24 August 2018 AUSTRALIA: Pentecostal Prime Minister “Meet PM Scott Morrison”

Prime Minister Scott Morrison with his wife Jenny and daughters Abigail and Lily pose for photos after being sworn-in at Government House in Canberra on Friday.

vs.1 We may make our plans, but God has the last word. !

PROVERBS 16:1-3

Scott Morrison is Australia’s first Pentecostal prime minister, a branch of Christianity famous for stadium-sized gatherings and energetic sermons.

For more than a decade he and his family have been members of the Sutherland Shire’s Horizon Church in Sydney’s south, housed in a 1200-seat auditorium.

Horizon is a Pentecostal Christian church where pastors give rousing sermons, and followers can sometimes speak in tongues and engage in “divine healing”.

Horizon Church senior pastor Brad Bonhomme says Mr Morrison and his wife Jenny and daughters Lily and Abigail are regulars at the church on a Sunday, when more than 2000 people attend services.

More recently work has thwarted Mr Morrison’s regular attendance, however, his wife and daughters are heavily involved in the church’s children’s program.

The Morrisons met through church as teenagers and married at the age of 21.

Mr Bonhomme said the church would play no part in the running of the country or Liberal Party policy.

“Unfortunately there will be some that assume whatever policy direction the Liberal Party might choose to take, some would assume I or our church will be involved in that,” he said. “Nothing could be further from the truth.

“As far as growth of the church is concerned there may be some people who may like what they see and what is happening, as far as the Liberal Party is concerned, we have no involvement in their policy making and their decision making.”

Mr Bonhomme said he and his wife Alison Bonhomme, also a senior pastor at Horizon, had a good relationship with the Morrisons.

Mr Bonhomme, a South African who “knows a good curry when he sees one”, said Mr Morrison was famous for the ones he whipped up for friends at home.

“I don’t delve too much into it as far as Scott’s political world goes, my role in his life is more on a faith base,” he said.

“Yes, our PM is a Christian, he regularly goes to a church and with that my job is to provide a place for him to express his faith.”

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The pastor said he and his congregation were delighted about having one of their own in the nation’s top job.

“We are thrilled, we are just so excited and thankful and humbled all at the same time. There is a measure of responsibility too and we want to do our best. From our perspective we do all we can to represent our prime minister well,” he said.

“We are a bit more upbeat, a bit more up-tempo than a traditional church. The message is the same — love, justice, care — however the presentation is probably a bit louder, a bit more up tempo and a lot more musicians. I would say we are passionate in the way we share our beliefs.”

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Mr Morrison, a former treasurer and minister for social services, immigration and border protection minister, has been open about his faith.

He was an opponent of same-sex marriage (same-sex unions do not occur in the Horizon Church) and has been roundly criticised for his tough stance on asylum seekers.

In his maiden speech to parliament in 2008 Mr Morrison thanked Hillsong pastors Brian Houston and Leigh Cameron for their “great assistance”. Hillsong, like Horizon, is a Pentecostal mega-church. It was founded by Houston and his wife Bobbie in Sydney in 1983 and claims to attract 100,000 people around the world every week.

“Growing up in a Christian home, I made a commitment to my faith at an early age,” Mr Morrison said in his maiden speech. “My personal faith in Jesus Christ is not a political agenda.

“In recent times it has become fashionable to negatively stereotype those who profess their Christian faith in public life as ‘extreme’ and to suggest that such faith has no place in the political debate of this country.

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“Australia is not a secular country — it is a free country. This is a nation where you have the freedom to follow any belief system you choose. Secularism is just one. It has no greater claim than any other on our society.”

Hillsong, and therefore Pentecostal Christianity, has long been on the radar of the Liberal Party.

In 2005 the then NSW Premier Bob Carr, Treasurer Peter Costello and federal ministers Kevin Andrews, Alexander Downer and Peter Dutton attended Hillsong’s annual conference at the Sydney Superdome, along with another 20,000 people.

