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HOW TECHNOLOGY HELPS US SPEAK IN OTHER TONGUES
Adultery of the heart • How we should love An unexpectedly unreached people • Father Stu
“I’s amos ik h UN” Alive in Christ: a new believer is baptised at St John’s Cathedral by rector the Rev Canon Bruce Morrison (far right). photo: Simon Hall
Russell Powell Now there were staying in Jerusalem Godfearing Jews from every nation under heaven. When they heard this sound, a crowd came together in bewilderment, because each one heard their own language being spoken. (Acts 2:5 -)6
It wasn’t exactly the Day of but until now this has been candidates, with hundreds
Pentecost, but a celebration of baptisms and confirmations last month at St John’s Cathedral, Parramatta was all the more joyful thanks to new livetranslation technology. The cathedral has a celebration each year when its congregations join together,
SouthernCross May-June 2022
volume 28 number 4
solely in English. This year, a team of translators used a phone app called LiveVoice to simultaneously broadcast Mandarin, Cantonese and Farsi translations of the English language livestream. There were more than 35 baptism and confirmation
inside the cathedral and in the square outside. According to the cathedral’s senior associate minister, the Rev David Ould, the beginning of the event was not promising. “On the day we actually got rained on,” he says. “So we started indoors and then had
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Speakers: Dr Simon Gillham and Bishop Malcolm Richards
the overflows watching the livestream video. But God in his kindness caused it to clear, so we were able to get outside right at the end and do all the immersion baptisms outdoors in a wonderful break in the weather.” The annual event has been interrupted by the pandemic so everyone was grateful it was back. “We waited because of COVID – we’ve waited 2½ years since the last one – so it was great to make it happen again,” Mr Ould says. “It was proof positive that God had been at work even during the difficult COVID season. Many of those who were being baptised or confirmed were conversions from the last two years.” He adds that the translation technology was a first for the cathedral. “We were nervous about it, but it worked really, really well. We had a small team who had the scripts in advance and were rendering it, live, in their own language.” Cathedral member Adrian Ng was co-ordinator of the translation broadcast. “We have basically three different language groups, so it’s nice for us to be able to sit together and witness the baptism and still have everybody understand and follow along,” he says. “The sermon by the Archbishop was in English and it was translated into Cantonese, Mandarin and Farsi. It’s almost like the UN. You’d watch it in the native language and if you wanted you could go to the app to listen in a different language.” One of the testimonies was in Mandarin only, which was then translated live to English and Farsi (Persian). “It is very straightforward, even for the translator,” Mr Ng says. “The LiveVoice app just broadcasts the translation as the translators talk into their phones. For the listener, there’s an app for your phone, or you could even just use a web browser and listen in.” 4
Heart languge translation: The LiveVoice app. The cathedral team was aware other churches had used similar apps but, Mr Ould says, “I think it’s probably the first place, I’d say for miles around, where we’ve been doing it into multiple languages at the same time. Even with our change of plans, switching to indoors and having to move the team to a different location, they did brilliantly well.”
heart language that they’re comfortable with, we’ll make sure that they get one of these cards so that they at least know there is a translation available. We hope that makes them feel like they’re welcome and are being cared for.” Not having a separate Mandarin service, the church used another app, Mixlr, for live translation. WELCOMED IN “We had a translator who A number of other parishes would race upstairs just before have experimented with live the Bible rea din g, put on translation, including Rouse headphones so they could hear Hill in northwest Sydney. The what was happening downstairs outreach pastor at Rouse Hill, the and then connect to the app [to Rev Rick Mason, says the church broadcast live],” Mr Mason says. believes that the translation of “We’ve got a translation team services is a sign of welcome. of about six people, and they felt “On our table that everybody during the pandemic that it was walks past as they enter, we have a burden to have to be doing a A5 laminated colourful cards in live translation. [They asked] Chinese with instructions on whether they could just translate how to get access to our Chinese the Bible passages and sermon downloads of the sermon and beforehand and then upload that Bible readings,” he says. to the church website, so that’s “A s w e w e l co m e p e o p l e what we’ve been doing since at the gate, and it becomes then.” apparent that English isn’t their Even though it is no longer
live, he thinks the effect is the same. “Before the Sunday service, the translations are all up on our website. People can listen to it from there, either simultaneously if they want to, or in their own time. “Feedback from people is that they are happy to listen to English and if there’s stuff they struggle to understand they download and listen to it later.” The benefits of translation, either live or recorded, are not just confined to the hearers. “The feedback from our translators was that they are growing a huge amount in their own maturity and understanding as they translate a sermon,” Mr Mason says. “I’ve offered every now and again to our translators that if you’re finding it stressful, you don’t have to be doing it. They’ve all said ‘No, no, we’re really happy. We are finding it helpful to do ourselves, and we want people to be able to listen to it in their heart language’.” Just like in Acts. SC SouthernCross
Has VICO D booschshd spirichua inchshrshsch?
way?’ ‘How do you know that?’ or ‘What are your sources/main evidence?’” he says. Q: In the context of the last two years’ crises i( ncluding bushffres “Conversely, get used to saying and the global COVID-19 pandemic), how important do you think spiritual practices are to support people’s wellbeing? things like, ‘I respect all people in our workplace (or relevant community space), as I hope you have seen by my example. But may I ask if this is a safe space for me to share my convictions? Because my beliefs are deeply personal and I hope they would be listened to with respect, even if people disagree with me’.” However the conversation is approached, Mr York says Source: 2021 Australian Community Survey by NCLS Research n( =1,286) this is an opportune time for Christians to speak with their social media and questions ENGAGING IN GOSPEL friends of “the wonderful love arising from the fracturing of DISCUSSION that God has for us through the the Western ‘progressive’ agenda Canon Grant has some advice for Lord Jesus and the hope that we through what’s happening in engaging in gospel discussions. have – despite all these things Ukraine – are just as much “Keep practising asking good happening – that if we trust issues for discussion [as COVID].” questions: ‘What do you mean in him we don’t need to worry Exact visitor numbers for by that?’ ‘Can you expand a bit about them because the gift of Easter were difficult to estimate, further on why you think that eternal life is our sure hope.” SC but various churches across the Diocese reported strong interest. At St Andrew’s, Roseville, senior minister the Rev Mal York believes visitors and newcomers probably outnumbered regulars. COVID, he says, has shaken people. “When you’ve got daily death counts in the news it reminds people of the reality that we’re going to die,” he says. “As a result... there certainly has been more opportunity to talk about We’re looking for Registered Nurses spiritual things.” This is an opportunity to: At Easter, news of the Ukraine • Ensure that residents are given the conflict intensified people’s highest quality care interest. “I don’t know if that’s • Keep families connected through bringing people along, but my family conferencing suspicion is yes,” Mr York says. • Be part of a welcoming team committed “[In the] last two years we’ve to continuous improvement had fires; we’ve had pandemics; If you share Jesus’ heart for older people, then Anglicare we’ve had floods and we’ve now is where you can do the best work of your life. got a war. I mean, they’re all things that the Bible talks about that are happening in the end Find out more times... it’s definitely heightening 9421 5344 people’s thoughts about death anglicare.org.au/jobs and life and spirituality.”
IMPORTANCE OF SPIRITUAL PR AC TICE S DURING CRISIS
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Easter and survey figures on spirituality are leading many to ask whether COVID and its aftermath are providing opportunities among spiritually hungry Australians. National Church Life Survey (NCLS) research has found there is a connection between spirituality and wellbeing and that using “spiritual practices” during tough times is important. “Last year we learned that around half of Australians were drawing on spiritual practices,” NCLS research director Dr Ruth Powell says. “I imagine the devastating March floods would have seen people relying on spiritual resources in similar ways.” While not all these practices were distinctly Christian, 18 per cent of respondents said attending religious services appealed to them, while 12-16 per cent were attracted by religious talks and spiritual books. The findings build on research last year by the McCrindle organisation, which found that during the pandemic almost half of Australians thought more about the meaning of life or their own mortality. A third thought more about God, while almost three in 10 have prayed more. The Dean of Sydney, Canon Sandy Grant, says there isn’t a clear trend as yet, although anecdotally p eople “sense that we are not in control”. H e b e li eve s is ol at io n and opportunities linked to working from home mean people are placing a greater value on relationships, and conversations on a range of topics can lead to gospel opportunities. “I think intelligent discussions a ro u n d h u m a n i de nt i t y – including engagement, albeit fraught, with gender and biological sex, concerns about
G ino h Bib wih rinds – wihou h rakou Lights, camera...: Presenters of The Word One To One video course prepare to film a segment at the MTS office.
Judy Adamson You’ve asked a friend to read the hope we have in Jesus, but m e m b e r s l e a r n v a r i o u s Bible for yourself rather than,
the Bible with you, and praise the Lord, they’re keen. You co u l d s i mp l y p i c k u p t he Word, read through a gospel together and talk about it, or use one of the many tracts available to help you along. Or perhaps you need some training before you start? Then again, maybe you’re afraid of rejection and don’t even ask the question in the first place? We’re encouraged to always be prepared to give reasons for
it’s easy to doubt ourselves and evangelistic or Bible reading wonder whether we’ll know how tools and how to use them. to handle someone’s questions or Mr Pfahlert wanted to add The negative pushback. Word One To One – a booklet and The national director of the reading plan that originated in Ministry Training Strategy, Ben England, which helps a Christian Pfahlert, became a Christian guide someone through the through reading the Bible with Gospel of John. a friend more than 30 years “I love it, it’s just awesome,” he ago, so it’s something he’s very says. “We want to make it one passionate about. of the things our church does, He takes par t in regular reading the Bible with their training events at his church, mates and introducing them to Park Road Anglican, where Jesus – but meeting Jesus in the
‘This is what I think Jesus is’.” Mr Pfahlert rang up the office of City Bible Forum, distributors of The Word One to One (TW121) in Australia, to ask about a linked course he assumed they must have. Except they didn’t. So he asked if they could create one – write a course that he would run as a pilot at Park Road Anglican – and the answer, of course, was ‘Yes’. CBF’s facilitator of The Word One to One, John Board, sat down
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7:00pm, Monday 4th July 2022 St John’s Anglican Church 138A Glebe Point Road, Glebe For more information: safeministry.org.au
Train up with a new takeThe on Word One To One.
and wrote a seven-part course, and last month video elements for it were put together in MTS’s Sydney office. “We want the training to be simple,” Mr Board says. “We have been running free monthly online training for TW121, and for some people that one hour is all they need. But what we found was that the majority of people had questions about some of the practicalities of it. They find they need some extra support from friends or pastors, or they write to us with questions. “This is how I think about the material that we’re producing: it’s everything we want to say to people that we don’t put in one hour! “We’re trying to record a lot of video testimonies of people who have used the material, as well as people who have become Christians. .” Mr Pfahlert expects the course will need some tweaks after its first run-through at Park Road. However, he’s really excited
about what it shows and teaches participants. “It’s about transformation, not information,” he says. “By week two we want people to have asked five non-Christian friends to read the Bible, so that by week three they’ll have started doing it. As the course goes on, you’ll actually be doing it – rather than just feeling better about yourself because you learned it but never actually doing anything. “It’s full of testimonies of people who have invited nonChristian friends who said ‘Yes’ and what happened afterwards. “So... by week three, you’re reading with your non-Christian friends and in week five you invite one of your Christian friends to come too, which de-freaks out your Christian friend: ‘I just read the Bible with a non-Christian and it wasn’t that weird!’. “Week seven is getting that Christian friend to invite other friends to use it.” SC For information about the course email email@example.com
WHY READ THE BIBLE ONEffTOffONE? City Bible Forum’s goal with T h e o r Wd O n e o T O n e by 203,0 there will be 500 unbelievers in Australia meeting each week to read the Bible one-to-one with a friend.
