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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

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

Bigger Questions - Is there an even better story?

...than the 600 films released each year

We love films. Every year Hollywood releases around 600 films. 

Why do we love films so much? And why do some have such a profound effect on us? Is there an even better story that films might provide a way into?Also, do our film choices point to something bigger in our lives?

Russ Matthews was recently in the studio with the Bigger Questions team. He had a great time discussing film, culture and life's bigger questions.  Russ is the film reviewer with Insights Magazine, Russelling Reviews, Reel Dialogue, City Bible Forum and Entertainment Fuse.

What is 'Bigger Questions?' 

Bigger Questions is a radio show recorded in front of a live audience in Melbourne's CBD.

A guest is interviewed on a particular topic or theme. We hear their story and their reflections on a short passage from the Bible. The concept is a fun and thoughtful forum - all recorded in half an hour at lunch.

Check out more from Bigger Questions and be a part of a stimulating public forum in Melbourne that reflects this great, thoughtful city. Who said exploring the big questions of life shouldn't be fun?

Prayer points for the next few months: Australia Day is the 're-set' button

The new year brings new possibilities and exciting opportunities for ministry in Australia. City Bible Forum, Reel Dialogue, Rouse Hill Bible Church, Scripture classes and Bible Study Fellowship have moved into ministry mode and we could use your prayers.

Just a friendly reminder that Australia is at the end of summer and this is when all things begin afresh. After Australia Day on 26 January, the country comes back into the reality of work, school and ministry work. Not that these things stopped during the summer, but Australia Day is like the 're-set' button. People get back to life and we hope to be in the thick of it all.

Here are the prayer points for the first few months of the year:

The Conversation: Change your mind, change the world

Venue: Dendy Opera Quays

Cost: $25 per attendee

Frequency:  Once a month, One hour (During school term) Mar, May, June, Aug, Sept, Oct, & Nov

Preferred times and nights: Straight afterwork; 6-7:30pm;  Thursday 

Format: TEDtalk style with Q&A

  • Multiple speakers on the same topic. 
    • Two speakers on the same topic with an interactive Q&A at the end
    • Both speakers having 15 minutes to communicate their position 
The topic that is up for consideration is The Imposter Syndrome. 
Reel Dialogue - Silence national pre-screening + Take 2

Reel Dialogue has been an exciting new initiative at City Bible Forum. Thank you to all who have been supporting us throughout the years.

We have had an unprecedented number of events in the last few years and we are looking forward to more in 2017.

Silence is the next Reel Dialogue screening. (It is at capacity) We have screenings in Perth, Brisbane, Melbourne and Sydney.

Due to the length of the film, we are not able to have a panel discussion after the film, but that does not mean we cannot discuss the themes of the film.

Here is your opportunity...

We are going to introduce a new initiative - Take 2

What to expect:

  • Table discussion on film, faith and the bigger questions of life
  • Experts in the field discussing themes
  • Explore the Biblical applications to the themes
  • Coffee and drinks
Rouse Hill Bible Church - We welcome Nathan and Kristin Muse from the US to be part of the church.
Scripture in the public schools - As the school year begins, Cathy will begin teaching in the coming weeks. Pray for the class she will have and the children's receptiveness to the Bible. (remember, we have a year round school schedule that begins in January)
Personal notes
  1. Caroline begins High School - We do not have middle school, which means our year 7 student begins her venture into high school
  2. Joshua internship at Saylorville Church - Josh is spending his gap year in the US. He will serve alongside the sound and technology team at Saylorville.
  3. Hope and Matt celebrated their first anniversary
  4. Hope and Becca began the new year of teaching
Thank you for your support and prayers!
Tha Matthews

 

Thank you for your support - A friendly reminder from ABWE

We want to thank all of our supporters and pray that you have a wonderful new year. Just a friendly reminder from ABWE, we want to ensure you get the tax benefits for 2015.

Please make sure that all 2015 provisionals and checks from donors have been sent to Donor Services no later than January 6, 2016, so the donors can still get the tax deduction in 2015. If you have any questions please feel free to contact donor help at either 800-901-2293 or donorhelp@abwe.org

Thank you for all you do for our family. Please keep praying for the ministries in Australia!

Happy New Year...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

Creation and The Age of Adaline

We would appreciate your prayers for some of the upcoming events in Sydney:

Russ will be speaking on the purpose of creation at Rouse Hill Bible Church. We will be travelling through Psalm 104, we will look at the majesty of creation, but try to find the purpose of it all.

