The next three weeks will see Firefall Church mightily blessed by three very special (and different) guest speakers. First up Pastor Bennett Cain will be preaching this Sunday , 19th March. The following week (Sunday 26th March) we will be blessed by a message from our dear friend Charles Lawrence as he raises the question “Why did Jesus have to die?“, and the following Sunday we will be hearing from Tony Holliday as he shares his experiences ministering the Gospel to the Muslim Community!! Three powerful weeks of provocative teaching not to be missed!!!
SPECIAL GUEST PREACHER! This Sunday Pastors Bennett and Stacey Cain return to Firefall to share a final message with us before departing to Charters Towers in North Queensland to take up residence as Senior Pastors of Christian Family Church!!! Please join with us as we farewell this dynamic and very special family!!!
On Sunday 12th February 2017 our dear friend and congregation member, George Brownrigg, went to be with our Lord Jesus.
To celebrate George’s wonderful life and significant achievements, we are proud to dedicate our service on Sunday 26th February to a Special Commemorative Service in his honour.
This special service will commence at the unusual time of 10 am and will run for approximately 1 hour. It will be followed by coffee, sandwiches and cake.
There will be an opportunity in the course of the service to share any special insights, observations or moments about this very special man : Husband, Father, Grandfather, Great Grandfather, Returned Serviceman, Electrician, Builder, Servant of Jesus, Servant of Firefall Church and very special friend.
Confronting Preaching in recent weeks has seen the church explore the issues of how rebellious attitudes put our salvation at risk (by consistently ignoring the promptings of the Holy Spirit) and how our walk gets sabotaged by traditions that have lost their significance; citing the example of the Garden of the Palace at St. Petersburg where Guards had been stationed for almost two hundred years guarding a rose bush (planted by Catherine the Great) so that no one would accidentally tread on it. The bush had died after a few years but the guards still stood over it’s position – having no idea why they were stationed there. The tradition continued to be observed even though its purpose had ended almost two centuries earlier. We have traditions that we all religiously observe despite the fact that the reason for that behaviour ended long ago. These traditions can keep us locked in the past and unable to move forward. Pray to have those behaviours revealed to us, and for the strength to repeal them.
Powerful preaching was had last Sunday at Firefall Christian Church when itinerant preacher John Harlow spoke on the power and authority of the HOLY GHOST for the morning service followed by Dr. Bishop Phyllis Hinga at the evening’s Empower Service speaking on embracing our Christian inheritance. This week Pastor Grant will be speaking on The Miracle of the Wedding Feast. Then next week (2nd of October) the powerfully prophetic Bennett Cain returns to bless us with his powerful teaching,
Some exciting preaching coming up at Firefall Christian Church! This week Pastor Julie will be speaking on Lack of Forgiveness and how it impacts on Faith, Family and Friendships. Then next week (26th June) the wonderful Charles Lawrence returns to bless us with his powerful teaching, and THEN on the 17th of July we will be blessed by itinerant Prophetic Revelator, Revivalist and author – Ian Johnson!!
Ian precedes his visit to us with a one and a half day workshop at the Glory Well at Arundel on the 15th and 16th of July (Friday and Saturday). Places are limited so booking is essential. Only $55 per person.
Being Defined by your Burdens! Are you? This was the question being explored by Pastor Grant over the last two Sundays and its impact was significant; to say the least. The core of this issue is “identity” – we tend to define ourselves by our “history” while Christ sees us in our “potential”. We are preoccupied by what happened in the past, most conversations revolve around it; what happened yesterday, a week ago, years ago – and these experiences (both negative and positive) are too often allowed to define us. The truth is that they do not define our identity; they have positioned us to embrace our future. We need to look forward to what God has in store for us not constantly backwards to what can imprison us.
Imagine a conversation revolving around hopes and dreams for the future – focusing on the opportunities that Christ offers us right now – rather than the bill that came in yesterday, and the hassles at work last week. Embrace your future (what you can be), not your history (what you were).
The last few Sundays have been truly remarkable. Three Sundays ago Brian Bernard blessed us with a dynamic and powerful word before returning to his home in New Zealand. While last Sunday we experienced a Holy Spirit Hijacking!! So many amazing testimonies, inspirational worship and powerful prayer that we had no time (or NEED) for preaching!!! God had already spoken!! Hallelujah!!! Sometimes we just need to keep our HANDS OFF!!!
HOLD ON TO YOUR HATS ! International Speaker, Evangelist and Author Greg Biddell returns to Firefall Church this Sunday (17th April). Not to be missed!! Followed by our dear friends Brian (and Sonia) Bernard – the very next week!!! Prepare to be motivated, inspired and activated by these powerful speakers!!! Whew!!
GET OUT OF THE WAY! That was the message we received at the Raging Fire / Overflow Conference at the Hope Centre, Lower Hutt, New Zealand last month. Get out of the way of the Holy Spirit so that He can do His thing!!! It was confrontational! Inspirational! and Sensational!! With International speakers the calibre of John Arnott (Canada), Kate and Duncan Smith (U.K/U.S.A), Martin Spree (Germany) and Michael Livengood (U.S.A) it was a remarkable experience. Can’t wait to see what the Holy Spirit will do with our Church now!! And isn’t New Zealand stunning?!!!
