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OCTOBER13

AMOS TRIP A LIFE-CHANGING EXPERIENCE!

In July an excited mob of five from Duncraig Christian Fellowship (DCF) boarded a flight to Broome. There we would meet the team from South Australia, exchange some hi tech info on the AMOS bus and trailer and then quickly prepare ourselves for our first presentation that evening.

INSIDE

Of course we had to deliver the SA team to the airport, arrange for the repair of a tyre, do some food shopping and check out our props before that. We also met four additional team members in Broome Trevor Ginn and Shukhrat Rustamov from Mueller Christian Community Church in Qld and Heath Rosling and Heidi Ripley, who are connected to Mukinbudin CofC, so we were now a team of nine and looking forward to what God had in store for us, over the next 14 days.

AMOS is short for Australian Missionary Outreach Support and usually led by Paul Johnson, also from Mueller. However, due to some unexpected surgery for Paul, we were leaderless. But we knew where we were heading and why. So trusting God and some amazing people already working with the Aboriginal Communities in the Kimberly, we began our mission.

CONTINUED INSIDE

2 Chairman’s Report | 4 Armenia | 5 Church Finance Guide | 6 ECS QLD | 8 Connecting with the Allans


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CHAIRMAN’S REPORT Since the last newsletter I have had the privilege of travelling to Uganda and Armenia and to spend time with some beautiful and dedicated Christian workers in these countries. The trip provided great opportunities for working alongside the local people who have a ministry of working with the poor. I trust it enabled the teams of which I was a part to show the love of Christ in a practical way as well as sharing the good news of Salvation. There is more information on the Armenian trip in this issue. It highlighted to me the true heritage of our movement being mission focussed both here and overseas, guarding the gospel and being true to the Word and spreading the good news of Salvation without fear or compromise. I visited and preached at a number of churches and was reminded of the need for unity between Christians, our Dear Friends, both here and around the world. This is particularly so when we see such need both spiritually and practically. In these circumstances there is no room for division or arguments over minor ways of doing things or hanging onto ways which are not working or irrelevant in the society in which we are working. It also highlighted that there is a great hunger for the Word of God in countries where everything is being turned upside down politically and economically. Here in Australia we are blessed with a stable political environment and a strong economy but I wonder how we would cope if all that changed overnight. We need to be alive to the opportunities of showing the love of Christ both here and overseas in ways that connect with the society in which we live. It was interesting to see the difference between Uganda and Armenia in regards to weather, community structures, village life, economic conditions and church services, yet the common joy of believers and the recognised great need and openness to the gospel in the communities was greatly encouraging. This is in such contrast to Australia where there is such a stifling of anything Christian. We need to understand the challenge we are all facing in this country. I am convinced that we as a movement working together can achieve great things for God both here and overseas and I look forward to continuing in that work together.

CONTINUED FROM PAGE 1 The plan was to visit nine different groups of Aboriginal people, these included churches, aged care facilities and isolated communities from Broome to Derby and along the Gibb River Road to Kununurra. While we were all genuinely willing and excited about the prospect of what lay before us, and believed we were well trained and prepared, we still had little understanding of what to expect when we arrived.

“We learned to love those who have been displaced and become a thorn in the side for many.” I recall with such joy as we knelt behind the puppet screen in this quaint little church in Broome, “this is it”. “Lord please bless”, we prayed, and then Trevor started to sing. We glanced at each other and realised not only could he sing, he could yodel. Encouraged that we had some talent, we trusted God and the show continued. Our objective was pretty simple, we had a puppet show, some drama, a country Gospel singer and a message from God that we wanted so much to tell. While the presentations were aimed at children we knew that the parents would hear the message to and by reinforcing each story line we hoped that some would be touched by the Spirit of our Lord. The play list and scripts had all been carefully constructed by AMOS; we all had our parts to play including setting up of the stage, lighting and sound system. Our star performers were our puppets who shared the story of the Ungrateful Manager and forgiveness and the Good Samaritan who showed love to his neighbour. One of the dramas presented the powerful message of Christ’s sacrifice, where he was beaten and led to the cross to die. The climax was, of course, his resurrection setting Him apart from all others.

