City bible Forum

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. 


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

With the craziness of Christmas around the corner... we appreciate your prayers

Thank you for your prayers for The Edge / Beyond Worry event. We had a full house and great feedback from the event. Please pray as we follow through with all who came along and look ahead to 2018.

Specific feedback
“Great combination: to hear the scientific and personal stories was very helpful” Jessica H
“The topic and delivery of this was relevant, engaging, informative, personal, and in touch. Thank you for pulling this session together. This was the most helpful talk that I have heard on Christian world view and mental health issues. This was really helpful!” Julie H
“It was wonderful - so much information but snappy, easy to understand and venue was easy to get to.”
“Probably the best Edge this year” Joshua L

Upcoming Events for prayer consideration

Reel Dialogue is proud to partner with Icon Films to offer a special pre-screening event of The Man Who Invented Christmas

After the film, The Big Picture's Mark Hadley and The Edge's Justine Toh will be on a panel to discuss the history and themes brought about by the film.

Please pray for the evangelistic opportunities of this event as we challenge people to consider  the joy of the season and the real 'inventor of Christmas.'

Synopsis: Based on the book by Les Standiford, THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS tells the story of how Charles Dickens (Dan Stevens from TV’s Downton Abbey) actually revived the holiday of Christmas with his self-published novel, A Christmas Carol. Facing pressure with looming debt, a feckless father (Jonathan Pryce) and recent critical failures, Dickens confront his past by conjuring up fantastic characters including Ebenezer Scrooge (Christopher Plummer), for his now classic Christmas tale. Full of wit and warmth, THE MAN WHO INVENTED CHRISTMAS will bring out the holiday spirit in everyone.

What if there was no Christmas?

30 November

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

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

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

Family prayer requests and praises for the rest of the year

Praises

  • Successful conclusion to The Edge ministries for 2017 and plans for the 2018 season
  • The announcement that Hope and Matt Gibb are expecting thier first child and our first grandchild  in February
  • Growth of the Bible Study Fellowship, SRE and Reel Dialogue ministries in 2017

Requests

  • Wisdom with plans for the ministry efforts for City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church in 2018
  • The Lord would bless the plans and wedding of Becca and Warrick
  • Wisdom and direction for Joshua in the US (Provision of a car)
Thank you for your prayers and support
Russ, Cathy and the family

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

October is here and things start happening

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

The Edge: Beyond Worry

12 October:  The science and stories behind anxiety, fear and depression. 

As a nation we have never been richer, and yet we have never been so anxious. For many Australians anxiety affects all of life, for others of us, it’s constantly in the background. What are the causes of anxiety? Where does this fear and heartache come from? What are the biological, mental and even spiritual factors that cause it? Are there solutions for those who suffer from anxiety, or those who wish to help others who do?

At The EDGE on 12 October our two expert speakers, Dr Jee Kim and Peter Hughes will address the issue of anxiety, its causes, its effects and strategies in dealing with it. This is the final Edge for 2017, pray that many people would come along to hear the talk and consider how the Gospel provides answers in this area of people's lives.

Speakers :

Dr Jee Kim graduated from the University of New South Wales (UNSW) in Australia with the prestigious University Medal in Psychology. She has completed a PhD at UNSW. She is now the Head of Developmental Psychobiology laboratory at the Florey Institute of Neuroscience and Mental Health/University of Melbourne.

Peter Hughes has a degree in neuropsychology and has worked extensively in pastoral care and Christian ministry across many socioeconomic groups. He has many years of front-line experience in dealing practically with those who suffer from anxiety.

Our moderator: Justine Toh is Senior Research Fellow at the Centre for Public Christianity. She worked at Fairfax Digital and Reuters Australia before completing her doctorate in Cultural Studies at Macquarie University. Justine speaks and writes about the way the Christian story renews all of life and is especially interested in exploring big questions of meaning and purpose through the (seemingly) mundane moments of the everyday.

What if there was no Christmas?

30 November

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

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

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

ABWE Australia - Changes

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

Rouse Hill Bible Church

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

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

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

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

Russ & Cathy Matthews

 

The Edge: Behind the magic - Why do films matter? - City Bible Forum event

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What does the film industry do to keep you coming back for more?

Each and every year, people line up all over the world so they can hand over billions of their hard-earned dollars, to sit in a dark room together … and dream.

