Good news in the COVID-19 season

“This COVID-19 season has been intense. Everything is changing, anxieties are raised, people are suffering and death is having an impact on all of us. And significantly, it is not something that we can escape. In close to the last hundred years, there has not been a single thing that has plagued all of society without bias. COVID-19 does not play favourites or politics; it does not care about the first world or the majority world. There is nowhere on the globe that humanity can escape to where COVID-19 is not having an impact. And if it is not the case already, there will soon be no one who has not been negatively impacted by this disease.

But in this bleak reality, we who know the Lord Jesus Christ and the good news that he brings to a world in need of saving, have a real opportunity. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ben George has some encouragement for Christian believers.

Easter preaching online during COVID19 with Sam Chan & Mike Raiter

From Dominic Steele:

“The zeitgeist has changed profoundly in the last month. Our 2020 vision calendar has been ripped up. We can’t predict what will happen next week, or even tomorrow.

As we prepare online presentations for Good Friday and Easter Sunday in this tumultuous context, two of Australia’s leading Chistian communicators  Mike Raiter and Sam Chan join Dominic Steele to talk about how COVID-19 has changed our task.”

Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

Phillip Jensen on how COVID19 changes evangelism

“This week on The Pastor’s Heart we talk big COVID changes: individualism and community, autonomy and submission, free press & censorship, materialism, wealth and its assumptions and the seriousness of life.

Plus the massive advantages for ministry and evangelism in a society which has much more time on our hands and is much more aware of the reality of death.

Plus we ask Phillip how Christian leaders can honour Jesus, loving the flock and reach the lost in the Corona season.”

– A very helpful episode of The Pastor’s Heart.

Imagine there is God

“Imagine there is no ultimate meaning, purpose or goal toward which our lives are headed.

Imagine there is no overarching design and no inherent significance. 

Imagine if our lives were reduced to the pot luck outcome of billions of years of impersonal atoms and molecules running around hitting and missing, making and destroying.

Imagine a world where the reality of conscience and moral choice have no grounding in a purpose beyond that of group survival in the evolutionary race to the top.

Imagine human affections are ultimately an illusion, a cruel joke orchestrated by the impersonal rules pf physics.

Imagine all the people living for today, for tomorrow is the end.

Welcome to the world offered by John Lennon’s song, Imagine. …”

Murray Campbell on the meaningless of a life lived according to the song.

Jesus the dying saviour

“Jesus Christ understood the most deadly virus known to humanity is sin. He knew the sin virus was a killer. Like all viruses it takes up residence and eats away its host. For the virus to survive its host must die.

Thankfully in a war against such a virus you won’t find Jesus Christ rushing for the toilet paper. You won’t find Him in a toilet paper brawl in Bass Hill or in a Coles or Woolworths near you. But you will find him nailed to a cross, suffering on your behalf, offering a cure for the sin virus that has been destroying us from our beginnings. It’s the same sin virus that has people fighting over toilet paper instead of considering how we might care for one another in a time of crisis.

The Bible makes clear that the most dangerous place we can get in society is anarchy, where everyone does what is right in their own eyes. This is the heart of sin, to act like you are God when you are not. We will reap the carnage of this and the virus of sin will destroy us all. In that moment COVID19 will be irrelevant as the judgement of God has the final word. …”

– Bishop of Armidale Rick Lewers continues his series of thought-provoking articles for the local newspaper, and also published on the diocesan website.

Does the Bible produce bigots?

“Mardi Gras is upon us in Sydney. When thinking about the tension in society around the issue of same-sex attraction, it’s easy to wonder if you might actually be a bigot – because you’re a Christian. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ben George argues that the Bible produces not bigots, but forgiven rebels.

Updated Christianity Explored website

Christianity Explored Ministries have updated the Christianity Explored website.

Take a look.

Why would God do the Christmas thing?

“Why would God do the Christmas thing? It’s commercial, it often brings out the worst of consumerism, it stresses people, promotes greed and jealousies among children, and rekindles moments of bitterness and family frictions among adults.

Sadly for most people there is just a confusion about the purpose of Christmas. Christmas for many has become like a statue in the park where observers wonder why it is there and pigeons find it convenient for all the wrong reasons.

So why would God do the Christmas thing in the first place? …”

– Bishop of Armidale, Rick Lewers, has been writing about Christmas in his In Focus column.

Here’s the latest, “Why would God do the Christmas thing?”.

What non-believers can know about Jesus, the Man

Agnostic journalist Andrew Bolt invited Melbourne Anglican minister Mark Durie onto The Bolt Report to discuss what non-believers can know about Jesus, the Man.

Perhaps a conversation-starter.

Why ‘We’re just like You’ isn’t a great ‘USP’

“Like many of my generation, I was heavily influenced by student ministry, and set off to theological college ready to take on and change the world – or, to be more accurate, to change the church.

It wasn’t the only thing I wanted to do. I did long to see people become Christians, for example. But I also wanted church to be ‘good’. I wanted to do everything in my power to see the Bible taught well; to make sure that the cringe factor was eliminated from what we did when we were together. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Gary Millar calls for a change of thinking in the way we present church. (Photo: CMS.)

Jesus Christ makes everything good for everyone, everywhere.

“We have to engage in cross-cultural mission respectfully, wisely and lovingly. The Bible tells us to obey the emperor and the government of the land in all things lawful and good. Christians who develop a calling or sense of urgency about the eternal salvation of any particular person or group need to be very prayerful, very wise and take lots of very good counsel.

We see a model of this in Paul’s missionary journeys through Acts. He and his team are certainly prayerful, as is the church in Antioch and elsewhere. Paul takes counsel to go or to stay in a place. He operates within the law, even when the law is used against him. He is respectful to jailers and governors, challenging them only when it comes to the claims of the Gospel itself.

Missions-minded Christians go all over the world legally, respectful of local laws and cultures and customs, breaking down every barrier in order to win the right to bear witness to Jesus. We go as humble servants of the Word. …”

The Gospel Coalition Australia speaks with Dr Wei-Han Kuan, State Director of CMS Victoria, about the motivation of would-be missionary John Allen Chau, on North Sentinel Island in the Andamans. (Image credit: NASA / MODIS.)

Related:

Glen Scrivener speaks about criticism of John Allen Chau published in The Independent.

Tim Challies shares some thoughts:

“Suddenly the whole world is talking about Christian missions. In his own way, John Allen Chau has sparked a conversation that now rages within the church and outside of it. I’ve spent the past week gathering my thoughts about his situation, and would like to offer a few points I hope you find helpful. …”

What is the role of culture and culturalism in evangelism?

“Christians today are engaged in cross-cultural evangelism. In the past it was only missionaries going overseas to preach the gospel who had to understand cross-cultural evangelism, but today most of us do not have to go that far to encounter other cultures. Most English-speaking countries have the great joy of people from all over the world moving into their neighbourhoods.

But what does a post-Christian multicultural nation involve? Is it any different to evangelising a Christian monocultural nation – and if so, how? …”

– At GoThereFor.com, Phillip Jensen provides some good questions to think about – along with a reminder that they will be addressed at the 2018 Queen’s Birthday Conference on 11th June. (Register here.)

Doing Outreach — for a Change

“Sorry about the whole Hell thing. I wasn’t real comfortable talking about Jesus. Hey, but at least you weren’t as hungry before you died.”

– The American Anglican Council’s Canon Mark Eldredge challenges Anglicans to share the gospel, and not just be nice people.

Related: Two Ways to Live.

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