Ross Bunyon AM

Paul Johnson had previously tried to help us capture the vision by saying “imagine you’re a circus coming to town”. I can’t say that did it for me until I realised that was in fact a good description. Our message was revealed as we entertained.

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We are so grateful to God for allowing us to go on the trip. He challenged us and sought to change us. We had the privilege of giving bibles to children, praying for an angry young man whose brother had died unexpectedly, encouraging Christians who desperately wanted a church in their community, and sharing with a missionary couple and their son who had served in the same community for 20 years. We experienced God’s provision when we lost a wheel off our trailer 220Km from Derby and 630Km from Kununurra. Just 8Km further up the road was a place, the only place that had exactly what we needed to get us to Darwin. We met a pastor born in Korea, that had trained in Sydney and come with his wife to the Kimberly to love our indigenous people with the gospel. We slept in swags under the canopy of stars that God put in place to remind us of his presence. We cooked out of a trailer and supported each other and as we learned together. We kicked a footy around with the kids and appreciated their beautiful smiles. We learned to love those that have been displaced and become a thorn in the side for many. We heard the request of a church leader who asked us to pray for the young men of his communities. That some; even one, would rise up and lead their people in the ways of Jesus. We saw the contrast between those that knew our Saviour and those that didn’t. This was our mission and we are so grateful for the opportunity. We are thankful to AMOS for this trip, to the CCCAust network for connecting us to Mueller CC, to Pastors Timothy Kim and Tim Mildenhall and the communities we visited for being so welcoming to us.

Rebecca Shaw, Phil Rogers, Alex Thomas, Phil Aitken and David Shaw, DCF Team.

October 2013

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Left: Baptisms in Armenia Below left: Our team with the Mission Armenia Director. Below right: CEF Children’s Ministry

ARMENIA

THE FORGOTTEN COUNTRY In August of this year Harry Kiujian, chairman of the Armenian Christian Mission (ACM) and an Elder at the Armenian Evangelical Church of Sydney, led a team of Para-church leaders and Elders from several CCCAust churches to the country of Armenia. An Eye-Opening Trip Ross Bunyon, the CCCAust National chairman and Dan Proctor, the Pastoral Coordinator of CCCAust, were privileged to be a part of this team. This was an opportunity to observe, first hand, the tremendous work that ACM is doing presently and has been doing over the past 11 years in Armenia. It also provided the opportunity to participate in a number of church services and encourage and engage with local Armenian church

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pastors and congregations. Working closely with a number of Armenian evangelical churches and the highly successful children’s ministry, CEF (Child Evangelism Fellowship), ACM has been sending both direct financial support and containers of clothing and basic supplies to Christian leaders and workers as well as to scores of needy families in Armenia who are living in desperate, highly impoverished conditions. ACM has developed a highly organised means of providing aid and support through a small team of national Christian workers, who guide and teach Biblical principles among the young and old.

The Current Situation in Armenia Armenia is one of the oldest established countries in the world. It has often been at the centre of bitter conflicts as rival countries around its borders have attempted and sometimes succeeded in plundering their land and resources. Being a small country and land-locked between Turkey, to the West, Iran, to

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the South, Georgia to its North and Azerbaijan to the East, it struggles continually as one of the ‘poorest of the poor’ countries in the world. Adding to the continual threat of much larger neighbouring countries, the various government bodies within Armenia are steeped in corruption and therefore untrustworthy. There exists great potential in the country for production in agriculture and livestock, but attempts to harness these resources is greatly hindered by organised crime ensuring almost all individuals are left far below the poverty line. Due to the above-mentioned strained relationships with neighbouring countries, any possibility of exporting what could be potentially produced is also very rare. It’s an economy turning in on itself with little sign of change into the future. As an even further detriment to normal existence, severely cold winters (sometimes down to -40°C) create a serious annual threat to a majority of the population. Due to poor housing conditions and not having the funds to purchase heating, a high level of flurelated ailments with practically no medical help, and direct exposure to the harsh elements raises the already serious mortality rate! One new increasing threat to Armenia is the influx of thousands of Syrian refugees crossing the borders through Turkey. These people, most of whom are escaping sever religious persecution, have left their homes,