Hollywood, Bollywood and dozens of other movie industries exercise an undeniable influence over our public consciousness. They are the modern myth-makers. Their stories excite our imaginations, shape our aspirations and inform our expectations.

Why do some films soar while others bomb? Which stories are destined to find a home in our hearts – and why? In short, what’s the formula to creating Movie Magic?

Join us at the Edge

Join us at the Edge on 22 June to consider why movies still matter, and why there are only 3 Australian films.

When you register, you may also buy tickets for a special screening of The Case for Christ.

Why movies still matter

Thanks to the Internet, we’ve got thousands of hours of streaming TV at the flick of switch, and millions of miniature stories to follow on our portable devices. But two-hour movies still persist as a major medium.

Despite technological changes, these long-form tales continue to occupy the heights of story-telling. Some succeed; some flop. Others annoy the critics but still do well at the box office.

One thing is for certain: genres may wax and wane, characters enter and exit, but our 150-year fascination with film shows no sign of faltering.

Giles Hardie has an enviable CV: he watches film for a living. He is a regular entertainment reporter and critic for the ABC, as well as the Assistant Showbiz Editor for Daily Mail Australia. His opinions air nationally across ABC radio, are collected in the Culture Wars podcast, and distilled for your reading pleasure in Time Out Sydneyand ABC online.

There are only 3 Australian films

The Australian film industry is a collection of diverse stories that highlight the rich panoply of people, histories and faith-positions that make up our culture – or not.

New, locally produced titles surface at the cinemas with seasonal regularity but, like those seasons, they present strangely familiar themes.

In fact there are only three genres that appear to make it from pitch to popcorn – and they say a great deal about the way we see our world.

Mark Hadley gets paid for telling true stories. As a documentary scriptwriter, he’s worked for all of the big acronyms: the BBC in Britain, PBS in the United States, the ABC and SBS in Australia, as well as all of our home-grown commercial networks. He works all over the world, but lives in Sydney where he writes regular reviews and co-hosts the national radio show, The Big Picture.

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.

 

More details at citybibleforum.org

 

 

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

As we prepare for a short furlough, we wanted to repost these details for our supporters. Over the past we have had the privilege to work alongside some amazing organisations. Through Facebook, our website and conversations we have mentioned various ministry connections. We get requests for the names, websites and contact details for these people or groups. We thought we would do a simple list of the organisations we work with regularly. Check out their websites and contact us with any questions.

Our ministry partners

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

City Bible Forum - Russ oversees evangelistic events and Reel Dialogue at City Bible Forum which is reaching city workers with the Gospel. Check out our latest promotional video 

Rouse Hill Bible Church - Pastor Ben Kwok and our church family in Rouse Hill, NSW Australia

Bible Study Fellowship - Cathy is a childrens leader with Bible Study Fellowship

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

Geneva Push - An amazing Australian initiative for effective church planting

Russelling Reviews - Russ' blog of recent reviews with a Gospel challenge

Reel Dialogue - Partnership with reviewer and editor Adrian Drayton with Gospel conversations through film

The Big Picture - Podcast and radio ministry work from cultural commentators Ben McEachen and Mark Hadley

Sow and Harvest - ABWE Australia's publishing

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

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

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Jesus the game changer

Please be praying as we begin a new series in the corporations of Sydney

Jesus the game changer

How the life and teaching of Jesus changed the world and why it matters.

We will begin the series with an introduction to Jesus

Establishing the historicity of Jesus, and, to a certain extent, the Gospels as accurate source material for His life and teaching. It also shows the centrality of Jesus’ place in the narrative of human history.

Thank you for your prayers and support of this work at City Bible Forum

Video trailer of the series

 

Help us to take people to The Edge

What is The Edge? 

Everything has an edge. The edge of society, where conformity ends and creativity begins. The bleeding edge of technology. The edge of reason.

City Bible Forum and the Centre for Public Christianity invite you to take a look over the edge. To understand where our current thinking is taking us. To see what’s happening now, what’s coming next, and what you can do about it.

One hour, once a month, ideas that will set your teeth on edge. Two critical thinkers will take you on precise, TED-style 15-minute tours of a key social trend that’s transforming our world – then brace themselves for your questions.

