Jordan Gillman, from churchsites.co and author of this guest post, has released his e-book for free. Digital Strategy for Churches is a 48-page e-book designed to help churches think strategically about the way they use their website and social media presence. Jordan’s material is accessible for churches of all sizes with specific action steps at the end of each chapter. Definitely worth checking out.
I’ve written some content that might also be useful:
I recently noticed my friend, Adam Scott, share online that he had just finished reading a book for the second time. The book? ‘Hope Beyond Cure’ by Dave McDonald. Knowing some of Adam’s story I asked him if he’d be willing to share how this book has impacted him in particular. Ads is one of the ministers at St Mark’s Pennant Hills (Sydney).
“It’s actually very serious.”
That was the last thing I wanted to hear from the doctors treating me.
An MRI had apparently revealed a large arterial tear in my neck & the consensus was that I’d probably had a stroke. It all started feeling very serious. I was 28 years old, laying in a hospital bed, surrounded by pensioners who were apparently healthier than I was – go figure!
It was the first time in my life that someone spoke candidly & clinically with me about the reality of dying and it was terrifying. I’d always expected dying to be a future, far-off, unfortunate but inevitable reality, but someone with more authority on the subject was telling me that perhaps my presumptions were wrong.
That’s probably why I’ve appreciated reading ‘Hope Beyond Cure’ by David McDonald as much as I have. It’s a book written by a pastor who was humble enough to admit that facing death can be terrifying & perhaps our presumptions are wrong.
As Father’s Day approaches, Compassion Australia is helping children choose the perfect gift for their dads while supporting people living in poverty at the same time.
With spending on Father’s Day gifts tipped to top $754 million in Australia this year, ‘Gifts of Compassion’ provide an opportunity to buy a gift such as a goat or veggie seeds on behalf of dads, which then go to a family living in poverty.
According to Compassion Australia CEO Tim Hanna, Father’s Day is the perfect opportunity to say “I love you” with a goat.
“No-one really needs to find space for another tie, pair of socks or the latest BBQ gadget,” says Tim.
“Putting a goat on your Father’s Day wish list does more than solve storage problems. It really can help a family break the cycle of poverty.”
Aussie dads given the gift of a goat, or another Gift of Compassion, will receive a card with the knowledge that it can help change the future for a family on the other side of the world.
Father-of-three Peter Munyao from Ngaamba, Kenya, is one person whose life was changed through the gift of goats from Compassion.
“It [the goat business] is very good for my family,” says Peter.
“Now we have more nutritious food and the children are happy. The Church gave me hope with these goats. I was depressed but now I’m doing well. When you have hope that everything is all right, it is all right.”
You can order your dad’s Gift of Compassion at www.compassion.com.au/giftsofcompassion
Compassion Australia Press Release Used with Permission.
An epic night last night at Barney’s Broadway for the DISRUPT GENERAL ASSEMBLY run by Acts 29 Australia. Matt Chandler preached a cracking sermon on how we need Jesus to disrupt our mundane and broken existence with good news. Guy Mason did a fine job as the MC and Austin Stone Worship lead the music with great passion. I was also able to represent Compassion Australia on the night and we saw a whole bunch of kids sponsored at the end of the night.
Below are some sweet pics from the talented Josh Mikhaiel.
I recently saw my friend, Simon Jackson, inviting friends and church members on Facebook to join him at his next “pop-up pastor” location. Pop-up what? Intrigued, I asked Jacko to write a guest blog post about his experiences. Jacko is on the ministry team at Church by the Bridge, Kirribilli & Lavender Bay. A great church on the north side of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, check it out if you’re in the area or visiting Sydney!
Have you noticed those stores in shopping centres and malls that just pop-up for a brief stint, sell some stuff, pack up and then they’re gone? I’m pretty sure they call them pop-up stores – yeah?
Drop in, make an impact, gone.
A few weeks ago early one Tuesday morning four things came together; (i) for some reason the ‘pop-up’ concept popped into my head; (ii) I had a meeting in the Sydney CBD at 2.30pm, (iii) a 1pm Tuesday lunchtime pastoral catch-up fell through and (iv) I needed to eat lunch that day! Strangely that quartet of ideas gave rise to what is known as ‘Pop-Up Pastoring’.
‘Pop-up Pastoring’ was birthed that day and has been alive and well since.
Everything is changing. Two weeks ago our friends Dariush, Leila and Mahsa moved out of our home. Our house now seems empty. It’s getting even emptier. In a week we will be moving out too.
In the video above you will hear the story about how Dariush, Leila and Mahsa came to live with us. They are asylum seekers and it’s been a privilege to live with them for the last 12 months.