Next Sunday (10th of January) we will be exploring what it means to “hunger and thirst for righteousness” as Pastor Grant delves again into the mysteries of the “Beatitudes” – what it actually takes to receive God’s approval. Last year we explored the first three Blessings which are all about emptying ourselves in preparation for the the tasks God has designated to us, we are kicking off this year with an examination of the final five Blessings, investigating what we need to do to fill up on the Blessings of God, denying a world that would rob us of them!
The Christmas Confusion continues yet again. The gift giving and the “Christmas Cheer” continues its seemingly inevitable disintegration into self-indulgence, excessive drinking, gluttony and, for too many, domestic violence. When did the celebration of the Birth of Christ and the offer of Peace to all men begin deteriorating into this self-indulgent “ME-Fest” that now passes for Christmas? And, of course the answer is – always! It was inevitable the moment the Roman Catholic priests decided to impose the celebration of the Birth of Christ on to the GermanicYuletide Celebrations – the pagan celebration of rebirth and fertility (aka the “Winter Solstice”). These two cultural traditions collide at this time every year. How do we extract the central Christian message of “Love and Charity” from this confusion that masquerades as “Christmas”? All this and more will be explored at our special Christmas service – This Sunday (20/12/2015).
God doesn’t expect us to be “Perfect” – God expects us to be poor in spirit. That is our spiritual inheritance from the fall.
We are insecure, we are imperfect, we are sinful, we are weak. God didn’t design us this way- but we have become this through the disobedience of the original sin. And what was that sin? – we tried to be like the one true God.
God knows we are imperfect and we know we are imperfect. That’s why gyms, plastic surgeons, and personal development programs flourish ( especially here on the Gold Coast) through the constant effort to reverse our legacy from the “Fall”. All this and more will explored this Sunday (6th December) when Pastor Grant preaches on “Praying to be Poor in Spirit”.
Firefall Christian Church was privileged to perform its first adult Baptism when Church member and decade long friend of Pastor Grant, Michael Mayne, decided to take the plunge last Sunday, 29/11/2015. Congratulations Mick!! Heaven is still celebrating!!
This week Ps Grant is examining the modern church’s preoccupation with developing a VISION for the Church. Surely the “Vision” for all churches is a given – a world saved for the return of Jesus Christ – building the Kingdom of God by building hearts for Jesus. What’s left to develop? Find out Sunday, 11th October 9.30 am.
Hiding our stinky feet!! Why is it that so many of us struggle to accept the help and service of others? Jesus went to wash his disciples’ feet and even one of his leaders resisted! Why? Pastor Grant explores this vexing question through this intriguing answer : “Perhaps people don’t let us wash their feet because they don’t want us getting a whiff of where they’ve been!” This Sunday, 4th October, 9.30 a.m!! “Phew!!!”
This Sunday (27/09/2015) we have a Special Guest Preacher: Pastor Julie Fickel – all the way from Firefall Christian Church!!! NOT TO BE MISSED!!
This week Pastor Grant examined the search for knowledge over the search for truth and how that impacts on our capacity for joy and wonder. The search for knowledge is frequently driven by a fear of the unknown, whereas the search for truth requires Trust which demands some things remain unknown – such is the nature of faith. We are not meant to dissect and analyse the gifts of God to understand how he “does it”. We are meant to accept them, appreciate them and be grateful for them!!! Because they are WONDER – ful!!! There is no true WONDER without God!
Following on from last week’s challenging sermon; Living Without God, Pastor Grant will be examining the Nature of True Worship and how worship is the remedy to many of the challenges that currently beset the Church! Not to be missed !! (Sunday 13th September, 9.30 am)
Christians need to brace for the Firestorm that is surely coming and the inevitable question is “Can man survive without God?”. As the push to remove Christianity from our social fabric increases – what is the alternative and what will be the consequences? Theism (Life governed by God) versus Existentialism (Life governed by Existence) is the topic we will be exploring this Sunday 6/09/2015. Should be interesting!
Things are certainly Heating Up for Christianity! Religious Instruction has just been removed from Victorian State Schools, there is a strong push to replace school chaplains with trained counselors and the push for same sex marriage would effectively redefine it as a man-made agreement rather than a God-given Covenant. There appears to be a major push to unthread Christianity (and monotheistic religion generally) from the fabric of our society. As Christians – how do we respond to that? Pastor Grant will be addressing this this Sunday!! Don’t miss it!!
This Sunday Pastor Grant will be examining the highly controversial “Gay Marriage” debate and will attempt to determine what the true definition of “marriage” is !
A special Thank You to Greg and Sue Biddell for their inspired (and Hilarious) message last Sunday. A truly uplifting, enlightening and highly entertaining experience. And a special welcome to Trav for visiting today and giving his heart to the Lord!! Hallelujah!! Welcome Travis!!! Yet again, Pastor Grant has a hard act to follow this week when he shares on the Nature of Christ’s Humanity!!!
This week Firefall Christian Church is to be blessed by the itinerant ministry of Greg and Sue Biddell. This awesome couple have a ministry that has taken them throughout Australia, the U.S.A., Canada, New Zealand, Africa, Indonesia, the Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia and Timor. Greg and Sue will be sharing their experiences with a particular focus on ‘Divine Healing‘. Don’t miss it! Sunday, 9th August. 9.30 a.m.
