Edit (03/02/2015): Before publishing this story, we were careful about laying the charge that Hillsong pulled the below article.
However, other articles from the Hillsong website appeared to be fine. Our conclusion was that the article was pulled? Just to be sure, we waited two days before publishing the missing article. Since publishing – we have been notified that the article is back up on the Hillsong site. It would appear that Hillsong may have been aware of the attention this article received and perhaps placed it back in drafts until it was decided what should be done about it?
The attached article below was recently published by Hillsong, written by Hillsong worship leader Jonathan Douglass (JD). Not long after they published this article, someone mentioned part of its content on our site and we started analysing it.
Now we’ve discovered the article was pulled two days later after publication. Why?
Did JD inadvertently give us too much information on how Brian Houston ‘controls’ the worship arm of Hillsong? We know that Houston relies on music to influence churches as they expand/rebrand/takeover them into the Hillsong movement. Note the point that exposes Houston’s control:
2. We are about fulfilling our senior pastor’s vision (not our own)
It is so important that as amazing as our creative ideas might be, if they don’t ultimately line up with what our senior pastor and leaders want, then we happily put them aside.
The church doesn’t exist to build our worship teams… our worship teams exist to build the Church!!
This makes sense considering Brian Houston preaches his sermons from the latest Hillsong songs and pushes his Prosperity, Liberal, New Age or Christianity agendas through them. We’ve also seen Hillsong try to make their music appear more reformed in their musical flavour.
So now we ask this: is Hillsong music out to ‘deceive’ people. Why? If Brian Houston’s 2014 Vision Sunday is the standard of Hillsong’s worship integrity, honesty and faith – then God help Christians everywhere!
Furthermore, the above quote raises an important question (and this in relation to the upcoming Hillsong movie): Considering the fact that Brian Houston is their visionary senior pastor, why is all the credit and focus on the UNITED band on Joel Houston?
Wouldn’t it be more honest to showcase Brian Houston leading the band since UNITED bends their knee to Brian’s prophetic visionary direction?
Here is the deleted article:
5 Things That Should Matter to a Worship Pastor
At the beginning of a brand new year, I always like to remind myself and ‘take stock’ of the basics, and re-focus on what really matters in every area of my life … my walk with God, family life, relationships, health, etc. And of course, the basics in my role as one of our team’s worship pastors.
At the start of a new year, I re-focus myself on the things that really matter! I always find it a helpful exercise, so I thought I’d share some of them with you!
5 THINGS THAT SHOULD MATTER TO A WORSHIP PASTOR
1. Jesus is leading us
We are responsible for leading people into the presence of Jesus… to do this, we need to know how to enter His presence and be very comfortable there… I can’t get past Exodus 33:14 where Moses’ authentic cry to God was that He would lead him! And Moses would not move unless the presence of God went before him! This is how we should approach every day.
2. We are about fulfilling our senior pastor’s vision (not our own)
It is so important that as amazing as our creative ideas might be, if they don’t ultimately line up with what our senior pastor and leaders want, then we happily put them aside.
The church doesn’t exist to build our worship teams… our worship teams exist to build the Church!!
3. It’s an honour to serve
We are servants first… it’s not about what we do! So that means if we have to do things that we don’t want to do, then it’s not a big deal because the truth is that it’s not about us anyways!!
4. We need to get better
Yes, Jesus loves us and yes, we have His grace when we hit the wrong note in a song… BUT with a little old-fashioned hard work and commitment we can get better and minimise our mistakes! It’s not about being perfect but getting better!
The goal is not to play a SONGLIST perfectly, but eliminate as many distractions so that people can connect with the meaning of the songs and encounter Jesus. This is otherwise known as an expectation of excellence! (Read more about Excellence)
Mistakes are allowed but making the same mistake twice… now that should be addressed… (In love) there’s always room to improve!
5. It’s not WHAT you do but WHOSE you are that matters
What we do is very important! And doing it to the best of our ability is also important. On top of these, we must seek our value as WHOSE we are rather than what we do! And we are sons and daughters of the living God that created EVERYTHING… who knows and loves us. When we understand this, it becomes the fuel to do what we do and also means that we don’t make it about what we do, but rather the ‘what’ becomes secondary to the ‘why’!!
