Sower The Bible at work
• ALBANIA now open to the Word • ARNHEM LAND gets the Bible in stages • AUSTRIA offers comfort for the refugee • CHALLENGE to get 10,000 Bibles to schools • 25 WORDS to grow a daily Bible habit 1
Dear friends, One of the Bible’s most profound pieces of reasoning is found in Romans 10:14-15. In this passage, known as the ‘Beautiful Feet’ teaching in my circles, Paul unpacks the consequences of the previous verse, where he tells us that, “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved” (quoting Joel 2:32). If this is true, argues Paul, then people will have to trust the Lord in order to call on him—you don’t call on the name of someone who doesn’t have the strength to answer. So, he goes on, in order to trust in the Lord, people will have to hear about his trustworthiness, his good deeds, his profound words of truth, his sacrificial love. They’ll have to get the message about him. And the only way, says Paul, that they will get this message is if someone speaks it to them. And the only way that will happen is if someone is sent to do the speaking! Here’s where the beauty comes in: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!” Paul’s impeccable logic has informed Christian mission for centuries. We’re always looking at ways of getting the message of Jesus Christ, the Lord who is worthy of our trust, into the ears, minds and hearts of anyone who will listen. We’ve sent people around the globe to do it: missionaries with beautiful feet and the gospel on their lips. Something powerful is happening in our time. God, in his kindness, is providing technology so that the message of God’s love can reach people even before the Beautiful Feet arrive! Through the internet, through handheld mobile devices such as smart phones,
through mp3 players and the like, the word about Christ is spreading around the globe much faster than it could by individual missionaries. The missionaries are still vital—they help to establish the church, to embody the faith, and to do good deeds that bring God glory and adorn the gospel. But whereas in the past, the word went with them, on their lips and in book form, now more than ever, the word can go before them in digital form, racing truth across the globe. Let’s give praise to God for the technology that hurries the progress of his kingdom around the world. We at Bible Society are thrilled to play a role in the dissemination of God’s word, in whatever format is best suited for the times. The United Bible Societies are at the forefront of this work. As always, this issue of Sower is packed full of opportunities to support the progress of the Word around the world, whether it is for Indigenous mission in remote Australia, supporting our brothers and sisters in post-Christian Austria, or working amidst the political difficulties of Albania. Thank you for being part of this ongoing and exciting Bible adventure! In the Lord,
Dr Greg Clarke, CEO Bible Society Australia
Bible Society Australia is a not-for-profit interdenominational organisation. It is a member of the United Bible Societies, a fellowship of 146 organisations working in more than 200 countries. Our mission is to achieve the widest possible, effective and meaningful distribution of the Bible; also, to help people interact with it, and to have their hearts lightened by the Bible’s message of unconditional love in Jesus Christ. GPO BOX 9874 In Your Capital City P: 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) ISSN 1839-7425 W: biblesociety.org.au E: firstname.lastname@example.org ACN 148 058 306
Renewed commitment on 2012 National Thanksgiving Day In June, Bible Society staff from offices across Australia got together in Sydney. It was a time to assess how we’d done since nationalisation, to thank God for his guidance, and to pray for the year ahead. Worshipping together was a very powerful, bonding moment. The Bible says it best: “How good and pleasant it is when brothers live together in unity!” Psalm 133:1
Sunday school power We encouraged creative ways to help Get The Word Out to Lebanon, and the children of the Orange Presbyterian Church delivered! Instead of their normal Sunday school classes, they sold Lebanese food under the banner “Bites for Bibles”. There was a definite buzz in the air that didn’t just come from blenders whipping up baba ghanoush and hummus garlic paste! The children raised over $450, and are thrilled to know they’ve helped send Bibles in Arabic to the people of Lebanon.
Dumplings for Lebanon Yet another creative fundraising idea to help get Bibles to Lebanon, by the Bible Society Gympie Branch. At a fundraising lunch attended by sixty people, Eddie Wee from the Bible Society Brisbane office spoke about our Lebanon and Rwanda projects – at the same time demonstrating how to cook Chinese dumplings! Kudos to the Gympie Branch for thinking way outside the box. Taking orders, Eddie?
