WHO YOU ARE TRUMPS WHAT YOU DO!

9:40 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Over a decade ago I was in a tough situation and not happy about it. I prayed and asked God what was going on, why was I wasting time on this when it had no long term results? His reply was a simple "I care more about who you are than what you do." It's remarkable how many times I have recalled that response over the years.

Looking back I can see the work God was doing in me. I was not the person He needed for the future plan He had, but by His grace, I am closer to being that person now.
I have become a person who is willing change anything for the sake of reaching the full potential that Jesus sees in me. A result of the way we lived for many years is that we have lost the desire to be surrounded by possessions, this has simplified life so much. In leadership I have grown and developed. I realise that personal growth in our strong points is an important focus as Jesus can use your skills and combine them with His grace and do so much more than either by themselves can achieve.

Who you are is an important starting point, there are enough fallen leaders that have set out to build the Kingdom of God, I don't wont to become another. What I want is to be someone that makes a significant impact in building God's kingdom therefore who I am is the foundation as God will direct my steps in what I do.

Greg

Busy street.

9:26 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments


NEW SEASON

2:10 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments


I have my bags packed and I am ready to head back to Africa early tomorrow morning. I feel like a kid waiting for Christmas morning. I don't think I have ever been so excited to see what God is going to do in my life.

God has been asking me to stretch my faith and believe bigger. I journaled on Matt 19:29 this morning and I asked, "God really, you want me to increase 100 fold what I left behind?" I left a church which I had a big vision for, bigger than the church currently is 11 years later. Can God really expect me to stretch my vision 100 fold, the answer is yes, He can and He is.

I am excited, knowing that I can't do it by myself, therefore God has to do it through me. I have been challenged to read, pray and worship more. This is drawing me closer to God and affecting me in the most positive way.

I do understand that working out this vision is not as complex as I tend to see it and if I take one day at a time, looking for the potential in people and I continue to work hard to draw it out of them, at the same time doing what is important to grow the ministry and myself, God will take care of the rest.

I thank the people who have encouraged and inspired me recently, you have had a profound impact on my relationship with Jesus, which is the most important relationship we can have. I am on top of the spiritual mountain and that is the place I should be when about to embark on a new season. I think I might even be able to climb a little higher.

Who would not want the joy of walking in God's will for their lives, there is nothing better!

A REFLECTION OF FURLOUGH

6:34 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments


I always start our furlough with mixed emotions. In the rush to leave Africa - have I got everything done? Can we really afford to be away for so long? Where are we going to stay in Australia and how are we going to get around? Do we have sufficient finances to be there? This is balanced with the excitement of knowing we will be catching up with family and friends and meeting lots of great people along the way.

In the past 6 months I have visited a different ACC church every weekend to share what we have been doing for the past 3 years. These churches are in Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. I have spent 12 weeks apart from Kim and the kids and have been to  ACC National Conference. I have spoken in schools and taken part in my own graduation from Alphacrucis College. The response has been tremendous and this encourages me to return to Africa with a renewed energy.

We have managed to sort out 3 years of neglected affairs and realised how behind we are with technology. Health checks have been caught up on and I even had the chance to experience shingles and am pleased to say I was completely over it in about a month. We were able to catch up with so many friends, both old and new, and there are many who I didn't get to see, but realise that's true for all of us.

Living out of a suitcase is ok, as I don't need much stuff to feel comfortable, the difficulty is trying to keep in a routine of exercise, prayer and bible study whilst moving around. I did get to discover the fun of mountain bike riding on good bush tracks. I was slaughtered on the squash court by a mate that I was once competitive against. I don't think 11 years away from a game is great preparation.
People have been very generous covering many of our costs and blessing us enormously. If it was not for these people we could not afford to do what we do and it's a very humbling experience.

I have spent a lot of time seeking new ministry partners which gets mixed responses from people, ranging from disdain to respect. I have met new friends and have had many awkward discussions with people who can't seem understand what we do or why we do it.

In short I don't know where the spare time went in the past 6 months but I do know it was fun, exhausting and quick. I have discovered things about myself that I need to work on and have been challenged by God to think bigger.

