I love washing my car

I honestly love washing our car. Not that I have the nicest car on the street or that I am the most detailed person when it comes to cleaning the car, but I enjoy seeing my car clean. It stems from my father who always took such pride in the care of his vehicles and his example was an outward expression of the statement, ‘If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.’

My family would tell you that it is a bit of a ritual for me that when the weather is clear on a Saturday morning, I will be out in the front yard washing the car.

This past week this routine took on a whole new value to me. I was washing my car in the beautiful autumn sunshine (remember we live on the opposite side of the world) and something interesting began to unfold before me. First, one of the neighbour kids rode by to say hello and asked if our daughter was able to come out to ride around the neighbourhood and then another neighbour stopped to chat. What made this second opportunity unique was that this woman lives in seclusion across the street and rarely acknowledges our family. On this day while I had a soapy sponge in my hand, she was keen to talk. We discussed the changes in the neighbourhood, the growth of our community, the weather and then she asked me more in-depth questions about our family. Then with a smile and a wave, she went on with her day and I went back to getting tree sap off of the car. It was a lovely connection and left me with a smile on my face.

As I progressed around the car, all of a sudden a familiar friend laid a red frisbee at my feet. Another neighbour’s border collie looked at me expectantly to throw the toy for him to fetch. As I succumbed to his request, I knew that not too far behind him would be another neighbour. This young husband and future father came over to say G’day and with the same sponge in hand, we had a simple but enjoyable discussion. We talked about his future as a father, the majesty of the country we live in and due to his faith in Christ, we had a great conversation about the blessings we have in the Lord. As we talked about the more significant things of the world, we threw a spit covered ball and a chewed up frisbee for a few minutes and then he headed off to the local park.

Something that stuck with me about the conversation was how this young bloke stated how much he enjoyed just popping over to have a chat. Something we seem to miss out on in amongst the busyness of this modern life.

He is right. Do we take time to reach out to our neighbours? We could be more intentional in reaching out to those who live around us, but have you considered the opportunities that may come about by just being there? Getting out and living in your community and look to see how the Lord will bless you by merely being available to those who live closest to us.

Sure, I was able to incorporate the message of the Bible into my conversations with my neighbours, but I think these discussions were even more meaningful to me than to those people that I had the privilege of conversing with on that day. My car did get cleaned eventually, but more importantly, I saw the value of getting out and living in my community and to watch to see how the Lord will work by just living for Him.

I love washing our car.

 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40

The Edge: Beyond Worry – Video links

Beyond Worry: The science and stories behind anxiety, fear and depression. 

As a nation we have never been richer, and yet we have never been so anxious. For many Australians anxiety affects all of life, for others of us it’s constantly in the background. What are the causes of anxiety? Where does this fear and heartache come from? What are the biological, mental and even spiritual factors that cause it? Are there solutions for those who suffer from anxiety, or those who wish to help others who do?

At The EDGE on 12 October our two expert speakers, Dr. Jee Kim and Peter Hughes addressed the issues of anxiety, its causes, its effects and strategies in dealing with it.

Check out the links on our City Bible Forum YouTube Channel:

Dr Jee Kim, Peter Hughes and the panel discussion

Speakers :

Dr Jee Kim graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia with the prestigious University Medal in Psychology. She has completed a PhD at UNSW. She is now the Head of Developmental Psychobiology laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health/University of Melbourne.

Peter Hughes has a degree in neuropsychology and has worked extensively in pastoral care and Christian ministry across many socioeconomic groups. He has many years of front line experience in dealing practically with those who suffer from anxiety.

Our moderator:  Justine Toh is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity. She worked at Fairfax Digital and Reuters Australia before completing her doctorate in Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Justine speaks and writes about the way the Christian story renews all of life and is especially interested in exploring big questions of meaning and purpose through the (seemingly) mundane moments of the everyday.

Thank you for your support for this event and for the incredible year at The Edge

Russ Matthews

 

Merry Christmas… Wow what a year! Thank you

Merry Christmas from the Matthews

It has been an incredible year of evangelistic events, Bible teaching and films. Thank you for all you do to support the ministries in Australia.

We launched The Edge this year, Reel Dialogue made a splash in theatres and we are still able to teach the Bible in the public schools. Next year is bringing a grandbaby, a wedding and new opportunities in reaching people for Christ. Please keep praying for all the Lord is doing in our nation.

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

Our ministry partners

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 children’s leader with Bible Study Fellowship

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

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

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

Centre for Public Christianity  - Promoting the public understanding of the Christian faith

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

Have a great season and know we are thankful for you all.

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Matt, Joshua and Caroline

Bigger Questions – Is there an even better story?

than the 600 films released each year

We love films. Every year Hollywood releases around 600 films. 

Why do we love films so much? And why do some have such a profound effect on us? Is there an even better story that films might provide a way into?Also, do our film choices point to something bigger in our lives?

