FEATURE: CONNECTING WITH THE NATION THROUGH PRAYER

Australians are being encouraged to ask for Christians to pray them under a new web-based ministry established in Queensland.
    Launched in April under the banner of "linking the community to the church through prayer", PrayForMe.com.au is already receiving around 100 prayer requests a week, according to director Russell Barton.
    Citing figures from the last census which show that 69 per cent of all Australians indicated they believed in a Christian God, Barton says he established the non-profit organisation to provide Australians who are facing a period of crisis with an avenue to make contact with Australia’s Christian community and to ask for prayer support.

   DAVID ADAMS reports on a new effort to encourage more Australians to seek prayer... | more...|


FEATURE: WATOTO CHILDREN'S CHOIR TOURS AUSTRALIA

LENA JOHNSTONE recently experienced Watoto when they visited Ocean Grove in Victoria. She writes of her experience... | more...|

 

It’s a startling fact that of Uganda’s population of 25 million, an estimated two million are orphaned children. Of those, more than 880,000 have lost their parents as a result of AIDS.
    David, 12, is one of them. He lost his parents to AIDS a couple of years ago and had to go and live with his elderly grandmother. Life was tough and instead of attending school, he had to spend his days digging for food in the garden.
    Hope returned around two years ago when he was taken in by Watoto Child Care Ministries, an orphan care program based in the country’s capital city, Kampala.
    One of the 1,200 children that have been cared for by the group, David now has a home and a family as well as the basic practical necessities we all so often take for granted - food, clothes and an education.

   DAVID ADAMS takes a look at Uganda's Watoto Children's Choir... | more...|


FEATURE: NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING

 

ESSAY: Keynote speech given by the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello, on the inaugural National Day of Thanksgiving at Scots Church in Melbourne... | more...|

 

Saturday, May 29th marks the inaugural National Day of Thanksgiving, an ambitious project which aims to encourage all Australians to give thanks to God and each other.
    Thousands of people will be taking part in around 200 significant events, such as prayer breakfasts, across the country at which church leaders will be praying for government leaders at a local, state and federal level.
    There are also expected to be hundreds and possibly even thousands of other smaller activities such as thanksgiving day celebration services and family fun days at churches.
   "We also expect...there will be people inviting their neighbors in for morning tea to say thanks to them, bosses having a morning tea to say thanks to their employees, families having reunions,” says Brian Pickering, who is co-ordinating the day. “So there’s a whole raft of other creative ideas that are going around.”

   DAVID ADAMS reports on the first National Day of Thanksgiving... | more...|

Are you taking part in the National Day of Thanksgiving? Why not share your thoughts on the day with others at Sight forums... |more...|



FEATURE: CHINA'S CHRISTIANS ON A GLOBAL MISSION

 

A Chinese communist general in 1949, asked about his astonishing record of success, replied: ``It's simple. I just give the order: `advance victoriously on all fronts'.'' Fifty-five years on the Chinese Christians could adopt the same slogan.
    When the Western missionaries were expelled in 1949, there were about 800,000 Christians in the world's most populous country. After half a century of sometimes vicious persecution and ruthless repression, the number today is approaching 100 million, plus 12 million Chinese Catholics.

   Now the Chinese Christians are emerging with an extraordinary vision they have cherished for 60 years: to carry the Christian message into the Muslim world and complete the gospel's progress around the globe.

In an article reprinted from Australian Presbyterian magazine (an expanded version of an article that first appeared in The Age newspaper, Melbourne), BARNEY ZWARTZ reports on China's Christian explosion... | more...|


FEATURE: INSIDE '40 DAYS OF PURPOSE'

 

Rick Warren, the senior pastor of one of the United States' largest churches, is a man with a mission.
      His goal, famously, is to take the Gospel to the whole world. And it’s not as far fetched as it may sound at first take.
      In a phenomena that’s captivated the hearts and minds of much of the Christian world, more than two million people have so far taken part in one of Warren’s “40 Days of Purpose” campaigns and more than 250,000 pastors and church leaders from as many as 125 different countries have so far attended one of his “Purpose-Driven Church” seminars.

Across Australia, churches of all denominations are gearing up for 40 Days of Purpose - a US-birthed spiritual development campaign which is changing lives around the world. DAVID ADAMS takes a look at what it’s all about... | more...|

FOR MORE ON 40 DAYS OF PURPOSE...

