YEAR IN REVIEW
are some of the people and issues that we covered in Sight's
PETRA'S LAST HURRAH
31st December marked the end of an era in more than one way.
New Year's Eve is normally associated with reflecting upon
the last year's happenings and ushering in a new year. In
the town of Murphy, North Carolina, in the southern United
States, the legendary rock band Petra were performing their
What makes this event special is that Petra
were one of the very first bands to begin playing rock music
within a Christian context. Through their 25 albums (plus
two special edition farewell CDs) and many memorable concert
moments, this Illinois-based band revolutionised the way we
think of Christian music.
As rock bands go, only the Rolling Stones
surpass their continuous and lengthy career. In fact Petra
has been making good music for so many years that it led founder
and primary songwriter Bob Hartman to comment at a recent
concert: "Fans yell out the names of their favourite
tunes as if we would actually remember them”.
JOE MONTAGUE speaks to Bob Hartman
and John Schlitt, two of the key figures behind the band that
helped to pave the way for Christian music today...
GONE TO SPEND 'EVERY DAY WITH JESUS'
For more than 40 years, Britain’s Selwyn Hughes has
been guiding the daily reading of Christians - initially providing
written notes on blank postcards for friends and, more recently,
delivering his thoughts to almost a million people across
the world through his Every Day with Jesus devotionals.
That all came to an end last week when
Hughes, 77, passed away, leaving behind a legacy which will
continue to transform lives for Christ. Hughes, who died of
cancer, spent his last few days in a hospice.
Born in 1928 during the depression, Hughes
- whose family had been influenced by the Welsh Revival of
1904 - professed his own faith at the age of 16. Ordained
an Assemblies of God minister, he served at churches in Cornwall,
South Wales, Yorkshire, Essex and central London.
DAVID ADAMS reports...
||ESSAY: WHY THE
BAN ON THE ABORTION PILL, RU486, SHOULD BE RETAINED
RU486 is not the same as the 'morning after' pill (Postinor-2).
RU486 is the generic term for mifepristone, an artificial
steroid that blocks progesterone, a vital nutrient hormone.
It causes the nutrient lining of the mother’s uterus
to disintegrate, and the embryo withers and dies. A second
drug, misoprostol, a prostaglandin developed to treat ulcers,
is used 48 hours later to induce uterine contractions that
detach and expel the embryo and uterine contents.
More than one million women worldwide have
used RU486 to end their pregnancy. RU486 is effective from
the fifth to the seventh week following the last menstrual
period, with decreasing effectiveness up to the ninth week.
Used alone, RU486 has an abortion rate of 60 to 80 per cent.
Used with misoprostol, this rises to 95 per cent. Mifepristone
is also used to treat certain rare forms of cancer, and may
have other therapeutic applications. Mifepristone was developed
by Roussel-Uclaf, a French pharmaceutical company.
ROD BENSON, director of the
Centre for Christian Ethics at Morling College in Sydney,
gives an overview of the controversial debate and states why
he believes RU486 should remain banned...
||GOING IT ALONE:
ONE WOMAN'S MISSION TO REACH OUT TO SINGLE PEOPLE
a growing proportion of the Australian community yet in many
churches they’re still a largely overlooked group.
Data from Australia’s
last census in 2001 shows that the number of lone parents
had risen to 762,600, up 38 per cent from the 1991 figure
while the number of men and women living alone increased to
1.6 million, a rise of 43 per cent on the 1991 figure.
Yet, according to Jenny Reed, single people
have been a “very overlooked” group in many churches
in the past when it comes to recognising them through dedicated
“I think anybody can get their needs met in God and
we all do - but as far as targeting that group as far as other
ministries go in the church, (they’ve been) very overlooked,”
“A lot of people in that category don’t feel it’s
an understood group. It’s still a group with a stigma
over it - it’s not as bad as it used to be, but it’s
DAVID ADAMS spoke with Jenny
Reed, a single parent who is writing a book about the issues
affecting the growing number of single Australians...
||THE GREAT SOUTHLAND
OF THE HOLY SPIRIT: CELEBRATING 400 YEARS SINCE DE QUIROS' PROCLAMATION
hundred years ago, in 1606, Guy Fawkes was executed in England
for his role in the ‘Gunpowder Plot’, a Dutch
painter by the name of Rembrandt was born and the so-called
‘Long War’ between the Habsburg and Ottoman Empires
came to an end in Hungary.