What we’re currently seeing is that, roughly speaking, about 25 per cent of people who do the training will start reading with someone within a year, says CBF’s facilitator of o r Wd O n e t o O n e , John Board. That means that we need to train 20,0 people in 7 ‰ years to see 500 [reading].
The good news is that we’re on track – but we can’t train 20,0 people, and nor should we want to. We shouldn’t be at the centre of T h e o r Wd O n e o T O n e . It’s a resource for local churches to equip their people, so the videos we’ve done provide high-quality, concise and clear teaching material that local churches can use to equip their own people. Mr Board says a major idea behind the new course is to build conffdence, adding that 95 per cent of those who take part in CBF’s monthly online training for T W 12 don’t believe their friend is interested in Christianity. eY t, overwhelmingly, non-Christians who do part one of the course ffnd it interesting and engaging. Having stories that demonstrate this gives Christians a lot of conffdence, he says. I think stories speak to people in a way that training alone can’t... we are here to help churches tell their stories well – changing culture by telling good stories about evangelism. In Isaiah 55:11, God says that the word that goes out from my mouth... will not return to me empty’. So, if you’re a Christian and you’re thinking, I’m reading the Bible, is this weird? It feels like my friend doesn’t really like this’ – you can go to sleep at night knowing that God is 100 per cent achieving his purpose through what you are doing.
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New CEO for Rough Edges.
Minisring on h margins
Serving with a smile: Volunteers at Rough Edges in Darlinghurst.
Spend any time among the
ministries of St John’s, Darlinghurst to the homeless and marginalised and you will be impressed by their impact on individual lives. It was just such an encounter that led Gabriel Lacoba (right) to become CEO of St John’s Community Services – the ministry behind the parish’s popular Rough Edges cafe. “ Q u i te a fe w y e a rs a go , when I came into contact with Rough Edges while working at Anglicare, it was a simple conversation that affected me profoundly,” Mr Lacoba says. “The conversation was with a volunteer who spent time helping people on the margins. He told me that, often, when things snowball in people’s lives and they find themselves in over their heads, just one thing might make a difference in restoring a pathway back to healing and a new start.” Although the parish’s mid19th century church has been a ministry base for generations, the present outreach to the homeless started in 1996. It has grown to encompass the cafe, Banksia Women (supporting women who have experienced domestic and family violence) and a community assistance 8
partnership program. There is al s o a l e gal s e r v i c e i n partnership with a solicitor who operates a pro bono practice, and the Urban Exposure social justice education program. The parish provides space for the St John’s Community Services ministries and the re c to r , t h e Re v M a tt h e w Wilcoxen, chairs the board. Says Mr Lacoba: “Rough Edges and Banksia Women grew out of the concern the St John’s church had for its community in Darlinghurst. It is a wonderful testimony to the love of Jesus for some of the most marginalised in our community.” M r L a c o b a h a s a l re a d y seen the effects of the small encounters that first drew him to the work. “In my first week, I spent a lunchtime at ‘Roughies’. My idea was to be an observer. It took only a few minutes before
I w a s d r a w n i nto s i mp l e greetings, some of whi ch developed into a few lines of conversation. In a couple of cases, the few lines turned into something more significant.” He adds that the impact goes well beyond the meals. “It can be seen through the education provided for the hundreds of schoolkids I’ve seen attending Urban Exp osure walks, immersing them in the world of homelessness. I’ve also been profoundly challenged by the amazing work we do through Banksia Women. “My first night was spent in a workshop with several [DV] survivors, who gave me the privilege of entering into a very private space. They were willing to provide a picture to help me understand that it is never okay to dominate, gaslight, violate or bully another person, no matter who they are. Domestic violence is never justified.” As the inaugural CEO, Mr Lacoba has already identified Banksia Women as a program that needs to grow. “It is still young – just over two years old. But its impact and reach must grow. This is a very, very important priority for me.” Mr Wilcoxen, who became rector of St John’s only last
year, says the appointment of a CEO was a deliberate step to broaden and deepen the ministry partnerships. “St John’s has a rich legacy o f h ol d i n g to ge t he r b o t h the vertical and horizontal dimensions of the gospel – ministering both to the soul and the body,” he says. “The work of St John’s Community Services is at the centre of this legacy, and we are grateful that God has provided Gabriel to help us continue, and improve upon, our service to those in need in our community. Mr Wilcoxen says one of the most important things about St John’s Community Services is the opportunities it provides Christians to live out their faith through meaningful involvement in the lives of people experiencing difficulty. “The help we provide our patrons and clients is essential, but it’s the opportunity for relational connection with God’s people that really sets us apart,” he says. “We are always looking for new volunteers and partners in this work, and we hope in time to inspire people and churches in other high-need areas to serve their communities in creative and faithful ways.” SC SouthernCross
Rug advocacy bars rui Extra places granted: Afghani evacuees board an Australian plane after being flown out of Kabul. photo: LACW Jacqueline Forrester
Russell Powell Archbishop Kanishka Raffel including the Bishop of North more than 145,000 individuals Afghanistan and to include
h a s c o m m e n d e d t h e Sydney, Chris Edwards Government’s decision to representing the Archbishop, provide an extra 16,500 places visited Canberra to lobby for for Afghan refugees, after additional places. Anglican repeated representations from bishops also wrote to the Prime church leaders. Minister and Immigration The budget, announced on Minister Alex Hawke to press March 29, provides the extra the case for a special intake. p l a c e s a b o ve t h e c a p p e d More th an 30 bishops – humanitarian program. It is the including the Archbishop of most substantial increase since Sydney and all his bishops – 2015 when, amid the crisis in signed this letter, calling for an Syria and Iraq, the Government intake of 20,000 refugees above announced an extra 12,000 the existing quota. places over two years. “We have learned that the Leading up to the decision, a Department of Home Affairs delegation of church leaders, has received applications from SouthernCross
from Afghanistan,” the letter said. “We feel that providing only 15,000 refugee places over four years from within the existing program is not an adequate response for people for whom we fought and with whom we laboured. “ We re c o g n i s e t h a t t h e conflicts in Ukraine, Myanmar and Ethiopia are leading to a sharp rise in the number of vulnerable and displaced people seeking refuge. We believe this is a compelling reason to create a special intake of 20,000 a d di t io n al re fu ge e s f ro m
these additional places in your Government’s upcoming Federal Budget.” After the announcement, Archbishop Raffel thanked the Prime Minister and his Government. “I’m delighted the Government has provided a substantial and generous way to offer an extra 16,500 places for Afghan refugees,” he wrote on Twitter. “This will make Australians glad. I commend the Government and thank the Prime Minister for his leadership in this way. We look forward to welcoming them.” SC 9
aP rnrships or h gosp Build, dance, toboggan, create, hang out: kids have Easter Camp fun at The Village Church in Jindabyne.
Judy Adamson While most of the rest of us with their experience and energy in NSW, the Jindabyne church is starting to be accepted, and
were preparing to celebrate Easter at home and at church – or taking the opportunity for a few days’ away – a group from Figtree Anglican joined a mission partner, The Village Church in Jindabyne, to help run a kids’ Easter camp for enthusiastic primary schoolers. Trent McGrath, who leads the Bush Church Aid-supported church plant in the Snowy Mountains town with his wife Alice, says “it’s just huge” to have the extra support. “Some of the people in our community have been Christians for a long time but have not had regular discipleship training – that just hasn’t been available to them,” he explains. “So having a mission-minded team come from a church like Figtree to help shape our culture of mission 10
is massive. “Sharing their resources and their experience running kids’ camps helps emp ower our people to think, ‘We can do this more regularly’, and ‘I can do this on my own’. I’m hoping it creates more enthusiasm for kids’ ministry at The Village, because we have lots of kids that need to be discipled!” The McGraths, who had been regular visitors to Jindabyne and had family living locally, joined BCA from St Faith’s, Narrabeen in early 2020 after hearing about the opportunity to start new Anglican ministry through church planting. Keen locals initially met in the McGraths’ living room before they officially launched The Village Church in October 2020. Despite COVID issues elsewhere
built momentum over Christmas and into the following year. “Easter  was a real high point,” Mr McGrath says. “By then we had a growing community of about 55 people, I had the privilege of preaching the gospel to 230 people at the combined churches’ Easter service on the Sunday, and then basically Delta came through and halted everything. “This year we’ve worked hard to reset our ministry priorities to simply reconnect in solidarity. With our Kids Village Easter camp we had a bunch of registrations and more than half of them don’t come to our church... people are entrusting their kids into our community space, which I think is a positive step forward. Our presence in the community
that’s encouraging.” When Figtree came on board as a mission partner of TVC last year, its leadership wanted to support the work in Jindabyne prayerfully and financially but also in a hands-on way. The children’s worker at Figtree, Jenny Horsley, had been keen for the parish’s younger members to have their own mission connection – one that offered opportunities for the kids to take part in mission themselves. Fellow congregation member Rachel Dirks, who works for Bush Church Aid, suggested making the connection with Jindabyne and potentially helping with kids’ ministry in the partner church. Says Mrs Horsley: “During COVID last year we made some SouthernCross
Jindabyne church runs Easter camp with Figtree.
videos and got The Village Church to do some content to start building a connection. And then earlier this year we had a cake stall and raised money for the mission, which was very successful – we had it at all three services, and everyone was really into it! “We took two families with us to Jindabyne and the kids were involved in the camp. The Village Church did the administration, and we brought a lot of resources such as craft... and Rachel in her role at BCA wrote the [camp] program.”
community that the 2½ day camp was a Christian event, but locals were very willing to send their kids. “It’s exactly what we wanted,” Mr McGrath says. “I was up at school dropping something off to my daughter and a teacher I came across said, ‘I know you – I see you on YouTube every week!’ She doesn’t come to church but watches our livestream, and she sent her kids. “What we’ve found is that there’s not a lot on for primaryaged kids in the school holidays, but there is still a need for somewhere to send your kids. MAKING LOCAL There’s a [local] wariness of CONNECTIONS the ‘new thing’ so longevity Because Jindabyne sits on the is important, consistency is shores of a lake, the camp used important. water as its theme and Jesus’ “If this grows, and we trust it interactions with people around will, hopefully our public witness water. It was made clear to the will help overcome the wariness SouthernCross
people have so that, in the future, more will come and meet Jesus through Easter Camp.” Both Figtree and Jindabyne want their mission partnership meantime, we to b e fo r t he l o n g all squeeze in!” he says. term, and Mr McGrath is also “We are seeing God at work, grateful for the active support people are responding to the of parishes such as Narrabeen gospel and are growing in their and St Marys in Sydney, and love for the community and the Gungahlin in Canberra. church, and it’s absolutely sweet He is thankful that Jindabyne’s to see the Holy Spirit changing church building is starting to people’s lives that way. feel full, but the congregation “We’d love to hear from has no hall and that makes any other people who care that the growth plans tricky. mission of Jesus is going out in There are hopes that one day Jindabyne. If you want to know there will be enough funds to about us, come and visit us!” SC build a multipurpose centre To keep in touch with the McGraths’ next door to the church building ministry see www.bushchurchaid. to bless the congregation and c o m . a u / m i s s i o n - p r o f i l e s . wider community, “but in the php?id=2159 11
60 youh parnr wih Angicar o suppor indignous communiis
A message of hope and care : KYCK attendees sport Take Love clothing, including the Indigenous “Abundant Love” artwork inspired by 1 John 4:19.
