Tuesday, December 18, 2012

God's Timeline

In my last blog I wrote how God's timing is perfect. Last night God affirmed that to me very powerfully.

I am a bit of a movie buff. I watch quite a few. In between studies and ministry a movie becomes my downtime. I do not own a TV but do not mind a decent well made movie.

It was 730 by the time I finished my dinner. The video shop closes at 8pm and its a a good 30+ minute walk. If I was going I had to get moving and moving fast. I decided to go. Off I went at a military forced march pace. My legs were burning. I would only have a few minutes to pick a movie.

755 I reached the front door. As I entered, the video store owner (who knows me) said you've got 3 mins to pick a movie. Within the allotted time  I had one and approached the counter. The owner is an older man, probably about 60+ of small build, sadly he drinks too much.  As I stood at the counter there was a series of forceful BANGS on the outside window. The owner went to the door and yelled out "What the F*&%^ do you think you are doing you F#$%# idiot!". No sooner had he finished the sentence than he quickly came inside. I sensed the "F&&^%& Idiot" was on the way.

Sure enough a large man appeared at the door . I could tell he was a fairly rough character. I looked up at him and he stopped at the doorway and didn't come inside. I knew God was at work, I'm not that intimidating. The video store owner went behind the counter as he did so the other man left.

The  owner emerged with a baseball bat.

God never ceases to amaze me. When you truly trust Him and seek Him, all the time, then His presence is there all the time. You just need to be aware of it rather than focusing on the world. Its like being in two worlds at once. The now and not yet of heaven bible college called it. This was certainly one of those moments.

"Its not worth it" My words were calming but cut through the haze. The video store owner was certainly in a 'haze' one born of fear, anger and a few beers. "Its not worth it" I repeated myself.
He stopped in his tracks as if the words entered his subconscious. "He is a big man and even if you smash his head in, what then? - its not worth it"

The owner put the bat back in its place. he thanked me for bringing him to his senses. I told him to shut up shop and enjoy a safe night. As I left the video store I was in awe of God. God had orchestrated the timing of everything. My forced march to get me to the video store at just the right time.

I walked home, this time at a much more leisurely pace. I recalled how I had just read from Peter "The devil prowls around looking for someone to devour". He had showed his face tonight not 20 mins after reading that verse. The advice being resist him. Do not get angry.

In my hand I headed home to watch my video. It's title? TIMELINE. God's perfect timeline.

A gentle hand calms the storm

It has been awhile between posts. Nursing has taken all of my time. A stint completed at Hospital re-affirmed my calling to this noble and compassionate vocation. Nursing teaches servitude. I have enjoyed and been challenged by it. After completing my practicals I was looking forward to getting back into Street Chaplaincy. Last weekend I worked both nights.

On the Friday Night myself and another chaplain had prayed at my home before heading out into the streets. Around the corner from where I live there is a pub that is fairly lively but rarely has any trouble. Tonight was different. No sooner had we finished praying than we were standing outside this hotel in the midst of a potential brawl.

A highly volatile young man was taunting and threatening another group (he also had the backup of many friends in the pub). The atmosphere was tense as curses were let loose. Myself and the other chaplain stood amongst it all, praying for peace. There was only three bouncers. If a brawl started they were greatly outnumbered. Instantly they appreciated the two of us being there. In our purple shirts we were mistaken as additional staff. Now the numbers had bolstered to five.

God's timing is perfect. As usual right place, right time.

As  I watched the bouncers try to calm the crowd, I noticed that two of them had completely opposite personalities and demeanor. One was losing his patience and at one point yelled at a client. His antics seemed almost immature. The other, however, seemed more like a Street Chaplain to me than a bouncer. He was calm, gentle, even smiling as he gently touched people ushering them one way or the other. His voice was soft and he matched it was a big smile. I liked him. I said to the Lord "this guy is good".

He was a Tongan, a large lad by anyone's standards, yet gentle with his power. He turned to the two of us and said "How you going fellas, I am a Christian. I go to so and so church"

The bouncer I admired was a true believer and it showed in his actions as much as his words. A glow came over me. He was happy to see us.He thanked us and asked about Street Chaplains. The Lord connected us to yet another organisation and believer within it. Networking. Christian Networking.

The following night I took two of the chaplains down to this pub to meet our new friend. He was encouraged again to see us. It also happened that it was two strapping male chaplains that was on that night. Thus four men of God shook hands. Gentle Men. Gentle Men that calm storms.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Story so far...

Recently a friend in Germany asked me to outline the story of Harvest of Hope from inception to current status. She wanted to use it in a talk at her Bible College regarding trusting God and utilising your gifts/skills with God's direction (Her request was something along those lines). After sending an outline to her I decided to blog it to show what GOD has been doing so far in my own little journey with Him. It was written out in steps for ease of understanding..here it is...

Step 1 - Total submission and commitment to God, which included selling house and giving to the poor and using funds for ministry/bible college. That took courage

Step 2 - Bible daily, prayer and repentance (all on going) - not out of duty but out of hunger and love of God

Step 3 - Get of lazy backside and go help people. Joined Street Chaplains and went out into the streets to help the drinking youth and homeless.

Step 4 - God places thought in heart - Open a Rehab Centre

Step 5 - Write business plan with strategic five year plan (this done with much prayer)

Step 6 - God gives name of centre - Harvest of Hope. (Knew from God as name was to good just to pop into head after praying!)

Step 7 - Pray for Rehab program - Nothing happened!

Step 8 - Email Christian Rehabs, ask for program - No response. Decide to wait on God

Step 9 - Missionary Ship the Dolous comes to Bible College, heart beats faster - must go on that ship!

Step 10 - After joining ship and heading to Cambodi, God confirms Harvest of Hope by using Doloid (Jeremy) to tell jack of House of Hope in Cebu. Christian Drug Rehab Centre. Harvest of Hope - House of Hope? No coincedence - rather, God incidence.

Step 11 - Leave Dolous go home contact Cebu. Cebu DO email back !