New Coordinator for TAS Our Church Community Relations Coordinators in each state have a key role. They’re the face of the Bible Society as they work with pastors and churches to raise awareness and support for our projects. In Tasmania, Mark Barry - formerly with the Australian Fellowship of Evangelical Students - has taken on the role, while State Ministry Coordinator, Alan Harris, goes on long service leave. Welcome, Mark!
The Bible: once banned in
“It was on a Sunday evening in Tirana, Albania’s capital, that I really got an insight into the realities of life for today’s Albanians. I’d already been exposed to the poverty and abominable roads, and the stern faces so common in most post communist countries. My three dinner companions that evening, however, painted a fuller picture of an Albania scarred from years of repression under communism. At the table with me were Altin Hysi, the Albanian Bible Society’s General Secretary and Chairman/Treasurer, and two friends from Bible Society Canada. They told me that 60 years of communist rule in Albania had been brutal to Christians. The government had sided with the Chinese form of communism, apparently considering the Russian form too “soft”. Travel outside the country had been extremely restricted. Priests and pastors had been deliberately targeted, some driven out of the country and man murdered, they said, simply because of who they were. The Christian church - never big in Albania - had been decimated. Even worse, two generations of Albanians had been taught that there were no values in life, except perhaps survival through the state.
for the Word in Open doors now re was enforced atheism
For sixty long years the ned book. But when Albania, and the Bible was a ban opened its doors y communism fell and the countr open their hearts to to the world, people began to iptures, is now! God. The time to send the Scr
Albanian village children, never before exposed to God’s Word, But now (after communism fell in the 90s) there was freedom - a new, regulated sort of freedom. The allure of the “West” began to creep in, especially with the obvious wealth of the European Community just at their doorstep. Some Albanians had become very wealthy, but most remained poor. Those in want were increasingly envious, and were often desperate for a quick financial “fix”. The average Albanian, my companions said, had little hope. The questions in my mind then remained: how did this place tick , and could we truly make a real difference from so far away in Australia? God, however, had put into the minds and hearts of
Few Christians, even fewer resources
After communism in Eastern and Central Europe fell in the 90s, the state returned some church buildings, but the Christian population is still tiny and relatively poor. The Catholic Bishop in Tirana, for example, has only two books with which to train people for first communion. Most Christians in Albania are either under 40 or over 80, with hardly any trained leaders and no strong habit of hearing from God through the Bible. are thrilled with their own copy of the Lion Children’s Bible; looking on is “harvester” and priest, Marian Gega. the Bible Society and a number of church leaders the idea that if the Bible were to be unleashed amongst the Christian community, things would change. So how could this be accomplished, given the Albanian Bible Society had a staff strength of just two? Both are already fully engaged in translating the Bible into a contemporary text for a young and inexperienced church. So what’s needed is a network of “harvesters” - people across the country who are passionate advocates for the Bible in their local churches and communities. These people need to be found, then trained and built into a self-motivating network…a task way too big for the overstretched local Bible Society.
Here then, was a Macedonian call (Acts 16:9). That’s what it felt like to me, sitting at dinner that night, listening to the heart-cry of these brothers. Yes, we can help! Yes, this network of harvesters can equip and build up Christians at this crucial time. Yes, we can help stem the threat of consumerism from Europe, and fill the void with Bible-based values. So Bible Society Australia has committed itself to supporting these Christians in Albania and the Balkans for the next three years, to help them on the way. As a supporter, you can too.” Tony Crook is the International, Advocacy & Heritage National Manager, Bible Society Australia
New Scripture resources, like this audio version being recorded, are urgently needed in Albania
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h life now Pranvera is a 43 year old mother of two, coming fr a family of non-pr om ac member, who ha tising Muslims. In 1993 a family d become a Chris tian, told her abou the love of God an t d through Jesus m about faith. “This love of God ade me think,” sh e says. “I didn’t be come a Christian on the spot. But I became part of evangelical chur an ch… and by hear ing and studying Word of God, my the lif has not become e started to change”. Although lif easier for Pranve ra, she says that e can now cope with she it, liv ing within a encourages and helps her. Throug community that h them she has ex perienced God’s fa thing she did not ithfulness and love which is som ehave before beco m (Pranvera attend s an evangelical ing a Christian. church in Tirana ).
