5 REASONS TO GO ON A CRUSADERS CAMP

Crusaders Holiday Camps

Crusaders are a Christian organisation working in ACT and NSW who are all about “sharing Jesus with a new generation.” They operate conference centres, holiday camps, school camps and schools ministry.

Let me be upfront: this is a sponsored blog post. But I’ve knocked back a number of advertisers that haven’t aligned with my gospel-goals on this blog. So this ain’t about the money, in fact I wouldn’t run this blog if life were about money!! I love partnering with organisations that share my passions. One of my greatest passions is sharing Jesus with a new generation.

I’ve spoken on a number of Crusaders Holiday camps, schools events and leaders training events. I thought this would be a great opportunity to share some reasons why Cru Camps are excellent!

So if you’re a Parent, Grandparent, Pastor, Youth Pastor, Teacher or Religious Studies Teacher listen up. Here are 5 reasons to send young people on a Crusaders Holiday Camp…

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// RAGS AND TATTERS

INSTAGRAM YO

#JohnStott on the church:

“On earth she is often in rags and tatters, stained and ugly, despised and persecuted. But one day she will be seen for what she is, nothing less than the bride of Christ, “free from spot, wrinkles or any other disfigurement,” holy and without blemish, beautiful and glorious. It is to this constructive end that Christ has been working and continuing to work. The bride does not make herself presentable; it is the bridegroom who labours to beautify her in order to present her to himself”

Really looking forward to preaching one of my favourite series #WeTheChurch this weekend at #CityonaHillGEEL church camp.

#FlindersStreetStation #melbourne #MELB #melblyf #geellyf #quotes #inspiration #church #doctrine #melbournetodo #melbournebuilding #Jesus #JesusBride #ThePeopleOfGod #BoughtByBlood #RealFellowship #CitizensOfHeaven

See more Instagram pics.

8 PLACES TO FIND LASTING HAPPINESS

happiness-is

At City on a Hill we have just completed an amazing series on Jesus’ Beatitudes from The Sermon on the Mount in Matthew chapter 5. You can see some of the promotional material on this post. This was the first time I’ve actually slowed down to consider each one of the “Blessed are…” statements from Jesus. I was struck by the relevance of Jesus’ teaching and radical picture of what it looks like to be a member of the Kingdom of Heaven.

See below for the sermons in the series. If you only have time for 2, listen to the first and last.

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HOW MUCH IS JESUS WORTH TO YOU?

How much is Jesus worth to you?

For Peter, He was worth being locked underground for 6 months… and that’s only the beginning.

Peter was imprisoned for 6 years because of his faith, enduring torture beyond anything you could ever imagine. Through it all he remained passionate for God. This is a story of courage and strength, about what it truly costs to follow Jesus in one of the harshest countries for Christians, Eritrea.

Stand with us and support those who share our faith, but not our freedom.

opendoors.org.au // facebook.com/OpenDoorsAustralia

Mike Gore – now the CEO of Open Doors Australia – is such a powerful story teller. I’m always inspired by these videos and refreshed by his ministry. See more of Mike’s videos here:

BROOKE FRASER // C.S. LEWIS SONG // LIVE IN MELBOURNE 2015

C.S. Lewis Song is one of my favourite Brooke Fraser songs. Above is a live recording of it last weekend in Melbourne. Some Brooke Fraser fans might feel like the song has been murdered! But personally, I like it when a live performance is different from the original studio version. This one is significantly different with much more electro, bass and harsh contrasts.

What do you think?

Here is one of the C.S. Lewis quotes that inspired by the song:

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DONATE NOW TO HELP SURVIVORS OF CYCLONE PAM IN VANUATU

cyclone-pam-vanuatu

Vanuatu is a special place. I love the people and the place. It’s devastating to see the news roll in from Cyclone Pam: a rising death toll and 70% of the population have been displaced.

World Vision have been working in Vanuatu since 1981 and they have set up a Cyclone Pam Appeal. Download Church Partners Info Doc (PDF) and Urgent Prayer Request (DOCX). World Vision are an excellent organisation – now is a critical time to give.

DONATE NOW TO WORLD VISION

UPDATE: SU Vanuatu Disaster Relief Fund

This is a picture of the damage to the Scripture Union Vanuatu Camp site that I’ve been to a few times.

_I

SU NSW have just launched an appeal to help with the clean up and ongoing work of Scripture Union in Vanuatu. SU are involved in awesome gospel work throughout Vanuatu and I believe this is an important work to support. More details here.

Also, here’s an interesting article from Sydney Morning Herald: Cyclone Pam and Vanuatu: don’t just give cash, give a damn.

