Former rock star gives his life to Christ and speaks about his experiences that lead him back to his Christian roots.
Almost four decades ago, Alice Cooper woke up in a terrible state. Vomiting blood and generally emaciated, he knew that something was seriously wrong.
“Everything that could go wrong was shutting down inside of me,” the musician explained to New York Daily News. “I was drinking with Jim Morrison and Jimi Hendrix and trying to keep up with Keith Moon and they all died at 27.”
Cooper quickly realised that if he failed to stop drinking, he would die. It was happening to other world-famous rock stars that surrounded him; Keith Moon and Jimi Hendrix to name just two. On the edge of despair and having been diagnosed as a “classic alcoholic,” Cooper turned to a steadfast and faithful helper: the Lord God.
Jerry Jenkins who wrote Billy Graham’s autobiography Just As I Am, shares a few of his favourite personal memories of Dr. Graham on his blog today,
“I was always saying the wrong things around Billy Graham.
One of his aides even told me I had been selected from a handful of authors to assist him with his memoirs because I was the one who obviously hadn’t prepared an answer to his team’s most predictable question: What qualifies you to do this?
I blurted, “Oh, no one’s qualified! All any writer could do with such a privilege is to try to do justice to the man’s story.”
I spent the better part of 13 months in the early 1990s traveling to and from Mr. Graham’s home in Black Mountain, North Carolina, and his nearby ministry offices in Montreat. (I assisted him in writing the birth-through-the-Nixon-years for his autobiography Just As I Am.)
But even my first interview question was off-track: “What must it feel like to be so well-known, so popular, that hundreds of thousands come to hear you preach in stadiums all over the world?”
He looked puzzled, as if he had genuinely never thought about that. He wept quietly as we watched a black and white film highlighting his 1950s Crusades, including the massive London events where he spoke to 120,000 at Wembley Stadium.
He ignored my question and said, “Let’s just pray and thank the Lord for what we just saw.”
When I pressed, asking if he didn’t at least appreciate how current crowds greeted him with warm applause, he shook his head. “I smile, but I’d rather dig a hole and crawl into it.”
I said, “But they’re just thanking you…”
He said, “Isaiah 42:8 says, ‘I am the Lord, that is My name; and My glory I will not give to another…”
More dumb questions
Once, as he was walking me out at the end of the day, his secretary caught up with us and said, “Diane Sawyer is on the phone for you.”
I said, “For him or for me?” Fortunately, she thought that was funny.
Another time, he suggested we get away and work at a hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. One morning I followed him to the hotel barbershop where he got a haircut. A manicurist working nearby struck up a conversation with him, asking, “So what do you do?”
In his inimitable accent, Mr. Graham said, “I’m a preachah.”
She said, “Oh, I don’t care for preachers that much. Except Billy Graham, I do like him.”
He said, “You like Billy Graham, do you?”
“I do. I really learn from him.”
“Well, thank you. I am Billy Graham.”
She frowned. “Oh, you don’t even look like him!”
The barber caught her eye and mouthed, “It’s really him.”
She said, “Oh, my God!”
And Mr. Graham said, “No, but I work for Him.”
My last ill-advised questions
Once, when his secretary interrupted a session, telling him, “There is a call you’ll want to take,” I waited several minutes until he returned.
When he got back, trying to be funny, I said, “So, what did President Clinton want?”
He blanched and said, “Well, I’m not at liberty to say.“ And he narrowed his eyes at his secretary.
I said, “Oh, she didn’t say anything! I was just trying to be funny, but I wasn’t, and I apologize.” He just shook his head and smiled.
Near the end of my time with Mr. Graham, I wondered whether I had enough takeaway value for the memoir. Such a book must not simply be about something; it must be for the purpose of something.
For our last session, we sat knee to knee across from each other in his modest office. My goal was to see what readers could glean not from all the experiences he had enjoyed as a worldwide Christian leader, but rather from his own personal devotional life.
But, as usual, I broached the subject the wrong way. I began, “People look to you as a spiritual leader, a model, almost like the Protestant pope—”
“Oh, no, they shouldn’t do that…”
“But they do. Many see you as the Christian leader of our time—”
Mr. Graham said, “They really mustn’t do that. When I think of the number of times I’ve failed the Lord, I feel this low,” and he reached and placed his hand flat on the floor.
And I thought, Billy Graham has failed the Lord?
I kept trying to ask the question, basing it on how he was so revered. He would have none of it.
I said, “Well, just tell me how you maintain your own spiritual disciplines.”