Step 12 - Fly to Cebu 

Step 13- Learn Program, Program is JESUS. House of Hope and Harvest of Hope become partners/brothers. God confirms relationship and his direction very powerfully in many God Incidences.

Step 14 - Document entire program, including daily activities etc etc

Step 15 Go Home and Write up Program and update Business Plan. (both working documents)

Step 16 - Need a Logo. Pray. Send Email to Doloid in Canada who is graphic designer. Would you like to make a logo? YES! Makes logo. Ministry now has identity. Ask God if God likes logo? Jack crys. Means God likes Logo.

Step 17. - Send Money to Cambodia and Open School for children called Harvest of Hope - http://www.harvestofhope.com.au/projectscambodia.html

Step 18 - God provides thousands of dollars in answer to giving all personal money away and trusting God.

Step 19 - Need lawyer to legally set up Harvest of Hope as Charity. Pray. Enter Greek class and sitting beside me is a Lawyer that specialises in setting up charities! Hire lawyer. Charity set up in 6 weeks everyone amazed at how easily it got passed.

Step 20 - Make Website - http://www.harvestofhope.com.au - Peter in Ireland donates money through website straight away. After British to Australian conversion money equals = $777. God's number

Step 21 - God starts to send drug addicts to Pastor Jack (Jack graduates from Bible college) - start to gain one on one experience. God working to BIG plan and pulling me back all the time. Plan to come together in God's time - not mine. Often run ahead of God and things go wrong. Learn from mistakes. God disciplines through mistakes.

Step 22 - God directs me to become a nurse! Head off to University for nursing. Pass first step of exams, learn humility caring for old people and washing them, cleaning them, cry lots. Headed for second year nursing now. God keeps confirming on right path by sending donations to Harvest of Hope and giving preaching opportunities as I gets confused and asks "am I a nurse or Pastor?" God confirms you are both. I amtold to ask no one for money but only to pray. So that God not myself gets the glory. God gifts man with many gifts to be used to point to God. Not man. Thus no fund raising. God confirms this through story of Gideon and 10,000 soldiers down to 300. People will think all happening because of my skills. So God confirms don't fund raise! Pray!

Step 23 - Psalm 23, don't be afraid, Trust the Lord. Today Opening of harvest of Hope maybe only two years away (so far four years in planning and preparation and prayer - the 3 Ps).  Many Rehabs to come. Think Big, Pray, prepare, Plan - ACT


Sunday, September 16, 2012

Nurses and Indians (and Scotsmen)

Last night I ventured out into Fremantle with a fellow senior Chaplain and two new recruits. A mature couple from an inner city church. They were on what we call an 'observor' night. As part of training all new Street Chaplains have to come out as observers and accompany two senior chaplains.

We headed to Ginos (the local cafe) to get to know one another after praying outside the police station. The police both in Freo and the city must be starting to get accustomed to Chaplains praying in a huddle outside their central stations. I always marvel at God directing us to do so in full view. Unashamedly praying. Something of  a rarity in our secular world to see out in the open. Especially late at night outside police stations.

Sitting in Ginos I was encouraged to learn that our two new recruits were both from Scotland. This now increases the quota of Scottish Chaplains to four in Fremantle. Of course I am totally non-biased. Aye right. However further to that the lady chaplain had been a nurse for twenty years and had recently retired. Here I sat a trainee nurse realising God was also blessing the ministry with another highly experienced recruit. Whilst she may have known little of Street Chaplaincy, the skills of handling people as a qualified RN who had studied in Edinborough (the epicentre of medicine) was certainly a blessing. If that was not enough 'God incidences', as opposed to coincidences, they had both been on a missionary trip to India. Where I am headed next. The connection of Scotland, Nurse and India  was clearly being heard from God. Subsequently we all got along very well.

During the night God started to use us as a team.  We escorted a young girl on her own who was walking down the street at 1am trying to get a cab. As a Chaplain you have a duty of care for females and thus when you see girls on their own - you do not leave them. She let us walk with her and we hailed her a cab. Saving her a long wait in the taxi rank. She was sincerely thankful, which showed in her eyes as she got in the cab.

Next we approached a homeless man on a bench. For five weeks I have been carrying a knitted blanket (a donation by some ladies from a church somewhere). Just waiting for the right person to give it to. I offered the man water initally. He didn't want it. We then said would you like a blanket? Yes - he could use a blanket. He took it thankfully and said he was he was headed off to get some sleep. The blanket went to the right person at just the right time.

Nearer the end of the night a young man sat with his girlfriend with a mishapen broken nose. We gave him an icepack and reassured him it was ok. Both myself and the other Chaplain showing him our own broken noses from our own misspent youth! We encouraged him to go to the hospital, andhe assured us he would. We told him he was still a young handsome man, which seemed to be his main concern!

Again many thanks were recieved for the acts of kindness. All of these little acts preordained by God, in full view of CCTV cameras, the police and the revellers. Contagious kindness. I pray you catch it.

God Bless

Monday, September 3, 2012

More Encouragement

Yesterday was a difficult day for me. For some reason I felt disheartened. Almost like my efforts were not achieving anything. There is no giving up though. As Peter said to the Lord Jesus "Where would we go? You are the Holy one the son of God". In other words, there is no where else to go - other than hell - not the wisest of options. Been there and done that before I knew God. The now and not yet of hell it is called theologically. When hell is in your heart and you do not even know it. You just live as an empty vessel chasing happy 'fixes'. Some call it bipolar. Fitting - the ups and downs of secular 'no meaning life'.

Thanks but no thanks. God is good - even when we are bad.

I cried out to God, asked for encouragement. Asked for help. Asked for forgiveness for selfish thoughts that had entered my head. Did God respond?

you decide...

That night I walked in to ChurchFreo, a wonderful ministry that feeds the homeless (and the servants!) here in Fremantle. A young Doctor that goes to my uni invited me to read out a particular psalm. And to give it conviction. The psalm was about crying out to God and asking for his help. I looked at her and said "God is talking to me through you, this is exactly how I feel"

The service was good, lots of Scripture and all about about God's patience and forgiveness and grace. One drunken man kept disrupting the service. We all had to show patience and forgiveness and grace. Sometimes the Lord is so near yet we can be so dull to His actual presence. He was literally orchestrating a physical occurrence to support the spiritual message. Just as He did his entire life on earth.
The Children in India
Afterwards I was encouraged and walked home. The following day (today) it rained.