Hannah Thiem It’s exciting when the next they could get behind, taking the difference in so many people’s
generation of believers take Jesus’ commands seriously to care for the weak and vulnerable in our midst. This was the inspiration for Take Love – an Anglicare initiative begun almost a decade ago specifically to encourage and facilitate youth in their service of others. “We realised we had a problem connecting young people with the work of Anglicare,” says Asheigh Lee-Joe, Anglicare’s communications manager of engagement and partnerships. “We knew that we needed to speak to young people in a way that resonated with them, with a look and feel and message that 12
love of Jesus to their community” Miss Lee-Joe adds that while younger people may not have much money, they do have time. What Take Love can do is connect these individuals, youth groups and schools with practical ways to support the work Anglicare does – such as helping to alleviate poverty, and caring for the aged, the mentally ill and people fleeing domestic abuse. Nat, a Year 10 student from St Andrew’s, Roseville, is one of the hundreds of teens who have volunteered with Take Love. over the years, saying: “It was an amazing experience to work behind the scenes and make a
lives.” Since its inception, Take Love’s focal mission verse has been 1 John 4:19: “We love because he first loved us”. The group offers training modules in mental health issues for youth leaders, a “virtual” visiting program between schoolkids and the elderly, fundraising ideas and a range of resources such as Bible studies to equip youth or their leaders. Take Love’s most recent initiative is a range of merchandise that celebrates the history and culture of Indigenous Australians, which was launched during KYCK last month.
Each of the items includes the artwork “Abundant Love” by Brisbane-based Indigenous artist Stevie O’Chin, who is pa ssionate about creating traditional artworks that convey the message of God’s word. Appropriately, in this case she used the 1 John verse as her inspiration. The artwork’s white concentric circles represent the eternal nature of God’s love. The white lines connecting the circles represent our love for each other, while the pink dots are another representation of the fervent love shared between us. Stevie O’Chin gave her life to Jesus when she was a young girl and says, “Being Indigenous SouthernCross
Global news and encouragement at Canberra conference.
Arican church adr o addrss GAFCON Ausraasia A national church gathering of the face of violent opposition
the Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFC ON) Australasia will hear from international leaders including GAFCON General Secretary, Archbishop Ben Kwashi. Archbishop Kwashi leads the church in Jos, a Nigerian region where Muslim Fulani extremists regularly attack Christian villages. Still in the planning stages, Archbishop Kwashi’s visit will include an address at the August 12-18 conference in Canberra as well as events in Sydney for Anglican Aid. “I look forward to welcoming to Australia Archbishop Ben Kwashi, a dear brother and partner in the gospel,” said the Rev Canon Tim Swan, CEO of Anglican Aid. “We are sharpening our focus on supp orting p ersecuted Christians and we trust that Archbishop Kwashi’s steadfast proclamation of the gospel in
will encourage Australian Christians to not only stand firm themselves, but join in wrestling in prayer for those suffering persecution around the world.” The Rev Michael Kellahan, the executive officer of GAFCON Australia, agrees. “It is very good for Sydney Anglicans to hear what God is doing in and through our global Anglican brothers and sisters. We learn so much from those who have been faithful under persecution, who understand the cost of following Christ in hard places. They fuel our prayers and stiffen our spines.” In addition to Archbishop Kwashi, American Archbishop Foley Beach – the chairman of the GAFCON Primates Council – is also expected to be in attendance. Says Mr Kellahan: “GAFCON h a s al way s b e e n ab o u t a movement of Anglicans around
and of Christian faith both form One4Life Redfern, Macarthur my identity and they represent Indigenous Reconciliation who I am as a person. To be Ministry and Walgett Indigenous able to create traditional art and Ministry. combine it to relay the message A l re a d y , o ve r t he t h re e of God’s word is very special and weekends of KYCK, more than powerful to me. $12,000 was raised in support of “My faith has shaped and these communities from teens guided me to live my life under across NSW. God’s love. Philippians 4:13 is my Says Miss Lee-Joe: “It’s go-to verse: ‘I can do all things an opportunity for teens to through Christ who strengthens celebrate Indigenous culture me’.” and support the traditional custodians of the land, and FIRST NATIONS SUPPORT we’ve seen a strong response”. All the proceeds from Abundant SC Love merchandise sales will be People interested in finding out given to four community care more about Take Love’s work programs that support a range of or supporting the First Nations ministries to Indigenous people: fundraising initiative can go to Coledale Frontyard Church, takelove.org.au SouthernCross
Coming together in August: Ben Kwashi and Foley Beach. the globe. At our Canberra conference in August we are delighted to welcome delegates from not just Australia but New Zealand and the South Pacific”. The conference will be held at the National Convention Centre
and seminar hosts include Bishop Jay Behan of the newly formed Church of Confessing A n g l i c a n s A o t e a ro a N e w Zealand. SC See www.gafconaustralasia.org for more details.
Abundant Love raises funds for the following ministries: Walgett Indigenous Ministry Providing pastoral care to Indigenous families grieving the loss of a loved one. Coledale Frontyard Church A safe space for Indigenous people to gather, hear the Bible preached and receive pastoral care. Dinner is also provided for the 8012- attendees. One4Life Redfern Providing food, n E glish classes, pastoral care and outreach to people with addiction. Macarthur Indigenous Reconciliation Ministry Weekly chaplaincy, assistance with oy uth groups, Indigenous community gatherings and crisis support including food hampers, fuel vouchers and grief counselling. 13
Why Jewish people think “Jesus is not for us”.
Th unrachd group you don’ know abou Judy Adamson Who would you regard as the not visiting churches around the
most unreached people groups with the news of Jesus? Tribes on the Subcontinent, or certain ethnic groups in China, northern Africa or the Middle East? All of the above are true, of course, but there’s a group living across the globe that is one of the least reached with the gospel, and that’s Jewish people. As surprising as it might be to learn, according to the International Mission to Jewish People less than 0.01 per cent of Jewish people claim Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. “A lot of the perception of Christians about Jewish people is that they should know about Jesus already,” says Rahel Landrum – who works for the IMJP (formerly Christian Witness to Israel) with her husband Mark. “W h at we explain to them is that a Jewish person might live near a church, but they don’t see that it’s for them to investigate Jesus. We grew up hearing that Jesus is not for us, he’s for the Gentiles.” A d d s M r L and r u m : “ We explain to p eople that you don’t have to leave your Jewish identity and culture to become a believer in Jesus”. The couple live in Bondi, the heart of Judaism in Sydney, where their main fo cus is individual evangelism. They meet up with local Jewish people, share Scriptures and help them understand not only “the Jewishness of Jesus” but that it is possible to be a Christian and Jewish at the same time – just like Jesus’ apostles. The Landrums attend BondiWaverley Anglican when they’re 14
country to talk about the work they do and share the Jewish roots of the Christian faith.
For example, most Christians know the origin of Passover from the book of Exodus and its biblical connection to Jesus – the Lamb of God, sacrificed for us. But the Jewish Passover celebration contains many other symbolic links to the Messiah. “As you partake of the parsley di p p e d i n s al t wate r , t he horseradish and things like that... those traditional elements of the Passover service point to Jesus,” Mr Landrum says. In addition to the food at a Passover celebration, four cups are used: the kiddush cup, which represents sanctification; the cup of plagues; the cup of redemption; and the cup of praise, or the hallel – as in “hallelujah”. Seeing all the connections to Jesus in a Jewish festival is a profound experience for a Christian. But there are numerous barriers for Jewish people to overcome in order to hear and listen to this news – whether it’s due to the suffering their p eople went through “at what they perceive as the hands of Christians”, because becoming a believer in Jesus is not a popular thing to do, or because they think he simply isn’t relevant.
DISCOVER THE MESSIAH Mrs Landrum uses her own experience as an example. She grew up in Israel, and when she was 16 her mother became
A passion to share the gospel with Jewish people: Mark and Rahel Landrum.
a believer and started going to a Messianic congregation. Her husband and Rahel tagged along, and this was the first time Mrs Landrum heard about Jesus being Jewish, and for Jewish people. She did not believe it herself for a couple of years but did notice that potential references to Jesus were avoided. Such as when the class at her public school gradually read through the book of Isaiah but skipped chapter 53. “I was the only one in the whole class who asked the teacher, who was an orthodox man, ‘Why are we skipping this?’,” she recalls. “He blushed and mumbled something – I couldn’t understand what he was saying – and we read on. “He knew what it was about but he didn’t want any controversy in his class. People don’t want to [hear] because they then have to deal with this Jesus.” She adds that when she and her husband are speaking to Jewish people one on one and refer to Messianic prophecies like Isaiah 53, “they think we’re reading from the New Testament”. A s a n 1 8 y e a r ol d , M rs Landrum went out of her way to study Old Testament prophecies to prove that Jesus wasn’t the
Messiah. “I wanted to be like everybody else... but then when I looked at the prophecies about who the Messiah is and the pictures of Jesus, I saw those two pictures are identical”. As part of their daily mission work the Landrums are keen to support any Christians with Jewish friends who want to share Jesus with them. “We give them tips on how to start a conversation, what to do and what not to do, because there are some things that might be offensive to Jewish people and Christians might not be aware of them,” Mrs Landrum says. “We love what we do – we’re very passionate about sharing the gospel with Jewish people, and with others who want to know the gospel from a Jewish perspective.” Adds Mr Landrum: “It’s slow and difficult, and there are a lot of challenges to overcome socially and culturally, but it’s worth it. We rejoice when a Jewish person comes to know Jesus – like Saul, who prayed with me recently to receive Jesus.” SC Pastors interested in having the International Mission to Jewish People come to speak at their church should email firstname.lastname@example.org SouthernCross
ESL starts up in two parishes
G h word ou – in Engish Finally under way: Teachers Julie Lennon (left) and Cathy Webb with two students on day one of ESL classes.