Russ Matthews was recently in the studio with the Bigger Questions team. He had a great time discussing film, culture and life’s bigger questions.  Russ is the film reviewer with Insights Magazine, Russelling Reviews, Reel Dialogue, City Bible Forum and Entertainment Fuse.

What is ‘Bigger Questions?’ 

Bigger Questions is a radio show recorded in front of a live audience in Melbourne’s CBD.

A guest is interviewed on a particular topic or theme. We hear their story and their reflections on a short passage from the Bible. The concept is a fun and thoughtful forum – all recorded in half an hour at lunch.

Check out more from Bigger Questions and be a part of a stimulating public forum in Melbourne that reflects this great, thoughtful city. Who said exploring the big questions of life shouldn’t be fun?

Prayer points for the next few months: Australia Day is the ‘re-set’ button

The new year brings new possibilities and exciting opportunities for ministry in Australia.

City Bible Forum, Reel Dialogue, Rouse Hill Bible Church, Scripture classes and Bible Study Fellowship have moved into ministry mode and we could use your prayers.

Just a friendly reminder that Australia is at the end of summer and this is when all things begin afresh. After Australia Day on 26 January, the country comes back into the reality of work, school and ministry work. Not that these things stopped during the summer, but Australia Day is like the ‘re-set’ button. People get back to life and we hope to be in the thick of it all.

Here are the prayer points for the first few months of the year:

The Conversation: Change your mind, change the world

Venue: Dendy Opera Quays

Cost: $25 per attendee

Frequency:  Once a month, One hour (During school term) Mar, May, June, Aug, Sept, Oct, & Nov

Preferred times and nights: Straight afterwork; 6-7:30pm;  Thursday 

Format: TEDtalk style with Q&A

  • Multiple speakers on the same topic. 
    • Two speakers on the same topic with an interactive Q&A at the end
    • Both speakers having 15 minutes to communicate their position 

The topic that is up for consideration is The Imposter Syndrome. 

Reel Dialogue – Silence national pre-screening + Take 2

Reel Dialogue has been an exciting new initiative at City Bible Forum. Thank you to all who have been supporting us throughout the years.

We have had an unprecedented number of events in the last few years and we are looking forward to more in 2017.

Silence is the next Reel Dialogue screening. (It is at capacity) We have screenings in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Due to the length of the film, we are not able to have a panel discussion after the film, but that does not mean we cannot discuss the themes of the film.

Here is your opportunity…

We are going to introduce a new initiative - Take 2

What to expect:

  • Table discussion on film, faith and the bigger questions of life
  • Experts in the field discussing themes
  • Explore the Biblical applications to the themes
  • Coffee and drinks
Rouse Hill Bible Church – We welcome Nathan and Kristin Muse from the US to be part of the church.
Scripture in the public schools - As the school year begins, Cathy will begin teaching in the coming weeks. Pray for the class she will have and the children’s receptiveness to the Bible. (remember, we have a year round school schedule that begins in January)
Personal notes
  1. Caroline begins High School – We do not have middle school, which means our year 7 student begins her venture into high school
  2. Joshua internship at Saylorville Church – Josh is spending his gap year in the US. He will serve alongside the sound and technology team at Saylorville.
  3. Hope and Matt celebrated their first anniversary
  4. Hope and Becca began the new year of teaching

Thank you for your support and prayers!
Tha Matthews

 

Thank you for your support – A friendly reminder from ABWE

We want to thank all of our supporters and pray that you have a wonderful new year.

Just a friendly reminder from ABWE, we want to ensure you get the tax benefits for 2015.

Please make sure that all 2015 provisionals and checks from donors have been sent to Donor Services no later than January 6, 2016, so the donors can still get the tax deduction in 2015. If you have any questions please feel free to contact donor help at either 800-901-2293 or donorhelp@abwe.org

Thank you for all you do for our family. Please keep praying for the ministries in Australia!

Happy New Year…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

Creation and The Age of Adaline

We would appreciate your prayers for some of the upcoming events in Sydney:

Russ will be speaking on the purpose of creation at Rouse Hill Bible Church. We will be travelling through Psalm 104, we will look at the majesty of creation, but try to find the purpose of it all.

Pray as we engage on this massive topic of God’s creation and its purpose.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

The Forum goes to the Flicks: The Age of Adaline

City Bible Forum will be hosting an engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry’s commentators. After the film, Ben McEachen (Empire Magazine, Open House) and Renee Brack (Writer and industry professional) will discuss the film and what it says about life and eternity.

Please pray for the evangelistic opportunities from this event.

Details on citybibleforum.org/sydney

Praising the Lord for a wonderful weekend with Dr. Mark Harwood

Why won’t they listen? Have you wondered why your witnessing falls flat and people fail to respond? Many comment that science has disproved the Bible and therefore it is not relevant to today’s modern world. But what’s the answer? Can the majority of scientists really be wrong?Dr Mark Harwood delivered a powerful message ‘Going Where the Evidence Leads’ on Sunday 22 March.

