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From Jim Elliot to Saint Patrick, and Gladys Aylward to Harriet Tubman, heroes of the faith can help inform our own Christian walk. We can see the bravery they displayed, their commitment to the Lord and His mission, and the incredible love that they showed to people all over the world. With these things in mind, we can help teach our kids and grandkids the eternal truths of God’s Word, and show them how a life lived in love of God and neighbor can truly change everything.

RevelationMedia is committed to bringing you, your kids, and your grandkids quality Christian content for FREE. Over the course of 2021, we have been releasing episodes from the Torchlighters: Heroes of the Faith series weekly. All 20 episodes are now available to watch; simply click the link below the hero you’d like to know more about, and you can stream the episode instantly.

As you watch, prayerfully consider a generous donation to RevelationMedia. Your contributions help us continue to offer online events like this and help us distribute faith-based content to the global missions community at no cost to them.


     JIM ELLIOT 
See Jim Elliot’s commitment to the Gospel on display as he ultimately laid down his life trying to bring the Word of God to the Waodani in Ecuador.
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ST. PATRICK
From the bonds of slavery to a life lived in service to God, St. Patrick’s commitment to the Lord compelled him to return to Ireland to bring the Gospel to those who had enslaved him.
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WILLIAM TYNDALE
See how William Tyndale succeeded in his mission to bring the Scriptures to the common people despite a devastating shipwreck and church leaders that would have him killed.
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MARTIN LUTHER
As Martin Luther boldly stood for the true Gospel against the church that would like to see him silenced, he sparked the flame of the Reformation that would reverberate across world history.
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ROBERT JERMAIN THOMAS
Take to the seas with Robert Thomas and see the lasting impact he had on the people of Korea. God used the Bibles he carried to bring the life-changing Gospel message.
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SAMUEL MORRIS
From the depths of the jungle to the American academy, Samuel Morris was an inspiration to all who met him. Because of his faithfulness, countless missionaries have gone on to spread the Gospel all over the world!
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WILLIAM BOOTH
See the power of the Gospel of Jesus Christ that transforms love of worldly vice into love of neighbor with William Booth, the leader and founder of the Salvation Army.
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ERIC LIDDELL
Eric Liddell was willing to give up fame and glory to serve the Lord and share the message of the Gospel.
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GLADYS AYLWARD
Through war-ridden lands, Gladys Aylward remained steadfast, trusting the Lord for deliverance.
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RICHARD WURMBRAND
Pastor Richard Wurmbrand boldly preached the Gospel wherever he was—even in prison!
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PERPETUA
Only 22 years old at the time of her imprisonment, Perpetua boldly proclaimed Christ and faced death knowing that she would spend all eternity with Him.
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AMY CARMICHAEL
Amy Carmichael stepped in and rescued countless children from their fate as temple children, and dedicated her life to serving those who needed help.
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JOHN BUNYAN
John Bunyan was imprisoned for proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ, and from his prison cell he wrote one of the most influential Christian books of all time.
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AUGUSTINE
From pagan philosopher to committed Christian, Augustine became one of the most important theologians in all of early church history.
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CORRIE TEN BOOM
When Corrie ten Boom and her family were imprisoned by the Nazis, she had no idea that one day she would be faced with the difficult task of extending forgiveness to her captors.
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JOHN WESLEY
God lit a fire in John Wesley’s heart, and used him to spark a great revival in England.
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ADONIRAM AND ANN JUDSON
Though faced with incredible opposition, Adoniram and Ann Judson brought the Word of God to Burma.
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GEORGE MÜLLER
George Müller trusted the Lord for provision, and with God’s help, he opened homes for thousands of orphans.
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HARRIET TUBMAN
God used Harriet Tubman to free hundreds of other enslaved African Americans in what would come to be known as the Underground Railroad.
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MARY SLESSOR
Mary Slessor stepped into the danger of the jungle to bring the truth of the Gospel to a people who didn’t know God.
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GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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PM speaks to church leaders

PM speaks to church leaders

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From Vision Christian Media

On Tuesday 20 April 2021, Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison gave an address to Christian Leaders at the Australian Christian Churches conference on the Gold Coast. This is not the first time Mr Morrison has spoken about his faith, nor did he say anything particularly controversial, but that has not stopped a storm of news and social media coverage about the place of faith in politics.

PM speaks at ACC Conference

Following is a transcript of what he had to say (after his initial greetings):

“I do want to share something with you tonight, a few things that are on my heart. I need you help… Jenny sends her best by the way, thank you for your prayers for Jen, particularly most recently. She’s amazing. I’m just thrilled the rest of the country is getting to work out what I’ve known for a very, very long time. She’s a great blessing, you know, she’s got an amazing heart, the way she’s used the opportunity God has given us for such a time as this. The way that she has been able to reach out to people and just be a blessing to them and a comfort to them. Her heart is just as big as it comes and God is using her, I think, in great ways, in political ways. I didn’t come to talk about politics tonight … the opportunities that have come her way. Leila and Danny Abdallah, I don’t know if you know Leila and Danny? They lost their three children, when they were run over at Oatlands and Jenny has forged an amazing friendship with her and that family, and the other families that are affected, and that’s an amazing faith that forgives and they’ve been a blessing to this country.

But, I do need your help. My father-in-law was an amazing Christian. There wasn’t a day that went past when Roy wasn’t in complete wonder about how God saved him. He grew up in Bondi when it was a lot tougher than it was today, and he had a bit of a rough time growing up. He was a bit of a loner and God reached him through a great church where he was and he just lived the rest of his life saying “I can’t believe how great God is” and he would just give thanks every single day. And, when I was younger – because I started going out with Jenny when I was 16 – I would sit and we’d have discussions, Roy and I. Even back then I was interested in things political and so was Roy. We would talk about government and talk about all this and he’d get very frustrated with me because I wouldn’t answer all the questions. And I said, “you know Roy, you know, I can’t fix the world. I can’t save the world. We both believe in someone who can”. And that’s why I’ve come here for your help tonight because what you do, and what you bring to the life of faith of our country is what it needs, in my view.

Rabbi Jonathon Sacks, you may know of him, he was the chief rabbi in a synagogue in London. If you haven’t read any of Rabbi Sacks’ work, I strongly encourage you do. He wrote a book just before he died called Morality. Now, it wasn’t about what you might think or I think, most people who are outside of faith communities would think when you say “morality. And he said this about it, he said: “You lose your morality and you’re in danger of losing your freedom.” He said “Our rights used to be how we were protected from the state and now, it’s what we expect of it.” He said “What we once expected from family and community, now we can track this to the state and to the market.”

And he channelled someone else, famous economist Friedrich Hayek: “Freedom has never worked without deeply ingrained moral beliefs.” He was talking about community, and you can’t replace community with governments, with the market, with other institutions, you can’t. You can’t replace the family, you can’t replace marriage, you can’t replace the things that are so personal and ingrained and come out of us as individuals with systems of power or systems of capital. These are important things but they can’t replace community.

At every church people say to me, “what church do you go to?”… I say “Horizon Church, used to be known as Shirelive Church”. You know other churches, there are Baptist churches, there are Brethren churches, I’ve always been at a community church. That’s where I want to be, and a church that believes in community and creates community. And the essence of community is each individual understanding that they’re valued, that they’re unique. That they can respect one another. That they can contribute to one another.

We cannot allow what we feel entitled to be to be more important than what we’re responsible for. This is very important stuff that Rabbi Sacks is talking about, because he gets it, that the essence of morality is not what others would think it is, about sexuality and all of these issues. Of course, these things relate to it, but it’s about the dignity and value of each and every human being and the responsibilities that they have one to another. Now, you cancel out one human being and you cancel community because community is just human beings who God loves, and, and is intended to connect us one to another. Morality is about focusing not on ‘you’, but on the person next to you. It’s about focusing, for me, on you, not me. That is the essence of community. You can’t pass a law for it. You can’t create a building for it. It is essentially what springs from each and every one of us. Community. It’s born of what he likes to call a covenant and a covenant as we read, particularly in the Old Testament – he tends to read the Old Testament a bit more often than you! He seems to understand it a lot better than many…

But he speaks about this in a way, it’s not a transaction because in a covenant there are responsibilities. Not just obligations, but responsibilities. There is relationship in covenant, which is what God sought with Israel, in covenant, deep relationship, it’s personal. It goes beyond. There’s the giving of oneself the respect, the dignity, the caring together. The sharing of interests, the sharing of lives. The pledging of faithfulness and achieving together what cannot be achieved alone. A covenant, more than a transaction. Family and marriage, God has created in the same way, to reflect that covenant that we can have. And so I need you to keep building community in this country. I need you to keep doing the things that you do which allows Australians, right here, wherever you may be. Brad [Bonhomme] does amazing work up in Papua New Guinea. I know how much he loves going up there and I’m sure there are many other teams that have blessed our Pacific family. But it’s so important to continue to reach out and let each and every Australian know that they are important. That they are valued, that they are significant. Because we believe they are created in the image of God and that in understanding that, they can go on a journey that I’m very confident you can take them on. And I’m relying on you to do that because that’s not my job, that’s yours.

There are some threats to this that I want to share with you. There is a fashion these days to not think of Australians as individuals, there is particularly, I think, amongst our young people, and I worry about this. It’s called “identity politics”. People think of themselves by the things they can describe and connect them with others. These are important things. One’s ancestry. One’s gender, where one’s from. If you’re from The Shire, well, that’s great, starting ahead of everybody else. As they say, “prayer in The Shire is a local call”. It’s Cronulla for those of you not familiar with what I’m referring to. But there is a tendency for people not to see themselves and value themselves in their own right as individuals. And to see themselves only defined by some group and they get lost in that group and you know when you do that you lose your humanity. And you lose your connection, I think, one to each other and you’re defined by your group, not by, I think, I believe who God has created you to be. And to understand that. And that’s a big thing going on in our community, in our society and it’s corrosive, it’s absolutely corrosive and, I think it’s undermining community and, I think it’s undermining the self-worth that Australians can have because if youre only defined by what pack you’re in or what group you’re in or what group you’ve been in or what box you’re put in, how others have defined you or sought to define you either to enlist you to their cause or whatever that might be. Australians need to understand that they themselves individually and personally are unique and wonderful. Because, you know, if you look at each other not as individuals but as warring tribes, you know, it’s easy to start disrespecting each other. It’s easy to start not understanding the person across from you, and this is important for politics for us too, that there is a beating heart over there, there is a unique individual with a unique set of issues and challenges and opportunities and possibilities and all of these sorts of things. And when you stop seeing that and just see someone as, well, they’re of that view and that group.

That’s why people start writing stupid things on Facebook and the internet, being disrespectful to one another and we all know how that is corroding and desensitising our country and our society, not just here but all around the world. I think it’s an evil thing. I think it’s a very evil thing and we’ve got to pray about it, we’ve got to call it out and we’ve got to raise up our spiritual weapons against this because it’s going to take our young people. It’s going to take their courage. It’s going to take their hope. It’s going to steal their hope. We’ve got to pray about that, we’ve got to pray against that because it is such a corrosive thing that we’re seeing take place. Yeah sure, social media has its virtues and its values and enables us to connect with people in ways we’ve never had before, terrific, terrific. But those weapons can also be used by the evil one and we need to call it out.

So, this is the help I need from you. I need your help to keep doing what you’re doing. I need your help to remind Australians how precious they are and how unique they are.

Can I finish with four verses? I just wanted to share this with you in closing. Things that I have learned while I’ve been Prime Minister and, indeed, long before that.

[1] The first one is 1 Chronicles 13:3. It’s about David. It talks about how in the time of Saul they didn’t inquire of the Lord. And it’s important for us to inquire of the Lord. And this is how David established and set up when he became King. That all other kings, Saul had not done that and we know that over the course of Israel’s history that those who didn’t inquire of the Lord, those who neglected the Lord, those who put what the Lord had put in their heart to one side, then their kingdoms went where they went and the people followed them where they went. And we all remember what happened when that occurred and this is a constant reminder to me just in my own personal walk and I’m encouraged by the people I’ve mentioned already tonight and many more. That is something I seem to do and a lot of people outside this place you will understand what I’m talking about, it’s not a political thing. Faith is very much an ingrained part of my life and I just seek His wisdom in the same way you do each and every day and it’s important we do that.

[2] The second one, I like this one, it’s Psalm 23:5, where he talks about preparing the banquet for you in the presence of your enemies. We’ve got to sit down with them at that banquet. I sit down at that banquet every single day. But that’s where were called. He didn’t prepare a banquet for us in the presence of our greatest admirers and friends who would tell us wonderful and lovely things, as nice as that is. He said, “I have prepared this banquet for you in the presence of your enemies that I will be with you at that table”. It is a wonderful reminder to me each and every day.

[3] I was up in The Pilbara the other night, and Jenny, many many years ago got me this lovely little verse and she put it in a frame so I’d see it each morning, about being strong and courageous. Do not be discouraged, from Joshua 1:9. There was a young fellow who was up there, he worked in the mines. And he just came up to me because people were just saying “G’day” and we were talking, just came up and said, “Joshua 1:9”. Now, I said I’ve got that one, I’ve got that one.

And when you read, as we all do, the thing that keeps coming back to me over and over and over again, any of us in leadership understand that, is yes, He’s prepared that banquet and yes we inquire of the Lord, but you must be strong. You must be courageous and you must not be discouraged. What I like about that verse is He knows that we’ll be discouraged. He knows that those who will seek to hold us back would have us feel discouraged, so He knows it’s going to happen. It’s no surprise to Him that we may feel like that so He simply says “don’t be”… Be strong, be courageous, do not be discouraged.

[4] And this came home to me, importantly, during the last election campaign, in fact, and I was up on the Central Coast, and I was up there with Jenny. It was a pretty tough week actually. The last couple of weeks of the campaign and I was at Ken Duncan’s Gallery. And I hadn’t, I didn’t know we were going to go to Ken Duncan’s Gallery, we were speaking at a rally that day and we had to go and hold somewhere as we often do before we go over to the next event. And, I must admit, I was saying to myself “Lord, where are you? Where are you? I’d like a reminder, if that’s okay”. And so I didn’t know I was supposed to be at Ken’s Gallery. Ken’s a great Christian guy as you all know. And I walked into his gallery and there right in front of me was the biggest picture of a soaring eagle that I could imagine. Of course, the verse hit me that soaring on the wings of an eagle, run and do not grow weary, walk do not grow faint. [Isaiah 40:31]  But the message I got that day was, “Scott, you’ve got to run to not grow weary. You’ve got to walk to not grow faint. You’ve got to spread your wings like an eagle to soar like an eagle”.

So, I hope those few things encourage you. They certainly encourage me and Jenny every day. We are very grateful for the amazing prayers and support that we get from Christians all around the country. It is an avalanche, the letters we get, the support we get, the books that are sent to me. I’ve got them all there, down in Canberra, it’s quite a library that’s building up. People send me verses, they tell me their stories, they share things with me. They share things with Jenny.

It’s a privilege, it is an absolute privilege. I’ve been in evacuation centres where people thought I was just giving someone a hug and I was praying. And putting my hands on people in various places, laying hands on them and praying in various situations. I was just in Kalbarri, where the cyclone just has gone through. In all these places, it’s been quite a time and God has, I believe, been using us to, in those moments, to be able to provide some relief and comfort and just some reassurance. And we’ll keep doing this for as long as that season is. That’s how we see it. We are called, all of us, for a time and for a season and God would have us use it wisely, and uh, for each day I get up and move ahead. There is just one little thing that’s in my head, ‘for such a time as this, for such a time as this’. God bless you, thank you very much.”

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Pandemic brings churches back to life

Pandemic brings churches back to life

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Reports continue about churches coming to life during the coronavirus pandemic. New and revived forms of evangelism and welfare abound.

UK: Pandemic brings British churches back to life

Public attitudes to churches have changed for the better with faith groups winning praise for their response to the pandemic.

More than a third of non-Christians (34%) now agree that local churches are making a positive difference in their community – up from 20% three years ago. During this time the overall share of UK adults who think churches are helping their community has gone up from 35% to 42%, according to a study by Savanta ComRes.

The research, commissioned by YourNeighbour – a network of more than 1,000 churches across over 40 denominations – and the children’s charity World Vision, found people had clear ideas about how churches could help meet needs in their communities. They said churches could provide events for the elderly, homeless services, and collect and distribute food, clothes and toys.

The findings come as churches across the denominational divide have joined together to help people get through the pandemic by supporting the Give Hope campaign.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove praised the contribution of churches as the country battles Covid-19, saying: “The Church has been there for all of us – it’s been burying our dead, it’s been comforting the bereaved, it’s been feeding the poor and it’s been praying for the nation. And now the Church is determined to play a critical, central and important role in building back better and enabling us to come out of this pandemic and to be a stronger and more united nation.”

Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer also applauded the contribution of faith groups during the pandemic, saying: “It has been wonderful to see how churches have adapted to meet the needs of our communities, with countless examples of them stepping up. Now we have the vaccine, it’s a very powerful thing to see churches transforming into vaccine centres, congregations volunteering and leaders offering the hope we need.”

Source: David Williamson

UK: Stories of answered prayer spread hope during Covid-19

Stories of answered prayer are bringing hope to millions of people during the current lockdown.
The Answered Prayer Campaign was launched in the UK on 25 January and went viral in the first 24 hours, with posts containing the hashtags #answeredprayerchallenge and #makehopevisible reaching 1.3 million people. It is a joint initiative of Premier Christian Media and the Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer. Founder Richard Gamble said they want to gather answered prayers from Christians across the world, “to demonstrate that Jesus is alive and relevant today as he ever was.”
Evangelical Alliance director Gavin Calver was one of the Christians who have shared their stories of answered prayer. He recalled one answered prayer as a child that would shape his faith for years to come.
“The prayer that was answered most powerfully that I can remember, was as a nine-year-old boy at Spring Harvest,” he said. At this Christian conference, after a teaching on prayer, “they said if there is anyone in your circle who wants to pray for healing, then do that. Immediately, my friend James ripped off his sock and said: ‘I want healing for my verruca to go.’ I remember thinking that I didn’t want to put my hand on his foot!”
“Nonetheless, we prayed and as a nine-year-old, believing that the Lord can do anything, I prayed that Jesus would take his verruca away. When I opened my eyes, I could not believe what I saw, as the verruca had disappeared. The faith that has grown from that encounter has led to me praying for all kinds of things, because I believe that God can change stuff.”
Source: Richard Gamble, Gavin Calver
Photo: The Eternal Wall of Answered Prayer is a large-scale monument to prayer being built in Coleshill, near Birmingham.
May be an image of monument and outdoors

UK: 500 Churches welcome Hong Kong refugees

More than 500 churches in the United Kingdom have joined a nationwide initiative welcoming immigrants from Hong Kong.

The legal immigrants are fleeing a Chinese communist crackdown which has taken away the freedom of speech and religious liberties and has landed pro-democracy activists in prison. A website, UKHK.org, has been created to help the estimated 130,000 people expected to seek refuge in Britain this year.

Hundreds of churches signed up to be ‘Hong Kong Ready’ through the website which was launched after the UK government opened the door to Hong Kong holders of the British National Overseas (BNO) passport.

Source: Christian Today

  #1204, March 3, 2021

 

Only Frequent Church Attendees Avoided Mental Health Downturn in 2020

The real Lord of the Flies – 6 boys shipwrecked for 15 months

The real Lord of the Flies
6 boys shipwrecked for 15 months

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Christian faith sustained and guided 6 boys, aged 16 to 13, marooned on a small island for 15 months – the opposite of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’. 

“We were very happy, but the first thing we did, we say a prayer, thank God for what he brought us to.”
“Their days began and ended with song and prayer. Kolo fashioned a makeshift guitar from driftwood, half a coconut shell and six steel wires salvaged from their wrecked boat.  …  It’s time we told a different kind of story. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other.”

The real Lord of the Flies: what happened when six boys were shipwrecked for 15 months

Excerpts from The Guardian, Saturday 9 May 2020

When a group of schoolboys were marooned on an island in 1965, it turned out very differently to William Golding’s bestseller, writes Rutger Bregman.

A still from the 1963 film of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies. Photograph: Ronald Grant

In the 6 October 1966 edition of Australian newspaper The Age, a headline jumped out at me: “Sunday showing for Tongan castaways”. The story concerned six boys who had been found three weeks earlier on a rocky islet south of Tonga, an island group in the Pacific Ocean. The boys had been rescued by an Australian sea captain after being marooned on the island of ‘Ata for more than a year.  …

Peter Warner [captain of the rescue ship, the man who rescued six lost boys 50 years ago, now living at Tullera, near Lismore in northern NSW] went to work for his father’s company, yet the sea still beckoned, and whenever he could he went to Tasmania, where he kept his own fishing fleet. It was this that brought him to Tonga in the winter of 1966. On the way home he took a little detour and that’s when he saw it: a minuscule island in the azure sea, ‘Ata. The island had been inhabited once, until one dark day in 1863, when a slave ship appeared on the horizon and sailed off with the natives. Since then, ‘Ata had been deserted – cursed and forgotten.

But Peter noticed something odd. Peering through his binoculars, he saw burned patches on the green cliffs. “In the tropics it’s unusual for fires to start spontaneously,” he told us, a half-century later. Then he saw a boy. Naked. Hair down to his shoulders. This wild creature leaped from the cliffside and plunged into the water. Suddenly more boys followed, screaming at the top of their lungs. It didn’t take long for the first boy to reach the boat. “My name is Stephen,” he cried in perfect English. “There are six of us and we reckon we’ve been here 15 months.”

Peter Warner aboard his fishing boat in 1967.
Photograph: Fairfax Media Archives/Fairfax Media via Getty Images

The boys, once aboard, claimed they were students at a boarding school in Nuku‘alofa, the Tongan capital. Sick of school meals, they had decided to take a fishing boat out one day, only to get caught in a storm. Likely story, Peter thought. Using his two-way radio, he called in to Nuku‘alofa. “I’ve got six kids here,” he told the operator. “Stand by,” came the response. Twenty minutes ticked by. (As Peter tells this part of the story, he gets a little misty-eyed.) Finally, a very tearful operator came on the radio, and said: “You found them! These boys have been given up for dead. Funerals have been held. If it’s them, this is a miracle!”

In the months that followed I tried to reconstruct as precisely as possible what had happened on ‘Ata. Peter’s memory turned out to be excellent. Even at the age of 90, everything he recounted was consistent with my foremost other source, Mano, 15 years old at the time and now pushing 70, who lived just a few hours’ drive from him. The real Lord of the Flies, Mano told us, began in June 1965. The protagonists were six boys – Sione, Stephen, Kolo, David, Luke and Mano – all pupils at a strict Catholic boarding school in Nuku‘alofa. The oldest was 16, the youngest 13, and they had one main thing in common: they were bored witless. So they came up with a plan to escape: to Fiji, some 500 miles away, or even all the way to New Zealand.

There was only one obstacle. None of them owned a boat, so they decided to “borrow” one from Mr Taniela Uhila, a fisherman they all disliked. The boys took little time to prepare for the voyage. Two sacks of bananas, a few coconuts and a small gas burner were all the supplies they packed. It didn’t occur to any of them to bring a map, let alone a compass.

No one noticed the small craft leaving the harbour that evening. Skies were fair; only a mild breeze ruffled the calm sea. But that night the boys made a grave error. They fell asleep. A few hours later they awoke to water crashing down over their heads. It was dark. They hoisted the sail, which the wind promptly tore to shreds. Next to break was the rudder. “We drifted for eight days,” Mano told me. “Without food. Without water.” The boys tried catching fish. They managed to collect some rainwater in hollowed-out coconut shells and shared it equally between them, each taking a sip in the morning and another in the evening.

Then, on the eighth day, they spied a miracle on the horizon. A small island, to be precise. Not a tropical paradise with waving palm trees and sandy beaches, but a hulking mass of rock, jutting up more than a thousand feet out of the ocean.

[Mano Totau adds, “We did not get to the island until nighttime, in the dark, so I had to swim ashore,” says Totau. “I had to go first and I told the boys: ‘We have to say a prayer first before I hop in the sea.’”

Despite the fact that the reef was not far from the boat, Totau said he had a “very, very hard time” reaching it because he was so weak from “lying in the boat for eight days without food, without water”.

“When I reach the shore, I tried to stand up but when I stand up the whole world is spinning, so I laid down and crawl ashore and when I touch the dry grass, then I lie down.”

The other boys called to him from the boat to see if he had made it, but he was so weak he could not stand, he could only call out to them that he was alive.

Eventually the others made it to the island. “We were very happy, but the first thing we did, we say a prayer, thank God for what he brought us to,” he said. – https://www.theguardian.com/…/the-real-lord-of-the-flies-ma…]

These days, ‘Ata is considered uninhabitable. But “by the time we arrived,” Captain Warner wrote in his memoirs, “the boys had set up a small commune with food garden, hollowed-out tree trunks to store rainwater, a gymnasium with curious weights, a badminton court, chicken pens and a permanent fire, all from handiwork, an old knife blade and much determination.” While the boys in Lord of the Flies come to blows over the fire, those in this real-life version tended their flame so it never went out, for more than a year.

The kids agreed to work in teams of two, drawing up a strict roster for garden, kitchen and guard duty. Sometimes they quarrelled, but whenever that happened they solved it by imposing a time-out. Their days began and ended with song and prayer. Kolo fashioned a makeshift guitar from a piece of driftwood, half a coconut shell and six steel wires salvaged from their wrecked boat – an instrument Peter has kept all these years – and played it to help lift their spirits. And their spirits needed lifting. All summer long it hardly rained, driving the boys frantic with thirst. They tried constructing a raft in order to leave the island, but it fell apart in the crashing surf.

Worst of all, Stephen slipped one day, fell off a cliff and broke his leg. The other boys picked their way down after him and then helped him back up to the top. They set his leg using sticks and leaves. “Don’t worry,” Sione joked. “We’ll do your work, while you lie there like King Taufa‘ahau Tupou himself!”

They survived initially on fish, coconuts, tame birds (they drank the blood as well as eating the meat); seabird eggs were sucked dry. Later, when they got to the top of the island, they found an ancient volcanic crater, where people had lived a century before. There the boys discovered wild taro, bananas and chickens (which had been reproducing for the 100 years since the last Tongans had left).

They were finally rescued on Sunday 11 September 1966. The local physician later expressed astonishment at their muscled physiques and Stephen’s perfectly healed leg. …

It’s time we told a different kind of story. The real Lord of the Flies is a tale of friendship and loyalty; one that illustrates how much stronger we are if we can lean on each other. After my wife took Peter’s picture, he turned to a cabinet and rummaged around for a bit, then drew out a heavy stack of papers that he laid in my hands. His memoirs, he explained, written for his children and grandchildren. I looked down at the first page. “Life has taught me a great deal,” it began, “including the lesson that you should always look for what is good and positive in people.”


Mr Peter Warner, third from left, with his crew in 1968, including the survivors from ‘Ata. Photograph: Fairfax Media Archives/via Getty Images

In the four days after its publication in The Guardian, this article was read more than 7m times and shared by Russell Crowe, US senator Ted Cruz and former Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull, to name a few.

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The 10 Domains

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From the National Prayer Strategy:

The vision for the ten domains was revealed to Peter Kentley, the former CEO of Australian Marketplace Connections. Since 2009 we have received a number of confirmations to adopt and develop this vision in Australia, and to establish prayer (and mission) strategies for these domains.

During the 20th Century life became multi-faceted and overly busy with the following 10 domains dominating and competing for the families’ time, money, affections, and ambitions. These spheres or domains are:
1. Trade and Finance (Business)
2. Government and the Military
3. Law and Justice
4. Religion and Philosophy
5. Creative Arts
6. Education
7. Charity and Not for Profit Welfare
8. Health and Science
9. Media and Entertainment
10. Sport and Recreation

God has been largely relegated outside the circle of these domains. The cost of this relegation has been incredible: costs to society in the form of corporate ethical failures, physical and mental health burdens resulting from people failing to engage with Biblical solutions such as forgiveness, and the near-meltdown of the whole global financial system (the ‘GFC’) as a result of debt-driven artificial wealth creation that was not based on Godly values and principles.

Even the church has been largely seduced into a Greek world view of the division of sacred and secular, creating a separation of Sunday from Monday. This resulted in the church only accessing some 5% of its peoples waking time and Christian discipleship becoming emasculated (minimizing the impact of the Great Commission).

Yet the marketplace is the place where Christians spend some 67% of their waking time Monday to Friday. It is in the workforce that the Christians’ attitudes and character are put to the reality test…

…and if the Christians’ Monday behaviour does not reflect their Sunday belief, why would anyone believe their belief?

From this we can conclude that the BIG answer for the Church impacting the world is not primarily in programs, as good as some of these may be. The answer is in the excellence of discipleship expressed into the world: i.e. into the workforce, into the marketplace, into the shopping centres, into the schools, into the hospitals, into the courts, and onto the sports fields, and so on. This is our original commission from Jesus in Matt 22:37-40 and 28:17-20 and John 17:18.

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Community

Renewal Journal 3: Community

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Renewal Journals Index – 20 issues

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1 Revival,   2 Church Growth,
3 Community,   4 Healing,   
5 Signs & Wonders,   
6  Worship,   
7  Blessing,
   8  Awakening,  
9  Mission,   10  Evangelism,
11  Discipleship,
   12  Harvest,   
13  Ministry,
   14  Anointing,   
15  Wineskins,   
16  Vision,   
17  Unity,
   18  Servant Leadership,  
19  Church,   20 Life

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CONTENTS: 3 Community

Renewal Journal 3: CommunityLower the Drawbridge, by Charles Ringma

Called to Community, by Dorothy Mathieson and Tim McCowan

Covenant Community, by Shayne Bennett

The Spirit in the Church, by Adrian Commadeur

House Churches, by Ian Freestone

Church in the Home, by Spencer Colliver

The Home Church, by Colin Warren

China’s House Churches, by Barbara Nield

Renewal in a College Community, by Brian Edgar

Spirit Wave, by Darren Trinder

Book & DVD Review: Viva Cristo Rey! Prayer, Evangelism, Healings, Food multiplied

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EDITORIAL

Pray always

1 Thessalonians 5:17

Every revival is born in prayer, in seeking the Lord earnestly together. Every revival is sustained in prayer, as people continue to seek God and bring others into praying, believing, obeying communities of God’s people.

Young George Whitefield, converted at 21 in 1735 wrote in his journal in 1737:

We began to set apart an hour every evening, to intercede with the Great Head of the Church to carry on the work begun… Once we spent a whole night in prayer and praise: and many a time, at midnight and at one in the morning, after I have been wearied almost to death in preaching, writing and conversation, and going from place to place, God imparted new life to my soul, and enabled me to intercede with Him for an hour-and-a-half and two hours together… I cannot think it presumption to suppose that partly, at least, in answer to prayers then put up by His dear children, the Word for some years past, has run and been glorified, not only in England, but in many other parts of the world. [George Whitefield’s Journals (1960:91)]

The Spirit of the Lord was poured out on one of those praying groups in January 1739. Within two months the crowds which gathered to hear George Whitefiled preach at Kingswood near Bristol had grown from 200 to 20,000 as God’s Spirit moved upon them. John Wesley began his famous open air preaching with those crowds and continued that for fifty years.

Pray always

I recently visited Elcho Island, east of Darwin, with a team of 15 for their annual Thanksgiving Weekend on the anniversary of the revival there in 1979. God’s Spirit moved most strongly that weekend, I believe, when we waited on the Lord together, with Aboriginal leaders responding sensitively to the Spirit’s leading. We worshipped and prayed. Small clusters of people prayed for those who sought prayer, and God touched them gently and strongly.

The small communities there impressed me. Many people pray constantly, for hours a day, still. In some of those remote places the presence of the Lord is strong. The fires of the Spirit burn.

We can all do that – in our home groups, house churches, and meetings. We can wait on the Lord in worship and prayer and respond to his Spirit among us.

May revival fires be blown by the wind of the Spirit across this great south land of the Holy Spirit, igniting thousands of communities of the King.

God’s Spirit now moves like gusts of wind blowing and like waves breaking over us. It can be turbulent.

Many people report that their lives have been profoundly disturbed lately. Props and false securities are being shaken. False foundations crumble revealing what is built on the Rock.

This issue of the Renewal Journal explores some of the emerging developments as human structures are shaken and eternal issues emerge. In radical small communities people are learning to be the church, to pray in faith, to use spiritual gifts, to serve one another, to reach out in love. Increasingly, small groups are becoming the church in the home and the work place for many people. Some are linked with congregations. Some are house churches.

Communities of the King multiply. God is raising up a new breed of people committed to him and to one another, loving and serving in the power of the Spirit.

The articles in this issue of the Journal describe that. Charles Ringma, Dorothy Harris and Tim McCowan call us to discipleship in community life. Shayne Bennett and Adrian Commadeur report on charismatic communities among Catholics. Ian Freestone, Spencer Colliver and Col Warren outline emerging patterns of house churches and Barbara Nield examines the amazing growth in China’s house churches. Brian Edgar tells of renewal in a Bible College community and Darren Trinder reports on Spirit waves in Christian Outreach Centres across Australia.

Spirit waves

God moves in many ways, including the multiplying of these emerging small communities of committed people. Thousands are praying as never before. Reports continue to come of God’s Spirit stirring.

All across this land the Spirit of God is leading people to wait on the Lord in worship, prayer and faith, then minister in the Spirit’s power. This journal strongly encourages that.

A lady in Belmont, Victoria wrote, ‘We thoroughly enjoy reading the Renewal Journal and have started a prayer group for revival.’

A husband and wife in Newtown in Victoria were blessed by the Journal and as a result they started a prayer group for renewal in their Reformed Church.

A young man in Brisbane bought extra copies of the Renewal Journal to distribute to his leaders’ group at his church and has urged them to spend more time seeking the Lord together.

This Renewal Journal strongly encourages prayer – personally, in groups and families, and in networks of praying people.

 

© Renewal Journal #3: Community 1994, 2nd edition 2011

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Reviews (3) Community

Ray Laurentin

Book and DVD Review

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Viva Cristo Rey!
Book by Rene Laurentin, Waco: Word, 1982. Video/DVD/YouTube originally by Catholic Charismatic Renewal, USA.

The book by Rene Laurentin, Viva Christo Rey! (Word, 1982) tells the amazing story of God’s work among the poor of El Paso and Juarez on the border of Mexico and Texas.

People there who live in cardboard homes without electricity or running water, without employment, have found in the Holy Spirit an abundance of joy, grace and riches which few people today enjoy.

A charismatic Catholic prayer group took the gospels seriously, and decided to provide a meal for the people who scavenge their living from the city dump. They were prompted by Jesus’ command to share food with those in need. They provided food for 150 people at Christmas, but over 300 turned up, and then brought their friends. The food did not run out and there was enough left over to give to various orphanages.

So began a ministry of love and care which has grown for over forty years. The sick are being healed, both medically and through prayer. The hungry are fed, and food has never run out in twenty years. Employment has been provided in cooperatives. Better housing has been built.

Fr Rene Laurentin writes that ‘most importantly, they have found in the Holy Spirit the source of the spiritual conversion that has made for more humane living through converted action. The Holy Spirit, too, has given them a capacity for renewal, a capacity rarely found among intellectuals, who are so often lost in things, in learning, and in the orchestrated power and influence that earned the rich the reproach of Jesus. The gospel is still the good news proclaimed to the poor.’

One prayer group decided to do something in obedience to Jesus. Miracles have followed.

The one hour enthralling DVD (copy of a video) of the same name, Viva Christo Rey! (Hail, Christ the King) provides a stirring documentary of early beginnings and recent developments. It was produced jointly by the Catholics and Assemblies of God.

YouTube Video – Viva Cristo Rey

 

© Renewal Journal 3: Community (1994, 2011), pages 7-16
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)
Renewal Journal 3: Community

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RJ 03 Community 1

Renewal Journal 3: Community – Editorial

Lower the Drawbridge, by Charles Ringma

Called to Community, by D Mathieson & Tim McCowan

Covenant Community, by Shayne Bennett

The Spirit in the Church, by Adrian Commadeur

House Churches, by Ian Freestone

Church in the Home, by Spencer Colliver

The Home Church, by Colin Warren

China’s House Churches, by Barbara Nield

Renewal in a College Community, by Brian Edgar

Spirit Wave, by Darren Trinder

 

RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

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BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

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A Healing Community  by Spencer Colliver

A Healing Community

Spencer Colliver, was part of the Association of Christian Fellowships and wrote extensively about small group communities.

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____________________________________________________

In the midst of our human frailty we can experience a wholeness

in the Holy Spirit which transcends our weakness.

____________________________________________________

‘Stand in faith for your healing,’ they exhorted him. They had prayed for his healing with sincerity and compassion, but the long road of days, weeks, months, perhaps years, of ‘standing in faith’ stretched ahead. Who would stand with him?

During those days when doubt and uncertainty assail the heart of faith, who would be there to encourage and pray with him again and again until the conflict was clearly over?

If ever there is need of a small company of Christian friends and pilgrims, it is in such cases. How often the physical dis-ease is a symptom of loneliness, resentment, or buried anger. The care of others in a close knit group, ministering the grace and forgiveness of Jesus can dispel the loneliness, melt the anger, and affirm the healing process.

The small group needs to learn the Christian graces of perseverance, longsuffering, gentleness, faithfulness and hope for others. Those who have entered deeply into a small group experience will know the personal pain, doubt and fear borne on behalf of one another. You stand in faith for a brother or sister. Like the four men who let down their friend through the roof to the feet of Jesus, you bring your brother or sister again and again to Jesus.

Caring communities

Recently a good friend of mine died of a brain tumour. He had experienced several years of remission of what was an inoperable condition. This remission was a direct result of prayer for healing. During the subsequent years, to a large extent he stood alone in his church and there was little experience of a surrounding healing community. Would it have made a difference? I do not know. I do know, however, we have often failed in our healing ministry because there has been no community of Christians in daily, weekly, close-knit support. To be in community means to have all things in common – even our pain and sickness.

Cures are to be looked for, not only in the sick person, but also in the community. R. A. Lambourne (1963: 110) expresses it this way: ‘So a man who has a congenital defect about which he is chronically embittered, may be saved by the loving service and prayers of another person or group and yet retain his congenital deformity, whilst one of the group who has been involved may be relieved of a peptic ulcer.’ Experience has shown us that those with such defects may also have significant healing through persevering, persistent prayer.

The recorded experience of God’s direct intervention in healing over the past twenty years has often been the accounts of healings received through the ministry of the healing evangelist. Books on healing were initially a description of the way God intervened in healing in a wide variety of physical, emotional and spiritual conditions through that healing ministry.

Subsequent literature has come to grips with biblical principles of healing and methods of preparing all the people of God to pray for healing and exercise the gift of healing, but little has been said or taught about the importance of people being immersed in a healing community.

It is good that those at the healing meeting are asked to stand in faith for the person prayed for, but what happens after the meeting has concluded? Many are completely healed and may well stand alone, but not all. What community will these have to sustain their faith as the healing work goes on?

In some fellowships, healing teams are used so that the individualistic approach is modified. The teams are prepared to handle whatever may emerge, whether it be physical healing, deliverance from demonic oppression, or the healing of past hurts and broken relationships. Wholeness of life is the focus. Yet the need for continuing care may not be met.

A person from a strong Christian fellowship who experiences the healing grace of God can depend upon the support of that fellowship. There the healing process will be strengthened in the combined faith and mutual commitment to one another.

It is quite a different experience for people with a history of broken relationships and little personal discipline to find a community of people who will lovingly guide the formation of their Christian life and growth in faith. They need a caring community committed to support them.

Committed communities

The formation of Christian life and character – the whole area of Christian discipleship – needs a long period of painstaking care from the committed community. A young woman convert with a history of broken foster homes and drug taking experienced significant healing, but her life habits and attitudes formed over many years needed to be changed. She usually stayed in bed till the afternoon. For months an older woman would travel across town to her one-room flat, wake her, and see her washed, dressed, and out into the everyday world.

We long and pray for these alienated people to be brought into the Kingdom. Yet we recoil from some of the long term implications of lives that need to be made in the image of Christ. How beautiful that we are not alone. The Holy Spirit grants his gifts of knowledge, wisdom, discernment, courage and healing. We also have one another, if we can genuinely find oneness of purpose and love or common unity. That is community.

Christian community is an ideal we cherish but find difficult to achieve. In the many communities to which we belong – a sociology dictionary lists some ninety – we submit only a small portion of our lives. An ultimate goal of Christian community is to have all things in common. However, in our Western church we have absorbed a materialistic individualism which results in a rejection of strong commitment to group values. A pietistic approach to the Christian life emphasizes our individual personal relationship to God and tends to devalue the group relationships.

The instructions to the New Testament churches were primarily for groups, not individuals. ‘Saints’, commonly used in the New Testament for Christians, occurs there 62 times and 61 of these are in the plural form. We belong together.

Church communities need to provide a structure and opportunity for people to so relate with each other that these relationships show them how to become healing people. Christians in small groups in sensitive communication with each other a more likely to be aware of the needs of the wounded.

To a greater or lesser extent we are ‘wounded healers’. Our own wounds give a sense of identification with the wounded. We have all known, for example, how loneliness and loss bite into our emotional stability. James Lynch, in The Broken Heart: the medical consequences of loneliness (1979: 181), says, ‘The lack of companionship, the sudden loss of love and chronic human loneliness are significant contributors to serious disease (including cardiovascular disease) and premature death’.

He adds that ‘the true revolution of our times is the disappearance of friendship and that has gone hand in hand with the loss of community’. Those who lack the surrounding comfort and support of an intimate community lack one of the most powerful antidotes to stress and disease. In a neighbourhood group members can be immediately responsive to emergent need. The immediate awareness of need and the continuing healing issues out of fellowship; the formation of a new lifestyle from the witness of what Jesus has done in the lives of others. How often, too, the healer need healing. Pressure and stress need to be discerned, understood and prayed for in the whole group.

No group will be free of every ailment and oppression, but what a joy it is to have fellow pilgrims to be part of one’s whole life. In the midst of our human frailty we can experience a wholeness in the Holy Spirit which transcends our weakness. One of our friends, dying of cancer and surrounded by her own healing community, entered into a wholeness not experienced previously.

As Lambourne (1963: 110) puts it, ‘This type of situation is exemplified by the dying patient who makes of dying, as of life, not just “one damned thing after another”, but a “reasonable, lively and holy sacrifice”, a time of growing in wisdom and stature. Those who are near, serving, easing the pain, enter, if they wish, into the wholeness into which the patient by faith has entered … so the community in acts of healing, relieving suffering, and suffering together, enters the communion of saints, the community of those made whole.’

References

Lambourne, R.A. (1963) Community Church and Healing. London: Darton, Longman & Todd.

Lynch, James (1979) The Broken Heart. San Franscisco: Harper and Row.

© Renewal Journal 4: Healing (1994, 2011)
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Renewal Journal 4: Healing – Editorial

Missionary Translator and Doctor, by David Lithgow

My Learning Curve on Healing, by Jim Holbeck

Spiritual Healing, by John Blacker

Deliverance and Freedom, by Colin Warren

Christian Wholeness Counselling, by John Warlow

A Healing Community, by Spencer Colliver

Divine Healing & Church Growth, by Donald McGavran

Sounds of Revival, by Sue Armstrong

Revival Fire at Wuddina, by Trevor Faggotter

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BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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A Healing Community, by Spencer Colliver:
https://renewaljournal.com/2011/05/15/a-healing-community-by-spencer-colliver/
Renewal Journal 4: Healing
Renewal Journal 4: Healing – PDF

Also in  Renewal Journals bound volume 1 (Issues 1-5)
Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5) – 
PDF

RJ 04 Healing 1

Christian Wholeness Counselling by John Warlow

Christian Wholeness Counselling

Dr John Warlow is a Christian psychiatrist working in Brisbane within a professional and charismatic context for the healing of the whole person.
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Renewal Journal 4: Healing – PDF

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Christian Wholeness Counselling, by John Warlow:
https://renewaljournal.com/2011/05/15/christian-wholeness-counselling-by-john-warlow/
Renewal Journal 4: Healing
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Christian Wholeness Counselling
After years of prayer, vision and planning, we have established a place of healing the whole person from a Christian perspective.  It is called the Christian Wholeness Counselling Centre (See: Living Wholeness ).
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This is a place where Christians and non-Christians can be seen by Professional Counselling Consultants from a number of disciplines, including Psychology, Social Work, Occupational Therapy, the Pastoral area and Psychiatry.  It is a place where our passions are to strive for excellence in the area of psychiatry, psychology and the social sciences, and counselling within the context of a Biblical theology.
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The psychiatric, psychological, social and spiritual issues are addressed within a framework of professional Christian counselling, facilitating one’s journeying toward wholeness.  We acknowledge the spiritual dimension of the person in addition to the physical, psychological and social dimensions.  We invite clients to integrate the spiritual aspect of their life within a Christian counselling context. It is also a place where professional counsellors can develop their skills, integrating their Christian beliefs with their professional practice.  The centre helps to equip and train Christian counsellors and the church in Christian counselling and pastoral work.  All this is done in an ethical manner with integrity and compassion. Here, the problems relating to the whole person can be addressed.  These include personal, emotional, psychiatric, behavioural, physical, spiritual, social and family, educational, career related, stress, and trauma related problems.
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The problems can relate to the whole person so the avenues for healing are focussed on each part of the person. In essence, helping the person to face their failures and their pain in the presence of God and from there to move on to practise the presence of God is the spiritual pathway to healing.  Healing comes not only in practising the presence of God, but also in walking alongside with a fellow human being, and in conjunction with a supportive church network.  Thus, healing does not come in a vacuum but is done in the context of the priesthood of all believers, the presence of God and being part of the body of Christ.
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Integrated approach to healing Spiritual healing or prayer in itself often is not the only thing which needs to happen for healing.  People often need other interventions.  That may be medication, marital therapy, or some of the other forms of professional interventions.  God never made us just to be spiritual, although the spiritual is central.  God also made our bodies and our minds which often groan. Our bodies and brains may need medication, and our minds therapy.  These are provided in many forms at the Christian Wholeness Counselling Centre.  They include:  Individual Therapy, Group Therapy, Family Therapy, Marital Therapy, Child Therapy, Adolescent Therapy, Cognitive Behaviour Therapy, Psychodynamic Psychotherapy, Pastoral Counselling, Psychiatric Treatment, Educational Assessment, Career Guidance, Grief Counselling, Crisis Counselling, Trauma Therapy (EMDR), Stress Management, Anger Management, Conflict Management, Assertiveness Training, Communication and Social Skills Training.
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The likelihood of success in healing depends on how motivated or desperate the person is to change, the extent of how much they feel they can be involved in changing compared to how hopeless they might feel, and how severe their problems are in terms of physical, psychological, social or spiritual ones. The longer the problems have been going on, even back into previous generations, the harder it seems to be for change to occur.   Intervention may include prayer for inner healing, breaking of past bondages, and on-going medication or counselling support.  For some healing happens at a faster rate, for others it may take a number of years.
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Healing is significantly enhanced if, in the context of coming to the Centre, a person can be free to be real and open in the Body of Christ.  Thus the importance of close fellowship is vital.  The church itself is a major organ for healing. In summary, Christian Wholeness Counselling looks at the whole person in the context of their relationship with God and the church, and their own social network.  It acknowledges that our bodies are yet unredeemed.  It acknowledges that at times God does work in miraculous ways, but normally tears will not be dried or taken away until we reach heaven. Healing follows a sequence.  Here are essential steps on the pathway to wholeness.
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Admit and be Real about Failure   START HERE:  The place for healing to begin is where one walks alongside another – one step beside and one step behind.  In that posture, the person is strengthened to be able to face the pain, their failures and their sin.  This often seems to be the hardest part but is where healing starts.
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As the darkness is brought into the light, then that which was hidden can be addressed.  Where many find it hard to walk on a road to healing, is this very first step of even acknowledging the problem.  For true healing this needs to be acknowledged to oneself, to God and to another human being.  Admitting and being real about one’s failures and sins is the place to start.  The Christian Wholeness Counselling Centre allows this to occur in a place where the issues of the whole person can be addressed.
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Believe and Receive Forgiveness THE 1ST STEP:  Having faced and, to some extent, owned the problems, the first step of healing on a spiritual dimension is to return to the rock from which one was hewn, to receive the things which God has done.  This step to healing is through a repentance, a returning, a step of faith rather than by the primary strivings of our wills and our own efforts. This step is one of believing and receiving God’s forgiveness.  It happens initially at conversion, and needs to be repeated frequently.  As we remember and return to what God has done, rather than trying to strive to better ourselves, change can come.  It is through this step that one returns to the rock from which one was hewn, to receive the things which God has done to stand in one’s true position.
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YOUR POSITION:  Where is the position to which we need to return?  What has God done which is healing?  What is it that is there for healing, even when we have failed and fallen?  God has done four major things for us in this area:  he has provided us with his presence, he has placed us and set us apart for himself, he has given us his purposes, and he has provided all we need.  This enables us to say, ‘I am yours and you are mine’, even in our pain or failure as well as in wholeness. First, God’s presence is with us: Emmanuel.  Although we can quench the Holy Spirit, we have been sealed with him as he has been stamped on to our hearts.  For those who are truly his, we cannot rub off that stamp.  Even though the prodigal son felt no longer worthy to be a son, the Father thought otherwise.  Even in our darkest moments, the darkness cannot turn off the light.  Even in our lowest periods, God is beneath us.  Even where sin abounds, grace abounds all the more.
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Healing comes as we realise God has not abandoned nor forsaken us, but is there for us right in the context of our pain.  God owns us despite our sin. Second, God has placed us close to himself.  He has given us an identity of being a child of the Father with his Spirit indwelling us.  Being identified with Christ in God lifts up the head of the shameful and weary traveller. Third, God has purposed us to relate with him in intimacy, in Jesus by his Spirit.  This gives us a reason for living which nothing can touch, even in the context of suffering.  God’s purposes remain constant despite our unfaithfulness.  This leads the wandering person to have a God-given clarity and perspective on where they have come from and where they are going.  So, even in our groaning, with all around seeming to overwhelm us, God’s purposes can still be fulfilled.  All things can work for good.  His good is our intimacy with Jesus.  Our imitation of Jesus can grow.  Our conformity to him can be renewed.  Our sense of companionship and closeness to God can deepen. Fourth, God has provided for us his forgiveness and his freedom, leading us to his fullness.
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Our lives and experiences so often betray what God has done, leaving us feeling hypocritical, shameful, and in effect no different from what we would be if we were non-Christians.  Our lives more often than not are lives of the wilderness rather than those of the Promised Land. The tendency then is to believe much more in our failings and feelings than in what God has done because the two do not seem to match up.  Having faced our own sins and failures and returned to what God has done, we can stand in his grace, mercy, and forgiveness. In the context of facing the reality of oneself, the head of the wounded and fallen can be lifted up and can see another reality, the reality of God and what he has done.  Through being real about these realities a new perspective and new direction can again be followed.  So the shameful may stand upright, in grace and access to God; the lost may belong; the fallen and failed may get up, yet again.
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Choose to Respond to Freedom 2ND STEP:  From this position, we can move on in the freedom which God provides.  Receiving the provision  of God’s freedom leads us to relate with God in the fullness of his Spirit and walk in wholeness and healing.  Only as we receives what God has done in our life can we move on to practise the presence of God in the context of our humanity. But how do we receive and respond to this freedom?  Where does this freedom come from and where does it lead?  How do we take this second step?  This is where the mystery of God’s provision applies.  Because he has placed us in Christ, we also died with him and have been raised with him. We know, however, that we are very much alive and our sinful nature abounds.  How is it then that we continue to sin?  A major reason appears to be not only the abuse of God’s grace, but the unbelief of what God has done.  The unbelief is partly because the reality of our experience shouts louder than the reality of what God has done.
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Thus in Romans 6, Paul provides 3 steps to receive and respond to this freedom.
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* First (v 6), we must know and remember what God has done.  We must realise that we have been crucified with Christ.  We should have been warned of this when we became Christians.
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* Second (v 11), we must believe this and reckon ourselves to be dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
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* Third (vs 12-13), we must then yield ourselves to God and not to our own sinful desires.
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Our bodies are very much alive but our self-centred nature has been crucified with Christ.  However, it is only as we know this, it is only as we believe this and as we then put this into practice that we appropriate and apply what God has done.  As we take these steps in the face of our selfishness, a Godliness can slowly and falteringly develop.  There can be a renewing of our minds and a conformity to Jesus. This is a gradual walk and needs to be applied to each situation.  As we do this, as we present our bodies and our minds as a living sacrifice, to be renewed by God, then we can move on to practise the presence of God, to fellowship with God and to love others.  Then we can start to move into true Christian wholeness.
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YOUR PRACTICE:  As we respond to God and to what he has done, we can move our position into the practice of Christian wholeness and healing.  Wholeness was defined best by Jesus when he said, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind and with all your strength … Love your neighbour as yourself’.  So as we struggle with issues, we start to bring into God’s light and into God’s presence these problems and, together with God and a fellow traveller, we can move on. The pains and hurts of the past and the present can be cast on God; we are now not alone.  As they are faced, the past which lives in the present can be let go on and released.  Forgiving others starts to become possibe.  Changing thoughts, perceptions and behaviours in relation to oneself and others can begin again.  We go on again.  Love arises.  The salvation which God has worked in us starts to become worked out.
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So we are freed to respond and to relate with God. In the context of pain and sin, we can actively relate with God and in doing so can actualise and realise the presence of God in their humanity.  Being very real, we can start to interact with God, to imitate Jesus and to slowly experience some kind of intimacy with the Trinity.  We can start to  live who we are, to walk by the Spirit and not just to be born of the Spirit. Shame and guilt no longer hold their power.  We are free to leave our self-centredness to live a God-centred life.  We are free to respond to God even as the Psalmist did, in ruthless reality.  We can now move from the isolation and aloneness of darkness into abiding in God. This is not ‘airy fairy’ or living in some supernatural spiritual cloud.  This is relating to God and being free to do so as a very real human being.  Having reconnected with God, hope revives and we can once more go to others to love them and to bring God’s healing to them.  There is power to go to those who have hurt us, in our families especially.  There is power to be real about the pains which we have received from others and yet to go and to seek and touch our offenders with the wounded hands of Jesus. Spiritual warfare can be done.  This is practising the presence of God.  This is the narrow road which brings life.  This is knowing God and showing God.  This is being filled with the Spirit.  This is the narrow path that leads to life, and healing.
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RETURN TO THE START:  Yet so quickly practising the presence of God seems to disappear yet again in our sins and failings from which we have just come.  And so, returning to the reality of our failures, we can AGAIN turn to our position in God and from there move on to practising a God-centred way of life.  This is not sinless perfection, but a spiral – from practising the presence of God to falling back into sin to repenting, to walking on with God.  As we do this, it is more than going round in circles.  We spiral up on a journey, as with wings like eagles, slowly rising in sanctification.  As we take hold of God in this way, God takes hold of us and as we open to God, God fills us with his Spirit. This is the spiritual aspect of healing – abiding in God, and is something which we need to encourage in each other.  However, when things get too hard, a place like the Christian Wholeness Counselling Centre can further facilitate healing.  Consultants cannot of themselves do the work, but in closeness to the suffering clients, and in the presence of God, all three in a healing triangle can walk the road to true healing, to wholeness, to Shalom.

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Summary: a sequence of healing and wholeness.

START HERE:           “I Admit and am Real about my Failures.”

1ST STEP:                  “I Believe and Receive God’s Forgiveness.”

YOUR POSITION:    God’s Presence, Placing, Purposes and Provisions.

2ND STEP:                 “I Choose to Respond to God’s Freedom.”

YOUR PRACTICE:   “I Do live and Relate with God in the Fullness of his Spirit.”

RETURN TO THE START.

© Renewal Journal 4: Healing (1994, 2011) Reproduction is allowed with the copyright included.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)

Renewal Journal 4: Healing – with more links to healing blogs   

Renewal Journal 4: Healing – PDF

RJ 04 Healing 1

Renewal Journal 4: Healing – Editorial

Missionary Translator and Doctor, by David Lithgow

My Learning Curve on Healing, by Jim Holbeck

Spiritual Healing, by John Blacker

Deliverance and Freedom, by Colin Warren

Christian Wholeness Counselling, by John Warlow

A Healing Community, by Spencer Colliver

Divine Healing & Church Growth, by Donald McGavran

Sounds of Revival, by Sue Armstrong

Revival Fire at Wuddina, by Trevor Faggotter

Contents of all Renewal Journals

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RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

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See also Revivals Index

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GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

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Renewal in a College Community by Brian Edgar

 

Renewal in a College Community

Brian EdgarThe Rev. Dr Brian Edgar was a lecturer in Theology at the Bible College of Victoria.   He describes a unique time of renewal at the college.

Article in Renewal Journal 3: Community
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An article in Renewal Journal 3: Community
Renewal in a College Community, by Brian Edgar

The Holy Spirit may at times break down existing patterns of prayer and worship in order to renew his people.

Sometimes this is because of inadequacies in the attitude of those worshipping, as in Isaiah 1:10-20.  There God is tired of the sacrifice and worship of those who do not repent.

At other times the working of the Holy Spirit comes simply to give a renewed vision of the majesty and holiness of God, to refresh devotion and commitment, and to lead people to a new understanding of his nature.  This is a part of the contiunous renewal of which Paul says, ‘let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts … and the word of Christ dwell in you richly; teach and admonish … and with gratitude in your hearts sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs to God’ (Colossians 3:15-16).

Such a time of renewal took place over three days in September 1993 during second semester at the Bible College of Victoria (B.C.V.).  This special and unplanned period became a time of renewal, growth, conviction and great blessing.

B.C.V. is an interdenominational, evangelical college training people for ministry in Australia and overseas.  There are about 180 full-time students and almost as many more part-time students.  Ever since its foundation in 1920 individual, group and community prayer and worship have been an important feature of the community life of the college.

The priorities of the college are expressed as ‘Knowing, Being and Serving’.  This means knowing God in personal relationship; being transformed to become more like the Lord Jesus Christ as Spirit-filled people of compassion, faith, vision and power, living holy lives in the personal and social realms; and serving God in the world, developing gifts for ministry for building up the church, meeting the diverse needs in society, and proclaiming the gospel to unreached people.

As a consequence of this commitment, time is regularly given over to prayer.  Students and faculty pray in daily chapel services, in fellowship groups, in lectures, at meal times, in faculty groups, in pairs and room groups on special prayer days and nights, and in prayer cells for specific issues including healing, evangelism, community life and student ministries.  People pray, sometimes with conviction and joy, at other times with doubts and fears.

Continually there are testimonies to the blessing of the Holy Spirit.  Prayer is programmed as an important part of college life and God honours that commitment, but on occasions God wants to do something different.

A desire for God

The recent time of renewal began with the group responsible for preparing for a regular day of prayer.  Others had a growing conviction that God’s Spirit wanted to move in a new way.  One student, reflecting the feelings of many, said, ‘My heart had already been prepared to meet with God – and I was not disappointed.  For some time I had recognised the hunger in my heart and my need for God to refresh and renew my weary spirit.’

A number of people felt a desire for the presence of the Holy Spirit.  Various experiences indicated that the Lord wanted students to be involved in all night prayer to prepare for the day of prayer for the whole college.

Many would agree with the student who said, ‘For the last two years it has been an increasing prayer of mine that God’s Spirit would move across this nation, and more recently that I would experience more of God’s fulness in my life.’

Significantly, a desire for God to work in this country in a dynamic way is connected with a willingness to allow God to work in a new way personally.  It is difficult to communicate what one has not experienced.

One student observed that although none of those who met the Lord on that day would claim the necessary qualities for spiritual leadership in this generation, nonetheless a start was made, for ‘when God raises up spiritual leaders, He first judges them so that they may depend on Him alone’ (Holland 1993:1).

The presence of the Spirit

On Tuesday 21 September about 140 of the college community gathered together in the chapel for prayer.  A time of teaching followed the praise and worship.  The teaching was brief, about 20 minutes, low key and even understated.  Then as people were invited to pray or receive prayer, the effect was as tremendous as it was unexpected.

What had been planned as a 50 minute session became a four hour response to the presence of the Holy Spirit as he touched people’s lives and moved them to prayer, repentance, reconciliation, testimony, praise and commitment.  It is difficult to describe this; it needs to be felt.

All who were present found that this was a special time.  The college community comprises diverse groups of people from a wide range of denominations and traditions of prayer and worship.  Many of them are prayerful people but most had never experienced a time like this.

The Holy Spirit convicted, empowered, challenged, encouraged and renewed people.  Forty or more sought prayer.  They had a tremendous ministry together.

The day’s program was transformed, replaced by the plans ofthe Spirit.  Significant personal matters were dealt with that day and in the days that followed.

One student acknowledged, ‘God was convicting me of my doubt in the Holy Spirit’s power to work in and through my life. …  I knew I had once again to give the Holy Spirit permission to consume those parts of my life that had been preventing me from loving God more completely.’

For many, the infilling of the Spirit meant that they were overcome – sometimes with grief and repentance, at other times with joy, often with weeping, and often with relief and rejoicing.

The ministry continued over the next couple of days.  People were reconciled.  They shared in prayer.  They ministered to one another and were counselled.

Two days later, when the college community was gathered together, an opportunity was given for people to share testimonies of what God had done over the past few days.  One hour became two, then three and four hours, as they praised, prayed, and gave testimony to the experiences of the Spirit.

It was a time for hearing how people had been challenged about their prayer life, their relationship to the Lord, their relationships with others, personal attitudes, and ministry challenges.  Again there were tears and rejoicing.

Lives had been changed, barriers broken down, resistances overcome, forgiveness granted, and blessing received.  Although lectures had been planned, they simply did not happen that day.  Such was the intensity of the moment that no one wanted to leave the chapel.

Lessons of the Spirit

Four points stand out as concluding observations, although many other things could be said.

1. Historic connections.

There is a connection here with the noted revival which took place at Asbury Seminary in the U.S.A. in 1970 and which had far reaching effects throughout America (Coleman 1970).

The speaker at the start of the day of prayer was the Rev. Mark Nysewander who was visiting B.C.V. with the Rev. Richard Stevenson.  Both are part of the Francis Asbury Society (U.S.A.), a society focused on renewal through the Holy Spirit.  Mark had been present as a student at the revival at Asbury Seminary in 1970 and is continuing that ministry through the Francis Asbury Society.

2. Future influence.

This experience at B.C.V. may or may not spread to other people and places, but whether it does or not, it will continue to mean a lot to those who experienced it.  Many future ministries will be enriched by this personal experince.

Knowing through experience what God can do in renewing a community is essential for communicating this to others and for preparing them for it.  The historic connection between revivals may continue as students and faculty better understand the power of God to move people and as they become more confident in ministering in his name.

3. A gentle ministry.

It should be emphasised that the ministry exercised over these days was described as ‘a gentle ministry’ with ‘no hype’.  Others were ‘surprised by the quietness’ of the time shared together.  It is no insult to those leading worship beforehand or to those involved in teaching to say that the worship and teaching were not extraordinary in any way.

There have been more articulate, more dynamic, more profound sermons preached at B.C.V. than these.  The worship was more restrained than it has been at other times, but this time the effect was different from all other times.  Clearly, the issue was not human hype, enthusiasm or ability, but the providence of God who initiates and controls.

4. An openness to the Spirit.

While no one can command the activity of God, it is clear in retrospect that there was a willingness on the part of many people, students and faculty, to be open to whatever God had to offer and a commitment to not allowing programs to interfere with the work of the Spirit.

This openness had surprising implications.  While many were looking for a wider renewal in Australia, God wanted to work closer to home, with those who were praying.

God deals first with his messengers and challenges them to be the kind of servants he wants them to be.

References

Coleman, R., ed. (1970) One Divine Moment.  New Jersey: Fleming Revell.

Holland, H. (1993) ‘An Extraordinary Day of Prayer’ in Ambassador: Official Journal of the Bible College of Victoria, No. 151, p. 1.

See also comment on the Asbury Revival in Renewal Journal (1993) #1, pp. 44-45; #2, p. 51.

© Renewal Journal 3: Community (1994, 2011)
Reproduction is allowed with the copyright intact with the text.

Now available in updated book form (2nd edition 2011)

Renewal Journal 3: Community

Renewal Journal 3: Community -_PDF

RJ 03 Community 1

Renewal Journal 3: Community – Editorial

Lower the Drawbridge, by Charles Ringma

Called to Community, by D Mathieson & Tim McCowan

Covenant Community, by Shayne Bennett

The Spirit in the Church, by Adrian Commadeur

House Churches, by Ian Freestone

Church in the Home, by Spencer Colliver

The Home Church, by Colin Warren

China’s House Churches, by Barbara Nield

Renewal in a College Community, by Brian Edgar

Spirit Wave, by Darren Trinder

 

RJ Vol 1 (1-5) 1Also in Renewal Journals, Bound Volume 1 (Issues 1-5)

Renewal Journal Vol 1 (1-5)PDF

Paperback books and eBooks for PC, tablet, phone
Add to your free Cloud Library then download anytime
 

Amazon and Kindle and The Book Depository

Link to all Renewal Journals

See also Revivals Index

See also Revival Blogs

See also Blogs Index 1: Revivals

GENERAL BLOGS INDEX

BLOGS INDEX 1: REVIVALS (BRIEFER THAN REVIVALS INDEX)

BLOGS INDEX 2: MISSION (INTERNATIONAL STORIES)

BLOGS INDEX 3: MIRACLES (SUPERNATURAL EVENTS)

BLOGS INDEX 4: DEVOTIONAL (INCLUDING TESTIMONIES)

BLOGS INDEX 5: CHURCH (CHRISTIANITY IN ACTION)

BLOGS INDEX 6: CHAPTERS (BLOGS FROM BOOKS)

BLOGS INDEX 7: IMAGES (PHOTOS AND ALBUMS)

BACK TO MAIN PAGE

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An article in Renewal Journal 3: Community

Renewal Journal 3: Community

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An article in Renewal Journal 3: Community
Renewal in a College Community, by Brian Edgar
Renewal Journal 3: Community – PDF
PDF Revival Books on the Main Page

 

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