1. Celebrate Our Christian Heritage – Sunday 2 February 2014  

 2. Open Doors 2014 World Watch List Released

 3. It Takes a Movement to Reach a City

4. Christianity, Conservatism and the State. Bill Muehlenberg

5. Mike Bickle Reveals Prayer Strategies at IHOPKC’s OneThing Conference 

 6.  Benefits of a Flat Tax 

1. Celebrate Our Christian Heritage – Sunday 2 February 2014   


Canberra Declaration 8 January 2014

As we stand at the threshold of another new year we look forward to all that God will do in 2014.  As we do, we also believe it is important to celebrate the great things that God has done in the past.

And so it is a joy in this first Good News Update for 2014 to encourage you to take part in the second ever National Christian Heritage Sunday which will take place on Sunday 2 February, 2014. 

This is a time to reflect on our Christian foundations and recognize the hand of God in the shaping of Australia. 

In particular, it is a time to celebrate the first known preaching of the Gospel of Jesus Christ on Australian soil. This took place on 3 February, 1788, the first Sunday after the First Fleet had anchored in Sydney Cove with its cargo of 780 British convicts as well as many Bibles and Christian books.  

The preacher was the Reverend Richard Johnson who preached to his congregation of newly-arrived convicts, free settlers and marines.  The service was held on a grassy hill underneath a ‘great tree’ as there were no buildings at the time. This video clip called The First Fleet Bible tells the fascinating story and shows the Bible that Richard Johnson most likely used. 

Reverend Richard Johnson was appointed as chaplain to the First Fleet and the new colony when originally there was no plan to send a chaplain. The change was made because of action taken by a small group of clergy and laymen, known as the Eclectic Society (‘eclectic’ means ‘a thinker who selects and reconciles principles, opinions belonging to different schools of thought’).  They nominated the committed Richard Johnson and were able to persuade Prime Minister William Pitt to appoint him as chaplain.  So the prayers and positive action of a few made a difference!

It is noteworthy that the Eclectic Society included the great social reformer, William Wilberforce (left) who eventually brought about the abolition of the African slave trade in 1807 as well as the Reverend John Newton (right) the former slave-ship captain who wrote the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’. We can be thankful that God used such men to lay a spiritual foundation for Australia. They are a very real part of our Christian heritage which National Christian Heritage Sunday encourages us to cherish and celebrate.

National Christian Heritage Sunday takes place on the first Sunday of February to coincide as much as possible to the actual anniversary date of 3 February 1788.  This year National Christian Heritage Sunday takes place on 2 February only one week after Australia Day which also falls on a Sunday. 

The main visionary for the National Christian Heritage Sunday is a practising dental surgeon Dr Graham McLennan, the founder and head of the National Alliance of Christian Leaders.  Graham was on the leadership team of the National Gathering in our Bicentenary year 1988 when 35,000 Christians came to Canberra to open New Parliament House in prayer.  Graham was also one of the visionaries of the Canberra Declaration.  He was amongst those who knelt on the lawns of Parliament House on 23 July 2010 to commit the Canberra Declaration to God in prayer.  

Throughout his years as a history-maker, Graham has had a passion to discover and document the hand of God in the history of Australia.  His recent article entitled ‘Australia’s Christian Foundation and Heritage’ has just appeared in Family World News.

At the National Christian Heritage Sunday website you will find an invitation to participate as well as suggested short readings and a prayer.  Please encourage your church leaders to get involved by using these.  This 4 min YouTube, in which you will meet Dr Graham McLennan, is an example of one of the excellent resources that could be used on the day.

We close with Reverend Richard Johnson’s text of that first known Christian service 226 years ago which we believe still challenges us as Australians today.

“What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me?”

(Psalm 116:12)

We live in a land that is richly blessed by the mercy and the goodness of God – a land where the Gospel of Jesus Christ can still be freely preached and lived.  

As we look at the world today, especially places that do not have a Judeo-Christian foundation like Australia, we realize how blessed we are. This is something to celebrate!  

So with thankful hearts for our Christian heritage, let us prayerfully consider what we can render to God in 2014 to keep protecting and building on the Christian foundations of Australia. 

Have a great Australia Day and National Christian Heritage Sunday.  Like that very first Christian service you might even decide to conduct your service outside underneath a tree!