Why would we consider opening our home to asylum seekers? There are at least 3 reasons:
I give a couple of 1 John quotes in the video about how God has loved us in Christ, and we ought to love like God loves us. Loving like God is costly and sacrificial.
The Pastoral Letters in the Bible (1 & 2 Timothy and Titus) consistently teach that hospitality is one of the requirements of being a leader in God’s church. Rowena and I have tried to be hospitable over the last 11 years of marriage as we have had people over for dinner, had people stay with us and look for opportunities to include others. So having asylum seekers stay with us for 1 year was really an extension of what we’ve already been doing.
We currently live in a 5 bedroom house. I’m adequately paid in my role at church. And so we have been able to show hospitality because of the resources available to us. We are about to move into a 2 bedroom house. It will be a little trickier to have a family of 3 join a family of 5 in such a small space. But we hope to still take love to people in need and show hospitality in whatever way we can with the means we have.
I was interviewed by Dominic Steele after this video was first released online. You can hear a slightly longer version than the story in the video on this podcast.
ANGLICARE, who made the above video, are doing some great work among Asylum Seekers. They are partnering with churches to think about how they can welcome strangers and care for them in practical ways. Check out TAKELOVE.COM.AU to find out how you can contribute to this important work.
What is happening to Christians in Iraq at the moment is truly horrifying (see my previous posts: here, here and here). I understand from Iraqi Christians, including some that have got in touch with me, that they are encouraged by the support from Christians around the world – through the financial support and also something simple like changing your social media profile picture. According to Open Doors, support raised is saving the lives of persecuted Christians.
I’ve been encouraged to see the ‘N’ letter become a symbol among 1000s of Christians in the West. Persecution isn’t something new. Followers of Jesus have suffered greatly for the last 2000 years. There are some 200 million Christians in our world who live under the constant threat of persecution because they belong to Jesus. So I think it’s a good thing that more Christians in the West are more aware of persecution so that they can stand with other believers, support them financially and pray that they would persevere. I also pray that it would help me examine more seriously my own discipleship and willingness to live for Jesus no matter the cost.
Open Doors have a new blog post suggesting 4 WAYS YOU CAN HELP CHRISTIANS IN IRAQ. One of their suggestions is to “TELL THEIR STORY” – they have just launched a t-shirt to help tell the story of persecuted believers. Here is part of the story behind the picture on the shirt:
The town on the shirt is Alqosh, a small Christian-majority town in Iraq.
Alqosh, like many parts of Iraq, has had Christians living in it for well over 1300 years. It is also the biblical town of the prophet Nahum. Mosul was initially taken over by IS in June. But since the ultimatum, there are now no Christians there for the first time in 1600 years. Places like Alqosh and Qaraqosh had become places of refuge for Christians, but in early August, Qaraqosh was also taken over by IS, and about 50,000 Christians were once again forced to flee.
Tens of thousands of Christians are on the move in Iraq, as IS continues to spread throughout villages and cities.
The shirt comes with 1 Corinthians 12:26 printed on the right sleeve.
“ If one part suffers, every part suffers with it”
Read the rest of the story, buy a shirt and keep telling their story.
Also check out the Open Doors blog post for information about upcoming prayer days.
Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) continue to advance throughout Iraq and Syria on a rampage that is now being called genocide. I’m horrified to hear about what is happening to Christians and other minorities. Canon Andrew White, the Vicar of Baghdad, has been sharing heart-breaking stories and suggests that Christians should pray and give money.
Keen to pray? Canon White continues to suggest to pray for 3 things: protection; provision; and perseverance. Below is a prayer I have written to use in church around this three fold structure. Feel free to share, use and adapt:
My post on persecuted Christians in Iraq continues to be shared around the world. I’m encouraged to see many Christians standing in solidarity with our brothers and sisters in Iraq. However, it is distressing and horrifying to see that things have been getting even worse under the cruel hand of Islamic State. I have a more detailed follow-up post on the way, but in the meantime here is another way that you can support Christians who have been displaced.
Voice of the Martyrs (VOM) in Australia have contacts on the ground in Iraq through VOM USA. They have already raised over $75K to put towards emergency relief packs. It’s only cost $25 for each #WeAreN pack. See below for a link to donate:
We are leaving for Melbourne at the end of the month.
Please join us from 7pm on Wednesday 13 August to say goodbye at our St Faith’s farewell. The night will also include Dave getting Ordained as a Presbyter by the Anglican Bishop of North Sydney.
All are welcome. If you can RSVP on the Facebook Event, that’d be helpful.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org if you can help with supper.
St Faith’s address: 5-9 Clarke Street Narrabeen NSW 2101.
Our final weekend in church will be 16-17 August. Dave will be preaching at all services.