The Talk Place - Christine Platt

Blogs with inside information and personal opinions from GRN members around the world

Hebrews 12

Christine Platt - Friday 31 July 2020

Yesterday in our weekly extended prayer time, I was given Hebrews 12. It is an amazing chapter! In equal parts it helps us make sense of life’s trials and how to face them, warns us of the dire consequences of giving up, and encourages us to keep on going.

I encourage you to spend some time reading it. I really couldn’t do it justice yesterday, in even reading and digesting its contents, let alone passing it on.

Hebrew 12:1-3 Run the race with your eyes on Jesus

We are running a race… something like an ultra marathon (e.g. running from Sydney to Melbourne).

There is a great crowd watching and cheering us on.

We are called to throw off everything that hinders (your backpack full of stuff, your heavy clothes and boots) and the sin that so easily entangles (makes it hard for you to run).

We are called to run the race marked out for us with perseverance.

What motivates us to keep running? We keep our eyes fixed on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him, Jesus endured the cross, scorned its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God as a consequence. Consider Jesus, who endured such opposition from sinners, so you wont grow weary and lose heart!

Hebrews 12:4-11 God disciplines his children

The author then says that God is disciplining us because we are his children. Discipline is unpleasant at the time, but it proves that we really are God’s children and it leads to us becoming holy.

And so we are called to submit to God’s discipline (and so God himself, the Father of spirits) and live! Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children.

We then go back to the race, as injured runners. Strengthen our feeble arms and weak knees. Make the path level, so that the lame might be healed and not disabled.

Hebrews 12:14-17 Warning and Encouragement

Make every effort to live at peace with everyone and be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord!

See to it that no one falls short of the grace of God.

See to it that no bitter root grows up to cause trouble and defiles many.
See that no one is sexually immoral

See that no one is godless like Esau. After selling his birthrite for a meal he didn’t get a second chance. So, be careful and watch yourself!

Hebrews 12:18-29 Mountain of fear and Mountain of Joy

We have not come to the mountain Moses climbed, which was terrifying to all who were present.

We have come to Mt Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem.

We have come to innumerable angels in joyful assembly.

We have come to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven.

We have come to God, the judge of all.

We have come to the spirits of the righteous made perfect.

We have come to Jesus the mediator of a new covenant.

We have come to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than Abel.


Do not refuse him who speaks!

If they didn’t escape when they refused him who warned from heaven then ... we will not escape if we turn away from him who warns from heaven!

Back then his voice shook heaven and earth ... Now he has promised “Once more I will shake not only the earth but also the heavens”

And what can be shaken will be removed! Created things will be removed.

What cannot be shaken will remain.

Therefore, since we are receiving a kingdom that cannot be shaken, let us be thankful, and so worship God acceptably with reverence and awe, for our “God is a consuming fire.”

Let me encourage you to consider Jesus Christ who ran the race successfully and well. Consider Mt Zion, where we are heading – the joy that is set before us! Let us keep on running the race marked out for us, persevering through the trials, seeking holiness, being thankful and worshipping God with reverence and awe.

To give up would be disastrous. If you feel that you are slipping, becoming lame and disabled, please turn to your Bible, ask for help (God or a godly counsellor) but please do not stop or give up on the race or your pursuit of holiness (effectively the same thing). Do not turn away from God.

That great cloud of witnesses is watching you run and cheering you on. Our heavenly Father is disciplining you for your own good. The prize at the end is worth the effort! Keep on running, or walking if you must, or even fixing up the path so you can continue. But whatever you do, keep on going.

A Call to Arms!

Christine Platt - Tuesday 23 April 2019

GRN is a group of God’s children working together to tell the story of Jesus in every language.
We are called to love one another and work together in peace. However, we are sinful people living in a broken world. Conflict often sneaks in and steals our peace and love. This is fundamentally a spiritual battle – we must deny ourselves, put on our spiritual armour (Eph 6:10-20) and fight to be the people God has created us to be living at peace with our brothers and sisters.

1 Peter 5:4-9
4 And when the chief shepherd appears, you will win the crown of glory that never fades away. 5 In the same way, you who are younger must accept the authority of the elders. And all of you must clothe yourselves with humility in your dealings with one another, for
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”
6 Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, so that he may exalt you in due time. 7 Cast all your anxiety on him, because he cares for you. 8 Discipline yourselves, keep alert. Like a roaring lion your adversary the devil prowls around, looking for someone to devour. 9 Resist him, steadfast in your faith, for you know that your brothers and sisters in all the world are undergoing the same kinds of suffering.

Ephesians 4:25-32
25 So then, putting away falsehood, let all of us speak the truth to our neighbors, for we are members of one another. 26 Be angry but do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger, 27 and do not make room for the devil. 28 Thieves must give up stealing; rather let them labor and work honestly with their own hands, so as to have something to share with the needy. 29 Let no evil talk come out of your mouths, but only what is useful for building up, as there is need, so that your words may give grace to those who hear. 30 And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, with which you were marked with a seal for the day of redemption. 31 Put away from you all bitterness and wrath and anger and wrangling and slander, together with all malice, 32 and be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ has forgiven you.

