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 four keys to happiness, ministries and school begins

We are rolling into the new year with The Forum, Bible studies at Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes, Bible Study Fellowship and school beginning.

Please be praying for all of these items for us.  If you would like to find out more about each of these events, click on the links.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

The adventure continues,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Joshua and Caroline

The Forum

 

The four keys to happiness with Dr Sam Chan

 

 

 

 

Rouse Hill Bible Church

 

 

Home again

Thank you for all of your prayers and support over furlough. We are back home in Sydney. We are looking forward to 2015.

Please pray for the planning for the ministries of the coming year.

City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes and Bible Study Fellowship

Unbroken on the radio 

Hope you can stay up to listen to 2CH 1170AM’s Sunday Night program next Sunday night, 11 January

Dominic Steele interviews City Bible Forum’s film reviewer Russ Matthews about faith in the new film release, Unbroken

You can listen on-line or on that thing called a radio: 2CH

Russelling Reviews on the film Unbroken

Missions Vehicle

Thanks for your prayers and support for our missions vehicle. We are thrilled to announce that we received the funds for our vehicle.

 

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Thank you for a wonderful furlough experience

Goodonya, mates

We are coming into the final week in the US. It has been a busy, but a great experience. The churches have been wonderful and we are grateful for all who were willing to talk with us about the Lord’s work in Australia. We hope we were able to see you.  We have tried to get up with as many friends, family and supporters as the time would allow. Please forgive us if we missed seeing you during this trip.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

We will be at Saylorville Church for our final Sunday in Iowa.

Funds for ministry vehicle

As we conclude the US trip, one of the key fundraising components is to replace our current missions vehicle. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We would need to raise approximately $20,000 for the vehicle.

We have received funds for the vehicle, but still need more torch our goal. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support.

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

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season. Keep living for the Lord and thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, hope, Joshua and Caroline

Living for Jesus links, the van and debunking the rest myth

It happened again this past Sunday, someone asked the question, “Are you getting some rest during your furlough?”

Our friends in Australia may think we are on an extended holiday. Our friends in the US may think we are just resting up for the next few years in overseas ministry. We just wanted to debunk one of the myths of the missionary lifestyle: Furlough is not a time for rest or holiday.

We came to the US to reconnect with supporters and family, share the needs of the ministry and thank those that support the work in Australia. Rest and relaxation are not the priority for this time in the US. We have enjoyed times with friends and family, but rest is not the primary emphasis for this trip. The misconception is completely understandable, due to the historical application of furlough. We wanted to clarify  that our goal is work hard and finish well as we get closer to going home to Australia.

Just to give you a bit of perspective, here are some of the numbers during the last few months: 12 church presentations (Most Sundays we travel to different churches and the day involves 2-3 presentations), we were involved in 2 missions conferences, 29 dinners (Supporters or sharing about the ministry), 3 youth events, a three week Living for Jesus course, supporters road trips to South Dakota and Kansas City, and a multitude of one-to-one meetings (Thankfully most of these involved coffee!). This is not a point of pride, but a way to communicate that furlough is not meant to be a time for rest.

Our only regret would be not being able to see more people during our time in the US, but our time here is coming to an end. We have been blessed by our time here and we are thankful for your prayers and all who took the time to connect with us. Thank you to the churches, pastors and supporters that have opened their doors to our family. It has been a privilege to share what the Lord is doing in Australia.

Thankfully, furlough was not meant to be a time for rest, but a time to celebrate what the Lord has been doing around the world.

Living for Jesus links

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church was a one of the highlights of this trip.

Some were not able to come along on the night. Here are the links to the talks. If you are interested in the worksheets, email me.

Week 1 – Remarkable Integrity: Lives worth questioning, answers worth hearing

Week 2 – An Eye for the Harvest: Workplace as a Mission Field

Week 3 – Speaking of God’s Mercy: Talking about Jesus at Work

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC for supporting this course and I pray the Lord uses it to reach more people for Christ.

Funds for ministry vehicle

As we conclude the US trip, one of the key fundraising components is to replace our current missions vehicle. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We would need to raise approximately $20,000 for the vehicle.

If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support.

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

We hope you all have a wonderful Christmas season. Keep living for the Lord and thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, hope, Joshua and Caroline

Matthews Down Under Iowa tour – Cold, home sick, but warm welcomes

We will admit it, we have become a bit soft when it comes to the cold.

It is cold in Iowa. Most mornings have been well below freezing and snow has already arrived. This is a thrill for Caroline, since it is the first time she has experienced snow. But, even she admits going out into the cold has been quite an adjustment and makes us yearn for Sydney. Our time in Iowa and the US here has been great, but the cold is quite an adjustment. Yet, Iowa is still an amazing place to be during this time of year. There is a beauty to the countryside and the people.

We are in the last few weeks of our time with our supporters and family in Iowa. All of the churches have been welcoming  and we have been encouraged by the growth of many of the churches. We have enjoyed many dinners and times of prayer with supporters. These experiences have been humbling and invigorating. People have been receptive and excited about the various ministries at City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church. Thank you to all of the churches and supporters for the warm welcomes in the cold winter months.

