That crazy personal issue, The Forum, Sydney Prayer Breakfast and a visiting team

Thanks for your patience over the last few months. It has been an exceptionally busy month with personal events and ministry.

The crazy, personal event

We are grateful for all of your support and prayers. Russ had a bit of a health scare at the end of April and ended up in the hospital for a bit. Due to some irregularities in his heart rate and an abnormal ECG (EKG in the US) the doctors had to find out what was causing some of these health issues. After a few stressful weeks of tests, monitors and a shaved chest (Ouch! One of the most painful parts of the experience), the diagnosis was he has an athlete’s heart (slightly thickened walls of the heart, due to regular exercise) which threw the ECG out of whack and stressful lifestyle. So, some healthy evaluation of lifestyle issues is in order, but all things are back to some level of order. We will keep you posted.

We have tried to keep this as a private and personal matter, but thought it would be worth asking for prayer. Thank you for all who have been involved in the process.

In amongst all of this and other personal challenges, we had a multitude of ministry situations come up. We are praising the Lord for these great opportunities to share the Gospel in some unique areas.

Rouse Hill Bible Church

It has been an exciting time at RHBC. We have been having multiple guests every week at the church as we are working through the Gospel of John.

Not only are we seeing new families and individuals, but they are staying to make this church their church home. In this we are seeing growth in all of our home Bible studies which means the leadership team is having to consider some of the upcoming challenges of church growth.

Please pray for Pastor Ben Kwok and the leadership team as we plan for 2017.

The Forum

We had a great series in June called 4 difficult questions /4 confronting answers. We saw many people engaging with the Gospel of Luke and new people coming along each week.

Also, the Bible studies in John at Westpac Bank continue to see many enquirers (Those who do not know Jesus, yet) coming along to learn more from the Gospel of John.

Please pray for the upcoming Forum series: Four Hard Truths That Will Set You Free

We live in a world that tells us:  you can do anything, be anything, believe in yourself, and all your dreams will come true.

To be blunt this is nonsense and makes for a world of disappointment and frustration. Jesus tells us some hard truths about life, and reality and yet ironically, embracing these truths will give us freedom and joy.

Sydney Prayer Breakfast

The Sydney Prayer Breakfast is an annual event for Christians to pray for the city of Sydney. Every year we have seen growth in this fantastic and encouraging event. We had close to 930 people come to the full room at The Westin.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Glenn Stevens, gave a great talk full of wisdom and insights into our world.

Please pray as we prepare for next year as we hope to get closer to 2000 attendees.

Visting tea from First Family Church

Please be praying for the team that will be joining us in August for the our national mission, city ministries, scripture classes and church events. We are thrilled to have the team along to serve in this exciting mission field.

Pray for their planning, their health, adapting to the Australian culture and for many opportunities for the team to engage with people with the Gospel.

We are so grateful for their sacrifice to come and serve. Please be praying for Jay McFarling and the whole team.

Thank your your support and prayers. Please be praying for these events and more opportunities in the future.

The adventure continues… The Matthews

 

We are gearing up for an exciting May – We need your prayers

We are gearing up for a busy month of ministry in May – Could we ask for your prayers?

As school starts for the autumn term in May (Remember, we experience opposite seasons to the Northern Hemisphere), the various ministries we are involved with in Sydney are ramping up. Please be praying for these various events:

EXTRA ordinary

City Bible Forum in May

Do you remember what it was like to have the wonder of a child? Everything seemed new and magical.

But as adults we often lose this sense of awe. In a world that over-promises and under-delivers, can we still find something extraordinary?

Earlier in the year, Sam Chan asked audiences in the city to consider the question of Meaning as he looked at the Bible book of Ecclesiastes.

In May we will return to look at what this book says about the extraordinary. Pray for many people to come along for this fantastic evangelistic series.

Flourishing in a hostile city

City Bible Forum Workplace conference – 6 & 7 May

To flourish is to grow vigorously, to thrive, to prosper. Is this possible for Christian workers when the world around them is driven by egos and commercial outcomes?