Matthew 22:34-39
34 When the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together, 35 and one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

Matthew 5:22:24
22 But I say to you that if you are angry with a brother or sister, you will be liable to judgment; and if you insult a brother or sister, you will be liable to the council; and if you say, ‘You fool,’ you will be liable to the hell of fire. 23 So when you are offering your gift at the altar, if you remember that your brother or sister has something against you, 24 leave your gift there before the altar and go; first be reconciled to your brother or sister, and then come and offer your gift.

Matthew 18:15-ff
15 “If another member of the church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone. If the member listens to you, you have regained that one. 16 But if you are not listened to, take one or two others along with you, so that every word may be confirmed by the evidence of two or three witnesses. 17 If the member refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if the offender refuses to listen even to the church, let such a one be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector. 18 Truly I tell you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven. 19 Again, truly I tell you, if two of you agree on earth about anything you ask, it will be done for you by my Father in heaven. 20 For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them.”
21 Then Peter came and said to him, “Lord, if another member of the church sins against me, how often should I forgive? As many as seven times?” 22 Jesus said to him, “Not seven times, but, I tell you, seventy-seven times.
Parable – the unmerciful servant
23 “For this reason the kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who wished to settle accounts with his slaves. 24 When he began the reckoning, one who owed him ten thousand talents was brought to him; 25 and, as he could not pay, his lord ordered him to be sold, together with his wife and children and all his possessions, and payment to be made. 26 So the slave fell on his knees before him, saying, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you everything.’ 27 And out of pity for him, the lord of that slave released him and forgave him the debt. 28 But that same slave, as he went out, came upon one of his fellow slaves who owed him a hundred denarii; and seizing him by the throat, he said, ‘Pay what you owe.’ 29 Then his fellow slave fell down and pleaded with him, ‘Have patience with me, and I will pay you.’ 30 But he refused; then he went and threw him into prison until he would pay the debt. 31 When his fellow slaves saw what had happened, they were greatly distressed, and they went and reported to their lord all that had taken place. 32 Then his lord summoned him and said to him, ‘You wicked slave! I forgave you all that debt because you pleaded with me. 33 Should you not have had mercy on your fellow slave, as I had mercy on you?’ 34 And in anger his lord handed him over to be tortured until he would pay his entire debt. 35 So my heavenly Father will also do to every one of you, if you do not forgive your brother or sister from your heart.”

None of us uses ESP – it would disqualify us from work here. People are not going to know that you’re upset with them unless you tell them – especially if they are unaware of having done anything wrong.
Does someone seem to be upset with you? Talk to them.
Did someone sin against you? Talk to them.
If someone comes to you, listen. It took a lot of courage for them to come.
Be humble. Assume the best.
Did someone sin against someone else (or seem to)? You need wisdom. Please assume the best while working out what to do – pray, seek counsel, talk to one or both of those involved, speak to your supervisor…
We are from many different cultures, different backgrounds and have different experiences. Try and put yourself in the other person’s shoes. Are they trying to offend you or do they just naturally behave or relate in a way you find offensive?
Determine that you are going to forgive. It’s not easy. It’s often a process for deep hurts. You might have to forgive the same person for the same hurt multiple times. But make that choice – it’s up to you. No one can make you do it.
We are all flawed human being. We all fall short on a regular basis. God knows that and has made allowances so that we can deal with those failings and continue to love one another.

Matthew 7:1-5
“Do not judge, so that you may not be judged. 2 For with the judgment you make you will be judged, and the measure you give will be the measure you get. 3 Why do you see the speck in your neighbor’s eye, but do not notice the log in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your neighbor, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ while the log is in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your neighbor’s eye.

Conclusion: Ministry happens through relationships. God calls upon us to do the hard work required to serve together in peace. It’s not always easy. It is costly… humility, patience, long suffering, the anxiety caused when you need to have a difficult conversation, and forgiveness always costs. But Jesus led the way, becoming sin on the cross so that we might be the righteousness of God. We cannot expect to succeed or to know peace if we are not doing all we can to love our neighbour and live at peace with those around us.

Cultivating Joy

Christine Platt - Friday 10 November 2017

Joy and Rejoicing are foundational GRN elements. GRN founder Joy Ridderhoff was renowned for rejoicing in any and every circumstance. It doesn’t take too long a look at the Bible to realise that God expects His children to be characterised by joy and to be a rejoicing people.
As we look at society around us, we don’t see a lot of joy. In place of rejoicing we see stress, anger, sadness, depression, frustration, fear and busyness. Consider yourself… have the worries of this world stolen your joy and stopped you from rejoicing?
The fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22). We are called to set our minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth (Col 3:2). We know that Jesus is preparing a place for us and will come to take us to be with him (Jn 14:3). We know that our Father is making us to be like Jesus so that he might be the firstborn within a large family (Rom 8: 29). We rejoice because we are children of the most high God.
It is incredible that we do whinge, whine and complain. For the sake of the joy that was set before him, Jesus endured the cross and disregarded its shame (Heb 12:2). After being flogged the apostles rejoiced because they were counted worthy to suffer for Jesus’ name (Act 5:41). The apostle Paul declared that he wanted to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like Christ in his death (Php 3:10). And me? I get frustrated by Sydney traffic!
Here at GRN Australia we are making a concerted effort to cultivate joy over the coming months. It is clear that this journey will take us through the subjects of peace, suffering, longing for home, and probably through territory we have not yet imagined. This endeavour is a godly one and we trust that it will bring glory to God. Joy will be the theme of our camp and a recurring cause of prayer, study and consideration. We will remember who we are and whom we serve and we will rejoice and give thanks. Please join us in our quest and pray for our success.