Judy Adamson “It’s brilliant to be at a point has been a witness to that. We off their hands or they’ve same proportion of residents where we can do these sorts of activities again!” The rector of Dundas-Telopea, the Rev Alistair Seabrook, is enthusing about the longawaited start of ESL (English as a Second Language) classes in the parish last month. “We’ve been planning for it and praying about it and looking forward to it for several years, so to actually see it get off the ground is very exciting,” he says. COVID has obviously played a part in postponing the start of the classes, along with setbacks to the renovation of a property that will eventually house the church. But for now, the congregation meets at Tara Anglican School, so will run ESL in a community hall after its Friday morning playgroup. Mr Seabrook isn’t sure which groups will be most interested in the classes and looks forward to seeing who joins up. “Dundas is a really interesting mix,” he says. “There are a lot of people speaking Mandarin at home but also significant groups of Cantonese and Korean speakers, and Farsi and Arabic speakers... it’s a real melting pot of different cultures and church SouthernCross
have a lovely cross section of different backgrounds in the church family, so I imagine that will be reflected in the people who come along.” The co-ordinator of the Dundas ESL group, Julie Lennon, is a retired high school teacher who already has ESL teaching experience. While happily involved for the past three years with a group at the Anglican church in Bankstown, she’s looking forward to establishing a group at her own church. “We’re in a part of Sydney where there’s always going to be some need for this, as there are so many people from different ethnic backgrounds,” she says. “I have a neighbour who still doesn’t speak English well and they’ve been living here a long time. “I also had a number of women over at Bankstown who had been bringing up their families – the children wouldn’t speak English with them and didn’t teach them, so some of them had been in Australia for 25 years and had very little English. It’s very isolating for them. But when they get their children
retired, they’re finally able to do something for themselves.”
READY TO GO On the northwest edge of the Diocese plans are also afoot to begin ESL for the first time in the parish of Richmond. Deirdre Jackson leads a team of eight people, all of whom – like the volunteers at Dundas – have worked through the Anglicare ESL training and found it “really, really helpful”. “A couple of us have had exp erience before but the majority hadn’t so it was good for them,” she says. “The training Sarah [from Anglicare] gave was really good because she put in her real-life experiences as well to give examples of how things would or wouldn’t work.” Mrs Jackson believes one of the most important things ESL volunteers can learn is “to be aware of cultural differences... so you don’t tread on toes or insult people. They also learn about the different ways that people learn. You need to be watching out for how students respond to your teaching and adapt it as you need to.” Richmond doesn’t have the
from a non-English speaking background as Dundas, but Mrs Jackson says a new housing estate is bringing in people from the Subcontinent and Africa, so “we’ve just got to get out in the community and let people know what we’re doing... even if they speak English themselves but know people who need it. We’ve just got to get our first couple of students and we’re off!” Ms Lennon has begun the program at Dundas with another teacher, Cathy Webb, while the newer volunteers observe and grow in confidence until they’re ready to step in front of a class themselves. “I’m hoping that there’ll be an evangelical aspect to it,” Ms Lennon adds. “Anglicare provides very good lessons and Bible studies that help people along in English, but hopefully they will also hear a little bit more of what Jesus has done for them. “It’s good to finally get under way... we initially meant to start in the final term of school last year, but COVID and all sorts of things just jumped in the way. We’re starting now, though, so that’s exciting!” SC 15
Colleges celebrate graduations in person again.
Graduaing wih gra joy “It’s an amazing thing to have done”: Jane Rummey speaks to the Rev Dr Keith Condie at the MAC graduation.
Judy Adamson Rejoicing has been the order member the Rev Dr Keith Condie, it down to little children’s level.
of the day as in-person Bible college graduations returned after two COVID-affected years. The students from Moore College, Youthworks College and Mary Andrews College were of all ages and received a range of certificates, diplomas and degrees, but the joy in their achievements – and the fellowship and learning for Jesus’ sake – was the same. “It’s an amazing thing to have done and I’m so thankful I did it,” said MAC graduate Jane Rummey, who received her Diploma of Christian Studies at the college’s ceremony in St Andrew’s Cathedral. In her interview with faculty 16
attendees heard how 71-year-old “[MAC] gave me confidence Mrs Rummey, who had done no and it’s a wonderful thing... I am study since secretarial college in incredibly thankful yet remain her youth, had been encouraged surprised by my success and and prayed for by friends, staff achievement. Who would have and fellow students as she thought this would happen to learned and discovered at MAC. me!” “This is what helps you to keep Almost 200 students going,” she said. “These people graduated from the three were the ones who inspired me. colleges at their individual “I have increased confidence e v e n t s . T h e p r i n c i p a l o f in lea din g a group a s we Youthworks College, the Rev study God’s word and pray Mike Dicker, spoke on Proverbs 1 together, supporting each other to those gathered at last month’s pastorally... [I have] confidence to graduation, encouraging the fear write stories for little children, to of the Lord and true wisdom by teach the kindergarten children trusting Jesus and seeking his SRE, to know how to make the glory above personal fame and stories simpler. To understand honour. the bigger picture and then bring “It was such an encouraging
night to see the room full to the brim of graduands and their supporters,” he said. “Being gathered together in person for graduation is such a gracious gift from God – not only because we’ve missed so many opportunities to gather du rin g the pandemi c, but also because it’s a physical manifestation of the harvest workers who are hea din g out into the world, equipped for ministering the gospel to children and young people.” Some graduates studied to improve their biblical knowledge and understanding. Others prepared for a life of ordained ministry or missionary service, spent time in research or simply SouthernCross
Supreme Court om ve of r diocesan Chancellor.
Chancchshshor movchs o hch bchnch The Chancellor of the Diocese as significant Common Law
of Sydney, Michael Meek SC, has cases including the Chelmsford been appointed as a judge of the litigation, the Tamworth Bus Supreme Court of NSW. Crash litigation and the Thredbo Mr Meek is an experienced Landslide Commercial Claims barrister, having been admitted litigation. to the bar in 1992. Appointed a As Chancellor of the Diocese Senior Counsel in 2009, he is of Sydney since 2013, Mr Meek one of the Pre-emiment Senior advises the Archbishop in legal Counsel in NSW and is listed matters, as well as advising as one of the Leading Senior Synod and Standing Committee. Counsel in Australia. The voluntary position has been He has been involved with held by esteemed judges and commercial litigation as well barristers since 1876.
“Mr Meek is recognised as a leader in estates, trusts, charitable trusts and protective law, appearing regularly in the Court of Appeal and the S u p re m e C o u r t o f N S W , ” said Attorney General Mark Speakman in announcing Mr Meek’s appointment. “In addition to maintaining his leading practice, Mr Meek has been a keen supporter of legal education during his career. His contributions to the legal
profession have included his involvement with the NSW Bar Practice Course in Equity, the College of Law and the Law Faculty of the University of Technology Sydney. “The justice system is fortunate to be able to call upon a lawyer of Mr Meek’s calibre, experience and standing to serve on the bench of the Supreme Court.” Mr Meek, now Justice Meek, was officially sworn in as a judge on May 5. SC
EDITORIAL NOTE To our valued readers, Despite the ready availability of electronic alternatives, we know many of you value the print copies of Southern Cross The convenience of picking them up at church and the longer, more considered articles are precious – as is the ability to catch up with all the news of our wider network of churches in one place. We are constantly looking for better ways to serve you, so we have decided to publish Southern Cross , starting with this edition, every six weeks rather than every four weeks. A s we emerge from the pandemic, this will allow issues to stay
in churches longer, providing more time for parishioners to obtain their copies and read the articles as well as providing value for those ministries and organisations that partner with us through advertising. We hope you can support our work by urging your parish to publicise and distribute each edition, rather than only having them lie on the church table. If you ffnd something encouraging, please share and discuss it with others and make sure your minister and church oce know how much you enjoy reading Southern Cross in print. Tell us, too – we value your feedback! The team at
oY urs in Christ, Southern Cross
enjoyed the learning for its own sake. Moore college graduate Faraj is spending the next two years as an apprentice with CMS MENTAC (Mentoring Across Cultures) in southwest Sydney. He said his studies “equipped me to handle the Bible well. Not only learning in the languages and in exegeting passages – I’ve been [well] equipped to share and communicate clearly what it is that we’ve learnt from the Bible [and] to engage cross All smiles: the new Bachelor of Divinity graduates at Moore College. culturally. That’s something that’s been very valuable over witnessed what it looked like to time, but it was very valuable communities that we will be a the past four years.” intentionally support and pray for us to apply this to our part of, and we’ll be leading and Faraj added that there was for one another. ministries going forward. How modelling Christ’s love to? That’s also a great benefit to living “It was a bit of a shock at first do we look after one another? something that we found quite in community, as students to have people around you all the How do we engage with the valuable.” SC SouthernCross
The foundation of Christian unity Kanishka Raffel
was asked recently to speak about Christian unity at an
online prayer meeting for global Anglicanism. Since 2008 I have been privileged to enjoy fellowship with Anglicans around the world through the Global Anglican Future Conference, now known as GAFCON Global Anglicans. Although GAFCON began as a conference, it has become a movement in the global Anglican church for biblical truth, renewal and mission. Energised by Christ’s love, it has sounded a clear call to prayerful and courageous proclamation of the biblical gospel,
especially calling for renewal and repentance in churches where structures have failed theologically and, as a consequence, missionally. I thank God for it. I’m looking forward to the GAFCON Australasia conference in Canberra later this year, and plans are well underway for the fourth Global Anglican Future Conference next year in Rwanda. But back to the theme of Christian unity. In Ephesians 1:10 we read that the mystery of God’s plan, that has now been made known in Christ, is to gather up all things “in him” – to unite all
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things in heaven and on earth under one head, the Lord Jesus Christ. In him we have redemption, the forgiveness of our sins, through his blood. Christian unity is in Christ and he calls us to himself by his gospel: “And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit” (Ephesians 1:13-14). We are united to Christ by his gospel and he rules his church by his word. The church is built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone that joins the whole together. When we receive the apostolic word concerning Jesus Christ, we receive him and are united to him. When we reject his word, we reject him. Jesus says, “If anyone is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his Father’s glory” (Mark 8:38). If we separate ourselves from Jesus and his gospel, he will separate himself from us. So when we pray for unity in the gospel, we are praying that we will remain united to our Head, the Lord Jesus Christ, and so, united to each other as members of his body. We should pray for churches, that they will study the Scriptures in the power of the Spirit so as to know the Lord; and that ministers of the gospel will preach the word of truth, the apostolic message found in Scripture – clearly depicting or, literally, “placarding” Christ – as Paul says in Galatians. We should pray that across cultures and nations our hearts would sing of the Lamb who was slain to purchase people for God from every nation and tribe and language. Please pray for the theological colleges that train men and women to be servants of the gospel of the Lord, that they would know the Lord and teach his word. Please pray for the work of youth and children’s ministry and church planting, so that everywhere all God’s people may make known the excellencies of him who called us out of darkness into his wonderful light. As this gospel word is proclaimed, heard and received in repentance and faith, people are united to Christ and included in his church. SouthernCross
GODLY UNITY AND DIVISION The Scriptures tell us that there is ungodly unity, like the Tower of Babel; people working together to make a name for themselves! There is also ungodly division like this among the Corinthian believers; some who follow Paul, some Cephas, some Apollos. But there is also godly division – as when Paul urges the Galatians to separate from those who preach another gospel – or the Corinthians, who are to expel the immoral brother so that he may come to repentance. And there is godly unity – unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God that is mature, no longer tossed back and forth by every wind of teaching but, speaking the truth in love, growing to become the measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13-16). Our unity is a gift of the gospel through the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus. In him, we are one. God calls and equips us to guard that unity by remaining in him. Jesus said: “I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing” (John 15:5). SC
THE GAFCON PRAYER Eternal God and gracious Father, whose blessed Son Jesus Christ died for our redemption; commissioned his disciples to preach the good news; and sent the indwelling Holy Spirit in every generation to embrace and proclaim salvation in Christ alone: arise and defend your Church, the pillar and bulwark of the truth. Shine the light of your Holy Word upon hearts darkened by error and strengthen the work of GAFCON so that the Anglican Communion throughout the world proclaims Christ faithfully to the nations, that captives may be set free, the straying rescued, and the confused restored. Bind your children together in truth, love, unity and courage, that we, with all your saints, may inherit your eternal kingdom, through our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, Amen. 19
Your heart’s desires
Who we are and what we want should be shaped by the desires of God’s heart – not our own, writes Chris Conyers.
