Blue Flower

1. Grim Reports from Drought Stricken Areas

2.National Day of Prayer - Canberra - Sunday 2 March 2014

 3. Forty days of Prayer & Fasting 5 March/13 April 2014

4. Testimony of women conceived in rape

 5. U.S. Abortions Fall to Lowest Rate Since Roe v. Wade

6. The Existential Elephant in the 'Christian Persecution' Room

 

 

1. Grim Reports from Drought Stricken Areas

 

Stories are finally trickling into the news of the desperate plight of farmers affected by the drought such as the farmer who brought his last lot of stock into the markets to sell, didn't get one bidder, took the stock home, shot them all, then himself.

Please pray that the Cyclones will bring rain to the outback.

One of the Christian groups coming alongside families is Care Outreach

With the New Year well underway the Qld drought situation is finally making headlines in the media.  In the office we are getting reports on a regular basis of individual situations in the bush from lack of water, to no feed, to pressure from banks with many of our families being stretched to breaking point.  There is such a cry coming from the people of the Outback and we know that our job this year is bigger than we would have originally comprehended.   The need to get aid in the way of food hampers and toiletries to these families or even a voucher to use at their local stores is greater than ever.

Please pray that the Lord will provide every financial, physical and spiritual need that Care has to do the work this year. 

The scripture this week is in the section below. It is from a thank you note received from one of our families after their Christmas for the Bush visit and is so appropriate.

·         Once again our family has been given hope and prayers by your volunteers.  The gifts given to us from Care Outreach and the many supporters have made our Christmas and New Year so much better.  Thank you seems inadequate for what you have done for us.  The last two years have been struggle without rain.  The cost of living has become depressing as we receive relentless low livestock prices.  At times we wonder why we chose to produce food.  We continue in the hope that consumers will support Australian products, something my husband is adamant about.  We thank you from the bottom of our heart for your support, love and prayers. 

·         We can only hope this will be a better year but so far it’s no different, just stretched even further into starvation and desperation.  We’re running out of bought feed once again and don’t have funds for another round…. I hope it stops before it’s too late for us all out here.   On a lighter note, thank you so much for the Christmas food and gifts, the food was just wonderful and the gifts put something under the tree to help it feel more like Christmas.  We ran out of water on Christmas Ever so spent 2 days walking our cattle to the bore.  It took most of the two days for the 3 boys to move the tanks, troughs and pumps and set up the water while we girls drove the cattle about 12kms.  We had cows bogging in muddy puddles, once dams, and had to call for the ute to pull them out.  We pushed another lot of Mulga for them as there is nothing else to eat.  We finally got to eat our Christmas lunch at 6pm.  I guess there was a plus that we saved on one meal that day.  We did enjoy our 1 hour around the table.  Please pass on our thanks to all involved in the donations – gratefully received.

·         Thank you for the hamper you gave us and all the bits and pieces which are a huge help to us all.  May God bless you for the incredible work you do out here.  It is so appreciated.  Thank you for all your care, love and support throughout this year.  Thank you for the shining light you are that bring Gods love and care to all. 

Matt 25:35-40 

For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me,I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me.’ Then the righteous will answer him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you drink? And when did we see you a stranger and welcome you, or naked and clothe you? And when did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ And the King will answer them, ‘Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.’’

Cunnamulla

The 10kg bags of rice & catering size cans of peach/apple pie filling etc have been gratefully received beyond our expectations.  Because the difficult financial situations many are experiencing this donation could not have come a better time. The costs involved in purchasing hay, cotton seed etc to keep stock alive are almost unbelievable with amounts of $20-40,000 monthly commonly stated.  Even those that in the past have said "We are doing OK, there are others far worse off than us. Give it to them" have readily accepted goods. They have all expressed surprise at the size of the containers, and asked how we came by these goods and are very surprised when we say it was as a result of a casual comment at a church meeting.

What an eye opener and a heart string puller we experienced whilst visiting some of the properties in the Cunnamulla area. Some of the comments spoken to us include:

·         "I`ve been raising cattle for 50 years and if there isn`t rain then I am going to have to make some very hard decisions."

·         "Just recently I was within a hairsbreadth of giving up"

·         "The Warrego River has broken the record for the length of time it is since there has been a flow in the river. The water that is left is unsuitable for irrigation and causing problems for our crop of grapes"

·         " I have never lost so many sheep in a drought as I have this time"

Some excerpt from messages received after Christmas for the Bush visits

·         Thank you to all at Care Outreach for your generosity with Christmas gifts, your time and dedication to the bush is very much appreciated. Please pray for rain as things are so desperate for those that have not received any.

·         A special Thank you to all the volunteers at Care Outreach for blessing us once again.  We really appreciate you love and thoughtfulness.  It’s been a tough year weatherwise and we pray for wide-spread soaking rains soon to relieve the stress and work load of families and communities in our region.

·         Thank you so much for the hamper.  It is people like you who care about others who are going through a difficult time with the drought that makes you feel you are not forgotten

·         Thank you for the parcel you dropped off.  It was a lovely surprise and so nice to know that there are people out there who understand the complexities of living on the land.  Dave was not here when you called as everyday he is up early to push mulga to feed the cattle.  As you could see things are pretty grim, but nothing that a good fall of rain can’t fix.

 Heart-felt cry for pray from a family in the St George region –

Wish this was a pleasant email to pass the time of day but you did say if we needed a prayer to let you know.

Things are pretty ordinary out here- as with everyone west of the divide at this point. Prayer ‘fixed’ Charlotte's horse and now her faith is being attacked regarding her dog.

Charlotte had her special dog who died shortly after having pups and we allowed her to raise one tiny pup herself who became the most special being in her life and now 5 years on Lolli is not good.

We don't know if it is heat, dehydration, virus or what. With things as bad as they are and being the weekend to boot we just can't afford the trip to the vet from out here.

Can you pray for both of them please. With the amount of things dying all around us this would be about the final straw. We lost one of our better work dogs in the heat the other week. That heat impacted everything and the down side is we have no idea if the dogs will be any good for work when we take them out again. Once overheated they can't take being heated at all, but God can and does work.

On a lighter note, Mark & Donna from Orange who help farmers in the Condobolin area:
Care Outreach want to congratulate Donna’s son Jared Porter on being named the Toyota Starmaker  last Friday night at the Tamworth Country Music Festival.  In his bio that was shown not only at the awards ceremony but also streamed online, he mentions his involvement with Care Outreach.  Here is the YouTube video

 

2. National Day of Prayer - Canberra - Sunday 2 March 2014 

What better place to pray for our nation than in the Great Hall at Parliament House.  This will be the fourth year that we have gathered there.  It truly is an amazing experience to pray with people from all over Australia from 10 am to 4 pm.  I know not everyone can make it, but if you can it is well worth making the trip.  More details and to register can be found at www.nationaldayofprayer.com.au.

If you can help financially, we are in need of paying for the Great Hall by this week.  The cost is $10,000 to hire it for the day.  Any donations small or large would be greatly appreciated, you can make a donation through the website above, or call or email me if you require any further information.

Please encourage your local churches to participate in this National Day of Prayer event in any way that they feel is appropriate.

National Day of Prayer - Queensland - Saturday 1 March 2014

Being held on the Saturday 1 March at Parliament House in Queensland, this will give an opportunity for those in South East Queensland to gather together and pray not only for our nation, but our state.  We have booked the Parliamentary Annex for prayer, which is a fantastic opportunity to pray right at the heart of where the key decisions are made that affect our state on a day by day basis.  I've always dreamed of being able to circle our Parliament House here in prayer, wouldn't that be a fantastic sign to those in parliament, the media and the state that as Christians we care for and pray regularly for those who make the decisions and who live in our fantastic state.