I Adore rain. It is a blessing. being Scottish it doesn't bother me. Without it we would all die, the Israelites also called rain a blessing. When it rains I feel joy. I thanked God for the rain and watched people scurry about like it is acid. It isn't. its water.

Today myself and a friend received our results for a paper about Florence Nightingale. A high distinction. We thanked God . The encouragement was building.

A close friend in New Zealand emailed me to tell me she had read the whole bible. All of it. And she had stopped smoking. Two things I was always encouraging her to do. More Encouragement.

But the best news was still to come. Pictures from Cambodia and India. (Headed for India next). God sent through incredible photographs of baptisms, people receiving bibles and the Indian orphans being well looked after. It encouraged me to the point of tears. God's kindness leads us to repentance. None of it is deserving. The day before I felt like a useless wretch. Today on a High. God is good - all the time.

Friday, August 24, 2012


It is amazing how God encourages us. For the past five or so days I have had a continuing feeling or thought ..."write in your blog" I had dimissed it on the grounds of...not many read it, busy with http://www.thechristiannetwork.com busy with Nursing degree (just finished five weeks practical in Aged Care centre) now into semester 2 mid exams, busy with Street Chaplains Freo.  "write in your blog"  The thought would not go away.

Today as I stood in Fremantle deciding where to go for a coffee (many choices in Freo - the natural selection is always Ginos ) I heard someone yell out  - "Jack!".

An old army friend called me over, he is now a Paramedic and I was really happy to see him. We sat chatting and then he told me..."You have not written in your blog for two months, I have been reading it" - you could have bowled me over with a feather. I did not expect this man to be reading my blog to be honest. So there was encouragement from where I least expected it and the voice saying write in your blog? - God.

So Im back! And what a rush the last ten weeks have been!  Sadly I cant write about my nursing practice. We are simply not allowed to,  ethically and professionally it is a no no. What I will say was it was humbling, enlightening, spirtual, tearful, joyful and I am thankful God leads this Pastor come missionary to learn nursing.

We ALL have NOTHING to complain about. And if you think you do then come chat to me, I promise to cut you to ribbons with stories of real suffering. When we get over 85 etc. Christian or not. All will suffer. All will learn that God is against the proud and that suffering teaches hard learnt lessons for pride filled humans. Sometimes God just bides His time. He certainly knows exactly what He is doing. From your Osteoblasts (clever little cells that create your very bones), to galaxies, God knows exactly what he is doing. Sadly many humans actually profess those Osteoblasts  or galaxies simply created themselves.About the equivalent of saying a hurricane went through a junk yard and created the latest Ferrari by chance. It just does not happen like that. If it did we would have a lot of hurricane chasers - looking to score a free Ferrari. Design = Intelligence. Intelligence = existance.

I grew a lot as a human being the last few weeks, learning some intense lessons from God about true servant hood. Most people do not really know what nurses do to be honest. It is another world.

Freo Street Chaplains continues to expand. We are now accepted by the council and the police, invited to meetings with both, sponsored by JusBurgers Freo and being prayed for every Friday night by a local church! God is moving powerfully in many ways. We ahve grown to over eighty chaplains now. - http://www.streetchaplain.com

The other night standing outside a nightclub a young man (surfy looking) came up to us. He was crying and clutching his chest. He sputtered out that security had assaulted him. Immediately we sat him down on a nearby bench and I checked his chest for anything broken. Thankfully he was a toned little guy and seemed to have absorbed the blows. Though he was in shock, full of fear and tearful. Who did God lead him to?

Two Street Chaplains.

Even while we helped him some girl came over and abused him. I sensed the devil (yes evil exists) taunting him. The girl did not even know him. She just walked over said something nasty and walked off. You see the best and worse of people as a Street Chaplain.

We walked him home, he was glad of the protection. Four men where also walking home at the same time (3am). Heavily tattooed and muscled, I knew on his own this young guy would have been canon fodder for them. Especially down a dark lit street with nobody around. One said something to the young guy and he swore back at them. I turned to him and said 'dont provoke them' The men did not even turn around, God's protection around the Chaplains for certain (I sensed it powerfully to behonest). However, the kid on his own would have been hammered.

He thanked us as we saw him home.

After ward you contemplate it all. Acts of kindness verses acts of contempt and violence. Often the two exist side by side. God and the Devil. Evil and Good. Light and Dark.

Thankfully Light has conquered, most just do not know it - Yet

God Bless.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Building Relationships

Our prayers recently as Street Chaplains have been to build relationship with the Police, especially in Fremantle where we are a new entity. The last few nights God orchestrated events amazingly to answer that very prayer. On Friday night we met outside Fremantle Police station, prayed, said our hellos and headed out. Again praying that the Street Chaplains would be seen by Police helping others.

Within one hour we came across a young woman laying on the concrete, she had been assaulted by another woman who was screaming abuse. Immediately we prayed for peace. The abusive assaulter left instantly. As we approached the woman on the ground I sat alongside her and asked the person already there if she was medically trained. She said no. Thankfully she got out of the way. The young woman had fell on the hard concrete - striking the ground with the back of her skull. The Occipital bone if you want to be precise. There was no blood but she was in pain. As I kept my hand on her the other Chaplain draped his jacket over her skirted bottom half. She was now laying on the ground with the words STREET CHAPLAIN covering her. Another Chaplain used his coat as a pillow. Many onlookers were watching. As I looked up I noticed so were the Police. All this was happening directly under one of the Police Cameras. Literally right under it! God was advertising His Chaplains to everyone in that camera room.

