The newest part of the journey - Third Space

While in the US on our recent furlough, we shared about a new concept that will impact our ministry work. Third Space is the newest offering from City Bible Forum and Reel Dialogue will be a key aspect of this venture. Here is an article about the ministry and the man who will be leading the team, David Robertson.

We hope this helps to answer some of the initial questions about the ministry. Also, we ask for your prayers for this work in Australia. Contact us with any questions about the work in Australia and at Third Space.

Article we originally written by Akos Balogh for The Gospel Coalition - Australia; 03/10/2019

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TGCA: You’ve recently arrived in Australia after living in the UK. What are some cultural similarities and differences between Australia and the United Kingdom, especially in relation to worldviews and secularisation? 

The UK has secularised rapidly and is about ten years further down the regressive slope than Australia is—although that varies within both countries. There are many similarities not least because modern Australia is really the child of the UK. Australia is a Western nation on the edge of the Pacific rim. That means that the factors that are affecting the West are prevalent here too: increasingly militant secularisation; excessive individualism together with the collapse of community and the longing for it; the decline in Christianity; growth of Islam; materialism and an increasingly intolerant secular humanism particularly in areas of social policy. There are, however, differences in Australia. The church is overall much stronger; the effects of the 1950’s Billy Graham missions lasted longer; the number of Christian schools; Asian Christianity has exercised a growing influence.

The factors that are affecting the West are prevalent in Australia too … There are, however, differences in Australia. The church is overall much stronger.

TGCA: What challenges do you see Australian churches facing? 

Much the same as in the UK. How to cope with the above. Divisions, false doctrines, the health and wealth prosperity gospel and the tendency to move either to a liberal view or to a legalistic view of the Bible. There is the danger that the confusion and trouble within the culture, is reflected in the church and that instead of surfing the cultural waves, we are drowned by them.

TGCA: What opportunities do you see for Australian churches? 

The fact that you are not as far down the road as the UK means that the churches here have more opportunities as you have more resources. The question is whether those opportunities will be taken. Most of all I think there are great opportunities for evangelism and outreach. There are opportunities in media, education, mercy ministries and in local engagement through local churches.

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TGCA: You’ve recently launched an Initiative called ‘Third Space’. Could you tell us why it was launched, and what it aims to achieve?

Third Space came from City Bible Forum (CBF). They are excellent at doing outreach in the CBD’s amongst city workers and lawyers. They wanted to use their expertise and resources to expand that work. They asked Steve McAlpine and I to come and lead a new evangelistic outreach. There are three images that we like to use to describe this outreach:

1. Open Doors – These are days of great gospel opportunity in the Western and Eastern worlds. We are convinced that rather than doors closing to the gospel in our cultures, there are an increasing number of open doors. (Revelation 3:8). We don’t need to kick them down, but how do we identify them and how do we walk through them? Third Space is about seeking out the doors that Jesus Christ is setting open before us. (1 Corinthians 16:9).

2. Shifting Sands – There is a great difficulty for us in identifying and using the open doors that are available for us. The church is often like Indiana Jones heading for the Temple of Doom, only to discover that the ground keeps shifting beneath our feet. We should no more build our evangelism on the sand than we should build our lives (Matthew 7:24). In order to be able to reach the doors and enter the Third Space, we need to be able to identify what the obstacles are and how the ground is shifting. Understanding how our society thinks is crucial to the effective proclamation of the gospel. Third Space aims to inform the church about the shifting sands of the culture and ground evangelism in Christ. To use another metaphor rather than stand King Canute like against the incoming secular tide—we seek to ride the waves of culture in order to communicate the gospel of Christ without drowning in the cultural storm.

3. Living Stones – Evangelism is done by the Church. It is the church that is commissioned to preach the good news to all and to make disciples. (Matthew 28:18-20). It is in the church that all people see that we are his disciples (John 13:35). The church is a spiritual house built with living stones (1 Peter 2:5). We are living because we are filled with the Spirit and become a spiritual organism. We are stones because we are built on the ‘chosen and precious cornerstone’ of Christ. A living church is the greatest witness to our contemporary culture. Third Space aims to introduce such churches to people.

TGCA: What are the resources Thirds Space offers to churches? 

That’s a great question because it recognises that Third Space exists to serve churches (and not the other way round). We would like to partner with churches to help encourage, energise and equip Christians to reach out. We will also be involved in evangelism ourselves.

In terms of what we currently offer…

Website – The World Wide Web is to the 21st Century what the printing press was to the 16th. We will develop our own website using podcast, video and writing and the creative arts. We aim to use it as a third space to engage with non-Christians and the wider culture. We will also use it to provide information, cultural analysis and resources to use within that space. An example of this is Bigger Questions podcast – produced by Robert Martin which will become part of Third Space.

Speakers – David Robertson and Steve McAlpine are experienced communicators of the gospel and will be available both to proclaim the gospel and to help train the church. Our team also includes Rob Martin, Russ Matthews. Other City Bible Forum speakers such as Sam Chan and Al Stewart are also part of the speaking team. Speakers can be used in a variety of settings from cafes to churches, conferences to cinemas.

