Brian, Brian Houston, Frank, Frank Houston, Hillsong, Hillsong Church, hillsong conference, Hillsong Conference 2014, Hillsong Conference session, scandal, session
Recently the Sydney Morning Herald reported that Hillsong was under scrutiny by the royal commission over child sex abuse.
The Hillsong cult under scrutiny…
Early this year, Brian Houston shared the following about his dad’s sexual offenses at Hillsong Conference 2014:
1. Don’t cover up things that can’t be covered up?
This was a bit of odd advice that Houston gave in this session about “manning up” when facing tough times in church leadership:
“In this whole subject of manning up, don’t be tempted to cover things up that can’t be covered up; it’s never going to do you any good.” [Source]
And yes, it appears the context around this quote was how he dealt with his father’s sexual failure.
2. Things he didn’t teach when things went wrong…
When things do go wrong he didn’t talk about scriptures on discipline, restoration or reconciliation. There was no mention of seeking God in times of crisis. Maybe this is a given?
3. No empathy for the victims?
We understand how hard it would be for Brian to deal with his dad’s sinful behaviour and the hurt it caused the victims, Brian, his family and his church.
However, it was noticeable in his retelling of the events that he paid very little attention to the victims of Frank Houston. Instead, Brian Houston talked all about his own pain. (And to an extent, fair enough.) We can only read into what Brian Houston addressed here. He may have really addressed their issues personally, thoughtfully and professionally.
We wonder at this point if reconciliation seriously took place at all. If it did take place, this would have been a wonderful opportunity for Brian Houston to teach how biblical repentance and reconciliation can take place in the body of Christ. Oddly, this is absent.
The victim’s were mentioned in this retelling in such a way that it seemed as though nothing happened for them. Hopefully all things ended well for them.
4. Brian Houston’s view of God’s sheep?
For leaders in the church dealing with hard issues, Brian Houston used the passage, ‘be wise as serpents and harmless as doves‘.
However, Jesus said, “Behold, I am sending you out as sheep in the midst of wolves, so be wise as serpents and innocent as doves.” (Matt 10:16.)
Dear Brian – sheep aren’t wolves. Why do you have that view (and why do you think other leaders should have that view) of their sheep? Or maybe sheep in your church started alerting others that you are the wolf in sheeps clothing? This is quite the confession you made in this session:
“We’re not just manipulative and controlling and trying to contrive situations. You receiving this?”
If you are a sheep in Hillsong, receive the Matt 10:16 advice from Brian Houston. Be wise as serpents and start discerning who is leading you astray.
6. Where is the gospel and redemption when the times get tough?
It was sad to hear that when Brian Houston went through this dark time, he didn’t give mention of anyone coming to him with the gospel. Nor did he mention the gospel at all when he went through any scandal or bad church experience. He needed it more than anyone else in that time of pain.
This would be torturous in this type of false ministry. If you are a false teacher preaching a false gospel, who can comfort you in your moment of absolute darkness if all those around you believe your false gospel? He’s a victim of his own false teaching.
If anyone could have pulled Brian Houston out of his pain, it could have been Jesus and His cross. (Notice how Jesus isn’t Brian Houston’s saviour in any of his experiences.) He went through his pain alone. All he could offer people at Hillsong Conference was his worldly wisdom.
No cross. No Christ. No redemption.
This is a tragedy for Brian Houston, Hillsong and unrepentant sin’s many victims. Please pray for them.
“Well I enjoy these sessions when we get to talk practically about the Church and speak specifically to leaders in all areas of church life, just about the church so in this session this year let’s talk church leadership.
And today where you can see we are loading up our little studio audience here, and ah these guys [glitch] with all the leadership pastors, many of them, most of them I think and all of them in their own way at different times have had to negotiate seasons of real crisis, real pain and I thought it would be great to talk about some of those things and just find out how people have navigated some of those challenges, some of those things and hopefully there’s something in it for everyone to learn from.
So I just wanted to start, if you want to take notes, if you want to write something at the top of your page perhaps, just write ahh ‘leading and navigating, seasons of crisis’ or ‘navigating and leading through seasons of crisis’. That’s what we are talking about.
I think in life, especially as faith people, we believe for the best, but let’s be honest we have those days when we hear the worst. And all you have to do to face some very difficult times in life is live long enough. So I sure don’t want this to become a negative session but perhaps I can start by talking about what I would consider probably the worst day in my life so far.