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businesses, and even family members ultimately losing everything of any value only to stream into an extremely impoverished country where the best anyone might have to offer is basic moral support! Fortunately, a number of the evangelical churches are willing to go through the rigorous process of receiving many of the refugees, documenting their arrival and offering them genuine Christian hospitality. Through this process the refugees are provided with Godly Spiritual guidance and encouragement, as well.

What Can We Do to Make a Difference? Christian Community Churches of Australia is aware that reaching out to the world with an active, genuine holistic-gospel message is at the core of the ‘Great Commission’ given by Jesus Christ to his ‘Body’, the church. As with another trip made by several CCCAust National Directors to Kenya and Uganda in October of 2012, CCCAust is seeking ways to inform our churches in Australia of what genuine needs do exist among our international brothers and sisters and those who are yet to respond to God’s wonderful message of love. CCCAust has established a partnership with Bright Hope World called CCCAPartnerships, which provides a mechanism to partner with local people on the ground, using successful means of not simply providing financial handouts, but rather supporting church groups through practical methods. Micro-loans with strong accountability are provided so as to encourage and support the development of indigenous-led micro-enterprise. These programs, already proven very successful, are greatly encouraging the true believers in Christ through building selfrespect and providing the means to employ others in their family and broader community. The churches they attend are having an increased opportunity to impact their communities as this living testimony of God’s provision and grace is realised! We also look forward to working with the Armenian Christian Mission in their effective ministry in Armenia. For further information regarding the work of ACM, or how to make contributions to the work in Armenia, visit www.armenianbrethren.org, and follow the prompt “click here to read more about ACM.” Harry Kiujian’s Contact details: 0419 331 122 (or) hkiujian@armenianbrethren.org

October 2013

CHURCH FINANCE GUIDE Administrators, Finance Officers, Treasurers, were you aware that CCCVaT has purchased, a Church Finance Handbook? This handbook, from Saward Dawson Chartered Accountants, is able to be used in every CCCAust church.

What is the Church Finance Handbook? We are pleased to introduce the Church Finance Handbook comprising the GST Handbook and the Treasures Handbook for use in your church. Along with these useful handbooks we have also included many templates and resources that will help church treasurers around Australia with the daily and on-going running of their churches.

The Treasurer’s Handbook The role of a church treasurer is rewarding and challenging. There are many responsibilities associated with it, but not always adequate resources or people to assist with requirements. This Guide has been specifically designed to assist church treasurers in attending to their responsibilities. It can be used by new church treasurers so that the transition to their role happens in the most efficient and effective manner. It can also be used by current church treasurers who simply need assistance with their responsibilities. The Guide discusses various issues associated with the role of a church treasurer. However, the first step is to gain an understanding of some financial aspects associated with your church.

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The GST Handbook The GST is a “goods and services tax” at the rate of 10%. It is not a tax on income, but rather a tax on the consumption of goods, services and other things such as creation of rights in Australia. The GST applied in Australia from 1 July 2000. On the introduction of the GST, the sales tax system was repealed. This handbook contains a wealth of information for church treasurers that will help them administer this comprehensive tax.

Finance Resource Centre We present many templates and resources for church treasurers on the following topics: • Governance resources • Legal Compliance • Investment/Asset Management • Risks Management • Resource Management • Accounting Systems • Human Resources • Fundraising • Administrative Procedures • Newsletter archive • Newsletter They also have a regular newsletter that is posted to the same place with very helpful advice on new reforms such as the ACNC body.

