Volume 1 No. 6 (May - Nov 03)

  • Fighting Mc Kenzie
  • Should Christinas Be Involved In Politics?
  • Repentance - Is It Relevant Today? Part 2

In the research I have been making for an update of my popular book "800 Horsemen" I have been thrilled with some of the material I have found on the chaplains that rode with these Aussie "History Makers". Contrary to popular belief, not all of the Light Horsemen were the "larrikin" type. Men of God - pastors, missionaries, preachers and lay ministers - flocked to join the Light Horse, numbers joining as troopers as the quota for chaplains and padres was rapidly filled. These men were outstanding in their commitment and service, several being decorated for valour. From daylight to dark these good men walked the many ways of Christ at the head of successive parties of troopers. Some of the church services held at this time were deeply moving.

"Fighting Mac"
McKenzie was one of many men who were a credit to their faith as they tried to serve the Lord and fellow man in a world that had gone crazy. McKenzie was described as a "soldier's soldier and a chaplain's chaplain". Accepting Jesus Christ as his Lord in Bundaberg at the age of 17 he soon joined the Salvation Army and served around Australia. At the outbreak of war, McKenzie (aged 44) volunteered as a Military Chaplain. Landing at Gallipoli in 1915 "Mac" continued his ministry to the troops winning many to Christ with his practical Christianity. One Sunday on the Gallipoli beaches the burly Australian Chaplain was conducting Church services under Turkish shellfire. "Hallelujah", he cried as a shell exploded close by, showering him with dirt. Picking himself up and shaking the dust off he then proceeded to lead his congregation of young Light Horsemen in a time of worship. The irrepressible ANZAC inspired his comrades with his faith, heroism and humour. "Fighting Mac" spent most of his time in the trenches with the men who learned to respect and revere him. Every time he appeared there were cheers from the troopers. Often he would relieve an exhausted digger of their heavy pack, hoisting it onto his own back as they went into action.

I'm Not Afraid To Die With You
The Battle of Lone Pine was the bloodiest battle the Australians had fought. The young ANZACS charged straight into the face of machine guns leaving the Turkish trenches knee-deep with the dead and dying. Australians won seven Victoria Crosses that fateful day but left 800 wooden crosses marking the graves of those gallant young men. The Aussie troopers begged their beloved chaplain not to risk his life. But McKenzie replied: "Boys, I've preached to you, and I've prayed with you. Do you think I?m afraid now to die with you?"

Charged Enemy With A Spade
Although officially forbidden to take part in front-line actions, McKenzie blissfully ignored all orders and insisted on fighting alongside his men. Armed with only a spade, he once led an attack on Turkish trenches.

McKenzie obviously thought that the spade got around the international restrictions on Chaplains carrying arms into combat! During one battle he was ordered to remain away from the front-line, heconfiscated a bicycle and then he trudged through mud and shellfire to arrive at the front as dawn broke. Exhausted and covered with mud there was a spontaneous burst of applause and laughter as he appeared. "Fighting Mac" said: "Wherever my men go, I go!"

Scores found Christ through this unselfish man, and hundreds were buried with tender affection under his ministry. For his efforts in Gallipoli, he was awarded the Military Cross. The Diggers loved him almost to a man and, described him as "big hearted", "incorruptible", "considerate of the feelings of the individual", "one of the bravest of the brave", and "a friend of sinners"

Destroyed Brothels
McKenzie won greatness by taking Christian solace to the front-line battlegrounds. But "Fighting Mac" never did anything in half measures; it was not only the Turks that felt the wrath of this man of God, but the dens of vice in Cairo that lured the young Light Horsemen.

McKenzie led a raid of Australians and dragged scores of young soldiers literally out from the brothels "by their ears". Armed with firebrands they stormed through the streets setting the whole district ablaze (the Battle of the Wazzir). The Australians enthusiastically slashed through the firehoses and prevented the extinguishing of the fires.

The area was razed to the ground. At the war's end, an official declared: "There are men in Australia who would never have returned had not Mac challenged those hell-houses."

