Matthews Down Under – June 2009
July in Australia, we are in the middle of winter and it is cold. Football season, winter school holidays are around the corner (year round school), global financial crisis is still the blame for everything and ministry opportunities are happening everywhere. Thank you for your prayers and support, it is exciting to see what the Lord can do with your prayer and financial involvement. I will try to give you a quick summary of all that is going on in Sydney.
Glorious Hope Baptist Church
The church continues to grow and we have visitors every week. We are finalising our constitution for the incorporation of our church. We appreciate your prayers for wisdom of the leadership and the involvement of the church members during this process. Russ preached through Nehemiah 1-2 on Sunday and he will continue to work through this portion of the Bible in 2009. Pastor Sam is working through Galatians and challenging the church in many areas. We are looking to have 3-4 baptisms in August.
City Bible Forum
It has been a engaging and challenging season in the city for the past few months. We have had a two different series. One in the book of Luke called the Essential Jesus and another called, Running from God â€“ Jonah: Prophet on the Run. We could use your prayers for the upcoming series in Hebrews: Getting Real with God and a short series on Relationships and Sex: What the bible has to say about both. Attendance has fluctuated through out the last few months, but we are continually having new people coming each week. We recently had a BBQ on Martin Place (in the heart of the business district) and many gospel related conversations with hundreds of people who came by for the free sausages and coffee.
Life of Jesus
After the completion of the Investigating Christianity courses at Westpac, we looked to do some other classes to keep the momentum and dialogue going. We started with a DVD series called The Christ Files (Dr. John Dickson*) a series on the Bible as a trusted historical text and what we can prove historically about Jesusâ€™ life. The class grew each week, which is different than the trend, usually we experience a decrease in participation after the start of a class. On completion of The Christ Files we had further interest in another John Dickson series, a straight forward presentation of The Life of Jesus (great short DVD presentation on the basics of Jesus, leading to in-depth discussion on what we know about Him.) Pray for the growth of these groups and the 50% of attendees who are not Christian.
Urban Fight Club
There continues to be a need and a growth in this unique menâ€™s ministry. We had â€˜Fight Nightâ€™ around a bonfire last weekend. This is a time for the men to discuss, in confidence, their personal â€˜storiesâ€™, the things the Lord is doing in their lives and the struggles they are having as men. Great time, sorry I cannot go into detail, but exciting days ahead for many of these blokes. This is a training ground for men, coming together as men to be â€¦men. In the process they are getting to know God and the bible better. Tough row to hoe, but it is good to see the Lord working in these menâ€™s lives.
More to tell but that is all for now. Hope you enjoyed the VBS videos on Youtube. (Five days worth: e-mail me if you would like the link) Thanks for the prayers. Also, if any of the churches are looking for a project to sponsor this year, please keep us in mind. We have various projects through City Bible Forum and the Glorious Hope Baptist church that are always looking for assistance. We are grateful for all you are doing for our family and the ministries the Lord is doing in Sydney.
The adventure continuesâ€¦
Russ & Cathy Matthews
PS- Thanks to all who comment on the Australian spelling. I am grateful you are reading our letters so thoroughly.Hope you are enjoying the cultural differences.
*www.publicchristianity.orgÂ Â (John Dickson’s website)