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as we meet together
fill us with your wisdom.
Give us the capacity
to work boldly
and with humility,
embracing the challenge of mission.
Use us to bring transforming life
to our Christian communities and
Through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Will the Imagine Project change your life?
While Andrew & Pam Lake visited over 24 parishes in the Diocese before heading to the posting in Damascus, Andrew had been busy on another project. He has released this short book called Christian Mission for Tasmanians. This is a very personal approach from Andrew on this important topic of Mission written for the Missionary Diocese of Tasmania. Andrew says of the book,
"My hope and prayer is that this study will help put mission front and centre of the church's agenda. I make no claim to infallibility and will have achieved my aim if this has helped start some fruitful conversations about mission."
We offer our thanks to Andrew, having served in the Diocese as an Archdeacon and Mission Support Officer. But now we offer our thanks for this impressive gift to the church in Tasmania.
Of particular interest to you, dear reader, is the freely available nature of this book. In fact, you can click here to read it right now. So is it free? Andrew explains in his Forward:
"This study is a gift to the Tasmanian church. It is freely available on the diocesan website but I invite you when you use it for personal or group study to make a donation of $10 per person to the Church Missionary Society of Tasmania."
Here is a taste of David Ould's post:
What the SMH said:
Mr Mohamed said he hoped the billboards would encourage Christians and Muslims to find common ground. They were not intended to downgrade the significance of Jesus. ''We embrace him and say that he was one of the mightiest prophets of God.''
David Ould's response:
"Not intended to downgrade the significance of Jesus". I trust you allowed yourself a little chuckle with that one. It is, one has to point out, a little disingenous to make such a statement. The argument that Islam makes (and which is being made here) is that Jesus is actually not divine, as the Bible clearly states, but rather simply a "prophet", albeit "one of the mightiest".
The article is an interview with John Bales. John spent 13 years in Pakistan as a Christian missionary and currently leads a church in a densely Muslim area in south western Sydney. Joshua Maule asked him about the "Jesus: a prophet of Islam" billboards, one of which was vandalised yesterday.
Click here to read the interview.
[sun 29.may.2011 rob] Up in Sydney, Islam is starting a new BIG advertising campaign: Attempting to convince (anyone?) people that Jesus Christ is a prophet of a god named Allah. This is certainly not something Anglicans or Christians believe.
However, living in Australia gives people the freedom to express their beliefs, so while we disagree with their views on Jesus Christ, they have every right to do it. Indeed, may the billboards provide many opportunities for Christians to speak to Muslims about the glorious living Jesus!
Posted on the 9 Marks Ministries website last week, the article was written by Thabiti Anyabwile. It attempts to reflect the working conditions of ministers, their mental health, and the difficulties of church ministry through statistics. The article begins with 1 Timothy 5:17-20,
Anyabwile then works through areas of the ministers life: How do ministers feel about their hours and pay, training and preparedness, health and well-being, marriage and family, church relationships, and then the big one... longevity.
"According to one survey, only 23% of pastors report being happy and content in their identity in Christ, in their church, and in their home."
My question: How closely would these statistics be reflected in the Tasmanian Anglican Church? Then we might ask, how can we turn this around? Anyabwile concludes the article by saying,
The previous post reflected on an article from the 9 Marks Ministries website. However, it must be noted that this is not the original article. It is in fact born out of an article from The Schaeffer Institute by Dr. Richard J. Krejcir titled 'Statistics on Pastors'. It reflects research carried out between 1989-2006 and the article itself was written in 2007. I bring this article to your attention because it's final remarks are somewhat different to the 9 Marks Ministry article. It concludes, Remember, churches fail because we as pastors fail; we tend to place our needs and desires over the Lord’s. It is His Church and we are His servant. Let our focus be on the right target—that is, His Way and not ours! We are called to a higher purpose. We are not called to ourselves. We are to lead others to Him, not to our self. Ministry is a wondrous call, it can be joyful and fulfilling; it is also a dangerous thing because we are before a Holy God. Yes we have grace, but we have responsibility too!
