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News Snippets from Around the World

News Snippets from Around the World
News Snippets

Keeping you up to date on what’s happening around the world. Topics include items connected to Christianity and that impact on practising our faith, news on ethical issues, also news on countries who persecute Christians, and topics that affect our culture, additionally ones that impact upon Israel and Jewish people, and those which may possibly be a reflection of end times and associated prophecies.

Note: we endeavour to keep the news snippets updated weekly, but due to time restraints, it may not always be possible to do so.


13th: Donald Trump impeached a 2nd time, charged with ‘incitement of insurrection:’: US House votes 232 to 197, with 10 Republicans in favor; Senate trial unlikely before Jan. 19, so Trump – 1st president in US history to be impeached twice – set to serve out term. (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: Parler forced offline after losing access to host servers: Head of social media platform popular with the far-right accuses tech giants of trying to stifle free speech: ‘They will NOT win!’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: Following Twitter Ban, President Trump Says He May Create His Own Social Networking Platform: President Trump announced that he may potentially create his own social media platform after Twitter permanently banned his personal account in the wake of Wednesday’s attack at the U.S. Capitol. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

10th: ‘There was no violence,’ claims Israeli Trump supporter who raided US Capitol: Brushing off suggestion of wrongdoing, Pinchas Gerby says the FBI could find him in ‘seconds’ if it pleased; 5 people, including a Capitol police officer, died as a result of siege. (The Times of Israel) [link]

9th: Dems set to start impeachment Monday; Senate trial unlikely before Trump departs: Mitch McConnell has informed senators that without unanimous consent, January 20 is likely the earliest a trial could begin, overshadowing start of Biden administration. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Trump finally condemns riot, promises transition, as calls mount for his removal: US president calls chaos in Washington a ‘heinous attack’ as top Democrats press for his ouster, 2 of his cabinet members and other staffers resign. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: ‘Begin the Healing’: Franklin Graham Urges Trump to Invite Biden to the White House: Evangelist Franklin Graham is encouraging President Trump to invite President-elect Joe Biden to the White House as a way to help heal the nation and assist the transition of power. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: Republican congresswoman apologizes for saying ‘Hitler was right on one thing:’ Mary Miller, newly elected Illinois representative, says she regrets citing Nazi dictator, claims to be an ally of the Jewish community and staunchly pro-Israel. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Police, FBI carry out widespread arrests after storming of US Capitol: Those facing federal charges include West Virginia lawmaker, suspect who constructed bombs made to act like ‘homemade napalm’ and man who broke into Pelosi’s office. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Religious Rights Still Blocked in Sudan, Christian Leaders Say: Officials in Sudan have shown signs of increasing religious freedom, but Christians say roadblocks remain to constructing churches and regaining confiscated properties since the new transitional government took power in September 2019. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

8th: Initial Pfizer study suggests vaccine works against UK virus variant: Research, which hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed, indicates vaccine could also work against South African strain, but more testing needed; Israeli health official welcomes news. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Daily coronavirus deaths in US reach new record of nearly 4,000: Surging transmission claims the lives of 3,865 Americans; president continues to downplay virus. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: Sedition charges possible for pro-Trump rioters; 90+ arrested; dozens charged: Other possible charges for assault on Capitol include civil disorder, destruction of property and rioting. (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: Congress Certifies Biden as Next President, Trump Vows ‘Orderly Transition:’ Hours after recessing due to a mob that stormed the capitol building, a joint session of Congress early Thursday turned back objections and certified Joe Biden as the next president. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

7th: Franklin Graham Urges Christians to Pray for Joe Biden: America Must ‘Work Together for the Good:’ Franklin Graham is urging Christians to unite and pray for President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris in the midst of what he is calling a turbulent time in U.S. history. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

7th: Biden blames Trump for ‘domestic terrorists’ who stormed US Capitol: Lamenting ‘one of the darkest days in the history’ of America, president-elect says incumbent ‘unleashed an all-out assault on our institutions of our democracy’. (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: Number of Abortion Clinics in the U.S. Has Declined by 35 Percent Since 2009, Pro-Life Group Finds: Operation Rescue, a leading pro-life group, recently published its annual report highlighting a decline in surgical abortion clinics in the U.S. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

7th: Trump commits to orderly transition of power, but still disputes election result: US president’s first acknowledgment he’ll leave office January 20 not posted on Twitter or Facebook due to suspension; aides say he issued it reluctantly, is livid at Pence. (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: White House officials resign, others consider quitting after assault on Capitol: Deputy US national security adviser, social secretary, deputy press secretary, 1st lady’s chief of staff step down; others said worried about what Trump may do without ‘guardrails.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: ‘Fragile, vulnerable’: Iran, China, Russia mock US democracy after Capitol chaos: America’s adversaries unleash scorn at ‘limping’ democratic system, gloat over images of violence in Washington, while allies urge a return to normalcy. (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: 4 die in Capitol pro-Trump riots: 1 shot by police, 3 in ‘medical emergencies:’ Woman shot by police as she invaded US legislature with crowd; police say other deaths were in area around Congress but not linked to violence. (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: Amid violence, Twitter suspends Trump account, threatens permanent ban: Move comes after social media sites take down Trump video and statements that justified mob attack on US Capitol and continue to deny election results. (The Times of Israel) [link]

7th: Guns drawn, lawmakers under desks as pro-Trump mob roams and loots Congress: On the president’s urging, a horde surges into US Capitol, tearing down American flag and unfurling a Trump banner amid clouds of teargas and a deadly gunshot. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Christian Leaders Respond to the Storming of the U.S. Capitol Building: Trump supporters attending a “Stop the Steal” rally-turned-violent-riot, stormed the U.S. Capitol building stalling the certification of Joe Biden as the next president of the United States. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: Trump backers storm US Capitol, halting Senate meeting to certify Biden win: Egged on by the president, demonstrators breach seat of American government in unprecedented scenes; staffers barricade themselves in offices. (The Times of Israel) [link]

6th: US Congress validates Biden victory, hours after pro-Trump mob storms Capitol: Pence says count ‘shall be deemed a sufficient declaration’ of Democrat’s win, capping a day of deadly violence and extraordinary scenes in Washington. (The Times of Israel) [link]

4th: US orders aircraft carrier to remain in Gulf after ‘recent threats’ by Iran: Acting defense secretary orders USS Nimitz to halt redeployment, cites threats from Tehran against Trump on anniversary of Soleimani killing. (The Times of Israel) [link]

4th: US administers 4 million vaccines as death toll passes 350,000 amid new surge: Fauci says there is ‘glimmer of hope’ and possibility of hitting target of 100 million shots in first 100 days of Biden administration, notes current ‘glitches’ in distribution. (The Times of Israel) [link]

3rd: Republicans enlist in Trump’s effort to undo Biden win in Congress: 11 GOP senators, senators-elect to vote against certifying election results, even as they acknowledge they won’t succeed in reversing outcome. (The Times of Israel) [link]

3rd: ‘An act of desperation’: UK’s delay of second vaccine dose comes under fire: Experts criticize British policy, which also reportedly includes directive allowing healthcare workers to mix Pfizer-BioNTech and AstraZeneca inoculations. (The Times of Israel) [link]

3rd: Israeli task force warns British virus strain spreading, calls for full lockdown: Panel says infection increasing among kids; Health Ministry chief warns virus ‘running amok’; health official says no immediate plan to follow UK lead in delaying 2nd vaccine dose. (The Times of Israel) [link]

2nd: New Year arrives with US hitting a staggering 20 million COVID cases: As raging pandemic deadens holiday celebrations, US death toll passes 347,000; France imposes new curfews; UK reopens field hospitals to cope with surge in cases. (The Times of Israel) [link]

2nd: ‘Eye of the storm’: UK in crisis as cases surge, likely due to new virus variant: British health authorities scramble amid wave of cases that is expected to spike even higher following Christmas, New Year’s gatherings. (The Times of Israel) [link]

1st: As 2021 dawns, Israel becomes first country to vaccinate 10% of population: Health Ministry announces 950,000 out of 9.3 million have been given first dose of inoculation, including 41% of those aged over 60; daily cases top 5,500 for 4th day in a row. (The Times of Israel) [link]

1st: World hits grim daily record of 15,000 reported COVID deaths on last day of 2020: As global vaccination efforts ramp up, pandemic reaches new peaks, with over 1.8 million people dead and nearly 84 million cases reported. (The Times of Israel) [link]


31st: Thousands Celebrate in Streets as Argentina Legalizes Abortion: Argentina became the largest Latin American country to legalize abortion, defying public opposition from Pope Francis as well as from the nation’s Catholic leaders. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

31st: Syria’s state media says attack on bus in its south kills 28 civilians: Report calls incident a terrorist attack, without providing details; area where it occurred may have active Islamic State presence. (The Times of Israel) [link]

30th: Bible Purchases Increase Significantly amid COVID-19 Pandemic, LifeWay Christian Resources Reports: Despite the coronavirus outbreak, according to Lifeway Christian Resources, Bible sales increased across the globe this year. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: President Trump Is America’s Most Admired Man for 2020, Gallup Poll Says: President Trump is the most admired man in the United States for 2020, according to a new Gallup survey. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: Third Christmas tree outside church set alight in northern Arab city of Sakhnin: Graffiti objecting to cartoon depictions of Mohammed spray-painted on wall outside Catholic church. (The Times of Israel) [link 1]

30th: US State Legalizes Infanticide, Removes Requirement to Save Babies Who Survive an Abortion: Massachusetts approved a controversial abortion rights bill Tuesday that pro-lifers call one of the most extreme in the nation due to its language on late-term abortions and on protecting babies who survive an abortion. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: World Vision Failed to Properly Vet, Provided Funds to Group Affiliated with Terrorists: Senate Committee Report: The U.S. Senate Finance Committee said in a new report that World Vision, a humanitarian aid non-profit organization, should have known that a group it funded took part in terrorism activities. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: BLESS Foundation Raises $1 Million to End Human Trafficking, Feed Hungry: A virtual concert held by The BLESS Foundation raised $1 million for five different Christian organizations whose goals range from housing orphans to ending human trafficking and feeding the hungry, The Christian Post reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: Georgia Revival Sees More Than 200 People Surrender Their Lives to Christ: A powerful move of God is sweeping Hillcrest Baptist Church in Swainsboro, Georgia as part of its ongoing Swainsboro Revival services. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

30th: Survey: UK Teens Are More Likely Than Millennials to Believe in God: A new poll of Britain’s Generation Z finds older adolescents and younger adults are more likely to believe in God than are millennials, the demographic ahead of them. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

30th: Christian Chinese Journalist Jailed for Reporting on COVID-19 in Wuhan: Zhang Zhan, a devout Christian citizen-journalist was sentenced to four years in jail for reporting on the COVID-19 outbreak in the central city of Wuhan earlier this year. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

29th: China Cracks Down on Christmas by Closing Churches, Banning Singing: Christians in one part of China were greeted with government-backed anti-Christmas protests in December as part of a nationwide crackdown on Christmas, according to a new report. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

29th: New York Times Promotes a Pro-LGBT Handel’s ‘Messiah,’ with Jesus as a Muslim Woman, US: A gender-inclusive, polytheistic, multi-cultural rendition of Handel’s Messiah is gaining praise from those on the Left for its LGBT imagery and its reimagining of Jesus as a Muslim woman. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

29th: Seven Christians killed near Chibok, Nigeria in Christmas eve attacks: Sources say the Islamic extremist militants previously killed the sevem in northeast Nigeria’s Borno state, with another 2 killed in nearby Adamawa State (Eternity News) [link 1]

28th: 1 in 1,000 Americans has died of COVID-19, as country surpasses 19 million cases: Johns Hopkins data show US has been recording at least a million infections per week since early November. (The Times of Israel) [link]

28th: Nashville Police Officer Says God Told Him to Walk Away from RV Moments before it Exploded, US: the police officer is praising God for saving his life after a massive explosion took place from a recreational vehicle on Christmas Day (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

28th: Release International: Christian Persecution Will Increase in China, India in 2021: the international Christian watchdog organization for persecuted Christians worldwide, has predicted in a report that Christians in China and India will face more persecution in 2021. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

28th: Late Apologist Ravi Zacharias Did Engage in ‘Sexual Misconduct’, RZIM Board Confirms: the Board of Ravi Zacharias International Ministries confirmed that sexual misconduct allegations made against its late founder and apologist Ravi Zacharias were found to be true. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

28th: Abortion Clinic Sues Indiana, Says Aborted Babies Should Be Placed in Landfills – Not Buried, US: An Indianapolis abortion clinic is asking a federal court to strike down an Indiana law that requires the remains of unborn babies to be buried or cremated. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

26th: Why it matters the coronavirus is mutating, and what it means for vaccines: An infectious disease expert says the new UK virus variant is likely more transmissible, increasing the need for speedy vaccination campaigns. (The Times of Israel) [link]

26th: UK scientists test drug to stop COVID-19 developing in those exposed to virus: Antibody treatment could be used to reduce deaths in nursing homes if immediately deployed upon discovery of infection; 10 people injected so far upon exposure to pathogen. (The Times of Israel) [link]

26th: China touts its ‘extraordinary’ success containing virus ahead of WHO probe: Communist Party leaders praise themselves for largely curbing spread of COVID-19, whose origins they have sought to cast doubt on since it emerged last December in Wuhan. (The Times of Israel) [link]

25th: In Christmas address, Pope calls for needy, vulnerable to get vaccine first: Roman pontiff urges leaders of nations, businesses and international organizations to ‘promote cooperation and not competition, and to search for solution for all.’ (The Times of Israel) [link]

23rd: Hungary Adds New Amendment to Constitution Defining Marriage as Union of One Man and One Woman: The Hungarian Parliament authorized a Constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman. The amendment also has implications for Hungary’s adoption laws, as gay couples will now be prohibited from adopting children, The Christian Post reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

23rd: Poland announces measures to fine social media companies that censor free speech: Poland’s justice minister has announced the creation of a new bill that would protect freedom of speech from social media censorship. (LifeSite) [link 1] [link 2]

23rd: Missouri Church Packs over 40,000 Meals for Those in Need, US: on Sunday 500 volunteers at Hope City Church of Joplin to pack meals for those in need. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

23rd: Iraq Declares Christmas an Annual Holiday and Brings Hope for Refugee Christians: despite the waning number of Christians in the country, Iraq’s parliament unanimously passed a law to make Christmas “a national holiday, with annual frequency,” according to Christianity Today. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

23rd: NC Couple Fights HOA’s Demand to Remove Cross from Christmas Decorations, US: A couple in North Carolina fought—and won—against their HOA’s demand to remove a cross as part of their Christmas decoration, according to CBN News. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

23rd: Joni Eareckson Tada Diagnosed with COVID-19, Says She’s ‘Deeply Humbled’ by Support, Prayers, US: Christian author and speaker Joni Eareckson Tada is requesting prayer after experiencing flu-like symptoms and testing positive for COVID-19 in recent days. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

23rd: Amazon Pressured to Drop Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Focus on the Family, from Charity List: a prominent left-leaning group is urging Amazon to drop dozens of Christian organizations from its popular AmazonSmile charity because they hold to traditional, biblical beliefs about sexuality. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

23rd: UN condemned Israel 17 times in 2020, versus 6 times for rest of world combined: Watchdog decries ‘surreal torrent of one-sided resolutions’ as General Assembly adopts 2 resolutions singling out Jewish state for censure this week. (The Times of Israel) [link]

22nd: COVID-19 Vaccines Are a ‘Gift from Above,’ Surgeon General Jerome Adams Say, US: The U.S. surgeon general says the speedy development of a Covid-19 vaccine is due to divine intervention. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

22nd: Bayer, Direct Relief to Give Planned Parenthood $80,000 to Increase ‘Access to Birth Control,’ US: Four health clinics that provide contraceptives, including two Planned Parenthood locations, are set to receive part of $80,000 in funding meant to increase access to contraceptives. (Christian Headlines) [link]

22nd: Satanic Temple billboards claim, ‘Abortions save lives!’ US despite another attempt to overturn abortion laws in Missouri, the group is now promoting abortion rituals in an attempt to circumvent the state’s law. (LiveAction) [link 1] [link 2] [link 3]

21st: Ancient ritual bath may mark first New Testament-era find at Jesus’ Gethsemane, Israel: Olive grove where Jesus spent a night of agony, accepted his betrayal, and was arrested ahead of his crucifixion has until now had no physical link to Second Temple era. (The Times of Israel) [link]

21st: School District to Pay $187,000 to Atheist Group over Praying, Singing Hymns during Graduation Ceremony, US: In South Carolina, a school district just settled a lawsuit with the American Humanist Association over allowing hymns and prayers during a graduation ceremony, The Christian Post reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

21st: Pastor Shot, Killed after Baptizing People, India: A pastor in India was shot and killed in the street in the state of Jharkhand as he was returning home from baptizing believers, The Christian Post reports. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

21st: Christmas service-goers threatened, India: The leader of a Hindu nationalist group in India has forbidden Hindus from participating in any Christian celebrations. (Open Doors) [link 1]

21st: Prime Minister Scott Morrison promotes two Christians to the Frontbench, Australia: Senator Amanda Stoker and Andrew Hastie MP have been promoted from the back bench to the outer ministry by Prime Minister Scott Morrison. (Eternity News) [link 1]

20th: Britain warns new strain out of control as European nations start to ban flights: UK health minister says situation with new coronavirus variant is ‘deadly serious’; Netherlands, Belgium stop air travel from Britain, as Germany considers making same move. (The Times of Israel) [link]

20th: Facebook deletes antivax posts as prosecutors warn against spreading false info: Director of the cyber department in the State Attorney’s Office says dissemination of untruths about the coronavirus vaccine could amount to a criminal offense. (The Times of Israel) [link]

20th: Trump mulls Sidney Powell as special counsel as Flynn proposes martial law, US: US president entertains conspiracy theories, outlandish schemes to try to remain in office; lawyer Giuliani pushes him to seize voting machines in hunt for evidence of fraud. (The Times of Israel) [link]

20th: 2 more arrested in Austria over Vienna terror attack: Prosecutors to ask that suspects be held until trial for their alleged involvement in November shooting rampage by IS supporter that left 4 dead. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: NATO checking its computer systems after massive cyberattack against US, others: Official says ‘no evidence of compromise’ has been found; confirms NATO uses SolarWinds, whose software was hacked in attack that also affected networks in Israel. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: COVID-19 nearly three times more deadly than the flu, study finds: French research shows coronavirus patients more often need hospitalization and stay in intensive care for roughly twice as long as people with flu. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: Olympic Committee accused of ignoring human rights for 2022 Beijing Games, China: Groups speaking for Tibetans, Uighurs and others representing Hong Kong say international body has ‘turned a blind eye’ to systematic violations. (The Times of Israel) [link]

19th: Severe COVID variant detected in South Africa, health minister says: a newly identified strain of coronavirus driving surge in younger patients with more serious symptoms. (The Times of Israel) [link]

18th: Kirk Cameron Defies Lockdown Orders with Christmas Carol Peaceful Protest, US: Actor Kirk Cameron hosted a Christmas carol peaceful protest this week in defiance of Governor Gavin Newsom’s COVID-19 lockdown orders. He partnered with “Sing It Louder USA,” a group of concerned citizens angry over the government’s restrictions. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

18th: Thousands of Pastors Go into Hiding in China: pastors across China have disconnected from their computers and phones, destroyed their ID cards which contain microchip trackers and are needed to do virtually anything in China, and have gone into hiding. (Christian Headlines) [link 1] [link 2]

18th: Lauren Daigle Says She’s ‘Saddened’ by New Year’s Eve Performance Controversy but Would Be ‘Honored’ to Perform if Allowed, US: the Christian performer responded to criticism saying she hadn’t officially been offered the position but would be honoured if asked to perform. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

17th: President Trump Loosens Obama-Era Restrictions on Faith-Based Social Service Providers, US: the Trump administration moved to loosen restrictions on religious organizations which receive federal funding to provide social services. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

