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.

A place of hope opens in Sydney’s West

“’To the Glory of God and the growth of His Kingdom’ – so says the plaque unveiled at the official opening of Sydney’s latest Anglican church building.

The 21st-century design of the Stanhope Anglican Church was projected on the screen in the auditorium as Archbishop Glenn Davies joined the church’s pastor, Steve Reimer, members of the church and invited guests in opening the building. …”

– Good news from Russell Powell at SydneyAnglicans.net.

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.

Feel the Breeze

“In the past people used to curled up with a good book. Now the joy is curling up with your Kindle or iPad. Some people like to log in to video games, while for others it’s a good movie or just the TV. It’s hard to speak of these with joy because so often the content is less than joyful and can even be quite stressful.

I want to give a plug for some time in the sun, to walk the great outdoors. I want to give a plug for something more than your world hemmed in by four walls. …”

– Rick Lewers, Bishop of Armidale, writes with encouragement for you.

Four surprising ways to cheer your Covid-stressed Pastor

“Some while ago I wrote a short blog about how to put a spring in the step of your pastor.

Here is a Covid update. How about this for four ways to cheer your pastor in these pandemic days? Each arises partly out of conversations I have had with pastor friends. …”

Christopher Ash shares some encouragement at The Good Book Company in the UK.

See also:

Stop! Think Twice Before Switching Churches in 2020 – Ivan Mesa at The Gospel Coalition.

“No pastor ever took a seminary course on pastoring amid a pandemic, so be patient with them.”

How to see members report growth in faith – with Tom Harricks and Roger Cunningham

From The Pastor’s Heart:

“It sounds so simple.  And yet it’s clear from the statistics (National Church Life) that people in some congregations are reporting much growth in faith, while people in others are reporting not much at all.

And isn’t it what we all want: For the sheep that God has given us the task of being under shepherds for – to report that they have grown significantly in faith this year?”

– Dominic Steele speaks with Tom Harricks and Roger Cunningham on this week’s edition of The Pastor’s Heart.

Rejoice in the Lord!

“I have been feasting on Philippians in recent months, meditating on Paul’s command to, ‘rejoice in the Lord’, found in 3:1 – and then intensified in 4:4: ‘rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again. Rejoice!’

Here are six reflections. …”

– Godly encouragement from Peter Adam at the Gospel Coalition Australia.

The Vulnerables. Our Heritage Builders!

Attending a recent investment seminar with a group of retirees, I was asked whether I was a skier.

I was astonished that many of my fellow attendees said they were skiers! Then the speaker added, ‘a skier is one who Spends the Kids Inheritance’.

Government policy in Australia is that Pension Funds must be spent and not used as a means of passing on an inheritance.

Up till this year this policy has proved a boon for the travel industry.

Our population is ageing and this has led to the construction of many retirement villages (in the US there are whole gated suburbs which allow only limited access of children at certain times of the year). Even Church services have become filleted by the use of ‘traditional’ and ‘contemporary’ as descriptors.

The poet Coleridge wrote ‘what a melancholy world without children, what an in humane world without the aged’.

Today I want to write about the importance the Bible gives to the place of grandparents as heritage builders. The Bible only uses the term grandparent twice, but speaks often of forebears, fathers’ fathers and children’s children.

In Proverbs 4:3-9, Solomon says, ‘when I was a son with my father David, the only son of my mother, Bathsheba, my father, David, your grandfather, said to me and I pass this onto you’.

We may not value David’s fathering, with the affairs of state and defending his throne he must have been distracted, but Solomon remembers his influence and now passes it onto David’s grandchildren.

My father, your grandfather taught me:

Proverbs 4:5, get wisdom and insight whatever the cost. Prize her highly, make her your priority, v.8. Thus when God invited Solomon to ask for anything this urging of his father drove Solomon’s request for wisdom.

Proverbs 4:6, he told me in almost romantic terms, wisdom is to be loved, never forsaken, embrace her and stay faithful to her.

