Archive | March, 2013

Full Focus on PNG

12 Mar

A couple of weeks ago we announced the mission to Papua New Guinea. The team from SNAC, in partnership with Youthworks, will be teaching a Children’s Ministry intensive at the Christian Leaders Training College. Our goal is to better equip Christian teachers to change the hearts and minds of the young people of PNG, through effectively communicating the gospel. Please continue to support us in prayer as we prepare and consider how you might give financially to help us reach our target of $30,000. So far we have raised $4468.00. That means we have three weeks to raise $26,00! You can help us by logging on to fullfocuspng.gofundraise.com.au and clicking on donate now.

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Brendan Moar

Easter Services

11 Mar

While Christmas gets all the attention it is Easter that is the Christian’s greatest joy. It is at Easter that we celebrate the wonderful truth that Jesus humbled himself even to the point of death on a cross in order to save us from sin. Not only that, on Easter Sunday we celebrate our Lord’s resurrection when he was declared with power to be the Son of God.

With that in mind, if there is any day in the calendar when we should meet with our church family it is Good Friday, especially given that we are given a public holiday for just that reason! However, it is also a wonderful evangelistic opportunity. How can we use this opportunity?

Letterbox drop – Once again we will be printing leaflets for distribution prior to Easter. Please be aware that we distribute different flyers around each of our sites advertising the services at each location as well as Church in the Bank. Can you help? Please email office@snac.org.au if you would like to take an area for delivery or advise your congregation minister.

Inviting friends and family Easter services are a wonderful opportunity to invite friends and family to hear the good news of Jesus’ death and resurrection. The details of our Good Friday (29 March) services are as follows:

Christ Church Bexley – 8am (Traditional service) & 9:30am (Family service)

Holy Trinity Bexley North – 9:30am service

Carlton Public School – 9:30am service

All of our services will be on at their usual times and locations on Easter Sunday.

Pastor Jailed in Iran for Planting House Churches

7 Mar

Below is an article from the Barnabas Fund (29.01.2013) about an Iranian-American pastor who  has been jailed for eight years in Iran for planting house churches “intended to undermine national security”. 

An appropriate read during our Philippians sermon series.

Pastor Saeed Abedeni
“The pastor was arrested last September while visiting his homeland, where he has been trying to establish an orphanage. The charges against Saeed relate to his work in starting a house-church movement following his conversion from Islam to Christianity in 2000. Saeed Abedeni (32), who hails from Iran but is now a US citizen, was sentenced on Sunday (27 January) following a trial last week. His lawyer will appeal the ruling.

The judicial authorities in Iran have made repeated promises to release Saeed but these have proven hollow; a bail payment of approximately US$330,000 was previously demanded. After Saeed’s trial, his lawyer indicated that he expected the pastor to be freed in a matter of days.

Saeed’s wife Naghmeh said:

The promise of his release was a lie. We should not trust the empty words or promises put out by the Iranian government. These false hopes amount to psychological torture. You don’t want to trust them, but they build a glimmer of hope before the crushing blow… I am devastated for my husband and my family. We must now pursue every effort, turn every rock, and not stop until Saeed is safely on American soil.

The pastor’s detention has sparked a major campaign in the US, where more than 235,000 people have signed a petition by the American Center for Law and Justice, which is representing Saeed’s family. Following criticism about their failure to intervene, the US State Department and the White House have condemned Iran for imprisoning the pastor and have called for his release.

Saeed has been held in the notorious Evin Prison in Tehran, where he has been subjected to beatings, torture and threats.

Saeed became a US citizen in 2010 following marriage to his American wife in 2002. The couple have a 6-year-old daughter and a 4-year-old son; they live in Idaho.

He has returned to Iran with his family on several occasions over the past few years to visit relatives and continue his ministry. Saeed has been instrumental in leading many Muslims to Christ and establishing a number of house churches in Iran. “

Make a Stand for Marriage in NSW

5 Mar

The Australian Christian Lobby has released a video (below) urging Christians to make a stand for marriage in New South Wales. Have a watch and hear what Jim Wallace has to say on the topic.

“There are only a few days left to make a submission to the NSW Parliament and make a stand for marriage. In your own words, tell the parliament why marriage is important to you. If we work together we can all make a difference for a brighter future for New South Wales.”

Keep on growing in knowledge

3 Mar

I was following a beat up old car to Church in the Bank last Sunday night when I noticed a very faded bump sticker. I remember it from the 90s:

No Christ, no life. Know Christ, know life.