Finally, I had hit on something he was eager to talk about. He leaned forward, boring in on me with those piercing blue eyes. “The Bible tells us to pray without ceasing and to search the Scriptures. And I do that.”
I was stunned. “You pray without ceasing?”
“I do,” he said, “and I have every waking moment since I received Christ at age 16. I’m praying right now as I’m talking to you that everything I say will glorify Christ.”
I could barely speak, yet still I wondered if there was takeaway value here. Had he set the bar so high no one could emulate him? When I found my voice, I said, “What form does your searching the Scriptures take?”
Mr. Graham said, “Wherever I am in the world, in someone’s home, my home, a hotel room, here in my office, anywhere, I leave my Bible open where I’ll notice it during the day. Every time I see it, I stop and read a verse or two, or a chapter or two, or for an hour or two. And this is not for sermon preparation; it’s just for my own spiritual nourishment.”
Now we were getting somewhere. Everyone wants a daily devotional life, even if they can’t pray without ceasing. I said, “How do you get back into it if you miss a day or two?”
He cocked his head and squinted. “I don’t think I’ve ever done that.”
“You never miss?”
“No, I said it’s nourishment for my spiritual life, and I don’t want to miss a meal.”
Over his shoulder, on the corner of his desk, lay his open Bible, just as he said.
Years later while hosting a writers conference at The Billy Graham Cove, I received word that Mr. Graham would like my wife Dianna and me to visit him at his home. We found him bedridden, recovering from a broken hip. And he told us this story:
He said the doctor had visited him that morning to give him an injection directly into his hip bone. “He told me it was going to be quite painful and so I should try to imagine myself anywhere but here, maybe in some Shangri La.” Dianna and I both thought he was going to say he set his mind on heaven.
But he said, “I told that doctor, ‘There’s nowhere I’d rather be than right here right now.’ And the doctor said, ‘Why, Billy? I told you this is really going to hurt.’ And I said, ‘I always want to be in the centre of God’s will, and if this is where He has me today, this is where I want to be.’”
What an amazing testimony of what God can do with people that are totally committed to serve Him. This article is by Stoyan Zaimov , Christian Post Reporter. Nick’s experience with the demonic is powerful evidence for the Bible’s account of the supernatural realm and of demons intent on deceiving and destroying humans.
Nick Vujicich, limbless author and inspirational speaker reported on a few major outreach initiatives last year, and said that his team witnessed 400,000 people repent for their sins and choose to follow Jesus Christ at an event in Ukraine in October 2017.
“The biggest event that our team at Life Without Limbs (LWL) has seen and maybe the largest event ever in Europe — 800,000 people in the streets of Kyiv Ukraine! Thank you God,” Vujicic wrote on Facebook at the time.
He added, “400,000 repented of their sins and began their spiritual journey with Jesus. Now LWL celebrates the witness of 1 million decisions to walk with and trust God in everything face to face.”
Nick Vujicic, known as the “limbless evangelist,” has said that one of the reasons why he’s not an atheist is because he has seen things that science can’t explain, such as 10-foot-tall demons in his hotel room.
Vujicic, who was born with no arms and no legs and has been inspiring millions throughout the world with his story of overcoming the odds, answered a few questions about his faith in a Facebook video on Friday.
In one of the questions he was asked, “How can we know God’s love is real, and how do you know it?”
To which he responded, “I can’t show you God, I can’t show you an angel, but one of the reasons I am not an atheist, and one of the reasons why I don’t believe science explains everything, is because I have seen miracles, and I have seen demons.”
Vujicic continued, “I’ve seen 10-foot-tall demons, 5-foot wide walk in through my San Francisco hotel room. And I felt the demon’s presence, the demonic presence, before the demon actually walked through the wall.”
He suggested that the existence of things like voodoo and witchcraft, which he said are real, also show that science can’t explain everything.
“There is a spiritual realm,” the evangelist insisted.
“You have to walk by faith despite what you see, despite what you feel — you believe it.”
Earlier in the Facebook video Vujicic explained that the mission and purpose of his ministry, Life Without Limbs, is to equip people to be “the hands and feet of Jesus,” so that they know that God loves them.
In response to some of the other questions, Vujicic talked about his growing family, and how he balances spending enough time with them and his ministry.
He said that Kanae, his spouse, is an “amazing wife, super mom, she is unbelievable.”
Kanae recently gave birth to Olivia and Ellie, the couple’s twin daughters, bringing their number of children to four, including their two older sons.
“In 2017, my total days away from home was about 105 days. [In] 2018, it’s going to be 84 days. And we’re going to stick to it, by the grace of God reaching the most amount of people ever,” Vujicic said of his plans.