These definitely aren’t the only things that should matter to us as worship pastors, but they’re a great place to start!
Source: By Jonathan Douglass, 5 Things That Should Matter to a Worship Pastor, Hillsong, http://hillsong.com/blogs/collected/2015/january/5-things-that-should-matter-to-a-worship-pastor, Published 28/01/2015. (Accessed 29/01/2015.)
The above article demonstrated that Brian Houston was deliberately and deceitfully using God and His infallibility to peddle his own pagan ideas as though they came from God’s infallible decree.
However, Brian Houston further used God through another means to control and groom people to embrace straight out wickedness. This article will try to expose the technique Brian Houston uses on his congregation. We will leave you with the full unedited sermon and the transcript. We had to transcribe this piece just in case Brian Houston and Hillsong try to hide their lies again.
HILLSONG FORCED TO DRINK A SPIRITUAL PEDOPHILIC COCKTAIL?
The best way to think about the following sermon is to liken it to a spiritual cocktail. The tasty and intoxicating ingredients used to make a drink may satisfy your pallet, but the potency of the cocktail can vary. Likewise, Brian Houston uses very manipulative tactics to undermine his church’s “Christian” ethics in order to portray his father, Frank Houston, in a divine light, the end result of which diminishes the glory of God.
To accomplish this task, Brian Houston “pours” Frank Houston, Hazel Houston, God, biblical characters, (including the Apostles), Hillsong members and himself into one big “Pioneer Spirits” cocktail. The problem with what Brian Houston does is that he portrays God and Frank Houston as being one and the same in spirit. This is God’s glory we are talking about. Why would God want his spirit being touted as the same spirit as a serial pedophile? Why would Hillsong members want their spirits seen as the same spirit of a child molester?
If anything, someone who has a “pioneering spirit” usually leaves their past behind them in order to search for something new. They want to start over, and probably for a very good reason. So why is Brian Houston so driven to have his church embrace the same “pioneering spirit” of his deceased pedophile father? Why go there at all?
At the 22 minute mark in the sermon video below you can see/hear Brian Houston showing/talking about Frank and Hazel Houston pioneering Hillsong/CLC church at Sherbrook Hall in Double Bay.
“they were in their mid 50s and they moved to Sydney and just in summer here in Australia… I went to the little hall in Double Bay, the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, where they pioneered…
… So look at what big things, more than what we could have imagined at this point, came out of one little decision and a tiny little hall to pioneer, big things come out of a pioneering spirit, praise God that we have that opportunity in our own lives to believe God to see new and to see big things.”
From this point in the story, you can see the tactics Brian Houston is playing on his audience. Why would he compare his serial pedophile father (who had a pioneer spirit) to Jesus’ Apostles. From a Christian worldview, this is simply wicked and evil.
The point is that this cocktail is lethal. Brian Houston is encouraging people to drink this poison by tempting them with his tasty light shows and dramatic presentations. The audience has not realized that they too have drunk the dangerous idea that they are pioneering alongside a serial pedophile. And this is the cocktail that they are forced to drink. The cyanide is Brian Houston’s claim that God has given him a vision for his church, and if the congregants don’t drink it then they believe that they are refusing to believe God.
It is important to remember, there is nothing lawful using God as a means to hide or downplay the crimes of a serial pedophile. Brian Houston should be publicly shamed by Christianity for using God in such a way where he knows his “vision sermon” cannot be questioned. (Remember – you are not questioning Houston’s vision, you are questioning God’s vision.)
When you witness the cult-like control and brainwashing methods used in Hillsong sermons like this, it explains why you get Hillsong members defending Frank Houston. Pray that Brian Houston repents for his crimes against Christ and His Church.
TRANSCRIPT: Hillsong Church – Vision Sunday 2014
[Words on screen] il-lu-sion – something that deceives the eye by appearing to be other than it is. Something that deceives by producing a false or misleading impression of reality.