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Media Engagement – We need to interact with secular media – including broadcast (TV, radio) and literary (newspapers, magazines and books). Third Space will seek to be a bridge between the secular and Christian media. We also need to help the church interact with secular media and even use it in our proclamation of the gospel – just as Paul did with the heathen poets in Acts 17. Third Space already have an excellent resource Reel Dialogue which uses film media in this way. The ministry overseen by Russell Matthews.

Personal and Group Bible Study- We are aware that there are people who want to engage with the Bible but are reluctant to ‘go to’ church. So we will seek to encourage the one-to-one approach to personal bible reading. However we are also aware that for some people that is too intense and so we will also encourage group bible studies and offer personal online studies to help people in their exploration.

Training and resourcing in apologetics – Rob Martin will research and equip through the Bigger Questions and other means.

Therefore we will offer consultancy to churches, schools, companies and other Christian organisations. CBF has an excellent Life@Work resource, led by Andrew Laird, which we will encourage and promote. We will also use conferences and other events to help train – through word and deed.

We would like to set up an Association of Australian Evangelists and encourage Evangelistic Festivals, in collaboration with local churches, in each of Australia’s cities.

TGCA: How can churches access these Third Space resources? 

Information about Third Space can be found on the CBF website. https://plus.citybibleforum.org/city/activity/third-space-ministry

In about three weeks we will be launching a Third Space website which will itself be a third space. It will be primarily for non-Christians. thirdspace.org.au

Perhaps the best way is for people to write me directly – david.robertson@thirdspace.org.au . Steve McAlpine and I are also happy to meet with church leaders.

Article we originally written by Akos Balogh for The Gospel Coalition - Australia; 03/10/2019


Thank you

We wanted to send out a thank you to all of the friends, family, supporters and for all the wonderful people we met for the first time during our trip to the US. We are overwhelmed with the generosity and encouragement we received over the past month. Thank you for coming to the churches, hearing about the various ministries in Australia and giving toward the work in Australia and our family.

We are all back in Australia, but we want to express our gratitude we have for you all. We did meet our goals for the trip and we want you to know we appreciate you all.

Thank you for your prayers and support.

Russ, Cathy and Caroline

Giving to the Matthews Down Under 2019 Appeal

Click here to donate today

Our family is amazed at what the Lord has done in our lives and ministries over the last 13 years. We cannot wait to share with you about it. Come along to hear about the work in Australia. (US events throughout July) We can't do this without your help.

Please consider donating to our July appeal today!

There is no way for us to express the depth of gratitude for the prayers and support that has been a key to the growth of these ministry efforts.

Over the past year and a half, we have experienced some challenging financial times. Even though our budget has been tight throughout the years, this last year has been the particularly arduous. We will not go into all of the details, but between changes in supporters ability to give, a change in the payroll system at ABWE and increases in support needs we have had to make drastic changes to our budget. We have cut expenses, negotiated better rates for our housing and worked with the ABWE finance department to make the necessary adjustments to keep us on the field. Many churches and supporters have increased their support levels, which we are exceptionally grateful and humble for the generous contributions to the Lord’s work. 

Stability: Despite some changes that have led to a support deficit, the majority of our supporters have remained faithful. The finance department wanted to commend our supporters, because of your consistent support. This helps us to plan for our upcoming furlough. 

Basic numbers: After extensive conversations with the finance department, making cuts to our budget and clarifying the numbers for our supporters. We are currently at 100% of our support needs, but would need to increase our support in the coming year by $150/ month. Also, we need to raise funds for our personal and city ministries - $7500 (US). This will get all of our accounts back to their necessary levels at ABWE and for our family to remain on the field. 

The urgency is that we need to raise these funds during our furlough in July. We are willing to sit down with anyone who would like to discuss this process and for those interested in helping with our ministry efforts. 

We will be in Iowa throughout July and do appreciate any assistance in support. Thank you for taking the time to consider donating to Matthews Down Under.

Click here to donate today

US Schedule:

7 July - First Baptist Church : Monroe, IA

9 July (Tuesday) - Saylorville Church: Des Moines, IA
14 July - Faith Baptist Church: Knoxville, IA
21 July - Pioneer Bible Baptist Church: Louisburg, KS
28 July - Grace Baptist Church: Emmetsburg, IA
30 July - Men’s Steak & Corn Fellowship: Saylorville Church (Men will need to register for this event)
4 August (AM) - First Baptist Church : Grundy Center, IA
4 August (PM) - Missionary Baptist Church : Carlisle , IA

Click here to donate today

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All things new at City Bible Forum, The Least of These, KoRn and Artificial Intelligence

What an amazing month of ministry opportunities. We will attempt summarise the many things that have gone on in the month of May and there is more to come. Your prayers and support are a catalyst for keeping these things going. We are thrilled to be part of these various evangelistic and ministry efforts.