The author and inspirational speaker reported on a few major outreach initiatives last year, and said that his team witnessed 400,000 people repent for their sins and choose to follow Jesus Christ at an event in Ukraine in October 2017.
“The biggest event that our team at Life Without Limbs has seen and maybe the largest event ever in Europe — 800,000 people in the streets of Kyiv Ukraine! Thank you God,” Vujicic wrote on Facebook at the time.
He added, “400,000 repented of their sins and began their spiritual journey with Jesus. Now LWL celebrates the witness of 1 million decisions to walk with and trust God in everything face to face.”
When he is home, however, Vujicic said his focus is on his family.
“Every week that I am home, me and Kanae, we do have a date. I am also about to start taking my son on a date once a week, and I also don’t want to forget my family. I am starting to take out my mom for a date every second week, and my sister every second week.”
The evangelist advised that in relationships, it’s important to take time to turn off the phone, and be real.
“Having those people in our lives is the greatest blessing, so we should live like it is,” he said.
Torben in Australia in November, baptising them in the name of the FATHER, THE SON and the HOLY SPIRIT.
I believe we are seeing an emergence of the church as it was in the Book of Acts, with the POWER Jesus said, would be evident when the Holy Spirit came UPON the disciples at Pentecost.
The disciples had already received the Holy Spirit when Jesus breathed on them as recorded in John 20;22. The word Jesus used here for breathed is the same word God used when he breathed life INTO Adam. This is when the disciples were born again of the Holy Spirit but after this event Jesus tells them to do nothing until the Holy Spirit comes UPON them at Pentecost in POWER. We all know that when the Holy Spirit came UPON them in power what happened 3,000 were added to the church day one. There are two events here, and God wants you to experience both: 1. Are you born again? and 2. Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit?
Love this article by Andrew Burrell about the Liberal member for Canning W.A., Andrew Hastie from The Weekend Australian Magazine, September 23rd, 2017. It is about a 15 min read.
“He’s been pilloried for his ‘natural law’ argument against gay marriage. But Andrew Hastie isn’t a man to be messed with.” says, Andrew Burrell.
“One of the things that is happening at the moment is that we are transitioning from a society that’s always had a Judaeo-Christian world view anchoring the social and moral consensus … to a society which has a progressive world view defined by little more than individual freedom,” he says.
Testimonies are powerful. It is interesting that Andrew’s father a Presbyterian Minister was a Creationist, believing in the Bible’s six day creation account. I agree, it is impossible to believe in evolution with death and suffering before Adam, and the Bible’s account of creation with a perfect creation prior to Adam and Eve’s SIN of disobeying God. However, Hastie has had to adopt a “cunning as serpents, innocent as doves” approach to the subject of Creation v Evolution.
“Andrew Hastie’s whole body was wracked with pain and his brain was addled. For three weeks, the young army officer had endured extreme physical agony and mental torture, with little food and no more than four hours of restless sleep a night. When he called his wife at the end of the ordeal, he couldn’t hold back the tears. “I was broken, I remember calling Ruth and just crying,” he recalls. “I had no emotional resources left.”
Andrew Hastie in Afghanistan. Pic: Conan Daley
Hastie — now a rising star of the Liberal Party and a conservative pin-up boy at the centre of an ideological firestorm over same-sex marriage — is recalling the brutal selection course he endured to gain entry into the Special Air Service Regiment, the Australian Army’s toughest fighting force. The SAS course, held in the remote West Australian bush in the middle of winter, is regarded as the most physically and psychologically challenging of its kind in the world. If you survive it, you can survive just about anything.
Of the 130 superbly fit men who began that course in July 2010, only 30 made it through. Another 15 dropped out during the subsequent 18-month reinforcement cycle — a boys’ own adventure-style program that included parachuting, climbing, diving, boating, combat shooting, high-speed driving and jungle training.
Hastie went on to become an SAS ground force commander, fighting the Taliban in Afghanistan and conducting anti-terrorism operations in the Middle East. The seeds of his ambition to serve were planted as a boy when his grandfather, Flight Lieutenant Norman Hastie, showed him the bullet wounds he received while rescuing two downed Australian airmen in the Pacific during World War II. Yet by 2015, at the age of 32, Hastie had had enough of the military. “I realised the limitations of nation-building at gunpoint,” he says of his experiences in Afghanistan, where he survived several roadside bombings. “I remember thinking, ‘This is crazy.’ I had real doubts about how much we could actually achieve there.”
