INDIGENOUS COMMUNITY WANTS TO MAKE JESUS KNOWN

Giant Cross Monument on Memory Mountain erected in remote Northern Territory community in outback Australia

Renowned Christian landscape photographer Ken Duncan financed the project

After more than a decade, a vision to build a giant cross in a remote Aboriginal community in Central Australia has become a reality.

Key points:

  • The 20m cross near Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji) was proposed in 2009
  • Landscape photographer Ken Duncan has led the project, raising several million dollars through private donations
  • Community members hope the site will be a meeting place for locals and create economic opportunities through tourism

First proposed in 2009 by residents of Haasts Bluff (Ikuntji), 230 kilometres west of Alice Springs, the 20-metre-high, multi-million-dollar steel monument was last month erected atop Memory Mountain.

Local elder Douglas Multa

Local elder Douglas Multa said the vision first came to his uncle, Nebo Jugadai, one night at an Easter celebration at the base of the mountain — a site of historical and cultural significance for Haasts Bluff and surrounding communities.

Mr. Multa said he felt emotional seeing the structure completed. “When I first saw it we had tears in our eyes, we cried because it’s in our land — our country,” he said.

“It makes me and my people proud to have something like this in our country.” He hoped the project would help create a prosperous future for the community through tourism. “It’s important because we have been struggling for many years to get job opportunities for the young people, so that cross is going to bring lots of jobs,” he said.

The final element of the monument is expected to be completed by the end of the year when solar-powered LED lights will be installed to illuminate the cross.

Mr Duncan said a company — Memory Mountain Limited — had been established to support the development of the project, with a board made up of Indigenous people living in the surrounding communities, as well as Mr Duncan and his wife, Pam.

WHY DO PEOPLE FOLLOW JESUS?

The biggest reason people followed Jesus wasn’t because of what he taught. In fact, most probably wished Jesus would stop talking because every time he talked he upset them. People followed Jesus because of His miracles. Because He healed the sick. and fed them. We all like free healthcare and free food.

Jesus said, “Have the people sit down.” There was plenty of grass in that place, and they sat down (about five thousand men were there). Jesus then took the loaves, gave thanks, and distributed them to those who were seated as much as they wanted. He did the same with the fish. John 6:10-11

This was such an impactful miracle that it is the only miracle that is recorded in all four eyewitness accounts of Jesus’ life: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. Once the people realized what Jesus had just done, they responded exactly how you would expect:

After the people saw the sign Jesus performed, they began to say, “Surely this is the Prophet who is to come into the world.” Jesus, knowing that they intended to come and make him king by force, He withdrew again to a mountain by himself.” John 6:14-15

What the Jews wanted more than anything else was a political and military ruler that could defeat the Romans. They were ready to join His army and that’s why they tried to force Him to become their king. 

As things progressed, the crowds grew more frustrated. Again, the crowds literally wanted to make Jesus their king, and he disappeared. So they went after him.

So when the crowd saw that Jesus was not there, nor his disciples, they themselves got into the boats and went to Capernaum, seeking Jesus.John 6:24

When they caught up with Jesus, He said to them, “Very truly I tell you, you are looking for me, not because you saw the signs I performed but because you ate the loaves and had your fill.” John 6:24-26

Jesus saw straight through them. They weren’t interested in the Kingdom of God, they just wanted a free meal. That ended up being a real sticking point between Jesus and the crowds because He performed legitimate signs and wonders to prove His divinity. But they weren’t interested in getting to know the Blesser so much as they wanted His blessings. They weren’t interested in the Giver, they just wanted the gifts.

But Jesus, knowing in himself that his disciples were grumbling about this, said to them, “Do you take offense at this? Then what if you were to see the Son of Man ascending to where he was before? It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh is no help at all. The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and life. But there are some of you who do not believe.” (For Jesus knew from the beginning who those were who did not believe, and who it was who would betray him.)John 6:61-64

They wanted to follow Jesus on their terms, they wanted Jesus to give them what they wanted. As Jesus continually reminded them, it doesn’t work like that. Jesus did not come to be a genie in a bottle who would grant magic wishes to anyone who said a magic prayer. Jesus came to do something much more majestic.