Pray as we engage on this massive topic of God's creation and its purpose.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

The Forum goes to the Flicks: The Age of Adaline

City Bible Forum will be hosting an engaging evening of film and discussion with some of the industry's commentators. After the film, Ben McEachen (Empire Magazine, Open House) and Renee Brack (Writer and industry professional) will discuss the film and what it says about life and eternity.

Please pray for the evangelistic opportunities from this event.

Details on citybibleforum.org/sydney

Praising the Lord for a wonderful weekend with Dr. Mark Harwood

Why won't they listen? Have you wondered why your witnessing falls flat and people fail to respond? Many comment that science has disproved the Bible and therefore it is not relevant to today's modern world. But what's the answer? Can the majority of scientists really be wrong?Dr Mark Harwood delivered a powerful message 'Going Where the Evidence Leads' on Sunday 22 March.

The conversations about creation were wonderful and challenging for our church family.

Details on rousehillchurch.org

Adjustments of post-furlough

It has been great getting home, but the realities of the life of ministry have set in. There are many different things that we are excited to participate, but now is the time to determine what is the right things for us to put our efforts. Pray that we continue to follow the Lord's direction for all things.

We are grateful for your prayers and support.

The Matthews family

 

Life lessons from cross-country

1 Corinthians 9:24 Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it.

I look back fondly on my years of high school and university cross-country. There were good days and bad days, but these lessons still impact my life today. Also, being a Christian, I have come to appreciate how running has provided life-lessons and a multitude of sermon analogies.

Top 10 lessons from cross-country

  1. Run despite the weather
  2. You can talk and run at the same time
  3. Value rest
  4. Never run injured
  5. Hills are better than the flat
  6. Stay hydrated
  7. Good shoes make the difference
  8. A bad day running is better than not running at all
  9. Knowing your limits, but pushing ahead anyway
  10. We run individually, but we finish as a team

My daughter asked me the other day, why 1 Corinthians 9:24 is my favourite verse?

I love to run. I have been running for over 30 years. It has provided many great experiences in life and I have been privileged to run in countries all around the world. Just give me a good pair of running shoes, a course to run and I will go see the world. Running through the city streets and the countryside, the runner's perspective of things is an amazing experience. Seeing the sites, experiencing the smells and being amongst the people, regardless of the language and culture barriers, running allows unique access to the world.

The Apostle Paul used a multitude of sporting analogies to share about the work that he was doing sharing the Gospel throughout the world. I do not think he was a runner, but he shared a similar mindset that helped with his rigorous efforts and single minded focus for the spread of God's message. In the words of 1 Corinthians, Paul was not condoning a work based faith, but the willingness to do all that he could with the life that was given to him for the sake of serving God. To the end of his life, or the metaphoric race, he would serve the Lord with all that he had been given.

I cherish the opportunity to run and the many lessons I have learned. But even more, I cherish the grace and mercy  given to me by God. I hope I can utilise the life I have been given to finish the race well and serve Him throughout my life.

Thanks goes out to Coach Chuck Knutsen, the Apostle Paul and Jesus for these lessons.

2 Timothy 4:7

I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. 

Written by Russell Matthews @ Matthews Down Under

The four keys to happiness + school starting

It was an exciting few weeks. We have been preparing for The Forum: The four keys to happiness with Dr. Sam Chan. We had the challenges of new venues, new times and new speakers. The team was actively engaged in prayer for the launch of these events.

We have breakfasts, lunches and evening events for people to invite their work colleagues to each week. An opportunity to hear from God's Word and ask questions of our speakers.

The response was thrilling to see. We had full rooms for both events. New faces, great questions and positive response to Sam. We are truly praising the Lord for the numbers and pray the ministry will grow in 2015.

Please continue to pray for these events for 2015. Check out upcoming events in the city

 

School begins

It was a wet beginning, but it was great for Josh and Caroline to get back to school. They missed their school mates and classes. It is a big year for Josh in preparing for the HSC. (High school Certificate exam)

Pray for them and their school year.

Psalms & Esther

Pastor Ben Kwok and I will be working through Psalms and Esther in the beginning of 2015. Rouse Hill Bible Church has put an emphasis on evangelism for the year. Pray as we prepare and invite our friends, neighbours and workmates to church.