It’s about the budget cuts that the Australian federal government (on both sides of politics) have made to foreign aid. Here’s a quote:

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HEALTHY CHURCHES ARE ON MISSION // GUY MASON #ACTS29

healthy-churches-are-on-mission

The Acts 29 National Conference 2015 is all about Healthy Churches.

Guy Mason (City on a Hill) gave the first talk: Healthy Churches Are On Mission.

It was a great way to start the conference with a clear Christ-centred and gospel-focused call to build mission-driven churches.

Guy preached from the Great Commission in Matthew 28

[16] Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. [17] And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. [18] And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:16-20 ESV)

Guy spent time considering what it means for Jesus to have “All authority in heaven and on earth” (verse 18). This was a powerful summary of everything that has gone before in Matthew’s gospel: the birth, life, ministry, teaching, miracles, death, burial, resurrection and appearance. Jesus is not just an ordinary man, he is the great God-man.

If all authority has been given to Jesus, whatever happens after v18 is tremendously important. What is the call of the One who has all authority? “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations”

The command of the risen Jesus to his disciples is to MAKE DISCIPLES.

Three ways I was challenged in this talk:

  1. To celebrate when people become disciples and to also celebrate when people keep going and growing as disciples.
  2. The centrality of the word of God in “teaching them to observe…” It’s easy to forget the word in a desire to be relevant to culture – this is madness! Without the word, we have no mission, no ministry.
  3. As we run the race and seek to make disciples I loved being reminded that Jesus is with his disciples until the end of the age. Jesus is with me and running with me.

#ACTS29 CONFERENCE GOLD COAST 2015 // BUILDING HEALTHY CHURCHES

The Acts 29 National Conference 2015 is currently on the Gold Coast of Queensland. I’ll be writing a few blogposts across the conference.

Acts 29 is a diverse, global network of church-planting churches characterised by theological clarity, cultural engagement, and missional innovation.

Of the 50 million Christian conferences I’ve been to, last year’s A29 conference in Melbourne was one of the best! Excellent teaching, solid music and a great cohort of like-minded men and women keen impact the world with the message of Jesus.

Keep an eye out for blogposts and you can also filter all the Acts 29 posts via this tag.

In the meantime, check out the quality new vision video above.

We go.
We make disciples.
We train leaders.
We plant churches.

HAEMORRHAGING FAITH CONFERENCE

Haemorrhaging faith

Next week I will be speaking at what looks to be an excellent event – the Haemorrhaging Faith Conference – hosted by Baptist Union of Victoria.

At only $50 for 2 days, it’s ridiculously good value. But even more important is the topic. The Haemorrhaging Faith Conference will be “revealing important research into why youth and young adults are leaving the church and what we can do to arrest the trend.”

If you’re in Victoria and involved in youth ministry, get along! If you’re outside of Victoria, I think the content is worth the flight.

On the first day I will be on a panel discussing what is happening in Australian churches. And then on the second day:

  • A keynote: The Blood Transfusion (A plea to keep the gospel central to all our ministry)
  • An elective on: Using your story to tell His story
  • An elective on: Reaching the Digital Generation

Check out the website for more info about the other speakers and register ASAP! I hope to see you there.

THEY MADE VOWS… WHAT HAPPENED 50 YEARS LATER WILL SHOCK YOU!

My apologies for the Buzzfeed style heading, but this is an amazing love story from www.yesheis.com!!

If there’s one love story you watch this year, let it be this one. Bill & Glad are ignoring the trends. The vows they made more than 50 years ago are being tested now, more than ever… In sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, the promise they are keeping is a true example of what love is. This 3 minute film tells a story of love that hasn’t simply blossomed in the sun, but has flourished in the darkness of struggle and sickness. This story really shows us what love is and who has inspired that love in their lives. A perfect clip to share this Valentine’s Day.

HAPPINESS IS // NEW CITY ON A HILL TEACHING SERIES

I’m really excited for the launch of our new City on a Hill teaching series Happiness is. It’s based on the Beatitudes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount.

In the 4th Century BC, Aristotle said “Happiness is the meaning and the purpose of life, the whole aim and end of human existence.”

Our new series HAPPINESS IS will be an opportunity for you, your friends, and indeed our city to explore the beauty, truth and wonder of true happiness.

Across all services we will be exploring Jesus’ Beatitudes in His famous Sermon on the Mount.

Our pastors will be pointing us to Jesus and revealing what Jesus says about true life, meaning, fulfilment and happiness. It will be counter-cultural, unexpected, and absolutely life changing for each and everyone of us.

This is going to be an amazing start to the year. We look forward to what God is going to do for our good and His glory.