It was a popular slogan for a while. You might have also seen it on a church sign somewhere.

It is a provocative slogan: it says that knowing Jesus is the only way to have true life.  Of course, it is not so much the slogan as the gospel of Jesus Christ, who died for our sins and rose as our eternal Lord, which is provocative.

As I reflected on the slogan I was reminded of Philippians 1:9 and Paul’s prayer that we looked at in church a few weeks ago. Paul prayed “that your love will keep on growing in knowledge and every kind of discernment, so that you can approve the things that are superior and can be pure and blameless in the day of Christ”.

Knowledge is important in the Christian life. So much so that Paul prays that the Philippians might grow in their knowledge. This then brings us back to the slogan “Know Christ, know life”. It was meant to provoke non-Christian people but if you look at it through the eyes of Paul in the letter to the Philippians I think it provokes Christians as well.

Growing in knowledge is part and parcel of growing as a Christian.  We are not supposed to be dining on spiritual milk forever but to move on to maturity and solid food (Hebrews 5).

So the question for you is this: what are you doing to ensure you keep growing in knowledge? Or even more specifically, how will you ensure that in 5 years time your knowledge of the Lord has grown and along with it your love of him?

Let me suggest one way. Did you know that we have access to the same theological education that many pastors in other parts of the world build a lifetime of ministry upon? And not only do we have access: it is cheap at around $85 a subject; it is comprehensive in it’s coverage of the New Testament, Old Testament, Doctrine and Church History; it has easily accessible online support forums; there are often groups that study these courses together at St George North; it’s based locally; and most of all – it is utterly biblical and all about helping you to keep growing in your knowledge and love of God as you delve deeply into God’s salvation plans built upon Jesus Christ.

What is this wonderful resource I am speaking of? It is called the PTC which is short for Preliminary Theology Certificate. Moore College’s department of External Studies provides the PTC to many parts of the world. Some of you may be aware that Peter and Sarah Sholl, our CMS link missionaries, head up the thriving PTC work in Latin America.

I am convinced that every Christian in our church should make a start on their PTC. If you have never studied ‘Introduction to the Bible’ then this is the place to start. I’ve lost count of the number of people who say that ‘Intro’ opened their eyes to how God’s whole plan fits together and is revealed in the Bible.

If you have previously made a start upon PTC but let it fall to the side then now is the time to get back into it. The way the PTC is structured today makes it more achievable than ever. It takes just 6 subjects to receive your certificate. After that you can push further and get your ITC and ThC.

So, what’s your plan to keep on growing in knowledge and love? Read your bible, pray, go to a home group – all these things of course! But why not push yourself further and enroll in the PTC today? You can work through it on your own or join a group to study in fellowship.

We are currently seeking expressions of interest to form SNAC Study Groups for the PTC. What subjects would you like to do? We will form various groups as the year goes on. If there is enough interest in some particular subjects then we will also find tutors to help your group work through the material.

Email your expressions of interest in the PTC to jason@snac.org.au or leave a comment below.

Jason Veitch

 

 

Why should I pray if God knows everything?

2 Mar

In this great video by The Gospel Coalition D.A.Carson talks about biblical prayer and what this looks like. He tackles the question of why we should pray if God is all knowing.

Watch below and see what you think!

 

 

Carry everything to God in prayer

1 Mar

[This post is courtesy of John Woodhouse, and appeared on the Moore College Website]

Prayer is both a privilege and a responsibility. It is a gift to be received with thanks, and it is a task to be done faithfully.

Consider the gift of prayer. It is expressed well in song:

What a privilege to carry everything to God in prayer.

But this privilege is ours because of Jesus:

What a friend we have in Jesus,
all our sins and griefs to bear.

Christian prayer is not a human ‘spiritual exercise’ but a response to the gracious gospel call “Come to me” (Isaiah 55:3; John 7:37). It is casting “all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1Peter 5:7). Christian prayer is the prayer of faith — the response of one who trusts in their heavenly Father who “knows what you need before you ask him” (Matt 6:8). Prayer is a gift because the one to whom we pray has graciously given himself to us.

Consider, then, the task of prayer. God’s gifts are not imposed on us in a way that destroys our personal responsibility. The grace of God calls for a response. Those who know the kindness of our heavenly Father must deliberately put their full trust in him, rather than in anyone or anything else. And trusting God involves letting “your requests be made known to God” (Philippians 4:6).

I hope that this will remind you of the gift of prayer, and encourage you in the task of prayer.