Mud before the miracle Miguel Saavedra Eduardo Schäfer
Jesus said of Himself, ‘Anyone who has seen me has seen the Father’ (John 14:9, NIV) Jesus’ works and actions here on earth were an exact representation of the words and actions of God himself. So what Jesus did here is of particular interest to us because we find Jesus responding to a question that has haunted mankind since time began. It is the question of the suffering of the innocent. This man was born blind and, of course, a baby is the picture of innocence. So the question becomes: ‘How could this happen to one so innocent?’ The disciples do what is still done today – in an effort to answer the question of the suffering of the innocent we go looking for someone to blame. If we can accept the answer given by Jesus here and come to that simple trust, then there is healing for our tortured souls. Jesus says: ‘You are looking for a reason why this has happened so you can blame someone. Instead lift up your eyes and see what God can do.’ The unusual thing about this man’s healing is that, in getting Him to the place of healing, Jesus first adds to the problem. God, like any Father, wants to engage us in the process of the answer to our prayers rather than spoon-feed us, because it is in the process we learn life-skills that cause us to become
the answer. We asked for a miracle and what happened? We got mud in the eye; ‘mud’ in the very area of our lives that needed the miracle. So now it seems that things are worse! How confusing! How offensive! But hang on, don’t lose heart – don’t give up – Jesus is at work in our lives in ways that at first seem contrary and even bizarre. And sometimes the mud comes before the miracle. When the God who inhabits eternity –who knows the end from the beginning, the words you are about to speak before you speak them – reaches out of His dimension to interact with your life in this dimension, sometimes it can seem totally random, as random as asking for a miracle and then getting ‘mud in our eye’. And in the very act of dealing with the ‘mud’ we find that the whole cleansing process goes beyond the surface and deep into the root issue. The ‘mud’ He sends has no healing in it; the healing comes when you are washing it off. A devotion by David Storer, Senior Minister of Christian Life Centre, Perth. This and other devotions in the “Read The Bible with……” series can be found at www.25words. biblesociety.org.au for you to reflect on each day in October’s “Bible Month” (Details on pages 12- 13)
Getting the Bible in stages
Deep in Arnhem Land
(L) Lois Nadjamerrek reading from Ephesians 20 years ago, and today (R) serving as the local Anglican minister. NeilsPhotography
The Marrgolidjban community 400km east of Darwin has been receiving the Bible in their own language, bit by bit. Twenty years ago when they first heard the book of Ephesians read to them in Kunwinjku, their heart language, they craned their neck in interest. They were keen on the translation itself - the seventh book of the Bible to be made available in Kunwinjku – but were just as intrigued by the message of new life through Jesus Christ. “We understand death better than the white-fella,” said one man. “When something is dead, it can’t be made alive again”. It gave those presenting the epistle that day an opportunity to share about the sure hope of eternal life.
Hearing about rebirth and life after death explained in their own language made it easier for the Indigenous listeners to understand concepts new to them. Phil Zamagias, former Flying BibleMan and now the Bible Society’s Remote and Indigenous Ministry Support (RIMS) National Manager, was there that day. “After the reading, the people began an animated discussion in their own language,” he says. “Having the translated Scriptures really helped the local pastor, Rev Peterson Nganjmirra, as he explained the concepts.” Also present was Lois Nadjamerrek, one of the translators involved in the project from the start. Today, she is the Anglican priest for Kunwinjku speakers in
In 2014, Kunwinjku speakers will have the whole New Testament in their heart language West Arnhem Land. Asked how it felt when she began translating the Bible into her own language, she says, ”It was so good to understand it better… it touched me more. When the Kunwinjku speakers came together to discuss the wording, we would ask ourselves, Have we used the right word? We want the best word, to help the people understand.” The whole New Testament in Kunwinjku is now at the final checking stage. CMS missionary and Bible translator, Rev Dr Steve Etherington, who has faithfully worked on the project for thirty years, has been seconded to the Bible Society. He and Bible Society translation consultants are
working to complete the task by 2014. With your prayers and financial support, we hope to have the Kunwinjku New Testament ready for publishing and distribution on schedule. We invite you to join with us to see the Word of God made available to as many Kunwinjku speakers as possible. Reverend Lois can hardly wait. “When I hold that Kunwinjku New Testament in my hands, my tears will be flowing. It will be the Word of God in the language that is in my heart. We need our Bible… we need our children to read it, growing up.” To donate please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) or donate at www.biblesociety.org.au