In the past we haven't required you to register for this event, but this year due to heightened security at Parliament we need you to register.  To do so go to:  www.ndopqld.eventbrite.com.au

Wes Leake

Business Blessings

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3. Forty Days of Prayer & Fasting 


 

40 Day Prayer Plan: to Activate the Promises of God for Revival in Our Nation

God’s promises are sure! We will receive the abundant life of Jesus’ kingdom in our spheres of influence when we each become strong spiritual gatekeepers in all aspects of our lives. Numbers 23:19, Luke 11:21, Revelation 1:6

  • Week 1:Receive the Abundance of Jesus’ Kingdom in your Personal Life.
  • Week 2:Receive the Abundance of Jesus’ Kingdom in Family Life.
  • Week 3:Receive the Abundance of Jesus’ Kingdom in Church Life.
  • Week 4:Receive the Abundance of Jesus’ Kingdom in Marketplace Life.
  • Week 5:Receive the Abundance of Jesus’ Kingdom: Revival in your Territory.
  • Week 6:Receive the Abundance of Jesus’ Kingdom: Revival in your Nation.

Further details at http://40daysofprayer.com.au/

 

4. Testimony of women conceived in rape

Christian News & Wire

January 30, 2014

Because of the circumstances concerning my conception–by RAPE–I, and all those who will be conceived in the same manner have been marked for death by a great number of people. We are called the “demon seed,” who are  unable to contribute to our society, unable to bring our mother’s joy.

Unprotected, sadly, even by some individuals and organizations who refer to themselves as “pro-life”. How sad that so many who purport to champion the cause of the unborn, consider me “an exception”. But I’m NOT an exception…I am a human being, just like any other preborn human being.

I am here today, because my mother–despite the fact that she was mentally ill AND raped, on her way home from work one night–decided my life had value, that no matter how I was conceived, I was valuable and worth protecting. I am far from “demon seed”.  I am a beautiful licensed minister who volunteers to help the homeless, a wife, mother and friend. Yet, like so many minorities in America, I am the target of hate. My people group (those conceived by rape) are not protected by law like many other minority people groups. Instead, every time a law is passed with a rape exception, a clear message is broadcast that my life has no value.  (Current bill being debated with a rape exception is the No Taxpayer Funding For Abortion Act)

What if a certain amount of the population were a specific racial group, and some claimed they were “demon seed?” Wouldn’t there be outrage!?  What if a law was proposed to limit abortions for everyone except the 1% of those minority, would you support it? Because 99% would be saved, or would you see the prejudice against that 1%?

For someone who was conceived in rape-like me, I see this as a prejudice issue. Similar to a hate crime, we are called “demon seed.” I have received hate mail stating my mother made the wrong choice and should have aborted me. I have friends who, because they were conceived in rape, were spit on...

Read more

 

5. U.S. Abortions Fall to Lowest Rate Since Roe v. Wade 

 

Do latest numbers signal success for pro-life movement and surge of state restrictions?

Christianity Today Kate Tracy 3/2/2014

Courtesy of Guttmacher Institute

Add one more striking statistic to the debate over the pro-life movement's impact on America after four decadesof advocacy.

With abortion clinics closing at record ratesas abortions hit near-record lowsand state restrictions hit near-record highs, a respected report released today reveals that U.S. abortions have dropped to their lowest rate since 1973—the year the U.S. Supreme Court decided Roe v. Wade.

In 2011, U.S. abortions dropped to 16.9 per 1,000 women between the ages of 15 and 44, according to the latest reportby the Guttmacher Institute. The 2011 rate (the most recent year for which data is available) is the lowest since 1973, when America's abortion rate was 16.3. By comparison, the highest rate was 29.3 in 1981.

The abortion rate declined in every state except six, reportsReligion News Service (amid widespread coverage). Guttmacher also reports a 13 percent decline in the number of abortions between 2008 and 2011, when it estimates 1.1 million abortions were performed...

Read more


 

5. The Existential Elephant in the 'Christian Persecution' Room

by Raymond Ibrahim

CBN News
January 17, 2014

Open Doors USArecently released its widely cited 2014 World Watch List—a report that highlights and ranks the 50 worst nations around the globe persecuting Christians.

The one glaring fact that emerges from this report is that the overwhelming majority of Christian persecution around the world today is being committed at the hands of Muslims of all races, languages, cultures, and socio-political circumstances: Muslims from among America's allies (Saudi Arabia) and its enemies (Iran); Muslims from economically rich nations (Qatar) and from poor nations (Somalia and Yemen); Muslims from "Islamic republic" nations (Afghanistan) and from "moderate" nations (Malaysia and Indonesia); Muslims from nations rescued by America (Kuwait) and Muslims claiming "grievances" against America (fill in the blank __).

A common denominator, a pattern, exists, one that is even more extensive than Open Doors implies. Accordingto that organization's communications director, Emily Fuentes, "of the 50 worst nations for persecution, 37 of them are Muslim," or 74%.

In fact, while this number suggests that the other 13 countries making the top 50 are not Muslim—for example Kenya and Ethiopia—those doing the persecution there are.

In other words, those persecuting Christians in 41 of 50 nations are Muslims; that is, a whopping 82% of all persecution around the globe is being committed by the adherents of Islam—sometimes in Christian majority nations; for example, the Central African Republic which, after the 2013 Islamic takeover, now ranks #16, "severe persecution" (the Christian-majority nation did not even appear in the previous year's top 50).

As for the top ten absolute worst nations, where, according to the 2014 World Watch List, Christians suffer "extreme persecution," nine—that is, 90%—are Muslim. (Indeed, Open Doors' global map of Christian persecutioncan easily be confused with a global map of the Islamic world, with the exception of China (ranked 37, "moderate persecution") and some sporadic countries dominated by crime and godless tyranny, Columbia, North Korea, etc.)

Similarly, a recent Morning Star News report listing2013's ten most horrific anecdotes of Christian persecution around the world finds that nine out of ten—again, 90%—were committed at the hands of those professing Islam.

Still, considering that the 2014 World Watch List ranks North Korea—non-Islamic, communist—as the number one worst persecutor of Christians, why belabor the religious identity of Muslims?

Here we come to some critically important but blurred distinctions. While Christians are indeed suffering extreme persecution in North Korea, these fall into the realm of the temporal, the aberrant, even. Something as simple as overthrowing the North Korean regime would likely end persecution there almost overnight—just as the fall of Communist Soviet Union saw religious persecution come to a quick close.

In the Islamic world, however, a similar scenario would not alleviate the sufferings of Christians by an iota. Quite the opposite; where dictators fall—Saddam in Iraq, Mubarak in Egypt, Qaddafi in Libya, and ongoing attempts to oust Assad in Syria—Christian persecution rises...

Read more 

1. Syria and the Middle East Today - 2013: a pivotal year

 2. How Protestant Missionaries developed Democratic Societies

3. Nominations for Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering 2015 

4. A huge Cross for Cental Australia?

5. More Than 2 Million Indicate Accepting Christ as Savior Through BGEA Operated Website in 2013

 6. Endeavour Forum Meeting Tonight in Melbourne

7.Abortion by the Numbers

 

1. Syria and the Middle East Today - 2013: a pivotal year

 

Elizabeth Kendal, 31 Jan 2014

Written especially for NACL, Elizabeth has given readers an up to date summaryoftheSunni-Shi'ite struggle for regional and Islamic supremacy.

The war in Syria is integral to the Sunni-Shi'ite struggle for regional and Islamic supremacy. The Sunnis may have reigned supreme for well over a millennium, but the US-led war in Iraq (commencing 2003) changed the balance of power, facilitating a Shi'ite ascendancy.

