Watch Andrew Chan funeral: self-authored eulogy plus transcript

More than 1500 people attended the funeral service for Andrew Chan at Hillsong today.

Not long before he was executed, Andrew told a friend: ‘I love being a pastor in the prison, no-one can leave’.

The same sense of faith and humour is obvious in Andrew’s self-written eulogy.

‘Each day is a diamond. For each day is valuable, as you can never buy it back.’ Watch and/or read below:

‘Thank you all for gathering here on this day to witness something great. It’s a day that I will arise from my own coffin, rigandrew-chan-order-of-serviceht now as the words are spoken, in Jesus’ name, arise. Or I am just enjoying it too much in heaven, and I will wait for you all up there. Now I know it is a sad day, we would have all wished it didn’t come to this. However it is funny that even in death there’s still a lesson to be learnt.

‘We learned that we do not need to be old to die, nor do we need to have something wrong with us. But we learned that when it’s time to go home, God has the kitchen table and sink ready. Every person that is sitting here now has impacted my life in one way or another. The truth is, you have all taught me just as much as I have taught you. If I had to thank everyone individually, I don’t think I can place them on one sheet of paper.

‘And one of the biggest influences in my life is my brother. Stand up Mick, and look at the crowd, knowing that you’d hate to do that, because you don’t like the spotlight. People were touched by his love, time, effort, persistence, and many other things through him. And I’ve learnt a lot through Jesus too. I promised Mick I would not steal your birth certificate in heaven to make a fake ID.

‘Another person I learned so much from is my wife Feby. She has taught me the meaning of love and endurance, peace and much more. As I said, to all of you gathered here today, taught me something valuable in life which I have learned to cherish. Treat each day as a diamond, for each day is valuable, as you can never buy it back. Learn to use it doing the things you love, spend it with the people you care for most, because we just never know when we will say goodbye.

‘My last moments here on earth I sing out “Hallelujah!” I ran the good race. I fought the good fight and came out a winner in God’s eyes and men. I do have a story to tell, that story’s determined by you all on how you witness me. Ask yourself: “What did I leave with you?” That will determine my legacy. I leave now in peace and love. I pray that you will all know how I valued and treasured you. Treasure your love and friendship. As you all leave here today, who will you witness too, today?

Love Andrew Chan.”

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Hang on, that’s a balanced Hillsong article!

July 7, 2011 was a big day for Hillsong. Not only was it the penultimate day of its 25th anniversary Hillsong conference at Darling Harbour, but also the day the Sydney Morning Herald printed a reasonably intelligent, mainly positive article about the mega-church.

Having taken to task the SMH several times for its mindless bias against Hillsong, which has seen the paper link the church with negative stories to which it has no actual connection, I thought it only fair to highlight the opposite.

Writer Ross Cameron describes how some friends visiting from England explain “they want to see Hillsong” and concludes with:

“Hillsong avoids many of the excesses of American TV spirituality. It’s delivered in the Australian vernacular and it respects the audience enough to make sure speakers know how to communicate. There are elements that don’t suit me, but Hillsong is changing people’s lives for the better. Some theological custodians argue Hillsong is just the power of positive thinking with a patina of Jesus. But even if that were true, would it be a bad thing? I would prefer being uplifted than depressed and it’s clearly better than my default position – lying on the couch with a coffee, The Insiders and three newspapers.

“Sydneysiders have taken a certain pleasure in finding fault with this church, and most have no idea of its impact. Hillsong is throwing modern Christianity a lifeline, while reaching out to others in a life beyond self.”
At last glance, there were 163 comments on the article with many agreeing that it is good to see a “positive Hillsong article from SMH for a change”. As usual, wherever there is a positive potrayal of Christianity, the evangelistic atheists are in a commenting frenzy with their usual taunts of “imaginary friends” and “sky fairy”.
Read more at the Sydney Morning Herald.
Previous Hillsong posts:

 

On a double-shot mission from God

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Seeing the phrase “mission from God” on the front page of one of Sydney’s Sunday papers (June 26, 2011) sounds great until you realise it is a tongue-in-cheek reference to an evangelist crashing his car on the Pacific Highway after downing a few double-shots of Scotch.

Jason Hooper is an American evangelist touring parts of Australia with a New Zealand born Australian evangelist Ben Hughes. Hooper crashed into a parked Hyundai in Macksville and was found to have a blood-alcohol level of .206.

He later appeared in court and was disqualified from driving in NSW for three years but otherwise escaped penalty, much to the chagrin of locals, motoring organisations, the police and the Sunday Telegraph.

The magistrate took into account Hooper’s remorse and good character but the Telegraph was not impressed with Hooper’s reported claim that God had already forgiven him for his error.