Meet the staff
The team that is our bridge to you
Bible Society fundraisers, like Nick Cole speaking at a Hymnfest event, build important links with supporters Some supporters may remember the “Bible Money Box” in years past. They’d remember how the “Bible Society man” would visit, update them about projects, and then receive what the family had saved in the box. Today, phone, mail and online donations have replaced the money box, but the Bible Society still values close personal relationships. Our fundraising and The money box used in church relations team are out the fifties and sixties in the field, building and maintaining personal contact with supporters, church groups and the wider community. Geoff Warren, the National Fundraising & Church Relations Manager, sets the example for his team. Sower learned that Geoff personally visits a supporter each afternoon. Asked how he achieves it given all that he has to do, his answer is succinct: “I plan it.” The team members speak in churches across the
country about Bible Society projects, and the many ways people can partner with us. They invite others to support the Bible Society as volunteers, donors or prayer partners, or to help with regular activities like Bike For Bibles and Hymnfest. Recently the team has produced new resources for those interested in leaving a bequest to the Bible Society. They’d be happy to send you a booklet full of helpful information and advice, and a 7min DVD that could be used for individuals or groups. The team also engages with the wider Christian community, to share God’s Word. In the past few years they’ve worked with the Catholic Church on the “May They Be One” campaign, helping to raise funds and send Bibles to the Philippines. They have also started working cross-culturally with the Chinese, Korean and Arabic-speaking communities. If you would like to meet with one of the team, or book a Bible Society speaker for your church or group, please email the Fundraising & Community Relations team: email@example.com
Narrabri pedals for Bibles
Courtesy of The Courier, Narrabri
When three ministers in your church ride with Bike In July, a group of 35 riders and crew hit the surFor Bibles, it’s a clear case of “let’s follow the leader!” rounding hills for a four-day, 400km ride through Many members of Bingara, the Narrabri Anglican Barraba,Manilla Church have joined and Gunnedah. ministers Tim BaxAll three minister, Paul Foster and ters of Narrabri Richard Riley as they Anglican were faithfully support BFB once again part and its fundraising for of the action. Bible Society projects. So… who was Graeme Rapp (third minding the from right in the pulpit, Sower photo) is one such asks? “Ralph member. He started Wood, who’s also with BFB in 2006, on the ministry having been invited team,” replies along on a ride by Graeme. “He enprevious minister joys cycling too!” Mark Sutton, also a Graeme says that BFB supporter! the congregation “The congregations is very supportof our church and the ive of their minlocal Uniting Church isters and fellow have a great affinity members doing The “cycling church” made the “Narrabri Courier” as they raised funds with BFB,” he says. BFB rides. Be“It’s our passion to sides helping to support the work of distributing Bibles.” fundraise for Bibles, it encourages church members to And, clearly, they really like cycling, too! So devoted think more about fitness and exercise for good health. are they to the sport and to helping the Bible Society Graeme says that BFB has a good reputation in fundraise, last year they decided to start their own Narrabri. “A number of people in the community have “local” BFB ride.… the Narrabri 400. “Through these taken up cycling because of it, and the impact helps annual rides we fundraise for the Bible Society, get when we are fundraising as well!” young people and families interested in BFB, and reach For details on how you too can support BFB, please out to non-Christians in our community,” says Graeme. visit www.bikeforbibles.org.au
Live light in 25 words
A daily habit,
We’re asking you, your friends and family, chur Bible daily, starting with 25 words for thirty-on Research tells us that 8o percent of Australian Christians don’t read their Bible regularly.* That’s why the Bible Society has launched the Live light in 25 words campaign. We’re asking Christians to start, or recommit, to reading their Bible daily - beginning with at least a verse a day! We’ve provided lots of resources at www.25words.biblesociety.org.au (see list below). We invite you to have a look, and sign up if you haven’t yet done so. Join other Aussie Christians this October - the Bible Month - as we start a Bible habit together! The Good Book talks Nine 20 minute talks by Australian Christian leaders are available on the website, as well as on DVD. The talks can be used during church or for small groups. Each talk focuses on a different aspect of the Bible, and has its own discussion guide. Bible Studies for small groups Four studies which look more broadly at the topic of the Bible. Perfect for your Bible study group in October. 31-day Bible Reading guide A reading guide for every day in October, highlighting a Scripture verse and a question for further reflection. This guide will be e-mailed daily in October to everyone who has signed up for the campaign!
