Archive for January, 2009

Daily Encouragement via Email

January 26, 2009

If you would like to receive a few words of inspirational encouragement for your daily Christian walk via email, you can subscribe to this through the following website which belongs to a friend of mine:- mario@wayofliving.org

I have found the quotes very encouraging and uplifting. It is always good to have a boost to our spiritual walk each day. Why not try it ? You can unsubscribe at any time too.

God Bless

Healing for the Homosexual

January 26, 2009

It is possible for the homosexual person to receive hope and healing through the power of Jesus Christ. This can be achieved through deep inner healing and highly skilled and experienced prayer ministry. There are no guarantees however, and it depends on each individual case. Often homosexuals did not fully identify with their same sex parent. Others may have suffered some type of sexual abuse or child abuse in their growing up years.

The following resources could be very useful for churches.  Some churches don’t know what to do with homosexual people.  Hence many of these individuals end up feeling condemned,  ostracised and naturally don’t want to go back to church again.

The following are some resources that exist to offer hope healing and mercy for homosexual people.

1. Exodus International -http://exodus.to/component/option,com_frontpage/Itemid,1/
This is an international Christian organisation which has a special ministry to homosexuals. Their aim is to provide hope healing encouragement and support for those who experience homosexual attractions. They provide trained speakers conferences, resources and real life stories, for those who have come out of a homosexual lifestyle, through the healing power of Jesus.

2. Living Waters Ministryhttp://www.livingwaters.org.au/ is another ministry to homosexual people that exists in Australia. It aims to offer God’s grace, mercy & healing to those who struggle with their sexuality. It aims to offer understanding, care and a safe place for processing and restoration.

3. “Strength in Weaknesses” – this is a book written by Andy Cominsky from America. The “Living Waters Ministry” above, came under his teaching. Andy Cominsky is a Christian man who came out of a homosexual lifestyle. This book offers hope and encouragement for the homosexual. Andy Cominsky also originally came out of John Wimber’s ministry .

4. Leanne Payne – is another christian author who pioneered much prayer healing and ministry to homosexuals. Books she has written on the topic which are highly recommended are:-

a) The Broken Image
b) The Healing of the Homosexual &
c) Crisis in Masculinity

5. Counselling & HomosexualityA How-To Approach by Earl D Wilson, Ph D.
This is Christian book I read many years ago, which gives insight to some of the cases that the author has dealt with regarding the healing of homosexual clients.

It can be helpful to use these resources either for yourself, a friend or just to be better informed as a Christian about this controversial area.

The following is an email from Koorong Books in West Ryde regarding the availability of the above books:-

Dear Beverley,

Thank you for your enquirey.
I have checked our stock figures for you.

a) Broken Image by Leanne Payne – We are currently out of stock in all of our stores. However we would be happy to order in a copy in for you. It would take approximately three months as it would be sent from overseas. The price is $21.95.

b) The Healing of the Homosexual by Leanne Payne – Unfortunately this item is out of print and we are therefore unable to order it for you. 

c) Crisis in Masculinity by Leanne Payne – We have approximately 12 copies across our stores. The price is $18.95.

d)  Counselling & Homosexuality by Earl Wilson – This item is out of print and we therefore are unable to order it in for you.

In regards to out of print stock, these websites may be of some use:
1.  www.amazon.com    &
2. www.biblioquest.com

Kind regards
Koorong Customer Service
West Ryde NSW Australia

Nativity Story – DVD

January 24, 2009

There is a great DVD you can obtain from Christian bookstores called the “Nativity Story”. It tells of the Christmas Story concerning the birth of Jesus from the point of view of his mother Mary as a young girl.

It gives a more detailed account of   what she had to go through according to the culture and pressures of that historical time. It even gives more insight and details concerning the journey and plight of the three wise men. You will also be mesmerised by the ending which will leave you rejoicing in awe and wonder.

Highly recommended viewing.

Song: Run To The Lord

January 18, 2009

I wrote this song to encourage people to   run to our God , especially when life seems very confusing & messy at times.