During those long deployments, something else had taken hold in the soldier’s mind: a greater appreciation of the conditions that led to the flourishing of Australian society and a desire to help preserve his own country’s institutions and cultural heritage. Hastie, who joined the Liberal Party in 2013, had long harboured ambitions for a political career and held little fear of the vicissitudes. “I’ve often said that warrior politics are much fiercer than federal politics,” he says. When Don Randall, the long-serving Liberal MP for the federal seat of Canning, died suddenly in July 2015, Hastie grasped his opportunity. He resigned from the Perth-based SAS, giving up his protected identity status, and won preselection — with the backing of West Australian Liberal powerbroker Mathias Cormann — for the poll in Canning, a largely working-class electorate south of Perth. Yet this was no ordinary by-election. In Canberra, it was seen as the contest that would decide the fate of Tony Abbott, who was under mounting threat of a leadership spill from Malcolm Turnbull.
Sniffing blood, the national media swarmed into Canning to get a glimpse of the hitherto unknown Hastie. And it became obvious that the Liberals had unearthed a unique candidate. Here was the conservative politician from central casting: a churchgoing, squeaky-clean ex-soldier who spoke about protecting Australian values and Western liberal democratic traditions. He also had a fearlessness uncommon in a political newbie.
Hastie didn’t impress everyone, of course. Where some saw a man of conviction, others typecast him as a Bible-bashing young fogey with antiquated views on topics such as homosexuality. He was ripe for ridicule on social media, where he was also depicted as a warmonger or a brainless beefcake. “The first tweet I ever looked at about myself said, ‘Gee, Hastie looks as dumb as batshit’,” he smiles. He did, however, prove he had substance, quoting chunks of Edmund Burke and William Shakespeare to journalists, some of whom were taken aback at the thought that a military man might also be a deep thinker. He looked good on television, too, quickly earning the sobriquet “Tasty Hastie” and being nominated for the Crikey website’s 2015 sexiest politician of the year. “It’s like a committee of gay men were asked to design a parody of a straight man — muscled, wavy hair, nice eyes, dimpled smile, family man, army uniform, son of a preacher man,” wrote one reader in endorsing Hastie for the title. “Is it wrong that the Christian fundie thing just makes him even hotter to me?”
This curiosity about Hastie only intensified after Fairfax newspapers ran front-page stories during the by-election campaign about a soldier under his tactical command in Afghanistan who’d cut the hands off dead Taliban soldiers in the heat of battle in order that they might later be identified through biometric screening. The headline in The Sydney Morning Herald read: “Star Abbott recruit probed for chopping off hands of dead Taliban”. Hastie, who remains vexed that he was accused of being a “war criminal”, had been cleared of any wrongdoing and was elsewhere on the battlefield when the incident took place in 2013. The soldier who cut off the hands was cleared this month after a two-year investigation by the Australian Federal Police.
The Fairfax story wasn’t the end of what Hastie regarded as unfair media treatment during the campaign. At a press conference a few days later he was grilled over revelations that his father, a Presbyterian pastor, was a Creationist who had dismissed evolutionary theory in his writings. When one reporter asked Hastie if he believed God made the world in six days, he could no longer contain himself: “You’re not hearing me, mate,” he responded, his eyes flashing. “People are sick of this crap. People are sick of trying to drag petty issues into public policy discussions.”
Two years later, Hastie remains touchy on the subject. He claims he has been depicted in the media as a “religious nut job” and he’d rather not discuss theology at length. “I don’t want to shy away from it, but in an era of identity politics and cultural Marxism people are looking for every reason to delegitimise someone. So every view I hold henceforth will be seen through the prism of, ‘Oh, he’s just whacking us with a Bible’.”
All he’ll say on Creationism is this: “There’s a range of different views about the origins of the Earth and my view is that God is the first mover. I believe God exists, and if He does exist, then why would it be beyond Him to be the creator?”
Andrew William Hastie was born in Wangaratta in 1982, the second of four children. His mother Sue was a schoolteacher in the northeast Victorian city and father Peter was the local pastor. When he was five the family moved to Sydney and his dad became the minister at Ashfield Presbyterian Church. Hastie attended Scots College where he recalls happy years dominated by sport and strong results in English and history. After school he enrolled in a Bachelor of Arts course at the University of NSW, where he nurtured his interest in the world’s great thinkers. “The philosophy department at UNSW was very rigorous, and taught me how to think,” he says.
He made ends meet by working as a barista at Gloria Jean’s and selling treadmills at Rebel Sports. He recalls heavy drinking sessions with his mates on a Saturday night that were inevitably followed by a hangover in church the next morning — an anecdote he tells in response to questions about his wholesome reputation. He adds for effect: “Once, when I was 17, I was at Blueberries in North Sydney with a fake ID. I came out of the bar as an under-age and there were people from my father’s flock lining up to get in. That’s about as bad as I get. But I’m certainly not a teetotaller — it’s part of the Australian culture to have a beer.”