And true to form with Sydney papers, the Telegraph found a way to inculcate Hillsong into the story saying that Hooper was touring with “Hillsong protegé Ben Hughes” – a claim that made it into the second paragraph.

As far as I can see, the only connection between Hughes and Hillsong is that he studied at Hillsong Leadership College at some stage, along with many thousands of other people. Keep in mind, Hughes has done nothing wrong and Hillsong isn’t even involved, so why were they mentioned?

It’s very unusual to see people defined by a place of study when describing traffic incidents. I don’t recall former-Judge Marcus Einfield being described as a “Sydney University protegé” when his traffic indiscretions were reported.

But to bring Jason Hooper and Marcus Enfield together for a moment – they both have learned the special retribution we save for people who make a career out of saying one thing, and then doing the opposite.

No wonder James in his New Testament letter warned against becoming a teacher because you would be “judged with greater strictness”. In both these cases, the men involved may have not been judged by the courts over-strictly, but certainly they will be by the public and the media. (Einfield has had another traffic scrape this week.)

A good reason to remain humble, accountable and realistic about your state of well-being – and driving! And let’s hope the next time God get’s a mention on the front page, it’s for something positive…

Don’t let the facts get in the way of a good conspiracy theory…

The Sydney Morning Herald has taken a cheap shot at Hillsong and the Seventh Day Adventist church by linking them to federal budget legislation that ‘will put a lid on the practice of so-called charities using their tax-free status to  generate business income for no charitable purpose whatsoever.’ (SMH, May 11, pg 4)
The story reports on changes to legislation expected in Tuesday’s budget which will require not-for profit organisations to pay tax on profits kept for commercial purposes.
The article then lumped Hillsong and the Seventh Day Adventist Church into that category: ‘The Hillsong church has links with the Gloria Jean’s coffee shop franchise,  while the cereal company Sanitarium is owned by the Seventh Day Adventist  Church.’
The SMH has been like a rabid conspiracy theorist in relation to Gloria Jeans and Hillsong for some time and failed again to acknowledge or understand that the fact that the owner of Gloria Jeans attends Hillsong does not equate to the church owning the business. Hence the nebulous ‘has links’ in the article. If every charity or church is to have its tax status changed because it has ‘links’ with a business, then most would be impacted.Read More »

Bear grilled (lightly) on Aussie TV, Hillsong

Bear Grylls featured on Channel 7’s Sunday Night  program tonight where besides  eating spiders and leaping out of helicopters, he was also shown visiting Hillsong last weekend.

Admitting that speaking to an auditorium full of people is scarier than most of his Man vs Wild adventures, he also revealed how he got his nick-name, Bear.

Rather than arising from ‘wrestling a bear when I was 3’, Grylls explained that his real name is Edward, which was shortened to Ted, and then Teddy, on to Teddy Bear and finally just Bear.

So one of the world’s toughest men is named after a soft toy…

Described on the show as a ‘man of God’, Grylls once again acknowledged the importance of Christian faith in his life and the importance of prayer.

For more on Bear Grylls and his views on God, visit my previous Bear post. He also has his own blog where he describes making a show in an Australian swamp as one of his hardest yet. You might also like to visit the charity page on the blog, and see how he uses his fame and fortune.

Speaking of which, he said fame and fortune were two things that caused him the most trouble which may be why he supports so many charities.

Oh, and the worst thing he’s eaten was a toss-up between raw goat testicles and bear poo…

Kill the church but go easy on the gurus…

As a wobbly sounding plane flies over head through the cloud and light rain of an early Leichhardt morning, I consider another staple of inner west life, the Inner West Courier.

It has thrown up a spiritual conundrum, a coded message of religious reality in our time. Actually, it’s just demonstrating the bleeding obvious…

On page 12 of the August 31 edition, a story celebrates the awarding of the Australian Writers Guild Kit Denton Fellowship Award to Petersham resident George Casti for his script I Want to be Slim.

Great, I think. Good to see some local talent being rewarded and $30,000 can make all the difference as a writer seeks to stave off poverty and establish their craft.

I read on to see what his script is about: ‘…award judged on courage and excellence… Catsi’s “anti-Hillsong” script won… religion is a very polarised area… satirical script is about the Rev Slim Limits and his performance in getting the masses to follow his evangelical ways.’

Mmm, so George gets $30,000 to perfect his script, poking fun, in a courageous and excellent way, at a section of society that, obviously, it is perfectly appropriate to ridicule. The Courier report is matter-of-fact, as if we shouldn’t be surprised that a local church is award-winning, satire material.Read More »