Most certainly yes! Pray that workers come to this leaders’ conference and that they will be inspired to serve God at work.

Who is this conference for? We are encouraging Christian workers from Brisbane, Adelaide, Melbourne and Sydney to attend. People who see the workplace as strategic opportunity for Christian ministry and outreach. We hope they will be equipped and encouraged by the presentations and the fellowship of like-minded believers.

City Bible Forum’s 25 year anniversary dinner

19 May

Celebrate with us and pray for the night as we celebrate 25 years of the City Bible Forum (formerly Ecom) ministry.

  • We will relive the journey from home office ministry to large national team.
  • Supporters will gather to say thank you to God for 1,000s of city workers who have heard the message of Jesus.
  • Supporters will catch up with people and relive memories.
  • Our team will be able to share some of our hopes for the future.

Celebrate with us and celebrate all the Lord is doing with our team.

Scripture classes and Bible Study Fellowship

Cathy will continue the ministry of teaching scripture in the public schools and being a children’s leader with Bible Study Fellowship.

Rouse Hill Bible Church

In May, we will be travelling through John 13 & 14 as a church. Pastor Ben Kwok and Russ Matthews will Jesus’ responses to key topics in people’s lives: Service, betrayal, searching for truth and knowing the way to God.

10 years

Our family is thankful to celebrate 10 years of service in Sydney. Thank you for all that you have done to support our work and we look forward to what the Lord has in store for us in the future.

Thank you for your prayers,

The Matthews family

 

 

He is Risen, indeed – Two evangelistic screenings

Reel Dialogue – Two evangelistic screenings of Risen

Early in the week, City Bible Forum had two screenings of Risen plus two panel discussions after the screenings.

Christians were able to invite their work colleagues to the Sony Theatrette and they followed the brief well. Over 50% of the audience came from a heritage besides Christian. They enjoyed an engaging evening of film, discussion and the Gospel.

The discussions afterwards were fantastic with Giles Hardie, Al Stewart, Dr Greg Clarke and Dr Andrew Dunstall.

Check out the review of the film on Russelling Reviews. 

Reel Dialogue in Message Magazine

Also, check out the write up for Reel Dialogue in the latest edition of ABWE’s Message Magazine

We are thankful for the retelling of the discussions on how to introduce the Gospel in the theatre.

Thank you for all of your support and prayers,

The Matthews

 

An exciting start to the year – Ecclesiastes, Life’s reset button, Leviticus and Brooklyn

Welcome from the Matthews in Sydney,

It has been an exciting beginning of the year in the work in Sydney this year. After Hope and Matt’s wedding in January. Thank for all of the wonderful support and for all who were able to come along to the wedding. It was an incredibly God honouring day and a beautiful start for this lovely couple. Please pray the Lord continues to work in and through their lives.

After the wedding, things kept going in the world of ministry. We were able to get things started off well for the year in the city and at Rouse Hill Bible Church.

The meaning of life with Dr Sam Chan

Morning + commute = too early + crowded… again

Lunch + food = leftover sandwich… again

Evening + commute = late + crowded…again

Years come and go = So, what is the point of it all?

If this is an impersonal universe made up of impersonal atoms, then any sense of meaning is just imposed on us. We are one of many random events.

But what if the universe is personal? What if there is a loving, personal God behind it all?  Could beauty and wonder be part of our story? Could there be a point to it all?

Sam Chan started off the year at The Forum with a new series where he answers these questions from above as he presents the answers from the book of Ecclesiastes.

Leviticus series at Rouse Hill Bible Church

Throughout the beginning of the year, Ben Kwok and I will be working through the book of Leviticus.

Please pray that we can share how the richness of this Old Testament text can apply to those who live in the age of grace.

Reel Dialogue – Brooklyn screening

We had a fantastic start to the Reel Dialogue ministry opportunities. We had an evangelistic event that included the screening of Academy Award nominated Brooklyn.

