Into the World — new video from Moore College

This seven minute video from Moore College features the partnership with churches in Madagascar.

Most encouraging and food for prayer. Take the time to watch.

It would also be suitable to show in church or in home groups.

Talking Back to Death

“One of the most anguished stories I’ve ever read was about what happened to Martin Luther’s daughter Magdalena. Barely fourteen years of age, she was stricken with the plague.

Broken-hearted, Luther knelt beside her bed and begged God to release her from the pain. When she had died and the carpenters were nailing down the lid of her coffin, Luther screamed out: ‘Hammer away! On doomsday she’ll rise again.”…”

– At AP, Mark Powell, with help from John McClean, speaks of every Christian’s sure confidence.

Intimacy with God

“Did you know that God desires a relationship with you? Did you know that God desires an intimate relationship with you?

Jesus the Messiah has made it possible for you and me

And

– In this devotion published by The Global Fellowship of Anglican Churches, Primate of the Anglican Church in North America, Dr. Foley Beach turns to John chapter 15.

A Philosophically ‘Enlightened’ Easter

“The Scottish philosopher David Hume (1711-1776) famously declared that the resurrection of Jesus did not happen.

His logic was simple: the resurrection is a miracle, and miracles cannot happen, and therefore miracles do not happen, and the resurrection did not happen.

However, his logic was simply flawed. …”

David Burke, Moderator-General of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, shares this Easter message.

Dead to sin and alive to God in Christ

Romans 6:6-11

“What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound? By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it? Do you not know that all of us who have been baptised into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.

For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin.

Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”

ESV.

On Good Friday, we get a glimpse into hell and heaven

“At the centre of the Christian faith are the great Easter events – Jesus’ death on a cross, and on the third day his bodily rising to new life, victorious over sin and death and the devil.

Australians embrace these events as a holiday but most regard them with sentimentality. For Christians, however, the days could not be more weighty, for in Good Friday and Easter Day we glimpse hell and heaven.  …”

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel writes at SydneyAnglicans.net.

God’s Gift

“Have you considered the legacy you would like to leave? I’m not speaking here of a material legacy for your family but a legacy or gift for the benefit of others.

Writing in The Weekend Australian (March 16-17, 2024), Nicki Gemmell spoke of ‘the ultimate sacrifice’ of Alexei Navalny, the late ‘Russian opposition leader whose sacrifice was driven by a deep love of his country and of his compatriots’. ‘We’re not used to heroes in real life anymore,’ she wrote.

In commenting on Navalny’s life most commentators miss the point that his sense of suffering, even his willingness to lay down his life in the cause of human rights, arose from his Christian faith – something he came to profess in his adult years. Navalny’s heroism echoed in a small way the greatest sacrifice the world has ever known – that of Jesus, the Son of God.

Come with me to the Gospel of John. …”

– At The Anglican Connection, John Mason turns to Scripture to show us God’s extraordinary gift. Good reading this Good Friday.

Passion play with puppetry

“When Epping rector Bishop Ross Nicholson first raised the idea of a Good Friday passion play centred on a large puppet of Jesus, the response was sceptical. Could this really work?

Given that his previous church in Tasmania had done the play for years, he was able to reply with an enthusiastic ‘Yes!’…”

– Judy Adamson has the story at SydneyAnglicans.net.

Photo: Ross Nicholson.

Find Joy, Love and Hope in Jesus — Easter 2024 message from Archbishop Kanishka Raffel

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has released this Easter message.

Great to play in church – and to share with your friends.

Also, see this report from Russell Powell at SydneyAnglicans.net – and download the video – or the text (PDF file).

He Gets (Some Of) Us

“Hello dear reader, been a while but here I am now all agitated about the recent ‘HeGetsUs’ advert that aired during this week’s SuperBowl. It’s already generated considerable discussion in evangelicaldom.

Not sure what I’m talking about? Well watch this…”

David Ould comments on a Super Bowl ad – and then shares an alternative.

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel’s Christmas sermon 2023

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel shared the good news of the Lord Jesus at the 10:00am service at St. Andrew’s Cathedral in Sydney this morning.

Speaking of the Lord Jesus, he reminded us, “There is no other Saviour. … No other has provided purification for sins.”

Watch here. (Link should go to the start of the sermon – or see the service from the start here.)

Related:

Two Ways to Live – a very helpful outline of the Christian message.

That You May Believe

“I feel so strongly that among those of us who have grown up in church and who can recite the great doctrines of our faith in our sleep, and yet who can yawn through the Apostles’ Creed — that among us something must be done to help us once more feel the awe, the fear, the astonishment, the wonder of the Son of God, begotten by the Father from all eternity, reflecting all the glory of God, being the very image of his person, through whom all things were created, upholding the universe by the word of his power. …”

– In this Advent devotional, John Piper prays that all Christians will be overcome with wonder by the gospel.

Image: JWST.

Course: Talking with Catholics about Jesus

Lionel Windsor draws attention to a very helpful course:

“An opportunity to understand Catholics and have great conversations together about Christ.