hat do you want in life? What are your
heart’s deepest desires? To own a house? To travel the world? To experience the world’s fanciest restaurants? To get married? The desires of our hearts drive everything we do in life, so what is it that you desire? But our desires don’t only shape what we do, they can even shape who we are. A man desires a romantic connection with another man, so he identifies as homosexual. His desire controls his identity. Or a woman desires more wealth and excitement and this shapes her identity, which becomes bound to pleasure. This leads her to steal from her employer to fund her plans. She becomes a daily, unapologetic thief – changing who she is and how she lives because of her desires. We are told by our world that “You can be whoever and whatever you want to be” and “You do you!”. From a worldly perspective, our desires control what we do and make us who we are, and many of our friends and neighbours celebrate this as a good thing. We are constantly surrounded by this way of thinking, and so as believers we are constantly in danger of thinking the same way: that our desires are good, and that “authenticity” means living out our desires in who we are and in what we do. From a biblical perspective, however, our human desires are not something to celebrate, but a serious problem. Different desires SouthernCross
Biblical insight rf om Moore College.
lead us in different directions, but every human desire will simply lead to a different type of sin. While desire itself isn’t necessarily bad, the Scriptures consistently show us that human desires are thoroughly corrupt. Desire itself is a good part of God’s creation, but descendants of Adam consistently desire bad things. The people of Noah’s day hadn’t broken God’s commandments (since he hadn’t given them any), but God judged them by their desires: “every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time” (Genesis 6:5). But even earlier than this, right from the beginning, human sin is connected with desire: Eve “saw that the fruit of the tree was... desirable for gaining wisdom” (Genesis 3:6, my emphasis). Adam and Eve sought to fulfil that desire, and humanity has been shut out from God’s presence ever since. SIN AND DESIRE IN CAIN’S STORY It isn’t long after Adam and Eve’s story that we find desire causing even more problems – though not necessarily in a way that we expect. Only a few verses after Adam and Eve are expelled from God’s presence, God says to their son Cain: “if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it” (Genesis 4:7, NKJV). In this verse, it is Sin that desires! What sort of “desire” could Sin possess? The text contains several clues that Sin desires to seduce Cain (metaphorically, of course). First, God’s words to Cain mirror his earlier curse upon Eve: “Your desire will be for your husband, and he will rule over you” (Genesis 3:16b). In the curse, marriage becomes twisted and distorted. In Genesis 4:7, we see the same pattern of desire and rule, but with different characters. God warns Cain that he is risking a similarly deformed and horrible union with Sin. Second, we see in Genesis 4:7 that Sin is “at the door”. Elsewhere in the Bible, being at someone else’s door is associated with adultery. Job defends himself from accusation with these words: If my heart has been enticed by a woman, or if I have lurked at my neighbour’s door, then [I should be punished accordingly] (Job 31:9-10). Similarly, in Proverbs, the author warns his sons against “the adulterous woman” (5:3) with the words “do not go near the door of her house” (5:8). The idea seems to be that lurking around someone’s door is what a man does while waiting for his neighbour to leave – so that he can go in and sleep with his neighbour’s wife. But in Genesis 4:7, Cain is not in danger of being seduced by a woman. He is in danger of being seduced by Sin. Finally, we see that Sin is “lying” at the door. Most English translations describe Sin as “crouching”, implying that it is like a lion waiting to tear us apart. While it’s true that Sin will destroy us, the NKJV’s “sin lies” may better capture Sin’s posturing as seductive. If Sin looked like a lion, we would all naturally “flee from” sin (1 Cor 6:18; 10:14; 1 Tim 6:11). But our problem is like Cain’s: Sin looks seductive. Sin lies near at hand, ready and waiting for our embrace. Sin does not overcome us violently by overriding our ability to choose but overcomes us by evoking our desires and provoking horrible, destructive choices. And, sadly, we see that Cain is seduced. He falls into the horrible union with Sin that mirrors his mother’s curse, and he kills his brother. Even worse, we all fall into the same trap. Through our desires, we are enticed into sin in all its destructive forms. SouthernCross
SIN AND DESIRE IN ROMANS God’s personification of sin as he speaks to Cain is unique in the Old Testament. In every other place, sin is something that people do rather than something external that seduces us – until we come to the New Testament, and specifically to Romans. There, Paul picks up this metaphor and develops it. In Romans 6:12, Paul warns: “do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires”. God had warned Cain that Sin desired, but Cain must rule. Yet Cain failed to rule over Sin and instead followed his desire. So now, Paul describes the same danger for us: the danger that Sin rules us through our desires. In context, Paul is warning believers not to fall into the pattern that belongs naturally to unbelievers. He is implying that unbelievers are ruled by Sin through their desires; Christians are to be different. Instead of following our desires, we are to “offer [our]selves to God” (6:13). Of course, not all our desires are automatically bad. For example, a parent might want to take their kids to the beach, and that can be a perfectly good thing! But our desires should not be the guide to who we are or what we do. They’re usually a terrible guide, leading us into sinful behaviour and destroying relationships! Instead, believers submit their desires to Christ as Lord and live according to his desires. Unbelievers follow their human desires; believers follow Christ. NEW LIFE, NEW DESIRES If we turn away from our own desires and receive Jesus as Lord and Saviour, then our choices in life will no longer be defined by the desires of the moment. Decisions about what we do – say, with money, jobs and holidays – are no longer based upon our selfish desires. Instead, they are made in the context of a deeper purpose
7:00-9:00PM|1 AUG 2022
1 TIMOTHY 5 SPEAKER: SAM ALLBERRY
The world will know that you are my disciples John Lavender of living for Christ’s glory. And our understanding of who we are isn’t based on our desires either! Christ gives us new identities now, and hope and purpose for the future. Right now, we become “children of God” (Romans 8:14,16) and “brothers and sisters” of Christ (Romans 8:29), and therefore brothers and sisters to one another. Furthermore, believing in Christ doesn’t only change who we are and what we do right now, but also into the future. We live in the hope of resurrection and eternal life with our new brothers and sisters. This hope, together with love for the people around us, gives our lives new purpose to work together inviting others to trust in Christ and join us in the resurrection. So, what do you want in life? Do you want a house now? That’s not a bad thing – you need a roof over your head. But do you want a home with Christ at the resurrection even more (and which desire drives you to work harder)? Is it more important to you to see this world, or to see the next? Do you want to eat the best food now, or share in the wedding banquet of Christ and his church? Don’t be seduced by Sin, so that you live according to the desires of this life. That path will lead to suffering and death – just as it did for Cain. Instead, let’s live according to the desires of Christ: loving God, loving one another and seeking to share eternal life with as many of our friends and neighbours as possible. SC
The Rev Dr Chris Conyers lectures in New Testament at Moore College. 22
s the second century of Christianity began to
unfold, it had spread throughout the Roman Empire – particularly to some of the great cities such as Rome, and Carthage in North Africa. At that time, Christians came under suspicion from their neighbours and government officials because they were so different, having given up the behaviour of their previous non-Christian lifestyle. Wild rumours sprang up. What did Christians teach? What happened in their meetings together? One thing that was loud and clear were the words recorded by Tertullian, a church leader of that time, who said that many of the attacks against Christians were made out of jealousy. Why did he say this? It was because the Christians of that day displayed a character of life that their non-Christian neighbours simply did not have. This is what Tertullian said: “It is mainly the deeds of a love so noble that lead many to put a brand upon us. See how they love one another… how they are ready even to die for one another”. See how they love one another! How good it would be if, as people looked at us who claim to follow Jesus, that they could echo those words. Yet it is not really surprising for these things to be said about the first Christians when, after all, they were simply being faithful to the call that Jesus had left with them. In an extraordinary scene in John’s gospel, chapter 13, Jesus has just washed his disciples’ feet. They are shocked! How could their master lower himself to such a basic act of service? SouthernCross
Yet this footwashing episode powerfully illustrates what Jesus is about to do on the cross. Jesus’ sacrificial death cleans, and it washes away the sin of those who trust him. In 13:12-15 Jesus says, “Do you understand what I’ve done for you?... Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you”. A little further on in John 13:34-35 Jesus then says to his stunned disciples, “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. How did Jesus love? Jesus walked in love. Jesus’ whole life, everything about him, was love. Jesus modelled sacrificial, lifegiving love. The call of the New Testament is that because we know Jesus, how he loved us, how he served us, our response can be nothing but sacrificial, life-giving love. Loving as Jesus loved. Serving as Jesus served. Walking as Jesus walked. And here’s the thing: as we think about the spiritually lost world around us, in John 13 Jesus declares that, as we love one another, it will show everyone that we are his disciples. And that is the point. As the world looks on and sees Christian brothers and sisters brought together from different backgrounds, different vocations and different interests, what they should see are people who, with God’s help, are seeking to love as Jesus loved. This means actively thinking how we can lovingly use our time, our treasure, our talents, to practically love and serve one another. It means not holding grudges, quickly getting over SouthernCross
misunderstandings, not letting differences of opinion drive a wedge in our fellowship and avoiding resentment, quarrels and rivalry. It also means not letting anger give way to hate, quickly saying sorry, putting our desires on hold and reshaping our thinking, our values and our priorities. If we are doing these things it will mean we are reflecting the love, the sacrificial love, that Jesus has shown us. We will be a light shining for a world living in darkness. The more we know Jesus – the more we are gripped by his grace, his steadfast kindness, his goodness, his mercy and his faithfulness – the more we’ll want to live this out with our Christian brothers and sisters. We will also want to boldly declare this love to a world living in darkness, desperately needing to come into the light of Jesus. Imagine the impact we could make in our street, workplace and communities as we live in a way that is faithful to Jesus’ call: “By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another”. We could be just like those early Christians, whose lifestyle was so different because they had given up the way they lived before knowing Jesus. We will reflect a character of life that our non-Christian neighbours simply do not have, which will lead our opponents to say, “See how they love one another”. SC
