Beyond Worry, What if there was no Christmas and changes at ABWE Australia

October is here and things start happening

Spring is upon us and October/November is a busy season in ministry in Sydney. Here are some of the upcoming events, please be praying for each event.

The Edge: Beyond Worry

12 October:  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 will address the issue of anxiety, its causes, its effects and strategies in dealing with it. This is the final Edge for 2017, pray that many people would come along to hear the talk and consider how the Gospel provides answers in this area of people’s lives.

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.

What if there was no Christmas?

30 November

Most of us have mixed feelings about Christmas. There’s the fun, feasting, and family part. But there’s also the running around, the busyness and those ugly Christmas jumpers. We also sense that there should be more to my life than mere survival.

Pray for Sam Chan as he shares what life would be like without Christmas and how we might need it more than it needs us. This is an evangelistic talk to conclude the season of talks in the city. This is an extension of The Edge ministries.

Speaker: Sam Chan is a global citizen – born in Hong Kong, studied Medicine in Sydney, got his PhD from Chicago. Just like you, he senses that our world has changed – we work more, but are less happy. Sam loves helping people rediscover the joy that comes from faith, spirituality, and the Christian tradition. But he also knows that Australians don’t want to be too serious. That’s why Sam has discovered humorous ways to talk about the important issues in life.

ABWE Australia – Changes

The ever-changing world of ministry has had an impact on ABWE Australia. With some personnel changes on the field, there will be some adjustments in roles and procedures for our ABWE team. This should not have any direct impact on our ministry efforts, but we do appreciate your prayers as the team adapts during this time of transition. It will be exciting to see how the Lord works through these changes.

Rouse Hill Bible Church

We are excited to have the founder of City Bible Forum speaking at Rouse Hill Bible Church in the coming weeks.

Craig Josling is the Founding Director of City Bible Forum, having started Ecom (now City Bible Forum) in 1991. He currently oversees ministry efforts with Sydney prayer teams, equipping activities and opportunities in North Sydney, Chatswood, St Leonards and Parramatta.

Pray as he comes to share about the ministry work in the city and helps to challenge the church in evangelistic endeavours.

We are grateful for your support and prayers. Please contact us with any questions about the ministry effort in Australia.

Russ & Cathy Matthews

 

Matthews Down Under ministry partners and what we can look forward to in 2017

As we prepare for a short furlough, 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.

During our furlough, we will highlight some of these great ministry opportunities. If you have any questions about our furlough, please contact us.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

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

 

 

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

 

 

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. 

 

City Bible Forum & Rouse Hill Bible Church

Ministries in Australia

We are looking forward to sharing the ministry opportunities in Australia. Hope you are able to come along to hear mire about these exciting groups.

Rouse Hill Bible Church – Pastor Ben Kwok

The vision for the church-

  • Our church has a very simple and joyful style of worship. On a typical Sunday, our service will last for about one hour and it will be a mixture of songs, Bible reading and Bible teaching.  Our format works really well for young families and there is always space on “pram alley” along one side of the room.
  • Because we are a nondenominational church, you won’t find anyone dressed in special clothes and we try not to use words and phrases that are hard to understand if you are new to Christianity.
  • We are an evangelical church. What this means is that we love and follow Jesus Christ as he is described in the Bible.  We’re a community that is interested in spending time with each other – you might find us enjoying a picnic together at Rouse Hill Regional Park, at the movies, or at a local NRL game.

At this point it could be helpful to clear up the most common misconception about Christianity. Most people have some connection to Christianity either through their family background or through school scripture classes. You may think that the point of Christianity is to try and live your life in such a way that the good things that you do outweigh the bad things that you do

Unfortunately, this is not a true understanding of what it means to be a Christian. To be a Christian means understanding the fact that there is something that separates us from God and that there is nothing that we can do to fix the problem.

Because we can’t fix the problem, God sent his only son Jesus Christ to live a perfect life and then to die in a sacrificial act so that his death covers what we have done.

We believe that Jesus defeated death and rose again in triumph. What we have to do is to believe in Jesus and live in the reality of what he has done for us.

Simply put, our vision is to be a place where people can learn more about Jesus and a community which loves one another and tells others about what Jesus has done.

City Bible Forum – Director: Peter Kaldor  Founder: Craig Josling

City Bible Forum is a partnership of Christians working together to proclaim Jesus Christ to People working Australia’s major business districts. We have ministry teams in Adelaide, Brisbane, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney.

Why does it exist?

  • Over 500,000 people work in Sydney’s major business districts (Over 1.5 million in business districts across the country)
  • The workplace is a great place to get to know people and to talk to them about Jesus
  • Christians need help and encouragement to make the most of these opportunities

Sydney Prayer Breakfast 

The Sydney Prayer Breakfast is an annual event for Christians to pray for the city of Sydney. The organising body is the Sydney Prayer Breakfast Limited.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

Check out the links and the ministries and come along to hear more details of the work being done in Australia.  

 

Ask God and Iowa tour ’14

A new series at The Forum, Sydney

If you had a chance to ask God one question, what would it be?

And would you get an answer? Christians believe God speaks to us through the words of the Bible, which has answers to life’s important questions.

Each week in September, our lunchtime forums will be addressing questions posted on the askgod.com.au web site.  You can post your questions there and at the beginning of each week, a question will be chosen and announced on our website and Facebook page.  Our regular speaker, Ian Powell, will present an answer from the Bible, followed by an open Q&A with the audience.

Pray for the events in Sydney in September.

Iowa Tour ’14 

We are settled into wonderful house by Saylorville Church. Thank you to all of the church family for your work on this home and preparing a great place for us to live for the doing months.

We begin our tour of Iowa and our supporting churches. We will be traveling all over Iowa and to some of the surrounding states. We will be presenting to the churches information about Australia, City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church.

If you are interested in coming to hear about the work we are part of in the sunburnt country, email us and tell us where you live. We can share with you dates and the church that is closest to you. We invite anyone to come along and join in the conversation. Come ask your questions.

Thank you for your support and interest in the Lord’s work in Australia.

The adventure continues…

The Matthews

July in Australia – Towards Belief, Bible Reading Groups and travel

It is the middle of winter in Australia. Yes, it does get cold here and we are in our winter school holidays. Even with the holidays and cold, we are still excited about the opportunities for ministry in July.

Towards Belief at Rouse Hill Bible Church has been a great series for our church to participate. It is a study where leading Christian thinkers diffuse the belief blockers of our time. We have gone through topics like suffering, the supernatural and the Bible. Our groups have grown and people love the discussion after we hear for these speakers from the UK, US and Australia confront each of the blockers to Christian faith in the western world. Suffering,

Pray as we engage both Christians and non-Christians who come along to discuss these belief blockers.

Bible Reading Groups: Reversal of  Fortune – Ruth series and the Cost Benefit Analysis of Following Jesus

For many of our evangelistic Bible Reading groups in the city, we will explore how God is in control of this world.  That God has an answer for life. In the Reversal of Fortune study, we look at whether suffering is an indication that God isn’t there, or that God doesn’t care and what is he doing within out suffering.

While in the Cost Benefit Analysis of Following Jesus analyses the value, challenges, sacrifice and hope we can have in following Jesus. A great study for those who like to go deeper into what it means to  follow The Saviour.

Traveling mercies : Our family will be travelling to the US in a few weeks. Please pray for our trip and our ministry opportunities.

Thank you for all you do for our family and please pray for these ministry opportunities.

Cheers,

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