Perhaps lesser known is that 1606 was also
the year that a Portuguese explorer stood on a beach on the
island of Espiritu Santo - one of the outer islands of what
is now Vanuatu - and proclaimed that he had found Terra Australis
de Espiritu Santo, the “Great Southland of the Holy
Pedro Fernandez de Quiros, who was acting
of behalf of the Spanish Government, was on a mission to discover
the Great Southland when he landed on one of the northern
islands of Vanuatu on Pentecost Sunday, 14th May, 1606, and
took possession of all the lands as far south as the South
Pole in the name of, among others, Jesus Christ.
ADAMS reports on plans to celebrate 400 years since Portuguese
explorer Pedro Fernandez de Quiros landed in Vanuatu...
AN 'OVERWHELMING DESIRE' TO COMMUNICATE JESUS
albums on, Christian music chart-topper Nathan Tasker says
prayer remains the key element in his songwriting.
“I spend a lot of time praying that God would give me
the songs to sing,” says the 30-year-old Sydneysider.
“I’ve found that the songs he gives me are usually
better than the ones I force.”
Tasker, who cites artists such as Keith Green, Randy
Stonehill, Michael Card and Rich Mullins as among those who
inspire him, is currently on an Australian tour having released
his latest album - Must Be More - late last year.
Musing on how God communicates to him about his songs,
he says that reading the Scriptures plays a major role in
inspiring him as does reading theology books.
DAVID ADAMS recently caught up with Nathan Tasker
in the midst of his latest tour of Australia...
OVERCOMING THE DARKNESS OF THE PAST TO BUILD A FUTURE
was a dark moment in world history. A hundred days of unbridled
evil when more than 800,000 Rwandans died in a systematic
slaughter that took place between April and June, 1994.
Described as one of the bloodiest chapters
in Africa’s history, the world watched as the majority
ethnic group - the Hutus - mutilated, tortured and killed
those of the minority Tutsi ethnicity and moderate Hutus in
a calculated genocide that saw women raped in sight of their
own families and parents killed in front of their children
before the children themselves were mercilessly murdered.
Now, 12 years on, a new initiative has
been launched to help bring hope back into the country as
it rebuilds itself.
Called, appropriately, Hope:
Rwanda, the 100 day initiative, which runs from 7th April
until 15th July, will see thousands of people from across
the world travel to the central African nation to work on
a myriad of different projects - from humanitarian work to
evangelistic outreaches to providing training for professionals
- all with the aim of showing Rwandans that the global Christian
community cares about the future of them and their nation.
ADAMS reports on a new global initiative to bring hope into
the African nation...
is the new slavery...With Charles Finney in the US and John
Wesley and Wilberforce in the UK, the altar call (meant) coming
to faith and commit oneself to the movement to abolish slavery.
That’s happening now again. I think poverty is becoming
perceived now as the new slavery: that extreme, absolute poverty
is intolerable, that it’s not necessary, it’s
not inevitable, that it’s something we could change
and change relatively easily if we ever decided to. And a
whole generation now are saying it’s time we make that
“I think the politicians are listening. They had better
listen because people of faith are an important constituency
and they impact other people - people of faith or not - and
I think that if we begin to be outspoken on the issues the
Bible speaks clearly about, we could be a very powerful force
renowned author, preacher, faith-based activist and social
commentator, Jim Wallis, has consulted with the likes of George
Bush, Hilary Clinton, Tony Blair and Bono on issues such as
global poverty and the Iraq war. In Australia to launch his
latest book, God’s Politics: Why the American Right
Gets It Wrong and the Left Doesn’t Get It, the
57-year-old spoke to DAVID ADAMS...
||A COMIC PERSPECTIVE:
HOW CHRISTIAN ARTISTS ARE USING CARTOONS TO SPREAD GOD'S WORD
picture shows a couple of guys sitting on a park bench, one
of them surrounded by pigeons as he holds a bucket of chips.
“Next time you see some pigeons snacking on some scraps,
remember that food comes from God,” one tells his mate.
“And God loves you more than pigeons. So don’t
worry about what you’ll eat. And don’t worry about
what you’ll wear.”
There’s no biff! or zap! and
no masked superhero, but the images represent one of the latest
examples in a tradition of using comics to spread God’s
Their creator, Australian Dean Rankine - who has been
creating comics for the past 17 years, explains why he thinks
comics are such an effective means of communicating the Bible.
