Tuesday, 25 November 2008

The biggest event for the gospel in 2008

Q: What's the one week this year that will have the biggest marginal impact for the kingdom of God in the south pacific?
A: AFES South Pacific Regional Training Event ("SPRTE").
No, I'm not exaggerating. I really think that SPRTE will make a big impact for Christ - probably the biggest impact of any event in the country this year. That's because we'll have a bunch of keen, young, ministry-minded people, from all over Australia, and Fiji, PNG, New Zealand and Vanuatu, studying the Bible together. I expect it to be a life-changing week for many of them. I expect them to Biblical, theological and ministry foundations in place that will serve them for the rest of their life. And because they're bright young leaders, I expect them to influence many, many people in the future. Many of them will go on to be ministers or elders or other significant church leaders. Others will hold influential positions in business, government, education, and community organisations. And because they come from all over the south pacific, this will impact the whole region. The friendships that come out of this conference could lead to a new wave of co-operation and ministry sharing all across the region.
So, please pray for SPRTE. It's the biggest event for Christ this year. Let's make the most of it.

Free money for new lives

Check out the promo video for the free money for new lives initiative.
Incidentally - can someone tell me why the embed this in the blog? The script won't copy.

Monday, 24 November 2008

Movin' on out

Well, my time here in Croydon has finished. I've been living in someone else's house since Feb this year. George & Lyn are members of my church, and they let me live in their spare room. But now they need it back, 'coz their son's visiting from England.
So it's back to my parent's place in Parramatta again.
Incidentally - my mailing address is the same. I never changed it from my parent's place, 'coz I knew this would happen sometime.
Where will I live next year? Dunno yet. Depends on the yet-to-be-finalised negotiations for ministry next year. Still not 100% certain where I'll be. As soon as I know, I'll inform cyberworld.

Excellent post on freedom

Trevor Cairney has just published up an excellent post on freedom in Just In Case.

Wednesday, 19 November 2008

All 'brewed out

Thanks for praying for my Hebrew exam. It was okay - tough, but fair. I think I'll pass - but I'm not sure. Four years ago, I thought I passed, and failed by 1 1/2 marks - got 48.5. That was really frustrating. So we'll wait & see.
Y'know - I have never yet faced a Hebrew final exam with a clear head. Here's my history with the language:
  • Nov 2004, Moore Hebrew 1A final: stressed because I was learning both Greek and Hebrew from scratch at the same time. Bad idea. Result: failed Hebrew by 1 1/2 marks (*grumble*) (passed Greek okay).
  • Jan 2005, Moore Hebrew 1A re-sit: came down with CHICKEN POX! Failed again.
  • Nov 2007, Moore Hebrew 1A again: had just handed in my 30,000-word project. Fell asleep in the exam. Failed again.
  • Nov 2008, PTC Hebrew B: stressed because of uncertainty about ministry next year. Came down with head cold. Result: ???
I'm not big on guidance, but d'you think God's trying to tell me something...?

Mum's radio interview on-line

Okay, I'm biased - but I still think my mum did a great job on ABC's Life Matters this morning. She even talked about sin: it's not sex, but the attitude of rebellion against God. Listen to the audio online.

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

And now she's on radio

My mum's going to be interviewed on ABC Radio National's show Life Matters. Tomorrow (Wed 19 Nov), ABC Radio National, sometime between 9-10am, repeated between 9-10pm. The Sydney frequency for Radio National is 576 AM, for other locations check here.

Saturday, 15 November 2008

My Nemesis Returns!

Okay - this is it - my nemesis returns: the Hebrew Final Exam!
Tuesday 18 Nov, 9am - 12pm.
I feel very underprepared, because I've been busy with ministry these last few weeks. And my uncertainties about next year haven't helped. And to add to my miseries, I've just caught cold.
Come on, short-term memory: do your stuff!

Challenges for SBM next year

One of the questions asked at the SBM Open Night was "what challenges do you expect SBM to face next year?" The answers were so good that I want to record them. The leadership team said:
  • As a new church, it's easy to get caught up in the fun and excitement of it, and forget our real goal: reaching non-Christians with the gospel message. We need to stay outsider-focused.
  • We need to stay faithful to the Bible. We're a relatively young, inexperienced group of leaders - if we're not careful, we could easily stray from Biblical truthfulness.
  • This is the first time we've done a church plant. We don't really know what we're doing!
  • Our uni ministry is losing most of its leaders, 'coz they're graduating. We need new leaders for next year.
  • While we want to focus on subcontinentals, we can't exclude others - the church is for all people. How are we going to run that balance?
  • Church planting is hard work. After the initial excitement, tensions will show and nerves start to fray. We need to work on relationships.

Friday, 14 November 2008

But that's not what I needed sorting out

That prayer request I posted a coupla days back - the SBM church plant isn't actually what I was referring to. It's more complicated than that - it's got to do with the fact that while the church plant is at an Anglican church, I'm a Presbyterian!
So please continue to pray for - ah - clarity - and I'll explain what's going on ASAP.

