in God’s Kingdom you get a guernsey, not a season-ticket. We’re players, not spectators, right? All of us ministers, and all of heaven watching. But let’s grow in our understanding of this. It’s wrong to think that God is active, and we are passive (‘We can’t do anything, only God can do things, so let’s get out of His

way’). But it’s just as wrong to flip to its opposite (‘We have to do everything, and God does nothing but watch and evaluate’). To be a Sacred Agent is not just about doing things for God, but with Him. Active together. We are active precisely because God is always at work. It’s a Pharisee thing, not a God thing, to load people down with heavy burdens and not lift a finger to help. You can lift two fingers to that view of God!

To be a Sacred Agent is not just about doing things for God, but with Him. Active together. We are active precisely because God is always at work. Instead, let’s press into actively seeking God’s perspective, God’s presence and God’s empowering by the Spirit on a daily and situational basis. Let’s look for how God has and is going ahead of us in every conversation and seek to be on cue when the moment comes for us to play our little part or say our little lines. Let’s not merely be inspired by Jesus, but ‘carried along by the Spirit.’ For real movement in our movement, we must avoid both the apathy of ignoring our calling on the one hand, and the exhaustion of trying to fulfil it alone on the other. Both grind us to a halt. “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] So in our prayers, let’s not merely ask ‘What do you want me to do?’ but ‘Spirit fill us,

Photo: Shutterstock

Being a Sacred Agent Years ago, I was talking to a youth group about what it means to be a Christian. I was trying to show them that it is so infinitely more exciting than becoming an upright citizen who goes to church. I wanted to explode the mental picture they had of the prospect of becoming a Christian. Scratching around for a way to put it, I blurted out, “It’s much more like being a secret agent!” You have this amazing life, a thrilling quest, while the people around you plod along with their mundane lives. Like Neo in The Matrix, you become aware of a massive contest of cosmic proportions being played out over the hearts and minds of people who are simply oblivious. You need to be smart and alert, always on your guard. It can be dangerous. It becomes the biggest thing in your life – your choice of ‘career’ becomes a cover, a front, something you use for a higher purpose. This is the thrill of being caught up in God’s mission – to become a Sacred Agent. Of course, I’m speaking of nothing more and nothing less than the age-old idea of being a missionary. But perhaps it’s time for us to bring some new imagery to the table.

Andrew Turner reflects on how Sacred Agents, like Neo in The Matrix, can become aware of the massive contest of cosmic proportions being played out over the hearts and minds of people.

surround us and flow through us. Give us wisdom to know the best path, and also power to make ground along it. For this is your will, and we too are willing.’ Better than Jesus? How can I put this? That’s the big question of every Sacred Agent, every missionary, every evangelist. We have such good news, such a wonderful Kingdom to represent and invite others into. Such good news, and yet … how do we put it? It should be straightforward – everyone everywhere should check out Jesus. But so many are oblivious, blinded, suspicious, resistant, biased, distracted and deceived. We have a bit of a go but can quickly get disheartened, feeling that ‘I blew it.’ Especially if the response to our message wasn’t just a cold shoulder but a hip-and-shoulder. It’s tempting then to retreat back into a ‘gospel lab’, doing mental research-anddevelopment over and over to find the perfect way to share the message of God’s Kingdom that will surely succeed. Fail-safe. Fool-proof. Irresistibly alluring. (Let’s pause here to think of youth pastors put under pressure to produce a program that will keep 100 percent of young people in the church.)