See: Religious Liberty Trends: Shi'ite Ascendancy(5 February 2007) & Religious Liberty Trends: 2007-2008-- under the subheading A word on the Middle East (15 February 2008).

Iraq's move into the Iranian orbit completed the "Shi'ite Crescent": the Iran-Iraq-Syria-Hezballah strategic alliance that enables Iranian influence to stretch all the way from Tehran to Israel's northern border and the Mediterranean Sea.

Subsequently, US influence in the Middle East declined -- plummeting after the financial crisis of Aug-Sept 2008 -- leaving US-allied Sunni Arab dictators increasingly isolated and vulnerable. Initially a movement to protest corruption and poor living standards, the "Arab Spring" was quickly hijacked by the region's most politically organised group: the Muslim Brotherhood (MB).

The Obama administration's decision to ditch its allies in favour of the MB -- believing that support for Islamic "democracy" would put them "on the right side of history" -- brought angst to Riyadh, but joy to Tehran. For while Egypt's Mubarak had been aligned with the Sunni axis -- which consists of Sunni Arab US-backed monarchs and dictators that have signed peace treaties with Israel and host US military bases -- the Iranian axis comprises regimes that resist US hegemony and are belligerent towards Israel.[1][1]

While the Iranian regime was delighted by the rise of the MB, talk of a restoration of Ottoman and Saudi hegemony gave them pause for concern. Though Syria is a Sunni Arab-majority state, it has been ruled by a coalition of minorities since WWII.[2][2]In 1973 a Lebanese Shia cleric issued fatwa declaring the Alawi to be a sect of Shia Islam (rather than a heretical movement). Alliances with Iran and Hezballah provide the vulnerable Assad regime with protection from Sunni aggression. Conversely, Iran and Hezballah see Syria as their most strategic asset; they were never going to let Syria fall.[3][3]

On 5 June 2013, the situation in Syria pivoted dramatically when the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) -- supported by fighters from Hezballah (Lebanon), Iraq and Iran -- liberated the strategic city of Al-Qusayr near the border with Lebanon. Whoever controls Al-Qusayr controls supply lines into Homs and the centre. The SAA had effectively changed the balance of power on the ground.

On 21 August 2013, Sarin gas was released in Ghouta, on the outskirts of Damascus, just as the SAA's Operation Shield of the Capital was making great and highly strategic gains against rebels and CIA-trained Arab units there. There is absolutely no doubt that the rebels released the Sarin gas with the aim of triggering a US-NATO intervention on their behalf.

See, SYRIA: Who is Deploying Chemical Weapons?(28 Aug 2013).

However, as the Obama administration realised, US air strikes on Syria would totally ruin President Obama's much-heralded detente with new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani. So the US backed off, abandoning the rebels to their fate. Rebel forces are now totally demoralised.

In early October, the SAA broke through the rebel encirclement of Aleppo, opening the road between Damascus and the northern city, enabling supply and liberating Christian and loyalist areas long-besieged by Islamist forces.

In November 2013, US-Iran rapprochement went ahead, horrifying Saudi Arabia. And so we enter 2014 with Iran ascendant once again. Without military support from the US, the rebels cannot achieve a military victory. Though fighting will subside, terrorism will continue for many years yet, especially if the rebels believe the West supports their cause.

As Assad consolidates his gains and secures his territory, al-Qaeda elements are changing tack and concentrating on carving out a base of operations in the Kurd and Christian dominated lands of north-eastern Syria and in the hot-bed of Sunni resistance that is Anbar Province, western Iraq.

Elizabeth Kendalis an international religious liberty analyst and prayer advocate.
She is the Director of Advocacy at Christian Faith and Freedom (Canberra) and an Adjunct Research Fellow at the Centre for the Study of Islam and Other Faiths (CSIOF) at Melbourne School of Theology (MST). Her book -- Turn Back the Battle: Isaiah Speaks to Christians Today
  (Deror Books, Dec 2012) -- applies a Biblical response to suffering and persecution to today's realities.

 

 

2. How Protestant Missionaries developed Democratic Societies 

The Surprising Discovery About Those Colonialist, Proselytizing Missionaries

They didn’t set out to change history. But one modern scholar’s research shows they did just that.

Andrea Palpant Dilley

8.1.2014 Christianity Today Cover Story

...Fourteen years ago, Robert Woodberry was a graduate student in sociology at the University of North Carolina–Chapel Hill (UNC). The son of J. Dudley Woodberry, a professor of Islamic studies and now a dean emeritus at Fuller Theological Seminary, started studying in UNC's respected PhD program with one of its most influential figures, Christian Smith (now at the University of Notre Dame). But as Woodberry cast about for a fruitful line of research of his own, he grew discontented.

"Most of the research I studied was about American religion," he says of early graduate school. "It wasn't [my] passion, and it didn't feel like a calling, something I could pour my life into."

One afternoon he attended a required lecture that brought his vocational drift to a sudden end. The lecture was by Kenneth A. Bollen, a UNC–Chapel Hill professor and one of the leading experts on measuring and tracking the spread of global democracy. Bollen remarked that he kept finding a significant statistical link between democracy and Protestantism. Someone needed to study the reason for the link, he said.

Woodberry sat forward in his seat and thought, That's me. I'm the one...

"[Woodberry] presents a grand and quite ambitious theory of how 'conversionary Protestants' contributed to building democratic societies," says Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history at Baylor University. "Try as I might to pick holes in it, the theory holds up. [It has] major implications for the global study of Christianity."

"Why did some countries become democratic, while others went the route of theocracy or dictatorship?" asks Daniel Philpott, who teaches political science and peace studies at the University of Notre Dame. "For [Woodberry] to show through devastatingly thorough analysis that conversionary Protestants are crucial to what makes the country democratic today [is] remarkable in many ways. Not only is it another factor—it turns out to be the most important factor. It can't be anything but startling for scholars of democracy."

"I think it's the best work out there on religion and economic development," says Robin Grier, professor of economics and international and area studies at the University of Oklahoma. "It's incredibly sophisticated and well grounded. I haven't seen anything quite like it."

When Woodberry talks about his work, he sounds like a careful academic who doesn't want to overstate his case. But you also pick up on his passion for setting the record straight.

"We don't have to deny that there were and are racist missionaries," says Woodberry. "We don't have to deny there were and are missionaries who do self-centered things. But if that were the average effect, we would expect the places where missionaries had influence to be worse than places where missionaries weren't allowed or were restricted in action. We find exactly the opposite on all kinds of outcomes. Even in places where few people converted, [missionaries] had a profound economic and political impact."

The Nations' Educators

There is one important nuance to all this: The positive effect of missionaries on democracy applies only to "conversionary Protestants." Protestant clergy financed by the state, as well as Catholic missionaries prior to the 1960s, had no comparable effect in the areas where they worked.

Independence from state control made a big difference. "One of the main stereotypes about missions is that they were closely connected to colonialism," says Woodberry. "But Protestant missionaries not funded by the state were regularly very critical of colonialism."

Read more

 

3. Nominations for Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering 2015 

 

We are currently looking for nominations of younger leaders who are between the age of 25 to 35 years old and who are already showing they have promise as future national or global leaders. YLG2015 will be held in the Kiev, Ukraine and whilst the dates haven’t been confirmed at this point in time it will be in July or August – just finalising the actual dates so they don’t conflict with other global meetings that will be taking place in 2015.

