Here comes the First Family Church team… A trip that is bigger than Ben- Hur

 

Visting team from First Family Church

We are excited to have a visiting team from one of supporting churches in August. Please be praying for the team that will be joining us for our City Bible Forum national mission, Reel Dialogue event, 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.

The First Family Vacation Bible School helped to raise money for their journey and specifically to purchase Bibles for our scripture classes. We are so grateful for their sacrifice to come and serve.

Please be praying for Jay McFarling and the whole team.

What does that have to do with Ben Hur?

City Bible Forum and the Reel Dialogue team have been presented with the opportunity for pre-screening events that will centre on the Paramount release of Ben Hur in five cities in Australia.

The First Family team will be assisting with the evangelistic event in Sydney.

Partnering with Heritage Films and Paramount Pictures, Reel Dialogue is proud to offer a special pre-screening event of Ben- Hur.

The Reel Dialogue team would like to invite you to a night a cinema and discussion. We will screen the new adaptation of Ben-Hur and then enjoy a Reel Dialogue panel discussion with The Big Picture’s Mark Hadley and Ben McEachen who will be joined up front by City Bible Forum’s Sam Chan.

Synopsis of the film: BEN-HUR is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

The panel will discuss the themes of the film and allow you to ask questions about the film.

Panel: 

Mark Hadley has been writing professionally for more than 20 years. He has been a journalist for most of that time, employed by a range of prominent radio, television and web publications including the ABC. In addition, Mark has been reviewing films, television programs and children’s books for the past ten years for Australian papers and magazines, nationally syndicated radio programs and internationally read web sites.

Ben McEachen is a professional film reviewer. Seriously. That’s a real, paying job. And he’s even been at it for more than a decade.  He has been editor at Empire magazine, film editor at The Advertiser, lead critic for several News Ltd Sunday papers and a regular fixture on 2GB, ABC and Showtime. Ben also contributes Christian-flavoured film reviews to Eternity newspaper, Hope 103.2 FM, War Cry and Insights magazines.

Sam Chan is a regular speaker at City Bible Forum. He is also a conference speaker, ethicist, ex-rugby player (Sydney Uni 5ths!), retired marathon runner and now a student of Krav Maga (his mid-life crisis activity). His PhD in theology examined the application of speech act theory to the theology of preaching. 

Tracy Trinita event

Another event that the First Family Church team will be assisting with during the the evangelistic events with Tracy Trinita.

As Indonesia’s first supermodel Tracy went on to model clothes for top designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gautier, Kenzo, and Benetton on the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris. In Indonesia, Tracy also starred in movies and TV dramas.

You might imagine this was everything she’d hoped for in life. But surrounded by fame and glamour, she felt terribly empty. Real happiness eluded Tracy until she realised that people with faith were happier. But which faith? Her family had Muslims, Hindus, Christians, which faith should she consider? So Tracy cried out to God – “Please reveal yourself to me!”

You’re invited to hear Tracy tell how she finally met the designer she’s been modelling for since birth. Please pray for these events to be used for God’s glory.

What else will the team be doing?

They will hit the ground running and not stop for the ten days that they are in Sydney.

Please pray for the team and for their experiences in Sydney.

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

The adventure continues… The Matthews

 

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

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

 

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

City Bible Forum’s Reel Dialogue support

 

City Bible Forum’s Reel Dialogue is a creative dialogue between the Christian faith and entertainment culture, with people discovering how common ground can be forged with story tellers, image shapers, and culture makers.

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

The events in 2014 & 2015 have been well-received and we have requests for similar events in 2016. The feedback from the audience has been one of appreciation on how easy it is to invite their non-Christian co-workers to these events.

What we hope to develop a series of film-related events that would be an easy for Christians to invite work colleagues and friends. Also, allowing the crowd to engage directly with the panellists who would introduce some of life’s bigger questions.

We have had things worked out with this plan: 

• Five to six events in 2016

• Minimum attendance of 50

• 50% of crowd being guests

Solutions

1. Partner with local film distributors to cross promote these events

2. Partner with local film distributors to get the right films for dialogue

3. Train previous attendees on how to utilise these events for evangelistic purposes

Results: We have been able to secure three films for 2016 through the local distributors and we are looking to show the films in The Screening Room at The State Theatre. The cost is $1000/screening.

The reason for posting this update  is to ask if you would consider sponsoring these events in 2016. Your help with these events would allow for us to keep them at a low cost and accessible for more city workers. We would merely ask for your support of the events. Similar to previous events, we would do the work of coordinating the times, films and marketing. We were hoping to raise $5000 for the cost of the theatre.

Link for support: Reel Dialogue  - On the giving page enter the account number 0132363-001 (Matthews/Australia)

Thank you for your consideration for support of these events. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have about this request.

This is just one of the various ministry opportunities in Australia in 2016. Please pray for the evangelistic opportunities at our church and in the city with City Bible Forum.

Cheers,

Russ & Cathy Matthews

Reviews by Russell Matthews

Russell loves film. He enjoys engaging in discussions about the latest instalments at the cinema and then connecting this with the Gospel.

He has worked for City Bible Forum for over 10 years and is a reviewer for Insights Magazine, Entertainment Fuse and his own blog called Russelling Reviews. He moderates events called Reel Dialogue which connect the film industry with the general public.

 

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