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FEATURE: CONNECTING WITH THE NATION THROUGH PRAYER
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...
FEATURE: WATOTO CHILDREN'S CHOIR TOURS AUSTRALIA
JOHNSTONE recently experienced Watoto when they visited Ocean
Grove in Victoria. She writes of her experience...|
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...
FEATURE: NATIONAL DAY OF THANKSGIVING
Keynote speech given by the Federal Treasurer, Peter Costello,
on the inaugural National Day of Thanksgiving at Scots Church
in Melbourne... |
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
"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.”
ADAMS reports on the first National Day of Thanksgiving...
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
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
FEATURE: INSIDE '40 DAYS OF PURPOSE'
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.
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 ON 40 DAYS OF PURPOSE...
ANN WOJCZUK's diary of her 40 days experience...|
HODGSON examines the Biblical precedents for a 40 days campaign...|
churches prepare for "40 Days of Purpose"...|
expectations and experiences...|
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
does Easter mean to you? Share your thoughts at Sight forums...
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
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
THE INTERVIEW: LEE STROBEL
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.
ADAMS talks to acclaimed US author and journalist, Lee Strobel,
about his latest book, The Case for a Creator...| more...|
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.
ADAMS reports on a move to create a virtual church community...|
THE INTERVIEW: KEN DUNCAN
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
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...|
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... |
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... |
ATTEST: BACK FROM THE DEAD WITH A MISSION FROM GOD
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... |
FILM: AUSTRALIANS RESPOND TO MEL GIBSON'S PASSION
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
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
DAVID ADAMS reviews The Passion of the Christ...
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
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... |
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...
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
ATTEST: WHEN IT'S ALL ON THE LINE
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
DAY 2004: PORTRAIT OF AN AUSTRALIAN
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... |
FEATURE: BLACKSTUMP MUSIC FESTIVAL
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 ON MUSIC:
EVANS catches up with the Paul Colman Trio |
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NEW! THE SIGHT BOOKCLUB
Throughout the year, we'll be reading a series of books and then joining in a discussion about it - both among others within your church or small group and the wider Sight community.
For April-May, 2015, we're reading Peter McKinnon's novel, The Songs of Jesse Adams. To register your group (and receive our discussion notes via email) and for more details about how the club works, head here...
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THEY SAID IT
"A crime is a crime is a crime. If you go abroad to break Australian law, if you go abroad to kill innocent people in the name of misguided fundamental extremism, if you go abroad to be an Islamist killer, well we are hardly going to welcome you back into this country."
- Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott, in comments referring to Australians who have joined Islamic State and then, remorseful, find they want to return to Australia (as quoted on SMH on 19th May, 2015).
"What apparently happened is the Iraqi forces just showed no will to fight. They were not outnumbered. In fact, they vastly outnumbered the opposing force."
- US Defence Secretary Ashton Carter, speaking after IS forces took the city of Ramadi in Iraq last week (as quoted on the BBC on 25th May, 2015
For more of They Said It, follow the link... more...
THIS WEEK ON THE WEB
25th May, 2015
Ethiopian Jews, who recently clashed with police in Israel, suffer from the highest poverty rate among the Jews in Israel, and suffer much higher levels of police stop-search, arrests and incarceration, according to YOSSI MEKELBERG, professor of international relations at Regent's University London and associate fellow, Middle East and North Africa programme, at Chatham House. You can read his article - The plight of Ethiopian Jews in Israel - looking at the background of Ethiopian Jews, in an article published by the BBC here...
Sight now has a Pinterest page where you can see some of our images. To see it, head here...
26th May, 2015
As a minister I have done quite a number of funerals. Through this process you build up pictures of people and also the trends of generations.
My grandparent’s generation would say the key to life is; ‘Love God, love your neighbour and love yourself.’ They were a generation with principals, values and virtue.
The next generation have dropped God and summed up the key to life as, ‘love your neighbor and love yourself.’ That has been near enough to get them through.
Musings is a regularly updated, column featuring short snippets reflecting on daily life from a Christian perspective...|
SMILING REQUIRED FOR OXFORD'S BUSKERS; WAFER-THIN TVS; AND, A NEW WORLD PLANKING RECORD...
Buskers in Oxford, England, have been warned - keep a smile on your face or run the risk of a Â£1,000 fine. The city council is reportedly bringing in a 'Public Space Protection Order' which instructs buskers to "smile, enjoy yourself and entertain others". But while the rules have been in place for some time, the new order would fall under anti-social behaviour legislation meaning those breaking the code could face Â£100 on-the-spot fines or as much as Â£1,000 if the matter goes to court.
ADAMS writes about the odder side of life...|
SHROUD OF TURIN GOES ON PUBLIC DISPLAY FOR FIRST TIME SINCE 2010...
The fabled Shroud of Turin - which some believe bears the image of Jesus Christ and others say is a medieval forgery - has gone on display in the Italian city whose name it bears.
The 4.4 metre long linen cloth, which bears the image of a crucified man and was last publicly seen in 2010, is on show in a free exhibition in the city's cathedral until 24th June.
CHRISTIAN GENERAL RECALLED IN JERUSALEM EXHIBITION... The World War I British officer who gave the order to lay down arms in 1918 is the subject of a year-long exhibition in Jerusalem opening this week.
On the 50th anniversary of his death, Lt Gen Sir William Dobbie's life is being celebrated at Christ Church, an Anglican community with strong links to the family and located within the ancient walls of the Old City.
CHARLES GARDNER, of ASSIST News Service, reports... |
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'...|
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