It was in October 1999 and my great offsider George Aghajanian has ahh worked with me for many, many years and every Tuesday, he and I have a meeting. He oversees. He’s the General Manager of Hillsong Church, so globally he oversees all of the administration facilities. He oversees so much of our church. Much of the staff and so many things. He always comes in with this list that he is going to talk to me about and this day in October 1999, that he started going through his list and he said ‘oh there’s just one more thing’ he said ‘it’s not about you, it’s about your father’.
I can kind of remember the blood running out of my face, I kind of didn’t know what to expect, but I could tell by his demeanour that this is not going to be good news. And so he proceeded to tell me how a phone call had come into our church office, just one of our pastors ahhh had answered the phone to a guy who started telling them that he had been ministering at a church and a lady came to the front, I think he had been talking about abuse, the lady came to the front afterwards and said ‘Frank Houston abused my son’.
I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that moment felt like [glitch] I can’t even begin to tell you, it kind of came at me like degrees. First of all I couldn’t get past the fact that he was talking about eh, you know, eh a man a a boy. And it kind of hit me at degrees, first of all that’s kind of homosexual, then the second thing, that err it was someone underage. This is something that had happened maybe 30 or 40 years before that and it happened when he was a New Zealand pastor.
Umm but for me it just hit me at degrees and to be honest I think I had to deal with it as at those time, at that time I was president of a denomination 1100 plus churches. And I was pastor of a church, of which only 9 months before that we had taken on what was my parents church and it had become a campus of our church, so I also had to negotiate it as, if you like pastor of the church he had pastored for over 20 years. And then of course they had to navigate it and negotiate it as a father. A husband and a father.
Talked to my own kids about their Grandad who to all of us was an absolute hero. And then finally I had to look after myself. The end result was just not so long ago, I’d slowly I was keeping everything going outwardly, but I was slowly decaying inwardly. To the point where two or three years ago I had a panic attack and I was told that I would have them for the rest of my life but I said I don’t think I am ever going to have one of these again, and by God’s grace I never have.
And it took its toll, and as a result of that talking to Doctors I was pretty much told that I had post traumatic stress. So between that and other pressures, many people know the story of some of the, some of the battles we faced with the media in Australia and so on.
So, I think you can look at anyone and think well everything just goes well for these guys, nothing ever, but people want sometimes what you have but they don’t want to know what it takes to get there. And everyone’s got their story and your story may be different to my story. That story went on, I won’t take too much time on it but, maybe twelve or eight- so then I-
By the way I had to confront my own father. Again, hardest day of my life.
I talked to him about this, he had just come back from overseas. In my office, he went all dry in the mouth. You ever talk to your hero and your father about something so horrible and-? He went all dry in the mouth and he confessed that that had happened, all those years before.
So maybe twelve or eighteen months later, a psychologist actually from New Zealand made an appointment to see me. I met him down town and I had a feeling this was going to be bad news as well. And he went on and told me a similar story about when he was fourteen. And so the problem had grown and I- I-I, by God’s grace, in the middle of it was clear enough in my mind to know what I can do and what I can’t do. And everything in you wants to protect your own father. But I did what I had to and took it to our denomination, which I led and they asked me to stand aside from the investigation. And they investigated it fully and ahh- the end result was he never preached, he never ministered, he was never in leadership again.
As a result of that, I’ve got members of my own brothers, of my own family siblings, who to this day don’t talk to me, because they believe I put the church before my father. So, it’s a personal pain and I’m not here to tell you all this to say ‘woe is me’. But I never forget when I talked to each of my kids they all responded differently but in my mind responded so incredibly well. Ben, my second son, just becoming pastor of Hillsong Los Angles, he, he listened carefully, I said ‘Ben I so hope this doesn’t affect your faith’; he would have only been a teenager still. He said, ‘Dad that’s not going to happen, I’ve had my own revelation of Jesus’. I think they were the most golden words at the time, I heard.
So a lot of people knew my father, he blessed a lot of people and to this day, I know thousands of people who only have good memories of him. And err I’m grateful for that. But obviously this caused pain, real pain for real people. There’s victims involved there’s you know, it was horrific.
So I thought I would start there because I, I want this to be a bit of a tender and a bit of a vulnerable moment where we don’t just talk around stuff, but without getting into a pity party, we really, we really talk about stuff and I feel like people respond to pain in different way and as leaders there’s crisis we deal with in a church and then there’s crisis in our own lives, personal and corporate.
So those are the things I just wanted to talk about and I will just take a few minutes and then we are going to really hear the gold from some of these other people here. I will just talk about some of the things I have learned about over the years when it comes to pastoring in crisis. Handling it personally and leading other people in crisis.
