Fun facts about Sydney, Questioning Faith and Genesis

 

Fun Sydney facts: We are still amazed how little people know about Sydney and Australia. Prior to our furlough, we thought we would share some fun facts about this amazing city.

1. Sydney Harbour is the deepest natural harbour in the world with 504,00 mega litres of water.

2. Sydney is the 12th most expensive city in the world with property prices averaging USD8,717 per square metre.

3. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world, and the 5th longest spanning-arch bridge according to Guinness World Records.

Questioning Faith at The Forum in April

Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and an Atheist walk into The Forum….

At the Forum, we will look at the key different faiths (or lack of faith). Next week to the end of April the irrepressible Ian Powell will investigate the questions the world faiths seek to answer about peace, paradise, truth and freedom. An excellent opportunity for enquirers to ask their curly questions during Q&A!

Please pray for these evangelistic opportunities and for people to come along. We had record breaking attendance for the Resurrection Inquest! Thank you for your prayers.

Rouse Hill Bible Church

The Hosea series is complete and we are currently in a short money series. Easter will be an exciting time and then we will begin a Genesis series.

We are loving the church and the opportunity to serve alongside the church family at RHBC.

US ministry- we could use your help: The family will be heading back to the US at the later part of the year for our US ministry. We look forward to sharing all that the Lord has been doing in Sydney and Australia. We look forward to sharing stories of salvations, ministry opportunities and churches doing a great work. If you have the capacity to help with some of the costs of the travel,  please click on the give tab and enter these details: Matthews – Australia – Furlough expenses – 0132363

Link: GIVE to the Matthews airfare

Thank you for your prayers and support.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews family

3 days in Bangkok – The gravel & more questions: Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol 1, Chapter 5


The Urban Missions Summit was an amazing opportunity and I look forward to what the Lord will do with the weeks work. Thank you for your prayers and support of this visionary event. 

When asked to be part of this event, I asked one of the attendees if we are ready to be part of the foundation for the future of our mission going forward. After the meeting I feel like we are part of the gravel that is laid down before the foundation. We have much to do, but I think we are going in the right direction.

The result was to develop specifics for our existing ABWE teams and our American constituency through partnering, recruiting, educating and networking.


Preliminary steps would be:

1. To designate recruiters in the USA

2. To explore the potential for vision trips in the cities of Asia, especially for pastors

3. To supply stories of urban ministry in Asia for publications

There were some answers, but there were many more questions that will need answering.

The reps came from Cambodia, the Philippians, India, China, Thailand, Nepal, the US, Hong Kong and Australia for the Urban Missions Summit. There were networks developed, visions communicated and action steps considered. It was a great meeting and exciting list of possibilities for missions in the future. The meetings were in a room in downtown Bangkok. The time together was not secret, but the value and meaning to each of the attendees will be seen in the future.

The big question remains to be seen. Will ABWE, missionaries, churches, pastors and ministry partners see the opportunities in two key areas?

The first area for consideration is Asia (Australia is part of this area). The growth, finances and influence look to be moving this direction in the world. Do people see the need for reaching the vast people groups of this area of the world for Christ?

The second area of consideration is the cities. The growth, finances and influence for the various countries represented at the Summit are in the cities. Will ABWE and other missions consider this shift? Time will tell if this message catches on.

Many questions went unanswered:

  1. Will our communications and publications print material about the cities of Asia?
  2. Will funding from ABWE and our churches be considered for the cities of Asia?
  3. Will future missionaries begin to consider bi-vocational missions as an option to get the fields quicker? Also, will churches be willing to look at the cities and not just the ‘bush’ as viable mission consideration?
  4. Will organisations be willing to source missionaries from other areas of the world besides North America?
  5. Would missionaries look more to partnerships opposed to pioneer missions?

These are many of the questions that came from the summit. I do not think I can answer them now. I think the proof will be based on the fruit. Have the seeds of Urban Missions in Asia landed on rocky or good soil?

My opinion: I think the future of missions will continue to grow in the cities. Asia is the area of the world that the world is focussed on in politics, finances and missions. The big question of my skeptical Australian heart is… anyone is listening?

We will see… Keep praying

The adventure continues…

Urban Australian Missionary – Russell Matthews


Excited, Nervous and Thankful for Bangkok trip + a request for our future US trip

I will admit it, I woke up this morning excited and nervous about the today’s trip to Bangkok. I did not sleep well last night. Thinking of all the things coming up in the next week and month. But today, I need to focus on travel, being away from my family, and preparing for meetings. These meetings have the potential to have a significant impact on ministry in our area of the world. Please pray for me,our family and the ABWE team this week. The details are below for this trip and for our trip later this year. Thank you for all who contributed to this event and for your prayers.

Prayer points:

1. The Lord will work in the lives of all who are coming to the Summit and show us how we can reach more people for Christ in SE Asia.

2. Safety in travel to and in Bangkok. Also, for a safe return.

3. For the family while I am away for the week.

Goal of Urban Ministry Summit : to develop and implement an aggressive strategy to reach Asia through the cities.

City Ministry is a central theme of where we reach people for Christ. Thank you to all who have been praying and have supported the upcoming Urban Ministry Summit in Bangkok. Please pray for wisdom and strategies to reach into the cities of Asia/Pacific region. I hope to report some of the details surrounding the event. We have ministry leaders coming from all over the region and world to participate in this unique opportunity.

US ministry- we could use your help: The family will be heading back to the US at the later part of the year for our US ministry. We look forward to sharing all that the Lord has been doing in Sydney and Australia. We look forward to sharing stories of salvations, ministry opportunities and churches doing a great work. We have saved over the past four years for the trip, but costs are higher and we find that we will need some assistance with the airfare and travel. Tickets will cost around $15,000. If you have the capacity to assist with this request, please click on the give tab and enter these details: Matthews – Australia – Furlough expenses – 0132363

Link: GIVE to the Matthews airfare

Thank you for all you do for our family. We look forward to seeing many of you this year. Please keep praying for the ministries in Sydney, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The adventure continues…

Russ Matthews

Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol. 1, Chapter 2 – Why Cities Matter

Here is the forward by Tim Keller from Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard’s Book, Why Cities Matter:

“Christians, particularly in America, are generally negative toward cities. Several mission executives have told me over the years that we need to send missionaries to the fast growing cities of the world (as well as to the regenerating cores of Western cities), but very few American Christians have lived in urban centers or even like them.

We need churches everywhere there are people, but the people of the world are moving into the great cities of the world much faster than the church is. And therefore we must call Christians to better understand and care for cities, and we must call more Christians to consider living and ministering in cities.”

This is worth considering when defining missions, especially when many Christians still qualify and quantify missionaries by how remote or different the culture is from their own.  

Here are a few other points from Keller on analysing Paul’s missionary journeys and key benefits of the cities. 

The Apostle Paul :

1. Went ot the cities to preach and only planted churches in the cities

2. He was urban-centric in his mission

3. Paul left the country ministry for the churches he planted to reach with the Gospel

Key benefits of mission in the city: 

1. People are constantly going through changes, which causes the city to be less conservative and open to new ideas.  If you want to reach the world you try to reach cities. The world is in the cities where people are more open to the gospel than they would be in the country.

2.  The ministry worker can win not just individual people, but win the world. The missionary can  go to Morroco for ten years and do mission or go to London and reach the world. Because Christians concentrated on cities, a high percentage of cities were Christian by AD 300.

3. You need to reach the city in order to reach the culture. Chruches in cities are the only hope that the things coming out of the culture will change the culture and ministers must reach the whole city to reach the world. We need multi-ethnic churches and we need to reach the elites of the city for the benefit of the  culture.

4. My overused and favourite quote of Tim Keller:  As the cities go so goes the culture.

These are a few more thoughts of the mission going to the city. Not at the expense of the country ministry, but for the future of the Gosepl work in the culture and for the world.

Just a few thoughts, what are yours? 

A few prayer points:

1. New sermon series at Rouse Hill Bible Church

2. New series and season at City Bible Forum

3. Kids heading back to school

4. Bible Study Fellowship begins soon

Thanks for your prayers and support and the adventure continues…

The Matthews

Written by Russell Matthews for Matthews Down Under

Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol 1, Chapter 2- Why focus on cities?

Many people may not want to admit it, but one of the biggest fears  in considering missions is having to live in a hut in a remote area of the world. It does define living the missionary life for some, but it does not have to be for all.

Cathy had voiced this concern when we were evaluating mission fields. A good friend who was a missionary in Hungary said, ‘ Cathy let me show you my hut.’ As he pulled out his laptop and showed her their home in Budapest. A nice humble suburban house in Eastern Europe. It was a key turning point for Cathy, a calming effect on her that we did not have to live in a hut.

When it comes to choosing a mission field. I believe that The Lord directs. When we came to the realisation that Sydney would be our mission home. Many were fascinated, some questioned and a few discouraged us.

Tough culture & too modern’
‘It is the missionaries graveyard’
‘Why not go where it is easier and less expensive?’
‘Australia: They don’t need missionaries!’ (97% of the population does not know Christ)

I appreciate people’s concerns, but I think the problem was their perspective of missions. For most, it is not in cities or in modern countries. Also, just because it is ‘easy’ for some, does not mean it is where all should go to minister.

It was not too long ago the push for missions was Eastern Europe, China and then the 10/40 Window. In 2014, boundaries and cultures are blurred.

In the study of urban ministry, I found a great article that was composed from the emails that Tim Svoboda had put forward To his mission organisation. I will add the link below.

A few quotes for consideration:

“East is moving West and South is moving North. Amsterdam is home to 180 nations. The whole former British empire lives in London. Paris is quickly become African and Germany is becoming Turkish while Toronto is becoming Chinese. San Francisco is now 38% Asian.”

“Bangalore operates in Urdu, Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, English and more. The world has moved to the cities. Mission is no longer geographical distant. It is now cultural distant while being located just across the street in our own cities around the world. In the past missions was primarily about going over the ocean, through the jungle, across the desert to reach the remote. Today it is quickly becoming about crossing the street in the cities where we live.”

We need to focus on the whole city…

That means ministry to the powerful and powerless, to the middle class, to the migrants, to the poor, to the business community, neighbourhoods, to the upper class, unreached people groups, the seven spheres of society, the university campus, issues of injustice, mercy ministries, evangelism and all that the city gives us opportunity to serve.”

There is so much more to the article, but the primary thrust is in modern missions we are not limited by borders. We need to consider the mix of the city. The opportunities of the city and the challenges of the city.

I think the more people begin to challenge the perspective of missions. The more people would consider doing missions work.

To stress, this is not an anti-rural missions message, but a pro-missions message. Last time I looked at the great commission, the message was to go into the whole world to reach people for Christ. Not just the remote tribes in India or Africa (they need missionaries, too), but to all of the world.

Have you thought of the cities of the world as mission fields?

Push back, I love the discussion.

Thanks for reading,

Russell Matthews

www.ywamkb.net/kb/Why_YWAM_needs_to_focus_on_Cities

Merry Christmas & Blessed 2014

The Matthews want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Blessed 2014

Check out our updates from 2013 on matthewsdownunder.com

A year of extremes… Thankful and looking to 2014

“The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth” - John 1:14

We want to thank you for all of your support and prayers over 2013. It has been an amazing year of celebrations and challenges.

You can look through our 2013 updates and see many of the events, life changes and opportunities to glorify our Saviour.

Ministry highlights:

1. Moving to Rouse Hill Bible Church and serving with Pastor Ben Kwok

2. Pastor and Marilyn Nemmers visit

3. Leadership Forum with John Anderson & Andrew Scipione

4. Westpac Bank In House evangelistic events and Bible studies

5. Preaching through Revelation at RHBC

6. Bible Study Fellowship leadership conference (Cathy)

7. Another great year at BSF and working in the children’s ministry (Cathy)

8. Secret Hollywood Forums in July

9. The privilege of working with the City Bible Forum team for another year

10. Record attendance at evangelistic events in In House groups

11. The men’s Bible study in Judges and the women’s Bible study in Proverbs at RHBC

Family highlights:

1. Girls successful transition to child care work

2. Caroline’s violin recital

3. Joshua voted as team player of the year for AFL team

4. Mitch, Melissa, Ben & Alex Matthews coming in July

5. Transitioning into our new home and loving our community

Thank you for all you have done to pray and support our ministries. Here is a look into some of our ministry opportunities and how you can help this year.