The profile of a younger leader:

·        Will have a significant voice for the church nationally or globally in the next decades

·        Have an early track record of achievement, an expanding sphere of influence, and exceptional intellectual capacity

·        Have exemplary character, vibrant spiritual life, and sacrificial service for the glory of God

·        Have a passionate vision for global evangelization and a kingdom mindset of cooperative ministry

·        Come from a representative sample of church, mission, academy, and marketplace vocations and are between 25-35 years old (recognizing there will be cultural exceptions)

The selection process will be rigorous and we trust participants will come from 200 countries. Nominations can be made via this link:

http://www.lausanne.org/en/gatherings/issue-based/ylg-2015/nomination-form.html

Questions can be directed to Daniel Williswholeads the process of bringing this YLG together at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

4. A huge Cross for Cental Australia?

"No bluff, Ken Duncan wants a light to lead second coming"

An artist's impression of Hat Hill with  a 20m lit cross as planned by photographer Ken  Duncan for the  Australian outback, `a Holy Spirit fire that starts in the centre and spreads across our nation' Source:Supplied

RIO has Christ the Redeemer -- now renowned photographer Ken Duncan wants to erect Australia's own towering monument to Christianity in the form of a 20m-high LED-lit cross in the "middle of nowhere", atop a mountain in the central Australian outback.

Visible for kilometres, the structure will be a focal point for anyone driving to Papunya or Haasts Bluff, about 230km west of Alice Springs, where the straight road meets a T-junction directly at the mountain's base.

"It will look like a cross floating in the night," Duncan says. "There will be a walk up there, so people can go up and pray."

The million-dollar project will require engineering works and a heli-crane to erect. Planning is well under way.

Duncan has made a household name for himself with his trademark, curiously irradiant landscape photographs, sold at tourist hotspots around the country.

While he is an enthusiastic Christian, he stresses the original idea for the project came from locals. It emerged during an Easter celebration involving indigenous people at a nearby memorial site for four dead evangelists.

"People were singing things to Jesus. It was quite an amazing event and things were happening, miracles were happening," Duncan says.

"Three people had a vision of building a cross on the top of the hill. I really believe it was true."

Duncan says the visionaries asked him for help and soon others were offering their services, too. Indigenous artist Alison Multa, from Haasts Bluff, was one of those who saw the cross in her mind.

Read more

 

5. More Than 2 Million Indicate Accepting Christ as Savior Through BGEA Operated Website in 2013

By Jeremy Reynalds

Senior Correspondent for ASSIST News Service www.assistnews.net

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (ANS) -- Approximately 10.5 million people worldwide in 2013 visited the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association's (BGEA) http://peacewithgod.jesus.net/ website.

Image removed by sender.

Screen capture for www.PeaceWithGod.net

According to a news release from BGEA, more than 2 million of those individuals indicated making a commitment to Christ after viewing the message.

The evangelistic site, part of BGEA's Search for Jesus Internet ministry, uses Bible scripture, video presentations and live chats to share the Gospel with visitors to the site.

Since the site was launched in May 2011, more than 19 million people have viewed the Gospel presentation, with nearly 4 million responding to the message.

Additionally, hundreds of thousands have submitted their contact information to BGEA in order to receive follow up and ongoing training in their new faith.

"The numbers are hard to fathom, frankly. They're exciting, but difficult to really grasp or comprehend," said John Cass, BGEA's Director of Internet Evangelism, speaking in the news release.

He continued, "However, on a daily basis I get the opportunity to read through transcripts of the chats taking place between visitors! to our site and our trained volunteer counselors, and I c an tell you that the world is being impacted for Christ."

Cass added, "What we see as a number may be the Filipina woman working in a Chinese home when she stumbled upon the site and finally realized the truth of repentance and forgiveness. Or it may be the man in his 30's who was up early one morning to look at adult websites, but instead stumbled upon PeaceWithGod.net and ultimately gave his life to Christ. These people aren't just numbers, but real, hurting individuals who finally found hope."

The news release said the online ministry is strengthened by a network of more than 300 trained volunteers ranging in age from 20-somethings to octogenarians. They're from all walks of life and have committed to assist those looking for answers in life.

"They take the online interaction and make it a much more personal one-on-one experience," said Cass. "They chat with people on PeaceWithGod.net, guide them through a free online discipleship course, and respond t! o spiritual questions by e-mail."

Additional information on BGEA's Internet Evangelism efforts can be found at www.SearchforJesus.net.

Link

 

6. Endeavour Forum Meeting Tonight 

Celebrating our 35th Birthday

Tonight 7.30 pm, Friday, 31st January at the O'Hanlon Centre, Mitchell St., Mentone, Vic. 3194. The meeting will be chaired by Mr. David Perrin, President, Drug Advisory Council of Australia. Special guests: His Lordship Bishop Peter Elliott, DD, who will say the Opening Prayer, and Senator Cory Bernardi (Lib, SA) who will speak on "The Family in Australia". The Phyllis Schlafly awards will be presented by David Perrin & Babette Francis and the vote of thanks will be given by Mrs. Jenny Stokes, Research Director, Salt Shakers, and the Rev. Mark Durie, Anglican vicar of St. Mary's Caulfield will launch Senator Bernardi's book, "The Conservative Revolution".

The meeting will be followed by supper. All welcome, $10 donation appreciated. RSVP essential:

Mrs. Prue Oldham, (03) 9583 6835 or       Mrs. Margaret Butts, (03) 8588 1792

 

7. Abortion by the Numbers 

Bill Muehlenberg  Culture Watch

Abortion is the greatest killer known to man. No one of course knows how many babies have died at the hands of their own parents throughout history. And even since the dreadful day 41 years ago in America when Roe v Wadeset off a baby-killing tsunami around the world (January 23), the numbers are not fully clear.

But we have some ideas of the rough numbers, both in the US and globally. And the numbers are mind-numbing. We just can’t get a handle on the size, enormity and scope of these figures. What Hitler could not do, what major world wars could not do, we are doing all the time in the name of a woman’s right to choose.

The numbers just from America are utterly appalling. According to Randy O’Bannon of LifeNews there have been “56,662,169 abortions in America since Roe vs. Wadein 1973?. As they state in an email: “Each abortion is more than just a number — it’s a tiny baby whose life was snuffed out and a mother injured in the process. Each abortion is a father who will never experience the joy of holding his baby, watching his son play on the high school football team or watching his daughter graduate from college.

“If you run the math on those terrible figures, the numbers are absolutely chilling:
1.382 million abortions every year
115,167 abortions every month
26,577 abortions every week
3,786 abortions every day
157 abortions every hour
2.6 abortions every minute”

The article does mention the good news however that abortion numbers are declining in the US: “The long term trend is fewer abortions, and the number is down significantly from 1990 when the country saw 1.6 million abortions a year. As one measure of the impact your work has had, if the number of abortions had remained at 1.6 million, more than seven MILLION more babies would have died...

Read more



[1][1]Some analysts believe the Iranian regime is belligerent towards Israel principally for political purposes. Historically, Iran has been allied to Israel against Sunni Arab aggression. And while the Saudis maintain peace with Israel and friendship with the West, that also is principally for political purposes -- and all the while they are spreading their toxic Wahhabi ideology worldwide and funding international Islamic jihad. Morsi's pro-Iran leaning was one reason why the Saudi regime backed the 3 July 2013 military coup in Egypt that ousted him from the presidency and the MB from power. A rapprochement between Gaza's Hamas and Iran is underway as I write.

[2][2]The Sunnis allied with the Nazi during WWII. After the war, the French empowered the minorities so as to keep the Sunnis in check.

[3][3]Had the Assad regime fallen, the Iranians would have done all in their power to draw the Syrian MB and al-Qaeda elements into the Iranian axis; and it probably wouldn't have been too difficult at all.