Hastie didn’t fit in at UNSW’s Kensington campus, where as a Liberal voter and a John Howard fan he encountered the political left for the first time. A crossroads came on the day after 9/11, when a horrified Hastie listened as students in his politics tutorial tried to pin the blame for the atrocity on the US. Almost immediately, he knew he had to serve his country. He transferred to the Australian Defence Force Academy in Canberra, earning an honours degree in history, and later completed officer training at Duntroon before being posted to Darwin to serve in the 2nd Cavalry Regiment.
Steve Barton, a friend who served alongside Hastie on his first deployment to Afghanistan, recalls a man who seemed destined for bigger things. “He struck me as thoughtful and intelligent, curious in the world around him,” says Barton, who went on to be a Liberal Party staffer. “I think of myself as reasonably well-read but he sometimes puts me to shame with the breadth and the diligence with which he reads.”
Hastie’s questioning of the mission in Afghanistan was thrown into sharp relief one cloudless day in Oruzgan province in February 2013. It’s etched in his memory: the snow on the nearby mountains, the smell of firewood in the crisp air. The then 30-year-old SAS commander had called in US Apache helicopters to take out two Taliban fighters who, according to intercepts, were planning to fire rockets at the Australians. But the Apaches fired at the wrong target, killing two local Afghan boys — Toor Jan, seven, and his brother Odood, six — who were gathering firewood across the valley. Hastie and his men were cleared of any blame but he can’t forget the sight of those two small, broken bodies. “I still think about them,” he says. “I had a nightmare last night about it, so it stays with me personally. But I’m at peace with it. I had an opportunity to apologise to their brother and their uncle, and that was part of the healing process for me. War is a degrading process. There is always moral injury; the taking of human life takes its toll on people.”
Hastie has spoken to psychologists about the incident, and says the nightmares — which in the early days left him “shrouded in a black cloud” for several hours after waking — have become less frequent. At the hint of a tear, though, he changes tack and moves the conversation on. “Our society, in a way, we are too open with things. I don’t want to be another sob story in the media.”
Hastie is much happier talking about his life with Ruth, who he met on a study trip to the US in 2007. A whirlwind romance ensued between the churchgoers and Hastie knew “within a week” of meeting her that he wanted to get married. Two months later, he proposed on the steps of Sydney Opera House. “We have very similar world views,” says Ruth, who packed up her life in the US and moved to Australia to become a soldier’s wife. By 2010, the couple had moved to Perth for Hastie to begin the physical training for the SAS selection course. Keen to start a family, they had trouble conceiving and began considering adoption. It took them a year to be formally approved, only for Ruth to fall pregnant a month later with baby Jonathan. Hastie found out while serving overseas in 2014 — via a text message from Ruth containing a photo she’d snapped of her positive pregnancy test. It had taken them six and a half years to conceive. “It was difficult, but as Christians we trusted God’s timing,” says Ruth, who also gave birth to a daughter, Beatrice, in August this year.
The big question being asked of Andrew Hastie is: How far can he go? Canberra insiders rate him as ministerial material. Friends reckon he could go to the very top. “I absolutely think he can be PM,” says Craig Clark, a Perth plumber who became firm friends with Hastie after meeting him at church. “Most of the people who know him would agree. He wants to raise the discourse; he’s as far away from being a politician as you can be.” Others with a close eye on federal politics say the backbencher will have to play smarter in the corridors of power. “He’s not a creature of the party so he doesn’t really get all the machinations,” says a senior Liberal source.
In February, Hastie was thrilled to get a phone call from Malcolm Turnbull inviting him to become chairman of the parliamentary joint committee on intelligence and security. It was the first tangible sign he is progressing up the food chain in Canberra. Yet while nobody doubts Hastie’s loyalty to the Turnbull Government, the fact is he also remains openly loyal to Tony Abbott, whom he first met on the Canning by-election campaign trail in 2015. The ideological warriors became friends. They are both monarchists and share similar views on big political issues such as climate change and asylum seekers — Hastie says he hates to see refugees in detention but it’s “necessary” to stop people smugglers and describes himself as a climate “realist” rather than a sceptic. He says he wants to protect the environment but believes people must always come first. “I approach the politics of climate change with this primary question: how do we secure reliable and affordable energy for all Australians?” he says. “Everything else is secondary to this duty of government.”