From this time many of his disciples turned back and no longer followed him.

And He said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father.” After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. So Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God. John 6:65-69

We all need to ask ourselves why we follow Jesus. Has the Word been sown on good soil? Are we bearing fruit “thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

The sower sows the word. And these are the ones along the path, where the Word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the Word that is sown in them.

And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the Word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the Word, immediately they fall away.

And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the Word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the Word, and it proves unfruitful.

But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the Word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.” Mark 4:14-20

WHAT IS STOPPING YOU FROM SUBMITTING TO GOD?

The process of self-emptying so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God and made into new creatures is often easier for those who are naturally wretched and miserable, as opposed to those who seem to have it “all together” like Denzel Washington.

The reliance on natural gifts can not only prevent us from coming to Christ but also hinder our daily reliance on His Holy Spirit once we have. Relying on our own powers and failing to recognize the ultimate source of those powers can stunt our relationship with our Creator and, ultimately, lead us into the first of all sins, the sin of pride.

That the Christian life is fundamentally related to the humility of the soul before God is itself revealed in the life of Christ. Paul talks of God’s “self-emptying” (kenosis):

Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, by taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:5-11

The process of self-emptying so that we can be filled with the Spirit of God and made into new creatures is often easier for those who are naturally wretched and miserable, as opposed to those who seem to have it “all together”:

Men like Denzel Washington endowed with incredible natural gifts like charisma and talent, find it harder to rely on God’s power and providence. It is so easy for them to say who needs God, I can supply all that I need. That Denzel struggled to “want [the Holy Spirit”], didn’t want to “go too deep” and wasn’t “ready to live it” is an honest account of what it is often like for those who are gifted by God to not want to acknowledge the source of those gifts, but to rely on them as their own. But, that Denzel is as outspoken a follower of Christ as he is, given his incredible circumstances, is itself a testimony to God’s grace and Denzel’s faithful response to that grace.

For C.S. Lewis, who called himself “the most reluctant convert,” it was not his looks per se, but his natural gift of intellect that prevented him from humbling himself before God. For many of us, it may be something other than looks or intellect that hinders us from coming to Christ. But, that some part of our natural gifts may be the very thing keeping us from the Giver of those gifts, is very likely the case.

What about you?

REINTRODUCING AMERICANS TO JESUS

A group of private investors has launched a massive multi-million dollar ad campaign to reintroduce Americans to Jesus.

“He Gets Us” will reach people via TV, radio, digital ads, billboards, and experiential platforms. With a $100 million budget, it’s expected to start conversations among a wide array of people.

“Our focus is getting Jesus into the places where people are consuming a lot of media right now,” said Jason Vanderground, president of the marketing firm Haven, and one of the creators of the campaign.

“He Gets Us” follows nationwide research last year showing many adults in the U.S. aren’t sure what they believe and that many have negative views of Christianity.

Haven founder Bill McKendry says the campaign is targeting that audience. “‘He Gets Us’ is disrupting misconceptions by pointing out how Jesus identified with the marginalized, how He didn’t favor the powerful, how He often offended the religious by associating with social outcasts,” he said.

Dr. Ed Stetzer, the executive director of the Wheaton College Billy Graham Center, says the research also shows that many people have a positive view of Jesus himself. “The hope of the ‘He Gets Us’ campaign is they might actually dig a little deeper,” he said.

The campaign’s ads focus on current issues like anxiety and crisis pregnancies.

“We looked at Jesus’ life and we looked at what the American public is going through right now and just said, ‘What are the things that are most relevant to people?‘” Vanderground explained.

In addition to the ads, the campaign also provides opportunities for people to chat, text and read passages of Scripture in an organized reading plan.

“The main goal is just to increase the respect and the personal relevancy of Jesus,” said Vanderground.

Stetzer says the campaign’s wide reach could lead to large numbers of people both seeing its ads and responding.