1. Teaching religion is "child abuse" says atheist

 2. Barry Chant's new book on Revival

 3. Five new films in 2014 with biblical themes

4. The Tragedy of South Sudan, the world's newest country

5. Keeping up with Cory

 6. Lighting up your house for Christmas 

 

1. Teaching religion is "child abuse" says atheist

 

The atheist champion of global Humanism, Richard Dawkins is now on a world crusade to eliminate the "child abuse" caused by religion, particularly Christianity. However, if Richard is really concerned about the "well-being" of children he should start with Humanism itself. Humanist activists has done more to decimate the well-being of children than any other ideology. Thanks to the agenda advocated, promoted and implemented by Humanism's pro-abortion activism "millions of children" are now being torn apart by abortionists with the heads of late term children being crushed as they struggle to exit the womb, their tiny hearts still beating as they lay dying on abortion clinic benches.

Then we have Richards alternative education agenda, where all children are taught that they live in an "indifferent" universe that is devoid of ultimate meaning and purpose. A place where humans are nothing special, being merely the product "selfish genes", simply the result of "undirected" chance cosmic events, along with uncaring evolutionary processes that operates on the "survival of the fittest".  As a consequence headlines of newspapers would daily herald the impact and consequences of this emerging anti-religious godless mindset.

To this we add the global Humanist movements grand contribution to the legalization and widespread availability of pornography and the fostering of related lifestyles, such that porn is being widely viewed by children and young adults alike. They now largely perceive this "anything goes" environment as the new cultural norm  where everything is now "relative", particularly in morality.  However the "absolute principle" of the Humanist utopia is that there are "no moral absolutes" with no ultimate basis for good and evil, right and wrong, or even justice and injustice, an indifferent uncaring godless universe with no ultimate place for such "invented" human notions and all about the "well-being" of humanity. This "well-being" of individuals and society would be decided by the godless ruling governing elite as Caesar, the French Revolution, Napoleon, Stalin, Hitler, Mao, Pol Pot, and countless others have well demonstrated.

Of course, in such a godless utopia, all children should be warned to stay away from Christian views and values. No mention is to be made of the Ten Commandments, the sanctity of marriage, sacrificial service and giving, turning the other cheek, returning good for evil, looking after the unborn or caring for the poor and the needy.  Apparently the teaching of such values and ideals is "child abuse".

Dawkins' godless activism well demonstrates the truth that there is no delusion like self-delusion. 

John Heininger

Director
National Education Coalition

Mobile: 041 727 7439

 

2. Barry Chant's new book on Revival 

 

Dr Barry Chant, Founding President of Tabor College, Author and Teacher

http://www.barrychant.com/
Barry's latest book Revival taking years of research: a lifetime of experience. 340 pages; over 50 photos; stirring stories.

Buy

What the reviewers say:

Authoritative… Refreshing… You will be fascinated… Refreshingly honest… Stimulating…  Should be compulsory reading… An extensive and wonderful exploration… A thought-provoking challenge… A great read… Amazing stories… Wide historical and biblical research… Careful historical and biblical analysis… Encouraging, thought-provoking, inspiring, biblical… Uplifts the spirit and inspires faith…Comprehensive… Biblically challenging…Christ-centred.

 Three articles by Barry Chant:

1.Barry's reflections on Rev Richard Johnson First Chaplain Pastor and Missionary to Australia written in 1988

http://www.barrychant.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/01/Australias-destiny-in-the-Sovereignty-of-God.pdf

2.Smith Wiggleworth's prophecy about the last revival being in Australia
http://www.barrychant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/That-Wigglesworth-prophecy1.pdf

3.Homosexual Practice in the Light of the Scriptures
http://www.barrychant.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/Homosexual-Practice-in-the-light-of-the-Scriptures.pdf

 

3. Five new films in 2014 with biblical themes

 

The Bible narrative has always been one heck of a story. It reads like a mix of action thriller, period drama, romance novel, and the more apocalyptic parts, like pure fantasy. The gripping narrative sections of the text are part of the reason why the Bible is the bestselling book of all time.

But in 2014, we’ll discover if the Good Book is as captivating on the modern day silver screen as it is in print.

The scrappy Christian film industry has been budding for the last several years, proving that people of faith are hungry for content that speaks to the soul. But what many religious films possess in terms of spiritual content, they often lack in star power and budgets. This year, however, big studios such as Sony and Lionsgate are entering the fray by releasing films of, well, biblical proportions...

See reviews and trailers of “Son of God” | 20th Century Fox (February 2014), “Noah” | Regency Enterprises (November 2014), “Heaven is For Real” | Sony Pictures (April 2014)
Two others include: “Exodus” | 20th Century Fox (December 2014) & “Mary, Mother of Christ” | Lionsgate Films (December 2014)

Read more and view trailers


 

4. The Tragedy of South Sudan, the world's newest country

 

'This new nation is at the edge of the cliff, and the front wheels are hanging over the precipice,' says Gary Short, a veteran Christian worker in the country
By Dan Wooding
Founder of ASSIST Ministries January 6, 2014

JUBA, SOUTH SUDAN (ANS) -- South Sudan, the world's newest nation, seemed to hold great promise when it finally became an independent state on July 9, 2011, following a referendum that passed with 98.83% of the vote, following years fighting with Sudan.

It is a United Nations member state, a member state of the African Union, and a member state of the Intergovernmental Authority on Development. In July 2012, South Sudan signed the Geneva Conventions. South Sudan has suffered internal conflict since its independence.

After a first Sudanese Civil Qar, there then came the second one, which was a conflict from 1983 to 2005 between the central Sudanese government and the Sudan People's Liberation Army. It was largely a continuation of the First Sudanese Civil War of 1955 to 1972. Although it originated in southern Sudan, the civil war spread to the Nuba mountains and Blue Nile. It lasted for 22 years.

Roughly two million people have died as a result of war, famine and disease caused by the conflict. Four million people in southern Sudan have been displaced at least once (and often repeatedly) during the war. The civilian death toll is one of the highest of any war since World War II and was marked by a large number of human rights violations, particularly by the government. These include slavery and mass killings. The conflict officially ended with the signing of a peace agreement in January 2005.

The Guardian newspaper says, "Similar in size to France, South Sudan is estimated by BP to hold sub-Saharan Africa's third biggest oil reserves. Its plight is attracting more global attention than most conflict-torn African nations. US president Barack Obama received daily briefings while on holiday in Hawaii, the New York Times reported, describing this as "a level of attention unheard-of for any other crisis in that part of Africa"...

Read more 

 

5. Keeping up with Cory

 

On the Crucifixion of Cory Bernardi

Bill Muehlenberg Culture Watch

There have been two main groups targeting Cory Bernardi all week: the rabid secular left which always hates anything coming from a conservative and a Christian, and so-called “Christian” feminists. I am not sure which group is worse in terms of the damage they have caused, and the dangerous slander they are peddling.

You of course expect all this from the secular left. The angry atheists, the hating homosexuals, the crusading commies, and the serial-pest secularists are all experts at hate, abuse, bullying and intimidation – all in the name of tolerance and acceptance of course.

So their orchestrated campaign of hated, name-calling, ugly abuse and demonic filth is sadly to be expected. Consider the book site amazon, which has his new book, The Conservative Revolution. Within hours of it being posted there hundreds of vicious, vile and disgusting “reviews” appeared.

Of course it was instantly obvious that 98 per cent of these folks did not have the book and of course did not read it. Indeed, many of them said exactly that. They said they had no intention of reading it at all, yet they were quite happy to trash the book and the man regardless.

But we all know that the homosexual hate squad is expert at bullying, intimidation and stand-over tactics. And I had something to do with all this a well. Less than 24 hours after I posted my own review of Bernardi’s book on amazon, there were already 105 votes on my review – with only 29 positive! At the moment the numbers are 44 positive out of 146. And check out some of the nasty and diabolical comments posted under my review...