“Comics are just so 'user friendly',” he says.
“Information can be presented quickly and easily with
visual imagery to back it up. Generally speaking, comics aren't
hard to make and not overly expensive to print...(and) as
far as communicating the message of Jesus is concerned, though
people might feel a bit intimidated picking up a Bible for
the first time, they would generally feel pretty comfortable
reading a comic.”
DAVID ADAMS reports on how Christian artists are using
comics to tell of God's truths...
was stood down, and rightfully so, and what I thought was
a long sentence in my life was actually something that saved
my neck and really got me on track spiritually. The process
of restoration was, of course, standing down, and just learning
to be a Christian rather than a ‘preacher’...There
was a process of counselling - and I can tell people now I
never believed in counselling until I needed it. And having
good friends - there was not a lot of friends that I could
talk to about it because I don’t believe you should
talk to everybody about your situation but to good leaders...I
kept going to church week in, week out - that was very hard
sometimes and very embarrassing at times. But I kept going
to the house of God because I knew the church was where I
would get healing...”
By late 2001, Sydney's Pat Mesiti was one of Australia’s
most well-known evangelists and a high-profile corporate speaker.
Then came a very public moral fall and Mesiti stepped down
from ministry. In February, after an absence of four-and-a-half
years, the 46-year-old started preaching once again. He spoke
with DAVID ADAMS about what led to him stepping down and his
return to public ministry... |
- ANSWERING THE DA VINCI CODE
OF PAST AGES: WHO WAS THE REAL MARY MAGDALENE?
Magdalene is one of a number of Marys who are attested to
following and supporting Jesus in His ministry, as recorded
in the New Testament. The name “Magdalene” seems
to find its origin from the town Magdala (meaning “Tower”)
located in the region of Galilee.
There about nine references made about
Mary by the four Gospel writers with the majority of these
references centring around both the crucifixion and resurrection
accounts (see Matthew 27:55-56, Mark 15:40, Luke 24:10, John
Luke is the only author to make mention
of her outside the context of these significant events in
where reference is made to her being delivered from demonic
possession (see Luke 8:1-3).
TOWNSEND takes a look at what we know of the real Mary Magdalene...
THE DA VINCI CODE
Yes, I’ve seen it.
And no, I haven’t abandoned my faith as a result.
The Da Vinci Code is a fast-paced
thriller which - in line with Dan Brown’s book of the
same name - strings together a wide range of bizarre and largely
discredited esoterica in a bid to create what is ultimately
an unbelievable conspiracy theory surrounding the beliefs
of the Christian church.
DAVID ADAMS takes a look at the Ron Howard-directed movie...
THE DA VINCI CODE - CHALLENGE, THREAT OR OPPORTUNITY?
Da Vinci Code. Everyone has heard of it; without doubt
it causes a reaction. For many Christians there is a sense
of fear. Many refuse to read the book because it is heresy,
and, for the same reason, they won’t see the movie.
They know that the book undermines the Christian faith and
yet can’t engage with the issues it raises through ignorance
of its contents.
Certainly The Da Vinci Code presents
a challenge. A work of fiction presented in a subtle way as
historical fact, a novel which seriously attacks the foundations
of the Christian faith. The challenge lies in our response,
the way in which we view the whole issue, and consequently,
the manner in which we react. If we see it as a threat the
tendency is to withdraw, to avoid anything to do with it,
and to refuse to engage with the issues it raises. Maybe we
don’t want to spend money on either the book or the
film, as doing so would merely make Dan Brown richer and possibly
be seen as condoning the whole thing. Alternatively, we can
embrace the unique opportunity The Da Vinci Code
presents, the possibility that we as Christians can intentionally
engage with our culture, providing meaningful and accurate
dialogue with those who may blindly accept the “teachings”
and propositions of the book (and subsequently, the movie).
But, to take up this opportunity we need to be prepared.
RUSSELL STUBBINGS argues that Christians should
be making the most of the opportunity to talk about the Gospel
that The Da Vinci Code represents... |
Dan Brown is not the first person to speculate that Jesus
was married and had children. The Mormon Church have always
taught that Jesus was married, to Mary Magdalene and to two
other women as well - the sisters Mary and Martha of Luke
10 and John 11- (thus justifying polygamy). They go on to
say that the wedding at Cana was Jesus' own wedding day!