“We want to encourage people in this moment, a time of confusion and division,” said Stetzer. “Maybe this is an opportunity–not to vent everything we have an opinion about on social media–but to talk to our friends and neighbors about Jesus, who’ve seen these ads.”

The campaign is set to run through the end of 2022. It has to be good that Christian businessmen who do not want to be known are prepared to invest so much money in making Jesus known to people in a way that is relevant to them and who would not get to know Him any other way.

WHAT JESUS ACCOMPLISHED FOR US

It is important to read the following two Scriptures regularly to remind ourselves of what Jesus has accomplished for us. Progressive Christianity has rejected penal substitution, seeing it as cruel and unjust, inducing self-loathing. The problem here is that they have not truly understood what God the Father has accomplished with His Son Jesus. There is no doubt that “the beginning of wisdom is to fear God” but that is not the end of the story.

For you have not come to what may be touched, a blazing fire and darkness and gloom and a tempest and the sound of a trumpet and a voice whose words made the hearers beg that no further messages be spoken to them. For they could not endure the order that was given, “If even a beast touches the mountain, it shall be stoned.” Indeed, so terrifying was the sight that Moses said, “I tremble with fear. But you have come to Mount Zion and to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect, to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling that speaks better things than that of Abel.Hebrews 12:18-24

“Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews… and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek.” John 19:19-20

What actually happened on the cross? If we put aside unhelpful traditions and consider what the Bible teaches us, there is much to celebrate.

God made him who had no sin to be sin for us so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.2 Corinthians 5:21

Jesus didn’t just carry sin, or pay for sin; he became sin. The perfect Lord of all, who humbled himself to serve his own creation, became all human brokenness. Paying for sin is one thing; becoming sin is far deeper. Jesus became every expression of human brokenness, and more than that became the cause of all human brokenness, which is judgement. His spiritual agony was so much worse than the physical pain of the cross. It is no wonder the sky darkened, as all that is good became all that is harmful.

It doesn’t stop there. Jesus became sin, that we might become the righteousness of God. In turn, this means that we become righteousness, as completely as he became sin. 

The cross, then, is an exchange – of our lack for his supply, our brokenness for his wholeness, our fear for his love, which can all be summed up as our righteousness (“filthy rags”) for his righteousness (right-standing with God, forever).

And you, who were dead in your trespasses and the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made alive together with him, having forgiven us all our trespasses, by canceling the record of debt that stood against us with its legal demands. This he set aside, nailing it to the cross. He disarmed the rulers and authorities and put them to open shame, by triumphing over them in Him.Colossians 2:13-15

The cross provides the forgiveness of sin, by cancelling our legal indebtedness. Sin and death were destroyed. The enemies of humankind were disarmed, triumphed over, and made a spectacle of. What a wonderful God we have.

JESUS CHANGES EVERYTHING

Cold-Case Detective Jay Warner Wallace declared the Gospel changed everything for him, particularly how he addressed every person he came across, including criminals. Great story.

How Wallace saw the world and his role in it changed dramatically when he came to faith in Jesus.

By watching this video you will also learn a lot about other religions and how those religions that existed before Jesus have been modified to include Jesus in some way at least as a wise teacher. The religions like Islam that have arisen after Jesus also include Jesus in some way. No one has had an impact on the world like Jesus whether it be on art, music, education, even on religions.

Everyone wants Jesus on their side. Satan is the master deceiver so by including Jesus in these religions he gives them some credibility.

YOU NEED TO KNOW JESUS

For this reason God highly exalted Him and gave Him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow — of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth — and every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.Philippians 2:9-11

JESUS MILLENNIAL KINGDOM IS COMING (This Kingdom by Geoff Bullock)

VERSE 1: Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed, The Son of Man, The Son of God, His Kingdom comes, Jesus, Redemption’s sacrifice, Now glorified, Now justified, His Kingdom comes.

CHORUS: And this Kingdom will know no end, And it’s glory shall know no bounds, For the majesty and power of this Kingdom’s King has come, And this Kingdom’s reign, And this Kingdom’s rule, And this Kingdom’s power and authority, Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed.