Read more

Paul Sheehan from Fairfax press defends Cory

"We know the statistics - that children who grow up without a father are five times more likely to live in poverty and commit crime, nine times more likely to drop out of schools and 20 times more likely to end up in prison. They are more likely to have behavioural problems, or run away from home, or become teenage parents themselves. And the foundations of our community are weaker because of it.'' - President Barack Obama, Father's Day speech, 2008.

Read more

 

6. Lighting up your house for Christmas 

 

Wondering where to order the Nativity Scene, Wise Men, Angels, Shepherds ...?

The lights below were purchased from this website and are now reduced in price. As well Koorong had a limited number for sale.

1. Understanding Our Christian Heritage

 2. National Christian Heritage Sunday

 3. NO book has had a greater impact on Western civilisation than the Bible. The Australian Editorial

4. Australian younger couples prefer marriage, survey shows

5. Bushfires Rage Because Whitefellas Don’t Know How to Manage the Australian Landscape

 6. A conflict of Christian visions:Genesis One-Two versus Three   

 

1. Understanding Our Christian Heritage



Australia Day 26th January 2014

Welcome to the Christian History website

The Christian History Research website contains a large collection of information and resources to help you understand more about Australia's Christian heritage. Resources can be used online and many can be downloaded for educational use and personal research.

Included on the site you will find interactive applications, books, documents, maps, video and audio and more. Whatever your purpose is for researching Australia's Christian history, we trust you will find this site helpful.

Read More

Home Search Books Biographies For Schools Multimedia Documents Maps Downloads Links

Resources for schools Large collection of books Maps 

What are some of the ways God has worked in the building of Australia?

Here are several ways to learn more:                                                                            

 The Hand of God: Interactive
An interactive journey that explores the the Hand of God: His Story of Australia.
 
View now

The Hand of God: His Story of Australia
An 8000 article exploring the topic.
 
Download PDF

Australia's Priceless Heritage of Freedom

Australia's Christian Foundations and Heritage
by Dr Graham McLennan January 2014

 http://www.chr.org.au/downloads.html towards bottom of page

The opening of the first Parliament was a Christian service.
Read More

Have you ever wondered about the woman on the old five dollar note? For 30 years she helped Australian immigrants.

Her name - Caroline Chisholm and she was known as the immigrants' friend.

What was she like?  Read More

Who made the first full length movies?

Soldiers of the Cross - the first feature length film ever produced. But who made it? Read More

Robert Garren  helped draft Australia's Federal Constitution and was appointed the Secretary to the Attorney General's dept on the 1 January 1901, becoming Australia's first federal public servant, wrote this poem:

Help us build a nation,
A people proud and free -
Proud of our high vocation,
Humble, O Lord, to Thee.
Aflame with high endeavour,
Though many paths be trod,
Keep us united ever,
One people, serving God.

By Robert Randolph Garran


 Almost 200 years ago the Gospel arrived on the shores of New Zealand from Australia.

Read what's being done to commemorate this event.

 Read More
 

2. NationalChristian Heritage Sunday

 

National Christian Heritage Sunday celebrates the Gospel of Jesus Christ arriving on Australia's shores. Australia's first minister was the Reverend Richard Johnson. He arrived with the first fleet. On 3rd February 1788 Rev. Johnson held the first Christian service in Australia. The day will now be celebrated on the first Sunday in February each year. The date for 2014 will be 2nd February.

http://www.nchs.net.au/index.html

 

3. NO book has had a greater impact on Western civilisation than the Bible. The Australian Editorial 

Say a little prayer for Greens

Editorial. The Australian January 16, 2014

NO book has had a greater impact on Western civilisation than the Bible.Believers or not, few would disagree. The Bible has shaped our language, art and institutions. Its Christian teachings have informed our development from exploration to enlightenment, through customs to laws, forging countries and cultures. So the practice of beginning deliberations in federal parliament with the Lord's Prayer is not the imposition of a narrow religious code but rather a continuing thread of responsibility and respect for the burden of democratic decision-making.

The Greens move, by acting leader Richard Di Natale, to scrap the tradition is another demonstration of their disconnect from the mainstream. Senator Di Natale contends ditching the prayer will reinforce the separation of church and state when this separation is the very endowment of the traditions it reflects. He suggests it is not attuned to a pluralistic and multicultural society when that, too, has been bequeathed by these traditions. He even verballed curriculum reviewer Kevin Donnelly, suggesting his reference to the prayer hinted at a formal preoccupation with Christianity, when Dr Donnelly argued the need to teach about all great faiths.

To be sure, the prayer sparked debate when it was introduced at Federation. The then member for Kooyong, William Knox, moved the motion saying the prayer was "unsectarian in character" and could be accepted even by members of "the Hebrew faith". The current member for Kooyong, Josh Frydenberg - Jewish, as it happens - agrees. Back in 1901, West Australian senator George Pearce argued that the principles of the prayer were worthy of senators "even if uttered by atheists" and would do no harm. He was right, and prescient.

Greens senators are free to restrict their spirituality to addressing "fellow Earthians" about Gaia. We think most Australians are comfortable with the Lord's Prayer. Australia even bolstered the prayer's global renown when in the 1970s Adelaide singing nun Sister Janet Mead sent it to the top of the pop charts. The Greens might be more comfortable heeding the words of the only transported convict elected to federal parliament; in 1901, William Groom declared the prayer "socialistic" and ascribed it to "the greatest social reformer that the world has ever known". Amen.

Link

 

4. Australian younger couples prefer marriage, survey shows 

 

Cosima Marriner January 19, 2014

Sun-Herald senior writer

A generational shift is taking place in attitudes to marriage, with younger couples appearing more committed to the institution than their older peers.

Relationships Australia's Lyn Fletcher said ''thoughtfulness'' was apparent in younger people's approach to long-term relationships.

''Young people are thinking seriously about marriage and parenting before going into long-term relationships and having children,'' she said. ''If there is a thoughtfulness going into a relationship, they're less inclined to just jump out of it.''

A survey by law firm Slater & Gordon of more than 2000 couples in married and de facto relationships found more than half those aged 25 to 34 would stay in an unhappy marriage for the sake of the children. In contrast, only 44 per cent of those aged 44 to 54 would stay on. People married for between three and four years were the most likely to stay in the relationship.

The divorce rate is at its lowest level since 1975, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, while the marriage rate has steadily risen since 2001. The proportion of divorces involving children is at its lowest since 1966 at 48.8 per cent. The median length of a marriage is 12 years, compared with 10 years in the early 1980s.

The median age for divorce has risen from 37 for men and 34 for women in 1985 to 45 for men and 42 for women in 2011.
Read more

 

5. Bushfires Rage Because Whitefellas Don’t Know How to Manage the Australian Landscape



Postedby jennifer, January 18th, 2014 - under Information.
Tags: Bushfires

SO much of Australia is needlessly and brutally incinerated every summer. News reports focus on homes and lives and the brave fire crews. But, what about the native fauna and flora? It wasn’t always this way, and it shouldn’t be so. As West Australian David Ward explains…

“BEFORE Europeans arrived, Noongar people managed our south-west dry forests and woodlands very well without fire trucks, water bombers, helicopters, television journalists, concerned politicians, the Conservation Council, hundreds of firefighters, or the Salvation Army to give them all breakfast. They did this by burning frequently, in most places as often as it would carry a mild, creeping fire.

Even where there were no Noongars, most of the bush would have burnt frequently by unimpeded lightning fires, trickling on for months. Such large lightning fires continued up to the 1920s, before there were any Bushfire Brigades. They could travel a hundred kilometres before autumn rain doused them. Most of the landscape would have burnt as often as it could carry a fire. Fire suppression and exclusion are unnatural, new fangled notions.

