A grumpy day that God used for His glory (A ‘Just the other day story’ )

I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. (Proverbs 8:17 NLT)

I was having one of those days. One of those days where I wish I could roll back over and go to bed.

I did not want to do anything. I was grumpy and it is not a day I want to talk to anyone.

But in my life, that is not an option. I had to get up. So, I got up at 5am, did my devotional, did my workout, had breakfast, kissed my kids and my (exceptionally understanding) wife and then I got on the train into the city.

Usually on the train, I study, I read or I work during the hour long commute.

This day, I stared out the window. Nothing profound to think about. I just did not want to engage with anything or anyone.

I got into the City Bible Forum office, bought a $1 coffee (all I can afford today) and it tasted like a 50 cent coffee. Everything and everyone seemed to irritate me. I put in the earbuds, checked email and got some work done or at least pretended to work.

What was running through my head?

‘Am I supposed to be be doing ministry at all? What is God doing to me? I don’t want to be here!’ (Just being real)

You may not have these days, but the reality is, that is what ran through my head.

I went to City Bible Forum with one of my best friends. How do I know he is a friend? He put up with my incessant whinging (complaining) for the trip to the event.

We set up for the talk. All was going fine. I was able to put on the good game face. (That means faking it!)

What was the talk for the day?

How humility makes a difference by Dr John Dickson.

Great talk. Actually, it was too good. I needed to hear it, but I did not want to hear it.

During this incredible talk came the passage: For those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.” (Luke 18:9-14 NLT)

I wanted to crawl under the tables. If you look at the beginning of this update, the update is chock full of ‘I’s. I started the day thinking about me. The mirror of the passage in Luke was on me. I was gutted. I was at a loss to how to respond.

So, what did I do?

Got out of there. Once we were done tearing down the event, thanking john for the talk, I excused myself and escaped.

I went to get a haircut.

I was a fool.

The lady, Maria from Ireland, cutting my hair started chatting with me. Innocently about the day. I sat there thinking, ‘Don’t ask the question. Please do not ask the question. Yes, keep talking about your camera. Do not ask the question.’

She asked the question.

‘So, what do you do?’

Ugh! I thought to myself, ‘Not today, I am not on my game. I am not focused. Honestly, the last thing I wanted to talk about was God.’ I know, shame on me, but the it is reality of the moment.

What did I do?

I told her what I do.

My job, my life is to talk to people about Jesus and the Bible. It’s what I do.

What happened?

I had one of the most significant conversations with someone about what it is to be a Christian. Comparing other belief systems, personal testimonies and I was able to lay out the Gospel from beginning to end. She did not take any other customers, but was engaged in the conversation. She took my information and thanked me for the time. (I ended up with a very short haircut,  the more we talked, the more she cut. It was worth it.)

Guess what. I was thrilled and interestingly I was still grumpy. Yet, The Lord used me. Despite myself. He was glorified. Maria heard the Good News, even though I was in a jerky mood all day.

In the end,  God gets all the credit. Nothing was of me today and that is how it should be.

You truly are incredible. Thanks Lord, I am a bit less grumpy now.

(As a ‘just the other day’ story. This is dedicated to a great friend and mentor. He encouraged me to pray for these things. He even put up with the lack of humility in recent correspondence with him. Thanks, mate. You are a blessing and an example of humility.)

The Nemmers, Bushfires & The Urban Ministry Summit

Thank you for all of your prayers and correspondence over the last few weeks. Here is an update of many of the things going on in Sydney.

The Nemmers

We have been blessed beyond measure with Pat & Marilyn Nemmers being in Sydney for the last two weeks. What was planned as a time of observing the ministry, turned into a full on participation on multiple levels for the Nemmers. We hope they will be able to share with the church many of the things they were able to participate and the incredible people they were able to meet.

Here is a short list of their time here:
The Forum: Can we make a difference?, meeting for church planting with Geneva Push & ABWE, seminar on outreach in the Catholic community,preaching at Rouse Hill Bible Church, evangelistic talks in the Blue Mountains, City Bible Forum Legal & Afterwork, church BBQ, Bible Study Fellowship and a multitude of individual meetings and we even got in some touristy things.

Thank you to the Nemmers for coming and to Saylorville Church for letting them come to work with us in Australia. We pray they are able to get some rest when they get back, but will be able to share with you the many great experiences they were able to participate in Sydney.

You were an amazing blessing to our family.

Bushfires

Thank you for the email and phone calls in reference to the bush fires in New South Wales. These fires are a bit closer to us than last years fires. At this time, our community and home are not effected by the fires. The fires are effecting the Blue Mountains at this time, which we can see from Schofields. Many homes have been burnt and lives effected. Please pray for rain and for the lives of those who have been effected directly by the fires.

