Monthly Archives

January 2020


By Australian Newsletter

The Australian Christian Lobby (ACL) is conducting a campaign calling for Drag Queen story time events to be banned saying it is putting adult entertainment in front of children.  The push against drag queens reading children’s books came as the Palmerston library in the Northern Territory held an event featuring local performers reading age appropriate books to children.  “Let’s not pretend drag queens in libraries are not promoting an ideology to children,” commented ACL’s acting NT director, Wendy Francis.  “In our society, we need to recognise that there are places for adult entertainment and then there are safe places for children.  These should never be conflated.”

“Attending one of these readings in the local library can plant a thought about gender fluidity in children who would have otherwise never considered this confusing and difficult life choice,” Francis said.  ACL has previous complained about drag queens performing in Sydney during the Sydney Gay and Lesbian Mardi Gras.  Francis argues that children are being referred to gender clinics concerned that they may be transgender because they have faced ‘constant exposure to transgenderism’.  Christian author James Parker has published an article claiming that many of the performers featured in Drag Queen Storytime events were leading “bizarre lives as sex entertainers”.

Parker has previously campaigned against marriage equality and formerly worked in the Catholic Archdiocese of Perth.  He claims he was previously homosexual but was able to lead a heterosexual life after embracing religion.  The Christian activist says Drag Queen Storytime is a harmful indoctrination process that is designed to lure children into a transgender lifestyle.  Parker claimed on Perth radio that few gay couples were able to maintain a monogamous relationship, and gay men had shorter life spans due to their high risk of catching sexually transmitted infections.  He also claimed many gay men were same-sex attracted because they had been sexually abused.

Source: Australian Christian Lobby

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By Australian Newsletter

The ACT government has banned chaplains from public schools in Canberra by withdrawing from the School Chaplaincy program.  ACT Education Minister Yvette Berry says the territory’s Education Act mandated that public schools were secular, and that any chaplains currently employed could stay but would have no authority to teach religion.  “They’re employed to continue to do that youth work and social work, which is important but that is conducted in non-religious way,” she told the ABC.  The Federal government has provided $247 million to support the voluntary opt-in program through to 2022 but requires workers to have a religious affiliation.

School Chaplaincy ACT accused the ACT government of attempting “state control over how students form their worldview” and have asked them to reconsider their decision.  “Even secular learning and wellbeing frameworks recognise the importance of spiritual support as part of achieving student wellbeing and educational outcomes, said CEO Peter James.  “The fact that so many schools choose to be part of chaplaincy speaks for the success of the program.”  Of the 150 schools in the ACT chaplains are currently employed in about 20.  Non-Government Schools will not be affected.

Source: Compiled by APN from media reports 

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By Australian Newsletter

Editors Note: This article is written for the members of the Australian Prayer Network, Christians who we believe would have a biblical understanding of the concepts shared.  It is not written, nor intended to be distributed to unbelievers, therefore we ask for discernment to be exercised before passing on to others.  Thank you for your understanding.

Few would argue that we are living in a time when there is much shaking taking place.  Everything than can be shaken is being shaken.  That shaking is taking many forms and is not confined to Australia but is world-wide.  It is important for us in understanding the times to reflect what the Bible has to say on the subject and how the spiritual and natural realms interact and speak to us of what is happening.  The Bible tells us that the earth groans awaiting the revelation of the sons of God (Romans 8: 19)  In Romans 8: 22 it says again “For we know that the whole creation has been groaning together in the pains of childbirth until now”.  In verse 23 of the same chapter it reminds us that not only the natural creation, but we ourselves (also of course His creation) …. groan inwardly as we eagerly await adoption as His sons (and daughters).

Our groaning reflects the struggle we have to overcome sin in our lives in the spiritual battle in which we are engaged, and the biblical passage relates that the battle is also felt and manifested within God’s natural creation.  So we can gain understanding of the battle in the spiritual by observing what is happening in our natural world.  I am indebted to Kathleen Mitchell of Cleft in the Rock Ministries, an Intercessory prayer ministry in America for the following research, and interpretation of the results discovered, which I share with you for your edification and discernment as to what God may be wanting to say to us at this time.

Those, who stand against biblical values, truth, and righteousness, are coming out in fits of rage to displace at all costs, those, who embrace the authority, way, and word of God.  The Bible indicates that a great instability of the earth’s structures would be a sign for us. I recently checked the latest earthquake reports at   These statistics were correct at the time of writing this article.  Take a look at this report but note, these are only quakes larger than 1.5 in intensity.

**There have been 131 earthquakes in the past 24 hours
**There have been 1,243 earthquakes in the past 7 days
**There have been 5,485 earthquakes in the past 30 days
**There have been 60,283 earthquakes in the past 365 days

If you were to look at the stats from years past, you would note that the instability of the earth’s crust and tectonic plates is increasing significantly with each passing year.  Surely this is a sign for us to note.

As societies shake and crack under the weight of rebellion against God and His word, the earth itself reflects the upheaval.  I won’t give you the volcano statistics, but take note that since the beginning of 2020, volcanic activity has been picking up around the globe.  What has been dormant is now moving into a state of unrest; raising up warnings of possible future eruptions.  We have eruptions ongoing in Japan, Indonesia, The Philippines, Puerto Rico, Africa, Mexico, etc. etc., etc.  Without a doubt, the spiritual climate is heating up, as the two opposing Kingdoms are expressing their differences … and as human beings are making their choices regarding which Kingdom they will serve.

All this is not to cause fear and panic, but rather to confirm the scriptures.  Whatever is developing beyond our view and understanding, the Lord has it firmly gripped in His loving hands. His plan is perfect, and it is GOOD.  We don’t need to be afraid, and we surely don’t have to be silent to avoid the outcry of atheists and sceptics.  We are to be like the sons of Issachar; being aware of the season and responding wisely to the signs as we take note of them.  We point to the signs, but most importantly to the Messiah.  We intercede for the perfect will and plan of the Lord to be manifested on the earth NOW, and in the days ahead.

Brian Pickering

National Coordinator

Australian Prayer Network

Source: Australian Prayer Network

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By Australian Newsletter

While emergency services and charities are responding to Australia’s relentless bushfire crisis in practical ways, there’s another army working quietly to meet peoples’ emotional and spiritual needs: the chaplains.  A constant presence in places like evacuation centres, chaplains are people of faith, mostly volunteers, who are equipped with the skills to support people in crisis.  In times of national emergency and disaster like this fire season, the organisation that heads the chaplaincy response is the Disaster Recovery Chaplaincy Network (DRCN).

Led by Rev Stephen Robinson, it’s a network of chaplains from a wide range of Christian denominations, who are trained to help people affected by grief, loss, displacement and trauma.  One of their many partner organisations is Chaplaincy Australia: a ministry of the Australian Christian Churches, founded 21 years ago in response to the Port Arthur Massacre.  National director Ralph Estherby said around 40 of their 500 chaplains are currently deployed in bushfire response centres around the nation.  “A chaplain can be a friend, a support, a shoulder to cry on, or someone to stand with them in the midst of a crisis” Ralph said.  “And a lot of people are finding that very helpful.”

“They’ll be deployed into evacuation centres, to calm and support people displaced because of this emergency.  They work with people who have lost their homes; or where a loved one has been lost, they’re able to offer grief and loss support.  “They are there to be a buffer for the other services such as Red Cross and the Salvation Army, who provide very practical help.”  While emergency services like rural fire brigades have their own chaplains who care for their staff and volunteers, chaplains in the DRCN often end up being a support to charity workers too, who are often overwhelmed by the very great needs they are facing, and the intense emotions people are going through.

“When it comes to being able to handle strong reactions of grief, loss, anger, disappointment and confusion, it’s important that we have people on the ground who’ve had prior training in those areas,” Ralph explained.  “Chaplains are able to handle that type of experience.  They are well equipped to deal with those painful times that many would just find completely overwhelming.”  Ralph said chaplains sit somewhere between the simple support a friend can give, and professional mental health therapy.  To make sure they are looked after themselves, disaster chaplains have a robust debriefing process they go through, to help them reset back into the normal rhythm of life.

While chaplains are people of faith themselves, many of the people they are ministering to, will either have a different belief, or no faith at all.  Ralph stresses that chaplains aren’t there to push people to think or talk about religious or spiritual issues, if that’s not what they want.  “31% of Australians or so say they have no religion, but what I find is that in crisis many of those will either look to some type of faith or some type of belief to hold onto because everything is shaking all around them,” he said.  “Often, people will find talking to a chaplain who is a person of faith, even though they’re not talking about ‘faith things’ they are able to get some comfort and support from that.”

“It needs to be said, these are not times that the chaplains in any way, at any time, would try to force their beliefs on anyone else.  If faith is something they want to discuss, or they’re asking questions or wanting to gain assurance or support, the chaplain will go out of their way to help facilitate the individual’s faith needs, whether that is Christian, or whether it’s from another faith, or whether it’s a different denomination than they are.  “They will always seek to help the person find comfort in that which they believe, from their own worldview.”  Often people find it comforting simply knowing that a chaplain has a connection to God.

“The fact is that many people don’t have faith at all, and at times of stress and pain it becomes a very, very disturbing time for them,” Ralph explained.  “So, often, they will find talking to a chaplain who is a person of faith, even though they’re not talking about ‘faith things’, they are able to get some comfort and support from that. “I’ve had many reports myself, as I’ve sat with people in extreme grief and loss, that the assistance we’ve offered, even though it seems only a small thing, has been greatly accepted.”

Source: 103.2FM

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By Australian Newsletter

A crowd of 500 people gathered recently in Western Sydney to hear political and academic speakers address the growing pressure on religious freedom in Australia.  The event, organised by Lalor Park-based Anglican minister Mark Tough with the support of various faith and law-based organisations, was held at Blacktown’s Bowman Hall.  It attracted a mixture of Christians (including evangelical and Catholic), as well as leaders from the local Sikh and Muslim communities.  It was designed to inform, educate and activate people about the issue of how religious freedoms are coming under threat in Australia, and about federal legislation being drafted to address the issue.

Political speakers included former Australian Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson, an outspoken Christian and defender of religious freedoms.  He spoke of the “madness” of some the litigation being pursued in courts across the nation, in which people of faith are being sued, ostracised, or sacked by employers, for expressing their faith often in very quiet, innocuous ways.  Also speaking was the ALP’s Michelle Rowland MP, Federal Member for the local Blacktown seat of Greenway, who urged her audience to write and speak to their local members about their concerns, in order to help politicians take the matter seriously.

Ms Rowland said she believes the issue won’t be decided along party lines, and also spoke of the need for not only a Religious Discrimination Bill, but also a Religious Freedom bill that protects the right of all Australians to practice faith.  “We keep hearing about the ‘quiet Australians’, and we need to be people who aren’t so quiet.” John Steenhof, managing director of the Human Rights Law Alliance told stories of individuals who’ve had cases brought against them for of their faith, such as Jason Tey, the West Australian photographer who was sued for discrimination after telling told a lesbian couple that he was a Christian, despite not refusing them his services.

A West Australian couple were labelled as “unsafe” by a foster care agency they’d approached in the hope of being respite carers for young children.  Their application to be foster parents was rejected, due to their traditional Christian beliefs about gender and sexuality.  The Alliance handed out a brochure on the night, recounting more than 30 different cases of this nature.  Event organiser Reverend Tough said it was good to see so many people of faith wanting to get informed about such a vital issue.  The Blacktown event represents a growing groundswell of support for religious freedom among Australians of all ages, religious beliefs, and socio-economic backgrounds.

Source: Hope 103.2FM

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By Feature Articles

National Christian Heritage Sunday celebrates the Gospel of Jesus Christ arriving on Australia’s shores. The date for 2020 is Sunday 2nd February.

Australia’s first minister, Rev. Richard Johnson, arrived with the first fleet on the 20th January 1788.  Then, on 3rd February 1788, Rev. Johnson held the first Christian service in Australia.  This event is celebrated on the first Sunday in February each year.  As Australia’s first Chaplain, Rev Johnson, spent 12 years in Australia from 1788 to 1800 with several roles as military and prison chaplain, parish priest, missionary to the indigenous community, and as a husband, father and provider during the early years of food deprivation.

He and wife Mary lived on the ship Golden Grove for some months before a building was built with a thatched roof which continually leaked during heavy rainfall.  William Wilberforce and John Newton, the former slave trader of Amazing Grace fame, were the chief sponsors of the Botany Bay chaplaincy.

Newton becoming Johnson’s mentor, confidant and advisor, calling him the “first Apostle to the South Seas”.  Newton with William Wilberforce founded the Eclectic Society seeing Johnson as “the means of sending the gospel to the other side of the Globe”.  It was William Wilberforce in 1786 who suggested to the then Prime Minister William Pitt to have a Chaplain.

Careful preparations were made for the first service.  The convicts were ordered to ‘be as clean as circumstances will permit’ and ‘no man is to be absent on any account whatever’.  The guard was to be changed earlier than usual, so as to give those who had been relieved ‘time to cleanse themselves before Church’, and the ‘Church Drum’ was to beat at 10 0’clock.  The Fleet had been in Sydney Cove the previous Sunday, but no service was held until order had been created on shore, the service taking place the following Sunday the 3rd February 1788, 232 years ago on a nearby grassy hill, the text being Psalm 116:12; ‘What shall I render unto the Lord for all his benefits toward me?

Watkin Tench reported that the behaviour of both the troops and convicts was ‘equally regular and attentive’.  Little is known about Richard’s wife, Mary as there is only one letter recorded of her corresponding with friends or relatives.  She must have been a very pioneering, courageous, adaptable, patient, caring women.  Johnson was a man of prayer and hope looking beyond the immediate and mortal, believing in God’s sovereign purposes for this new nation.  He had brought with him over 4,000 pieces of Christian literature including 100 Bibles and 400 New Testament’s.

He was encouraged not to yield to the secular battle at the time raging against the Age of Faith being challenged by the Age of Reason & Relativism, a battle that continues to this present day!  After Arthur Philip left in December 1792, Major Francis Grose took over administration of the colony & was uncooperative viewing Anglican Evangelicals and Methodists as trouble makers though he gave significant support to Rev. Bain the regimental chaplain, who was not an evangelical.  Evangelical Anglicans back in England were criticised both externally and within their own church.

He was Australia’s pioneer educationalist establishing Australia’s first schools.  Among Rev Richard Johnson’s qualities were that he had a kind disposition, was generous, humble & devout.  He was humane shown by fostering aboriginal children including a 15 year old girl Abaroo whose parents had died.  He visited on numerous occasions the huts of many convicts and visited before his departure the prison hulks, considerably distressing him.

He was dedicated & hardworking, receiving very little help from the authorities especially building the first Australian church with little help.  He paid for it himself.  He use to get up sometimes at 4.00 AM to travel to Parramatta to preach & performed numerous funerals, marriages and baptisms, as well as consoling those about to be executed.  To be precise by Oct 1792 he had performed 226 baptisms, 220 marriages and 854 burials.  God blessed his farming, producing Australia’s first Citrus orchard.  He grew Australia’s first wheat crop.  His garden in Bridge St in 1790 produced nearly a thousand cucumbers as well as other fruit & vegetables.

On his 100 acre farm granted to him which he called Canterbury Vale, the suburb now named after it, by 1795 he had cropped 38 acres of wheat that yielded 16 to 18 bushels per acre probably becoming Australia’s first wheat farmer, and by 1800 the year he left he had grown an acre of orange trees, nectarines, peaches & apricots as well as a two acre vineyard and stocked 150 sheep plus some cattle and horses.  Tench recorded that he was the best farmer in the Colony.  He also suffered hardship.  In the early settlement they had little food and poor accommodation and he later developed health problems.

He had dysentery on the voyage out, was continually exhausted from his labours, on occasions had little sleep when guarding his home from looters, and lived in a rain drenched house.  The Johnsons suffered disappointment and grief.  Their first child was stillborn.  Milbah their next child died just after returning to England.  You can read more about the foundations of the church in Australia at  This article was supplied with thanks to Christian History Research founders of National Christian Heritage Sunday.

Source: Dr Graham McLennan, Head of the National Alliance of Christian Leaders and Christian Historian 

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By Australian Newsletter

Central Coast dad and father-of-four Andrew Flaxman is lucky, or blessed, to be alive, along with his wife, four kids and his sister’s family of five, who were all rescued by boat in the middle of a firestorm on New Year’s Eve.  In an interview with Hope 103.2, Andrew spoke about the terrifying minutes at Lake Conjola on the NSW South Coast, when he realised they were surrounded by a wall of fire on all sides, with no way of escape, when a “hero” came out of nowhere on a boat to save them.  “On New Years Eve they said ‘There’s fires coming, but don’t worry, they’ll be 50 or 100 k’s away, and the wind will turn and it’s going to be fine,” Andrew explained.

“We were out on the lake playing with our kids, and at 11:59am, we could see the fires over the hill, starting to rage and you could see the glow and the smoke.  And at 12:09, we were on a boat fleeing across the lake for our lives.  Within ten minutes we were surrounded by fire.  There was darkness, there was smoke, you could hear the fire roaring behind us.  “The situation escalated so quickly that it went from us taking selfies, to ‘Oh my Lord, there’s fire all around.”  Calm in a crisis: Michael Cripps helped everyone on the boat to stay calm, while his son Brett, who drove the boat, refused to be called a hero.

