Easter: exciting, exhausting and encouraging

Thanks for all of your prayers. This has been an exciting, exhausting and encouraging month. This is a quick note on all that we have asked you to pray about during this critical month. Easter opens the door to communicate to others about what we believe as Christians. Parades in the city, editorials in key newspapers, special services at church, and everything that comes with this month allows for open dialogue on Jesus. With your prayers and support, you are part of this process and we are grateful for you. There is quite a bit to share this month, so this note will be longer than our normal updates. Thanks for taking the time to celebrate with us and pondering the privilege it is for us to be part of this amazing ministry.

Easter

At City Bible Forum and Glorious Hope Baptist, we had many different events throughout the city. City Bible Forum had our talks on during the week and many new people coming along to ask the tough questions about the Bible and Jesus. We work with many different groups from all over city to have evangelistic events within corporations. We assist with the preparation, the talks and communication. The goal of the events are to give people opportunity to come to effective and timely follow up and we assist in teaching these classes called Investigating Christianity. One of Sydney’s largest banks allowed a group within the firm to run not one but four events. This bank is going through very difficult times of redundancies (mass firings), mergers and reorganisation. You would not think this is not an ideal time to be planning evangelistic events, but the result shows that God can do an amazing work all of the time. Inside this bank, we had over 100+ people come to the various events, with upwards of 40+ signed up for courses on finding out more about Christianity.

Church events: We had special services on Friday and Sunday. Russ had the opportunity to preach on Good Friday. He taught through 23-24 Luke and the witnesses throughout the death, burial and resurrection of our Saviour. Many people were challenged to know the Lord and communicate to others about what He is doing in the lives of the people of the church.

Fireproof

Great film, great conversation and great results.


Many of you may have seen this film in the US, but it was not shown in theatres in Australia. After seeing the film, the Urban Fight Club (Men’s’ ministry) committed to have a professional showing of this film for the people of our community. It reflected two of our key values, fighting for our faith and for the family. It was quite a bit of work, but it was worth it. Our goal was to get the non-Christian spouses of our church members to come to this great film. So, we were originally thinking a small group of people on a Friday night. Well, God had different plans. We started giving out tickets and the numbers grew steadily every week and on the night we had over 60 people come to the evening with close to half being visitors. Many atheists, non-Christians, skeptics, single adults and married couples came to the showing of Fireproof. We had good food, nice venue (not at the church) and a good quality film. Explaining to the crowd it has a Christian message, insight into marriage and that it was good entertainment value. After the movie, claps and cheers, but the best part was most people turned their chairs around and started talking. Asking questions and discussing the film. Some complaints from the atheists, but they were impressed with the quality of the event. As a pre-evangelistic event, it was perfect to plant the seeds and for our group to effectively meet with many non-Christian men who would not come to our church in the past. Pray for many of these families and lives of these men.

The Face of Suffering

During this difficult economic time in world history, many people have questions. Where is God? If he does exist, how could he allow things like this to happen? Is he even listening?

During this month it is school holidays in New South Wales (year round school in Australia) and many people are out of the city. CBF is usually at its lowest attendance, but not this year. We had a series delivered by Justin Moffat, ‘The Face of Suffering’ -Three things you can do with God in the face of suffering. Wrestle, Wait and Rely- based out of the book of Habakkuk. (I know not your typical Easter passage, but doesn’t the entire Bible point to Jesus?) What a great series and many people coming along to ask some of the hard questions, also, getting the answers. Again seeing how even the Minor Prophets point us to the redemptive message of Jesus.

Prayer requests:

1. Ladies outreach in the community around Glorious Hope Baptist.

2. Working through the growing pains of a church plant.

3. Thinking through the growth of the church and how to effectively minister within our community.

4. Investigating Christianity courses in the city.

5. Furlough details for 2010

Thanks for hanging in there and reading through this update. It is amazing to see what God is doing in this city. Thanks for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

Russ & Cathy Matthews

(To those concerned, we try to use the Australian spellings for our updates. Thanks for your feedback.)

Easter, Fireproof and AFL

Welcome to April. It is raining and moving into Autumn in Australia. Exciting time of year, football season (3 different codes), cooler weather, and Easter. Thanks for all of your continued support and prayers.

What is happening in Australia?

Easter: Russ will be sharing the Good Friday message at Glorious Hope Baptist Church,”Eyes on the Road”. Looking at the historical implications of the witnesses of Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection. He will be sharing a evangelistic message at a group at Commonwealth Bank, also.

Bible Reading Groups and Investigating Christianity: Russ has been working through the Bible with various groups around Sydney. Many of the studies are BRGs, which appeal to a non-Christian audience, due to their format of allowing for many questions about the specific portions of the Bible. He will, also, be teaching two Investigating Christianity courses in the city and assisting with a evangelistic series called, The Christ Files.

Fireproof: The Urban Fight Club (Men’s ministry) is sponsoring a night out for couples to watch the movie, Fireproof. Great film and it looks to be a great evening of fun and outreach.

Home-school and Sunday School: The house has been busy this year. Through new laws in the New South Wales system, the kids are enrolled in a distance learning program at the Australian Christian College. They attended classes for a week at the school, through a special program for the Distance Learning kids. Made for a crazy schedule, but they thoroughly enjoyed it and have learned many new things about our ‘home’ country in the process. Cathy is coordinating and teaching Sunday School at GHBC this year. She is enjoying the time with the kids and they truly enjoy her.

Kids Corner: The kids are excited about the school break coming up next week. (Remember, we are on a year round school system.) Hope and Rebecca will be going to a Youth Convention. Josh has finished Little Athletics (Track and Field) and has joined an AFL team (Australian Rules Football). He is loving it and enjoys the time with his mates. (Pray for Mum on this one!) Caroline just finished Little Athletics, too. She is enjoying pre-school this year and continues to be a light to all she comes in contact with at church and in the neighbourhood.

That is it for now. Love hearing from you all. We will be sending details out for our 2010 furlough soon.

We appreciate your prayers and pray you all have a wonderful Easter season.

The adventure continues…

Russ and Cathy Matthews