In short, we want to be better evangelists than Jesus. Because if there’s a way of putting the message of the Kingdom that will met with nothing but acclaim, then Jesus certainly never found it. All Sacred Agents must either go insane, quit or grasp this truth: Whenever the gospel is put, there is a doublerevelation. The Kingdom of God is revealed – you’re giving

For real movement in our movement, we must avoid both the apathy of ignoring our calling on the one hand, and the exhaustion of trying to fulfil it alone on the other. Both grind us to a halt.

people a peek at it. But the message of the Kingdom also reveals the hearts of the hearers. If you tell the story of the Prodigal Son, not only will an incredibly, scandalously loving Father be revealed, but also the extent to which your hearers are ready to ‘come to their senses’ like the pig-feeding prodigal. A rejection-proof message that doesn’t reveal hearts is safe, but short of being real evangelism. It’s the difference between saying ‘I like you’ and ‘Will you have dinner with me?’ If people can merely shrug and say, ‘That’s nice to know,’ have we really shown them a God who deeply longs for them? It’s not failure to share the inviting love of God and be rejected. But it is failure to not share it in case of rejection. We definitely need some ‘lab time’ so that our ministry is appropriately thoughtful and respectful. But – how can I put this – the fear of causing offense, and desire to represent the Kingdom in a suffering-free way – these put us in danger of offending the One whose opinion matters most of all. For more information, visit sacredagents.net


growth 13 APRIL 2021

The world is so noisy right now And I have withdrawn to lonely places and prayed. Amid these awkward desert places, I have questioned what answers can be found in a culture that seems to be splitting at the seams. How can we recover from a year where everything changed? And, I don’t have any answers, really. When I try to fix all the broken pieces together, my brain struggles to comprehend the complexity of it all. But He does. He calls freedom in the desert places. He shouts purpose amid loss. He draws us to lonely places, to remember the sacrifice that changed this tidal surge. Freedom shouts at the doorways of hope beckoning a listening ear, but can we perceive its call? Can we hear its song? Freedom whispers at the school gates and in the council office corners. Can we understand the beauty of its surrender? The sound of freedom is a voice that is emancipated, a story free to be told. Friendships that remember the best in one another and bounty shared across each divide. The sound of freedom is seeking out the truth, rather than sharing another conspiracy theory. The sound of freedom is children singing, unaware of the

cacophony of hatred being spun around their playgrounds. What does it mean to withdraw and pray? Each night there is a liturgy that draws me to questions that help refine the noise that bombards our modern life, called the Daily Examen. It is a place of safety and quiet, that brings perspective and peace. It is where I feel most known, understood and cared for. This serenity is hard to explain and is often mocked by those who misunderstand my intention. It is where answers come quickly some days and others feel like they slowly unravel across a lifetime. It is a dance filled with playful desires and longing. (It feels naughty to write that out loud.) Who made desire a sinful thing? The one who made the deepest parts of our hearts, created our longing to be the missing puzzle in finding peace and solitude. Rather than a place to feel shame and misrepresentation. Playful surrender in the way that we pray and live in relationship with a spirituality birthed in pain, pleasure and satisfaction. This dance that calls me towards those quiet places, moments where time stands still. Remembering the beauty of humanity and the grounded-ness we all seek. What if I told you there was another way?

There is a new rhythm emerging that laughs in the face of hustle culture. To embrace ‘slow’ as a lifestyle, where we honour the everyday moments, right in the middle of the muddle. The messy, ordinary moments of being human. To notice those who swim alongside us in the pool. To breathe deeply, when comparison becomes our only measure of success. To find friendship with the most unlikely of companion and smile deeply at the gap between both our lived experiences. What about living in a new story? A quiet revolution is happening, as there is an unmuzzling of voices, who are determined to sing their song. A growing company of women and men, who are discontent to live the way their childhood held them captive, rewriting the story of their lives. Living wide awake. I learnt throughout January, the beauty of living a quiet life of contemplation and prayer. Learning that living a life of success and surrender often means the most satisfying things we experience don’t need to be broadcast to the world.

Photo: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

The world is so noisy right now. Platforms, apologies, righteous anger and sinfulness.

Author – Amanda Viviers Amanda Viviers is the author of ten books, co-founder of Kinwomen and Head of Narrative for Compassion.

