Capitol Hill Baptist shows how to fight for Religious Freedom in a Pandemic

Posted on September 24, 2020 
Filed under COVID19

“Capitol Hill Baptist Church (CHBC), an 850-member church led by TGC Council Emeritus member Mark Dever, has filed a lawsuit in federal court claiming Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel E. Bowser is violating the First Amendment and facilitating discrimination by allowing large anti-racism protests while severely limiting worship services. …”

– Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition looks at what Capitol Hill Baptist Church is doing and why.

See also the CHBC website. (Screenshot: CHBC website.)

Praying for Christians in Sudan

Posted on September 24, 2020 
Filed under GAFCON

In a recent interview, Bishop Andudu Adam Elnail spoke about the Peace Agreement signed in Sudan earlier this month.

Fuel for prayer.

Bishop Andudu and Faith McDonnell lead GAFCON’s Suffering Church Network.

How to see members report growth in faith – with Tom Harricks and Roger Cunningham

Posted on September 22, 2020 
Filed under Encouragement

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“It sounds so simple.  And yet it’s clear from the statistics (National Church Life) that people in some congregations are reporting much growth in faith, while people in others are reporting not much at all.

And isn’t it what we all want: For the sheep that God has given us the task of being under shepherds for – to report that they have grown significantly in faith this year?”

– Dominic Steele speaks with Tom Harricks and Roger Cunningham on this week’s edition of The Pastor’s Heart.

John Anderson on Fatherhood and other matters

Posted on September 21, 2020 
Filed under Opinion

Former Leader of the National Party and Deputy Prime Minister John Anderson has been posting interviews and reflections on his website.

Most recently, he read on camera two op-eds on fatherhood which had been published in The Australian and Quadrant.

Related:

Christians in a Fragile Democracy: An Interview with John Anderson – from the Gospel Coalition Australia.

Bathurst Synod – Presidential address 2020

Posted on September 19, 2020 
Filed under Australian dioceses

Here is Bishop Mark Calder’s first synod charge, as presented to an extraordinary session of the 49th Synod of the Diocese of Bathurst, 19th September 2020.

A powerful and challenging address. Fuel for prayer.

Update: The full text is now available.

Rejoice in the Lord!

Posted on September 19, 2020 
Filed under Encouragement, Theology

“I have been feasting on Philippians in recent months, meditating on Paul’s command to, ‘rejoice in the Lord’, found in 3:1 – and then intensified in 4:4: ‘rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice!’

Here are six reflections. …”

– Godly encouragement from Peter Adam at the Gospel Coalition Australia.

The gospel according to a 5-year-old

Posted on September 19, 2020 
Filed under Resources

“When my kids were young, I had the idea to talk with them about the gospel over dinner so that we could discuss together about what it means for us to follow Jesus. (Dinnertimes were pretty crazy with three kids under ten and the usual debates over the necessity and place of vegetables in the created order, so it was an ambitious goal.)

My husband suggested that the best way to start might be to teach them the gospel outline Two Ways to Live and to make it super fun. …”

– Great advice for parents (and grandparents!) from Bronwyn Windsor at The Australian Church Record.

North West Network, September 2020

Posted on September 18, 2020 
Filed under Australian dioceses

The latest issue of North West Network, the newsletter of the Diocese of North West Australia, is now available.

Great to not only learn what is happening in the north west, but also as fuel for prayer.

It’s a 1MB PDF file here.

Bishop admits past failures and outdated services are hampering church growth

Posted on September 18, 2020 
Filed under Australian dioceses

Here’s a Media Release from the Diocese of Bathurst, 18 September 2020:

Bishop admits past failures and outdated services are hampering church growth

The Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Bathurst (covering central and western NSW) will tomorrow admit that there has been much in the past – including sexual abuse by church leaders and certain financial decisions – which has been shameful and damaging to the reputation of the church.

Bishop Mark Calder will make the remarks during his first major address to church leaders of the diocese at their annual gathering, known as synod, on Saturday 19th September just after 10am.

In the 45-minute speech, Bishop Calder will ask church leaders to ‘name the past’, ‘face the present’ and ‘explore the future’.

“There is significant baggage that we must deal with before we can move forward, including mistrust, unresolved conflict, a damaged ‘brand’ and lack of financial resources to try anything new,” Bishop Calder will say.

If we continue doing the same things the way we always have, we cannot expect any different outcome. We cannot expect to grow or reach those generations we are currently missing by doing more of the same.

“Looking to the future, church leaders must help renew the church through prayer, through becoming more outward-looking, through seeking new clergy, through more contemporary church services and through everyone becoming more confident in sharing the great news of forgiveness Jesus Christ lived, died and rose to make possible.”

The synod this year will meet electronically via Zoom for the first time in the diocese’s history due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

[Editor’s note: Please continue to pray for Bishop Mark Calder and for the churches of the Diocese of Bathurst, as they seek to live for Jesus.]

The Vulnerables. Our Heritage Builders!

Posted on September 17, 2020 
Filed under Encouragement, Theology

Attending a recent investment seminar with a group of retirees, I was asked whether I was a skier.