When you ask me how am I enjoying my holiday I smile and say it's great to be back, whilst thinking to myself, "I would love a holiday." Furlough is nearly over. So long Australia - Africa here I come.

GOING HOME?

1:43 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

In two weeks I fly from Australia back to Africa. It has been so good spending time with everyone here, and am looking forward to getting back to a continent that I love so much. In returning to Africa we start another three year journey. It's interesting to mark our lives by three year terms and in the next term it seems we have so much work to do and so little time to do it.

I am constantly amazed by God and I ask Him, why me? Who am I, for the creator of the universe to choose, to be part of His vision for Africa? God wants to bless the nations and has asked if I would be willing to help Jesus carry that out. God can use anyone to do what I do, but He chose me.

The underlying message for me during this time in Australia has been that God is about to amaze me with what He does, that my thinking is too small, and my faith has not stretched to believe for what is coming. The surprising part is that Kim tells me I dream too big, and if I tell people what I am believing for they will think I am crazy. So here I am being crazy and thinking as big as I can and God is saying it's still too small.

Pray that God will grow my faith and that I can keep up with what He is going to do over the next three years.

Greg.

UPDATE ON OUR PROGRESS

2:40 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments




At this time Kim, Gabi and Thomas are in Kenya. The kids really wanted to go to ACC National Conference earlier this month but thought that getting back to school for the beginning of term was more important. I know right, I have the best job being a dad, both our children want to do well so they are self motivated. It's so cool when I get to say, "Hey guys, don't push it so hard , Mum and I don't care about your results, your best is great",  when in fact I am pumped on the inside that they do work so hard. Being a pressure release is so much better than being an enforcer.
Kim is staying at the school helping out where she can. I will be back in Africa and will meet Kim in Zimbabwe on June 7th en-route to Mozambique. We have a quite a bit to sort out in southern Africa before heading to Kenya to join a short term mission trip in September.
Please pray that we have great meetings in Mozambique and are able to prepare well for our transition


Greg

FUTURE WORLD CUP PLAYER?

10:49 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

PASSIVENESS WILL DESTROY US.

10:39 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

In the areas of life where we choose not to change, we will see that part of us decline. Have you ever worked in a place where a person with the wrong attitude brings the team down? A passive leader in this case will allow harmony to be destroyed. 
The same goes for exercise. If you are active and pump iron for years, then become passive - no longer making the effort to workout, your past effort will not sustain you and muscles will loose their power. 
The same goes for our Christian walk. To have been active as a Christian in the past will not sustain us now. We need to shake off being passive to become active once again. 
Our priorities can cause areas of our life to be put on the back burner due to time constraints, in our Christian walk we can not afford for our time with God to become passive. If we think the things we do for Jesus connects us to Him, this is wrong. It's the time we spend studying the Word, worshipping, fellowship and prayer that connects us to the Godhead. We cannot become passive and expect our relationship to grow. 
The great news is that today is a new day it could be the day you restore what you once had and see further growth in your life. 

Greg



OUR CORNER SHOP IN CATANDICA.

6:32 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

GIVING IT UP!

7:56 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Since becoming a Christian 18 years ago, I have learnt to carry an increased level of pressure without turning it into stress. 
So I am confused as to how I got shingles, is that not brought on by stress? My normal response to stress is to ignore it. My patience gets shorter but I don't spend time "worrying" about my problems.
When you learn who Jesus is and what he does for you, it is easy to let him take the pressure off you. I know that God has a plan for me and that plan is good. So why would I stress? It seems some of the pressure has slipped though. It's time for me to pray more and remove any worry that I carry. 
Jesus has set me free and I intend to be free indeed. 

Greg.

YOUTH ARE THE FUTURE!

3:21 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

It's such a privilege to be able to visit the youth in churches to encourage them to be all that they can be.
The sky is the limit!
Greg.

CHALLENGING THE CHARITY MINDSET

7:48 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments


Going deeper than the surface-level 'charity mindset' of missions to becoming people of justice who will change the world. 
   