Edge of your seat presentations. Opportunities to think for a change. Welcome to The Edge.

Why should people go to The Edge?

Why is it so easy to talk about weekend life around the water cooler, but not the meaning of life? Because Australians aren’t interested in pure religion. But they’re fascinated when faith mixes with the world they live in.

The Edge is a tailor-made opportunity to get your friends thinking. Once a month we’ll take our audience to the edge of a hot topic and challenge them to look over. To see what’s happening now, what’s coming next, and what they can personally do about it.

Two critical thinkers will deliver precise, TED-style 15-minute tours of a key social trend that’s transforming our world, and present the difference a faith in God can make.

Edgy, entertaining and guaranteed to get conversations going. Biblical content without the cringe. The Centre For Public Christianity’s Dr. Justine Toh will then open the floor to your questions so you and your friends can take the experts to the edge of their topic.

Edge of your seat presentations. Opportunities to help your friends think for a change.

Moderator: Dr Justine Toh

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.

Please be praying!

The Edge begins on 18 May

We need your help

Would you and your church be willing to support people taking it to The Edge?

We will be charging for the events, but we are hoping to gain supplemental support for the talks to keep ticket prices at an accessible level.

I have attached the links for The Edge to communicate the details of the funds we need to raise for these events and other projects. We need to raise $9500 for these events.

We are grateful for your prayers over the years and we would like to ask you to consider supporting this evangelistic endeavour or to consider presenting this proposal to your local church for potential support?

After reading through the details on the website, if you or your church would like to support the events. The support goes to the venue and audio/visual costs.

Here is how you can support The Edge in four easy steps:

1. Go to this link : ABWE 

2. Enter RUSSELL W. & CATHY MATTHEWS (0132363)

3. Enter the amount you want to contribute and send

4. Please pray for the events

If you or others choose to send in support, please have them email us. ABWE does not notify us when gifts are received and we would like to ensure the church or person giving are thanked for their additional support.

Also, watch for video content on the website and YouTube to follow the event.

Thank you for the consideration and please pray for The Edge in Sydney.

Russ & Cathy Matthews

More details about The Edge on our websites

Support that will take people to The Edge

The team in Sydney is looking forward to an exceptionally busy year in 2017 with our evangelistic endeavours at City Bible Forum. It has been a great year so far, but we have some exciting new projects coming up. We are looking to introduce a new evangelistic outreach called The Edge (Formerly, The Conversation) in May. All of the details are in place for a set of quality events to occur throughout the year, but we need some help.

We will be charging for the events, but we are hoping to gain supplemental support for the talks to keep ticket prices at an accessible level.

I have attached the details below for The Edge to communicate the details of the funds we need to raise for these events and other projects. We need to raise $10000 for these events.

We are grateful for your prayers over the years and we would like to ask you to consider supporting this evangelistic endeavour or to consider presenting this proposal to your local church for potential support?

After reading through the details, if people would like to support the events.

You can support send in their contribution by going to this link:

ABWE and entering RUSSELL W. & CATHY MATTHEWS (0132363)

If you or others choose to send in support, please have them email us. ABWE does not notify us when gifts are received and we would like to ensure the church or person giving are thanked for their additional support.

Thank you for the consideration and please pray for the upcoming evangelistic efforts in Sydney.

Russ & Cathy Matthews

 Details in place: 

1 The Edge: Thinking for a change

2 Venue: Dendy Opera Quays

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

5 Times and nights: Straight afterwork; 6:30-7:45pm;  Thursday

6 Formats: Two TEDtalk style talks with Q&A

Two speakers speaking for 15 minutes 

Talk 1 - Contestability (Head) - (Positive apologetic consideration)

Talk 2 -Plausability (Heart) - (Difference faith makes)

Thank you to the First Family Church team for an action packed adventure

Our family would like to thank the team from First Family Church for their willingness to come and serve alongside our family in Sydney.

It may not be known until eternity what sort of impact your service will have, but we are thankful now. One thing can be said about this team is that they took full advantage of every opportunity to share the love of Jesus.

All played a specific role and willingly jumped in to assist with anything that needed done.