17th: ‘There Are Many Gender Identities’: Cartoon Network Teaches Children How to Use Different Gender Pronouns: a cartoon strip released by Cartoon Network teaches children how to use gender pronouns in accordance with their chosen identity. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

16th: 76% of People Worldwide Want to Focus on Those in Need This Christmas: Survey: the YouGove PLC survey found that 63 percent of people would prefer it if someone gave a meaningful gift to someone else this Christmas rather than give a gift to them. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

15th: Transformation Church Gives $3.5 Million to Charities, Those in Need, US: in a one day “blessing spree Sunday,” the congregation gave out $3.5 million in donations and gifts. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

14th: In a landmark case, 14 extremists have been charged for attacking a church in Sudan: in a quite rare event, the nine accused people appeared at the criminal court, with one appearing in a minor’s court and several others in hiding, despite so many other cases over many years, never reaching court in Sudan. (Open Doors) [link 1]

13th: US states to start getting COVID-19 vaccines Monday, after shot approved, US: 3 million doses will initially be shipped out for health care workers and nursing home residents as America’s massive inoculation campaign kicks off. (The Times of Israel) [link]

12th: Anne Frank memorial in Idaho vandalized with swastika stickers, US: Memorial, until recently the United States’ only statue of Dutch teenager killed in Holocaust, was also toppled in 2007 and defaced in 2017. (The Times of Israel) [link]

12th: US approves emergency use of Pfizer’s COVID-19 vaccine in bid to end pandemic: FDA gives final go-ahead for nation’s first inoculation in major turning point against virus; Israel expected to follow US lead on approval, has purchased millions of doses. (The Times of Israel) [link]

11th: Churches join voices to deliver powerful ‘Bay Area Blessing’ for Christmas, US: Churches from over 25 Bay Area cities join together on project (The Mercury News) [link 1]

11th: Tasmanian Parliament voting to remove ‘choice’ for elderly, Australia: The Gaffney Bill which is going through parliament is heavily pushed by a pro-euthanasia campaign who seek to remove choices for the elderly and terminal patients. (Hope) [link 1]

10th: There Is Hope on the Way,’ Surgeon General Jerome Adams Says of COVID-19 Vaccines, US: as a new surge strikes the US, Surgeon General Jerome Adams urges Americans to continue practicing safety measures. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

10th: Baylor University Food Charity Delivers 38.7 Million Meals to Children in Need, US: the university’s Collaborative on Hunger and Poverty has sent the millions during the pandemic. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

10th: ‘I Have to Follow’ God, Pastor Says after Court Issues $55,000 Fine for Holding Services, US: a judge held a San Jose church and its pastor in contempt and fined them $55,000 for violating a restraining order. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

10th: Minnesota Nurse Receives Anonymous Letter Calling Her Christmas Lights ‘Harmful’ to Others, US: the anonymous letter stated that the lights were a “reminder of the systemic biases against our neighbors who don’t celebrate Christmas or who can’t afford to put up lights of their own.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

9th: Supreme Court Denies Request to Overturn Pennsylvania’s Election Results, US: the request to overturn Pennsylvania’s election results was denied by U.S. Supreme Court, after the results named President-elect Joe Biden as the winner in the state. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

9th: Michigan Attorney General Says Being Wished a Merry Christmas ‘Devastated’ Her Son, US: Attorney General Dana Nessel of Michigan expressed her concern on Twitter over President Trump’s use of “Merry Christmas.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

9th: Gethsemane Church in Jerusalem Is Set Ablaze by Arsonist, Israel: Israeli police arrested the 49 year old man as a result of the incident. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

9th: Extremists kill Christian villagers in Indonesia: On 27 November, extremist group, East Indonesia Majahidin, killed four Christians in the Lemban Tongoa Village. (Open Doors) [link 1]

9th: Thomas Jefferson’s Name Removed from Elementary School So Students Can ‘Feel Safe,’ US: the school’s board at the Virginian school voted unanimously Tuesday to rename it after a six-month study. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

9th: South Carolina Church to Construct Tiny House Village for Homeless Women, US: a village of tiny houses has been built to provide shelter for local homeless women. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

8th: COVID-19 World Seems ‘Perfectly Suited for the Antichrist to Come’: John MacArthur, US: Pastor and author John MacArthur told his congregation that with a virus spreading through every country and governments ordering citizens to stay home – seems “perfectly suited for the Antichrist to come.’ (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

8th: Court Rejects ACLU, Lets Nativity Remain at Indiana Courthouse for Christmas Season, US: despite an attempt by the American Civil Liberties Union to have a nativity scene removed from an Indiana courthouse lawn, the federal district judge criticized the legal organization for filing a lawsuit during the holiday season and pushing for a “hasty resolution.” (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

8th: ‘V-Day’: UK rolls out trailblazing coronavirus vaccine program as world looks on: Initial 800,000 doses slated to begin to be given to people over 80 who are hospitalized or already have appointments scheduled, in West’s first major inoculation campaign. (The Times of Israel) [link]

8th: 12 year-old Christian girl kidnapped in Pakistan found chained: the girl was forcibly adbucted, converted to Islam and married to a 45 year old muslim, and was found chained at her abductor’s home. (Eternity) [link 1]

7th: US aims to deliver millions of vaccines within 24 hours of approval: But vaccination campaign in world’s hardest-hit country likely to take longer than initially expected, with 100 million set to get jab by mid or late March. (The Times of Israel) [link]

With world watching, Britain gets ready for mass coronavirus vaccinations, UK: title: Buckingham Palace declines to comment on media reports that Queen Elizabeth II will set example for the nation by being among first to get the jab. (The Times of Israel) [link]

5th: Biden officially secures enough electoral votes to become president, US: California certifies 55 electors for US president-elect, pushing him past 270 needed to enter White House, in new legal milestone for incoming administration. (The Times of Israel) [link]

4th: 127 Abortion Clinics Have Closed Since 2015: Life Is ‘Winning,’ Pro-Life Group Says, US: dozens of independent abortion clinics have closed in the past five years according to a report by the Abortion Care Network (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

4th: Progressive Reverend Says Christmas Is about a Woman Leading a ‘Revolution,’ US: a reverend of the United Church of Christ said that Christmas is ultimately about a message of feminist empowerment over the traditional Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God and Savior of the world. (Christian Headlines) [link 1]

3rd: Families kept in the dark over euthanasia investigations, Brussels: according to a report, “Family members were only made aware of the investigation when they were interviewed by investigators.” (Hope) [link 1]

3rd: Stinging rebuke of pro-euthanasia arguments, Australia: Two oncologists responded to claims made by euthanasia advocates in support of their pro-death agenda as the debate continues in Tasmanian parliament. (Hope) [link 1]



*Welcome to SPAG Magazine

*Welcome to SPAG Magazine
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SPAG Magazine is a FREE quarterly, online magazine for Christian adults with a focus on singles. Our purpose is to encourage, challenge and inspire Christian adults in their walk and to honour and exalt God. We believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word. (Link to our Statement of Faith)
**While we occasionally receive some well-needed donations to go towards covering our costs, during the past 5 years, we have never been able to cover the yearly ongoing costs to provide this magazine to you for free, and those costs have been coming out of the pocket of our Editor, Vicki Nunn, who often struggles on a pension. Recently we received an amazing donation which along with some earlier donations means that we have for the first time, covered our running costs for the current financial year. Here’s a big shout-out and thank you to Mr L, the latest donor, along with much appreciated donations from two others. We really love your assistance, and heave a sight of relief! 
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The latest issue:

The latest issue (Dec 2020 – Feb 2021) of SPAG Magazine is still available.

There’s plenty to keep you going through Christmas and into the New Year with 80 pages .
Links to current issue no. 23: in pdf downloadable format: link;
2. link to online ‘flippable’ version below. (Note this is on a third party website, so there may be some advertising):
Articles in this issue include:
– FEATURE: Eric Liddell – the Flying Scotsman
– Are you afraid of choosing wrong?
– These Three Men Survived a Pandemic, Economic Collapse and War, and Still Emerged Hopeful;
– There is another king;
– Proof that God became a baby at
– Even if We Don’t See it, God’s Working;
– Safe House; and
– Does “called into ministry” mean becoming a Pastor?
and lots more
Check out the three new segments which begin in this issue: The Springboard; Can You Imagine; and The Christian Poet.

The previous issue (Sep/Nov) of SPAG Magazine is still available, 
along with its bonus bird booklet

Link to issue no. 22: in pdf downloadable format: link;
2. link to online ‘flippable’ version below. (Note this is on a third party website, so there may be some advertising):
Articles in this issue include: 
– FEATURE: Loving a Christian Battling Same-Sex Attraction;
– From the red pill to the God pill;
– God is a fountain of sending love;
– They Want Me to Say, “Black Lives Matter;”
– They Are Out to Get Us – and We are Letting Them Do It;
– Buy Your Girlfriend Before You Try Her;
– The lucky and clever country;
and many more.
Link to bonus bird booklet:
1. link to pdf downloadable format: link;
2. link to online ‘flippable’ version. (Note this is on a third party website, so there may be some advertising):



Help keep our website free of annoying advertisements, for as little as $2 per month. Contact us for banking details if you’d like to set up an automatic monthly payment. Your contribution may also help to cover our increasing costs which were around $1,600 in 2017/2018.

If you’re not on our subscription list (free subscription), then if you provide your email address to us, we’ll add you to our list, and you’ll be one of the first to receive it 🙂 Here is our email address:

Check out our News Snippets page to keep you up-to-date on what’s happening around the world on Christian and ethical topics, on what’s happening in Israel and with the Jewish people, as well as other relevant social and cultural issues. This will be updated at least once a month, but we’ll endeavour to update it weekly if possible.
Here’s the link

AND FOR YOU: a FREE devotional booklet for one month:
We hope this booklet will bring you into a closer relationship with God through praise, prayer and worship.
Here’s the link to the downloadable pdf (link here)
OR view the online ‘flippable version:
Praise To God Devotional Booklet No. 1

(Note: there may be some advertising on this third party website.)
You can help us by submitting the following for our consideration:
  • your own article;
  • your natural scenery photograph for our back page;
  • your comments in response to an article or other item; and/or
  • your suggestion for a topic for us to consider.
One of the items available in our store is the gorgeous “Reflections” e-book which contains over 120 pages of beautiful photos and includes inspiring quotes and Bible verses to lift your spirits as well as to challenge you in your walk. Here’s the link to buy this lovely e-book through our shop. (At present it’s only available in flippable format to view on a third party website.)
Your purchase will help to support this ministry. Thank you for your kind consideration.
Join our Prayer Network Team
One of the most important things you can do for SPAG Magazine is pray for us. We need prayer to not only increase our readership, but to enable God to reach out to Christians and Christian leaders across the world, with articles which will encourage, inspire and challenge, and to bring our brothers and sisters closer to God.
We also need your prayers for enough finances to keep SPAG Magazine going.
If you’re interested in joining our prayer network, you can become a member on Facebook on this link.

Keep our website ad-free
There are a variety of costs we need to cover to ensure we keep SPAG Magazine available and to provide it to you for free. This is one of the reasons we sell items through our online store
For as little as $2 a month, you can help cover our costs and keep our website free of annoying advertisements. May I encourage you to set up an automatic monthly payment to cover these costs.
All costs to publish SPAG Magazine are currently paid for through Vicki Nunn, our Editor, and average around $1,600 a year.* As Vicki is on a disability pension, she has limited financial means to cover these costs, which are increasing every year.
 Can you help? Email us for our bank details: 
* (NB: Wages for staff have not been included.)

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Warm regards
Vicki Nunn
SPAG Magazine

[Voice] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.



Letters to our Counsellor Lou

Letters to our Counsellor Lou

Click here for the link to our Counsellor Lou’s response to letters and questions shared in previous issues of SPAG Magazine.

Please note that depending on the number of letters we receive,  we may not be able to respond to your letter. If you have an urgent or important issue, may we encourage you to seek help from a qualified counsellor or Pastor.

Submit your personal issue or question to Lou in the form below:

*Welcome to SPAG Magazine

*Welcome to SPAG Magazine

Welcome in wood Thanks for dropping by! 

Are you a Christian? Do you love God? Do you want to be encouraged, challenged or inspired in your Christian walk? Then you’ve come to the right place.

SPAG Magazine is a FREE quarterly, electronic magazine for Christian adults. While we have a focus on singles, our articles are suitable for all Christian adults. We’re an international, inter-denominational publication, and we aim to honour and exalt God. We believe that the Bible is God’s inerrant Word.

The updated issue 13 is now available!

The June/August 2018 issue of SPAG Magazine is finally here and what a great selection of articles there are in this issue.

Initially, we had a problem with our “Letters to Lou” pages, but they’re now all updated and uploaded to the online issues.

Our 13th issue of SPAG Magazine coincides with our 3rd birthday! We have a great bunch of fascinating articles which I’m sure will get your thinking, and hopefully bring you closer to God.

The articles in the issue include:
– Hate like Jesus;
– Domestic violence and the church (Part 2);
– God’s gift of life: NO to euthanasia;
– Road to Damascus;
– Open Doors: from muslim sheikh to secret believer;
– Josie and the gift of singleness;
– Creation Ministries: Cuttlefish colour changes inspire new TV screen design;
– Condemned to celibacy?
and lots more!

Following are the links to the current issue:

We’re celebrating our third birthday with a whopping 60% off all of our previous issues (until the end of August 2018) so you can catch up on all of our earlier great articles, and it’s an easy way you can also help support this important ministry. (Link to our store)

Time is running out for this offer: we’re offering 50% all promotions in our September/November 2018 issue. Find out more in our promotions/advertising page here. 


Let us know if you would like to subscribe for your very own quarterly issue. Email us: 

Warm regards

From Vicki Nunn, Editor and the staff of SPAG Magazine


Calling all singles!

 How Do You Respond to Those Dumb Comments?

How do you respond when other people make silly, annoying, rude or repetitive comments to you about being a single person? What kinds of things do they say? We had an article in the March/May issue of SPAG Magazine, sharing things that people have said to other Christian singles about their state of ‘unwedded bliss.’

If you’d like to share some of the comments said to you, please fill out the form on this page, or email us:

How do you like this humorous idea?

I’ll be doing a series of these images based around singleness, spinsterhood and bachelorhood to go into my personal shops, sometime in the near future.

I’ll put them on cups, shirts, cushions and other items.
If you like the idea, please let me know and I’ll redirect you to the shops where they’re located, once I upload them in my personal online stores.

Vicki Nunn



Becci and Robbo from the Rise and Show program on Vision FM interviewed me on 24 March about my near death experience, which I shared in an earlier issue of SPAG Magazine. Here’s a link to a copy of that interview:

Bridget Brenton from Christian Today wrote a fantastic review about an earlier issue of SPAG Magazine. You can find the review here.

AND FOR YOU: a FREE devotional booklet for one month:

We hope this book will bring you into a closer relationship with God through praise, prayer and worship.

Here’s the link to the downloadable pdf  (link here)

OR view the online ‘flippable version:

Praise To God Devotional Booklet No. 1

(Note: there may be some advertising on this third party website.)

SPAG Magazine is FREE – covering our costs is essential if we want to continue making this terrific magazine available at no cost to you and to all of our readers. Please prayerfully consider how you may help:

Or send along your friends to our shop.

You can also help us by submitting the following for our consideration:

  • your own article;

  • your scenery photograph for our back page;

  • your comments in response to an article or other item; and/or

  • your suggestion for a topic for us to consider.

One of the items available in our store is the gorgeous “Reflections” e-book which contains over 120 pages of beautiful photos and includes inspiring quotes and Bible verses to lift your spirits as well as to challenge you in your walk. Here’s the link to buy this lovely e-book through our shop. (At present it’s only available in flippable format to view on a third party website.)

Your purchase will help to support this ministry. Thank you for your kind consideration.

Join our Prayer Network Team

One of the most important things you can do for SPAG Magazine is pray for us. We need prayer to not only increase our readership, but to enable God to reach out to Christians and Christian leaders across the world, with articles which will encourage, inspire and challenge them.

We also need your prayers for enough finances to keep SPAG Magazine going.

If you’re interested in joining our prayer network, you can become a member on Facebook on this link.

Can 73¢ a day really help SPAG Magazine?

While we’ve recently overhauled some expenses to reduce costs, there are still lots of costs we need to cover to ensure we keep SPAG Magazine available and to provide it to you for free. Presently all outstanding costs are met by our Editor, Vicki Nunn who has a limited income on a disability pension. Yep, it’s almost like she pays you to read it.

Our total operating costs per quarter are around AU$662. If ten people could contribute just 73¢ a day for a year, all of our operating costs would be met. Would you consider being one of those ten people? (Perhaps you could ask nine people from your church or singles group to make up the remainder.)

73¢/day x 10 people/year = all operating costs*

Other costs:

There are also a couple of other costs as well including the Glasbergen cartoon and costs for promoting SPAG Magazine, which total around AU$100 per quarter. If ten people could contribute just 11¢ a day for a year, our remaining costs would be met.

11¢/day x 10 people/year = remaining costs*

Your generous contribution can make a big difference! You can also help by purchasing items from our online store: www.spagmag. com/shop.

Here are those 2 costs again:

73¢/day x 10 people/year = all operating costs*

11¢/day x 10 people/year = remaining costs*

Consider also that in the past 18 months or so we’ve spent $2,000 on a new computer and monitor as our old computer had been making strange noises for two years.

Would you make a commitment to help SPAG Magazine in its mission?

Our mission is to inspire, challenge and encourage Christian adults in their walk, and to honour and exalt God.


* (NB: Wages for staff have not been included.)

If you have any queries, please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Warm regards

Vicki Nunn
SPAG Magazine

[Voice] The Voice Bible Copyright © 2012 Thomas Nelson, Inc. The Voice™ translation © 2012 Ecclesia Bible Society All rights reserved.


Letters to Lou, our Counsellor: responses shared previously in SPAG Magazine

Letters to Lou, our Counsellor: responses shared previously in SPAG Magazine

Letters to Lou - ask advice from our Counsellor

Please note that depending on the number of letters we receive, we may not be able to respond to your letter. If you have an urgent or important issue, we earnestly encourage you to seek help from a qualified counsellor or Pastor as soon as possible.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Following are letters printed in SPAG Magazine with responses from our Counsellor ‘Lou.’