Access The service is available on the CCCVaT website: cccvat.com.au/church-financehandbook and to login, you can make a new account or use the username: CFHandbook and password: gst10% Nathan Keen PA to the Director of Ministries T: 03 9897 4302 E: nathan@cccvat.com.au W: www.cccvat.com.au

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EMMAUS CORRESPONDENCE SCHOOL – QUEENSLAND I guess we’ve all read the stories of great “Heroes of the Faith” like Hudson Taylor, pioneer missionary to China; David Livingstone, Africa; and Amy Carmichael of India. But “Who is Ed Harlow?” As you read this article, you will see the ongoing impact the life of Ed Harlow had in the lives of untold numbers of people, via the ministry of the Emmaus Correspondence School. As Ed served the Lord in Africa and elsewhere, he came to see the value of systematic teaching of Scripture, and its teaching by correspondence. The Emmaus Correspondence School (known today as ECS Ministries) has grown from humble beginnings in Canada in 1942 to now being a worldwide ministry providing Bible correspondence courses in 110 countries and in 125 languages. The work began in Australia in 1951/52 with Ed Harlow visiting Australia to promote the work and so the Emmaus Correspondence School in Australia began. In Queensland, the work has been largely to prisoners, with the first use of Emmaus courses within the prisons occurring in the early 1950’s. In 1976 Lance Foley assumed responsibility for the ECS work and continued to be involved in it for some years. In 1986, following a call from God, Noel and Eleanor Sheen came into the ECS ministry. Noel had seen the Emmaus work in African jails, and could see the potential here in Australia. Today, we have students in all the main prisons within Qld doing ECS courses. In 1987 Noel had formalised the prison ministry work with the Dept. of Corrective Services and the ECS courses became recognised as an “educational tool” within the Qld prison system. Noel passed away on 4th September, 2012. He and Eleanor had been involved in the ECS ministry for 25 years, including

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The recently upgrade Emmaus, Qld website

nine years as National Director. At his memorial service, particular note was made of his Bible teaching ministry which was appreciated by many. In 2001 we became involved in ECS. The work had built up considerably, and Noel needed help in the marking and processing of courses. We were approached about taking on this role and after praying it through, John accepted the position of Qld Registrar. The ECS office in the Mueller College complex is kindly provided by Mueller Community Church, Redcliffe. Initially, the work was part-time but over the years it has grown into a full-time ministry. Why do people in prison do ECS studies? Some have hit rock bottom in

their lives and decide to turn to God for answers, and others will start studies through the encouragement of a chaplain. Some are saved, but their past has caught up with them and they want to reconnect with God. And some think the “study of religion” will look good on their parole sheet! Around 70% of all courses completed are from prisoners. Names are given to us by chaplains; we also provide flyers for chaplains to hand out; inmates recommend Emmaus to other inmates; plus the free course offer inside the Emmaus Bible Gems calendar. One of the highlights has been the distribution of the Emmaus Bible Gems Calendar with the approval of the Qld. Dept. of Corrective Services in 2004.

Some of the ECS courses

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John and Ethel Orr

The calendars are given to prisoners by the Chaplains, in conjunction with the Christmas care pack provided by the Salvation Army. Last year saw 8000 calendars given out. Churches can also order them for their own outreach and this helps fund the calendars which are free to prisoners. The Emmaus, Qld website (www.emmausqld.org) was launched in 2007 and its upgrade and relaunch occurred last month. It tells people all about ECS and what we do; enables people in the community to order books and courses from the online bookshop; and features the ability to study courses on your IPhone/IPad! Following the “Seaman’s Christian Friend Society” appointment of a chaplain, we began partnering with them in supplying ECS courses to give to sailors through the Gladstone & Brisbane ports. A unique opportunity arose early this year to supply an Emmaus course to refugees on Christmas Island. A large number of the Iranians and Afghans speak the Farsi language. We had, among our ECS course material the study “One God, One Way” in the Farsi language in a format suitable for printing. (This study was based on one written by Kevin Dyer specifically with people of the Muslim faith in mind.) As the refugees are only on the island for a short time, we praise God that we have been able to get this book into the hands of some of them. In the next edition of Connect we will share with you some exciting stories of the impact the Word of God is having in the lives of men and women “On the Inside”. John & Ethel Orr