By ALUN DAVIES     
ACCI Missions & Relief is able to have an incredible impact across the world due to the engagement, support, passion and commitment of the ACC movement. Last year over $9 million was raised to assist a multitude of people and projects, and every year the impact we collectively make continues to grow. 
Last year alone – our Field Workers were able to make the following impact:   
•    9,216 leaders trained (50.8% increase on 2010 annual figures), 
•    33,915 children assisted (166% increase on 2010), 
•    Over 78,000 community development beneficiaries (225% increase on 2010), 
•    53 churches were planted, 
•    5,598 salvations, 
•    1,082 water baptisms, and 
•    1,237 baptisms in the Holy Spirit.        

How can we do more? 

While ACC churches are incredibly generous in their support of missions, there is a limit to the amount of finance we can give. Therefore, achieving more is not simply a matter of raising more funds. It is about critically evaluating our methods and approaches to missions and ensuring that we are strategically using our resources to tackle root causes and implement long-term solutions. The greatest obstacle to achieving this is the 'charity mindset' in missions. Under the charity model, we respond to immediate and observable needs that people have by providing food for the hungry and material goods for those facing desperate circumstances. For example, if we hear about a village with 100 starving children in a developing country, we respond by launching a campaign to raise money to start a feeding program. In other words, we focus on addressing the symptoms, but ignore the causes.    

My vision for missions is that we focus on solving the problem, not simply throwing money at the problem. This means we need to look beyond the immediate issue and ask 'Why are people in need? Why are the children hungry?'    

The best contribution we could make to the village of starving children would be to address the root causes of poverty. An example of a long-term solution would be to invest into resourcing and equipping the community to generate sufficient food or income to feed themselves and their own children – which in many cases can be achieved using the same money that would otherwise be spent on providing them with food.

Are we willing to change our habits and practices so we can focus on justice and address the root causes?    

Because when we operate out of a charity mindset, we fail to address the underlying causes of the issue and we run the risk of perpetuating the problem and reinforcing dependency, feelings of inferiority and powerlessness, all of which deepen someone's experience of poverty.   

A Justice Mindset 
Proverbs 13:23 says, "An unplowed field produces food for the poor, but injustice sweeps it away."  The Bible tells us that injustice is at the root of poverty, and therefore resolving the root causes of issues such as poverty requires us to move beyond charity and pursue justice.   

If children need food, what we need to do is deal with the injustices that causes the children to be hungry. If children are in danger of exploitation, we need to deal with the injustices leading to their vulnerability and commodification.    

In order to establish a new mind set and approach to missions founded upon justice, let's examine the biblical plan.    

"For I, the Lord, love justice..." (Isaiah 61:8)    "He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God." (Micah 6:8)    

The word of God through Micah is that we should "do justice", that is, practice justice, not just accept it as an idea. Biblical justice is not a concept we just adhere to or discuss, it is a behaviour we must adopt and practice. Justice must be at the core of all we do. It must be one of our foundational values reflected in our policies and practices.   

How do we 'do justice'? 

The gospel is good news that brings wholeness - a spiritual, relational, physical and emotional wholeness. In the same way, missions must be holistic - spiritual, emotional and social. Our responsibility in missions goes beyond just starting a church. Rather, we need to bring holistic change to communities. We need to "do justice" by addressing injustice.    This usually includes FOUR KEY ACTIVITIES:   

1. Advocacy – in order to identify and challenge structural causes of injustice and inequality.   "Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!" (Proverbs 31:8 MSG)   

2. Education – to equip local people with the skills to break cycles of poverty, improve their access to safe employment, improve their decision making and critical thinking skills, improve their access to literate and post literate learning materials, and enhance their confidence to engage in decision making sites.   