Because I’m convinced, and we talked about it briefly with Bill Hybels yesterday, I’m convinced that leadership’s not proven of the good times, anyone can go along for the ride in the good times. I think what’s really in us comes out in the tough times and your leadership is always proven in the tough times.
So just a few thoughts very quickly:
Number one, I think facing crisis, facing pain.
You’ve got to understand that pain has a process.
[words on screen]
“– 1) Understanding the process of pain!!”
And we wish it would go away tomorrow, but often times it’s just not going to go away tomorrow.
The Bible talks quiet often about in the process of time. And if I think about the fact that time has a process within it and we often want to progress out of our challenge without really taking on the process. You know the scripture in Ecclesiastes where everything is a season and time for every purpose under heaven. Well if, if every season has a purpose, sometimes there’s a process for that purpose to be worked out. And I know that we often feel that I can’t see any good purpose in this whatsoever but it’s amazing how God can use anything and everything to take you forwards and actually to make you a better person. Maybe give your ministry a bit more depth.
And so to me the process is very important. Now look at the process of time, there’s different scriptures that talk about it, but in Exodus 2 where err of course Egypt were holding captivity God’s people, they were in bondage and there’s a scripture in Ezekiel 2 that says that the Kind of Egypt died and in the process of time, God heard the people’s cry, saw their burden and deliverance came.
But of course there was the process of time. Don’t’ try to avoid the process of time, cause I think it’s all part of it. And Cain, he did at the end of time what he should have done at the beginning. The bible talks about his brother’s offering that he gave to God and Abel’s offering was of the first fruit, it’s really the first mention in the scriptures of the idea of first fruits, so Abel gave what was first whereas Cain gave in the process of time, so he did at the end what he should have done at the beginning, and it ended up bringing calamity.
And I feel like sometimes we try to procrastinate and leave things off and don’t deal and address things but it can bring calamity. But on the other hand, Hannah she couldn’t have a child, she was desperate, the bible says she was in anguish of heart and she wept and finally it says in the process of time. There it is again, that she had a son called his name Samuel.
So don’t underestimate the importance of the process, let’s be doing at the beginning of the process what needs to be done at the beginning, because it can make the process a whole lot less painful and ultimately it will always bring a better result.
So imagine if in the beginning, I decided I’m going to try and cover this up with my dad. I know right now with where Australia’s at, we wouldn’t even have a church. So you’ve got to sometimes you’ve just got to decide to man up and guts it out, you’ve just got to make the tough decisions.
One of the things I decided was to always try to honour my dad, which not always easy because my dad to me was and to my brother and sister was just an incredible loving, generous man and that’s the person many people knew.
And by the way, that psychologist, he talked to me about disassociation. He was saying the father you knew was your father and this other thing this other part of him was disassociated from the rest of him and that kind of helped me at the time.
But number one, you’ve got to give it the process.
Number two, (if I can just move along here), it’s always good to respond not react.
At Hillsong Church we had a little upset with someone earlier this year and I was talking to Joel A’Bell who’s a great, great err co-worker with Bobbie and I, he and Julia. We were talking about what we need to do and he said ‘make sure that we are responding, not reacting’. And that was the best advice at the time I could have given because by nature I’m a reactionary, you know I could be a volcano. I got much, much better as I got older but that would be my natural, my natural way.
And I think sometimes in life especially –
– came out of positive, I had a desire but obviously it can be very negative. And often times, the things that are our weaknesses, the things that whatever that desire might be for you, it might be to lean toward a ditch, and it might be to do something to that – to build some kind of emotional attachment, do something crazy and it’s your way of coping. And the worst thing you can do often, is isolate yourself. When you feel like having fellowship the least, is often when you need it the most.
So that’s why the bible says in Hebrews Chapter 10, don’t forsake the gathering of the assembling of yourselves together as is the habit of some, ahhh but encourage one another. And you get into a great, positive, faith filled environment where there’s a spirit of encouragement, it’s the best thing you can do. And sadly people in churches, they make the great mistake, when they need it the most of drawing back, isolating themselves, fully cutting everybody out and it’s sad.
David, his most negative Psalm was 142, he says I’ve been brought very low, he says everyone is out to get me, they’ve set a snare for me, no-one really acknowledges me, who really cares for my soul. Those are the things he said, ultimately he says I’ve been brought very low. His dark day, I’ve been brought very low. The next verse, bring my soul out of prison that I may praise your name- Listen to it! “The righteous shall surround me.”
He decided he was going to get amongst crazy people and when we feel like it the least, let’s make sure we get ourselves always into an environment where praise gets our mind off ourselves, it’s impossible to be negative and praise God at exactly the same time. You simply can’t do it! It just doesn’t work! So let’s understand the importance of not isolating ourselves.