Issue 22: September to November 2020
(link to pdf version)
Letter 1: Is My Ex Even a Christian?
Dear Lou
My ex-husband and I were Christians before we married, but before long it became obvious to me that he seemed to enjoy hurting me, and I was really confused and hurt by his behaviour. He would comment on my appearance or kind of half-heartedly suggest that I was somehow lacking something as a woman, or even that I wasn’t sexy enough. We were both Christians, so how could he even WANT to hurt me like that? We had two children, and then he chose to leave our marriage, claiming that I was somehow stifling his freedom.
After the breakup, I didn’t want to leave our church because I had great support and friends there and also because my kids liked it. My ex-husband also chose to stay there, which has been stressful and very difficult for me. I know he’s also been gossiping and telling lies about me there as I’ve heard back from a couple of people I know and trust.
For the sake of the kids, I have worked very hard at keeping things civil, and generally I don’t instigate conversations with him, because most of the time he says something negative or hurtful. Recently he began telling me about a woman he’s been dating, and he says that it’s ok to have sex before marriage. Frankly I don’t want to hear this kind of stuff from him, but that’s the kind of things he does or says to hurt or confuse me. I’m quite alarmed at his attitude about sex and I’m hoping he doesn’t say this stuff in front of the kids when they stay with him, or confuse them by allowing her to sleep over when they’re staying there.
I want to talk to my Pastor about it because of my concern for my kids and how it will give them the wrong idea about sex and marriage, and I want to know how to approach this. My other concern is that my Pastor may think I’m doing this as a way of ‘telling tales,’ but I think he should know so that he can talk to my ex about his attitude about sex before marriage.
Should I talk to my Pastor? Is there some way I can broach this without looking like a snitch? What should I tell the kids? I don’t want them to be confused or hurt by his behaviours either.
Dear B.B.
You raise a host of questions with your letter which are of genuine concern to you. So to simplify all of your concerns I am going to bring your letter down to two areas of concern…
The first is this: “You are responsible to change yourself and not responsible to change your ex partner.”
A lot of your concerns are relating to the way you have been treated, the way you have been spoken about by you ex, and his current value system. You cannot change him and you cannot be responsible for his behaviour or his attitudes. Don’t even try. He is getting to you by his way of behaving and as a result you are allowing him to control your life. Claim your power back and do not get involved in what he is saying or doing. You are responsible for you, and this means you do not react to what he says or does.
The second concern is the impact his behaviour or attitudes might have upon your children. For any couple who have separated, divorced or are in the process of these scenarios, the major issue for you both is that you do not ever involve your children in adult conversations. This is relevant for both of you at this time.
You will never resolve this with your former partner so it becomes necessary for you to involve an outside party to get involved in this for you both. You said you are both in the same church, so the logical person to lead you in this process is your local church pastor or someone who he might recommend.
You need to begin the process by going to your pastor and spelling out your concerns. This would include your concern about his expressed value system where sex is concerned, and any other concerns you might have re your children being exposed to adult conversations and different value systems.
At this point you need to leave matters with your pastor to meet with you and your ex partner to develop the best possible scenario for the future growth of your children.Your approach to your pastor would be one in which you could say something like this: “I am concerned for my children being exposed to values contrary to my Christian values, and concerned about what my children might be exposed to in their weekend visits. Could you please help me to help my family to live in the healthiest environment we can provide.”
I pray God will give you the wisdom you need to help yourself and your children to continue to grow emotionally and spiritually.
Kind regards
Letter 2: I Hate Being the Bad Guy
Dear Lou
I hate having to be the bad guy when it comes to our two young kids. My husband and I both work. I start early and he drops the kids off to school in the morning. I finish my job in time to pick the kids when school is over. My husband arrives home about an hour before dinner (which I cook), and I take this opportunity to let him know if either of the kids have been misbehaving. We kind of have standard punishments for certain behaviours like no dessert if it’s something small, then bigger punishments might include no TV or games that night, or no stay-overs at friends for a certain time. Once the meal is finished and we’re still seated around the table, I let the child know the punishment we’ve decided and why they’re being punished.
Instead of completing their full punishment though, my husband usually relents and lets the child off early. I’ve tried to step in and reinforce the punishment we decided, but my husband shrugs and says something like “I’m sure they’ve learned their lesson.” It’s like my husband allows them time off for good behaviour, and I’m left looking the bad guy in the situation because I think they should finish their punishment.
I’ve tried to talk to my husband about it, and that it upsets me when he changes his mind about the punishment, particularly when we’ve both agreed to it. The kids have already discovered that they can usually twist him around their little finger, and can get away from their punishment early. I don’t think this is teaching our kids to take responsibility for their actions.
Do you have some suggestions about how I can handle this and make it work better?
Dear Bianca
Successful parenting is built on the back of a husband and wife both working together and working from the same family manual. The problem I hear is this – you don’t have a working manual which would enable you to both work together.
My strongest piece of advice to you both is to find a good family counsellor who can work with you both in developing positive processes on which you build your family home. The way you are headed is a perfect recipe for chaos and mayhem in your family.
I would love to know the environment from which you and your husband graduated. My suspicion would be that one of you had a very rigid upbringing in childhood and the other a very much laid back childhood. As a result you tend to resort to that which you know and each sees their model as being fine for the family.
Bianca, find a good Christian family counsellor and do everything in your power to prepare a new positive foundation upon which to build a strong resilient family. The issues you’re dealing with is not my way or your way [both have real problems] but what is healthy for our family.
Do all in your power to find a new way of building a healthy family environment.
Best regards
Letter 3: His Stepmother is Nasty
Dear Lou
My husband was in his early teens when his mother died, and his father remarried a few years later. They never had any children together, and his stepmother was not very loving towards him or his siblings, but they get along well enough with her since they became adults.
There have been instances though when their stepmother hasn’t contacted them when their dad became unwell, even the time when he had to have an operation. Then there was a time they were struggling financially. This really upsets my husband and his brothers and sisters, but the stepmother just kind of shrugs her shoulders when they demand to know why she keeps information from them.
His dad died a few months ago and now his stepmother is completely ignoring her husband’s request about his ashes. All of his life, his father said that when he died, he wanted to have his ashes scattered over the river near the farm where he grew up. It was a place that held great memories for him when he was young and also because he took on the farm after he first married, and most of the kids were born there too.
Now the stepmother is refusing to let them take their dad’s ashes, and she says she’ll do what she wants because she was his wife. They can’t get through to her, and she lies and says that he told her something completely different.
It’s causing them enormous anguish and heart-break because it’s the one thing they promised their dad they would do for him. Now they’re at the stage where they’ve contacted a solicitor, and the stepmother is threatening to dump the ashes down the toilet or in the bin!
How can people be so cruel? I just don’t understand it. I know how much my husband is hurting and I want to help him if I can.
Dear Kelly
This is one of those situations where it is almost impossible to obtain a positive outcome. Your father-in-law made a new life for himself when he remarried. This does not mean that he loves his children less, but has added a new dimension to his way of life. In a lot of ways his new marriage is a high priority.
Don’t just keep getting angry with your new mother-in-law. If she does handle the situation like she appears to be doing, you have given her power to control and manipulate a host of current problems. You need to take your power back and not enable another person to have any power to spoil your lives.
Reading between the lines in your letter, I can gauge a level of confronting behaviour on both sides of this problem. When this happens, it can only make the situation worse. The issue in reality becomes – not what we do with Dad’s ashes, but who has the control in this situation.
My advice to you would be to leave the matter alone for some time and allow everything to settle down, and in so doing develop a situation where healthy dialogue can begin.
In other letters I have spoken about two words we need to live by, and these are “React and Respond.” You need to take time to hear what is happening and then thoughtfully respond in a manner which is non-confrontational. This will in most cases create a healthy environment, which in turn enables healthy communication. Or you can react, and by this, you can jump in and demand what you want and find as a consequence you are now in a combative situation.
In almost every situation where I see this occur I would expect to find a very negative outcome. Step back and give this situation some room and see if it makes a difference.
In reading your letter I also note the hostility toward this lady because of her behaviour. My question to you is this – Why didn’t your father-in-law let his kids know what was happening in his life? He could have spoken with them about what was happening in his life, and keep them informed of developments. In fact, it was probably more his responsibility to do this than his new wife.
Again, my suggestion to you all is to let things settle down and seek to find ways to build healthy communication and not combative communication.
Give this matter time to settle down and see where you can go from that point.
All the best.
Issue 21: June to August 2020 
(link to pdf version)
Nil for this issue as we shared the “Best of” Letters to Lou that we shared over the previous 5 years.
Issue 20: March to May 2020
Letter 1: Marriage Scares Me
Dear Lou
My boyfriend proposed recently and I found myself hesitating to say yes. It was only a few seconds, but it still surprised me because I really love him a lot. We have lots of things in common, though we don’t always see things the same way and we do have different passions – he’s a football fanatic and I loathe football as much as I loathe anchovies on pizza and he loves it.
I said yes, but it concerned me that I hesitated, but when I thought about it over the following few weeks, I realised it’s because I see so many marriages fall apart, and hurting people with hurting kids everywhere and it’s awful. I don’t want my marriage to end up like that and I don’t want to end up with a broken heart either.
We agreed to go to counselling beforehand to make sure we’re on the same boat with the same kind of expectations. My question then is, do you have some suggestions about how to help a marriage to work? I know men and women can sometimes see things differently, but what can I do? How can I also encourage him to know how to make things work better?
With many of our friends marrying, my girlfriends have shared how difficult that first year or two were, and I know that’s probably going to be true for us as well, so is there some way we can work at making our first year or two of marriage better, or at least cut down the fighting, or fight about stuff that’s worthwhile arguing about?
Dear Kristan
You ask a number of good questions in your letter.
Before you go into a marriage I strongly encourage you to get some serious premarital counselling. There is a lot of good material available and I would encourage you to find a minister who will walk with you over a period of months and look for ways to make a good relationship better.
Personally, I would encourage you to find someone who provides a course called “Prepare/ Enrich.”
‘Prepare’ is done pre marriage and ‘Enrich’ is completed after you are married. Together they are a great combination as the first looks at areas in your life which you can work at strengthening, and the second I use as a follow up tool after a few years of marriage.
Marriage is all about relationship and it takes a lot of work to build a solid, healthy marriage. The reason I say this is because we are all so different. The comment that “opposites attract” is so true, because you will most likely be attracted with a personality very different to you. This is normal. Problems develop when you then try to make your new partner like you instead of encouraging him/her become the best person they can be.
When you marry, even if it is the person who lived in your same community, you still have different value systems. Every family of origin has its unique set of values and standards and these become your “norm” for living. When you marry you now have to develop your own family culture. This takes work and often serious struggle, but it is the only way you are going to build a marriage.
Make sure you get a good understanding of your personalities as this will be a valuable asset in understanding each other. A simple personality test I have used is one provided by an author named Florence Littauer.
Another valuable tool for you is to get the book “Five Love Languages” and to read and apply these principles together.
 Even with these resources you will still need to work on good communication, and to make your partner your best friend.
    Welcome to the wonderful world of marriage.
Letter 2: I Want to Get Away From My Wife … Every Now and Then
I’ve been married for almost four years and my wife thinks I don’t love her because I want to go out with the guys every now and then, or invite my friends over for a games night.
Every time I mention it she gets grumpy and sometimes sulks and won’t talk to me, like she’s trying to punish me. It’s really annoying and I’m getting sick of it.
Is it wrong to want time away, or just to hang out with my friends? She takes it like I don’t love her and that I’m trying to get away from her. But that’s not it at all.
How can I make her understand that it’s not even about her and it’s not that I don’t love her, it’s because I need to have a bit of fun and maybe even just be a bit of an idiot with my mates sometimes?
Dear Dan
Please read the previous letter to Kristan and apply the principles. I believe that you as a couple need to do the “Enrich” course.
A few other comments for you. I am amazed the number of couples who come to me and say that the person they are marrying is able to meet all their needs. That is living in fantasy world.
I always say to couples getting married – maintain your long term friendships. You both still need the healthy connections with life-long friends, so you must find ways to continue to nurture these friendships. The only ones you can’t maintain are those with the opposite sex.
I’m not sure you are giving me the complete story. If you came to see me I would want to know the state of your marriage – from both of you. Is your partner your best friend? What is your communication like, and how well are you sharing together?
Good marriages don’t just happen, they take a lot of hard work. My suspicion is that you are entering a stage in your relationship where you need to do some serious work together. It is not about your time with your mates it is about the time you spend with your partner. If you say the fun has gone out of your marriage, then do something to bring the fun and romance back into your marriage. It is never the other person’s problem but a ‘couple’ problem.
Find a healthy balance and you will find the time spent with mates is not the issue at all.
Please get serious about building a healthy relationship with your wife. You would do well to read “Five Love Languages” and apply the principles to your partner.
Letter 3: How Do I Move Forward?
I left my ex almost twelve years ago now, and I’m really grateful that we never had any children. He managed to track me down several times after I left him and I ended up in hospital twice and finally got the police involved.

After that I moved far away from him, and have tried to make sure my details are not available to the public. So far he hasn’t found me, but I know he still wants to hurt me or maybe even kill me. Things are going ok for me now, though I still have nightmares and worry when I get a phone call when there doesn’t seem to be anyone on the other end.

I feel like I’m stuck and I can’t move forward. I want things to change but I don’t know how. Maybe I guess I want ME to change but I don’t know how to do that.

I’m almost finished studying and I hope to be able to help other women like me coming out of domestic violence situations, but there’s a part of me that thinks, “How can I help them, when I feel like I haven’t really moved on enough myself?”


Dear Kat

My heart aches for you when I read your letter.

You have done the right thing in getting away and doing all in your power to rebuild your life. Sadly, there is not a lot I can say but to encourage you in what you are doing.

I trust you have a good strong support network of people who you can have around you to be your safety net. The whole world does not need to know your story, but you need enough people around you who will not only watch out for you, but be there for you.

Make sure you have some people who are near you who you can call in an emergency or are fearful. They are your protection, so make sure you use them to help you.

I don’t know your support network, but if you are in a church family make sure you have these people watching out for you. You don’t need every person to know, but have a couple of significant others who you know you can depend on.

One of the comments I make to a lot of people is this, “you can’t go forward looking backwards.” After twelve years I would suggest you work to avoid looking backwards at your pain, and start to believe that God still has a plan for your life.

Remember these words “you can make it.”, put them on your fridge, have it in your handbag, carry it with you. With God’s help you will begin to live a life which is going to be healthy and moving on to new heights.

At this point look at getting yourself healthy and in a good situation. Once you have done this you can look at helping others. Right now you are the one who needs to be cared for and encouraged.

Kat, you are on the right track so get some good people around you and look ahead to what you believe is your best in life. You can make it.

Kind regards, Lou

Issue 19: December 2019 – February 2020 

She Said  /  He Said
Letter 1: Did I Marry the Wrong Man?
Dear Lou

Before we got married, my husband and I had a wonderful relationship. We’d have fights sometimes but were usually able to get passed it pretty easily, and we talked it through.
Now we’re married, it’s like we’re fighting all the time, and my husband pressures me to give in when we fight because he thinks that as the husband and the leader of the marriage, that his decisions are better or more important than my own.
I always thought we’d share decision-making and for really important decisions, we’d pray about it a lot before we’d make a choice, but my husband insists that because he’s the man, his choice should have priority over mine and claims that it’s Biblical.
I always knew he was a little stubborn, but it feels like he’s belittling me and my decision-making ability and that sometimes it’s almost like he’s trying to be difficult on purpose just so that he gets to be the boss all the time.
Where’s the man that I knew before we got married? Was I really that blind to him and how difficult marriage can be?
Have I made a terrible choice in my marriage partner, and does this mean I have to live with him and his bullying ways forever?


Dear Shenae

Your letter sadly is more the norm for many couples, even more seriously within Christian marriages because I know men who misconstrue Scripture for their own benefit. Read and reread Ephesians 5:21-33.

Paul wrote:
“wives submit to your husband as you do the Lord.”

He then writes:
“Husbands you must love your wives with the same love as Christ loves the church.”

When you read this, the husband has the far greater responsibility, to be a man of God and to love, care and nurture his wife.

I see no indication here where a man is to be the controller of his wife, or to Lord it over his wife, or to be a bully in a marriage. The reason we see much bullying happening in some Christian marriages is because the men only read, “wives submit yourselves to your husband.” The biggest requirement is to put this statement in context with what Paul was saying.

When you marry ,you become one in Christ and this means you become equals. When I find a husband who lords it over his wife, I note that we don’t have a Christian marriage.

Let me answer a couple of other matters I have observed.

You wrote that pre-marriage you had a wonderful relationship, but you did have some fights which you were able to resolve with communication.

What is your level of discussion now and are you mutually resolving issues? From your letter I note your husband now is always right because he is the male: that’s a wrong attitude and even worse behaviour.

I note that you had differences before your marriage. I have a rule of thumb which says, “the relationship you build pre-marriage is often as good as it is going to get.” Serious arguments are always a red flag to me.

Much of your letter talks about the consequences of decisions that have been made and you are not being honoured or respected. As a Christian you have all of God’s resources available to you to make right decisions. You can make your marriage work, but it will only come with some serious intervention with a Godly Christian marriage counsellor. You need to seek out such a counsellor, and then encourage your husband to join you for some serious relationship counselling.

Failure to do this would leave me with concerns for the longevity for your marriage.

Marriage is about two people working together to build a respectful and loving relationship. Some of your concerns should have been noted in your pre-marital counselling.

Pray for God to intervene in your marriage in a special way, and look for some significant changes.


Letter 2: Did I Marry the Wrong Woman?
Dear Lou

Before we got married, my wife and I had a good, solid relationship. We’d have fights sometimes but we usually sorted it out, and after I listened to her, we’d come to an agreement, most times.

Now we’re married, and it’s like we do nothing but fight. My wife believes that her decisions are always correct and that I should just drop what I was thinking and agree with her. The fact is, the Bible is very clear that my duty as the husband is to be the leader of the household, and when we can’t come to an agreement, my decisions should be the one we accept.

If neither of us can agree, there will be ongoing acrimony and unresolved conflict, which I believe is why the Bible gives the husband the authority in those circumstances to break the stalemate.

I had never really seen the stubborn side of her before we were married, because she was so easy to get along with. When I feel like she’s not listening to my side of things now, I try to point out the flaws in her argument, but that just makes her more upset, and I can tell you that the look on her face sometimes is almost venomous. Then for days afterwards she barely says anything to me, other than an occasional grunt.

Where’s the woman that I knew before we got married? How could I not have noticed this stubborn side of her before? Have I made a terrible choice in my marriage partner, and does this mean I have to live with her and her brooding, sullenness forever?


Dear David

“Please read the previous letter I answered for your wife.

Now I will make a few comments for you to consider.

First let me say, you have the greater responsibility in this matter, because you are using your ‘lordship’ over your partner to get your own way. When you do push for your right to have the final decision in matters pertaining to you as a couple and as a family, you can be sure you are on a significant downhill slide.

When you use your position of authority to demand your way, your wife will only go one way, and that is to withdraw from you. When you say your wife is stubborn, brooding and sullen, you need to note that you are the major contributor to the problem. Your wife has lost respect for you because you do not respect her, and then use God to justify your position.

What would I suggest you do to get through this situation?

Get back to a place where you are equals in your marriage. It is not ‘you and me,’ but ‘us.’ The time has come for some serious heartfelt relationship building and find a place where both of you are important and both of you need to contribute to your relationship.

You will need a counsellor to help you work through this matter, and need someone to help you both with some good reflective listening skills, and the ability to guide you to building a healthy relationship.

David, please do not now or ever ‘lord’ it over your wife. She is your partner and what you have shared in good times is what should be your normal experience. Your wife is simply reacting to your behaviour, and you are the one who can turn this around.

I would have absolute confidence that if you will do the hard work, you will get a beautiful response from that precious lady who is your wife.

You can make the difference, so change your direction and build a mutual, caring and sharing marriage. Your wife will respect you as head of the house as you earn the right to receive her respect.

Do the work and you will receive the blessing.


Issue 18: September – November 2019 

(Now available to purchase from our online store – link)

Issue 18 September - November 2019
Letter 1 – I’m ready for marriage … again
Dear Lou

   I was divorced by the time I was 27. I remember how selfish I was in those first few years and that I expected to keep on living the way I did when I was single, and my wife was hurt and became withdrawn. I know I wasn’t a good husband, though we started getting some counselling and I began to understand what I was doing wrong and I tried to do better. My wife though seemed to want to hold onto her hurt and her anger and she would pick faults about the dumbest things.

   The thing that really destroyed our marriage was that she faked being a Christian. She knew that was important to me in marriage, that my wife would be a Christian and so before we got engaged, she said the right words and went to church with me, and I was so excited about being in love and getting married, that I didn’t see the warning signs.

   I was really devastated when our marriage fell apart, and I felt terrible guilt about my part in it. It’s been five years now and I thank God that we didn’t have any children because my guilt would be much, much worse.

   I think I’m ready now to consider getting married again, but I find myself hesitating. What if I make a mistake again? How can I tell if someone is genuine or they’re just saying the right words? I still feel fearful, but I don’t want to let it run my life any more. So I guess my question is, how do I overcome my fears?


Dear Louis

   After reading and rereading your letter I would suggest you take a good hard look at your life, to go on a journey of self discovery to help you understand what makes you tick, and then bring significant change into who you are as a person.