Police arrived, Detectives. They called the Ambulance and we explained part of what had transpired. More networking. Soon the Ambulance crew. Street Chaplains, Police and Ambulance. All interacting in full view of the crowd and the camera. At one point an annoying onlooker came over and tried to "help" - they were not helping. I asked them to move on, immediately the detective came to my aid and ushered the person away. Literally commanding them to step back. I silently thanked God.

We (Ambulance Officers and Chaplains) tried to move the yong lady on the ground and she screamed in pain. The injury seemed serious. I prayed that God would numb the pain. Within three minutes a second Ambulance crew appeared. The gave her an inhalant to numb the pain. I sat watching realising God was answering the prayer, not supernaturally as i had expected, but rather through the man made medicine. It served the purpose her pain numbed. It was surreal to perceive God at work. We moved on and said our goodbye to the Police who thanked us.

The following night out on the street again we prayed God would continue to build relationship with Police. Walking into a Cafe for an early on coffee who should be standing in the cafe? The Police detective. I knew it was God at work. This was not coincidence. He said hello and stated how they were just talking about the incident with the girl! Providence. God made a Chaplain walk in to this exact coffee shop at the just the right timing as the same detective 'just happened' to be talking about one particular incident of his previous night. Do the math. Impossibility made possible by the God of Impossible. Relationships continue to build - prayer answered.

Be encouraged God is real - seek Him. If you do, you see Him.


Sunday, May 27, 2012

Freo Blesses

Fremantle is changing. It seems to have gone from curses to blessings. Last night was no exception. As myself and another Senior Chaplain passed one the nightclubs, a bouncer walked up to us. He held out twenty dollars and said "do you guys except donations?". We were a bit taken aback not knowing what to say. He continued "I really believe in what you guys are doing, take it, buy yourself a souvlaki or something". We took the money and said God bless you sincerely to him. We both meant it. We decided to donate it to the ministry and placed it into the Chaplain Backpack. We carry money for emergencies (distraught people needing a taxi mainly) Though we do not advertise it or it would get taken advantage of.

It did feel nice to be appreciated. Later in the night two police officers, one male the other a young lady were both very warm to us. We had a good chat with them, the lady at 2:30am telling us you can go home now. As we looked around at ten officers and all quiet her advice seemed fitting, perhaps even the Lord was speaking through her. No carnage just bored officers to be honest. Happy Chaplains though. Peace is good. We had prayed for peace and we received what we had asked for.

A water bottle handed out to a slightly drunk young man, who was more tired than drunk, a kind "are you alright?" to a girl lying on concrete who got up instantly saying "yeah I'm fine, but thanks". An inquisitive "what are Street Chaplains?" by another young man who was stunned to learn "we help people". He repeated it to his friends - "they Help People".

How easy it can be to help people with God, how hard it can be without him

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Surprising Faith

Fremantle Street Chaplains has been tough. Certainly at first there was opposition to us. Having God cursed to your face (%$%^$ GOD!), at about three inches away takes a certain amount of resolve to not lose your temper. Especially when you kind of love God..a lot. However other factors made Freo difficult. A brand new area, new chaplains, pressure at doing well, then of course there is the spiritual dimension which you sense, yet feel no one believes you. Sometimes you want to just throw the towel in. Yet like Peter (the apostle) you can only say "and where would we go?" Jesus is God's son, there isn't anywhere else to go...there is hell of course, but I don't think that is the smartest option to be honest. If Auschwitz is a reflection of how low we can go, then no doubt hell can go that little bit lower. Not somewhere I'd happily sing.. "I'm on a highway to hell, yeah yeah"

Ironically that is the home of Fremantle Street Chaplains. The birth place of such wonderful (and totally insane ballads) as I'm on a highway to hell. I often preach to kids at schools... the guy that sung that (Bonn Scott) gargled on his own vomit to death at 42. He got what he wanted. I wont be meeting Saint Bonn in heaven, I'm pretty sure of that one.

So Freo has a dark side and I felt it. HARD. Something was not too happy a bunch of good deed chaplains had turned up to light up the streets. One week an abusive guy threatening his girlfriend then decided to threaten myself and other chaplain. With.. I'm going to F%$%&$ Kill you. I will snap your F^*%$^ neck!! We stood there myself and a strapping builder (thankfully) wondering what do we do if he does decide to jump us? Read all about it.. Street Chaplains beat up a drunken lad. It was probably not the headline Jesus (our LORD) wanted. Thankfully his girlfriend restrained him. Which actually meant it was all bravado, if he really wanted to fight pushing his girl friend aside would not have been that hard. We thanked God though. Sometimes you sense and see God everywhere on those streets. Last weekend was no exception.

The demonic presence had subsided the week before, we could now get on with doing what Chaplains do best - good deeds. Myself and a wonderful female Chaplain (Kat) headed up to the hospital. Probably about 1 am. Hospitals are very spiritual places. When you have people hurting, in grief, angry or even near death, there is an intense spiritual dimension going on concurrently. Though you do need to be spiritually discerning to sense it. If not its just a big building full of sick people.

As we headed to the place we sensed God guiding us to it. When we arrived sure enough some poor looking soul was sitting at the entry of emergency. He looked vague and I couldn't tell whether he was in shock for a loved one or what. We walked up and asked if he was ok? He said yes and that he was going back inside shortly. We offered him a water bottle. He took it and his immediate response was......"God Bless you". I turned instantly and said back to him "God Bless you too". I really had not expected that response. Especially since for the last few weeks its been "I'm going to &%$##  Kill you", "you guys are F*^&* GAY!" and "F%$$& GOD!". A blessing was a welcomed change to be honest. (ironically if you take the curses and turn the cheek, they too are blessings - how good is GOD!).

The next day both myself and Kat were indeed blessed. Spiritually and physically. God had blessed us through the most unassuming of characters. Sometimes you never know when you are entertaining an angel. Whatever the case, it made all the weeks before worth while. Straight after it we helped a semi drunk lady of 35 get home. Her boyfriend had hit and abandoned her. We found her walking home to Spearwood! We helped her get a cab and she sobbed to us. She also blessed us. A warm hug as she got into the cab was given by Kat. "God Bless you" whispered in the ear and a reciprocal response from the woman. Faith. It turns up in the most surprising places.

