All posts tagged: salvation

Bullied and teased to the point of despair

This article is part of the #flamfaces series. Here, Aaron Summers shares a snippet of his story. Throughout my school years, life was tough. I was teased and called many names; ugly, freak, you get the picture. I was a bully myself at times too. At the root of it was a constant struggle with self image. I didn’t feel I was good enough for anything or anyone. I felt that no one wanted to hang out with me, and that I was always on the outer. I remember tearing up my leavers dinner photos because I felt so ugly and down on myself. Depression got a hold of me and I was in a very dark place, in and out of church at Summerhill Baptist and Door of Hope. My mum encouraged me to keep coming along to church. It was a hard time for her, seeing me go through this, but she kept spurring me on. I was going home most days from school turning the lights off and going to bed. I’d just basically given up. …

Where Chan & Sukumaran Found Grace

Do you know the words of the hymn that Andrew Chan and Myuran Sukumaran sang before gunfire quieted their voices? It was Amazing Grace, penned by John Newton in 1748. Amazing grace! How sweet the sound That saved a wretch like me! I once was lost, but now am found; Was blind, but now I see. Grace is a characteristic of such exquisite beauty. When you know people who clothe themselves in grace, you want some for yourself. These people seem to live on a different plane. The blows don’t bruise, the hooks don’t snag. They are quick to forgive, they refuse to take offence, they love first (not only in response) and they can quickly navigate to the core of a person – the reason for their behaviour and attitudes. They are like a long exposure image of water running over rocks and branches: all soft and fluid lines, the sharp edges blunted. ’Twas grace that taught my heart to fear, And grace my fears relieved; How precious did that grace appear The hour …

What If You Have a Bellyache And You Don’t Even Know It?

The pros and cons of moving house. Pros: you get to live in a new house. Cons: you pack your life into cardboard boxes small enough to lift. You relocate only to spend the next few weeks unpacking things you don’t know why you have. No matter how much careful labeling, you still lose things. You WILL end up cleaning two houses. If you have small children, multiply the inconvenience by the number of their sticky little, into-everything fingers. In following months you will field a mass of queries from household members beginning with, “Where’s the…” And there’s that strange period of time when you just don’t know which house to call home. Moving house, hey! What upheaval! But then, when you’ve found a spot for your toothbrush, you’ve tested the water pressure, sat to a few meals and listened to the calls of birds in this neck of the woods, there comes that satisfied sigh at the end of one thing and the beginning of another. That’s where I’m at. Can I just say, …

Urgent Community Announcement – Keep Reading, it Just Might Save Your Life

There will be an earthquake on Thursday at 5:30pm. At peak hour traffic the six-magnitude quake will test the city’s infrastructure, shaking the swampy foundations of Invermay, bringing Launceston’s few storied buildings to their knees, compromising the structural integrity of bridges spanning the Esk Rivers and rattling windows from Youngtown to Rocherlea. Before you write me off as some kind of freak doomsday prophet, consider the hypothetical (yes, it’s just a hypothetical!). Imagine you were given a memo with the potential to save thousands of lives while simultaneously subjecting yourself to ridicule. Imagine you were the only person who knew that an earthquake would ravage Launceston this Thursday. The question is, would you open your mouth? Your mind is racing with what-ifs. If your information is wrong you stand to forever scar your reputation not to mention inconvenience a city-full of people, many of them family and friends. But if you’re right, you will save lives. As a resident of this fair city I sincerely hope that you wouldn’t keep that kind of information to yourself. …

You’ve Got Mail

You walk to your letterbox, open it, and find the usual fistful of mail. A few catalogues. A letter from a hopeful politician wanting your vote in the looming election. A brochure for pest control. What looks like a car registration bill. And a pale blue envelope with your name in sloping letters. You turn it over to see who has opted for snail mail over flicking you a quick email or text. There, written in the same deliberate, yet graceful, hand is a word that makes your heart quicken. God. Pfft! Who’s pulling a prank? you wonder. You turn the envelope back over to check the postmark: Paradise. There’s a place called Paradise in Tassie, somewhere out past Deloraine. But there’s another word stamped in the corner; Eternity. What would you do? Say it was you who went to that letterbox and pulled out that pale blue envelope enclosing a letter from God. What do you think it would say? Your answer will speak volumes of who you think God is. Perhaps He would open with, “Oh …

Finding the Rhythm of Salvation

What does Easter mean to you? I was asked this question recently. It’s a question I consider every year as the hot cross buns and chocolate bunnies begin to line supermarket shelves, because every year it feels like those things try to crowd out the heart of this holiday period. For me, they will never overshadow the celebration of Jesus’ mission on earth more than 2000 years ago, to provide a way for direct relationship with God. Jesus was crucified on the Friday, for no reason other than the blind hatred of the crowds. Even Pilate, the governor of the day, symbolically washed his hands when he saw the crowd would not be placated unless he handed Jesus over to be crucified. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said, washing his hands, “It is your responsibility”. Jesus endured every indignity. He was spat on, mocked, flogged, a crown of thorns was rammed onto his head and then he was hung from a crude cross, nails driven through his palms. He was left to die. …