Others have claimed to be descendants
of Jesus from time to time, and even some Christian theologians
have speculated on the possibility that Jesus was married.
Stephen Twycross argued for a married Jesus, for example.
He postulated that Jesus was married - to just one women -
but not Mary Magdalene, rather Mary of Bethany, the sister
the fifth of a series of articles which challenge some of
the key claims and assumptions made in The Da Vinci Code,
JIM REIHER examines the argument that Jesus was married...
the fourth of a series of articles which challenge some of
the key claims and assumptions made in The Da Vinci Code,
JIM REIHER addresses the issue of the other Gospels...
the third of a series of articles which challenge some of
the key claims and assumptions made in The Da Vinci Code,
JIM REIHER tackles the question of whether the Roman Emperor
Constantine was a Christian... |
the second of a series of articles which challenge some of
the key claims and assumptions made in The Da Vinci Code,
JIM REIHER takes a look at the origins of the Bible...
the first in the series, JIM REIHER examines the claim that
Jesus was first declared divine at the Council of Nicaea in
325 AD... |
to go to a page containing links to Christian resources and
here to go to the Sight forums where you can have your
say on The Da Vinci Code...
||A GRATEFUL NATION:
THOUSANDS EXPECTED TO CELEBRATE THE NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING
Organisers report than more than 1,000 communities across
Australia took part in the National Day of Thanksgiving with
an estimated 250,000 people either participating directly
or impacted by the day... |
known for being a nation of knockers...” notes Tasmanian
Judy MacKenzie. “(But) one of the things that we hope
will come out of this over a period of years is that people
will appreciate what a great country we live in and the good
things people do for us.”
MacKenzie is one of thousands of people who are
taking part in the National Day of Thanksgiving being held
across the nation this coming Saturday.
The convenor of National
Day of Thanksgiving celebrations in Launceston, she says the
city will be holding a thankyou breakfast that morning to
honor those who serve the community in uniform, such as police,
ambulance officers and firemen as well as those serving in
the military, or who care for those who can’t care for
themselves, such the poor or the marginalised. More than 360
people are expected to attend.
“They just come along, get blessed and hopefully go
away feeling blessed and appreciated,” she says.
DAVID ADAMS speaks to some of those who are preparing to celebrate
the country's third National Day of Thanksgiving...
MAKING HIMSELF 'AVAILABLE' TO GOD
are times when Doug Stringer - US-based evangelist, author,
preacher and founder of Christian outreach organisation Somebody
Cares - says he can relate to Forrest Gump, the unlikely hero
of the 1994 film of the same name.
“He’d always end up in these photographs with
all these famous people...he just showed up in the picture,”
“I realise, with me, from one moment I can be in a garbage
dump in Surabaya with thousands of homeless people and an
hour or so later I can be in the presidential palace praying
with the president. I’ve been with some of the most
famous and wealthiest people from different arenas - from
sports through to politics - and I think to myself 'What am
I doing here? I don’t have a clue what I’m doing’.
But I’m like Forrest Gump, I just show up in the picture
and I make myself available and God seems to use that.”
The 49-year-old - who recently made the latest of his
many trips to Australia where he spoke to churches and pastors
in Victoria - has spent the past 25 years working among and
for those who society shuns, sowing God’s word and life
into their lives, initially in Houston, Texas, and, more recently,
all around the globe.
part one of a two part series, DAVID ADAMS speaks to Doug
Stringer, the founder of a US-based ministry with a global
One of the greatest challenges for Somebody Cares came after
hurricanes Katrina and Rita devastated the US city of New
Orleans and other communities along the Gulf Coast in August
and September, 2005.
“In New Orleans we had churches were were already related
to - they were giving us quick assessments and the same thing
happened when Rita hit south-east Texas - we already had a
relationship...so immediately, even before the Red Cross or
the government agencies were able to get their assessments,
we were able to get the on-ground assessments from church
leaders,” recalls Doug Stringer, the founder of Somebody
“Church leaders know their community far better than
a federal group or a state group coming in, they know their
the second of a two part story, DAVID ADAMS talks to Doug
Stringer, founder of Somebody Cares, about the organisation's
response to hurricanes Katrina and Rita, revival, and his
"Australian connection"... |
||THE WORLD CUP:
REACHING OUT FOR CHRIST IN THE MIDDLE OF A GLOBAL SOCCER CELEBRATION
Australian Peter Bradbury was, up until last week, among the
thousands who had gone to Germany for the World Cup. But unlike
those who had gone as soccer spectators, he was in Germany
for another purpose altogether.
