Mission Statement

In classical sacrifices, the people get the good bits, and the gods get the refuse, the bits that would get thrown out otherwise.

Not our God. Leviticus (particularly Leviticus 3) describes the sacrifices that our LORD demanded from His people of Israel. God gets the kidneys, the tail, and all the fat. He gets the prime steak, He gets the best.

Today we do not literally give sacrifices of animals. For us the ultimate sacrifice has been made through our Lord, Christ Jesus. But should always be our ambition to do the same thing - to offer God the best of what we have, to offer Him the fat, and not the smoke and bones.

Monday, 30 August 2010

Psalm 13

Most of us know that as Christians we need to have the Word of God in our heart. The thing is, memorising the Bible is HARD. Especially if you want to memorise more than a verse or two here or there. A chapter? Not easy.

One of the easiest ways to remember portions of scripture is to set them to music. There are lots of different versions of psalms available on the internet, on CDs, etc. Sometimes they're great, sometimes they're highly edited and abridged. Often it's hard to get a whole section all in the one song.

I was kind of annoyed at that, so I decided to just make up a song or two as I worked on memorising psalms. Here is Psalm 13. I did the music for this in December last year.

Psalm 13 For the director of music. A psalm of David.
1 How long, O LORD ? Will you forget me forever? How long will you hide your face from me?
2 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and every day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?
3 Look on me and answer, O LORD my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death;
4 my enemy will say, "I have overcome him," and my foes will rejoice when I fall.
5 But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.
6 I will sing to the LORD, for he has been good to me.

Wednesday, 25 August 2010

I Don't Like Waiting

It's kind of funny. Most people who want to adopt don't because they can't afford the adoption fees (sometimes referred to as the "ransome"), and most people aren't willing to get a loan of that size for a child. (A car yes, a house yes, but a child - no. Don't get me started on that one.)

Ironically, I'm not in that position. I'm in the reverse.

I have my own personal savings, which while they wouldn't cover a whole adoption, would certainly be enough to get the ball rolling, and by the time it was all done, I would almost certainly have paid it off.

The thing is, I'd never pass a home study. Not at the moment.

I'm single (which isn't actually impossible, but does make things harder), working part time as a child care worker (not with the big bucks), with no home of my own who shares a house (with the awesome Kallie, but still), and who moves every year or so. I have an extended family who don't like adoption. My health is not good, and I'm already excluded from a few countries because of past health histories.

It's hard waiting. It's harder waiting when it probably isn't going to change. I'm not going to work full time (because then my health would be shattered), I'm not planning on changing jobs, and I'm not likely to be moving out of the singles market any time soon.

Still, it is the position God has placed me in. And I've been able to do a lot of good where I am now. I've shared the gospel with a few people; I've been able to sponsor more children than the average husband would give the okay for. I've been able to donate small amounts to other people's adoptions, allowing them to bring home their children.

So while He has work for me here, I will do it, and one day I will know about all the children I helped have a family - even if none of those children are mine.

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

From The Everlasting Man

Those who charged the Christians with burning down Rome with firebrands were slanderers; but they were at least far nearer to the nature of Christianity than those among the moderns who tell us that the Christians were a sort of ethical society, being martyred in a languid fashion for telling men that they had a duty to their neighbours, and only mildly disliked because they were meek and mild.
From pg 172 of The Everlasting Man by GK Chesterton

Friday, 13 August 2010

Thoughts From my Quiet Time

"He did this so that all the peoples of the eath might know that the hand of the LORD is powerful..." Joshua 4:24a. Passage Joshua 2:15-24.

The memorials we make influence not only those we bring up but everyone around us. When people see Scripture verses on our walls and feel love in our homes, they can put two and two together. They know that the difference is that of being connected to the vine, the Lord Jesus Christ. But if we do not have Scriptures on our walls (or other signs) they will not know what to be looking at, or for. If the atmosphere is not one of joy, love, and peace, then the memorials become little more than signs of hypocracy. And if we do not show hospitality to those around us then they will not get to see that we are different. All three need to come together to make a powerful statement about our God.