And the next thing I think when leading people, let your human side show.
Be transparent but don’t be pitiful, cause there’s a difference. Some people go to water and they become pitiful: “Woe is me!” – negative! But on the other hand some people put all the walls up and pretend nothing’s wrong and you know, ho hum, ra ra, and you know what, that’s not helping either especially if there’s a challenge inside a church because they think you don’t even care about this, you don’t even care! And I think, I think when the time is right and in that process of time, when I’ve had to face big issues in Hillsong Church, (and believe me we’ve had some! And by God’s grace he has brought us through every single one of them), there’s a time when you need to be with yourself a little bit, just have to be a little bit human, a little bit vulnerable.
Us macho Australians, we don’t like doing that sometimes. But I found that if you do that at the right time and you don’t overdo it, people warm to you and rally behind you. Life moves on, which is good, ha ha ha.
So don’t be afraid to be human and eliminate blame and excuses.
Don’t get, don’t get defensive whatever you do.
You know when I ride my motorbike, which is not much these days, I ride it with the attitude any accident that happens is my fault. Cause it’s a motorbike and you don’t get too many second chances. So in other words, whether a guy pulls out of there, whether that happens, whether any accident that happens is my fault. Because that way, I ride in a way that basically is taking responsibility for what that guy might do and what might happen over there, makes me ride my bike different and I think life’s a little bit like that too. You can blame, you can excuse and you can be completely right, obviously some motorbike accident is not technically your fault, you’re not the one the Police are going to book, if your still breathing, it’s not always technically your fault but if you ride that way, I think if you lead that way as well.
Cos blaming and excusing, justified as it might be, it’s actually not helping anything. And so I think lead, always taking accountability, always taking responsibility and say ‘what could I have done different’ ‘what do I need to change’. And again I feel that’s a great way to respond to challenge, to crisis and all of these things.
Number six, focus on the good things.
I’m talking about leading other people and leading yourself. Whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are good, whatsoever are true, whatsoever things are noble, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, think on these things. Think on these things and hang around people who are going to get you thinking on those things. Written by Opposite World Translation. The Opposite World Translation is the same scripture with a NOT on the end.
And here’s my Opposite World Translation,
“Finally brethren, whatsoever things are rumour or hearsay, whatever things are negative, whatever things are mean, whatever things are trashy, whatever things did up the dirt, whatever things bring a juicy report, if there are any skeletons in the closet, anything gossip worthy, think on these things.”
Are you living according to the Opposite World Translation or are you living according to the word of God? Cause it’s good to focus on the good report when you are surrounded completely by the bad report.
Hahaha! I quite like my Opposite World Translation, I’m kind of proud of it, I don’t know, I don’t know if I will find anyone to publish it yet but…
Number seven, wise as serpents harmless as doves.
Some people are all dove, other people are all serpent. Wise as serpent doesn’t mean wriggle your way out of things and spit venom to everyone. It does mean when you lead you’ve got to be harmless as doves. No guile. You got to, you got to lead in a way where, where ahh, your pure-hearted. But you also can’t be stupid. You’re leading people. God gave us a brain to think. You got to get the mind of the Spirit. You gotta- you gotta get the wisdom of God.
Sometimes you can react to a situation and it’s justified, especially if it deals with people, someone causing you problems in the church. It’s justified. But if that person has a whole huge following in the church and you just go ‘bang’ and cut them off, you’re going to pay the price. Be as wise as serpents, this is where we need to get to, where’re going to follow this process to get there, we’re going to take people on the journey harmless as doves. We’re not just manipulative and controlling and trying to contrive situations. You receiving this?
[Looks to audience for reaction]
Number eight, Man up or woman up, don’t go to water.
I mean everyone’s allowed a bad night, you know a tough day. But big picture, it’s time for your character to shine, not your flaws.
Now like I was saying in (not sure) desires, we could easily go quickly to our flaws, but this is a time when your Godly character is needed more than at any other time. So if we think about our personal reactions, if we are determined that we are going to face our own demons, whatever those demons are. If we decide we are going to challenge our reactions not justify them, challenge them.
So in other words things that have no, no good purpose. Whatever your facing right now don’t just, don’t just allow your reactions to run rampant, challenge them, man up, man up to things, face things, confront it. And I think it’s so important, this is where all of us in leadership, we run close to the red zone on the (not sure) any way the way we lead.
And you get a couple of things added on and all of a sudden you go into the red zone, which of course is the dangerous place to be leading from. And that’s why we’ve got to make sure we leave plenty of room in our emotional bank. So when you’ve got to withdraw on it, there’s something there to withdraw from.