Yours for the hand of God on our great land,

David Rowsome and Warwick Marsh


Protecting Our Australian Values 
P.O. Box 378, Unanderra NSW 2526     info@canberradeclaration.org.au



2. Open Doors 2014 World Watch List


Each year, Open Doors releases a list of the top 50 countries where Christians are facing the worst persecution because of their faith.The Open Doors World Watch List is the only annual survey of religious liberty conditions of Christians around the world.

Which countries are on the list in 2014? A representative from Open Doors Australia is available for interviewplease contact mediaoda@od.org

 Please visit www.worldwatchlist.org.au


3. It Takes a Movement to Reach a City with Dr Tim Keller 


A Church Pastors and Planters Conference and Consultation in Sydney with Dr. Tim Keller  Wednesday 26 – Friday 28 March 2014

Website http://www.citytocityconference.com/

“It takes a movement” is designed to forge a common vision, leading to collegial action towards a gospel movement in the leading cities of Australia, amongst church leaders and planters.

The foundation of the time will be 4 plenary talks by Tim Keller, as well as a 5th plenary by Tim and Kathy Keller; additionally there will be substantial break-out seminar times, which will be 2-part extended presentations on Wednesday and Thursday.

However, the unique feature of this occasion will be 3 consultation and conversation sessions with Tim Keller, where the conference engages in small group brain-storming, as well as conversation with Tim about concrete next steps towards building a movement of the gospel in our cities. 

Dr Tim Keller is the founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in New York City, and the author of more than ten books, including the New York Times bestseller, The Reason for God. From its formation over twenty years ago, Redeemer has grown into a large, vibrant church in the heart of the city.


4.Christianity, Conservatism and the State. Bill Muehlenberg

Bill Muehlenberg Culture Watch

There are all sorts of good reasons why Christians should gravitate toward the more conservative side of politics, economics, and social thought.

The case for the compatibility of the two I have tried to make elsewhere, as in these four articles:www.billmuehlenberg.com/2010/08/24/what-is-conservatism/
www.billmuehlenberg.com/2011/12/27/conservatism-libertarianism-and-christianity/ www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/01/05/conservatism-and-liberalism-christianity-and-secularism/ www.billmuehlenberg.com/2007/09/13/religion-and-the-political-spectrum/
Here I want to focus on just one major emphasis of conservatism, and show why it fits in with biblical Christianity. I refer to the importance of limited or small government. Entire libraries have been written on this, but a few remarks can be made here nonetheless. We have all heard the saying of Lord Acton: “Power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” And we have recent history to show us unequivocally just how true this is. The thirst for power is unquenchable, and when the State is allowed to become increasingly powerful, we all suffer.Of course none of this should surprise the biblical Christian. We know that sin corrupts, and the desire for power is one chief way in which sin manifests itself. But Christians are not anarchists, for we realise that it was God who ordained the use of government to keep evil in check.So governments per se are not evil, but big governments with no checks and balances can always become grossly evil. God’s preferred means of governance begins with the individual. We are meant to exercise self-government over ourselves.Then smaller units of governance, such as the family and the church, are also institutions in which authority is exercised. The state is another place of authority, but it must not usurp the other forms of authority. But that all too often happens, with expanding government subsuming and taking over the roles of authority God gave to the church, the family, and to individuals… Read more

5. Mike Bickle Reveals Prayer Strategies at IHOPKC’s OneThing Conference 

Leilani Haywood  Charisma News 2/1/14

Over 30,000 people from 100 countries gathered in Kansas City for the Onething Conference hosted by the International House of Prayer (IHOPKC) in late December. The conference was also the launch of the first annual summit of the major leaders in the missions, prayer and Bible translation movements and a partnership with the Seed Company of Wycliffe Bible Translators. “We want to see the Gospel preached and 24/7 worship and prayer in every tribe and tongue,” said Mike Bickle, founder of the International House of Prayer of Kansas City in the opening session. 

Bickle added, “We’re believing for 10,000 prayer chains or prayer ministries across the earth. We’re hosting the first meeting bringing together the movements in church planting, missions, prayer and Bible translation. There’s one movement in God’s heart, and some people think a call to prayer and fasting is a call to isolation and disengage. The missions movement needs the prayer movement, and the local church needs to be filled with the glory of God.” 

Over 500 leaders from around the world met for the first Onething Leadership Summit. “We sent letters to 200 leaders inviting them to this summit six weeks ago,” says Daniel Lim, CEO of the International House of Prayer. “Over 80 percent of the leaders we invited said ‘yes.’ This is such a unique meeting because we have a common urgency that we need to pray.”