Frequent fire made the bush safe, and promoted grass for yonka(kangaroo), and a host of bush tucker plants. It produced byoo, the red fruit of the djiridji, or zamia. Frequent light smoke germinated seeds, and provoked flowering of kangaroo paws and balgagrass trees.

Kangaroo paws and byooare increasingly rare, under a muddle headed advocacy which claims that we should exclude fire from large bush areas for long periods. This phoney idea makes the bush very dangerous, as we have recently seen. Fire cannot be excluded indefinitely, and the longer it has been absent, the fiercer, and more damaging it will be...

Read more

Some more interesting reading:

'The Biggest Estate on Earth: How Aborigines Made Australia' By Bill Gammage

 http://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2011/december/1322699456/james-boyce/biggest-estate-earth-how-aborigines-made-australia-bill-g

http://www.dpaw.wa.gov.au/management/fire/fire-and-the-environment/41-traditional-aboriginal-burning

 

 

6. A conflict of Christian visions:Genesis One-Two versus Three 


 

by Anthony Bradley    |   January 16, 2014

Bradley is Associate Professor of Theology and Ethics at The King’s College (New York City) and Research Fellow at the Acton Institute.

There are two prominent schools of thought within conservative Protestant circles that continue to clash over what Christianity is about because their starting points comprise different biblical theological visions. I use the word “prominent” here because I fully recognize that there are other more nuanced voices in the Christian diaspora. No “binaries” or “false dichotomies” are intended here. This is simply a distinction between the two dominant voices in a choir of others.

One begins by constructing an understanding of the Christian life orientated around Genesis chapters 1 and 2 and the other begins with Genesis chapter 3. A Gen 1 and 2 starting point views the gospel as a means for human beings to have a realized experience of what their humanity was meant to be and to do, whereas a Gen. 3 orientation sees the gospel as a means of saving us from our humanity in preparation for the eschaton (heaven).

Space doesn’t permit a full development of these distinctions among the dominant voices but we could frame the current discourse in terms of how the gospel is understood. For example, when one begins with Genesis 1 and 2, as one well-known Protestant pastor opines, we could understand the gospel this way: “Through the person and work of Jesus Christ, God fully accomplishes salvation for us, rescuing us from judgment for sin into fellowship with him, and then restores the creation in which we can enjoy our new life together with him forever.” As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, Theodore G. Stylianopoulos reminds us that the gospel is “the good news of God’s saving work in Christ and the Spirit by which the powers of sin and death are overcome and the life of the new creation is inaugurated, moving towards the eschatological glorification of the whole cosmos.” Because the entire creation has been drawn into the mutiny of the human race, (Rom 8:19-24) redemption must involve the entire creation, as Michael Williamsargues. In a Genesis 1 and 2 framework, everything matters in God’s redemptive plan. As such, every person matters to God because they bear his image, and the Holy Spirit uses the evangelicalism of God’s people to unite men and women to Christ. The rest of creation and culture also matter to God because, in the mystery of God’s redemptive plan, we play a role in seeing that the cosmos brings glory to God (1 Cor 10:31, Col 3:23). The emphasis here is God’s sovereignty and mission for the whole creation...

Read more

 


1. Celebrate Our Christian Heritage - Sunday 2 February 2014  

 2. Open Doors 2014 World Watch List Released

 3. It Takes a Movement to Reach a City

4. Christianity, Conservatism and the State. Bill Muehlenberg

5. Mike Bickle Reveals Prayer Strategies at IHOPKC's OneThing Conference 

 6.  Benefits of a Flat Tax 

1. Celebrate Our Christian Heritage - Sunday 2 February 2014   

 

Canberra Declaration 8 January 2014

As we stand at the threshold of another new year we look forward to all that God will do in 2014.  As we do, we also believe it is important to celebrate the great things that God has done in the past.

And so it is a joy in this first Good News Update for 2014 to encourage you to take part in the second ever National Christian Heritage Sunday which will take place on Sunday 2 February, 2014. 

This is a time to reflect on our Christian foundations and recognize the hand of God in the shaping of Australia. 

In particular, it is a time to celebrate the first known preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Australian soil. This took place on 3 February, 1788, the first Sunday after the First Fleet had anchored in Sydney Cove with its cargo of 780 British convicts as well as many Bibles and Christian books.  

The preacher was the Reverend Richard Johnson who preached to his congregation of newly-arrived convicts, free settlers and marines.  The service was held on a grassy hill underneath a 'great tree' as there were no buildings at the time. This video clip called The First Fleet Bible tells the fascinating story and shows the Bible that Richard Johnson most likely used. 

Reverend Richard Johnson was appointed as chaplain to the First Fleet and the new colony when originally there was no plan to send a chaplain. The change was made because of action taken by a small group of clergy and laymen, known as the Eclectic Society ('eclectic' means 'a thinker who selects and reconciles principles, opinions belonging to different schools of thought').  They nominated the committed Richard Johnson and were able to persuade Prime Minister William Pitt to appoint him as chaplain.  So the prayers and positive action of a few made a difference!

It is noteworthy that the Eclectic Society included the great social reformer, William Wilberforce (left) who eventually brought about the abolition of the African slave trade in 1807 as well as the Reverend John Newton (right) the former slave-ship captain who wrote the hymn 'Amazing Grace'. We can be thankful that God used such men to lay a spiritual foundation for Australia. They are a very real part of our Christian heritage which National Christian Heritage Sunday encourages us to cherish and celebrate.

National Christian Heritage Sunday takes place on the first Sunday of February to coincide as much as possible to the actual anniversary date of 3 February 1788.  This year National Christian Heritage Sunday takes place on 2 February only one week after Australia Day which also falls on a Sunday. 

The main visionary for the National Christian Heritage Sunday is a practising dental surgeon Dr Graham McLennan, the founder and head of the National Alliance of Christian Leaders.  Graham was on the leadership team of the National Gathering in our Bicentenary year 1988 when 35,000 Christians came to Canberra to open New Parliament House in prayer.  Graham was also one of the visionaries of the Canberra Declaration.  He was amongst those who knelt on the lawns of Parliament House on 23 July 2010 to commit the Canberra Declaration to God in prayer.  

Throughout his years as a history-maker, Graham has had a passion to discover and document the hand of God in the history of Australia.  His recent article entitled 'Australia's Christian Foundation and Heritage' has just appeared in Family World News.

At the National Christian Heritage Sunday website you will find an invitation to participate as well as suggested short readings and a prayer.  Please encourage your church leaders to get involved by using these.  This 4 min YouTube, in which you will meet Dr Graham McLennan, is an example of one of the excellent resources that could be used on the day.

We close with Reverend Richard Johnson's text of that first known Christian service 226 years ago which we believe still challenges us as Australians today.

"What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?"

(Psalm 116:12)

We live in a land that is richly blessed by the mercy and the goodness of God - a land where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can still be freely preached and lived.  

As we look at the world today, especially places that do not have a Judeo-Christian foundation like Australia, we realize how blessed we are. This is something to celebrate!  

So with thankful hearts for our Christian heritage, let us prayerfully consider what we can render to God in 2014 to keep protecting and building on the Christian foundations of Australia. 

Have a great Australia Day and National Christian Heritage Sunday.  Like that very first Christian service you might even decide to conduct your service outside underneath a tree!

Yours for the hand of God on our great land,

David Rowsome and Warwick Marsh

www.canberradeclaration.org.au

Protecting Our Australian Values 
P.O. Box 378, Unanderra NSW 2526     This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 

 

2. Open Doors 2014 World Watch List

 

Each year, Open Doors releases a list of the top 50 countries where Christians are facing the worst persecution because of their faith.The Open Doors World Watch List is the only annual survey of religious liberty conditions of Christians around the world.

