This week the third Global Anglican Future Conference (GAFCON) is being held in Jerusalem, Israel. GAFCON will bring together some 2,000 Anglican leaders from 50 counties all over the world. BAC Ministers Ben Soderlund and Hugh Prentice are among the Australian delegates.
GAFCON is a reform movement within the worldwide fellowship of Anglican Churches. It represents approximately 50 million of the world’s 70 million church-going Anglican Christians. GAFCON begun as a response to the slide away from biblical authority that has occurred in some parts of the Anglican Communion, as the church faces pressure from aggressive secularism and revisionist groups, determined to ‘revise’ God’s revealed will in Scripture.
Therefore GAFCON works to protect and restore the Anglican commitment to biblical truth. It is a movement of Anglicans committed to guarding the truth of the Gospel by challenging the error of false teaching particularly on issues where salvation is at stake. But it is also an outward focused movement determined to spread the good news of Jesus Christ! GAFCON is committed to fulfilling the Great Commission to all nations by ensuring the size, strength, experience and world-wide Anglican Communion continues to be a powerful and faithful agent for global gospel mission.
Please pray for the conference this week! Please give thanks that the GAFCON movement is flourishing and helping to establish new Churches around the world. Please pray that God would make clear his will for GAFCON and the Anglican Communion.
Rev. Ben Soderlund
I’ve been reflecting on a chapter in Paul Tripp’s book, ‘Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy’. The chapter is called ‘Sinners and Unafraid’. There’s an excerpt that struck a chord with me, perhaps it
will for you.
“…If you and I are at all willing to humbly and honestly look at our lives, we will be forced to conclude that we are flawed human beings. And yet we don’t have to beat ourselves up. We don’t have to work to minimize or deny our failures. We don’t have to be defensive when our weaknesses are revealed. We don’t have to rewrite our own histories to make ourselves look better than we actually were. We don’t have to be paralyzed by remorse and regret. We don’t have to distract ourselves with busyness or drug ourselves with substances.” “Isn’t it wonderful that we can stare our deepest, darkest failures in the face and be unafraid? Isn’t it comforting that we can honestly face our most regretful moments and not be devastated? Isn’t it amazing that we can confess that we really are sinners and be neither fearful nor depressed?…We can face that we are sinners and rest because we know that God really does exist and that he is a God of:
- Steadfast love
- Abundant Mercy
Because He is, there is hope – hope of forgiveness and new beginnings. Yes, we really can fully acknowledge our sin and failure and yet be unafraid.”
May your week be full of hope from Psalm 51:1, that God is merciful, steadfast in love, has abundant mercy and truly can blot out all transgressions. Take comfort in this wonderful news.
God is all powerful and is in careful rule of every thing in his universe. Beyond finite comprehensibility God works his will and good purpose. Throughout the Bible this God’s power is proclaimed:
“And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28
“Our God is in the heavens; he does all that he pleases.” Psalm 115:3
“Who can speak and have it happen if the Lord has not decreed it?” Lamentations 3:37
“The lot is cast into the lap, but its every decision is from the Lord.” Proverbs 16:33
“Instead, you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and also do this or that.” James 4:15
Speaking of God working good through evil agents, Joseph says:
“You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.” Genesis 50:20
“Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? And not one of them will fall to the ground apart from your Father. But even the hairs of your head are all numbered.” Matthew 10:29-30
We have a great source of providential comfort, a great relief from stress and a great encouragement to rest in the power of God every day.
Thirteen teenagers and three youth leaders embarked on a journey to the Belgrave Heights Convention Centre to join over 500 people for the annual Victorian Christian Youth Convention (VCYC) on 18-20 May. Whilst there we heard from Vicar Ed Surrey that Solomon was the greatest King in the Old Testament. Yet despite his successes, he had many failures. We learned that Jesus is the greater Solomon, having many successes and no failures, and is the promised Messiah! Redemption and salvation can be found in King Jesus alone.
Our teenagers survived the cold rainy weather camping in tents and bonded together as a tight community. We were all encouraged by Ed to do three things: to give their worries to Jesus, ask Him for wisdom and submit our lives to Him. All were challenged and some of us submitted our lives to King Jesus for the first time!
Over camp our teenagers were challenged to be a part of church life, but through over 10 years in youth ministry I know this is easier said than done. I wonder if you have ever thought, ‘How do we keep youth in the church’? If five people know teenagers by name and talk with them weekly, they are more likely to feel like they belong. So let me encourage you, keep getting to know our youth and pray for them constantly. It can be very difficult for teenagers coming from such an encouraging weekend only to come back to church feeling unknown. By engaging with our teenagers weekly you are building Christ’s church!
I love the Biblical image of heaven as a great wedding banquet. Wedding receptions can be great fun, especially with great food and joyful celebration combined.
There has been much attention given to who is and isn’t invited to the royal wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle. There has been some controversy about those not invited, and also some who are invited are not attending.
The last book of the Bible speaks of heaven as the wedding supper of the Lamb: Then the angel said to me, “Write: ‘Blessed are those who are invited to the wedding supper of the Lamb!’” (Revelation 19:9)
The Lamb is of course Jesus, who died for our sins as a sacrificial lamb. The whole church is spoken of in Ephesians 5 and in Revelation as the bride of Christ. We are corporately not just attendees but actual participants in the heavenly marriage – finally uniting Christ and the redeemed people of God forever.
The wedding supper of the Lamb going to definitely be the event of the year, with great music and singing: “Let us rejoice and be glad and give him glory! For the wedding of the Lamb has come, and his bride has made herself ready. Fine linen, bright and clean, was giver her to wear” (Revelation 19:7-8)