We will add a pictorial depiction of their journey below

Here is a short list of their activities:

  • Set up and serve at the Tracy Trinita evangelistic event in Canberra
  • Work as the photography team at the Canberra event
  • Attended a 'real football game' - Australian Rule Football - GWS Giants v West Coast Eagles
  • Set up and participate in three Forum events in Sydney
  • Serve, set up and Keith Fortenberry preached two weeks  at Rouse Hill Bible Church
  • Provided Bibles to the students at a public primary school scripture class with Cathy Matthews
  • Through the support of the church and Vacation Bible School delivered Bibles for the use in other scripture classes in our community
  • Set up and and participated in the Lord of the Lens evangelistic event at Emmanuel Baptist Church (Attended by 70 men)
  • Help with set up and participation in the City Bible Forum national initiative - Reel Dialogue Ben Hur screenings - An evangelistic event with over 800 in attendance nationwide and over 200 in Sydney
  • Roy Meador lead Bible study at the City Bible Forum team meeting
  • Many on the team went out and did 'walk-up' evangelism in the streets of the Sydney Central Business District

This is just a few things that the team was able to experience. We cannot list all of the personal relationships that they were able to make in the short trip.

Thank you to Jay McFarling and your leadership on the team. Also, thank you to the First Family Church and the team for your support, sacrifice and impact that you had on our family, ministry team and church. You will be remembered fondly for years to come.

For all of our supporters, please pray for the work that these 'journeymen and journeywomen' had on the ministry field of Australia.

The adventure continues...

The Matthews

 

Here comes the First Family Church team... A trip that is bigger than Ben- Hur

 

Visting team from First Family Church

We are excited to have a visiting team from one of supporting churches in August. Please be praying for the team that will be joining us for our City Bible Forum national mission, Reel Dialogue event, city ministries, scripture classes and church events. We are thrilled to have the team along to serve in this exciting mission field.

Pray for their planning, their health, adapting to the Australian culture and for many opportunities for the team to engage with people with the Gospel.

The First Family Vacation Bible School helped to raise money for their journey and specifically to purchase Bibles for our scripture classes. We are so grateful for their sacrifice to come and serve.

Please be praying for Jay McFarling and the whole team.

What does that have to do with Ben Hur?

City Bible Forum and the Reel Dialogue team have been presented with the opportunity for pre-screening events that will centre on the Paramount release of Ben Hur in five cities in Australia.

The First Family team will be assisting with the evangelistic event in Sydney.

Partnering with Heritage Films and Paramount Pictures, Reel Dialogue is proud to offer a special pre-screening event of Ben- Hur.

The Reel Dialogue team would like to invite you to a night a cinema and discussion. We will screen the new adaptation of Ben-Hur and then enjoy a Reel Dialogue panel discussion with The Big Picture's Mark Hadley and Ben McEachen who will be joined up front by City Bible Forum's Sam Chan.

Synopsis of the film: BEN-HUR is the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston), a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

The panel will discuss the themes of the film and allow you to ask questions about the film.

Panel: 

Mark Hadley has been writing professionally for more than 20 years. He has been a journalist for most of that time, employed by a range of prominent radio, television and web publications including the ABC. In addition, Mark has been reviewing films, television programs and children’s books for the past ten years for Australian papers and magazines, nationally syndicated radio programs and internationally read web sites.

Ben McEachen is a professional film reviewer. Seriously. That's a real, paying job. And he's even been at it for more than a decade.  He has been editor at Empire magazine, film editor at The Advertiser, lead critic for several News Ltd Sunday papers and a regular fixture on 2GB, ABC and Showtime. Ben also contributes Christian-flavoured film reviews to Eternity newspaper, Hope 103.2 FM, War Cry and Insights magazines.

Sam Chan is a regular speaker at City Bible Forum. He is also a conference speaker, ethicist, ex-rugby player (Sydney Uni 5ths!), retired marathon runner and now a student of Krav Maga (his mid-life crisis activity). His PhD in theology examined the application of speech act theory to the theology of preaching. 

Tracy Trinita event

Another event that the First Family Church team will be assisting with during the the evangelistic events with Tracy Trinita.

As Indonesia’s first supermodel Tracy went on to model clothes for top designers such as Yves Saint Laurent, Jean Paul Gautier, Kenzo, and Benetton on the catwalks of New York, Milan and Paris. In Indonesia, Tracy also starred in movies and TV dramas.