And I talked about a panic attach that I got to and being told I had post traumatic stress, I could kind of believe it was true to be honest and I haven’t got time to go into my whole story but I can tell you this, that in the middle of all of that, basically, I saw myself especially when I was a younger leader, that stuff was for other people, I really thought I was invincible, I was never going to be hit, I was never going to be that person.
And it’s kind of scary, other leaders can relate to it when you suddenly realise, you’re that person. This is where I’m at. And ahh I had completely run out of emotional energy, I had nothing left and thank God for Bobbie because Bobbie is an absolute God send, all the time.
But I would have to say at that time, Bobbie ‘manned up’, she ‘womanned up’ because she was taking me upwards, not downwards. Which is a pretty good thing for a spouse to remember, when we need to be bringing someone else up, let’s make sure of where where’re at, if where’re in a better state than them it’s going to bring them up and not bring them down.
Again, be aware of your coping mechanisms, you know sometimes we turn to things for coping that we wouldn’t normally do.
You know around this time of the story I told you about in 1999, some close friends of Bobbie’s and mine, as a joke, sent uh- sent me a cigar. So they sent me this cigar and said ‘here maybe this will help you feel better’. Well, one thing I’m anti smoking, it’s not personal because there would be people who smoke in this crowd, so it’s not personal. But for me and our team of staff, we don’t have too many rules per say, but the one thing I do say is we don’t smoke and we don’t smoke.
And, ahh, so I was really very low one day. This story by the way, could cost me my credential by the way, but that’s alright I could just print off another one.
The only time I ever used it was once, to get into a hospital car park for free.
Besides the President of our movement had to go yesterday to do something up in far north, so I’ll tell you this story, it’s a little secret ok.
I’m home entirely by myself, it’s late at night, there’s no one around. I have a look at this cigar and I thought, you know I’ve never smoked a cigar, I thought, I just felt rebellious.
I just felt rebellious. So it was pitch black, no one was home, I walked out to the garden, sat down their entirely by myself, and smoked entire cigar. I didn’t even know you weren’t supposed to draw in.
No one had told me that. It kind of felt good. Hey be careful of your coping mechanisms.
One thing you can do is take it out on the people who are closest to you and that’s dangerous too. All of a sudden you’re lashing out at everyone else and it’s nothing to do with them. It’s good when your being lashed out on sometimes to remember this is not actually about me, this is about them.
But it’s so easy when you need those around you the most, let’s not make sure that we don’t just start lashing out at the people we love because that’s kind of a coward’s way but it’s an easy thing to fall back on. In this whole subject of manning up, don’t be tempted to cover things up that can’t be covered up; it’s never going to do you any good. You’ve got to address things.
I’ve had to deal with many issues with people over all my years and some things you can deal with personally and confidentially and maybe with one or two other elders or board members. Some things obviously it’s going to take a little more than that. Some things you, you have no choice but to address it even publicly, ahh hopefully not too often.
I think some pastors do that far too quickly, take things public that never, ever needed to be public and you can help people through things that’s going to save their future, their ministry and their career. And if I ever have that option that’s exactly what I would do, if the options there but sometimes, the nature of it, that option’s just not there.
Number nine, you’ve got to gather trusted confiders, people you love and trust but not just anybody.
The bible talks about a multitude of Council not a multitude of opinions. So don’t just trust anyone, the lady of the hedge or outside the school gate may not be the best person. Or the hairdresser may not be the best person to vomit all over.
And if I were talking about confidence and people you surround yourself with, number one just make sure there people who are fore you and who love you and wouldn’t want to get any personal mileage out of this whatsoever. Not the kind of person who’s going to say, well you know because it makes them feel like a bigger person if they have information that no one else has, and so they… find people in your life who love you and want what’s best for you.
And in that, sometimes might be afraid to tell you what you need to hear. It’s incredible, one Old Testament king, you know he was ‘the man’. He went to 400 different prophets and every single one of them told him what he wanted to hear, none of them had the guts to tell him what he needed to hear.
Then ultimately there was one prophet who actually was courageous enough to tell him what he needed to hear. So when it comes to confidence, to me, I want people to live in a big world, the last thing I need is someone going ‘oh my God, this is the worst thing I have ever heard in my whole life’. You know you need people who, to me maybe their further ahead in life than you, not someone who’s behind you when it comes to experience and leadership and wisdom.
Because I don’t want someone who goes into panic and goes to water, I want somebody who they might have been there, that they’ve faced some of those things. The kind of counselling they are going to give you again is going to take you forwards and upwards. Don’t, don’t arr don’t talk to people who your issues are just going to through them into a mess of spin, and all of a sudden all they are giving you emotional and reactionary and doesn’t have any Godly wisdom to it whatsoever.