   You give a lot of your thinking away in the first paragraph. You were a selfish person living how you wanted to live in your marriage and then when that didn’t work you tried counselling. That apparently stopped because your wife was angry with you. Your thinking now says “I tried, but it hasn’t changed, so it is my wife’s problem.” The blame game continues when you say that the reason your marriage fell apart was because she faked being a Christian.

   The problem as I see it is this. You went into a marriage with a very selfish attitude and when things weren’t working out you sort to take the high road so you could find someone to blame for your problems.

   Five years later you are looking to move on and hope for a better outcome. Dr Phil always comments that the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour. The time is right for you to do some serious personal development to prepare you for what might be in your future.

   Marriage is about relationship, it is about being best friends, it is about making big changes in your life. It is all about seeking how you can edify the other person. When you stop thinking about yourself and thinking about how you can be a blessing to your life partner – you will start building solid a foundation for your life.

   At this point in your life do some serious self discovery and evaluation. After that you can think about finding a life partner.


Letter 2 – I’m torn about my partner now I’m a Christian
Dear Lou

   Before I became a Christian, I lived with my partner for nine years. Neither of us felt the need to get married, though it was something we talked about doing in the future. We have two kids who are now in grades 2 and 3.

   I became a Christian just over a year ago, but my husband has shown no interest in coming to my church, or in learning about Christianity, even though I take the kids to church with me.

   Recently I’ve become convicted that we aren’t married and that I’m living in sin with a non-believer. Does this mean we should separate? Our relationship is good and my partner is a good man, and a great father to our kids. I’m worried how this will affect the kids, if we separate.

   I’m confused and not sure what to do now.


Dear Jennifer

   Nine years ago you made a commitment to live with a man in a permanent relationship. You might not have had a lavish wedding but you made a decision to be one together. Separation is not an issue for you because you are already a family unit.

   Congratulations on your decision to become a Christian. Christ always makes a massive change in your life. Now your role is to pray for your partner and your children that they too will come to know Christ.

   Just over 12 months ago, I don’t think you would have been interested in church. You became a Christian and now expect him to want what you have.

   Your role now is to love him and show him Christ’s love through the way you live your life. You will make more impact through showing true love rather than setting in place a whole new set of rules.

   Be gracious. In his world at present, he sees what you have become, and possibly sees the church now as competing for your time and love. This is why you have a massive responsibility to be Jesus in your family and hopefully in due course enjoy the blessing of a Christian partner. Be the best example you can be of a loving, Christian woman, pray for your partner, and see God go to work.

   Somewhere down the track you can make plans with your partner about becoming a married couple. God will bless you on your journey.


Letter 3 – Will it be ok to have a male flatmate?
Dear Lou

   I’ve been renting for years and always shared with a female flatmate. After my last flatmate moved out, I advertised the room vacancy, and had several calls, and while some women sounded ok on the phone, there were several reasons why none of them were suitable.

   I’d advertised for a female flatmate, so I was surprised to receive a phone-call from a younger man in his late twenties. He was desperate for a furnished flat as the house he’d been living in had burned down along with his furniture and other belongings.

   Initially I just automatically thought, “No, sharing with a man might cause some tongue-wagging in my church.” I said I’d think about it and get back to him. Knowing he was couch-surfing with friends, I knew he needed a quick decision. I checked with the real estate where he’d rented before and they confirmed he’d been a good tenant, and kept the house clean and tidy.

   So I offered him the room, and he came and inspected the flat and we talked for a bit, then he moved in the following day.

   Now, I’m concerned about how this will look to my church and family. Anyone who knows me well, knows that I’m celibate and trusts me, but should I really be concerned about what others think? If I’m not sinning, then anyone talking about me is really just gossiping aren’t they?

   Should I be concerned about how this situation appears? The ridiculous thing is nowadays, there are tongues that wag when 2 women live together cause people think we’re lesbians, so it doesn’t matter what I do, people are going to talk. Should I seriously reconsider this arrangement?


Dear Kym

   No matter what you do there will be people who find fault, and there will always be people who judge the motives of others without any justification or truth. When you make any major decision in life make sure you have God’s peace in your heart.

   I know there are some women who would never have a male as a flat mate and for others this is not even an issue. In this day and age where there is so much violence against women, I think there is wisdom in having a male with you for a little bit extra security.

   You know your standards and you maintain your integrity and live according to God’s standards for you. When you do this, you are not allowing your life to be directed by the whims, attitudes and gossip from other people.

   Stick to your decision and enjoy your accommodation and the people who share it with you.

   When I read your letter, I thought of old Joe who was a new Christian. One day he had parked his old ute not far from the only hotel in his town as he went about his business. Martha the church gossip, saw the ute there and promptly told people in the church that Joe was seen drinking at the hotel. Joe was confronted with this gossip but he did not say a thing. That night he parked his ute outside Martha’s
house early in the evening then came back and picked it up the next day.

   I like old Joe!

   Kym, I hope enjoy your home and your living arrangements.


Issue 17: June – August 2019 Edition of SPAG Magazine

(Now available to purchase from our online store – link)

Issue 17 June - August 2019
Letter 1 – How do I know it’s God?
Hey Lou

   I’m 17 and people keep on telling me that when I have to make an important decision that I should talk it over with God, and I do that. But how can I know what his answer is? How can you tell when it’s God saying something, or it’s just your own head telling you to do something? How can we know for sure about when God is showing us something?

   I see others my own age and nobody talks about this stuff and I feel like I’m probably the only one who gets so confused and don’t know what’s from God. I feel embarrassed to talk to my friends about it, because I don’t want to look stupid.

   I feel really shy and I can’t get enough courage to talk to my minister and should I say something to our youth leader? Who should I talk to and what should I say?


Greetings Austin

   What a privilege to have a young man wanting to know more of God and wanting to know God’s leading and guidance in life.

   A couple of quick answers and then some guidelines: please talk your thoughts over with your minister, and I am confident he will be able to give you ongoing guidance. Part of his training and study is to give spiritual guidance to people under his care.

   Don’t worry about what your friends think or do. You don’t know what is happening in their lives anymore than they know what is happening in yours. It would appear your comment comes from a personal perception and not from reality, so change your focus – the teenage years are sometimes the hardest because you are afraid of being different from those in your sphere of influence.

   The principles I use for guidance from God are threefold:

1. God will never lead you in way which is contrary to the Scriptures. Get into your Bible and let the Word of God fill your life.

2. Share your dream or thoughts with your minister. Let him know what is happening in your heart and soul and receive affirmation before moving in a new direction.

3. You will know some mature Christians, so go to one you respect and let them know your thoughts and dreams. Get their affirmation and encouragement.

   One of the guiding principles after the previous steps have been taken is to make sure that I have a peace in my heart that this is where God wants me to be.

   I encourage people to have a mentor in their life. If you don’t have one, pray that God would bring a mentor into your life.

   God bless you on your spiritual journey.


Letter 2 – Afraid for the future
Dear Lou

   Sometimes I’m really afraid about the future. I have seen other people in my family and church who go through some hard trials and I know that I could not cope with what they did.

   I’m so worried that I’m going to fail and I can’t shake my fears about what might happen. People keep saying stuff like, “God won’t put you through anything you can’t handle.” But that’s bull, cause I’ve seen other Christians go through terrible things and I don’t know how they keep going sometimes.

   What if God wants me to go through a really bad trial and I just mess it up, and all of the worst things that can happen come up again and again in my mind, and I feel like I’m going to be a failure, like I’m going to let God down because I can’t seem to trust him about this.

   I’m even worrying about getting married one day and then maybe we’ll get a divorce like my parents did. I feel like I’m stuck and I can’t go forward because this is always pulling me down. How do I let go of this and just trust God?


Dear Caleb

   I have a saying I often use and it says, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts we’d all have a very merry Christmas.” Caleb, it is time to stop looking at others and take a long hard look at yourself. You are focussing on all the wrong things.

   God always promises that He will never send us anywhere that He will not go before us. Accept that. You don’t know what lies before you in your life because you are not there yet. When you do God will give you the grace and ability to be able to cope with whatever comes your way.

   Think through what you said about getting married. If you apply that concept to every decision you make in life, then you’re going to be reluctant to makeany decision.

   When the time comes to make a major decision in your life, that is the time to work through what it means to you. You are trying to cross the bridges in your life, way before you ever come to them.

   My advice would be to get more into the Word of God and get to know your Lord in a deeper way and through this you will learn to trust God more.

Regards Lou

Letter 3 – I want to help my friend

   Lou, one of my best friends is talking about sleeping with her boyfriend. She’s a Christian too and we’re both 20, but her boyfriend isn’t a Christian. I think he’s been pressuring her to have sex.

   She says things like, “I’m old enough to make my own decision, and sex is perfectly natural,” so she can’t understand why God should have a problem with it.

   I think she’s making the wrong decision, but I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to betray our friendship and tell any of our church leaders about it, and if I do and she gets into trouble, she’ll know I said something.

   What should I do? I’m really worried that she’s going to make a choice that will hurt her later, and I don’t want to say something that will hurt our friendship.

   As her friend, I feel like it’s my responsibility to help her to stay clear of danger and stuff that is sinful. Should I use the Bible to help her, and what should I say? What if I lose her friendship?


Dear Hannah

   You are talking about an issue that is prevalent in our society. People do not understand the responsibility of building a healthy relationship.

   Sadly, we are not very successful at explaining why God says that we should not have sex before marriage. We are often told in church circles – “don’t do it” but very rarely are we ever told why we should not do it.

   You have a friend coming to you and telling you what she is planning. My assumption is that she is trying to convince herself, even though she has massive doubts.

   As a result, she is coming to you, so you have a great opportunity to tell her why you would not have sex before marriage. She is asking you as a friend, so let her know what you think she should do, and don’t let her down.

   I would suggest putting this question to her: “Why would you want to have sex with your boyfriend?” If her answer was that he was putting pressure on her – that is not a good enough reason. If she doesn’t provide a good response, this would be a good time to ask if he’s putting pressure on her.

   If she is afraid she might lose her boyfriend if she doesn’t have sex with him, she has already lost him and having sex won’t change anything, but instead will leave her feeling that she’s been used.

   This is a prime time for you to step up and be a real friend to her. Help guide her through a confusing time in her life and as a result, you’ll find an enriched friendship. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime opportunity.

   Maybe this would be a good question that you could raise in a church group you are in: “Why did God say that we’re not to have sex before marriage?”

   Your friend is coming to you for help. Here’s the chance to make it count.

Kind regards


Issue 16: March – May 2019 Edition of SPAG Magazine

(Purchase this issue online from our store – link)

Issue 16 - March - May 2019
Letter 1 – My Sister is a Pain!
Dear Lou

   My sister was always difficult to get along with when we were growing up, and I find her hard to tolerate, even as an adult. She’s always sure that her opinion is the only right one, and if anyone disagrees with her, she claims we’re saying that she’s stupid.

   She can also be very rude and sometimes nasty, and when we point out how rude or nasty she is, she says it was a joke, and that it’s our fault we were offended because we don’t have a good sense of humour! But usually her ‘joke’ is a mocking or nasty comment about someone there or even the person she’s speaking to.

   I know there’s nothing that I can do about her manners, but whenever there’s family get-togethers, I have so little patience with her behaviours that I find myself responding negatively to her know-it-all comments or rudeness. She seems to know just how to push my buttons, and even seems to take great delight in seeing me flare up. I’m struggling with knowing how to deal with it. I’ve been praying about it, but I don’t know how to change my responses. Can you help me please Lou?

Miss Struggling

Hi Miss Struggling

   The only person who can make a change in your situation is you. It is time for you to step back and evaluate your situation afresh and then make the necessary changes in your life. At this point whether you like it or not your sister has total control of you and this includes your reactions to situations. Whether she is doing it intentionally or not, she is controlling you.

   I know two brothers in a similar situation, and even though they’re now in their forties, the older brother knows exactly how to get his younger brother going, and still finds great delight in doing it.

A few suggestions:

1. Take a significant step back from your sister and avoid letting her control your thoughts and behaviour.

2. Never react to her words, but walk away from any confrontational situation.

3. Remember the choices you have. You can either react or respond. Walking away stops you reacting. Take time to think about what was said. If there is any truth in it take it on board, but if it is incorrect or inappropriate then at a suitable time simply say to her, “I have thought about what you said and want to Say that you were incorrect in what you said.” Then walk away – no discussion. NB No discussion.

4. You are now taking control of your situation.

5. It is sad that within a family you must step back from a sibling for your own sanity, but in doing this you are setting a new wholesome direction.

    I remember reading years ago this phrase:

No one can make you angry.

You make yourself angry.

   When a person can push your buttons and get you going, they very quickly learn that they can control you.

   Now is the time to take back you power. What your sister does with the change in your response is not your problem. You are about getting the best possible outcome to allow you to move on in your life.

   I trust you can get your personal power back.

Kind regards


Letter 2 – What Do I Do About My Workplace?
Dear Lou

   I started an apprenticeship in the building trade about ten months ago and I still have another three years to go before I’m finished. The thought of spending another three years here with these same guys, makes me feel sick. I’m starting to feel anxious and nauseous in the mornings before work.

   It was ok at first. At the end of the first week we went and had a beer at the pub, and I had just one beer to fit in, even though I don’t like beer. They kept on pushing me to have another one but I didn’t, and that was ok. We muck around and have a bit of fun sometimes at work, and I was enjoying learning.

   Then one day I let it slip that I was a Christian and ever since then, they go out of their way to ridicule me. I’ve just let their comments go by, but when they deliberately talk dirty stuff about their girlfriends or wives in front of me, just to see my reaction, and they’ll say something about me and not having a girlfriend, or they’ll talk about porn and it makes me feel disgusting when they talk like that.

   I don’t want to hear this stuff, and their dirty talk. I’m sick of hearing their rubbish and I’ve lost my enthusiasm for this work.

   I don’t think it’s going to get any better and I’m wondering if it would be better for me to do an apprenticeship in another trade, since I’m still fairly early on in this one.

   I don’t really have anyone I can talk to about this, and when I wanted to talk to my Pastor, he always seems so busy and so I’ve just let it slide. Can you help me?

Confused and Stressed

Dear Confused and Stressed

   Welcome to a fallen world.

   Stick to your standards and don’t compromise your values. You talk about your current work situation, but you don’t tell me anything about your family of origin. I don’t want to assume anything about your upbringing, but simply wonder how well you were prepared for a secular world environment.

   If you read my letter to Miss Struggling you will see two words I mentioned:

react and respond

   In every life situation you will do either one or the other. I would love you to do an exercise for me. Get a piece of paper and make two columns. At the top of one column put the word ‘react’ and on the other column the word ‘respond.’ Now put this piece of paper on your refrigerator and for the next month evaluate every relationship situation in your life and see whether you reacted or responded. Put a tick in the appropriate column.

   My suspicion for you is that much of what you do is a reaction. Again, you need to change your behaviour to one of response. This way you begin to take back your power. I would suggest some of the negative behaviour comes toward you because people know what pushes your buttons.

   It will mean that you never join in negative or degrading situations, but learn to simply walk away from it.

   Sometimes the behaviour that is thrown at you is to check if you are the real deal. Maintain your values and take control of your situation. You will be surprised to know that you will be respected for doing so.

   I remember years ago building a close friendship with an alcoholic man. He would call me a wowser along with a host of other things. One day he said to me, “I know we give you a rough time by mocking you and laughing at your standards, but please don’t change because we look up to you and secretly admire your courage. Please don’t change.”

   Don’t even think about changing your apprenticeship, but get a stronger backbone and be the kind of person God wants you to be. Make sure your faith is strong and secure.



Letter 3 – A Scary Roller-Coaster Ride
Dear Lou

   I been a Christian for 6 years and sometimes its really good and I’m feeling really good. Then theres other times when I do something stupid or someone says something nasty to me and I feel really awful and want to hide under in my bed and never come out again.

   It kind a feels like I’m on a roller-coaster ride. When I’m feeling really good it’s like I’m up high, and when I’m
feeling really down, it feels like I’m so far away from feeling good that I’ll never get back their again, and God seems really far away.

   I hate it – the highs and the lows and being emotional an all over the place. I cry sometimes when its really hard and I wonder why it has to be so hard. I’m feeling confused and angry and I don’t understand why God is letting it be so hard for me, specially when I sometimes feel like giving up.


Dear Felicity

   There is so much more about you that I would like to understand. To respond to your letter is all that I can do. I trust I am not making too great a number of assumptions.

   Felicity, I hear a very young Christian speaking, one who has come to faith in Christ, and now desperately needs discipling to grow in their faith.

   When I had young children, it was a day by day teaching, modelling, setting standards laying a foundation for them as children, then did the same as they became teenagers, young adults and even now as adults, I am still a model for them.

   For you this will mean making sure you are a part of a sound Bible believing church, and being involved in a home group where you learn to grow spiritually.

Even more importantly than that is to have a spiritual mentor who will help you build accountability. Someone who will get to know you, and the areas of your struggle, and help you to grow in your life journey, and your relationship with God.

   Anyone who has sat under my teaching will have heard me say ‘get a mentor.’ By the way, a good mentor is not going to be a best friend, because you will need someone to say the tough things to you.

   I would love to get someone like you Felicity, and get you set up on your spiritual journey. [Contact the editor if you would like some help in this and she can refer you to me.]

   I have often said that I don’t have a problem changing a baby, feeding them and cleaning up after them, but if I am still doing that after twenty years I have a problem.

   Felicity, you can make it, and your life does not have to be a roller coaster ride. Please get the help and guidance I have suggested.



Issue 15: December 2018 – February 2019 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Purchase your own copy of this issue through our online store on this link.

Issue 15 SPAG Magazine
Letter 1 – Unhappily Married to a Nag
Dear Lou

   I married my wife about 12 months after I met her, but she is not the woman I thought I was marrying. We’ve been together almost 40 years in a very ugly marriage. She is a terrible nag and constantly criticises me, but not at church because she fakes being nice. Nobody at our church knows how horrible she is and I think they all believe she’s the sweet, loving person she puts on. I can’t believe she calls herself a Christian. I tried bringing it up with my Pastor, but I don’t think he believes me.

   A new single lady began coming to our church and I see how much we have in common. We sometimes chat over a coffee after church (with my wife and other people present.) She seems like a genuinely good woman with a real heart for children and ministry.

   Don’t get me wrong – I have no interest in chasing this other woman as I’m married and she’s far too young for me, but our talks and her friendly, smiling face pop up in my mind numerous times during the day and every time I think of her it reminds me about the huge mistake I made in choosing my wife.

   Our kids left home years ago and they all know how horrible my wife is to me – she was not a good mother to them either. She’s always refused to go to counselling and says that I’m the problem. To keep the peace, I try to remain calm and just let her words bounce off me, but I’m always feeling stressed and angry.

   In just a few years I’ll be retiring and the thought of spending my final years with her, makes me feel sick, especially having to spend more time at home. I regret wasting my life, and I’m seriously considering divorce. Where do I go from here?


Dear Ken

   Where do I start?

Most likely you grew up in the age where you never went anywhere for counselling, and this was also applicable to pre-marital counselling.

   You are the reason I emphasise strongly the importance of going through weeks of pre-marital counselling. After twelve months of knowing each other you are married. You are only beginning to know the other person, and hopefully time spent with your marriage celebrant would have picked up significant issues you would encounter in your proposed marriage. By the way, this level of counselling is applicable to first, second, or third marriages.

   My concern for you is that you are now in such a negative mind-set that it’s almost impossible to look for any good qualities your partner possesses, and I might say she would most likely feel the same thing about you.

   You are your choices. My advice to you is to stop looking at all you have lost and begin looking for ways you can enrich your marriage and build a positive life together. This would be best accomplished with a counsellor who can help you set direction and look for ways to bring a positive outcome to your time together. You mentioned that she won’t go to counselling, and you are probably right, because she sees you as wanting to “fix” her life. Change your attitude and I think you might find a very different response.

   I won’t even comment on meeting this other lady at church other than to say this is all about fantasy. Remember the phrase “the grass is greener on the other side of the fence.” It might appear so, but remember that it’s also a level of fantasy when it comes to relationships.