Thank you for your support and prayers,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope Josh and Caroline

The big question of furlough

We have had a great furlough experience. Sharing with churches and individuals about City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes and the culture of Australia. Thank you for all of the questions about the work in Sydney and concern for our family. Throughout all of the small groups and church presentation there tends to be an awkward pause and then someone asks about.... money. It is understandable why it is awkward, but our answer is pretty straight forward.  The key things we need assistance with during this furlough are a missions vehicle, living expenses while in the US and funds for the ministry.

Here are the key links to support these ministry needs.

Funds for ministry vehicle

A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we appreciate the support. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle.

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

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

With the ministry in Australia, we are taking the Good News to where people spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organisation City Bible Forum, The team is sharing Christ inside businesses and training Christians to reach their unsaved coworkers with the gospel.

You can help us do more. Nearly $10,000 is needed to facilitate the final two 2014 series of The Forum, a bi-weekly public lunchtime discussion that welcomes seekers, questioners, and believers to learn more about the Bible inside their workplace. Your donation will help cover the cost of renting venue space and audio/visual equipment, along with paying for speaker fees and promotional materials.

Will you help us reach more Australians where they work?

If mailing a check: Please make it out to ABWE Foundation and include Urban Ministry-City Bible Forum L1410 in the memo line.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

This update is to take away the awkward tension of asking the big question of finances. If you are able to assist with these items, we are grateful.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Fun facts about Sydney, Questioning Faith and Genesis

  Fun Sydney facts: We are still amazed how little people know about Sydney and Australia. Prior to our furlough, we thought we would share some fun facts about this amazing city.

1. Sydney Harbour is the deepest natural harbour in the world with 504,00 mega litres of water.

2. Sydney is the 12th most expensive city in the world with property prices averaging USD8,717 per square metre.

3. The Sydney Harbour Bridge is the widest long-span bridge and tallest steel arch bridge in the world, and the 5th longest spanning-arch bridge according to Guinness World Records.

Questioning Faith at The Forum in April

Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed and an Atheist walk into The Forum....

At the Forum, we will look at the key different faiths (or lack of faith). Next week to the end of April the irrepressible Ian Powell will investigate the questions the world faiths seek to answer about peace, paradise, truth and freedom. An excellent opportunity for enquirers to ask their curly questions during Q&A!

Please pray for these evangelistic opportunities and for people to come along. We had record breaking attendance for the Resurrection Inquest! Thank you for your prayers.

Rouse Hill Bible Church

The Hosea series is complete and we are currently in a short money series. Easter will be an exciting time and then we will begin a Genesis series.

We are loving the church and the opportunity to serve alongside the church family at RHBC.

US ministry- we could use your help: The family will be heading back to the US at the later part of the year for our US ministry. We look forward to sharing all that the Lord has been doing in Sydney and Australia. We look forward to sharing stories of salvations, ministry opportunities and churches doing a great work. If you have the capacity to help with some of the costs of the travel,  please click on the give tab and enter these details: Matthews - Australia - Furlough expenses - 0132363

Link: GIVE to the Matthews airfare

Thank you for your prayers and support.

The adventure continues...

The Matthews family

3 days in Bangkok - The gravel & more questions: Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol 1, Chapter 5

The Urban Missions Summit was an amazing opportunity and I look forward to what the Lord will do with the weeks work. Thank you for your prayers and support of this visionary event. 

When asked to be part of this event, I asked one of the attendees if we are ready to be part of the foundation for the future of our mission going forward. After the meeting I feel like we are part of the gravel that is laid down before the foundation. We have much to do, but I think we are going in the right direction.

The result was to develop specifics for our existing ABWE teams and our American constituency through partnering, recruiting, educating and networking.

Preliminary steps would be:

1. To designate recruiters in the USA

2. To explore the potential for vision trips in the cities of Asia, especially for pastors

3. To supply stories of urban ministry in Asia for publications

There were some answers, but there were many more questions that will need answering.

The reps came from Cambodia, the Philippians, India, China, Thailand, Nepal, the US, Hong Kong and Australia for the Urban Missions Summit. There were networks developed, visions communicated and action steps considered. It was a great meeting and exciting list of possibilities for missions in the future. The meetings were in a room in downtown Bangkok. The time together was not secret, but the value and meaning to each of the attendees will be seen in the future.

The big question remains to be seen. Will ABWE, missionaries, churches, pastors and ministry partners see the opportunities in two key areas?

The first area for consideration is Asia (Australia is part of this area). The growth, finances and influence look to be moving this direction in the world. Do people see the need for reaching the vast people groups of this area of the world for Christ?

The second area of consideration is the cities. The growth, finances and influence for the various countries represented at the Summit are in the cities. Will ABWE and other missions consider this shift? Time will tell if this message catches on.

Many questions went unanswered:

  1. Will our communications and publications print material about the cities of Asia?
  2. Will funding from ABWE and our churches be considered for the cities of Asia?
  3. Will future missionaries begin to consider bi-vocational missions as an option to get the fields quicker? Also, will churches be willing to look at the cities and not just the ‘bush’ as viable mission consideration?
  4. Will organisations be willing to source missionaries from other areas of the world besides North America?
  5. Would missionaries look more to partnerships opposed to pioneer missions?

These are many of the questions that came from the summit. I do not think I can answer them now. I think the proof will be based on the fruit. Have the seeds of Urban Missions in Asia landed on rocky or good soil?

My opinion: I think the future of missions will continue to grow in the cities. Asia is the area of the world that the world is focussed on in politics, finances and missions. The big question of my skeptical Australian heart is... anyone is listening?

We will see… Keep praying

The adventure continues…

Urban Australian Missionary - Russell Matthews

Excited, Nervous and Thankful for Bangkok trip + a request for our future US trip

I will admit it, I woke up this morning excited and nervous about the today's trip to Bangkok. I did not sleep well last night. Thinking of all the things coming up in the next week and month. But today, I need to focus on travel, being away from my family, and preparing for meetings. These meetings have the potential to have a significant impact on ministry in our area of the world. Please pray for me,our family and the ABWE team this week. The details are below for this trip and for our trip later this year. Thank you for all who contributed to this event and for your prayers. Prayer points:

1. The Lord will work in the lives of all who are coming to the Summit and show us how we can reach more people for Christ in SE Asia.

2. Safety in travel to and in Bangkok. Also, for a safe return.

3. For the family while I am away for the week.

Goal of Urban Ministry Summit : to develop and implement an aggressive strategy to reach Asia through the cities.

City Ministry is a central theme of where we reach people for Christ. Thank you to all who have been praying and have supported the upcoming Urban Ministry Summit in Bangkok. Please pray for wisdom and strategies to reach into the cities of Asia/Pacific region. I hope to report some of the details surrounding the event. We have ministry leaders coming from all over the region and world to participate in this unique opportunity.

US ministry- we could use your help: The family will be heading back to the US at the later part of the year for our US ministry. We look forward to sharing all that the Lord has been doing in Sydney and Australia. We look forward to sharing stories of salvations, ministry opportunities and churches doing a great work. We have saved over the past four years for the trip, but costs are higher and we find that we will need some assistance with the airfare and travel. Tickets will cost around $15,000. If you have the capacity to assist with this request, please click on the give tab and enter these details: Matthews - Australia - Furlough expenses - 0132363

Link: GIVE to the Matthews airfare

Thank you for all you do for our family. We look forward to seeing many of you this year. Please keep praying for the ministries in Sydney, Australia and Southeast Asia.

The adventure continues...

Russ Matthews

Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol. 1, Chapter 2 - Why Cities Matter

Here is the forward by Tim Keller from Stephen Um and Justin Buzzard's Book, Why Cities Matter: "Christians, particularly in America, are generally negative toward cities. Several mission executives have told me over the years that we need to send missionaries to the fast growing cities of the world (as well as to the regenerating cores of Western cities), but very few American Christians have lived in urban centers or even like them.

We need churches everywhere there are people, but the people of the world are moving into the great cities of the world much faster than the church is. And therefore we must call Christians to better understand and care for cities, and we must call more Christians to consider living and ministering in cities."

This is worth considering when defining missions, especially when many Christians still qualify and quantify missionaries by how remote or different the culture is from their own.  

Here are a few other points from Keller on analysing Paul's missionary journeys and key benefits of the cities. 

The Apostle Paul :

1. Went ot the cities to preach and only planted churches in the cities

2. He was urban-centric in his mission

3. Paul left the country ministry for the churches he planted to reach with the Gospel

Key benefits of mission in the city: 

1. People are constantly going through changes, which causes the city to be less conservative and open to new ideas.  If you want to reach the world you try to reach cities. The world is in the cities where people are more open to the gospel than they would be in the country.

2.  The ministry worker can win not just individual people, but win the world. The missionary can  go to Morroco for ten years and do mission or go to London and reach the world. Because Christians concentrated on cities, a high percentage of cities were Christian by AD 300.

3. You need to reach the city in order to reach the culture. Chruches in cities are the only hope that the things coming out of the culture will change the culture and ministers must reach the whole city to reach the world. We need multi-ethnic churches and we need to reach the elites of the city for the benefit of the  culture.

4. My overused and favourite quote of Tim Keller:  As the cities go so goes the culture.

These are a few more thoughts of the mission going to the city. Not at the expense of the country ministry, but for the future of the Gosepl work in the culture and for the world.

Just a few thoughts, what are yours? 

A few prayer points:

1. New sermon series at Rouse Hill Bible Church

2. New series and season at City Bible Forum

3. Kids heading back to school

4. Bible Study Fellowship begins soon

Thanks for your prayers and support and the adventure continues...

The Matthews

Written by Russell Matthews for Matthews Down Under

Urban Ministry Chronicles Vol 1, Chapter 2- Why focus on cities?

Many people may not want to admit it, but one of the biggest fears  in considering missions is having to live in a hut in a remote area of the world. It does define living the missionary life for some, but it does not have to be for all. Cathy had voiced this concern when we were evaluating mission fields. A good friend who was a missionary in Hungary said, ' Cathy let me show you my hut.' As he pulled out his laptop and showed her their home in Budapest. A nice humble suburban house in Eastern Europe. It was a key turning point for Cathy, a calming effect on her that we did not have to live in a hut.

When it comes to choosing a mission field. I believe that The Lord directs. When we came to the realisation that Sydney would be our mission home. Many were fascinated, some questioned and a few discouraged us.

'Tough culture & too modern' 'It is the missionaries graveyard' 'Why not go where it is easier and less expensive?' 'Australia: They don't need missionaries!' (97% of the population does not know Christ)

I appreciate people's concerns, but I think the problem was their perspective of missions. For most, it is not in cities or in modern countries. Also, just because it is 'easy' for some, does not mean it is where all should go to minister.

It was not too long ago the push for missions was Eastern Europe, China and then the 10/40 Window. In 2014, boundaries and cultures are blurred.

In the study of urban ministry, I found a great article that was composed from the emails that Tim Svoboda had put forward To his mission organisation. I will add the link below.

A few quotes for consideration:

"East is moving West and South is moving North. Amsterdam is home to 180 nations. The whole former British empire lives in London. Paris is quickly become African and Germany is becoming Turkish while Toronto is becoming Chinese. San Francisco is now 38% Asian."

"Bangalore operates in Urdu, Hindi, Telegu, Tamil, Malayalam, Kannada, English and more. The world has moved to the cities. Mission is no longer geographical distant. It is now cultural distant while being located just across the street in our own cities around the world. In the past missions was primarily about going over the ocean, through the jungle, across the desert to reach the remote. Today it is quickly becoming about crossing the street in the cities where we live."

We need to focus on the whole city...

"That means ministry to the powerful and powerless, to the middle class, to the migrants, to the poor, to the business community, neighbourhoods, to the upper class, unreached people groups, the seven spheres of society, the university campus, issues of injustice, mercy ministries, evangelism and all that the city gives us opportunity to serve."

There is so much more to the article, but the primary thrust is in modern missions we are not limited by borders. We need to consider the mix of the city. The opportunities of the city and the challenges of the city.

I think the more people begin to challenge the perspective of missions. The more people would consider doing missions work.

To stress, this is not an anti-rural missions message, but a pro-missions message. Last time I looked at the great commission, the message was to go into the whole world to reach people for Christ. Not just the remote tribes in India or Africa (they need missionaries, too), but to all of the world.

Have you thought of the cities of the world as mission fields?

Push back, I love the discussion.

Thanks for reading,

Russell Matthews

www.ywamkb.net/kb/Why_YWAM_needs_to_focus_on_Cities

A year of extremes... Thankful and looking to 2014

"The Word became flesh and took up residence among us. We observed His glory, the glory as the One and Only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth" - John 1:14 We want to thank you for all of your support and prayers over 2013. It has been an amazing year of celebrations and challenges.

You can look through our 2013 updates and see many of the events, life changes and opportunities to glorify our Saviour.

Ministry highlights:

1. Moving to Rouse Hill Bible Church and serving with Pastor Ben Kwok

2. Pastor and Marilyn Nemmers visit

3. Leadership Forum with John Anderson & Andrew Scipione

4. Westpac Bank In House evangelistic events and Bible studies

5. Preaching through Revelation at RHBC

6. Bible Study Fellowship leadership conference (Cathy)

7. Another great year at BSF and working in the children's ministry (Cathy)

8. Secret Hollywood Forums in July

9. The privilege of working with the City Bible Forum team for another year

10. Record attendance at evangelistic events in In House groups

11. The men's Bible study in Judges and the women's Bible study in Proverbs at RHBC

Family highlights:

1. Girls successful transition to child care work

2. Caroline's violin recital

3. Joshua voted as team player of the year for AFL team

4. Mitch, Melissa, Ben & Alex Matthews coming in July

5. Transitioning into our new home and loving our community

Thank you for all you have done to pray and support our ministries. Here is a look into some of our ministry opportunities and how you can help this year.

Giving thanks 

Christmas is about celebrating God's gift of grace to us in Jesus Christ. It is too easy to forget this marvellous gift in the midst of end of year deadlines, parties and overall busyness.

Let's stop and give thanks for the abundant blessings God gives us.

We thank God for:

• The wonderful 100+ people who joined us at The Office Party last month. We opened up our new office to share music and tasty nosh, pass the prayer point bucket and to give thanks for the Sydney ministries this year

• Your generous support in prayer and financial giving this year

• The courage in inviting their colleagues to City Bible Forum activities in 2013 and for sharing the good news of Jesus with them

Tyson's story: Watch how God is changing lives in the city... 

Partner with us...  Here is a sneak peak at the new City Bible Forum logo and tagline Ask the bigger questions.

We hope and pray that it will motivate city workers around Australia to ask the bigger questions about their life, that they would hear the gospel, repent and trust in Jesus.

Would you like to partner with us in workplace ministry? There are numerous ways to participate through prayer and regular giving.

We are on a year end budget push. If any would be able to assist us we would appreciate the assistance with our $10K need for the end of the year. If you give, please send it through the bottom link and note it for the purpose of the Matthews.

As 2013 closes and the new year approaches, we hope that you can prayerfully consider becoming a regular financial and/or prayer partner. Thank you for your consideration.

Thank you for all of your love, prayer and support and we pray you have a great Christmas and New Year.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Life, The Universe and August

 To our prayer partners and supporters,

Rouse Hill Bible Church: Thank you for your prayers for the Revelation series we are doing at Rouse Hill Bible Church. We have visitors coming this week and ask for the Lord to do his work through the church.

3 birds, One stone :
I had a great lunch with a young city worker the other day. My goal was to get feedback from him on recent events and to recruit him to the Big Investment. I ended up with than I had planned from our time together.
1. A few months back, I had a talk with him and another young worker about In house ministry. He told me about his work inside Origin Energy and his response to a talk I had with him a few months ago about starting an In House group. Since our talk, he has started gathering Christians within Origin and has started bringing them to City Bible Forum with the plan to start a bible study in Origin.
2. He brought along a non-Christian friend to The Wolverine movie event. He was able to have a great discussion over dinner with Joe and other friends about the points from the Panels talks: Resurrection & the Saviour figure. He went on to tell me of other discussions he had other friends who had many questions about Christianity. Many of his other non-Christian friends were interested because  a group called 'City Bible Forum' was putting on such an event, which lead him into quite a session of apologetics on biblical issues. He really loved the Secret hollywood event and hoped we did it again in the near future.
3. When we got to the conversation about the Big Investment, he already had it in his diary. He is keen to look into part time ministry work and looked forward to hearing about the options with City Bible Forum. He is coming and he has recruited two other friends, too.
It was a great conversation and encouraging for me. I thought I would pass the encouragement onto to you. I am grateful we do not operate as solo entities in ministry, but as a team. I am thankful for all the work that this team does together.
Please pray for the following events:

Life, the Universe and August...

What an exciting August we have ahead of us!

An Australian first, Prof Krauss and Dr William Lane Craig grapple with cosmic questions at the Sydney Town Hall...