Date-stamped: 2018 August 25 | Time-stamped: 10:55 am | By: Anthony Colangelo  | Article Title: The Pentecostal Prime Minister: Inside Scott Morrison's church  | Article Link: smh.com.au

References

1, 3 SEE URL: https://www.smh.com.au/topic/political-leadership-jdb
2 SEE URL: https://www.smh.com.au/topic/bill-shorten-26p

Passing the Baton

When To Step Down?

by Timothy Tay

The Catholic Archbishop of Perth, Barry Hickey, had announced his resignation at the age of 75 after reaching the mandatory retirement age for bishops and archbishops introduced by Pope Paul VI (the pope holds his position for life). Rupert Murdoch is 80 and is still on top of his business and now facing the biggest challenge in his life which may wipe out his fortunes and reputation.

When do a person in influential position considers stepping aside?

Death, failing health and catastrophic changes and events often become the deciding factors apart from mandatory retirement just mentioned. Even before the current crisis that hit Murdoch and his corporate empire built around News Corporation I have often pondered why hasn’t Mr Murdoch consider passing the baton to his successor? We can certainly rule out the lack of wealth or even having more desirable life achievements before retiring in Rubert Murdoch’s case.

He has both abundantly.

The decision to retire may depend on the availability and suitability of successor(s).

Mr Murdoch had placed his children in key roles with varying degrees of success. Lachlan Murdoch lost millions in OneTel,[1]OneTel ABC Friday Dec 4 2009 Sunday Profile Story | | | however, Rupert Murdoch himself had presided over the buying and eventual disposal of another failed tech setup – Myspace.com. In all fairness Mr Murdoch did invest heavy in grooming his children to be effective CEOs in their own rights but nevertheless the bucks still stop with him.

Ted Turner, a media tycoon and once a very formidable rival to Murdoch, retired in his prime and gave a sizeable fortune to United Nations. On retirement he spent much time at his massive cattle ranches while pursuing social causes that caught his fancy. Incidentally, it was Turner who predicted 30 years ago what was called print journalism as “an obsolete way of distributing information”.[2]Ted Turner Wiki

Unlike Turner and other media tycoons that Murdoch had successfully outfoxed the latter had succeeded in establishing himself as the undisputed media king of the world. A very powerful position indeed if you consider how media charts the course of political, business and other society leaders.  Just recently PM Gillard blamed the press for the lack of support for her carbon tax plans. And this preeminent position of influence that Mr Murdoch enjoys is what I like to suggest  to be the prime reason why he is holding on to power.

The Deceitfulness of Power

In history we can find many leaders who had held on to power way beyond their used-by-dates.

The supreme leaders of the Soviet era – Stalin, Khrushchev and Brezhnev – had done that to the detriment of the people of USSR. Mr Gorbachev, realising the inevitable bankruptcy and disintegration of the union due to bad policies of the past regimes, had the unenviable task of breaking up of the USSR in order to save Russia.

Mao Tze Tung unleashed the Cultural Revolution to satisfy his power urge which resulted in China’s growth been cut back by a decade with millions of Chinese perished as a consequence of Mao’s mistakes. After Mao’s death, Deng Xiaoping started China off in transforming the nation into what had become of it today.

We can include Mr Mubarak and Col Gadhafi in this die-hard grouping.

Even the last Liberal PM, John Howard, who could have enjoyed a more dignified retirement had made the costly mistake to stand for another term with the hope of being the longest stayer at the Lodge.

Of all the examples that one can think of whose time had come to step down but had not none apply more appropriately than Satan or Lucifer.  In all creation there is no one created more powerfully than Satan, created as the archangel, but who at this lofty position decided to rebel against his Creator. (Ezekiel 28)

I will ascend to the heavens; I will raise my throne above the stars of God; I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly on the utmost heights. I will ascend above the top of the clouds; I will make myself like the Most High.” (Isaiah 14:13-14)

The dictum, “absolute power corrupts absolutely”, applies to Satan absolutely.

But take comfort for Jesus had overcome Satan, the Prince of this world, and served him the eviction notice through the passage of the Cross (John 12:31; John 16:33) so that Satan will forever stand condemned in the sight of God. (John 14:30; 16:11)

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Mark 8:36

References

1 OneTel ABC Friday Dec 4 2009 Sunday Profile Story | | |
2 Ted Turner Wiki

Local Church Leadership

by Timothy Tay

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Apart from the traditional churches that are around for centuries the relatively newer churches are characterised by multitudes of church leadership style ranging from fully democratic[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy to complete totalitarian.[2]http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism

There are strengths and weaknesses found in all forms of leadership as it faced up to changes in the population, the economy, in politics and also from the influence of neighbourhood churches, denominations and movements.