Mark Anderson, a leader Youth With a Mission, called the summit historic. “We are in a time right now where we are launching a new expression of missions and prayer.” Johannes Hartl, a house of prayer leader in Europe and theologian, is hosting a conference in Europe on Friday that will attract up to 4,000 people. Hartl founded 50 Houses of Prayer in Europe. “Today’s meeting was mind-blowing and overwhelming,” he said. “I saw great unity and humility with all of the leaders. I’m also surprised at how far the prayer movement has come.” The house of prayer conference in Europe will be broadcast on BibleTV.

IHOPKC leaders unveiled the results of a survey at the summit that revealed houses of prayer are in 18 nations on 6 continents.The main proponents of prayer are millenials with over 60 percent of the participants under the age of 35. Over 30 percent of the houses of prayers have 40 hours a week of corporate prayer…

Read more


6. Benefits of a Flat Tax 

Why we need a flat rate of tax

SO much (understandable) focus on the urgent need to slash public spending has distracted too many people from the appalling way our government raises revenue.

The absurdly complicated quagmire that is Australia’s income tax system hobbles and distorts the economy, sapping the government’s revenues to boot.

Introducing a single rate of income tax and abolishing the mindless tax on companies, which is really a tax on workers and customers, would be a vast improvement.

Having six rates of tax on individuals and companies — 0, 19, 30, 32.5, 37 and 45 per cent — without even broaching the 1.5 per cent so-called Medicare levy, is an egregious example of self-inflicted economic harm…

Read more

Dr. Benjamin Carson suggests flat tax is God’s plan

Renowned Baltimore neurosurgeon, Dr. Benjamin Carson, shot into the spotlight when he spoke at the National Prayer Breakfast on February 7. During his time at the microphone he criticized Obamacare and government intrusion in healthcare and suggested a new alternative in which newborn babies would have a health savings account established. He also addressed the country’s taxes, spending, and deficit, and suggested we look to the Biblefor the answer. This morning, he offered comments on the President’s State of Union speech on Fox’s popular morning show and again brought up the Bible and God’s plan for taxes.

“What we need to do is come up with something simple. And when I pick up my Bible, you know what I see? I see the fairest individual in the universe, God, and he’s given us a system. It’s called a tithe” – Dr. Benjamin Carson 2013 National Prayer Breakfast

What is a tithe?

Tithing and what it means to the church is a debated topic, but aside from that, biblically a tithe is one tenth of a person’s annual income. In the Old Testament, titheswere taxes that funded the national budget in Israel which included the Levitical priests who acted as the civil government. In today’s vernacular it was an income tax.

A flat tax is fair

In his speech at the prayer breakfast, Dr. Carson said, “We don’t necessarily have to do 10% but it’s the principle.” He went on to say that God’s plan did not make exceptions for good years and bad years and explained that a tithe is fair because it is about proportionality.

“You make $10 billion, you put in a billion. You make $10 you put in one. Of course you’ve got to get rid of the loopholes.” – Dr. Benjamin Carson

He went on to address the opinion of those who think a flat tax isn’t fair because it doesn’t hurt the people who make more. He asked, “Where does it say you’ve got to hurt the guy? He just put a billion dollars in the pot. We don’t need to hurt him. It’s that kind of thinking that has resulted in 602 banks in the Cayman Islands. That money needs to be back here building our infrastructure and creating jobs.” While this is clearly a strong philosophical difference from the country’s current economic direction, many people have found it a refreshing alternative that offers hope for real change.

Carson’s reviews the State of the Union address

Last night in his State of the Union speech, President Obama said we cannot “cut our way to prosperity.” When Carson was asked his thoughts on the subject he said, “This whole thing about the middle class – you’ve got to realize you’re the president of everybody, upper class, middle class and lower class. What we need to be doing is coming up with policies that work for everyone. When all the interlocking parts are functioning well together then we have a strong union.”

Dr. Benjamin Carson grew up poor

Dr. Carson knows what it is like to be poor. He grew up in a single parent family in a bad neighborhood in Detroit. His mother had a third grade education, but according to Carson she did not accept the role of victim. Instead she worked three jobs and stressed the importance of education to her sons. Today, Benjamin Carson is the director of pediatric neurosurgery at Johns Hopkins and probably the most renowned specialist in his field.

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