Devotional - Spiritual Warfare

Christine Platt - Wednesday 25 October 2017

Trust and obey, for there is no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Yes it is very simple, but it is far from easy! In fact it is impossible for us to perfectly trust and obey God in our mortal bodies (1Jn 1:8).

We have three enemies who work against us: sin, our flesh and the devil.
Each of us were born rebels against God’s rule, we were born sinners (Ps 51). We each died to sin when we were made alive in Christ. We were once slaves to sin, now we are God’s slaves. Yet we choose many times each day whether it is sin or God whom we will obey.

Our flesh wars against the Spirit. We are called upon to crucify our flesh with all of its desires and instead we are to walk in the Spirit. We are called upon to deny ourselves, to leave behind the works of the flesh, such things as sexual immorality, impurity, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies (Gal 5:19-21). We are called upon to bear the fruit of the Spirit, with love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal 5:22-23).

And the devil prowls around like a lion seeking who he can devour (1 Pet 5:8). He’s a liar and the father of lies (Jn 8:44). He is actively waging war against us (Rev 12:17). Indeed the people in Satan’s grasp are not our enemies. Our enemies are the rulers, the authorities, the cosmic powers of this present darkness, and the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places (Eph 6:12).

When you think about spiritual warfare, what comes to mind? As usual, the reality is often very different to our vivid imaginations!

As a new Christian going to church I found worship to be a bit of a mystery. What people called worship, I found to be strange and very boring. I am quite sure that whatever it was I was doing was not worship! Read the last few Psalms. Worship was a time of joy and coming into God’s presence. God’s people, indeed all of creation, are praising God. Their worship sounds anything but boring.

Read through the book of Revelation. People and angels are worshipping God. They are in awe as they see God’s purposes unfold in history. Worship is our proper response to God. In worship we glorify God, we remind ourselves of the reality of God’s victory and our joyful place in eternity, and should the Devil choose to hang around it reminds him that he has lost the war and that his time here on earth is short. Indeed Psalm 22 tells us that God is enthroned on the praises of Israel.

It is the experience of many that worship is a vital component of spiritual warfare. I have found that introducing an element of worship into meetings has a transformational effect and is worth the investment of time and effort. What is your experience of worship? How do you make worship a part of your daily life?

Know your Bible
Think of Jesus being tempted in the desert for 40 days after his baptism by John (Mth 4:1-11). Jesus was tempted three times, each time he responded by quoting scripture:

v4: “It is written, ‘One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

v7: “Again it is written, ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’”

v10: “Away with you, Satan! for it is written, ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him.’”

How well do you know your Bible? What are you doing to know and understand what the Bible says? The better you know and understand God’s word the more able you will be to recognise and dismiss the lies of the devil.

Have you noticed people hearing the gospel but not coming to Christ? Why does that happen? The Bible tells us that the god of this age has blinded the minds of unbelievers, so that they cannot see the light of the gospel that displays the glory of Christ, who is the image of God (2Cor 4:4).

Are you at a loss as to what to do next? Ask God for wisdom because he gives generously to all without finding fault (1Jm 5:5-8).

Are you worried or anxious? Rejoice! Be gentle! The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Php 4:4-8).

We are told that Jesus went off alone to pray quite often. If he needed to pray, then how much more do we need to do the same? How much time do you spend alone with God? Do you turn to him when trouble strikes? Do you thank him when things go well?

Be strong in the Lord/Abide in Christ
We are called to be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his power. To put on the whole armour of God, so that we may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. Our struggle is not against enemies of blood and flesh, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers of this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. So we must put on whole armour of God, so that we may be able to withstand on that evil day, and having done everything, to stand firm. So we must stand, and fasten the belt of truth around our waists, and put on the breastplate of righteousness. As shoes for our feet we put on whatever will make us ready to proclaim the gospel of peace. And we take the shield of faith, with which we are able to quench all the flaming arrows of the evil one. We put on the helmet of salvation, and take up the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.
We ought pray in the Spirit at all times in every prayer and supplication. We keep alert, always persevering in praying for all the saints (Eph 6:10-18).

And being strong in the Lord is very much like abiding in the Lord:

In john 15:1-11 we learn that Jesus is the true vine, and his Father is the vinegrower. The vinegrower removes every branch in the vine that bears no fruit. Every branch that bears fruit he prunes to make it bear more fruit. Jesus is the vine, those who trust and obey Jesus are the branches. Jesus calls us to abide in him and Jesus abides in us. Just as the branch cannot bear fruit by itself unless it abides in the vine, neither can we unless we abide in Jesus. Those who abide in Jesus and Jesus in them bear much fruit, because apart from Jesus we can do nothing. Whoever does not abide in Jesus is thrown away like a branch and withers; such branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If we abide in Jesus, and Jesus’ words abide in us, we can ask for whatever we wish, and it will be done for us. The Father is glorified by this, that we bear much fruit and become Jesus’ disciples. As the Father has loved Jesus, so Jesus has loved us; we must abide in his love. If we keep Jesus’ commandments, we will abide in his love, just as Jesus have kept his Father’s commandments and abided in his love. Jesus told us these things so that his joy may be in us, and that our joy may be complete” (John 15:1-11).

