Saturday, April 21, 2018

Addictions, like many cyclic behavioural issues, are frustrating to both the addict and the people trying to live with them, or assist them to a fuller experience of life. There is hope and we believe the key is Jesus. One thing I often hear said is “I’ve been trying, but I fell off so now I am even worse off and it will be harder…” Well this is simply not true. The truth is you now have skills to build upon, like learning any new activity or behaviour each attempt to escape addiction and establish a new way of thinking, relating and living is a step closer to freedom. I love the power of God to set people free and continue to pray for this and believe we will see more of it in the coming days. I also believe in the often neglected but essential partner of this, the discipline needed to live fully and the effort it takes to learn to live well. When we are discipling people in the life of freedom, we need to see both a setting free from addiction (spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and physically) and an equipping to live life differently. This often takes practice and may take some time to get it right.

To understand a little more the extent of Australia’s problem with substance abuse I’ve included the below quote from The New Daily’s article about Australia’s 'toxic relationship with alcohol':

“…“It’s a damning indictment of this country’s toxic relationship with alcohol when we have more than a third of Australians affected by alcohol-related violence,” he said.

“These troubling findings are really a reflection of the extent of alcohol harm in Australia; the 15 lives lost and 430 hospitalisations caused by alcohol every single day.”…”

(Wiedersehn, Sarah. 2017, ‘Australia has a ‘problem’ with alcohol: poll’, The New Daily, 27 April 2017, accessed 3 May 2017, <http://thenewdaily.com.au/life/wellbeing/2017/04/27/australia-alcohol-problem/> )

We have a number of friends in our community right now who through their ‘toxic relationship with alcohol’ are flirting with death – we love them and it grieves us to see the damage this socially acceptable drug does to not only individuals but their whole family and community. Yet there is HOPE – His – Overcoming – Power – Equips! Jesus sets the captive free Luke 4: 18-19…

So if you or a friend have fallen (again!) take heart you are one attempt closer to victory. Ask Jesus to empower you to find both freedom and a new way of doing life.

How can you support someone struggling with addiction?

1. Pray for them

2. Love them

3. Do the above again

Here as some ideas we have gleaned over the years:

Don’t make them your project – be their friend.

Don’t give up on them – they may have given up on them-selves (you might be the only one who hasn’t given up on them) they may need to borrow your faith and hope for little while until they find their own.

Don’t take on their responsibility/s – sorry you can’t do it for them – it doesn’t work.

Do help them pursue their goals for life (not your goals for their life).

Do give honest feedback (speak the truth in love).

Do encourage them to find a web of support – they need a team to help not just you.

Lead them to Jesus – with him all things are possible!

Luke 4:18-19 was our commissioning verse when we were sent out to see Missionheart established – in it we are told by Jesus that he has come to set the captive (insert addict) free, and we know that who the son sets free is free indeed. There is HOPE, addiction does not have to be a life sentence and God, if we let him, can not only set the captive free but also restore, heal, reconcile, and transform anyone to live life fully as we were designed to do. 

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” - Jesus (John 10:10 NIV)

Pray with us for our dear friends struggling with addiction – if you need help in this area let us pray with and support you too.

Freedom!

Jase

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What a wonderful time of year. This is your chance to really focus on Jesus and all he has done for us. It is also a great chance to take stock of where we are at with him.

Let me invite you to celebrate Jesus this Easter, to reflect on the story of the cross and Jesus’ death and resurrection. I invite you to remember the first Easter and to reflect on your relationship with Jesus today… Here are a few questions that may help;

  • We see Jesus as our friend: how are you going as His friend? What can you celebrate? What can you do to add value to this friendship?
  • Do you know the story of the gospel (the good news of Jesus)? Can you share it clearly; do you understand the eternal significance of the story of Jesus? The great love of God! If you had 2 minutes to explain the gospel, what would you choose to say?
  • The bible encourages baptism as a response to faith in Jesus. Jesus told His followers to go and tell people about the Gospel and God’s kingdom, and to baptise and teach people to walk in trusting obedience to God. Is God asking you to take the next step in your faith and enter the waters of Baptism?
  • How and where in your day to day life can you share your story and the story of Jesus? (Romans 10:9-11)

This Easter we will be together on both Good Friday and Easter Sunday to celebrate together.