[Words of screen] “The Drum Major Instinct” – Martin Luther King Jnr 1968
[Voice of Martin Luther King Jnr] ‘That is deep down in all of us, an instinct, It’s a kind of drum major instinct. A desire to be out front, a desire to lead the parade, a desire to be first. This quest for recognition, this desire for attention, this desire for distinction, is the basic impulse, the basic drive of human life. This Drum Major instinct. Oh I see… you want to be first? You want to be great? You want to be important? You want to be significant? Well you ought to be!’
[Words on screen] There’s far more here than meets the eye…
The things we see now are here today, gone tomorrow. But the things we can’t see now will last forever. 2 Cor 4:18 (The Message)
[Voice of Martin Luther King Jnr] ‘Oh, I see you want to be first, you want to be great, you want to be important, you want to be significant, well you ought to be! Don’t give up this instinct; it’s a good instinct if you use it right. Keep feeling the need for being important. So Jesus gave us a new norm of greatness if you want to be important, wonderful, if you want to be recognized, wonderful, if you want to be great wonderful, but recognize that he who is greatest among you shall be a servant. That’s a new definition of greatness.
Keep feeling the need for being first; but I want you to be first in love. Yes you want to say that I was a drum major, say that I was a drum major for justice and say that I was a drum major for peace, I was a drum major for righteousness.
Yes, Jesus, I want to be on your right or your left side, not for any selfish reason. I want to be on your right or your left side, not in terms of some political kingdom or ambition. But I just want to be there in love and in justice and in truth and in commitment to others, so that we can make of this old world a new world.
[Words on screen] Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, And to give his life as a ransom for many. Mark 10:43-45 NIV
[Words on screen] In 1978 a young couple left their homeland of New Zealand and settled in Australia. By 1983 they pioneered a new church in the Hills District of Sydney. Today we live in the legacy of all that God has done.
[Voice over] ‘When has so much come from so little? The least and unlikely wed, the untested and unqualified. We were pioneers, going where not many have gone.’
[Footage of Brian Houston 1984] ‘We have so much to thank the Lord for and my wife and I have been involved in pioneering churches before and God just gave us a burning vision for the Hills and for the Western suburbs and the Northern districts of Sydney and by the grace of God I’m believing to see a mighty revival in this part of the city.’
[Voice over] ‘It was never about making something for ourselves and building monuments of legacy.’
[Brian Houston voice over] ‘When we started this church, I was having to work overtime and extra time cleaning shop front windows and I would scrap up enough for us to pay our rent, so we could go into small towns preaching and teaching. The cost seemed so small when there was the joy of serving Jesus Christ.’
[Voice over] ‘For we didn’t do this and we never could have. We merely followed the path of the original one. If our past is a shadow of our future and a whisper of those things yet to come, then it’s only once walked that you can look back and clearly see all that He has done.’
[Brian Houston voice over] ‘I love the idea of not just pioneering once, Bobbie and I pioneered a church 30 years ago. But living with the spirit of a pioneer, we are always wanting to re-invent, you’re always believing for new things, where your always wanting to look ahead’
[Voice over] ‘These are the days for the everyone, the brave and afraid, those who wonder in the mystery, unmoved in the unknown. Still we cast our nets out into the deep. For these outposts of grace, we pioneer and pioneer again. We do not go alone, for the few are joined by the many, and the many moved by one and pioneer again.’
[Words on screen] Be alert, be present I’m about to do something brand new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it? There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badland. Isaiah 43:12 MSG
[HOUSTON STARTS “PREACHING”]
Thank you Jesus! You’ve set me free.
Happy New Year, I haven’t seen most of you yet this year so big and Happy new year to everyone. 2014 a great time to pioneer again.
We’re just linking right now not just around Australia with all our campuses. [Kisses tech guy & laughs] Just a loving pastor, just a pastor’s heart, but indeed all around the world.
Right now we are linking to 102 services across the day, in 46 locations and in 16 countries. So I guess that’s come a long way from a little school hall in the North Western suburbs of Sydney.
