Saturday, August 30, 2014

Book: To love as God loves

To love as God loves - Conversations with the Early Church by Roberta Bondi 
Being a Christian means learning to love with God's love. But God's love is not a warm feeling in the pit of the stomach. It has definite characteristics we learn in the course of our life, in the behavior and teaching of the early monastics, as we ponder over what we can say about God as God deals with us, and finally, as we model our own lives on what we have learned.   


  • Beginnings
  • Love 
  • Humility
  • The Passions
  • Prayer
  • God

Amazon Reviews: To love as God loves
Good Reads Reviews:  To love as God loves

Friday, August 29, 2014

Missional Lutheran Education from the journal Issues in Christian Education

Missional Lutheran Education is the them for the Spring 2010 journal, Issues in Christian Education.
This edition has the following:
Reflection relating to being Lutheran and Missional
Editorial - Intruder Alert
Editorial - A leaky roof
Editorial- Missiodoctrinology
Article:  What is Lutheran Missional Education?
Article:  Missional Education
Article:  Confirmation:  an outreach ministry?
Book reviews

Go to Issues in Christian Education 2010 to read all these articles

Friday, August 22, 2014

Book: The Life you crave by Mike Newman

A new book by Mike Newman - the life you crave

Do you ever wonder what your next step should be? If there is more to life? Do you crave something better?
More than security or wealth success or popularity, what we really need is to be loved, to matter. But with all our inner strength and the world s create-your-own destiny attitude, with all our technology and know-how and savvy, we are helpless to truly satisfy that craving on our own.
God's intention was never for us to have a dissatisfied, self-critical spirit.
In His eyes, each of us is irreplaceable, carefully crafted, designed for a unique and noble purpose. And He is determined to reach us. Throughout the ages, amid all of the world s selfish rebellion, unthinkable corruption, ugly swirl of violence, and abject godlessness, the Lord God has shown that He works in a consistent and beautiful way. He draws close to us. He enters our existence. God reaches into our lives, turns us around, and fulfills every desperate, yearning, miserable need.

God offers us grace. Pure, lavish, unending grace. Discover the life you crave.

This book is also an ideal book for new members, people renewing their membership and wanting to explore membership in the Lutheran Church

1:  Your greatest fan
2:  You amazing purpose
3:  Your unexpected
4:  Your answer to prayer
5:  Your help in trouble
6:  Your new beginning
7:  Your provision for the journey
8:  Your bold mission

Discussion questions for each chapter
Accessible to all people of all faiths
Anecdotes from contemporary everyday life, history, and the Bible
Directs reader to apply Scripture to his or her life

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Video: Nadia Bolz-Weber testimony of a graceful God

Nadia Bolz-Weber  is the founding pastor of House for All Sinners and Saints, an ELCA mission church in Denver, Colorado. She’s a leading voice in the emerging church movement and her writing can be found in The Christian Century and Jim Wallis’ God’s Politics blog. She is author of Salvation on the Small Screen? 24 Hours of Christian Television (Seabury 2008) and the Sarcastic Lutheran blog.
In 2012 she shared her testimony of a graceful God at the ELCA Youth Convention

For more information about Nadia visit

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Book: Driven to Despair by Alan Craddock

Driven To Despair: Perfectionism and Ministry by Alan E Craddock - A New Resource for a Common Problem

Driven To Despair, written by psychologist Alan Craddock, is a new book that considers the nature of perfectionism from Psychological and Theological viewpoints, examining functional and dysfunctional aspects of perfectionism, how they are shaped, and how they function in Christian ministry. These complementary viewpoints are used to provide an understanding of perfectionism and how to cope with unhealthy forms of perfectionism in lay and professional ministry. Additional strategies are explored for working with issues involving resistance and obstacles to change when coping strategies are difficult to implement. The book also describes how dysfunctional perfectionism can be sustained by unexpected ‘rewards’ and may be sometimes associated with bullying.

Of particular relevance to Prepare-Enrich Facilitators is the application of the family of origin closeness and flexibility dimensions that feature in the Family Map used in the Customized Version of Prepare-Enrich. The book discusses whether strong parental control may combine with family enmeshment and authoritarianism to produce a striving for perfection in which unhelpful self-defeating thinking and activity may predominate.

This book has been written to help men and women working in all forms of Christian ministry and will also be of assistance to professionals working with clients who are struggling with unhelpful perfectionism in their ministry.

This book is available from the author by visiting Alan E Craddock web site

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Hymn and Song videos for traditional worship

I have prepared of a youtube playlist of hymns and songs sung in our Contemporary Worship Services at the Portland=Heywood Lutheran Church...

Please note:
Most of the videos are not from our congregation, in fact most of them originate from the original artist
The list is not complete and will continue to add to the list
If you have suggestions of youtube clips that are better quality or a hymn you think should be on the list please email me

To listen to the Traidtional hymns and songs that are being sung at the Portland-Heywood Lutheran Church visit  here

Song videos for Contemporary Worship

I have prepared of a youtube playlist of songs sung in our Contemporary Worship Services at the Portland-Heywood Lutheran Church

Please note:
Most of the videos are not from our congregation, in fact most of them originate from the original artist
The list is not complete and will continue to add to the list

To listen to the Contemporary Worship songs that are being sung at the Portland-Heywood Lutheran Church go here

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Article: Israel Folau the importance of relying on God

Israel Folau is an Australian rugby union player, former rugby league player, former AFL player, former Mormon and now a Christian...
He talks very openly about the importance of relying on God, and seeing how being humbled actually allowed God to open doors for him....

The following article appeared at

ISRAEL Folau believes God broke his ankle in 2009 to teach him a lesson about boozy weekends and random one-night stands with women.
Folau believes God took him out of the NRL to endure two years of toil in the AFL to humble him.
Then, only after Folau had reconnected with God, did He open the door to rugby, in which he now stands as the man to end 12 years of Australian agony by leading the Wallabies to victory over the All Blacks in tonight’s Bledisloe Cup opener.
And if you think Folau is crazy, he doesn’t care.
“I want to advertise who Jesus Christ is, which is the thing that means most to me,” the Wallaby fullback says, patting his heart hard.
“I know it’s got nothing to do with footy, but that’s what drives me every single day.
“Everything is not always about footy, it’s about me as a person generally, wanting to be that person that I was called to be.
“A lot of people don’t or wouldn’t understand what I’m saying, but that’s what really drives me.
“I just want to encourage all the athletes who are Christians or believe in God, to not be ashamed, really share what they believe.
“Because in the sporting world in Australia, it’s really rare for athletes to come out and speak about Christ.
“I am not ashamed to come out and say it, because that is what I truly believe in. Everyone has their different opinions, that’s their freedom of choice, but this is what I truly believe in.”
Most don’t know this about Folau, but he was once as boozy as the best of them during his NRL career.
“There was a time there where I was playing at the Broncos where I was really going out a lot and drinking a lot,” he says.
“There was one particular time, in 2009, a period where I was doing that for a couple of months, drinking a lot from week to week.
“Then we were playing against the Warriors, it was a Friday night game, and I had planned to go out on the weekend from Saturday to Sunday, just getting plastered.
“I broke my ankle in that game. When I got to the change-room, I knew then that was punishment, God wanted to slow me up on the things I was doing.
“In the previous weeks I was going out, coming home at 6am, I’d wake up not feeling that great, I wasn’t as happy as I thought I would have been.
“That experience stands out for me. When I broke my ankle I knew God was trying to teach me something.
“I had lost track, that was due to alcohol, going out on weekends, hooking up with girls. The morals I was taught were totally opposite.
“I fell into the culture of the way professional athletes live. I was meant to go through that to realise what my identity is, and that is in Christ. Not to get sucked into what the world wants, but to believe in what is internal.
“It’s very challenging when it’s only you that has that within the team culture.
“I’m blessed to say now that it was all part of the journey.
“God changed my path. League was everything to me, I put that in front of God, and He took me away from that to go to AFL.
“This is what I truly believe; God used AFL, which was something different for me, to start all over again.
“When a person struggles, they turn to something they know will help them. For me, God used that to humble me, and make me think ‘God is first, not the sport’.
“A lot of people would deem the AFL tenure as a failure, but spiritually it allowed me develop in the way God wanted.
“That has led me to this path with rugby. I wouldn’t have seen this door open, but the things that have happened in the last 18 months were already written down in God’s book, and I see that.”
Folau adds: “I grew up as a Mormon, and my family left that church [in 2011] because different doctrines and beliefs they had weren’t what we believed was right.
“Now we’re part of a small Christian church where I can see the difference; my relationship with God now has gone to another level I didn’t think was possible.
“All of the changes that have happened in my career and my life has been since I left the Mormon faith. That’s nothing on the Mormon faith, but I know God directs myself and my family step by step in our lives, and I can speak on behalf of my parents and younger brothers; they’re in a really good place now.
“People might think [my success] is luck, or a coincidence. But all the things that have happened in my career in such a short time - I’ve put in a lot of hard work - but I believe only God makes that happen.”

Friday, August 15, 2014

Video: All begins and ends with Jesus

Life for a disciples of Jesus....have an understanding that it all begins and ends with Jesus....
Bill Woolsey from Wiki 52 unpacks what this means at 

Article: Sermons for men - how to preach 3 hour sermons

Men can sit through a 3-hour football game or a 3-hour epic movie without being bored – so why can’t they sit through a 3-hour sermon? Or a 1-hour sermon? Or even a 30-minute sermon?

David Murrow explores what is needed for men to sit through longer sermons and also the problems of short sermons


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Book: No perfect people allowed-creating a come as you are culture in the church

How do we live out the message of Jesus in today's ever-changing culture? 
The church is facing its greatest challenge---and its greatest opportunity---in our postmodern, post-Christian world. God is drawing thousands of spiritually curious 'imperfect people' to become his church---but how are we doing at welcoming them? 
In No Perfect People Allowed John Burke shows you how to deconstruct the five main barriers standing between emerging generations and your church by creating the right culture. 
From inspiring stories of real people once far from God, to practical ideas that can be applied by any local church, this book offers a refreshing vision of the potential and power of the Body of Christ to transform lives today. 

Sections include:

  • The struggle for the emerging generations
  • The struggle with trust
  • The struggle with tolerance
  • The struggle with truth
  • The struggle with brokenness
  • The struggle with aloneness
  • The struggle forward
Visit the Amazon Customer Reviews

'We now are living in a post-Christian America---and that means we must be rethinking ministry through a missionary mindset. What makes this book both unique and extremely helpful is that it is filled with real-life stories of post-Christian people becoming followers of Jesus---not just statistics or data about them.' Dan Kimball, Author, The Emerging Church '. . . 

John's 'get it' factor with people, lost or found, is something to behold! Reading this book filled me with optimism regarding the next generation of pastors and faith communities . . .' Bill Hybels, Senior Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church 
No Perfect People Allowed is a timely and necessary word for church leaders in a post Christian culture. John Burke serves up quite a tasty meal full of the rich nutrients that will strengthen the Body of Christ. Randy Frazee, Senior Pastor, Pantego Bible Church; Author, The Connecting Church and Making Room for Life

Contemporary liturgy: 5 songs of faith

Five Songs of Faith is a new new setting of the Service with Communion for the Lutheran Church of Australia.

It has been composed by Simon Schmidt and is a project of the LCA’s Commission on Worship.

The five songs are:
-          Lord Have Mercy (Kyrie)
-          Glory to God (Gloria)
-          Holy Holy (Sanctus)
-          Lamb of God (Agnus Dei)
-          Lord, now let your servant go (Nunc Dimittis)

At their web page you can download:

  • simple melody lines
  • lyrics
  • full music scores
  • lead music scores
  • mp3 files
Visit the 5 songs of faith web site

40 hour famine bible studies

The 40 hour famine is a great activity for congregations and youth groups to do....World Vision has also prepared bible studies for those undertaking the 40 hour famine.

The bible studies are available for downloading at

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Video series: Chronic

Trying to understand suffering can be difficult. The Chronic Pain video series gives insights into how to cope with it and that there is hope.   Pastor Steve Abraham tell not only his story but also the story of his family of how pain has affected their lives and changed his relationship with God and other people!!

Monday, August 11, 2014

Study: Hebrews - Challenges of Faith Choosing Christ as the better way

In this Study of the Book of Hebrews, Pastor Dirk Willner (a Lutheran pastor since 1990) shows readers that our faith can be challenged in many ways, but that God has provided the perfect solution for us in His Son Jesus Christ. We can see that even though we live in a very different world from the Hebrews of Jesus' time, we still ask the same questions and have similar challenges. God still has the answer and provides us with the guidance we need to find Him in every part of our lives.

Available in paperback and kindle formats

Kindle:  $7.50


Friday, August 08, 2014

Book: Reviving the Congregation: pastoral leadership in a changing environment

Pastoral leadership has always been challenging, but clergy and parish leaders today face unprecedented challenges, many of which simply didn't exist a generation ago. The questions of ministry and leadership in the church today range broadly across the financial and the managerial, the spiritual and the interpersonal.
In such a time, a wise mentor who can articulate a way forward for others is an immeasurable help. In Reviving the Congregation, Michael W. Foss, best-selling author of Power Surge, steps forward as that mentor.
Bringing decades of experience in congregational life and leadership and a winsome style to the work, Foss offers a compelling introduction to the new context in which we lead, and the personal and congregational strategies that will offer a way forward.
Reviving the Congregation is rooted in Foss's own experience, but it is open to all through questions for reflection, space for notes and journaling, and an extended bibliography for further reading.

Chapters include:
1. A Collision of Perspectives
2. The Pastor’s Soul
3. The Church’s Environment
4. The People’s Ministry
5. The Three Keys
6. The Value of Persistence

Pastor Michael Foss talking about his new book

Tuesday, August 05, 2014

Article: A small church redefines its mission

Discover the positive impact a small congregation had when it redefined its mission to one of being community focussed.....and what that meant for its congregation and the community God had placed it in

Go to

Free EBook: Turning passion into mission planning book

Christian outreach tools offers a free planning ebook to help congregations, life groups and small teams of members to move from being passionate about sharing God's love to actually sharing God's love....
For more information visit

Book: Reconstructing Church: Tools for Turning Your Congregation Around

The general decline of American mainline Protestant churches today is well documented. Church redevelopment—imagining and actualizing new life for dying churches—is a productive and vital response to congregational decline, but it can be daunting. Here is guidebook for church leaders, to help them reinvigorate their churches with both practical advice and tested theory. A comprehensive case study of Beneficent Congregational Church, which successfully turned the tide and quadrupled its worship attendance, provides inspiration as well as concrete strategies for church redevelopment. The study indicates that successful and faithful church redevelopment involves a shift from a modern-patronage ministry model to a postmodern-plural ministry model.

Building on current church redevelopment literature by bringing selected Biblical and theological texts into conversation with leadership concepts, systems theory, social sciences, and congregational studies, this book creates a multidisciplinary transformative conversation. The result is both strategic proposals for growing your church and a model for doing practical theology in your own ministry context. Dedicated, trained leadership in cooperation with the power of the Spirit can create the possibility of new life in dying congregations.

Monday, August 04, 2014

Article: How to deal with conflict in the church and not pretend it doesn't exist

Conflict consultant Tim Dyer has a theory: of all organisations on the face of the earth the Christian church is probably the most prone to conflict.
It seems illogical. Jesus called his disciples to love one another, he gave us the Holy Spirit and we’re supposed to be on the path of transformation. So why is church is so frequently bogged down in conflict?
Read more of the article to discover why and to discover some steps in resolving conflict at