It was an engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry’s commentators. After the film, Ben McEachen, Mark Hadley (The Big Picture ) and Adrian Drayton (Insights Magazine) will discuss the film and what it says about immigration, love and value of community. It was a great lead into Gospel conversations and an opportunity to invite people to various events throughout the city.

DO YOU WISH LIFE HAD A RESET BUTTON?

What would it take to hit the reset button in life?
Ever considered how God may be able to help?

Al Stewart and Craig Tucker will be working through the book of Luke to discuss how Jesus provides us with a reset button in life. Please pray for this series in the month of March.

 

Cathy will begin the ministries at Bible Study Fellowship and scripture classes in the public schools this month. We hope to have an update from her in the coming months to give you an update soon.

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. please do not hesitate to contact us with any questions. You can read more about our work in Sydney on Facebook: Matthews Down Under, Reel Dialogue, Russelling Reviews, Rouse Hill Bible Church and City Bible Forum.

The adventure continues..

The Matthews

Resources for 2016 ministries – Great resources and great Gospel partners – Please pray for them

We wanted to repost these details for our supporters. Over the past we have had the privilege to work alongside some amazing organisations. Through Facebook, our website and conversations we have mentioned various ministry connections.

We get requests for the names, websites and contact details for these people or groups. We thought we would do a simple list of the organisations we work with regularly. Check out their websites and contact us with any questions.

Our ministry partners

ABWE - The church planting mission agency that we work with in Australia and throughout the world.

City Bible Forum - Russ oversees evangelistic events and Reel Dialogue at City Bible Forum which is reaching city workers with the Gospel. Check out our latest promotional video 

Rouse Hill Bible Church - Pastor Ben Kwok and our church family in Rouse Hill, NSW Australia

Bible Study Fellowship - Cathy is a childrens leader with Bible Study Fellowship

SRE – Scripture Reading - Cathy teaches scripture in the public schools

Geneva Push - An amazing Australian initiative for effective church planting

Russelling Reviews - Russ’ blog of recent reviews with a Gospel challenge

Reel Dialogue - Partnership with reviewer and editor Adrian Drayton with Gospel conversations through film

The Big Picture - Podcast and radio ministry work from cultural commentators Ben McEachen and Mark Hadley

Sow and Harvest - ABWE Australia’s publishing

Vinegrowers – Col Marshall’s ministry that  helps build churches around biblical discipleship: sacrificing, serving, speaking.

Throughout 2016, we will highlight some of these great ministry opportunities.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

 

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from the Matthews Down Under

Four tips for getting a place at the table, Word 1 to 1, Reel Dialogue & family update

“Russ, can we get together and read the Bible?”

The Word One to One is a resource designed to walk you and your friends through the good news found in John’s Gospel. We have been using it in our In-House groups in the city.

One of the groups has been growing over the past few months and includes over 60% enquirers to the Gospel. Many of them being recent immigrants to Australia. It has been a great opportunity to work with these individuals and ask for your prayers for their journey to knowing more about Jesus.

Russ has come enjoy leading this group, continues to pray for more attendees and the Lord would work in their lives.

Upcoming at The Forum: Four tips to get a seat at the table

The final Forum for 2015 will be an exciting new series from the book of Luke.

In the world of business, many aspire to get up on your opponents, get that next raise, climb the corporate ladder or getting the invite to have a place at ‘the table.’

How can someone achieve these goals and is it bad to desire them?

Interestingly, there is much wisdom in studying the words of Jesus on aspiring to reach these goals and the importance of being invited to sit at ‘the table.’

Pray for the  November series from Tho Luu on these topics from Luke 14.

A new ministry opportunity at City Bible Forum for 2016: Reel Dialogue 

City Bible Forum is excited to introduce a new activity: REEL DIALOGUE

Reel Dialogue aims to engage and equip people with creative dialogue between faith and culture. It is a creative dialogue between the Christian faith and the entertainment culture, with people discovering how common ground can be forged with story tellers, image shapers, and culture makers.

