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*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. 

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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

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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
Editor

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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.

Email: 

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

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

Warm regards

Vicki Nunn
Editor
SPAG Magazine


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


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Why Do I have Trouble Making Friends?

Why Do I have Trouble Making Friends?

Why Do I have Trouble Making Friends?Woman alone in field at sunsetSM

by Vicki Nunn

(Extracted from Issue One: June 2015)

 

Why do I have trouble making friends? This is a complex issue and the answer depends on a number of factors:

  1. You may be shy;
  2. You may lack confidence;
  3. You may lack social skills; or
  4. All of the above

Just because you’re shy or lack confidence or social skills right now, doesn’t mean that you’re stuck that way forever, but it does mean you need to face up to a hard truth:

you need to change

because the world is not going to change to accommodate you. That’s a tough truth you need to accept.

Being willing to admit you need to change, can be difficult for some people and they throw themselves into work, volunteering or hiding out and keep themselves so busy that they fool themselves into believing that they simply don’t have the time to make friends. Or if they do pluck up the courage to attend social functions, they either leave early or hide if they can, eg if they’re at a party they may spend most of their time in the kitchen or go where there’s likely to be as few people as possible, eg on the patio.

Eyes worriedSMI don’t wish to make light of the situation, because I know from personal experience, that for some people, social anxiety can be quite crippling and can overwhelm a person’s desire to socialise. As a young adult, I would become physically ill for hours before going out on a date, then I’d spend most of the evening desperately wishing that I didn’t feel so uncomfortable and feeling like a complete idiot. For days afterwards I would relentlessly pick fault with every little thing I did that I thought was wrong.

After several unsuccessful dates, I began to unconsciously sabotage any potential relationships. As soon as it looked like a boy wanted to get closer to me, I’d unconsciously convince myself that things wouldn’t work out, and I’d simply turn my attention to another young man and begin the cycle again.

My early relationships then were extremely superficial and as a result, my emotional development faltered while my social anxiety remained.

Those of us who suffer this anxiety know how easy it is to find fault with our own actions when in social situations. We often become quite adept at critiquing our performance afterwards and seeing poor quality interactions where in reality, often there were none or very little. We trust the hypercritical voice in our heads that tells us we are worthless and that our failings simply proved it.

We assume that people are being critical of our words and actions, which isn’t true. The majority of people we meet, have no interest in judging us and are genuinely interested in what we have to say. I wish someone at the time had told me that the voice in my head was the idiot! I wish they’d told me that I had the right turn its volume down so that I didn’t have to listen to it or believe it anymore and that I could tell it to ‘Get lost!’

Overcoming Fear and Shyness

There are several things that you may like to try, to help overcome your social difficulties:

1.Practice deep breathing:

Eyes closed middle-agedSMTherapists suggest that daily practice can help you in social situations, because when anxiety threatens to overwhelm you, you can automatically go into your deep breathing technique without anyone else being aware of it, and it will still allow you to focus on the ongoing conversation as you regain control of your stress levels.

2.Set some achievable goals before you attend an outing:

Remind yourself that you have no control over sweating, blushing and feeling anxious, but instead you can focus on goals for the event which you can control, eg greet three strangers at a party; put forward an idea or make a specific comment at a workplace meeting; or say ‘no’ when someone asks you to help out.

Try to avoid thinking about other people’s response to your actions, because you have no control over how people will react. Instead afterwards, congratulate yourself for your achievement and remind yourself that you were brave enough to interact.

Read a good self-help book and make your mind up to follow the advice, no matter how scary it may seem. Perhaps you could join an online website that offers help. If you feel unsure about what book to read or which website to go to, then consider seeing a therapist in person. They can often put things in perspective and give helpful suggestions.

3.Self-talk in a positive, realistic way

Man 20s stressedSMAs mentioned earlier, our own inner voice can often be ridiculously critical, so counteract it with positive and realistic dialogue. An example of this could be when having to speak in public. Your hyper-critical voice will tell you how terrible you’ll be. Instead of listening to it, ensure that you’re well prepared, then remind yourself that you’ve spoken in public before and survived, and since you’re well prepared this time, you’ll do your best, and that’s all anybody can ask or expect.