A new look at City Bible Forum

We had our national City Bible Forum conference at the beginning of the month. This is a fantastic time to get together tight our teams from around the country to discuss the work and looking ahead to the future. There is quite a bit to share in the coming months about the structural changes, a new ministry arm called Third Space and the possibilities for the growth of this work outside the borders of Australia.

One new aspect that was introduced to enhance out ministry efforts are new logos for our ministries and an exciting new website.

Check out the new websites: City Bible Form & City Bible Forum+

Tell us what you think and send us your thoughts. One is for the enquirer and the other for Christians looking to do more evangelistic work in the workplace.

What do you think of the new logos?

The Least of These: The Graham Staines Story

The Reel Dialogue team was privileged to moderate and be involved in the premiere screening of The Least of These. Many may not remember the story of the Australian Christian missionary who was burned along with his two young sons by a Hindu mob in India, because it occurred over 20 years ago.

Synopsis
As the social fabric of life in rural India disintegrates in the late 1990s, journalist Manav Banerjee (Sharman Joshi) moves with his pregnant wife to the town of Orissa in hope of a better life and the promise of a lucrative career. When speculation mounts that local Australian missionary Graham Staines (Stephen Baldwin) is illegally proselytizing leprosy patients, Manav agrees to investigate undercover for the newspaper.

What he finds is a series of revelations that are difficult to fathom and even harder to explain, and Manav is forced to make a choice between his own ambition and the truth. In the end, his actions spark a tragic event that is felt around the world.

Based on a true story and shot on location in India, THE LEAST OF THESE beautifully illustrates the power of love, hope and forgiveness to overcome hate. Aneesh Daniel directs the film, featuring Stephen Baldwin, Shari Rigby, and Bollywood star Sharman Joshi.

After the screening, Russ had the opportunity to discuss the film with the producers, writer and a local film critic. The audience was a mix of various faiths and cultures, but the greatest honour was having Gladys and Esther Staines (The widow and daughter of Graham) in attendance. Along with the Ellis children who portrayed the Staines children in the film, this was a special event where the Gospel message was conveyed on screen, on the panel and during the time of discussion afterwards. People were lined up to thank and meet the Staines family and a multitude of people was impacted and influenced by the message fo the film.

Check out the details of the film

Panel discussion

Panel discussion

Gladys, Staines, Esther Staines and the Ellis children who portrayed the Staines children in the film

Gladys, Staines, Esther Staines and the Ellis children who portrayed the Staines children in the film

Loud Krazy Love with Brian ‘Head’ Welch

The following week we had the opportunity to host a completely different film and audience. The lead guitarist from KoRn, Brian ‘Head’ Welch was in town to promote his film, Loud Krazy Love.

Synopsis:
The remarkable story of Brian ‘Head’ Welch and the daughter that rocked his world. THUNDEROUS. ANGRY. CATHARTIC.

The sound Brian “Head” Welch helped pioneer with KoRn in the early ‘90s provided identity to a generation of misfits and made him a global rock star. Famous, wealthy, and worshipped in the spotlight, an adolescent self-loathing relentlessly haunted him in the shadows – until the day a tiny miracle was born. By the time he walked out on a $23M record deal in 2005, desperate to kick a devastating crystal meth habit, all he wanted was to become a good father. The truly hard part had just begun.

LOUD KRAZY LOVE details the harrowing journey of Brian and his daughter Jennea growing up together with chaotic courage and unconventional faith. Far beyond a rock doc, this fearless coming-of-age story grapples with teenage depression, the quest for identity, and the hope of a father willing to do anything for the one he loves.

After the screening, Russ was able to interview Brian live before the audience. The took questions from rock fans, addicts, and hurting souls. People asking how to fight their addictions, how to find a church, how to be a better parent and more importantly, how to connect with God through Christ. Brian explained that his ‘tribe’ of fans is a unique group and how he was the right man to reach into this world.

A fantastic night to hear from a metal legend as he shared his story of redemption, failures and salvation.

Check out the details for Loud Krazy Love

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Prayer for Artificial Intelligence at The Edge

Please be praying for the upcoming night at The Edge. This unique evangelistic endeavour opens the door on a subject that impacts everyone.

The world of artificial intelligence influences our everyday existence - from easy autotext to creepy tailored ads to complex algorithims that replicate the human brain. As boundaries blur and new horizons open, A.I.’s existence is exciting, confounding and concerning all at the same time. Where might A.I. take us and what does it mean for you as an intelligent human being?

Let’s take this to the EDGE and hear from an expert who works with artificial intelligence and an ethicist who will tackle what it means for you and me.

Pray for the speakers as they prepare to direct people through this world toward the message of what it is to be human and our need for something more. Dr Sam Chan is a master at this aspect of directing people toward the message of the Bible through these topics.

Pray for the event and all in attendance to come along because of the relevance of the topic, but to leave with a message more fulfilling in this life and into the future. Pray Christians bring along their enquiring friends and co-workers to the night!

Thank you for your support and prayers.