The conversations about creation were wonderful and challenging for our church family.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

Adjustments of post-furlough

It has been great getting home, but the realities of the life of ministry have set in. There are many different things that we are excited to participate, but now is the time to determine what is the right things for us to put our efforts. Pray that we continue to follow the Lord’s direction for all things.

We are grateful for your prayers and support.

The Matthews family

 

Life lessons from cross-country

1 Corinthians 9:24

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

I look back fondly on my years of high school and university cross-country. There were good days and bad days, but these lessons still impact my life today. Also, being a Christian, I have come to appreciate how running has provided life-lessons and a multitude of sermon analogies.

Top 10 lessons from cross-country

  1. Run despite the weather
  2. You can talk and run at the same time
  3. Value rest
  4. Never run injured
  5. Hills are better than the flat
  6. Stay hydrated
  7. Good shoes make the difference
  8. A bad day running is better than not running at all
  9. Knowing your limits, but pushing ahead anyway
  10. We run individually, but we finish as a team

My daughter asked me the other day, why 1 Corinthians 9:24 is my favourite verse?

I love to run. I have been running for over 30 years. It has provided many great experiences in life and I have been privileged to run in countries all around the world. Just give me a good pair of running shoes, a course to run and I will go see the world. Running through the city streets and the countryside, the runner’s perspective of things is an amazing experience. Seeing the sites, experiencing the smells and being amongst the people, regardless of the language and culture barriers, running allows unique access to the world.

The Apostle Paul used a multitude of sporting analogies to share about the work that he was doing sharing the Gospel throughout the world. I do not think he was a runner, but he shared a similar mindset that helped with his rigorous efforts and single minded focus for the spread of God’s message. In the words of 1 Corinthians, Paul was not condoning a work based faith, but the willingness to do all that he could with the life that was given to him for the sake of serving God. To the end of his life, or the metaphoric race, he would serve the Lord with all that he had been given.

I cherish the opportunity to run and the many lessons I have learned. But even more, I cherish the grace and mercy  given to me by God. I hope I can utilise the life I have been given to finish the race well and serve Him throughout my life.

Thanks goes out to Coach Chuck Knutsen, the Apostle Paul and Jesus for these lessons.

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

Written by Russell Matthews @ Matthews Down Under

The four keys to happiness + school starting

It was an exciting few weeks. We have been preparing for The Forum: The four keys to happiness with Dr. Sam Chan. We had the challenges of new venues, new times and new speakers. The team was actively engaged in prayer for the launch of these events.

We have breakfasts, lunches and evening events for people to invite their work colleagues to each week. An opportunity to hear from God’s Word and ask questions of our speakers.

The response was thrilling to see. We had full rooms for both events. New faces, great questions and positive response to Sam. We are truly praising the Lord for the numbers and pray the ministry will grow in 2015.

Please continue to pray for these events for 2015. Check out upcoming events in the city

 

School begins

It was a wet beginning, but it was great for Josh and Caroline to get back to school. They missed their school mates and classes. It is a big year for Josh in preparing for the HSC. (High school Certificate exam)

Pray for them and their school year.

Psalms & Esther

Pastor Ben Kwok and I will be working through Psalms and Esther in the beginning of 2015. Rouse Hill Bible Church has put an emphasis on evangelism for the year. Pray as we prepare and invite our friends, neighbours and workmates to church.

Thank you for your support and prayers,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope Josh and Caroline

The big question of furlough

We have had a great furlough experience. Sharing with churches and individuals about City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes and the culture of Australia. Thank you for all of the questions about the work in Sydney and concern for our family. Throughout all of the small groups and church presentation there tends to be an awkward pause and then someone asks about…. money.

It is understandable why it is awkward, but our answer is pretty straight forward.  The key things we need assistance with during this furlough are a missions vehicle, living expenses while in the US and funds for the ministry.

Here are the key links to support these ministry needs.

Funds for ministry vehicle

A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we appreciate the support. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle.

Van Donation link: Enter in these details: Matthews ministry vehicle, Account: 0132363

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

With the ministry in Australia, we are taking the Good News to where people spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organisation City Bible Forum, The team is sharing Christ inside businesses and training Christians to reach their unsaved coworkers with the gospel.

You can help us do more. Nearly $10,000 is needed to facilitate the final two 2014 series of The Forum, a bi-weekly public lunchtime discussion that welcomes seekers, questioners, and believers to learn more about the Bible inside their workplace. Your donation will help cover the cost of renting venue space and audio/visual equipment, along with paying for speaker fees and promotional materials.

Will you help us reach more Australians where they work?

If mailing a check: Please make it out to ABWE Foundation and include Urban Ministry-City Bible Forum L1410 in the memo line.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

This update is to take away the awkward tension of asking the big question of finances. If you are able to assist with these items, we are grateful.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline