Confronting comfort

Comfort: – verb 1. to soothe, console, or reassure; bring cheer to. 2. to make physically comfortable. 3. to aid; support or encourage.

To truly bring comfort to the discomforted, we are almost certain to be rendered uncomfortable. No wonder the Holy Spirit is called the Comforter. Rather than comfort ourselves, we comfort others making room for the Spirit to comfort us with an everlasting comfort. PH

Into the dark places

As part of Eternity Christian Church’s ChangeMakers conference, Live life Loud, we have heard from two outstanding Christ followers whose actions amplify their words such as they break through fear and complacency to change us.

I listened to Pastor Sharon Wright describe how she is seeking to be God’s person in the NSW town of Condobolin and was deeply moved by the sowing of her life with the love of God. “We are the prophecy,” she said. “God’s love is the reason.”

Captain Paul Moulds of the Oasis Youth Support Network told us we would be made uncomfortable as he took us into hard places in our city. It was sweet sorrow as we heard the horrific stories of broken lives but also felt the grace of God present there.

After laying a platform which is broken humanity, Paul said with knife-like clarity: “The church of God needs to be in the dark places of our city and towns. These are hard places to be, but if we don’t go there, other people will go there with different purposes and intentions. We must be in the dark places.”Read More »

Ordinary miracles everywhere

I stood in a hospital ward on Friday night and listened to my 76-year-old father give his medical history to a junior doctor at Prince of Wales Hospital.

This was after he had explained, slowly and deliberately, to the young doctor, that he was a man of faith, had been a minister most of his life and believed in the healing power of Jesus.

His medical history began with having his tonsils out when he was a boy. (I thought, “We could be here for a long time…” I was wrong.) He had them out twice in fact – they either grew back or they didn’t get them all the first time.

Also as a boy, he had an abscess behind his knee. He thought for a while and then recounted his next item – a hernia operation in his sixties. As an after thought he remembered dislocating his elbow.

“Dad”, I said incredulously, “that was when I was about seven – over 40 years ago… and I can’t believe you can remember an abscess on your leg as boy.”

The doctor asked if there was anything else, and there wasn’t. Not bad for someone a few years short of 80.

Then the doctor asked what medications he took. This list was even shorter. “A vitamin C tablet, a vitamin E tablet and a fish oil tablet.”

The doctors stared, wrote something down, and nodded. “That’s very good. You are very healthy.” 

Dad, by way of explanation, told him that he didn’t drink or smoke although he had drunk heavily until he became a Christian aged 32, when “God and I agreed I’d done my fair share of drinking.” He has not touched alcohol since.

Tomorrow my father will have a very delicate operation to strengthen a vertebrae in his neck largely destroyed by a tumour. Once they strengthen his neck, they’ll worry about the tumour. He has spent his time in hospital while waiting for the operation reading the Bible, a book called Faith Like Potatoes, and praying.

When doctors first saw the size of the tumour, its location and the damage it had caused, they could not believe the lack of pain and other symptoms dad had been experiencing.  They felt certain he should have had a range of neurological symptoms but all he has had is a bit of stiff neck.

Dad has said several times that God has told him he will be healed. Who could argue with a man who is already a walking miracle? Please pray for him tomorrow. PH

No knee caps

“How are you going today, George?” I ask while standing in line for a meal at the Lambert St Lunch, Camperdown.

George is 60ish with long gray hair and unshaven face; is wearing a t-shirt, too-small shorts and joggers and carries his walking stick.

“Oh, not that good. I nearly fell over on the way here.”

“That’s no good,” I reply. “What happened?”

“Have you ever had your leg just slide out, like this, while your walking,” he says while demonstrating a strange sideward leg movement, precariously. A lunch volunteer, plate of food in hand, is watching as our conversation unfolds.

“Maybe George, but have you had that happen?”

“All the time,” he says seriously. “It’s probably because I’ve got no knee caps, so I’ve got to be careful.”Read More »

From cage to carefree cooking

Harry*, a healthy, happy young boy cooking tempe at the children's home in Bali.

I first met Harry (not his real name) in Bali when he was jut a few years old. His mother, overwhelmed by the need to work very long hours for a pittance, had been unusually cruel to him, locking him in a cage and even attempting to kill him.

Someone knew of Tania’s (not her real name) children home and convinced the mother to allow Harry to be cared for there. As supporters of the home, we were privileged to meet the little fellow who was fast recovering from his ordeal.

The spark of intelligence in him was unmissable and his need or attention irrepressible. But the steadfast love of God expressed through the beautiful staff of this home, has met the need for attention in the most healthy way – balanced, unconditional, accountable love; and at the same time helped him excel in all kinds of way – cooking and surfing being just two.

This is one of many great stories coming from this home which is a partnership between a local woman and other staff and western people who want to reach out beyond their own comfort zone.

There are many huge organisations that do wonderful things for communities and nations at the aid and development level but we must never lose the ‘amateur lovers’ of this world who are moved of heart enough to change a child’s life through hugs, smiles, a room and one good day after another. PH

Beach and the blind in Bali

Rebekah searches for shells at Turtle Beach, Bali, with some of the kids from Eternity Blessed Children's Home.
Take a few Aussies with faith and give them a chance to build relationships with people in another country and culture and God can do great things. Sharing our lives is as simple as searching for shells at the beach and as supernatural as praying for sight to be restored in a church service in a children’s home. We Sydneysiders have been here under three days and have experienced so much already, even blue Fanta… Maybe a post on that later.