Look for it - it isn't only in church on Sunday

God Bless


Sunday, April 15, 2012

Bikers, Police and Angels?

Last Friday I prepared to be the Supervisor Street Chaplain in Fremantle. Which means you do not actually go out.Rather you greet the Chaplains and pray with them. Then you go home. All day I had read the Bible, probably about twenty or so chapters. A lot of prayer also. It was a day of spiritual disciplines. When the Lord calls me to do this I sometimes get apprehensive at what is going to happen. In this case I had no apprehension as I was not going out - only supervising...so I thought...

At the last moment I decided to wear my Street Chaplain polo shirt to greet the chaplains. Wanting to make a good impression to the Police prior to starting. When I arrived at the Station one of the Chaplains was a no show. I was going out whether I liked it or not. God had known this all along, I hadn't.

We prayed before leaving the station and were cursed by someone across the street. "YOU GUYS ARE F%$#$^ GAY!!" He shouted it, whoever he was, more than once. We sensed it as more than just physical, but also a spirtual rebuke. I quickly quoted blessed are you when you are persecuted or insulted. After the prayer ended the abuser was gone, however, I felt something was going to happen tonight. Potentially something not good.

We headed into the night. My fellow Chaplain was a new recruit, this his second time out.  I tried to prewarn him to get a control of fear and trust God. I even told him Satan was going to test his faith tonight. When I said this i had no I idea what was coming, God did...

About an hour later standing on the cappuccino strip, at maybe 11pm, eight or more police cars turned up. They seemed to arrive almost instantaneously. As I turned and looked at this strong show of force I then saw about 20 of the Tactical Response Group (TRG). Sort of like the Police's special forces. I knew something very serious was going down. I also sensed a very powerful spiritual presence.

As I scanned the street I then saw why. Six or so very ominous looking bikers. Shaved heads with pony tails, heavily muscled and tattooed. These men were the focus of nearly 50 police. As i looked at them I sensed something very powerful in them. Something from the other side. The Darkside. The men were taunting the police, one appeared like a coiled spring of negative energy. They wanted trouble.

We moved toward the TRG. Already my partner's courage was being tested. After 3 years as a Street Chaplain The Lord has had me face many dangerous situations. So did 11 years in the Army . However the Lord knows with bikers I would feel trepidation.  They instill fear in the best of us. Tonight however the fact I spent the whole day in the bible and a whole day of prayer, i was calm and at peace. God had prepared me without me being aware. Again if I had been aware I probably would have been anxious.

It all made sense now. The day of spiritual disciplines, wearing the street chaplain polo, the other chaplain not turning up. The penny dropped. God wanted me there to pray.

We stood amongst the TRG and began to pray silently for peace. Almost immediately the bikers started to walk down an alley way. 20 heavily armed TRG  behind them with two Street Chaplains as the vanguard. None of the other crowd of revellers pursued. I suppose the whole scene was quite surreal.

I admit I like the adrenalin rush of it all. God has even rebuked me for such. He did so through a movie called The Hurt Locker, where a soldier starts to love his job and the excitement of his near death experiences. The end caption is "War is a Drug". God clearly told me you are like that jack. Don't be.

As we walked my partner lagged behind. Fear was really working on him. It was understandable. Here we were following six fearful looking bikers and 20 TRG officers down an alleyway/mall. It wasn't really the natural thing to do! It was, however, the supernatural thing to do.

At one point I turned to my partner and prayed out loud. I wanted him to hear the prayer so he could agree to it. When two come together in His name He is there. What is agreed to on earth is loosed in heaven. What I asked for to be loosed was powerful.

In a very authoritative voice, with power, I asked that an Arch Angel would come now! I don't usually pray such things. Ever. We pray to the Lord and the Lord decides what He wants to do. We are never to worship angels as they are part of the creation just like us. If we worship them its idolatry. When John met an angel and bowed the ANgel yelled at him GET UP, I am a servant just as you are DONT worship Me! We are not to call on them either (directly anyway). I thus called to God and asked for an Arch Angel in Jesus' name. Jesus at one point states to Peter that if he wanted to he could call 12 legions of angels (that's 60,000!). I jsut wanted one. But a BIG One.
We didn't see the sky light up, nor did we see a lighting bolt or Michael (the Arch Angel) standing resplendent in armour. We didn't even 'feel' anything. Not even a slight breeze much less a hurricane. No nothing theatrical like that.

Something amazing did happen though...

The bikers left. Almost instantly they walked away and  left the whole area. It was over. The Police knew it also. They turned to leave and witnessed two street chaplains nonchalantly leaning on a wall and lamp post right behind them. No one said a word. I couldn't help but think, surely one of those officers knew we were praying for them. I have no doubt God knew. More seeds planted.
Bikers, Police, Angels and Street Chaplains. Coincidence or God incidence?

I will let you decide -  I already have.