You might imagine this was everything she’d hoped for in life. But surrounded by fame and glamour, she felt terribly empty. Real happiness eluded Tracy until she realised that people with faith were happier. But which faith? Her family had Muslims, Hindus, Christians, which faith should she consider? So Tracy cried out to God – “Please reveal yourself to me!”

You’re invited to hear Tracy tell how she finally met the designer she’s been modelling for since birth. Please pray for these events to be used for God's glory.

What else will the team be doing?

They will hit the ground running and not stop for the ten days that they are in Sydney.

Please pray for the team and for their experiences in Sydney.

Thank your your support and prayers. Please be praying for these events and more opportunities in the future.

The adventure continues... The Matthews

 

That crazy personal issue, The Forum, Sydney Prayer Breakfast and a visiting team

Thanks for your patience over the last few months. It has been an exceptionally busy month with personal events and ministry.

The crazy, personal event

We are grateful for all of your support and prayers. Russ had a bit of a health scare at the end of April and ended up in the hospital for a bit. Due to some irregularities in his heart rate and an abnormal ECG (EKG in the US) the doctors had to find out what was causing some of these health issues. After a few stressful weeks of tests, monitors and a shaved chest (Ouch! One of the most painful parts of the experience), the diagnosis was he has an athlete's heart (slightly thickened walls of the heart, due to regular exercise) which threw the ECG out of whack and stressful lifestyle. So, some healthy evaluation of lifestyle issues is in order, but all things are back to some level of order. We will keep you posted.

We have tried to keep this as a private and personal matter, but thought it would be worth asking for prayer. Thank you for all who have been involved in the process.

In amongst all of this and other personal challenges, we had a multitude of ministry situations come up. We are praising the Lord for these great opportunities to share the Gospel in some unique areas.

Rouse Hill Bible Church

It has been an exciting time at RHBC. We have been having multiple guests every week at the church as we are working through the Gospel of John.

Not only are we seeing new families and individuals, but they are staying to make this church their church home. In this we are seeing growth in all of our home Bible studies which means the leadership team is having to consider some of the upcoming challenges of church growth.

Please pray for Pastor Ben Kwok and the leadership team as we plan for 2017.

The Forum

We had a great series in June called 4 difficult questions /4 confronting answers. We saw many people engaging with the Gospel of Luke and new people coming along each week.

Also, the Bible studies in John at Westpac Bank continue to see many enquirers (Those who do not know Jesus, yet) coming along to learn more from the Gospel of John.

Please pray for the upcoming Forum series: Four Hard Truths That Will Set You Free

We live in a world that tells us:  you can do anything, be anything, believe in yourself, and all your dreams will come true.

To be blunt this is nonsense and makes for a world of disappointment and frustration. Jesus tells us some hard truths about life, and reality and yet ironically, embracing these truths will give us freedom and joy.

Sydney Prayer Breakfast

The Sydney Prayer Breakfast is an annual event for Christians to pray for the city of Sydney. Every year we have seen growth in this fantastic and encouraging event. We had close to 930 people come to the full room at The Westin.

The Governor of the Reserve Bank of Australia, Glenn Stevens, gave a great talk full of wisdom and insights into our world.

Please pray as we prepare for next year as we hope to get closer to 2000 attendees.

Visting tea from First Family Church

Please be praying for the team that will be joining us in August for the our national mission, city ministries, scripture classes and church events. We are thrilled to have the team along to serve in this exciting mission field.

Pray for their planning, their health, adapting to the Australian culture and for many opportunities for the team to engage with people with the Gospel.

We are so grateful for their sacrifice to come and serve. Please be praying for Jay McFarling and the whole team.

Thank your your support and prayers. Please be praying for these events and more opportunities in the future.

The adventure continues... The Matthews

 

Resources for 2016 ministries - Great resources and great Gospel partners - Please pray for them

We wanted to repost these details for our supporters. Over the past we have had the privilege to work alongside some amazing organisations. Through Facebook, our website and conversations we have mentioned various ministry connections. We get requests for the names, websites and contact details for these people or groups. We thought we would do a simple list of the organisations we work with regularly. Check out their websites and contact us with any questions.

