Gospel DNA one-day forum: last chance to register this week

cmd-cpeakers-2016-2A one-day forum wants to examine the very core of our ministry and lay bare whether we are being as effective in godly leadership as we could be.

To be held at Brighton-Le-Sand’s Novotel Hotel on July 20, ‘Gospel DNA – Replicating Effective Ministry’ will feature several prominent experts and practitioners sharing ways to cultivate a culture of discipleship, focus and direction…”

– See the Moore College’s Centre for Ministry Development for details and registration!

Samson and Delilah (the Israelite Woman)

Dr George Athas“In the book of Judges, we encounter the mighty Israelite judge, Samson. He is perhaps best known for his herculean strength. Yet, he is also known for his weakness for women—especially Philistine women. His relationship with Delilah, often portrayed as a sneaky seductress, was his undoing. She coaxed him into divulging the secret of his strength: his long braids of hair. Though they were the symbol of his devotion to God, they were also his ‘Achilles’ heel.’

But was Delilah a Philistine?”

– At With Meagre PowersDr George Athas at Moore College shares some shares some fascinating insights from a careful reading of the Biblical text.

An Unsung Evangelistic Hero

Stephen LigginsAn unsung hero is one who does great deeds, but receives little or no recognition for them. They fly under the radar making great contributions, but rarely find their way onto news reports or into the history books. There are and have been countless unsung heroes around the globe.

Take ‘Gunner’, for example: this stray male kelpie helped save perhaps hundreds of Australian lives during the Second World War. The dog, first found injured and whimpering under a destroyed hut at the Darwin Air Force base in 1942, was discovered to have particularly acute hearing: he could detect the approach of Japanese planes 20 minutes before the arrived—and before they showed up on the radar! But have you ever heard of him?

There is an unsung hero when it comes to evangelism. Well, an almost unsung hero…”

– At GoThereFor.com, Stephen Liggins has an encouraging article that’s worth passing on.

Teaching and learning in the Bible: An interview with Dr Claire Smith

Dr Claire SmithI think there are two errors to avoid when we consider what ‘teaching’ is in church.

We can conclude that ‘teaching’ is everything – and on that basis, read 1 Timothy 2 and the injunction that women are not to teach and have authority over men (2:12) and conclude that a woman can’t say anything to a man lest he learn something from her!

Or we can claim that what Paul was talking about was a very narrow, particular form of ‘teaching’ directed at special circumstances at the time the letter was written, and therefore his instruction no longer applies to us…”

Equal But Different has published on their website an interview with Dr. Claire Smith, on the theme of Teaching and Learning in the Bible. The interview first appeared in Magnolia magazine.

Freedom for Faith Sydney Conference, 12th August – bookings now open

Dr Mike Ovey“There has never been a more important time for Christians to think about the place of religious freedom in Australia. …

There is a sense that Christians are more and more out of step with cultural elites and that soon they may hold beliefs which are at odds with Australian law. Looking globally we see genocidal persecution of believers on a scale that has never been seen before.

Churches are crying out for leadership in knowing how to live in these changing times. Come and be equipped and refreshed.

Dr Michael Ovey, Principal of Oak Hil College in London will headline a great day of teaching…”

Freedom for Faith is holding a conference at St. Andrew’s Cathedral on Friday 12th August 2016.

Details – and a link to book in – on this page.

“Sharing the message of freedom in a threatening public square.

A one day conference for Christian leaders. Join Dr Michael Ovey (Oak Hill College London), Professor Iain Benson (Notre Dame Law School), Rev Kanishka Raffel (Anglican Dean of Sydney), Dr Megan Best – ethicist, Dr Sam Chan – Evangelist City Bible Forum, Archbishop Julian Porteous – Catholic Archbishop of Hobart, Lyle Shelton – Australian Christian Lobby & more. ”

See also the interview with Freedom For Faith Executive Director Michael Kellahan on page 10 of The Pulse, May – June 2016 (PDF).

‘Same-sex intimate unions’

Dr Mark Thompson“Once again the issue of same-sex intimate unions is in the headlines. …

The supporters of these changes insist that this is an issue of fundamental human rights — the right to marry the one I love — and of equality. The slogan that has been used with most effect in the campaign in Australia is ‘marriage equality’. Just as racial equality was the great cause of the mid-twentieth century, and gender equality similarly in the late twentieth century, the time has come for marriage equality. It is presented as the great civil liberty issue of our time. Listen to the speeches of the advocates — the stakes are very high indeed. …

It is possible to present this change as both necessary and inevitable and even to suggest it is a change that can be made without any adverse consequences at all. But how can we be sure that is the case if we do not listen—seriously and sympathetically listen— to the voices of dissent?”

– In the light of talk about a plebiscite, Dr Mark Thompson’s article on Same-sex intimate unions, published in July 2015, is an important one, and well worth re-reading.

Pressies gear up for Reformation 500

pressies-ref-500What better way to celebrate the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s Ninety-five theses?

The Presbyterians take a lead.

Terrific.

The Church Praying — latest 9Marks Journal

the-church-praying“Abraham prayed. Moses prayed. David prayed. The prophets prayed. The apostles prayed. Jesus himself prayed.

But do our churches pray when they gather together?

My own experience suggests, not much. There might be a few cursory upward glances through the course of a church service. But there are almost no studied, careful, extended times of prayer—little to no adoration, confession, thanksgiving, or supplication. And that lack of praying, when you think about it, is embarrassing. Do we actually think we can change the leopard spots, or bring the dead to life? Anything a church does that will be eternally worthwhile must be done by the Lord, which is to say, through prayer.

Our primary hope for this Journal is that it would both encourage churches to pray more together and offer a few pointers on how.”

– Jonathan Leeman introduces the latest 9Marks Journal.

A Year of Mercy for Catholics

mark-gilbert-wyd08-1“Pope Francis… has declared 2016 to be a Year of Mercy for all Catholics. This is quite a big thing for the world’s Catholics. Francis published a book containing one of his encyclicals on mercy in 2015 called The Name of God is Mercy, Catholic schools around the world have structured their syllabi around this theme, and Catholic churches are organizing their teaching programs around the theme of mercy this year as well.

Having recently read Francis’ book, I thought it would be good to share a few thoughts on how to engage with Catholics who will be thinking about mercy more this year…”

– Some good ideas from Mark Gilbert to help us connect with our Catholic friends. At GoThereFor.

(Photo via SydneyAnglicans.net.)

Don Carson on How knowing the Bible does not automatically make you more holy

Dr Don Carson“Knowledge of the Word does not sanctify us by mere education. I have now lived long enough and have belonged to enough professional biblical societies that there are not many front-rank New Testament scholars in the world whom I have not met. Some of them are very brilliant minds indeed…”

– Andy Naselli shares a sobering quote from D. A. Carson. Read it all at the link, and pray that we would all be shaped by God’s Word to be his people.

Australian Church Record — June 2016 — out now

acr-june-2016The latest issue of The Australian Church Record (June 2016, number 1916) is now up on their website.

As always, it’s a free download, and is full of thought-provoking articles.

In this issue:

The art of godly listening

Where to for Anglican evangelicals?

‘When I kept silent’: the vital art of confession

Making sense of gender confusion

It’s unanimous: ARV and Anglicare to merge

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