So to me generally (not sure what he says) are living in a big world and people are not going to be thrown too easily by your challenges cause they’ve faced a few themselves. Obviously, you are going to want people who are wise, Godly wisdom. You know common sense is not as common as we think and use people who have that ability to get a word of wisdom in that situation, Godly wisdom talk to those people. Talk to people who are generous hearted, they’re generous hearted means they are only going to want what’s best for you, whatever that is cause they are generous, they’re for you.
And I, I think it’s important to find positive people, I really do.
[Words appear on screen]
“Anxiety in the heart of a man causes depression, but a good word makes it glad. Proverbs 12:25 (NKJV)”
Get around people who are going to give you a good word. An overcoming word. You know, a positive break-through-type word.
And, and, err not just people who are sympathetic. Jesus was never moved with sympathy, every time he was moved with compassion something powerful was about to happen. So we can bound to people who are sympathetic, you know sympathy at times is the last thing we need. We diffidently need people who care, who understand. I think one of the toughest things in a crisis is people who want to be everyone’s friend. ‘I don’t want to get involved we just want to be everyone’s friend, we just want to be neutral.”
And there’s a Proverb, which I think is a great Proverb just in my NKJ version it says something really simple, it just says something like ahh, “He who’ – ahh – has many friends needs to show themselves friendly.” But if you look it up in the amplified bible it says ‘the person of many friends, the friend to the whole world is a bad friend’ and so it’s interesting when you think about that.
There are some situations we want to be everyone’s friend and you actually can’t then be anyone’s friend. And when you’re in a tough time you need people, they put their mast to the, you know whatever it is, they put themselves to the mast and they know how to be a friend to you at this time.
So not just anybody whosoever things are of good report.
Number ten, (and I’m going to go quickly), bring those around you on the journey.
I’m talking about your family, your loved ones. Bring them with you because you’re going to need them, so make sure you’re bring those around you on the journey and be an example to those who are leaning on you. Ahh be an example, that’s a game when you can show real strength, some real leadership. Even though your life’s hell right now you can help people around you who love you and who feel for you through this journey as well cause I know for example when Bobbie and I have been attacked, as much as I may feel it, my kids always felt it a whole lot more.
And ahh so the people who love us and all of us have got those people in our world, when you need them the most make sure the way that you are dealing with people is keeping them with you and bringing them with you on the journey.
Number eleven, just resolve what to do.
I talked about being wise as serpents, harmless as snakes. There’s that guy that lost his job (not sure what he says) and so his boss says ‘you’re fired’. The bible says in Luke 15:4 he resolved what to do.
[Words flash on screen]
“What man of you having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness (Luke 15:4).”
And you know things get so much better if you take the meditation time, you do the prayer, you trust God, you come to a point of resolve and you think, well look, this is what I’m going to do, we haven’t got a clue what to do, you don’t know what, you know that’s when your still in anxiety and panic mode.
But it’s good if you just take the time sometimes and think, look I need to do this, in leadership, I need to do this, I need to talk to these people, I need to this, I need to do that. Resolve what to do; it’s amazing how already internally you feel stronger with that already.
The last thing (then we are going to move onto the second part of this) is just vision, vision, vision.
If there’s ever a time to put the vision back out there, to re-vision ahh and to re-imagine it’s at times like that I can focus on the problem, I can focus on the crisis.
There was a crisis in Australia, which a lot of people know about where a guy put on a sickness and he wrote songs. Put on a sickness and attended our, attended to be a, you know – just a great big lie and it was, you know just a crazy time for the church in Australia. I know at that time I just resolved in our church, because this happened when he was attending our church, what we needed to do and there were certain things we needed to do.
I was away on holiday, with an overgrown beard I used my iphone to just talk to the church about it. I wrote a blog and on the blog I just explained the whole story from my experience. I made sure I sured up the people I needed to around and about me. And you know our church remarkably just went through that so well. And our youth group too who had been affected, our youth group as well, they came through it so well.
It’s important to resolve what to do, so that you’ve got strategy, you, you really think what you need to do.
But vision is critical, it’s critical, you know when you lose the wind out of your sails, I’m not a sailor but I do know if a boat loses the wind out of its sails, the quickest thing he needs to do is reset its sails so it gets the wind back in it or else he’s becalmed. And your leadership get’s becalmed if you ahh lose the wind out of your sail.