Our ministry partners

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

City Bible Forum - Russ oversees evangelistic events and Reel Dialogue at City Bible Forum which is reaching city workers with the Gospel. Check out our latest promotional video 

Rouse Hill Bible Church - Pastor Ben Kwok and our church family in Rouse Hill, NSW Australia

Bible Study Fellowship - Cathy is a childrens leader with Bible Study Fellowship

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

Geneva Push - An amazing Australian initiative for effective church planting

Russelling Reviews - Russ' blog of recent reviews with a Gospel challenge

Reel Dialogue - Partnership with reviewer and editor Adrian Drayton with Gospel conversations through film

The Big Picture - Podcast and radio ministry work from cultural commentators Ben McEachen and Mark Hadley

Sow and Harvest - ABWE Australia's publishing

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

Throughout 2016, we will highlight some of these great ministry opportunities.

Thank you for your prayers and support,

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

 

Home again

Thank you for all of your prayers and support over furlough. We are back home in Sydney. We are looking forward to 2015. Please pray for the planning for the ministries of the coming year.

City Bible Forum, Rouse Hill Bible Church, scripture classes and Bible Study Fellowship

Unbroken on the radio 

Hope you can stay up to listen to 2CH 1170AM’s Sunday Night program next Sunday night, 11 January

Dominic Steele interviews City Bible Forum's film reviewer Russ Matthews about faith in the new film release, Unbroken

You can listen on-line or on that thing called a radio: 2CH

Russelling Reviews on the film Unbroken

Missions Vehicle

Thanks for your prayers and support for our missions vehicle. We are thrilled to announce that we received the funds for our vehicle.

 

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

Matthews Down Under Iowa tour - Cold, home sick, but warm welcomes

We will admit it, we have become a bit soft when it comes to the cold.

It is cold in Iowa. Most mornings have been well below freezing and snow has already arrived. This is a thrill for Caroline, since it is the first time she has experienced snow. But, even she admits going out into the cold has been quite an adjustment and makes us yearn for Sydney. Our time in Iowa and the US here has been great, but the cold is quite an adjustment. Yet, Iowa is still an amazing place to be during this time of year. There is a beauty to the countryside and the people.

We are in the last few weeks of our time with our supporters and family in Iowa. All of the churches have been welcoming  and we have been encouraged by the growth of many of the churches. We have enjoyed many dinners and times of prayer with supporters. These experiences have been humbling and invigorating. People have been receptive and excited about the various ministries at City Bible Forum and Rouse Hill Bible Church. Thank you to all of the churches and supporters for the warm welcomes in the cold winter months.

Please pray that we would finish our time in Iowa well, enjoy the celebration with friends and family during the Christmas holidays and celebrate with us as we look forward to getting home to serve in Sydney soon. Our schedule is pretty full until our departure for Sydney, but we hope to see more people before we leave.

Living for Jesus

The Living for Jesus course at Ankeny Free Church has been such a blessing. Over the last few weeks we have had a full room of people discussing the workplace as a mission field and how to share their faith with their work colleagues. We finish this coming week. Pray the Lord bless and people take the information on board and God is glorified through the work of Living for Jesus.

The course has been recorded and if anyone would like the notes and links, please contact me in the coming weeks.

Thank you to Pastor Colyer and the team at AFC. I has been a privilege to serve with you this month.

Funds for ministry vehicle

A specific project we are working on is replacing our current ministry vehicle. If you have the capacity to contribute to this project, we would appreciate the support. Our current van is a 2003 Toyota Tarago with 320km on the metre. We merely what to replace that vehicle with a similar vehicle. We need to raise $20K for this project.

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

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

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

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

Will you help us reach more Australians where they live?

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

Thank you for all you do for our family and please pray for the opportunities in the US over the next few weeks.

The adventure continues...

Russ, Cathy, Becca, Hope, Joshua and Caroline

 

* Just a friendly reminder: We do serve in Sydney and our spelling is based on Australian spelling. Thank you for reminders about our spelling, but we hope you understand that we live in a different country. 

 

The Big Picture, City Bible Forum project and ministry vehicle

It has been a busy month in the US, but some exciting things going on...

The Big Picture Missions Conference at Saylorville Church

We had a wonderful time at the missions conference. It was an encouraging time with the church family. Our family enjoyed time with cell groups, men's & women's events, the Saylorville Youth, panel discussions, missionary Christmas and the Sunday morning services.