Have you ever suspected that a seemingly ordinary event in your life has greater significance? That was the feeling I had last night when a friend knocked on my front door. The kids weren’t quite in bed and the youngest was crying for another drink, when a faint double knock was heard over the chaos. Unsure if it was just one of the kids kicking at the walls, I checked the door just in case. And there he was. My friend Mark greeted me with his boy-like grin and handed me a shoebox. “They didn’t fit me,” he said. “You’re my size – they’re yours if you want them.” I gratefully took them and said goodnight. Any runner will understand that being given a new pair of shoes for free is amazing enough. But there’s more to the story. Something was going on in the background that my friend didn’t know about.

Last year I was in my eleventh year of doing a job that had never quite suited me. I had given it my best shot and tried many positions within it, but I still felt like a kangaroo trying to surf waves with dolphins. But during my eleventh year in this ill-fitting job, there were two separate occasions on which two separate people said two very similar things to me. While praying with me at church, they each told me they had a sense I was soon going to find a role that would suit me. Then they each, one earlier in the year and one later, used the same metaphor. They saw it like taking off an old pair of shoes that never quite fit properly and putting on a new pair that felt like they were made for me. It was encouraging the first time and made me take a bit more notice the second time but, since they both knew I liked to run, I thought it wasn’t such an unusual coincidence. It sounded hopeful, so I waited to see what would pan out.

To cut a long story short, at the end of last year I was offered a role at my church as an online pastor. I didn’t think I was interested initially, but then a few ideas came to me and I went back with a vision for how it could look. It was received warmly, I took leave from my job and have now just begun in my new role. Which brings me back to Mark at the door. The pair of shoes he gave me were labelled with 1080. 1080 was the working name for the online church I am in the process of starting.1080 degrees – three times 360 degrees, or three circles – this was the vision I had. An online church with three key components operating throughout the week to bring wholeness to people’s lives. Available 24/7 or 10,080 minutes per week. Challenging people to make a 180 degree turn back to God. 1080. I put the shoes on. Perfect fit? We’ll have to wait and see. Author – Tom Anderson

Photo: Pixabay/Sabine Bends

An angel appeared at my door last night

Tom is a husband, father, teacher and long-distance runner. He enjoys playing sports of all kinds and dabbles in photography and design. He likes to listen to people’s stories.

This article was originally published on haventogether.com and is republished with kind permission.


14 arts APRIL 2021

New single for Daigle Daigle collaborated with Paul Mabury and Paul Duncan for the song, having previously worked with them both on the song Still Rolling Stones. Hold On To Me was written and performed to provide hope to those who may need reassurance. “I hope Hold On To Me reminds people there’s still good in the world,” Daigle shared. “No matter the circumstance you are walking through, there is someone in your life there to help you get through it.” “There’s something powerful about having people in your life that see who you are through the worst of circumstances and still choose you.” “Hold On To Me is about all of us coming together and

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remembering that being with each other … is what life is truly all about.” Daigle was the first female artist to simultaneously hit the top ten on Billboard’s Pop and Christian Album Charts and the album, Look Up Child went in at number three on Billboard 200, the top 200 albums chart. After 116 weeks, Daigle’s earlier single, You Say was the longest running number one song of any genre on the weekly Billboard Hot charts. Daigle has won two GRAMMYs, was nominated for two more and has also been awarded ten Gospel Music Association Dove Awards, seven Billboard Music Awards and four American Music Awards. Daigle grew up in Lafayette, Louisiana and originally planned on undertaking mission work. After spending a year working on mission in Brazil, she attended Louisiana State University to study Child and Family Studies. It was here that she led the choir and went on to record songs for North Point Community Church in Alpharetta, Georgia. In 2013, Daigle was signed to Centricity Music, who she is still with now. Author – Jenni Smith

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

On 26 February Lauren Daigle released her latest single, Hold On To Me, her first release since her 2018 GRAMMY Award winning album, Look Up Child.

Lauren Daigle hopes to remind what life is truly all about in her latest single.

The Dead Sea Squirrels to be animated

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Mike Nawrocki, writer of the book series The Dead Sea Squirrels, is partnering with Disney animator Tom Brancroft and artist and producer Steve Taylor to transform the stories into an animated series.