Giving thanks 

Christmas is about celebrating God’s gift of grace to us in Jesus Christ. It is too easy to forget this marvellous gift in the midst of end of year deadlines, parties and overall busyness.

Let’s stop and give thanks for the abundant blessings God gives us.

We thank God for:

• The wonderful 100+ people who joined us at The Office Party last month. We opened up our new office to share music and tasty nosh, pass the prayer point bucket and to give thanks for the Sydney ministries this year

• Your generous support in prayer and financial giving this year

• The courage in inviting their colleagues to City Bible Forum activities in 2013 and for sharing the good news of Jesus with them

Tyson’s story: Watch how God is changing lives in the city… 

Partner with us…  Here is a sneak peak at the new City Bible Forum logo and tagline Ask the bigger questions.

We hope and pray that it will motivate city workers around Australia to ask the bigger questions about their life, that they would hear the gospel, repent and trust in Jesus.

Would you like to partner with us in workplace ministry? There are numerous ways to participate through prayer and regular giving.

We are on a year end budget push. If any would be able to assist us we would appreciate the assistance with our $10K need for the end of the year. If you give, please send it through the bottom link and note it for the purpose of the Matthews.

As 2013 closes and the new year approaches, we hope that you can prayerfully consider becoming a regular financial and/or prayer partner. Thank you for your consideration.

Thank you for all of your love, prayer and support and we pray you have a great Christmas and New Year.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Life, The Universe and August

 To our prayer partners and supporters,

Rouse Hill Bible Church: Thank you for your prayers for the Revelation series we are doing at Rouse Hill Bible Church. We have visitors coming this week and ask for the Lord to do his work through the church.

3 birds, One stone :
I had a great lunch with a young city worker the other day. My goal was to get feedback from him on recent events and to recruit him to the Big Investment. I ended up with than I had planned from our time together.
1. A few months back, I had a talk with him and another young worker about In house ministry. He told me about his work inside Origin Energy and his response to a talk I had with him a few months ago about starting an In House group. Since our talk, he has started gathering Christians within Origin and has started bringing them to City Bible Forum with the plan to start a bible study in Origin.
2. He brought along a non-Christian friend to The Wolverine movie event. He was able to have a great discussion over dinner with Joe and other friends about the points from the Panels talks: Resurrection & the Saviour figure. He went on to tell me of other discussions he had other friends who had many questions about Christianity. Many of his other non-Christian friends were interested because  a group called ‘City Bible Forum’ was putting on such an event, which lead him into quite a session of apologetics on biblical issues. He really loved the Secret hollywood event and hoped we did it again in the near future.
3. When we got to the conversation about the Big Investment, he already had it in his diary. He is keen to look into part time ministry work and looked forward to hearing about the options with City Bible Forum. He is coming and he has recruited two other friends, too.
It was a great conversation and encouraging for me. I thought I would pass the encouragement onto to you. I am grateful we do not operate as solo entities in ministry, but as a team. I am thankful for all the work that this team does together.
Please pray for the following events:

Life, the Universe and August…

What an exciting August we have ahead of us!

An Australian first, Prof Krauss and Dr William Lane Craig grapple with cosmic questions at the Sydney Town Hall…

At lunch Bioethicist Dr Megan Best grapples with the ethics of abortion, and Al Stewart answers your questions about suffering…

And Sydney-siders can decide if there is Reason for God, and if they’d like to invest their time in ministry.

Life, the Universe and Nothing was amazing!

An Australian first, Prof Lawrence Krauss and Dr William Lane Craig discussed Why is there something rather than nothing?, moderated by ABC broadcaster Dr Rachael Kohn.