God Bless


Friday, April 6, 2012

Cerebellum - Use your brain

Fremantle Street Chaplains has commenced. A new territory, unfamiliar pathways, uncertainty and even trepidation. After patrolling Northbridge for three years the area became home. We fear the unknown, once known, we lose the fear. I sat praying for most of the day prior to this first night in Fremantle.
You want to make a good first impression, to the police, the general public, taxi rank security personal, bouncers and store owners. The Chaplains are always under scrutiny.
That day whilst praying I studied anatomy (part of the requirement of a nursing degree). Specifically the brain and the brain stem and...the Cerebellum. To be honest, prior to nursing, I never really knew we had one let alone tell you the function and the ramifications of it being damaged. After completing study and prayer, in addition to reading Ephesians, I ventured out.
At the Police station a new Chaplain was welcomed. Whilst new to chaplaincy, this lady was a veteran to mission, an experienced YWAM senior. Another senior Street Chaplain joined us, in addition to a towering Fijian man with a handshake of iron. The team was complete.
We introduced ourselves to the on duty Police Sergeant who proceeded to give us an incredibly informative welcome, complete with street level information concerning the area. Already you felt part of the team. All this on the very first night? This was not the case three years ago in Northbridge. We all sensed the Lord's hand and felt the many prayers being offered for this new chapter.
We left the station encouraged and gathered together for our own prayer. The streets were empty. It was Easter Friday, almost a full moon and the sombre message of Christ crucified seemed to spill over into the cold lonely streets. The pubs and clubs were all closed. The quiet setting was a wonderful opportunity to give a spiritual and physical tour of my new town. After living here for three months I knew every corner and had prayed in them. The stillness allowed the team to bond and settle as we patrolled. We ventured much further than the cappuccino strip. Later we would see the Lord's direction in this.
We headed to the large Anglican church (a spiritual area, however, one where there seems to be much violence and disturbance at night). The large trees in the adjoining park have a surreal feeling about them. Fremantle is an incredibly spiritual place for the aboriginal people (or rather it used to be). It is home of the Noongar people's original spiritual gatherings. Sometimes thousands would gather here. Under the bows of the majestic giants in the area you wonder at what spiritual dances were potentially made amidst their arms.
Today the remnant of this people is one submerged in the pain of past genocides, stolen generations and ongoing racial prejudice. May God use the Chaplains to heal some of this pain. No sooner had we entered the park than my feelings were confirmed. A man had been violently mugged and his laptop stolen.
We approached him and offered compassion. He quickly related how two (white) men had assaulted him (he had been punched hard in the chin) and had ran off with his laptop. The area has WiFI available so students and backpackers often sit outside till the late hours contacting home. This particular man was homeless though and was using the net to email his estranged daughter. He had contacted the Police who were now looking for the thieves. As we waited with the man the Police arrived in their van. Walking over to them it was the first connection of Police seeing the Chaplains actively involved in helping someone. Amazingly we were at the scene of the only real incident of the entire night! God's guidance for certain.
A moment later God would show His guidance even more.
As we stood alongside the man the Chaplain phone rang. It was the Police Sergeant. He asked how our night was going and what the streets were like? A phone call from the police on our very first night in a new area? In Northbridge we waited a full long year for that first call! God is moving fast in Fremantle!
The Lord's prompting was obvious, as this Sergeant called we were standing with some of his men and the mugged man! Coincidence? A million to one. We told Him we were with the mugged man (knowing He would have know of the incident) immediately he asked if we could walk him back to the station allowing his men to continue patrolling! We readily agreed. We were part of the team and being used - again on the first night within the first two hours.
As we turned to head to the station and ambulance arrived! I jokingly said to the victim all we need now is a helicopter for you. The police and the man laughed. It was obvious a lot of attention was focussing on this man's plight. Shortly God would reveal why...
The ambulance officer diagnosed the man much more effectively than a first year student nurse (much to my own humbling). On questioning the victim, he mentioned how he felt a cold sensation in the base of the rear of the skull. I was almost in shock. Not four hours earlier I had read that an unexpected blow to the head can cause damage to the cerebellum (exactly where the victim was pointing to). Here I was standing beside what was potentially an incredibly serious injury. I knew the Paramedic was thinking the same thing.
He checked the man's pupils to discover one fully dilated and the other not. One large, one small. Something, other than drugs, was wrong. He was taken immediately to hospital. As the victim left he turned to us and clasped his hands as if in prayer and whispered 'thank you'.
We debriefed back at my apartment, everyone was shown the opened anatomy book sitting on the dining table. Open to the brain stem and the cerebellum. We were all amazed. The Lord Jesus had made His presence felt in more ways than one.

Friday, March 30, 2012

Intense times

I have not written much lately. Probably because of my current workload. Nursing degrees are intense. Different to theology (not that theology was easy ), however, with nursing it seems even more intense in many ways. The two should be the same. Both disciplines should point to the caring of others. Both should be focused on the well being of others. And both, therefore, should be a reflection of Jesus Christ. Sadly it is not the case. I sense with  theology it is often a means of attaining power (academic,  egotistic or selfish ambition).

Our Lord discovered this as the case many times. And so  undertaking nursing, after theology, the sense of responsibility of people's very lives is stark.

Nursing (at least) is less about selfish ambition. Nurses wipe backsides and clean up vomit.

This week the Lord placed my testimony on Vision Radio (by their own reckoning up to a million listeners nationally). http://www.vision.org.au/jack-jones-featured-guest-on-this-weeks-journey-unpacked

It is all a great honour and one where you really want to see God lifted (not yourself). You get persecuted of course. People get jealous. That is human sinful nature and goes with the territory. It thickens the skin. We are told how nurses need the thick skin. To be honest my respect for what they do is now far surpassing any others (including Pastors). I like people that get their hands dirty (with blood, urine, vomit etc). Just as Jesus did. Touching lepers, hanging around with sinners (who were getting drunk), washing dirty feet, helping people with internal bleeding or feeding the hungry. Sounds a lot like nursing to me.

Hopefully a few other 'Pastors' catch on

God Bless


Saturday, March 10, 2012

Spirit strong - Flesh Weak

Over the last year I have been working on a large Christian website. http://www.thechristiannetwork.com Myself and another man visited many churches and people, introducing the website prior to its launch. We saw God open doors in many ways. As we went from one person to the next the 'network' expanded.

The Internet is after all.. a web. A net. Using it to catch fish is certainly an option.We prayed sincerely for God to use it to save people.
This week it is live and I am totally run down. Even caught a cold. God's way of telling me slow down. During the week was a visit to Thornlie Christian College sharing testimony to the whole assembly. As well as launching the site and continuing with a full time degree in nursing (intense by itself). By week's end I was almost burnt out after a night on Street Chaplains.

 We can not keep up with God's Spirit. Our flesh just isn't strong enough. Even living a healthy lifestyle; not smoking,  drinking or eating junk food. Consuming five vegetables a day, brown rice and lean protein, washed down with litres of water. No processed sugar.  With all of this, plus lots of excercise, keeping up with God is impossible.