The adventure continues… Russ, Cathy and Caroline Matthews

Thank you for the prayers... We took things to The Edge and BSF has had a great start

Thank you for your prayers

We asked for your prayers for the For the Love of God night, 7 seconds and Beyond (The Edge) and the launch of a new BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) this year.

  • Cathy has been asked to head up the children’s ministry for BSF in Rouse Hill this year

    • The ministry is flourishing and each night sees new attendees.

    • The relationship between this ministry and the church has been exceptionally well received and they look forward to seeing the fruit from the work in the coming year.

    • Cathy could use your prayers for her wisdom and strength in managing this exciting new ministry.

  • For the Love of God film event went exceptionally well.

    • Over 300+ attendees

    • Thank you to the team at StPaul’s for hosting the event and having Reel Dialogue along for the night

    • Great panel discussion with Mark Hadley, Maia Hadley and CPX’s Natasha Moore

    • Russ was the moderator for the night and was thrilled to get great questions about the Bible, the church, and Jesus.

  • 7 seconds and Beyond: How to maintain a lasting impression from a first impression

    • What a great start to The Edge in 2019

    • Duncan Robinson and Jenny Brown were our keynote speakers with Justine Toh leading the panel discussion

    • A fantastic night and a great lead into the follow-up evening: Edge X

    • Be sure to watch the videos and the other series at The Edge - The links are imbedded in their names.

Videos from The Edge: Duncan Robinson - Jenny Brown - Panel discussion (Q&A)

We are so grateful for your prayers and support of these works. Send us your questions if you want to know more about these ministries.

The adventure continues…

Russ & Cathy Matthews

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For the Love of God

The year has started on the Edge with 7 seconds and beyond

We are excited to announce the first Edge of 2019

Please be praying for this event, our speakers and the fruit of this city-based work

Details

7 seconds and beyond

How to strike a lasting connection from a first impression

Thu 21 Mar, 6.30pm-7.45pm

'We don't know where our first impressions come from or precisely what they mean, so we don't always appreciate their fragility.' - Malcolm Gladwell

Studies show that first impressions are made within the first few seconds of meeting. In the workplace, everything from your personal appearance, the tone of your voice and even the size of your smile set the stage upon which hunches, gut feelings and opinions arise. Before we’ve had the chance to demonstrate our abilities, the first impression is already cast. So, what are the secrets to making the best impression in those first few seconds? And how can you go beyond this initial impression into a stronger working relationship?

This is a topic that needs to be taken to The Edge.

Join our speakers as they unpack these fundamental questions of human connection. Radio presenter Duncan Robinson will draw on his vast experience of interviewing people and connecting with them in seven seconds or less, and psychologist Jenny Brown will show us how to maintain long-lasting relationships through effective communication. 

Speakers

Duncan Robinson hosts the breakfast show on Hope 103.2 he has been in radio for almost 3 years, but when it comes to radio you count in Dog Years. Hope 103.2 reaches over 300,000 people weekly. Duncan along with his co-Host Sam bring a fun, family-friendly atmosphere to a passionate team every morning. 

Duncan is married to Carly, they have two kids Ruby and Max. Ruby actually talks more than Duncan and Max is a mastermind of mischief. Duncan also has a brown belt in Jiu-Jitsu, which is where the vast majority of his bruises and injuries come from.

You can follow him on Instagram at @ultrarobbo which is also his gamertag….he’s a little geeky.

Jenny Brown PhD is the author of the best-selling book Growing Yourself Up; that applies Murray Bowen’s family systems theory to life and relationships with a personal and accessible style.

Jenny is founder and director of The Family Systems Institute and the Family Systems Practice in Sydney, Australia. She has trained and earned academic awards at the University of Sydney and Columbia University New York. She has a PhD Social Science from the University of New South Wales. Her research focusses on parents and adolescents mental health.

Simply put, Jenny knows her stuff. Read more at: Jenny Brown

More details: theedge.live

Praying as we cross the cultural divide

The Edge is excited to cross the cultural divide with the former Chief Secretary of Hong Kong and a cultural expert as we venture into the new Australian cultural landscape.

Australia is a multicultural country. Our workplaces are increasingly multicultural. In the supermarkets and boardrooms, we rub shoulders everyday with people originating from all over the world. And yet, while we live in the same city and we work side by side every day, it’s easy to feel disoriented. It’s not hard to feel so far apart.

How can we live better together in our offices and neighbourhoods? How can we adapt without losing our own story? How can we learn from each other, grow closer together and find a new richer collective identity that will carry Australia into the future?

Speakers:

Stephen Lam - Hong Kong has a rich history influenced by both East and West. Throughout his political career there, Stephen Lam has crossed the cultural gap – nevermore so than as the director of the Handover Ceremony in 1997 when the sovereignty of the region was handed to China after decades of British rule. At this momentous juncture, how was the cultural gap crossed? How can societies be lead so that cultures are drawn closer rather than segregated? Come to hear Stephen share how the gap was navigated, what cross-cultural leadership looked and what cross-cultural leadership looks like today. After the Handover, Stephen stayed in politics and became Chief Secretary of Hong Kong in 2011.

Deb Hannaford is a cultural transition specialist. For over a decade, she coached and trained executives and their families on how to migrate to new countries, helping them settle and thrive in their new cultures. Drawing on her experience in psychology as a clinical therapist, Deb will give us the practical tips to help ourselves and others find their feet in the world they step into every morning. 

Please pray for the opportunities that will come from The Edge where our audience hear from two different specialists who have found the sweet spot bridging different cultures.

Please consider supporting this effort:

Monthly support: Due to changes in our support needs (Increases in support levels) and supporters changes in their opportunities to give, we are currently close to our 100% support level. To achieve our monthly support goal we will need to raise $175 per month for 2018.

A one-off need: Working with the new payroll system at the home office, we had to deal with a clerical error that put our accounts in deficit for the first time in 15 years. After working with the home office on this issue over the past few months, we have helped to ensure this does not occur again. Anyone who would like to walk through the details of this issue, please contact me. Due to this clerical error, we need to raise an additional $5000 to eliminate a deficit in our accounts at ABWE. 

We appreciate the consideration from you or your churches when evaluating your upcoming budget discussions. You can give monthly to our ministry or give to the ministry with a one-off gift. The best way to give to our family and the ministries is through this link to ABWE.

Support: ABWE : RUSSELL W. & CATHY MATTHEWS (0132363)

Our family continues to give thanks to God for all you have done for us this year. Know we pray for our supporters regularly. Please keep in contact with us and send us any questions about our ministries or financial details. 


Finding Validation events

Imagine there was a place that we could go to get ‘validated’. To be reassured that we are significant, valuable, an approved human being. The trouble is, those sorts of affirmation are so fleeting. Fashions change. Achievements fade. Photos can only represent the past. They all slowly lose their power to assure us, and in a week’s time, we’re likely to wake up and begin the search for validation all over again.

But it’s very human to look for validation. We all want to know that we look ok, that we’re doing ok – in short, that we are ok. We want to know that our experiences and opinions matter. We want to believe we’re an authentic person, living a worthwhile life.

In August, come to The Edge to explore validation and well-being at multiple events with various speakers in the city at a location close to you.

We have one-off events throughout the city and Max Jeganathan will be speaking at Bible Shots, City Legal and The Edge on Thursday, 16 August.

All of the details at The Edge website

Mon, 6 Aug 

Central Station

Did I do alright?, Speaker : Sam Chan

Wed, 8 Aug 

Parramatta

Which guru got it right?, Speaker : Max Jeganathan

Wed, 15 Aug 

Wynyard

Which guru got it right?, Speaker : Max Jeganathan

Thurs 16 Aug 

North Sydney

The quest for meaning - dead ends and answers, Speaker : Al Stewart

Finding validation

Thu 16 Aug, 6.30pm-7.45pm

The secret to wellbeing and how to maintain it

City Legal

Starts on Thu 9 Aug, 7.30am-8.20am

What does real success look like?

Bible Shots

Thu 9 Aug, Fri 10 Aug

Markets, Materialism and the search for meaning

Finding Validation

Please pray for the upcoming city-wide mission

The secret to well-being and how to maintain it

You walk into a lobby and you see a sign. It says:

GET YOUR VALIDATION HERE

- and just for a moment, before you realise it’s talking about car parking, you wonder if it might mean something more…

Imagine there was a place that we could go to get ‘validated’. To be reassured that we are significant, valuable, an approved human being.

Interestingly, most people act as though they think there is. They go to their wardrobes and look for validation in their clothes. They go to work and look for validation in their achievements. They go to their photos and look for validation in their relationships.

The trouble is, those sorts of affirmation are so fleeting. Fashions change. Achievements fade. Photos can only represent the past. They all slowly lose their power to assure us, and in a week’s time we’re likely to wake up and begin the search for validation all over again.

But it’s very human to look for validation. We all want to know that we look ok, that we’re doing ok – in short, that we are ok. We want to know that our experiences and opinions matter. We want to believe we’re an authentic person, living a worthwhile life.

This is much, much more than a pair of shoes can offer. Even Nikes. So where do we go to get the sort of validation that lasts a lifetime?

Some people say lasting assurance lives in a healthy bank account. Others say you find it in healthy children. And still others, in a healthy relationship with God.

In August, come to The Edge with us, and let’s see if we can discover the source of real validation together. We’ve gathered some brilliant minds to help us think through the problem– add yours to the mix! – and discover a source of validation that will not only last the night but will build as the days go by.

Be part of a change you want to see in the world

We want to thank you for your prayers and support.

Our family have committed to communicate our financial needs twice a year. Would you consider helping our family with these requests? If you wonder what these funds go to funding, we have provided a list of our ministry efforts and partners in Australia.

  Monthly support: Due to changes in our support needs (Increases in support levels) and supporters changes in their opportunities to give, we are currently close to our 100% support level. To achieve our monthly support goal we will need to raise $310 per month for 2018.

A one-off need: We are looking to raise $5000 for the sake of supporting the work of The Edge and Reel Dialogue.

We appreciate the consideration from you or your churches when evaluating your upcoming budget discussions. You can give monthly to our ministry or give to the ministry with a one-off gift. The best way to give to our family and the ministries is through this link to ABWE.

Support: ABWE : RUSSELL W. & CATHY MATTHEWS (0132363)

Our family continues to give thanks to God for all you have done for us this year. Please keep in contact with us and send us any questions about our ministries or financial details.

Check out our new website: matthewsdownunder.com

OUR MINISTRY PARTNERS

ABWE - The church planting mission agency that we work within 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 children's 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

Vinegrowers - Col Marshall's ministry that helps build churches around biblical discipleship: sacrificing, serving, speaking.

Thank you for prayerfully considering supporting our work in Australia,

Russ & Cathy Matthews

The new Matthews Down Under site

We have moved to a new site, but we kept the same name.

Check out the new site features and details about the family. We will be working to update the site and the information, but you can find out more about our various ministries and family details here.

One detail we will need to work out is how to set up a mailing list, but we will forward these details to you soon. 

Thanks for your support and prayers.

Russ & Cathy Matthews

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The Imposter Syndrome, Sydney Prayer Breakfast and For the Love of God

Key dates for prayer

24 May - The Edge - It's Ok, You belong

Ever feel like you’re a fraud? That you’re just not cut out for your job? And that someday, you’re going to be found out—and cast out?

You’re not alone. Tech billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, award-winning authors, business executives, and many other highly capable individuals all suffer from Imposter Syndrome: the persistent fear of being a fake.

Come hear two speakers grapple with their imposter experience, the strategies they use to keep their fear of phoniness at bay, and then pose your own questions to them.

You might find you’re in good company.

Come along to The Edge to hear from two thought leaders in this field of study. After the talks, Dr. Sam Chan of City Bible Forum will allow you to interview the speakers and take them to the edge of the topic

Speakers:

Dr. 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.

Steve King is the Senior Product Manager for Enterprise offerings at Atlassian, sits on industry boards and panels and is a passionate advocate for social impact and early-stage corporate philanthropy with Pledge 1%. Steve speaks and teaches about modern teamwork, abstract problem solving and product management for startups. Do more with less, and always do what you love to.

30 May - Sydney Prayer Breakfast

The Sydney Prayer Breakfast is an annual prayer gathering of Christians from all denominations who work or live in the Sydney CBD.

Join 1,200 other Christian business professionals as we pray for the welfare of our city and encourage one another in our walk with God.

Speaker: Os Guiness

12 June - For the Love of God

How the Church is better and worse than you ever imagined

Christian history offers plenty of ammunition to its critics

Crusades, inquisitions, witch trials, the oppression of women - not to mention the horrific incidence of child abuse, covered up in recent decades by the institutional church

For the Love of God: How the church is better and worse than you ever imagined is a documentary by the Centre for Public Christianity. It addresses the worst of what Christians have done, but also traces the origins of Western values like human rights, charity, humility, and non-violence back to the influence of Jesus.

This is not the history we think we know. Join us as we weigh up the good, the bad, the ugly - and the unexpected - impact Christianity has had on the world we live in.

How the Church is better and worse than you ever imagined

Christianity may be the wellspring for many of our most cherished values today, but Christians should be the first to admit that there’s been plenty of bloodshed along the way.

John Dickson is founding Director of the Centre for Public Christianity. He has a degree in theology and a doctorate in ancient history, specialising in the birth of Christianity. An ordained Anglican minister, he is also a Senior Research Fellow of the Department of Ancient History, Macquarie University, and he teaches a course on the Historical Jesus at the University of Sydney. He has hosted two nationally televised documentaries (The Christ Files and Life of Jesus), authored over a dozen books and is a busy public speaker.

Simon Smart is Executive Director of the Centre for Public Christianity. A former English and History teacher, Simon has a Masters in Christian Studies from Regent College, Canada. He has years of experience writing and editing both academic curricula and popular books. He is the author of For God's Sake: An Atheist, a Jew, a Christian and a Muslim Debate Religion, and editor of A Spectator's Guide to Worldviews.

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.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

The Matthews

A wedding, a baby, the Apostle Paul and mastering the fear of feeling fake

We come to you in celebration and looking ahead to an incredible month of activity

The Baby - Welcome George Gibb to the world!

On 13 March at about 5:03 pm, little George Matthew Frank Gibb was born weighing in at 3.9 kgs (8 lbs, 6 oz) and measuring 52 cm (20"). Mum and baby are doing well. Thanks so much to everyone who has prayed for them, loved their family and supported them during their journey. We are incredibly blessed and humbled.

The Wedding

Our daughter Becca will be marrying Warrick Hall on 14 April. We are thrilled to be including this young man in our family and to be part of his family. Please be praying for all of those coming in for the wedding, that the Lord will be glorified throughout the day and that this lovely couple will have a wonderful start on this adventure of marriage.

Reel Dialogue - Paul, Apostle of Christ

Thank you for the prayers for the amazing night of film and discussion with the Sony release of Paul, Apostle of Christ. We had a full house to see the latest release and then proceeded to a great panel discussion. Nathan Muse and Natasha Moore were able to field questions from the audience who were curious about the accuracy of the history and storytelling aspects of the film. We had over 30% of the audience who were from an enquiring position in their faith.

The Edge - Leadership that Sticks

What a night of talks, discussion and lessons in leadership.

What does leadership in the workplace look like today? What does 'leading on the edge' even mean?

The way we work has changed dramatically in the past decade. More people are employed in non-traditional industries, working flexible hours and using technology to work anywhere. Expectations of leaders have become a moving target and it is hard to know how to lead and who to follow in this new era. Mike Baird and Michelle Lim delivered fantastic talks and answered questions on the panel led by Dr. Justine Toh.

Check out the videos on The Edge website

It’s OK, you belong: Mastering the fear of being a fake

Ever feel like you’re a fraud? That you’re just not cut out for your job? And that someday, you’re going to be found out—and cast out? You’re not alone. Tech billionaires, Hollywood celebrities, award-winning authors, business executives, and many other highly capable individuals all suffer from Imposter Syndrome: the persistent fear of being a fake.

Please pray for our two speakers as they grapple with their imposter experience, the strategies they use to keep their fear of phoniness at bay, and then pose your own questions to them.

What is The Edge?

Short. Sharp. Smart. The Edge is a talk series that will live up to its name. Like TedEx, two expert speakers will address today’s topics in a short, but content-rich style. But we want to do more. After the talks, Dr. Sam Chan of City Bible Forum will allow you to interview the speakers and take them to the edge of the topic.

Thank you for your support and prayers,

Russ and Cathy Matthews

 

 

I love washing my car

I honestly love washing our car. Not that I have the nicest car on the street or that I am the most detailed person when it comes to cleaning the car, but I enjoy seeing my car clean. It stems from my father who always took such pride in the care of his vehicles and his example was an outward expression of the statement, 'If you take care of your car, it will take care of you.'

My family would tell you that it is a bit of a ritual for me that when the weather is clear on a Saturday morning, I will be out in the front yard washing the car.

This past week this routine took on a whole new value to me. I was washing my car in the beautiful autumn sunshine (remember we live on the opposite side of the world) and something interesting began to unfold before me. First, one of the neighbour kids rode by to say hello and asked if our daughter was able to come out to ride around the neighbourhood and then another neighbour stopped to chat. What made this second opportunity unique was that this woman lives in seclusion across the street and rarely acknowledges our family. On this day while I had a soapy sponge in my hand, she was keen to talk. We discussed the changes in the neighbourhood, the growth of our community, the weather and then she asked me more in-depth questions about our family. Then with a smile and a wave, she went on with her day and I went back to getting tree sap off of the car. It was a lovely connection and left me with a smile on my face.

As I progressed around the car, all of a sudden a familiar friend laid a red frisbee at my feet. Another neighbour's border collie looked at me expectantly to throw the toy for him to fetch. As I succumbed to his request, I knew that not too far behind him would be another neighbour. This young husband and future father came over to say G'day and with the same sponge in hand, we had a simple but enjoyable discussion. We talked about his future as a father, the majesty of the country we live in and due to his faith in Christ, we had a great conversation about the blessings we have in the Lord. As we talked about the more significant things of the world, we threw a spit covered ball and a chewed up frisbee for a few minutes and then he headed off to the local park.

Something that stuck with me about the conversation was how this young bloke stated how much he enjoyed just popping over to have a chat. Something we seem to miss out on in amongst the busyness of this modern life.

He is right. Do we take time to reach out to our neighbours? We could be more intentional in reaching out to those who live around us, but have you considered the opportunities that may come about by just being there? Getting out and living in your community and look to see how the Lord will bless you by merely being available to those who live closest to us.

Sure, I was able to incorporate the message of the Bible into my conversations with my neighbours, but I think these discussions were even more meaningful to me than to those people that I had the privilege of conversing with on that day. My car did get cleaned eventually, but more importantly, I saw the value of getting out and living in my community and to watch to see how the Lord will work by just living for Him.

I love washing our car.

 “Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’  This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbour as yourself.’ The entire law and all the demands of the prophets are based on these two commandments.” - Matthew 22:36-40

Matthews Down Under Prayer Points

One of our supporting churches has a wonderful group of people who contact us monthly and merely ask for our prayer points. They want to know about ministry opportunities, but more importantly, they want to know some of the personal things we need prayer for in our lives. What is so encouraging about this faithful team of prayer warriors is that we know that they are praying for us. When we visit the US, they ask us specifically about the things that they have been praying for our family. We are exceptionally grateful for the prayers and the encouragement of knowing someone is there for us. Thank you to our Harvest team at Grace Church.

This update will not be a list of things we are doing, but merely prayer points.