unlike any other
rches and schools to commit to reading the ne days…. and let it grow from there. “Read the Bible with…” devotions We’ve asked our friends and ‘influencers’ in the Christian world to read and reflect on a passage of Scripture. These online devotions are like reading the Bible every day with a friend or respected Christian mentor! Free online Bible apps The YouVersion app gives you the Bible on your phone, to help you keep up your daily habit of 25 words no matter where you are. The “Bible Overview” app provides an easy to read overview of the Bible in the form of a 15 -30 day reading plan. “God’s Library” by Dr Greg Clarke This is an enjoyable and easy book to use, with topics like ‘What is the Bible?’, and ‘The Bible is at the heart of our culture: how has the Bible shaped who we are as Australians?’ Kids Animations These videos (with worksheets) are designed for Sunday Schools and Kids Clubs, for the four Sundays in October. Starting a conversation A series of “25 words” to help people share and pray with friends, families and spouses – and build a Bible reading habit together!
CAMPAIGN EVENTS Together with our ministry partners, we’re holding several events related to the campaign: “Why can we trust the New Testament?” Tour Based on the DVD “The Christ Files” which helps people learn about the reliability and credibility of the Bible. Check dates at www.25words.biblesociety.org.au ‘The Life of Jesus’ Cinema events Exploring the life of Jesus in a one-hour documentary followed by a Q&A. Hosted by Greg Clarke and John Dickson. Masterclass Promoting Bible reading among high school students, and challenging them to be Christian leaders at their school. Venue: Mueller College, Rothwell, QLD on 19th September. Ignite Film Festival Filmmakers from all over Australia are invited to enter their short films based on the theme of ‘hope’. See www.ignitefilmfest.com for details.
* Sourced from GSI Report February 2011; NCLS 2006; Milk to Meat Bible Engagement Report; Hughes, P. & Pickering, C. (2010). Bible Engagement among Young Australians: Patterns and Social Drivers. Unpublished research report initiated by Bible Society and other partners
Bringing the Bible Dear Bible Society,
from yo u I love the new Bible I got 8, page 9 an d an d I am reading Chapter am learning I am loving it so far, an d I was ma de. I a lot about how the earth ture an d it have learned a lot in Scrip out people has ma de me think more ab st turned s ju than just myself an d it ha focus more my life around. It ma de me st love the about Go d an d Jesus. I ju fun an d a Bible an d it has been very It is the pleasure to read the Bible. en done to best thing that has ever be ank yo u for me an d it is just great. Th at yo u have the Bible an d ever ything th done for me. Children are captivated by the “Jesus story” in these
That’s part of a letter we received from a Year 5 boy who was given a free Bible thanks to generous Bible Society donors. His Scripture teacher told us that he’d just returned to school after being suspended. She shared joyfully with us about the change she’s seeing in his life as he enjoys reading his Bible. This is just one of countless stories we receive every year from students and Scripture teachers, as they say
thank you for their Bibles. Our work in bringing the Bible to young people in Australia is going through immense growth. Each year we make about 350 school presentations and give out over 50,000 Scriptures. Our challenge: we cannot keep up with the demand. Each time we make a Bible presentation at a school, we run out of Scriptures. Children want to read the story of Jesus, many for the
Great 100 Challenge
© Gayle Baikie
colourful Bibles, and Scripture teachers are crying out for the Bible Society to send thousands more! first time. The requests for school presentations is also growing and we can’t, at present, respond to all. That’s why, for the next 18 months we have set ourselves the “Great 100 Challenge” - to raise $100,000 in each year, and keep up with the mission to send Bibles to young people in schools. Our aim is to employ one more schools worker, to impact 100 schools and make 100 Bibles available per
school. That would mean another 10,000 Australian school children will receive a Bible and have it presented to them in a way that makes them want to read about Jesus for themselves. Would you prayerfully consider joining us to be a part of the Great 100 challenge? How great it would be if that turning point for the Year 5 boy in the letter could be the same story for many more children in Australia!
Bible reading guide
Live light in 25 words
You may like to add this to your Bible reading for October, or use the regular guide (page 17). This guide provides a verse of 25 words or so for each day in October. Do pray as you read and ponder the question.