This week I learnt that in trusting my flesh we fool ourselves. I have been taking vitamin C daily and eating lots of garlic. Fresh Garlic placed in water and downed in one. It's incredible for the immune system. One week ago I confidently (and foolishly) stated ,"I'll never get a cold". And yet here I sit sniffling, sneezing and coughing.

God is talking to me through this. What is the lesson? The flesh is weak but the SPIRIT is strong. In trying to keep up with God we reach our limits. We simply burn out. My healthy fit body let me know - "Enough - I cant keep this up!"
Imagine God's energy? Limitless, and without limiting flesh to slow Him down either.

Its time to rest. To rest at Jesus' feet with Mary (rather than rushing about like Martha). To let the burden be light and the yoke easy. In rest we recharge and let God comfort us. Jesus as we know often spent days and nights alone resting in prayer with God. He got away from all the pressure. He didn't go on water skiing holidays or camping with the kids and call that time with God. Nor did he travel to some exotic island to bask on the beach (and try to kid himself this was a spirtual retreat). No, he went into the wilderness or up big hills. He sat. He prayed. He connected to God spirtually. In doing that - God recharged Him whilst His physical body rested.

Time to pray ...and rest in God

God Bless


Sunday, March 4, 2012

Amazing Provision

A while back I wrote how I was now totally reliant on God. Had given all my personal funds away and prayfully sought God's provision for ministry needs and nursing degree. God has shown His provision to the point of having me in tears.

First - My new landlord. No sooner had I moved in than he asked me if I wanted some part time work? I said sure (suppressing a smile as I knew God was working through this man). Already I have done about $600 in manual labour (which I enjoyed). He has kindly taken it off my rent. I land an inner city studio apartment right beside the school of nursing and it comes with a part time job? Sometimes I want to scream "THERE IS A GOD - WAKE UP EVERYONE"

Next - I had submitted an advert on gumtree (a local selling website). My advert stated I would teach people web and graphic design. I didn't really hear much at first. However, the moment I became reliant on God the emails flooded in. One particular nice young lady wants me to come every week for 6 months! This in itself has provided all my food needs.

I then received requests for websites. These seem to come at just the right timing to pay for tuition, books and training courses. (Buying a stethoscope soon - very excited about that actually). In addition Street Chaplains kindly payed for renewel of First Aid certificate (this coming at the exact time it was required for nursing!).

However tonight was the icing on the cake. I had gone to a local church and decided to put a fair amount of money (almost all I had left) into the tithe box. As I did so I felt great joy. Excitement even. The Scripture "God loves a cheerful giver" (2 Corinthians 9:7) immediately came to mind. When I returned home my mother rang me. My study allowance had just been reviewed and increased by an extra $50 a week! I choked down a tear. I had just placed $50 in the tithe box. God had returned it with $50 a week for the next three years!

If only more people would truly let go of what they have and follow (just as Jesus says too) they would experience God and His provision so much more. It is exciting and challenging. I recommend it to all. Give your money to the poor and follow him. When you do you will find - you cant out give God.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

A New Direction

I've moved.

All the way to Fremantle. A port town of my state. I am now doing a degree in nursing. I look forward to it immensely. Learn how to care for people. Fitting for someone that is to run a rehab centre. I prayed to live near the university. I then received a studio apartment across the road from the school of nursing. If that doesn't show God's grace and provision I don't know what does. There isn't even any other apartment on the street. Only the one I am in.

Lectures are 15 metres away. I don't have words to express my thanks to God. Soon Street Chaplains begins in Fremantle also. Thus a new beat and brand new region. I must be what we called in the army the 'advance party'. Meaning the first soldiers to enter an area and do reconnaissance and set things up.

I walk around praying in every corner of this town. Internally of course. Just in case you though i walk around praying out loud. Fremantle is an exciting place and each night I like to go for a walk out to the Light House. Sea air and ocean waves. It is a blessing.

Tonight I said to God lets go out to the light house. Just the two of us. As I stepped out I said to God I totally belong to you. No one has any hold over me but you. I have no girlfriend or wife. Have given away friends, not even my mother comes first. Devoted to God. Its called being in love.

As I walked out to the light house I witnessed the most beautiful Sky. A spiritual joy came over me and I could really feel God near. He was putting on a show.

I took a little picture, it doesn't do it justice, nor does it capture the spiritual sensations I was feeling, but hopefully it helps you understand how beautiful God truly is. Art points to an Artist.

God Bless

Red Sky at night - Sheppard's Delight

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Be Brave

“Have I not commanded you, be strong and Courageous, do not be terrified or discouraged

For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go”. Joshua 1:9

I remember my very first night as a Street Chaplain in Northbridge. During the day the cafe scene of this district is harmless, families come together to enjoy the cultural diversity of the local cuisines. You can sample genuine Italian fare right through to a Korean barbeque. The atmosphere is friendly and casual. On a Friday and Saturday night that all changes. Drunkenness, violence, drug overdoses and cultural tension often surfaces.
Prior to salvation, I 'partied' in the area for nearly seventeen years. By the end I loathed even the mention of the place. I had witnessed brutal beatings at the apply named "The Bog", saw drug induced stupors outside Connections and walked home (drunk and alone at 4 am) on numerous occasions. Northbridge has a dark side that only emerges at night. Every sin is indulged. From Strip clubs to brothels, sleazy nightclubs or pornography shops. Gay venues promoting lesbian wrestling, you name it, depravity is up for sale.
When selected to be the first Street Chaplain to 'hit the streets', I was somewhat anxious. For seventeen years I was oblivious to darkness - I was submerged in it myself. When you are blind you cant see - darkness is the normal state of being. Now that my eyes were fully open, evil seemed magnified and all to real. I knew of the many different characters that frequented Northbridge. However, I was no longer on their side of the fence. The prospect of walking around the streets with STREET CHAPLAIN plastered across my back worried me. I remember thinking "I am going to get hammered tonight". I expected abuse, even confrontation. Northbridge had never seen a Street Chaplain before. No one had paved the way. There was no experienced 'old hand' at my side. I was alone. My fellow chaplains that night were from church backgrounds. Nice lads that knew little of what actually went on. No doubt we will be the laughing stock of the whole seedy place. I kept these thoughts to myself.

Need to be strong.

All day I prayed. Over and over I thought of how powerful God truly is. How He can hold the entire universe in His hands. How nothing eludes his gaze (including a few little Street Chaplains in Northbridge). Alternate doubts competed for my attention. The Police carry tazors, bullet proof vests, Gloch 9 mm pistols, batons, hand cuffs and even ride trained riot horses. Modern day Centurions. I was armed with a water bottle and a purple t-shirt.
God led me to one of my favourite verses of the Bible. As an ex soldier I always admired Joshua. Facing insurmountable odds, armed with an ill trained rag tag army of ex slaves he was to fight the 'Goliaths' of Canaan. Boasting the towering fortress of Jericho. Armed to the teeth with iron chariots and the latest military advancements. The Canaanites were the super power of the region. Initially the Israelites would have appeared the underdog. Everyone was dismayed. Everyone that is except Joshua.

God's spoken words to him were far from timid. Nor were they gentle or poetic. Have I Not commanded you? Be Strong. Be Courageous. Do not be terrified. I AM with you. For Joshua these words were the very breath of the Almighty God. He fought like a lion, feared nothing, and conquered everything. No one, other than the Christ, so followed God's commandments as obediently and fearlessly as Joshua. The Greek version of his name is Jesus. The child born of Mary shared the same name. It means “The Lord Gives Victory”. Joshua has been likened to a striking OT type (foreshadowing) of Christ (Barker, 2002).

I committed the verse to memory. Repeating it over and over. I started to truly believe. What harm can man do to me? Didn't Christ tell us not to fear those that kill the body (Mt 10:28)? I resigned to the fact that nobody was actually going to kill me tonight in Northbridge. Maybe a few insults and at worst a shoulder bump. But probably not homicide. When i stepped out I was prepared for death. After facing three AK47's shooting at me (UNTAC, 1993, Cambodia). Jumping out of perfectly good aeroplanes (at 800 feet) and surviving. Once being king-hit at the Paramount nightclub by a six foot five indigenous man, I realised God had protected me thus far. Maybe God could continue to protect me as a Street Chaplain?
He did.
That night people blessed us. The complete opposite occurred to what I had expected. People encouraged us for what we were doing. Not once but numerous times. Fear faded away to be replaced with joy. We started to enjoy the mission rather than fearing it. Three years on and the same scripture given so long ago to Joshua still serves me well. It often pops into my head when things heat up. Through broken jaws, knife fights, bleeding eye sockets and drug overdoses God has always been there. Following God (in Jesus) is not always safe. In fact it often feels downright dangerous.

The same words given to Joshua always bring encouragement.

"Don't be afraid. Be brave. I AM with you. And... I AM GOD"

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The Wallet

I find myself now totally reliant on God. I have given all my money away to charities and utilised what I had from selling my home to fund my studies. I came to the end of those funds maybe two weeks ago. I used the last of them to pay for a Nursing Degree. I felt God wanting me to acquire medical skills and learn patience from patients. Clever. All of which marching Harvest of Hope onward to the Rehab centre. First phase seems to be in preparing the Director. Armed with a Theological Degree and a Medical one in nursing has seemed such a wise choice. I give all such credit to the Lord Jesus Christ. On my own I am simply not that astute to conceive such a plan. Four months ago I didnt even have an incling to do nursing. I am now enrolled and moving to a little apartment right beside the University. God is amazing.

The prospect of also being financially dependant on God excited me. We try to cocoon our lives and prepare for the worst in all situations. Insurance, Superannuation, Saving Accounts, Employment Insurance. We have a hundred little plans to soften the blow of running out of money. Hardly the necessity to pray "Give us or daily Bread". Thus we miss the opportunity to really see God at work daily in our lives. Providing for those who trust Him rather than themselves.You  read of such people as George Muellor, Hudson Taylor or Mother Teresa and you hear of the continuing provision of God for His servants needs. However first you have to give all your possessions to the poor. That does, I confess, take some courage and a willingness to do so. Took me four years in gradual increments. What can I say... I am Scottish? Old habits die hard.

Now, however, I am seeing God's provision like never before. I am having to trust Him to provide, swallow both fear and pride and accept gifts from others. Peter found it hard to accept Christ washing His feet, likewise I find it hard accepting charity. For four years I was the giver rather than receiver. This new journey is exciting.

Today whilst volunteering at a local drop in centre a street kid (no more of 19 or 20) offered me a brand new wallet as a gift. It was a good brand and even had that new leather smell about it. My old wallet is literally falling to pieces. I needed a new one and had asked God for such about a week prior. I even remember thinking I no longer have the funds for such luxuries as a new wallet.

As this young drugged out boy offered me it as a gift I felt the peace to take it and thank him. The fact He was doing something good was good for him also. To feel appreciated. I also sensed this was God giving me a wallet! Thanking him I told him how I really needed one. He was genuionly pleased. I shared the fact that I felt God giving me such with a few others I have come to know in the centre.

When I got home I felt the need to ring the particular store that the wallet's brand belonged to. I wanted to make sure it wasn't stolen and would have returned it. The store was in receivership. It no longer existed. I took it as a sign that the wallet was truly mine. I thanked God from my heart for His kindness and hurriedly emptied my old wallet.

As I did so, going through old bits of paper, I found a cheque I had completely forgotten about. I opened it to see the amount of $989. Uncashed. I had payed for a friend's air ticket months ago and completely forgot about cashing the cheque she had given me in return. I sat amazed and in awe. I was literally just about broke and wondering how I was to pay my rent. Tears rolled down my cheeks. Overwhelmed at the love of God and how true to His word He is.

The money also allows me to continue the sponsorship of two children in Peru and the Philippines. You can never out give God. And the more you give the more you receive. So you can continue being a blessing to others.

Trust God - He will provide and when He does - Share such with others -

"it is better to give than recieve" - Jesus Christ