Family

  • Becca's wedding in April
  • Hope's pregnancy and the birth of her baby in March
  • Caroline starting a new year of school (Year 8)
  • Joshua working at Saylorville Church and PDI this year
  • Cathy and my adapting to new seasons of life with adult children, new in-laws and a grandchild

Ministry

  • The Edge - Leadership that sticks - 22 March
  • Reel Dialogue event - Mary Magdalene national screenings
  • Bible Study Fellowship beginning in February
  • Scripture classes in public schools beginning in February
  • Rouse Hill Bible Church - Growth and starting a new year
  • Russ attending the FELTS conference in Indonesia at the end of February
  • Raising support due to increased expenses from ABWE and support adjustments at supporting churches
We appreciate your prayers and know we are grateful for your support in 2018
Russ & Cathy Matthews

Leadership that sticks and a financial update

Welcome to 2018

We are excited about what the Lord will bring in the coming year. Thank you for all of your support and prayers in the past few years. There is a multitude of things coming through the various ministries of City Bible Forum, The Edge, Reel Dialogue, Rouse Hill Bible Church, Bible Study Fellowship and scripture classes.

Website

Keep up to date on our Facebook pages and websites for all of the upcoming events.

We are excited to announce to the new Edge website: theedge.live

Check out all of the latest details of upcoming events and videos from previous events.

What is next for The Edge? Leadership that sticks

What does leadership in the workplace look like today? What does 'leading on the edge' even mean?

Description of the topic: The way we work has changed dramatically in the past decade. More people are employed in non-traditional industries, working flexible hours and using technology to work anywhere. Expectations of leaders have become a moving target and it is hard to know how to lead and who to follow in this new era.

Speakers: Former NSW premier Mike Baird and Michelle Lim (KPMG, Westpac)

What is The Edge?

Short. Sharp. Smart. The Edge is a talk series that will live up to its name. Like TedEx, two expert speakers will address today’s topics in a short, but content-rich style. But we want to do more. After the talks, Dr. Justine Toh of the Centre for Public Christianity will allow you to interview the speakers and take them to the edge of the topic.

 Financial Update

Thank you for your continued support and prayers. It has been a blessed year for our family. In the coming year, we have a wedding, our first grandchild and the launch of new things in the various ministries.

One of the most exciting parts of these ministries is seeing people come to Christ through these works and His provision. We do our best to keep our supporters informed over the year and we are grateful for your role in these amazing evangelistic works in Australia.

One thing we committed to doing is communicating with you twice a year is our support levels. Our goal is to not focus on finances in most of our monthly communications, but we do desire to keep you up-to-date about our needs. With all of the ever-changing world economics, Australia has been affected by these ups and downs, but we have been very thankful for the continued support from all who have supported us regularly this year.

Monthly support: Due to changes in our support needs (Increases in support levels) and supporters changes in their opportunities to give, we are currently close to our 100% support level. To achieve our monthly support goal we will need to raise $310 per month for 2018.

A one-off need: We are looking to raise $5000 for the sake of supporting the work of The Edge and Reel Dialogue.

We appreciate the consideration from you or your churches when evaluating your upcoming budget discussions. You can give monthly to our ministry or give to the ministry with a one-off gift. The best way to give to our family and the ministries is through this link to ABWE.

Support: ABWE : RUSSELL W. & CATHY MATTHEWS (0132363)

Our family continues to give thanks to God for all you have done for us this year. Know we pray for our supporters regularly. Please keep in contact with us and send us any questions about our ministries or financial details.

Happy New Year and know that the adventure continues for our family.

Russ and Cathy Matthews

 

The Edge: Beyond Worry - Video links

Beyond Worry: 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 addressed the issues of anxiety, its causes, its effects and strategies in dealing with it.

Check out the links on our City Bible Forum YouTube Channel:

Dr Jee Kim, Peter Hughes and the panel discussion

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.

Thank you for your support for this event and for the incredible year at The Edge

Russ Matthews

 

Merry Christmas... Wow what a year! Thank you

Merry Christmas from the Matthews

It has been an incredible year of evangelistic events, Bible teaching and films. Thank you for all you do to support the ministries in Australia.

We launched The Edge this year, Reel Dialogue made a splash in theatres and we are still able to teach the Bible in the public schools. Next year is bringing a grandbaby, a wedding and new opportunities in reaching people for Christ. Please keep praying for all the Lord is doing in our nation.

We get requests for the names, websites and contact details for the people or groups we work with and we thought you would appreciate a simple list of these organisations. Check out their websites and contact us with any questions.

Our ministry partners

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 children's leader with Bible Study Fellowship

SRE - Scripture Reading - Cathy teaches scripture in the public schools\

ABWE - The church planting mission agency that we work in Australia and throughout the world.

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

Centre for Public Christianity  - Promoting the public understanding of the Christian faith

Vinegrowers - Col Marshall's ministry that  helps build churches around biblical discipleship: sacrificing, serving, speaking.

Have a great season and know we are thankful for you all.

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Matt, Joshua and Caroline