Nawrocki said the episodes have “developed into a fun-filled world kids will love while giving parents an entertaining resource to pass on biblical values and life lessons”. According to the synopsis, The Dead Sea Squirrels tells the story of two first-century squirrels who have been preserved in a cave next to the Dead Sea in Israel. They are

discovered 2,000 years later by a young boy who becomes their friend as they reanimate and take him on different characterbuilding adventures. Nawrocki went on to say that it was his prayer that the new series will help kids “make a connection to the Bible and life of Jesus”. Author – Jenni Smith


coffee break 15 APRIL 2021

Lessons from the Middle East

A minute with ... Karen Siggins

In 2010, Colin Meadows set out to backpack around the Middle East, focusing on the biblical places and people that he had always found most fascinating.

What do you think your role will look like as BCWA seeks a new Director of Ministries? I think that the interim role will largely be one of shepherding and shaping. BCWA has an incredible staff who are very familiar with executing their roles and responsibilities. This means there will be plenty of opportunity for the specific work of caring for, discerning with and enabling us through transition. Along with others from BCWA, I hope to spend time in conversation and prayer with pastors, leaders, local churches and their communities as we determine what healthy local churches need from the Baptist Ministry Centre and the role of Director of Ministries in the next season. What challenges do you believe lie before us? I think the big challenge facing us and, in fact, the church across the Western world has to do with something God told the people of Israel back in Isaiah’s day. In Isaiah 43, God tells the people He is still the same, but they must not expect Him to lead, rescue and guide them in the same ways. God is always the same, but His methods change. This shouldn’t be surprising – as Bible commentator Dr John Oswalt discusses, God is the Creator and doing things differently comes with that territory! I’m not saying if it’s new, it’s right. That attitude can be as destructive as living by what someone called the seven last words of a church: “We’ve never done it that way before!” Our challenge as we step into this new season will be to remember all we have experienced in the past of who God is and His love for all people, and be prepared to hold lightly our expectations of how God at work might look tomorrow. To say together, “Dear Past, thank you for all we learned and experienced. Dear Future, we are ready.” To proclaim together that God is the wise and faithful Creator who, through Jesus and the Spirit, is always moving all of human history and all of creation towards the fulfilment of His good plans, and we want to join Him in the new ways He is doing that now.

Photo: Morling College

Pastor Karen Siggins recently commenced as the Interim Director of Ministries for Baptist Churches Western Australia (BCWA). The Advocate caught up with Karen to ask her a few questions.

In his new book, Lessons from the Middle East, Colin shares the story of that journey – one of stepping out of his comfort zone into adventure and exploration, meeting unforgettable people who helped him see the world in different ways, and experiencing for himself places he had read so much about. In this account, he reflects on visiting Lebanon. “Once in my taxi, we drove to the Syrian border where I was asked by my driver for money for the visa to Lebanon. I was not sure how much it would be but was assured by my fellow travellers that I had been asked for the right amount. My passport and some money disappeared, and then much to my relief, my passport was soon returned, complete with an exit stamp. At that point, our driver topped up his load by squeezing another traveller into the luggage compartment, with this man’s head just visible poking up amongst our bags. We were soon moving along at breakneck speed through the mountains of Lebanon, heading for the coast. The journey, which normally takes nearly four hours according to the Lonely Planet, took us a little over two, such was the eagerness of our driver to reach Beirut. I think he was in training for a future career as a Formula One driver. At one point in the mountains, he got caught behind a large truck so our driver took a sidetrack

that ran parallel with the main highway until he could get in front of the truck. I was dropped off at a bus station on the outskirts of Beirut and after recovering my composure, wandered into the city. I noted immediately that it had been largely rebuilt after the devastation of the 1975-1990 Civil War, with new buildings to be found everywhere, and just a few remnants of the old wedged in. I managed to find a local hostel and quickly discovered that it was much cooler (and cheaper) to sleep on the roof of the building. This meant, however, contending with snoring fellow travellers and swarming mosquitoes, along with getting woken up every morning at 5am by the muezzin call to prayer from nearby mosques. Close by was the severely damaged and unoccupied Hilton Hotel, standing like a memorial to the Civil War and still showing its battle scars from rocket attacks. The city of Beirut has yet again been devasted in August 2020 by the explosion in the port area. It is so sad that the Lebanese people have suffered so much over the years and continue to do so. During my time in Lebanon, I visited many sites in this beautiful but troubled country. It was a very worthwhile visit and helped me to make further links between archaeology, ancient history and the biblical text, along with meeting fascinating and friendly people along the way.” Lessons from the Middle East is available from Seeds Bookshop at Mount Pleasant Baptist Church or by contacting Colin at cfmeadows@gmail.com