My advice to you Ken, is to do some serious work on changing your life attitude, and you might be surprised how good life can be.


Letter 2 – Sometimes I Want to Strangle My MiL
Dear Lou

   My mother-in-law can be a nasty b*#$! and she seems to enjoy hurting my wife. Every time she visits she finds something to criticise and goes on and on at her. Often my wife ends up in tears. Sometimes it’s nasty comments about the way my wife looks because she’s put on weight, or it’s about the kids, or about our marriage, or even about the way the house looks.

   I’ve told my wife several times that her mother is not welcome in our home, but she makes excuses for her, saying that since her father died, her mother is lonely and she has no-one to look after her.

   Every time my MiL leaves, my wife is upset for days afterwards. Sometimes my MiL just turns up with no warning, or if she does tell us she’s coming over, my wife stresses herself out trying to make the house really clean. It doesn’t matter what my wife does though, it’s never good enough for my MiL and there are times when I want to strangle her. I want to help my wife, but don’t know what to do.


Dear Beau

   You are responsible for caring for your wife. You are not married to your Mother in law. While the ideal situation is that you and your in-laws would have a positive relationship, you are the head of this new family unit, and are responsible to lead and protect your family.

   Your wife will be very much aware of the problem and feels caught between her new family and her birth family.

   Beau, it is time for you to have a conversation with your mother in law. State the facts and spell out a new set of standards for her relationship with you and your wife. Your wife might not want you to do it, but in the end, she will respect you for it.

   Your mother in law should be welcome in your family, but she will only be welcome on your terms.

   The ball is now in your court.


Letter 3 – Afraid of Being Old and Alone
Dear Lou

   I’ve never married and have not had kids of my own. Now that I’m middle aged and I’ve had had some health problems, I’m really worried about the future – will I be old and alone?

   I know that Jesus will be with me, but it scares me that I will have to depend on strangers and lose my independence when I get old and sick.

   What if I have a heart attack or a stroke? What if I can’t look after myself anymore? What if I’m bed-ridden or lose my sight?

   I’m starting to think that maybe euthanasea might be a good thing when I’m really sick and can’t do anything for myself any more. I hear Christians say we shouldn’t commit suicide, but surely God would not want His children to suffer.


Dear Caroline

   If ‘if’s’ and ‘buts’ were candy and nuts, we’d all have a merry Christmas.

   So much of your letter contains ‘what ifs.’ None of it has happened and might never happen. It doesn’t matter how good you are, you cannot cross a bridge until you come to it. What you need is a major change in attitude.

   Instead of looking for all the problems in life, get involved in some positive work and friendship experiences where you will develop a very different mind-set.

   I have met seemingly healthy people who are always looking for the worst to happen, and surprise, surprise I often find a very negative self- indulgent person. On the other hand, I know another lady who is virtually crippled with health issues, yet is constantly getting out to help other people. Surprise, surprise, she is one of the most positive people I know.

   Caroline, it is time for an attitude change. Only you can get up and make a difference by stopping your navel gazing and starting to see what you can offer to people around you.

   Church is a good place to start. What about meals on wheels or your local neighbourhood centre?

Caroline you can do it.


Issue 14: September – November 2018 Edition of SPAG Magazine
SPAG Issue 14 - September to November 2017
Letter 1 – How to Find a New Church
Dear Lou

   I moved to a new town after God encouraged me to go there. While I miss my friends and family, I have a good friend here and some close relatives. But I can’t seem to find a church to settle in.

   I’d like to find somewhere that there are single people like me, and who are mature so we can support each other. It’s important to me to find a church where there’s real Biblical teaching and encourages Christian growth.

   My question is, how do I find a church that meets my needs, and one where I believe God wants me to go? I’ve already been to a couple and at one church, where I was starting to feel comfortable, the Pastor said something that really made me feel angry. During his sermon he said that their church was aimed at families, because families have many needs, not like single people who are more selfish!

   Can you believe he said that?! So, if that’s their attitude towards single people, then I don’t want to go there anymore!

   I wanted to write to him and tell him how he made me feel, but I don’t know if that would really help his attitude.

   Can you help me figure out how to find a good church?


Dear Rachel

   As a person passionate about ministry to single and single again people, I can say that the sentiment of your letter is one I have heard on a regular basis.

   First priority is to find a church which is sound biblically and provides solid teaching. It would appear that you are doing this.

   Second priority is to find yourself in a home group where you can connect with people at a deeper level.

   Priority three is to start a ministry group for single and single again people. Offer your services to build such a group.

   If that is not welcome – look for another church.

   It is extremely disappointing to hear the comments made by the pastor regarding singles, yet this is a comment I have heard said on a regular basis from leaders of churches. So often churches do not care about or seek to understand the specific needs of our singles family. If we cared to look around church we would see widows, widowers, divorcees, unmarried mums and singles who have never married. Often these people make up a good percentage of the church population.

   Contact the pastor and remind him of what he said and listen to his response. This will enable you to determine whether you will get care in that church family. Ask simply what is being done to care for singles and their needs. Personal contact from you is far better than a letter.

   My encouragement would be to find other singles in the church and build some new friendships, but don’t neglect getting to know couples and others in the church.

   Ask your family and other friends if they know of other singles in the community. If you can’t develop this singles ministry in your church, look at building a healthy singles ministry on an interdenominational basis.

Kind regards


Letter 2 – Sometimes I Struggle with Being Alone
Dear Lou

   I’m now in my 30s and although I’m ok with that, I still struggle sometimes with being alone and feeling lonely.

   It would be nice sometimes having someone to sit and watch movies with or go for walks, etc. I’ve got some friends I can hang out with, but most of them have partners and kids, and when I crave time with friends or when I’m feeling a bit low, they aren’t always available because they’re busy with their own lives.

   Sometimes I pray about it, but it doesn’t make my sadness or loneliness go away. Can you tell me how I can make myself feel better when I’m feeling down? If God isn’t going to give me a husband, why does being alone have to be so hard?


Hi Giselle

   You correctly identify one of the most significant struggles faced by singles. In fact you identify one of the struggles of our modern day society. Some years ago I read that sixty percent of the population noted that loneliness was their major personal issue.

   Whenever I am with a crowd of people I look around and wonder which ones are desperately lonely. The key for living is to find an opportunity to get to find these people and be a friend to them.

   The key issue for you is to not sit down and wonder why you can’t find friends, but to be proactive and go out and look for people you can bring into your care.

   I would encourage you to get busy doing things for other people, get involved in your church, or sporting club, or a group which has similar interests or hobbies to yourself and work hard at being a giver and not a receiver only.

   Doing this does not necessarily take away the loneliness you will face at times, but it will be a way of meaningfully filling your life.

   I meet people on a regular basis who are living fulfilled lives because of the effort they make to reach other people. This is applicable to people of all ages.

   Make the effort to get involved with people and care for people who need someone to speak into their lives.

   Continue to pray that God would provide for you a very special group of caring friends.


Letter 3 – Anointing with Oil for Healing and Blessing
Dear Lou

   In the Old Testament and in the New Testament, there are references to anointing people with oil for healing, blessing or consecration.

   Why don’t churches do that today? I mean, if it’s talked about in the New Testament as a way to heal, or bless or consecrate, why aren’t we doing that? Well, at least not in the churches I have been to.

   How come we don’t see or hear of demons being cast out of people? The disciples were casting out demons in the New Testament. I’m sure there are still plenty of demons around today, so shouldn’t we be doing it?

   I find it confusing that things those early Christians did, we don’t do them today. Does that mean there’s something wrong with our modern churches? Does it mean we aren’t obeying God?


Dear Peter

   Thanks for your question and concern.

   In all churches that I have been, a part of anointing people with oil is a common practice. James 5 is the key for us in this.

   I believe it is a privilege for pastors and leaders to pray over people and to anoint with oil. This can be done within the context of church services, or in a home group, or by going to a family or individual and anointing with oil. My encouragement is to make this a key practice within your spiritual journey.

   My first port of call in praying for people who are supposedly possessed by evil spirits is to always check to see if there is unconfessed sin in their life. Sadly, people blame the devil for stuff which in reality is their own sinful action. Unconfessed sin will always bring bondage in a person’s life.

   The Bible tells me very clearly that we know this fact, “Greater is He that is in you than he that is in the world.” I John 4:4. Because of this a person walking closely with the Lord does not have to worry about demon possession.

   On the other hand demonic influences are all around us. The devil and his cohorts were defeated by Jesus on the cross.

   Our hope is in Christ.

   Keep praying for people, and keep anointing with oil as we are commanded to do in the Scriptures.



Issue 13: June – August 2018 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Link to purchase this issue in our online store.

Front cover of Issue 13
Letter 1 – Some Churches are Just Too Much
Dear Lou

   Some churches make me feel uncomfortable, especially those with loud music and guitars and clapping. It’s like it’s a show instead of time to worship God. There’s a group singing and playing music on stage set up above everyone in the ‘audience.’ Sometimes it feels like the people on the stage, including the Pastor are almost becoming like idols to us. We worship their music and our leader, instead of or as well as worshipping God. Is this something we should be concerned about?

   In some services, when people lift their arms and hands up in the air, especially during singing, it’s like some are doing it to draw attention to themselves.

   I’ve been to some churches where it seems that speaking in tongues is kind of ‘expected.’ From what I understand, speaking in tongues is the least of the gifts and I didn’t think that every Christian got all of the gifts. To me it seemed as if people felt pressured to fake speaking in tongues to fit in. That just doesn’t seem right to me.

   I believe that many of these Christians are genuine, but sometimes I think some churches are set up to encourage the wrong thing, such as idolising the musicians and the Pastor, or trying to draw attention to themselves or being forced to fake it to fit in. Am I just being too old fashioned or do I have a legitimate right to be concerned sometimes?


Dear Marcus

    You ask a very important question, and one which has been raised with me on countless occasions.

   You need to understand the type of church service which blends with the person you are.

   As I talk with people I find there are three broad categories we confront. The first is the formal, liturgical style of worship, the second is the less formal and has a very strong emphasis upon the preaching of the Word, and the third is the charismatic worship with its focus on music and the ministry of the Holy Spirit. The key for each of these styles of worship is that a good balance is kept in the ministry of the church.

   In a very broad summary I see the Anglican, Lutheran and Uniting Church most comfortable in Category one; with the Baptist, Church of Christ, and Wesleyan churches fitting into category two; and the Assembly of God, Christian Outreach and other charismatic churches fitting into category three.

   The key thing for you to identify with, is the style of worship you feel comfortable in your worshipping God and find yourself regularly in church. The key is to always be in a church which brings people to a relationship with Christ and develops a good disciple-ship ministry. This is the church which will send disciples out into the field to preach the Gospel.

   Get this right and most of your other questions will be answered.

   For further reading, I would encourage you to get hold of Natural Church Development material and study the information they present. A good starting point would be the book, “Natural Church Development” by Christian Schwarz.


Letter 2 – Confused about My Faith
Dear Lou

   I’ve been a Christian since I was fifteen, and there have been many times in my life when God has answered my prayers, especially when I was struggling with money, or having trouble in other areas.

   But, there have also been times when God hasn’t answered my prayers, like when my wife had our first baby. Matthew was born with a hole in his heart and other health problems. We prayed and asked for healing, and our church prayed too. It was a horrible time, and Matthew had to stay in hospital.

   We had months of stress, especially the times when he got really sick, and we were juggling work and other things, and my wife and I had little time to spend together.

   Then just when it looked like Matthew was getting better, and the doctors said he was strong enough to have another operation to fix his heart, our son died.

   My wife and I were both angry and hurt for a long time. We went to counselling and joined a group of other people who had lost their children, and that really helped us. But still it left me confused – I truly believe that God could have healed Matthew if He wanted to, but since He didn’t, how do I know how to trust Him now?

   I’m not sure I understand what faith or trust are now that this has happened. What about Mark 11:24 – what does that mean since God doesn’t always answer our prayers?

  Now when I pray, I have doubts that God will answer my prayers. Someone said that the experience must have made our faith stronger, but honestly, I feel so much weaker now. My faith in God has been shaken. I’m confused about how I can continue to trust in God for answers to prayer.


Dear Ryan

   My heart aches for you as you continue to cope with the loss of your son. There are many things in this life which we don’t understand, but simply come to a point where we must continue to trust God.

   Sadly, there is a level of thinking within the church that God is like a benevolent grandfather who is at the beck and call of people, and He must deliver on the prayers we pray in the way in which we tell Him to answer.

   When we pray, God always answers our prayers, but not always in accordance with our will. You have heard the statement that God answers prayer in three ways:

Yes, no, and wait.

   Our problem is that we don’t want to know about ‘no’ and ‘wait.’

From your letter I would assume that Matthew was very young when he went to be with the Lord. That being the case, you know that you will unite again one day in heaven. I’m sure that Matthew would tell you he is doing fine in heaven, and would implore you to make your life count while you are here on earth.

   Ryan, to you and your wife, it is time to realise that God is still on the throne, and He has a plan for you. Trust Him and continue to grow in your faith.

   Only God can make sense out of nonsense. Years ago a close friend lost their little child at about 20 months of age. I remember the wife saying, “I don’t understand, but I know God can use this experience.” For years since that time, many a family who have lost a little child has been blessed by them. They can truly say “I know what you are feeling.”

   You mentioned that there have been many times where God has answered your prayers in the past. He is the same God in your life today and He has not changed. Start trusting Him afresh with your life and then see what a difference Christ can make in you again.

   Let God use you for His glory.

Kind regards


Letter 3 – Courting or Dating?
Dear Lou

   I’m single in my early 20s, and somebody asked me whether I’m courting a girl or whether I’m just dating? I don’t understand. I thought they were the same thing?

   If I’m looking for a partner, aren’t you supposed to date to find if your compatible or something? Is there a difference and what does it matter anyway?


Dear Kyle

   Your letter caused me to start thinking about the difference in these two words. I think we tend to simply to use the word ‘dating’ as the catch-all for any relationship pre-marriage.

   A lady named Talia Kennedy said this:

   “‘Courtship’ is a rather outdated word used to describe the activities that occur when a couple is past the dating stage and in a more serious stage of their relationship. It happens before the couple becomes engaged and is usually meant to describe when a man is attempting to woo a woman, with marriage as the end goal. Dating has a more informal connotation and implies that the couple is not necessarily exclusive.”

   Another person wrote:

   “Men and women who choose to date often have no commitment to consider marrying the other person. Maturity and readiness for marriage are not considerations in the decision to date. Instead, couples usually date with the selfish goals of having fun and enjoying romantic attachments. In contrast, courtship is undertaken only when both parties are prepared to make a commitment to marriage.”

   I appreciate these thoughts and trust you can see the difference.

   This question would be a good topic for a discussion group in your local singles group or other church group.

   When it comes to building a significant relationship, every believer must do all in their power to build a God honouring relationship. God’s standards are always the best standards.



Issue 12: March to May 2018 Edition of SPAG Magazine

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Issue 12 - March to May 2018
Letter 1 – Why Am I Attracted to Another Woman?
Dear Lou

   I’m 33, and I didn’t start dating until I was 26. I think I was just too scared of getting close to a girl. I didn’t understand myself much and didn’t have much confidence. Since then I’ve had a few girlfriends but no-one serious until recently.

   I’ve been dating a nice girl for about a year and a half and I like her so much I’m starting to think about marrying her. But then in the last couple of months, I found myself attracted to another woman at my church. She’s single too and nice and I think she gets me, more than my girlfriend does.

   It worries me that I like someone else. Does that mean I’m not ready for marriage? Should I avoid that other woman? How do I stop liking her? Is there something wrong with me? Should I switch churches? What will happen if I marry my girlfriend and still like that other woman? Should I drop my girlfriend and take a chance that the new woman and me are more suited?


Greetings Matt

   Relationships can be one of the most complex and confusing part of a person’s life. From your letter that is your experience right now. You have expressed some of your insecurities in life and need some guidelines on the dynamics of building a relationship.

   One key criteria I give to people embarking on a relationship – hasten slowly. You must take the time to build a friendship with a lady before you even think about a relationship. With your girlfriend, you talk about your plans. I would suggest you spend time with her to build a strong friendship and together you can move toward a decision about what your plans together might be. Only after you do that will you be able to collectively decide if you are moving toward marriage.

   You mention enjoying the friendship of another single and your confusion as a result of this. Only you can determine why your attraction is so strong and what the possible outcome might be. My feeling from you is a stronger attraction to the second lady, and this is the basis of your letter. You need to make an honest assessment of your situation and evaluate all options before making any decision on your future.

   Don’t move forward carrying regrets. This means you need to have an absolute peace that your current relationship is the one for you.

   People have said to me that they have met the perfect person for them and can embark on a beautiful journey with their soul mate. That is dream time thinking. One writer on personality said that you are attracted to a particular personality mix. This means that there could be a number of people with whom you could build a happy, meaningful marriage in this world. The issue is that you make a life choice to marry a special person, then work and work at building a lifestyle together.

   Give yourself some time and make sure you are building a good friendship before you consider a deeper relationship.

   God bless you on your journey.


Letter 2 – Why Should I Trust Him?
Dear Lou

   I didn’t know my dad and never heard from him until I was grown up and married with my own kids. I know he stayed with my mum only because she got pregnant with me when they’d only been together a few months. But then they used to fight all the time which is why they broke up when I was only a few months old.

   Last year, my dad asked to come back into my life again. He says he wants to get to know me, but I’m not interested. What about all of those years he never bothered with me? What about all those years when I needed my dad and he wasn’t there? Why should I trust him? He’s married and has a couple of teenage kids, and NOW he wants to know me?

   I have all of these feelings of anger coming up all the time and I don’t know what to do. I’ve cried with my wife and she understands, but I can’t seem to be able to get my feelings under control. I’m afraid I’m going to take out my frustrations on my wife and kids. I know I’ve been distracted and quiet. I think I’d like to know my brother and sister, but I don’t want any strings attached. My father just has to understand that I don’t want to know him.

   I feel messed up and don’t know where to go from here.


Dear Jason

   Let’s go back to the beginning. You know nothing of your Dad except what you have been told by your Mum. For this reason you don’t have the whole story of why your parents separated. Dr Phil always says, “It doesn’t matter how flat you make a pancake there are always two sides.” This is very relevant for you in your situation. You do not know what your father experienced in moving out of your life.

   I hear your pain and confusion as to your life experience. Do you want to maintain the rage for the rest of your life or do you want to bring some resolve into your life? The fact that you are worried that your anger might flow to your family is a valid concern, and important enough for you to do something about it. The saddest aspect of repressed anger is that it often causes pain upon innocent people.

   As hard as it might be, I think the time has come for you to meet with your Dad. If you don’t, I could expect to see more letters like this one coming from you. You are an adult and need to make the step toward your Dad. It is not about venting past pain, but about putting in place a new foundation for your life. You might never build a permanent relationship with him, but then you might. Together you can set the agenda for the future.

   Jason you owe it to yourself, and just as importantly your wife and children. This is one load you do not need to carry. Your Pastor or Christian Counsellor would be a positive assistance as you make your plans.

   God will bless you as you take the initiative.


Letter 3 – I Miss My Friend
Dear Lou

   I had a crush on a good friend but he told me that he doesn’t have those same kind of feelings towards me. I was hurt, but we talked and agreed that the best thing to do is not to have any more interaction, other than maybe just to say hello at church.

   We agreed not to hang out any more or to phone each other because we want to honour our future spouse (we’re both single) and also don’t want to spoil the friendship that we had.

   I miss him so much. I find myself wanting to text him about my day and about good things that happen. Did we do the right thing? Should I have fought for a relationship with him, and if so, how would I go about that?

   How do I let go of my feelings for him? We had a lot in common and laughed together over the same kind of silly things.

   I’m really hurting and miss my friend.


Dear Alyssa

   One of the things we most enjoy in life are good friendships, and they are vital to our own personal development. It appears you had this. What you have found is the reality of what happens when a friendship moves to another level and becomes a relationship. Many a friendship has ended as a result of one becoming romantically involved.