Many in the Turnbull camp still view Hastie with suspicion. “If Abbott was PM Hastie would be progressing up the ladder a lot faster,” says a senior Liberal. Hastie admits he was disappointed that Abbott was removed as prime minister a week before he won Canning in 2015 and he believes the electorate remains unhappy that a first-term prime minister was dumped by his own party. But he reveals that he has privately counselled Abbott to desist from making the sorts of public comments that are widely viewed as destabilising to Turnbull’s leadership. “It’s a sacred office, so creating mischief in the background to cause havoc for the elected leader of our country is against what I stand for. I’ve had conversations with [Abbott] and I’ve given fairly frank advice. We’ve had discussions where I’ve said, ‘You’ve overstepped the mark here.’ But I say that as a friend. He’s been a good friend of mine and that’s what you do.”
When asked about his own ambitions, Hastie is circumspect: “The best way to make a difference is as a minister. But the worst thing you can do is jump ahead of yourself. I always put myself in a position where I can be called upon to do a job. But I don’t wake up every morning, putting on my tie, thinking, ‘How am I going to be prime minister of this country?’”
In recent months, it’s been difficult to miss the backbencher in the media as he emerged as one of the most strident opponents of same-sex marriage. Hastie is regularly pilloried over his views on the subject. When he appeared on national television recently to argue that traditional marriage “is a meeting of body and mind, it begins with consent and is sealed by sexual intercourse”, he was met with a barrage of anger — some of it vulgar and intensely personal. “F..king hell, Andrew Hastie is legit the dumbest c..t I have ever come across,” wrote one Twitter user.
Hastie’s opponents say he’s seeking to impose his Christian moral code on society. But he insists he has never used religion to argue against same-sex marriage; his reasoning is based on “natural law” and his belief that marriage is linked to the welfare of children. “I ask the question: what is the character of marriage over time and across cultures?” he says. “It’s a union between a man and a woman — that’s the normative practice throughout history and culture. I make no mention of sexuality and no appeal to religious authority in making my arguments. Marriage has always been an institution that’s inherently ordered towards family life. Ruth and I struggled for six years with infertility before we had Jonathan, but just because a marriage doesn’t bear children doesn’t mean it’s any less of a marriage.” But surely same-sex couples can also be good parents? “I don’t for a second suggest they’d be bad parents,” Hastie says, adding that he and Labor frontbencher Penny Wong, who is gay, have shared photos of their children. “What I’m saying is that we all have a natural right to know our biological mother and father. And once we legislate marriage to make it genderless, we institutionalise motherlessness and fatherlessness.”’
At the centre of Hastie’s world view is the theological concept of Imago dei, which asserts that all human beings are created in the image and likeness of God. His belief in this doctrine led him to publicly attack cartoonist Larry Pickering over homophobic comments he made earlier this year. Hastie says gay people must be treated with respect, and he sees no inconsistency between this view and his stance on same-sex marriage.
As the voting process ramps up, Hastie finds himself at the cutting edge of the culture wars. He aims to tread carefully, hoping not to offend anyone — an impossible task in such a fraught debate. As the postal ballots were being sent out in mid-September he became involved in a war of words with gay rights advocate and writer Benjamin Law, who had tweeted: “Sometimes find myself wondering if I’d hate-f..k all the anti-gay MPs in parliament if it meant they got the homophobia out of their system.” One of Law’s followers responded: “Start with Hastie.” In retort, Hastie was quoted in The Australian: “Noting my skills acquired in my previous career, I’d like to see him try.”
Despite this, Hastie implores both sides of the debate to be respectful. “Everyone could benefit from working to understand where the other person is coming from,” he says. “A lot of people who are advocating for Yes, especially those who are gay themselves, feel like the No case is almost an attack on their identity, or a denial of their human rights — and I get that. I understand why there’s so much emotion involved.”
Hastie sees the marriage debate as tied up in the broader clash of “fundamental visions of the social order”. And he knows he may well be on the losing side of this particular battle.
So I said, “What shall I do, Lord?” And the Lord said to me, “Arise and go….”Acts 22:10
In his autobiography, Our Incredible Journey, Word of Life co-founder Harry Bollback and his wife, Millie, wrote about their years of missionary service in Brazil, where they lived in very primitive circumstances. “Living under these conditions was truly difficult,” Harry wrote. “But neither of us thought of it as being hard at the time. We had made a decision to serve the Lord, and we were just doing what we thought the Lord would have us do. We were enjoying the good hand of God’s blessings.”