Run To The Lord

Verse 1
Is life a mess to you
Does your whole life seem dry?
You say it’s like a cliché
And you feel you don’t want to try
Don’t hold back from seeking God
He will give you the answer
Spend some time with Him today
He will be the enhancer of your life

Chorus
Run to the Lord Don’t run away
He wants you to come to Him
Run to the Lord Don’t be afraid
He’s there waiting for you

Verse 2
Are there things you’re afraid to face
Are there things you keep inside?
Confess them to the Lord
In Him you can confide
He will help you overcome
In His strength you will conquer
Take that step of courage
You will find there is so much love in Him

Middle 8
You say you feel unworthy to face the Lord
You feel like God will roar down with chain and sword
Just be brave and be prepared to give your all
He’s there with open arms for you

Chorus

© Beverley Tang 2008

To listen this song  :-

1. Go to http://mycrossfactor.com/Beverley/

2. Go to the “Songs” player on the right hand side

3.  Scroll down the song list to find “Run To The Lord”

4.  Click the play button in the middle of the screen

 

Abortion-The Christian View

January 18, 2009

The general Christian view on the topic of abortion is that it is really the act of murdering an unborn human child.  Life is sacred since it is created by God (see Psalm 139:13-14) and hence as humans we are not given the right to determine who lives and who dies.   An exception to this can be made in the case of incest, rape or if the mother’s life or health is seriously endangered if the pregnancy goes ahead.

There is often the perception that only young teenage girls are the ones who face the decision of whether or not to have an abortion.  However apparently women of all ages and stations of life can be found at abortion clinics,  wanting to take this crucial step.  They can be mothers who already have many children and include women of all ages.

In the case of teenage girls however,  perhaps many are not fully educated about contraceptive methods.  Not that I am advocating sex before marriage.  But it may be the case that many young girls are not aware that most forms of contraception are never 100% foolproof.  As a result many young women believe they are fully covered from the possibility of pregnancy when in actual fact they are not.  This would then call for the need for more comprehensive education for young people,  both women and men about the effects and consequences of these methods.

There is also some scientific and medical support for the fact that many women who do choose to undergo abortions,  face a greater risk of infertility in later life and also psychological and mental disorders such as depression. 

Within certain groups, is a push to pass a bill to attempt to legalise abortion .  At present within the ALP,  the issue of abortion is still covered by the “conscience vote”.  This means that even though the party may hold a certain  platform,  Senators are allowed to cross the floor in regards to the majority,  according to their own conscience or personal beliefs.  We hope that this right will still remain in the long term future.

To maintain the christian view to vote against the legalisation of abortion,  one would advocate that as long as the pregnancy does not severely endanger the life of the mother,  than the child should be carried to it’s full term to eventual birth.  If the mother does not choose to keep the baby,  then it could be put up for adoption.  Many women choose not to keep their child  because they may feel that they are not mature or ready to take on the responsibility of raising a child.  They may also give up the child because of lack of financial security and stability to provide for the child’s needs.

This situation could turn out to be a good thing for society.  For instance there seems to be a high number of couples who are not able to have children due to various reasons.  Also because many women  are choosing to start a family later in life eg in their 30’s and 40’s,  they are finding it harder to become pregnant and face higher risks for themselves and their new babies.  Hence being able to adopt an unaborted child who is in need of a loving and financially stable home, can prove to be a great blessing. 

People may find it difficult to see that abortion is the killing of a living being perhaps because they cannot see the child being formed in the wound.   The seriousness of the issue may become more real if we consider the birth of baby kangaroos as an example.  Being marsupials once the tiny little pink babies are born they crawl into their mother’s pouch for their gestation period where they are allowed to form properly and grow.  Imagine before the baby joey has been fully formed that a vet decides to take the small pink foetus which is alive out of the mother’s pouch and injecting it with a poisonous substance to end it’s life.  This would seem like an abhorrent thing to do.  Well this is exactly what is being done when an abortion is carried out.  It is just like a  tiny pink human being in foetal form being taken out of the mother’s womb and being injected with poison to cause it to wither and die.   This is murdering an unborn child and not part of God’s will or plan.

NB.  In regards to the issue of homosexuality which is another sensitive topic in the christian community,  it is clear that the bible regards the homosexual act as a sin.  See Romans 1: 27, Leviticus 18:22, 20:13.  However I do not approve of homosexuals being discrimated against just because of who they are.

The Shack – The Question of Suffering

January 18, 2009

I recently read a book called “The Shack”. It is a christian novel of fiction which provides the author with a scenario where he can expound some of his deeper and unique insights about how God in the form of the Trinity sees suffering in the lives of Christians.

It’s about a Christian man called “Mac” whose young daughter is abducted and murdered in a shack where the family are staying while they are camping in the forest.

Mac is naturally devastated by the death of his little daughter “Missy” and goes through a period of overwhelming grief and depression for the next few years.

One day he received a note in the mail from “Papa” (alias God) who invites him back to the shack to meet with him. Despite Mac’s puzzlement over the note he returns to the shack where he has a deep and revealing encounter with the Almighty God in the form of his three parts the Father Son and Holy Spirit.

I do not wish to give away the whole story, but I was reminded of some important concepts and discovered many new interesting insights about God’s perspective on the problem of pain in our world.  The following are some of these discoveries.