Voice Of God Saved His Life
Later on the bloody battlefields of France "Fighting Mac" wrote how his life had been spared on numerous occasions by an angel of the Lord. He learned to listen to the inner voice of his spirit that the Bible speaks so much about: "They started shelling?and some fell in close proximity. I had buried several fallen heroes...when my guardian angel said: "Get away from here quickly." I obeyed instantly and was about 25 yards away when a big shell landed right on the spot where I had been standing a moment before. I only got a shower of earth. At all times of great danger?.I am conscious of this guardian angel's presence.....I hear his voice saying: "Do not go there!" "Get in here!" or "Lie down in that shell hole! I could give six instances in a week when a prompt attention to his instructions has saved me from those big shells. I know that if I heed and obey God I shall continue unharmed until my work is finished, so if I fall you will know the reason."

A friend wrote: "Think of the battlefield - of a deafening clatter like the roar of express trains, of ground ploughed by exploding shells, of the splutter of machine guns, the charge of brave men, the rain of bullets, the cry of the wounded, the fall of the slain. Think of it, and then imagine a big man facing that hell with joy and triumph in his heart. Always listening for a voice from Heaven!"

McKenzie was farewelled by his beloved men in 1917 in a special ceremony. Amid the bands, cheers and tears, General Birdwood said: "I am sorry to lose you. I cannot tell you how much I appreciate all you have done for our boys, we shall never forget you!"

Most Famous In the A.I.F.
On his return to Australia in 1918 tumultuous crowds greeted him in state capitals and smaller cities. He was the most famous man in the AIF and people travelled hundreds of miles to thank him for some kindness he had shown a loved one. In Melbourne hundreds were turned away from the buidling which was filled with over 7,000 people. After the war McKenzie was the one man every Digger wanted to greet.."

"Fighting Mac" inspired many books and magazine articles. His dedication compassion and heroic service to his fellow soldiers resulted in all but unbelievable exploits. From Gallipoli to France, Mac spoke of love of God and His forgiveness for all humanity. He shunned the spotlight and left for mission work in China. Fighting Mac died in 1947 and at his funeral teary-eyed diggers marched six abreast along the Sydney streets.

I love this country, to me it is the greatest land in the world. As I was walking into church the other day, I thought to myself that no one had to go through a bomb check, or a metal detector when we arrived. No one had come with thoughts of being blown up, or shot etc. Yet how many nations in the world would it be a vastly different story? Australia is one of a few successful Christian democracies in the world. Even the USA fought a war for their freedom from England and then a civil war. The UK fought a bloody civil war and more recently they have faced IRA bombs, and race riots. France has been a divided nation for 150 years. Russia, Greece, Italy and Spain are just a few that experienced revolution and civil war. Historian Paul Johnson wrote: The development of Australia rates as one of mankind's greatest achievements ... one of the most advanced and prosperous societies on earth has been created. It is an achievement with few parallels in history.

I am not just a minister, but I am also a fifth generation Aussie; I have dual citizenship. I am a citizen of heaven, as well as Australia. I have a stewardship of what he has given me here in this great land. Yet so few Christians will stand up and fight for that God given freedom.

Section 116 of the Constitution of Australia clearly states: "The Commonwealth shall not make any law establishing any religion or imposing religious observance or for prohibiting the free exercise of religion .."

Separation of Church and State
If it were not for the Christians, we would not have these rights and freedom of speech. The press acknowledge this: "Christian principles provide the basis of our system of government, law, ethics and personal values." (Sydney Daily Telegraph 30/12/1999).

Let me quote our founding fathers on what is called "Original Intent": "Henry Parkes was another of our founding fathers who believed passionately in our Christian Heritage, he said: "we are pre-eminently a Christian people - as our laws, our whole system of jurisprudence, our Constitution are based upon and interwoven with our Christian belief.." Sydney Morning Herald, 26/8/1885

Sir John Downer, also one of the co-authors of the Constitution wrote: "Our Commonwealth of Australia will be, from this first stage, a Christian Commonwealth." Prime Minister Deakin wrote: "God preserve this people and grant its leaders unselfish fidelity and courage to face all the trials for the sake of the brotherhood. Thy blessing has rested upon us here yesterday and we pray that it may be the means of creating and fostering throughout all Australia a Christlike citizenship."(Alfred Deakins Prayers 4/6/1898).