In essence, Reel Dialogue will facilitate engagement with films without disengaging people’s faith — discussion, engagement and interaction with one another help to bridge the gap between faith and culture.

Website: On this site there are downloadable discussion guides and links that have all the tools groups need to reflect on, discuss and discover what spiritual truth often resides in popular films. REEL DIALOGUE website

Events: We will plan to have film events that will be engaging with recently released films and allow for the audience to connect with the film, the speakers and the Bible.

Reviews: City Bible Forum’s Russell Matthews has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years and is a reviewer for Reel Dialogue, Insights Magazine, Entertainment Fuse and his own blog called Russelling Reviews.

He will be moderating events called Reel Dialogue (Formerly, The Forum at the Flicks) which connect the film industry with the general public.

We hope you are able to be entertained, enjoy the films, but to engage with some of the bigger questions in life with the team at REEL DIALOGUE.

Family details:

1. Cathy is having a good year at Bible Study Fellowship and scripture classes in the public schools

2. Wedding plans are coming along nicely, Hope and Matt will be getting married on 9 January

3. Becca is having a good year with her new job

4. Joshua has started his final year of high school and had a good year playing for the East Coast Eagles (AFL club)

5. Caroline has begun with a combined class of year 5 and 6 for advanced studies at school

Thank you for your prayers and support,

The Matthews

Leadership without spin, Interviewing God, walking the tightrope & patience – All happening in Sydney in October

We could use your prayers with a multitude of evangelistic events happening in October. It is an exciting time and we are thankful for your prayers.

Russ oversees the coordination of these events and all are evangelistic in their manner and delivery.

Interviewing God – Starting 14 & 15 October

Imagine God applying for the position of God.  What would you ask ? What would God say?

Mark Leong will be looking at these questions, as well as others, and how we can find the answers in the book of Hebrews from the New Testament.

About our speaker: Mark has been interviewed for a range of jobs – selling shoes at Rivers, tax consulting at Ernst & Young and most recently, via a “coffee” with City Bible Forum. He manages the Young Workers Program

 

Leadership without spin – 21 October

Asylum seekers, the economy, leadership spills, and even the Ashes.

These are the topics that are in the daily headlines. How is leadership meant to respond during these challenging political times? This should be a wonderful evening of discussion about the value of leadership in turbulent times.

Panellists: Peter Pollock shook the international cricket world with his fast bowling ability in the 60’s & 70’s. He is the father of former South African Cricket Captain, Shaun Pollock and an established author, journalist, businessman and sports executive. He was a competitive and hard man, a no-holds-barred man.

The Hon John Anderson AO, MA lives in north-west NSW, farming crops and cattle. His family have been graziers and landowners in northern New South Wales since the 1840s. John is well-known as a politician of deep Christian conviction and integrity. He served Australia faithfully for nineteen years as the Member for Gwydir in the Federal Parliament, holding various ministerial portfolios including six years as Deputy Prime Minister (The equivalent to the US Vice-President.)

The Forum goes to the flicks: The Walk – 29 October

An engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry’s commentators.

After the film, Mark Hadley and Ben McEachen (The Big Picture) will discuss the film and what it says about life and our goals in life. Russell Matthews from Insights Magazine will moderate the evening.

Brief about the film
Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man – Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – has ever, or will ever, walk in the immense void between the World Trade Centre towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan.

Robert Zemeckis: the director of such marvels as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future, Polar Express and Flight, again uses cutting edge technology in the service of an emotional, character-driven story.

Watch the exciting short for The Walk

About the panel

Mark Hadley has been a journalist for over 20 years and has been reviewing films, television programmes and children’s books for the past ten years for Australian papers and magazines and is co-host of weekly pop-culture podcast The Big Picture.

Ben McEachen has reviewed films for more than a decade. He has been editor at Empire magazine, contributes to Christian newspaper Eternity, and is co-host of weekly pop-culture podcast The Big Picture.

Russ Matthews review of  The Walk

 

Preaching at Rouse Hill Bible Church 

Pastor Ben Kwok and Russ Matthews are working through the book of James.