Remember, churches fail because we as pastors fail; we tend to place our needs and desires over the Lord’s. It is His Church and we are His servant. Let our focus be on the right target—that is, His Way and not ours! We are called to a higher purpose. We are not called to ourselves. We are to lead others to Him, not to our self. Ministry is a wondrous call, it can be joyful and fulfilling; it is also a dangerous thing because we are before a Holy God. Yes we have grace, but we have responsibility too!
It might be that there is a middle way between the final responses from 9 Marks Ministry and The Schaeffer Institute. Perhaps a reflection on the nature of the church in the context of Ephesians 5:25. When we all (both the church leader and their flock) act outside our church family roles, the church family experience breaks down and is unable to function in a healthy way. When we relate to one another in the context God has provided for us, when we are happy for God to be our King and rule over us, there we shall find a happy and contented pastor, a congregation who feels loved and respected and a church which expresses the deep love of Christ to the outside world. May God bless his church in Tasmania with a heart for his plans and purposes, rather than our own.
Thanks for the inspiration Luke Isham!
Luke seems happy to wear his theology on his sleeve with this blog, allowing those who drop by to see him grapple with theological concepts and even allowing them to wrestle alongside or with him. A brave man indeed!
Recently, Luke has been working on two topics:
1. Understanding 'Union With Christ', as he read's Justin Taylor and gives us some cute little pictures to... ummm... digest!
2. The nature of 'Evil' as he looks at the French Theologian, Henri Blocher's book 'Evil and the Cross' (a personal favourite of mine: the author and the book).
Luke's openess and honesty in his blog always makes for a good read and he allows comments on his blog. Allowing comments gives you, dear reader, the opportunity to interact with him on his journey. Have a look, it will very likely encourage you!
Archbishop Mouneer Anis brings an update of recent tragic events in Egypt.
"The damage we saw was indescribable. The area looked as if it was a battlefield, because of the many tanks and soldiers. I was moved by the story of one of the guards of St. Mary’s Church, who refused to denounce Jesus Christ and as a result, his throat was slit."
Click here for Bishop John's post.
Click here for the original article at globalsouthanglican.org
Click here for the Global South website.
"And he’s right to be concerned. The Chinese government has become increasingly worried about any threat to the ‘social harmony’ – and the revolutions and unrest in the Middle East have kicked those concerns into high gear. Lawyers, bloggers, artists, anyone with the potential to challenge the central authority, have all been targeted – harassed, arrested or even disappeared."
Click here for Bishop John's post.
Click here to see the Foreign Correspondent report at the ABC.
[wed 18.may.2011 rob] While Australia certainly can't be thought of as the persecuted church, this appeared yesterday in The Australian,
"The nation's peak Muslim group is using the Gillard government's re-embracing of multiculturalism to push for the introduction of sharia in Australia..."
In comfortable Australia, Islam is trying to make moves to bring in Sharia law for Australian Muslims. One would think fairness is part and parcel of being Australian, and as Bishop John points out, "I believe all Australians must be subject to the same legislative, legal and judicial system."
Click here to read Bishop John's blog post.
Click here to read article in yesterday's The Australian.
Yesterday, in Bishop John's post on the persecuted church in China he quoted Pastor Samuel Lamb,
"Oppression, then more believers. Oppression then more believers. We aren’t afraid because we know oppression simply leads to more believers."
As Christianity flourishes under persecution in China, what about the Christian church in Australia?
Imagine: a heart without holes, a faith without sight, a day without night, a soul without searing and a spirit set to soar.
Imagine: a world at peace, a people in harmony, a land of help, a season of generosity and a life without decay.
Imagine: a dream you wake to, speech that is always kind, square shoulders to stand upon, answers to agony and knowledge of unsearchable things.
Imagine: enemies becoming friends, good replacing evil with forgivness, pleasure removing pain, service destroying slavery and refreshment removing wrecking.
Give your imagination a destination - send you hearts ahead of you to Heaven now.
Click here to visit the SoulSupply website which has a new reflection on life and Jesus every day. (And a wonderful back catalogue!)