Pastor Bennett provided a fantastic sermon last Sunday, now Pastor Grant has to follow it up 🙁 ! “The fruit we produce is determined by the seeds that we sow“. This week we will be looking at evaluating the quality of our “fruit” and ensuring we are planting the right “seed“, Sunday 2nd August.!!!!!
After a month of exciting guest speakers we are moving closer to home with the preaching being provided by our very own Pastor Bennett Cain. Fresh (?) from participating in the God’s Squad’s Memorial Run to Sydney and back, Bennett is ready to preach up a storm! Don’t miss it!
A very special thank you to John Harlow who convicted us yet again with his powerful sermon on the importance of Israel to God and how vital it is that we support and pray for it. John heads back to New Zealand next week, but fear not our trilogy of guest speakers continues next Sunday with the return of Charles Lawrence – it doesn’t get better than this!
Sunday 14th June was marked by a wonderful sermon from our good friend John Harlow, visiting from New Zealand. He provided a powerful and touching message on the Love of our Lord, Jesus Christ. If you missed this wonderful preacher don’t despair, you can catch him again next Sunday. And in this month of guest preachers, don’t miss the following week (28th June) when Charles Lawrence will return to further convict, enlighten and inspire us. Be Blessed!!
This Sunday, 7th June, Pastor Grant is speaking onStanding Your Groundagainst the flames and arrows of the enemy !!! Don’t Miss It!!!
Sunday 31st May, Pastor Grant is speaking on the apostle John and the special relationship he had with Jesus as the (self-proclaimed) most beloved of the disciples. This is part two of the series Relationship is the Heart of Jesus.
This week’s Sermon (Sunday 24th May): Part One of a Two-part series: Relationship is the Heart of Jesus. Pastor Grant is speaking on Unity and how it is essential to maintaining any Christian Relationship and our Relationship with Christ!!!
This week’s Sermon (Sunday 17th May): FAITH FORGED IN SATAN’S FIRE. Pastor Grant is speaking on the challenges of change and how to face it! Not to be missed!
SPECIAL MOTHER’S DAY SERVICE– this Sunday (10th May, 9.30 am). Plenty of PRAISE, PREACHING, PUPPETS and PROVISION !!
MEN’S BREAKFAST RESCHEDULED!!!This Saturday, 9th May !!!CAFE 4 U. Marine Parade, Labrador (Aqua Building) 8 am. FOODS ON US!!! (coffees on you) Blokes only – bring a mate/s!!!
Exciting Service this Sunday (26th of April) to commemorate ANZAC DAY. FIREFALL’S message will be “FIRE! or FALL?“. The choice that all Christians must ultimately make. Come and be CONVICTED! There’ll even be ANZAC biscuits!
What a WONDERFUL service we had on Sunday morning (19th April) . Pastor Julie shared on her work with the children at the Muscular Dystrophy Camp at Port Stephens last week (particularly how she excelled at Laser Skirmish – 20 “kills”). Pastor Grant shared on the “Power of a NO!” (since even Paradise had one) and we got to honour and bless the memory and sacrifices of the “Maori Battalion” in preparation for next week’s Anzac Day Service.WHEW!!!
“FIRE” or “FALL” (?)
This SUNDAY (12th April) Pastor Grant is speaking on “Letting JESUS into your PRAYER LIFE“– A Life Changer!!
SPECIAL EASTER SERVICE! Pastor Grant is speaking on the “REAL” Miracle of Easter …. We have a SPECIAL guest worship leader … HOT CROSS BUNS and … (it gets even better) ….. CHOCOLATE!!!!
A massive THANK YOU to Charles and Thelma Lawrence who blessed us with some wonderful preaching last Sunday. A powerful message gently delivered. The Holy Spirit glitters through you both.
I was shocked, confused, bewildered
As I entered Heaven’s door,
Not by the beauty of it all,
Nor the lights or its decor.
But it was the folks in Heaven
Who made me sputter and gasp–
The thieves, the liars, the sinners,
The alcoholics and the trash.
There stood the kid from seventh grade
Who swiped my lunch money twice.
Next to him was my old neighbour
Who never said anything nice.
Bob, who I always thought
Was rotting away in hell,
Was sitting pretty on cloud nine,
Looking incredibly well.
I nudged Jesus, ‘What’s the deal?
I would love to hear Your take.
How’d all these sinners get up here?
God must’ve made a mistake.
‘And why is everyone so quiet,
So somber – give me a clue.’
‘Hush, child,’ He said,
‘they’re all in shock.
No one thought they’d be seeing you.’
Just going to church doesn’t make you a
Christian any more than standing in your garage makes you a car.
Every saint has a PAST…
Every sinner has a FUTURE!
This Sunday, 8th March, Pastor Grant is speaking on Christian attitude and the virtues of FORGIVENESS.
This Sunday we are opening the month of March with the amazing Angela Phillips sharing with us her hopes and plans for her upcoming mission to work with indigenous people in Australia’s north. Don’t miss it.
Unfortunately this Sunday’s scheduled guest speaker has been taken ill and will be unable to share with us this Sunday. Please keep Charles and his lovely wife Thelma in your prayers as we all pray for a speedy recovery.
SPECIAL GUEST PREACHER THIS SUNDAY ….