Bradbury, who spent close to three
weeks in Germany, is among 25 Australians who travelled there
as part of a Fusion team with the aim of linking up with local
churches to run a series of the organisation’s signatory
“open crowd” festivals as a way of reaching out
in communities all around the country.
“What amazes me is the way that (the open crowd festivals)
can hit a common chord in every culture,” he says.
“No matter where we are, people have a hunger inside
for connection and for purpose and for community. We know
where that hunger comes from and it’s just a matter
of really finding a way for people to give it expression,
if you like...There’s that sense of connection and community
that many people just don’t feel these days.”
ADAMS reports on how Christians, including Australians, are
using the opportunity of the World Cup in Germany to reach
out ... |
SHAKING AWAKE THE CHURCH WITH A 'FIERY' MESSAGE
Bonnke says he wants to “shake awake” the church.
But he’s not talking about just one church or a single
denomination. Nor is he talking about all the churches in
a country or even an entire continent. He’s talking
every church on the face of the globe.
“My prayer is to get the church out of the sanctuaries
and back onto the streets,” he says. “Our churches
are the most evangelised real estate in the whole world but
if you want to catch fish you shouldn’t cast your net
into the bathtub - there is no fish. We have to take it out
and cast it into the sea and into the rivers, that’s
where the fish is. I feel the church as a whole - in general
- is too much concerned about itself. We need to rediscover
the...vast majority of people that are utterly lost and on
their way to hell who need to hear the Gospel in order to
In Australia earlier this month, the world-renowned
evangelist launched a new series of eight films he’s
developed over the past nine years at the annual Hillsong
Conference in Sydney.
ADAMS and JUSTIN MICHAEL report on Reinhard Bonnke's new film
AN APPEAL TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY
A major tragedy continues to unfold in the troubled region
of the Middle East. A war of ominous dimension and of far-reaching
consequences is causing unimaginable and untold suffering
to the people in Lebanon. In a period of three weeks, over
six hundred people have lost their lives and over a million
have been displaced. The television images of corpses of little
children and old women struggling to find their way through
the debris and rubble of their homes and a nation held in
fear are heart-wrenching. Much needed aid and assistance that
could be of help in these dire circumstances has been hampered
and is unable to reach those in need.
Rev Dr SAMUEL KOBIA, general secretary of the World Council
of Churches, appeals to the international community to help
bring an end to the war in the Middle East...
ART OF PEACEMAKING IN A LAND TORN APART BY WAR
Salim J. Munayer is a peacemaker in a region riven by war.
In 1990, he founded Musalaha - a non-profit
organisation that promotes reconciliation between Israelis
and Palestinians - and since then has been leading groups
of up to 40 Messianic Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arab Christians
into the “neutral territory” of the desert - a
place that reminds participants they “cannot make it
There they spend time together enjoying
the natural beauty around them as they hike and ride camels
across the rugged terrain, spending time reading the Scriptures,
worshipping God and sharing their life experiences in what
is often a life-changing experience.
“As relationships develop, we hear each others stories
sitting around the fire at night or walking the rocky terrain
together,” wrote one participant. “Those who are
supposed to be our enemies have a name and a background and
the issues become personal. It is more difficult to ignore
each others’ grievances or neglect one another’s
pain, even though the stories may be difficult to hear.”
ADAMS reports on an effort to help bring peace to the Middle
East ... |
- CONFLICT BRINGS BACK CIVIL WAR MEMORIES
Australian Douglas Anderson, the recent outbreak of violence
brings back memories he might rather forget.
“It’s tragic...” says the Victorian missionary
who spent 30 years living in Lebanon. “We were in and
out of Lebanon during the Civil War - we were there during
the ‘82 invasion and the destruction was terrible. There’s
been the rebuilding (since) - the economy was shot to pieces
and it’s been slowly getting better - but they’ve
done a marvellous job of reconstruction and so on but now
it’s just been shattered again.”
DAVID ADAMS speaks to former the former international
director of the Middle East Christian Outreach... |
PAST AGES SPECIAL: WHO IS BONHOEFFER FOR US TODAY? WILL THE
TRUE BONHOEFFER PLEASE STAND UP?