Praise the Lord, the church was very full and a woman came to know Jesus as her Saviour in the morning.

Thank you to Saylorville Church. Please go to the Facebook link and the website to see many of the images and videos from the events.

Funds for ministry vehicle

We need your help: 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.

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

City Bible Forum : ABWE project

According a 2013 report in Christianity Today, faith in Christ is on a steady decline in Australia.

To stop this trend, our missionaries are taking the Good News to where Australians spend most of their time: the workplace. By teaming up with the urban evangelism organization City Bible Forum, ABWE missionaries are sharing Christ inside secular 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.

Just a reminder: Living for Jesus course

Regardless of what you do for a living, you may ask ‘How do I live as a Christian at work and how would I talk with work colleagues about Jesus?’

The Living for Jesus course is for you …and here is what it is about and how you can be involved.

The course introduces some basic Biblical concepts in being a Christian at work. Encourages people to see the opportunities for service in the workplace. Motivates workers to pray for their colleagues at work.

Living for Jesus consists of three 45 minute studies… 1. Working for God's glory... being godly at work + living lives worth questioning & giving answers worth hearing

2. An eye for the harvest... seeing the workplace as a mission field

3. Speaking of God's mercy... talking about Jesus at work

Audience: Work colleagues, small groups and/ or anyone keen to share their faith at work

Instructor: Russell Matthews

When: First three Thursdays in November:  6, 13 & 20 November

Where: Ankeny Free Church; 118 NW Linden St  www.ankenyfree.org

Time: 7-8:00 pm - Cost: Free to the public

Thank you for your prayers!
The Matthews

The Big Picture Missions Conference, Living for Jesus & Lord of the Lens

Thank for all who have been praying for our time in the US. We have been all over the US and our schedule has been exceptionally busy, but it has been a great experience with our supporting churches and families. Please pray for recent and upcoming events:

The Big Picture Missions Conference at Saylorville Church

Come along if you can on October 8th-12th with missionaries from all across the world. It’s a great chance for God to expand our vision and burden our hearts for the world around us. Russ will be speaking on Sunday 12 October during the morning services.

This should be a wonderful time with the church family.

Come along if you have the time.

Living for Jesus course

Regardless of what you do for a living, you may ask ‘How do I live as a Christian at work and how would I talk with work colleagues about Jesus?’

The Living for Jesus course is for you …and here is what it is about and how you can be involved.

The course introduces some basic Biblical concepts in being a Christian at work. Encourages people to see the opportunities for service in the workplace. Motivates workers to pray for their colleagues at work.

Living for Jesus consists of three 45 minute studies… 1. Working for God's glory... being godly at work + living lives worth questioning & giving answers worth hearing

2. An eye for the harvest... seeing the workplace as a mission field

3. Speaking of God's mercy... talking about Jesus at work

Audience: Work colleagues, small groups and/ or anyone keen to share their faith at work

Instructor: Russell Matthews

When: First three Thursdays in November:  6, 13 & 20 November

Where: Ankeny Free Church; 118 NW Linden St  www.ankenyfree.org

Time: 7-8:00 pm - Cost: Free to the public

Lord of the Lens: Can we find God in film?  - Video link

Thank you for Saylorville Church team letting me come to talk about God & film

The Bible and film – many people might say these two things would be a contradiction in terms. If this is your fall back position, you are missing the point and missing the impact that film has on our culture. In this visual era, many think they go hand in hand.

Watch the discuss and the intersection of Christianity and cinema.

Some of the topics that we will cover: The story, the line and the opportunity

What this session ‘is not’ 1. Convincing you to watch film 2. A debate if people should go to the cinema

The point of this talk is for those interested in how to engage people with the Gospel through cinema.

Moderator: Russell Matthews from Russelling Reviews & City Bible Forum

 

City Bible Forum & Rouse Hill Bible Church

Ministries in Australia

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

Rouse Hill Bible Church - Pastor Ben Kwok

The vision for the church-

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Why does it exist?

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

Sydney Prayer Breakfast 

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

Thank you for your support and prayers.

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

 

Ask God and Iowa tour '14

A new series at The Forum, Sydney If you had a chance to ask God one question, what would it be?

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

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

Pray for the events in Sydney in September.

Iowa Tour '14 

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

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

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

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

The adventure continues...

The Matthews