Hoping Christmas is Good News

“The decorations at the stores and shopping malls tell us that Christmas is just around the corner.

We are about to begin again the round of carol Services and Nativity plays. The Christmas card list is dusted off for another year and, in my case, I scan to see if any of my friends who appear there are no longer alive. I debate yet again if I will make my own ‘cards’ or buy those ones that help some good cause. All in all there is quite a bit to be done at Christmas time. …”

– In this article from the vault of The Australian Church Record, dear departed Chappo reminds us that Christmas involves an announcement of news. Will it be good news or bad news for you?

Related: The Chappo Collection.

Still learning how to preach after 50 years preaching!

“In December 1967 I preached my first sermon at St Thomas’ South Richmond, soon to be demolished, to a congregation of 4 people. What a privilege! It was on the cross of Christ, but I forget what Bible text I used to launch my sermon!

I was from a non-Christian family, and had been converted in my last year in school in 1963. I first heard expository preaching in January 1965, when John Stott toured Australia, and gave Bible studies on 2 Corinthians. I thought, ‘That is how you should preach, and that is what I want to do.’…”

– Encouraging personal testimony from Dr. Peter Adam – at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

William Taylor on Preaching at Christmas

“Praise God that, at Christmas time, many people who don’t know the Lord Jesus as their Saviour still willingly walk into churches.

With the incredible news of the incarnation to proclaim – God with us – how do we make the most of the opportunities to preach the gospel?

In this month’s Preaching Matters William Taylor talks with Sam Manchester about Christmas services and Christmas sermons, how he chooses passages, what key truths are important to include.”

Packed with encouragement and  helpful ideas for your Christmas services this year.

Worthy of the Gospel: A Sermon on Philippians 1:27-2:4

Christians, in the face of opposition and strife – “Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ.” – Philippians 1:27.

Here’s an encouraging exposition of Philippians 1:27 – 2:4, preached yesterday by ACL Vice President Dr. Lionel Windsor.

The Chappo Collection

“Introducing a new book on the much loved and respected Bible teacher and evangelist, John Chapman.

This book by David Mansfield is a collection of stories by and about John Chapman.

It gives an insight into a man who loved and proclaimed the gospel throughout his life, and whose ministry greatly impacted many people. The book contains many personal insights by those who know him, great gospel illustrations and excerpts from his sermons amongst other things. …

Proceeds from the sale of the book will be used to support Bible and leadership training in Africa, through GWC and other centres of training.”

– Order The Chappo Collection from Anglican Aid at this link. Just in time for Christmas!

David Mansfield writes about the book, which was launched at St. Andrew’s Cathedral last week, at SydneyAnglicans.net.

And Simon Manchester writes,

“Sometimes it is the spontaneous wisdom of a Christian leader which goes beyond a biography to arrest our minds and hearts with great truths… David Mansfield has served us well by collecting much of Chappo’s wisdom and wit so readers will be (almost) in his happy and helpful company again.”

Advent resources and the PrayerMate app

“Advent is traditionally a time when Christians prepare for the arrival of Jesus Christ?—?remembering his first coming at Christmas, but then also looking ahead to his return. It is a wonderful time of expectancy and hope.

This Advent, PrayerMate is delighted to announce our best ever range of devotional resources that you can subscribe to through the app and follow along daily from 1st December 2017. …”

– Andy Geers announces a range of devotional resources (most of them free). Read the details here.

Mr Eternity: The Story of Arthur Stace, launched in Sydney

The long-awaited biography of Arthur Stace, ‘Mr. Eternity’, was launched by Bible Society Australia in Sydney yesterday.

Appropriately, the launch was held in Darlinghurst, at the Eternity Playhouse, formerly the Burton Street Baptist Tabernacle. It was there, in 1932, that Arthur Stace heard evangelist John Ridley, and felt called to write Eternity on the streets of Sydney – something he did for the next 34 years. (Stace had become a Christian at St. Barnabas’ Broadway two years earlier, saved from a life of despair and alcohol.)

Mr. Eternity: The story of Arthur Stace is the fulfilment of a long-term project by Elizabeth Meyers, daughter of the Rev. Lisle Thompson, Minister of Burton Street Tabernacle 1951 – 1964. She was joined by Roy Williams (author of ‘In God They Trust’) who continued her research to help complete the book. The pair uncovered previously unpublished details of Arthur’s life and background.

Roy Williams introduces the book. Photo by Trevor Dallen.

To coincide with the publication, Lisle Thompson’s 1956 tract, ‘The Crooked Made Straight’, has been updated and reissued.

Photo: At the launch, Elizabeth Meyers, with Fairfax photographer Trevor Dallen, who took the iconic photos of Arthur Stace in 1963.

The book, published by Acorn Press, is available from Bible Society.

Companion material has also been published here.

Unfamiliar with the story of Arthur Stace? You can read our earlier potted version here and related posts.

The Gift of your Fellowship

“Only a few people are going to occupy the role of a speaker at Gafcon 2018, even though so many of the people there are the preachers and teachers of God’s Word, and all who attend would have a story to tell and an encouragement to give.

So, are the delegates simply going for their own benefit?

Not at all!

They are attending primarily because of the special gift which they will bring, the gift of fellowship. This is the ministry which each of us will exercise. And even if you are not there in person, your support for Gafcon also involves that gift.

And that is very precious indeed. …”

Some words of encouragement from GAFCON General Secretary Dr. Peter Jensen.

Church Society Podcast with Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone

In the latest Church Society podcast, Ros Clarke chats with Rod Thomas, Bishop of Maidstone, about his job, the situation in the Church of England today, and the unexpected joy of confirmations.

Listen here.

Oft-Forgotten Reformers: Katherine Zell

“Katherine Zell was a woman who trusted God at his word. Her writings don’t show someone fake, sterile, sanitised. Rather, in their pages we meet a real woman – with strengths and weaknesses. So who was Katherine Zell?”

– At The Australian Church Record, Jane Tooher tells the story of a courageous Christian lady.

Here We Stand

“Martin Luther’s great moment of theological clarification came at the climax of a command performance. Facing the threat of martyrdom and execution, Luther appeared on trial at the Diet of Worms before the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire. Asked on what authority he dared to defy the Pope and the magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church, Luther famously replied:

‘Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Holy Scriptures or by evident reason – for I can believe neither pope nor councils alone, as it is clear that they have erred repeatedly and contradicted themselves – I consider myself convicted by the testimony of Holy Scripture, which is my basis; my conscience is captive to the Word of God. Thus I cannot and will not recant, because acting against one’s conscience is neither safe nor sound. God help me. Amen.’…”

– Albert Mohler marks Reformation Day with a call to the churches to make a clear stand in a number of vital areas.

Reformation 500 Sunday at St. Andrew’s Cathedral, 29 October

From St. Andrew’s Cathedral, Sydney:

“As the world celebrates the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, St Andrew’s Cathedral marks this extraordinary day on Reformation Sunday – 29th October – the day the church marks 500 years since Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses to the Wittenberg church door.

During our 10.30 service the Cathedral Choir of boys and men, and international soloists, Penelope Mills: soprano, Jonathan Borg, countertenor, Michael Butchard: tenor, and Christopher Richardson: bass, will join with our historical-instrument orchestra in bring JS Bach’s monumental celebration cantata no. 80: ‘A Mighty Fortress’ written for Reformation Sunday itself, with words by Martin Luther.

The sermon will be given by Australia’s foremost expert on the Reformation, the Rev. Dr Mark Thompson, Principal of Moore College, Sydney.

A feast for the heart and for the mind, and within the context of our morning service. All welcome!”

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