Proverbs 4:8, wisdom is the source of blessings beyond measure, v.9 she will bestow on you a beautiful crown.

That is what Solomon remembers of his father and passes onto his father’s grandchildren.

In his Tyndale commentary on Proverbs, Derek Kidner writes of the influence of the grandparent, that they demonstrate a love of the best things, transmitted by personal influence, along channels of affection!

Urge on our grandchildren that wisdom, referencing God, is the best foundation for a meaningful life.

I offer these reflections:

The most effective youth workers and counsellors at the Katoomba Youth conventions were a couple who were then in their 60’s. Age is no barrier to effectiveness. From my observation this couple remembered names, listened well, spoke but didn’t dominate the conversation and, as far as I know, never criticised the present in the light of the good old days. They were bright and outgoing.

Filleted services are understandable but unfortunate, the young and old are impoverished by this lack of access to one another. The generations need to mix, how else can we fulfil Psalm 78?

I had an elder who used to say, ‘I’m giving while I’m living, so I’m knowing where it’s going’.

The next generation will inherit wealth eventually, so why not direct it their way while you are alive? Encouraging Bible College gap years, short term mission visits, intensive years in Christian colleges, participation in ministry apprenticeship schemes, could all benefit from grand parental financial support.

PRAY! Regular prayer for grandchildren that they will be born from above and that in whatever vocation they choose they will faithful servants of the Kingdom.

In the first 9 chapters of Proverbs there are 4 direct quotations, the criminal gang in 1:11ff, the tragic son in 5:12ff, the seductive harlot in 7:14ff and here, the only positive words quoted, the words of Grandpa, 4:3-9.

They are well worth communicating by personal influence, along channels of affection.

David Cook.

(Image: St. Helen’s Bishopsgate.)

After the deluge

“The world looks very different, just at the moment, from the way it looked even a year ago. What is more, we know that we are yet to feel the full weight of the consequences of what has happened and our response to it.

The level of government intervention to enable us to survive from moment to moment has been huge, and there is already considerable anxiety about what will be left when that support is removed. What will the world look like in 2021 or 2022 when the pandemic is behind us? How will we survive the crippling debt we have incurred? What jobs will have gone forever? What will our churches look like? Will this new awareness of our vulnerability open a wide door for ministry or provide another reason for hardness of heart?

One thing seems sure, we won’t just be carrying on from where we were before.…”

Moore College Principal Mark Thompson writes in the Spring 2020 issue of Moore Matters, which has the overall theme of “Building for the future”.

Homesick for Heaven

“When I was thirteen, I started boarding at my school. My family moved across the country, a 6-hour flight and then a 5-hour drive away from me. Our school had day students and boarders, but they mostly socialised separately.

The other boarders had all started together at the beginning of Year 7 and had bonded very closely by the time I turned up, mid-way though a term in Year 8. From the very first days I felt desperately homesick. …”

– Words of encouragement from Jocelyn Loane in The Australian Church Record.

GAFCON Chairman’s September 2020 Letter

“It seems trite and overused to say we are living in ‘unprecedented times.’ But the reality is that we are. These times are still ‘unprecedented.’

But they are not unique. The history of the Church is full of the changes and chances of life and the followers of Jesus continued on with His ministry and His message.

So, in the midst of these times, we press on towards Christ and His purposes for us. We go forward. Always Forward.  Everywhere Forward! …”

– Archbishop Foley Beach, Chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council, shares encouragement in this month’s pastoral letter.

Claire Smith interviewed on The Lydia Project

On the latest edition of The Lydia Project podcast, Tori Walker speaks with Claire Smith.

In the 30 minute conversation, Claire shares how she came to Christ.

She also speaks about how important it is for Bible-believing Christians to serve on committees, about the Gospel Coalition Australia, culture wars, and – most encouragingly – how good it is to know Christ.

Take the time to listen.

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