Which countries are on the list in 2014? A representative from Open Doors Australia is available for interviewplease contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

 Please visit www.worldwatchlist.org.au

 

3. It Takes a Movement to Reach a City with Dr Tim Keller 

 

A Church Pastors and Planters Conference and Consultation in Sydney with Dr. Tim Keller  Wednesday 26 - Friday 28 March 2014

Website http://www.citytocityconference.com/

"It takes a movement" is designed to forge a common vision, leading to collegial action towards a gospel movement in the leading cities of Australia, amongst church leaders and planters.

The foundation of the time will be 4 plenary talks by Tim Keller, as well as a 5th plenary by Tim and Kathy Keller; additionally there will be substantial break-out seminar times, which will be 2-part extended presentations on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, the unique feature of this occasion will be 3 consultation and conversation sessions with Tim Keller, where the conference engages in small group brain-storming, as well as conversation with Tim about concrete next steps towards building a movement of the gospel in our cities. 

Dr Tim Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the author of more than ten books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Reason for God. From its formation over twenty years ago, Redeemer has grown into a large, vibrant church in the heart of the city.

 

4.Christianity, Conservatism and the State. Bill Muehlenberg



Bill Muehlenberg Culture Watch

There are all sorts of good reasons why Christians should gravitate toward the more conservative side of politics, economics, and social thought.

The case for the compatibility of the two I have tried to make elsewhere, as in these four articles:www.billmuehlenberg.com/2010/08/24/what-is-conservatism/
www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/27/conservatism-libertarianism-and-christianity/ www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/01/05/conservatism-and-liberalism-christianity-and-secularism/ www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/09/13/religion-and-the-political-spectrum/
Here I want to focus on just one major emphasis of conservatism, and show why it fits in with biblical Christianity. I refer to the importance of limited or small government. Entire libraries have been written on this, but a few remarks can be made here nonetheless. We have all heard the saying of Lord Acton: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And we have recent history to show us unequivocally just how true this is. The thirst for power is unquenchable, and when the State is allowed to become increasingly powerful, we all suffer.Of course none of this should surprise the biblical Christian. We know that sin corrupts, and the desire for power is one chief way in which sin manifests itself. But Christians are not anarchists, for we realise that it was God who ordained the use of government to keep evil in check.So governments per se are not evil, but big governments with no checks and balances can always become grossly evil. God’s preferred means of governance begins with the individual. We are meant to exercise self-government over ourselves.Then smaller units of governance, such as the family and the church, are also institutions in which authority is exercised. The state is another place of authority, but it must not usurp the other forms of authority. But that all too often happens, with expanding government subsuming and taking over the roles of authority God gave to the church, the family, and to individuals... Read more
  

5. Mike Bickle Reveals Prayer Strategies at IHOPKC's OneThing Conference 



Leilani Haywood
  Charisma News 2/1/14

Over 30,000 people from 100 countries gathered in Kansas City for the Onething Conference hosted by the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) in late December. The conference was also the launch of the first annual summit of the major leaders in the missions, prayer and Bible translation movements and a partnership with the Seed Company of Wycliffe Bible Translators. "We want to see the Gospel preached and 24/7 worship and prayer in every tribe and tongue," said Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City in the opening session. 

Bickle added, "We're believing for 10,000 prayer chains or prayer ministries across the earth. We're hosting the first meeting bringing together the movements in church planting, missions, prayer and Bible translation. There's one movement in God's heart, and some people think a call to prayer and fasting is a call to isolation and disengage. The missions movement needs the prayer movement, and the local church needs to be filled with the glory of God." 

Over 500 leaders from around the world met for the first Onething Leadership Summit. "We sent letters to 200 leaders inviting them to this summit six weeks ago," says Daniel Lim, CEO of the International House of Prayer. "Over 80 percent of the leaders we invited said 'yes.' This is such a unique meeting because we have a common urgency that we need to pray."

Mark Anderson, a leader Youth With a Mission, called the summit historic. "We are in a time right now where we are launching a new expression of missions and prayer." Johannes Hartl, a house of prayer leader in Europe and theologian, is hosting a conference in Europe on Friday that will attract up to 4,000 people. Hartl founded 50 Houses of Prayer in Europe. "Today's meeting was mind-blowing and overwhelming," he said. "I saw great unity and humility with all of the leaders. I'm also surprised at how far the prayer movement has come." The house of prayer conference in Europe will be broadcast on BibleTV.

IHOPKC leaders unveiled the results of a survey at the summit that revealed houses of prayer are in 18 nations on 6 continents.The main proponents of prayer are millenials with over 60 percent of the participants under the age of 35. Over 30 percent of the houses of prayers have 40 hours a week of corporate prayer...

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6. Benefits of a Flat Tax 

Why we need a flat rate of tax

SO much (understandable) focus on the urgent need to slash public spending has distracted too many people from the appalling way our government raises revenue.

The absurdly complicated quagmire that is Australia's income tax system hobbles and distorts the economy, sapping the government's revenues to boot.

Introducing a single rate of income tax and abolishing the mindless tax on companies, which is really a tax on workers and customers, would be a vast improvement.

Having six rates of tax on individuals and companies -- 0, 19, 30, 32.5, 37 and 45 per cent -- without even broaching the 1.5 per cent so-called Medicare levy, is an egregious example of self-inflicted economic harm...

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Dr. Benjamin Carson suggests flat tax is God's plan

Renowned Baltimore neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, shot into the spotlight when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7. During his time at the microphone he criticized Obamacare and government intrusion in healthcare and suggested a new alternative in which newborn babies would have a health savings account established. He also addressed the country's taxes, spending, and deficit, and suggested we look to the Biblefor the answer. This morning, he offered comments on the President's State of Union speech on Fox's popular morning show and again brought up the Bible and God's plan for taxes.

"What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he's given us a system. It's called a tithe" – Dr. Benjamin Carson 2013 National Prayer Breakfast

What is a tithe?

Tithing and what it means to the church is a debated topic, but aside from that, biblically a tithe is one tenth of a person's annual income. In the Old Testament, titheswere taxes that funded the national budget in Israel which included the Levitical priests who acted as the civil government. In today's vernacular it was an income tax.

A flat tax is fair

In his speech at the prayer breakfast, Dr. Carson said, "We don't necessarily have to do 10% but it's the principle." He went on to say that God's plan did not make exceptions for good years and bad years and explained that a tithe is fair because it is about proportionality.

"You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you've got to get rid of the loopholes." - Dr. Benjamin Carson

He went on to address the opinion of those who think a flat tax isn't fair because it doesn't hurt the people who make more. He asked, "Where does it say you've got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don't need to hurt him. It's that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs." While this is clearly a strong philosophical difference from the country's current economic direction, many people have found it a refreshing alternative that offers hope for real change.

Carson's reviews the State of the Union address

Last night in his State of the Union speech, President Obama said we cannot "cut our way to prosperity." When Carson was asked his thoughts on the subject he said, "This whole thing about the middle class – you've got to realize you're the president of everybody, upper class, middle class and lower class. What we need to be doing is coming up with policies that work for everyone. When all the interlocking parts are functioning well together then we have a strong union."

Dr. Benjamin Carson grew up poor

Dr. Carson knows what it is like to be poor. He grew up in a single parent family in a bad neighborhood in Detroit. His mother had a third grade education, but according to Carson she did not accept the role of victim. Instead she worked three jobs and stressed the importance of education to her sons. Today, Benjamin Carson is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and probably the most renowned specialist in his field.

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