So a big hi to all our locations globally, of course Australia, where ever you are, I know where Australia is, I meant where abouts in Australia that you are. In London, in Amsterdam, in Copenhagen, Stockholm, Kiev and Moscow, Germany, Paris, Barcelona, South Africa, Cape Town and Pretoria and the USA, New York City and in times to come, prophetically Los Angeles. Pioneering again.
So praise God for every single one of you. [Prays] Father I thank you that you build your Church and the gates of Hell will not, cannot, shall not prevail against it. Lord I thank you that where ever people are gathered today around the name of Jesus, those who are part of Hillsong Church, those who are visiting today they’re important to you. Lord you have a purpose and you have a plan for every life and Lord you have a purpose and a plan for every room of this house of God. We thank you for all you have done, we thank you for what you are doing, we thank you for what you are about to do. Lord I pray that we will always keep that raw pioneering spirit. Not looking back, but looking forward and to all that’s ahead. We thank you for that opportunity, in Jesus name, Amen.
The Bible’s full of pioneers, I want to speak for a few minutes about a pioneering spirit. The original pioneer whose name is God, who pioneered the heavens and the earth. Throughout the Old Testament, you have Noah who pioneered boating, unfortunately, Adam and Eve who pioneered sin.
I wonder what in our lives we will pioneer. You have the chance in your own family perhaps, to pioneer a new generation. There are people you will be first generations, followers of Jesus Christ, for some maybe, historically, in your lineage, in your family, maybe just long line of divorce or a long line of abuse or a long line of alcoholism or some other thing that’s bound generations and you can be a pioneer of a brand new day that changes not only your children but the generations to come.
Pioneering can be for us each individually, where we pioneer constantly in terms of the Will of God in our life and it may be in your career, your ministry, your home, your family, in your dream, whatever it is, never lose that looking forward pioneering spirit.
Bobbie and I pioneered a church 30 years ago along with a team of people, some of whom are still with us today. And I’ve got in my hand a little card that we handed out in Australia, it says on here established 83, that’s when it was, 30 years ago and I’m so excited that we have never lost that pioneering spirit and were are talking now after 30 years about the next 30 and more and we’re talking about pioneering again.
Where ever you are around the globe pioneering, you can think of people who have been innovative. Here in Australia in the early 1980’s there was a Dr, his name was Victor Chang. And Victor Chang, if you were to Google his name, it calls him a heart transplantation pioneer. He was literally amongst the world’s leading transplant pioneers. Unfortunately in 1991, through a failed extortion attempt, he was murdered, he lost his life, but he was a pioneer.
I grew up in New Zealand, New Zealand was pioneered, it was discovered by a Dutch explorer, for all our Amsterdam campus, a Dutch explorer called Able Tasman. Able Tasman, he found Moraceous, a little drop in the Indian Ocean, he found New Zealand a beautiful country but not exactly the biggest place on earth, he found Tasmania, but he missed something really big, he missed Australia mainland and he missed the biggest island in the world and in fact the only one continent, sorry one county/continent in the world, but he pioneered again. And pioneering again, he came across the North West coast of mainland Australia; he came across something really big.
If we ever lose that pioneering spirit, I wonder what big thing we would never know we missed out on this side of eternity. If you ever lose that raw edge that pioneering spirit, I wonder what big things God has for you, in Jesus name. So it’s in the DNA of Hillsong Church, we are a pioneering church. Not always by having to do new things but by finding God doing fresh things, by just doing what we’ve always been called to do, which is build his church. See people connect to Jesus, disciple people, see people grow in terms of God’s purposes for their lives, it’s amazing how that doesn’t have to get stale because within it there can be that great sense always, a moving forward and pioneering which I love.
1977, my parents, they were in their mid 50s and they moved to Sydney and just in summer here in Australia, over Christmas I went for a ride on my motor bike around the Eastern Suburbs, which I don’t get too much chance to do these days and I went to the little hall in Double Bay, the Eastern Suburbs of Sydney, where they pioneered. There may be a picture we can put on your screens, there it is. That was called Eastern Suburbs Christian Life Centre. It’s interesting to me how it’s got across the doors ‘Local History Centre’, that where in many ways it all started.