Good Friday - Prayer cave… G05 Drop-In space 10am-12pm
We are holding a Good Friday Prayer Cave at our G05 drop-in space. There will be worship, prayer, and a chance to engage with the story of Easter in this space of prayer. All are welcome. In previous years we have seen salvation prayers, recommitment to living for Jesus, and a strong sense of community at this event.

Easter Sunday – Gathering 11am -2pm Glebe Park (G05 if raining)

We are also holding a special Easter Sunday gathering to celebrate the risen Christ Jesus. Kids activities, Easter service and a share day for lunch (bring food to share). Help your friends and family know someone greater than the Easter Bunny. Hope to see you there!

To read the story of Easter grab a Bible and read Luke chapters 22-24 – why not read it with a friend…

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Missionheart still has a very positive relationship with our friends in Kenya. Currently Roger, Graeme and Trent are visiting Bishop Abednego and his wife Elizabeth, they are due back at the end of March. They are enjoying visiting churches, encouraging the members, reconnecting with old friends, seeing the new school and visiting the farming project. Missionheart currently supports a farming project which when fully operational will feed the orphan children at the school and provide valuable educational experiences. We also support the Getting Started Fund, which assists struggling families to start new businesses. The photo attached is of the well at the farm being dug, as drought has taken hold of the region the search for water is the most paramount need.

Kelly

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In the last few months there have been multiple deaths in our community. Sometimes when I am at our Gathering in Glebe Park, or in our Drop In space, I still expect to see these friends walk in and interact with us again. I find it difficult to stop thinking of them as part of our community. Yesterday I opened the freezer to get some ice cubes to put in the jug of cordial for lunch. I used the last of the pre made cubes, and as I did this job I suddenly remembered one of our men who just passed away. He used to come in talking a mile a minute, and help himself to the freezer. He often refilled our ice cube tray from the sink, and I realised that these cubes I was about to use were probably made by him. These ice cubes were the last ones he would ever make for us.

I don’t have an emotional attachment to these ice cubes, and if I tried to take them home they would only melt on me. I do however, have an attachment to our people and our community, and I think this is why I find it hard to believe that my friend will never return.  My heart is to see the people we serve at Drop In come to be fruitful members of our community, using the gifts God gave them to enrich the community around them. Philippians 3:17-4:9 talks about our citizenship being in heaven. Here at Missionheart, we are privileged to be able to view people as God made them to be, not what they are now. I am aware that many of the people we have through our front door are addicts, cheaters and thieves in the eyes of the world. I think that some of the more streetwise people who have lunch with us view me as naive – someone who doesn’t know who these people really are. Nothing could be further from the truth. I know that I get to see people on their best behaviour. I know that people stay away when they are doing badly, and come when they feel they can present their best selves. I know that the whispering in the corner is someone setting up a deal. I know who is on ice, and who is hiding a bottle down their pants. I know the standover man without a shirt, I know who sleeps around to get a roof over their head. I know there is a lot I don’t know.

I also know that Jesus views these failures with a gracious heart. I know that He would rather concentrate on whatever is true, noble, right, lovely and admirable about my community members. I know that he would call out into the open the gifts He put into these people when they were made in the womb. Our people are kind. Our people are brave. Our people want to help each other. Did you know that the gambling addict in the government flat is helping combat homelessness more than I am? The amount of people who are put up by others who have almost nothing is equal to or more than the amount taken in by shelters. My friend who has been arrested for assault is the same man who regularly has someone staying with him for months at a time because they either can’t get a housing flat, or are too traumatised to go through the onerous application process at the moment. One of our friends who passed away recently was there at Drop In the day another of our people had a breakdown. This friend gently and calmly tried to remind the lady bashing her head against a window that she was loved and it would feel better if she talked about it. They followed her down the driveway and next to cars roaring up from the underground carpark did my job for me, kindly ignoring the abusive words and rubbing her back. The kicker in this story is that 5 minutes later my friend decided to go see their dealer, leaving me to deal with the unwell lady, and the police.

