Monday, 21 November 2016

Hal Oxley 100th Birthday



Happy 100th birthday, Pastor Hal Oxley!
When Pastor Oxley was young he played hockey, and rugby - first grade, I think - and distance running, surf-lifesaving, and rode horses.
He graduated from the Royal Military College at Duntroon.
He served as an Aide to the Governor General.
In WWII he was an infantry officer, in the Desert Campaigns of Africa and in Greece and Syria I think, and spent 6 months with the 'rats of Tobruk'.
He also became the Planning Co-ordinator in the Battle Headquaters of General Blamey, Australia’s Commander-in-Chief.
When the Japanese entered the War, he co-ordinated the Australian Operational plans, as Battle staff with General Douglas MacArthur, American South-West Pacific Headquarters.
I remember with vivid detail a story which showed his unflinching character in making decisions of consequence in the War.
Someone wrote that he was Australia's youngest person with the rank of Lieutenant Colonel during the Second World War.
He had a bit of hearing difficulty all his life I think, from an explosion in the War.
After the War he volunteered as Deputy Director of Military Intelligence at Army Headquarters.
He was decorated with an OBE and more.
After retiring from the military, he became the Director of a public company, with several industrial manufacturing plants.
I remember him saying he was concerned about the spread of Communism, after the War. And that led to him getting saved, in his late 30s.
A year or two after getting saved he pioneered one of Australia's earliest and largest charismatic churches, when he was about 40.
He saw some 23 outreach churches planted.
He started a Bible College, trained hundreds of pastors and sent out missionaries to several countries including China, England, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Nagaland, Netherlands, New Zealand, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines, Switzerland and USA.
He had a deliverance ministry.
He founded a denomination with several thousand members.
And started a school in Melbourne, now with over 1000 students and over 100 staff, I think. The school even has its own sports stadium, which attracts thousands from the community.
He retired from pastoring in his late 60s I think, but continued itinerant preaching, and speaking in conferences.
He is the author of the book "Functional Leadership".
One person told me that when Pastor Oxley stayed in their house while on itinerant ministry, Pastor Oxley asked them what time was breakfast. Next morning Pastor Oxley's door opened and he came out from his bedroom at precisely the time they said, dressed and ready for the day.
When he was a guest speaker at our church's crusade in Gatton Qld (a crusade which resulted in the founding of Christian Life Centre, Gatton), some of my friends and I felt amused at the rather educated way in which he pronounced 'Holy Spirit'.
One of my friends, sitting in front of me, I could see his shoulders bobbing up and down as he tried desperately to keep from laughing out loud.
Pastor Oxley said from the pulpit, "It's not funny - it's quite serious really."
And then we also saw humour in the way he pronounced 'serious really'.
So grateful for each time I heard Pastor Oxley minister in our church, when I was still a young person.
He was nominated for the Australian Senior Citizen Award, and received a Certificate for Outstanding Service to the Australian community.
On Sunday morning his church received a visit from a Federal Member of Parliament, bringing congratulations from Her Majesty the Queen, the Governor General, the Prime Minister and other Federal and State Members of Parliament.
Pastor Oxley still speaks sometimes - and today (Tuesday 22 November 2016) he turns 100!
A great man of God, and a great Australian!

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