Time with God

About John North

John North was born in India in 1961 to Australian missionary parents. John grew up in the USA, where he attended high school, completed his Master of Theology, and worked for several years in a pastoral team. Then, following a brief time in Russia, helping to establish the Far East Bible College in Khabarovsk, John and his wife settled in Sydney, Australia, in 1994.

John is the director of Ambassadors for Christ International-Australia, as well as the author of the LifeWorks tool of evangelism and the GrowthWorks small-group tool. He is also an active preacher and radio presenter.

Spend Time with God along with John Monday to Friday at 6:05 am.

Getting to know John North

How did you become a Christian?

I grew up in a loving missionary home. My parents were missionaries in India and I was born there. I went to a British boy’s boarding school and was treated quite badly by a group of the other boys. My happy sense of belonging, gained from my early years at home was rapidly destroyed. At age 11 we left India and returned to Australia, living six months in Perth, then six months in Sydney, before moving to America, where we continued to move around before we settled in Atlanta as I was about to begin high school.

In all this moving, my sense of not belonging, not fitting in, only increased. I began to hate myself; I felt everyone else disliked me; and I thought that this could never change. What made it worse was that I was a “Christian”, knowing more of the Bible than most of my Sunday school teachers. By the middle of my teen years I was in a terrible downward spiral. Outwardly everything was good, but inwardly I was deeply depressed, dying. I went to a weeklong youth camp where the speaker took a different letter of the word REALITY each day and talked about a different aspect of the Christian life and what reality looked like in it. I realised that what he was talking about was not what I was living. I went to my cabin after the meeting and walked up and down between the bunks, praying to God. I said, “I have always thought I was a Christian, but now I realise I’m not. Please forgive me of all my sins and come into my life and make it what you want it to be.” He did! And my life has never been the same. I am constantly aware of God’s great grace in my life.

What do you enjoy doing in your spare time?
Mountain biking is my favourite pastime. I also enjoy four wheel driving and camping with my family.

How do you start your morning well?
As soon as I get up, I take a shower to get my brain moving. While in the shower I always try to begin my conscious thought with “Good morning Lord!” I want to change my day from a schedule into a walk with God. After breakfast I try to have a prayer time with my wife about our coming day. Then I have my own time with God. I read one chapter of the Bible each day. I start in Genesis and work through to Revelation, then start in Genesis again. I have been through the whole Bible many times over the years. As I read, I am looking for what God might be saying to me. I stop and pray and respond to God as I read. When I have finished reading, I write in my journal what chapter I read and write out one key verse from that chapter, along with a one-sentence prayer of response. Then I am ready to face my day!

How did ‘Time with God’ come about?
Hope had a “Morning Bible Reading” spot right after the 6 o’clock news. When the presenter of that spot passed away suddenly, Philip Randall asked me if I would fill in for a couple of months while they found a replacement. I began referring to it as “Start Your Day Right”, and then later called it “Time with God”, to reflect what I really wanted to accomplish in that spot. We named the daily devotional I write “Time With God” as well. Many years later we are still going! I love helping people, not only to know and understand Scripture, but to connect relationally with God at the beginning of their day.

Do you have a favourite verse in the Bible and how has that verse helped you during tough times?
The passage I have named as my “Life Verses” is Philippians 3:7-14, which begins, “Whatever things were gain to me, those things I have counted as loss for the sake of Christ.” When tough times come, I remind myself that I have already committed everything in my life to God. I love him and live for him, not for myself. I so often slip in this commitment, but this passage (and sometimes the hard times themselves) bring me back to it.

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