This coming Sunday the 22nd of February Firefall Christian Church is being blessed with the presence of our special guest preacher – CHARLES LAWRENCE and his lovely wife THELMA. So come and share in the blessing 9.30 am, Helensvale Primary School; 8 Lindfield Rd. Helensvale!!
EIGHT PICTURES TO MAKE YOU THINK
…And some people still do not see a reason to worry!!Winston Churchill 1899.“Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it. No stronger retrograde force exists in the world.”This is amazing. Even more amazing is that this hasn’t been circulated long before now.CHURCHILL ON ISLAM…Unbelievable, but the speech below was written in 1899.(Check Wikipedia – The River War). The attached short speech from Winston Churchill, was deliveredby him in 1899 when he was a young soldier and journalist. It probably sets out the current views of many,but expresses in the wonderful Churchillian turn of phrase and use of the English language,of which he was a past master. Sir Winston Churchill was, without doubt, one of the greatest men of the late19th and 20th centuries. He was a brave young soldier, a brilliant journalist, an extraordinary politician andstatesman, a great war leader and British Prime Minister, to whom the Western world must be forever in his debt.He was a prophet in his own time. He died on 24th January 1965, at the grand old age of 90 and,after a lifetime of service to his country, was accorded a State funeral.HERE IS THE SPEECH:“How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy,which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy.The effects are apparent in many countries, improvident habits, slovenly systems of agriculture,sluggish methods of commerce, and insecurity of property exist wherever the followers of theProphet rule or live. A degraded sensualism deprives this life of its grace and refinement,the next of its dignity and sanctity. The fact that in Mohammedan law every woman must belong tosome man as his absolute property, either as a child, a wife, or a concubine, must delay the final extinction of slavery until the faith of Islam has ceased to be a great power among men. Individual Muslims may show splendid qualities, but the influence of the religion paralyses the social development of those who follow it.No stronger retrograde force exists in the world. Far from being moribund, Mohammedanism is a militant and proselytizing faith. It has already spread throughout Central Africa, raising fearless warriors at every step; and were it not that Christianity is sheltered in the strong arms of science, the science against which it had vainly struggled, the civilization of modern Europe might fall, as fell the civilization of ancient Rome.”Sir Winston Churchill; (Source: The River War, first edition, Vol II, pages 248-250 London).Churchill saw it coming.
THE BLESSING OF BRIAN BERNARD
Sunday the 4th of January etched itself as a pivotal morning in the growth of Firefall Christian Church. Our dear friend and respected evangelist Brian Bernard, visiting from New Zealand, preached up a Firestorm of power and Holy Spirit infused conviction, further invigorating an already activated congregation. Thank you Brian and your wonderful family (Sonia, Terrance and Rebekah) for an awesome morning .
FILL THIS SPACE ….
The Church in the U.K “Looking Down the Barrel”
Losing Our Spiritual Identity
On a recent trip to the U.K my wife and I became aware of a deep spiritual despondency in all of the Anglo Saxon people we encountered. We weren’t just visiting as tourists, we were visiting as people coming to connect with our historical and spiritual roots (reconnecting in Julie’s case) and, although we did that, we became aware that those roots are drying and fraying and beginning to shrivel. Britain is in the middle of a major identity crisis, and the British people (especially those of Anglo Saxon descent) are struggling under the burden of that realisation. Every Anglo-Saxon Briton I spoke to was painfully aware of it, and painfully bemoaning what they saw as their inability to do anything about it.
The problem, as they see it, is two-fold – firstly the joining of the European Union twenty years ago has meant that there is virtually no border restrictions preventing any unsavoury person from entering England and then quietly vanishing into the countryside. Consequently there is a glut of cheap labour in the workforce (as illegal immigrants, many from the old soviet block countries, take up what labouring jobs are available for a fraction of the cost of local labour) which has had a heavy impact on employment options and there has been a disturbingly dramatic rise in the impact and change in the nature of organised crime as Eastern European and Middle Eastern crime gangs have moved into Britain in a very big way. The dramatic increase (in the last decade) in the kidnapping of young girls to be groomed for the international sex trade is testimony to that fact. This, of course, came to a head recently with the revelation that a “British” Pakistani sex gang had been operating unimpeded out of a South Yorkshire Bus Station for years.
My brother-in-law pointed out that there are up to twenty murders and kidnappings in Great Britain every day.
The second part of the problem is that over the last twenty years repeated governments have encouraged “multiculturalism”, which isn’t problematic in itself if the cultures it encourages and incorporate believe in “multiculturalism” and subsequent integration into the host culture, and in England (until recently) most have, but there has been a massive influx of muslims from all over Europe and the middle east over the last twenty years who use the banner of “multiculturalism” to move into the country but then adopt a position of monoculturalism and separatism to establish their own culture with the explicit plan of denying multiculturalism and promoting their culture at the expense of all others.
Most native and third, fourth and fifth generation Britons are painfully aware of this. But can do nothing about it. It is even against the law to speak out about it in public – because it is seen as racism and therefore a criminal offence in Great Britain. I was speaking to a couple of locals at a café in London about this and the proprietor came out and warned us of the trouble we could get into and suggested we talk about something else.
But many British feel justified in believing that their culture (and history) is being eroded by these entrenched, “open-door” policies. At the moment Anglo Saxon Britons apparently now make up only 45% of the population.
