A Despairing Sigh, or a Sigh of Relief?

“If you are person who would like some stark honesty about life, Ecclesiastes is the book for you.

If you look around our world and are confronted by its confusing nature and you find yourself almost accidentally responding with a despairing sigh, then Ecclesiastes is the book for you. It is a disturbing read and deliberately so.

Its sigh is the sigh captured in the words, ‘meaningless, meaningless, all is meaningless.’ This book is an analysis of life designed to help a person consider life, lived under the sun, without God.…”

– Here’s the latest helpful article from Bishop Rick Lewers in Armidale.

Numbers

Glen Scrivener at SpeakLife has released a powerful and provocative video.

Watch here.

Check-ins, singing, 4 square metres and the way out of COVID-19


“The Australian Prime Minister says in stage three of the Post Covid-19 reopening, groups will be able to meet with no upper limit on numbers from July, but there will be a blanket rule of 4 square meters per person.

However, all visitors to buildings will be required to checkin and provide contact details.”

The latest episode of The Pastor’s Heart tackles these questions in the latest episode.

Why you should ditch your digital Bible

“When I started working in university ministry, I thought I knew the issues facing Christian students: money, church attendance, dating unbelievers, overseas holidays, grades. What I didn’t expect was a run-in with the digital Bible. …”

Matt Smith makes a clear argument at The Australian Church Record.

God’s concern for greater Sydney

“If you were to look for one sentence that summarises the teaching of the Bible, it would be hard to find a more succinct candidate than the final words of the prophet Jonah’s prayer: ‘Salvation belongs to the Lord!’ (Jonah 2:9).

Jonah is a remarkable book for many reasons. One example is that it contains, in the Hebrew text, only five words of prophecy (3:4), whereas both the minor and major prophets of the Old Testament contain hundreds and thousands of words of prophecy addressed to Israel or the nations.…”

Archbishop Glenn Davies points us to the message of Jonah and God’s concern for the city.

Freedom of Religion and the impact of COVID-19 on Christian life and worship

“It was always clear that measures designed to lessen the impact of, and prevent the spread of, COVID-19, would have an impact on the usual patterns of church life.

Church meetings on Sundays are one of the places where many people regularly gather together physically- indeed, in an increasingly isolated and fragmented society, we may say one of the ‘few’ places.

So, the arrival of a disease which spreads through droplets that are exhaled naturally meant that large gatherings had to be put on hold temporarily in the interests of public health. …”

– At Law and Religion Australia, Assoc Prof. Neil Foster shares a paper he is presenting on the subject., “Freedom of Religion and the impact of COVID-19 on Christian life and worship”.

Leading change in the number and/or size of congregations post COVID-19 with Peter Mayrick

“We are talking Kotter’s principles of change managment and how they apply to church leadership in this post COVID-19 season where the immediate steps forward may not be clear.

We need to lead to change. But for some of us senior pastors (as things keep changing) it’s not obvious where we want to go!  And yet we need to take everyone with us. …”

– Peter Mayrick from the Center for Ministry Development is back to speak with Dominic Steele at The Pastor’s Heart.

Paul Harrington at the ReLaunch Australia Conference


Paul Harrington spoke from Adelaide to the ReLaunch Australia Conference last week.

How should we move forward as churches re-open? He urges pastoral patience, and careful thinking to build ‘gospel capacity’.

Very helpful, with plenty to think about. A number of others also spoke at the conference, with a panel discussion.

Watch his address at the link.

‘Resuming public gatherings’ – with Michael Stead


New guidelines have been released for churches in NSW. But they have been changed since the original ones we discussed on The Pastor’s Heart with Bishop Michael Stead a fortnight ago. …

Bishop Michael Stead is back for an extra discussion…. On social distancing and implementing the health department guidelines.”

– The latest from The Pastor’s Heart.

Queen’s Birthday Conference 2020 — free livestream — Monday 8th June

From Two Ways Ministries:

‘2020’ usually speaks of clear vision but this year ‘2020’ speaks of cancelled plans and a very uncertain vision for our future.

The self-assured confidence of our wealthy culture has been dealt a body blow that has finally raised big questions of life which have been ignored for generations.

The social isolation of staying at home forces society to slow down, spend time in family or long-term relationships, even make friends with neighbours and reach out electronically to old friends and distant relatives. We are forced to think about our lives.

We do not know what life post coronavirus will be like – but it will be different, and we want to make it different.

Resilient people always turn a crisis into an opportunity.

Queen’s Birthday Conference gives Christians an opportunity to think through the implications of this present crisis.

What is God’s part in this crisis?
How should we respond to the crisis?
What are the lessons Christians should learn from the crisis?
What can and should we say to our society?
How can we take this opportunity to proclaim Christ to His rebellious world?

Monday 8th June 2020, 2:00 pm – 4:30 pm.

Talks and Q&A with Phillip Jensen.

To receive the link for the livestream, register with Two Ways Ministries. Please note that registrations to receive the livestream link will close at 8pm on Sunday night.

Guidance released on NSW COVID-19 laws and churches

“This is a brief update to my previous post on recently announced changes to restrictions on gathering and movement in NSW (now, in fact, dealing with ‘gatherings’ rather than movement) as they affect churches.

The NSW Government has now (as of 31 May) put up online guidance on how ‘Places of Worship’ should be managed. This contains a link to what is called a ‘COVID-19 Safety Plan’ for churches…”

– From Neil Foster at Law and Religion Australia.

The future of singing in church – with Rob Smith, Curtis Smith & Dr Charlotte Hespe


“In New South Wales, Australia churches are permitted to gather for meetings of 50 from Monday, but are not permitted to have communal singing.  Rob Smith, Curtis Smith & Dr Charlotte Hespe discuss. …”

– Very helpful episode of The Pastor’s Heart.

Worship in Coronavirus time — the latest NSW rules

“I have previously commented on the rules concerning movement from home, gatherings in public places and opening of public premises which have been applied in Australia while we deal with the COVID-19 crisis.

The NSW Minister for Health has just released the Public Health (COVID-19 Restrictions on Gathering and Movement) Order (No 3) 2020 (“RGM Order No 3”), which commences operation on Monday 1 June 2020 and repeals and replaces the previous orders. In this post I want to outline what the new rules will be in their effect on churches. …”

– Neil Foster, at Law and Religion Australia, takes a look at the latest COVID-19 restrictions affecting churches meeting in NSW.

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