I moved from Australia when I was young but even after settling back in Canada we would take trips almost every yr to the great motherland to see our loved ones. Around 1993 at the church I was attending I began to hear some buzz about a church in Sydney called hills christian life centre that was sparking a revolution amongst the Christian music scene first in OZ but it was starting to spread world wide and catching fire.
Well amongst the Christians we all know how that story ended. Hills Christian Life Centre eventually became Hillsong Church and who's influence stretched beyond the borders of OZ. Anyone who knows me well knows that I am a die hard fan of Hillsong and I am incredibly proud of how the churches in OZ have become a catalyst for change all over the world.
I was listening to pastor Brian Houston once say that he's blown away at the reach of their church. In one weekend in OZ they have 65 services and around the world every weekend more than 50 million people singing one of their songs. Their reach has gone so far that there is a Hillsong Church plant in just about every major city in the world, NYC, LA, London, South Africa, Moscow, Stockholm, Buenos Aires etc. 4 yrs ago when their plant in NYC was born I was hearing his wife Bobbie Houston talk about how the church in NYC was literally a baby that just couldn't wait to come out. The church was born prematurely and on it's first Sunday for both services there are massive lines up of people who couldn't wait to get in.
When the church in NYC was planted no one could have envisioned that Bono or Vanessa Hudgens would be walking through it's doors as regular members. No one could have imagined that Brian Houston's son Joel who pastors it alongside Carl Lentz would be hanging out with Justin Bieber and bringing spiritual healing to his life. The Houstons other son Ben pastors Hillsong Church LA.
And no one could have imagined that Justin Bieber would be taking a plane to Sydney Australia last June to attend Hillsong Conference in Sydney as well as telling his fans to go listen to their newest release called Empires.
Hillsong church members are in the background of so many things on our world scene. Many years ago 2 young Australian men were caught smuggling drugs in Bali and given a death sentence. This was a huge source of controversy in OZ. It was a little known fact that pastor Brian Houston and members of the Hillsong were actually in touch with these young men bringing them spiritual healing before their execution date. In fact these two young men were singing praise and songs to God as the guns went off ending their earthly existence. The funeral of one the former drug lords was held at Hillsong church.
Another amazing movement born out of a speaker of hillsong church's Christine Caine and the A21 campaign http://www.a21.org She and the A21 campaign went wouldn't dare go in cracking down on human trafficking. To date they have changed laws in Europe, they have seen traffickers cracked down on, built transition houses for survivors they've rescued. They are also starting to teach curriculum in countries like the Ukraine where there is a high level of trafficking and teaching young women how to avoid being trafficked and what signs to look for. The team is also training security at airports on how to spot signs that a trafficker might be passing through the crowd. And not to mention that since the organization started hundreds of young women have been rescued and continue to be rescued.
So I found it appropriate to post this on Australia day. Even though I grew up in Canada, I wanna acknowledge the incredible achievement the churches of OZ have done to impact our world and I realize that Hillsong has had a tremendous part to play influencing my life.
I know that on this website I get people from all walks of life and all kinds of cultures and faiths. And I always make it a point to only share videos or clips that anyone could enjoy or benefit from even if they are from a different faith. I've chosen to post the above clip of the Hillsong United team when they visited the todays show with Kathy Lee and Hoda talking about their new album Empires.
The single that they do live is called "Touch the Sky" and not only am I in love with the song but apparently Kathy Lee and Hoda are too. This song can resonate with any one of you no matter what faith you embrace. I can't think of a better way to celebrate Australia day than by touching the sky when my knees hit the ground....