But this is where for me, as a Christian, it gets really interesting. A comment that was frequently raised in objection to this state of affairs was “But we are a Christian nation, built on Christian values and those values need to be respected and adopted by the people that come to live here.”
And this, I think is a large part of the problem; because it can be easily argued that the United Kingdom, like Australia, is no longer really a Christian nation. It may have been historically built on Christianity (and the early colonists carried those values to Australia) but can either Nation really lay claim to being fully “Christian”? And if they can’t legitimately make that claim how can they expect others who go there (or here) to adopt those values?
John Bingham, Social Affairs Editor of the U.K’S Daily telegraph made these observations;
- Only 52 per cent of the population (of the U.K) now associates with any religion while 48 per cent describe themselves as having no faith.
- Thirty years ago more than two thirds of the population associated with one religion or another.
- While 40 per cent classed themselves as Anglican a generation ago, now only 20 per cent do so.
- The proportion of the population identifying themselves as Roman Catholic is largely unchanged in 30 years, slipping from 10 per cent to nine per cent.
- And the proportion listing other Christian denominations – which includes the rapidly expanding independent churches – remained unchanged over 30 years, at 17 per cent.
- Meanwhile the proportion identifying with other religions, including Islam, Judaism, Hinduism and Sikhism has trebled from just two per cent in 1983 to six per cent.
Almost one in 10 under 25s in Britain is now a Muslim.It follows findings from the 2011 census which showed that the total number of people in England and Wales who described themselves as Christian fell by 4.1 million – a decline of 10 per cent.
Australia is no better with less than 16% of the population claiming to be practicing Christians while only 1.1% claim they are born again Pentecostal.
How can we lay claim to being Christian Nations when most of the population deny the faith?
There is a spiritual war going on, but too few realise it and are therefore prepared to meet the enemy on the spiritual battlefield.
Everywhere we went in England this sense of loss of cultural identity was palpable – we could feel it when we spoke to people and we could see it everywhere went. Articles relating to it are in every newspaper and it’s a primary topic with every political speech, as politicians of every order try to gloss over the problem, reassure the British population that they’ve got their best interests at heart while encouraging the influx of immigrants with the line that Great Britain is truly multicultural.
This is what Leo McKinstry a highly respected London journalist had to say about the situation in England in the lead up to the recent Scottish referendum;
The entire conduct of the referendum campaign by the Westminster elite has been nauseating, as they slid from arrogant complacency into tearful hysteria. But nothing has been more repulsive than the attempt by these incompetent, self-serving mediocrities to don the mantle of patriotism, professing their deep love for the British nation. All these eleventh hour declarations of patriotic devotion are hypocritical in the extreme. These are the very politicians who have presided over the wilful, systematic destruction of our national identity, independence and heritage during the last two decades.
No one who is truly patriotic would have acted as they have done. They have allowed the European Union to remove our capacity for self-government. They have imposed mass immigration on an epic scale to tear apart our social cohesion and sense of solidarity. They have utterly devalued the concept of British citizenship through the dismantling of our borders and the dishing out of passports like confetti. As a result of their policies, we now have “British” jihadis beheading western civilians in Iraq and “British” Pakistani sex gangs preying on vulnerable English girls in Rotherham.
In the modern Britain built by the politicians, where the “celebration” of cultural diversity is the central theme of the public sector and where more than 500,000 foreigners settle here every year, millions of tolerant, decent British people feel like aliens in their own land. This is now a country where white Britons are significantly in the minority in urban areas like Slough, London, and Luton. Only this week, a new study revealed that Muslim pupils outnumber Christians in schools in Birmingham, Leicester, Bradford and Tower Hamlets.
In the hands of the Westminster elite, the politically correct concept of Britishness is perversely anti-British. It is really an ideological instrument of national assisted suicide.
These are very powerful words and they reflect the feelings of every indigenous Englishman I spoke to. In fact when this article was published on the internet the response was overwhelming as literally hundreds of comments flooded the website in support of McKinstry’s position. This is happening there, and it’s happening here – but not just because of the policies of successive governments, but because people are not competing on the same playing field as the opposition.
While people scream out about losing their cultural and historical identity they are missing the point. Their cultural and historical identity is being lost because they have surrendered their spiritual identity! This is where the real battle is being waged – in the spirit, and culture and consequently history is always tied to our spiritual identity.
When we were wandering around England the number of beautiful, ancient stone churches was awe inspiring. They are everywhere as testimony to the rich spiritual Christian culture and history that England is soaked in – but virtually no one is attending them.
What did Jesus say? Revelation 3:21-NIV
15 I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! 16 So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth. 17 You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked. 18 I counsel you to buy from me gold refined in the fire, so you can become rich; and white clothes to wear, so you can cover your shameful nakedness; and salve to put on your eyes, so you can see.
19 Those whom I love I rebuke and discipline. So be earnest and repent. 20 Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
21To the one who overcomes, I will give the right to sit with me on my throne, just as I overcame and sat down with my Father on his throne.
He who is not with me is against me, and he who does not gather with me scatters.
“You are the salt of the earth, but if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled by men.