Read more for context
How would you explain what it means, that Jesus ‘saved his people from their sins’ to a friend who is not a Christian?
How important is God’s word in your life, especially during difficult times of suffering and temptation?
When Jesus was busy, in demand and focused on his work, what did he take time to do in this verse? How does this impact you?
Matt 5:14a, 16
How are you endeavouring to be a ‘light’, to bring glory to God our Father?
Who are the people in your life you find difficult to love, and what will you pray and do for them in response to this challenging verse?
What do we learn about Jesus from this verse?
What will you praise God for today?
Matt 11:28, 30
How would you explain what it’s like to follow Jesus, to someone who doesn’t know him yet?
What sort of leader is Jesus, and how far is he willing to go for his people?
What can we expect, as we live in the world as Jesus’ disciples?
What radical characteristic of leadership does Jesus model for us here? How will you imitate him?
If someone asked you, ‘What must I do to be saved?’ how would you explain the Gospel to them?
In what ways, today, can you seek to ‘not conform’ to the pattern of this world, but rather, let Rom 12:9-21 God transform you?
How often do you ask God to show you the sin in your life, and to lead you away from it? Is this something you can pray today?
1 Cor 12:27
You are part of the same body as your Christian brothers and sisters; how can you better work together with them?
1 Cor 12:12-31
What will living as a Christian look like for you today, this week, this month? Which fruit of God’s Spirit would you like to bear in your life?
How does this reminder of our opposition help you in your journey as a Christian?
What are you anxious about today? When, what and how should we deal with our anxieties?
What difference does Jesus make to the goals of your life; to what you’re looking forward to and working towards?
1 Tim 4:8
How can you train yourself in godliness?
1 Tim 4:1-10
How can you lean on God more often, trust him with all your heart, and submit to him ‘in all your ways’?
Who is a Christian brother or sister that you can encourage in living for Christ today?
Do you find it difficult to approach God when you’re tempted or burdened with sin, or when things are going wrong in your life? How does this verse encourage you?
How important do you think it is that a Christian shows what they believe by the way they act?
1 Pet 2:2-3
Are you seeking to ‘grow up in your salvation’, or are you staying the same as a person year by year?
1 Pet 1:13-2:3
1 John 2:6
How important is it that Christians seek to live like Jesus did?
1 John 1:52:11
What are you most looking forward to, when you think about your eternal life to come?
Have you reflected recently on the price Jesus paid to bring you peace?
Exo 34:5a, 6
What does God reveal to Moses about himself?
How does God want us to live? What are some practical ways we can live this way?
How do you live out your love for God?
Regular 3-month guide October 1-7 Luke 18.1 – 19.27 18.1-8 18.9-14 18.15-17 18.18-30 18.31-43 19.1-10 19.11-27 October 8-19 James 1.1-11 1.12-18 1.19-27 2.1-13 2.14-26 3.1-12 3.13-18 4.1-10 4.11-17
5.1-6 5.7-12 5.13-20 October 20-25 1 Samuel 26.1 – 31.13 26.1-16 26.17-25a 26.25b - 28.2 28.3-25 29.1-11 31.1-13 October 26November 2 Luke 19.28 – 21.38 19.28-44 19.45-48 20.1-19 20.20-26
20.27-40 20.41 - 21.4 21.5-28 21.29-38 November 3-8 Romans 15.1 – 16.27 15.1-6 15.7-13 15.14-22 15.23-33 16.1-16 16.17-27 November 9-15 Acts 13.4 – 14.28 13.4-12 13.13-25 13.26-41 13.42-52
14.1-7 14.8-20 14.21-28 November 16-27 Exodus 24.1 – 40.38 24.1-18 25.1-22 31.1-11 31.12-18 32.1-14 32.15-24 32.25-33.6 33.7-23 34.1-14 34.29-35.3 35.30 - 36.7 40.1-16, 34-38 November 28-
December 9 Colossians 1.1-8 1.9-14 1.15-23 1.24-29 2.1-5 2.6-15 2.16-23 3.1-11 3.12-17 3.18 - 4.1 4.2-9 4.10-18 December 10-18 Isaiah 54.1 – 66.16 54.1-17 55.1-13 58.1-14 60.1-14
The readings in this guide are taken from Series 1 of the Scripture Union Bible-reading notes, “Daily Bread”.