The best thing you can do as quick as you can is reset your sails. Just talk life, just talk hope, just get to the parts of the word that are going to build people up, put faith into people. While you’re putting faith into other people, you’re putting faith into you. One of the best ways to get happy is to preach yourself happy and we can either preach ourselves sad or we can preach ourselves happy. And I want to be the guy who preaches myself happy.
You know for me, praise God, learning the power of praise, I’m a believer, the gifts of the Spirit for the day, so you know God gives us a Heavenly language, that the bible says edifies us, it builds us up. So at that time, ahh I’m going to be not necessarily walking around screaming in tongues everywhere, but I will be internally, I will be using the language of the Spirit that the bible says strengthens me. So let’s go to those things that help us then to re-vision and set the sails forward and move on to all that God has got for us, Amen.”
Source: Brian Houston, Hillsong Conference 2014, Sydney, 2014.
What are your thoughts? Did you see anything outstanding in the video/transcript that you would like to share?
[Edit 26/09/2014: If you want to comment on this article, please be sensitive and respectful to the persons involved in this scandal. Any immature or abusive comments aimed at Hillsong, the Houstons or the victims will have their posts removed.]
if the church was not so depraved
… the world is discerning enough
I will never cease to be amazed at the extent to which the world is discerning enough to expose the sheer wickedness of the professing church.
You can criticise the media, and say that they just love a scandalous scoop, but at the end of the day, if the church was not so depraved, the media wouldn’t get the opportunity to expose it would they?
Once again, the “Napoleon and Josephine” of Australian AOG, Brian and Bobbie Houston, have made the gospel a by-word for infamy in the national press. The January 25th 2003 edition of the Sydney Morning Herald Magazine Good Week-end contains a brilliantly perceptive article by journalist Greg Bearup bearing the witty title The Lord’s Profits. The banner reads, “God wants you to be rich … Just ask Brian and Bobbie, spiritual leaders of the church where a needle is no obstacle to a camel.”
Showing justified indignation, the author opens with the statement, “Praise the Lord and pass the chequebook”. The article itself is rather long, so we have placed it on our CWM web pages (http://www.christian-witness.org/aog/hillsong3.html). But, just to give you a sample, here are some excerpts (parental caution is advised). Also included is a part where Bearup quotes from our own Philip Powell.
THE LORD’S PROFITS
By Greg Bearup
What we do know is that Houston wears a watch worth thousands of dollars, he owns an enormous house overlooking a bush valley, in a suburb of other enormous houses, at Glenhaven. He also owns a picturesque spread on the Hawkesbury River, near Windsor, just west of Sydney, gets paid handsomely to speak overseas and is a property developer — and he’s not ashamed of any of it.
“Look,” he says, “I can tell you that if I was in business, and held this sort of position, I would be earning three times as much. I don’t do it for the money.”
So, you couldn’t see Jesus running into Hillsong and overturning the cash registers, as he famously did with the money changers in the temple?
“Absolutely not,” he says. “Absolutely not. Because the spirit of those people was … the house of God wasn’t even about God any more. It was about, you know, it had become a marketplace inside the temple — it wasn’t about Christian resources, resources that are helping people. It [the books and tapes and CDs] are not just about making money, it is about putting tools in people’s hands. [But] I have no problem if it makes a profit.”
So, what exactly is in those Christian resources? One particularly irresistible title is Bobbie’s three-tape boxed set Kingdom Women Love Sex ($22, also available on CD). In it, Bobbie explains why it is important for Christians to be good at “it”.
“We need to be good at sex ourselves so that if the world happens to come knocking we can tell the story of God in our lives,” Bobbie says, on the tape. “Without being lurid or untruthful — hello! — we can say [she whispers], ‘I have a great marriage and a great sex life’ – wink wink, nudge nudge. Yeah, truly.”
Bobbie also offers some practical advice. Fat is out.Do some exercise. “If I carry weight I feel like a retard … How are you going to do anything to surprise your man when you need a hydraulic crane just to turn over in bed?” Have plastic surgery, if it makes you feel better and it is for the right reasons, and “girls, pelvic floor exercises — can you believe I am saying this? — you know, I have heard that orgasm is not as strong if you are really sloppy in that area”.
As Bobbie says, “When you are doing what is correct in God there is a protection over your life. Like — hello! — it is just there. So it is a very powerful thing. Amen. Yeah, fully.”
There have been some dramas in the House of Camelot in the past few years. Houston had to sack one of his senior preachers and good friends, Pat Mesiti, after it was revealed he’d been visiting prostitutes. And then Brian’s father, former minister Frank Houston, confessed to being a paedophile. Finding out his father had abused a child back in New Zealand was, Houston tells me, “like the jets flying into the twin towers of my soul”. It was, understandably, one of the hardest issues he has ever had to deal with.