1. From my blog you have probably gathered that I am pretty much into social justice and maintaining human rights for all people especially the poor and destitute who cannot speak for themselves.  God does command us in his Word to look after the poor , widow, orphan and alien.  See  Exodus 22: 21-27,  Proverbs 21:13, 29:7.  Hence in the following paragraph I am not dealing with these issues.

In a spiritual sense however, in our relationship with God,  we as human beings and Christians do not really deserve anything from God.  We do not really have any “rights”  before God .  The reason is that we as human beings have all sinned or rebelled against God at different times in our lives.  That is, we have all decided to go our own way or go against his commands or direction for our lives.  Our rightful punishment for this is really death.   However because God is so full of love compassion and mercy he chose instead to take that punishment for us .  I hope you can see by this, that the only reason why we are still alive today and have become alive spiritually, is because of how merciful God is to us.  If not, our true and “just” status is that we all really deserve to be punished for our rebellion and rejection of God.  Hence when hard things happen to us, we do not really have any rights before God, like the right for God to insulate us from these things and from the suffering in this world.  We need to grieve over our loss or suffering.  But in one sense we do not have any “rights” to demand from God because our whole relationship with Him is based purely on his kindness,  mercy and grace, which we never really deserved in the first place.  Therefore it is helpful to learn to surrender any “rights” we think we have with God, when suffering comes upon us, and focus on the grace God is willing to bestow on us in all other respects.

2.  Submission to a person is about having a love and respect for them. 

3.  To evaluate whether something that happens in our lives is good or bad can be a subjective thing.  For instance,  to experience a great trauma could be classed initially as a “bad” thing .  However on the other hand it can be seen also as a “good” thing because it can :-

a) Help us turn to God so that we can discover his comfort,  unconditional love and power.  In discovering these things we can then experience a more full and enriching life for the future

b) It can strengthen our character and our ability to endure hardship.

c)  It can make us more compassionate to others who are hurting or suffering as well.

d)  We can learn how to comfort and minister to others going through similar circumstances, since we have walked in their shoes. 

A famous actress once said :-
” You can’t be brave if you’ve always had wonderful things happen to you ”

3.  As Mac interacts with the persons of the Trinity (God)  he goes through many aspects of the forgiveness process.

4.  When we truly forgive our biological fathers, we are more ready to see God as a male father figure,  not just a female mother figure.

5.  God does not do humiliation,  guilt or condemnation

6.  Unless people speak the truth about what they have done wrong to another, and change their mind and behaviour,  a relationship of trust is not possible.

7.  Every time you forgive,  the universe changes.  Every time you reach out and touch a heart or a life, the world changes.  With every kindness,  service seen or unseen,  God’s purposes are accomplished and nothing will ever be the same again.

7.   Jesus does not look Swedish but more likely has brown curly hair, a beard and a big nose since he was originally Jewish. 

“The Shack” is a good read for those who are seeking some answers to the question of suffering in their own lives. It also gives a deeper insight into how the Father Son and Holy Spirit relate to each other within the Trinity.

Available from Koorong in West Ryde or The Word Bookstore in Pennant Hills.

Christian Courses- Online and Free

January 15, 2009

I stumbled on a great website that offers quality Christian Courses that you can work through at your own pace online and they are absolutely free. These courses have been organised and created by RBC Ministries the writers of the bible reading aids called “Our Daily Bread”. This is a highly reputable, biblical non profit christian organisation. I have been using their little booklets for years for my own daily quiet times.

I logged in to see the catalogue of courses and they’re really comprehensive. Whether you are a:-

1. Person wanting to find out more about Christianity
2. New believer
3. Mature christian wanting to dig deeper into the bible OR
4. Church leader or ministry leader

there are relevant topics for everyone. The following is a list of some of the topics

–  Comparison of Major religions
–  Getting to Know the Bible
–  Old Testament Survey
–  New Testament Survey
–  Bible Basics
–  First Steps in Effective Ministry
–  First Steps in the Christian Faith
–  First Steps in Christian Counselling
–  Know Why You Believe
–  Help in Crisis
–  History of the Christian Church

I believe it operates a bit like those self learning computer tutorials  There is a quiz at the end to see how much you have retained.  If I have time I would like to do a few of these courses myself.

Why not check it out at http:www.ChristianCourses.com ?