The Urban Ministry Summit

Russ has been given a unique opportunity to attend the upcoming Urban Ministry Summit in Thailand. It is an ABWE initiative and is an exciting opportunity to take his experience in the city work to other areas of the world.

Here is a brief description on the event:

Helping our ABWE teams to value the cities – not to the exclusion of the good village ministries we already have going, but as an added emphasis. More people are in the cities than in the rural centres, especially with the urbanisation of Asia. Both targets are valid (the village and the city). But at the moment, the city is largely neglected by our teams. How can we change the perception of Christians so that they purposely and joyfully invest in urban ministry?

Define recruitment priorities. What kind of specialisations do we need for the cities? There is a unique skill set required for the cities — what is it, and how are we going to go about getting those people?

Encourage location-specific strategies for reaching urban centres. The shape urban ministry takes in Singapore will probably be different to Delhi. Hearing and learning from what others are thinking and doing. This is vital for connecting contacts as people inevitably move between urban hubs.

With the ministry at City Bible Forum, we are poised to be able to contribute to this initiative. Assist in the goals and moving forward of a focus on urban ministry in ABWE.

We need your help. The trip will cost approximately $1000. Ticket and accommodations.

Would you or your church be willing to assist with this initiative? Please pray about giving to this initiative. If you can give, please email us or send your gift to Saylorville Church,6429 NW 6th Dr, Des Moines, IA.

Thank you for the consideration.

We are grateful for all of your support, prayers and the adventure continues.

Cheers,
The Matthews

Can we make a difference? (Also, The Nemmers arrival!)

We are so excited to have Pat & Marilyn Nemmers with us for the next few weeks. Please pray for this special time with them. Also, they would be able to see and meet the ministires and people we have come to love in Australia.

They will be able to be part of many of the upcoming events. Pat will be speaking at various events and they will be staying with us.

Pray as they come along to City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church and experiencing Sydney.

What is happening this month?

Have you ever wondered why October is the tenth month and not the eighth? Possibly.

Does it make a difference? Probably not.

Throughout October City Bible Forum is considering the things that really DO make an impact on our society, positive or otherwise.

Read on to find out more. We hope these events make a positive difference to you and your friends.

The Forum at lunch: Can we make a difference?

What impact do philanthropy and social activism actually have? Can one person make a difference? How has the virtue of humility made a difference?

Please be praying for the lunch forums at 1:05pm on Wednesdays and Thursdays and find out…

• 9/10 Oct: The Forum features a panel of influencers: Nic Lochner,Malcolm Wood, Rachel Scott and Edward Santow. They will answer your questions on Can we make a difference?

• 16/17 Oct: International Justice Mission Legal Counsel Amber Hawkes asks How can one person make a difference?

• 23/24 Oct: Best-selling author, historian and TV presenter Dr John Dickson will show us How humility makes the difference in the private and public sphere.

Citywoman Career-Wise Conference

Women – do you want to inspire others to make a positive impact?

On Thursday 10 October, 6:15-9:00pm the Citywoman Career-Wise Conference is all about Positive Power and Influence at Work.

 

At lunch: the points of difference

What is unique about Jesus, his life and teaching?

Following The Forum discussions on making a difference, national City Bible Forum communicators Al Stewart and Ian Powell will explore the points of difference about Jesus that make a powerful and positive difference today.

30 Oct-5 Dec: weekly on Wednesdays and Thursdays at 1:05pm.

Read more…

Christianity: A Short Course for the Curious

Please pray for the upcoming course for people who are curious about Jesus?

A Short Course for the Curious, 5 sessions which uncover the life and teaching of Jesus using eyewitness accounts and original documents.

• No Biblical knowledge is assumed, and all questions are welcome.

• Led by experienced teachers Al Stewart and Ian Powell.

Wednesdays, 6-8pm 16 October to 13 November 

Read more and register …

The Smith Lecture: 24 October at AGNSW

Prof Patrick Parkinson (Professor of Law at University of Sydney, specialist in family law and child protection) will be delivering this year’s Smith Lecture on a timely topic:

Child sexual abuse and the churches: A story of moral failure?

Why did this happen? What assurances can be given that this will not happen again?

This special annual event will be held at Art Gallery of NSW, Thursday 24 October, 6:00-8:15pm. Group discounts apply.

This is an ideal lecture for friends, family and colleagues for whom this issue is a stumbling block to considering the Christian faith. We encourage you to have dinner afterwards with your guests to discuss this sensitive and vital topic.

Thank you for your constant prayers and support.
The adventure continues…
The Matthews family
More details on our Facebook page; Take time to like it!