May the Lord shine His face upon you, may you know His grace in all you do, everywhere you go and with all you meet throughout this new year of 2017. Welcome to our first Newsletter for 2017, it is a bit late I know but we have been so busy there has not been time to make this effort until now.
It has been a flying start for Vision Colleges so far this year. As many of you will know I have spent two weeks in Pakistan by invitation of their people to come and present our Bible Colleges and we are now in the process of starting not 1 but 3 colleges in that nation. One of these is the Revelation Bible College that has chosen to come to Vision and affiliate with us, bless God.
From the UK, Bishop Wyhenya has started a “Taster Program” in London. It has been a long time starting up but it has now happened. Bishop Wyhenya first came in contact with Ken and Alison a few years ago on their trip to the UK and I have met him twice since that time. It is so good to see the ministry in the UK.
Back home here in Australia the college at Griffith has restarted as has the college at the Kingdom Living Church in Wetherill Park. The Great Southlands College near Penrith, The Grainery at Newcastle, Attunga Camp Canyonleigh, the Annadale Christian College at Aitkenvale, and we welcome Turningpoint School Of Ministry at Cranbourne in Victoria under Pastor Philip Cayzer. So far at least 73 subjects have been sent out since the beginning of January, it has been a busy time! Ken and Alison are both in good health and enjoying God’s blessings. Ken is still writing and preaching and travelling, if you would like Ken to minister in your church or college please feel free to contact him, his details are at the end of this newsletter.
Regardless of our political persuasion we congratulate President Donald Trump on his election and as scripture encourages us we need to pray for him. He is not our president, so I have no intention to voice issues or make commentary here, such is not the place of this document, but his influence will affect us one way or another. He is entitled to our prayers for his success in his role, for wisdom and guidance in the decisions he will have to make.
A couple of nights ago, on a tv programme, I saw and heard Professor Qwen Gingerich. I was reminded of an article of his that I had read when he was an astronomer at Harvard University and MIT, in the USA. In that article, he made some startling assertions about the nature and limitations of what we today call “science”. He said:
“Today in science there is no ‘belief’ as such, only probability. As an example, physicists, if pressed, will say that atoms, as real objects in the form in which we imagine them, cannot be proved. The most you can say is that the universe behaves as if it were made of atoms. With the stars, too, we know the stars only as grains of light exposed on photographic plates. Proof of what they are is absent. Astronomic knowledge may be highly probable, but it cannot be asserted to be absolutely true. In practice, scientists ignore this, and behave as though they were dealing with undeniable fact. But if pressed, they will admit that belief in absolute reality collapsed just after the turn of the century, with Einstein. Time itself proved to be elastic, a matter of perception. Matter proved to be fluid and quirky. Much of the absolute reality of time and space had to be abandoned. It became apparent that no measurement is absolute. Since then, one simply cannot speak of certainties, but only of probabilities.”
Of course, the current study of quantum mechanics supports the truth of the professor’s assertion that nothing is certain. Among other weird things, quantum mechanics has demonstrated how the mere act of observing an object changes it. The change may be infinitesimal, but it is nonetheless there, and measurable. “Everything,” as he said, is “fluid.”
For that reason, in the end, all science is built ultimately upon an act of faith. Scientists choose to believe implicitly certain propositions that they cannot in fact prove – they must assume that they are true, or stop working altogether!
So, it ill behooves any scientist to scorn us Christians because we cannot prove beyond doubt the existence of God, but instead must believe that he is, and that he is the Rewarder of all who seek him diligently (Hebrews 11:6).
But consider the result of unbelief. If a scientist scorns all theorems and formulae, because they lack absolute proof, chaos must ensue. He is rendered helpless and disqualified as a scientist. His colleagues will mock him, and every school will reject him. They will insist that certain things must be believed, even without final proof, because only then will science continue to bring its marvelous benefits to human society.
Likewise, those who reject all knowledge of God, or deny his existence, just because objective proof is lacking, must suffer the consequence. They live and die without hope. We too live and die, but with great hope, unquenchable hope, laughter-filled hope. If, in fact, we are wrong, we will never know it, for death will bring total annihilation of all consciousness, and obliteration of all life. But if we are right (and there are countless reasons to believe that we are), then the wonder of our present life in Christ will transform into the even more marvelous reality of Paradise. We live well and die well.
The ungodly too, if they are right, will never know it. But if they are wrong, they will face the Judgment./p>
As previously indicated our main mission start this year has been in Pakistan. I was invited to take the vision of Vision to Lahore and Faisalabad. During my 2 weeks we visited 14 different places and preached or taught 19 times and experienced life in Pakistan to some small but delightful measure. I love being able to stay in homes rather than hotels. It means you get to know people and you get to eat traditional foods, this helps make these travels so good for me. It was an honour not only to preach and teach but to be involved in the ordination of several ministers and the dedication of youth leaders, children’s ministry workers and teachers, deacons and elders. A short stop for a wedding was a highlight. I enjoyed seeing the semi traditional ceremony in all its splendor and the mystery of the local traditions, and of course – being a wedding – the food.
At the end of the journey was the dedication of the new building, which will serve as a church and a Bible college and residences. I am amazed at how quickly the building is going up. On the last day we had church in the unfinished building. Over 300 people were in attendance at an outdoor service surrounded by Muslims, but no-one really was concerned.
Throughout the trip, God confirmed the word with signs and wonders, and all manner and sorts of healing. At every service, some were clearly healed, so that with eyes can now see, limbs previously tormented by arthritic and other diseases are now loose and strong, pains were healed, and many coming to Christ for salvation and commitment. It was a wonderful time. Starting three colleges added greatly to the blessings.