As we trust and obey, we are strong in the Lord, and we abide in him and he abides in us! Pretty amazing eh?

Resist the devil
Resist the devil, and he will flee from you (Jm 4:8). Invite him in and he’ll eat you for dinner (1Pet 5:8). The choice is yours.
Your salvation is Christ’s gift to you - he became sin that you might become the righteousness of God. Your character, your relationship with God, your walk (in spirit or flesh), your works of service, your worship, your knowledge, your prayer – are you working out your salvation with fear and trembling. Are you fighting the good fight? Have you given up the fight? Are you fighting alone or in company?

Be part of a band, not a lone wolf.
Look at God. One God but three persons – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. God himself is in community. Look at Jesus on earth – he chose 12 apostles and had a larger band of disciples following too. Look at the apostle Paul – he travelled and ministered with others. We are called to meet together regularly. The early disciples met daily in each other’s homes to break bread (eat) together. God made Eve because it wasn’t good for Adam to be alone. We are made for community. We need each other. You need other people to fight alongside you, encourage you, and help you when you fall (and you will). Who is fighting alongside you? How well do you fight together? If there is no one… who can you ask to join you?

Devotional - Spiritual Health

Christine Platt - Tuesday 05 September 2017

Trust and obey, for there is no other way,
To be happy in Jesus, but to trust and obey.

Who am I? I am a human being. I am made in the image of my creator, God.

I have been adopted into God’s family. I am his son and heir (true whether I am male or female) (Rom 8:14-17). I have been bought out of slavery. My debt was paid with the blood of my Lord, Saviour, and older brother Jesus Christ.

John H. Sammis got it right when he wrote the words of the famous hymn quoted above. We must trust and obey our Father if we hope to be happy in Jesus, if we want to enjoy spiritual health.

If I don’t trust God, I will worry. I will be tempted to do things my way because I don’t trust that God’s way will be best. I will be tempted to disobey. If I disobey my Father I can expect trouble, as can any disobedient child (Heb 12:1-12).

And what is God’s most important command to us? (Mth 22:34-40) “To love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.” If you love someone, you want to spend time with them. So make the time to worship God, read your Bible, think about what you have read, pray, sing spiritual songs, involve God in your decision making, and do things which will please him.

Children imitate their parents. Jesus could say to Philip that anyone who had seen him had seen his Father (Jn 14:1-14). We should want tp be like God and to have the same values, attitudes and behaviour. As we read the Bible we should see what God is like, what Jesus is like, and try to be the same (it is God’s plan for us Rom 8:29). It can help to develop spiritual friendships with people where you study the Bible together, talk about your life and walk with God, and pray for one another.

God loves his church (the people, not the buildings). It is important to meet with God’s people regularly as you all meet with God together. When you travel a lot it is important to have people you fellowship with when you are home as well as to have fellowship with people as you travel about (Heb 10:23-25). Remember that they are your brothers and sisters. God loves them and you should love them too! (1Jn2:8-12)

The second most important commandment is to love our neighbour as our self. The fruit of the Spirit (Gal 5:22-23) gives us a good idea about this: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Developing godly character is so important. None of us are perfect and it’s good to ask friends to pray with us as we try to develop these character traits and to love the people around us.

Ultimately I think spiritual health comes down to remembering who you are and who your Dad is. Then you need to trust him and obey him – it really is that simple.

How would you describe your effort to trust and obey your heavenly Father?

Do you have Christian friends to study the Bible with, talk to, and pray with? Is this something you can improve?

What do you need to do? Write it down. Ask God for help. Tell a friend/family member and ask them to pray for you.

Spend some time with God.