Protestants had saints, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, martyred under
Hitler in 1945 just days before the Allies reached his concentration
camp, would be one of the first canonised. Not just his unsought
martyr’s death, "hung naked with a piano wire",
but his life’s movement from privilege to growing identification
with those who suffer, his courageous return from the safety
of the US to Germany, his work with the underground church
and, more controversially, the underground resistance in the
plot to assassinate Hitler, all argue his case for canonisation.
Bonhoeffer’s books -
The Cost of Discipleship, Life Together,
Letters and Papers from Prison and Ethics
the best known - have nurtured many through a dark night of
the soul. His writings have been my companion since teenage
years. The congruence between his life and thought, his ‘walking
the talk’, "sets him apart from most public figures
in his time and our own" as Stephen Haynes says in The
Bonhoeffer Phenomenon: Portraits of a Protestant Saint,
written to coincide with the centenary of Bonhoeffer’s
birth on February 4th, 1906.
In an article
first published in Alive Magazine, Dr GORDON PREECE
takes a look at the influence and impact of the life of Dietrich
TOUGH QUESTIONS SPECIAL: WAR AND THE MIDDLE EAST, PROPHECY
AND END TIMES - SHOULD WE BE GLAD ABOUT THE WARS AND TENSIONS
IN THE WORLD?
recent enquirer asked the following questions: "Please
help me understand how prophecy fits in with bringing peace
in the Middle East? There is such a lot of thought going around-
that it is inevitable that war will escalate before the return
of Christ and therefore there is a reluctance to pray for
peace if this awful conflict heralds Christ’s return.
What should be the Christians stance, seeing we should pray
according to the Holy Spirit?"
The short answer is: work for
peace, pray for peace, and do all you can in this world to
further the cause of peace and alleviate suffering.
JIM REIHER takes a look at how Christians should respond to
the world's crises... |
are praying that this conflict will come to a quick resolve.
Many people in these times ask life's most important questions:
What am I here for? Where I am going after I die? Why do we
suffer all of this? God has answers for all these questions.
He is waiting to answer, they only need to turn their face
to him. We have seen after conflicts like this that people
are more open than ever before to a personal relationship
with God. I pray that as believers we can introduce them to
the one who is the answer...The most important role is prayer.
Our fight is not against flesh and blood. The only one who
can bring peace to the land is the Prince of Peace himself.
Another important role for Christians outside the Middle East
is to get involved in long-term partnerships with evangelical
groups here. We need to be supported and encouraged so that
we can support and encourage. We cannot give what we have
not received ourselves."
ADAMS speaks to Harry Tees, general secretary of the United
Christian Council in Israel about the current crisis in the
Middle East... |
Good Samaritan goes down the road, he picks up the guy that
was left there on the side of the road, half dead. But if
he goes down the next day and he sees it again and he sees
somebody else gets mugged and it happens the day after that
and the day after that, there comes a point where the Good
Samaritan says ‘I’m going to keep on picking up
the people that are battered and beaten and left on the wayside,
but I think I’m going to have to do something about
this road. It’s an unsafe road - we better get some
light in here, we better get some police patrolling the road
because this keeps happening. So it’s a matter of starting
with mercy, starting with the kind of heart that Christ can
create within us and then saying ‘Wait a minute, it’s
not enough for me to behave on an individualistic level. I
must, in fact, do something socially so as to change the system
and create a society where there aren’t so many casualties,
so many hurt people, so many destroyed people’.”
renowned American evangelist, pastor and author, Tony Campolo,
was in Australia last week conducting a series of breakfast
discussions with World Vision’s Tim Costello on the
issues of justice and mercy. He spoke with DAVID ADAMS about
global poverty, the recent Middle East crisis and that
- WHERE'S OUR PASSION?
was just a few hours after the horror of September 11, 2001.
Standing amid the devastation on the
dust covered streets of New York, a leading TV journalist
stooped to pick up a piece of paper, one of the many business
documents fluttering in the murky air.
"Yesterday," she said, "this piece of paper
was probably the most important thing in the world to somebody.
Today it is totally meaningless."
I’m sure today that all of our hearts go out
to the families of those who died on that tragic day. For
them, this is not an international event, but a time of intensely
personal loss and mourning.