   My advice to every couple building relationship is to make sure we communicate well. It would appear that you have stronger feelings in this situation. The healthy way to approach this is to say to him, “my feelings are getting stronger for you, How is that with you?” If they are not ready – you wait.

   As you ask similar questions to this, you build friendship and then relationship, it will stop you second guessing what the other person is thinking. Let him know how much you miss the friendship you had, and would like to get back and rebuild your friendship. Making sure you ask the questions I have suggested as you move along in your friendship. Just because he didn’t have the same feelings for you at present doesn’t mean that you can’t maintain a very healthy friendship.

   Give it a go, and see what happens as you start sharing together.

   God will bless you on your journey.


Issue 11: Dec 2017 to Feb 2018 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Link to purchase this issue in our online store.

Issue 11- December 2017 - February 2018
Letter 1 – Unfairly Treated at Church
Dear Lou

   I’m a divorcee. My husband and I were Christians when we married, or at least I was. Almost from the start my husband ran around behind my back, sleeping with different women, and I had no idea. We were married for nine years when I found out, and counselling didn’t work because my husband had no intention of changing his ways.

   I’ve been on my own for over ten years and attend a small church where I’ve been going for about six years. There are some married people who treat me nicely, but there are several who ignore me and walk away from me.

   A woman my age began attending my church about two years ago and we’ve become friends. She lived with a man for several years before she became a Christian, and I’ve noticed that the same people who ignore me, are very warm and welcoming towards her.

   I’m beginning to feel resentful about their attitude – just because I was legally married and now divorced, how is that different to my friend who lived with her partner? I don’t take my frustration out on my friend, but their treatment is so unfair! I can feel my anger growing every time I see them and I’m afraid I’m going to say something one day.

   Should I just find another church? I’ve made good friends there and I really don’t want to go. Do I have the right to feel angry with the way some of them treat me?


Dear Olive

   In the reality of life you are experiencing many of the conflicts which ‘single again’ adults face. External expressions make you very aware of issues that bring criticism and judgment of you, and internal pressures which cause you to be very sensitive, sometimes super-sensitive to the world in which you live.

   Every person handles going into the murky waters of ‘single again’ living in different ways.

   This is why I consider it a critical decision to find a Christian Counsellor (wherever possible) to walk you through your life issues.

   The first issue being: how do you live in a predominantly couples world as a single? This is at a time when you are at your most vulnerable and often going through significant levels of disappointment and rejection. This can lead to depression and confusion.

   Added to that are the issues surrounding going through a divorce, and you will find how important it is to have a mentor work with you and walk with you on this life journey.

   The second issue is much more sinister, because it deals with the perceived motives of others. This is as relevant in the church as it is outside the church. We set a standard of expectation for the church and it often fails us badly.

   My suggestion is to build good fellowship with those you know who love you and that you can trust.

   I would encourage you not to try to win the approval of others within the church. Don’t allow those other people to set your objectives. You are the only person who can change you, so go about this by establishing good practices and building healthy relationships within that framework.

   Stay in your church and enjoy the fellowship you have. If you moved to another church you will find the same situation and the same kinds of people there as well.

   Hold tight to what you are doing and build a good friendship with this relatively new lady. Don’t be controlled by attitudes or actions of other people.

   Hang in there, and remember the phrase “You can make it.”


Letter 2 – Am I Bi-Sexual?
Dear Lou

   When I was a teenager, I was involved with a group where we used to drink alcohol and some of them did drugs. We slept around and so my first experiences with sex wasn’t good. I haven’t had sex since.

   I’ve been a Christian for almost ten years and I regret what I did in my past.

   I’m worried that I might be bi. There’s a woman at my church I’ve known for a couple of years that I have a serious crush on. She’s so nice. She’s very intelligent and has a maturity that I really admire, and she has a great sense of humour.

   I’m not saying that I want a sexual relationship with her, but I’m worried that I might be bi.

   How do you know if you are bi-sexual? Isn’t that a sin? I didn’t ask to be bi so why would God punish me this way?


Dear Angelica

   Oh what a tangled web is built in our mind when we listen to the lies and garbage the devil feeds into our thinking.

   You cannot allow what has happened in your past to determine who you are today and what you will become in the future. When any person gives power to the past, I usually find that person has paralysis in the present and is unable to develop hope for the future.

   My simple advice is to move forward in your life, by forgiving yourself for what happened previously, and believe God for what He can do in your life in the present.

   In a message I preached on Paul, I asked this question:

   “Did Paul have a past he wished he could change?” The answer is Absolutely. What did he do about it? Let’s check what he said in Philippians 3: 13-14:

   “Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize.”

   You have stuff in you past which has caused you and still is causing you considerable pain. Angelica. Your past though, cannot hurt you anymore unless you let it.

   You ask about being bisexual. That is not an issue. You are simply a person who has been badly hurt by a life experience, and it is costing you dearly, right up to the present. I can only begin to imagine the pain that has been with you since your teenage years.

   Angelica, please find yourself a Christian counsellor and work through the pain of your past, and become the person God has made you to be. Recognising the need for forgiveness of yourself will be a major stepping stone for you.

   Enjoy a special friendship that God has brought into your life.

   Counselling is a must for you.

Warm regards


Letter 3 – Can You Help Me Help My Brother?
Dear Lou

   My brother is married with two teenagers. He’s got depression and hasn’t worked for five years. His wife works, and he feels guilty that he’s not supporting his family like he should. They’re not Christians.

   My brother started a job recently as a labourer and he quit after only two weeks. He says it was hurting his back, but I think it could be mostly fear that keeps him from working or applying for jobs.

   Is there some way that I can help him? I’ve encouraged him and his wife to get counselling, but he’s not interested. I think it’s because he’s a man and thinks he should be strong and just get on with it.

   I try to be supportive but I’m feeling a bit lost about how I can help him more. Do you have any suggestions?


Dear Amanda

   One of the things I’ve found with human beings is that they like to fix things. You are currently trying to fix your brother.

   Your role should instead be as an encourager and a supporter.

   Is your brother doing it tough? I would say he is. Does he want help? I don’t think so. He has learnt to play the “poor me” card very well, and while everyone feels sorry for him, he feels secure.

   My suggestion is:

  • encourage him to get to work;
  • if his back is sore, then encourage him to see a doctor for help;
  • otherwise, he should get back to work and put up with a bit of pain.

   While you constantly feel sorry for him and run around after him, you are being an enabler to him. It is time for him to take some personal pride in his life, and stop feeling sorry for himself. He is the only person who can change himself.

   Always be an encourager, but realise there is time when some tough love is necessary.

Kind regards


Issue 10: September – November 2017 Edition of SPAG Magazine

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Issue 10 - September to November 2017
Letter 1 – Am I Saved?
Dear Lou

   I became a Christian about three years ago, and my question is, am I saved?

   Why don’t I feel good, and how come I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere? Every time I feel like maybe God is there, and helping me or changing me like I was told he would, someone criticises me about something I did or said, or I feel stupid or something happens and I feel like I’m not getting any better. It’s like I’m stuck back at the start.

   If I’m a Christian, why haven’t things got better? Why haven’t I got better? I keep getting told stuff that makes it seem like I should be happy all the time. Where is the joy I’m supposed to have? That bible verse in Galations 5:22 says: “the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control.”

   I don’t feel like I have peace, and I wish I was more patient. I don’t feel like I’m a good person or kind enough, and I’m not gentle. If I don’t have these things does that mean that I don’t have the Holy Spirit and I’m not saved at all?

   I find it hard to feel good about myself, and I thought that once I become a Christian that would get better, but it hasn’t. I feel like giving up, because it feels like God has given up on me. Sometimes it all just seems too hard and maybe it’s just too hard to be a Christian.

   Can you help me to understand?


Dear Brianna

   There are a large number of questions you have raised in this letter. Just reading your letter made me aware of how many sermon topics I could put together from the questions you are asking.

   To answer all your questions would require more pages than are in this magazine!

   As a result I will give some general thoughts and trust you will follow up on them.

   I would be looking to get you into a discipleship group, a group where you can ask the questions you have and also build a level of accountability. Hopefully a lot of the questions you ask could be dealt with at that level.

   My second guidance would be to get a spiritual and personal mentor – someone who will give you constant assistance in growing as a Christian. Find a mature Christian and ask them to be your mentor. I believe every Believer needs to have a mentor.

   My third piece of direction for you would be to realise your Christian life does not depend on feelings but on a personal surrender of your life to your Lord. There will be many circumstances in your life which could bring doubts, but always hold onto the promise that God is always with you in whatever your life experience might be.

   My final piece of admonition to you would to be going deeper in your relationship with your Lord. Many Christians take Jesus to be their Saviour and find that this is where they live their life. The Scriptures require each of us to take Jesus as Lord. When we take Jesus as Saviour and Lord we will know something of the joy of being totally surrendered to Him.

   The Christian life is always about daily growing in the Lord. To this end I would encourage you to go deeper into the Word of God, and spend time with Him in prayer. Thank God for all He has achieved thus far in your life.

   You are the type of person I would love to have in my church, because I know you would thrive on sound Bible teaching and a big dose of encouragement.

   God bless you in your Christian journey.


Letter 2 – Should I Stay or Should I Go?
Dear Lou

   When I was still living at home, I went to church with my parents. Then in high-school I went through a rebellious stage; I was rude and got into a bit of trouble at school and stopped going to church. I got caught shop-lifting a couple a times, and moved out of home, so by the time I was in my early 20s, I was a bit of a mess, and didn’t like where my life was.

   Mum convinced me to go back to church and then I became a Christian for real.

   It was nice to be back at the old church and to catch up with a couple a people who I was friends with back then. I never really took much notice of old people in the church when I was young – though there was a couple who were nice to me when I was a kid. But this time when I went back, I noticed some older people were ignoring me. I thought I was imagining it, until one of my friends said that she heard that I was a thief and I shouldn’t be trusted.

   I’m so upset. Mum says that I’ll just have to ‘deal with the consequences of my actions’ from when I was messed up. She said that there may always be some people who will never trust me, and that I’m going to have to tough it out and prove to them that I’ve changed.

   I’m upset that people have been gossiping and now it seems everyone at church knows about my shoplifting and stuff. Someone else said they heard I was on drugs, which I wasn’t. I don’t think I can stay at this church any more. Will it get any better, or should I just give up and go to a new church?

   I’m angry that people are judging me when they don’t know the whole true story and that they won’t give me a second chance.


Dear Courtney

   Any church would be thrilled to have you as a part of their church family.

   It is a disappointment to me to read your letter, and realise that there are still legalistic, pharisaical people in the church who will condemn any person who is not like them.

   The church is made for people like you and I commend you for the recommitment you have made. Thank God for your upbringing, and a very special thank you now for being the person you are meant to be.

   I would encourage you to read the previous letter to Brianna (Letter 1) and bring the principles shared there into your own life.

   You can’t change people or their attitudes, but you can rise above the pettiness and judgement they bring. Keep your eyes on the Lord and don’t get side-tracked by problem people.

   Things in your life will get much better as you grow personally closer to your Lord. Find a good home group, get a personal mentor, and focus on the positive and wholesome things God has brought into your life.

   You will be the key to reaching people like yourself who have some life issues, but are now able help rise above them and be the person or people God means them to be.

   God will bless you on your journey.

Kind regards


Letter 3 – Church-Hopping
Dear Lou

   A friend of mine that I’ve known for about fifteen years has never settled down in one church. He and his wife stay at one church for a couple of years, and then they move to another one.

   He said they leave for different reasons. Sometimes it’s because someone said something that upset them, or that the minister wasn’t good at preaching, or the music was too loud and modern, and one time because the church was getting a new minister who was a woman.

   I have tried to encourage them to go to Bible study because they can grow a lot there, but they don’t seem interested in anything much except for Sunday services. Sometimes they’ll go to church functions, but to me it looks like they’re expecting to be disappointed again.

   Should I do or say something that may encourage them to stick it out, rather than giving up when the first bit of trouble stirs up? I have tried to suggest it a couple of times, but it’s like they expect church people and ministers to be perfect and not make mistakes.

   We’re not really close friends, so I’m not sure what I can say to them. I expect they might just give up on me too if I say something that upsets them.


Dear Patrick

   All you can do is be an encourager – you fulfil your part and allow God to go to work in their lives.

    Remember the old saying that you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make it drink. I will add to that for you and say in this instance your role is to do everything in your power to make them thirsty. Hopefully, then they will want to know and then to grow in the Lord.

   From your letter I would conclude that this couple are church attendees more than disciples. As a result they live the life of consumers and this is ultimately selfish, ie it is all about me.

   My suggestion would be to talk with them, and seek to discover the depth of their Christian walk. Once you do this you might encourage them to be in a discipleship group – if there is not one in your church, maybe you could lead one for them as well as other Christians.

   When people are unhappy consumers they will always look for someone to blame. When people tell me why they move from a church I know there are two reason: what they tell me, and the truth. Often we will never know the truth.

   Your role is to lovingly place a challenge before them and then leave the consequences to God. Cover your ministry to them in prayer. Look at some of the concepts suggested in the letter to Brianna (Letter 1).

   God will bless you as you serve Him.



Issue 9: June to August 2017 Edition of SPAG Magazine

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Issue 9 - June to August 2017
Letter 1 – Disappointed in My Dad
Dear Lou

   When my parents split up six years ago, I stayed with my Dad because I’ve always felt close to him. I’m still at home, even though I’m now 24 because we get along really good. Since I started dating, Dad has been clear about the kind of guys he thinks I should date: only Christian men who treat me with respect.

   I’ve been encouraging him to find someone to love and for a long time he wasn’t interested, because he was hurt after what happened between him and mum, and after the divorce and he wasn’t sure if he could marry again.

   About 4 months ago, he began to think about dating after talking with our Pastor. Ever since then, I’ve noticed Dad checking out women wherever we go. Sometimes it makes me feel uncomfortable that’s he’s ogling them. I’m not sure if he’s always done that, or if he’s taking more notice of women now. I kind of feel disappointed in him now because he’s just thinking about the way women look.

   Now that I know he might find a girlfriend, I’ve started worrying that if he gets married again, that things will change between us. I want him to be happy, but I worry about if she’ll like me and maybe we won’t get along.


Hi Renee

   You have put a lot of information into one letter, and I can imagine that these things have been going round and round in your mind for a considerable amount of time.

   The bottom line is this: you are using up a lot of energy worrying about things that, when it all boils down to it, are out of your control.

   From your letter you mention about ‘our pastor’, so I am assuming that you are a Christian or at least are going to church. Assuming that, I would expect that you already have a solid value system as to the sort of person with whom you would like to share your life. You build your standards and live by those Godly principles.

   You can be sure of one thing and that is Dad’s are pretty protective of their daughters, so they will always think the boyfriend they choose is never good enough for their little girl. Renee, build your own set of principles and don’t compromise your values. As you go deeper in your relationship get someone who you love and respect and have them talk to you about your developing relationship. It is a challenging adventure but well worth working on for your own future.

   You mention Dad getting a divorce. Reality is that he is possibly now only getting over the hurt of a marriage break down, and the fact that you are a young woman is allowing him the opportunity to look forward to his own future. You have given your Dad permission to move on, and are super-sensitive to the fact that he is now in the single-again group of people. It appears that he is ready to look for a future partner.

   Because of this you are sensing fears that you cannot control. You have no power right now to determine whether or not you will be able to build a positive relationship with any woman your Father meets. One of the toughest matters to work through in your situation is the blended family matters. Renee, when and if your father goes into a new relationship, you will work out what it means to build a new relationship with that person.

   You are responsible for you. You make the best possible decisions in your power in your personal relationships and allow your Dad to take responsibility for his life.

   Please relax a little and enjoy what you have at the moment. I would love to see you with a mentor who will be a sounding board for you in a lot of your decision.



Letter 2 – His Behaviours are Killing My Love
Dear Lou

   I’ve been married for almost eleven years and we have two kids. My husband has OCD (Obsessive Compulsive Disorder) which I knew about before we married. But knowing about it and living with it are two different things.

   His obsessions include extreme cleanliness and orderliness. While I understand and accept that we should have a certain order to things at home eg where items are located so we can find them, but my husband goes beyond that. Towels have to be folded in a certain way and placed in the cupboard in a certain way; all towels, sheets etc have to be white and if there are any stains or greyness, he throws them out and we have to buy new ones. It’s such a waste of money when they’re still perfectly fine to use.

   I’ve tried reasoning with him, but he won’t listen. I’ve suggested getting counselling but he’s resisting because he doesn’t think he should be the one to change, but that I should change, and that I knew what he was like before I married him.

   I worry our kids will grow up and become obsessed the same way my husband is, but mostly I worry that they’ll never be in a healthy relationship because the only example is what they’ve seen with my husband and me and the way we fight. I worry too that one day it’s all going to be too much for me and I’ll walk out. I still love him, but I feel like I’m being slowly smothered by his extreme behaviours which are getting worse.


Dear Grace

   You have analysed your situation, and now find yourself trapped.

   The issue for you both now is to get into some level of counselling. You need to reaffirm that this is not ‘his’ problem, but it is an ‘our’ problem. You can approach him by saying “I need help to know how to work through our current situation, and in so doing enable each of us to bring positive change into the marriage.” Many, many times, I have heard the phrase you have used, “You knew what I was like before we were married and I don’t see the need to change now.”

   The problem with that statement is that it is extremely selfish. The reality is that once you are married you now are a couple and live together. If your partner upsets you can’t go home – you are home. This means that you need to work together to make your marriage work. His comment to you that you should change is an arrogant statement and is a level of bullying. You need to make an appointment with a marriage counsellor and even if he refuses to go with you, go anyway.

   Sadly many a marriage has broken down over issues like you talk about. The high priority is to get help for yourself and also for your marriage.

   You mention about your children. Remember that children learn what they observe, and you are going to need to assure your children of your love and care for them. The fact that your children are aware of the struggle you have (they problem-struggle with any obsessive behaviour they observe) means they are open for you to talk with them about what is normal.

Your children will love you both, but struggle to love the behaviour. Please get some help because this is one issue which is going to need far more knowledge than you are able to provide.

   Remember it is an ‘our’ problem. Most males will resist strongly if they perceive that this is ‘my’ problem. If you have family/friends, get your children to look at what their family relationship is like, and even get your children talking about what they see as a normal, healthy family life.

   Get help as soon as you can.


Letter 3 – Am I That Creepy Guy?
Dear Lou

   I help out at church in a few things. I’m 23 and I know I’ve got a lot to learn about being a Christian, but I think I’m a nice, considerate guy. I know I’m not good looking, and I’m too skinny. Why can’t the women in my church see past my looks and see the nice guy inside?

   Do the women think I’m creepy, and desperate because I’m so friendly and because I’ve asked a few women out? (They always say no.) I’ve noticed that when I’m about to start talking to a woman after church, they sometimes kind of look around me when I get near them, like they’re looking for an escape route. One time when I sat next to a girl who is quiet and hasn’t got many friends, and when I started talking to her, she got up and moved away from me. That really hurt my feelings! I wasn’t interested in her, but thought she looked lonely. After that I started worrying that I’m coming across as a creepy guy.

   I even tried NOT talking to them, but they certainly didn’t start chasing me! I can’t even seem to get to be friends with any of the single women. What am I doing wrong? How do I change my approach? Should I just give up?


Dear Aiden

   In your letter you tell a lot about yourself and also struggles with relationships. You present relationships as your big struggle.

   I have a statement I live by when it comes to working with and helping people. The statement is this, “The real problem is always deeper down and further back.“

   Without knowing you, if you came to me for help I would start with you. I would be looking at a number of things which go to make you the person you are. This would include your family and upbringing, your personality, events in your life, how you came to faith in Christ. I would suspect that one of the primary issues in life is about who you are, how you see yourself, developing a positive self-worth, and trying to understand the messages you are sending yourself.