What inspires you in life? I am naturally optimistic, so it’s easy for me to look with positive anticipation to each new day with both its tough and intriguing opportunities and challenges. That’s a good start but the experiences of my life have also shown me how to be someone whose hope rests in God – who He is, what He has done and will do, and His constant presence. What inspires me is the hope that life can be better today because of God’s love, even while we wait for the next chapter of His story to unfold.

Photo: Colin Meadows

The Message Bible: Mama, I'm hungry. Amplified Bible: Mummy, I am hungry (famished, starving). New International Version: Mother, I am hungry. King James Version: Henceforth, let it be known unto thee, birth giver, that my belly consists of emptiness.

Colin Meadows reflects on his visit to the ancient ruins of Tyre in his new book.

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16 sport APRIL 2021

Margaret Court controversy The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) celebrated the news that Margaret Court was to be made a Companion of the Order of Australia in January.

I think for freedom of speech, I should be able to have a say for what I believe.

“In a pluralistic society we need to accept people of different views without resorting to accusations of hatred and bigotry.” “Overwhelmingly, Australians are proud of our religious and cultural diversity and recognise it as our strength,” Peter explained. “We appreciate and congratulate the Council for the Order of Australia for resisting the temptations of ‘cancel culture’ and awarding this honour to such a deserving recipient,” Peter said. The announcement of Margaret Court’s award was met with controversy. Australian television personality Kerry O’Brien, best known for hosting the ABC’s Four Corners program, rejected his own Australia Day honour after hearing that Court was to be awarded the same medal.

Photo: Neale Cousland

“There is no doubt that Margaret Court is a most worthy recipient of this award – the highest honour given to an Australian civilian – having contributed to tennis at the highest levels both as a player and as an ambassador for the nation,” ACL’s then Western Australia State Director, Peter Abetz said. “As a leader in the Christian community, Margaret has continued to demonstrate the values of charity, selflessness and service that we recognise with these honours.” The ACL reflected that it was extremely disappointing to hear comments from the Victorian Premier, Daniel Andrews, denigrating Margaret Court. “His comments do not reflect the richness and tolerance of Australia’s religious and cultural diversity,” Peter shared. “Anyone who has worked with Margaret Court, or knows her as I do, will testify that she treats gay and transgender people with absolute respect and dignity, and we are confident that Australians will see beyond this narrow-mindedness to appreciate Margaret Court as the tremendous example she is to all Australians.”

The recent decision to award Margaret Court (centre) a Companion of the Order of Australia has created controversy.

O’Brien is reported as labelling the awarding as “a deeply insensitive and divisive decision”, a view echoed by the Victorian Premier. Responding in an interview with 9News, Court said she was honoured to receive the title and she did not care about the backlash. Court said she would be praying for those who did not support her and blessing them. “I think over the years, I’ve had so much criticism that it doesn’t really affect me,” she said. “I call them blessed because I pray for them and I pray for my nation.” Court did not apologise for her religious views in the interview, emphasising she was entitled to speak freely about her opinions. “I think for freedom of speech, I should be able to have a say for what I believe,” she said. “I teach what the Bible says. That’s my beliefs and I stand with that.” “There’s a lot of people who agree with me. The Bible has been around for thousands of years.”

To find your local Baptist church visit baptistwa.asn.au

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The Advocate – April 2021  

The Advocate is the source that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment.

The Advocate – April 2021  

The Advocate is the source that Christians across Western Australia turn to each month for news, information, comment and entertainment.