In spite of what many people think Civil Government is a Biblical doctrine. Need proof? Jeremiah 17:9 talks about the separation of powers. Isaiah 33.22 talks about the branches of government. Ezra 7:24 is where we get the idea for exemption of Churches from taxation. While Exodus 18, 21 and 22 talks about Civil Government. These are Biblical principles. This is the first time free elections are ever mentioned, and it comes from the Bible! People were told to chose leaders of 10's, 50's and 100's and thousands. That?s the basis for local, shires, state and federal elections!

All of these ideas came from the Bible, not the Koran or Buddhism! The very idea that civil government is the servant of man comes from the Bible. In fact the most used source for the writer of the Magna Carta - basis for the Westminster System and hence Australia's - was the Bible There are over 1700 Bible verses dealing with Civil Government. Romans 13:4 says that those involved in civil government are "ministers of God"

Look at Hebrews 11.. the faith hall of fame, every single person listed between verses 22 and 34 was involved in civil government. God says these are our heroes of faith. Men to look up to. Yet we have allowed special interest groups to squeeze us into their way of thinking, such as: "Christians should not to be involved in government!"

A quick study of our history reveals that most of our founding fathers were Christians or at least had a heart towards God. Yet today I am denied some of my rights as a Christian. For instance in Victoria I cannot door knock or openly witness in the streets. Yet a leading Muslim cleric can go on Australian radio and call our Prime Minister "a coward", youths can riot, attack police and carry offensive banners with foul language through our capital cities, Greenpeace can carry out acts of aggression and piracy against the Australian Navy in Sydney. How come?

Yet two Christians are being taken before the Victorian Tribunal for racial/religious vlification for nothing more than quoting from the Muslim?s Koran! How come? Australians live under the impression that the constitution governs Australia. This is a misunderstanding. It is not the constitution that governs the land, but the people we elect into government! Men are the substance and men must do the business! What the Constitution does is show us how we put people into office. If we vote crummy people into office, there's no guarantee that the constitution will work! Think about this from a Biblical standpoint. There has never been a country in the history of the world that has had better civil laws than Israel. God himself wrote their laws. That's as good as it gets! But how did civil law work for them under Ahab, Jezebel, Mannasa and other bad kings? What's the good of having good laws if we elect bad leaders?

The constitution does not guarantee anything under bad leaders.Who's responsible for electing bad leaders? We are! If we don't put right leaders into office, the document is worthless! What is the single most quoted Bible verse dealing with civil government?

Proverbs 29:2 It is not how good our laws are, it?s how good our leaders are! This verse means nothing if you are living in Cuba, Saudi Arabia or Iraq. Why? Because they get no choice of their leaders! Here in Australia we get to choose who is going to rule over us! God told us, if you want to rejoice or mourn - the choice is yours! It is a stewardship government by us the people! How many Christians vote from their pocket? That's why we get wacky judges making crazy, out of touch decisions. We are either rebuilding our nation?s foundations or helping destroy them. Charles Finney wrote: "The church must take right ground in regard to politics.Politics are part of any Christian nation and that's because of the stewardship aspect. Christians must do their duty to their country as part of their duty to God. Australia will enjoy blessings or curses according to the course that Christians take in politics". I believe that the Church is accountable to God for which way our nation goes.

by Jan Stringer

In our last newsletter we looked at What Repentance is Not. Now we are going to see what repentance really is in God's eyes. Repentance affects four areas - mind, feelings, purpose and conduct.
Repentance is a change of mind (intellect)
Repentance is a change of feelings (emotions)
Repentance is a change of purpose (will)
Repentance is a change of conduct
(moral experience/lifestyle)
Repentance is not one of the above - it's all of the above!