The Rev John Lavender is assistant director of Evangelism and New Churches. 23
Eight ways to help build the church eP ter Hayward
T he ch u r m o d i s a n x io u s . T he r i s e o f a p o s t - C h r i s t a n e d f c n u i a t s r h C f o g n e k a w t u q se b h d n oa t i cy o i t n h e a r t i v . B u i t s t h e d c l i n t h e p r o t d n u b e sm r o f c h u r a t e n d rs t h a h i t s h a r de s t ( i t i s w o r t h n o t i g t h a , o rf S y d n e A n g l i c a n s , t h o u g a e v r g c h u r a t e n d c h a s e m a r i n d s t y e or v h p a s t 0 1 y e s a , r t h m se i v a c n r ed).inlcystavhwoeirpmuld eW h a v e r a p i d l y t r a n s i t o n e d f ro m a t i m e w h e n re l i g o u s 24
C h r i s t i a n i t y i n A u s t r a l i . T h a t i s t h e u n de r l y i n g a p o n s te im u r h y c , b n o t i g a t r j e o c y i s n o t l o c k i n a e p rd t i m n
i s n o s u h c n i h t g a s e h t vn i e b a t l e d c l n i f o
belief was seen to be a virtue for society to a time when it was harmless and spoke about how humans functioned in the past. Today, Christian belief is seen as a hindrance to a well-functioning society. To state the obvious, 20 is very dierent from 1926! The local church has not changed locations but is now ministering in a very dierent environment. It may seem like a new challenge but, read against the sweep of 20 years of Christian history, it would be better to consider that we are moving into a n “ ormal” period after living through an abnormal time of cultural Christianity. u O r time is nothing unusual, but the circumstances are unique. The features include: • the politicisation of morality, so morality is now contested; SouthernCross
WHTA REALISTIC OPTIM SM LO KS LIKE Ther aer at lea st eight ways in whi c I beliv we can maek a d i ef r n c . W h a t o l f w s i s n o t a n e x h a u s t i e v l i s t , b u t s o m e arinymelp oughts on woh ew ightm yapl our part. e s h c u r C e r a e h t t e s g r a l r a t y n u l o v o st e i y c t h a s i n g i e l h a c dna uosnifcg ot eth secular idnsmet. Our enotrwk of loca c h u r e s , w i t h e d p C h r i s t a n o c um n i t e s t h a l i e v l i e v s o f h u c m e m o r t h n a e r m c e , i n v o s i l e w p la c e d o t l e a d w i t h te h h l c e a n s g o f t h is t i me . o c u F s o n e t ai v c r y a w s o f eringstm ot eth loca edsn of eth erwid ituny.moc e W s h o u l d o t c n i u e i n p ra y e o r f t h e e s o v r i n c o f m a n y . Ex p ect Go d ot bring many iont his kingdom. Conti ue ot ask God ot od twha eh said eh ouldw o.d e W edn nstiaChr ocmunit es tha aer both di1ernt form the culter but on0 c lytend d-aroutw ocused.f It si tnparomi ot yats 0rm ni eht htur tha ew as a hcur era syawl vonmig drawo f ot a renciat dna suoirlg .eurtf Our eshcur evha a pinlomgec pohe with a stilcear sm.ipto e W end ot ensur Jesu dna hsi agcre dna engisovrf ear e p l d y w k n o s o t h a e w c an s p e a k o t e h a c o te hr i n s h u c a yaw tha Jesu oesd er.tma Matain a tenimoc ot oury loca h,cur erwh ouy nca od elif etrh.og An eacisrngly loeny dna pimsloanerd society estamonrd eth uelav of loca ites,unmoc erwh pleo nca be wnko dna wkno God. p e K n o h t i w e h t l a n o i t e n ig l p c s d f o n e r d l i h c d n a . h t u o y They aer at the oerf nt of a catehism ocnf lict se king to p e r v a s i ve l y s h a p e t h e m i n to co m i t n g to t h e n e w s e c u l a r e l r i g o n . C e a u f r l , t h o u g f l , i et n l g a n d l o v i n g d i s c p l e h i , w h i c ed m o n s t ra e oc n 0 ed nc i n C h r i s t a n ethaicng, is ned orf oueynrg lkof in a ywa tha ew ehva n o t p v e r io u s l y g i e v n t h o u g o t . C h r i s t a n o c m i t e n i s posible outwih ingbsucm ot solcieta ity.orm nfc e W n e d o t m a i tn p at i e n , e 2 r e c t i v im n s t r y p r a c t i e s tha ocusf on eth ontiamlcpr of eth leowh ounselc of God. As ew od ,siht ew dluohs eunitoc ot yltneiap dluib naitsrhC i n s t u io n s t h a w i l l a s t w e l . W h i l e o c m i t e n o t oy u r l o c a h u c r i s p a r m o t u , n t e h l o n g - e t r m m e a c t n i a dn e lv o p d m t n o f eh l a t y C h r i s t a n i n s t u o w i l b e v i t l a . e W ouldsh ervn seilo f em,th or eyth lwi ie.d I yapr tha ew lwi evha nstiaChr itesunmoc of i1 d tenr es,iz eoldtca sorca eht Dioecs, tha era seirdtcah yb ,evol y,crem p e a c a n d h u m i l t y – t h a de m o n s t r a e a e r a l i s t c h o p e a n d a c o n f i d e t m o ve n t t o w a r d t h e f u t e r w i t h p a t i e n u r ge n c y . Thta lwi e,ilvout out-elov dna out-think eth ilnagvepr ecultr of ivdsnluea sfe-l eonx,sipr whic sek ot pimose a secularousigelr dset.inm The teagr seiompr of Sceuript si tha st’Chri hcur si being bu ilt. The h ardeni g a g in st relig ous beli fs mean s we wil e n d o t a d j u s t n ya x e p o n t i a c t h a e w l w i w s o e hm u e t r n o t a ousviepr e.tim The eutrf yma not be daorwigshtf dna lwi euriq hucm er,yap but I am on0 c tend tha if ew tainm twha ew ould,sh it l iw 0 noc mr tha oGd esunitoc ot od thaw Jesu :edsimorp ot dluib shi h.cur SC
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s t u b l o y r n b e md i n e l g a r s e g mt n o f s o c i e t y , b u t n o t y l i r se a c n n o g m a e h t s , e d i n r t W ,e d t a c u s , e d i l a r t u n a1tuenl tsengm of Auia;lstr • c u l t r a c h a n e g s , w h i c a e r a p m l i 0 e d t h o r u g t e ch n l o g y a n d s o c i al m e d i a w i t h a l o s o f s o c i al c a p i t l a n d t r u s i n onis.ut Thes ear lyon elpirmnay omtencs and euirq palim0ctoain dna on.aitd The emor esingpr onuestiq s,i woh nca eth hcur t a i nm a s til e a c r s mi p t o d n a n o t b s u c m o t e t h o n t i p a e m of eingar with eth onptiesumr of vbleitan ?einlcd SouthernCross
eTh Rt vRe erPt darywH is oBish p of eht oW longong oRegi n. 25
Adultery of the heart L u st i s j u st a b o u t e v r y w h in the 21 s e r i o u l y a r e C h r i st a n taking it, ask B ALLANTINE
century but how
he bombshell section on lust from Matthew 5:28 –
“But I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart” – makes desperate reading for many Christians. We live in a sex-saturated world and not many of us are exempt from these hard words once thoughts and desires are introduced. Those familiar with Dr Carl Trueman’s The Rise and Triumph of the Modern Self will understand how complicated even discussing sexuality has become. Personal identities have evolved from being psychologised, romanticised and plasticised to now being sexualised. The prevailing ideology sweeping through our institutions, media and bureaucracies is that identity is defined by sexuality. Happiness is the prevailing lens that determines right and wrong in society, and we are a highly individualistic society. Sex is a depersonalised function. What complicates things is that since identities are selfdetermined, sexualised and undergirded by the drive for happiness, traditional Christian teachings on sexuality feel wrong. To oppose a person’s sexual actions, beliefs or feelings risks causing them harm, which is deemed immoral. So is anyone going to take Jesus’ words about lust seriously? As a researcher of child and adolescent behaviours, I see another perspective worth adding to Trueman’s analysis. Most post-internet people (anyone who lived their adolescent years with access to the internet) have had additional exposure to sexualised culture. Typically, a child now gets access to the internet at around 11 years of age. They get their first social media account at 11. They encounter pornography at 11. 26
By the age of 15, 100 per cent of females and 90 per cent of males are active on social media, spending about two hours a day online. Seventy per cent of males and 21 per cent of females regularly view pornography. Unsurprisingly, the more porn they consume, the more they will objectify women, seek out sexualised behaviour, have lower empathy and poorer conduct. They are more narcissistic. So, while the world’s values assault from outside, individuals are being shaped from within by technology. Anecdotally, as a parent, educator and past youth worker, I see the effect this is having on young Christians. There is an increased tolerance for sexualised behaviour. Of casual sex, sexual behaviours when dating, of dating couples regularly travelling alone together. Rampant pornography addiction. Sexualised fashion and swimwear. A high tolerance for, and indifference to, consuming sexualised movies and shows. Unfettered and endless self-promotion on social media. Their ministers, sadly, are often shining examples for narcissistic self-promotion. More, I detect a deeper resentment – even offence – at the traditional biblical teaching of sexual ethics and abstinence until marriage. Recently I was challenged by some young Christian men for speaking against their porn use, because “it’s private, none of your business”. There is a lack of hunger for God’s will on these matters. Of course, not everyone is like this, but I feel the world is winning over many young Christian hearts and minds and they don’t know it. We have to stop and listen to what Jesus says in Matthew 5:28, because he takes a blowtorch to our world’s hypersexualised values. SouthernCross
WHY DOES JESUS CARE ABOUT MY THOUGHTS? When Jesus says lustful thoughts are akin to adultery, he makes clear that intent is on the same level as action. Now, those Jews listening knew that adultery carried a death sentence (Leviticus 20). Lust, however, fell under the domain of the 10th Commandment (do not covet). But in declaring that unrestrained lust would warrant hell (Matt 5:29-30) Jesus elevated the seriousness of sexual intent. God, who sees and knows all thoughts, will hold thoughts to account just as the Law did with adultery. This was confronting. Jews prided themselves on their actions, which distinguished them from the Gentiles. But they were no different to the sex-saturated pagans around them. Their hearts were full of the same motives. The heart, Jesus said in Matt 15:19, is the root of sinful behaviour. Judgement is not just for the last day. God also judges now. There are contemporary consequences for misplaced sexual desire. For example, when God hands people over to their shameful lusts and sinful desires in Romans 1:24 and 26, one of those consequences is the increased engagement in sexually immoral physical behaviour. God gives people what they want, which is the punishment. For although our world celebrates sexual freedom and diversity, Rom 1:27 hints that there are negative consequences personally experienced from sexually immoral culture. As a researcher on the negative effects of pornography and online sexualised media, these negative consequences are consistently observed. I see this individually: with altered neurology, thinking and behaviour – and at chronic and addictive levels. I see it relationally: with self-focused, unintimate and poorly informed sexuality that reaps dysfunctions, harms and insecurities in many relationships. I see it societally: with the private market of lust driving a pornified culture across mainstream media. We have a callous social soul that ignores the endless victims from pornography, increases the objectification of women and creates mass sexual confusion among young people. These are compelling arguments that sexualised culture is punishing. When we discuss sexual thoughts and behaviours, we mustn’t lose sight of what the Bible says about sexuality. God is not against sex. He designed it – it is his gift, but it has parameters. Matt 19:5-6 makes it clear it is for the exclusive domain of marriage. It physically bonds the male and female, consolidating their profound oneness (relational, emotional and spiritual), which God himself orchestrates. Heb 13:4 reaffirms the sacred nature of marriage, while warning that to mess with it is to mess with God. By the way, sexual desire for one’s spouse is a good use of God’s gift.
Sexuality outside of the marriage parameter is what the Bible calls sexual immorality. Interestingly, the Greek word mainly used is porneia, from which “pornography” derives (meaning sexually immoral writings).
IS SEXUAL IMMORALITY REALLY A PROBLEM?
Why is God offended by sexual immorality (including sexual desires)? For a number of reasons. Notwithstanding that selfcentred, unloving behaviour bringing harm to another is always wrong, it’s much more personal to God. Misplaced sexuality is idolatrous. It rivals God. Again, in Romans 1 we see people exchange the truth of God for lies and they surrender to sexual feelings, lusts and debauched behaviours. History is littered with examples of false religions fusing sexual behaviours with their worship. This would explain why the Apostles singled out sexual immorality as an absolute no-go for Gentile Christians in Acts 15 – these behaviours were too closely aligned with pagan idolatry. Have you noticed that, although our Western world is essentially atheist/agnostic now, people still defend modern sexual ethics like religious zealots? Immoral sexual behaviour always rises to rival God – it is idolatrous. How many of us right now are aware, in our hearts, that our knees bow not to Jesus but to the idol of sexual fantasy and self-gratification? Sexual immorality also corrupts the body of Christ. In 1 Cor 6 we read how our union into the body of Christ, through faith in Christ and receiving of the Holy Spirit, makes us incompatible with sexual immorality: “The body... is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body” (6:13). Our private thoughts and actions cannot be divorced from Jesus himself, since we are united to him. Thus, unchallenged sexual sin is both deeply insulting to him – worse, violating of him – and risks the very nature of our salvation, which is trusting in Christ as our perfect substitute. Sexual immorality is also an affront to the gospel. We learn in Ephesians 5 that marriage, at its deepest meaning, is a metaphor for Christ and the church. That is, the eternal union achieved between Christ and his people through his death and resurrection is pre-empted by the marriage union. To embrace sexual immorality is to dishonour marriage, and to dishonour marriage is to dishonour that to which it points – the salvific work of Christ. Casual sex, pornography, adultery – these are mockeries of Christ and his church. It is no wonder Jesus emphatically condemns sexual lust. It is the doorway to idolatry, corrupts the body of Christ and is a
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mockery of the gospel. When he said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matt 6:21), he then said, “The eye is the lamp of the body”. We have to guard our eyes and thoughts, or our hearts will follow and desire will take hold. WHAT DO WE DO ABOUT SEXUAL LUST AND BEHAVIOUR? So what do we do about these powerful, innate forces that the world tells us to embrace? Of lust, Jesus says to take whatever action necessary to avoid it – to “cut it off” (Matt 5:30). Similarly, Paul says to flee sexual immorality (1 Cor 6). Strong words, but how? I love what Paul says in Titus 3:14: “Our people must learn to devote themselves to doing what is good”. The word for “learn” is actually “be schooled”. It means to take action and submit oneself to a learning process. This becomes very useful for us because the Christians in Crete who Titus led were pagan, worldly, pleasure-seeking addicts. They had huge cultural pressures to be selfish and lazy. Very similar to our times. But they needed to step up and go to school to learn change. And who were they to learn from? Titus 2:12 says their teacher is the gospel. The person, work and teaching of Jesus is the agent for change. This can’t be lost on us, because in the struggle to resist sexual temptation and behaviour we can get lost in despair, indifference, guilt and repeated mistakes. The gospel tells us that we are loved, God wants to forgive, that he knows us in our weaknesses and that he’s paid the price. The gospel shows us what sacrificial love is, how – like Christ – we can put others first, how humans have been both created in his image and redeemed as children of God. The gospel teaches how to take off the old self and put on the new, how to learn and imitate the character of Christ. The gospel teaches what’s important in the world order – not
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personal happiness but the salvation of the lost and building up of the church, all bringing glory to God. And the gospel points us forward to heaven, where God is holy and where we, too, will be holy. 1 Peter 1:16 says, “Be holy, because I am holy”, and Jesus says in Matt 5:48, “Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect”. Heaven drives our hearts to embrace now what we will be for eternity. WHERE TO FROM HERE? For a good response to Jesus’ words and warnings in Matthew 5 (supported by the rest of the Bible!) I would suggest three things: repent, change and act. If you are feeling trapped by sexual lust, you may be burdened by guilt and shame but it’s actually good that you remember this is sinful, offensive to God and harmful to others. What Jesus desperately wants is to forgive you, because he loves you. No sin is too great, no repeated failure too unforgivable. Jesus knows our weaknesses and has already loved us at our most unlovable. He wants us to return to him and allow him to lead us from sin to righteousness. Remember the woman caught in adultery in John 8: Jesus didn’t judge her or ignore her sin, but said: “neither do I condemn you... Go now and leave your life of sin”. If you don’t fear the sin, you won’t seek to change. If you keep repeating the same behaviours, are you taking seriously the steps required to change? I find once we analyse people’s behaviours there are regular, predictable patterns. There are triggers, environments, times and locations where temptation is more powerful. There may also be more complex and deep feelings that coexist with these temptations – maybe past hurts or traumas – but if you haven’t taken steps to dissect and untangle your thoughts and behaviours, don’t expect to go far. I recommend counsellors, who are trained and experienced in these areas. They are also confidential, which reduces embarrassment. I also recommend you talk openly with close contacts at church. You aren’t alone. And I recommend you and your community explore recovery programs. There are various respectable courses – I run a five-week course called “Resist”. It’s easier to change together than on one’s own. If you don’t make serious efforts to change, don’t expect much. We can go further. I think Christians should make a stand against society’s sexual culture. Think globally and act locally. Saying you oppose sexualised culture but still watch sexualised shows, support sex-promoting artists, are sexualised in your own online presentation and openly endorse other people’s ungodly sexual influence seems rather hypocritical. Parents have an enormous burden to educate their children while managing technology and the internet. The tools are out there but how much effort will you put in? Christian schools, right on the frontline of the cultural battles for our young, have special challenges and responsibilities here. Do they teach kids how to combat sexualised culture? Lastly, what does it mean to be a countercultural church in a sexualised world? I would hope each of you, in your church communities, think through this with rigour and care. If we remain silent and indifferent, we leave the hearts of our young people exposed to the world’s unrelenting onslaught, and a God who calls all thoughts to account. Let’s be people of action. SC This is an edited version of a talk given on May 4 by the Rev Dr Marshall Ballantine-Jones for Moore College’s Centre for Christian Living. SouthernCross
Clergy moves and classieds.
Marsdn aP rk cbras Last month the church at ministry, as the number of
Marsden Park held a double celebration – thanking God for the fifth anniversary of the church plant, as well as its new status as a provisional parish. “We started on April 2, 2017 with about 26 adults and the same number of children, and we’ve been growing pretty much since that first year,” says rector the Rev Mark Collins, who has led the church at Marsden Park since it began. “We were meeting in a doublesized classroom in Richard Johnson Anglican Scho ol’s Marsden Park campus, and because of COVID restrictions we needed to break into two services to fit everyone in – but that allowed us to pick up more people because it freed up space. So in the end the restrictions were actually a good thing!” Because the new parish doesn’t yet have its own church building, COVID did make a range of ministries more difficult, such as midweek outreach events. Mr Collins says the fifth birthday celebration was “almost like a restart for the church’s mission”, with Scripture and other regular events now back in full swing. He adds that SRE is a particularly important local
children living locally is booming. “When I first came to Quakers Hill in 2016 the only lo cal primary school had about 65 students in it. Now there are 3000 primary school students in schools within a six-minute drive of our church land. That gives you an indication of how quickly the area’s grown! “Last year another public school opened in Marsden Park with 900 kids – no public school in the state has ever opened with that number before – and we’re going to start Scripture there for the first time ever next week.” M a rs de n P a r k A n g l i c a n Church was originally a church plant from nearby Quakers Hill, but because it was located within the parish of Riverstone it was the wardens there who needed to approve the separation of the Marsden Park side of its area to create a new parish. It’s very timely though, says Mr Collins. “By 2045 there will be 60,000 people in Marsden Park and another 60,000 in Riverstone – we continue to keep gaining numbers as more houses are built and people move into the area.” A church building at Marsden Park is next on the greenfields
Celebration: Mark Collins cuts the cake at Marsden Park. list for the Anglican Church Growth Corporation. Church After nine years as an assistant members currently meet in the minister at Carlingford and hall of Richard Johnson Anglican North Rocks, the Rev Dave School and look forward to Keun became rector of Kellyville the day when they will have a on March 21. building of their own. The Rev Peter Hutchinson “ We w a n t t o r e a c h o u r will leave St Mark’s, West multicultural area and reach the Wollongong on July 17 to become next generation,” Mr Collins says. rector of the nearby parish of “A church building is important Keiraville. in a multicultural area like this, which is religious, and people see the religious building as a place VACANT PARISHES List of parishes and provisional where you ‘do’ religion. That is parishes, vacant or becoming vacant, as at April 29, 2022: ingrained into their culture. • Menangle “We also want to reach the next • Ashbury** • Berowra • Mona Vale** generation, because 28 per cent • Camden • Northbridge • Panania of the population of Marsden • Cherrybrook • PeakhurstPark and Riverstone is in the • Corrimal Mortdale • Cronulla 0-14 age bracket. That is the • Drummoyne • Regents Park* • Rooty Hill highest proportion in NSW, and • Eagle Vale • Rosemeadow* • Guildford* I think it’s fourth in the country. • Greenacre* • St James’ King Street, So we have lots of young kids • Kingswood Sydney • Lawson and teenagers! • Ulladulla • Lidcombe • West “Can you join us in praying to • Lithgow Wollongong the Lord of the harvest that he • Liverpool South will raise up more workers for * denotes provisional parishes or Archbishop’s appointments his harvest field in Marsden Park ** right of nomination suspended/on and beyond?” hold
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Believe the unbelievable Judy Adamson O p e r a t io n M in c e m a t Rated M Some coarse langu e and inuedo
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p es n o r i y a s p r n ge k h t - i y a d l u o w , r e t f a W , h o a t r w e i m pu lg s f b d h c n a d e r s d a s a n o f i c e r o f t h e R o y a l M a r i n e s , w i t h a n i nve t d b a c k g o r u n d , c a r y i n g ae f k d o c u m e nt s , i n o e rd o t e d c i v t h e omnblyIaecfrpths?NzidO, ed?sBorfJamnt cig,hFl elytru. bsoaiRdcB Opnoita re Miteamcn i n t he 1 9 5 6 f i l m i n o f r m a t i o n c a n b e i n c l u de – w h e t r i t ’ s f o r m de c l a s i f e d
n e r cos d p a t h r o y t s a i v e r The Man W ho Never asW
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Where will we get our message for today? Simon Manchester oT pical Preaching in a Complex oW rld yb Sam Chan and Malcom Gil ( o Zn d e r ) a v
documents or the lives of the men and women involved. It’s early 1943 and the Allies are planning an assault on Sicily. Everyone knows it, including the enemy. So what can they do? In the interest of saving thousands of lives and hopefully shortening the war, the secret service looks for a way to convince Hitler that the plan is to attack Greece instead. The body- i n- t he- w ater idea is only one of many under consideration, but Winston Churchill (Simon Russell Beale) is keen on it, so a group is set up to esh out the plan, so to speak. Led by Ewen oM ntagu (Colin Firth) and Charles Cholmondeley (a M tthew a M cfadyen), “Room 13” invents a M jor William a M rtin and, day after day, weaves an extraordinarily detailed life for him that they hope will prove impervious to investigation.
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i n s t u e w a s e t u p t o h e l p C h r i s t a n s d e a l w i t h to p i c a l
pu no a e mit n i a suo ma f tic y si h t( si a eurt ,)y ro ts n a
a n d o t d a y t h e i n s t u e i s o rg f t e n . N o t a f r o m t h e i n s t u e , ehsucrwtaing dorfG touyngadl,woh s o n le a r d p i y t c u h w g
fo eus i x lp m c ht e s a rd o m iw ht e g l iw W re h o y a t d n w h l i e o r s k? a tTf n p i m s u b tj e c a i r y d S l m o GC h n M n i a x elp moC dlro W w.vie rtnsgho Sambf
htiw re vo s n kl g a f e p u r ht d I n a ,
N o p a s t o r o r p er a c h c a n a v o i d t h e t a s k o f ( o c a s i o n a l y )
, n o i t b m a y e s , n d r w l i m a f s h c u p o t n i k ag e p r a y e , s e x a n d w i t n e s a n d t h e s t w o b r t h e s h a ev t h o u g t hatinsk.cofuemgr I l e a r n d og d t h i n g s fo rm t h i s b o k . I l e a r n d og d t h i n g s fo rm S a C h a n b o u t c l t u r a s e n i t v e s a n d I l e a r n d o g d tl hm i n o g G s c ab f u M r p e v i t s . W o h u l d c o t n s i re h ca p t fo b j e h “ a t n m o c s’l iG ht w e arg d 2 (p6t”navelr suSciptTh.navelrsuScipth mak )? onhpasiem rCbut hapcenr idwtoeTh n i h . g c a e r p l o t u i n h q c e d a l k s r t e g f o p c n m ia h t T h e b o k r a i s e t h e p o r b l e m o f m e t i n g e d s i n a oc pm l e x o r w l d na g u e s t h , c i r a p d f w t h s e ln
Al the staf entr inot the Major Martin “sot r y” with gusot , particuly teypr wiod w Jean Lesli (Kely aMcod lnad) adn teh maried oM tnagu – ectaring many knowing lo oks among otehr ow enm in eth ouice. But teh etgars subetrfg of la neds ot etak place oar und eth body itf:sel tningd one t’sha of eth right e,ag oapr etpria of r htaed yb ord ngiw dna ngipe k ti orf m yaced ol ng one hgu ot ngirb eth napl ot ofruit n. So ynam sngiht oc dlu evha og en os orsatid ylsu orw ng htiw eht opotiaer n tha it’s aoxtre arindy eth napl aws oapr edv ta l.a Yet it soh ws oh w esdptar teh Britsh e,wr moer than ethr syear otin eth ar,w ot etg eth uper dhna on eth s.Nazi ehT tlm si ylramst edtpircs yb elhiMc ofhsA dr htiw a etilacd
ecnalb of uohm u,r eugirtn dna .amrd She osla ylrev c orp esvdi us with occaosi lan etivanr ofr m Johny Flyn, woh se iFnlemg sit lmoa st oc lytnsa ta a typer,wi et arcig in dh,na inxudeg just eth right ixm of ow lyrd iynsmc dna boys’ own thusiam.en Teh ensblm cast ufly inhtabs tehir ow rld, and caries oy u along with them as they try ot ensur the German authorites ear oc cevdin of reith boael etar iel in etim ot tenv pr a e.mascr I t ’ s fa s c i n at i n g , e nt r t a i n g a n d oc c a s io n al y u n s e t l i n g ngiwev – ylraitupc as a elti hcraes tsegu ,tha ratp orf m eth ococasi lan tiamcdr tenshmilb (soem of whic I id und uneralist c y anoying), the sot ry we’r ot ld is petry close ot eth truh. As er,v lear ost ries truly ear ernagst thna ucoti n.
ohw evha os ynam orp smelb dna ,sedn eht xpeootis ry omres n liw opr blya lai f ot lead with oth se sue.i Wtha si edn si a ot pilca lkta dna sthi lwi be ledhna esplycia lew yb soeom en ledski in laurct dna psoer lan s.eigx Teh aendrg ehr is a shtif in oc nuecnd ofr m teh oc vinctons tha eht ow dr of oG d si sih tus tniec dna tnegur ow dr ot eht ow ,dlr tha ti si our seniub ot eb psngikae ti ni aose n dna out of aose ,n ewrhvta teh meatrk of ithcng esar (2 Timotyh 4:1-5), and tha it si capble of making one wsie of r otisalv n: a utgah, ed,bukr oc ed,tcr edaintr dna uipeqd luivadn (2 Timoyth 6).3:1 In yinsga t,ha I’m not fmysel hingcurl yaw ofr m eth enuig place of r a ot pilca lkta otin na incest on a lud xepoosit n. I’m simply a sking the uqestion of seuq nc . Wil we (as the bo ok suge t ) sp end umch time on the ot pical isue and evtnualy areiv ta teh ext – and teh ext igmht only ecirv “one inmuet” ni a ysub oh-cnul ur klat ?)38p( Or liw ew retfa( eht obovi su dna senibl otrin otuicd n ot eth ot pic) open eth ow dr of God ot osh w tha his timels and ervlc ow dr is pelctyrf capble of eliadng with eifl in eryv otiaerng n, dna edin nca acepl twha ew think ear our lvita ot pics onot eth oackdrb p of soethinmg dna Someoen hucm ertag thna ew erv imaed?gn I’ev sen exposiot ry eparhcing efd and ueqip hcuers and ,ev’I ,ylsad nes edniatsu ot lipac nighcaerp lia f ot od os o( f oc ,seur thsi book si not licnag of r eth osec dn opoti n dna eth utaoh sr ear eryv hucm tingaw xepoosit ry hineacgpr as lew as og od ot pilca epahrcing). But ebmr tha no ot picla tlak is og ing ot single
-hanedly aders the wied raneg of is ue in a oc ngeration, so we can ot solve those ne ds with one topi cal talk. Yet the xepooits n of Sceurtpi yam tem om er esdn nhta ew s.eilar e W ustm evha moer oc nucend in eth Sces.uript I etciapr eth book’s ulepfh inargw tha eth erhacp owh is ignotanr or inse tv wehn it oc mes ot teh ow rld wil und it ervy idticult ot pstayhmie with elar p eople. Hoer,vw ew usmt on t aedh ot on a otcejar ry tha esval eht Scesurtpi dniheb as fi etyh ear an abresming tuna ot be obr ught in briehy – or els egiv eth oesiprm n ot onya en tha ew nca escur eth otiuas n or og obey dn eth iuseng of God dna shi ow d.r eRad caerfuly the absolute y- p ot -the minute mes ag of iahemJr 6-32.:1 e W ear ot ld eth hunma dinm si not ot plaecr eth Diven di,nm eth humna emsag si not ot pleacr eth Diven emsag dna eth etscr of uelanitshf si ot spden teim ienstgl ot twha eth Lodr sy.a erTh ew oscid erv shi ow dr not only od es sih liw dna ow kr tub slaed htiw eht esdn of srentil ni emit dna iterny. ehT ot lipac klat ni a oc xelpm ow dlr has na pomi trna ecalp dna( is a igb hclaeng ot epa!r). Sam Chan and olaMc lm Gil heva engiv us tpleny ot think othr ugh dna ew nca saiepr God of r reith gitfs and afithulnes . But let us not haev the world taek over God’s adeng or think tha ew oc uld tensuplm shi ow d.r uOr ot lipac klat yam on t eb xepootis ry – tub erht ohs dlu eb on od ubt in our liset’nr idnms tha ew ebvli tha whta teh Lodr ysa si eth best thing oar d,un of r eth best eLif of l.a
Judy Adamson Father Stu Rated M Contains violence and a lot of coarse language
here are plenty of conversion tales out there, but the
story of Stuart Long has much more grit and obvious sin than many of those presented to a Christian audience. And that’s a good thing. After all, before Jesus offered the thief on the cross the promise of eternity, who was the thief but someone who had lived his life in sin? He needed forgiveness. Stu (Mark Wahlberg) is an amateur boxer who has to quit for medical reasons and has nothing to fall back on but drink, dreams and anger. Anger at the father (Mel Gibson) who deserted his family, drink to reduce boredom and dull the pain of his little brother’s death years earlier, and dreams of making it big... somehow. He convinces his nonplussed mother (Jacki Weaver) that he’s going to be an actor – as a boxer he was already a performer, right? – and heads from Montana to Hollywood. He gets a supermarket job to meet people in the entertainment industry, but quickly becomes discouraged by the lack of opportunities and the agendas of your average actor’s agent. Then he meets Carmen (Teresa Ruiz) at work and discovers she is a devout Catholic. So off he goes to church in order to impress her. He’s willing to get baptised and come to her Sunday school class to try and win her over, but in the end it’s God who wins him. After a late-night chat at the bar with a mysterious stranger, Stu is warned not to drive home but jumps on his motorbike anyway and is in a serious accident. Lying wounded by the roadside, he has a vision of Mary, who tells him – among other things – that her son died for him. After his recovery and time spent running,
thinking, praying and confessing, he tells an astounded Carmen that he’s going to become a priest. This is a true story, and it could have been airbrushed and sanitised without giving a true sense of what Stu or his life was like. But what would be the point? Jesus came to save filthymouthed heavy drinkers with troubled pasts just as much as the well-mannered rule keeper who never puts a foot wrong in public. It’s just more obvious when it happens to guys like Stu. He begins seminary training but, amid his learning and growth, collapses on the basketball court and is diagnosed with a degenerative muscle disease (inclusion body myositis). Although frustrated and distressed, this time he doesn’t take it out on God. He takes it to God – and continues his studies. There is obvious humour in the square-peg-in-round-hole changes to Stu and his life, and the film takes full advantage of this. We Protestants won’t agree with some Catholic beliefs that are shared, and there will be viewers offended by the amount and content of the swearing. However, Wahlberg, a now-practising Catholic who is also one of the producers of this film, was keen for it to be true to the reality of the old Stuart Long so viewers could appreciate how much he changed. It’s a real pity some of the dialogue is grunted or grumbled out – and therefore impossible to understand – and certainly the warts-and-all style won’t appeal to everyone. But Father Stu speaks authentically into a space that a lot of Christians don’t know how to. It also contains much that we can give thanks for and share with our non-Christian friends. SC