3. Intervention – to transform inequalities between people and give communities or individuals opportunities to affect positive change in their lives and futures. This means talking with the people, to discover their self-determined hopes and goals.    "Because I delivered the poor who cried, the fatherless and him who had none to help him. The blessing of him who was about to perish came upon me, and I caused the widow's heart to sing for joy….I was eyes to the blind, and feet was I to the lame. I was a father to the poor and needy; the cause of him I did not know I searched out. And I broke the jaws or the big teeth of the unrighteous and plucked the prey out of his teeth."  (Job 29:12-13, 15-17 AMP)   

4. Prevention – to reduce risks and vulnerabilities and enhance community resilience to shocks and crises in order to negate the necessity of resorting to negative coping mechanisms. (e.g. trafficking, irregular migration, unsafe employment, child labour, sex work etc). This means stepping in and working with governments. 

To truly change the world, we need to first change our charity mindset in missions and start taking a stand for justice. It is when we direct our resources and energy towards tackling the root causes of injustice that we can do more than we've ever done before.       

 '...Do you know what I want?       

I want justice—oceans of it.      
I want fairness—rivers of it.      
That's what I want. That's all I want.'   (Amos 2:21 MSG)     

Alun Davies is the Director of ACC International and ACC Vice President.      
Recommended reading: Doing Bad by Doing Good: Why Humanitarian Action Fails by Christopher J Coyne       
(Article published in 2016 EMAG#2)

Greg. 

SOUND DOCTRINE.

8:08 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments


2 Tim 4: 3 For the time will come when men will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. 4 They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths.

When we don't have a standard to test what we believe against, we will believe anything that seems right to us. This is how mythology and false religion start. Fortunately we have God's word to test what we hear against. Unfortunately the media and the loudest voices, in our society do not have a standard to base what they believe against, so they use what makes them feel good or what agrees with the way they want to live, as the test of truth. 
It seems society is going further down the rabbit hole as the anchor of the truth is being ignored further and further. Random violence, drug use and sexual promiscuity seem to be on the rise, as people experiment with experiences trying to find the purpose of life. This can't be found outside of God. 
As believers we need to recognise general society are seeking what we have, but in the wrong places. We are not to follow them nor condemn them, but to be true to what we know, living life to the fullest and continuing to test what we hear and see, against the word of God. 

Greg.

WHY BUILDING INFLUENTIAL CHURCHES IN CAPITAL CITIES IS REQUIRED IN AFRICA.

7:38 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

We have heard it said that Christianity is a mile wide and an inch deep in Africa. This could also be said in many parts of the world. Christianity is about being changed into the best person you can be, by following Christ. Unfortunately many churches fail to teach people how to grow into themselves. For that to change we need to disciple Africans in vibrant, healthy churches. If these churches become large enough they will start to shape the nation.

As Christians we need to focus on helping others to grow into who they were created to be, anything else we do is temporary. When a country's government says they have had enough of churches not teaching Christianity, it's time for an example to be established, that can be a guide to good people with good hearts that may be doing the wrong thing, as they have never been demonstrated the right thing.

Inward looking churches are the norm, though are we not called to make disciples of all nations? As a family we are committed to developing nations through building healthy, committed people in a place that brings the best out of them. In turn these people can change their nation to become a place where everybody is given the opportunity to live free and with a good standard of living. The way to do this is to partner together to build an authentic church.

The best place to build this church is where the people of most influence live, the place where people come to live for a short time before returning to their homes. This place is usually the capital city of a nation.

If you see this as a worthwhile strategy as I do, why not sow into it by using the links on this page or contacting us.

Greg.

LOOKING GOOD.

1:04 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Mozambican people have taught me that you don't need to look poor if you are struggling financially.
I have seen people living on less than $2 per day, dress sharp in nice clothes, for special occasions, including a trip to the city. These people might only have one set of nice clothes, so they take care of them. This has challenged me to attempt to always look my best which has in turn actually made me feel better about myself.

Greg.

AUSSIE MEDIA AND THE CHURCH.

