How Do We Hear from God?


Does God speak to people today? If so, how do we hear from God? How can we be sure that we are following the direction he has set for us?

Throughout history people have claimed to hear from God and used that as an excuse to say and do some very ungodly things. Is there a way to know if we’re hearing from God or just following our own agenda?

My regular Wednesday morning guest on 98five Sonshine FM is Rev Dr Ross Clifford who is the Principal of Morling College in New South Wales. Each week we chat about a range of issues relating to spirituality and belief.

Today Ross talked about hearing from God. We talked about some practical steps that will help us discover where God is leading us. Ross also gave some warnings that are helpful in seeking direction.

You can hear our discussion by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

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Walk to Water 2013


Last year over $72,000 was raised in Australia through a project named Walk to Water. It helped supply many people in Nigeria with clean running water without having to walk many kilometres for low quality or diseased water.

For many women and children, this means an eight kilometre walk to the nearest water pump is their only option, a regular struggle that can take more than half a day. It’s not unusual for women to return from the borehole carrying two full jerry cans of water, weighing between 20 to 25 kilograms each. On many occasions, their children are carried as well, or come along to help.

The United Nations has estimated that the population of Sub-Saharan Africa spends 40 billion hours per year collecting water – that’s the same as more than two years’ worth of labour by Australia’s entire workforce.

Walk to Water is an initiative of Open Doors where churches and community groups participate in sponsored walks to raise funds.

The funds from the walks this year will once again be used in Northern Nigeria to build more deep boreholes in remote villages.

With a population of 158 million, Nigeria is one of Africa’s largest countries. Its people make up one seventh of the population of the entire continent. However, the area of Northern Nigeria is also an incredibly dangerous place to live as a Christian. Believers are regularly targeted by extremists, with their families, churches and businesses put in jeopardy because of their faith.

This morning during my radio program I spoke to Jeanette from Open Doors to find out what they’ve been able to achieve and what they’re hoping to do next. You can hear our conversation by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

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Not Marked


Mary DeMuth has a story to tell. It’s a story of sexual abuse and it’s a story that others need to hear. I’ve read some of that story in her upcoming release  The Wall Around Your Heart: How Jesus Heals You When Others Hurt You.

Mary has written Not Marked, an honest book that provides a way towards healing for abuse victims and their families.

Sexual abuse does NOT need to mark you.

It did mess with me. For far too many years. Flashbacks invaded my sleep. I startled far too easily. Sex within marriage became scary and complicated. I often wondered if I’d ever be normal. I even disconnected from those I loved the most.

The mark that sexual abuse gave me felt indelible, permanently inked with a Sharpie pen. And no matter of scrubbing erased it. (Have you ever felt this way?)

The problem was, I felt that I should be “over” it (and well-meaning people said those same things to me.) After all, I became a Christian, and I heard all those sermons about everything being made brand spanking new. I believed that when I met Jesus, all those scars and marks and fears would instantly leave.

This book has amazing potential to help those who feel they’ve been marked by sexual abuse but Mary needs help to fund the publishing of the book.

Mary needs your help now to reach her goal so that others can be be helped and healed. Please visit her indiegogo page and consider making a contribution.

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What’s with all the swearing?


There’s been quite a storm this week after a federal politician was sworn into office as part of the government’s new front bench.

Federal Labor MP Ed Husic has been attacked in social media for using a Koran when he was sworn in as parliamentary secretary by the Governor-General.

The Australian-born member for the western Sydney seat of Chifley, the son of Bosnian immigrants, in 2010 became the first Muslim elected to federal parliament and is the first to take on a ministry position.

He was sworn in as parliamentary secretary to Prime Minister Kevin Rudd and parliamentary secretary for broadband in Canberra on Monday. – SBS News

Social media went into overdrive with people attacking Mr Husic’s Facebook page.

Overnight, his Facebook page attracted posts from people angry he had used a Koran instead of a Bible to take his oath.

“You have created history of the worst order, to swear in on a Koran!! This is Australia with Australian Laws,” said one poster calling themselves Dinki Di Sheila.