   I don’t think we need to talk about building relationship or friendship with people, but about getting you to a Christian Counsellor who can spend a considerable amount of time helping you to become the person that you would like to become and that God wants you to be.

    Once that happens I would hope we are able to look at a much more positive relationship with other people, both male and female. I know you might think I have not answered your question, but remember the real problems are always deeper down and further back. My prayer for you Aiden is to find a Christian Counsellor who can help you believe in yourself, then later to help you work through the ability to build friendships with people.



Issue 8: March – May 2017 Edition of SPAG Magazine

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Issue 8 - March to May 2017
Letter 1 – Losing My Mind after Losing My Heart
Dear Lou

   I went onto a dating website and met a nice Christian woman. We chatted on the net for a few months, and then began talking on the phone before deciding to meet. Viv lives about an hour away from me and after meeting for coffee a few times, we began going out once a fortnight. She would always come into meet me because she lives in a small town.

   She says nice things to me and when we dance and my arms are around her, she says things like, “You make me feel so safe when I’m with you.” She hasn’t said much about her past except that she’d been hurt. Sometimes she gets busy and I don’t see her for weeks at a time, but she phones me at least once a month. We’d been seeing each other for about nine months and I could feel myself falling for her.

   Last time we met up for dinner at my place and afterwards she took me by the hand and tried to lead me to the bedroom. I was shocked at first and while I was tempted to say yes, I explained that I really cared for her, but as a Christian, I didn’t think it was right to have sex before marriage. After that, she made excuses and left.

   I tried to call her but she wouldn’t answer the phone. For the first few weeks I left messages telling her I missed her, and then gave up about six weeks later. I was feeling hurt and confused. But every day I found myself thinking about her and don’t know how to switch off my feelings for her. Then about four months later she phoned and apologised, saying that she’d had a family emergency and had to go to her daughter in Sydney. I think she lied about the reason.

   I thought I’d never see her again, and I’m feeling confused. What’s going on?


Dear Ron

   Aren’t relationships fun! The problem with building friendship and relationship is that we don’t know the other person’s story. When this happens we often make assumptions which are incorrect, and as a result we second-guess the other person’s word and actions?

   As in all dating situations the issue is about building strong friendship, and making this your highest priority. Issues like this point to developing much healthier dating standards. I will mention these briefly below, but it is an issue which is far more complex than I suggest in this reply to you.

   Always build friendship first because this is foundational in long-term relationships. When you sense your friendship is ready to go the next step ask this question, “I value our friendship and believe I am ready to take it to another level. How does this sit with you?”

   Do this at every new development in your relationship and you will find building your relationships goes much more smoothly. This area is a great subject for a workshop for single and single again people.

    I have not commented on all aspects of your letter, but by building healthy relationship skills, these will also be answered. Make contact and work at building a solid friendship before moving to any new level of dating.


Letter 2 – Losing My Kids
Dear Lou

   My ex-wife left me a few years ago and took the kids with her. She has fought me every step of the way after our break-up, and makes nasty comments about me in front of the kids when I go to pick them up. I don’t say anything because that will just stir her up even more. Besides, the kids shouldn’t see us fighting.

   She has a boyfriend and since he got a job in another state, she’s talking about taking the kids with her and moving to live with him. That means that the kids will have to start over at a new school and make new friends, and I won’t get to see them much except for a couple of weeks during school holidays, if I can get time off work.

   I love my kids, and I think what she’s doing isn’t right. She’s thinking only about herself and not about them. I know if I say something to her, she’ll just act nasty again. I can’t afford to take her to court, and I’m worried this is going to get out of control/

   I’m also worried about how this is going to affect my relationship with my kids. If she keeps on saying nasty stuff about me, won’t they believe her? Is there some way that I can reassure the kids that I love them, other than just in words?


Dear Seth

   This is one of the series of questions that I am asked repeatedly, and sadly it is probably a significant player in the amount of domestic violence flooding our society today. When I encounter people like yourself, I often find significant levels of frustration. The problem that you will experience is enhanced when you receive ‘trite’ answers, which do little to help you.

   You didn’t mention the age of your children in your letter. Give your children some credit and know that they will read the situation more clearly than you could ever imagine. Your children are looking for security and my recommendation to you is to always look at ways to encourage your children, to make sure you spend valuable time with them whenever you can, and even though they are out of your state, make sure that you have phone contact with them on a weekly basis. In all of your contact make sure that your priority is your children, and as you are doing already, continue to avoid saying anything that is detrimental about your former wife.

   As hard as this might seem, continue to be loving and caring toward your children and make sure you grasp every opportunity you have for contact with them. Again give your children credit for seeing the bigger picture.

   My personal experience in working with people in your situation is to encourage them to comply with court orders, never miss an opportunity to be with the children, and always be positive in speaking with them. I have seen a person totally frustrated in going through a situation like yours, and have encouraged this person to do the things I have mentioned earlier in this reply. Has it been frustrating for them? Absolutely: “The fear has always been the children will hate me, and I am powerless to do anything about it.”

   To this person I always said, keep a positive spirit and be the best parent you can be to the children, because there will come a time when they see your attitude and behaviour and warm to what they see. Some five years later, this person is still doing this. The recent result is that the children want to live with the positive parent.

   Get some support around you and continue to build healthy attitudes and relationships.

   All the best.


Letter 3 – Shouldn’t I Be Happy For Her?
Dear Lou

   A couple of months ago, a woman from my church died. (Let’s call her Kate.) We weren’t particularly close, but were always friendly, but I’m having trouble kind of accepting it.

   After the funeral, I offered to help the family, and suggested they let me know how I can help them. I’ve taken them a few meals, but I kind of feel inadequate, like I should be doing something more. It’s not as if Kate and I were close, so why am I struggling?

   A friend of mine says I should be happy because Kate’s gone to heaven and won’t be in pain any more. I understand that, but I’m reminded all the time about how she’s not there anymore – going to church, singing in our church choir, and other little things.

   I’ve been lucky so far because I’ve not really lost anyone close – my parents and brothers and sisters are still alive, and I still have my best friends. Why am I finding Kate’s death so hard to accept?


Dear Chrissie

   It is always a sad time when a significant person in our life dies.

   I would suggest that for the first time in your life you are experiencing grief: a grief that leaves us with a real emptiness in our heart.

   When you are going through grief, doing things like you have been doing simply do not take away the emptiness in your heart.

   My suggestion to you would be to go to your minister and ask about some grief counselling, or go to a Christian counsellor for help. It would also be beneficial to read some material on healthy grief.

   If I was talking with you I would be looking at how you cope with grief, but more importantly I would be looking at what is going on in your life at a personal level. Maybe there is more to your history than just the passing of a friend.

   It would appear that you keep yourself busy. Sometimes busyness is a cover up for who we are as a person. Getting some personal help could be of importance for you.

   All the best.


Issue 7: December 2016 to February 2017 Edition of SPAG Magazine

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Issue 7 - December 2017 - February 2018
Letter 1 – Being Fat is Not the Worst Thing in the World
Dear Lou

   I’ve put on a lot of weight over the years and I’m tired of having to justify why I’m fat. I used to be thin, but no matter how much I watch what I eat, I can’t seem to shift it, and I’m slowly putting on even more. I’m 48 and two of my grown-up daughters are now giving me a hard time.

   I overheard a couple of people in my church say something behind my back that was quite hurtful. Sometimes I feel so angry when people make comments. It only ever seems to be thin people who criticise, but they have no idea what it’s like, feeling ugly, struggling to find clothes that suit me, and feeling hungry all the time. It’s like people assume that I just stuff my face or eat lots of bad food.

   I know God loves me the way that I am, but I know He wants me to be healthy too.

   It almost seems like some Christians think I’m being disobedient to God because I’ve let myself get so fat. Should I say something when people are rude, or am I just being too sensitive?


Dear Louise

   Your letter raises a number of issues which I think you need to address.

    I think you are extremely sensitive about your weight and you are the only one who can do something about it. Comments you hear are probably a reflection on what you are already saying to yourself.

   Your comment that you used to be thin and now you’re over-weight and ugly is self-talk and what you are saying about yourself. Stop focusing on what others, including your daughters, are saying and take a look inside yourself and make some hard decisions.

    What would be my suggestions to you?

  • First:make an appointment with your Doctor to see if there is any medical reason why you are overweight. Some medications can have serious side effects such as increased weight gain.
  • Second:make a decision to lose weight, even if this means joining a supportive dieting group.
  • Third:get to a dietician and look at how you can change or improve your diet, and make a plan to include their guidance.
  • Fourth:begin an exercise regime which will be of great assistance in improving your health and may be beneficial in dealing with your weight issue.

   Remember that there is no easy fix. It’s up to you to make the changes.

   God loves you the way you are, but He loves you too much to leave you that way. May you know God’s blessing as you make healthful changes in your life.



Letter 2 – Cranky Driver
Dear Lou

   Public transport in my suburb is bad, so I have to drive at least forty minutes to get to work each day.

   My problem is that I get so annoyed at bad drivers and ignorant and rude people on the roads. By the time I get to work most days, I’m angry and wound up, and it takes me ages to calm down.

   I hate that it affects me so much and that I start most days in a foul mood. I don’t like being like that. What can I do?


Dear Blaize

   You are your own worst enemy.

   I remember once hearing a lecturer say:

“There is nothing I can do or say that can make you angry. You make yourself angry.”

   I have found this to be a good yardstick for my own life, and if things are getting out of whack, then it’s time to look at me.

   What is really going on in your life?

I often say that nine tenths of an iceberg is under water, and you can only see the one tenth. The anger you express is the one tenth, so to be of any assistance I need to understand what is really going on in your life. This is not necessarily an anger problem but a ‘Blaize’ problem. Find a good counsellor and get some personal help.

   I loved the story I read years ago: a youngster was driving with her Dad and she asked this question:

   “Dad, why do all the idiot drivers come out on the road when you’re driving and are never there when Mum is driving?”

   Well worthwhile thinking about.

One excellent concept I learnt in College, in relationship to counselling was this:

   “The real problem is always deeper down and further back.”

   Your anger is the presenting problem, but I think the real problem is somewhat deeper than that.

   All the best in looking at your life and finding help Blaize.


Letter 3 – Will I Be Single and Lonely Forever?
Dear Lou

   I’m getting close to retiring, and for the last couple of years I’ve been worrying about how lonely I’ll be on my own. I haven’t dated anyone since I was 36 or 37. I kind of gave up trying to find someone to love.

   I’m quiet and I mostly just relax at home in my spare time, but I do help out at church with maintenance and stuff. I never know what to say to any of the single ladies, and I mostly stay quiet. I usually let them do the talking. A few of them talk a lot.

   Should I just give up trying to find someone? How do I start the whole dating thing again? What do I do? Am I just too old?


Dear Andy

   How often I have received questions like yours.

   My heart goes out to the many single and single again people who are experiencing similar emotions to yourself. Loneliness is one of the more sinister problems of our day. Every person I know would love to have a partner to walk with in their life, yet the reality for many is, this will not be the case. This means we need to find other ways to build meaningfulness into our life.

   In fact it has been said that at any given time 60% of the population would say that loneliness is the number one issue in their life. Think of it this way, If you are in a church of 100 people, 60 of them are experiencing some level of loneliness.

   All that is of little help to you though. The thing you look forward to most in your life, especially at your time of life, is companionship.

   I am pleased that you are in church because you have the potential to make something happen. Most churches have a major emphasis upon youth, young adults and families. As a result, people like yourself can easily slip through the cracks.

   It’s time for you to do something about it. Go to your pastor and look for an opportunity to develop a group for seniors which meets fortnightly or monthly for friendship among singles. Every church has people in this category, so go out and get them together. I believe it is time for you to step out of your comfort zone and be a significant answer to your life’s concern. If you feel the need, you can be sure others feel the need as well.

   You can find a lot of your personal needs will be met within the fellowship of such a group. I know people who have been dreadfully lonely, but who now live for their senior get-togethers and other outings.

   It is time to step up and be a very real answer to your perceived problem. I wish you well in your new venture. Let me know how you get on in building this ministry.

   If your church is not big enough to make this happen, then build a group in conjunction with another church family.

   All the best,


Issue 6: September to November 2016 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Letter 1 – Bad or Better Boyfriend?
Dear Lou

   I’ve been dating my boyfriend for almost eleven months and I love him a lot, but the more I know him, the more I realise how little we have in common, eg I like romance movies and quiet nights at home, but he likes science-fiction and action movies and going to the local pub for live music. I hate science-fiction and when we’re in big, noisy crowds, I just can’t wait to get out of there.

   We fight about a lot of things and he has an opinion about everything and it’s like he’s trying to convert me to his way of thinking, as if his opinion is the only right one – which I hate!

   I’m 22 and my friends say I’m crazy to stick with him and that I should find another boyfriend. They say we’re too different, and I’m starting to wonder about that now. Am I being too picky to want to have more things in common? If we’re going to get married one day, isn’t this just going to cause us a lot of problems? I hate the fighting, but I love him, and there’s a part of me that can’t bear to let him go.


Dear Jessica

   I could give you a very quick answer to your question, but I will try to flesh it out a little though I’ll still give you the same response.

   Your question towards the end of your letter really gives you the best clue as to why your relationship won’t work.

   I have always been amazed at how opposites attract when a permanent relationship is built. The question is how the couple can build a sound basis on which to build mutual respect. You’re twenty-two, and should be giving yourself time to build many healthy relationships.

   In talking with couples, I usually mention that in the days when you are courting, this is often as good as it gets, because you can simply enjoy the building of your relationship without a host of other added responsibilities thrown into the mix.

   I believe your friends are correct in the advice they are giving you on this relationship, Jessica. Your second paragraph gives you another clue, in that you comment that he wants to control you, and your life. That is never conducive to a healthy relationship.

   From your letter, I would conclude that you need to move out of this relationship. Don’t settle for second best for your life.



Letter 2 – Is She Not Interested?
Dear Lou

   There’s a woman at church that I like a lot. I can’t help but see how much we have in common and we’re always having a bit of a joke with each other, but we only chat after church or Bible Study. I’d like to take this further.

   She’s divorced, and though I have asked her out for a coffee a couple of times, she’s made up some excuse not to go. Should I just accept that she’s not interested in me?


Dear Turner

   Your letter is raising a number of questions for me.

   Your first comment about having much in common through your church family tells me that this is a safe place for interactions between you both. At best this is the first level of relationship building, and is one you might need to pursue for some time. For some it is a big step to go from a safe group environment to a one-on-one situation. It might be safer to have at least four people go out for coffee. This would provide a new atmosphere for a friendship to develop.

   The fact that you mentioned this lady is divorced leaves me with two questions for you to consider.

  1. Is building a friendship with a person who is divorced an issue for you? and
  2. Have you considered that this person might be still in recovery from a broken marriage?

   The second question is very important to consider, as my experience is that time needs to be given for a person to regroup and heal in their life before they would ever contemplate a new relationship.

   The more you talk with this person the more you will understand where she is in her life journey. Listen very carefully to what she says, and listen to clues she will give you as to why she is not ready. Be very sensitive, and if she is the person you would like to have in your life, then give her the space she needs to heal and grow.

   In the meantime look for ways to be a genuine friend, spend time chatting with her, and don’t push too hard to establish a deeper relationship.

   Friendships take time to build and relationships require even more time to become established. I think you have more work to do at growing the friendship.



Letter 3 – Grandchildren Eating Too Much Junk-food
Dear Lou

   My daughter always seems to be feeding her kids junk-food. The oldest is 12 and I’ve noticed in the past few years that the kids have started getting fat.

   I know my daughter and her husband both work and are probably tired, but shouldn’t they be concerned about their kid’s health? Whenever the kids stay at my place they won’t eat the vegies that I serve them and they always ask for takeaway or junk-food.

   I’m worried for my grandchildren. Should I say something to my daughter and son-in-law?


Dear Maureen

   You ask a question that has been asked many times before, and there is no simple answer.

   Being a grandparent myself, I can assure you that there are things I would like to see done differently for my grandchildren: issues ranging from food, behaviour and discipline.

   The reality is, I raised my children, and now it is the responsibility of my children to raise their family. When asked, I am free to give advice or make suggestions, but I need to make sure that I don’t meddle in what they are doing.

   Hopefully the training you instilled in your children will be part of their parenting pattern. Your son-in-law could have been raised with a very different set of values to your daughter. It is their responsibility to develop their parenting skills.

   Love your grandchildren and make sure you have a good relationship with them. This way you remove any pressure on yourself, to raising your grand-children the way you would like them to be raised.

   Simply make sure that you love your family and continue to be a good model for them to follow.



Issue 5: June to August 2016 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Letter 1 – Should I Still Trust Her?
Dear Lou   I have made friends with someone in the last couple of years. She isn’t a Christian, but we have fun and get along really good. There have been at least two times that she has lied about something. They weren’t big lies, but it’s now made me wonder if she has told me other lies.   I want us to still be friends, but I’m worried if I can trust her. What if she’s told me other lies? Should I be concerned that maybe she would lie about me to other people? Should I say something to her? If I do, what could I say?Cyndi Dear Cyndi   One statement I have appreciated Dr Phil saying is:   “Past behaviour is the best indicator of future behaviour.” This means that what you have discovered in this relationship will continue. Can you still be a friend with this person? Yes, you can. However you must learn to be careful in what you share.   Trust is a major factor in any relationship and once it is undermined or damaged is very hard to rebuild. You are in the situation where you are determining how much trust you can give to this person. A simple test you can use to see if a person is trustworthy and not a gossip is this: give that person a piece of information which no one else knows and see what is done with it. If it does not come back to you, then give another piece of information, and see what happens with that information. If it does not come back, you know you have someone you can trust as a confidant, and who is not a gossip.   This is a positive way to build trust. From your letter, you are concerned that she might have told lies about you. If she has told you lies about other people, then you could assume she has told lies about you.   Still be a friend, but be careful in your friendship. You can always step back and look after yourself. More than likely she is aware of what she does, so confronting her would not be of much value.RegardsLou
Letter 2 – Rotten Relatives
Dear Lou

   I have some horrible relatives that I avoid when I can. They swear and share stories that I find offensive and tell crude jokes. I’ve said to them before that I don’t want to hear rude jokes and things, but they just ignore me. They even talk like that in front of the kids and I tell them it’s not right.

   I know some of them think I’m too good for them, but it’s not that. I don’t think anybody has the right to push their offensive language and nasty, gross thoughts, jokes and images onto other people, especially when there’s kids around.

   As much as I’d like, I can’t always avoid family get-togethers. Should I just not go? Is it my responsibility to always stand up and say something?


Dear Charlene

   This is a problem many people face in family situations. You can be sure that the family knows where you stand on their behaviour, and possibly maintain this language to aggravate you.

   Sadly, people can have many and varied values for living. Your relatives have chosen a lifestyle which is repugnant and offensive to you. As disappointing as it is, you cannot change them, or their values, but you can live by your values and standards. Your very presence will be a reminder to them of what you stand for as a wholesome set of values.

   Some events you must attend as part of the family, and by doing so maintain contact with your family. Your life-style means you will develop a different circle of friends. These become more important for you.

   Family is family, so keep contact with them.



Letter 3 – Weird Woman Wants Me
Dear Lou

   There’s a woman at my church that I can’t stand. She’s a bit strange and she’s always hanging around me after church. I think she likes me, but I’m not interested.

   My mate says I should just be rude to her and tell her to leave me alone, but I don’t think I need to be mean. What should I do? Should I talk to my Pastor? How are you supposed to handle weird people?


Dear Nick

   There’s an old saying I appreciate, “You’re stuck with your relatives, but you can pick your friends.” You are in the situations where you have the opportunity to choose who you will have in your circle of friends.

   Being in a church, we want to be friends to the whole church family. In this situation I think you need to be selective, and be involved with other people and involved in other church activities. Simply make yourself not available, and hopefully this will help her get your message.

   Don’t intentionally set out to be rude to any person, but be selective in the people who are in your social group. I think you can resolve the problem without involving other people.