11:26 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

I am amazed at how the Australian media live to defend any minority group, except the church, who they love to beat up.
And it's odd that the typical Aussie does not seem to notice that the media is so anti-church. They are being fooled into believing the church has a negative impact on society.
To educate a man in mind and not in morals, is to educate a menace to society; Theodore Roosevelt. 
Australia once got it's moral code from the church. It is quite obvious that the moral values Australians once held as core values, are slowly slipping away. It's not immigration that is causing this, it is the media who are pushing their "anything that makes me feel good, I should be allowed to do" agenda.
Many people can tell me the mistakes the church has made but are unable to list the many ways churches benefit society because they have never been told the other side.
Don't be fooled people! There is a media hate campaign to bring down the most important asset we have as a nation, the church. Churches help to build productive, positive people and healthy societies. Don't take my word for it, but don't take the media's word either, go check out your local church and find out what they are doing, you will be surprised. 

To be popular is easy; to be right, when right is unpopular, is noble; Andrew Carnegie 

Greg. 

ENTERING IN IS A CHOICE.

8:46 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Every week I am at a different church, the service format is different and the style of worship is different. Every week I connect with the Spirit of God during worship. I feel His love for me and I am uplifted.
This week I wondered how many people during the same time of worship, felt that God was not there, and would say the Spirit of God was not in this place. I have been one of those people at times and I realise now that when I choose to press in, then I feel God's love.

Greg.

SELF DISCIPLE IS SELF SATISFYING.

1:25 PM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

In 2015 Kim and I decided we could use some fitness so we started cross-fit. 12 months later & I could count on my hands the number of sessions I had done. The fact that I didn't enjoy it and had to push myself every session, depleted my drive. More noticeable was the fact I didn't have any real goals.
Well in 2016 we had a renewed effort on the fitness front but this time it was running. Armed with a free app we attempted to go from couch to 5km in 13 weeks and I am pleased to say we both achieved the goal. In December we completed a number of 5km Parkruns and improved our times over a month. I know I will stop running if I don't have a goal, so I set one, to run 5km in 20 minutes which is 6 minutes faster than my best time. To do this I need to be training constantly and eating well. Another free app I have helps me to track my food habits and its interesting to note the useless kilojoules I have a habit of eating so I am cutting down on these and finding it simple as I have a goal to achieve.
The key to doing anything well is goal setting, I have goals within the ministry, my walk with God and have been challenged to write a goal for my relationships, particularly with Kim and the kids. 
We are all time poor and recently I heard a SAS soldier saying that he exercises at 4:00 am every morning because there is nobody around to disturb him. He has a great point, if we wait to fit exercise into our day we won't have room, so I set the alarm for 5:00am (I am no SAS soldier) and go for a run every second day. Then I read 4 chapters of the bible and pray. By the time 8:00am comes around I am ready to start my day and feel so much better for it.
Interestingly the more I do and the greater my self-discipline, the more rewarding my days are. To be active is one of the secrets to a fulfilled life.

Greg. 

RAISING MORAL STANDARDS, RAISES LIVING STANDARDS.

10:51 AM Harts for Africa 0 Comments

Psalm 72 shows us what can change in a nation when moral economics overcomes corruption.

A nation plagued with corruption, is a nation where the people will never prosper. Leaders have an opportunity to create an environment where all people of the nation are able to increase their living standards.

The writer pleads with God to help him be a King that acts with justice and righteousness. The results of a righteous leadership, the mountains bear prosperity for the people. How often does the wealth of the land assist a few people and the majority live in poverty? The good news is that when the moral standard of a society grows, the economy of the nation will also grow.

An African proverb says that there is no justice between a rich man and a poor man. These things will change when values change. Money can be more important than everything else in a person's life, causing it to become a master over that person. When this is the case moral values decline, as people do anything they can to store up wealth. The same person can choose to put God first and love their neighbour as themselves, placing money in its rightful place as a tool used by a person to answer the needs of life.

Sending aid to poor nations is like covering an infection with a band-aid, unless the wound is clean and the infection dealt with, no long term change will occur. That's why we need to build an influential church that disciples national leaders into becoming all they can be in Christ.

When a government has a system that is just and fair for all, other nations will want to trade with them and show friendship. Food becomes abundant and the people flourish. Please pray with us that leaders of the African nations increase in justice and righteousness, that God provides discipleship to them through faithful people.

To assist us to build the church that Africa needs, you can go to http://www.accipartners.org.au/m200_hart_church