The Happiness is theme will be present in our Sunday preaching, community groups and personal bible reading journals. We will also be seeking to engage the community online through social media and microsite and offline through personal invitations and a street team set up on Swanston Street.

To kick it off we are throwing 2 big parties after church this weekend. The midday party will be held in a function room at Hoyts Melbourne Central and the second will be at a roof top bar. See details below and click images for facebook event details:
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SHOULD CHRISTIANS OBSERVE THE SABBATH DAY?

christians-sabbath

In the Old Testament the Sabbath Day was a significant part of Jewish religious experience. The idea of setting aside one day as holy to the Lord was a pattern set up in the creation story in Genesis. Observance of the Sabbath Day is then written into the ten commandments found in Exodus.

How should 21st Century Christians relate to the Sabbath Day? Are Christians bound by the Old Testament law? Should Christians observe the Sabbath Day?

In Luke 6:1-11 some Pharisees rebuke Jesus because his disciples have apparently done what is not lawful on the Sabbath. This sermon [player below] considers Jesus’ response to them and what we can learn about the Sabbath.

The sermon finishes with 5 ways that Christians should apply the Sabbath principles to their life:

1) The Sabbath is about the heart
2) The Sabbath is for worship
3) The Sabbath is for our good
4) The Sabbath acknowledges that God is sovereign
5) The Sabbath looks forward to eternal rest

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FUNNIEST VIDEO I’VE SEEN ON YOUTUBE!

The Asian Cup 2015 football tournament kicks of tonight with the Socceroos playing Kuwait here in Melbourne. The tickets were a little pricey, but I’m looking forward to watching the delayed telecast on ABC.

To prepare for the cup, you need to see this video.

I have spent way too much time during the last 8 years watching YouTube videos. Top Soccer Shootout Ever With Scott Sterling made me laugh more than any other!

A soccer match between the Yale Bulldogs and the North Carolina Tar Heels comes down to Scott Sterling and the most epic penalty kick shootout you’ll ever see.

Don’t agree this is the funniest? Let me know what is!

TONY HAWK RIDES WORLD’S FIRST REAL #HOVERBOARD @HendoHover

It’s 2015, the year that Marty McFly and Doc travelled forward to in Back to the Future movies. That means, among other things, that hoverboards should be all the rage… and they now are!  Maybe you were conned by last year’s fake hoverboard with Tony Hawk? Sorry about that. So is Tony.

But the hoverboard in the video above is the real deal! The company, Hendo Hover, recently raised a stack of cash to keep developing the concept. Wild times.

NEW MORNING MERCIES // BEGIN EACH DAY WITH GLIMPSES OF GOD’S GRACE – #NewMorningMercies @PaulTripp

A new year has begun. Looking for a new Bible reading plan? This epic list might help you to read, remember and pray the word in 2015. My plan? I’ve just begun a new year-long set of devotionals by Paul Tripp.

New Morning Mercies

New Morning Mercies: A Daily Gospel Devotional is a new collection of 365 daily bible readings from Paul Tripp. I’ve loved reading his tweets, hearing his sermons, and reading his books. In each case, he oozes with the gospel of God’s grace shown in the death and resurrection of Jesus. Here’s the blurb from #NewMorningMercies:

Mornings can be tough.

Sometimes, a hearty breakfast and strong cup of coffee just aren’t enough.

Offering far more than a rush of caffeine, best-selling author Paul David Tripp aims to energize Christian readers with the most potent encouragement imaginable: the gospel.

365 devotional readings lead off with a compelling, gospel-centered thought, followed by an extended meditation for the day. Focused less on behavior modification and more on helping people encounter the living God, this resource equips readers with the good news that they need to trust in God’s goodness, rely on his grace, and live for his glory—day in and day out.

Each day has a gospel nugget at the top of the page, devotional reflections from Tripp, and then a Bible passage to read at the end.

Try Before You Buy

I’ve read and journaled for January 1. But I’ve also read ahead to get a feel for the style. It’s excellent! If you’re not ready to buy the book, why not try before you buy.

You can download a month of readings from Paul Tripp’s website (PDF).

You can also download January’s readings for free via Apple iBooks.

Buy It Now!

New Morning Mercies is an excellent way to begin each day with the good news of Jesus… buy it now:

Get it from Amazon (including Kindle for less than $10) | Get it from Koorong | Get it from Book DepositoryGet it from Apple iBooks

Are you keen?

During the #BibleStott reading plan, I found great encouragement from others reading at the same time. So let me know in the comments if you’re going to join in, and use the hashtag #NewMorningMercies whenever you share quotes on social media.