61.1-11 63.1-14 64.1-12 65.1-7,17-25 66.1-16 December 19-31 Luke 1.1 – 3.23a 1.1-25 1.26-38 1.39-45 1.46-56 1.57-66 1.67-80 2.1-7 2.8-20 2.21-38 2.39-52 3.1-6 3.7-20 3.21-23a
AUSTRIA: Sound of Every year twenty-two million tourists flock to the stunning lakes and mountains of Austria, The Sound of Music in their ears. However, a huge number of other “temporary visitors” enter the country, escaping violence and human trafficking in their homeland. Annually, as many as 20,000 refugees make their way to Austria. Nischal* is a Nepalese refugee who walked from New Delhi to Austria through the coldest of winters. He made the long trek without warm clothes or proper shoes, escaping from more than a decade of persecution and imprisonment without trial. Once safely in Austria, though, refugees like Nischal face a new struggle – life in limbo. They wait in overcrowded detention centres while their residence applications are processed, feeling stressed and fearful of being deported. In times like these, the words of peace and comfort of the Bible are a salve. The Austrian Bible Society offers hope to refugees by supplying them with free Bibles, available in twenty languages. When you’ve left behind every earthly possession, receiving your very own copy of God’s Word is a precious gift indeed. The Bible Society in Austria is desperate to respond to the needs of refugees. At their centre in Vienna, they run exhibitions for school and church groups, explaining how the Bible is important in these changing times. This gets more and more important, as Austrians grow resentful of higher immigrant arrivals, and the compassion of the Good Samaritan is harder to find. (R) At the Bible Centre, Austrian children learn what the Scriptures teach about love and compassion.
shelter for refugees
God loves the Refugee
Each month, the Bible Society runs exh ibitions like “God loves the Refugee.” These attract both the local-born, and immigrants like Ilian a* who teaches religious education. “This helps me to understand so much better what the Bible says abo ut me – and I can use this in my classes and read the Bible together with my students.” Visitors reading about acceptance and “loving thy neighbour” at the “God loves the stranger” exhibition. Those working with refugees are calling for more free Bibles. The Bible Society also wants to run more exhibitions and talks, but is hindered by the cost. As fewer and fewer people identify as Christian in secular Europe, fundraising becomes an enormous challenge. The Austrian Bible Society is appealing for help. They need finance to improve their web presence and news-
letter circulation, and employ more fundraising staff. Would you consider making a donation to help them get God’s message of unconditional, accepting love to all in Austria? To donate to this project, please call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) or donate at www.biblesociety.org.au * Names changed to protect identity
Ride, sing, and talk for Bibles Sept 10: UWA Perth, Sept 12: UTAS Hobart Sept 19: Toowoomba, QLD
Can we trust the New Testament? Tour
Sept 9, 23
Sept 9: EV Church, Erina NSW Sept 23: Renmark, SA
Bible Society Sunday
Serviceton COC & UC Churches, VIC
Sept 9 - 22
Get the Word Out Lebanon Project
Sept 9: Nhill, VIC, Sept 15: Wodonga / Albury VIC Sept 19: Geelong, VIC Sept 22: Bulleen, VIC and Berri, SA
Masterclass (for high school students) with John Dickson
Mueller College, Rothwell, QLD
Sept 22 – 29
BFB Gippsland Explorer Ride
Melbourne to Lakes Entrance, VIC
Sept 22 – 30
BFB Blue Lizard Ride
Central West NSW
“Life of Jesus” film and Q&A with John Dickson
Hoyts Erina, NSW
Oct 1- 31
Live light in 25 words campaign
BFB Cabonne Weekend Ride
Ignite Film Night
Sydney venue TBC
Manly Presbyterian, Sydney, NSW
Get The Word Out Lebanon Project
Nov 3 - 6
BFB Melbourne Cup Alpine Challenge
High Country, VIC
Nov 17 -24
Visit by Gen Sec of Bible Society Lebanon (Mike Bassous)
VIC and NSW Nov 24: Kiama(am) / Gerringong (pm)
For details: call 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537), see 25words.biblesociety.org.au and bikeforbibles.org.au
Rural China reads the Bible
Some 40,000 people are now able to read the Scriptures in rural areas of China. Local teachers like 24-year old Meng Juan saw the great need for literacy in her local church, if her community was to read and understand the Scriptures. “A desire began to stir in my heart to start a literacy class based on the Bible. The Bible Society gave me the opportunity and the confidence to put an idea into reality.” Through the commitment of literacy teachers like Meng Juan, and the support of Bible Society donors, Bible-based literacy courses continue to expand. This year an anticipated 400 literacy classes will begin across four rural provinces.