Church Bloopers

January 12, 2009

Church Bulletins  
They’re Back!  Those wonderful Church Bulletins! Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences (with all the BLOOPERS) actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

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The Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.
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The sermon this morning: ‘Jesus Walks on the Water.’  The sermon tonight: ‘Searching for Jesus.’
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Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Bring your husbands.
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Remember in prayer the many who are sick of our community. Smile at someone who is hard to love. Say ‘Hell’ to someone who doesn’t care much about you.
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Don’t let worry kill you off – let the Church help.
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Miss Charlene Mason sang ‘I will not pass this way again,’ giving obvious pleasure to the congregation.
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For those of you who have children and don’t know it, we have a nursery downstairs.
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Next Thursday there will be tryouts for the choir. They need all the help they can get.
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Irving Benson and Jessie Carter were married on October 24 in the church.  So ends a friendship that began in their school days.
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At the evening service tonight, the sermon topic will be ‘What Is Hell?’  Come early and listen to our choir practice.
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Eight new choir robes are currently needed due to the addition of several new members and to the deterioration of some older ones.
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Please place your donation in the envelope along with the deceased person you want remembered.
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The church will host an evening of fine dining, super entertainment and gracious hostility.
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Potluck supper Sunday at 5:00 PM – prayer and medication to follow.
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The ladies of the Church have cast off clothing of every kind. They may be seen in the basement on Friday afternoon.
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This evening at 7 PM there will be a hymn singing in the park across from the Church.   Bring a blanket and come prepared to sin.
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Ladies Bible Study will be held Thursday morning at 10 AM.  All ladies are invited to lunch in the Fellowship Hall after the B. S. is done.
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The pastor would appreciate it if the ladies of the Congregation would lend him their electric girdles for the pancake breakfast next Sunday.
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Low Self Esteem Support Group will meet Thursday at 7 PM. Please use the back door.
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The eighth-graders will be presenting Shakespeare’s Hamlet in the Church basement Friday at 7 PM.   The congregation is invited to attend this tragedy.
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The Associate Minister unveiled the church’s new campaign slogan last Sunday: ‘I Upped My Pledge – Up Yours.’

Helping to Feed the Homeless

January 12, 2009

I was listening to a teaching tape the other day and on it there was a great idea for when we are approached by a homeless person who is asking for money.

Instead of giving money we could purchase food vouchers from fast food outlets or even supermarkets and have them ready in our wallets or purses. In this way they can be assured of receiving a proper meal instead of buying something which may not be good for them. Many churches and charity organisations also have programs where groups of volunteers can help to feed the homeless and minister to them.  Many operate on a Friday or Saturday night.  Why not check out your local church or charity to find out more?

Amazing Grace – DVD

January 7, 2009

I received the DVD “Amazing Grace” as my requested Christmas present. I just love this movie because it has so many high quality elements.

It is the true story of a man called William Wilberforce a godly christian who spent his entire life as a member of parliament campaigning tirelessly to abolish the slave trade of African people practiced by British businessman and landowners.

The story is truly inspiring as it describes the passion, perseverance, ingenuity and charisma of a man who suffered constant opposition, ill health and disappointment throughout his life, until he finally fulfilled his vision to abolish the slave trade in Britain via an act of Parliament.

Today many people are fairly cynical about politicians and anything to do with politics.  This is why this movie is such a stark contrast since it shows how a man with godly motives, having little concern for his own well being, truly used his power, wealth, wit and charisma to achieve freedom for this oppressed group.  He also initiated many other social reforms  for the making of a better world.

The film  may at least offer some  hope that perhaps one day other individuals of the same calibre may rise up to do the same –  by using their power and influence to change the world for the better without being totally corrupted by the political process itself.    As the bible says in  Matthew 19:26b  “with God all things are possible”

The film also features the presence of the preacher John Newton, the former chief slave trader who eventually repented of these sins.  As a result he wrote the famous hymn “Amazing Grace”.  Hence the title of the film .  The reason he wrote this song was to express the wondrous mercy love and forgiveness that he received from God through Jesus,  for his past sins in the mistreatment of African slaves.   This became an overwhelming and moving spiritual and emotional revelation for his life.

I also love the musical score of the film with it’s full orchestral themes and nuances to create the whole mood and drama of the events.  This makes the film worth seeing as well.

I am also fairly partial to movies set in the old seventeenth eighteenth century settings in England.  I’m  always quite fascinated by english history.  Perhaps because it always conjures up the old english novels I used to devour as a child which succeeded in spurring my imagination to be able to be transported to other worlds.

Every person or christian who has any interest or concern for social justice or the making of a better world must see this movie.

The following are the lyrics to the hymn Amazing Grace which you may choose to meditate on:-

Amazing Grace

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me!
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.

’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears relieved;
How precious did that grace appear,
The hour I first believed!

Through  many dangers, toils and snares,
I have already come;
’Tis grace has brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.

The Lord has promised good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be,
As long as life endures.

Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.

The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who called me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John New­ton, Ol­ney Hymns (Lon­don: W. Ol­i­ver, 1779)