Even for those of us who were not touched directly
by the horror of is event, there is something to be learned
For me, these events were a stark reminder of the power
FLETCHER takes a look at how the world should have changed
for Christians since September 11...
BUT COMATOSE AS SKILLET RESPOND TO A HURTING WORLD
words to John Cooper’s song Those Nights aren’t
mere rhetoric. Cooper, from American rock band Skillet, drew
on his personal experience when penning the song for the group’s
latest album, Comatose.
“While I was growing up my mom died when I was 14,”
he says. “I got into this terrible home life situation
with my dad and (for a period) of four years it was either
me yelling at him or him yelling at me...My dad got remarried
two months after my mother died and my step mother’s
husband had died about two months before my mom so both of
them were dealing with very recent deaths of their spouses.
They had three kids and we had three kids. It was a bad situation.
I hated living there and I hated life.”
There were a few things that provided hope
for the young Cooper. One was his faith in Christ - “I
was a Christian and I knew that God loved me.” The second
was looking forward to spending weekend sleepovers with a
MONTAGUE talks to Skillet's John Cooper about the group's
latest album, Comatose... |
BROADCASTING THE MESSAGE OF CHRIST INTO HOMES ACROSS THE ARAB
were praying for years for my husband’s family,”
writes a woman from Sudan. ”They started to watch
your programs recently; they are all Christians now. Praise
Elsewhere a man from Saudi Arabia explains he is married
with two children and has become a Christian.
“I don’t know how to announce my faith, and I
don’t want to los(e) my kids and not to see them again
if my wife took them away from me,” he says. “Pray
for me, help me and (advise) me if you can.”
They are just a couple of the thousands of messages
Christian television production and distribution company Arab
Vision receives every month.
ADAMS reports on a mission to reach the Arab World...
||THE BIG DRY:
SEEKING GOD IN A TIME OF DROUGHT
of people across Australia are joining in prayer as the nation
experiences its worst drought in 100 years.
Amid reports of desperation
on the land - including that a farmer is committing suicide
every four days and rising instances of depression among those
living in rural areas, in what is believed to be an unprecedented
move in Australia the Australian Prayer Network is calling
for people all across the country to pray for the nation with
a focus not on rain but on seeking God about the reason behind
the current drought.
Brian Pickering, national co-ordinator
of the Australian Prayer Network, says that while previous
prayer initiatives had been focused on praying for rain -
including in 2003 when up to 100,000 people had taken part
in a Year of Prayer for Church and Nation, and in the middle
of last year - the current 40 day prayer period, which started
on 22nd October and will run until 30th November, was instead
aimed at “seeking the face of God”.
DAVID ADAMS reports on a new effort to find answers
to the drought... |
||HEART OF COMPASSION:
WESS STAFFORD'S MISSION TO CHANGE THE WAY WE SEE CHILDREN
only has to hear part of Wess Stafford’s life story
to see why he’s such a powerful advocate for children.
These days the president of global child
advocacy ministry, Compassion International, Dr Stafford’s
childhood was essentially split between two worlds: one, a
poor village in West Africa where he saw firsthand the devastating
effect poverty would have on the lives of his young friends;
the other, a boarding school where he faced physical, sexual
and mental abuse.
“I maintain I was probably Compassion’s president-in-training
when I was like five-years-old,” the 57-year-old reflects.
“God knew what He ultimately had for my life and He
allowed me to be raised in a little African village in the
Ivory Coast as the son of missionaries...I tell people now
that everything I needed to know to lead this thing, I learned
from the poor in a little African village around the campfires
and out in the fields and in the swamps...
DAVID ADAMS speaks with Wess Stafford, president of
Compassion International, about his work to bring hope to
children across the globe...
AUSTRALIA CHALLENGED ON ITS GENEROSITY
G20 "MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING"
Make Poverty History campaign have declared the G20 a missed
opportunity to show international leadership on the issue
of global poverty, with co-chair Tim Costello describing the
meeting as “much ado about nothing”... |
SAY: Did you go to the concert or the rallies? How effective
do you think they were in raising the issue of global poverty?
What about the violence that happened outside the G20 meeting?
Plus SightPoll: Is Australia generous enough when it comes
to overseas aid? Have your say in our forums here...
is the least generous of all the eight G20 donor countries
when it comes to overseas aid, according to a report released
Written by Simon Feeny and Matthew Clarke
for the Make Poverty History campaign, the report Are
the G-20 Helping to Make Poverty History? examines each
of the G20 nation’s performance with regard to a range
of foreign aid indicators.
These included the amount of
aid they provide relative to the size of their economies,
being committed to increasing the amount of official development
assistance to 0.7 per cent of gross national income and providing
large shares of their aid to the least developed countries.
DAVID ADAMS reports on a new report - released ahead
of this weekend's G20 meeting - which suggests Australia needs
to lift its game if we are to 'make poverty history'...
WHAT WE WOULD LIKE TO SEE THE G20 ACHIEVE
the world community made the concerted decision to end extreme
poverty - influenced by the likes of Bono, Bill Gates and
other global leaders who implored us to act - millions of
lives have been saved.
In Ghana, 1.5 million people have been
lifted out of poverty thanks to the annual $500 million in
aid the country received in the 1990s alone. In Mozambique,
debt relief enabled $18.5 million to be spent on health, which
saw free life-saving immunizations for 500,000 children. In
eastern, southern and south-eastern Asia, there are more than
200 million fewer people living in sub-human conditions since
1990 because of policies designed to reduce poverty.
And all this because the global community
and its leaders decided to combat poverty by implementing
such policies as debt relief, trade justice and aid effectiveness.
an article first published in The Age newspaper,
Make Poverty History co-chairs TIM COSTELLO and ANDREW HEWETT
talk about what results they would like to see coming out
of this weekend's G20 meeting... |
TACKLING GLOBAL WARMING A "MORAL IMPERATIVE", SAY
of all denominations have spelt out their commitment to addressing
climate change in a new report published by the Climate Institute.
Common Belief: Australia’s
Faith Communities On Climate Change, which was launched
in Sydney this week, contains a series of statements from
representatives of a range of religious faiths - including
those from numerous Christian denominations through to Hinduism
and Judaism, to the Baha’i Faith, Buddhism, the Islamic
faith and that of the Aboriginal people - who provided statements
on why they see climate change as a “moral issue”.
Sky Laris, acting chief executive of the
institute - which was formed in late 2005 with the five year
goal of raising public awareness about climate change in Australia,
says the document was developed after it became clear that
religious leaders the group had been in contact with - including
Anglican Bishop George Browning, a member of the institute’s
advisory board - expressed a “willingness and: even
a desire to make a statement about this”.
DAVID ADAMS reports... |
Virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and
they will call him Immanuel - which means 'God with us'."
- Matthew 1: 23 (NIV)
MAY YOUR CHRISTMAS BE FILLED WITH THE JOY
by ANN WOJCZUK for SIGHT magazine
HELP! JESUS IS MISSING!
every parent's worst nightmare relates to losing a child.
Any parent who has ever been unfortunate enough to lose a
child, even momentarily, can testify to the intense despair
and anguish such an event triggers.
My wife and I belong to this group;
parents who have misplaced their children. Yes, it sounds
careless and foolish but it is actually quite easy to achieve.
Children can be just downright tricky little items. Believe
it or not, we have had the opportunity to enjoy this experience
not once, but twice, courtesy of our two sons. By the way,
our two daughters have never caused this form of grief, which
begs the question, are boys better at becoming lost than girls?
Our first, and possibly most traumatic,
episode occurred in a small country town in south-eastern
Victoria, at the local swimming pool. (I can sense a collective
shiver). Our then three-year-old son managed to avoid the
close and careful scrutiny of his mother - momentarily distracted
by his three other under six-year-old siblings, to disappear
RUSSELL STUBBINGS relives 'every parent's worst nightmare'
as he calls on Christians to 'reclaim' Christmas...
yeah, Christmas - well yes, the children and the old people
need to have their festivities. So yes, I'll be there, I'll
take the day off and yes, I've got some presents - over there
in the corner - I'll be part of it. Church? Well, OK but maybe
something'll come up and I might have to miss that but I will
be there for lunch.
Really though, I know it's
something that we can't do without, I know, but I'm no longer
a child and really my mind is not really on such things -
I have to keep my mind on the job. So much to do. So much
to arrange. So much to get in order for the new year. A new
broom. A new way of doing things. Resolutions. You know. A
new year and clean start and all that.
All this Jesus in the Manger
stuff, it's not where I'm at. Not really.
Read more of BRUCE C WEARNE'S Christmas reflection...