Doesn’t this explain what we see happening? People are being scattered, thrown out and trampled underfoot. Our Christian culture is being scattered, thrown out and trampled because too many people are claiming Christianity without practicing it or even believing in it, and way too many people see the erosion of the western European culture as solely a social and political issue – rather than what it really is – a “spiritual battle”. It is a battle for our souls. And the real reason that the Muslims appear to be in the ascendancy at the moment is because they understand where the battle is being waged. Look at their prayer life, look at the way they incorporate their God (Allah) into their daily lives. Just compare the percentages of “believers” that attend the mosques regularly with the numbers of so called “Christians” regularly attending Church. Do you get the picture? Christianity needs to be rekindled in England and in Australia if the Christian based, Christian focused European Culture and identity is to be re-established and retained.
Literally millions of people in Great Britain and (dare I say) in Australia are crying out about the loss of their Anglo – Saxon “Christian” heritage. They all want to stand up and do something about it, but they’re fighting on the wrong battlefield. It’s a bit like a footy team turning up at Metricon to play the Grand final when it’s actually being held in Melbourne at the MCG. You can’t win the game when you’re at the wrong venue. Too many supposed Christians (and those who want to enjoy the freedoms attached to the Christian culture, lifestyle, morality and ethics) are fighting the wrong battle at the wrong battleground!
Ephesians 6:10 -12
Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armour of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
After spending a month in England, we flew across to Italy for a whistle-stop tour of Rome and Florence; and although we didn’t get to connect as intimately with the Roman and Florentine people, we visited a lot of cafes and spoke to the proprietors and waiters and naturally visited a number of iconic land-marks, many of which (like in England) were ancient churches; But there were some different elements to the experience and the biggest difference was this – the Italian people (by and large) appear to be still living their Christian (albeit Catholic) faith. With the few Roman and Florentines we encountered over the four days we were there, there seemed to be an optimism and confidence that was lacking in the English people we had met. These Italian cities trade on their Catholic heritage, it is everywhere you go in Rome and Florence – the primary souvenirs of these places are religious icons, symbols and effigies. The churches are more than tourist attractions, they are temples of worship whose primary function is to bring the worshipper closer to God.
When we were in England we visited the giant medieval Cathedral in Ely. It is this towering building which is the primary attraction of this famous medieval town, but on visiting it you have to pay quite exorbitant fees just to go in and look around, there was no opportunity to just wander in and have some quiet time with God without paying for the privilege. In fact there was no chance of having “quiet time” even if you did pay because hundreds of paying “customers” are constantly being escorted around the building. This magnificent, iconic Christian sanctuary is now little more than a museum piece. An indicator of what “used to be”.
Fly across to Rome, however, and you can visit the Basilica Santa Maria degli Angeli e dei Martiri – a major tourist attraction in central Rome. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, its a crumbling ruin –but inside it’s totally awe-inspiring with frescos, paintings and sculptures by artists like Michelangelo and Donatello. Like the Ely Cathedral it’s a pre-medieval church that was renovated during the 14th and 15th Centuries and it is a major tourist attraction, but it costs you nothing to visit (unless you care to donate to the drug awareness programme and other ministries that are set up outside or drop a few coins in a small basket as you enter); and it is a living, breathing, functional church where you can go in and pray at the most magnificent of altars, or sit quietly in a corner and just contemplate the deep spirituality of the artwork and the environment.
There were no organised tours while we were there – and the sense of being close to God (and the presence of the Holy Spirit) was overwhelming. Italy, like Great Britain has a large number of muslims from all over the world living there, but they seem to provide a much lesser threat to the Italian cultural identity, and I think it’s because the Italians are meeting Islam on the same playing field. The Spiritual one.
The population of Italy is just on 60 million, of these 94% profess to be Christian; that’s 56 million people. Of these 88% are Catholic (49 million 280 thousand) and 6% (3 million 360 thousand) are primarily Evangelical, Pentecostal and Charismatic. Of the 56 million Catholics – 37 % claim to be practicing (16 million 45 thousand 568) and 31% regularly attend church. Now compare that to Great Britain’s figures quoted earlier, factoring in the added truth that of those Christians actually attending church regularly in the U.K almost 70% are aged over 60.
You see the difference. Italy remains a Bastion of the Christian faith, Great Britain is losing the plot big-time and has been doing so for a long time
We’ve got some work to do.
Ephesians 6:13 -17
13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
Most of the English people I spoke to about this had a fatalistic attitude to what is going on. They feel that their loss of cultural identity is beyond their control and that it’s irreversible. They are wrong, but they have to start fighting on the right battlefield, and to do that they have to get back to their spiritual roots, they have to fully embrace Christianity, immerse themselves in the Word, develop a deep, meaningful relationship with Jesus through a consistent, pro-active prayer life and they need to fellowship with other, like-minded Christians; not to whinge about how difficult things are but to joyfully encourage each other in their faith. In other words – what they need (what we all need) is Christian revival, and that means spreading the “word”. The fundamental task of all Christians.
Choices. by Grant Fickel.
I was born in 1957. I lived in a three bedroom, fibreboard (fibro) home with a mother, a father, a sister and a dog on a quarter acre block on the northern beaches region of Sydney. This was a very average family situation; in 1961 there were 3.65 people in every Australian household.
However, by 1992 the average Australian household consisted of only 2.7 family members. What happened to the dog ? Forget the dog -What happened to my sister and me? And when was the last time you saw a fibro home?
Okay, so fibro isn’t the building material of choice these days. The problem is that neither is the Australian household of the 1950’s and 60’s. People are making different choices based on a totally different criteria for happiness.