“Basically I received a complaint, so I confronted my father and he admitted it.” Houston removed his father from all roles in the church, but did not contact police in New Zealand because the victim was old enough to do that himself. He said that he was candid with his congregation, although he has been criticised for not acting quickly enough.
“I told our church what had happened [several months after he found out], but as soon as I found out I told the elders of this church and the Assemblies of God,” Houston says. “To my congregation, when I told them, I used words like predator and sexual abuse and so on — I did not try to hide it.”
It is a matter that appears unlikely to go away, and Houston tells me that, since the initial allegation was made public, other alleged victims have come forward. Good Weekend understands that another alleged male victim of his father is “extremely unhappy” with his treatment by the church and is currently considering civil action. Bobbie says that the sexual abuse claims were the hardest thing her husband has ever had to confront.
“But the leader in him rose and I think that is what endeared the congregation to us. This issue is rampant through society and you don’t have to be Blind Willy to see that — sorry, blind Freddy, I always get my sayings wrong — but as a church we are dealing with those issues.”
Phillip Powell, the watchdog, says he doesn’t believe Brian Houston has dealt adequately with a whole range of issues within his church regarding regarding accountability, and says he will continue to monitor the work of Hillsong.“There are alarm bells and people need to ring them,” he says.
Okay – you get the drift. And for those of you who think we made this up, we didn’t. It really is that bad.
The soft side of me thinks Houston’s story is so sad. Relatives of sex offenders should not have to pay for the sins of their relative. There are support groups for children of alcoholics and addicts now; if there isn’t one it’s time a similar group is formed for relatives of sex offenders as well. No-one should have to walk such a difficult path alone.
The hard part thinks that Houston is wasting (as usual) a perfect opportunity to preach the POWER of the Gospel to overcome sin and death – in a personal sense.
His faith in Christ should be at the top of the list of how he managed to get through his personal crisis. The transcript shows it wasn’t even mentioned, only human coping mechanisms that can be used by anyone. What was NOT said makes Houston’s message more negative than any of his critics could ever say or type. I pray that the Holy Spirit touches his heart, opens his eyes completely and gives him the spiritual strength to preach the WHOLE gospel.
Was Frank Houston ever arrested – did the police get involved?
Sounds like he got off lightly…
Correct me if i am wrong, but wasn’t there an internal hillsong investigation of frank, where brian houston said that it would be made available to hillsong members? But it was never made public, even to this day?
Perhaps that is what the Royal Commission would want to see.
No HIllsong could not investigate Frank Houston since there was a conflict of interest. So the wider church were asked to do the investigation and they reported back that the offences that Frank committed were so serious that he he be immediately sacked which was what happened . The church report was never made public . There was no chance that Frank would have been charged beause he was old and already had dementia . Also most of the charges related to offences in New Zealand . Other offences have since come to light in Australia .
Essentially what Leanne has said is true, according to a source within the then AOG.
Senior pastor of John Lewis of Northside Christian Family (now known as Nexus Church) was tasked to investigate that complaint and report back to the National Executive.
He found the allegations to be true and Frank Houston was removed from all ministry roles and opportunities within Australia and New Zealand.
There is a brief account listed here:
Scroll down to about half way to see the relevant information…
james hodgson said:
Do you actually think that after typing ALL THIS you are bringing glory to gods kingdom? Maybe focus on seeing gods will be done rather than digging at the small flaws in successful ministries; such as hillson church.
“Do you actually think that after typing ALL THIS you are bringing glory to gods kingdom?”
What about you, James? Are you yourself bringing glory to God’s kingdom with your inane comments?
“Maybe focus on seeing gods [sic] will be done rather than digging at the small flaws […]”
Small flaws, James? Like heresy, lies, bullying, self-glorification, idolatry, arrogance, preaching a false gospel? Did God tell you that those are all inconsequential matters James, or did you work that out for yourself?
“[…] in successful ministries […]”
Oh right, hillsong is so *very* successful, isn’t it James? It’s definitely not a theological house of cards put together by a pair of greedy navel-gazing numpties, despite all appearances to the contrary.
“[…] such as hillson church […]”
hillsong is not a church, Einstein – it’s a cult.
(It’s too bad that you have neither the discernment nor the wit to figure that out. I’m going to write a book just for you – its title will be “You Need More Brains”).
Article from Guardian Newspaper:
@Amused – maybe the book could be called “You Need more Brians” – obviously one termite in the woodwork of the church isn’t enough for James and his friends to see how the whole framework is falling apart…