In Africa, we are working with the Beautiful Feet Task Force with Ps Howard Sands to open colleges throughout the nation of Kenya, the work has begun well but is still in its infancy there and we have an agreement for the work of Vision in that nation.
In the Philippines in Iloilo, a city where Ken preached some 20 years ago, we now have a thriving college with some 20 odd students. I have visited this city twice and I am impressed with the way this college is working. To lessen the costs of printing, all the students, if they do not already have a computer of some kind, have purchased a small 7 inch tablet for the purpose of study.
Meanwhile the Internet Bible College continues to work with individual students around the world, and we are sponsoring some 22 students who are unable to pay due to their circumstances. Such students are treated as ordinary students and no consideration is given academically. If you want to be a Vision student you have to do Vision work at Vision’s standard, whether you are a full fee paying or mission student.
Our distance education options are among the most flexible options available for study, to the point that we are able to tailor them to suite your actual ministry needs rather than just fulfill the needs of a curriculum. You do not need to leave home or ministry or your job to be trained: we send the college to you. With Vision, you are enabled to learn from your place at your pace. Your own Pastor is able to speak into your life as he helps to develop yourskills with you and his ministry team. From deacon to pastor, children’s ministry, youth worker, or evangelist or just a helper, Vision Colleges can be the tool that helps release you into the calling God has for you.
“I will put in the desert the cedar and the acacia, the myrtle and the olive. I will set pines in the wasteland, the fir and the cypress together, so that people may see and know, may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it” (Is 41:19-20).
"They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendour” (Is 61:3).
Here we are likened to trees which God himself has planted. All trees are made of wood, have bark, leaves and seed pods of some kind. In a sense, they are uniform, being made of the same substance, yet how many different kinds of trees there are in our world.
In the same way, we are all human yet what diversity there is in each of us. Each human being is unique and precious. Worth more than the whole world (Mt 16:26).
Each of the trees mentioned in Isaiah that grow by the springs of living water in the garden of God have a unique quality, which we can see reflected in the church today.
The great Bible Commentator Matthew Henry says:
“All that Christ does for us is to make us God’s people, and in some way serviceable to him as living trees, planted in the house of the Lord, and flourishing in the courts of our God…for herein is our Father glorified that we bring forth much fruit that others also may take occasion from God’s favour shining on his people, and his grace shining in them, to praise him, that he may be forever glorified in his saints.”
A meditation on the various trees will bring out characteristics of Christians who minister as part of the body of Christ. For instance, the Cedar speaks of strength and durability, and the Olive speaks of healing.
Ring a Bell?
Father John is walking down the street one day when he notices Nathan, a very small boy, trying to press a doorbell on a house across the street. However, Nathan is very small and the doorbell is too high for him to reach.
After watching the boy’s efforts for some time Father John moves closer to Nathan’s position. He steps smartly across the street, walks up behind the little fellow and, placing his hand kindly on the child’s shoulder leans over and gives the doorbell a solid ring.
Crouching down to Nathan’s level, Father John smiles benevolently and asks, ‘And now what, my little man?’
To which Nathan replies with a beaming grin, ‘Now we run!’
An exasperated mother, whose son was always getting into mischief, finally asked him, ‘How do you expect to get into Heaven?’
The boy thought it over and said, ‘Well, I’ll run in and out and in and out and keep slamming the door until St. Peter says, ‘For Heaven’s sake, Jack, come in or stay out.’
Vision Colleges are distance education Bible Colleges, which is really all we do. We provide Christian ministry and Bible college teaching. I congratulate our staff on a magnificent effort during 2016. Vision Colleges issued a total of 327 awards from our various options: Certificate and Associate in Biblical Studies; Diploma of Ministry and Diploma of Biblical Theology from Vision Christian College. We issued Certificate III and IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma of Christian Ministry and Theology, through Vision International College; and we issued Bachelors and Masters of Theology from The Texas University of Theology. We also issued the Certificate III in General Education; Certificate IV in Science, through Augustine Academy and Eastlake College.
In December and January, the following students graduated and we heartily congratulate them. We encourage every student to continue in study and be equipped, to know the rich blessing of the word and its power in our lives. Well done to all; we appreciate you and pray the Lord will use and release you into ministry within his Kingdom.
Keith Lees, Diploma of Biblical Theology, Ararat Vic
Chole Beer, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Kallangur Qld
Chole Beer, Diploma of Liberal Arts, Kallangur Qld
Charley Joblin, Certificate III in General Education, Caloundra Qld
Michaela Martin, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Toowoomba Qld
Alexander Lowe, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Toowoomba Qld
Tammy Benjamin, Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Canyonleigh NSW
Jennifer O Hanlon, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Caroline LaRevitzear, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Annie Riley, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Tessa McKelvey, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
James Colton, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Madeline Hogan, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Zachariah Dixon, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Brooke Mudge, Statement of Attainment, Canyonleigh NSW
Sam Black, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Ella Brown, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Simon Doodeman, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Micah Doughty, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Anna Harrison, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Samuel Hornshaw, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Andrew Hudson, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Bernadette Hunter, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Aiden McCoy, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Rebecca McFayden, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Gemma McKee, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Timothy Murray, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Christopher Smith, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Josephine Stevens, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Talitha Vanderkolk, Certificate IV in Liberal Arts, Razorback NSW
Samuel Hall, Certificate III in General Education, Gladstone Qld
Andre Tollo, Certificate IV in Christian Ministry and Theology, Smithfield NSW
Joseph Dujmovic, Diploma of Christian Ministry and Theology, Balmoral Qld