Victoria V Bran ch Mat t ers
Februa Fe F eb ry 2 0 1 4 Vol 8 No 1
Teaching and sharing amongst Christian leaders in Asia
New things in a New Year State Director
ewness is a great Bible theme. In creation God made the universe and everything in it, new and good. It was tragically broken and marred by our rebellion against God. It remains broken and cracked. Creation and all in it still groans under the bondage of sin. But God declares that he is in the business of making all things new. He who was seated on the throne said, “I am making everything new!” Revelation 21:5 Indeed God has been in the business of renewing creation from the moment we broke it. The serpent in the Garden of Eden is warned that though it may bruise the child’s heel, one day its head will be crushed underfoot by the son of Eve (Genesis 3:15). Jesus is central to God’s plan for renewing all things. His atoning work on the cross purchases us for God. His resurrection power is the same power that is at work in us who believe. His gift of the Holy Spirit is what makes us the new people God promises we will be: I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26
It’s amazing to consider that the renewing work of God in creation begins in each person’s heart and spirit. For if the original problem is an individual’s sin and rebellion Wei-Han Kuan that leads to the corruption of the whole world, then the ultimate solution must be a fix for each individual’s broken heart and spirit that leads to the renewal of all creation. This why I’m so passionate about mission and evangelism. Because as we work for A World That Knows Jesus, we’re actually working for the renewal of individual hearts and minds that will go on to change the world.
New things in a New Year Staff changes at CMS Teaching Preaching A student again? Australian Christian Book of the Year Diary
There is a direct link between becoming a new creation in Christ, to becoming a new worker in the Kingdom of God, working in line with God’s plan for his world. God’s new people, doing God’s renewing work, in all of God’s world. CMS Victoria is in God’s renewal business! So are all our members and partners! Thank you for renewing your pledge to pray, care and give so that we can keep proclaiming Jesus as the one who makes all things new.
CMS VICTORIA 9-13 QUEEN ST BLACKBURN 9894 4722 firstname.lastname@example.org cms.org.au/vic
Staff New Chief Financial Officer
Teaching Preaching PB teaches preaching in seminaries in Asia and leads Langham Preaching training. He also mentors Christian leaders across Asia. Paul writes:
Cath Berryman started at CMS Victoria on 8 January as Chief Financial Officer. With degrees in business and theology, and experience in both commercial and not-for-profit organisations, Cath is ideally suited to a role which requires a high degree of technical skill along with a thorough understanding of CMS’s fundamental vision – A World That Knows Jesus. “I’ve found I need to be sold on the mission of an organisation if I’m to work successfully,” says Cath, “and when I saw the advertisement for the CFO job my heart skipped a beat and I knew I had to apply.” To contact Cath you can email her at email@example.com
Shario finishes at CMS
After four years with CMS, Shario Baghaei packed away his calculator on 20 December to develop his work as a BAS agent offering accountancy services to small businesses, in partnership with a fellow Christian accountant. “I see this as an opportunity to witness in a whole new range of places,” said Shario, “as well as affording more time to continue working among Iranian refugees.” State Director Wei-Han Kuan added, “In saying goodbye to Shario, I want particularly to acknowledge his servant heart, which has been such a blessing to CMS in so many ways over the last four years.”
have no doubt that training preachers is one of the most strategic things for the church worldwide. In Australia it’s easy for anybody to access good theological resources, study opportunities and sermons online, but in developing countries resources are much fewer. Thus the preacher wields greater influence on the members of a church. I also observe that faithful biblical preaching is rare in developing countries. Handling the Bible is often careless, ignorance of the Bible and theology is common and culture often militates against well-applied biblical preaching.
think, reason or analyse. Rote learning takes a lot of undoing. Nevertheless, from time to time there are some small positives. A few months ago an Anglican colleague came to hear me preach one Sunday. She told mutual friends afterwards that she had finally seen what it means to expound a passage of Scripture and preach it relevantly. I am hoping my model and ongoing contact will continue to shape her preaching and ministry better.
After one of my Vietnamese students preached recently in For example, Thailand, a colleague preaching has reported to me how a lower priority well she preached, in Buddhist and handling the text well Hindu spirituality; and in an engaging some suggest that way. When I told her I Buddhist preaching had heard she recently is erudite but preached well, her neither morally nor practically applied. Students prepare sermon outlines together. reply was that she had really changed her In such environments, training preaching after my course last year. preachers is a tough call. So how One of the ways we try to keep can a short course hope to make building beyond the courses and any change? Is it even possible, training weeks is encouraging people semi-itinerant as I am, to see positive to belong to preaching clubs. The outcomes from the training? Puritans called these prophesying As I write I am in the middle of groups. The aim is to keep teaching second year students encouraging each other and critiquing at Payap University, Chiang Mai, each other’s sermons. Invariably Thailand. I have 40 hours to train where those groups exist, preachers them. Half my time is spent helping are honing their skills and ability. them think carefully about the text; the I’m encouraged that even just a other half is spent on more practical few people are grasping God’s issues of sermon delivery. word better and showing greater But does it make a difference? commitment and conviction to Last year a course in Malaysia was preaching it faithfully, clearly and singularly discouraging: student relevantly. sermons in chapel were terrible on the whole, some students saw the course as an easy option, and most did as little work as possible. To support P B, call the office on 9894 4722 or email Annette Clarke: In surrounding countries we are firstname.lastname@example.org struggling with the results of decades of poor education models in the country. Many students are unable to
Forged with Flames
A student again?
