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Which Books Of The Bible Get Preached From The Most? (via Oli Tucker)

Having preached through Psalms and now approaching the end of John’s gospel on Sunday nights at MGPC over the last six or so years, it will soon be time to commit to something new.
This article by Oli Tucker surveys a web application that hosts recorded sermons and discovers which books of the Bible have the most sermons preached from them.
It’s no surprise that nineteen most popular books are from the New Testament, but there are some interesting observations.
The types of churches that use the hosting site are more likely to be committed to sequential expository preaching rather than topical or lectionary texts, so it points out some common emphases in the conservative evangelical culture, as well as some areas that can be over looked.
As evangelical churches skew toward preaching entry-level material in topical guise I’d only expect these sorts of differences to increase. The whole counsel of God becoming the curated counsel of God, so to speak.

From the article:

As with many things in life and ministry we do, at times, need our hands holding over the fire even when it comes to preaching the whole counsel of God and preaching Christ from all the Scriptures. I guess the question this exercise has exposed is: do we know enough to be sure we are actually doing that, and therefore serve our churches well?

Read the article at Strand Blog.

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Ministry In Mount Magnet And Surrounds, Western Australia

Surendra and May Wesley are carrying out ministry in Mount Magnet, Western Australia, under the shared support of the Presbyterian Inland Mission and Australian Presbyterian World Mission.
In this video, posted by APWM’s Kevin Murray during a recent visit, Surendra speaks about the response to the establishment phase of their work.

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End Of An Era For The Presbyterian Inland Mission

For many, many years now those of us who have attended presentations by Presbyterian Inland Mission Superintendent Stuart Bonnington and committee Convener Rob Duncanson have watched as an increasingly beat up map of Australia had been covered with borders of new Patrol areas and markers for mission churches.
At the conclusion of tonight’s annual public rally Rob announced that due to the continuing growth of the workload, along with the increasing complexity of managing PIM, advertising had commenced for a Managing Director to be employed. When that person is identified and is functioning in the role Stuart will resign as Superintendent. Rob will also be standing down as Convener, allowing him to focus on his work in Darwin and beyond.
If there was a Presbyterian museum the map these two are holding should be put on display in it.
The two fellows holding the map are a long way from being historical relics.
May the Lord continue to use them mightily, and may the work of PIM continue to take the love of God and the Good News about Jesus beyond the farthest fences.

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Presbyterian Inland Mission Rally 2014

Each year after their annual meeting in Sydney the Presbyterian Inland Mission host a public event during which they update supporters about developments in the ministry.

Superintendent Stuart Bonnington gave an opening address in which he outlined plans to:
Consolidate and grow the two congregations in the Northern Territory; Darwin has been established for seven years and Alice Springs for seven months.
Bring to fruition the desire for placement in the Darling Patrol in regional New South Wales as a priority.
Continue to move toward Padres a team support model for financial support.
Staff a placement in the Mid West Patrol of Western Australia.
Install Colin and Alison Morrow into the Mungo Patrol of lower regional NSW and Mildura.
Locate a pastor to serve the church and patrol located in the Mount Isa region of north-western Queensland.
Supply funding for a manse in Meekatharra in the North West Patrol (Pilbara region) of WA in cooperation with APWM if suitable workers are able to carry out work among indigenous peoples.
Revive patrol work in Tasmania.
Develop a patrol area around Bombala (south-east NSW).
Many harvest fields. Prayer for the workers.

Kevin Murray (Australian Presbyterian World Mission Director) introduced a short video featuring Surendra and May’an Wesley who it is intended are coming to Mount Magnet WA in a partnership between PIM and APWM to carry out Patrol and Indigenous work. Pray for the process by which Surendra will be able to live and work in Australia.