There was one Sunday, in that building, if you look at it again where the care taker never turned up so there were no steel bars on the window in those days so we managed to get the window open and put a chair down their so every single person who came to church had to stand on a chair and climb through a window to get into church and then had to get back out the window and onto the chair to leave church. They were raw, rough pioneering days.
There’s something powerful about pioneering days. Eastern Suburbs Christian Life Centre became Sydney Christian Life Centre, about five and a half years later Bobbie and I, we moved out to this area where I stand right now in the North Western suburbs of Sydney and established Hills Christian Life Centre, we became Hillsong Church.
So look at what big things, more than what we could have imagined at this point, came out of one little decision and a tiny little hall to pioneer, big things come out of a pioneering spirit, praise God that we have that opportunity in our own lives to believe God to see new and to see big things.
The New Testament is just a story of a whole lot of pioneers. As the New Testament Church is established, it starts in Acts Chapter 1 verse 8, you know when you go to the movies, I don’t know what you think about the trailers but sometimes you feel like they are giving you the whole movie, and so it’s like a short, short sight of everything that’s coming. And that’s what Acts chapter 1 verse 8 is to the whole of the book of Acts, it’s called the Acts of the Apostles, it’s actually some of the acts of some of the Apostles. Because the Acts of the Apostles still is going on around the globe today.
As the Church of Jesus Christ is established, as the Will of God, the Kingdom of God is advanced, but Acts Chapter 1 verse 8 is just in one little snap shot of everything that is about to follow throughout the whole book of Acts. It says ‘you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you’ and ‘you shall be witnesses for me in Jerusalem, in Judea and Samaria and ultimately to the ends of the earth.
It’s like concentric circles when you through a rock into a pond, stepping out from Jerusalem further, further, further. And you read through the book of Acts and that’s what you start seeing happen. What starts in Jerusalem spreads to Judea, then Acts chapter 8 Phillip goes to the city of Samaria or a city in Samaria and preaches Christ and the whole city is impacted and the Bible says there’s great joy in that city. And by Acts chapter 10 Cornelius speaks to a Gentile, who then represented what was then known as the ends of the earth.
And really it’s never stopped. Still the work of the Lord goes forward, as hear I sand right now at the ends of the earth, if you ignore New Zealand, Tasmania and Moraceous. Preaching the Gospel, the good news of Jesus.
Pioneering spirit, God does big things with a pioneering sprit. Four things I want you to think about when it comes to pioneering. Here they are, the first thing:-
1. A pioneer takes territory previous considered uninhabitable and realises its potential.
That’s pretty awesome; the thought of what was previously uninhabitable, Phillip takes the gospel to Samaria. While the Samaritans the Samarians they, they were considered compromised Jews. Through mixed breading, Jews mixed with Gentiles. So because they were seen as compromised they were seen as outsiders.
And suddenly as Phillip goes to Samaria with the spirit of a pioneer, what was uninhabited, unreachable was suddenly reached, was the gospel of Jesus bringing great joy to an entire city. And then of course the Gentiles were not Jews at all but because the gospel reached them through the spirit of the New Testament pioneers, today you and I can be part of the kingdom of God. We can know the love of Jesus, the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ.
And still out there are big things to be done, there’s big things to be done as we live our lives collectively as a church and individually, with that raw edged pioneering spirit.
2. The second thing, a pioneer reaches the unreachable and includes the excluded.
I love this thought, think about this the first three individuals when the gospel goes beyond Jerusalem and Judea to Samaria then ultimately to the utter most parts of the end, the first three individuals, converts that are mentioned, in other words new believers.
The first one is a wizard, his name is Simon who confounded the people with magic tricks. They were astonished by his magic, he was a sorcerer, a wizard.
The second one, later in Acts chapter 8 is an Ethiopian Eunuch, putting it bluntly, he was castrated. Which I guess made him part of a minority group [8 sec pause to glare at audience to see if they get what he is referring too].
The third one was a terrorist. His name was Saul in Acts chapter 9. The Bible literally describes Saul as breathing threats and slaughter against Christians and not only that, he was described as being in full agreement with Stephen being put to death.