SBM Next Year

Subcontinental Bible Ministry ("SBM") is the inter-church Bible study group I've been involved in for about four years. About 40 young Indians & Sri Lankans from various churches around Sydney have been gathering on Thurs nights for Bible study, prayer & fellowship.
Next year, SBM will be starting a church. We're becoming the evening congregation of St Andrew's Anglican church, Strathfield - which is where we've been meeting for Bible study over these last few years.
Last night we officially announced the church plant. The hall of St Andrew's church was packed - must've been between 70-80 people there. Apart from the regular SBM people, there were parents of SBM regulars - come to find out what this strange group their little boy or girl has got involved in - and St Andrew's church people, come to celebrate with us.
St Andrew's has a flourishing Korean ministry. Their minister, Kevin Kim, said that they had a very similar history to SBM: starting small, growing little by little, to an established ministry. He encouraged us that in ten years time, God willing, SBM will be a flourishing church, able to support a new church plant - just like they're supporting us. And so the pattern continues.

Thursday, 13 November 2008

Mother and son...?

Mother and Son is an old ABC sitcom starring Ruth Cracknell & Garry McDonald. They play Maggie & Arthur, who are - uh - mother & son (*shock*), who live together 'coz Arthur's divorced. The comedy comes from Maggie's slightly senile antics & Arthur's long-suffering devotion to her.
I'm going to have my own mother & son experience this Sunday, when my mum & I make a combined presentation on - wait for it - sex and singleness...
As I've mentioned before, my mum's an Evangelical Sexologist. This Sunday, she & I are delivering a seminar on what it means to be Christian, single, and sexual. We're going to explore questions like:
  • What does it mean to be sexual, anyway? Is it the feelings? Acting it out? Something else?
  • If I'm single, then sexual feelings are sinful - aren't they?
  • Does the Bible say anything about sex - apart from "save it 'til marriage"?
It'll be at St Matthias Anglican church, cnr Oxford St & Moore Park Rd, Sunday 16 Nov, 2:30-4:30pm. Contact them for more info. And feel free to turn up. My mum's nowhere near senile, and I'm not divorced - but I suspect there'll be plenty of sitcom moments.

Monday, 10 November 2008

Bargain book alert!

Attention bibliophiles! Koorong have started a "buy one get one free" for their markdowns. So not only do you get the book cheaper; if you buy an even number, you get the cheapest ones for free!
Among the markdowns are Berkhof's Systematic Theology - THE classic Reformed systematics text - for $17; a translation of the Dead Sea Scrolls (can't remember author & price - I already have a translation so I didn't buy another one...); The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition, by Paul Eddy & Greg Boyd for $15; The Authentic Voice, a biography of C. S. Lewis by William Griffin for $7; and Peter Adam's new book, Written For Us, for $15. I'm sure there's other stuff as well - look for the yellow "markdowns" tag.
Incidentally - I have no financial or other interest in Koorong; I just like getting good books for cheap :)

Saturday, 8 November 2008

Prayer request - next year

A quick prayer request. I'm in the middle of sorting out ministry for next year. It's all good, but there's a lot of loose ends. Sorry I can't be more explicit - that's kinda the point - I'd like to tidy things up ASAP. When I'm clear on what's going on, I shall make public proclamation, and reveal the mystery.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Thanks to everyone who replied to my request re regularity of posting. On their advice: some semi-regular, semi-thought through comments coming up!
How do you guys stay regular? Does more fibre help?

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Prayer: digging up God's promised treasures

We often pray for things that God hasn't promised to give us. They may not be bad things - they're usually good things - like health & jobs & guidance & things like that. The problem is - God hasn't promised to give them to us.
Calvin reminds us that in the Bible, God has promised us all kinds of blessings. But here's the amazing thing: "Nothing is promised, which we are not also bidden to ask of him in prayers" (Institutes, 3.20.2). That is, God promises us blessings, then commands us to pray for these blessings, that we may receive them from him.
But who needs Calvin? Check out this Biblical pattern:
  • 2 Sam 7:11-16: God promises David a dynasty; 2 Sam 7:25-29: David asks God to fulfil his word and give him a dynasty.
  • Daniel 9: Daniel, in response to God's promise that the desolation of Jerusalem will only last seventy years, prays a prayer of repentance and asks God to restore Jerusalem.
  • Philippians 1:6: Paul is confident that God will complete his work in the Philippians; so he prays in Php 1:9-11 that God will complete his work in the Philippians!
When we have so many Biblical promises to pray for, why are we so obsessed with our own needs? I wonder if it sometimes stems from sin. We don't value God's promises enough; we want God to give us what we demand, not what he has promised. That is, we want to be God, and we want God to be our servant.
On the other hand, it's not sinful to ask for good things. And our heavenly Father knows what we need before we ask; so we can confidently petition him, and leave it up to him to decide whether he's going to give it to us or not!
Either way, let's stop only praying for our requests. Let's shape our prayers by the things God has promised us. In our prayers, let's deliberately & joyfully take hold of God's promises in Christ.

Wednesday, 5 November 2008

Backlog of blogs

This is ridiculous. I have a backlog of some 30 half-baked blogs that I haven't published 'coz I feel I haven't thought them out well enough yet. I'd forgotten that blogs are supposed to be timely & personal, not necessarily scholalrly and precise.
I thought I'd poll my readers (helloooo - is anyone out there...?). What would you prefer: occasional serious thought-through stuff, or regular ignorant ravings?
Personally, I'd prefer regular thought-through comments... but my lack of posts in October demonstrates this is unrealistic.