Rob Duncanson, PIM Convener read from Isaiah 35 and spoke of its themes of life in arid places; awareness of God’s glory; and an experience of God’s saving grace that leads to rejoicing and testimony.
He introduced David and Gae McDonald from the John Flynn Patrol in South Australia.
David and Gae spoke of bringing the fellowship of the Christian Church to remote people.
It’s a ministry which begins at gates and fence lines, but flourishes inside at the kitchen table over a cuppa. Time and willingness to listen are imperatives.
They meet Christians, and others who don’t know Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
Both of them are passionate sharers of the Gospel. There are opportunities to share at Beltana and Leigh Creek. A young man accepted Christ as Saviour at Leigh Creek and further opportunities for witness have arisen from that.
The new vehicle and camper has transformed the work. They return home from Patrol more refreshed and less worn out than previously than with their previous camper. The new unit can carry more water, fuel and Bibles and resources.
Patrols are for three weeks a month, with one week home.

Rob Duncanson introduced a new logo and unified branding for the ministry which will be seen on all PIM related materials in production from this point.

Finally, Stuart Bonnington returned to provide brief updates on the PIM Churches.
Beltana: no regular services, but opportunities for community gatherings.
Mount Magnet: regular meetings
Meekathara: no services as yet, the building was secured when Mount Magnet was purchased and awaits a worker. The cooperative purchase of a residence by PIM and APWM should support this.
Albany: A PIM church which has become part of the West Australian Presbytery and is continuing to grow.
Darwin: Two congregations seven years. Around 350 people have entered and left through transfer. Still waiting for stability (thought that may not eventuate given the surrounding culture), but present life continues fruitfully.
Alice Springs: turnover issues as well. Keith and Jenny Bell have settled in well.

A wonderfully encouraging and informative evening.


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A Generous Gift From An Anonymous Giver


The book with a pen sitting just above, for scale.

During the report of the Presbyterian Inland Mission at the 2013 General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church of Australia mention was made of the book Views Beyond The Furthest Fence, a pictorial history of 100 years of ministry in the outback. With an illuminating text by Stuart Bonnington, the feature of this coffee-table book are the historical and contemporary photographs collated by Stephen Dyer (who took most of the contemporary images himself).
Mention was made during debate at GAA that this book should be on display in the home of every Presbyterian pastor in the nation (by Graham Nicholson, I believe).
Well, it seems someone took his words to heart because yesterday a copy of the book arrived by parcel post here at home.
No note, no invoice, just the book.
So, thanks generous mystery giver.


The fascinating historical images in the first half of the book are in black and white, with the remainder in colour, like this.


Presbyterian General Assembly Of Australia – Wednesday, September 11 #GAAus13

Part of being a national church with state and regional levels of oversight is that various bodies can be held accountable for their decisions. Today the GAA considered an appeal to bring the decision of one of our state bodies under review, and a petition seeking a recommendation of one of our national committees to placed under review. Those took up a fair bit of time, but responsible leadership welcomes accountability.
Rev Ligon Duncan preached a most affecting sermon based on 1 Kings 19.
Notes won’t do it justice. If it was recorded and turns up online please listen to it.
He unfolded these three points.
1. Even ministers who believe in the sovereignty can fail to believe that The Lord is God.
2. Even ministers who fight against idolatry can succumb to it.
3. Even when The Lord looks like he’s being hard on his servants you can be sure his provision is staggeringly generous and kind.

We continued to receive a number of reports and approve proposed plans by the respective committees for the next three years.
National Journal Committee, presented by Mr Duncan Parker spoke of the more widespread circulation of the now 20 page quarterly magazine, freely available in print or online.
Presbyterian Inland Mission: presented by Rev Rob Duncanson and Rev Stuart Bonnington, with a contribution from Padre Chris Woonings who spoke about the great need for biblical preaching in outback towns.

General and Mrs Hurley being thanked by David Cook

Defence Force Chaplaincy: presented by Rev Allan Harman making special mention of the high number of chaplains provided by the Presbyterian denomination, with a special address by Chief of the Defence Force, General David Hurley.

Rev Geoff Macpherson, representing Grace Presbyterian Church, New Zealand addressed the house.
Ballots were conducted to fill the various national committee positions for the next three years, with results being announced later in the evening.
Church And Nation: presented by Rev Stefan Slucki and Rev David Palmer who both spoke to a comprehensive report on a variety of ethical matters. Professor Patrick Parkinson of the Sydney Law School addressed the Assembly on the subject of concerns regarding religious liberty.
Reception of Ministers also presented a substantial report. Over a dozen men from other denominations were approved to be received as ministers of the Presbyterian Church of Australia upon the fulfilment of a variety of conditions.

