John 21:16a 16He said to him a second time, "Simon, son of John, do you love me?" He said to him, "Yes, Lord; you know that I love you."
We are so grateful to God for all He is doing in our lives.
I know throughout John 21, we find different applications of the word love in the Greek. Yet, in studying this word, love, many times we lose sight of who we love. The object of our affection is lost in the action that He calls us to do. In the passage, Jesus asks Peter to feed and tend His sheep. But we can only do that through our love of Jesus. It is easy in Christian ministry to begin to focus on the work or the people. This is good in a human sense, but if this is our focus, because the sheep and the work can be quite frustrating to care for, many times bitterness and frustration begin to enter into our thoughts. It was made apparent to me that our focus and our love has to be first to our Lord and Saviour, Jesus. Surprisingly, something I preach daily, but still have to be reminded to do. No wonder Jesus had to ask Peter three times if he loved his Lord. Only from this position of love for Jesus can we begin to love Christian work or love His people. I am thankful to be reminded to always remember my first love, Jesus.
Thanks for the prayers for the events going on this month and what is coming up soon.
Winning the City Dinner - This is an annual fundraising event for the ministry in the city. The three weeks prior to the event we had seven people registered and on the night we had 98 people attend. A great night to communicate the opportunities and the needs of the ministry in the city. We had many new people come along and we did get some new supporters. There are always room for more, please pray for more supporters of this unique and groundbreaking ministry, City Bible Forum. (Link provided on this website)
Fellowship plant- We had a great time in Coogee with an evangelistic event in the Eastern Suburbs. We met at a friends house, had a BBQ and a good talk from Al Stewart. There were 8-9 couples there and 50% of the room were not Christian. (with children there were 30+ people there the first night) Exciting night and has the potential for a fellowship. Please pray for the next event on 6 June. Could this be a new church in the future?
Pamper Day - Glorious Hope Baptist's women's group puts on an evangelistic event to reach the community around the church each year. Many of the women in the neighbourhood do not get to get their hair and nails done. So, the ladies of the church put on a Pamper Day with volunteer hairdressers and other nail & make up professionals. They have 60+ women come through and then have a lunch which includes an evangelistic talk. Cathy and the girls love assisting in this event. This year the first four women that Cathy served were Muslim and Cathy had the opportunity to pray with most of them. An exciting event for God's glory.
Dating, Rating and Mating ...a biblical perspective - Let me share a perspective on ministry in Sydney. I was asked to do a two part series for a young adults group in Bankstown. Worked all day on preparing for the Sydney Prayer Breakfast in the city. Took the train home and then I ate dinner with a good Lebanese friend at Habib's Charcoal Chicken shop (Yummy), then go to the church and speak on Dating (finishing with a gospel presentation on the ultimate relationship with Jesus) to a group of 40-50 young people and then counseled a young Iraqi Christian on his relationship with his Maori (native New Zealand) girlfriend. How they can live godly in their relationship and whether they should get married. No one can train you for this experience, the Lord has done some amazing things in our lives (There is a video link for this series on this website and on Russ Matthews Facebook account.)
Furlough - We could use your prayers on this area. We are excited to see our family, friends and church families, but it will be hard to be away from home (Yes, Sydney is home) and all that the Lord has opened up to us here in Sydney. Here are some key prayer points:
- All of the paperwork will be completed prior to leaving
- We will be able to organise all things for the ministries while we are away
- We will be able to be part of a swearing in ceremony for citizenship prior to July
- We need a van for our time from Maryland to Iowa and while we are in Iowa
- Extra finances for the trip: Higher plane costs, fluctuating exchanges rates and additional costs in the US have put a pinch on the budget
- Churches in the US will see the need for the work in Australia and the opportunities that the Lord has allowed us to be included and God would be glorified in this whirlwind tour of the US
Thank you for your continued prayers and support. Exciting & exhausting days, but we are grateful to be part of all the Lord is doing in Australia.
The adventure continues...
Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua & Caroline