Prayer – further musings

Christine Platt - Tuesday 15 November 2016

I’ve long been interested in prayer. I’ve read many books on the subject. I’ve tried different types of prayer, I’ve prayed and I’ve failed to pray. I know it’s vitally important. Sometimes it’s incredibly difficult. Sometimes I feel like a parrot and then think – surely this can’t be prayer?!?!
Over the last couple of years we at GRN Australia have run at a significant loss. At the same time God has answered prayer consistently with new people, equipment procured, projects funded, problems solved, and work done.
It’s a mystery. I fully believe that God’s work will receive God’s supply. We’ve seen so many answers to prayer of so many kinds. And yet this financial challenge remains. What is God doing? What is he trying to teach us?
I’ve been praying about a replacement vehicle for a few months now. My car needs to go, and yet the process of replacing it seemed too expensive and too hard. So I decided to keep the car until it had a major problem when I was planning on taking it to the wreckers and then working out what to do next.
Last week I received a call from a supporter of the mission asking if we would have a use for his vehicle which he had just updated. An answer to prayer! I rejoiced and gave thanks to him and to God for His provision.
Over the weekend I was pondering this provision and others we have received, and the ongoing gap in our finances. The following things came to mind:
Our Heavenly Father wants to be in relationship with us. He wants us to be relating to Him all the time. I think our ongoing financial need has led us to be more prayerful and to put more effort into our relationship with Him than would have been the case if our budget was balanced.
A relationship is dynamic, ever changing, and requires continuous effort. I’ve discovered (to my horror/amazement) that what I really wanted was a method. Deep down I wanted God to say, “If you do this, I’ll send you the money.” Whereas I believe my Father is saying, “Come and spend time with me, get to know me better (Ps46:10).” Jesus, my brother and Lord and shepherd, is saying “Follow me, I’ll lead you in paths of righteousness for my name’s sake (Ps23:3).”
I’ve come to realise that there is no method. Every problem is unique and has a unique solution. I need to look to my heavenly Father, look to my Lord, and ask for guidance in every situation. I need to follow God’s lead and trust Him with the result. How much better is this, in the context of a relationship, than just doing something mechanically with little thought of God once the method was discerned.
I thank God for this ongoing “problem.” It has brought me, and I think GRN Australia, closer to the God we serve. I hope and pray that we will continue to look to God for guidance in every situation; that we will continue to work on our relationship with our Father and our Lord. I am thankful for the assurance we have of God’s love and desire to be in relationship with us – and for the great privilege of being His co-workers telling the story of Jesus in every language.


Christine Platt - Monday 24 October 2016

So easy, even a child can do it.
So complicated, as complicated as the relationship between you and God and all the other people touched by the implications of your prayer.

Relationship….. love, faith, hope, grace
…… patience, forgiveness
……. endurance, suffering, persecution, persistence

I don’t pray (or at least don’t remember doing so) and God shows up and does something miraculous. Thank you Lord.
I do pray and He answers immediately. Thank you Lord.
I pray and nothing happens. I pray and enlist others to pray. God shows up. Thank you Lord.
I pray. I enlist others to pray and still it seems that there is no answer. Thank you Lord.

It seems that I can’t make a box that God fits in neatly. Every box I make, bits of God keep on sticking out. The answer is: to stop trying to put God in a box but to worship and adore Him as He is, to pray not demanding a predetermined response but rejoicing in His presence and love, and not getting discouraged because He’s not doing what I think He should do but giving thanks in all circumstances.
The trouble is that I want to be in control, I want to know what’s going on and I get frustrated when I don’t. Guess that I need to repent, let God be God, and get with His program (which without a doubt is going to be better than mine). Help me Lord Jesus!

A call to prayer

Christine Platt - Monday 27 June 2016

Mission was at the heart of Jesus' life and ministry. He travelled around Israel preaching the coming of God's kingdom, healing the sick, casting our demons, and all the while he was training up his disciples to follow in his footsteps. His final instructions to his discuples left them in no doubt as to what they were supposed to do after he returned to his Father (Mth 28:18-20, Act 1:8).

Missionary societies like GRN came into being as the outworking of the church obeying Jesus' instruction to make disciples. And so GRN exists by God's grace through the prayers, offerings and sacrifice of God's people - the church. It makes sense that a strong church will support a strong missionary effort and a weak church will see the missionary effort diminished.

It seems to me that missions have a vested interest in seeing strong churches in their sending/funding countries as well as in the countries where they minister, if they want to minister effectively.

And so I think it makes sense for GRN to be praying for those churches who share with us in giving as well as those who receive.


Christine Platt - Saturday 05 March 2016

Everything and pretty much everybody around us tells us to avoid suffering – even pain itself!

During a recent month long visit to GRN staff in Thailand, Myanmar and PNG the issue of suffering has come to my attention time and time again.

As I talked to different people and heard their stories a steady stream of suffering came through along with the encouragements and challenges of ministry. World events have also brought suffering very much to mind.

I started to ponder suffering in the Bible.

Jesus suffered terribly for the joy set before him (Heb 12). Paul rejoiced in his sufferings and wrote repeatedly that a true disciple will share in Christ’s sufferings. I think of Abraham, Joseph, Moses, Elijah and so many of the prophets.

Yes, suffering is a normal part of the human condition and having Jesus as your Lord and Saviour does not exempt you from it. If anything it seems to ensure that suffering will be part and parcel of your life (otherwise your adoption into God’s family is in question Rom 8 ).

We see that suffering does have a purpose:

My brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of any kind consider it nothing but joy, because you know that the testing of your faith produces endurance, and let endurance have its full effect, so that you may be mature and complete, lacking in nothing. James 1:2-4 NRSV

… we boast in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not disappoint us , because God’s love has been poured into our hearts through the Holy Spirit that has been given to us.
Rom 5:3-5 NRSV

Hebrews 12 says we should endure trials as discipline.

But it goes further than that:

I want to know Christ, and the power of his resurrection and the sharing of his sufferings by becoming like him in his death…. Phil 3:10 NRSV

… and when they had called in the apostles, they had them flogged. Then they ordered them not to speak in the name of Jesus, and let them go. As they left the council they rejoiced that they were considered worthy to suffer dishonour for the sake of the name. Acts 5:40 NRSV

And so the Bible calls upon us to rejoice in suffering, endure it expecting good to come from it, and to feel honoured that we have been considered worthy to do so.