1. Repentance has a change of mind.
The Greek word "mentonia" used here means "after thought". A change of mind that takes place in true repentance is so radical that the sinner takes on an entirely new way of thinking and attitude to sin and to God. Romans 12:2 (Ben Campbell Johnson) says "And don't pattern your life after the culture around you; rather permit the Spirit of God within to transform your being and behavior by uniting your deepest thoughts and feelings with your actions so that you demonstrate God's intention which is positive, acceptable and fulfilling."

Matt. 21:28,29 .. "But afterward he regretted it and went." True meaning of Greek word here is "afterthought". He thought about it afterwards and he went. He had a change of mind.

2. Repentance has a change of feelings.
After his conversion Saul was so overwhelmed by a sense of remorse because of the way he had treated God and His children that he had a real change of feelings about it. When persecuting the Christians he was happy about it - probably even enjoyed seeing Stephen being stoned. But Psalm 38:18 says "For I will declare my iniquity; I will be in anguish over my sin." If you have been deep in sin before saved, you know what it's like to look back and be in anguish about it. We don't look back BUT.

How wonderful it is when a marriage partner, that has been wronged before the other was saved can totally let go of their past and never throw it up at them. Sure we will remember it but don't mention it. "Forgetting what lies behind." Forget doesn't mean you won't necessarily have any memory of it - it means "to intentionally ignore". Some couples have everything filed away in their memory bank and as soon as one upsets the other they go to the filing cabinet and bring it all out.

Luke 18:13 says "He smote his breast". Luke 15:21 says "I will say Father, I'm no longer worthy." True repentance is now starting to work in him.

3. True repentance has a change of purpose because repentance involves the will.
We have to do something about it. Part of the prodigal's repentance was that he said "I will arise". He had to take the first step. Then it says that he arose. He first of all thought about it (the mind) then he did it (the will).

In John 5 we have the story of the man at the pool of Bethesda. Jesus said to him "Do you want to be well?" He had to desire (will) to be well. He had to change the purpose of his life. "I thought about my ways (mind) And turned my feet (will/purpose) to Your testimonies". (Psalm 119:59) Italics mine.

4. Repentance is a change of conduct.
Our conduct must change after experiencing New Birth. People say they've been born again but often we don't see any difference in their lives/conduct.

We have looked at what repentance is and is not now let's see how repentance is achieved. Acts 5:30, 31 shows that repentance is a gift from God. It is bestowed in various ways:

  • Through preaching of the gospel (Matt. 12:41) says that "one greater than Jonah (Jesus) is here." So we need to put an emphasis on preaching of the Word.
  • The goodness of God. ".the goodness of God leads to repentance." (Rom.2:4) John 3:16, 1Pet.2:24. When we think of all these things how can we not be overwhelmed by His goodness and want to repent of our sins.
  • Sorrows of life can bring one to repentance. Death in a family, sickness, hard times, etc. can bring people to the point of repentance. Col's dad and my mum came this way. Often when in the midst of great difficulty in life we begin to realize that we've nothing in ourselves to meet that great need so may begin to change the way we think, which leads to a change of feelings. We then realize we need a new purpose in our life, that our conduct is not pleasing to God. All these things can be a link in the chain that leads us to repentance.
  • Life itself can sometimes feel shallow or hollow. You have tried everything that the devil told you would bring peace, meaning, contentment to your life only to discover you felt worse than ever. I myself tried many different ways of coming to God i.e. religious church, yoga, Eastern religions, Rosa Cruscians, astral projection, Jehovah Witness until I finally met a person who shared the gospel with me.

The enemy can make sin seen so attractive - the Bible calls him "an angel of light". But serving the devil COSTS - serving Jesus PAYS. It may be hard for some to live morally, even harder to stand up to immorality (being mocked, persecuted) but it's hardest of all to live with the consequences of immorality.

The prodigal son was deceived into trying everything the world had to offer but finally "he came to himself". He realized his father's servants were even better off than he. When is it time to repent? Acts 17:30, 31, 2Pet. 3:9-18. Repent now! And begin to live life as God intended it - abundantly (to the full and overflowing) and with joy unspeakable and full of glory.