I’m not naive; I simply choose to see the Jesus music. What do you focus on? The kindness or the addiction? What did Jesus focus on? Forgetting what is behind I strain on to see the gifts of our people realised in our community. Imagine if the evangelist of heroin became an evangelist of the Gospel. Imagine if my friend was free of addiction and could love our community without being pulled away in the time of their greatest distress? I pray and eagerly await: “a saviour from there (heaven), the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body”. (Philippians 3:21).

I see the drug addiction, how could I not notice that your beautiful smile only has half the teeth of a year ago? I also see the gift of prophecy that God has given you for our community. I choose to focus on the benefits I see you bringing to my community, and for the rest, “my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus”. (Philippians 4:19) That’s why I’ll miss you if you pass away. The ice cubes were just a symbol of the contribution you had to give.

James 

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Hi All

We enjoyed our annual AGM birthday party celebration last Saturday 10th December. Thanks to everyone who was able to come along. Those who didn't make it and would like a copy of our reports we have included the links below. We are looking forward to 2017 with great hope for what God will do amoungst us as we continue to serve him and the people he loves so dearly - our people into our 20th year of being Jesus to the people of the city. Zec 4:6 

AGM Reports 2016

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AsfAECXApMTuiVUdpcxq5EtzhDiA

Appendix 1 AGM Reports Financial statements

https://1drv.ms/b/s!AsfAECXApMTuigkL9ZUrevqxcUSG

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Sleep in your Car, an event organised by Fusion Canberra, is on the 6th August 2016. The events purpose is to raise awareness of homelessness and funds to help support this vulnerable group of people. Funds raised go to Fusion Canberra's preventative work with at-risk young people and Missionworx. If you want to find out how to get involved go to use the below links or contact the office 6147 9049. We hope to have a good team of Missiohearters taking part this year, hope you can join us. Should be lots of fun.

To register go directly to: https://sleepinyourcarcanberra16.gofundraise.com.au/cms/home
For more info on Sleep In Your Car go to: http://www.sleepinyourcar.com.au/

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totally listening

Time is relative, some days feel quicker than others. In fact, some seasons feel quicker than others. As I move ahead with the year, parts of my brain are still remembering things that I no longer need to hold onto: the jobs I hadn't gotten around to last summer, the blender I wanted to get so we could make smoothies (we have since purchased an all in one food processor and blender that makes great smoothies), the blog post I meant to write. In fact, when I checked today I was surprised to note that the last Missionheart blog was written before Winter, and owing to the fact it is now Spring, a whole season has passed without any action on my behalf to write another blog entry. Yet part of me was stuck there, in May, thinking I'll write another post soon.

Do you ever find yourself running as fast as you can, all the time, without a chance for anything to catch up to you. Perhaps you're going so fast for that very reason. Or perhaps you feel the need to do something, anything, all the time, because the world is a hurried and unsettled place, and all the injustices and wars and organisation that is needed will never get any better unless you fix it? If this isn't you, if you don't struggle with this, then don't let me cast that net onto you, but if it is then listen to Psalm 46. I say listen purposefully because if you're running then you can't read a Psalm (and if you just thought that you bet you could, then this article is definitely for you). Go on!

Why do we need to be still? Why do we need to know that God is God? We need to be still, because we have run so fast that we have left pieces of ourselves behind, and some of those pieces are God given gifts and abilities which He uses to benefit His plans. If you're trying to fix things it might be good to have all of your resources where you can find them. And we need to be still so that God can untangle us from the net. God being God is not dependant on us, whether we are still or not, but until we understand that it is God who stops wars, and God who mends broken things, we will feel the need to rush up again and start running.