In Acts 22, the apostle Paul recounted his conversion for the Jewish Ruling Counsel. He told them of the light that blinded him on the Damascus Road, and he recounted the two questions he asked God: “Who are You, Lord?” (verse 8) and “What shall I do, Lord?” (verse 10)
When we come to Christ for salvation, we need to ask, “What do You want me to do?” Then, we just need to have a submissive spirit to His guidance, and He’ll use us in ways beyond our expectation.
I’m convinced that when you are serving the Lord, there is never a question of sacrifice. It’s just doing what we are supposed to be doing for His glory. You don’t think of the sacrifice—you think of your mission. Harry Bollback
“Do not quench the Spirit.” 1 Thess. 5:19 “And do not grieve the Holy Spirit..” Ephes. 4:30
This testimony by J Lee Grady will challenge you. He was editor of Charisma Magazine for 11 years before he launched into full time Holy Spirit led ministry.
A few years ago the Lord challenged me about my level of spiritual hunger. He showed me that even though I had stood in many prayer lines and repeatedly sung the words, “Lord, I want more of You,” I wasn’t as passionate for Him as I thought I was.
My church sponsored a conference on the Holy Spirit. At the close of one service, I was lying on the floor near the altar, asking God for another touch of His power. Several other people were kneeling at the communion rail and praying quietly for each other.
Suddenly I began to have a vision. In my mind I could see a large pipeline, at least eight feet in diameter. I was looking at it from the inside, and I could see a shallow stream of golden liquid flowing at the bottom. The oil in the giant pipe was only a few inches deep.
I began a conversation with the Lord.
“What are You showing me?” I asked.
“This is the flow of the Holy Spirit in your life,” He answered.
It was not an encouraging picture; it was pitiful! The capacity of the pipeline was huge—enough to convey tons of oil. Yet only a trickle was evident.
Then I noticed something else: Several large valves were lined up along the sides of the pipeline, and each of them was shut.
I wanted to ask the Lord why there was so little oil in my life. Instead I asked: “What are those valves, and why are they closed?”
His answer stunned me. “Those represent the times when you said no. Why should I increase the level of anointing if you aren’t available to use it?”
The words stung. When had I said no to God? I was overcome with emotion and began to repent. I recalled different excuses I had made and limitations I had placed on how He could use me.
I had told Him that I didn’t want to be in front of crowds because I wasn’t a good speaker. I had told Him that if I couldn’t preach like T.D. Jakes does, then I didn’t want to speak at all. I had told Him that I didn’t want to address certain issues or go certain places. I had placed so many cumbersome conditions on my obedience.
After a while I began to see something else in my spirit. It was a huge crowd of African men, assembled as if they were in a large arena. And I saw myself preaching to them.
Nobody had ever asked me to minister in Africa, but I knew at that moment I needed to surrender my will. All I could think to say was the prayer of Isaiah: “Here am I. Send me.” (Is. 6:8). I told God I would go anywhere and say anything He asked. I laid my insecurities, fears and inhibitions on the altar.
Three years later I stood at a pulpit inside a sports arena in Port Harcourt, Nigeria. As I addressed a crowd of 8,000 pastors who had assembled there for a training conference, I remembered seeing their faces in that vision. And I realised that God had opened a new valve in my life that day when I was on the floor of my church. Because I had said yes, He had increased the flow of His oil so that it could reach thousands.
Many of us have a habit of asking for more of God’s power and anointing. But what do we use it for? He doesn’t send it just to make us feel good.
We love to go to the altar for a touch from God. We love the goose bumps, the shaking, the emotion of the moment. We love to fall on the floor and experience one filling after another. But I am afraid some of us are soaking up the anointing but not giving it away. Our charismatic experience has become inward and selfish. We get up off the floor and live like we want to.
Pentecost is not a party. If we truly want to be empowered, we must offer God an unqualified yes. We must crucify every no. We must become a conduit to reach others, not a reservoir with no outlet.
Search your own heart today and see if there are any closed valves in your pipeline. As you surrender them, the locked channels will open, and His oil will flow out to a world that craves to know He is real.
True Religion Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world. James 1:27
Last summer, former NFL quarterback Tim Tebow spent time ministering to children in an orphanage in the Philippines. It was a personal mission for Tim because he was born in the Philippines to missionary parents, and the orphanage had been started by his father, Bob Tebow.
Critics may blast Tim Tebow for his vocal faith, but it’s hard for them to criticise him when his Christianity goes to work caring for orphans in the Philippines. Following Christ isn’t a popular path in today’s culture, and the world is quick to criticise us for being vocal or for our slightest faults or failures. But the world falls silent as we care for orphans, visit widows, feed the poor, rebuild communities after disasters, promote literacy, and provide clean drinking water for impoverished villages.