At lunch Bioethicist Dr Megan Best grapples with the ethics of abortion, and Al Stewart answers your questions about suffering...

And Sydney-siders can decide if there is Reason for God, and if they'd like to invest their time in ministry.

Life, the Universe and Nothing was amazing!

An Australian first, Prof Lawrence Krauss and Dr William Lane Craig discussed Why is there something rather than nothing?, moderated by ABC broadcaster Dr Rachael Kohn.

2000 people came along, agnostics, atheists, Christians and many more backgrounds. There was be live Q&A and great discussion. Dr Craig did a good job of presenting the Christian worldview.

Share us and contribute your questions on Facebook...

Special lunch talks with Dr Megan Best and Al Stewart

Last week, Dr Megan Best sensitively address the topic of abortion. In Fearfully and wonderfully made, she explained the biology of the unborn human and examine the conflicting tensions between screening out abnormalities and seeking cures. And as a Christian, Megan evaluated our current practices against the Bible's teaching on the unborn.

Read more about Megan Best...

This week, Al Stewart will address your tricky questions in an extended Q&A on suffering: What to do when life is hard.

Read more about Suffering Q&A...

Join us on Facebook... 

The Reason for God

Following on after the debates and discussions, we currently have over 70 people interested in coming to this evangelistic event, The Reason for God.

Have you ever asked yourself or been asked these questions:

Isn't the Bible a myth? Hasn't science disproved God? How can you say there is only one way to God? And why does He allow suffering?

We're running two 6-week series of the DVD based The Reason for God sessions in the city, grappling with these and other common questions about Christianity.

The Big Investment: considering ministry?

Are you a young worker? Have you been thinking about investing your time and talents in ministry?

You are invited to The Big Investment, a special evening with Al Stewart, Peter Kaldor, Russ Matthews and others who will share their insights on part-time or full-time ministry in the CBD.

Thanks to you all and goodonya for making it through this update!
It is a busy month and we appreciate your prayer. More about the family on our Facebook site, Matthews Down Under.
The adventure continues...
Russ, Cathy, Hope, Becca, Joshua & Caroline

The bittersweet experience of overseas ministry

Luke 18:29-30 29 And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you, there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, 30 who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”

My brother and his family were here this past week. It was a great time together. I have never heard the word 'Awesome' so many times in one week. We have not seen them for over three years. As they were about to leave, our youngest stated, 'Why do other people get to have their uncles and aunts close? Why do we always have to say good-bye?'

A great question and not one that I can answer fully. It is sweet to spend time with family and friends while serving on a foreign field, but bitter to have to send them off and say 'Good-bye.'

Yet, this is where the Lord has sent us to work. there has never been a doubt about it. This has become home. We do love it here, but we would admit the hardest part about this work is being away from our family.

The key thing that we can take comfort in is the mercies and promises of God. He gives us promises in His Word about this very thing and one thing we can say is that our family will be able to be with our family, that knows Christ, throughout eternity. So, sweet reunions in this life and the next.

A double comfort in those bittersweet times of saying 'Good-bye.'

Better yet, see you later in this life or the next. Whichever the Lord wills.

The adventure continues... Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Now that is real football! The season begins

AFL season begins Even though we  were thrilled the Ravens won the Super Bowl (three of our kids were born in Baltimore and Cathy is from Maryland). We are even more excited about the beginning of Australian Rules Football soon beginning. Josh will be playing again this year. This will be his 5th year of AFL.

Watch the promotional clips, it is a bit different than NFL. AFL promo: dont click if you are squeamish ;)

Different country, different rules. Same applies to doing missions.

Pray we are able to be light for the Lord amongst the players and their families in 2013.

When we come back to our churches in 2014, we would love to teach the youth groups this great game. Of course, not the tackle version. Come on, Americans need pads to play football. we will go soft on you all. This is Australia, mate!

Are you getting our updates?

Week of updates

2013 is looking to be an excited year for ministry in Australia. We wanted to try a series of shorter updates this week. Giving you some of the key things that will be happening in the coming weeks in our various ministry centres in Sydney. If you are a regular supporter or reader of our updates, we would love to hear from you.

Could you just drop us a quick line to acknowledge that you are getting our updates? Also, love to get your feedback on how we can improve our updates.

Email: matthewsdownunder@gmail.com

Thanks for taking to time and for your support of our family.

To get our updates go to matthewsdownunder.com and click on the free RSS feed.