VERSE 2: Jesus, The expression of God’s love, The Grace of God, The Word of God Revealed to us, Jesus, God’s Holiness displayed, Now glorified, Now justified, His Kingdom comes

CHORUS: And this Kingdom will know no end, And it’s glory shall know no bounds, For the majesty and power of this Kingdom’s King has come, And this Kingdom’s reign, And this Kingdom’s rule, And this Kingdom’s power and authority, Jesus, God’s righteousness revealed.

CHRISTIANS – The Urgent Case for Jesus in Our World.

Christians  The Urgent Case for Jesus in our World / Greg Sheridan

Greg Sheridan widely-respected foreign editor for The Australian. has written an impassioned, informed and utterly compelling case for the truth and importance of Christianity in our lives. He presents a strong argument for the historical reliability of the New Testament, meets the living Jesus there, explores the extraordinary personality of Paul, celebrates Mary’s activism and examines the magnificent richness of John.

Filled with insights, intelligence, warmth and humour, Greg also introduces us to a range of fascinating Christians today, among them political leaders, and young activists offering the radical Christian interpretation of love to their generation. His book explores the journey of those who have been guided by faith, such as Gemma Sisia, whose school in Tanzania has transformed the lives of thousands of children, and the dynamic Chinese Christians pursuing their beliefs under harsh restrictions. He examines where Jesus can be found in popular culture and talks to Christian leaders – Pentecostal, Catholic, Evangelical and others – in Australia, the US and Britain.

At a time when the chasm of understanding between secularism and faith has never seemed wider, Christians is timely, relevant and convincing.

‘At the heart of the Christian story is the truth about the life of Jesus … Greg Sheridan’s book is a good read about Good News.’ Peter Comensoli, Catholic Archbishop of Melbourne

‘If there is ever going to be a Renaissance of Christian belief to save us from the dreariness of much secular humanism, it will come from a book like Christians. I will be buying it and giving it away to believers and sceptics alike.’

Watch this video: an unbeliever who knows and is impressed by Greg’s work as a journalist interviews the author. He now believes there is a valid case for God that needs to be explored.

https://fb.watch/7xML_9LI7z/

JESUS SPOKE THESE WORDS KNOWING SHORTLY HE WAS TO BE CRUCIFIED

These words are proof positive Jesus is the Son of God and the only person you can trust for truth about this world and your eternal destiny. He spoke these words shortly before He knowingly went to the The Cross.

Father, the hour has come; glorify your Son that the Son may glorify you, since You have given him authority over all flesh, to give eternal life to all whom you have given him. And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent. I glorified you on earth, having accomplished the work that you gave me to do. And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed...

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is jesus-on-cross.jpg

For I have given them the words that you gave me, and they have received them and have come to know in truth that I came from you; and they have believed that you sent meI have given them your word, and the world has hated them because they are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. I do not ask that you take them out of the world, but that you keep them from the evil one. They are not of the world, just as I am not of the world. Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.
“I do not ask for these only, but also for those who will believe in me through their word, that they may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me.”

We all know that Jesus twelve disciples (fishermen and tax collectors) not the Pharisees and Sadducees went on to transform Rome and then the World with the Gospel (Good News) of Jesus Christ.

Whom will you put your trust in for the truth of this world and eternal life?

THE GREATEST PERSON WHO EVER LIVED

Megachurch Pastor Jonathan Stockstill recently released his debut bookThe Real Jesus, Challenging What You Know About the Greatest Person Who Ever Lived, as a way to combat cultural Christianity.

Here we have a megachurch pastor realising that the church has largely failed in its mandate to produce disciples who can produce more disciples but he is yet to realise that the church model he continues to pursue is a major part of the problem. Nevertheless, his new book conveys important truths and the following edited transcript of Stockstill’s interview with The Christian Post where he identifies the differences between cultural Christianity and the biblical mandate to follow Christ is helpful to understand the state of the church. Another observation of Stockstill in this interview; in my opinion, he does not give sufficient recognition to the Holy Spirit and His role in every believers life.

The Real Jesus: Challenging What You Know About the Greatest Person Who Ever Lived

Christian Post: What inspired you to write The Real Jesus?

Stockstill: Three things: 1) I have seen that we live in a cultural Christianity — whether seen in our Christmas and Easter holidays, or in the gospel choir on the Grammys. We are a product of Christianity. I wanted to put the person of Jesus Christ back in the center of what it means to be a Christian. 2) I had an encounter with God in October of 2007 that forever changed my life. I talk about it in the book. 3) Jesus said, “if you love me, you will obey my commands.” That verse pierced me to my core and sent me on a journey of discovering exactly what He taught. This book is all about the man, the model, and the message of Jesus Christ.    

CP: Does Western society have different versions of who Jesus is?

Stockstill: Absolutely. … People commonly confuse their church attendance, spiritual habits, and good deeds as a sufficient substitute for their own faith in and relationship with Jesus. Yes, all of those things are great, but unless these actions are the result of an intimate relationship with our Savior, then it’s all for naught. Our faith in Christ should be so flourishing and fruitful that we can’t help but regularly do those things. 

Sadly, the idea of Christianity has become a to-do list for many, while Jesus just desires to know each of us more intimately.          

CP: How do you keep your ministry focused on the real Jesus despite the many different versions of Jesus that exist in this day and age?

Stockstill: Here at Bethany Church, our mission statement is: “Bringing all people into the life, family, and purpose of God.” If our ministry isn’t bringing someone into a personal relationship with Jesus, connecting them with other believers to do life with, or empowering them to live out the God-given purpose in their life, then we know that what we are doing isn’t of the real Jesus that we read about in Scripture.    

CP: What can someone do to identify how they might be following the wrong gospel?

Stockstill: To be a Christian means to be a little Christ. The only way you can be a little Christ is if you study Him, follow Him, obey Him, and allow His Spirit to transform you into His image. 

Simply put, if you have a religious tradition, but not the things I mentioned, you may be on the wrong track!  

CP: Along with being a pastor, you’re also a worship leader. Does being a worshiper help your connection with God?

Stockstill: For sure! Whether I’m leading or not, there’s no doubt that entering into the presence of God through worship is powerful. 

There are many instances in the Bible where praise preceded a breakthrough. No matter what it may sound like, declaring whose we are and who He is will always create an environment where God can work in our lives and reveal Himself to us. 

A Jesus-centered mentality has changed how I lead worship. When I lead in worship, I focus all my attention on Jesus. His presence follows.      

CP: What do you say to those who might not believe in real-life encounters with the son of God?

Stockstill: It’s human nature to doubt and play the “what if” game. However, Jesus Himself said, “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” When you pursue Jesus, and not just what He offers, you can’t help but encounter who He is. 

For those with their own questions, I encourage you to seek out Jesus wholeheartedly for your answer(s) because you’ll soon experience for yourself everything that He is and wants you to become in Him.      

CP: Why do you think people do not have a real, raw and relevant relationship with God? What are the roadblocks? How can we cultivate that?

Stockstill: Life happens, and it’s so easy to get wrapped up in the things of today. Intentionally creating time and space for any relationship is difficult. With a world full of distractions, it’s no wonder that people lack authentic relationships with others and God. You may be doing a bunch of good things but that doesn’t mean you’re doing what’s best. And it’s hard to know what’s best unless you’re in constant communication with who has given us His best. Being still and knowing that He is God is most definitely easier said than done. 

We can’t hear His voice unless we’re close to Him and have removed ourselves from the things of this life. Until we are disciplined enough to create space for God, it’s crazy to think that we’ll know Him fully. Jesus was intentional about His relationships with others and even sought refuge in a garden to get clarity from His father, so shouldn’t we learn to do the same.

CP: What are the benefits of being a true disciple of Jesus and not just a fan?

Stockstill: Being a disciple of Christ means that we have everything through Him that God’s Word promises. As His sons and daughters, we will never be without because we are one with Him. 

A fan of Jesus may temporarily experience these things, but being His means that it’s ours for eternity.