Ann Fogarty & Anne Crawford 2013 Australian Christian Book of the Year, reviewed by Michael Collie.
J and D are serving God in Indonesia. J has been working in the local seminary and supporting local pastors. His ministry has recently changed direction. J writes:
on’t you hate it when you have a plan but it just doesn’t work out the way you were expecting? It’s a common experience of missionaries, now including us! We left Australia five years ago and the plan was that by now I would be busy training pastors and church leaders, but although there have been some opportunities, there have also been many obstacles and closed doors. So with the support and guidance of CMS, I am changing direction for now and am studying for a Master of Theology (MTh) at a local wellregarded Bible College.
For now I will keep studying, while continuing to mentor, preach and teach, albeit in a reduced capacity; as well as still being involved with Langham Preaching training in Indonesia. How do we feel about it? After being frustrated by our lack of ‘tangible progress’ in ministry in recent years, we are content with this new direction. It’s a reminder that, wherever we are in the world and whatever we’re doing, we have a God who is in control and has a long term perspective. Proverbs 19:21 puts it this way: ‘Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.’
How is it going? So far so good. If the lecturer is Indonesian then the lectures are in Indonesian, but if the J studying for his Masters. lecturer is from overseas I believe that this extra study will open then the lectures are in English – much up more long term opportunities, even to the frustration of my 10 fellow as we both continue with ministries students who are Indonesian! The which God has already given us: good news for me, though, is that all D meets weekly with a group of ladies assignments can be done in either who are learning English and reading language – I choose English every time the Bible together; at a recent Langham except for class presentations. Preaching course I saw participants Not only is this course great for my renew their focus on the Bible in their language skills, more importantly it also preaching. helps my understanding of Indonesian Please pray with us that God will use us Christians, their church culture, and the and this time of study for His purposes. many challenges they face. Will it be useful and strategic? Having an MTh means I will have the appropriate government-recognised qualification to be able to teach in a Bible College in Indonesia. Teaching students is a great opportunity to help form them for their future ministries, especially encouraging them to think biblically and missionally. In recent years, one of my main ministries has been teaching in Bible Colleges, so if God leads us further in that direction, then we will be ready with the right qualifications in 18 months.
To support J and D, call the office on 9894 4722 or email Annette Clarke: email@example.com
Where is God when it hurts? This question has rarely been answered more eloquently than by Ann Fogarty and Anne Crawford as they tell the story of Ann’s ordeal by fire. This is a distinctively Australian saga. Ann’s epic trial began in Upper Beaconsfield, Victoria, when the 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires left her with life-threatening burns to eighty-five percent of her body. Ann placed herself between her daughters and the approaching fire storm and prayed for a miracle. “My world exploded. For long seconds I was oblivious to anything but pain. … Moments before I’d been praying to stay alive, now all I could do was scream and plead, ‘Oh, God, please let me die, please let me die.’ Anything to end the terrible pain.” Ann brings to her writing the same humour, honesty and courage with which she suffered the pain, doubt and despair. The hope forged by this extreme experience is shared with simplicity and an open heart. It is profoundly comforting to follow her growing assurance of God’s presence and loving care. Ann’s story is compelling and inspiring and her testimony is unassailable. This is a book you can confidently give to the most sceptical reader. Why don’t you suggest that your congregation read Forged with Flames together before inviting Ann to visit your church? You can buy copies of Forged with Flames and contact Ann through her publisher Wild Dingo Press. Michael Collie is National Director of SparkLit. Formerly the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge Australia and the Australian Christian Literature Society, SparkLit advances God’s Kingdom by empowering Christian writers, publishers and distributors.
Bendigo Autumn Weekend
This year’s CMS Autumn Weekend explores the theme of God’s heart for the world through Bible studies in 1 and 2 Samuel, presented by Andrew Grills. Now in its 33rd year, the Bendigo Autumn Weekend is hosted again by Holy Trinity, Flora Hill and will feature CMS missionaries Ken and Ally Thompson (home from Mondulkiri, Cambodia) and David and Prue Boyd, preparing to go to DR Congo. Come for the weekend or just for a session – but you’ll need to register in advance if you want meals provided. There will be a kids’ program provided during the Saturday and Sunday sessions so their parents can enjoy the speakers while the kids have a great time as well.
Diary Missionary Care Fellowship (MCF) Wednesday 12 February 10:15am start with morning tea. Speakers: David and Prue Boyd All welcome. Bring a plate to share. Contact Maurelle Thompson on 9850 6850.
1MPG (First Monday Prayer Group) Monday 3 February, 12:30pm Prayer for God’s worldwide mission. All welcome. BYO lunch. Contact Hugh Prentice on 9014 0968.
comings and goings 6 February Amanda Lyons arrives from Indonesia. Short term worker Sarah Bambery left for the Northern Territory on 6 January to teach Year Six at Nhulunbuy Christian College. She will connect with other local Christians in Nhulunbuy, including CMS affiliates Geoff and Hannah Harper.
Giving Electronically The best way to support the mission of CMS financially is via internet banking. It’s easy, quick and costs nothing to process. Here are the numbers you need: BSB: 063 107 Account: 10105716 If you want your gift to go to support a particular missionary, please put their name in the transaction description field. Alternatively, you can use the direct debit system: go to www.cms.org.au/vic/give/directdebit, download the form, complete it and send it to the office. Finally, if a credit card is your preferred method, go to give.cms.org.au and follow the prompts. We pay a fee on each transaction if you choose this option.