Read ANN WOJCZUK's diary of her 40 days experience... | more...|

NICK HODGSON examines the Biblical precedents for a 40 days campaign... | more...|

Australian churches prepare for "40 Days of Purpose"... | more...|

Australian expectations and experiences... | more...|

Have you been or are you going to be involved in "40 Days of Purpose"? Have your say on Sight forums... | more...|


ESSAY: AN EASTER REFLECTION

Exhausted and bleeding, Jesus was buckling under the weight of the cross and, probably fearful that He wouldn’t make it up the hill at Golgotha, the soldiers compelled passerby Simon of Cyrene to bear the cross behind Jesus.
    News of Jesus’ arrest and so-called trial, meanwhile, had reached every part of Jerusalem by word of mouth - there were no major news networks then. People gathered along the streets. The cries of “crucify him” had died away: the leaders and their supporters who had condemned Jesus had had their way and now, in their place were a group of women from Jerusalem who, according to the Gospel of Luke, “mourned and wailed” for Jesus.

    ANDREW MERRY writes that Jesus' crucifixion had ramifications far beyond the merely physical... | more...|

What does Easter mean to you? Share your thoughts at Sight forums...

| more...|


RWANDA: 10 YEARS ON

Gilbert Mwenedata was just 19-years-old when he and his family were forced to flee their home and hide in a swamp as death raged across Rwanda.

   Five weeks later, when the then student emerged from the swamp, it was without his mother and sister, who along with many members of his extended family and friends were among the more than 800,000 people who died during the “100 days of madness” when Hutu extremists rampaged through the east central African nation from April to June, 1994.

     Now working with international aid agency World Vision in helping people to come to terms with the butchery that took place 10 years ago, Mwenedata is in Australia to talk about the progress his country has made. DAVID ADAMS reports... | more...|


THE INTERVIEW: LEE STROBEL

"For me, the cumulative case for a Creator was the most powerful discovery. In other words, when you put together the data from a wide range of sciences, you find that the overall case for the existence of God is incredibly persuasive."      

   The award-winning legal editor of the Chicago Tribune newspaper and a spiritual sceptic until 1981, Lee Strobel has become known across the globe for his ground-breaking books, The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith.

DAVID ADAMS talks to acclaimed US author and journalist, Lee Strobel, about his latest book, The Case for a Creator... | more...|

MORE ON LEE STROBEL:

TONY TOWNSEND on The Case for Christ... | more...|


FEATURE: VIRTUAL CHURCH?

It’s a concept that’s been around for years and - given the pervasive nature of the internet - is one which has enormous potential. Yet few mainstream churches across the world have so far embraced the concept of the internet church.
    That may all be about to change. The Church of England’s Diocese of Oxford has recently announced plans to create a virtual parish in what represents one of the first serious attempts to take the established church onto the world wide web.

   DAVID ADAMS reports on a move to create a virtual church community... | more...|


THE INTERVIEW: KEN DUNCAN

"I’m an average photographer with a great God. Seriously. Even on the movie set, I just said 'Lord, what am I doing here? You’ve got to be kidding. I don’t have a clue what I’m doing'...The hardest part of photography is looking past the I as in ‘capital I’; looking past what you think should be happening and being in control. It’s fantastic being out of control with Jesus, I love it."

  

DAVID ADAMS speaks with world renowned photographer Ken Duncan about his work, his friendship with Mel Gibson and his new book inspired by The Passion of the Christ...| more...|

 

"I hope it spurs them on to investigate the life of Christ for themselves" - Mel Gibson speaking with Ken Duncan about his movie. Read more excerpts from an interview Ken Duncan recorded with Mel Gibson for his book... | more...|
   

FOR MORE ON THE PASSION, click here...


TRAVEL: CHRISTIAN PILGRIMAGES - THE BAPTISMAL SITE

“It doesn’t matter where we are baptised, but the exhortation of being baptised close to where our Lord was baptised is indescribable,” says a plaque at the Yardenit baptismal site in Israel. “If you are being baptised here today have faith in the operation of God that the Holy Spirit will perform within you, be buried with him in baptised. Wherein also you are risen with him in the newness of life. May the Lord Jesus Christ bless you.”

  

In the first of a series on Christian pilgrimages of today, DAVID ADAMS takes a look at a place which holds a special significance for many Christians... | more...|
   


ATTEST: BACK FROM THE DEAD WITH A MISSION FROM GOD

“I thought this is God and He revealed himself to me that He was God. I’m standing there shaking, I mean I’m absolutely completely undone: He knows my thoughts, He knows my name - everything that’s inside me, nothing’s hidden from Him - and I’m thinking, that’s Almighty God and I’m standing here? Somebody’s made a serious mistake and has got the wrong person.”