Please pray that we would finish our time in Iowa well, enjoy the celebration with friends and family during the Christmas holidays and celebrate with us as we look forward to getting home to serve in Sydney soon. Our schedule is pretty full until our departure for Sydney, but we hope to see more people before we leave.

Living for Jesus

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church has been such a blessing. Over the last few weeks we have had a full room of people discussing the workplace as a mission field and how to share their faith with their work colleagues. We finish this coming week. Pray the Lord bless and people take the information on board and God is glorified through the work of Living for Jesus.

The course has been recorded and if anyone would like the notes and links, please contact me in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC. I has been a privilege to serve with you this month.

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 would 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. We need to raise $20K for this project.

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 live?

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 all you do for our family and please pray for the opportunities in the US over the next few weeks.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

* Just a friendly reminder: We do serve in Sydney and our spelling is based on Australian spelling. Thank you for reminders about our spelling, but we hope you understand that we live in a different country. 

 

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

The Big Picture, City Bible Forum project and ministry vehicle

It has been a busy month in the US, but some exciting things going on…

The Big Picture Missions Conference at Saylorville Church

We had a wonderful time at the missions conference. It was an encouraging time with the church family. Our family enjoyed time with cell groups, men’s & women’s events, the Saylorville Youth, panel discussions, missionary Christmas and the Sunday morning services.

Praise the Lord, the church was very full and a woman came to know Jesus as her Saviour in the morning.

Thank you to Saylorville Church. Please go to the Facebook link and the website to see many of the images and videos from the events.

Funds for ministry vehicle

We need your help: 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.

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

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

According a 2013 report in Christianity Today, faith in Christ is on a steady decline in Australia.

To stop this trend, our missionaries are taking the Good News to where Australians spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organization City Bible Forum, ABWE missionaries are sharing Christ inside secular 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.

Just a reminder: Living for Jesus course

Regardless of what you do for a living, you may ask ‘How do I live as a Christian at work and how would I talk with work colleagues about Jesus?’

The Living for Jesus course is for you …and here is what it is about and how you can be involved.

The course introduces some basic Biblical concepts in being a Christian at work. Encourages people to see the opportunities for service in the workplace. Motivates workers to pray for their colleagues at work.

Living for Jesus consists of three 45 minute studies…
1. Working for God’s glory… being godly at work + living lives worth questioning & giving answers worth hearing

2. An eye for the harvest… seeing the workplace as a mission field

3. Speaking of God’s mercy… talking about Jesus at work

Audience: Work colleagues, small groups and/ or anyone keen to share their faith at work

Instructor: Russell Matthews

When: First three Thursdays in November:  6, 13 & 20 November

Where: Ankeny Free Church; 118 NW Linden St  www.ankenyfree.org

Time: 7-8:00 pm - Cost: Free to the public

Thank you for your prayers!
The Matthews

The Big Picture Missions Conference, Living for Jesus & Lord of the Lens

Thank for all who have been praying for our time in the US. We have been all over the US and our schedule has been exceptionally busy, but it has been a great experience with our supporting churches and families.

Please pray for recent and upcoming events:

The Big Picture Missions Conference at Saylorville Church

Come along if you can on October 8th-12th with missionaries from all across the world. It’s a great chance for God to expand our vision and burden our hearts for the world around us. Russ will be speaking on Sunday 12 October during the morning services.

This should be a wonderful time with the church family.

Come along if you have the time.

Living for Jesus course

Regardless of what you do for a living, you may ask ‘How do I live as a Christian at work and how would I talk with work colleagues about Jesus?’

The Living for Jesus course is for you …and here is what it is about and how you can be involved.

The course introduces some basic Biblical concepts in being a Christian at work. Encourages people to see the opportunities for service in the workplace. Motivates workers to pray for their colleagues at work.

Living for Jesus consists of three 45 minute studies…
1. Working for God’s glory… being godly at work + living lives worth questioning & giving answers worth hearing

2. An eye for the harvest… seeing the workplace as a mission field

3. Speaking of God’s mercy… talking about Jesus at work

Audience: Work colleagues, small groups and/ or anyone keen to share their faith at work

Instructor: Russell Matthews

When: First three Thursdays in November:  6, 13 & 20 November

Where: Ankeny Free Church; 118 NW Linden St  www.ankenyfree.org

Time: 7-8:00 pm - Cost: Free to the public

Lord of the Lens: Can we find God in film?  - Video link

Thank you for Saylorville Church team letting me come to talk about God & film

The Bible and film – many people might say these two things would be a contradiction in terms. If this is your fall back position, you are missing the point and missing the impact that film has on our culture. In this visual era, many think they go hand in hand.

Watch the discuss and the intersection of Christianity and cinema.

Some of the topics that we will cover: The story, the line and the opportunity

What this session ‘is not’
1. Convincing you to watch film
2. A debate if people should go to the cinema

The point of this talk is for those interested in how to engage people with the Gospel through cinema.

Moderator: Russell Matthews from Russelling Reviews & City Bible Forum