I was astonished that many of my fellow attendees said they were skiers! Then the speaker added, ‘a skier is one who Spends the Kids Inheritance’.

Government policy in Australia is that Pension Funds must be spent and not used as a means of passing on an inheritance.

Up till this year this policy has proved a boon for the travel industry.

Our population is ageing and this has led to the construction of many retirement villages (in the US there are whole gated suburbs which allow only limited access of children at certain times of the year). Even Church services have become filleted by the use of ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ as descriptors.

The poet Coleridge wrote ‘what a melancholy world without children, what an in humane world without the aged’.

Today I want to write about the importance the Bible gives to the place of grandparents as heritage builders. The Bible only uses the term grandparent twice, but speaks often of forebears, fathers’ fathers and children’s children.

In Proverbs 4:3-9, Solomon says, ‘when I was a son with my father David, the only son of my mother, Bathsheba, my father, David, your grandfather, said to me and I pass this onto you’.

We may not value David’s fathering, with the affairs of state and defending his throne he must have been distracted, but Solomon remembers his influence and now passes it onto David’s grandchildren.

My father, your grandfather taught me:

Proverbs 4:5, get wisdom and insight whatever the cost. Prize her highly, make her your priority, v.8. Thus when God invited Solomon to ask for anything this urging of his father drove Solomon’s request for wisdom.

Proverbs 4:6, he told me in almost romantic terms, wisdom is to be loved, never forsaken, embrace her and stay faithful to her.

Proverbs 4:8, wisdom is the source of blessings beyond measure, v.9 she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

That is what Solomon remembers of his father and passes onto his father’s grandchildren.

In his Tyndale commentary on Proverbs, Derek Kidner writes of the influence of the grandparent, that they demonstrate a love of the best things, transmitted by personal influence, along channels of affection!

Urge on our grandchildren that wisdom, referencing God, is the best foundation for a meaningful life.

I offer these reflections:

The most effective youth workers and counsellors at the Katoomba Youth conventions were a couple who were then in their 60’s. Age is no barrier to effectiveness. From my observation this couple remembered names, listened well, spoke but didn’t dominate the conversation and, as far as I know, never criticised the present in the light of the good old days. They were bright and outgoing.

Filleted services are understandable but unfortunate, the young and old are impoverished by this lack of access to one another. The generations need to mix, how else can we fulfil Psalm 78?

I had an elder who used to say, ‘I’m giving while I’m living, so I’m knowing where it’s going’.

The next generation will inherit wealth eventually, so why not direct it their way while you are alive? Encouraging Bible College gap years, short term mission visits, intensive years in Christian colleges, participation in ministry apprenticeship schemes, could all benefit from grand parental financial support.

PRAY! Regular prayer for grandchildren that they will be born from above and that in whatever vocation they choose they will faithful servants of the Kingdom.

In the first 9 chapters of Proverbs there are 4 direct quotations, the criminal gang in 1:11ff, the tragic son in 5:12ff, the seductive harlot in 7:14ff and here, the only positive words quoted, the words of Grandpa, 4:3-9.

They are well worth communicating by personal influence, along channels of affection.

David Cook.

(Image: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

After the deluge

Posted on September 16, 2020 
Filed under COVID19, Encouragement

“The world looks very different, just at the moment, from the way it looked even a year ago. What is more, we know that we are yet to feel the full weight of the consequences of what has happened and our response to it.

The level of government intervention to enable us to survive from moment to moment has been huge, and there is already considerable anxiety about what will be left when that support is removed. What will the world look like in 2021 or 2022 when the pandemic is behind us? How will we survive the crippling debt we have incurred? What jobs will have gone forever? What will our churches look like? Will this new awareness of our vulnerability open a wide door for ministry or provide another reason for hardness of heart?

One thing seems sure, we won’t just be carrying on from where we were before.…”

Moore College Principal Mark Thompson writes in the Spring 2020 issue of Moore Matters, which has the overall theme of “Building for the future”.

Knowing our Limitations

Posted on September 15, 2020 
Filed under COVID19, Other denominations

If anyone is looking for suitable reading in lockdown – or in wild freedom, for that matter – Blaise Pascal’s Penséesis indeed food for the soul and for the intellect.

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a distinguished French scientist who sought to write an apologetic for the Christian faith, but death took him before the work could be completed. No matter, for Pascal’s work in its unfinished state outdoes other writers whose works are finished and neatly revised. Pascal was especially incisive when it comes to exposing the human condition. …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General, Dr. Peter Barnes, on the understanding we need at this time.

Plagues and Protestants

Posted on September 15, 2020 
Filed under COVID19, History

“It was unprecedented. Indeed, it was only a matter of time before the outbreak of plague in China, spread over the seas to wreak havoc in Italy, and from there, spread like wildfire throughout the whole of Europe.

No, this is not COVID-19. Rather it was the infamous wave of Bubonic plague that hounded humanity in the fourteenth century. Known as the “Black Death,” probably due to the black spots it produced on skin, this pestilence killed around a third of the population between India and Iceland during the years 1345 to 1352 alone. …”

– Church Society has published online this article by Mark Earngey in the Summer 2020 edition of Churchman.

Next Page →