    Stung five times on the arm by a box jellyfish while night diving in Mauritius 20 years ago, Ian McCormack knew his life was ending. Inspired to pray, he asked Jesus Christ into his life in what amounted to a death-bed conversion. While his body was cooling in the morgue, the young traveller found himself standing before God who offered him a second chance at life. DAVID ADAMS writes of how a surfie from New Zealand died to find God and now travels the world telling others of his experience... | more...|
   


FILM: AUSTRALIANS RESPOND TO MEL GIBSON'S PASSION

"A powerful and beautifully shot film, Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ is an uncompromising and stirring retelling of the final hours leading up to the death of Jesus Christ.
    In the tradition of Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, this is a gruelling movie and well deserves its MA rating. Yet it’s a movie which captures the very essence of what Christ faced in his final hours on earth and paints a realistic picture of first century Jerusalem..."

   DAVID ADAMS reviews The Passion of the Christ... | more...|

HAVE YOUR SAY: Have you seen the film and want to share your thoughts or are you interested in seeing what others are saying about it? Click here to go to Sight's forums...

Uncomfortable and confronting but a unique and compelling look at the death of Jesus Christ.
    That, according to Tony Crook, executive director of the Bible Society Victoria, is the verdict he’s hearing from some of the hundreds of pastors and ministers who have attended a preview screening of Mel Gibson’s film, The Passion of the Christ. “Nobody has said it was anything but authentic,” says Crook, who has spoken to numerous church leaders who have attended screenings in Melbourne and Geelong. “People are saying it’s right in your face but it’s right.”

    DAVID ADAMS reports on how Australian church leaders are responding to the film... | more...|

MORE ON THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST:

Jesus in film... | more...|

DAVID ADAMS reports on Mel Gibson's new film... | more...|

The Passion on the web... | more...|


FEATURE: CHURCH & STATE

Never a simple separation, DAVID ADAMS explores how the secularisation of society and, at the same time, growth in religious diversity is shaping the relationship between governments and churches across the world...

| more...|
   

Image: Ann Wojczuk

(Images: iStockphoto.com)


FEATURE: MISSION ON THE HOME FRONT

Twenty years ago it seemed unlikely that Australian schoolchildren wouldn’t know who Jesus Christ was. Even if they didn’t go to church, chances were they had someone in the family who at some point had. Enough contact anyway to know of Jesus’ significance even if they didn’t understand it fully.
    Yet research and anecdotal evidence is showing that today a scenario in which children don’t know who Christ is at all - at least as no more than a profanity - is one which is becoming increasingly common.
“It’s really a moment in history that we’re reflecting on... this is a first,” observes Dr Ruth Powell, a researcher at National Christian Life Survey Research.
       We can take it for granted that people know something about who Jesus Christ is. Yet evidence is emerging that many school children don’t have any knowledge of Him except as a profanity. DAVID ADAMS reports...| more... |


ATTEST: WHEN IT'S ALL ON THE LINE

“I wouldn’t be sitting here talking about it if God wasn’t on my side, believe me. He’s always done that in my life. If I’ve made silly mistakes, it’s like he know’s I’m going to make those mistakes but he’ll put something or somebody in my path to make the outcome less horrific...”
       Being told your 12-year-son has cancer is something that thankfully most of us never have to face. But for Dee Jobson, in July this year, that became her reality when she was told her son Liam had a tumour in his leg. She spoke with DAVID ADAMS about how God is helping her and her family face what is an ongoing challenge... | more... |


AUSTRALIA DAY 2004: PORTRAIT OF AN AUSTRALIAN

Australian flags"I am going to paint a central figure who no longer feels the alienation of someone born on a distant shore. They are finding their way on the world stage and they carry with them an independent streak and an awareness of the need to do things their way entwined with a sense of community; a sticking-by-your-mates loyalty - a Bali-bombing response."


LLOYD HARKNESS paints the portrait of an Australian...
| more...|    


FEATURE: BLACKSTUMP MUSIC FESTIVAL

BlackstumpIt started 18 years ago as a Christian music festival with one stage in the middle of a cow paddock.
      This year Blackstump, which ran over the weekend of October 3-6, attracted a crowd of more than 3000 and featured 10 different stage venues which simultaneously showcased not only bands but drama, comedy, dance and a range of speakers from across the globe.
      The non-denominational event now bills itself as an 'alternative Christian festival' rather than limiting itself to music. The new name fits it aptly.
       JAMES CROOK reports that this year’s Blackstump music festival struck a chord with Generation X... | more... |

FOR MORE ON MUSIC:

MARK EVANS catches up with the Paul Colman Trio | more... |



 

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THEY SAID IT

 

 

"Surely now, the parties must realise that it is time for them to act."

- UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, speaking at a press conference in Cairo on 25th July, 2014, in reference to the ongoing conflict in Gaza and Israel which, as of 28th July, 2014, had claimed the lives of more than 1000 people.

For more of They Said It, follow the link...  | more... |

 

 

THIS WEEK ON THE WEB

 

 

29th July, 2014

Writing for Fairfax Media, MICHAEL GREEN takes a look at the growing gap between rich and poor in Australia and what can be done about it. You can see his report - What happened to the fair go? - here...


For previous 'This week on the web'... | more... |

Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...

 

 

MUSINGS   

 

 

INDIVIDUALISM...

30th July, 2014

PAUL CLARK

The 2002 Chinese movie Hero starring Jet Li is a visceral feast. Its story line sucks you in only to shock you at the end; for the message of the film is - is worth the sacrifice of the individual, the minority, for the sake of the community. To have a united China, all the individual tribes had to be consumed.
It’s a message that shocks our Western sensibilities. ‘Give up our individuality, our rights, for the common good? No way!’ It shows how far down the individuality road we’ve come. The rise of individuality is at the demise of community.

Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...  | more... |

 

 

THE WORD EXPLAINED

 

 Wordle

Almighty

Adversary

Advocate


| more... |

 

 

BLOGS

 


TOMBS OF JONAH AND DANIEL DESTROYED IN MOSUL, SAY REPORTS...
Following news last week that members of extremist group, the Islamic State, had destroyed the tombs of the Old Testament prophets Jonah and Daniel, both of which were located in Mosul in northern Iraq, we take a quick look at their history.

First, Jonah. There is tradition that the Prophet Jonah - known for being swallowed by a leviathan or great whale after refusing to obey God's commands to deliver a warning to the people of the Assyrian city of Ninevah, a message which he did eventually deliver - was eventually buried in the ancient city where Mosul now stands.

DAVID ADAMS reports... | more... |


TOASTER SELFIES; A SPY BASE ON THE MOON; AND, TOURING LONDON'S LOOS...

Like to look at yourself as you eat? US-based company - the Vermont Novelty Toaster Corporation - has produced a Selfie Toaster that allows users to imprint a picture of themselves on their toast. Simply supply them with a picture of yourself their "toast engineers" will create a toaster than puts your imprint on each piece of bread you toast.

DAVID ADAMS writes about the odder side of life... | more... |


AN END...AND A NEW BEGINNING...

What's on my mind?... Thanks for asking, Facebook.
Time to say goodbye to Just Been Thinking after many years, stops and starts. Thank you for your attention over the years, readers. Thank you for your endless commitment, encouragement and patience, David Adams- editor extraordinaire.
And now...I migrate back across to sightmagazine.com.au to begin a Coach Column, sharing insights in the area of human behaviour and life design.
 The final instalment in ANN WOJCZUK's blog about 'life, the universe and possibly everything'...
  | more... |


THOUSANDS OF CHRISTIANS IN JERUSALEM FOR FEAST OF TABER-NACLES...
Despite the recent tensions in Syria, over 5,000 Christian pilgrims from nearly 100 nations will descend on Jerusalem for the International Christian Embassy Jerusalem's annual celebration of the Feast of Tabernacles.

The festival began last Friday evening in Ein Gedi at the Oasis Hotel and continues to Jerusalem's International Convention Center for the remainder of the week of Sukkot. The weeklong celebration is expected to generate $US16 million in revenues, and is the largest annual tourist event to Israel.

ELISA MOED, of Travelujah, reports...  | more... |

 

A DAY THAT CHANGED MY LIFE...

Can you think of a time when someone has been brutally honest and vulnerable about themselves and it's taken you by surprise? For me it happened about 20 years ago at a church I had just started attending.

As I remember it, the person leading the service that day asked anyone to come forward who wanted to share what they thought God had been doing in their lives recently. One young guy got up - he was probably about my age at the time - and told about his relationship with his girlfriend and how he had recently gotten her pregnant, and how he had walked away from his faith. He then shared about the support he had received from the church community through his struggle.

 NILS VON KALM'S blog on faith, life and how it all might fit together...  | more... |

FOR SIGHT'S BLOG LINKS, HEAD TO OUR BLOGSPOT PAGE...    

 

 

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    here are some trends but where did they begin.....

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