These are challenging words at any time. In the midst of our current culture where suffering is considered an evil to be avoided at all costs, they are jarring.

My ponderings on suffering were challenged when I met a good friend who has recently succumbed to a rare syndrome which has left her in excruciating pain. There is no treatment, the pain is just managed. You’ll be pleased to know that I didn’t say any of the above to her – I listened to her story, we talked about other things, and I prayed for her.

Afterwards I wondered…. How does my friend’s situation fit into what I’ve written here? I have absolutely no idea. However, God says in Romans 8:28 that all things work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose. My friend and I have the choice of believing what God says and trusting him in this or turning away in unbelief. I believe that God is good and trustworthy and that I can rely on him even when I don’t understand.

Let us reconsider our attitude to suffering and make sure it’s in line with what God has to say. We will be much more in tune with reality if we do, less susceptible to disappointment, and better able to cope with suffering when it comes, as it inevitably will.

Pray as we tell the story of Jesus in every language.

Christine Platt - Saturday 07 November 2015

On Wednesday we celebrated and said farewell to my PA of the past two years - Emily. She did a great job and I and everyone at GRN Australia are sorry to see her go. We are now praying for her replacement.

Last Friday we celebrated the launch of our new responsive website which is just as happy on a mobile phone as it is a wide screen TV. A team of 6 have been working on it for months. We were very excited to finally have it ready and we are very happy with it - we thank God for the skilled team who made it a reality.

We hear reports from our collegues in Africa, Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Pacific. We pray for them in their need, We rejoice with them when things go well. We seek to help them as we can - often all we can do is pray.

We are always encouraged to hear stories of people who are using our resources and of lives being transformed. It is a real joy to hear that we have played a part in someone coming to faith. We know that most of the time we will not know and so we pray in faith that God will work in heart and minds as people hear the good news.

One of the real challenges we face is to engage the next generation of praying Christians. The world has changed. We need people to pray - how do we find them?

Please pray with us for the next generation of people committed to pray for GRN. Please consider signing up to receive our prayer notes - prayer is a valuable ministry in and of itself.

The Joy of Giving a Report

Christine Platt - Friday 25 September 2015

Last week was GRN Australia’s AGM and tomorrow we have an open day at our office. Both events are a lot of work. They also give pause to reflect on recent events and to think about the future; to rejoice over all that God has done and give thanks for answered prayer.

I am so thankful for the answered prayer. We have several new staff members doing jobs we specifically asked for: graphic designers, studio staff, computer people, recordists, and translators. We have finished major tasks: digitising all our analogue recordings and having our 5fish app released on iTunes as well as Android.

The year has brought its share of challenges, which leaves us in no doubt that we are depending on God in every respect. Just our growth has brought along challenges as we get new people working well and productively. There are prayers to which we have not seen answers, or at least have not fully recognised the answer.

We see challenges ahead. We need a new roof. We need more studio space – praise God for the new studio staff! Our work in South Africa, Myanmar, PNG and South Africa is growing – praise God! And Lord, please help us!

It’s looking back at God’s faithfulness in the past that gives hope for God’s help in the present and the future. So these opportunities to report back to our board, members and ministry partners really are a joy and hopefully they also build up the faith and hope of those who receive the reports as they rejoice with us.

Papua New Guinea – the wait has ended

Christine Platt - Thursday 06 August 2015

One of my first acts as Australian CEO in 2012 was to close down our base in PNG.
We travelled up there knowing there were problems. While I was there it became apparent that we should be working there. A nation of 7 million people with 870 languages plus dialects, where the vast majority identify as Christian but where many cannot read, many have no Bible in their own language, and where many church leaders are not well trained.
Along with an appreciation of the need for GRN to be working in the country came the realisation that the work which was limping along there was so corrupted that it had to be stopped – it was beyond fixing.

And so we have prayed, looked, investigated, asked questions and prayed some more. A false start, travelling up to interview an applicant who proved unsuitable, led to a meeting with Vincent. Vincent applied to lead out work there. We returned to interview him, a positive event, and also found potential members of an Advisory Council.

And so we returned last week to induct our new GRN PNG team. Vincent Gigmai is our base leader. Kathleen Sakias chairs our Advisory Council. We also spent a week with them in orientation and training. It was an exciting time – and now the hard work begins.
Please pray for Vincent, Kathleen and the Advisory Council as they make a start. At this stage they are setting up an office and Vincent is preparing for a longer training period in the Philippines where he will get a better idea of what he is trying to do.

We pray that one day there will be a GRN team in PNG working with the church and missionaries to making recordings and teach people how to use them. We hope to see the church in PNG grow and develop with the help of GRN resources and would love to see GRN PNG reach out into the Pacific to help their neighbours in the tasks of evangelism and discipleship.

If you would like to pray for the work in PNG please contact us and ask to be put on their prayer letter list.

Faith in ………… what/who?