2000 people came along, agnostics, atheists, Christians and many more backgrounds. There was be live Q&A and great discussion. Dr Craig did a good job of presenting the Christian worldview.

Share us and contribute your questions on Facebook…

Special lunch talks with Dr Megan Best and Al Stewart

Last week, Dr Megan Best sensitively address the topic of abortion. In Fearfully and wonderfully made, she explained the biology of the unborn human and examine the conflicting tensions between screening out abnormalities and seeking cures. And as a Christian, Megan evaluated our current practices against the Bible’s teaching on the unborn.

Read more about Megan Best…

This week, Al Stewart will address your tricky questions in an extended Q&A on suffering: What to do when life is hard.

Read more about Suffering Q&A…

Join us on Facebook… 

The Reason for God

Following on after the debates and discussions, we currently have over 70 people interested in coming to this evangelistic event, The Reason for God.

Have you ever asked yourself or been asked these questions:

Isn’t the Bible a myth? Hasn’t science disproved God? How can you say there is only one way to God? And why does He allow suffering?

We’re running two 6-week series of the DVD based The Reason for God sessions in the city, grappling with these and other common questions about Christianity.

The Big Investment: considering ministry?

Are you a young worker? Have you been thinking about investing your time and talents in ministry?

You are invited to The Big Investment, a special evening with Al Stewart, Peter Kaldor, Russ Matthews and others who will share their insights on part-time or full-time ministry in the CBD.

Thanks to you all and goodonya for making it through this update!
It is a busy month and we appreciate your prayer. More about the family on our Facebook site, Matthews Down Under.
The adventure continues…
Russ, Cathy, Hope, Becca, Joshua & Caroline

The bittersweet experience of overseas ministry

Luke 18:29-30

29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

My brother and his family were here this past week. It was a great time together. I have never heard the word ‘Awesome’ so many times in one week. We have not seen them for over three years. As they were about to leave, our youngest stated, ‘Why do other people get to have their uncles and aunts close? Why do we always have to say good-bye?’

A great question and not one that I can answer fully. It is sweet to spend time with family and friends while serving on a foreign field, but bitter to have to send them off and say ‘Good-bye.’

Yet, this is where the Lord has sent us to work. there has never been a doubt about it. This has become home. We do love it here, but we would admit the hardest part about this work is being away from our family.

The key thing that we can take comfort in is the mercies and promises of God. He gives us promises in His Word about this very thing and one thing we can say is that our family will be able to be with our family, that knows Christ, throughout eternity. So, sweet reunions in this life and the next.

A double comfort in those bittersweet times of saying ‘Good-bye.’

Better yet, see you later in this life or the next. Whichever the Lord wills.

The adventure continues…
Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Now that is real football! The season begins

AFL season begins

Even though we  were thrilled the Ravens won the Super Bowl (three of our kids were born in Baltimore and Cathy is from Maryland). We are even more excited about the beginning of Australian Rules Football soon beginning. Josh will be playing again this year. This will be his 5th year of AFL.

Watch the promotional clips, it is a bit different than NFL. AFL promo: dont click if you are squeamish ;)

Different country, different rules. Same applies to doing missions.

Pray we are able to be light for the Lord amongst the players and their families in 2013.

When we come back to our churches in 2014, we would love to teach the youth groups this great game. Of course, not the tackle version. Come on, Americans need pads to play football. we will go soft on you all. This is Australia, mate!

Are you getting our updates?

Week of updates

2013 is looking to be an excited year for ministry in Australia. We wanted to try a series of shorter updates this week. Giving you some of the key things that will be happening in the coming weeks in our various ministry centres in Sydney. If you are a regular supporter or reader of our updates, we would love to hear from you.

Could you just drop us a quick line to acknowledge that you are getting our updates? Also, love to get your feedback on how we can improve our updates.

Email: matthewsdownunder@gmail.com

Thanks for taking to time and for your support of our family.

To get our updates go to matthewsdownunder.com and click on the free RSS feed.