Grace and Truth

…all the words of this life…


Leave a comment

Wisdom From my Homeless Friend Shaz

“You tell me this”, said Shaz* as we sat over coffee, “You tell me: if there was a homeless person lying in the gutter, would it be a Christian or a druggie that stopped and helped him?  It would be the druggie every time.”

The parable of the Good Samaritan came to mind.  And I knew she was right.

I said “I agree with you Shaz.”

That stopped her for a second.

We had met for a coffee, but when we got there she refused to have one. Said she’s not paying that amount for a coffee.  I offered to buy her one but she refused that as well.  So I drank my coffee and she sat opposite me with nothing.  Instead she had the sugar bowl.  With a spoon she stirred and stirred as she spoke.  The constant stirring was mesmerising and I had to tear my eyes away from it.  Also it was easier than looking in to her tormented eyes the whole time.

But when I agreed with her, she stopped stirring for a second and said,

“Ha – we agree on something. What do we do now?”

Shaz’s and my relationship isn’t an easy one.  To be honest, I have no idea how to handle her.  And that’s something I constantly say to the Lord, believe me.

Before Shaz, I thought I was pretty experienced with all sorts of people.  When we had our home church for the outcasts there were times where we had seven heroin addicts sitting around our table at once for lunch.  We have had neo-nazi’s in our home, murderers, profoundly mentally disturbed people, lonely people, homeless ones, ice addicts, people I met while street preaching, whoever God sent.  They were difficult and God always gave us grace for each one.

I first met Shaz in March.  I preached at the homeless mission in the city and she was there.  Full of anger, bitterness, hard, cold as anything, she told me what her father had done to her from a terribly young age.  She asked me how God could forgive someone like that if he repented.  And why would she want to go to a place (heaven) where that animal might possibly be? She spat at me that nobody has been able to help her, even Christians.

As I listened to her story my heart broke.  And she was right too, I didn’t know how to help her. What the heck do I say to this woman who had been so wounded by the one who should have protected her?  ‘Oh God’, I cried out in my heart, ‘help me!  I don’t know what to do! I don’t know what to say to her.’

I didn’t know what to do, so I just put my arms around her little body, my head on her shoulder and cried.  I sobbed. I said I am so, so sorry that this happened to you and I was. I cried and cried as she stood there silent, as stiff as a board while I wet her shoulder with my tears.

Then she moved away from me and I heard her swearing and cursing as she left.  I said to God that I am sorry I failed.  I couldn’t get through to her and I had no idea how to help her.

Two weeks later she was back at the mission.

She came over to me and said roughly, “the compassion you showed me that other night saved my life.  I was going to go home and neck myself but after I met you I didn’t want to anymore.”

Then she swore and cursed Christians and left.

And pretty much that has been our relationship since.  She clings to me, she pushes me away.  She seeks me out, she runs and hides.  Like a puppy who’s been abused and is scared of being hurt again.  One time she came up behind me at the mission and hugged me.  She literally clung to me.  The anointing and love of the Holy Spirit came upon me so strongly that I just cried and prayed in tongues while I hugged her back.  And she clung and clung.  Then she ran out of the building.

As we sat at coffee that morning she cursed and called me a hypocrite. Everything I said to her was wrong, and she told me off the whole time.  It was exhausting.

I left feeling like I had failed, yet there was an inexplicable joy in my spirit.

Two days later in the mail I got a card from Shaz in child-like, painstakingly neat handwriting saying that she can’t tell me this to my face but I am the only true friend she has ever had and that she loves me.

She said she doesn’t know how to be with “normal” people and that is why she hangs out with the street-people.

I cry for these ones. These ones who haven’t known love.

Not long after this we visited a local Baptist church, a good and decent church we sometimes go to.  The pastor explained that they want to build a bigger auditorium to be able to seat more people at once to cut down on the number of services over weekends.  To do this they are raising $2 million to replace the perfectly good auditorium they already have.  I looked around and I knew that they would get that $2 million.

I cry for the church.

 

 

*not her real name

Advertisements


1 Comment

My Upbringing in a Cult and Israel Folau

So it looks like Israel (Izzy) Folau may be a Oneness Pentecostal.

Izzy’s “non-mainstream Christianity” is the new line the media is taking in their reporting of this whole fiasco.

When I first read about it I didn’t believe it.  I just thought that it was another way the media was attacking him for his faith.  But having looked into it myself and going by his own words in his own tweets, which I will share, it looks like it may be true.

This is disturbing to me, for two main reasons:

  1. I was brought up in a Oneness Pentecostal cult and so I know the false doctrine that pervades this system of false theology and
  2. I have supported him thus far, what should I do now?

My Upbringing in a Cult

I have hesitated to share my upbringing in a cult for the sake of my parents.  I love and respect them as parents, grandparents and Christians and so I don’t want to bring any dishonour to them.  So before I begin my brief discourse here, I will say that although they brought me up in the Revival Centres International cult, they left when I was in my 20’s and then they were absolutely instrumental in getting me out of the cult.  When I was still indoctrinated with the false teachings they would give me sermons to listen to by Bill Randles, David Wilkerson and Paris Reidhead.  In fact it was by listening to  “Ten Shekels and a Shirt”, which my mum  had given me, that I was convicted of sin and turned to the true Christ.  So I can honestly say I wouldn’t be where I am now without their guidance and I honour them for that.

So back to Oneness Pentecostalism… I was taught and fully believed :

  • that there was no such thing as the Trinity, or Godhead, that Jesus Christ is not God and that the Holy Spirit was an impersonal force and not a person.
  • that you must speak in tongues to be saved,
  • Acts 2:38 was the go-to scripture that we preached, it was the 3-step formula for how to be saved
  • that once you spoke in tongues you could not sin ever again because there is no more forgiveness for sin after that cut-off point,
  • that the devil was also an impersonal force of evil, not a person, or he was just “the world system”,
  • that there was no heaven nor hell,
  • Adam and Eve were not the first people on earth, they were the first farmers,
  • British Israelism was true
  • That we were the only ones really saved etc etc

I remember clearly the head Pastor, Lloyd Longfield, specifically saying “Jesus is not deity”.  (After I left RCI I prayed and do hope that he may have repented of everything before he died.)

I spoke in tongues when I was 9 years old and so from that moment on I believed I could never sin again, because “there remained no more sacrifice for sin”.  Can you imagine the uncertainty, the bondage, the guilt that was provoked by this doctrine? I remember as a teenager, and even into my 20’s trying to work out whether I had done such and such a sin before or after I was 9 years old, so was I forgiven?  Was I saved?  Salvation was a tenuous thing that you could lose at any moment.  We viewed God as an exacting tyrant looking for any little thing we’d done just so He could wipe our name out of the Book of Life.  The pastors would say there was no way of knowing if you’re forgiven, so “just do your best”.

So then a religion of works would kick in… have I done enough to expiate my earlier sins?  Will God forgive me now?  Legalism was rife.  There were rules for everything.  People were encouraged to “dob” others in when they broke a rule otherwise “their sin would be on your head”.  I remember the fear of that.  I dobbed in a fellow teenager for using magic mushrooms because I was terrified his blood would be on my hands.

But all PRAISE TO JESUS, who is God in the flesh, (John 1:1-14) for leading me out of false doctrine by His Holy Spirit, who is the third Person of the Godhead, (John 14:15-17) and revealing that “it is by grace I have been saved, through faith- and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God, not by works…” Ephesians 2:8-9.  I thank my loving, Heavenly Father that He is not a tyrant but a good God who is ever so faithful to keep me and love me just as I am.  I am ever so grateful for the BLOOD of Jesus that even when I do sin it continually cleanses me and that if I confess my sin He is faithful and just and forgives me. (1 John 1)

 

Izzy’s Beliefs

So back to Izzy’s beliefs…

Izzy Folau’s church is called the True Church of Jesus Christ.  I have no idea whether they believe you have to speak in tongues to be saved or not, or any of the other things I used to believe, but they are Trinity-deniers as Izzy’s own tweets show:

 

This goes against orthodox Christianity as well as the Word of God. (See 2 Corinthians 13:14; Colossians 2:9; John 1:14; Matthew 28:19)

He does also seem very focussed on Acts 2:38 as a 3-step formula which rings alarm bells for me coming out of that false theology:

So What To Do Now With this Knowledge?

I cannot support Izzy’s false doctrine, because it is a denial of the true Christ of the Bible.  I cannot and do not agree with him or his church in what they believe or teach.  I have written to him in love on his Twitter account to inform him of his erroneous beliefs and how I cannot support them, especially since I have come out of similar beliefs myself.

However I still do support his right to freedom of expression and freedom of speech.  I still believe he should not have lost his livelihood because he quoted a scripture.  I still believe the scripture he quoted, 1 Corinthians 6:9-11, is right and he had a right to quote it.  The fact is that many non-Christians will not understand the difference in orthodox or non-orthodox theology and so I still believe he should fight this as a champion for freedom of speech and Christianity in this country.

It’s not perfect but I guess it’s along the lines of what the late, great Francis Schaeffer said about “co-belligerence”:

 “An ally is a person who is a born-again Christian with whom I can go a long way down the road . . . A co-belligerent is a person who may not have any sufficient basis for taking the right position but takes the right position on a single issue. And I can join with him without any danger as long as I realize that he is not an ally and all we’re talking about is a single issue.”

I pray for Izzy that he will see the truth and repent of his erroneous beliefs, just as I had to do.

Happy to hear your thoughts on this!

Belinda 🙂

 

 


Leave a comment

Missionary Quotations: James McKendrick

”Looking back to that day, I can clearly see what I did not then understand : that God’s Holy Spirit was leading me step by step, convincing me of my need, convicting me of my sins, and pressing the awful and tremendous fact upon me- if I die as I am,I shall die without Christ.”

page 22, Seen and Heard

James McKendrick, born in Scotland 1859, left school at age 9 to begin work in the mines. Saved in 1881 He soon became a preacher and evangelist, leading many to Christ in England, Ireland, Scotland and Australia.

More to follow…


4 Comments

The Old-Time Gospel Vs Seeker-Sensitive Model

You can’t adopt the Church Growth model Hillsongconf instagramand remain faithful to the truth of the gospel.

You can’t be “seeker sensitive” and fear God at the same time.

Seeker Sensitive Movement:

  • no talking about divisive, uncomfortable topics such as hell, sin, judgement, the blood, the cross or repentance;
  • contemporary music;
  • 20 minute sermons on relevant topics such as Self, motivational talks or psychology;
  • facilities, facilities, facilities

Even though one of the founders of the movement, Bill Hybels, has since repented of his part in creating this model, it has infiltrated and influenced the church across the Western world. Many younger people have no other experience of church but this hyper-loud, blacked out, motivational system.

We need to decide: who do we serve? God or mammon? Who do we seek to please ? Christ or man? Who do we follow? Jesus Himself or some dude with a business model.

The man in the street can see it, but sadly Christians can’t. The man in the street (ie Twitter) is asking why Hillsong charges $379 per ticket for their conference. With over 20,000 people in attendance this week millions of dollars has been raised. When there is that much money and power changing hands over a period of a few days it is necessary to question, critique and judge whether this movement is godly or Biblical.

We are told to “judge righteous judgement “ by Christ. Does this movement stand up to the scrutiny of the Word of God? At the Hillsong conference did they preach the gospel? Was sin addressed? Were thousands of people told the truth about heaven and hell?

And how does it compare to revivals of the past? (Did the Welsh revival charge an exorbitant ticket price to gain entrance?)

“Perverse disputings of men of corrupt minds, and destitute of the truth, supposing that gain is godliness: from such withdraw thyself.” 1 Timothy 6:5

I’m over it. I just want Christ. I want the truth of the gospel: the bloody, gory, self-sacrificial truth of someone having to die for sinners on a cross. I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ.  I just want to see Him glorified. He who is ascended to the right hand of the Father, the One who is coming back and whom will rule the earth. I want to hear about Him, not a church, a system or self.

Friends, the gospel works. The old rugged cross, death to self, Christ and Him crucified: this is what saves people, regenerates people, transforms people. I’ve seen it. I’ve seen prostitutes come to Christ, people saved out of the occult, out of drugs. Not through some self-help motivational psycho-babble but through the truth of the shed blood of a Saviour who came from heaven to earth to save sinners!

It’s time now to make a stand for the truth for which Christ died.  We are at a significant point in the history of humankind, whereby we need to decide whom we really serve: man or God?

I don’t know about you but this is what I want to hear one day when I stand before the judgment seat of Christ,

Well done, good and faithful servant; you were faithful over a few things, I will make you ruler over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.’” Matthew 25:21

 

 

 

 

 


8 Comments

Shame on GoFundMe for Removing Israel Folau’s Account

George Orwells famous book “1984” springs to mind as GoFundMe takes down Israel’s page, after his donations exceed $760,000.

After the media’s and the elite class’s relentless attack on him and his appeal, it seems GoFundMe has bowed to the pressure and removed his account:

“Today we will be closing Israel Folau’s campaign and issuing full refunds to all donors. After a routine period of evaluation, we have concluded that this campaign violates our terms of service,” said Nicola Britton, GoFundMe’s Australia Regional Manager.