Christine Platt - Friday 19 June 2015

I often wonder “In whom am I really trusting”? Am I trusting my own ability? The ability of another? The government? A doctor? Luck? God? Sometimes it can be hard to tell.
As I look back I can see the amazing way God has brought new staff to GRN Australia. He has provided us with a wonderful place to work. We have people who faithfully pray and support the work in a variety of different ways. We have a good board and a clear vision.

We are getting established in Vanuatu and about to re-commence work in PNG. We are hearing of recording trips being carried out in different countries and are excited at the possibilities for God’s kingdom as a result of those recordings being used. 5fish is making our materials available to a whole new audience via mobile phones. We give thanks for all this.

As I look forward I see a financial year with many challenges. We need a new roof and a new retaining wall. We need three new studios, a small meeting room and a prayer room added to our workplace. We have planned an ambitious recordist training course and a final payment is due on the Philippine’s new office. We would love to see staff here and our overseas centres better supported.

This is all rather daunting when you consider the work involved, planning required and how much it’s all going to cost. However, Jesus said that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. So the challenge is to keep my eyes upon things above, to trust in God and His provision of all we need to accomplish this, and to trust Him to bring it all together in His own time and way.
As I look at the last few years God has provided in the most marvellous ways – people, equipment and resources. It does encourage us to trust and to move forward in faith. We don’t want these things for our own benefit, but for the good of the kingdom.
I’ll let you know how it goes.

Internet: Good or Evil? Blessing or Curse?

Christine Platt - Tuesday 14 April 2015

Well.... it all depends on what you do with it.

One of our guys here had an idea and he tried a little experiment on Facebook. He paid $10 to advertise. He chose a major language spoken in an area very reluctant to engage with the good news about Jesus. He advertised to users of that language who also used a couple of selected "Christian" words in their posts. He advertised with GRN materials - Bible stories in their own language.

The result: about 17,000 people saw the ad, about 1.700 watched an average of three and a half minutes of Bible stories. Around 170 people liked the post, almost 100 commented and nearly 30 shared it with their friends.

He tried again with $100 in a different language. The result? Multiply the above figures by ten. We were amazed by the response.

Pray that God's people will be creative and seek new ways to reach the lost using technology. Pray for those who hear the Good News via technology: for the work of the Holy Spirit in their hearts and minds to bring them to repentance and faith, and that they'd find real, live Christians to help them and for fellowship.

Please pray for those who see our advertisements: that they'd watch the video and for God's work in their hearts and minds. Consider sponsoring one of our advertising campaign - it's a very easy way of getting the Gospel into some very hard to reach places.

International Council 2015 - Thailand

Christine Platt - Wednesday 01 April 2015

I'm back from two weeks in Dolphin Bay Thailand. A beautiful place I shared with 48 GRNers for our four yearly council meetings.

I was encouraged and inspired by my colleagues, many of whom live and work in very difficult places: Nigeria, Sierra Leone, Pakistan, Bangladesh.... We heard stories of entire villages coming to Christ in Nepal, helping typhoon Haiyan survivors in the Philippines and sharing the good news with hundreds at the same time, over 170 groups using GRN resources in Malawi to grow in their faith, of progress in making recordings after a decade or two of persistent prayer and effort, of workers dealing with death threats, bombings, terrorism and epidemics. It's a real privilege to work with these brothers and sisters and to be able to support them in their work. It's wonderful to know that the work we do in the Australian office allows their work to be effective.

From Australia we provide prayer support (please sign up and join our prayer team - it's a vital part of the work), technical support, training, equipment, encouragement and money (you can also sign up to help out financially). We also design and manufacture the Saber - a robust hand wind mp3 player which doesn't need batteries and can easily be heard by a group of 100 listeners. Nothing else works for large groups in truly remote locations where little cash is available. It's encouraging to hear first hand how our work has enabled people to hear God's word and come to faith in Christ.

The meetings were also encouraging because of the good will, unity and shared purpose and vision we shared. The meetings were long, and big decisions were made which will affect how GRN operates in the future. It was all done with a sense of trust in the Network's leadership and an understanding that changes were necessary. I am very thankful to be part of a Network which is united and seeking to work together.

So I left Thailand very happy that the meetings were over, very thankful to be a part of what God is doing through GRN, and very thankful for the way God is choosing to use GRN Australia.

The Truth of the Gospel

Christine Platt - Thursday 22 January 2015

We've been reading through Galatians during our daily prayer time in the office. The apostle Paul is fighting to preserve the truth of the Gospel. He's not willing to have any additions contaminate the pure Gospel he received by revelation and was confirmed by the church leaders in Jerusalem (Gal 2:6). He was willing to publicly confront the apostle Peter as he strayed into error (Gal 2:11). Paul says of anyone who changes the Gospel message: "let him be accursed" (Gal 1:8-9)

It's so important that we tell people the good news and that we get it right! We have to really fight against our natural tendency to add things to the message. In Paul's day the Jewish believers wanted to add circumcision and the law of Moses - which was so unhelpful for the gentile believers. What are we adding to the Good News which is placing an unnecessary barrier between our neighbours and God?

When I think that 100,000 hours of GRN recordings was downloaded from the internet last year, plus what has been played from CDs, Sabers, mp3 players and other sources I realise how important it is that our scripts are good and our recordists well trained. We want people to be hearing the truth of the Gospel as they listen to our recordings, not truth mixed with error.

