Help train a Pastor in India

One of the best ways to reach the world with the good news of Jesus is to train Pastors. I have a number of friends who have been involved in doing this in short-term stints in India and Africa with great fruit. My sister and her husband (Jen & Martin Shadwick) are taking a team over in about a week to teach a stack of Indian Pastors using Moore College notes. It’s really exciting. I’d love it if you’d consider partnering with them by prayer support and/or financial support. See their email below…

We write to let you know about an exciting way in which you can partner us as we go to India next week to train pastors from across the south of India.

We will be spending 2 weeks in India with 3 students from Newcastle Christian Students. Leaving Saturday 6th Feb and returning the 21st Feb (the 22nd is the beginning of O-week!!!). We are going in partnership with The Indian Gospel League. This organisation is doing amazing things in India – particularly in the area of Church Planting (1000s of churches a year!!).

The first week will be spent training pastors in Salem from the book of Ephesians (Moore College Preliminary Theological Certificate). Martin will be doing the majority of the lectures with 2 of our students teaching one unit each as well. We will all be involved in leading small discussion groups that are based around the lectures.

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In Memory of Bert

While in Clovelly last week, I walked through the massive cemetery at Waverley a number of times. I don’t know how many graves are there, but I’m reasonably confident that the population of dead people is greater than the population of alive people in the immediate area. I found it a sobering experience to walk and read about people now dead. I’m not sure what impact the cemetery has on locals.

I’m not sure what the 100’s of fitness fanatics are thinking each day as they do their health hussles through the cemetery. Are they ignoring the graves? Or are they trying to fight off death for that little bit longer? I’m not sure. I didn’t get a chance to ask any locals. Next time.

What am I sure of?

“Just as man is destined to die once, and after that to face judgment, so Christ was sacrificed once to take away the sins of many people; and he will appear a second time, not to bear sin, but to bring salvation to those who are waiting for him.” (Hebrews 9:27-28)

We’re all destined to die. After that we’ll face judgement. The only way we can stand on that day is by trusting in Jesus: sacrificed to take away sin to bring salvation.

The above inscription says “In Memory of Bert”. I didn’t know Bert. He didn’t know me. What mattered for him was whether he knew Jesus or not. Do you know Jesus?

Clean Water For An Entire Community – Only $200 To Go!

DMDC is partnering with Compassion Australia to raise money to provide clean drinking water for an entire community. Here is the original post with the plan of attack. We have now raised $1341. The target is $1541. That means only $200 to go! I’m thankful to God for the generosity of DMDC readers as well as family & friends on Facebook and Twitter.

I think it’s really cool to be able to leverage social media and blogging for good.

Want to help with the final $200?? DONATE NOW.

Australia Day 2010

To celebrate Australia Day on DMDC, I originally planned on having a rant about Racism in Australia. I got lazy. Australia Day has now happened. Expect a rant on racism sooner or later… but in the meantime, check out Jeremiah’s Australia Day post. He has recently started blogging again – and has been churning out lots of quality posts. Check it.

Here’s a snippet:

Here are three things that I love about Australia:

  1. Egalitarianism
  2. Unity
  3. Creativity

Here are three things that concern me about Australia:

  1. The void
  2. The nation within the nation
  3. Alcohol

Read the post for an explanation of each…

Clovelly needs Jesus

God is doing exciting things through St Luke’s Church Clovelly. Last week we were part of their first Summer Festival. Many kids and families heard the good news of Jesus and the church continues to have a positive impact on the community. We were really encouraged by the great bunch of gospel-minded people living on mission in Clovelly.

Each day at our team lunch, we briefly looked at each of the “I AM” statements from Jesus. Here are some of my thoughts on each passage.

See below for (unedited) updates I sent during mission via twitter/posterous:

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Stay connected to Jesus – “I AM” part 8

I am the true vine, and my Father is the gardener. He cuts off every branch in me that bears no fruit, while every branch that does bear fruit he prunes so that it will be even more fruitful. You are already clean because of the word I have spoken to you. Remain in me, and I will remain in you. No branch can bear fruit by itself; it must remain in the vine. Neither can you bear fruit unless you remain in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. (John 15:1-5)

Cut a branch from a vine and it will stop bearing fruit. The key to bearing fruit in the Christian life is staying connected to Jesus. Remain in him. You don’t receive Jesus and then move onto bigger and better things. There are no bigger and better things than Jesus! If Jesus is “the life“, then disconnecting from him means disconnecting from the source of life.

If you’re not connected to Jesus – anything you do is useless. Those connected to Jesus will be useful, they will bear fruit for eternity. Going through a tough time? You may be getting pruned: this refinement leads to greater fruit! Remain in Jesus.

This is the final part in the I AM series. Check out the other 7 posts here.

Is Jesus arrogant? – “I AM” part 7

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going, so how can we know the way?” Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. If you really knew me, you would know my Father as well. From now on, you do know him and have seen him.” (John 14:5-7)

Jesus says he’s the only way to God. If that is true, Jesus is saying that the only true religion is Christianity and that all other religions are false. Does this make Jesus arrogant? Not at all! If Jesus really is the only way to the Father – the most loving thing that Jesus (and his followers) can do is tell people the truth.

Just before the bit quoted above, Jesus says he is going to prepare a place for his followers in his Father’s house. I used to picture Jesus going into each room and making the bed and placing a towel and soap on the end of each bed. That’s a little bit silly. How does Jesus prepare a place for people in heaven? He goes via the cross. Jesus’ death for sinners and resurrection to new life is the way that he makes access to God possible. Trust him.

Find out more about Jesus.

Jesus does something crazy – “I AM” part 6

Jesus comforts Martha on the occasion of her brothers’ death and he says: I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die. Do you believe this?” (John 11:25-26)

Jesus is just about to do something crazy. Lazarus has been dead for 4 days. Yet Jesus brings him back to life. However, Lazarus would one day die again. The ‘resurrection’ and ‘life’ that Jesus offers to those who believe in him – is a resurrection and a life that will never end. Do you believe this?

In John’s Gospel there are 7 signs (miracles) that are recorded that reveal Jesus’ identity as God’s Promised King. Jesus raising Lazarus to new life is the 7th sign, but ultimately it points to an 8th and even greater sign – the resurrection of Jesus from the dead. Never read about it? It’s stunning. Go read it now.

The Shepherd that dies for his Sheep – “I AM” part 5

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep […] “I am the good shepherd; I know my sheep and my sheep know me […] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and authority to take it up again. This command I received from my Father.” (John 10:11,14,18)

Jesus is good. In the surrounding verses there is a contrast between Jesus and the shepherds who have come before him; they were bad. The OT Prophet big guns each speak of the dodginess of the unfaithful shepherds over Israel and that God himself will come to shepherd his people (see Isaiah 40:11; Jeremiah 23:1-4; Ezekiel 34).

Jesus cares for his sheep. He demonstrates his love for them by willingly laying down his life for them. It would have been pretty rare for a shepherd to do for his sheep, yet Jesus did it willingly?!?! Why did he do it? Because “We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way” and so in the death of Jesus, “the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all.” (Isaiah 53:6)

Return to the Good Shepherd.

Safe and secure – “I AM” part 4

Our desire for safety and security impacts our relationships, real estate, employment, parenting and more. Sometimes we make investments into things that aren’t ultimately secure. Jesus offers safety, security and salvation – not just for this life, but for eternity.

Therefore Jesus said again, “I tell you the truth, I am the gate for the sheep. All who ever came before me were thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. I am the gate; whoever enters through me will be saved. He will come in and go out, and find pasture. The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:7-10)

Want real security? Enter through Jesus.

Stop stumbling in the dark – “I AM” part 3

Jesus said, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12) Light vs Darkness is a recurring theme in John’s Gospel. The opening verses of John have already described Jesus as the light who came into dark world, yet the darkness doesn’t recognise him. But some do recognise him.

Lots of people stumble through life looking for answers. Jesus says stop stumbling! Those who recognise that Jesus is the light are given eternal life. In John 9, Jesus again says that he’s the light of the world, and then heals a man born blind. This is a picture of Jesus being the one who enables the blind to see, not just physically, but spiritually. Some people think they can see but can’t actually see.

Check out this picture of life in the new creation: “The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp.” (Revelation 21) That’s pretty cool.

Don’t be a grumble bum – “I AM” part 2

People try all sorts of things to try and be satisfied. When we’re not satisfied, we grumble. In the Old Testament, Israel were grumble bums. God rescued them out of slavery, yet they got bored and said they’d rather go back to Egypt. While they were wandering around the desert, God provided them with some tasty tasty treats (manna), it was exactly what they needed, yet they still grumbled and complained.

What Jesus offers is really really satisfying. Check it: Then Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty. (John 6:35)

Just before this, they’ve asked Jesus for some of the manna-like bread that their forefathers had received. Jesus says, he’s the bread! Jesus brings lasting satisfaction.

Dissatisfied with life? Like to grumble? Jesus says come to him. To those who believe in Jesus, he gives life. Not just any kind of life, but eternal life. Life forever.

Trust him. Be satisfied in him.

Don’t throw rocks at Jesus – “I AM” part 1

Jesus made some big claims about himself. One of the biggest claims he makes is in John 8:58“I tell you the truth,” Jesus answered, “before Abraham was born, I am!” Jesus claims to be: “I am”. It kinda feels like an incomplete sentence. But when you understand what Jesus is actually saying, you can understand why his Jewish audience were offended and immediately picked up stones to stone him!

Throughout John’s Gospel, Jesus continues to make the claim that he and the Father are One. In this particular interchange, his audience question him and ask if he thinks he is greater than Abraham. Jesus says that Abraham actually rejoiced at seeing his day. The Jews laugh this off since Jesus isn’t even 50 years old, yet he claims to have seen Abraham (around some 2000 years prior)!

Then he drops the bombshell… “before Abraham was born, I am!” Why do they pick up stones to kill Jesus? They understand that at this point, if Jesus hasn’t already been explicit enough, he is claiming to be the God of Abraham and Moses. In Exodus 3, God reveals himself to Moses as “I am who I am.” Jesus is claiming to be that God. This isn’t a surprise to the reader of John’s Gospel, Jesus is introduced in the opening sentences as God who became flesh and dwelt among us.

This is the first in an 8 part series on the “I am” statements of Jesus. John records 7 “I am” statements (bread of life, light of the world, gate, good shepherd, resurrection and the life, way truth & life, true vine). However, in order to understand each of those 7 metaphors, it’s necessary to understand the greatest of these statements where Jesus simply says “I am”.

This means he is God. This means it matters how you treat him. This means it’s not cool to pick up rocks and throw them at him!

Clovelly Summer Festival

This week I’ll be on a Summerfest-style mission in the Eastern Suburbs. My friend, Dave Rogers, began a new gospel community at St Luke’s Anglican Church Clovelly a year ago. I will be leading a team of locals and foreigners (those of us from other churches) aiming to share the good news of Jesus with people in Clovelly.

Here’s some of the gear that’s happening:

  • Summer church
  • Summer Kids Club (infants, primary art, primary drama, primary cricket)
  • Backyard BBQ & Blues (with live music)
  • Sandcastle competition
  • Barefoot bowls charity fundraiser
  • Leafleting/door-knocking

Check out www.clovelly.org.au for more info. We would value your prayers. Not into praying? Go read this stuff about Jesus. Keep up-to-date during the week via twitter.

Does God hate Haiti?

The following is an extended extract from Al Mohler. Read the rest here.

“Does God hate Haiti? That is the conclusion reached by many, who point to the earthquake as a sign of God’s direct and observable judgment. God does judge the nations — all of them — and God will judge the nations.”

His judgment is perfect and his justice is sure. He rules over all the nations and his sovereign will is demonstrated in the rising and falling of nations and empires and peoples. Every molecule of matter obeys his command, and the earthquakes reveal his reign — as do the tides of relief and assistance flowing into Haiti right now.

A faithful Christian cannot accept the claim that God is a bystander in world events. The Bible clearly claims the sovereign rule of God over all his creation, all of the time. We have no right to claim that God was surprised by the earthquake in Haiti, or to allow that God could not have prevented it from happening.

God’s rule over creation involves both direct and indirect acts, but his rule is constant. The universe, even after the consequences of the Fall, still demonstrates the character of God in all its dimensions, objects, and occurrences. And yet, we have no right to claim that we know why a disaster like the earthquake in Haiti happened at just that place and at just that moment.

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Haiti Earthquake – Disaster Appeal

It’s a tragedy when one person dies in an earthquake. Hearing the extent of the devastation from the earthquake in Haiti is an incredible tragedy. There are stacks of organisations and charities that are raising money to help with relief. If you need some help finding one, check out Compassions’ Haiti Earthquake Disaster Appeal. Compassion have “…committed 100 per cent of funds raised through the Haiti Earthquake Disaster Appeal to the people of Haiti. Compassion is not withholding ANY funds for administration purposes.” Weep. Pray. Be generous. DONATE NOW.

Picture from Boston Big PictureDONATE NOW

15 tips to stop procrastinating

Steve Kryger has a big long list. Worth a read. Worth putting into practise.

  1. Do one thing at a time.
  2. Do important tasks first.
  3. Do unpleasant tasks first.
  4. Set short-term time goals.
  5. Turn off your email.
  6. Turn off Facebook.
  7. Tidy your workspace.
  8. Allocate times to exercise.
  9. Plan ahead.
  10. Unsubscribe or filter unnecessary email newsletters.
  11. Keep lists and check them off.
  12. Know thyself.
  13. Automate.
  14. Set longer-term goals.
  15. Stop being a perfectionist.

Read the whole article for an explanation on each.

Lessons from the School of Prayer – DA Carson

A Call to Spiritual Reformation by DA Carson is gold. In this very practical book, Carson uses the priorities from Paul’s prayers in the New Testament as a framework for fuelling intimacy with God through prayer. Before he gets into Paul’s prayers, he spends the first chapter with some wisdom that he’s learnt over the years from the wisdom of others.

Here are his 7 lessons:

  1. Much praying is not done because we do not plan to pray
  2. Adopt practical ways to impede mental drift
  3. At various periods in your life, develop, if possible, a prayer-partner relationship
  4. Choose models – but choose them well
  5. Develop a system for your prayer lists
  6. Mingle praise, confession, and intercession; but when you intercede, try to tie as many requests as possible to Scripture
  7. If you are in any form of spiritual leadership, work at your public prayers

Get your grubby hands onto the book: Amazon | Booko

I knew what happened at the cross

Here’s an encouraging Jesus’ Story from Kurtis. Here’s a quote “I still had questions, I didn’t know all the answers, I still had doubts. But I think ultimately I knew what happened at the cross: that Jesus lived a perfect life, that he died for me, and that he rose again, and he was God. And knowing that was all I needed to know, I could put my trust in him and all my other questions I could get answered along the way.” Check the vid:

(h/t Dan Godden)

Scouts Need Jesus

Very impressive logistical set-up at the Scouts Jamboree. Very tough crowd. Although it’s hard work talking to lots of people not interested in Jesus, many still heard of what Jesus did on the cross so that they could “be prepared” for eternal life. Garage Hymnal played a couple of great sets and we were interviewed on their radio station (103.7 if you’re within an hour of Picton). Here’s a picture of a guy with a fat head:

Thanks to the many people who were praying for the event. Continue to pray for a Christian witness within the Scout movement, they need Jesus more than the ability to tie knots. We met some very encouraging Christians on the night. I particularly enjoyed hanging out with some beautiful people from Vanuatu.

If you’re a Scout who stumbled here via google… go check out SCOUTS.FERVR.NET