When I was a child most people believed that the nuclear family held the secrets for personal well-being, and a happy life. By the end of the century this philosophy had changed to one that deemed individual achievement, personal fulfillment and material wealth as the keys to happiness.
My memory of my family home is one of incredible emotional security and safety; because my sister and I (as children) were the chosen priority in our family – before income, lifestyle, or the personal achievements of our parents. This was the norm in the Australian household of the 50’s and 60’s. This is no longer the norm; career satisfaction and personal freedoms seem to fly high above the rights of children in society today.
Consider these staggering statistics:
- By 1994 two in every five marriages ended in divorce in Australia, now it is one in every two. Current statistics try to support the premise that the divorce rate has stabilized over the last decade – but they are somewhat misleading. The divorce rate relating to legal marriages has remained much the same because fewer couples are marrying, while the dissolution of defacto relationships actually pushes the rate up closer to 2 in every 3 relationships.
- The divorced population of Australia increased four hundred percent between 1976 and 1996 and of all the couples that married in Australia in 1998, 67% had cohabited (compared with 22% in 1978).
- But the most distressful statistic has to be this one – by 1998 only one in two pregnancies in Australia resulted in a live birth. Of the 500,000 women who became pregnant in Australia in 1997 150,000 miscarried, 2000 babies were stillborn and 95,000 pregnancies were aborted. In 2012 there was an increase of 30,000 live births from the 2002 figures but the rate of abortions is now difficult to assess because most state governments no longer require a registration of terminations. Best guess is that the number of terminations has increased since the late 90’s in line with the increase in birth rates and the increase in population.
Michelle Gunn, in her article in the Weekend Australian (16/8/1997), appeared to celebrate this tragic state of affairs;
To marry or not to marry, to have five children or none. To live where we like, to divorce if we feel the need, for mothers to work full-time or not at all. The main difference between Australian families of today and those of decades ago can be summed up in one word: choice.
Ms. Gunn applauds this so-called freedom of choice, as if it was something that didn’t exist for the parents of forty to fifty years ago. It did, but my parents made different choices. Children were the primary consideration of our society; their importance an absolute given. Now they are deemed, by many, as disposable; their existence determined by the whim and convenience of the parents.
Ms Gunn makes the further assertion that one shouldn’t compare these trends with the 1950’s and 1960’s because they were atypical. Not if you look to scripture, madam.
Christians look to scripture for their blueprint of family life, and it runs closely along the lines of my personal experience as a child during the fifties and sixties. Children as the bottom line, not economics, personal freedoms, nor personal convenience. Children!. In the New Testament Jesus is clear about the value of a child; It would be better for him to be thrown into the sea with a millstone tied around his neck than for him to cause one of these little ones to stumble (Luke 1:7).
Twenty years ago Philip Adams wrote an article entitled “Below the Bottom Line”. In it he condemned the Australian Government for putting the well-being of the national economy before the well-being of the average Australian. But statistics speak for themselves – today the well-being of children (especially those waiting to be born) are such a low-priority in Australia’s socio – economic considerations that they fall well below the “bottom line”. The current economic policies of the incumbent government make that ever so clear. What was tragic twenty years ago is worse now.
When are we as a society going to wake up to ourselves and get it right? We are the true legacy of our parents, not money, property, nor the family heirlooms. Similarly, our children are the true legacy we pass on to future generations, future societies. Without them there is no future.
Christians have been behind almost every humanitarian social change over the last millennium. Are we prepared to stand up now and put children back in their rightful place on Australian society’s priority list – on the top?
FIREFALL SERMON: Mother’s Day.
I want to take this opportunity to pay homage to Mums – particularly the Christian Mum. Jeremiah 29:13 says –“You will find me, says the Lord, when you seek me with all your heart. This is the Lord talking, wanting us to seek him with all our heart”. Not a bit of it, not a fraction of it not even a decent portion of, but with all of it. I think we are all saying that to each other. You will find me, when you seek me with ALL your heart. Are we truly searching for each other with all our hearts?
There are countless examples of mothers out there who are truly struggling to function effectively as mothers. They are committed to Christ. They involve themselves with lots of godly activity -but their families are lost. The husbands/partners are constantly away working… so the parenting is left almost entirely up to her and yet the demands of modern society work to drive her away from effectively committing to that. She is forced to work (at least part of the time) while she watches her children being devastated by a savage, vindictive world – tattoos, gender confusion, depression, eating disorders are all the hallmark of a generation of children crying out for someone… ANYONE ….to seek them with ALL THEIR HEART!!!
I think they are all crying out “you will find me when you seek me with all your heart (in the meanwhile-watch me implode)”. We all seek community. We all seek recognition. We all seek love, and we all need to know that someone will fight for us because that is the true exhibition of someone’s love. That is how we know that someone really cares. It is demonstrated love.
I can tell my family that I love them but does that make them feel loved? I can buy them a present they really want, that might please them but does it make them feel loved? It takes effort, it takes determination, and it takes true commitment to reach out and engage someone with love. Are we prepared to do what it takes? How far are we prepared to go to demonstrate that we care.
This is a question and a responsibility we should all be applying to ourselves. In our society, however, it is frequently only addressed by the women (specifically the mothers) in our society, in our community, in our family. Mothers are the ones who have traditionally been left to provide this support and encouragement to the family and to the community but now, with the pressures of modern society being exponentially greater than ever before, even “good Christians” are struggling to provide the support we are all crying out for – because many of us are getting too tired, too wasted to seek the needy out, even our children.