God spoke to me last night about being still. I was listening to the radio and the preacher spoke words I knew and had practised, and they were specifically for me. Be still. Stop. Nothing else. Listen. So I've been trying, funny how hard it is to stop.

What has God been saying to you lately? Where have you left part of yourself? Will you let Him......?

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Who do you let encourage you?"Are you drinking much at the moment?”
“Yeah.”
“Me too......It’s good for you.”
“Yeah, you need a bit.”

A couple of guys were visiting our “Drop In” lunch, and sat just outside the door, drinking coffee while I washed the dishes. For some people, our small Drop In space is more about having a place to be still than getting a feed. It’s a place to escape the problems of the day for an hour or two, with friendly conversation if you feel sociable, or a sleep on the couch if you need it. As I listened to the guys encourage each other in the art of pretending to enjoy alcoholism, I realised that our attitude to our struggles is defined by with whom we choose to share. It is easy to find someone who will let you off the hook, and help you find excuses for not trying to change. However this sort of friendship is no more friendship than a doctor is doing his job by leaving a skin cancer alone. “What you say can preserve life or destroy it; so you must accept the consequences of your words” (Proverbs 18:21). I wished that I could have been a part of the conversation that was happening outside the Drop In door, but I hardly knew the guys, and they had not invited me to offer an opinion. They had chosen to sit outside by themselves, and were not really looking for a different point of view.

At Missionheart we are privileged to be invited to listen to stories of struggle, to pray with someone and to see God work healing and hope into their life. It is a joy to spend time with people as they work through issues; God is amazing and generous. However, when someone chooses to stop talking to the people who are supporting them, and avoids us, it is always a sign that they do not want to hear anymore about letting God be in charge. They know that we will tell them the choices they are making are destructive. They know we will offer to listen, and to help, and to pray. And they know that God will surely make it uncomfortable for them to remain in destruction.

When I find myself searching out someone to back up my excuses I know it is time to pray. Often, all it takes is for me to be honest with God about my problem, and He shows me the way through. When a friend invites me to be a part of their life, I hope to remember the consequences of my words, and speak preservation into their life.

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The other week we explored the idea of focusing on things worthy of our attention, and not hanging out in the toilet. Thanks for all the feedback - to those I offended and who were able to take a stand and chose to become ex-toilet dwellers - well done, I'm proud opf you, keep it up. For those who are wondering what this ex-toilet dweller stuff is about - please let me briefly explain. Sometimes because bad stuff happenes in life we find ourselves having to deal with it (lets call it a visit to the toilet) a great problem arrises however when this becomes our focus in life - all we focus on is the crap, the unfairness, the mistakes and failures, and our wounding or loss. (Let call this toilet dwelling). Although these things need our attention they are not to be the major focus of our life, and defiately not the entire focus of life (lets see this as staying in the toilet and playing in it. This is not healthy living - flush and get out - who wants to shake hands with the toilet dweller?). Philipians 4 tells us to focus on things worthy of our honour and praise. Yes we face problems and pain and need to visit the toilet, sorry for dragging out the allegory, but we are not the some total of our mistakes and failures or of our pain and loss. We were created for greatness and fearfully and wonderfully made. There are things to celebrate, things worthy of giving our lives to, people needing to know of the hope and love and kingdom of our forever king - Jesus... What are you investing your life in? Don't be a toilet dweller. Get up, press the flush button, wash your hands and step out into what you were made for, enjoy being who you really are - it is good - how do I know? Well as an ex-toilet dweller let me say life is better out here - I spend the minimum time necessary in the toilet and the maximum time I can elsewhere. Your are fearfully and wonderfully made, created for good works, life and joy. If you don't believe me - ask God... I dare you! 

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