Leadership too have to account for ageing, sickness and death within its ranks, sooner or later.

The New Testament churches are governed by elders who are supported by deacons (Acts 6:1-6; 1 Timothy 3:1-15; Titus 1:5-9). In our days many churches are governed by a board consisting of people who would biblically be called elders and deacons.

The danger with this deviation from the biblical base is that when the board makes a majority decision that undermined the spiritual oversight the church can no longer be considered led by elders.

If the church constitution requires the setting up of a board it will be wise to ensure that the board has a majority of elders within it.

Recently, my wife and I were invited to address a local church leadership that was clearly in disarray with the same problem that I have just highlighted. The majority in the board was bending on replacing the pastor whom they considered not up to the task in a changing environment.

Rather than Christian principles taking precedence with grace, mercy and patience abound there were obvious incrimination and malice voiced.  Even though the radiance that once exudes (2 Cor 3:13) had faded from the pastor the issue needs to be addressed in brotherly love through prayer and submission to God’s will.

It is no wonder that there are senior pastors who acted like business-owners or CEO’s by appointing agreeable board members in order to prevent dissent. Again we cannot judge a book by its cover alone but by its content and the goodness of a tree by its fruits. How then can we aim for the perfect will of God in the leadership of the local church?

We need first to acknowledge that it is Christ who builds the church (Matt 16:18; 1 Cor 3:9). And His house is a house of prayer (Mark 11:17).

Let the church be truly led by elders rather than a board or even to become dominated by one individual for even the kings of virtue in Judah submit to the priests and prophets of God. Be like Peter, anointed by Christ to lead, shared this glory with the likes of James, John, Paul and many others.

Acknowledge the leadership provided by God in the forms of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers (Eph 4:11) within and without of a local church.

Considering the final days we are in where knowledge abounds and people travel through and fro (Daniel 12) – like frantic ants in times of crisis -be the church that are prepared for The wedding (Rev 19:7-9).

Like the five wise bridesmaids let us fill our lamps with oil and keep watch (Matt 25:1-13).

References

1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Democracy
2 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Totalitarianism

Servanthood Foundation for Greatness & Leadership

by Timothy

You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave, even as the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many. Matthew 20:25-28

As I write this article in a city in Malaysia my wife and I are guests to one of the wealthiest families in the region who have interests in timber, realty, newspaper and helicopter production amongst myriads of other businesses.

The founder, highly regarded by everyone, is well known for his humility, philanthropy and also as a leader with a consuming passion to serve.

The servant hood characteristic of this tycoon is what made him great and influential.

How often in our pursue for greatness and influence we forget that the basic attribute of an enduring leader is not found just in a position of authority but more so in the innate ability to win the hearts and minds of followers. Mother Teresa won the hearts of Hindu-majority based India by her untiring willingness to serve in areas where few would ever consider venturing.

She received inspiration from the medieval St. Francis of Assisi who in turn gave up his wealthy inheritance for a life of servitude to Christ for those in poverty.

Jesus Christ showed us the path to greatness is not in lording over others but to serve and he sets an example by washing the feet of his disciples.

The ultimate act of servant hood by the Son of God is in the laying down of His life on the cross and became the sacrificial lamb of the God of righteousness and justice so that everyone can receive forgiveness for their sins and be reconciled back to Him.

Holy Spirit, the Inspiration for Greatness

Where can we begin to cultivate this lifestyle of service to others?

As hinted in the above examples of greatness it begun with an inspiration and it came from none other than from the Holy Spirit! “Apart from me you can do nothing”, says Jesus in John 15:5 and “you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses.” Acts 1:8

Worship expressed through Service

Moses was commissioned to speak to Pharaoh these words, “let my people go so that they can serve me” (Exodus 7:16 ). The root word for service in Hebrew is the same for worship. Service is the visible expression of our worship to our living God.

No wonder Eric Liddell, the British Olympics gold medalist featured in the movie Chariots of Fire, expressed his worship through his running,

“God made me fast, when I run I feel His pleasure.”

May we make 2009 and beyond the years we will express our pleasure to God through servant hood.