So I thought that over the next few weeks we’d look at some principles and strategies for getting our lives (and subsequently the lives of others) back on track. Starting with the Christian mum.
Christian author and speaker Crystal Mcdowell raises this question: what makes a Christian mother distinctive from other mothers? Answer: salt.
Jesus said, “You are the salt of the earth” (Luke 5:13). A Christian mother isn’t necessarily better than other mothers; but rather she has special seasoning due to the presence of the Holy Spirit. The believing mother has a wealth of resources available to train, discipline, and love her children in the grace of God. Ms Mcdowell goes on to make the following observations (http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/12-qualities-of-a-christian-mother/);
Quality #1) Possesses a Keen Sense of Discernment “The discerning heart seeks knowledge” (Proverbs 15:14). A good Christian mother stays intimately connected with God so that she will keep a discerning heart. She’s willing to grow in knowledge through the reading of God’s word and absorbing truth from mature godly mothers. God grants her discernment in the lives of her children so that they may be specifically well-trained in righteousness.
Quality #2) Persists in Prayer at all Times “…they should always pray and not give up” (Luke 18:1). A believing mom never gives up on her children especially her prodigal(s). People will write off a difficult, rebellious child—but not a praying mother. She will plead the grace and mercy of God over their lives as long as there’s breath in her body. This mother is compelled and encouraged by the Holy Spirit to keeping praying no matter what.
Quality #3) Demonstrates Unconditional Love “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). A mother who loves God with all her heart isn’t afraid to unconditionally love her children. She recognizes that her patience will be tried by disobedience, but it will never cause her love to regress in anger. Her love spurs confidence in her offspring since they never worry about loss of love due to bad behavior.
Quality #4) Cultivates a Joyful Environment “In Your presence is fullness of joy” (Psalm 16:11, NKJV). Those who enter into the home of a godly mother sense the presence of joy. Her deep rooted joy sustains her through the difficulties of living in an ungodly world. She has mastered the ability to encourage her children toward joy in every situation.
Quality #5) Exhibits Steadfastness in the Word of God “All who follow His precepts have good understanding” (Psalm 111:10). She meditates on the Holy Scriptures regularly … The Christian mother actively engages the Word of God for every problem in the home. She meditates on the Holy Scriptures regularly as well as speaking and teaching them to her children. Her family witnesses her diligence and learns from her example to apply God’s teachings to their everyday lives.
Quality #6) Forgives the Offenses of Others Willingly “If you forgive anyone’s sins, their sins are forgiven” (John 20:23). Offenses will come from within and outside of her home, yet the godly mother won’t hold forgiveness hostage until she feels better. Rather she chooses to forgive immediately and trusts the Holy Spirit to heal her hurts. Her family recognizes this principle in her and practices forgiving others as a way of life.
Quality #7) Embraces a Spirit of Contentment “But godliness with contentment is great gain” (1 Timothy 6:6). A godly mother resists the urge be discontented with her surroundings, children, or husband. She recognizes that the chasing of worldliness and riches will never bring her peace. Instead she trusts in the Lord to provide all her needs and grant her desires according to His will.
Quality #8) Trusts in God “Those who know your name trust in you, for you, Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you” (Psalm 9:10). Her trust in God is most evident during the difficult seasons of her life. The Christian mother is tempted like other believers to doubt the Lord’s hand over her life; yet she remains steadfast in His ability to take care of her and her family’s needs. She establishes a trust relationship with God that grows every day.
Quality #9) Keeps the Faith “A faithful person will be richly blessed” (Proverbs 28:20). Her faith will most certainly be tested in her roles of wife and mother. A godly mother will accept the trying of her faith so she can grow in perseverance. She demonstrates her faithfulness as she continues to mature in her relationship with God and others.
Quality #10) Brings Order to Chaos “She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness” (Proverbs 31:27). The Christian mother is marked for her diligence and resistance to laziness or slothfulness. Her chief concern isn’t the perfect home, but rather a healthy home full of love, laughter, and order. She keeps her home free not only from physical clutter but watches for the spiritual and emotional clutter of worldliness.
Quality #11) Holds to what is Right “The righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father” (Matthew 13:43). As a godly mother she makes the tough decisions that run against the torrent of societal corruption of children and youth. She sticks to what is right in the eyes of God for her children’s spiritual, emotional, and physical well-being. A Christian mother expects resistance and refuses to comprise righteousness for acceptance.
Quality #12) Willing to Release her Children to God “Hope does not disappoint” (Romans 5:5, NKJV). While the Christian mother holds her children tightly around her heart, she releases them to grow in Christ at their own pace. She’s entrusted her prayers to God to protect and lead them in the direction of His will. Her influence and persuasion centers around the Lord’s will more than her personal preference for their future.
There is no such thing as the perfect mother, but the Christian mother continues to be perfected by the grace of God. She is invaluable to the kingdom of Christ due to her influence on the next generation. Through the power of the Holy Spirit, every godly mother is flavorful blessing to her children and children’s children.
Think Life is Tough? Watch this …
An amazing man, and a wonderful example to us all!
Love Gardening? Some thoughts for Spiritual Gardening!