Registrar Positions Available in Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania Emmaus Correspondence School is a fellowship of Christians committed to reaching people across the world with the Gospel of Christ. The objectives of the school are to see students come to know Christ, to show them how to study the Word of God and how to apply it to their lives. The State Registrars are the very heart of this vital ministry. As an ECS Registrar you will be involved with the oversight of Emmaus Correspondence School Bible courses into the community and prisons. The role of State Registrar is voluntary as are all positions within ECS. Responsibilities include • Distributing, marking and returning ECS courses by mail to the students • Maintaining student and financial records • Appointing markers and office staff as required • Promoting Bible Gems Calendars to churches throughout their state. The biggest distribution of ECS courses in Australia is within our prisons. An integral part of the State Registrar’s role is to liaise with the appropriate people within the prison system for their state or to appoint a reliable person who can fulfil the position. A manual is available for anyone wishing to learn more about the position.

For more information please contact Dr Leonard Smith T: 02 9876 4370 or E: lensmith@emmaus.edu.au.

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CONNECTING WITH THE ALLANS AND LA PUERTA

country’s current financial crisis. God is using La Puerta to help not only the country’s economic needs but also its spiritual ones. In less than six months the church has tripled in size.

Trevor and Manoli Allan trained and worked with Operation Mobilisation before returning to Spain. There they fellowshipped and collaborated with the El Ferrol (La Coruna) assembly in developing an evangelistic ministry to children, young people and servicemen through a coffee shop called El Olivo (‘The Olive’), established in 1983. In 1986 they established the Olivo church. In subsequent years, with funds raised through AMT, they were able to purchase two vans for the drug rehabilitation ministry. A number of people were saved, and the church grew. In 2004 a Christian bookshop was opened in the Social Centre building in Ferrol. In 2006 they re-established the Agua Viva (‘Living Water’) church in Naron, where the church was first started four years previously by another worker. Trevor and Manoli still actively serve in Ferrol and Naron, although their children have now settled in Toowoomba. After years of prayer and preparation, a new ‘door’ has opened to bring the people of Narón, Spain, into the village’s only evangelical church, for God had bigger

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plans for Agua Viva’s growing social work ministry. That ministry, ‘La Puerta’, (meaning ‘the door’) opened its new independent location on March 17, 2013. Its inauguration was celebrated with a big community meal and a program in the church. Now La Puerta is in full swing. The ministry opens every morning, with a wide selection of second-hand clothing, household items, toys, books, and much more. On Tuesdays and Thursdays the store fills up as the ministry distributes food to the community.

The most urgent concern for prayer and action, however, was revealed in June. The European Food Bank announced that there won’t

be any food available until at least September, when the supply will probably still be much less than it has been before. The plan is to set up a fund through AMT so that food goods can be bought from local Spanish shops and distributed to the needy. Thanks for your prayerful and practical support.

All donations marked ‘Allan Food Fund’ can be sent by cheque to AMT (PO Box 565, Mt Gravatt QLD 4122) or direct deposited to: Bank: Westpac Account Name: Australian Missionary Tidings BSB: 032080 Account: 151023 Please confirm donation by email to accounts@amt.asn.au.

The bargains at La Puerta are great, but the conversations are even better. La Puerta also serves as a coffee house, giving free coffee and biscuits to all who stop by. As the customers sip their coffee, they open up about their problems and difficulties. Those conversations often turn into ministry opportunities, and prayer is offered for those who would like to receive it. La Puerta’s ministry is essential in Spain with the