Words of hope in Cambodia Cambodia is still recovering from a savage war which left the country almost devoid of infrastructure. Many Cambodians are unable to go to school. Through the Bible Society’s Bible-based literacy classes, children like nine-year-old Eark Kong now have the opportunity to learn to read and write. “I used to go to school but it was just too far away,” she says. “But then my pastor, Aunty Oung, told my mother about the literacy classes and I started going there. I was soon able to read and write. My mother and I started attending church and became Christians. I have learnt that Jesus loves me, my mother and all the people on earth.”
Youth Bible hits France More than 70% of 15-20 year olds in France do not own a Bible, and 98% do not read it. The French Bible Society is seeking to reverse these trends through the use of social media and a special, youthoriented Bible translation. This is part of a Bible advocacy project entitled ZeBible, l’autre expérience, or The Bible, THE experience. Marine Peycelon, a student from Lyon says, ‘The approach in ZeBible makes all the difference. Thanks to ZeBible, I know where and how to look in the Bible.” To help reach more young people like Marine, Bible Society Australia will support the project with funds raised through the 2013 World Day of Prayer.
Start a Bible Reading Habit
with a Bible thatâ€™s full of resources and low in price New International Version - Bible Society Editions
The New International Version Bibles produced by Bible Society Australia give you a wealth of Bible study resources for amazingly low prices. These high quality Bibles feature over 125 pages of Bible study resources, including People & Events of the Bible, concordance, dictionary, chronology of the Bible, subject index, book introductions, and more.
Save $4 Large Print Edition with gold-gilded edging and thumb indexing. Words of Christ in red. FlexiTone Mustard NIB512227
Thinline Paperback Titles of Jesus Edition (titles of Jesus on the cover) NIB510940
+ $6.95 postage
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Get a Bible that will help you get into Godâ€™s Word. Call 1300 139 179
Bible Society Australia Locked Bag 7003 Minto NSW 2566 T. 1300 139 179 F. +61 2 9829 4685 E. firstname.lastname@example.org www.biblesociety.org.au
Daily updates to keep you informed
Scan the QR code (right) with your mobile camera for Eternity’s latest news.
Did you know that the Bible Society website is updated every day? Eternity news, mission news, Bible Society project updates, interviews and opinion pieces, book and movie reviews … they’re all available at the click of a button! And, of course, with Bible Month and the Bible reading campaign at hand, there are heaps of resources for you to use and download. If you haven’t already bookmarked www.biblesociety.org.au or subscribed to our RSS feed, why not do it today! Eternity, Australia’s largest Christian newspaper, is also available as a monthly hardcopy, so: • Sign up your church, school, college or bookstore for free monthly copies by e-mail: email@example.com • “Like” EternityNews on Facebook so your friends can know about it too • Scan the QR code with your mobile camera for Eternity’s latest news.
Sower through the years A little digging among archived material turned these up … early Sower issues from as far back as 1957! It brought home the fact that the Bible Society is an organisation going back a long way (all the way to 1817, actually) and that generations of faithful supporters and staff have kept up the good work of “sowing” the Word worldwide!
Contact the Bible Society 1300 BIBLES (1300 242 537) 23
YES! I want the Bible to be available
For those who do not like to cut up their Sower we have provided a copy of this form with your address slip for mailed copies.
My gift for:
o Albania o Austria o Where needed most
(non-tax deductible) 12SWSP2NTD
o Indigenous Bible translation o Great 100 Challenge
(non tax deductible*) 12SWSP1NTD
(tax deductible) 12SWSP1TD
(tax deductible) 12SWSP2TD
(non-tax deductible) 12SWGEN
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Please return to Bible Society, GPO Box 9874, In Your Capital City You can also donate online at www.biblesociety.org.au or by phone on 1300 BIBLES or (1300 242 537) If these programs are over subscribed, the money will go to another Bible Society project. *Receipts for tax deductible donations of $2 or more will be issued by the trustee for Bible Society Foundation. ABN 41 725 839 724