How’s that for an encouraging front row in church? The first three, what have you got? You’ve got a guy who still has his tarot cards in one hand and his astrology charts in the other hands. You’ve got a guy with real sexual identity problems; he’s not sure who he is. And then you’ve got a third person who’s a terrorist. That’s pretty encouraging for the worship team when they look down.
I love the fact that maybe, not terrorists, but I love the fact that still our church is church for whosoever will to the Lord may come. It’s never been built on superstars necessarily, or people who’ve got it all together, it’s rarely reached people at all walks of live the down and out, the up and out, everything in-between and I pray that we will always be that kind of church. And a pioneering spirit keeps that kind of sprit happening in the church.
3. Third thing about a pioneering spirit is a pioneer sings a song that is music to the uninitiated but sounding brassed to the establishment, in other words stepping forward into new ground, not everyone who represents the statuesque or the establishment gets excited about the new thing that God is doing.
In the bible you can see that the uninitiated, those who have just been literally connected to Jesus, there was great joy in the setting. Acts chapter 8, verse 7, there was great joy in the city the bible says, its verse 8 I think.
Great joy, but not everyone thought that way. Couple of chapters before in Acts chapter 6, God was doing an amazing thing, the church was multiplying. They were having quickly to keep up with all that God was doing and so there was a little bit of reorganising the way things could be done so the Apostles could keep in the Word and keep in prayer. And in the middle of that it describes Stephen, Stephen is described as being full of faith.
Listen to it, it’s in Acts chapter 6, verse 8, it says ‘Stephen full of faith and power, did great wonders and signs among the people. And then it says there arose some from what is called, it’s important you think about this, they were from what, the Synagogue of the freed man. Tells us where those people were from, so Alexandrians etc, who were disputing with Stephen. In other words they were angry about the new grace, about what God was doing and who are they? They were the Synagogue of the freed man, literally former slaves who had come into new found freedom and had encountered a grace for themselves and yet were opposed to the new thing that God has done.
Often with the spirit of a pioneer you start taking new ground, you start occupying all streets and it’s incredible how often the people out there in the world that get upset about what Gods doing, in fact they’ve got a heart that’s open to it. It’s often people who experience grace themselves, who have known the freedom of Jesus Christ themselves and yet when grace goes into something new, God begins a new thing, it’s amazing how they are the people that are quite often the blindest and the ones that find it the most difficult to see.
Music to the ears of the uninitiated sounding brass, sometimes to the statuesque. I don’t what to be one who has encountered the grace of Jesus myself and misses out when God begins to do new things. I want to keep that pioneer again sprit, so I stay on the edge. I was pioneering when I was 25, 26, 29 years of age and I’m almost 60 and I want to keep looking forward and I want to keep the same pioneering spirit today. Because once a pioneer, always a pioneer.
I love the fact that in New York we’ve pioneered, in New Jersey, that in London we’ve recently pioneered in East London, that in South Africa we’ve extended to Pretoria, I love the fact that in Germany we now not only have Constance but Düsseldorf as a room in the house, because we’re keeping the spirit of a pioneer. And its powerful, it’s beautiful.
4. And the fourth thing, that to me represents the spirit of the pioneer.
Is that a pioneer defies the odds and pioneers again, bringing longevity to the season. They defy the odds. A long time ago, when our church really started to see the praise and worship, not only here in Australia but around the globe have divine favour on it, most would know that 1993, in fact many may not know, 1993 a song came out of our church called ‘Shout to the Lord’, written by a lady called Darlene Zschech. And really in many ways, that was the vehicle that God used to take our influence beyond I guess what we could have already imagined.
I’ve got a pastor friend, still my great friend today, but way back then I remember him as he looked at the blessing and favour on the music and so on and conferences starting to grow, he said ‘Brian you need to understand that this is just a season’. And I’ve always believed that, that this is just a season. However it’s turning into an extremely long season, it’s a long season where in fact the favour and blessing on our praise and worship, all of a sudden we are pioneering new ground.
That song Oceans, such a powerful song and its reaching ground that we’ve never reached before with anything we’ve ever done. And so I love the fact that it can become a long season especially if you think generationally.
