Friends… finally! Kids Corner

Update from the kidsdownunder-

 We are really liking Australia. It is autumn, cool, huh! Since the truck came to deliver our stuff, the neighbor kids have been coming around. Alex, Ashley, Brittany, Josh, Jacob, Lenny “Darth Vader”, Trent, Katrina and Tain (his Dad is from New Zealand, “Kiwi”- his name means a Moari Warrior). Thanks for your prayers. What do we like to do? Josh- Playing out in the “paddock” by our house. Learning Rugby. Going to the parks, ther a ton of them! Girls- Playing “Restaurant.” Parks, definately. Playing with our new friends.

Cowboys are still doing well, Panthers are not doing well. We are getting ready for State of Union Rugby League. The best of the best playing against each other.

It gets cold at night, especially with no heat in the house. Nice having our beds and blankets. Caroline seems to love Vegemite and Crumpets.

We miss you. Hopefully, you will come visit sometime. We are loving it here.

Thanks for your prayers!

Are all religions the same?

John 14:6

Jesus said,” I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father (God) except through me.”

I had the opportunity to oversee 15+ in-house events in area businesses during Mission Week 2006. Similar to speaking events as the JAWbreak events in Iowa. The ministry here is call ecom (Evangelising Commerce). We coordinated seminary students to lead the discussions in various institutions in Sydney. Most were 15-20 minute discussions on points, then 15-20 minute Q&A. Challenging for anyone. The topics ranged from “Is life a trivial pursuit?” to “Is wealth building a trivial pursuit?” I participated in the discussion on “Are all religions the same?” Challenging to handle in a short period of time. The speaker discussed the world religions, broadly, and their similarities. He also encouraged us to open the discussion with others of other beliefs. The rub came when he stated that really all of the different religions believe different things. Why is it wrong to even state this fact? When it comes to Christianity, if it is like other belief systems, what do you do with Jesus? Statements like that in John 14:6, shows that He differentiated this belief system from other belief systems. Also, what other belief system gives you concrete hope for the hereafter? Christianity does, difinitively. You cannot equate the different belief systems, they are not the same. Especially not Christianity. Jesus and the Bible do not give us that wiggle room for equivialency. So, the question is what do you do with Jesus and where do you put your hope for eternity?

Coming away from the talk, the speaker left us with this challenge. Are you willing to discuss the questions or will you close down to the discussion? For those truly willing to discuss the option that there is a one clear path to eternal life, shows your view on tolerance. Some would say, “I cannot tolerate that idea of only one way.” While others would say,” I am willing to consider it, let’s discuss it further.” Who is the more tolerant? This word of tolerance has a very different meaning here. It does not mean that I have to believe what you believe, but should be willing to discuss it. Then, does your arguement stand up to scrutiny? Can you discuss your faith beyond John 3:16 or “God is love?” It makes for heated, but exhilerating discussion. Also, do you want to debate against the Word of God… your choice.

Australian culture allows for open debate. You have to be willing to listen to different points of view and also have developed what you believe. You earn your place in the discussion, but you have to be willing to hear the others point of view to participate. Fascinating, but fun.

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Witness to the World

Proverbs 29:25

Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts the Lord is kept safe.

 It was a long week and we were all exhausted. Friday, we were all scheduled to go street evangelising. I was partnered with Michael, who had just fractured his foot in a footy game. We were not motivated and on top of that it had been raining all day. We took the time to pray and we ventured out into Wynard Park, unfortunately with low expectations. We approached 10+ people who were having lunch on different benches. A few had no desire to talk, but quite a few did. We talked with a Buddist, a Hindu, a Greek Orthodox, a man who thought he was a Christian becuase he was born in Hungary and a man from Turkey who hated George Bush. Surprisingly, many were willing to go through and talk about the Gospel and what it meant to them. In talking with the Hindu (he was from a similar part of India Dean and I had been in 2005), he was very interested. After talking with him about Jesus, he said, “Oh I believe in reincarnation, too.” After explaining that Jesus’ resurrection and reincarnation are very different. We asked if he could see the difference in his belief and his Hindu gods. Especially, that Jesus states that he is the only way to have a relationship with God. He said, ” Oh yeah, I can believe that too.” Holding onto to multiple belief systems. Pluralism at work. He took a gospel account of Luke and a tract on the the way to tryuly have a relationship with God.

The time was worth it! we were able to clearly present the Gospel to “the world.” His word does not come back empty. Thanks for your prayers for the Missions Week.

Street evangelism may seem terrifying to some, but it truly gives you a reliance on God. You need to know what you believe, but you never know who the Lord will bring into your path. It is completely based on His strength. 

Da Move…

Yeah… we received out things. The joke was that it would come during Missions Week, and it did. We received everything that we shipped on Monday. Made for a busy week, but things are working out well. It has been like Christmas. One thing this experience has taught us is how much we can live without. We appreciate having our things here, but the Lord has made us appreciate how he has provided for us over the past three months. I will have to say, it is nice sleeping in an actual bed and especially our own bed. So, we are slowly making our house a home.

 To answer some questions:

To j- No Russ has not gained weight. The picture was taken prior to us leaving, but the camera (In the fine words of Manny the Mammoth) makes me look poofy! Actually, I have lost about 2.5 kilos. (You figure it out.)

To k- The family is doing well. Everyone is feeling better. Suggestion, don’t use the term under the weather. That has very different meaning in our fine country.

To m- The Australians by Ross Terrill is still the best book on Australian culture. It is going for about $1 on amazon.com. Please understand, Mr. Terrill is not a Christian author but a historian. He gives an accurate account of this nation, Australia. This is not a Christian nation, yet, so much of its history is “colorful,” but Mr. Terrill delivers it in an respectful format. Thanks for the question.

Thanks for your prayers and keeping in touch with us. Thats it for now. Goodonya.

Missions Week – What is that?

We had the opportunity to work in the city of Sydeny for the past week. There were many details that were included in what went on during the week. Street evangelism, In-house discussions groups, Public Forums, Church, Pamphleting, free coffee and pancakes, etc. It will be hard to get it all into one update, so I will spread them out over weeks to share in all that went on during Missions Week 2006.

 Theological College Students come to the city to see what the ministry is like in Sydney. We have worked to coordinate opportunities for them to speak at different venues, evangelise and meet those who are in ministry throughout the city. Quite a bit of preparation went into the week. I jumped in right when things were getting started. I merely oversaw the private events in the corporations.(There were approx. 15 events at different companies.) The rest of the week can be seen on www.ecom.org then click on the Missions Week tab. The team did a great job and worked hard to make this a successful week. The goals were to present the Gospel to over 1000+ people, have one-on-one meetings with 40+ people, help to start a new church plant opportunity (CBX) and promote the City Bible Forum.

We started the day at approx 7am. Most of us came in from around the city, that means at least a 30-40 minute train ride each day. The we were going “flat out” until late in the day. The opportunities to share the Gospel were plentiful. We offered free coffee at five prominent stalls throughout the city. As it was being made (I became a barista that week, oh yeah, Latte anyone?) different people would share with the people in the Q(line). Encourage them to attend some of the meetings around the city and come to CBX (City Bible Extra).

Started on Sunday and went through until Friday. It was life changing. We are considering taking it on next year. We could use some help. If you are considering visiting, this would be an incredible week to come. The weather is beautiful (autumn) and the ministry opportunities are great.

 That is it for now! More to come, stay tuned…