Please pray for our script committee and script writers, for our recordists and their trainers, and for our language helpers and translators. Pray that our recordings would faithfully convey the truth of the Gospel to those who listen and that any errors which have made their way into the recordings would be discovered and fixed.

Pray for the church, that she would be faithful to the Gospel and intolerant of additions and errors in the message.

What obvious error have I fallen into?

Christine Platt - Friday 12 December 2014

A few years ago I realised that I knew a lot more about God than I actually knew Him. I determined to put my effort into knowing God rather than learning more about Him. I think that was the right thing for me to do, but I'm seeing more and more clearly how important it is to be thinking right thoughts about God. Thinking wrong thoughts about God very easily leads to wrong behaviour (sin) which is accepted by a church whose thinking is skewed.

I've been travelling a lot lately in Asia and the Pacific. I've noticed a few odd things that Christians believe in different places. It has been amazing to see what a detrimental effect they can have on God's people - the church.

1) When Jesus died on the cross and rose again he defeated the Devil, death and sin. Those who are in Christ have nothing to fear from the Devil or evil spirits. In fact in Christ we have authority over them. We are also called to forgive those who sin against us and leave all vengeance to God.

I was in a village where a church elder told me how two family members had died recently. A fellow villager was identified as killing them using black magic - vengeance was taken.

These people did not understand who Jesus really is and what he achieved on the cross. They remain in fear of evil spirits and committed a terrible sin as a result of their lack of understanding.

2) Jesus had no place to lay his head. Paul was content with much and little. Jesus promises us persecution if we follow him and to meet our needs on this earth if we put first God's kingdom and righteousness.

I went to meet a pastor in a small village. Most of the people lived in small dwellings made of wood and bush materials. The pastor lived in an absolutely massive brick house with iron gates.

A young man with us was ministering after completing Bible college training. He wondered what he was doing wrong that God had not blessed him with a grand house and the riches he could see in the hands of other ministers of the Gospel.

3) In Christ there is no Jew or Gentile, male or female, or slave or free. We are all one in Christ Jesus. We are all born dead in our sin. Through faith in Jesus Christ, we are born again by the Holy Spirit.

I spoke to a few people in a certain city. They were from a Christian sub-culture in a city with another dominant religion. I noticed that a couple of people spoke about reaching the gentiles with the Gospel. They knew that they were not Jews, but very much identified as Jews as they read the Bible and considered people from other religious backgrounds as gentiles.

This thinking makes it very difficult for these Christians to embrace a person who comes to faith in Christ. They identify more strongly with those of the Christian sub-culture than believing "gentiles". How hard then to nurture and support new believers.

As I consider these things I wonder.... What errors am I embracing? What sins are they leading me into? It's a sobering thought.

Answers to Prayer - God at work

Christine Platt - Thursday 27 November 2014

Every two months I put together a report for our board meeting. Invariably it is an encouraging experience. As I consider the events of the past I can see the things God has done and the progress we have made:

* For this last meeting I talked about a recordist we trained just this year who has done a wonderful job recording in Zambia and Namibia.

* Our 5fish app has finally been approved and is available on iTunes - so iThing users can now easily download our recordings and audio-visuals onto their devices.

I look at the list of issues and challenges we face. It's encouraging to know that God is at work in it all and will provide solutions in His own good time.

I've just been blessed by another answer to prayer. Do to an oversight I was late in putting in a visa application. I have tickets to travel tomorrow. The visa was promised today. The computer was down at the embassy - no visa was possible. My travel agent parked himself in the embassy and waited and prayed. He was told to go as it was pointless. A lady came out of the office, recognised him, and promised to fix the problem. An hour later he had my visa. Praise the Lord!

So now I'm going, and am wondering what God might have in store for me there. But it's wonderful to know that He'll be there with me each step of the way.

From the Australian CEO's desk

Christine Platt - Friday 22 August 2014

I have now been serving full time at GRN for 2 years, I'll have been CEO for 2 years in about a month. Our Annual General Meeting is my anniversary in the role. It has been full on since I started with a steep learning curve. Looking back I can see a wide array of challenges and problems, lots of people, lots of stories, and amazing answers to prayer. I have no doubt that God is at work and that He answers prayer.

I have heard of prisoners in Uganda hearing the Good News via GRN recordings every week and of a church started in Cambodia as a grandmother played GRN recordings over and over again. I had the privilege of playing our recordings to Brahman caste Nepalis in remote villages and seeing their hunger for God's word first hand. We pray here in the office and are blessed to see His answers so often.

Revelation chapter five talks about Jesus being slain and by His blood ransoming people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation. GRN plays a part in enabling people who have no Bible, whose language might not even be written down, to hear the story of Jesus in their own heart language. I find it exciting to know that I will be worshipping God forever with people who came to know Jesus through GRN recordings and that I play a part in reaching out to the end of the earth with the Good News.

What part are you playing in reaching out to your neighbours and to the end of the earth? We here at GRN are asking the Lord of the harvest to send more workers into the fields..... pray, give and do!

Christine Platt
Australian CEO