ACR Winter 2020 Journal

The Australian Church Record’s Winter 2020 Journal is now up on their website.

Grab your copy for plenty of stimulating reading. And pass on the link to others!

Ministering from a distance: Paul’s ministry from prison

“Paul wrote Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians and Philemon from prison. He would doubtless have preferred to be with them in person (Phil 1:8), but as he was kept apart from them he ministered from where God had placed him as best as he could.

We don’t get any sense that Paul felt his life was on hold: he continues to make the most of his daily circumstances (Col 4:3ff), preaching to the palace guards and all those around him (Eph 6:19; Phil 1:13), and sending out messengers with hand-written letters to the churches to encourage them and receive news for his own prayers and encouragement (Eph 6:22; Phil 2:18; Col 4:7-9). And we see clearly that although his relationships with these churches were different, his priorities – for clear gospel teaching and for the church to be built up in maturity in his absence – remained the same. …”

– A very relevant article by Caroline Clark at The Australian Church Record.

Matters of moment from Luke 15 — Dick Lucas

St. Helen’s Bishopsgate is continuing to post helpful resources for preachers from Dick Lucas.

In the latest release, he wants to help preachers “dig for treasure” in Luke 15.

CMD Media Training for churches

“We at CMD are very conscious of the enormous challenge it has been for many churches to conduct their services online since late March and now the challenge continues in another form.

Many church leaders need to consider how to continue providing church online whilst beginning to conduct live services on site with reduced numbers.

For many this will mean that pre-recording services is not realistic and therefore they are considering running a ‘hybrid model’ or church services whereby the live service is streamed live to those at home. …”

The Centre for Ministry Development at Moore College is looking at how they might support churches with all these changes.

Evaluating Evangelistic Courses

“Pastors regularly ask for a recommendation on evangelistic courses. What works best? What do you think of X or Y course? Do you have something that suits English second language contexts or a less literate demographic?

Recently, that question has been sharpened around the course best suited for an online ‘digital’ presentation of the gospel (as COVID 19 has revealed more engagement than expected through digital platforms/social media). …”

— Phil Wheeler, Director of Evangelism and New Churches in Sydney, wants us to ask key questions in looking at various evangelistic courses.

Care for Beirut

Anglican Aid has launched an appeal

“Anglican Aid is working closely with Christian partners in the Middle East to care for people affected by yesterday’s explosion in Beirut, Lebanon.

We are providing relief and aid funds through the Baptist Association of Lebanon, to enable them to support their neighbours and be a light in the darkness at this critical time.”


“Our brothers and sisters in Lebanon were already battling a health and economic crisis due to the Coronavirus pandemic. This tragic explosion has compounded their suffering,” said Canon Tim Swan, the CEO of Anglican Aid. “We ask our supporters to pray for Beirut, and to show the love of Christ for them by giving to this appeal.” –

Leading for endurance not recovery!

“Australian church leaders need to make a philosophical shift in every aspect of our ministry, away from leading for recovery and towards planning to lead for endurance.

We need to start using the catchcry, ‘Not Recovery, But endurance, ’ in order to set our people’s expectations right.”

– At this morning’s EFAC/Peter Corney Institute online conference, Dominic Steele contributed these thoughts about endurance.

‘Come, let us sing!’ with Rob Smith

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“Rob Smith has been a global leader in evangelical music for three decades. He has a new book out ‘Come, Let us Sing!’ just as singing has been restricted in many churches due to COVID-19.

Rob joins us to talk about some of the principles he’s discovered in a lifetime’s work in Evangelical Music, plus how the current pandemic has caused course corrections. …”

Helpful and encouraging.

– Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

(Image: Rob Smith at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, courtesy Anglican Media Sydney.)

From Sydney to the World

Coming up on Saturday 15th August, Sydney to the World is an important online event focussing on the raising up of the next generation of labourers for the harvest.

Details and registration at Moore College.

“We must do better” — Simon Manchester to Sydney Anglicans

“Faithful are the wounds of a friend; profuse are the kisses of an enemy,” says Proverbs 27:6 – or to put it another way, we often benefit more from being rebuked than praised.

The Rev Canon Simon Manchester has delivered a firm rebuke in this month’s Southern Cross and, although he risks upsetting some, he observes that “the stakes couldn’t be bigger”. …

– Sometimes being blunt is very helpful if we are to desire ‘The things that are excellent” (Philippians 1:10). Along with the loving rebuke, there is much that is encouraging in the linked video as well as the article in Southern Cross (page 33).

Photo: EMA, 2016.

The Sins of Old(er) Christians – Especially Pastors

“John Chapman, the gifted evangelist now with the Lord, would often say two things as he moved into his senior years: (i) Getting old is the pits, and (ii) Another year, another specialist.

He was no fan on the ageing process and, as an active man, found the breaking-down of his body frustrating and he refused to ennoble it.

I don’t mean he complained about it. He remained thankful and faithful to the end. Chappo was only doing what Ecclesiastes does in chapter 12 – being honest about the brevity of life and the pain of drawing closer to the end of it. …”

– At The Gospel Coalition Australia, Ray Galea has some sobering encouragement for older Christians, and pastors in particular.

Moore College Sunday is this Sunday

Moore College Sunday this year is Sunday 2nd August.

Learn more and download resources here.

The Big Question

“One of the finest preachers I have heard is Haddon Robinson, who was the Harold J. Ockenga, Distinguished Professor of Preaching at Gordon Cornwell Theological Seminary, in the United States.

Haddon Robinson visited SMBC for two Preachers’ Conferences in 1995 and 1999 and his preaching had a great impact us.

His book on preaching, ‘Biblical Preaching’, continues to be very influential in the world of expository preaching.

The central thesis of the book is that preaching preparation ought to lead the preacher to reduce his text to one big idea, a single sentence which encapsulates the content of the  Bible passage. Indeed the Wikipedia entry on Dr Robinson lists his notable ideas as: ‘The big idea, Biblical Preaching’. …”

– At the Expository Preaching Trust, David Cook shares lessons he’s learned in sermon preparation.

(Book link added. Photo: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

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