Hopefully tomorrow business will conclude at a relatively early stage.
Everything is flowing along very smoothly.
David Cook is doing a wonderful job as moderator, and I hear his chaplains are giving adequate support.

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Commencement Service Of Alice Springs Presbyterian Church

Around fifty people gathered from pretty much all points of Australia for the commencement service of Alice Springs Presbyterian Church.
Representatives of the Northern Territory, South Australia, Tasmania, Western Australia and Victoria joined residents and other visitors for the service. The national church was represented by Moderator-General David Jones along with Presbyterian Inland Mission Superintendent Stuart Bonnington.
While the occasion was special in nature, our defining purpose, empowered by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, was to worship God through our redeemer the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rob Duncanson, convener of the PIM and pastor of Darwin Presbyterian led us in a call to worship from Psalm 122, reminding us of the joy which it is gather as the dwelling place of God to praise His name.
We sang This Earth Belongs To God, a stirring reminder of the themes of Psalm 24 with the rejoicing welcome which God’s people give to the Holy One.
Stuart Bonnington, superintendent of the PIM and pastor of Scots Church, Fremantle, delivered a comprehensive narration of the steps which had led up to the commencement of Alice Springs Presbyterian. In particular, the negotiations to gain use of the AIM building and residence as a home for the church and the appointment of Rev Keith and Jenny Bell as church planters were both reasons for rejoicing that God had enabled the desire to commence a work to come to fruition.
David Jones, moderator-general of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and pastor of Mt. Stuart Presbyterian Church, prayed, and on behalf of the Presbyterian Church of Australia and the Presbyterian Inland Mission constituted Alice Springs as a part of the PCA with the following words.

In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, the only King and Head of the Church, by the authority of the Presbyterian Inland Mission of the Presbyterian Church of Australia, I declare the Alice Springs Presbyterian Church established as a a congregation of the Presbyterian Church of Australia to proclaim the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ, in word and deed to the people of central Australia.

The hymn Glorious Things Of You Are Spoken was our proclamation that this new congregation, though a new work in its own right, was also a part of the national and international body of Christ on earth, and a part of God’s people that expands through all of human history and into eternity.
Sam Hauzel of Alice Springs Presbyterian read Micah 6:1-8, the passage from which the sermon of the day would come.
John Wilson, clerk of the Presbyterian Church of Victoria, led the congregation in prayers of intercession which included Timor Leste and South Sudan, our own nation, along with the city of Alice Springs and the mission and ministry of all the Gospel believing churches and Christians who are part of it.
We were then able to rejoice in the blessings of God’s provisions to us in giving out tithes and offerings which was taken up by Mini and Deng Gordon.
Riak Gordon of Alice Springs Presbyterian read from Mark 12:28-34 which related the great commands of Scripture and how obedience and relationship with God are innately united.
This theme was reflected in Lord Be My Vision, a song which proclaims that only relationship with God inspires a life that aspires to enduring godliness.

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David Jones emphasising the extent of God’s graciousness toward His people

David Jones developed these themes in his sermon, as he preached from verses 1-8 of Micah 6, encouraging the new church, along with all the rest of us, about the great works which God has done for His people through the Lord Jesus Christ, and how they are both the source of enabling and motivation for the works of ministry and mission which we are called as God’s people to carry out.
The great imperatives of doing justice and loving kindness flow from the indicatives of His great redeeming work which His people have experienced, and which we experience through Jesus.
To God Be The Glory was the closing song of praise which summed up both our wonderful time of remembering God’s good works and our expectation of His future good purposes for the work of the Gospel in Alice Springs, across our nation and throughout the world.

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The Congregation singing our final praise ‘To God Be The Glory’

This thankfulness and expectation was sealed upon us again as Rob Duncanson spoke a final blessing over us all.

After worship a splendid time of fellowship and a (anything but light) supper was shared we departed.
Hopefully those who remain will find the service a continuing source of encouragement, and a tangible reminder that prayers from around the nation continue to uphold this work in Australia’s centre.