“Swore to serve Australia using the same book terrorists do to serve Al-Qaeda ….Disgusting,” said another. – SBS News

There are a number of questions that this story raises for me, questions that go beyond knee-jerk reactions from rednecks, but before I get to them I need to say that I’ve met many politicians from a range of political parties and on the whole I have found them to be men and women of integrity who want to make a positive difference. They differ in their ideologies, and some have ideologies with which I vehemently disagree, but most have good intent. (Yes, I know that good intent doesn’t make bad political decisions acceptable, but that’s a discussion for another day.)

So now to the questions this story raises for me. Mr Husic has told media that he is a ‘non-practicing Muslim’. So what value is there in swearing on a book that he does not claim to follow?

That then leads us to the majority of parliamentarians who swear their oath on the Bible. How many of them actually claim to follow the teachings of the Christian Scriptures? So what value is there in swearing on a book that they do not revere or follow?

Furthermore, when our former Prime Minister, Julia Gillard, took her oath, she also swore on a copy of the Bible, yet she claims that she is an atheist. So what value is there in swearing on a book that is based on a God that she doesn’t believe exists?

I’m not wanting to attack Mr Husic’s decision to acknowledge his heritage by swearing on the Koran or other parliamentarians for swearing on the Bible, I’m just interested in your opinions.

I should probably say that I also found it quite odd that when I was called up for jury duty some time ago, most of us swore our oath on the Bible, yet there were probably only a couple of us that would have considered ourselves Christian.

Is it appropriate to continue using the holy books of any faith to swear an oath? Please leave your thoughts in the comments section of this post.

By the way, I’m interested in a range of opinions but I will remove any comments that aren’t respectful. If you want a bit of an insight into what that means here, you can check out my Comments Policy.

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Resurrection Year – Turning Broken Dreams Into New Beginnings


Sometimes when what we want is answers, what we really need is someone who understands our journey to travel alongside us. I feel that for many people that traveling companion will be the new book by Sheridan Voysey, Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams Into New Beginnings.

For ten years Sheridan and his wife Merryn prayed to a seemingly silent God for a child. During that time they endured a number of failed IVF treatments, explored adoption and then just as hope began to break through they learned that their positive pregnancy test was a false positive. There would be no baby.

I spoke to Sheridan about the new book and you can hear our chat by clicking the play button on the audio player at the bottom of this post.

Sheridan Voysey is a writer, speaker and broadcaster on faith and spirituality. His study of society, culture, Scripture and religious movements, plus the insights gained from his 2000-plus radio interviews, have led to two core convictions: that human beings innately long for God and that God walks beside us incognito.

Sheridan is the author of five popular books: the award-winning Unseen Footprints: Encountering the Divine Along the Journey of Life (named 2006 Christian Book of the Year, now updated in a second edition), Open House Volume 1: Sheridan Voysey in Conversation, Open House Volume 2, Open House Volume 3 and the memoir Resurrection Year: Turning Broken Dreams into New Beginnings (May 2013).

I received a pre-release copy of the book late last month. It took me just a couple of evenings to read Resurrection Year. It’s not a long book but it does provide plenty of food for thought. The true story that Sheridan tells will stay with readers long after the book is placed back on the shelf.

The book explores the doubts and disappointments as well as the adventure of the ‘resurrection year’ which combines travel and a new start with an opportunity to explore the deeper questions of where we find God when he seems absent.

Don’t expect a big ‘happily ever after’ at the end of the book. That’s so often just the stuff of fairy tales. Instead expect real questioning, moving forward in faith and life, and rays of hope shining into the darkness.

Resurrection Year doesn’t tie everything up into a neat package by the end of the book which is why I think it will be so helpful for anyone who has struggled with disappointment in life. It’s very real.

Even if readers are not coming to terms with childlessness, as Sheridan and Merryn are, they will still recognise much about the journey that Sheridan describes. The fact that so many will relate to the highs and lows in the pages will ensure that readers will be able to apply the gentle lessons that are found throughout the book.

Resurrection Year is a very personal telling of an intensely personal story. It doesn’t give easy answers where there are none but it does remind us that there’s always a way forward.

Some dreams come true, but others die a painful death. We can learn from both. In Resurrection Year, Sheridan Voysey writes from experience – there is life after the death of a dream. Your dream may be different, but the road to resurrection will be similar. I highly recommend it. – Gary Chapman, author of The Five Love Languages

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