Merry Christmas from the Matthews family

Our family wants to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

Thank you for your support and prayers. We pray the Lord will bless you all this season and that you have every opportunity to celebrate our Saviour’s birth.

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

 

 

How is the family going?

Culture lesson: Greeting in the US – How are you doing? Same greeting in Australia – How are you going, mate? 

So, how is the Matthews family going? Overall, pretty good.

Some of our supporters have asked for an update on our family. In this world of Facebook and Instagram, it can feel a bit redundant, but it is important to realise that there are people behind the ministry work. Five out the six of us have Facebook, Twitter and Instagram accounts, if you want those details, check them out.

Our website can tend to focus on ministry opportunities, but here is a bit about the family. This update will be about the kiddos… I will let Cathy do an update on her life in Cathy’s Corner soon.

Back Home – We have been back in Australia for six months and we do feel like we are back home. It took some time getting back into the work of the ministries and life in Oz, but we are feeling like we are finally getting our feet.

Hope and Becca - Busy at work as full-time early childhood teachers. They work in Richmond and experience the daily grind of working with children. It is rewarding, but exhausting. It is hard not to brag, but Cathy and I are so proud of who they have become as young women. They are both in relationships with nice, Christian young men. (Go to their FB sites and you can fill in the blanks). They go to church with us and attend Multi-cultural Bible Ministries (MBM) church in the evening. They live the active life of young adults and we do not see them as much as we would like, but it is exciting to see who they are becoming. Please pray for them and that the Lord will use Hope and Becca for His glory.

Joshua - Coming to the end of year 11 and the intense part of high school called year 12 and the HSC (High School Certificate). It is a whole new level of expectation put on an exam that determines placement in University. In amongst the busyness of school, assessments and exams, he is loving playing for the East Coast Eagles – Australian Football team. Also, he goes to weekly youth group and finds time to play a bit of XBOX. He had a wonderful opportunity to go on a special excursion to the US. It was a wonderful experience for him and for our family in the US. (Go to his FB site and you can fill in the blanks). He recently received the Long Tan Youth Leadership award from his school. Thankful for the young man that he is becoming, please pray for him and that the Lord will use Joshua for His glory.

Caroline – How many children do you know that are upset when school holidays arrive? Caroline loves school, challenging herself and learning more about most things in life. She loves to read, play her violin and piano, do any craft project and spending time with her friends and family. She loves to ask questions of everyone she gets to know and soak up what she learns. Pray for her that she will continue to grow in her love for knowledge and the Lord. As with all of our children, she brings a beautiful spark and enjoyable component to our family.

Thank you for your prayers for our family. We are grateful for your involvement in our lives.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews

 Ministry websites:

City Bible Forum, Sydney

Rouse Hill Bible Church

Russelling Reviews

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

 

One week in… the questions begin: Concern with water in our toilets

We are excited about the US ministries over the next few months. The jet lag is fading and the motivation to talk about the work in Australia has already begun.

It is one week into our journey and the family has been traveling on the East Coast. We had a chance to talk with our kids about the questions that people ask when they hear we are from Australia. Many questions that we have heard before and some new ones.

We thought it might be a ‘teaching moment’ for all who might be interested. This is not meant to ‘have a go’ at people’s lack of knowledge ofThe Great Southern Land.’ Just to move people along in the process of getting to re-introduce The Matthews family.

The top six questions from this week:

1.  You can do missions work in Sydney? 

90% of the people of Australia live in the cities of Australia. It is one of the most urbanised countries in the world. Also, only 3-5% of the population follow Christ as their Saviour. It is a great opportunity for mission and we choose to do it where the people live. Check out the ministry we work with in Sydney and around Australia. City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church

2. Does the water go the opposite way in your toilets?

Americans fascination with our toilet water is interesting. The answer to ever important international question is yes and no. Water does travel in a different direction in the Southern Hemisphere, but our toilets flush differently. Not circling, but more of a whoosh sensation. So, does the toilet water travel a different direction? Not really. It all travels ‘down’ the drain. 