Russ will be preaching from chapter 5 on 18 October.

The theme will be on patience with God.

 

Thank you for your prayers and support.

The Matthews

Interviewing God, The Walk, Reel Dialogue and Humility

Hello from the spring season in Sydney

It has been a great time of ministry  at City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church. Here are some of the key ministry opportunities coming up in the coming months.

Interviewing God

A new series coming up in October at City bible Forum.

Imagine God applying for the position of God.

What would you ask ? What would God say?

The questions considered in the series: Can you tell me a little bit about yourself? What is your management style? Why are you interested in me? What do you offer that someone else cannot?

Mark Leong will be looking at these questions and how we can find the answers in the book of Hebrews from the New Testament.

About our speaker:

Mark has been interviewed for a range of jobs – selling shoes at Rivers, tax consulting at Ernst & Young and most recently, via a “coffee” with City Bible Forum. He manages the Young Workers Program although he wishes the Swans would interview him – he’s ready to pick up the phone!

Please pray for the series and for many guests to come along for this intriguing series. 

The Forum goes to the Flicks : The Walk

Thu Oct 29th, 6.15pm-9pm
It will be an engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry’s commentators.

After the film, Mark Hadley and Ben McEachen (The Big Picture) will discuss the film and what it says about this life, our goals in life and what the Bible has to say about our life.

Brief about the film
Twelve people have walked on the moon, but only one man – Philippe Petit (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) – has ever, or will ever, walk in the immense void between the World Trade Centre towers. Guided by his real-life mentor, Papa Rudy (Ben Kingsley), and aided by an unlikely band of international recruits, Petit and his gang overcome long odds, betrayals, dissension and countless close calls to conceive and execute their mad plan.

Robert Zemeckis: The director of such marvels as Forrest Gump, Cast Away, Back to the Future, Polar Express and Flight, again uses cutting edge technology in the service of an emotional, character-driven story.

Watch the exciting short for The Walk

About the panel

Mark Hadley has been a journalist for over 20 years and has been reviewing films, television programmes and children’s books for the past ten years for Australian papers and magazines and is co-host of weekly pop-culture podcast The Big Picture.

Ben McEachen has reviewed films for more than a decade. He has been editor at Empire magazine, contributes to Christian newspaper Eternity, and is co-host of weekly pop-culture podcast The Big Picture.

Please pray for the event and for many guests to come along for this intriguing evening of film and discussion. 

 

 

If you would like to read more of Russ Matthews reviews and consider some of the discussion questions from these reviews, all can be found on Reel Dialogue. 

The Book of James

Pastor Ben Kwok and Russ Matthews are currently working through the book of James.

Please pray as we look at this straight forward and confronting letter. This week will be on wordiness and humility.

 

Thank you for your prayers and please contact us with any questions about our work in Australia.

The Matthews

 

 

Heaps happening in Australia + a wedding in the Matthews future

Good afternoon to our friends and supporters,

We have had an exceptionally blessed and busy few months. Heaps of things happening in Sydney with the various ministries and with our family. Thank you for your prayers!

If God is so loving… Why?

The Christian God is supposed to be both loving and powerful.

But sometimes this is very hard for us to see or believe.

Please pray for people to come along to hear what Jesus says about this in a series of stories in Luke 13.

Dr Sam Chan will be giving weekly talks on these big topics and answering  questions on the day.

More details on citybibleforum.org/sydney

The Word 1 to 1

We have started a new evangelistic series of Bible studies in the city. The Word 1 to 1. It has been a great tool of working through the Gospel of John.

It is pretty amazing to be working through so many enquirers with this new series of studies. Please pray for many of these people who are opening the Word for the first time.

Wedding bells in the future

We are thrilled to announce the engagement of our daughter, Hope, to Matt Gibb. They will be getting married in January 2016. Please pray for the planning and for the future of this lovely Christian couple. We are thrilled with this announcement and look forward to all that is coming in the coming months.

Thank you for your continual prayers and support.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews family