Compassion for the Lost

“Instead of just throwing up our hands in despair or shaking our heads sadly about what we believe are poor, short-sighted choices by many of our contemporaries, we need to ask God, through His Spirit, to make us more like Jesus in having compassion on those who have, for whatever reason, excluded God from their lives.

When Jesus saw the crowds of his day ‘he had compassion for them, because they were harassed and helpless like sheep without a shepherd’ (Matthew 9:36). …”

– In the latest edition of Anglican News from the Diocese of Canberra & Goulburn, Bishop Trevor Edwards urges us to respond to the latest census figures as the Lord Jesus did to the people of his day. Read it all, on page 2 of this 2.8MB PDF file.

Also be sure to see:

Philip Jensen on Why and How Churches Must be Pragmatic – Steve Kryger at Communicate Jesus:

“Since the release of the latest Australian Census data, I’ve been troubled by how many people in my nation are yet to know Jesus, and how ineffective we (as evangelical Christians) have been at reaching them.

I discovered that since 1991, there has been a 22% drop in the number of people claiming to be Christians and in a single generation there has been an 88% decline in the number of self-declared Christians.

So my friend Dave sent me this sermon by Philip Jensen from 1988, where he pulls no punches in pleading that churches change to reach the 97% who are not in our churches each Sunday.

You should listen to the whole message, but here are 10 quotes that stood out…”

Both articles are a great encouragement and spur.

A Wee Flea for Christ: Apologetics in a Post-Truth Age

David Robertson, Minister of St. Peter’s Free Church in Dundee, has just been in Australia –

“Unlike most Western Anglicans I love the Sydney Anglicans. … The Church needs them to keep going, stand strong and continue to be salt and light as they shine like stars in the midst of a crooked and depraved generation.”

Stephen O’Doherty interviewed him for Open House on Hope 103.2 in Sydney.

Meet the new ‘twicer’: The irregular regular

“I came across an interesting expression recently: the twicer. From what I understand, ‘the twicer’ used to refer to the person who went to church twice a day (think of the days of morning and evening prayer). It then began to refer to the nominal churchgoer who would attend twice a year, the ‘Christmas and Easter’ Christian.

When I heard the phrase recently, it was used to refer to the committed churchgoer. That is, to describe a regular churchgoer—who attends church just twice a month on average. …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Mike Leite points to Biblical encouragement to meet more often then every-so-often.

This is the day — Presbyterians remember with thanksgiving

“10.00am, forty years ago, the words of Psalm 118 rang out in Scots’ Church Sydney: ‘This is the day the LORD has made; we will rejoice and be glad in it.’

Today, Friday 23rd June 2017 – it’s forty years to the day when the Presbyterian Church of Australia was refreshed. And, it’s fair to ask: What became of that bold decision to remain as a Presbyterian church? What distinctives of the Christian faith do we offer? What does PCA stand for?

Permit this man’s reminiscing …”

– Presbyterian Moderator-General John Wilson considers the Presbyterian Church of Australia’s ‘refreshing’, over the last forty years.

Vision 2022 for Tasmania — video

In a follow-up to his 2017 Synod Presidential Address, Bishop of Tasmania, Richard Condie, speaks in this video about the new Vision 2022 for the churches of Tasmania.

GAFCON Chairman’s June 2017 letter

“As I write, we are preparing for Trinity Sunday. The doctrine of the Holy Trinity is vital. Without it, we cannot speak truly of God in a way that is faithful to the bible. However, in the fourth century the Church was nearly overwhelmed by the Arians. They were the followers of Arius, who claimed that the Son was a created being, not really God.

If the Church had continued to follow Arius, the Christian faith would have been lost. To deny the full divinity of Jesus strikes at the heart of the Christian message that God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself.  St Athanasius is still remembered as the man who was willing to make a costly stand against this heresy.

I am reminded of Athanasius because we are facing a similar struggle for the integrity of the gospel in our time. …”

– Read the June 2017 letter from GAFCON Chairman Archbishop Nicholas Okoh.

More reasons to tell your Jewish friends about Jesus

“I’m a Jewish follower of Jesus, and I came to faith one day when my uncle plainly set forth the gospel (using Two Ways To Live) as we sat at the table in his kitchen.

My testimony may give people encouragement to proclaim the good news to their Jewish friends and neighbours, but the Scriptures give far more …”

– At The Australian Church Record, Ben Pakula shares encouragement.

The Crisis of ’77

This month marks the 40th anniversary of ‘church union’ – the formation of the Uniting Church in Australia, by the amalgamation of the Methodist and Congregational Churches, as well as around two-thirds of the Presbyterians.

It also marks the 40th anniversary of the Presbyterian Church of Australia ‘continuing’ – with a number of ministers and parishes choosing not to join the UCA – many convinced that ‘Uniting’ would take them down a liberal path, and ultimately away from ‘the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints’ (Jude 3) .

In a 2004 speech in Melbourne, the Rev. Bob Thomas shared his personal reflections on the events of 1977.

(Bob Thomas was for many years the Editor of Australian Presbyterian Life, served as Moderator-General, and is currently Editor of New Life Christian newspaper. He is also the Minister of St. Kilda Presbyterian Church.)

Why did members walk out of the 1974 General Assembly of Australia, to a hall across the street, after it had voted to ‘go Uniting’? What was their experience? Who did they discover to be their friends? You may, or may not, be surprised.

At a time when believers in England, Scotland and elsewhere are thinking about what future they have in their increasingly liberal denominations, the Presbyterian experience is worth learning about.

Download The Crisis of ’77 as a 2.3MB PDF file, courtesy of The Rev. Bob Thomas.

Crest courtesy of the Presbyterian Church of Australia.

Related:

Burning Or Bushed? – The Presbyterian Church of Australia 40 Years On, about union and its aftermath, edited by Paul Cooper and David Burke, will be launched at the NSW Presbyterian General Assembly in July. (Click the link above to pre-order a copy.)

Forty-forty vision

“Thursday 22nd June marks forty years of a refocussed and refreshed church.

The Presbyterian Church of Australia (PCA) is almost unrecognisable from what it was in the 1960s. I suggest each congregation might pause during the week of 22 June … to pray for the PCA and thank the Lord for all the fruit of our renewal. We belong to a blessed church.

Four decades represents a significant milestone. We learn from the Scriptures that God required Moses to spend forty years in the wilderness country of Midian before engaging in his life’s mission. Moses needed to learn to be a faithful provider for his own family and to care for his father-in-law’s sheep prior to the trust of looking after God’s flock. It was a probationary period for Moses. Are we emerging from forty years probation?

If so, what has the Lord released us to do?…”

– John P Wilson, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, gives thanks  – and asks some probing questions – as the Presbyterian Church of Australia marks forty years of ‘continuing’.

(The Uniting Church was formed on 22nd June 1977 by the amalgamation of the Methodist, Congregational and most Presbyterian churches in Australia. The continuing Presbyterian Church of Australia has largely returned to its Evangelical and Reformed roots.)

“As it had been the face of an angel”

“The Christian ministry has never been for the faint of heart. The ministry, biblically defined, is combat duty in spiritual warfare. These graduates have been prepared to be front-line officers in that warfare. …

At every Southern Seminary graduation we remind one another of the great and essential fact that the Christian ministry is not a mere profession — it is a divine calling. The ministry is one of Christ’s gifts to his church. it is the most serious and joyous of all callings.

I think often of the venerable words of the old Book of Common Prayer of the Church of England for the ordering of the ministry. These words are spoken to new ministers of the Word:

‘You have heard, brethren, as well in your private examination, as in the exhortation which was now made to you, and in the holy Lessons taken out of the Gospel and the writings of the Apostles, of what dignity and of how great importance this office is, whereunto ye are called. …’ ”

– Albert Mohler, President of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, speaks at the Commencement of Ministry for this year’s SBTS graduates.

Evangelism in the Latter Days – Sharing the gospel with ageing parents

“Ever since I became a Christian at the ripe old age of 18 I’ve been trying to share the gospel with my parents.

Not surprisingly, they weren’t receptive to my early methods, driven as they were by excessively youthful enthusiasm. My decision to give up all for gospel preaching in my late twenties only increased their hardness towards that message. …”

– Here’s some encouragement from The Australian Church Record.

Related: Keith Green – Song to my Parents.

Next Page →