   I love your final question. I’m not sure how to interpret “weird,” but I do appreciate that this world is made up of a host of different people – some I relate to easily and others with whom I don’t have much in common. That doesn’t make them weird.

   Happy relationship building!



Issue 4: March to May 2016 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Letter 1 – Should I Help at Church?
Dear Lou

   I’m 29 and have been going to the same church for a while now. One of my friends says I should maybe think about doing Sunday School or helping out with things at church. I don’t think I’m very good at anything. I don’t want to mess it up. That would be so embarrassing.

   If I decide to try something, how do I know what would be good for me to do?

   I have trouble talking to people and never know what to say, and I always say something stupid.


Dear Alex

   Thank you for your letter, which shows you want to grow in your faith and be serving where you can. In my first reading of your letter, I sensed a young man who is low in self-confidence and even questioning your self- worth. As a part of moving on from where you are, I would encourage some personal evaluation.

   Your greatest asset in this would be a mature Christian who can be a mentor and be a person who can encourage you and stretch you in your personal development. Along with this I would want you to get an understanding of what makes you tick as a person. This would include getting to know your personality, and also getting to understand your spiritual gifts. This is basic before going into any area of service. Understanding your personal make up will provide your best fit in serving your Lord in your church.

   Find a mentor and then get this person’s guidance in your next steps in service. Ministry is a blessing and I trust you will find great blessing through serving.



Letter 2 – How Do I Get Past the Hurt?
Dear Lou

   I like my church and have some really good friends there. After church one evening I overheard one of the older women who is quite well respected, make fun of what I was wearing to another woman. I was very hurt and very disappointed in that first person.

   I like my style and generally don’t care what other people think, but it was the fact that this was a person who is like an elder in the church. I don’t feel angry – mostly just disappointed, and I’ve lost respect for her.

   Should I say anything to her? I don’t think I could. How do I get past this hurt? How can I trust her again?


Hi Nancy

   Yours is a regular cry which I have coming to me. Statistics show that 66% of people who leave church, leave because they have been offended by a person in that church. Look around your church and see a lot of hurting people.

   What do you do about it?

   From your letter you would appear to be very happy with who you are. This is a healthy place to be, and I commend you for this. My advice to you is to not let gossip spoil you in being the person God wants you to be, nor let another person control your life and feelings.

   This is where the whole issue of forgiveness comes in. This is a topic which is far too big to address here, but suffice to say, forgiveness is a choice and you don’t allow any person to spoil your life. In your heart make a conscious decision to forgive her for what she said, and focus on becoming the woman you know you can be.

   I don’t believe there is value in confronting her. Forgiveness is the key to moving on. In your heart make a choice to forgive her and move on in your life. When it comes to trusting her in the future, remember trust has to be earned. As a consequence of some regretful words, this woman now has some work to do in regaining your trust. Move on and be all you can be in your relationship with your Lord.



Letter 3 – Not Much Money
Dear Lou

   I don’t make much money and my friends are always wanting to go to the movies or out to lunch and stuff. They make more money than I do and can afford to go.

   I don’t want them to pay for me or anything, but how do I tell them that I can’t afford to go out and do all the stuff they want to do? After I pay for my car and the rent and bills, I don’t have much money left. Adam always teases me when I want to go somewhere cheaper.


Dear Ryan

   My simple advice to you is this. Be honest with them and say you simply do not have the money to do some of the things they want you to do.

   I believe you can be creative in making other opportunities where you can spend time with your friends. If your friends are sensitive to you they will find other ways to spend time with you.

   Many people are in the same situation you find yourself. In working with single parent families this is a common factor and it is amazing how you can find creative ways for fellowship which do not require spending large amounts of money.

   Be honest and your friends will respect you for it. If they don’t, they are not real friends.



Issue 3: Dec 2015 to February 2016 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Letter 1 – I Panic When I Get Too Close
Dear Lou

   Every time I even begin to get close to a woman, I start panicking. After that, I can’t even bear to be friends with them anymore. I’ve developed a bit of a bad reputation in my church and very few of the single women will speak to me at all now.

   My father used to beat my mother and us when I was young, and I’m so afraid that I’ll turn into him. I’ve never even had a serious girlfriend. There’s a part of me that wants to find someone to love, but there’s another part of me that’s afraid that I’ll just muck it all up.

   I feel lost. Even though I go to a Counsellor, I don’t feel like I’m getting anywhere. Should I just give up trying?


Dear Craig

   You raise a couple of different issues in your letter. These are a matter of how you see yourself and then being the victim of growing up in a dysfunctional home.

   Looking at yourself. You have a strong desire for a meaningful connections with a woman, but are afraid of messing it up.

   My suggestion to you is to stop looking for a life partner and to make a meaningful friendship. I speak at Singles camps and always encourage people to work at building friendship, friendship, friendship. Don’t go into a friendship looking for a relationship but for a worthwhile friend. If you do this you could build a number of great friendships without the fear of moving towards relationship.

   I think most people long for meaningful friendships, and these will succeed when you don’t push them toward a personal relationship.

   Should you find a friendship moving toward a relationship, I have a set of guidelines to use in this process.

   I encourage you to look to build solid friendships in your life.

   In regard to your background as a child in an abusive family, this has a massive impact on who you are. I would suggest it is having an impact on your life today, and is the elephant in the room in relation to your building friendships.

   When you talk with your counsellor, I would suggest you talk about you as an individual and not about building relationships.



Letter 2 – How Do I Tell People to Back Off?
Dear Lou

   I was married when I was really young and stupid, and we divorced after a couple of years. I’m now in my late thirties and have no interest in getting married again.

   I have friends from Church and relatives who still try to set me up with some ‘good Christian man’ they know. They don’t seem to understand that I’m happy on my own.

   I get so tired of having to explain myself to people. How do I tell them once and for all, to back off from setting me up, without offending them? How do I explain so they believe me when I tell them that I have no interest in getting married?


Dear Jillian

   Your letter is an interesting one as it opens up a couple of questions for me.

   The first is in regard to what other people think or suggest. It is your life and you need to live it how you choose. You will always have people with good intentions who think they know what is best for you. You are responsible to make decisions regarding your life.

   The second thought is about yourself. You mentioned twice in your letter that you have no interest in getting married again. Is this because of a bad experience with your first marriage, or because you feel safer being on your own?

   It could be helpful to spend time with a Christian Counsellor, to go through your process of moving from a broken marriage to only wanting to be on your own. I think this is more important than worrying about what other people are wanting to do.



Letter 3 – Are Online Dating Sites OK?
Dear Lou

   I haven’t had much luck with girlfriends, and since I can’t find anyone in my church, I decided to join an online dating site for Christians.

   Some of my friends make fun of me and tell me I’m desperate if I go onto the internet to find love. They think it’s a big joke.

   I’ve found a couple of really nice girls on the website and they sound interesting. I’ve hesitated about contacting them in case my friends embarrass the girls if they come to visit. What should I do? Do I trust the internet? Should I tell my friends?


Dear Thomas

   Like a lot of things in life there are those which are able to be used for good and those which are used for evil.

   The key to every choice we make in life is discernment. I constantly tell people to make sure they have peace with every decision they make.

   When it comes to dating on the internet. Keep your brains in gear, and hasten cautiously. Don’t give out too much personal detail but talk often and build trust. Get to know the person. This applies to people you meet in daily life as well as on the internet.

   I have taken the wedding of couples who have met on the internet, and they have established great marriages.

   It is your choice. There will always be a level of risk, but that is the reality of every decision we make in life. If you are at peace with making contact through a dating site, then give it a try.



Issue 2: September to November 2015 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Letter 1 – Old Church or New Church?
Dear Lou

   I’ve been going to the same church for quite a few years now, and although I like the Pastor and the people, I don’t feel like I’m being spiritually fed there.

   While people are friendly, I haven’t really made any close friends. I’m a bit shy and tend to keep to myself. Should I continue going there or find myself another church? I find the idea of going to a new church quite scary.


Dear Therese

   There are three significant facets to your question:

  • The first being that you feel comfortable with the pastor and people within the church;
  • The second is a lack of growing spiritually;
  • The third is you are shy and this precludes you getting close to people and letting people get close to you.

   I don’t believe that you are in the right frame of mind to leave your church and start again, and if you do I would anticipate a rerun of what you are currently experiencing in the area of building friendships. My encouragement to you would be to identify a couple of people in your church and make a serious effort to get to know them and them to know you. It will be a risk for you, but it will be worth it. Don’t sit and wait for people to come to you but step out of your comfort zone and be surprised at how willing people are in getting involved in your life.

   Regarding your sense of not being fed spiritually, this could develop as a part of wondering where you fit personally. You might go to church and allow the feeling of loneliness to affect your ability to really hear from God.

   I always encourage people to look for a mentor, to be involved in a small group and be a part of a larger church family. Your personal growth and spiritual development will depend on having the first two functioning well. My suggestion to you is to:

1. find a mentor; and

2. get involved in a small group where you will get to know people better.



Letter 2 – Am I Ready to Get Married?
Dear Lou

   I’ve been dating my girlfriend for about two years and I’m starting to feel like everyone is pressuring me to get married. We both go to the same church.

   I’m only 23 and I don’t think I’m ready yet. I love her, but how do I know she’s the right one for me? What if we get married and then I find out we’ve made a terrible mistake? How do you know when you’re ready to get married?


Dear LJ

   This is a question I am asked regularly. It’s good that you have been together for a couple of years, but at 23 years of age, you don’t have to rush in to marriage. Your questions clearly indicate to me that you are not ready for marriage, so don’t allow pressure from people force you to make a decision to marry.

   There are a number of women with whom you could have a perfectly happy marriage. I don’t believe that there is only one person with whom you could build a happy marriage.

   You look at your spiritual bonding, your personality mix, your background and a host of other issues which go in to making a happy marriage. With God’s help you have a great starting place to lay the foundation for a happy marriage. You will never get a water-tight guarantee that your marriage will work, but you do need to get someone who will give you healthy pre-marriage counselling, and you will have confidence that this is the person for you.

   My encouragement is to work hard at understanding your partner, to discuss issues relating to many areas of your lives together, and most of all you will have absolute peace that this is the person you would like to spend your life with in marriage.

   Successful marriages are built on trust and strong commitment to making a marriage work.

   I trust you enjoy the journey together, pray much together, and when the time is ready for you to make the next step you will have peace that this is what God has for you both.



Letter 3 – Do I Forgive My Mother?
Dear Lou

   My mother wasn’t nice to me or my brothers when we were growing up. She’s married again and her new husband is horrible. They’re always criticising me and how I bring up my kids and it only got worse after my husband left me.

   My friend said I should go to a counsellor, but I’ve done that before and it never really helped me. Should I just forget about my mother and concentrate on my kids? My friend said I should forgive my mum, but I don’t think I can do that because I feel so angry with her.


Dear Carmel

   Your question is one often asked today by people coming from broken families. In your situation you have experienced this brokenness from your family of origin, and later with your own marriage break up.

   This is too deep a question to answer in a few short sentences as there are many facets which need to be considered for you and your children.

   My encouragement to you would be to find a counsellor who you can trust, and work with this person for a considerable length of time. Issues you would need to deal with would include your family of origin, your own marriage break up, as well as understanding how blended families work together.

   Your children are your highest priority, and you need to do all in your power to provide a healthy environment for them. This will mean that you as Mum, need to do some serious work on yourself to be the best you can be for them.

   Does this mean you need to forgive your Mum for what happened in your past? Yes it does, because unforgiveness creates bitterness, and bitterness spoils life. Forgiveness is an act of the will and has nothing to do with feelings. You can forgive a person and know that this does not mean that you will be best friends with that person.

   I would encourage you to find a counsellor and work through many of your life issues.

   I could go into a lot more detail, but hope this little is helpful.



Issue 1: June to August 2015 Edition of SPAG Magazine

Letter 1 – My Pastor and Church Don’t Understand
Dear Lou

   I’m 72 years old. My husband died six years ago and I feel such terrible loneliness.

   My church and my Pastor don’t seem to understand. Will I ever feel any better? What should I do?

Yours sincerely


Dear Del

   This is a question I am often asked. It is very real for single and single again people in our society, and will require some practical and proactive thinking and actions if an individual is going to experience change.

   I find, almost without exception, that there is a significant number of people within any group, whether it be secular or the church who experience loneliness. So at any given time many people are experiencing loneliness, and I know that you are part of the solution to meeting this need.

   I am confident that by being proactive you will find changes occurring that will benefit both yourself and others. What a great opportunity this is! Organise for a few of the singles in your sphere of influence together to meet over coffee, to go to the movies, to get involved in a hobby together, go on outdoor excursions, or simply find a place to go for friendship. Ask your club, church or other organisation to announce that a group will meet for friendship. I am sure they will be happy to do this for you.

   You are your best resource, so the time has come to step out of the old patterns of your life to create a new direction. Are you ready to take up the challenge?

Warm regards


Letter 2 – Why is There Suffering?
Dear Lou

   Why does God allow us to suffer hardship, even when we’ve been obedient?


Dear Sue

   Sadly, every one of us lives in a fallen and broken world. As a result of this, much of the suffering we experience is the result of actions taken by other people who leave us to pick up the broken pieces. Sometimes we’re the ones who experience this extreme hardship and we’re left with a choice as to how we handle our struggle. I always say that every event in life can either make us bitter or better. We do have a choice.

   I love to read Acts 27. This is Paul’s journey to Rome and it was an extremely tough journey. May I encourage you to read this passage and look for phrases Paul used in describing the journey. Ultimately we see the boat was shipwrecked, which was about as bad as it could get. Then when we come to the end of the chapter, we see these words:

   “Then he ordered all who could swim to jump overboard first and make for land. The others held on to planks or debris from the broken ship. So everyone escaped safely to shore.” [NLT]

   Sometimes we place so much emphasis on having a smooth journey in life that we forget that it is the destination which really counts. In tough times, we are encouraged to keep our eyes on God, and to keep on working to be overcomers.

   I love this memo from God (shared on the right) which I hope will be a great encouragement to you.

Warm regards


Memo From GodSM1
Memo From God



What is SPAG Magazine?

SPAG Magazine is a free quarterly, international, inter-denominational, electronic magazine for Christians, with a focus on singles.

Is SPAG Magazine ONLY for single Christians?

No, SPAG Magazine’s articles are suitable for ALL Christians adults, though we generally try to include at least one article with an emphasis on singleness. Most singleness articles are suitable for married Christians and Pastors as they present information on the struggles that many Christian singles face and may provide good insight into the real issues for singles in their own church.

Who do we mean by ‘single person?’

When we refer to a Christian single, we mean a Christian who:

  • has never married;

  • is a widow or widower;

  • is separated or divorced; or

  • may have a boyfriend or girlfriend or even be engaged to be married, but is not living with a partner

Why was SPAG Magazine started?

The concept was one which Australian-based Rev Lionel Rose had been considering for several years but hadn’t had the opportunity to develop.

Lionel is known for his wonderful counselling of singles and he recognised that there was a need for such a ministry as SPAG Magazine, both as a source of encouragement and guidance for singles and also as a way of challenging and growing them in their Christian walk.

While there is a focus on single people, the majority of articles in SPAG Magazine are suitable for ALL Christian adults, and we have both single and married people who subscribe to and read SPAG Magazine.

We encourage married people, especially church leaders to read the articles for singles so they can learn more about the very real issues with which Christian singles struggle. This is especially important as many singles feel isolated or sometimes invisible in their own church.

Who can receive a copy of SPAG Magazine?

Anyone and everyone over the age of 18 can obtain a free copy of the current issue. While some of the articles are specifically focused on Christian singles, there are myriad articles on different topics that would interest all Christian adults. Please note that there may be topics that are suitable only for adults, so please don’t leave a print-out somewhere young children may find them.

Although the magazine was originally only available by paid subscription, it is now free and can be obtained through our main page with links to a downloadable pdf version as well as a ‘flippable’ online version.

Where does any funding go?

First, please let me send out a thank you to the wonderful people who support us financially. The welcome funds we receive do not cover even half of our costs, so at present, ALL outstanding costs for the magazine are borne by our Editor, Vicki Nunn.

There are ongoing regular monthly costs such as internet access, phone, electricity, stationery, postage etc. There are also other costs for running a business including Government charges such as setting up and maintaining a business name, purchasing and maintaining a website domain name, purchase of software, and maintenance and replacement of equipment such as our computer, etc.

May I encourage you to consider how you can support us, either by:

Where is SPAG Magazine based?

Vicki puts the magazine together in her home office, which is currently based in Rockhampton, Queensland, Australia. As mentioned earlier, while it is based in Australia, SPAG Magazine is an international publication.

When did SPAG Magazine begin?

SPAG Magazine was officially launched on 1 June 2015.

What articles will we find in a typical issue of SPAG Magazine?

We have a number of regular articles such as:

  • Creation Ministries International;

  • Tantalising trivia;

  • Up close and personal with Aussie wildlife;

  • Kristie’s Kitchen (low-carb recipes);

  • A-Musings (humorous articles on Vicki’s life experiences);

  • Kooky Corner;

  • Inspirational People;

  • What is it?

  • Puzzle Page;

  • Words of Wisdom;

  • Real Life Drama;

  • Modern Missionaries;

  • Rest Ministries;

  • Up Close and Personal with Aussie Wildlife;

  • Open Doors;

  • Letters to Lou (Counselling); and

  • a beautiful scenery photo on our back page

Other articles may include:

  • current news topics;

  • personal articles focused on challenging and encouraging all Christian adults or specifically Christian singles;

  • Bible-based articles; or

  • topics that will open our eyes to what is happening to our brothers and sisters in Christ or to our fellow human beings;

and many more.

Can I obtain earlier copies of SPAG Magazine?

Yes you can. They are available for purchase through our online shop – this is a way that you can help support us.

Why isn’t SPAG Magazine available in printed form?

Unfortunately the costs to print and post it makes it too expensive which is why we decided to make it in electronic format. The packaging and postage alone would be more than $8 and then the printing costs would be on top of that – probably making it at least $11 an issue, which is far too expensive to make it competitive. (Even one famous Australian magazine had to cease production in 2016 because it cost too much to put out a hard copy of their magazine, and they sold hundreds of thousands of issues.)

Current issues are free to download directly from the front page of our website. You should be able to print it yourself or perhaps you could ask a friend to copy it to a memory stick for you to read on your computer. It is in pdf format which is a universal format that most computers can read. (If you don’t have a program that can read pdf, you can usually download a program for free from the internet – just be careful of the source as some have nasty little viruses attached.)

You can also read the current issue online in ‘flippable’ format with a link provided on our front page. This version is not downloadable. Note also that it’s on a third party website, so there may be some advertising.

How can I find out more about SPAG Magazine?

You can find out more information on this website or go to our Facebook page.

You can phone us on (+61) 07 4961 1202 OR (+61) 042 44 33 772.

You can email us at: width=214

You can write to us:

SPAG Magazine
PO Box 9772
Frenchville, Qld 4701

Why is the magazine called SPAG Magazine?

SPAG certainly isn’t the loveliest of names is it? There were a number of reasons why the name SPAG was chosen:

  • SPAG is an acronym for ‘Single Person Approved by God,’ because as a single person our state of singleness is highly approved by God. For some of us, God may wish us to remain single for a short-time or even a life-time and He has a purpose for us in our singleness;

  • SPAG is also short for the word ‘spaghetti,’ and the magazine is a way that you can be ‘fed’ with Godly wisdom and guidance;

  • SPAG being short for spaghetti is also a reference to pasta which is a bit of a pun for ‘Pastor,’ because through the magazine we seek to give counsel, encouragement and advice;

  • It worked out well that SPAG rhymed with ‘Mag’ which is a shortened word for magazine, so ‘SPAG Mag’ makes it stick in your memory; and

  • SPAG is quite a quirky kind of name/word which hopefully will make it easier for people to recall.

So those are the origins of the name SPAG.

Do you have any questions? Please contact us on the form below and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible: