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.

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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.

10 MOST VIEWED BLOGPOSTS FROM 2014

top-10-2014

2014 has been the biggest year of traffic on this blog with a 400% increase on 2013 stats. So thanks for reading! This post has the 10 most popular posts of the year.

10 MOST VIEWED BLOGPOSTS FROM 2014

  1. WHAT’S THE DEAL WITH THE ARABIC LETTER IN FACEBOOK PROFILE PICS? - Awful things have taken place in Iraq this year as Christians have been forced to flee their homes. I’m always encouraged by the stories of Christians who persevere through persecution. Christians all around the world changed their profile picture to the Arabic letter for ‘n’ in solidarity with Iraqi Christians. Read the post for more of the back story. The hits on this post have been overwhelming! I have even been contacted by Iraqi Christians thankful for the support they’ve received in their hardship.
  2. ZAC’S STORY // AMAZING VIDEO RECORDED 3 MONTHS BEFORE TRAGIC DEATH – a powerful story of a young man whose life continues to impact other young people.
  3. KAKÁ RESPONDS TO BEING LEFT OUT OF THE #BRAZIL2014 #WORLDCUP TEAM – cool story from a great soccer player who know there is something greater than world cup glory. After Brazil’s embarrassing tournament, he was probably more than happy to not be on the team!!
  4. 6 QUESTIONS EVERY 18 YEAR OLD MUST ANSWER // #SCHOOLIES – this post got a surprising number of hits, and now I just need to finish writing all the posts!! Stay tune.
  5. WE’RE MOVING TO A NEW CITY! - this was big news for us. We’ve now been in Melbourne for the last 4 months, and things are going well. Our move has also coincided with less posts on this blog! I’m hoping to post more often in 2015.
  6. WHAT THE NEW NSW PREMIER THINKS ABOUT JESUS #NSWPOL #JESUSIS
  7. 10 GREAT PLACES TO FIND FREE IMAGES FOR CHURCH PROMO // GUEST POST BY JORDAN GILLMAN (@JORDESIGN)
  8. A PRAYER FOR IRAQI CHRISTIANS #WeAreN
  9. WHAT’S YOUR WORLDVIEW? // ONE OF THE BEST FREE EVANGELISM TOOLS AVAILABLE
  10. 5 NEWISH SONGS FOR CHURCH

Thanks again for reading! Cya in 2015.

See the Top 10 post from 2013.

Thanks also to the various organisations who have partnered with this online ministry in 2014. Here are some of the current sponsors:
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LOVING AND CARING FOR THE HOMELESS OF MELBOURNE // #MANYROOMS

One of my roles at City on a Hill is Mercy Director. That means I’m seeking to help our church to be people who show comfort, care and compassion to those in need. I oversee the different mercy ministries across our 3 sites: Melbourne, West Melbourne, and Geelong. Many Rooms, our ministry to the homeless of Melbourne, is a significant part of that ministry.

I love what God is doing through the people of City on a Hill in and through this ministry. You can learn more about Many Rooms in the excellent video above.

I wrote an article on our website this week about our Kitchen in North Melbourne and our plans to begin a new kitchen in the CBD in January 2015. Here is an extract:

City on a Hill is a church established 7 years ago in the heart of Melbourne that seeks to Know Jesus and Make Jesus Known. From the beginning our desire has been to serve the city and help care for the most vulnerable.

[…]

In November 2009, Many Rooms opened its doors for the first time with The Kitchen in North Melbourne. Our vision: “as God has loved us in Jesus, so we aim to love and care for the homeless of Melbourne“

In the past 5 years we have seen close to 20,000 meals served. Since starting that first Saturday, we have served lunch every week. And 2 years ago we began serving breakfast every Saturday as well.

What Many Rooms provides is more than just food for those in need, but community in a city where it’s easy to be disconnected and on the margins.

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YOU’RE NOT GOING TO BELIEVE WHAT THEY’RE SHAKING OFF IN THIS TAYLOR SWIFT (@TaylorSwift13) PARODY

Watch and share this brilliant “Shake it Off” parody! I recently went on a Scripture Union Queensland Schoolies camp on the Sunshine Coast. Each night I gave a talk after the evening show called Pluggers. This is one of the excellent videos produced for Pluggers. Find out more about SU QLD Schoolies.