“As a company, we are absolutely committed to the fight for equality for LGBTIQ people and fostering an environment of inclusivity. While we welcome GoFundMes engaging in diverse civil debate, we do not tolerate the promotion of discrimination or exclusion.”

This is truly a sad day for freedom in our country.

George Orwell’s novel is about “government overreach, totalitarianism and repressive regimentation of all persons and behaviours within society” (Wikipedia).

Let us remember that Israel Folau has been sacked from his job for quoting a part of the most popular book in history, the Bible. He was entitled to start a GoFundMe page, which obviously GoFundMe accepted in the beginning, but now because of public pressure they have rescinded and taken it down.

What to make of this? That only one side of the debate is welcome in the public arena now – and woe betide if another opinion is expressed! Then the loss of employment, the public destruction of character, reputation and family is all acceptable, and indeed commendable, in the name of so-called “tolerance”.

Except that “tolerance” is only tolerant of its own opinions and beliefs.

This kind of “tolerance” is actually Totalitarianism, friends. And sadly that is where we are heading.

Lord have mercy.

Further reading ...

 

 


Leave a comment

The Media is Missing the Point of Israel Folau’s GoFundMe Page

Once again the media and the elites are missing the point of the Israel Folau case, and in particular, his GoFundMe page.

Honestly you would think they would have learnt something from the “shock” result of the recent Australian election…

Israel Folau’s case has become huge in Australia. An extremely talented rugby player, Folau was recently sacked by Rugby Australia for posting this on his personal Instagram account :

Israel Folau’s Insta postHis refusal to take it down at their behest led to him being sacked and having his $4million contract torn up. Many believe that Rugby Australia’s sacking of Folau was in large part due to the placating of their biggest sponsor, Qantas, which is run by gay activist CEO, Alan Joyce.

Now Folau has announced he will take his sacking to the Fair Work Commission and a couple of days ago started a GoFundMe page to raise the money to fight his legal battle.

The media’s unrelenting bias against Folau is obvious to anyone who has been following his case. To date I have not seen one article that has not been skewed against him. And of course the elites are Tweeting in condemnation of his recent donation request, branding it “sickening”, ”hypocrisy” and that we “should be ashamed” of ourselves for donating to his cause.

Yet… it seems like no one is really listening. Their constant stream of vitriol against him has the tinge of desperation to it as his GoFundMe fund grows by the minute.

This case is now taking on a life of its own and they can do nothing to stop it. And boy do they hate that.

The GoFundMe page is a stroke of brilliance in Folau’s case. Of course, he has every right to start one up, just as everybody has the right not to donate to it if they don’t want to. But as his fund continues to grow, it bears witness to the silent Australian who, compared to the media, has no voice. We are a laid-back people and it takes a lot to get us in to the streets protesting. But, just like in the recent election, this is one way we can make our voices heard.  I think Israel’s case has crossed a line for many people, including non-Christians. For if a man can lose his job and his livelihood for expressing his personal beliefs, what does that mean for the rest of us? Where will this lead?

So for us Aussies, as we give to Folau’s fund, we are saying something to the media and the elites who for too long have been telling us how we ought to think.

We are saying stop misrepresenting what is really going on, and to back off from our personal freedoms. We are saying we care about the freedom of religion and the freedom to express it. We are using this to protest the growing fanaticism of political correctness in this country.

To those of us who care about personal freedom, Israel Folau’s case has become something of a symbol for the fight for freedom from the tyranny of the media, the LGBT mafia and the virtue signalling of the Left of politics. In fact Israel now is becoming something of a champion or standard-bearer, if you will, for freedom of speech.

To prove my point here are some of the names people are using to donate to Folau’s fund :

Freedom Speech

William Wallace

Media blatantly doing everything they can to sabotage Izzy #media is a joke

Religious Freedom

Media is Clueless not Folau

I don’t care if Israel Folau is a billionaire. This is all our fight. With my hard earned $50 I stand.

So, and this is the brilliance of it all, as the media and the elites try every angle and manipulation in their articles and tweets in an attempt to stop the juggernaut that has become his GoFundMe page, it is only serving to highlight and compound the reason for the necessity for this fight in the first place.

And silently the fund grows.

So keep going media, keep on Tweeting celebrities, keep attacking Israel! Because it seems there is no better way to keep the donations rolling in.

 

So far his fund is at $541,485.00

https://au.gofundme.com/israel-folau-legal-action-fund