Keynote speakers include Rt Rev. Dr Chris Jones, who will be speaking on “Nurturing a Moral Imperative” and Melinda Tankard Reist on “Toxic Culture: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls”.
Bishop John's post quotes Glenn Rees, CEO Alzheimer’s Australia as stating,
Alzheimer’s Australia also expressed concern that studies have proven that a significant number of people die by euthanasia even though they did not provide consent. If euthanasia is legalized, will it ever be possible to ensure that all people are protected from euthanasia without consent? The answer is NO.
Click here to read the post on Bishop John's blog.
Jesus' exhortation to "go and make disciples" might seem daunting to a Christian worried that a Christopher Hitchens is around every corner, eager to debate the existence of God. Jerry Root, associate professor of spiritual formation at Wheaton College, co-authored The Sacrament of Evangelism (Moody) with Stan Guthrie to rethink the nature of evangelism and reassure its anxious practitioners. Owen Strachan, co-author of The Essential Edwards Collection, spoke with Root about recovering the "sacramental" dimension of evangelism.
Click here to read the article at ChristianityToday.
Click here to read From The Bishop's Desk 09/11 (6 May 2011). If you would like to join the email distribution list for FTBD, please contact the Diocesan Office.
He remembers the forceful pastor who led ministries with worldwide influence like Teen Challenge and Times Square Church, a "straight shooter" who "never danced around anything. He was very straight, and always you said, 'Wow, Dave, he's hard.'"
But over the last 15 years, the man who counted Wilkerson as a close friend and spiritual father for half a century says what he gradually came to understand: "All these years … Dave Wilkerson was a teddy bear."
"New York in that time was bombarded by gangs, and we were the prime leaders of the gangs," Cruz said. "Even Frankenstein and Dracula were afraid to walk in that neighborhood. And he's a skinny preacher! Came from nowhere. There's no way that a type of guy like this can be so strong to stand [on] his own and to really really really take it."
"He can take a bullet, he can be killed, but he stood because [he was] obedient to Jesus. Jesus sent him there to bring the message to the gangs. … I almost killed him then because I really was totally full of hate. That was when he told me that Jesus loved me."
Click here to read the full article on ChristianityToday.com.
Christians befriending non-Christians: what next? Jesus returning?
Collins is noted for his landmark discoveries of disease genes3, is the author of books like 'The Language of God', he is the head of the Human Genome Project and is a Christian. On the other hand, Christopher Hitchens is a well known Athiest. Here is a little snipet from the article:
The Telegraph, a newspaper based in Great Britain, reported on an unlikely bond of friendship and trust between two very different people: Francis Collins, a Christian scientist, and Christopher Hitchens, perhaps the world's most famous atheist. Their popular book titles reveal their profound differences: Collins wrote The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief; Hitchens wrote God Is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything.
Click here to read the article at PreachingToday.com.
"Give me one hundred men who fear nothing but sin and desire nothing but God, and I care not whether they be clergyman or laymen, they alone will shake the gates of Hell and set up the kingdom of Heaven upon the earth." —from a letter in the Works of John Wesley
"When I was young I was sure of everything. In a few years, having been mistaken a thousand times, I was not half so sure of most things as I was before. At present, I am hardly sure of anything but what God has revealed to me." —from a letter in the Works of John Wesley
Click here to read the article with all ten 'thought-provokers'.
"I've got no hesitation in going up to a pub to have a meal and going to the next table to shout a round of beers for the boys and sit and talk to them and go, 'you know, have you heard about this bloke? You heard about this Jesus?'"
"I'm just a normal bloke that realises that Christianity … is where I want to be"
This sounds like one awesome bloke.
Click here to read this rest of this encouraging Easter news story.
R/T... Thanks Dave M. :)
"Ricky Gervais isn’t a Christian. This should come as no surprise to anyone familiar with his work. It’s not simply that Gervais has a propensity towards the harsh or the mean-spirited; he’s gone to great lengths to make his lack of faith clear."
Click here to read the full article.
R/T... Thanks Dave M. :)