A new resource by Certainty4Eternity, distributed by Matthias Media. A course to consider for your church or small group 2024!”

Be better equipped to love your Catholic friends.

Image: Mark Gilbert.

Kanishka Raffel: We must not lose sight of this simple Christmas message

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has written this editorial which was published in The Daily Telegraph today.

What can we say when people come face to face with evil? How can we make sense of this desperate world? We need a word from God, which is exactly what Christmas is. God has spoken through his Son, Jesus.

Full text below:

The beginning of this year seemed to offer a ‘fresh start’ as we came out of COVID. Yet, as 2023 unfolded, the cost of living rose beyond the means of many, we witnessed with grief and horror, man-made calamity in war and conflict, as well as natural disasters, tragic accidents, and terrible crimes. 

We in Australia were not isolated from the international conflicts. Many have family and friends in war-torn areas and watch helpless as the television news brings the horrors into our lounge rooms. In Gaza, Israeli hostages are held by the terrorists while civilians have been tragically killed or displaced. The salt in mothers’ tears is the same, whether they are in Ukraine, Sudan or the Middle East. In far too many places around the world, children suffer in wars and conflicts not of their own making. 

Neither have we been insulated from rising inflation and the consequent effect on interest rates. The price of grocery items soared as home-owners were hit by five increases in interest rates this year. According to the research by Anglicare in its Rental Affordability Snapshot, the crisis in housing security has deepened for those in low-income households and the most vulnerable family groups. Basic affordable housing is beyond the reach of single parents, or single people, on any of the various welfare payments. The crisis in affordability has been made worse by rental availability plunging to levels not seen for more than a decade.

During COVID, there was a rise in domestic violence and we continue to see cases resulting in the death of women of all ages. I am told that younger women, between the ages of 18 to 34 years, are at greatest risk. These are terrible statistics and I commend the work of services such as 1800 Respect (1800 737 732). No women should have to suffer any form of abuse or coercive control. This is not God’s way for our families.

The introduction, last month, of the Voluntary Assisted Dying laws is a backward step for our society. Although introduced with what many consider to be the strictest protocols, I believe this will create pressure on already under resourced palliative care and diminish our commitment to protecting and valuing every human life. 

We have seen this play out in Canada, a country not unlike our own. While euthanasia was introduced in 2016, initially only for the terminally ill, it now accounts for 4 percent of all deaths in that country. New measures next year will extend the availability of assisted suicide in Canada to situations where a person’s sole medical condition is a mental illness.

The idea that all human life is inherently precious was not generally affirmed in the world into which Jesus Christ was born (although it was a tenet of Judaism). It spread with the growth of early Christianity and finds expression today in the UN Declaration of Human Rights.

Laws create culture. Practices shape values and community expectations. For two thousand years, Christian teaching has asserted the inestimable value of the individual created in the image of God and precious by virtue of life’s sanctity, not merely life’s utility or quality.  We abandon that principle at our peril. 

The horrors we see overseas, reach deep into our society too, as the Middle East conflict has brought a rise in anti-semitic sentiment. Flag burnings and aggressive verbal incitements to violence against Jewish people have shocked and repulsed our city. The sin of antisemitism has a long and shameful history. It must be repudiated in the strongest terms, so in October, I joined other faith leaders in calling for national unity and harmony so that our multi-cultural, multi-faith community may continue to thrive without hate or violence.

What can we say when people come face to face with evil? How can we make sense of this desperate world? We need a word from God, which is exactly what Christmas is. God has spoken through his Son, Jesus. The Bible describes Jesus as the Word of God – he is God’s word to us in good times and in bad.

When God came into the world he came in the vulnerability of childhood. He was born, amidst whispers of scandal, to an unwed mother. His parents searched fruitlessly for a place to stay. The secular power of the day sought his death and propelled his family to flee their home. He was born, unmistakeably, into this world with all its threats and insecurities, especially for children and the poor.

Yet, Jesus came to bring a word from God. To those who received him he gave the right to become children of God, St John says in the majestic opening to his Gospel. To a world wearied by war, human wickedness, death and decay – Jesus speaks a word of life, light, hope and adoption into God’s family.

Rising costs may have forced a stripped-down Christmas this year yet when you strip away the tinsel you have the simple message of Christmas, so simple a child can believe and yet so substantial that its wonders and glories can fill our hearts and sustain us through life’s challenges. At its heart the message of Christmas is nothing other than Jesus, and nothing better than Jesus.

May I wish you and those you love a very happy Christmas.

____________________________

– See also the Archbishop’s shorter Christmas video.

(With thanks to Russell Powell for the text. Image: SydneyAnglicans.net)

A word from God to a desperate world

Archbishop Kanishka Raffel has released his Christmas video for 2023.

Great to share.

Posted, with some background, at SydneyAnglicans.net.

See also: Kanishka Raffel: We must not lose sight of this simple Christmas message.

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