3. Do you have kangaroos and wombats in your back yard?

Nope, we live in a major metropolitan city.

4. That isn’t ‘American’ English’: Why do you use different words?

 We live in Australia and we use the vernacular from our home country. Can we ask that you not correct us on how we pronounce things? It has only been week, but it is getting a bit tiresome. If you have a question about what we are saying, see it as a way to learn more about another culture, mate.

5. Does it snow in Australia?

We do get snow during the winter in the mountains of Australia. The vast majority of Australia does not get snow. Just a side note, our seasons are opposite from the Northern Hemisphere.

Quick Australian weather reference: January: Hot, Summer; July: Cold, Winter

6. How long will this ‘missions thing’ go and when will you be done?

Unless God changes the plan, we are in Australia to stay. It is our home and unless Jesus returns soon, there is work to be done. Also, studying the Bible, we do not see ‘retirement’ as a Biblical precedence. The work may change over the years, but the location will be the same. Sharing the Gospel in the Sunburnt Country, Australia.

 Thanks for the questions. We pray you consider the intent of this update. We love talking with people about Australia, especially about the ministry work in Sydney. We thought we would answer some of the key questions up front. Please keep the queries coming and we look forward to seeing you in the churches and homes of the US.

Thanks for your support and prayers,

The Matthews

 

 

 

Towards Belief, Son of God and Scripture Classes in public schools

The next few months are looking to be a great time for ministry in the city and at Rouse Hill Bible Church. As we look ahead to furlough, you might things would slow down, but that is not the case. Things seem to get busier, but we would not want it any other way. We appreciate your prayers for the next few months and all that the Lord has presented for us.

Towards Belief

At Rouse Hill Bible Church we will begin the great series, Towards Belief. It is a study where leading Christian thinkers diffuse the belief blockers of our time.  We will do the study we will hear for these speakers from the UK, US and Australia  confront each of the blockers to Christian faith in the western world. Suffering, The Church, Science and God, Exclusive Faith and many more.

This is a study that welcomes both Christians and non-Christians to come along and discuss these belief blockers. The challenge for our church is to come along and to invite their friends and family to this series.

 Son of God movie event + panel discussion

City Bible Forum will be seeing a special screening of the movie Son of God followed by a Q&A session. It will be an evangelistic evening of film and discussion with some of the industry’s thought leaders.

After the film, join Ben McEachen (Empire Magazine, Open House), Dave Brown (Current editor of Empire Magazine) and Will Mitchell (film/TV professional) for a discussion on the topic ‘Jesus Christ – superstar?’  Does Hollywood’s depictions of Jesus and the Bible improve or diminish people’s perception?

Pray that we fill the theatre and people bring friends and your questions about the fact and fiction of Jesus on the Big Screen.

 Scripture Classes in the public schools

Every Thursday Cathy is privileged to teach 20+ eight year olds truths from God’s Word in our local public school.  Parents can choose to send their children to Protestant or Catholic Scripture classes, or to ethics classes or to none of those. Cathy gets 50 minutes to tell these children God loves them, Christ died for them and that they can know God if they put their trust in Him. All though most are familiar with the more well known stories from the Bible, almost none of the children attend church. They are really interested in the things Cathy has to teach but 8 year olds are really starting to think and so she gets questions like, “Who made God?” and “How is God and Jesus are the same?” There is a great need for more Scripture teachers in the schools and the government is constantly threatening to put an end to being able to teach Scripture in the public schools.  Please pray that God would allow this to continue and that more people would step up and teach.  Also pray for real inroads into these children’s lives, that real fruit would come from teaching them about God.

Fun furlough Fact: Joshua has been signed up with the US Australian Football League and will be having a go playing with the Des Moines Roosters, the local club. we will keep you up to date on the games. Thanks Tyler for giving Josh a go!

Thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues…

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope Joshua and Caroline