Andrew’s wife Jillie gathered the children together close to the water and kept them calm, and that was when salvation came, in the form of a stranger on the water.  “A boat pulled up in front of us…he was just yelling to us, ‘run to the jetty, run to the jetty’, and so we ran to the jetty and jumped in his boat and he took off.  And 45 seconds later, bang, my car goes up, my caravan catches fire, the other car goes up, the other car catches on fire, and we were out in the middle of the lake.  “If he hadn’t turned up… I don’t want to think what would’ve happened.”  “It happened so quickly.  We went from having a great day to five minutes later surrounded by fire, and fleeing for our lives.”

With 17 people crammed aboard, the small boat stayed in the middle of Lake Conjola where they were safe from the flames, for the next three hours.  Brett’s father Michael Cripps, in his 70s, was a quiet, stabilising presence, who set the tone on the boat and helped everyone else to remain calm.  It’s a remarkable effort, considering that Michael and his son Brett had just watched their own house burn to the ground only moments before the rescue.  “In his darkest time… he pulled in to save our little family,” Andrew said of Brett.  “Absolute hero. If he hadn’t turned up, I don’t know what would’ve happened, I don’t want to think what would’ve happened.”

Andrew and his wife Jillie, who are Pastors at C3 Church in Tuggerah on the NSW Central Coast, lost their car and caravan and many possessions, but are grateful to have everyone alive.  “So many people said ‘we feel so sorry for you, you lost all your possessions’, and we stopped them and said ‘We didn’t lose anything, today we actually won’”, said Andrew.  “’We saved our kids, we saved our lives. All this stuff we have is worth nothing compared to the safety of your loved ones.’”  “Houses burnt to the ground.  So a lot of people lost a lot more than we did. I actually came back and saw everything burnt and gone and felt blessed that I could look at my kids and they were there.”

Over the next couple of days, the local community of Lake Conjola surrounded Andrew and his family with love, fed and clothed them, the local caravan park putting them up in a deluxe cabin on the beach.  “It was phenomenal,” said Andrew.  The family’s trip home, although long (24 hours!) was “amazing”, said Andrew, when during a 10-hour holdup on the freeway, generous locals came out offering food and water and looking after them up until 1am.  “People went above and beyond to make sure strangers were doing okay in this crisis time of need,” Andrew said.  “It was so beautiful to see everyone come together and work together in community. It was amazing.”

Andrew’s advice to anyone facing a similar crisis, is to put your family first, and remember that possessions are nothing compared to the value of your loved ones.  Brett Cripps said that he was “not a hero” and was “just in the right place at the right time”.  “It wasn’t just me, there were a lot of local residents with boats and jet skis helping people out.  I just happened to be in the spot,” he said.  But Andrew has swapped numbers with Mr Cripps and plans to stay in touch, and hopes that his rescuer can be honoured somehow.  “I would like to think he would get a bravery award,” he said.  “He saved 11 people, who, I think if he hadn’t popped up, potentially wouldn’t be here.”

Source: 103.2FM

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By Australian Newsletter

As bushfires began to close in on the South Coast of NSW across Christmas and New Year’s Eve, among the many people affected were hundreds of Christians camping in holiday parks for Beach Missions.  Run by Scripture Union, Beach Missions are annual family camps held every summer, where residential communities of Christians spend up to two weeks camping, running programs for kids and families, and sharing the hope of Jesus.  There are over 40 camps held each year on NSW beaches and some inland holiday locations.  Simon Flinders from Scripture Union NSW said that 8 teams on the NSW South Coast, south of the Shoalhaven River, were evacuated and sent home.

“We’ve had 7 or 8 teams affected to varying degrees, some in very scary situations,” Simon said.  “We’re very thankful to God that our teams have all been kept wonderfully safe in some difficult situations.  Due to the fires however we made the decision to evacuate them.  They’ve headed back home, there are no longer any teams in that region continuing their ministry.  “It’s a regrettable decision but for the safety of the team member and for the sake of the emergency efforts in those places we felt it was the best thing to do. So they’re all safe and sound now.”

Simon said stories are now coming in about the ways teams have reached out to help families and communities affected by the fires.  Beach Mission teams have to prepare Risk Management Plans every year before they head on their trips, but nothing quite prepared them for how dangerous the situation became this year.  “This year we asked all our teams to have a Bushfire Plan, so the teams were well prepared, and team directors have followed those plans and communicated well with our Emergency Response Team.  “But no doubt there are good things for us to learn from this year. It probably has been more serious in parts than we could have ever imagined.”

Source: 103.2FM

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