“Live such good lives among the pagans that, though they accuse you of doing wrong, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day He visits us” 1 Peter 2:12, NIV. Our authenticity as a follower of Christ is often judged more by our actions than our words.
The greatest thing a man can do for his Heavenly Father is to be kind to… His other children.
Lance Wallnau claims to have heard from God on this issue. Hear his story of how God unfolded His instructions to him. This took Lance on a journey he was not keen to take; support Donald Trump, it would be crazy considering where his current support is coming from – evangelicals. Trump is the chaos candidate.
The very fact you can watch this video is miraculous. God is using the most unlikely people for His purposes in these “last days”.
Edgar Award-winner and New York Times bestselling novelist tells of his improbable conversion from agnostic Jewish-intellectual to baptised Christian and of the books that led him there.
No one was more surprised than Andrew Klavan when, at the age of fifty, he found himself about to be baptised. Best known for his hard-boiled, white-knuckle thrillers and for the movies made from them—among them True Crime (directed by Clint Eastwood) and Don’t Say a Word (starring Michael Douglas)—Klavan was born in a suburban Jewish enclave outside New York City. He left the faith of his childhood behind to live most of his life as an agnostic in the secular, sophisticated atmosphere of New York, London, and Los Angeles. But his lifelong quest for truth—in his life and in his work—was leading him to a place he never expected.
Klavan’s coming to faith took place over a process of many years where he wrestled with many philosophical quandaries and the author is quick to point out that reason can only get you so far.
CP asked Klavan how important he thinks experiencing God is in light of how contemporary culture values thinking over feeling, particularly the reasoning that what we think is objectively true and the things we experience are subjective and therefore invalid.
Among other things, Klavan noted, the subjective experience of falling in love with his wife over the course of many decades was an epiphany of sorts; love showed him that just because something might be subjective it does not mean it is not real.
“That led me to start to think ‘Now, wait a minute, maybe if you can be deceived in your subjective perceptions, then maybe you can be right in your subjective perceptions,” Klavan said.
Along the way, Klavan’s rejection of atheism was in part because he found important truths in places many devout Christians rarely look. Klavan told The Christian Post that one of the most important engagements he had with a work of art was with French author and philosopher Marquis de Sade.
“De Sade wrote some of the most sadistic pornography — some of the most disgusting stuff I ever read — and his books are laced with atheistic philosophy. And when I read that atheist philosophy and I saw that pornography that accompanied it, I said to myself, ‘That is honest atheism. That is only true, truly reasoned atheism I ever saw, that if you wanted to be an atheist, this was the logic of it and it turned me away.’ I turned my back and walked away from it.”
“So here’s this ugly guy but writing brilliant art, brilliant psychopathic art, that contained a truth that I needed to find,” he continued.
“The one thing I would love to see Christians do, is to stop leaping to condemn art that doesn’t immediately echo their deeply held beliefs. Because I truly believe that all great art is speaking truth. God is god of the real world, he’s not God of fantasy land. When you shut people off from the ugliness of life, from the physicality of life and the passion and the lust that are in the Bible and in the arts, you shut people off from the real God,” he said.
“I think that the arts are one of the ways that human beings relate their inner experience to one another. And I think in that inner experience is where we are going to find our faith and find our God. So learn how to read the arts, learn how to read something that repels you, it actually may have a truth inside that people need to know.”
When asked what he would most like readers to take away from his memoir, Klavan reiterated the importance to examining the evidence for faith for oneself, against the fierce cultural tide of unbelief.
“You have to step out of that current, as hard as it is, and see the world fresh and start to find the truth from there,” Klavan said. “Because as the X-files always told us, the truth is out there. And it really is staring you in the face, and it really is speaking to you, singing to you, virtually, from every corner of the world.”
“The Jews are the chosen people of God and they brought the notion of God back into humanity after we lost track of it after The Fall, they were the doorway for God to re-enter the world and people hate them for it. To take it even one step further, people hate the Jews because they hate God, and you hate God because you hate yourself. I really do think that that is the failure to accept original sin.”
“And I feel like if you will experience my story with me, it might resonate. You might turn to your own life and say, ‘You know, once I start to listen I hear that song and it might help to draw you out of this tide that is washing you in something that is utterly untrue,” he concluded.
Andrew Klavan’s story demonstrates that God can use whatever, whenever to bring us to a knowledge of the truth – His truth about His world. A world which He judged on one occasion (Noah’s worldwide flood that laid down all the fossils), and He tells us in His Word that He will pour out His wrath upon all the earth again in the not to distant future, if my reading of the signs are correct.