You see with this pioneer again spirit we didn’t stop with just what God was doing in 1993, even as recently as ten years ago, not just a worship band but a worship movement, represented a youth movement called ‘Hillsong United’ came out from our church and breathed fresh wind into the season, brought longevity to the season.
Then in more recent times, not just a worship band called ‘Young and Free’ but a great revival youth ministry, a youth movement called ‘Young and Free’ has emanated from this place and again is taking new ground.
So through keeping the pioneer spirit, you keep fruitfulness alive in your life. I don’t want to die on the vine. I don’t want to pastor a church that dies on the vine. I want us to be people of a pioneer spirit, amen [audience applause].
I’m so excited about Los Angles and what God’s about to do in that city. But it’s not just Los Angles, it where you are, as we all sow in where God has placed us, that we can collective be part of a fruitful season , that often times has an impact back into our own families and lives. So fruitful, so wonderful, so blessed, thank God for it.
You know in the middle of all of this, what I love is Philip. He’s the guy, he’s the guy that God uses to go to Samaria, reach a whole city and then after that he goes out on a desert road because an Angle spoke to him and he hooks up with, meets up with an Ethiopian Eunuch, points the Eunuch to Jesus, that’s what the Bible says, he preached Christ to him. And through that, this ordinary guy, can I tell you something about this ordinary guy, his name is amongst some amazing names.
In Acts chapter 6 where it talks about Philip, right before him it talks about Stephen, full of faith and full of the Holy Ghost. Well Stephen, the name comes from Stefan or Stefanos. Stefanos literally describes the victor’s wreath, a winning athlete. You think back to Greek Olympic times, the wreath around the winner’s head.
Think about Caesar or Astrix, comics, the green wreath around Caesar’s head, winner, victor. And after him comes Peter. Peter means rock, he’s got Rocky on this side he’s got winner on this side and as Philip Dooley, our Cape Town pastor likes to remind us, Philip means ‘lover of horses’.
Winner, Rocky, over comer, lover of horses. It’s usually little girls that grow up wanting to pony. Phillip’s just a gentle soul, he’s an ordinary guy. And not only is he an ordinary guy that God uses, he’s an ordinary guy doing ordinary things.
The reason that I’m encouraged is because this church has always been built just on ordinary people, who God has caused to do exceedingly, abundant and above, to be overachievers, simply by a pioneering spirit that trusted God, lived by faith and tried to live by consistency. Just watch what God can do.
Ordinary guy doing ordinary things. This is a different Phillip than one of the twelve disciples of Jesus, this Phillip, the first we hear of him is in Acts chapter 6 where, well the church was growing so fast that problems started to arise.
There were people called ‘Hellenists’, they started to cause hell in the church because these Hellenists started saying ‘well, you’re neglecting widows’ so they just reconstructed things a little and they got seven people. Seven people whose job it was to keep the peace. Look after the widows, serve on tables, and distribute food.
Hillsong City Care, their job was just ordinary people, Phillip. In those days it wasn’t Phillip the Apostle, Phillip the, just Phillip. They named seven people he’s one of them. The first one Stephen full of faith, full of the Holy Ghost, Phillip – lover of horses. Ordinary guy doing ordinary things.
If you want to be a pioneer, sometimes it’s not going somewhere, doing something else; it’s just doing ordinary things, being faithful where you are. We started our Vision Sunday presentation with an incredible narrative with one of the worlds, histories great poet’s in my mind, Martin Luther King. And Martin Luther King, he talks about the spirit of a drum major in the front of a parade.
And he talks about ‘you want to be great’, ‘you want to be first’, ‘you want to be important’, ‘you want to be significant’ then he says ‘don’t lose that’ he said ‘don’t lose it, be first in love, be first in generosity’.
And then while he’s talking about it the depiction of a tower being built, the tower of Babel, people wanting to build something for themselves. And then wonderfully it all turns around when we realise by just sowing our lives together in the work of Christ, we can see the kingdom of God established. We can see the work of Jesus established and to me it’s a beautiful, it’s a powerful picture.