In social settings if you want to talk to someone or ask them out on a date, consider what is the worst possible outcome and prepare yourself for that. Remind yourself that they may even surprise you and say ‘Yes.’

When you feel the anxiety rise, your heart pound and you begin to sweat, remind yourself, “Yes, I am feeling anxious, but it will eventually pass.”

4.Create an exposure ladder

An exposure ladder is a list of social situations that make you feel very anxious or exposed. Write down a list of ten in order of difficulty and rate them out of a 100 with zero being no stress at all and one hundred being the most extreme anxiety. Challenge yourself to perform the least difficult of the tasks and work your way up the ladder to the most difficult. Set yourself a goal to complete the list in a set period of time, eg six months ( no longer than one year) and reward yourself with something special when the list has been completed.

Group of friends1SMImproving Social Interactions

You may have heard of the phrases ‘an open-ended question,’ or ‘a closed question.’ If you want to improve your speaking skills with others, then you must train yourself to use open-ended questions. ·

  • open-ended question: is one which usually can’t be answered with a simple yes or no but requires the other person to provide a more detailed response; ·
  • closed question: is one that requires only a simple yes or no response.

An example of an open ended question is, “What do you like most about your work?” An example of a closed question is, “Did you have a nice day at work today?”

If you would like to develop a friendship or a romantic relationship with someone and you know that you’ll meet up with them at another function in the near future, try to find out a little about their workplace or their hobbies. Then before the next meeting, obtain some information related to their work or hobbies from your local library or look up details on the internet. That way you can be prepared with questions before you go. This will show the other person that you know a little about what matters to them, and may provide a platform upon which you share a common interest.

Being prepared will make it easier for you to communicate with them, and help you to feel more in control.

Eye Man's B&W1 Coping with Nasty Comments

The fear of rejection and negative comments can often discourage us in our social interactions. If you do come across nasty people who make fun of you, then you can use a wonderful ‘power phrase’ which I learned a few years ago:

“Did you mean to make me feel …”

If somebody makes fun of you, you can respond with:

“Did you mean to make me feel …… when you said that?”

and add in the appropriate reaction or emotion you felt such as:

“Did you mean to make me feel uncomfortable when you said that?”

It puts the other person in their place without you having to resort to being nasty or negative in response and makes you look like the bigger person in the situation.

If they reply with “No,” then it will appear to be almost an admission of guilt or childishness on their part. Sometimes it will force the other person to apologise or at the very least, encourage them to back off.

On rare occasions the other person may say, “Yes,” to your power phrase, which will just make them look like a bit of a goose in front of everyone.

On even rarer occasions, you may occasionally interact with some who chooses to continue with their nastiness, in which case you can respond calmly with: “Since you’re choosing to be nasty, I’m choosing to walk away from you.”  Then physically remove yourself from that situation and join another group. Try to ignore them after that.

You may even stumble across some moron who insists on following you and trying to belittle you even after you’ve responded appropriately. Remind yourself that if you react to them, you are giving them all of the power in the silly little game they are playing. Don’t play their dumb game. They’ve played it enough to be good at it. Say nothing more as you walk away and join another group of people. In fact, the best thing to do is not to react to them at all.

Bullies don’t know what to do when people don’t behave like they are supposed to. Remember, you have nothing to prove to that other person. Their behaviour is a clear indication that they’re a contemptible human being and unworthy of your time or emotions.

Remind yourself that there are people who will value your friendship, so focus your  efforts on them, and don’t allow the bullies or the idiots to ruin your day or your belief in yourself.

Woman triumphant at sunsetSMConclusion

It’s amazing how God can grow us and stretch us. From my early beginnings of feeling extremely socially awkward and lacking in confidence, I grew to a point where eventually I became a leader of a Kid’s Club and Sunday School, coordinated a Christian singles group, sang in front of a church and shared a sermon with a congregation. In addition I became a volunteer radio presenter on Christian radio for more than ten years. That’s more than 2,000 hours talking to complete strangers on the air!

I didn’t start out with the confidence to do those things, let alone naturally have those skills. That was a result of God working slowly in me, because I was willing to overcome my fears and to grow and change.

May I encourage you to pray about your development. Ask God to help you to become a stronger person: tell Him about your fears and struggles; and scary though it may seem, be willing to change and grow.

© Vicki Nunn, SPAG Magazine

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