Monday, October 31, 2011

Australian Lutheran World Service Update

Thank you to those who have supported ALWS - here is the latest update - scary stuff:

"Greetings from Nairobi. I'm here with an ALWS team en route to South Sudan. We had hoped to visit Dadaab Refugee Camp, but the security situation means that is not possible. Your prayers are urgently requested because our Lutheran team (and other aid agencies) are facing many challenges. Yesterday a UNHCR vehicle was hit by a remote-controlled explosive, while on the way to Dadaab. This follows a number of other attacks, and means 'normal' aid work cannot continue for the moment in camp. Particularly at risk are our surveyors opening up new plots of land for shelters, and teachers going out into the community. The phone-call with the news of the attack came through as I was interviewing our Program Coordinator in Dadaab, Lokiru Matendo. He says this puts security at the Critical Level. Staff are scared, and prayers are requested for safety and a peace solution. What's amazing is that emergency lifesaving care is still being given. The Lutheran motto here is "We go where others stop". The practical evidence of this is that despite the danger a Lutheran team will continue going out into the camp at 8 each morning, and monitor the condition of refugees. The team prepare a report for each aid agency on any issues that may affect their sector (water, latrines etc), so they can be solved. This is incredible courage, and comes from a passion to help the people. Lokiru said:"It's not just a job - you want to address the suffering. Whatever little you can do, you do, to make a difference." This is typical of the attitude of all the team delivering your care to these people who have lost so much. Please know your help is noticed and appreciated here. We visited AusAID in Nairobi yesterday, and they were amazed at what we Lutherans have been able to do. The Lutheran World Federation team say the same. Lokiru summed it up: "We feel connected with the people of Australia through ALWS." This is you standing side-by-side with Lutheran teams as they minister to people who have lost everything.

On their behalf, thank you. Jonathan KrauseCommunications Manager, ALWS1300 763 407 * PS: The Australian Government continues to match donations for East Africa dollar for dollar until 30 November."

Inspiring local news

Our World Today

An online local newspaper that focuses mainly on inspirational stories - check it out here:

Monday, October 24, 2011

I missed the end of the world...again...

You may have been too busy doing your assignments to notice that the world ended on 21 October 2011 harold-camping's (very false) prophecy.
Here is (in total ) an excellent article by Ronnie McBrayer which I think puts end time predictions in their rightful place.

Ronnie says:

"The End of the World As We Know It

I don’t know how it is that you are reading this. In fact, I don’t know how any of us are even here. In case you missed it, the entire cosmos was destroyed by the avenging judgment of God this weekend, and you can’t plead ignorance – you were properly warned.

Oh, forget the cryptic evidence of the Jewish prophets, the predictions of Nostradamus, the ancient Mayan Calendar, or the inexplicable visions of the Apostle John on the Isle of Patmos. No, for the last several years we have been advised by radio broadcaster and prophet Harold Camping that the end was near, and now overdue.

If that name sounds familiar, it should. Harold Camping was convinced – and so were many of his followers, some spending their life’s savings to warn their wayward neighbors – that the end of the world would arrive this past May. When that did not occur, Camping amended his prophecy with a gargantuan amount of imagination and interpretive gymnastics, giving the universe a drop-dead date of October 21, 2011.

It really doesn’t bother me when the end-times prophets and Harold Campings of the world show up with their placards, tracts, broadcasts, and sandwich boards of doom. It used to rally get under my skin, but now I recognize such predictions as an eccentric Christian tradition, one of those family customs that cannot be stopped, only endured.

The winds of world upheaval begin to blow and spiritual forecasters likewise begin to paint pictures with the terrible brush strokes of God’s consuming fire. Sinners are threatened. The blatantly unrepentant are dangled over the inferno. There is a frenzied relish to it all, some doomsdayers seemingly more happy to see all reprobates burn, than to move on to eternal bliss.

So when a radio preacher misfired once again on his prediction, it was just more of the same, and just as Jesus said it would be. “No one knows the day or the hour,” Jesus loudly proclaimed. The expiration date set for the universe is knowledge that belongs exclusively to God, and he doesn’t seem interested in sharing it with Harold Camping or anyone else who fancies making bold prophecies.

Further, as wrong as these would-be-prophets are about actual dates, their divination seems to also distract them from the nature of the end of the age. “Look, I am making everything new!” God says in the end (See Revelation 21). The cosmos doesn’t conclude with retribution, but with renewal. The final chapter is not extinction, but transformation. That is our Blessed Hope.

Simply, God believes in and loves his creation in a way that no televangelist or talking-head prophet can ever come close. God has bigger and better plans for his world than just throwing it into the intergalactic trash can. In the words of C.S. Lewis, “We may be tired of this world, but God isn’t.” He has great things in store, and we get the chance to get in on it and live it beginning today. This is a far better approach to life than pining for a fictitious apocalypse.

My Hebrew friends will have to forgive me for simplifying one of their marvelous parables, but there is a story in the Jewish literature about an old man who planted a fig tree. When asked if he really expected to live long enough to eat fruit from that tree, the old man laughed and said: “I was born into world that had fruit ready to eat. My ancestors planted trees for me, and now I plant fruit for my grandchildren.”

We can’t give up on the world because it’s not what we wish it was, or because we think it’s all going down the drain with no time left, or because some crackpot makes a bold but foolish prediction. What we call the “end” is not the end at all. True to his nature, God has not given this world a drop-dead date. Instead, it has been stamped with a renewal date, a date we pray and work for until it finally comes."

Ronnie McBrayer is a syndicated columnist, speaker, and author. His books include “Leaving Religion, Following Jesus” and “The Jesus Tribe.”

Visit his website at

Thanks Ronnie - I couldn't have said it any better!

Monday, October 17, 2011

National LSF Retreat "Transform" 29 Dec 11 - 2 Jan 12

The LSF National Retreat is a chance for young adults (aged 18-30) from all over Australia to come together, share their faith, learn more about what it means to be a follower of Jesus and relax on one of our countries' best coastlines.

The LSF National Retreat is an annual event that rotates between Queensland, South Australia and Victoria. We are pleased to invite you to the beautiful Coolum Beach for this year's event!

The theme for this year's retreat is 'Transform'. Our guest speakers will help us explore how the Church can transform itself and communities as we unpack that truth outlined in 2 Corinthians.

The LSF National Retreat will be held from Thursday 29 December 2011 until Monday 2 January 2012. This is an event for young adults aged between 18-30, including those turning 18 in 2012.

Click here to download the LSF National Retreat 2011/12 brochure.

Click here to register and pay on-line now!

Retreat Venue
The year the LSF National Retreat is being held at Luther Heights Youth Camp at Coolum Beach QLD - an absolutely stunning location! The venue is located on a hilltop just a few minutes walk to the beach and has spectacular view of the Sunshine Coast.

$262 per person (inc. GST)
Note: payments received after 09/12/11 will incur a $30 late fee.

Registrations close on Friday 9th December 2011. Please note that spaces at the LSF National Retreat are strictly limited. Early registrations are encouraged to avoid disappointment.
Click here to download a manual registration form or Click here to register on-line now!