A church for every kombini — Japan needs Jesus

On our days off we’ll occasionally take a drive, usually to the seaside. It’s refreshing to go through the country, but also discouraging. As we drive through village after village, there is always a shrine or temple, but rarely a church. We see beauty, vigour and tradition, but we don’t see much hope of people coming to know Jesus in these towns.   

My family and I are part of a project to plant a church in Chiba City, the capital of Chiba prefecture, neighbouring Tokyo. We are patiently, diligently turning soil, preparing, hoping and praying for gospel growth. We dream of a vibrant, growing church in our city. We want to see new believers keen to share their faith, uninhibited and enabled for the task.

We’re begging you to join us.”

– Helane and Adam Ramsay send encouragement – and a plea – from Japan. On the CMS Australia website.

Photo: CMS.

I Saw a Lamb – The Cross in Revelation

Youthworks Media has just released this series of studies by Michael Raiter – for Lent, or for any time.

For yourself or as a Christmas gift?

Details here.

From Father to Son — J.R.R. Tolkien on Sex

“Tolkien dearly loved his children, and he left a literary legacy in the form of letters. Many of these letters were written to his sons, and these letters represent, not only a hallmark of literary quality, but a treasure of Christian teaching on matters of manhood, marriage, and sex. Taken together, these letters constitute a priceless legacy, not only to the Tolkien boys, but to all those with whom the letters have been shared.

In 1941, Tolkien wrote a masterful letter to his son Michael, dealing with marriage and the realities of human sexuality. The letter reflects Tolkien’s Christian worldview and his deep love for his sons, and at the same time, also acknowledges the powerful dangers inherent in unbridled sexuality. …”

Albert Mohler republishes this excerpt from his book Desire and Deceit: The Real Cost of the New Sexual Tolerance after the announcement that “Amazon intends to include sex and nudity in the upcoming “Lord of the Rings” streaming series.

See also his The Briefing for 10 November 2020. (Part 4.)

Preparing for Death

“Life is about preparation!

I was in 4th class at Clovelly Public School and our teacher, Mr DeRago, told us that he was getting us ready for our final exams. I thought that was amazing since our finals, the Leaving Certificate exams, were still 7 years away.

Apprenticeships are about preparation; all education is preparation; curacies are preparation. We have seminars for preparing for marriage, parenting, and now I am attending retirement seminars.

What next? Death must be in the mix of what’s next, but who runs seminars on preparing to die?…”

– David Cook writes at The Expository Preaching Trust.

(Picture: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

A Review of God’s Design For Women

In 2002, I read a book called God’s Design For Women: Biblical Womanhood for Today, by Sharon James, an English thinker, writer, ministry practitioner and a social policy analyst. It gathered into one book all the good things that I believed about men and women, and which I thought were important for others to investigate. I recommended it, lent it and gave it away countless times.

But it was written 18 years ago – before some of the young women I am currently engaging with, were born! So it was a delight, last year, to see that Dr James had, in her words, “rewritten the book to take account of current cultural trends, including the increasing confusion about gender ’identity’. I have also extended the scope to include what is happening beyond my own country.”

– At Equal But Different, Lesley Ramsay shares her review of an important book.

Singing and Not-Singing in COVID Season

“Of all the restrictions necessitated by the COVID pandemic, one of the most frustrating, at least for most Christians, is not being able to sing together – either because we’re unable to meet together or because it’s not deemed safe for us to do so even if we are able to be together. Of course, not being able to sing together hasn’t killed us, and it won’t. But it has deprived and diminished us and, understandably, is deeply painful to many. …”

– Rob Smith writes at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

Also published at Latimer Trust.

See also:

Review: Come, Let Us Sing – Christopher Idle, at Church Society.

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

NAIDOC Week 2020 video from Macarthur Indigenous Church

Via SydneyAnglicans.net, here’s a video celebrating Naidoc Week 2020 with the Macarthur Indigenous Church.

Senior Pastors, Self Promotion, Narcissism and Social Media – with Marshall Ballantine-Jones

From The Pastor’s Heart –

“Did you watch the Social Dilemma and consider throwing your phone (and the apps installed!) out the window. This week we are thinking through the pastoral opportunities and dangers of social media.

Marshall Ballantine Jones joins Dominic Steele to discuss the impact of social media use on pastors, particularly with regards to encouraging self promotion and narcissistic tendencies.”

– Watch or listen at The Pastor’s Heart.

November 2020 issue of Southern Cross

The November issue of Southern Cross is now available at magazine.sydneyanglicans.net

Stories include –

• Rejoicing at the opening of Stanhope Gardens
• Getting the most out of church
• The War you didn’t know about.

Feature articles include –
• Discipling screen-native kids,
• The new Christian sports show
• Cranmer’s strategy for evangelism.

Luther: The Life and Legacy of the German Reformer

Thanks to Ligonier Ministries, “For a limited time, watch this documentary in its entirety to discover the events God used in Martin Luther’s life that led him to rediscover the gospel of justification by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone.”

The video is temporarily available on YouTube in celebration of Reformation Day.

Once the link is removed (they don’t say when that might be), the movie will still be available for purchase via these sources.

Sydney Preaching Clubs Reopening in 2021!

News from David Cook and The Expository Preaching Trust –

“The Trust’s preaching clubs will reopen in Term 1, 2021. They meet four times each year, once each school term, in Abbotsford on a Thursday and at Cronulla on a Friday.

Membership of each club is free…

Learn more about this invaluable resource here.

Staying fresh as a Rector

“Even before COVID-19, every rector was aware of the growing pressure of the role: the demands of compliance, managing expectations and criticisms from the congregation, tensions within parish council, the demands of meeting the budget, keeping the staff aligned with a common vision, and the challenges to see both church and gospel growth.

COVID-19 has simply escalated that stress by requiring so many decisions on an ever-changing treadmill. The result is that we can be left feeling tired and uninspired with a gnawing sense of failure as we count the days to our resignation or retirement.

At different stages of my ministry I found refreshment in the following…”

Encouragement from Ray Galea, at The Australian Church Record.

Men Meeting The Challenge Conference 2020

This year’s Men Meeting the Challenge Conference, not surprisingly, will be an online conference. Keynote speakers are Al Stewart and Ross Ciano.

From the organisers:

Why not join us at Men Meeting the Challenge this year, online, on Saturday 7 November 2020, for some real encouragement and inspiration. Gather a group of men today and go online at menforchrist.asn.au and register for a conference that will really make a difference!

And you can watch the promo video here.

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