There is much that I need to change, both in my decor and in my heart.

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Quote for the Day

A few weeks ago my wife came to me and said that she thought we should sponsor another child through Compassion International. You see we already sponsor one child- she thought we should add another. I looked up at her and told her that we should probably pray about it. Then I realized how stupid that statement was. "Pray about it? We should PRAY about it?!?!" Did I pray before I ran out and bought the new iPhone last week? Should I really have to pray about doing God's will? God WILL NOT be upset if we are following Him, and I do believe that sponsoring another child is giving glory to our Father in a tangible way. I didn't hesitate to run out the first chance I had and buy that iPhone. Why in the world did I hesitate to bring glory to God?
From this post. Read the whole post.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

I Think

Each one of us is the church. We need to look at where we personally are falling short, and we need to ask for God's forgiveness in this area and then resolve to do better with the power of the Holy Spirit. It is not other people's problems. It is our own.

Friday, 6 August 2010

Prisoner Alert

From Voice of the Martyrs' Prisioner Alert:

On March 9, a criminal court in Uzbekistan sentenced 27-year-old Tohar Haydarov to 10 years in prison for the “Illegal sale of narcotic or psychotropic substances in large quantities,” according to Forum 18 News Service. Members of the Baptist church in Uzbekistan insist that the charges are fabricated and that Haydarov’s sentence was punishment for his religious activity. It is unclear why Haydarov received a 10-year sentence. According to Forum 18 News, Baptists insist that police planted drugs on Haydarov, and church members insist that he is “a man with a pure conscience and an honest Christian.” Haydarov has appealed his sentence. Another Christian, Pastor Dmitry Shestakov, is serving a four-year sentence in an Uzbek prison for “illegal” religious activities.

Asia Bibi, a 37-year-old Pakistani woman from the village of Ittanwali, was arrested by police on Friday, June 19, and faces possible blasphemy charges. Asia is the wife of 50-year-old Ashiq Masih, and their family is one of only three Christian families in a village of more than 1,500 families.

Many of the local women work on the farm of Muslim landowner Muhammad Idrees, including Asia. During their work many of the Muslim women have pressured Asia to renounce Christianity and accept Islam. In June, the pressure became especially strong.

On Friday, June 19, there was an intense discussion among the women about their faith, with the Muslim women telling Asia about Islam. Asia responded by telling them about her faith in Christ. Asia told the Muslim women Christ had died on the cross for our sins, then asked them what Mohammed had done for them, according to VOM sources. She told them Jesus is alive, but Mohammed is dead. “Our Christ is the true prophet of God,” she reportedly told them, “and yours is not true.”

Upon hearing this response the Muslim women became angry and began to beat Asia Bibi. Then some men came and took her and locked her in a room. They announced from mosque loudspeakers that she would be punished by having her face blackened and being paraded through the village on a donkey. Local Christians informed the police, who took Asia into custody before the Muslims could carry out their plan. She is currently being held at the police station in Nankana city. Christians there urged the police not to file blasphemy charges, but police claimed that they must go forward due to pressure from local Muslim leaders.

On June 10, a Chinese court sentenced Christian bookstore owner, Shi Weihan,38, to three years in prison for “illegal business operations,” and imposed a US$21,975 fine, according to China Aid Association.
Shi Weihan operated a legal bookstore and only sold books with the government’s approval. His Holy Spirit Trading Company printed Bibles and Christian literature and distributed then freely to local house churches.
Weihan was arrested in November 2007 for printing and distributing Bibles and other Christian literature. He was released in January 2008 due to insufficient evidence, but was arrested again in March and held indefinitely. China Aid reported his sentence will run from November 2007 to November 2010. Believers hope that Weihan could appeal his sentence because of medical reasons. While in prison his diabetic condition worsened.

I encourage everyone reading these to write a letter either to the prisioners or to the government officials of the country, and to above all, pray for those persecuted.

Remember those in prison as if you were their fellow prisoners, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering. Hebrews 13:3

Tuesday, 3 August 2010

Knowledge and Relationship

It's bound to be an interesting discussion. Get a group of Protestants around a table and ask them, "Are Catholics saved?"

My opinion is, "Some of them."

Less than Protestants, but then, not all Protestants are saved. After all, Jesus said that there would be many who would call Him Lord, but would not know Him.

So why are some Catholics saved?

The thing is, we are justified by faith in Christ, and the assurance of that is a growing relationship with God through Christ.

And relationships thrive on accurate knowledge.

Now, no human knows everything about any other human. And there are degrees of knowledge. Take me and my friend Kallie. We are good friends, and I know a lot about her. But there are somethings I don't know about her, and undobtedly some things I "know" about her that are just plain wrong. But most of these things are things that don't effect our relationship, like the name of her primary school, etc.

Our relationship would, however, be effected if I didn't know her name, or if I consistently got her name wrong.

Catholics are like that. They have a lot of wrong kowledge - less so than in the past, for the Catholic position is not what it once was. And this can really hinder them from building a relationship with God. For the classic example, Catholics have an emphasis on works that is not in the Protestant theology. They believe, to varying degrees, that you can "earn" a little tiny bit of salvation for yourself. Not all of it. But a little, tiny bit. And that wrong theology keeps them from as effectively relating to God as a loving Father who wants to give them all things. It's quite important knowledge, especially when you're getting it wrong, but it is possible to build a relationship with that wrong attitude.

But what about other "groups". Take the Jehovah's Witnesses. They don't believe in the deity of Christ. And that is pretty hard to get past. It's like they consistently and insist on getting their friend's name wrong, and not only wrong, but giving them an insulting name into the bargin. It's pretty darn near impossible to build a relationship like that.

Knowledge about God is sometimes denigrated in Protestant Christian circles, especially those that are not "Reformed". I've been told that I have "too much head knowledge." That's silly. You can never have too much head knowledge about God. You can however, fail to translate that head knowledge into heart knowlede. But it isn't the head knowledge that is the problem. Indeed, it's hard to have any knid of heart knowledge without true and accurate head knowledge.

So let's build up our knowledge of Christ, of His Word and His love for us. Let's search the Scriptures for His voice, that we may love Him more each day.

Monday, 2 August 2010


Coincidence? I Think Not

I just want to record this:

I recently decided to sponsor an additional child (And if you want to sponsor a child, ask me where this is! 100% of sponsor money is spent on the child! That's very rare in any organisation!) I thought about what type of child I wanted to sponsor. I thought about asking if I could sponsor one of Joash's (one of my sponsor children - the only boy!) siblings. After prayer, I thought that I should leave it up to the team at the orphanage.

The child I got is Ingrid... Joash's older sister!

Truly, our God is an awesome God!

The Not Entirely Bad Day

It wasn't a very good day.

All the staff were away except myself and Helen, and we both were starting late. All the children were unsettled. I was impatient with just about everyone. I felt like running about crying - "Don't be calm, this is not a calm day!" I was harsher than I needed to be. I focussed more on getting the day-to-day necessities done rather than on being there for the children, which really should always be my first priority.

And finally, I got to go home.

I was looking forwards to getting on that bus and sinking into the book I was reading. And then the bus driver wanted to talk. (All the bus drivers want to talk to me - I'm approachable looking, and I'm there on a regular basis.)

"You're always reading. What are you reading today?"

I showed him. From memory it was The Great Christian Revolution.

"Wow. You always read such interesting books." (He wasn't being sarcastic.) "I remember when you were reading this really interesting looking book, it was about the Jews and why they are not Christian..."

"Answering Jewish Objections to Jesus?" I asked.

"That'd be the one," he said.

He then started asking my opinions on reasons for Anti-Semitism, the reasons why Jews don't believe in Jesus, whether or not there will be a second coming of Christ, whether that coming has already happened, and we even got up to reasons why Mohammed is not the Messiah when it was my bus stop and I needed to get off.

No, he did not become a Christian because of my encounter with him. But a seed was laid.

And it taught me a few different things:

1. Even when I am a screw-up, God can still use me. Yes, I know that in theory, we're all screw-ups. But really, I'm pretty messed in the head. But even so, GOD CAN USE ME. As the saying goes, if He can use Balaam's donkey, He can use me.

2. Keep signs of the fact that you are a Christian about. It's amazing how often these provoke conversation. Bus drivers quiz me on my books on a semi-regular basis, and it's a great opportunity to witness to them - and they're even asking for it! The children I work with have always been more interested in my prayer slide and the cross I wear than a lot of other things - and it is an opportunity to share with them in an informal manner about God.

3. People remember. I read that book several MONTHS before. That bus driver is a regular reliever on my shift, so he's not there all the time. But he remembered, and God used it so that I could talk to him about the things of God.

So pray for me, and pray for yourself, and pray for all the bus drivers of Australia, that there would be lots of witnessing opportunities every day.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Storming the Gates

God will ultimately give us the victory. We just need to ride INTO the battle, not away from it!

God owns the whole earth. It is His, and everything on it belongs to Him. He can give it, and any portion of it, to anyone He wants. (Even me!)

Recently it has seemed to me that my vision is too small. Sure, I do more than 'most people'. But I should not be comparing myself to 'most people', I should be comparing myself to the standards in God's Word. And when I do that I see how much more there is to be done, in so, so many different areas.

International adoption is so rare in Australia. The foster care system is swamped. Children are being aborted every day. Aged people are being 'assisted' into the next life. Many have never even HEARD the gospel, let along accepted it. Millions go hungry every day...

And in all of these things I CAN DO MORE.

And when I do more, God will indeed give me the victory, for He has proclaimed that the gates of hell shall not prevail against it (see Matthew 16:18)

And the thing is, whenever we think about this verse, we always picture an embattled church, holding on, just holding on, because one day, Jesus is coming back and He will make everything good and right and perfect. (Yes, Jesus is coming back. And when He does, He will make all things good and right and perfect. But THAT IS NOT WHAT THIS VERSE IS ABOUT.)

No, the church here is ATTACKING. We are ATTACKING the gates of hell, and we are BRINGING THEM DOWN. They canNOT stand against the power of the blood of Jesus. They are POWERLESS against Him.

It's time for me (and probably you too) to enlarge our vision. To pray more. To do more. To give more, and to love more. Because God will give us every place where we set our foot (Joshua 1:3). We will have the victory, if only we will fight for it!

Precious In His Sight

I recently saw a news article that really quite horrified me.

"Two families are taking legal action against hospitals for not detecting their unborn children had Down syndrome.

Both Victorian couples claim they would have aborted the babies had they been aware of their condition and are seeking compensation."

These two couples would have killed their own children because they didn't fit the perfect mould. They probably would have considered that they would be doing their children a favour.

Recently I got the Baby Conference CDs, and I'm busily listening to them as I sew scout badges for my brother and knit hats. Last night I listened to the fourth CD, where Kevin Swanson and RC Sproul Jr shared about their testimonies about being the pastor of / father of profoundly special needs children.

As Sproul pointed out, in many cases these children are our spiritual betters. And in all cases they are precious children created by God for His glory.

I pray that these children, who will grow up to find out that their own parents did not want them, will realise that there are people out there who do love them, who would adopt them if they were born overseas because they know how precious they are, and that most of all, Jesus loves them.

Jesus loves the little children
All the children of the world
Black and yellow, red and white
They are precious in His sight
Jesus loves the little children of the world