Matthew chapter 20 is where he was speaking from, if you want to be great, learn to be a servant. The spirit of a pioneer is not an isolated, individualistic spirit; in fact try to do things on your own and you perish alone. But when we decide that we are going to be part of something bigger than ourselves, but then not only does that greater thing flourish but our own lives can flourish as well.
Ordinary guy doing ordinary things that God used in an extraordinary way, to reach cities for Christ. To see the Gospel through an Ethiopian Eunuch for the first time, the Gospel of Jesus go toward the continent, the great continent of Africa. Amazing, beautiful.
You should be witnesses unto me first then Jerusalem, then Judea, then Samaria, then to the ends of the earth. Sound good? Well let me tell you this part, within the context of the meaning of ‘witness’ there, that word witnesses actually means martyrs.
I remember one time hearing a guy when it came to people being giving and being generous. He’s talking about saying, “God doesn’t want much from you. He doesn’t want much from you.” Try telling Steven that. Full of faith and full of the Holy Ghost. And he was a martyr. It cost him his life.
To Bobbie and I this has never just been a job. And it will never be just a job. As a matter of fact, the day it’s just a job, that raw edge faith-filled pioneering spirit goes, that’s the day you might as well put me six foot under. It’s not just a job, it’s our life. We built our family, with that in mind today we’re blessed to see our children and our grand children serving God, now at different places but serving God, part of the house of God.
This church has not just been built on Bobbie and I seeing it as putting our life into this, in fact that’s been the spirit of our team, it’s been the spirit of so many people in this church. And I can tell you a lot has been the grace of God but also has been that pioneering spirit in people who have really put their life.
They have been sacrificial of their time, sacrificial of the giving, sacrificial in so many ways and literally put their life into this and by God’s Grace many have seen the fruit of that in their own homes, in their own families, in their careers. The greatest compliment that anyone can ever give me is when people say, they’ve got a business that may be succeeding, all we’ve done is taken the principals that we have learnt from church and applied them to our business. I love that
I’m going to tell you one story, we started 30 years ago and I’ve got to be telling you those first few weeks, as some of you have heard many times, it wasn’t going good, things were getting smaller every week and to be honest those first few weeks, no one, no one was responding giving their hearts to Jesus, no one was making decisions for Christ.
I used to fast every Sunday, really believed God. For the first few weeks it was a little disappointing, I mean after four weeks we started to grow. Way back then I was 29 and I was preaching one Sunday night, we only had Sunday night services and right where I preached in that little school hall hung two gymnastic ropes. And I guess I got a little too excited preaching, so I grabbed one of those ropes and swung out over the congregation which wasn’t hard cause they only went back two rows, swung back again and just kept preaching.
I didn’t think anything more of it, but there was young guy their whose name was Kuta-ho-hepa?, you don’t forget names like that Kuta –ho-hepa, ‘Kuta’ went out that week and talked to a whole lot of his friends and man you guys should come to church, the Pastor swings on a rope like a monkey. True story and that week he brought nine of his friends to church and all nine of them committed to Jesus.
The second week, he went out again and he invited eleven more people to church and all eleven of them connected to Christ and in three weeks Kuta-ho-hepa lead thirty people to Christ. And at the end of that three weeks, after three weeks of that kind of fruitfulness he was riding his motorbike home from the Naval base where he worked, lost control, hit a tree, was killed. But you know the fruit of Kuta-ho-hepa’s life has never stopped from that day to this.
In my memory I can never remember one single Sunday in those last 30 years where somebody hasn’t given their lives to Jesus. Of course most weeks across our church, here in Australia alone, it’s hundreds of people who connect with Christ every single weekend.
And I don’t believe for one minute that God killed him, but I do know that the fruit of his life has never stopped. I want to live my life so the fruit of my life lives long beyond me, and for that to happen I believe, we’ve got to keep that pioneering spirit. Having a pioneering spirit, never underestimate what God can do, can you say Amen?
There in Copenhagen, Stockholm can you say Amen? Let’s stand together shall we? So much more wonderful, wonderful presentation to come, whatever you do, stay to the very end.
— we wish to acknowledge the person who transcribed this article. Thank you for giving up your time in transcribing this. Your work is greatly appreciated.