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TESTIMONY I praise and thank God for Emmaus Bible College The Apostle Paul’s admonition still applies to us today; to “be diligent (study) to present yourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I first enrolled at Emmaus Bible College in 2000 at 25 Ray Road Epping and graduated with a Diploma in Theology in 2002. I continued my studies from 2003 to 2005 and graduated with an Advanced Diploma in Theology from Sydney College of Divinity on Saturday 6th May, 2006. The College then offered a Bachelor of Theology in 2010, at their new facility at 240 Beecroft Road, Epping. I went back and continued with my studies and graduated again with a Bachelor of Theology from the Sydney College of Divinity on 18th May 2013. I believe I hold the record of the longest attending student at Emmaus, and I am not finished yet! I say to myself I will continue to press on to achieve my Masters degree and my PhD. Emmaus Bible College has helped me to grow in the knowledge of Christ. As a pastor, Emmaus has taught me on how to run a successful church and how to be effective in my witness in my local community. It taught me how to work together with other members of the body of Christ in reaching non Christians with the Gospel, as well as encouraging one another to continue in the faith. I look to God’s commands, to serve and worship Him with all my heart, spirit, and mind. Attending Bible College to train and equip my mind with the things of God is part of my worship in serving God. I am amazed of how much I have learnt during my time with Emmaus Bible College, it seems that the more I know, the more I realise what I don’t know. I see the College going from strength to strength and it’s a sign that God really wants us to continue to be “diligent (study) to present yourselves approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.” I wish to thank all the past and the present staff the former principals, the lecturers, the librarians, the office staff, and the Board of Directors, for all your hard work. I would especially like to thank the present principal Dr. Len Smith for your great Leadership in raising the College to where it is now, from when I first started, it is all God’s doing through you and the amazing staff at Emmaus. I love Emmaus Bible College and I strongly recommend it to everyone as a place to pursue a deeper understanding of God and His word. Tom F Meredith Pastor, One Community Church Ph: 02 9636 2562 | Mob: 0406 216 453 email: tomfmeredith@gmail.com October 2013

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Relaunching Growth in the Developing World

ICONS OF THE WORLD Over four issues we are looking at icons that confront the church in the developed world today; icons that call and lure Christians and the church into compromise. We must hear these calls first as describing the world, secondly as having a forceful pull on our church members, and thirdly as impacting on the ministries of our churches. Here we are often placed into a tension between faithfulness and relevancy. How should we respond?

ICON #3 THE BLOG The move from modernism to postmodernism, has included among other things, a move from seeking to find one unifying authoritative voice, the truth, to a culture where all voices are considered equal. Enter the age of pluralism; an age where all possible philosophies, on the ultimate questions of life, must be tolerated as having equal value. Indeed through the forum of the internet and social technology, my blog and your blog, may indeed by some, be perceived as having the same value as a post by The Australian; or perhaps as more important? Perhaps today the determinant of important truth is not a unifying acceptance of a worldview, which holds life and reality together, but is the number of hits recorded on anyone’s video, picture, FaceBook comment or blog. Today we allow no one to determine truth for us, no one to speak for us, we have the right to speak and be heard and have our voices counted. We cry who are you to disagree with me? When I come to your home or to your church I don’t expect you to confront me with your truth, but to tolerate mine. The only ultimate or absolute truth left is “You must tolerate” my views. Only “One-third of all adults (34%) (in the US) believe that moral truth is absolute and unaffected by the circumstances” (The Barna Group - Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years, 2009). Similarly “80% of Americans, across the generations, believe that people should arrive at their own beliefs independently

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BLOG Voice Confusion

of religious institutions” (Wells 2006, p. 151). If answers are not provided objectively from society or something bigger than self, then people are compelled to turn inward. “Western culture is marked by an ever increasing attention to subjectivity” (Berger in Wells 2006, p. 148). But what is the result of this overwhelming desire to publicly pool our ignorance before the world? Do we feel a sense of freedom in having expressed ourselves via social media. Maybe? Do we feel validated for having stated our point of view so emphatically to the world. Perhaps? However with all the proliferation of information and opinions, evidence suggests that rather than finding liberty and validation, pluralism and unchecked tolerance are leading us into chaos and confusion. The fact that three out of four adults are disturbed by the moral conditions of the nation is an important indication that Americans are struggling with moral fatigue and confusion, according to Barna…. But people are seeking more than mere public awareness or outrage over the moral demise of the nation. Amidst the confusion as to what constitutes moral behaviour and how to regain a sense of societal decency, people are actively seeking moral leadership" (The Barna Group - Most Americans Are Concerned About the Nation’s Moral Condition, 2001). Isn’t it interesting, the same people who express the desire for there to be no particular moral rule to be applied in life, are still using something to assess the moral state of the nation? What is it? Whatever it is, they recognise that for all the noise of individual expression and tolerance, there is no basis for meaning or values coming from within, and they are crying out for strong leadership, a defining voice. “Our world has thus fallen in on us, stripping us of a worldview

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larger than our own perceptions, denying that we have access to what is true, and leaving us purposeless…” (Wells 2006, p. 89). “All there is left is inward knowledge rather than an outward belief” (Wells 2006, p. 155). So the blogger, the person trying to raise their voice to have an equal footing with others, winds up confused; seeking direction and leadership, not chaos and compromise. What has happened to The Word of God as that which underpins life?

RESPONDING TO ICON #3 THE KING What has our response as churches been to the unrelenting demands of this cultural icon? What is our response to the blog of pluralism. Where the tension between relevancy and faithfulness has erred on the side of meeting the demands of the context, and overbalancing toward relevancy, the response of the church to this icon has tended toward providing a voice to all through compromise, listening to the deafening demand of “Don’t confront my world, tolerate my views!” In answer to the icons of the world we find corresponding biblical icons that can bring us guidance on how to hold onto faithfulness while bringing life and connection to the world. The icon of the King speaks not of my voice, but of another voice, and my silence.

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KING Hope Word Revelation 1:12-18. I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone "like a son of man," dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: "Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and behold I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades. There is nothing here of many voices, just the sword. There is nothing of confusion or compromise, rather we meet the Holy, glorious, sovereign King; the one who is the word and divides the world for salvation or for judgement accordingly. In silence John is confronted by the majesty of the King, and falls. This is not the King of compromise or confusion; this is the King of sovereign hope and certainty. And yet, he is our King, the servant King, the one who puts his hand on our shoulder and speaks peace and hope and life, into our very being, with a sovereignty and certainty that allows us to stand again, and stand for him, confidently, assuredly, trusting and hoping in him completely,

Bibliography The Barna Group - Barna Survey Examines Changes in Worldview Among Christians over the Past 13 Years 2009, viewed 18 August 2011, www.barna.org/barnaupdate/article/21-transformation/252-barna-survey-examineschanges-in-worldview-among-christians-over-the-past-13years?

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with our whole being. Here we find ourselves surrounded not by a sea of chaos and uncertainty of blog posts and opinions, but rather enveloped by the loving arms of the eternal, first and last, the living resurrected Lord of Lords and King of Kings.

How are we with the Word of God? Does is come upon us in blazing glory, such that we are stunned into silence, and fall in worship? Or do we compromise its authority seeking to sneak around the edges of its claims in order to pacify and be overly relevant to the hearers? Or do we stand in our righteousness more concerned about checking for correctness rather than anticipating being struck by the glorious life of the Word of God, who lifts us up, as John was? The message, that we are the ambassadors of, is a certain one, one of reconciliation and hope from our King. It is always one which exalts the other to a certain place of citizenship, not a Word that divides or degrades or brings confusion and chaos. It dispels pluralism through the presentation of a confronting living Word, before which we must be silent, humble, yet hopeful and worshipful within the arms of the eternal alpha and omega. Does the message we bring to this world come with humility because it is not our Word? But does it also come with power because the Spirit of the sovereign One has dared to use me? Does God’s message come in authority, unity, relevance, and hope beyond the small voices of the world’s distractions, presenting the sovereign, glorious, eternal King? Yet the King who reached down and touched you and me? Does it come as the power of a humble servant who now reigns on high? It must. Do we believe in the Word of God which invades the private spaces and breaks the isolating walls of the individual? Do our lives express the certain anticipation of the return of the King? It should! Does the

world see us, all of us as a unified body, captivated by God’s grace, reflecting the hope of the I AM? We need to proclaim God’s Word with the depth and authority of the one who has the double edged sword, but also with the amazing grace of the one whose hand reaches out to touch the shoulder of all, who brings grace to the lost, through the Spirit of certain faith. While holding onto the Biblical icon of the King we relationally connect with the insecure, empty, confused, fragile people, who are seeking the opposite of what they really need, without falling into the accommodating church responses we covered earlier. Those desiring to express their voice yet searching for certainty need to hear a sovereign Word of hope, that silences their confusion and need for compromise. But they also seek authenticity not just spoken truth. Here not only is the mind involved but also the heart, a seeking of integrity of Word with life. So we speak God’s Word with an authority that shines through in our life of humility and hope. The icon of the blog points inward to self. The icon of the King turns the world on its head. It takes the overwhelming road of self-focus and selfishness, the small reduced world of “I” and smashes its walls. The icon of the King transports us beyond ourselves to God. It silences our world of petty voices of pluralism and confusion and gives us a message from the sovereign to ignite trusting hearts, bringing a confident certain hope, not compromise, bringing us a Word from the King of Kings. Look for icon #4 in the next CONNECT. David Smith Principal – Perth Bible College Elder – Duncraig Christian Fellowship, Perth, WA CCCAust – Board Member

The Barna Group - Most Americans Are Concerned About the Nation’s Moral Condition 2001, viewed 18 August 2011, www.barna.org/barna-update/article/5-barna-update/46-mostamericans-are-concerned-about-the-nations-moral-condition? Wells, D 2006, Above all earthly pow’rs?: Christ in a postmodern world, Pbk. ed., William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., Grand Rapids Mich.

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Devoted

NATIONAL CONFERENCE 2O14

20 - 22 June 2014 Sydney Allawah Community Church Sydney

Planning for the next National Conference is well under way. We are proud to announce that we have booked the following renowned speakers, Prof Darrell Bock, Dr Steve McQuoid, and Jeremy Dunn. Visit www.cccaustnsw.com/events

Jesus calls his church to a discipleship that is both radical and comprehensive. At Devoted Conference we will explore what it means to become more fully devoted disciples of Christ as individuals and communities of grace from Luke-Acts. Prof. Darrell Bock will help us consider the call of Jesus on our personal lives from the gospel of Luke and Dr. Steve McQuoid will explore the call of Jesus on our corporate lives as churches from the book of Acts. Our prayer is that God might use this moment to work powerfully by His Spirit in his church to bring us to a deeper love for our Lord and commitment to follow him as communities being transformed by the grace that he has shown us in His Son.

Application forms and a Conference web site will be available soon but make sure you save these dates in your diary and come and visit the wonderful city of Sydney.

Prof Darrell Bock is Research professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and the Professor for Spiritual Development and Culture there. He is also an Editor at large for Christianity, has authored over twenty books and is a New York Times best Selling author. Dr Stephen McQuoid grew up in Ethiopia where his parents were missionaries. He then lived in Ireland where he qualified as a nurse before going on to study theology: MA, MTh, PhD. He has also written ten books. Stephen is the General Director of Gospel Literature Outreach, a missionary organisation based in Europe. He is married to Debbie and they along with their three children fellowship at Liberty Community Church in Bellshill where Stephen is a teaching elder. His interests include football, motorcycles, SCUBA diving and movies. Jeremy Dunn is the assistant pastor at City Light Church Balmain (a CCCAust Church) and has been happily married to Mel for 3 years. They have 2 children under 2. Jeremy became a Christian at Katoomba Youth Convention in 2000 and is passionate about seeing youth come to know and love Jesus through the Word of God.

CCCAust Newsletter | PO Box 573 Riverstone, NSW 2763 Tel. 02 8006 9569 | Email: dan.proctor@cccaust.com Contributors: Ross Bunyon, Ken Newton, Dan Proctor, David Smith, Len Smith, Jeff Spencer If you would like to make any comments or submit material for this newsletter, kindly contact Dan Proctor on the details above.

Connect - October 2013  

Newsletter of the Christian Community Churches of Australia

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